Tag Archive for ponderings

Thoughts on Immortality

Given the turn my personal life has taken lately, mortality is one thing that’s been cropping up now and then.  Strangely enough, I had not too long ago just re-read a book series based on DOOM. The twist was that we were the only known intelligent lifeform in the known universe that was not functionally immortal.

Without giving away everything else, I do need to explain a bit as it goes into my thoughts on this topic.  The situation with the other intelligent races was that they could not die, at all.  They bodies could be damaged or break down, but once the body was repaired they would be back to normal.  While they may or may not be able to act, and they would be able to feel pain the whole time, they would still be fully cognizant of their surroundings and fully conscious, barring maybe some form of sleep as I can’t remember if that was a thing.  If the body was destroyed or sufficiently rendered unusable, their spirit or soul would disconnect and remain in that area as a sort of ghost, able to see and hear but unable to interact in any way with the world around them.  The fact that humans did not do this scared the living crap out of the other races.

Side note: writing about this is making me think of the way Transformers are handled in the modern fiction for it – as long as their spark is intact, their body could be trashed and they could still be fixed.  The only difference is with TFs their spark could be extinguished.

Anyways, thinking about this reminded me of some parallels with Tolkein’s elves.  The elves themselves were also fairly immortal, though there was little said about what happened to an elf who was intentionally killed that I can recall. The thing is, they were unable to leave the world, while humans were able to go beyond to an unknown existence once they passed on, and the elves considered this a gift given to that race by their creators.  Eventually the elves grew weary of the world, and retreated to a paradise of sorts among that universe’s equivalent of deities, but they could never truly travel beyond the end of the universe like humans did when they died.

That train of thought led me to consider what a society of functionally immortal people might look like.

First, with murder no longer an option, unconsensual torture would become the ultimate crime.  I’ll go over why I added the word unconsensual later but for now, consider the fact that without death, suffering from pain could be continued to the point of madness, depending on the tortured person’s strength of will.  Basically, it’d have all the makings of rape cases, but without needing the sex angle to force their power on someone else.  You also can’t just get rid of all pain, as it’s a very important indicator of damage to the body.  Without it, you might not realize your feet are on fire, and cutting it out would lead to people damaging themselves beyond easy repair without even knowing it until its too late.

My second point returns to that idea of consensual torture.  Even today, with fully mortal people, there are folks out there who derive pleasure from pain, whether receiving or giving it.  Take away the risk of death, and you can go a looooot farther- assuming that it’s not the risk itself that makes it pleasurable.

Speaking of pleasures and entertainment, that’s another huge potential pitfall any such society would have to monitor.  Doing the same thing, day in and day out, is already known to be boring within several years.  What about 100 years later, assuming nothing changes?  Would you be able to do the same thing day in and day out for 100 years?  I doubt it.  Just as vanilla sex can get boring and lead to more and more unusual sexplay to “spice up” a love life, other pursuits will become stale and these immortal people will look for ways to “spice up” their lives in general.  This I think is one of the more interesting parts of this thoughtline – the different ways this could go.

The first option I see I’ll call the “Dark Eldar” option, as that’s a good example of it.  As the folk continue to live, they become more and more jaded, and go to more and more extreme lengths for a novel experience.  Morals and conscience are eventually left behind, sacrificed on the altar of new life experiences, eventually leading to a society we would consider demons straight from hell. And hey, there’s an idea for a story or campaign right there!

The second option, which I’ll call the “Sleeper” option, is one that may have been explored previously, but seems like an interesting idea to me.  As folk start to become world-weary, they are put to sleep for a couple hundred years, using cryogenics or some magical equivalent.  Once they come back from their slumber, they would then find a presumably changed world, with new things and experiences to explore.  This would also be a way to address resource issues, which is something I don’t intend to touch on here.  Development would likely not slow down in this case, as newer folks would continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible as they are not weary of the world yet, and then when they grow weary, they could “rest” while the returned folk learn what happened while they were out and continue the work.  There’s still a danger of eventually drifting into option 1 if progress slows or stops, but this would be one potentially healthy way to address the issue of world-weariness.

The third option could be termed the “Fae” option, as it is along the lines of your typical fantasy elves.  It follows the idea that with the longer lives(in this case unlimited), there’s less drive to do anything worthwhile.  Progress would slow to a crawl as there’s no ticking time bomb to try and make something of themselves before they go.  Life would become ephemeral and passive, and the immortals in this case would simply drift through life without any sort of care, dancing, singing, playing, doing nothing but meaningless things.  Eventually, this could lead to stagnation and decay, and potentially could end up drifting into Dark Eldar territory if they started to take a more active role rather than the passive one that this option embodies.  Rather than trying to change the world, they let the world change them and drift through it like a breeze or slow stream.

Option four could be best labeled the “Amnesia” option, as that is what it essentially is.  This borrows a bit from some Transformers lore, where some ‘bots reportedly were so old they forgot things despite being computers, because they ran out of  “memory space” and erased old memories or overwrote them with new experiences.  We would ahve the same approach here where an immortal may only remember a couple hundred years of the mundane parts of life, and only the most major events stick with them across the aeons.  The immortals would never become truly tired of the world because there’d always be new things for them to (re-)experience, but over the years they could become someone completely different as they lose experiences and gain new ones.  There is a risk here of becoming stuck in a progress treadmill, but presumably written records would allow knowledge to be preserved against the collective amnesia.  Still, that’s one risk only perhaps the Fae option shares.

Option five is probably the most extreme, and could be termed the “Cthulhu” option.  Given aeons to live, rather than adapting but remaining something that our current minds could comprehend, these immortals would become something else, something other.  Their personalities and motives would become strange and unnatural to our mindset as they assimilate the truths of the universe that we might never be able to comprehend in our limited lifetimes.  Given that, they may even be able to transcend their existence to something unknowable to us, ala the Elder Gods or Great Old Ones of Cthulhu mythos, or the energy beings such as the Q and Organians in Star Trek.

After all:

T̙͉̟̱̯͐ͤ͆̄ͅhͯͮ͐̊a̟͊̚t̮̰̟͈̳ͣͦ͂̔̍ ̥͔͇̈́ẁ͓͉ͫ̂h͓̜̾̉͊̿̌i̱̗̔c͈̳̙͈̑̏͗h̞̜̹̎̈ ̻͙ͧͪ̽͑̽̍i̩̥̰̼̬͕ͪ̄ͧ̑ͩ͗s̙͇̬̮̖̳̰̋̌̈́͆̊ ̣͖͓̯ͫ̉̆̋ͫ͆̅d̳͚̪̖͕͉͈͂ͥͬ̾̂̉͐e̓a̦̥̘̹̺̳̬ͩ̑͊̇̓̒̚d̮͎͈ ̈́̒d͚ͤ̀͗ó͈̠̮̥̙͚̃ͬe̒̑̇͐̐́ͧs͇̰̹͈̖̜̹ͩ͋͗ͬ ͓̹̪ͭ̾ͅn̠̲̠̰̲̥̏o̳̫̿ͮ̉̈͆t͖̘̝̙͕̲̹̋͛ͨ̀̾ ̱̮̲́̈́ͯͥ͂̄ͅeͣt̪̠͕̏ͅe̜͈ͬ͐ͧr͔̳̳̼̦͎͐͛́ͦ̿ṉ͍ā̍̏̄͗l̥̤͎̮͔͌̍ ͍͕̠͙̠̞̇ͯ̎̂̈l͓̻̩̊̄ị̘̫̻͋̉͑e͕͎̠
̞̲͖̤̟̊̎̈́A̓͒͛n̻̮̖̓̀̊ͬͧͬd̤̂̐ͅ ̲̺̝̣̺̞̩ͩ͆̿ͮͣ̋͑ȋ̲̣̲͚̥͉͉n ̹̅̓͒͒̓̈́̆s͍̦̹̯̜̤̈́́͛͂ț͙̗̮̈̐ͯ̊r̺̖̱̰͓͙̟ͣ̽̓̍a̲̱̺̰̝͎ͫͩͣͮ͆̀̚n̰͍̘̼͓͒ͮg͙͎̫̹͓̫̳͊e͈̳͍̳̯ͮ ̅ͥ͊̈̃ͭa͔̭͖̘̻͈̭ͧ͂̐e̻̳̞ͬͮ͑̐̉o̖̫͚̤̭̳ͨ̇ͫn͙͈̟̿̎̐̿͗̓s̱̝̦̤̹̪̟̋̏̊ ͔̆̈̊̊͛͋e̙̥͚̩͇̔ͭ̿̈v̟̣̟̱̮͎̜ê̪̤̤͖̖̮ͦ̃͆̍̍ͣn͍͖̲̗ͩ̓ͥ ͔̻̻d̺̉̌̚e̥͍̩̭̺̅ͭ̏a̖̤̫̮̮̼ͪͪ͆ͅt̮͔̼h ̝ͤ̔͒͑͋m͔͖ͬͪͦ̓̇̓a͚͕̰y͇ͮ́͗ ̦̠̺̰̓ͦ̆̑͋d͔͇͙͍̄͊̈ͤ͋i̱̺̮̫̊ē̼͓̱͇̖̪͉̚.̥̱͇̪̭͐ͅ

Life Moves On

So my last living grandparent passed on this past weekend.  Oddly, I don’t feel any different than I did before, and looking back, that was the case with all my grandparents.  This seemed odd to me at first, considering all the folks mourning, until I thought about it some, and I think there’s a few factors here, some of which deserve to be looked at.

First, there’s the matter of how often I interacted with them.  My grandparents on my Dad’s side moved several states away when he retired, and on top of that I was in college at the time.  As such, I barely saw them much after they moved out there before they passed on.

My grandparents on my mom’s side lived a lot closer, but they were still about a half hour to 45 minutes away, and combined with my usual business I didn’t see them much either.  I still going to have all the memories, but I hadn’t seen much of either before they passed on in the end.

What really then is the difference between moving out of touch somewhere and moving on from this life? Emotionally for me, I think that it feels like they just happened to move to somewhere where I can’t reach them is all, and they’re not truly gone.  It’s even in the phrase, passing on.

Which brings us to the second aspect, what death means.  For me death is an ending but also a new beginning.  There is a picture I commissioned before which unintentionally did a good job of bringing out that feeling.

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The color pallette and lighting gave me a feeling of a old worn foxdragon moving on into the afterlife, but pausing to look back one last time at what he’s leaving behind.  When death comes naturally, as it did in all their cases, this is how I feel it should be.  A laying down of burdens, and of moving on to greater delights and serenity.

Which then comes back around to the third part of it all, mourning itself.  The funeral was a somber but not overly sad ceremony, but it did make me think.  A lot of times the sadness and such is a reflection on the people left behind looking on what they have lost, rather than a celebration of the life that person lived, or that they have been released form whatever pain and suffering they may have been experiencing.

Me, I’d think I’d prefer something more along the lines of a wake.  Celebrate the life they lived, and raise your glasses to what they’ve left behind.  Celebrate their life rather than mourn their death.

I think in the end that’s why I’m not too torn up about it all – they’ve moved on to Heaven or whatever the afterlife may hold, and they passed on when it was their time, a life fully lived.  Whether they’re 1200 miles away or a dimension away, they still exist in the hearts of every person who cared for them.  The body has been returned to the earth it came from, and their souls have moved on to the great beyond.

And someday, just like in the picture above, I will rejoin them.  Someday, in the sea of stars…

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!

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.

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.

An Adult Touch

Well, the piece of adult art I was waiting for has been finished, and no I won’t be posting it here.  It has been posted in my art galleries though, if anyone is interested in it.

It brings to mind some interesting discussion, however; one that I’m still having with myself, to some extent.  Why adult art?  Should  I share it or not?  Is it liberating, demeaning, or something else?  Does it trivialize how I feel about myself if I’m having art created flashing the goods to all and sundry? How does it compare to clean art?

To answer the first question, my dragon self is myself.  For me, it encompasses every aspect of my being, which, yes, does include the sexual parts as well.  If I were to somehow become my dragon self, I wouldn’t suddenly be sexless, and so it makes a sort of sense to explore that as well.

I feel I should probably clarify here as well.  Yes, I am straight, and attracted to human women.  Yes, I know dragons don’t exist physically currently.  If they suddenly did, no I wouldn’t want to go make out with one, especially if they weren’t sentient.  Now, if I had become a dragon too, through whatever had brought them into being?  In that case, all bets are off.

I’d guess I really started thinking about it back when I had a dragonkin girlfriend for a short while.  Suffice it to say that before we broke up we explored our draconity with each other and leave it at that.  Either way, certain, ah, body parts were involved, which meant I had to explore that side and figure out what I had down there.  And then of course, when I finally got a reference sheet drawn, it seemed a natural step to get an adult version as well as a clean version, just in case I ever needed it.  After all, in the end it’s just another part of my body like any other.

Of course after I got the reference sheets, it was years before I actually got any further art, in large part due to monetary constraints.  When I started getting pictures again, I found myself debating this topic once more.  In large part, I was considering getting an adult piece from Asyd, but I wanted to see how I’d look in her style first, hence the picture I did actually get.  I do have to admit I was also a bit uncertain about getting one done in general, but I did like the way her style works with those.

When I saw how busy she actually was though, I gave up on the idea for a bit – at least until my muse slapped me upside the head with an image I wanted to see done.  With her off the table, I had to go artist shopping again to find one who had a style I liked and was available.  The first artist I found actually was otherwise occupied, but shortly after Syrinoth opened up and I jumped on it in time to snag the slot.

It was a bit longer wait than I expected, but the end picture was worth it, and then I was faced with whether to share it or not.  Just like in the picture, where I had mixed feelings on showing “myself” off(and he did a great job on the expression to show this!), I had the exact same feelings on putting the picture itself out there.  Especially as there are a few folk who know me elsewhere who watch my FA, and I wasn’t sure what they’d think of it.

In the end, I decided to run with it(as I’m expecting it to show up in the artist’s gallery as well at some point), but with a disclaimer not to expect a lot of adult art, as I have mixed feelings on it in general.  I do know I will be getting at least one more piece though, as my muse spoke up again with another picture idea that I need to make a reality, though it will probably be a while as the artist I’m looking to have draw it is busy with school currently.

Part of what inclines me towards it is I think I have a bit of an exhibitionist streak, and this is a “safe” way to indulge that. Kinda ironic, given how shy I can be at times.. or maybe it’s because of that?  That same shyness though is what disinclines me to sharing it publically in any fashion.  If I followed that train of thought however, what would I do with it?  My potential future girlfriend isn’t ‘kin or a furry, as far as I know, and it’s not like I’d want to put it up on my walls anywhere.  Art that isn’t being viewed is art that is wasted, and  I wouldn’t want good art to be lost to the void, whatever the content.  Thus, the posting of this, and the one I have in the queue.

Another thing to note though is I am far from alone in this.  There are many, many dragons out there who have gotten adult art of themselves, or of themselves and a friend/mate mounting or being mounted.  They’re proud of their draconic forms(as I am) and aren’t afraid to show it off.  In some cases, it also acts as a proxy too; a way to express themselves and perform in ways they are unable to in the real world for various reasons.  In other cases, it’s merely a release or an ego boost for them, for similar reasons to those of some people that have mass amounts of one-night-stands. (Honestly, this is the artistic equivalent.)  And in yet others, it’s just a way to show to the world how they feel about each other(as in the case of a pair of dragon artists I’ve mentioned in previous entries).

In my case, I’ve gotten art from most of the artists I wanted art from, so now it’s just waiting for when my muse prods my brain with an image to make real, whether adult or otherwise.  However, since it is me in those pictures, there’s not going to be any art of myself making out with anyone else, unless it’s someone I care deeply about and they actually want such art done.  Whatever my faults and sexual inclinations, one thing I am is loyal to whomever holds my heart.  Even if they didn’t care, to me it’d feel like a betrayal if I were to get art of myself “laying” with anyone else’s characters.

On top of that, I’ve never felt any inclination to make up a character for myself to “play” with, as it’d feel just as fake as the various “waifus” some crowds will fawn over.  The closest I’ve ever come to that is a couple stories I wrote where I had characters being dangerously close to self-inserts(I’m sure given that information any readers could probably pick out which ones too.), but in the end those were still just characters, not a true avatar of myself.

I’m sure there will be some folks though who will still think I’m debasing myself, and to them I say pfff. Humans(and that includes draconic humans!) are by nature sexual creatures and being ashamed of that is like being ashamed of liking meat- if that’s your thing, go for it! Does it matter what you like or do, if it hurts no one else?  Of course, I’m sure there’s someone out there now who found my picture and is busy fantasizing about it, but that’s their problem and as long as they don’t get all up in my face, it’s all on them.  I’m not on the hunt for a mate anymore, as I have someone I care about now, so it’s not like I’m flashing myself to get companions or lovers.  I’m just… er… letting it all hang out?

Finally, there is something nice about getting art of oneself in general, no matter the content.  It’s like taking another piece of that innermost self and bringing it into the real world, as much as one can at least.  I guess one way to put it is that it’s like a selfie of the soul.  It encapsulates a moment, a emotion, a feeling, and reveals it to the world.  It sucks you in, and lets you live for a brief instant as what you truly are.  The clean art lets me express the more public aspects of my dragon self, while the adult ones reveal the more personal, more instinctual desires and needs that are still just as much a part of me as any other.

I am not speaking for all ‘kin, or even a large portion, but for me, that’s what the art means to me.  That’s what pushed me to follow through on my muse’s urgings and my personal inclinations..  It’s just another expression of my multifaceted self, and the dragon at the core of my very being.

And no, I’m still not going to post the aforementioned adult art here.  If you really want to find it, you should be able to on your own, and I’d prefer to leave my blog work-safe, even if it gets a bit risque at times(like now).

Now to wait for more commissions to open…

Remember 16… Why?

There’ll probably be a life update type thing in the near future(or there may not be, if I’m no longer in the mood by then) but first I had an idea that was tickling my brain for a little while.  I’d pulled out my old Fire Bomber CD for driving, and while I was heading home “Remember 16” started playing.  This happened to dovetail with a conversation I’d had the night before where someone was commenting about what if you could go back in time and change one (minor?) thing in your life.

16 is supposed to somehow be a magical age we should be nostalgic about.  It’s when we’re supposed to be making our first explorations of relationships, learning how to drive, basically starting to become more of an adult than child.  The key phrase there is “supposed to”

At that age, I was kind of an idiot in some ways.  I’d just come off of somewhat heavy bullying in middle school, which had followed on from a couple years of teasing in 4th and 5th grade, and was in my second year of high school.  My freshman year I’d started making an actual friend again and was just starting to fall in with a “geek” clique of sorts, but I still had a lot of paranoia born from those years of bullying, looking back.

In short, though I knew how to drive, I didn’t have a car, I did not have many friends, self-esteem was hovering in the lower third of the range, and I tended to assume anything positive or someone approaching me was someone being sarcastic, or the setup to a joke, outside of certain environments.

My academics was great, but my social life was a mess.

Thankfully the friends I had made had dragged me out of my shell and cleared me of most of that, or I’d shudder to think how I would have been in college.  But for me, 16 was far from a time to remember, though I do have some good memories from gaming and my friends of that time.  It was far from the sugary teenage utopia that pop culture pushes, though.

Going back to the idea of changing something though, someone I care about had brought up the idea of having never met her ex.  Combining those lines of thought had sent my thoughts back to when I was 18.

Now I was young and horny as most teenagers still are at that point, and started spending time on an adult MUCK looking for some “fun.”  No, I’m not proud of it, though I have to say that involved text RPing with no visual aids is awesome for developing your descriptive writing skills.  Setting all that aside, my “character” was basically me for the most part with a slightly different background, and I got in a session with this one gal who dropped the “l” word during it.

I was (and still am, mostly) kind of a romantic at heart, and that combined with thinking with my smaller head led to what I consider one of my stupidest moments – mixing IC actions and intentions with OOC ones.  I’d never really had anyone express romantic sentiments to me at that point due to the previously mentioned facts about how I kept myself fairly isolated through high school, thanks to misplaced paranoia, and took the whole exchange deeper to heart than I should have.  I basically went in totally blind and while she was playing a character, I treated it as if it was the person behind the character, until eventually someone on an LDR forum pointed out the “picture” she had sent me was a cropped model image.  When I confronted her about it, feeling betrayed, she disappeared, cut off all contact and changed her character name. I never even found out if she was actually a “she.”

I can look back on it now and see how she was basically humoring me, and so, to answer that question, I wish I could go back and slap the me that was then with a clue-by-four before I even got involved with that.  At one point, I blamed them for the whole mess, but now I can look back and say it mostly was my own damn fault, and their only portion of blame was from not setting me straight early on when they should have realized how I was taking things.  The only good thing that ever came of it was that I learned that LDRs were possible, thanks to finding said support forums’ existence, and that I had finally fully grasped internally that others could actually care for and about me.  Both of those I likely would have learned eventually regardless, but in a much less painful manner.  It did show me also that it was a good idea to not only make sure I kept a solid wall between any RPing and being myself online, but to also make sure everyone else knows where I stand on that as well, in whatever environment I may be in. In other words, I’m just being myself unless I’m explicitly RPing.

Of course for some people if you’re being something other than what you are in meatspace, they consider that RPing.  Being ‘kin, and with my views on identity that I’ve already covered previously, not so much.  To me, RPing is when you take on a different character entirely, with potentially(but not necessarily) different goals, backgrounds, or attitudes.  RPing is like writing a story, but with control only over whatever portion of the narrative your character encompasses. Hanging out on SL as a frog is far different from presenting yourself as Jor’Nath Frogwalker, Amphibian Champion from the Third Galaxy and Master of the Cheezi Death Games.  In my opinion, wearing a different skin is just assuming(or revealing) a different aspect of your identity. Hell, if transhumanism takes off, we’ll be able to do this in meatspace as well!

There’s an easy example of this, actually, within the furry community: Goldfur, the originator of the chakat species.  On one hand, Goldfur is hirself; being a chakat is a significant portion of hir identity, from what I have seen around the community.  On the other, shi also has written stories about Goldfur the chakat who has 2 chakat sisters in Federation service and has two foxtaurs and a human Federation admiral as mates in a Star Trek-like universe.  Now the two may be similar in some ways, but the Chakatverse Goldfur is still hir own entity compared to the furry who wrote the stories, with different experiances and family, not to mention a completely different history.

That may be the actual best way to describe the divergence point. An RP character is a separate entity from the person playing it.  It’s like acting out a script that you’re writing as you go, while being yourself requires no extra thought in doing so.

That said, if my avatar is a certain shape, when I act, that is my shape.  While humans don’t nuzzle to show affection, dragons do.  Dragons may not have arms as such, so they may hug with wings or tail, or use them to wave rather than a forepaw. However, I would not do those things in a fully human body, as it is not built for it, nor is it appropriate.  The shape of the body does not have to be the shape of the soul, and the former can be changed, even if only virtually at this time.  So the way I look at it is to use the right tool for the right job – after all, while you can use a hammer on a screw, it doesn’t exactly produce the intended result over a screwdriver.  Of course, some of that also probably partly comes from having spent so many years among the furry community in the past.

Either way I’m now older and wiser and… well, that’s a post for another time.  Suffice it to say that for me a lot of the past is simply the past and my future at the moment is looking fairly promising, if murky.

Patience

Patience is hard.  In a world where everything is “faster faster, nownownow” we aren’t exactly encouraged to look at anything long term anymore.  Corporations look at the next quarter instead of 5 years ahead, everyone shopped with credit to get their gadgets right away, not to mention you can buy almost anything with the click of the mouse.  That blockbuster movie?  Don’t wait for it to come out on DVD and download a camrip instead.  And god forbid you have to do any real work to beat the boss and get your shinies!

In this internet-powered world of instant gratification, waiting is ever more difficult as you get used to the breakneck pace and instant availability of everything.  When that starts to get annoying, then it’s time to take a deep breath and remember what it takes to get some of these things.

One big example was Blizzard’s April Fool’s Day patch notes for WoD.  I kept cracking up as I read most of these… classic Blizzard humor(Chakra, when the walls fell!) with those couple of ideas that might actually be cool someday.  And then when I go to check the comments on MMO-C to see who else got some of those, what do I find but people bitching that they wasted time on what probably wasn’t more than an hour’s worth of work that could easily have been done during breaks.  Not only that, but it was probably their web team, which has no effect on the speed that WoD is coming out.

Apparently people couldn’t put aside their- yeah I’m gonna sue the word, because if the shoe fits- entitlement to laugh and enjoy some jokes, they’re taking a game way too seriously.  Yeah, Fall is a long time.  I might unsub myself for a few months depending on if we keep raiding or not.  A couple WoWless months isn’t the end of the world!

For my part, I’ve also got a couple pieces of art that I’ve been waiting for also.  One isn’t going to be posted here because reasons, and the other is one I been waiting on a while, but I knew that artist had a huge backlog that she’s still working through.  I’m actually finding it harder to wait for the one I’ve been waiting a shorter time on, but there’s two factors there:  I actually had a specific image in mind from the start, and with that artist he doesn’t have a publicly available waiting list.

Even if you’re near the bottom of the list, it’s still somehow easier when you can see just how far down you are on the list.  It’s like a visual reminder that yes, it is coming.

I’m also waiting on another artist to re-open commissions, and again the same factor here helps with the waiting.  They have a public list of the commissions on their list and how far they are, so it helps with the waiting… but also makes it a bit more intense as it gets close to time.

Either way it’s time to- as they say- hurry up and wait!