Jerry , this is a miracle of nature that exists for a brief period.

I took my car in to be winterized.  We had our first snow, but I was out of town for the worst of it, then left again to Denver for the weekend.  Today it rained nonstop, and there’s still remnants of snow here and there.  It’s not cold enough to snow again, but it might overnight.  I love winter, but it’s starting out slushy, which is gross, and dangerous for night driving.  When I was driving home from the airport, I noticed I was slightly under the halfway full mark on my gas tank.  I was taught to never let it go below halfway full by my Dad when I was 11.  He told my other sisters this, too.  My brothers were allowed to push their car home if they ran out of gas, and it was no big deal.  If one of the girls did that, driving privileges were revoked.  When I asked why it varied, he said it was for safety reasons.  I was satisfied with that response.

I stopped at the gas station near where I live, and tried to fill my tank, but the door to my gas tank wouldn’t open when I pulled the latch.  I was too disoriented to deal with it at that point, and did it today instead.  The mechanic fixed it quickly, and jerry-rigged a design flaw so it won’t happen again.  Then I got an oil change, etc.  While I was waiting, that old show, Macgyver was on.  I liked it, and loved Stargate SG-1 with the same lead.  A woman sitting near me mentioned there is a new version on now, and told me when it’s on.  She wished me a Happy Thanksgiving when they finished her car before mine.  This is typical interaction in Sioux Falls between strangers.  Macgyver was a nice buffer, because I didn’t get anxious when she began speaking to me.  But I did stare at my phone until they finished my car after after that.

I don’t allow myself to play video games on my phone when I’m in public.  I talk to myself when I play games, because it helps keep my anxiety down.  I talk smack to the monsters to help control my fear.  I know this isn’t weird, and lots of people do it, but in public, not everyone is a gamer.  Many of us who are gamers are living part of our lives as action heroes, or villains when we game.  We tend to behave the way they do in movies.  We don’t just walk in and destroy all monsters instantly.  We mock them, and tear them down verbally in clever, and amusing ways first.  Just like in the movies.  It’s puffing up your chest before a fight.  It has nothing to do with the enemy.  It’s just how a lot of humans keep their anxiety levels in check.  And since I’m a woman, admitting video games scare me doesn’t necessarily diminish me in the eyes of potential mates.  (I go out of my way to point this out, in hopes others recognize how silly it is, and stop supporting dumb.)  I just don’t trust the filter between my brain and mouth, assuming it exists.

Phone games are harder for me than playing on my PC.  It’s an interface issue.  I need more options for controlling my avatar.  Afterall, I’m an avatar controlling an avatar controlling an avatar.  The fact that I can make my toons on Warcraft do mostly what I command them to do is outstanding, and took lots of practice.  And lots of dying.  It took a long time to figure out how to calm down after dying, and try again, without having a meltdown in between.  I started out on Atari, and I’ve gamed since Pitfall came out.  You’d think that meant I was good at it.  That’s not the case.  I’m good at recovering from death and trying again.  Something inside me won’t let me just walk away, and come back fresh to try later.  I feel compelled to try over and over until I get it.  Obviously, this is working out so far.  But I dread the day it doesn’t.

I remember how my Mom acted when she caught me doing this when I was learning how to code.  I was exasperated, and raging, while trying to debug some code.  It disturbed her enough to threaten taking my computer away.  But from my viewpoint, it was no big deal.  I was pushing myself because I was unwilling to accept a reality in which I didn’t get my way with my code.  It’s easier to keep trying than it is to give up, and accept that reality isn’t what you assumed.  I suppose it is a little disturbing.  It’s part of why I know I can do anything.  People like me don’t do well with utter defeat.  It’s not that I’m afraid of losing.  I don’t care about competing with other human beings.  That whole concept is baffling.  For me, it’s having reality shattered.  I rely heavily on reality, and when it lets me down, I fall hard.

In a way, I think I set myself up for the hard fall.  But it’s because I don’t think it’s possible to fall so hard, that knowing I can do anything isn’t worth it.  I got tangled up trying to express that thought.  This bit of knowledge is my greatest superpower.  It makes life livable.  It’s almost a form of arrogance, but one that relies solely on trust of self.  I hope it keeps me from being an asshole.  Assholes are lazy.  Imagine how easy life would be if being an asshole was rewarding.  And I’m not talking about Louis C. K.  He’s a genius, and that has it’s perks.  In my world, Louis C. K. is a demi-god.  He can make me laugh, cry, get angry, etc. with ease.  I’m still processing his TV show, Louis.  I’m a season behind because it’s so brilliant, I had to think for a while after every episode.  It’s like All in the Family for Gen X.

He gets away with everything Archie did, because we love him for making us laugh so hard at ourselves.  He took self-deprecation comedy out back and told it some secrets, then got stoned, and told some jokes.  Not literally, I’m trying to make an analogy again.  Now you know why I keep trying, (even though there’s no detectable improvement.)  I got sidetracked again.  It’s me being literal with my disorientation.  Tomorrow, I’m starting my new project.  I’m so excited to begin.  I’m off to read.

No, it offends me as a comedian!

I just ordered the Playstation VR  headset.  I’ve decided not to wait until after Christmas.  I have my Samsung VR that works with my Galaxy Edge 7.  It’s astonishingly awesome, considering it was free, so I know I’ll love a more powerful option.  I’m psyching myself up to do some serious rearranging in my apartment.  I do this to optimize my activity areas.  I like to have a spot for each activity, and prefer for that spot to be neat, and aesthetically pleasing, as well as functional.  Presently, the activities I’m optimizing for include gaming, creating music/sounds, working jigsaw puzzles, and artwork.

On top of that, I like having plenty of space to play with my cat.  We have a cut-throat serious game of tag going on, and I’d like to play without sacrificing anymore toe bones.  That means I’ll need to stop storing my guitars and amps along the wall in the hallway.  It was never really a good idea.  It does encourage me to practice, but my secret inner desire to be a rock star will probably suffice.  My problem is too much stuff.  Still.  I need to begin round two, and get rid of anything I like, but don’t use enough to justify owning.  It’s hard.  It means I need to stop with the collecting.  I love my designer vinyl collection.  It makes me smile often.  They’re art to me.  However, I have too many.  I need to choose 3 favorites, and give the rest away.  I’m thinking about hiring a photography enthusiast to photograph the items I give away, so that on some level, I’ll still have them.

Photography doesn’t interest me enough to RTFM, and learn how to do it well.  It’s just like drones.  I wanted to acquire the hobby of drone flying, but not so much that I’m willing to put in the time and study necessary to get the damn thing to even lift off.   I won’t have any trouble giving my mini drone away.  Or my DSLR camera, and the 1 lens I purchased.  I won’t even need photos of those.  That made me laugh.  It’ll be pretty easy to give away a bunch of console games, too.  I suppose I should give away one of my PS3’s, as well.  I do like owning a PS2, PS3, and PS4, though.  There are certain games on each that I enjoy.  I’m about 50% certain I’ll never turn my Wii on again.  I guess that should go, too.  No.  I’m keeping it until Nintendo’s new console is released.

Nintendo Switch

I’m all over that innovative victory.  Well done, Nintendo.  The risk will pay off when we all forgive you for the Wii U.  I’m going to get a developer version, and port a game I’ve been working on that will shine on this format.  It’s a dream for those of us who make games that are foremost disability friendly.  I’ll be skinning it on day one, though, because it’s fugly.  But that’s not even close to a deal breaker on a gaming console.  They’re all fugly.  Well, the Playstation 4 Pro is handsome.  And the Star Wars Xbox 360 droid version was spiffy.  But prior to that, much fugliness.  It looks like the designer(s) heard me bitch about having to constantly clean fingerprints off my touchscreens, and agreed.  It also leaves room for a more colorful Special Edition or 10.  But I’ll just skin it, because I have yet to encounter a special edition console that turned out to be anything more than paint and a larger hard drive.

I’m watching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, as I type this.  I love Queen Amidala.  She possesses the ideal character, in my opinion.  Brave, smart, capable, and empathetic to her people, she makes an excellent leader.  It makes Jar Jar Binks less annoying, when I focus on what she exemplifies.  Honestly, the kid playing Anakin Skywalker was the least bearable aspect of this installment.  His inability to act convincingly is forgivable in such a young actor.  I’m just spoiled by memories of Dakota Fanning and Elijah Blue killing it as child actors.  I read a few novels about the sith that were extremely disturbing, and make this horn-headed monster with a double lightsaber far more sinister than f/x can accomplish.  I know we all possess the capacity for good and evil, I just don’t like reading about those who choose to be so one-sided, they’re unrecognizable as human.

She’s into it.

I just finished watching Warcraft again.  I love this movie so much.  Granted, there were some pretty scary moments.  But the f/x were outstanding.  It was like visiting a dream.  An unsettling dream, set in a realm where I’ve spent a lot of time while isolating myself from this world.  The scenery was beautiful, and I recognized the landscapes as well as the interiors of buildings, and cities that exist in the game.  Before a site was identified on screen, I wanted to shout its name, out of the sheer joy of familiarity.  I already loved the characters, but seeing them in live action solidified my obsession with Azeroth, and the ever expanding World of Warcraft.

I bought the Blu Ray with digital HD and DVD, because I’ll be watching the shit out of this movie.  I can’t compare it to Star Wars, because this film was only the beginning, (I hope).  It made me want to delve back into the novels, which have always helped me connect emotionally with the game.  I haven’t been playing much of late, but I’m still thinking about it a lot.  I’m mentally preparing myself to bring my main toon into the new expansion.  I’ve raised up my night elf demon hunter to the max level of 110, and continue to complete quests and increase my skills, while exploring the new area.  I do love to fly from the landing platform in Dalaran onto the floating island.

MMORPG’s are a lot more complex than non-gamers realize.  Experience is probably the most valuable asset.  There are lots of people, myself included, who have dedicated a decade of their lives to maintaining toons in Azeroth.  Having another world where I have power and magic, and where my hyperfocus and obsessiveness pay off in easily measured ways, is awesome.  I absolutely prefer Azeroth to Earth.  Not because I think Azeroth is better than Earth, but because in Azeroth, I fit.  In Azeroth, there’s a lot of killing, but death is more like an ice cream headache.  You’re useless for a few moments, then you’re back.  There’s a lot of killing on Earth too.  But it’s forever, as far as we’re concerned.

During the dark times, (Cataclysm), I played Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I liked it, but not nearly as much as Warcraft.  It felt shallow to me.  Like its creators were just doing their job, not sharing their passion.  I don’t have time for that.  Video games are not as good as books.  If they don’t grab my imagination and delight, they get abandoned for novels.  I’m disappointed that I won’t live long enough to read every book worth reading.  That doesn’t mean I won’t try.  This is why I’m always obsessing about Eyes 2.0.  My originals are wearing out.

There are disturbing things about Azeroth.  The fact that we’re constantly fighting an overwhelming foe can get frustrating.  The introduction to changes we have no control over can be meltdown inducing if I don’t read about them in advance.  Blizzard is good about informing in advance.  I can only think of about about 4 times in the 9+ years I’ve been playing where I lost the plot over a bug, or hacking incident.  That’s an incredible record when compared to reality.  The fact that I spend time I could be reading doing things like playing Warcraft, or repeatedly watching the movie, is the highest compliment I can pay to the creators of both.

Whenever life on Earth starts kicking my ass, I retreat to Azeroth.  Sometimes, it’s because I’m angry, but unwilling to direct my anger at anything alive.  So I murder the shit out of some pixels.  I tend to go solo after old raid bosses, and monsters that killed me over and over while I tried to figure out how to kill them.  Sometimes, I just need to go fishing.  It’s not something I would do outside, (indoor enthusiast), but it’s relaxing in the game.  Back to Azeroth.

You know, George told me that he thinks you’re totally cute.

I’m home.  I’ve met with my therapist once, since I’ve returned, and am probably going to meet with her again tomorrow.  The strangest part, is that I’m meeting her because I’m doing surprisingly well under the circumstances.  In my effort to do even better, and stay focused on priorities, I welcome her assistance.  My focus has been less than ideal of late, but I’m not allowing it to become an issue.  Instead, my strategy right now is to allow myself to chase The Shiny for a while.  So I’ve been playing Warcraft quite a bit, since the new expansion was released.  I won’t decide how I feel about it until I reach level 110 on at least 2 toons.  So far, it’s held my attention well, and the scenery is nicer than Draenor.

It’s also nice to get back to Dalaran.  I really loved The Lich King expansion.  It seems like so long ago that I griped about having to do a daily dungeon run.  Little did I know then that a farm, a garrison, and a shipyard were about to make that minor chore look reasonable.  I don’t mind doing these things in the game at all.  I just regret that I rarely find time to do as much as I’d like.  Role playing with my toons in WoW is so much more straightforward and logical than real life.  I feel like I have a good handle on things in the game, and that’s a nice feeling.  Talking is optional, socializing can be done on my own terms, and I rarely suffer from Foot-in-Mouth Disease when gaming.

I’m also playing No Man’s Sky on Playstation 4.  I rarely pre-order console games, but this one caught my attention long before it was released.  I’ll review my thoughts on it at another time.  I’ve been sleeping more than is normal for me.  I must need it, but I’m not enjoying getting up later.  It’s shifting my entire schedule a few hours forward, leaving me feeling out of sync.  I know it’ll self correct in a few days, but in the meantime, it’s taking a toll.  I’m off to read.

Boy, she’s a whacko!

Today was good.  The Depression Monster lost again.  I’m still struggling with insomnia and nightmares, but since I set the criteria for a good day, most of my days are good.  If I’m still alive, and can think of one thing I’m looking forward to witnessing, it’s a good day.  I’m looking forward to leveling my new Demon Hunter to the new max level 110.  I created her yesterday, and then did all the quests available so far.  It was at least 50, because that’s an achievement.  It didn’t seem like that many, but several quest givers gave multiple quests.  I had no trouble figuring out what to do, and finished by doing a battle scenario with several other players in a field just outside of Stormwind.

That battle was intense, and I must have messed up when picking my talents, because I have no healing ability whatsoever, and my health doesn’t regenerate over time.  I was so close to dying, but didn’t have any food, potions, bandages, etc.  I didn’t even have the necessary skills to create them yet.  So I started begging low level players who were watching us to heal me.  Fortunately, someone did.  He was far lower in level, and couldn’t heal me much, but I thanked him profusely for giving me enough life to make it through the battle.  I love it when other players are cool like that.

After that, I spent time acquiring some skills.  I went with skinning and leatherworking.  Then I got first aid, fishing, cooking, and archaeology.  I did the cooking and fishing dailies in Stormwind, and then logged out.  I play standing up or else on my treadmill now, which is working out much better for me.  It just never felt right to me to play while sitting in a chair.  I can play with the sound on now, and use a headset.  For the first 9 years of playing, I had to not only have the sound off completely, I also had to play Abba: Gold on a low volume at the same time to keep from getting too excited/scared/panicked.

The guild I was in back then was mostly guys from Canada, and they thought I was hilarious, when in reality I was freaked out.  Blizzard has a strange dichotomy of funny and disturbing content within WoW.  I love the geek references, jokes, and funny voices.  But the torture scenes are disturbing.  I focus on what I like in the game, and ignore the rest.  There’s plenty of content for everyone to find something they like.  Every so often, I pay attention to people whining in trade chat about the “good old days” when the game was more difficult.  Then I remind them of Cataclysm.  I took a year off from playing when that expansion came out.  I bought it, installed it, and played it for about an hour.  Then I ran into an extremely frustrating quest, and quit playing for a year.

They’ve nerfed the game periodically because their obvious goal is to make as much money as possible, and the ones who bring in the most are casual gamers.  We just want to play, have fun, and not have to spend too much time doing research/reading/studying videos in order to play.  There will always be the hard core players who make those videos and websites the rest of us rely on, and they are probably justified in resenting us a little.  I, like most other casual players, am grateful, but we’d rather play than spend a lot of time stroking their egos.  Yes, they’re way better at raiding, and have the highest gear scores on the server.  Yes, they notice when the game has been nerfed in order to keep us casuals from getting too frustrated and quitting.  Yes, they’re awesome gamers who don’t get enough credit for their skills.  There.

I’m allowing myself to enjoy my interests without the usual limits for a while.  That means a lot of reading, gaming, and coding.  It will never cease to amaze me how much even a single day of doing these activities can help me when recovering from a meltdown.  It does mess up any hope of my keeping track of time, though.  I still have that military paranoia about being late for anything.  It’s unsettling how upset I get when I see I’m going to be late, before I remind myself that I’m a civilian now, and any potential repercussions are no big deal in comparison.  But it’s also fascinating to me.  I have a twisted sense of respect for the tremendously effective brainwashing the military has mastered.

I’m reading the 3rd book of Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn Trilogy.  I’ve read the majority of his novels, which is a good thing, because I don’t think I would have finished this trilogy if I didn’t trust the author.  The subject matter is disturbing af, but he doesn’t traumatize his readers.  He’s one of my favorite space opera writers.  He holds my interest from cover to cover, even when the material is horrifying.  Had it been an unfamiliar author, I would have bailed long ago.  Hamilton is good with details and descriptions.  His stories include diverse characters, and he doesn’t lace them with primitive mindsets and agendas.  It’s refreshing, and has become something I require from all authors I read.  I quit reading the series by Robin Hobb because I got disgusted by the gay shaming.  In the back of my mind, I wondered what it would do to the psyche of a gay teenager, and recognized how damaging and irresponsible it is.

My sister is ill, and in the hospital.  It’s a big part of what caused my meltdown.  I’ve lost so many close family members already, and even though I don’t know if her illness is serious, my mind instantly went to the prospect of losing her.  It’s probably ironic, considering how much I whine about the amount of control she has over my life.  It’s made me aware of how much I still need her assistance.  Between that, too much traveling, and other things going on… Well, I’m not going to focus on that.  Distraction is my buddy right now.  I’m off to read.