video game review

To Everything There is a Season and a Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven

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Hello Dear Readers!  Well, it has been an interesting last couple of days.  To any writers out there I wanted to talk a bit about a new kind of video game that has come out.  First I will talk about a similar one, now a bit of a retro game that I would be surprised to find anywhere from back in the days of games that you bought on CD and downloaded to your computer through your optical drive.  This game was beyond cool, it was a bit like a dungeons and dragons game, but it was called “Majestic Chess”.  What you did was take this little King through a map of castles, villages, bridges and so on and you would encounter some wise old men that would teach you chess moves and then you could practice them, you would challenge people you came across to battles and win chess pieces to add to your arsenal and then in the end of a level you would play some dude in a castle with all the pieces you amassed and hope to win to advance.  It was the best way ever to learn about chess, and funny enough it has a few simple similarities to a book I wrote about a young man who travels through time which is not yet released yet (email me if you are curious…  But not to digress too much, I wanted to talk about this new game I just downloaded for Steam for Macintosh.  The game is called ‘Elegy’ or ‘Elegy for a dead world’ and it is simply one of the coolest teaching tools I have ever seen and is actually an interactive video game for writers.  What happens is you log in and then a little spaceman appears and you use your arrow keys to jet-pack him around a few simple planets (which is actually quite a beautiful bit of graphic design) and then when you hover your little man over a star or planet, you hit enter and you go to a menu for that planet.  You have the choice of reading writings from there, writing yourself and a few other options.  Then you choose a theme for your writing prompts.  You can choose from famous poems or words that start off a story or even just free writing and then you walk, explore and jet-pack around a mysterious dead world and at waypoints you get prompts and you write then move on and write more at the next one, and at the end of a planet you go back into space and are given the option of publishing your work.  Very brilliant concept, very engaging, very extremely fun and really gets the creative juices going.  The game is around $15 US through Steam and I think any writer who wants to improve his skills would love it, though the one flaw I see in it is that the places you explore often just make you want to write science fiction.

So, many of you may be wondering why I am talking about this video game.  The fact is that I heard about it from reading a magazine downstairs from my computer where I am now and I went up to download and play the game and got so engrossed, and I am not kidding in any way… I didn’t notice that someone stole my freaking truck!  After spending time on the game I went downstairs for coffee and there I saw it… an empty space where my truck should have been.  It was pretty spooky too because I called up the police and they said they had already found the truck.  The next evening (June 30, Tuesday) I found out from the Internet that the guy who stole my truck was flying down a freeway and ran it right into a cement block and was killed instantly!  No more truck for me now!  Son of a @#$#$%!

Still, I was undaunted and made it down to the clinic to see my Psychiatric nurse, get my bi-weekly injection of anti-psychotic medication and talk.  We discussed all the things I have been doing lately and sort of made the decision that I was going to severely cut back my activities.  I have decided I will take on a lesser role in the classes I was planning to teach this fall and that I will get more rest and free time before I take on more work or anything like it.  I have been feeling so stressed.  I was very down despite that there has been some really great things happening in my life like making  a lot of new friends, getting into the city newspaper and getting my books into Chapters, our major Canadian chain.

I also had a chance to meet up with my good friend Richard Van Camp, author of “The Lesser Blessed” and he gave me a free copy of the movie made from his book called none other than “The Lesser Blessed”  I am pretty happy about it, the movie is amazing and so is Richard’s work.  He tells these incredible stories about growing up in the Northwest Territories in places like Fort Simmer, Fort Smith, Fort Rae and other places, but what is so cool is that he has four or five short story collections out and in them he follows the same characters, very fascinating and sympathetic characters and he jumps around in time.  Richard has been such a force in my life as a writer, mentoring, supporting and editing my work.  I have even interviewed him for a couple of magazines and gotten advanced copies of some of his work.

Well, anyhow, I wanted to talk a bit about the depression I have been going through.  I don’t know why, but I have been feeling down.  I had some free time and I started reading a very informative half graphic novel/half non-fiction manual about Bipolar Disorder made in England and so much of it hit home.  I was very surprised to learn that Bipolar (which I have been diagnosed with) can be set off by large amounts of light, and I have been getting out in the sun a lot lately.  Today is Canada day, not the day we celebrate independence from Britain as the Americans do on the Fourth of July, Canada has never really gotten independence from Britain, we still have the Queen on all of our money and she is our official head of state.  The other interesting thing is that in Canada you have a lot less inalienable rights than in the US.  For example, we don’t have the freedom of the press, books have been banned (such as one of the books I am reading now, “Steal This Book” by Abbie Hoffman) and many other such inconsistencies.  I can recall a few times I was in a situation where people wanted to force me to work and I stated that according to the charter of rights and freedoms I can’t be forced to work (once in school, another time in the mental hospital) and basically I was threatened, bullied and ordered to work.  Kind of makes me sick to think about it but I will change the subject because I don’t want to be negative on a day when I celebrate a country I do truly love.  (there-I can put that down as a sign I am getting depressed-when I start remembering the past and being negative about it in my blog!)

Anyhow, I just thought I would put a few words out for people.  I really like it when I check my statistics for this page and see that a lot of people liked what I had to say.  I hope people out there try that video game, possibly even try ‘Majestic Chess’ if you can find it, I have never learned so much having fun as when I had that game on my old pentium computer.  Take care Dear Readers, and lets be careful out there!    (poem to follow the below photo)



Independent Grocer’s Association of St.Albert


A poem is in fact a pretty piss-poor answer

To you asking why did I ever do that


Neither is it really much of an excuse

As to why I kept being so cruel


If I thought I could write you a few lines

That made up for all the things that I’ve done

They would end years of cold bitter feelings

That always got in the way of us two being one


I guess all that I can really say is that I remember that way

That beautiful heart that thumped in your chest, as you smiled at me


Back through the years you were such a perfect vision

You were every young man’s true mission


Some people thought that it was a bit funny

That I thought someone like me could have you

My family didn’t have all that much money

And it seemed you never had feelings that were true


But I will say my piece that I noticed though it sounds odd

Once you really did see me as some kind of God


I know to this day I was not mistaken

No other way your actions could be taken


There was a definite glow in your eyes


But then as I let some time pass

You felt I was just trailer trash

And when I returned to you later

All that was left of you was a hater


And you looked down on the simple and poor


I guess I could have handled that

I could have taken the pain


The fact that now I was the very thing you despised


I just kind of wished that after all this time

You could forgive and admit

Once long ago you honestly could have been mine


That was then, this is here

I’m too old and tired for more tears

And I’ll let you think what you like it is fine


I will grow older one day

And for sure I will pass away


Whether or not I ever had a woman like you


I will be able to look back

Before my last heart attack


Thinking how I saw in your eyes that love was true


And as I slip into the creeping crawling end

Though you will be in my thoughts I will pretend


It didn’t hurt me we both said things that weren’t true