Whoever Invented The Phone Is No Different To Me Than A Magician

Really, if you think about it, all technology, if sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic (Yes, I did just use that quote.) But I don’t want to talk about all technology, simply because technology is such a broad stroke. In fact, everything in the near future will have some component of a computer within in. If you want to get really weird, you can consider our brains to be a computer, and our bodies the gears and parts that move to this computer’s whim. It’s kind of difficult not to think about everything around us in spades to technology. But again, today I want to hone in on one specific facet of technology on this cold new year’s eve (or new years, or whenever you’re reading this.) Let’s talk about phones.

The other day I finally caved in and did what any reasonable person (Me being not reasonable) and downloaded apps on my phone. Previously I had used phones the way our ancestors had wished for us to use phones. Communication. What purpose is this rectangular and quite honestly intrusive object in my pocket good for? That was the question that had lingered through my mind most of my life not having a phone, which was at the time of writing this, 18 years, give or take. When I had received a phone, it was just that, a ways to communicate, and to listen to music. Sometimes I would take notes on it, memos, if you will. But that can be accomplished through a notepad. And even then, I could listen to music using something much simpler as well. But what happened the other day was that I downloaded apps. You see, I decided I needed an external stimulus to bide my time when my main stimulus (my computer) was being preoccupied. When I needed a break, or perhaps simply just to relax in simpler times. The phone to me is a world much smaller and easier to handle than the vast ocean of the computer-net. And so I did what any reasonable person did and downloaded some apps on my phone. Of course with me being the person I am I downloaded games, but not any games. I knew that phone games specifically are designed with a specific intention to specifically thwart my livelihood. I knew better. And so I downloaded rhythm games.

Downloading rhythm games were an easy compromise. I would just play a few songs, mostly ignore whatever textual narrative they were trying to pigeon-hold me through and then just get off. Nothing more, nothing less. But then I got “into” it. The same way I get into games that are just good. These rhythm games are good, they’re fun. And I started exploring more until I found a GBA emulator (My experiences of this can be seen more in-depth in Lets Talk About Games). But to cut it loose, I downloaded what had been essentially an innovative piece of technology, all the games associated with that, into a device that could call anyone in the world, access anything in the world, and capture the world. Through this device that I can hold in my hand and operate with no trouble, I have recreated a time period and in essence can relive a time period. Through this device in my hands, I am able to create and emulate many other worlds as well, I am able to manipulate the world around me with an effortless swipe. That to me is the power of the phone. I had always berated the phone as an invention of mass hysteria. As a means of people all around the world to occupy their times with and their children’s time with. But after caving in, I have come to appreciate the phone as a source of good. There are so many people who talk about the phone and of technology as a source of bad. As a degradation of the masses. It is because laymen don’t understand the implications of such technology that this stigma has aroused society.

To be completely fair, in all of its entirety, I am a hypocrite. I live my life on technology, and I am one of those who would fit into that stigmatized technological zombie. But, there is value to this, there’s value to all of this, everything around us. Much like the sun after a rain storm, we don’t see the things in front of us. It is with no surprise that I had suddenly had these strings of thoughts  on something that has practically followed my existence upon taking a closer inspection of it. Upon fully realizing and fully allowing myself to be in that culture, to be able to seep into that world and let myself be swallowed by it and not fight it, I was able to take another perspective of the matter. That to me is insane. The magic of technology will never be fully actualized nor realized, instead, we will live each day in complete awe at the magic it continually exudes. That is why whoever invented the phone to me is no different than a magician.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field of Roses

Preface: This short story is something that I’ve recently been wanting to explore, and that is blending this kind of historical backdrop with my writing. I’ve always been a fan of history but I’ve never really sought out historical pretenses. Although I don’t specifically dive into any specific historical pretense in this piece specifically, there are hints and similar themes that I use from a history close to home. Call them what you be, for me, it’s the Aboriginals or the First Nations that I am heavily interested in, which is why I’ve been a big fan of Joseph Boyden and his work in blending Canadian First Nations with his pieces. Field of Roses attempts that same leg, but of course, I do it in my own way.

I think it was safe to say that at that moment I was dying because of the bullet in my chest. I held my wound together trying to find something. I looked for anything that could mean my living any longer. But I knew that it was only a useless sentiment. Nothing I could ever do then would prolong my death. I had lived a life far longer than I could ever manage. Even then as I had been gripping my chest and slowly moving into a field of roses that I thought to myself about the falsity of my life.

            I felt the gun around my waist buckle against my leg with every dragged step I took. My hands were covered in blood, and whenever a soft wind blew against my face I coughed out even more. My erratic breathing did nothing to help me calm, and my heart was pumping just as much as I had when I was hooked up on stones. I knew that my life drew closer, but the only thing I wanted to do before I had finally bit the dust was to lay in a field of roses. My ears were still ringing from all the incessant firing. I smiled when thinking back to that moment. I had given up then, given my arms to the reaper, and didn’t even move when they had busted me. At that time I would have killed myself either way. I had enough to OD three men.

            The only reason why I knew that field of roses existed was because it was the first time I had arrived in the country. I snuck over with a bag of green and wound up in the field. I was entranced the moment I laid eyes on it, rows of velvet covered my entire being and I was wrapped up in a solemn slumber wherein all was painted red. I had forgotten all my troubles then, forgotten all that I had done to arrive there, and forgotten all I had to do now that I had made it out. For a moment, I thought of forgetting my past life. For a moment, I wanted to embrace this scene for the rest of my days. Now I can.

I laid my wounded body onto the roses and looked up into the sky as small clouds overlooked my death. The roses swung in the wind in the direction that it blew, all without knowing or caring of the man that now lay among them. Perhaps they didn’t even know, after all, I was covered in red. With all that I could, I took a whiff of the surrounding area. The smell of roses permeated my nose, but something more primal stung among them as well. It was the smell of gunpowder, the same ones used by those who wish to subjugate more power. The same gunpowder that lingered on my fingers and on my body. The same gunpowder that was used in the time when settlers came to patronize my people and send incurable disease and rupture across the land. That smell lingered in the area, but upon further inspection, I had realized that the smell of it belonged to me.

            My breathing began slowing, almost to a halt. I was scared, if only for a second, I was scared that I was going to die. Even though the thought of it was so incongruent with everything around me, I was fearful of the thought of my life ending. The roses that I laid upon would not fret if their lives were to end in a mere week. They would not understand nor know when their ends would come, but they go on living so brilliantly. I envied the roses who did not understand the fragility of their own lives, and I envied them that they could live so steadfast in the wake of danger. As my breathing continued to slow, I listened to my heartbeat. It drummed in my chest like a low percussion of stomps, like the marching of the men who stampeded over sacred lands. It thumped in my chest louder than anything in these fields, and for a brief moment I’d have thought that the roses around me danced along to that beat, to the beating of my heart.

My time drew near, much too near for me to be able to do anything about it, even as I gripped onto my chest to stop the bleeding. No one came after me, I thought. They didn’t bother to find me, to put another bullet in my head, but left me to run into the woods, to find my sanctum among a field of roses. Such a trivial matter was something that the colonialists that governed my people did. I was able to live a life quite free from previous restrictions, to be reborn into a land that some called the promise lands. And now, as the circle of life that my ancestors had passed on through my generation comes to bear my life, I smile. I am once again free from those of the past, and will find my soul leaving with the other roses as I go on to another life. Even if the roses have no business with me, nor know who or what I am, I will leave this earthen prison and into a world where I can be with the rest of my people. In the distance, I can hear shallow chanting, the wails of my people, and the shouts of those who have died for my existence. I give a short apology to those people in particular, for giving their lives only to see mines end just as shortly as theirs. Surely the circle of life knows no mercy.

 

 

Christmas Eve/ Christmas/ Posting

This is going to be a short update because the holidays are among us, and at the time of writing and posting this, probably either Christmas Eve or Christmas depending on where you are. Either way, with exams over, and basically a fresh start to this year, I’m going to start pushing out these short stories I’ve been working on, which isn’t to say I won’t do these more personalized update posts. I’ll probably still do way more of these rant type posts to fill in that gap between me editing my more regular posts. That and I’ll be back up on doing microfiction over on https://schoolofwords.wordpress.com/ which if you haven’t already check out should definitely see if that lighter and quicker dosage of fiction appeals more than my more heavy works. I’ll be aiming to get back into that bi-daily posting schedule of having a new piece up every other day, and probably get to organizing that so I can have menus for specific words. I basically use words as prompts but it isn’t as random as you think. I started at “A” and just used 3-4 words of A and then went down the alphabet.

But that’s neither here nor there, either way I’ll be looking to getting my what I like to call “2017” shorts out. Even though it’s still a ways before 2017 I’d like to think that these newer pieces I have worked on are a good indication of where I’m at now from where I was before. A lot can happen in a year, and starting university this year is one of them. So yeah, Christmas and holiday cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Collection

Just made an archived collection of my stories in the style you would see as if they were in an actual book of short stories, categorized. Hopefully this will make it easier for those wanting to browse the short stories I have and hopefully this will make it easier to differentiate the different styles of short stories that I have made.

Source: Short Story Collection

It’s Snowing Here In Canada

Hello and welcome back to another week of still technically “exam” week but that’s basically become a joke to me now but what’s not a joke is…The goddamn snow that’s dropped here in Canada recently. I mean seriously, last year we basically had no snow until like… March? Okay that’s hyperbole, maybe not until February. Either way, we had no snow for the longest time and we had a pretty sad Christmas with grey roads and dark skies. I’ll tell ya, winter last year was one hell of a dreary time. And that sucks, I love winter. Out of the four cardinal seasons of this planet, winter hands down is my favorite, and hell Winter is also a very pretty name. But again, the snow hit this year like march coming in like a lion. It’s a damn good time to be a fan of winter in Canada this year. But am I a fan of winter just because of snow? Let’s talk about winter.

Snow is one portion of my love for this season. Snow not only colors the grey boring ground white, but it also causes iridescent snow blindness. Well, I’m only half kidding with that statement. Seeing the sun reflect off of the sun’s surface is amazing. It’s just simply beautiful to be able to look out of my window and see this white blanket face me like a raging waterfall. There’s no feeling as ebullient as being able to walk out to the ground and lay down knowing a bed of snow will catch me like a pillow. Snow is the world’s putty, it’s the clay that keeps on giving. But there’s also a more holistically literary meaning to snow that I love. Yes, I am going to harp on about this because hey, one of my favorite motifs to use in writing is winter. And hell if I’m not going to defend that point now. The white snow that falls on the ground does so at the thick of night. It covers the world, or at least the greater world with this blanket of immeasurable joy. You can hate snow all you want, shoveling snow, or having snow block the roads, but snow does not hate. Everyone has experienced snow in their childhoods, everyone at least has heard about this substance and I will argue that everyone is at least a bit interested in seeing snow once in their life. It’s kind of this enigmatic phenomena that you can’t just not know about. But again, snow doesn’t hate. Snow doesn’t do anything bad it just sits there and it sits there as something that universally we all come to love or hate. We all work together in times of snow storm, and we all work together to play with snow. It’s not the snow that we hate, it’s the distance, it’s the snow’s ability to force us out of our shells to do these things and to care about the well-being of our communities stuck in snow. The snow to me serves as a blanket to all the malice, to all the anathema, and to all the misanthropy in the world. At this time of year, it covers all of that which makes this world dark and brightens it by being. It brings the worst and best out of us, and even though it doesn’t expel that darkness, it’ll at least be there long enough for us to think about it.

But it’s not just this snow, not just this meaning of snow that I’ve given it. Winter is a time of coldness. It’s a time to freeze, and it’s a time to thaw out those winter jackets because hell if you ain’t freezing then you’re something else. But I don’t associate winter with cold. Well, I feel cold, but when I think of winter my first reaction isn’t to shiver in nostalgia. Not in the same way that my first reaction to summer is to burn in sweat. When I think of winter I think of warmth. There’s a strange warmth to winter. It’s not a physical warmth per se, and it may never have to be a physical warmth. Its not the warmth in your jacket, not the warmth in your heaters. But its the warmth of family, the warmth of love, the warmth of just being there around people. Winter brings people together in ways that no other season can. See my rant on snow above. But its not just snow. It has something to do with Christmas, but its not just Christmas. Winter thematically is the end of days. Trees die, animals hibernate, and things go to sleep. The world is put at rest. It’s the season between seasons. The season of rest. It’s through winter that we spring up into the world, in the season of spring. Winter is not something that makes life. It’s something that takes away life, but it takes away that life momentarily. It takes away life such that life can be given respite. It’s the slowing of life. Our days are shortened by winter, but our nights are longer. We can sleep longer, and we can relax in the day knowing that even if our days are shorter, we have so much more to look forward to in the future. Winter isn’t just a season to me. It’s a moment. It’s a story. And hell, it’s snowing here in Canada, but it’s been winter since the winds turned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Talk About Games

Hello and this is going to be another week of just this, a blog update, but since I’m still in exam mode, or exam period, or since I’m still in that exam time I really haven’t gotten much other than that to report on. I’ve just been doing my own thing as usual, but I have been recently watching and thinking about games. I’m an avid player of games, or so I reluctantly say, a gamer. And I’ve been re-watching some old “Extra Credits” videos. For those in the unknowing, Extra Credits is a YouTube channel dedicated to teaching game design. They have quite an amazing array of videos explaining things from fundamental game design to more specific facets like level design. But what catches my attention more than these amazing game design videos is the overarching philosophy that they and I share.  It’s this philosophy that games matter. So let’s talk about games.

Games are to the unknowing things that consume time. To put it into even plain-er terms, time wasters. But there’s more to games than just that. If I were to say that books were time wasters, than I think I would get strange stares. How about…School? How about…Learning how to cook? How about…Driving? Here’s the key to this conundrum, they are all non-vital to your survival. I can’t even begin to fathom how many people get by without what people would call a “proper” education. Cooking? Go out to eat, go online, or prepackaged food. Driving? We’re soon going to see self-automated cars, and we’re currently living in the industry of Uber. All of these things are lost arts, things that most people can throw money at and get done. If you learn them now, sure it would be useful, but you can do that action much quicker by not indulging. You don’t need to read all the classic literature to have a fine taste for good narrative. You don’t need to throw Bronte, Ibsen  or Shakespeare in front of my face to see if I can distinguish from bad and good narrative. In that sense, I would argue that having an obsession with the classics is a waste of time, but despite this many would argue with me. Why then, do games get the same treatment but not the consolidation? You don’t need to play games to have a cognitively active mind, nor do you need to play games to understand many things of the world. But I’d say that games are deeply entwined with many of what I’m able to do now.

I grew up on games. Games and T.V. But T.V is for another day, perhaps next week if I feel up to it. I grew up on games. I read some books sure, but that was when I was deep in middle school. I’m talking about my innate cognitive development, my window of opportunity was filled with games and interactions. I’ve never once forgotten the very first time my uncle installed a GameBoyAdvance ROM on my computer. I hadn’t gotten into MMO’s at this point so all the major game exposure came from my uncle’s meddling. He was also the one who introduced me to Age of Empire, and Rayman. But more on the GBA Roms. I of course also had my own GameBoy, but with the amount of games a single disk held compared to a single cartridge, you can already guess which I spent more time on. I could go on and on about the different kinds of games I played and all the things I learnt from them but I’ll hone in on one in specific, my favorite game to this day and probably of all time, “Super Robot Wars Original Generation” or I shall so abbreviate SRW. SRW is an amazing franchise with a bunch of history, but I won’t go harking on it’s intricacies, instead, I’ll tell you my first time playing it.

I booted up the system, watched as the title screen popped into view as the blue depiction of space flashed into my glass-y like eyes. I read the words that appeared on the screen, and suddenly realized what the “JP”in the Rom’s title stood for. The game was in Japanese. But I pressed start instinctively, by pressing X on the first button that the game’s title screen had. Thank god for game design and my previous experience with games that I could universally understand through the language of games what to do. I then saw two different heroes that I could play as, and chose one at seemingly random. To me, It didn’t matter, I couldn’t read the story, so I just chose whichever seemed cooler, but they were both pretty cool, so I just went ahead and chose the one with spikier hair. You see SRW is a strategy game played on a grid. You move units to get into range of attacks and then you watch an animated sequence play out that attack. There isn’t any more skill than brains that you need to play SRW. You don’t control how you dodge, it’s all determined on numbers. So this was the perfect game for me who didn’t understand the language. I’ll skip the amazement in playing such a game, but go ahead to the parts where learning happened.

I couldn’t read what any of the buttons did, but what I did learn was that I could “hack” the saves. In other words, I could save at any point with just a few clicks, way faster than what saving on a GBA would be. There was no hassle. And so I would soon learn by trial and error how to use certain abilities in SRW. You see, in SRW you could enhance your pilot(Remember the title, super ROBOT war) to either have more accuracy or to double their damage. However, to get to the screen to select this power up, you would have to manage the user interface of that pilot. Again, I couldn’t read how to do that, but I knew that the last button of the U.I was exit. And I knew the first one from just clicking on it gave me an overview of their stats. So I worked my way down until I got to this strange screen with numbers on it. I pressed on one of them, and it brought me out of the screen and back to the game area where my unit did a special animation, and words and numbers popped up. I then proceeded to attack not knowing what I did and noticed that my attack and dodge ratings were much adjusted to my favor. I had learned through trial and error and my own initiative what to do to play the game more in my favor. And despite not knowing why I was fighting these aliens, I could interpret through actions in game whenever I was betrayed, whenever I had to fight aliens, why they had happened. I didn’t understand the grand scheme of the story, but I was a pilot fighting off aliens, which is basically the story in a nut shell. I could understand queues and it’s this level of exploration and discovery and learning that almost every game proceeding SRW has been for me. And this feeling of discovery and self-learning and independence is one that still garners my life today.

It may seem rather fundamental or rudimentary, almost something that I should have learned otherwise, but when ever has it been to this degree? Sure kids can learn why things work in the real world in the same manner, but at what cost? They learn how scary the world is by touching stoves, by getting beat by their parents, by getting ridiculed. But a game doesn’t do that. A game will infinitely  wait for me, it’s the most patient teacher I’ve ever had. And it’s this learning from games, and many more lessons from playing these games and from continually playing games that I can constantly sharpen the edge of the sword known as me. Without games, and without this seemingly unnecessary task, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am now. I wouldn’t have taken the world as my own and throw it out of the bubble I would have otherwise categorized the world in. The world is mine to manipulate both in my writing and in my actual going-ons. This sounds all archaic, but there’s a word that can describe all of what I just said. Games taught me how to be creative. Creativity leads to discovery, to play with the world and see what happens in it. Creativity doesn’t just have to be in art and writing and whatever creationism you may associate creativity with. Creativity really is just using your imagination, and without games, I wouldn’t have been pushed to use my imagination, my creativity to play those games. The difference here is that I was actually able to bring these skills to my actual life. I’ve always been a curious kid, and I still am. I’ll never stop being curious, and I’ll never stop wanting to learn more and explore the world and make it my own, to fill in the gaps of my imagination with this world. I’ll never stop using what I’ve learned in games, whether I can consciously draw it out or whether it’s already ingrained in me. For that, I cannot bestow the title of time-waster to games. For that, I will never stop advocating for games in education. For that I welcome the conversation. So let’s talk about games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Problem With This Generation

Hey guys its been a week, and since that week, not many things have happened I guess. I’m in the midst of exam week in university so I’ve been more or less bunkering down and adopting the mantra of most students to this day: procrastination. No but seriously, I just have strange studying habits and I tend to find myself just remembering information in class from just sitting on it. It’s kind of the thing where the readings just leave an impression on me, but that’s not to say that this method is perfect, plus studying is always good. Reviewing your notes is probably better than not doing it. But that’s not what I’ve had on my mind lately. I could care less for the education system and schooling, but for a lot of people, that’s not the case.

You know, I see a problem with this generation. And of course I’m living in this generation. I’m not too much older than the people I’m referring to, nor do I have any inherent right to say that I can glean this from my own kin, but It’s something that I’m quite arduous about. It’s a simple problem really, but never have I seen it perpetuated so much among the people I know and among media and stories then now. It’s this idea of uselessness. It’s vague, and this problem in of itself is vague. People nowadays, especially those of age to study in college or university  lack  motivation. Sure, there might be motivation to do well, to give back to your parents, or even a motivation just to get it over with. These motivations are fine, but they aren’t motivations that give you any push. The problem with this generation is that people don’t know what they want in life.

There are sayings in life. Death and taxes are guaranteed. Teach a man to catch a fish and he’ll never go hungry. What these don’t account though, is that there’s much more to it than just that. There’s more to life than things of survival. You tell people idioms to get them going, to give them perspective, to leave a trail of hope for their future, but that’s just candied rot. What matters is not the beginning, or the end, but what you do with the middle.  People can’t seem to get that middle part worked out. They can’t see a coherent picture, and then they flail about. They waste their life, their energy, and their being rifling about in a desert of indignation. What purpose is it in life to live if you do not have a goal? That’s a tough question to answer. I can’t answer that. I bet if a god existed, he wouldn’t either. But how many people are on this planet? How many billions of people still exist, living their lives in their own ways? If life was meaningless because you can’t find meaning in the moment, then why haven’t we gone extinct yet? There’s more to life than what you think, and just because you can’t find a dream, a goal, something to strive for, it’s no excuse to end it. There’s no excuse for moping about, when that wasted time could have been spent working on something. But those words won’t reach anyone.

If my words alone could reach anyone, then I would so gladly hope that it can, but no matter who it is, no matter who speaks, there will still be apathy in this generation. Thinking and studying this society, and how things are, you can see a great push for advancement. We live in such a fast society where people are pressured to “contribute”. Where people feel the need to be “citizens”. But what does that mean? We as people, as humans, as beings on Earth want science. We favor practicality. We can tangibly see the results of Einstein, Galileo, Tesla, and Gates. We can see how the world moves and how the people within in move the world. This is a world filled with numbers and statistics. And growing up with them, growing up with these apathetic zombies, I can see  that not many people are fit for that role. Not many people can or want to run up to the pedestal to discover the thousands of un-found creatures, to find a bacteria, to gaze into the endless sea of stars.  Not many people are fitting of that, but what can they do, right? What else is there, if not that. That’s the problem with this generation.

There’s more to the world than they realize. But because of how schooling, and how their parents push them into the world, this is the only life they know. What more is there than Maths, Science, and Technology? What more is there than these fields of study that are perfect? Plugging an equation, studying mass, writing codes, they’ve never failed before. They never will. Theory, psychology, metaphor, abstract imagery, modernism, who the hell even knows what any of it means? But that’s the path I’ve taken. I’m a writer. I do these things not because I can’t do the others, but because I’ve had the gall to find myself. That’s the problem with this generation. A spineless generation that is scared of their parents, scared of their peers, and scared of recognition. I’ll tell anyone that what will make their parents happy isn’t to live up to THEIR standards. But to find a life of your own. My parents didn’t come to this country to see me wallow in pity, to find myself swimming in a miasma of black. My parents came to this country, raised me, to see me smile, to see me happy. There is no parent in this world who wouldn’t want their kid to be happy. They just aren’t good at expressing this, and if you aren’t going to complain, then you’ll just find yourself suffocating in their waves. That’s the problem with this generation.

I don’t have a solution to this problem, I don’t think anyone does. Mental health to me is the most important thing to anyone. They say if you can’t see it, is it really a problem? But there is suicide, depression, and disease out there. No one can see it, but we feel it. We feel the problems, we feel ourselves wanting something in life. And once we can’t find that, we resort to the only thing we know about life. The things that are taught to us from the very moment we’re born. We’re ingrained with this from our DNA. Death. That’s a piss poor solution if you ask me, and many people also realize that. Thank some god that many people realize that. The best solution to this problem is the exact opposite. It’s obvious. Just live. Fate isn’t something you find. Destiny doesn’t come knocking on your door. You make your own doors, you put your own foot, and you find your own way. Whether that takes you ten years, twenty years, fifty years, it doesn’t matter. Find your own way, find something to latch onto. No matter how small or big, how much worth you think it is, how much worth it is to the people around you, it’ll be your life force. Find yourself and be proud.  There’s a reason why you’re here, trust me and the other seven billion around you.