Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Just pondering over here...

I am not sure where my ego ends and my cynicism begins.

Many times I feel... and I cringe to say this because it goes against my beliefs... better than others. Smarter, more capable. Over qualified. It makes me become super hard on myself, but also causes me to be distanced from others. Not only am I embarrassed for my lack of achievement, I feel like I can't relate with others. They are so different, no one understands the sound of how awesome I am. It would be emo if my ego wasn't driving it.

My practical side smacks my ego around, and tries to tell it to quit being a witch. I try to connect to people, telling myself we are the same. My stress kicks in, fueled by cynicism. They are dumb sheep, it says. Look at the state of things! I am not an idiot who would make such awful decisions! I make bad ones, but none as awful as all these awful people I am surrounded with make. I can't be like them, they are impractical and stupid. I can't take advice from them, because they are too stupid to be able to say anything profound. I can't relate to them because I am different, better, than them. I might as well be a different species. They say and do everything so unconsciously, driven by instinct and social conditioning. I am painfully aware of all these awkward bits that make humans, and myself, do all these silly things. They don't see it... do they?

It feels like no one can connect or relate to me, so how can I connect or relate to others? My mind is isolating me further as the lack of feeling fulfilled sends it scrambling for comfort. It continually closes in on my ego, protecting it from my failure. "You are better than them..." it hisses in my ear. "You aren't achieving or feeling fulfilled because they don't understand you. They don't give you a chance. They are fools. The sheep have allowed the economy to go to shit, and it it raining down on you. It isn't your fault you are a loser, the world is standing in your way..."

In it's own way all this fuels my depression. I know how asinine this all sounds, how hypocritical, egotistical, arrogant, insanely... insane. I know it all comes down to me. I can't blame the world for my failures, but half of me does. Trying to protect my ego it holds on this so tightly. Will NOT let go no matter how much I run this around in my head. It conflicts with my beliefs to hold onto these little ego fortress, but if my ego is gone the depression becomes overwhemling. I cannot function when I face myself. I protect myself by refusing to take risks, because I spend all my energy trying to hold back tides. And the pressure it building, and building. No relief. The depression overflows until I get the ego wall shored up again, this time stronger and more insistant. This time more distant from others, feeling more alienated.

I am afraid of how high this wall will go. Or what will happen when the dam breaks. Because one will happen, soon. I am becoming so isolated, angry, unable to relate. I put on my Cheshire smile, a mask, hide behind it, all the while boiling over underneath. My conflictions screaming at me while all remaining energy is spent holding the mask on. I crash so hard when the dam overflows. The wall is so high I look down on everyone beneath me. I feel so trapped and unable to move, standing at the dam, unable to do anything else but watch it and keep it under control.

The depression is manageable, haphazardly held back by an artificial paradox. The cognitive dissonance is overwhelming. I don't know what to do. I feel smothered by it. A tangled web, which threads can I cut without causing this delicate balance to come crashing down? I can't bring myself to lower the ego wall, accepting things 'beneath' me. The depression overflows. I can't stay where I am, because the wall is getting so high I can barely breathe in this thin air, cut off from the world.

So here I stand on my wall, waiting for relief. Some other outlet for the depression tide so I can lower the ego wall safely. Something to reinforce the ego wall so I don't have to build it higher. Something to distract me from the exhaustion of being up here 24/7. A flow of fulfillment, so I can give a finger to this entire fucking ego dam, climb down, and let the depression tide dry up on it's own without this endless flow of foul cognitive dissonance cumulatively filling it up. I can't leave to seek solutions, only watch, wait, hope, that it will hold, and that help comes soon... I feel so helpless, the feeling only adding to the tide and this horrifying cycle...

There it goes, the trickle flowing over the top again. I need to go build my dam up more.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thank you, Emilie!

Today I went on a tab hunt again, and decided to pick some more at the very long Job Hunt/ WTF am I doing with my life/ WTF do I want to do with my life tangent. This particular one started at Life Hacker a good 6 months ago, and has been an ongoing follow up link progression. I have been chasing down link after link, day after day, and I poke at the pile of resources every once in a while.
After months of work, I have really begun to focus in on the good stuff, the important and relevant stuff. Today, I found a blog called 'Puttylike'. There I found the 'Undeclared for Life Manifesto'. For the first time, I felt like I was reading something by someone who understands me and my interests, because that is who she is!

All of the other things I had read were trying to get me to find something I like/ am good at and stick with it. Not helpful when I am good/ like a lot of things, and as much as I try, just plain cannot simply choose one. I am interested in so many things, I want to do so many things, I can't imagine spending my whole life in one area of interest. My problem isn't that I don't know what I like, which is what most of the articles I found were about. The problem is I don't know what I like best, nor how to make money/ a career out of liking a lot of things. It has been frustrating, since most resources had me skipping ahead the 'Find what you love!' parts, which then went into 'Follow your passion! Here is where you can find work at it!'. Ok, great. There is a gap between those two steps I have fallen between that I feel most people don't experience. Which job do I choose? How do I convince said job interest I am 'dedicated' and am a 'professional' in the area when I have had little training, and am not focused on moving up a ladder in that one path? No one wants to hear either. No one wants an employee like me. There is no room for a Jane of All Trades in the modern workplace, where corporate structure has so carefully laid out and planned the business model, and only relevant positions are needed to make the model work. I don't fit into any model. I am my own miniature model, actually. I have miniature versions of everything inside me, instead of just being one regular sized item. I feel like my own self-contained package that says a lot and is entertaining to look at and discuss, but seems to serve no useful purpose.

Talking to others is just as frustrating. They seem to think I am not looking hard enough for work (I admit, I have stopped actively looking after years of finding only the same stuff), and even worse, misunderstand my skills and the skills required in the workplace. My mom seems to think that since I am and 'artist' who likes computers, it is the same as 'graphic designer'. She thinks that being good with computers equals 'digital design'. And she doesn't understand why I don't apply for these jobs or why I can't seem to get them when I have applied. Most people I know are the same way about all my skills. I dabble in it, that means I am an expert, right? If I have shown interest, it means I should get a job doing it! I should focus on that, go to school again (which I have considered... but there are SO MANY things I want to study that I can't decide what to go for! Different schools for everything! Grrr...) I applied for a graphic design job, using my self-taught Photoshop skills as my main selling point. They wanted me to sit down with the design guy who was leaving and show what I could do. He seemed frustrated and pained as he watched me work, and I knew I wasn't doing it the way that was taught in design school. I wasn't using the appropriate tools for the tasks, and it took me longer because of it. I was always happy with my photoshop and digital work, but I realized after that I really am still a novice in terms of professional knowledge with it. Plus, I learned on and have been using Photoshop 7 for over 10 years now. WAY outdated. And I still don't know how to use everything in 7. Obviously I didn't get the job (and not even a callback, even when I called THEM back, a tiny office of 5, asking for a followup, and never got one... I guess it was THAT bad...) It was simple work too, I thought I did ok, but apparently I blew it. That particular case left a bad taste in my mouth, and I have not applied for a digital position since.

So, anyways, I spent the day reading through that manifesto, then following more link tangents that spouted from it. I am considering joining her group, and seeing what that is like. Seems like some nice, like-minded types, and I could use some help staying motivated, as well as having some people who understand me that I can to talk to...

Spent time reading through some more D&D stuff too, just confirming all my changes are Kosher and trying to chase down info on hanging issues too. It was a couple hours worth of reading and clicking around that happened in the middle of reading the Puttylike and related tangents, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

Ugh, there goes M Monster again, gnashing away at me... I'm spent.

A final note-- I need to start up my comics again, this has been really bugging me. I have tons in sketchbooks that I never finished, and even more in my mind I haven't even sketched. I set up this blog as a place for LG, but have yet to post any comics... The first set is pretty easy, but there are some little addendum comics I want to insert between the ones I already published, so I need to do some work before just slapping them up. Of course, I haven't finished some of those, and some I haven't even sketched. Argh. DAMN YOU ADD brain! -_-

Closing out tabs from today, decided to watch Well done, but not my kind of movie. I stuck through it and watched it all, however. I know lots of people that would love this film. I personally just can't stand watching stuff about relationships, I CANNOT STAND chick flicks or romcoms. I have limited tolerance for straight dramas. While I like depth, and lots of it, I feel stuff about relationships is self indulgent, narcissistic, and... I ran out of repertoire, it's late. I just don't like to watch stuff about it, I guess I feel it is personal and not a world I feel comfortable in or even can find myself giving two shits about. It's their business. I care mildly if I am connected to the person, and that is the most I can muster. I guess I will put this out there, that I plan on specifically NOT featuring relationship love stories or any googly eye moments in 'On Tour'. There will be NONE of it in my sci-fi stuff. It has NO place there. 'On Tour', due to it's nature, will have references to it, but won't focus on it. I won't be playing ANY 'match up' or 'romantic tension' bullshit. Ugh. Gag me. I wrote some non fiction in a non fiction course while in college. I did NOT want to take the course, but it was required for my minor. For my main project I had no ideas. So, I did a kind of journal about my relationships with M Monster, real life friends, and virtual friends. It was basically current events in my boring, tediously uneventful life. The most exciting stuff happened while playing video games with strangers, and most of the 'excitement' was typical, overblown, and forgettable internet drama. I thought it was awful. My classmates, especially females, LOVED it. Like, I had three requests after the final project begging me to finish and send them the story. I never touched the story again. I looked at it years later, and cringed. I think I might delete it entirely in the not too distant future. My hesitation comes from the overwhelming, and unexpectedly positive, responses to it. It would be long gone otherwise.

As a side note, this journaling has made we realize that I do play less than I thought I do, and I actually am 'busy' (it's in quotes AND italicized for a reason...) most of the time. I am wasting time, but I am not. I am not accomplishing things, but I am learning and exploring in the vast majority of my time. That has to count for something... as least I tell myself that so I don't feel like such a bum...

Ok, only time for an hour or so of video games. I have work in the morning...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

How I Plan to Dominate the World

...but not rule it. I have morals, I can't be a politician!

I will write a great TV show that will save the American sitcom while also being the cure for reality TV. It will fill people's lives with joys, and make them think about bigger things in both their personal lives and those around them. They will laugh at the absurdity, cry at the honesty, and reflect on the interactions that seem so simple on the inside, but so complex on the inside, they seem to hit deeply close to home.

I will also write an epic sci-fi universe into a TV or movie series that will fill the hearts, minds, and imaginations of those kindred sci-fi lovers out there. I will see the series through as long as there are fans to support it. It will help fill some of those empty spots in the sci-fi lovers' hearts from movies that fell short or never saw sequels, expansive book series that were never finished, and cancellation of humbling, historically epic sci-fi shows like Firefly. While not a clone by any means, it contains the spirit and similar feel of 'realness' and 'rawness' that show possessed. The prequel will be a world that feels so real and believable, it will feel like peeking into the history of the future. The main story will be a drama about our own universe, the epic struggles that will be faced by humans living in such radically different physical space than we currently do, yet with hauntingly familiar scenarios to modern times and history.

I will then go on to save the food industry and stem the tide of the obesity epidemic in the US. I will do this by starting a food manufacturing company that will make healthy, prepackaged food, as well as limited ingredient items and recipe items, with the goal of all items to be free of additives that are generally considered harmful and unhealthy, and to reduce the amount of manufacturing done to the food as much as possible for items that are prepackaged. On top of all this, the items will be priced competitively with major food manufacturers and have full distribution to all major grocery stores. This will be achieved by the corporate structure not being for profit by shareholders, but run by competent individuals who believe in the broader goal of the company more than money. Any time those on top get a raise or bonus, every employee below them gets the same percentage of bonus. All employees will be stockholders. All employees will be paid living wages. Nothing will be outsourced. When the company becomes large enough, we will expand and dedicate ourselves to also owning and operating organic farms to grow and raise all food for our company under our same guidelines. No profit is expected to be made for me in this endeavor, but I expect to create many middle-class income earning factory workers and farmers.

I will create a modestly comfortable and self-sufficient lifestyle for myself. With any money I find to be in excess of my own comfort and personal development will be used to create micro non-profits in areas I am currently passionate about, established all around the country and globe for various causes.

One such cause will be creating safe, free to use, artist spaces and studio space for aspiring and budding artists. It will have walls both outdoors and indoors for street/ graffiti art pieces to be prominently created on and displayed. Ideally, these locations will be in an old warehouse, factory, or converted office building that is centrally located in urban areas for ease of access and prominent foot traffic for viewing of art by the public. Each location will be completely customized by the needs of the local art community, with different equipment dictated by the type of art participants are creating. It will have lockers and space for artists, with the only condition to maintain free space being to use it on a regular basis. Spaces can be paid for if the artist wants to store their things and won't be able to come around to use it. There will be power tools and equipment for sculptors to use, as well as ovens and kilns for ceramic and glass. There will always be staff on hand to assist and supervise use of equipment and offer advice to help. Artists can display and sell their pieces and services in the art gallery dedicated to displaying pieces made by members of the studio, and the gallery will take a small commission to help pay for the studio and staff. Affordable classes will be offered, and members can teach them, with the studio taking a small commission to help pay for the space. All efforts will be made to make each location self-sufficient, setting an example for artists on how they can also do so. As an artist, I believe so, so strongly in the importance of having a community. It's effects on creativity cannot be stressed enough. Helping each other create, learn, and grow as artists is the critical first step in developing artistic ability, creating art, and ultimately, earning a living following a passion for art.

Here is the elevator pitch version, because I have been told I need one!

I will write a TV show that captures the sublime, helping people see the beauty of life, and will make them experience a whole range of emotions and introspection for the betterment of how we treat each other. It will not only save US sitcoms with the new method I use to write the show, it will cause a chain reaction in how TV is written enough to become the cure for reality TV.

I will also write a sci-fi TV series or movie series that will be another one of the epic universe greats. It will be expansive, believable, raw, and fantastical. The large problems will be hauntingly similar to ones we currently face, with the knowledge that history tends to repeat itself.

I will then go on to save the US food industry and stem the obesity epidemic by curing our food supply. My company will offer healthy prepackaged foods and ingredients with as minimal processing and additives as can be achieved, but at a price competitive with the major food manufacturers and distribution just as wide. The company will not be run by shareholders looking to make a profit, but by leaders who believe in the company cause. Our employees will be paid living wages, and will receive equal percentages in bonuses and blanket raises as those running the business.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Evolution of Video Games

I don't really read as much buzz about the video game market and trends as I used to, so I am unsure if this is a topic already being heavily discussed.

Anywho, this is a time of a lot of change in the video game market. Not only are people moving away from powerful PCs and towards mobile devices, there are vastly MORE people playing video games than ever before, due to accessability of games, variety, and and, frankly, ease of getting into games. The mobile market is not made for hardcore gamers, it is made to appeal to the widest audience possible. If you have a mobile device, you are the market.

But that is not the aspect I want to talk about, as that is heavily discussed currently, and in all honestly, I am not a fan of casual games. I am a hardcore gamer. Well, at least I used to be. I guess now I am more of a 'big kids games' gamer? Maybe? *quickly turns off phone to hide the SquareEnix card game I have been playing obsessively*


Anyways, that is another side tangent!

Mostly, this tangent is inspired by the 'Indie Game' documentary through Steam I saw the other day. I really understood what the creator of Braid was feeling, while many didn't seem to get it. His game was a hit! Why is he upset? What is he defending? It has great gameplay, which is where the industry has been focused since the beginning. It has great visual style, which is a more recent focus when computers and consoles started to become powerful enough to display beautiful games. It even had a great story, something in which the bar, in my opinion, has always been set quite low for in games until recently. And, finally, the part people were missing... it said something. It is a piece of art. It speaks. It combines all the elements to go beyond another pretty photo of something pleasant (i.e., where most people's 'taste' in art lies) and had an emotional level to it. How often does a game have complex emotions in it? How often do games make you feel more than just entertained or amused? There are common elements to the vast majority of video games and how they make you feel. They make us feel amused, sure, but also frustrated, angry, excited, proud, accomplished. Most stop there. That has never been enough for me. I have always sought out games that specifically have those special stories. The special characters. The complexity, not in gameplay, but in the writing and art is always what hooks me. Great voice acting with compelling characters make frustrating gameplay bearable. A story I want to uncover pushes me through boring mechanics and tedium.

Ah, Square (Enix). We are talking about you, amongst others. I am willing to stick with 80+ hours of gameplay in a Final Fantasy game because I LOVE the stories, the art, the deep characters. They are gorgeous, interactive books. Even the SNES games, to this day, are works of art. SIXTEEN EFFIN PIXELS. How much could YOU do with that?? What they pushed out of that system... masterpieces. The stories and characters, above all else, are unsurpassed by current titles. I can only imagine how amazing they would be if they had the space on those little cartridges as they do on the big digital discs to expand beyond.

But, I am fangirlgeeking here. It is about the art of video games. They are becoming a new medium for it. And there are gorgeous things coming out. But so much is caught in old thinking. So much pressure to be modern, innovative, to push the code.

Fuck the code. If you have something cool and innovative, great! Add it! If you need to write something new to accomidate your story, great! Add it! But there shouldn't be pressure to make shiny code that causes a great story or artwork to be overlooked. In all honesty, I would play an interactive storybook with very little or easy gameplay. You know, like Bioshock: Infinite.

Boy did Bioshock: Infinite get some undeserved bad reviews. The gameplay was solid. Nothing new needed to be said or done to tell the story. The purpose of that game was to TELL A STORY. It was a piece of art. Not a piece of entertainment. It wasn't built for the Call of Duty generation to blow each other up with fancy guns. It was a love letter to Bioshock fans. A gorgeous love letter. I was in awe the entire way through, smiling, absorbing every piece of story and every nook and cranny of Columbia. I talked to every NPC, listened to every conversation. Looked over the sides like a tourist. This game was made for people like me. The marketing pressure caused 2K to market it beyond me, to put a burly gun-wielding Booker on the front. They made it seem like a shooter. It was first person, and it had guns, but it wasn't a shooter. It was an interactive story. With guns. :)

I am seeing an evolution in 'hardcore' video games towards becoming standalone pieces of art. Without the need for stomping/ shooting/ punching 'bad guys'. While early puzzle games like Myst were widely popular early on with this idea of interactive storybooks, it is just now catching on. Powerful development tools are available to the masses, and indie games can be built to tell stories, not to follow standard gameplay rules.

Throw the rules out the window, tell your story! Don't feel weighed down by the pressure to create innovate gameplay. Take a solid engine, solid code, add a story and your characters, and create magic! I don't feel that there needs to be innovation for a game to be great. I only think it needs to be compelling, whether that is through gameplay, visuals, story, or characters. It is a new way of thinking about games, but one I feel is a very natural movement with as many games that are out now. We can be picky. We can play games that only have the stuff we like in them. There is no reason to shoot up alien hordes for a nugget of good story if we don't like shooting games. And I don't think developers should feel pressured to throw the kitchen sink into these things. Solid gold story with tried and truw mechanics is a solid gold game, in my mind. Demanding that everything is always the best of the best, the most innovative, the brightest, I think stymies really good games that are absolutely worth playing. That is a shame, and I hope this is on a path of change. I want to see more art in the game world!