Monthly Archives: December 2011

Act nice and gentle

What a year. If I’m completely honest, just the fact of sitting here with the intention to consciously review the last 12 months of my life, feels a bit overwhelming, probably more than ever before. I’ve gone from utter happiness to absolute sadness, from joyful company to sorrowful isolation, from bitterly cold weather to pleasant hot clime, from hopeful aspirations to disheartening disillusions; I took things for granted and paid the price, I underestimated my luck and suddenly found myself in the middle of situations most mortals could only dream of. I laughed like a little kid and cried like a bitch. I fell in love like never before. I went back to Uni, moved houses 4 times and ate ridiculous amounts of pasta because I couldn’t be bothered to cook anything else. I said things I wish I didn’t say. I shook hands with Dave Grohl and Slash, twice. Back home, both my gramps and grandma died as I watched from afar, not being able to say goodbye. I had the time of my life in Amsterdam without surrendering my lungs to pot (got pretty drunk, though), I saw amazing people turning their backs to amazing opportunities, and I met up with Jimmy Page more times than I did with some of my long-time friends. I got to know extraordinary people with greater fear of failure than bravery to pursue their dreams; I tried to encourage them but they refused. I learnt that habit is a hard thing to break. I was inspired by humble people and discovered that I’m a modest man who can actually find happiness in simple things. I made my first painting and wrote my debut poem, then gave them away for love and I have no regrets. I went to dozens of gigs and didn’t pay a penny for any of them. I became a fan of cheap arse wine. I saw people I love with all my heart, seriously pondering the benefits of death or being helplessly brought down by fear and vulnerability. I’ve been reminded that having a heart sometimes could be heartbreaking. I’ve been scared of not seeing people I dearly love, ever again. Frankly, this year has been a fuckin’ rollercoster ride I’m still trying to get through without throwing up.

For the first time in a long time, I’m as somber as I’m thrilled about the year to come. A very strange mix of excitement and despondency has taken over in the last couple of days, and I must confess, this feeling is all very new to me. I’m not entirely sure of how to deal with it but it seems to me that the only thing I could possible do is to take a breath, chin up and keep striving. I can’t lose perspective and I can’t give up but I suppose I can make a kind plea, just in case…

2012: Act nice and gentle to me.


Sometimes you’re quite alright

I really don’t understand how my brain works. Seriously, since I moved to London, I have discovered a series of mental flaws and developed some odd practices that really make me wonder what the hell is going on up there. Like that day I forgot (overnight) my debit card’s pin number; that very same string of secret digits I had been using for 9 months almost on a daily basis, gone in a second with no explanation other than complete fucktardness. Or the day I smashed my head with a wall playing hide and seek (I was running away from my pursuer, watching my back as I moved, and completely forgot to look forward. When I did, it was too late). Or the day I sneezed in front of the bathroom sink while brushing my teeth and forgot to step back to avoid collision (I was a little kid and was pretty much at the same height as the bloody thing. Nothing much has changed though, I must admit). However, what really has started to worry me is this strange habit I’ve got since I moved to our new house: the random fridge audit.

That’s right, I now go all the way to the kitchen, turn on the light, open the fridge, stare at it for a few seconds, close it, turn off the light and go back to my room, empty-handed. I even do it while chatting with my housemates in the kitchen… I just stand up in the middle of our conversation, open the fridge, pretend to be looking for something to eat but a moment after, I would shut the door without taking anything out of it and go back to whatever I was doing before turning into a weirdo. At first they didn’t notice but now they all know, and wait for it to happen just to make fun of me. They chat and pretend to be distracted but as soon as I go near our fridge, you can feel the expectation filling the room; their eyes all over me as I open the fridge the same way a sleepwalker goes for a little hike in the middle of the night, and once I close the door and turn around, they’re all staring at me seconds away to burst into laughter. Bastards.

They ask me why I do it and to be honest, I have no real explanation. It’s like I feel this impending need to check everything it’s ok in there; an inevitable compulsion to make sure our food sits there comfortably, waiting for us to eat it. I know it makes no fuckin’ sense whatsoever but I tell you, it’s getting more and more recurrent and it’s freaking me out a bit. I’ve thought about it lately and I’m starting to think maybe the problem it’s not me but our house. Yes, our house. After all, this strange routine started once I moved there and considering the things that have been happening there recently, that could be an absolutely reasonable motive.

I think our new house has unwittingly become some sort of source of wackiness but I have to be honest, somehow, I really would like it to stay that way. I want to keep randomly checking out the fridge, turning around and finding that lovely bunch laughing at me. I want the neighbours to keep knocking on our walls because they don’t like us to sing “Inmigrant Song” at 2am. I want the little kid next door to keep jumping in our garden to get back to his house (as long as he doesn’t burgle ours). I want our cardboard Royal couple to stay behind our kitchen couch so we can keep writing things all over their noble happy faces. I want to keep hearing guitar chords late at night, finding cakes and cookies with hand-written invitations to eat them on our table, hulking cats wandering in our backyard and all the passive-aggressiveness that has been going on for the last 3 months.

I want to come back to that house next year for another round of that London insanity I love so much, but in the meantime, I will enjoy the coziness of my real home. The one I have got back to for a visit after a year and a half away. The one my beloved family and dogs take up residence in. The one in which delicious food flawlessly take over breakfast, lunch and dinner, no matter the time of the year. The one with the nice garden I’ve been laying down on for the last couple of days for a bit of that dearly missed caribbean sun.

I haven’t forgotten you, London. Actually, I can’t wait to be back in your arms but right now, I must confess: Venezuela, sometimes you’re quite alright.

Please insert memory card

Normal people rely on their memory, Attention Deficit Disorder sufferers like me rely on pen, paper, smartphones, whiteboards and blogs. That’s probably why I write here, to back-up the things I might like to remember in the future knowing that I probably won’t be able to hold them in my mind as accurately as I would like to, to make sure there’s a detailed description of past events my future self can always go back to and reflect upon, to not forget shit I might not want to forget. Ultimately, dear reader, I’m not writing for you, I’m writing for myself and my poor brain. Thought you might like to know.

Anyway, last month I went to have a look at onedotzero_adventures in motion festival, which as you might know, offers a great opportunity to be inspired by some of the most innovative pieces of work across motion graphics, character design and animation; five days packed with an international selection of amazing cinematic and audiovisual endeavours that shouldn’t be missed. This time around I just had the chance to attend the wow + flutter 2011 screening, the festival’s signature programme, which this year presented 34 films from all around the world. Some of them might be familiar to you already, others completely new to your eyes, but in any case, here’s my personal list of favourites. Hopefully, you’ll find them as exciting as I did.

Luis Carone: 3D No Glasses

Alexander Geliner: One Minute Puberty

Hankins, Nieterau. van Kooten + Puijk: Mac n’ Cheese

Emil Goodman: Henry Waltz

Jonathan Monaghan: Dauphin 007

Avner Geller + Stevie Lewis: Defective Detective

Ioannis Christoforou: ToyLife

Brandon Vogue + Tim Wilson: Breakfast Interrupted

Erik Janson: WakYak

Daniels: Dogboarding

Alright, enough of this already. Go do whatever you were doing, I’m off for a Skype date.

These socks

I’ve found an odd similarity between some random stairs at London Met and one of my many pairs of socks (they are the same colour but you can’t really tell because of the iPhone’s 3GS useless camera but trust me, they are very much alike).

To be honest, I’m not sure if I like this.

I think I don’t.

Young little junkies

I just had a very spicy lentil soup in the little restaurant sitting in the middle of the park next to Uni. That, my friends, was a very long sentence and it reads horrible, makes me sound like some hyperactive illiterate, but that’s the way things work over here, you know? I just type whatever I feel like typing and post it without giving it much thought. I’ve had enough of this over-thinking crap, get used to it.

Having said that, let’s move onto the last back-to-the-past post, shall we?

October 10, 2011

Much to my surprise, moving out was absolutely painless. Maybe it was because I paid 30 quid to put all my stuff in a van and get them delivered to my new place instead of carrying them around myself as I have done in the past. I still managed to forget my whiteboard though, which I’ll need to pick up sometime this week and I hate it because is one of those objects that it’s just too awkward to transport when you’re my height. Too big to easily carry it under my arm, too small for it to be worth of a cab ride; the stupid whiteboard has just the right size to be a pain in the arse.

Besides that minor detail, everything is going down well. Had my second “Principles of Game Design” class today and came to the conclusion that I will need to read tons of books, browse through an absurd amount of websites and watch every single documentary there is to catch up with this industry I’ve been sort of ignoring for the last 20 years, basically because I was too afraid of becoming a video games addict. Sounds silly (and it probably is) but I never trusted my sense of self-control and seeing how many of my friends would spend entire days and nights in front of the telly, clicking arrows and buttons like crazy, was something that I always found a bit overwhelming. I was scared of becoming a junkie, I guess.

However, I tried it a few times and absolutely loved it. I actually remember spending hours in front of my Atari 2600 playing a game called “Phoenix”, you know, the one in which you were a little spaceship with only one mission to accomplish: to kill an army of galactic eagles that moved from side to side while shooting at you harmful dashes that wouldn’t travel exactly fast but somehow managed to hit you quite frequently. I found that strange and exciting at the same time. I was 8 years old.

When I wasn’t playing “Phoenix”, I was trying to figure out what to do on “E.T.”, a game I found extraordinarily frustrating. I could walk to the phone booth, I could make funny noises, I could move my neck up and down, I think I even managed to get my index finger to shine but that was it, I never discovered what you were supposed to do on that one. I would always end up dead no matter what I did, I felt stupid.

Then obviously came Nintendo and with it the classic “Super Mario Bros.”, which I played many times at my friend’s but never mastered it to the point in which I could tick the money boxes, kick all the turtles, eat the magic flowers and jump on the right places without looking at the screen or losing lives. My mates could do that and more in a blink of an eye. They were hardcore.  Me, on the other hand… I was never good at this button-pressing rituals. I think that in 3 years I played “Mortal Kombat”, I only managed to deliver one single Fatality: Kitana’s “Kiss of Death”.

I got beated up with my own leg, crushed by a giant hand, had my faced chewed by a lizzard, and was decapitated by a dragon like a thousand times, and the only thing I managed to do was to give my friends a kiss in the forehead.

Give me a fucking break.

When I got tired of playing with a woman, I would pick Kabal and what did I do? Show my enemies my ugly face. That was it. So yeah, I was one of those players who wouldn’t learn all those intricate combos and absolutely hated it those who did. Maybe that’s why I got into PC Games. I have memories of playing “Prince Of Persia” (I knew every single trick there was), “Test Drive”, “BMX” and of course, “Wolfestein 3D”. This is probably my all time favourite. I absolutely loved everything about it: the graphics, the sound of the big machine gun, the posters on the walls, the killing, and the excitement of not knowing where those nazi bastards were gonna come out from. I remember I kept leaning my head to one side every time I reached a corner, as if I could actually peep over the edge of the walls to make sure there was no one in hiding, waiting to put a bullet in my head. It was thrilling.

After Wolf 3D, I would only play that kind of games. “Doom”, “Hectic” and “Quake” (which I got into because of Trent Reznor and NIN) were the ones I dedicated more time to but after a while, I got tired of it and never played them again. That was the end of it all for me. I never bought a Nintendo or a Playstation or an Xbox, I didn’t want to play “Fifa” or “Call of Duty” or “War of Warcraft”, I didn’t ask baby Jesus for any of this in my Christmas letter. Nothing. I was just not interested. That is until I heard of “Rockband”, which at the time seemed to me like nothing but an expensive and very pretentious home karaoke. In any case, I got all excited about it so I waited for one of my friends to buy one to try it myself. It was madness. We would gather every weekend with God knows how many bottles of wine and cans of beers and spend nights rocking our lives away. We even got a smoke machine. I tell you, it got out of control very fast, just as I expected it.

However, between “Doom” and “Rockband” there’s a huge gap in which the videogames industry has managed to produce a massive amount of products, become a medium for creativity unlike any other, develope its own language, shaped popular culture and became a multi-billion dollar business that I’m now trying to understand. It would be impossible to catch up but I’ll do my best to makes sense of whatever I come across with because I find all its complexity totally overwhelming but mind-blowing too. I’m fascinated by the role writers, artists and storytellers play in this industry, I’m curious about the way this business has become so influential on so many different levels and how it’s already shaping the way we consume entertainment.

Speaking of which, I have a couple of “Breaking Bad” episodes sitting on my desktop so, if you don’t mind, I’m off for a little bit of methanphetamine-driven drama while you gossip with your fellow gamers around the world in some Playstation forum about whatever shooting game you’re into now.

I bid you goodnight.