A dash of this, a smidge of that…

Cooking, Minecraft, and houses! Who could ask for more?

I enjoy cooking quite a bit.  It’s amazing taking some foods, adding some spices and boom, bon appétit! I recently made some jambalaya, a specialty of mine and I just can’t get enough of it. Every time I make it, however, I always wonder if it’s good enough. It’s gotten to the point that every time I see jambalaya on the menu at a restaurant, I buy it and obsess over how my jambalaya compares. Seriously, it’s a miracle that my wife agrees to eat at restaurants that serve jambalaya with me.

Anyway, the point that I’m trying to get to is that I’m neurotic.  I’m also a glutton for punishment because one of the places I want to go visit is New Orleans and try some amazing food, listen to some fantastic music, and destroy my self-confidence when it comes to cooking jambalaya.

Well, not really the point I’m seeking to make, but just a fact.  My point is I like mixing things together to create something that is better than the sum of the ingredients. That’s synergy, folks! and really cheesy!  Anyway, this is how I see Minecraft.  I start with some “ingredients,” usually decide that I’ve done an awful job at something, and go back to the drawing board and try it all over again.

Anyway, here’s attempt number one of the row of buildings in the northern district.  They’re sort of like my medieval interpretation of the Painted Ladies in San Fransisco (Remember Full House? Boom!) and some houses that I’ve seen in my hometown.  Below, I started to frame up the buildings.

Below, I started to frame up the buildings and began to add some different blocks to make some choices.  I need to add something in to break up all of that wood, that’s for sure.  I like the fence posts and the concrete walls as well; it is good to get different sizes going on in builds (which is difficult in Minecraft, that’s for sure).

We’ll return to these later, that’s for sure!



Concrete is out! Yessss! Nothing too special here, just trying to decide on what I want to replace the stone with.  I have to admit, I don’t think that concrete will be a good fit here; the flat texture is amazing in different builds, but definitely not here.  The cyan clay (far left) at least has some texture to it, but it’s too dark…

Garvog gets an update! I think that the concrete WILL fit on the blade better than the diorite.  I think. Maybe?

You decide! The left side of the blade is diorite, right side is white concrete.

Nothing Like a Fresh Cup o’ Joe!

The town square gets an upgrade and the eastern water feature gets a bridge!

There are many times that becoming a teacher was a questionable career choice.  For some reason, people think we got it easy, especially with having the summers off (just for the record, the seven weeks that I get off in the summer are more than made up for during the actual school year with unpaid extra work).

Anyway, with summer well underway, I’ve gotten into quite a relaxing habit of waking up and starting the morning with a fresh cup of coffee and some form of relaxing–reading, catching up on some old tv shows that have been rotting in my DVR, playing some Minecraft.  The feeling of contentment and total relaxation is amazing, one that I wish I could bottle up and save for the school year.

Anyway, this amazing feeling of contentment leads to some Minecraft inspiration, so without further delay, I proudly present today’s post: the old public office building!

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The exterior was difficult and is definitely subject to change.

The interior is all made of chocolate! Yeah, I know, that’s a lot of brown, but as soon as the exterior is finalized a little more, I’ll go in and add some variety.  The ground floor is a general store, so there will be a ton of different colors and objects to break up Chocolate Island.  The upstairs could be a combination of an office and/or an apartment for the owner.

The last little addition today is a bridge that goes over part of the newly added water features in the eastern kingdom.  I was trying to model this off of some similar bridges I saw in Central Park in NYC: lots of stone, low rising, ya know.  It’s a good start, but, as always, there will be some updates in the future, I’m sure.

So Many Ideas!

Like a dog chasing a bunch of squirrels, my mind is all over the place! Try to keep up!


Oh, today. Today has been a day.  It’s reflected in my post as well.  I just couldn’t settle on ONE thing to do, so I bounced around all over the kingdom like a stray ping-pong ball.  Unfortunately, today isn’t going to involve too much content. Instead, I will be using this post as a brief introduction to some new ideas that I am going to build.


Every kingdom needs to have these. I’ve started laying out two different barracks in two separate districts–the northern and the western.  These will include a small armory, a small sleeping quarters, and a training yard.  Now that I think about it, I might need to add a stable as well….hmmm, this is why I like blogging my projects. It encourages my brain to think and develop some new ideas.

Northern Kingdom




Western Kingdom




2017-05-21_19.04.48One of the first things I had started to plan out when this entire project began was a blacksmith. I knew that, without a doubt, there would be a blacksmith in this story, and I am planning on him or her actively playing a role in this story.  I personally have always been drawn to blacksmiths in stories, so it’s only natural that I include one in my own work, right? I’ve only started laying out the different sections of this build, but I can tell it’s going to be fun already!

Northern Kingdom Houses

One of the things I felt that I was lacking was houses and places for people to live.  This is a kingdom after all, and it is more than just buildings, haberdasheries, and inns.  Two houses will be built up the road of the Grumpy Bear, with some more possibly on the other side.  I’m purposefully trying to make these homes different from those that will be in the third district.

I’m purposefully trying to make these houses distinct from those that will be in the third region.  Remember, the northern section of this kingdom is the oldest–it started off as a small village due to the library (that I haven’t touched yet….).  The growth of the village into a city and a kingdom later resulted in the need for more houses.  The row of houses (more details coming soon) and the houses by the eastern district (not even planned yet…) are a response to the first call for more homes due to the increased population.   Eventually, the third district is created, and more living space is created. Each section will be built and look slightly different to show the passing of time.





Wrap up thoughts/Stuff to keep thinking on…

Maybe I shouldn’t say kingdom. It’s too large of a scale I think.  Maybe I should just say city? Food for thought….

Minecraft 1.12 is live!

I know, mega-uber nerd alert! Who gets this excited for updates for any video game, let alone Minecraft?

Well, me!

Today is a great day because I now have access to concrete AND concrete powder! I’ve got 2 new textures with 16 colors each to play with! Oh, I can’t wait! I promise NOT to redo the entire kingdom, but yes, there will be some updates to current builds. Right now, I’m thinking Main Street for sure!


Sneaky Haberdashers!

Morty’s story continues! I’m feeling spunky, so I’ll introduce another new book, too!

There are at least 100 other builds that I could work on in this crazy world of mine. I could work on the northern town square, I could work on the library, maybe I could even start a build over in the Dwarven kingdom…

Nah, instead, I work at the haberdashery. Why? Because that’s what I felt the inspiration for today! For starters, I’m not sure if Morty’s Haberdashery will stay called “Morty’s.” For starters, this shop is an ORIGINAL. It’s been around forever! If his great-grandfather began the shop, why would it be called “Morty’s?” Hmm… maybe they’re all named Morty?


So, this scene looks familiar, right? Just some of Morty’s stock and a work table for him to work on his orders, right? (Hint: The wood blocks are the work table. Use your imagination, people!) Nothing to see here folks! Or is there… If you look closely, you’ll see a button hidden on the side of the work table. What could that possibly be there for?

I made the secret room! Now, in the story, the secret button would lead to a hidden staircase or something.. However, between the size of the build and the complexity that would require in the building, I just made it a secret trap door.

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So,  Morty’s workstation/enchanting room would work nothing like the Minecraft system.  They’re just symbols for the process that Morty uses in his shop. Anyway, this room will be well hidden, but easily accessible.

Now, I’ve just come up with another idea that I’m going to think about: Would Morty have a secret exit to get out of the shop should the need arise? I feel like any self-respecting rebel would have one… or would he just hide in his shop until the danger cleared?NK050Apparently, sneaky haberdashing is quite lucrative!

The newest addition to this segment of “AJ Talks Books” is yet another fantasy book. I really need to branch off more, I know. Anyway,  it’s called Shades of Magic, written by V.E. Schwab. Now, my first thought when I heard this title was, “Oh great, a fantasy 50 Shades of Gray book…”  Don’t worry, it’s not!

Here’s the skinny of it: the setting is the big feature of this story. Kell, a magician, works for the royal family of Red London. Yes, Red London.  Located in the same geographic location as Red London is Gray London, White London, and Black London. Now, they’re not stacked on top of each other like a giant stack of British pancakes. Oh no, the “gimmick” is that there are different realms, all with the same city. Each city has it’s unique qualities that

Now, they’re not stacked on top of each other like a giant stack of British pancakes. Oh no, the “gimmick” is that there are different realms, all with the same city. Each city has it’s unique qualities that differentiate it from the others.  Now, Kell can travel throughout the different realms, but he is one of the few who can.  Most Londoners, of all realms, don’t really know the other’s exist.

Like any good book, the story revolves around the use of and gaining more power than others. I’m not going to lie, this story didn’t really pull me into it like some of the other books I’ve read recently has.  The characters didn’t really feel very well developed personally. Well, maybe that’s not accurate. The characters were developed, but I had a hard time connecting with them.  The characters only grew because of backstory, not really because of the plot.

I know, I’m not super clear.  There are two sequels to this book that I’m planning on checking out in the future, and I’m sure that I will mention the sequels when I’ve finished them.  I guess my final review of this book is I’m intrigued enough to keep reading, but not instantly in love with it like I was with some other books I read in the recent past.

Third Time is the Charm!

Two more tries and finally…FINALLY…this stupid haberdashery is done.

So, before we begin, and keep in mind that I backlog quite a few entries on here.  Currently, I’m about a week and a half in advance, so if it’s already come out, I’m sorry.  I’m ready for Minecraft 1.12 to be released. It is SO CLOSE I can taste it. I want the concrete powder. I want the concrete blocks! They might have helped with the travesty that follows below…

Welcome to Morty’s, one of the founding buildings of this kingdom.  The slide show below was the THIRD iteration of the build for this building. Persistence and perseverance, right? Wow…Yeah. Anyways, this is Morty’s.  He comes from a long line of haberdashers.


What if Morty has a “side business” involving more rare and unique wares? Yeah! I can feel the inspiration tidal wave coming now!

Business for a haberdasher is always steady and consistent. Everyone needs clothes, and it’s easier to patch and repair an old article of clothing than it is to buy a brand new item.  For Morty’s father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather, being a mere haberdasher was enough.  Not for Morty however.  Morty craved more, and he saw an opportunity to help individuals with more unique requests.

So Morty spent his time selling and repairing clothes like his father before him.  However, after the sun sets and the doors of the haberdashery lock up, he sneaks down to the basement of the shop and enchants items for the people with the coin to pay for it.  Never mind that the current ruler of LKAJLKDJF (city name) has placed a ban on selling or creating all magical goods; what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him, right?

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Now I need to go back into this building and build a secret basement! Ahhhh! Hopefully, this addition goes smoother, faster, and easier than it did the first time.

As we leave today, I wanted to leave you with another screenshot that blew my mind. This is really starting to turn into something, isn’t it? NK045