Worlds of Whimsy #1 – Free Traders Universe

Well, what do ya know!  I didn’t notice until I was going to write this that this was going to be the 50th post, but that’s a rather auspicious start.

Anyways, I’ve noticed lately I haven’t had much to write about, as life is continuing on without major changes, I haven’t had any grand ideas to ponder, and art’s pretty much on hold pending the new reference sheet.  It just so happens I was pondering a world design mixing up dragons with Star Trek and maybe Spelljammer and Shadowrun, and it hit me that I tend to do this on and off sometimes.  I’ll come up with this grand new idea of r a world or timeline or something, maybe start to write a story(or even finish it!) and then end up dropping it.  I don’t really want to be a GM so the only way I can really bring them to life usually would be via story or art.  Art usually isn’t that great for something like this without a bunch of it(which would get rather expensive) and with writing I’ve found I tend to work best with short stories, and I would need a strong story idea to get myself to finish it.

Then it hit me that I could put them out here!  Write out these fancy ideas and flesh them out, and while I may not be able to give them life, maybe someone else later will come along and build off that in their home games, and make it live!

I’m actually torn on what to show off for the first posting though.  I think I’ll start off with one of my more recent world-building attempts, although techncially I suppose it’s actually a couple worlds.

The Free Traders Universe

This was actually the setting(s) for an aborted story series based in the Spelljammer ruleset and setting.  It was supposed to follow the adventure of a small 4-man crew of a spelljamming vessel. They were rather unique though, especially a couple of them that I basically had to (or wanted to) create their own worlds because of them.  First, the ship!

Lazy Sue

Swordfish-class
4xStandard room = 2 tons
Helm room = 1 tons
Galley = .5
basic Engineering = 1.5 tons
5 tons + cargo
10% rigging
10% frame

12 tons
9.6 tons internal
4.6 tons cargo

Heavy Frame – Dark Wood
Dark Woof Hull
Pyre Iron plating
Pyre Iron piercing ram

Maneuver C
AC 25
hardness 12
345 HP

 

I never got as far as making deck plans apart from a general idea of what was where.  She was crewed thoguh as I said by four folk:

The Captain was a standard womanizing rogueish half-elf.  Nothing special at first, though more may have been revealed later.

The navigator was a dragonwrought kobold, giving them a mini-dragon on the crew.  She likewise wasn’t supposed to harbor much in the way of dark secrets, but had been doing this a while at the start. Her homeworld would have been based in the Council of Wyrms setting.

The weapons master on the other hand was one of those two special cases.  He was basically a warforged in game terms, but he was ultimately a proxy Transformer.  So, one of the few worlds I somewhat fleshed out is:

Forged Homeworld
(Cybertron of Universal Stream Draconix 313.16 Iota)

The history of this world mirrors the Primax 984.17 Alpha(G1 cartoon) history, after a fashion, given the presence of magic.  Forged were created to be warriors, like Eberron, and laborers.  The countries that gave birth to them however went to war with one another, and practically destroyed the planet.  The Forged finished the job, and left, their creators and their entire homeworld having been seemingly lost.  They started blaming one another and the war-restarted among the stars, with the Forged taking sides in part based upon their old loyalties, while others left to find their own way.  The other spelljamming races don’t look at the “out-of-control machines” with kindness, needless to say, though their reception could be anywhere from a cool neutral stance, to outright jailing, which would have been a plot point at one of the worlds they would have visited.

 

The artificer and ship’s engineer was the newbie, and the initial audiance perspective member.  She was also rather out of the ordinary, in that she was a felitaur.  In other words, like a centaur except her lower half was fully feline and her upper half was a humanized feline, in typical furry fasion.  Similar to chakats, but without being a herm or any of the baggage that term brings.

I didn’t flesh out her world much, other than it was a Realms-like world, but with more taurs and fewer bipeds.

I did put some thought into the first part of their story, which I originally planned to be from the Transforged’s PoV.

Giasin

This world was intended to borrow from a mix of La Gias(SRW), Panzer World Galient, and Turn A Gundam.  The world itself was meant to parallel the Forged homeworld just before its final war, except instead of self-aware mechanoids they’d uncovered ancient giant piloted mecha and tried to copy it with their magitek technology.  The Lazy Sue would have been seized to be used in their war, but the Transforged character would have broken the “PCs” out and helped them escape onto their next stop.

 

The next stop would have been the Council of Wyrms setting, and there would have been little change if any.  The story would have been told form the kobold’s PoV as she had run away form this world, and was now returning to it, though not entirely of her own accord.

There would have been one more intermediate stop, likely at a space station equivalent, before returning around to the taur’s PoV and their final destination.  I didn’t get far enough along to flesh out this world either, other than the story here would play with a plot along the lines of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” from Star Trek, mixed with a quarantined planet and a dying or dead Spacejammer.

I lost interest as I was trying to start the second chapter, and as no one else seemed really interested either, I let it die at that point and moved on.  I’d still like to plat a Draconix stream Cybertronian at some point, if a GM will let me though.

 

The next entry will probably also be a revival of an old story setting, but unlike this, it’ll be a single world as such.  Like this setting, I only got one story and the start of another written before I lost the thread of the story, though it was more I knew what I wanted in the ending but couldn’t see a good way to get there.

Also, as a reassurance this isn’t replacing any other ideas I might write about.  This will simply be something else I write about or for now and then in addition to posts about art, life, philosophy, and so on.

It’s Spaaaaaaaace Tiiiiiiiiime!

No, I’m not rewatching Kamen Rider Fourze.  I just noticed it’s been a while since I wrote anything and at the moment I’m in a space-y mood.  And no, I don’t mean lightheaded.

I was just looking through an image thread about Star Trek ships, and it’s making me want to do something with them again.  Specifically, someone had dome up a modification of the “Miranda-class” and I’m really liking the design.  It does look a lot like a Romulan War Eagle or King Eagle cruiser though, which may be part of why.

Artemis and Peregrine

Peregrine-class , on the right.

Going back and thinking over the various designs I’ve liked though, I’ve realized I tend to be drawn to the small to mid size ships, similar to how I tend towards those type cars in real life too.   Light Cruisers, Medium Cruisers, Destroyers, those are all classes I’ve tended towards if I had a choice.

Looking back towards Star Fleet Battles/Command, I really liked the Kzinti ships. I didn’t start reading the Honorverse books until later, but I did like their Drone-heavy ships, especially in SFC2 when they introduced teh X-tech from SFB(with a twist) to SFC and I got MIRV-drones.  Running a drone-variant ship really feels like the Star Trek equivalent of a Honorverse ship.  Only downside is the closest thing to Missle pods is the Scatter Pack, which you can’t produce in bulk ahead of time.  Also, control channels becomes an issue then, as Kzinti ships don’t have near the drone control capability of an Honorverse ship.

The MDC Foxfire - my ship during SFC online play

The MDC Foxfire – my ship during SFC online play

Romulans are another race I’ve always liked, mostly for the cloaking device.  It lends a sort of “submarine” feel.  I’ve never cared for their Klingon refits, but the King Eagle is one design I’m sort of fond of.  In part, I’ve always envisioned the first-generation ships as showing the Romulan’s actual design sensibilities, in addition to being specifically designed to work with cloaking.  Did I mention they also have equal strength shields all around?

I feel that the 3rd gen on the other hand borrow too much from Klingon aesthetics on principle, though a few of them look just fine as-is.  I do have to admit, I did see a image recently of a render of a 3rd generation ship that, with the right colors, reminded me a lot of the Next Gen Romulan ships.  It looks a lot nicer than the regular Sparrowhawk light cruiser in the plain grey colors.

Fasthawk (Firehawk variant)

Fasthawk (Firehawk variant)

Then again, those colors and the Romulan Logo are very reminiscent of the Clan Jade Falcon, from Battletech, which happens to be one of my favorite Battletech factions!  And there was one image of a Sparrowhawk redesign I did like in the original scheme.

Sparrowhawk (redesign) beauty shot

Sparrowhawk (redesign) beauty shot

I’ve toyed with most of the other factions at one time or another, but the only other race I really felt a draw to the ship design of was the Lyrans.  yes, another feline race, but something about the catamaran and Trimaran hull just grabs my attention, especially on the Destroyer/War Cruiser hull.  I’m not drawn to Disruptors, and the ESG can be tricky to use well, but they are some rather sharp ships.

SFC style Lyran CW

SFC style Lyran CW

Another thing this space kick I’m on gave me an idea for is the best ever costume for a dragon for Halloween: the Enterprise!  If I can get it done before Halloween, I’m going to try and get a sketch commission of myself wearing that as a costume.

But now I really want to play something with these ships!

Competition

So a while back my girlfriend mentioned I was very competitive. Now we play quite a few games often to spend time together, both with just us and with others, but I didn’t put too much stock in it at the time.

I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, and whatever I do, I try to do my absolute best at, though I will sometimes put additional personal restrictions in place on things.  For example, I prefer not to jump my dragoness’s pawns in parcheesi unless I’m forced to by the game not giving an out.  Within that restriction however, I try to play it the best I can, and everyone else’s pawns are fair game.

The other night however, we’d recently found this Monopoly clone and were playing it a bit before heading off to bed.  Unlike the first night, that night the dice were rolling well for me and not only did I get 2 full groups, I ended up through managing mortages(and a couple close calls) buying one out of every color group I didn’t fully control, This might not have been so bad, except it was just the two of us, and without considering it I’d totally blocked my GF from doing anything without buying or trading properties from me, which killed her interest in it, the the point that night where she was not wanting to ever play it again with me.

I felt horrible about it that night, but it made me recall her words before.

When you’re playing a game, typically you are playing to win to some extent, but just having fun can outweigh that; especially since in that example we were ultimately just playing around to have a bit of fun with a new game and kill time.  While we were playing, since we weren’t chatting much I was looking at the board and thinking mostly in terms of the game, and planning ahead on my next step, rather than thinking about making sure she got to move forward too.   My actual goals though were more to build out some areas for the achievements.

Anyways, making me think about all this also made me think back to WoW.  I’ve been raiding for years, and for a while I was raiding with a casualcore group and what had kind of devolved into a more casual group, before it broke up because of the difference in opinion on progression value.

With the first group, we show up to kick butt, take loot, and push progression.  If you screw up you’re letting down the team.  You do your best for yourself and the team to do ever harder content, though we’re no world first guild, we do the best we can within our limits.

The other guild people were mostly going to kill bosses and have fun together, regardless of the progression. We weren’t getting anywhere compared to the other one because everyone was more casual about it and I had already found that sort of guild isn’t a great match for me, as I always tended to be progression-oriented, making the character grow in capability.

Those same traits that make me a good raider though, are what came back to bite us in the butt that night. When raiding seriously, competitiveness is good and encouraged, as it pushes you to increase your performance, especially as a DPS.  Lord knows I compared myself often enough on the charts after fights with my other raid members! But it can be a detriment as well, when you’re trying to play a game more casually, but without the clues of body language and tone of voice, it’s a lot harder to tell when you’ve crossed the line if you don’t catch yourself first.

It is kinda funny though that I ultimately don’t care for PvP in most games, given that, instead preferring co-op, but then that’s probably my natural tendencies towards empathy and avoiding direct confrontation warring with those competitive tendencies to instead turn to co-op and comparisons.

That may be part of why I didn’t really consider it at first, as in my mind when I hear competitiveness, I also mentally tie in confrontation and being a direct opponent to someone rather than the way I normally go about things.

We’ve since talked about it and I’m going to restrain myself further where she’s concerned on that game as well.  most of the other games we play are usually down to 90% luck, and less strategy, so they depend mostly on the luck of the die/draw.

That night she said “You are who you are” when I apologized again for “ruining” the game and to a certain extent she’s right; those traits have served me well in certain environments, but there’s a time and place for that, which is why I come up with additional restrictions to hold myself back.  I’m just going to have to do it more proactively.  I’m just glad that she knew that it wasn’t my intention, and she didn’t hold it against me at all.  Not that I would ever expect her to, but past experiences with other girlfriends have made me skittish about things, even if only subconciously.

In other news, I’ve started playing WoW again, and the 3 month break was what I needed.  I’m gearing up my druid for leveling after finding out about the new werecat talent, and I’m really hoping it turns out competitive DPS compared to the other two talents on that tier, so I don’t feel like I’m gimping myself for using it.  I’m also working back through and upgrading my priest’s gear, and I should have it done in plenty of time as the release date now is November.

I also already requested release day and the day after off so I can binge-level this time too on at least one character.  I’m looking at leveling 3 characters to cover all my bases in terms of professions, thanks to garrisons, and two of those are the druid and priest I’m already going to be leveling.  I’m just going to have to re-find a balance point between WoW to progress my toons and SL to spend time with my dragoness, but that’s no different from any other guy who plays WoW and has a SO.

Ultimately, it is what it is though, and I wouldn’t give her up for anything. So priorities will adjust, as they always have, and life goes on.

 

Galleries: Personal vs General

Let’s start off with – what exactly is a gallery?  To me, and for the purposes of this discussion, an image gallery is a collection of images with a common quality of some sort(be it artist, subject matter, or something else) posted online for public perusal, and not in a temporary fashion(IOW not imageboards).

The reason I want to lay out this definition at the beginning is that there are two different main kinds of galleries out there, and thinking about differences and reasons to use them is what started the gears turning on what will probably be another dragonwall by the end.

The first type is what I’m going to refer to as personal galleries.  These are galleries that you have full control over what goes in them, and no one else.  These are the meat of sites like FurAffinity, Weasyl, and SoFurry, and this style also bleeds over into Social Networking like Facebook, or other unfocused sites like imagur and tumblr.

These can serve several purposes, depending on the reason for their creation.  A lot of artists(especially on sites like FA or tumblr) are artists, and this allows them to show off their work for whatever reasons they may have, whether it be selling their skills, showing off some neat idea or image, or puffing up their ego.  Then there’s also those who aren’t artists, who may be sharing works that were created for them, again for similar reasons as the artist.  This is FA’s raison d’etre after all; to show art created “by you/for you”.

Separate from these are the general galleries.  Most of these fall into the imageboard category and thus outside the bounds of this discussion, but there are a few here and there that were created to focus on general subject matter, such as e621 and Herpy.  On these sites images are sorted and tagged by the content, but anyone(that registers) can post to the “gallery” for a given type of content. With these there might be some small acknowledgement somewhere of who uploaded it, but primarily they present just the images all together in one giant melting pot, similar to what someone might have in terms of an Images folder on their computer.

Now, as to what prompted this.

As seen in many of my previous posts, I’ve been commissioning art of myself quite a bit since the turn of the year.  I’ve posted them to my own galleries, and the artists have mostly done this as well, though there are a few who still have yet to post it themselves.  A few of these artists are actually fairly well-known among the furry community.  A while back, when I got that first adult picture, I ended up running across it on both of the galleries I named above, though without any of the context being included by the uploader.  When I got the adult second picture of myself a short while later, from a lesser-known artist, it never showed up on either, and in fact has yet to show up, despite it being “sexier” in my opinion(and at least one other person’s).

I got as far as registering an account at e621, but never got around to tagging it properly there, and I have yet to register at Herpy. I recently considered whether I should put up the other pictures, and decided to go poking using a well-known example.

Just like there are artists well-known for their quality and subject matter, there are also some dragons who have commissioned a lot of art from a lot of artists and have become rather well-known.  This was actually how I found some of the artists I’ve patronized: browse the gallery of some of these popular dragons and follow the images I like back to their source artist, and go from there.  Do this for long enough in one sitting you can even sort of start to see how the dragon artists and the more art-prolific dragons interweave in a huge web, and even between each other.

To name a specific example, Byzil is one I was aware of long ago(relatively) and one of the first dragons that I gallery-dived to find artists.  In this case, I used her art as a test to see what would show up on e621 and if any of it had come from the artist or the dragon herself. From a semi-random sampling, all of them were posted by others, and most of it was either of an adult nature, or on the cute end of the spectrum.

Just browsing any general subject on e621 it becomes very obvious that for most art to be uploaded it has to be either a) epic, b) erotic, or c) adorable.  Herpy is even easier to categorize, as the main board sections are split up by erotic content and the non-adult section is mostly full of fanart of well-known mainstream dragons e.g. Spyro and Eragon.  They do straddle the line a bit however as there are some artists that have their own personal galleries there as well, but that is not germane to the discussion at this time.

One thing I’ve considered is exposure.  With how fast the front page on most of the furry galleries moves, and with how much crud there is surrounding the decent pictures, it’s easy for new submissions to get lost without being noticed by a sizable amount of folks unless you’re already well-known, or the art is obviously very good.  There’s just so much content that the chances of someone stumbling on your gallery by accident are fairly low as well.

When you commission well-known artists however, folks who like your image might follow the link back to your gallery and follow you as well to see what other pictures you might commission. I know this is a thing as after a couple artists I’ve gotten art from I’ve had new watches as well for just this reason.  It gives you more exposure to the art, and what is the point of art if no one sees it?

Well these general galleries have even more exposure, but it’s of a different kind. There’s a lot of folks who just go to these sites just for new fap material, and the adult art of varying quality far outnumbers the “clean” art of any stripe on e621.  Herpy, well I went into that just a little bit further up.

This got me into wondering; do I want that sort of attention?

Some would say if I didn’t I should never have posted the pics I got, or for that matter have commissioned them in the first place.  Well, as I may have said, looking back I’ve realized I have a streak of exhibitionism, and this plays to that tendency.  I also have a tendency towards shyness as well among strangers, so that wars against that urge, which leads to the mixed feelings I have on the topic in general.  I guess you could say I like showing off, but on my terms.

Anyways, some of the comments I’ve seen on Herpy have gotten into the downright creepy range. Compliments are one thing, but making RP advances towards the subjects of the image are another entirely.  If this were just a random character, that would also reduce the impact; or for that matter, it might even be encouraged! In this case however, this IS me.  I would guess this must be what it feels like to be a moderately attractive young lady finding your picture online with creepy guys talking about how they’d like to bed you in various graphic ways.

Just like anyone can post images on them, anyone can post comments, so even if I posted an image myself I wouldn’t be able to moderate the comments if they started getting out of hand.  On the other hand, some of this art is just plain nice regardless of the content and I’d like to share it.  Especially if it’s by one of the underrated artists who get lost in the Catch-22 of getting attention in the first place.

For now, if it ends up there it ends up there, I think.  I won’t purposefully post anything at the moment, but if someone else does, it’s not like I have any control over it.  Once I get my new ref sheet and get another pic or two that I have in mind, I may post the other adult works that haven’t made it up, and just try and ignore any unwanted advances.  It’s not like they’ll ever have any option or opportunity to try to bed me, as that privilege belongs solely to my mate, whenever she wishes to claim it.

And after all as the saying goes, if you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Out of the Shadows

I picked up Shadowrun Returns around the start of the month, but only recently started playing it.  And of course, once I did, I was sucked in pretty heavy, which the sign of a good RPG, despite what people said about the main campaign being railroad-y.

I ran a combination decker/rigger dwarf and the story felt very Shadowrun.  It also to my pleasant surprise tied into the novels, though I can’t say which one without it spoiling the end of the plot.  I only ran it on normal and got what felt like probably too much karma, but it felt fairly fluid going between handling the drones and into decking the times it was needed.  The only downside was I couldn’t put the drones on auto-overwatch and they just hung out wherever they were at when I jacked in rather than returning to my side.  I liked the character enough actually i may recreate it in regular Shadowrun if I ever get to play it again.

For the second DLC campaign I’m trying an elven shaman/mage/face, at least as much as face is a thing in the game.  That’s one of the things I’m actually slightly disappointed in: the skill system.

It has all the trappings, but it cut out all the social skills and made them perks on the Charisma stat track, which cuts out most of the point of the Face character.  Dialogue conversations also don’t seem to “roll” like it might with Bioware and similar games, but just gives you additional options if your appropriate stat is high enough.  The meat of the game seems to be the combat here, as far as ties to the game system.

Speaking of which, one thing that would have been nice as well is a combat log.  The combat on the surface seems to have little resemblance to the actual Shadowrun combat rules, as all it gives is HP and percentages, rather than dice pools and so on.  I like that they actually include cover though!

In the end though, it still feels very Shadowrun, despite lacking the dice transparency that some of the D&D-based games have had.  it also looks like there’s a bunch of player-made modules ala Neverwinter Nights, so whenever I get back to playing through Dragonfall, I might toy with those after that.

Leaving the gaming arena, the art situation has finally moved on as well.

  • The badge from Asyd is in the sketching stage now, though there’s still higher priority stuff for her to finish first.
  • Tanraak has basically retired from drawing for now as he has not been happy with any of his drawings the past few months, so he is sending out refunds as he is able to.  I still would like to get this concept sketched, so I’m back to watching for artists.  I’m also kind of wanting to wait though on the new referance sheet to be finished.
  • Miss Maverick’s made a bunch of adjustments to the planning sketch for the reference sheet from my input and we just got it to a point today where everything is pretty much right.  As such, she’s going to be starting on the colors next.  I’m not sure how long it’s going to take but I think I’m going to be very satisfied with it when its done..  It’s also a bit more pricey than any of the other pictures I’ve gotten, but that’s standard for ref sheets due to the detail involved and multiple pictures inherent to it.
  • As to the picture from CurioDraco of my dragoness and myself?  Well…

Llewelyn and Kaitlyn

Let’s just say we were both very happy with the results and leave it at that. ^..^

ADDITIONAL UPDATE

Extra special bonus round!  I just found out I got picked from Fortuna’s freebie list!  Yay for extra special bonus art!

1406914592.fortuna_dekafox

Time flies

So my birthday came and went, and I’ve now rode this ball of dirt and air around the sun another full time. Saw the new Transformers movie and it was better than the last two I have to say.  Didn’t sell me on characters but it was a better experience I felt.

Now that I look it’s been about 3 weeks since my last post, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.  I suppose it’s a matter of scale.  When you’re younger, every day is a larger portion of your total life, and there’s so much ahead still that it feels like it drags.  Once you get past your mid-20s, you’ve lived a lot more so each day feels less significant, not to mention that not much changes(unless you have children) for many years after.  Same reason that when you get older age gaps can be bigger without getting into the weird zone.

Still mostly hanging with my mate and playing D3 when she’s not around.  So far I’ve played everything except Demon Hunter, and I’m liking Wizard and Crusader the best, followed by Barb.  Witch Doctor is efficient but not as fun to me.. although all the pets make some enemies not near as annoying.  The only thing I enjoyed about the monk was Explosive Palm making things go boom, and that got nerfed heavy.  2.1 patch is retooling all that though, so afterwards, we’ll see.

2.1 also brings in the seasons to D3, and I might play it but I don’t know if I’ll go Crusader or Wizard.  It’s actually kinda funny, considering that I can make the Wizard play like the Wind Druid, one of my favorites from D2, and the Crusader is the rebuild of the paladin from D2, which was the other D2 class I played a bunch.  No Auradin, but looking at trying Holy Shotgun on my Crusaders once they cap out and I can get the gear for it.

Artwise, no real change apart form the CurioDraco piece is actually in progress now.  I should probably poke the other two just to see if there’s any word on progress, since it’s been months now since the last update.

I am getting going on getting that referance sheet now also that I was talking about.  Maverick updated her Trello and had some new Ref sheets, so I asked and she did have an open ref sheet spot in her queue!  Working hashing out the initial sketch sketch still, but it has gotten me to think on a few things again that I hadn’t before about my body.  Like for example I had been planning on a black mouth and tongue, but after trying it out in SL(as she was thinking flesh was better) I did find it worked better.  My gf also spotted a change that needed to be done with my horns that I’d overlooked, funnily enough.  There’s going to be clean and adult versions too, which’ll be useful, and Miss Maverick does a very good job at capturing expressions.

Don’t really have anything else of note to talk about right now so going to close it out there.  Until next time!

Sweet Emotion

Time for another of those shouts out into the vast void of the Interwebs!

Last night, after I said goodnight to my love and was getting ready for bed, I was thinking back on the day and realized my mood hadn’t changed much for most of the day(apart from when I surprised her with some art that I’ll get into later).  It was an odd feeling, but after a few minutes though I was able to put a name to it: I was content.

Strange that something so simple is so elusive in the modern world, so uncommon that it’s not recognized immediately anymore.  Yet there it is, after spending a day mostly split between Diablo 3 and time in SL with my mate.

I guess our lives are so sped up and micromanaged by various companies wanting siphons in our wallets, not to mention work pressures, that it’s hard to find those quiet times anymore.  “Feeling anything other than nondescript happy?  There’s a drug for that!”  “A normal person is happy.  You ARE normal, aren’t you?” “Look at these awesome stars you’ll never be as good at unless you buy our stuff!”

These days we’re constantly pushed and pulled in so many different directions and ways that equilibrium is hard to find.  It’s a bit like Bilbo described in the LotR stuff; “A bit like too little butter spread over too much bread” or jam or whatever it was.  Everything is “GOGOGOGO NOWNOWNOW” from the intense lows of a manager or customer leaning into your face tearing you a new one because this color isn’t exactly like that color, never mind it’s the same color, to the intense highs of getting that brand new sportscar to show off to your coworkers like you’re getting paid twice what you are.

Things are going great or things are going shitty, and you’re expected to react appropriately and that there’s something wrong with you otherwise.

There’s also the perception among current US culture that if you’re not on top of the heap, you should be reaching for more.  “Everything for me and mine; hell take the hindmost” is a common sentiment if you break things down.  You don’t even need to deny it; just look at the laws that get passed or repealed, and what all the lobbying groups push for.  If you’re not making progress or sitting at the top, you don’t deserve to be happy, and god forbid that you actually backslide!  Everyone knows that never happens to anyone who doesn’t deserve it, right?  Therefore, if you backslide you must be a horrible horrible person and you deserve all the bad things the rich men do to you.

I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s “unfashionable” to be content.  Honestly, there’s still things I want and want to change, but for that day there was just me, my mate, my friends, and a game I find fun, and that was enough for that day.  It was a simple happy, not the extreme high that most seem to think of as happy these days.  In fact, thinking about it, I’m sure there’s some that would qualify anything outside that extreme high as being unhappy, and treat it with “medication”(whether legal or not).

It’s actually kind of sad that this is a thing.  I guess that’s why some folks reject the modern world and pine for older days, when things were simpler, less hectic, and less inclined to extremes.  There’s still plenty of room though to step back and enjoy a simple day, leaving the worries of the world behind and just enjoy the moment, even when you work in IT!

Now as to the other moment I mentioned earlier, I had been wanting to get my girl a picture of her dragoness playing the keytar(as she does in a band in SL) for a couple months now.  There was a specific artist who does really inexpensive stream sketch commissions, but they’d been working on full commissions for a while and hadn’t done a stream since March!  Friday, I found they were opening on Saturday afternoon.  I probably had the dopiest grin on my face on and off that afternoon as I pondered getting to surprise her with that, since she never got any art before now.

When the time got close, I was a bit nervous, since we were also running a race event on SL, and I wanted her in the stream while it was being drawn.  I paused for a few minutes to let some other people get their entries in before mine so they wouldn’t overlap, which worked like a charm.  Then however, there was some confusion about the race that looked like it would delay things, but by the time my queue slot came around the after-race party was well underway.

When I was getting her into the stream, I didn’t tell her what it was for other than she would really want to see this, and the whole time I was feeling the urge to giggle or snicker in anticipation of her reaction, which was fairly close to what I had figured.  The picture came out pretty good, if a little bit different from what I had expected, but she loved it, which gave me that bubbly happy feeling from seeing her happy about it.

Since I had gotten to surprise her with that one, I went ahead and told her about the other commission I had gotten, that was of both of us.  That one is more of a slow burn as that commission is going to be worked on over July, and I hope we both like that one just as much as this one – it’s just harder when you’re working without a solid reference, and her SL av is still a WIP.

Which I suppose is a good time to go back over my art queue.

  • Badge from Acidapluvia – She’s been busy with life, but she finally got around to updating her Trello queue listing last week and it’s showing as in-progress now, so yay!  Not sure if it’s going to be just the image or it’ll be physical, so will find that out when she gets it done.
  • Adult pic from Tanraak – Got a sketch, he tried to work on it for a bit, wasn’t satisfied with it and redrew it, although honestly I liked the first sketch also.  After the last review of the new sketch I haven’t heard back in a month, but he’s had some motivation problems recently so been cutting him some slack before I poke him to find out about any form of progress.
  • The aforementioned couple pic from CurioDraco – Got confirmation and sent payment over the weekend, and it’s part of a batch that will be worked on over the month of July.  I’d been wanting some art from her and I’d been wanting to get a pic of me and Kait so this works out perfectly.

On a side note, advice for anyone who is looking for good dragon artists, whether adult or otherwise: Look through the gallery and favorites of some of the more commonly drawn dragons, like Byzil and her friends – that’s how I found most of the dragon artists I’m watching.

Botcon Hasbro Toy Panel Thoughts

Just a quick little thing, now that the Hasbro panel is done and all the reveals are out.

DO WANT tier:

  • Arcee – That is SO G1 Arcee.  Animated Arcee is so replaced.
  • Brainstorm – He looks so perfect I don’t feel a need to get the original figure anymore.  Also HEADMASTER!
  • Powerglide – Perfect representation of one fo the first TFs I ever owned.  First Tailgate, now Powerglide.  Thanks Hasbro!
  • More combiners in 2015 – WTB a new Computron!

Kinda want tier:

  • Bombshell – Looks like I’ll need to get Shrapnel now, especially since Kickback is also on their list
  • More Hasbro MPs – Kinda iffy on these since I got my G2 Sideswipe MP already, and I don’t have a strong attachment to the 84-85 guys, but they are good toys.
  • Leader Megs – Looks like a perfect G1 almost, apart from turning into a tank

Everything else revealed is pretty much pass for me right now.  Still the WANT is strong with this group.  I might actually have to do some preorders depending on how distribution works.

Now back to waiting…

Worries

So after my day turned to shit, got some better, then stabilized at a low level of shittiness, the last thing I really expected was to be writing here.  You see, I’m one of those folks who tends to bottle the bad feelings up and let them out to play when I’m by myself.  “It’s my problem, I shouldn’t bother anyone else with it.” “I don’t want to make them feel bad too.”  and various other excuses I’m sure we’re all too familiar with.  Great for others, not so much for myself.

Before I start to make myself feel bad about feeling bad though, let me change tracks.  This isn’t intended to be a vent journal tonight, with the person I care most about unavailable; it’s about something that crossed my mind when I was fighting my inner demons.

I’ve always been a bit of a… worrywart I guess is still the right word, even if it feels positively antiquated these days.  I locked the door before leaving, right?  Did I forget anything?  Did I miss something with this plan to fix all the things?  Is there something here I’m not seeing?  If I make the wrong choice here, am I screwed?  Did I make the wrong choice already?  Am I going to fast? Should I have not said that?

One thing I never really thought about is why I think those things.

Despite a lot of what I do daily being considered being a technician instead of an engineer(and I’m not even going to get into that mess right now) my job title and my personal opinion agree on one thing:  I am an engineer.  In this case it gets to the very root of the word – engineers solve problems.  I’s a part of who I am, and it’s what I do.

The thing is, it’s part of an engineers JOB, as well as nature, to question constantly.  It’s not as critical in the field I’m in, but a lot of peoples’ lives can depend on the calculation an engineer made 15 years ago when designing, for example, a bridge.  An engineer is used to constantly double-checking and triple-checking themselves, and being checked by others, because if they don’t, that’s just a recipe for disaster.

Now take that mindset, and apply it to everyday life.

I think that is a large part of why I worry so much, even over inconsequential things, or even things I’m 99% sure I’m right on.  Just as being a dragon is in my nature, so is being an engineer.  I can’t just turn it on when I go to work and turn it off at night when I go home; it’s an integral part of me as well.  There’s a part of my subconscious constantly checking for any signs of failure and shoving the doubts into my thoughts because it’s what I do.

It doesn’t help when you’ve got a decent imagination either, because that then feeds back into the whole thing.  It’s great if you’re mentally simulating what a change might do to some settings, but not when you’re imagining all the different scenarios behind something happening personally – especially since again, engineers are by design supposed to be looking out for the worst case scenario, even if it doesn’t apply.  Aim for the best but expect the worst is potentially an engineering creed in and of itself.

Figuring this all out doesn’t truly make it any easier, but it’s a connection that I never really consciously made until now, I think.  Anyways, short little thought for the day, and I think I’ll leave it there.  If I start going into just why today registered on the shit-o-meter I’ll either get pissed or feel more down, and I don’t need either after the day I had.  One of them though may become another short post of pondering in the future, though.

Censoring yourself

To be fair, this is something we do every day in our day-to-day lives.  If we were socialized properly and don’t have any interfering mental issues, we go around all the time and make think certain things, but our brain-to-mouth filter catches them before they get us in trouble.

As much as that does work though, we will still blurt out wrong things at the wrong moment in live conversation, which everyone knows as “putting your foot in your mouth” form wherever the phrase started.  Online interactions however add another layer on top of that.

With the way text chatting works, unlike in speech you get the entire message at once, rather than as the stream of words that spoken language is.  Rather than take it bit by bit, you swallow the message in whole and then respond.  ON top of that, depending on typing speed and message length, you could be communicating faster or slower than you would speaking, which can lead to you sometimes talking past the other person.  For example, you could be responding to their previous sentance but by the time you get it out they’ve already said something on a different subject, and then you end up with two conversations at once potentially until one resolves itself.

Of course, holding multiple conversations at once can be a side benefit of this as well.

Either way, online interactions give you more time to think of what you’re going to say, which can lead to a conscious word filter in addition to your learned unconscious one.  You may think more about what you’re going to say.. especially if you have an idea of what the other party is about to say and can see that they’re typing it(as most things, whether Skype, Second Life, or something else show it these days).

This isn’t always a good thing.

I for one prefer to try and keep my responses as close to what I would respond live, if possible, especially in an environment like Second Life. I try to avoid half-typing a sentence, then deleting it and starting over, though I admit it does happen sometimes… and there’s other times when what I’m about to say becomes pointless before I’m finished.  Because of this, it bugs me sometimes when I’m saying good night to my dragoness and I catch myself thinking over the wording ahead of time while she’s typing.  It feels like the time I have while she’s saying it is longer than if she was actually saying it, and I wouldn’t have near the same time, and then it feels like I’m overthinking it and meh.  Personal pet peeve at myself.

That’s not everything though.  Thre’s another instance of self-censoring that I only recently got myself over – the “L” word.  Love.

In other past relationships I’ve had it’s come out probably too soon, and while it may not directly have contributed to the end of those, it never helped in the end either.  Especially since I wasn’t even fully sure of my own feelings at the start, I firmly sat on it and fought against using it, even in the privacy of my own thoughts.

A slight side note here; the english language really should have more words for the various forms of love.  Without adjectives and context, it can me romantic love, familial love, a really deep like for something, or just appreciation for really good friends. It’s all just very imprecise and can leave the way open for misunderstandings, compared to various other languages where each of those is its own word.  In fact, it’s kind of amusing that Japanese, a language way more context-sensitive than English, actually does this.

Going back to the romantic use of the word though, there’s not much further a relationship can go at that point emotionally, in American culture.  There’s still growing together and more the relationship can do to grow, but feelings-wise that’s considered to be it.  That’s also why telling someone that too early can be considered creepy, as if you’re trying to force your feelings onto them.

So, as I said, I fought against and argued against using it even in my own head for a long while, even though it may have been the truth about how I was feeling towards her.  In part that was because there’s other meanings of love that can affect a relationship – infatuation and lust.

The latter isn’t even a factor apart from whatever desire is caused by my already existing feelings for her as, hell, I still have yet to even see a picture of her.  I know there folks out there that think me crazy for feeling this way about someone I haven’t seen, and they may be correct from certain points of view, but the heart is anything but rational.  Back when I first started this relationship, I came to the conclusion that it’s not going to matter, after some thinking on that fact.  Same thing with age – it might feel a bit weird if it turns out she’s as old as my parents, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  I know she’s not hugely older than I am form some activities she did when she was younger, so there’ snot going to be a huge age gap either – the only downside of that at my age is the larger the gap, the less time we may have together at the end of our lives.. assuming everything works out at least.  I’m not going to make any assumptions, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think ahead sometimes. I just have to know that at the moment it’s just a pleasant fantasy.

Anyways… back to the point I’ve been sidestepping towards.  Infatuation at the start can seem like love, or even lead into it, but it wears off fairly quickly. Another reason that it’s bad to commit too fast and too heavily too early.  At least now I’m at the age where I’m not fighting hormones to think with the larger head.  Either way, I been into her long enough that I can pretty much write that off now – whatever comes, I definitely do care for her as my love and mate.

Fairly recently I finally started allowing myself to use it in my thoughts and when I’m by myself – to finally allow myself to use it and admit that I really did love her.  In regards to that our goodnights had become a lot more affectionate, and basically we were referring to each other in every way but that.  I kept wanting to say it but I also couldn’t help thinking that I should wait until the right moment.  Even still, some of our goodnights felt like the right moment but I chickened out before saying it.  I’d start typing, then change it before I finished because I had too much time to think about it.  That was stopping me from using some other related words I wanted to use too, such as calling her my love, or beloved, and so on.

The funny part is that when I finally got over it, I added it onto one of the times I was saying goodnight, and while I didn’t feel nervous about it, it didn’t feel as good to finally say it as I thought it would… probably because I’d been holding off so long.  Still it’s a relief that I don’t have to censor myself anymore, though after doing it for a while I find myself occasionally wanting to avoid the word again, just out of reflex.

In short, it’s way too easy to censor yourself online, even when you shouldn’t or don’t need to.  Try not to give yourself time to overthink about what you’re typing, just roll with it and let your natural self-censor kick in instead of overthinking, and you’ll be much happier.