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In nights darkness I ponder
the stars speck my thoughts
yet around them stays black
in the blackness I wander
it's the do's and do not's
All the stars make the do's
actions most would accept
the darkness the don'ts
fights you loose
But I walk in the darkness
do the don'ts in my life
turn my loss into stars
we should make the nights brighter
forget pointless strife
'til there's nothing but stars
walk in the darkness
let's make the night ours
People always say "why did she talking so loudly?" or "why isn't he eating his food?" Really, the proper question isn't why so much as how. How have they been taught that led them to behave this way? Thinking in this matter really takes the edge off of communicating in a much less direct way. People are unique, and with that, so is their set of values, traditions, habits and behaviors along a lengthy list of others. We initially have this knee-jerk reaction to ask why because we were raised differently than the person we are observing. And that's okay, they will probably have the same thought we do at some point or another. It's very natural to favor in-group bias and exhibit out-group bias. Understanding that others are raised differently than ourselves is a great step towards gaining a worldly perspective.
People are different. We're all raised differently, and the culture and beliefs we have been raised to uphold are embed within our selves. In that sense, we are all the same because we are all different. When we reach this understanding of "I'm different, you're different, we can relate because we are different," we can really gain insight into new cultures and further our knowledge of understanding where someone is coming from. For example, in my TOK class, we did an exercise where we named off some practices that were strange while visiting different areas. Lots of those were very strange at first, but once there was a very long pattern of odd traditions, they began to see normal. It's okay that they are different; they were not raised in suburb OC, California with the same environment as I was, they didn't have the same parents as I did or relatives or education or anything. Yet, they are still human. And that is okay.
There is no model or strict setting that we must conform to, which makes life such a vivid experience. Capturing all the perspectives out there is impossible, but seeing new ones expands or own horizon. We all have different perspectives and opinions, but so long as we maintain an opinion and rightly declare it as our own, we are on a new level of understanding. Those hollow men as T. S. Elliot describes that have no opinion lack the connection of a just opinion and suffer from a monochromatic life.
Even this rant I'm totally tangenting on isn't set in stone, or a set model, or "right". You will have a different opinion than that of mine, and guess what? That's okay. We have different opinions, but we are both the same because we have an opinion. We're different, but connected.
Sometimes I wish that I could change myself
Sometimes I don't wanna give no more
And sometimes I just don't wanna live no more
Sometimes I don't know where to go for help
Sometimes I don't really know myself
Sometimes I wish that I could fly away
And find away to a brighter day
In "Age of Grit" you play the captain of an old, beat-up, steam-powered airship exploring a vast, cowboy-themed, steampunk world. You're looking for whatever work you can find--bounty hunting, smuggling contraband, running guns...maybe even a little...
So on to the topic, there's really something to be said about one's interests. The notion in elementary through middle school and even the first few years of high school is the feeling of conformity and fitting in. That's the name of the game in these crucial years, and really it's silly looking back on it. It's hilarious that one feels they should conform, and it's even more ridiculous that others aren't approving of those who stand out because they are different, when really they should be approving of them for expressing their inner self and staying true to their values.
In my experience, it is so much, much more enjoyable being around others who share your interests. Being around those who you are trying to fit into just puts pressure on yourself to try and like something you may not enjoy. It's like trying to eat vegetables you aren't fond of; you'll do it, but you'll have an ugly face on your mug and a gut reaction on the inside against the action. To provide a real life example, I decided to stick around some of my "nerdy" friends because they were a lot more friendly and I could talk with them about Pokemon, something I really enjoy. Well later in the year when we finished AP testing and had some lull time, we planned a Smash Bros/Mario Kart/Pokemon party in our Chemistry class (which our Chemistry teacher actually supported and brought food for us) and we had a blast. Easily the best time of my life. I wouldn't have had that experience if I had stuck around the jocks, which are totally out of my class.
Additionally, I am a very shy person in real life, so sharing the love for a game series or TV show really helps me get that connection to open myself up. Even further, it does give me confidence now going into meetings and classes because if I wear a symbol or merchandise of my interest such as my Haunter shirt, I have the hope of being a beacon for meeting someone of the same taste and becoming newfound friends. It's also funny because people with these same interests tend to be very much of the same personality. Being strong to these interests gives me the confidence to be true to myself because in the end it is more rewarding.
So in all, my advice for loving what you love is to be around who you love and not who you'd like to love, stay strong to your interests, and always talk to strangers who love what you love (not in that way). You never know what you're going to discover.
This has been on my mind for quite a while now, and not just the stereotypical guy-thought, but the actual concept. There have been several videos explaining what it is in the legal context and I think I'd like to give it a go.
In 2014, sex is a topic that is very similar to politics, religion, money, and the likes. It's very difficult to talk about in the open and with others, and part of that is the cultural norms that have made it that way. As a result, we have to confine it to a classroom we all need to take either separately as "sex ed" or umbrella-style in a typical health and wellness class. While it's great we do take the liberty of educating everyone about it, often times it stops after that. We don't hear much outside of the classroom and when we're all thrust out into the world running (or crawling for some), we are practically clueless about it, and moreover, the cultural barriers that we have set up prevent us from reaching that educated standpoint of clarity and confidence. It's kind of like riding a bike, we learn what it is and how to do it, but once we are out on the road, we just need to let our instincts compensate.
Really, it shouldn't have to be this way. I do wish it wasn't such a topic shunned by society or viewed as a disgusting topic on face value. It's really one of the more beautiful things of nature; a man and a woman sharing so close a bond that they attempt to pro-create. Bringing new life into the world; raising that which is new and infant to eventually become better than us and take us over. That's beautiful, and it's the wonder of life. Back to the initiation, it's also a sharing of trust. Two beings envelope their inner trust to begin this action. It's a trust that is comparable in strength to a mother and her child. That, the same trust that seems one in a billion in possibility is made. That's beautiful.
Further, it is even stronger when the relationship is well developed and unbreakable. When you know your partner inside and out, it is much much more enjoyable in that regard. Even more, it shouldn't matter who your partner is or what gender they are (yes that's an opinion), if you enjoy that person and they enjoy you then you should be able to have morally justifiable sex without anyone shuning or judging you for your choice. All that matters is that one in a billion bond that humans seek out of the world, and that, anyone should recognize, is worth them being "different" than society. That is worth a lifetime.
Speaking of how society tends to twist and torsion things against what should be to adapt to the normal's standard, there is also something to be said about consent. Yep, that was coming. Living near a crime-ridden city, sexual assaults and minors getting wrapped up i these situations come up often, and it is such a tragedy to hear another human like you and me was taken advantage of. Sex is a wonderful thing, but abusing it is just dastardly. This is where consent plays. If your partner does not want to engage in this activity, they should not be pressured to in any way. Continuing so voraciously only seeks the immoral ending that will likely follow. Consent is a sober, conscious, and alert "Yes" and anything else that would even hint at a different answer may be a questionable position. You and you partner should always have this agreement because quite frankly anything less is significantly less enjoyable. Knowing the person and knowing when it is right are things we should all know, and personally we will all know when it is right because you will feel that one in a billion connection.
My lingering thoughts: don't be afraid to breach the subject with those you're close to, be close to the person you are with, and don't be afraid to take it slow. The stronger and closer the relationship, the more enjoyable and stronger the bond will be; because sex is a wonderful thing, and should be treated as something awesome instead of as something awarded.
Honourable mentions go out to Desert Palace (Link Between Worlds), Lanayru Mining Facility (Skyward Sword), Dark Palace (Link to the Past), and Goron Mines (Twilight Princess). Right then, let’s crack on with 10!
10) Ice Palace (A Link to the Past)
All the dungeons in A Link to the Past are pretty cool really, but this one has stuck in my mind ever since the first time I played it. I recall that first play was pretty tough, dying multiple times and taking ages to stroll back through to the dungeon to where I was before. But that just meant when I finally finished it I was left with a sense of accomplishment I don’t always gets with dungeons. The Ice Palace is huge, looks really pretty, and is one I often look forward to playing again.
9) Eagle’s Tower (Link’s Awakening)
Eagle’s Tower sets itself apart from a lot of other 2D Zelda dungeons by setting you a specific objective. There are four pillars in different places of the dungeon that you need to knock down using a huge heavy ball, which you carry around the dungeon with you. Once the pillars are destroyed a higher level of the dungeon falls down, changing the layout of the tower and allowing you to be able to reach the boss room.
It’s a wonderful little dungeon with a great idea behind it that makes the experience a lot of fun. The fact that is quite challenging as well is much appreciated. I couldn’t have forgiven myself if I left the Eagle’s Tower off of this Top 10.
8) City in the Sky (Twilight Princess
So many elements of this dungeon make it stand out from the crowd. The outside sequence at the beginning make you feel like you’re entering an alien-like world – something rare for a Zelda game. The music helps build that atmosphere tremendously.
The puzzles in the City in the Sky offer lots of new kinds of obstacles as well thanks to the amazing Double Clawshot – an item so amazingly cool that we all had to take a moment to wonder how it hadn’t been thought of before. To top it off, this dungeon treats you for your efforts with an unforgettable boss in Argorok, thanks in part to the Double Clawshots, which see you flinging yourself through the air during a thunderstorm so you can take down this bad-ass dragon.
7) Ancient Cistern (Skyward Sword)
The prettiest dungeon in an already stunning game, my first impressive of this dungeon was thusly; “Wow! It’s like the Spirit Temple and Water Temple combined!”, and effectively it’s what you end up with. Not just that though, towards the end there is a wonderful section that sends you beneath the dungeon into something that would have easily been at home in the Shadow Temple.
There are a good variety of different puzzles here coupled with the gorgeous scenery, and possibly the most difficult mini-boss of all time. The Stalmaster really pushes your MotionPlus sword-wieldy to its limits and it took a great deal of time for me to best him. The true boss of the dungeon despite not being as challenging was a long fight against a memorable enemy. The Koloktos, a huge multi-armed robotic guardian was a tough cookie, and just as I thought I’d bested him he grew legs and came back for round 2! Full of surprises, Ancient Cistern is definitely my favourite Skyward Sword dungeon.
6) Forest Temple (Ocarina of Time)
The reason I love the Forest Temple, like so many others do, is for its atmosphere. This dungeon is seriously creepy, more so than the Shadow Temple in fact. There is beautifully eerie music, twisting hallways, and those freakin’ Wallmasters! The quest to defeat the Poes by taking them by surprise in their own paintings was a lot of fun – we all remember quietly sneaking up those staircases to snipe them with the Bow and Arrow. To conclude things, the dungeon throws at you a fantastic boss in the shape of Phantom Ganon. The Forest Temple is not only the first dungeon to test the skills of newer older Link, but also feels like it is challenging us as players in new ways too. Arguably better dungeons will always come along, but the Forest Temple is perhaps one that no player will ever truly forget.
5) Great Bay Temple (Majora’s Mask)
It’s a tough call, but I believe Great Bay Temple is definitely deserving of a spot in my Top 5. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I play through Majora’s Mask, I always end up getting confused by this dungeon or end up going the wrong way at some stage. You raise the water level in much the same way as Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple, but here you also alter the directionally flow of water, and complete puzzles using the Ice Arrows.
Speaking of which, I absolutely loved that this dungeon built a load of puzzles around the Ice Arrows, which were completely irrelevant in the previous game. Some of these puzzles could prove rather head-scratching too, but there was no frustration involved which the Water Temple was famous for. The difficulty level is just right. Oh, the boss of these dungeon still gives me the creeps every time I have to face him...
3) Deepwood Shrine (Minish Cap
The only “first dungeon” from a game to feature anywhere near the Top 10, the Deepwood Shrine for me is a huge triumph. This was the first opportunity the developers had to play around with the “shrinkable Link” gameplay elements in the Minish Cap, which result in puzzles involving impenetrable spider webs, barrels you roll around inside of, and riding on lillipads. These kind of ideas are wonderfully imagined, and make the dungeon all the more fun because of it.
And just when you think you’ve seen all the genius moments this dungeon has to offer, you face the boss; a normal-sized ChuChu that Link would usually be able to beat in 2 seconds in his usual form, becomes a gigantic force to be reckoned with once he’s been shrunk down! This forces you to completely look at things in a new way and make this boss fight pretty hard to forget, just because of how clever it is. I seriously love all the ideas and imagination this dungeon had to offer, and that’s why I have no reservations placing it as high as I have done.
3) Spirit Temple (Ocarina of Time)
The Spirit Temple, guys. Admit it – you must have reading down this list wondering where it was gonna show up. This beautiful temple in many ways sums up everything that makes a great dungeon truly magnificent. First off there is the fact that you must conquer different sections as either the younger or older Link, which was wonderfully realised. The appeal of the puzzles really make their mark as well once you get access to the Mirror Shield, and the Master Quest version of the dungeon is extremely challenging. I highly recommend folks check that out if they haven’t already.
The Spirit Temple is a really fun experience from start to finish, from the music, to the colossal statue in the main room, to the incredibly bad-ass Iron Knuckles, to THAT boss fight. The Spirit Temple has it all really.
2) Palace of Winds (Minish Cap)
It’s possible I may be somewhat biased towards this dungeon because it centres around my favourite Zelda item, the Roc’s Cape. Past that though there is so much to love about the Palace of Winds. First of it looks terrific thanks to Minish Cap’s beautiful sprite graphics, and the sky setting gives the dungeon an even more grand feel. There are many different types of challenges and puzzles around every corner, and there are a lot of them. Just when you think you are reaching the end of the dungeon it turns out to just be the half-way point, as you can access to a huge tower.
Even the music makes you feel you are playing a dungeon that is pretty special, and although the boss may not be the most difficult in Zelda history, it certainly isn’t a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. If you’ve never played Minish Cap, then go download it from the Wii U Virtual Console immediately. You’ll thank me once you get to the glorious Palace of Winds.
1) Stone Tower Temple (Majora’s Mask)
And so we finally reach my favourite Zelda dungeon ever. It had some very tough competition from the last couple of entries, but in the end I had to give it to the Stone Tower Tempe. I’m always blown away by the level design of this dungeon. You play through it, receive the Light Arrows which activate a switch which turns it upside-down, and then you play through it again on the ceiling. Its pretty mindboggling when you think about how much work must have gone into pulling off something like that in a way that didn’t just seem contrived.
In actual fact, the Stone Tower Temple offers a wonderful level of intricacy and imagination that I hold it in incredibly high regard. There are even a couple of different elemental parts of the dungeon test your different mask forms. Past there we end up being pitted against not one but three mini-bosses (I guess Wizrobe counts) – one of which being an incredibly sinister looking grim reaper. And that’s before we even get to the true boss. Twinmold are two gigantic flying snakes so huge that they force Link to turn himself into a giant just to put himself on the same playing field. It’s an enormously epic final battle.
Then I also have to mention collecting all the thirty Fairies in this dungeon – a massive challenge in itself that rewards the player wonderfully with the awesome looking Great Fairy Sword. Overall then, the Stone Tower Temple is a superb achievement for the Zelda series and that’s why it is my favourite dungeon of all time.
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