Grunge, Headsets & Dog…Lion…Things…

So, I think I’ve finally settled on something that I will consider a solid design (read: I’ll keep it a few days).

It all started when I saw a Photoshop tutorial on adding grunge effects to images, and I went a little bit extreme with it. The outcome–in the likely event that I have changed the design again since then–is this.

Hope you like it, and if you don’t…screw you, it’s not your site =)

In other news, I’ve spotted another Headset of Doom in an episode of Friends (the one where Phoebe gets married; the headset Monica is wearing on the rehearsal night, NOT the one she gives to Phoebe).

Red XIII from Final Fantasy VIII’ve also embraced my inner geek recently and purchased a Red XIII action figure. He’s so purdy, although a friend of mine rightfully pointed out he does look a bit “too badass”, since the character of Red XIII was pretty much the most docile of all the characters in Final Fantasy VII.

(Note: In case there are those of you out there who know about this action figure, you may be wondering where Cait Sith is. He’s on my car’s dashboard. Looking awesome. I bought Red with the intention of putting him there, but he’s just too big.)

I know this post has gone off at a complete tangent, but anyway, here are two related life stories about me and Red XIII and Final Fantasy VII:

1/ I know that ‘XIII’ means ’13’ in Roman numerals. Even in 1997, when I first got my chubby little hands (they probably weren’t chubby, even in 1997) on Final Fantasy VII, I would have known that XIII meant 13. However, for some totally unknown reason, when I first came across Red in the Shinra building, in my head, I called him Red X3. At least I got half of it right. Even now, 13 years later (13 years! 13! Spooky!) I still call him Red X3. I think it sounds better, anyway.

Original Tomb Raider Lara2/ I got the game shortly after its 1997 UK release. Final Fantasy VII was one of the reasons (if not the reason) I demanded a PlayStation for Christmas that year. I vaguely remember seeing the advert on TV (it showed the part where Cloud fell from the second reactor explosion, before he met Aeris), and being all “OMG I totally want that!” (Although I wouldn’t have said OMG, because this was 1997 and I we didn’t have Internet acronyms back then…except maybe LOL; that’s been around since Jesus times. Jesus LOL’d). Final Fantasy VII is still one of my top 5 favourite games of all time (in amongst World of Warcraft (of course!), Abe’s Oddysey and Tomb Raider II (didn’t like the original Tomb Raider – I think Lara’s odd-shaped boobies unnerved me). Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, so I played Final Fantasy VII like a trooper after I bought it. I still play this game, having previously played it via emulator and the old, scratched to buggery disks, and more recently re-purchasing it for the PSP. I must have completed it about five or six times, but on the second go, having learned that Red’s real name is Nanaki – and having the mental capacity of a six-year old at the time – Final Fantasy VII CharactersI decided to have a bit of fun with the names (which, for those of you who don’t know, you can change for all the playable characters). For example, I called Cloud ‘Dick Head’, Tifa was ‘the Bitch’, and Aeris was ‘Big Bum’ (my personal favourite, since I never really liked Aeris, mostly because she was all up on Cloud, even though I made it abundantly clear during my multiple choice answers that Cloud carried wood for Tifa), which all led to side-splitting conversations in-game (well, OK, not anymore, but in 1997, when I was 13 (13 again! It’s a sign! The apocalypse is coming! The End is Nigh!), this was like comedy gold). Anyway, I called Red X3 ‘Nanaki’. Aside from the fact that you can imagine your own story to explain why Red says you (the player) can give him any name you like, yet if you call him his actual name, the universe doesn’t implode. So then why, in amongst these positively hilarious names, did I give Red X3 the only serious name? All of this effort amounted to one text box in the 120 hours or so of play that, when prompted during a scene in Rocket Town, Red says the line… ‘[My name is] Nanaki, also known as Nanaki.’ – as for the other names (Cid and Vincent in particular), by the time I’d gotten back into the game, I’d run out of clever ideas (and swear words…again, I was 13…I wouldn’t have dreamed of using words like f*ck, on the off-chance my mother might have read it on the TV screen), Dick Head and Big Bum was about as creative as it could get.

Finally, steering the train of thought (even though you can’t steer a train…) back to writing, I made a few minor startling discoveries relating to my own names, when I most recently picked up Final Fantasy VII on the PSP.

When Cloud fights against President Rufus Shinra before leaving Midgar, his guard dog is called Dark Nation. In the original sequel book (which might still be a sequel, just not in series one), Dark Nation was the name I gave to the demon that could bend history.

When the party moves through Nibelheim and travels through the mountains, they come across a monster called the Materia Keeper. If one (or more) of your party has the Enemy Skill materia equipped, he or she could learn the Trine spell. Hmm, Trine, now where have I heard that before? Oh, yes! Aisen’s lieutenants are the Trine! It would appear the most feared living vampires in my story’s history are named after a lightning spell. And not even a very good lightning spell. It’s fair to assume that this naming is merely coincidence, but the same can’t really be said for Dark Nation, since it’s such an unusual name.

So there you have it. Names I’ve shamelessly (although, until recently, subconsciously) stolen from a video game. Maybe I should just rename the Trine to Dick Head, Bitch and Big Bum…