Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Decide

Sitting in the library on campus, in what has become my usual spot. Given that I'm on campus for around 12 hours a day three days out of the week, it's safe to call this "my spot." Especially since I usually take naps on the couch about four feet behind me.

Obviously not taking a nap now... anyway.

Thing that irks me most about being on campus so much is that I can't smoke inside. The weather around here went to complete shit again, so that's always wonderful. Though I imagine if Fezzik and I manage to get a place, I'm not going to be able to smoke indoors, so... might as well get used to it, I guess.

Anyway.

I had a notion, the other day, when looking for loopholes to exploit in my academic plan to shave off a few credits. I said to myself... I wonder if I can cram the computer science degree into a year, instead of taking two years. With the changes in the program, it seemed like it might be doable, and might be worth looking into.

I'll admit that I kind of regret doing so.

What surprised me most is that it worked. It took a bit of effort, and a bit of rearranging and such, but there I was: confronted with a system, and an endgame. Of course I was going to shake it until what I wanted fell out of it. You can't confront me with a system and expect me to just leave it alone. No, I made it do what I wanted, like I always do with informational constructs.

I now have a functional plan for graduating next year. It's doable, not even crazy.

But... it requires going back to the original plan, back from when I started this... ridiculously lengthy journey through my higher education: just a computer science and philosophy major, with just the information science minor.

This summer would remain the same, of course. It has to - in order to make my financial situation work, I have to take courses at TC. So that's fine. But everything else is drastically different. Hell, I don't even need to try to take courses over the summer at GB. That's how ridiculously... easy, essentially, this would be.

Because, I mean, seriously. I looked at the classes I would be taking here to finish out my degree. And... it really is just a piece of paper. I can't imagine learning anything, really, that would so expand my horizons that I would suddenly understand computer science in some new and crazy light that makes me a more badass coder than I already am. Not that I am badass, I mean I'm good, but just that I don't see anything here that would suddenly unlock some hidden potential or whatever and make me awesome.

So anyway... I've spent the last day or so agonizing over this decision. Do I stick with the current, crazy-ass two-year plan, or do I go with the streamlined, sensible one-year plan?

*sigh*

The general consensus from everyone I've talked to about this is that I should go for the shorter plan. More financially-viable, gets me moving in my life sooner... there are a lot of solid arguments for it. I balked, considerably at first, because I'm not sure how comfortable I am with just the computer science. I don't trust this economy and I don't trust my ability to get a job. With that in mind, I'd prefer to hedge my bets, you know?

But then today, I got the stupid idea to look at graduate programs. And... if everything goes well, these next couple semesters, I can do it. I can get into a grad program. I can graduate next spring, find a real job, get a real place to live, do whatever, and continue with my education, keep taking it to the next level.

With that understanding... there's really no good reason to not go for the one-year plan. I mean aside from the notion that if I screw up even one class, that's it, that's game - but honestly the bigger plan has that, too. Except if it happened under the big plan, I'd be dropping an entire major or minor... whereas in the one-year, it means I'm here for another semester.

So... yeah. No pressure or anything.

So I guess what I'm saying is that... I've decided to go with the shorter plan. I need to move on with my life, and get to the next chapter. I need to get the fuck out of this town, haunted as it is by memories of Danielle and all my failures.

Of course, relocating sooner also means that I need to pick up the pace on Journey. I want it to be done before I get out of dodge, considering that the other folks into it are here. So this decision has significantly accelerated the clock on that. I've put a couple hours of work into it today already, though admittedly not getting much done... I don't have access to my notes or my whiteboards here, so I can't really do much aside from try to more fully document things in the playtest doc. Wrote a thousand or so words, though, so can't complain there, and found a couple holes... anyway.

Kinda funny that I wrote about the current plan a little while back. No longer on Jade... hell, since that post, there was even another one, called Iron. Now we're on plan Sail. I should probably put it under v8... it is a significant revamp.

But the final name or version number is irrelevant. What matters is that it's a plan, and it's now the plan, and it means getting the fuck on with my life significantly sooner than I'd thought... and cuts the countdown almost clean in half.

Anyway. I've got a game to design.

395 days remain... apparently. I guess I've been doing the math wrong prior to this, and now seemed as good a time as any to correct it. The timer is counting down to 11:30 on May 17, 2015. The date of commencement next spring, when - if all goes according to plan - I will be graduating.

Of course, things rarely go according to plan... but let's pretend, shall we?

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Riddle

Well.

Phase one of the plan to get funding failed miserably. I'm not terribly surprised by this: that is the nature of the universe, right? The chances of me actually catching a break are pretty damn slim, it seems.

With that in mind, I am now prepping for phase two, and working on getting a backup plan for that plan in order. Something about a job, maybe... spent a couple hours this morning working on a new version of my resume, and applied for a programming internship. Maybe that'll pan out.

It probably won't.

So... I would describe the remainder of the plan, I guess, but I don't want to. The less I discuss it, maybe the more likely it is to happen. I know that's pretty idiotic and probably not applicable in real-life... but whatever. Such is how I roll.

Though if I recall, today should be the first day I can actually see if phase two will hold up. Though I don't have the time... have a test later today, for a class in which I've missed the last couple weeks (thanks, screwed-up sleep schedule!). So my interim period between classes today will be spent studying my ass off for that. Hopefully I can do well enough to keep my AB in psych... then there's the paper, which I haven't even begun to write. Oh joy.

Going to be pursuing other jobs, too. I have devised a presentation of myself that shouldn't raise too many questions about my past - specifically, my past shitty academic record. In hindsight, maybe the academic forgiveness wouldn't have been a bad call: it would've allowed me, at least, to get a solid GPA for getting internships... but the possibility of getting screwed out of all my credits was just... not good. And it wouldn't have helped my financial situation in any way... no, I made the right call.

At least I really the fuck hope I did.

Still no idea what's going on with housing. Fezzik is elusive, apparently. This does not bode well. Also the fact that my financial situation is rapidly going downhill, and won't improve until the start of the next semester. I've begun thinking that I might be able to take out a loan at TC, since my GPA there doesn't suck ass horribly... but maybe not. We'll see, I guess.

Oh yeah and I need to demonstrate to TC that I can take A&P. Even though I already took it. Whatever. Idiots.

Anyway... class is soon. Need to get ready.

774 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Breeze

Nothing really new to report on the school front. Things are going as they go.

Makes me kind of wonder what, exactly, I feel the need to write about...

*cigarette*

It is 2014. In four months or so, I will mark the seventh anniversary of the birth of Journey.

In that time, we have done a lot. We have gone from a d20-based exploration/economic add-on to an entire new system, with its own quirks.

I have been bothered, of course, by the fact that I am less familiar with my game than I am d20. I can make the d20 system do pretty much whatever I want it to do, at this point; I can twist and bend the system in any fashion. Journey, of course, is significantly more opaque to me: I wonder how I would implement new ideas in it, as I would in d20, and often come up blank.

But then, the other day, as I was drifting to sleep, it finally dawned on me... how to do the things that I've used as examples for what is harder in Journey than in d20. In a moment of clarity, I understood my game in a way that I hadn't before, and could see how I would implement all the strangeness of Trinity... in that moment, I realized that Journey had come far farther than I'd ever anticipated, because it meant that there was enough of a system there for me to manipulate, and feel comfortable in manipulating it.

So now... I'm getting back into it. I feel like a mental block has been lifted. We're so close... so very close... to a playable version. Even if it's alpha as all hell, the idea of playing an entire session of Journey is... beyond amazing, in my mind.

I know that a ton of other people write games. There are apparently some people who do nothing but churn out system after system; that just boggles my mind, honestly. Like... how can people do that? I know that we're a bit crazy with the simulationism and such, but still. Seven years... and I'm still not done. How does somebody do this over a month or two?

Anyway... kinda tired.

776 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bitter

Analysis of my posting patterns in the past indicates that, in general, a month in which I post more than five posts in the "single-word title" era, which began roughly around the summer of '08 (if I recall correctly), I am most likely in the midst of an extended depressive stage and/or am wrestling with the demons again.

*cigarette*

No demons here... just the shadow that haunts my mind.

In many ways, I think, I'd prefer it were one of the demons. I at least understand them, know what they represent, how to deal with them while I shake them from my mind... and you'd think that I'd know how to shake her, as well, as I've managed to do so in the past. The problem with that, of course, is that it took so very long each time to do that... and while I have no doubt it will happen again, it's not a fun or short process.

An old wound, ripped open again and again. Can you blame me for wanting to rend the offending organ asunder, rip it from my chest and simply cast it aside as so much chaff? It seems pretty apparent, at least to me, that I am alone and will always be. There is no shame in this loneliness... but there is sadness, here in the dark. I would rather cast these unrequited feelings aside and spend the remainder of my days focused on the tasks at hand, than to constantly deal with this pain and ponderance of "what if"...

...

Signed up for classes at TC yesterday. I had to take a few more credits' worth than I would've liked... but at least I found a class that will transfer back to GB. After numerous discussions with various folk about the plan, it sounds like this will hold water. At least the second part... I'll admit I'm a bit terrified of the first phase, so I still haven't taken any action on it.

Which is probably stupid... but whatever.

I will say this much, at least - this time around, her leaving hasn't completely and utterly shattered my mind, like it did the first time. And I'm not suffering from the same sort of weird-ass subconscious backlash I did after my first solo trip to Buffalo, either. Just... bog-standard depression, at this point. So: yay, progress, I guess? I haven't delved into alcohol, I haven't massively reorganized my internal moral and ethical structures, haven't planned on destroying any of my friends' relationships...

...not that I really have friends, anymore. Hardly talk to anyone, these days. Hermitage, indeed.

On a sidenote, the other day was super weird. I ran into three people I knew in the span of like five minutes. Ran into Dylan, which was weird...

But then I ran into Amber. Like almost literally ran into her. What makes that even funnier is that I didn't even recognize her at first - it took until after I passed her and walked down the hall a bit before I realized that the person I had seen was, in fact, her. I thought for a moment about turning around, or even saying something... in hindsight, what I really should've done is said something like "Don't look back," or something equally like... mildly ominous, or whatever. Haven't spoken to her in years, and I don't mind that one bit: she made it quite clear that I was a villain in her story, and I'm fine with letting her hold on to that perspective. I'm not proud of what I did, but I did it, and I will own those actions, even if I wasn't in the right frame of mind at the time...

To this day, I don't think anyone in the Crew understood what Danielle meant to me. I don't think they understood why I was so broken after she left. Not that I made it easy... but goddamnit, there was so little they did. No sense in being angry about it now, but it just... makes me realize how self-centered people are. Or maybe just those people that I surrounded myself with. Who knows. I'm a terrible person, a lot of the time, probably, but I try to mean well, at the least - with a span of obvious exceptions... but in general, I try not to be a jackass. I just fail a lot.

Oh, and the third one was some chick I kinda knew back in the day. Can't even remember her name. Very goth-y. Vaguely reminiscent of Danielle, back in the day... think her sister was the crazy chick who was hitting on me in my Oneida class, once upon a time. Goddamn she was weird.

Anyway. This post has been mildly depressing to write. I've got an exam in hours, so I should probably go study or something.

779 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Jade

The current revision of my academic plan is entitled "Jade." At this point, I'll fully admit I'm just making these names up as I go along - once upon a time, each revision's name had a meaning of some sort, a reason for the title, but now... it's just a convenient way of ensuring I know what I'm doing.

Of course, the fact that I'm on full revision 7 doesn't really help, either. But anyway.

Jade has quite possibly seen the most modifications to date. Each sub-plan of each revision is a different theoretical approach: for instance, plan "Archer" had an Accounting minor, while Logo has me majoring in Economics, instead of minoring. So if modifications are called for that still fit within the general purview of a given plan, I just modify it, rather than create a new one.

Jade has seen significant revisions in the past few weeks. Specifically, the removal of Human Communication Theory from the cognitive science major; the movement of Neurobiology from a Spring to a Fall class; and now, the removal of Anatomy and Physiology at GB. I will admit, this modification was... painful, to deal with. In the process, however, I discovered the financial aid loophole that I'll be exploiting in short order, as well as some classes I can take at TC to cover other classes at GB, reducing my load at GB and thereby making my attempts to get waivers for aid in the future easier, if only by a slim margin.

Accounting for this change to how I'm acquiring A&P has not been easy, however. At first, I wanted to take a course over summer at TC and the ECE for A&P, but the Human Bio department wouldn't have it. So now I'll be taking classes at TC and GB for both the Summer and Fall semesters... an unpleasant arrangement, to be sure, but can't really be helped.

The real question, however, is the other 12 credits I was planning on taking at GB this summer. Provided this all goes according to plan, I should be able to sign up for them with no problems once my financial aid at TC comes through, and I use the remainder to pay off this semester's tuition. There is the question of timing, though... and if I can't get in, I'm not sure where I'm going to put the classes. It's somewhat aggravating.

... sigh.

Nothing else really going on. Still in dire straits on pretty much every other front. Trying to just burn time right now and not think about it... but of course, this shit fills my mind pretty much every waking second.

Anyway, suppose I'll get to things.

781 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Vengeance

Time soars past me: what was once a gentle breeze has whipped itself into a gale, hurtling towards the center of the storm. The vessel of my life may be helmed by an iron will, but in these troubled waters, all bets are off.

The metaphor feels a little stretched, these days, I'll admit. But in this turbulence... have to keep the comforts close, and for me, that means a return to the narrative framework I have constructed for myself.

...sigh.

Still no movement on part one of the plan. I'm quite uneasy about it, I'll admit; I'm not sure if the required paperwork exists, and even if it did, I'm not sure I would have access to it. I have to wing it entirely, and that leaves me very, very nervous.

I still check in on Danielle, like a fool and a tool. Though now I find myself hoping to find her life going horribly wrong. It doesn't feel good, it doesn't feel right, but I feel something, and that is better than letting myself descend into depression over her all over again. Without the choice of being able to be with her, then I will settle for hate - it is, after all, eminently more comfortable for me to feel that way about someone. Anger has always been my lifelong companion, and to feel it boil within me... even as tinged with sadness as this is, it is something I can use. Fuel for the fire of my soul, at the very least, and gives me something to work with to find a way out of this maze that has grown out of my latest predicament.

In other news, I spoke with Fezzik earlier tonight, and it sounds like he would be interested in going in on a place with me. This is incredibly welcome news: Fezzik and I get along well enough, and it gives me a way to find a place not on my own. I will admit that I have waffled on how I feel about having an abode to myself... on the one hand, refreshing, and on the other, terrifying. Not to mention that my financial situation is such that I would almost assuredly be unable to find a place to call my own... no, having a partner for such a venture is exactly what I need, and if Fezzik is the guy for the job, so be it.

There's really nothing else to report. I have my classes for TC all picked out, and I'll be signing up for them in the next few days. I just hope the second half of the plan goes off without a hitch - it's just a matter of making sure the first part goes as planned, as well. If it doesn't... things are going to get very hairy, financially-speaking, and damn quick. I'll either need to find a job or an alternative revenue stream for the interim. And even if this plan succeeds... there's no guarantee that I'll be able to get financial aid at GB in the future, as the folks in the financial aid department have been very cagey and unwilling to give me solid information. Frustrating, all around.

*cigarette*

Hope is for the weak. Hope is for the helpless. Hope is for the damned, who have no other recourse other than to simply wait and hope. No, I will not hope... I will think, reason, and calculate. I will determine my odds of success, and if they do not meet my standards, I will continue to plan and plot and weave threads of the world together until I have a plan that meets my requirements for success, even if it means creating backup plans for my backup plans, to ensure that things go my way.

I am a magnificent bastard, and I will act like one.

783 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Cold

Ugh... what a week.

Given mental and physical symptoms, it seems safe to assume I'm in a depression stage. Slept the majority of the past few days away - literally at least half of each. My mood hasn't been super awesome, but given the circumstances, this all makes sense. As always, trying not to let it get to me.

Went out drinking last night. I remember, vaguely, having a reason for doing so... aside from needing to talk to Jim about possible living arrangements. That fell through pretty quickly, so that's awesome. I now officially have no backup plan for a place to live.

Homelessness ho, I suppose. Not sure what I'm going to do with Locke... I'll burn that bridge when I come to it, I suppose.

... *cigarette*

Classes are going as well as can expected, given the circumstances. Just finished up all the classwork for my 1-credit lab sciences course, looks like a pretty solid A to me. Considering there's no final and I aced all the homework... yeah, not really an accomplishment.

Anyway.

The plan to pay for this semester is a convoluted mess. It is quite possibly the most elaborate scheme I have ever devised - and it is going to work, too, which is all the crazier. It's a two-stage system, and the first phase may very well fail, but I'm pretty certain the second part is fool-proof.

Unfortunately, depending on how things pan it, it may wind up extending my time at GB another summer semester... because nothing's ever easy. But hey, at least I'm pretty certain I'll be able to pay for it, one way or another.

... sigh.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do if this all falls apart on me. I'm trying to do this one day at a time, but it's kind of hard to focus on school when I've got all this other madness threatening to tear the plan apart. Taking things one day at a time, but when you see the bridge is out ahead, you don't keep on the road, you know? I've got no contingencies and very little ability to pull my ass out of the fire, here.

Back on the razor's edge. And here I thought it would all be pretty clear sailing once I got my shit together... but of course, that's not how my life goes. Everything has to get fucked beyond all recognition. I had it together, everything was smooth, and then... well, winter happened, as it always does.

Enough moping around, I guess. There's not terribly much I can do about anything right now. First stage of the plan can't be activated yet, I don't think, and the other won't come into play for awhile, so... might as well go burn time. I'd be much happier if there were something productive I could do - but that's kind of a lie, isn't it? I'm not happy. Not going to be, either, even if this all pans out perfectly.

Heh... kinda feel like I brought this shit on myself. I remember thinking, a few months back - this is all too easy. Where's the challenge, the antagonism from the universe? Guess I spoke too soon - it was just waiting for the right moment. Well, I'll do my damn'dest to rise to the occasion. Victory from the jaws of defeat... here we go again.

786 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.