XXXIV -A boy and his blog
GREETINGS! -- my fellow martians. I hope today is treating you well. Perhaps yesterday was even better! I know mine was. Alright. Remember that tomorrow never comes, so focus on the now and read carefully.
Wait a minute...
Okay, my editor just came by and told me to stop with the cringy intros (I might sneak one in anyway, just don't tell him.) and cut to the chase. Today I'm going to talk about the state of this blog, where it's going and we’re going to look back on the stuff that's been already said and in which fashion.
Well, the world is going to shit and we all know it.
In other words, might just as well enjoy the rest of the ride. We had a good run, right? If you’re subscribed to a research paper, you’ll notice that some sources claim we're fine and the others are already building an arc for the imminent plastic tsunami. The forests burn, ice melts, coral reefs wither, fishes eat plastic and Mother Earth weeps. Might just as well sail towards the next ice age while we're at it.
There was a promise of a new year's post when Bicycling through Finland -series was completed. The post got scrapped. Yours truly also participated in a 7-day silent meditation retreat that would have also made a good and an interesting story. Tell you the truth, the retreat turned out to be the best week of my life. The blog post got scrapped. I wrote about Scotland earlier this year, but I also went to Germany, France and Spain and had a few couchsurfing experiences there. I met with plenty of great people in those countries and other places as well. We even have a local couchsurfing group here in Lahti, Finland that gathers together weekly. All of this happened during the summer when this blog was quiet. I didn't even consider writing anything about those things.
Therefore! It's been half a year and all you get is me speaking riddles about the ongoing climate crisis? Consider this the testament of what this blog has been so far. The old testament, that is.
What I actually did write this year, however... Uuuuhhhh, well.. A recent entry about Scotland got much better after updating it. I also thought my latest review on NieR: Automata was the best one so far. It certainly is the longest one yet, but not necessarily the best. It had a different focus than what was imagined.
Let's go down the memory lane and flush it piece by piece down the drain.
Yes, you heard it right! Another retrospective look on the blog and its sloppy yet perpetual development. Unlike before, now I've had enough time to reflect on what I really wish to accomplish by continuing this blog. As old readers may know, I've been having these meta-talks since the early entries. How this blog got started back in 2017 is explained in Back to our roots and in Hitchhiking, for example. The first entry, Broken man's elegy presents the theme pretty well.
This aforementioned theme – of heartache, being lost, misery, constant talk of one's emotions – is tiring and to be honest, not that interesting to read. Believe it or not, I actually kind of want people to read my blog. It's difficult to succeed in the blogging world today, drowning in the tangled interweb of millions of blogs, with thousands spawning everyday. You really need to stand out and have something special (or at least captivating) to offer. The attention span of an average modern human is shorter than it's ever been before because of the abundance of content available. Through the advent of internet and globalization, an individual isn't influenced by only the things produced by his local community, but the entire world. You can't get much broader than that, and that's a lot of hands and minds crafting shit for you. In other words, everything has become a competition for your attention.
The blog has gone through a rough start, a shy youth, recognizing what it is, doing something what it can do and then exploring what it could be. Melancholism, revelation, wonderment, triumph and bewilderment respectively. Even an old house needs to be renovated every once in a while. Like a child, art is organic.
Sure, I'm talking like I've done blogging for years and gained a community, when it's just me sharing thoughts with a silent audience for two years over near fifty posts. Naivety.
"What do you have on your mind, then?"
It was around 5 years ago since I discovered this YouTube series "Game Theory" by "The Game Theorists". What they do is take an aspect of a video game and thoroughly explore whatever is asked, researching whatever there is to unravel. They use real world science to prove that a moon falling from the sky won't cause a global extinction – in a video game where the entire world relies on you to stop that moon from falling and.. not causing a global extinction – or exploring the hidden lore of another game using the developer’s own background as basis. Now, young me back then appreciated the level of dedication that went into these videos, because they were different. Instead of having a casual conversation about something, as you do, they dug deeper to connect clues together to come up with an entirely different story. That's like hanging in your hometown and viewing the scenery from a new angle. Or perhaps realizing there's still one more episode in the series you thought you've seen everything of. This is nothing new, though; People analyze everything all the time, throughout history. And it's not just video games, it could be whatever you can imagine.
I started writing reviews around that time. They weren't analyses but just your quick rundowns of a piece of entertainment (Usually a video game. The one movie review I did was about video games.) that summarized the basic elements. "Should you bother with it or not?", was the question. Anyway, after writing around thirty reviews the channel died down. A year or two later I would start writing this blog during the breakup with my ex-girlfriend. The blog would be the birthplace of new reviews, now using a different format than before. Instead of talking about the technical aspects of a game, I would just describe my feelings towards the story and characters and what philosophy they taught me in the process. This new approach gave room to not only video games but also novels, documentaries and movies. The reviews weren't answering the question "Should you bother with it or not?" anymore, but rather "What does it have to say?". These posts were still skimmed versions of the story with a little margin for personal thoughts and opinion in the end. When I mentioned the focus of these reviews being in the wrong place, I was referring to people like “The Game Theorists”. When I was done with the review about NieR: Automata, it didn't turn out to be what I expected. I’m still proud of the piece and find other qualities in it, but instead of highlighting the many existential and robotic philosophies the game has to offer, I was mostly just inspired by how emotional it got me during various scenes.
That is why Game Theory got mentioned. A year ago I started watching analytical video essays on YouTube about various different story mediums. We live in a time where an invidual person or a group can create and share mainstream quality production documentaries on the internet, beaming with inspiration.
The absolute favorite essay I've come across so far is about a video game that – in its own way – had a huge role in my and many others’ childhoods. I thought I knew everything there is to know about the game. An youtuber called "Good Blood" made a 40-minute video where he explores the subtext of the game, the underlying messages and themes that make up the milieu but which are scattered and hidden in the details such as conversations, locations and characters. He uses symbolism to describe the protagonist's disapparent scale of loss and suffering. He uses shintoism to highlight the importance of nature and landscape in the game. He uses the words of the creator to uncover the hidden morals of the story; Something most of us missed in our days of play. I was impressed. I was dumbfounded. I was weeping a little. Some people may even recognize the name of the game: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Why I’m telling this in such great detail is beyond me. I idolize these people. I’ve come to look up to those people who use their creative and talented minds to create philosophical interpretations of others' works; Kind of what I've been doing but falling short. Art and stories is something we spend an immense fraction of our lives indulged in. It's so easy to get lost in a different world, pretending to be someone else. We all do it to an extent. Everytime you read narrative literature, watch a movie or play games, you're immersing yourself in a story. Yet I feel like we don't give enough thought into it. Why is it that you're wasting time like that? For entertainment? For other purposes?
So the first change on this blog are the reviews. The further I got into writing them, the more it was just re-telling the story and trying to relay the experiences I got, which is a fool's errand. I'm just a huge sucker for tear-jerkers. Therefore, I will make an attempt to write analytical essays in the future and actually have some research behind them. This is the first step into making the blog more of an interesting platform for a broader audience.
It would be nice to feel something again.
During the earlier stages of this blog, I was often describing the bad luck I have in romantic endeavors and how miserable I feel. Again, that's something everyone feels and not something you really to hear a stranger whining about. Life is an unfair bitch that doesn't really care how you feel, so you might just as well not take it so personally and move on.
It's weird though. You're not supposed to fall into the hole and cry yourself to sleep. Similarly you shouldn't try to suppress these vital emotions. I sometimes feel like being in a limbo with these contradicting ideas. This has lead me to a new kind of attitude towards handling troubling emotions. Let's use an analogy... You're spending time with a friend. With this friend you can feel something's not right. Maybe they're too liberal in the manner they talk to you, or perhaps they like to shout too much. Whatever it is, it's something that bothers you but you don't really want to bring up, just to avoid confronting these issues. It's easier to just ignore it and have a good time, right? Boom! You just built a wall between you and your friend.
This is how I've dealt with emotions for a while now. I know it's not healthy, but it feels safer than being vulnerable. Here we go again..
Let me be frank and get this over with. Earlier this year, around March, I met this chick online and we started talking. She actually approached me first, so that's something else. Anyway, we had surprisingly much in common and even more ideas to share. A perfect match, right? We met once and had a couple marathon-phonecalls. "I haven't felt this comfortable with anyone to be honest. I've always thought to be alone with my thoughts.", she told me. We arranged an another meeting and then the unthinkable happens. She blocked me on the fateful day. As suspected, I got devastated and tried my everything to communicate with her. Eventually I got through and she explained the situation. She had underlying fears caused by certain people in the past and got afraid.
She blocked me again and I never heard from her since.
People come and people go, that's life. I don't expect you to understand how I feel though, because of the stigma about meeting people online. I think the incident caused even more damage than I imagined, since it still haunts me to this day and causes me to shut in from time to time. I'm not even sad anymore, just hollow.
As I started paying attention to others and listen more, it just became clearer that everyone is feeling all the same emotions. Just because I feel miserable and lonely doesn't make me any special, because everyone else is feeling the same, more or less. Might just as well not take life so personally and move on.
That's the other change this blog has coming its way. I can't deny that I was looking for attention while writing some of those more gloomy posts, talking about suicide and heartbreak. But that's just like whispering for help, which leads nowhere. Therefore I'm going to talk less about my emotions – especially the negative ones that do not belong on a public space – and focus on different things. Like sharing stories and philosophy, kinda like it says on the website.
So, there you have it, the last post of this kind. Thank you for hearing me out, it really means a lot to me. If you're new to the website, what the hell took you so long? But since you're here, feel free to check around. To steer clear from posts like this, do not wander too far back the catalogue. As for personal recommendations, "Bicycling through Finland" should be an interesting read. At least that's what my mother tells me.
Thank you, come again!
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
What you should listen to right now to feel me: Blood For Poppies - Garbage
And while feeling me, check this out: Copycat - Circus-P
This fucking earworm keeps me awake at night: Candle Queen – Ghost and Pals
The game analysis I mentioned: OCARINA OF TIME - A Masterclass In Subtext
24th of September, 2019