Already half way into June, I guess this is better than not doing it at all, probably.
To be honest, I’ve taken a break this month from political stuff. Not entirely, and not on purpose. My body must have just sensed I needed a break. I have a backlog of stuff I need to take care of now, and a mountain of guilt to work through. There were lots of fits and starts, but I could not get it together to work on things.
There is actually a lot on my mind with the state of things currently, but I think that warrants a separate post because it would really just consume this, and I want to focus on that. There is just so much fucked up stuff going on at the moment in the country. Separating children from their families?!? Cages?!? These are human beings you absolute monsters.
We’ve recorded and released a second podcast now. I’ve really enjoyed recording these, and this is like my only outlet to talk about game development. I hope to record another one this weekend. The goal is monthly.
Tim and I continue to stream on Twitch and archive on YouTube. If you can, catch it live, or on the Twitch VOD. The bitrate on Twitch is so much better than YouTube. YouTube crunches stuff down so badly.
We have been streaming Sonic Mania recently and those have been some really fun episodes. We even had a sitcom style mix-up in the last recording session. What a pair!
I also was lucky enough to attend my first fighting game major this year, Combo Breaker. Firstly, thanks to my friend Taylor for the heads up and for being a travel partner, wouldn’t have done it without his instance. I’ve been watching fighting game streams and tournaments for years, but never anything live. It was cool to see fighting game legends in person. I was just there as a spectator because I’m garbage at fighting games, but even just watching everything was intense. Like sports, it’s different when you are there in person. It felt like a sporting event as well. There are crowds cheering, energy in the room with close match-ups, and even armchair theorists pontificating on what the player should be doing. I hope to go to it, or something like it (EVO!) again. There was even a proposal after SSF2T grand finals!
In the moments of downtime, we met up with a guy who hosts a podcast, No Cartridge, which I hadn’t heard before, but Taylor DM’d him on Twitter when he found out he was going to be there. Super cool guy, and after I heard it, really good podcast as well.
Since we were close-ish, we went to the best arcade, Galloping Ghost. I try to go there a couple times a year, just because it’s so cool. A staggering collection of arcade games, all on free play just $20 for a whole day. Can’t recommend enough if you are ever near Brookfield, IL.
My friends got married! They are fantastic and I love them, and they are perfect.
Running and fitness
I am continuing my journey to kill myself break my previous records.
I started taking Wednesday mornings to run a half before work and managed to do that for three weeks in a row. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy. It’s a bear. I usually have to get up at 4:30 am and get out the door by 5 to get back, showered, and fed before work. Doing regular half-marathons is not something I’ve ever something I imagines being able to do, so it’s really cool and gratifying to see the time I’ve poured into this having a demonstrable effect.
Outside of the health benefits physically, long distance runs like that do wonders to calm my anxiety. I’ve probably talked about this somewhere in this blog before but running is meditative for me. All I need to focus on in the moment is moving forward. If I’m not listening to podcasts or audiobooks, I can throw on music and just let my mind drift. It helps process whatever I’m dealing with at that time. I know myself, and I know if I’m just sitting around, I will not allow myself the time to work through things; the stresses and responsibilities of whatever I need to do will take precedence. Running is a good forcing function.
I feel like half my blog posts are just, “Everyone, I like running, it’s good.”
But may I pose the following:
I like running, it’s good.
May 2018 Total: 82.2 Miles
May 2017 Total: 54.0
Difference May 2017 to May 2018: +28.2 Miles
Difference 2017 to 2018 to Date: +204.9 Miles
This month has flown by. One of the busiest in recent memory.
I was out of town every weekend in April doing something. Which was fun, and exhausting. In the spirit of that this post will be short and sweet and totally miss details. Always more to do.
The business didn’t stop me from keeping on those #hashtaggoals.
In terms of political stuff, I moderated my first debate/town hall/forum for two of the Democratic candidates for IN-4. It was a fun, new experience that I would not mind doing again. I’d wish I would have probed on some of the answers, but I was so focused on getting through the many questions in time for the audience questions that I got sidetracked.
Here is the video for the event!
Like all good people who are tragically online, I’ve started a podcast with my cousin, Jay Pavlina! It’s ostensibly about game development and programming, but we touch on some weird, wild stuff as well. Jay explains more here. Check out our first episode! We are recording episode two this weekend, so stay on the lookout for that.
That VG Goodness
Upgraded the setup once again to new degrees of greatness/completely unnecessariness.
Firstly, I got tired of Tim and Matt playstreaming in potato quality, so I went to Purdue Surplus and grabbed the best machine they had there for $50. It needed RAM and HDD, and I had that. It proved to be a choice decision as the machine can stream and record in 1080/30 (limitation of the capture device I have) to Twitch.
Second, after trying for a while I was able to snag a gscartsw_lite, which allows me to have all my old consoles connect via RGB without having to switch. This also provides dual outputs so I can hook it up to my upscaler as well as my CRT television. In essence, I can now stream to Twitch, play on the HD TV and play on the CRT all at the same time. It’s very cool! (Like, I think it’s cool) It works, the problem is the SCART cables I bought are of surprisingly low quality and introduce an abundance of noise to the signal. I have some much better (and sadly, more expensive) SCART cables coming from the UK as we speak.
Let’s see where we are this month:
April 2018: 75.1 Miles
April 2017: 30.9 Miles
Difference: +44.2 Miles
Year difference from 2017 (as of this post): +176.7 Miles
“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
This quote is attributed to Benjamin Franklin — who knows if it’s apocryphal or not. I never gave it much thought until recently. Someone gave it as a toast at a cook-out I was at recently and it kind of stuck a chord.
Here’s the thing, this past year, I’ve become a little political. OK, OK, a lot political. I never really intended to, but my conscience kind of thrust it upon me. The 2016 election had a profound effect on me, in ways I didn’t fully anticipate. After everything, the vitriol, the sexual harassment tape, the racial dog whistles, the lack of constitutional and governmental experience and knowledge, after all that he still won. I suppose I was naïve in thinking that there wasn’t a contingent of people who would ignore all that and still pull the lever for him. I never believed there was 0% chance he could be elected, but I still thought we’d all come through and keep this man out of the oval. Well, dear reader, I’m not sure if you have been around the last 10 months, but indeed that is not the case.
The day after Donald Trump was proclaimed victor, I felt sick. I’m sure many of you can commiserate. But beyond the physiological manifestations, I felt powerless. Powerless to affect the future. In my life, I’ve felt existential dread about what comes next. I had real trouble with college, and there were times when I felt the walls closing in on me with what my future would look like. I still have dreams where I am told I didn’t have the requisite classes and credits to graduate and they rescind my diploma. These, however, were circumstances of my own making. Those outcomes were about me not spending enough time focusing on school work. This, this was a different feeling. This felt like I didn’t have a positive future, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. There was no strict schedule to which I could adhere, or amount of time I could spend in an isolated corner of a library that would affect the outcomes.
For weeks afterward, I put myself on total media blackout, social or otherwise, because I was, frankly, scared of what I’d read. Those weeks were hazy. This is quite hackneyed, but while nothing had really changed, everything seemed different.
The media blackout only lasted so long, and the pendulum swung the other way. I became glued to the news. I remember I would feverishly refresh the Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN websites for any news that came out. It was destructive. I knew it was destructive, and I knew I couldn’t stop. The more I read the same reports regurgitated five different ways, the more frenzied I would become. I know my friends and family noticed.
There was a day that switched perspective for me though. I remember it because it was just a great day. One of those days that stick in your mind. I mentally told myself to take a note, try to store it away for days to follow.
It was a confluence of several awesome things. My friend Katie wanted to film a movie for her husband’s birthday present, a parody of the Drunk History series, but applied to the life of her husband, Joe. She asked for my help and I agreed. I love making movies. It goes back to my high school days. There is something about the process that just hits me in all the right places. Maybe it’s the goofing around with friends in front of a camera, maybe it’s turning the chaos of the raw footage and forging it into something cohesive. I’m sure it’s all of it, but before I go off and wax nostalgic about my high school movie days, let’s get back to the focus of this post. On top of filming, that day also happened to have unseasonably warm weather. Here is the kicker, and really what matters in the context of this post, that day was the Women’s March. I saw all these women, all these people, come out in droves to protest. I saw local protestors gathering, I saw the aerial shots on Twitter and Facebook. It was just this crazy force. The march wasn’t specifically about the current administration, there was, however, some focus on it. It was really a sight to witness. I remember feeling something I hadn’t before, a sense of comradery; maybe we could really do something about this mess.
We grow up being taught history about the hows and whys of collapsing societies. We learn about the burning of Rome and the rise of Nazi Germany. We are taught this, ostensibly, so we can learn the lessons, and not repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. Our film, television, and comic book heroes are all imbued with a sense of doing what’s right despite its unpopularity. Heck, even many religions have core tenants that teach these morals. Despite all this though, it’s hard to recognize when these apply and even harder to act. Well, the people that marched that day showed me I needed to act.
The next step however was how, exactly, to act. I had no clue. I started thinking what I could do alone, came up with some ideas, and even consulted with some of my more politically savvy friends. I quickly came to the conclusion that doing this alone was, frankly, arrogant, and not going to work. I did see some murmurings of a Science March that might be being organized in DC. Being a man of science and having been inspired by a march, well it was a match made in heaven. I was going to go to DC and march. Once the details got hammered out, I got my friend Jeff in on it, and we would be on our way to DC on Earth day. This was my first toe dip into the world of activism. I was jazzed.
I was sitting here with this new energy, and a little courage, and nothing to do with it. I started looking around for local groups doing stuff. There were a few groups that popped up in my research. I saw the ACLU doing a lot, at least on social media. Raising funds, and fighting some of the policies already being implemented by the Trump Administration. They had an event to kick off their People Power campaign. I signed up to go, but I waffled about it quite a bit. I knew no one going, wasn’t sure what to expect, and was pretty anxious about the whole ordeal. I did finally decide to go, and it while the event wasn’t much more than a live stream and a little more information about the ACLU, it was great to see these other people there. People who never really had done political stuff before, but felt compelled to seek it out under the circumstances.
The other group that came on my radar was something called Indivisible. It wasn’t really a group at the time, it was just this guide. It was written by ex-congressional staffers for ways to contact and pressure your representative to, you know, represent you. This being another way to say, do their jobs. It was practical advice; actionable items, instead of aspirational thoughts. I had joined the local Indivisible group on Facebook, which I found through the national organization’s website. There happened to be a meeting the next day and having survived the ACLU encounter, I decided to attend.
That was the second turning point. It wasn’t a lot of people, but it was more than I had envisioned. It was really a bunch of serving tables in an empty room in a library, but it was the people that made it. People who came from various backgrounds, and age ranges. These were people who didn’t like what was going on and wanted to do something about it. It was awesome. I found it. I found the group I was looking for.
Honestly, things kind of snowballed from there. It’s hard to say when things really took off, because in a lot of ways it still feels like we are getting our stuff together, but we have all come so far from that room I first attended a meeting in.
We’ve helped in the defeat of the dismantling of our healthcare system. We’ve held protests. We’ve attended street fairs. We’ve registered voters. We’ve recruited new members. We’ve incorporated. We’ve even got T-Shirts!
Personally, I’ve learned so much about local politics, government, and just how much people actually do influence these. I hope to learn much more going forward.
To see how much people do care, is truly inspiring. People who take time out of their already busy lives to contribute to a better country, a better society, and a better world. It is what gives me hope.
I’ve glossed over a lot of the details the formation of what is now Greater Lafayette Indivisible because that story is still being told. I hope I can come back later and fill in the rest of the tale.
I said earlier that after the election I felt powerless, that I felt like I didn’t have any control over what would happen next. Greater Lafayette Indivisible has given me back a sense of control over that. For that I will be forever grateful. I can’t predict the future, and it might all be for naught, but it’s hard to see that happening seeing the dedication of the people around me.
I started with a quote so I’ll exit with one, too.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke