Hey, Maria, what’s up? Whoa, really? Oh crap, wait, not another fabricated message, lol. Oh well, while the returning French-Japanese adult-video idol Maria Ozawa never sent me any stunning bright-eyed cheer, a guy can dream, can’t he? But if you’re wondering, my fellow Toyboxers, nope, this isn’t a “Palpatine’s Day” or “Anti-Palpatine’s Day” weekend post. Not really. Not officially, lol. Ehh, who cares? How was yours anyway? Oops, before you answer, get your twisted mind ready for yet another five-layered mega-post! This week, we leap through spiraling blog battles-and-rules, sneak under indestructible foosball ninjas, skip past random girl-shaped drama-and-gothica, peek at heart-breaking high-school girls, and slide down slippery ring-burnt relationships. Nothing dangerous, of course, lol. So are you ready? Now on with the show…
Part 1 of 5. Battle of the Blogs. Ah, the blog battles rage on, lol. Following the battles since Blog 177, through Blog 183, and past Blog 186, this month, the amusingly wicked WebsiteOutlook.com unleashes a few more mathematical twists into the tale. Just like a board (or bored) game, hehe.
 Mimi’s Rage = $3504.00. First on my list is Mimi’s Rage, a small blog run by Mimi’s fan club. I’m surprised they still exist on the list, lol.
 Meimi132 = $4474.90. Second is Meimi132’s blog. This is her largest leap yet! Congrats! I hope my “lifelines” helped, lol.
 Otaku Dan = $6234.20. Third is Otaku Dan’s blog. Now because Meronpan and Puppy52 (a.k.a. Chun) relocated their respective blogs to brand-new domain names, they essentially started over in terms of blog worth. No worries, we’ll revisit them when they return to full strength, hehe. So instead, let’s welcome Otaku Dan in the list! Welcome! For better or for worse, lol.
 Clan Blue Panthers a.k.a. Panther = $7365.70. Fourth is Panther’s blog. Another solid rise.
 Gordonator = $8803.80. Fifth is Gordon’s blog. Likewise, rising steadily and strongly.
 xJAYMANx & xJAYMANx_toybox = $9876.90. Next is my own website and blog. WTF! Last time, its estimated worth leapt from $5861.90 to $7774.50 USD in a mere 3 weeks. This time, not only did my blog leapfrog ahead of Panther’s, but somehow Gordon’s as well? Whatever I’m doing, I better keep doing it!
 Angry Loli a.k.a. Mimi = $11548.60. Seventh is Mimi-chan’s blog. Yup, she’s still up there. In fact, she’s coming close to catching Dancing Queen! Hmm, I see a numerical cat-fight in the making!
 How a Girl Figures a.k.a. Dancing Queen = $11694.60. Eighth is Dancing Queen’s blog. Unbeatable. Since I began these estimated-worth lists in November 2008, Dancing Queen has always been at the top of us mere-mortal otaku bloggers, lol. But Mimi-chan’s definitely putting up an unshakeable fight! Angry Loli or Dancing Queen? You decide, lol.
 Sankaku Complex = $277341.60. Ninth is the Sankaku Complex blog. Let’s welcome Sankaku to the list! Ever since Mimi-chan has ranted about Sankaku, I’ve wondered how they compare to Danny Choo’s blog. And lo and behold, Sankaku is neck-and-neck with Danny Choo, lol. Another duel?
 Danny Choo = $282853.10. But alas, on this latest list, DannyChoo.com is still the big daddy of otaku-oriented blogs. Unstoppable.
Congratulations, everyone! The scary thing is… that based upon my blog’s current pace, it’s on track to match both Mimi-chan’s and Dancing Queen’s blogs, if not surpass them, in a matter of months, if not weeks. Like I said before, WTF! Even more shocking, is that I’ve pretty much broken all the rules-of-thumb for an otaku blog, haha.
Seven Otaku-Blog Rules Broken by xJAYMANx_toybox
 No official blog mascot.
 Not a participant in the e2046 banner exchange program.
 Not a member of a blog club or coalition, such as Team Blue.
 No major design change since April 2007.
 No up-to-date support of Internet Explorer 6, 7 or higher since July 2007.
 No blog-linked Danny Choo Member News posts since September 2008.
 No daily-post or holiday-post schedule. Specifically, no more than 1-2 posts per week.
Hehe, which basically means you don’t need any of these to boost your blog’s estimated worth, lol. So how do I do it? Well, I’m not 100% sure of 100% all of it. But I’ve got a few ideas for a few of the reasons… Ohhh, you mean you want me to tell you? Hahaha, well, it’s a secret. But every secret has the right price, doesn’t it? Ahhh, before I forget, have you sent me your banner yet? Here’s my updated list of Toyboxers and their delightfully colorful 468×60 banners.
Part 2 of 5. Demon of the Foosball Arts. Behold! From one form of battle to another, “The Ninja” arises, lol. Wait, what the frak am I talking about? Ahh, who knows? But let’s begin at the beginning…
I don’t remember how old I started, but I’ve been playing foosball since I was a teenager, if not younger. But probably a young teenager. Yup, one day, Dad decided to buy a foosball table. And there it was! In the basement! Ever since then, I’ve probably played hundreds, if not thousands, of foosball matches. Especially 1-on-1. After all, only me and my first brother were around, while Dad was at work or our littlest brother was too little, lol. Taking this highly-trained experience to college, I was probably one of the top-two 1-on-1 players in my freshman dorm. Then probably one of the top-three 1-on-1 players in my upperclassman dorm. Easily. And this would usually include the same core group of a half-dozen or dozen guys who’d rather play foosball till 2am in the morning than study Mechanical Engineering, haha.
Fast-forwarding from college to January 2009, our Las Vegas office suddenly acquired a brand-new foosball table! At work! And all the foosball moves I’d mastered in college and earlier, just-as-suddenly came back to me. Like riding a bicycle! My lightning right-handed smash from the 2-man offensive rod. My equally powerful left-handed slam from the 5-man offensive rod. Plus my sudden score-able strikes from the rear defensive rods. As I write this post in mid-February, I’m guessing I’ve played at least 40-50 matches thus far, against a dozen or so employees in various 1-on-1, 2-on-2, and even 1-on-2, matches. Many of them can’t even comprehend the source of my ability, hehe. Sometime, neither can I! Here’s the estimated breakdown.
Estimated Foosball Record for xJAYMANx
[a] 1-on-1 Matches: About 20 matches. All 100% victories.
Including about 7 matches against two of my strongest opponents.
[b] 1-on-2 Matches: About 10 matches. All 100% victories.
[c] 2-on-2 Matches: About 20 matches. About 90% victories.
Dammit! Only two losses, due to teammate, lol.
A week or two ago, the Las Vegas employees were assigned to their teams. Then earlier this week, we finally got the office-wide email! As a team-building interactive experience, the first Foosball Tournament officially began! Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like many of the female or over-worked employees are very interested in participating. Despite the team-building objective outlined by management, lol. Oh well. Here’s a screen-captured section of the first round, lol.
Here’s the awesome team-building stress-relieving foosball table.
Here’s a bunch of software developers. Pick any two to play against me. I’ll win easily, lol.
Here’s a closer view of the table.
A random pic at the office.
A random pic in the office restroom.
And the original “ninja” photo back in October 2008, lol.
You know, looking backwards in time, who would’ve ever figured that my Dad’s purchase of a rather expensive-but-simple foosball table so long ago would be such a powerful instrument for me decades later? Unfortunately, the billiards table or upright piano didn’t work out quite the same way, lol. Well, wish my team good luck in this tournament! Though we may not need it, hehe.
Part 3 of 5. Random Drama, Itasha & Gothica. And now, Part 3! The obligatory random segment of the week, hehe. Essentially, a random selection of pics and posts that almost whizzed past me before my attracted attention snatched it away from the claws of oblivion! First, here’s a chuckling bit of local drama that couldn’t help dragging my name. I’ll leave the relationships to your blessed imagination, lol.
Second, I just realized a discrepancy in the original time-stamp. Since I took these cellphone snapshots on my commute home from work, this must be Friday (February 06) not Saturday (February 07). Can you see the random itasha (otaku or anime-decorated car) there? But can anyone tell me who that winged character is?
Here’s a zoom-in close-up of the winged female character. Ten gold points to the one who can name that character! Assuming she isn’t an original anime-styled work. Is she?
Third, here’s a random snapshot of my Gothic-edged German-grown web-friend Miko-chan (at left) with her bestest friend Saigo-san, wandering the streets of Tokyo, lol. For more of her angst, antics and adventures, check out Miko-chan’s blog, hehe.
Fourth and finally, here’s a random photo of one of the newest e2046.com offerings. The captivatingly pre-painted and 1/7th-scale Raqel Gothic. But ouch, that $136 USD price-tag burns!
Well, that’s it for the random portion. Drama. Itasha. And Gothica. Dream or not, life is such an absurd and amusing multi-pronged attack against the mind and senses, isn’t it? Haha. But now, it’s time to head for the heart.
Part 4 of 5. Heart to Heart. Where “heart” thou Juliet? What a piece of work is a “heart”. A kingdom for a “heart”! And all that blood-splattering Shakespearean goodness, lol. Bringing back my ancient figure photoshoots, like I did with my “Kiddy Grade” shoot, here’s my adorable “To Heart” shoot from 18 November 2006, more than two years ago! Luckily, no blood-splattering. Just 25 photos of the red-headed Akari (Kotobukiya, 1/8th-scale) and the green-haired android-girl Multi (Kotobukiya, 1/8th-scale). Catch the original “To Heart” anime series if you can, lol.
Kneeling innocently on the floor, Multi was my 27th figure (of 92) in October 2006.
Such a simple yet striking portrayal of the character.
Waving hesitantly yet gently, Akari was my 26th figure, arriving together with Multi.
From this photoshoot, they really can’t be separated, can they?
Given the proper lighting…
And above all, composition…
The result is magic.
A magic filled with energy…
Maybe that’s one reason why I return again and again to take new photoshoots.
Or revisit old photoshoots.
Because of the story-telling power.
Or even if there is no story.
To amplify the atmosphere.
Or enhance the chemistry.
Generated by the composition.
Which probably explains why I favor multiple-figure photoshoots.
Instead of single-figure shoots.
Despite the multiplied complexity.
Or the extended length of time.
To tell a story or create a chemistry.
Part 5 of 5. Revenge of the Rin & Ring. Somersaulting from kind-hearted high-school girls to vicious blood-thirsty witches, we take aim at Rin (Max Factory, Figma) from the “Fate Stay Night” eroge (erotic game) and anime series. And in her left arm, my battered-and-bruised wedding ring! But before you say anything, let’s flashback to 30 December 2008. On Facebook, here was one of the items I wrote in my chain-mailed “16 Things” list, hehe.
 Let’s start with the darkest stuff, lol. On rare occasions, when watching anime or reading a book, I find myself in these odd moments of “visualizing my mortal non-existence”. For example, if fear is an illusion, is hope and love as well? Is everything simply a distraction? Beyond the sense of futility, I begin to imagine the loneliness of death, my bodiless consciousness drifting in an infinite sea of blinding black, doing nothing, feeling nothing, and remembering nothing. Absolute nothing. But as the sense of terror or depression begins to seep into me, I blink away and return to reality. And once again, I try to distract myself with life.
[My remaining 15 items recounted the lighter and more wacky, scary, embarrassing and inspiring experiences of my life, lol.]
Pretty dark, huh? But there are rays of sunlight within the black clouds… Even though love, loneliness and all our fleeting emotions and dreams may have more in common with temporary illusions than with permanent truths, I’d like to think that even an eternity can be found in an instant. The trick is in the distractions. To distract ourselves well enough to forget the illusions. To fool ourselves long enough to believe in hope or fear or any other life-giving emotion of the moment. Life. Emotions. Dreams. Because if life is a dream, it’s still worth dreaming, isn’t it?
Back to Rin and my ring. I’d probably guess that all of these “Palpatine’s Day” posts flashing before and behind me, back and forth across the otakusphere, is what triggered my brain to pull out the scratched-and-scarred ring from my dusty storage boxes. To feel the feather-light symbol of a thirteen-year relationship (including an eight-year marriage) between my fingers again. To revisit the fleeting illusion for a moment. Or to see how well it fits in Rin’s feisty arms, lol.
Don’t misunderstand me, hehe. I indeed believe an eternity can be found in an instant.
But just as easily, an eternity can end in the blink of an eye.
Luckily, our divorce was for the best. Oddly, with my weight loss, the ring doesn’t fit anymore, lol.
I think we mutually felt stuck. So this was our way of getting unstuck.
I just regret taking such a huge financial hit. And the emotional deception.
But I wouldn’t mind being paid back $20K towards my 2005 Murano, haha.
Doesn’t the multi-faceted gold ring fit Rin’s multi-jeweled attack perfectly?
LOL, I think so too. But in the end, “Palpatine’s Day” or “Anti-Palpatine’s Day”, I’m at a point where neither rants nor raves sway me too much either way. During that thirteen-year illusion, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the majority of them. Yeah, that’s 12 or 13 “Palpatine’s Days” in a row, with the same girl. Haha, the home-made gifts. The bright-red roses. The fancy steak dinners. So I’ve been there, done that. All the anxiety and enjoyment for naught, lol. How many “Palpatine’s Days” have you enjoyed with your partner?
Yeah, just like a favorite tune, favorite anime, or favorite novel. Cherish the fleeting moments, both painful and pleasurable. Immerse yourself in the vivid dream, both terribly lonely and intimately shared. While they last. Whatever the outcome. Whatever the destination. I recommend flirting, hehe. Then forget that it’s a dream… Fittingly, this unexpected paragraph reminds me of Saber in the final episode of “Fate Stay Night”. Her beautiful brightly-colored dream.
So whattaya think? How was this monstrous five-legged mega-broadcast? The hearts? Ninjas? Toyboxers? Yup, this week, we leapt through spiraling blog battles-and-rules, snuck under indestructible foosball ninjas, skipped past random girl-shaped drama-and-gothica, peeked at heart-breaking high-school girls, and slid down slippery ring-burnt relationships. We even somersaulted over Raqel, Akari, Multi and Rin! Nothing injured? Not even your brain? Good, lol. If you’ve read to the end, you deserve my highest praise and commendations. You’re a true Toyboxer, my friend. Send me your blog banner. So how was your weekend?