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Yeah, it's been a while since I've been active on dA here.  But you would not believe the crazy August I just had.  Around the beginning of the month, our house got struck by lightning in the middle of the night.  While the house did not burn down or catch fire (luckily), it fried quite a few of our electronics, including our Internet, cable TV, and landline phones.  We only just got them restored today.  In other words, we were without Internet, TV, or house phones for A WHOLE MONTH!!!!!!!!!

Now, don't go blaming our service provider for such the long delay; there's a perfectly good reason why they didn't show up sooner.  My Dad, who is a stickler for things being done the way he wants them, wanted to be here at home when the technicians showed up so he could tell them where he wanted things installed.  Because he didn't want to take another emergency day off of work (as he took one the day after the lightning strike), the earliest their schedules wouldn't conflict was today.

So, ultimately, pretty much everything has been restored to our house:  power, Internet, TV, phones, etc.  With the exception of one TV, a game system (an original model Wii), and a $700 electric keyboard, amongst others, things are pretty much back up and running here at home.  Now we have to work on getting everything moved back to the way it was (which involves some heavy manual labor) and getting our Internet-connected devices reprogrammed to the new Wi-Fi.  But once that's all done, things will hopefully settle down soon.

So that's basically the gist of it.  I apologize for being so inactive this past month, but as Dr. Serizawa said in the 2014 Godzilla movie:

"The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around."
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With game companies announcing
The games they’re releasing
Let’s all give a cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those new game unveilings
And everyone hailing
The games for this fall
It’s the hap-happiest season of all

There’ll be parties for hosting
Noob balls we’ll be roasting
So let’s go check out the new shows
There’ll be celebrities showing
The games that are going
To blow our minds, that much we know

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
The worlds shown before us
Will soon join the chorus
The launch dates are near
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

[Instrumental]

There’ll be parties for hosting
Noob balls we’ll be roasting
So let’s go check out the new shows
There’ll be celebrities showing
The games that are going
To blow our minds, that much we know

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
The worlds shown before us
Will soon join the chorus
The launch dates are near
It’s the most wonderful time
Yes, the most wonderful time
Oh, the most wonderful time of the year
E3, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Style
I wrote this a year ago to essentially showcase my love for E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo).  And with E3 2016 kicking into high gear, I felt it was appropriate to upload this.

The lyrics are pretty much original, although it is meant to be sung to the tune of the classic 1963 Christmas song, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," made famous by Andy Williams.

So enjoy this song, and to you fellow gamers out there, enjoy E3 2016.  Game on, my friends.  =)

Lyrics © Me
Inspiration taken from "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" 
© Edward Pola, George Wyle & Andy Williams
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So apparently DA rolled out a new update to the Browse feature today.  While the update allows for seamless scrolling between pages, I'm not a fan of the update.  In fact, I hate it.  With a passion.

For one, the aesthetics just seem extremely disorganized in the way the artworks are put together.  It isn't orderly like it used to be.  It's now all clumped together with no regard to spacing or organization whatsoever.

Not only that, but now in order to see the title of the artwork and the creator, you have to hover your mouse over the thumbnail.  What, it wasn't okay to just have the title and creator's name under the artwork for easy viewing?

As much as it took me to get used to the previous update to the Browse feature, at least that one was still neatly organized.  This new update, on the other hand, is a messy, disorganized cluster****.

I call upon the programmers at DA to fix this mess of an update, to feature the artworks in a more organized fashion, and to put the title and creator's names under the artworks where they belong.

And I call upon you, the watchers and users of DA, to spread the word that we should not have to stand for these updates that make the user interface less user-friendly.  As the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  Angered 

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A foul stench wafted through the bar, a mixture of smoke and piss.  On one side, some revelers watched a hologame, their friends betting on who would win.  The jukebox blasted out heavy technometal at a sound level that would deafen a normal person.  A feline dancer in an extremely skimpy outfit snaked her way through the tables, all the while dancing, looking for her target.  Crumpled up in her hand was a small piece of paper with a job contract for one Mr. Ace Cooper.  Spying the hairless apelike man sitting at a small table in the corner of the room, she waltzed over to his table, and discreetly slipped the paper in his hand.

Ace nodded at her as she danced away to another patron’s table, occupied by a lizard that turned a deep shade of red as she mounted him and gave him an extremely sensual lap dance.  Ace paid them no mind as he returned his focus to the holochess game he was showing to his first mate, a blue vixen who went by the name Kursed.  She, a bounty hunter by trade, found herself under the employ of Ace when he saved her life from a rogue Venomian she had hunted down no more than five years ago.  Despite a slip up that nearly ended her life, her skills in combat, aided by her peculiar and unique telepathic powers, were nothing to laugh at.  As such, Ace had no qualms inviting her aboard his ship as the first member of his bounty hunting crew.

Ace moved his queen across the holographic board, taking out one of Kursed’s rooks in the process.
“Damn, that was a good move, boss” she said with a hint of frustration.
“Face it, Kursed,” Ace replied, “you’ll never be able to win this game.  This is an ancient game from my homeworld, and not many people have been able to master it.  With the exception of myself, there is no one left alive who knows how to play this game, much less win it.”
“Oh, really?” she retorted.
Scrunching her muzzle, she found an opening and moved her queen past a discreet hole in Ace’s defenses and trapped his king in a corner of the board.
“Checkmate,” she quipped.

Ace leaned forward to get a better look at the board.  Realizing his mistake, he shook his head.  “Son of a bitch.  I can’t believe you saw that before I did.”
Kursed smirked.  “What were you were saying, captain, about me not being able to win it?” she retorted.
Ace leaned back.  “All right, I concede.  You’re able to play the game after all.”
“Damn straight,” came her almost-cocky reply.
“I guess that’s another drink I owe you.”
Kursed suddenly turned serious.  “It can wait, boss.  Looks like we’ve got company.”

Ace looked up to see a big burly ape standing over their table.  The beast grabbed Ace by his collar and hauled him over to the bar.  “All right, skinjob,” the ape growled, “pay up.”
“For what,” Ace asked in a faux-worried tone.
“For the drink you made me spill when I was looking at your ugly mug.”
“Seems like that’s your own fault, monkey-boy,” Ace spat.
The ape narrowed his eyes.  “Look buddy, you don’t want to mess with the likes of me.  Now hand over the dough or you’ll regret it.”
Ace just raised his eyebrows in response.  “And what if I say no?”
“Then I’ll rip your limbs off and take the money from you by force.”
Ace gasped sarcastically.  “Well, that doesn’t seem very nice.”
The beast flashed a toothy grin, showing off his yellowed teeth.  He got up in Ace’s face.  “Oh yeah,” he asked, “well what are you gonna do about it?”
Ace flashed a smile of his own.  “Nothing.  I just wanted you to face me so she could get behind you.”

A confused look descended upon the drunk ape’s face as he turned around and got slammed in the jaw by the butt of Kursed’s blaster.  He went down like a sack of bananas.  Kursed shoved her blaster back into its holster and helped Ace off the counter.  “Drunks are so cute, aren’t they?” Ace said.
Suddenly, a hand reached out and grabbed Kursed by the shoulder.  Kursed instantly reacted, grabbed the person’s hand, and threw him over her shoulder, where he crashed into the counter.  “A buddy of his,” she said.  “They were sitting at the same table.”

Suddenly, more people got up from their seats and started slowly advancing towards the pair.  “Uh-oh.  Now ain’t this a happy development?” Ace asked, smirking.
“Hope you got a mean hook, boss, looks like we got nice little fight on our hands,” Kursed replied.
“Been itching for one for a while now.  What do you say we have a little fun today, Kursed?”
“Took the words right out of my mouth.”
Ace licked his lips.  “Good.  Let’s do this.”

The lizard that received a lap dance charged forward and met the business end of Ace’s fist.  He spun around with a dazed look in his eyes.  Ace caught him and glanced over to Kursed.  “Hey Kursed,” he said, “you know what this fight is missing?  Some good music to go along with it!”
With that, he threw the reptile into the jukebox, making it skip.  The jukebox suddenly started playing an energetic western-style track, making Kursed, who was in the middle of fighting one of the apes, smirk.  “Perfect, boss!” she replied, as she landed a hard kick to the ape’s crotch.  The ape crumpled again, but this time was grabbed by Kursed and thrown halfway across the room in a feat that seemed unimaginable to many, but to a strong vixen like Kursed, not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

As the chaos began to disrupt other patron’s good time, more and more people joined the brawl.  Ace grabbed a wooden bar stool and smashed it down on the other ape’s head, causing him to faint.  A hawk grabbed Ace’s shoulders, only to get his face punched in by the back of Ace’s fist.  Ace grabbed the hawk by the arms and threw him over the counter, where his dazed body smashed into a shelf full of bottles of booze.  Some of the drinks began mixing together on the floor and started to smoke.  Nobody seemed  to noticed the increasingly violent reaction bubbling up between the two liquids.

Kursed all of a sudden found herself in a bear hug by a giant of a bear as she was lifted off the ground.  She struggled to escape his grasp, but found it useless.  Suddenly she had an idea.  Contorting her body somewhat, she swung her leg upwards and over her body, right into the bear’s skull.  The bear released his grip on Kursed and grasped his aching head, howling in pain.  Kursed took this opportunity to land a swift kick to the bear’s balls, causing him to sink to his knees, where she finished him off with a roundhouse kick.  The bear, rendered unconscious, crashed into a nearby table, shattering it into a million pieces.

Unfortunately, Kursed’s victory was short lived, as she found herself next to Ace against the wall on the other side of the room, surrounded by the other brawlers.  The ape who accosted Ace pointed a blaster at the two.  “Any last words?” he snarled.
Thinking back to an old cliché Ace remembered from his home planet, he shouted, “Behind you!” causing the crowd to turn around.
As if by happy accident, the mixing drinks suddenly unleashed the cataclysmic result of their reaction and caused an explosion that sent the entire crowd flying backwards.  Ace and Kursed took this opportunity to book it for the door as the bartender, who hid throughout the duration of the fight, let out a steady stream of curse words as he lamented the destruction of his business.

As the two ran down the street, Ace opened a communications line on his wrist communicator to the AI on his ship.  “Zara, we’ve had some local color happen.  Get the ship prepped,” he almost screamed into the communicator.
“Roger that, boss!” came a female voice’s reply.
Ace and Kursed headed towards the shipyard where ships ranging from small puddle jumpers to entire freighters littered the available lots.  They ran towards a white ship that bore resemblance to an ancient spacecraft from the early days of space travel from Ace’s homeworld, but larger and with heavy modifications.  A ramp on the black underbelly of the ship lowered just in time as Ace and Kursed reached the ship.

They stopped briefly on the ramp to catch their breath.  “Did we lose them?” Kursed panted.
Ace was too winded to reply at first, but when he heard a commotion a short distance away and saw a giant crowd racing towards them, his eyes widened.  “Nope!” he screamed as he grabbed Kursed’s arm and pulled her inside the ship.  The ramp closed up behind them, locking the approaching mob out.  Ace dashed to a communications console and immediately hailed Zara.  “Zara, we’re on!  Take off, now!”
On cue, the ship suddenly rumbled to life and rose into the air, knocking the mob flat on their backs.  The ship turned around and blasted off into the atmosphere, leaving the shipyard and the stunned mob behind in a cloud of dust.

As they left the planet’s atmosphere, Ace and Kursed took a few moments to catch their breath.  As the adrenaline wore off, they found themselves laughing euphorically at the near-death scenario they found themselves in.  “Looks like that explosion blew a new crater into that rock,” Kursed stated.
“I think it adds to the charm,” Ace replied.
Kursed laughed even more at that.  Suddenly, they were interrupted by a voice behind them.  They turned around to see the ship’s engineer, Goldie Triever.  “Aww, what’s so funny, and why am I not laughing along with you guys?” she playfully whined
“We’ll tell you all about it later, Goldie,” Kursed said.

“How’d the ship fare while we were away?” Ace asked.
“Nothing to report, boss.  Everything’s furry,” Goldie cheerfully replied.
“Good,” Ace said.  “Go start preparations to leave orbit.”
“Aye, sir!”
With that, Goldie skipped off to the engine room to prep the engines.  Ace and Kursed couldn’t help but look on warmly.  “Sure must be nice to have such a cheerful demeanor amongst a crew of hardened bounty hunters like ourselves,” Kursed said.
“Always have to have one of those on any sort of crew, otherwise it gets too depressing, especially on a boat like this” Ace replied as they started making their way towards the bridge.

“Do you honestly think, though,” Kursed asked, “that it improves morale?”
“I do, Kursed,” Ace said.  “It’s a very rare talent to pull somebody up out of a depressive state with just a smile.  It comes to Goldie naturally.  That, and working on ship engines.”
Kursed giggled at this.  “I just hope she is able to hold her own in a firefight,” she said in a somewhat glum tone.
“Remember, Kursed, everyone on this ship, even Zara, knows how to shoot a gun.”
“Maybe so, but what about having the will to pull the trigger, to take someone’s life?  I just don’t see her being able to do that.”
“There’s a lot this crew doesn’t know about each other, Kursed.  I’m sure that, when the time comes, Goldie will be able to do anything she needs to do to protect herself or any of us,” Ace replied.
“I hope you’re right.  We’ll see soon enough.”

As they walked onto the bridge, they found themselves greeted by a blue hologram that bore resemblance to a female member of Ace’s species.  “Greetings, captain,” the hologram spoke.  “I trust you found a job for us?”
Ace smirked.  “That I did, Zara,” he replied as he held up the piece of paper.
Unfolding it, he looked at the details of the mission.  “Looks like the infamous space gang from the Lylat System known as Star Wolf is holed up on the planet Kew.  We’ve been asked by a liaison from the Cornerian government to flush them out and bring them in, dead or alive.”
Kursed blinked in surprise.  Star Wolf.  That was a name she hadn’t heard in a long time, not since...

“What do you think they’re doing on Kew?” Zara asked.
“Says here they raided a Cornerian supply depot on the planet Macbeth,” Ace replied.  “If they’re here in the Kew System, their trails must be too hot in Lylat to lay low there.  They must be hiding out here until things cool down.”
Kursed spoke up next.  “Well, then, we’d better get going.  If Star Wolf is our bounty, then it’s guaranteed to be a big one.”
“Right,” Ace said.  “Better go get Buck to help you with prepping the weapons.  I’ve gotta make a couple transmits, call in a few favors.  We’re going to need all the help we can get with this one.”
Kursed gave a two-finger salute.  “On it, boss.”  She turned around and went to find their weapons specialist, Buck.
Ace turned around to face Zara.  “I think we’re ready to leave orbit.  Fire up the engines, Zara.”
“Roger that, boss.”
With that, the ship’s three main engines roared to life once again and sped off into deep space.

Unbeknownst to them, this new mission would be harder than they thought, in more ways than one...
Star Fox Command: A Kursed Encounter, Chapter 1
An idea that has been swimming around in my head for the last few days, ever since the new Star Fox game launched.  It is essentially my take on one of the endings of Star Fox:  Command, "Star Wolf Returns," where Krystal leaves the Lylat System and becomes the bounty hunter Kursed.  Of course, this particular chapter draws heavy inspiration from one of my favorite sci-fi shows, Firefly, but the rest of the story will be original.  There is also a link to one of the soundtracks from Firefly embedded in the text, as an obvious reference to one of the greatest scenes in the whole show (although if you want to read the story while listening to the song, be sure to right-click and open the link in a new tab or window).  ;)

I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I am enjoying writing it.  There will be a lot of exciting and emotional moments that will hopefully keep you on the edge of your seat.  And if you like the story, be sure to fave it and recommend it to a friend.  I can't wait to share this story with the rest of the world.  Stay tuned for more!  =)

Story and characters (except for established Star Fox characters) © Me
Star Fox and related characters © Nintendo
Inspiration taken from Firefly © Joss Whedon
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EDIT:  I have just received word that the superintendent of our high school district has released a statement about the murals, saying that despite the wishes of the principal, the murals shall stay in place.  We'll just see if the principal honors that statement, though.  But for now, the battle has been won.

ORIGINAL:  For the last 20 years, my high school has had a tradition where art students are given the opportunity to paint a mural on the walls on the first floor of the school.  Multiple paintings, ranging from John Lennon, Elvis, and a variety of cars, to Goku from Dragon Ball Z and Rat Fink take up just a small portion of the giant canvas that is the first floor.

Perusing Facebook today, I came across a post from a friend of mine saying that the principal of the high school wants to paint over the murals in order to create a "professional academic environment."  As an artist myself, I am beyond words.  Words cannot describe how angry I am that this school administration (which has only been around for a few years) would deface--no, censor--artistic creativity and freedom of expression.

Such an idea goes against the very foundation of education.  If children are not allowed to express themselves in an artistic manner, how else are they supposed to express their passions, desires, and emotions?  How is removing what has been a staple of our academic environment supposed to improve test scores?  I'd argue that it would do the opposite.

Not only will they not improve, but they will actually go DOWN because students will be less inclined to actually want to go to school and learn.  They would not feel comfortable in an environment that stifles their creativity.  And it will only foster more resentment against the administration (as if they already didn't resent them enough) and lower the morale of not just the student body, but the faculty and staff as well, even further.

The administration of this school, brought in to improve the test scores amongst the student body, has only proven to foster an atmosphere of anger and distrust by not just stifling creativity, but violating the student's constitutional right to freedom of expression and speech (amongst other constitutional violations).  It's completely unprecedented how this administration is treating its student body.

The high school I loved and felt at home at is rapidly disappearing and being replaced by a totalitarian, tyrannical dictatorship that would rather destroy history and art in the same vein that Daesh (or ISIL, as we in the West call it) is destroying ancient monuments in the name of religious purity.  I am furious beyond words that what has been a tradition for decades will be so casually wiped away with a mere brushstroke.

Our student's freedom of expression, speech, and creativity is quickly going down the drain, and it will only make our society worse.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a strongly-worded statement to prepare for the next Board of Education meeting.
Yeah, it's been a while since I've been active on dA here.  But you would not believe the crazy August I just had.  Around the beginning of the month, our house got struck by lightning in the middle of the night.  While the house did not burn down or catch fire (luckily), it fried quite a few of our electronics, including our Internet, cable TV, and landline phones.  We only just got them restored today.  In other words, we were without Internet, TV, or house phones for A WHOLE MONTH!!!!!!!!!

Now, don't go blaming our service provider for such the long delay; there's a perfectly good reason why they didn't show up sooner.  My Dad, who is a stickler for things being done the way he wants them, wanted to be here at home when the technicians showed up so he could tell them where he wanted things installed.  Because he didn't want to take another emergency day off of work (as he took one the day after the lightning strike), the earliest their schedules wouldn't conflict was today.

So, ultimately, pretty much everything has been restored to our house:  power, Internet, TV, phones, etc.  With the exception of one TV, a game system (an original model Wii), and a $700 electric keyboard, amongst others, things are pretty much back up and running here at home.  Now we have to work on getting everything moved back to the way it was (which involves some heavy manual labor) and getting our Internet-connected devices reprogrammed to the new Wi-Fi.  But once that's all done, things will hopefully settle down soon.

So that's basically the gist of it.  I apologize for being so inactive this past month, but as Dr. Serizawa said in the 2014 Godzilla movie:

"The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around."

deviantID

astrofan1993
Brett
United States

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:iconemerash:
Emerash Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2016  New Deviant Student Digital Artist
thanks for the suport!
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MyNightART Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for watch! I hope you have great day! <3
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noooooname Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
thanks for watch =D
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ChalkTwins Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for the watch!! :happybounce:
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FoxyNeko09 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Please be aware thatmisaamanebella.deviantart.com who you are following is an art theif please pass this along
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astrofan1993 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016
Thanks for letting me know.  I have unwatched her.
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FoxyNeko09 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Your welcome
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ankone Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016  Hobbyist
thank you so much for the watch! i'm really happy that you enjoy my works ;u;
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Pandarah Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Thank you for the watch! Really appreciate it :D
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GrayComputer Featured By Owner May 17, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Hi there.
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