April 28, 2008

White Space

Sorry it's been almost a week since my last post, which in and of itself wasn't particularly substantial. Things are extra busy around here as I try to wrap everything up. In addition to standard end-of-term stuff I am also trying to go out for the Penny Arcade scholarship which means I need to write a short essay / letter, put together all my application materials and have them in the mail (postmarked) by Wednesday. Extinction Beta went very well and the Producer was very complimentary. My DFS is coming along nicely, there are a few things I'd like to improve upon (as there always are of course), but overall I think it shows that I have a fair amount of aptitude for this work. Anyway, there are still some fires to be fought so I better get to it. Later!

April 22, 2008

More Time For Work!

Quick recap on the day:
  • TGP is going well, some team stress mounting as we approach beta.
  • DFS is going...well? I'm probably still a bit behind, but I should be able to deliver on my milestone by Friday (yeah, I got an extension)
  • Interview and information session with Gearbox on Friday for a potential internship during our Summer break (this is actually from yesterday, but I forgot to mention it)
That's all for now. It's a gonna be a long couple weeks but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I really must work. Later!

April 21, 2008

Framing Issues

It's going to be a long couple weeks between now and the end of term, so I apologize in advance as I imagine my posts won't be particularly substantive provided they don't fall off entirely.

Today, I realized that I have a major framing issue, I have a lot of trouble putting things in the proper perspective right now. I got a single bad grade on one assignment and it crushed me. I could blame it on lack of sleep or pure exhaustion from 6 weeks of near constant work, and while those are no doubt true to varying extents they probably aren't the most important piece. Without getting into the deeper issue, which is probably a bit more complicated than even I understand, I care too much about grades. I know this about myself. It has pushed me too excel and it has pushed my to exceed many expectations, most notably my own, however here at the Guildhall, the effect is far less positive. It pushes me too far, beyond what is normal, beyond what is healthy, and beyond what I can really stand.

At the same time, I don't really know how to back away from that precipice. I've always felt that if I "did my best" I would succeed. Get the job, the grade, the girl...whatever, and that's simply not always the case. I mean I realize as I write this that it means I've led a pretty charmed life to realize this so late, which isn't to say I haven't had my fair share of job, grade, and girl troubles. I guess the truth I'm supposed to be realizing is that "doing your best" is the success, and everything else will be what it will be. I know it's a little after school special, but bear with me as I'm still working this out, and I think there's a valuable point in there somewhere.

In truth, there's very little in life you can control, and ultimately very little you can really hold yourself accountable for. If you can look at yourself and your work, and say, "I'm proud of that, I did the best I could, and that's all I can do" then that's really all you can ask for. Everyone has to realize their limitations eventually, and I was aware of many of my own, mostly in the fields of physical strength and manual dexterity. The Guildhall is the first place that has tested the limits of my mind and my spirit. My passion and dedication to this work has consistently been tested as expectations have steadily risen and time available has steadily declined, and I have continually risen to the occasion despite the detriments to my health and well-being.

That is probably the lesson that I most need to learn. To put first things first, to realize what's important and the frame my view of the world correctly. The struggle right now is to actually believe it, and even more, live it. I know I am a good designer, I know it for myself, and I have all the positive feedback in the world to back it up. I know I am meant to do this, I feel it with every fiber of my being: though this path is difficult it is the right one if it gets me to where I belong. I don't know why I seem to keep falling into the trap of needing someone else to tell me these things I already know. If, in the end, the Guildhall manages to teach me that much, it will have been worth it. I'm not sure what I've been waiting for these last couple days (pity? escape? a miracle?), but it's time for me to get past that, move on, and do my best with what I have. So here I go...

April 20, 2008

For Every Choice, A Consequence...

Yeah, that's the tagline to Fable, which oddly enough I have been playing lately. Target had the Lost Chapters on the PC for like $10 and I really enjoyed Fable, so it seemed like a reasonable purchase. It managed to easily absorb a few hours that should have been spent working yesterday so I can't really complain, at least not about the purchase. Yesterday was not as productive as I really needed it to be and today up until now my productivity has been focused on TGP so my DFS is sorely lacking and in great need of time and attention that I don't really have. Anyway, there's not use in lamenting it at this point, I just better get to work. Later!

April 17, 2008

End of Term Approaches

Well, today was sort of a psychological roller coaster, which most likely means I am tired, which would also explain why I nearly passed out on my couch from the moment I got home. We had a meeting with the executive director this morning which ended up actually being a meeting with the entire level design faculty and the chair of the cohort coordinators. The meeting last about an hour and frustrated me more than anything. I mean I don't know what I expected, I don't really know what I could have expected. They openly recognized their mistakes with the transition between the course structures, did what little they could to alleviate some of the stress right now, and demonstrated that the following terms should be much more manageable.

Considering we've only a little more than two weeks left in the term, I don't think there's much more they could have done to help us now, and our professor has been more than willing to work with us to make our project more manageable so things shouldn't be that bad, and in a lot of ways they really aren't. I don't know I guess it just felt like mostly a wasted hour of them apologizing and telling me things I already knew or at least (perhaps incorrectly) assumed. I guess things are just tight right now so taking an hour of team work time away is pretty costly all things considered. Anyway, I'm over it, it's clear that they are doing everything they can to help and I fully believe things will be better from here on, so that's good.

The other sort of emotional dip was just looking at the schedule I've made for myself for the next five or so days. It's pretty ridiculous, but considering I have milestones in DFS and TGP next week, it's not terribly surprising. I talked to the professor about it and he urged me to cut down my scope wherever possible despite my clear opposition. I designed my level with five rooms in mind and their style and sequence all make sense, making it very difficult to cut out any of them at this point. He actually agreed that most of it was difficult to cut, but proposed a few minor cuts I could make now in order to finish the project for grading purposes, and then relatively easily work on when I had more time (over the long break for instance). I found this reasoning a bit more palatable so I am hoping to make some of these changes over the weekend, and hopefully save a bit of my sanity in the process.

That's pretty much how things are going right now. Not really all that bad, just the constant workload can rather quickly drain you. I actually think things have gotten better, but I am still a bit drained from the beginning of the term and it all adds up. There's no class tomorrow morning so I should have time to work on a few things as well catch up on a little sleep and tonight I'm going to see if there aren't a few things I can take care of as well. On that note, I better get to it, night all!

April 16, 2008

My Magic Hour

I'm not really sure how it happens, but it seems like every night after core hours I end up getting home roughly an hour after I had intended for any number of reasons. Sometimes it's an extra meeting, sometimes its more time cleaning up and finalizing things, sometimes its just hanging out, but I almost never end up getting home when I should. I suppose I should just start padding my schedule with that time, but my schedule is rather pad free it this point and I'm still not sure there's enough time to accomplish everything I need/want to.

The level designers have another meeting with the executive director tomorrow morning to discuss the results of his inquiry into our meeting last week. Not sure what to make of it, but it has been unfortunately scheduled during TGP time. Though I suppose there isn't really any time it could ve scheduled when I shouldn't be working. We'll see what happens, though I'm not optimistic about any real change. I mean there are only about 2 weeks left in this term and most of the damage has been done, I don't see any real way that things can instantly be "fixed." Still I will try to be open minded and hope for the best, and I'll you all know how it turns out. Anyway, I've work to do, as always. Later!

April 15, 2008

Week #6?

That's right isn't it? I think that's right. It's all one big blur of work really. Today was an interesting day, sort of scattered in a lot of ways. We had TGP this morning so I was running around doing the whole producer thing and then got into another rather lengthy discussion concerning the HUD. I'm happy with the layout of the design that we finally reached (which is about 80 - 90% of the design we originally pitched), but man it has been a remarkable time sink lately. Constantly going back and forth on the layout and how to display information simply, but precisely. I guess I should consider it a lesson learned.

Given that our teams don't really have a dedicated user interface (UI) designer, we created a small inter-disciplinary team (led by one of the other LDs) tasked with creating all the UI elements. Unfortunately, a few mistakes were made with the organization and management of this team throughout the project. Most notably, we didn't initially have a lead for that small team, we just assumed let each of the members report directly to their department lead. This was a mistake that had two major consequences: 1) in reality, no one had oversight on the UI team, and it wasn't until about week 3 or 4 that we realized it, 2) artists and programmers do not speak the same language, and the communication breakdown was causing the entire team a lot of undue stress. The result was a lot of rework and redesigns, and generally a lot of conflict around the UI, the HUD in particular.

In the future, I will endeavor to ensure that designs of this nature are much less ambiguous before handing them off to another team, and also to ensure more managerial oversight should any problems arise. All in all it's good experience, I just wish I had more time for it. Our level designers are already spread pretty thin (including myself), so taking three of the four of them out of work for 1+ hours isn't exactly helpful to morale. Not a discussion I regret having mind you. I think the UI is one of the most important features of the game because it has a marked effect on the user's ability to "find the fun" and it's one of the few things you know the user is going to see.

The other interesting thing happened during our level design course. The professor actually apologized for what had happened to the curriculum this term. This is the first time that I think anyone on the faculty had actually (sort of) publicly recognized that there was a problem, and that the stress being put on the C9 LDs was unique. Having conversed with the professor in private on this point, I think even I was still taken aback by this turn of events. I'm not sure that it had much of an effect on my classmates, but it made me feel much better to know that the problem was at least recognized and not brushed aside. It may not result in a very substantial change in anything (though some changes have certainly already occurred), but I very much respect the willingness of someone to recognize that mistakes were made and that it was having a negative effect on our education and our well being.

I think that many of the level designers are still carrying a high level of stress from a number of sources. I think that this is a step in the right direction, and I hope it means we are starting to move to a better place. From everything I know, this is the hardest term, and considering how things stacked up against C9 in particular, I imagine it remains true for us as well. There are only a couple more weeks to survive and then it's supposedly all downhill from there. Or something like that ;-). Anyway, I better try to get some work done, I made my schedule for the next week and well...let's just call it dense. Alright, night all!

April 14, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Sorry my blogging has been so sparse lately, I'm just in a bit over my head right now (what else is new?) and trying to stay above water. I had fully intended to work another three hours on my DFS tonight (per the Professor's advice) so that I would be well-prepared to deliver on my internal DFS milestone tomorrow evening. Unfortunately, core hours ran much longer than expected (at least for the leads and I) as we needed to ensure our Beta backlog (i.e., the tasks we need to complete before the Beta milestone) was fully-populated and resolve some lasting conflicts surrounding our HUD. Considering it is now 11:00 P.M. and I need to wake up in about 8.5 hours, I'll be lucky if I get even an hour in before I should probably head to bed. Anyway, I've got plenty to do and not near enough time, so I better stop talking and start working. Later!

April 13, 2008

Bad News

I spent pretty much all day working on my DFS which is still well behind where it needs to be for Tuesday's milestone. Now I am going to bed to prepare for what is surely going to be an incredibly long Monday...

April 12, 2008

Wasn't I supposed to be doing something?

Well, Saturday sort of flew by with a remarkable lack of progress on my DFS to show for it. I got distracted by other personal tasks and the time I had set aside to work on my DFS kept getting shorter and shorter. It's not to say I can't deliver on my Tuesday milestone, simply that I have made it a lot more difficult than I needs to be. I guess after working pretty much all day every day for long enough will eventually take its toll on anyone. Each day its been a little bit harder to focus on work, and the efficiency of my work has been decreasing as well, which is a pretty crappy combination. I'm not sure if it's a personal or institutional thing, but I definitely need to work hard to get over it or there's no chance I'll be able to accomplish the amount of work that I need to. Anyway, it's been a long, if somewhat unproductive, day so I think I'm going to try to wind down and head to bed soon. Night!

April 10, 2008

Nerf = Zero Productivity

I'm not sure that that equation is entirely accurate, but there's certainly some correlation. I decided to bring a small Nerf pistol to core hours for...well, really no reason. It turned out to be a real stress reliever for most of the team, and spurned some sort of massive Nerf arms race. Between the end of our core hours last night (1:00 A.M.) and class this afternoon (2:00 P.M.) something on the order of 12 new Nerf guns were purchased on two separate trips. Yep, that's right, a couple of the level designers actually went out to buy some last night. It's just goes to show how stressed out everyone is, and how something as simple as a foam dart gun can help to alleviate that.

Anyway, somewhere between yesterday and today my productivity tanked, at least my DFS productivity. I'm not sure if it is because of the omnipresence of these new foam weapons or if it is simply a symptom of being incredibly exhausted, but it has been decidedly unfortunate. My new DFS schedule should be easier to deliver on, but it is by no means a cakewalk so I can't afford to let myself get to far behind. Still, there's no point in pushing to hard and either burning out or spending a lot of time basically accomplishing nothing.

Right now I am feeling generally positive about everything. There's still a lot of work to be done, but it doesn't seem unmanageable, and I think I am finally starting to settle in to this lead role (with about three weeks left in the project). It may also be because instead of complaining and allowing our venomous bitterness to corrode us, the level designers have simply taken to shooting each other with nerf guns instead. I think this is overall a positive change and I hope it can stave off the bitterness for a little while longer. Alright, I'm still pretty exhausted from the last couple days so I better try to get some rest. Night, all!

April 9, 2008

Contented Exhaustion

It's been a really long day, remarkable for a Wednesday which is the day in which I have only one class to attend. I just recently got home from my team's integration meeting preceding our Extinction Alpha milestone. It was an extensive 7.5 hour meeting, but we managed to make significant progress on the project, and, despite my misgivings, we managed to hit our Alpha milestone. I'm really proud of the team and what they have managed to accomplish tonight.

In addition, though the meeting with the executive director didn't yield any massive reductions in stress, it did spurn me to start a conversation with our level design professor about our DFS schedule, and I managed to reschedule things in a way that I believe will be much more reasonable. There's still a lot of work to do, but I think it is potentially more manageable. Anyway, it's late and I've got to give a demonstration of our game in the morning, so I better get some rest.

April 8, 2008

Schedule = :-(

I don't have a lot of time because I desperately have to get to work if I ever want to sleep again. I've optimistically scheduled the tasks that need to be completed for my DFS (i.e., the tasks are likely to take a bit longer than I have actually estimated) and it would appear I need to complete 40+ hours of work in the next six days. This is, of course, not taking into account that my team needs to deliver our Alpha build of Extinction on Thursday, which means that tomorrow night is effectively lost and there's a good chance Thursday will be less effective as I attempt to recover from sleep deprivation. Also, there's an exceptional chance we'll have another speed map in LD, which just adds additional fuel to the fire. Anyway, I need to get to work, so that will be all for tonight.

April 7, 2008


Well, it was another jam-packed Monday. I just got back from core hours with my team and I still have a minor task I'd like to accomplish before bed. Extinction is definitely getting closer to Alpha, but there are a few key areas I think we are still behind in, so I need to keep the responsible parties focused. I had a little time to work on my DFS today during level design and I managed to get the first corridor textured/improved. I use the slash because you can't simply slap a texture on a wall and call it done, you need to cut up the geometry, and add all sorts of trim and decorations in order to make it feel "real." I also estimated the time I though it would take for me to get to my next DFS milestone (which is a week from tomorrow), and it came out to a little over 40 hours...of work...in the next week, and I'm pretty sure those estimates were a bit optimistic. Anyway, there's not much to be done about it now, just keep moving forward and hope for the best.

In other news, the C9 Level Designers were mysteriously granted an audience with Dr. Raad, the executive director of the Guildhall. No details on what it is about, but rumor is that the C8 LDs (who also have been asked to meet with Dr. Raad) are frustrated that the school is giving them no Unreal 3 experience, which is locking them out of potential jobs. As for us, I imagine the faculty is finally starting to react to the record attrition rates and horrible morale that the C9 LDs have been experiencing. I'm not sure what if anything can come from the meeting besides a simple chance to vent our frustrations, but I suppose it is at least a step in the right direction. Alright, well, I better get to work, later!

April 6, 2008

What is there to say?

I sit here and wonder what there is to say about the current state of things. The Guildhall is a psychological roller coaster, and today I feel like I've just been at a low point. As of Friday, I was feeling pretty good, I had chosen to sleep instead of work, one of the professors had actually asked for my help in discussing the stress/work level of the remaining LDs in my cohort, I started talking about my thesis with the coordinator of the program, and I "finished" and submitted my vignette. A pretty good day I'd say.

I hung out with people for most of Friday night, I took yesterday completely off and just vegged around my apartment. I should feel great, and yet I feel like something is weighing down on me, and I'm not really sure what it is. We have a TGP (Team Game Production, i.e. Extinction) milestone this week, but I think we are well poised to deliver on it, so what is there to worry about? Maybe it's just that my work on the Extinction level is taking longer than I want, or maybe its the many additional duties of being the Producer and trying desperately to coordinate everything while still working on the project. I couldn't really say, which is where this post comes from. I just know that I feel stressed out and I can't really pinpoint the source.

Actually, I'm not sure I've ever really been able to pinpoint it. Sometimes, yes, a particular project would seem like too much, and it was easy to blame that for my stress, but most of the time, it's a general sense of unease and tension. There are a lot of potential causes for it, probably too numerous to list at this point, but in my discussion with the professor on Friday, I urged him to bring the discussion to the class, to get the real picture about what's going on. I know he doesn't want to take time out of class since we are already slammed, but I think it's a discussion we need to have if things are going to get better. We were 17 when we started, now we are 7, that kind of turnover is unheard of, and there's talk that that number may sink even lower before the end.

Anyway, I could spend all my time thinking about what might be causing my unease, or I can move to resolving as best I know how: by finishing as much of my work as I can, and trying to plan for the rest of it. I hope you all have a good night!

April 5, 2008

Relaxation Therapy

So, when I woke up this morning, I had every intention of doing at least some amount of work, but reflecting on the week and some discussion around the subject, I decided that everyone needs a break, not least of all me. As such, I have taken today completely off from anything even vaguely resembling work. I am not doing anything related to the Guildhall, I am still sitting in my pajamas in an apartment that could probably stand to be tidied up some, and I am now concluding this post. I'll be back on tomorrow with all sorts of insightful commentary...or something like that. Later!

April 3, 2008

Decision Point

Every time I am up late working on an assignment, there comes a time where I need to decide if its an all-nighter, or I am going to get sleep and try to pick it up in the morning. For tonight, now is that time. I need around at least six hours of sleep to get any real value out of it, and I'm pretty sure four is actually worse on me than skipping a night and making it up later.

I have been working on my LD midterm continually since about 2:00 P.M., with the exception of about an hour for dinner. All the LDs pretty much stuck around after class to work on it, around 10:00 or so I'd say people started leaving and I was the last at around 12:30. My vignette (i.e., the midterm is not at all where I want it, and I'm ultimately not very happy about how it is turning out. It doesn't look or feel bad, it just doesn't do anything amazing. I'm not sure if this is a case of high expectations, but there's just a lot more I'd like to do with it, and I'm not sure there would be time even if I gave up another night of sleep.

Sam (the recently departed LD) dropped by and seemed to be in much higher spirits than usual, and certainly more than the rest of us. It was good to see him, and he's already potentially lined up for a job (not game related), but I think his good mood made the LDs a little jealous and reminded them what life was like "on the outside." I know it's not really prison, but I think it's about as close as you can get voluntarily. You give up basically everything you have to the program hoping for some great future happiness, and it's certainly a trip let me tell you... Anyway, I don't want to go down this line. I think it's clear I should get some sleep and my midterm will just have to wait. Good night all!

April 2, 2008


As I drove to pick up the food for tonight's core hours, I sort of sat there wondering: is this what I am supposed to be doing? I don't mean game development or level design. I am, at this point, entirely convinced that this is my calling. I like it, I am passionate about it, and it turns out am actually pretty good at it. My thoughts focus on whether this is the right path for me. I've long considered venturing out on my own, and I often wonder if I had all the time I spend in class plus some of the time I spend working on homework, isn't it possible I could spend more time making kick-ass portfolio pieces and getting a reasonable amount of sleep instead of spending a lot of time on things that aren't really helping me get a job?

I don't really know the answer and so I continue to go back and forth. We officially lost another level designer bringing our group down to 7 (from the original 17), which is unprecedented, and I think everyone who is left sort of feels like they're traversing the edge of a knife, including yours truly. Take, for example, our level design midterm. Given on Monday, it asks us to build one of our DFS rooms to completion: sounds, textures, geometry, everything is supposed to me in there. Now, we had a DFS milestone on Tuesday, so that day was basically shot, as you know I crashed last night so I couldn't really get much done then, this morning I needed to watch a three-hour movie for Ethics, then I had class and core hours with my team, and now I need to write a short paper on the aforementioned movie. This basically leaves me (and as I understand it, most of the other level designers) to do all the work tomorrow evening as it is due Friday during class (potentially at the beginning, though there is an unconfirmed extension until the end).

This is one of the first times I can actually recall things feeling impossible, and I don't say this with any sense of despondency or bitterness, just simple realism. There is too much to do and not enough time to do it in, and to hell with your well-being. So as I said, I sit here wondering: "is this right?" , "can I actually keep doing this?" Again, it is not with the sadness that has haunted my thoughts previously, but a realistic evaluation of what I am willing to do and how much I am willing to sacrifice. The cost of being here has already been high, in time, in money, in lost opportunities, and in health. The fact that I've come this far should be proof enough of my dedication and passion for this craft, but it begs the question of how further I can go, or even more how much I want to. I know it is on the minds of several other LDs in my cohort, sometimes it even manages to find its way to their lips, though it seems to fall on deaf ears.

I find myself right now in a state of incredible weariness. It's not just being tired or low on sleep. At a macro level I probably am, but it's something more, like a feeling of being stretched, spread out over too much area. I have little doubt that many students and professionals endure this feeling from time to time, but I think its prevalence here is what bothers me. I feel as though right now I am left with two options: 1) continue to work obsessively to meet ever increasing requirements and expectations regardless of detrimental effects to my mental and physical health or 2) do what I can reasonably do with the time I am willing to put forth and accept the consequences. I am trying to follow the latter path, but I am continually afraid of the consequences. I feel if I use this approach on my midterm I will fail and find myself in a hole that I may not be able to climb out of.

The really irritating part (and this may be a little bitter/frustrated) is that I don't think that reflects on me at all as a designer or as a student. The things that have been asked of me these last two terms have often been ridiculous and unreasonable, and it is only through sheer force of will that I think people manage to complete these tasks. Without exception, every LD is constantly tired, frustrated, stressed, and overwhelmed, and there is seemingly no end. Any attempt to express these feelings is often met with derision or they ignored entirely.

Anyway, I do not wish to languish in this anymore, but these thoughts continually roll through my head, and I feel it necessary to vent and capture them in some way. It may be just another bump here at the Guildhall, but every time I encounter one, my urge to leave grows stronger and I question my devotion to this program. Alright, I have work that needs doing if I hope to pass this term, so I better get to it. I hope you all have pleasant dreams, and I hope that at least have some, pleasant or not.

April 1, 2008

Too Tired To Fight

Well, that was weird. I guess sleep deprivation is catching up with me again, though admittedly I don't think I'm that far behind. I came home, sat down on the couch for a minute and just couldn't keep my eyes open. Anyway, I just got back from a C9 Level Design dinner which was more or less a round-robin bitch session followed by a long discussion with one of the C7 LDs (graduated last term) about why the program sucks. Try keeping a positive outlook in the face of that!

There were certainly some things I wanted to say to the C7 who is, in fact, a friend, but I guess I was just too tired from the day and a pretty heavy dinner, so I didn't really say anything. I don't really think she was wrong, but I'm not sure if she was right about everything either, at least my positions were different. I guess I was just deferring to her seniority and experience which may or may not have been the right thing to do. Either way, I feel like those two events back-to-back just took the wind out of my sails and left me feeling completely unmotivated.

I will admit the program has its flaws, most notably I do not think that the intensity of the program is necessary or even really wise. Sure, I think we are incredibly well conditioned to deal with situations as they come up in industry, but I guess I'm not sure this is the only way to get that experience, but maybe I'm naive. I've been feeling generally upbeat lately, but I guess that conversation just threw me back into a sort of depressed work spiral and I am having a bit of a hard time pulling out of it. I realize it was just the thoughts of a single individual and I should let it get to me. I also realize that I really shouldn't try to analyze or think about anything too hard when I am tired, so maybe that's what I should do...

The DFS blockout went well I think, and Extinction seems to be on pace as far as I can tell. We got a little sidetracked as we lost one of our artists, but it wasn't exactly a surprise so I think the art team was at least partially prepared. Still the loss of anyone is troublesome in the middle of one of these tight projects. I'm still working on asserting myself as a leader, and I think I am at least progressing. It's an ongoing development and I imagine it will be for some time, but of any of the skills I think that I need to develop, that one occurs to me the most.

I feel like things are generally good overall. There's a lot I need to do over the next few days, but what else is new? We have our LD midterm assignment due Friday and some Ethics stuff on Friday as well. I think I am going to try to do some organization tonight, take it a bit easy, and hopefully sleep off this weird funk I'm now in. I'm probably just tired, and I've definitely experienced the consequences of thinking too much while being sleep deprived, so I'll try to put off these negative thoughts for a little while.