Thursday, March 24, 2016

Boston Tea Party 2016

So, this past weekend was Boston Tea Party!  Went with 3 other friends and stayed in Newton (just west of Boston) via AirBnb, which worked out great!  It was a pretty fun time overall, and I feel like my dancing improved noticeably as well, which was nice.  There were definitely some times when I was feeling like a zombie and wanted to just be home though x_x.  I think you can only handle so much dancing/performances/workshops before it all starts to drain you out.

Highlights included watching the invitational crossover jack & jill contest, where they pair pro WCS leaders with pro lindy followers and vice-versa (always a fun time), some pretty useful workshops that I liked and got some things out of, a special 20th anniversary performance where the workshop instructors showcased all of the different styles of swing dancing over the years, watching the pros join in as the entire room got up to do the shim sham (and afterwards, some hip-hop line dances, including "Shake That Ass" -- omg so good), and of course a bunch of good social dancing as well.  Also John Lindo was DJing and played Slow Burn, which was awesome -- probably one of my favorite WCS songs (my bestie is a huge fan of Made in Heights).  I also tried to get the names of a handful of the better WCS songs via Shazam for my own use later, heheh.  Hanging out with friends in general was fun too, and it was great getting to catch up with everyone as well as have random conversations about dance, dance culture, and other random fun stuff late at night over Trader Joe's ice cream ^^;

All in all I'm glad I went, though I don't know if I'd do it again next year -- just, too much money and time invested for something that isn't necessarily "special" in any particular way.  I was talking with J about this as the trip was winding down too, about how yeah, it was nice to see the performances live, and it was nice to do the workshops, and the dancing was really cool too, but if we're honest about it, I can always watch performances after the fact on youtube, and I can always watch workshop videos online as well and practice on my own, and I can always just go to Mission City or Dance Boulevard  or something for social dancing.  And yeah, none of those will be quite the same, but it also won't involve ~8 hours of transportation back and forth and all that.  But I'd go again if it was an "happen to be visiting the area anyways" situation like it was last year.

I did leave the event feeling better about my WCS dancing than when I came in, so that's good at least =P

Other random stuff and happenings....I spent some time cleaning up my place a little bit last night -- I want to get some photos and video of my entire place as it stands, for keepsake and memory purposes, since it's really been nice to me, and then after that I can start actually packing stuff up and taking down alllllllll the stuff from the walls in preparation for my move next month! (moving into a friend's new place in Sunnyvale to save rent, exciting!)

Work schedule is changing!  Tuesdays and Thursdays are now late days for me (late in late out) although I'm going to try and keep the same sleeping schedule if I can, and get some personal stuff done in the mornings on those days hopefully?  We'll see!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Happy 4-year anniversary to Journey, one of the greatest and most important games of all time.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Success, Competition, Perfection, and Trying to be "The Best"

I actually really like the theme that this touches on, though I have to admit I found a few of the panels a bit confusing, ehehehe ^^;

I think the struggle to compete, to be our best, to "be a master" as Pokémon would put it, is a very real thing that is present in our lives whether we feel it or not.  I think a lot of people can really empathize with feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, and shame, perhaps sometimes in relation to other people around us, perhaps sometimes because of opinions that others have, or perhaps sometimes because of no one else but our own selves.

Like it or not, it is nigh impossible to really be "the best" or "perfect" at anything, and when I think about it, it's a bit concerning that the "heroes" and protagonists in our stories often get their happy ending by triumphing and succeeding over everyone else.  Quite often we have the cliché narrative of the good-at-nothing hero who manages to overcome all odds and beat everyone else because of either his determination, persistence, courage, or what have you.  In some extremely rare cases it's actually because he is genuinely an amazing and empathetic good-hearted person -- looking at you, Steven Universe! -- but most of the time it's a story about how the good-for-nothing brat manages to beat the talented genius or evil megapower simply because he tried hard enough.  And isn't that wonderful?  That we can instill these (capitalistic) values of hard work, determination, etcetera and give people hopes of succeeding in the face of all odds because if you believe in yourself, anything can happen?

First of all, I'm the one coming from the perspective of the "talented genius" here.  What exactly am I supposed to take away from these stories?  "don't be an asshole"?  "watch your back?"  I'm STILL figuring out how to be good at something in a way that is respectful and helpful to others and part of me wonders if it's perhaps because I had no good role models or guidelines to follow?  During those few times when I watched some stream videos for League of Legends to see what the gameplay for a certain character was, I witnessed people trash-talking, laughing and deriding enemies and teammates alike, and throwing around "noob" and "suck" more times than I'd care to admit -- is this the kind of behavior we as a community would like to promote for people who are skilled and/or exceptional at something?

Secondly, maybe we should consider that there might be a real concern in believing that "you'll always get there".  I think the main problem I had with the comic linked at the top of this post was its resolution.  To me, there is =almost= an air of "Don't worry if you don't have 1 million followers yet!  Concentrate on the fact that you have 10!"  Now, I don't think that is really what the intent was; I think the point was more to say something like "It's not about the number of followers you have -- it's the fact that someone really appreciates your work."  But that aside, I think it's a real danger to look upon success as the measure of your worth, and I say that as someone who has constantly striven for success in almost every part of their life.

Does success bring you more happiness?  More friends?  More popularity?  What does success bring you, really?  I thought about these things as I considered how unskilled I was at dancing WCS and I asked myself, "If I really got much better at dancing WCS what would I get out of it?"  Judging from my past experience with waltz* where I am already at the expert level*, I would probably feel much less afraid of doing things wrong while dancing, and much more confident in myself.  I would also probably have much less tolerance for dancing with other people who don't know what to do.  I wouldn't have any more friends than I do right now.  Maybe I'd have less.

While it's natural for us to want to show our best sides and to practice refining ourselves until we are "perfect" to show off to others, I think it is nothing more than a =crutch= if we solve our self-confidence problems by attempting to make ourselves better.  Sometimes you need to take a step back and ask yourself what is really important.  If you are feeling depressed about art, dance, music, work, or life because you don't think you are good enough at it, or because there is someone better than you, maybe the answer is not to just improve until you are the best.  That's both unsustainable, and moreover, illogical: what happens if everybody feels the same way?  What, so only ONE person at the very top can be happy?  Are you kidding me?  The answer is not to try to be at "the top" by improving until you are the best, and the answer is not to try and be at "the top" by isolating yourself and disregarding everyone above you.  Instead we need to redefine what "success" means to us as well as "failure".  What is really important in life?

Yes, yes, I'm calling the kettle black here.  Still learning too.

tl;dr: Steven Universe and Undertale teach us the right lessons about life, blah blah blah

Authenticity, Looking back on the past

Perhaps I'll need to take back a thing or two about what I said in my last post...hah!  We'll see, I guess.

Authenticity is a funny thing.  By that I mean the feeling of "being true to yourself".  I'm not sure if it's because of my tendency to look back upon what was with heavy nostalgia or if it's just a normal part of life, but I sometimes find myself questioning my own actions, thoughts, and general state of being as a whole, especially during times of uncertainty and glum.  I guess you could say that I take comfort in fitting into a known picture of myself, and so it evokes uncertainty when I find that my life isn't quite slotting into something that I know.  You can chalk it up to naivety or arrogance, but in the past I have had very strong feelings and ideals about the type of person that I should be, that I ought to be.  Of course, even I am not impervious to the mysterious forces of change, and that quiet girl named Sayuri who stood off to the side and tried to lead with as little force as possible may not exist anymore, but that doesn't stop me from wondering if she =should= still exist in myself.

I guess as the heart of it it's a matter of reminiscence -- that when the outlook is bleak or when things don't seem alright, it's natural to look back upon the past at a time when it seemed like things were going well, and wonder what happened along the way -- and question why I ever moved on from that "good time".

Of course, it's a bit of a rosy lens -- even thinking back to those times when I was very headstrong in my own character and "authenticity", it wasn't as if they were lacking in distraught or depression either (though perhaps to a lesser degree).  But I think as an ISFJ who prefers to have things fit a structured, established, and known worldview with everything in its right place, or perhaps even as a human being, it can be trying to confront change, whether it is a change in situation, or perhaps even a change in self.  It seems only natural to look back upon a known quantity and wish to return to it, but of course more often the reality is that the old and new must be infused together to create something better -- a shifting, expansion, or remolding of the ubiquitous "comfort bubble".  Moving towards an ever-changing future, slowly, bit by bit, with one hand still on the rails of the past.  There's no need to leap headfirst, so let's just take it slow, one step at a time.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

aaaand we're back.  Phew!  Wouldn't it be sad if all I posted in here nowadays was just cryptic one-liners from when I'm depressed and hating life?

Anyways, Bad Times lately, as should be evident.  I'm not sure whether I'm totally out of the woods yet or not; only time will tell, really.  I've got the feeling that I'll probably still be a little out of sorts for a bit...this isn't the sort of thing that just goes away in a snap, after all.

Being --- again has sort of taken a toll on me emotionally.  I mean, I feel fine as I write this, but it's definitely been pretty hard to get used to, and has led to me feeling pretty demotivated and negative in general.  Fortunately, I have a network of people who are trying to help; unfortunately there's not that much to be done except let time do its thing, I'm guessing.  The other thing that sucks is that I'm not very outgoing about it, or at least it feels that way compared to how I thought I was.  Part of it is that when you're not really feeling hopeful about people or relations in general it becomes harder to make an actual effort to connect directly with someone without shielding yourself off or brushing it aside to the normal chit-chat.

On the plus side, not all is bad!  This weekend I actually got quite a significant amount of progress done on Zenith Fighter, which is pretty cool.  Not only did I get the wave clear popup and gold earning done, but I actually came up with a design for the shop UI that is simpler and more straightforward than what I was initially envisioning, and went ahead and implemented that too.  So shop is (essentially) done, which is fantastic!  With that I've actually got the framework for most everything that you really need in the game, so next I'll be focusing on trying to make more "stuff" -- primarily focusing on different enemy types first, then also upgrades, and then later, other characters.  We're really starting to get there, which is awesome. :)  It's come a long way!

I started trying to pick back up my Conspiracy 2 set design -- let's see if I can finish up with that before the =actual= Conspiracy 2 set releases (August 2016).  I rejiggered a bunch of the mechanics and whatnot, but am still trying to find a good skeleton for how to fit everything together before I start working on the actual card file.

Bought a Halibut fillet that I'm going to try and cook tomorrow night...never cooked it before so I'm still not 100% sure how I'm going to go about doing but I think I might just stick it in the broiler with some butter and herbs -- probably a more foolproof (and potentially even better) way of doing it than trying to fuss around with a pan (I also have no panko/etc on hand for breading anyways).  I also bought a bunch of brussel sprouts (!) which I'm going to be attempting to roast with olive oil and bacon ('cause, bacon) at none other than LSV's recommendation after his most recent "cooking tips" on the Limited Resources podcast, lol!  We'll see how that turns out.

Been playing through Ghost Trick with Kat lately, which has been fun!  It's great having something like that to go through together.  I've also been progressing through another playthrough of Revenge of the Titans on the side from time to time, which has been fun too.  I'm currently on the first mission with the flying enemies who drop bombs on your base and struggling to figure out a good layout to prevent all of my structures from getting owned.

The weather lately has been sort of a mixed blessing...on the one hand, no sun is =great= as it means everything is both more beautiful as well as less filled-with-allergies.  On the other hand rain is not the most fun to walk through after a certain point, especially since the parking lot at work is under construction and when I stay in Milpitas I also need to walk a bit after parking my car.

When I get down nowadays I tend to just feel really down on both myself AND the rest of the world; it's sort of just bad times all around with me thinking that I am the worst person ever but also feeling like I don't really care about anything else in the world because it sucks.  Neither are true of course but that's just sort of the way it is sometimes when you're down in the dumps.  Sucky.

Me and my fellow ISFJ had a long talk about dance and wondering how we should be approaching it nowadays, having turned into the proverbial "dance snobs" and all.  I think I decided after this last outing to the city that heading up to SF for Mission City Swing is just not worth it in general for me; there are just so many other things that I could be doing with my Wednesday night and it's not like WCS is this amazing thing or anything.  I think I made the realization that if I'm not going to be making any real friends by going out there it's really not worth my time and effort spent and I think that's the right mindset to have about it.  I think FNW and Jammix are a different story since it at least seems like I =could= be making friends at those places, even if that might not necessarily be happening right now.  But I don't really see it happening at MCS, just doesn't seem like somewhere where I'm going to just have fun and open up to people and what-have-you.  Man, how did I ever make friends at FNW and Jammix in the first place?  Me and fellow ISFJ were trying to trace back to when it seemed like that was the norm rather than the exception.  Really strange how much things have's not like I was terribly outgoing or anything back then either -- if anything I was MORE quiet and reserved, yet somehow it seemed easier.  Like I keep on saying, it's probably half us and half the other people who go there.

Anyhoo, that's me!  Still haven't really been finding the time to work on music or letters much at all lately...I feel as though the music thing is more of a motivational problem though; I don't really feel like writing anything at the moment.  Eh.

One step at a time I guess.  Tomorrow is another day...

Happy birthday to Cinnamoroll! :)

Friday, March 4, 2016