Daunted

my heart trembles

my thoughts race

as I’m trapped in turmoil’s

bitter embrace.

 

your words brim

with ignorant distaste

as they penetrate our fondest memories

shattering brilliance

without a trace

and I

I can’t breathe

this is not what I wanted

not what I foresaw

and I don’t really believe it at all.

 

my muscles tense

paralyzed in fear

as I watch the end of our friendship

become resoundingly clear.

 

no one’s to blame

in this misery game

so let the ghosts that haunt us

burn in the flames.

138 – Throwback to happier times.

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There was a pin making station at Exam Jam today. I, of course, couldn’t resist making one.

Really filled me up with nostalgia.
Brought me back to my high school days.

To that time when I was volunteering for Marpole Community Day with Jibek and we made these silly spinning paintings and I got Nick and Patrick to make me a pin even though it was meant for kids and volunteers weren’t supposed to be making them (to be fair, they made some too…). Besides, we’re all kids on the inside, right? Well, at least I am.

Also brought back memories of that time when I was at the night market with Tiff/Cece/Win/May and we made a bunch of pins because there was nothing better to do there. Felt like we were kids again – kinda like how we were when we all got together in 1st grade.

Those were happy times.
Times when we could be carefree without the worries about our future.
Moments we could enjoy with the little that we had.
Moments that make life worth living.

These thoughts make me happy
A little homesick
But happy nonetheless.

I miss these moments and I miss the people I had them with.

But they will surely come again.
Because happiness is and will always be a driving force of our world.

126

Having really weird vivid dreams lately.
In one, my father had me something along the lines of imprisoned and working for him. It was frightening. Thinking of ways to escape but not knowing where to go or how to survive in the world. I was impoverished and alone. Took a while to shake the fear from the dream away (a few league games).

Yesterday’s was even more weird. Was playing really expensive “board games” with Rachel, Kevin and JV (I miss you guys, I guess???). Like really expensive though.  We were buying tickets for like $90. Gambling maybe. Then we went in this underground tunnel. There was a train.  It was dark. I don’t think this dream made much sense plot wise. I attribute it to the fact that I just finished reading all 143 chapters of Tokyo Ghoul last night. The ending was unsettling (slightly different from the anime), but I’m interested to see what happens in the sequel. Will probably write my thoughts on the whole thing when the sequel ends.

On a happier note, I went out for dinner at the Harvest Kitchen with a couple of friends last night. Most of the CSU crew – Tanya, Mohamed, Amanda, Anastasia (although she won’t be part of the exec after all since she was accepted to med school… in her third year… gosh I’m jealous but also happy for her) – and Nick (a classmate/friend from inorgo chem).
Had vegetarian meatballs (so there was no meat in them) which were yummy and filled me up more than I thought they would. Had a glass of white wine also (we were deceived thinking $1.11 per oz was cheap as it amounted to $8 for a cup).
I actually felt a little tipsy from the alcohol though and that’s rare considering I can’t really metabolize alcohol (stupid genetics). Was a nice night full of fulfilling conversation and interesting stories. Planning to do it again next week with Summerlicious starting today (it’s an event where pricier restaurants make affordable menus for us less fortunate folk).

Went out for lunch with people in my lab today. Had udon in this fairly small shop. And although I had to leave before they finished making our takoyaki, I thoroughly enjoyed the lunch.
Udon brings good memories.
Like the festival from Japanese school.
Like the really good udon place in Hawaii we all fell in love with.
Like having hotpot with family.
Really warms my heart.
So I’m happy.

On Shannon Hale & Childhood Inspiration

I remember being in fourth grade, awkward as ever, but overflowing with stories to tell and words upon words in the corners of my mind. My approach to reading was suicidal, I dove headfirst into every chapter, never looking back and never paying mind to what was happening around me. I remember at the time that I was just beginning to blossom in the world of structured writing, just beginning to grasp the power of words and how simple phrases could affect the thoughts of the mind that was reading it. I remember the shining moment when I got our class an extra hour of gym time – a game of capture the flag on the gravel fields outside – by writing a persuasive piece of writing to the teacher emphasizing traits such as “dexterity”, “agility”, and “strength” (three words you might recognize in any decent video game at the time) as traits acquired through physical exercise. I realized even then that my writing was probably not very impressive, but it stood out among the other pieces written by my classmates, and thus had some hold upon my fourth grade teacher. I had built up quite a reputation that year for being whiny and unwilling, but nevertheless clever. I didn’t have very many friends and I’m not quite sure I valued those I had enough. I had my head either stuck in a book or glued to the computer screen; it’s no wonder that my eyesight suffered as a consequence.

I remember the summer after fourth grade when I first started wearing hard contact lenses at night – lenses that promised to act as the ocular version of braces, preventing my eyesight from getting worse and giving me perfect vision during daytime provided that I wore them every night. I finally got to ditch the glasses that I’d been wearing since second grade and it was a good feeling to be able to run freely without the extra weight on my face. But it was also a hassle: putting them on every night and taking them off every morning and washing them. But I suppose it was worth it. Feeling the weight of spectacles upon my nose now – it was definitely worth it.

Look at its beautiful mosaic cover!!!

Look at its beautiful mosaic cover!!!

It was around this time that I discovered an author by the name of Shannon Hale, her various books nestled on some lower shelf in the fantasy genre of the children’s section. She was a No Name in my eyes, not something popular that my friends read or that the librarian recommended and was certainly not a popular book at that library as I often saw it on the shelf untouched. Nonetheless, the cover of The Goose Girl stuck out at me, some mosaic drawing upon its over. Perhaps it was the alliteration in the title or simply the plainness of its cover that attracted me, but I slowly picked up the book and again, without hesitation, plunged myself into its pages. I was enraptured, turning page after page after page. I was surprised. Some No Name author had impressed me. It had action. It had romance. And it had a female protagonist – a key factor at the time as I had trouble relating to books with male protagonists (perhaps the reason why I never continued on with the Eragon series). It was around the time when Harry Potter was shooting into popularity and when boys were often the main characters in novels of the fantasy genre. It excited me (perhaps the inner feminist in me?). It gave me power when there was no one in my life I could turn to and talk to with ease. Books were an escape.

In sixth grade, my friends and I encouraged by our teacher started a small elementary school newspaper. It featured articles mainly written by our class, but also from other grades and other students. Everything was hand done. We printed out the articles in columns, cut them out, and taped them down with invisible tape. Pictures were resized (mostly by cutting) and taped upon the page. I was part of the lucky few that got to work with layout and witness its entire process. It was breathtaking. It was beautiful. It may have been a small and silly publication with a multitude of errors, but hey, it was ours.

I remember writing an article, a book review, on The Goose Girl. Incorporating some of that persuasive writing ability that I had acquired in fifth grade, I made the novel sound to be more than it could be (or at least I hope so in an elementary standard). I’m sure I didn’t do Shannon Hale justice, but it was full of love and adoration for her and for her writing. I remember walking into the our little school library a week after and being approached by the librarian (who was friendly and knew many students quite well…I miss her) who said that she was approached by a student that wanted to read The Goose Girl after hearing about it in my book review. I was thrilled. She then informed me that our library didn’t actually carry the book. Not surprising since I did say Shannon Hale was a No Name among my friends (but certainly not a No Name to me after reading her books!). I wrote the book’s name on a piece of paper and submitted it (along with the names of other books of the series) in suggested books to purchase basket. Surely enough, the book appeared about a week later. It was a gratifying moment. I felt as if I had accomplished something…something small but yet big in my heart. I loved the school library and to have my opinions and thoughts mattered meant a lot to me. Our librarian was thoughtful and worked hard to keep our library buzzing. The library was a popular place (mostly on rainy days, often in Vancouver) and she was definitely one of the reasons why. I knew that if the book was available that someday some other kid would read it (if only because they had read almost every other book in the library due to its small size) and I hoped that it would affect someone the way it affected me. Though unlikely for that particular book to have that effect, it was another book in the library…and I believe this now more than ever, that books are building blocks to perspective, to imagination, and to developing ourselves. I had given something back to the community in a very small way, but still one that mattered so very much to me.

I proceeded to read several others of Hale’s books: Princess Academy, and the sequels to The Goose Girl: Enna Burning and River Secrets. That was the expanse of her books on the shelf at the time and I thought to myself, “This is it. There’s no more from her”. At the time, the library was the world to me and I was not yet fully experienced with Google which was only blossoming at the time. She disappeared for a very long time.

I yearned for more. Needed more. So I turned to other books to satisfy me. But nothing ever satisfied me as much as reading The Goose Girl for the first time. I think it was then that I realized how much writing and reading – how much language meant to me. I knew I would not be able to escape it for the rest of my life.

I chanced upon her name a couple of months ago at Indigo; a couple of her books were on sale. I was flabbergasted – she was gone to me, I thought she had stopped writing, I thought she disappeared. But here she was, alive and right in front of me. I know it’s an exaggeration to say since Shannon Hale was not physically standing there…but her books were. And that was enough. I had to read them. I had to read them all.

I dove into Austenland, Midnight in Austenland, Ever After High, and The Actor and the Housewife. One after the other. I enjoyed them all thoroughly. Ever After High was a burst of nostalgia for The Goose Girl was a fairy tale (rewritten). But the other three novels were a surprise to me for I had known Hale as a children’s author and was surprised to read her writing intended for an adult audience. Having strong female protagonists (YES!!!) comforted me and I easily slipped into her stories. The romance felt real more so than the fairy tale ones, than the stories of princesses and princes. It was a beautiful experience and I’m grateful for her contributions to the literary world.

The Actor and the Housewife awakened a new yearning in me and with that, a new understanding. I wanted a best friend, a relationship as fulfilling as the one that leapt out at me from the pages. I wanted a Felix Callahan in my life. Someone who understood without the words explaining it, someone who feels like you’ve known forever, someone who doesn’t need to be by your side or talking to you everyday to still be your friend. And I suppose I also related to that feeling, to that kind of existence. Because the internet is kind of like that. You have friends from all around the world that you don’t necessarily talk to every day but still get along with right away once you find the time. Like Becky and Felix in the novel with their telephone conversations, I have found so much fulfillment talking with people miles away. Distance didn’t matter to them. And I realized, distance shouldn’t bother me either.

Shannon Hale, I know you’ll never read this, but I thought it’d be nice to declare. You have inspired me, connected to me, and reached me with your novels in a way I’ll always remember. Thank you. And please, please keep writing.

56

Why are you sad?

I don’t know. I just don’t know. My mood changes like this global warming infested weather. One moment I’m screaming words I didn’t intend to say, and the next I find comfort in the silence. Then the tears come for bad memories are often drawn to the silence.

My fingers crashed, but they inflicted no difference upon the monster. He knows me too well. Knows that he is immune to my words and my attacks. I fought him harder as if in a cry for help. But that cry was in a language that no one will ever understand. Forte, forte, forte. There was no gentleness left in me today. I was not satisfied until the numbness came to mind. I will lose him soon enough. I will escape his grasp and find a better place…but it is always frightening to look towards somewhere unfamiliar. He is familiar, too familiar; yet because I know his other face, I cannot despise him completely. He is sometimes useful for my needs.

I have come to a realization as to why I prefer my brother’s bed to mine. It is safer in his room. He protects me from the monster…most of the time anyway. And perhaps, I don’t feel so alone.

Sometimes I question how the monster came to be. When did it start? And why did I run from all the prior opportunities to terminate his existence? It was never meant to be like this. It was a silly whim. To follow and perform like my dear best friend. Sometimes I wonder if it’s all a mistake…but his other face, his other face! It tantalizes me evermore…

I will name him when this is all over…when I am done all that I think I should do. He will have a proper name, but something bestial – I think that would suit him best.

Monster, monster, knocking at the doors of my mind…

He reminds me of all the things I fear.

Reminds me that what I feared and thought to have overcome may actually still be lurking in the shadows.

He is unkind.

But you are too kind.

Too kind to rescue me from his grasp.

Hah.

He and loneliness make good partners.

[GAME] Poy Poy

I haven’t done a game “review” in a long time, so I figured I’d reflect on one of the most memorable video games of my childhood: Poy Poy, a game on the Playstation.

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Having only owned the Japanese version of the game, I have never known it by its real name and have always just called it the “Rock-throwing game”, but out of plain curiosity, I recently looked up the name.

For me, Poy Poy was the first game in which I learned to button smash – to mindlessly press buttons on the controller and hope something worked. Adding to this effect, everything was in Japanese from the instructions to the characters to the different gloves you could equip. It was basically guess and test for me, having no knowledge of the Japanese language at the time. Looking back, most of it was in Katakana so if I played it today, I’d be able to decipher the majority of the items.

There was something so gruesomely violent and yet enticing about throwing rocks at each other. It was so pointless that it was fun. Whenever my brother or I got bored playing one of the more quality Playstation games such as Final Fantasy or Digimon, we’d retire and play Poy Poy for the heck of it. The feeling of competition and randomness that arose from battling each other in the arena of object-throwing was exhilarating. It was so ridiculous that we would laugh at times – especially on the park map which was dark and often had a roaming dinosaur on the map. Ah, that was always both my favourite and least favourite.

My best friend would sometimes come over and we’d throw rocks at each other for hours, not really understanding the point of the game as it was completely in Japanese. In reality, the game would be terrifying: throwing a rock three times your size would not only be impossible but superhuman-like. I loved the polygon-shaped people and their wacky hairstyles. I loved how there were jelly bean like things you could collect and have no idea what it would do – mostly due to the fact that again, the game was in Japanese and we had no clue what we were doing.

In the end, I guess Poy Poy served as an experience to show that no matter what language a game is in, you can enjoy it. There are, of course, limits on this as it would be completely unpleasant to play a role-playing game without understanding the story, but for something like this, it worked out for the best. I’m sure if the game was in English and I understood how to play, I would’ve had a completely different experience, but the fact that it was in a language foreign to me  urged me to not only indulge in Japanese culture, but to have fun without worrying too much about strategy or what not.

Poy Poy, for me, will always be that one game that leaves me grinning in the thought of it. It was never popular and it was rare to find anyone who had even heard of it, but it was special – something unique that will forever be a small chip of the video game world.

As I was unable to find a decent video of Poy Poy, I present to you one from Poy Poy 2, which is equally awesome and um…updated.

Let me go today.

It has never been my intention to enter such a place

Where hollow melodies fill such a space,

Where darkness covers all the walls and hope seeps through the grounds,

Where desperation is broadcasted through all the little sounds.

 

My hands grip each passing brick as I journey down this hall,

I’m looking for your spirit, yearning for your call,

The candles clinging to the sides no longer light the way,

You’re silent and I also, have nothing left to say.

 

The warmth that once flooded our relationship has dissipated down to dust

And all our precious memories have accumulated such a rust,

You ask if we can turn back the hands of time, to restore what once was ours,

But I have already sealed away the faith in unlockable drawers.

 

You grip firmly on my arm, reaching from the dark

Wearing me down with each and each remark,

But I’m tired of playing such a game,

Tired of hearing your damned name.

 

So let me run away.

Let me go today.