Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018: Happy New Year!

Hey Jammers, today is the final day of the Jamaalidays! Which means, at long last, it's time to write the final verses of my failed "12 Days of Christmas" rip-off:

 On the last day of Jamaalidays, AJHQ gave to me: Five stepping stones,
One frozen Zios,
A pointy icy horn,
One floating snowflake,
A poofy (yeti?) rug,
A lying dragon hat,
Chocolate chip cookies,
Two mugs of cocoa,
One edible top hat,
A gate to more gifts,
One pancake'd poinsettia,
Wreath on your head,
A fluffy hat and beard,
Jamaaliday Scarf,
Green and red jacket,
One spiral hedge,
Candy cane socks,
A pole to the North,
Mech Angel Wings,
One broken dream,
One welcome mat,
Wristband made of leaves,
Eight strung bells,
One creepy mask,
And a hedge that nobody got~ 

The main purpose of this was to record what gifts were given on what days, mostly for the Jammers who didn't manage to log on every single day this December. If any of these items sound interesting, now you know what to trade for!

Did any of you have a favorite gift this year? My favorites, which also happen to be one of the many gifts I missed, were the striped cocoa mugs:

It's like a toned-down version of the Hot Cocoa Set, which wasn't actually given out this year:

Still, I think they're both really cute!

Wanna know my all-time favorite Jamaaliday gift?

Yup, the Jamaaliday Centerpiece. It came out last year and the year before, but sadly did not make an appearance anywhere this season. I'd say that my favorite parts of it are the candles and the pine needles. Additionally, you might not see it but I also like how the candle reflects in the big red ornament. :3

As we move on from December into January, what are your thoughts about the Jamaalidays? Do you like the daily gifts, or do you find it annoying that the gem/diamond spin is temporarily replaced? Do you like the colorful decorations, or do you find them too garish? How do you feel about Masterpiece Tokens being given out twice this season?

These are just some starter questions, you can say whatever you want in the comments. ^.^

Now, let us move on into 2018. More specifically, into the 2018 New Years Party!

This screenshot immortalizes the moment when 3 random Jammers discovered they all knew Romanian and decided to become best friends. My friend Timid Icyartist was AFK and sadly missed this historic event. 

A lot of similar items are in shops this year, along with a few new ones, like this recolored Mask:

I wonder why being gold-colored necessarily makes it a New Year's Mask. I just think it's a particularly pretty mask with the gold! Now, if only it was nonmember...

I saw a whole lot of Jammers wearing it, so you can safely assume it might be a little higher in demand in a few months. But as trends in item demand are unpredictable, don't go hoarding gold Masks just yet! Maybe buy... just 2 or 3, depending on how much you like them.

As 2017 turns into 2018 and many of you get new calendars, wait for midnight, and mess up writing the date on your homework, it's understandable that many Jammers are a little intimidated by the idea of 2018. 

As AJ blogger Lostfairy says it, 2018 "feels like its still far into future! Like something you'd hear when you're waiting for a book or movie to come out..." 

In a way, I totally feel the same. I think it's something about the number 2018, or even just 18. It's getting closer to 20, it's a number sometimes associated with growing up... but in the end, they're all just associations. 

I think a big part of it might be how a lot of science fiction books and movies that are a few years old were set in "the year 2045/2030/2020" and 18 is beginning to approach the 20's and 30's and all those "spooky distant future years". But maybe I'm wrong– not everyone reads sci-fi XD

Just remember: all the good things you've experienced in 2017 and before don't just magically evaporate when you have to write a new year on your school work. They stay with you through time– they've shaped you into who you are now, so why not celebrate them whenever you want? :)

See you in Jamaa, and have a wonderful new year~ ^_^

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Drawing Gallery

Hey Jammers! If you celebrate any IRL December holidays, I hope you all are having a wonderful time. If you don't celebrate any, I still hope you're having a wonderful time doing whatever you're doing! ^____^

If you're reading this blog, I'm just gonna assume you play Animal Jam and probably are aware of the ongoing Jamaalidays event that gives everyone a daily gift for every day in December. To help y'all remember what gifts were given out of what day, I've tried to write up verses in the style of that "12 Days of Christmas" song, only instead of 12 there will eventually be 31 verses. Yikes.

Here is today's:

 On the 26th day of Jamaalidays, AJHQ gave to me: A poofy (yeti?) rug,
A lying dragon hat,
Chocolate chip cookies,
Two mugs of cocoa,
One top hat cookie,
A gate to more gifts,
One pancake'd poinsettia,
Wreath on your head,
A fluffy hat and beard,
Jamaaliday Scarf,
Green and red jacket,
One spiral hedge,
Candy cane socks,
A pole to the North,
Mech Angel Wings,
One broken dream,
One welcome mat,
Wristband made of leaves,
Eight strung bells,
One creepy mask,
And a hedge that nobody got~ 

Yesterday when I logged on and clicked the 25th gift, the name "Jamaaliday Dragon Mask" came up before the image loaded and I got really excited, thinking that the 25th gift would be a nonmember red-and-green version of the actually cool dragon mask:

...But sadly, it was just this:

You know, they shouldn't even call this a dragon mask anymore because it just sits atop every animal's head– it's a hat. So there are two reasons why I called this a "lying dragon hat"– one, it got my hopes up, and two, it says it's a mask when it isn't. Dishonest, right? XD

Today's gift is the Poofy Rug. When it first came out in 2014, it had a little "glitch" that gave it a goofy looking yeti face:

Oddly, the item never displayed this face when placed in a den– but it seems AJHQ had special powers, because the full-faced rug has been seen multiple times in their den. I don't think any Jammers have one just like it.

Stuff like this makes me wonder about the mechanics of new items in AJ– how does AJ create and implement stuff into the game? It's probably a complicated process.

In completely unrelated news, do you remember the gallery of photos in Kimbara Outback? It's been replaced by a new gallery of stuff:

It looks like drawing submissions from issues of Nat Geo Kids magazine! I'd know, I have a subscription. I've amassed a pretty big collection of those animal fact cards over the years. XD

There are new drawing prompts every month or so, so I'd imagine these submissions might change with time. The above image is for a prompt "what new animal should come to animal jam?" and appears to be a drawing of a blobfish. 

Fun Fact: The popular image of a blob fish as a pink blob with sunken features is actually the result of them being taken out of water. They live at high pressure under the ocean, so when they are taken out, their features decompress and they subsequently die because of it. It's honestly sad– maybe not so much a fun fact.

Personally, I think a happily living blobfish is way cuter:

And with that, I end this post and hope you all have a wonderful day/night, wherever you are on planet Earth!


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Heartstone Theories (and more!)

Hey Jammers! It's been what, three weeks since I posted last? Well, I'm not dead. Just really scatterbrained, school and all that. ^_^;

Remember that idea I started for a Jamaaliday gift song thing? It's a lot later in the month, so you might have forgotten some gifts or neglected to log on. If so, or if you just wanna see me fail at turning a song that usually has 12 verses into a song with 23, here it is. 

Up to today, here are all the verses:

 On the 23rd day of Jamaalidays, AJHQ gave to me: Chocolate chip cookies,
Two mugs of cocoa,
An edible top hat,
A gate to more gifts,
One pancake'd poinsettia,
Wreath on your head,
A fluffy hat and beard,
Jamaaliday Scarf,
Green and red jacket,
One spiral hedge,
Candy cane socks,
A pole to the North,
Mech Angel Wings,
One broken dream,
One welcome mat,
Wristband made of leaves,
Eight strung bells,
One creepy mask,
And a hedge that nobody got~ 

*heavy breathing* Did... that... help???

I have not been online as much as I've wanted to, so my den is not decorated for winter aside from a bunch of snowy trees. Luckily, the Diamond Shop has a limited time sale of older Jamaaliday Gifts!

I'm gonna use those 129 diamonds to cover my den in snow angels. :3

There's also a lot of stuff at the Jamaaliday Jam to help you decorate:

Around the last update, there was a change to the Forgotten Archive that went missed by most people:

Instead of all the scrolls linking to one book passage, most (but not all) of the passages that have been showcased here are now lined up for you to read.

If you have no clue what I'm talking about, I don't blame you. Changes in passages were never publicized on the Jamaa Journal. Basically, every update since the opening of the Forgotten Archive, the scrolls linked to a new passage from a Jamaa history book. I screenshotted all of them and posted many on my blog, but here are them all:

You'll see that each passage comes from a separate volume of "A Complete History of Jamaa" so you cannot tell which passages are consecutive. Presumably, they are all just currently standalone. Aside from the Alpha passage, all are now readable in the archives.

Depending on your knowledge of AJ lore, some passages repeat common knowledge while some bring up questions. Is the yellow jewel the wolf heartstone? What do the other heartstones look like? What calamities have been brought upon Jamaa by its inhabitants? 

I wonder if more passages will be added.

On the topic of heartstones, I wonder if there's a way to guess which are which...

It seems that each Alpha has been given a colored gem motif in these statues. Could the order be... rose quartz, sapphire, ruby, amethyst, topaz, emerald? There are tons of gems out there, but those are just some well-known ones. 

Most likely, the heartstones are not based on actual gemstones, but we really can't know for sure.

Additionally, it looks like the color schemes of these statues don't match the jewelry of the actual Alphas, so I think that clue is just a dead end.

Hmm... could the monthly birthstones released in Epic Wonders help us figure this out? Not sure, cuz there are twelve and not six.

Based on the Alphas' personalities, here are the real-world stones I associate with them:

Peck: Ametrine
Reasoning: Similar color scheme, and some people associate this stone with creativity.

Liza: Aventurine
Reasoning: Similar color scheme, associated with enthusiasm, and sounds like "adventure" :P

Greely: Agate
Reasoning: One passage from the scrolls above seems to imply the wolf heartstone is yellowish, and agate is sometimes thought to give protection and clarity of mind– some things Greely might need if he's messing around with phantom magic. 

Cosmo: Peridot
Reasoning: Similar color scheme, and some people associate peridot with friendship, positivity, and plants (mostly because it looks like green summer leaves).

Sir Gilbert: Red Jasper
Reasoning: Similar color scheme, and some people associate this stone with stamina, stability, and strength– all words that remind me of Sir Gilbert and start with st.

Graham: Citrine
Reasoning: Similar color scheme, and often associated with positivity and inventiveness.

You know, I don't really think the Heartstones are actually real earth stones, but perhaps they might be based on them. Part of me thinks the wolf Heartstone might be based on topaz.

Do any of you have a favorite gemstone? I think mine might be amethyst. :D

See you in Jamaa! Now I'm on winter break, I'll try my best to post as often as I can.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Introducing the Trading Post!

Hey Jammers! As promised, I updated that Trading Post page with some info about item rarity.

Check it out! I'll be updating it more soon.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

AJHQ Embraces Clans + Secrets You've Missed

Hey Jammers, happy Jamaalidays!

While yesterday was the first day of December, there was a widespread glitch where practically no one could open the first gift! I took this screenshot on that day. 

However, if you were one of those people, you really didn't miss much. This is what the Day 1 gift was supposed to be:

This calendar seems to continue the "tradition" started last year of giving out diamonds every other day as gifts, but a new one seems to have been introduced as well... on days 6 and 14, are those Masterpiece Tokens?

Up until recently, I had thought this promo item to be completely useless and that people trading for them just wanted a weird looking item. 

It was only this week that I learned Masterpiece Tokens allow you to make a free Masterpiece– Nonmembers included!

This is wonderful because the only reason I ever get membership is to make Masterpieces. Now I never have to spend that extra money again!!! :D

So, my fellow nonmember artist friends, remember to log on on December 6th and December 14th for the chance to make 2 free Masterpieces. ;D

Because today is the 3rd day of the Jamaalidays, there are still two gifts left to discuss. 

I had the idea to make up verses in the style of that "12 days of Christmas" song for each gift given out. I don't know how long this will last, given that there are 31 gifts, but I hope this might be helpful if you'd like to remember what gifts were given out on which days. XD

So, I begin:

 On the 3rd day of Jamaalidays, AJHQ gave to me: Eight strung bells,
One creepy mask,
And a hedge that nobody got~ 

I'm not sure if I'll be able to post everyday to add a verse, but every couple day's I'll continue it. 

Aside from the advent calendar, a few other notable things have come out this update:

As is every year, there's the Jamaaliday Jam party, the ever-laggy Jamaaliday Rescue maze, and a new addition to the Zios Archives adventures: The Mystery Below. O_o

I have not yet went through it yet, but once I do I'll be sure to tell y'all all about it!

Another thing in the Forgotten Archives that people seem to miss every update is the constantly changing scroll excerpts:

The top one is last update's, and the bottom one is current.

The scrolls that are constantly changing are the ones on the bottom floor in the tall shelves. I have screenshots of most if not all of them so far, and eventually I'll compile them all together. 

This update's new excerpt raises some interesting questions: what calamities have been brought upon Jamaa by us, its inhabitants? Well, there's scamming, hacking, and some bullying, but what is this passage referring to exactly? Could it be environmental problems caused by the clearing of land? 

I guess we'll just have to wait and find out.

On a side note, I love each and every illustration in the Forgotten Archives. Maybe I'll use one of my Masterpiece Tokens to recreate one! ^_^

Before I go, y'all know already that I don't talk much about AJ Play Wild, mostly because I rarely log onto it, but something caught my eye recently on AJHQ's Instagram page:

Packs in Play Wild? What is this?

Apparently, AJHQ has not only embraced the idea of role-play clans, but they've imbedded a feature into AJPW that allows you to make one!

Most of the reason I don't go onto AJPW very often is the fact that 3D CGI makes me nauseous, but you know, I think I'll have to check this thing out. 

There's a lot of stuff on AJPW not at all on browser AJ. Then again, there have also been some mini-games on Play Wild that were introduced in the desktop version. Could packs come to browser AJ, perhaps? What do y'all think?

Before I sign off, it's come to my attention that there's some stuff I've neglected to do. First one being the creation of that Trading Post page, second one being that eclipse Appondale land map I've forgotten about, and third one being that drawing of an idea for a new Alpha HQ.

That third one is in the works. I haven't got much done on it this week because of busy-ness, but I will surely finish it within the next couple weeks.

The trading post page will come sooner rather than later. I'd say... within the week.

The Appondale land map, though? Well... the soonest you can expect that is probably towards the end of this month when my school goes on break. Land maps take hours.

I'm mostly just writing this out so it gets engraved in my mind so I don't forget. So sorry for the lengthy exit.

See you in Jamaa! :D


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Birthday :D

Hey Jammers! I was gonna have an AJ party because my birthday is today, but as I'm busy I can't. I might do it a bit late though, like next weekend? It depends on what you think.

Still, I've unlocked my den for the next couple days, in case any of y'all wanna check it out. I'm a nonmember so it's nothing special, but I did decorate a bit lol

P.S. I started a drawing on the upstairs of my Alpha HQ idea. Hopefully both drawings will be done within a week!

See you in Jamaa~ :D


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Alpha HQ WIP Art + Gratitude List

Hey Jammers! So, the reason I haven't posted since the very beginning of this month has to do with the fact that I like to do larger posts with more content. I only found bits and pieces this month worth posting about, so I kind of... waited for more. 

Also, you know how I promised I would draw up an idea for an "improved" Alpha Headquarters? I wanted my next post to show my idea, but it's taking some time.

As proof that I'm not just using this as an excuse to be lazy, here's what I got so far:

The uncolored parts are pretty faint, I know. I'll be doing a ton of coloring today though.

Basically, I think the ideal Alpha HQ would be less flashy, more earthy, and blend in better with the other rooms on AJ. It would incorporate lore a bit more– I can't believe there are no images of Mira or Zios throughout the whole current building. That's why my version will have two huge images of the two guardian spirits on the wall. X) 

I'm including the same clickable adventure items that are already in the current HQ– I think those are a great idea. I want to display them a little more naturally, though. For instance, boomseeds and whirlpearls are pretty common in adventures, so I think it's better for them to be haphazardly placed on a table than get their own little pedestals.

Also, I'll include the armor shop– but in a less flashy display.

Overall, I'm trying to make more of an HQ than a mansion. A place where Alphas can actually get stuff done.

Along with an eventual exterior of the building, I might add an upstairs and change some stuff around. That's kinda why I've been hesitantly coloring this in– I'm still figuring stuff out.

So, what's my overall goal with this?

Share it with AJHQ, of course. I know it might be insensitive to do so, considering the amount of work they put into the current building, but I feel it must be said that a giant crystal palace looks out of place in the Township. 

I'm not necessarily asking them to use my exact design (even though I'll give them permission to). I just wanna suggest that maybe they should consider something like it *wink wink nudge nudge* B)

What do you think? Should I follow through?

The next half of this post will be about different ways to celebrate Thanksgiving.

This image is from the Instagram page of Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, a wonderful place I've visited before. They do an event called ThanksLiving where you can sponsor a turkey rescued from being killed for Thanksgiving. 

The turkeys at the sanctuary are so sweet– their feathers are soft and angelic, their voices gentle, and they approach you for pats, just like little kittens.

Before I begin, I'm not trying to make you upset if you're going to eat a turkey's body today– you probably don't have much say in it, and this is in pretty short notice. I completely understand, I've been there as well. I just want you to think a little bit about the future, any situation when you can choose whether or not you eat another animal's meat. 

Let's talk about Thanksgiving. It's a holiday centered on eating a whole lot, probably more than you actually should! Abraham Lincoln started its practice in the USA, on the grounds that during colonization of North America there was a "first Thanksgiving feast" involving a nation of Native American people and white settlers. 

This is what you might have been taught in school, but given the brutal history of colonialism that often goes under the educational radar (and also the lack of recorded evidence so long ago), the idea of a "first Thanksgiving" is definitely more fantasy than reality.

However, I'm not trying to make you feel bad. I'm celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, as many of you who also live in North America probably do. Of course, me and my family don't eat many animal products like milk, eggs, or meat, so we're not going to be eating a turkey. We're gonna eat vegan pumpkin pie (which is super good), stuffing, and lots of veggies!  

I guess I'm telling you this to know for future reference: you can be really happy with meat not being the center of everything you eat. A growing number of people are!

Aside from eating, I thought it would be a fun idea to have a little list of things I'm grateful for... and invite you to add to it in the comments! 

So, today I am grateful for...

• Animal Jam (duh XD)
• The planet I live on and all its beautiful creatures, unlike anywhere else in the universe!
• The sun which lets this planet exist and thrive
• The moon that moves the water from which the world drinks
• My whole family, who let me be myself 
• The forests that are like cities for millions of creatures
• My grandfather, who is an amazing person and artist
• My school, which isn't perfect, but I'm still happy to go there
• My classes this year, which are really fun for once! 
• My favorite books that I love to reread over and over again ^-^
• My little group of school friends who are always there for me
• My AJ buddies and everyone who reads this blog :) 

What are you grateful for today? I'd love to hear in the comments! 

See you in Jamaa, my friends. Remember: your choices can change the world!


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The New Building That Must Not Be Named

Hey Jammers! I've actually been sick for the past five days so I really haven't even had the energy to post.

But I'll let you know, my dudes, I am not all that happy about the Alpha HQ thing. I'm not gonna rant, that's a bit useless at this point and I don't have the energy. 

But I do have some constructive ideas.

I never use Instagram, but whenever there is an update that annoys me I take advantage of the fact that AJHQ connects to their audience on there and log on through my computer to comment on their most recent post. I try to not be irritating and demanding (though I'm bad at proofreading so sometimes I slip up a bit).

Last Thursday during the update, I told AJHQ that the Alpha HQ looks out of place (in the kindest way I could) and they responded "Thank you for the feedback, Jammer." That's nice! Thank you, AJHQ. :)

A lot of other Jammers are sad that Club Geoz left. Here's a statement from Nafaria AJ's Jammer Opinion post on the subject that particularly resonates with me:

Yes, I hate it. However, beyond the fact that Club Geoz is gone, this new Alpha HQ just looks so... weird. I don't know about you, but it looks a bit too glamorous and glittery for Jamaa Township-- let alone Jamaa! 

Excessive jewels, crystals, and the like are not what I associate with the Alphas. A few here and there are awesome, but this Alpha HQ just coats and studs everything in shiny gems, almost in a show-offy way. Being the hardworking protecters of Jamaa, I would suspect the Alphas would prefer a more natural and practical aesthetic with a little wisp of mystery– like the Basement of Secrets. It doesn't look like they could get anything done in a mansion like this!!!

Of course, a little less crowded than this magical storage basement, but y'all get the picture. The Alpha HQ should be earthy, mysterious, and fit in with AJ's nature-based lore.

You know what? I think I'm less sad about Club Geoz now. We have the Play Wild Party. Honestly, I am fine with the idea of an Alpha HQ. Excited, even! I love all the information about the different adventure items. But you might agree that what we have now could use some downsizing. 

I think today, while I'm home sick from school, I'm gonna draw up an alternative building idea that fits better with the aesthetics present in the adventures, cuz that's really what the Alpha HQ is about. 

I'm planning on showing y'all and AJHQ, and maybe, just MAYBE they might understand. 

Wish me luck! 


Monday, October 30, 2017

My Den is Unlocked! :)

From now on, I'll be decorating and unlocking my den during certain parts of AJ "holidays".

Check out my den, if you want! I have a couple semi-spooky masterpieces you can look at. :3

Happy Night of the Phantoms!!!


Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Trials of Zios + Wolf Heartstone?

Hey Jammers! Wow... it's been a while since I've posted. Don't get me wrong, I check AJ every day for things worth posting about but I never... seem... to remember to post them. XD

So, here my friends. A little compendium of cool stuff!

First up, The Trials of Zios. In this unusually wonderful adventure, you will learn and be measured by the virtues of a true adventurer: wisdom, patience, wit, and fortitude through six trials.

These trials do not come with a hard mode, but if you wanna feel EXTRA ACCOMPLISHED when you finish them you can make the game harder for yourself by restarting the adventure every time the phantoms put you in a deep sleep. Okay, I know that's weird, but sometimes a challenge is fun!

The above screenshot is from the patience trial where you move troughs like in Overflow to direct water from the adorable water source towards a well so you can water every sunflower in the garden.

Something I thought of later: maybe all the plants were sunflowers because Zios' mask symbolizes the sun... XD

This adventure is a sweet and simple one reminiscent of Return of the Phantoms, or Liza's base camp training. Maybe a combination of both of those along with a dash of Meet Cosmo. 

It does not require much explanation and elaboration, but I will take the liberty of telling you which treasure chests hold which rewards:

These are all in order of their placement in the treasure chests. If you wanna go back and get a specific one, you can write something like "scrolls top center" on a piece of scrap paper to remind you. :)

In other news, have you looked around the scrolls of The Forgotten Archives Lately? Because something new and unrelated to the Trials has arisen:

Every update or so, a new scroll in the shelves above the Zios altar is revealed. This time, we get something never before seen: an image of a Heartstone! The wolf Heartstone, that is. What else could that golden jewel be?

Additionally, is it a coincidence that the jewels Zios tells you to collect during his trials look EXACTLY like the wolf Heartstone??? I cannot see how that would fit together. 

So many mysteries, so little time...

Before I go, I just wanted to let you know something quick:

I'm decorating my den for Halloween, and I've decided that once it's done I'll unlock it so you guys can come "Trick or Treat"! Hehe :)

I'll make a post to tell y'all when it's ready. ^-^

See you in Jamaa!!!!

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