Feel the Drift

So we discovered this one place in Nuvali where we experience drifting a car outside of the virtual world. Marcus loved it so much that we have to do it again on our second visit. Thanks to wifey who this time tagged along with us to capture this video.

By the way, thanks to the crew of Skidkart Circuit who made a kid in a wheelchair (and his dad) experience what he only sees on his Need For Speed Most Wanted game. We will try to find you in Tagaytay if we happen to be there.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (This Ayala Mall Solenad already feels like home to Marcus.)

Gamer’s Perspective

That’s Marcus and I together online. I intentionally erased my identity.

I have a predictable routine at home. In a time lapse video I would be seen either seated or lying beside Marcus’ white plastic table where he spends almost his whole day playing his favorite online games which are just either Roblox or Minecraft. On some days, we would go shoot the bad guys in Call of Duty. Trust me, he is a sharp shooter, a lot better than me.

Yesterday, while staring at his Roblox game something struck me. That real people are like characters in games such as in this Lego-like environment. Like Marcus’ boxy policeman in patrol, one of the roles he like to play, our perspective in life does control our actions. For example, in the third person perspective, a gamer could see more of everything around him–the whole place, the bad guys, and the good guys alike. With a bigger picture, it makes it easier to decide on the next appropriate actions. Such should be the case when we encounter problems in real life–we should step back, analyze, and form the corresponding solution.

On the other hand, there’s that first person view. This one allows an approach that is focused only on what is directly in front. In games, a lot of movement, from side to side, to turning back, have to be made to ensure that no one sneaks past and take advantage of your current position. This approach is head on and works well if we know what needs to be done. Same goes in real life. We face the issue and deal with it.

There is not one perspective, however, that is perfect. Each requires sound judgment to benefit from it and therefore it is important that one knows when to step back and have a bird’s eye view of the situation; and when to zoom in to be able to engage accordingly. In real life, it takes more than just a mouse control wheel to shift from first person to third person and vice versa. Marcus told me how he does it. It fascinates me that his game would bring me into a short yet deep thought. I can see that when he errs, when he loses, he can respawn, he can restart all over again. Don’t we all wish life is just like this too?

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Happy to be home early.)

The Wheelchair Didn’t Stop Them

On my way home this morning I saw a mother pushing her kid on a wheelchair along the side of the road and it’s one of those instances where for a couple of seconds–while behind the wheel–I would ponder how life it’s going to be for Marcus.

Man and kid on a wheelchair.  The side mirror is the same as mine but  this is a photo from Top Gear Philippines’ FB page.

Since the day we found out about his condition the sight of wheelchairs has made me feel sentimental. Anywhere I see it, I would remember Marcus. Gladly, there are days when it’s not always that bad and sad–like today, a news inspired me.

DMD did not stop this guy from achieving his goal. (Photo from abs-cbnnews.com)

The article from abs-cbnnews.com features a guy named Carl Adrian P. Castueras who recently graduated cum laude in UP Los Banos. He was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) when he was eight years old. Shown behind him is his proud mom who according to this same article had to stop working as a marketing executive from the time she learned about her son’s condition to spend more time with him. Well, obviously her efforts and Adrian’s dedication did pay off. Good job to you brave mother and more power to you Adrian. (I read this news while waiting for wifey to finish helping Marcus prepare for school.)

Another story that had me realize that there is still indeed life after DMD–that is after learning about it–is a video I saw on YouTube.com just a couple of weeks ago.

Aaron 'Wheelz' Fotheringham

Yes, that is a wheelchair flying. (Photo from YouTube.com)

Aaron ‘Wheelz’ Fotheringham is a guy who despite his spinal injury–not due to DMD though–was able to successfully pull off a a back flip on his wheelchair. Here’s the video here.

I now begin to see a brighter perspective and hope that life ahead won’t be that miserable after all just by looking at these inspiring news of people being able to overcome their own disability. While I do not expect anymore for Marcus to graduate as the top of his class or become another person who can back flip his wheelchair, I do expect that he will be able to live his life to the fullest by accepting his limitations and making use of whatever capacity his mind and body will allow him to do.

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Mood: 4/10 Honks! (We tried Call of Duty: Black Ops but it’s really not for him yet. Game’s too graphic.)

When the Kid Gets Tough, the Parenting Gets Going

First half of July is over. And I spent majority of its days trying to figure out how to become an effective parent. This must be the longest time I can recall that I have struggled to discipline Marcus. Had I spent the same amount of energy in badminton or gym time or running instead of parenting I know that I would have improved in those crafts significantly. There’s just so much passion, so much thinking I have done since the month started but I just seem to fail. It’s a mind game—us versus Marcus—and I am starting to believe he is winning.  But I know that, however hopeless I feel most of the time, we cannot give up. There should be something up our sleeves that should address this parenting challenging. Yes, there should be because when the kid gets tough, the parenting gets going.

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Role reversal: he’s cop, I’m the bad guy (It’s just the two of us last weekend and we played his favorite Need for Speed game.)

Marcus’ Online Cheatsheet

“If there’s a will there’s a way.” – English Proverb

“Spy kids had always been able to beat the bad guys because adults overthink things. But to a kid, everything is possible. Just use your imagination.” – Spy Kids

Every now and then we continue to learn from our children just by observing them. Like for example last night when I saw that despite our son’s present inability to spell and read (most words) he is not deterred from doing what he loves to do–use our desktop to play games and watch videos online.  So how does he do it? Simple. He uses a guide that his mom has decided to provide instead of spelling it out for him every time he goes online. Below is the picture of the cheatsheet he has been using so that he can type the URL and keywords on Google Chrome’s search bar. And by the way, he now prefers Chrome over Firefox. Kids.

Online cheatsheet

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Last week I taught him how to use favorites. I checked last night and he has a lot already.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Cleaned car, ate leftover corned beef.)

Marcus and the Games He Play

The weekend is once again almost over but it’s one of those days when Marcus has impressed me a lot. Last night I discovered that he can already comprehend how Magnet Adventure works. It is a puzzle game I downloaded several months back but back then all he did was just watch and annoy me while I spend time thinking how to deal each of the cases. This time, with some advice, he manages to complete some of the basics.

Marcus has also showed great improvement in PC car racing. I still have the old Need For Speed software (from our ex-company’s home PC program) and tonight he played its hot pursuit game and was able to catch 6 out of 6 bad guys. In another PC game, he has reached the tracks’ finish line although he complains that he ends up with no rank.

And now, I watch him wrap up this weekend as he plays his most-loved game — Lego. Awhile ago he finished a Ninjago cobra structure without looking at the manual and now he’s building a Lego City police car while referring to the instructions in the book that came along with the kit. I’m impressed Marcus, I’m impressed.

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Today also marks our return to La Salette. For several months we stopped attending mass there as Marcus’ frequent misdemeanor made me leave church more of a devil than a refreshed Catholic. This afternoon he showed some signs of stubbornness but not as much as before. (I laughed when my wife told me on our way to the mall that she was actually praying for me: “Dear lord, don’t make my husband snap.”)

Blue Skies

Image from the web.

Yesterday I watched the film Always on DVD. I was assuming then that it would be something as romantic as “The Notebook” which we watched just a couple of weeks ago. To my surprise it wasn’t just that. The famous Steven Spielberg directed the film and as expected it was a good one (except for some goofy scenes at the start of the film which made me wonder if it’s a comedy or a musical).

What makes this movie appealing is the plot that rolls around the love story of two airplane pilots Pete (Richard Dreyfus) and Dorinda (Holly Hunter) who were stationed on an airstrip that supports the forest fire fighters. The setting was some time in 1940 and the fire fighting planes used was said to be restored WWII models.

 I was so fascinated by the flight scenes that a couple of hours after it I downloaded an MS Flight Simulator X game. It was as if my mind was craving for more of the sensation of being in flight, not to mention being the pilot which in this case, of a flight sim cockpit.

It’s funny that somehow it was from this love story that I got more interested in flying more than from the movie “Top Gun” (of course, this remains to be one of my favorites). It may be because that the planes in Always are old and it looks so easy to fly versus the sound-breaking F14‘s of Tom Cruise’s movie.

Well I’ve flown the ultralights in the demo and I’ve crashed a Jumbo jet already. Thanks to flight sims, I live to tell about it. I got the hang of it after a couple of hours of playtime (and some weird stares from my wife) and just using the mouse as a yoke – old flight simmers will scoff at me for doing that. I think it’s about time to save for some decent flight controllers. Paging my wife…please approach the cashier.