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.

My December

This is my December, this is my time of the year. This is my December, this is me alone, this is me pretending this is all I need. Just wish that I didn’t feel like there was something I missed. And I’d take back all the things I said to make you feel like that. And I’d give it all away just to have somewhere to go to… give it all away, to have someone to come home to…

Year after year.

And I Thought It Was Over

A lot of time has passed since that day last year, and I always managed to smile during those particular moments, little that I know though, the pain is all but gone.

He spent with me more than half of my whole life, and he’s gone just because some random idiots thought it would be cool to feed him, thus food poisoning him.

I think I never really talked about him, but I guess it could be about time now. To scream to the world all the little things that populated my mind while tears scarred my face. And it’s not usual now, hey!

He was born a bit of a bastard, both phisically and metaphorically, and he was fucking crazy, just like me. He would do all the most weird stuff on this planet with all the rage he was able to put into it and just look innocently at you afterwards, as if what he did was the most natural thing a dog could do.

There are several random funny facts, and I almost don’t know which one to begin with, let’s see…

My mother once wanted to give him some biscuits, cause he loved them. She then got outside, called him, and offered him the biscuits. He looked at them, he stopped for a second, then he went away. My mother started asking if he was feeling ok, or he just didn’t want them. Less then a minute later he popped up in front of her, dropped our remote control at her feet and pretended the biscuits. “You give me biscuits? Hey!! Look what I can give you!! Deal?”. The little bastard slipped inside our house when nobody was around, took our remote (it was old, somewhat large, made of hard plastic… the perfect toy) and started playing with it. I still have it laying around somewhere with his teeth brushes carved in it.

Or there was that time on the beach. He used to be a “runner”: if you lost him, you would have to run after him for miles, no shit. The problem with where we were living, is that there were (and still are) a whole lot of trucks moving in and out, who could lay him flat on the ground forever. But anyway, I’m digressing. My parents bring him to the vet, I was in university back then, so I couldn’t be around. Since it was always around January/February, we used to bring him to the beach and let him play and run for a while. My mother was not quite able to run with the dog, so my father thought of letting him run, and so he did. While running though, the dog moved from the shore to the dry sand part, making running harder. My father had some troubles, started “dancing” and then fell face first (or hands, but I will always loved to believe he fell with his face in the sand). He thought “ok, he’s gone…” but our dog was a bastard, sure, but no betrayer. Even though he got free, he realized my father wasn’t with him. Stopped, turned his head, ran to him and… started licking his face… “are you alright?”.

And he could understand you. Several people told us he was no animal, he was a human… One time, when I was a kid, while playing with my cousins I fell down. Nothing bad, but my cousins were on the other hand of our yard and couldn’t see me, and I was alone with my dog, so I thought about “testing” him. I feigned to be hurt badly, he wouldn’t know anyway, I’m a great actor. I asked him (once!) to go and call my mother. The last thing I remember is him running away at lightening speed, and coming back with the whole house 10 seconds later. The people who was inside the house told me he started to scratch on the door (a glass door, he wasn’t ruining it) frantically, until somebody opened him, and then pretended them to follow him… It was amazing…

And he could not just understand you, he could feel you. I swear I did see the pain in his eyes when I stepped in front of him filled with my thoughts… When I was sad, he would feel it and look after you. A level of empathy I rarely saw in any human being (other than myself, of course). He would look into straight into my eyes, trying to figure out what was hurting me. I swear on god I saw him trying… And when I used to realize it, I would cheer up a bit, and he, once again, looked at me almost smiling. I know most of you think I’m crazy by now, but again I cannot stop but to believe what my eyes have seen over the years: a lot of years. And when the world was dancing, needless to say, he would dance along with it.

These were just a few excerpts, 14 years are far more than any post could ever describe, but I wanted to share my vision of him… he was a good dog, more like a human than a dog still. My companion for ages. Say a prayer for him tonight if you would.

Totally miss the honesty, and special times, and honestly totally miss the fucked up things you do.

Dude, I totally miss you.

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…

Farewell Tears

Max. R.I.P. 16/09/1993 - 21/08/2007

Vanished tears. Like never before in dozens years. But the more I was shedding tears, the most I realized that such tears I never cried in my whole life. I lived more than fifteen years without being able to drop a single tear, not even if I’d liked to. Without dropping a tear for my dead grandma. Something touched me deeper than that. Alone, in a dark corner, screaming without any voice for a pain which gives no rest, a pain so deep and true that you couldn’t even feel its presence. Feeling just a sudden emptiness which causes an unstoppable desperation. Silent sufferings, desperate screams and tears entrusted to the wind. Nothing more could I have done. Nothing more I was able to do.

You lived with me almost 14 years. But it didn’t have to stop here. Not like this.
I lived so many years, and shed so many tears… But never like this. Never before.

Dude, I totally miss you
I really fucking miss you
I’m all alone,
All the time, all the time

Dude, I totally miss you
The things we did together
Where have you gone?

Totally miss the honesty
And special times, and honestly
I totally miss the fucked up thing ya do

Dude, I totally miss you
I totally miss you
Dude, I totally miss you
All the time

Ahhhhhhhhhh, aaaaaah
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, aaaaaah
aah ya-he haaa.

Totally miss the honesty
And special times, and honestly
I totally miss the fucked up thing ya do

Dude, I totally miss you
I totally miss you
Dude, I totally miss you
All the time

(Tenacious D – Dude (I Totally Miss You))

Rest in peace, Max. Even though you didn’t deserve a death like this.