November 28th, 2010
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.
November 23rd, 2010
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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November 22nd, 2010
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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November 19th, 2010
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 »
November 12th, 2010
I’ve been going to Anime North every year for the past 10 or so years. In that time, I’ve seen anime fandom in Canada shift a considerable amount and I’ve observed three distinct “generations” of anime fan. These generations are delineated by major paradigm shifts in the fandom.
For today’s post, I’m going to describe these three generations that I’ve observed and explain their characteristics and the gaps that exist between them. This is not to say that these are clear-cut categories and there may be some people who fall between them. They are also based on nothing more reliable than my own observations as a fan of anime for over a decade. Read the rest of this entry »
November 11th, 2010
Bozz, a good friend of mine from university days, is a huge fan of Valkyria Chronicles. So am I, but in discussing the series with him and other hardcore fans, I’ve realized that I approach the games from a very different direction.
I didn’t own a PS3, so my first exposure to the Valkyria Chronicles games was the demo of the sequel for PSP. I bought Valkyria Chronicles 2 soon after playing the demo. When I purchased my PS3, I bought the first game and finally had an opportunity to play it. Fans were largely disappointed at seeing the sequel on the portable system because they felt that in many ways the game had been scaled back. The maps were smaller, deployments were smaller, the story was phoned in and the visuals weren’t quite as stunning. I still very much enjoyed playing Valkyria Chronicles 2 and I wondered if everybody was finding fault with it just because it wasn’t what they were expecting it to be. Read the rest of this entry »