Life update (11/02/2022)

I usually write these entries to vent my frustrations, which serves a self-regulatory psychological function. However, I’m currently fine. Although the next cycle of depression will hit any day now (a process that will continue for the rest of my life), these days I can say that I’m perfectly content. In my free time I’m able to do exactly what makes me feel fulfilled; if I didn’t have to keep a full-time job, I’d feel like I’ve won the lottery.

Some years ago I gave up on writing because I’ve never felt comfortable enough working in my native language. As a child, I needed to put my thoughts down on paper for the same self-regulatory reasons as these days, but my mother didn’t believe in privacy nor in boundaries, so the moment I left the house, sometimes even while I was taking a shower, she went through my notebooks. When I complained about it, she told me that she had the right to do so.

I ended up teaching myself English. It became my personal language that gave me the space I needed to grow on my own, space I lacked even physically: I had been forcefully moved into someone else’s bedroom, where I was treated like an unwanted guest. As I aged, most of the stuff I read or watched was in English, most of the authors I admired were either native English speakers or Japanese (I’d gladly learn Japanese if I thought I was capable of becoming fluent at it), and over the years I gave up entirely on reading in my own language. However, I didn’t believe I could become proficient enough in English to write at a professional level. I wrote plenty of stuff in Spanish, but it never felt comfortable, and I found myself having to translate many thoughts into words that wouldn’t have crossed my mind.

A now defunct English writer who moved to Spain in his thirties, after I told him about these issues, shared that he had stopped reading and writing in his own language to adapt. I didn’t want to do that; I don’t feel like I have much in common with the Spanish people (or even the Basque) although I was born here, nor see much merit in most of their cultural productions. After the couple of books I tried to publish in Spanish failed catastrophically, I gave up on writing.

Long story short, I ended up writing my own stuff in English anyway. You can check out all the texts I’ve written in the last few years through my personal page. My English will never stop sounding “odd” to native English speakers, but maybe that gives my texts some freshness. Besides, Nabokov pulled it off, so why can’t I? Some people have told me that they enjoy the stuff I’m writing these days, and that’s as much success as I was ever likely to get.

Anyway, I wanted to mention three things I’ve been interested in lately. Randall Carlson posted through the After Skool channel an interesting talk about the origins of Halloween. He relies on the works of researchers from previous centuries, who had been bothered by the uncanny fact that the Day of the Dead and similarly themed festivities were celebrated pretty much in the same dates in extremely distant locations and by cultures that weren’t in contact with each other. For example, when the ancient Spanish first met the Peruvians, they realized to their astonishment that both shared the 2nd of November as the Day of the Dead. Long-dead researchers, now mostly “cancelled” due to wrongthink but whose research can be accessed at least physically, studied cultures around the world and came to the conclusion that these festivities were based on some unknown event that happened in the distant past. Randall Carlson suggests that the event is the Younger Dryas cataclysm, for which we now have lots of evidence, and the details he brings up about these cultures’ practices and beliefs suggest so. I wasn’t on board with some of his speculation, but you don’t have to agree with everything.

Leire, the deranged protagonist of my ongoing novel We’re Fucked, mentioned ages ago that if she found the drive to do so, she’d love to make a video game that was more or less a modern version of Tarn Adams’ Dwarf Fortress, but likely without all the Tolkienesque fantasy stuff. For those who don’t know, Dwarf Fortress was an artisan project that started back in 2006 by a likely autistic man, and that consisted on an extremely detailed simulation of a fantasy world. The result is hard to explain, but it became the grandfather of a whole genre of games, of which Rimworld may be the most successful modern version. However, I was never entirely on board with Rimworld, because it doesn’t feature height layers; height-based structures, mining, etc. have been so vital to human development that colony builders that don’t feature it don’t feel right to me. The creator of Rimworld argued that it would have been too computationally expensive to implement it in his game, and that whole thing bothered me so much that 3-4 years ago I went through the trouble of programming a 3D-based pathfinding algorithm myself: here’s the link. However, it was written in Python; through the process of developing that I realized how flawed the programming language is, which ended up becoming a rant in my current novel.

Unfortunately, Dwarf Fortress was so graphically unpleasant (based on ASCII characters) and with such an abysmal interface that despite its gloriousness, I hadn’t been able to get back to it in years. However, the Adams brothers have been working to modernize it and release it on Steam, and it’s coming out on the sixth of December.

The last thing I wanted to mention was Chainsaw Man. Its protagonist, Denji, is wild and deranged, and plenty of the visuals and interactions between the characters are strange and absurd. I couldn’t imagine any production company adaptating this story successfully. However, Mappa has been knocking it out of the park.

The latest episode, number four, features the fight between Denji and the Leech Devil, the first one in which we get a real sense of how unhinged and feral our boob-obsessed protagonist is. The cinematography and animation have been consistently incredible. The voice actors are giving their all as well, but that’s to be expected: the Japanese seem to have the most passionate VAs in the world. 10/10, would smell Power’s shit.

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