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It's been another period of ups and downs.

I have braces on my top row of teeth now. My mouth isn't as sore as it was, but it's robbed me of a lot of natural enjoyment of eating. I have brackets, which seem to be easier to manage than regular braces, I guess? It's only now they're starting to become easier to deal with. With any more time and luck hopefully I'll forget they're even there (not entirely, obviously).

Yesterday while waiting for the bus to work (which I actually didn't have to take, but wasn't aware of it at the time), I could smell the beginnings of autumn in the air. The wind was chilly but it felt so good after such a dry summer. It carries a lot of memories for me of when I was younger and in Catholic school. We used to have a festival in the parking lot every year around this time--rides, tents, food, the whole shebang. I remember the lot of us would take extra long bathroom breaks just to look out the bathroom window and watch the carnies setting up the rides, wondering if they'd have any new ones that year. The teachers used to come in and scold us for taking so long, and heaven help them if we were in a classroom facing the parking lot that year. Those festivals were always a blast, even one year where we had a lightening storm and hung out in the tents for a while.

The leaves have slowly started to fall from the trees too. I've missed fall more than I realized. Work's beginning to pick up in terms of busy days, so I'm dreading the holiday rushes to come. I have three new betta fish now: Pepperoni, Jack and Bardock. Pepperoni is a beautiful bright red. Jack and Bardock are both different shades of violet. <3

Lately I've been skimming through Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood. I became curious after hearing about Envy's death; rather the way of how it came about. I never got into Full Metal Alchemist, really. I used to watch the first anime adaption of the show waiting for InuYasha to start on Adult Swim a long time ago; before InuYasha became a plotless trainwreck. FMA wasn't a bad show by any means, and some episodes were pretty good. I just for whatever reason couldn't get into it. I liked the episodes about the homunculi like Envy and Wrath the most, and the occasional ones showing the dark sides of alchemy (such as what happened to Nina). As it turns out FMA took a sidestreet away from the main plot of the manga and did some things differently, which is what Brotherhood changed by directly following the manga (or so I understand). On that note I'd like to say for the changes they made FMA was still a good series on its own, and the changes they made for the ending of the series were really quite interesting for something the author didn't write. Brotherhood seems to be a lot less personal, for lack of a better word. It includes more of the characters that didn't have much screen time in the last series and the connections between characters (besides ones like Roy and Hughes and Hawkeye) aren't so direct. Each series has its strengths and weaknesses, but they're very closely related. I never understood all the arguing about which was better. If anything I think FMA is proof that sometimes you CAN do a good job with an adapted work even if you don't follow the original source material to a T.

I will say this: to anyone who thinks the English dubs of either series were seriously bad, in the words of Wendy Powell's Envy, are you a moron? Those dubs were fantastic. Go watch an episode of the 4Kids dubbed Shaman King and tell me you still think they're terrible. I'd go so far as to say that I enjoyed the English dub of Brotherhood more than I did the original version, and that's not to say the original audio is bad, because it isn't. Romi Park (Ren from Shaman King) and Minami Takayama (Hao from Shaman King, Flash Sword Irene from Claymore) are both involved in the original cast of Brotherhood, as well as other well-seasoned actors. In personal opinion though, I thought their English counterparts did a slightly better job in terms of sound for their characters. Wendy Powell does a phenomenal Envy; in terms of actresses that voice male characters, she's my absolute favorite next to Linda Young, who voiced Frieza in the original English dub of Dragonball Z. (I just wish they hadn't changed little bits of Envy's original dialogue, like changing "Bye bye" to "Goodbye" when it dies in front of Edward. It's little things like that that show how immature Envy really is.) Vic M. does a great job as Edward Elric as well, and though I love Romi Park as an actress I can't hear anyone but Ren talking during her performance as Ed. (What I find interesting is that Minami T. voiced Envy and Irene in Japanese, whereas Wendy Powell voiced both of those characters in English. I wonder if Powell considers herself Takayama's English voice double, haha.)

I can't give a completely satisfactory opinion of Brotherhood. I skipped around because I could not give less of a crap about the military/Ishval plotlines, and the story of Ed and Al only holds my attention at certain points. I don't have a problem with the writing, or the characters, or anything significant. It's just neither plotline appeals to me as much as the story carried by the Homunculi, and I find them to be very interesting. Also I know I'm in the minority here when I say I think Roy Mustang is an overrated douchebag of a character. On that note the death of Maes Hughes I think is also extremely exaggerated by fans. I'm not saying it isn't sad but they milked the absolute shit out of his murder in Brotherhood. In the grand scheme of things, Envy's bigger crime was sparking the Ishvalan war. Think of all the husbands who probably died in that conflict that had families of their own, and it all happened because Envy pretended to be someone else who didn't even want to be involved in Ishval affairs, and shot a little girl. That being said, I thought Roy's "revenge" on Envy was played out in a very interesting fashion and I like that Roy came close to becoming an arguably bigger monster than the homunculi after basically hunting down and brutally destroying Envy for almost ten minutes; setting him on fire in the most painful fashions numerous times until Envy was unable to regenerate anymore.

If anything Brotherhood solidified Envy as my favorite character. Keep in mind I'm not disputing that he/it's a terrible being and maybe even deserved all the torment it earned in the end. But Wendy Powell sold the character for me particularly in the humor department. Envy is a bastard you love to hate because he enjoys his job so much, but he usually ends up getting his ass kicked anyway due to his big mouth. I'm seriously thinking of getting an Ouroboros tattoo like his on my left leg--not just because I like him, obviously. The Ouroboros is basically "the ancient mystical and alchemical symbol representing a serpent or dragon devouring its own tail, so as to signify infinity and unity. Being a circle, it shows that infinity has no beginning, nor end, while the dragon biting its tail shows that the beginning and end of infinity are the same place." I want to find hope in that there's no true ending; I want to believe things like love and the feelings behind cherished memories never end.

Have a link to my favorite wrestling match ever for no reason. :> The Undertaker will always be my favorite.