In summation! #blogjune 30

I’ve enjoyed taking part in blogjune this year. Many thanks to the good Constance Wiebrands for coordinating the effort as always.

Even though if I’ve skipped a couple of days across the month I haven’t felt that I’ve lost momentum in doing so. Having missed a year or so of blogune, I’m actually very interested to see how I write now. Suffice to say it’s very different.

I used to feel driven to impress. I used to feel driven to fireworks – to create a series of arguments which would leave the reader moved, outraged or some other strong feeling. The thing is, I read back and I don’t see it in the writing. Yes, some pieces were strong, but more than that I recall feelings and motivations that went behind the writing.

They’re not there now. After this fiery period, I went on a quest for minimalist writing – and minimimalism lead, after a further brief flare up of wordiness to a long quiet. A regeneration.

In that time, I lived life and while reflection happened I didn’t feel a need to throw that reflection in other’s places. If I was, like some other writers, motivated by anger, over those years I let go of that feeling. Happily so.

This year I’ve written about whatever I wanted to talk about, and without disguised resentment for my potential audience. I’ve reviewed video games. I’ve lamented factors in managing my life. I’ve posted reports on furniture construction and shared pictures of cute cats.

I’ll finish with something Fi and I created together this evening. It’s not the most polished performance, but I hope it gives some pleasure.

Another short deal: #blogjune 29

OK, I missed yesterday. Big deal. I don’t have much for today either – not motivated, and nothing much to say. It’s been a happy day variously comprised of shopping and napping. Last night we enjoyed a wonderful dinner party with friends after church. So have a nice song, care of New Zealand band Bressa Creeting Cake.

A brief post: What we share. #blogjune 27

I came home this evening to find Fi at the keyboard. She’d been playing a piece and wanted to demonstrate it for me. While she often has fun with reinterpretations, she played and sung to a fairly straight version of U2’s “All I want is you”. Inspired, I joined in by playing a descant keyboard accompaniment an octave higher that mirrored, although didn’t duplicate, the Edge’s guitar line in the original. I’m very lucky.

Music isn’t all we share, but it is a great deal. When Fi was up more up to singing, we often sang duets during the offertory part of Mass, and we continue to sing and play together although she isn’t in a frame for a public showing just now.

We also share an appreciation of music. I’ve always enjoyed music from other cultures, and a fun wrinkle Fi introduced me to was covers of English language songs in other languages.

Here’s my favourite of this type: “Ça plane pour moi”, (arguably*) by Belgian performer Plastic Bertand. It’s a remake of New Wave hit “Jet Boy Jet Girl”.

I’ll provide a snippet from Australia’s own “Spicks and Specks” that features a translation.

* In fact none of Plastic Bertrand’s first four albums featured Plastic Bertrand, it seems. “Ça plane pour moi” was, in fact performed by Lou Deprijk, who also produced and composed the track. A real Belgian Milli Vanilli!

Review: Brothers, a tale of two sons. #blogjune 26

I’m making hay while the sun shines on the videogame front. In a very real way, my life won’t be arranged around such pleasures for a time to come, and I’m taking advantage of the Steam Summer Sale to score and play through a few cheap games while I can.

I chose Brothers because it included a nifty design wrinkle – puzzles are solved by controlling both of the titular brothers at the same time. Single player coop has been done before – an early favourite of mine was The Lost Vikings, however the standard has been to swap between characters to solve puzzles. Not so in Brothers.

Gameplay was frustrating at first. My left hand controls the older brother (who is about 13, strong and can swim) and my right controls the younger (who, being a slight 9 year old or so, can squeeze through some smaller gaps). I found that while moving around the screen, I had to keep each brother on the same side as their controls or I’d get confused. I also felt vaguely patronised; although I was on a mission to save my (or is it our?) father, the first part of the game was spent trying to exit the village and being heckled by a local bully. I’d resigned myself to quickly trying out and abandoning the effort, when a veil dropped, and I went from grumbling about being reduced to childhood to exploring a rich and beautiful world full of strange inhabitants and amazing machinery.

It turns out it’s the work of an award winning film director, Josef Fares, and it shows. Vistas of both beauty and horror arise and are integrated successfully into play; in the scene below our heroes have to make their way through a recently finished war between giants, including wading through rivers of blood.

Brothers - Giants War

Roger Ebert famously said that videogames can’t be art. Despite my obvious leanings, I see what he was saying – the puzzles in Brothers are well delivered, but they’re still puzzles. That being said, even the puzzles themselves can confront. The brothers find their way blocked by a dead giant – they have to topple him by drawing and then firing a giant crossbow which, hitting his head, knocks him over and out of the way. The younger brother loudly complains in the game’s nonsense syllables, and the older annoyedly fobs him off before they continue their journey.

I’m far beyond a quick play of Brothers at this point. I’m curious to see the end, but like many good stories I don’t want the end to come at all. I’d better get through before baby comes, though.

A cute cat photo: #blogjune 25

Nib and Charlie cuddling

Ready, more or less: #blogjune 24

I came home early today with a nasty headache, heading towards a migraine, so I’ll keep it brief but, I hope, meaningful.

There’s ready, and then there’s ready. We’ve got all of the major items we need for baby, and more than enough clothes to start off with. The nursery needs a little shuffling, but is otherwise arranged as we need it to be – particularly as it won’t actually be in use for the initial time. Fi has packed bags to be taken on a hospital run, and a good start has been made on readying a guest space for my parents when they come over.

If baby doesn’t come early, delivery date is two weeks from today. A planning is the advantage of a Caesarian section. In all practical respects, we’re ready enough that we won’t be scrambling when baby comes.

Emotionally, I’ve just come through a short phase of feeling relaxed and ready. Out the other side is, it turns out an amount of disquiet. I have confidence in the wellbeing of both Snugglepot and Fi, and that we have wonderful support around us, but we’re about to start on the greatest adventure I can conceive of – guiding another person as they grow into the world. I’m watching parents and children who come into work very closely at the moment, and seeing how their bond plays out – when and how independence is allowed, how values are instilled. Will we do as well with our one? Will we do any better?

Fi and I have been playing at “Dad jokes” of late. Our customary line of humour can be pretty ribald, and we’re aware we’ll have to tone it down while still allowing ourselves fun and amusement in life. So with that in mind, here’s some parentally-themed fun.

Just a bit of sound: #blogjune 23

Having a break day. Have a nice bit of sound.

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