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.  There...is 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 game...it'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 Wastes...man, 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 lot...it'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, perhaps...like 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.