Books

Book Review: Gamelife by Michael Clune

You have been awakened.

Floppy disk inserted, computer turned on, a whirring, and then this sentence, followed by a blinking cursor. So begins Suspended, the first computer game to obsess seven-year-old Michael, to worm into his head and change his sense of reality. Thirty years later he will write: “Computer games have taught me the things you can’t learn from people.”

Gamelife is the memoir of a childhood transformed by technology. Afternoons spent gazing at pixelated maps and mazes train Michael’s eyes for the uncanny side of 1980s suburban Illinois. A game about pirates yields clues to the drama of cafeteria politics and locker-room hazing. And in the year of his parents’ divorce, a spaceflight simulator opens a hole in reality.

In telling the story of his youth through seven computer games, Michael W. Clune captures the part of childhood we live alone.

I’m always intrigued about what people have to say about video games. What I find even more intriguing is how video games impact people’s lives. More often than not, most video game memoirs (that I have read) involve the awkward geek entering into the beginning of the video game era. They find themselves or find a way out of themselves with this exciting new piece of technology by playing their way through Wolfenstein, Doom, Ultima, Super Mario Bros., etc., etc.

Michael Clune’s Gamelife is no exception to this template. What unique offerings he has are in the form of metaphors and a somewhat serious video game addiction. At times, it feels like Clune’s metaphors and observations are a bit of a stretch. It’s almost like he tries to find meaning in something that doesn’t have any meaning at all (i.e. ). Other times, he’s awfully poetic.

There were points where I assumed the role of his mother. I, too, worried about Clune’s empty social life. But I also knew too well the unreasonably cruel ways that kids operated.

Okay, I didn’t really. I had a good group of friends that I grew up with. However, I never felt as inside of the group as I thought I should be. Like Michael, I saw my friends faces close off mid-laugh and their eyes suddenly go distant the moment I opened my mouth.

I, also like Michael, retreated into the world of video games but of the much milder sort. My addiction was Runescape and Club Penguin. I’d build endless camp fires, bake bread, and pretend to be a penguin spy. I wasn’t like Clune’s classmate Evan, who was true to himself no matter what character appeared on his screen. Even when I did name a character after myself, I always played as the person who I used to be.

It was observations like these, the ones where I found myself in them, that made me really appreciate this book. However there was something about Clune’s style of narration that didn’t jive with me. Perhaps, I disliked Clune’s portrayal of himself. There was no redemption moment for Clune and no real moments of growth.

Would I recommend this to someone? Yeah, I think it has value. The main reason why I didn’t enjoy this as much as I could have is probably a matter of preference.

Crochet

FO #3: Dot’s Little Ditty Bag – Perpetually Loading

I made this little bag mostly while playing the MMO Blade & Soul, hence the title “Perpetually Loading.” My computer is a bit of a toaster so I managed to get a lot of crocheting done while on the loading screen. Sometimes my game would crash on the loading screen and that would mean even more crocheting for me! Unfortunately, this worked out to the disadvantage of my SO who I was playing with at the time.

This is my very first ever bag. I think it’s pretty cute! I ran out of orange yarn so close to the end so I ended up having to use green for the last one and a half rows. I was so close but I lost the chicken yarn (starting a project with a partially used skein when you don’t know if it will last the whole project).

I don’t think I would ever use it but I am so happy with it! Now, what should I do with it?

Life

Paint Nite Calgary at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club

One of the interns at my workplace suggested going painting as an activity that we could all do together. It seemed fun so we decided to give it a try! Paint Nite is a series of painting events held at bars, each session hosted by different people.

That day we went to Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club which is a few minutes walk from Victoria Park Stampede. We were really confused about the food since there was no (or incorrect) information on the website. The food there is actually pretty good but definitely not enough to fill you up. Take “appetizers” literally. We ordered chicken wings, potato skins,and nachos. The potato skins were absolutely delicious but only around 6 slices were made.

The painting itself was a lot of fun! Our instructor that we had, Kim, was really patient, upbeat, and personable. She was certainly very energetic which I appreciated. Her instructions were extremely clear and I liked how she put a positive spin on everything.

What we were paitning was a moon looking over the ocean. It was fairly simple but we got the job done. This is was my painting ended up looking like at the end of it.

All in all, it was a lot of fun! I would definitely go for another day. It is a little bit pricy, $45CAD before tax not including the food and drinks. Coupons are readily available however but do save this for a special ocassion!

Books

Book Blogger Hop #12


Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme run by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a question is posted for the book blog community to discuss. This week’s question is…

How do you handle negative comments left on your blog? Submitted by Maria @ A Night’s Dream of Books

Thankfully, I haven’t encountered this problem before. 🙂 And if I have, obviously I must have handled it well because it didn’t make a lasting impression on me. I try not to take negative comments seriously. If it’s about my blog or the content I write, I don’t mind. I think I might not take personal negative comments very well, depending on the topic.

Crochet

Crochet Haul #5: First Michael’s Trip

I recently found out that there was a Michael’s near my workplace. Rookie mistake. After work, I walked over to the store. It’s a 20 minute walk in an area with absolutely no sidewalks. The snow hindered me a little bit but not enough to make me turn away!

Okay, this is actually my second Michael’s yarn trip but the first time, I didn’t buy a single thing. I just went to check out the place and see the different kinds of brands they had.

This time, I knew I needed some yarn for the bag I was going make, my future scarf, and the MCAL for the month. Of course, I ended up buying a lot more yarn than I needed. I also got a free stitch counter and a discount coupon for my next visit. Which will be soon. >:)

So here’s my haul:

  • Loops & Threads Urban (Mustard, Rust, and Gray)
  • Loops & Threads Ring Spun (Blue, Purple, and Gray)
  • Loops & Threads Wool to Wash (Orange Pop, Aqua, Pink, and Purple)
  • Red Heart Super Saver (Black, Aran Fleck, and Cafe Latte)

Books

Book Reivew: Manga Classics – Emma by Stacy King

Just in time for the 200th Anniversary, Manga Classics: Emma brings Jane Austen’s classic tale of youthful folly and romantic exuberance to a modern audience with this beautiful, new manga adaptation. The impulsive match-making of Emma Woodhouse delivers both humor and heartache through the gorgeous artwork of manga-ka Po Tse (Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice). – Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

I enjoyed Jane Austen’s Emma a great deal. After reading the novel, I proceeded to watch several movie adaptations. Each movie had a slightly different take on Emma but still stayed true to her character to the very core.

This rendition of Emma is not the greatest. Emma is been a haughty sort of character to me but somehow this adaptation made her seem almost unbearable. Unfortunately, from what I recall of the original novel, many of the lines are word for word so it would be unfair to pin it on the words she says when they are from Austen herself. Maybe the exaggerated body language in this medium portrayed Emma’s character very poorly. Even Mrs. Elton seemed to be extremely over the top to put Emma in a better light and Mrs.Elton was already over the top to begin with.

In terms of art, I found it to be perfectly light and airy. Very suiting for a Victorian first-world problems drama. However the style is not in my tastes. I was also disappointed that it didn’t seem to be all that historically accurate. Mr. Knightley’s little goatee annoyed me but I will admit that I don’t know if that was in vogue during that time. I wonder how much research went into the fashion of the times. I’m not a fashion historian so my claims might be entirely wrong.

But, it was still a nice little read. It remained very true to the original and what more can an Emma fan ask for?

Crochet

FO #2: Easy and Thin Dishcloth

This next dishcloth I made was a simple green dishcloth with single crochets. What initially drew me to the pattern was that the texture of the dishcloth was very pretty. I was surprised to know that the variance in texture was simple due to changing which loop you inserted the hook in! While it isn’t completely perfect, by the time I finished this I felt a lot more confident in my single crochets.

The yarn I used here was Bernat Handicrafter in Hot Green. I used all of it up after making my previous dish cloth. So around 50 yards were used, I’m guessing.

Books

Book Blogger Hop #11


Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme run by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a question is posted for the book blog community to discuss. This week’s question is…

Do you read a lot of diverse or own voices books? Why or why not? Submitted by Kitty @ Vicarious Bookworm

Hmm… I’m not sure what this question means so I’m going to take a stab at it! Of course, I love a lot of variety with the different voices I read in books. It gets tiring reading about a smart intellectual and independent woman in the French Revolution the thirtieth time. I love exploring different characters from all walks life. Monotony is boring! I also love different types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, novels or graphic novels, etc.

Crochet

Crochet Haul #4: HiKoo Simplicity

I made a post about participating in Crochet Along Together (CAT) to make a three colour cowl and the yarn I ordered for the project finally arrived! It was good timing too because the event started the next day. I was getting a little worried that it wouldn’t arrive in time.

Despite the discount I got on the yarn due specifically to the CAT (the CAT was sponsored by this brand, I think), it was kind of pricey for me. Mind you, this is definitely due to the fact that the Canadian dollar is doing so shitty right now. Also, I’m speaking from a broke university student perspective, ~$40 is a lot to spend on three small-ish skeins of yarn. The shipping and the conversion is really what hit me the most. But I shouldn’t complain because the yarn looks great.

Seriously, they are absolutely gorgeous. Funnily enough, the colours were arranged exactly how I wanted them to be. I feel like these colours fit very well together and I love blue and orange combinations.

What’s Pictured

  • HiKoo Simplicity Sage Green
  • HiKoo Simplicity Aqua Mint
  • HiKoo Simplicity Chili Orange