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marilyn makes it to ice cream form December 23, 2011

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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a while ago, I received a very interesting request from these creative folks at

http://stoyn.com/1530683/STOYN-ICE-CREAM

to use my marilyn monroe head for casting purposes… although we ran into a couple of issues with the 3d printing process which was quite new to me, the casting result is actually pretty impressive! i’m quite amazed at how the casting brought out the eyelashes. a very cool idea.

http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2011/06/23/creative-ice-cream/

IMG_8266

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dh oils April 15, 2011

Posted by eatnorthamerica in artshit, productivity 101, things that are not quite things we know.
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1.5 h, water-soluble oils — a friend gave me a set. I haven’t used oils since they only came with turps in high school. these seem to work pretty well, although the colour selection and pigments weren’t optimal.

the light! it changes everything

charcoal study(study and a half?)

hairtest and some TOTALLY random crap August 31, 2010

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making hair process – handpaint hair in photoshop, convert to alpha layer, stick on planes. halfway there! clearly i haven’t optimised my texture pages yet.

also another inprogress crazyass hippy marilyn. this goes slowly. clearly there’s still a hell of a lot of work left to be done.

and… my only attempt at animation.

some of the search terms that get people to my blog August 20, 2010

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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I notice it has surged massively in the last couple of years.

Search                        Views
dragon age zbrush 5
maya womans face mesh 5
zbrush body 4
character figure zbrush 3
nicolas cage zbrush 2
hot girl render 2
head zbrush girl 1
final fantasy model sheets 1
oily body 1

a life for two hundred November 4, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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Elton John keeps playing on the radio when I use the washroom at work. Three for three, these last two days.

My mother had a collection of songs by Elton John, recorded by various other people who were sometimes better and sometimes worse than Elton John. At ten, at eleven, I pored over the CD cover insert, wondering about the stories that went along with each song, and why Wilson Phillips did a better job of singing Daniel than Elton ever did.

I hardly ever buy CDs, now. Gone’s the day when I used to fear tracking a greasy smear over a fold of glossy sleeve paper. Lost, long gone, dearly departed. The world at your fingertips. Too easy, like everything these days. If you don’t make a substantial effort to be entertaining or entertained, you end up really bored. Danger, danger. We’re so cool.

My friend, a neophyte record collector, just drove off to somewhere nowhere in BC to pick up 2,500 records, the sum total of a man’s life in music. Imagine that, trading the songs of a lifetime for a mere 200 dollars, a paltry amount, less than 10 cents a record — what drives a man to that? I wonder if the old fogey who sold them bought an iPod to replace the records you can’t even find catalogued on the internet — the internet, for chrissakes. Some of them date back to 1905. Think about it. That’s older than anyone I know. It gladdens my heart that there are still people who worship the outmoded, that there are people who journey hundreds of miles to collect a pile of records that some people happily sell for a dime.

Low junk, high art, a little bit of both. Perhaps the stories we all leave in marginalia — those are all we are, after we leave, and pass on.

rules for rejection #2 October 25, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in artshit, productivity 101, things that are not quite things we know.
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Reasons to replace books on shelves: they contain the word purring, but not the word cat.

Posthaste is a word that seems to have fallen out of fashion lately.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/caitlin_moran/article6878191.ece#

I  like telephones more than email, but only hold conversations with a very select group of close friends. Mostly dear people in foreign parts with whom playing email catch-up turns into a segue rally of ten thousand word disquisitions. Or those in my hyperfriends zone.

We spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone when I was young. Now we buy overpriced drinks, and sit around in bars bemoaning our lost youths.

here some random art crap be oh what larks and joy

marilyn monroe quick head sculpt (pure maya box model): not quite finished, obviously; shall patch it up once body’s done. it’s kind of nice to work with just pure polygonal modelling sometimes. i just eyeball this stuff to get a feeling for the face rather than rotoscoping. it’s all stylised anyway.

please ignore lack of loops on neck, not done yet

ugly man: quick zbrush doodle (couple hours)

mean people suck September 29, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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In just under two months I will have been here for two years. I was twenty-seven. I am twenty-nine. I smell the new decade coming, and it smells like summer, falling.

2007, November, rain.

A paving stone sat on the block up from me, vandal-slashed into the idiom ‘MEAN PEOPLE SUCK’. Which says it all, really. This is not a city with many problems. Or at least, this is a city that likes to either pretend it has problems, or glaze them over, and if you take a drive down Hastings you’ll see, immediately, what we all try very hard not to see. Here on Seymour, you have pretty little pavement platitudes, and just a block away you have human excreta filthing down the goddamn wall. We are talking shit on Robson-fucking-strasse, the Oxford Street Light of Vancouver. The most expensive street on a Canadian Monopoly board, the fifth highest for world retail rental rates (really? Bloor looks a hell of a lot fancier. and take it all with a pinch of salt, it’s no London/Tokyo). And it still smells like crap, half the time.

It’s amazing, actually, just how much of a problem Vancouver has with homelessness. I thought London was problematic until I came here. If London’s problem is violence, Vancouver’s is apathy. Apparently they’re shipping all the homeless people off to some remote frigid location in Northern BC, just so the flocks of Olympic vultures won’t realise Vancouver’s a  real cold place to be, and not just in winter. And then they’re shipping them back, because fixing a problem ain’t a problem if no-one’s around to see it.

Enough about that. I’ve had many a conversation with down-on-their-lucks in London. The ones here just tend to freak me out. Which begats a whole new world of guilt.

2009, September, sun.

That paving stone is gone. Mean people still suck. You don’t find a lot of those around here. What you do get is a certain strange apathy, which I can’t quite fathom. Or maybe it’s more like a blocked-off hope that someone will break down barriers. I can’t say I don’t have a certain sympathy for people who are, like myself, cautiously guarded. All things end in excess, however, and when I say that people here can be more cut-off and clique-locked than girls in an English public girls’ school, that’s one hell of a something.

My industry surrounds me with a lot of young-at-hearts, big friends with big souls who come from all over the world. Outside, and from others, I have the feeling that Vancouver is a lonely, frost-smeared city, that freezes you out before you get the chance to burn out.

Seriously, all Vancouverites (at least, the ones that pollute my Yaletown ghetto) seem to want is to be on a fucking boat, or more specifically to own a boat, or even more specifically (but gender non-specifically, mind), to marry someone who owns a goddamn bloody boat.

This is not to say that all Vancouverites are assholes, because generalising is generally fun, even if it isn’t strictly true, and because some of my best friends really are born/bred Vancouverites, which proves that maybe it’s not Robsonstrasse, or even Hastings, but I who am simply full of shit.

Someone I once knew, that I once thought myself closer-than-god to, yet who never was invited to read these words, and never will be, tellingly — someone once said something true; Vancouver as a place, as a doe-eyed force of sheer physical beauty, is one of the hardest places in the world to hate. Yeah, I was never one of Mother Nature’s children, but when I clamber up a mountain and gaze out over the islands glinting in the bay, it’s hard not to feel like maybe there’s a lot more to this world than this transient humanity.

Vancouver has this little-big-city vibe, and big scenery, and big nature, and big hearts, if you know where to find them. It’s weird. It’s either the most accepting or the most unaccepting of cities, depending on whom you’ve come to know. It’s a melting-pot or a hoarhole, whichever you fall into.

But if you’re lucky you find, lurking amongst the chill concrete, the warmth of day, breaking through the endless skyscrapers, warm and welcoming souls, good words, good friends.  And you will keep these hearts forever.

I’ve been lucky. I’ve been lucky all my life. Two years on, I love it here, really. I do. Enough to throw aside my fear of bureaucracy and take the plunge towards permanent residency. The year of twenty-nine smells, finally, like home.

love in the time of gonorrhoea July 18, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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Everybody is reading that book about the pickup artist, Neil Strauss.

More than a mack textbook, it is a memoir, a study of the ins and outs of the social condition. The man who wrote it wrote also for the New York Times. Make of that what you will.

The book’s prevailing mantra is: Attraction is not a choice, and you and I and we can have everyone via hamfisted palmistry, spoon bending and ESP.

It’s not too hard to see why people buy into the mystique. We pretend to be a collection of on/off switches, unanalogue, discrete.

What a beautiful conceit, that you can reduce seduction into a set of techniques that will guarantee you entry into anyone in the world. Are we waves and tremors, or sticks and holes? There is nothing absolute about being human, about neocortical impulses that feed our hearts to head.

There is nothing human in the objectification of an adversary; the gaudy prizes of bars and clubs are just ticks on a list, 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s. The more you play the game,  the more you realise the game means nothing. Strauss has no small dose of pity and revulsion for the creepers trapped in their own webs, not least himself. These are some of the unhappiest men you’ll meet.

Isn’t it strange, that certain truisms apply to all fields? Those who blindly follow preset routes rarely achieve greatness; he who only learns by rote never grasps the whole.

Seduction, one supposes, is all very well. Then comes a point where one thinks hard and long of love, in the time of gonorrhoea.

Not much has changed since we sat in school and wondered why some lead, and others follow. We make our way through life and find the game never changes; we want what we are denied.

To those who believe we can bypass the random variance of the human heart, note this and note it well: in the end, the only woman who stole Strauss’s heart was the one he could not snare with strings of theory. He played the game. She played him better.

Along Burrard after dinner, I watched a girl pose for a man, silhouetted by the splash of fountain spray. He said something that made her laugh; in the binary light of the camera, his smile seemed real. He blushed, or the red focus stung his skin. I didn’t know.

It’s for all of us to turn things over and around. The oldest friend comes out with the newest things; maybe we’re too fast to fix an image in our heads. Now I understand Cubism as never before; I see Picasso struggling, presented with the problem of presenting all sides all at once.

Irrational people do rational things, rational people do irrational things. All people are unknown quantities, now and forever.

Sitting in the semi-dark, bathed in the soft penumbra of the screen, I close the game and shut my eyes. I chase the awkward beauty that only exists when we race toward a goal, unscripted, unfettered, unaware.

the black swan of nanowrimo October 14, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, pseudo-informative bullshit, things that are not quite things we know.
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The Canadian government finally returned the money it owed me from the time I spent being joyfully-unemployed last year, so I decided to blow some of it on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s idiosyncratic Black Swan.

Very briefly, Taleb is an iconoclast ex-quant (and full time wag) who does things like buy options geared towards the inevitability of economic disaster, accepting constant losses while waiting for crashes to send his option values skyrocketing.  

Commonsense dictates we go for small, constant gains when we invest, yet opens us up to getting screwed by unpredictable economic failure. For Taleb, the world has been shaped by these acts of random chance, acts that have a minute chance of occurring and carry huge impact, acts that we claim are inevitable after the fact and yet never plan for.

We carry on with life because some things are completely out of our ability to predict. You can’t bank on what they’ll be, you can only bank on the probability that they will happen. Hot from Taleb comes a moniker for events of this ilk: black swans. I won’t get into the details, because far better minds have written more informative material on him. Eristics aside, his viewpoint radiates some uncommon sense. Sometimes it’s refreshing to hear someone say, “I don’t know.”

I’m reminded of the Time article (this one made it to Time’s 85 year anniversary compendium) on Deep Blue, the chess computer that beat Kasparov:

What is Deep Blue’s secret? Grand master Yasser Seirawan put it most succinctly: “The machine has no fear.” He did not just mean the obvious, that silicon cannot quake. He meant something deeper: because of its fantastic capacity to see all possible combinations some distance into the future, the machine, once it determines that its own position is safe, can take the kind of attacking chances no human would. The omniscient have no fear.

In Game 1, Blue took what grand master Robert Byrne called “crazy chances.” On-site expert commentators labeled one move “insane.” It wasn’t. It was exactly right.

Here’s what happened. Late in the game, Blue’s king was under savage attack by Kasparov. Any human player under such assault by a world champion would be staring at his own king trying to figure out how to get away. Instead, Blue ignored the threat and quite nonchalantly went hunting for lowly pawns at the other end of the board. In fact, at the point of maximum peril, Blue expended two moves–many have died giving Kasparov even one–to snap one pawn. It was as if, at Gettysburg, General Meade had sent his soldiers out for a bit of apple picking moments before Pickett’s charge because he had calculated that they could get back to their positions with a half-second to spare.

In humans, that is called sangfroid. And if you don’t have any sang, you can be very froid. But then again if Meade had known absolutely–by calculating the precise trajectories of all the bullets and all the bayonets and all the cannons in Pickett’s division–the time of arrival of the enemy, he could indeed, without fear, have ordered his men to pick apples.

Which is exactly what Deep Blue did. It had calculated every possible combination of Kasparov’s available moves and determined with absolute certainty that it could return from its pawn-picking expedition and destroy Kasparov exactly one move before Kasparov could destroy it. Which it did.

Kasparov himself said that with Deep Blue, quantity had become quality.

Taleb repudiates the power of human inference; the computer is incapable of it. Sometimes you have to overthrow human frailty to succeed. Is that good, or bad?

Everyone’s iPhone is Wikipedia-enabled. The showboat of knowledge sails on, leaving us only the lifeline of connective insight.

November is coming up, and that means NaNoWriMo is here again. 50000 words for the month of November, the amount that mutates novella into novel. I did not know that Brave New World contains a mere 50000 words of blazing beauty.

1,666⅔ words per day, for thirty days. If you don’t make the effort, you never get the chance to be a black swan.

That, combined with spending enough time on my guitar to not screw up someone’s wedding ceremony, is going to be a hell of a lot of doing. But when people are doing this, what excuse do I have? Let’s go learn from failure.

Apparently it takes a minimum of 10000 hours to become world-class at anything, so I’d better get cracking.

I had a clump of songs in major keys on my playlist zoning together whilst I was writing this; all background noise, until a minor key popped out and my focus was jerked right there.

Our random lives boil down to self-imposed decisions. Unpredictability may be the new god, but it doesn’t mean we can’t choose which dice he throws.

 

I’ve spent a lot of energy and many years trying to learn a very few basic things, which may turn out to be mostly crude opinions anyway. There’s so little in the world we can be sure of, and maybe it’s the lack, that flaw or deficiency, if you will, that drives our strongest compulsions.”

Ben Fountain

cat shit prolix beauty October 4, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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If everything in our heads were laid out in the open, would the world be a better place? Nobody would be able to inveigle or obfuscate. Yeah, people will always come up with creative ways to take advantage of others, but surely the opportunity for them to do so would be drastically reduced.

Even if the entire concept makes me shudder, I can’t help thinking it would be more beneficial than not, since if that were how the world worked we wouldn’t have any hangups about being open. We would just be. And there would be nothing wrong with being.

I’m drunk on Shirley Temples, and intoxicated by proxy.


I do not often weep, but I wept when I first viewed a certain scene from American Beauty. A plastic bag floats over the dust on nothing but wind, transfigured into more than it never dreamt of being. It became cinema as cinema only sometimes dreams of being, of elevating the jejune to genius. Some genius set that scene up with transcendentally beautiful cleverness because they understood both beauty and cleverness, set it to music scored to machinate a tender and lingering tristesse, and I said why not, and let them take the tears from me.

Nothing to do with anything in particular, everything to do with everything in general.

It’s not too often that I get the feeling I can say absolutely anything I want to someone. This has absolutely nothing to do with establishing bonds of friendship; it’s more like a detached celebration of banter. Bantering is a fine art. Some people wear self-confidence in such a manner that I pretty much know nothing I say is going to bring them down; some people, I think, like banter because they either understand it as a game, or because in a way it’s a form of acceptance, or acknowledgement.

I don’t know that banter necessarily brings me closer to people; it’s more a mental gambit where all the players are intent on playing at being dicktrees to each other. The trick, I guess, is to get away with pretending to be as much of an asshole as you can without actually being an asshole. (If you’re not just pretending to be an asshole, it’s not banter, it’s war.)

Banter is possibly only good in small, measured doses. I’m not sure how good it is for the soul.

Last night we were meant to be going to a colleague’s leaving dance. There have been far too many of these things lately. Let’s not get into that, it’s depressing as hell. We got to the venue and discovered that bouncers are dicktrees. You can’t even banter with them! Who knew! I didn’t care for the seamy glimpses I caught through their steamy windows, so!

Under the glass forest canopy we were reduced to …what? Animals, quailing from the rain. My animal friends and I went for crepes instead and talked about bullshit like existentialism.

I am high as hell on sugar.

I slept at 4 and woke at 9.30; morning comes too quickly these days. I lay indolent beneath cotton sheets and stared at a spiral of hair on my pillow, and played with the focus of my eyes. We have the latent power to do all this trippy shit we don’t usually bother thinking about. It’s as trippy as thinking about what it really means that light is just a wave (or a particle, yeah), or trying to imagine an eighth colour.

I popped different parts of the hair formation in and out of focus and then I realised; there’s the summation of my life at present. I can’t hold it all in focus all at once. Something must give.

Beauty is realising I’m only two minutes late for lunch.

Now here we are, sitting in the food court at the mall.

To my left I keep hearing snippets of the most boring conversation in the world. It makes me wince. I don’t think I need to describe it to you; we’ve all had our share of banal conversations. Perhaps all conversations start off as boring because they are rooted in the concrete; of this too, I’m often guilty.

Mired in concrete, people are unified only by the same interests; without commonality you’re regally fucked. Comparatively, a shared interest in abstraction is often enough to make topics cohere.

There’s an art to triggering viewpoints from other people, and it’s not always easy. Bringing a conversation round to an abstract bent usually requires some self-sacrifice on the part of the contributors. Concretions are safe, solid things that only exist and are; abstractions are often personal and revealing. We’re not talking facts anymore, we’re talking opinions. Those start wars, you know. Maybe we should just bring it all back to banter.

Onward, to duty. Tick tocks the clock, tick, tick tock, the lamp greens the light, and I go.

Now here we are in the time of rain, out in the open and from under the forest, and I ask you — what would you say the chances were of two raindrops hitting you in both eyes both at once? Here I am, in the lift, having a throwaway conversation with two strangers about how it’s the worst thing when the rain catches you naked and umbrellaless and lost, and then I realise my umbrella was with me all along, that it was always there.

at bay September 30, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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Home is how I keep the outside world at bay. My doors are almost never all the way open, save to a minute group of people who don’t have to read this to know who they are.

One of those people was over at my place this weekend; I’ve known her since we were 9, and hadn’t seen her for a couple of years. It’s a rare thing, being around someone who knows you for all that you are and accepts you in your entirety. I savour the novelty of not having to be a novelty.

It’s funny how you can not really talk to someone for intervals of months and years, and never need to; yet when you come together again, it’s all you do.

She arrived at noon on Friday; I did hardly any work from 12 onward:

a) I was ahead of schedule
b) so fuck it. see
a)
c)
we were having an extended conversation about life, the universe and everything
d) this conversation ran from 1.45 pm to 1.45 am in the morning
e) she lost her voice.

f) all of it.

It takes a different perspective to put your life into perspective. From her viewpoint my workplace was a haven of cushiness. I think it’s all too easy to assume that everyone has the right to a job that’s at least 60% enjoyable. Meaning: we all bitch too much about shit. At least we’re not working 8-2. Yet.

 

Sunday, it was Sunday. She was gone. I was standing on the peninsular Vancouver shore, filming my friends filming my germphobic friend crawling through hypodermic sand. One of them used to be a pornographer. They’re making a zombie movie, or something. I was there for the humanity of watching people around them watch them.

“I think I have AIDS,” my friend said, throwing his weight from foot to foot, sloughing the beach detritus from his skin. In his youth he was fed a diet of rice saturated with orange pop. Why any grandmother would do that to her grandchild, I don’t know.

I watched the watchers. You can surround yourself with all the people in the world and still not understand what it means to be known; to never know what people know about themselves, to only know that people will never know what you know about yourself. Sometimes we need to be known; sometimes we don’t.

Holding a camera that wasn’t mine, I pushed the trigger again, again. I stopped carrying my own camera around a while ago. It was too tempting to turn life into a series of beautiful, bastardised pictures that show everything and say nothing. Or show nothing and say everything. Either way. The camera is broken, anyway, or I am. I could never make it say what I wanted it to say, that in a picture of a hazy sky was a certain feeling I had about the world that day.

 

Nighttime. I lie umber and mellow on yielding cushions and think about that very small cluster of people that I hardly ever think about. I don’t need to. Some doors are always open to some people, even through this veiled impermanence called life. We don’t write, or call, or look, and yet our lives are always open to each other.

Sometimes you only ever need to know that you can choose not to be alone.

I’m only lying here, tossing out cheap phrases like “you can choose not to be alone” and murmuring to you that Google only knows two other people who chose to say “you can choose not to be alone”, that not till now did Google choose to know anyone who chose to say “you can choose to not be alone”, and now you are here, and I am gone.

specific ambition; a long foot September 29, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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I had a friend who always told me she envied me for loving what I was doing;

I loved it no less and no more than she did; she could never see the amount of willpower it took me to actually get anything done.

Hell is being lazy and ambitious. It’s taken me a hell of a long time to curb some of my inherent laziness. Someone told me once to constantly surround myself with people who were willing to give me a good kick up the ass from time to time. It’s funny, because that’s how I ended up where I am today. Encircled by ass-kickers. Not by design, but because I lucked out in terms of finding good friends.

If it’s obvious that everyone must suck at something they’ve only just started doing, why then are people so willing to claim false competence? Why not assume we all have at least 99% more to learn? Even if you are latently gifted at something, chances are you’re going to get much better at it.

People keep selling themselves short by settling, or maybe just not caring.  Coasting is as seductive as any opiate.

Perhaps the problem is that good is such a subjective quality. Are we good only when we stand next to the least capable of people? Should we not compare ourselves to the best of the best, and strive to surpass them? Why not? You got hubris, might as well flip it into something worthwhile.

Mind you, when you have a lot of general ambition but struggle with specific ambitions, things get frustrating. Maybe that’s the problem; people don’t ever find something they want to do. Maybe people don’t find something because they don’t care to look. Or maybe they just don’t realise there’s something out there worth looking for. Or maybe it just doesn’t matter.

Probably the latter.

I am guilty of all this, and of lacking focus. Independence is learning the fine art of kicking yourself in the ass.

Stephen says:
hmm, well i think you should probably start with some goals that aren’t that concrete, like getting ___ done
start by doing some things that’ll increase your capacity to get other shit done, so you can take advantage of the snowball effect
Candice; says:
i want to own a planet
not a big one like jupiter, i think
just a little one. this one’s pretty good.
Stephen says:
then eat it?
Candice; says:
yeah.
Stephen says:
that’s pretty good!
Candice; says:
thanks
Stephen says:
i hear pluto’s crunchy, if that counts as a planet

preachers in the street September 25, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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Fifteen years ago, fifteen years from then, I thought I would be standing on a stage like the band that played tonight, night after night into the longest night. It was something I thought I knew would happen, but never did. I was fifteen and my heart sang starstricken dreams as I stood, arms uplifted, a player on a slumbering stage, and waited for the world. I thought I knew all things about time and god and love and death. The world never came to me; I went to it. I met people I wish I’d not. I became, briefly, whom I wished I had not. I learned about truth and life and love and other trite things that stubbornly resonate, like empty vessels under electric storms. And if there was one song, my song, it waxed crazy and dumb and young, and dreamt stages glowing gold and dark.

You could have asked me if I understood, then, what I would come to understand now, and I would have told you that I did, and not been able to do anything but tell that lie, without ever knowing why. I couldn’t tell you now what at fifteen I would have done. I would have laughed. I should have laughed. I, now, would have reached out, put a finger on that unweary cheek, told you it was okay. And now I laugh.

Today the mirror says, look away from what is past, into dreams long-extirpated, into bliss, into a patient accretion of all that gentled you — that asks but what did you regret? and what did you expect? and I pause and say nothing, everything, and briefly, I realise it is true.

And looking at the face I grew into, I shut my eyes and find myself finally able to say; yes, it was me. Yes, I am, I am, a different dream.

The sun on my skin, the wind in my hair, here it is — gold, in October, the honied homecoming scent, red cedar. And the song has changed, as all songs do. Or my ears have, or the world has, or all of us, or just me, and you.

synaesthesia September 20, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in pseudo-informative bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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You’re a subtitle in my head.

You might have heard of the oddity known as synaesthesia, the merging of two or more senses. Some synaesthetes see colours when they hear sounds. I see you talking in monochrome text. The colour/sound association is such an archetype of the condition that I hadn’t realised what I experience is classifiably synaesthetic (not least because it seems prosaic to me, compared to gustatory synaesthetes who taste lemon when they hear ‘k’).

Well, I’ve finally found someone else who sees everything they hear in text.

http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/acronick/entry/how_do_you/

…which is top Google search for ‘when I hear people speaking I see subtitles’.

The trigger for this query stemmed from a joke my colleagues were running in the kitchen at work; they were getting passersby to ‘help them work out a code problem’ by saying it out loud and having them write down (there was a bit more to this) p, 3, n, 1 and 5. Most people get it after completing the word; some canny individuals get it after writing the p3.

“‘Penis’?” I said the moment I heard the sequence, and didn’t understand their surprise. I didn’t get why the joke would possibly work on anyone until I remembered that most people get direct aural input from speech. It wasn’t until late high school that I realised that having subtitles in your head isn’t a universal experience.

I know there are plenty of other people who are quite capable of converting the letters; but for me the association between sound and text is inexorable. I will see letters/numbers in print somewhere in my head. Usually in Arial, Helvetica or Times New Roman, white floating on a black field.

Perhaps another way of explaining it is that most people read by converting text to sound; for them reading is double the effort of listening. For me it’s the exact opposite.

There are some odd aspects to all this, like how it’s really hard for me to make out song lyrics (I’m fine with the actual pitches, just not with the speech aspect — most of the time the words don’t even exist to me), or how I used to have the worst trouble in school spelling the simplest words out loud. ‘C-A-T’ is a struggle. Breaking a word into letter sounds is an alien concept. Soldier is [soldier]. Cat is [cat]. It is what it is. Every word is visual gestalt, an indivisible conglomerate.

I have heard Japanese is processed similarly by fluent readers. Not because the characters are pictures — very few have any remaining pictorial root — but because of their necessary visual chunkiness.

I read by processing huge chunks of text rather than going word by word. I don’t remember ever not knowing how to read, so maybe this oddness is a function of that.

I had the most horrible time maintaining concentration in classes because extended amounts of speech are unbearably arduous for me to process while maintaining focus (too slow. Being impatient doesn’t help).  I have to focus pretty hard on conversations to figure out what people are saying, especially if they have accents or are speaking softly.

I can’t play games with very slow text output, either. It’s unbearably frustrating to have to wait for word/sentence/paragraph chunks to drip onto my screen. It’s like having a conversation with someone who spells every single word to you instead of saying it. Somebody tell me how t-h-i-s i-s a-t a-l-l t-o-l-e-r-a-b-l-e.

Often I pronounce words the way they’re spelled (eg, salmon), which has led to my having gotten a lot of stick over the years. I’m still filled with a child-like pride when I remember how to pronounce a word that is phonetically counterintuitive. If I hear foreign words, I have to know their spelling system or it’s almost impossible for me to remember the words I’m learning. I ask people to spell out confusing names for me so that I can chunk the letters into meaningful units and then remember their appearances.

There’s only one word I’ve ever had serious trouble with, and it’s bizarre. It looks ‘wrong’ no matter how I look at it. I have no idea why. I know how to spell it, but I don’t know how to spell it. It doesn’t exist as a natural [word unit]; it gives me a queasy feeling. Sometimes, if I concentrate hard enough, words start to look like text patterns rather than ‘words’; that’s how bizarre looks to me.

I don’t have eidetic memory, but I do have good general visual memory.

This isn’t exactly the same condition that the blogger linked above does; she can’t hear voices, pitches or accents in her head, but those aren’t an issue for me. I have a decent grasp of scansion in text and have no problems with music. Just speech. I often have trouble recognising voices on the phone (possibly due to aurally-triggered cognisance anxiety). No, my hearing is neither damaged nor abnormal, and if anything is better than average when it comes to aural tests like micropitch differentiation, etc etc.

Is it useful? It’s not great that I have trouble with lexical-auditory functions, but I process text very easily; it’s just the way I’m wired. Hell, I don’t know any better.

See what I’m saying?

I glossed over the mainstays of synaesthesia because I didn’t want to tarry too far beyond my personal experience with it. Here are some links for additional pursuit:

http://otherthings.com/uw/syn/ <- a fascinating representation of the most commonly-known type of synaesthesia (or synesthesia if you must). Check out the flash demonstration at http://otherthings.com/uw/syn/flash/syn25.html. I definitely don’t experience that. Seems as though his synaesthesia doesn’t involve letters as text but as flashes of colour sensation.

http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2005/03/test_your_synaesthes.html
http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/funny-pictures-one-in-every-five-kittens-can-see-captions.jpg <– a waggish take on the issue
and a recent anecdote: I went to the dentist and had a new hygienist assigned to me, who had an unusual name (to me). I transliterated it to ‘Aneece’, but not knowing how to spell it (the timing was off and I missed my window to ask) made me so uncertain that I couldn’t say it until after I received my invoice and saw his name spelled ‘Aneez’ (though it did sound more like Aneece with ‘standard’ English pronunciation). Until I know how something’s spelled, it’s not quite tangible.

wind, growth, bus August 14, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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We (in this place, at this time) live in a time and place where being considered liberal and open-minded has become a tenet to aspire to. Yeah, it would be nice if people would actually stop talking about being open-minded and just fucking be open-minded. Or just stump up some integrity and stop wasting my time. It’s taxing, dealing with some miasmic melange of the two; viz: “I’m open-minded, but only about things I’m not narrow-minded about.”

I’d rather hear the words people aren’t saying when they say something they don’t really want to say. Maybe we just don’t always want to hear the truth even when it’s something we should hear. Well shit, you run, you hide, you lose your life. You could get hit by a bus. Keep staring into the sun; don’t flinch, don’t look away.

Spit and shake. I see you never; we can be professional about our mutual disregard. Let’s be polite. Let’s be honest. Is it more polite to be honest, or dishonest?

Sometimes I want to stand before the wind and hear what the wind shouts back.

What two people say to each other doesn’t necessarily make sense. It’s like a matching game; sometimes we learn to speak in pulses, with fluency. You keep stumbling along, keep guessing, and one day you strike the right notes. It’s all about congruency; hit counterpoint, pause, stop, unfurl the patchwork harmonies of the heart. The beats aren’t always what you thought they were. Better adapt before the melody breaks. You know it’s going to end someday. Better make the best of it.

Earlier this week I was walking for the sake of feeling the ground beneath my feet; across the street a man sobbed and wailed, a cadenza of rage that split the heavy black sky. I don’t know what the wind told him.

Perhaps the spectators standing by were looking for the same; perhaps we were just waiting for something to lurch us along, all of us overwhelmed by our own rhythm. Perhaps we were waiting for a conductor, waiting for a baton, for a wave to unify. Warbling alone, meandering along, looking for someone to syncopate the breaks in our souls, singing hello, hello, I loved you, goodbye.

On a different day, on a different coast, I opened up my mouth. Lungs filled with fragments, I flew emotion into the wind. The wind shrieked back; she took my words and twisted them and turned them into words I never knew were there.

There I was, and here I am.

Autumn was coming. Autumn was coming, sweeping last remnants of summer away, sweeping us into the dark. It was never about the getting; it was about the giving-up.

Night crackled, white sparks flared, blazing storefronts shuttered into sleep. The bus came battering down the road, hurtling, honking, reeking metal bolts and limits breaking, crashing forward with a great steel groan. I smelled the sharp acrid rage of it. I smelled it coming. A foot from losing skin and cartilage and life, I stood there and let the wind shred my face. And I didn’t bat an eye.

space: a cat, in a box July 17, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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The way we dress the spaces we choose to inhabit says all we need to say about ourselves, in less time than it takes to take off our shoes.

What’s in your box? I keep a rug, a chair, a few cushions. It starts to feel crowded. I like it like a hollow shell.

Space, it’s relative; 12 Brazilian students crammed themselves into a one bed flat before they got booted out and I came. I can’t fathom this tub being large enough for two. 535 square feet for 12 people; that’s 45 square feet per person. I stand 5ft 1 and take up 535 square feet of living space. It seems a reasonable amount to me. I say that I don’t feel a need to have more space than this, but perhaps one day I will. In the style of Schrodinger I vacillate; yes or no, yes or no, and who can tell until the moment comes?

On a plane, someone takes up 200 dollars’ worth of your 600 dollar seat, and suddenly inches are a matter of insufferable magnitude.

Back to personal space; you’re not paying me any rent, so here’s an eviction notice.

My landlord drops in from New Zealand to take a look at my apartment. He’s thinking about finding a job in Vancouver. Either I find a new flat or I bring down the entire Vancouver VFX industry. 

Webworked cells, blind windows. This is living, ant-style. A foot of wall, that’s all that spares me the indignity of shared rooming. I value my personal space enough to fight you for it, in a cage surrounded by half a million strangers.

You come into my parlour and you’re that much closer to me, threading through the cloistered chambers of my heart. You come into my closet and leave yellow leaking down the side of my lavatory bowl — what should we call that?

My landlord leaves. I slip on new shoes and teeter to the door. And I, five inches taller, pause.

At my height, I don’t see the dust on the top of my refrigerator, nor on the tops of doorways.

At 6ft 2 my landlord sees things I should have cleaned, had I realised space exists outside of my band of sight.

My cat, who inhabits my flat at 0ft 9, looks up and sees the dust that lies beneath.

 

It’s all relative, like with those Brazilians. They sat on a crate with wings for a few hours, then piled their mattresses into an even smaller box. You gotta envy that kind of gumption. You gotta wonder where they went. I gotta wonder where you’d go.

Writhing down wormholes, surfing past singularities, breaking time and space to get to where we want to be. Space, she’s a hard lover. I loved once but would not stay; continents always drift away.

Don’t, don’t think of that; today is here, today is now, skimming the sweet salt susurrus of sea, snow peaks slumbering by your sail, six knots in a lazy haze.

As you said first, as you said best. We were too different, though at our end I loved you, either way.

Wind rises, earth turns, sun sleeps. A speck on a speck in a deep blue sky, I stare hard at the night. The stars are smaller than I can see; summer fades to fall debris.

 

Kiss me before flying, baby. I’ll see you on the other side.

years later December 10, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.
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years ago, you were rattling down the railway with possibly one of the most beautiful people on the planet and the way the sun hit their face through the dust-smeared window told you, told you that all the proportional possibility of golden curves and judicious symmetry sat quivering on the gently-fraying seat before you; there it was, an ineffable display of human construction.

and then years later you met them again and realised that years later makes a difference, because time, time has a tendency to pass.

it’s exactly what facebook’s doing right now; throwing up pictures of people you never saw after the day you walked out of the gates of school, and maybe making you realise you never knew how old you really were until you saw how old everyone else really was.

rune factory (NDS) October 20, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, onanistic bullshit, things that are not quite things we know.
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My stomach consumed itself on the third day, right as I was coming up to Toytown.

I collapsed against the gates, and when I opened my eyes, a girl said; “Would you like my hoe?”

She said, “I think you look like a farmer.”

She told me her name was Mist, and that she thought I had it in me to do great things with soil and loam. She told me there was a spare hut I could stay in.

She gave me the hoe.

On the way to the hut she’d so kindly pointed out, I saw a young man toiling on the farm, skin beaded with sweat, breath heaving with exhaustion. He was chopping up a stump with an axe. His face was numb with exertion.

“Hey,” I said. 

“Rune,” he said. “Call me Rune.”

“Rune,” I said. “What do you do?”

“Once a day, I brush my animals,” he said, not quite meeting my eyes. “To each one I go. Hi-de-ho. I run my brush over their hides, their scales, their radiant hair.”

He paused; a flush peeped through his skin. His voice swelled and scurried on. 

“I raise my axe, three times per stump. It’s taken me a while, but I’m just a few bits of wood away from 2000. I don’t care if I have to start going down to the dungeons to get more wood, I can’t wait. I’m so close. I’ll have a bigger house, soon. And then Mist…” 

All he wants to do is chop a lot of wood and make a lot of money so he can finally buy that massive house he’s always wanted; the house that will let him move in the double bed he’s been lusting after for months; the bed that will let him move in the woman he’s been lusting after. For months. He’s been chopping wood for months.

You can’t get a real kitchen unless you’ve got a big house. You can’t get a real bed unless you’ve got a big house. You can’t get that girl who looks at you all special. It don’t matter if her lovemeter is maxed, she’s just another capitalist pig. Better start wood chucking, chuck.

Rune said he was waiting for the stumps to appear in his field again, overnight. With the dew and the strange glowing spheres that let him stay up later than any man I’d ever known. I figured if I wanted some monsters of my own to brush I’d damn well better get back to my own farm. Lord knows I could feel the axe handle in my hands already; Lord knows my palms were imprinted on the grainy wood. Lord knows I’d be chopping wood for the next few months.

“How about you?” he asked, scratching his chin.

I shrugged. “I’m just looking,” I said. “For a place to stay. For a while. Until I find something else.”

Next morning I talked to Mist again, trying to figure out why Rune liked her so goddamn much. 

“Ha ha ha!” she said, her face crinkled up into a smile. “Blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah.” 

I don’t know. To each his own. I wandered around the town, talking to the townsfolk, all of whom were politely repetitive. I met a girl out by the pier; she was hot, in a ninja kind of way. I got the feeling she really liked fish; she said, “I love fish.”

I tilled some land, sowed some seeds, got really tired, went to bed, woke up, got a cave pass from the mayor. I went to the dungeons. I smashed some monsters in the face with my hoe. I went to bed again. I woke up. I went to the farm.

I saw Mist standing in the garden again, and wafted a hello over to her.

“Ha ha ha!” she said, her face crinkled up into a smile. “Blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah.” 

I asked Rune about it, and he just shrugged. He wasn’t one for big talk, either. He just did his thing, and he did it well. Still, he said, it was frustrating that Mist said the same thing every morning when he greeted her. Hey, you can’t rationalise love.

“You try it,” he said. “You try talking to the rest of them. It’s creepy, it’s unsettling. But I love her. I want to marry her, man.” 

I listened to Rune. I talked to the rest of the townspeople. They didn’t say much; they never said much. I got into a routine with them, and we became closer, although we never really spoke. People talk small talk, sometimes minute talk, and this talk was infinitesimal talk.

The ninja-ish girl liked me, because I fished for a fish, and then I gave her a fish.

“I love fish. You are awesome,” she told me.

I gave her another fish.

“I love fish. You are awesome.”

It kind of went on like this for days, and then I stopped seeing her. It just wasn’t working out. I stopped talking to the townspeople, too. I stopped farming. I just went to the dungeons, chopped wood, mined for gems and metal, and bought myself a fridge. I bought a kitchen. I learned how to bake a cake. Life went on.

When I came back to the farm a few months later, Rune’s house was larger. Bigger. Better. I saw the silhouette of a woman through the foggy window.

Rune was standing by the gate, watching me.

“How are things?” I asked, watching him.

He met my gaze. He let his shoulders raise, briefly. He met my gaze, through the mist.

Inside, the woman, barely a girl, moved back and forth, dusting down the sheets, pottering to the stove.

What was there to tell him? He had it, his dream right there in his hands. Tomorrow he’d be brushing his animals, one by one, scraping hearts from their frowning faces. He’d gotten to the stage where they loved him just enough to water almost all his plot, but not quite. He’d said it gave him a little sense of purpose, watching the water stain those last three squares. Knowing that it, as so much else in his world, was ephemeral. That he’d be there again the next day, filling in a blank slate.

I looked at his eyes — void as stars! — and bade him good night. He didn’t reply. We didn’t talk. It was the talk that came after infinitesimal talk; null talk. As I was walking home, I saw him as he’d been; bright eyes sparking as he talked about his dreams and hopes.

It was a week later that I moved out, just a hundred logs short of 2000. Spring was in season, the frigid morning air lapping at my neck as I meandered through the drowsy town, past my droning friends and loves, past Rune’s tidy farm. He stood in the middle of his plot, surrounded by a host of glowing orbs, just standing, staring.

I waved to him, but he didn’t see, and after a moment I began to walk away, down the road and out of Toytown, maybe to go home, knowing I wouldn’t be back.

.

truncatatronica:

Rune Factory has rather attractive graphics, but I got bored of it after four days and haven’t picked it up since. It is deeper than the other Harvest Moon games in that I stopped playing those after a cumulative total of four minutes. The townspeople have nothing interesting to say and do not even convey the illusion of having something interesting and possibly humorous to say, unlike, say, the idiot-looking animals in Animal Crossing: Wild World.

The dungeons, new to the Harvest Moon series, are reasonably entertaining and even slightly nethackish in that they respawn every time you go back into them and you feel slightly paranoid about dying. Which is a rare feeling to have in a modern game.

The chopping wood bullshit was probably the biggest factor that led to my giving up, as even with a megapowered axe it was still the most annoying and tedious task you could be expected to do six million times for fun. It is even more annoying than weeding in AC:WW. It’s a chore, but does it have to be so much like actual work?

Smashing monsters in the face with a hoe was moderately enchanting, though. For a time.

pink PSP, it’s October 11, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know.
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fucking hideous!!!

I want a PSP Slim, though (that isn’t one. these are). PSP Lite. Whatever. Not least because numerous cover-switching efforts have resulted in one of my recessed screwheads getting fucked; my analog stick is screwy and I can’t unscrew it to un-screw it. 

 destroyed

look at this bullshit!

At least it was company-sponsored. best: PSP Fat Free.

The loathsome DPAD of the PSP Fat is apparently no longer a total piece of shit. I modded mine by affixing some plastic bits to make the contact easier, but it still blows compared to the Nintendo Xpad.

KOTAKU SAY: “The D-pad itself does get a proper rehaul and finally feels like, well, a D-pad. It’s incredibly responsive and not mushy like the current iteration.

-Also, new PSP is equipped with enhanced feature to temporarily store game data from UMD, reducing load time during game play.”

I’m sold.

Dualshock3 controller looks like an evil mechanised crab.

Here are some pictures which look strangely similar to the pictures that I posted of Toronto when first I moved here. Right down to the spartan nature of my living room, although I think I forgot to post that.

 people getting owned by rain

people getting owned by rain as I watch from my balcony. mirth, people, mirth

spartan is a mindset

 spartan, not cheap

and some pictures that are just random as fuck

funnel cake sim

funnel cake sim

yeah

fucking awesome?

yes

on masterchef tomorrow

sam

like I will be, Torontonian institution Sam the Record Man is gone.

Look at that snow. I am leaving before that bullshit happens.

farcical review bullshit: final fantasy VII: crisis core is……… October 8, 2007

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, things that are not quite things we know.
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1.5/5 if you don’t already feel involved in the FF7 universe, 3.5 if you do.

Are you and the Final Fantasy VII universe involved? Do you like cutscenes? Really? You’ll probably like this game. Be warned; this is not a happy game.

The looping track on the official website is a wistful mix of yearning strings and pop beat that perfectly encapsulates the overall mood of Crisis Core. Here’s a shocker. Our hero Zack is actually likeable. He does his best to remain upbeat and positive despite all the nastynasty that’s about to happen to him. It’s like a big countdown to a whole lotta angst, except for a change our alter ego isn’t being a whiny bitch.

The game looks great. Kind of Kingdom Hearts-ish, actually. The pacing is mostly good, although the story’s hokey at times and most of the new characters feel rather mashed-in, including an utterly loopy antagonist named Genesis, who has a penchant for reciting lines from his favourite play and throwing apples at people. Still, it drags you along to the next stunning cutscene, to the next plot point, to find out what was going on behind the scenes. Then things get really weird and Zack starts to wish things would just start making sense. Maybe, like me, you’ll become Zack for a while, hoping a positive attitude will make everything all right, knowing deep down you’ll never succeed.

It’s kind of refreshing, unlike the gameplay. 

Maybe you like playing safe, simple games; maybe your idea of the perfect game is one where you just have to hit attack and occasionally heal, or cast a magic spell. Mine isn’t. I like the concept of an action remix of VII.  See, Crisis Core kind of pretends it’s an action game, but maybe you won’t like because it’s not safe enough; maybe you won’t like it because it’s not dangerous enough.

The game doesn’t break free from the mould VII cast; you run around, fight battles, get story. It’s different in the details. They polished the edge off the slick but shapeless mass that’s the ubiquitous combat system. What we get is VII‘s active time battle system playing groupie to Devil May Cry, popping out this hybrid horror on her back in a ditch.

In combat, you cycle through attack, materia and items with L and R. Circle activates the command you pick; press it in standard attack mode and Zack will run forward and hit the nearest opponent. It’s not the most rewarding of moves. Sometimes you’ll dodge, mostly you’ll be hitting circle over and over again, limited by the timing of the slash animation, broken by the automation of the system. That’s your action button right there. No jumping, no combos. No more linking materia together like you could in VII, just tonnes and tonnes of limit breaks.

In previous FF incarnations, we were rewarded with special attacks for powering up our limit break bars, maybe by taking hits, or going into low health mode. Something reasonable, anyway.

The limit break mode in Crisis Core is completely random.

On the top left of the screen, three dials spin constantly. Occasionally they expand, fill the screen, and eventually come to a stop, all on their own. The game rolls up special moves and summons for you; some are cute, a pat on the back for following the FF franchise.

You’ve got cutscenes in your combat.

Crisis Core dismisses your input as a player of games; doesn’t trust you to hit a button or let you pretend you’re calling a bunch of slots. Shouldn’t videogames be an interactive experience? Is this really what people want?

I run through endlessly bland missions, limit breaks interrupting me every quarter-minute. I find a curse ring. It deactivates the slots. Jackpot! Then I remember. The only way to level up is via the limit BS. I consider cursing myself anyway.

I start wall-hugging to avoid the random combat. A box bumps Zack out into dangerous ground, into a chain of irritating random encounters that buffet him around. We end up further back than we were. The dials spin.

Onward ho.

Sometimes the camera rotates 360 degrees, mostly it won’t. It’s like what they must have done to the designers; blinkered their vision. You have to wonder; why risk making these spin-offs different at all, if what they really wanted was to play it safe?

Zack is waiting. I soldier on. 

You can access missions from any save point, short missions that are quite perfect for the portable nature of the PSP. Not a bad idea. Squeenix could have created a variety of mission types that would have been interesting and different and maybe even fun to play through, but no; you’ll be doing the same thing repeatedly — run around, be harassed by random enemies, find treasure, kill the boss.

For over two years, their designers had to have been doing something while their hi-res art team was knocking out slick hyperpoly renders. It’s as though they aspired to be different and got scared halfway. By what? By whom? Who were they trying to please? Ain’t nobody getting offa this train.

VII‘s lovingly pre-rendered Midgar, now there was a city with soul, a Dickensian sprawl of misery and squalor. With a lot of cleverly-lit doors you could investigate if you chose to. Hell, if you wanted you could steal 5 gil from a child’s set of drawers as he slept, and come back later to watch him crying, and damned if it didn’t make you feel a little bit like a prick.

In comparison Core feels kind of dead. Yeah, VII‘s cutscenes look downright shonky in comparison, but VII‘s a richer experience by far. It’s rough around the edges, but the roughness makes it pretty sharp in spots. Ten years down the line, we’re at the opposite situation; we’ve got all this power and we’re not using it right. Time to disembark.

You, you doubt me, you who have yet to run through a bunch of square rooms that look exactly the same. You who have yet to run through these rooms seven million times.

Very inspired level design. And yet: I actually like the game despite all the bullshit you have endure to get through it.

Bursting through blandness, moments of beauty surface; Zack runs past the Junon nuclear sunrise, down the gleaming Shinra Building stairs, through the eerie Nibelheim gloom and it’s nostalgic, a throwforward to times that get only darker. It’s a nod to you who played VII when you see familiar faces, old but young. Still, there’s always this ominous sense of dread, this looming certainty that everything’s going to go up shit creek.

It’s the fascinating thing about this game; there’s no hope, it doesn’t matter what you do, yet Zack’s still trying. He doesn’t know. We’re drawn to tragedy, and stuck in a game like this, Zack’s tale is replete with it. His story is a black hole of misery, and he beckoned to me; fell to his knees and begged keep playing.

So I did.

Square had pretty grand ambitions, tossing up the formula of Final Fantasy VII and trying to shake out something new. It’s hard not to think they should either have played it completely safe, or gone all out. It’s a little sad, thinking about what could have been.

It’s quite possible you’ll like Crisis Core. It’s a cakewalk down memory lane, ends quite tidily, if depressingly, comes full circle and wraps beautifully into the original game. Just as you knew it would. Play it for Zack’s sake, play it for him; like the gameplay, he never had a chance.