Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 4)

500 Words on Corners

“It seems you’ve really turned a corner!”

It’s a supportive idiom that people use when they bear witness to someone they care about getting into an improved situation in their life. And it can be very heartening to hear, especially if you’ve been going through a long hospital stay, an extended period of unemployment, or any number of other personal crises.

However, since brains are strange and often contradictory things, a turn of phrase meant to be supportive or encouraging can create feelings or thoughts that are neither of those things. When it’s suggested that you’re turning a corner, you may find yourself wondering what’s lurking beyond that corner — and how it will end up being even worse than whatever crisis you just left behind.

In terms of the physical world, corners cut off our line of sight. This creates dangerous circumstances for soldiers in combat, police officers in pursuit of a suspect, and a variety of other situations. Hence the comment made by the character of Miller in The Expanse when discussing combat tactics with an inexperienced youngster: “Doors and corners, kid. That’s how they get ya.” A blind corner or an ajar door can have any sort of dangers lurking behind it, and if you aren’t careful, those dangers can harm or even kill you.

If you’ve been hurt before, you will anticipate being hurt again. Our brains, like our bodies, are living things that fight to survive. And when you’re fighting to survive, you’re on the lookout for sources of harm that might lead to losing that fight. It’s why our bodies flinch under certain circumstances. It’s why we can focus on how we were treated previously by individuals or groups, rather than the facts of the current situation, the evidence and circumstances. And it’s why we feel a sense of fear when it comes to potential success or metaphorical corners, often taking the form of speculative questions about the future.

What happens if this works? What pressures will be put on me to repeat my success? How will my life change? Do I even deserve to succeed?

These questions, that fear, can completely paralyze us. We distract ourselves, divert attention elsewhere, procrastinate. We try to maintain a status quo, keep things as they are, rather than risk a big change. It takes time, and practice, to overcome those fears and move ourselves in the direction of that next corner. Even as we check said corner, we won’t know what’s there until we make the turn.

We are responsible for taking the steps forward that lead us around that corner, and how we go about doing so. The other things — pressures put on us, rewards from success, the presence or absence of others — are beyond our control. So if I were to offer a solution in dealing with our fears, it would be to focus on what you can control. Which is who you are, how you show up, and what choices you make to move forward.

Return Of The Code

For years, I made a decent living in a dayjob writing code for an ad agency back east.

Well, I say “writing code”, but that was only part of my job. I also had to do some fine-tuning of visual design elements and animations, which unfortunately is not one of my strengths. It’s a skill I’m interested in developing, to be sure, but at the moment, my focus is swatting up on programming skills. Between practicing meditation and mindfulness to combat bipolar symptoms, and investigating the neuroscience of plasticity to increase focus on and pleasure in writing, I’m teaching myself new languages and getting familiar with IDEs.

It’s been a busy time, despite any evidence to the contrary.

The thing is, many of the fundamentals of programming extend beyond the constraints of a single language. This is especially evident when it comes to object-oriented languages. My work experience back east was dominated by my skills in ActionScript, a “kissing cousin” of JavaScript. In working on an example of use and understanding of such a language (based on this book), it’s becoming more and more apparent that a good portion of my strengths in this area of productivity is in the fundamentals of good programming, with specifics able to be ironed out with practice and research.

It can be easy to focus on getting a job done as quickly as possible, as completely as possible, and move quickly onto the next assignment, project, or client. That, however, is not long-term thinking. One of the strengths of object-oriented programming is the ability to build your code in such a way that it is easy to maintain, extend, and revise the resulting functionality. It’s caused me no small amount of consternation to open a project and find a tangle of old code, clearly written in haste or before a new version of the language was available, and take precious time to sift through the lines to find where maintenance needs to take place. Often when bringing up these problems, the response has been “just fix it”, instead of giving the code an overhaul to make future revisions and maintenance easier and faster, and thus more profitable. I still believe that it’s possible to get a positive, long-term return on investment from taking time to make and keep code structures current, rather than ignoring obsolete and inefficient programming in the name of short-term expediency.

I’m talking mostly about higher-level stuff, rather than the nitty-gritty of the languages I’m studying. I’m working on taking more time to learn the Unity IDE and the inherent C# language within, as well as preparing to teach myself Python. It’s a lot to take in, but if I am to be an asset to a future employer, I want to ensure I have a good arsenal of tools to bring to the table. It’s one of the many ways I’m rebuilding myself from the ground up.

More on this as it develops, and as I develop.

It works on multiple levels.

Thursdays are for talking tech.

A Shameless Sale Post

Preview!

So before I put all of this stuff up on Craigslist, since I need the help with affording a move and things like food and child support, behold! My old White Wolf book collection, going on sale right now!

Prices in USD.

VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE SOLD!

KINDRED OF THE EAST SOLD!

WEREWOLF:THE APOCALYPSE


Werewolf: the Apocalypse
Player’s Guide
Book of the Weaver
Mokole
Hengeyoki: Shapeshifters of the East

Total: 60

WRAITH: THE OBLIVION


Wraith: the Oblivion
Player’s Guide

Total: 75

MAGE: THE ASCENSION


~Core Books~
Mage: the Ascension
Storyteller’s Screen
Total: 50

~Supplemental Books~


Akashic Brotherhood
Celestial Chorus
The Book of Shadows
New World Order
Hidden Lore
Void Engineers
The Book of Mirrors


Technomancer’s Toybox
Masters of the Art
Technocrocy Assembled vol. 1
Guide to the Technocracy
Total: 60

Discounted Total for all Mage books: 100

Books are between Good and Near Mint condition. Seattle area buyers preferred but I am willing to ship after payment is received.

Thanks in advance for your attention and help!

Into The Stream

I don’t do a lot of stream-of-consciousness things on this blog. Most of the time, if I have to vent about a mental or emotional boondoggle, I use Tumblr or Pastebin. But today finds me posting later than I’d like, with no subjects I’m comfortable or confident in providing to you, so here’s me doing a stream-of-consciousness brain-dump in the hopes that it will inform, inspire, or at least entertain someone who reads this.

I don’t like filler content very much. Filler arcs in anime rarely do anything for me. They can be fun, for certain – I think the Android portion of DragonBall Z before Cell shows up is technically filler, but the three cyborgs on a road trip is still a fun time. It’s actually one of the problems I had with the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones – a couple of story points felt more like filler than anything, And then there’s all of the other issues that have emerged there.

While writing this I got a call from a source of work that is also a source of stress. Such things tend to disrupt my stream of consciousness in a very arresting and frustrating way. This is an internal process that doesn’t work as smoothly or easily as I’d like. I try very hard to not let my mental and emotional difficulties spill out into my professional interactions, or even my capacity to listen to and assist people I care about. But that’s getting into some of that Tumblr/Pastebin territory I discussed.

I’m hopeful for the future, but trepidatious for it as well.

Many Lines on One Line

This is not a post about managing lines at PAX East. It’s actually a reference to this week’s Flash Fiction challenge over on Terribleminds. Chuck has once again admonished us to write a killer opening line, which is a fantastic exercise, but not really something I can build an entire post around.

Normally I would fire up the Brainstormer to fuel a Flash Fiction post, but I’m writing this on Sunday with PAX East still in full swing. I hope everyone who came had an excellent time! I will Brainstorm some Flash for later this week, give you guys a preview of a game or two from the Expo floor (if I have time to get down there), and sleep more between now and then.

Mmm. Sleep.

If you’re traveling, travel safe!

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