Forced Slower Pace

I try hard to hard keep personal things separate from my gaming related stuff (to varying degrees of success), but at the moment the personal is heavily intertwined with my ability to game that I can’t help but mention curious folk to check out my other blog for more information.

I already take the game at a markedly slower pace than most, but at the moment my gaming is taking an even slower turn because of my current ailments. I want to blog though, and I do have some screenshots. They’ll probably come later when I am better able to sit and edit them.

The Innovation of Loneliness

The Innovation of Loneliness from Shimi Cohen on Vimeo.

I couldn’t help but find this interesting. I use social media a lot (primarily twitter), and I know that I worry and fret about putting my best foot forward. It made me think, too, of podcasts. People want highly polished material, and I get that because there are so many other things that people could potentially waste their time on and you want to grab and hold their attention. But I can’t help but wonder, do people expect this out of their relationships? To have purely polished surfaces that appeal to their senses?

I remember once reading a study that people nowadays are building relationships more based upon those with similar interests, thoughts, feelings, etc vs. those who may be different than they are and trying to find a way to get along with others. I can’t help but be reminded of that article when watching this video, and wondering if people just want to build their relationships based upon false pretenses. Which end up making us feel lonely anyway, because it goes back to the idea of quantity vs quality and the superficial idea of achievements.

I wonder then, how would one build quality relationships online? The social media sphere is changing how we handle relationships, but also making it possible for some people to actually build them when it may not otherwise be possible. The later applies to me in particular, since I can’t seem to be able to retain many friendships in real life. There is the other aspect of relationships that just bother me, and that is trying to maintain contact. I am the type of person that has a hard time striking up conversation unless it happens to be something I am really engaged in. I like to listen though, but… conversation is a two way street and I always feel like I fail in that area. Which is probably why I really enjoy the podcasts. It allows me to converse with people in a way that I feel safe and comfortable with, and then later on sit quietly and just be able to soak in everything around me. But… Its that later part that bugs me and wonders if I just fail at this whole thing and am destined to live with that lingering lonely feeling. Meh…

Flabbergasted By Flabbergasting People

I don’t understand people. I wish I did, because I am oftentimes flabbergasted by them. Take Sequence Break for example. I know we have fans and I know we have people who don’t give a rat’s ass. I get that. I don’t even care about the later group because its a waste of energy. So why am I flabbergasted? Because some of these people continue to listen even if they don’t like the show.

I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m flipping insane, but I will tune out or walk away from something if I don’t like it. There are several XIV shows I just didn’t like because they were too dry and boring or were even more off the wall than SBXIV is (shocking, I know). Then there are the people who complain about, “Oh there isn’t x, y, or z.” or “Ugh, this shit has a, m, z, x, and l!” If you have a vision for something or have an idea… then why not put in the work to get it done if you’re going to complain about it? So many people are passive about things and hardly proactive.

I don’t know if people are just being clueless, lazy, or what… but its really not that hard to set up shop if you think you can do a better job and want to put in the effort to do so. The amount of free tools out there is mind boggling, and so are the amount of tutorials and guides to help people get going. Though if the problem is effort, then they need to sit still and shut up. I can’t fault someone for putting effort because they are trying, and that says a whole lot more than the people who sit on their damn asses all day just throwing stones without doing much for themselves or anyone else. But whatever.

I take comfort that soon there will be more shows for people to listen to, because some are coming back and some are being made. Hopefully people find what they are looking for or decide to get off their carcass to make what they desire to hear out of a show.

Time and Experience as a Meter to the Wise

Something earlier really bothered me, because it speaks about a lot of the problems that thankfully many people are unaware of. When you start getting you neck deep into bullshit, you end up having to wade through a lot of it before you can find yourself able to breathe. This is especially true about certain aspects of the community.

I spoke with several people (many of whom I consider dear friends), before finally finding the introspection I have been looking for. This friend is amazing. Simply amazing. He is bright, funny, and wise. He told me this:

“Experience should account as milestones and commitment, not as domination and authority.”

Smart words that don’t just have to apply to whatever we were talking about, but life in general as well. I just hope someone understood I am still a crazy toddler despite having done this since 2009. Crazy, right?

Anxieties of a Podcaster

If there is one thing that worries me concerning the podcast, it is that I am the weakest link. I’m told many good and bad things about myself as a host, and so I’m keenly aware of what some people think of me. I try very hard not to let it get to my head or to affect me if its negative, but sometimes past comments end up affecting my thoughts months later and I find myself thinking about it on my own. Those comments will usually pop up into my head and cause my anxieties to often build up and silence me at times even when I have something to say.

Its hard enough putting yourself out there. I sometimes have to talk to myself to block thoughts out and just not care and have fun. It works most of the time but there are other times when I am sitting there muting myself because I’m having a mini panic attack after I say something and wondering, “Did I make sense? I made sense, right? No, I went into a tangent. No one is answering. There is silence. Fuck. There is silence. I’m stupid. Fuck, I’m stupid. I’m so stupid. Jeez…”

It doesn’t help I do have a general anxiety disorder or really low self esteem. Which often leads to a drawn out conversation with my boyfriend about the truths about myself; what he thinks is true, what I think is true, and what really is true. I often need evidence of something before I finally settle down and go, “Oh. Yeah. Okay.” and then calm the fuck down. That boyfriend of mine? A saint. One has to be in order to talk to someone who routinely has to patiently listen to me and then talk me out of thinking so negatively about myself.

I suppose my anxieties don’t just apply to podcasting either. I also have insecurities about my writing as well. My boyfriend writes really well, and I often feel depressed whenever I read his work. He does so many things well, and I don’t do anything well at all (even as I write, I can’t even think of a single thing I do better than my boyfriend). Then again, I also think that every single person on Zantetsuken (both writers and podcasters) are leagues above me and I’m dirt. Yet I’m the supposed leader, and sometimes I have a hard time reconciling that with how I personally view myself. I once entertained the thought that maybe it was a huge joke, but then I realized that anyone would have gotten tired of it by now and would have surely moved on. Thankfully they haven’t. These are people I want to meet face to face one day. They are really awesome and great people that I admire and respect. Which should be given, considering how I place myself next to them.

But back to my anxieties: why write about it? Mostly to get it off my chest and out of my head. I think too much. I am often trapped in my own head, and often come up with a lot of stuff in any given day. I think about the podcast, the site, what I would like to do, what I can’t do, anatomy, physiology, nerves, tissues, muscles, bones, chemistry, stories, etc… and on top of that I think about what I am in very negative contexts that is quite self destructive. It is also something I feel that I need to get down into the written typed words. I suppose doing this has also helped me realize that the ground under my feet is becoming more unstable. While I’m happy that the podcast is becoming more known… its also quite intimidating. Do I go on business as normal? Do I change? Do I leave and run away screaming and crying? Sometimes I think of those things too.

Or maybe the problem is that I think too much. Maybe I should just stop thinking. Or maybe I should just go to sleep. Yes, sleep…

Blogging Anxiety

I am a fickle person. Want proof? Ask Derrick/Orophen how many domain names I have owned in the past or how many times I have changed my mind on ONE thing. The man is a saint, I tell you. I should know. He deals with me.

I am not here to write about my boyfriend though. As wonderful as he is, he is hardly the problem I am having. My problem is obviously about blogs and anxiety, but how do they mix? I’ll tell you: I have too many of them!

See, part of me had always thought it was a good idea to have several blogs: one for microblogging, one for posting stupid shit, one for personal, one for private matters, another for gaming, and then another for… some weird FFXIV stuff. Taking aside the microblogging one (twitter), that is five blogs in total. Of those five, one has been active as of late (oh, hey, that is this one!). The other four? Errorcode.me has been lacking things to write in because I just haven’t had the time to game or anything. If I do game, then I am too busy just derping around and I’m not sure it warrants me writing about it. I own a tumblr for reblogging or favoriting silly things on there, and it also acts as a secondary “personal” blog. This is my primary personal blog, and I still maintain a Livejournal account for private entries and to keep up with old friends from Livejournal. The last one is so straight forward, that I think it doesn’t need any explanation at all.

Why did I decide to have so many? I don’t know. In my head, I keep thinking, “This doesn’t belong here! It should be on its own… HERE!” and then it snowballs from there. But now I have a problem. I’m stretched too thin and I am also keenly aware that maybe people don’t want to visit two or three or maybe four blogs. So, guess what I bought? calaera.me meant as a portal to everything else.

Here I am days later, however, and I am now having an anxiety attack because I am realizing that it is too damn much. I could technically merge errorcode.me and calaera.me together. I could also make a concerted effort to repost things onto tumblr so that people who have tumblr don’t have to bother searching me up if they actually cared to read my stuff (and I am fairly sure not many do). But I am about convenience and options, so reposting things on tumblr makes sense to me.

I honestly don’t know what to do. I like it separated, but I don’t. I like knowing that people don’t have to bother reading crap if they don’t want to, but then I have to keep switching between blogs and being mindful of the existence of the other blogs so that they don’t fall completely to the wayside.

Or, to make things easier on myself and possibly everyone else, I could just stop blogging. Problem solved on many different levels, and I can have some sort of sanity back. Until I find myself longing to write about post my ridiculous diatribe online…

My Juice Experiments

Awhile ago I mentioned that I was going trying to make my own juice, and that I was mostly experimenting with fruit juices. My main focus regarding fruit, was to have an easier way of increasing my intake of fruits that was to help with my asthma and allergies. The result? Though very unscientific, I do believe that it has helped tremendously with decreasing my phlegm production and helping ease allergy symptoms that have been on the rise these past few months.

I know that it is better to juice vegetables over fruit juice, but I can’t seem to get over drinking vegetables. I have tried but the smell nor the idea of drinking juiced veggies doesn’t sit well with me. Instead I have been trying to create a blend that would suit my tastes that includes: spinach, kale, carrots, apple, and celery. I usually make this batch after the fruit drink, hoping that a bit of the flavor left behind from the fruit drink will have mixed in a little with the vegetable/fruit drink. I kind of “guess” what would taste good, so the amounts I use vary from batch to batch. This is what I have found:

– Spinach and kale really bring out the “green” color of the juice

– Using a lot of kale, and not a lot of spinach or carrot seems to make the juice bitter. I didn’t try it, but that was the report I received last night. I may not have used enough apple either…

– The Jack LaLanne juicer is great for fruit, but I’m questioning its efficiency for vegetables. I have done quite a bit of research, and it seems I would need two separate juicers for fruit and vegetables to get the best out of either!

– The Jack LaLanne juicer is a pain in the fucking ass to clean

– Alternating the ingredients helps with making sure you are getting some juices that can sometimes get “stuck” in the machine. This is especially true with vegetable blends. Spinach and celery like to get stuck in the mystical space!

I will probably start with a carrot and apple juice blend soon and work my way up to at least one green juice every other day. That is if I can at least get over the damn taste and smell. Lemons, maybe?

Fan Site Business

Before FFXIV 1.0 launched, I worked on ffxivblog.com after I was invited by an awesome friend — Maiev. He wrote about it here, and I have always wanted to write an entry of my own regarding the matter. I have many mixed feelings about ffxivblog.com, but I will never forget how the experience has helped me tremendously with zantetsuken.net and Sequence Break XIV.

ffxivblog.com had started out fairly small and with several people invited to the project from Maiev. These people were FFXI bloggers and they were to become part of the FFXIV blogging community that brought some of us together in the first place. Or at least that is how I remembered it. Anyway, after I was brought on, I dragged my boyfriend with me and we started to make changes here and there. My first experience with podcasting also started with orzcast, the first and only (thus far) show with two primary female hosts. I talked about tits, love, and everything. It was probably because of this and the fact that there weren’t many other shows at the time (Aetheryte Radio and Crystal Core are the only two that pop into my mind pre-launch), that it brought a lot of hits and activity that quickly swung ffxivblog.com in a whole different direction. There was talk about ad-revenue, trying to get on SE’s good graces to be invited to stuff, people requesting for a forum, and more… and that is where the trouble started.

During beta there was already starting to be an obvious split. Some were starting to distance themselves away and write negatively about FFXIV. This didn’t sit well with some of us, nor did the NDA breaking articles that caused Matt to send me an e-mail to stop. Needless to say, I was shocked and horrified since I hadn’t written the article myself and I wasn’t the head honcho. This is probably where I started to get resentful. Not because of the e-mail, but because of the direction of the website. The uneven load of work that Orophen and I tried to fill, the feeling that the website was more to fill numbers for someone’s LS, and more. For a month or two, all I wanted to do was wash my hands of it. It was becoming too stressful and I didn’t like how I was as a person to some people that may not have deserved it. Frei and Orophen were in more frequent communication with me about the website, its direction, and our increasing unhappiness. This is very important to anyone considering a fan site: there is no damn point to it if it does not make you happy.

After extensive talks between the three of us, Orophen and I decided that it would be better to bail than to continue raising unnecessary stress levels. In the end, the three of us were collaborating together to work on a website we knew we would be happy with: something small, manageable, and without worry about publicity, hits, SEO, or anything of the sort. There were times Orophen would fret and worry about our traffic (and rightfully so after the large amount of hits we were used to seeing on ffxivblog.com), but in the end we found that it was too much stress to really care for making a concerted effort to increase our hit count. It took some time before we were able to start the podcast, but there was always one thing I always kept in mind after ffxivblog.com and orzcast: have fun. We don’t care for hits, we don’t care if people think our show isn’t “professional” enough, or whatever. Once you start worrying about those things more, working on a fansite no longer becomes fun- it becomes work. Though designing, maintaining and creating stuff is work in and of itself, it is a different sort of work that brings a great deal more satisfaction than anyone can imagine. It is a labor of love that I enjoy working on with Orophen, Frei, Rubicon, and Yelta and hope to enjoy in the years to come on FFXIV: ARR.

For those who were interested in writing for zantetsuken.net, I hope that you read this and take into consideration who and what we are about. Working with people can be hard, as we know when trying to find people to tackle primals and dungeons as a cohesive team. We aren’t interested in being a big website; we will leave that to the people with far more time, interest, and dedication than we can afford. We just want to be the best that we can be, in the way that we can be, and with people who collectively share our interest and aspirations.

Partnership Schm-artnership

Yesterday we (as-in: me), received an offer for a website partnership on zantetsuken.net. I instinctively knew what they were asking and wasn’t at all surprised when the response e-mail came in the next day after I had told them that I wasn’t interested but that Orophen had some piqued interest. I am going to be respectful of the other party and not include their name, website, or the original e-mails, but I think this something that should be on the mind of others who are considering “website partnerships” in the future.

The summary of the e-mail: their site, weeks active, hits and members accrued since their launch from continual postings on the Google+ Community, and what they had to offer in exchange for the partnership: hits, popularity, proud members of a team, free advertising, free hosting, an installed blogging platform, assumed assistance from a professional web developer, etc. Sounds cool, right? All in exchange for dropping Zantetsuken.net, having Sequence Break on their website, and my loyalty to the team.

Wait, what?

Now, I had no plans on saying yes. Orophen may have been interested, but the fellow was right in addressing me versus Orophen: I call the shots for the most part. Nothing goes on Zantetsuken.net without my express approval. If something doesn’t meet my approval and is on the website, then the natural consequence is that Orophen will hear of it and he WILL suffer. However, I gave them the benefit of the doubt because Orophen was slightly interested and some part of me wanted to believe that maybe the fellow had good intentions. Even now some part of me thinks maybe he had good but very misguided intentions. Nevertheless, there were so many problems that a swift response was in order and I declined the offer.

A partnership definition:

part·ner·ship

[pahrt-ner-ship] Show IPA

noun

1.the state or condition of being a partner; participation; association; joint interest.

2.Law.

a. the relation subsisting between partners.

b. the contract creating this relation.

c. an association of persons joined as partners in business.

The joint interest would be FFXIV, but that is where it ends. I am not interested in being popular, hits, or working with a team that may not be as interested or invested when the game is actually released. Five weeks is practically a new born versus Zantetsuken which has been around for over two years now. We aren’t a big site, we don’t claim to be a big site, nor do we have aspirations to become a big and popular website. My idea has always been simple: to contribute to the FFXIV community in our own way and on our terms. The podcast is done because I enjoyed doing orzcast for a brief period of time, and mostly enjoy the conversations I have with friends and sometimes meeting new people. I also like having an outlet that I can go to and where I can do what I want with no worry of this or that or what have you (hence the language you typically find on any given episode of Sequence Break). There is also the simple fact that we aren’t short of the resources they tried to promise us. Hosting? We have a lot of space and bandwidth to spare. Word-of-mouth? Happens quite often. If people like what you do, they will come. Why spam a place for attention, when the work can speak for itself? Hrm, and web dev stuff? Uh, we aren’t short of help on that end either thanks to Orophen, Frei, and friends we can ask tips from.

The partnership would have to offer an equal amount to what is being taken away. To be honest, there would be nothing offered that could give me the equivalent of freedom, being ad free, and the quality and control both Orophen and I desire. And to throw away a site that has put in two years of work to go into a fairly fresh and new website seems not just nuts but backwards and strange. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Not that we are interested. We are happy with where we are at. We may expand certain things, but for the most part we plan to do what we want, at our own pace, and enjoy the community experience without sacrificing who we are or forgetting why we walked this path.

If anyone where to consider proposing a partnership to us again (or anyone) in the future, I hope they take this into consideration:

1.) Do your homework. Why are you proposing a partnership? Is there something that can be gained mutually by the creation of a partnership between the two entities? Does it really make sense to propose a partnership with the other website?

2.) Make sure the offer is good for both parties. Put yourself in the shoes of the other person or ask a friend to read it over and consider the proposal. Does it seem fair? Then by all means, proceed. If it seems purely one-sided then you have a problem, and you can be sure the person will decline when they see that.

3.) Be sincere. You can pile on the compliments, but if it is insincere then the other party will easily sniff it out and be wary. Show them you did your homework, and give very specific examples as to why you are interested in creating a partnership. If you are vague and general as to why you want to create the partnership, the other party will think you are insincere and it will add to the belief that the drawbacks far outweigh any benefit you could think of.

4.) Most importantly: consider what YOUR website is about first. An established website is going to look at the newer website and will ask about their commitment, their intentions, and who or what they are doing it for. Is the website created for fun? For fame?

Final Fantasy XIV has seen a mass exodus of fansites come and go during 1.0, and I already see a second wave coming for ARR. I think it is great because it gives FFXIV: ARR another chance for gamers to meet others like themselves who missed the first wave or are there to test the waters before diving in. However, if you are a new fansite for xiv, give yourself a chance to establish yourself as a committed fansite host vs. an over eager one seeking to absorb established websites. People will gravitate towards your website not because you have x, y, or z content (though it helps), but because you stuck it out and decided to stay. And that says a lot given the nature of many fansites out there that come and go for any game out there.

Experimental Fresh Squeezed Juice

My home has had a juicer for a few months now, but no one was daring enough to try to use it. Go fig. I decided to use it the other night when I read about juicing strawberries for better health. Cut up some strawberries, tossed them in, took a sip and cringed. Okay, so now I remembered whey they often include other ingredients for other juices! It tastes awful straight up! So far I’ve tried strawberries + apple and strawberries + apple + pineapple. I’m going to dare myself to make a vegetable drink, but I usually think that sort of thing is gross and weird.

I’ll probably start taking pictures and documenting what I do just for the fun of it. :)