Separation of Self

This post has origins that predate this blog. It started with a conversation with a work colleague last year. A conversation that could only happen, I think, because we were removed from the context of our normal work environment.

It was on the drive to a weekend conference we were attending outside the city. One of the topics of conversation we wound our way around to was the company’s recent efforts at diversity and inclusion. More specifically, the concept of making it safe to bring your ‘whole self’ to work.

A worthy goal, we thought, but one destined to failure.

Years upon years of working in a corporate environment trains us how to act at work. How to present ourselves. How to talk. There is even an expected language of the environment that extends beyond simply the technical jargon specific to any given area.

These things all come together to create a persona. This persona is still ‘you’, but it’s ‘work you’. Home you is likely someone quite different. Then there’s out on the town with friends you. Who’s that guy?

We tried to determine what ‘whole self’ even meant, then. When different aspects of who you are, are so dependent on the people you’re interacting with at the time, is there ever anytime, anywhere, when you’re being your ‘whole self’? We didn’t think so.

I don’t recall if the parallel was drawn in this particular conversation or not — but separation of self is certainly true for us here on the Internet as well.

At best we show a subset of who we are, something I reflected on in a comment a little while ago now, when UltrViolet1 said the following:

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m very much adopting a “writing persona” when I write. I’m assuming a role. I’m setting aside “me” and stepping into the role of “the writer.” So the idea that anyone can get to know “me” through “my writing” strikes me somewhat discordantly.

UltrViolet (2019) — Staying Private in Public (Endgame Viable)

In my comment-reply to this at the time, I noted: “There are times I might endeavour to bring more of the ‘real me’ to the fore than usual, but it is a conscious effort and an exception to the norm.”

But in the context of UltrViolet’s post — this could be somewhat unclear. Unlike Ultr, or a streamer who puts on a persona, I don’t mean to say there is a role I consciously step into and adopt when I seat myself behind the keyboard to write one of these.

But like the work persona, or the home persona, or the out with friends persona — the Internet persona is contextual. And possesses significant differences from the others. For one, I tend to be more optimistic online. Not to say I’m all doom and gloom generally — but I’m more open to the idea of trusting and the general goodness of people online. I know. On the internet. Go figure.

In part I blame it being part of the job at work to identify how any given proposition might be gamed or abused.

I think online I’m also typically more open to discussing, well, things like this. Which now that I’m really thinking about it, I wonder if ‘Online me’ is at at least as true a reflection of self as the others?

Anywho. Boy have I wandered around this one. What I thought was the main topic of the post didn’t even end up being discussed!2 Maybe a follow-up post at some point would be in order. :)

Although next up I think simply has to be some gaming stuff of some sort. The itch to go back to tackling The Horrible Hundred in FFXIV might be rising again. Also?

They got me. They got my money early with the blasted name reservation. Well played Blizzard, well played.

Blaugust Day #2 — It’s a Knock Out

Currently I’m not allowed to drive, operate heavy machinery or sign legal documents. Going on Social Media and certainly writing a blog post is probably not wise either. The somewhat amusing aspect of this, is that the draft I was preparing for today had an element of talking about planning in it.

Haaah. Planning. We don’t see eye to eye, planning and I. Not most of the time, at least. But this time I had at least a modicum of planning in place. I did! But…

I had my endoscopy appointment today. That part I knew and had accounted for. What I didn’t at all appreciate is that I would be going under general anesthesia for it. I for some reason was very much under the impression it would be local only.

I’m back home now, but still really quite groggy. The number of typos in this thing has been impressive. But I think I’m at least catching them all. (When I read this tomorrow, I am expecting for some disappointment on this front though.)

In any case. The news was… Good? But also not yet fully conclusive. My esophagus was clear of any growths or cancer indicators. That’s very good. But it also isn’t quite the end of the story yet. I’ll be back in another few weeks for a colonoscopy, and if that also fails to find the source of bleeding, to swallow a tiny capsule camera of some sort for an investigation of the small intestine as well.

These extra tests being on the cards was news to me though. I just wanted them to sort why it hurt to swallow. On that, as it turns out there is a part down there nearer the stomach end of things which is supposed to be generally closed — and isn’t. This has allowed some acid to get higher than it should and cause some scarring.

But this didn’t appear to overly worry the Dr performing the procedure today, far more worried about sorting out the source of iron supplies (ferritin) being so incredibly low. So… Yup! More stuff to go yet.

For now, I shall sign off for the day and retreat back to the sanctum of bed for a little bit.

The Witcher Netflix Teaser

Just a quick one today. Even though the Netflix series is based on the books rather than the games, I think it’d be fair to say the interest levels in The Witcher series are high.

If you’ve only played the games and are wondering where his other sword is — it’s on Roach. Equipping both swords simultaneously was a game convenience not core to the books!

Well there we go then. Still titled a teaser, but we have the first real trailer for Netflix’ The Witcher series. Although I suppose honestly, the ‘teaser’ descriptor does fit. It isn’t your typical spill-all Netflix trailer after all, so you can at least watch it without much fear of major spoilers.

But it also wasn’t enough to really create a clear picture for me on whether it will be amazing or utter crud. It could just sit right in the middle as an average show, but I’m not convinced that will necessarily be the case either! The budget seems to be there which is nice. But otherwise… Unsure!

Blaugust Reminder

If you haven’t yet signed up for Blaugust, go ahead and do it now! Sign-up is necessary for the event, but it’s a super quick and easy Google form.

So come along and get involved! :D

Health Scare vs. Final Fantasy XIV

After finishing the battle with Garuda — I completed my power rangers-esque set of coloured crystals. Woo!

Progress in Final Fantasy XIV has been slow. Fits and starts best describes it. Small bursts of energy and then fairly long patches of procrastination. Just getting myself to jump in and get started is the real challenge. Once I am in — I’m enjoying myself immensely. But this fact while known intellectually doesn’t seem to help much in getting me to login again time.

I’ve noted this seeming oddity about myself before. Where despite games often acting as a destressor — when things start getting ‘real’ my time falls away from them significantly. Last time (incidentally when I brought FFXIV back into the picture) it was about the goings on at work. Needing to let people go in a restructure is never easy.

Health Scare

This time around it’s health related. Although to be very clear — this is still very much in a state where it could be a minor thing. The sole symptom being a radiating pain when swallowing food.

At the better end of the spectrum (and thankfully, also the most likely) it is ulceration from acid reflux. At the other end of the spectrum it’s cancer. The original plan had been to give it time on medication to reduce the acid my stomach produces. But… After the blood test results were in, my doctor was no longer content to wait. So he has referred me for an endoscopy appointment to happen early next month for a look around.

I think it is that switch of the plans by the Dr which has brought home the worry on this. It is still just as likely to be a relative nothing, but yet still seems that much closer. Friday 2nd August is the date of the endoscopy — if the news is good I expect I’ll know on the day. If it’s less good I imagine there will still be a biopsy result to wait on. In any case… moving on for the moment!

Final Fantasy Progress

I’m level 45 as a Bard now, and have lost the benefit of the XP buff that allowed me to skip all side-quests up until now. As yet — I’ve still not had to touch a side quest, but the Main Story Quest level is quickly catching up to me, and this worries me greatly.

The moment it actually happens? Well… Elsweyr is out now. ;)

More seriously, as much as the ARR MSQ is maligned where I’m up to has actually been getting quite interesting. The change of scenery into the icy lands of Coerthas with a shift in tone to one of more political intrigue was a start. But then the story with the Garlean Empire which has been in the background for a while has come to a head in a fairly major way as well, and just it’s all on!

I just finished the fight with Garuda when I last went out, so I haven’t seen what our next mission will be yet in light of the aftermath there but I’m excited for it.

Now if I could just beat the gaming procrastination thing I have going on, it’d be great!1

Living a Day Ahead

You ever have those weeks where you are constantly in a state of belief that you’re a day ahead of where you actually are? Where every individual day seems so long, that surely by now multiple have passed?

Yep… One of those weeks. Exciting times, but incredibly busy. My place of work is undergoing one of our relatively common restructures and rounds of redundancies. This time? I opted out. I chose voluntary redundancy in order to take a look at what else is out there, beyond the industry where to date I have spent the vast majority of my working life. Also, it will preserve a slot for someone else to stay.

But there is no hitting the exit lounge quite yet. You see, I also have a team where there is unavoidable downsizing to occur, even with me jumping out. So it has been a week of interviews, HR attended sessions, consultation packs and team redesign. Tomorrow this all comes to a head with a session with all the leads to see what trading of people may occur to preserve as many roles as possible, which I’ll still be involved with to advocate for my people.

So, there hasn’t been a great deal of gaming this month! I’m trying to convince myself that I’m looking forward to the raid going live for The Division 2 tomorrow, but I’m not positive that I am.

It’s hard to tell whether it is just life events or a general level of disinterest in The Division 2, or a combination of both. All are entirely possible answers. The trailer doesn’t show a lot beyond a brief glimpse at the setting, there is no indication as to the degree of mechanical challenge in boss fights that we might be expected to challenge.

Tomorrow being Friday here1 When Friday rolls around, I’ll no doubt jump in for the run at the raid regardless, so it’s entirely possible the excitement will be more present in the moment.

I’ll let you know. ;)

In the meantime, not dead! Just long hours at work for a bit while I get this sorted. I’ll be around til late-ish June in the job to aid the transition with whomever we raise into my role, but I expect the current level of madness to end sooner than that when the worst of the reshuffling and planning has been completed (later this week, early next).

A Transition Post of Sorts

I hadn’t necessarily planned on addressing the events of last Friday here again. Quite the opposite in fact, I had intended to talk to it once, get my say out and then in recognition of the fact this is a place for gaming rather than real-life news, move on.

But I can’t. I haven’t been able to, instead getting quite stuck. I’ve opened countless ‘New Posts’, some inspired by other posts. Then maybe I get so far as to draft a title and opening line, only to then falter.

It isn’t that I haven’t been gaming — I have. It has been a welcome respite from the continual heartbreak from the constant coverage of the event. I have no complaint with how the news media in New Zealand has responded to the event, in fact they’ve shown an amazing degree of maturity and respect, putting people first.

Gaming — in particular The Division 2 with other Kiwi and Aussie friends — has been a way for us to decompress and just breathe again for a little bit.

But when it came to returning here and posting about it, or anything, I’ve struck something of a mental block. I didn’t see a way to return to normalcy — a feeling perhaps paralleled in life a little bit. How could I return to such a light-weight topics like Friday never happened? It hasn’t even been a week yet, but it feels like a time from another age.

I sort of joked about this last month1 in the ‘Planning for Success’ section, but I don’t really have a post schedule per se. My internal commitment (well, formerly internal, I suppose!) is one post a week and I’m not close to breaking that. I was still conscious though, that already today would have marked the longest break between posts since I started.

My hope is that posting this will act as a bridge between the worlds, here. That I can acknowledge the necessary role that gaming is playing in maintaining breathing room and overall mental health, without taking away recognition from what has happened.

As an aside, the outpouring of support for the Islamic victims as a nation is beautiful. At least one Catholic church has opened their doors, hosting inter-faith services with Islamic leaders standing side-by-side with Catholic priests. Even in the corporate world, bitter rivals in to Telco space banded together to proactively block sites hosting the hate-fueled, white supremacist terrorist attack footage.

This is what New Zealand is made of. This is who we are.

New Zealand’s Darkest Day

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern has rightly called yesterday (15th March, 2019) ‘New Zealand’s Darkest Day’. Covering real world news is not something I intend to do normally, but this is so incredibly far from normal.

If you’ve not yet heard, Christchurch, one of the most beautiful cities in New Zealand was subject to a terror attack at the hands of a small number of white supremacists. At this time, there are 49 confirmed deaths with 48 more critically injured in hospital. Children are among this number. By far, the worst our country has ever seen.

For updated details, NZ Herald and Stuff are doing their best to keep up with it. So I’ll keep this short.

This act of violence was horrific in every sense. It was cold, calculated and utterly born of a place of hate. It was evil. It was terrorism. Jacinda Adern took a strong stance and called it what it was with no beating around the bush, so while I do not agree with all she does, in this she has my utmost respect and support.

The values that lead these white supremacists to this action are so foreign to NZ as a culture it is a type of shellshock that the nation is experiencing in even trying to fathom how we got here, to the first day in our history of being at high terror alert. At having to warn Muslim people to stay away from their places of worship and prayer lest there be more attacks planned.

There is nothing I or anyone else can say to make this right for those most directly affected, but nonetheless know that all the love and support I can muster goes with you. This is true, too, for those who were separated from their children or parents today due to the city going into lockdown while IEDs in cars were found and disarmed, while we couldn’t be certain there were no remaining active shooters.

To the members of my team based in Christchurch, who called reporting the gunfire they could hear (their office being no more than a 5 minute walk from the Hagley Park Mosque), without yet knowing what was going on — your assistance and calm in locking down the site and keeping everyone there safe makes you heroes in my eyes.

Yesterday was a horrific day, and tomorrow is going to be one of reckoning. In one sense, because the confirmed shooter is in custody and due to appear in court tomorrow, sure. In another because of the resurfaced trauma just barely put to bed after the loss of life and homes in the Christchurch Earthquakes.

Victim Support New Zealand — whom you should reach out to should you get a sense of those feelings returning — has also setup a ‘Give a little’ page for anyone who would like to donate to support those most directly impacted. It was sitting just under $NZ400,000 when I was last able to load the page but the demand to donate is rendering the site difficult to use at the time of writing.