Games, Tech and Blogging…I can't guarantee in that order.

Memorable Future

Perhaps I’m not a teenager anymore, but in the past I was one and more recently I’ve been reverting back into one. Growing up, I never had an adolescence like a lot of the teens do. I could point fingers but to say I wish I could do all the cliché teen things would be an understatement.

When I was 15 going on 16, I still didn’t have any friends to talk confide in; I had peers which I would hardly trust on a good day. I wanted to be a bit more fit but my tubby Asian body and my own teenage laziness said otherwise. I wanted (if you want to believe this) to fall in love and keep on dating my own high school sweetheart. However happy endings go, I never seen it. When I watch this feel good romances (or some “fit” dude hocking his new workout routine) on my computer, it reminds me of high school and all the things I never did because I never felt I was good enough for it all.

Now coming into my mid-20’s, I know my time as a teen is decades ago. I feel I missed out on the innocence and beauty that is seeing the world with fresh eyes. There are days I feel broken hearted, lost and empty. Feels like I missed a lot of opportunities I should’ve tried even back then I would have only imagined. Guess with age, we all get a bit bolder on our past; our “what if’s” become our “should have’s”. Out of the infinite possibilities in an infinite universe, we live within this infinite possibility. We chose to be here; I made all the choices, good and bad, to get here. Am I still fulfilled? To put it in many perspectives of many quandaries into one is difficult enough.

“Could I have done better in all my classes to get at least a B+ or equivalent?”

“Should I have been more involved into clubs or groups?”

“Should I have asked all those girls I had a crush on al those years if they wanted to go out with me?”

That last one weighs a lot to me considering how my experience with women is now. Being in my 20’s and out of school, dating is more difficult when you’re not stuck in the same box. I had many opportunities to ask a lot of girls out; as embarrassing as it sounds, I know at least a few girls I had some attraction towards. I never explored if it was romantic, platonic or just physical. Now here I am asking myself if I will ever find true love. “Where’s my one true love?” I keep asking, even now.

After dating a couple girls, I realize true love is insane. So insane it’s the reason I’m willing to wait to see it through. I am a gamer and insanity is always the challenge. Out of all the girl-wanting testosterone fuel rambling, confidence was something I never had and I have yet earned. Lacking in, I have an abundance of regret I try to carry hidden inside. Knowing well I will never able to undo the past, but I can write my own future.

Sure, I may not be a teenager anymore but I still have time to be youthful. I would concede I may never fall in love at 16 or go to prom with her, but I have the rest of my life to find the girl to slow dance with under the stars with our song soothing our ears. Sooner would be preferable for all my youth is now. In my life, I hardly have any memories worthy to recollect. Those that I remember, I remember fondly; of pure love and hope for the future, not alone anymore but full of purpose.

Full Circle.

With time on your hands, we usually default to doing something pleasurable on our spare time. I know when I upload videos to YouTube, I don’t have the luxury to play video games. The irony of having and internet connection yet only travelling at a speed close to pre-2000 DSL. Bottlenecked, it gives me time to evaluate my life. At first there were things I don’t want to revisit, now I am ready to face them. Replaying my life the past few years and try and organize everything neatly to figure it all out if I’m init for the emotional trip.

Flawed as I am, I realize I am not the cookie cutter individual. Turns out I am both a academic and social underachiever, or I choose to be it. I can’t shake the feeling I have missed a lot of opportunities I could’ve taken if a was just a bit of an extrovert. I was stuck being the timid and shy nobody which has regrettably backfired in recent days of my life and it all roots back to all these things I regret to do when I was young. Unfortunately youth is for a limited time, just like someday I will reach middle age and my health will slowly decline. The toughest things I put myself down on is my sociability. I never really communicated with people in high school. My teenage self never had a chance to enjoy the high school scene and do the teenage things. Falling in love, having a proper graduation, prom; these things I never attended because I was just socially awkward. In the end, playing catch up as an adult sucks and there are some things that will never be replicated directly in adulthood.

We are our own collection of regrets. There is no sense to run away and hide from yourself. It’s good to take stock and see what actions you can take. For me, I can never relive youth but I can be as youthful as possible.

Can’t cheat the game

Probably this has been the most existential idea a gamer has put forth. While we still bicker on the technology, games and consoles of the day for them to all turn to yesteryear’s junk, I sit here staring into the void inquiring on my ideas.

Life from the traveller has two points, the beginning and end; birth and death. As we take this journey, we realize these two points are never straight. Much like a winding path in the woods, you never see straight to the end but rather what you can see until you reach the curve. There are some which will let you look over the path but you will still have to walk it to get to the point where you observed. Still you will have to explore the path to reach your point of observation. “How does this relate to video games?”

Video games, whatever medium of choice, is indeed life. The time you bought it until you get bored of it. From the start of the story to epic climax. Point to point; this the game’s life and death. At the end when the round or the story is over, you can play again and enjoy it once more, unlike life. We can play ad nauseam, but it will have minute variations.

Odd thing about life mirroring gaming is vitality, the race to find methods to remain in youth; to stay young. Creams and lotions marketed as a youth serum to help reverse the aging process but no real evidence to say for certain your life is extended. In essence, you cannot cheat death. You can try all you want, but the more you push the more likely this pursuit for this obsession becomes your undoing. Cheaters never truly prosper.

We are our own video games and we are the gamers who must play them. We are set to this world of choices and consequences in a variety of difficulty. All of us dream of the easiest levels and the simplest routes. Surely we all want to find the easiest way to play through the entire game and even try for a speedrun. Ultimately a few things are just constants. We can never cheat the game and only the game give us the cheats when we deserve them the most. Lastly we are set into our difficulty level, there is no easy mode than normal.

Rather than finding the easiest paths, let’s all play the game.

Pride, Lack Thereof.

On my Facebook, I’ve liked a group called Stolen Valor. They are a group of past and present military members as well as civilians whose mission is to call our posers within their community. Though mainly Americans are called out, it’s no surprising there are people who have to guts to steal someone’s glory. As a Canadian, I don’t think I have ever seen anyone pose as a Canadian soldier and hopefully I will never see them appear. However something disturbs me deep down that is the act of loose debris and equipment on the monument. Littering as all of us would call it, I’m not going to get fancy; it bugs me even for a nation noted for its efforts for keeping the peace.

Reality of the last 100 years and prior, Canada has a very distinguished military history. In our history books (at least at my high school), teach our much about Canada’s sociological and economic history. From the Vikings to the fur trade, from the footholds in the south and west to domestic terrorism in the 60’s. Surely in our books, they cover the main battles and casualty count for all wars and skirmish in between; but out of the bulk of the entirety of Canada, it’s very taught as a subject matter to be taken into pride and consideration. To my generation, wars like the War in 1812 and the World Wars are known as words but not the deeds. Famous battles but not the soldiers who fought within them. Now 70+ years onward, all the monuments have been built and commemorated; even the Afghanistan War has seen the same treatment in stone and metal. The problem is not we have not done enough to remember the soldiers and veterans, but the effort to remember them; though not two independent ideas, but concurrent.

The recent offense that has me riled up is downtown in my hometown. It started with a man and a monument dedicated to the World Wars and Korea. To describe the monument, I would say it’s a 20-foot monument surround by a knee high metal chain fence much like those airport tape fences. The fence does mark where you can tread and where you cannot. I was there hanging out as I always do (I’m trying to be cool, it’s not very effective), then there is this man with a briefcase. At first, seems innocuous; then it gets better worse. He puts down his leather briefcase down inside of the fence; yes, he reached over and left something on the interior boundary. At first I was angry, what he did made me even furious. After he leaned over and pulled something out of the briefcase, pamphlets. Then he turned around to the passing horde and started to preach religion. That was strike two because I have a peeve about people panhandling religion and trying to push religion onto others through loose logic. In Canada under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, he is indeed allowed to speak his mind. I’ll give him that, however I feel offended by his briefcase leaning against part of the memorial. To me, it was equivalent to to sitting on a tombstone of someone you don’t really know. In the moment, I wanted to approach and confront him. However from what he is preaching, I wouldn’t think my logic would approach him the way it should unless I mentioned Jesus and God; I bit my tongue. Last that week however, it was inexcusable.

I had a walk past of the monument to run some errands, midday where the streets were crowded compared to an evening weekend. As I looked over, the man there was gone; however something appalled me. All over the front of the stone monument over the fence, there was trash everywhere. Fountain soda cups, hot dog trays, napkins and  all the fast food debris was all along. What really disturbed me was the bystanders that walked passed as I stood there. They neither reacted to the garbage nor showed any physical acknowledgement to the fact. I am speechless that these people just don’t care about the men and women who died in defence of this country. It’s almost shows the priority of the world now; pennies before pride. It makes me think how well do we really know our soldiers, then and now. When I was in high school, I asked that question and I went out there to seek the answers because I wanted to know more about this peacekeeping nation of mine.

In war and peace, the Canadian military does a lot with itself and other nations. I’ve read Canadians are as strong willed and fierce when it comes to operations overseas and domestic. Though the government does downplay our contributions, there are a lot of noteworthy contributions; military or humanitarian. When not constrained on what you learn, you learn the interesting things about a country. Definitely having an open mind you realize the neighbour next door can have just as an interesting past as yours. Which brings me back to the guy and the people in front of this memorial.

Perhaps our culture differs to much like the Americans. For sure, we don’t boast about our military and we focus on economics on the world stage. However you want to see it, society relies on a military and the military reflects the identity of its people to the rest of the world. Much like the world, we should appreciate our efforts regardless of our far ago and recent those contributions may be.

The Raccoon “Problem”

In recent local news, there has been a lot of talk about preventing raccoons from getting into the garbage. Not only rolling out new bins which are deemed “raccoon proof”.The idea of stopping animals from getting into my trash is laughable. Not just the idea of an impenetrable plastic box but also the fact that change how it opens would fully stop the raccoon. Classically we categorize animals as hunters, prey and scavengers with their own techniques for survival. The predators outsmart their prey. The preyed learn to evade. The scavengers; well they do what they do best, stay out of the way and survive. The do this well by coexisting with other animals and learning to outsmart other animals while keeping their distance. They are in between prey and predator, they can adapt easily and think independently. This intelligence is critical when surviving in the human cities.

Ever since cities have been around, there have been scavengers claim this as their territory. Mammalians and avian, they lay wait to pick apart our waste to use for shelter and food. So far as a species we tried to eradicate one species at a time since they bring in diseases and disrupt life within these cities. Ever since cities have been area, pest control has been an issue. Many of which are ingenious involving new technologies and innovations to push them out while some are simplistic as declaring open season on these creatures. While wildlife preservation is positive in it’s own right, we have to realize some of these buggers are bloody smart. With warm weather, these raccoons are going to be all over the place. In early May, I went to the gym early in the morning. I found a lot of raccoons foraging through the garbage bins left overnight for pickup. If you live in the city, you have seen these  raccoons. They’re massive; when they become road kill, they become organic speed bumps. We look for humane and conventional means to eradicate but perhaps our past could help with this dilemma.

Like fur trading of old, we should try and lower their numbers by hunting them. Using their big pelts to craft clothing, perhaps turn it into an internal economy. People can hunt the raccoons for pelts and the pelt scan be traded to turn them into clothing and the meat (if it’s not too gross) can be fed to humans or pets. My city has a lot of people who specialize in designing clothing, there has to be one person who can turn a raccoon pelt into an awesome cap. This would lower the raccoon population and at the same time have something to wear in the fall or have something to export to the world as a clothing material.

I’d say when a common creature like a raccoon populates the city, we should try more direct approach to decrease their numbers especially if they’re carrying parasites and diseases.

On The Outside – Thoughts On Anime North 2015

Waking up at 10 am after a long night of visiting the Toronto Congress Centre, I am unsure where to begin. I guess starting with the statement “be gentle, it’s my first convention!”

Before I signed on travelling to Anime North, I knew anime culture was a trending undertone of the city. I remember the days of trading Pokemon cards and reading Japanese graphic novels. I have never been an active participate and I regret never being immersed into these worlds of fantasies and fascinations. After a brisk line up to receive my tickets, I went on to check out the booths. Marvelled by the products around the world, I was more fascinated with the fan art. I’ve seen artists do incredible things with a pen and paper, but there are things I’ve seen done in many mediums ranging from simple to complex, cute to magnificent. I’ve seem metalworking rivalling trinkets made for the same franchise by a large manufacturer. I’ve seen glass made into plump animals especially in pigs of various colours and sizes ranging from the side of a fingernail to something that fits in the palm of your hand.

From famous fandoms and things fading obscurity, the artist talent astounds me. There were a few things that stuck out for me which I wish I could have snapped a few pictures. While browsing the “Crafter’s Corner”, I was transfixed on a steampunk pocket watch and pouch. The engraved artwork over the over and the intricate overlaying gears atop the brown supple leather pouch, it was surprisingly subtle and detailed. Perusing the penmanship of various artists over the floor, some have a very tradition anime style while some have more western influences. I regard them for their amazing eye for the mixtures of colour in their medium. Best I could do is a stickman and a childish tree (and clouds; puffy round clouds). Next through these bay doors laid a bare room with dividers seperating a concert and what I would guess is a VIP hall. Here I strolled through the tabletops games, I realized they brought the main attraction of cards. Which doesn’t bode well in sharing and celebrating the gaming culture; I’m a gamer and I was expecting this place to be just as packed as the main hall. Beyond the Magic and Pokemon TCG’s, there were some much more obscure games as well as the popular offerings of Warhammer, Catan and vintage game cartridges.

Unfortunately I didn’t bring enough money to spend on all the things I wanted. No watch, no piggy, no Steampunk Palin (yes, this exists). So next year, I hope I have a job so I can at least splurge on a few things. Definitely I have an eye on neat trinkets if they haven’t sold them.

Though it was my first time going to a convention and for due reason in the past, I believe my exposure to crowds (and a proper breathing technique). The atmosphere was more like a festival than a classical convention. It was more to uplift fantasy into the real world and to solidify it as pop culture phenomenon. Beyond the cartoonish figures and artwork, there was a small presences of other pop culture niches like sic-fi and steampunk. Multiculturalists say we are the melting pot, then Anime North is a melting pot of youth pop culture. Connecting us from here to all over the world, it was an interesting experience I hope I can someday return to with the same friends.

Re: The Gamers

(A reply to this blog post.)

In my honest opinion, society has been kind of slow on things, especially on things they don’t necessarily conform to the social norm. If you’re in your 20’s and 30’s, you are a witness to the changing times.

When I was a kid, it was considered dorky and nerdy to play video games or watch sci-fi shows like Star Trek. Anything that was relatable to killing people or sports was considered the pretty cool thing at the time. That was before PC’s became easier to use and fiscally easier to obtain. From there rather than picking up a baseball, everyone picked up a BFG. Rather than winning matches, they rather win…well, matches. Then the little niche that could had access to DSL internet and from there multiplayer brought people from all over the globe to pick a fight against each other. However even with a bolstering youthful population playing, there are some old world blues.

Every since the industrial revolution, there has been many who like to push the boundaries of human progress while some rather put tolls on them as well. Humanity’s greatest gift is it’s ingenuity, able to adapt and learn while to accept and question the old and the new. The problem is traditional economics as in “it’s a waste of time if it’s not making money”. Which explains a lot about why they put us down negatively. We, the gamers, are seen as lazy non-contributors to the workforce. We are seen to sit back and play than work tirelessly. In reality, gamers are hard working individuals. From my personal experience, the gamer’s who played more are more productive in real life. Then there is something remarkable about video games. With games connecting players in parties and guilds or similar system, it has allowed these communities to not only pool resources in game but individual strengths together. I can reminisce a few times, I joined a group who played well to their strengths. Not on class or race but on each other’s attributes such as time management, critical thinking and conflict resolution. The complete irony is from some I’ve met, they’re very talented in talentless jobs. I knew a game who was an outspoken person who would be a great public speaker but they were working at something low wage and closer to his weaknesses than his strengths. It’s not because he was lazy, but the fact is economics. In our society we treasure those who are educated and prove they are educated rather than the outgoing personalities and attributes we personally developed. These people, these gamers; they have what it takes but because of how the economy works, “Gamer from 2000 – Present” isn’t much of a qualification.

There are a few benefits for playing video games. Some are loosely substantiated, but from my personal experience the main benefit is escapism. Just having a world you can explore and create your own fiction is an amazing freedom, I use to play a bit of GTA IV and after a difficult day I rather cause harm to computer programs than to people. If I wasn’t allowed to do so, I might be a bit of an angry person. Well, I still am but I have control of it. As for reflex and visual acuity, I’m kind of on the fence. I’ve been playing video games at a young age and I have never exceeded the test’s average. I guess it’s how you look at the text and if you think you can beat it.

Though there is little to support the benefits and consequences to video games, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye. We could be at an interesting turning point where video games can enhance people’s psyhcological and physical well-being. Not only being able to see and hear better, but to live better and happier.

Open To Play

So here’s what’s going on for the end of the month on my YouTube channel.

With my Cities: Skylines gameplay, I think I’m getting close to finishing most of the game. There are unlockable building that require me to do a few things which I will try my best to get some of them. I want to aim for hard finish at the end of May so likely I might get 2 or 3 “monuments” before we finish as well as a cramped cities with suburbs dotting the edges. At the moment, it would be satisfying to finish the game once I’ve filled out the city. Perhaps one day I could revisit and try out mods or asset from the Steam workshop. For now I want to to be done by the end of May.

Recently I’ve been cleaning out my Steam wishlist and I’ve shortened the list to under 30 game at the moment, only 2 of those games to me are ones I would like to play. Newly added to the list is Elite: Dangerous, an indie successor to the retro classic space shooter funded by Kickstarter. Second being a sandbox survival and building game called Empyrion. Either are pretty good game and I want to go back to some indie games; preferably in the FPS, sandbox or survival genres. At the moment, I’m short on funds so this summer (thus a hiatus off WordPress and YouTube) I will be away working nonstop until early August. After that I’m planning on getting one game. Okay I’m going to be an addict and say I want two but I want to get at most two games year unless it’s free or gifted to me.

Now the start of my return from work, I am not sure what to do. At first I wanted to play the new game I would buy but I also have a bit of a backlog of games I would like to have a gameplay series. Here’s a few ideas I’ve been working with since I started playing since last year:

  • Replay Skyrim (Arrows to the knees, why not?)
  • Replay Fallout New Vegas (Knee capping because why not?)
  • Play Space Engineers regardless how immersion breaking the survival is at the moment
  • Elite: Dangerous for the cool factor

Yeah, it’s a short list but at the moment this is all the ideas I have for the near future.

As for Pulsar: Lost Colony and Interstellar Marines, I will try and inject some gameplay here and there. As I am writing this, there isn’t much going on with both games so in Pulsar: Lost Colony, I might want to try and find the last ship on our kill card until pre-beta comes out. As for Interstellar Marines, same situation. There hasn’t been a lot of update and no new maps have been released so it’s a choice of playing for co-op or playing single player in a very expansive map with aimbot-y AI hunting me down in the dark. Definitely if I die, it wouldn’t make good content; unless it’s a death montage. Definitely the end of this month if I have time, I’ll publish something beside Cities: Skylines to round of all the videos before my first hiatus.

I guess that is it for updates on my channel. As for my blog, I’m trying to write some creative ideas and setting them to publish during the summer until I return. So far I have two of the 7-8 weeks covered. So 6 more articles and I’m in the clear. I have to admit, I’m not a very forward thinking person so having even this might foresight is unprecedented. I like to wait and see, but with my job and this summer coming up it’s about pre-planning and making commitments stick. Even if they are voluntary commitments like this humble blog, I don’t let it go until it’s over.

Until next time and next week, let’s all prepare for an excellent summer!

What To Do…

The past four years on WordPress, I have continually published a minimum once a week. However things are becoming a bit more complicated as we push onto summer and my schedule changes from almost doing nothing and too much to write about anything. I have the end of May to figure it all out before I leave for about a month or two.

Of course my loyal readers, you have stuck it out for the past year. Things have changed and yet stayed the same on my blog, but I still stay loyal to the base commitment to you. I kept writing even after a lot has happened in my life and this is no different.

As I see it, the last week will be the last bits of my Cities: Skylines gameplay on my YouTube channel. There may be more videos loaded up but I wouldn’t be around to published them until I get back around August. Therefore, I will be taking a hiatus doing videos and I may come back to do some other games if I can finish my Cities: Skylines series. Nothing in stone yet but I am hoping Space Engineers.

As for my WordPress, I will do my best to load on some pre-written material to be published on the weekly so I don’t lose my commitment to you guys. Some of you have been here since the inception and some have just joined us on our journey. Regardless, we will be travelling along the road together. If not together, then in spirit. Of course, you will be missed but when I return, I hope you folks can tell destroy my comment section with all the things you did.

Four weeks and counting.

Re: “52 Days Left.” – How to teen, from a loner.

[Response to captainjuliet7’s post]

Fair winds to you too, Capt.

So far you are the shortest post I’ve read with much to say about it. Though I am a guy, I think I could provide some insight from my perspective before you set sail for the next 50 plus days.

Before you scrutinize every syllable and say, “what should I listen to this random voice of the Internet?” Well, you don’t have to but perhaps someone who has travelled through the path of puberty and teen drama before it was teen drama; I admit I did not choose the loner life, loner life chose me. As a objective observer of the fates, high school friendships are a toss up anyways. Sooner or later you or your friends will fall away and you will live your life of very few interaction with them. Perhaps you kindle a long term friendship with a few. Whatever the outcome, rest assured wherever you go you will always meet more with diverse personalities. The long run like any relationship, it will all end. From personal experience, female friends can be pretty chatty about nothing and guys can be nonsensical. In all the advice I can give this should be a no-brainer.

If they don’t like you, leave them. If you hate them, dump them. If it risks too much, then don’t go for it. Especially with guys and coming from a guy, be super careful because you never know one of them is crushing.

I hope for gently seas in your future!


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