By vidiot 3 Comments
I'll be blunt: I needed that vacation.
California is a strange, alien land that I both have great admiration for, and compounded distaste. I lived there when I was a kid, and it's always a bit surreal visiting places where you grew up. The apartment complex is still there, the park, the school, but then you notice what has changed in the last decade, and in my case the half-decade prior to that. What's funny for me is that the lay-out seems the same, but the size difference is completely off. Buildings and shops that towered above me as a kid look completely unnoticeable as an adult. Yes, I am implying that when one is in kindergarten-first grade, their impression of the world around them might be skewed versus they're more older versions...something about height differences...but for me, the impression was no less-obvious and still greatly moving.
I had a strange moment of silence as I stared out into the park that resided next to the apartment complex. How strangely small it looked. It's size was far less grandeur than my memory constructed it, although it's context was still intact. There was the field, the tables, the equipment...No, that had changed. Perhaps for the better. Thing was barely standing as it was.
I've always felt that there was an impression, perhaps subconsciously, that living in that area during the 90's left on me. I think I was a pretty naive kid. I know, that's a pretty deep statement. Seriously though, when I think back to the park, there is one memory that I kinda shrug off that I don't know how I would interpret today. There was a regular drug dealer, a homeless man who lived in the park, and he made money selling drugs to kids. There was a bus stop for school, and I would watch from afar as older kids wandered over to "talk" to him. I stayed away, because everyone told me too, but no one really cared that this guy was constantly living and essentially making drug money off of kids. What I'm confused about now that I'm older was: Why the fuck did anyone not report this turd? Perhaps they did later? This is just one example of many instances that proper reflection kinda questioned the escapist mentality of my youth...er...younger....youth?
The skewed nativity of children seems for me always celebrated: The park will always be a grand adventure in my mind, versus it's stark reality.
That doesn't excuse the other side of the coin- the complete absent minded nature of reality. Perhaps, I'm being more sardonic than necessary.
I liked how the bus ride to my old school was shockingly shorter than I remembered it too. :P
Then came the school itself...Which upset me.
I get out of the car and I'm greeted by a fence: A fence that now surrounds the entire campus. How can I say this nicely?
It looked like a fucking prison.
Yeah, screw the metaphor of school being a prison. Let's add some goddamn watchtowers while were at it.
Now I know what you're saying: Maybe they had a good reason to build a giant fence around the elementary school? Maybe they had an incident with someone who walked on campus? Maybe if we take our shoe's off, no one will try to blow up planes? Oh. Wait. No. That didn't happen.
Okay, so maybe a giant...draconian fence...that looks like it's stopping you from entering a mine-field...is appropriate for elementary school kids. It's just something that kinda annoyed me.
You crazy people. Stupid nice weather. Allows for you to have skin that doeskin look like it's transparent paper. People asking you if you re "okay"...Or if you're sick....
...Or a ghost...
Within the span of about ten minutes: The hike started around a forested golf-course, became a very flat high-vegetation desert, then became mountainous, upon finally becoming a beach. It's always interesting how varied even desert environments can be, you just gotta take the time to look for them. There were a ton of helicopters flying around too, San-Diego is home to our naval forces and it shows. My uncle let us go out with his sailboat, that I got to drive...pilot...err..."move with the steering wheel". We sailed around the military base, an imposing structure that sent the right expression.
We stopped by the battleship Midway while downtown. The best I could describe it is "Naval Disneyland", complete with an animatronic captain. There's just so much you can do with the subject matter, and for the most part I thought they did a pretty good job.
Whach'a played?I said that I probably wasn't going to bring a gaming device on the trip. I lied.
I packed my PSP with me and loaded it with Lunar Silver Star Harmony, a game I had bought but never had real time to sink my teeth into. I've played the game before back on the Playstation, but I just needed something mindless I could dive into during the large swaths of down-time. It actually kinda works as a portable game, the feature to save anywhere is something fantastic too.
Lunar is a game that has been remade and ported more times than it probably should have, and I've considered checking out the original Sega CD version. I've only played it since it's Silver Star Story days, and I've always been interested in it's original version.
I like this version. The goofy translation effort seems intact, the Playstation cutscenes are still in there. The game though has a much needed face-lift, bringing the whole thing to a higher SNES-era similar to the original Star Ocean and Tales of Phantasia. The voice acting...what little it has...is pretty atrocious, and I'm trying to block my mind remembering the new "beginning" they added. (Which will remind you of Phantasia in more ways than one :/)
- I checked out the Scott Pilgrim game. Loved the over-world homage to Mario.
- I played the Mafia 2 demo, then immediately pre-purchased it on Steam. :P
- Valkyria Chronicles 2 looks fun, again not the system I would want a sequel for, but it's still Valkyria Chronicles and that's a good thing.
I have a few Brain Dumps on the horizon, and I'm still getting back into the groove on this site.