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

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!

Saying Sorry.

Memories. For some are easier to make or hold on to while some are the contrary. Regardless, memories are the artifacts of our past. Some are indelible than others; we are marked from life to death to our wins and losses, successes and sorrows, the riches and poverty. In our lives on Earth, we have the potential to touch the lives of at least one person. This is a fact whether you avoid all contact with people or you are the most sociable of people, you will leave an impact whether you realize it or not. The toughest part I would think is admittance to failure to meet their expectations; we either will stack up or disappoint them. If not this, then put simply is whether we leave positively or negatively.

Like many philosophers, scientists and poet before me have said, we live in one point in the universe. We the billions in concert inhabit a period within the middle of a paragraph of an essay. Upon this essay, we are surrounded by many essays within anthology of anthologies on a bookstack to belong to one Dewey decimal value. Contained within a library, many of which like it; we are the dot. A period some young folks won’t realize, is powerful in itself. It’s the alpha and omega of sentence structure. We are no different than the grammatical period. We can start and end life on this planet – we create and destroy. We decide the fates of ourselves and others on the daily. Without realizing you will look away or offer to help, the impact is the same; positive or negative. For the things we have the opportunity to go back to, we apologize with same word. Sorry. “Sorry, I couldn’t be there”, “sorry, I wish I could help”, “sorry”. Sorry is an easy word when we admit mistake and are able to negate it. However sometimes “sorry” isn’t enough. There are actions in this world we cannot forgive in one simple word. “Sorry I had to fire you because of budget”, “sorry I shot your son with my pistol”, “sorry I gassed and killed millions”. Would you forgive the people who said these words? “Sorry” to me is mute, shows little remorse and laziness to admittance. Whether you are sincere or not, “sorry” is unacceptable; no phrase would change those actions you have deliberately taken. We hear it too much on the daily, it’s hard to forgive someone right off with a simple “sorry”.

Regardless the offence, “sorry” will never overshadow personal reformation. The actions you take to show the world you are different than you were before, hopefully changed for the better. You are the person you want to be, terrible as you are the future is just beyond. In its infinite possibilities and infinite places you can put your period, but the only time you can start is to end. Likely many of you, we should think about those who hurt and be reminded that no apology can ever change what you did to them but we can start something so no one can or will ever be in that situation ever again. Perhaps this would be the change to make us better people, kinder and considerate. The world does not run on promises or words, but deeds and actions. You are the change, you are the future. Be the period so we can start a new sentence.

Acta non verba

Play the Game

When I was a kid, play time was a fairly restricted thing both in time and money. Growing up I wanted to have all the Hot Wheels and Legos but my parents rarely let in. Of course in the end, I joined my generation’s fascination with television and watching as much as I can to fill void between homework and dinner until I knew about the Internet. One of the challenges now as an adult is to find balance between free time, personal development and my profession. Many see their life as work and play, two things people seem to latch on to either sooner or later in life. To me it doesn’t seem quite the simple case.

Like many adulthood-like things, we tend to define definitions; be the definite definition that defines definitely, well you get my point. As a kid you never really had to do that, as you grew everything dials itself into a definition. Fun time becomes play, play then is for enjoyment which can then be experienced when certain tasks are accomplished and time is allotted. We become affixed to sets of rules and conditions which has been placed there to wither hinder having fun or promote efficient work over inefficient play. The difficulty behind this either letting go of play or holding onto play. Many people I’ve seen have either displayed an ordered attitude while some seen off the cuff and free to play.

When it comes enjoyment alone or with groups, we most of the time think about games. Videos games, tabletop games, sports; these are the games we play with no monetary value attached to play. These games each of their set of rules and conditions, how to achieve victory through a means. Sound familiar? Work is a set of rules and conditions to achieve an income through a means. Whether you like it not, both work and play are fairly similar however the difference come back to childhood. It feels like work because you are coerced to be there, much like how your friends take you somewhere you don’t like and the hours seem to last forever.

From the day we are born until we die believe it or not, we are playing a game. Condition being you will have to stay alive and the rules change as you grow up. “If life itself a game, how do I win the game?” To be frank, there is no definitive answer which makes life a hard game to play. With no real victory, people say when you die the game ends. On death, you lose and no one is necessarily a winner. What if death isn’t the end all to this game? What if death is just a a rule? A natural rule where death is the end of your time much like time based games. If so much like timed games, the victory conditions are not when the game ends but how well did you do within the confines of the game. Perhaps life is more like Boggle than it is Monopoly. Perhaps life isn’t how slow or fast you die, but what moves you make and the actions you take.

Without a known victory state within this construct of a game, we tend to see out those who seem to be “good” at playing the game. The successful bunch, the rich bunch, the happy bunch of people who seem to be getting along well in life. Like the games we play, we have to lose some and win some. The experience in losses and gains regardless of the outcome. Much like life, we make choices we regret and actions mistaken but this how we learn. This is how we make our moves accordingly to achieve the means. Maybe life can be the most humbling game for us all to play. We receive one chance to do all the things we can until we die. The only thing stopping us to knowing the victory goal is complexity.

For me, I don’t see myself as money maker, a philanthropist nor a thrill seeker and risk taker. In my heart, I’m a gamer, player of games. In the complex defined rules, I know the end will happen to me as well one day. I have now until that day to find the victory. It’s surely not immortality I seek where indefinite game time is allotted so I can play forever. Though money is a concern, having reserved stacks of funds would do very little for me in the end since death takes away all the personal memories and cash you accumulated. So the winning condition must be what I can do with the time I have. All the accomplishments and actions I take matter regardless of risk. To me, the game of life is just this, to do what we can humanly can; to live our lives. This is our victory condition where we experience the world around us rather than being concerned about the empirical summation of our lives. Our existence makes the difference of what we have achieve and what has yet to be accomplished. Which means life isn’t about a set number of actions or a set goal, but perhaps our own legacy to the world to let the generations of gamers ahead know we have played the game.

We might not “win” the game, but we should surely try and play as well as we can.

Sex Ed Curriculum

Recently my local government have decided to change up how sex education is deliver to students in public schools. Like anything coming from the government, there is always opposition against change or goes against their beliefs or opinions. In a recent news article, I read about the public school curriculum to include sex education to be more relevant to this generation. Which includes content about same sex relationships, masturbation, social media awareness like sexting and online bullying and gender awareness; the curriculum comes at a time where it’s more than a decade outdated. The opposition against these changes are those more focused on how the government came to a conclusion than considering how the content will be more inclusive to educate the next generation. Though both ends are in the right, I would consider how sex education should be introduced to children rather than what should be taught and who should be teaching it.

As a former prisoner of the public school system, I can definitely be sure, there are a lot of faults in the system. In particularly the routine of teacher within the confines of what the school board sets out. The system is effective at teaching however it doesn’t engage the students to learn. The only motivation when you reach high school is then to get into university. After a certain point it feels more like an institution that imprisons more than it educates. You go in day after day to learn and do things you don’t necessarily want but you need in order to satisfy the social norm of “successful”. Fact of the matter is success is within the diversity of knowledge we can pool from and not the knowledge base we are given.

Sex education like any other subject should be approached with a mindset of a diverse conversation. Not of a voice to tell you if you are right or wrong but should be inclusive to not discriminate. Our world has changed so quickly in the last 20 years, we went from homophobic and in the closet about gender and sexual diversity to embracing gender and sexual equality. Perhaps it is time to be on the vanguard to education in general if not just sex education. We are not born with user manuals so perhaps we should know how our own bodies work.

As we live in our lives, we will encounter different people and personalities. I think it’s more than appropriate to teach children to be open and objective about the world. A lot of bad things have happened when people act upon another group because they disapproved on their lifestyle choices. Are we going to be no different than those who came before us or can we create the change we want to be? Could we perhaps be the society open to new ideas? If we are, are we willing to accept ideas and concepts foreign to our social norm? As I can tell from these protests, some are ready while some are not ready for what they could possibly gain. Perhaps the protesters themselves should be open minded and see what ideas would be shared in this updated program.

Until next time, I would like to give my final thoughts. The public school system isn’t the only education system you can put your children into, yet not the only prison either. There are private schools you can enroll them in and if all else fails, you can just home school them. If you want to be ignorant, don’t enforce it to the entirety of the system. Take control of the situation yourself than relying on the system to be your children’s parents.

More beef…with a side of beef.

I am having one of those weeks. Those weeks that come when the world seems to like to piss me off and get me riled up. I am not sure of it’s the spring rain or the people in my city but I’ll lay it down straight with you guys.

With the spring coming in, everything is wet. When I was a kid, this would mean I hated it because it would keep me inside. Growing up without the modern convenience of cable television or the Internet, it was a choice of being quietly bored or do homework. Nowadays, I’m doing my YouTube thing, writing to you guys or just catching up on some reading. Looking outside, I know I still have obligations to myself; my personal self. In March I started going to the gym and so far I am seeing some results. The rain complicates the fact I need to traverse thunderstorms and puddles to reach for my work out. I decided early onto commit 3 times minimum weekly. Of course because I’m pushing myself to push energy out of my body, I need to replenish it. What I do after a workout is go to McDonalds; before you guys rail me, it’s the only place open during that time of day that serves up food. Now here’s where things just annoy me.

At the 24 hour drive-thru and restaurant at this particular location, they decided to do some maintenance that night so they shut the doors. Since they had the 80’s style McD’s layout, you can see inside. No one in sight besides some folks working in the back. Lights are on and everything seems like they’re ready to serve you besides the sign on the doors saying the dining area is closed for maintenance. Defeated, I make the trek to the next location just 20 minutes walking distance. As I talk passed the drive-thru window, I see a driver receiving food! Now if the the dining isn’t being replaced or anything and the kitchen isn’t in need of maintenance, why the hell is this place closed? It’s no big deal until I went to the next location.

At this location I already ordered up and received my food, at this point I wanted to sit my tired body down and chow down. After a short while, I hear some yelling and banging at the counter. At first I shook it off since you always hear indiscernible shouting at McD’s, then the police showed up. Apparently someone was dissatisfied on the order they received. So much so, one of the parties called the police…to complain about burgers and fries. Seriously at this point in time, it’s early morning and this guy who probably had one too many as complaining about a sandwich from McDonalds. There is so much in his logic to facepalm but the major two is he’s squabbling over a damn sandwich and he’s doing it in an McDonalds. There is a phrase, “pick your battles”. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t get it. Suffice to say, I got out there before things could potentially get worse.

Aside from that, it was Easter so Friday through Monday was annoying. I’m happy for people to take a day off, I mean just “a day”; not two or 4 and certainly not back to back. Like I’m the kind of person that needs to go outside and do stuff but if the place I need to be or want to go to is closed, I’m stuck! Seriously, let’s figure out which day we can take a day off for zombie Jesus.

Until then, remember to don’t be a douche. If you do, someone will talk about you.

News for Fools

Yesterday, I had a a bit of fun on my Twitter account corresponding with a local radio station. To give you guys to speed, the local station on the top of the hour always reports a bit of the daily news. For chuckles since it is the Internet, I made some interesting “headline” news in 140 characters.

Rather dictating each one I had for the day, I think I will post a few here I considered but turned down. To follow a format, I had to keep it under 140 characters, quoted and with “more at [number between 1-12 depending on the time of day].” So here it is, for the laughs:

“Local man shoots self in foot, finds gold. More at 5.”

“Physicist says sky is not blue, but periwinkle. More at 4.”

“Woman sees for the first time. Saw seashells by the seashore. More at 9.”

“Martians come to Earth, returns with Curiosity. More at 1.”

“What you’re kids are doing right now that should worry you because we tell you. More at 2.”

“FDA approves sword swallowing as source of iron. More at 7.”

“Gun laws now require license for you to sat ‘pew pew’ in public. More at 8.”

“Microsoft is now a religion. Apple users declare holy war. More at 2.”

“World leaders elect ‘Supreme Master Leader of the World’, Joe from Arkansas. More at 1.”

“Ambassador of Nigerian prince approaches UN for aid. More at 2.”

“Facebook’s hired monkeys unionize, goes bananas. More at 3.”

“NSA to release what you did last summer. More at 6.”

“UN decides to separate world citizens into 12 sections to fight to the death. More at 6.”

“Scientists discover dihydrogen monoxide is extremely unhealthy. More at 10.”

“People like grapes. Census agrees. More at 11.”

I am surprised I haven’t found a job just to write this stuff. I am not much of a prankster, a witty jokester perhaps. Anyways Easter is coming and and I know a few people are taking some time off while I’ll be here doing what I’ve been trying to do for a long time.

Until next time readers, Happy Easter.


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