Archive | October 2012

The Watcher on the Wall

This city, it has changed. The days of the feeling as though it were home, have vanished. Replaced by a sense that I – we – were posted here to serve as the garrison of this city. The people have changed, the environment has mutated beyond recognition, and nothing the council does is making it better. More and more young people are leaving this posting, and who can blame them. This city feels like the wall, a place where it is cold, and barren, and desolate. A place where only those who are trained to handle violent confrontations ever reside, and even then they are only there out of a need for more troops to be stationed along this section of ‘the wall’.

The heart of this city is rotten, and the only thing holding it together, is the council, and the brothers in black; the watcher on the walls, the shield that guards the rest of this nation from the dangers that lurk within. It is a posting where new recruits are hardened quickly, and where officers who have committed some sort of offense, station themselves to avoid scandal and shame.

This city no longer feels like home; it feels like a deployment. A sentence for some past crime that none of us know we have committed, but accept the reality and commit ourselves to our duty. Someday, there will be a new posting, and hopefully it will not be like this one. Hopefully, it will not be like another Castle Black, another section of the wall.


The Currency of Time

Time is a valuable currency. It pays for healing, it pays for entertainment. It pays for precious moments, and it pays for reflection, amongst a host of other items. Time is a valuable mineral, it is something not to be taken lightly, and discarded so suddenly and abruptly. We use it to pay for both good and bad moments, for it is the only currency in our pockets that we cannot manipulate entirely, nor can we control how it is spent. When we spend it, we spend it. It is as simple as that, for when we do something in life, we spend time. We spend it like drunken sailors spend their years’ earnings while in port on leave. Yet there is one thing we can do with time, we can ‘try’ to spend it wisely. Actually put some thought into what we are allocating time towards, and make a real effort to spend it responsibly.

I chose to open this rhetoric piece with that little speech to highlight the importance of wisely spending time. In a day and age where life is fast-pace, and the world around us is rapidly changing, we need to know what we should spend our time on to make the most out of our lives. When people tell us of moments where it is a time to work, and moments when it is a time to play, their statements are not baseless noise and banter. Quite the contrary, it can be taken for face value; something of a rarity in a world of liars and schemers. Oh yes, a time to work, and a time to play. Do not become a workaholic, nor become entrenched in thoughts of play when in the professional environment. However, there is also another reason why I mentioned time as the currency, and that reason is the need of time in situations outside of our control.

Relations can sour, and they can tear apart. Relations can also be rebuilt; however in order to do that, time is the required prime element. Time is what is needed to ensure that preparations are made, and to ensure that everyone knows what role they have in this greater performance. I know I may sound as though I am repeating what I had said to some of my readers; and perhaps you are right. Perhaps I am simply re-stating the obvious; that I am simply repeating what I had said and that you all know how valuable time is in our lives. Perhaps I am wasting my own time talking of this nonsense, a common sense issue that can easily be dealt with on an individual level. However, I may be writing this out of fear; fear that some of you – my dear readers – might waste your time in life. I see examples everywhere in this cursed part of the British Columbia lower mainland; lives wasted, time wasted, a situation which is most unfortunate given some of these people’s backgrounds. Thus I will plead to you; if you are in a position where you can make good use of your time, do so without hesitation. Spend your time wisely on whatever you fancy, for I have no concern what your personal business is in the end. But remember that if you waste the opportunity, the time that you are given, you will have to live with this regret for the rest of your days. My readers, that is something that is not easy to deal with, and can often be the cause of many long nights spent pondering on moments lost. The sense of helplessness, the sense of regret, it etches itself into your brain and will not disappear so easily.

Ultimately I cannot ‘give’ you time, but I can give you the ‘know how’ in regards to using time, and that my friends is worth more than all the gold and jewels on this earth.

Games Nostalgia

You know what fascinates me? The memories I have forged through hours of game play. Allow me to explain what I mean with this rather strange topic I have chosen this day. Earlier this evening – October 19 2012 – I was watching a play through of Halo 2 when I realised just how nostalgic the game was for me. The various levels the player went through – despite the players’ strange behaviour when in idle – reminded me of my journey through the game, and how much fun I had with it. When I laid eyes on the introduction to the game, I could not help but think of the game I had lost when I said I did not want it after several years of having my Xbox 360. In all honesty though, I would have never played the bloody game, other than to relive certain key moments which drew me into the story, and subsequently led to the build up in which developed into a love for literature.

Nostalgia, what a curious term, and yet it is appropriate due to the power it holds when it sparks memories long buried in the caverns of our minds as time passes on. I recall me and my friend, the both of us would spend hours on end enjoying this title and contemplating what the next Halo would look like when it was released. We would pull all nighters – or at least until two in the morning which was a big deal back in the day – just to play through the two Halo games released by Bungie, the company behind the series until their departure in 2010.

I think in the end, it was the memories that were worth keeping, more so than the game disk which costs me thirty dollars before tax and after rounding. Really would I have played a title that was older, less refined than its’ successors, and could suddenly freeze up due to the emulating software on the 360 being unable to translate the code on the game disk. What I think truly matters, is the memories one has, and the time spent with friends that truly matters in the end. Much like any pastime out there, it is best enjoyed in a group, and seldom alone – unless we are talking about single-player role-playing games – but even then one could argue that simply having your friends present to witness your stupidity is entertaining regardless if they are involved in the game play or not.

I guess it is true what they say, good memories last a lifetime. This is perhaps the greatest reason why this feeling of nostalgia suddenly appeared earlier this evening. Similar to the dictionary definition; it was a desire to return in thought to a former time in one’s life; a sort of sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former time. I would say this is a fairly accurate statement; wouldn’t you agree my readers?

The beast at the student’s door.

The midterm exams in a university, is a period of time where many students rush to catch up on all their readings and quickly draft notes to prepare for the day of reckoning. It is an interesting part of the semester, much like the other halves where term papers are due and final exam schedules begin to creep around the corner, laughing at the helpless townsfolk as they scramble for their makeshift weapons and armour (also known as notes). If one is not careful, then the beast that is midterms will come rushing at them, catch them between its’ massive jaws and break the hapless victim in half.

Yes it is a time of great strife, a portion of a four-month semester where things begin to take a rather brutal turn. Just as the students settle into their entrenchments for the semester, in comes the demons from the warp. They pour through, their eyes red with rage, and cries echo into the distance. Only the most prepared and steadfast students will make it through the few weeks in which the beast attacks relentlessly. Yet it is quite interesting to see students manage to rally their troops, gather their resources, and mount a –at times – successful counter attack. Oh how the sound of midterms strikes fear into the hearts of those who must endure it.

However it must be endured, just like the others. It is a test of how well do the students retain the information, and how well they understand it. It is a test of their willingness to continue on with the course, and finally it is a display of force. The student practices their ability to react to a changing environment, and they rehearse the ability to deal with stress. Through midterms, they learn how to deal with challenge. They learn how to improvise, how to adapt, and finally how to overcome. For in the end, midterms are but an obstacle, a hurdle waiting to be tackled. This dear readers, is what I believe the purpose of midterms are in the end. They are established to not only test our knowledge, but to test us as individuals. Can we hold things together under pressure, or do we need another few years of training before we are ready? I wonder, I truly wonder.

Update. 19 October 2012.

Today is a good day for me. Why is it a good day? Well here is the reason; while I was reading through the statistics of how many readers I get and where in the world they are coming from, I stumbled upon some interesting numbers. According to the summaries, I have some Pakistani readers and Austrians as well. This alongside my regular cadre of Canadians and a few Americans of course.

This is very good news for me as I am quite pleased that people are enjoying the articles I publish. At this very moment, words cannot describe how happy I am to have such a diverse group of people reading my works.

Thus, this update is more of a thank you to all my readers who take the time to sift through my posts. Without you, my work will be nothing more than text in cyberspace.

Check back tomorrow – Saturday – for another addition to this blog. Until then my readers, I shall see you next time.

Inexperienced fools.

A professor of mine once mentioned how bureaucrats who were in positions of power where they were in charge of the security of embassies and consulates, had never once in their careers set foot in the places they were allocating funds and resources towards. A frightening trend I must say, those who are in charge of security have never experienced the situation themselves.

I understand that they were placed there based on some recommendation from the oval office, yet I cannot help but wonder; “why, have they not experienced the security situation on the ground for themselves”? This would explain why the American consulate in Libya was sacked and their diplomats killed. Those in charge of the security system had no idea about the level of danger in these regions, and the subsequent risk to those stationed at the embassy. It is an embarrassment to those whoever is in charge of security, that one of the facilities under their charge becomes a target for attack and soon after it ‘falls’ so to speak, and the occupants are led to slaughter.

I can hardly care for which university you graduated from, or how long it took you to earn your degree, but when it comes to matter of life and death I expect those in charge of policy surrounding security of important government offices to have a strong grip of the realities in those regions. Living in a bubble of ignorance thinking that the security situation is under control will cost lives, money, and the reputation of the office in which you have entered. Remember the oaths you have taken, remember why you are in charge.

A story of traitors.

I cannot believe it; a sub-lieutenant in my country’s military, a bloody spy for the Russian intelligence. While this is not a new phenomenon, it still shocks me to find our own soldiers turning to the enemy’s side.

Government bureaucrats, politicians, I can see becoming turncoats. Even spies who turn into double agents yes, but a commissioned officer of her majesty’s Canadian Forces? Honestly? He is throwing away his life; rather he threw away his life when he walked into that Russian embassy in 2007 to offer to sell national secrets at a base pay for 3 thousand dollars a month, willingly I might add.

The article is on the CBC’s news site if anyone is interested; this is just, I can’t even begin to express my disappointment. See soviet spies turning on the Union and defecting to Canada I can see, Chinese spies defecting to the Americans I can see, and informants defecting to other NATO countries I can see. Yet I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that one of our own, decided to turn against us. The funny part is that he even tried to cite ideological differences as the reason why he went over to the Russians. I doubt Putin’s Russia is anything worth fighting for; a place of anti-democratic practices, of abuse, and a slow grind when it comes to progress.

Perhaps I am just caught in the moment of passion. Perhaps I am simply over-reacting, for the truth is right before us; anyone can turn on any country. Whether the country they formerly served was a paradise or a totalitarian regime, it does not matter. People’s loyalties can sway, changed by the promise of better pay or some sort of perk that their current line of employment cannot offer them.

This sort of defection and discovery of home-grown spies is nothing new. Nation-states always engage in spying and espionage, it is not something new at all. I guess I’m just over-reacting, but then again I know where my loyalties lie. I know where I stand, and therefore I have an opinion when it comes to this sort of affairs.

A story of traitors; maybe in the near future we can modify the title to say: “A story of traitors, and heroes”. We shall see my dear friends, we shall see.