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A Geek's Eye

21st September, 2016. 5:16 am. CGI 3D Animated Short Film HD: "POILUS Short Film" by ISART DIGITAL



Current mood: reflective.

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20th September, 2016. 6:28 pm. Definitions of Depression and Anxiety

I'm sitting here in frustration, knowing I must eat but not feeling able to cook. I want to keep writing. There are other things that need doing as well ...things that would even make me happy... but, again, I have no real drive. I'm not sad; I'm just ... stalled. Mired. Both.

This is as close as I've gotten to explaining depression as I've been able of late.

Depression is not sadness. Sadness, regret, melancholy: these come later as you reflect on what depression has cost you. I suppose they are hand-in-hand with inappropriately harsh self-judgement. You bemoan what you failed to do (or what you did) rather than do something to address the depression. You call yourself "lazy" (or some other adjective tainted with the color of moral failing) and come up with lists of things you "should have" done as opposed to what you did. You do this even though you know that the depressive episode prevented you from actually acting.

My psychologist tells me that this is "shoulding" on yourself. A person in a depressive state conjures parallel worlds in which things would have been better if only they, in all their omnipotent power, had just done one or two things differently. In reality, it's more complicated and, at the base of it, there are a host of different brain chemicals that combine to form the dull, aching landscape of depression.

When depressed, your brain conjures all sorts of reasons and excuses for your behavior. In actuality, this appears to rise from the cultural part of our personalities (that which clings to expected social behavior and insists you should always be doing something) that, then, come into conflict with our need to not do anything but unwind and take stock. The theory is that depression is something we evolved to force ourselves to take a break from hunting, running, fighting, and fearing so we don't overwhelm our bodies as they try to keep us alive. After all, when doing those things, our ancient ancestors were like us: they had all manner of adrenaline surges, emotional reactions, and needs to power through their daily lives. But, since then, our make-up has not changed sufficiently to prevent are far less lethal daily lives from provoking the same stresses and, thus, the same need to "unwind".

And, so, at the end of the day: I don't want to cook.

Interesting.

I don't want to do anything.

That's depression. It's rampant and uncontrolled.

Maybe I have been doing my vacations in a poor way. I have been spending them working on things I enjoy. Note the use of the word "working". Have I ever just taken a holiday when I don't do anything? Even on my so-called "sanity trips", I bring my computer and tell myself that I'm going to be productive and work on my writing. I'll plan touristy things ... "plan".

I'm not certain what to think of this at the moment; it's only really come out of my brain into text in these last few minutes. I've taken a run at these concepts, before, but not articulated them as succinctly as I have, here.

I'm going to put this down, get dinner, read a book, and come back to this, later.

I want to see what I think of it when I've had a chance to do nothing but relax and read.

(But does "read a book" count as "doing something"? I don't know.)

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)

Current mood: depressed.

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18th September, 2016. 7:56 pm. Domesticated Magical Dogs and Cats

At the Renaissance Festival, today, I watched the corgi races (also pugs and dachshunds) and reflected on how they were all bred for some specific task. In that same moment, I realized that in a fantasy world with copious amounts of magic, there would also be wide varieties of "pets" that would have magical traits bred into them.

And, so, I started coming up with different magical dogs and cats for my Skylands world:

Magical Canine/Feline Breeds


  • Aabilmaande
    - magic-bred dog used for hunting Devils (imps); radiate protection from evil and, on critical strikes, deliver a holy blow.

  • Banam
    - shapeshifter-finder/illusion-detector canine.

  • Debarrek
    - large domesticated feline that can see invisible/incorporeal spirits and touch/attack them; can track undead.

  • Dynaddi Hound
    - defender dog of children crossed with djinn and efreet heritage.

  • Kamma (“Mirror Coyote”)
    - a domesticated form of red coyote that can, for brief periods, duplicate itself.

  • Lekvalla
    - a tiger-like, small feline that can grow into a giant beast for short spurts a few times a day.

  • Opakki
    - a lynx-related, domesticated cat that can hypnotise vermin, snakes, and other simple creatures.

  • Shoekie
    - dragon-hunter dog.

  • Taravayde
    - a domestic, black-furred (with grey whorls and stripes) feline that can shadow walk and is trained to chase shadows back into their dark realm.

  • Tea Cat
    - small feline that can detect poison and whose tongue can, when licking someone, draw forth poison.

  • Vesteyrie
    - elemental crystal and magic-locating canine.

  • Wyldis
    - feline that can take elemental form for short periods and harry hostile elementals.


Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)

Current mood: artistic.

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11th September, 2016. 11:59 am. Games in the Furry Migration Library (2016)

  • Adorable Pandaring
  • Apples to Apples
    • Apples to Apples Party Box - Expansion One
  • Bears!
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Blood of Heroes RPG
  • Boss Monster
  • Cards Against Humanity
  • Catan
    • Settlers of Catan, 5-6 Player Expansion
  • Chess/Checkers set
  • Citadels
  • Exploding Kittens - NSFW Deck
  • Falling
  • FLUXX
  • Forbidden Island
  • The Gayme
  • Hex Hex
  • Hot Tin Roof
  • Jenga
  • King of New York
  • King of Tokyo
  • Kitsune (signed)
  • Kitsune (second edition)
  • Mars Attacks: Ten-Minute Takedown
  • Meow
  • Nyet!
  • Once Upon A Time
  • One Night: Ultimate Werewolf
  • Pathfinder Adventure Card Game - Rise of the Runelords
  • Playing Cards (2 52-card standard poker decks, 2 standard non-poker decks, 2 braille decks)
  • Regular Show FLUXX
  • Smash-Up (with Big Geeky Box)
    • Smash-Up - Awesome Level 9000
    • Smash-Up - Cease and Desist
    • Smash-Up - Monster Smash
    • Smash-Up - Pretty Pretty Smash-Up
    • Smash-Up - Science Fiction Double Feature
  • Spree!
  • TemPURRa
  • “Tiger Family in the Jungle” Signature-Brand 1,000-piece Puzzle
  • Tsuro
  • UNO
  • Zar (2 copies)
  • Zombie Dice (with Brain Case)
    • Zombie Dice 2 - Double Feature
    • Zombie Dice 3 - School Bus


Current mood: accomplished.

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11th September, 2016. 9:44 am. On Knowing How It All Ends (writing)

I've written, before, about what I consider to be my biggest hurdles in writing. Usually, this boils down to "getting shit done" or "finishing what I start".

But that's the funny thing: there's something underlying that.

No, it's not "laziness" or something that self-deprecating. Rather, I acquired this understanding about what's behind my inability to finish or seek publication from sitting a panel on NaNoWriMo with Kyell Gold: published author and friend. He said something about his process that was in diametric opposition to my own.

He knows how his story will end before he starts.

I've almost always avoided this.

I used to say that if I know how one of my stories will end before it does, I get bored with it and don't tell that story. And that's sort of true, as far as it goes, but I think it was an excuse. Or, more closely, an inarticulate presentation of the problem that I move on to new stories once I get bored of the one I'm working on. Perhaps this is why NaNoWriMo has helped me finish things: I have a deadline and, even without an end in sight, can usually make it through to finishing.

But that's not wholly the thing.

I think that if I had the idea in mind (even if it changes as I write) it will provide me with that sense of deadline: even if I don't know where it's going.

It's not enough to start with a really cool scene in mind. I need to have all the elements of the story in-mind ... and that includes the ending. I should have an ending, a challenge, some characters, a world, and a message/theme that runs through my head, solidly, before I begin.

So, that said, I think I'll start on something new, soon: but I'll, first, have to know how it will end.

It's a good way to start.

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)

Current mood: inspired.

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7th September, 2016. 8:28 pm. Ouch

I need a bit of meditation.

I'll light some incense, tonight, and hopefully calm my brain. It's pounding pretty bad, right now, after hitting the wall in the entry to my home.

Today was one of those days that, by definition, sucked. Really sucked.

Found out I'd been misinformed and made a mistake as to the prize being offered at a convention I work at for an event I'm running. It already got printed.

Found out that I, somehow, didn't have a hotel room at the convention I'm supposed to be at tomorrow and every room was sold-out.

Literally three minutes before leaving the office, I got contacted by a manager telling me that there were three Defects logged against work I had done which no one had told me about but which needed to be fixed and deployed before the end of the week. I go on vacation in three minutes and that's what I've got given to me.

I rushed to the pharmacy because my new meds were ready and then dashed home after my doctor's appointment to log into the system, remotely, to see if I could fix the Defects.

I ordered a pizza for delivery and, after stepping outside to pay the guy, got my shoes wet, came back indoors, slipped, fell, and cracked my head against the wall while skinning my left arm on the ... something. I don't know what. There was blood.

I'm tired.

Really tired.

Things worked out but only just.

I got a room at the hotel across the street thanks to one of my dear friends telling me that their prices were comparable. The manager told me that the Defects had been logged a week ago but no one from QA had bothered to tell anyone so, enjoy my vacation: he'd have someone in India fix 'em. (I looked: they're not even real Defects ... just side-effects of sloppy testing on the part of QA.)

I'm gonna go to bed, now.

Took ZzzQuil. And pain-killers.

Good night.

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)

Current mood: achy.

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1st September, 2016. 7:55 pm. To Do - Psych!

Write about:
What are my emotional boundaries; how do I decide what they are? How do I decide how much of myself to give; what are the motivating factors? Who do I help/trust: is everyone equal or does a person, belief, or relationship impact my boundaries?


  • Create rest space/meditation in bedroom.


Current mood: tired.

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28th August, 2016. 4:53 pm. Pathfinder: Size Chart Beyond "Colossal"?

 This is starting to hurt me in all the math places...

I need about 6 size categories above "Colossal" for my Storm Dragons. Up until now, I've just fudged. But my urge for completeness is demanding I write this all up.

I just can't figure out the progression in "Space" and the two "Natural Reach" columns after "Colossal".

ADDENDUM: I think I've got a decent work-around. The updated table is as follows:

Table: Creature Size and Scale
Size
Category
Size1
Modifier
Grapple2
Modifier
Hide3
Modifier
Height or
Length4
Weight5 Space6 Natural
Reach6
(Tall)
Natural
Reach6
(Long)
1.    A creature's size modifier is applied to its attack bonus and Armor Class.
2.    See the Grapple special attack.
3.    See the Hide skill.
4.    Biped's height, quadruped's body length (nose to base of tail)
5.    Assumes that the creature is roughly as dense as a regular animal. A creature made of stone will weigh considerably more. A gaseous creature will weigh much less.
6.    These values are typical for creatures of the indicated size. Some exceptions exist.
Fine +8 -16 +16 6 in. or less 1/8 lb. or less ½ ft. 0 ft. 0 ft.
Diminutive +4 -12 +12 6 in. - 1 ft. 1/8 lb. - 1 lb. 1 ft. 0 ft. 0 ft.
Tiny +2 -8 +8 1 ft. - 2 ft. 1 lb. - 8 lb. 2½ ft. 0 ft. 0 ft.
Small +1 -4 +4 2 ft. - 4 ft. 8 lb. - 60 lb. 5 ft. 5 ft. 5 ft.
Medium +0 +0 +0 4 ft. - 8 ft. 60 lb. - 500 lb. 5 ft. 5 ft. 5 ft.
Large -1 +4 -4 8 ft. - 16 ft. 500 lb. - 2 tons 10 ft. 10 ft. 5 ft.
Huge -2 +8 -8 16 ft. - 32 ft. 2 tons - 16 tons 15 ft. 15 ft. 10 ft.
Gargantuan -4 +12 -12 32 ft. - 64 ft. 16 tons - 125 tons 20 ft. 20 ft. 15 ft.
Colossal -8 +16 -16 64 ft. – 128 ft. 125 tons – 1000 tons 30 ft. 30 ft. 20 ft.
Enormous -16 +20 -20 128 ft. – 256 ft. 1000 tons – 8000 tons 40 ft. 40 ft. 30 ft.
Titanic -32 +24 -24 256 ft. – 512 ft. 8000 tons – 64000 tons 60 ft. 60 ft. 40 ft.
Monumental -64 +28 -28 512 ft. – 1024 ft. 64000 tons – 512000 tons 80 ft. 80 ft. 50 ft.
Macro -128 +32 -32 1024 ft. – 2048 ft. 512000 tons – 4096000 tons 120 ft. 120 ft. 70 ft.
Mega -256 +36 -36 2048 ft. – 4096 ft. 4096000 tons – 32768000 tons 160 ft. 160 ft. 90 ft.
Giga -512 +40 -40 4096 ft. – 8192 ft. 32768000 tons – 262144000 tons 240 ft. 240 ft. 110 ft.



Table: Size


Size


Minimum CR


Maximum CR


Base Str


Base Dex


Base Con
Fine 2 1 18 8
Diminutive 4 1 16 8
Tiny 6 2 14 8
Small 6 12 8
Medium 10 10 10
Large 2 18 8 14
Huge 4 26 6 18
Gargantuan 6 34 4 22
Colossal 8 42 2 26
Enormous 10 50 2 30
Titanic 12 60 2 34
Monumental 14 70 2 38
Macro 16 80 2 42
Mega 18 90 2 46
Giga 20 100 2 50


Current mood: frustrated.

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26th August, 2016. 8:27 am. Paranoia and Last Night

I've been unable to really cook at home for a while, now. I mean, I could, but with the state of the kitchen and all the moving-in/moving-out going on, it's not been my first choice. That said, on my way home last night, I felt like I could afford to eat out. So I drove to a nice, neighborhood restaurant a few blocks from home.

I parked a bit further out than I normally would (the lot was kinda-sorta full) and walked across, between the cars, towards the main door.

I did not make it to the sidewalk before a bald guy, about my age but rather slender, interrupted me with an apology and started to tell me his life story.

Now, I've been here, before. I've been approached by strangers who start telling me about their problems as a prelude to asking for money. So, I was already on my guard for bullshit. And, truthfully, my bullshit-meter was clicking fairly heavily as this guy went on.

He told me how he was waiting in the parking lot for one of the only two friends he had in this life, a former commanding officer from his old days in the military. I asked if it was Desert Storm (back in '91) and he said, "yes". That person was supposed to help him. With what, I didn't know.

This fellow showed me some faint scars on the side of his face. They kinda went back over his left ear and bald head. He said he got them when shrapnel killed two of his patrol, "and it should have taken me, too."

About this time I encouraged him to join me on the sidewalk. He agreed as other patrons walked past us into the restaurant.

He went on to tell me how he spent 18 years in prison (out of a 32-year sentence) for killing the man who molested his daughter. Apparently, Al Quie, former governor of my home state of Minnesota, came to visit him in prison every week promising to get him out "because all soldiers need to come home". He told me that the former governor got his sentence reduced.

And, yes: my bullshit meter kept clicking over. But I didn't stop this tale-telling. I was a bit nervous because, in part, of how the guy was acting: a bit twitchy. And scared. He seemed embarrassed or unwilling to say what he wanted. He still hadn't gotten around to asking me for money. He just kept telling me more and more about his life.

He told me how he had depression. I told him I was in the same boat and, until about 2 months ago, had gone through a very hard year without proper medication. I didn't mention to him how I was having troubles, still. I wanted to reassure him that I understood. Even if I wasn't sure he was telling the full truth, there was something in his mannerisms that said "mental illness". I can empathize with that; understand it.

He went on to say that his wife divorced him while he was in prison and he lost his kids. They were grown, now.

He told me that his daughter was in her 30s, now, (maybe her 40s ... I don't recall the exact details) but that she had been in some sort of accident and was in a coma. She lived in Moorhead (up by Fargo) and he finally managed to say that he wanted to visit her.

I asked what I could do to help, still pushing for him to say it, but he kept beating around the bush. He said that it was his car --this white car, over by the lamppost in the lot-- that he had, there. I finally asked if he thought his car would make it up to Moorhead. He said he wasn't sure and I asked if he needed some money to get up there.

Then, finally, he said that's what he needed.

I honestly am not entirely sure why I did what I did, next. I told him that the restaurant had an ATM in it and I could go in and get him $100.

I didn't really believe him but I empathized with him. He said he didn't want sympathy and I told him that I did have sympathy for him but that's not why I was trying to help. I told him I wasn't very wealthy (a truth) and that I'd had mental health issues recently (also a truth) and could spare a hundred bucks (not true).

You see, I'm on the verge of losing my home if I can't get a good stream of income coming in. I also have friends who are very poor and need my help, too. So, no: I couldn't really afford it. But I wanted to help him ... even though I didn't really believe him.

I mean the sheer amount of crap he was describing was the biggest red flag. Plus, of course, coming up to a complete stranger in a parking lot outside of a restaurant was also a red flag. There are plenty of places a person can go for help that aren't a restaurant parking lot ... even if they're meeting an old friend.

He did say something about one of his friends betraying him and him punching that guy (his talk of killing and violence, I will confess, made me nervous). Again, the full details are a bit of a blur.

But I did go inside. I did withdraw $100. I gave it to him as he asked me for my cell phone number and email address. I used my cell to text him my email address ... the one I use to sign up for things I have no intention of ever answering. (A junk email account.) But since I texted him, he does have my phone number.

He promised to pay me back, double. He promised to take me out for dinner. He said that he knew his daughter would wake up from her coma if she could only hear his voice. I did not say that I thought that was "too much" even for a soap opera. But I thought it. I also said he didn't need to pay me back.

He had me shake his (bandaged and allegedly broken) arm and then brought me in for a hug.

I bade him farewell and went inside. I didn't see where he went. I checked my pockets and made sure I'd not been pick-pocketed. I got a table for one and started getting afraid. What if this guy was now waiting outside to follow me home and mug me? Should I call the cops? What if he really had all these problems and I was thinking so poorly of him?

I couldn't see the parking lot from where I sat but, as dinner progressed, I Tweeted my concerns. By the meal's end, I was a wreck.

I slowly left the restaurant, making sure I was in the company of others, and looked around for him.

There was no sign.

The white car he said was his, was still parked there.

I was pretty sure, by then, that he'd lied or I'd mistaken which car he'd been talking about. But there were several it could have been. I was pretty sure it was the white one, though. And before going to my car, I looked around, warily to see if he was there. He was nowhere to be seen.

I checked my back seat before unlocking and getting into the car.

Then I drove away from where I lived. I drove around for 45 minutes and even stopped at a gas station to put air in my tires. Everywhere, I looked for him to see if he was following me. I didn't see him.

Eventually, I drove towards home.

After a few blocks away from the gas station, on a back-road, I saw a white sedan --just like the one he'd told me was his-- following me about 2 blocks back.

I couldn't see the driver at all. I had no idea if it was him but a decent size of my mind said it could very well be.

At the next stop sign, I took a left and checked my rearview mirror.

The white car wasn't there. It wasn't even stopped at the corner by the stop sign. I got a block and a half away before I finally saw it go through the stop sign, continuing in the direction it had been going on the frontage road. It was as if he had stopped, just out of sight, to assess what I was doing.

This terrified me.

I drove around even more, now scared to go home.

I even drove past the restaurant, again, and saw that the white car (I think it was the same one) was still parked there.

As I said before, I drove around for a total of 45 minutes. Then, nervously, I went home after driving by an old house I used to live in, 11 years ago. This time, I saw no one following. No white cars, no nothing.

I parked, closed the garage door, gripped my keys like Wolverine's claws, and jog-walked to the side door of my house. I went in, locked the door, and dead-bolted it.

I was supposed to join my roommate to clean up the kitchen.

I did not.

I went upstairs, closed my bedroom door, contemplated locking it, and just went online.

I still don't know who this guy was (although he gave me his name; I logged it on my cell phone's "Notes" feature) or what was truth out of what he said. I'm afraid, still, that he may be setting me up for future scams: that he could phone me or email me or something. I honestly don't know. I am not sure what to do. But I didn't see any sign of him or his car this morning.

I want to help people. But I also am wary of them.

I don't know if there's a point to all this, really, except for the fact that my anxiety and fears may have ruined a perfectly honest request for aide. Or maybe I'm being set-up for something like identity theft. I checked my accounts this morning to make sure there were no unauthorized transactions (there weren't).

So now I'm looking over my shoulder and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I hate that I'm this suspicious but it has been at the crux of my mental illness issues for years.

Hopefully I'll never hear from him again.

That, sadly, seems to be a best-case scenario.

Yours,
Sylvan

Current mood: paranoid.

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23rd August, 2016. 10:53 am. Elements of the Soul

Nature - The element of the soul that is "fundamental" to describing its behavioral scope; "Areté".
Spirit - The reflexive part of the soul that allows both self-reflection and behavioral assessment.
Animus - The strength of soul that fuels drive and impresses itself upon existential surroundings.

Together, these three elements make up the soul. It does not require the soul be an actual, existing thing; this can be a societal construct as much as metaphysical. But by defining terms, determining what makes up a "soul", conversations can take place in such a way as to have meaningful results.

If, for instance, someone talks about a "soulful experience" these terms can help break down exactly what is meant and allow for greater comprehension.

Current mood: philosophical.

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