Posts Tagged ‘nostalgia’

“To be well-remembered is a gift.”

June 29, 2010 - 11:12 am 11 Comments

              A woman, who has been a gift, told me that this morning.

              I am remembering, and remembering well.

              When I was a child, I had a piano, and not just any piano: I had an upright Steinway grand.  It had to be a hundred and twenty-five years old, and it was stellar.  I spent time with it every day.  I was small, maybe five or six, hardly more, but I loved that piano, and even then, I knew it was worth more than the emotions I alone imparted upon it; I knew it was worth more than the ridiculous sum of money I thought it was worth (despite it having been free in the Pennysaver from someone who probably just needed it to be gone).  I knew it was important.  It was music, and it was history, and it was love.

              But it was also old, and each time it was played, it sounded worse and worse.  My mother had it looked at to see what, if anything, could be done, but after so much time, it was fragile; the once straight, silver strings within the piano were warped and would have to be replaced, the worn-out hammers refitted.  We were living on food stamps then; we couldn’t afford cable TV or a Nintendo, let alone refitting an antique piano.  So, instead, I watched PBS and I read, and my mother and I would play our hearts out on the old, warped piano, and we didn’t care that our favorite tunes from Jesus Christ Superstar didn’t sound much like the album anymore.  She played and I sang and after a while I played, too, despite the tone-deaf Steinway.

              Then came the time when we, too, had to move, and once more, the piano had a family that needed the instrument to be gone.  So my father (a fine musician himself, but with a more easily-restrung instrument, the guitar), perhaps not wanting to see music be forgotten or left to strangers who, upon moving in, would not know its worth, would not care about its past, or perhaps just wanting to give it to someone who he knew would and could use it, gave the piano to a good friend of his called Jay, who had a son who could learn to play too, in time; a friend who maybe could restore it, or maybe not, but at least it would not be gone or forgotten.

              I went and visited my piano a few times with my father, but I then grew up and got too busy, forgot to visit, and after a while, the memory of my beloved piano faded away until I was old enough to really care to remember it and take care in remembering it: to research it, to find out the monetary cost of such an experienced instrument, and the historical value.  As it turned out, it had earned a lot of both.  I remembered my warped piano then, and I was angry: angry that I had had to give my treasure away; angry that I no longer even possessed a real piano; angry, too, at the less-than-stellar keyboard to which I’d since been demoted, which was born of plastics and would age far worse than my sturdy, cherished Steinway.

              But my anger would burn out; I knew the piano was in good hands, even if those hands had painted on the keys an acrylic rainbow to make the notes, the warped sounds the piano produced, easier to remember. Of those hands, I have a memory.

              Jay’s son and I would play the piano, when I did visit its new home.  Later in the evening, I would sit on the wooden piano bench and my father’s friend would tell me about the universe, about space and time.  He had a pocket watch on a chain.  Jay would take the silver chain and fold it over on itself, and he would explain to me that the universe: its buoyant, bright stars and super-massive black holes; its huge, nebulous gasses where stellar bodies were born and tiny, rocky planets where human bodies were too, folded on itself as well; that time warped space and space warped time, and that space and time were one, together; that time, like space, could be shaped, and he would say all of this with the watch on the end of the chain, the clock hanging limply at the edge of space in a small, silver universe, and it would tick away the time quietly in the background of my impromptu astro-quantum-physics class, never interrupting, but persistent.  Even at six, at seven years old, I came to understand that this was the important part of the lesson.  At the forefront of my brain, I wanted to be a physicist.  At the back, I was aware that time stretched on, fused with space as it was, and even if I missed something that Jay had said on those nights, I am forever glad I did not entirely skip the lecture.

              Last night, I mentioned my piano to a good friend while we talked, and the evening passed.

              This morning, I was told that Jay had passed last night.

              Though I have grown up, and had only visited a few times, I do miss him.

              “To be well-remembered is a gift,” a cherished woman told me this morning.  I believe her, and I believe, in time, I will remember her well.

              I also still believe in physics, and maybe now I believe in a little of the metaphysical.  I believe that time warps space and space warps time and that the two will never be parted.  I believe all of us affect and are affected by space and time, since, in the words of another man from my childhood who is also now gone and missed, “We are star-stuff.

              I know that being well-remembered does not allow us to interrupt the persistently short time we are given, as the ticking watch at the end of a small, silver, chain-link universe always knew, but I believe that it can be warped into the best shape that our stellar masses and minds can form, if we remember, and remember well, for as another man who affected my youth but was gone long before I could miss him had said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

              I have decided to remember the time, and time, remember well, because that same, stellar woman also told me this morning, “Those that are remembered, are never really gone.”

              ~*~

              Below the cut are (perhaps selfish) dedications and thank yous for the creation and exponential, infinite expansion of my mind and self: things I have wanted to say, things I should have said already, and things I say too much.

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The Nightmare’s Beginning

March 29, 2010 - 5:53 am 2 Comments

If you couldn’t tell from my post about Final Fantasy XIII, you should know that I’m a huge fan of the Final Fantasy game series. But more accurately, I’m really mostly a fan of Final Fantasy VII. My mother bought me the game at the impressionable age of ten (the PC version, how tragic, and also, big mistake Mother) and since then I have logged over 1300 hours on it, bought two different versions of it for PlayStation, own Advent Children, Dirge of Cerberus, the four CD soundtrack, a Vincent Valentine action figure, a Shin-Ra suit, a Buster Sword (no, really, a real buster sword) the official sheet music book, and a deep and spiteful hatred of Yuffie and an abiding love of Roman numerals. Not to mention I actually lost my voice – completely lost – from screaming so emphatically at Video Games Live when they played One Winged Angel as an encore.

Now, I was surfing the internet, as one with the internet is wont to do, and it struck me that I couldn’t remember the exact year that Final Fantasy VII had come out (I was feeling old, what with there now being THIRTEEN of them, and that’s if you don’t count sequels and games like Kingdom Hearts), so I popped on over to good ol’ Wikipedia to check and see. After discovering the North American PC release (June 24, 1998, the day my life was over), I scrolled through the body of the text, where I saw a little paragraph about the PlayStation III remake of Final Fantasy VII that never was.

Whence I came upon this:

In March 2010, Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada stated that they’ll be exploring the possibility of a remake.

If you couldn’t hear that, that was the sound of my fragile heart skipping a beat, my muscles locking, and my bank account groaning, because, well, I don’t OWN a PlayStation III.

And now I have to.

Yes, yes, I know, I know, before we get all up in arms I realize that this is Wikipedia and it did cross my mind that some desperate hopeful like me who based their entire mistrust of the oil industry on the allegory of Mako long before not trusting the oil industry was cool had put that there in the hopes that text on a page would make it true, and then I realized that there was a source. A VALID source, at that. That source being this link to Kotaku. Now, I’ll save you the trouble of reading the link and therefore the idiotic comments by informing you of this second heart-crushing caveat myself: Motomu Toriyama wants to direct this prospective remake.

He directed Final Fantasy XIII.

And it sucked.

In fact, it was like a cheap rip-off of Final Fantasy VII, at least loosely plot-wise, with way too many and far less interesting characters, and, oh, no Vincent Valentine. And Cloud was a broad.

Now, if they get Nobuo Uematsu on board for this one, I’ll probably buy the damned game just for the soundtrack just like I mostly bought Advent Children to see all my favorite characters in a higher resolution, oh, and, Steve Blum (who voiced Vincent and also has done such amazing work as Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop. That man has sooooo much of my money). I’m hoping that the sheer awesomitude of Final Fantasy VII in and of itself will carry this through to being realized and at the same time not sucking. Are my hopes a little more dampened than they were when this dream remake was itself just a fantasy? Perhaps. But knowing that a huge part of my childhood is important to enough people that 12 years later, they’re still continuing, revising, and honoring this story?

It kind of kicks ass.