Sunday, October 30, 2011

One Hundred

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog! Coincidentally, this is also my 100th blog post! Pretty awesome, don't you think? Recently I've been writing a lot more blog posts, some seemingly for no particular reason, but the reason for this was to get to the number 100 by this day.

You must remember, however, that this was not my first blog. My first blogs were deleted by stupid and unreliable blog hosts, causing me to lose far too much data.

I have many plans yet for this blog. In the not-too-far future I plan on releasing more reviews, stories, interviews, etc. but also some new things as well. I have matured since I began, and I intend to use this to my advantage.

Though many consider me a geek, I am not without friends. I asked these friends of mine to ask me questions for my 100th blog post. Anything from questions about my writing to what video games I like to my favorite kind of snorkel! I got a lot of questions, of course, and here they are as follows.


What is your favorite book?
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

What is your favorite movie?
I love the Lord of the Rings and Jason Bourne trilogies, along with Cars and its sequel.

What is your favorite video game?
I would have to go with An Untitled Story.

What is your favorite band?
Theocracy! I also love Dream Theater, Symphony X, Within Temptation and Van Canto.

What motivates you most to fit in writing into your busy schedule?
Unfortunately, not much. Life is hard, and I really don't have all that much free time.

Do you feel that attending The Ragged Edge at your age will help you be a published writer sooner than your geriatric blue pals?
I don't know how many of readers will know what The Ragged Edge is, but yes, I think there is a possibility.

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Piercings. Earrings are alright, but just about anything else will get on my nerves. Very much so.

What's it like going to high school after being home schooled?
I'm not necessarily going to "high school." It's a private school, and it is very different. I'm still being taught by my mother, though, since she happens to be the founder/principal.

What do you miss most about being home schooled?
If I worked hard I could get all my work done in the morning! Then I'd have the entire afternoon free!

What do you miss least?
Hmm . . . that's a real thinker. I would say learning American Government, except I need to learn that again this year anyway.

What is your definition of a perfect day?
A day that I physically feel good. It happens a couple times each year.

If you could snap your fingers and own any book in the world . . . which one?
The Oceans Below by R.J. Horst. It's the book I've been working on for the past month or so, and I'm going to start writing it soon. I want to own it because that would mean it'd already be finished, and that would be awesome.

Who has inspired you most and why?
I have been very heavily inspired by many people in my life. My greatest inspirations are Dream Theater and Randy Alcorn. Other inspirations include Ted Dekker, Erin Healy, my brothers, and my favorite band, Theocracy. Above all, of course, is my savior, Elyon.

If you were a fictional character who would you be?
I wouldn't want to be one, because then I wouldn't exist.

What is your favorite food/snack/candy?
Well, considering I can't eat anything, I really don't know. I think I'll go with Runts.

What do you want to be remembered for most?
An author who got published. That's all I ask.

What is your favorite subject in school?
What else? Geometry!

Your least favorite subject?
Physical Science. I have to do it again, since I dropped out of it in 8th grade. In the 2nd semester I'll have to do American Government, though, so that may become my least favorite.

What would be your dream career if you couldn't be a writer?
Hahaha, you'll get a kick out of this one. Video game designer!

If you had a pen name what would you choose?
I'm considering going by R.J. Horst for all of my fantasy/science fiction novels, and then Reuben Horst for all of my modern day novels.

What was your favorite moment when attending The Ragged Edge?
There are too many to count. Perhaps it was meeting my best friends in the entire world.

Do you see yourself as a perfectionist?
Nowhere close.

Where did the name "Arkatox" come from?
That one is a long story. Here's the shortened version. A long time ago I started writing a Bionicle fanfic and I asked my friend for an awesome name to use for a character. He suggested Arkatox, and so I used it. Eventually it somehow become my most frequently-used online screen name. Yup, that's it. At least the shortened it.

Why is there an old guy staring at me?
Why don't you ask him? I'm sure he won't do anything to you as long as you're in a public place.

What's your favorite type of snorkel?
You . . . weren't actually supposed to ask that question. But since mentioned it, I think this snorkel looks pretty awesome.

Which is better: Australian accents or British accents?
British, of course!

What's your favorite European accent?
British, of course!

Which is better: handrawn animation or CGI?
CGI, of course!

What is your favorite instrument to listen to?
Voice and piano.

Do you enjoy your top hats purple, or pink?
No comment.

Have you ever started randomly dancing in the middle of the night?
Yes, on more than one occasion.

Which of the Smurfs is your favorite?
I know almost nothing about the Smurfs, unfortunately.

Have you ever been to the great country of Flabbania or met one of the rare, but famously potatoriffic, Flabbinese people?
No comment.

Of all the authors you read for the first time in the last year, which is your favorite?
Brandon Sanderson, for sure.

Who do you like better: Meriadoc Brandybuck or Peregrine Took?
I really don't know. They're both awesome.

Which is your favorite of the Istari and why?
Gandalf, because he has an awesome personality.

Narya, Nenya, or Vilya - which of the Elven rings of power would you prefer?
Stop with the Lord of the Rings questions!

Does this question have an answer?
No comment.


Thanks everyone who took part in completely changing my life over the past year. I have no idea where I'd be without you guys! Thanks also to everyone who asked questions. In other words, the same people. ^.^

Love all you guys!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Essays Are Evil!

"Essays are the source of blindness to the wonderful concept that is Story."
-Evan Morgan

"Essays kill peoples' imagination. Like killing brain cells! But WORSE!"
-Taylor Bomar

‎"Printed essays are flammable for a reason."
-Adam Bolander

"Essays are dumb and should die a thousand painful deaths."
-Ashley Procko

"Death should die and write a thousand painful essays."
-Jason Fancher


Essays are my mortal enemies. We don't even respect each other as many adversaries do. We hate each other. I hate essays, essays hate me. That's completely okay, though, because essays don't have feelings.


"For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays."
-C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy

Steven Phillips - Crowned Warrior Interview


It's always interesting, the wonders you can find through Google. This particular wonder is named Steven Mark Phillips. He is the founder of a Christian power metal band, Crowned Warrior, and at present he plays all of the instruments and does all of the vocals. Pretty cool, huh? This is also very similar to how Theocracy, one of my all-time favorite bands, was started. Originally he had another member is his group, but they had to leave.

At present, Phillips is working with an organization to help him get off the ground. He has several songs recorded, which you can listen to on ReverbNation. When I asked him about them, though, he told me they were each recorded in 3-4 hours in his own studio, and that he could do much better if he put more effort into them. I was quite impressed.

I do feel a little bad, as this interview took place in July, and it's now October. But, then again, better late than never!


Reuben Horst: Hey Steve! How’s it been going lately?

Steven Phillips: Great! Things are moving along and I am growing both musically and spiritually. I have all kinds of musical ideas bubbling up as I like to say. Now I just have to find the time to develop them into songs.

RH: When did you start playing music?

SP: I wanted a guitar when I was 11 but never ended up getting one until I was 15. I am self-taught as we were fairly poor. I couldn't afford books let alone lessons. I figured out everything from basic major and minor barre chords to basic lead scales by listening to my favourite rock bands at the time.

RH: In becoming a one-man band, originally a two-man band, what have been some of your greatest influences?

SP: In power metal I would have to say Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and early Ozzy with Randy Rhoads. As far as early guitar influences probably the most influential on me were Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow), Brian May (Queen...early Queen...the good stuff ;-) ) and Allan Holdsworth. Of course there were many others such as Gary Moore, Tony Iommi, etc.

RH: If your record deal is successful, how long would you estimate it to take for you to complete an album?

SP: I am actually not working on a record deal per se, it's an artist development deal. There are many aspects to becoming successful in the music business besides talent. You need some guidance with developing the talent including song writing, vocal coaching, stage presence, audience rapport, etc. as well as the business side of things. But even more important is the ministry aspect. I am focused on being real and reaching out to people who have been through similar pains that I have been through. The folks I am working with are very focused on developing the ministry aspect along with everything else. They help you tap into your life experiences and what God has done in your life and help you bring that out in your music and on stage.

RH: I stand corrected. If you successfully release an album, do you think you will form a full band to play with you?

SP: That's a good question. I have always wanted to work with others in a collaborative way. My problem has been finding people who are as committed as I am, can play really well and can see the same vision. On the other hand it's not easy to get what's in your head and heart out in a way that others can reproduce what you are after. It's probably easier to do it yourself but then you lack other perspectives. So I am divided on it from a writing perspective and to some degree from a recording perspective.

If you think about it, classical composers do it all themselves then get musicians to play their music. That's one way to approach it I suppose.

Of course I would love to have some like minded and talented musicians to play with live.

RH: What is your favorite song, series of songs or concept album (by any band) that tells a story?

SP: Wow that's hard. I am an old Rush fan and I always loved the Hemispheres album. The story actually starts with a song off the previous album, "A Farewell To Kings" called "Cygnus X-1" then continues on the full side 1 (from the vinyl days) of Hemispheres. Then there's the old Todd Rundgren album with the so-called electric fairy tale "Singring and the Glass Guitar" but I am probably getting too obsure for you now. lol

RH: In the future, will you produce any story songs yourself?

SP: I'm not sure. I have always liked the fantasy story type of thing and have thought about it in the past. It's a bit more for the more progressive genres I think but that doesn't mean I won't explore it if I get inspired in that direction. I think it would be a lot more work to put it all together but it would be worth it.

RH: What exactly do you do for a living, and how does it compete with writing and performing music?

SP: I do computer work, from software development to systems integration, mostly server-based stuff. Of course I would like to work out of that and more and more into deriving a living from my music. It's not only a passion it's a calling so why shouldn't I be able to make a living at it. That's how I see it anyways.

RH: What are your dreams for the future of Crowned Warrior?

SP: I am taking a step by step approach. I am finally getting some music out there, mostly to get some feedback and see if what I am hearing, feeling and writing generates any interest, which it has. That makes me want to work all that much harder to put together an album of material that I can be proud of and can hopefully reach some people that may be searching for something more to life.

Beyond that I don't know because I think each step is built on the previous step so I won't know until I get there.

RH: What’s your favorite brand of soda?

SP: I don't really drink much in the way of soda but if I had to pick it would be A&W Root Beer.


Thanks for reading, and don't forget to check out Crowned Warrior on RevebNation!

Reuben Horst

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (25th Anniversary Edition)

As a kid, Four Swords was like a hidden gold mine. I could almost reach out and touch it, but my inexperienced arms just weren't long enough to grab hold. The reason was simple: the game, for the Game Boy Advanced, required at least two people play the game. Not only did we not have two Game Boys, but we did not have two copies of the game. Alas, the best we could do was go to the title screen and listen to the amazing title music.

Recently, however, Nintendo did something that broke the bars to the mine. Just this September they re-released The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords for the Nintendo 3DS, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda series. This version not only included a lot more content, but also included a single-player mode!

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition Picture

When I first started the grass level, the feeling of goodness was overwhelming. Here I was, playing the game I could never play. So many times I'd tried to find a way around that dumb screen that tells you to hook up another Game Boy. So many times I'd failed miserably! But here I was, years later, playing that very game.

The game is actually split into levels, as has been implied. Three basic levels, after which you unlock the last level, after which you unlock three more awesome levels, after which you unlock three horrifying levels. The game is very colorful, and music is decent, and everything about it screams quality. You can't say the same for just anything on a Nintendo system.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition Picture

So after years of unknowingly waiting, I finally played, and one hundred percent-completed, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords. The levels were fun and imaginative, the unlockable levels were awesome, and overall I just had a great time playing. The Hero's Trials were impossibly hard, to the point where I almost screamed a couple times. The final set of keys you get in the game, the Hero's Keys, were also nearly impossible to get unless you spent half an hour or more killing enemies for their rupees. But with those few glaring faults aside, this was an awesome game. It in every way met my expectations.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords 25th Anniversary Edition will remain in the Nintendo 3DS eShop for free until about February, so if you have a 3DS or plan to get one, definitely download this game. It's worth your time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ted Dekker!

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of NYT bestselling author Ted Dekker. I've read almost all of his books, and I even met him earlier this year. To celebrate the man's 49th birthday, I got together with some people—okay, a lot of people—and gave him the only gift anyone needs: love.

Click here to see what we did for this blue monkey's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Ted!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Inevitable End

I lie motionless, as I always do. The sludge beneath my aching body has almost come to grow around my would-be corpse. I lie here everyday. All day. I only move at night. The creatures passing by mistake me for one of the Hoed—the very reason I lie as I do. Sometimes I let out some mumblings just to make it sound believable.

I recently wrote a short fanfic for the novel I finished a week or so ago, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. If you have read the novel, check out the story here. If you have not, do not read my fanfic, but instead go and read that amazing masterpiece.

Until later,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Defining Talent - Music

Noun: 1. Natural aptitude or skill.

That is the definition I got when I searched "what does talent mean" on Google. It's an accurate definition, and everyone has at least one talent. For me it's annoying the crap out of people by rambling on about things they don't care about. But really, no matter what talents people have, they all have at least one.

Talent is often associated with music and bands. If a band's song completely blows your mind away, that band has talent. Often it's the skill of the band members, often it's just how well the song is put together, and often it's the ingenuity of the lyrics.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

So Elantris was recommended to me by two of the most trustworthy people in the entire world—my brothers! (If you can't trust your brothers, who can you trust?) Brandon Sanderson is most well known for finishing the Wheel of Time series after the unfortunate death of the former author, Robert Jordan.
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling. 
Arelon's new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god. 
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself. 
A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.
The book starts out mildly interesting, every chapter alternating between each of the main characters—Raoden, Sarene and Hrathen. As the story progresses, however, Elantris turns into an epic tale of mystery, fantasy and magic. Locus magazine once said, "You'll swiftly forget you're reading a first novel . . . this is one heck of a debut!" I disagree about forgetting that it's a first novel, as sometimes it seems very apparent while reading, but I wholeheartedly agree about it being one heck of a debut!

Sanderson draws the readers in, introducing each character so that they make a mark in the readers' brains. At times it seems things could be worded a bit better—which are the signs of a debut novel to me—but as the book continues, your mind will be blown. Numerous times. At least half a dozen times in the book something happens that completely changes the direction the story is going. You thought you knew what was going on, and then everything suddenly changed in a way you couldn't conceive.

Elantris has truly shocked me by all of the culture and worldbuilding that Sanderson put into it. The magic system, the societies and countries, the people themselves, everything intrigued me. Something that made me laugh was the pronunciation guide that Sanderson has on his website—almost nothing is pronounced how I would assume! Truth be told, Sanderson's pronunciations do sound kind of cheesy, but also kind of cool. (You can check out the guide here.)

In conclusion, Elantris is an amazing novel of fantasy. The climax moved a little too quickly at the end and sterilized some of the emotion, but it was a worthy end nonetheless. The "plot twists" that fit everything together in the end are so simple, yet you never even begin to see them coming until they're revealed. I absolutely cannot wait until Sanderson writes his longtime-planned sequel. It may never be written, but I certainly hope it is.

Reuben Horst

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Heroines, Princes, and Mountain Dew

Does anyone want to tell me why, when I searched "Heroines, Princes, and Mountain Dew" on Google Images, a picture of Birdo showed up? That's just . . . messed up!

So, the title of this blog post is a play on words of the title of a certain interview I had a while ago with a guy named Daniel Remar. You might have heard of him. Then again, you might not have.

Anyway, though he was a few months late, Dan actually linked to the interview from his main site. I just thought that was really cool and was worth mention.

Okay, that's it. Goodbye. I'll see you all later. ^.^

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Announcement: As the World Bleeds by Theocracy

We've been waiting for three years... and it's almost here! The third album of the epic power metal band Theocracy has finally been announced with a release date of November 21, 2011 in North America. As the World Bleeds contains ten songs, and will be one of the best albums ever made. (You don't have to take my word for it if you don't want, but you definitely should!) Here is the tracklist:

1. I AM
2. The Master Storyteller
3. Nailed
4. Hide in the Fairytale
5. The Gift of Music
6. 30 Pieces of Silver
7. Drown
8. Alter to the Unknown God
9. Light of the World
10. As the World Bleeds

Theocracy is a Christian band, and is one of my all-time favorite bands. I would recommend them to anyone with a taste in metal. Saying I'm pumped for this album is a horrible understatement.

You can pre-order the album here or here, or read more about it here. Here is Theocracy's official website.

Reuben Horst

Monday, October 10, 2011

Frozen Snaps!

Yes, I know, it's a bad joke. But I couldn't resist!

I forgot to mention it initially, but at present the Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle is in affect, where you can pay whatever price you want to get three awesome independent games (Frozen Synapse, SpaceChem and Trauma). But if you pay above the average price, which is at present just below $5, then you can also get one of the past Humble Indie Bundles thrown in, meaning you get eight games (nearly $100 in value total) for as low as... less than any single one of the games. Very well worth it, in my opinion. Better get over there quickly, though, because it ends in 2 days! Click here for the website where you can purchase this bundle.

Until later,
Frozen Snaps, Ltd.
Reuben Horst

Saturday, October 8, 2011

False or True

Really funny thing happened this morning. My mom wanted me to drink some coffee (as I'd only done so once or twice before in my life), as she thought it might help me be able to focus more. Guess what? It didn't. It made me lousy all today. Made my limbs feel like not moving. Made me feel like the most bored person on earth.

I drank a bottle of Gatorade, and that surprisingly helped me revive a bit from the coffee, but the damage was already done. Now, with the day drawing towards its end, I'm just now finally getting over the coffee feeling completely. Now I know that coffee doesn't help me focus more. In fact, it does the opposite. It's pretty strange, though, because caffeine in soda only makes me relax and feel good, if it does anything. Coffee, however, can ruin how I'm feeling for an entire day.

Take note, self: Stay away from coffee!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Balloon Fight

Balloon Fight is a classic Nintendo arcade-style platformer game originally for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was later ported to Virtual Console, which is how I got my hands on it.

Balloon Fight is one of those games that there just isn't much to, but for that reason is extremely addicting. There is a single-player classic mode where you control the Balloon Fighter and try to defeat all of the birds on each level by hovering around and popping their balloons before they pop yours.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

20 Random Facts About Me - #1

So you think you know a lot about me, do you? Probably not, but here are 20 facts that you might or might not have known.

  1. One of my blogs was once mistaken to be written by somebody over 18.
  2. My life was changed over the course of August 12-13, 2011.
  3. Many of my reading tastes have come from my awesome brothers.
  4. My favorite band is Theocracy.
  5. I go to a private school.
  6. I am content with Windows XP.
  7. I infrequently wear glasses, but need to wear them to drive legally.
  8. I have terrible food allergies that threaten my survival as a writer.
  9. I own a Nintendo 3DS and have my friend code memorized.
  10. I am 26 days older than the Nintendo 64, which I first played when I was 2 years old.
  11. The first science fiction novel I ever started writing never got beyond ten words.
  12. My best friend is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do—a rank he first earned at age 12.
  13. I am a Follower of Christ.
  14. I am currently reading Elantris by Brandon Sanderson.
  15. I have met and talked to several of my all-time favorite authors.
  16. I have never had a girlfriend and, at this point in time, don't see the need for one.
  17. My favorite book is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
  18. I have recently become addicted to Balloon Fight.
  19. I want to marry somebody shorter than me.
  20. I rarely wear red shirts, as I want to stay alive.

Until next time,
Reuben Horst