BITS – Ships

BITS – the roleplaying game system – is all about themes. Carrying off of last week’s theme of groups in BITS, I’ve been able to think awhile on how different kinds of actors in BITS work together.

So today: How ship-sized vehicles in space and on the water interact with each other.

How Ships Work

Ships have a threat tier that indicates their size:

0 – Fighters, boats.
1 – Corvettes, frigates.
2 – Destroyers, cruisers.
3 – Battleships, carriers.
4 – Dreadnoughts, city-ships.

When acting as a ship, add the ship’s tier to a 2D6 roll (or appropriate BITS value, if so inclined!). When acting against a ship, roll higher than that ship’s threat tier. For example, a tier 3 battleship acting against a tier 2 destroyer must roll 9 or more (threat tier 2) with 2D6 and may add 3 to the roll.

Tiers also show how many extra smaller actions the ship may take. These smaller actions may be either defensive or of more minor consequence. (I’m still ironing out the value of different kinds of actions.)

A ship may hold inside it smaller ships that are 2 threat tiers below it, and/or multiple groups of ships 3 or more tiers below. For example, a tier 3 carrier may hold 1 tier 1 corvette and/or multiple groups of tier 0 fighters.

A ship otherwise behaves as any other fictional Being in BITS. (This includes the use of Body as a hull and engine, Interaction as a sensory and communications capability, Thought as targeting and computation, and Specialty for whatever role the ship is fitted out to do!)

Tier Examples

Tier 0 fighters and boats exist only as groups when interacting with higher-tier ships. Tier 0 can be subdivided into interceptors, bombers, dropships, and others. Subdivisions of tier 0 ships are differentiated with simple rules.

For example, a Star Wars X-Wing would be a heavy fighter with critical roles against single ships automatically destroys the other ship (representing a proton torpedo exploding). A Gundam Ball is incredibly cheap, but cannot travel without a carrier though is useful for ship repair. A Chinook helicopter serving with the United States Navy is slow, but can carry supplies, a platoon of troops, or gunship weapons.

Tier 1 ships include dedicated troop carriers, freighters, and smaller warships. Individual capabilities are defined per ship, such as being able to travel between worlds or systems.

For example, the Star Wars Millennium Falcon is a very fast cargo freighter. Expanse‘s Rocinante packs freight, troops, and torpedoes with high maneuverability (and fits into the Donnager tier 3 battleship!).

Tier 2 destroyers and cruisers can carry a boat or small fighter group to support operations. Ships called “cruisers” (Star Trek Romulan D’deridex) and “destroyers” (Star Wars Star Destroyer) are often tier 3 battleships and carriers in their abilities.

For example, a USN destroyer may have a vulcan cannon to have advantage defending against missiles and fighters while having a mine-laying helicopter. Star Trek Galor cruisers have a large forward cannon, multiple weapon arrays, and high speed, but can be taken out by swarms of fighters or beefier battleships.

Tier 3 represents the battleships, carriers, and hybrids that bring the largest hurt and the largest number of forces to play.

For example, the Imperial Japan Yamamoto battleship had defensive and offensive advantage against any other ship on the water. The Star Wars Star Destroyer could field squadrons of tier 0 TIE fighters, capture a tier 1 Tantive IV blockade runner, land an army of troops and supplies, and bring massive guns to bare. Many Star Trek variants of the Enterprise flagship were on-par with battleships, fielding multiple torpedo launchers, heavy shields and armor, and even fighters and personnel shuttles.

Tier 4 ships are awe-inspiring, all-commanding giants. For the most part unassailable, tier 4 ships get to do what they want to do until a lucky action halts their progress.

For example, Star Wars has the Executor dreadnought that only by a lucky suicide and very poor design was brought down. The Expanse has the literal Behemoth city-/generation-/flag-ship capable of holding a fleet inside it. Star Trek brings to mind Borg Cubes that single-handedly can wipe out armadas. Even the universe of Frank Herbert’s Dune has Heighliners as the only mega-vehicles capable of interstellar travel, taking entire planetary populations from place to place.

Bonus Topic: Stations

Space stations or naval dockyards work the same way as the ships they house. Stations use similar groupings:

0 – Buoy, small communications satellite, mine, sounding station.
1 – A station with limited docking and housing capabilities. The International Space Station.
2 – A regional yard or asteroid base. Halo‘s orbital defense platforms can handle cruiser-sized craft but none larger.
3 – A strategic hub of resupply and production of battleship-tier craft. Deep Space 9 from Star Trek caters to multiple battleships and support vessels. Stargate Atlantis has Atlantis, which may count as a tier 4 station (there’s some techno-magic that makes classification fuzzy).
4 – A massive complex meant to be bringing forth armadas and entire fleets. Star Trek‘s Spacedock 1, Halo‘s High Charity, USN Norfolk Base.

A station may hold ships that have the same threat tier or below whether constructing or docking the ship. The station may or may not have defensive or offensive means. If so, the station uses its threat tier for resolutions.

For example, a tier 0 listening post may detect ships approaching a tier 1 science station orbiting a moon. Tier 2 defense platforms may open fire and release a compliment of fighters so that a tier 3 space dock can muster battleships and carriers to fight. When all else fails, a distress signal summons reinforcements from the fleet HQ, a tier 4 mega-station.

Thought Behind Design

Inspired by shows like The Expanse and of course movies like Star Wars, I began to see patterns in how the large vehicles known as “ship” were treated in fiction (a class their own; another post later about vehicles later).

After experimenting with carriers (ships carrying smaller ships) and threat tiers, I am struck by how tightly the BITS treatment of ships above fits into naval considerations. From the real-world United States Navy, to modern space flight, to hard sci-fi in The Expanse, to the fantasies of Star Trek and Star Wars, a 0 to 4 threat tier system where some ships carry other ships seems to work really, really well!

So that’s the thought behind: Keep with the mechanics found throughout BITS, allow for all the classic naval designations, and thematically represent ships regardless of “universe” or IP they exist in.

Ready to play some BITS? I know I am 😁

Now to get these manuals taken care of and updated to 2021 standards!

What do you suggest for putting rulebooks together? What holes are there to sink this handling of ships? Let me know! Cheers to your gameplay ~

BITS – Groups

Back on BITS!

(A reminder: BITS is a proprietary Body-Interaction-Thought-Specialty game system for tabletop roleplaying games.)

This time, I’ve been thinking awhile on how to handle large groups. Since humans can only track about seven different things at a time, I thought it best to figure out how to make anything more than a small gathering feasible.

Solution

Members of a group have similar capabilities. Everything they do, they do together and at the same time.

Groups have a rating that indicates their size.

0 – An individual. Does not use group size.
1 – A gang or squad of ~10 or fewer individuals
2 – A company, century, or mob, ~100
3 – A demi-legion or town, ~1000
4 – An army or division, ~10k

Ratings also show how many extra actions the group may take.

When a group acts against another group, that action has advantage or disadvantage if the acted-against group is smaller or larger (respectively). For example, an individual 0 is always at a disadvantage when acting against a group 1+.

Certain actions committed by a group may have disadvantage or not be available at all. For example, a group would have disadvantage on being sneaky, or having a 10k army fit into a Manhattan apartment.

To resolve an action by or against a group, the threat tier of an individual member of the group. Different threat tiers should be grouped separately from each other.

A group has a state of health like any individual Being. However, when a group reaches 0 for their state, they break up into D6 (a dice roll of 1 to 6) of the next smallest group. That means a rating 4 10k group at 0 state breaks up into 1 to 6 rating 3 1000-member groups.

As a choice, when a group reaches 0 for state and breaks up into smaller groups, a second D6 may be rolled to give the new group a state 1 to 6 to represent the harm already taken.

Thought Behind

BITS is all about keeping things simple yet deep in what it can be used for. The system attempts to address a lot of the problems other systems run into, and handling large groups (“mobs”) has always been a sore point.

With the BITS use of groups, everything from street fights to clashing armies can happen with a solid dynamic between all engaged. Since BITS also handles social conflicts with the same mechanics as physical violence, inciting mobs or inspiring a legion can be accomplished with the group mechanics here.

It came to my attention that perhaps an individual shouldn’t be able to face down an army of 10K. But then I remembered the brutally brilliant (and violent) “Crazy 88’s” fight in Kill Bill – the player, as hero, ought to be able to have a try at beating the odds πŸ˜‰

And that’s how BITS handles groups!

Will be sharing more BITS content over the next few weeks, including revisiting some sub-par implementations of the past.

If you’ve ideas on groups, share ’em! In the meantime, cheers to your play ~

#PaidMe2021

Remember the #PaidMe threads in the summer 2020?

It is fine if you don’t – they seem to have died out as fast as they blazed on to the Twitter scene.

To say that a lot happened in 2020 would be to understate and understatement. Now the situation in the US is beginning to stabilize (go get your sticks, folks πŸ’‰πŸ’‰) with an accompanying boom in hiring.

But if people are getting hired again, are they getting paid enough?

With wages required to “live comfortably” rising, it is as important as ever to openly discuss compensation and DO YOUR RESEARCH.

I follow off of my own #PaidMe post from last year here in the possibly vain hope you won’t devalue your own worth (but who knows – this post may be showing me caught with my pants down).

Just as Adam Ruins Everything, without further to do,

The Data 2021

THP – Take Home Pay (assuming only income taxes without contributions apply)
Inf – Inflation (not used for this year)
CoL – normalized to national Cost of Living (compare this)

#TechPaidMe #GameDevPaidMe
Senior Software Engineer
Base: $123,000
THP: $92,967
CoL: $90,259.22
MZ, owned by AppLovin
Las Vegas, NV

Let’s talk about this.

Takeaways

I believe these are high numbers (if interviews with Las Vegas-based businesses are to be believed). This does not include bonuses, stock options, WFH, or other benefits (rough estimate would increase base pay 130% for that value).

The term “Golden Handcuffs” comes to mind, but that’s another post.

What also comes to mind is that companies can afford to pay you much, much more than they currently are.

And why aren’t they?

I’ve written on negotiating your compensation before and have linked articles all throughout this post. The resources are out there to both evaluate what you ought to be earning and how to muster the courage to politely demand more.

Use ’em.

You ever want to discuss numbers? Let’s talk – 20 minutes is all we’ll need.

In the meantime, go earn your freedom! Don’t work too hard getting that bread. Drink water, take rest. Cheers ~

June July Goal Review

Not much to show, and a little to say:

June Review

    1. Family
      1. Won! Easy in theory, I write this being socially exhausted (my introverted side coming out). Will be on me to keep the spark alive of staying engaged and responsive while balancing my own needs.
    2. Playtest BITS
      1. Failed. I’ve come up with more for the system (posts coming in July), but travelling about, I’ve not focused on gathering folks to play. Until that happens, the system is just an idea of a ruleset vs. something tried and fired.
    3. Write, Record, Publish Voice Reel
      1. Failed. Didn’t approach this at all other than thinking I’m not getting to it fast enough. And now there’s no more time, so here we are 😦
    4. 8 AM Half-Hour Writing Habit Again!
      1. Failed. A change in sleep schedule blew out the letter-of-the-law for this goal, but travel and inconsistent night writing (like now) didn’t cut it in June. For shame! 

July Proposal

    1. Rest
    2. Re-Evaluate
    3. Reflect
    4. Ready-Up
      1. I can’t remember the last time I failed as hard as I did in June (75% failure!!). In response, I’m taking July on without requirement other than to being aware of my day-to-day.

        Once done, I ought to be properly equipped for charging into August with solid goals and projects to share.

As the proposal says, I failed. Hard.

Might be time to go a little softer. I jumped out of airplanes and visited with family and played games and made game designs… but I feel… Not much?

Maybe it’s because I noticed so few bugs on my windshield on a cross-country trip.

Hope you’ve had a better time of it. Enjoy what you may of your summer, K? Cheers.

It Is OK to Fail

Really, it is.

But failure snowballs into complete and utter debasement! Failing is a slippery slope to irrelevance.

Certainly don’t make a habit of easy failure. If failure must happen, make it hard-fought to get the most out of the slip.

If the failures are spectacular enough, the failure will be quite relevant! Regardless, the failure should be relevant at least to you to show what to do or not, in addition to being an example to other folks.

But failure is a sign of weakness! If I fail, I won’t be wanted, I’ll be scorned, and I’ll carry a Scarlet Letter forever.

While some folks may not want you over particular failures. And some truly severe Scarlet Letters are deserved so that others can be protected.

Yet you live only with yourself. Only you know the severity of guilt and the just penance. An so long as you are acting out the penance (even if it is only to not fail the same way twice), you are doing what is owed to the failure.

But failure can be tragic! It can scar and rend and kill and all horrible things.

That’s a fine point! Failure certainly can be immense in its consequences. But what are consequences worthy of worry?

As the saying goes, “any landing you can walk away from is a good one,” so the same applies to failure. Loss of money or time or knickknacks can be made up and should come with an adequate exchange of experience. Bruises heal and hurt feelings amended.

What can’t be put back together are the three serious scars that can remove opportunities for action or attraction:

    1. Mind – Being unable to think straight, fully, or at all is a terrible, terrible thing. Brain damage, addiction, and dogma make up this scar where healing is miraculous (but we can’t depend on miracles).
    2. Body – Being maimed, crippled, or made twisted changes the whole world. (Trust me, I know.) Losing limbs, suffering catastrophic nerve injuries, and physical scarring such as tattoos of hate signs make this scar horrific to live with.
    3. Society – Being vile, abhorrent, or too dangerous to others or the culture is the quickest way to be identified with this scar. Outward physical violence, harm towards children and other helpless, and upending public expectations will slam you with a modern, contextual Scarlet Letter.

So long as these three scars are avoided, your failures won’t stop you!

But failure isn’t stopping me! It’s my fear of failing anew…

And that’s where coming to peace with failure comes it. It is OK to fail.

One of the biggest obstacles to what we intend and our lives being lived is us, you and I. Our thoughts dwell on the ‘what if.’ Prior experience and imagination can be a real bane in this regard.

That is why forgiving ourselves is the first step to making failure OK.

We are the ones that can stop habitual failure.

We are the ones who are already suffering under guilt.

We are the ones who can avoid the three disastrous scars.

We are the ones who must forgive ourselves.

Simply put, forgive yourself. It is OK to fail.

Why I Wrote This

The fear of failure lies strong on my mind and always has. I’ve developed rules for myself so as to fail less:

Failures still happen despite it all. Like this month’s goals I’ll be reporting on in a week. (It’ll be bad.)

And that’s OK.

Now this may sound like I’m giving myself a pass on a failure by using flowery words – it’s not (sans the flowery words part).

I know I’ve lived my life. What’s left is my duty to ensure my future self can live without the baggage of guilt or regret going forward. Casting off such suffering seems like a decent goal.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Really looking forward to your feedback here.

Where have your failures been? How have you recovered? What are you still carrying around all this time since?

Here to talk to hear about what’s going on – drop me a line and we’ll get the convo going!

Until next week, go out to happen to the world knowing the failures you make along the way are OK. Cheers ~

Pandemic America – Daily Bread

When COVID hit the US in 2020, it changed virtually everything.

For me, a major upheaval happened in diet. From eating multiple small meals a day every few hours, I consolidated. I indulge now in one meal a day.

This is intermittent fasting. In this kind of fasting, a person doesn’t consume calories for at least 16 hours a day (not a huge ask for a typical 3-meal-a-day person who isn’t gorging to the point of bedtime). A faster breaks for about 8 hours in the day, but I?

I fast for closer to 20-22 hours, possibly with a serving-sized pad of grass-fed cow butter at 18-20 hours to fight off any hunger. (This sounds akin to the Bulletproof Diet, though I don’t adhere to its principles per say.) Every waking hour is filled with liters of water and cups of herbal tea to fill in the gaps πŸ˜‰

Not only do I fast for most of the day, I also have moved over to vegetarian fare (butter the exception). After reading Sapiens and other sources of ethical review, I gave up eggs in 2020, closing the last door of flesh-like animal products. On rare occasion a cheese might be had or there is meat product made available by happenstance, but I view these encounters as inevitable and a fine way to gauge how my body reacts to meat anymore!

OK. Fasting, hydration, and vegetarianism. Add in intense resistance and cardio exercise at least 3-to-4 times a week, and I’m =fit=. If this was a more questionable blog, I’d put up pictures 😁 (You might find @JimmyChattin on Instagram and Twitter.)

Strength βœ” Endurance βœ” Speed βœ” Range-of-motion βœ” Physique βœ”

I like to think I’m making up for not competing, a common occurrence pre-pandemic πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ

But what did I do differently?

The Noms

Each bullet below is what I’d have at every meal. /Slashes/ indicate I would choose between these foods or sometimes add them together (you know, to live dangerously).

    • ~1 Peeled Organic Carrot (cut into 2-3 inch sticks, 9 sticks)
    • 9-10 Tablespoons Smooth Peanut Butter (~160 grams; Crazy Richard’s only-peanuts brand)
    • 1 Pickle
    • 4 Heaping Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
    • 8-12 Ounces Cooked Spinach / Broccoli / Cauliflower, or 1/3-1/2 Red or Green Cabbage Head
    • 2 Cups Cooked Quinoa / ~6 Cups Air-popped Popcorn
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (just pour it on)
    • 1/4-1/2 Cup Walnuts / Almonds
    • 14 Grams 100% Cacao Baking Chocolate Square
    • Spices (cinnamon, peppers, ginger, parsley, hot sauces, etc.)

If I need a snack, I go to my favorites:

    • Kerrigold Grass-fed Cow Butter
    • 6-12 Ounces Cooked Cauliflower w/ 3-4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, 2 Heaping Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast, various spices
    • 2 Tablespoons Baking Chocolate in Boiling Water w/ 1 Squirt MCT Oil, spices
    • 1 Pure Protein Bar

I sometimes add garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, someone else’s leftovers, or vices like a handful of peanut butter pretzel nuggets (❀) or Takis (❀❀❀❀).

The Work

Workout, that is.

Really comes down to runs (cardio) and resistance (muscle).

For runs, I used to do longer distances, regularly 13-20 miles. I’ve calmed down since, going for 3-5 miles because it’s so quick. Every-other weekend hikes, dancing, and jump-ropes make up the variety any workout ought to have.

Resistance has had the most evolution since COVID arrived. I used to be all about the plates and free-weights. Now, I’m real big on pushups, pullups, and resistance bands. The bands especially are ~quality~, where I’m even now wearing one around my neck for easy exercise whenever, wherever. (Need to look at getting more / stronger bands at this point – broke my 40#er so only 110#-ish is attainable 😦 )

Extra Help

It takes a village, right? My village includes food, physical excellence, and other necessities.

My supplements include a whole-food multivitamin, B, C, and D vitamin boosters, zinc, and a collagen complex (no kidding, go add collagen to your supplement lineup). There are other bits here and there, but at this point I’m only using up my bulk orders πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

Of course, there’s sleep. Blue-light filters, dim light, chilling out, and a regular hygiene routine help settle me down. I read by phone (I know, bad) until I’m really ready, slipping on an eye mask and under a single sheet cover to stay cool. Legs raised, I snooze … IDK. Have to fix my Fitbit Bluetooth connection πŸ˜… Wake with the sunrise despite the mask and earplugs, I sit to write or go for a run!

This is my life, and life is Good.

What are you up to? Seeing my setup, what might need to be tried or improved upon? Looking for advice. Hit me up! Take care and stay safe in the meanwhile – cheers.

Pandemic America – Day in the Life

Life in the United States and the world has been shaken by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the ignorant responses to it. Is still being shaken.

Yet change is on the horizon. I’ve received my vaccine, more folks have or are doing the same. Private and social and professional affairs are in the swing of a new paradigm. Soon there will be a new ‘normal’ with the events of 2020 and 2021 quick to fade away.

Let’s save a sense of what things were like during this (hopefully) once-in-a-century event. Here I share with you my schedule, because it is myself, as we’re both creatures of habit and defined by our actions.

Context

Before we dive, here’s an overview of my stances:

    • Upper-middle-class thought worker with decade career.
    • Ahead financially.
    • Familial support system across the country.
    • No role obligations as guardian or otherwise responsible to others.

2020

There is some discrepancy between the years (it was cushy to collect unemployment through the first year of pandemic).

    • 0700 AM – Wake now or earlier, usually with the sunrise despite an eye mask.
    • 0730 AM – Begin the day’s work. Depending on the month, this would be driving, hiking, writing, reading, studying, or designing.
    • 0100 PM – Possibly earlier, I’d either continue the day’s work or get to chores or working out. Chores tended to be a workout anyway, as I was chopping trees, landscaping, and assisting in construction. Got lean-buff with a push-up routine that broached many hundreds of push-ups in an hour!
    • 0330 PM – Lunch! My only meal of the day (more on this in another post). This one spent with the fam.
    • 0430 PM – Playing aΒ Halo 1:1 game with my dad for three rounds. Some of my most memorable times in 2020 as I was coming to grips with my workaholism and a depression brought on by the constant national news.
    • 0600 PM – Attempt to relax. Journal, respond to social media, etc. Often I’d take again to more work, but I tried to cap it.
    • 0800 PM – Gather up to head to bed by 9 at the latest. Read in bed until kaput.

Weekends and weekdays had no meaningful difference, except mail came some days and Tuesdays had the weekly 0600 AM grocery run to avoid pandemic exposure.

2021

Thus begins: The Day Job. My weekdays:

    • 0600 AM – Wake up, read social media and other channels in bed for about half-an-hour.
    • 0700 AM – Setup for the day. Respond to requests, journal, minor house chores, the works.
    • 0800 AM – Now I’m writing at this time, but for the first half of the year this could be anything πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ Sometimes I’d start the day-job early because it was easy to give into the workaholism and I failed to give myself direction.
    • 0900 AM – Butt-in-chair for the work-from-home day-job. May also take this time for appointments because workplace culture didn’t need me to be at attention until 10 AM.
    • 0300 PM – Somewhere around here I’m working out, followed by my once-a-day meal. Often I’d be doing the job while eating, but sometimes I allow myself to relax with something simple, like Netflix or YouTube. Back to the job in one-to-two hours.
    • 0600 PM – If not out by 5, I’d be out about now, give-or-take (written on a day I was out at 0645 πŸ˜‚). Shower if I haven’t yet from my afternoon workout and manage a chore or two.
    • 0700 PM – Aim to relax! I had to schedule leisure in; it got bad. For much of the year I took this time to study code and design patterns.
    • 0900 PM – Bedtime / Writing time. Harder to do the latter when you’re very ready for the former! (Written at 0800 PM on a Thursday πŸ™ƒ)

My weekends consisted of the same wakeup times, though sometimes I’d read for an hour in bed. Weekends were largely unstructured. Possibly get out to a skate park if there weren’t people around, go hiking up a mountain in fair weather, have a run, do chores, etc. Weekends during the 2021 pandemic remain(ed) fairly unstructured, a happy change from years of work-work-work plan-plan-plan.

To you, reader, I trust this is lighter fare than my recent thoughts.

To my future self, I hope this brings back humble memories. You are likely farther than you were when writing this, but even if not, keep going πŸ˜‰

Yep. Definitely a chill post. No worries – we’ll be back to more substantial content in a bit! Cheers till then!

Truth: Top 10 Truisms

What is Truth? We might know it by how these top truisms are us and the universe.

1. Simplify

Less is truly more. Should you need more anyway, there is some written on this.

2. Suffering Exists

Exists and is inevitable, a persistent, constant force in the universe. I have taken a deeper dive into the topic.

3. Knowledge Is Terrible

What is known cannot be unknown along with all of its consequences. Care to know more?

4. Be Attractive

Attraction is a basic law of nature where to be attractive is the only thing to be. More material outlining attraction is available.

5. Don’t Settle, Suffice

In short, have higher standards, but keep those standards in line with what’s sufficient.

It is naΓ―ve to think things cannot be better regardless of situation. To seek to be better is one of the most noble activities to improve yourself and the world. However, an obsession without end will cause more suffering that it corrects.

Wisdom arrives when you know the world and yourself enough to understand what, subjectively, is “enough.”

Achieving this is a numbers game. Be it the theory of Pareto’s Principle, the Optimal Stopping Strategy for professionals and love-seekers, or Statistical Significance, the number of trials to find what’s sufficient correlates with both knowing and achieving that “enough.”

Truth requires continuous action until higher standards are met sufficiently. For you, that means being the harshest critic of your own monstrosity, leaving nothing for anyone else to critique.

6. Competition Is For Chumps

Competition spends immense amounts of energy. The more energy one has unspent for competition, the more likely that competition will be a success. And survivorship is Good!

But a strategy of expending too much energy against others goes by another term: War of Attrition. Attrition warfare can also cascade into a Pyrrhic (a.k.a. not-worth-it) Victory. By its very nature, competition tends towards less-than zero-sum outcomes, all competitors having spent their energies against each other, not their goals.

To come away from a singular competition with less or even no energy takes away that fund available for future competitions over food, space, and mates. Thereby, a competitor may have survived the competition, but their likelihood of surviving thereafter goes down (not Good).

Be it peacocks maintaining elaborate plumage to out-gaudy other mates, male lions killing each other for pride control, or humans laboring and becoming indebted to attain status symbols that are more form-than-function, competition takes a toll.

So what is the alternative? As renown military philosopher Sun Tzu would have it, “the best strategy is the one that delivers victory without fighting.”

In competition, little is gained. Effort is largely wasted and suffering gets accumulated by all parties in true competition (consider the benefits of play, the faux competition).

Energy spent in cooperation or subtle, low-energy, indirect competition (if competition must occur) is much more beneficial; all else is for chumps.

7. Know Better

Despite knowledge being a terrible thing, it is a requirement to know better, especially of oneself. The Good that knowledge can bring far outweighs the harm that may arise.

As put, knowledge is powerful. However, having the wrong knowledge can be worse than having pure ignorance – the road to Hell is paved with good [but ill-informed] intentions.

So figure yourself out, your duties, and the when and where you are. Be more selfish in coming to these terms. Until you have the language and patterns of understanding to ask and enact what’s required, you are no use to anyone except at best as a pawn (others may know how to use you better than you of yourself).

Better knowledge starts with asking better questions:

What does culture demand in status and contribution? How can one survive in the environment?

What do you like? What do you despise? What do you fear? How do you fail yourself and society?

Learn. Study everything. Find that gaps that need filling. Others have suffered in ways aplenty so that you do not have to. Yet some of these lessons are faulty, thus only by sheer numbers of examples can better knowledge be affirmed (like how the community process of Wikipedia allows correct information to form).

Competition is to be avoided because of the energy it spends; the same applies to gaining knowledge. Defer to the expertise and strength of those that have lived and done the things you seek to do – if they have proven Good (i.e. survived and reduced suffering), they are models to follow.

After the questions and the study, you will have the better knowledge needed to not only improve yourself, but better the world.

8. Escalate

More. Up or down depending on the context, always get to better faster.

Escalation of magnitudes is preferred – doubling, halving, or changing ten-fold is the broad stroke required to anchor what’s expected in any exchange. If the strength of X is insufficient to twist open a cap, at least 2X is required on the next attempt.

However, delicacy is sometimes required in a situation – perhaps the vessel to open is brittle or a negotiation comes to a close. In that case, less than a magnitude in change is required, but escalation plays a part here, too: to achieve less than 100% change, use 10% (.1X instead of X).

Yet, it may come to be resented if too much is asked for, or cause disgust to ask for too little. What would be acceptable between those extremes comes from better knowledge and caring for one’s own wellbeing. Trust that another will defend their own self interests as you ought to be an advocate of your own.

Therefore, escalation is a benefit to the universe: It saves time (the expense of energy), it wastes less by finding the sufficient amount to expense (magnitude of energy), and reduces mental suffering from an effort too generous or stingy (buyer’s remorse).

9. You Are Responsible

With existence comes responsibility. All incentives, all motives, all actions, and, ultimately, all outcomes are the responsibility of the perceiver. Whether through the tangible consequence or the mental perception, the individual has stake in anything that goes on.

Respect yourself and take caution. All that you do and perceive is at least a subjective reality. Merely by consciously perceiving the world, you create what’s real. In this way, you are partly-if-not-wholly responsible regardless of context.

So what will you do with that great power?

In existing and therefore creating reality, you have a part to play in the suffering in the world, both for yourself and others. A person cannot abstain from action and expect that abstention to not cause suffering.

The only way to have a say in survival and suffering is to act, which carries its own set of consequences. Despite that, failures in action are overcome faster by further action and personal change of perception. A failure to act passively discovers outcomes that – if the universe has any bias – tend towards entropy, the ultimate failure to survive (not Good!).

(This brings up that action appears to be Good, but that’s a separate discussion.)

Whatever comes, by existing, you are responsible for all action, inaction, and your perception of the outcomes. Only by taking action and curating your perceptions might you also be responsible for any Good.

10. Forgive Yourself

A stark follow-up to the “Responsibility” point above, you must also take responsibility for forgiving yourself.

The journey to be better and do Good is long, difficult, and continuous. People are similar and people fail – you are much more like them than you imagine.

Meanwhile, you have the morals you can afford, so be merciful to yourself when you fail, slip-up, or otherwise dwell on what must be temporary setbacks. Should failure prove to be a habit, be the harshest critic of your own monstrosity and be better immediately in the moment (you may always recess to being lackluster later).

There is the same self-forgiveness universally. No land dwells on the consequences of a volcano or earthquake. Instead, the land bears its scars and continues. Indistinguishable it is for wind and rain and galaxies that crash into each other, each holding no grudge but instead swirling away to continue their atomic existences changed, yet continuous from one form to the next. No mountain crumbles under its own self-doubt or loathing, but continues to push up through the clouds by its volition no matter the wear. As you must too.

That’s the reason you must own care for yourself – no one else will have your drive or context to be up to the task of forgiving your failures, nor ought they if you’ve not done so already. Thus, through forgiveness, resolve some of the greatest sources of suffering for you: your own doubt and guilt and regret. Thereby, to forgive yourself is a Good thing.

These ten truisms appear to be some of the most-true things for not only people, but all life and the universe, too. The sections above do not go into depth of any great description and proof-by-example, yet everywhere I look these things make themselves present.

As a character in a Zelda videogame once put, “it’s dangerous to go alone,” I only want you to take this so you can do Good and that Good may happen to you.

All something to live by. Cheers!

May June Goal Review

I kept some appointments and lost some last chances (not really, but still…).

In non-goal news, I’m exploring what life might be like as a digital nomad right now and through next month. May share with you some stats later! On to the reviews:

May Goal Review

    1. Appointments
      1. Won! As much as a person can win keeping up with their health and social engagements can πŸ˜… Will aim to not include mundane tasks here in the ol’ goal post in the future.
    2. Last Chances
      1. Failed. Not going to give this to myself in the least. Some “wouldn’t this be cool” things are still on the backburner (looking at you, Jiu Jitsu), while others got delayed (like skydiving) or are MIA. Say it with me: “we’ll be dead soon!” I have to show some eagerness about this ego’s existence!
    3. Half-Hour Happy Habit
      1. Won! This was certainly aided by spending quality time with family over shared passions like games. I also enjoyed time reading and am picking back up some new Netflix series seasons!
    4. 8 AM Half-Hour Writing Habit
      1. Won! I have discovered 8 AM isΒ good. I sometimes start at 7, losing time until it’s suddenly 8! I tend to write now at night too, like this here line πŸ˜‰ I’m too afraid I’ll lose this if I don’t include it as a goal next month, so…

June Goal Proposal

    1. Family
      1. Heading out (vaxxed) to see my immediate family (also vaxxed)! Travelling overland, socially distanced, and working out of an Air BnB because why not leverage the benefits of remote thought work? Achievement here is to say “yes” to family gatherings and to party a bit as well as a socially isolated, responsibility-minded small group can πŸ˜‰
    2. Playtest BITS
      1. Remember BITS? It had some troubles, which made it easy for me to put it down for half a year. Now I have inspiration to fix the problem left in the system. With my daily writing habit, it’s about time I gain the courage to give the system a quality roll.
    3. Write, Record, Publish Voice Reel
      1. I used to do these posts vocally. I had a voice-acting goal a long time ago too. Not a week (OK, 2-3 since I’m hardly out!) goes by where some stranger doesn’t comment on my vocals. And 2021 had something to look forward to with getting my abilities out there. Now is the time to fear less and do more. Where’s it going to go? IDK yet, but I aim to share with you a link to listen to in a month!
    4. 8 AM Half-Hour Writing Habit Again!
      1. So good, I propose it twice 😁 I’ve written a bunch of blog posts with this and started on BITS again. Here’s to the second time bringing the same charm!

May was kinda lame getting to do what I felt ought to be done, so June aims to make up for the lapse. It’s going to be an aggressive next few weeks, so it’ll be up to me to stim and focus on the things that’ll make the biggest impacts!

Cheers, folks. Go conquer your intentions!

Post Vax Wishlist

After more than a year of global disaster, vaccines are finally being rolled-out en masse! And guess who’s just passed his second-shot two-week waiting period!? πŸ˜ƒ

I’ve compiled a quick list of the things I look forward to doing (safely) after becoming fully vaccinated and humanity maybe learning something from the wreck that has been the COVID response.

If you’ve plans for reintegrating into society, let me know! Always open to sincere suggestions for an experience πŸ˜‰

Jiu-Jitsu

Even as I write this, picking up one of the top martial arts may be a temporary thing. Despite it being a favorite of fighters such as former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink , it’s very high impact (duh). Later in 2021 I may be advised against more injury-prone training, so we’ll see if I can make and keep a commitment to get my skills honed 😎

Firearm Safety

Been ages since I’ve last shot a firearm, even longer since taking firearm safety training. How to properly handle and use weapons is knowledge I encourage anyone to respect – it’s about time I made sure I lived up to my own standards.

Fam

A fully-vaxxed family visit of all members! If a sense of mortality hasn’t struck you during the pandemic, seeing a psychologist is strongly recommended. Having a taste of my own death and the limited time left of others, this is quite an important task.

To make the trip, I’ll have a repeat of the drive in 2020, only without the two week quarantine after! Should be a good time ~

Friends

Like above, make time for some of the most quality individuals I’ve ever had the honor of meeting.

Whether the friends come to me, I to them, or new ones are made on the spot, why not spend more time with the best persons? Cali, Portland, Seattle, Utah, Vancouver, Europe, and elsewhere are on the shortlist 😁

(Might finally get to use my cancelled Europe airline tickets from May 2020!)

Restaurants

Sometimes, it’s the little things. Sometimes, those little things need to be put away to safeguard the social contract. And sometimes, the return of those little things can be some of the most cherished opportunities.

I won’t take restaurants for granted anytime again soon, making special patronage to some of my favorite places. If locations have closed, I can finally visit those ‘someday’ eateries to make new favorites!

Celebrations

Dancing! Pool parties! Festivals! Concerts! Competitions! So many things that, once denied, are sorely missed.

Where will I go dancing? Who’s hosting the parties? When are the festivals and concerts? How will I find competitions?

I don’t know how I will celebrate after getting vaccinated and the herd-immunity threshold is hit, but dang it – I won’t be saying “no” to a good time πŸ”₯

Just a few things to aim for, a bit of hedonism when austerity was the rule of the year. Whether or not they make it onto goal lists is another story, but that’s for another month.

Stay safe, y’all! We’re almost there! Get your shots πŸ’‰ See you out-n-about in the world sometime soon! Cheers.