Saturday, July 22, 2006

Random rants

So long it was. Time to write something..

Several good things happened in my life those two months of absence and I also have several thoughts in my mind to share. Random rants with not much connection to each other.

Each time I walk alone in the city, another interesting idea pops up in my mind. Another matter to talk about. Another subject for a new blog entry. I am preety enthousiastic about it at the time of inspiration, but later when I return back home at my PC I become unmotivated or occupied by another intriguing idea to start writting about the original subject. Only 15% of my recent thoughts for a new blog article have been released. From them, 80% were written without being totally motivated to do so at that time being. Instead that, I was entirely forcing myself to do so. Only a very small percentage of my thoughts were written while I was having the mood. And this one not at it's full extend.

It's ironic enough to have something in my mind one night, deciding to write about it the next day but later being occupied by some other thoughts that I also want to write about. Maybe I could just stick in the first subject and give some priority but the problem is that my mood changes a lot and it's hard to push yourself to write on an inspiring idea while having lost the original inspiration.

So, this post will be a mess of random rants having to do with my news and some fragments of my thoughts that I was deciding to write about each night but abandoned the idea at the very end. Well, even the previous paragraphs are parts of these thoughts :)

For example, one of my thoughts was one of my worries too (as always), whether I should push myself towards being creative or just let it flow. Hey, but we have talked about that one before! Anyways, maybe I'll find the answer alone. Hopefully, after a new release of a long work in the creative community I am engaged into, it feels like I am moving through a new era where I reflect on my past work and even learning from the mistakes I did during the last production. What interests me more in that aspect after so many years in the demoscene, is not much the technical part of it (I am already experienced in that) but mostly two other factors. One is the artistic and the other has to do with project planning.

As a coder in the scene, my work was always an ugly uninspired showcase of my programming experience in graphic algorithms, but recently I started to notice how well chosen colours and good design makes a demo more appealing to me, regardless if there is not much sophisticated code for my taste. In my latest demo, Led Blur, I wrote some functions for making it easier for me to design some color palletes for the effects and more appealing shadings for the 3d objects. I tried to apply some thought on how colors should match instead of ignoring this aspect. Still, it's far from perfect, I understand some mistakes I did, and maybe I should try to observe more carefully the design elements in the most popular demos or even take some ideas from art and fashion in the real world too. That's the aesthetical part that is interesting to me. Maybe because I haven't tried to concentrate on it in the past and I really want to see how can I progress in this aspect. Still, Led Blur is my most satisfying work ever and it even got the 1st place in the top of the month on a well known site of the community. I can be quite happy with that :)

I've just returned from a netcafe to continue this post at home. I don't seem to have much mood or feel connected with what I wrote in the previous lines, how ironic. Well, in the road my mood changed or I made some thoughts about another precious matter. For another blog post..

..so, to go on with this lame post (I already lost it and it's 4 o'clock after midnight. How did the time passed? LOL!) the other aspect is project planning. Maybe how to ensure that I am productive in a short time, how to not miss deadlines, without also making a hurried release. What happens with my motivation and the big question remains whether I should push myself to be creative rather than work on it only when I have any slight burst of motivation. Well, the lame thing is that I want to oppress me finish two demos till the end of July but this will never happen. Afteralls I have just recently finished Led Blur and what happens usually after a long awaited release of my works is that I take some rest. Why wouldn't I like to take a breath for some time before I start something new? Lol, maybe because, the first demo is for a competition which I want to support and the second is requested and I promised to do something. I doubt if I can now so I won't care :P

The way things came, I will exclude some of my thoughts I wanted to write about and just finish with some other important news in my life. Maybe it's not a good idea to mix some of the more important posts. I just don't get it or don't like what I write but let's say that it's mostly a report after two months of silence..

And to finish in a hurry and get to the point, I'll (re)mention the three good things that happened inside two months of absence and then go to sleep.

The first one is the release of Led Blur demo and the nice feeling of recognition I gathered. I have already talked about that one because it just came in my train of thoughts first.

The second one is about real life. After eight years of studying (lameness :), I finally (almost) got my diploma. This tuesday actually, I'll take an oath and receive my diploma. Actually, the good news were a surprise. Because of the student protests, I didn't even knew whether there will be any exams. The mathematics department organized exams in the middle of July and I suddenly had to stop my activities and start reading. It was unexpected! Yet, not only I passed my last two remaining lessons but I even wrote preety good at both lessons (something rare for me, who is crying for reaching the base). I don't know why this happened, it wasn't that I studied more than the previous exams. Maybe the easy subjects in one lesson, maybe luck or good concentration (It took 8 years to understand that I shall be calm on the exams and have a strategy on which subjects to write first and how to prepare. Yep, university teaches you how to pass exams :P). Anyways, now maybe even my parents can be happy :/

The third one is about my inner self. It's the most important of all. And personal. Just right after the post about depression (ironically), I accidentally made a very important discovery for me, about me. It came out after reading a comment in another random blog which made me check wikipedia about a couple of two words. And that out of curiosity, without connecting them with my case yet. Read the next paragraph for it..

Several times in the past, there was a moment where I thought I made an important discovery about myself, that I answered to the question why am I acting like this and why am I feeling that my life sucks. Each time (usually at night) I was extatic about my analysis, till the enthousiasm faded away in the morning. I was never really sure about what is happening with myself. New theories, more doubt. I am a person who can't persuade myself to believe in anything, I use to analyze too much, being too strict on the validity of my observations. This way I would never easilly attribute a mental disorder on myself without being extremely sure about it. This is just to clear up that what follows now is not my imagination or a lust for selfpitiness and attention. I am more sure than ever. I wouldn't ever post such a personal thing here if I wasn't confident about it's validity. In fact, I was shocked when I identified what I read with the suffering that I kept secret since my childhood. To discover that this thing was actually a disorder. How come didn't I seeked help?

The two magic words are Obsessive-Compulsive and the specific case that is identical to my problem is called Pure Obsessional OCD. I really want to stop writting anything more about it right now and come back later with my next blog post dedicated to it. Though, if anyone decides to write something about this matter in a comment, I'll gladly answer if necessary.

And now I'll just say goodnight instead of writting more stuff about it and then erasing as I did three times now. That's how much I want to talk about it! I really have to finish my damn next post soon because I don't let myself to write more about it now. The current post is messed up with other news and random thoughts of mine (stupid post). This precious matter should have it's own dedicated blog post.

And yet, there are more irrelevant thoughts I didn't messed with this post. Blah blah..

14 comments:

Pixie said...

Optimus I am glad that you are writing again.The first comment that I want to make is about the Obsessive Compulsive disorder.Why do you label yourself?If someone that is not specialist has not made the diagnosis don't do this to yourself.When I was studying the classification of disorders for my degree I thought that I had many disorders-everybody does- because we can find associations almost with every other disorder.But does this mean that we have them? No.
A diagnosis has to meet many criteria.Be careful.

Another observation is the demoscene you write.What is it?What does it involve?Can you explain me like as if I was a child?I am clueless!

Congratulations!Hurray!On your degree!well done! Nice to see you writing again!

Optimus said...

It's so nice that I read your answer to my OCD comment. I was awaiting of this since I know that you are reading my blog and you are a psychologist too. Somehow I really wished that you know. And I'd really like to explain myself here in more detail, though I have to think it a little more and leave the thourough explanations for the next post. At the moment I'd like to write only few things. I understand your alert and somehow I was expecting that answer. It's very similar to what a friend who studies medicine told me when I discussed with him the same matter. In fact, even before I decided to talk to him, I was prepared for that kind of an answer. Through my eyes (mind), I get a feeling of disturbance by hearing all these since I am totally aware of my condition. From your eyes (point of view), it's understandable that you suggest me to be careful, since you don't really know how I feel inside (or me at all) and I could possibly be a lightminded person who had the slight idea to attribute some kind of random disorder to his personality. So, you can alert me to be sure I am not heading towards a false idea about myself that god knows in which results it can drive me and I understand this. Although, I can't hide that I get easilly disturbed when you, my friend or anyone else makes an objection about my claim, since I am really living it and at least in the case of my friends I even struggled to explain the details and story of what I had been going through. In a nutshell, from the eyes of the sufferer it may seem ridiculous that people doubt their disorder, though your reaction is acceptable since you can't know yet whether my claims are fake or real. So, maybe I shouldn't write about my disturbance but this is somehow how I feel, with a piece of understanding of your own point of view.

I am also quite sceptical whether someone shouldn't do the diagnosis rather than leave it to the specialists. Of course I don't say that he/she shouldn't visit a doctor at all, I just can't imagine how a doctor should have the first word over the diagnosis of a mental disorder. In that aspect, maybe it's allowed to the patient to research and try to find out the truth alone before asking the next doctor. I've read of several cases where a patient didn't find a sattisfying answer to his problem after several doctor visits but only when he decided to research and discovered a disorder that is really identical to what they go through, he tried to attend a doctor this time armed with some true facts concerning his problem and the disorder, so that now he can communicate better with the doctor and insist on the real problem with more confidence. So, in my belief, it's ok for the patient to search for the truth himself and to know when there is the urge too. Because he really suffers and is living with the disorder each day.

And to get back to my OCD (allow me to attribute it to myself in this line), at numerous times I had been reading about various disorders out of interest and even if I could find some similarities to myself, I never was so sure to label myself with them! (I am aware of the special criteria too). But with OCD things were diferrent. Actually, even if I accidentaly read about it recently and identified myself, I didn't just invented a new disorder for me and suddenly thought that I am suferring from that! No. Since my childhood there was something that was really bothering me. A big struggle inside my mind. It was so inner but so annoying at times that made me cry and oneday I said to myself "Is that thing normal? What if it's some kind of a rare disorder I haven't heard about and maybe noone else has it? This chronic suffering can't be normal but thoughts are normal, they won't think I have a problem! And the theme of these unwanted thoughts might only make them think I am a sicko, so I can't risk it for nothing!". There was something that was strong to doubt whether it's real or my imagnation/correlation with actual disorders I randomly read on the net. A demon in my mind. Later I discovered that the thoughts are actually mine, though through a wicked mechanism that wants to annoy you with unpleasant thoughts. And as long as you tried to avoid these thoughts, the more harsh they attacked you! I even went into the point of analyzing this mechanism and discovering how it tricks me into it's annoying game and what triggers it. And that the problem is not the material of the thoughts (spikes) themselves but I had to trick the mechanism itself somehow. 2-3 years ago I had made the assumption that maybe I have to go the opposite but painful way in order to beat it. That is, to avoid resisting to these thoughts, maybe play with it by deliberately making worse thoughts, even trying to accept it as a part of me. And after those years, not only I totally identify with the description of Pure OCD, the most common themes/examples of the spikes, the cyclic ruminations inside my mind, but I even discover that my whole analysis of how this bug in my mind works, how it cleverly tricks myself into how should I trick it is exactly what is described in the websites about OCD and even the suggested way to fight it is what I had been thinking in it's exact wicked logic! For such similarities am I talking about and even a problem that was so suffering at times that made me think maybe something is not normal. And that's in my childhood. 1-2 years ago I was bored of the shit and stopped bothering about it (maybe the pain was reduced for these 1-2 years because of the method I had thought of going through the opposite way than the one OCD forces you to) till I made the discovery in the site. More details remains as why I didn't seek for help or why people can't see that on me, but I'll write more on these and other stuff later. This turned out quite big and I don't know if I can answer your other question too. I was too occupied/emotionally attached by it..



..the demoscene? A part of my life or maybe a hobby I am just too passioned about. The demoscene is actually a computer commununity of creative people organized in so called demogroups who visit demoparties (the meetings are called so) and compete with each other by creating demos which are noninteractive presentations/demonstrations of realtime graphic algorithms mixed with some graphic art and music playing in the background. In fewer words, a demo is something that you can run and displays a sequence of animated graphics and sound with various kinds of design styles. Coders like them because they can understand the algorithms behind what they see. Sometimes, even non technical people can enjoy them because of the great music and impressive presentation some of the best ones have. Most people who are addicted in the demoscene, also participate into the making of demos. Some say demos are a piece of electronic art. Maybe demos are boring for people who don't find them appealing and prefer to play games instead, but for us is a creative hobby where you also get the opportunity to socialize with new people around the world who share similar interests. There is also a small demoscene in greece too, not as big as in western/northern Europe where it's more popular. I'll suggest links to 4 great demos (well, the last one is my own, which is not SO great ;) so that you can have an actual idea of how a demo look like and what are we trying to create (without getting paid, some motives are pure recognition or the fullfilment of creating something impressive).

Heaven7
Beyond
Iconoclast
Led Blur (my latest demo)

I was about to write a special post explaining the demoscene to my readers, since I talk frequently about it here. But it was never finished. Maybe I'll do so in the future.

Somehow I feel that maybe I am getting a bit offensive in my post aboves or maybe a bit absolute, that's because I am too pasionate about the subject that matters me (And believe me, with the doctor friend of mine we were debating for half on hour on the street, while we were in a hurry to go to our homes. And that's because it mattered me so much that I struggled to explain him what is really inside me). I am again sorry if this gets hard to you and still I am open to discussions and any questions. We could continue discussing this through email(optimus6128@yahoo.gr) if you prefer but it's ok for me in this board too.

thom said...

"...but recently I started to notice how well chosen colours and good design makes a demo more appealing to me, regardless if there is not much sophisticated code for my taste."

Could this be Optimus beginning to view the world in a different and hopefully more postive light? Could this be the beginning of a new-and-improved Optimus?

Seriously though, I've been reading (or at the very least skimming through) pouet.net Optimus rants for five years now. Led Blur, combined with the above quoted text, gives the impression Optimus is slowly but finally getting his shit together.

Pretty much everybody out there in demo-land knows you have potential to do some really good stuff. It was first noticeable to me when you made those several tiny intros.

But let's face it, quality productions of *any* sort -- demos, novels, movies, etc. -- require a solid consistent effort over time to develop the necessary skills in order to achieve the "masterpiece". You totally lack consistency in your efforts, yet still manage to show obvious signs of considerable promise. Imagine what would happen if Optimus finally gained complete control of his faculties...

I'm still hoping/waiting for a happy end to the Optimus saga. (Something akin to the Popular Demo in terms of recognition.)

It *is* going to be a happy ending, right?

Optimus said...

THOM!!!

Ok, I've added your blog in my blog links now :). Cool news! What are you doing in Japan?

Thank you for your comment in my blog. That's how I see it too. In fact, the idea of actually designing a demo and choosing those well fit colors as in my favorite demos is really motivating to me. It's really appealing to try towards that direction. I just still keep dreaming of it and the usual deadlines or the fact that I spend most of my time on coding effects instead of designing the actual demo (maybe I also need careful project planning) fucks up my releases. Also, now I am thinking it and if you check my older releases, most of the times I finish the demos alone in a group of many people where noone is really as motivated as me. And then I get frustrated. (Amazing. I've checked the list of all my demos and tried to remember whose work it was. Except from the music, most of the times I was alone or did 90% of the whole demo code with maybe only a second coder above my head for support in a demoparty :). Maybe that's another serious reason why most of my demo sucks. I was always working alone, never with a person together who was as motivated as me for working on a new demo. I think I now realize the problem in it's full extend by watching the list of my past demos and trying to remember who was the most focused/occupied in these projects. Too much for one man's work no matter the passion I had.

Pouet.net is down right now. Somehow I wanted to check the latest Solskogen/Euskal productions. And scene.org is down too (maybe because they are hosted in the same server, gosh ;P). I feel strange about what I recently wrote there. To say that I quit means to never return back. Maybe not the most appropriate thing to say. Who cares when I will physically quit for at least 3-4 months or maybe more because of the army? So, you will definitely miss me for real life reasons even if there is a posibility I will be back in the future. I just felt too tired and frustrated, I even thought to finish several articles one requested demo and another GP2X demo for the competition before my army duty starts, but that was too much asking from myself so I decided to rest those two weeks before the army and forget the scene for a while. But I do believe as you that I will be back oneday and maybe kick ass :)

Your nick. A friend tells me you should change it. His own is older than yours so you should do it right now!!! But of course he is joking :)

I miss that friend. He is a German ex-scener who was living and working here in my hometown Thessaloniki (but now he is back at his homeland) for 3 years and was the coolest German I've ever met. He was doing music for TRSI in the past. He is supposed to be back to the scene and joined mindlapse now. I hope we manage to work together well in this group this time. I have no fuckin contact with anyone and nobody seems to be motivated. At least my friend Nuclear shares a similar motivation (in coding) with me and we plan the kick ass demo. We are just too lazy :)

Thanks again for passing around my blog.

Pixie said...

Optimus of course I agree with you that it was good that you search a condition before you visit someone and I did not want to doubt you rather to alarm you.If it is OCD you have the good news is that you can do a lot about it to change it especially cognitive behaviourist therapy that has good results.I am happy that you are creative and I consider you my blog friend.Anything you want you know how to find me.look forward to more articles!

thom said...

I'm going to Japan for September and October, mainly just to hang out and absorb my surroundings. It's something I've wanted to do for many, many, many years now.

This is why I haven't been watching demos or helping s_tec make demos for the past year. I've been using my free time to study Japanese. I also used this time to erase Windows and install Linux for one year, just to give it a try. (Few demos run on Linux, so less temptation to "waste" time.)

Once I land in Japan, I'll try to keep the blog updated daily. And photos too!

My "nick" is actually my real name without a capital "T". Strangely enough, I've almost completely stopped using the capital in real life too...

I'll link your blog, as soon as I find the settings that allow me to do that. (I'll mess around more with this blogger thing on the weekend.)

Other than that, I'll be watching... waiting...

Aasemoon said...

WOW congrats man! For getting your diploma that is. I'm so bloody jealous right now since I have a long way to go.... :)
Also, Led Blur is great so congrats for that too!

Optimus said...

Thank you all about your comments and Pixie, I am sorry if I misunderstood your post (I consider you a blog friend too). Thanks for clearing this up. Yep, cognitive behaviour therapy is quite suggested for this kind of disorders I see. I am not sure yet what this one is exactly but I also have in my mind to visit a doctor to discuss about my problem and see what he has to offer (even though I am sometimes afraid of doctors doubting that I have anything and I have canceled it so far). I have my doubt about writting all these things here but somehow I want to and sometimes I am afraid of people doubting me, that's why my answer was maybe not as nice and short as I'd like. But my self reacts and thinks he has the right to write about it, so maybe I'll write more about my story and why I think I have OCD in my next post. I am doing it for my self, as a self catharsis, to release what I hide inside me.

Optimus said...

Oh, and half of the demo links are down after I posted them :P

Since yesterday, pouet and scene.org was down, though I have some alternative links here for the demo missing and maybe 1-2 more (only Beyond and Led Blur links works well above):

Heaven7
Iconoclast
Edge of Forever

Again, those are some kinds of good demos that you can relax, watch them and listen to their music (They are supposed to be non interactive), and demoscene is the community of crazy people who want to be creative by working on such things. I hope you like them :)

Optimus said...

Oh, and since I am posting ASD demos here, check aasemoon's post about her enthousiasm discovering demos. It makes me happy to see someone as enthousiastic about demos as I was 8 years ago :)

nitro2k01 said...

Optimus, I really feel the same things as you express in paragraphs 3-4. ("Each time I walk alone in the city ... lost the original inspiration")
I'd almost call myself lazy. If I'd really realized the many ideas I've had the last three years (Which I know I'm enough technically skilled to do) I'd probably be more famous on the scene. But obviously...

Optimus said...

Nitro: Maybe we should cooperate together, or exchange ideas, code, etc. It's good for motivation. I remember doing this very succesfully at my first years in the demoscene through email with TeXeL, my Spanish scene friend (at the times I was doing demoeffects in quickbasic). I don't why I never had the opportunity again to do the same thing and be productive in that, even though I remember 1-2 more people recently that decided to cooperate with me and exchange code and ideas, though for some reason (each one having to look at other real life things) communication didn't evolved. Maybe we should try exchanging ideas and code through email or doing something together so that we motivate each other. Though I'll be availiable after the army :P

nitro2k01 said...

Sound like a good idea. I think I could need a scene mentor, to actually release something. (Not counting that stupid jsmosaic - I was to eager to release something)
So, how to come in contact with you? If you feel like, you can mail me at my user name at gmail.com. If you excuse me for the nasty pics of course...

gaiaSword said...

heya Optimus,
really glad i stumbled accross your blog again. Smiles attached to warm thoughts that you are doing well. In current context I find myself in a world of sceners in a foreign land... not too many of whom I would care for right now, but reading through has made my morning. Good luck with finding yourself (i'm looking too)... congrats on the hard work, and drop us a line - let us know how it is going.

Ooh btw one more thing... shallow as it might seem... I have found that now i do most of my blog entries via a rusty notepad and ballpoint pen, which sits constantly in my backpack. The point being that handwriting is a very different psycholody to that of anything infront of a screen: besides, being outside is kinda nice. we can always type later. Just food for proverbial thought (but not too much). I'm ranting, back to Evoke i guess.

Love,
gaiaSword

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