Monday, November 27, 2006

Today's lunch was had at the franchise of Takara Sushi just north of Yonge and St. Claire. 

If the bright red sign hanging over the front bay window isn't an indication that you are in for a colourful meal then please step inside. The place was packed this Friday lunchtime and filled with sounds of cooking, talk and laughter. Meetings taking place, friends out for a bite and lonely food reviewers cluttered around the small, square, dark wood tables. I was led past the busy sushi assembly bar, where the chefs sweated under a time crunch, to my intimate, two seat corner and fit myself against the wall to observe the comings and goings of the medium sized restaurant. The menu was placed delicately in front of me and I automatically began scanning for cheap foods. Now, this is by no means a cheap restaurant, but they did offer some good looking lunch specials for as low as five dollars. I chose the Nami lunch special for $5.99 and duly ordered. She left to process my order and to fetch the complimentary loose-leaf green tea as I checked my morning's messages and ripped open my chopstick wrapper to make sure the chopsticks were in good condition. They use a good brand of disposable chopsticks and so I was not surprised to find they were fine. About five seconds after this the crumpled wrapper was scooped from the table with a very slight bow, which I appreciated very much, and was left for a short while to enjoy my tea and soak up the decor. 

The decor is something they did not skimp on, large rectangular mirrors line one wall, japanese paper-style lanters hung over the booths with frenetic hiragana splashed across the panels, track and embedded lighting is also utilized, wooden dividers painted and moulded to look like shinto panels were used to break up the space and they even had a tacky little christmas tree with snowmen surrounding it amid some japanese artifacts and flowers. It is a warming place, to be sure. 

My food arrived quickly and I was presented with a bow and a segmented, wooden bento box with Teppenyaki chicken (I think,) on a bed of long-cut veggies and sprouts, three large chunks of fried, soft tofu, three small vegetable rolls, a green salad, the obligatory short-grain white rice all placed around the bright green of a generous portion of wasabi. I have no complaints for it. The sushi was simple and expertly rolled, the chicken was savoury and delicious, the tofu (which I normally dislike) was good! 

4/5 steaming bowls! A calming lunch-time experience for a hectic work day. I recommend the Nami, Kisho and their advertised $5 Teriyaki chicken bento. Arigato!
The third installment of The Elder Scrolls series, Morrowind, has been really exciting to play. Based in an ever-changing landscape and in real time, rains fall to different degrees, sandstorms ravage the parched mountain terrain, pea-soup fog inhibits your vision sight, all while travelling through a world that actually feels alive and dangerous. 

I had a taste of this feeling of danger when my character was out on a lonely, wild paths, trying against odds just to find a place to rest until morning in a relatively safe spot where no beasts might find me and take a bite. The sounds of distant winged atrocities echoed in my ears as I lay down last night for some sleep. It didn't come easily as i thought of strategies I might employ to steal my character out of the treacherous mountains he unwittingly fumbled into. 

The history of the world is full of colour and is very in-depth though as I play my barbarian norseman to his fullest I find he is an illiterate brute and most of the books that come his way are left by the roadside, unread, as he stumbled onto another fight. 

I have only just begun playing this game and already I am in love with it.

Also, I have begun a food review blog.
The third installment of The Elder Scrolls series, Morrowind, has been really exciting to play. Based in an ever-changing landscape and in real time, rains fall to different degrees, sandstorms ravage the parched mountain terrain, pea-soup fog inhibits your vision sight, all while travelling through a world that actually feels alive and dangerous. 

I had a taste of this feeling of danger when my character was out on a lonely, wild paths, trying against odds just to find a place to rest until morning in a relatively safe spot where no beasts might find me and take a bite. The sounds of distant winged atrocities echoed in my ears as I lay down last night for some sleep. It didn't come easily as I thought of strategies I might employ to steal my character out of the treacherous mountains he unwittingly fumbled into. 

The history of the world is full of colour and is very in-depth though as I play my barbarian norseman to his fullest I find he is an illiterate brute and most of the books that come his way are left by the roadside, unread, as he stumbled onto another fight. 

I have only just begun playing this game and already I am in love with it.

Also, I have begun a food review blog.

Thursday, November 9, 2006




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Wednesday, November 8, 2006

At Sunnybrooke Hospital in Toronto is a house called Wellspring. Standing in front of it is a woman, jubilant and free, basking in the world and cut with beautiful filligree. She is crafted of sheet metal and seems to represent the dancing health most of the people who visit the house asipre towards. The walls house a cancer support and healing program with many facets contained. There are holistic healing classes, raiki, qi gong, tai chi, yoga, art therapy, even a journaling workshop to name a few. There is a lending library, coffee and tea, as well as friendly staff to speak to when feeling lonely, scared, inquisitive or anything, really.

The house touched me and calmed me in that way that quiet spaces calm a person. There are quilts hanging from the ceilings in naturally lit, high alcoves made by the very people who attend the quilting groups who meet in the house. Everything is open and flowing in it's design and placement, geared towards comfort and ease of movement. Wooden desks with beautiful grain, blue-white light bouncing of the pale hallway walls. It's really a beautiful house.

All parts of the program are open to Ma Pop, never and I. I will surely be accompanying my mother to a few of the programs they run as well as looking into what never and I might want to do together, alone. We rarely have any time to ourselves, less so now that Ma Pop is not available to take the kid anymore. I can think of at least one other person I trust with taking Br0n for a few hours or even overnight, I just need to work up the nerve to ask him if he would mind doing that kind of thing once in a while on a barter basis. We need a break so badly, we are getting tense and short-tempered and I can't stand seeing that change in us.

Never and I are confused, finding ourselves dwelling more and more on the fact that our long term life goals concerning where we are going to live are very different from each other's. She, the country mouse and I, the city mouse. I want a small, clean apartment in the midst of downtown and close to various good foods and all the crazy, massed people I affirm my humanity within. I want a crawling sea of wild difference and rancorous odour, a hard place covered in grime of people. She wants a small clean place in the heart of a forest, away from noise and distraction, a place she can be spiritual and calm, tending to simple labours and desires. I don't know what to do, compromise seems like it wouldn't give either of us anything close to what we want, fullfilling one wish would leave the other unhappy and possibly resentful.

I am starting college in January. I'm very excited about going, having a complex schedule again, making a niche for myself within college society, using the university resourses for research (my campus is on Ryerson University grounds,) meeting new people to have coffee and lunch with, possibly even making a friend. I think once I get my laptop I'm going to get rid of my home office area in favour of a cleaner, more minimalized and streamlined apartment. I won't be able to study and work at home anyway, not with all the distractions. If I can find a counter or a table of the right dimensions I could extend the kitchen into the area where my office is now. I am thinking about taking massage classes part-time but will need to look at my finances for the coming September to see if I can afford an extra class or two. My wife and kid would love me while I'm in massage, having to need someone to practice on, I forsee fights over table time.

Oh, this is me:
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Thursday, October 19, 2006

My mother has cancer.

My mother, Ma Pop, went into the hospital last Monday to get some anti-biotics for what she thought was a sinus cold. She had been throwing up, had a terrible headache and was also feeling dizzy and physically unbalanced. It was a warm, sunny day and she was actually considering forgoing the visit to the hospital for some time in what should have been one of the last nice days of the year. She arrived at the hospital despite these feelings and had some tests done, they came back with alarming results. There was something growing in the soft, vulnerable folds of her brain, a tumor, which was causing her brain to swell and push against the inside of her skull.

She was immediately put on anti-inflammatories, stomach medicine for the havoc wreaked in her guts by the above drug, and codeine. Then came a long wait in the hospital as they ran test upon test and it was finally decided that it would need to be removed and a biopsy performed afterwards to find out what exactly was causing the growth in her head. The week was a long one, full of visits from family and friends, wishes and prayer sent in a multitude of ways and from various different sources. Most of the people she has touched in this past half of her life sent something tangible or intangible to her. A blessed rosary, a prayer from an anglican minister, flowers of all different colours, types, prices and in all kinds of containers were sent to her. She told me later she was rather overwhelmed with this wave of attention and love from places expected and unexpected.

Her surgery was this past Monday, her release was Tuesday. They drilled a hole in her skull and expertly extracted the piece of organic tissue, at which point the kicked her out of the hospital, the dregs of an anesthetic stupor lingering in her veins. Her brother took her home in his van and I arrived at her house immediately, took the reigns from there and nursed Ma Pop as best as I knew how. It is worth noting here that I have a wife and daughter and cannot neglect them for very long. Indeed during my two day absence my wife hasn't slept and was dizzy and sick, throwing up with an unbearable headache, and is now sleeping like a baby. I am home for at least a couple days, leaving my mother in the capable hands of friends, calling work and telling them I can't be in, once again, for my family's ill health.

Ma Pop has told me what the doctors have said, that the brain tumor was not local to the brain, that it is likely a manifestation of something happening somewhere else in the body, that she might have cancer that is spreading.

She can't die.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I have been listening to newer Metallica recently, you know, post-Black Album. I've never given it a chance before, though now that I listen to the three proper albums they've released since '91. I can't give them an entirely horrible review. They've changed since my teenagehood, certainly. They're not metal anymore, it's more like blues rock with some obvious country influence. Your typical bar band sound is what they've being going for, I think, though they are obviously Metallica, you can't mistake the lead's voice. They're using more blues riffs and more typical timing in their tracks, and more consistantly, too. Some of Kirk Hammet's lead guitar (i'm talking about a couple solos and a lick here and there) is still beautiful but that seems to clash with the general sound of base rock that they've managed to create. They're still using punk/metal muting and rhythm a lot of the time, though, which confuses me and, I think, blunts the whiskey-and-oak imagery I feel when listening to Load.

By the way, I really dislike the newest album because it has a digital sound, like linkin park or something. The guitar and everything is much, much too clean and very obviously digitally altered. I have no problem with digital production of songs and tracks, but only when you are using it to enhance your existing sound (i am speaking here of bands who use live instruments,) not when you are creating a whole new sound using the digital technology. You begin to lose the feel of your finished product if you change it so much it sounds like flipping switches, rather than pulling strings. The human element got lost on their last album, is what I think I'm trying to say.

Load and Reload, while having silly names, are alright albums. I approve.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

There is a job boom in Alberta, Canada. This isn't a secret and it's mainly in a single area, energy. It seems a lot of people are dropping out of school in order to get a high-paying job, I have no problem with this. I am a high school drop-out who, in fact, took grade ten three times, three times. Admittedly, I was there for the social aspect of it by the time I entered into grade 9, and even before. I had forsaken higher learning for friends, music and drugs. I wish I could say I had a good time of it but, honestly, that's not the truth. What happened was that I got into an abusive relationship which deadened my drive to be and thrust upon me a sense of inferiority that I still struggle with to this day. Even now as I type this I am constantly hitting backspace to replavce the letter "i" with the word "I." It's a constant battle. 

The happenings during these years taught me many, many things. 

Now, in Alberta, Robert Klein, Premier, was hosting a conference concerning how to stop children from dropping out of high school for relatively high paying jobs. This is when the Premier began convalescing about his own youth, saying that one of his biggest regrets was how he dropped out of high school to join the military. He's the premier of Alberta, an educated celebrity. I'm not sure that he got his point across as he wanted to. 

I'm not sure where this headspace (school is the key to a bright future) comes from but it is misguided. When someone is in a job, even a monotonous one, they are learning through living, they have some kind of hobby, something they do in their free time. Through these things they are learning about the world, or at least a small bit of it. The key, I think, to learning while doing what you enjoy is to push yourself past what is presented to you, remain active in your sphere and work. Play as work, it's not something most people want to hear about. 

The mentality that makes an individual remain in the same place, doing the same things, and stagnate, is bred into people within the school system. All the way up to the end of high school, students have teachers who direct and control the curriculum with, normally, little or no input from the students. It's not until college and university that they are given the freedom to choose what it is they're studying and how they study it. 

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I've begun watching Star Trek: TNG recently, starting with the first season. The first episode is fantastic and I was surprised that I had never seen it before, I understand where Q popped up and how he began testing picard, now. The Third episode, (Encounter at Farpoint being double episode) was the one where they all get drunk a la some kind of infection as happened during an episode on the original series with James Kirk, everyone flirts and Data gets laid. It's actually a pretty disappointing episode, considering it's the second ever original eposode of TNG. One would think they would use something more along the lines of "ship goes boldly where no-one has gone before" rather than a novelty, sitcom-style episode, but hey, it's not my show. 

I look forward to the fourth episode.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

In a book I am reading, one line went like this, "One possesses in another person only what one changes in him." Except, when reading, I made out that fragment as if it were about loce instead of possession. A question formed as I read:

Is love a form of possession?

My first instinct was to answer "yes," because of a feeling of propriety I have towards my wife. At the same time, I wonder if these feelings, while certainly connected, are distinct and independant of one another. If the pained, stolen emotion I perceive when even a small part of her drifts toward another, the welling up of that proprietary feeling, is not directly love, but a cause of love, then isn't the statement I thought I read false, even if the actual written statement were true?

When one gives one's self to another person, one is not possessed unless one is accepted. If both parties give themselves over to one another, then a true bond of love forms, a requited love. If then, each person possesses the other in the manner in which he gave himself to the other, does not this exchange of possession form sort of mutual possession? 

Can Unrequited love be the same thing? In some cases I would venture to say that no, it can't be the same thing. Envision a fanatic madly in love with a pop idol. The idol doesn't know the fan and cannot acknowledge his love even in the simplest of ways. This kind of love simply forms an obsession in the fan. On another hand, a one-sided exchange of possession is possible with only side being in love with the other. Imagine a sexual slave who has given themselves over to a dominatrix and who may even love the person they have given themselves to. The domme may acknowledge his feelings even if she does not feel them stir within herself towards the person who has given himself to her. This might be an example of unrequited love as a form of possession, though it is an inverted form in which the possession is given, rather than taken. 

Monday, September 11, 2006

I met a kid with diagnosed Asperger's Syndrome yesterday. He was maybe six or seven years old and visiting with his mother and his younger, toddler, brother. I met them at daycare so they might have been there applying, touring or generally visiting (the kid used to attend that daycare and visitations from old students is relatively common) the senior preschool (read: kindergarten) room in which i was working. My first contact with Li, (another Li, not the one a staff member recently gave birth to, obviously) was positive, he was playing with some manipulatives and building a rather complex and clean-looking little structure when I called out tidy-up time just before our morning circle. His response: "I don't have to because I'm just visiting, I'm not part of that group." There were obvious problems with his view, as in it's not exactly fair to the other's if he is visiting yet not participating in the programme, even enough to clean up his toys. There was a lot of deliberation, during which I concluded that I really, really liked him and that he was also not like most of the other kids I've met, after which he decided he wanted to go see his mother who was visiting in the junior preschool room, (read: preschool proper,) which was fine for everyone. 

We go outside after circle. Li and his younger brother (I never caught his name) were outside with the juniors, who had gone out before us, and having a good time playing and arguing. Vivi, (the other staff in the seniors,) was fussing over Li's little brother as he sat oin top of the slide for some reason, I go and see what's going on:

Vivi: "He's showing me his nail polish."
Kraai: "Oh! Your toes are beautiful."
Kid: *brandishing toes at us*
Vivi: *acting strangely and walking away*

Let it be said that I dislike and disapprove of most vain accoutrements, including nail polish, make-up, plastic surgery and skimpy clothing, even in adults, though I always try to encourage the kids in their ventures. 

That said, I also agree with the liberalist view of sexuality and especially children's sexuality in which children can wear what they like despite social taboos (which I also think are unfounded, arbitrary rules.)

After Li and his family had gone, Vivi was telling me about Li and his behavior, which was abnormally violent, when she began to mention his mother's attitude toward her son's sexuality and the freedom he is allowed. I use the term sexuality as an adult would apply the term, not as a kid would. Kids dress up for fun, not for individualistic, sexual social commentary. Apparently he wore make-up, nail polish and even came to class in a dress once. Vivi was obviously disturbed by this attitude and I wanted to see his mother again and tell her how I agreed with her in principle, after learning about her views and the opposition to it in the very classroom in which I was working.

I didn't say anything much to indicate my views towards Vivi, who is a rational and objective person, a lot of the time, I think she would have heard me and dismissed me in the same moment. It's a contrary thing to say, I know, but that's how it is. I keep my views mostly to myself since they are almost always in contradiction with the ideas held as truisms in the people I surround myself with, professionally. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

neVer is embroiled in a feminist debate concerning women in the workforce and how that relates to married home life. She is a stay at home mom who plans to stay at home even after br0n goes to school. She wants to work on jewelry, paint and read books about anthropology. I have afforded her that option and have always wanted her to do something for herself. The women who she is arguing with have made it clear through insinuation and slander (welcome to Earth) that they think she is wrong and women should have a formal education and a high paying job mainly, from what I gather, because women should be able to support themselves after a divorce. 

Can you spot the flaws in this picture?

My opinions on this include, but are not limited to, these points:

1. These women have a dependent world view. Ironic when arguing feminism, innit? Their self-worth being derived mostly, it seems, from their ability to break free from a situation they put themselves in, specifically, marriage. 

2. Any argument that limits the choice that can be made by a woman, be it staying at home or finding something else to do, is inherently not feminist. The feminist movement is based on freedom of choice and will ever remain thus until the end of women. 

3. The mode of feminism these women are employing is a throwback to the feminists=dykes mentality which all but killed feminism during the 80s.

I am, very much, a feminist in the purest sense. What I mean by this is that I fully endorse women of all classes and walks of life doing what they have chosen to do or making choices based on whatever their criteria might be. There is no need for complex, arbitrary rules in a system like this, it drives itself simply and accomplishes what it sets out to do. 

Any comments on feminism from my friend-base?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I went out carousing for the first time in, I'm not sure when. It was awesome, I went with my friend gr0d, who doesn't post anymore since Final Fantasy XI ate him, and my wife, neVer. neVer and I met gr0d, unexpectedly, at the bus hive that would transport us South to Queen St. gr0d spent the bus ride showing off his new iPod and then gave me his old mp3-Cd player, he's so thoughtful. Our troupe fell out of the bus and hit the street, patronizing four of the five bars we know are there: 

The first was 2066 Queen which is a nice lounge style place with couches in the window seat, we sat there and had two Smirnoff Ice (neVer and gr0d) and a Guinness (moi.) We didn't talk about anything in particular and had a satisfactory time there.

Our next stop was Castro's Cafe (or whatever it's called) and had a Porn Star (neVer, some purple fuity thing) a Banana Ball Martini (gr0d, the name of the drink is obvious) and a Gulden Draak (I, a fruity beer that I enjoyed almost all the way to the bottom of the glass.) This is where gr0d mentioned how most beers have a strange taste when you get to the bottom of it and came up with the ingenious idea of SHAKING it before opening it. I told him about how shaken beers always end up mostly on the floor and also that it probably has to do more with the temperature of the drink and possibly the spit that ends up in it after drinking most of it than it does with impurities and sediment already present in the bottle before opening it. I don't think he quite bought that story. Castro's Cafe is a really nice place which does not serve domestic beers, only imports, wine, coolers and mixed drinks. Keeping the Rif-Raf out has never been easier. 

The next place was a much more traditional bar which had a live band, a cute chinese waitress (Tu Ning jokes, groan) and a smattering of drunken regulars. The bartender had gone home for the night, strangely, and they didn't have any coolers so we ordered simple mixed drinks and wine. The band's rhythm guitarist was missing somewhere and the keyboardist was stone drunk, playing off key sometimes. The bassist and lead were what you would expect, submissive and rudely witty, respectively. They played some songs, I don't remember what but we watched them for two rounds. The keyboardist yelled over to our table "HAY GUYZ, WOT U WANNA HEAR!!??" and I quickly said, "U NO NE CHUCK BERRY????" to which the lead gave some excuses about the missing guitarist to cover up for his lack of knowledge on the subject of classic rock idols (he didn't even know who Chuck Berry was.) They serenaded us as we left with a bit of Johnny B. Goode, ending our Scratch Daniel's Odyssey.

Next we hit a packed Lion's Club and wondered at the amount people clustered around the bar when we got a table right away. We also had an argument about Green Day and which song made them popular. There was a slightly more professional band there who were playing the old Tragically Hip song about chicken bones when we left to take a cab to the Village, or gay sector.

The cab ride was fun and pretty. We were crushed into the back seat of the car and taking the fastest route to the intersection we were aiming for when we noticed the light mist hanging from the streetlamps. It never did rain though the meteorologist said that it might. gr0d and I were about half drunk, though neVer had already had a bunch of drinks before we even left the apartment. It was a nice ride through the city streets and we were ready for Zipper's when we got there. 

Actually, first we made a pit stop at gr0d's laundry room, it has a bathroom and a small trade library.

We entered Zipper's through a back door, neVer and I being immediately driven through the pounding, stinking dance floor by our gracious host, gr0d. He knew where there was an ATM machine and was making a beeline for it. The front room of the club is a lounge with very, very good soundproofing (the noise of the dancefloor lost as soon as we entered the place.) There was a grand piano with chair around it, into which was built a small shelf for putting you drink down. The jolly fat man playing piano was doing a number called, presumably, "Tits and Ass." gr0d pulled his money out of the machine with a bit of fiddling and we got our drinks, a round of Revs, before heading back to the screaming dance floor. It was dark there, like a cave full of monkeys, lasers and pool cues. We stood at the side behind a man who was robotically, half shaking his hips, more like an aerobic step than a dance, it seemed. Pushing past him we took the dance floor and made absolute fools of ourselves, men were checking me out and trying to dance beside me while neVer was not the only girl there, which was a relief to know. We finished our Revs and continued to flail our limbs around for about three songs, I suppose. We left, fed up with the stink of man-sweat and semen, for Pegasus directly after that, hoping to find gr0d's long-standing boyfriend, Chris. 

We walked up to the door of the bar just as Chris was walking out, looking for a safe place to burn death-sticks and so made our greetings, entering the building at length. Apparently there was a dyke meet of some kind going on and there were beautiful butches and slutty femmes taking off their clothes and feeling each other up. We stationed ourselves beside a Monster Bash pinball machine and ordered our drinks, three orange Smirnoff coolers if I remember correctly and oogled the half naked pile of women before realizing that the time warp had begun playing and that we were actually dancing to it. Not just us either, a whole, excited gaggle of people were doing the time warp with us. neVer was being checked out by one of the dykes as we were goofily mimicking each other during the "drive you insayayayaaaaane" bit. gr0d begun to wilt some time after last call and, after being smacked around by his friends and being given water by his more sensitive boyfriend, he left for home, leaving neVer and I to finish our drinks and spill out onto the sidewalk to find a taxi home. It wasn't difficult to find one, though we walked a bit to freshen up and keep the ride fare below $20, the last bill in our collective wallet. 

The driver was a friendly, witty type and we had no qualms about speaking openly about the details of the night in lurid fashion:

Kraai: "I didn't notice the colour of her hair"
neVer: "The one with the boobs"
Kraai: "boingboingboingboing"
Driver: "I am hard of hearing"

And so we made it back in one piece, falling into a deep, drunken slumber which didn't last as long as I would have liked. It was a good night and strengthened all our friendships.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Over rice, tea, and stale pizza I wonder about my future. I fall in love almost every single day at my job. The kids make me think there are gods, like there is some divine purpose that might link me to the rest of this god-awful place. I find myself thinking these things and wonder if I haven't fallen into an emotional pit from which there isn't an escape or if there is some truth to this chemical response. Someone I fell in love with today threw up on me, I didn't mind. That's love, right? Another person I had fallen for what seems like ages ago fell asleep in my arms and felt safe there. That's also love, right? Maybe I am reading far too much into comfort and care. But maybe it really is something that can be felt, touched and possibly even moulded. Moulding emotion for a purpose sounds somehow mystical or religious. I have reservations about things I can't see, feel or that sound impossible. Maybe I've been wrong. Maybe..

Monday, August 7, 2006

I've rearranged the living room into something more practical and aesthetically pleasing. This act was seeded by the sight of my daughter covering the screen for the glare coming off the pc. My pc is not even IN the living room. Well, whatever. 

I've been playing a game called Planetarian which is basically a sickly sweet account of a post apocalyptic scenario involving a female robot "always willing to serve" on her last week on earth and a guy who feels protective of her and somehow sad for her. The Japanese have labelled these types of games Kinetic Novels which is usually a fancy way of saying Dating Sims, Eroge or H-games, (PORN GAMES for those of you not paying attention to japanese media.) This one is not exactly a porn game though, since there are no nude scenes that I have come across and there is none of that silly multiple choice selection stuff that passes as flirting in these types of games. It's an emotional story in a depressing-and-then-uplifting sort of way, though I haven't completed the main story arc yet so take it with a grain of salt. It is rather singular in that it is just about the highest quality "Kinetic" or Visual Novel that has been translated into english from it's original Moonspeak, I am withholding saying that it's a completely average story with no devices or metaphor to speak of until after I have actually seen the ending. 

I'm also playing the infinitely more appealing The Dark Eye which is a point, click and watch (others might call it "adventure") game based on a couple of the works of Edgar Allen Poe and which utilizes the queer overliterate dead anti-idol himself, William Burroughs as one of the main characters in the story. Indeed, he plays possibly the most interesting and fleshed-out character in any video game I have played to date. The overreaching story is an original one, if rather incohesive at points, which borrows heavily from certain Poe classics.

Friday, August 4, 2006

I drew some sketches that weren't terribly bad today. During nap time at work I sketched one of the children in wire-frame figure style and almost got him exactly how I wanted him. My sketches are still throw-away quality though so I don't have today's sketches to scan, even if I did have a scanner. 

I used Crayola Silken Crayons today. Fancy lipstick-style pastels that are amazing to work with, if a bit innacurate. I want to get some real pastels. Back to School sales, here I come.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

I am reading an american comic by name of Transmetropolitan. After reading the first one I am impressed. It's about a guy, a journalist who was once famous and then moved to the mountains because of the filth and fanaticism which the city breeds. He comes back because he's run out of money and is being threatened by debtors so he goes back into journalism again. It ends up he's some kind of savior to a whole group of naive people. Kind of romantic, isn't it? I'll return it to the library tomorrow and begin reading the second one presently.
I think I am falling in love with buddhist myth, art and wisdom. It is fun to discover. The pieces of knowledge that I have come across seem very simple and the teachings of Buddha don't generally tend to conflict with his other teachings.

One such piece goes something like: "There are many divergent paths to happiness. When one finds he is on the wrong path it is his duty to quit it." I assume the author meant nirvana when he said happiness, but I could be mistaken.

Another myth, Japanese in origin, I think, can be paraphrased like this: Lord Buddha was on a journey when he came across a dragon spirit below him from where he stood on a cliff. The dragon extolled a very sophisticated piece of knowledge that the Buddha may not have been aware of. The Buddha asked for another piece of wisdom and the dragon did, indeed, utter something even more profound than the first. The Buddha, again, asked for another and the dragon told him he would utter more buddhist wisdom if the kindly lord would feed him, the Buddha agreed. The dragon kept his part of the bargain and then asked for the human flesh on which he feeds exclusively. The Buddha jumped into the dragon's mouth without hesitation.

This myth seems to say that the soul's knowledge is above the secular body. It also seems to say, to a somewhat lesser extent, something about being true to your word, even if the price is not expected or is unpleasant.

Buddhist art is a strange thing. It is a discipline more than a real art form since the every buddha depicted must have exactly the same proportions and every gesture and expression has a spiritual meaning. And while an artist must be exceedingly skilled to create great art, there is no room for personal expression within those confines. Yet for all that, the images are themselves are very beautiful.

This is not to say I have renounced my atheism.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

You don't get into university with no money, no future, and no past.

I have been dead tired recently. This is why my posting has been slow.

So, I am torn between doing ECE and doing an English major w/ Japanese minor. I have been toying with the idea of doing ECE and then doing my English major, instead of doing a year of college prep first. 

But it would cost more. About $2000 more. 

The thing is, I don't think Fleming College offers ECE. Fleming College is in Peterborough, the city my wife and I are likely moving to. This presents a problem with that plan that will need serious workarounds. One of them being drop this crazy ECE scheme and just do the one year University Prep course they offer specifically for would-be applicants of Trent U. 

On a side note, I have been thinking about dropping the Ontario Early Years places from my weekly work schedule as I have been dreading attending the main site (I work at two sites, one of them being the main site) since I started working there. These past few days have given me hope though. I seem to be more equipped to handle the dynamic environment the longer I work there, though I still can't remember any of the parents', or even the childrens', names. I have had good conversations about varied subjects with some of the parents there and realize I may be the only adult these people will get to speak to on any given day. This makes me feel better about the hardness of the job and, in fact, makes me want to attend my scheduled shifts with something like optimism in my pocket. Besides, the mothers who attend are mostly very, very nice people who have so much to say and have done so much. It breaks my heart to separate myself from that kind of person willingly.

It's strange to say that, since it's in a rich neighborhood. I always equate rich places with assholes.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

So, I have begun collecting Wriggle, I have 25 of her.

I also have 23 Sakuya.

My premium figure list thus far:

Gym Uniform Mima ~ Jam ~ Sailor Medicine ~ Gym Uniform Sakuya ~ Mii ~ Bunny Haruhi ~ Maid Mikuru ~ Crying Nurse Sakuya ~ Golgo 13 Reisen ~ Cenobite Sakuya

Last night i traded Sakuya-sensei for Cenobite Sakuya and a drawing of Sakuya riding a goomba.

I have decided that when I trade in my 100 Sakuya for 1 rare, custom Sakuya it will be called Goomba Knight Sakuya.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I just found out a friend of mine died last week after delivering her baby.

One of the children I work for told me she loved me.

There was a bomb threat near my work.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

My throat hurts and i am coughing. :(

I got a couple new games yesterday for my Gamecube (my PS2 is nearly dead.) I will list them here:

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Super Monkey Ball
Waverace: Blue Storm

We initially wanted to buy a single game but they had a sale and we couldn't decide on a single title. With no money and only a limited amount of food we will need these games to escape reality a bit.

Super Monkey Ball is so addictive. Rolling around on these labyrinth-style boards trying not to fall off the edge while making it to the goal and getting as many bananas as possible. It's simple, frusterating fun.. And it's a party game!

Friday, July 14, 2006

The family and I went to a small amusement park called Centerville today. Br0n went on rides for the first time, even the scary ones. She is turning from baby-type into kid-type, she really needs a transformation sequence.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I saw a Woody Guthrie documentary full of rhetoric and lies. His early, rambling, desperate, hungry, painted, reckless years is who I've wanted to be for probably about 8 years. It seems to take pain and euphoria to make a person whole. I haven't had much of either.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I have recently been collecting what are known as "premium" figures. They are not necessarily from the Touhou series, cost ten of what are known as "point items" (it's all very complicated) and are suggested for approval by the userbody itself. Some of them are quite cute sounding and as always I am looking for lots and lots of Sakuya.

I include below a list of my premiums.

Dentist Patchouli ~ Gym Uniform Mima ~ Sayo Yuki ~ Jam ~ Sailor Medicine ~ Gym Uniform Sakuya ~ Mii

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

This is a sad post.

That picture reminded me of a tragic story the manager of the daycare I was working at today (I'll call her Mao) told me about her subway ride in from work. She was pulling into Davisville station when the train suddenly stopped and the doors failed to open. After a while the lights went out and an announcement came over the PA to say that there would be a delay in the service and that it was due to an electrical problem.

It hurts to relay the story.

The doors on the very back car were opened though the exit was more towards the middle of the platform and people were being ushered through the cars and out the back of the train. The stairway was jammed, barely moving at all when Mau saw a women who had turned white and panicky who said, "I saw her head." It was then that there was an unearthly moan or cry from nearer the front of the train, from which Mau guessed there was a girl not over five years old in trouble there. The crowd began vulturing around and Mao and someone she had been talking to declined to do the same, though she gathered that the girl had somehow gotten trapped, the train still moving at the time, by her neck between the platform and the floor level of the train (about four inches across?) and was not dead.

Mao told me this story and I felt horror rising in me though I tried to remain calm and didn't say much throughout the rest of my mid-day break. When I got back to class I took some time to hug as many of my toddlers as would let me do so with love and tenderness and tried to give them everything I could possibly give them in the best ways that I knew how.

I hope so much that the girl was not crushed underneath. That she was ok and was taken to the hospital with non-fatal injuries. I suppose I will find out tomorrow when I get the paper.

I feel like crying again.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

I had a pretty good day today. The toddlers I was working with were enjoyable and not terribly behaved, I got giant toddler hugs from two of them actually. One of the Teachers I was working with was pregnant. I have only one episode of Haruhi to watch before I'm caught up and can join a Haruhi fangroup. I also got two Sakuya from friends of mine to add to my collection of virtual dolls, I now have 8/100. The wife made an awesome open faced turkey sandwich dinner, too.

Life seems so good sometimes.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

I am collecting Touhou gashapon figurines.

Gashapon are figurines dispensed from machines and are rather popular in Japan. They are not unlike the toy machines you see at the grocery store. The word gashapon comes from the sound the machine makes when it dispenses your prize (gasha-gasha.) I have, in fact, seen more than one real japanese-style gashapon machine in Toronto but generally they don't have anything more niche than Dragonball or Hello Kitty figurines, neither of which are really my thing.

Touhou is a series of games originally propagated for the japanese PC-98 platform and which continues to be popular on NT based windows platforms. They are what are known as curtain-fire shooters which basically means the enemies generally shoot large complex spreads of bullets that beg you to dodge between and graze while trying to stay under the enemy so that you can accurately shoot it. The characters are highly collectible because they are all cute anime girls with different abilities and relationships to each other.

One thing differentiates my collection with other people's useless obsessions.

My collection doesn't exist in the analog world.

Yes.. I am collecting virtual dolls that don't even have images associated with them. This is facillitated by an IRC bot which acts as the gashapon machine and also keeps track of who has what. There are currently 25 people in the channel that has this bot, so it's not just me who is absurdly bent on collecting these.. names.

My collection thus far..
Chiyuri x2,
Cirno x3,
Elis x2,
Ellen x1,
Gengetu x1,
Hourai x1,
Kana x1,
Keine x1,
Komachi x3,
Letty x1,
Lily x1,
Mai x1,
Medicine x1,
Merlin x1,
Orange x1,
Point Item x2,
Reisen x2,
Rikako x1,
Rika x2,
Rinnosuke x1,
Sakuya x4,
Sara x1,
Shinki x2,
Suika x1,
Youmu x1,
Yuka x2,
Yukari x1,
Yuyuko x1

Quite extensive? No, not nearly as large as some of the collections belonging to people who remember to set timers at night and when they go to work. To remember to do that is the key to getting 100 of a single figure so that you can trade those in for a single RARE figure. I am collecting Sakuya, the girl with control over time which she uses to create an infinite amount of knives out of a single blade that she can then hurl at infidels.

I feel like such a loser.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

I get the feeling that this Hideshi Hino's Theatre of Horror is a sucky TV hour in jp just as Friday the 13th is in N America. I saw Lizard Baby from the same line of movies and it was terrible. It wasn't suspenseful and reminded me of an ep of the Twilight Zone except it didn't have a twist at the end. Maybe I will try watching the Ringu series or Ju On next instead of subjecting myself to this series.

I have been watching a show called The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱) and it's really pretty interesting about a girl named Haruhi and her obsession with supernatural occurrences. Haruhi seems like some kind of catalyst for a larger plot involving alternate space, time travelling and the Earth coming into existence four years ago. At any rate it is still airing in jp and I have four more eps to watch before I am caught up to the current story line (the last ep aired was 13.) It's based on the Nagaru Tanigawa's Suzumiya Haruhi series of novels which I haven't read and, indeed, don't even know if it's been translated officially, unofficially or at all. Though if I actually do enjoy the TV series enough I will seek them out. I am actually learning a bit of jp. じょうずじゃありません。。。 But I'm not very good. If I get good enough I am thinking about doing some translation for a fansub group or two.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I just finished watching a movie called Dead Girl Walking which is a japanese horror movie about, well, a dead girl.. Walking. It was rather like a french art film (not that i've seen many of those) in which the main girl is put through travesty after travesty. It is done almost entirely in black and white and has a rather low production value, which I like. There are no real twists or anything, just a few very powerful images (it's not a gore fest or anything, so i don't mean dismembered girl bits strewn all over the place.) It's part of a series of movies produced or at least endorsed by one of my favourite mangaka, Hideshi Hino, called Hino's House of Horror or something equally obvious. I would recommend it, though I don't think it's actually very widely available. I got it in an obscure corner of a not so obscure imageboard and it was, luckily, subbed. I also got another movie called something something blah in the same line of movies that was absolutely terrible and boring. Low budget horror walks a very fine line, it seems.

Also, Mushishi is an anime I have been watching. About a race of creatures that exist somewhere between life and death and can be inexactly described as ghosts and the hunters who try to understand and kill them. It is rather well written and well drawn, more so than most anime, I find. It has only been subbed up to ep 21 though there are likely supposed to be 24-26 episodes in the series. I wish one of the numerous fansub groups doing a lesser anime would finish the hell up and resume work on this masterpiece of a show. Maybe i will just d/l the japanese language versions and hope that it is self explanatory enough to follow the story.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

I met someone yesterday and spoke to him like a normal person. His name is Steven and it happened while getting a tea at Timothy's coffee shop around lunch time. He was sitting in one of the couched areas reading a paper when I asked if i could sit in the seat dagonal him. He agreed and wondered aloud at the book I had just put on the table between us, which is about globalization. I turns out that he had been a teacher for 20 years until he left the profession in 2001, possibly because of the inherent problems with institutionalized learning institutions such as daycare, elementary and high schools in which attendance is considered legally mandatory. He started telling me about how large corperations like the WHO and the US government turn out research related to what they are selling and try to pass those studies off as unbiased. This kind of thing is not a surprise to me as I've studied vaccines and how they relate to my family. So I had a conversation about something with someone who agrees with me! This is not a normal occurance and it felt pretty good. We also spoke about the future of the global workforce and how it is becoming less and less employment oriented and more about finding what you do well and simply presenting that to a market that wants to buy into it. We exchanged numbers when we stood up to leave and he told me he would give me a call on the weekend. I'm glad to have met him, he's full of a sort of sly wit that I never pick up on straight away but appreciate later. He called my plan for starting up a home daycare a charity! Probably out of what he percieved to be noble intention on my part, nobility my ass.

Something else we spoke about and that I read about yesterday was the plan to make downtown Toronto a huge WiFi howspot. Interesting concept, certainly, but there are concerns over the safety of having electromagnetic radiation blasting out bodies with disruptive noise. The companies involved are, of course, touting that the WiFi signals are just as safe as TV and radio waves, which is true though I suspect the WiFi field will be a lot stronger than those on which TV and radio signals travel on. Health issues aside, I think a large network like the one proposed could potentially be a good thing. This is a technology that will allow for more free flow of information for those willing to embrace it. I wonder just how secure the network will eventually be...

Canada's immigration laws incorperate a "points" system that seems to make it harder for foriegn religious workers, such as middle eastern and Indian clergy, to stay in the country even if they've been here for 6 or 7 years and have established themselves as pillars of their local communities. To me it sounds like a policy that feeds into our xenophobic culture (in Glorious, Socialist Canada? No way!)

Thursday, March 2, 2006

I worked the Eaton Center site in the kindergarten for the first time today. They serve their kids snack and lunch there as opposed to having the children serve themselves and I had forgotten to ask why. Having the children (especially kindergartners) serve themselves at food times is empowering and teaches about the correlation between the gluttony/restraint dynamic and the waste produced at the end of the meal (the kids can scrape their own plates into a communal organics bucket to emphasize this) and I don't understand why someone would knowingly take that away from the children other than, "oh, it's easier." Sigh.

One of the teachers there actually taught one of my classes at Mothercraft.

I also worked an afternoon shift at Hester How. One girl was playing in the reading section (doing what, I don't know; happily or not, i don't know) when her grandma showed up to take her "for a little while." I was incredulous and was vindicated when Dawn began crying hysterically about losing "her spot" (all areas are limited in number of children who are allowed to play in them.) It seems to me that if someone is picking up a child from daycare, the idea that they might come back is one that can create problems. "Spots" are viciously guarded things, mainly because they are lost so easily. The girl must have thought that, since even standing up can give an ambitious child the opportunity to slide in and claim it for their own, this temporary absence from the classroom would spell doom for her spot.

I saw the most beautiful dolls today. Two Eurasian toddlers who were about twenty five years old and were made in Toronto. They had wonderful, black, curly human hair and well made traditional chinese dresses... And they were selling at $1250.00 each! I was telling the shop owner how nice his store was and especially those dolls when he asked me, "are you coming back for them?" I nearly laughed in his face. Me, with my torn shoes and uncut hair, "coming back" for twenty five hundred dollars worth of doll! I demurely declined.