Have You Bought Your Tickets?!

One of my favorite anime of all time is hands-down, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. For me, it is the perfect blend of action, comedy, and drama. The story is compelling and the characters and their development is top tier.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train took Japan by storm. Last year, Mugen Train surpassed Spirited Away as the highest grossing film in Japan making a whopping $350 million. Mugen Train can also boast itself as the 15th highest-grossing non-English film in the world. That is a huge feat for an animated movie.

The fact that Mugen Train is Rated-R has me pretty hyped. I’m expecting some pretty intense fighting scenes and gore.

The movie picks up where season one left off. If you’re still holding out on watching Demon Slayer, I highly suggest watching this show. Not only is a violent, but also funny, and sweet. It’s sad and also happy. You will be taken on a ride of all the emotions in this show. Not to mention, the very awesome animation. I fell in love with this anime at first sight. Right from the intro, I fell in love with the music and the animation.

Beginning April 23, 2021, Mugen Train will be released in select US theaters. That being said, they have showings on April 22nd. We’ve already bought our tickets for the 22nd and will be watching the subbed version. They are offering dubbed showings as well, so both subbed and dubbed fans can enjoy.

In fact, I am going to start a re-watch of the show today. I want to make sure that it is burned fresh into my mind before catching the movie.

If you haven’t grabbed your tickets, I suggest you do so. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this movie and I can’t wait to see it!

Adventures into Video Content

Hello fellow bloggers and readers!

Before really delving into this blog, I started as a content creator. I use that term loosely. My husband and I streamed on Twitch, then Mixer, and then Facebook. We never really gained any steam, but admittedly, it was a hobby and not a side hustle. We didn’t invest the kind of time and resources it would take to get partnered. At our most popular stage, we averaged 10 viewers and had roughly 30 followers.

I liked streaming, but I didn’t LOVE streaming. I think the aspect that I didn’t like was the expectation to stick to a specific type of content to grow your channel. I guess that is true with content creating as well, but I feel like content creation is a lot more forgiving. I also enjoyed content creation more because I could use more creativity.

The one aspect of content creation that was holding me back was equipment. Equipment is expensive. The camera that I owned was old and outdated. I had a Canon T3i that my husband bought me almost 10 years ago. Picture quality was low compared to most cell phone cameras. I had held off for a long time, but I finally picked up a Canon EOS M50. It’s an entry-level mirrorless camera. I previously blogged that I mainly picked this camera up for it’s smaller size and popularity as a vlogging camera. I didn’t want to invest too much into a hobby, because at the end of the day, this is just a hobby. If I get a few followers and a few people to watch whatever content I put out, I’ll be happy.

In addition to the M50, I bought a gimbal. I have never used a gimbal in my life. I spent the weekend toying around with it and feeling way out of my element. For those of you who don’t know what a gimbal is, it is a piece of filming equipment that stabilizes your camera. There are many different types of gimbals. I purchased a 3-axis gimbal that has motors that makes sure your camera gets as smooth as a shot as possible. It adds more cinematic effect to your shots as well as helps you create shots that you couldn’t get with just holding the camera. It’s an essential piece of gear if you’re seriously into photography/cinematography.

To be honest, I had no idea what or how to use the gimbal when I bought it. Actually, I was just looking for a selfie stick and fell down the YouTube rabbit hole of essential gear you MUST have as a M50 owner. And, they sold me. They sold me hard.

This is what I picked up: Zhiyun M2 Crane

My husband and I have an overnight tripped planned in the last weekend of April. We’re going to San Antonio where we are staying at a resort for our 11th anniversary. We both enjoy playing disc golf, so we found a nice course near our resort. We plan on hitting up the course early in the day before arriving at the resort. Once we arrive at the resort, I really want to hit up the adult pool and hot tub. It will be nice to soak in a few hours of sun. The resort has a water park, so I may go lounge in the lazy river for a bit. We’ll go have a nice dinner to celebrate, too. The next day, we’re going to hit up a mini-golf course that looked pretty fun. Then, we’ll come back home. My plan is to test the waters and try to make a short video on our stay. This will give me a chance to employ some of the gimbal techniques I learned from watching YouTube.

The plan is to eventually be able to use these techniques freely without really having to think about it by the time I get to travel to Japan. What I don’t want to do is get second-rate footage because I don’t know what I’m doing. I’d really like to put together a really nice video to share with you all and to have as a keepsake.

I hope you all bare with me as I take another trek into a realm unknown. I am hoping to also produce some short videos regarding the lead-up to Japan. My luggage comes in tomorrow, so I might share with you guys a short clip of the luggage and my first impressions. I think doing this will also help me get more natural feel in front of the camera and be able to improve my video skills as well.

Anyhow, I hope you are all doing well. Take care of yourselves!

Life…Uh…Finds a Way

Hello, fellow readers!

Well, I did it again. I managed to get behind on my posts. I thought I’d share with you what has been clogging the wheels of progress.

First, I signed up for two 8-week courses and that was a bit more ambitious than I thought it would be. I took a business principles class and a technical writing class. Both of these classes will apply to my bachelor’s degree.

If you don’t know my background, I got married and had my son at a very young age. 19, in fact. That means that I did not follow the typical road of school, marriage, family. In true ChibiChonk fashion, I did whatever I felt like with the attitude of, “It will get done when it gets done.”

I did manage to get two associate’s degrees while raising my now 21-year old son. I have an associate’s degree in paralegal studies and I will be graduating with my general studies degree in May. I never walked at my first graduation, so I plan on doing that for my second. My goal is to finish my bachelor’s someday, but it isn’t something I want to rush through and get. My plan is to take a few classes here and there and I will eventually reach my goal. At the end of the journey, I plan to have a bachelor’s in liberal studies with a focus in fine arts, English, and business.

So, as it stands, I can blame school for now. I know some of you go to school full-time and manage to run your blogs perfectly and for that, I am truly jealous! I work full-time and taking two short classes really ate up any free time.

I am happy to report that one of the classes just finished, and I squeaked by with an A. I still have four weeks left of the technical writing class, but I have almost all of the assignments finished.

On top of school, I’ve taken up disc golf with my husband. It’s my husband’s hobby and I thought I would join in so it would be more fun for him. I enjoy it even though I am terrible at it. I had shoulder surgery a year ago and my arm is still not fully functional, so it’s rough. It doesn’t hurt, but it could take another year or two before I get full rotation back. If anything, disc golf is helping me to stretch things out.

I’ve also started planning our trip to Japan. I was originally planning to go to Japan this month, but COVID had other plans. I’m slowly trying to plan our trip for next year, but the fact that Japan hasn’t opened their borders is concerning. Regardless, flights don’t change very much and I can at least plan without purchasing. We still don’t have our passports. Again, delayed by COVID. We have a lot of little steps we need to take care of before we financially commit to the trip, but I hope Japan lifts its travel restrictions by next year. We’re both vaccinated as well so I hope that works in our favor, too.

So, things have been very busy in the land of ChibiChonk. I’m considering picking up a new mirrorless camera, so I might be playing with that this summer.

I’ll try my best to get back onto a more consistent posting schedule, even if it is just weekly. I will…uh. Find a way.

Snowmageddon 2021: Texas Edition

You may have noticed a screeching halt to content as of late. You may have heard that Snowmageddon 2021 hit Texas pretty hard. I live in central Texas where cooler temperatures are rare. In the winter, it is uncommon to get more than one or two “cold snaps” during the winter season that last 1-2 days each. However, we were hit with over a week of sub-freezing temperatures and winter weather that our great state is just not prepared for. If you live in the northern part of the country, or a country where cold weather is expected, your stores probably sell snow shovels and snow chains before the winter season hits. Walk into a central Texas store in the winter and you’ll still find bathing suits and MAYBE a small section with sweaters. It just doesn’t happen. Most of us don’t own cold-weather gear like snow boots, or heavy jackets.

The weather started turning sour on February 11th. It started with freezing rain thunderstorms. It was an awesome sight if I am being honest. In my hubris, I thought I could brave the 40-mile commute to work in my Ford Fiesta. I was wrong. I made it to the edge of town and a wreck I was not involved in forced the closing of the main bridge out of town. I had to turn around and head back home. While I was waiting in the traffic, I got to see lightning and hear thunder while freezing rain slammed my car. Mother Nature is awesome.

I began to panic regarding the state of our pantry. We had some food, but my instinct told me that the weather was eventually going to keep up homebound. My husband and I braved the weather on Friday the 12th and went grocery shopping. I can’t tell you how much this had saved us. We made it before the shelves were bare and the weather was too bad to venture out.

Then, the power outages started. We were blessed to have electricity all of Saturday as “rolling outages” began. However, the promise of “three-hour rotating outages” turned into eight hours or longer. Many of my neighbors went without power for stretches longer than 72 hours in sub-freezing temperatures. We all scrambled to keep heat in our homes and our pipes from bursting. Our power continued to go up and down, but we were blessed that our home stayed pretty warm throughout.

Then, the water outages started. Our water treatment facilities were freezing. Boil notices were issued. Not only did some homes lose power, they lost water pressure, and eventually ended up with frozen pipes.

The weather finally relented on Friday, the 19th. In pure Texas fashion, we were back in the 50s. We were all finally able to come out of our homes to survey the damage. Some still have no power. Some still have no water. Grocery stores are empty.

It never ceases to amaze me how Texans come together. Neighbors were offering their warm homes to complete strangers. A local BBQ food truck fired up their pits in the freezing temperatures and were offering free, hot meals to those who hadn’t had one. This guy was personally delivering hot plates in the ice/snow. There were so many stories of people taking packages of bottled water from outside closed convenience stores, but shoving money inside the door to pay for what they took. The owners often receiving more money than the supplies that were taken. Facebook became a place where people found supplies they needed from their neighbors. In one case, a diabetic was dangerously low on insulin due to the pharmacies being closed and was able to get in contact with someone who had extra to give. One of my community members ordered a hundred pizzas and was giving them out to families who needed a hot meal. Another one of my community members with a 4×4 Jeep was advertising free rides to first responders/medical staff to get safely to work. No looting. No rioting. Just neighbor helping neighbor.

If the decision ever comes, it will be hard for me to leave Texas. One of the main reasons is H-E-B grocery store. I don’t think there is a grocery store chain that does more for its customers. Despite the power outages, despite the weather, H-E-B employees braved the weather and opened up. I believe it was on Wednesday, we realized we needed more provisions. We had bought many groceries before the weather, but not a lot for meals that require no power. We braved the weather and there to greet us with smiles on their faces were H-E-B employees. They got us in the store in an organized fashion, checked us out quickly, and made sure all of us were navigating the ice safely. The young man that checked us out was not even from our store. He told us that he worked in the next town over and that it was the closest store he could get to. This young man couldn’t make it to his own H-E-B store, so he came to help ours out. I can’t stress how bad the roads were. We don’t have snow plows or even enough de-icing procedures for weather like this. What impressed me was H-E-B’s constant presence during this whole thing. I saw Facebook posts from their president constantly giving updates on the state of their warehouses and urging us not to worry, that groceries are coming. H-E-B will forever have my business. They always step up their game in these situations.

Today, it’s supposed to get close to 70 and I am thankful. My family came out of the other end with nothing more than a few fallen branches from one of our trees.

It was rough, though. It was a very stressful week and I am glad to get back to some version of normalcy for a while. I am thankful that I have so many positive people in my life. I’m glad to have friends that offer assistance instead of judgment. I’m glad to have friends that let you vent and not judge you for it. The world could use a lot less judgment and a lot more understanding and compassion.

Hopefully, I can get back to a normal posting schedule. I hope you are all doing well and safe!

Took an Unexpected Break

Hey there, Casuals.

People who know me in real life know that I pull no punches when it comes with what is going on in my life. I am pretty transparent with whatever I’m going through.

I’ve been battling depression.

I haven’t really wanted to stream or blog or do anything that really brings me joy. I was at a point where a good day was going through the motions and being able to say I made it another day. My health takes a toll on me. Not only mentally, but physically. You add that on top of social distancing and the pandemic and the election and the general depressive state of the world and I was not doing too well.

Good news is, I am on the route to recovery, but I am still struggling with wanting to make content of any sort. They say it takes time and considering only a handful of you stop by, it shouldn’t be too disappointing.

Expect slower content. I am going to try to blog a bit more. I’ll start streaming again when I feel good about it. The YouTube content is way on the back burner until I get a good camera. I’m a follower of the Harris Heller method. Put out quality content, the rest will follow. With my current recording setup, I really want a better camera to get some quality content. Rugjen and I will then proceed with making videos about some tabletop games. I think it will be a fun little series. We have a lot of ideas. I just need to get to the right headspace.

I do have content coming, though, guys! Hang in there with me. I hope you are doing well in your part of the world!

I Had The Most Wonderful Father-In-Law

On Sunday morning, as most of us slept soundly in our beds, my father-in-law, Brent, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

I was very proud to call him Dad because he embodied everything a dad should. He was funny in that dad-joke kind of way. He was kind. He was sentimental. He was generous. Most of all, he was very loving.

Like many, I came from a broken family filled with dysfunction. I didn’t have an idyllic childhood and it left a gaping hole in my heart.

In the short decade I knew my father-in-law, that hole in my heart was slowly filled with all of the experiences and memories I longed for as a child. I got to eat his tasty brisket and party mix. I got to play Cards Against Humanity with him and laugh. I’ll always carry with me the memories of him feeding my son too much cheese the first time I brought him to Kansas with us. I’ll always have the memories of him sharing his love of jazz with my son and making him a little photo book of their week together. He was always fussing over things just as a dad should.

Most of all, he was always vulnerable enough to show his affection and that is probably the best gift he could have ever given me.

For the last decade, he brought joy to my heart. Along with my mother-in-law, he gave me the gift of answering all of those unanswered prayers I had as a child and teenager, and even as an adult.

I have a lot of guilt because I couldn’t ever express how much he meant to me while he was living. I tried in the ways I know how with the very little skills I have. I hope he knew how much he did for me and how happy I genuinely was to spend time with him.

I will miss him very much. My heart is heavy, but I am also very thankful for all of the happiness I experienced because he existed. I love you very much. I’ll see you again someday. Have the brisket ready.

Filthy Casual Finds a New Home

A few months ago, we announced that we were moving our stream to Mixer. The biggest motivation for the move was viewership. Twitch is over saturated with streamers, and their platform makes it near-impossible for a small streamer to get viewers. After some consideration, and watching a lot of Harris Heller videos, we came to the conclusion that our viewership would not change if we did not make a change. So, we decided to leave Twitch as our main platform and transition to Mixer.

We did, indeed, gain more viewers and followers at Mixer. Enough to consider making the move permanent, but we weren’t fully committed to the decision. The longer we streamed on Mixer, the more we realized that the platform was dying. Despite all of their moves to acquire well-known streamers, it had little to no growth. Development was at a halt. The writing was on the wall and I think, on some level, Rugjen and I knew. We stopped putting in effort shortly before the announcement. I think we subconsciously started “uncoupling” from Mixer without really realizing it.

We are a small stream. We stream to approximately 10 steady viewers. In fact, we have maybe 2 viewers that consistently showed up in chat. We aren’t doing this to be the next Ninja or Shroud. We do it as a hobby with the hopes that maybe we build a community in the process. That just hasn’t happened for us, and the truth is, maybe it never will. I think both me and Rugjen are okay with that.

Now that Mixer is shutting down on July 22nd, we were forced to make another decision. Stop streaming altogether, go back to Twitch, or try Facebook Gaming or YouTube Gaming.

So, we are happy to announce that our new home will be Facebook Gaming. We hope that you will be patient while we update banners, avatars, and our general direction.

One major change will be the retirement of SupremeOverlord and the debut of ChibiChonk. Same person, new name. When Rugjen and I started this venture, SupremeOverlord was just a name I was using and lacked the creativity to think of something that suited me better. About a week ago, ChibiChonk came to me and I knew. This is it. This is me. Small and chonky. I am commissioning a new avatar for myself, so I am excited to share that with you when it is complete.

Another major change is ChibiChonk’s debut to live streaming. Previously, I hid in the shadows limiting myself to content on YouTube and maintaining the website. I have come to the realization that I don’t have the time to work full time and maintain a consistent schedule on YouTube. Editing takes a long time, and I was struggling to make relevant content. So, expect Filthy Casual Gaming to add a weekly ChibiChonk stream!

In addition, we are considering compilation videos for YouTube. With content coming from ChibiChonk, Rugjen, and then our streams with Pyroplop, we should be able to highlight our content a lot better in an effort to gain some discoverability.

So, we look forward to catching you on Facebook. Please considering following our page and joining us when we go live: https://www.facebook.com/FilthyCasualGamers/

Living in Exile – Day One

Sunday night, I received a call from my co-worker.

“Um, yeah. We decided that you should probably work from home. We’re gonna need you to pick up your banishment kit tomorrow, m’kay?”

The conversation really didn’t go like that, but the real conversation doesn’t make for good writing.

I headed to the office on Monday morning. The traffic was lighter than usual. When I got the office, my co-worker handed me a flash drive and gave me verbal instructions on how to install the VPN. Then, he worked diligently on my desk phone. We have these snazzy phones that can be plugged into Internet anywhere. After doing the necessary tweaks, he handed me the phone and said, “Take thy equipment and leave this place!”

As I was escorted to the door (no one really escorted me to the door), I was shoved out into exile as he yelled, “THIS. IS. SPARTA!!!”

That isn’t exactly what happened, but it is what I thought in my head as the door shut behind me. The conversation was more like, “Stay healthy. Stay safe. We care about your health.”

If you don’t know, I am immune compromised. I’ve suffered kidney/liver issues as well as breathing issues. I’m diabetic and overweight and nearing 40, so yeah. COVID-19 is probably something I don’t want to suffer with or gamble with, so I am truly grateful that they care. I’m just dramatic.

I set everything up Monday night, without issue. After all, I am pretty tech savvy. Did a test run on all systems and went to sleep without a care in the world.

Day One of Exile

Normally, I have to commute 40 minutes to work. It was actually nice to sleep an extra 40 minutes. I made myself breakfast. Yes. I actually made breakfast. Two poached eggs and some toast. I fixed me a cup of coffee and began my commute up the stairs. I stopped midway, inhaled the sweet scent of my lit Yankee Candle, imagined Nick Cage in Con Air with his flowing locks and breath of freedom, and thought, “Today is going to be a good day.”

I get to the door of my office, and hit traffic. There was a two-dog pile up at my office door. Muffin, my chiweenie, and Nibbler, our dachshund/pug, decided that they both wanted to be the first in the office. Nibbler, having this long, awkward body, took out Muffin. After surveying the damage, I lectured the dogs to chill out, and they went, one at a time, through the door to their pet beds.

Just when I thought the coast was clear, I was side-swiped on both sides by Lexi, our Maine Coon mix, and Snickerdoodle, our Calico mix. It was like a scene from West Side Story as they hissed at each other and walked in a circle. Ah, yes. The dance of the cats to determine who would reign supreme and get the top tier of the cat condo. Lexi won, because Doodle is an embarrassment to all felines. I have no idea how she lives with herself.

I was finally able to enter the office. This is nice. Noshing on my breakfast, sipping on my coffee, blaring Barb on my computer. If I am being honest, the best part of the day was being able to stream Barb without headphones. I let his foul-mouth rantings fill the air of my office like elevator music. It was delightful to allow the constant barrage of F-bombs permeate the room. Never change, Barb. Never change. (If you want to experience streamer greatness, visit BarbarousKing on Twitch. He streams twice a day and is a popular Mario community member.)

With the scene set, I put in a solid day of work. No interruptions. No social interactions. I felt 100% more productive here at home than I did at work.

I have decided that, while in exile, I will choose an “employee of the day”. This award goes to the most committed to the cause. Today, employee of the day is:

Lexi. She literally did not move from this spot all day. I applaud her commitment to the cause. I gave her a treat.

Apologies from Overlord

I’ve been pretty bad about keeping y’all updated.

Two weeks ago, I had shoulder surgery to correct adhesive capsulitis. To be honest, Rugjen and I have been overwhelmed with preparing for the surgery, and now, working through recovery.

That means that we’ve hit a point where we had to step back and put streaming, content creating, and our hobbies on the back burner.

I have been kind of bummed at the timing. I feel like we try to have an earnest start only for something else to get in the way. But, that’s life, right?

My recovery is going to take weeks. Rugjen will continue to stream, and I am going to try to focus on working on building some website content and YouTube content.

Thanks for being patient while we work through the cobwebs!

My Desk is a Hot Mess

My desk is a hot freakin’ mess.

Our stream room is constantly changing. Unfortunately, we do not have a large, open space to stream from. Currently, Rugjen is on one side of the room facing the wall, and I am at the other side of the room facing the wall. In between the two of us is our green screen. It is actually the best setup we’ve come up with for the space that we have. We can both use one green screen as opposed to each setting up our own. This means I have limited space to work with.

If you have watched any of our YouTube footage, you will notice that my mic picks up Rugjen and causes an echo. We have attempted several countermeasures and have failed to correct the issue. Our last hope is changing out my microphone. Currently, I am using a Blue Yeti USB microphone. I love the sound it produces. My main use is for recording audio auditions. It’s also very easy to use. Just plug into a USB port and call it day.

However, the Yeti IS a condenser microphone. Without getting lost in the weeds and digressing from the original topic, a condenser microphone is very sensitive. Condenser microphones are best suited for a studio environment. In other words, in order to capture the best sound, your room should be prepped with sound dampening of some sort. As mentioned, that is not our currently situation. Therefore, a condenser mic is really not the optimum microphone for our situation.

I hate change. Especially moving away from a microphone that I think produces the right kind of sound for my voice. Unfortunately, this is the situation I am in. Continue to use an ill-suited microphone or change my microphone.

Rugjen is already using a Rode Podmic through a GO XLR. When he switched from his Yeti, I didn’t initially notice until I started processing some of his video. I noticed he had a more treble-heavy sound and I had to clean up his audio in a different way. I went to his desk and noticed he had switched his mic. The Rode Podmic is a dynamic microphone. Dynamic microphones are what most people imagine when asked to visualize a microphone. Dynamic microphones are better suited for live music, or situations where there may be a lot of external noise…just like our office/stream room.

So, it is with a sad heart that I pack up my Blue Yeti and prepare my desk for a GO XLR MINI and Rode Podmic, and a new soundbar in my quest to achieve cable-management zen.

You can never have too much RGB, right? RIGHT? I love RGB lighting. I just do. My speakers were ancient. They were at least 15 years old. Maybe older. They came with one of my first computers and were a source of irritation. I decided to update my speaker situation with a TaoTronics soundbar. It was $49.99 with a $10.00 coupon. Thanks, Nanny and Pop! (I used Christmas money). I wasn’t really looking for quality sound. To be honest, I like wearing my headphones and only wanted a new speaker to reduce the wiring footprint. I have to say for $50, you can’t really go wrong with this soundbar. If you’re looking for a way to quickly amplify what you’re listening to and don’t really care about the quality of the sound, it’s a steal. I was able to retire my old speakers, add more RGB lighting, and also reduce my wiring. It is also Bluetooth speaker, so you can connect your Bluetooth devices, or use the audio cable to hard wire to your computer. Another plus? It fit perfectly under my monitor riser to streamline the look of my set up.

I also decided to pick up a GO XLR MINI by TC Helicon for the new microphone. I figured if I was investing in ANOTHER microphone, I might as well invest in an online broadcast mixer with USB/Audio interface and midas preamp. Right? RIGHT? The GO XLR MINI is a must for online broadcasters and content creators. It allows one app to rule them all to manage all of your audio needs. It even has a manual censor button and cough (mute) button. It’s great stuff, but I’ve been putting off the purchase for awhile now. If you want to know more about the GO XLR MINI, you can go HERE to check out their website. 

Here are a few of my favorite things.

After set up, everything has come together. Rugjen and I tested out the mic for a bit and I think we have solved the issue. The cable management is still not where I would like it to be, but I am not willing to drill holes and create wire drops or do any other extra stuff to hide the wires. There is just going to be some exposed wires. That being said, it looks a lot better and feels a lot more organized than it has been in the past. I’m not QUITE done, so final pictures I do not have.

One day, I will have a setup that I am satisfied with. Until then, thanks for joining me on this leg of the journey!