About perfectionism, social, changes and family

This will be one of those long posts, very long, since it will synthesize, willingly or not, my last years of (semi)inactivity.

For starters, as you can clearly see, this is no longer what my website used to be. I had to ask myself a question: “What’s important as of late?”. “High FTE and low TTM”. The website was very cool, if architecturally old. And worked great too. But it had a problem, common amongst the works of several creative individuals, explained quite perfectly in this post by levelsio:

We creatives have one common problem: finishing things. From musicians to writers to developers, we are perfectionists and projects simply never are “just done”. There’s always that extra part to arrange, that extra chapter to write or that extra feature [to] add. Then when our projects are close to finish, we forget about them and go to the next one, without even launching them. We like the feeling of starting something “new”, we despise the feeling of finishing something “old”.

It’s the same conclusion I came to a few days ago, unconsciously, while applying the last changes to the SkyDubh project, to date mostly private. A reason why I stopped posting is the feeling of being able to do the same elsewhere. Twitter, Facebook and their ilk are but palliatives of pseudo-social communication. Sure, you can write, and you can often have a lot of media exposure if we’re talking about promotional pages, but if we go in depth what do we find? Products developed to sink other projects, hyper-financed by public entities, built around the gathering of personal information or the collection of guinea pigs, and not around the need of communication or socialization. Any real message, not centred around huge masses, is but a poorly accepted white noise. Just as Twitter was born to move messaging traffic from SMS to internet (did you ever notice how the character limits in SMS and Twitter messages is the same? No?), most of internet communications became superficial, covering superficial topics  in a superficial way. Given the increasing lack of written messages on Facebook (and its economic resonance for the company) they created monitor & analysis of strokes written but deleted in never posted messages. Translation: if you type a message in the text box but choose not to publish and delete it, Facebook keeps a copy of it and studies it to understand how to better set you in the mood to publish it.

Add to that all the past happenings with PRISM, Locksmith and whatnot, what’s left? Good ol’ blog. “But development requires time, and so do writing and formatting, and the new design…”. True, but we can use an OpenSource CMS. “But connection from and to USA is often slow, sometimes depending on time frames, and all the traffic is monitored anyway, so what to do?”. We pack it up and bring it all home, in Europe. Have you ever noticed how much Facebook slowed down in the past years, but in truth everything being hosted in America? I do. My website, previously answering within a 50-60ms delay, has moved to an average delay of more than 182ms. This means that given the same start, and the same endpoint, the time needed to traverse the same path has grown threefold. What’s the cause of this? The answer is so easy I’ll leave it up to you.

What you see here is the answer, temporarily shown with a theme I’d refer to as obscene, though pleasantly minimalistic. Today, just like in the past, I had to make up my mind and pick between appearance and essence. Although I would always go for perfection in the past, and the perfect launch, today I chose essence. Appearance may follow, no rush. And the huge amount of work I had to go through to convert all the content from the format of my own CMS to an OpenSource one, simply do not matter: the hard work will be fully repaid thanks to the faster content management, because there’s no denying it: unless a single or time/security critical project is involved, no one-man job can ever be superior to a project developed by a team over the span of years. Although my CMSs have always resisted the countless attacks and infiltration tries, its TTM is simply too damn high. Remember my previous posts about the new website? Just like levelsio said before, it’s been ready from months (if not years), but it’s never “simply” finished, and as of today will never see the light. The micro-blogs, WoW and Code, will soon be incorporated in this one, with different aspects. The same fate awaits the SkyDubh project which, though still powered by my CMS, will move from splash-screen version to 3.0 without the world ever knowing it. But this is not our main topic today. Quoting levelsio again:

[…] projects simply never are “just done”. There’s always that extra part to arrange, that extra chapter to write or that extra feature [to] add. Then when our projects are close to finish, we forget about them and go to the next one, without even launching them.

There are many, way too many incomplete projects, or complete but never published. Or programs written, rewritten, completed, used but never published. Just as there are songs composed but never heard. Just as there are proses written but never read. A real shame. It’s a seemingly inescapable trap from which I want to break out, standing resolute as it is fit of me. And I mean to change right about now, sharply changing my attitude towards work and location. All the writings, the songs, the software and the drawings never released before will be published as a whole. ALL OF THEM. No exceptions.

Unlucky enough to be born and raised in Italy, I had yet another handicap: the masses of demotivators infesting my country. As previously stated in my whoami, I always held the idea that criminals should have been forced to go away, not the righteous. My biggest mistake has thus been the “will to change the world, even though the world will never change”, or by quoting Uriel Fanelli:

[…] takes into consideration the general idea upon which “the majority wants this, if you want to change you need to change their minds: it’s democracy, Darling”.

What a surprise it was when I discovered that the answer to my doubts and ideas was in an essay dated 1849, Civil disobedience, written by a person who died in 1862, Henry David Thoreau:

It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support.

As a matter of fact, there are whole countries developing cities to attract new talents. Cities adapted as a whole to accomodate freelancers, spaces created exclusively for coworking. As a response on the other hand we only have a plentiful of people sentencing “find yourself a day job”. And by the time you ask yourself “what’s holding me here?” the decision is already made. If living has a cost, and my needs can be fulfilled anywhere, then why not live where it benefits me most. I don’t owe anything to anyone. Moving out is also quite simple, although coming back never is:

The experience of living abroad was a huge, adrenaline-pumping high. And coming home, a floor-shattering free fall.

So upon coming home, surrounded by familiar faces and places, I began to find comfort again in those old familiar things. Simultaneously, since I myself was no longer the most familiar thing, I began losing touch with my Self. And so starts a downward spiral off a euphoric high. This is the most shocking part of coming home.

I felt flat. Anxious. Insecure. Lost. A general uneasiness and sense that something was missing. I was uncharacteristically apathetic toward everything. It feels like the worst hangover ever.

Upon coming home, I noticed how quickly I began to compare myself to others. There’s an uneasy heaviness in this. […] just being in the presence of people who know me back at home, I feel more influenced.

While traveling, I felt zero need to impress anyone but myself. And with no set agenda, I was able to do whatever the hell I wanted to do.

This is why travel is sometimes referred to as a drug. Similar to drugs or alcohol, travel has the power to temporarily remove all inhibitions and superficial worries, heighten the senses, and if only for a moment, allow one to ignore ego and feel a sense of oneness with the world. For me, travel evokes a sense of aliveness that is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever experienced.

Surrounded by people who know nothing about me, I had the opportunity to be whoever or whatever I wanted with each new country, city, or hostel. But instead of creating some false persona, I just acted like myself. With no inhibitions. no reservations, and no superficial bullshit there’s only one thing left: the purest feeling of being alive.

Something funny happens when you accept who [you] are and are free to do whatever you want. First, you feel at peace because by doing only things you want to do, you’re being true to yourself. Second, like-minded people enter your life as if they’ve miraculously dropped out of the sky and placed purposefully [in] front of you.

And what if, within the prisons of routine and familiarity, I have a hard time remembering that? Well, maybe it’s time to pack a bag and hit the road again.

What is written here is true, and I can personally guarantee it, as I lived it on my skin. That probably is another serious mistake I made: stopping moving out of my country on a yearly basis. Different places, different faces, different thoughts help people understand themselves. Thinking about Germany, the freedom to be oneself is marvellous. Are you committing crimes? No? Then you’re free to do it. Doesn’t matter what it is. Doesn’t matter you say, if it’s legal then you can do it. The unpleasant atmosphere back home, the never spoken words, the never expressed thoughts cause a very strong identity crisis. Being intelligent is turned into a weight on the shoulders, a weight from which you can not escape, because back home idiots do not have to learn, instead the intelligent people have to express themselves on comprehensible terms. How can you talk about multiverse and chief systems with people only able to evaluate alcohol percentage in boxed wine? You can’t, not because of their ignorance, rather because of you since you “were not able to express yourself”. Opposing to all this national behaviour there are dozens of countries ready to welcome with open arms new impulse and to get rid of the so hated parasites. But I’m still here. We are still here.

For how long though, at least this, has to be seen. Albeit somewhat old to emigrate without issues, the time has come to act and react, to move and publish, to be rid of doubts and to bring creations to life, “perfect or not, matters not”. Right about now.

The free time section will also see the consequences of this: I have all the intention to restart composing, by force if necessary, and I also will definitively shut down my Demons of Razgriz clan. It will maybe born again in a new form, or maybe not, but I no longer feel as justified my little lone war against the windmills. Not anymore.

I disobey my rule of not posting anything too personal or identifiable and I show you my grandparents, in the event of their 60th wedding anniversary. They were to me like additional parents since the day I was born, and they recently passed away one year after one another, leaving an emptiness inside of me that is impossible to fill. Every action, every word, brings with it their memory. Being so similar to him does but aggravate the loss. I openly lied a few moments ago. I absolutely and decisively need to improve the lives of people around me and mine, at the cost of throwing every (little) thing to the winds, to grant a better future for myself and my family. I owe this to someone.

I owe them.

Final Fantasy XIII

My comments on this game in a very synthetic way.

What I think about the graphics:
Pretty awesome.

What I think about the musics:
Most of them pass without anyone noticing. There’s no such song which keeps you in like, for example, The Man With the Machine Gun. Also, what I dubbed the “elevator song” in one of Pulse zones is kind of awesome as well. The only thing I hated was at the very beginning, including the initial scenes, where the songs sounded EVERYTHING like Ace Combat’s themes more than an RPG theme, which actually made me want to pick up AC5, drop FFXIII and play that instead.

What I think about the storyline:
The storyline itself starts in a rather twisted way, but being a fan of Stephen King I like this kind of startup. I didn’t particularly like the evolution reflected in the combats during disc 2 (more or less), but other than that it’s very entertaining and literally dragging yourself in. Very, very nice storyline. I could compare it to Ace Combat 5’s storyline for its depth, and that’s a compliment.

What I think about the hours of grind needed in some points of the game:
AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGHHHHHHH. I spent around 12 hours on end-game pre-boss CP farming and something like 6-8 hours for the initial Pulse missions (and since the storyline is over but the game is not, more grind hours await me), which totally left me phased out since I couldn’t even start thinking for a moment that I had to stop going through doing random missions just to be “powerful” enough to keep going, as if it was a standard MMORPG leveling method. Hey, I quit that stuff for a while now. Seriously, the basic need of the “wait, you need to grind up to go on” imposed on the gamer made me cry. Hard.

What I think about the lack of world exploration:
One of the features I loved most in previous Final Fantasies was that I could, at any given time, stop whatever the storyline wanted me to do and do my own business instead. People who saw me play FF8 for example, perfectly knows that I simply adored the card game. On my second playthrough that came years later, before reaching Disc 2 I already had most of the cards available in the 4 discs span, and I was already up to beat the Cards Club as soon as they showed up. With that being said, maybe because I knew of that already when I bought it, I must admit I didn’t particularly miss the feature. Coincidentally the part that grieved me the most, was Grand Pulse. If you come to this game thinking that it’s a “typical” FF, you will be hugely disappointed. But if you, like me, maybe enjoyed Final Fantasy: Crisis Core on PSP, then you will most likely enjoy this FF aswell.

There could be more to talk about, like items upgrade (I even made a whole calc sheet to help me with that), but this isn’t the time. Overall I liked the game a lot. I missed some of the features in the previous series, as much as I hated some of the new ones introduced in, but at the end of the day it’s the fun that counts, right? At least, it was last time I checked. And I had fun, even though some grinding parts made me cry and my eyes bleed, I still liked it. And what do you know, even though the game is over, I’m gonna keep playing it until every single object to focus on has been destroyed. Not even my OCD could have made me do it that if the game sucked. Which it doesn’t.

Life and Point of Views

A teacher, before the beginning of his philosophy lesson, put a few objects in front of him, upon the desk. Without saying a word, when the lesson began, he took a big empty mayonnaise jar and he filled it up with golf balls. He then asked to his students if the jar was full, and they said it was.

The teacher then spilled in the jar a box of pebbles, mildly shaking it. The pebbles filled up the space between the balls. He then asked again to his students if the jar was full, and they said it was.

Then the teacher spilled inside the jar a box of sand. Naturally, the sand filled up all the empty spaces. He then asked once again to his students if the jar was full, and they all said unanimously it was.

The teacher took out from beneath his desk two glasses of red wine, and he spilled them inside the jar, filling up all the empty spaces beneath the grains of sand. The students laughed!

«Now», said the teacher when the laughter was over, «I wish you’d considerate this jar your life. Golf balls are the most important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends and the things you like the most; the things that, even if everything else is lost, will still fill up your existence».

«The pebbles are the other things that count, like your job, your home, your car. The sand is all the rest, the little things».

«If you spill the sand first in the jar», he continued, «there wouldn’t be space left for the pebbles and the balls. Same happens for your lives. If you use all your time and your energies for the little things, you will never be able to spend enough time with the things that are really important».

«Take care of the things that are fundamental for your happiness. Play with your children, watch your health carefully. Take your partner out for dinner. Play another 18 holes. Do another slide on your skies! There’s always time to fix up your home and to throw away the trash. Dedicate yourselves to the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Define your priorities, all the rest is just sand».

A student raised her hand and asked what did the wine mean. The teacher smiled. «I’m happy you asked me about it. It was just to prove that no matter how full the life can seem: there is always some space for a couple glasses of wine with a friend».

Tears of the Demon

Past Days

Those days are gone
Now I hide where I just can’t say
I’m still there
Catching the tears
Before they fall to the ground…

Now, before most of you $!#%£ come around swinging axes of vengeance, both title and lyric have been changed, and they don’t even share the same song.

It’s been days I’m carrying a nervous anxiety which is literally tearing apart. I believe that going on like this I will have a nice heart attack due to stress. I’m trying to draw lines and a future path to walk on, but I don’t like what I got now, what I could possibly have in a future, neither what I left behind.

I know that I’m maybe too idealist, but is it the dreamer’s fault if the whole world has decided to stay awake?

Every day I wake up and each and every time I think of the opportunities this life offers me as of now:
1 – Keep doing a job which doesn’t satisfy me just cause it pays. And all in all, considered all the growing expenses, not even that much.
2 – Drop everything and look for a honest job as janitor. Because anyway in Italy, if you don’t know people (or if you don’t want to use the ones you know) you can only do that. I have no crime records either, so I can’t become a politician, of course.
3 – Load the guns, visit each and every one who betrayed and ruined life of my whole italian generation. My life would be probably utterly ruined, but I would face jail with a smile on my face knowing that, vengeance aside, it helped someone.
4 – Emigrate to the USA as a programmer/tester/web developer. The problem is that most of these companies want a Bachelor Degree in “Computer Science” or comparable. Which leads us to the next point.
5 – Start with Computer Science, ask for the commutation of the exams I held in Computer Engineering, and quickly finish the course up. There’s a thing to consider though: probably by the time I would finish, Italy would already be screwed worse than Argentina, so I probably lost the right time to do this.
6 – Suicide.

As of now, the most valued hypotesis are the third and fourth, even though the sixth comes back from time to time.

Several times I desired and requested to be stupid, to have no talents or no skill whatsoever. Ignorance is a Bliss. Not being able to do anything, to be stupid as a beast, but all in all being happy. But no, that would be too easy. I always have to look for a job which can give me personal satisfaction, it’s just not enough that it pays.

Sometimes I can just swallow all of this and keep going on, but I can never do it for too long… I just can’t…

Maybe I just have to convince myself and realize I’m just a random asshole.

PS: If you’re interested, the picture is taken from a new picture gallery. Yeah, I know there has never been one. Maybe I will start soon making this website my repository for real… who knows…

Random Thoughts

Im quite not “In the Mood” (just like the song) in this moment in time. A time quite strange, busy, and a little depressing.

There’s people who works a lot around, who really works his ass out making some job nobody is able to do, either nobody wants to do. Nonetheless, that very same man does it seriously, because at the end of the day, he does it for something he likes. Uses his own free time, his own energies, and in part even his incomes. And, trying to do what he should the best he can, does what he can do best: “thinking ahead”. To think about what will or won’t happen in the future doing or not doing something today.

Some other people though, doesn’t or doesn’t want to understand. People fight, people separates, people kills each other, people leaves. And at its best, a step toward being complete, future shatters. A so close future to be at reach of hand becomes all of a sudden far, far away. Such is the delusion due to such behaviours that you lose every sort of enthusiasm. For whatever reason should someone work when someone else, out of nowhere, decides that it’s not worth it? People complains about few participation, when they’re the first ones who just couldn’t do it. People who complains about not being heard, when they never stop for a second to think others point of views, or doing so just a second before shooting everything they had to say, much like an excuse. People who wonders if it’s better to go or to stay. Answer to that, obviously, is always the same: “go”. I won’t ever change my mind, so just go.

What’s next to that is what you know but will never hear: “never come back”. Don’t come back, nobody need you. Nobody needs people who gets used when needed, just to be discarded afterwards to walk with the strong ones. Nobody needs people who elects themselves as the fautors and carriers of the absolute truth. Nobody needs such a reality.

Still, never look back, because it’s not that sure that you have a place to go back to anyway. Even if that very same person worked further on that job as usual, improbable thing, and that has built something more and more important, possible thing, is probable that the only thing he wants from you is that you go straight to hell. Could you really blame him?

And in all of this there’s people who comes and people who goes, people who stays for a moment, quite just an instant, to just get away for immemorable time. But time passes, people goes on, evolves, while that same people lies quite still.

And mind wonders toward it’s own recent past: “official” work, fun done “for fun”, worries about things done good for everyone… nonetheless, understanding how much it’s been done in vain. How vain has it been to waste own time for people who doesn’t worry about keeping a small amount of time for the sake of the community. And, just like in worst nightmares ever, asking ownselves why? For whatever damned reason?

Answer is simply though: none. There’s no reason to that. Nothing worth keeping fighting for.

After whole days of meditation, and almost for a strange coincidence, I decided to do this penultimate step. A penultimate step toward egoism. I came to the conclusion, that if it’s actually possible for everyonw to ignore everything for an amount of time they think right, then it’s aswell right for me to get myself an amount of time to ignore everything and everyone. Little that you know, that amount of time will be eternal. Maybe though it won’t be enough to pay me back of what I’ve been through.

Don’t try too hard to understand what I’ve wrote until here: if you don’t understand it’s not a message for you. And if it is, it’s the clear demonstration that all I’ve wrote until here holds true.

In this period of emptiness I often stopped thinking about lots of things. About loads of realities’ little sides of view. I was feeling, at least in part, alone. But contrary to what I could have ever believed, I was feeling good. I felt empty, but free. Unmotivated, but owner of my own time. Maybe it’s a little thing, but it could aswell be a good start. A good start toward constructive aloneness.

Anyhow in these last few days happened quite some strange things. People I believed lost, like a forgotten shadow relied to past, came in with unexpected happiness. People who removed me almost-literally from the “people living this world” came back to visit, just like you would expect from long-time friends. Without any reason, and best thing, without any double crossing. To them, just like it’s been for me in the past, is a way to say “purgatory is over, you can get back to heaven”. And in this situation, even quite literally aswell. Of course, I wasn’t too happy myself to get back there back then (and maybe I still am not), just as much as a devil can love his own hell, but this is also why it caught me unprepared, but nicely.

Another happy fact has been reading today the horoscope of a few days ago. Translating the best I can: “Don’t listen to suggestion someone would want to give you no matter what. He could do this in good will, but he has not all the elements to judge the situation”. My suspects here is that he’s talking about Mad. Go for theory, yay!! Remembering some past discussions, it comes to my minds some old ’80s trash movie. A little guy asked his father to explain him the difference about theory and practice. The father then got out with him to find a public phone, called his wife and asked her faking his voice: “I’m doing a survey here: if a man would give you $1,000,000, would you have sex with him?”, and his wife answered “Of course”. He then called his daughter asking the very same question, and his daughter answered just like his wife. He then said to his son: See? In theory, we are millionaires, in practice we have two hoes in our house. Think about it. Or not, as it doesn’t matter anymore.

A sad memory came back to my mind, or better, a sad chain of past memories. I remembered of the past “jobs”, and I’m not talking about last times here, I’m talking about last decade (that’s 10 years, you morons!). Having found myself, willing or not, heading whatever project, I always worked hard to bring it to completeness and to make it progress. No matter what, at a certain time, someone held back. Someone decided that it was better to find something else. Somebody decided he didn’t fit it. Everybody, all together, decided that all my work on it has been done in vain, be it now just like yesterday.

And it’s for this reason that today, really more than yesterday, I feel dead. But the difference with the last times I said and felt I was dead inside, is that this time I really am. In those old times, I still had a fire burning inside, which is now past gone. If we would be in a fabler Final Fantasy, I seriously doubt anybody could cast an Areiz, at maximum they could cast a simple Reiz which would last until next, close death. And even if this was possible, it’s strongly probable that just like in a more cartoonish World of Warcraft the offer would be gently declined.

Consider this as a permanent closure. Towards everyone. Disbelief > all. And if you really want, date it officially: 12-19-2007 04:27:21 AM.