Rediscovering Me…Yet Again

As of writing this post, I’ve found my musical centre after listening to a lot of pop music. There is something about pop music that keeps me numb. Numb from joy and making things feel a bit upbeat, even when things are the contrary. Ever since I discovered music in my early teens, there has always been a part of me that jams with punk and emo music. Yeah, I’m admitting I’m a bit of an emo kid at heart. As an adult, I got nothing to hide from it. Kids are so immature at something they don’t understand and I’ve been on both sides who were and did ridicule.

The first time I ever hear punk music was Fall Out Boy, they were in the middle of their third or fourth album. I think it’s the second time they released Grand Theft Autumn. That was the song that hooked me into punk. From there I found Paramore and later on All American Rejects during their early wading into pop culture. I did find other bands, but they never stuck like those (and a few others). It was indeed something spiritual in terms of the music of the 2000’s, something happened and it was never replicated after. Any 20-something would agree that decade was great for music.

As much as I want to dig this decade’s music. It’s either too loud without a rhythm or it’s too fast which doesn’t have much of a soulful feel too it. Is it just me or just everyone’s taste in music has kind of dropped into a hip-hip and pop derivative. Nothing wrong but I’m kind of bored of the synthesizer and I want the bands with the guitars and drums (maybe a piano) with some actual vocals.

There’s always music in the world, but the music you want to hear is either before your time or hasn’t been yet. Much like life, it’s best experienced before we can make a choice. I’ve made mine. Definitely a bit of the mid-2000’s punk/emo era still lives inside me. Even when passed, I still find that music has transcended beyond to reach me.


Life is…Strange. Ohhhhhhhh!

I thought it would merit a blog post in itself since I’ve played the entire episodic narrative, Life is Strange. After a long 6 months since I bought episodes 1-5 on Steam, recently I finally put aside some time from work to play. All this time avoiding spoilers I can put in a review down without ruining any plot lines and there are a bunch of plot lines.

Developed by DONTNOD and published by Square Enix, you play as Maxine Caulfield who has travelled to Oregon to attend Blackwell Academy in hopes of being a photographer. Within the first month of settling in, you have premonitions of a tornado. You have 5 days to prevent it happening. Along the way of trying to save the seaside town of Arcadia Bay, you make friends both old and new.

You play in the third person in a narrative where each episode is a day until the end. As you play choices from the previous episodes can effect the story and how it will culminate. The art for the game does exude something resembling of water colours which exemplifies focus on the story while delivering a detailed (but not too detailed) atmosphere. The entire game is littered with story devices which opens the player to character development outside of Max’s journal. If you are an empathic gamer, you will find yourself thinking about these little bits of information as you interact with other characters and help make decisions throughout the game. The voice acting in itself is very professional and does feel very natural and fluid with each choice. The character animation is nothing impressive, there are parts where characters would just talk and wouldn’t necessarily interact with each other. Felt more like talking heads on the news than a theatrical performance. Definitely something work improving is the motion capture to let these characters interact with the space around than standing there and have it be consistent. Max’s time travelling provides a good plot device to allow the player to change their answer if they think their choice is undesirable considering most choices aren’t described fully. Usually the game will give your an explicit choice of actions or a vague noun like “Nathan” or “Joyce” and hope that choice is what you are thinking it would be what is summed in a few words. It makes a logical choice to have the choices concise but a bit more description would be helpful. Then again the time travelling ability really solves all that.

Thematically, the game is about choices. Choices everywhere and if you aren’t tainted by spoilers, these choices are interesting because they carry weight through the game and changes up what you can say and do. The developers seemed to explore the idea of choice in terms of a social sense with moral implications. Choices which challenge vices and virtues, needs and wants, truth and the perception of truth; the does give some good examples of philosophical dilemmas which defines our humanity. Who said video games can’t teach your anything?

If you haven’t decided to get Life is Strange yet and you want to play it, I would recommend getting all the episodes in one package. For the value of a movie ticket and popcorn (like 25 dollars-ish),  you get about 22 hours of content (That’s on my count, experience may vary). As much as the first episode is thorough in giving you a preview of things to come, the main attraction is a story which a game can only deliver. There are some faults in quality such as some bugs and some dialogue which fell flat because of the animation. It’s a good play with achievements which can be completed (for you perfectionists out there). In the end after I made all the choices and comparing similarities with my personal life, the title is indeed exclaims a truth. Life is strange, so very strange.

You are the Change

I spent most of my academic days trying to figure it out. The situation of self and the realization of “having career opportunities” with qualifications. I am not going to lie to a teenager like most educators trying hard to keep a facade, Schooling does not necessarily make you who you want to become.

In school, I tried many courses they offered. I tried a bit of information technology, elective mathematics and creative writing. For all the years, I even tried a lot of history courses. Of all the years and hours spent at home and at school beat myself over the head with homework I learned very little which is relevant. Of all all the things I learned, I know for certain is algebra is only thing which has solid applications as a course. Everything else is a basis on opinion and extrapolation. Essay writing can help build an organized opinion. History helped with developing critical thinking. Of all the English classes, I can say I can write and describe experience in words. History (aside knowing the United States had a very bloody past) has given me an opinion about and idea of where I live and what it means to be here. The end goal regardless whatever the course was a grade; hopefully a passing grade.

Though I am not a success story, I still have much to learn but there is what I know for sure. Of all the things I’ve learned, none of that matters to what I do. No one really wants me to write essays or do a lot of calculations. Getting out of school, it seems most work places just require you to follow instructions and maximize productivity within the position you are hired. “Able to follow instructions, verbally and visually” is the primary concern for employers. You start lower than what you know. Kind of depressing when every expectation of you is surmised into a sentence as seen from an employer.

Don’t be discouraged, we all started somewhere. We never become what we want, it’s the matter of determination and commitment to where we want to end up. It’s not just taking the education of where you want to go but what you do as a career. You will realize you will start on the very bottom where your career will seem irrelevant and you will have to build your way up. Sure you can be an academic, but most of the work comes from actual experience of both in and our of the career. The end goal in never really the what you wanted but how you have experienced everything.

Isn’t the trip only as good as the journey?

Picking Up Steam

When you’re younger, things seem to pass by so fast. Not much to remember and not much to regret. As the years pass, thing seem to expand and moments seem to linger.

In many ways we think we should have life travel faster when we were young, all the boring bits of high school and life. As an adult looking back, I had those days I wanted to blaze through the day until I can escape; now this is not the case. With work and life, I could only wish I had more time for everything. More time to play more, more time to spend time with loved ones, more time to make more money. There is only so much time in my life to do all the things I want, the problem is not the lack of time but the investment and commitment of time. A balance between going to play games but having enough time to work on my professional career.

I guess that is the curse of living and growing in a society like  this, we have so much but not enough to do what we would like. The world has so much to show you if you choose to pursue it, yet we are held into the comfortable and mundane. On the fringe, there is anyways something new and special. Yet here we are in the centre looking out and hoping something interesting comes along.

As I am writing this, the time is ticking for tomorrow to pull the long haul but stayed up  to write this because I know I will be far away from home to write another. No time to write, so much time to work. Partly of choice and necessity, it is society’s way. I want to commit to my personal life, but I need to find a balance.

We all need to find a balance.

Bit by bit.

“This is hard.” Three words to surmise every challenge we will or have ever back away and approached.  Especially when I was young, I felt really defeated because a lot of people said I was not smart, strong or cunning.  As much as “you are the best you you can be” mentality  can try and keep me, it’s only a short time before I get shot down again. Life can be accumulation of all my accomplishments and achievements; now I’m a tad older and wiser, I think it’s best to say not all those are someone’s expectations.

Awhile back, someone sent me a book about overcoming odds which has helped me piece together how I felt. In many ways, it has answered some questions I had about myself. Though I’m not much of a reader, I held onto every word to the next page. What has taught me I wish I had as a teenager, I can only wish I was a teen again and guide myself. In the book, it spoke of small steps to achieve bigger goals and thinking in new ways to change the perspective on a subject. As a trouble teen, I had a lot of problems with homework. Both the load of it and the deadlines worried me. Growing up in a household where completing all your work to the best of your skill was cherished more than sleep. As an adult now, I look back that most of all I did wouldn’t have mattered. All the lost time and opportunities have brought me here with this pessimistic hindsight. In the end of high school, impossibilities and improbabilities kept me so low I was ready to give up. There were days I must admit, I wanted to walk away from it all and forget it. I lost my way to only find it.

The whole things in life are impossible if you think of them as whole pieces. It is definitively difficult to see yourself in the future. We give ourselves the goals we sometimes will never achieve, but in all honesty all challenges can be met and our own goals can be accomplished. Rather than thinking in a whole term, the end goal, the final draft of a novel; perhaps smallest of terms, the next hour goal or just a page of a draft. In time the accumulation of the smallest of things can amount to bigger goals. Those bigger goals will snowball in to even larger goals before reaching to the final result.

In mathematics, we break down the formulas to plug in data. From that data we solve the small portions to what we know and what we have substituted. In the end we get the answer to the formula. Better yet think of bigger things like a desktop computer. At the smallest component, we have capacitors and processors, alone they are not much but metals and synthetic material. As you link them accordingly, you build a connection. Connect many connections together to make a circuit board and those circuit boards make a computer that can calculate and predict, can entertain and inform; get a bunch of computers together and you achieved something one lowly capacitor can do alone, connect humanity all around the world.

Another example is us; humans! As organic beings we are made of a lot of things, but it would feel impossible to know that only a few elements could  create something so large. Atoms to form molecules, molecules create chains, chains to form cells, those cells build specific organs which is an ensemble of us. Small steps to bigger and better things.

When you feel down and you think you can do it anymore, think of all the small things. You may be small, but you can affect so big things if you only did small things.

Back To School, Here’s Some (not so bad) Advice

Probably around that time again when teens are going back to school. For some, it will be going through the motions. Some will be getting out of it while some are going to go into it with a fresh pair of eyes. But this week I want to focus on high school because I remember how crazy high school can be for me. Okay, it was fairly tame but I’ve seen people go through some heavy stuff.

If you are entering this year as a niner or a freshman, welcome to your teen years and congrats for making it this far. There is no trophy for making it to high school. As the 13 or 14 year old, you will likely be spending the next 4 years in a place I equate to a very liberal prison. From my years, here’s a few things I picked up. You might arrive at this place with some friends; in honesty, they won’t be your friends for long. Well, you may get lucky with the one friend that would stick it through with you for the entire time. However I’ve seen people’s social structures change through 4 years. So consider all your childhood friends to be a nice little stepping stone to reach out to the entire school. It’s good to meet new people and try new things because at this point in time, you cannot be faulted to finding a bit of your adulthood within those walls. Sure you may have a plan going in, but coming out you may need a back up plan. In my case I had a back up, back up, back up plan. Shortly and surely that little taste of adult life will shock you to consequences. As scary as it sounds; for me, it keeps me grounded. Understand the limits, ask and scrutinize everything. If you have a choice on the subjects you can learn, I don’t think I could recommend anything you can personally do yourself. You know what you want in the here and now. I never figured out what I want through high school. As a 20-something, winging it sometimes doesn’t yield the best results. However the subjects I took helps me keep my eyes open and head held high. I guess I have my history teachers to thank.

To those would-be sophmores, you are well versed and well adjusted in school. As well adjusted you can be, I guess. No less, there are a few things you should be aware of too. Mostly puberty; laugh and giggle, hormones are no joke. This is the one thing I hated going through and I’m a dude! Sometimes I would just be borderline angry and sometimes I just wanted to curl up into a ball and leave the world to its devices. All I can say the chemicals are a perfect storm for learning the extent of your personality. Are you a risk taker? Romantic? Creative thinker? Lots of things will grow out physically and personally, hold on tight and ride the waves. Growing up is complicated but it doesn’t mean you are growing into adulthood. You are more growing to learn to be yourself, keeping what you have and leaving some of it behind. I use to be blank canvas and even now, that canvas is constantly changing. I never liked reading in school, I now read a bit at a time. I might even read a graphic novel. Give it time to let it all sink in; be out there and explore the frontiers of what it is to be yourself. Remember: why should you run in the rain when you know when arrive, you will still be wet?

Juniors, you guys are almost at the end. Like one more year, nearly there. Time for your exit strategy, what are your plans for the next couple years. As you refine your academia, remember to pack your portfolios with something. In some places, 16 years old is the minimum working age. It’s a good time to explore those back up options. Those these options may never come back to you, you could get into them and it will just look good on a resume. Just go out there and gain the experience you want, learn how to work and manage yourself. When I was 16, I explored a back up option for post-high. Apparently out of all the options I could have, it is the one I am still into because I like the environment. Rather to disclose you what I do now; let’s say just go out there and find your backup options, you will be surprised what sort of jobs you can pick up and just love.

As for the seniors, I haven’t forgotten you. Whether you want to take an additional year in high school or leaving after 4 years, the upcoming years will set the stage for adventure. As much as you want to explore and learn from it, keep in mind to create a balance of curiosity and livelihood. You may be entering university or college, perhaps into a workplace full-time; regardless where the next 4-10 years will send you, remember to make friends and have a little fun. Life is about enjoying the fragmented moments. The joy and anguish, the angst and exhilaration that your life will take you. Be yourself. Make friends. Life is best spent with those you care about and the ones your love. Do not dwell on the actions you could have taken for all your mistakes will be forgiven in time. Trust me, there were a few people I wish I could have been honest. The “only if” statements I have given to myself the past half decade could fill another post. The big ones involved a few girls I still like and a few changes I wish I could’ve have embrace. I am who I am because I created myself, therefore I could still change if I’m willing. The you here and now is not your final form, still a long ways to figure it out but this is the transformation to being an adult version of you.

Until next time; be the best you, you can be this year.

Growing Up or Growing In

Probably my age wouldn’t amount much advice when you ask me how mature is adulthood. Every adult will tell you to act your age; whether you are an adult or not. After just half a decade of “adulthood”, nothing has really changed.

In high school, we all discover new things while carrying our experiences in childhood. We meet new people, discover new things and make bigger decisions. Over time, we just learn the ways of the world and suddenly we realize life isn’t much rainbows and sunshine. Strange thing about teenagehood and adulthood is it’s much of the same, but post-puberty. That’s the secret, there isn’t nothing special about being a 20-something or 30-something. As much as people say at a certain age you start going downhill, it’s true everything gradually closes off to you as you get older but you will learn to get over it. In many ways the high school years only teaches you one thing, how to deal with regret in a humane fashion.

After a decade since being in the middle of pubescent period of my life, I come to the point where I am still discovering a bit of myself. After coming out as a young adult, it seems much around me stayed the same. However the interesting thing is I am still changing, I wasn’t the same person I was 6 months ago. I am always learning new things on my own and exploring new concepts and ideas. As everything and everyone tells me to grow up and “act your age”, there are so many contradictions in everyone and everything as well.

Creams and serums to make you look young and enhancements to make you feel just as young as you were when you were a teen. Yet fleeting as youth may be to some, I consider youth to be as constant as the wind. The wind just blows and will continue to blow as long as there is something to make it blow. Youth, you have to truly feel young at heart to be young at heart. In that sense, age is different to the sense of youthfulness. We can count the days like we count the stars; like both, there is no point if you are not in the moments you want to enjoy.

Growing up, doesn’t mean to be more mature and to be uptight with a stick up your butt all the time. Growing up is perhaps a cycle of finding joy in life in all the chaos and sadness life can bring. It’s perhaps not an evolution of yourself, but innovation of yourself. Keeping what you are to what you want to do next regardless of the mistakes we will make. It’s how we learn; from our failures and misdeeds.

“Up” is perhaps not the right way to describe it.

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.

Day 17: Board games and coffee…best..combo…ever!

Yesterday went pretty well. I woke up pretty cranky but my pills took care of that. Then my sister wanted to get dinner with me and we did; so we went back to the same Korean place the day before. After we went to this place I wanted to check out; Snakes and Lattes. I actually like the idea of a clean place to drink a coffee and play a couple board games with friends and such. Though there’s a $5 per head to play, it beats watching a movie. Anyways, it was pretty neat; we stayed there for like a good five hours just playing random games and chatting. It helped get my mind of video games (I’m off video games, not board games for 4 more days). Though this is kind of late to type. I though I would send this one out early morning than forgetting and putting into a longer blog. I know you guys hate reading long blogs; to the point, am I right?

This whole week, I’ve been obsessed of going back to my teenage roots. In this case, I wanted to go back to listening to all the music I use to listen. So I started listening 30 Seconds To Mars, Cute Is What We Aim For, Paramore, Taylor Swift, some All American Rejects, Panic At The Disco and Fall Out Boy. I kind of miss those days of just really good rock music (in my opinion, it’s good). Just those that really have a deep meaning or enough to drown the world away and be flooded with music. I miss those days where I would just lay in bed with my eyes closed and my music blaring to take me away from stress. Now I’m always worried that I might go deaf or waste my life away (or both) so I haven’t really done it so much. Actually; more I think of it, I don’t really could remember any great euphoric moments of my life. Seems like I fall into one disaster into another. Huh…huh…man, my life feels so empty and unfulfilled and I’m so young. I feel like I lived half a century and not noticed.

If you’ve been nit-picking at my blog, I’ve been adding hyperlinks as a courtesy in case anyone wants to check out some of the stuff I’ve done and stuff that I found interesting. Making it easier to pass some news for my awesome readers of tech and life and such (insert pat on your back here)! I’ll try and do it more often, but I just like typing rather than editing. I just like to just “shoot the shit” for a lack of a better definition. It’s just something great to do when you need to get something off your chest plain and simple.

Plans for day 18 are pretty much read some of your comments and such and maybe respond since I would like to read some interesting responses and maybe get into some discussions on other blogs like I always do. Then get more stuff off my chest and give you a nice little daily progress report and how I plan this home stretch.

Until tomorrow (or later today for those who are in Thurdays right now), have a quiet morning and hug your love ones and tell them what you think about them.

Appreciate the comments. Here’s a new one to think about, what do you miss about your teenage years? The music? The style? Your friends? All the random stuff you use to do?Anything, anyone, anywhere, anyway? Sharing is caring!

I’m bushed from board games so I’m going to crash until I can type again. Nighty-night!