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*hugs everyone!*

     Thanks so much for all the well-wishing and encouragement.  I love you folks a whole lot. :)

     I'm doing pretty well just now.  So far the experience of actually liking myself has been damned-near euphoric at times.  I was joking around with Garr and answered some question with the favourite response 'because I'm awesome' and was damned near thunderstruck to find that, for the first time, I wasn't being self-deprecatingly ironic.  I'm voicing opinions, having opinions, without my mind being filled by the susurrus of self-doubt and self-loathing.  I'm making decisions based upon what is best for me rather than what will be the least burden upon others!  It's all still fairly novel, as I'm sure you can tell.  I hope it lasts.

     Life is being kind of... heh.  Odd.  'Surprisingly lifelike', as I like to say.  Just when one thinks one knows what all of the possibilities in a situation are, life introduces a new element and throws one ass-over-teakettle.  Couple this with a newfound sense of self and one starts getting all kinds of ideas.  How's that for esoteric?  Want me to vague that up for you a bit?  Suffice it to say that some situations are complicated and one only owns one's own piece of anything.  Kind of odd; I used to be very unthinkingly open with matters which concern me even if they concerned others.  Suddenly I'm starting to 'get' discretion.  Either the timing is a coincidence or else there's some (at first glance counterintuitive) link between the realization of my own agency and the acknowledgment and respect of the agency of others.  I think it's the latter, and I guess it makes sense.

     Finally getting my room in some semblance of order!  It won't be done by the time I have my friend Saya over to hang this afternoon, but at least it's now an environment which reflects intent rather than a pit of self-loathing and despair.  I had forgotten how right a room feels with books on the walls.  In putting books on the shelves I have, for the first time, opted not to put up books that aren't mine or 'me'; this one was a recommendation from an old girlfriend, that one I simply didn't like, and so I don't put them on my shelf.  Once that wouldn't have been the case.  I'm still delighting in all the fresh little manifestations of my acceptance of self.

     Anyway!  Floor won't vacuum itself!  Have a good day, all.  I think that I will. :)

Epiphany

     So I was talking with my friend Jamie.  We talked about a lot of stuff.  For some reason I gave a lot of exposition on why I have this view that I'm bad, that I'm so much worse than the person I present to the world.  He was very indulgent and helpful, and I hit a couple of minor 'aha' moments on the way through the conversation (such as his pointing out that the hyperanalysis that I learned in the process of teaching myself to behave neurotypically is that same quality which people are taught to develop and control by academia, which is why every thought I have reads like a doctorate thesis yet I can't shut it off like an academic because it's how I function instead of just a tool).  It was a good conversation in general in many ways and very insightful toward my mental health in particular.

     Then it happened.  He was talking about depression and how it's important to stop constantly thinking about how worthless I am.  I commented that that's hard for me, since I can't lie to myself (I hyperanalyze and see through self-deception) and not thinking myself worthless means examining the exact same circumstances and coming to a different conclusion.  Here's where the chain reaction of thoughts happened:

1. Of course, I can't really trust my judgment anyway since I always see myself as The Worst Thing In Existence.
2. In a recent conversation with my friend Neil he challenged me to articulate what was so bad about me and I failed utterly.  I couldn't think of anything bad about me that I could name, certainly not compared to...
3. .../b/ of 4chan is the greatest assemblage of evils on the net.  I have always viewed myself as something even worse than that, but...
4. ...I could not describe anything about myself nearly as bad as the horrors of /b/, meaning...
5. ...HOLY SHIT I AM QUANTIFIABLY NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING THE WORST THING IN EXISTENCE.

     Then I figured it out.  /b/, dangerous sexual behavior, trying to hit bottom in so many ways... since I've hated myself for being The Worst Thing In Existence (since 13 or so) I've always been drawn to the most horrible things I can find.  I didn't understand it, but even as a teen I watched things like real shooting videos again and again, like there was something I was looking for in it.  Eventually I just assumed and internalized that I was looking at the stuff because I was The Worst Thing In Existence.  Thing is... the more I've thrown myself into /b/ and the worst samples of humanity that the internet can dredge up... the less I've been able to certainly say that I'm actually The Worst Thing In Existence behind the face I show everyone.  Now I get it.  I wasn't immersing myself in things as bad as me.

     I was calibrating.

     I was finding the extreme, locating the point on the moral scale which most closely represents absolute zero.  I went to /b/ (which I'm using as a catch-all term for the horrors of humanity as available via the internet) trying to plumb the depths of the abyss not because I wanted to see what was down there, but because I had to get a sense of exactly how deep it is and, by relation, how far into that abyss my true self isn't.  That drive I felt to experience those things was a desperate need for a quantifiable data point from which I could then gain perspective on my own worth!

     I literally clutched my head and babbled the train of thought to Jamie, then became genuinely inarticulate with shock.  He took the opportunity to wish me well and head home, since it was 4am, and I spent half the drive home saying 'holy shit' over and over again with varying inflections as the enormity of my realization manifested itself.

     Then I pulled over, looked into the rear-view mirror, and said (after much hesitation) 'I am not a bad person'.  This wasn't some Stewart Smalley positive thinking shit, like if I said it maybe it'd be true some day.  This was me stating a truth.  I said it several times.  Eventually I drove on, and I declared false every negative certainty I've reasonlessly clung to for all of these years.

     'I am not a sin, an abomination, or a monster!'
     'My existence is not a transgression for which I must atone!'
     'I am allowed to be happy!  I deserve to be happy!'
     'I try as hard as I can!'
     'I am not ugly!'
     'My presence, ideas, and personality are not an imposition upon others!'
     'I am not to blame for everything wrong in the world!'
     'My feelings are valid and deserve respect!'

     Etc.  I know it looks like basic, stupid stuff, but know that the opposites of each of those statements (and a thousand more) have been considered intuitively-known FACT for as long as I can remember.  Hell, when I got home and sat down at the edge of my driveway for another half-hour of stunned contemplation, I saw a bunch of people walking down the street toward me and when I considered the notion that they might do me harm I caught myself thinking 'And I don't deserve to be hurt or killed!'  Like I said; basic, stupid-sounding stuff, but these are actual revelations to me.

     The real litmus was when I realized that Deanna had left her to-go box from dinner in my car.  Understand that I felt genuinely shocked when this realization was not accompanied by a feeling of shame and guilt at having somehow allowed this event to come to pass.  I didn't feel ashamed that Deanna had left her to-go box in my car!  I didn't feel responsible or guilty or as though I had transgressed by not making sure that she remembered her food; I was able to look at a mistake that she had made and not blame myself.  For me that is a monumentally huge thing.

     So I guess we'll see where I go from here.  Suddenly I realize that I'm not The Worst Thing In Existence.  In fact, suddenly I realize that I'm a pretty good guy.  In fact, I'm the best guy that I, a person of above-average intelligence and extreme self-awareness, can be.  I wouldn't steal anything, I wouldn't rape anyone, I wouldn't harm someone who wasn't trying to harm an innocent, I go out of my way to help people just because they need help... I'm a good person.

     I'm a good person.

     Holy.  Fucking.  Shit.

Fucking computers, how do they work?!

     Parts got here for my new computer.  Assembled them over the course of two days.  Turned it on... and none of the ports on the motherboard are doing anything.  No signal to monitor, no power to the LED-backlit keyboard.  I managed the heroic effort of not hurling it through the nearest window because defenestration is seldom the answer to a given situation.

     Sigh.

     Set it aside, going to bed, guess I'll get back to it tomorrow.  I hate these devil boxes so damned much.

Seepy.

     Stayed up until... nearly past six, apparently.  Watching second season of Avatar and finally clearing the last of Rondo's crap out so I can move in my books and clothes and such.  This isn't great; I'm once again slipping into Bad Sleep Schedule.

     Tomorrow Garr gets back!  I've missed him.  It's weird how easy it is to take for granted steady doses of someone totally getting me until that person goes to Minnesota (where he is getting kicks that I will never know).  We're planning on going to see The Laust Aurbaunder on Tuesday.  (I call it that to remain in-keeping with whatever stroke-induced pronunciation failure has the film's protagonist being called 'Aung'.)  We're going to dose up on episodes of the first season, then buy tickets for some other movie and sneak into TLA so as not to get its grosses up.

     Sucks that it sucks.  If it'd been anything I could've had any confidence in, I would've gone to a midnight showing (possibly in a vaguely in-character outfit) and deployed Alka-Seltzer tablets in order to impersonate Foaming Mouth Guy.  Lulz would have been had.  Now the only lulz, I suspect, will be the ironic and bitter sort.  At this point my only hope is that they'll finish ruining the series with sequels so that I can see how badly they butcher Toph and Ozai's Angels.

     Aaanyway.  I'm tired.  Got the closet and its built-in shelves cleared out, tomorrow (ugh, today) I'll move in the boxes and boxes of books.  Ninight.
     Hey folks!  So I was kind of avoiding the online thing (blah blah issues, blah blah didn't want people to see them, blah blah blah), but then I was told in no uncertain terms that EVERYONE is on Facebook these days (to the extent that our theatre group ONLY does announcements via that damnable nexus), so I signed up on there just to have a presence.  It's... okay... I guess.  I mean, I still hate it because self-updating webpages are DEVIL SORCERY and inanity generally seems to go hand-in-hand with brevity, which is apparently the watch-word of Facebook, and also HOW DOES IT KNOW WHO I KNOW AAAAGH (see 'devil sorcery').

     Anyway, point being, every time I log onto that faddy trendy blah blah crap, I think how it's not LiveJournal.  I miss the real discussions, the genuine contact with people's lives (not 'im in line @ *bucks lol'), the essays and articles that people would post, either passed along or personally written on the fly.  Most of all, I miss my friends.  I'm fighting to get to a point where I stop apologizing for being who I am or how I am, not because I don't think I need improvement but because I shame spiral and, as everyone who knows me on here knows, just keep my head down forever.  So!  Fuck sorry, I'm just back.  Hi folks!  I hope things have been all right with you guys.

     I'm currently in a Shakespeare in the Park production of Romeo & Juliet as Friar Laurence (memorization is a bitch!), I'm going to school at Amarillo College to nail down the prereq courses before I transfer to West Texas A&M to major in Education.  I've used the excess money from student loans to order parts for a new computer to replace this god-awful monstrosity, and they should be coming in the mail in a few days.  I've recently had a few dates with a lovely female sapient by the name of Denise.  She's clever, she's funny, she loves Spider Robinson and XKCD, and she's erudite as fuck.  I hope I can keep up with her, because she's phenomenal.

     Eep.  Speaking of which, we're going to catch How to Train Your Dragon at the dollar theatre in about 45 minutes, so I need to go get dressed and presentable and such.  I've got my Government final not long thereafter, so wish me luck on that one too!  Hugs and love, hugs and love!  Bai!

Irony

Apparently 'FIRE LANE - NO PARKING' doesn't apply if you're driving a giant bouncy castle. There are two of them set up in front of the nearby Walmart with the entire fire lane cordoned off with upturned shopping carts (right along that convenient red line). Not only is this highly illegal, it means that pedestrians such as myself walking to the far door have to walk in traffic instead of on the sidewalk.

That's not the ironic part.

They've also got a couple of folding tables set up under little tents, giving out cotton candy and snow cones for all of the kids who're drawn by the bouncy castles. On the central table is a poster showing what charity this is all for:

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
"Together we can find a cure!"


I actually LOL'd.

I am officially an academia nut.

First day of classes was on the 24th, starting at 9am.

This proved troublesome, as Famous Dave's Amarillo location was opening at 11am and giving a year's supply of free ribs to the first fifty customers.

This means that I did not sleep the night before my first day; instead I was in a camping chair in front of a restaurant all night, with Garr. Turns out we could have shown up at 9am and still been within the margin of error. This surprised us because... FREE RIBS FOR A YEAR! From Famous Dave's, no less.

Fortunately they were good sports and gave me my certificate early so that I could go to class. Since it was just orientation of Acting 101, it ran short and I got back in time to see Dave himself make an appearance with the mayor (go ahead and guess which of these figures I recognized on sight) and cut the ceremonial ribbon, as well as the ceremonial ribs. I was officially the store's first customer, enjoying an All-American Feast with Garr and my dad, who also got free ribs for a year.

Then it was back to class, only to realize that the 'W' next to Freshman Composition (where all the other classes have 'MW') meant there was no class on mondays, and I had no need to hurry. American History 1 was fun; good, engaging teacher with a good sense of humour.

The only bad part is that I spent much of yesterday in agony due to a pinched nerve in my upper back. It ranged from 'oh right, ow' when I moved to moments of truly paralytic agony which locked up my entire torso. Upon waking today, however, I seem to be well, so. Yay.

I've been psyching myself (slowly) toward vegetarianism, free ribs for a year notwithstanding. When life settles down more, I've been telling myself, I'm going to take the hard look that I need to at the ethics of killing things to eat them. I was concerned about the health element of vegetarianism, particularly regarding protein and calcium intake, but those fears were assuaged, primarily by soy products.

Then griffen rolls up in my hood and tells me about glucagon and triglycerides and shit, and informs me that everything I know is wrong, that carbs are the devil and fat is king, and I say 'FFFFFUUUUUUUUU--'. I'm not taking it at face value, but it was enough to make me want to do the research. Research is pending, because life is full, but dammit. Just as I was getting myself okay with 'No more steak ever, but at least I still get cake and baked potatoes and chips and bread and...' now I'm looking at having to say 'I get to eat steak, but I can never have cake or baked potatoes or chips or bread or...' In the midst of this two-party schism there is, of course, a strong impulse from the middle-ground, the dietary liberalism lobby (also known as 'ME AM HUNGRY!'), to say 'Fuck them both, eat all of everything IN THE WORLD!' This platform is unique in that it is the most immediately satisfying in addition to being the only one which I know is wrong. So... fuck.

(The following ruminations are based upon the assumption (research pending) that the low/no-carb and high-protein/fat information Griff gave me is accurate.) In all the talk of triglycerides and the metabolizing (or lack thereof) of carbs, the phrase 'intelligent design' keeps coming to mind. Given true intelligence, one hundred percent accurate prescience, and even the barest shred of forethought, one would expect God to build bodies which could effectively run on anything, particularly on the foods which are so common now. Like a Mr. Fusion! Throw anything you like in, boom, powered up. Instead we're running on comparably ill-made gas engines; they run perfectly well on the intended fuel (dead animals and their fat), but put anything else in the tank and it falls apart.

Mind you, that's merely a criticism of the creationist argument; omnipotence plus omniscience should yield something better. As far as evolution goes, on the other hand, it's a testament that we're as flexible as we are. We don't just conk out like a gas car with a tank full of water if we don't eat a very specific one thing; our bodies have coping mechanisms and ways of making due with the materials at hand. Hell, even our failure to metabolize carbs as effectively as fats isn't an evolutionary failure; carb-heavy diets can easily bring an individual to the evolutionary finish line: reproduction. If you live long enough to fuck and make more of you, evolution has done its job. Think on that, ye atheists and science-minded folk; the principle in the universe which is our closest equivalent of a creator deity literally washes its hands of you the moment you're old enough to knock up or be knocked up, plus the span necessary for your brood to become self-sufficient. It's no wonder evolution doesn't care about diabetes; everyone over the age of 20 has already exceeded the manufacturer's warranty on their pancreas.

It occurred to me today in Acting that we are all, essentially, repurposed machines, and have the limitations thereof. We remember and are effected by negative incidents more powerfully than positive incidents because that is the way of survival ('That cat almost killed me.' weighs more heavily than 'Those berries were tasty.'). We make spurious associations because survival, rather than demographics, lead us to a value system in which false positives ('The fruit fell when I made the noise, so it must be the Fruit-Calling Noise.') are more rewarding or less detrimental than false negatives ('Surely that lion won't come back for a third day in a row.'). Human psychology is riddled with such vestigial tendencies and structures, and only in recognizing and accounting for them can we truly leave them in the past.

That's reprogramming, repurposing, like making an auto plant robot follow a new routine in order to manufacture bicycles instead of Buicks. What we do not (yet) have the capability for is rebuilding. We don't yet have the technology to make that AC robot run on direct current. For all the adaptable programming in our CPUs, we still have hardware built for killing mammoths and surviving winters. If all that Griff explained to me is true, then the prosaic 'I have teeth made for cutting meat, so I eat meat.' evolutionary argument gains a lot of credibility simply by going a few millimetres deeper and saying 'I have cells that need meat to continue running, so I eat meat.'

It is all, I suppose, food for thought.

Random Things

Nothing in this world has a scornful glare quite like that of the ornate box turtle. I can't believe the spoiled little bitch doesn't like watermelon. Turtles can be incredibly expressive if you have the patience to watch the kabuki-esque pantomime.

It is fucking impossible to find the Joker's theme music from Batman: The Animated Series online. Every link ends up being either the Why So Serious stuff, or some guy playing it on his piano. I can't even get the series soundtrack off of Pirate Bay! All I want to do is hold my frelling phone up to my computer's speaker and grab it for a ringtone! >:(

I had a dream that I bought a huge sack of weed for a friend and was driving home with it when I got stopped for a 'random drug check'. Somehow I kept it hidden while the cop searched my car, then he said he'd 'escort me home'. I got home, went inside, stashed the pot, and suddenly the cop's knocking on my door. 'I figured I should check your home too.' While he's searching I get the pot, fake a stomach malady, and flush it all down the toilet.

I wake up to a text from Jeremy asking me to check the mail. I go out to the mailbox. Halfway there, I turn and see a cop about twenty feet away in front of the neighbor's house. Like, out of his car and looking at me. The whole dream comes crashing back, and I manage the Herculean task of neither screaming nor defecating. Fuuuuck. Bad wake-up.

I'm highly annoyed that the Eberron race I've wanted to play for years, the changeling, has such a stunningly small amount of support. One paragon path and four feats. Two of those feats are specific to divine classes (one is just Avengers), and the other two have nothing to do with actually being a changeling. They use shapeshifting to justify mechanical benefits (escaping grabs more quickly and rolling a save to turn a received crit into a regular hit) which are relatively minor and don't serve the changeling's natural trickster role. This pisses me off because I'm trying to design a changeling fey pact warlock trickster, and it's hard as hell not to notice how frelling uber the gnome's feat selection is by comparison. >:( They really need a Dragon focus article like so many other races are getting.

I need to get back to sleep. Going out to Do Stuff in three hours or so, and I've only slept for about five. ~_~;
...but I get to them eventually. As an honorary /b/tard I have, of course, lol'd at my share of macros. For the first time, though, I've actually pointed my browser at icanhascheezburger.com.

Like a postcard from the grand canyon, I shall now inflict upon you the captions which I have wrought.Collapse )