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toppled

I dream often enough. Sometimes I wake up laughing my head off, and other times I wake up in tears. Like everyone else, often times I forget exactly what these dreams are. However I’ve always found that the weaker the condition that I’m in-Say in a sickly state-The more vivid and memorable my dreams tend to be.

At the peak of my allergic reaction last week, I fell into a deep REM induced sleep, and I dreamt one of those memorable dreams.

The beginning of it is a little hazy. I remember it being very earthy in color, reddish-orange. I was walking up a hill that was slowing growing steep. On either side of me was a deep precipice. Behind me was total darkness. There was nowhere to go but forward and up, and I could see nothing in the distance but the road I was on.

As I progressed onward, I noticed the darkness followed, and the temperature rose. It finally got the point where I was forced to use my arms and climb. The view above showed no peak, no end. I was tired, but below me the darkness still lurked and I wasn’t about to be engulfed by it. So I climbed and climbed more.

Just as my body felt as if I could go on no longer, my grip, my footing on the road began to lose hold, and I began to scream. And then… Then the setting suddenly changed.  — Yes it gets weirder.

I was back on my feet, hobbling around trying to run. I felt really heavy. As look down at myself, it seems I’m wearing some kind of sci-fi armor, an exo-suit. There were sparks flying out of joint area of my legs. Some kind of malfunction I imagined, which is why I was moving so lamely. Then I noticed the rest of my armor was badly bruised and scratched up. My helmet and visor seemed to be losing power as the images were static-filled and intermittent.

I was following a group that looked to be of the same outfit as myself, but they were less damaged if not in perfect condition. I saw them all lightly jogging in-line, in formation. As I was indeed damaged, they were all passing me up.

I was of course last to the rendezvous point. The setting was a green field. All the others were in-line, many rows of futuristic armored soldiers, grouped together in different companies.

Finally I arrive to what I recognize as my company, and the people are starting to become familiar-They aren’t anyone real-They are characters from one of my favorite anime series, Hajime no Ippo. They were all laughing at me, at my misfortune, And I distinctly heard them refer to me as the main character, Ippo.

The drill instructor, who happened to be an amalgam of Coach Kamogawa from the Ippo series, and Coach Ohta from Gunbuster, was urging me on sternly to get in line quickly. He noticed the other characters laughing at me and scolded them. Like some outward view listening on an inner monologue, I watched the drill instructor’s thoughts as I passed by him. He said, “They’re all going to regret laughing at him.”

When I finally got into line and proper formation my body was so tired and in pain from having to haul that damaged exo-suit completely on my own physical power.It was indeed a struggle to even stand straight. My eyes started to well up, and I slowly, silently, began to cry.

As those tears fell, and my body was trembling in exhaustion, my helmet visor (which was also a Heads Up Display) had cracked in half. The individual cameras on the front still functioned, barely, but were dislodged and pointing in opposite directions. My equilibrium tried to compensate, but the sight was so overwhelming that it took over and led my body into a dizzying spin, and I fell flat on my back. On impact, the visor and facemask broke completely away. My face was exposed, covered in sweat and tears.

I lay there, staring at the orange sky, replaying in my mind what just happened-Outwardly imagining how that must have looked. It must have looked absolutely silly. A smile slowly crept onto my face. Then came the makings of a giggle, into a light laugh.

The others, my friends, who appeared to be silenced and in shock by my sudden violent fall seemed relieved and slowly joined in on my laughter, and soon the whole company just erupted.

My friends soon gathered around me, and extended their hands to help me up. Still smiling, still laughing, the dream quickly faded away.

I awoke finding myself giggling.

-analysis-

I suppose this dream is representative of where I am currently. The road has only one true direction to follow: UP. If I venture too far off to one side, I would risk falling off a cliff. The darkness behind me, I imagine is representative of the past, which is constantly following me.

The fact that I can’t find a peak nor see any end in sight means that I haven’t exactly found what my goal or intentions should be.

I tried to stay on path, but it seemed I wasn’t strong enough to keep climbing when it became impossibly difficult, and I fell back into the darkness. That must mean, I have more to learn and experience before I can continue onward.

As the second part of the dream started, it seems my fall had damaged and impaired me. I was more or less grounded, but I continued to try and get back to base camp-To rest, reset, and start again.

Furthermore the second part of the dream is quite interesting because essentially what my mind did was combine two of my favorite anime shows together, Hajime no Ippo, and Aim for the Top! Gunbuster. Both of those shows, while drastically different in themes-One is a sports based (boxing) anime, the other is mecha sci-fi. They both have extremely flawed, yet morally strong main characters with small and questionably humble beginnings. With hope, determination, and experience from various failures, they both rise to the top. Their struggles and their compassion actually inspires others to better themselves.

The comical moments at the end are totally from Hajime no Ippo-He’s down, physically destroyed, but somehow he manages to turn his anguish around and begins to cheer himself and everyone else up. That’s an attitude I aspire to emulate.

This truly was an enlightening dream.

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top

First of all, Merry belated Christmas! I tend to stick stay quiet and reflective over this time of the year, hence a bit of my silence on the blog-But also, I was keeping in contact with some old friends and family, while also playing up the new Hurk character on Vindictus, among other things-Like that crazy allergic reaction.

As I mentioned I get reflective. This afternoon, as I was driving to get to Starbucks, I was thinking about my grandfather. When I took at turn around Cherry and Bayhill, and gently applied the throttle, I smiled at the thought of gramp telling me to do so for the first time.

 Grandfather was the person that taught me how to drive. In a van, no less-That was the family car at the time. I had already turned 16, and was in Driver’s Education at my high school. I didn’t have a permit yet, but he taught me anyway, on the barren and deserted back roads of the old Fort Ord army post in Monterey, California. It was some years before it became California State University, Monterey Bay or CSUMB.

We drove deep into the barracks area, where no other cars would be, and then we switched seats, I would be drilled on driving maneuvers, parking, and questioned out of the driver’s manual.

The first time behind the wheel this was not. I can remember as a small child, grandfather would let me sit in his lap as we drove. And couple times he let me hold the wheel. Of course this was years before the seatbelt law took effect, and it was never in large traffic, but my first experience behind the wheel and seeing that perspective wasn’t exactly foreign to me.

Heck, I’ve played many first person piloting and driving game simulations in the arcade and home console prior to my first automobile lesson. Driving a real vehicle would be no problem, or so I thought. Of course unlike those simulations, there are no extra lives, nor do-overs. A mistake can be fatal indeed.

Fortunately the lessons went well, and driving quickly became second nature. I even drove us to dinner on my second driving lesson. I’ve always had a knack for spatial visualization,  and coordination when controlling vehicles and devices. I suppose all those quarters spent in the arcade had helped in this regard.

Unfortunately I didn’t actually get my license until a few years later, when I was nineteen and living in Santa Clara. I admit I failed the written text twice when I was 16-What can I say, my mind was studying other things at the time, but also living in Salinas never really required me to have a vehicle to get around. In a far larger city like Santa Clara, driving was a necessity. Furthermore, the written test I had taken years later was the same as the initial test I took, so I already knew the answers. Haha!

When I did finally pass my driving test and procured my license, being poor, of course I was without a car. And my mother didn’t trust me to drive hers, which rather maddened me. Perhaps it was a week later that my grandfather invited me to stay the weekend with him and grandmother back in Salinas. And he decided to let me drive back. It was a good hour or so drive, and it would be a challenge. Of course I was up to the task.

And so I got behind the wheel of that same van I had learned to drive in. For the first time, it was beyond familiar, it was more like an extension of myself. I knew how it felt, and it was as natural as walking. On the other hand, traffic at rush hour in the south bay was not so familiar, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t the least bit nervous-But it went well enough, and we arrived in Salinas safe and sound.

The notable point of this experience took place on a bridge, an overpass. I was playing some random radio station and just as we reached the peak of the overpass, the chorus to a Van Halen song rang loud and proud,”Standing on Top of the World!”

It was ridiculous and indeed cheesey, but it was a moment in my life I would never forget, and it was shared by someone I now very much miss.  

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allergic

So yesterday there was a bit of a health crisis that I went through and definitely was not fun. In fact it was quite frightening and caused me a great deal of momentary panic.

Last night my father’s wife served us crab for dinner. It was well cooked of course, and with a little cocktail sauce was very tasty. I quite enjoyed it, and ’twas very filling.

Less than an hour later, I was on Vindictus, power leveling my new Hurk character. As I played on, I noticed some tingling sensations on my scalp-It began to get itchy. I didn’t think anything of it initially, but as time went on, I noticed it more and more-Not just on my scalp, but beginning to cover my body. Not only was the itch becoming fierce, but so were my bowels. After while I noticed an intense acid buildup.

I  got up to look for my emergency pack of Zantac, that’s when all hell broke loose. As I moved around I noticed how itchy I was, and was furiously battling back by scratching all over. I started to feel bumps forming on my skin. I had hives.

The only thing I figure would cause this is the crab dinner-Obviously it’s all I had eaten in the last 8 hours or so, but why? I’ve had cooked/boiled crab plenty of other times before.

For minutes, I was frantically looking for that pack of Zantac unsuccessfully. I searched my tabletop among my vitamins, all the different bags I use for work, the gym, the laptop bags, even went outside and searched the van. My mind was in a panic, the intense burning of both my skin and stomach was becoming overwhelming.

I thought, maybe a shower would relieve the itching sensations at least, so I went into the bathroom and looked into the mirror, and I saw it-The hives-circular little growths protruding within my skin, on my chest, my arms, my back, even my face.  Oh sneck! I look like a Cardassian, minus grey-green skin. This is bad.    (Hello, fellow Star Trek fans!)

At that point my resolve was leaning on calling 911. I went upstairs to inform my father of what was happening, and he said that his wife was experiencing the same symptoms, her skin was breaking out, tho it didn’t seem as severe on her.

Benadryl, an over the counter allergy medicine was her suggestion. And so I took it, and tried to calm down. I returned to my room and sat at my desk. My body was growing weak with each moment. I moved over some items that I use to cover my equipment and computer-Behold, there was the pack of Zantac-Right where it shouldn’t be. Thank goodness for that at least. I took a dose of that along with Ibuprofen to combat the pain.

Within about five minutes, I think the allergy came it’s peak. Not only was the itching becoming unbearable-I could feel the hives on every extremity-Not only was the stomach acid building up to explosive proportions, but now …now I was having a hard time breathing. Yes, this would be the peak of this allergic reaction.

I managed to shut everything (computers and music gear) down, and drop onto my bed absolutely exhausted-Hoping the medications and my body’s natural recovery would subside this …event.

As I was falling asleep, I had the silly notion that perhaps the spirit of the fiddler crabs in my aquarium were pissed off that I was eating their marine cousin for dinner.

Some nine hours later, I woke up to the (now) usual pain in my hands, but for the itching and stomach acid build-up, it seemed to have dissipated. Thank goodness.

What have I learned from this experience?

It could have been a freak accident. Maybe it was a bad crab? Maybe pollution is so bad that it’s affecting the crabs. I really can’t say.

I do think that the older I get, the more I notice how my body reacts to different foods. When I was younger, I thought nothing of it-I’d try anything-The weirder and more interesting the better. Now I have realize that I can’t just stuff anything in my mouth. Perhaps I’ve always had an allergic reaction to shellfish; But now that I’m older perhaps the immune system doesn’t want to deal with it. And that sucks because now more than ever I want to try new things.

Goodbye, crab. You are off the menu.    

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in process

Damn it. My hands just won’t cease to ache. I’d say they are feeling perhaps eighty percent of the pain since leaving Dollar Tree-And I think that’s only because last night I did not work as normal. The two day weekend usually wasn’t enough, and whatever pain that may have subsided would surely come back the first night after the weekend. Seems this healing is a slow process . Hopefully by the end of the week they’ll cease to hurt enough that I can trying weight lifting again, and I really miss weight lifting-Not that I wasn’t lifting weights at my former job, but it wasn’t deliberate with calculated exercise in mind.

I have done a lot of brain storming for this story/game, and it makes me smile just thinking of it all. My confidence in it grows with each day. I think that is a good sign. If anything, I know I will enjoy the final result and do hope that others will share the joy as well.

Time to get back to it….  

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last-day-one

The last day at Dollar Tree felt like the longest day of work I ever had there. It was not due to the excitement of knowing it was my last-It was just a lot of hard work. A full day later, I’m still in pain. In fact it hurts to even type this up. The recognition that I won’t be going back hasn’t quite sunk in yet because of the pain. I went above and beyond what would be normally expected of someone leaving-And again, my body is paying for it.

Of course the departure was less than glorious, in fact it was quite muted. The manager and I had a little chat and he seemed genuinely concerned about what I was up to next. At least I think it was genuine. He is a nice fellow, but like everyone else that works there, he falls under great scrutiny from the next level of management. Nevertheless, I performed my tasks there with little if any (visible) complaint or drama, and I think he appreciated that and even told me to use him as a reference for the next job.

There was small goodbyes between me and the rest of the staff that went as warmly as it could. As I’ve stated they are nice people, and I grew to like them very much and will remember them fondly. It’s not hard to grow at least a bit attached after going through the madness that we did this holiday season.

My family seems to have voiced great concern over what I’m to do next. Some are questioning how wise it was to leave without another job to jump directly into. It is all justifiable and noted. Perhaps it was not wise to leave in such manner. All I can really say is that leaving when I did just feels right.

I wish they would just trust me and believe in me outright, but given that my past is rather rocky-Well, they’re right to show concern. In the end it is all up to me.

The major difference between me now as opposed to then is that I am more focused on my own passions. I used to care what people thought of me, and reacted so. I tried to mold myself into something people might like. I wanted friends and admiration, but even in the weird subculture I was (trying) to be involved in, I felt like an outsider. I realize now that I am not built to be socially active. I can be, but it’s not a particular need.

I’m perfectly fine being lost in my own thoughts, by myself. It can get lonely when I am physically by myself in a quiet room (at home), but it all changes when I merely change the setting. It’s why I go to a place like Starbucks or a busy mall-I am able to be by myself, in peace, doing what I do, but surround by the noise and chaos provided by others–

How can I explain this? I find that when it’s completely quiet, my mind tends to wander more to make its own noise or stimulation, which makes for distraction. If there is an outward source or distraction already present, that doesn’t involve my active attention-That part of my brain or my senses will busy itself on that, while I can actually concentrate fully on what I’m actually trying to accomplish. I need external stimuli to lubricate the cogs and sprockets, while the rest my brain cranks it up. That’s why I can never concentrate at say, a library.

Ehh… in any case, those of you who read this blog can rest assured that I will no longer write, if any at all, of my experiences at Green Hell . That is now all in the past. It is time to reset, and start anew.

Day One

*I’m working on devising a proper Day-to-Day schedule for my game creation and writing.

*I have finished an outline or rough draft for at least the first act of my first game/test game, which will be an rpg.

*I have the layout of the overworld maps in my head, and need to sketch it out, as well as character and vehicle sketches.

*Need to fire up Trelby and begin dialogue, and rough up some storyboards.

*Took me about 2 seconds to come up a with cheesey name that will/will not be the final title–Oh it’s just terrible, I like it! Twin Justice ….or TwInjustice… that’s feking terrible! HA!

*Need to try and get all this done by the end of January.    

As you can see, I’m keeping myself busy with focus. I will work this out day to day like a regular job. And when a regular paying day-job arises, I will adapt my game creation and writing appropriately.

I’m in this for the long haul. My worlds and my stories will be created and built by my hands-Firstly for myself and my personal amusement-But I invite everyone who’s willing to go for a ride to hop onboard.  

It’s going to be a rough and tough and long road ahead, and I do not promise  comfort. However, I do promise adventure and hopefully a couple good laughs along the way.

 

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moving on

I informed the manager at Dollar Tree that tomorrow shall be last day of work. As I stated tentatively it was to be next Friday, but after last nights intensely large shipment and the chaos that ensued, I had decided that I have indeed had enough.

It’s nothing personal. It just is what it is.

I had talked to the usual truck driver, and said my goodbye and good luck to him. He has on many occasions said he would be leaving that job due to such low wages for what he does. He rationalizes that it is indeed a bad economy, and so he remains and on his seventh year.

I worked eight years at Streetlight Records, also on little pay and with no real progression. I stayed because I enjoyed the people there, as well as to survive. At this current job, I have indeed grown to like the crew. They are good people, but as with the truck driver they/we are all over-worked and underpaid. So at times our nerves are indeed rattled and we get aggravated.

Minimum wage and part-time hours really doesn’t net me enough to even save money, but I knew that going in. This job served three purposes – Firstly to survive with a little cash. Secondly, I felt it a penance for letting my grandfather die in poverty-He deserved better than what I had provided. Indeed he took care of me as I took care of him, when I should have been more grounded. Thirdly, this job was a lesson in character, a self evaluation. And I learned a lot about who I am.

I will not let that scenario of a dead end job play out again. So I’ll be without money for a short while. I will survive. In the mean time I will recuperate, hopefully get my hands and back to quit aching, get back to kicking ass at the gym, and concentrate on my writing and other creative endeavors. 

Similarly to what Craig Ferguson said in his book, American on PurposeI will forego safety for adventure.

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basic story

Still studying RPG Maker. I suppose it will be a continuous education-But as I go through it, I’m constantly rotating ideas for my first (test) game in my head. I’ve had this novel, I had more less started in highschool-The furthest I got was developing the characters, and did a draft or more a road map on how it progresses. I’ve done for a few stories actually. Started, haven’t finished, except for in my head. Haven’t laid them out yet.

As far as I can see, most of these games would make good adventure games, as opposed to a turn based RPG-I mean c’mon how often are people going to have random encounters. No, level grinding doesn’t really compute with a narrative-It’s just a waste of time as far as I’m concerned. However, I do understand why it is crucial in character growth in such games.

In any case none of those old stories are immediately jumping out at me. I have however been dwelling on another story which I think would work. However, to keep grinding to a minimum, I think I’d cut the game down into many smaller chapters. I plan to have a lot of dialogue and story scenes, so I think it would make sense. Essentially it may turn into a sort of interactive graphic novel or sorts with a turn based RPG look and battle system.

The story will be basically a buddy movie. Two neurotic individuals who stumbling upon and acquiring powers while on their way to do something else. I suppose could compare the basic set up to the Harold & Kumar movies-A lot of random silliness with an overall theme on friendship and bonding.

Yeah. I need to start some character sketches, concepts and storyboards. Visually, I already know how it’s going to look. In fact I know how it’s going to sound too.