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December 8, 2016

Heritage for the Future (AKA “Hiatus” Time)

So I think I figured out what my ideal Stand would be.

[STAND NAME] Gamma Ray

Power: C
Speed: E
Range: B
Durability: C
Precision: A
Potential: B

Appearance-wise, Gamma Ray is a gaunt, birdlike Stand with a mechanical affect.  Even though it looks like it wears light armor, the plates are mostly for show; fortunately, that means it’s not weighed down by any extra metal.  Through the various slits in its armor, Gamma Ray is capable of generating small sheets of paper to be used liberally.

Gamma Ray is a Stand that gives priority to its special abilities and range instead of raw, direct offense.  When fought up close, its stats aren’t much more than the average person, and its speed leaves a lot to be desired.  By working in tandem with Voltech, however, Gamma Ray’s true potential can be unlocked.  The paper generated organizes into “Paper Rings”, which can be set at various points in an area (in a wide range, but only places where it or the user has/had line of sight). 

These Paper Rings take on an effect that matches whatever Voltech has “written” on them; the words inscribed are generated through psychic concentration, which is usually done by running a pencil through the air (for fast but weak action), on actual materials like paper or the ground (for slower but stronger activation), or via keyboards/typewriters (for the slowest but strongest effects).

Anything that passes through one of Gamma Ray’s Paper Rings takes on the properties written down.  For example, if Voltech writes “Boost” (and/or a string of related words) and then tosses a quarter through the Ring, then its velocity will increase dramatically.  The potency of each Ring depends on the quality of the words written and the means by which they were made.  Writing a couple of words via pencil creates a “Level 1” Ring, which would send a quarter through at three times its normal speed.  Writing pages of concentrated content via keyboard would make a Level 5 Ring, which would send that same quarter through at 20 times its normal speed.

Voltech and Gamma Ray alike can make use of the Rings, just as objects, animals, people, and other Stands can; for example, placing a string of boost Rings can send them over long distances at high speeds, or even simulate flight (so long as enough rings are placed in advance/on the go).  However, there are at least three main limits to the ability.  First: the Rings only hold out (in strength or number) as long as Voltech’s stamina and concentration do; placing too many Rings means he’ll burn through all of his energy.  Second: the Stand’s nature makes it much better-suited for long-range operations; being caught off-guard or forced into a close-range fight puts Gamma Ray at a big disadvantage.  Third: the potential words Voltech can write are limited by his diction, style, and (nonsensical) preferences.  He can’t outright kill someone with a Ring labeled “dead”, for example, because it “just isn’t cool enough”.  In exchange, the potential for improvement -- through gaining knowledge/learning more words -- is decidedly high.

By setting up and making use of Paper Rings, Voltech and Gamma Ray can compensate for their lack of raw combat ability with enhanced and unpredictable abilities.  When working together, the two of them can make use of their primary special attack, “The Spirit”.  After setting a “pierce” Paper Ring ahead of them, Voltech thrusts forward -- with a pencil, or simply a fist -- while Gamma Ray backs him up with a flurry of paper sheets.  As they pass through the Ring, their basic attack becomes a lance with impressive range and force -- and the overall effect increases depending on the level/number of Rings used.

…Well, there you go.  That’d be my ideal Stand.  And now that that’s out of the way, I’ve decided to go on a sort of, but not really, hiatus.

Don’t worry.  It’s not as if I’m dying or anything (as far as I know).  It’s just that…well, I’ve been thinking about stuff.  I like blogging, because it lets me organize my thoughts and share them with others -- “others” being a subjective term by virtue of my non-popularity, but you get the idea.  I like it when people comment on my stuff, because it implies that I’ve had some perceptible (and hopefully beneficial) effect on them.  I doubt I’ve rocked anyone’s world, but if I did something to brighten someone’s day, then that’s a small victory in my book.

The problem is that I don’t want to just gnaw on the corners of “small victories” forever.  I want to do more.  Much more.  I can think of several things I want to get done with this blog (and beyond) in less time than it takes to say “Plan B”.  That’s the blogger’s curse, I suppose; gotta keep pumping out content, but you’ve gotta do all this admin stuff to keep the blog going -- and when you finish that (if you finish), you’ve gotta pump out even more content.

Speaking personally?  I want to do an overhaul of Cross-Up.  But in order to do that -- at least to the level of artistry I’m after -- I need to put some time into a side project of mine.  And I haven’t, obviously; if I had, you would’ve seen the changes by now.  And I want to put some real work into my Patreon campaign, because that’s basically been languishing since its inception.  And I need to spread my online presence through social media and sites like TV Tropes (to be fair I’ve taken steps, but I’ve slipped over the months).  And I need to put work into the subreddit I made, and the Pinterest page I made, and the DeviantArt account I made.  Like, did you even know I had those?  Probably not, and that’s the problem.

And the problems only get compounded from there.  It’s safe to assume that Cross-Up is more or less a gaming blog, even though other stuff crops up here on a regular basis.  So in order to write about games, I need to play games -- and holy shit, I am drowning in games right now.  The 2016 holiday season is beyond relentless, thanks in part to the delays that have pushed everything into a release window the size of a lima bean.  I tried to clear up every JRPG I’ve got (and failed; sorry, Tokyo Mirage Sessions) so I could start Final Fantasy 15 in earnest/without distraction…yet as of this post, I’m still working my way through Tales of Zestiria.  But I’m close to beating Tales -- only to realize that The Last Guardian was dropping from orbit.  And then Let it Die suddenly materializes out of the ether.  And I guess I owe it to myself to see if Watch Dogs 2 is an improvement over its predecessor, because I’m dumb and hate myself.

I guess what I’m getting at here is that I need time, and I already burned through it via massive undertakings like Xenoblade Chronicles X, Tales of Zestiria, and four separate (misery-inducing) Uncharted games.  As much as I hate to admit it, it’s probably not a stretch to assume that I’m burnt out in general.  Playing through Uncharted, for example, made me realize the lines between playing for fun, playing to learn (and teach) something new, and playing out of sheer obligation.  Some days, it feels like I’ve completely ignored doing that first one -- you know, the thing that should be the top priority.

And I don’t just want to stick to games.  I’ve got anime that I want to watch.  There are some movies I could stand to give a look.  The last time I touched anything on Netflix was when I watched Daredevil…Season 1…Episode 4.  Various TV shows still elude me, and I want to give some of them a look; I’ve always wanted to watch Mad Men and fawn over the nigh-unrivaled majesty of Christina Hendricks see what all the noise is (or was) about.  And you don’t know how many books I’ve got tucked under my bed -- some of which, I presume, have dog vomit on them.

Also, memo to self: get a hold of Atlas Obscura.

The biggest reason that I’m calling for a hiatus, though, is because I want to put some real work into fulfilling that oft-mentioned dream of being a writing hero -- and as much as I can type in a sitting or two, it’s kind of hard to accomplish anything on the dream front when you’re committing 15,000+ words to explaining why Uncharted 4 is a fresh plate of roadkill stuffed with tripe, licorice, and set on fire.  And right now…well, I kind of want more time to work on fiction stuff, because I have a couple of major endeavors in mind.

You can probably guess what one of them is if you’ve ever looked up at the blog’s header.  And yeah, I’ve got plans to work on that in a major way -- but since working on that means more than just typing stuff, it'l’ take a lot more preparation and focus.  The more reasonable project (such as it is) is more of a one-shot thing that a smart person would’ve made in the first place, but I think the fact that I have come up with something is worth getting excited about.  And I am excited about it, no question.  I hope I can put time into it, finish, push it out there, and have some good come of it instead of a grand buffet of nothing.

I guess in the end, I’m not much more than a selfish glutton.  Only instead of devouring as much food as humanly possible, I’d rather hoard and gorge on art in its myriad forms.  It’s a wide world, after all, and if I can’t go on an endless quest from one corner of the planet to another (and/or space), then I’ll travel vicariously through the thousands of stories drifting through the world.  And on top of that, I want to know what others have done, so that I can learn something -- and learn how to better push my stories out there.

Let me be 100% clear, though: no, this is not the end of Cross-Up.  And more pressingly: no, anyone who actually reads this blog will not suddenly be deprived of content.  I’ve been working towards just this scenario for a while now, after all.  I’m not going to suddenly stop uploading stuff (even if that’d be even more beneficial for the cause), but I am going to scale back.  Since I’m pretty sure I’m comparatively putting out several times more content than other bloggers (if we’re going by word count, at a bare minimum), then I’d expect that those who want stuff from me will still be satisfied if I only release one post a week instead of two.

What am I uploading?  Well…

Yep.  I’ve made some huge progress with JoJo, and I’m going to push out posts that talk about each of its parts.  It’s a safe bet that each installment -- in Phantom Blood, Battle Tendency, Stardust Crusaders, and Diamond is Unbreakable  -- will each take two posts to go through.  As such?  I’d wager that by the time I get through them, I’ll be refreshed and ready to write it out.  I hope nobody will mind (or get fatigued by) what might as well be two straight months of JoJo…BUT there’s a caveat worth mentioning.

I’m committed to scaling back for a bit, yes.  However, I’m not committed to the exact time frame for it.  That is, I’m not going to give a hardline date when I’ll suddenly say “I’M BACK” and write in earnest for the blog.  Nor am I going to say that you’ll only get one post a week and nothing else.  I reserve the right to toss up a post if I’m feeling particularly struck by a bolt of inspiration -- like if I go and see Rogue One, for example.  More pressingly?  Since I’m pretty sure that’s the one thing people expect out of me -- and its cousin was basically the catalyst for this entire blog -- you bet your sweet bippy that I’m going to write something about Final Fantasy 15 sooner or later.  That probably won’t be uploaded until next month, though; I want to put serious time into the game before I say anything, because I haven’t forgotten what happened last time.

And that’s pretty much what I’ve got for now.  That’s my plan, as rough as it is.  Even now there are still posts I want to write (I’ve got a Word document that tells me I need to write something about the Power Rangers), but I know that now’s not the best time.  There are things that I want to do and need to do, and as much as I enjoy writing these posts, I know that there are times when it’s had me wrapped in chains instead of free to express myself.  As backwards as it sounds, maybe the best way to enhance the writing for this blog is to (however temporarily and incompletely) stop writing for this blog.

I mean, I’ve got close to 800 posts at this point.  You guys aren’t going to be starved for content.

But yeah, I do think it’s time for me to ease up a little bit.  This is technically the holiday season, after all, and people are probably winding down as the temperature drops.  Maybe I should follow suit.  In the 5-ish years that I’ve been working on Cross-Up, I’ve only skimped on regular updates just over a half-dozen times -- and most of those only happened so I could deal with deaths in the family.  Not to be that guy, but I think I could stand to have a little break.  Recharge, refocus, revive, redirect, whatever; something tells me that it can only be good in the long run.

And that’ll do it for now.  See you guys next time.  Thanks for reading, be sure to tell all your friends about this blog, and -- in case I don’t get the chance by virtue of getting to into my JoJo posts -- Happy Holidays.

…But man.  How about that BITES THE DUST, huh?

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