Joseph Reyes


August 4

Back from vacation. I think I’m back in the groove and I’ve got some art ideas that I’m actually excited to do. I don’t take much vacation, but I’m glad to finally be able to travel overseas after the craziness of covid that lasted for three years. It wasn’t the best or the most eventful of vacations, but it was a welcome break from the monotony of daily life. But now I’m back to what really matters. Life is short. I should be spending more time at work, more time in front of the computer. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy moments like these forever.

And in Canadian news, our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is getting a divorce. If a beautiful creature and a powerful man like him can’t have a lasting marriage and make a woman happy, then what chance do the rest of us men have?! He’s like the handsomest world leader, did some modeling when he was younger, he belongs in a political dynasty, is generally beloved by most Canadians (electorally), and has three handsome children. And yet that’s not enough to keep his marriage together. For us hoi polloi, it’s hopeless. Hopeless!

August 31

The drugs have affected me. It’s made me slower, affected my memory, made me less interested in sex, and have definitely made me less inclined to be introspective and to write. I really miss writing. I used to write more on this page, but lately inspiration hasn’t inspired me as much. Not even here. I used to be on Twitter and Reddit all of the time, writing and responding to people. But these days, it’s a struggle. A part of my duties is also writing, and even that I’m struggling with at the moment. I really wish I would get that writing itch back.

As for art, I’m still busy making busy drawings. I’ve been more inspired with a couple of my recent works. But starting a new one is always a struggle. I also am not happy with the fact that every art I make is basically just free content for social media companies despite the exposure and interaction, not to mention sales, I get from people online. I really should try to apply for a show this year and not just stick to posting my work on Instagram, however, my work recently doesn’t really have a cohesive theme that binds them all together. They’re more like works made out of whims, totally separate and unrelated to each other, other than the fact that they fill a page.

Apparently my father has been subjecting my nephew to the same harassment I was subjected to when I was his age. He was minding his own business, working out on the thread mill when my dad out of nowhere asked remarked, “You walk like a girl.” This started a back and forth, feelings were hurt, and he felt disrespected.

First off, how does a girl walk versus how a boy walk on a thread mill? And who made him the expert in walking or looking masculine? Last time I checked, being employed and having the ability to be the provider is quite the masculine trait. Instead of encouraging my nephew to continue using the thread mill, he adds on to his growing stresses and insecurities as a teenager. I wanted to yell at my dad about his alpha-male bullshit, but my sister told me not to. I just don’t understand why he has such a problem just being pleasant with the people around him. Why can’t he just be pleasant? It’s not enough that he has to be perpetually unemployed and mooch off his children, he also has to be an insufferable troglodyte sometimes.

Hmm… maybe it’s good that the drugs keep me from writing. It’ll stop me from airing family grievances on my art page. 

September 20

Inktober is coming and the daily prompts have been released. I don’t have much time to finish up what I have planned for Inktober, but I’m quite excited for it. To the uninitiated, Inktober is when artists post drawings on Instagram based on daily prompts. So that’s thirty-one drawings for the month of October, pushing artists to be creative much like a school assignment. I kinda miss art school, so this is good for me as an exercise. It also gives me a break from thinking too much about what to draw. However, I tend to cheat every October. Instead of drawing one thing each day, I draw a complicated piece composed of all thirty-one prompts in one drawing. It saves me more time, I guess.

Thanksgiving (Korean Thanksgiving that is) is coming up next week, too. There’s a long five day holiday and I feel a bit uneasy about it. I’ve been trying to work as much as I could lately, and I’ve gotten used to the workaholic routine. It’ll be weird to have all of that time suddenly at the palm of my hands. And quite frankly, I’d rather be out at work earning money than having too much time at home trying to figure out how to spend money.

There’s a lot to be grateful for however. There’s friends and family in Canada, the States, and here in South Korea. There’s the fact that I’m still employed and just recently renewed my contract with my company. And there’s also my mental health, which I think has improved compared to last year. I’m still dependent on anti-depressants, but I haven’t really had many depressed jags or panic attack episodes in the past year. So that’s a win. I’ve been going to the gym daily, which kinda helps me stay busy and not be depressed, but that is no subtitute for going to a therapist. Unline man-o-sphere dude bros, I don’t treat going to the gym as temple. It’s just something I have to do in order to supplement therapy and also keep me from being obese.

Had a talk with a friend about aging. He seems to be in a delusion regarding our age. I told him we are old. We should own up to that fact. The image he has of us when we were younger, that no longer rings true, and young people look at us as older people... not hip, not fashionable, just cogs in the old people machine. I mean look at me. I work as a salary man in Korea. It’s not exactly the hippest thing in the world. And not what I dreamed of when I was in my teens. And all of those people that we once knew when we were younger. Well, they’re all metaphorically dead. They’re all grown old. Except for Chuku Uzuoro, a friend from Trinidad and Tobago. That guy looks good. He never gets old.

And speaking of being metaphorically dead, this reminds me of the Ship of Theseus. If you replace a part of a ship each day, do you eventually end up with a new ship, or will it still be the same ship? Well, our body’s cells die and regenerate constantly, and I read somewhere that we are essentially new people every seven years. This means that the old Joe has died and been reborn a couple of times. Same goes for all of the people around me. That means all of the people I’ve loved and all of the people I’ve been a jerk to in the past, they are literally gone now. So what does that mean? No guilt, no longing, for many of the things in the past are all literally gone by now. And to circle back to aging, that cool and hip Joe, if he ever existed, is also long dead. We have to accept ourselves as our new old self. 

July 5

That last post was a tad too serious, so here’s a list of my favorite games. How’s that for something light and unserious? Anyway, these are the games that have affected me the most and the ones I would recommend to anyone should they ask me what games to play.

Metal Gear Solid IV – I’ve played all of the Metal Gear games. I even enjoyed the two Acid games, which I also recommend. This in my opinion is the best game in the series. Its system is at its most robust without being over-complicated by base-building and team-recruiting mechanics. It is slowed down by Hideo Kojima’s storytelling, but his central message of war never-ending and just changing its form is not lost. It’s just a shame that the series ended in such an incomplete mess.

Final Fantasy X – This was my introduction to the Final Fantasy games. I didn’t really get turn-based fighting at first, but this game really did it for me. It also helped that it was one of the games my roommate and I bonded over. I loved this so much, I finished it a couple of times and even played the rather unorthodox sequel, Final Fantasy X-2.

Persona Royal- I love Persona IV. It was the first time I played a Persona game, but I think the latest Persona game is the best one. It’s very stylish, fast-paced, and the grinding is not over-wrought. It also helps that the characters are well drawn-out with their own little dramas.

Diablo- This was the game I used to play early in the morning before I went to school. The mood and the setting was perfect for its time. The expansion made the game so much better, too. My cousin and I played this game a lot when we were younger. The sequel was also great, but it had elements which was reminiscent of Starcraft for some reason. I thought the third one was a cartoony, boring mess. I’ll probably play the fourth one sometime in the future, but not before I get through my backlog or perhaps when the game gets cheaper.

Ultra Street Fighter 4- I always loved the Street Fighter series. I love fighting games and I try to play many different fighting games as they come. I think I played Street Fighter Alpha 3 the most, but it was Street Fighter 4 that made me focus more on being competitive. Being able to play people online was wild, and it made me really want to improve my skills. This was the game that had me buying and practicing on a fightstick.

Catherine- The story is great, the relationship gimmick is great, and the puzzle mechanic is very addictive. I thnk I’ve played and finished this game in all of its iterations outside of the PC version.

Life is Strange- Most people won’t enjoy this game, but I found the episodic story of Max and her time-traveling troubles quite engaging. I thought it was very smartly written both as a game and as a story about leaving your small town behind and what happens afterwards.

Katamari Damacy- I was quite addicted to this game. It’s such a simple concept, but the music and the art direction takes it to a new level. If this was put in a gallery as some sort of interactive instalation, I’m pretty sure people will see it as the art that it is. It’s too bad they haven’t made a truly new one since the massive collection was released on the PS3. The PSP version was one of my favorite games on the system.

The Last of Us- The game had one of the best stories and endings ever. I got really invested in the story of Joel and Ellie. After I finished the game, I couldn’t wait to replay it again in order to relive the experience. It’s no wonder that they made a great TV series about it.

Super Mario 3- I love the platforming in Mario games, but this was the Mario game I spent the most time playing. All of the secrets I’ve discovered are long burned into my brain. I think this game was such a leap from the first and second game that it didn’t feel like a game that belonged in the original NES console. It also spawned many of the ideas, worlds, and characters that soon became staples for the Mario series.

Dance Dance Revolution- This was the ultimate party game back then, before Guitadora, Rock Band, and other rhythm games. It was a brilliant idea: music, arrows, and a dance mat. My sister and I were so competitive with each other on the home game back then. I kinda wish they would bring this back to current gen systems.

Bayonetta- I loved Devil May Cry, but I think Bayonetta is where Devil May Cry’s fighting mechanics was perfected. The game is cheesy and the protagonist can be a bit over-the-top, but I think the first game was a great balance of episodic game segments that varied enough to keep the game exciting. I thought the second one was alright, but is quite forgettable. The thid one was disappointing.

Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams- I love the Onimusha series. I played and enjoyed all of them. I wish Capcom would come up with a new one. I thought that Sekiro would fill my samurai needs, but it turned out to be a badly-disguised rhythm game. Fortunately, Nioh 2 came out. It was a much better experience. I played it pretending it was Onimusha.

Bloodborne- I love the Soulsbourne series. I love them so much that I platinumed all of them. I thought the most well-crafted game however was Bloodborne. The atmosphere, the combat mechanics, the creatures, its all perfection. The Victorian/Lovecraftian setting was greatly implemented without being too cheesy. I wish they made more DLCs or made a sequel to it.