Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy

Losing someone is always a tough ordeal. When you care deeply about the emotional and physical health of somebody and they pass, what are you left to do? Grieving only goes so far and sometimes the entire situation warps your mind. I know I have suffered greatly after the death of my grandmother and aunt.

I have never lost anyone that I was physically intimate with, though. Granted, I have not been intimate with another person, but I do not know the trauma and desperation that goes along with losing a lover. Professor Layton does, though.

The plot line for “Professor Layton and the Unwound Future” can be a bit nonsensical in spots, but the ending cuts so very deep to me. To make a long story short, the game deals with some time travel ideas and how one scientist, Dr. Stangun, wishes to travel to the past and save the woman that he and Layton both loved dearly.

10 years had passed since the incident that ripped her from Layton’s life. He obviously had come to terms with her death, but the very thought of seeing her again was too much for him to let his feelings stay dormant.

This love, named Claire, was killed in an explosion of a time machine that Stangun and another scientist were working on. The big twist, though, is that Claire was not actually killed, but moved to the future. This revelation sends Layton into a deeply reflective state and shows the man with a true vulnerability for once.

What sealed the deal for me, though, were the final moments before the credits. Claire explains to Layton that she cannot stay and Layton cries, “You can’t go! I don’t want to say goodbye again! I CAN’T, I WON’T!” I began to sob like a child when I heard that.

The hardest thing in my life is letting go of my past mistakes. I still grief about problems I caused in elementary school and how rotten of a child I was during middle school. I question my own motivations for talking to people, especially women, and wonder if my past echoes exactly how my future will be.

Seeing Layton cry, though, made me realize something; Even a gentleman can get wound up in emotions. I have never been scared of yelling or crying, but I have constantly felt bad about letting my angst cloud my judgment or my lust guide my thoughts. Mostly, though, I am disappointed in myself for not being able to let things pass.

I revel in depression, sadness and despair, but what is it all for? Am I doing my grandmother and aunt some kind of justice by making my own life miserable? Would they even care to look at me in my current state? The answer is obviously no, yet I still continue to down the path of a lonely shut-in.

That is, I would continue down it if I had not finally finished Layton’s third game. He does not hold any ill will against the world for the loss of his beloved. He is kind and courteous to every person he encounters. He puts up with their asinine puzzles and even solves most of their problems without asking for any reparations.

When Layton began to shed tears, I began to lose the heavy burden on my shoulders. While that burden was self-inflicted, it required something external to finally be lifted from me.

So where do I go from here? Well, for starters, I am going to attempt to quit drinking. I cannot claim to be an alcoholic (despite past experiences), but I have never taken a drink simply to chill out after work. My sole motivation for alcohol consumption was my own self-loathing.

Secondly, I am going to put more effort into confronting the demons that haunt me. I will not outline my deepest personal thoughts, but know that they are not pretty. I will make strides in combating them and begin to treat others better than I treat myself.

Lastly, though, I will finally let my grandmother and aunt have their peace. If I had passed before either of them, I surely would not want their worlds to crumble. There is no reason why I am still fixated on their passing, but that time will soon come to an end.

So, thank you, Layton! You have woken me from the nightmare I had created for myself. Without witnessing the sadness and love in your eyes, I do not think I would ever snap out of the self pity I was stuck in. Hopefully I can remain free of that evil zone for the rest of my days.

The Capacity For Murder (Short Blog)

There may be some slight spoilers for anyone who cares. Nothing too major is discussed, other than the endings of Season 2 and 3.

“Breaking Bad” is easily one of the best shows I’ve ever watched. That is a statement I will take to my grave. It is completely enrapturing and always thought provoking. Be it through sheer shock value or intense dialog, the show constantly one ups itself and brings a macabre smile to my face.

The characters on the show run the gamut of morality and are often trotting the line into evil. It’s the only show besides “The Shield” where it is truly hard to connect with anyone, yet Vince Gilligan and crew have written some wonderful characteristics into their characters that make them pleasurable to watch.

As such, I find myself bonding with the character of Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul. The kid is a meth addict with a failure of a life. The series shows his eventual spiral into evil at the hands of Walter White, portrayed by Bryan Cranston.

Jesse starts off on the wrong side of the law, but he isn’t an inherently evil person. His actions mostly harm himself and his family life is devolving based around that. Since Walter is essentially blackmailing him into cooking meth, he has no choice but to soldier through the cesspool and trek deeper through the darkness.

There’s one point during the second season where Jesse loses his girlfriend due to an overdose. He completely blames himself and even remotely connects a plane crash to his “failure.” In the next season, taking on a new persona that he assumes is evil, he eventually kills a man to save Walter.

You can see it’s not easy for him.

What this does for me is make me think; do I have the capacity for murder? I’m not going to blame “Breaking Bad” for giving me that thought or even claim that I will now become a convict. What I’m questioning is this: would I react the same way as Jesse?

See, I bond so much with Jesse because I feel like my life is spiraling downward. Family deaths have caused me to lose contact with a bunch of my family members. I remained home this past Thanksgiving because I didn’t feel like I could bond with anyone.

I also had a close problem with my alcohol intake. I was bordering on alcoholism while I was trying to impress some girl, a status that I’m still very scared of. While I do sometimes get drunk, I’ve never returned to the level of insanity that I previously could.

Some of my older co-workers give me problems, as well. My reactions aren’t outward at them, but I often get incredibly distraught at home and tend to lash out at whoever crosses my path. It’s sickening when I think about it, but my rage needs to be let loose.

This makes me think back to my teenage years when I often would punch walls or instigate verbal fights with other classmates. With how awful I perceive my life to be now, could I honestly kill someone?

Jesse eventually breaks under the impression that he needs to save his partner, but he soon becomes cold blooded and takes more lives. This is something that wasn’t present during the first two seasons of the show, where Jesse was visually sick at the thought of murder.

Will there ever be a time where I just break? Is it possible that someone will push me over the line and I’ll react with violence and bloodlust? I honestly think that answer is no and I’m pretty sure that none of the situations in my life are as serious as the predicaments that Jesse found himself in.

I don’t think I’ll be killing the entire Colombian Cartel anytime soon.

Still, the very idea that I can bond with such a low-life character and that I see a lot of similarities just makes me wonder. It says a lot when a show as gritty and brutal as “Breaking Bad” can create a character so plausible that I have to stop and examine my own psyche.

At the very least, I’d probably be just as wrecked over the death of a loved one as Jesse. Maybe that’s a plus?

Emasculation of an Action Star

During the course of the first “Dead Space,” you”d be forgiven for thinking Isaac Clarke was a complete bad ass underneath the suit. I always pictured him as a whimpering little bitch, but mainly because he screams at nearly everything that jumps towards him.

Visceral Games did the great luxury of fleshing out Isaac for 2 and the game feels a lot more human for it. Not only is Isaac really not a super-macho badass (the man’s in his mid 40’s, which is uncharacteristic of every muscle bound idiot), but he emotes about lost love.


The very first chapter of “Dead Space 2” has Isaac running through an insane asylum while strapped into a straight-jacket. This leaves Isaac with literally nothing to defend himself, stripping him of any kind of power that a gun or fists would give him. It’s incredibly tense and it helps build the fact that Isaac is far more powerful on the inside than most of his contemporaries.

Eventually the game gets into Isaac’s psychosis and reveals that he is feeling extremely guilty over the death of his girlfriend. In “Dead Space: Extraction,” players are shown Isaac’s girlfriend, Nicole, killing herself over the outbreak of the necromorph.

The entire first “Dead Space” game has Isaac trying to look for her (though getting sidetracked by some bitch’s personal agenda). At the end of that, Isaac sits at the cockpit of an escape pod and watches the last few moments of Nicole’s life on repeat. His facial expression clearly shows the man is in pain.

While 2 doesn’t delve enough into Isaac’s mind as I’d like, there are a few key points worth mentioning. One comes fairly early in the game (around Chapter 4) and showcases the dementia Isaac has. Right after crawling through a shaft, Isaac is confronted by an apparition of Nicole with a needle in her hand, attempting to stab him in the eye. Once you successfully pass the QTE, Nicole disappears and you see Isaac holding the needle up to his face.

It’s very shocking and makes you wonder exactly how deep this man’s heartache goes. His look of fear is also something you wouldn’t expect of a man who has dealt with some of the worst monsters in the known universe.

Later on in the story, Isaac meets up with another woman. Her name is Ellie and she’s trying to get off the Sprawl as much as Isaac. While Isaac simply wants to help her, she wants nothing to do with him and nearly shoots him dead. When she is seen leaving through an elevator, Isaac’s expression is something of worry.

Isaac begins to have transference with Ellie. She is envisioned to be a Nicole that Isaac can save. Towards the end of her role in the game, Isaac even says that to her. He potentially sacrifices his life so that Ellie can live; something he wishes was possible to do for Nicole.

After giving Ellie this speech, Isaac falls to the ground and looks down in a blind gaze. Lost in thought, Isaac isn’t sure of his actions anymore. He looks over to another apparition of Nicole and they share a conversation about why Isaac cannot let go.

This overwhelming sense of guilt is something not normally seen of male characters in video games, especially not ones in action games. It also one-ups “Lords of Shadow” by simply showing the angst in Isaac’s eyes instead of describing it to us.

The final scene that really nailed this out of the park for me happens around the middle of chapter 14. Isaac opens a door and the apparition of Nicole grabs him by the neck and thrusts him into the air. After yelling at him and asking him questions, Isaac utters an extremely heartfelt line.
“If I let you go, I’ve got nothing left.”

As the game closes, Isaac feels betrayed by the visions of Nicole and eventually has to face them in a thrilling climax. Nicole leads Isaac to the marker (the source of all power in the Dead Space universe) and Isaac doesn’t understand. He curses her and then destroys his visions of her.

After that, Isaac is finished. He’s ready to wait for death as nothing is left for him. Even though Ellie comes back and rescues him, the player is left unsure of whether Isaac will truly be able to let go of his guilt.

I know I’ve had similar feelings, though I’ve never actually witnessed the death of a past love interest. The first girl I really fell for in high school I wanted more than you could imagine. She was very friendly to me, we had lots of common interests in music and our attitudes about school were pretty much mirror matches of each other.

The only problem was that she was fairly promiscuous and she had some kind of guilt about it when it came to me. She never dared touch me and wouldn’t give me the luxury of seeing her outside of school. I tried my best to change that and I went overboard and practically began to stalk her.

When she finally ceased contact with me, I wasn’t sure how to deal with it. I began to feel extreme guilt over the things I had said to her and how I pushed her away. I lamented how I was borderline psychotic in my approach to finding her.

When I finally did let go of the idea of ever seeing her again, I realized that life isn’t so miserable. While losing someone is never easy, letting go of a person you love isn’t saying you’re no good. I definitely made mistakes (and I got my chance to apologize to her a few weeks ago), but I can’t keep thinking about them as current events. I’m no longer that man.

I’m happy that Visceral didn’t gimp out on the narrative for “Dead Space 2.” It could have been exceptionally easy to never give Isaac a voice and portray him as a rock hard man with no emotion whatsoever. I’m pleased they didn’t go that route.

Whatever happens with 3 and Isaac’s further emotional health, we’ll always have the dementia and pain from 2 to teach us to better ourselves. As long as we can wear our feelings on our sleeves and talk to each other, no pain to too great to conquer.

Thoughts of Death

When it comes to media, I try to be as objective as possible. Obviously I’ll berate something if I dislike it or cheer when I’m captivated by something, but I usually go into things with an open mind. It pains me when television shows lack quality, but then hit so close to home that I can’t openly talk about them.

Still, last night’s episode of “Glee” really did a number on me. The plot of the episode had the show’s main antagonist, Sue Sylvester (played by Jane Lynch), dealing with the loss of her sister. Her sister had been afflicted with Down syndrome, but managed to make it past 40 years of life.

Sue explains to her rival teacher, Mr. Shue, that she was hopeful. Her sister, Jean, lived past 35; a year her doctors claimed would be her last. Then she got up to 40 and 45 and everything seemed great when she turned 50. Sue was shocked that everything was perfect the night before. Then she got a call in the morning and she heard the horrible news.

Why this hits so close to home for me is that I experienced a similar loss in my own life with my aunt. While my aunt didn’t suffer from a lifetime illness, when doctors diagnosed her with ALS, my family really didn’t know what to say. She was given 2 years to live and we all felt terrible.

Those 2 years weren’t easy, either. My aunt was a small ball of energy. We used to laugh about her height (a meager 4′ 10″), but she definitely could knock you out if you pushed her. She was a very lovable and quaint person, though she had a wild side when she felt it. Seeing her deteriorate was like watching any natural disaster and feeling helpless.

She first began to lose feeling in her legs, eventually losing the ability to walk. Next came her arms and those, too, lost function. Her voice began to go and along with that, her ability to hold up her head. It was essentially like having “locked-in” syndrome and she cried at nearly everything.

When she wanted to say something but couldn’t, she cried. When my uncle tried his best to speak to her and help her communicate, she got frustrated and cried. He learned how to use a very interesting vision based keyboard, but she never fully grasped the idea and would give up, much to my uncle’s dismay.

The saddest part, for me at least, is how her memory never faded. My uncle obviously had a lot on his mind, but my aunt didn’t forget my birthday. Of all the hardships she was facing, she still had that love in her heart and the retention of an elephant.

On “Glee”, Sue says to the Glee club something that I often say to myself.

“Jean was the nicest person I have ever known. As you can all tell, I’m probably the meanest person you’ll ever meet. Why wasn’t it my time?”

I may not have fully known my aunt, but she was easily one of the warmest and loving people in my life. Losing her was awful to me and all I can think about is how selfish I am. I remember the times in my school life where I was mean to my fellow classmates. I remember how awful I’ve treated some women in my life.

I think of how ungrateful I was for my mother’s love during my youth. I can’t escape how terrible I’ve treated some of my friends with my own headstrong attitude. What I really don’t understand, though, is why my aunt had to die.

I’m not going to spin this religiously, either. I am not a religious man, though that is mostly due to my aunt’s passing. Still, when evil persists in the world and good is taken out, what is the greater purpose?
So while last night’s Glee may not have been a good episode, it definitely is one that got me thinking.

Life is indeed awful, but I hope that by opening up a small bit to the community, that I can learn to grow and move past my inner doubts.

If nothing else, know that I never intend to harm anyone with my comments.