JC and I saw this animal when we visited China Camp in the summer of 2011. This JPG has been sitting on my desktop for some time, and since I’m currently cleaning my desktop, I’ll throw it up on here.
Hmm, so, besides having produced this cool pic, what else is special about that period of our lives? Well, it was basically the first vacation I’d taken in a long time, and even then it was sort of a working vacation. I remember interviewing a future coworker on one of my vacation days. In retrospect, even if I hadn’t needed to interview him, it wouldn’t have been a full vacation anyway. Work was always on my mind in one form or another, whether it be what I had to catch up on after I returned, or how I could continue to improve myself in my position. I don’t know if it was because of the nature of that position and how much I got paid, or just me. I just couldn’t let go. I always wanted to impress, wanted to feel important. Hell, I’m feeling stressed now just thinking about it.
But, back to China Camp. It wasn’t too long of a drive, and the weather was perfect. Blue skies, green grass, sparkling water. We brought our tripod and photographed ourselves in various poses. We explored the historical sights and the museum there. I think we might even have caught a glimpse of Frank Quan. Afterwards we had a late lunch at VH. Ah, memories.
My other fond memory from that vacation is playing the video game Catherine. The game had just come out, and it was waiting outside our door when we returned from the beach. Playing it was almost like watching a movie, with JC watching along with me and giving me (unsolicited) suggestions while I tried to solve the puzzles and climb the wall. I would pour myself Maker’s Mark on the rocks before each game so I could truly immerse myself into it. You’ll have to play the game yourself to find out why.
Interesting how one little JPG can bring out so much, isn’t it? I’m surprised myself. I thought I would just upload the pic and delete it from my desktop. Well, I guess that’s the cool thing about having a website. You can do whatever you want with it, whatever comes to mind.
You know how some rap songs reference pouring out liquor for dearly departed homies? Well, tonight I’ll be watching a little Bloodsport for my dearly departed cousin. My cousin and I used to be tight back in the day; he taught me a lot about growing up here. We used to play a lot of video games and watch a lot of movies together. One of these movies was Bloodsport. I don’t remember the details, but I do remember that he was very enthusiastic about this movie. Nonstop action, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and even Bolo.
My cousin was also very enthusiastic about deals. He would have been happy to know that I nabbed this movie for five dollars, and on Blu-ray, too!
I got my hands on a sample of Ardbeg Uigeadail today and decided to try and take some quick notes without thinking too hard. I am a novice at tasting Scotch despite having enjoyed my fair share, but I am looking to change that and will start posting my experimentation experiences and findings on this site to reinforce what I learn.
So, here’s what I came up with:
Nose: peat, barbecue, leather, seaweed, banana, iodine, Chinese medicine cabinet, dried plum, mineral water.
Body: Medium oily.
Finish: Numb lips, fire.
A few things that stood out to me were the lack of an age statement, the 54.2% ABV, and the presence of very fine particles resulting from the lack of chill filtering (which absolutely does not take anything away from the experience).
I chewed it around in my mouth but no specific words came to mind (unless “mmm”, “good”, and “yum” qualify), hence the “n/a” for the palate. I’ll try and do better next time!
Final verdict: I loved this whisky and will be adding it to my collection someday.
I’ll admit it – I’ve been kind of depressed ever since coming back home and ending our two-and-a-half month long trip. We’ve been back nearly a week, and most of that time has been spent sitting in front of my computer doing nothing, clicking on the same bookmarks every few minutes to see if anything has updated. No inspiration to update this site despite the massive amounts of raw materials (pictures, videos, scans) I amassed during the trip. Brought me back to certain days at work, when I used to hit a wall and just not do anything and feel like a loser, and then further not do anything because I felt like a loser. What a vicious circle.
If I had to pinpoint what causes me to become like this, I would venture to guess that it’s the amount of things I feel I have to get done: settle and reconcile my finances, unpack, clean my room, update this blog, plan for our next move, sort my photos, etc. With so many things requiring my attention, I find myself paralyzed instead. I want to do everything at once, and I have no patience. I’m pulled in every single direction, 360 degrees. That has to be it, because that’s how it used to be at work.
Tonight, I decided to allow myself to do something, to do one thing. I poured myself a dram of the Glenlivet, plugged in my Sega Saturn controller, fired up the Kega Fusion emulator, and resumed playing Wonder Boy III: the Dragon’s Trap (I told you, I love Sega, always have, always will). Playing this game, watching the Lion-Man sprite move across the screen, listening to the 8-bit sounds, I was inspired to write this post. Thoughts came to me from every single direction, from wanting to explain the progression of why I wanted to play this game in the first place to where it had taken me. So, let us start backwards, to the last time I played this game…
It was in our little studio apartment at 34th and Broadway in Manhattan that we had found through Airbnb (if you know what to expect, it can be a great way to find cheap accommodations). Sandy was not yet here, but she was near and New York City was preparing for her arrival. The skies were gray and ominous, and there was a wind that seemed like it never stopped blowing. Walking around the Herald Square area, one could feel the tension in the air as the streets got emptier and the lines at Duane Reade got longer. After I had procured a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and the last Stella Artois six-pack, I hurried back into the safety of the apartment.
With nothing left to do but wait, I decided to finally play this 23-year old game. I’ve played it on and off over the years, but I hadn’t really touched any emulators for a long time because I had convinced myself that they weren’t authentic. I still have my Sega Master System, but hooking it up to a modern day flat panel is a pain, and the results aren’t quite flattering. We finally threw out our 23-year old Sharp Linytron TV earlier this summer (besides, I was in NYC). So no, if I wanted to reminisce, it would have to be with the emulator. (I just checked, I actually don’t have the original cartridge, oops.)
About 2 weeks earlier, we were in London eating breakfast just outside Euston Station. I had just eaten something called a pasty for the first time. We went inside the station to use the facilities and, while I was waiting for JC at WHSmith, a magazine caught my eye. retro GAMER. On the cover were names that were very familiar to me, having grown up with and played video games in the 90s: Pilotwings, Psygnosis, Final Fantasy, Konix Multisystem, Shigeru Miyamoto, and of course Wonder Boy III. I thumbed through, gushing with nostalgia and excitement. I had to get this magazine. But, JC and I had already pledged to only purchase things that we actually needed, because we were traveling around the world and didn’t need the extra baggage, and we were trying to stretch our budget. I consulted with her when she came out, and she told me to decide myself. I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t get it, so I did.
British gaming and PC magazines have always appealed to me. The first one I ever bought was actually in the 90s: a CVG that I chanced upon at Barnes and Noble in Oakland (back then we hardly ever went to Oakland). Their covers are rather attractive, with glossy paper and pages that are physically larger than American gaming mags. Costco even sells them from time to time. With WHSmith stores everywhere in London, it was only a matter of time before I succumbed and bought a magazine after seeing it for the third time (this happened with Android magazine, finally had to buy it at the Heathrow WHSmith).
Back on topic, though, it was the feature in retro GAMER that inspired me to play Wonder Boy III again. Once I actually sat down and forced myself to load up the ROM and play the game for at least 10 minutes, it didn’t matter that it was running on an emulator. I was back in the 90s. I was back in middle school. I still remember reading the manual for this game and noticing something quirky: HU-MAN was running around the town, but HU-MAN could not be used during the game. It was a special password that was in the manual that allowed you to use HU-MAN and receive all the perks associated with that password. Ah, childhood.
Tonight, once I actually sat down and forced myself to load up the ROM and play the game for at least 10 minutes, the memories started surfacing and I thought of all these things that I wanted to post here. I don’t know if I’ll revert back to my paralyzed state tomorrow, but tonight I am able to focus and pull my mind away from the endless loop of bookmark-clicking because I wanted to continue a 23-year old game I started playing in New York City after having seen a feature on that game in a magazine I saw at a bookstore inside a train station in London.
Back to basics. Doing something I love, and have loved. Finishing something I started. Focusing on one thing at a time. Perhaps that is what will get me back on track. Good night, Wonder Boy. Good night, Monster Land.