All About Kevin-V
Dan Wolboldt saved my life.
He didn't pull me from a burning building or rescue me from a frozen lake. But when I was suffering from a depression that had me constantly on the brink of suicide, he was the man who kept me on this side of the abyss.
He was my therapist, but that word is so clinical, and doesn't accurately describe who Dan was to me. Friend? Yes, even though I usually only saw him in the confines of the office of a mental health clinic in Warren, PA. Father figure is more accurate, I suppose, but whatever you call him, he was the one that convinced me that life was worth living. His office was the safest place on the planet. It was there that I felt most vulnerable, and most cared for. He is the reason I am still here today, rather than a memory, or at very least, rather than a human husk, withering away in a hospital for the remainder of my days.
He shared with me stories that a professional therapist shouldn't generally be sharing with his patient, and yet it was exactly the right thing to do in my case. I would record myself playing Christmas music on cassette tape and give it to him as a Christmas gift. I went to a church where he was a guest pastor one Sunday and marveled that this man could radiate such kindness and generosity. I read about his exploits with his boy scout troop, and wondered if those young men knew how fortunate they were that someone like Dan could be in their lives.
I also know that Dan was an imperfect man. But I wasn't prepared to discover that several weeks ago, this man responsible for me being here to share this story today went missing. Vanished from his house, his wallet and keys left behind. No note, no goodbye to his wife Penny, no sign of a break in, no indication that something was wrong. He was simply gone.
The police have searched, and the Conewango Creek and local branch of the Allegheny River have been scoured. No one knows if Dan, at the age of 69, wandered off to take his own life, or fell into the river and was washed away. Perhaps he was discontent and troubled, and decided to travel where he couldn't be found and live out his last days in peace. Perhaps he simply went for a walk to some unknown place and suffered a heart attack, and hasn't been found in spite of the exhaustive search.
But it doesn't seem that Dan is coming back.
The last time I talked to Dan was a few years ago. He sent me an email entitled "The real story...for those with a warped sense of humor." It was a typical viral email that people might send, this one with pictures of fairy tale princesses as they might have ended up. Snow White with her several babies and a good-for-nothing prince sitting in front of the TV. An obese Little Red Riding Hood wandering through the forest, sipping on a Big Gulp and carrying a basket full of bread. It certainly wasn't the most socially sensitive communication, but it's what I have.
I love you Dan. I hope that you are close to God now.
Edit: My mom shared this YouTube link with me of Dan leading vespers in 2012. http://youtu.be/dmVaCIoxeI0
There's a little place about three doors down from my apartment called Lee's Sandwiches. Here it is:
They have awesome banh mi, but it's the croissants that are to die for. It's like eating the wings of an angel that have sprinkled by fairy dust and filled with the breath of a pixie.
OK, that sounded a little disturbing. Suffice it to say: Delicious croissants.
2. My neighborhood.
I live in San Francisco's most rundown, most crime-ridden, most socially decrepit area. It's called the Tenderloin.
And I love it.
Each day, I cross paths with any number of homeless residents, many of whom are talking nonsense to no one in particular. I encounter drug dealers and prostitutes. And yet nestled in this place I call home are great restaurants, cool little shops, and the joy of never knowing what I might see next. Sometimes, the strange sights are more gross than strange: some guy peeing in the street. Other times, they defy description: a guy wearing a mink coat, a fedora, and elaborate designer jeans.
All this, and only four blocks from City Hall. Behold, my neighborhood, the Tenderloin:
It isn't pretty, but we find comfort in each other out here.
My mom likes to send me old photographs from time to time. They usually feature me at various periods of my life--grade school, college, whenever. In some, I have a full head of hair, like the ones from my days at Oberlin, the first place where I was never concerned by the mark on my neck left by my violin (the dreaded violin hickey I had to constantly explain in high school). In others, I stand next to former boyfriends in front of Colonial buildings, or am in the midst of playing some sonata or another, or singing in a choir. Some of them I took myself. When I went to music festivals, I was fond of taking pictures of trees for some reason. Those photos don't often feature people, but there sure are a lot of leaves.
I bring this up because for much of my life, I haven't taken many photos or written down many memories. I haven't collected many birthday cards, or kept up my address book. Over the last few years, this very blog has fallen into disuse, too. I wish I had tracked life better. I wish I could identify all the people that do appear in photos. I wish I could remember where I was and what I was doing in, say, November of 1996. I have only lived in the San Francisco area for about six and a half years, and I will run into someone, and he'll say hello, and ask how life is, and how GameSpot is, and I will smile and nod and chat--and wonder, "Where do I know this guy from?"
Most of my thoughts on games appear elsewhere now. Long-form ideas appear in actual GameSpot features now rather than remaining delegated to a blog post, and bit-sized thoughts get tossed onto Twitter and Facebook. What's missing is an outlet for personal musings. In some ways, I tend to be reserved in blogs, at least since I have worked here. It's kind of odd being a public figure, even if it's just "Internet dude that writes about video games" kind of publicness. More words open me up for even more ridicule, as if nasty review comments aren't enough to keep me consistenly humbled and sometimes humiliated.
But not so long ago, something in me changed. I recognize that words have power, obviously--I write for a living. I know that words are more than letters arranged in some semblance of order, but containers of ideas, thoughts, dreams, and emotions. And I will never allow people to disparage the ones I love, and always stand up against those that use words to hurt, demean, and accuse. I have never been very good at letting terrible words bounce off me; I take them to heart quite often, which is why I tend to avoid comment sections. And when I do visit them, I become invariably emotional. Often, that means feeling hollow inside for a while. Sometimes, it means a few tears. Other times, it means becoming defensive, and standing up for my work or that of others. But that thing that changed in me--it was a realization that I must stop giving people power to hurt me.
This isn't meant to be a "QQ" post or anything--just sharing. Part of that realization was that expression can be incredibly cathartic. I am an extremely expressive individual, quick to Tweet what I am thinking, quick to cry when I am hurting, quick to talk about meaningless subjects to people who politely listen but may not have much interest, bless their hearts. And yet there are major parts of my life that stay in my mind, and I explore them alone until they become entire worlds of thought and feeling. And sometimes, it's nice to invite others to explore with you.
And so I want to share more, and invite you to join me. Sometimes, it might be about games, but a lot of the times, I will probably blog about something else. Most of my game thoughts you can find everywhere on this site, and all over my Twitter. (fiddlecub is my Twitter handle. so feel free to follow me.) There's a lot in my life to share right now. Maybe I'll share with you the trials of gaining so much weight back, and the current efforts to lose it for good and ensure it remains gone. Or my journeys to art galleries and Seattle coffee shops, and my mom's summer visit. In any case, in a few years' time, I want to have a place I can look to, where my memories can be jogged and I can have those moments back for a while.
Here is as good a place as any for them to live. I suppose this blog post is revealing my age; at 40, I am becoming more aware of the things I wish I had done. I can't change the past--but I can embrace the present and the future. And right now, I know there's a lot I want to share and document. I can't start yesterday, and tomorrow is too late. But now--now is just about right.
My Recent Reviews
One of my favorite, underpraised moments in games, a scary shock when it happens. The first Skaarj you see in Unreal II: The Awakening lands on top of an elevator after the lights go out.
As promised, when Tecmo's announcement was not regarding Ninja Gaiden 3, I ate my hat. There is an odd audio glitch at the beginning; when I say "rice paper," it plays several seconds later. Couldn't fix that... sorry.
A bit of gameplay from Spore's Space Stage.
Apr 8, 2013 4:05 am GMTKevin-V posted a new blog entry entitled Lost, Not Forgotten
Only GameSpot friends of this user can view their Wii Number.