Self Deprecation

Hello. First, I believe it would be best to address the elephant in the room; the lack of posts.

I feel it is vital that I apologise to my regular readership (google bot and auto redirects from other people’s blogs) for that lack of updates. I’ve been unable to draw, being that my iPad has gone and got itself sold, but that does not excuse my lack of regular posts.

Now, to the purpose of this post. I mentioned in a while ago that I spent a lot of time at school being told I was special, which I in turned believed, resulting in an acute case of lazy bastard. You may also remember that I was broken out of it this mindset when an old teacher actually called me out on it.

That’s the recap of the last episode complete.

Self deprecation has become a defence mechanism for my ego. If I become complacent in my abilities in any area, I stop trying. It’s worse than that in fact; I don’t stop trying in the purview of the subject to which I have become complacent, I stop altogether.

Allowing my super ego to dwell in a stronger foothold in my mind means that I’m less likely to become the lazy bastard that I was before. Becoming that person again is one of the few things that genuinely scares me.

Many Apologies

This week has been hectic, busy, and eventful. However this is no excuse for the lack of post and I will work hard to ensure a new post is forthcoming.

Quick point of note however, I have recently reduced the number of tablet PC’s I have from 1 to 0. The upshot of this is that I have lost the ability to practice my drawing when convenient. This shall be remedied once I have finished moving home.

Talentless and Lazy.

Welcome one and all to another mildly disappointing edition of:

MY BLOG

This post has a short preface, just as a precautionary measure, to ensure that you’re prepared for the first paragraph. I am well aware that it may sound a little (extremely) arrogant, but I ask that you continue reading; eventually you’ll get to the really good self-deprecating parts.

Over the last number of years I have become painfully aware that, although I’ve spent many years being told by teachers and parents that I have a propensity for drawing and artwork, I am woefully unskilled in it’s implementation.

I have, therefore, decided that if I am to be a successful designer of games, then I should know how to hold a pencil in such a way that the pictures that come out don’t make children cry (or laugh, not sure which is worse).

My real problem is, I think, I spent too much time listening to people telling me that I could draw really well, and not enough time actually drawing. Apparently (at least according to the internet) one needs to practice skills in order to improve them beyond their current level. This is, unfortunately something  that I have neglected to do.

This is the latest in a long line of things I’m coming to realise I am rubbish at and need to fix. The use of the word “talented” by other people in describing my actions has deeply marred my actual level of skill in a multitude of areas; art, computer usage, 3D modelling, writing, foreplay, etc.

I very much doubt I would have ever grasped the concept that somehow I wasn’t as good as I thought I was if it wasn’t for a hate-filled, disenfranchised teacher exclaiming that I was “lazy and useless”. Those words, coming from a person I had no respect for shouldn’t really have had any affect on me; it would be like Mugabe telling me that I should be more open to competition. However, affect me they did.

So; as part of my attempt to learn how to draw I shall be attempting to post up one picture every few days (one a week at minimum). Most of them will likely be of my hand until I can draw one that doesn’t look like a car crashing into a sausage factory.

Without further distraction I present to you the abomination that is this weeks drawing.

Rubbish picture drawn with stylus on an iPad
An aesthetic study of my mangled, disgusting, grey hand.

Bad Sportsmanship

It may come as a surprise to my readers to know that I am not well equipped, in terms of knowledge, when it comes to sport.

Yes, I vaguely understand that all sports are based on the notion that someone has to lose. Whether this means acquiring more scores than the other team, or just being the person who shouts the loudest for no discernible reason; it’s all the same to me, which is to say, unattractive.

This is quit strange for a number of reasons which I will not be putting in the following bullet point list (okay I lied)

  • I’m not a particularly inactive person
  • I’m not averse to physical activity
  • I enjoy competition via games

I think on this particular point it’s best just it say “it’s not for me” and put it to rest. Unfortunately I’m not a great fan of doing what is best, and shall press forward.

I can generally see why people enjoy participating in sport; I imagine scoring that winning tri in cricket is much the same feeling as winning the game for your team on [popular video game]. What I don’t understand is people’s ability to watch others playing sport.

Now, once more I feel it is important to note that I am not being disingenuous when I say that i am in no way claiming that those who enjoy watching sport are somehow deficient. If anything I get the sneaking suspicion (as I often do) that it is I whom is some how lacking. Perhaps there is some kind of hormone that allows one to take excitement from other people’s activities.

I just don’t seem to get that second hand thrill that others find so readily available. Which, I’ll be honest, leaves me feeling a little like that kid who never joined in with the fads, you know the one; too much nose, not enough chin, spent too much time with his hand down his pants.

Perhaps it is my urge to be doing something* that robs me of this pleasure. If only watching someone else doing something would suffice.

I consider this now because a memory surfaced from my childhood (don’t worry uncle Bernard, I’m still repressing those memories), of my father asking me if I would go to a football match with him. At the time I was 7 and did not understand the concept of bonding, or if I did, I didn’t understand how they applied to me, and so declined my fathers offer with more than a sufficient amount of disdain.

Remembering this decision genuinely turns my stomach; I don’t remember how my Dad looked afterwards, but I can very well imagine how he would have felt (knowing my father, hunger was probably in there somewhere**). So…

I think I’ve just written this pointless essay as some form of atonement for being a completely disinterested and disinteresting son. No doubt I’ll be doing the same in a future post, atoning for being a disinterested and disinteresting father.

That’s called progress.

*not necessarily something useful, pertinent, or legal.

**Some people may consider this a fat joke. I envy those people.

Learning.

I both love and loathe learning.

I love it for the very simple reason that it gives me pleasure; no, don’t be weird. Learning to me is like sport is to everyone else; I learn a new skill or some new fact that I didn’t know before and it feels like I imagine it to feel if one was to score a goal-in-one at snooker.

The thrill of putting new skills to the test and finding out quite quickly that I enjoy this new task is where my ambivalence towards learning comes in. I imagine those of you that way inclined would call it a “meta-emotion” and then sit back, smoke your pipe, and feel happy with yourself. Either way, I hate loving to learn.

In way of explanation I’ve done a quick flow diagram for you. No, don’t thank me, it was my pleasure:

Why I never get very good at anything

As you can see I hand wrote this just for that personal touch.

Anyway. As we can plainly see in this incredible diagram, I start out learning a new skill, learning more of it, before finally going bat shit crazy and substituting every activity for this new one (including but not limited to: Sleeping, Eating, Breathing, Farting, Cavorting, Standing, and Videogaming).

Then I get bored and go find something else to do, although the step between boredom and finding something else can take up to a few months.

“This is fine” I hear you yell, spraying toast crumbs and bits of half chewed Marmite all over you filthy monitors, “you get a new skill, and you enjoy doing it; you make me sick. Where are my hitting pants? This man needs a thrashing only I can deliver!”

Well, yes. I have fun. But, you judgemental pricks, if you look closer at the diagram I’ve included a red asterisk (or if you’re colour blind, a grey one). This asterisk allows me to refer to my skill level at that particular point in the cycle. Follow me to a superfluous bullet point list:

oh, you made it.

  • Amazingly perfectly brilliant  <———–This is where I think I am
  • perfect
  • amazing
  • brilliant
  • great
  • good
  • all-right <———–This is where I get to
  • okay
  • meh
  • not that good
  • bad

As you can see, the asterisk denotes a large deficit of perceived skill on my part. This being a mistake I make every damn time. I learn something new, for example, squirrel wrestling, I do nothing but wrestle squirrels for damn near a month. I live to wrestle those squeaky bastards. Then it gets boring and I stop, thinking “Well, if nothing else, at least I’m now a damned good squirrel wrestling sonofabitch”. Then to my dismay, when I check all the squirrel wrestling newspapers, it seems that I’m only just of amateur status; I probably wouldn’t even be able to wrestle squirrels at the local wrestle off! (we call it the nutcracker)

This makes me sad, and what’s more, I have no inclination to even attempt to get any better because the whole concept of squirrel wrestling now bores me.

The whole cycle ends with me feeling somehow like I’m worse than I was before I started. Before I could say: “No, I don’t squirrel wrestle”. Where as afterwards I have to say “I’m all right I guess”. Which isn’t  an improvement.

This time though is going to be different; I’ve learnt how to make things in flash and I’m so good I can make buttons and everything. I’ve done nothing but practice for the last 3 weeks and I’m really enjoying it!

Oh… Wait…. bored. Damn.

EDIT:
Turns out, ladies and gentlemen, that I am incapable of spelling. I have rectified this by signing up to an 18 month long correspondence course. The first practical involved letters a through b!

Shed pounds quickly and easily!

There, that should get me a few views.

And for the record, losing weight is never easy or quick. It’s hard work that most people only manage when their circumstances require them to become more active.

PhotoShop

If you’d have asked me 6 months a go about anything to do with photoshop I would have said “Back the hell off creep, I’m not your photoshop guy”, before likely head-butting your nose and jumping through the nearest window. There are two reasons for that.

  • I wasn’t very good with photoshop.
  • I wasn’t on the correct dosage at the time.
In the last 6 months I have gone from despising the idea of using photoshop to… Well, still not being ecstatic about it, but much less likely to damage your philtrum (and not just because of my change in perscription)

A number of months ago I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to redesign the game menus for a remake of a game from a popular old school franchise. Obviously I jumped at the chance of getting anywhere near the Game Development Industry (caps are necessary), and got straight to work on some concepts. It took me three days and surprisingly little sleep to complete the concepts, concepts which I was very proud of.

I sent them over the intertubes with a hint of trepidation; obviously I wanted the job more than I wanted the voices to stop, however, getting that job meant more photoshop work; much more. Over the days it took for a reply to form within my inbox I had convinced myself that my abject lack of talent had been just as apparent as I imagined it was and, upon receipt of my precious concepts my prospective employers had all caught Lack of Talent from them and died.

This was not the case.

The reply said they liked them and they would like to contract me to make them function in game as flash menus (to be mounted into the engine using witchcraft I think). Needless to say I panicked.

When I panic I tend to do so very quietly and all to myself; as if a little voice says “oh no”, and everything starts getting messy in my head. In the process of attempting to clean out this brain filth I decided my only possible solution was to learn myself some photoshop. Which I didn’t.

Not long afterwards (only two months) it came time for me to make good on my contract and start making some pretty menus. The work that I had promised to do was on the very limit of what I thought I would be capable of if I had actually bothered to learn how to use the package, so as you can imagine there were a large number of “oh no”s going on.

Good news next though because, after spending a number of months making these menus one at a time, day and night, finding a tutorial for everything I didn’t know how to do, and endlessly experimenting for everything I needed to do that didn’t have a tutorial, I began handing in what I had made. This was done quit unceremoniously; like a small child handing in a battered page of scribbles and calling it homework. I genuinely refused to read my e-mails for several days afterwards for fear that the e-mail would be so venomous that its hate would leak onto all my other e-mails, creating some kind of evil rejection slurry.

This was not the case.

Again.

It is my fervent, desperate hope that no one figures out that my low opinion of my own abilities isn’t just down to an inferiority complex. If that never happens, I may just be able to carve out a niche for my self in this industry we call Games.

Or not.