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Berlin – Week 6 & 7

4, Nov 2018

It’s Sunday
It has only been over a month but I somehow feel like I have known these people for a long time, and this place for a lifetime. I reconnected this week with Parham, one of the first people I talked to in university, and for some reason did not interact with as much again. And it was fun, he is a good man and quite smart, who I feel like has been unfairly ostracised, but he is doing very little to help his case. But I am not really sure if he even wants to correct it, I get the feeling he is fine with it.

But what I am definitely sure about is that I hate being the third wheel, I think everyone does. And I especially do not like it when people blame their shitty relationships on you just because you kind of interact with both of them. People are who they are, they are capable of change but will hardly make an effort to do so because the world already revolves around them.
Chemistry is a powerful thing, you might walk into a bar start talking to someone and then stop only to realise it has been hours or you might get stuck in a forced friendship with someone you have to see everyday but don’t really care for as much. In my experience the latter fizzle out but the former is forever.

I spent the Friday evening with Robyn (a woman, unlike any I have ever met before), Christopher (my partner for game mechanics class), Freddy (the human form of the words “Geek” and “German”) and Justin (he is Californian, but believes he is German). We had dinner together and then spent hours playing Mario Kart and Wii Sports. We chatted about everything and nothing, like you do, and got to know each other a little better. We are in the same class but it was the first time we hung-out outside of university you see. I like them.
And on Saturday, Tung and Hari came for a visit and we stumbled around the pool table and just ended up hanging out for a bit. I was kinda feeling gloomy so it’s good that they came, it’s always fun when we get together.

For the first week here each day was an adventure but just in a few weeks now, days have started merging into one and I can’t really tell one week from another. In one of my earlier blogs I complained about how monotonous life had become in India for the last year I was there. I fear if I don’t shake things up every so often I might end up in the same place again. But even if I do at least this time it’s a choice, my choice.

These past two weeks have drained me, not physically but emotionally.
I cried, for the first time since I moved here, and the weird part is that there was absolutely no reason, sometimes you just need to cry. No one hurt me, I am obviously not sad or depressed or homesick, I am having the time of my life. But still for some reason, last night, I just burst into tears and cried myself to sleep.

Why?
Samartha Ingle

Berlin – Week 5

21, Oct 2018

It’s Sunday
Unlike the week before, a lot happened this week. Interesting dynamics among friends were observed and shocking new information was revealed. For the sake of their privacy I will not write about this in this blog as it would then be public information and as such not be fair to them.
Lets just say their is a lot of DRAMA !!!!! both in and outside the university and I am trying my very best to not get sucked into any of it.

The goal is simple and it is clear and I cannot afford unnecessary engagements and distractions lead me astray. Thankfully, my blog, my reading, my shows, my games and my work all keep me extremely busy throughout the week.
Me and a couple of my new friends, Hari and Tung have made a pact (sort of) to do something together every weekend. I enjoy their company, they are honest, fun and hardworking guys with whom I am getting along very well.

I know I didn’t have a lot of friends back home but right now I find myself really missing the ones I had. I often find myself making comparisons between these new and old friends as if in a way I am trying to replace them.

How stupid is that ?
Samartha Ingle

Memory

The sweet taste of summer, that certain sweet tang,
that holy smell starts rolling down the mountain
hand in hand with the timely morning mist.
Teach me a way to resist this memory.

Her sorrowed eyes, those soft teeth,
the way her heart sings every time the bell rings
and then the scramble to appease.
Teach me a way to cease her memory.

His steady hand that mighty grip, his thumb print
on my lip, his devil sounds, the way he found
his way around my trembling state.
Teach me a way to forget his memory.

Old Friends

The final picture dissipates then i walk away
birds and bees, no notice take bats and fireflies lament
For they know me by my candid craving
Understand my flagellating function

The bright brute only ever did see me smile
with gritted teeth he borrows my plain countenance
my eyes widen, my mouth gapes to understand why
he burns himself, my body sweats in parallel
then chokes and forces to detest his mockery
She selflessly slips away, slowly reaches down
to caress me, to soothe me and to salve apply,
to nurse my lacerated body, wit and heart

When the final thought designed is when i walk away
Then the sun wouldn’t mind but the moon would rivers cry
She knows me by my sincerest shadow
My soberest sorrow she empathise

Reading Update #2

May, 2017

So this is the first time that I am posting on a Sunday like I had assumed when I worked out my new schedule. This being the first week of the month, I didn’t do much of anything else other than read some of the books from my Want to Read shelf on Goodreads. But before I get into that I would like to say that the reason why I did not post anything the last week of April is because I just didn’t feel like I had anything worth sharing, you know? I spent the entire week on my playstation and just generally staring into empty space. Anyways, here are the books I read this week.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, parts one and two
by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.

I am pretty sure that some of the hardcore Harry Potter Books series’ fans are going to be really disappointed with this, but I personally loved it. First of all, this is a play and so you must not compare it with the previous books and secondly, I am glad that it is. The Harry Potter series had an incredibly sad, melancholy but satisfactory end for me and many others, I do not want another Harry Potter book. So, this was really refreshing to go back to this fantastical, magical world and its quirky characters in a more emotional, dialogue driven and dramatic rendition. This is also possibly the first and only play that I have read so I can’t really compare it with anything but I would say that I did really enjoy it. It was fun to meet, once more, Harry and the rest of the gang, to see them tackle with issues of parenthood, family and work drama and so on. This is a definite must-read for all Harry Potter fans.

Glitch
by Hugh Howey

Glitch

When a robot defies his programming, is he broken? Or is he something else? A short story of 5,000 words.

Artificial intelligence and its boundaries is a topic that is dissected to the bone and in that way their is nothing here of novel value; but Hugh Howey’s incredible writing style, fantastically imaginative work building, incredible characters and intriguing plot did turn this short read into one of my all time favourites. Although it did feel solid and complete when I first read it, after mulling over it a few more days, I can no longer hold back this feeling of wanting more. To have some way of taking a quick peek somehow just to see what happened next. But overall, an Hour well spent.

Gutenberg the Geek
by Jeff Jarvis

Gutenberg the Geek

Johannes Gutenberg was our first geek, the original technology entrepreneur, who had to grapple with all the challenges a Silicon Valley startup faces today. Jeff Jarvis tells Gutenberg’s story from an entrepreneurial perspective, examining how he overcame technology hurdles, how he operated with the secrecy of a Steve Jobs but then shifted to openness, how he raised capital and mitigated risk, and how, in the end, his cash flow and equity structure did him in. This is also the inspiring story of a great disruptor. That is what makes Gutenberg the patron saint of entrepreneurs.

You might have heard of Gutenberg but not necessarily know anything about him. He is basically the man who invented the printing machine a technological marvel that changed the world for the coming centuries. The book is quite informative and such amount of facts from so little a number of pages is always good. Some people scowl at the analogies made to compare Gutenberg’s endeavours to the Silicon Valley startups and him to Steve Jobs; but being a tech person myself I didn’t really mind it as much. I’ll be honest this wasn’t the most well written thing I have read but it was informative, to the point and if you put aside the unnecessary plug to the authors other book at the end it was a fine read overall. If you aren’t that interested in Gutenberg, the IT sector or the technology industry you can skip this one, don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.

Safety Tips for Living Alone
by Jim Shepard

Safety Tips for Living Alone

In “Safety Tips for Living Alone,” Jim Shepard weaves the stories of four families whose lives are upended when the men go to work on a dangerous and isolated surveillance platform off the coast of Long Island. After working his way up to Captain, career serviceman Gordon Phelan is offered the command of Texas Tower 4—a wobbly “box over the ocean.” Among the team of military personnel and civilians joining Phelan aboard the platform are Roy Bakke, Wilbur Kovarick and Louie Laino, three strong and dutiful men trying to ensure better lives for their families. But when a powerful storm approaches the Tower, the four men—and everyone on board—must face their increasingly probable deaths.

In his introduction, Joshua Ferris writes “There’s no better way to describe the experience of the reader of Shepard’s reimagining of this forgotten, misbegotten episode in American history” than to say one is “moved and appalled.”

Reading Update #1

April, 2017

This month I was not able to read as much as I had hoped but still I was able to finish two very short but amazing reads namely ‘The Call of Cthulu by H.P. Lovecraft’ and ‘Guns by Stephen King’ I also read ‘The Art of Game design : A Book of lenses by Jesse Schell’ but that book is more of a bible, in that it is referred to almost every time I design a new game.

The Call of Cthulu
by H.P. Lovecraft

The Call of Cthulhu

The Call of Cthulhu is a terrifying trilogy of horror stories that has influenced writers like William S. Burroughs, Ramsey Campbell, Thomas Ligotti and Stephen King.

This story highlights many of the, now famous, lovecraftian themes like pre-human civilisations, occults and secret societies, lost or forbidden knowledge, old gods and unspeakable horrors. This short 32 pages book is a must read for any fan of speculative fiction, horror or someone who just wants to know how to write a story that keeps your readers stuck on your every word from the beginning to very end.

A quick google search will give you many images of Cthulhu himself but none will terrify you to your core than the image that Lovecraft paints in your mind with his words. I literally jumped off my bed when I heard a low grumble from my neighbours apartment. This is my first Lovecraft experience and I can’t wait to read more by him. I Can’t recommend this book enough.

Guns
by Stephen King

Guns

In this essay Stephen king sets down his thoughts about gun violence in America. Me not being an American slightly had difficulty to wrap my head around some of what Mr.King was talking about. I did try to research almost all the shooting incidents that were mentioned and read as much as I could about the people involved and I was already aware of the Sandy Hook tragedy. I am personally in favour of banning all guns outright but as Mr.King points out that is just not going to happen (which I don’t really understand but I also don’t mean to offend). King, who is apparently a registered owner of three handguns and have written ‘The Gunslinger‘ Series, gives his opinions and facts on America’s ‘Culture of Violence‘. He also mentions a book that he authored in his teens called ‘Rage‘ which was found in possession of multiple of these young shooters and he felt responsible to take it down, which he did. Regarding which he says,

” I didn’t pull Rage from publication because the law demanded it; I was protected under the first Amendment, and the law couldn’t demand it. I pulled it because in my judgement it might be hurting people, and that made it the responsible thing to do. Assault weapons will remain readily available to crazy people until the powerful pro-gun forces in this country decide to do a similar turnaround. They must accept responsibility, recognising that responsibility is not the same as culpability. They need to say, “We support these measures not because the law demands we support them , but because it’s the sensible thing.”

If you are concerned or even aware of the seriousness of the state of America’s gun control you must read this. Because in most cases the lives lost are regrettably of young children who didn’t even had a chance at life.

Manchester by the Sea Review

Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea is a 2016 American drama film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan and starring Casey AffleckMichelle WilliamsKyle Chandler, and Lucas Hedges.

Story

At the very beginning we are introduced to the central character of Lee chandler, a handyman (played by Casey Affleck) who goes about living a solitary life in a single room basement doing electrical work, plumbing, taking out the garbage and an array of other mundane tasks for the grumpy tenants of the building he works at. His older brother Joe (played by Kyle Chandler) lives in Manchester, a seaside town an hour up the coast, with his son, Patrick (played by Lucas Hedges). News of joe’s death sends Lee back to Manchester, the site of a loss so terrible that none dare to mention it. He is not just Lee Chandler here but ‘the Lee Chandler’.

Lee and Joe

Back in his hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea while staying in Joe’s home and arranging Joe’s funeral, Lee is shocked to learn that Joe has named him as Patrick’s guardian. Reluctant to commit to the guardianship and unwilling to move back to Manchester, but opposed to returning Patrick to his estranged alcoholic mother, Lee makes plans for Patrick to move back to Boston with him. Patrick, deeply rooted in the Manchester community, objects to the idea.

The Oddball Relationships

Lee’s shrewd face pulses with anger as he tries to understand this unexpected burden of responsibility that he definitely did not bargain for. With clenched teeth and the most subtle pursed lips he goes to bars, ignores attractive women coming on to him and instead finds men to fight. A sociopath withdrawn from the world, who ignores any and every display of affection suddenly finds himself as the legal guardian of a 16-year-old, who in his own words “have two girlfriends and is in a band”. Patrick, in stark contrast to Lee, is a mixture of vulnerable, clueless and precociously worldly; and in many ways much better at masking his own grief than his uncle, until it finally pours out when a freezer spillage sparks a panic attack.

Lee and Patrick

This odd couple relationship between lee and his nephew is what dominates the bulk of the movie and that is definitely not a bad thing but it does divert from some of the other interesting characters. Randi (played by Michelle Williams) gets particularly sidelined diminishing the complexity of her character as most of her is explored through flashbacks of the past and a particularly heart-wrenching scene when Lee and Randi attempt to mend their relationship in an alleyway but ultimately fail.

Lee and Randi

Lonergan

Kenneth Lonergan, writer and director, previously co-wrote “Sopranos” a lite comedy and “Analyse this (1999)”; and made his directorial debut with “You Can Count On Me (200)” and later In 2005, filming took place for his second film as writer/director, MargaretThe film spent over five years in post-production, with Lonergan, the producers and various editors unable to agree on its final cut, resulting in multiple legal disputes. It was finally released in 2011 to critical acclaim. He earned an Academy Award for Best Director nomination for Manchester by the Sea, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for You Can Count on Me.

Lonergan’s precision with his actors, the way he invokes a sense of place and the level of control of tone is strikingly visible throughout the film. The way he methodically strives to avoid false notes is masterful work. It might not have the risk and sprawl of his 2011 masterpiece ‘Margaret’; even so it does not follow predetermined story arcs and sob stories of loss and eventual healing and harmony we may be expecting.

Lonergan breaks the monotonous, mundane proceedings of the present by interspersing it with trickling increments of past events as carefully placed critical scenes, each provoked by current circumstances or thoughts of the characters. An exchange with a doctor in a hospital lift brings us back to the moment when Joe was first diagnosed, before Lee pays his last respects in the mortuary room.

Boat

Life as it is lived

Manchester by the Sea, is an honest portrayal of life as it is lived in the real world. Life with no narrative closure. Emptiness is hard to portray and is too often represented by blank stares and vacant glances. Manchester by the Sea, avoids those oversights with its superbly complementing location and its two contrasting timelines with performances that bring into service the full range of its outstanding cast.

Lonergan’s film unapologetically suggests that life simply carries on; at some point, a decision is made and the courage found to keep up with it. As “Margaret” Lonergan’s films have always been more like works-in-progress rather than perfectly finished artefacts and it left me wanting more. With an outstanding set and poignant performances, the winner of the Academy Awards for best original script and best actor is a definite must-see.

Funny Little Dog

Funny little dog with nose flat

looked less a dog and more a rat.

Face wrinkled as that of an old man

every chance he got he bolted, he ran.

With big doe eyes round and wide

this little thief always looked so dignified.

In dreams, open fields he would leap

as he’d twitch his chubby legs in sleep.

Funny little dog whom early took fate

i bet he is now god’s favorite pet.

O righteous man

Do you have a purpose O righteous man ?
If not a purpose, do you have a plan ?
And if a plan is the thing that you got,
then does it ring true with you or your clan ?
And if the answer to that is your clan,
O then how strong is your faith in your lot ?

Are all the men around you just dancing ?
Then why are you so awkwardly prancing ?
Could it be that you just cannot dance ? or
is it because you are drained from ranting ?
And if the answer to that is ranting,
do you believe you have a reason for ?

Think back and reminisce on childhood days.
I bet it all and say you weren’t always
the man you are today, its just not you.
The wrinkles on your forehead and your face
don’t let them be permanent, but a phase.
Shed that though skin and let your dreams renew.

2017 – A change in plan

Moving from digital art into writing and design

2016 has been a year to remember for all of us. The world around us has had a profound and significant change in ideologies and thinking. Never before have we felt more strongly about what we believe in and what we wish for the future of others around us and ourselves.

I had my very first professional game development experience last year. For three months i worked with two of the the most awesome guys i have ever met on a game that is just as awesome as them (maybe more). It was one of the most incredible experiences i have had yet to finally be able to say that i am a professional game developer something that has been a dream of mine since i was 10 and i realized that making video games was a thing.

Most of my work involved modeling and texturing environment, character assets. Here you can find out more

Ogre head studio

Asura

During this time i was visited by an old friend who once, a few years ago, stood with me and held my hand firmly as i obtusely dawdled on the precipice of sanity looking over the abyss of insanity below me, the ‘written word’.

In 2013 i started reading philosophy and poetry and composed poetry (a couple, not a lot) while i was away from home. I cant really place the exact time or reason why or how it came back to me now. Maybe i felt similar feelings i felt three years ago, and perhaps that rush of feelings (probably hurtful) bought with them the antidote itself. From summer through to the final quarter of 2016 i took it upon myself to write a book of poetry. I made deadlines and personal assignments, i experienced great works by writers and poets from the west to the far east and through the ages from Li Bai to Tagore to Ginsberg to Akira. By the end of 2016 i already have over twenty original poems composed.

Now 2017 is upon us, its a new day.

Having just bought my first kindle i am spending even more time reading about writing practices in the video-game industry, trans-media, and other fiction, non fiction, and of course the incessantly mentioned poetry (sorry, but i cant help it). The kindle and i have been practically inseparable, that’s not sad is it ? I also completed my final year exams for my Bachelors degree and now all that remains is the long wait for the results.

Meanwhile i have decided to continue writing and honing my craft moving forward and branch out into writings other than poetry whilst actively searching for a job. I am not making any promises, but getting a job and having a poetry compilation published are two goals that i am striving for this year.

Wish me luck.