I was going to dust off the old soapbox, but I found my camera inside it and decided to go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden instead. So no screeds or polemics or impassioned rants for you. Just some advice: it's important right now to remind ourselves that there can still be great beauty in this world.
What goes on behind Loki's big, expressive eyes? I have to always assume that it's some variation on his personal mantra: chicken is life.
Those who know me well are no doubt familiar with my intense love for the Bronx Zoo. I'm not entirely sure how much of my childhood was spent there, but some of my fondest memories from those formative years are of walking with my tight-knit family across the waterfall-spanning stone bridge that leads to one of the zoo's main entrances and finding a magical otherworld inside. We vacationed a lot when I was younger, but these spring and summer day trips to New York's northern borough are what I remember best.
There came a point when family trips to the Bronx simply stopped happening. Years pass, kids turn into teens, paths diverge. Family members drift in different directions, both figuratively and literally, and suddenly those pleasant group outings become a fond reminiscence rather than a present-day reality. Life marches ever-forward and you don't really think too much of it because you're too busy keeping step.
It wasn't until years later that an anthropology assignment for school brought me back to the Bronx, where I was to spend multiple hours observing the group behaviors of gorillas and baboons. I still remember that first time I drove up and parked my own car in the lot, then walked alone across the stone bridge while the waterfall thundered below. I expected everything to seem smaller, shrunken down by the passage of time. Instead, I found myself gazing into a series of snapshots. Familiar scenes that sent me spinning back into another time and place. Memory is funny like that. You can forget the most precious moments, only to have them come rushing back with all the strength of River Park's towering (for NYC) waterfall when you step into that same setting again.
That's why I still love the Bronx Zoo so much. It's always great to gawk at the animals gawking at you — the gorillas are especially talented at this — but it's the feeling of familiarity that keeps me coming back season after season. I don't spend every trip reminiscing, but the feeling of retracing steps taken by my much younger self is ever-present. As happy as I am with where life has led me so far, I treasure the opportunity that the Bronx Zoo gives me on each and every visit to step out of time for a handful of hours.
This past weekend marked my first zoo outing of 2013 and, in addition to the backward-looking babble that you just read through, I've got some photos to share. Enjoy.
Loki is so ridiculously fuzzy. I can't wait to shave him. It's getting close now. My apartment will thank me. Trying to stem the tide of flowing Loki tufts in my living space is like trying to shovel sand off the beach. Loki's fuzz might be magnificent, but holy crap is it hard to clean up after. Enjoy the abundant fluffiness while you can. It won't be around much longer!
"Writers do need to be involved in the process. It’s not about writing specifically, in that the actual writing down the words bit is only one part of being a writer in games. It is about building the world, it is about bringing narrative logic, it is about using gameplay mechanics to define characters and themes. That is all stuff that would benefit from being done earlier. I think the term ‘writer’ somewhat scuppers us. The earlier that you’re involved, the more you can bring to a project. It’s as simple as that really."
Don't get me wrong: I've worn pants at various times in my decade-plus professional life as a full time freelancer. Jeans. Slacks. The odd pair of shorts, as certain nameless friends (COUGHKevin and StephenCOUGH) are always happy to remind me. Some type of trouser is generally worn whenever I venture outside, and I always wear them at home when I'm doing a phone interview.
What? I may be a freelancer, but I'm still a professional.
I digress. The pants are going on and I'm going to work. Starting next month, I'll be joining the talented team at Digital Trends as Deputy Gaming and Cinema Editor. It's not so much a new start as it is a continuation of the rewarding work I've been doing alongside section editor and good pal Ryan Fleming for the past two years.
My trip to D.I.C.E. wasn't all work. My dad and step-mom moved out to Henderson, NV last year, so I extended my trip and spent the time staying with them. It's tough having them so far away, but it's great to see them so happy. They have a beautiful house in a quiet neighborhood, but there's still easy access to the fun bits of Las Vegas and the incredible scenery that lies on the outskirts.
The day after D.I.C.E. ended, the three of us hopped in the car and drove out to Red Rock Canyon. Wow. Incredible sights. It rocked, quite literally, as you can plainly see. My camera wasn't behaving that day and a bunch of photos didn't come out, but I figured I'd share the handful that did here. Watch out for cameos from dad/Sharry and Rusty the Dog.