Happy birthday N64!

18 years ago, the Nintendo 64 went on sale in the US. This console, my first game console that I could call my very own, is one of the most beloved gaming systems of my generation. When it came out, it changed a lot. Now, games were 3D, there were long videos, and expansive worlds to explore including a new group of games that are still fond in my memories and others. The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, 007 Golden Eye, Cruising World, Starfox 64, Mario Cart 64, and the list goes on forever! Hours of my childhood were spent playing this iconic system and so many memories were created in the process. How to get full heart containers in Zelda, how to not pick up the Klobb in 007, or the secret short-cuts in Mario Cart, all of those memories are still in my mind.

So who else played the N64? What games do you remember from the system? I’d love to share stories and memories on this old but awesome system.

Mount Ontake erupts in Japan

During the weekend, Mount Ontake erupted in Japan, killing an estimated 36 people (that’s the count at this time) and sending hundreds fleeing in the wake of the eruption and falling ash.

The volcano, about 125 miles west of Tokyo, erupted on Saturday, killing the 36 people and forcing hikers and residents in the area to evacuate. Recovery efforts were called off yesterday and today due to the toxic gases in the area and the fear of another eruption that could happen at any point. There are still bodies to be recovered, but the crews simply can’t get to them at this stage. There are reports that there are still people trapped in the lodges on the mountain pass, making it even more critical for the crews to get up there. Mount Ontake, which has an elevation over 10,000 feet, is a popular hiking destination and the second most popular after Mt. Fuji.

Hopefully the rescue crews are able to safely recover the deceased and get anyone that is still trapped up there back to safety.

Final Fantasy 10, one of the best ever

Final Fantasy 10. I got into a chat with a friend the other day about classic video games, games that people never forget and for me, FFX is one of the best. FFX was one of the first RPGs that had characters with moving mouths, stunning CGIs, and a fantastic story line. The story of Tidus, Yuna, Auron, and the world of Spira became an obsession of mine as a kid and ate up hours of my evenings and weekends. The story itself is one I became infatuated with and still hold dear to this day. Even the ending (its sad if you’ve never played the game) had me teary eyed. Yes, I was near tears after the final credits began to roll. So who out there has played this game before?

I recently played through the game one more time and even though it was much easier this time around (I remember all the little secrets, so that helped). But still at the end, I was getting emotional at the end of the game. Seeing Tidus fade away into the clouds, it was still sad again. No matter, FFX is still one of the greatest games ever made and I’m beginning to FFX-2 now, one of the few games to ever continue a story line in the Final Fantasy series.

Pentatonix Volume III is out today!

Pentatonix, one of my favorite groups, came out with their  new album, PTX III, today! They have been posting videos on the songs, released two of them already, and have been doing updates on the message and motive behind each video. I highly recommend everyone go out and get the album. Its only $7 dollars or less on Itunes and Amazon, so it’s worth a few dollars to hear such amazing people. The video above is a combination video of the two songs “La La” and “Latch”. PTX is well known for mixing songs together and they did it again. This album is on repeat for a while!

First day of Autumn in Florida, it’s not a big deal

Ah, the first day of fall is here. Cooler temperatures, leaves changing color, and the long sleeves being brought out of the closet to keep people warm. We don’t know what any of that means here in Florida!

While people are seeing and feeling the cooler temperatures around the country, nothing changes in Florida this early. It’s still in the high 80s and low 90s, still rains every day, and still so humid you start sweating the moment you walk out the door. There are no jackets, but shorts and sandals instead. There is no need for a heater, just the AC on full blast!

Florida doesn’t get the seasonal changes like the rest of the country gets. It does get cold in November and December, but the leaves really don’t change color and even during December, it can still be hot outside. I remember a few years ago I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt on Christmas. How many people up north can do that? I’ll be heading to Nashville in 3 weeks (more on that later) so hopefully then I get to see a little bit of the changing colors of the leaves and possibly feel some cold temperatures.

We must never forget 9/11

It’s hard to believe its been 13 years since that tragic happened. I was in high school at the time, I believe as a freshman. I was sitting in second period art class about 9 in the morning. We were going about our day, paying no mind to the teacher and living it up as kids. Our art teacher was in her office while we worked away and she came flying out of her office, frantically trying to get the old TV going. She kept repeating the Towers had exploded. We had no idea by what or how, but it was big. That was something we all knew. She couldn’t get the TV to work and class ended.

The next class went through without incident, we all were talking about it yet some had not heard anything. Then we got to lunch and rumors were flying. There were talks that DC was gone, NYC was gone, all of these insane stories that were heard from others. No one knew the real story. By the end of the day, we knew the Towers had been hit and the rumor was the capital building had been hit. I was scared but really couldn’t comprehend it all. Everything was hearsay and had no real facts without being in front of a TV. Maybe the teachers kept the TVs off for a reason that day.

I got home that afternoon, a backpack full of homework, but I didn’t care, I had to get to a TV. I sat down, opened a soda, and turned on CNN. And there it was. The images repeating over and over. Of the planes flying into the Towers, the buildings collapsing, people running for their lives. Then the images of the injured, the people in the smoke and ash and the brave men and women of the response teams trying desperately to get to the site. Thousands were gone in the blink of an eye.

It’s hard to explain what I felt as my brain tried to process the scale and scope of what I was watching. Seeing these giant plays fly into the Towers like an awful movie. Seeing the Pentagon burning and the field in Pennsylvania smoldering. Not knowing if more was coming, the chaos that was happening and the fear that was gripping the country. I remember feeling the sadness. I remember crying like a baby while I sat there in front of the TV. Then as the news came out that it was an attack, the sadness was joined by anger. I wanted revenge but was also in a state of shock, not knowing who was the enemy or how to deal with the grief that I felt or the nation was dealing with.

Even today, 13 years later, I’m still in tears. I feel it still. I know I’ll never fully understand it all or understand what so many went through and continue to deal with. For me personally, I will always feel this sadness and anger in my heart. May those we lost on this day forever rest in peace. For their families and friends, the prayers will never stop. For those who responded, rushing into the flames to help, we are forever in your debt and nothing we say or do will ever be enough to show how grateful a nation is. To those who defend our country, so we can sleep at night, there are no words so express our thanks for keeping our country free.

We must never forget this day. 9/11 will never be forgotten.