After a long absence, back to Valocea!

So recently, with things calming down after the tumultuous last few months, I’ve found my head back in Valocea again. Still working on the mapping, the planning, and of course, the transit.

One thing that I found myself thinking about a few days ago, is how far it’s come since its original inception. I started reflecting back on how this project came to be, and what kinds of decisions I’ve made (and what I’ve learned from it), and it’s kind of crazy how much it’s changed. The original concept, of course, wasn’t for a country at all, but a state that would be added to the existing US. The idea was to change the shape of the continent – specifically, the Pacific Northwest – to allow for enough extra land to accommodate a 51st state. Basically, it would have been something like this… Continue reading



Recently, my dad passed away. This was the endpoint of a series of events dating back to 2012, when the menengioma (essentially, cancer-less tumors) in his brain were first discovered, and – at the time – treated via surgery. We knew then that that wasn’t the end of it, as there was a strong possibility they could still return. They did in early 2014, and ultimately passed the point where surgery, radiation therapy, or any other medical treatment could do anything about them. He passed peacefully, in his sleep, with friends and family nearby, on July 20, 2014.

I’ll miss him, and the weeks leading up to his death were difficult on a number of levels. But for myself, I have made my peace with it; the best thing for me has been to get back to doing what I normally do, to living my life, to doing what makes me happy. I also feel this is what HE would want; he wouldn’t want people to make a big fuss over him and wouldn’t want to feel like he was disrupting others’ lives. And he was interested in some of what I had going on; he really liked all the Valocea stuff and associated general transit geekery, was always eager to listen to me talk about some idea for a story, and he read many of the posts on this blog (though the pony stuff was generally lost on him!). If I have one major personal regret about the timing of this, it’s that I wasn’t able to finish and publish anything substantial, creatively, before he died. I feel like he would want me to continue with these endeavors. So, aside from taking time to attend to tasks that need to be done in the wake of these events, that’s what I’ve done.

Not long after that, my cat Isaac, who’s been with me for about 12 years, also passed away (he was a little over a year old when I got him from the Feral Cat Foundation). I’ll miss him too, though similarly, his passing (which was also peaceful; he was put to sleep with me next to him at a really nice, caring cat clinic) was expected. He’d been getting progressively more frail over the course of several weeks, and near the end, stopped eating. And while I will miss having him around in some ways, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from over a decade of owning a cat, it’s this: I don’t want to own a cat. Or any other pet, really. It’s just not for me. When I got him, I had two other people very much in my life who were “cat people”. And on top of that, I’d usually had cats in the house when growing up. In the years since I got Isaac, things have changed; neither of those people are in my life to anywhere near the degree they once were. Once it was basically “just me and the cat” (and roommates I’ve had since who liked him well enough, but are definitely not “cat people”), I slowly realized that taking care of a cat is really not something I’m that keen on. I’m happy that I’ll never have to scoop a box again, that’s for sure, and this place will be easier to keep clean. But! I already had him and wasn’t going to not take good care of him because of this. Even after I realized this, he remained my responsibility, and I had resolved to give him the best, healthiest and happiest life I could, and I think I did a pretty good job.

I contemplated for some time on just what to do with this blog in relation to these events. Not a lot of people read this, but still, I wasn’t sure how to present it. Do I just not say anything about them at all, and simply get back to the usual stuff now that I actually have a bit of time again? Do I say something and then get back to the usual stuff? The latter is ultimately what I am basically doing, even though for a time I worried it would seem weird to talk about a family member and a pet passing away and then immediately go back to writing posts about Valocea or Friendship is Magic or video game music. But it’s been a few weeks now since these things happened, so I’ve had some distance, and on top of that, as I mentioned, getting back to my “normal” life has been nothing but helpful for me, so I’m going to apply that here as well.

I have good memories to hang onto of those who are no longer here, so having said farewell, I move on.

-Saito S