I am having unpleasant experiences. On the plus side, there is more (tiny) progress with GameMaker

I don’t even really feel like talking about this too much. Basically, I think it was Thursday, I went to Chris’s house to check on Jacob and also to see if Mike was there so that I could talk to him about the weird check that I shouldn’t have deposited, so that we could decide what to do about it. He’s out of the house at the moment, I guess for the holiday, so I will have to wait a few days for him to come back.

Anyway, when I got there, right away Chris started telling me some new story about why he needed money. Again, he has explained to me that he has compulsive gambling and compulsive shopping because of the Abilify-Prozac combination, and that he never, ever did that kind of thing until he took those drugs, and we both looked online together and found the hundreds of web pages (and lawsuits) talking about this very thing, and we even signed up for one of the attorneys to contact him and ask him questions, although I don’t know what came of that – he says they contacted him.

I knew when he gave me this weird check from his roommate that he had probably stolen it, and so I should beware of the possibility of stealing. A puppet, a kind and genuinely concerned person, a total stranger, at the convenience store, when I was swiping my debit card, and I was also beginning to have a major and severe uncontrollable coughing fit at that very moment – this stranger standing near me at the counter said, ‘Would you like some free information?’

I was confused, and was coughing, and I said, ‘Uhhh… no thank you. Cough, cough, cough, cough…’ I didn’t have any idea what he was offering me.

He persisted, and I forget how exactly he transitioned this so smoothly, but he went on and said, ‘Did you know that banks will cover you if someone fraudulently uses your debit card on the “credit” setting, but not on the “debit” setting?’ This was when I was pushing the button that says ‘debit’ when I was paying for my item.

In the middle of my coughing, I attempted to use my Reflective Listening Skills, which I learned many years ago. ‘So…. if someone steals your card, cough cough cough, and they use it as a credit card, the bank will cover it, but not if they use it as a debit card? Huh. cough cough cough.’

So he was a puppet, because no stranger would have any reason to so persistently and determinedly give me this piece of helpful
information while I was in the midst of an embarrassing coughing fit, for no particular reason, just because it was interesting. He had been prompted to say this to me because it was going to be relevant to me soon.

I went to check on Jacob, and Chris started right away with a new story about why he needed $40 right now. The thing is, there are grains of truth in these stories, which is why they are believable, because he really does some of the things he’s making up stories about, and they could really happen. So, I was taking it with a grain of salt, knowing he might be lying about the whole thing just to get some quick cash for some compulsive purchase of lottery tickets or random bizarre shopping items he was feeling compelled to buy.

I was listening to him but could not look him in the eye very long, because I started to laugh. I was trying hard not to laugh while listening to his tale of woe, because I knew it was probably all a big lie. I understand that these drug-induced compulsions are real and extremely strong and extremely uncomfortable, because I have had drug-induced compulsions myself – drugs combined with mind control, combined with things that you really do want or need in the real world, that have some kind of possible reward attached to them.

So I tried to go along with the tale of woe, but I said I couldn’t give him any money.

Then I made the mistake of asking if I could take a shower. I think that was the moment when he stole my debit card numbers. Facepalm. I took a shower for a long time, because I love hot water, I love taking showers, I love hot baths, and I’m living in the woods and I take a real shower like once a month.

I got out of the shower and he was sort of irritated and was ready for me to leave, so I left.

I didn’t know about this till yesterday when I got the call from the bank saying there was a fraudulent charge. I looked at the date, and the big one that actually got accepted and went through had happened just the day before. It didn’t go completely through – it was still pending. The bank told me about several other attempted purchases that had been rejected as fraudulent and unusual. The only one that got through was for $189.55 on paypal, but it was pending. It would leave me with about $20, because I barely had a little more than $200 at the time.

I texted him with an angry message saying, ‘Anything unusual going on? Doing any online shopping today?’ We then texted back and forth and I made the accusation that he had taken my debit card. ‘I would never do such a thing! I don’t steal!’ he said, of course.

A few hours later, he texted me saying that I should pick up Jacob and take him out of the house. I told him I couldn’t because I didn’t even have enough money left to get a taxi right now, and I couldn’t carry Jacob down the street in my arms. I told him I would ask a friend if I could take Jacob to their house (which I did, and then changed my mind about).

Because I was worried about Jacob, I got on my bike right then and rode over to his house and knocked on the door. I was afraid maybe he would just throw Jacob outside or something, I don’t know what. I actually like having Jacob over there because there are three other cats and Jacob has a very lonely life. Cats are not meant to be alone, and they are not meant to be the one single cat belonging to a human – I really should have more than one. It actually makes me very, very happy to watch him interacting with other cats.

Chris and I talked to each other immediately in a perfectly friendly tone as though nothing was wrong, and I allowed him to pretend he hadn’t stolen and used my debit card. However, I still emphasized that I was going to have to make a trip to the bank the next day to talk to them and fix the issue, and I expressed that this was an inconvenience and a pain in the ass to do.

I ended up sleeping over there (‘sleeping’ should be in quotes – there was a lot of cigarette smoke now that Mike was out of town – he’s the one making the rule that you can’t smoke indoors, and Chris was breaking that rule – and there were frequent lights being turned on and left on in the hallway and nearby and people coming and going, and his friend Stefan was over there, the no-shrimp dude.). They’re all a bunch of Gammas – Chris ESFP, Mike ISFJ, Stefan ISFJ as well.

So, this morning. 😦 Well, inevitable things happened. Jacob won’t be there forever – it’s only while it’s cold outside and only while the police are still at risk of attacking my tent. I’m waiting to see if that police thing blows over first.

Anyway, Stefan slept on the couch in the family room, and I slept on a little foldout chair thingamabob, which was perfectly comfortable for me. Guys wake up horny in the morning. So he woke up and was talking to me and I was telling him about what happened, about the debit card and the problem with Chris. He wanted me to sit next to him, and I barely sat on the edge of the couch but then kept saying I needed to leave. Then I was getting ready to leave, but was waiting for a bus which was still like half an hour away, so we talked more, and I did, reluctantly, allow him to snuggle next to me, although I did this rather halfheartedly and with a frequent ‘no, no, not now, I have to leave, I really can’t do this,’ but not an outright strong absolute ‘no.’ It wasn’t quite awful enough to trigger an outright strong absolute no, so he kept urging, so I allowed him to have sex with me for a couple of minutes – just a kind of patient enduring sex without a whole lot of enjoyment. I could have said no more strongly – I felt aware that I had that option – and he wasn’t raping me. It was just a kind of reluctant sex without much enjoyment. Now I feel emotionally dirty. I am also physically dirty because my clothes are all covered with tobacco smoke.

This is all too much drama. I could insist on taking Jacob away from there, except that it truly makes me so extremely happy and pleased to see him with three other cats. I have hated keeping him with me alone all this time. Even having Max, who he didn’t like and tended to fight with frequently, was better than no other cats at all. But Max died.

I went to the bank this morning to talk about this fraudulent charge thing. Now that I have gotten here to the laundromat and looked at my bank, it looks like the one paypal charge for $189.55 has been given back to me, but I’m not sure how or why. That’s kind of appreciated, if it’s possible to quote unquote ‘appreciate’ something that a thief did, when they took something from you but then gave it back afterwards. It’s kind of like, ‘Yeah. Ha ha. Thanks a lot for giving me back the money you took from me.’

So, after all that. On a totally different note, I’m still slowly, slowly working with GameMaker. I can only do one or two very small, seemingly trivial tasks in the development of the game per day. It takes a great deal of thought and research and a whole lot of reading of the help file. I often encounter things in the help file that say, ‘People usually use this function to do XYZ,’ and that’s what I find the most helpful – I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s exactly what I was trying to do but I had no idea how.’

The trivial things that I have had to learn and fix are things like, I clicked on an axe with the mouse cursor and tried to put it into the inventory. But for some reason, when I did, every single axe in the entire room disappeared and went into the same spot in the inventory. I had to learn about gamemaker’s ‘With’ construct, and I had to learn about instance ids, and the instance_id array, in order to fix this. When I fixed it and it was working properly, it was a, um, I can’t remember the word. It means you should have been all ecstatic about it, but instead you had no reaction at all, counter to your
expectation. It was a … dang it, that word won’t come to me. A counter-expectational moment. It should have been this grand finale thing, but just fell flat, because I still had the axe turned to ‘invisible’ when it went into the inventory, so I couldn’t even see that I had successfully put the axe there. I didn’t even know my code had succeeded. Now I’m frustrated because I really want to remember this word that I’m trying to think of. I haven’t had enough sleep and I’ve had too much tobacco smoke.

Anti-epiphany or something. Anticlimax? I think it was anticlimactic.

So yes, even though it was SEVERAL DAYS AGO that I attached the little picture of ‘axe in inventory,’ I’m actually STILL working on making the ‘axe in inventory’ work properly. That’s how slow and tiny this progress is. Every little aspect of this process has to be copied so it works just like Terraria as much as possible, again, not because I am hoping to get rich quick by copying Terraria, but for the purpose of giving myself a difficult assignment and forcing myself to learn a whole lot of things, so that I could actually make a game where all the details of the game looked as professional as one that lots of people have spent money to buy. I want to know how to make it look professional, and that means I have to be forced to learn how to do a whole lot of things outside my ‘comfort zone.’

I can feel my comfort zone being strained when I look into something and I’m like ‘Ugh, I don’t want to learn about that, I don’t really care, I’m not interested in knowing how to do this, this is trivial, these are just trivial details that don’t really matter,’ and so on. I am forcing myself to slowly and reluctantly look into those things anyway. That’s the whole point of this project. I will become familiar with a lot of things I can do in GameMaker and with all the various functions that are available.

I love it that I can see instant results. If I do something wrong, the game doesn’t understand what I was trying to say, and it absolutely refuses to do it, no matter how much I cry and beg and get angry. I can yell at it and yell at it, but if I haven’t learned how to say something in the proper language with the proper grammar and avoid doing particular things that, for some reason, GameMaker just doesn’t like it when you do those things, then it will finally listen to me and do what I want it to do. This is a huge success when this happens.

I’m also becoming familiar with the norms of ‘how to communicate meaning to the player.’ There are things that game designers do which are not strictly absolutely necessary to the functioning of the game, and those are the things where I tend to say, ‘Oh, those are just trivial details that don’t really matter.’ But they do matter. They convey some kind of meaning, some kind of idea, they help you understand what you’re doing and what’s happening, or they trigger some kind of emotional reaction.

I could potentially write my own music for the game, too. That would be a challenge, but I do have music writing ability and have written music with software in the past – this is something I loved most of all in life. It was my proudest achievement, the couple of little unfinished songs I wrote with Propellerheads Reason. And I can draw my own art for the game, too. The art that I’ve done so far is just a space filler, not real. It wouldn’t look like that when it was finished. I just need objects that are there so that I can test them and make them function properly.

If I keep going this slowly, then I might develop a game sometime within the next ten years. I still have my day job.

Hopefully it will speed up as I learn more and can actually recall the language. I need to be able to memorize it, so that when I need a function I can just be like, ‘Oh, I need to say Function X right now.’ If, at worst, I have to use references and the help file to make sure I get the details right, that’s fine, as long as I remember that this function exists, that it is something useful, and that it would help me do whatever I am trying to do right now.

One thing that bothers me – I know my design is messy – I know there are probably better, cleaner ways to do whatever I am doing. However, all that matters, for the time being, during this learning process, is that I can get it to work. Messiness is going to be explicitly allowed and forgiven. I cannot have optimal, perfect, efficient code with the most ingenious methods and designs at every single moment, while simultaneously I am a clueless newbie who is learning, by myself, and making millions of mistakes, and learning while I make a mistake. If it’s perfect from the very first moment, I will never learn all those other random functions that I am learning while struggling to fix the mistake. I’m like, ‘Hey, maybe I could do it this way. Nope, this sucks, it isn’t working, maybe I have to find some other way. Okay, I’ll start learning about all these other things instead of doing it my original way. Nope, none of that is working either. I just learned a whole bunch of stuff but none of it worked. Okay, I’ll try this other thing – HEY! It worked!’ That’s how I’m learning. Making tons and tons of mistakes and having lots of failures.

That’s one thing that bothered me greatly about the mind controllers in the beginning. Whenever I would try to learn something, the voices in my head would relentlessly insist that I must never make a single mistake, must fix everything instantly, and must do the absolute optimal, most perfect thing, the first time, every time. I hated the voices when they did that to me. They didn’t understand that I have a roundabout way of learning, learning lots of random things that may or may not be directly relevant, doing it a messy way when there could be a better way, but learning all sorts of stuff while struggling to do it the wrong way. I’m learning so much more by doing it all wrong, than I would learn if I did it exactly right and perfectly the first time every time because someone gave me the right answer and forced me to memorize that right answer and spit back nothing but the exact right answer. The voices had no grasp of this concept at all, in the beginning when their attacks were much worse than they are nowadays. They seem to have either mellowed out, or are just attacking me less in general because I’m no longer on drugs.

So, with all of this other crap going on, with the police attacks on my tent, with Jacob being moved, with me being friends with a psychiatric drug-addicted thief who can’t resist impulses, with this temporary money theft that maybe, just maybe, has been given back to me for some reason – with all that, I still have been working on this game and having my one or two tiny successes each day, punctuated with a large amount of break-taking after each success. Yay! I did it! Time to totally forget about trying to do anything at all for a couple of hours!

Actually, though, I am becoming stronger and more confident. Yesterday, when I fixed that problem with the axe in the inventory, and realized I had succeeded at this task, I immediately wrote down six or seven new small tasks that all were related to this that all needed to be worked on, and I started immediately kind of thinking about how to do them. I picked one to work on, and I halfheartedly and quickly worked on it today, already, and got it done very easily because it turned out to be not a complicated problem at all.

So I actually generated a whole new list of tasks to do immediately, the very first moment after I succeeded at one particular task. This means that my mind is becoming more confident that I am capable of doing this. It isn’t such a huge, enormous, impossible hurdle anymore. I feel like I jumped the hurdle and still had just a little bit more energy so that maybe it would be possible to jump a couple more hurdles afterwards. As I get more and more familiar with the gamemaker language and am able to remember things more easily, I might be able to do two, or three, tasks one right after another without taking such a long break in between to rest. Then again, I know there will be moods, and there will be good days and bad days, days when I just cannot think at all and cannot muster up the energy to work on such a difficult and impenetrable task as whatever-it-is will be.

Working on this game actually makes me happy. I’m really enjoying this. I love learning.

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