Archive for June 2014

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  You don’t even need to deny it; just look at the laws that get passed or repealed, and what all the lobbying groups push for.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.

Wind Wizards and Minibots

And of course when I look back at this it’s the start of next month.  Well, every couple of weeks works just as well I guess.  It’s just harder to keep it up when I don’t have anything special going on or anything fancy to ponder.

Art-wise, nothing’s really changed.  Still waiting for commissions to open up with DragonLovers, and the one adult pic I had in the works is still in the works, though I’ve gotten prelim sketches and it’s been restarted at least once cause the artist didn’t think he was giving the picture proper justice on his first concept.

In general lifewise, life is happening.  Work’s reorganizing a bit again, and a couple people left as well, but nothing too crazy.  Waiting for the confirmation on something I’m expecting, then I’ll have to start actively househunting again, but that’s nothing different than I said last post.  Some of my dragoness and I’s mutual friends are noticing we’re a couple now, though we’ve not exactly gone to lengths to hide it.  We’ve also not exactly been flaunting it, so *shrug*.

Main thing here I guess is D3.  In my last post I was still leveling, but now I’m a little ways into the endgame, and it’s a bit more interesting than the old play through all the same quests again, with the new bounties and rifts.  Also amusingly enough, I apparently started it again the same time several others at my office did.  I know one of them not too long ago was saying he probably wouldn’t go back, and now he’s playing again.

Remember how I said that the Wizard didn’t play much like my wind druid?  With a few tweaks to skill selection, it turns out it can play almost exactly like that, only without Hurricane damage.  Basically, I’m using the Piercing Orb and Stormchaser Energy Twister as my main attacks, and then using Chill Armor for the slow to cover for Hurricane, while keeping the electric Hydra and Mirror Image cause I like those abilities.  So far since I switched to it and got used to it, this Lightning-based build has gotten me to Paragon 43 and Torment 1, though stuff takes a while to die.  So far, gear hasn’t cooperated too much in terms of getting me higher DPS, but hoping that Torment will fix that a bit.  Legendaries have dropped several times, but only for ring or weapon so far. Apart from a couple set drops since moving to Torment, all my other legs have been crafted.

Other than that, I started a Crusader in Hardcore just to toy around with the class, but my real second character is gonna depend on what my dragoness is playing.  It’s in our plans for some point in the future, but hasn’t come around yet.

Also finished all my Transformer buying for a bit.  After being on the lookout since March, I was able to snag Swerve locally, and after seeing the new Cosmos in person I grabbed that too.  Since Swerve was the last thing I was waiting on at BBTS I canceled my preorder and shipped Tailgate and G2 Sideswipe, and I got lucky and snagged a MP Grimlock from the TRU site in the 12 hours or so it was up before it sold out.  With those, I’m all caught up until Rattrap’s wave comes out, which is probably going to be later in the year, since the movie line always derails the momentum of anything else until it’s over.

It’s funny… I snagged several from the first movie line, a few from the second, almost nothing from the third, and this time I only got one(Scorn) and might get a second(Strafe).  There’s just something about the design aesthetic that, while it was interesting the first time, and maybe the second, now it just doesn’t really interest me.  Ah well, it’s good for my wallet!