Happy New Year 2018!

It’s that time of year again, and the title says it all.  Well, I’ve been considering what kind of post to make this.  I had a friend a long time ago that would do “year in review” posts, and I think I want to incorporate something like that in this post.  However, Maus and I actually got out on New Year’s and went into the cold Old Town of our hometown to see the fireworks.  So I want to cover that too.  So all in all, this post will pretty much be like many of my other posts, some of this, some of that, all in furry good fun.

This year has been a very up and down year for me.  Earlier in the year Maus and I traveled to Disneyland to attend the Ultima Dragons’ 25th Anniversary gathering.  It was fun, Maus sang at the gathering and I finally got to see Disneyland.  I made a post about it, and there’s a couple videos on my YouTube Channel so I don’t have to go into grave detail here about it.  Needless to say it was pretty fun, I’ve never really seen a theme park like Disneyland before in my life so it was a new experience.  On top of it all, I met Richard Garriot, otherwise known as Lord British amongst Ultima computer game fans.  That was pretty cool, to be able to talk and hang out with a gaming legend.  It was kind of funny, one moment we had waiting for a ride outside the convention hall and there was Lord British.  We talked about theme parks and he said one of the things he appreciated about Disneyland is that the rides had ceilings.  Apparently some other theme parks don’t put nice ceilings on their rides, they’re just a mish mash of whatever, but Disney does.  I do have to say that Disneyland has some of the best food I’ve ever gotten at a theme park, and of course, they have Starbucks coffee which is, admittedly, the way to my heart.

Also this year I re-learned the Python programming language with the 1500 page volume, Learning Python.  I have the equally large Programming Python volume, but I admit I haven’t read it all the way through yet.  With that knowledge I tutored my nephew into learning some of the Python language using the PyGame library to create some simple computer games, including a simple side-scroller.  That was fun, and I hope I sparked some interest in my nephew for programming computers, but we’ll see.  Inspired by that episode I also completed a programming project, at least a first draft, called PYGJS which is basically a JavaScript impementation of PyGame using several libraries including the amazing Brython (Python interpreter in JavaScript) and GameJS.  It’s not an emulator, and if you want to run your PyGame game in NodeWebkit/the browser you’ll have to do some re-programming, but I tried to stay true to PyGame as much as I could.

My brother, Ninja, invited me to work on a project of his.  This project involves pieces of hardware, particularly microcontrollers, and he wants me to help program them using the C programming language.  Unfortunately, as soon as I got involved in the project and got set up I started having some personal issues which I’ve outlined somewhat in other posts.  Long story short, I was seeing a doctor at Summitstone, the local mental health clinic, who decided I was more bipolar than anything else (even though my official diagnosis is Borderline Personality Disorder) and took me off my antidepressant because it was “activating my brain too much.”  Well, I started having episodes of extreme frustration and anger combined with anxiety, so to combat that she startd prescribing more and more of my antipsychotic until I went from 5 mg of olanzapine to 30 mg olanzapine.  I couldn’t even take the max dose, it made my feet unbearably restless and it was awful.  This messed up my brain really bad, I couldn’t think like a normal person and everything, even watching TV, was too overwhelming for me.  I had to go back to my childhood home in Handyville twice to visit my Mom so she could take care of me for a week while I waited for my appointment with the new psychiatrist.  Luckily, I got a new psychiatrist at The Wholeness Clinic and he took me off such bizarre dosings and put me back on an antidepressant clomipramine.  Things gradually improved from there, and I got better over time.  The worst part about it is that I had other health issues at the same time, including a new onset of eczema on my foot (weird huh?) and hands, severe cases, but before that was determined I had a horrible case of ringworm/tinnea on my toes on my right foot.  Combine worrying about what’s wrong with me (cause for a while it was a bit of a mystery) with extreme obsession and anxiety and I was basically couch bound for five weeks.  I literally would lay on the couch and do nothing all day long and it was horrible.  I couldn’t program anything, I couldn’t write anything, I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t play a video game, because it was all too overwhelming.  But, like I said, I eventually got better and to a more stable place.  I’m not programming computers again yet, but we’re getting there.  I’m looking forward to working on Ninja’s project as soon as I’m in a place I can do it properly.

Ninja’s project actually was the inspiration for the series I’ve yet to complete called Programming in C where I explore the C programming language and how to program in it.  It’s incomplete at this moment because the onset of the horrible brain/skin symptoms occurred and I couldn’t bring myself to write anything or work on anything for two months.  But, I’m hoping to get back into the series, particularly because as it stands now its not entirely useful as it hasn’t even covered one of the most important parts of C programming, functions!  I have other series I need to work on as well, including my Dragon Warrior series.  Funny enough, what eventually pulled me off the couch was one day Maus suggested I play a video game, something I had trouble doing up until then.  My brain was finally in a place I could do this, and I said, “Fuck this shit,” and set up my streaming hardware/software and started streaming another classic RPG (I had finished Dragon Warrior and Dragon Warrior II for the NES earlier, the final videos for Dragon Warrior II are posting as I write this) Final Fantasy!  I hope to do a Let’s Play Classics on the Final Fantasy series as well.  I also started tutorials for linguistics, HTTP and the internet, and electricity, which unfortunately I haven’t expanded upon quite yet, but I’m working, albeit slowly, on it.  I hope to also have a series devoted to the history of counting and another on mathematics, but we’ll see where the new year takes me.

Do I have goals for the New Year?  Well, I don’t know.  If I start thinking about goals it’s very easy for me to start piling them on like the old woman in the Labyrinth movie, and I don’t necessarily want to get weighed down.  But, I suppose I do have some general goals in mind at the start of this new year.  I want to be able to help Ninja complete his project in some capacity, even if I don’t do all the programming, so there’s that.  I’d like to find some way to make a little income on a more steady basis, but that has the potential to open a giant can of worms in my life.  I’ve written before about my anxiety in connection with jobs, and making money, and if unchecked it becomes unbearable.  My solution so far has been to just kind of ignore it, but it’s coming to a point in my life that if I could bring in a little income it would help a lot.  So, I’ve decided if I’m going to get a part-time/full-time job it should be at someplace I really enjoy, so, just throwing this out there, I think it’d be cool to work at Barnes & Noble.  I have no idea how I’d accomplish that at the moment, so like I said I’m just throwing that out there.  Truthfully, my dream is to create something digital, like a game/visual novel, or an e-book and sell that online, but the anxiety connected to my creative abilities right now is troublesome.  That’s something we’re going to be working on in my therapy sessions starting this new year.

On another note, I got into something new this year: manga!  One day, a couple days into the week I started doing better I was like, “I’m going to read a manga and see what it’s like.”  So, we went down to the bookstore and I checked out the manga section seriously for the first time.  Let me tell you, it is overwhelming the number of books and selection available!  I wanted something more realistic and easier to follow for my first manga, something preferably slice-of-life-ish and in omnibus format (meaning it included all the volumes together in one book) and I tripped over Orange.  Orange by Ichigo Takano was an excellent introduction, a warm sensitive story with only a touch of sci-fi/fantasy thrown in.  I discovered that “complete collection” in manga books doesn’t mean the whole series all the time, and I had to get the second omnibus at the other bookstore to complete the story so far.  But, I was hooked, and started reading more.  The bookstore here runs a special once a month where you can buy three manga books for the price of two.  Combine that with an online coupon, and a membership card, and I saved $30!  I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Orange: Future but it’s not going to be released in North America until February 6th.  I also read The Flowers of Evil by Shuzo Oshimi, really liked it, but it’s second complete collection isn’t out until February 27th.  Agh!  Now I’m reading the thrillig conclusion to the Chobits saga (Chobits Book 2 by CLAM.)  On another note though, I’ve started going to the Art Therapy group at Summitstone and I met an individual there who piqued my interest.

It was kind of funny, we shared in group a little bit, and I was intrigued by her story.  She told us how she identifies as gender neutral, but doesn’t make a huge deal out of it anymore.  What I mean by that was that she shared her story of identifying as gender neutral with us, and how important it was to her to join the LGBT community and belong/fit in, but over time she realized that just being herself was more important than necessarily identifying or fitting into a group.  At least, that’s what I took away from it.  I told her that I was glad to hear such stories of individual empowerment.  She told me I seemed like an interesting person to get to know, and I was like reactively, “Really, why?” but I regained my composure and told her she didn’t have to answer that, but I was surprised.  I said, “I’ve just been spending my time reading manga at Starbucks and studying Japanese.”  Then her interest was really piqued, and she revealed she also loved manga.  A friendship was starting to form.  Last week we were there in the group again and through conversation about holidays and Halloween she discovered I’m a furry too, and she thought that was the coolest thing in the world.  I was happy.  I know it may not seem like a big deal to some, that is, about meeting a new person/possible friend, but it’s difficult for me to make friends in social situations, so this has made me happy.

Another new discovery I made this year is a beautiful shop called the Gorehound’s Playground.  It’s in the Drake shopping center near the Washhouse (which coincidentally is the place I do my laundry) and is, as far as I can tell a new shop.  I was made aware of it by an acquaintance at the Loveland Opera Theater’s Christmas Gala, where Maus had sung a few songs as an emergency “back up” singer.  I mean back up as in he replaced someone that dropped out, not that he was in the background.  He did really well.  Gorehound’s Playground is a sci-fi, fantasy, and primarily horror movie shop, now with rentals.  It’s beautiful, and in fact the guy that used to run the Vidiot (the place that closed in the face of new construction developments on Elizabeth), now works there.  But I think one of the coolest things about the place is their viewings.  We went to our first viewing, which was Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards, and enjoyed it so much we went to the Saturday double-feature the next week for Lovecraft’s Re-Animator and Bride of Re-Animator.  I instagrammed both instances below:

Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards at #gorehoundsplayground was fun! Love the new store!

A post shared by Asher Wolfstein (@asherwolfstein) on

Reanimate double feature at gorehound #gorehoundplayground

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So this New Year’s 2018 Maus and I went to Old Town in preparation for the fireworks in Civic Park.  My camera is pretty good, but no where near the level that Maus’ is on his phone.  He takes such beautiful photos (though he says my camera is better for video) so I decided to gather together all the pretty pictures he framed of Old Town on New Year’s Eve with all the lights and everything.  Here is a gallery of shots of late-night Old Town:

Our plan was to go to Starbucks and wait there for a little while shielded from the cold before we trekked to the fireworks.  Apparently we weren’t the only ones with that plan.  The only other time I saw Starbucks this busy was during the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  It was standing room only, and by the time we ordered our new year’s drinks (two Salted Caramel Hot Chocolates of course) and actually got them it was time to head out to the fireworks.  I told Maus that in my mind, with all the people everywhere this was probably how parts of Tokyo were all the time.  (We’d previously been talking about what it’d be like to travel and live in Tokyo.) He was like, “probably.”

Oh, I almost forgot in my year in review, I also got to see Lady Gaga in concert!  That was an experience, and I wrote about it  more in length in another post.  Lady Gaga is an amazing superstar.  At the concert she spoke of equality, and engaged the audience in issues that concerned her including reading a letter from a fan about depression and body confidence issues, and then hugging the fan!  She’s a lovely artist, and it was a pleasure to see her in concert, even though the stage we were hoping to be right next to raised up so that she was above us when she performed.  She was still only 15 feet away, so that was something!   Maus said it was the best pop concert he’d ever been to, so it was good. Starbucks is donating to her charity for a better world, along with two other artists, with the purchase of gift cards.  Here’s Lady Gaga’s for her Joanne tour:

So we finally trekked out into the cold to go see the fireworks.  In past years they’ve launched them in such a location that we could see them from our apartment window.  Well, not only has a tree grown in front of a major area of our window (which is cool, I don’t mind) but they changed the location of the fireworks to Civic Park “behind” the courthouse.  Well, since I had my foot issues I don’t have my old shoes anymore, kinda afraid to wear them for fear of getting another infection, instead I’m wearing Maus’ old canvas converses which are definitely not winter shoes.  My feet got so cold!  But we were able to capture the fireworks.  Below is a gallery of still shots Maus was able to grab with his superior still camera on his android, and below that is a 6 minute video that I captured of the fireworks on my iPhone:

Here is the entirety of the fireworks I was able to capture on my iPhone from our vantage point in the park.  Thankfully they didn’t last super long, as it was very cold.  But they were fun to watch, and I like to make a point of recording the fireworks for the 4th and for New Years:

After the fireworks we trekked back home in the snow and started putting all our media on our computers and trading files.  That’s how I got the fireworks up on YouTube so quickly!  Haha.  Once midnight hit we did the obligatory drinking of sparkling apple-grape cider, as Maus and I don’t really drink, and then, it was my bedtime (I go to bed pretty consistently at midnight these days) so I went to bed.  All in all, a nice New Year’s Eve, though not terribly eventful or full of people.

But what did we do New Year’s Day?  Glad you asked!  Maus and I were invited to a brunch at our friend’s house.  I’ll call this friend “Rhi.”  We met Rhi when we first moved to Fort Collins.  She was our property manager and her, Maus, Nathan, and I hit it off.  Of course, when I was with Nathan, he had a way of “hitting it off” with just about everyone we met, but in the end, this was good for us.  Nathan eventually left the picture, but Rhi remained.  Ever since we moved back to Fort Collins after our stint in Handyville, we’ve been friends with Rhi.  At the brunch we ate a lovely breakfast that included bacon, eggs, and “crack cake”, then played a hand of Cards Against Humanity.  Her husband showed us the online game he likes to play, and then we played this game where you wear these voice-cancelling headphones and try to read the lips of your partner and figure out what he was saying.  It was pretty fun.  But we had another engagement that evening at our other friend’s apartment, whom I’ll call “Em”.

Em, Maus, and I as you are probably fully aware, LOVE the Golden Girls TV show.  We love it so much we actually hold Golden Girl viewing parties where we watch episodes and eat cheesecake.  It’s quite a bit of fun, and with the addition of Golden Girls Clue and Golden Girl’s Monopoly, quite an interactive evening!  This particulary viewing party was just us three, but you’d be surprised how many people we’ve had tell us they are interested in joining and going to these parties.  The list is ever growing including a few of Maus’ coworkers, and the receptionist at our dentist.  Of course, when we do Golden Girls we don’t go halfway, we get a freshly baked cheesecake from Whole Foods made specially for us.  Here’s a shot of the beautiful cheesecake this time:

Em’s apartment is lovely.  We streamed the episodes over Hulu (thanks Hulu!) and played our copy of Golden Girls’ Clue we picked up online.  We say the Golden Girl’s Monopoly at the bookstore last time we were there, but we didn’t purchase it.  That’s okay, cause Em had a copy.  We’ll play that next time.  Golden Girl’s Clue was fun.  It has some extra rules that aren’t in the original Clue game which made it kind of fun.  Maus won the first round, but I squeaked it out and won the second round!  Yay!  Here’s a shot of the board and one of the episodes:

So that was New Years Day.  It’s been a fun year, but also had it’s ups and downs.  Being set back by medication and not being able to think correctly are real dampeners, but let’s hope this new year will see a more consistently stable brain and the achievement of some goals.  We’re still growin’, we’re still crowin’, we’re still going strong, to paraphrase a favorite musical with the indomitable Carol Channing.  Here’s to Maus, my readers, and my own personal growth!

See you in the new year!

photo credit: CEBImagery.com Season’s Greetings via photopin (license)


I'm just a wunk, trying to enjoy life. I am a cofounder of http//originalpursuitssoc.com/ and I like computers, code, creativity, and friends.

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