I’m On The GO!

Picture: Pokemon - PikachuYes, this a Pokemon GO post. So, if you have no interest in this topic, it’s best to step away right now and catch my next post. Heehee! ^_^v

There are so many negative or complaining posts about this Pokemon craze/hype/phenomenon out there on the interwebs. However, I feel compelled to share a positive and honest post about what this game means to me. We all have our opinions and that’s fine, but this is my turn to share something really profound and a bit personal.

I suffer from severe anxiety (agoraphobia) and PTSD. This is not a new confession for those who regularly follow my blogs, but I figured that I should mention it for the sake of context for those who may be passing through or new followers.
Hi, there! And welcome to my rambling blog! ♪( ・ェ・)ツ彡

The truth of the matter is, I rarely leave my home, except for attending therapy sessions or doctor’s appointments – mostly back and forth to Mayo to check the status of my recent corneal transplant. Which, by the way, is healing extraordinarily well and is a complete success! And I visit the local hair salon once a month. On average, I leave my house three times a month, for no longer than two hours or much less. This is due to a crippling fear of being outside and around other people.

So… I began to see Pokemon GO showing up EVERYWHERE on every YouTube channel that I follow, all over Twitter and Facebook, and then featured segments on my local news station “Kare11”. Even my favorite science channel, SciShow, did a video about the science behind Pokemon GO: How to Make Pokemon GO. I am a huge fan of Hank Green (the host of SciShow and Crash Course, director, screenwriter, cinematographer, musician, etc.) and it is beyond awesome that he loves the game as well! ^o^

I don’t own a smartphone, never had a need to own one, and I pretty much felt that having one was a waste of money. After all, I had owned a basic cell phone and used it to make phone calls and the occasional texting. So, I was left out when the Pokemon craze first started, until my sister offered that I could try the game on her smartphone.

The first thing that I had noticed was that I was reaching for my black Converse high-tops and eagerly asking my sister to come outside with me, along with her dog named Apollo, as I was marching towards the door of the house with the willingness to go outside around 10pm at night. I haven’t been that brave and willing to do such a thing since age 14 (I’m currently age 35), back in Philadelphia! I was determined that I wanted to catch a Pikachu that was said to be wandering around my neighborhood, yet we never found it.

However, the end result was that I had fun trying, I was OUTSIDE, and I didn’t have a panic attack. Most of all, I wanted to do it again and felt a little disappointed returning back to the house, which is the complete opposite of what I usually feel when I return home – a sense of relief and thoughts of, “I don’t ever want to leave this safety zone!!!”. The following night, while borrowing my sister’s smartphone,  I put on my shoes and went out hunting again, as I was hoping for a Pikachu. I didn’t find one, but I’ll never give up!

Picture: Death Note - L with cell phone.This weekend, for the very first time in my life, I bought a smartphone. And I went on a “drive-by” to further away Pokestops with my sister and roommate, in order to collect a nice haul of Pokemon and items. I was near a Gym and joined team blue, Team Mystic, and I still dream of catching a Pikachu. Normally, when my sister and roommate choose to go out someplace, rarely do I tag along. My mental issues are crippling and I usually start gaining a panic attack just thinking about going outside. But now, I think I can tag along more often.

I bought this phenomenon to the attention of my therapist, who’s a VERY good therapist and I have been a patient of hers for the past three years. Because of her treatment and my hard efforts, I no longer suffer from crippling depression and low self-esteem, however fighting my anxiety has been a real bear for the both of us. Her response was, “I’ve been trying for years to get you to agree to go outside, unsuccessfully. And now you’re leaving the house because of Pokemon GO. Oh, my god, this makes me look bad! Don’t tell anyone!”

LOL! I guess I’m telling people, but I’m strongly arguing that this has no reflection on her skills whatsoever. The issue is, the motivation to simply go out for a walk just for the sake of it, was not motivating enough against my deep-seated fears. Gaining exercise was always a prize on the table and twice we had made the goal that I would have morning walks or runs. And twice, that goal was not met. I love to walk and run, a LOT, I miss doing it as I had done it often in my youth before the anxiety showed up and began flipping tables on me.

I don’t know how to explain it, but with Pokemon GO, I completely put aside all fears long enough for the promise of a Pikachu or some other pocket-monster. Walks and runs seem possible for me now. Yes, granted, that I will stop in the middle of exercise every now and then, to heed the call that I’ve come across another Pokemon to catch. Let’s not split hairs, shall we? o_O

Yes, I am aware these are digital animations that aren’t real nor exist in the real world. I am aware that it’s just a video game, with an addictive hook of “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”. I am aware that we’re just specks on a speck, orbiting specks, among more specks, in an endless sea of specklessness (aka, billions and billions of universes in the grand scheme of life itself).

That said, the game is fun, it encourages me to get outside, and it’s a handy tool along with therapy to help break my long battle with severe anxiety. I fail to see the negative within my particular case. Without this game, I would be all too willing to return back to my hermit lifestyle and continue to struggle to find the motivation or excuse to brave the outside world.

It’s okay if others hate the game or do not have an interest in Pokemon. I don’t care nor mind that at all. It’s okay if others wish to complain about the bugginess of the game – which I will only remind everyone that this a very new “beta” type game, that wasn’t supposed to be released this soon. So, with all beta and alpha games, you have to realize that developers are still working on it and this is not the final product! However, I understand the frustrations, because it’s a cool game and we all want it to work at our convenience. Patience, grasshoppers! ^_-

What I take real issue with is those who choose to make fun of/mock/bully those who are enjoying the game or wish to destroy others’ fun. I think Jacksepticeye said it best in his Pokemon GO video, so I’ll leave his speech here: INTO THE WILD | Pokemon GO #2 (Jacksepticeye).

Bottom line is, DON’T be an asshole. Let people like what they like. Be kind to each other!

And for the players; do be safe out there and use common sense, don’t go into dangerous situations. That Pikachu is not worth it if it means wandering into the middle of the street, onto live train tracks, or getting stuck in trees! Be smart!

Picture: Ash and Pikachu.

Today’s song is: All The Way – Jacksepticeye Songify Remix by Schmoyoho. I think it’s a great song for Pokemon GO hunting! Hahaha! (*≧▽≦)ノシ))
And much love to Jack, he’s beyond awesome!

Thanks for reading, as always, dear readers! Good luck in your hunts! And for those not on the GO, good luck in all of your endeavors today, as well! ^_^v

-D

The Language Of Music

Picture: anime girl playing violin.I have spent an hour today, researching a particular piece of music called “Ma Vlast: No. 2. Vltava” by the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana, known as “Die Moldau” in German (or “The Moldau”). I first came across this composition at age fifteen, with the purchase of my first home desktop, an “IMB Aptiva” back in the 90’s.

It was a song included in a library of midi files, a package belonging to a music tutor program.

I fell in love with the major tune of this piece instantly, the melody has haunted my thoughts ever since. Every now and then, I’ll hear this tune in different media, which will spark a bit of nostalgia of those long afternoons in my childhood home replaying the midi over and over again, trying to learn the piece for the piano on my own.

While suggesting to someone on the internet of the Don Hertzfeldt cartoon, Everything Will Be Okay, I became reminded of this tune once again and decided to look deeper into the story of the tune and composer. What I found, at least according to Wikipedia, is the main tune is an adaptation of many other tunes including one Czech children’s song called “Kočka leze dírou” (“The Cat Crawls Through the Hole”).

Smetana’s composition is a poem about The Vltava in Prague, starting from two springs, the cold and the warm Vltava uniting into one, its travels through the woods, meadows, flowing past various places and events, then onward towards Prague until it vanishes majestically into the distance.

It’s a very beautiful piece and I do enjoy it very much. However, it does spark a bit of philosophical thought within my mind. In my absolute honest view, I believe that music is a language within itself, and this composition is just one of many examples of this. I am not Czech nor German, I do not speak either language, yet I can understand this composition’s language very well. This music had spoken to me as a very young woman, in a profound way, in spite of the fact that I’ve never left my own country in my entire life. I can appreciate its beauty and meaning, through a universal human ability of emotion and empathy.

In this current society, we seem to be stuck in separating ourselves with race, financial class, politics, religion or non-religion, gender, sexuality, age, and whatever other nonsense we can think of. People are killing each other over arbitrary traits and not bothering to communicate with each other whatsoever.

There’s a lot of shouting, blaming, demanding, violence, but a lack of listening on every side of this situation.

If we could communicate like music seems apt to do; not requiring a certain class or group, country nor wealth, in order to meet together and understand a basic human concept, to appreciate what is communicated, to think about it deeply before rejecting it, to treasure it, and to respect it, then I believe this world would be a better place for everyone.

Picture: daydreaming music.

I could be wrong, it’s just a thought of mine. ^_^

Anyhoo, I’m enjoying an early Monday morning with Toscanini’s conduction of Smetana’s “Ma vlast” (My homeland) music poems. It’s a reminder to me, that no matter how ugly this world chooses to become sometimes, there’s still much beauty to be found within it.

Thanks for reading, as always! And be safe, my readers. I wish you all the best on your journeys! ^o^/

-D

Happiness Is…

Picture: Hatsune Miku smile.I’m still in the middle of creating an awesome RPG Maker game, however, I’ve realized I haven’t stopped in a while to blog. Oops!

So, today, I’ve decided to take a moment and share what I feel is true happiness in my life, thus far. ^_^

Keep in mind, this is what happiness means to me personally. It’s not a dictation of what happiness should be for everyone else, as it’s different for different people. Without further ado, here’s my little list within my “Quest For Happiness”.

“Happiness is…”

1.) Resting peacefully – It’s rare that I lie my head down on my pillow, with turmoil in my heart or mind, anymore. When I choose to sleep at night (or day, as a lifetime night-owl, I tend to keep odd hours), I’m usually at peace and sleep is just a part of a natural function for me. This wasn’t always the case, as I used to cry myself to sleep or collapse into it so very emotionally drained. It’s nice to visit dreamland without burden. I enjoy my eight or nine hours of sleep until it’s time to open my eyes again.

2.) Opening my eyes again – Besides the fact that I’m alive and get to face another wonderful day of living, the best part of opening my eyes after sleep is the fact that I can see! No longer do I have to worry about running into walls or doors, or stumbling down stairs. I love it when I can turn on my computer in the early mornings (or 2am, most times) and simply read my emails or read today’s science articles without assistance. This was not possible for three years, before my corneal transplant, not at all. I enjoy the confidence of being able to read anything from a book, magazine, online article, or medical release forms. This makes me feel very happy!

3.) Creativity and Learning – Although, I would argue that both concepts are not necessarily exclusive from each other. I am writing and coding video games, which takes a lot of creativity and imagination. However, I’m often learning new gaming mechanics and styles in the process. It’s just too much fun when I run across a new code or feature that I can implement into my project. The best reward is when I have a great idea for a scene, yet I’m unsure how to create it with the coding I’ve already learned, then I work tirelessly for a few hours to figure it out and thus learning something new altogether. It’s beyond awesome!

4.) Self Esteem – I will admit that for most of my life, I had lacked self-esteem. There was always some other person trying to convince me that who I am as a person is wrong or it needs to be “fixed”. I am who I am, I like me, and I believe that I’m awesome. I’m not perfect, no one on this planet is, those who claim it or either lying or lying to themselves. However, I’m not a bad woman, and I’m a wonderful well-rounded individual.  I honestly cannot be bothered with those who may not like nor accept me for who I am.

5.) Meeting new people – I’ve met so many new cool people over the following years. Not everyone is meant to be my new “BFF” or whatever, but I so do enjoy chatting with interesting new people and sharing thoughts/ideas. It’s a joy to meet fellow science nerds , video gamers, or anime geeks. It makes me smile! ^_^

6.) Spending time with true friends – I happen to have a very awesome roommate and the best sister on the planet. I enjoy hanging out and going to the cinema with them. I enjoy visiting Mrs. Mary’s salon, every month, to chat with her and to get an awesome haircut. I appreciate the help, encouragement, and support of my therapist, who feels more like a friend than anything else. Yes, she sometimes feels like a real mother to me as well, because she often nags me in the right direction. Heehee! She worries about any medical procedure I may have to face (she was a huge support before and after my eye surgery) and asks eagerly, “How did it go?”.

Spending time with people who I don’t doubt for a second care about me and will cover my six, and I will and do cover theirs, renews my spirit and affords me great happiness.

Picture: Happy Spinning Girl.

This is my list thus far, however, I don’t plan to stop there. I wish to try more things, experience more, and learn more. However, what I’ve learned in my journey thus far is, true happiness is not a thing that one can passively sit idly by and wish for. It takes effort and hard work to gain it. Most of all, it cannot be a thing achieved when one is weighed down by toxic people: those who put you down or others, are always negative, and bring nothing but drama in your life.

Toxic people are not fit to be in my life, whatsoever, and I don’t abide them anymore. I don’t believe I would have achieved my level of happiness if I had continued to hold onto such people.

Anyhoo… I’ll bugger off once again, to become lost in coding and such. Today’s song is: Au5 – Guardians. As always, thanks for reading dear readers! I wish you a very awesome day! ^o^v

-D