Friday, September 22, 2017

Wanted/Unwanted Monsters in MH:World

I'm even more excited about Monster Hunter: World when I found out that, for the first time, you can customize your Palico!

Yian Kut-Ku
I was also thinking about what monsters I would like to see from past games, and off the top of my head, I definitely want to see Yian Kut-Ku, Yuan Garuga and their variants. I still go back to old Monster Hunter games to do a Kut-Ku quest. I just love his goofy face and waddling, where he looks like he's almost about to fall down. It never gets old hitting him on the head with a hammer, due to his neck being so outstretched, his head begging to be hit. Despite having bad judgment of distance, I was still capable of hitting him on the head with even  the short hammer on a consistent basis.

From reviewing the list of past monsters, I would also like to see the return of mammals Azuroth, Lagombi, Nargacuga, and Zinogre. 

Even though the dual Tigrex quest in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite was the quest that almost prevented me from beating the game, I find that Tigrex is a must. That quest forced me to use the "noob-ish" lightning longsword
line, as well as resorting to traps and flash bombs, whereas I'm the type of person who hates using limited resources due to laziness of having to collect materials for them again. My strategy tends to be the no-brainer hitting monster with weapon until dead. The only time I used traps were quests where you have to trap the monster.

Interestingly, since beating the dual Tigrex quest, I found fighting a single Tigrex fun and not so challenging anymore.

Deviljho and Ludroth are also much wanted, and unlike most people who don't like water battles, I hope we have underwater battles with Ludroth, Lagiacrus, and so forth. After looking at the collection of monsters, I actually want almost all of them to be in MH:World since it does get tiring hunting yet another Rathalos and its variants. So a better question is which ones do we NOT want? 

This is obviously subjective, but I wouldn't be sad if there's no Plesioth. I hate how it hides in
Plesioth--still does damage from across the screen
the water and you have to fish it out, as well as its notorious hit-box that is as large as a screen in MH Freedom Unite (though improved in sequels). I don't like the other hiding in the sand monsters such as Cephadrome, Diablos/Monoblos and Nibelsnarf, even though it's very satisfying when I whack the Cephadrome on the head with a hammer.

On the other hand, I'm hoping that MH:World includes all monsters of past series (even my most hated ones) for the variety to make it the biggest and best Monster Hunter!

Monster Hunter fans, which monsters do you want or not want to see?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monster Hunter: World Release Date Announced!

January 26, 2018!

As you know, I'm the most excited about Monster Hunter: World (see last entry) even after Kingdom Hearts 3 and Ni No Kuni 2, though of course I'm very hyped and excited for the latter games.

Of course I want this game now, rather NEED this game, but I certainly don't mind if they need to push back the date to perfect the game, so I'm willing to be patient, like with Horizon: Zero Dawn.

I hope Capcom markets the game appropriately, and gives out free copies to the major Twitch streamers and YouTubers, as well as the many numerous smaller streamers who have an extremely loyal following (there are tons).

Palico--Man's Best Friend
I think if it's seen as the "Dark Souls" of Monster Hunting games, it will do well in the West, even though it was Monster Hunter itself that inspired the deliberate gameplay style of the Souls series.

I'm hoping that games journalists will promote the game as the "Accessible Monster Hunter That Finally Got Me Hooked", and push the game as a "must-have". So far, almost all the articles and videos I have watched pointed in that direction, including this adorable article that gushed about the game, and his Palico riding in a rubber ring!

I see this game at the masterpiece level as the monsters interact with each other organically and you can manipulate destructible environments to take down monsters. There's going to be a most likely weak story and weak character development, but it's really the gameplay and charm that pushed this series to one of my top 10 favorite.

Am I the only one who sees the Monster Hunter series as revolutionizing gameplay, because it influenced Dark Souls, of which Dark Souls is now being used as a reference standard (i.e. if there's yet another article saying, this is the Dark Souls of...I'm going to shriek, as Souls is not that hard), and clearly influenced the ranged combat and hunting style of Horizon: Zero Dawn, which in turn will influence the rumored upcoming Microsoft AAA game using the same theme and concept as Horizon. I'm hoping that if it blows up in the West, the media here will finally recognize the revolutionary gameplay of World.

I'm also relieved to hear that for us Monster Hunter veterans, World isn't being dumbed down to appeal to the Western audience, but continues to have the exacting gameplay style of the older games. However, it will have actual graphics at 1080p (as opposed to 240p, wtf?!??), real textures, draw-distance (no more mistaking a blue herb for a blue velocidrome, it was that bad in the 3DS forms), and smoother frame-rates. World is going to be the Monster Hunter that we veterans know and adore, per the major and trusted gurus, Arekkz Gaming and Gaijin Hunter, but exponentially improved on a technical level that this series sorely needed.

However, I do agree that World should start with very easy quests where perhaps the monsters have very low health bars to get new users used to it, then slowly increase in difficulty in a balanced way, then going to the H-rank, and the almost impossibly difficult G-rank monsters to challenge the most expert Monster Hunters. I still to this day cannot beat that damned Alatreon, Village High Rank, in Monster Hunter 3U, so there's no way I could ever beat its G-rank counterpart solo.

PS4 Pro Monster Hunter:World Rathalos Edition
I think this game could do well in the West with the promotion of the gaming media and Twitch streamers and YouTubers, as well as the strong coop element that's all the rage, where you don't have to wait around like in the past games, but you and other players can jump into the fray, mid-battle. Of course, I'm hoping it will sell at least 10 million copies, so we can have future Monster Hunters on PC/PS/XBox.

UPDATE:  The marketing has begun! There's the PS4 Pro Monster Hunter:World Rathalos limited edition on sale. Appears to be only in Japan, but they need to push consoles there, as Japan is a primarily hand-held market.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nintendo Switch--Will It Succeed?

The internet is glutted with articles about whether Switch will succeed or not succeed. The feeling now is that since it sold 5 million in just 4 months, it will be quite successful and become the second most successful console of this generation, behind the PS4. I thought about this Switch topic, because I was actually able to order one yesterday, and pick up one today (this is in the Philadelphia and surrounding areas).

I admit I was hyped, but upon thinking about the fact there are NO games that I want on the Switch, I didn't order it. When I informed my friend about it, he was so blase about it that I might as well have told him that the sky is blue. The fact that I didn't, and neither my friend (huge Nintendo fan since he was 3 years old watching his older brothers play), was a huge red flag, as we are both one of the few Wii U owners who love our Wii U's.

I think that due to the Switch not being out there, that's one reason why it might not do well. When I went to parties, invariably there's a Wii and we would play Wii Sports, which was such a great party game as it's universally appealing. Who doesn't enjoy playing tennis, golf, and so forth. This word of mouth leads to further sales. I would've bought one immediately, but I was in my banning video games stage since I wanted to work on my career.

In contrast to my Wii experiences, due to Switch scarcity and no Oprah Winfrey to push the product like she did the Wii, I only saw one person with a Switch, who is a gas attendant. We only came to discussing video games when he saw me with the XBox Elite controller box on my lap. Of course we talked about video games and what consoles we play on. He quickly showed me his Switch. If I didn't have this controller in my lap which he had to notice with eagle eyes (this was at night and the XBox Elite box is black) in such a coincidental way, I would have never seen a Switch live to this day.

But I could only see it for a few seconds as there are other people waiting (so much different from a party experience), and I was literally afraid to touch it because it looked so delicate and vulnerable. I had to make sure it's protected. Instead of exploring the Switch, I immediately asked him if it has a screen protector and case, because I was afraid it would break, which he said yes. 

Relieved that it's protected (though it still looked fragile), I was still anxious, so I kept telling him over and over to make sure he secures it at work, as this is something that someone will steal, given the scarcity and price.  I was nervous for him, rather than having fun playing on the Switch. My Switch experience is a very different one than my Wii experiences, where I would play the Wii for a long time with other friends, without guilt.

Further, there are no Switch's in demonstration, even at GameStop. I went to one GameStop, and thought they didn't have one to demonstrate because of the scarcity. However, going to other GameStops, there are no live Switch's to test out.

I really can't see parents, on the fence due to the price being more than a bundled PS4 and XBox One, buying a Switch without testing the durability. Who wants to waste $299 and have your child break it? Especially when you can get the other consoles that are not only cheaper, but have more games? Do you see the need for parents to try the thing out? I can see the same parents scratching their heads about the Switch, and then testing out the PS4 and XBox One, their kids being excited about one or both of the consoles, and the family taking one home. Even if they still want the Switch, they can't buy one since there's no availability.

But what about the Japanese market? I felt that Japan could carry, and it can reach 30 million plus on the strength of Japan alone. However, the nail in the coffin is when NihongoGamer, very intelligent and insightful YouTuber living in Japan, mentioned that only 10% of Japanese Switch owners take the Switch to work, and that the other 90% play on smartphones (I apologize, I can't find the exact video, but I included his home channel as he's very insightful). Adding to the problem is that Monster Hunter: World will not be coming to the Switch. In Japan, Monster Hunter is a system seller.

NihongoGamer did make the caveat that if the Switch comes out with a portable, smaller form, then there'll be more mini-Switches in the wild. So if the Switch doesn't have the portability factor, it may not capture the Japanese market like the 3DS. Further, if it's hard to get a Switch, why not use your smartphones since you can play games, watch videos, and text all at the same time, great time killers when riding public transportation.

Other stumbling blocks to the success of the Switch are the cost and the lack of games. Even if the Switch were reduced to $150 with a triple A game (not an unwanted game such as a Nintendoland), which will make it competitive to the PS4 and the XBox One, it still may not sell well due to the lack of games, which is why I didn't buy one. The rationale for the $150 is that it comes to $250 with the mandatory accessories. The PS4 and XBox One are invariably bundled with AAA games such as CoD, Destiny 2, Uncharted 4, and so forth at $250. 

Parents wanting to buy a Switch for their kids, if they can't get one, they'll just get a PS4 or XBox One. Further, kids these days appear to be more intrigued by FPS (helped by Overwatch, as it has the fun colors AND FPS gameplay, and the characters look "cooller" than the squid-like kids of Splatoon) than Mario and Zelda, so I can't see any kids having a temper tantrum if they can't get a Switch, if their parents are willing to buy them another console. Why not buy the other consoles, as the competitors not only have significantly larger libraries, but are cheaper and more durable than the Switch?

For portable experiences, parents will just lend their kids their smart phones, which are pretty hardy and don't break if they drop it on the floor. I see kids all the time perfectly happy (in fact, they get upset if they can't play on their parents' phones) playing video games and/or watching YouTube on the smart phone.

Right now, if things continue the way they are, the Switch won't be successful.  I know I'm waffling, but things may change to make it successful. If it's reduced in price to $150, has the 3DS games library (i.e. Nintendo will have to stop supporting the 3DS) and have demo units with physical Switch's available for people to test, it may be successful and may sell like the 3DS. But if Nintendo is stubborn in refusing to reduce the price (like they did with the Wii U), I think it'll only sell 20 million.

The good news for Nintendo fans is that I'm like Michael Pachter (whose predictions are almost always wrong, which is a running joke on the internet), so the Switch might actually sell like hotcakes and sell 100 million!

The How of Happiness Review

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Monday Musings 10

The House of God by Samuel Shem
I was thinking about this book since I wrote about my challenge of healthy habits, since The House of God pinpoints how toxic and unhealthy medical residency is. As I was interested in going to medical school, and it was common knowledge that this book is what you should read to get a sense of what residency training is like, I read it in college. Going to a cushy and academically undemanding university, I was in a wonderful place in my life. So, after reading a few pages of the book, I was appalled and thought to myself that if I ever think of my patients like this, I would quit being a doctor. Looking back, I kind of chuckle at my sanctimonious attitude.

During internship, I decided to pick up the book again, and it made me sick to my stomach, because it's exactly what I was going through, and in fact, I felt that at some points, Dr. Shem UNDER-stated how awful medical training is. I didn't need the reminders, so I quit reading soon after.

However, after completing residency and with my career established, I read the book, and it was one of the funniest books I've ever read, since I was no longer at that terrible place in my life. I was able to read the entire novel and the book rings so true. One part that sticks out is where the protagonist, on call yet again and sleep deprived, had to see a patient in the ER, and told the patient that he will give him $20 if he leaves, which he does, lmfao. This is how we all have felt, that we'd be glad to pay to not see patients and get some needed sleep.

If you ever consider going to medical school, I agree with the common knowledge that you must read this book to see if this career is for you before undergoing such a career.

Major Nelson--I'm Fan Girling!
Since I recently found out that Major Nelson (Larry Hyrb) just had a daughter, I remember that he friended me awhile ago, so I checked on his status to see if he posted any updates. I didn't think anything of it at that time, since I assumed he accepts all friend requests as a major XBox executive, for positive PR reasons. So I was surprised and taken aback that although he has over 3 million followers, he only friended 85! This is hitting the jackpot! Yes, I'm posting this to brag, lol. But seriously, what are the chances that he friends a goofy name tag of Fat Nyams?

Let's just say that I'm never getting rid of my Fat Nyams account!

Getting Used to the XBox Elite Paddles--A Guide
Now realizing that paddles are the way to go, it's still a struggle, but it's actually intuitive. I'm writing a way in which you can get used to the paddles by following the mnemonics below, and of course, I'm sure after practicing for a few months, it will be just as automatic as the old face button way. It was frustrating at first, but it really is a better way to play games then the old way, so don't quit and stick with it!

Obviously, don't do any PvP or COOP when getting used to the paddles, and practice on safe single player games first.

I'm using the Playstation convention since I was using this particular scheme while playing Final Fantasy XII on the PS4.

Default face button controls on the Elite are: X is the left upper paddle, ◯ is the right upper paddle. The intuitive part of this scheme is that the face button X is to the left, and the ◯ is to the right on DS4 controllers, same with the paddles. Further, X and ◯ are the most used buttons, so it makes sense that they are on the top.

The hard part is the ⃞ and △. We're used to △ being at the top, but it's programmed to the right bottom paddle. The ⃞ is the left bottom paddle. However, it can be intuitive because, if you notice with the face buttons,  ⃞ is to the left of △, and same with the paddles, where again, paddle, ⃞ paddle is also to the left of . These bottom paddles will take a long time for me to get used to, though.

I hate using the L3 and R3 analog stick clicks, it's so awkward, so I programmed L3 to original face button X and the R3 to when I was playing Final Fantasy XII. That was very intuitive for me since X is on the left, and right, just like the analog sticks. I'll have to see if I can get by with this new scheme while playing Dark Souls 3, since  I originally programmed the X button to R3 click.

Again, using the mnemonic that the most common face buttons are on the top, and then the less used button on the bottom does help. But at this point, I have to think it through since it's not automatic. In fact, I feel like how I was when I first restarted gaming.

I really love practicing and honing skills, so I wished that Playstation or XBox, to help new gamers get used to using face buttons and so forth, will have a simple game of pure QTEs where the face button will turn green if it's correct, and red to let you know it's wrong. Kind of like along the same concept as those learn how to type software. If you know of any software that does that, please let me know!

The How of Happiness Review

Being Ashamed of Yourself Because of Your Work

America is a great country for two major reasons: our diversity and our freedoms of speech, press and religion. However, American culture is rather unfortunate where people are judged unfairly by so many things that shouldn't matter, one of those things being what you do for work. I was so taken aback by encountering quite a few people who are actually ashamed of themselves for the work that they do. 

Perhaps that's why I admire Aloy of Horizon: Zero Dawn so much because she always comes up with a witty remark, whereas whenever anyone says something that shocks me, I just stand there with my mouth open.

I wish I can go back and tell these hard-working people what I was thinking, instead of being so taken aback that I couldn't formulate any thoughts. It's so surprising to me that those who do really hard and crucially important work look down upon themselves, whereas those who should be ashamed of themselves are actually very proud and self-satisfied for making their 7 to 10 figure salaries by profiting over someone's suffering. Such people as corporate raiders, and those involved in the housing market crash, both professions that led to families losing their homes. Nevertheless, they are proud of their work and their possessions, even though their activities led to massive and needless suffering.

One situation was when I was talking to a rather friendly waste collector and he asked me about my profession. He then said that he was very impressed with what I did, as he was a "stupid" sanitation worker, and really disparaged himself in a rather self-loathing way that again, I stood there with a blank stare being shocked.

If I had the wit about me, I would have said that back in the olden days, it was the sanitation workers that have saved lives and led to longevity of life on a massive, widespread scale, whereas doctors actually KILLED more people than helped. This is due to the bizarre practice of blood-letting which appears to be the only appropriate treatment for someone with the rare hemochromatosis. But going from 5 pints of blood to 0, no wonder people were dropping like flies back then. In other words, without sanitation, we would all be sick, as witnessed when waste collectors went on strike in NYC.

It's one thing for him to say he hates his job (which almost everyone does), but another that he looks down upon himself. If only I could go back and tell him that he should be proud of himself for consistently waking up at ungodly hours, and do extremely hard work that's improving everyone's life, whereas I could barely muster enough energy to get out of bed. Especially, as it appears that he hates his job, it's even more impressive that he nevertheless has so much discipline to go to work every day on time.

Further, I would have liked to tell him that with today's situation when Millennials can't find work even though they are valedictorians of very prestigious colleges and universities due to U.S.'s unfortunate situation of lack of jobs (whereas in the past, you're practically guaranteed one if you have a college degree), it's already impressive in of itself for him to have work in the first place. 

There are other times that this has occurred, but most recently was yesterday in delinquentMuse's Twitch chat room, which compelled me to write this post, where one very nice member was disparaging himself for working at Fortunately, I had time to collect my thoughts and wrote that the fact that he can go to work every day, where you have to actually ask permission to take bathroom breaks (wtf?!?), and people are known to cry, that it's impressive that he's strong enough to nevertheless work there and get there on time every day. I would've quit day one. He really needs to be proud of his strength. We then discussed working at Costco instead, where it's on the opposite end of the scale, and is considered the best company to work for in 2017.

At any rate, if you're doing work that's helping others (which is the case with all but a handful of jobs), you should be very proud of yourself for working and making others' lives better. Instead of looking down upon yourself, perhaps reframe your thinking as, more accurately and more realistically, that you hate your job, not yourself, and then find a better work situation?

The How of Happiness Review

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Bullet Journal Notebooks: More In-Depth Comparison

Clairefontaine versus Leuchtturm versus Moleskine for Bullet Journaling

I'm going to write down the features of each Notebook, so that you can determine which notebook is for you, and to elaborate on a prior post, Monday Musings 4 (scroll down to the last part).

Some people really love smooth paper, others prefer a paper that has more grip, so I'll list each notebook's features, so you can see which notebook fits your style.

The notebooks I got were all A4 (equivalent to American letter-sized paper). The Clairefontaine was French-Ruled, Leuchtturm was Grid-Style, and the Moleskine was Lined.

Paper quality
I can only comment on ball point pens, and so far, all three notebooks handle ball point extremely well, with no bleed-through, and you can't see the ink on the other side of the paper when held up to light (I believe called ghosting), so it's safe to write on both sides of the paper. 

The smoothest is clearly the Clairefontaine, and, for me, it's a joy to write on the paper. Apparently, with this comparison, I was surprised that I prefer extremely smooth paper, as I thought I'd like a more tactile feel for grip.

The next smoothest, with some grip to it, is the Leuchtturm, which is nice, but not something that you quite look forward to writing in like the Clairefontaine's paper.

I found the Moleskine TOO rough and the pen simply doesn't glide, so it's not satisfying to write on this paper, and actually becomes uncomfortable after awhile. I didn't enjoy writing on it, and I felt that I had to bear down on it with my pen. However, if you really like rough feeling and very tactile paper, as well as bearing down on your pen, this is the best choice.

Please note that those who use fountain pens, all experts point to Clairefontaine as the best in paper quality. It was noted in the sites that I looked through (as I'm not a Fountain Pen user), that almost all fountain pen ink tends not to bleed and no ghosting on Clairefontaine paper.

The Rhodia notebook line also includes Clairefontaine paper, so that's another line of notebook you can look into. The lower end Rhodia, I believe, features Clairefontaine but in 80 weight instead of the heavier 90, so if weight's important to you, make sure you get the Rhodia notebook with the preferred weight. The issue with Rhodia is they didn't have a clothbound A4 French-Ruled notebook, and even more limited colors than the Clairefontaine.

In terms of paper quality, Clairefontaine is the best for me by a large and significant margin.

Paper Thickness
In terms of thickness, I definitely prefer thicker paper as it feels "luxurious", though again, there are people who love the tissue-thin paper, which also is pleasant with the crackling sound it makes. If you want tissue-thin paper, steer clear of these notebooks, as they all are rather hefty in feel.

The irony is that Moleskine paper feels the thickest, even though its the lightest of the 3 at 78g/m2. I wonder if it feels thicker due to the rough nature of the paper?

The next thickest in feel, but in reality, the thickest paper, is the Leuchtturm with impressive weight of 100 in their Master/Master Slim notebook line.

The Clairefontaine feels the thinnest of the three, even though its weighted at an impressive 90. However, it's still very thick and luxurious in feel.

This is your preference, and I believe all 3 come in blank, lined, dot, grid, and Clairefontaine also comes in French-Ruled. The Clairefontaine French-Ruled is rather dark, so if you want more unobtrusive lines, you may need to rethink the Clairefontaine. I prefer darker-lined paper as it's easier to see.

The French-Ruled actually makes my handwriting neater, and is now my preferred style. Unfortunately, I can't comment on the darkness of the dot, graph and lined versions of the Clairefontaine, but I'm assuming they'd be the same.

The Leuchtturm I got was in the Grid-Style, and the lines are light and unobtrusive. It wasn't as dark as the Clairefontaine, but not too light where I have to squint to see. However, it doesn't make my handwriting neater and more organized like Clairefontaine's French-Ruled paper.

Here's a comparison of my handwriting that shows significantly improved handwriting on Clairefontaine versus Leuchtturm, same exact notes:
Clairefontaine--Neater Handwriting
Leuchtturm--Messier Handwriting


Leuchtturm's left page of the spread (i.e., when the notebook is open and lies flat), there's a margin for indentation, which is brilliant. On the right side, there's no left margin, though a right margin. However, since it's Grid-Style, I use one of the boxes to guide my indentation for the right side of the spread. This same concept goes for Clairefontaine.

I got the Moleskine in regular lined paper as this was before my BuJo days.  There are no margins, as the lines run across the entire spread.

The Leuchtturm also has Date on top of the left side of the left page, and Date on the right side of the right page, which is NOT preferred, as you'd rather have that blank so you can write whatever heading you want on the top. Hopefully, future Leuchtturm versions will leave out this Date heading. Clairefontaine and Moleskine don't have any headings.

What Leuchtturm does that's very bullet journal friendly is to have the pages all numbered for you, so it's so much easier to index. It also includes pre-made index for the 1st three pages, which is also very welcome and very organized. Both the Clairefontaine and Moleskine don't have this feature.

Amount of Pages 
For the A4 variety, Clairefontaine Clothbound has the most at 96 sheets, Leuchtturm Master Slim has 60 sheets (121 numbered pages), Moleskine at 83 sheets. I prefer the Clairefontaine number of sheets.

However, after more time with the Leuchturm Master Slim, 60 pp is more than adequate, and I can see why the BuJo gurus prefer the Master Slim over the rather thick Master version, being lighter and more convenient to carry around. Further, the Master Slim comes in a rather wide variety of fun colors as opposed to the Master.

Both the Leuchtturm and the Moleskine Notebooks lay perfectly flat, whereas the Clairefontaine doesn't, and you have to push with some effort to get it to be more flat. Even after pushing down, the Clairefontaine never lays perfectly flat.

The Leuchtturm and Moleskine both have the strap enclosure, whereas the Clairefontaine doesn't. 

You can chose the colors of your Leuchtturm or Moleskine Notebooks, but for some reason, Clairefontaine colors will be sent to you randomly, unless you specify colors and the store will try to match your preference if it has excellent customer service. The Clairefontaine comes in less colors than its counterparts. For the A4 Clothbound French-Ruled series, the notebooks come in black, blue, green and red only.

The Leuchtturm and the Moleskine both have a folder section in the back of the notebook where you can put a ruler, business cards, and so forth. The Clairefontaine doesn't.

The Leuchtturm has 2 bookmark ribbons, Moleskine has 1, and the Clairefontaine has none. In other words, the Clairefontaine looks like a normal notebook, just with the best paper quality I've ever used, and in French-Ruled. I really think that the U.S. should adopt French-Ruled paper, as well as the metric system, but we're quite behind in those aspects.

The Leuchtturm's last 8 back pages are perforated. I had to use the last page to tape over my first monthly Calendar I made, since my first attempt was so bad that I would have to white-out the entire page. You can see how much easier it is to redo the monthly calendar on one of the perforated pages and tape over the hideous mistake. This is another way Leuchtturm executes so well. Unfortunately, the Clairefontaine and the Moleskine have no perforated pages.

Additionally, Leuchtturm has stickers to label.

The Leuchtturm is superior to the Moleskine in every category (except having headings on every single page), and costs the same and easily available on, so I recommend the Leuchtturm over the Moleskine. N.C., Esquire (one of my guest writers) is now using the Leuchtturm line of notebooks, Dot-Style, as she likes the esoteric-sounding name of Leuchtturm (it also adds to her pretentiousness).

The key battle here is Clairefontaine vs. Leuchtturm. Looking at the many thoughtful features, it's no wonder that prominent BuJo journalists prefer the Leuchtturm over other notebooks, with all its impressive features and many choices of color.

However, for me, the paper quality of Clairefontaine, with the French-Ruled style that forces my handwriting to be neat and organized, is so superior that I'll be using the Clairefontaine as my Bullet Journal from here on out (that is, after the Leuchtturm is completed).

The Clairefontaine paper is so smooth that writing on it is something I look forward to, as it's a sheer joy to do. It's hard to convey just how wonderful the Clairefontaine paper is, but for me, the paper is so wonderful that it outweighs all the well-engineered features of the Leuchtturm. Indeed, Leuchtturm will corner the BuJo market if it can just use Clairefontaine 90g paper, also coming in French-ruled!

If you only use Fountain Pens and/or only care about quality of paper, the Clairefontaine A4 Clothbound notebook is for you. If you prefer a BuJo friendly notebook that has extremely thoughtful features and comes in many different colors and styles, the Leuchtturm is for you. Further, the Leuchtturm is easily available on

The Clairefontaine A4 Clothbound French-Ruled notebook is harder to find, but I came upon The Goulet Pen Company who carries them, and they have superb customer service. I bought 4 notebooks and they gave me the colors I wanted, so it appears they do their absolute best to accomodate. They also have very helpful YouTube videos. You only have to see one to get a sense of their expertise in stationary products.

I hope this helps you chose which notebook suits your style the best. Any questions, please reply in the comments section!

The How of Happiness Review

Gaming Challenge--Being Healthy

I was quite amused by recent articles popping up, noting the scientific research in how video games can be good for you. While this may be true in theory, I must admit that due to the addictive nature of gaming, the cons actually outweigh the pros, where gaming is actually unhealthy in my case.

The greatest challenge of gaming to me is to adopt a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying video games. Too often, my alarm to get ready for bed (at 9:30 PM to give me 1 hour to get to a stopping point), as well as my friend calling/texting me with reminders, falls completely flat. One of us, or both of us, would invariably "forget" to call/text thanks to video games and the internet (yes! There are people who stay up until 3 AM watching cat YouTube videos).

Often, I would get to the save point well before 11 PM (my goal is to be in bed no later than 11 PM), but then excuses come up, such as: I'm only a few points away from leveling up so let's get to the next level, and the most deadly excuse, I want to find what's going to happen next, and then it becomes 3 AM. 

The other major excuse is when I don't have to work the next day. There are only so many hours of free time, so to maximize the free time, I cut down on sleep.

However, there are times when I resolve to be healthy, but only successful for about 1 week and then bad habits creep in, except for one time. That was when I wanted to accomplish the Dark Souls 2 no death run (I want that ring!), and quickly found out that I really have to be on point, especially against our dearest Freja, who made me almost give up.

With sleep deprivation and bad lifestyle habits, I kept failing despite DaimonDante coaching and encouraging me. DaimonDante is one of the reasons why the Dark Souls community (in general) is known to be so supportive. Please subscribe to his channel, he's an angel and took it upon himself to encourage me to not quit, and pushed me through.

Because of Freja, I decided I was going to get 8 hours of sleep, exercise, eat tons of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grain, and exercise. It was very successful and I did so well with this for one month, but once I beat the no death run, the bad habits resume, then improving, in an endless cycle.

What triggered my now resolve to be healthy was due to delinquentMuse during one of her Twitch sessions. Muse is a hardcore, exceptional gamer, who does ridiculous no death and SL1 runs in the Dark Souls series in her sleep. It was around 8 PM and she gave us a warning that she'll end her session after finishing a mission coop with one of her chat members, because "it's getting late". I wrote that it's only 8 PM, and she said that she needs to get ready for sleep. I was very impressed that she said that, as we gamers are known to lead unhealthy lifestyles. However, deep in the back of my mind, I had a feeling that she might continue gaming.

This was put to the test, because for some reason, the rather sweet chat member wanted to do a level 40 mission, but the party level was only 18, which I remarked that this is beyond the pale, but he simply wrote, "Muse will carry" which is true. Muse's party could easily beat the enemies, but the issue is that there's time constraint as you have to kill the enemies before they destroy your forts. So the team failed the mission, but Muse, true to her word, said her good byes and went to bed! (Also do subscribe to delinquentMuse's channel as she is incredibly nice, and the chat party room is very welcoming, fun, comforting and supportive).

In this situation of a failed mission, I would've been even more determined to beat the mission, with the excuse, "okay just one more time" which then becomes 2, 3 and so forth. Seeing someone with the discipline to quit the game, I feel that I can do the same, and just take it one day at a time.

I don't want to overwhelm myself and do a "crash course" complete 180 lifestyle change as it tends to make people quit (even though I was successful doing this in the no death run challenge but that was out of desperation), so I'll work on going to bed before 11 PM. It's easy to incorporate fruits and vegetables since my best friend makes these insanely delicious and healthy vegetable (with smattering of fruit) smoothies for me.  Then once it doesn't seem onerous, I'll then add gentle exercise.

I hope all gamers will adopt healthy lifestyles, as our health is the most important, especially in the light of recent news of a few young men dying due to gaming for straight days in a row.

As this is a struggle for me, do you also find that it's difficult to be healthy? If you're successful, what techniques do you use to keep on track?

The How of Happiness Review

Wanted/Unwanted Monsters in MH:World

I'm even more excited about Monster Hunter: World when I found out that, for the first time, you can customize your Palico ! Yian ...