Monster Hunter NYC

I’m very thankful for my Monster Hunter crew. Without them, New York would have been much harder to deal with. People brought together from many different backgrounds, all coming together for one thing; to hunt monsters.

We meet up at various times of the week at a McDonalds in Manhattan on the third floor. We have dealt with security guards who do and don’t like us, and many people who ask for directions to the bathroom, located on the second floor.

Through this group, I’ve seen crazy antics, adventure through the city, a roommate, and finding out about many different events. We know how to get rowdy. Second most, I met a lot of really great people, all who can come together to make others happy, and strategize, plan, and help others out.

The biggest lesson is that McDonalds will make you fat if you don’t work out enough.. You’ll learn that fast if you eat while playing, like a good amount of us do.

We all keep in touch on a very active Facebook group called Monster Hunter NYC. There, we post events, hints ad advice; game-related or not, and stuff about other games, mainly on 3DS.

If you live in the New York City area or are here a lot, join up, and join the family!

The Monster Hunter NYC Facebook Group

Hello New York!

In the past 2 months, I’ve made my home in New York City, and boy what a trip it has been! I haven’t had the time (and before, the drive) to update my website, but now that I do, here I am! Hello everyone!

I know a bunch of you who visit this site have come here through my Streetpass from my 3DS, which is most excellent. Well, stay tuned, and now that I’m settled in, I’ve got more content to give you.

Thank you for visiting! Come back anytime!


iPhone Panoramas

I can’t think of anywhere in particular to show off panorama photos taken specifically on the iPhone, so these photos haven’t shown up anywhere… Until now. I love the new panorama feature on the iPhone’s camera. While panorama shots are nothing new, nor are apps that create panoramas, I just feel that having the implement built-in really helps accessibility. And with it being an underlying OS feature now, it has to be at least good. Well, I think it’s great! Here are a few I’ve taken.

H Panorama

A wide view of a hot part of H Street NE in Washington DC.

Downtown Silver Spring Panorama

Downtown Silver Spring, MD.

Walkway Panorama

Town in Korea

If you have an iPhone and haven’t used the panorama feature, give it a shot!



My i.

“The best camera is the one that’s with you.” That’s a quote by Chase Jarvis, I believe, and it couldn’t be more true. When you have the urge to take a picture, just do it!

My Camera of choice has changed considerably due to the advances in cell phone camera technology. It used to be that I would drag my digital SLR with me everywhere, but recently that has changed. Partially due to my bad back. Carrying a DSLR all day is not comfortable at all when you are lugging a decent sized lens with it too. I had a Canon Rebel XTi and a 28-135 lens. The Rebel is the smaller of the DSLR’s, but unfortunately, it isn’t small enough for the issue that is my messed up back.

So what have I been using? My iPhone 4S! Yes, I know that it is very popular, and that it doesn’t stick out in a crowd quite like it used to anymore, at least in the DC area. It’s not the phone that makes the phone nowadays. It’s the apps. And the iPhone has plenty of them, especially in the photography realm. Programs like Hipstamatic and iPhoto really make the iPhone a joy to use for the budding photo-taker.

A street in a part of Seoul, Korea.

With hipstamatic, you don’t know exactly what to expect from the photo you are taking, due to it’s more “classic” instant camera format. It’s very charming. Choose your “film, “lens,” and “flash,” and you are ready to take photos! For added fun, you can choose to randomize everything for an unexpected result with just a quick shake of your phone/camera!

There are many options to mess around with, and even a whole app category on the iOS App Store dedicated to photography. So no matter what, you won’t run out of choices!

Want to get started on making your photos look cooler/retro/trendy-as-all-get? Here are some apps I recommend.

-iPhoto. Highly recommended, for the editing options nearly surpass even the Mac version, and at $4.99, it’s a steal.

-Hipstamatic. I already explained this one. Be warned that you may be sinking some cash into it if you want to get more lenses/film/flashes. I may have dropped $15 or more into it, but really, I’m so happy with the results, I could pay more and still think it’s totally worth it.

-Camera+. Great camera app with anti-shake and a lot of post-processing options. Not just retro filters either.

-Swanko Lab. From the makers of Hipstamatic comes a photo editing app that gives you the darkroom feel. It’s really cool, with a lot of quality “chemicals” to use. You won’t be sinking much money into it for in-app purchases. If you like the darkroom process, this gives you the feel, but with none of the mess.

-Tilt Shift Generator. Do you like to make the real world look like a tiny model? This is the way to do it! You adjust where you want to be focused, and the range of focus, and it will turn a city scape into a toy model, just like that!


Well, now that you have my secrets to creating awesome photos, go out and have a ball!



Minor Setbacks

Recently, a virus hit my website, rendering it a malware farm, which is not a good thing to happen at all. Hackers exploited a plugin I had running on my website at the time. In order to get it off, I had to delete all of my files except for my writings. The theme is totally different, and all of the pictures are gone. I haven’t gotten a chance to get everything back up, but hey, at least the articles are there.

A minor setback, but I’ll have everything up and running for you all to check out soon.

For all of you who arrived via my streetpass, I welcome you! I apologize for the mess.

I hope to meet you all on some Kart soon!

Mario Kart 7 FNoP community game! 3/18/2012, 8pm EST


The FNoP is proud to present to you a community match of some Mario Kart 7 mayhem! This Sunday at 8:00pm EST, we’ve got more shells flying at your face than you’ll know what to do with!

The specs are as follows:

150cc, all items. Community code: 29-0168-0443-7759

If you have Kart, get ready to game! It’ll be intense, that’s for sure!

The website featured on the community is a work in progress. Definitely check back, for it’ll be sweet. You’ll see what the FNoP is all about!

Spring Into Focus

Spring is coming, which means that moods will be heightened, getting outside won’t be such a chore with all of that extra weight from carrying a jacket and other winter gear, and photos have much more potential to look better due to better light conditions. I’m looking very forward to kicking everything up a notch!

But if there is one enemy of anything productive, it’s a lack of focus. Focus is an elusive trait, especially during the winter for me. My mood is never 100% in the winter, so that means a very cluttered mind. With spring, however, comes spring cleaning, inside and out. That means keeping my environment, my body, and my mind clean, and with all of that, comes a clean soul. Nothing to destruct myself. Only cleanliness can be in my life. Winter makes me forget about that. It’s really easy to self-destruct during the cold season. Less light, and less of an urge to get out. And when you do get out, it’s not as productive as it should be. Let’s change this.

I have a few things I like to do that keep me on track. While I’m not a leading expert on focus by any means, I do know a few “tricks” which I do that may help you out.

1: A good amount of sleep + waking up early.

I can’t stress enough how important this is. Without a good amount of sleep and waking up early, the whole rhythm gets destroyed instantly. I go for 8 hours of sleep, and waking up any time before 9am. Anything past 9, and I’m most likely going to be out of it. Kind of a shame. For anyone else, your milage may vary. (Or as people on the internet like to say, YMMV.)

2: Stretching + a light workout.

These help with blood flow, which gets your brain more active, which in turn helps you to churn out more work. I have a stretching routine that I do every morning, and then I follow it up with some push-ups, pull-ups, and a few ab workouts. If you’re working at a desk, throwing a wrist stretch in every so often, along with moving around the legs/arms is a good thing to do. Let me know if you are curious about the routine I use, and I may post it up. I’ve been using the same general stretch routine for over 15 years, albeit modified here and there throughout the time.

3: Meditate.

This is a key point to really heighten focus. For about 10-15 minutes a morning, I’ll meditate. It’s a real test of focus depending on how you do it. My personal way of meditating is by focusing on one point. A dot in the middle of my closed-eye vision. I clear my mind and stare at the dot, pushing back any other thoughts that come to mind as fast as I can, all while moving energy around the body. Many things will come to attack the peace, be it your outside environment, or the clutter in your mind, but you must stay diligent. Keep fighting for focus, and one day, if you keep this up, you will be able to attain the mental peace you may seek. You WILL NOT get it the first few times you try. It takes a lot of practice.  I’ll do a post later on that will tackle this more in-depth.

4: Eat breakfast and snack throughout the day.

Some people forget this important step, but your brain needs food, and you should give it that. My breakfast of choice is a glass of orange juice, a 2 egg omelette with cheese pan fried in olive oil, and a bowl of cereal. Snacks I eat are usually granola bars or trail mix with raisins and a bunch of dried fruit in it. That always hits the spot. I also drink a LOT of tea, though that’s a subject for another time.

5: Clean your environment.

A clean environment is a happy environment. Isn’t that what “they” say? Well, I believe it fully, and constantly take out any clutter in my work environment that may appear on the spot. Any little thing can bother you, so you should make sure to have a clean area to work in. Every once in a while, I’ll have to move stuff off of my desk, like my bag, or a few papers. It’s good to have shelves and drawers for just about everything, allowing some room within them to grow. And don’t be afraid to throw anything away if you know it can be thrown away. Old junk is a pain, so it’s better to deal with it while it is still new, and you aren’t so attached to it. Get the clutter out, and you’ll be able to focus on your work much better. A smelly environment isn’t good either, so I recommend using incense to flow another smell into your work area. Incense can be a good work timer too. Light a stick up, and work until it runs out. How about that?


6: Hone in on your work.

If focus is still an issue while working on something, hone in using a “telescope,” the “telescope” being your fingers and hand creating a little peek-hole in which you look at your work with, and think to yourself that what you are looking at is what you must be focusing on. Within the little “telescope,” you have nothing else around you except your work. That is all that is in focus. It’s a little psychological trick that may help you keep on track. Alternatively, you can create a box around your vision using your hands doing the “vogue” trick. That helps too.

7: Take a walk.

Going for a walk can help clear your mind a little. It also helps get the endorphins moving, making work and focus a little more positive, I feel. While you walk, either think about your work, or just absorb the environment around you. NO HEADPHONES! Just you and the world. Using headphones brings YOUR world everywhere. Bring yourself into THE world, and contemplate real issues, and love the nature and sounds of the world for the way that they are. Also, avoid construction sites. They never produce a soothing sound.

8: A daily to-do list.

Knowing what you must focus on is very important, or else what is going to get done? I write out a to-do list every night in a little sketchbook. Not only do I get to take notes in it, but I can decide the format which I write out my to-do’s in. I can make it look like a website, or a real-estate ad… It’s all up to you. Write down mundane tasks, like to stretch and eat breakfast. Once you check them off, you feel good, because you just checked something off. It’ll help you to get in a rhythm. Then just work your way down the list. If one to-do isn’t clear enough, write a little note/synapses on it in a separate notes area on the same page. Who knows? If you get in a good enough groove, that one to-do that says “become successful” one day may finally be checked off.

9: Balance.

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING requires balance. Know when you are doing too much of anything. Excessiveness is an enemy of balance, as is destitution. You want to keep everything just right, riding the calm river through all. Take things as they come, and know when you have too much on your plate. Roll with the punches, and know that everything has a meaning. Breathe, and stay calm. Yet be assertive. Your life, and everything you do is all based on a balance bar. Just imagine that, and work your way through it.


I’m not going to lie. I feel great. Keeping on a rhythm like this has helped me through a good portion of the winter, and is going to make spring a great time to get things done and make progress. I certainly hope you all out in internet land will be able to benefit too. Good energy for all!

Nyko’s 3DS Power Pak +

The 3DS isn’t known for it’s long battery life, that’s for sure. If I’m going to be carrying my 3DS around with me, I’ll need a good amount of power, especially since it’s sipping power even in sleep mode. And I’ll definitely want it in sleep mode if I want to take advantage of StreetPass.

Enter the 3DS Power Pak + from Nyko, which promises to double the battery life of your 3DS, bringing the battery up to 5-10 hours roughly from the original battery’s meager 2.5 to 5 hours. But not without adding a little weight and girth to your 3DS. It also requires a 4 screw installation, which takes little to no time. Nyko was kind enough to include a screwdriver and screws already in the holes. Whether that is a good thing to you is all up to your own preference, but from the general consensus of those who I know who have the 3DS, it has turned into a peripheral that, as a 3DS owner who likes to play games outside of the area of a charger, is a must have.


While you sacrifice portability, you gain not only more battery life, but a good grip, which I find makes play a lot more comfortable. And by a lot, I mean a LOT. The 3DS is a little thin in my opinion, so the added girth really does it good. Maneuvering with the circle pad feels better due to being able to grip the system a bit better. Little grooves in the back give your pointer fingers a place to rest when you aren’t pressing L or R for a while. You’ll find that you’ll use those grooves a lot more than you would think.


Another plus is that it makes the system a lot sturdier feeling. With the old battery and back panel, the 3DS would sometimes make the plastic on plastic bend noise that plagues a lot of electronics. I find that sound on any laptop that isn’t of a unibody build, be it a Dell, new or old, or the older model Macbooks. I do what I like to call a “twist test,” which is to grab the laptop from it’s sides while the screen is up and give it a gentle twist. If you feel the plastic moving and the body bending a little, it’s probably not a very sturdy laptop. The 3DS pre-Nyko Power Pak + would have failed my twist test. But with the extra battery, it gains a good amount of strength. It feels really nice.

The Power Pak + does add a bit of thickness, making your 3DS not as pocketable.

It’s up to you if you feel that the extra weight makes it not worthwhile. It does make your 3DS a little closer to a pound, but is probably still under that. My recommendation is to cart your 3DS in a backpack, satchel, or  purse. You would have to be REALLY picky to feel the weight that way.

Top of 3DS With PowerPak+ installed


It’s not without drawbacks. If you set your 3DS down while it is open, the shape and weight distribution of the Power Pak + makes the 3DS tip over fairly easily. I’d imagine that if you wanted to use the new add on Circle Pad Pro, it’ll be a no-go with this add-on. You might be able to switch between the two, but I highly doubt you will want to unscrew the Power Pak +, then screw in the original back plate, just so you can play a game with this add-on. Your call. But if you choose to do that, it brings you to another setback; when you remove the battery, you lose the steps you took that day. So if you were on a marathon, and you really like to keep your steps logged in your Activity Log, it’ll be a drawback. Add to the fact that you’ll have to re-input the time and date.


As a 3DS owner who is constantly on the move, I can’t imagine not using this battery pack. And for $10 at Best Buy? A no-brainer to me. Highly recommended.



3DS Streetpass and I

Taken with Hipstamatic on my iPhone 4

Of all of the things that the 3DS has to offer, I have to say that my favorite feature is one that you wouldn’t expect one who lives in an area like mine would get into. Streetpass is a brilliant idea, and one which I wish had been around in older handheld portables, though it is understood why it only made it into the 3DS. (Tech, cost.) I’ve found myself walking a lot around my neighborhood, whether during the day, or at night, 3DS tucked tightly into my jacket pocket, as I collect steps using the built-in pedometer, and also hope that maybe I could get at least one Streetpass. I usually come home empty handed. No little green light, which is the indicator on the outside of the system which lets you know that you got a Streetpass exchange.

For those of you who do not know what Streetpass is, it is a feature on the 3DS which allows you to trade game information with other 3DS owners in your vicinity. Say that I have a good time trial in Mario Kart 7, a ghost fighter in Super Street Fighter 4, and a Mii in the Mii Plaza, when I pass by another 3DS owner, whether our respective 3DS systems are open and being played, or in sleep mode, it will trade the information for all of the games that support Streetpass wirelessly, without you guys even having to do anything. It’s all automatic, and wireless. The best part is that you don’t even need to have the game that supports Streetpass in your system. ALL of the information will pass through.

Due to my obsession with Mario Kart 7, I find myself going out a lot, hoping that I will run into some other 3DS owner who plays Mario Kart 7 so that I can have the satisfaction of destroying their time trial ghost on my commute. And if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to meet them online for a race.

One night, in recent time, I was doing what I’d like to call a “neighborhood run.” It doesn’t involve running so to say. I’d compare the way that I use the term “run” more to a “set course.” I usually do the same path through the neighborhood. I managed to connect and streetpass with another 3DS owner. The last game she played was Nintendogs, her Mii has eye liner on, and she’s from El Salvador. She didn’t have Mario Kart 7, but she gave me a puzzle piece for my Mii Streetplaza game, and also defeated a monster for me. If I could thank her somehow, I would.

I can see Streetpass being totally awesome in a place like Japan, where I could imagine everyday, you’d get at least 10 Streetpasses. (Just a really, really REALLY rough estimate.) You could not only have beaten Find Mii and gotten all of the puzzle pieces in the Mii Streetplaza games, but you’d have a ton of competition in any game! My experiences with Streetpass all lie in the Washington DC area, and thus far, it hasn’t been really good on my day to day. If I’m lucky, I’ll get maybe.. two? It may be a different story in a place like New York, which I’ll test out within the next two weeks. We’ll see.

I recently attended Magfest, a gaming convention within the DC area, which landed me well over 100 Streetpasses, thus giving me a lot of local competition in Mario Kart, and also allowing me to beat Find Mii twice! I also completed the majority of the puzzles. Totally awesome.

My next big Streetpass journey takes me to New York, and then Katsucon. I look forward to Streetpassing you all there, or anywhere!