January 1st, 2019

Now begins my month of Freedom… I’ll be in India in February, so there’s no point in looking for a job right now. I’m going to use this month to create some educational games to sell.

For the first time in probably like half a decade, some time to JUST focus on building something IMPORTANT to ME.

My anxiety is high. My excitement is high. My inspiration is high. This is all I want in the world. But it is also temporary, because bills must be paid and, unless I start making some sort of regular income off this, I don’t have the luxury to do this long term. And unfortunately there aren’t many good-paying part-time jobs out there.

If I could get a software engineering job for half the salary but work half the hours I’d get EXACTLY the same amount of work done as a full time job and be so much more happy about it. Time is worth more to me than money, but I can’t pay off my student loans with Time.

Anonymous student reviews – 2018

From my time teaching at JCCC 🙂

  • One of my favorite teachers ever at JCCC–love the way she engages with her students and teaches!
  • I loved this class! Rachel is the best!
  • Course materials and class content was excellent. Professor Morris did a great job of creating course materials in a logical and easy to understand manner. I feel like I have a good basic knowledge of data structures now.
  • I learned a lot in this class. The teacher did a really good job with her teaching styles, test structures, and homework assignments
  • Appreciated friendliness of instructor. Great class overall. If I see her name for any future classes I need to take, I’ll choose her class if I can. Always recommend her to everyone who asks me about computer science classes at JCCC. She’s super nice and helpful. […] She’s a great teacher, wish I could have her as a professor next semester.
  • The way Rachel presented the material was very engaging and informative. I really appreciated that she made her own lectures and worksheets, rather than solely using the book, as her worksheets made learning the material much easier than the book does.

Who is my childhood art for?

I’ve been dragging around 20 years of diaries and old art for years, unsure of what to do with it. Every time I move (about once per year), it’s such a pain to haul all these old books around, and I wonder whether I should even get rid of them. Is there any point to keeping journals of my old self? Who is supposed to benefit from these things, if I’m sure as hell not reading them? My future biographer? LOL.

The cover of a scrapbook

For Christmas, my mom gave me another scrapbook – stuff from year 0 to about year 13 of my life. The book is falling apart, so I figured I’d maybe get a new scrapbook for it, or digitize it, or something.

But again, who is this for?

For my earliest works, I don’t really get any value out of it. I don’t remember what was going on in my mind or what that time of my life was like. It might provide mom with some nostalgia, remembering me coloring or something, but otherwise, what value does this have to the world?

A drawing of Xena and of myself on sketchbook paper, probably when I was around 10 years old.

Some art is newer and reflects what I was into at that age. I still don’t have any really vivid memories from when I was 10 years old, just tiny bits and pieces.

Maybe it’s interesting to see my influences over time and hypothesize about how it’s affected who I am as an adult.

A scribbled 3-year-old-Rachel’s drawing of Rachel, Mom, and Rose (in Mom’s tummy). Tummy-baby-Rose appears to be wearing sunglasses?

Some drawings show significant events in my life, but not many… Most of my childhood drawings are indecipherable, even to myself.

And that brings me to another question. This year, I’ve started receiving these kinds of artworks from the children now in my life (via mentoring), and it’s very sweet.

A pile of art by the kids

But I’m quickly becoming inundated with art that I feel obligated to save. And perhaps I’ll get a scrapbook and save these pieces as well. But, beyond the happy feeling the kids may get knowing that I’m saving their art for posterity, I’m not sure what the long-term purpose of saving all this is. I don’t know what the point of saving 30 years of Rachel-art and Rachel-thoughts is.

The important thing to me is that the kids are creating, and I love encouraging them to make art and new ways to do crafts. I have a lot more happy memories around the making of my art and widgets and crafts, rather than actually feeling pride in the work I’ve made.

The Barbie cafe that I helped the girls make out of boxes. (interior)
The Barbie cafe that I helped the girls make out of boxes. (exterior)

There’s not really any one little piece of art I made that is worth keeping, in my mind. My takeaway is how much I’ve learned over the years by practicing, incrementally over time. I’m not a great

But maybe I can find a use for my art. I have a lot of old art. Maybe I can make it all public domain in case anyone needs Authentic Child Drawingsfor their own works. Or maybe I can somehow readapt the artwork into a game (or YouTube video?) of my own. Either way, I can’t bring myself to just throw out everything – once it’s gone it’s gone – but maybe digitizing and backing it up is Good Enough.

(I’m still super paranoid about the collapse of society and servers no longer existing and then all I’ve ever done being gone in an instant… but I guess at that point I’d have bigger problems to worry about.)

DIY Christmas Gifts 2k18

I have kids in my life this year. They’re not my children, and they’re not directly related to me, but let’s call them my nieces and nephews that I visit weekly or every-few-weeks. I’ve been learning a lot about kids because it’s been forever that I’ve even been around kids – for example, if you buy *thing* for one child, you MUST buy *thing* for each of their siblings otherwise chaos will ensue.

Oops, I’ve ended up spending way more on Christmas gifts than I had intended.

I love giving the kids stuff that is creative, like the sort of stuff I liked as a kid. I loved exploring and discovering things, and so I like giving these kids the same kinds of experiences.

Adults are hard to shop for. Every year, we get mom candles or coffee grounds from Starbucks or chocolate. Dad never tells us what he wants (except this year he wants a Pneumatic Pin Nailer, which we bought for him.) I don’t know what I want. My sister doesn’t know what she wants. I don’t know what *I* want. WHY ARE ADULTS SO HARD? (Because we just buy wtf we want anyway.)

Plushies I’ve been sewing.

So for gifts this year, I’ve sewn about 20 hand-made plushies for the people in my life.

I also made a coloring / activity book for the kids. It has drawings I’ve made that the kids can draw, as well as simple “how to draw” tutorials and paper-based games (cryptography, etc.) and little comics I’ve written.

I thought of making some apps or games as well, but that would be really time consuming. I could burn some of my old PC games to disk, but I don’t think the kids really use the computer – just their phones.

Some of the kids specifically said they wanted Nerf guns, but I ended up buying books for the kids as well. Educational books. Books about women in history, computers, and science/nature books.

Because I’m that kind of [non-binary] auntie.

For my dad, I decided to make a calendar and use quotes from Inspirobot as the images.

For my mom, I was really trying to think of what I can make

Programming Languages

Agghh, so I’ve been refactoring my ezha engine to make it more manageable but here’s the thing… I’m a C++ programmer and I don’t have the same depth of knowledge in Python as I do in C++. I keep trying to write everything like I would in C++, and I don’t fully understand the finer points of OOP stuff in Python (e.g., what’s the difference between PARENT.__init__() and Super( PARENT, self ).__init__() ??) So right now I’m just feeling pretty frustrated. I want to go back to my Kuko engine with C++, but that engine also needs work (I have to get rid of memory leaks somewhere in something handling textures). I’m also angry at myself for not just sticking with one thing. I’m also angry at myself that it’s not simple enough to build PyGame applications for Android. I’ve done it before, but…

from itch.io https://moosader.itch.io/undead-debt/devlog/59128/programming-languages
via IFTTT

To Do List

I was sick this entire Thanksgiving break. 🙁
But, I’m also going to be out of a job until at least March once this semester is over. So the stuff I wanted to do this break, I just need to think about for this hiatus. Let’s see…

  • Websites
    • Update the Moosader.com website
    • Update the Áya Dan website
  • Games (For profit)
    • Work on math game for Android
  • Games (For funsies)
    • Work on Undead Debt
    • Work on Flipside Fairytales: Sleeping Beauty

Side note: The new WordPress editor is GLITCHY it can’t even handle hierarchical lists. Ugh.

The most loving game

I’ve never heard “I love you” so much in a game before.

You can also play it on PC or on mobile

In One Hour One Life, all the other characters are actual players. You begin as a baby (or an “Eve”, the first in a lineage), and, if you’re a female, you sporadically have babies once you’re between certain ages. You don’t have any control as to what you’re born into – perhaps a lone mother scavenging for food, or a small group with no buildings but dedicated roles, or even a village with buildings.

Right after mom died

Often, you’ll die as a baby. Scavenging mothers will die if they take care of every child. Other times maybe you’ll run into some hostile wildlife or a hostile other player (though not as often as you’d think). But, you can make it to old age, watch your children have children, while everybody helps out the group. Sometimes a parent might die and you take care of their kids in place, or even care for another person’s baby while they’re out scavenging. Sometimes, another person will get sick and you’ll have to nurse them to health. Or maybe somebody is AFK and you feed them while they’re gone.

If someone is mortally injured, there’s enough time for them to usually return to the village to say their goodbyes. If they were purposefully murdered, they can get a chance to say who, and the others can “curse” that person’s name, leading to an in-game black mark on the person if they’re cursed enough (their next life, they’ll spawn far from everyone else.)

There is some sense of bonding between your family in the game. If you’re an “Eve”, you get to choose your first and last names, and all your descendants will share your surname. You name your children, or you can pick up an unnamed child and name them, too. Being a baby is hard, and when you make sure to take care of one until they can feed themselves, they’ll babble “ily” (I love you) at you. (Babies can only speak one letter at a time, with the letter count getting longer as you age.)


My last words

When parents are dying, they’ll often seek out their family and wish them well and say “I love you” and goodbye. If family accidentally passes in some way, those left behind take a moment to mourn, even if it’s just a sad emote.

I only began playing this game today, and in my several dozen lifetimes (again, being a baby is hard…), I have heard ILY or I Love You so many times. It’s really cool to see a sort of cooperative, positive multiplayer experience.

Zombie Maker – Ready to play!

It’s Thanksgiving Week… I caught a cold on Monday… But I FINISHED THE ZOMBIE MAKER TODAY! … Or well, I may add in additional items to it based on feedback, but it’s usable! Zombify yourself – use the Zombie Maker to turn yourself into a Zombie. Then, post a comment with your zombiness: …and then maybe you’ll be in Undead Debt! Also if you have suggestions for additional outfits / hairstyles / accessories / etc. that would help you make zombie-you, let me know!

from itch.io https://moosader.itch.io/undead-debt/devlog/56883/zombie-maker-ready-to-play
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Good Morning 2018: A game about mass shootings

This morning, I woke up to news about shootings in Chicago, Denver, and St Louis. But it’s not the first morning I’ve checked my phone and seen news like this. It happens all the time in the United States.

I made this small clicker game, using real data from GunViolenceArchive.org, to illustrate what it’s like waking up every day and checking the news on your phone.

You can play the game in your web browser here: https://moosader.itch.io/good-morning-2018

This game only covers news about mass shootings, because there’s data available. It seems like there’s terrible news coming in every day, but we’re limiting the scope here to just mass shootings.

I always beat myself up during holidays… (My internal monologue)

Oh, I have some free time? I don’t immediately have a ton of work to get done?

Be productive. Utilize every second to make something. Don’t relax. You’re wasting a precious, finite resource: free time.

Or, try to relax. Why aren’t you relaxing? Stop being bad at being a human. Stop working so much. Just fucking relax. What’s wrong with you??

Clean the house. Finally you have extra time. Clean the house. Fight the lethargy. Fight the exhaustion. Keep at it.

Sit back and play some video games. You love video games. Ignore that voice in the back of your head that makes you feel guilty for PLAYING games instead of MAKING games.

Just go program. You would be successful if you just spent more time building things. Or at least you’d be happier. Instead of just THINKING about making things constantly YOU COULD ACTUALLY MAKE THINGS. I know you’re low on energy, but suck it up. Do it. Stop being a failure. You have limited time. This is your chance. If you squander it you will continue suffering.

Geeze, Rach, do you listen to yourself? Your mind is so cluttered. You need to meditate or see a therapist. Stop putting off taking care of yourself. I know you have no time and you don’t have another job lined up. Stop just sitting, paralyzed, by the analysis paralysis that comes from facing life. Get yourself up. Why aren’t you pushing yourself harder?