Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What are excuses?

One of the very popular ideas that makes me mad, is what most people reply to someone who tries to describe his problems and inabilities at specific tasks. Most people say that these are just lame excuses to avoid doing what needs to be done and also that this person is lazy or stupid. It's one of those things that some people believe because they have a preconceived idea that "if something is easy for me then it should be the same easy for everyone, so if someone is not doing this easy task then he must be lazy." and the rest of the people just copy and reproduce this idea in social situations because for some reasons it's appealing or somehow it seems right.

Such ideas are not particularly helpful for those individuals who really suffer from such a disability. This disability could be everything, from autism, anxiety disorders, to problems with lack of concentration or severe procrastination. Everything that reduces your productivity, postpones your goals or hardens common activities significantly compared to the rest of the population. Imagine having to bear with one of these things for life and all that you get to hear is that it's all your fault. Where is the support? How do you expect these people to take life in their hands when you bring them down?

I don't say that one doesn't have to try hard in life. All I say is that if these people for some reason are in such a bad condition then it's not wise to put all the blame to them and one should at least listen to their problems with respect. One might wonder, what if they are imposters, opportunists that want to work less than the rest? And I'd like to answer this: Why someone who could have it the same easy as you (as you claim) would avoid doing what is best for him? What is laziness? What are excuses? If rising up in the morning, making a good diet, stop smoking, trying to become more social, trying to be productive with your own project or studies all tend to bring positive result, then WHY would anyone chose NOT to do them?

If it's the same easy, and being active and not avoiding doing something, would be good for me then why would I be so stupid to play it "lazy" instead? What do I have to win?

The answer is somewhere in the half. I don't deny "excusing" which I would better call "avoiding". Avoiding is the real reason. But why? Because there is a struggle! Because there is fear. There is sensitivity. There are emotions. There are a lot of factors playing a role but these are not the same for every person.

My recent personal view is that I have to understand who I am, review where I suffer and where I am good, observe my current environment and my desired goals and based on all these create an overall view of how I would really like my life to be and estimate how to proceed next at each moment. Understand the struggle though, understand that sometimes I need to push back, accept that I am avoiding, yet depending on what I want to achieve make my own choices. If I decide that one part of my life where I am not good enough is not necessary to persue to be happy (happiness is as I perceive it) then it's only my tell and nobody's else where I should try more and where should I stay back. Thus, I first acknowledge who I am and how I feel, yet I endorse the idea that life is a struggle and one should try hard if he wants to achieve something.

To close with this, some of the more fanatic people who argued with me that I am just excusing claimed that there is no such a thing as "psychological problems" or "disorders" (unless you are in a wheelchair). This is what makes me more mad, to deny that you have a hard time with some part of your life, to not acknowledge anything of your suffering, to think that everyone is similar to them one hundred percent. I just will say it again that "excuses" are there for a reason. Someone is "lazy" because he has a hard time. When someone says he has "psychological problems" there is something wrong with him, at least he might be confused and he can't see the problem. Whenever there is this feeling of suffering, of struggle, of hard times it can't just be excuses without a reason. I don't have a good logical structure to support all these, all I have is my feelings.

p.s. A second part on the same matter will come soon

Monday, November 15, 2010

The struggle of normality

I recently wondered how did our society embrace the notion of being "normal"? Why can't we understand what a horrible prison this idea is? Why can't we see how epically ridiculous it is? It makes me furious, it makes me sad, to find young people on the internet struggling to be "normal", feeling horrible for being different, sometimes in an extent that they want to kill themselves. Why can't the madness stop?

Normal is a word, a meaning, a symbol. An abstract word even. It's not something to be taken serious. It's not something that should make you wish to die. It's even a lousy meaning. First of all, what is normal? Is it an average? There is no such thing as an average person! Other than that, why should someone race and struggle through his life to become... AVERAGE? How nuts is that?

Yet, the notion of normality seems to me so absurd and ridiculous only after 30 years of emotional struggle and searching for an answer. That's the most weird thing. Why couldn't I see the obvious in the first place? The answer is emotions. When you are born in a family and raised in a society where you get flooded by the sense of normality and the shame of being different then this is what your emotional brain registers as the truth. What comes after that is a consistent fight between your unwanted emotions, desires for freedom and a sense of logic. Logic is clouded by your emotions of fear which is what they have taught you since the beginning of your life. So, even if you logically see the mistake here you can't stop feeling bad about being different. Especially if you are quite much that.

The way I got away from this contradiction between my "inherited" emotions and my logic and desire for being a free spirit is by believing. Yes. Believing is what's needed to overcome such a vicious cycle. This logical jump. Supported by your logic and experience of course. I was hardly ever a believer. I always had a low self-esteem in such a rate that everyone believed in me except myself. That was my achilles heel and this is how I overcame it. I learned to believe in something, my individuality. Because I had enough!

You have to believe that your negative emotions do not tell always the truth. You have to stick to the logic you got through all the experience and knowledge acquired in your life. Because you don't deserve this.

You don't deserve feeling like a piece of shit just because it happens that you are different. You don't deserve unappreciating yourself while most other people overrate their shit. You don't deserve all this struggle and sorrow because someone invented an idiotic concept that spread like a meme in people's mind. You don't deserve preserving and spreading this fear and I believe it's fear that brought it in the first place. If you think about it, nobody just invented it, it's not a major conspiracy orchestrated by one single person. It's the human nature struggling from it or prolonging it. It's us being afraid, using words as symbols to describe it, creating an idea that devours us all and doesn't let us understand that we are all unique persons and there is no such a thing as "normal".

How did we evolved into this? Why is the youth struggling with such a stupid idea? Can we fight this somehow? Can we throw away the idea of normality from the next generations?

I think each one of us who understand could do it by this way. Don't go for a fight, just try being yourself more and more. Show your individuality. Make it shine! Don't feel and look ashamed by doing something weird in public. React like it's a funny little joke or nothing to be taken seriously. Break the myth! Have I ever told you about my recent belief? I believe that 40% of the population could be abnormal while hiding it. Or a huge number similar to this! Humanity is in denial. Each of us who believes in individuality should break this by stop hiding and just being themselves! I truly believe this..

p.s. I was motivated to write this post after reading another good one on the subject.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ugh..

Few comments are lost after I've moved (exported then imported) blog posts. I am sorry about that..

I am not going to move more stuff anymore.

JSYK.

p.s. It seems that I have lost one or two posts too :P

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Blog

Ok, it's not that I decided to open yet another new blog after deleting my old blogs. It's not my blog. I introduced my brother to blogging and helped him open his new zenburger blog where I am just a co-writer. It is mainly a greek blog where some friends might write thoughts and ideas in short and poetic style and one image per post. My posts are not like the long stuff I write here. They are small, abstract and kindy sad or dreamy.

Many years ago someone asked me why I don't write in greek. Well, I had no time for an additional greek blog then or I enjoyed writting english more. I am not sure. But now, as a guest you can read me and my brother and friends in ZenBurger blog.

p.s. I moved the eye of the beholder post in random screenshot blog. While that sheet was not from me playing the game but more of what I thought about my attributes if I was in the game, so I posted it here at first but then I decided it wasn't in the mood of this blog. Anyway..

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cleaning up

Ok, I did it again. I had to reorganize and reduce the number of blogs I have. Some subjects could be merged in the same thing, for example I once used to talk about normality and individualism and that stuff in Optimus Monologue. I have also seen that some of my blogs are more famous, while those others get quite less hits while they were subparts of the original Optimus Monologue. So why not merge the small ones if thematically similar with the few popular and big ones? Less blogs to take care of and people who read Optimus Monologue might find a post from Almost Skeptic too.

There are three thematic parts now:

My thoughts (from normality, mental disorders or philosophical stuff to paranormal, skepticism or random news, usually anything that doesn't have to do with computers, tech and demos but are on the other spectrum of my brain)

Optimus Monologue += Normality Struggle + Almost Skeptic


Computer tech stuff (thoughts about computer culture, demoscene, hackers merged with my programming experiences, demo previews and other tech relatd stuff)

Computer Hermit += Kodeus Delerius

More fun stuff Plasmafun (demo/game/movie/web watching-review). I also kept random screenshot blog and didn't merged with this because it would be a mess. Plasmafun goes quite well as I see and I love writting those reviews and posting screenshots. I deleted the greek blog "Με έχουν πιάσει Οτινανισμοί" too. Although it had too many hits which I cannot comprehend.

I like it how things are organized now. I am sorry for those who were looking at the old blogs I exported but I think you are also hooked to those places where I imported these again. No more changes for my blogs and I will be more careful before thinking about opening another one.

p.s. Oh, Optimus Knight was an image blog I opened at soup.io since a long time and I forgot to add it right there on the links. I have a lot of these blogs scattered around, things that didn't worked and I forgot (but optimus soup.io is fine) in different blog communities, from doomworld to paranormal community.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

So, I am back. What now?

It's been two weeks since I came back to Greece. I didn't managed to go very well with my master nor getting a job in the UK which was my primary motive. When I remember this and how things could have been if different decisions were taken it makes me feel pretty much sad. It's a hard struggle to follow but I should remember that this was a decision I made with responsibility and I said I was prepared for the worse.

I should also remember that there is something that I gained from this time, something that is far more important than getting another paper or a job, something that goes on right this time, an internal evolution which is unseen. It is what people cannot see and yet they expect to see external changes in you to understand. Once or two, few people have claimed that I have not changed after so many years at all, yet I know I am quite different in mind than in the past yet I am the same in the core. All they want to see is external changes, especially those they believe are the right ones.

The main thing that I enjoyed in my trip is finally being peaceful and clearing up my mind. A lot of things have changed in the way I see my life and myself. It is still an ongoing process but I have gone through the paradigm shift of how different my emotions could be and I feel confident about that. My understanding is not really that of a simple idea but several concepts transformed in my mind, things that didn't made much sense finally go well together and fit with each other in a way that makes me happier and more content with the facts.

Real life challenges still brings me back to reality though, yet it doesn't mean that all my peace was a fantasy. Since I have lived through the paradigm shift of a different experience, me and myself alone through this enlightenment as I understand it and endorse it, nothing can take it away from me. Even those days where I am back, living with my parents (but not for long), jobless and memories reminding me of failure.

This is a challenging moment and somehow I should love challenges more, it's a motivating thing to make me stronger, to not see this sadness and feeling of failure as an emotion to succumb into, not listen to people that try to remind this to me, but fight as individual because I am a human being too, I should be respected no matter how things have come to be. And first of all I should respect myself. And evolve more.

So, I am back. Maybe not for ever. But as long as I stay here, it is a challenge to make the best out of it, avoid or ignore misery and try to follow the new path of me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Where are the extraordinary UFO videos?

I have never seen a real UFO, i.e. something in the sky that I could hardly attribute as known aircraft, astronomical or meteorological phenomena, balloons or anything hard to distinguish for something outlandish.

I would very much like to see one and be with people around me so that I can be sure they see the same thing and I am not hallucinating or something. Somehow I want to believe but I am a bit skeptical about the whole phenomenon, although I think there is something strange hiding there.

An easy premature solution to be convinced (or not) would be to just search for various sightings captured on video. If I haven't seen a UFO ever in my life, someone else might have seen and at the same time captured with their video cameras. I have seen many of these in youtube. I recently found the opportunity to watch some more classic videos in series of UFO documentaries which I had once downloaded and rested in my hard disk for months.

I really made a full run watching those UFO docs in a frenzy for two weeks or more. Several interesting stories you can't easily ignore in these documentaries, but not a single convincing UFO video. Most of the times the captures look like very tiny lights far away that could be anything. They float in ways that in my opinion could indicate natural movement and not intelligent maneuvers. There are few other videos, still not convincing enough, that zoom a bit closer to the object yet still show some blurry array of lights that could be anything. I assume that if someone would video record a terrestrial object with blinking lights in the darkness with zooming and the appropriate field of view then it would look like those blurry lights. I am not entirely sure about this, I wish I would be at the sighting place and time when these things were capture to check it with my own eyes and decide.

While videos are always these blobs of light away or tiny specs of shinny material mostly floating slowly and not doing any funny manuevers, some photographs are a bit more detailed with things looking like saucers where you can't make up your mind though since they are stills and they could be easily faked (see also this).

As we move on collecting data about the phenomenon, the next thing I want to speak about is witness testimony. And that's compared to the alleged photo/video "evidence". Of course, witness testimony alone is not enough as an evidence and nor convincing at all. Yet some of the most amazing stuff only appear in the stories. It's only in few of these stories where the UFOs are not just small lights or flashy specs far away or even disc shaped objects as appeared in the photos but real shinny complex crafts flying very very close to the witness or even landing in a field where the witness can go there and examine the spacecraft, look at it's material, notice strange symbols on it, even be affected by it.

Of course they are stories. Some are amazing though, told by military officers, for example the Bentwaters base incident, where the witness say that a craft landed and one touched it, saw the hieroglyphic symbols on it and such extraordinary stuff that makes you wish that you where there at the right place and time to convince yourself. While the skeptics say that they mistook some lighthouse lights and a nearbye police vehicle and some astronomical phenomena for the thing and that makes you cringe because you immediately say "If I was there and that vehicle was 1 meter away from me and I could touch it and see it then how the hell could I have mistaken something else for this? What about a trained personel?"

But you can never know. You never know the limits of human delusion or human deception, even if you don't believe that high ranking personel or pilots or credible witness could have either hoaxed that or deluded so greatly, it's not impossible that this quite ordinary and annoying thing have happened.

So, you'd beg, didn't those people have a fucking camera or video recorder to capture something so close that would hardly be debunked as err.. the planet Venus? Why is it always that in the most extraordinary cases where we have very close encounters with those alleged extraterrestrial crafts and even the supposed beings in the area, we never see some video or even photo in those close distances, and then photos consist of those saucer shaped objects further away and videos are even more blurry lights much further away? Why don't we have some good videos of the objects in the size as they appear in photos? Why as we move down from witness to photos to videos, the evidence appear further away in sight and more blurry in detail such that you can never make up your mind? Is it because the real phenomenon doesn't exist? Or is there "something" that doesn't want us to know?

I am quite skeptic about this. Especially today that almost about everyone has a mobile phone with a camera in his pocket, I would expect that if the phenomenon was real the witness photos would dramatically increase today. And we would have also gotten by now some better close ups of those crafts doing more intelligent maneuvers or amazing footage of very close encounters as they are depicted in pre-rendered animations that try to match the witness testimonies in those UFO documentaries I've been watching. Where are the extraordinary UFO videos?

Some people say that it's a conspiracy. Yeah right, like someone monitors the mobile phones of every citizen that tries to capture something more credible and believable and either the government confiscates them or the aliens make them magically malfunction. I don't believe this. Or is it the paranormal phenomena related to some kind of entities or unknown phenomenon that plays games with the consciousness of some witnesses and there is nothing really there to capture, only experiences as perceived inside someone's mind and based on the present cultural influences? Which is a kinda far fetched but interesting alternative theory of UFOlogists like John Keel or Jacques Vallee that quite fascinates me and will be interested to study in the near future.

Yet my closest guess at the present moment is that the extraordinary avoid us (or basically me) not because there is a conspiracy or the phenomenon is too camera shy but sadly because I can't deny the possibility that it never was real in it's majority. Yet, as I want to believe, I beg for a very tiny fraction of these incidents to have some kind of reality, not necessary extraterrestrial but interesting nevertheless.

Another thing I would like to say, with today's graphics rendering technology one could even "give" us in hand those less blurry and more close-up UFO videos I ask for. Thus I would have my doubts even with a good video (and some say the phrase "too good to be true", meaning that the more detailed makes it less believable for some reason). I think the sole way for me to be convinced is if I ever have a personal and quite extraordinary experience as those described by witnesses but you never see in the camera. That's how some people got suddenly and deeply interested in the subject while they were skeptical in the past.

p.s. Don't get me wrong, I have been fascinated by the whole UFO-alien neo-mythology from the first time I have read or heard something in TV or magazines. It's not easy for me either to dismiss simply a phenomenon that played a role in our psyches for more than 60 years. Could masses be so greatly deluded that they have solely created a modern myth that makes you think there is some reality there? Is it safe to say that "if there is smoke somewhere then there must be fire too" or was so much focus and research spent on something that maybe was never there? It's a hard possibility to grasp, especially for UFOlogists that may have spent 30 years of their life searching for the unknown. It's a bit hard for me too even if I wasn't much involved into it as other people might be. The idea of all these things being a farse is kinda scary but will we ever know the truth? There will be people that will never be convinced either ways (real/fake) no matter how hard the evidence will be. I am only hoping I'll have one day a real good personal UFO experience that I will see with my eyes and will be convinced it's not something trivial but the (un)real thing!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The moment of pleasure.

I remember a psychological experiment (or example) where one leaves a candy in the table and tells to the child that he can either eat it today or if he is patient enough and not eat it he can have twice the number of candies the next day. This is supposed to measure things like ones ability to discipline and go for long term goals, resist ones desires for the greater good, or some say it's a short of means for evaluating the emotional intelligence factor (EQ).

Then there is the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. One would agree that intrinsic motivation is the most desirable one if possible to have. It results into working with great focus on something because you love the process or the subject. Extrinsic motivation from the other side is usually focused on the final result. One could rather go through the process of working hard in a subject just for some good grades, passing a lesson, pleasing his parents or himself or anything else that is not directly connected to the actual experience of the creative process.

Of course one cannot always explain human behavior so easily with these distinctions. First of all the double candy reward experiment. Who tells me that every child who doesn't eat the candy for the first day can control his emotions easier than those who eat it at the very first watch? What if one child really likes candies (say because he is addicted to carbs) and the other doesn't care so much? Of course the second child still wouldn't dismiss a candy so easily, but since he isn't much depended on it and maybe he is more dependent on showing that he has control and understands the concept, will prefer the second solution. Or a third child who also doesn't care much about candies but doesn't trust the leader of this test, chooses to take it now because there might be no candy tomorrow. He might be emotionally depending in showing how clever he is and he might define cleverness as "grab now what you can, don't trust people that are over 20 years old" :)

Take for example the university experience. We might agree that if you study just for the grades, for taking a fucking piece of paper or pleasing your parents, it might just not work well. You would say that one is more successful if he is really interested in the subject and that rote learning just for taking grades is not enough. Yet you can observe so many people who have finished their studies with good marks and they just seem to be obsessed with... getting good grades. You can meet people with a far better marks than you who though don't show real interest for their subject and only view it as their future job and not their hobby. And yet, I am a personal living subject of the paradox, one who is really involved in computer graphics programming for several years because of his passionate hobby and still does it, yet he failed somehow miserably in a master with the same subject. Of course there is much more than loving your subject to succeed in studying and I will come back to this later.



I would like now to focus on one fact. It might help us to better understand the problem of finding inner motivation (especially those who suffer from procrastination) and trying to solve it if we actually dismiss the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and realize that there is only one thing that motivates oneself: The moment of pleasure

I will try to explain myself here. In my view, there is no distinction between people who can easily motivated by extrinsic motivation like magic. Don't you wonder how can some people just sit down there and work on some university project you find senseless or boring and you would still struggle working on it even if they tied you on your chair and forced you to do so? And then you wonder, how can these people do it? How do they live? How does their personality not react? Are they robots or something?

I will tell you what I believe after so many years of observing myself and wondered about those who can do stuff. They DO have an intrinsic motivation for the task that is usually not clear enough.

What kind of motivation could this be? Many of them sound like extrinsic motivations but they are based on someone's inner desires. There might be no strong interest in the subject or part of the process. What might be there could be a sense of self-actualization, accomplishment, increasing self-esteem, feeling powerful even pleasing yourself or your relatives if you manage to reach the desire results by insisting on working on a project that doesn't particularly motivates you alone. Grades, Rewards, Praising would be just the tip of the iceberg of your attempt, but they could still work as a justification of your achievements. One might just need to constantly see that he is successful in real life and that gives him the fuel to work and focus toward that direction even if all that he cares is grades, distinctions and a respected career rather than being interested in the subject itself. If this is what fulfills him in life then this self-determination will be his intrinsic motivation. I see this as a neat way of internalizing the seemingly extrinsic motivations when there is no actual interest in the subject itself.



One would say that the same happened with my demoscene activity. It's not that I did it purely because I purely enjoyed coding demos just for the sake of it. As I noted several times in the past, my journey into the demoscene was really the means to fulfill some basic needs as my desire to belong and excel in something in order to boost my self-esteem and give purpose to my life. Maybe I wasn't very happy or successful with real-life and I saw potential in something that was closer to my interests at that time. The relevant fact is that a hidden intrinsic motivation was playing the big role here. It's not that I didn't enjoy the creative process, there were some positive moments into it, but the primary force was insisting working hard in order to release a demo that is great enough to give me some kind of status and boost my self-esteem.

It's still some kind of a seemingly external motivation internalized. I see people trying to be very successful in anything they do in life, even if they don't necessary identify themselves with the subject they work with. You can see people who can just start studying any subject, be it Physics, Computer Science or Ancient Philosophy and can outperform someone who is interested in the subject but lacks the determination. People like these are greatly motivated by a single pleasure, the pleasure of being successful students, researchers, workers, lovers, etc.. But this pleasure I believe, manifests during the creative process, a psychological beliefs that says "The amount of work I do is the amount of success".



I do believe this and actually only today I had this revelation, when in a relaxing moment I delved again into my current burden since the last week. How the hell will I motivate myself to actually finish writing my final project? I am strongly making inquiry these days on the matter and radically try to find some good sources of inner motivation to somehow make the process more desirable. I compared my motivation with the project (and the repulsive forces of procrastination) to my evolved motivation with the demoscene.

There is one simple rule that I found at first. It's similar to what I said before that even seemingly extrinsic motivations can really be intrinsic in nature especially when they seem to work well. It's when I wrote that the only thing that can motivate oneself at the specific time (and that time is NOW) is the present moment of pleasure.

The moment of pleasure is NOW. When extrinsic motivation is needed, it works when you can envision the desired results related to your current effort (NOW). When intrinsic motivation is enough, the moment of pleasure is easier to achieve and it is the creative process itself, which you are truly enjoying at the present moment (NOW).

Of course, a truly intrinsic motivating factor is the best for you. Internalized extrinsic motivations (effort in conjunction to results) are good alternatives in case of lack of intrinsic motivation. Sometimes extrinsic motivations might weaken by the time for various reasons.

I have resolved this in the demoscene. I might have felt the frustration and also procrastination followed (which I couldn't understand since I thought that I shouldn't procrastinate if I love this hobby) because of some of the initial primary motives for being involved in the creative process not working anymore. For example, today I am quite a different person and I am quite more confident with myself. I don't need to prove to anyone or even myself that I am good or great or intelligent or self-worthy because I can program demos. This way though, my determination with the demoscene hobby has also faded away.

Yet I couldn't throw away this great hobby and everything I have learned from it. When I come back to it I see that I still love watching and making demos and being part of the scene, and the pure creative experience after abolishing any ideas about the external motivators and focusing on the process can be not only quite rewarding but more productive and satisfying. Some people, when they loose the meaning in that vain search for acceptance, recognition or any other semi-extrinsic reasons that faded away, they decided that the knowledge at least will help them in their careers and they can just forget everything about the scene. But in my case I saw that there is still magic and there is a magic when one can just be creative with only the intrinsic motivation being active.

I have really reprogrammed myself concerning that. It wasn't that hard at the end, although after ten years of living in a vicious circle. My triptych (what a word) in the demoscene is simple:

Creativity for Creativity (NOW)
Releasing for the Scene (Demoparties)
Comments are Irrelevant (Pouet, etc)


  • In a nutshell, I will be truly working on any programming activity when I feel like enjoying the process, if for any reasons I procrastinate or don't feel like working with that then I can easily leave it for the day (since I am not dependent any more on an obsessive need to work on something and finish it just for the result, my motivational process is not any more the release or the deadline or the people).


  • If it happens that because of the creative process I have random chunks of code, unreleased effects that fit well together, some half-finished idea or anything that could be tampered for few days/weeks or how much time I wish to dedicate for the completion of a full demo and I wish to contribute my work to some demoparty I might be/or not visiting then it will do just fine to work with it before the deadline if I am motivated enough. It's just feels nice to release your creative stuff for people to see and to contribute to demoparties just for supporting the scene. It works well only if one does not become obsessed with the release DURING the creative process but only focus on the realization of it when he has something to show.


  • It's only an aftereffect and shouldn't be the focus that one might get plenty of comments at sites like Pouet or other scene web resources. Some of these might be positive or even so admiration and love for the kind of work one has done. One can be content at the present moment of reading these comments as it coincides that the think one actually does, be it oldschool prods, pure effect demos, abstract stuff, 3d flyebyes, story demos, noise demos, etc. have it's own special audience that happens to like the specific kind of demos one produces. If one doesn't like your style of demos and gives a negative comment for whatever reason then you should ignore that since there will be always few individuals out there that happen to like your style of demos. This however is just an aftereffect of doing what you like to do and one shouldn't let his feelings during the creative process be related to his audience. You create purely for your own enjoyment and people who happen to either like or dislike your demos will always be there.





It only pleases me how nicely I have resolve my demoscene hobby in my mind and I know this worked well and made the creative process during my last two recent demos more great than ever before. I am not looking here whether it made it more successful, whether those releases were crap or not, whether I achieved anything with it. Things just flew so nicely, procrastination was absent mainly as an aftereffect of not focusing on negative feelings associated with my old motives, and I now believe solidly that if one does what he truly loves without being distracted by external motives then productivity can rise since there is true motivation directly connected to the creative process. One enjoys every simple moment of it and so he is greatly compelled to work on a project no matter the outcome.

And now the main question and new challenge for me is: What happens for work that one HAS to do but DOESN'T WANT to?

What happens when there are no true intrinsic motivations? When one would take a good excuse as a way to abandon this work? When he would give anything to not have to do yet not completing the task also means something negative that he wishes to avoid?

Welcome to my final project master thesis. I am trying to do a very big scary change to myself since the night before yesterday because of this. I am trying to make me believe that I have pleasure during the productive process (Ha,. I didn't even used "creative") when trying to write my final thesis. The code was not so bad experience and still I procrastinated because I was flooded by anxiety and emotion concerning something that HAS to be done whether I like it or not. The same process "helped" me so nicely to procrastinate deadly even during the completion of several courseworks, even those who were related with things that I like in graphics or found quite interesting. It's amazing how counter-productive can the studying-system be for some individuals.

And now I am angry and want to retaliate. My focus is this, the biggest enemy is not the educational system but myself. Isn't this the greatest and hardest thing to challenge, your own passions, desires and habits that makes you be the same as the one you were ten years ago?

Before you say that I am kinda harsh on myself, yes, and that was my initial thought. That night I was angry with myself for not trying a bit more with my master and somehow I got the determination I needed to allow myself attempting something that I never did before in my life. To overcome myself. To become better than me.

Of course my second thought was that I will forget this the next morning and that I will go back to my old habits of doing anything else rather than the work that has to be done. And since I knew that from several older attempts to change something in myself (e.g. weight) and I knew how especially harder it would be to actually fight procrastination (which in two words is actually displeasure avoidance) I insisted into both inquiring harder into the reasons (asking myself rhetorical and tricky questions) and promise to not let the subject fade away during the next days. My final project, which will be one of my hardest struggles I guess, is a perfect battlefield for this effort and I still have fourteen days to give my best and possibly evolve.

Evolve.
This will be internalized extrinsic motivator that I believe it fits my personality at the present moment. I think this is a single good shoot opportunity to do something I have never done before. This is what I finally came with after stressing the subject, being angry at myself, observing how my task-avoidance repulsive force works and what excuses it finds to not do stuff, thinking over it again, having some good intuitive moments upon the subject and then struggling again with it. I started writing good enough text yesterday (after a full week of procrastination and imagine it's a final project that you SHOULDN'T procrastinate with, not a simple coursework) and hopefully I will continue today.

And the (external) focus here is not finishing the project, I could even work very hard for it and yet fail to submit for other reasons but then I would at least know that I have tried. The (external internalized) focus is a feat of self-accomplishment, a challenge against your worse addictive habits, of maybe going against your nature and overcoming yourself.

My biggest fear was that this goes against my personality, my beliefs, my ego really. Everybody was telling me that I have to change, that I should be studying, that I should not be lazy, that I am not trying enough. I was telling myself that if I don't have a great need for something and at the same time don't feel like going through the struggle and don't see any pleasure on it then maybe it's because it doesn't fit my nature. I said that you can't just oppress someone into doing something. And all these things are connected so negatively to things that people said and I hate that it's too hard to accept it and even force it with great pressure to yourself right now. This is the shit!

But then there is something that nobody told me. That to do this task one has to be determined, understand the reasons behind it, believe. One has to clear his mind from all negative emotions, accept the good reasons for still doing it and also accept his possible failures during the attempt and find some good motives for forcing this to himself, that still fit his personality.

p.s. It's that really hard to accept and finally decide doing this for once and for all! But now I have believed with full reason. Discipline is not bad when it's applied with a conscious mind for good reasons. Sometimes some things we have to do in our lives are things that we don't want to do. There just isn't any good intrinsic motivation in studies for me. I still don't deny pleasure. But I think conscious (with a true understanding in mind) deprivation of pleasure would be another good challenge to myself (might help losing weight once and for all). I have to learn to live in balance. I might know the following days because there is still the possibility I will forget everything after a few days. I already procrastinated a lot by writting this but it was worth the effort..

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Please, don't try to understand, this is just a reminder to myself for the possible future.

I swear to myself, if I ever manage to make this big leap, I will never forget my old self. I promise that I will come back at a later time to resolve an alternative way for those people who never did it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Procrastination, some more thoughts.

I decided to write the second part here, in order to avoid having a very big article with two parts following a different path. In the previous post I wanted to address the real problem of procrastination in me and other individuals in the shortest way I could. Here, I will discuss various random ideas I left.

In the past I had a problem with that concerning my demoscene hobby. Originally I thought that one procrastinates because he doesn't feel like doing something. I believed that it usually happens when you HAVE to study, HAVE to work but don't WANT to. It worked so "nicely" with my mathematics degree in Greece that took me eight years to finish. But what happened with my hobby? Isn't that supposed to be something that you LIKE to do? First of all, I'd like to say that something changed in that, I went through and over it, I am not affected anymore. My last two CPC releases and plenty of unreleased coding experiments positively suggest that to me (it's not visible by productivity, it's only obvious when I remember how I felt WHILE working on these projects). This is because I changed my general attitude towards the scene. I have seen the false motives of my hobby and how vain they were. Yet I believed that the creativity of the scene and being part of it is still great. Not thinking about the results, the finalized project, the praises or blames of the scene but just focusing on what you really love did the trick. I just had to clean my mind and remember why I started with this hobby and which pure elements still makes it worth. I am really hotly motivated now for scene coding and focusing on doing what I love helps me to not procrastinate with this.

It only remains to see whether this "impossible" change has really happened. There is one suspicion that maybe I was more motivated in contrast to the real work I had to do in my studies (although I was more absent from demoscene activity more than ever this year, officially and unofficially). I compared my university obligations to demoscene. At least I said, if I don't finish a demo till the deadline, I am not going to fail anything. This is not my obligation, it's my hobby, it should be what I love to do not something I HAVE to do. I can be motivated to work with it because I LOVE coding and demos but I don't HAVE to work with it. It's not a final project, it's not a full-time job, it's the last pure thing that I can still enjoy while being creative. Well, it's not just the contrast with real life (and good avoidance excuse) that made the trick, it's also those thoughts. I was having these realizations for a long and sometimes they need years to really catch up. It only remains to see if after my studies I will still find myself in peace with the demoscene (I don't need to show productivity, I just need to not fall into the procrastination well (Wishing to WORK but CAN'T). I need to be able to let go if for some reasons I am not motivated and be able to return back at periods when I feel like working on demos. And be happy with all that.)

And so, this is my revelation concerning my hobby. It's also a revelation concerning some real life aspects (like feelings of not being normal, of HAVING to get a girlfriend (why?) and stupid unimportant stuff like that). Those things cured me. Maybe I saw them in contrast to other more real problems. Some of the more real problems are the occasions where if you procrastinate then you are busted.

What happens if you have a deadline for your final thesis? This is my current concern now. I know that if I work like crazy for a week I can still make it. I am trying now to convince myself that if I don't finish this one week before the deadline then I am busted (and that's the problem, I can't convince myself, I can't fool myself to not let this run till the very last night before the deadline :P). But I think I will make it with that. I just have to plan a week or more before the original deadline, something I NEVER managed to do before.

The other thing is job seeking. I made some attempts in June/July. I might have to do more now. I don't have a certain answer for a job position yet. And if I don't do this till the end of September or even before then I might have to return back to Greece and there is no future there for the kind of jobs that are maybe suitable to my programming experience. I am afraid I will procrastinate with that as I already did. Needless to say that I also failed (I write this for the first time in this blog) in some exam lessons (procrastination == I was never a good student) which means I am not going to get my master diploma this year and this might make it harder to get a job too. Also, all these things and especially the failure in the exams have brought me so hard down recently that I even ask myself the question whether I wasn't made up for this thing anyways..

The procrastination article link in the last post tells us that this condition is not something to joke about. And sometimes it's true about my own case. But sometimes I find myself also joking about it, being between a semi-serious/funny situation. Maybe it's just self-sarcasm.

Though it makes me think this about it: What if there is another factor, how seriously you take your procrastination, how much do you accept your life as it is?. There are people who don't even discuss about this problem. I know they can be great procrastinators but only joke about it. I sometimes laugh and sometimes cry. One could say that I haven't done something drastic about it because I don't consider it more than 50% a problem in my life? It's like say being a drunkard and sometimes saying "Fuck em, life is about drink and fun!" and other times "Shit! I should stop doing this.." and then again this cycle of a self-loving/self-loathing condition.

One could greatly say that one should accept himself as it is and one is fine by being lazy and only doing stuff when he feels truly motivated. And this is one lesson I learned, to accept myself, so I could accept myself not necessary having any obligation to do demos but only do them when I love it, I also accepted something that freed me and I haven't written much. That I don't need to be obliged towards real life stuff about normality or having a girlfriend. Many will disagree with these but why should we take these things seriously when there are other more real and serious problems out there (like the uni/job obligations)? Needless to say the more I was in sorrow because of all these matters the less motivation I had to do anything. So let's accept the unimportant and let's see what we can do with the important.

Of course, maybe the answer is that there is no cure. One(two) thing(s) I learned from a procrastination coursework I took part here at the university is that (at least the accepted) primary solution IS that you HAVE to do it at the end. No matter what, if compulsive task avoidance is similar to other addictive conditions like alcoholism (as presented by the same article link in the previous post), at the end isn't what we want to see stopping the addiction? Except if we somehow don't agree with this fact entirely, because there are sometimes where you just don't feel like doing things and maybe my personality reacts and doesn't let me be a robot. You see how I am busted? If this is the only solution then I am not exactly following it, expect when the deadline is very serious and still only with struggle..

..the other idea, which I forgot to write in the previous paragraph, that I learned from the coursework is that what we avoid is dis-pleasure. And it's true. We somehow have to try feeling those negative feelings, in a way accept them and live through them in order to get the good feelings of accomplishment. It's a nice thing to have in mind.

I will end up this ugly big post by mentioning my Procrastinooze trick. I generally don't like those anti-procrastination tricks that are supposed to work miracles but don't really do anything for me (or I am too lazy to even try them). But sometimes I try some because they are good experiments. This one is similar to those time tricks where you set up your watch/mobile to alarm you at shorter or longer hours (some also set the clock randomly some minutes back to not be late to an appointment) but here it's just an SDL application I finished yesterday that runs minimized and after a random number of minutes (from 15 to 45 or how much I want) it will suddenly and surprisingly pop up and play some annoying sounds and show noise in a window, till you press Space to stop the random snooze alarm and minimize it again for the next time. Once it might pop after 23 minutes then after 42 so it's really a surprise and when it happens I told myself that this is a signal for me to pause for a minute and try to perceive what I am currently doing right now whether it's work or ...procrastinating. It's like a random slap in the face every now and then to remind me that I have to do work in case I missed the clock. I tried this experiment yesterday by setting snoozing at every 30 minutes in my mobile but this was so predictable that I was expecting it. And so I can try the unpredictable now. Needless to say, I did no work yesterday no matter what :P

What can I say? Months ago I invented Procrastinopoly.. :)

Do you really understand procrastination?

It disappoints me how most people think about procrastination and the solutions to it. It also saddens me that I still cannot find a true answer to fight this thing anywhere on the web. A lot of tricks exist, some of which are clever and interesting but they are not the solution to the problem. First of all, in order to follow these advices one has to change his habits or to plan well. Which is one thing alone that we procrastinators won't do. So, we will procrastinate finally making a change in our life... forever.

Then everybody talks about tricks or prompt us to just do it because as they say it's the only solution at the end. Nobody understands there is a deeper problem, a repulsive force. I can feel it. I don't wake up in the morning these days because I know I'll have to do work and I avoid it. When I wake up I go outside to eat, because I say that I need to not have an empty stomach, I need carbs and proteins for my mind to work. But this is also a nice excuse to avoid work again. When I finish eating outside I feel the repulsion. As I am going back home I feel it more. I want to do anything else, to find an excuse to avoid sitting down and working on the thing that I avoid all these days. An article describes it very well as compulsive task avoidance.

It's very common to say that clever people are usually the ones that fall into this vicious cycle because they find the best excuses to procrastinate. I generally disagree with that notion. First of all, these excuses are not so hard or clever to imagine. Saying that you can't do the job because you don't "feel" like doing it or you don't have enough time isn't a thought of a genius (they are actually trying to describe their feelings). As a secondary notion I'd say that it's not clever but idiotic to not choose doing something when you can have an advantage from that. I mean, do we have the choice to either be productive in our lives or not and we voluntarily chose not to be? It doesn't make sense..

Finally, I think what people mean by saying this quote is that they see a lot of creative (that's what they mean by clever) people having a hard time with that. My current view is that many creative people are sensitive, more conscious, feelingful and passionate about everything. This includes their creative hobbies of course but not only. It might explain the great passion they have about creativity or ideas or whatever else they are involved into but also results in problems in real life. Maybe it's much harder for some people to simply shut down their personal feelings and just focus on real life obligations. Sometimes I see people who are successful and always do great work as robots who have somehow found the mechanism to control their feelings and be productive. I wouldn't like to say that all these people are robots, in fact there might be some who had the same problem in a lesser or greater degree and just found the means or decided one day to change this. But I think that is the connection between the problem of procrastination and creative passionate people. I am always making the rhetorical question to myself: How do they do it?

This is how I see procrastination based on my personal experience. Regarding all these popular tricks on how to cure/fight procrastination seems to me similar to suggesting fancy tricks and "simple" solutions to people who have serious problem with drugs or alcoholism. It's like suggesting someone that in order for him to stop smoking he has to stop smoking. But is there a real solution for procrastination?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Individualism

I was inspired to write this post after watching Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life. I didn't know anything about Ayn Rand and her philosophy before except for a funny xkcd strip (check also the tooltip/yellow box over the strip). Some of the ideas expressed certainly reminded my own situation where I struggled being myself and being focused in the things that I love while living in a world where people insist that you should resemble them.

I would like to shortly discuss two ideas from the hundreds of random thoughts that occurred during watching this film. Ayn Rand looked so confident, so strong (maybe cold) with her beliefs and the way she drove her life. Very few people manage to follow a different part, keep up with the struggle and win. One of my computer heroes was John Carmack of ID software. In one of his interviews he was telling his story about how he had the dream to become a game programmer while his mother strongly fought against this. I purely identified with his situation the first time I read this, since I also wanted furiously at the time to become a great programmer which got me into bad conflict with my parents and also in bad mood when everyone told me I should be "normal" just like the rest.

But the main point here is this. I was weak. I wasn't Ayn Rand. I wasn't John Carmack. I wasn't everyone who I admire for 1) Following their own path with confidence and determination, 2) Don't stop at any cost, 3) Cut the self-pity and focus on the job. Number one alone doesn't cut it. I lacked two and three. But I accept that maybe this is who I am. I just wanted to point this difference on me and also reflect a bit on the idea that maybe only a very small minority of individuals who have chosen to follow the hard risky path finds bliss in that. We just never hear much from the majority.

So, what happens to the rest? I want to focus again on two specific scenarios. One gets stuck inbetween and revolves around the dilemma, should one continue following this gloomy path or should he quit and compromise with common life? This was my kind of dilemma. I wasn't strong enough to keep it going no matter the cost and not hard working enough to truly focus on it. I felt desperate. Oppression and no support from the outside world, lack of self-esteem, made me gradually weaker.

Now, the other scenario is something that I see very frequently. Something that makes me angry. And though it makes me curious why I haven't followed this path (yet?), why I keep staying in the middle, being stubborn to quit no matter if I am feeling like having lost the battle for a long and only making a fool of myself. Like being the last in the battleground of insisting being myself while seeing all these people changing radically opinions. Some of these people were geeks like me and sometimes with the same passion. They even found my old rants about following this focus strongly no matter if I had no life supporting their own beliefs. And then after years, they came back with beliefs that are 180 degrees opposite to what they expressed in the past. Reciting the common ideas about real life that I grew to hate.

Let's say that I respect the fact that someone decided to change his own beliefs to something very radically different, that everyone has the right to leave the old sack and become a different man. What bothers me is how frequently it happens to most people with geeky pasts. Most of the people quit their passion and convert to social standards. Some of them even despise their past activities and few of them preach. That's another part. I believe that most people who fanatically preach about how we need to get a life are geeks in disguise. They used to be like us. I have seen regular people, cool and social, not from our kind who can talk and listen to you and accept for who you are. Then I see people with a bitterness who try to put it on you. No person who would be confident and happy and complete as a person with his life would come and bother with your different lifestyle. I don't have proof about these lines but I truly believe them.

And so I decided to finish this with a final passage concerning these strange changes. And the fact that geeks are afraid. Most individuals who decided to follow a path that is quite radical to the common notion of what a "normal" life should be, don't seem to have the guts to keep up with the social struggle for a very long time. Some of them change radically, some just quit, others start preaching and most also compromise with common beliefs or excuses about their passion. One or two examples about the compromise/excuse part..

First example, some computer geek in a magazine, when internet cafe appeared in Greece (in my place it's like big halls where the youth meets today, similar to arcade rooms), he wrote that we geeks can be considered social now because they meet at these places and socialize while playing games (it was not written as a joke). Second example, I should be reading an nfo file from a famous PC demogroup where they also said somewhere: "Most of our group members have a normal life. They go to gym, have girlfriends, listen to music, blah, blah..". I don't say it's bad to mix these activities with real life, I don't say one should either be one or the other. All I want to say is why the fuck do you have to justify for your life style in such a sense that it shares similar elements with normality? Why are you compelled to excuse or need to show that your hobby is not interfering with your real life? It's like saying that you are a weirdo, but not from those weirdos that give bad fame to our kind..

Third example, my own ruminations. My endless self-monologues in this blog or even when walking alone to explain myself. Sometimes I wonder why should I ever do that? This was some kind of a way trying to excuse my geeky life style, that MAYBE this... BUT it has that positive, it's not so BAD, blah blah. Who will be my judge? I couldn't even explain it to myself. I was writing these endless essays because I had a very hard time to believe them myself..

I guess it's hard, almost a taboo to say for example that you are some very weird person with no interest in common life and that is perfectly fine. Is it really tough to say sincerely that you are who you are and that's just it?

And So I have decided. From now on I will try to express who I really am in the most simple way possible and without excuses. I might have lost many battles but at least I can keep doing whatever I love to do and be happy with that. And be proud of that!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hobbies and Passion

I recently finished a small 1kb CPC intro for the retro Euskal competition. It makes me happy when I think about it and I am really looking forward for the end of the competition this Saturday night. The code of this intro (as with my recent CPC demo, Chunky Chan) was a very nice and smooth process (Chunky Chan was partially C code, while this intro is 100% assembly of course). I guess I have either become more fluid in coding or I am in a better mood for it.

Few days ago I met with two friends outside in the city and then we went to their homes and watched movies or played games till six in the morning. It was pretty exhausting the next day but really worth it. My discussion with one guy is what remained in my mind. He told me how he loved video games and how a passion helps you escape for a while from real life worries. He said "This is why we live for" (Για αυτό ζούμε ρε φίλε).

And then I remember this quote. These nice creative moments when I was coding this intro and tried to squeeze some stuff from 1700 bytes down to 896 (+128 byte header on the CPC), when I managed to finish it and submitted it, to the moment this will be out and I'll see all the other entries and I will read your comments on Pouet or CPCscene, those are some good things to live for. Those are the moments, especially the current days I am so anxious and frustrated with some real life matters (about studies or job seeking) and can't take it anymore, those are the moments I forget and live happily with something that is my own passion and means a lot to me. This is what we live for.

I am currently listening to some classic tunes in Kohina radio. It feels great and brings back memories. I remember a specific moment months ago when I felt relaxed and lay back and ran some classic AtariST demos in an emulator and one of them for some reasons made me extraordinary happy, I laughed, I then observed how I love the demoscene, that it is such a unique and special hobby for me, but it was such a moment of simple happiness that I still remember it. It has some bouncing 3d dotballs with such smooth animation that made me jump. This is what we live for.



And then I was thinking something else yesterday. I remembered many many years ago a girl who told me I should be grateful for having such a passionate hobby I can relate to, because for most other people this is a problem. Yesterday I searched in google for things like "I don't have a hobby", "Why can't I have a hobby?", "Do I need a hobby?" and I found enough questions of this kind (they weren't that much as "I am XX years old and I still don't have a boy/girlfriend" though :P) and people worrying about it.

And it seemed so strange to me. It seemed so strange because I never thought of this as a problem. I thought that one person can find a lot of interests, you can't just sit there and wonder what to do, because in all of my life I was having so much motivation for doing various things and I have only done a very limited amount of what I dream in life. Demoscene came naturally, it was computers and programming before, I had some passion for science stuff, space, looking at the stars, also reading stories about UFOs and such stuff. If I had never found the demoscene and never followed the programming discipline I could be studying physics now or be involved in astronomy as a hobby or maybe being one of those nuts looking for UFOs :)

What I want to say is that there are so many things I am looking forward with great interest, new things I want to get into in more depth, but it's not easy because I already have the demoscene, one big passionate hobby that eats most of my time. Having 2-3 hobbies (of the passion class) would be too much. But I do want to get into those other things! Thus it feels so strange when other people whine that they can't fill the time and feel bored eternally when you would like to have 96 hours per day to dedicate it to the things that interests you most in life.

I remember the days in my first job. Sometimes in the morning, while eating my breakfast and just before starting to work I used to surf on the web in various random sites, ranging from my programming hobby and the demoscene to blogs having to do with science or philosophy. I used to read articles (mainly simplified/popularized) on quantum mechanics or neuroscience or space exploration among others because these are some science matters which for some reason hook me up. I found them from slashdot at the time. Looking around the place to see what other colleagues where reading on the net, it was just the daily news and.. PAOK (a greek football team). Well, some funny guy near me was reading a forum about WOW and spent his time playing facebook games :)

But what is a hobby? Is it a leisure activity? Is it something that you do just to fill in your free time? Or is it a passion, something that you dedicate your life into, for a greater purpose, a feeling of fulfillment, creativity of great things, a thing of your personality? You know, in some of these questions I curiously seek in google to understand others position, I found things like "I tried this, I tried that, I watched movies for 2 hours, listen to some music, played a sport, read a book for an hour but I am here again being bored not having a real hobby". A friend told me that it's not just our creative hobbies that can take the form of a passion. One could make watching movies into a passion, knowing everything about movies, actors, history, etc. If he is hooked up into this, it won't be just a two hours leisure activity but he won't be able to find enough time for his passion. He will be in his job, waiting eagerly for 8 hours to go back home and watch the next bunch of some classic or cult movies and read every info on imdb. A movie-phile. It seems that a hobby no matter how passive or creative, how common or geeky, could either be approached as a simple leisure activity or a real passion that involves someone's true dedication into it.

Most people don't have a real hobby. And some of them who worry about it try to approach it from the leisure perspective which of course isn't going to fulfill their need to not feel bored in the long run. It still makes me wonder. Isn't there something that hooks you up so badly that you'd like to have more free time to dedicate into it?

I can't even understand what means someone's life to be boring. I am only using the word "boring" in situations when I am forced to do something that I don't want to for hours and I can only escape when this thing is over. But having plenty of time in front of you and not being able to fulfill this time with something meaningful? It's hard to grasp for me. However I should approach this situation not as something dummy but as a real hard condition I cannot grasp, the same way one cannot grasp depression for example. I guess I am on the outside now, staring at people with conditions I can't imagine how it would be to live with, in the similar fashion extroverted people would wonder about me at social situations. And then I realize that what I naturally have is a gift for most.

p.s. One thing. In the past, people made me believe that I don't have enough hobbies, that I am boring. When they asked me about my interests I'd say computers. They 'd say, emmm.. listening to music, watching movies, going to the gym, going for a walk. But those are things that everyone does in a lesser or great degree! I didn't consider them to be true hobbies that show who you are so I didn't mention them. I was boring because my interests couldn't relate with most people. What interests though? Leisure activities we all do at times? One passionate hobby compared to some activities one wrote in a form not necessarily because he genuinely is hooked to them but in order to show that he has many interests. That was the situation in the past. They made me believe I was boring. It doesn't seem like so..

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I don't want.

I am not feeling like writting this today.

Yesterday, changes have happened, I proposed new challenges to myself and I thought I adapt to them.
Today I felt so blue. I haven't felt so much before. I don't know why.
Maybe because there will be so much to do soon and sometimes I don't even know why I should bother.
Maybe because my personality which resides in my brain (no soul here) got scared of the changes and snapped it.

I know I am not making sense. But challenges are to come soon. And I don't know I am in the mood to take part in them. I don't know what to do with my life. I am angry with myself and some people. I don't know if any path will give me peace.

I don't want. Today. And only today I hope.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Dark feelings of the past

I forgot darkness.
I forgot when I took sadness and sorrow and transformed it into something else.
When I wondered why people like to paint their lives black and I could find the answer by looking into myself.

I realized that I forgot darkness.
And staring at it for a glimpse brought back memories.
I forgot self-pitty, self-victimization. The bittersweet feeling of taking your anyways awful days and transforming them into something heroic.

Maybe not. People hated us. We hated shinnyhappies. I am not an emo, a goth or any of those stereotypes. I am a simple human being who in it's worse moments constructs a more positive meaning (martyrdom, heroic, whatever) from all of negativity.

I realized I missed that feeling when I encountered it again. It's not only since I discovered the Zen that I have changed to the better but it must be maybe two years if not one and a half. So long since I last played the game of self-pitty. Of course Zen is the way now for me, I just found the opportunity to reflect back. Some old emails, some old history remembered, some of the old feeling to be absorbed by something I left behind, I even totally forgot I had left it. I just had some bad days and it left me so vulnerable and reminded my number one wish and fear, to not be insignificant, to be loved, to not feel like a failure.

I know that all these are just ideas, that one could feel content with himself, that you are chasing things all the time and never get rest, that you may be building stuff and then something will randomly break things apart, that life is dynamic. It's just the days and a lot of fear about real life in the near future and being exhausted by everything and angry at myself. It's just things that are happening, blows I have taken, things that will change tomorrow. They just happened in such a way that they brought that need for longing in the past affairs.

It felt stupid yet it felt unique, something in the past I was missing. One might look at other people and laugh at them but there is more than one world and we should pay attention to both. Even after finding Zen, I knew it wouldn't (and shouldn't) be the end, I knew there was still an interesting path in front of me, I knew I should try to travel back to my old habits and observe this time, live it, feel it, be it. The darkness and sorrow of the past. The big story I created about me.

It must be a long time since I last posted cryptic and sorrowful posts in this blog. I have moved some stuff in other blogs and all I post here is comics. Things have changed I guess. Now, take a blast from the past :P

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Math Jokes

I never thought I would laugh hard by jokes having to do with math. I am even surprised that I might understand 60% of them. I guess my degree in mathematics proved to be useful in some aspects :)

I just remembered them because of a recent Pouet thread

I also remembered a site I have visited once in the past and still updates with new jokes.



p.s. This blog, once filled with incomprehensible, long thoughts is moving towards,.. I don't know. Some of it's content has gone into other new blogs. They ask me why I open so many blogs but I don't exactly open new blogs, I am just trying to organize the theme of my old ones. In the past there would be posts here about sadness, thoughts, ideas, computers, demoscene, programming, mostly long and dark posts about my life, but everything. Now there are different blogs for the computer stuff, programming stuff, etc.

p.p.s. So much work these days. I am trying to do something. I went into three things. Of course my final project, but then I started searching for a job in the UK and I was sooo busy speaking with job agents and planning interviews, solving C++ tests (within days or over the phone), being stressful in general. I didn't even found the time to code a little demo project for the CPC (I will be at Amstrad Expo this weekend). But my new demo framework in PhrozenC is very nicely prepared now and it could assist faster development and maybe I'll use it for many small demo projects. Hmm..

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The tipping point of happiness and a true change.

Months ago I had the strange feeling that nothing really matters, that everything is just an idea to which I was fixated and responded very seriously. In terms of the future of this and some of my other blogs, I felt like there is no point to update them anymore. At least those blogs that were filled with obsessive thoughts and feelings of sorrow and the smell of revenge. Because I suddenly realized that it didn't matter to me and all I could do is just to continue living my own life whatever that is and only evolve in the stuff that seem natural to me. I thought I could see something, the vanity of things, the fact that I am a being with a personality that evolved because of my past and is motivated to fight with the ideas that annoyed me in the past and I felt they are wrong.

This was just the beginning of new realizations. They have taken a less nihilistic path recently and a more holistic approach (Apparently not one of my blogs will die because I can write now based on my changing view of the world). The most amazing thing is that I felt something so strong like a true enlightenment. Of course the first thing I thought is that this enlightenment could be just a temporary one like all my rest infatuations with grant new ideas that fade away or die instantly when hard reality hits my door. No, I'd say this is different and I had the most confidence ever that what I have learned shows truly the right path for my life.

It's not easy to describe what happened to me because it is based on the experience of things under a different view that can't be described with words. I am even unable to find why now and which factor led me to this point. Why couldn't I see it in the past? What worked differently that helped my mind to embrace this new view? Could this still be a temporary fixation from which I will return back? Am I afraid of returning back?

You might have heard a lot of times this phrase before: "I can't describe with words what happened to me because you have to experience it to understand.". This kind of expression might produce multitudes of negative/positive emotions and series of thoughts to anyone of you. Sometimes these words can be attributed to some person claiming that nobody can understand him/her and other times it's when people talk about religious or metaphysical experiences. For some people it could mean forcing them to not try to explain the experience, thus not investigating it, just believing it and this can just piss off people who are highly skeptical or too practical. Others might like this phrase for various reasons I haven't thought well yet. I'd like to explain a bit on this concerning my own experience and what else I learned concerning the inability expressing it with words. No metaphysics included.

The inability is actually a difficulty. I realized that words are just words. They are the same as ideas. A word can mean many different things for each individual. It can hold positive or negative emotions or both. The difficulty comes at expressing the ideas of the new paradigm and not be misunderstood. Which doesn't matter really because I received the great gift during my experience and it stays with me regardless whether I can communicate this or not. And the second important thing is the fact that if I actually start describing the new paradigm concerning my enlightenment it will feel so vague and common that you'd shrug or giggle or think I am just naive. Because the words, phrases or ideas associated with my new view are so common and naive sounding, coming either from things you hear every day or see in the movies but basically they are very much related to ideas very frequently discussed in zen meditation for example. Or, and this may make some of you shrug more, in several "new-age sounding ideas" (don't worry, I am also highly allergic to all those new-age crap :).

What I want to say here is that you were expecting some brand new idea, something that you have never heard before, to be my new paradigm. If something changed inside me in a true sense, shouldn't it be something more extraordinary and unique that naive ideas like "Be yourself", "abolish the bullshit inside your brain", "don't let the ego control you", "find what you really want", etc? Also, aren't these some ideas we were in one or another way discussing in the past? Aren't these things that they were telling you and you didn't listen? Aren't these things that everybody is familiar with and everybody nods his head positively when hearing these? So, what are the news here?

One fact is that while I was hearing these ideas I couldn't feel them the same way as I do now. One extra point for the fact that the enlightenment, the realization of one's self, the way of happiness cannot be just a formula that you tell to another person and he is instantly cured. Because the ideas were always there, you just have to realize it oneday. And it takes time.

Remember that words and ideas stir different emotions to each of us and that an experience can't be described with words without being misunderstood. All those years I know these words and ideas but had confusing ideas about them. At the tipping point of true understanding I somehow experienced all those older ideas and word compared to all my past experiences in life and some realizations in a brand new way. It's like all the confusing puzzle pieces inside my brain suddenly moved to their right positions and all things suddenly made sense. This is my experience. Words and ideas can mean anything depending on someone's individual experiences. The whole relationships between ideas and your life story, the whole puzzle from the past till today, when it all suddenly makes sense it is something that cannot be properly analyzed focusing on it's individual parts but only understood (experienced) as a whole.

In the next part I will try to give some brief clues concerning my new view. In the future, I'd like to discuss further some of these parts and I will frequently use the keyword 'zen' or 'zen-like' to describe new posts discussing this view or having to do something with it respectively. Changes in the mood and direction of ideas in other blogs will also happen inspired by my new life view.



Random clues about my new life view



Personality. What is personality? I am not a brain scientist to know what's going on in my brain but I'll speak based on my current gut about it. Take your life from the beginning, starting from your birth till this moment. Evaluate your experiences either good or bad, your influences, your language, the ideas you have encountered, the things that shocked or astonished you, your evolved thoughts and emotions about all these stuff, about the story of your life (which is still running). All these massive networks of neurons that evolved till this point and relate to thoughts, emotions, images, symbols, words, sounds, colors, people, experiences shape your likes and dislikes, things or people that you like or hate, beliefs and preconceptions about yourself and everything in this world and finally creates a complex image of yourself as a conscious entity with a personality and a place in this world. This vast network that evolved through the path of your life is your personality, is how you imagine yourself, what you like or dislike, it is what zen calls ego. It's everything that you have that makes you.

Scary or revealing thought to ponder about. The whole image of yourself is all this accumulation of experiences, influences and just about everything. Imagine now that I somehow change some small even tiny amount of experiences or influences in your past without destroying the whole. Yet, tiny changes in the very past could bring greater changes in the distant future. Imagine, very tiny little changes in the factors that sculpture yourself and you could now be a man with such a different personality THAT YOU WOULD HATE SOOOOOO MUCH YOUR ALTERNATIVE SELF IF YOU MET HIM RIGHT NOW!!!. Excuse me for the capitals but I wanted to magnify this particular part to make you ponder how fragile the idea of the ego is. Your whole personality is just this massive puzzle of life experiences and associated emotions and ideas. I love pondering on this particular idea a lot. It somehow let's me free.

Ego? New-age/zen crap? But why??? Where does it help? I admit I had a lot of influences recently by ideas originally taken from texts having to do with zen and meditation. However, this influence wasn't the sole reason that lead to the change (I write this because some people could think that I was brainwashed and that this is a dangerous path, but I assure you I am still having my senses... evolved :). Several of these ideas were things I had heard from various sources and actually things I was always feeling would be good to follow in my life, it's like things I already knew where the good examples to follow, it just happened that they initially were described in zen philosophy (New-age is just influenced by them and other things). Anyway, one of the influences that brought me here was this article about the ego and also the much smaller one here.

In a sense, is it all about stop taking yourself seriously? Well, something like that, yes. Another set of ideas that everybody might be telling me yet it makes me wonder why I understood it now? (understood as in feeling/experience not ideas/words) But the fact is that people always confused me. Everyone told me that I should be myself, yet everyone came and criticized me about being kinda different in some aspects. You see people speaking about freedom, individuality and all those nice ideas, the zen ideas I described (and quite more I haven't spoken about yet) are everywhere, in movies, in books, in every day conversation and everybody seems to be happy about them and accepting them, yet each one of us comes later and put a barrier, put a restricting thought, maybe because being afraid that too much freedom without consideration can lead to negative results? I don't know. Those ideas are not just spoken, they are not just broadcasted, they are already there. It's like we already have them inside us, it's like universal truths. Somehow you know that if you discuss about them then instantly everyone will like them and truly agree with them. But people's actions will contradict badly. That's why I kept being confusing and had problems truly experiencing the realization of zen ideas. Until now that I realized that people are the best actors. (As a bit of a not so relevant example, how is it that everyone knows and agrees without second consideration that war is bad, yet it still takes a major role in the world? Do we always vote for exactly those leaders who don't nod happily with the free and nice ideas? Or are we contradicting with ourselves at a greater and more abstract scale???)

A simple reflection into the past: I pondered about my life story. All the experiences, good or bad, words and emotions associated with them, that shape my personality. About this blog. All my life I walk alone and talk furiously about those ideas on normality, weird people, individuality, close mindness and all my social fears. I am those ideas. I am those past experiences that shaped my personality, one that likes weird and different people and dislike ideas that sound like someone trying to tell us how to get a life, ideas that define what is normal and what is not and all that stuff. The sole reason I was keeping writing these furious texts and arguing with people (or with myself, trying to defend my beliefs against my doubts) is that all those past life experiences of people bullying me for being different, parents and friends blaming me for not having a life, accumulated into my current ego that likes and dislike things and is furiously filled with anger and a wish for revenge. Change some factors of the past (fragile ego) and I wouldn't be even here writing these stuff. I can think of these things as unimportant and this can be a relief

Explaining more cases and the objects of happiness substitution: The demoscene. Take the ideas in the previous paragraph. Bad childhood, low self-esteem, social anxiety, huge gaps left behind. Maybe it's the feeling that I was a loser in real life. I simply tried to cover this gap by seeking for some success in the demoscene. The demoscene just passed from my path. Another hobby with a community of weird people could come along but what it would do is to again substitute this gap of feeling a loser. It could also be a girl. It doesn't matter of the object though. This is what I have learned now and the realization makes me happy. Some people say that I could save myself by finding a girlfriend. But I believe it's just another case of filling the part that is faulty inside with another substitute. Other objects could be a career, your job, your family, your kids, even trying to be cool, at least when these things work as a substitute for feeling incomplete or having low self-esteem or anything bothering you. Why can't you just be happy by the way you already are? Why can't you just enjoy life and be content with what you have? When is the last time you were really peaceful?

Wouldn't that zen-like indifference be the ultimate defense, the ultimate excuse of not evolving in your life? This is an important part. Keeping a more positive, indifferent, open mind thought about my current condition, about being just a weirdo, a geek, without a girlfriend, with a lot of failures, thinking that all these are just my life story and I should accept things as they are, feeling that things are unimportant and that even the simple things matter, getting deep into that mindset really helped me find some peace for a while and gave a more positive view of my life and my future.

What happened in the past is that I was bombarded by general ideas and beliefs about life, also specifically targeted blaming towards me and then all those things evolving in inner voices that tell me that something is wrong with myself, trying to defend myself, remembering other ideas that say defending is like excusing, being full of negativity with all these internal and external thoughts and sometimes contradicting beliefs I accumulated from my interaction with the world, I got more close to myself, revengeful, angry, sometimes being anti-life (where life is what people consider "having a life", the common lifestyle) or liking weird people and fighting, it's like you get in the war that was created by you and them and never get peace. And you don't change this way, you get deeper into negativity, you move away from real world, you get defensive and in reality you are more influenced and feed your fury by these ideas. You never escape.

In few words, the new mindset that all these ideas, all these thoughts are thin air, the fight, the arguments, they are silly, everything is a lie, things should be taken seriously no matter what is my life path from now on, is a liberating view, one that gives you peace and drives your mind away from the spiral of negativity that both this world and yourself keep preserving. People are afraid as it seems that if they don't remind me that I should get a life then it's not gonna be good, but this is wrong because it is my life and I think every day about it.

I don't believe that zen-like ideas will make anyone so ignorant that he will leave his own life into oblivion. Because the brain is still strong and people have already personalities, they only need to take it easily for a while and live at peace. Taking things so seriously only makes things worse. At least for me. (are you robots?)



This text got soooo big that I don't like it (for another time). I could scrap it but I don't want to. But it doesn't matter. Maybe one day I will also learn to write proper articles. The fact is that there is a true change inside me and I just can't describe it. I feel so free and so happy inside me and this happened since a month ago and still persist at some days when focusing my thoughts into these things. It's not temporary and it lights my path from now on. Oh,. I never thought I would become a shinny-happy person. Usually I am allergic to new-age sounding stuff and shinnyhappiness in general :P

Monday, May 10, 2010

Best comics this week

I found some greeeeeat ones!

Actually this one was the reason for writting this post. Best demoscene garfield comic ever. There are two associations one has to make here to laugh with this. It's so cleverly put :)




This one is simply funny and cute. Have you ever wondered to whom you where talking when you wrote your first program? :)




This is for mac haters. Seriously, one button?




This is if you have seen the movie 'The Box' or you just know the concept about it.




This speaks of a truth about my procrastination factor and creativity.




This is a bit on the serious side, maybe not in the same mood as the rest, but I just like it's meaning and found it recently.



p.s. I know I have also posted these in http://optimus6128.soup.io but I wanted to write some more about them because each one of them is so unique and funny :)

p.p.s. I discover most of the funny comics/images in random image thread on Pouet and few of them goes to soup.io

p.p.p.s. Going back to studying..

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Snoozing..

- Setting alarm at 10:00 am

- Alarm at 10:00 am
- Press ok to Snooze (for 15 minutes)
- 10:15
- Press snooze
- 10:30
- snooze
- 10:45
- snooze
- 11:00
- snooze
- .....
- 12:15 (no snoozes?)
- press snooze
- 12:30
- snooze
- 12:45
- snooze
- 13:00
- I like my bed soooo much..
- 13:15, 13:30, 13:45
- Finally I decided to wake up so that I write this on my blog :)

Who is the genious who invented snoozing?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

People (or demos) that don't exist, part 3

I don't remember if I have ever written the previous "People that don't exist" articles here (maybe part 1 but not 2).

In greek we say "Den yparxei" (Δεν υπάρχει!) - he doesn't exist, or "Den yparxoun" for plural (Δεν υπάρχουν!) - they don't exist. It is actually a slang that one says when he finds that another person did some extraordinary weird and cool thing. Actually, another internet slang describing this action is Epic Win :)

The people who don't exist are two polish sceners, a graphician and a musician. What they have done at a recent polish party (Stary Piernik 5) can only be described as astronomically epic win. In short words, they presented a quite good demo (according to the audience) at the big screen and later one of them holds the disk of the demo and says "I would like to say something. This is the one and only copy of this demo. This demo wasn’t here." and then he goes close to the campfire and throws the disk in the fire.

DEN YPARXEI!!!

Isn't that epical win squared? Or is it tremendously lame? I guess those where the mixed feelings of the 15 people who were at the party and the rest of the C64 scene.

Funny enough, even the title of the demo is sooo close with my rant about the greek slang. The demo doesn't exist. The demo wasn't there. Hahaha!!!

I read more funny things about this in CSDb and other sources. The demo is actually based on several old unreleased effects/parts from Fenek, a coder from Arise. The graphician Bimber and musician Wacek from the same group made the whole demo alone. Even the coder wonders, where the hell did they found his old unreleased previews?! The two guys without having much knowledge about coding spent two months connecting all the things together. (and that's why I write "effects/parts" in one point, maybe there are parts ready to be loaded and decrunched and only few calls are needed, because even if you have fragments of code from others it's not as easy for a coder (how much for those two people) to connect all the parts together without previous experience.) Screenshots of the demo can be seen in both the above links and they feature line vectors in a tunnel formation, a voxel landscape and maybe more.

But why You may ask? Whhyyyyyyy??? Bimber said that the demo was made exclusively for the people who came to the party to have the pleasure that only them have seen something that nobody will never see again. I say it was a joke, a stunt, a surprising and funny act, an epic win, something that we may never see again happening in a demoparty. Of course it's not the first time that a demo gets shown at a demoparty but never gets released, but for other reasons. The demo is not a final version, the coder doesn't want to release it yet or he thinks the demo is so ugly. Or someone has lost the sources. But this was different. This was a deliberate attempt at 8bit suicide =)

It's also like they are laughing at us. All these years I was struggling to create some good demos and even if I didn't succeed to make something really really good, I always was scared of the idea that whatever I have done could be lost after a hard disk crash or a virus or anything. I frantically gathered back ups and was getting too serious about it. And those guys just made a multipart demo with several effects, presented it at the party and then threw it away!

Ok,. maybe they are playing with us. Maybe this was just a stunt and they are still going to release a final. But that act on the demoparty is a thumb up alone from me. These people don't exist!
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