Things I Love

RIP Buck

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” – Josh Billings

The last two years have been really shitty for me. As bad as 2016 was, 2017 has just eclipsed it as the shittiest. Four days ago my dog suddenly stopped walking. Seriously, he was fine most of Sunday and in the afternoon he changed. He was in pain. So. Much. Pain. He hurt so much that he didn’t even want to lay down.

We took him to the vet for tests. They had trouble finding the cause. Eventually they said he had arthritis. Buck is ten, and a Lab, of course he has arthritis. They gave him anti-inflammatory medication…which did absolutely nothing. In fact, he got worse. The next day he would stand around panting (even though it wasn’t hot) and later whining non-stop. It broke my heart to see him diminish so fast. He was in so much pain that he slept a mere half an hour in two days, and only when I gently petted his head while he lay on my hand. I cried for that half hour, knowing he didn’t have much longer.

He went back to the vet for more tests. This time they found an ulcer. More medication was prescribed. Again, it didn’t work. He got worse yet again. The doctors speculated that there was probably something going on in his brain…and if that was the case there wasn’t much that could be done.  You see, Buck has fatty tumors throughout his body. It’s logical to assume there was one in his brain too.

So today we took Buck back to the vet for the last time. His mobility went from just fine on Sunday to wobbly trying to stand so he could eat or go to the bathroom on Monday. He was in so much pain. Constant, excruciating pain. I never saw an animal cry until a few days ago. Twelve hours of tears. He would look at me for help. Help I couldn’t give. It crushed my heart. It was like someone flipped a switch. Buck was fine one day and the opposite of fine the next. There were no warning signs.

Buck was a kind and gentle soul. He never hurt anyone. He loved the snow. He loved squeaky toys. He loved playing tug of war with his knotted rope toys. He loved going for walks late at night. Like me, he was nocturnal. We came alive at night, especially if it was snowing. Buck loved it when my nieces and nephew thew snowballs. He would chase them down or snatch them out of the sky. I know he’s in a better place now, waiting for our reunion. I believe I’ll see him again.

I’m thankful for the time Buck and I shared. He will never be forgotten. I’ll miss so much about my dog. I lost my heart today. I lost my buddy. I lost one of the best pieces of me.

RIP Buck: Born March 20, 2007 – Died April 12, 2017.

Buck

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Fantasy Friday: Suikoden

Along with horror, I love me some fantasy. We’re talking books, video games, and movies. Today I’d like to touch upon one of my all-time favorite fantasy video gaming series…Suikoden.

What’s Suikoden? It’s a Japanese RPG where your goal is to recruit the 108 Stars of Destiny. As the story progresses and you recruit more people, your base evolves to accommodate the bigger head count. These games center around one character and feature themes of politics, corruption, greed, oppression, and a land ready for change. It’s your job to bring about that change by finding the 108 Stars of Destiny and getting them to side with your cause. Sounds pretty simple, right? The thing is some of the Stars are hidden or are only recruitable after certain conditions are met.

The Suikoden series of games is loosely based on the classic Chinese novel, Shui Hu Zhan, by Shi Naian. I must admit to never reading the book. Maybe I should look it up.

There have been multiple games in the Suikoden universe. Many RPG lovers consider Suikoden 2 to be one of the best RPGs of all-time. I still own every Suikoden I could get my hands on, including the original for the PS1. Yep, still have my memory card and everything.

What I love about these games is the sweeping change your character brings about on a global scale. The developers add so much depth with mini-games and even whole army battles, which depend on how many Stars you’ve recruited. The more stars you recruit, the bigger your army.

The combat is turn based but it’s still fun. The bosses in these games are pretty fierce too.

Did I mention they even have a vampire character named, Neclord? There’s some pretty fun sequences between him and Viktor.

I’ve played through each game several times and I still love them all. It’s a shame they stopped making them for consoles. I’m a bit of a collection freak, so trying to recruit all 108 Stars of Destiny is always a fun challenge. There are so many hidden storylines, characters, and easter eggs that replaying these games never gets old. And, yes, I do consider Suikoden 2 one of my all-time favorite video games. Period. Ever.

If you love games like the Final Fantasy series, or RPGs in general, and haven’t tried Suikoden, I’d highly recommend you do. These are some of the most epic, well written RPGs of all time. You’re missing out.

A while back they even had Suikoden 3 Mangas. I managed to snag one which is sitting on my niece’s bookshelf. She loves Manga. Because of the Manga, she’ll be trying Suikoden this weekend! It’s great sharing the things I love with the people I love.

I still own these games set in the Suikoden universe:

  • Suikoden (PS1)
  • Suikoden 2 (PS1)
  • Suikoden 3 (PS2)
  • Suikoden 4 (PS2)
  • Suikoden 5 (PS2)
  • Suikoden Tactics (PS2)

Here’s the opening movie from the first Suikoden. Thanks goes to Kanneh for posting it.

If you’re interested in learning more about the world of Suikoden, some wonderful fans have posted various videos on YouTube. Check out DarkWolfDeltas Let’s Play Suikoden 5 series, it’s pretty awesome.

There’s even a fan run website, titled Suikosource, for all things Suikoden. They have walkthroughs, fan art, and everything Suikoden related you could ever want. Check it out here: http://www.suikosource.com/

If you’re interested in the Mangas, I believe they’re out of print. You may be able to get them used. Check around. This is the one I managed to snag brand new a few years ago.

Suikoden III, Volume 2

I hope you’ll join me for next week’s Fantasy Friday where I’ll be featuring the Dragonships of Vindras series of books, written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. See you next time!