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7:50 AM on 04.19.2015

10 Comparsions to Alphadeus + AMA + Romeo + Juliet Zero

I'd been working on my 10 things post when I saw Alpha's pop up, and the idea of chain compairing immediately intrigued me. But since I've been up all night already just writing that one bit, plus writing another thing elsewhere, PLUS being distracted by videos, I'm going to just do half now and save 10 things proper for later. Sorry, whoever wanted to do something similar. I just comparison-blocked you. You got a problem with that?

 

 

1) I hoard nothing.

I live a pretty frugal lifestyle. Partly out of necessity, partly because I don't place much value on material possessions. All the shit I own (not counting my motorcycle) can literally fit in a 4x4 square space in a corner. Same goes for shit on my hard drive. I delete everything I don't need.

2) I don't know how to play the piano.

I can't read music, but I can figure out pretty quickly how to play something by ear on one. It's a hell of a lot easier than guitar. One of the first songs I ever taught myself to play was Heart and Soul. On a crappy baby yamaha. It was actually a pretty decent yamaha. Man, remember when the economy wasn't so fucked? Good times...

3) I only had 1 girlfriend, in high school.

Almost 2 years. I regret how it ended, but I don't regret the time/effort spent. Since going through a string of rejections out of high school, I've pretty much given up trying to impress girls/women I'm sexually attracted to. If you want my affection/flirtation, you're gonna have to smack me with a sledgehammer that has "fuck me" etched in it. I may have low self-esteem as far as my face goes, but it's not a lack of confidence. It's a lack of fucks to give, which seemingly a majority of people don't understand or misinterpret. Calling me a fgt won't do you any favors.

4) Not too keen on social media myself, but I get how it works.

I deleted my fb a while back. Can't say I didn't use it to its potential - had some good chats and caught up with some people. But it wasn't an everyday thing, and I needed to scrub a constant reminder of a mistake off my waking world. I'm still on twitter occasionally.

5) I can wake up at any specific time within 6 hours by will alone.

It's a lame superpower I acquired in junior high, along with the ability to tell exactly how much time has lapsed from a given point (not counting milli/nanoseconds). In order to wake up the next morning to do homework or study, I'd set my alarm for 5 or 6 am, to at least get 2-4, or even 1 hour of sleep in. Eventually I'd just say fuck it and forgo the alarm and tell myself to wake up at x-time, and if I didn't wake up then oh well. To my surprise, I'd actually wake up either on the dot or right before. It still works to this day. 8:00am interview. Tell myself to wake up at 7:00am. Go to bed at 3am. Wake at 6:55am. No alarm. The caveat is that I can't have already been up more than 24 hours prior, because I'll need at least six hours of sleep to recover. And telling myself to wake up at a time beyond the amount I normally sleep is kinda pointless, unless I was up 24hrs and need to be somewhere in 7hrs.

I've always thought it was weird but figured it's a side effect of insomnia.

6) My Short-term memory is fine when I have a decent meal. 

If I try to absorb information on an empty stomach or fucked up diet, I'll have the hardest time making ANYthing stick. Otherwise, I'm pretty good at retaining stuff, unless distractions are involved.

7) I can take or leave numbers.

Don't care much for them either way. Pretty straight forward.

8) My room/area looks disorganized.

But I'm one of those people that knows where everything is, even though it looks like a hurricane hit my shit. Another lame superpower kept from my days as a student. Ordered Chaos, I like to call it.

9) I don't consider myself a good friend, but I don't mind meeting new people.

I burned a few bridges pretty hard before becoming a recluse and joining destructoid. The people I seemed to keep attracting and hanging out with weren't much worth the consideration I wanted to give to people I counted as "good" friends. It made me fucking bitter and I've developed a few asocial habits/quirks as a result. I have a complete lack of empathy for people who get on my nerves in one way or another, which comes out as either disinterested silence (when I don't feel like dealing with blowback) or remorseless dickishness (to amuse myself). I know people in short driving distance I could call up and have a good time with (if I'm in the mood), but there's a loud, ever-present voice in my head that says it won't be worth the effort, despite knowing they are decent people.

Luckily, you can pick and choose who you want to hang with online, with minimum effort. Some of my fondest memories are from message boards, WoW, and XBL. I tend to crack-wise when I'm in a comfortable setting, so when I run into other smartasses or just really chill guys, it gives me motivation to keep coming back. And it's a lot easier online, because coming back means simply turning my computer or console on, instead of driving somewhere.

I used to pride myself on being a good friend, in another life. But now I don't make nearly the effort - to keep in touch, to give advice/consolation, to feel like I should care. I've been called a "good friend" since coming out of my hermit hole, but I honestly feel like I just do what should be commonly done, more or less. I generally treat people with the amount of respect I want or expect in turn. I show up when I said I was gonna show up and I do what I said I was going to do. If I feel like I messed up somehow, I try to rectify it, like you're fucking supposed to. If you ask me, it's a sad state of affairs when acting like a decent human being is going above and beyond, but hey, that's America for you. I consider you a friend if you show me the same courtesy. But as far as being a "good" friend? I don't know. I still have a hard time reconciling with the fact there are people in my life I give a shit about again. I know there are things I could do to show how much I care, and whatever I'm doing now, I could do more. But I don't.

The misanthropist in me, that's still angry at the world and everyone who's wronged me, is a pretty strong contender against the altruist he thought he killed off a long time ago.

10) Words don't hurt me, but stupidity hurts my brain. Also, I'm a reformed troll.

It's been years since I got into it with somebody online and having it really effect me. Not since I left the Escapist, I think. That was when I was still big on trolling/flaming for lulz, and when it came down to, "So long as I'm right, they're fucking idiots". And I always had to be right. Being an insensitive prick almost to the point of cartoonishness may win you points with your bros and people who're amused that don't have any stake in it. But bullying is still bullying. Just 'cause there's no RL ramifications, doesn't make it less of an attack, especially when the other party said nothing that warranted it. And after one time being called out for it, I kinda chilled out on fucking with people because I thought their problems were lesser than. Now I just fuck with people when they go full-retard, or when I feel like acting stupid.

And thanks to internet anonymity and people thinking I'm white, I didn't have to deal with slurs being thrown at me. Not that it'd offend me, I just find it unclever. If you're gonna be racist, at least put some ingenuity into it.

Pro-tip: The best way to not give a troll what he wants is to say, "Yeah, pretty much. Damn, you got me. Correct as always, sir. I'm just sorry I missed out on those fun-looking *insert horrible hate crimes* lolol"

You can only sleep as well at night as much as you don't give a shit.

 11) I'm Nihil, one of the forum admins. Ask me anything!

I'm also still working on my 9 community members thing. It's slow-going.

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4:24 PM on 03.06.2015

Career Interview with Phil Ken Sebben of Sebben & Sebben

 Pain, of the mental variety, seems to be a huge part of peoples lives, and it's only recently that it's become more socially acceptable to talk outloud about it. There is a constant, steady flow of pain in the world. Some dip their toes in it. Some are thrown in head first, and unfortunately for them, it becomes their world. But for those that can't pull themselves out to live healthly lives, there's still hope and help.

Destructoid's Mike Martin is one such person who has not only been able to pull himself out, but able to give help and hope to others as a Program Manager/Head Instructor at a school for the psychotic and developmentally disabled.

 

1. What activities, duties and work do you do every day?

I start my day at 5:30am getting all our vans ready to go pick up our patients. Then I hand out driver/rider assignments and get them all on the road. Once that's accomplished, I pull lesson plans and setup our various classrooms with their activities for the day. With that done, I answer emails, call back care givers/parents/state workers, schedule meetings and then grab another cup of coffee and a smoke.

It's usually 8:30 by this time. Patients start arriving at 9, so I continue the above stuff until they arrive. Once patients get there, I greet them all individually, while giving my workers 10 minute breaks (my asst. manager also helps me do this) and we get them settled into their classrooms. At this point, I supervise the floor, address any issues that arise, deal with any violent situations, deal with employee problems and break employees for their lunches.

By this time it's around 1pm and it's clean up time. My asst. manager leads the team and patients in cleanup, while I prepare for any meetings or calls I have that afternoon. We get everyone out the door and on the road home by 2. At this point, it's meetings, reports, calls, payroll, budgeting, supply gathering, responding to any emergencies occurring on the way home, etc. This all ends around 5pm. Now I check all the vans, double check the site and have it all locked up and ready to go for the next day by 6pm. If there have been issues or problems, sometimes I don't get out of there until 8-9pm.

Then it's home to be daddy, eat something, put the kids to bed, take care of whatever I need to, relax and sleep for a few hours before repeating it all.

 

1.5. What are the age ranges of the patients at your facility? Is there a mix of male/female patients? What various disorders are typical for them to be diagnosed with?

My current facility; 18 - As long as they can breathe. Our ultimate goal is to get them functional in society and public instances, so the mix of sexes is crucial.

Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective disorder, Delusional disorder, Bipolar II, Borderline personality disorder, PTSD, Autism, PDD-NOS and Dementia are the most common ones I'm familiar with.

 

2. How were you trained for this career?

I began working in locked psychiatric facilities when I was 22. I was lucky enough to get in the field before it required a degree in psychology. I worked for the state, then moved onto prison and settled into the private sector finally, after having enough of almost being killed by prisoners/patients. All together that amounted to almost 7 years of experience. At every facility I was able to rise into management or training positions, while on the side I became a certified paramedic and got a cognitive-behavioral management cert from night classes. At that point I left the field for a year after the loss of a patient I was very close to, that could have been avoided. That shit hit me hard and a co-worker I felt was responsible almost got destroyed by me. Upon deciding to return to the field, I needed something different.

Locked psych takes the life from you. It drains you. Fights everyday, screaming, injections, restraints, abuse, neglect, death and other terrible things take their toll, you know? So after searching around, I found this "school" that practiced behavioral therapy for those that suffer from psychosis and/or developmental disabilities who happen to have violent urges. These are people one step away from being locked up the rest of their lives. The unwanted and abandoned. If you know my past, that really struck a chord with me. I applied and presented my credentials and was immediately hired on as an asst. manager of a site. At that point, the company also put me in classes with our local Regional center (Alta Regional, Regional centers are state run places that assist parents or care givers with their children (age does not matter) care and growth, as well as offering placement options and appointing social service workers to the patient/client to help make life decisions). The classes I took broadened my training and allowed me to run a facility myself. Once I was done with that, I was promoted to running a facility all by my lonesome. Took around 2 years.

TL;DR: I worked really fucking hard and I got really fucking lucky.

 

3. What is the salary range for people in your line of work?

Anywhere from 40k a year up to a million plus, if you own and run your own facility. I personally pull around 45k.

 

4. What are some of the fringe benefits you enjoy?

I have a gas card and occasionally someone buys me a sammich.

 

4.5. What kinda sammiches we talkin' bout? Like, deli, or straight out the vending machine?

I love a good homemade sammie. Soft french roll, chicken or cold pastrami, Nathan's dill slices, whatever cheese strikes my fancy and one of my weird mustards (really into sweet & hot atm). If that's not possible, Safeway or Raley's deli sammies are the only way to go. Cheaper than Subway or Togo's as well.

 

5. What are the positive aspects of your work?

I get to help people no one wants to help. I get to watch them grow and do things they never thought they could do.

 

6. What are the negative aspects of your work?

I get the crap beat out of me, I have to deal with employee drama, angry parents, disgusting state officials and recently have suffered what may be permanent nerve damage and restrictions to my left arm from a nasty bite. Yay! I have scars covering my entire body, had my nose broken at least 5 times, I've been stabbed, concussed so many times, fingers broke, ribs broke, a guy tried to carve my eye out of my head once, seen and smelled so many nasty naked people, witnessed disgusting abuse of people that deserve better, got paid shit for what I dealt with and worst of all rarely had backup in most altercations because I was trained and I'm a large man with muscles. Well I was. Got kind of fat the past few months due to no exercise from the arm thing.

 

7. What are some of the major trends you see in this career field? What predictions can you make about this field in the next five to ten years?

Growth. More and more of these folks are getting older and have no where to go and no one to take care of them. I personally want to start my own facility as even though I only answer to one person at work, that's one too many.

 

8. Is there a lot of competition to get into this field?

Virtually none. No matter the level. I've never seen a job with a higher turn over rate.

 

 

9. What are the strongest skills/personality traits a person must have to do well in this career?

You need patience, caring, understanding, a high tolerance for pain and that little thing inside you that stops you from punching the poor kid who just broke your nose. He doesn't know what he's doing. You need to be good at writing detailed reports, be good at paying attention, have some medical training for dealing with emergencies, a psych degree, behavioral management training and be trained in whatever safe and sane methods of restraint your state allows.

 

11. In what other fields can a person with your training go?

Medical or prison. Not really sure as I've never wanted to branch out.

 

12. If you had it to choose all over again, would you still enter this field? Why or why not?

In a heartbeat, though I would never work with prisoners again. Fucking terrible piles of shit most of them. 1 out 5 actually had something wrong with them and required help. The rest were gaming the system. But this field has allowed me to give back to the world in a way I never thought I could achieve. With how crazy I am myself, I don't think I could do any other job. Takes one to know one after all. My own personal traumas are easily applied in everyday work. What other job lets you apply rape and abuse traumas to daily work?

 

12.5. I myself have briefly mentioned before on my blog that I've been a patient at psych wards, and despite seeing chaos around me, my own personal experiences with most of them were pleasant, fortunately. The knockout drugs certainly didn't hurt, but individuals on staff that garnered a rapport with me and had similar experiences and interests helped much more. It made me think I could return the favor by doing what they did for me one day, either through employment or volunteering at a facility, so I completely understand the feeling of gratification and fulfillment in working in this field specifically.

Were/are there any patients or staff that inspired you to get into/keep going in this line of work?

Sounds like you were in nice, private facilities. Those are great to work at and be a patient at. Working at those and at my current place are the best times I've had in the field. As for patients who inspired me: almost every single adolescent I ever worked with has inspired me to keep going. I seem to work well with kids for some reason, probably because I treat them with respect and not like they are idiots and demand the same back from them. Kids require structure AND respect imo. My little brother (that is still with us) is a huge factor for what I do now, as he suffers from autism. Two of the main people I do this for though are no longer with us.

One was a young girl on suicide watch who wasn't watched and died in my arms due to another staff leaving their post. I'll never forget doing CPR on her for what seemed like forever. Then being pulled off and almost killing an EMT out of rage for what was happening.

The second is my little brother who took his own life late last year. I've been told I'm great at what I do, so if I stop doing this, I'll guilt myself to death over people I could have helped. I already blame myself for too much as it is (like both peoples deaths I described above, just to start). The non-depressing part is that I truly love helping others in any way I can. I love making sad people smile, those that feel worthless feel worth something, etc.

I don't just feel like I owe the world for what I survived and have, I actually want to do this stuff. Sometimes it's horrible, sometimes it makes my day. Either way, I don't know much else to do with my life.

 

13. What is your next career move?

Owning my own facility by 45. 12 years to go. Need to save up.


14. Where can I get more information about your career?

Google your local regional center, search for schools that deal with people who suffer from these handicaps, read about various psychiatric issues people suffer some, read up on locked psychiatric facilities and what they do. Most of this information can be found on your states website or through a quick Google search.


15. What advice can you give someone who is trying to choose a career?

Don't do it unless you have the traits I listed above. I'm not talking about the education either. The people who join this field and don't care about the patients, or abuse them, get theirs. This isn't something you do for money, glory or recognition. No one cares that you do it and no one wants to hear about it other than bar stories. It won't get you laid either. Don't do it if you can't work with people like me. Everyone I know who has done this as long as me (10 years plus now) or longer, has a dark, odd, vulgar sense of humor with each other.

 

 

Eternal thanks to Mike for his dedication, friendship, and love of the cock, and to the Destructoid community for housing such remarkable specimens. I like to think the search for water across the harsh unforgiving wastelands is going to suck less, thanks to you all.

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5:15 PM on 03.02.2015

Career Interview with a Literal Shield


The majority of us go to our jobs every day with a certain assurance of safety. Even if there are physical hazards, we'll likely not come to harm, so long as we follow the rules. But when your job is dealing with the safety of the public directly, your own safety isn't guaranteed, whether you follow the code of conduct or not. It's just one sacrifice of many that community member Scield has made to fulfill a duty he's sworn himself to, and he's proven himself more than capable of handling it. I think we're very fortunate to have him here, and while this interview kick of mine lasts, I wanted to make sure he got a spotlight.



1. What activities, duties and work do you do every day?

I am currently a Sergeant for a police department in South Florida. I have been employed for 11 years and 10 months and have held several different positions in my time here. Besides regular patrol duties sometimes, like responding to calls when needed, I’m also tasked with supervising a squad of patrol officers. This involves a large array of duties, such as taking minor crime scene photos, checking reports, setting up incident commands for major crime scenes/incidents and minor internal investigations, such as officer involved traffic crashes and use of force reviews.

 

2. How were you trained for this career?

Being an officer is something I have wanted to do since I was four years old. I started out in college for a year but I did not like it. I decided to follow the career path of a police officer. I went to the police academy, which in Florida is based out of Community Colleges or county technical schools, for six months. There we were taught high liability topics, such as firearms, defensive tactics and driving, along with basic topics such as search and seizure, case law officer safety and the list goes on.

Since being employed, I have been offered many further education opportunities. Classes are constantly offered in our region and statewide that, while I may not get to attend a lot for one reason or another provide, a great chance for any officer to continue to improve themselves in their line of work. If someone wants to focus on drug investigations, DUIs, property crime or persons crime, they have the chance to mold their own specialties based on their interests. I have sort of tried to dabble a little in all topics so I can be well rounded, so I have taken a lot of different courses.

 

2.5. What created the desire to be an officer at such a young age?

In kindergarten there was a boy in my class whose dad was a police officer. He would come talk to our class a lot and it really interested me a lot. Other than that, I've just always liked the idea of what police stood for and having an exciting job.

 

3. What is the salary range for people in your line of work?

It really depends where you work and live. Florida is an odd state. There are parts of the state that are rural, which pay less than other parts of the state but the cost of living is lower. Whereas, looking at a place like Miami Beach, the starting pay may be higher compared to another area but the cost of real estate, taxes, etc, would make it very hard to live even if you have a starting salary of $50,000.

In my area, the starting agency pay generally runs around the mid to high 30’s. Bigger cities, obviously, may start at a higher rate. The range of pay is what you make of it. If you stay as a patrol officer for your entire career, you may top out around $60,000 (agency depending), but if you go into different positions or get promoted, it will obviously raise your pay. Going forward in the ranks will give you a raise and each rank has their caps.

 

4. What are some of the fringe benefits you enjoy?

There aren’t really a lot of fringe benefits. The days of free meals, getting out of speeding tickets or whatever else died long before I started in 2003. It still happens but it’s rare. Every once in a while a nice citizen will buy some of us lunch as a thank you and we really appreciate that; not so much as a benefit but it’s just nice to be thanked every once in a while.


5. What are the positive aspects of your work?

It can change for everybody. Some people don’t like being stuck in an office all day and enjoy being out and about. Others like the fact that every day is different and there is always something new to experience and learn. For me, I like to see a positive impact from my work. It could be the gratitude from the victim of a burglary after finding her property that was important to her or from the family of someone you gave CPR to. For me, those moments act as a shining light through everything else.



6. What are the negative aspects of your work?

What are police known for? Speeding tickets. Putting people in jail. Taking kids away from their parents for one reason or another. All negative things and very small parts of our jobs but things that we are known for most. Most people have a negative image of the police, even if they have never had any interactions with them at all. We’re presented in a negative light a lot of the times in media and that definitely has an effect on the way people view us and treat us. It really makes it hard to do a job when people are vile to you constantly and adds a lot more stress to what is already a stressful job.

I have also seen my personality change over the years. After years of putting up with verbal abuse and all kinds of fights, seeing the worst in people 99% of the time, and having to put on a straight face during some of the toughest situations really makes you close yourself off emotionally from friends and family. For the past several years I have been trying to reverse that but it is a very hard thing to change.

 

6.5. Do you have any personal ideas on how to heal civilian-law enforcement relations en masse?

As far as ideas on how to heal relations between law enforcement and police, I don't know. I don't think there is one specific answer to fix everything. I don't think people crying for body cameras and outfitting police with 85 different microphones and cameras is the answer. I think that is just a quick fix to make people feel better. I think police can help the tension by giving the public a better understanding of what it is to be a police officer and what the situations can be and what they can turn in to. In turn, I think the media and popular entertainment should stop making police out to be the villain in a lot of cases. That gives the public a bad taste for police and helps feed the cycle.



7. What are some of the major trends you see in this career field? What predictions can you make about this field in the next five to ten years?

Being at this for almost twelve years, a lot has changed even in the time I’ve been on. For better or for worse, police use of force has come under a lot of scrutiny in the recent years. Since that is one of the more visible aspects of our work, the public obviously sees a lot of it, most of which is taken out of context. With more attention on police use of force and police procedure, I can definitely see major changes coming to give the public better access to the information and evidence in those cases. From in car audio/video equipment, body cameras, Taser cameras, GPS monitoring in vehicles and whatever else, I see those being introduced more into police work in the next few years.

With having said that, I do see a major change in police activity. Sometimes doing police work the right way isn’t pretty. Sure, we would all love to solve each situation peacefully and with the best result, but some of the times that isn’t the case. If an officer does his job correctly in those situations it isn’t going to be a pretty thing. Whether lethal force is used or a knock down, drag out fight is caught on video, it will look bad. The officer will be tried in public court days after the incident, with media calling for the officer’s head and it may turn out that the officer was justified in what he did, But now that officer is blacklisted and toxic at that agency and may have to leave the career. I have talked to several officers from different agencies about current events and many have started to shut down their activity, noting that losing their career and putting their family in jeopardy isn’t worth the risk of being in a situation like that. I hope it isn’t a widespread thought and, maybe, with time it will pass. If it doesn’t, I can definitely see a dramatic increase in crime in the next few years or a lot of people leaving the profession because the risk isn’t worth the reward.


8. Is there a lot of competition to get into this field?

When I was first looking for a job, a lot of agencies were hiring and I did not have a problem getting hired. When the economy declined around 2008 or 2009 and a lot of people lost their jobs in the private sector they turned to government work to support themselves and their family. Good benefits, a stable job, lower pay but less risk compared to a private sector job made a lot of people look at law enforcement. However, many local budgets were also hit and many positions were eliminated making the job field very competitive for people during that time. Even though the private sector seems to be improving and more jobs are being offered, the local governments still seem to be behind in getting positions back to hire more people.

I honestly don’t know what the job field is like now for law enforcement. I know my agency is not currently hiring anyone but I don’t know about other agencies and what the applicant pool is for those, so I can’t really give a straight answer for the current time.


9. What are the strongest skills a person must have to do well in this career?

A good presence and a good personality, at least in my opinion, are the most vital. You could be the strongest person alive or being able to shoot the wings off of a fly is great but none of that would matter if you can’t show up to a crazy scene and take control. Some of these calls get out of hand, with people running around, yelling, screaming and being timid and meek let those people run over you and you’ll lose control of the situation more. With a good, commanding presence people will stop and focus on you and things can start to calm down.

As far as personality goes, the saying comes to mind about getting more bees with honey than vinegar. Treating people with respect and talking to them in a friendly manner or taking the time to hear them out will net better results than being the dick that shows up on scene with a bad attitude. It could mean the difference of getting a complaint filed on you or solving a case that you initiated by having someone give you a vital piece of information because you related to them.



10. What personality traits do the most successful people in this career have?

Being self-motivated is a major one. Some officers just show up and sit in their cars until they’re sent to a call. They normally don’t go very far. The ones that are motivated to go out there, be active, make good cases and do a thorough job will get noticed and selected for special units, such as detectives, narcotics or whatever units are at their agencies.


11. In what other fields can a person with your training go?

There are a lot of different options. If you were good at investigating property crime or financial/fraud crimes, many private sector companies have internal divisions that monitor their own employees. Many insurance agencies also hire ex-law enforcement to work fraud investigations on cases that have red flags.

Many police suppliers also hire ex-law enforcement as salesmen. Who better to sell your firearms, uniforms, body armor or anything else than someone who used it and can vouch for it? Those are just the several jobs I can think of off my head but I’m sure there are a ton more out there that I’ve never even thought of.

 

12. If you had it to choose all over again, would you still enter this field? Why or why not?

I’ve learned a lot in my time being a law enforcement officer that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’ve learned valuable skills and had a lot of fun. Having said that, I don’t think I would be a law enforcement officer again if I had the chance to start over again. With today’s political climate the way it is, I see a lot of officer safety issues being compromised for the sake of various reasons. Although I would gladly give my life to serve and protect, I would do it for the right reasons; not for being told I can’t do my job right just to make whatever incident politically correct for the news.

I’ve also sacrificed a lot and missed a lot with my family. I have a young son now and one more on the way and I’m tired of missing family time. I’ve missed birthdays, holidays, I have not been able to bring my son to play extracurricular sports or activities due to my schedule, and there does come a point where you realize it’s only a job and not worth what you miss with your family.

And like I’ve known since I started the career, I knew it was going to require sacrifices. At this point in time in my life, I’m just not sure that not being able to be the father I want to be is worth it.

 

12.5. What skills or practices do you exercise to cope with the stressors of the job?

I just try to cut myself out of work when I'm off. I took my email off my phone so on my days off I it wouldn't constantly go off with random emails. That helped a lot. Other than that, I love playing video games to relax when I have the time. I use them now as a form of escapism, which is why I tend to gravitate towards games with strong stories now. Along with video games, I enjoy the gaming culture. I love the community at Destructoid and spending a few minutes on the forums or in a quick conversation on Twitter on my phone at work can just take my mind of a lot things.

Outside of gaming, I love spending time with my family. Everything I do is for them so it makes me happy to see them enjoy what I can provide for them. I also started working out during work last summer and that has helped relieve some stress and I've lost a ton of weight in the process so I feel better about myself.

 

13. What is your next career move?

Well, I can retire in about 8 years and I haven’t really decided what I want to do. I’ve been taking college classes here and there to be prepared for when I do retire. I would love to do something in the technology/IT industry but I don’t have the time to devote to school to learn that right now. I can see myself, maybe, getting one of the jobs I spoke about previously, like an investigator for a bank.

 

14. Where can I get more information about your career?

Law enforcement varies by state. What may be required in Florida may not be required in Texas. I would speak to the training/HR division at your local agency, or wherever you want to work, to see what steps are needed to apply and start a career.

 

15. What advice can you give someone who is trying to choose a career?

I know it sounds cliché but do what you love. Plain and simple. If you get stuck in a profession that you hate then you’re going to be miserable, hate going to work, and that will cross over into your personal life. People won’t want to be around someone that’s unhappy. But, if you can’t do what you love, make the best of whatever you do choose. Just try and stay positive because that will reflect in your work, and co-workers and supervisors will take notice.

Eternal thanks again to Scield for his compassion and service, and to the Destructoid community for housing such remarkable specimens. I like to think surviving the zombie outbreak will be more feasible with you all here.

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6:00 PM on 02.19.2015

Career Interview with a Guy who might also be Wry

In the world of Account Management, businesses are represented by people who can do things. Like talking. And writing. Sometimes, at the same time. For some of these individuals, multitasking and networking can be especially brutal. For others, no matter what a company throws at them, it's just another day at the office.

This is one man's story.

[KUNK-KUNK]

1. What activities, duties and work do you do every day?

I work at a tech startup in the South Bay (Silicon Valley) so activities can vary. That's the interesting thing about working at a young company is that your job description is not written in stone.

I'm basically a salesman, but not in the capacity most people think of because I'm Business to Business. I probably need to explain before I can go on to describe daily activities. I operate in a more traditional business environment. My target client is a decision maker. Someone with authority to sign a contract with a hefty $100,000 estimate attached. Typically this means I'm trying to get in touch with a CEO or at least a Vice President. Finding a client usually involves some combination of networking at trade shows, stalking the internet and getting referrals from existing clients.

Something else that requires some explaining is that I don't sell an actual product. What I sell specifically are "services." My company contracts out software development. We don't sell software, we sell the services of the programmers who can build software. Kind of in the same sense as an auto mechanic, you're paying for my company's time. Just instead of paying for the time required to fix a car, it's time required to fixing a car, it's the time required to build an Uber competitor or something.

Daily activities involve getting out of the office to network, making phone calls and sending E-Mails, setting up business meetings and drafting contracts. In general I'm the one who does the prep work, but sometimes I end up being pulled back in even after the sale is over. This is typically when a client becomes tough to handle and they need someone to make them happy again. This is a level of responsibility that's uncommon for a sales guy, but because I'm good at it sometimes I'm asked to do it. Again, it's a startup. There's no real set rules.

 

1.5. Can you explain what a startup is?

A startup is just a relatively new company. Instagram, Facebook and Uber were all startups until just recently. I don't think there's a real rule of thumb, but once you exceed 100 companies I think it's pretty official that you're no longer considered a startup. That or if you've managed to stay in business longer than 5 years I think? The grand majority of startup companies fail within that time frame.

Most startups these days are technology oriented so stereotypically people think of them as beginning with 3 guys in a garage somewhere, working their asses off 15 hours a day hoping to make it big. Not every startup is started by someone young, though. I've had a few former CEOs of some pretty big companies roll by my office to talk about their new startup. Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements (in addition to not wanting to say where I work) of course mean I'm not going to name names.

Lack of experience is one reason a lot of startups fail, but a lot of the time they also just don't have the money to pay for anything including their employees. It's pretty common for startups to try and snag employees by "selling them the dream." Usually a valuable employee will be offered stock options in exchange for lower than average pay. This is keeping in mind that a good programmer should be insulted to be offered less than $100,000 even if they were being lowballed. That's only the base cost of hiring someone too. The company needs to worry about paying a share of that employee's benefits and taxes. Even if you're underpaying your startup employee you need to add another 25% in costs on top of their salary.

So yeah, it's not cheap to start a new company that needs at least a couple programmers on staff. Almost always you need to get investors to give you "seed money" to start the company with. You owe those investors some ownership of the company in exchange. If your company strikes it huge, those investors own a certain share of the pie. Very few companies are self-funded, though mine does happen to be one of them. Rather, I'm pretty sure my company has a private investor that's a member of the board of directors.

The ultimate dream for most of these companies is either to become the next Google, or to attract the attention of some larger company so they can be bought out, get their huge payout, then walk away and start another company.


2. How were you trained for this career?

In terms of being trained for sales I worked my way up from being a part-timer to an Assistant Manager at a GameStop. I was pretty dedicated to it at the time and was one of their top performers, and I trained my staff to be the same. That was the ground work for giving me a flair for service and sales even though I'm not a naturally social person.

In terms of being trained for a more business oriented sales job? There was jack shit. In a startup environment you need to be able to teach yourself and observe the people around you. Senior members of staff really don't have the time to teach you everything step by step. Anything you're taught will be on the fly, and in between you're going to trip around not really knowing what you're doing.

 

2.5. In what way(s) are you not naturally social? Do you enjoy your career because of, or in spite of this?

I was your typical nerdy kid who played too many video games and Magic the Gathering. I was not confident growing up. Work gradually opened me up and developed my social skills, but even then I've always been the kind of person who prefers spending time with small groups of friends and having meaningful conversations. No matter what happens in this world I'll never become a party person. I'm not as extreme as my Father who's happy to live out in the middle of nowhere with his dogs, but the apple still doesn't fall too far from the tree. I enjoy a little alone time.

Aside from networking at large events, my job is really more of a 1-on-1 kind of affair so it does suit my style.



3. What is the salary range for people in your line of work?

There's no real set range because commission isn't something set in stone. Unlike a car salesman however, people in my sort of role tend to have a base salary that's guaranteed to them.

The company initially took me on with the expectation that I would be entry level. They offered me $36,000 a year. I improved quickly and I've been given two raises in less than a year, so now I make $52,000. I'll probably make another $8,000 in commission so probably $60,000 is what I'm looking at.

A more experienced sales guy could easily be making $80,000 on their base salary and a lot more on their commission.

 

3.5 How long have you been in this particular profession for?

I've been at this for about a year so far.


4. What are some of the fringe benefits you enjoy?

My office isn't really strict about working long hours, so while a lot of people in this area are working 10 hour days it's not uncommon for me to come in at 10:00 and go home by 5:00. There's nobody really houdning me to work harder or faster or anything either, so I get to work at my own pace. Admittedly the lack of pressure means I end up spending a little too much time on Destructoid.


5. What are the positive aspects of your work?

The people I work with are pretty friendly, and the level of diversity in the office is refreshing. My boss is an extremely friendly Indian that's something of an industry veteran. Some of my fellow sales guys are a Syrian dude with lots of stories about what it was like to live there before things got crazy. I swear to God, another one I work with is this bigger guy whose best friend is a pro NFL player. Said NFL player gets tons of free shit he doesn't want or need, so he just hands it off. The guy I work with practically runs a miniature business selling all the free crap he gets on eBay.


6. What are the negative aspects of your work?

While I'm grateful the company was willing to initially hire me on the cheap and take a risk on me, it's a trend that has proven troublesome on occasion. It worked out pretty well when they hired me, sure. Other people they've taken this approach with have turned out to be duds that made my own life a little harder.

In a company where there's not a lot of structure, it can be a real detriment that there's only so many really experienced people who can act as leaders.


7. What are some of the major trends you see in this career field? What predictions can you make about this field in the next five to ten years?

This is a growth industry, I can tell you that. It's not going anywhere for the next ten years. After the ten year mark though it becomes fuzzy what's certain and what's not. Everyone wants to create the next big thing that's going to save time and money. Right now things like crowdsourcing are doing that while generating jobs, but the next step is going to be eliminating people from the equation. There's a reason companies like Uber are investing in things like self-driving cars right now.

There are tech pundits that somewhat irresponsibly claim that whatever jobs their companies eliminate will simply be replaced by "better" jobs. This is based on the fact that something like that happened during The Industrial Revolution. The thing is that there's no actual evidence that history is going to repeat itself on this, because once you eliminate physical labor and mental labor what are you left with?

If there are any jobs that are at least somewhat stable in the face of robots and software though, it's going to be social jobs like service and sales. While I'm sure eventually there will be a digital salesman coming for my job, it's going to be a while considering it's tougher to teach a computer social skills than it is to teach them accounting.



8. Is there a lot of competition to get into this field?

There's a booming economy going on around here, so while it's competitive there's probably an in for anybody who really wants to work their way up the ladder.


9. What are the strongest skills a person must have to do well in this career?

Sales is something where everyone really has their own style, so it's tough to say what the most important skill is. Personally I'd say it's an ability to balance the needs of your client with the needs of your company. You need to satisfy both in order to have a healthy business relationship.


10. What personality traits do the most successful people in this career have?

Persistence, confidence and maybe most importantly sincerity. A slimy sales guy will not last forever.


11. In what other fields can a person with your training go?

Really, with my particular background it's tough to say. With a little education Project Management or Management in general might be an option. Service jobs are an obvious choice. Consulting would be possible if some gaps were filled.


12. If you had it to choose all over again, would you still enter this field? Why or why not?

I've got no particular regrets. I wish I'd entered it sooner if anything considering I was a very late bloomer in a lot of ways and a serious job like this would have given me a good kickstart.


13. What is your next career move?

I've honestly put very little thought into it. I've always just wanted to acquire new skills to keep things interesting, so as long as the money stays good I've got a pretty open mind as to where I'm going next.


14. Where can I get more information about your career?

I don't really know of any particular place that houses this sort of information. I'm sure you could go to school for it, and certain employers really emphasize having a degree, but this is the sort of field where experience is really going to trump everything else.



15. What advice can you give someone who is trying to choose a career?

Don't be indecisive if you aren't sure where you want to go. If you're not making progress I'd say jump in to any job you can and milk it for all it's worth as quickly as possible. Learn everything and move on until you zig-zag into something you find satisfying.

If you're going to float around in school, make sure you're not getting yourself in debt while you're at it. If you have a certain degree in mind I'd very strongly recommend exposing yourself to that industry and finding people in that industry to mentor you. Our education system is inept to say the least about actually teaching you what a job is actually like or how to actually break in to it. You might think you like a certain job based on your understanding of it, only to find out it's nothing like what you thought it would be.

Both points really boil down to making sure you get a dose of the real world, because sometimes it's something you really need to pursue to actually find.

Eternal thanks to Wry Guy for his insight and knowledge, and to the Destructoid community for housing such remarkable specimens. I like to think the aliens will drop in to say hi rather than nuke us, with you all here!

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4:06 AM on 02.12.2015

Career Interview with a Heart made of Opioids

Hello, community blogs. How you been? Feeling a little under the weather? Unwohl, perhaps? Groovy, listen, I don't know if you have anything against doctors or hospitals, but in case you thought everyone in the medical field was soulless, you should probably know that one of our own works behind the scenes to chew bubble gum and kick ass. Kinda. Actually, it feels like part of his job is being an awesome member of Dtoid, what with the amount of work he puts in helping us co-pilot the forums.

But don't think that makes him less skilled at what he really gets paid for. Read on, and you'll see that he knows his stuff when it comes to makin' paper by pushin' it for the public health system in Deutschland. Take a look through my otoscope into the daily life of OpiumHerz, M.D.

(Medical Documentalist)

 
1. What activities, duties and work do you do every day?

Working in a hospital I signed a paper about medical and business confidentiality, so I am not allowed to go into too many details here, sorry. However, what I basically do I read every patient's file from the two clinics I take care of. My areas are Ophthalmology (Eyes) and Otorhinolaryngology (Ear, Nose, Throat). I read through everything the nurses and doctor's documented and decide what is relevant for the billing process. Another part is pretty much literally discussing/arguing with Health insurances if they think our documention/treatment was unjustified. They then don't want to pay for days or certain things we billed, so I either have to prove that it was justified or agree with them. The paperwork for this is handled by another division though. I basically only get a letter telling me what they disagree with, then I check the patient's file.

That aside I point nurses and doctor's towards problems with their documentation and I'm being consulted when it comes to questions regarding the billing system. I also work a good bit with statistics regarding my two clinics.

It's mostly bureaucracy, really. No sane person would put up with this shit by choice.



2. How were you trained for this career?

It was a three year apprenticeship that took place in what can be best described as a private university that was focused on jobs in medical. Of these three years, I spent six months in Year 2 in actual hospitals and working there, that aside we basically went to school. Due to the lack of expertise for many of the lecturer's though, I learned most of my stuff on myself. The final tests were standardized from the government, so we knew we had to be better than what we were provided. That being said, seeing this level of incompetence was a good preparation for the real world.


3. What is the salary range for people in your line of work?

In my field we're paid by union rate called TVÖD, it's for the public service. Nurses and doctors etc. are paid by it too. The wage for my job specifically varies a bit. The TVÖD has 9 classes with multiple levels each. You can advance levels up, but not classes (unless you get re-hired and are being paid in another class - for example you work at location one for Class 1 Level 4, you get hired somewhere else and get paid Class 3 Level 1).

When I started out I had around 1600€ on my bank account every month. Having no job experience back then, I found it fair enough. Every few years you automatically advance a level, so I earn a bit more nowadays too. Since public services has a very active union in Germany valled ver.di, and nurses/doctors are really on edge at the moment because they're hopelessly overworked, ver.di also strikes pretty much every year, which benefits me in the end again because the raises they negotiate hit me too.

That being said, the employer decides what Class and Level you start it. I applied for one job where the employer straight up told me I will be in Class X and Level X and that ain't negotiateable. Thus I can't really give you a reasonable range, but you can find the table of every wage (pre-taxes) class/level in the TVÖD here: http://oeffentlicher-dienst.info/c/t/rechner/tvoed/vka?id=tvoed-vka-2014&matrix=1
So the lowest monthly wage would be around 1630€ and the highest one is around 6745€.


4. What are some of the fringe benefits you enjoy?

Being part of public services I get lots of stuff cheaper. My public transit ticket for example costs me only 50€ per month instead around 90€. My employer also does a very special thing regarding retirement provisions. As I said before, being paid under the TVÖD I get a raise whenever ver.di goes on strike again for the rights of doctors or some shit, which is nice (even though I dislike ver.di A LOT).


5. What are the positive aspects of your work?

I don't have to work directly with patients. And thank god for that, because patients are fucking morons. Not as bad as retail customers, but close.


6. What are the negative aspects of your work?

I have to stare into a PC monitor pretty much all of the time, which is a strain on the eyes. My eyes got noticeably worse since I started this job and I will definitely need glasses sooner than later. Often I need to talk with doctors directly and their schedule is packed, standing in the operating room has priority over going through old files. Many doctors also think they know it all, surgeons are the worst in that regard and both my clnics are surgical ones. Telling them to shut the fuck up and listen for once because they have no idea what they're talking about is frowned upon too, because otherwise I would do that probably once a month.



7. What are some of the major trends you see in this career field? What predictions can you make about this field in the next five to ten years?

Digital will become important in the future. Digital patient files are the future and they have an incredible amounts of benefits. Honestly, if you don't work in a hospital, you have no idea how much space, money and manpower is wasted by storing patient files. My field of work also will become more important in the future, because hospitals WILL have to start watching their finances. Billing becomes more and more important, because the hospitals in Germany did a lot of mismanagement and now have huge problems. The billing system fucked them straight up the ass in 2013 on top of that, due to some changes made (it was predicted that many small to medium sized hospital will be in DEEP debt at the end of 2014 because of this - and I'm talking about "We have to close up shop"-debt).


8. Is there a lot of competition to get into this field?

When I applied, around 2010, there wasn't. There was a big demand from hosptials for my kind of people. Now, a few years later, the positions have been filled and it can be indeed problematic to get a job here, at least in Germany. If you got a decent training though (we get trained in LOTS of fields, from billing to clinical studies, we cover many different grounds and can start work in many different fields) I'm sure you can find something still. But you should be ready to move. For the job I have right now I literally moved to the other side of the country.


9. What are the strongest skills a person must have to do well in this career?

Know your way around a PC, since you work almost exclusively with it. Be a good time manager. Be able to identify bottlenecks in efficiency and remove them in a way that makes every party invovled happy. Attention to detail is important too. Anatomical knowledge for the clinic you work in is an upside too, so if you already have a history in medical that is always good.


10. What personality traits do the most successful people in this career have?

Have a good eye for detail, working fast and good, and overall just be intelligent. That might sound stupid, but that's what it all boils down to in the end. You just have to know/learn how to handle doctors, insurances, rules for billing etc. Applying that knowledge is relatively easy, but attaining that knowledge is something that takes time and experience.



11. In what other fields can a person with your training go?

Clinical Studies and everything statistics related, like controlling, are logical expansions. Archivework of different kinds too. Training regarding billing system are an option too.


12. If you had it to choose all over again, would you still enter this field? Why or why not?

This is a bit tricky. Truth is: I never WANTED to do this job. I wanted to go into journalism, but couldn't because I didn't have the degree. I wanted to go to the police, but couldn't because one of my school grades (motherfucking MATH, no less) is one score below the demanded grade. And while I want to become an author one day, with books in stores and such, that is a dream and not a career I could persue. I only learned about my job through my ex's dad and took it because I was searching for a job for three years without success and I NEEDED something. It was better than nothing, so I took it. It just turned out to be the dumbest kind of luck that I actually like this stupid job too.


I might chose the job earlier, right away. I'm happy with my job, I just like it. That's really all that is to it. I enjoy doing what I'm doing for some reason I can't explain. I would do things very differently regarding my private life.


13. What is your next career move?

Simply put: getting better. I'm not nearly as good and knowledgeable as I want to be.


14. Where can I get more information about your career?

That is a bit tough for me since Medical Documentation, controlling and billing works differently all around the world. I think I don't have to point to the huge differences in paying medical bills alone. I think my advice would be to look what kind of billig system your country uses (check for ICD and OPS systems) and follow the trace from there. Maybe ask a local hospital if they employ people for this (in some hospitals it's actually the nurses'/doctor's job, which is often pretty problematic because they are simply not trained in this field) and ask them. I could only give you advice regarding Germany, that wouldn't really help anyone.

15. What advice can you give someone who is trying to choose a career?

Take risks. Working a year in a job you dislike is shitty, but it's better than doing nothing for a year and I think it's a valuable experience nonetheless. I worked REALLY shitty jobs for years and I hated every minute of it, but I also learned a lot from it and found jobs I definitely never want to do. Maybe try to think out of the box, try looking for jobs that not everybody knows of. I didn't know of my job until I was basically one week away from signing in for that school. I believe everybody can do something good that is also fun, sometimes it just takes a few years and/or luck to find out what it is. But don't let yourself getting caught in a job you hate longterm. You will start hating yourself, your life, and everything else. I never thought I'd go into medical and here I am now.

Also get your shit straight when you apply somewhere. If you apply for a job, get your CV and letter up to speed. Writing a good application is one of the most important things while job hunting.

Eternal thanks again to Opium for his honesty and words of wisdom, and to the Destructoid community for housing such remarkable specimens. I like to think our future mechanical overlords will be more benevolent, thanks to you all.

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2:24 AM on 07.19.2014

A Fashionably Late Entry

The objective of the community mspaints was to showcase the best in lazy artwork. I like to think taking 4 months to finish this makes me the ultimate bestest winner.

And so, without further ado, because I know you were waiting this whole time for it, and I apologize for that, but seriously, shut up and bask in my genius already.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you: Chrono Trender


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1:12 AM on 05.19.2014

Deep Thoughts

If there was a port of Child of Eden for the Rift, people would be able to trip balls without fucking up their central nervous system.

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4:54 AM on 05.12.2014

Hi-Definitionisms... with Nihil: Part One

Gather 'round, chitlins. It's Uncle Nihil's Story Time, brought to you by Alabama Finger Blast.

"Alabama Finger Blast - For When You Want To Feel Like You've Been Touched, Deep South Style"

CONSUMER-GRADE NEWS


It's been since pretty much last year that I've gone at length about my gaming exploits and mindfarts. And I know that because I have not blogged about the HDTV I bought a little while before I got laid off last September.

Yes, I had lived in standard definition up until a year ago, and it sucked pretty hard sometimes. It's just another one of those things where being a stubborn old soul doesn't pay off. Trudging along with the shit you've had for years and years because it's been "good enough". Seeing all the new toys everyone's playing with, all the techno-junk that would make your life more convenient and fun, if what you were already doing warranted convenience at $59.99/mo. Shit that normally doesn't concern me in the least since I'm a grumpy shut-in.

I mean, sure, if I lived in an alternate reality where I made a lucrative wage, I'd likely still care about keeping up with the latest iFuckery, 'cause everyone and their grandma has one, and I'd have the cash to burn. But it's just the story of my life that I'm never wholly content with the range of entertainment media that I'm able to get my hands on. Always settling for "good enough".

Although Playstation 2 was certainly good enough a couple of gens ago - and Xbox 360 was good enough at the beginning of the cycle after that - I've constantly had a feeling of missing out on more that's out there. There are other experiences to discover and appreciate, many of them feeling new and invigorating in their own unique right. Other worlds that I may never have the chance to get lost in and incorporate into my own worldview, for whatever reason, be it low income or that I just missed the train... But whatevs. I think I can manage without ever playing Monkey Island or Shenmue. RapeLay is still an absolute must, though.



However, it wasn't until a few years ago that a significant amount of video games were making it glaringly clear: "good enough" wasn't cutting it anymore, even by console standards. PC is one thing - that's always been a platform in constant flux. Every year, the next big game needing something stronger than what you have, so you get left behind in that way if you don't have the ability to keep up. But the solace in consoles was such that you didn't need to replace anything in order to play a new game effectively. So when I began to notice that I was having a hard time reading text in even XBLA games, I knew I was in for some pain down the road.

In this first hand way, of experiencing the world around me moving forward, I felt Hi-Definition gradually overtaking Standard Definition, making itself the new standard; the same way that DVD replaced VHS. It feels more profound now than when I was a kid, when DVDs became standard. I guess mainly because I wasn't the one that had to buy the DVD player.

So yeah. After being fed up with adding even more to an already impressive backlog, thanks in large part to being unable to fucking READ my fucking games, I went to window shop at Best Buy, and bought an Insignia 28" 720p LED TV, on impulse. I did a little bit of research and comparing, but I mostly didn't care what it was, so long as I could read text on the goddamn screen again.


In hindsight, I should've put a bit more thought into it, because there's little quirks with this model that irritate me to no end. I can't customize the screen color the way I want to. If there's no sound, it takes a second and a half to actually work when sound starts. So that's a second and a half of music or sound effect that I'm missing or totally unaware happened because I didn't get to hear it at all. I don't know if that's a thing with all LED TVs or just this model. Honestly don't really care to go round trying to find out now, 'cause what's done is done, I can't take it back.

But for the most part, it's doing what I bought it for. Finally using the HDMI, after years of blissful neglect, I can finally play all the games that I stopped playing because I couldn't read what the fuck was going on. And the difference between it and my old television is super evident. I had no idea XCOM EU looked as cool as it did until I played it on the new tv. Sooo many little awesome details. Other games just look way more crisp, if they were made for hi-def anyway.

All in all, I'm glad I made the technological jump, at least in one area. I'm guessing the next thing would be to get a cell phone with a touch screen and bigger keypad. It's not that I don't want to be caught up. I just don't want to get swept in the minutia of needing the latest thing nao or I'm gonna miss out "oh em gee r they updating their status hashtag crab legs!" I just want what's necessary for me to stay in touch. And if that means eventually getting twitter on my phone, then fuck it.

Are you of this world, or are you in it? Keep up or get left behind? Both have their merits and drawbacks.

I like to think I'll walk the line between both.
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4:26 PM on 05.02.2014

10 Reasons To Kill It With Fire


It's been 2 years since the last one, and getting close to a year since my reintroduction post. So thanks to Jonny B, here you go, internet. See the exposed, rusting gears and shoddy wiring that is my fucking brain. Be amused. Be afraid. Be a dear and fetch me a hot glue gun to shove up my giant goddamn nose.

1/ Echoing the "I'm always right/gender roles" thing: There are a lot of things I hated about the values instilled by archaic gender/racial stereotypes. Granted, in days of yore I took pride in winning fights against bullies, getting girls numbers, and never blacking out while drinking. The kind of MAN shit that other males look up to you for, and give you a hell of a confidence/self-esteem boost.

But again, that was learned behavior. That's not the whole story of me. And the typical response I'd get from others when I revealed more of myself, was an affirming or lambasting "You're weird!" See, I didn't choose to become an outsider. And by most counts, I wasn't. But when you hear that "you weirdo" shit over and over again, you start to feel like one regardless. Like your opinion doesn't count or is the wrong one. Or you're right, and everyone else is wrong. The pressure to either become one of "them" or walk my own path was overwhelming at times...

Maybe I should like basketball. Everyone always seems so upset when I tell them I don't. Like it's so fucking unheard of for a black guy to not love basketball.

Maybe I should want to fuck all the conventionally attractive girls. Because I'm either a pussy or gay for not having an animalistic libido. Those are apparently the ONLY reasons I'd ever not wanna bang a hot chick. Totally. No, I get it.

Maybe I should watch reality television... Y'know what? FUCK YOU.

I'd apologize, but really, that would be disingenuous. If I'm to keep what little sanity I have left over from living in a half-broken home, I can't care about your fucking opinion if it's still at a high school level of non-acceptance. I just can't. Find a cool black friend that you can show off to people so they can see how fucking hip you are elsewhere. You goddamned sheep.


2/ I still get called out for using big words, while at jobs where most of my coworkers barely speak engish, much less have a penchant for verbosity. It's not like I'm fucking trying, it just comes out like that sometimes! On the flip-side, sometimes I fumble over my sentences (when my brain wants to move faster than my mouth) and can't carry a convo to save my damn life. But that's the nature of dealing with anxiety and a shitty memory. As I said last time, I can't keep all that jargon in my head at all times. Creating layman definitions helps a lot, e.g. ostensibly means "pretty much". Arbitrary means "random bullshit". Those aren't too assholey to say out loud, are they?

It also hurts that I'd still like to learn Latin. Like old school latin, fuckin Illuminati style.

WORDS, BITCH.

3/ I hope on moving to Seattle by the end of the year. I say "hope" and not "plan" 'cause there is no real plan yet. The closest to that is my desire to ceremoniously leave southern california behind by getting rid of all my loans and debts I started here, then set aside a nice chunk of savings for the ordeal, and acquire a transferable and tolerable gen. labor job... and that's about it.

Idk how I'd adjust out of my current hermit lifestyle, and give a shit about exploring a new city again. I've kind of dug myself in over this past winter, again, and suffice to say it's been quite a fight trying to get out. But the hope is that since I'd be physically closer to friends, leaving the house (and life in general) will feel less and less like voluntarily ripping duct tape off my scrotum.


4/ I don't like going to the movies alone anymore. I used to be a hardcore film buff; up to date with an opinion on everything current and working my way through the all the classics. Theater-hopped like there was no tomorrow, staying for the credits to absorb cast/crew names like a sponge. Watched every dvd extra and listened to every commentary track. Bought I don't know how many original soundtracks. I used to pride myself on having all that knowledge and trivia in my head, and being able to whip it out on a moment's notice.

But thanks to certain events that put my dysthymia into overdrive, that passion dried out over the years, not unlike my attitude towards gaming. I don't get the same level of enjoyment out of it as I did before, so it does not feel like there's a point to it anymore. Not unless I can share the experience - the memory - with a friend, and that prospect is way more fulfilling than anything a movie by itself can make me feel these days. That's the only way I think it'll feel special to me again. Apart from that, anything new I watch is simply an entertaining distraction, waiting to be mostly discarded. So I usually don't bother. Although... There is still one specific thing I care about from those days...

5/ I fucking love epic action scores. Whether its orchestral or electronic, if the composer understands when and how to hit those notes using the right sounds, and put a big emotional sweep somewhere in there, it literally gives me shivers, every goddamn time. I covered my love of this kind of music in gaming, and nothing has changed there either. Youtube has been a constant blessing for finding this stuff, and it's my go-to for shit playing on loop when I websurf. I appreciate great music in all of its forms (except country), but nothing does it for me quite like shit by Two Steps From Hell, Future World Music, Audiomachine, or the myriad of award-winning composers you've heard of if you're remotely a fan of movie scores.

Akin to film, video games, and like the few books I've finished, when done right it transports me to a fantastical place that I never want to leave...




6/ I've made a bet with myself to get the Aperature Science logo tattooed around my right shoulder after beating the Portal games; an outline after beating the first, and filled in when I finish the second.


This is another thing that stems back from when I really cared and was somewhat idealistic. I played Portal on The Orange Box, before it became a big deal to every nerd and their keffiyeh-wearing dog. I knew it was something special, despite it feeling like half a game, but I never thought it would take off in popularity like it did. Then again, I wasn't terribly familiar with Valve because I never played Half Life or anything else by them at the time, so in hindsight I realize that had a lot to do with it feeling so unexpected.

But here's the rub: I'm not great at puzzles. Not bad, just not great, since it takes me a bit longer to figure out shit that isn't glaringly easy to solve. So by the time I'd ran into the first test that really had me burning brain cells, I was already distracted by another game - most likely Mass Effect. Since then, I've tried restarting it maybe a dozen times and I never get any further. It's been a perpetual sore spot, more than any other game that I left unfinished, that I've never been able to just sit down and fuck that game in the ass, but I'm going to fucking do it. Sometime, somehow, I'm gonna shove my harpoon in that white whale's blow-hole.

When the boom hit, it was virtually impossible to avoid plot spoilers and memes. Even though I hadn't beaten it, I understood even from what chunk I'd played why it was lauded and I believed, still believe, it deserved every once of it. It's an epitome of artistic accomplishment, using minimalistic narratives and innovative gameplay. And it may be stupid, but I take pride in the fact that I understood that before it rightfully became a (sub)cultural phenomenon and spawned a more-than-worthy sequel.

videogames

7/ Going back to movies, my ten favorite are: Bringing Out The Dead, Dark City, Brick, Hellraiser, The Way of the Gun, SLC Punk, The Dark Knight, Cube, Crank, and Ninja Scroll.

In that order.

8/ I hope to play a decent, or even good game of Arkham Horror with other Dtoiders. I've played a tabletop game of this kind a maximum of once in my entire life (D&D 3.5), and it was an enjoyable experience. But from what I've read of the rules for Arkham Horror, that shit sounds way up my alley.


I'm known in the forums' Werewolf threads for hosting games based on Lovecraftian mythos. I think it's safe to say that most of the stories I've completed reading in recent years are from HP Lovecraft - yet another thing you can go ahead and call me weird for. But dude had some fucking ingenious ideas, and exploring the philosophy of horror from his lens has been intriguing, to say the least. The nature of insanity is kind of a big deal to me, as you will read in a minute...

9/ I self-medicate using cannabis, and still on the fence how to feel about it. The concept used to sound ridiculous to me. All I knew or cared to know before my first nervous breakdown was that you used it to get faded at kickbacks, same as any other rec drug. But now I use it to keep from thinking about killing myself literally every other fucking minute. My sober brain naturally goes to that dark place when left undistracted, and it becomes a chore to interact with anybody face-to-face, because that's what's on my mind 24/7, along with all the other social anxieties that make waiting to die seem more viable than living.

It's just funny to me with the stigma around the whole stoner culture, which I could care less about (sorry Snoop fans), that it's being "recognized" as medicinal and relatively harmless on a mainstream level, even though it's still technically illegal. But whatever. I got tired of going from therapist to therapist, and pills are an even worse option, if you ask me. You're basically a guinea pig until they stumble upon the right pill and the right dosage of it. And even then, you'll likely still have to deal with side effects. Which you have to take another pill for. I didn't run the gauntlet long before figuring that one out.

Best way to say it is that weed makes things really simple: acquiring it, taking it, and reaping the benefits, so that I can do something productive with my time. Like writing this dumb blog, for instance.

Yes, instead of making me a lazy couch surfer like almost everyone thinks weed does, it actually helps me get off my ass and get shit done. Not necessarily while I'm high, since of course my motor skills go out the door before I do. But the clarity and focus I get afterward is unquestionable. I know that not everyone is comfortable with it, so I don't run around advocating legalization or whatever. It doesn't feel like my place to do that, to be honest. All I'll do is tell you how it works for me on a personal level.

Ultimately, the goal is to be healthy and stable without it when I finally get my life in a manageable spot, but I'm painfully aware that may not be possible. There is no cure for being fucked in the head this badly, unless you want to become an entirely different person than who you were. At this point though, after what I've been through, after the choices I've made... attempting to do that would be a disservice. A big part of why I am the way I am, is due to hostile reactions to my presence in this world. If I were to forget all of that, I wouldn't be as smart as I am now. And knowledge is a great weapon for self-defense and survival.


10/ You can go now. Seriously. I'm done. I can't think of anything else worth telling you about. I mean, I could but I've spent enough time on this, and I kind of need to find a new job before the end of the month, so that's what I'll be spending a lot of energy on if I'm not around in the coming days. Because as you know, shit's hard out here for a pimp... Or something.

Thanks for reading. Catch ya on the flip.
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8:04 PM on 04.10.2014

EA's SUPER MECHASTEEL JUMPER SQUAD ALPHA BROS: THE SEQUEL: JUMP HARDER

<p>I smell like doody. Also known as my legit Xbox 360 Titanfall Review.
I'm really not a fanboy or hater at heart, just jaded as shit when it comes to the industry. So I'm not surprised at all, with this coming from EA, that there's literally nothing more to it than was advertised: online-only COD with jump-jet parkour and mechs, and upcoming DLC with likely nothing more than new maps. No way to aesthetically customize anything; just loadouts. The campaign mode is so laughably bare-boned, I don't know why they even bothered. There's no real immersion for what could've been a fucking GOTY-worthy universe.   But, to the gameplay's credit, that's pretty much it's one big fault, except for the persistent and noticeable graphical glitches. I once watched a replay of myself getting kicked out of the tallest tower on the map, and landing flat on my face in mid-air only a few feet away. Mmmkay? Not perfect, but not game breaking stuff. Connectivity to matches has been very stable for the most part. Only occasional disconnects and the servers being down long enough to walk away and come back maybe an hour later.
Playing as a pilot feels like the meat of the game, but titans also play a major role, depending on how coordinated or experienced your team is. The balance certainly shifts when one team has more titans on the field than the other, or you're working with noobs that don't know how to out-maneuver one. I haven't used the titans enough to nail down how to play them effectively in certain maps and against other titans, besides using the quad-launcher and getting in close enough to eject-nuke. The titans are fun to use, but I guess my style of play is more suited to running and jumping around like a crazy fucker. Depending on how much cover I have, I'm much more effective at taking down titans as a pilot than using my own mech. It's also more satisfying. Not seeing a lot of people make use of wallhanging, which is fun and also satisfying to get kills from; puts a neat spin on camping, instead of using rooftops or windows. At this point I'm pretty sure, based on the variety of maps, your playstyle is meant to change accordingly, which would take a bit to get used to, but I ultimately think it's for the best that it's random and players can't pick the same shit over and over, unless they just play the campaign.
Others mentioned it before, but the option to get rid of grunts and specters would be great. They're fine for making the matches seem bigger than they are, and would be great for an epic MOBA mode. But it's annoying as shit confusing them for other players, when the real player is elsewhere and caps me because I was distracted, despite checking the radar. Combat between players on it's own has the potential to get pretty deep, with the way you can customize your loadout slots when you've unlocked all the stuff at level 50. You can change your super stealth or run-n-gun loadouts after dying, if one or the other isn't quite working out.   After fucking around with the burn cards for a bit, I think they're a very cool feature to have. They aren't op since you can only use one and it's gone for good upon death, even if you didn't get to really use it while it was active. I like that the cards you're awarded after each match, when you complete challenges, are meant to supplement your playstyle, instead of it being completely random (*cough*fuck Payday 2*cough*). So if you get a few kills with a certain weapon, you get the card that boosts its damage and cards for other weapons of that class type. If you're like me and like fucking up titans on foot, you get cards that amp up your anti-titan weapons, and cards that give you more XP and lower your titan's build time when you do what you do. Using abilities (cloak, stim, radar pulse) often will net you cards that either prolong its effect or make it permanent until death. Wallrunning/hanging/jumping gives you faster movement and stim cards.
I'd like to see more cards for titans besides lower build time, though, especially since you can call down your titan whenever you want, when it's ready, and after dying you can use it in tandem with burn cards you brought into the match. Though those would likely have to be the most rare cards, requiring completion of harder challenges to get, since they'd likely be op as fuck, but fun as hell to use. Stuff like causing a big explosion when it falls or a one-and-done EMP card that stuns or temporarily shuts down another titan. I have a feeling those will come with later installments, though.   Along those lines, more suggestions would include (which should've been included in the first place) a single player or campaign mode that, get this, IS NOT HALF-ASSED. Why do I feel like that's asking for too much already? But like I mentioned before, a fully functional and balanced DOTA mode would take this to a higher level, and make that pretty irrelevant. I'm really hoping that's in the pipeline somewhere. That's pretty much it at this point. It's not the hypest shit for next gen gaming, but it's a small step in the right direction. Barring the graphical glitches here and there, I don't blame them for holding back the 360 port if it meant the game playing as smooth as it does 95% of the time, and if it meant enough sales for the Xbone for them to justify putting any more money into this property, which will hopefully produce something more substantial than what this is. And to be totally frank, this is nothing more than a downloadable shooter, over-glorified by the money machine that is EA and MS, and lazy fucking reviewers that will give a ten to anything from a big publisher.   Basically, if Titanfall lived up to the supposed 75-award-winning hype, then playing it should've felt like this from the get-go. Instead, you get a game that simply does what it says on the box well, minus anything particularly epic aside from it being very pretty to look at. It's fine. Still not worth 60 fucking dollars, imo.
</p>   read


1:45 PM on 04.02.2014

Deep Thoughts - Whys and Why Nots



A whole lot of people ask "Why?" when they should be asking "Why not?". Others ask "Why not?" when the answer is right in front of them or choose to ignore it. As with most things in daily life, I think a balance in asking both is key. The challenge therein may lie in figuring out when to ask which. The answer to that is simple: Ask both at the same time, every time.   read


5:18 AM on 02.23.2014

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