Tuesday, February 26, 2019

I'm deathly afraid of being left behind.  Because I'll never move on.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

I finished Unavowed!  Overall it was enjoyable, but not amazing.  Going through the game and hearing the characters interact with each other, as well as solving all the little puzzles along the way, was entertaining enough, and I mentioned before how I enjoyed the moral/philosophical choices at the end of each chapter.  I think it falls a bit short of really pulling all of it together in the end, though.  The choices you make do come back and have an effect on the last chapter, but.......more of an inconsequential one than anything.  And really, that's the whole thing with these choice-based narratives, is that if you only introduce all of the consequences of your choices at the very last point in the game, there really isn't that much it can impact at all.  Sure, you can make a bunch of different endings, but if all you got is a different ending, did that really change your experience playing through the game?

Anyways, I get it though, making branching narratives is a lot of work and that's why Life Is Strange is of a rare and amazing breed.  But I think even without the branching issue, I feel like I wanted something different from the last chapter, really.  Ah well, but I can't deny I had fun.


Been having some interesting feelings lately.  I have a vague idea where they might be coming from, though nothing for certain.  It's been a while since I felt quite like this, I think.  Hm, I guess I can't really say anything more about it, unfortunately.  Things will get better, in time, but perhaps in the meantime I could stand to spend some more time with the past.


Sleeping has been working out a little better these days.  I'm back onto a more regular schedule, something like sleeping from 2AM until 10 or 11AM.  I seem to be having a really hard time waking up in the morning though, so I think things could still use a bit more work.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dance Music Editing, other stuff

Let's see...what has been going on these days...?

Dance Music and JaSmix

I guess let's start off with what is probably most interesting (?) to the majority of readers.  March JaSmix is only 1.5 weeks away!  You'll be hearing more reminders and announcements from me in the near future as I wrap up all of the logistics, but in the meantime I've been trying to put together music for the night, as well as going through a bunch of new music and editing it accordingly.

I'm quite particular with not only my music selection but also my music quality and editing and I'd like to think that it really makes a difference in the quality of dance events when that sort of attention to detail is taken.  Given that I'm relatively well-versed in both dance AND music (as in audio production, not just music in the general sense) I've always felt that I have a bit of a unique perspective on curating music for dance.  (Not to mention some of the songs are tracks that I produced myself...)

Let's talk about a couple of different things:

Tempo modifications
We're all familiar with it.  Often times it becomes necessary (or even "interesting/exciting") to raise or lower the tempo of a song to better fit a social dance form.  The track may (probably) have not have been written explicitly with dance in mind.  Or the dancers you are catering to might be more comfortable with a certain range of tempos.  This presents a unique dilemma as you are forced to make some compromises between "danceability" vs song feel and the original intent of the song.

First things first: I'm firmly in the camp of timestretching without pitch-shifting.  As a composer and producer it just gives me a really weird feeling to alter the pitch of a song, *particularly* if I'm not doing it in musical increments.  Okay, I get it, most people probably won't notice if you resample a song so that it's 50 cents off (i.e. halfway between "normal" notes).  But it still just gives me a really icky feeling, and can you imagine being someone with absolute pitch who is bothered by off-center tuning?  Ugh!  I admit this is probably not a huge deal, but really, unless you have a specific reason to change the pitch of a song, just don't do it.  PLEASE do not just change the playback speed of a song and call it a day, use a quality timestretching algorithm.

There is one unfortunate exception to this rule which is if you aren't going to use a quality timestretching plugin or algorithm in the first place. =( For small adjustments, I'd rather hear something that's just resampled with an odd pitch than something that's poorly timestretched.
There are several very good timestretching algorithms out there these days.  Unfortunately you aren't going to get the best quality without using a proprietary solution, but for example the Elastique Pro algorithm comes =standard= in most DAWs (FL Studio, cubase, etc etc).  If you are going to just run your edits in Audacity, at the very least use the higher quality SBSMS algorithm, please!  It's worth noting that you can download the demo version of a DAW like FL Studio for free and do all of your editing in that -- the demo limitation is that you can't save your project files, but you won't need to!

Ok, but before the actual execution of the tempo modification, we also need to decide how much we are going to shift the tempo.  This is where =your= judgment comes in, and this is a compromise that I find really interesting because I'm constantly struggling to balance different factors:
- What tempo most people would find fun to dance to
- What tempo I personally would like to dance to
- What tempo allows less experienced dancers to comfortably dance
- Staying true to the original "feel" of the song

The first common problem here is tempos that don't actually work well for dancing.  This is really common for less experienced dancers/DJs who have a hard time visualizing a dance.  Or even more experienced dancers who are picking out songs for a dance form that they're unfamiliar with.  If you've never touched west coast swing in your life, it's going to be really difficult for you to know what a good tempo for that dance feels like, (let alone what makes for a good WCS song).  If you are having this problem, you probably ought to really try and dance to the songs yourself (or at least pretend?), or ask a partner-in-crime if you don't have the feel for it.

The second and in my opinion more sinister problem is a tempo that is perfectly danceable but kills the spirit of the song.  This is especially prevalent for songs which have been shoehorned into a dance form that they weren't intended for, the most common example of this is "let's take this fast waltz and turn it into a cross-step waltz".  I really hate this because it commonly flies under people's radar and leads to a really sluggish or unnatural song that is really disappointing to hear and/or dance to.

If your approach to tempos is to say "oh, cross-step waltz is supposed to be 114BPM, right?  So let's make this song exactly 114BPM!" I'd strongly urge you to compromise more towards the original tempo of the song.  I will always strive to modify the tempo as little as possible in order to hit a good compromise because I think the further you go the less fun a song becomes.  As a composer, I write my music in such a way to fit the BPM and feel that I'm going for, and going significantly astray is really going to muddle up the intention of the song.  There is plenty of dance music out there -- if you want a slower cross-step waltz, you can find a different song...don't just shoehorn a track into a given tempo.

That said, I understand I'm also a more advanced dancer and as such might feel more comfortable with a wider range of tempos than others.  In the end it's all up to your discretion, just don't forget that you should always be trying to make a compromise.

Of course, if you happen to also be the composer of the song, you can just edit the original project file itself and reconstruct at the new tempo directly without any time-stretching.  Woohoo!

Music editing
I pretty much edit all of my own music, regardless of whether I have a version on hand which has already been edited by some other source.  I wish I could settle for trusting other people's edits but there are just too many faults which I see commonly:

- Low quality timestretching and/or awkward tempo (as described above)
- Obvious and/or awkward cuts
- Low quality source or resulting render (this isn't the year 2000, 128kbps doesn't cut it anymore!)

I also have a bunch of other things that I like to do, including:
- Trimming leading/trailing silence
- Adjusting fadeins and fadeouts.  For fadeouts, I like to use nonlinear fadeouts so that it's obvious that there is a fadeout starting at that point. (ease out)
- Manually automating volume adjustment if the different sections of the track have levels that vary too much for the dance floor
- Dynamic range compression/bringing volumes in line with other tracks in general (think about of those classical tracks with tons of dynamic range that are way too soft compared to all the pop songs)

Some of this is getting into territory that is harder to do without a working knowledge of audio processing.  For example, you can't just "turn the volume up" on a soft piece of music (if it is already normalized) as that will just lead to a bunch of clipping.  So there you need to understand what a limiter/compressor does and how to apply one.  Of course, this is extremely standard stuff in the world of music production, so it's as simple as dragging around a single slider in my izotope ozone mastering suite.  If you are still working in something like Audacity this is going to be a lot more cumbersome.  ReplayGain is another option, of course.

I don't know how other people go about doing their edits, but for cuts, repeats, and crossfades, I really believe in taking the effort to make the edit seamless.  This requires some level of understanding of the underlying music, but mostly just knowledge about how to edit precisely.  "Guess and check" isn't good enough here, you want to actually line up the waveforms:

This is even easier for songs with prominent drum transients, but even for more acoustic works you can quite visibly line up the beats as shown above.  This will ensure a seamless edit.  If you're working in Audacity you have the benefit of being able to be sample-accurate with your splices -- use it!  In FL Studio unfortunately you're limited to the midi timebase, but setting PPQ to 960 and using a high tempo is definitely good enough.

Of course, in the cases where you can't directly splice together two sections, you'll need to crossfade them together, but the same thing applies -- line up the transients and waveforms visually before adjusting the crossfade.  You'll know if you have things lined up if you can hear a proper "phasing" effect when overlaying the two tracks on top of each other.

I realize this is mostly just me ranting about how music editing ought to be more precise, but if anybody actually wants anything explained in a more instructive way I can do that too.


Went to Tahoe with a group for some snowboarding action this past Sunday!  It was quite fun, though also extremely exhausting.  I brushed up on some things beforehand that I wanted to work on and I think it really helped, and the powder was super nice as well which was nice.  Of course that doesn't mean I didn't fall on my face + butt a lot, actually I had quite some epic wipeouts as well as I was getting a little more confident.  I felt like I was really getting the hang of turns more, especially turning to toe side for some reason (I had an issue with over-rotating and not being able to control speed for my heel side turns, maybe just need to lower myself more and be more in alignment), and even worked on linked a few of them together, though I think I would need to just be better at controlling speed before getting more confident and successful with it.  Overall though I was pretty happy with how I progressed, despite sort of worsening as the day went on (not to mention being super bad at getting off the lift this time for some reason).

The trip really took a lot out of me though, I feel like I've just really recovered from it, eugh.


Made pizza again!  This time with premade pizza dough, which was much easier.  Tried to really pile on the toppings this time, to good success:

Um...I haven't really made too much other exciting things so I donno why I even had a section for this, but ok.

Edit: OH that's right!  After some mishaps with my shoddily-seasoned carbon steel wok I've finally sat down with it again and reseasoned it for real, this time using the oven again, as well as cooking some scallions in it afterwards.  The color looks quite promising this time around, so hopefully this time it'll fare a bit better, though we'll have to see how it fares against the usual tough suspects of not-completely-dry-rice and eggs.  Will remember to not throw any tomatoes at it though, that's what did in the seasoning last time.


Quite a lot of progress here!

First off, I finished normal difficulty of Dead Cells!  I haven't unlocked everything yet (still need quite a lot more cells to do that), but I did go through the different biomes afterwards and visit each one at least once, as well as getting all of the different runes, so that was fun.  If I decide to keep playing the next thing to do will be trying to do runs on higher difficulties...we'll see.

I also finished Mega Man Unlimited!  Quite a fun fan game, and it really felt quite true to the spirit of Mega Man, while still offering up some new things here and there as well.  Rainbow Man's stages (with the Quick Man-like beams) felt a bit BS but once you know them they're fine...I guess quick man's stage is sort of like that as well, but this felt a bit more obnoxious since at least with Quick Man's stage it's more instinctual ("just get to the next screen as quickly as possible") whereas Rainbow Man's stages are much harder to read at a glance so it feels almost impossible to survive some of them on a first try.  Regardless, it was a fun experience overall!  There are more game modes to go through but I think I'm done with the game.

As of now I've moved onto mostly playing Unavowed, which has been pretty enjoyable so far!  (I just got to the "twist").  I wouldn't say anything has really floored me yet, but it's been overall a great package when considering it all put together.  Some things I've appreciated:
- Optional exposition through hover text is an interesting idea that I think works well for the genre
- Being able to customize your experience by both choosing your background, dialogue choices, and team has been great
- The moral / philosophical dilemmas presented at the end of the chapters have been interesting to compare and contrast with each other, and I think being put into somewhat similar "choice" situations with very different contexts is elucidating in terms of what factors into these decisions in my mind.  Cool stuff.  Unfortunately none of the choices have really felt "impactful" in terms of game effect so far, which is something that we only really saw in Life Is Strange, but that is also something that is quite difficult to pull off, so I understand.  Still, there are some really pivotal points in the story where it would have been really interesting to see a choice given instead of being forced down a specific path.

Our group also started playing Wandersong!  What a great energy and spirit to have in a game.  I think it's something that a lot of developers and designers could learn from.  We've only just started, but I think it's been pretty inspiring so far.  Super fun!

Sleep (or lack thereof)

Been having troubles with my sleeping schedule these days (though last night was not too bad).  I guess it's a bit difficult without a job forcing me to maintain a regular schedule no matter what, but I'm hoping to fall into some good habits again hopefully, as it's really annoying/unfortunate to not be able to sleep at night sometimes.  Half of it is getting back onto a good rhythm and the other half is trying not to stress out about really random silly things like "I should really try to dye my hair in the next week do i have enough time to do that" ...
Hopefully I'll find some success...

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I'm not sure I can ever convince myself to support services like Spotify by putting my music on their platforms, no matter how many people clamor for it.  I very well may admit defeat someday, but to do so feels like turning against what I believe in.  Am I really the sort of person who would oppose their own beliefs just to gain more recognition?

I suppose I should write a more formal post about my stance on it, but it's not like I would be saying anything that hasn't been said already.  Thinking about how the collective herd simply chooses without fail to move on to the next thing truly pains my soul, because it is not just about moving from Winamp to iTunes and from iTunes to Pandora and then to Spotify.  It is about moving on from AIM to browser chat to Messenger apps, it is about moving on from blogs to instagrams, it is about moving on from Xanga to Livejournal to Myspace to Facebook, it is about moving on from Message Boards to Discord to Twitch chat.  And it is about all of the things that have been lost and tossed aside along the way.

When was the last time you wrote a hand-written letter?  When was the last time you left a voicemail message for a friend?

If no one else will remain behind to extol the virtues of what we once had all along, then I will.  For that is something that I truly believe in.

Saturday, February 9, 2019


I finished playing Anodyne!  Not only did I get through the main game, but I also went ahead and used a guide to get through all of the post-game content as well.

Anodyne is a bit difficult to explain.  It is somewhat of a cross between Link's Awakening and Yume Nikki, with a hint of Earthbound.  But it is not really any of those three things directly.  To call it a "zelda-like adventure game" would be most accurate in terms of its gameplay, but you wouldn't really play Anodyne if you are simply looking to play something like Link's Awakening.  I think the people who enjoyed Yume Nikki would be most likely to enjoy Anodyne.

I actually quite enjoyed going through the game.  I thought exploring the various different areas and interacting with all of the auxiliary NPCs and such was pretty interesting, especially once you got to some of the darker areas such as the Red Sea and Young Town.

Anodyne doesn't lay anything out clearly and plainly for you.  You know that metaphorically, you are supposed to be exploring different areas of Young's consciousness/inner mind, and thus you are getting a look into various aspects of his persona, conflicting parts of his troubled mind, glimpses into what could represent traumas or issues in his life.  But as with a game like Yume Nikki, none of it is really explained for you, it's all very tangential and a bit obtuse.  But I think that really worked for me.  Since the game uses a lot of dialogue, there is a lot more to grasp onto than something like Yume Nikki.  In Yume Nikki there are a lot of really crazy environments and things to drive your imagination wild in terms of speculation -- "Why is there a disembodied hand with an eyeball in the middle of it?".  However there are also a lot of scenes and situations where unless you're really trying, you might not read into it as much.  There's a scene in Yume Nikki where you can see three Toringens having a party of sorts, but you can't reach the actual area where they are.  A lot of people interpret this to point to some sort of social isolation (Madotsuki's isolation is a central theme from the very start of the game), which makes perfect sense.  But I can also see people stumbling across that scene and not really thinking that deeply about it too.

So while Yume Nikki kind of plays like a visit to an art museum about abstract art, Anodyne with its dialogue leaves you with a lot more metaphorical bread crumbs, so it's a bit more like reading poetry.  You still don't know what it's about, but I think you feel a bit more guided.  That is certainly not to say that Anodyne is better or worse than Yume Nikki, I just wanted to illustrate the difference in the two that I felt since I think Yume Nikki is the closest thing I can think of in order to draw a comparison.

In terms of gameplay, Anodyne actually offers a surprising depth of simple puzzles and dungeon exploration for a game which really isn't about the mechanics.  There really isn't any part of Anodyne's gameplay that really "impressed" me per se, but it did a great job of keeping me engaged enough to keep proceeding through the world as I gathered the different collectibles and such.  So that's what I mean in terms of it being halfway between Yume Nikki and Link's Awakening, where the gameplay isn't nearly as deep as you would expect from a full-on adventure game, and there isn't as much to explore and lose yourself in as there is in Yume Nikki, but there is about 50% of both, and somehow that actually combined to form a pretty enjoyable experience for me.

That said, Anodyne is not without its flaws, and this is echoed by this post from Sean himself.  Interestingly enough, I found the auxiliary quests and exploration to be pretty fun, but the main narrative thread with Sage and Briar was a bit lost on me.  Perhaps this was the one point at which I felt like the game was simply spread too thin into perhaps one more bucket than it felt was right.

Going through the post-game content was interesting -- I feel like it was definitely the least fleshed-out portion of the game (understandably so).  I think going out of bounds and such was interesting and spoke to a more Yume Nikki-like aspect of unbridled exploration, but at the same time there just isn't enough content there to make it feel like it really is unbridled exploration in Yume Nikki.  So it boils down to more like "oh, there are some hidden secrets that I can access now", which is why I felt compelled to just get at them using a guide.  Interestingly enough, I felt like the 50-card door (which is unopenable and doesn't have anything else after it anyways) was sort of a more fitting "conclusion" to Anodyne than the "normal ending".  Perhaps the issue with the normal ending is that it's too much of a shift in tone (?).  For most of the game it really felt like I was exploring -- experiencing, Young's inner conflicts, feelings, subconscious thoughts, etc.  But at the end of the game there is a shift to more of a sense that you are conquering the problems, and taking a step forward towards something new.  I think it was difficult for me to really connect with that payoff in the end because as a character I feel like Young hadn't really been changing or developing through this process of exploration.  You could say that the thing that allowed Young to change was collecting all of the cards, "making new friends" and in a sense feeling not alone anymore, or to confront his inner demons (the guardians of the dungeons, perhaps?).  But both the guardian bosses and the final fight played so much more like traditional top-down action bosses, I felt like it was more like "oh, okay, suddenly I'm the hero fighting a monster".  And I think that caused some dissonance with the narrative of sorting through this troubled inner subconsciousness.

Anyways, that's what I have to say about that!  In the end I did enjoy the game and what it did have to offer, so I have no regrets about playing it.

I've started playing Dead Cells now, so we'll see how that ends up panning out!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


I stumbled onto Anodyne, from stumbling upon its remix album which aivisura did a song for.  While looking around on Steam for more games to fill out my shopping cart I remembered Gris.

Gris has been out for some time, so I looked to some reviews to verify what I thought of it.  It seemed like the most belovedly visually stunning art piece of a platformer...that unfortunately lacked substance.  Some reviews claimed that the platforming gameplay seemed a bit out of place, as in they were complete enough to be present but not detailed enough to actually add anything to the experience.  Other reviews criticized the emotional "narrative" (using the term loosely as it is supposed to be an abstract journey) as being a bit too cliche and kitsch.  Seeing these thoughts made up my mind for me and I don't think I'll be buying the game.  I might watch a playthrough of it or something though.

It's tough, though, I get it.  Visual design, gameplay design, and storytelling all coming together is sort of a perfect storm type of thing and I can think of a scant few games that have even come close, let alone really achieve it all.  But at the very least I think the industry is doing a lot better than it has been in the past in that regard.  I don't think there have really been a lot of games that truly "get it" but I like the attempts that I'm seeing.

I did also snag both Dead Cells and Unavowed (two very different games), which I'm sure will both be pretty exciting to play whenever I get around to them.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Melee Doubles

You are given the task of seeding the following melee doubles tournament.  How do you seed the tourney and who do you think will ultimately take home the gold?
  • Mango + Stango
  • Amsa + Amsah
  • Axe + Hax
  • Tai + Taj
  • Cyrain + Darkrain
  • Armada + Armads
  • Silent Wolf + SilentSpectre
  • Darkatma + Darktooth
  • Mew2King + Mew2Queen
  • Ice + Iceman
  • Eggz + Eggm
  • Bob$ + Rob$
  • Toph + Tope
  • Flippy + Flipsy
  • KJH + KDJ
  • NMW + HMW
  • Shroomed + Hungrybox (aka "Da Juans")
  • PPU + PPMD (aka "Team Kevin")
  • Ka-Master + FalcoMaster3000
  • Westballz + Bobby Big Ballz
  • Prince Abu + King Momo
  • Drunksloth + Druggedfox
  • Fiction + TheRealThing
  • Squid + Duck
...I spent more time on this than I'd like to admit.

Viennese Ball 2019 (and other stuff)

I suppose I better talk about VBall first and all the other stuff second.  So let's get on with that.

Last year's post is here.  (You'll notice this was during my experimental month where I was doing all of my social media via handwritten photos, haha)  Reading over it again, I talked a little bit about how VBall seemed more tiring than I remembered, how the dance contests were as always a good opportunity to push myself, and how us waltz-types really needed to step it up because we got completely outclassed by the dancers in the swing contest =(

This year was pretty fun!  I had a hoop skirt in addition to my petticoat, omg it was so amazing, it shaped my dress so well, I love it.  I feel like this hoop skirt alone made me excited to go to the ball, lol.

I wrote last year that I felt that VBall was ceasing to be a place to catch up with many friends and acquaintances from the dance world, and I think that trend continued this year as well.  That is perhaps just a function of another year passing by, perhaps interests have changed as well as people and even if I did see some people from previous times, would I really connect with them again?  I'm not sure.  Whether I had or had not let go of those threads of fate that once bound us together.  Or were they even there in the first place?

Every time that I push myself in my dance, as I tend to do in these competitions, I find that I learn a bit more.  Not just of dance, but about many things besides.  It's a bit hard to describe, but I think every time I push myself to go further than I have before, I am able to see things from a slightly different perspective than I once did.  Dancing changes, people change, what is "good" or "not good" or "cool" changes, and we constantly redefine where we are in our search for self-expression.  Or, well, maybe that's just me being a romantic about it.

For once I felt like the waltz room was if not on equal footing, then at least in the same ballpark as the swing room, and that was something I was happy to see, given how invested I have somehow found myself in this dance form (and how unhappy I felt about it last year).  I was also really happy with how my dance has evolved in the past year.  Despite having nothing to prove, I realized in the end that I did prove something, not necessary to anybody else but rather to myself.  There are few dancers to truly look up to in our relatively eclectic form of waltz, and I have found myself wandering alone throughout the years as a result.  Though my flaws are still ever-present -- some by negligence and others by inexperience -- it is a reassuring feeling, at least for myself, looking back and seeing that after walking forward in the darkness I had reached somewhere new.

Ok, but returning to the real world for a second here, I will say one more thing about the contests -- competing in both waltz events was =exhausting=.  I feel like I am more and more worn out every time and I am definitely feeling sore from it as I write this.  I felt like I really gave it my all, and man, trying to go all out for four songs in a row of high energy rotary waltz is....just........exhausting.  My shoelace came untied in the middle of it (oops), not to mention I also somehow managed to rip the bottom part of my petticoat (ugh), and somehow my foot kept finding its way through the hole (I was wondering why I kept feeling like something was wrapped around my ankle).  So that was...fun.  ...But no, really, it was actually really great, I don't think I have ever put so much emotion into performing a dance ever before compared to the preliminary rounds of the rotary waltz contest (such good songs!).

One of the songs that was danced to was "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri and though I always say the song (ironically) is one that kind of overstays its welcome (when I play it I cut out the part at 2:50, blegh), dancing to that song was not only a joy but quite interesting for me personally because I performed a choreo to it just half a year ago in July as part of Decadance's final performance ever (oh man, flash back to that performance, it really does seem like ages ago).  Part of the reason I left Decadance in the first place was to leave choreo behind and continue pursuing my greater passions in social dance, so it felt quite validating being able to directly experience that.  Dancing to the same song freely, I truly felt like I was able to put so much more into it than before.  I guess that is just the type of expression that I find myself reaching for. (quite literally, in this case...I seem to be a big fan of arm reaches lately)

Anyways, enough about that.  Contests aside, in the end it was of course just awesome being at the event with everybody, all of us putting on our best looks and fanciest clothing.  I even stopped by the contemporary room for a brief glowsticking stint as well, which was fun, and though I am not good with photos in general, I managed to get some nice ones wearing my dress, so that is quite nice!

Since we're already talking about dance, I should take the time to shill for my own event -- come to JaSmix next month on March 2nd!  We'll have workshops, a few private lesson signups, and of course awesome dancing, so come on out!  I'm pretty excited to finally be hosting a JaSmix event during the school year, since JaSmix is always a bangin time and it's a shame that a lot of folks who aren't in town over the summer months don't get to come to it.


Okay, that's all I'm going to say about dance, so if that was all you're here for, you can leave.  Bye!

In cooking news, I tried making pizza!  Followed Kenji's no knead + no stretch dough and pan pizza recipe which was not too difficult!  The result was okay, definitely could have been better, but I'd call it successful anyhow.  Topping the pizzas was of course quite fun and its definitely something I would try again, hopefully next time actually having a kitchen scale on hand to measure out the dough more accurately, and using a bit less salt, and of course perhaps experimenting with some different toppings.


I haven't caught up with all the Genesis 6 footage, but yo Axe, can we get a round of standing ovations for Axe?  That was insane, it was really something, and it honestly felt like he "won" in all of our hearts regardless of the fact that he could not overcome the GF set and took 2nd place.  Axe you have solidified yourself as the true protagonist of Melee.  We love you dude.


And pride is my sin, and pride goeth before a fall.

I'm really not the best at being a polite and friendly and respectful and outgoing person, so it's something that I have definitely sometimes just had to catch myself on in hindsight and apologize for or take back something that I said.  I think I still have the same tendency to jump to judging people rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt, to form an "us vs. them" narrative in my head rather than respect that everyone has their own story, their own path, and is trying in their own way.  But I have at least begun to see that when I break that mental narrative it really helps me feel better about the world, that we are all part of this shared human condition, and that the world is not just full of terrible people who are stupid and suck.  Really, we all are dumb in our own ways, and that should be okay.  So we need to find it in ourselves to be compassionate to others, in such that we would also learn to be compassionate to ourselves.  I have been watching Sangatsu no Lion which talks about that kind of theme a lot, and that has really resonated with me.


I am still learning how to relax.  Of course, even if I am unemployed, it's hard to take an off-season from being an adult, not to mention all of the other things I expect from myself.  I think I am no longer feeling that sort of "active" stress over all the things I have to do, in fact just a few days ago when I was really in the groove, having had a lot of fun with pixel art and even more fun with glowsticking, I thought to myself "wow, I finally did it.  I think at this moment I finally feel like life is a 5 out of 5.", and that was quite something.

That said, I have been having trouble sleeping recently (though I didn't have trouble sleeping today, hah!  VBall may be more tiring than big dance lol) and I think part of that is a latent anxiety that still lingers.  I don't know if it is just things that have been on my mind recently, like some music distribution hassle stuff and blahblah adulting real life things.  But in those hours when life is no longer around to distract, I found myself feeling a bit stressed and sad. =(  So I think despite how well I am, doing, I am still searching for peace.  Hopefully I am taking steps in the right direction...