Wednesday, December 12, 2018

But how could I ever forgive myself now that I am not the same anymore???????

It is unforgivable.

It's been a while since the last time, but we are going off the radar again.  I mean, I could just write this somewhere else.  Maybe that was the point of my diary all along, and perhaps that's why I stopped writing in it.  Maybe I'm just being silly.  But I guess it's also nice to just continue writing here.  In a way it feels almost like it was many years ago, when I complained and wrote sad words about so many things, so many things that people probably didn't care to hear.  But it didn't matter because barely anyone would hear in the first place.  And true to that, it's nice knowing now that I can write in here properly, and what does it even matter what I write if nobody will hear it?  Perhaps, being alone in this space by myself, I can actually start to be honest with my feelings.

If I'm really being honest, though, I feel like I am faced with the choice between climbing uphill to a better place or just jumping down the pit of self-loathing and let me tell you, the pit seems much easier to jump down than to go up.

Let's just take it step by step, day by day.  Let's call today day 1, and reckon that today I don't think I will make it up the hill.  But maybe I can at least just try to sit down and calm my thoughts of madly scrambling towards the edge and leaping off.

When considering whether I am worthless or not, I don't think that is really a question that I should be trying to think about.  Because thinking about it makes it too "obvious" that I am of course super messed up.  I mean, that is only natural, not only am I viewing things from a distorted lens but also viewing it at its worst point.  It's not even a fair judgment, so how could I ever expect to see differently?  It's the choosing of what to do in spite of what already exists, I think that is the only way forward.  Or at least, the only way to avoid leaping back.  There is no easy way to just accept what I said, what I wrote, what I thought, what I felt, because after all is said and done perhaps I should not accept it after all.  But I could at least say something different the day after.

I don't really know how I feel about anything.  My first instinct is that whatever I feel is "bad", so perhaps I can think about it with more of a straight head...later.  Maybe.  I guess nobody cares about what I did in the past anyways, so I better just say "sorry" to myself rather than anybody else.

I guess for today, I can just try to do things that I think are good.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Well, at least I seem to have gotten very good at recognizing when I am in and out of depression.

Rest in peace, Meowmie.  Dec 9, 2017

Friday, November 30, 2018

Pottermore, Prime Rib, Pumpkin Pie, etc.

Lots of things going on!

Music Stuff

Music music music.  Finished up a commission, and will need to try to quickly knock out two more (short) ones in the early part of December.  Also, ~Monthlies 2018.11~ is released!  Was really fun drawing the cute quail for that album cover.

Pottermore Stuff

I forgot to mention a long time ago that I got around to taking the Pottermore sorting quiz -- previously I had only taken the Patronus and Wand quizzes.

My Patronus ended up being a Brown Hare, not too much I can really say about that.

My wand was a bit more interesting, "Ebony wood with a Phoenix feather core 14 ½" and Unbending flexibility".  It's pretty spot on, as Ebony is for people who hold real strong to their beliefs (yep) and aren't afraid to be non-conforming because of it (yep).  Phoenix cores are rare and difficult to tame, which I don't think is particularly surprising either, makes sense that I would get something tricky and complex.  The wand is pretty long and skinny, but so am I, haha.  And do I even need to comment on "unbending flexibility"?  Of course...

I ended up sorting into Hufflepuff, yay!  I always knew it'd be Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, but didn't know which one.  I don't think I could stand either of Gryffindor OR Slytherin, so as long as I'm out of those two I think I'd do just fine.  Ravenclaw was my initial thought since I'd be with a bunch of nerdy bookworms, but in hindsight, Hufflepuff is probably the house for me.  I'm no Hermione, that's for sure, and I think I'm set apart from Ravenclaw a bit by my focus on the practical and pragmatic...I think I would get into trouble if I'm around too many intellectuals who strive for knowledge and debate just for the sake of itself (speaking from experience...).  And I would prioritize my consistency over my intelligence in a heartbeat -- I've always been more Green than Blue, after all (in regards to Magic: the Gathering).  I think Ravenclaw would be more willing and ready to change themselves in order to do things more efficiently or just adapt to changing circumstances whereas Hufflepuff is more content with things just comfortably staying the same.  I think that also speaks to my Introverted Thinking being tertiary rather than primary or secondary; I definitely have an interest in understanding the logic and systems of how things work but I'm more than willing to sacrifice that when it comes into conflict with the tried and true.

Game Stuff

Hollow Knight - My completion percentage is climbing quite more quickly than I anticipated -- I'm already at 97%!  I feel like that's a bit of a misleading number though, as there's definitely a lot more than 3 more things I have left to do.  I've just gotten the other half of the Kingsoul from the White Palace and am now ready to go through that door and get the Void Heart.  I've still got some charms to go find in random places as well, and I still have a ton of geo to collect in order to get more of the unbreakable charms, etc etc etc.  But it's still been fun so far!

Dark Souls - Not too much to report, but we've cleared out most of the rest of Sen's Fortress (minus the annoying Titanite Demons in the tar pit, but I'm thinking maybe to do those after another trip to the Undead Asylum to grab the Rusted Iron Ring).  We've started going through the very first part of Anor Londo with the huge knights, which were quite intimidating at first but are a lot easier once you figure out how to best tackle them (just tightly circle around them and stay near their butts).  At some point it might be a good idea to try and farm some more sunlight medals to get access to Great Lightning Spear, though that does require 30 Faith so I've got some time before that'll even be possible to cast (we're at 25 faith right now, guess I should start investing more into faith -- the last point was into dex).  We're still swinging around the Iaito +10, which has been serving well, though we'll see if we open up any other useful weapon choices once we meet the giant blacksmith.

Xmas Stuff

Surprise!  I thought I was done with xmas letters but I actually got another mailing address, so I just finished my =32nd= (and final?) xmas letter.  I still need to figure out a few more gifts but I've actually already handled a lot of them which is nice.  Shopping online via Amazon is definitely making things easier this year...

Coding Stuff

In addition to having LoopMuse updated and running again, I've also gone and rescued/updated RelentlessWaves!  Huzzah!

Cooking Stuff

I did it!  I made prime rib! (not actually "prime grade", but let's just say a rib roast is considered "prime rib")

I got way too much meat from the butcher (I seem to have a issue panicking in these sorts of situations!), so I split it into two and cooked it twice.  This is definitely the most money I've ever spent on meat before...made sure to enlist help making it go to good use...

Made sure to apply liberal salt and pepper and stick them uncovered in the refrigerator beforehand.  I kept on thinking I had been too heavy-handed with the salt, but that didn't end up being an issue at all.  I guess you really do want to season it super well when it's a piece of meat this big.

Here's how the first slab turned out.  I used a reverse sear, meaning low and steady oven heat to cook the roast all the way through to medium-rare, followed by a short blast in a blazing hot roasting oven to brown the exterior.

The slices looked (and tasted) great, and they're mostly medium-rare throughout.  I had it with a bit of simple store-bought horseradish cream which I enjoyed.

The second slab (which I don't have photos of) was sort of more interesting as it had been in the fridge for around 4 days before I roasted it.  I decided to trim off a bit of the exterior since I reasoned it had probably gotten TOO dried out (or possibly even gone bad) during its fridge time.  I'd like to think that was the right call given that 4 days is beginning to creep up into "I'm dry-aging this meat" territory, but I can't really say for sure.  It turned out just fine either way, though I got a bit impatient and used 180-degrees instead of 170-degrees for the low roast, so it was probably a bit less evenly cooked.  It ended up being a mistake as the roast was ready way before the correct eating time so I had to reheat it.  Not the end of the world certainly, but the first one probably ended up being better.

I'd say it was a success all around.  Having a better cut of meat would probably increase the flavor, but there's only so much I'm willing to splurge on something like this (I guess it is once a year...).  Maybe getting a higher grade / more marbled piece, but way smaller?  I also know to not worry about oversalting next time, too.  Once other thing is that I think I can shorten the high heat browning step a little bit.  I think the exterior crust ended up being browned well enough and there's a tiny bit of grey banding near the edges of the roast.  I'd rather sacrifice some of the browning to get rid of some of that grey, I think.

Anyways, hooray!  Now to stay light on red meat for a while...speaking of which, it's been forever and a day since I've just cooked a plain ribeye steak, so that may probably be the next real red meat item to try?  I haven't actually done the whole sous-vide followed by blowtorching in a hot cast iron pan thing yet, so I could definitely try that.  ....maybe after the holiday season is over, lol.

Oh, cornbread happened too:

It was pretty....fine.  Not super delicious by itself, but I mean, cornbread isn't naturally super delicious?  It was a bit overcooked because I had totally forgotten I was using the convection setting on my oven, so whoops!  Could have probably been more moist if I had not made that mistake.  The bottom side definitely got burnt:

But the middle was pretty alright, so phew.

Oh, also, pumpkin pie happened:

Lol turns out I don't have a photo of the ACTUAL pie so you just get a photo of the "leftover filling" pie, which was much scrappier.  It still tasted fine though!  There wasn't really too much to mess up here, just blend all the filling ingredients together and bake it...simple and effective, and it definitely tasted like....good pumpkin pie.  Would I make it on a regular basis?  Probably not.  The apple crumble thinger that I make is probably a bit more exciting.  But if I am making a pie, this might be the one!

Oh yeah, I also have a carbon steel wok now!  My first attempt at properly seasoning it was...not super successful, but I think try #2 has been more successful!  It's definitely way more finicky than cast iron, but I've been having pretty moderate success cooking onions and sausage and mushrooms and such in it so far.  There is still some sticking for sure, but it cleans off without having to use steel wool or anything, so that's fine.  The real test is whether it can deal with fried rice and scrambled eggs, but perhaps I'll cook other things with it a bit more before I throw those things at it.  Last time I tried making fried rice I just ended up with a whole bunch of residue that I had no good way of getting off so I ended up just starting over from scratch, which I'd prefer to not have to do again...all in all it is pretty fun cooking in a wok though!  It's nice that you can just use however hot heat you want and it can take it, and the deep curved sides make things really easy to push around.

Ludum Dare 43

Starts tomorrow!  Wish us the best of luck! =D  I've updated to Unity 2018, which hopefully should not cause any issues.  (also updated to the latest of LeanTween and SInput)  Unity 2018 has its own pixel perfect camera implementation (currently a preview package), which I might play around with once I get back to Rhythm Quest development as a replacement for the other pixel perfect camera scripts I use.  I don't see anything in the changelogs about fixing seamless audio in WebGL though =(  Bleh.


In general is going pretty well, with the notable hiccup/bump here and there that I'd rather not get into.  But yes, in general I'm doing well!  Keeping busy with a bunch of good things, while not getting =too= stressed out.  Every so often I will have days of existential crises about the past, but that's something I feel is part of my very being, so I don't really think that's something I would even try to reconcile...

Anyways, I would say 4 out of 5 mostly* (?) right now, which honestly is what I'm happy with.  I'm not one to need a 5 out of 5 all the time...

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Letters are magic

Letters are a form of magic.  The incantations take time and care to inscribe, but they hold a unique power that is not quite like anything else of this world.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Busy Thanksgiving

Lots of music this past week!  I finished up a Patreon request (will be released on my next "Remixes" album), did a little update of my Brave Fencer Musashi remix, which is now OUT as part of OverClocked ReMix's Hometown Heroes album (will also be on my Remixes volume 2 album), and started up on another commission.  After this one I still have two more songs to knock out in early
December, and that's not even taking into account the fact that Ludum Dare is at the end of next week(!).  I'll be doing One Hour Compo on Thursday yeah, hopefully I can set aside more time to cram out some more music soon since I have deadlines to meet.

Speaking of deadlines, xmas deadlines are quickly sneaking up on me!  I haven't done a big shopping trip, but perhaps I won't actually need to, as I'm taking a smarter approach this year and trying to do a bunch of gift shopping online instead.  Still have to make sure I'm on top of it though, since I won't have any time at all during Ludum Dare.  I have a couple of bday things to take care of too; I should at least knock out some of the handmade stuff since that will go a long way towards wrapping everything up (figuratively and literally lol).  It may seem like there is still more than a month left before xmas but I have xmas deadlines as early as two weeks into December so...

Progress on Tactics Ogre has slowed, understandably, but on the other hand I did finish up my second playthrough -- this time through the Law route, as well as getting the (bad) Lord ending.  Next up will be a go through of the Chaos route (trying to just do what is necessary) and skipping a bunch of sidequests, mostly to recruit Cressida.  I was initially thinking of having that be my last playthrough, but after reading up some more it probably makes more sense to do a 4th one on Law route to be better setup for the endgame.

Anyways, Dark Souls is on temporary hold but I've made it through Sen's Fortress!  Though I still have to actually clear out that area and find some of the stuff that I've missed, like Big hat Logan.  After that it's onto Anor Londo...

In the meantime, I finished Hollow Knight!  Definitely a huge game with a lot to explore, and pretty enjoyable at that.  As I mentioned before, each area definitely has its own unique vibe, and I was actually pretty impressed by how atmospheric some of the darker areas were, that was pretty cool.  There's still a lot more for me to do in the game, however, as I've only gotten the first (worst) ending, and still got a lot more to find and collect (as well as a bunch of better endings to get after I've found more stuff).

Yesterday was pretty productive as I managed to run some errands and do groceries as well as got my flu shot, and also cooked lunch and dinner AND managed to bake some cornbread as well (which I overcooked a bit, but was still "ok").  I hardly ever bake usually, but I'm also hoping to try pumpkin pie later this week, so hopefully that goes well.  If all goes right I'll also try making prime rib on Saturday, woo!

Last night I also "accidentally" pulled an all-nighter trying to recompile and update LoopMuse, a project that I initially made =7 years= ago in 2011.  I went into some pretty deep rabbit holes, but I'm out alive and with a pretty good understanding of what I need to do to get some of my other old projects updated as well.  I don't know if that work was honestly worth it (most would probably say not), but I feel happy that it's finally done, as that's something I was never able to get to for a long time.  I'd say that I'll try to update some other old projects as well soon, but honestly I've got so much other stuff to take care of this coming week that I probably shouldn't.  Did I mention that I also need to draw up another pixel art album cover for my Monthlies album this month, and oh, I need to do that before Ludum Dare starts...I also updated to Unity 2018 and would like to at least do some initial tests with that before LD starts so I'm not caught with my pants down for anything.

Regarding LD, we'll see what happens with it, I know trying to do something with a narrative element again would be great practice for us but it really depends on what sort of ideas we come up with.

Also, I DJed Friday Night Waltz for the first time this past week!  It was pretty successful; I'm glad people came and that they seemed to enjoy the selection of music and dancing.  As for myself, I'm getting more and more into just glowsticking...I donno, I think like when I think about social dance in theory I still am interested, but in practice I just get into the feeling of just wanting to move on my own.  There's so much more freedom of expression when it's just yourself.

So right, writing this blog post has actually made me realize that I have a ton of things to get done.  I tell people that being unemployed has allowed me to kick back and really take my time with things, but gosh I don't really know if that's true, haha.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

For I am just one person, and who is one person to think that they could change the thinking of the many?  Let alone someone with as little charismatic aptitude as myself.  I am just one hard-working person with more pride than they ought to have.  And I can improve my own ability all I want, but would it even make a difference to other people?

I think that if it were not for social dance, I really wouldn't care as much about the importance of being more outgoing.  It's the only hobby I have where the community has such a direct impact on it.  And yet, for all the dedication I have to it, am I really that dedicated?  For all the times when I said people should strike up a conversation with someone they didn't know, when was the last time that I did so?  And for all the times when I encouraged people to dance the opposite role, when was the last time that I tried?

I have always believed that you don't truly have the right to wish for change unless you embody that change first.  So for now, I am just one person who will just stay in my little corner.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Also seared duck breast

I've spent the greater portion of the past two =days= cleaning and organizing stuff.  Phew!  I don't even remember how I started down this path anymore, it was like one little thing where I was like "oh well, also trash day is coming up so I should also probably take care of this other thing that I've been meaning to and -- oh, while I'm at it, I guess I could really go through this other thing and ..." and before I knew it I was embarking on a total rehaul of boxes, drawers, and everything.

I'm very pleased at what I've been able to accomplish so far though!  I've sent a bunch of things off to recycling / landfill (related: I've also realized I'm not nearly as savvy as I should be on recycling and trash practices, so I'm starting to try to learn my way around that), marked other things for donating or giving away, moved a bunch of things around, and tried to declutter as well as reorganize so things make more sense.  No huge changes; all the furniture is still in the same place after all, but for example I had this stack of huge boxes and junk in the corner of my office before; all of that has either gotten thrown away, packed into sensible boxes in the back of my bedroom closet, or in storage in the garage where it isn't cluttering an actual room that I use.  I tackled quite a number of things including but not limited to:
- Redoing drawers in my office.  They're much better organized now.  Also my stationary and letter sets are much easier to get at without digging through piles of it).
- Shuffling some things around in my dresser drawers and rethinking how I fold some of my clothes.  When clothing and accessories are not easily accessible it becomes easy to just forget they exist and never make use of them, so I tried to push all of the "only use once in a while" winter gear and stuff way to the back, and moved all my hairties and such from my office to my bedroom dresser -- after all I should think about those as I am getting dressed along with the rest of my outfit.
- Repacked my box of boxes (not a big deal, it was already pretty ok, but still), and more importantly, completely redid the huge "bag of bags" that I use to keep all of my cute sanrio bags in (for gifting).  It's now a "box of bags", and they're roughly sorted by size so I can flip through and get a bag of the appropriate size instead of just trying to dig through a whole mess.  I also put my bubble mailers in the same box, yay!
- Coalesced some of my Magic: the Gathering stuff.  I have a ton of unopened boosters that are still nice to have, as well as a cube and a battle box, etc, but they're all sort of in one place instead of three different places, and I've thrown out a bunch of the packaging material and boxes and such that aren't really useful to me at all.
- Washed the bedsheets...dusted the floors...etc.
- Trying to air out a bunch of the scarves that unfortunately inherited the smell of a candle that they were packed together with while moving a long time ago.

In general there was a lot of switching from "big pile of things stacked on top of each other" to "horizontal stack of things so I can flip through and access any individual thing easily".

One thing I might still try is rotating the couch 90 degrees (same corner) as that might actually make the office feel a bit more opened up.  I'll have to see how it feels though.

I'm still not really done; I have a whole pile of charms and decorations that I took off of old bags (in addition to ones that I just have had the whole time) and would like to find a way to display them sensibly.  My office has a nice gridded display bookcase thing but it's sort of a big mess right now, so I will be looking to reshuffle that around and hopefully turn it back into a nice display.  I'm also entertaining the idea using some command hooks to hang charms on, but we'll see about that.

Anyways, I haven't really been accomplishing much else these past couple of days, but on the flipside I feel really productive and like I'm doing really satisfying work.  I feel great about myself for taking care of all of this stuff.  It's not just the cleaning and organization either; I'm also trying to work at better practices for other things, for example I'm trying to get the hang of using a kitchen towel while I'm working in the kitchen instead of always relying on the sink and/or paper towels.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around a workflow that works for that, but I'm sure once I figure it out (?) it will make things go a lot more smoothly.

Speaking of cooking, I tried making seared duck breast tonight!

I don't often do food blogging, but hey, why not?

Got inspired to try cooking duck breast after having it at Tanto (a tasty Japanese restaurant), and followed some of the basic directions from the Serious Eats writeup of searing duck breast.  It turned out relatively well!  This is my first time ever working with duck meat, but I think it seemed to be very forgiving in terms of timing because it has so much insulation on the skin/fat side.  You can see in the photo I managed to get a pretty nice level of doneness almost all the way throughout, which was nice (of course, also used a thermometer to help me estimate).

I didn't take a photo of it, but I knew that there would be a ton of rendered duck fat from the cooking, so planning for that I made some microwaved mashed potatoes with mushroom and just poured the duck fat all over it so it would soak into the potatoes for extra flavor.  That worked out, though I think there was even TOO much fat really for that purpose.  It also made for an extremely heavy meal, which is not necessarily a bad thing inherently, but I think I would have preferred something closer to the Tanto style where they serve it over a nice salad with thin (sweet) onion slices and daikon sprouts and other veggies.

The duck breast felt kind of like a steak; it was an interesting combination of traits between chicken and beef.  It did end up being a little chewy; I think two things I would change next time are to try to salt in advance next time (I'm assuming that duck meat, like other meats, will go through some tenderization via dry brining), as well slice much more thinly.

I think I could be a little less heavy-handed on the salt next time, it didn't seem super salty at the time but afterwards I'm feeling it a little bit.  For a long time I used fine-grained table salt out of a salt shaker but have since switched to measuring out coarse-grained salt by pinching it with my fingers, which is easier to see visually but I still need to calibrate downwards on the amount of salt that I need to use.

You can see in the photo I made a pan sauce by deglazing my stainless steel pan with a bit of sake and then adding in some mirin and soy sauce and sugar -- this seemed to be a pretty common combination of ingredients for sauce to go with duck breast when I looked up Japanese recipes (this combination is also just common in Japanese cooking in general).  It worked out alright, though I personally wasn't ecstatic about it.  I did have some wasabi in the fridge (not authentic wasabi, but the green stuff that we make do with in the states) which I remember from Tanto going super well with the dish; the same was true here.  Looking it up afterwards, these sorts of Tataki (seared meat/fish) dishes are often served with a ponzu sauce, so I'll probably try that next time.  I don't think it's worth keeping yet =another= sauce container in the fridge so I'll probably just mix my own with soy sauce and some citrus juice.

I've actually been into Japanese style salads recently, like with onion slices and daikon sprouts and such, so perhaps at some point I'll try to figure out how to put one of those together (which...honestly seems pretty simple, just figure out the dressing and then put veggies together).

Anyways, pretty good experiment, all things considered.  I ended up cooking two duck breasts (came in a pack of two) which of course is way too much to expect one human being to eat for a meal so I have another duck breast which I guess I can eat tomorrow for lunch if it's still good.  Tomorrow night I actually have a quite fancy dinner outing courtesy of my family so that should be much more exciting than this, haha.

For those of you who are still looking for more foodie stuff to entertain yourself with, I've also been going back to making this Brie and Nutella Grilled Cheese sandwich recently as I realized I haven't had nutella in a long time (and nutella is delicious).

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Delta Rune Chapter 1

Took a bit, but I finished Toby Fox's new (demo?) game, chapter 1 of DELTARUNE.  I can't be bothered to write up a detailed review of it nor should I since it's so new, but some bullet points for those who are curious:
- It's definitely a spiritual successor (if not outright sequel) to UNDERTALE (there's a reason it's an anagram lol), if you liked UNDERTALE you'll feel right at home in terms of the gameplay as well as the humor and pacing.
- There are more than a few systematic differences though!  So it's got some twists on it...but you pretty much know what you're getting.
- It's not a full full-length game, no, but it's much longer than you may expect from a demo; long enough to stand on its own for an indie game, to be honest.  I did finish it in one day, but it did take two fairly hefty chunks of time.  You could probably go through it more quickly if you don't care about seeing everything.  Expect it to be significantly longer than the undertale demo.

Indie games are super inspiring haha.

Also, compo stats have been updated and are up to date now:

Happy 44th Birthday to Hello Kitty

Originally posted on Facebook:

And now that it's past midnight -- wishing a happy birthday to Hello Kitty!

I won't hesitate to say that I've become disillusioned with Kitty's US presence as Sanrio US has seemingly moved away from the ethos of "Small gift, big smile" and towards more of a pop culture/social media presence with collaborations and food trucks and pop-up cafes (see  When all of our Sanrio boutiques closed down one by one everything really was downhill from there.

I get it though; many people no longer live in a world where cute pencil pouches and memo pads are even used, let alone useful, and even as a plush and symbol of cuteness/comfort, people have moved onto other sensibilities (looking at you, Pusheen), and there is not a need to create these homey Sanrio store experiences when you can just order merchandise online.

Anyways, just wanted to make a small (okay, maybe big) post celebrating the side of Hello Kitty, and really Sanrio in general, that has always appealed to me most.  This wallpaper that I'm posting here is not drawn in a traditional Sanrio style, but I think captures some of that feeling that I think represents the meaning of Sanrio for me.  I'm sure this side of Hello Kitty is still alive and well in Japan, and among the hearts of many fans.

Hello Kitty can be different things to many people and has many different sides.  For example ( is a painting I saw in person in Los Angeles during Hello Kitty's 40th anniversary.  It really stood out among all of the sparkly and gaudy Lady Gaga-style exhibits as something that reflected a more peaceful feeling.

I'm also glad that this past year Sanrio Danshi aired and despite the storytelling being really generic and mediocre (as far as I have watched at least), its heart is in the right place and it does send a good message.

Anyways, here's looking back at all the good times, Kitty!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Stats as of Oct 2018

Stats are cool, aren't they?  Here's the current set of numbers:

Blog posts: 3,780 (Xanga archive) + 547 (Blogger) = 4,327 over 14.12 years (306.464 per year)
Letters written: 1,128 over 11.33 years (99.590 per year) (1 per 3.668 days)
Letters received: 323 (3.49:1 ratio)
Music: 676 songs over 14.25 years (47.446 per year)
Anime: 2,731 Episodes watched (46.68 days)
Desktop Wallpapers: 3,245

Friday, October 26, 2018

Big update, Unemployment, Tai Chi, synths, Dark Souls update, etc etc etc.

You'd think that being unemployed I'd blog more often instead of less often...but I guess it's more just that the days of me feeling like i NEED to say something about =everything= are past.  I definitely remember that stage in high school where I just found it really nice, theraputic even to just type everything out as a way of processing it and to distill any of those leftover thoughts and feelings that I had.  I'd like to (?) think that I am a little bit better at being able to acknowledge my thoughts and feelings as they happen and "let them pass", so to speak.  Kind of like meditating, you know?  Where you don't necessarily feel obligated to act upon every single thought or feeling.

Speaking of which, I think I'm really feeling a lot better so far about (not) stressing out about things in general.  Of course there is still an internal alarm bell (or whatever metaphor you want to use) that starts going off whenever I haven't gotten to one or more of my responsibilities for a long time, but I think it's been easier to not stress out about that alarm going off (and trust that I will be able to get to it).  Perhaps more importantly, it's also been easier to manage that alarm in the first place, since I really feel like I am doing a better job of keeping up with things in general now, with letters, music, etc.  Things will never be perfect and my plate will never be fully empty, but as long as I'm making forward progress I'm happy.

I did some tai chi for the first time in forever the other day!  It felt nice, just went out to the park after doing some stretching and such at home.  I'm super out of shape of course, but actually not =as bad= as I thought, so that was nice.  It didn't take a ton of time either, so hopefully that's something I can start doing randomly a bit more often.  Though it is a bit less fun doing it alone compared to when it was with others.  But it's sort of fun to be alone in its own way, too, I guess.

Worked on a bunch of music stuff today!  Got started on an interesting request to remix Gliding Dance of the Maidens, which took quite some tries to get started on, but I think I'm making headway there, yay.  Also did OHC today, in which I tried to emulate puru's progressive sounds.  I was eh...about halfway successful I think.  I managed to get pretty tight drum sequencing, which I think worked really nicely -- I'm going to have to push this "clean" style of drums more in the future.  I really stumbled on making the proper trance pluck sounds though, something which I feel like I used to be able to do but I guess I've gotten out of practice with it.  After OHC ended I spent some time experimenting with that, trying to get the hang of it not only with the classic 3xOsc synth, but also with Harmor and Sytrus.  I actually might start trying to use Sytrus a bit more often for this type of supersaw sound, as it's fairly easy to get a good unison saw sound out of sytrus and the filters actually work pretty nicely.  Harmor can do it too, of course, but...I dunno, the UI in harmor just feels more clunky and confusing, really.  Both Sytrus and Harmor are capable of doing subtractive synthesis, even though Sytrus is built for FM/ringmod and Harmor is built as an additive synth.  So maybe more Sytrus is in my future when I want to play around with synth stuff...?  Anyways, it felt good to be doing so much work on music.  It's just as well too, since I already have a commission lined up for next month too!

Xmas letters are progressing smoothly!  I've gotten 25 of them done, and also took care of some birthday letters along the way as well.  Only 6 more days left!  I still have some of the longer ones left to do though, so hopefully I can schedule them in at good times.  I still have to do my Japanese letter too, which will probably take a while, haha.  Once all the letters are done I have to make sure to not relax -- need to get all the gift shopping done early otherwise deadlines will sneak up on me before I know it...

Progressing further and further in Dark Souls, which has been keeping my interest pretty well!  I've also started listening to the Bonfireside chat podcast (that, the "Analog" melee podcast, and Limited Resources for MtG are my 3 podcasts to listen to while driving) alongside my playthrough, which...well, I wouldn't say it's the =greatest= podcast in the world, but it's enjoyable enough, for a drive.  Anyways, the main cleric character (Sayuri) has a bunch of points into Faith and uses lightning spear in addition to the Jagged Ghost Blade (currently reinforced to +4), which fortuitously dropped from one of the ghosts in new londo ruins.  It's just as well too, because we spent a LOT of time down in those ruins fighting those ghosts wayyyy before we were supposed to...we ended up clearing the ENTIRE area out and got confused because there was nowhere else to go (turns out I had just completely missed the door to the lower undead burg, argh).  Anyways, it's been serving really well, as it's got really nice base damage AND procs a nice bleed effect as well.  The only thing is that it doesn't do too well in narrower spaces or against short or flying enemies as it mainly has horizontal slash attacks, so occasionally we'll switch to the good ol mace (one of the better weapons in the game actually) and use those vertical attacks to smash things.

The jagged ghost blade doesn't have much scaling, so eventually we'll replace it with some sort of divine or just regular reinforced dex scaling weapon.  Our scimitar is currently a divine scimitar although we haven't needed it yet (once we go into the catacombs, I guess?), and we just picked up a falchion so that could be a candidate.  Some sort of katana would actually be great -- apparently there is an Iaito somewhere in blighttown that you can get to by jumping to a platform, so maybe that, if we end up going back there.  I might just do some backtracking through blighttown (ugh) anyways, as I'm sure I didn't get everything there.  I actually also should go back to the lower burg since I apparently completely missed Griggs there, lol.

Anyways, we actually made our way all the way through the depths, through blighttown, and beat quelaag, rang the second bell to presumably unlock sen's fortress (?) and are now near the ruins of chaos.  There are quite a few different directions we can explore go at this point, though I guess sen's fortress is the next real progress area (?).  There's no shortage of unexplored areas, at any rate, as there's the bridge in valley of drakes that i don't know where it goes (shortcut to somewhere?), there's the crest of artorias door which I don't know where it leads to, and a bunch of stuff in blighttown probably. certainly a lot of stuff in this game, lol.  Also, we accidentally killed the Chaos Servant guy guarding Quelaag's sister, whoops!  Didn't see the option to talk to him since I was holding my shield up.  Fortunately that doesn't really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, just sort of unfortunate.  Wish somebody had left a message there that indicated something about that dude though.  We also missed beating Kirk in the sewers -- didn't realize he was an NPC to be beaten.  Whatever, there's no way to expect to get everything right on the first playthrough.

My second character is a sorcery-focused int build, which is a drastically different playstyle, as she gets to really nuke things with hard-hitting magic attacks, but it requires a different set of tactics as she's sort of fragile and the magic takes time to cast, so it's tricky sometimes to find a good window of time to fire them off.  I've beaten the Gaping Dragon with that character, so next is to head down to blighttown.

Third character is sort of a lolzy one, just focusing on strength and two-handing huge weapons.  I haven't played with that one very much at all, I think I only beat the taurus demon so far.  Don't know if I'll continue, though it does seem funny to just hold really huge weapons around haha.

Cleared a Space Alert mission successfully for the first time in about 3 years, which was fun!  Really gotta keep your wits sharp to succeed in that's still fun though.

I've started playing through Hollow Knight as well!  In earnest this time, as the last time I tried I didn't get very far at all.  Currently just got to the Fungal, a LOT of attention and detail went into the art for this game, it's pretty insane how fully-featured all of these environments are and so far the different feel of all the areas is coming across really well.  It's been fun so far.

Things that are coming up (a.k.a. things that I have to get done, lol)...besides stuff that is not really worth mentioning (getting my flu shot at some point), I actually still might want to do a short post-mortem for Bath Time, lol.  Speaking of which, there's a pretty annoying touchscreen bug, so (sigh) I probably will try to fix that up and make a new mobile build for it.  At SOME point I'll have to try to actually get back to development on Rhythm Quest, though it is certainly intimidating since there is so much that needs to be done there.  Besides all the content, I want to redo how the map screen works entirely if possible, maybe the main menu as well, but also have to make a calibration screen of some sort, etc etc etc.

For anime, Inuyasha (lol) is on hold at the moment, but I finished off Evangelion for reals (yay).  I didn't expect the ah..."change of direction" at the end of the series to be so...SUDDEN...but thinking about it, it makes sense.  For some reason I expected that to start happening earlier, but it really was compacted into the last little bit.  Anyways, now I'm making my way through the latter parts of Onii Sama e...which has had some quite nice episodes.  I don't really know what to say about it without having to explain a lot of other things about the anime, so I won't really bother, but it has been good.

Not much melee these days, but one thing that is exciting is that Rishi and KJH made it into summit!  Woot!  Should be a good lineup!  That's pretty exciting.

Also been catching up on going through random music that I've got backlogged on my drive, including Chronology (jazz rearrangement album of Chrono Trigger, it's pretty nice!), as well as Harmony of Heroes (super smash bros giant rearrangement album) and the Final Smash extension (those two didn't have that much that was to my liking, but a few things here and there were nice).  As I said, it just feels nice to be making progress on things.  I even went through all of my accumulated deviantArt notifications the other day, haha.  I'm actually trying to get back into my habit of using my little batch script to open up a bunch of websites every morning for me to check for updates!  Anyways, all of these things feel great to be going back to.  I should also be putting out my "Monthlies" release for this month relatively soon too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Sometimes I feel truly alone in this world.  This world of mine, formed by my memories, my past, my sandcastles all forever washed away in the tides.  And that loneliness is not the feeling that no one cares, or that no one will understand, but rather that no one that matters still exists.  Because the world that I find myself in is not the one of my memory.  And it is not mine.  Yet here I am, in this unfamiliar, ever-changing reality, all by myself.  And I will never see any of those people again.  For they are not here.  Not in that form.  Not in this time.  And I will lose the people of this world once again, too, when the tide comes in and washes all those sandcastles away.  I will lose them all.  As I have lost them before.  And as I have lost even myself.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Things have been alright.  We're not quite "up to snuff" yet, but it's been an ok week, all things considered.

I finally finished off my System Shock 2 playthrough!  Having played through the entire game twice now; I think I'm safe in saying I can finally just put it to rest for all eternity now, as I really don't think there's anything more to be accomplished with it.

The GCC class went alright!  Teaching is hard, but people seemed to enjoy the class, which was great!  For the first time I was able to actually give some tips based on the things I was seeing in real-time as I was teaching, which is great as I've never been able to have the presence of mind / mental bandwidth to do that before.  As always, having multiple levels of things for people to work on seemed to work well.  I think the takeaway for me here is that one of the most helpful things you can do is run somebody else through your class and see where they mess up, because it's super likely that everybody else will have the same issues.

Somehow even without my job I am still feeling a bit stressed from all of the things I have to get done, sigh.  After thinking about it, it really just means I need to really just set aside more time by myself at home to just take care of things.  Really, I think we already knew that though.  But hopefully tomorrow will be a good start toward finding more peace with that again.

Boogie by the Bay was alright; pretty much went as expected.  Lessons were a mixed bag as always, but fun.  Actually having people that I know to hang around with and practice with made a big difference, so I'm glad that happened.  Other than that...not much to say about it, really.

Up ahead, I've gotta work on my setlist for FNW, put together a dance event, work on a bunch more letters, do some music stuff...

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I wonder sometimes, how much I am "supposed" to write here, and which things I should say and not say.  There is no right answer, of course.

We're on the tail end of week 1 of unemployment now!  It's been relatively uneventful, to be honest, but not really in a bad way.  I haven't really done anything super out of the ordinary, but I think the amount of things that I've managed to accomplish and spend time on each day is really where I notice the big difference.  I'm keeping up with Inktober letters, working on music, tending to other things, etc etc.  It feels like normally I'd have to spread it out a lot more across different days, but now I'm able to start and finish a letter, but also have time for music in the same day, as well as grocery shopping, miscellaneous work, etc.  Perhaps most importantly, I just generally have so much more "me time" in general...just time spent listening to my music, at my desk, doing whatever it is that I'm up to.  I love it and I really think I have missed this a's one of the reasons college life was so great, I think.  I don't think everything is suddenly all coming up roses per se, but really it is making a big difference in the way that I can feel at peace, I think.

I spent a lot of time together with Mocha yesterday.  Gosh, was that only yesterday?  The days seem to stretch on and on now, since I'm managing so much.  Though the weeks seem just as short, heh.  Mocha really holds a special place in my heart now I think.  She is wonderful and sometimes it feels like all I want to do is just protect her and make sure that she feels loved.  Being with these meowmies is really teaching me a lot, I feel like.  The quails, too.  Watching them be culled was a really interesting emotional experience.  Not sure how to describe the feeling.  Even if I could, maybe it's not something I'd care to really write about here.  Not everything has to be said aloud.

I used to write a blog entry for every single OHC entry that I made, haha.  Don't think I'll write about every OHC here anymore, but this first one was quite fun, even though it was a relatively quiet round.  As I already knew, the OHC community isn't nearly as bustling as it used to be, so it's less exciting of an event, I guess.  But the actual act of composing really quickly hasn't changed at all, and though I am saddened that the community is less lively, it's still really fun just trying to churn out music.  It feels really satisfying, too, just getting something finished and calling it done.  I guess it's akin to quick sketching, in a way.  I haven't done any of it in such a long time.

I have to run around feeding various meowmies this weekend @_@  I will also be stopping by Boogie by the Bay, which should be pretty fun I guess.  I'm excited about going to dance WCS with other WCS dancers again, since that is always fun...and excited to hang out.  Not really as excited about actually improving in the dance; I just can't be bothered to at this point.  Besides, I have another dance scene that I feel much more of a responsibility to...

Speaking of which, I'll be teaching a class before the GCC dance on Sunday!  I'm not super stressed about it, but at the same time I haven't actually figured out my lesson plan 100%, so maybe I should be =(  Teaching is hard, ugh.

Progress in Tactics Ogre has slowed down as expected, haha, since I'm no longer playing it while walking to and from the train, and while on the train...but it's still fun to boot up every so often, like while lying in bed, or whatever.  Still going through the Law route for now (chapter 3L right now).

I do hope to get back to System Shock 2 and finally finish off that playthrough soon (ugh, it's been too long).  Once I get that done, I can turn more of a focus towards other things, Dark Souls!  We've been playing a bit of it and it's been quite fun!  (DS1 remastered)  It definitely has its weird quirks and difficult-to-understand bits, but the gameplay is pretty fun and deep, and ultimately feels pretty rewarding.

Return to OHC!

Super excited to be doing One Hour Compo again in a little less than an hour!  OHC is how I really honed my production chops, and I haven't done it on a regular basis since four years ago in 2014!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Uni-ball Signo 307 is the best pen ever

This is coming from someone who has written 1,091 letters over the past 11.25 years, so I mean it very strongly when I say that if you are looking for a fine-tip gel pen to write with, look no further than the Uni-ball Signo 307 series.

Many of you will probably be familiar with Uni-ball's classic UM-151 line, which looks like this:

In fact, I purchased some Hello Kitty branded UM-151 pens from Japan years ago and have been using both 0.38 and 0.28 black ink refills in them for =years=.

The UM-151 is a good pen.  A great pen, even.  It's a classic, and held up to any comparisons I made with other brands, whether it be the Pilot Hi-tec-cs, Pentel Sliccis, Zebra Sarasa, you name it.  I couldn't make the argument that the Uni-ball Signo was strictly superior, but I definitely preferred it and kept both an 0.38mm and 0.28mm on me at all times.  (Disclaimer: I have not tried everything...notably, I haven't tried a Pentel Energel yet...and I bet there are newer pens that have popped up in the meantime...)

...until I met the 307, labeled as "ultra micro".  You'll notice right away that the pen body itself is different and the pen itself is retractable rather than having a pen cap.  Trivial differences, to be sure, but I really do love the new pastel designs and "lighter" aesthetic.

What really makes the difference, though, is the UMR-83E ink.  The only real problem with the UM-151 pens was that the ink could sometimes (albeit rarely) dry out or be a bit inconsistent.  Well, say goodbye to those worries, because the UMR-83E refills and their fancy "cellulose nanofiber ink" really do away with that problem entirely, leading to perfectly smooth writing, forever.

0.38mm really is the perfect ink width for me, but these refills are available in 0.5mm and 0.7mm as well for those of you who prefer thicker lines.

To top it off, these refills use the same form factor as the 207, meaning if you want a more squishy rubber grip, you can use them in the Uni-ball 207 Premier, which looks like this:

Which of course doesn't look as cute, but if the grip is more comfortable for you, go for it.

The only disappointment really is that the "E" series of refill isn't available in 0.28mm sizing, so I'll have to stick with either the regular UMR-82 ink (don't have any on me actually...should order some), or go back to the classic UMR-1-28 refills and use them with the old signo DX series.  I dream of a day when I can get the 307 ink with a 0.28mm width...that would be amazing.

Anyhow, the ink and writing of the new 307s is fantastic and I haven't touched a regular UM-151 in quite some time because these are just =so nice= to write with.

MBTI in Software Engineering

Me (and a friend who also identifies as ISFJ) have been saying for a while that ISFJ, and SFJ / SF / F types in general are rare / underrepresented in our industry, but I realized while thinking about it today that while I've looked at some location-based statistics, I've never looked up MBTI representation within software engineering in general.  Well, there have been studies (however rigorous or non-rigorous) done on this, so we can put that question to rest.

This study from 2003 shows ISFJ as 2nd most underrepresented type (slightly behind ESFP) in engineering, with only a 2% representation, compared to 13.8% in the general population.
F types are also underrepresented (19% compared to 59% in general), and SF (12% compared to 43%) and FJ types (8% compared to 30%) are also underrepresented.  Another study which collates together a bunch of different results basically shows the same things.

These studies really aren't the greatest, but I guess now when I feel like I'm in a sea of T types in general, especially STJ and NTJ and NTP types, there's probably a good reason for it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Train problems =(  It took me 3 hours to get home...this is definitely the part of my job that I will miss least.

Hoo boy...let's catch up again.

Samurai Shaver Latency Calibration

It took way longer than it should have, but after hearing several (more) complaints about audio synchronization issues, I've finally finished implementing a nice audio calibration screen for Samurai Shaver, as well as changed the default to use predictive audio instead of dynamic audio for the slash sounds.  Latency calibration is always a tricky thing, and ideally I would have a more fully-featured system that also allows calibration of =input= latency...

There are basically 3 separate things you have to consider: input latency (time between your input and when the game processes it, usually low but notably higher for many touchscreen APIs), display latency (time between the game updating graphcs and when you actually see it), and audio latency (time between the game playing a sound and when you actually hear it).  You can't actually measure all three, but you don't actually need to either -- you just need two relative measurements of display latency vs input latency and audio latency vs input latency.

So if you show a pulse and time the user's tap in response to it, you're measuring visual + input latency.  Hopefully this is low enough that you don't have to worry about it in most cases, but that's not really a guarantee.  If you have 100ms of combined visual + input latency, then you need to show your visuals 100ms before the corresponding event processing.

If you also play a beat and time the user's tap in response to it, you're measuring audio + input latency.  This is usually higher (especially for android devices), and tells you how much to shift your audio track earlier.  If this is too high then any dynamic audio you play in direct response to user input will (necessarily) be delayed significantly, which can really throw off timing.

Anyhow, for Samurai Shaver I only took the latter measurement and act as though there is 0 visual and input latency.  In reality there is a noticable amount of input latency (and/or display latency, you can't really tell the difference), which means that the visual indicators will lag behind by that amount, which is a bit unfortunate.  Fortunately it seems to work out well enough anyways, and it's probably not worth the extra effort to add in more logic for.  Maybe for Rhythm Quest...except Rhythm Quest doesn't really have that much of a good way of compensating for input + display latency in the first place because of the nature of the game...

Annnnyways, that's probably more than you wanted to know.  Suffice to say that even though it's long overdue, I've finally got it working more or less as it should be.  Hopefully my fans in Asia will appreciate that work (not sure if people are even still playing?).

Tactics Ogre

I've made a heaping ton of progress in Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together!  I finished my first playthrough (doing the Neutral route), beating the final boss and everything.  The last fight was a bit interesting -- it's a two-phase fight where in the first phase you fight both the boss's first form alongside with exact dopplegangers of the team that you send in, which is pretty interesting.  I definitely had to experiment with some different strategies for that fight, as just going at it head on was not working at all.  My units were...well, evenly matched, obviously, and then the boss's first form can basically just one-shot anybody in range.  After a couple of attempts at bumrushing the boss (didn't work at all) I eventually had better luck by removing all of my counterattack skills to reduce the amount of damage going around (on both sides), and then playing a longer game where I slowly picked off units one by one and retreated + healed as necessary, always making sure to stay out of range of the boss's main attack.  That paid off and I made it into the second stage of the fight, where your remaining units just have to fight against the boss's final form (a singular unit).  The second form didn't really involve a ton of strategy, more of just a test to see how well you got out of the first stage, but I eventually managed to just squeak out a victory.  Hooray!

After that you unlock the "World" feature, which allows you to jump back and forth along the story timeline and take other branches, unlock other characters, etc., while keeping your current army and inventory and all.  I went through the first sidequest dungeon again, but this time picked up all of the crafting recipe drops...unfortunate that Tactics Ogre has all of these hidden drops and quests and such that you basically have to read a FAQ to get info about.  They're not even guaranteed drops, either...sometimes the map doesn't even spawn the right enemy to drop them...

Anyhow, I finished that off, and afterwards I warped back all the way to Chapter 1 so I can start going through the Law route (my first playthrough was the Neutral route) and recruiting some of the exclusive characters from that route.  Because Denam (the main character) has to be in every story battle, the enemies levels always scale to his, but fortunately, these earlier chapter battles are easy enough that I've been taking the opportunity to use all of my lower-leveled classes that I got later on, like hoplite, juggernaut, matriarch, fusilier, bucaneer, etc.  Leveling has slowed down for those since they are now catching up and are around level 16-17, but anyways, it's good to see that they are finally getting to be on par (level-wise) to my primary units.  Some of them still seem a bit underwhelming, but 5 levels can probably make a significant difference, so I'll reserve judgment for now.  My gryphon is still having a bit of trouble, as it can't seem to take all that much punishment (gets hit easily, especially by magic), and on the flipside can't really dish out damage that effectively either as it has accuracy problems, even with a ring of agility.  Maybe I just need to keep leveling it...perhaps at some point I'll also see what the other monster classes have to offer.

I had this grand plan to have my Familiar learn the various "kiss"-type debuff skills and then transition to being a rogue, so she could use a crossbow or something to shoot from afar to accumulate TP and then use those debuff skills, but that really didn't end up panning out too well, so she's back to just being a mage.  Right now she fills the same role as Catiua in her priest class -- namely, a healer that can also cast offensive divine magic (though the familiar can't use the AoE damage spells).  That seems to at least work decently.


I don't really know how, but after the Nth time of trying, something must have clicked or something because somehow I feel like I "get" how to make pan sauces now.  Was trying to practice braising chicken thighs in preparation for cooking some more of those quails that my best friend is planning to cull, and ended up reducing the braising liquid into a decent sauce...amazing.  I cooked a cod fillet I had in the freezer on Monday -- coated it in corn starch first, and unfortunately ended up sticking to the pan a bit, but fortunately that wasn't a huge deal as I ended up just scraping up the stuck bits later and adding sherry to make a sauce for that.  Feels like I've unlocked a small little world to play around with, which is pretty interesting as I'm not always sure how the end result will end up tasting.

Life and Work

For those who haven't already heard, this week is my last week at my current job!  It's been a good run, but it's time for me to (finally) put a close to that chapter of life and wipe the dust off of the proverbial slate.  I plan to just not think about employment at all for a good bit, as I definitely need time to myself to just focus on my own personal life.  It's pretty exciting!  Anyways, for now I'm basically just scrambling to get everything done in the last few remaining days I have...then I'll be home free!

Return to OHC

I don't have a ton of concrete plans about what I'll do with my time once work has ended, but one thing I do plan on doing is starting up with One Hour Compo again!  Pretty excited about that, as I feel like I've lost a bit of the confidence that I used to have when I was doing it every week.  One thing I still haven't quite figured out is how to resume doing my Monthlies releases along with my other music as well as how to handle that on Patreon, etc.  I don't want to just start charging 5x per month to my patrons, so I'll have to think of a good option to deal with that...maybe make one paid post per month for the entire monthlies release.  I could also switch my campaign to being a monthly really depends.  Patreon is weird, haha.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

*Nothing* is as exhilarating and exciting as making music.

Things have been pretty okay!  I think the past few weeks have been some steps in the right direction, which feels nice.

General Stuff

I saw Kiki in a dream the other day.  I really wonder, what they think of me, how they are doing, and if I really will ever see them again.  Haha, well, not like that's anything new, anyways.  Only time will tell.

It's better to prove yourself by following through, rather than offer promises.

I've been thinking a lot about regaining more of a sense of my old self, and I think I've really started to get in touch with some things and made some realizations.  Perhaps most importantly, I have remembered that feeling of calm and peace that I carried in myself.  Not all the time, for there were also many periods of uncertainty, but those times when I would be content to just be.  I think that feeling is perhaps a large part of what I have been missing in recent times.  That mode where you are conscientious about everything you do, carefully placing your movements and actions as if you were performing tea ceremony.  I tried on Friday to return back to a time of quiet in my dance as well, and I think it taught me a lot.  It amused me a bit because it went against quite a few things that I have been preaching generally when I work with others on their dancing, yet I understood so clearly that this was also an essential duality of my nature, not something to be left behind entirely.

Hoping to maybe mark the return of OHC and Monthlies next month =O

Tactics Ogre Stuff

Tactics Ogre (specifically, the One Vision mod) is proving to really be something that I have been sinking myself's been pretty great.  Despite the fact that there are no sort of "cross-job skill combos" as there are in FFT (one of the funnest parts of FFT, IMHO), there is a LOT of opportunity for customization and flexibility in how you build out your squad and characters.  I've recently been exploring a bunch of these options to see what makes sense, and have learned quite a number of things along the way.

One of the main customization options is equipment.  First off, there different =types= of armor, and you can only pick two at a time to wear: Body armor which offers the best defense but is heavier, Helms which are a bit lighter but still offer good defense, Legguards which focus more on evasion, and Gauntlets/gloves which forego defense in favor of upgrading your offensive stats.  But past that, there are different classes of each, with some jobs being limited to what they can wear.  The Ninja class, for example, only has access to light armor and caster robes, so he can't go in wearing heavy tank armor.  You could focus instead on boosting evasion, but that would still probably leave you soft to magic damage.  Knights, on the other hand, can wear heavy armor, and they can't use 2-handed swords, so they also have a shield to help with their defense.

But wait -- there's more!  There are "sidegrades" (not upgrades) for both armor and weapons that let you make specific tradeoffs.  For example, you can craft gloves that sacrifice some of their strength bonus and give you a bonus to magic stats instead, for mage knights.  You can take a 2-handed sword and make it deal more damage, but at the expense of speed and accuracy.  You can take the avoidance bonus from legguards and replace it with a magic resistance bonus.  There's all sorts of flexibility!

It's pretty interesting because in general when thinking about equipment, you want to maximize the unit's strengths, but also want to cover its weaknesses.  Previously I was taking a bit too much of a min-maxing approach and as a result many of my units were a bit too frail.  I tried to forego defense in favor of speed (allowing my units to act faster) and all-out offense (everyone had gloves!), but I've since had to scale back on that to avoid my units dropping like flies.

Recently I've changed up a few of my builds significantly.  My two Valkyries/Spellblades (Rune Fencers), for example.  Valks are sort of a tricky unit to deal with since they can be front-line units but also can cast a limited selection of magic.  Previously I had them equipped with a one-handed sword or spear, and had them basically casting support buffs, as well as throwing items around -- basically full-on support units.  That worked out sort of ok, but the problem is that they were never super great at any of their roles -- if I wanted melee damage, my warriors and knights did better, and if I wanted healing, my priest can just sit in the back and heal from afar.  The support buffs were useful for a while, but nowadays the Sword dancer can actually apply them in a huge area (and I have him do that at the beginning of most battles to cover my team).  So right now I've changed things up so now my valks both have staves, as well as mage gloves and rings which boost their magic, so they are essentially mages, but a bit tankier so they don't have as many problems being in the front line.  This works pretty well because my lineup was actually fairly low on magic damage output, so this balances that out a bit.

My priest (actually called a monk) sits in the back and pretty much just does healing.  Healing doesn't really scale with stats (confusingly enough) which means I'm actually optimizing her for speed, so she has no weapon!  That said, sometimes she also casts a speed buff on herself or someone else (very nice), or casts sleep on an opposing unit (also very useful).

One unit I really haven't figured out how to work with is the Familiar, which is a faerie-exclusive unit.  This unit had problems in the original game as well, apparently.  It can cast healing magic, which lead me to basically use it as another cleric...though it can also cast a bit of offensive magic.  It also has a bunch of neat TP-requiring abilities, such as some nice debuffs and a large area heal...but the problem is that in order to gain TP you need to either deal or receive *physical* damage.  Unfortunately the Familiar is also really squishy and often dies if you put it in the front lines.  So it's sort of a weird conflict that I haven't figured out.  Right now I've tried giving it a dagger and shield, and an evasion cloak to boost its survivability.  It's still a bit awkward though, as if I need a heal, it's probably more important for it to heal.  And if it's attacking with its dagger, it's not doing a ton of damage or anything.  I could give it a one-handed bow, but again, that wouldn't really do a ton of damage.  It's a weird unit.
Update: I've actually had a short discussion with the creator of the mod regarding the Familiar!  He says he hasn't gotten around to a full proper rework of the class and so right now it's a support-type unit with some mediocre stats, but also neat abilities, haha, which is sort of in line with what I figured out already.  I also discovered that besides faeries, you can also have gremlins (didn't realize for some reason they are a different race altogether) and pumpkinheads (!) become familiars, so perhaps I just have the wrong stats for the unit to be effective.  I'll have to try and recruit some more faeries/gremlins to see.

I've changed up my winged human Canopus, which uses the "Vartan" class, as well.  Canopus has a pretty great mobility advantage in that he can fly, which makes a huge difference in many maps.  Previously I just gave him a two-handed axe and called it a day, but unfortunately as I got further on into the campaign, that led to him flying into the enemy, getting a great attack in, and then dropping dead soon after since he was super exposed and didn't have much protection -- Vartan can't equip heavy armor!  I also realized that it didn't make quite the most sense (?) to equip him with a melee weapon as he can't equip heavy gauntlets, so he can only wear the armguards that boost dex.  It's a bit confusing because dex DOES still increase melee damage as well, just not as much (well, it depends on the weapon, really).  It would be great if he could use a 2-handed bow or crossbow, but that option ended up being overpowered so it's actually not allowed in the mod (good reasoning).  Instead of a 1-handed bow I've actually just gone ahead and given him a throwing weapon -- so still a dex weapon, and still 1-handed so he can have a shield, but does more damage than a bow at the expense of having less range...which works out because he can easily fly behind enemy lines and get up close to the squishy units at the back anyways.

Anyhow, I'm actually near the end of chapter 4 (on the "neutral" route) at the moment, ready to go into the hanging gardens and deal with the dark knights.  Not sure how long until the end of the game, but that's where things really start to get crazy as you can essentially newgame+ back to the other storylines and finish other sidequests and such.  There is like infinity hours worth of postgame content so...yeah, we'll see!

Melee Stuff

I've realized that I need to be a little more dilligent in what I am focusing on when I am playing, lest I just keep on doing the same silly bad things over and over.  My current biggest thing is working in empty jump -> grab into my game for all characters, but here's some other notes for things that I need to work on.

All characters:
- Stay shielding on a platform when they are below you, angle shield down, WAIT, don't just drop through asap
(I really suck at this situation right now, every time I prep for a shield drop and either get shieldpoked or fall into a waiting uptilt because I did a braindead timing)

- Empty jump grab
- Backthrow on platform to shield->shield drop uair
- Look for fsmash out of uthrow
- Uthrow to reverse fair
- Fsmash on tech away when under a platform
- Upair strings out of upthrow on FD
- Some random edgeguarding things

- Empty jump grab
- Upthrow -> use up on control stick to fulljump ff upair
- Upthrow -> drill reset

- Shinegrab
- More uptilt in neutral, and in combos

- Dthrow at edge -> REACT, either turnaround sh ff knee if close, or run out dj uair if far
(we'll see if i can get the actual timing right on the dj uair, if it keeps on clanking and they're too far to hit before starting, then maybe sh out is better than run off)
- Fastfall timing for sh knee to cover missed tech
(I miss this like every time right now and it sucks)
- WAIT before back sh knee to cover tech roll in

- Mixup between sh nair and run off dj nair to edgeguard
- Empty jump grab

- Waveland on platforms to catch techrolls
- Upthrow -> dash attack instead of trying to regrab
- A lot of float stuff

Other Stuff

Been itching to play Space Alert again at some point, haha.

Tried Baldur's Gate 2 multiplayer a bit...the BG2 interface definitely takes a bit of getting used to and...I feel like this is definitely a game that needs to be played singleplayer, really.  I feel like it also requires a lot of knowledge going in already, like if you don't know what all of these gajillion spells do, good luck trying to figure out how to use them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Things are not the best, and they have not been for quite some time.  As far back as January ( ( even, and perhaps before that too.  For a while now I have known that I have been drifting further from who I want to be.  Part of it is inevitable...some things even if I tried, they would probably never come back to me.  But other things I know that I can reach again if I try.  And even if I can't, I still must try.  I have no choice; because that's just who I am.

I know, though, that I can do better.  I think I am on my way feels that way already.  Things may not be the same as before once I finally reach back to the place, my place, the forest of life.  But I am on my way.  And I know I will get there, because I won't ever stop until I have reached it.

Sometimes, I realize and feel that the only thing I can do is to be better, to try harder.  To keep walking, unrelentingly, towards what I want, and have always wanted.  And to make the difficult choices along the way, of what to cast aside so that I can continue.  So that I can continue to remain the person I would like to be.

It's perhaps the first time in my life I have felt strongly that I have drifted so far away from what is right, from who I am.  But I have faith.  Faith that is built on nothing but my own fortitude.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

JaSmix 2018, Ludum Dare 42, More Tactics Ogre stuff

JaSmix 2018 was this past weekend, and was a great success!  Big thanks to everyone who came to the event, as well as the people who helped me make it all possible.  It was really satisfying to see all the planning and prep work that went into it pay really looked like everybody was having a great time.  My classes went pretty alright too, all things considered!  Every time I teach I learn a little more, I think, about how to hold a workshop, keeping things going, and how to really convey and drill information down.  In any case, as I've written about before, my overall understanding of dance and partnering mechanics is a lot better than it used to be, so at the very least it's easier for me to drill down into what works and what doesn't and what are the important things to keep in mind and fix.

We had quite a good variety of workshops this year and I think 6 was a really good number to have!  Happy that that worked out since I have been conservative for the past 2 years with only 3 workshops each time.  Something that really struck me over the course of the day is just how much more comfortable and confident I have become with my own movement over the course of time.  That of course is mainly from social dancing, but also from glowsticking, and also my growth as a person too, perhaps.  It's really cool that social dance has provided a structure within which to practice and develop these things, I think.

Ever since last year I think, JaSmix has really become my most anticipated dance event of the year, haha, not really even close.  Viennese Ball of course is always really fun to see everybody and mingle, and Big Dance is great as a long-lived tradition that pulls out a good crowd of people, but I feel like JaSmix really focuses on social dance itself -- both improving and learning about it, and also having a lot of fun dancing to a night of great music.  There is a sort of very different energy when you're the one running an event, but at the same time it was intensely rewarding to see everyone out on the dance floor with such good energy.  Anyways, I'll definitely look forward to hosting it again next year.

And with that all squared away and in the books, the next thing to look towards is Ludum Dare 42!'s sort of one thing after another for me recently, haha.  Ludum Dare runs from Friday through Monday (this time with a new starting/ending time of 3:00PM instead of 6:00PM, which should be interesting), but I'll also be taking Thursday and Tuesday off, to give myself some much-needed respite and to recover from the craziness of LD and all that.  I still have some prep work to do for LD over the next two days -- setting up the project, testing a few things, making a post on the site, and of course the most important part: grocery shopping for snacks and food!  I really have no idea what will come out of LD this time; I'm sure we will work very hard on something, but I think it feels quite chill going into it since we don't really have any particular aspirations or goals going into the event.

Tactics Ogre has continued to keep me thoroughly occupied during train rides and such, which has been really great.  I ended up on the neutral route first, and am in the middle of chapter 3 at the moment.  I definitely have a good handful of units / classes which I have been completely ignoring, like a reptile whom I recruited and turned into a hoplite and then promptly proceeded to leave at level 1 and never use.  It's getting to be super overwhelming with the sheer number of classes and units, haha!  I also started recruiting a bunch of beast and dragon classes, but I decided to just focus on my Gryphon for now.  I've got that Gryphon up to level 10 after some light grinding, so that's great.  (my "core" classes are at lvl 14, with a handful of newer ones at 10-11)  Denam is still really kicking butt as a Ninja, haha.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Ugh.  Starting yesterday, apps can no longer post to your FB profile, so automatic posting through services like IFTTT is a thing of the past now.  For me that means we're back to the dark ages where every time I make a blog post (like this one) I have to manually crosspost it to FB.  The silver lining is that now I'll just be making link posts, which means no more people just reading my posts on FB're gonna have to actually read it on this site itself, which is really what you ought to have been doing the whole time.  The automatic copy-paste onto FB broke all the formatting, linebreaks, and hyperlinks, so it was a wonder I even kept that enabled.

I was kind of overwhelmed and in the pits earlier this week, but I managed to hit bottom and am on my way up again, hooray.  We're getting all set for JaSmix on Saturday and the waltz workshop is coming along and coming together finally; I just have to make sure I can run through everything smoothly without wasting a bunch of time.

Tactics Ogre has been super fun and I've basically been spending all of my morning train rides playing it, whoops!  I just recruited 5 (!) more characters so I really don't know what I'm doing with so many people, haha...I have some new classes that are pretty low level (Dragoon, Warlock, Swordmaster, ...) so I might have to farm some EXP for them otherwise they'll forever be stuck underleveled.  I just got past a pretty tough rescue mission that took a number of tries (one where 3 units start dead and you need to use lifeline gem on them or win the whole battle before their timers expire), phew.

Denam (the main unit) right now is a ninja; he has good movement and speed and does really great double-attack damage against squishies like mages, and not bad damage against monsters either.
Then I've got a handful of frontline melee units -- warrior, knight, berserker, terror knight, which are all mostly interchangeable.  I have two archers, which have varying utility based on the targets (not very good at dealing damage to tanks).  A priest and a familiar, which have been pretty crucial in the harder missions for the healing they provide.  A wizard, who mainly just throws around dark magic damage, and then two spellblades (rune funcers) who can attack but also cast helpful supportive buffs.  That's essentially my main squad for now , but we'll see if I can get all the other classes up to snuff and see how they perform.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Decadance Final Show Rehearsals

Lots of writing from me recently, I guess!

Tomorrow will be the 3rd day this week that I need to work from home in order to get to Decadance rehearsal on time.  Our show is this Saturday -- only two days away!  (tickets still available) It's been a weird mix of relaxing and stressing, as working from home is nice but the rehearsals are mentally tiring.  On the plus side, since I'm only doing 4-5 pieces they aren't so much physically tiring for me (thank you, past me!).

The show is really coming together now (and not a minute too soon), and I think it will be a really fun performance, and a fitting end to the group that has really done so many things over the years.  As I drove back from rehearsal tonight it really struck me how much this all reminds me of the old days of yore when I was in marching band.  The stress, the performing, the camaraderie, all of it.  Even though it's really tiring mentally, at the same time I'm actually really glad that I have this opportunity to relive a little bit of that feeling one more time.  And hey, as a plus side: I'm not part of the leadership this time!  So, no super stressing out for me, haha.

Let's hope for the best in getting through these next two days!

Art is Nourishment for Living

I have been watching a few, would you say...."heartfelt" (?) things recently.  I finished watching Uchuu Yori mo Tooi Basho (A Place Further than the Universe), and also watched Caracol Cruzando, (which my friend was an assistant animator for!).

A Place Further than the Universe was very slice of life, very heartwarming.  I think to me, now having watched through the entire thing, it didn't really feel like a story that was about one thing necessarily, just a slice of life / coming of age / journey story, more in general.  I think as a whole the show felt a little...unfocused because of that.  There were a couple of issues and/or themes that were revisited a number of times, like of course Shirase-san's feelings about her mother, but I think in comparison Hibike (my favorite love and gold standard for slice of life now) really drilled down into specific things in more depth, like different plot points that spanned several episodes, combined with very overarching character development, especially with Kumiko.  Ahh, Kumiko's arc throughout the whole show is really so amazing.  I really can't....ok, hold on, going to stop myself from just fangirling here.

Anyways, I think I expected more of that from Uchuu Yori mo Tooi Basho, so I think I got something a little different than what I anticipated.  But I did like some of the things they went through, especially the interactions between Hinata and Shirase, I think that was pretty real for me, seeing these two characters try to work it out despite having really different approaches to how they handle life.  I think that's something that's really important to be gained from these types of friendships, and also just in general spending time together with someone during trying situations.  Megumi and Kimari's relationship too, I felt that was really interesting.

I quite appreciated Shirase-san's relationship with her mother, I think it didn't really resolve in one concrete way or another, and was not heavy-handed, which I think is very real.  There were those few moments when Shirase really came face to face with her feelings, and those felt very real, I think.  Like the part where Shirase says she felt really "futsuu", almost too ordinary, about being in Antartica -- how she realized she didn't particularly feel anything super special, and was wondering how she felt about that, even though this was something she really wanted to achieve for so long.  But in the end when coming face to face with her feelings all over this time, it really hit hard.

I think it's really common to make stories about loss and the past that I just don't approve of how they get resolved, so it's nice to see yet another one that treats it with both the respect and the honesty that it does.  Shirase-san really shares quite some traits with me, like her "I'm just going to prove everybody wrong by working even harder" attitude, her combination of skill and clumsiness, competitive nature, and especially her dilligence in the way that she thinks about her goals and her past.  Despite that, her story surprisingly didn't feel like it was something I super related to, somehow.  I'm not sure why, really...I think it's quite subtle differences.  I think Shirase's story is about her chasing after her past, and needing to come to some sort of understanding about it, wanting to change things from the way they are.  Ultimately she needs to realize her own feelings -- not only the feelings she has, but also what feelings she would like to have towards the past.  I think it is less about her letting go or not letting go, or how she comes to terms with it, and perhaps more about figuring out what she feels, and how she would like to go on from there.  I don't know if what I'm saying makes sense or not.

But really the show is not about Shirase after all -- and I think it would be a quite different show if it were.  It's about a shared journey of these four girls, and I think it does that quite well.

Anyways, especially right now during some slightly stressful times for me, watching these things really reminds me of important things in life, about what I should not be taking for granted, and about people that are really important to me.  I think when you are just trudging step by step through the daily struggles of life, it is really important to have these stories and feelings in your life to remind you of really what is meaningful and what is not.  Because sometimes we would get too focused on putting one foot in front of the other again and again, and forget to look up at all of the beautiful things that are passing by all around us.