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Archive for November, 2010

At the End of a Month of Writing

(Miscellaneous)

So, this is the last day of November and that also means the end of my commitment to spend a couple of hours each day on writing (mostly for my blog but also for other things). I’ve already written about the lessons I’ve learned about writing through this exercise but I’ve also achieved some things along the way that I think are worth recording.

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The Sinister Side of Used Games

(Miscellaneous)

I recently bought a PS3, as you can tell by the fact that I’ve written several posts about PS3 games. One thing that sucks about owning a new console is not having any games for it. The PS3 has been around for a couple of years now, so many of the games that I wanted to own for the system are difficult to find new. This led me to buying a used copy of Valkyria Chronicles at a local EB Games and I was up-sold on the discount card (it practically paid for itself through the discount on the used game I was buying).

Every so often I’ll pass by an EB Games or GameStop just to see what’s there, to see if they’ve got something that I really badly want to add to my collection. It is through this small ritual of mine that I’ve realized that the business of used games at these stores is truly sinister.

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Of moustaches and cancer

(Miscellaneous)

Me (left) and Dad (right), proudly wearing our mo's

On this day three years ago, not long after I’d started to settle into my cozy place in Mississauga, I received an urgent call from my mother. My father, who had long been fighting against esophageal cancer, had passed away. There is nothing, nothing in the world that prepares you for a moment like that. Even if you know that your loved ones have fought long and hard but that their strength won’t hold out and it is only a matter of time. Even if you know that all treatment options have been tried and have failed, and all that’s left is to care for and love them in their final days. Nothing prepares you to finally be cut away from them for good. The scar that leaves on your heart can take weeks, months, even years to heal.

That picture up there? That’s me on the left and Dad on the right, both wearing our moustaches proudly. He started growing his when he was 17 and he never stopped wearing it until chemotherapy tore it away from him. In a way it was his trademark. In the span of a month I could not possibly grow a moustache that epic. But dammit I’ve tried. I participated in Movember, so for this entire month I’ve been growing a moustache (and only a moustache) to raise awareness of and funds for research into prostate cancer, which according to many sources affects 1 in 6 men.

When you fight for a cause, it helps to remind yourself of what you’re fighting for. Yes, prostate cancer is not esophageal cancer, but let’s not split hairs here: I lost my old man to cancer and I wouldn’t wish the sadness, anger, frustration, and despair that moment filled me with on my worst enemy. And so, on the third anniversary of his passing and close to the end of the month of November, I implore you to please donate generously to my Mo Space and to those of all of the friends and family around you who are participating. We have come so far in understanding and developing advanced treatments for many cancers but even so we still have far to go.

Until we get to that point, I will don this moustache on this month every year, both for Movember and to keep my father in my heart, whose moustache was a symbol of his vitality, manliness, and prestige.

Spirited to Distant Worlds

(Miscellaneous)

Tonight I went to see “Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy” in Toronto. It was an incredibly powerful and moving experience for reasons that go well beyond the music and performance itself. Final Fantasy and its music hold a very important place in my heart and have a great deal of sentimental value to me.

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JRPGs: The Diminishing Genre

(Video Games)

I was having a conversation with a co-worker today about how it seems that dominance in video game development has shifted from Japan to the West. This is not a particularly new idea. But it does leave me with a somewhat unsatisfied appetite for one of my favourite genres which is very well-represented in the PS2′s library: Japanese RPGs.

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On setting goals

(Personal Development)

As some of you might know, I’ve spent the last month and a bit attending sessions for a “Learn to Run” clinic programme by Running Room in uptown Waterloo. I didn’t have any particular goal in mind when I joined; I just felt like I needed something to do that would get me out of my apartment. I remembered how much I enjoyed running with my oldest sister when we were both in Toronto and thought I could enjoy it just as much now. I was right, by the way.  =)

At tonight’s clinic, there was a lecture about setting goals and creating lasting change. It’s difficult to achieve lasting change because the reason that we are as we are now is because that’s the comfortable rhythm that we’re marching to. Venturing away from the comfort zone to make a serious commitment to change is difficult, but it is something that I’m sure we’ve all had to do at one time or another in our lives and it is probably something we will always have to do. The lecture led me to think about how goals work, how they don’t, and what things are important to keep in mind and I decided to write those thoughts down.

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I Just Didn’t Do It!

(Japan)

I managed to see one of the two movies I wrote about in my other blog. In particular, I saw the first one. I didn’t get to see the second one because I had underdressed for the day and it was very chilly in the theatre. I was shivering and shivering so I decided to head home and get warmed up. Apparently the Princess Cinema’s heater doesn’t work so well. Duly noted. Read the rest of this entry »

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game (Rating: Awesome)

(Video Games)

If there were a hierarchy of games in which the very best titles of all time stood at the top, you’d probably find most movie game adaptations very close to the bottom. They are lackluster at best and nigh on unplayable at worst. Now what happens when you take a graphic novel series, turn that into a movie, and then turn that into a game? It wouldn’t be strange if you imagined that might be one of the worst games ever made. But if that’s what you thought just now, allow me to be the first to tell you that you’re absolutely wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

What I’ve Learned By Writing This Month

(Personal Development)

For almost every single day this month (I missed one due to a running injury), I’ve written a blog entry into one of my two blogs. This is probably more than I’d written in the six-months-to-a-year leading up to November 1, 2010. The main reason I committed to doing this is that I wanted to become a better writer. I previously wrote about how writing is like human persistence, allowing us to transfer ideas from the rather volatile medium of our short-term memory to something more permanent.

Today’s post will be a reflection on the writing that I’ve done this month, which will hopefully help me to continue full throttle through the rest of November. Read the rest of this entry »

Fall 2010 Anime Picks: Amagami SS

(Japan)

The Girls of Amagami SS (Rihoko, Tsukasa, Sae, Kaoru, Haruka, Ai)

I’ve been holding off on doing this one because Amagami SS isn’t technically a Fall 2010 series; it started in Spring 2010 and is continuing its run this season. But I still like this show enough to give it a nod and, unlike many other shows, you don’t necessarily have to start at the beginning to enjoy it because of its particular format. Read the rest of this entry »