Tuesday, March 31, 2020

I got a bit down thinking about social contact, about people and how they care about each other, or don't care.  About how we choose and don't choose to engage with each other when not forced to.


It got me really depressed.  And I was going to try to figure out how to put it all into words, but of course, I don't need to, because I already did, 8 years ago.


So just read that instead.  Because 8 years later, it's pretty much the same thing.  The only difference is that at least I have found the people who care.

And don't get me wrong -- that is a world of difference.  But it is still really sad to think about.  Really sad to call these people that I know won't answer.  But I have to.  Because if I don't, I know I'll have truly given up.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Isolation

But physical isolation has never =been= the issue.  All those years I spent alone, I spent alone not because I lacked the opportunity to come face to face with others, but simply because no one else cared about the same things, in the same ways.  The loneliness of being a creator, of having interests that others shared neither a passion for nor the work ethic for.  Growing up, I wasn't the only one who played video games, but somehow I seemed to be the only one who =understood= them.


The necessity of clinging to the past.  The importance of routine.  The ability to follow through.  The mental aptitude to research, experiment, practice, and learn.  Even those who shared my interests were never able to become my peers.  As I learned, on my own, to develop games, to compose music, to create pixel art, to play, to create, to perform, and practice, in the end it was only me.  To say nothing of the alttpr runs, the puyo chain practice sessions, the poi moves, the glowsticking sessions.  If I had ever been one to be motivated by social energy and community, I would have given up on all of these things long, long ago.

That is not to say that these communities do not exist, or thrive, even.  But it is all but impossible, or perhaps not even desirable at times, for me to find them and seek them out.  Such is the plight of the ISFJ in tech, the antisocial social dancer, the game developer who does not attend GDC, ...

But this, at least, is a place where the internet has helped people like me find like-minded others.  Not even just to be part of a community, but at the very least to share knowledge, to learn from others, and to feel that you are not alone in your pursuits.  I do One Hour Compo every week for myself, not for the community, but I can't deny for a second that when I jump into IRC with these people and listen to their entries week after week, I feel a little bit less alone.

Blogging, too, and expressing personal thoughts, is something that once upon a time, I did not feel alone in.  But as I've written time and time again, that time seems to be long over now, and the herd has moved on, migrated to greener pastures, leaving this land barren.  No one has to stay behind to tend to these spaces.  But some of us do anyways.

If nothing else, though, what =has= changed in my life is that I know that I am not alone in looking back towards the past.  Even if your past is yours, and yours alone to treasure, to remember, and to mourn, perhaps there is solace in knowing that other people believe in your ideals as well.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Been doing lots of rando runs...had a 1:43:30.13 in ALTTPR which could have been even faster if I hadn't mistakenly miscounted keys in PoD -- I thought I had to go into the back to get the big key but turned out it was in harmless hellway all along, gah.  It didn't waste me THAT much time because I had to get the lamp anyways because I can't do turtle rock somaria maze in the dark yet, but still, that felt silly.  It was a pretty easy seed, lots of insane items in kakariko meant lots of stuff was way open early game, so a lot of it was just execution and deciding what to check.  A lot of other people got stuck on go-mode flippers which ended up being on graveyard ledge, but I ended up routing that in thankfully.  I skipped pendant Skull Woods...I feel like I'm starting to learn that I really need to just suck it up and do Skull Woods.  At least I made the right calls in not full clearing thieves town or swamp palace.  I'm starting to take risks! :)  Also did some dark rooms for the first time (easy ones, but still...).  One disturbing habit I have is I keep on forgetting to route in Hyrule castle escape/back of escape checks...I skipped those entirely this entire playthrough...

Got a blazing fast 1:11:28.86 in SM varia randomizer (major/minor split), due to the seed being almost as straightforward as you could ask for.  Did end up having to double dip Maridia since I couldn't find Speed Booster or Ice Beam (ended up finding speed at wrecked ship before coming back), but aside from that it was a very generous seed for sure.

Decided to abort on the old desktop conversion to arcade-type machine project -- I packed all the stuff back inside the original tower so at least now I don't have a bunch of random computer parts lying around on the floor anymore...

Worked pretty hard today...hopefully will try to take it a bit easier tomorrow.

Doing a little bit of work, every day...hopefully it's enough for now.  Things that are still on my mind for the near future are working on more music, taking care of either the 4wide trainer or prepping for LD, taking care of bday letters, and of course doing pixel art, both for next month's monthlies and also for All in a Day's Work 5.

In the meantime I've been carefully curating a whole boatload of Stardew Valley Mods in preparation for picking that up again.  I'm pretty happy with all of the ones I've found, the only dubious one is Stardew Valley Expanded as it feels quite ambitious in terms of its changes and I'm not 100% sure how much I like that, but we'll have to see.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Happy to report that I was able to trim my nails using an actual nail clipper for the first time in...probably over 10 years, probably even more than that.  (they still feel too long even after trimming)

To all my other nail-biting habit comrades, you got this come on I believe in you!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

I can write, even if there is nothing special to say.  It's what I did every single day back in high school, after all.


I've successfully gone quite a while without biting my nails...they feel so long now, even though they're really not.  I need to clip them soon, for my own sanity...

The rain has been...nice.  This weather has been really nice.  I can't decide whether it's a great thing to be inside with such nice weather or a sad thing to be inside with such nice weather.  Who needs sunny days?

I had a string of band-related dreams, sometime this past week, I feel like, but I think they're past now.  I don't know why it's such a thing...even now.  Why is it that in my dreams I'm still coming back to do that thing?  For a long time, I understood it clearly, for it was something that I was still passionate about.  But no more...for I have found many other things that are more important to me...

It's the start of a new week tomorrow... and life continues.  I'm trying to do my best to make progress on little things, here and there -- just small things, cleaning up little things, etc.  There's always more to be done, but if I just make sure I'm doing a little bit every day, it's all gonna be okay.

What task will I work on tomorrow?

Life continues, one more day at a time.  I finished polishing up that commission track, wrote up a bday letter, AND also clipped the foley sounds, which resulted in a pretty nice set of samples.  My ears feel pretty fatigued, hopefully it was just from the extraction process and not just something inherent to the samples that is aggravating on the ear =( You never know, but hopefully in the context of a mix they'll sit well.

Carnival of DEATH starts in 3 days =O...and on the horizon the ominous shadow of Ludum Dare 46 looms ever so slightly larger.  Will I really be ready for it when it comes?  I'm actually pretty hopeful that I will be, since I've got all of a month basically to prepare.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Made dirty rice yesterday, with a big helping of chicken liver.  I worked pretty hard on Thursday so I tried to take it a little easier yesterday.  Managed to set aside some time for both glowsticking and a poi session outside later in the night, so I definitely got my exercise in.  Poi has been going really well still -- I keep on wondering when I'll just run out of things to work on, but somehow I seem to just sort of naturally be happening upon new stuff to try out and/or improve.  Currently I've been focusing on a whole bunch of butterfly variations...

As I mentioned I was planning on doing, I took OHC time on Thursday to work on commission stuff.  Worked pretty well, and I managed to basically finish the first track of a soundtrack commission -- just needs some polishing up and mixing adjustments and then I'll be able to call it done.

Slowly continuing to replace my avatar in various sites as I come across them.  Feels really strange leaving my old one behind since it's become so iconic, but though I'm always slow to change, it doesn't mean that I won't too someday move.

Not quite sure what the plan for today is.  There are a number of options...maybe getting some fresh air, maybe clipping those foley sounds, maybe doing an ALttPR run, maybe finishing that commissioning work, maybe just catching up on various things.  On the plus side, we're still pretty good on food supplies, so no need to worry about that yet.  Lots of lamb meat in the near future, yum...

I miss meowmies!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Right, I'm blogging more often now.


I've been making the most of this chance to cook all sorts of different foods, from the very familiar (sausage, rice, onions, yum), to the not-so-familiar (broccoli and cheddar soup??).

Yesterday for lunch I helped make a five-spice flavor profile pork shoulder soup that I made with some leftover pork shoulder (the extra ones that didn't end up getting turned into carnitas).  Used the pressure cooker, added some veggies and noodles and such, turned out decently!  I don't really work with this sort of five-spice flavor very much, but it wasn't bad.

For dinner we had sous vide pork carnitas which we cooked for the greater part of 24 hours along with a marinate, then shredded, and charred with a blowtorch before pouring some of the juices back on.  We didn't have the full assortment of taco toppings (no white onion, no guac, ...) but we made do with what we had and the pork of course was juicy and delicious.  Had a good bit of leftover pork as well!

Did my ALttPR run for the second week of March and got only a few minutes above 2 hours...could have been sub 2 with a few different decisions or different executions.  I played relatively conservatively instead of taking risks, and I think on my next run I'm going to start to take some educated risks instead of always opting to full-clear stuff.  I'm definitely starting to get a bit of a spidey sense as to where my progression items are pointing me toward, though obviously my routing still needs a lot of practice.  My execution as well, of course -- I died twice trying to do silverless ganon before finally succeeding.

Drew a new profile photo!  Look at this cute thing:


This was for this month's "Monthlies" cover.  Used an 8-color palette that someone else had made up on lospec.com, the colors are so pretty!  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the background on this one...in the end I'm really happy with how it turned out, I spent time ironing out pretty much every different part of it, trying different things here and there.  This is probably the best pixel art work that I've ever done.  I've come a long way...

I'm pretty overdue for working on new music and commission stuff, so I think I'll probably use OHC time today to work on soundtrack commission work.


Monday, March 16, 2020

wheeeeeeeeeee

The world is going crazy, but today was great!

I had yummy dumplings for lunch, and did some Tai Chi for the first time in a very long time.  I didn't go to the park or anything, just did it outside, with the cloudy weather outside, birds chirping, and rain slightly drizzling at times.  It felt so great.

We made some more progress on Dark Souls, finally -- at the Tomb of the Giants now, having demolished Pinwheel.  Lost a bunch of souls afterwards to the big skellies, but doesn't really feel super bad honestly, I feel like at this point we are not really worried about completionism or anything, we're ready to just go through the rest of the environments and try to beat the game (I don't think there is a ton more?).

Did oodles of grocery shopping today, which was so fun!  I've always been cooking pretty much everyday, but now that going out to eat is an even more rare thing, I'm probably gonna be cooking the vast majority of my own meals.  Can't say I have a problem with that at all!  I'm probably never as excited as I am when I'm going grocery shopping...so many possibilities!

It was quite interesting seeing what of the shelves were completely empty and ransacked versus what was hardly touched at all.  Of course, it wasn't a 100% accurate picture, but the meat section was super revealing, if anything -- the entire chicken section, completely empty except for, of course, the chicken livers.  Whereas the lamb section looked.......perfectly normal, hahahaha.  I eat a great deal more lamb than chicken, so....works for me, I guess?  Shelves of SPAM completely wiped out....yeah, it was a fascinating survey of what people are buying / not buying.

I'm finally getting over my cold, which means this next week I'll probably not have as much of an excuse to not be productive.  Honestly can't tell whether I feel excited or scared of that, but at least not feeling tired all the time is bound to be a good thing, right?

Friend helped me record a bunch of foley sounds that I'm going to try and sample through to use in a future song!  Should be fun.  I definitely need to get cracking on some music stuff this next week, so hopefully that or some other stuff can happen soon.

Been continuing to do more ALttPR seeds.  I've started doing some weekly community seeds as well, so I can get some comparisons to other racers in the community, as well as compare other people's experiences with the seed.  I did one for the first week of March, and felt like I did super sloppy, but actually ended up with a half-decent time anyways?  It was a pretty ugly seed, I think all dungeons ended up being required basically...reading the comments by other runners, a lot of other people sort of also had a sloppy way through it as well.

I've done a bit more reading about how the logic works, mainly about how finding an item early means it probably "has a meaning" / unlocks something later, and to be suspicious about it if you haven't found that yet.  For example if you find flippers early, but don't find anything in zora, or waterfall fairy, etc., that points to Swamp Palace or Ice Palace having a high probability of having something important in it.  This is a concept that I'm really going to have to get used to (maybe through some z3rsim practice), but at least I'm starting to wrap my head around it.

Puyo Puyo -- I feel like my progress has really slowed.  At this point I really need to study some common GTR tailing patterns and take it slow to get used to really building clean tails.

Got to write some more letters the other day...

meowmies are great.

Friday, March 13, 2020

I'm...not actually doing the best, I guess.  2 AM and can't sleep, I feel stressed for some reason, so here I am.  Might as well try to do something productive with myself (if I can) while I'm feeling like this.

The cold that I caught last weekend has seemingly evolved slightly -- the fatigue is still there, but now my nose has become pretty much nonfunctional, ugh.  I've been feeling pretty lackluster in terms of motivation to do a lot of things, but that's not really something I can blame myself for at this point.

I finished my second SMALttPR (Super Metroid x A Link to the Past Crossover randomizer) seed!  Clocked in at just under 4.5 hours, though I split that across about 3 days worth (with pausing in between) since I didn't have a chance to just sit down for 4-5 hours straight or anything.  Was fun, but I feel like I spent a good half hour of that trying to track down my last go-mode item (bombos medallion), which ended up being in Ice Palace -- a pendant dungeon for my seed.  Ugh.

Some execution-related things that I remember being bad at that probably deserve more practice:

- I died in turtle rock...more times than I'd like to admit.  I didn't have boots and the stupid mini helmasaur beetle in the screen before the laser bridge really wrecked me, as well as the hard hat beetle on the laser bridge itself...
- I failed to kick up dust while using somaria in mire, so I wasn't able to do spooky glitch properly.
- Probably the number one thing that I'd like to practice is speed booster short charge zebetite skip.  I don't know how to do it and I feel like that can make a huge difference in ammo needed for mother brain when you don't have ice beam/charge.
- Failed on the Kraid quick kill.  Part of the reason for this was because I had no bombs, and I don't know how to position myself for the optimal quick kill without bombs.  So I tried for the "slower" quick kill, and failed.
- Failed on armos knight quick kill, but at least I tried...
- Failed on the tower of hera bomb jump once, boo =(  I should probably learn to do that one without the spin slash setup.
- Had a bunch of problems with running out of power bombs in SM.  Not having bombs is pretty annoying.

Overall I feel like I did ok, it honestly felt like I had kind of lousy luck trying to hunt for that last medallion.

Earlier today I got to stop by Dumpling City in Palo Alto to pick up a bunch of frozen dumplings, and also managed to stop by MUJI in the Stanford Shopping Center (so deserted...) to buy like 15 kitchen sponges.  It looked like I was stocking up for the apocalypse, but really this is just my normal order of sponges -- they don't always have them in stock and these sponges are so much better than regular ones...

Also stocked up on a bunch of snacks from MUJI as well!  While I was in that area I ended up stopping by Anatolian Kitchen to get some of their manti for lunch :3  The Ana's Apron manti are really yummy and unfortunately really hard to find =(  Wish I could just have another few bags of frozen ones...='(

As far as Melee goes, my defensive game needs work, I keep on being hit by stuff I shouldn't be hit by.  Just need to develop better habits...on the plus side, I'm finally able to get kills with Falcon, finally.  I don't have a super good flowchart for it, but at the very least I can dthrow and read an option with a knee and get a kill off of it if I'm right.  That was something I was working really hard towards, so it's nice to see that finally come together.

Yeah I dunno really.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

So right, bunch of things have been happening, I guess?

Covid19 continues to be the talk of the town, I don't really want to say anything more about it aside from the fact that JaSmix April 2020 seems to be an unlikely thing at this point.  Better luck in the summer!  The whole thing has necessitated a lot of shutdowns of public gatherings, and we all know what that means -- a break from social dance!  I for one am....not super unhappy about that, I've always written time and time again that dance isn't a priority for me.

In a (fortunately) unrelated turn of events, I've caught some sort of cold this weekend, so I've been spending my days resting at home and not doing too much (as opposed to staying at home and getting a lot of stuff done).  Of course when I say "not doing too much"....I'm still doing things here and there.  I took yesterday to catch up on some letter-writing (2 letters), and I've also been doing a bunch of LttP randomizer practice!  I did two runs over the past two days, with some very respectable times of 2:07:20.59 and 2:05:49.22, not too shabby at all!  Today I took some time to load up the practice ROM and work through some things that I've been struggling on, including:

- Vitreous fight (without silvers, using the goo to setup spin slashes)
- Argghus fight (with the glitched hookpoke setup)
- Kholdstare fight (I can't quite execute the dashpoke for this, but at least I can try)
- Ganon fight (esp phase 1, with the trident spin slash)
- Armos Knight quick kill (can't do it consistently, but I can do it)
- POD turtle room
- Some Ice Palace rooms
- Some Ganon's tower rooms

There's still much to learn, but it's been very fun doing these runs!  I'll have to start doing SMZ3R sometime...

I can't really tell whether work has been super busy or not lately, I keep on wanting to say that it has been quite busy because there are a lot of things to keep track of as we approach our next deadline, but at the same time it feels more about "average".  Which is good because I imagine that I'll be taking it easy for the next few days as I recover.

We started watching Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!  It has been pretty great so far, very fun and kind of inspiring as well.  I also took a chance yesterday to catch up on Steven Universe Future, since, eh, why not?  That reminds me....:o  I have to catch up on both Chihayafuru and Haikyuu :o  Anyhow, SU is...more SU.  I mean, I dunno.  Steven Universe is an interesting thing in that there are parts of it I like, parts of it I appreciate, and parts of it that I could do without too.  Thinking about it as a whole, I think it's a bit strange, I feel like when I think about the beginning of SU, I'm not really that impressed, I feel like it was "cute" and funny but not particularly interesting.  But when I think about the later parts of SU I also feel like it got too complicated and big to appreciate on the same level.  I think SU turned into a bigger thing that it had been before, with musical interludes, new fusions, etc.  I think that stuff is all new and exciting and great, but it wasn't really what I liked about SU during the time when I actually did feel like it was something I was very interested in.

But I don't have a particularly high bar for these things to clear, I'll still watch something that is good even if it's not perfectly suited to my tastes.  So that is all fine.

Blogging feels great.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

I know that you're still out there, and that you don't think about me anymore.  That's just how it is.  There was a time when I thought that your love was the only thing I needed back in my life.  Maybe sometimes I do still think that.  But it's different now.


When Fate meets "Alicia" in the dream world, she realizes that this world is everything she ever wanted.  To be loved by her mother, to meet her sister, to live peaceful and happy days together with Arf, Precia and Alicia.  To live forever in the past, and rest.

But there is something different now, too.  Because to live in this dream world would mean to say goodbye to Nanoha, Hayate, and all of the other people she has met along the way.  One does not only have "a single past", and in the same way, I could never give up my accumulated self, my memories, my companions, to be with Kiki.

It always makes you question things, though.  When you spent so much of your life longing for something, you begin to wonder what it would be like if you actually did have it in your life.  Even though I know it's not possible.  For life is transient, and is shaped by a beginning, middle, and end.  The change that we suffer allows us to walk forward.

But as I have said time and time again, I will always look back.

Perhaps you don't deserve my love, but that is not your choice to make.  It never has been, once you faded away.  As this post points out, the "Alicia" that Fate meets is not really Alicia at all, but really a manifestation of Fate herself.  And in the same way, the Kiki that I hold within my heart is a separate thing from the real one.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Screw it all man....I just gotta blog more often...

I'm not sure why it's happening now, of all times...but somehow, right now, I just feel...=alive=...I spent a good part of the day being more on the lethargic side, not quite feeling like I could really get ahead of the rolling wheel, so to speak.  I'm not sure what changed.

Looking through social media sometimes makes me forget what these online spaces are good for, and that has been true lately as well, as I can only see posts that are about....the election and coronavirus.  That's not to say that these things aren't good to talk about, it's just...social media isn't really the place where I'd like to look for these things.  I ask myself the question "what am I actually hoping to see on social media?" from time to time and I've definitely been asking myself that often lately.  At least with twitter I can see things like random fighting game glitch videos (thx @DNOpls) and get updates and just general musings from indie devs and musicians that I follow like npckc and ChevyRay.  I can scroll through the entire feed on FB and struggle to find anything that I actually find meaningfully relevant in a positive way.  It happens every once in a long while, but it's rare.  You know it's a problem when the ads start becoming more relevant to my interests than the actual content.

Of course, I know what I'm looking for, it just hasn't existed for probably 10 years.  But as always, I believe firmly that you shouldn't complain unless you've tried in earnest to avoid being part of the problem yourself.  So here I am trying to create the kind of content that has always been a home for me in my online spaces.  And if I can't find anything out there that resembles what I'm looking for, then that's fine, because I've got plenty of it stockpiled in here.  Let's look at some entries from years past, around the beginning of March, through the years:

March 2019: "Timmies Top 5 Tips: Cooking" - http://ddrkirbyisq.blogspot.com/2019/03/timmies-top-5-tips-cooking.html

These tips are still pretty relevant.  Washing mushrooms and cooking them separately is probably still the underrated tip I'd give to most aspiring home chefs, but maybe that's just because I cook with mushrooms so often despite not being a fan of them as a child.  Part of the reason is exactly because they were prepared so differently -- watery and flavorless as opposed to browned, with rich savory notes.  This is also an instance where traditional knowledge is absolute hodgepodge -- one of the most effective ways to cook mushrooms is by crowding them in a pan and cooking them =in water= and I've started actually doing this more often for larger quantities of mushrooms. 

March 2018: "Physical Social Media Recap, Stardew Valley, Melee" - http://ddrkirbyisq.blogspot.com/2018/03/physical-social-media-recap-stardew.html

Right, so in February 2018 I did an experiment where I went and did all of my social media interaction (blogging, comments, etc) by handwriting what I wanted to say on stationery and then posting photographs on it.  Very similar thought process to what I've been going through lately -- again, trying to bring back the intimacy, personality, and "human" element to social media.  Here I recap what that was like -- the TL;DR was that it was kind of fun and interesting, but overall not something I'd be interested in doing more of, at least not very often.

March 2017: Seeing Kiki in my dream - http://ddrkirbyisq.blogspot.com/2017/03/things-are.html

I miss Kiki.  She is someone who is always worth writing about, of course.  I thought of both her and myamie last night, during a break at Dancebreak.  I thought about them very intensely, though of course in very different ways.  To many, the courtyard of Roble Gym may bring memories of social dance, but I was a regular visitor of Roble Gym 10 years before I ever attended Stanford as a student -- going there to practice martial arts with my brother.  But the courtyard won't ever remind me of those two things, because it instead reminds me of a person that is special to me.  A person who told me that the sound of the water fountain was beautiful.

I've never listened to that fountain in the same way again.

Practiced some more poi, last night and today, with actually some really nice results -- I'm getting pretty comfortable with some things, and am even getting a handle on antispin flowers (!), something which formerly seemed like a totally unattainable advanced move.  It's been great.

There is more, of course...there is always more.  But perhaps that is enough for now.  Long gone are the days in which I would return to this space every day, to write out my thoughts, to process my emotions, and to share my life in a little corner of the internet, to those who were willing to listen and read.  But I am still here.  Always still here.  And I always will return.

Monday, February 24, 2020

I don't usually post just links to music and such on here, but never say never, eh?

https://cheapbeatsmusic.bandcamp.com/album/moon

In recent times the intro of the first track of this album has been serving as my go-to for whenever I need to put something nice into my musical headspace.  Those times when I'm tired of hearing mainstream music, the times when I have some annoying tune stuck in my head, the times when I just need something comforting to think about.  Something about the energy of these chords and the chiptune arrangement makes me feel right at home.

I guess we've all got our fallbacks, our comfort zones, our habits and likes.  And somewhere out there are those who think of my music in the same way.  It's really cool.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Would you tether yourself to this ship,
not knowing how far it may drift in the night?

Or would you stay on the shore,
and watch the waves from a distance?

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Things have been pretty ok.

You only have to try something new once for it to become something that you've done before.

Work
Has really been ramping up, so I have been expending a lot of mental energy during work hours trying to get everything done and keep track of things.  I can almost feel all of the calories that I've been burning, haha.  I'm doing alright with that so far, but as always, it's important to remember that it's a marathon, not a sprint, and pacing is an important thing.

Dance
I'm hosting a dance and some private lessons at the GCC this coming Friday, which should be fun.  It's been a while since I did any lessons, so looking forward to those.  Hopefully I will be able to be useful. :x  Rest of the dance itself is pretty much all set, though I will be giving the setlist one extra lookover in case I want to swap anything.  It's hard to know how much to balance my music choices between what I know people like, keeping a good variety so that no one feels left out, choosing what's familiar and playing things that I enjoy personally.  Thinking about it a little more, it's funnily similar to how I was feeling confused about my reasons for dancing, in the sense that I felt a lot of external pressures clouding my internal compass of what I feel I should be doing.

Stopped by South Bay Fusion again this past Thursday -- I haven't been going every week and certainly don't plan to, but it's something I think I'll be doing every once in a while now that their new location is that much closer to where I live.  Fusion will never be my "home" dance, but SBF is perhaps a nice atmosphere for where I am at currently -- in terms of making sure that I am remembering what I believe in and not forgetting about myself in the midst of thinking about external pressures.  I say this because SBF (and probably the larger fusion scene) is a place where you can very strongly feel that you are =not= pressured into being a certain way, into dancing a certain way, into dancing a certain role, into anything at all.  The people there were generally quite pleasant to dance with and doing so actually made me realize that I generally =don't= automatically expect that from all dancers I meet because that just isn't always the case in other places.  Being put into a place where I did not always NEED that "cautious and wary" mindset ready to defend myself made me very conscious of that being an actual intuition that I've developed.  I can't really say whether that's a good reflection on SBF or just a bad reflection on other places, but it just...is a thing, I guess.

Cooking
Gumbo has definitely solidified itself as a recipe in my repertoire now, albeit a more involved one since you gotta make a roux first.  I also had some pretty good success making kalbi at home, which was yum!  The next thing I'm going to try making is actually shrimp and grits with some gruyere cheese, mushrooms, and bacon :3  We'll see how that turns out!

Melee
Had a pretty good session, where I figured some stuff out -- some stuff in the Fox/Falco matchup, but also a lot of things in Falcon/Falco, by just grinding the matchup a ton.  I feel like I was starting to get a better sense of how you need to mix up between taking a laser and dashing back vs trying to call out a laser with a more aggressive/approaching option.  I figured out one or two "plans" for edgeguarding as well (always respect the side-b), and realized I need to be more like wizzrobe and cover the option =after= they get to ledge rather than focus so much on preventing them from getting to ledge.  More importantly, I realized my reliance on dthrow techchases was actually preventing me from developing the sort of "set play" stomp/knee followups that makes falcon an actual good character, and that I was relying too heavily on "safe" options like nair/uair/grabs in neutral even at higher percents when I ought to just be looking for opportunities to call out movement and land a stomp/knee or something, which is what actually makes Falcon a scary character.  Even if you only land that knee once out of every 5 times, it's still gonna just lead to a stock, rather than just "trying to be safe" and using options might win neutral but just don't lead to any kills.  Also I had completely forgotten the percentages for uthrow->fsmash on no DI (80-90% ish??).

Haunting of Hill House
I'm not really a Netflix person but watched this series on recommendation of my best friend.  It was really good!  The horror element of the series definitely went up and then back down...episode 5 (the halfway point) was definitely the most intense and chilling part of the whole thing.  I chose to take a short break from the series after watching that episode, which in hindsight (hindsight...) maybe ended up being harder to deal with; I definitely didn't want to deal with something MORE intense after that so I chose to play it safe, but honestly if I had just kept watching another episode or two it probably would have made things a bit easier.

Aaaaaanyways, yes!  As with a lot of haunted/ghost stories this is, naturally, a story about the past.  They treated the subject quite respectfully, neither glorifying nor shunning the past.  The storytelling was quite interesting as well and it's just a well-done series in general, but that's the part I wanted to call out, is that it does not present an "answer" to the problem of past vs present/future -- but teaches about why each one is important, and follows these characters as they themselves learn this for themselves and about themselves.  Zombies, ghosts, and the like are all symbols of an unresolved past, but resolving them is not always so simple as "vanquishing" them.  For the Haunting of Hill House, it could be said in the end that the past itself is what gives these people the strength to move forward, and that is an idea that I really respect a lot.

Poi/Rando/Music/etc.
Have not been doing a whole lot here, but for poi I have started to practice stall chasers.  Not sure what I will work on next, probably just....bunch of random stuff that I already know, trying to get it all better.  Stalls especially, they are pretty useful and can always be worked on.
I keep on wanting to do some rando runs but it's sometimes hard to set aside the 1-3 hours needed to really do it.
This weekend I've been working on finishing up an old music WIP that I originally made for One Hour Compo -- as always, it feels great to be actually working on music outside of One Hour Compo.  Scheduling in time for your hobbies and projects is always a challenging thing...I happen to have been particularly good at it over the years, but even I am only mortal and have stretches of time where I neglect some things that I fully intend on doing.  But like clockwork, I always think about them, and come back to them, sooner rather than later.  That's the best way...for me, at least.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

You're right.  People are really stupid.  But I guess I've always known that...ever since I started saying that people suck dirt, back in high school.  It took me much longer to realize that other people really have a lot of worth, too.  But that doesn't change the fact that sometimes, people suck dirt.  And meowmies are better than people.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Sometimes it's a bit unexpected who has chosen, in the end, to hang onto their end of the thread when you give it a tug after so long.  After all is said and done, history and experience always shines a light on the truth of the matter, regardless of how flighty or not someone seems.

Wrap your wings around me, and lift me gently from the stream.  Just...don't carry me too far, okay?

Not every rock crumbles, at least not while you are on it.

Somewhere out there, my twin angel is living their life without a care in the world for me.  But "goodbye" is not something that I have ever needed to say.

Will I be safe?  Out here in this space.

I need you with me.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Viennese Ball 2020

Last year's post is here.  Last year, I wrote about how VBall had continued to not be an event where I really catch up with many friends and acquaintances from the dance world, pushing myself every year in dance, how I put a lot into the contests and how they were exhausting.

This year I feel like I have a lot to talk about.  Let's see if I can get to it all.  I'll warn you -- it's a bunch.

I realize that I don't really know how many of these things I've been to.  This kind of thing is where blog entries really come in handy -- a quick search reveals that it was 2011 when I first attended, so I guess that would make this my 10th VBall.  Yeah, a lot has changed, since then.

Like the trend in years past, I did not find this year's Viennese Ball to be a place for me to catch up with a bunch of people.  That didn't really surprise me though -- I think because that's just not something I was particularly looking for.  I think that is perhaps because I realize that the people who I only see at this event are people with whom I only have surface level relations, and that wasn't something I cared to spend a lot of time and energy seeking out here.

The beginning of the ball was a bit of an odd experience for me as I got caught in an instance of line con waiting to get in.  It was somewhat of a a humorous experience, holding my Journey cosplay and bag, waiting in a long snaking line -- I felt much like I was at some Anime convention waiting in line for registration (though that tends to happen a bit less nowadays due to a number of improvements in streamlining the process).  I don't normally run into this, but nevertheless, I came prepared -- I plugged in my earbuds and started jammin out to some tunes while playing Puyo Puyo.  Like I said, very very much like I was in line at a con...

By the time I got in it was pretty clear that there was little to no hope of really catching much of the opening ceremony and even if there was, it would involve dealing with crowds (mye myeh myeh), so instead I scurried away into a different room.  I am sure it went just fine, as always.  I'd be lying if I said that any of the previous N years of watching opening performances really stuck out in my mind as opposed to just becoming another hazy memory of yet another year.  But I have long since ceased to be the target audience for these kinds of things.  I'll hang onto my memory of Decadance performing "Numb" in 2012 instead, thank you very much.

I spent a good deal of my time this year in the contemporary room, not because it was the "cool" thing to do [insert jaded/dogmatic muttering here], but because Lillian Zhu's music selection was simply awesome.  Maybe it helped that I recognized so many of the songs, but even the ones that I didn't, I enjoyed dancing, feeling, and moving to.  I honestly can't remember the last time I ever enjoyed the music at an event this much.  The floor in that room was pretty well filled with people dancing as well, which was a great energy to have.  There is something about having good music and a good energy that really allows for a certain flow state of movement.  I guess I'm just glad I was in the right mood to appreciate it.  I realize that half the time I was just being the weird antisocial weird guy glowsticking off in the corner, but honestly I had so much fun doing that that I didn't really care.  I cracked two pairs of 5-min ultras over the course of the night, and had some really good songs using them.

So yeah, it wasn't that hard to choose that earlier in the night over the live orchestral music playing in the waltz room.  Don't get me wrong, the classical pieces are always very pleasant to dance to, and (as always?) I felt bad for the musicians, who certainly deserved some more respectful applause from the dancers. =(  That is something I will have to try and encourage a little more proactively next time.  I do wonder, whether the Don Neely Swingtet had a more respectful reception over in the Swing room, than the Saratoga Symphony did.  I've always been of the impression that swing dancers are generally better with this sort of thing.  A cultural difference, perhaps?

But anyhow, the feelings in these songs, while being perfectly suited for this event, are not the feelings that I strive to express with my dance.  I guess it goes back a little more to what I said about opening performances -- everyone's got their own passions, their own aesthetics.  We're all different.  But this event still manages to bring together so many of these different people.  Older dancers who don't even really bother to social dance much anymore.  Fresh faces who have no idea what the ball is like.  Swing dancers, waltz dancers, latin dancers.  I tend to dislike seeing dance events and communities become increasingly insular and catered towards specific groups at the expense of others, so it is nice to know that this event seems to draw out groups of all sorts, though of course not everyone. (though it certainly seemed so at times -- there were more people than ever before packed into the main ballroom, which was part of the reason I ran away to the Contemporary room)

I missed Swingtime's performance AGAIN this year -- I seem to just have terrible luck with that.  I peeked into the room, saw that they were already dancing the Shim Sham in there, and said to myself "oh drat, I guess I missed Swingtime's performance, which was before the Shim Sham."  Of course, 40 minutes later as I checked the schedule I realized that Swingtime was performing AFTER the Shim Sham........derp.

I entered the Cross-Step Waltz contest together with Talia this year.  My feelings on dancing in the contest this year were overwhelmingly positive, but......complicated to explain.  I guess I can try?

Ok, so some background.  There have been a number of issues in past years about a very vague "rule" (if it could even be called that) of past contest winners not being allowed to proceed to the final rounds of the competitions.  I could not tell you what the exact criteria for this was because it was simply not known.  Besides feeling very unclear, it was also an inconsistent thing -- I've placed 1st in the Cross-step contest in 2014, but even then it felt a bit..."off" since I knew for a fact that the most skilled dancers were not in the final rounds of that competition.  In 2016 (?) I chose to "abstain" from entering any competitions at all because I figured if I did that I would maybe be "allowed" to compete normally again??  And indeed, in 2017 I placed 1st in the Rotary Waltz contest.  However, later in 2019 me and my partner would go on to be tapped out early from the Cross-Step Waltz contest because we had previously won a contest....yet, somehow, we were still allowed to place in the Rotary Waltz competition again??

And no, before you ask -- I'm not just being full of myself and thinking that I "deserved" to advanced to the finals...One of the contest judges in 2019 later told me in person that they as a group had decided that me and my partner had to be eliminated because of past results.

Anyways, as you can imagine, this all felt very unclear and arbitrary and if I had to guess I don't really think the judges were always all on the same page in terms of knowing what "the rule" was, leading to some....weird situations.  (Judging is an entirely stressful and time-pressured job, so I don't really blame them if that was the case)  I really didn't think it was my place to argue though, and besides, it's just a dumb contest, who the hell even CARES -_-  However, the 2019 instance felt especially....off, especially given the number of strangers who came up to me and my partner afterwards and told us that we should have won.  To make matters worse, a member of the opening committee told me "what was that?  That was messed up." and one of the finalists themselves came up to me personally to tell me (and I quote) "I'm so sorry.  You should have been there instead of me."

This was all very....uncomfortable feeling, and I had basically stopped thinking like any of these results meant anything at all besides whether an arbitrary an inconsistent rule had been chosen to apply to me or not.  Dancing in a contest was no longer a question of "will I dance well enough?" or "will I be appreciated enough?", it was a question of "who will randomly be decided to be eligible?"  I had stopped trying to win these competitions because it was simply out of my control.

Fortunately, Emily Hu is an amazing Steering Chair and despite having =countless= other more important things to do, she took the time to both solidify a transparent and fair ruling on the matter as well as make a clear and well-written posting regarding the updated restrictions. (which left me and Talia eligible to compete and/or place this year)  THANK YOU EMILY!

Which meant I no longer had to worry about whether or not I would be arbitrarily disqualified before I had even done anything.  So did I try my best to win the competition together with my partner this year?  Well................uh......no.  You see, for all the silly paragraphs I've written about this thing, I...kind of hate competing.  I really dislike it.  Truly, the only reason I've still kept doing it for this long is because many people have approached me since our performance in 2017 and told me that it inspired them.  People STILL tell me that today -- even at this very event, someone came up to me and told me that they wanted to dance like I did.  And if my dancing can inspire someone and make them feel like Waltz is the next cool thing a dance they really want to do, then isn't that reason enough?

The thing is, though, all of this thinking about "showing the world what waltz can be", trying to be inspiring for others, the pressure to perform well, all of the silliness with the eligibility rules....all of it was really, really, really quite draining.  As I thought about things more and more over the past week, I started to feel like I was doing this for all of the wrong reasons.  I was really just tired of thinking about everyone else except myself.

And at some point I realized that I needed to just let it all go and dance for =me=.  Because that is something that I was simply forgetting how to do.  No showing off, no worrying about the audience, no worrying about the judges, no worrying about technique, no worrying about anything except for the one and only thing that has ever truly mattered to me -- the music.  To me, this "contest" was a means of soul-searching, a means of regaining my own agency in something that felt so muddled with external pressures that I had lost sight of myself.

Talia was gracious enough to offer her full support and wonderful partnering in my admittedly somewhat selfish pursuit and we danced together -- a dance where we did not strive to push ourselves higher than ever before, but rather sought to be one with the spirit of each of the three songs that were played.  I blocked everything else out and focused on my breathing, and the music.  And I remembered again, why the hell I have been doing this thing for 10 years.  It was a wonderful feeling.

And when we were politely told that we were being eliminated, I accepted it with peace, knowing that it was not due to some arbitrary rule that I did not understand, and knowing, that I had proved something to myself.  This silly meaningless contest that I hate how much it bothered me (so stupid!!), finally I could simply look back on it as something that I felt positively about.


I chose not to enter the rotary waltz contest this year, because -- looking back on my notes from last year, I had written that it was =damn tiring= to enter to.  I definitely don't regret that decision, lol.


Speaking of getting tired, though I had felt a bit tired over the first hour at the ball (it didn't help that that was when it felt the most crowded....soooo many students and people that I didn't know, arghh), the great energy in the contemporary room seemed to carry me through and over to the cross-step waltz dancing and then through the rest of the night.

I did however get mighty hungry around 11:30 or so and for ONCE I happened to actually be out wandering about in the lobby when some food was brought out.  I think this is literally the first (or possibly second) time I have ever had a chance to have some of the food at VBall (mostly because I never wanted to bother waiting in line before....)...hey, 10 years in and I can still appreciate something new for the first time, eh?  (that food hit the spot btw, yessshh)

Viennese Ball is, like Fanime, one of those events that happens every year, yet still manages to be a little bit different each year.  Perhaps part of that is because of the different organizers that cycle through and work so hard to put on the event itself, but I am sure that a large part of that is also due to the changes in the people attending, as well as ourselves.  Overall I have to say that this was one of the best times I've ever had at a Viennese Ball event.  It makes sense when I think about it, because when I think back to the night, the two things I remember are great dances (shoutouts to all of the wonderful friends I had the pleasure of sharing a dance with), really feeling the music, and pleasantly interacting with a few people one on one.  What more could I really ask for?

...

I wrote on Saturday night that in addition to having proved some things to myself that night, I had also learned some new things.  Sometimes, ....sometimes, being my quiet and supportive self is not enough.  I have said again and again that growth must come from a place of comfort, and I will be the first to tell you that there are many days when I simply need to take care of myself, and that to do so I must find inner peace in a type of "tranquil complacency", as it were.  Being approachable takes effort.  Interacting with people is tiring.  After 10 years of dancing, even the simple act of asking a friend to dance somehow devolves into some sort of herculean effort.  But do you know what else takes a lot of effort?  Doing the right thing.  Being supportive of others.  Striving to be inclusive of people from all walks of life.  Making a newcomer feel comfortable.  Calling someone out when they are behaving inappropriately.  It's easy to be a bystander, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Some days I really need nothing more than to bystand to my heart's content.  But on the days when I have the strength, I've learned that I sometimes need to take a step out into the light.  For the sake of all of the other people...some who, like me, hide in the gentle darkness, and others who dare to stand in the warm heat of the sun.

For I know, that the one who lives inside of me, is not simply quiet and shy, but also compassionate and supportive.

Another thing I learned this night: I should really take the effort to look my best more than simply twice every year (VBall and Fanime...)...

....

Thank you to Emily, Filip, and the countless others who made my 10th Viennese Ball stand out a little more amongst all the others.  This is one for the books...

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Tonight, there were some things that I learned, and some things that I proved to myself.  Both were really important.

I guess I will write about it later.



Saturday, February 1, 2020

You can always become a better person.  But to do so, you must first accept your flaws.


Celeste talks about this as well.

In your heart you already know this, but dealing with insecurity is never as simple as being a matter of "getting better".  It's about accepting the fact that you are weak, and will fail.

Throughout my upbringing I was steered clear of failure.  My very nature, in fact, as a creature of comfort, is to avoid it.  That is only human, after all.  But from time to time it becomes necessary to stand up against -- no, to accept -- that fear.  The dark side of yourself that you so violently tried to push away.  You may not think that your weakness is a vital part of you, but it is something that you need to bring along with you as you move forward.

What is it that I can do?  Where is it that I went wrong?  It is difficult to move forward, when all you see are mistakes.  During these times, I find that I latch onto a spark.  A small idea, no matter how quaint, that gives me hope that the future, though dark, might be slightly warmer.

It is painful to realize that you have made a mistake, even if the "mistake" was to simply not do anything at all.  But my high school self knows that this is but a springboard to launch myself into a sense of conviction.  To do the things that I can.  Small, insignificant things, but they are mine and mine alone.

And I trust that I will follow through.  I always have, after all.  That is simply what it means to be me.  To follow through, until the very end.  Even if I fail, I will not forget.  You must not ever forget.  The promises of your past depend on you, and no one else.

Celeste: Farewell

Aaaaand we're back.

Not many probably noticed that I was off the grid for the week, but well, that's that.  Part of the reason for hopping back on ye old mundane social media stream is honestly....marketing, but the other main reason is because I'm feeling better now.  I did some soul searching on Monday, found some things that I thought were important, found some other things that I thought were important to AVOID, and so on and so forth.

In addition to being emotionally off-kelter and in need of some answers for my self-motivation as well answers for external pressures, I ended up getting a little sick as well -- nothing too major, honestly probably helped me sleep better in the end.  Twas an off week for sure, but I definitely want to write about the thing that brought me back full-strength, and that is that I've finally sat down and played through the Celeste DLC, "Farewell".  This is a new chapter of Celeste that released around last September and that has sat quietly on my computer as I waited for "the right time" to experience it.  That right time was this week.

While I have not attempted the "extra" challenge of the m*o* *e**y, I actually spent basically ~4 hours last night playing through almost all of the DLC "level" (if you could really call 4 hours of content a single "level").  I stopped at the final screen, but finished that up this evening (honestly without =too= much difficulty).  I am thinking that I will come back for the aforementioned extra challenge at some point, probably at a later time, but that's it for me -- no golden berries, no dashless chapter 1, none of that.  At that time, if I want more Celeste, I'll probably just replay everything that's there (it has been a while since my first climb, after all), or alternatively go and play some custom levels.  Or perhaps just replay IWBTG or IWBTFG or something haha....

But back to the topic at hand.  Celeste's 9th chapter, "Farewell", is....not really your traditional "cherry on the cake".  Celeste is an amazing game -- and even before the existence of DLC I would have been happy to call it my favorite overall game of all time.  But Chapter 9 is =bursting= with additional content...I mean, 4 hours???  It kept on going on and on, screen after screen, long, long, long after I thought that it would have stopped.  And truly, I savored every moment of it.  These screens were challenging, clever, and made you really work to get through them.  They tested not only my control and reflexes, but also my problem solving abilities and my resolve.

But I knew that I could do it.  And as I progressed through these screens, a wonderful feeling began to permeate my soul -- the feeling that I was strong, that I was capable, that I had accomplished great things.  The self-doubt and stress over all of the problems I had been struggling with over the past week seemed to melt away and I found that I....was =believing= in myself, more than I ever have been in a long while.  "You can do this." I told myself out loud.  "You've got this."

After failing the final screen a number of times, Madeline's mirror self appears and asks her, "Are you alright, Madeline?"  She responds with "We're so close, but it feels impossible."  And her mirror self tells her, "We can do this...come on, just a few more tries."  It felt like it had echoed an internal conversation I had just been having with myself.

Celeste has great gameplay, level design, and, well, everything else.  I mean, that much is obvious -- it's an amazing game.  The level design in Farewell really astonished me as well, and I think this is where Noel and crew really took the gloves off and showed us what was really possible in this world, pulling out all the stunts and all the tricks for one last, final hurrah.  But I think even more than that what resonated with me was the emotional feeling of accomplishment, of persistence, of triumph.  This is something that Celeste has always been amazingly good with, especially in Chapter 7 (the summit).  But I think Chapter 9, being an even greater challenge -- a massive challenge, both in length and difficulty, really -- held that true even more.

I'd like to think that I can imagine why people scale mountains in real life now.  This emotional feeling of struggling against an incredibly difficult challenge and then coming out of it triumphantly on the other side...it really did wonders for me.  Playing through these 4 hours of levels was some of the best I've felt in a long time.  And as I said, all of my other problems felt so meaningless in comparison.  So what if I don't mesh well with other people?  So what if I don't meet their expectations, or don't get along with them, or don't =want= to get along with them, or don't fit in?  Does it matter that I don't have XYZ trait and am not such-and-such enough?  No.  No, it doesn't matter.  Because playing this game, I believed in my own strength.

I did it.  I really did it.  I knew that I could, and I did.

Farewell, Celeste.  I know I'll be seeing you again, someday.  Thank you.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

ALTTPR first seed

I finished I guess what you could call my first "real" Link to the Past: Randomizer seed, clocking in at 2 hours 41 minutes.  The seed actually started opening up pretty quickly, though I made some kind of egregious mistakes along the way.  However the biggest two time losses were 1) Hunting around for tempered sword a bunch even after go mode because I wasn't sure whether (or how?) I could do Ganon with Master Sword (spoiler: it's not terribly bad, just use spin slashes and take your time), and I carelessly flooded the key on left side of Swamp Palace accidentally (nooo).  There were some other times when I made some random mistakes because I wasn't really paying attention, etc.  Here's some bad stuff I remember happening:

- Did the usual save+quit from kakariko but should have kept going since I had shovel
- Took an early death in mini moldorm cave since I didn't really know how to go accomplish that without bombs...
- Decided to go into back of escape only to realize I had 0 bombs left...
- Stupidly tried to see if I could do the Hera bomb jump without a sword (yea no), then didn't realize I needed to fall into the top end of the hole to do it the normal way, d'oh
- Took a death at Blind, I had cane of byrna but didn't account for how quickly it would drain meter without half magic.  I was still swordless at the time so had to just give up and come back later...
- I need to learn how to route skull forest...
- I need to remember the key logic for PoD...
- I need to learn how to route ice palace...
- I couldn't check digging game because I had picked up gary's chest...
- Lanmolas fight in GT took way longer than it should have, I was trying to be clever and use silvers but should have just fell back to fire rod from the beginning
- Was trying to splash deletion flipper glitch to check waterfall cave (since I had forgotten to fake flipper earlier) but couldn't exactly remember how
- Stumbling through ice palace with master sword only trying to deal with the pengators was kind of painful

On the plus side I was still sub-3 hours despite boots being in Ganon's Tower (!) so I was basically forced to go without boots for most of the game.  I didn't even get fighter sword until over an hour in (!) so considering all that I guess it wasn't too bad...

Twas fun...

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Still got it :)  Not a new record, not even close, but I managed an M rank in Death mode, topping out at 580-ish after failing to deal with an awkward misdrop on the left side of my stack.

The less of an audience I have, the more freely I can speak.

It's nice to be off the radar, if only for bit.  I took this measure because I was not feeling well at all, but though I have recovered, there is no need to rush back to the feed, since...well, there is little of value there.

Sometimes, just the act of disconnecting is enough to elicit some sense of peace of mind, even though I know that in the end it's not like anyone would even care or notice.  But at least there is a feeling of isolation -- and I mean that in the good way.

I took today mostly to rest and recover, not because I necessarily needed it, but because I know that mental and emotional health is important, and must be maintained lest we "get sick".

I found some unexpected answers last night.  Pit up so plainly against these things that I felt such a distaste for, it was nothing short of obvious that I believed in something that was the opposite.

A test post, just for making sure I'm off radar.  Because it's been a while since last time :)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Sayuri

But there ARE truths, beliefs which in the face of turmoil, in the face of self-doubt, that you are unwilling to compromise.  When you have lost sight of yourself in the face of who you wish to be, there may yet be a self-image that represents what you know to be right in your heart.


Calm, polite, peaceful, and tranquil.  A gentle breeze passes us by and she has no yearning to be something that she is not, because she yearns only to be what she always has been.  She has always been with me, all of this time, but it is during the times of distress that I turn toward her most.

Because it is in these times that she shields me from both the harsh shine of the sun and the cold winter chill, and instead gently holds a lantern up against the darkness.  She need not promise warmth, nor compassion, because promises are fragile things compared to the certainty of the past.

Monday, January 20, 2020

It's time for yet another update...

Dance
Couple of upcoming events:

This Friday (1/24) - I DJ at Friday Night Waltz.  This conflicts with a "mini unjammix" night, but alas, that's how it is.  I've just finished the final changes to the setlist and will be posting that at some point in the coming few days.  As usual, I've hand-edited over 50% of the songs...

February 1st - Viennese Ball.  The usual, I guess.

February 21st - I'll be hosting an event at the GCC.  Exact details TBD, but I might host some private lessons beforehand.  It's been a while since I did any, and I don't know if I care to prepare a full workshop for this.

April 11th (?) - JaSmix.  Get hyped?

Dance has been..."interesting" in the recent months, but I actually had quite a lot of fun at Bon Bon Ball this past Friday, which was very nice.  I can't say that that was really because of any of the things I've been thinking about with regards to dance, but rather I think I just happened to be in a better mood that night and was not feeling very overwhelmed.  I was also really excited that it was the weekend, so I'm sure that helped.

Poi
I haven't practiced a ton, but have practiced a bit!  I've gotten down a tuck turn sequence that feels really cool and satisfying, so that has been great!  Not really sure what I'll be working on next, though.

Randomizer
I still haven't gotten into doing actual legit runs, but I did a session where I just ran through Super Metroid Randomizer and save/loaded state a bunch to practice various things.  I've gotten a lot better handle on some various rooms now, or at least have a better idea of how to execute them in theory.  My Phantoon fight is still really bleh, but on the plus side, I can actually do the 2-tap/3-tap shinespark charges in Draygon's room now, so that's awesome.  I also spent a while learning how to do Baby Metroid Skip, which is still quite hard for me to get consistently, but I =have= been able to do it a few times, and I basically "get it", which feels great.  I spent some more time working on Zebetite Skip too, which I always found really hard to do.

Next I'd like to do basically the same thing but for a LttP rando seed.

TGM
I actually whipped out the old arcade stick and played some games of TAP (Tetris, for those of you who don't speak obscure acronyms) and it felt great.  Even after playing SRS Tetris games a whole bunch, I've found that my ARS instincts and learned intuition really haven't dulled that much at all.  Handling Death 300 speeds is a bit out of comfortable reach for now though -- I think I'll have to really really grind if I want to get my shot at Death GM again.  Ah, well, there's always the "Carnival of Death" to look forward to at the end of March...

Puyo Puyo
I think I've gotten to the point where I need to start watching some videos and such to get new ideas.  I think I've practiced enough that I know of certain situations that I have a pretty hard time of, so it's time to figure out what to really do with them by watching other players and learning from their ideas and experience.

Space Alert
We had a surprisingly--no, =amazingly= successful session, with me captaining (as usual) with two fellow crew members -- one a veteran who I've often taken into the Deep, and a rookie that I trained myself what seems like not too long ago.  After getting not one but two perfect missions (minus some harmless-yet-concerning tripping), we decided to take a higher pay grade mission into one of the slightly more dangerous areas of the Deep.  It was still nothing compared to the stories I've heard of the Red sectors, but halfway between our usual area and the "Yellow" zone, so we encountered some phasing threats, as well as the dreaded "Ninja" that boarded our ships and made our lives difficult.  Luckily, our crew was calm and I was able to take control of the situation relatively well.  Our various expertise was really starting to show its utility in these missions -- my experience as mechanic often provided us with just the right amount of extra punch in the laser cannons to take out a ship, and Kotz at one point seemed to be able to simply meditate for all of 20 seconds before calmly punching some frequencies into the laser console, bypassing the failsafes to squeeze just the right amount of extra joules out of the reactor.  It was...thrilling.

Life (let's face it, probably the only section that you care about)
Hmm, it's difficult to really sum things up.  Let's give some various points:

- Last week was a really long week for me.  I felt a feeling of stress and anxiety towards the end of the week.  Fortunately that went away with the weekend, which went off to quite a great start.
- I dug up some negative emotional weight that I've been carrying around with me for quite a long time, and started to bring it out into the open.  This was something that I guess was a lot more important than I gave it credit for, because I started crying after thinking about it a lot more.  That's really good though, it means that I am at a point where I feel like I actually have the strength to confront it and face it.  I'm very glad.
- The feeling of anxiety seems to have resurfaced a bit, which concerns me.  I will try to get a good night's sleep tonight, and be honest with myself about anything that feels "scary".  I have some guesses right off the bat, namely both work and dance organization -- not that either of them is bad, but rather that they involve stressors.
- This doesn't really "need" to be said, it should be a given, but I have been feeling very grateful for my close relationships.  I guess what I actually mean to say is that they have been going very well and I feel like despite whatever hardship I am going through, I am able to draw a lot of strength from them.

Until next time...

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Surrounded by darkness
I will find my own path in the sky


Yet, I remain bound to you
As you are bound to your cage of thorns

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

It's the new year!  So far, 2020 seems to be a year full of learning new things for me.

Kitchen
Kitchen organization continued and I'm pretty happy with how it's all turned out!  My new hinoki cypress wooden cutting board has been one of the best xmas gifts -- it's lightweight, great to use, and the perfect size for me.

Recipe that I'm aiming to try in the near future -- nasu dengaku (miso glaze eggplant).  I've also started freezing a portion of the ramen broth whenever I get ramen at Nijiya.  I've never been one to bother home-making stock since I just don't cook a lot of dishes that use it (though I guess that's sort of a catch-22), but now that I have a bunch of random cubes of frozen broth I may start exploring ways to use them.  I might try making a tan tan ramen again...which reminds me, I keep on meaning to make some homemade chili oil but never get around to it...now's the time...

Poi
I've been surprisingly drawn into practicing poi spinning lately, and spent a good portion of last night getting pulled into practicing random moves.  I've finally been able to clean up the planes a bit on my low windmills, and yesterday I actually managed to look up and learn two new moves -- a 4-beat thread the needle, as well as 3-beat archer weaves (though I still need to work on both).  I've also been drilling my stalls a bit, trying to work on those elusive up stalls and top stalls...

Puyo Puyo
Not sure what to say except that I need a lot more practice.  On the one hand, I'm way more comfortable with a lot of things than I used to be.  On the other hand, there are a lot of situations that I can tell I'm handling very poorly when it comes to just building a transition and tailing effectively.  I'm just going to have to sit down with it some more and think through some of these situations more carefully to come up with solutions.  At some point I'll also start watching more videos carefully to analyze other people's solutions, but for now I think I can just sort of grind through things on my own for a bit longer.

Super Metroid Randomizer
I played through a seed last night and my total time was something like 1 hr 20 minutes, though I had a few deaths and such in the middle of that, as well as some time spent looking up a few tricks.  This seed had me doing a hi-jump-less gravity jump to get into lower norfair, which I hadn't done before, and I had to refresh my memory on how to do Zebetite skip as well.  It was actually a pretty easy seed, with go mode coming pretty early on -- varia suit was at Norfair hijump location and Gravity suit I believe was at Croc, which opened up the way to do Lower Norfair and then Maridia (having picked up Speed Booster and high jump somewhere along the way) before finally doing wrecked ship and then Tourian.

I also learned how to moonfall!  Moonwalk still definitely trips me up at times, need to get used to that, but I guess might as well learn how to deal with it...

There's a couple of things that I'd like to actually go and practice (maybe using a practice ROM), specifically things like the Phantoon fight and Kraid quick kill, after that I can maybe start just recording (and streaming) real runs!

aLttP Randomizer
I haven't done a full seed lately but I've been doing a ton of routing simulation on Z3RSim (great website btw).  My execution and on-the-fly decision making probably sucks ass but at this point I'm happy if I can at least make sane routing decisions and not forget about something super obvious like forgetting an easy location with 5 items in it, as well as at least having a general sense of routing for all of the dungeons.

Suspiciously I keep on doing Z3rsim seeds where I get early cape or something like early hammer/hookshot which makes me really suspicious that it'll be a seed where Aga1 is required.  Some of them have indeed worked out that way -- there was a seed where the key progression item was on pyramid -- but others weren't.  But again, that's another decision that I'm at least getting a little more familiar with.

EleTD
I dunno if I'm supposed to talk about this one, but getting into this too.

Life
In general, has been good.  There are definitely times when I feel an anxiety in my chest, but I'm living through them just fine, thanks to a lot of things.  Sleeping better and making sure that I'm taking great care of myself as well as achieving the things I need to, is all I can really wish for and try to do.