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5th February 2012

10:44pm: 21 days.
Thats three weeks without cigarettes.

It is kinda weird how I got to this point. I did everything someone quitting is not supposed to, went into hyper masochism mode and forced myself to do things that would knowingly hurt me badly because I realized that without that failure would be just around the corner.

About 4 weeks ago and after having remained smoke free for 3 days I broke down and smoked.

Thats when I decided to ditch my online support group because frankly their positivism and unwavering support was frustrating and depressing the hell out of me. Listen you fuckers it is NOT ok that I relapsed and started smoking again after only three days, it is NOT ok for me to seek help with a group of people who hardly know me and it is NOT ok for me to go to a psychologist who will just tell me shit I already know.

Thats when I decided to buy cigarettes because of the realization that I needed them in order to not smoke them.

Thats when I decided to deliberatly put myself in all the situations that make/made me crave cigarettes.

Drinking, visiting friends for poker in the weekend, coffee, a big meal, playing Gears of War etcetera.

It didnt take long before my body at first and then my mind to act up.

The first days seemed to last forever and consisted of a burning sensation in my lungs and a never ending longing for cigarettes, after that I entered a state of perpetual anger and agresitivity and finally after just under two weeks that feeling eased into one of joy because of the realisation that I was going trough the withdrawal fazes faster then I was supposed to.

Three weeks now, yes the feeling of wanting to light one up rears its ugly head from time to time and yes thoughts of ah just one or a few wouldnt be so bad force tghemselves upon me.

Then I think about the promis made to my dad, the cigs I bought which are staring at me with the messages I wrote on them, my refound sense of super smell and taste and lots of other things.

Alcohol needs to be next.

15th January 2012

5:38pm: LJ as therapy, I should have done this a while ago.
Most of you who read this know by now that I am in the middle of a depression/mid life crisis.

I know how I got to this point and what is causing it and I will do my best to explain here the main reason for the feelings of despair I have felt for a while now(It is improving).

Anyways, here goes:

On the 21th of May in 1971 about a hundred kilometers north of Tourist Paradise Antalya in a very poor rural community a boy was born. The sixth child of eleven.
Little Fishie was the last to be born in Turkey, two of the earlier born(both sisters) passed away during a Typhoid epidemic before I came to this world.

In 1974 my dad with the help of relatives who had done so before him sold what little we had to enter Europe(the continent of milk and honey) illegaly in the hopes of finding a job and provide for a better future. He found work at a construction company and brought us over, economy was strong and there were plenty of shitty jobs waiting to be filled by immigrants so we quickly received legal status in Belgium.

Unlike our peers who ended up in the city concentrated around the same few streets(ghetto forming) my family and I ended up in an old 1 bedroom(you read that right)house in another small farmers community this time in another continent.
Growing up was hard and racism against Turks those days was real bad and sadly I was on the receiving end a couple of times, oh look some Turk shot the pope lets beat Ali up. Money too was tight and send to relatives in Turkey and saved up for travel to the homeland. Dad was abused at his job as was the case in those days by having to work hard for 12 hour shifts with no overtime paid and suffered an epileptic attack at the job, was fired on the spot and didnt know anything about his rights. Some friends who knew about those sorts of things got him in contact with the labour union and they took it to court. While that was going on our financial situation became real bad and we survived by the generosity of others and social services, eventually second half of the 80s the company settled and my dad received a lump sum, things started to slowly improve.

I wasnt one of the things improving, I had noticed that by becoming the class joker and becoming more aggresive in my behaviour that my classmates didnt go after me for being different. This resulted in bad grades(not that I ever studied, I was years ahead in everything compared to my peers) for things that were not directly related to intelligence and knoledge. Eventually at age 17 I left school completely demotivated and without a diploma of any sort to do what I was predestined.

Go work at shitty factory jobs, I had a few of those between 89 and 95, mostly night shifts becouse I can be quite nocturnal. Had to hand most of the money to my dad but it is during this time that I started collecting games.

Then 1995 came along and I started a games store with a friend of mine, sold my shares to him in 1999 around the time my dad passed away and focused on writing about games.
Couldnt make a fulltime living out of that so from time to time I did temp jobs, mostly retail or logistics. things I had a lot of experience at.

At this point some of you might think: OK You are depressed we get it but you have written a wall of text here and we are still none the wiser as to WHY you are depressed.

Well, its the games innit.

One of my earliest memories about videogames is at a mobile arcade during a local fancy fair stealing change from my moms purse to go play on the pinball machines and the two lone videogames they had. Standing on top of a wooden box so I could reach the controls to play Atari Pinball and Space Invaders. Another memory like that is with Pong. Making friends for me usually involved them having a TV and an Atari 2600, the few friends I had was mostly just for that. If they were not available I went to the library to read up on all sorts of subjects.

Like I mentioned earlier, we were poor so poor that personal hygiene was a luxury I could not aford. We didnt have a flush toilet until I was 15(a plank with a hole in it in the old one bedroom house we lived at), at age 15 we moved to a TWO bedroom house and that one did have a flush toilet). I didnt have a shower until I was 20 years old when one was installed to the house my dad had bought together with my brother while things started improving. I didnt have a bath(and I love taking baths) until 4 and a half years ago when I moved up here to live on my own. We didnt have a telephone until 1996 when I got one becouse I wanted to be able to get on the internet at home as well instead of just at my store. Its why my teeth amongst others are in such bad state.

And troughout this the games were always there for me, help me deal with the poverty and racism I was facing, making sure I did not go insane doing the nightshift at an asbestos processing plant, beating out my frustrations to some choice yuzo Koshiro tunes, they were and are my escape from all the things that were eating away at me.

In 1992 the owner of a video rental outlet I frequented said he had heard about my game collection and said hey you can only play one game at a time. I know nothing about games but you do so we know you will buy the right ones. Play em and put em here and we will split the income. It was a pretty nice way to earn some extra money, that money then was used to buy more games. In my life I never had money so once I finally had some I spend it, never having learned to actively manage it.

Mid nineties then with a small loan(about 1250$ no joke) and our own games in tow as well me and my friend Youssef opened our store, expanded it and became wholesalers and handled import/export as well. Business was good and people even traveled from other countries to our little store but there were a few fundamental differences between how he wanted to evolve the store and how I wanted to evolve. He was dreaming of a huge store at a prime location while I figured that was suicide. We were in a side street right next to the prime marketplace location he wanted, surrounded by 3 schools. We paid less then 500$ in rent and made big money, he wanted to move into a space costing close to 5k. Told him I would buy him out, he said he couldnt live without the store and instead asked me if he could buy me out. He did, store went bankrupt within 18 months.

While I was still part of it though we made great money(lot of it untaxed becouse the arcade machines we had there we only declared the minimum, those things were cash cows) and I continued to expand my collection of games for all sorts of systems, added a few arcade boards and full cabinets to it etcetera.

I had money in the bank for the first time in my life so while he was ruining the business which was basically built by me, I decided to give commercial writing a whirl again.

It wasnt my first time, Fanzines from my hand exist and are out there in the wild somewhere and during the time at the store I wrote for a local lifestyle magazine, they in exchange gave us free advertisement space. One could say that it was my first paid work.

The contacts I had built during my years at the store paid of big time, scored interviews no one else was getting, unearthed info that did not become public till years after(Have in my possesion for instance internal IBM emails from 2k3 talking about their deals with Sony/MS/Nintendo and how it has to stay hush hush and how they will use infro gleaned from CELL to benefit the XCPU) and generally put my deep rooted love and passion for this industry to use.

The last few years though thanks to the economic crisis its been harder and harder to make a living even while doing temp jobs at a US medical suplies company or doing quality control(eating choclat) at a local choclat factory.

All my reserves have been spend, my precious collections of videogames have been reduced to the bare essentials sold off hoping for better economic times. They never came, I have almost nothing left but the realisation that it looks like my direct relationship with that which has been the single biggest force in my life is pretty much over.

Like a chef at a three star Michelin restaurant who lives for his passion and gets up, eats, lives, sleeps, dreams with his cooking in mind I have been with regards to the games industry.
Loved all aspects I have ever been involved in, retail, wholesale, journalist.

And now I have lost my chefs knives.

There are other things at play of course that have been factors in my depression but this is the biggest one.
Considering this is a public entry however, its best I talk about some of those things with people who might have questions personally.

People feel free to contact me in any way you can, post here, do whatever you can if you have questions or need clarifications from me. It will be healing for me to answer questions.

PS I wrote this as my feelings came to me and have not gone over it before posting. Hope its comprehensible.

9th January 2012

11:09am: Two and a half decades
You have been my friend and my enemy for all of my adult life(as well as part of my teenage years).
Its been so long ago that I dont even remember when our relationship started what I do remember is that growing up I hated your guts.
You were there for me when I needed to deal with some bad stuff, stuff that you caused.
The most caring man I have ever known was brutally taken away from our family because of you.
At his hospital bed he made me promis to quit my toxic relation with you before he would come back hom, he never did.
This is the day it ends, today is the day.

28th December 2011

8:13pm: A wel deserved kick in the balls.
I just came back from my Physician and man I got an earfull as well as a bunch of prescriptions.

For years now I have been taking anti cholesterol medication because my natural cholesterol levels are trough the roof(I can eat only vegies for over a week and my cholesterol count will remain around 250).

So I went for my usual prescription for that, I left however with a lot more after he decided to check up on me after saying I looked exhausted. Told him that was probably from my jetlag yet he disagreed since I have been back home since sunday so the usual checkups were performed and stern warnings were given.

Results: I have to temper my drinking, take beta blockers(Bisoprolol so my heart doesnt beat at twice the rate it should, take Champix to quit smoking, follow behavioral therapy to follow up on the progress I am making etcetera.

All in all a 12 week program that includes access to the interactive liferewards website, if I dont do these things my life might already be 2/3 over.

Wish me luck and strength people, I will need it.

6th December 2011

6:41pm: Its life Jim, but not as we know it.
I remember my first business trip to the US quite well.

The year was 1998 and I was visiting NCSX in New York who was my biggest suplier of Japanese and US games.
I had a retail store and suplied import games to a dozen or so other outlets, times were good.
Arrived in New York, checked in at the Crowne Plaza at the United Nations, nearly got raped by a woman who looked like a Playboy model(wonder if Brenda will ever read this) while her husband was present and finally fell asleep exhausted.
The next day consisted of some sightseeing and meeting up with NCSX and people I had come to know online.
The evening before I was leaving NYc I went to the front desk of the hotel and asked them to book me a flight to Cedar Rapids in Iowa around noon the next day where I was to meet a girl who until a few weeks prior claimed to be a boy online.
Got up in the morning and the hotel had arranged a limo for my transportation to La Guardia airport.
From La Guardia NYc to Chicago midway and from there in a silly little plane to the tiny airport in Cedar Rapids Iowa.

The bill for the hotel was just south of 1000$, flights to Cedar Rapids around 800 and my flights to and from Belgium another thousand or so.
Money was no isseu as my company credit card had a HUGE limit on it(import and export of games all happened on that card) so I didnt have anything to worry about.

Fast forward to today and I am preparing for another trip to the US.
Today however my budget is extremely limited and I have to take advantage of the hospitality of people I have come to call friends over the years. Without their financial support, their couch to sleep on, their car to rely on to drive me around et cetera I wouldnt have been able to do my last few trips.
There used to be a time where I went to videogame industry parties to socialise and have fun, lately though I went because it meant I saved money abroad on a meal.

My life has changed drastically and sadly I can no longer afford to do what I have done with great passion for so many years.

After this trip is over I will be forced to find a crappy job somewhere and work until my pension or until my body gives up.

Its been quite a ride.

23rd August 2011

3:49pm: Still recovering
Six days of GDC Europe and Gamescom is certainly nothing to be sneezed at.

Achieved a lot of things there thoughso I am happy.

11th November 2010

3:07pm: In Flanders Fields

This day 92 years ago the first world war officially ended.
Agreement was reached at 5am in the morning but the war would continue for six more hours(needlesly killing thousans more) so that it would end at 11-11-11.

The eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Here in Belgium we still have a lot of physical remnants of the first world war(second too of cours) and as a little kid I had a neighbour who was a survivor(he passed away at age 92 back in 1984).

Here is in Flanders fields written by a Canadien soldier who wrote it after he saw a friend of his killed and who himself didnt make it out of the war alive:

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Flanders_Fields

4th October 2010

11:31pm: Hair
Have my long hair cut short.

Yes or no?

20th September 2010

4:05pm: Oh yeah

23rd August 2010

1:18am: Gamescom
Got back from Gamescom last night.

Was insanely tired, recovering now.

Arriving on monday for GDC Europe then having some press conferences the days after(after the Sony one I had a short chat with Kaz Hirai) I attended the ussual stuff at GDC, had interviews, meetings and play sessions at Gamescom and generally behaved as I do at events like this.

Got some good stuff from all that like telling the Brink producer I fear for his titles release timing( late April after a lot of heavy hitters have released within the same genre), hearing the producer of Mortal kombat praise Virtua Fighter during his Mortal Kombat presentation and countless others.

A few things stood out though, three of which I will share here, others I will keep for my articles.

The first one happened on monday when me and my cameraman Geert were trying to get to the Crytek party following GDC.

We decided to find an alternative way trough the building and its parkings(trough areas not normally traversed on foot) and lo and behold Brandon Sheffield from Game developers Magazine was trying to do the same thing.
Sadly everywhere we went seemed to be fenced of with 9 foot high metal security bars, finding no way to get out I decided to climb over them and Brandon decided to do the same, landing on the other side was painfull from that hight on a hard surface.
Cameraman Geert however saw an unlocked gate just a few feet away and casually walked trough it.
After that we crossed some railroad tracks as well at a place where it was most illegal.  

Thursday was the BIG one.

Street fighter producer ohno`s incredible stage performance.
Coming on stage dressed as Chun Li he and later on Tekken producer Harada provided for an hour long show filled with quality comedy.
I dont know if its online in its entirety at the moment but if it is please do yourself a service and watch the event from start to finish instead of split up like it is on 1up(I saw Sam Kennedy filming there and while not as zombified as he was on monday he didnt look too good the times I bumped into him during GDCE and Gamescom).

And then on Friday I crossed the street when the lights were red only to be confronted by a woman in a green police uniform who started to chew me out like a stern school teacher would in German, after telling her I didnt understand German(not entirely true) she continued in german while pointing to the people who didnt cross the street and to the traffic lights and started saying(still in German) that I and Geert each had a 5€ fine payable at the spot.
I wanted to hand her a fiver but cash was unaceptable and yeah sure enough she produced a portable payment terminal, i inserted my card put in my number.  Had to sign the first paper that stated the fine for her and she gave me a receipt with her signature on it.

Still beats out the 500$ jaywalking ticket I got in LA back in 2k(which I never had to pay BTW because the cop wrote down the wrong address on the citation so I was never warned after a judge spoke out the fine amount. I know it was that much because I could check it online)

11th August 2010

9:22pm: Friends from the US visiting me
Lucan, I blame YOU.

Its my pleasure having them over.

6th February 2010

5:24pm: Planned on doing this while Zerochan was over, sadly it didnt happen.
Doing it in a bit with a few friends.

26th December 2009

2:02pm: Sexy Beast

To celebrate managing to not clutter up the flist of those who follow me(my last LJ post was 31 weeks ago) I shall post a picture of me.

The beard is gone in a few hours.

23rd May 2009

1:12pm: Travel
Been quite busy lately with leaf stuff and travel.

Did a three city trip to the US around GDC and after that I had to travel to places like Munich for Modern Warfare 2 and Helsinki for a Finfacts press tour that lasted for 5 days.
Inbetween we had some local events(not all of which I attended) and next week all going well I should be in the US again for a 10 day stay around E3.

Should be fun, its been a while since I did the E3 thing(for several reasons) so I am looking forward to heading back to LA now.

7th May 2009

1:07am: Star Trek
Despite some iffy parts and stuff I didnt like all that much I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the new Star Trek movie.

3rd May 2009

11:08pm: Buddha Collapsed Out Of Shame

Wonderfull movie yet depressing in a lot of ways.


Unusual use of kid actors to criticize the adult Taliban, 7 December 2007
Author: Jugu Abraham (jugu_abraham@yahoo.co.uk) from Trivandrum, Kerala, India


This is an unusual film, but not a film that can be considered a major work of cinema. The Iranian film is shot on Afghan locations very close to the spot where the fundamentalist Muslim Taliban destroyed the centuries-old rock hewn gigantic statue of Buddha. Had it existed today, it could have been a modern wonder of the world. Hence the title--"Buddha collapsed from shame". The film location probably has not a single Buddhist--at least officially. It is habited by gentle, peace loving Muslims terrorized by fundamentalist Muslims. Women are forced to wear burkhas--to cover their hair. If the women use lipstick, they are brutally punished, even stoned to death, after being given water to drink before they die! Girls are not allowed to attend school, while boys are. The film begins with the documentary footage of the destruction of the Buddha statue.

The film is an interesting film for several reasons. It is directed by a 19-year-old girl--daughter of a famous Iranian director. Like Sofia Coppola, her family must have encouraged her at every step.

The movie is equally interesting because a Muslim director is criticizing the Taliban.

The most valuable part of the film is that the criticism is indirect as perceived from a child's perspective. The entire story is told by a lovely, persistent, young girl child who yearns to learn to read and attend school, and makes intelligent use of her mother's lipstick and four eggs taken from her home to attain her aim in life. Her mother is away, working. (I guess here shades of director Hana Makhmalbaf's personal aspirations are mirrored, though she led a much better life than the Afghan girl.) The film is a wonderful example of use of kids in world cinema. What credible performances!

Yet there are problems with the film. Many sequences seem to remind you of "Lord of the Flies". There is a sequence where the girl child ties a baby with a rope and leaves for school--but this scene is never followed up. There is another scene where the girl rings the school bell, and no one in the school seems to notice her action. Humour takes its toll on credibility. Yet Hana needs to be commended for her brave and intelligent work.

10th April 2009

4:54pm: Its been a while
I dont post enough here.

GDC came and went, was fun with a few frustrating personal parts parsed inbetween.
Went to New York afterwards and went to the Carnegie Deli twice there.
Came home jetlagged and sick and since then I have been working on GDC articles and contacting companies for E3.
Will be of to Munchen for CoD WaW2 later this month and almost right after that to Helsinki for a few days for Alan Wake amongst others.
End of next month I will be in the US again for E3(havent done E3 in a couple of years out of principle).

Oh and I gots myself a DSLR camera.

15th February 2009

12:12am: A little depressed right now
A time in my life which I asumed was far behind me reared its ugly head again.
Ill deal with it to the best of my abilities so I hope everything will be ok soon.

In other news there is GDC next month and I will do a tri city trip around that one.

Arrive in LA on the 19th and from there I head for San Francisco on the 22th.
After GDC on the 29th I will be of to NYc to be back home on April second.

22nd December 2008

6:37pm: The panic pack

Two games of your choice with every new PS3 hardware purchase(temporary Sony promo)=140€ retail value.
300 on Blu Ray=30€ retail.

Price of the PS3 with the movie and your choice of two out of games like Fallout 3, Resistance 2, Motorstorm 2, LBP, Singstar, Buzz, Fifa09 etcetera=299€ tax included.

This is living.................................................in panic mode.

25th November 2008

12:52am: Gimme my miles and fuck off bitch

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24th November 2008

2:21am: Our Moscow nights are cold
Without your love to hold.
and I dont know where to go.
There is nothing here but snow.

Been in Budapest for a few days now and I observe the same thing I have seen in all previously communist countries.
A weird mix between old Soviet style history and US style consumerism.

Hard to describe but insanely intresting to experience for someone who witnessed old style Comunism when he was a young teen traveling trough those countries on his way to Turkey.
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