Calm

Slow Show: for Julian

julian 2

My brother.

Julian is, without a doubt, impossible to read. To use a tired quote, he is a riddle wrapped in  an enigma. When you hang out with him in person, he treats you exactly like he treats everyone else around him. His easygoing attitude seems at odds with his seeming indifference, an unlikely juxtaposition between feeling at peace and friendly while also giving everyone the cold shoulder.

There are very few people with whom this is not the case, and who get to know Julian fully and well. I feel I am not one of these people, but I’d like to try to share what I know.


Even though it’s noon, the basement is dark and somber. Shafts of light from the small windows nearby break through the gloom, floating dust statically staying still as if the beams of day had frozen them in place. A futon lies in the middle of the floor. Someone is curled up in a ball, their head buried in the covers. Julian.

Soft music plays from his computer nearby. I don’t know the band, but I like the sound; it takes a minute for me to register it’s indie rock. Honest, earnest music, like a good friend in a bad time.

I ask him if he’s alright.

He grunts.

I leave. Not much else to do; trying to talk to him right now would be like talking to a stone.


It’s fact that Julian feels quite deeply. Despite this, and I have no idea where he learned how, the man has a poker face that’s hard to beat. Talking to someone he likes and to a person he hates, you would barely be able to tell the difference. Most people would be passive aggressive, sarcastic, something. Julian? Nothing.

Even when you’re alone with him, the most he has to say about anyone in private is that they’re some expletive or another, and that’s that. Thing is, Julian is incredibly good at walls. He’s all the tougher and tenacious for it, sure; but sometimes I wonder what else is going on in that head of his.


My nails are chewed down to a stub, two of them are bleeding. It stings a little, but I don’t care. I’m in the middle of an anxiety attack, but I’ll have no idea that’s what it is until 4 years later.

“Yo.” Julian walks in through the doorway, carrying his laptop. He sets up across the table from me, plugs in Jimmers (his computer), and boots up Heroes of Newerth.

“Hey. You playing HoN?”

He grabs a handful of jelly beans from a Costco sized bag of Jelly Bellies.

“Duh.”

He knows something is up, but as per usual, he doesn’t talk. The voices of strangers blare from his speakers; apparently, someone else had called a character and is calling them a little bitch. Charming.

“Hey man, chill,” Julian says through a mouthful of candy, “it’s just a game. Let’s settle down, take it easy.”

The jerk on the other end calls Julian a couple of colourful words not fit for print, and leaves the game.

“How does this not piss you off?” I ask.

Shaking his head, he tells me that it does piss him off.

“But what the hell am I gonna do about it,” he adds, “It’s not like bitching about it will change much.” He grabs another jelly bean, and tells the rest of his team to get their shit together.

An hour later, he ends up winning.


Julian joined the Navy a couple of years ago now. His practical nature and quick wit made him some easy friends and were instrumental in successfully  passing his officer training; either through study, or through convincing the people training him that their test was hot trash.

I know my own brother half as well as I’d like, but I know the important stuff. He’s kind, brave, and practical. He’ll do anything for someone he cares about, and is quick to defend those he deems worthy. Rolling with the punches comes naturally to the man, and he’s just as quick to dish it out when it does something useful.

More importantly than all that, Julian is a good man. I suppose that’s all that I need to know, and knowing more wouldn’t change a thing.


A chill wind blows past me, a bitter English February evening in London, as I walk down the street towards home.

I’d just lost my teaching position at the primary school I’d been working at for six weeks. I wasn’t even allowed to say goodbye to my class; just a quick meeting with the head teacher and bam. Out on my ass, looking for more supply work.

A gust whips at my face, but through the comfortable numbness of oncoming depression and my very scruffy beard, I barely feel a thing. My iPhone plays away, the music turning from the game remix I’d been listening to for the past few minutes into something I’d forgotten about.

It takes me a minute to realize it’s indie rock. I instantly think of Julian, and I recognize the tune from the basement. It had been at least half a decade since then. Since then, Julian had recovered from a terrible memory. Since then, Julian had become an officer in the Navy. Since then, Julian had started seeing a wonderful girl, and was now happier than I’d ever seen him.

I whisper under my breath, “Slow Show.” It’s a song by the National, a group I know Julian liked a lot. I’ve no idea if he still likes them, or anything, but I know he listened to this song once, when he needed a good friend in a bad time.

Thinking about Julian fills me with a sigh, and I start walking with renewed energy. I smile, and think: it’s not like bitching will change much, right?

Journal: 2015/10/30

I’m a lucky bastard.

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog with an actual update about myself that wasn’t a cryptic reference to how I was feeling: usually mopey. But not today! I’m actually updating this thing with a real entry! Which, subsequently, will be interesting to see how many people actually like knowing about that kind of thing.

Stalkers, this is for you.

That sentence is extra creepy because I finished a book called “YOU” by Caroline Kepnes, and it’s a really creepy fucking book. Don’t read it unless you want to read a horrifying story from the point of view of the stalker. Seriously, it’s creepy. Did I mention that?

Anyway, I’ve been in France for the past week or so. The schools in the UK get a week off every 6 weeks or so. So, I get a week off every 6 weeks or so! Unfortunately, I don’t get paid, so my wallet it crying a bit. Regardless, it’s a welcome week off. My housemates and I made plans to go visit Paris for a couple of days, followed by a 5 day sojourn in a place called Hossegor. Once the plans were set, we only had to wait until the schools went on vacation.

The Friday the schools went on vacay, we celebrated with a glass on wine and a quick trip to bed. Because school is exhausting, mentally, and we’d had enough. We spent the Saturday packing and lounging and recovering, which would have been fine had the neighbours not had the birthday party of the century that night. We didn’t get to sleep until at least 01:00.

Which was hilarious because the car we booked to go to Heathrow was at 03:00.

We finally made our way to the airport. The car ride was uneventful: some napping, some chatting, but overall it was an hour of super tired whatevers. Once we paid and got out, we discovered that the security checkpoint wasn’t open yet. We got to the airport before the people who work there did! Which led to another hour of napping and such while we waited for the airport to man itself. Once it did, we got through security, had a shitty sandwhich, and got on our plane.

An hour later, we were in Paris.

In hindsight, my ability to speak and understand french was incredibly helpful. We got good directions very quickly and made our way to the metro system. Say what you will about it, but there was only one place the metro smelled (it smelled of pee), and it was faster and more efficient that the London metro. Suck it, England!

We got off about a 5 minute walk from our hotel, where we dropped our luggage. We grabbed a lunch, and that’s when I fully realized why I love France so much more than England: the French know how to cook. I ask for a tuna melt in England and it’s okay. I ask for the equivalent in France and holy shit there’s olives and fancy bread and everything. Long story short, I love French food.

After lunch, we made our way to the Eiffel tower. We found it, no real issue, but our first order of business was to find our tour guide; and find him we did. Nice guy, his name was Alex. Super awesome french accent. Once we got rolling, it was like being treated to an educational stand up routine. The Italian heckled, the Swede mediated, and what did I, the Canadian do? Antagonize him, and pull puns out of my ass. In short, I felt like apologizing afterwards.

Anyway, it was gorgeous. Got to see the top, and see Paris from on high. It was a gorgeous view; everything was in front of you. On one side, la Seine and the bridge from Inception: another had a massive financial district with massive skyscrapers. Notre Dame, the Louvre, Sacre Coeur, the Middle Finger of Paris… it was all there. Oh, you don’t know about the Middle Finger of Paris?

Now you know. It’s called the middle finger because LOOK AT IT.

Seeing as this was the day we woke up at 03:00, it was time to pass out. And pass out we did, happily in our hotel.

We woke up the next day, and set out for the Louvre; for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a huge museum. With three nerds, it would eventually take us 6 hours to skim through an 8th of the place. When I say huge, I MEAN huge. But first, we had to print our tickets! We got to the Louvre at 09:00, but couldn’t print our tickets there: instead, we had to find the closest FNAC store. Why? Fucked if I know!

We spent an hour finding the store, cursing it being closed, eating at a cafe, finding the store again, getting our tickets, and then walking back to the Louvre. When we finally got in… holy shit. Did I mention we spent 6 hours in there? Because we did. We started with the Antiquities, specifically the Greco-Roman stuff. So a good few hours staring at statues with dongs and oversized feet and boobs. In short, a great way to begin my morning! No fig leaves; I learned that the fig leaves wasn’t until much, much later. The Greeks and Romans kinda thought “eh, it’s a bunch of dongs and tits, whatever.” Someone else thought that was unseemly and hid them behind plants. My question is this, Fig Leafer: what if the leaves had parasites? Now the dongs have parasites! THAT’S unseemly!

After that we spent a  lot of time in the Italian painters section. Because, Mona Lisa. That’s why. I was a bit more interested in the painting with Napoleon being ballsy and crowning his own empress. Usually that’s what the Pope did, because through the Pope, allegedly god says it’s okay. The painting is essentially showing Napoleon’s ego: he’s better than god.

The balls on that motherfucker must have been HUGE, which is hilarious considering the rumours about Napoleon himself. Also, those were proven false: although we was about 5’4″, that was the average for his time. We’d just be abnormally huge.

That’s what she said?

After our long stay at the Louvre, we went back to the hotel to nap. Why? Exhausted, that’s why. We had a good long rest, which ended up with us leaving around night time. Where were we headed? Back to la Seine, of course! We had a boat to catch.

La Seine, the big river that runs through Paris, is jammed in between the many, many landmarks that make up the city. An hour long tour on those boats lets you see quite a bit: and at night, it’s something special. Mostly a lot colder, but it is nice! I know this because we did exactly that: a night time tour of the river on a boat. It was awesome: all the landmarks were lit up to show them off, and it was crazy cool to see Paris when it was sleepy rather than jam packed.

I spent a lot of time thinking. Boats are great places to think, especially when it’s a smooth ride on a cold night. It was cool being in Paris, right then and there. Not as many tourists, a great temperature, and wonderful food… that’s when I thought back to how it was for me before I left.

This past summer was a depressing one. The only things that kept me moving forward and waking up in the morning was my YouTube channel and my friends (I miss our runs, guys, and Sam? You and I need to rot teeth the next time I come over): everything else was depressing and had me stuck in a rut. If it wasn’t for moving over to the UK (which I’m honestly still deciding whether I like the place or not), I’d still be living in my room, desperately attempting to just keep getting out of bed and such.

So, I guess I’m okay with the move here, even if there are days where I’m not.

On Tuesday, at 05:00, we got a cab to the train station, played some public piano, and hopped on a train by 06:28, and made our way to Hossegor. It’s a coastal town with the distinction of being one of the “surfing capitals of the world.” More importantly, it’s my favourite place on the planet: the sounds and smells of the ocean, the feel of grainy sand, and the perfect place to read a book or swim. If there’s anyplace where I can recharge and recoup, it’s here. I’ve been here since, but I leave on Saturday to go back to England, back to work.

I’d rather stay here, but… money.

So that’s it for now.

-P.

Mother’s Day, done badly.

I’m bad at mushy stuff, but here goes.

To my mom:

Hey mom, it’s one of your favourite sons. I just wanted to say happy mother’s day, and I hope today works out for ya in a big way.

I’m happy to have you for a mom for a lot of reasons. For one, you helped make me the geek I am today. You have more french comic books than comic book guy from the Simpsons, read a lot, and I have picked up on neither of those things to the same degree.

Okay, well at least your taste in movies is all thanks to you. Stargate, Die Hard… action movies and sci-fi were always cool because you made it.

I’m going to teacher’s college now largely because of your support, and I hope I’m as good as your are. Heck, I looked up reviews. People think you’re awesome. I think you’re awesome. There’s definitely a something there that I hope to emulate.

We both kinda hate cooking all the time, so that’s a bonus. It’s also a bonus that ordering in food is certainly easier than what the Croods have to do.

Frankly, I picked up a lot of my habits from you. You helped me grow into this big, hairy mess of a human being. I couldn’t have done anything in my life without you and your guidance.

So, from the bottom of my big, though very-bad-at-articulating-feelings afflicted heart, I just wanted to say thank you for all the help, the love, and the care. I love you. I’m very lucky to have had you for a mother.

Happy Mother’s day,
Phil

Mechanics that Make Games GO

I recently started developing a board game. It is currently still lacking the basic mechanisms needed to even play, but the overall ideas and guidelines for the relationships between my 3 largest mechanics in the game are in place.

Here’s the thing: I actively started work on this side project for about 4-5 days. That’s it, and I’ve gone through not one, not two, but three iterations of the main mechanic E, 2 iterations of mechanic A(t) and birthed a third mechanic (e) to help add depth to the game. Still, it feels… loose.

What I mean here is that the game doesn’t look like it has an engine. It is about prediction and card counting for the most part, coupled with resource management of about 2-3 main resources, and eventually coming out on top by avoiding stronger opponents or overpowering them while augmenting your resources and diminishing theirs in, ideally, an elegant symbiosis of mechanics; but it feels like there’s no drive. There’s no singular thing that the game could not roll without.

One excellent example of a game with an engine mechanic is King of Tokyo. For those who don’t know about this game, I find it’s a lot of fun in big, casual groups. It handles 2-6 players at any given time, and features a really quick and exciting atmosphere. Imagine Yahtzee meets Godzilla, which then makes random lizard babies with King of the Hill. That is how King of Tokyo do.

WHY DO YOU LOOK LIKE CUBES WTF

Integral to the game, to a point where the rest of the game is impossible to play without it, is dice rolling. By rolling the dice, the game comes alive: when the dice stop, the game is dead. It’s that simple, and that uniquely powerful engine is not only easy to understand, but easy to use. Furthermore, it is the driving force behind a money mechanic, health, damage, and points. 4 interesting things with very cool relationships with one another.

Other games lack a central mechanic completely, and still manage this interesting phenomenon. Sentinels of the Multiverse, for instance; despite its huge amount of variety inherent in the many, many, many decks it has, the game has only that: variety. The mechanics of the game are almost non-existant, leaving only one, card management. As a result, interesting relationships emerge only once in a little while from the rules, but the game is still fun to play so long as you make use of the variety and enjoy a fairly simple game which relies on the relationships between the cards in play rather than underlying mechanics at work.

Mechanics? WHAT MECHANICS? HA HA HA!

Even here though, with no underlying, overarching mechanics, the game still has a driving force: the self-played villain and environment decks, which consistently throw problems to solve at the players, which are solved usually by bashing it repeatedly in the face, but the solutions can be a lot more elegant on occasion. This constant barrage of problems to solve moves the game at a reasonable pace, and keeps players playing.

And so I look at my game, and I have to ask myself: what is driving my game? How do I create a relationship between two mechanics that really gets players to WANT to do things in my game? How do I get the person playing my game to really want to go? It’s not an easy answer…

I Clicked Inspiration. All I Got was a Picture

So there’s a button when you’re about to make a post that says “INSPIRE ME!” and I thought to myself, what is this? An inspiration store? Hello! I would like to have 2 inspired thoughts please.

Instead, it gave me this:

A picture is worth 1000 words. This safe has been through a lot. Tell its story. Image credit: “safe” – © 2007 Paul Keller – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

And I thought to myself “Damn, this isn’t at ALL what I asked for. To boot, I’m no Sherlock Holmes: it’s not like I can detail the history of this safe that has very obviously been maltreated for several decades. Actually, I’d bet about 30 years judging by the grime and style of the safe: thin walls, only one lock, obviously meant for a civilian home to keep valuables.

In fact, I’d judge that it would be this very same residential area where said civilian home was: the safe is large and heavy, hard to move. Because it is covered in graffiti, old stickers, paint, and rust encrusted, I would bet that this was abandoned and the valuables retracted long before it was re-opened at the time of this picture. The graffiti and markings on the safe would suggest that the house was the appropriated by local gangs or other streetdwellers, and as they tried to open the empty safe they failed repeatedly for years, though they thought it was full alright. Once the kids got actual tools they busted it open… only to find it empty.

Now here’s the creepy part: why are there scratch marks inside? No, don’t answer that question. The answer is because it became a prison, where the unruly were tossed in to punish them. An iron maiden without teeth, this box stored many victims who eventually tried to scratch their way out. None did, and when it came time to remove the prisoners they were weak and helpless to their abductors.

One day the gangs abandoned the place though: hence the rust on the hinges of the door. When the area was deserted, this safe had no purpose, and sat there until the photographer took this picture and wordpress “inspired” me.

But seriously, that’s it. Nothing I wanted. Oh well.

5 Minute Analysis: Dawn of War is NOT League of Legends

As a small forward, a pal of mine was watching me play Dawn of War: Black Crusade. Oh, the fun I’ve been having playing that game again! It’s loads of good fun. In any case, he looked over my shoulder and proclaimed that “This reminds me of league of legends.”
Well, that simply wouldn’t do.

1. League of Legends (Hereby referred to as LoL) is a MOBA. You control just 1 unit most of the time, and it’s called a hero/champion/macguffit. Dawn of War (Hereby referred to as DoW), you control armies. Many people. HANDLE THEM.

2. LoL is pretty cartoony, charmingly so. You won’t see many torn bodies or genereal mishandling of corpses in a desacratory way. DoW, you are expected, nay, gleefully appreciative of the fact that your many units (HANDLE THEM) are tearing up many others. Grrrrrrrrrrrross! and great, but G(L)ORY.

3. LoL, you cant move the camera save to zoom in. DoW? Oh, that’s an impressive looking army. Let’s take a look at them from ground level.

… Why, yes! It is an impressive looking- *eviscerated*

4. LoL is full of armies, but of only 3-4 kinds of units tops. DoW, you have access to an entire plethora of… okay, there’s a giant spider, many guns, chainswords, and mutant horrors. and that’s a 3rd of the units I can have.

5. MOBA. RTS. Although MOBA comes right out of an RTS, that’s still the big one.

6. Did I mention LoL is a MOBA and not an RTS?

7. LoL takes 30-45 minutes to play on average. DoW takes 10-15. Booya time savings!

8. In one, I play as yordles (dafuq folks) and in the other, I get to play as 8 foot tall warmonsters with a penchant for TEARING YOUR HEART OUT WITH A SPOON. GG yordles.

Next time, I’m going to rip off a famous show and steal their shtick with BACON STRIPS.

A 15 Minute Warhammer 40K Short Story

As a forward, I wrote this because we played Jabberwocky. It’s a fun board game, and I was tempted to write timed short stories! This idea came to mind after playing too much Dawn of War: Black Crusade.

The field of war played out in front of the two battle brother like it had before. The eerie familiarity both had with the crackle of fires that engulfed massive warmachines, the loud explosive punctuations of bolter fire beginning to dim as the world became habitual around them.

The brothers stood face to face, eying every detail of their partner. Both were worse for wear, having fought for days on end now. cuts, scrapes and scars marked the passage of a long and brutal campaign to bring this planet to the imperial heel in the name of the god-emperor of mankind, killing off the majority of the population in a planet-wide purge of heretics, mutants, and xenos.

One brother wore white power armour, trimmed in silvery gold, now tarnished with ash and blood of fallen enemies and close calls. The emblem on his shoulder showed a circle within a larger circle, a symbol representing the mind of the god-emperor himself. His helmet had been lost in the fray, although he did recall using it as a weapon when he couldn’t find his power sword. Bent over, he panted deeply; although he was accustomed to battle and war, it was rare to fight a powerful opponent like he had today. His combat knife was gripped in one hand, which he brought forward to ward off any thought of attack.

His brother opposite him stood tall and wore the ever known armour of the ultramines, the bright blue now darker and slick with blood, gore, and marked by flecks of grenades. His helmet was clipped to his belt, as the rigors of close combat did not lend itself well to being blinded willfully by technology. He held his knife confidently in front of him, almost as a challenge to the man opposite him. He smiled.

“I, for one, never thought I’d see this day, brother.” The ultramarine began to circle his brother.

“Then you are blind, as is the man that you serve.” The white clad marine shook his head. “If you were vigilant, you would have seen this coming.”

Fluidity in Life

Relationships are fluid.

Tonight, I went and celebrated the proper opening night of Todd’s show. Tonight was the advertised opening night, free for a fee to the public. Since I went last night to the private free show, I made sure to spend tonight relaxing and getting ready for his big cast party.

The cast parties are something we’ve always shared. It’s a party held on opening night of a play, used to show the accolades of the cast and crew of the show, and then drink copious amounts of booze and dance drunkenly with everyone. Back in first year, when Todd was just scratching the surface of these shows, he’d come to show his support for the upper years. Not only that, but it was a good excuse for me to go out once in awhile when I wasn’t shackled to my computer talking to Lorelai on screen. The tradition continued, with Todd and a number of other friends going out to enjoy a few beers, and dance the night away to awful music.

The past couple of times have seemed different, however. See, it’s been 4 years already. 4 years that were far too long, and way too short too. Time slogged past me it seemed, but in reality it was flying. And here was Todd, once a first year dramatic arts student, now a trained actor. He climbed to the top of his class, where so many had failed. Tonight was his night, the opening night of the most virtuosic work he had done to date. He was the lead in a 2 hour long show, where he was present in every scene and decided the fate of the play. He did excellently, and tonight was his &%$#ing night to SHINE.

I got to the cast party right on time; just as I entered, the whole stream of cast and crew rampage forth from the side door, whooping and calling, blowing bubbles and blowing kisses. The speeches were loud, emphatic. Full of energy. Nothing could go wrong tonight, no sir.

There was a big difference in how it all worked out. Todd was the life of the party now: he was the lead. He was a King for a day, a dream for so many people, or a distant truth from a long time ago for most. He was lording in it, loving it, and making sure that tonight was the best damn cast party he ever had, as it was truly his last within that setting. He had every reason to “max it up” as it were.

Here I was, however, sitting in the corner, nursing my pint of Keith’s (which was watery, funny enough. Maybe it’s because I’ve been drinking Okanagan beer so much lately) and feeling… resentful?

No, that wasn’t it. Todd obviously is my friend. I’m not going to be resentful of his shining moment. I was sad though, and it took me a while of sitting and drinking to figure it out.

Every good friendship has a core. That core is unshakable, and once founded is really hard to break. That’s why people can be friend over massive distances for huge spans of time. It’s essential to every good friendship; however, there is more. Around that core is a fluffy layer of contemporary thought, A.K.A shit that’s going on right now. Friends who hang out a lot have a lot of that fluffy part, whereas friends who are far apart have only the core holding themselves tethered to one another. It’s not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it does happen.

I could feel it happening. The fluff? It was going or already gone in a sense. Things were already different. Todd was celebrating his time alright, but it wasn’t with me anymore, or the rest of the guys. Not the same way. Can I blame him? Of course not, but it still taught me a valuable lesson.

Relationships are fluid, and depend entirely on context.

That might not be how things OUGHT to be; my claim is meant to be descriptive, not normative. Relationships can change quickly based on what context they’re being put into. Right now, Todd’s relationship with me was a core. Nothing more, nothing less. Honestly, it makes me sad, though it shouldn’t, and not in ways most would expect.

Since I know that I can’t be mad at Todd for what he’s doing, I am sad because I know it signifies the end of something we had. We had a tight knit relationship; but after 4 years of university, he’s graduating. Meanwhile I will still be in school, and that status change alone will cause our friendship to be something different, whether I like it or not.

All of this thinking relates to time. A common theme for me these past couple of weeks has been time; the passing, the coming, the going. My time with Todd’s friendship as it stands is coming to an end, and I can feel it. It’s almost palpable. Time seems to keep… flowing, going, dragging with it a lot of things that I will never have again. Nothing (Save for Nothingness, I suppose), with time, is solid and stable; unless you believe in a God of some sort, but since I can’t do that, the only thing that will be guaranteed to be stable is me and whatever/whoever else I can place my trust in not to. Even then, I will change too, and already have I’m sure.

This change is nonstop. You can’t rest, even if for a moment, and you won’t as you’ll see change all around you can there will be nothing you can do to slow it down. I can handle it. I know I can; but sometime, it just feels like it’s too much.

People told me that time was gonna fly, that change was going to happen, and that people would go in and out of my life. This shouldn’t be a surprise to me at all.

I just wish it all a bit slower, that’s all.

Where am I? Why am I here?

I had another “lesson” moment, though just a thoughtful one this time.

I was just at my very good friend’s place to celebrate his excellent debut in his show, and there was an unexpected (to me, anyway) visitor: a really cute girl that seemed to have an affinity with my buddy. I would be a terrible friend if I didn’t give him the look.

Down to the muscle twitch.

In any case, we watched REPO! the genetic opera. A movie so full of angst that I could mould it into small, adorable, angst filled mini demons. It was adorable. And full of blood, gore, black, and VERY pale people.

Paleness aside, the experience was funny: it had been awhile where I made myself feel like a third wheel. I felt very…analytic. Outside of everything, observing. It’s an interesting mindset, as it leaves me feeling apart from the world, and yet incredibly attached.

I said my goodbyes to everyone, and made my way into the alleyway between our houses. The chill air blew through my hair as the ground underneath my feet crunched as only a dirt gravel path can. It’s at this point that I put in my earphones, and being to listen to this song, which is an excellent remake of this one.

Seriously, that remix is fantastic.

In any case, it’s at this point that I’m compelled to look up at the sky.

The black, inky sky holds an imaginable depth, impossible for me to fathom; yet still, in the darkness of the sky, there are shinning stars, twinkling. Not many, but a few, and occasionally they would get covered up as passing clouds drifted by on a gust of cool wind.

It’s precisely at this moment that I hear the cool voice of Leonardo DiCaprio say the following:

“Think about it Ariadne. How did you get here? Where are you right now?”

I think I'm too close to the creepiest man on Earth is what.

Obviously, I’m not as hot as Ellen Page, but the idea struck home. As the words, sounds and the world slipped away around me, all I could see or think of was the sky, space, the universe, the places I’ll never see and never go to.

And yet, here I was. Here. Not anywhere else, but here. Where exactly is “here”? And how did I get “here”?

I pondered those questions for well over 10 minutes I stood in a dirt gravel alleyway. I was on Earth, of that I was certain; but where was that in the grand scheme of things? Where was this place I called home? Even if I could answer that question, the first one was even more perplexing despite its simplicity. How did I get here?

So I ask you those questions: where are you? How did you get here?

What am I doing?!

I have NO idea what I'm doing. Where's this space come from?

I have no idea what I want to write.

This is my second time writing that sentence tonight. It’s only showing up once because the first time I did that, I followed it up with a bunch of gobeldy gook that unfortunately resulted in my closing the internet and wiping my gobeldy gook.

The gook looked like this:

Qlskc aldic q;ekjcv w n erhois nfoiq dnf cmiqpwejf apsdochnqpwoeuzlkzlsp qpwo lkf qpoiusdpnbgpouqh dpo lupo uhapsod fqpowud fpaso qrjodhuf qpwoe rqpo wiuerhp as fpoqwopieruypslk,nvpqouh qp woiur hpoq whrfpq ofpo qwf q f pqowuhr poqhwpo fpq hwf 9qw 9f98 hqwpohf poq8whf qw8f hq f qpwf qwf pqw f8qw hfpo8qhwpfo8h psohdfpokjch  pqouhcolkjhlvmnlxzkjnv olijnsdlkqhpeourqh dkjvn lzkxihu pq l.

And that was supposed to represent my thoughts.

They still do, as a matter of fact. And I’ve typed an re-typed the next section at least 3 times with the aim of trying to create something to help my thought align themselves to something useful.

... precisely.

Totally hasn’t happened though. Which is puzzling, as normally when I tell my thoughts to do something, they do it. Or they get the soap. And by soap, I mean I totally mind crush them.

And I suppose that’s a pretty apt way to explain how life is at the moment, actually: it seems like although I do things, things aren’t apt to fall into place unless I glare at a problem with great disdain and displeasure. It’s a glare so sour that most things pickle on the spot; but nooo, life seems to find a way to go “uhh, how bout no?” and continues to do its thing regardless of what I want.

Upside, things that I do want are increasingly awesome! For instance, my girlfriend Kitteh and I made our anniversary, and neither of us have died due to bodily harm and/or mental onslaught! It’s pretty fantastic.

Speaking of fantastic, I’ve been doing well in school too, for the most part. And my HoNage continues to get better, and remains a way to feed my insatiable ego and remind me that I am still fabulous and fantastic.

I don’t know why I feel at a loss of control of things; it probably has a lot to do with the preoccupation I have with my lack of money and independence, although maybe a crippling feeling of “WHERE/WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOOOOOOING?!” has a hand in this.

-Phil