Monthly Archives: December 2011

Fall Quarter in Review (2011)

Link to the last one:

Just realized that I didn’t do one of these for this past Summer.  Well, I mean, this past Summer was basically me working at Google, which was both good and bad.  It was actually pretty rough, but I ended up doing a great job regardless and came out of it as a much more elegant coder, I’d like to think.  Having code reviews and a well-organized infrastructure can do that to you.  This Summer also saw me start going to Ceili, and also continue going to FNW–having that weekly dance at FNW really took my dancing to a new level, I’d like to think.

Anyways, onto the Fall.  So, Fall was…well, wow.  It was awesome and basically went by without a single hitch.  At all.  Which is pretty damn amazing.  I didn’t expect it to so easily match the awesomeness of last year, but it totally did.

The main difference between this school year and last is my living situation–I’m now proud resident of a premium studio in Munger and an “official” grad student/coterm, out of undergrad housing.  This has actually been one of the best things to happen to me in a long time.  I =love= my room in Munger; it’s spacious, really feels like home, and is serene and peaceful–really my own space where I can feel comfortable.  Moving out of undergrad housing has not actually made me more lonely, but less lonely (perhaps assisted by a new community of friends that I’ve formed).  Being away from the happenings of a Stanford dorm seems to actually be quite a bit more healthy for my introverted self, and I haven’t actually felt lonely much at all at Munger.

Somewhat humorously, I didn’t take any classes towards my grad degree this quarter (okay, actually technically cs476a is being counted towards my MS in CS, but that’s totally an MST-type class so it barely even counts).  I had two music classes for my Music, Science, and Technology minor, CS161:Algorithms, Japanese 2nd-year, crashed Social Dance 2 a few times, and took Intro to Prehistoric Archaeology, of all things, to knock out my two remaining GERs.

The two music classes up at CCRMA were pretty…amusing, let’s say.  I’ve already written quite a bit and poked fun at the CCRMA folks a lot so I’ll spare you all the details, but essentially these classes consisted of me ditching class all the time, “subverting” the homework assignments to bend them to my own interests, and becoming a well-known figure in the class.  Hey, what do you expect from a CS coterm and 7-year electronic music producer who likes to make awesome projects in his (abundant) spare time?

CS161 was pretty much how I expected it to be.  It wasn’t a walk in the park but wasn’t terrible either.  The psets did take a substantial amount of time, but this was my only pset-y class so that was fine.  The final was pretty damn hard but it was supposed to be pretty hard anyways, so that’s not too bad.  I don’t know if I pulled off an A, but at this point it doesn’t really matter too much (more about why GPA doesn’t matter later).

Japanese was really fun.  Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to as many office hours this quarter because of scheduling, but I still ended up chatting with Kubo-sensei and Yamamoto-sensei a lot, which was definitely a lot of fun.  Kubo-sensei is really fun to chat with, as I knew she would be even last year when I first met her. ^^  And Yamamoto-sensei likes cute things and pink things so obviously we get along well.  Class itself is a little less lively since there are less students, and I’m also no longer quite as “ace student” anymore because…well, it’s not 1st-year anymore.  But I still managed to keep on top of things pretty well.  I also started to really like writing compositions because we’re starting to get to the point where we know enough grammatical structures to actually form interesting writing.  I have to remember to write in funny answers for homeworks though–I don’t think I wrote a single joke answer anywhere this quarter, boo.

I only crashed social 2 towards the beginning of the quarter and then stopped going, which is pretty much what I had expected to happen.  It’s not quite as interesting anymore, plus having to play follow to a bunch of leads who don’t always have it all together gets old real fast.  Still, there were a couple of fun moments, since I had friends there.  Plus, the few classes where Richard teaches role reversal are always ridiculously fun for me. ;P

Which brings us to Archaeology, which I added last-minute after some scheduling shenanigans.  It was…actually, not a bad class at all for a GER class.  I ditched a bunch of classes in the middle of the quarter around when I got sick, unfortunately, and I only made it to section uhm….once I think, but I actually didn’t blow it off entirely and did some studying for the final and such.  Unfortunately there was still some stuff I was hazy on (only in a humanities class would you ever feel “hazy” on something), but I think I did well enough to pass, so that’s fine.

This quarter also saw me face a small crisis in the form of deciding whether to work for Google or PlayMesh and in the end I ended up picking PlayMesh, which I’m pretty sure me and my friends agree was the right decision to make.  I’m really excited, and also trying to remind myself that this means I should be worrying a little bit less about GPA for the rest of this year (we all know I’m still probably going to put in about the same amount of effort anyways though).  For those of you who are wondering why the heck I would ever turn Google down, A) if you’re thinking that way, it means you’re really not the same kind of person that I am, and B) to make a long story short, let’s say I don’t fit Google for the same reasons that I am not a “Stanford-type person”.  Which is not to say that I don’t like Stanford, because I love Stanford and have had a blast here, but I don’t think I am a Stanford-type person.  If you don’t get it, well, whatever–you probably don’t know me well enough or are not thinking deeply enough.

In Social Dance-land, things have been going really well and I’m now a very “mature” dancer with my own unique style, and I have different types of connections with several people that I dance with.  I’ve been striving more and more towards an ideal of “ultimate softness” in my dance and been getting closer to it each time, but I’ve also been able to throw out different styles as well.  I feel like I’m not coming up with new variations as often nowadays, but that’s alright as it’s still interesting anyways.

In terms of social circle, I’m now hanging out with the dance kids more and more, but still keeping ties with other people as well.  Kiki is off in Franceland, but we’ve been connecting every once in a while via email, dreams, letters, and such.  I’ve grown closer and started to get to know some really awesome people better, which has been really nice, and something that I hope will continue through Winter quarter.

Music-making continues to be awesome, as always.  I’m almost ready to unveil my music site, which is going to be awesome.  I’ve got a bunch of projects I’m sitting on that I’d like to finish this break, so hopefully I can get to those.  Hopefully I’ll continue to expand my horizons as far as that goes.

Coding projects have been a huge success too.  Between the couple of awesome projects I did as homework assignments for the music classes and Ludum Dare, I’ve made some really awesome stuff this quarter.

Emotionally, things were actually really smooth and I feel like this quarter has just been a very relaxing and constant high–just like how my life is supposed to be, really.  There were a couple of periods of slight hardship, but those were minor scratches that didn’t really detract from things in the whole.

What else?  Oh, I learned to cook.  That’s been pretty fun too.  I’ve been living off a combination of me cooking meat+carbs, burgers from russo cafe, dinners from the market at munger, warmed up food from the fridge, and random other meals.  Doing dishes is always a pain though…

So overall, things have just been really great.  No complaints, really!

…oh, also I just checked my grades.  A- in CS161 and Anthro3, A in Japanese and cs476a/music256a, and an A+ in music220a!  If anything I deserved an A+ in music256a not 220a, but whatever.  Sweet!


What are we looking at in the near future?  Next quarter I hope to continue this trend of awesomeness, hopefully invite more people to hang out at my place (provided they’re not busy being crazy busy college kids *shakes head*), spend more time getting to know the friends that I’ve made this quarter, have more amazing dance moments, unveil my music site and promote my main website, and…all sorts of other awesome stuff.  In terms of classes, I’ve got CS248, MUSIC220B, CS261, Japanese, Social Dance 3, and apparently I’m still signed up for History of Waltz, which I may drop (if that happens I may just enlist in Music192C, which is LITERALLY a 0-work 0-attendance class for me).  CS261 will probably be just like CS161, but slightly harder (not necessarily more time-consuming, but I’ll probably have to try and pay a little more attention…ah what the hell, we all know I won’t).  Japanese will be Japanese, and Music220B will probably be just like music256a.  It’s taught by Ge who taught 256a, so I’ll have no qualms ditching class and subverting all of the homework assignments because he already knows who I am and what kind of student I am and what kinds of awesome things I’m capable of ;).  Social Dance 3 will be fun for me to finally get more of a handle on latin dances and such, boring in the BNP section, and will probably in general move a little bit too slow for me but that’s okay because I’m sure I’ll amuse myself by doing stuff with style, or learning both roles, or just having a good time with friends (hope I know some people in the class!).  History of Waltz I’ll probably end up dropping to be honest, because I don’t think I’ll be that interested.  Maybe I’ll crash from time to time just because I know that my friends are gonna be there.  And then CS248, which I’ll try my best to really take seriously because it’s 3D graphics and I really should take that seriously.  Plus, there’s the computer game project which I’m sure I’ll be putting my all into.  Seeing what I’m capable of in the span of 48 hours for Ludum Dare, I’m sure it’ll be awesome.


And I think that’s about it!  So now it’s time for some shoutouts!  If you were tagged in the corresponding FB post, find your letters/initials/nickname and go for it (note: some of these aren’t obvious, but if you are tagged, then one of these -is- you, so please look carefully):


Kiki: Well, we’re on opposite ends of the earth and we’ve both made it through the Fall.  I hope you are doing well.  I know my ability to sense your state of being seems a bit surreal sometimes, but really it’s just that I know your persona very well, and I also listen very well to little things that other people don’t pick up on (plus I hear almost -everything- on the interwebs), so I can put together a (somewhat fuzzy) picture.  I do worry about you sometimes since I know you’re in a state of flux–more than usual.  I’ll continue to support you from here best I can, so just keep doing your best on your end.  I haven’t started to answer those questions you had for me yet, but you know as well as I do that it’ll happen in due time.

Cuddle buddy: Cuddle buddyyy!~  I am so glad to have gotten to know you better!  We will definitely hang out more next quarter–I’ll make sure of it :)

YW: I know I’m not seeing you like every day like I used to, but you’re still just as important as ever to me.  I’m glad I still get to see you and hang out with you and share fun times, snarky remarks, and every once in a while tasty cocktails. (yum!)  Been missing you lots this break–can’t wait to see you and your pretty hair again~

Nee-san: Family gatherings are (understandably) EVEN MORE CRAZY now, yet somehow you and D still manage to keep me sane.  Phew!  You guys are doing great

ISFJ: :)  I can’t get over how happy I am that we started talking, hahaha. ^^;  I am really looking forward to learning more about each other soon!~

DV: Yayy accelerating waltz partners!  I can’t believe we actually did hair tosses in front of Richard and Tracey, that was kind of ridiculous and amazing.

Sword girl: Always nice to have someone who can keep up with my switching during dances. ^^

CC: Yayy~  You became an unexpectedly amazing friend to me this quarter, so I’m really happy about that. :)  I will hop by and visit you next quarter!~

My other angel (BC): <3~  I am constantly astounded by how deeply you move me with your heartfelt care and affection.  I know I’ve said this before, but I am really glad to have you in my life–you are truly precious~ ^_^

CA: I will dance with you more in the coming quarter.  Look forward to it!~ :)  And the late night uh…”expedition” was actually quite fun, hahaha. ^^;

CL: Sooooooo excited can’t wait for the Summer, ahhhh we are going to have so much fun, ahhhhh!!! ^_^

DJ 4chan: We are awesome. ;)  Soooooo awesome.

IB: I hope I get to seeee youuu moreeeee next quarter!  That is all. ^^;

YH: Don’t kill yourself next quarter, crazy kid!

YZ: Glad we can both amuse each other and have fun messing around with silly stuff. xD  Look forward to dancing with you again~

LD: Your skirt is amazing, that is all.

KL: I hope you are doing well!  I know you are constantly going through rough times and just hope that you will catch a break at some point.  Thank you for still thinking about me; it makes me smile to know that you are like me in still thinking about people even when there is no external impetus to force it. :)

KF: I will see you soon!  Gimme a call ^^

久保先生:いつも一緒にゆっくり話して下さってありがとうございます!~ とっても楽しくて、いっぱい習いました~ 冬学期にもどうぞよろしくお願いします!~ ^.^

山本先生:^^ 秋学期、先生のオフィスアワーに来るのは楽しくて、面白い話ができてよかったです!~ 冬学期も楽しみしています!~

LH: Shoutout to you here because as always the “quarter in review” posts were originally inspired by yours.  Rock on!

And a special thanks to Danya, Kelley, Catherine, Gerentt, Kristina, and Patricia for the Xmas gifts/letters. :)

And of course everyone else, whether you be a dance kid, stanford kid, pretty-haired girl, guy friend, or what have you–thanks to everyone for making this quarter rock.

@#%^ coloring

You know what I probably hated most in elementary school?  Coloring.  @%^$ing coloring.  I can see no good reason why I was forced to perform coloring work all the time when I was young.  Noooo good reason at all.  Can you imagine how much time was wasted out of my childhood because of that?  And stupid little me was a perfectionist so I spent way more time on it than I should have.  Argghghh.  And no, don’t you dare tell me that it improved any sort of artistic ability in me, because I do -pixel art- now, where “coloring” means a single click of flood-fill.

I find it kind of hilarious that when I was presenting, the CCRMA professor and TA both closed their eyes and you could tell they were trying to listen intensely.  I was like “uh, guys, no.  It’s not your kind of ‘music’.  You can enjoy it without actually trying.”

Really, how many other times do you get people bobbing their heads to a 4-on-the-floor beat in a CCRMA class?  I’m glad I can enrich their experience a little bit. ;)


Polish is immensely important in a game.  This was a Ludum Dare entry–made in the span of 48 hours.  The game isn’t very expansive by any means, but you can see all of the little details come together and form something that really just looks and feels beautiful.  The pixel shading effect, the lighting, the way that the intro credits come up as you’re first playing…these all took time to do, I’m sure–time that could have instead been spent on more levels, more mechanics, more whatever.  But without those things, this game just doesn’t feel remarkable.


The thing about playing games that keeps it from being a mainstream thing is that there’s this layer of inaccessibility that often comes with it.  It’s not like reading books or watching movies where anyone can do it.  Especially with the kinds of games that I play, gaming requires a certain skillset and way of thinking in order to fully appreciate; otherwise you’re just not even going to be capable of experiencing it all.  And contrary to what certain nerdy guys tend to think, you really can’t just get someone to appreciate games just by trying to drag them into it.  It really tends to get on my nerves when I see that happening.  You know, group of guys trying to make some girl play their favorite game.  If she’s interested, sure.  If she’s a gamer, sure.  But otherwise, what makes you think that you can bridge that gap of experience and knowledge?  Especially when you clearly don’t know how to teach someone inexperienced how to play the game?

There’s lots of interesting things we can try and look at when you look at the evolution of “discovery and learning” in video games.  And by discovery I don’t mean discovering new places and worlds within games–I mean discovering the basic rules and abilities that make up the game itself.  In modern commercial games you often see these big signs that attempt to hold your hand as much as possible when explaining things to you.  Whereas in older games, the gameplay was either so inherently simple that it’s either assumed you can figure it out, or it’s made evident by smart level design.  Or, the gameplay is complicated but you were expected to do things like read instruction manuals to figure it out (how else would you know how to do a Shoryuken in SF2 anyways?).

A big part of why gaming and engineering seem to correlate so well in our minds is because they involve so much of the same sorts of thinking.  And this applies -regardless- of whether we’re playing some 8bit indie game where nothing is explained to you, or whether we’re playing some AAA game where there’s a lengthy tutorial that holds your hand by putting BIG OBNOXIOUS HELPFUL GUIDES TELLING YOU WHAT TO PUSH WHEN.  Because even in those games, there’s an element of skill, timing, execution, -whatever- that requires some knowledge of the game’s system; its inner workings; its physics.

In order to really understand a game, you need to figure out how it works and what makes it tick.  Unless you read a guide on it (which is -also- something “casual” gamers aren’t going to do), the only way to figure this stuff out is to play around with it and observe.  And when us gamers/engineers first start up a game, we don’t notice it anymore but there’s this vibrant -explosion- of knowledge collection that goes on in our heads.

When we first start up a 2d platformer, for example, we:

-Have some expectations.  From the plethora of platformers we’ve played before, we expect things to go left-to-right.  We expect to be able to jump.  We expect there to be things we have to avoid (enemies) and things we want to collect (coins, powerups).  It gets even more complicated too.  Based on the graphical layout of the level, we either assume that going off the bottom of the screen means death, or means traveling to another room.

-Test the controls.  We want to know ALL of the controls in the game, not just the one that is currently relevant (walking to the right).  So we test walking right.  We test walking left.  We test jumping.  We test shooting.  If it’s a PC game, we test all the keys that have been explained to us.  If it’s a console game, we press EVERY BUTTON on the controller to see what each one does.  And as we are doing each of these, we…

-Experiment, observe, and analyze.  When I walk left and stop pressing left, do I stop immediately or is there inertia that causes me to slide a little bit?  When I jump, is my jump height set or controllable?  When I shoot, is there something on the screen indicating that my ammo went down, or do I have an unlimited supply?

All of this before we even exit the first room.  And it’s funny–you can probably tell that someone’s a gamer if instead of just walking to the right to get to the next screen, they start jumping around and shooting and things.  This is because A) they’ve played these sorts of games many times before, and they know that there’s nothing else to do while going to the right, so out of boredom they’ll just jump and stuff just “because they can”, and B) they want more data about the physics of the game.  They need to get used to the acceleration of gravity, the movement speed, etc. because these factors will be important later.


Compare this to the “casual” (what that word means is something that is nebulous, changes on context, and is something I’d rather not define) gamer, who doesn’t really know ANYTHING about the game’s physics once they step out of the first room.  So theoretically, in the second room, I could force you to make some jumps to avoid some enemies right away, and our “experimenting” gamer would probably be able to handle it just fine.  On the other hand, our “casual” gamer still doesn’t remember which button makes their character jump.

And where does it go from here?  Well, if the difference is great at the beginning of the game, it only gets bigger as the game goes on.  This is because the engineer gamer is constantly refining his model of the world via observation->analysis.  I once heard someone define “stupidity” as the act of trying the same thing twice and expecting a different result the second time.  If that’s true, then no offense, but I have to say that countless people are “stupid” when they’re playing games.

2D platformers such as IWBTG are perfectly suited towards gamertypes like myself because they focus on this repetitive cycle of try->fail->observe->analyze->improve.  In fact, =most= games implement this cycle, but games such as IWBTG are notable because they make this cycle extremely, extremely rapid and tight.  When you’re stuck on some segment of IWBTG, the time between trying and failing can be as short as 5 seconds.  Maybe even less.  And because we’re engineers, we optimize–we press the restart button =as soon as we fail=.  In effect, it becomes a conditioned response–as soon as I hear the death sound, I hit the R key.  And in an instant, I have processed and analyzed my observations.  I died because of the spikes on the left: that means I need to jump later.  Or, this time I died because of the enemy above: that means I need to jump less high.


And this makes IWBTG wholly inaccessible to people who don’t have this kind of cycle going on in their minds.  And I know that there are a lot of people who don’t have this cycle going on in their minds, because I’ve SEEN people playing games, and I see them trying things in exactly the same way, many many times, when it is not obvious that what they are doing will lead to success if repeated.  So again, there’s this really big disconnect between the experiences that the two kinds of people have.


…Is all this really so exclusive to gaming, though?  One could argue that it’s the same kind of thing for sports, other games, etc.  Social dance for example, right?  When we talk about things in social dance with our social dance friends, there’s a layer of inaccessibility because other people don’t have that sort of background knowledge.  And yes, some people try to drag people into social dance against their will (i don’t approve), though some people also try to drag people into social dance with their consent (i approve).  And the experience that you get is necessarily different.

You could even argue that reading and watching movies aren’t universally accessible things.  I haven’t read the same books that you have, for example.  I -won’t- read some of the same books that you have.  And just like I probably can’t comprehend some of the cultural references and symbolism in the material that you read, you probably can’t comprehend a lot of the cultural references and symbolism in the material (*cough* like manga *cough*) that I read.


So I don’t think that games are inherently unique in that nothing else is the same way.  However, I think it’s still fairly distinguished, both in terms of its nature of “you can’t even see everything in this game because you don’t have the prerequisite background and skills”, and in terms of the presiding cultural attitudes toward it.  There’s this duality of being something that’s wholly and totally commonplace, yet something that’s not “mainstream”.  Which is not to say that there are no games which aren’t just totally accessible to almost everyone (there definitely are, and more nowadays because the market is changing), but when we think about stereotypical “games” and “gamers”, we can envision some group of dudes playing halo modern warfare WHATEVER and despite the fact that this is a common occurrence, if you’re not “in”, then you don’t understand that world at all.  In that sense, it’s like football in that there are people who don’t understand a single thing about football or how it works since it’s not obvious (the only thing that’s obvious is that there’s a ball and you try to move it and people pile up on top of each other), but you still see big game as this huge thing on campus.

Of course, the big nebulous question is, what -should- the presiding cultural attitudes be towards gaming?  As gamers, do we want nothing more than to just have everyone be “in” and understand these things just like we do?  Well…not necessarily.  And we know that that’s not really what we should be aiming for either, because it’s unreasonable and not really “right”.  So what should the attitude be?  What should the stereotypes say?  What would we like non-gamers to think about us?

I don’t think that question can really have an answer, because different people make out of it different things, and there will always be different types of gamers.

There will be the ones that Leigh Alexander always talks about who, upon finding out that she’s a girl who play games, will either exalt her as some sort of holy relic, or will instead challenge her to a game of halo modern warfare WHATEVER, or will start an argument with her about how halo modern warfare WHATEVER is the best game ever while she simply waves her hand and says “uhm, hello?  SotN?” and the dude will go “symphony of the night?  wtf is that?”

There will be the ones like me who you never even -see- as a gamer because it’s not a social activity for me despite being a large part of my life.

There will be the ones that like to talk to other people who have played the same game, and argue their own viewpoints on them.  There will be the ones who say “NO ITEMS FOX ONLY FINAL DESTINATION” and there will be the ones who say “tourneyfags are retards” and there will be the ones who, upon hearing the words “super smash” will shudder in horror because they KNOW that the other person will be one of the above two.

There will be the ones who like to show off their knowledge about a game.  There will be the ones who never like to hear about them from other people who they don’t know.  Ever.

I guess maybe we should at least strive for an understanding of diversity.  The non-gamers (who are quickly becoming gamers of a different breed now that they all have smartphones and have nothing better to do when you guys poop and ride trains and stuff.  By the way, you guys are totally more than a decade late to the whole idea, since the Game Boy came out in 1989) should understand that every gamer is different, both in the way that they treat games and in the way that they might like to be treated (something which should be the same for any label, not just “gamer”).  And us gamers in turn need to somehow not feel like there’s some label being slapped on us that includes some set of expectations, stereotypes, …  And gamers also need to be respectful of -each other- in the same sort of way, because different people WILL look at things differently.

Sometimes it feels like being in some sort of minority.  Depending on the type of gamer you are, you may even feel like a minority among minorities.

Me time

It’s funny–now that I decided I’m going to work at PlayMesh and not Google, one of the things I’m going to miss is the shuttle ride back and forth from Google–and also the shuttle ride back and forth from San Bruno (where I shuttled to and from every wednesday since that’s where the main YouTube building is).  Because that shuttle ride was simply prime time for just playing games on my ipod or NDS or making music with LSDJ or whatever.  And you know, in today’s world (or maybe, “at this age”?) there’s just so much to DO that it’s so rare that we have the time to just sit down and play games like that.  Even now, when I’m playing through some of these indie games, it feels almost like -work-.  Like I’ll have some list of things I’ve heard about and want to try, and I’ll download them and try and just -slog- through them.

This holiday season has been nice so far in that I’ve basically spent the better part of a week just spending time holed up in my room with myself taking care of business like that.  My mother is probably concerned and thinking, “this is one of the last times you’ll have a nice absolutely-free couple of weeks of vacation without anything to worry about, so you should take the opportunity and travel somewhere blahblahblah”, but on the contrary: A) I don’t like travel, B) I don’t like travel with my parents, and C) if -that’s- true, then this is one of the last times I’ll have a nice absolutely-free couple of weeks of vacation without anything to worry about, so I should take the opportunity and -stay home- to do all these sorts of things that are easy to push aside when I have school, or work, or whatever.

…Of course, that’s not -really- how I look at it, because I constantly make concerned efforts to not push these things aside when I do have school or work or whatever.  Because it’s not sustainable to wait until your next big break.

The trend towards bite-sized gaming really makes me worry sometimes.


What does the wind bring? A violent wind can take more than it gives. Perhaps a whisper of the past or the scent of nearby flowers, or a whipping chill. Tonights theme is “Howling Wind.”

My first entry:

My second entry:

My would-be third entry:

Uhm.  Yeah.

So, after OHC last week I thought of the idea that, since I can make music so quickly, I should try and do two totally separate OHC entries within the span of an hour.  I figured it would at least be amusing, if not amazing.

I’ve already got 3 separate ThaSauce accounts: DDRKirby(ISQ), DDRKirbyISQ, and DDRKirby(ISO), and I even made a forth one DDRKirby{ISQ} just in case, so I was all set on that front.


So, first song start!  The theme was wind, so I couldn’t start off with chip or unts; meaning I had to do my usual ambient pad buildup.  I decided to use the chimera “noise synthesizer” that works by filtering noise, since that would naturally be a more “windy” sound.  I combine that with beepmap and an Alchemy pad, and =then= we get our bass and triangle blip.

Then we go into the groove/beat section–this is starting to look a lot like one of my entries from 2010.  Notice that the drums are bitcrushed, and actually consist of two different drum loops layered on top of each other.  More chip, with some nice reverses via dBlue glitch, and then we get….yes, the ever-tasty KirbySquare lead, which plays around with pitch bends and grace notes.  Then we get our drums and bass in full for a bit, then outro with a famitracker triangle; again with some nice pitch slide action–3xOsc makes it so easy and fun!  And that’s it!  Really quite short for a DDRKirby(ISQ) entry…kind of funny to think that this was what I was making with the full hour back in 2010.  Anyways, at this point it was about 6:30, so yeah, definitely time for me to render, submit, and move on to entry #2.


Second song start!  I wanted to start differently somehow than #1, so I thought and tried using my ambient environment vst tb_field (also used in the beginning of The Ecstasy of Life).  You can’t actually notice, but the reverb on it grows, and then it fades away as we get…piano!  So yes, we’re heading in a different direction.  And as soon as I put that piano in there and had the first notes going, that determined the direction of the rest of the song.

Of course, the natural thing to do with that kind of piano melody is to….add chip!  So I add an arp, and then a really cool gated pad that crescendos and decrescendos.  It also has some nice stereo delay and such to widen its sound a bit.  There’s also an NES bass playing underneath here.  The arp fades away and is replaces by a really really sweet triangle whistle lead that should be totally familiar to you now.  Note that I could have kept the arp in, but this way lets the triangle whistle stick out without actually being loud and annoying.  GRACE NOTES!  Grace notes make melodies like this so, so, so much better, so I’ve definitely started doing them all the time.

Then we add in a nice “chime”-type blip along with waves of 8bit noise–matches the theme AND this ambience.

Then with one longer crescendo of the noise, we’re thrown into a 4 on the floor beat and ahhhh ahhhh it’s so beautiful.  That moment when it kicks in, is amazing.  The mix is really nice here.  Again, nothing new from what I’ve done in the past, but it all fits together perfectly.  The sidechained NES bass, the offbeat bass layered under that for “bass fullness”, the drums, and the melodies from before.  Even the 8bit noise is sidechained, which is a really really nice touch.

And from there we just outro.


And at this point I submit and I’ve got one =more= trick up my sleeve.  See I recently released v1.01 of LoopMuse, with .wav output support, so I threw that on and quickly did a 5-minute jam and tried to submit.  Unfortunately I was just a little bit too late (actually I was trying to submit as they were playing my first song) and starla wasn’t there to reopen for late entries (she normally is, which is why I thought I could get it in).  So oh well.  It was a good effort anyways.


So, how did it feel to make 2 different, yet still awesome entries within the span of an hour?  It felt absolutely great.  Granted, sometimes in regular OHCs my songs transition so much that it basically feels like 2 or 3 different songs put together, but still, this is a little bit different.  The only bad parts is that, not only were both entries shorter in length, but you can see they don’t really have as much….”stuff” in them.  There’s no chorus repetition, for instance, because it doesn’t really make as much sense when you don’t have enough of a song to actually have a chorus -> other stuff -> chorus structure.

But I really enjoyed both songs.  The second is obviously much more amazingly beautiful–rivaling Fractale and Shooting Star…to be honest, all three are kind of similar, in a really awesome way.  But the first is cool and fun too.  So yeah, it was awesome.  It might even be something I do again someday…but for now, probably just one entry is better, as it allows me to do more awesome things.

Personality Types

Of course, we’ve known for a long while now that my Enneagram type is a number 2:


Took a “Big Five” test and scored as follows:

O – 30 (Openness)
C – 97 (Conscientiousness)
E – 1  (Extraversion)
A – 74 (Agreeableness)
N – 14 (Neuroticism)

Kind of funny how extreme C and E are, though this is pretty much more or less what everyone should be expecting overall.  I actually expected to score a little higher in N because I tend to be insecure and worry a lot, but I guess the thing is that I don’t really display it in my actions much, so it only affects me internally.  So it doesn’t cause me to be frazzled or anything like that.  On a side note, I’ve also realized that nowadays when I’m taking these tests I tend to be a little more opinionated…maybe it’s because I’m trying to take them a little more quickly and not really think about it too hard, so when I find something that I agree with I just go “oh, yeah, definitely true” and mark it all the way.  I guess maybe that DOES show that I’m less “N”…  On another side note, I used Kiki as my comparison person when I took the test, which I think was partially responsible for some of the extremity of these scores, hahaha.  Sorry Kiki, I know you’re not actually that extremely opposite in character from me, but I can’t help but think of you as that way ^^;

Actually took a nice Myers-Briggs test too:

Results from
Introverted (I) 75.76% Extroverted (E) 24.24%
Sensing (S) 64.1% Intuitive (N) 35.9%
Feeling (F) 66.67% Thinking (T) 33.33%
Judging (J) 75% Perceiving (P) 25%

Which is also what we kind of already thought, more or less.  Let’s see what the internets have to say about ISFJ types, and pick out some selected quotes.

ISFJs have a rich inner world that is not usually obvious to observers. They constantly take in information about people and situations that is personally important to them, and store it away. This tremendous store of information is usually startlingly accurate, because the ISFJ has an exceptional memory about things that are important to their value systems. It would not be uncommon for the ISFJ to remember a particular facial expression or conversation in precise detail years after the event occured, if the situation made an impression on the ISFJ.

I -am- often that person who’s noticing things that other people don’t; as in I watch out and am observant and sensitive to things.  I think it’s important to note though, that this is pretty relegated to things that are personally important.  So I don’t remember conversations and facial expressions that don’t make an impact.  But if they do, then yeah, I’ll definitely place it in my mind.  Funny story, actually–I just wrote a letter to another ISFJ and in it I pointed out some specific conversations/situations that happened in the past, so that’s this exactly.

ISFJs learn best by doing, rather than by reading about something in a book, or applying theory. For this reason, they are not likely to be found in fields which require a lot of conceptual analysis or theory. They value practical application. Traditional methods of higher education, which require a lot of theorizing and abstraction, are likely to be a chore for the ISFJ. The ISFJ learns a task best by being shown its practical application.

Hellllooooo ditching class/not paying attention/”just read the book and do the homework”.  “A chore” is an understatement, really.

Once the task is learned, and its practical importance is understood, the ISFJ will faithfully and tirelessly carry through the task to completion. The ISFJ is extremely dependable.

This is me always pushing through to achieve what I set out to do and never letting things slip out of my fingers.

The ISFJ has an extremely well-developed sense of space, function, and aesthetic appeal. For that reason, they’re likely to have beautifully furnished, functional homes. They make extremely good interior decorators. This special ability, combined with their sensitivity to other’s feelings and desires, makes them very likely to be great gift-givers – finding the right gift which will be truly appreciated by the recipient.

This is me decorating my room…I wouldn’t say that I always find the right gift, but I do have that sort of sensitivity.

More so than other types, ISFJs are extremely aware of their own internal feelings, as well as other people’s feelings. They do not usually express their own feelings, keeping things inside. If they are negative feelings, they may build up inside the ISFJ until they turn into firm judgments against individuals which are difficult to unseed, once set. Many ISFJs learn to express themselves, and find outlets for their powerful emotions.

Sound familiar at all?  The “aware of their own internal feelings” is dead on too–I know Y always seems to revel about how I understand how my thoughts and emotions work so well (she doesn’t xD).

Just as the ISFJ is not likely to express their feelings, they are also not likely to let on that they know how others are feeling. However, they will speak up when they feel another individual really needs help, and in such cases they can truly help others become aware of their feelings.

True too, though…there are different ways of “not expressing your feelings”, and mine is not really blocking them completely, but instead just simply not vocalizing them.  Sometimes it’s still very easy to tell how I am feeling from the way I act and look.

The ISFJ feels a strong sense of responsibility and duty. They take their responsibilities very seriously, and can be counted on to follow through. For this reason, people naturally tend to rely on them. The ISFJ has a difficult time saying “no” when asked to do something, and may become over-burdened. In such cases, the ISFJ does not usually express their difficulties to others, because they intensely dislike conflict, and because they tend to place other people’s needs over their own. The ISFJ needs to learn to identify, value, and express their own needs, if they wish to avoid becoming over-worked and taken for granted.

Yeah, that’s all spot on.  The “express their own needs” thing is reminiscent of what signifies an Enneagram type 2 as well.

ISFJs need positive feedback from others. In the absence of positive feedback, or in the face of criticism, the ISFJ gets discouraged, and may even become depressed. When down on themselves or under great stress, the ISFJ begins to imagine all of the things that might go critically wrong in their life. They have strong feelings of inadequacy, and become convinced that “everything is all wrong”, or “I can’t do anything right”.

yeah….that’s happened before too, yeah?

The ISFJ is warm, generous, and dependable. They have many special gifts to offer, in their sensitivity to others, and their strong ability to keep things running smoothly. They need to remember to not be overly critical of themselves, and to give themselves some of the warmth and love which they freely dispense to others.

Again, sounds like something straight out of the type 2 enneagram description page.

ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their “need to be needed.” In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them; however, most ISFJs find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a normal life. (Since ISFJs, like all SJs, are very much bound by the prevailing social conventions, their form of “service” is likely to exclude any elements of moral or political controversy; they specialize in the local, the personal, and the practical.)

Wow, so spot on in the very first paragraph.  I like the distinction between moral/political service versus local and personal service; that’s definitely something I subscribe to.

ISFJs are often unappreciated, at work, home, and play. Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty and unstinting, high-quality work, those around them often take them for granted–even take advantage of them. Admittedly, the problem is sometimes aggravated by the ISFJs themselves; for instance, they are notoriously bad at delegating (“If you want it done right, do it yourself”). And although they’re hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they’re getting, it’s somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself). (And as low-profile Is, their actions don’t call attention to themselves as with charismatic Es.) Because of all of this, ISFJs are often overworked, and as a result may suffer from psychosomatic illnesses.

Uhm…every word spot on.

In the workplace, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others. ISFJs make pleasant and reliable co-workers and exemplary employees, but tend to be harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles. They are capable of forming strong loyalties, but these are personal rather than institutional loyalties; if someone they’ve bonded with in this way leaves the company, the ISFJ will leave with them, if given the option. Traditional careers for an ISFJ include: teaching, social work, most religious work, nursing, medicine (general practice only), clerical and and secretarial work of any kind, and some kinds of administrative careers.

Personal rather than institutional, yeah.  And of course I can see myself being “harried and uncomfortable”.

While their work ethic is high on the ISFJ priority list, their families are the centers of their lives. ISFJs are extremely warm and demonstrative within the family circle–and often possessive of their loved ones, as well. When these include Es who want to socialize with the rest of the world, or self-contained ITs, the ISFJ must learn to adjust to these behaviors and not interpret them as rejection. Being SJs, they place a strong emphasis on conventional behavior (although, unlike STJs, they are usually as concerned with being “nice” as with strict propriety); if any of their nearest and dearest depart from the straight-and-narrow, it causes the ISFJ major embarrassment: the closer the relationship and the more public the act, the more intense the embarrassment (a fact which many of their teenage children take gleeful advantage of). Over time, however, ISFJs usually mellow, and learn to regard the culprits as harmless eccentrics . Needless to say, ISFJs take infinite trouble over meals, gifts, celebrations, etc., for their loved ones–although strong Js may tend to focus more on what the recipient should want rather than what they do want.

Works, but only if you take “family” non-literally.  Well, obviously I don’t have children anyways.  But the note about “when these include Es who want to socialize with the rest of the world” is good.

Like most Is, ISFJs have a few, close friends. They are extremely loyal to these, and are ready to provide emotional and practical support at a moment’s notice. (However, like most Fs they hate confrontation; if you get into a fight, don’t expect them to jump in after you. You can count on them, however, run and get the nearest authority figure.) Unlike with EPs, the older the friendship is, the more an ISFJ will value it. One ISFJ trait that is easily misunderstood by those who haven’t known them long is that they are often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling. For instance, an ISFJ child may be reproved for “sulking,” the actual cause of which is a combination of physical illness plus misguided “good manners.” An adult ISFJ may drive a (later ashamed) friend or SO into a fit of temper over the ISFJ’s unexplained moodiness, only afterwards to explain about a death in the family they “didn’t want to burden anyone with.” Those close to ISFJs should learn to watch for the warning signs in these situations and take the initiative themselves to uncover the problem.

Yeah.  I like how this highlights both inability to hide and inability to articulate.  This is important!  And yes, you should all watch for the “warning signs”–some of you know what I’m talking about already.


Okay…well, I guess we know what type I am now…


Across the world is your goal. You can dream about it, or you can set a plan in motion. Is the hardest part starting the journey? Tonights theme is “The Distance.”

My entry:

As starla pointed out, us OHCers just tend to turn everything into space themes…as in, “lonely….IN SPACE!” or “epic battle….IN SPACE!” or “voyage…IN SPACE!”.  So this time naturally the first thing that came to mind was “the distance….TO SPACE!”

So I load up a really deep spacey pad in Alchemy and out comes my good ol sine blip with lots of reverb, playing a riff straight out of the Star Trek intro, haha.  There’s some random chiptune sounds that I’m actually not that happy with, and then we change and get a nice arp as well as a pad progression.

Out comes an oh-so-delicious pulse lead, with beautiful echo.  This is the stuff that I love.  And it gets better, as I drop in pads.

Then we get ANOTHER beautiful melody–this time by a soft, high triangle whistle–notice the vibrato, and of course echo.  It rises up, and up…and then…

We get dropped into the chorus, which brings back some vibes of Fractale, one of my other really beautiful works.  The lead here is actually from tb_peach.  I don’t use tb_peach that much anymore because I just have my custom 3xOsc waveforms, and if I really want something more complicated in terms of NES sounds, I can use that other new NES VST that I got…but tb_peach is still good for certain things–like this specific patch.

There’s really a lot that goes into the chorus, and it’s all really second nature to me because I’ve been doing this for so long…(7 years, in fact, and lots of OHCs over the past 2 years or so).  The drums: there’s a drum loop with the kick filtered out, and replaced with my own overdrived kick (the same one I use everywhere).  There’s 3 basses going on–one is the main triangle bass that’s sidechained to the kick for a nice “pulsing” effect.  Then there’s a low offbeat sub bass that you can’t really hear right away but makes the bass more “full”.  Then there’s a midrange stacatto pulse bass to add some more rhythm and fill out things more.  And of course, the pads are sidechained too.  And it all really just works together very cohesively.  It’s…beautiful.

Anyways, after that we transition into some chippy-sounding drums and start getting some nice groovy elements, with pitch slides!  FL Studio’s piano roll makes pitch slides sooooo easy when you use FL built-in plugins, it’s amazing.  Notice that I overlay a second drum loop on top of the first one, and that the second one is actually bitcrushed for that chiptune sound. :)  Then we go full-on into the groove section (this is SO my style) with a nice solo section that uses the “KirbySquare” lead that I use all the time (starting to get a feel for my style yet?).  The groove section is a little short unfortunately because I didn’t have enough time to keep grooving, but after that we get another repetition of the chorus, and then outro.  We end with a four-note echo that really, really nails in the feeling I’m aiming for and cements the “Shooting Star” idea.

Really, some of my best work here, and you can really see my style shining.  I think Celestial Journey used to be the trademark song of my style, but I think this one represents it even better.

There are some OHCs where things don’t really come together and you kind of feel lame, but then there are others where everything just comes together beautifully and you scream to yourself, “yes, yes, yes!!!”.  This was one of those weeks.

I’m actually planning on reworking this one a little bit and making it even more awesome ^.^


I just drew this huge parallel in my mind between how traditional games focus on self-achievement (I feel good because I finally beat this challenge) and how modern games focus on external validation (posting scores, leaderboards, multiplayer competition, facebook score spam)–and how this supposedly has some connection to people being more outwards and external about their thoughts and achievements.

…Which isn’t really something I think is necessarily true, but that was sort of a “oh!” moment when that connection was made in my mind.  You can see the trend, though, right?  I mean, when you went and played Super Mario Bros or Mega Man or Final Fantasy or whatever, are you gonna go and tell all your friends “ha!  I beat it, I’m better than you!”?  Well, even if you do, that’s not really the point–the point is that you had fun doing it.  Now you think about Modern Warfare (no, I refuse to call it MW; MW stands for MechWarrior, you noooooobs), StarCraft 2, and…whatever the heck else people are playing nowadays, there’s always that element of other people infused in there.

…Which explains why I don’t like those kinds of games.  Because I want my self-fulfillment?


Something like that, anyways.


While the claim I’m making about “modern games” is sketchy at best, you can’t deny (and I’ve talked about this before) that we as a culture have assimilated this pervasive instinct to share everything to everybody else.  “Hey, look at this cool article”–and the first thing that pops into your mind is, I gotta post this on FB, I gotta retweet this.  Without even stopping to read and think about the damn thing.

And I’ve talked about this before too..about how it’s so nice–so nice–to still know that despite the fact that games are cramming stupid information down your throat these days, they still manage to, at times, remain a bastion of defense where you can escape that feeling.  I admit, it’s gotten harder–after I get a good TGM run I post the screenshot, update my records, make a video and upload that–but still, there are times when you can lose yourself and just =not care= about the rest of the world for a bit.  That’s something that’s different than immersion, I think–whatever “immersion” means anyways.

So don’t pity that guy who’s staring into his monitor and seems completely oblivious to the outside world for “not having a social life”, as you post a status to the world about how your friend count seems to have gone down and you can’t figure out why.  No one knows, or cares.  Did you actually expect an answer?  Why are you posting that anyways?  Is this your way of dealing with problems–shouting them to whoever happens to be listening? (the kind of behavior I scorn routinely)  And why is this beginning to feel like some MMORPG gone terribly wrong?

So envy the lone gamer.  Maybe not that much.  But…maybe just a little bit.

…Unless he’s screaming into his microphone at the rest of the “noobs” who are playing.  Then uh…just slowly back away.