Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Band to the Band Room, Friendsgiving, etc.

Back to the band room....once again...

Last Thursday I went back to go see the marching band kids at their last night rehearsal.  I've been trying to stop by every year (assuming I remember) for quite a few years now.  I don't quite remember how I felt the last time I visited, but I feel like nowadays my feelings towards it have been changing a bit.

I was a bit surprised at how positive everything felt -- I guess I do get to see them pretty much at the top of their game, so it makes sense, but visiting again this year, I felt a lot more....how do I say...."at ease"?  I haven't had one of those nightmares in a while now, so perhaps this is another step on my road towards coming to peace with that part of my life.

Seems that they really have a good group this year.  It's of course impossible to really judge as an outsider, but they seem to have their act together way more than we did, during that era when I was the head drum major because "I had to".  The isolation I felt contrasts so starkly with what I saw from this group.  Not claiming that I could have even connected with other people if I had the opportunity, but nevertheless, it really did strike me seeing them and thinking "wow, things are....so much better".  I guess I felt a slight bit of jealousy, but more just a sense of peace, knowing that this thing I loved is no longer a thing of suffering.

Friendsgiving dinner was a success!

We made a lot of yummy food, including sous vide bbq pork ribs and lamb riblets, furikake butter toast, brussels sprouts with shallots and bacon, corn, lamb flank steak, enoki mushrooms, ants climbing a tree, pumpkin pie, and apple crumble.

There were a few stressful moments including a point when I realized midway that I was using the wrong sous vide temperature, but despite the minor mishaps everything went AOK.  Woo~

I've been feeling better this week.  The past couple of weeks have been a bit busy, and slightly stressful at times -- moreover, they've just kind of been really draining socially, especially dance-wise, and I definitely hit multiple points where I just needed to stop and just not be around anyone for a bit.  That plus some anxiety and insecurity issues which were really bothering me throughout...

I'm basically back in business now, it feels like, which is great.  It was pretty cool hearing the rain pouring outside today actually, though the wind sounded pretty crazy.  Hopefully I don't get soaked tomorrow.

There's still work to do, of course -- I've got less than a week left to do my next Monthlies album cover, and then I'm doing some other pixel art commissions....plus making sure I get all the xmas stuff taken care of...yeah, you can bet there's never an idle moment in my life.

Randomly decided to play a bunch of ranked Puyo Puyo Tetris, which went well.  I'm at the point now where I can actually play the Puyo side pretty decently now, woo!  The Puyo vs Puyo matches actually are pretty fun, it's a nice race to see who can successfully build a nice chain first and trigger it successfully while being careful of early harassments.  The Puyo vs Tetris matchup still feels really strange though, I feel like I try to climb the wall and build a transition as fast as I can but sometimes it just gets covered up before I can trigger anything.  Climbing column 1 seems like it ought to be a good option as it means you can receive some garbage and be OK, but maybe GTR would be faster to set off?  Not really sure.  Somehow as long as you continue to just set off 3-chains it seems like you more or less do alright, so it's really testing my ability to improvise.  It's a weird matchup for sure.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Confidence comes from thinking that you'll succeed
Security comes from knowing it
Bravery comes from accepting that you might fail
and Maturity comes from having done it all before

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Steven Universe Movie (mostly about the ending)

Thought it would be an opportune time to go and watch the Steven Universe movie, which first aired about 2.5 months ago.  You might think that's a long while, until you realize that I'm not yet done watching the Smash documentary, which came out in 2013.......and if you think that's bad, .....

The movie had relatively good pacing and was pretty enjoyable.  Though it explored some different themes, the crux of the movie ended up being about Spinel, of course.

[Spoilers I guess]

I don't think it would surprise anyone to hear that the ending of the movie would involve redemption for Spinel.  This is a villain character that is portrayed at first as totally maniacal, then tragic once you learn about her trauma and why she came to be this way.  Steven Universe is very similar to Undertale in the sense that the longer you go, the more you get used to the way that the stories go, trying to achieve that "harmonious ending" and resolution of conflict through whatever means possible.  It's not like the ending was ever quite in that much doubt, but the real question is how to get there, because that's really the important part, and the thing we can take away from the story.

In the case of Spinel, I think I'm on board with the general idea of her redemption, but the execution fell a bit flat for me.  To be fair, in the process of this redemption we basically have to do a 180-degree turn from "I am so freaking upset that I literally want to kill you" to "I'm feeling better and we can have a happy ending now" and that's probably =always= going to be very difficult to portray in a story like this, much less the climax of an animated film.  In real life these things take =time= and are often really messy.  The road to recovery is a slippery slope and regardless of whether it's depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any number of things, I'd wager that it's a very real struggle with no real "turning point".

Spinel's turning point in the film comes right after she reaches the peak of her "tantrum" I guess, as she's trying to pound Steven's shield into smithereens, she ends up breaking down, admitting her own feelings of worthlessness, and then questioning why she is so angry and trying to harm so much.

It's at this point that the ship that Spinel and Steven are standing on explodes and we go from a very tense and meaningful emotional moment (she just "broke"), to a suspenseful action moment where there's a large explosion and we're left wondering whether the two are physically OK.

I think this is the part of the execution that I have the most mixed feelings with.  I understand that a lot of the time in Steven Universe (as well as other shows) character growth, development, and emotional mood is accentuated by music and action and I think the show, even this movie pulled that off wonderfully at many other points, ...but this one didn't really do it for me; I think it really sort of broke the moment.

After the dust settles it seems that everything and everyone is OK and Spinel starts apologizing, etc.  In other words we're now into the resolution phase of the ending and everything is sort of downhill from there.  But it left me unsatisfied because I feel like the whole time we were going through Spinel's conflict it was leading up to some sort of big emotional resolution, and instead we got a big physical explosion.  In other words, it feels like in this case the emotional development got =replaced= by the action rather than being supplemented by it.  We didn't get to see some sort of very meaningful moment where for example, Steven asks Spinel how she feels or what she really wants, or tells her that he thought their times together were actually fun, or where Steven asks Spinel if they can be friends, or I don't know, =something=.  I needed =something= there.

Imagine this alternate version of the story instead: Spinel's feelings of frustration and worthlessness mount to a peak, and seeing that even her plans to get rid of Steven/etc are completely failing, and imagining that not even Steven cares about her, she grabs the Rejuvenator scythe (or similar) in a final act of despair and prepares to use it directly on herself again, claiming that "the world is better off without her" (or that she's better off being a goofy ignorant entertainer, rather than the way she is now which is just depressed and worthless).  But before she can do so, Steven stops her, and hugs her, telling her that he's so sorry for everything she's been through / she doesn't need to change, she's fine the way she is / he doesn't want to lose his friend.

Actual details of the execution aside, I feel like:
- I feel like this sort of despair makes sense for a character who could be read as being symbolic of mental trauma
- If you think about Spinel's emotional arc, she probably feels like nobody in the world loves her -- she was abandoned by Pink Diamond, and even when she started to hang out with Steven she found that he already had all of these other close bonds and friendships that made her feel left out.  There is almost no real compassion shown to Spinel throughout the entire movie, even from Steven himself (!), and I think having that be the key moment in the resolution here would be a big emotional payoff in terms of sympathizing with Spinel and also show Steven's strength in that he can be compassionate when it matters.
- If we go back to the original ending of the movie, the ultimate resolution of Spinel's story is that she goes to serve as an entertainer for the Diamonds.  But I think that's kind of disingenuous to the process of recovery.  Spinel was in a place where she was very messed up and suffering a lot, and I don't think it's healthy for her to seek happiness by jumping straight into "people pleasing" mode again.  If I was Spinel, I would be wholly lacking self-worth and self-compassion after aeons of feeling rejected and unloved.  I understand that the idea behind this ending is to say "actually, we liked the old silly you just the way you used to be", but the thing is that the charming joking Mickey-Mouse Spinel is NOT the Spinel that we saw at the climax of the film.  At the climax of the film, we see a tear-streaked, manic Spinel who honestly probably would have tried to hurt herself after failing to hurt Steven.  By saying "you'll be loved!  All you have to do is just smile and joke around again!" you may as well be telling her "yeah we'd like you a lot more if you use the rejuvenator scythe to erase all of your personality and memories!"  So I think I'd rather see Spinel realize that even when she's feeling like crap, crying, and thinking to herself "I am a horrible person who can't be happy at all", she still deserves to be loved.  Because I have personally been in a spiral of depression many times before, and finding that self-compassion (difficult as it may be) and =allowing= myself to be not ok is I think really important.

Anyways that said I am hesitant to really critique something like this in this way because I feel like SU has a pretty good track record with a lot of other things, but I guess a critique is sort of what this is.  I can't pretend to know what a better ending would look like exactly, but I felt like the one that exists isn't the one I was looking for.

At the same time I think that through the whole development arc of the movie I felt like they did a wonderful job with Spinel's character, turning her from really unlikable and annoying to a character that you could genuinely care about and root for.  That is really tough to do so I think that deserves some props.

Pretty much every time I write a critique about a story of some sort, I feel like it's always about the ending...  I wrote about the ending of Yuri on Ice I remember, and a lot of the recent things that I've seen, I also have critiques about endings.  Ne Zha for example, came really close but screwed just a few things up that it could have done a lot better.  And I could talk about how the ending of Wreck It Ralph 1 was dang amazing but the ending of Wreck It Ralph 2 wasn't.  I could talk about how the ending of Shigatsu no Lion I think was really well done despite not that much happening at all in the last episode.

Endings are hard, but I do really appreciate a well-done ending.  As an artist -- no, simply a consumer of stories, I think I'm beginning to have more strong opinions on these sorts of things.

Edit: and yeah, I get that the whole breaking apart of the ship is probably supposed to be representative of an emotional breaking point and catharsis, but it didn't really do it for me -- compare this to what happened in Kyoukai no Kanata for example, which really pulled that part off well.

Edit2: Sangatsu no Lion not Shigtasu omg....those two confusing shows -_-

Edit3: As a friend pointed out, Spinel didn't need to be "rescued" in this way and I think seeing things from a bigger perspective, I don't have any problem with how her arc got resolved, I think my only real issue now is the execution and pacing, and how I got pulled out of the moment thinking about her spaceship.  But I think the basic idea of what happens is totally fine!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Well, that's enough of that.


I know what this feeling is...I recognize it.  And it's not a good one.  I guess we're not out of the woods yet.  The feeling that "something is wrong".  It's been a while since I've felt it last, and I really don't like it.  But I guess the only thing to do about it is to stay calm, and reaffirm myself.  That the me of now is OK, and the me of tomorrow can be even better if I want.  That it's ok to feel worthless, but to remind yourself that you are not.  And to prove that to yourself.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

V thrff guvf jubyr ohfvarff unf ng yrnfg tbggra zr oybttvat jvgu n yvggyr zber erthynevgl.  Abguvat dhvgr yvxr gelvat gb or gur punatr gung lbh'q jvfu gb frr, rira vs lbh xabj vg jba'g rssrpg nal punatr va gur raq.

Yvfgyrff avtugf jurer V ubcr V pna pnyz zl orngvat urneg naq erfg n juvyr.  V srry n yvtug nakvbhfarff va zl purfg, ohg vg'f abg sebz nalguvat bhg bs gur beqvanel, V'z snveyl fher.  Fvzcyl orpnhfr V tbg guebja bss zl eulguz, ohg V guvax gung'f bxnl.

Fvapr V unir orra srryvat abg ng n uhaqerq creprag naq jvgu n urnqnpur sbe zbfg bs gur qnl, V jnf hapregnva jurgure V jbhyq znxr vg gb Qnaproernx be abg, ohg V raqrq hc znxvat vg bhg, jvgu n pregnva qrgrezvangvba gb npghnyyl jbex ba vzcebivat zlfrys.  V jnf noyr gb svther bhg fbzr fcrpvsvp guvatf gb gel naq jbex ba, juvpu sryg avpr.  V zragvbarq rneyvre gung V unir zbfgyl orra va cerfreingvba zbqr erpragyl, ohg V qb nqzvg vg srryf avpr univat fbzrguvat gb npgviryl jbex gbjneqf.

V'ir orra gelvat gb qb zbfg bs zl kznf fubccvat bayvar guvf lrne -- sbe gubfr tvsgf gung V pna'g whfg chyy sebz zl fgnfu, V zrna -- naq vg'f orra jbexvat bhg snveyl jryy.  Nf hfhny gur snzvyl tvsgf ner gur uneqrfg, rfcrpvnyyl jvgu gur ryqre zrzoref bs snzvyl vg orpbzrf zber bs n fvghngvba jurer lbh srry yvxr gurl arrq =yrff= guvatf va gurve yvsr engure guna zber.

Orra qbvat n ovg bs grpu pyrnahc erpragyl.  Gur zvtengvba sebz cPybhq gb Tbbtyr Qevir jrag snveyl fzbbguyl -- abg nyy bs zl flfgrzf ner zvtengrq lrg ohg sbe gur zbfg cneg vg frrzf yvxr V'z n terra yvtug sbe gung.  Gur bayl erznvavat guvatf gung arrq svthevat bhg ner sybjf sbe cubgb hcybnqf naq fperrafubg funevat, ohg V'z fher V'yy or noyr gb qrqhpr jungrire gur orfg cebprff vf.

V'ir nyfb svanyyl fgnegrq cbfgvat gb Vafgntenz, zbfgyl whfg 100k100 cvkry neg nyohz neg pbiref, fvapr V thrff gung vf abj zl pbafvfgrag zrqvhz bs ivfhny neg.  Znantvat nyy bs gur qvssrerag zrqvn fvgrf vf n pbafgnag punyyratr, jvgu zhfvp tbvat gb Onaqpnzc+LbhGhor+Fbhaqpybhq naq neg tbvat gb Gjvggre/Snprobbx/Snprobbx/Vafgntenz/QrivnagNeg abg gb zragvba inevbhf Fynpx naq Qvfpbeq cbfgvatf.  VSGGG ng yrnfg urycf n ovg jvgu gur pebffcbfgvat, ohg gurer'f bayl fb zhpu vg pna qb, hasbeghangryl.

Vg'f gur frnfba sbe fbhcf naq fcvpl sbbqf, lrg V unira'g ernyyl orra sbyybjvat guebhtu ba vg ng nyy.  Vg'f uneq gb fgbc snyyvat onpx ba gur byq gevrq-naq-gehr erpvcrf.  V'yy gel naq frr vs V pna vzzrefvba oyraqre hc fbzr gbzngb fbhc be fbzrguvat fbba.  V'yy unir gb frr jurgure V pna qb gur oyraqvat va n znfba wne be jurgure V arrq gb svaq n qvssrerag pbagnvare jvgu n orggre funcr.  V fubhyq nyfb qb fbzr fbeg bs fvpuhna sbbq gung'f abg zncb gbsh....rvgure fbzr fcvpl orrs be znlor cbnpurq puvpxra....??

Sevraqftvivat qvaare jvyy or guvf jrrxraq naq V'yy or pbbxvat sbe 8!  V'z rkpvgrq...

Gur avtug srryf obgu snzvyvne, pbzsbegvat, naq ybaryl nyy ng gur fnzr gvzr.  Yvfgravat gb n pbagrzcyngvir fbhaqfpncr, naq jvfuvat gung V jnf jvgu "lbh".  V qbhog V'yy or noyr gb trg zber qbar gbavtug, ohg creuncf V jvyy gel gb ng yrnfg gnxr pner bs fbzr jevgvat.

Gbzbeebj vf lrg nabgure qnl sbe hf nyy.


I stare into your eyes and I
am reminded of a time I thought would last forever
even though I know you will soon be gone

Monday, November 18, 2019

V cebzvfr guvf fvyyl ebg13 fghss jba'g tb ba sberire...

Ba gur cyhf fvqr V thrff V unir yrnearq gung cbfgvat va fvyyl pvcuregrkg naq pbzcynvavat nobhg guvatf qenjf crbcyr bhg bs gur jbbqjbex...

N ahzore bs crbcyr nfxrq jurgure V nz BX naq V nz!  Guvatf ner abg onq ng nyy qrfcvgr gur snpg gung V jnf n yvggyr qvfnccbvagrq ol n pregnva vagrenpgvba gung unccrarq.  Ohg V qvq jnag gb ng yrnfg fraq n cbvagrq zrffntr naq rkcerff zl qvfpbagragzrag, gung zhpu V jnagrq gb znxr pyrne.

V'z irel tengrshy sbe gur xvaq crbcyr jub ner jvyyvat gb xrrc zr tbbq pbzcnal rira va gur zvqfg bs na bgurejvfr-birejuryzvat raivebazrag.  V jnf srryvat dhvgr fbpvnyyl qenvarq n pbhcyr bs avtugf ntb ohg fbzr avpr crbcyr ernyyl urycrq ghea vg nebhaq.

V npghnyyl tbg fbzr tbbq cebqhpgvivgl va ba Fngheqnl ohg unir orra srryvat n ovg ynpxyhfgre zber erpragyl -- V nz nyzbfg pregnva gung guvf vf culfvbybtvpny engure guna zragny gubhtu, nf V nyfb unq n ybat-ynfgvat urnqnpur nzbat bgure zvabe flzcgbzf, fb whfg zrnaf vg'f gvzr gb erfg hc n ovg vs V pna.

V'yy or grfgvat bhg gur Tbbtyr Qevir ncc nf n ercynprzrag gb cPybhq, nf V guvax gung jvyy vagrtengr naq jbex orggre sbe n ahzore bs guvatf.  Vg'yy zrna punatvat nebhaq n pbhcyr bs zl heyf naq fhpu, ohg gung'f abguvat arj ernyyl.

Unq na vqrn gb znxr crefbanyvmrq ohfvarff pneqf sbe zl Njrfbzr Yvfg, znlor rira jvgu DE pbqrf.  Bs pbhefr unys gur crbcyr ba guvf yvfg ner crbcyr jubz V cebonoyl pbhyqa'g ernpu rira vs V jnagrq gb, ohg vg'f fgvyy cebonoyl n sha yvggyr vqrn gung V znl trg nebhaq gb fbzrqnl, znlor arkg Puevfgznf be fbzrguvat yvxr gung.

Nf lbh pna cebonoyl vzntvar, V unir abg orra chggvat pbafpvbhf rssbeg vagb vzcebivat ng cnegare qnapr sbe dhvgr fbzr gvzr, juvpu V guvax vf cerggl haqrefgnaqnoyr tvira gung V'z va zber bs n erpbirel zbqr evtug abj.  V jbhyq yvxr gb gel gb vzcebir, gbb, ohg ng gur fnzr gvzr jvyy abg sbepr vg vs V nz abg va n fgngr bs zvaq jurer vg znxrf frafr.

Fhcre Zrgebvq Enaqbzvmre sha

V'ir orra qryivat vagb gur jbeyq bs Fhcre Zrgebvq enaqbzvmre...juvyr vg qbrfa'g frrz gb or dhvgr gur fnzr ornfg nf YggC enaqbzvmre, V qb ybir Fhcre Zrgebvq (jub qbrfa'g?), naq vg'f orra sha ehaavat guebhtu fbzr grfg frrqf whfg gb cenpgvpr trareny ebhgvat naq zbirzrag guebhtu gur ebbzf, nf jryy nf cvpx hc fbzr gevpxf urer naq gurer.

V'ir cynlrq guebhtu gjb frrqf fb sne, gubhtu V qvqa'g gnxr gurz nyy gur jnl guebhtu Gbhevna (fubhyq cebonoyl npghnyyl cenpgvpr gung cneg...).  Gurer ner n pbhcyr bs guvatf gung V qrsvavgryl arrq n gba bs jbex ba, abgnoyl nal obff svtug gung vf abg evqyrl (evqyrl ba gur bgure unaq, vf n cvrpr bs pnxr nsgre cenpgvpvat EOB...).  Cunagbba va cnegvphyne...

Gur frpbaq frrq gung V cynlrq jnf cerggl rivy...

V jnf gnxvat vg rnfl naq trggvat n punapr gb cenpgvpr fbzr arj grpuavdhrf fhpu nf trggvat gb kenl jvgubhg tenccyr ornz, naq rira gelvat sbe PJW (V pbhyqa'g trg gur frghc ehaavat sebz bhgfvqr gur ebbz gb jbex...ohg V tbg vg gb jbex jura frggvat hc sebz vafvqr gur ebbz).  Ohg V unq ab fcrrq obbfgre, ab vpr ornz, naq ab tenivgl fhvg be inevn be fcnpr whzc, rira nsgre pyrnevat bhg xenvq, oevafgne, hccre abesnve (vapyhqvat gur fgnaqneq uryy ehaf), tnhagyrg, rgp...

Gur bayl znwbef V unq jrer tenccyr ornz, fcevat onyy, uv-whzc, fperj nggnpx, obzof, kenl, jnir ornz, naq cynfzn ornz.

Ab inevn zrnaf ybjre abesnve vf n ab-tb naq ab tenivgl/vpr/fcrrq zrnaf znevqvn vf vzcbffvoyr rvgure fb V tb gb jerpxrq fuvc naq gur bayl guvat gurer vf tenivgl fhvg...

Fb gung'f svar, gung zrnaf znevqvn vf arkg.  Ohg gurer'f bayl na rgnax ng znzn ghegyr.  Bx, fb gura V tb gb purpx gur znevqvn erfreir gnax, ohg gung'f nyfb abguvat...

Gheaf bhg vpr ornz vf nyy gur jnl bire ng Fcevat onyy, fb lbhe gjb pubvprf urer ner gb tb nyy gur jnl gurer, qrny jvgu whzcvat bhg bs gur fnaq naq gur jnvg sbe gur funxgbby gb pyrne njnl nyyyyyyy gur fnaq naq gura teno vpr ornz (fybjjjjj), be trg gb obgjbba ol qbvat n pelfgny synfu pyvc (v guvax?) naq whfg arire trg vpr ornz.  Furrfu....

Gur rgnax nsgre obgjbba vf inevn, naq gura nsgre orngvat qenltba lbh trg fcrrq obbfgre.  V qvqa'g npghnyyl xabj guvf hagvy gbqnl, ohg lbh pna rfpncr sebz qenltba'f ebbz jvgu whfg tenivgl fhvg rira jvgubhg uvtuwhzc be na vasvavgr obzo whzc nf ybat nf lbh unir fcrrq obbfgre...ohg lrnu, V thrff vs vafgrnq bs fcrrq obbfgre lbh tbg n enaqbz erfreir gnax be fbzrguvat, lbh'q unir gb VOW be fcevatonyywhzc lbhe jnl bhg.  Furrfu.

Gheaf bhg gung punetr ornz vf nsgre evqyrl naq fcnpr whzc vf ng fperj nggnpx, ohg lrnu...univat vpr ornz or ng fcevat onyy naq fcrrq obbfgre or ng qenltba vf whfg cnvashy...

Fbzrguvat ryfr V qvqa'g ernyvmr hagvy gbqnl vf gung lbh pna npghnyyl trg vagb gur fcevat onyy ebbz hfvat fcevat onyy + na vow rira vs lbh qba'g unir uv whzc obbgf.  Fb gurbergvpnyyl gurer pbhyq cebonoyl unir orra n zber evqvphybhf irefvba bs guvf frrq jurer uv whzc obbgf ner va ybjre abesnve be fbzrguvat naq lbh whfg unir gb VOW naq/be fcevatonyywhzc lbhe jnl rireljurer.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Guvf jubyr guvat qbrf znxr zr guvax ntnva, gubhtu, nobhg jurgure zl oybt vf nppbzcyvfuvat jung V'q yvxr vg gb.  V xabj ol EBG13-rapbqvat gurfr cbfgf yvxr guvf V'z cebonoyl whfg ybfvat gur yvggyr ernqrefuvc gung V rira unq va gur svefg cynpr, ohg url, znlor fbzr bs lbh bhg gurer ner npghnyyl fgvyy gnxvat gur rssbeg gb ernq guvf?

V'ir nyjnlf ubcrq gung ol xrrcvat zl oybttvat obgu crefbany naq bcra V pbhyq perngr n "erny" fcnpr va gur zvqfg bs gur qernel fbpvny zrqvn fgernz gung rirelbar vf fb rntre gb wbva vagb naq cynl nybat jvgu.  V qba'g zrna "erny" nf va "lbh qnea byq xvqf naq lbhe vagrearg naq fbpvny zrqvn, onpx va zl qnl oynuoynuoynu", jung V zrna gb fnl ernyyl vf gung fbpvny zrqvn pbagrag vf whfg...qbjaevtug obevat abjnqnlf.  V'ir fnvq guvf orsber gbb, ohg qbrf vg ERNYYL oevat zr gung zhpu inyhr gb frr crbcyr funevat zrzrf, sbbq cubgbf, zber zrzrf, png ivqrbf, naq cvpgherf sebz cynprf gung gurl'ir ivfvgrq?  Gb urne gurz pbzcynvavat nobhg gur yngrfg snqf, ngebpvgvrf be "ngebpvgvrf"?  Ab...........

V ubarfgyl trg zber inyhr bhg bs gjvggre guna snprobbx naq gung vf.....ernyyl fnq, V zrna pbzr ba, =gjvggre=?  Vg'f onfvpnyyl nyy znexrgvat ba gurer naq fgvyy gung vf jnl zber vagrerfgvat gb zr guna gur "crefbany" pbagrag gung crbcyr cbfg ba fbpvny zrqvn orpnhfr ng gur raq bs gur qnl abar bs vg vf "crefbany" ng nyy.  Jura jnf gur ynfg gvzr lbh urneq fbzrbar gnyx nobhg fbzrguvat erny?  Cebonoyl gur bayl guvat bs erny "inyhr" gung V'ir frra ba gurer vf cbfgvatf sebz sevraqf jub nvz gb xrrc hf vasbezrq bs pheerag cerffvat vffhrf va fbpvrgl (UX.......), ohg gung'f abg jung V JNAG bhg bs fbpvny zrqvn.  V qba'g jnag fbpvny zrqvn gb or n arjfcncre, abe qb V jnag vg gb whfg or n znexrgcynpr bs nqf.  V'q yvxr vg gb or sbe.....lbh xabj.......fbpvnyvmvat...............

Ohg nynf, gung ren vf YBAT tbar, naq abobql haqrefgnaqf ubj gb pbaarpg bayvar nalzber.

Xhqbf gb gubfr bs lbh jub ner fgvyy oenir rabhtu gb rkcerff gurzfryirf ubarfgyl, naq xhqbf gb gubfr bs lbh jub ner yrtvgvzngryl perngvat gurve bja pbagrag vafgrnq bs whfg ercbfgvat ercbfgvat ercbfgvat.  Jura vg unccraf, vg'f n enl bs ubcr va gur zvqfg bs gur vapernfvatyl oneera jnfgrynaq gung vf bhe bayvar fcnpr.  Ohg V thrff abobql ernyyl pnerf; V qba'g rira rkcrpg nalobql gb obgure ernqvat guvf naljnlf, orpnhfr vg'f n srj rkgen pyvpxf, naq gung'f nyjnlf orra gbb zhpu sbe crbcyr gb obgure jvgu.

You are not welcome

I've been blogging for 15 years and never have I have never felt threatened to shut my blog down until now.  I won't, of course, I'm better than that, but don't think for a second that I won't resort to some drastic measures to defend myself.

The sad thing is that I was actually doing just fine in pretty much all respects until a certain individual decided to try and be "helpful".  I've been fortunate enough to be able to continue doing what I believe in and expressing myself the way that makes me happy, not having to deal with trolls, spam, or malicious intent, despite being brave enough to post about things that most people would never speak up about.  And then this person comes along and just can't keep their mouth shut despite having the unexpected (and unintended) privilege of being a reader.  In the end the biggest threat to my blog came not from malicious intent but from plain stupidity.

This is not just a warning.  This is me shutting the door, because you were never welcome here in the first place.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Suppose I should do another update.  I may not post often, but you can bet your butt that I still come back to it again and again...as I do with everything in life.  Everything.

We've got non-personal advertising stuff, game stuff, and life stuff to go over.

On Wattam finally getting released

Wattam, the crazy game I worked on for 2 years at Funomena, finally has a release date and will be coming out for PC and PS4 this December on 12/17, just in time for the holiday season.

You can pre-order it now with a 15% discount, just go to http://www.funomena.com/wattamgame

Wattam is not really a normal game...in fact it's abnormal in a crazy way that you kind of just have to play.  This game has been a LONG time coming and as one of the engineers on the small team that brought it all together I worked on quite a lot of it directly.  I hope that you'll give it a try, maybe even with a friend with 2-player co-op for double the laughs and fun.

On Day of the Devs and Chicory

I stopped by "Day of the Devs", an indie game event in SF which I was also at 2 years ago when I was first joining up with the Wattam team.  Back then 2 years ago I believe both Rain World and Hollow Knight were exhibiting there, along with a number of other games of course.

This time around my main focus was on Chicory, a charming little game by the same developer of Wandersong (that one game about a singing bard):

I got to play the little demo build of Chicory and it basically ended up hitting most of the notes that I expected it to (which is great!).  It's got a fun and playful energy and looks to be a world that will make you smile as you go around and meet its inhabitants.

I also ran into quite the assortment of random people at Day of the Devs...I brought a pair of glowsticks in case there was some apt music playing and indeed, there was at one point, so I did some freehand....literally within the next 15 minutes I got recognized by like 4 separate people whom I had no idea would be there......so funny haha.

On the upcoming "Fusion" album

I've got a new album coming out in just a bit!

This is a 4-track collaboration EP between me and A-zu-ra, with whom I've also worked with in the past on "Twin Wings".  We've had this music finished for quite some time and were just waiting on a good album art design to put everything out, so I'm happy that it's finally getting a release.  It's been quite a while since I've put out any actual high quality original music, so I hope you guys like this one.

On Super Punch Out

Super Punch Out playthrough is complete!  It wasn't too bad at all, honestly, especially after watching some guides.  The Special Circuit opponents took some getting used to, but weren't crazy difficult once you got the hang of it.  I didn't end up getting a 4-0 on the special circuit, but didn't really bother, as I'm sure I could, just a matter of trying it one or two more times.  Anyways, calling that game done!

On Super Metroid

My "Reverse Boss Order" run in Super Metroid continues, and I've got into the most exciting segment -- Lower Norfair!  I have pretty much the =maximum= amount of energy tanks, reserve tanks, and super missiles/ammo that you can reasonable have before going in there, so things are definitely on the easy side, especially now that there is so much more information out there on how to optimize movement through rooms as well as the Ridley fight.

It's even easier than it was the last time I was doing an RBO run, since I have a couple of extra items: I have the botwoon energy tank, and also the maridia reserve tank, which definitely help.  The maridia reserve tank is quite tricky to get without gravity suit as you need to do some really tight underwater walljumps, but I eventually managed to get it.

Anyways, I did the lava dive (though I failed the bounceball in that room, d'oh), did my save, and went through the first part of lower norfair, stopping by to get screw attack and get the supers from the golden torizo room as well as farm up a bunch of ammo.  Went through the Worst Room In The Game (yes, it's actually called that), grabbed the energy tank, went down and saved.

I've now been practicing the Ridley fight a bunch and I have to say it's actually....way easier than I remembered it to be, mainly because of ShinyZeni's great tutorial on the ridley fight, covering ridley's AI as well as how to manipulate his pogo attack, and how to set up a wave beam X-factor right at the beginning of the fight to do a bunch of damage up front.

I've got so much energy and ammo to spare that besides the ridley fight itself, the rest of this section is actually not that hard at all, I could probably even do an extra crystal flash if I really wanted to.  I feel like I'll probably get this segment on one of my first tries if nothing too bad goes wrong.  I think the main danger is ridley doing something unexpected and running into me during the fight, or failing to get grabbed properly by ridley.

I've been watching some Super Metroid randomizer videos and it's something I'm actually considering getting into, maybe not super seriously but at least to some degree, at least just trying it.  Now that I've refamiliarized myself with a lot of the movement stuff and the general layout of Zebes, it's probably a great time to give it another try...

On Dance

Dance has been taking a bit of a backseat ever since I had a "bad experience" at a certain dance event -- not that anything actually went wrong, just I got put in a really bad mood unfortunately.  I'll be bouncing back from it I'm sure, but I wanted to just take it easy for a while.  I didn't want to write about it at the time, but it's been long enough now that I figured it can't really hurt anymore.  It ended up putting me back into the mindset I had while I was DM, something which hasn't really happened in a long time.  That's not a place that I want to be in.

I did some glowsticking the other week, that was fun.  As always, it's hard to improve, but practice is practice.  I wish I could say that I was invested in improving in dance in general (solo and/or partner alike) at the moment, but as I'll explain later, now is not the time for it.

Sayuri made an appearance at dance too, that was really interesting and I am actually really grateful for her presence there.  It has been a long time...too long, perhaps.  But she is not gone, not gone I don't think.

There is another dance this Saturday...against perhaps my better judgment I am cautiously hoping to be more outgoing again for this.  But we will see if that ends up playing out, or whether I will need to just again retreat to safety.  There's not that much point in forcing it.  But I also know that there is light amidst the shadows.

On Life

I hit a bit of a hitch lately, been bothered by something that was nagging at me in the background until finally I figured out what it was.  It's good that I figured it out, but doesn't quite make it suck any less lol.  I spent a good chunk of today in recovery mode giving myself the luxury of taking it easy and focusing on just doing whatever I needed to feel OK.  Mainly taking a long bath, which was nice haha.

I'll be bouncing back from this, too, but there's no need to rush it.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Ludum Dare 45 voting ended, and my game got 3rd place, as well as 1st in audio, 3rd in fun, and actually really high scores in theme (11th), graphics (12th), and mood (15th).  That graphics score is particularly impressive and I think is quite appropriate considering how much of a level-up I've had in my artwork over these years.  The rankings are always a crapshoot anyways, but it's nice to know that people enjoyed the game regardless.

The total number of LD submissions was about the same as last time, which is nice to see.  As some of you may know LD is...not exactly the greatest-run event in the world, but it serves its purpose "well enough", which I've written about before.  For now LD somewhat seems to be the defacto large yet casual event to do, though I see there are some other jams hosted on itch.io that are gaining traction, such as the Game Maker's Toolkit Jam which had 2,629 entries this year, pretty much the same as LD.  I guess considering that LD is down to two events per year instead of three, I could theoretically look into doing either that or Global Game Jam as well.  But that's something I'll have to play by ear, really.  (if anything I should be putting that time into Rhythm Quest lolol)

I'm finally nearing the end of my Inktober letters with only one more to go...hoping that next month will be slightly less busy as a result, but I'm also not really holding my breath, haha.  Phew.....

In gaming news, I've been playing a few different things here and there.  I'm working my way through some random SNES games:

- I played through and finished Super Earth Defense Force, a short side-scrolling space shoot-em-up that lets you choose a weapon type to equip for each stage.  The game was sort of a middle ground in terms of difficulty (I played on normal mode), but I found on the last stage in particular that I relied sort of heavily on slowdown to make some of the attacks easier to dodge.  Which was interesting because it meant choosing specific weapons that caused additional slowdown while they fire...  in the end it all worked out though.

- Making my way through Super Punch Out, currently going through the World Circuit.  I watched a few guides for the rest of the fights, but we'll see how hard everything ends up actually being.  I don't think the World Circuit will take a ton more tries, but the Special Circuit might...

- Continuing to gather more items for my Super Metroid RBO run.  I'm currently in Maridia and will probably try to kill Botwoon for an extra energy tank.  This is something I don't think I did in my previous console-conditions RBO run, so theoretically it will make things that much easier.

I've randomly been playing Risk of Rain 2 once in a while, but not super often, and still practicing some Puyo chains, though I don't really know what for besides the fact that it's fun.

I had another go at cooking Gumbo -- and got a lot closer this time!  This time around I did a "wet" roux in the oven -- but doing the roux dry in the oven would probably work ok as well.  I think being a little conservative with the darkness of the roux is a good idea as it darkens up slightly when it's being incorporated.  I sort of "broke" my roux whilst working with it and trying to incorporate it though, will have to try once again next time, as well as allowing for bunch of time for it all to simmer.  I will say that it's getting closer for sure -- this batch in particular started to taste better the next day.

Will be hopefully doing some other cooking experiments as well.  I forgot to mention, but I ended up giving a one-pot salmon chowder a try.  It worked well enough, though I added WAY too much dill, which was kind of unfortunate.  Either way I don't think it's really a keeper though, I feel like the salmon would have been much better suited for something different and the chowder itself was.....ok.  Cream/milk based dishes are a little hard for me I think, I don't really have any in my regular rotation at all (I don't actually like milk straight out).  I remember trying a seafood baked rice/doria recipe as well which was....ok.  That one is probably a little more promising than this one, though also a little more work.  But yeah, I don't think the salmon chowder recipe is a keeper, which is unfortunate.  Maybe I'll try an instant pot clam chowder at some point?  Speaking of salmon, I watched a video that advocated for a slow-baked salmon fillet, so that's actually something I'd maybe like to try, as a sort of almost-sous-vide dry cooking method.  Aside from that, I'm probably going to try doing some sous vide lamb riblets...

I have really been enjoying the company of the meowmies lately.  I didn't see them for like a whole week, but got to visit them last night, which was really nice.

Things to do:...

- One more Inktober letter
- Work on music...I've been slacking
- 4-wide Trainer needs to get finished
- Post-compo easter eggs for Unlock Everything??
- Music.....I really need to work on more music...
- I haven't done any glowsticking for a while either...
- Xmas shopping...
- ...

On the plus side, the (easier) arcade machine project has been completed!  The old pac-man arcade thingamajig is now in working condition and even has a better interface and all that.  Unfortunately the original system was pretty much kaput despite best efforts to repair it, but it's now got a RPI running RetroPie and I put a bunch more interesting games on there as well.  Probably spent a bit TOO much time on that, but it was fun sort of raising that old piece of junk back from the dead and giving it some actual purpose.