So at the beginning of the week the wife and I watched Toradora, a romantic comedy about people meeting, falling in love, and enjoying the rest of their life. It really is a great series. I love it, and would recommend it. When it was over, it set off a massive wave of depression in me. It is weird how sometimes the most innocuous (or even enjoyable) things can affect you sometimes. Lately I’ve felt like a the arrow of a a broken compass, just spinning, and spinning, and spinning…
So, Gabi and I have been re-evaluating where we are with our life. She asked me what do I want to do, and where do I want to go with it. I have four serious goals in life, and a bucket list of things that I would like to do. I have achieved some of the things on my bucket list, but none of the serious goals. I’ve crossed off my share on the bucket list, though. I talked to Gabi about this, and we looked at our goals as a people, and as a family.
One of things on my bucket list ties in real well with two of my life goals. So we decided that we are going to eventually climb Mount Fuji, well, not eventually. We want to aim for the summer of 2016. Will it be easy? No. We will have a lot of hurtles to get passed before we can actually climb the mountain? Absolutely, but this is doable for us. When I was in Japan ten years ago, the plan was to climb Mount Fuji, but on the weekend that I was supposed to climb the mountain it rained, heavily. They closed it down for the weekend, and it was the last weekend to climb. I wouldn’t have been prepared for it anyway. If I had the opportunity to climb today, I wouldn’t be able to. I’m simply not prepared for it. That isn't the end of the world, however. I have three years to prepare, and I know that I can prepare.
First off, I’m going to have to lose weight. I’m a big guy, and Fuji is a 12 hour walk right up a mountain. I’m not going to be able to do that at my current weight, but that is okay, I have some time to lose the weight.
Second: I’m going to need to brush up on my Japanese. My Japanese is conversational at best, but we always relied on B. when we were over there. Except when he had one of his anti-social episodes, (which certainly happened enough) then I would have to take the reins, and actually speak to the Japanese people. Either way, my Japanese is rusty compared to what it used to be. We have discussed possibly taking classes, or even trying to get to a point where we can take the JLPT N2 or N1. There are several conversation clubs throughout the city as well, so we are considering all of these things as we make our way toward the climb.
It’s good to have goals. We may not reach these goals, but it’ll be good to have something to work for never the less.
This was one of those busy weekends that went quick, where Laura and I were socially active. Sometimes we don’t have those weekends, sometimes we don’t even want to leave our house. Of course than there are weekends like this weekend, where we are go, Go , GO!!!!
We saw Evil Dead on Friday with Bex and Ganz. All the things you heard about it are true. It is probably the best reboot I have ever seen. It had all of the points that made Evil Dead what it is, but at the same time didn’t try to re-invent Ash as a character (which I don’t think they could have done even if they wanted to.) Laura thought it was a bit too influenced by the ‘Saw’ movies, and not enough by the ‘Ju-on’ and ‘The Ring’ movies of the world. That is possibly my only complaint, they did overdue with the torture porn, but surprisingly enough, I can overlook that when there is a supernatural element involved. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it is because I am a snob.
On Saturday we went to a Ramen Shop in Philly called Nom Nom Ramen…with a name like that I expected this place to cater to the geeks of Philly. I was not disappointed. The ambiance was a little more western than I expected, with the kitchen in back and the seats into the front of the place. When I was in Japan, the ramen shops we always went to had the kitchen in the center of the room with the seats situated around the kitchen so you could pull up a stool and eat your ramen. Other than the setup, and possibly some stalls, the rest of the place looked and felt very authentically Japanese. The place oozed with a relaxing atmosphere accented by paper lamps and umbrellas hanging from the much harsher ceiling lights. But I was there for the food, so the place could have looked like a 7-11 for all I cares, as long as the food was good.
It was probably the best Ramen I have had states-side. The meat was tender, the broth was out of this world, and even the soft-boiled egg was cooked to perfection. Nothing in that bowl survived it’s stomachy-fate.
Okay enough raving about Ramen and Evil Dead. I’m off to do actual work.
I was thinking that I could start off this piece by complain about the Game of Thrones premiere last night…I did that.
Last weekend I was at Zenkaikon running panels like nobody’s business. See the schedule in the post below. Although, I did not run ALL THE PANELS!!!!! I think as a group we did maybe 11 or 12 between us. I was on 4 or 5 that were official 20 SD panels, and 1 or 2 we were graciously invited on by Phil Kahn and T. Campbell. It was an enjoyable experience over all.
My favorite panels to run were the Serial Writing panel I did with Gabi, T. Campbell and Phil Kahn, as well as the RPG’s from the West to the East and back again, probably my favorite panel of the weekend. Which is funny, because it was originally Little-Mike’s idea, but since he couldn’t make it to the panel I had to take over. Over all it was a good convention. I was a little weary of the idea that they moved the convention to Lancaster, but the people in Lancaster were great, and the atmosphere was very inviting. There was a story told at closing ceremonies that pretty much summed up the relationship the people seemed to have with the con-goers.
The head of security for the hotel was at the bottom of a flight of steps looking up at a group of Homestuck fans on the platform above. The Homestuck (MS Paint Adventures) fans were being…well Homestuck fans. (For those of you who have experienced Homestuck fans, well, enough said) One of the con-heads timidly approached the head of security as she watched the Homestuck fans bring their particular brand of ruckus. The con-head was going to ask if there was anything she can do, (particularly about the screaming, singing demons at the top of the steps.) Before she could say anything the head of security turned to her and said, “Is there any way you guys can run this con all year?”
That’s a damn good feeling, especially with how welcoming some hotels are to cons. (I’m looking at you Gaylord!)
So I spent all of last week in bed, at least when I wasn’t at work. My life last week consisted of getting up, going to work, coming home and trying to sleep off the cold that I somehow acquired over the weekend. Gabi held out until Wednesday of last week before she went down in flames as well. I felt like a complete crud because of that, mostly because Laura’s job is a lot more intense than mine. I sit on my ass all day and fix computers…she has to deal with sick children. Not sick as in kids with running noses and poopie hinies sick, either. She deals with sick as in “oh god we need to remove this medical device they have implanted into this kids neck and replace with this other one, and oh that other little shit is running around the place, but he took is prosthetic leg off and he is “kicking” the other kids with it… So, the fact that I got her sick makes feel sad. She doesn't blame me though, but that doesn't stop me from blaming myself.
Although on a brighter note, it looks like we got the panel that Ganz and I are running moved so that it is no longer competing with the other panel that Ganz and I will be participating in. So that is a positive. I haven’t really talked about that, but at Zkon this year Ganz and I were both on a panel that overlapped. We didn’t need to be on these panels together, but we really wanted to be. Also, we alwasy compliment each other, so it was for the best that we were on the panels together. Kristen and Mattie over Zkon were incredibly gracious and moved one of the panels for us. Those gals are just all full of awesome!
Since I was down all week, I got to catch up on some comic reading. I’ve been plowing through all of the first issues of the “Bat” books. Dude, there are way too many of these books. So far I’ve read all of the front-line bat books (“Batman,” “Batman and Robin,” “Detective comics,” “The Dark Knight.”) I then followed it up with all of the non-batman bat books (“Batgirl,” “Batwoman,” “Catwoman,” “Birds of Prey,” “Nightwing,” “Batwing,” “Red Hood and the Outlaws,” and “Teen Titans.”) I have to say, just the Bat books alone are and insane amount to read. I only read issue #0 and issue #1 of each book but it took me through the week. I won’t have such a heavy reading schedule this week, since I have other things that I need to work on, I won’t be able to waste my time on such, enjoyable, frivolities.
Either way, I’m back to updating this place since the sicknesses are gone. Sadly, Gabi is still a wee bit under the weather but as long as she rests, I am confident that she’ll be back up and running by the end of the week...I hope.
DOA 3 and DOA 2 hardcore came out while I was in college. I played those games a lot. I also worked on campus, and spent a lot of time in North Philadelphia. My wife recently got a job in North Philly, not two blocks south of our university. I’ve also been playing a lot of DOA 5 recently. When I drove her into work this morning, before coming to my own job, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic. As we sat there in the car talking at 7:30 in the morning, I just thought back to those college days. We live in the same house that we did in college, so things really haven’t changed much. Maybe we’ve stagnated. I’m not sure. The house (which we own) has treated us well enough over the years, as well as any house can treat its rather neglectful residence.
Eh, it was just a bit of nostalgia that I enjoyed. Most of the people from that time have moved on, which makes sense. That happened with people at universities. Every couple of years there is a new crop and the people that were once there are gone. Moving in and out busboys at a restaurant. My old Universtiy would be a ghost town for me now. Sure there would still be people there, but the people that where there when I was there are all gone. It’s how it should be, but for some reason it’s making me sad.
So in a year we’ll be staring down the barrel of a new console cycle. I guess technically we are already in the midst of it with the Wii-U. Never the less, for the purposes of this post, I will refer to the Xbox 360, the PS3 and the Wii as the current cycle. This is one thing I do like about consoles. They seem to reboot every few years, giving people a fresh start. I’m in no rush to buy any of these new consoles. Maybe if I had kids, but at the moment, I can wait them out, let them age like a fine wine.
The Xbox 720, or Durango, or whatever it will be called is going to have to work extra hard if they want it to sell in Japan. The country has over this last cycle become averse to consoles in general, much less foreign consoles. Some people have suggested that the big M$ buy Squarenix, or Nintendo. I don’t think a Nintendo sale would ever happen, but buying the house that DragonQuest and Final Fantasy built might not be a bad idea.
I don’t think there is a likelyhood of that happening. At the beginning of this cycle Microsoft was big on capturing the Japanese and flooded their consoled with high-quality JRPGs to rival what Sony did with the PS2. It didn’t work. However, their strategy of flooding the west with games that we like (First person shooters, and open world RPG’s) worked flawlessly. With this upcoming cycle they seem much less interested in Japan. Even at the end of the current cycle we are seeing less JRPg’s on the system. I do not own a PS3, and would have loved to spend some time with Ni No Kuni, but it never came to the 360. Proof of Microsoft disinterest in anything Japanese at the moment. After all, why else would they turn down a Ghibli game?
I’m debating what may plans are for the next cycle are, if any. I am an avid gamer, but as I get older the value of money, and my time is well…more valuable. Do I logically want to spend several hundred dollars on something that eats away at my time like videogames do? As much as I love geek-culture, and videogames are a big part of geek culture, I keep finding that I have this cognitive dissonance. I’d rather spend the time writing, but videogames do help me relax. I’ll see how it plays out I suppose. I’m an old man, and have better things to do with my time, or at least that is what I am being told. Eh, I’ll see.
As I look at this console cycle coming together if I were to buy a new gen console, I might actually buy a Playstation 4. I’m a big JRPG nerd, and if Microsoft isn’t going to give me my vittles, I’ll find them with the next big thing. I’m also a huge Zelda fan, so maybe a Wii-U is in my future, and that might be the only console, if that. Eh, it’s always interesting to see where the chips fall.
Also, Bryzgalov’s new Star Wars mask owns the universe!
Over on the World Policy Institute’s website Neal Stephenson has a great piece in regards to the unfortunate decline of science in the west. It focuses some points on the job of the science fiction author in regards to creating the vision for big ideas, to give our scientists and engineers the muse so that the “big stuff gets done.” It is an excellent article, and I would suggest that you read it.
I agree with several points that Mr. Stephenson makes. As he states in his article, the silent generation (our grandparent’s and great grandparent’s generations if you are near to my age) have indeed created, great things. They have gifted us nuclear energy, the airplane, the automobile, and so forth and so on. We owe them a great debt. The first half of the 20th century was possibly the greatest recorded period for science and technology. It ushered in an era of discovery and innovation that was unparalleled before it.
I agree with how he takes corporations to task about their unwillingness to spend money to innovate. He mentions what has become a plague of small innovations to just keep the boat steady instead of large ones to really drive our economy and us as a people forward.
There are a few points that I feel he doesn’t mention, that I think should be. As a society, and as the generations that have followed them, we have failed the silent generation, as well as ourselves by not focusing on math and science. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else is. I am after all a Film Major (my only saving grace is that my day job is in a math-intensive field.) from our school to our entertainment we refuse to acknowledge the importance of Math, Science and English in favor of softer subjects. We fail our children everyday by not allowing them to fail, by rigging the system so that the lowest common denominator gets through and can feel good about themselves.
The problem, at least for Americans, begins with the school system. I grew up in an inner-city and went through an inner-city public school system. My education (especially compared to my Wife’s who went to a private school) is abysmal. I struggle everyday with the simplest of sentence structure, and let me not even get into my as/has conundrum. The school system in America, especially in the inner-cities, is too preoccupied with making kids feel good and making passing quotas to worry about actually educating children and getting them involved in the sciences.
That’s just one symptom that I can think of, but Mr. Stephenson explains it all so much better than I ever could.
With Romance month underway we have been posing pics of couples and all of that. The month is almost over soon, and I’m going to have to focus on…well, we aren’t sure yet. We have a meeting this Sunday that will determine next month and April at the very least. I know we have a Kaiju month coming up at some point as well…
All jokes aside, this is the time of Mardi Gras and Carnival! This is the night you want to be in New Orleans or Sao Palo just enjoying the party! Sadly, I will be in neither tonight, but I am okay with that. Philadelphia used to go a bit crazy on Mardi Gras back when I was in college. We could go to South Street, get drunk, get some beads and just have a good time. Yes there were boobies. Sadly Philadelphians have a tendency of taking things too far and one year some businesses got broken into, and instead of just a fund drunken night with beer and boobies it turned into a riot. That was the last Mardi Gras in Philadelphia. The next year cops were everywhere, being dicks and ruining everything. Eh, that is their job, to patronize and annoy. (That’s a South Park reference.)
Well, anyway, things have calmed down in my life. I don’t go out to get drunk and look at stranger’s boobies anymore. Not that I wouldn’t but the opportunities don’t present themselves anymore the way they used to. I will celebrate Fasnacht tonight by eating a doughnut, maybe one of those brownie-batter-heart ones from Dunkin Doughnuts. Tomorrow when Lent comes I will not give up anything. I haven’t been Christian for the better part of my life, so no reason to start now. I have decided however that I will take up Yoga. I hear good things about it, and the people I know who are into it give it rave reviews. So for no other reason than I want to, I’m going to start Yoga, and maybe eat meat less, considerably less. Chris “rated” X will be happy with this.