I Began to Move a Lot Recently

If you were to count all the different hobbies I’ve tried out in my life, it would amount to an almost-laughable number. Very few people have the audacity to abandon one thing for a completely different experience, obviously because that wouldn’t be too practical. I’ve jumped from drawing to photography to writing to football, and so on. It’s embarrassing to admit, yet I am quite sure there have been a few people who have noticed and questioned my fickleness when it comes to dreams and aspirations…especially now that I have gotten myself into a new ‘thing’.

You ready to find out what Raffy has been up to recently??

It’s……….parkour.

Yes, the fine art of movement, to put it simply. Of course there’s this whole debate regarding parkour and freerunning, but it’s safe to say I do both now. What brought me to do join up? Friends. My ‘hobby’ before this was of course football, ever since a combined enthusiasm bomb that affected my life forever, consisting of the 2010 South Africa World Cup and the famous Vietnam triumphs of the Azkals. I have dedicated parts of my time into learning how to play football. The trouble was I had no friends nearby to train with, neither were there any fields to play in. I did have a few acquaintances that I played with, but most of them played far from home. There was even a time when I was so desperate to play, I attended a futsal training session at the Ateneo covered courts. I live in Parañaque. It just wouldn’t work out.

With parkour, however, I have friends, close friends who train regularly a bike ride away from home. I cannot stress enough how huge a help this is. Not only can I give my all in every training without worrying about how the hell I was going home that night, I also am with people that I have known since grade school. That added sense of camaraderie and brotherhood makes training even more of a pleasure.

After saying all that about the geographic and social advantages of practicing parkour, however, it has to be said that the main reason I am so in love with this sport comes down to the values that you learn just by learning all the moves. It requires an immense amount of courage to do parkour because it requires you to subject your body in situations and positions it is not used to being in. Each new move is terrifying to learn, and yet it is that fear that makes it such a pleasure to overcome. Every training session, and I mean each and every one of them, will consist of you conquering new fears; otherwise you aren’t doing it right. That practice of conquering fear in any shape or form, with the right mindset, can be translated into the real world. The discipline, the courage, the perseverance–all of those things you can learn in parkour.

And who can even ignore the raging popularity of parkour/freerunning now in the world of video games. The thirst for spatial expansion within virtual worlds calls for vertical navigation, and of course, freerunning is the answer to this. From Assassin’s Creed to Mirror’s Edge to Watch_Dog, parkour is everywhere, and so learning how to do it in real life is a kind of dream come true. The whole point of video games is to bring you to places you can’t go to in the real world, but parkour enables you to emulate some of your favorite heroes’ with the way they explore the world. Just imagine how much different the world looks like from the top of a tree, a water tank, a skycraper, or even the top of a huge bridge. Seeking that perspective is the final thing I’d like to share about the beauty of this hobby.

As humans, we have this nomad complex that urges us to leave our homes even just for a while to seek new destinations. Anthropologically speaking, this was a natural reaction to humans exhausting food sources. But being the rational, sentimental beings that we are, we have romanticized the act of travelling. We have invented the concept of adventure, to spice up what is otherwise a mundane and arduous activity. Parkour enables you to reinvent home in countless other ways, depending on your creativity. Any place is your playground, and every training session is a micro-adventure of its own. We traceurs relish the sight of ledges and bars and poles and trees, because each present a new obstacle to overcome, a new colossus to conquer. It’s that unusual, child-like view of the world that tells me I need parkour in my lifeDSC_9117.

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The Day I Brought Home a Dream

Never underestimate the power of persistence because, thank everything holy, I was a day away from getting a cat. Before anything else, I had to grab some of my Christmas cash (or what was left of it) for the usual cat stuff: food, litter, litter box, and cage. There’s no better place to do that in Metro Manila than in Cartimar, a marketplace mostly dedicated to pet care and merchandise.

Cartimar was no cool spot, that’s for sure, as the sun scorched the earth like it was excited for the coming summer days. I wondered then how all the cute critters were doing in that heat. They seemed to be doing well the more time I spent there, dogs smiling and panting like they usually do and cats, well, sleeping like they usually do. I was in love with every single one of them but I had this commitment with a friend, that I am scheduled to adopt one baby from the family’s newest litter.

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That commitment went straight out of the window when I came across a cage of tiny little white kittens standing on their two hind legs while propped against the cage’s vertical bars. Meowing at every one who passed by. “Adopt me! Adopt me!” they said. It was no surprise at all that most people visited that very shop to check out the husky (a dog I recall had a bit of an attention whote complex). I wasn’t lured into that trap. I went straight for the kitties, and they were all so adorable. One kitten, however, caught my eyes with hers. By that I mean, one of her eyes was blue, one was green. She spoke to me with that raspy little meow of hers. I knew then and there that this was the kitten I had to adopt. There goes my arrangement with Nicole, I thought. I sent her an SMS about how I would bail on her and she didn’t seem to mind. More kittens for her, I guess. I brought her home the next day (was short on cash the day I found her).

Approximately two months later, here she is all fattened up (as opposed to her ribbed torso when I got her) and very comfortable at home. Confident even. She climbs all sorts of stuff as if the house is one big parkour gym. They grow up so fast, they really do. One day, I’m just going to wake up realizing how big Chelsea has gotten. Despite all the scratch marks on my thigh (after being treated like just another platform to climb) and bite marks on my foot (that is her method of waking me up at six in the morning for food), I love that crazy kitten to bits.

Recently she began cuddling with me every time I lie down to read a book or check my phone. I think she might just love me back now. 🙂

After Graduation aka Incoherent Personal Update for May 1, 2015

Guess who’s back! Yes, it’s me Raffy, here again to drop some lackluster blog entry and then completely re-abandon this site. Just kidding. Now that I have absolutely no excuse not to blog, I might as well go for it and continue typing down my thoughts which virtually no one reads anyway. In any case, something huge has happened to me recently…

I have graduated from college. *confetti*

grad

Four days after wearing that toga, it all still feels unreal to me. Fifteen or so years, building up to that very moment when I walked across the platform and had my tassel switched from left to right. From that point on, I knew I was at the threshold of something amazing. Suddenly I saw the world and its many possibilities, and in the distance is an blurry image of what I could be. I know that this tingly feeling of enthusiasm and motivation is an after-effect of graduating, but I do wish I get to maintain this or at least not lose most of it like before. I am well aware that what happens in my 20s may easily shape how the rest of my life turns out. Not that I’m letting the pressure get in my skin. It’s the kind of pressure that I need to drive through the dark and difficult parts of my path to success.

2014 seems like an awfully long time ago, and based on my last post, I have another item to add to my list of failed ventures. For the longest time, I have viewed this as my greatest weakness; that I am someone who had his sights set on one ‘dream’, then another the next minute. I have gotten into a great many things, which is no secret. I’ve tried football, writing, drawing, photography, vlogging, gameplay commentary. But I believe there is nothing wrong with being a jack of all trades (master of none) at first, as long as you eventually pick which skills to hone. At this stage of my life, I have picked which paths I want to take, although I might just let my works/actions do the talking instead.

Right now I am taking at least a month off responsibility, to work on my portfolio and enjoy all the current generation games (as soon as I get my new graphics card, and yes, I will get one soon; a GTX 960). Write, draw, take photos, just make art in general. Stay up late. Take spontaneous afternoon walks. Clean my room. I might even update this blog (and the other gaming-related one) as I please. Working out and getting in shape is definitely in my itinerary. This is the optimal time to do all of those things. In a month’s time, I know I will be ready to take on the world…but for now, I will live the bum life harder than I ever have in my whole life.

I am aware of how incoherent this blog post is. Forgive me for I am very rusty. I will write something better eventually, I promise.

Weekly Playlist (October 26, 2014)

Truth be told, I haven’t finished anything this week due to a combination of heavy schoolwork and brand new ventures. I’ve been spending more time in the library these past few months more than I have in my entire life, all to jam my exhausted little brain with information to utilize in writing my thesis.

As for the other thing, I’ve finally gotten around creating a Let’s Play channel! Go check it out right here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCKDBKNuW5qQCvZNB1Gzx8g. So far I only have one video to show for, but expect it to grow rapidly as producing content as a LPer is not as time-consuming as it is with other creative YouTube projects. To be honest, I don’t really care much about acquiring crazy internet fame. All I am aiming for is a few hundred subscribers who will consistently watch my videos. Views are not even a top priority. It’s a hobby above all else. Something about having to comment and talk to yourself about a game adds a whole new layer of fun to the act of playing. Since my rig is not the most advanced out there, I am inclined to feature indie and retro games that don’t demand much from my computer. I’ll be uploading at least twice a week, except for busy weeks. I can already tell this is gonna be one hell of a journey!

In other Weekly Playlist stuff, I found this article about the importance of survival games in today’s gaming community. As someone who’s been hooked on Don’t Starve lately, this article rings true for me very much: http://bit.ly/1rtgrz6

Weekly Playlist: October 12, 2014

School has began to get in the way of my gaming routine…or at least, the other stuff I do outside of actually playing. I haven’t read as much articles or viewed as much Let’s Plays. Otherwise I’ve had an ordinary week as I finished two games within the weekend.

1. Guacamelee!

I really have nothing much to say about this game. Don’t get me wrong, it is a pretty game that does what your average adventure platformer aims to do: it has fluid controls, looks attractive, and has really challenging sections that require absolute precision to execute properly. Oh, and the humor! The game has a wide variety of references to indie games, like Casa Crashers (Castle Crashers) and the cold corpse (?) of that guy/thing from Journey. And who doesn’t pity that poor goat whose statues you kept on destroying? Poor guy.

2. Spec Ops: The Line

This game may look like your ordinary military shooter at first; five o’clock shadows, charisma, machismo, that kind of stuff… but it is far from that. Spec Ops: The Line is an absolute deconstruction of the recent popularity of shooters and the fetishization of the military. In this game, you’re not the hero, neither are you fighting for what is the “greater good”. The most iconic line of the game for me was this: “Do you feel like a hero now, Walker?” Every bullet you fire surely has a corresponding price.

I’ve also been pondering a lot lately about putting up a Let’s Play YouTube channel. I’ve ventured into vlogging before with a friend….that didn’t work out. I have to somehow get the funds to build a decent gaming rig, though.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West – True to the Post-Apocalyptic Genre

SPOILERS AHEAD.

I am one huge sucker for post-apocalyptic media; Fallout 3 and The Last of Us are two of my favorite games. It’s no surprise that Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is now a part of that list. The world that Ninja Theory has created looks absolutely magnificent; rife with indicators of man’s failed relationship with technology and how nature takes back what’s hers. Even the characters are expertly-designed, with accurate facial animations and all. (Rightfully so, since there are literally just three characters to animate in the game.) What strikes me most about the game is its faithfulness to the genre.

I’m referring mostly to the ending, where the sense of isolation are the constant “Where is everybody?” question are justified by what had been revealed. Trip and Monkey are provided a way out of their current struggles, but Trip refuses to relinquish her humanity for fabricated bliss. At first glance, you probably will side with Trip but if you give it further thought, the world is pretty much fucked up already. Is it worth rebuilding?

That is a question raised by a lot of post-apocalyptic narratives. The dilemma of choosing optimism versus choosing pragmatism, and I believe Enslaved’s story, although not at all original (it’s based on an ancient Chinese text after all) channels into this concept spot on. This is personally why I love post-apocalypse: the deconstruction of morality and the irony of survival.

Will Grayson, Will GraysonWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thoughts:

> Shows the obsession of teens to keep all the suffering to themselves, thinking that no one else is hurting more than they are
> Picks up some pace only in midway through the book, when Will Grayson finally met Will Grayson. It was intriguing, as it normally would when worlds collide. I would refer to when Nickelodeon’s Jimmy met Timmy; the feeling I got there and in the novel was very similar.
> Everyone else in the school doesn’t feel alive. Just a cluster of floating eyeballs witnessing Tiny’s shenanigans.
> Gideon is too perfect a friend to be believable. It almost feels like he existed solely to guide (and drive) WG#2 to Chicago to patch things up with Tiny Cooper.
> I like the Schrodinger’s Cat analogy a lot. It is an accurate depiction of teenage love; the vagueness of it all, unless you grab the box yourself to see if “the cat is dead or alive.”

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