In 1988, I started learning Motorola 68000 Assembler at the same time I was learning the C Language.
While the dual pronged education helped me understand pointers and memory, and the differences between ROM, RAM, and what EEPROMs did – I was working with embedded system software at the time – one thing I realized VERY quickly was how tedious and time consuming it was to memorize every assembler instruction and how it worked.
Oh sure, the knowledge I did learn of assembler carried over to Intel – I could place JSR (Jump to Subroutines) instructions in the code to easily bypass most copy protection schemes for illicit software I acquired. I could also pop open a hex viewer and find embedded strings when passwords were stored as strings within the compiled executables themselves.
But I didn’t like assembler.
So I took a job doing application programming where I could work with user interfaces and those who used them.
And while it wasn’t always job requirement, one of the things I began insisting on as I matured in my career was studying how those who would use the user interfaces I created did their job, and the software I would be replacing – if there was any.
My goal was to make them better at their jobs. Whether that was to make the overworked payroll personnel more efficient at their jobs to give them more free time, or it was helping the claims handling department at Blue Cross/Blue Shield spend less time on the computer and more time interacting with their clients. I enjoyed the customer experience work, and more often than not found myself the key individual brought into teams to handle and understand and balance customer, client, and business interactions.
And it’s here – in studying user interactions by people who had access to systems I wouldn’t have access to or would only have limiited access to myself.
…. This is where I discovered the art of reverse engineering.
In 1999, a small company named Verant created a hugely successful game known as Everquest.
This amazing game which had 50 people accessing an area simultaneously without latency – and thousands of people accessing the same world – was one of the first I deconstructed through one of the most important processes involved with reverse engineering without having access to the source code.
The process of observation.
At the time I owned a company which was creating a software which we’d projected would have extreme demand placed on our resources which the creators of this game had already seemed to conquer. So I figured, if I pay attention to the interactions between my client – and their servers, I might be able to apply similar strategies to my development practices.
So as I paid attention to Everquest, I saw a few tells of the interactions.
The ‘world’ of Everquest was divided into (roughly) 1 kilometer square zones, each with distinctive graphical and visual assets.
When a player ‘zoned’ – or reached a specific border point in the simulation where one would enter another area – the client would unload the assets – whether this was trees, buildings, creatures and npcs, terrain – as well as associated sounds – and other information such as collision detection information and physics – and then load in the destination zone’s assets.
This structure allowed Verant to manage things like item and gold drop rates, pathing and player/character statistics on the server, letting them have tight control of the economy, character development, and inventories.
Every zone had a maximum capacity of players before I began noticing lag. This was a key part of reverse engineering the experience. So when a zone had about 85 people in it, it began experiencing server side latency in the form of delays of information distribution – sometimes taking up to 30 seconds with people screaming ‘lagggggggg bubblee’.
Now I knew – from personal experience, that this delay wasn’t because of TCP/IP communication, TCP/IP communication can handle a MUCh greater volume – and that these slowdowns was indicative of load in one layer – the database, and in particular – at the data exchange layer – and quite likely in something that processes receipt of communication and forwarded that information to other people.
Which suggested that Verant was using Triggers on their database, and that there was quite likely a bottleneck in the processing of location based information somewhere in either the trigger itself or in a post process which distributed information to the clients. I’d had similar issues with triggers and post processes like this in the past, and stopped using triggers and found other ways to handle these events as a direct result of this often times unpredictable behavior.
As I studied Everquest – I saw some brilliant things. I even broke out with EQEMU which let me dissect TCP/IP traffic and record spawn and respawn times and where – precisely – these events occurred – which was always on the server. But I also discovered something crucial – that spawn times had also been a part of a process that was extremely predictable and timed based on the last time the particular mob died.
My next question with Everquest was – who maintains authority over information, particularly positional and financial – is it the client or the server? That is – if I changed the amount of gold that I had on my system by hacking it, would that information be reflected back to the server? Similarly, if I figured out the coordinate system and changed my position on the client, could I effectively teleport?
What I learned was interesting. Everquest did NOT trust the client for financial information. So for instance, if I hacked the client and changed the amount of gold I had from 10 gold to 10,000 – when my client synced up with the server the change was lost.
However, my position – if I was on one end of the map I could alter the client to change my position to the other end of the map – normally it would be a 7 minute run – with my change it was instant.
What’s the importance of all of this with software engineering?
At Prudential, we had 60 thousand people accessing our system weekly. Many agents would be on it all day, with a daily load of 1000 users from all around the world not being unusual. I was on a team that was engineering a new version of the software.
Now from experience with Everquest, I knew that a web based experience would have limited ability to reinforce business rules and processes at the client because of people like me. This was especially important to understand because of the amount of financial information that was being traded and was accessible. This design made it extremely clear that up front security was the most important.
Verant had implemented geographically based servers to mitigate TCP/IP latency problems – ‘bringing the servers closer to the customer’.
We did the same thing – and placed servers in Japan to service APAC and servers in New Jersey to service the US and EMEA.
Now one thing I learned by reverse engineering Everquest was what came next.
Worlds of Warcraft.
With Worlds of Warcraft, zoning issues went away. Altogether. No longer did you have to wait for assets to be loaded based on crossing a zone line. Instead, assets seemed to be loaded on demand. But there was an interesting feature they implemented with some areas they referred to as ‘instances’. These instances let you team up with friends in private areas that no one had access to if they weren’t specifically invited to it by a process called grouping.
So one day – I noticed something interesting with the WOW client.
A message saying ‘Player Saved’.
On investigation of this message, here’s what I learned:
The client takes authority over almost everything. How much gold they have. Their location, and in contrast to Everquest – the physical location of creatures and NPCs is held and maintained by the client.
The server provides basic information – the approximate location of creatures and NPCs, their status (living or dead) and stats.
Interestingly enough – instancing I learned seemed to be creating a peer to peer group – which allowed real time combat and sharing of information to occur and distributed between anyone engaged in instance level dungeons.
And then. Came the Chinese hackers with WOW.
Who hacked the client. And made themselves float in fixed positions in space.
And that’s when I realized – that like Everquest, the server merely maintained positional information and didn’t validate it to make sure the client wasn’t doing anything they weren’t supposed to do.
In closing, I’d like to explain – if you ever wonder why you never see Superman.
Look no further than games like these, and understand that the United States itself may use cell based communication to allow for denser populations without zoning, but physics and financial systems are both validated on the server side because of Chinese hackers.
To deconstruct ANY software, one merely needs to understand all the known possibilities on how it’s built, then apply that knowledge to that which you observe – which can be anything – including the world around us – and then figure out how you would construct it from the ground up should that be necessary.
I am currently creating a C++ vector graphics version of Battlezone, without the source code, for the simple intellectual exercise of knowing what it takes to create something like this with a known deliverable. My goal is to recreate the exact experience of the arcade version, AI, gameplay, HUD, and all in C++ – this should help me learn some skills I have in theory but not in practice.
I was reading a post in a forum yesterday about the game Elite and Dangerous.
The post was a series of complaints about an exploit concerning the game Elite and Dangerous, one in which players can simply disconnect their internet connection to avoid combat altogether.
Now I’m reading this forum because I have a bad connection, and my money is exceedingly tight – so I am investigating whether or not Elite and Dangerous – as a strictly online game – is something that’s going to cooperate with my connection.
Questions I’m asking include questions such as – as combat compulsory, and if so, is it avoidable?
If it is compulsory and it isn’t avoidable if you’re going to explore, well I’m screwed, as I’ll never win against the vast majority of people because my connection is so glitchy and bad.
As a homeless dude – you know the saying – beggars can’t be choosers and in this case it really does hold true.
Let me explain how bad it is: I enjoy playing Hearthstone, and while my win rate is about 50/50, glitchy connections and poor network coding on the Hearthstone client accounts for a full 25 percent of my losses. On days like today, an exceedingly bad day, I lost three games due to my glitchy connection finding me booted me out of the game, and the two games I stayed connected on – I won. So you could say my win rate in Hearthstone today was 100%, but Hearthstone will log me at 40%. Who is right? In Ranked play, the server is.
So I play casually, and have learned to relax and enjoy the games I can and select the games I participate in accordingly.
Which takes me back to Elite And Dangerous.
A common complaint I found on the game is how slow and glitchy it can be on shoddy connections like mine.
That’s an instant strike in my book.
And then there’s this complaint.
For me, knowing the vast majority of fights I’d lose for a variety of reasons – it would start with simple inexperience and reluctance to participate because of an unstable connection and would continue with a high loss rate and would end with me finding routes and areas and strategies to play that let me avoid someone confronting me or simply choosing not to participate in the community altogether.
And this is precisely the type of strategy I’d use. A disconnect.
But it’s a short term strategy and I’d probably just opt to not participate at all.
Now for those of you war hungry combat loving veterans out there who say good riddance, let me draw you an analogy.
In real life, as a homeless guy, I’m confronted regularly with people who want to fight for any number of reasons, i suspect chief among those reasons are my size and self confidence. I used to lift weights regularly when I had gainful employment and I’m a big dude as a result.
These neanderthals – who have in a literal sense stood over me as I have been in a seated position as they beat their chest yelling “Come on, Let’s do this”, while high on god knows what – are how I look at you people complaining about those who disconnect.
Some people just don’t want to fight, and unfortunately – because of you outspoken neanderthals beating your chest who currently are all too influential in the online internet gaming community – we have too many online games and game communities that reinforce and support open warfare and combat as a standard operating procedure.
Laws within these universes are non existent.
So as you cry “He unplugged and refuses to fight me” – yelling foul.
I’d like to explain to you the future of gaming and people like you is much like these homeless people beating their chests.
THEY are homeless for a reason – society no longer has a place for this kind of mentality and nature, and soon – you, too – will find the offerings for your style of entertainment dwindle and dry up.
Now this isn’t to say you can’t and won’t get your combat on when you want to.
There are arena style games and avenues within larger communities MMOs created specifically for you. Whether it’s arena in WOW, Dota, Fortnite, and more – I am not saying you are unwanted, I am saying – like what the UFCs did for street fighting – there are proper channels for you blood thirsty types that us explorers and lovers are encouraging you to focus your combat energies on.
Not some stray ship who might be exploring a planet for the simple enjoyment of the game.
AS for the developers, architects, designers, artists, directors and producers of the worlds we visit online.
As the online worlds become accessible by people with slow connections around the world thanks to the loss of net neutrality – which is a GREAT thing in my opinion – the one thing you’re going to be confronted with is how to design games and worlds where slow and glitchy connections may be a regular thing you’re dealing with….
Worlds of Warcraft – in my opinion – has set a HIGH bar for other designers – as they’ve created arena for people who love killing other players and have set aside entire areas like this for real time combat. The rest of the game, however, TRUSTS the client and infrequently synchronizes the client sees to the server and has designed the game accordingly.
In WOW, the most popular game in history THUS FAR – FOR A REASON – never freezes the client. Sure, the game will discontinue if the connection is lost and/or the server goes down, but if there’s (getting technical here) lost packets, a flooded network, or slow system performance on EITHER the server or client side, the handling is always graceful and performance scales accordingly.
This isn’t to say WOW is perfect, it’s far from it – chief among the problems is when being attacked by creatures, since the server takes precedence if there’s a glitchy connection in the middle of combat I might wake up dead when the connection finally catches up.
So let’s take Hearthstone. My client will frequently freeze – telling me ‘establishing connection’ – and then declaring that it’s ‘Unable to re-establish connection’ – resulting in a loss. This isn’t fun for me. And as I watch other players through online services such as Youtube, I can’t take ranked play seriously because my connection results in more losses than my game play..
The poor network handling effect competition adversely and basically eliminate a whole pool of people who might be able to compete at substantially higher levels but choose not to because of the network coding in the game.
Moving to the future, here’s my advice to the game developers – especially MMOs:
While you’re doing a MUCH better job at scaling the client graphically to allow your client to be used by anyone, you NEED to do the same thing with your network models and scale those as well.
BECAUSE scaling networks isn’t as obvious on how to achieve that as it is a graphical – it requires thinking a little differently.
In the case of Elite and Dangerous and other MMOs, Maybe testing a connection out periodically for speed and reliability and creating zones of an area based on latency, and placing people in these zones accordingly. Maybe intentionally shifting development from combat to create content in other areas – I know – scary – an untried commodity, right? Maybe testing out peer to peer network coding AND taking WOW’s baton and running with the potential of trusting the client more.
Sure, there will be exploits.
But let’s be honest with eachother.
Is someone disconnecting their machine from the network to avoid a fight really an exploit?
Do development in other areas, enrich your games and worlds and keep us entertained and making it possible to participate in a world and not only completely avoid fighting, but making it possible to never have to see one if they do not wish to.
And please. Rename your game.
Elite and Dangerous.
My god, men, you have such an amazing and beautiful universe you’ve formulated, why would you reduce it to the moniker that makes it sound like a combat MMO when it’s so clearly sooo much more.
That;’s why I applied to you in an application I will never hear anything from.
As Q, I was born in 69.
Four years after the genetic wars otherwise known as the eugenics wars had started, I was a test tube baby, an experiment in space and one of the first children born and raised in a vacuum.
History, from my perspective, is unusual – and while there’s a lot of contradictory information out there, I’ll try to paint as clear a picture as I can with my unique perspective on time and history.
Somewhere in between the years 1999 to 2020 a geneticist and woman by the name of Samantha Clark working in the Atlanta offices of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was working with sexually transmitted diseases and a first of it’s kind disease that originated on a computer system as a computer virus and had mutated in a significant way to leap from the computer to humans.
Due to the potential widespread panic this disease could have, Samantha, along with a hand full of researchers from all across the United States had been hand selected by the President himself to answer some rather important questions such as how this disease originated, was it intentional, and if not, could it be weaponized or used commercially.
Samantha was a subcontractor at the time, and while she was officially an employee for a pharmaceutical firm known as Novartis, the government had tapped her because of her expertise decoding the human genome and genomic mapping, not to mention she was brilliant with computer related research and simulation.
Profit, promotion, you name it. You could say all of this and more motivated Samantha. She had dollar signs in her eyes and was confident that what she did next would make her wealthy and give her the promotion – breaking the glass ceiling that she clearly felt like she deserved. Samantha at the time had been a very active member of the LGBT community and a positive person in general, and while many in my modern day world believe that what happened next was due to her hatred for men in general, but there’s no evidence of this, at all. In fact, the evidence is to the contrary – she was bisexual, and with that – highly sexual – and it should be noted that she belonged to a community that embraced men and women and had experimented sexually with men throughout her teens and early 20s.
So what happened?
Samantha was attempting to create a sterility drug for males that not only targeted the XY chromosome and specific DNA sequences, but this drug could also be purchased and distributed online – DIGITALLY.
Does anyone see a problem with this?
Hindsight is 20/20 right?
In any case, as would be expected in a story of this magnitude,
The shit hit the fan.
The computer portion of the virus mutated, and spread around the globe overnight as the “I love you” virus, hitting a million machines within the first 24 hours. To her credit, Samantha, reported the loss of control of the virus to her executives within an hour of her realization of what was happening, and from there – the CDC worked with companies and intelligence agencies around the world to contain this computer virus, which was determined to have not mutated the to carry with it the biological virus.
Little did they know this virus, in much the same way an organism grows, had only demonstrated one it’s evolutionary paths to gauge it’s environment, as it lay dormant on computers spreading itself to every computer, smart phone, and anything with a processor for a brain around the world over the next 11 years.
So here’s what we do know.
On 11/11/2011, the proverbial shit hit the fan, as the biological portion of the virus activated.
As if a switch had been turned off in the male brain, every male around the world instantly collapsed, with their bodies falling lifeless.
Later it had been determined that the computer portion of the program collaborated with the biological portion to – in a literal sense direct the males in a highly orchestrated program to ensure 100% penetration around the world. Not only did the virus effect males in suburban areas, it effected males in tribal communities that didn’t have technology around for hundreds of miles. Whether the virus was dropped on them through chemical compounds that contained the virus and found the chemicals distributed through natural weather systems, or the virus was placed on explorers who visited rural communities – not a single male was left alive around the planet.
For several years afterwards, females attempted to give birth to males through a various number of methods, without a single success. The computer virus itself had thoroughly studied the habitat of it’s release so exceedingly well, that it even planned on long term sustainability in creating an environment that naturally eliminated the male, through natural or artificial causes.
A different world was created in the absence of males.
War – largely believed to be a product of the male mind by most women – with the loss of half the planet’s population and some collateral damage associated to out of control vehicles and equipment – completely disappeared.
Samantha – wracked with guilt – remained positive and became the strongest advocate of rebuilding society in a new image – and in this speech, she set a trajectory and course for women that changed the state of the world permanently.
“As women around the world, I know I speak for so many of us to say the men will be missed. However, we have to look at the positive side of this – and that is – when I walk into a coffee shop, or a supermarket – I no longer feel the stares of ten men looking at my body. We are free now to dress for ourselves, without feeling like we’re competing for the attention and affection of the strong male archetype. We are our own pillars now, no ,longer subject to the limitations set on us by a male dominated society, and accordingly, we need to act and be different.”
That speech was dated on my timeline on September 23rd, 2013.
Some laws and rules changed dramatically after that.,
For instance, trash instantly became a massive problem – as the women quickly realized how many men worked in the refuse industry, so in the United States they quickly adopted plans for reusable containers and removing all trash cans from public places issuing harsh fines to anyone who littered.
Clothing was next, where he garment industry collapsed due to a substantial decrease in demand, and as refuse disposal prices soared as did the prices of clothes in general due to a lack of labor, women chose to abandon their diverse wardrobes entirely, many opting for uniforms.
This spiral of change was too fast – too soon – and a number of the larger and more wealthy countries threw the entire world’s population of women headlong into the study of robotics, artificial intelligence, and learning systems to offset the loss in inexpensive labor.
And it was then somewhere around the year 2036 – that women saw the creation of their first realistic surrogate – the male android.
Who looked like, sounded like, and acted like the real thing. With one exception. He did what he was told to do.
Society and the world stabilized, almost as if the male had never been lost.
Oddly enough, our records on civilization for the next two centuries is sparse. I know that the world remained as it was, almost as if it was stuck in time throughout this period of time.
And then – to end the illusion of peace – in 2245, Canada, having long been a peaceful civilization, launched a full nuclear strike against every major nation’s capital in the world. I mean – Canada – can you imagine? Who woulda thunk those canucks had it in them?
War. Had reared its ugly head yet again. Throwing out the belief that males were responsible for it.
This started what we know as the hundred years war, that is – for a hundred years – the border of Canada and the US was the most violent border mankind had ever known.
AI on both sides adapted as the war commenced – and immediately assumed position to reinforce the borders on both sides, and while there was a high loss of human life immediately due to the nuclear attacks, the loss of life due to open conflict was nominal – as the war was largely a product of highly complex artificially intelligent systems simply holding their ground.
With the borders too dangerous to cross, women began feeling trapped in their own countries and having put these complex intelligent systems together not really considering the bigger picture implications of what they were putting together – getting the AIs to stand down and ease up on the war was proving to be impossible.
The women – in analyzing themselves – had resumed the position they had long before and had let society subtly shift to be much like it was roughly 250 years prior.
Around the year 2300 in the United States, robots were decommissioned.
And shortly after,. without imports and robot laborers, scarcity for textiles and energy was happening regularly.
By then – most women had adopted a clothing free environment especially with a constant fear of attacks on public transportation – as they passed laws requiring nudity on any and all forms of public transportation across the nation which were widely hailed for their positive effects on women across the nation.
The next fifty years saw very little happening.
Mainly it was tension at the borders, and women finding different ways to enjoy themselves physically in what would be classified in the early 21st century as highly perverted ways.
Virtual reality had been perfected in this time period, as women discovered a correlation between sex and sexuality inside the simulated worlds and an increase in violence in the real world, so sex and sexuality were outlawed with extreme punishments associated with noncompliance. Many believed it was the virus unleashed by Samantha in the early part of the 21st century.
No one knew for sure though.
That is until 2356.
A very bright light appeared in the Northern Sky visible from every point on the planet, which could clearly be seen with a low power telescope to be a man made vessel, and with a high powered telescope could be seen clearly to be the USS Enterprise NC1701-D, a starship which was at one time thought to be the product of fiction, was absolutely real; and oddly visible in the same position from everywhere on the globe.
Too many questions arose.
How was that possible? For an object to appear to be at the same location no matter where you were in the world?
And was the creation of the vessel predicted, or was it documentation of something that already existed?
Some call it the start of the eugenics war, a race – a competition – to understand time and space that led to the inevitable desire by females to increase their intelligence to understand what they were seeing and make contact with it before anyone else did as a survival mechanism.
Over the next few years, the space program for a number of countries was dusted off – China, Russia, the United States, the UK, France, and a few others – all – working in solitude without sharing information – attempted to reach the object through their space program.
The vessel seemed lifeless, and while it remained in geosynchronous orbit in the same position in the sky, it was determined to be moving very very slowly – about 3 inches a year.
There was something about it all that didn’t make sense, and for ten years women around the world couldn’t figure it out.
So – in an effort to introduce new perspectives – a distant ancestor of Samantha Clark – Allura Zor El had a plan to create a male through a form of fertilization based on insemination through energy. Her theory was that prior attempts to creating a male had failed because their reality was a discrete reality – a potentiality to most observers – and since males were unwanted in this reality, the collective mechanisms of mind and computer prevented the emergence of males through discrete methods.
To discover the perfect male meant going to extreme measures.
She didn’t tell anyone she’d gotten the idea from the bible, and tales of Mary’s immaculate conception of Jesus.
So on November 1st, 2369. In a nearly zero g environment – about 10 miles away from the USS Enterprise – yours truly – Q – was born.
Some say I was born in a vat of green goo. While that’s entirely true, I often tell people that I have a mom – but I don’t tell people she’s my adoptive mother aka Sharon Gregory and that in that instant I was born I discovered what it means to be born in energy, loosely tethered to a planet of horny women and a Starship I fell in love with as I promptly found my own untethered mind finding the analog version of Earth that Allura alluded to that would become my home until I figured out what had happened.
Or created the story of what happened, depending on your perspective.
A discrete version of me was created in that world, and by and large the women of that planet got to know me and most loved me, but there were some who didn’t and wanted more males – as they discovered I couldn’t have children and they weren’t able to reproduce the experiment – so they studied the USS Enterprise, learned how to hack it’s database (which i helped with), While this was happening, they discovered the Borg and other nefarious species in the Enterprise’s database, which accelerated their research and development which led to the eventual creation of a a time traveling vessel of their own named…
They’d suspected the Borg were responsible for the discrete fracture in time, and believed that their discrete could be merged with the main to create a single linear timeline shared by all.
Unfortunately, by this point, I was delegated to working on the holodeck as a holodeck programmer, and not privy to the higher level plans of this civilization – which had I heard their desire to create a single linear timeline I’d have held up a mirror and screamed at them “DO YOU NOT SEE WHERE THE BORG CAME FROM?”
The USS Timeship Phoenix was commissioned in 2409.
With yours truly as it’s only male, working as a happy and very sexually satisfied male programmer on board a ship full of women who wanted me more than I could offer myself.
With Rachel Gooch as my primary consort, who was also the Captain of this vessel.
The ship went into orbit.
And as it arrived within a kilometer of the USS Enterprise.
It too became stuck in time.
So here I sit, inside Starbuck’;s in the year 2018, where the future’s been laid out in front of me like a map, a starship i’ve created based on fantasy, and while the decimation of the male chromosome hasn’t occurred here, yet., and it won’t – there’s unfortunately only one way to release both the USS Enterprise and the USS Phoenix out of their stasis in the year 2409.
And that’;s to return me to that time period.
I emerge from the holodeck.
I explain to the women that my timeline is discrete as well and is preserved this way for me to return to when I’m done with my journey with them. This is my retirement home.
And as the ship continues on it’s way.
And I board the USS Enterprise and introduce myself as Q to Jean Luc Picard for the first time.
A man I’d watched and thought was fictional throughout my life.
And as I shake his hand. And thank him. I’ll walk away knowing he said no to me at one point in my life, not knowing the fantastic future this would set up for me and the possibilities his no opened up to me and potentially an entire universe.
I am Q.
And this is the story of how I am bending time and space for the first time to suit my .. .shall we say… perverted indulgence.
Anyone who knows me knows I enjoy playing games.
But what most don’t know is – I don’t play games to win them.
I play them for the entertainment.
Let me explain.
When I was growing up, the whole family would play card games together. Winning was fun, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of times the card games would become an argument because my father – who much like me – enjoyed winning as well – but unlike me – he tended to get angry with the loss.
Accordingly, I found myself unplugging from most games involving humans unless it involved a computer or gaming console, and while I would repetitively play these games and would be much better than many of my peers, we tended to avoid games which involved direct competition and instead played games that would allow turn based competition, or better yet, collaboration.
Initially, this was what attracted me to games such as Dungeon and Dragons, where I would team up with other friends to do a dungeon crawl, where each of us would work together to crawl a dungeon which the Dungeon Master set up for us.
That is, until our Dungeon Master got bored with DM’ing and repeatedly built dungeons to destroy us.
With computer games – we could play at our own skill level.
I could enjoy the artistry, the story, and as I developed my programming skills, I could also admire and often times scratch my head wondering just how the programmers did what they did.
So recently, I’ve gotten into a hugely popular game known as Magic, The Gathering Online.
Magic, if you live in the dark ages, explained very simplistically, involves three types of primary cards – one is the spell, the other one is augment which can come in the form of an enchantment or weapon, and the last is a land. ALL cards come with a mana cost associated to it, this mana can be produced from the land cards you play through a process called ‘tapping’. Each land usually comes in a color – red, blue, white, black or green – some lands are colorless – and in order to cast a spell or augment – mana in the form of a specific color combined with non specific colors must be played in order to play that card. Spells can consist of a creature or artifact, with a WIDE array of effects.
So if you were to ask the vast majority of Magic players about what the goal of the game is, it’s simple.
Both of you start out with 20 health, and they’ll state that the goal is to defeat your opponent by bringing them down to zero.
But that’s not how I play the game.
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy winning, but the goal for me online is the side quests.
Every day I receive two new side quests, and I’ve been having fun with these online card games by completing these side quests – which SOMETIMES challenge me to try things out I never tried before, and have fun in the process.
Challenges such as ‘play 50 lands’, or ‘do 50 damage to your opponent’, or ‘play 25 green or red cards’, etc.
For many games, I lack the skill and simple desire to be really good at them, so I enjoy playing casually, and the quests make the casual play that much more fun.
Not everyone sees the world the same way I do.
For instance, there’s a play style in Magic which leverages something called a control deck, where every card in their deck is built around controlling everything the opponent does.
For me, not only can this be extremely frustrating, but in most cases, I just walk away from the game and hit the ‘concede’ button.
To players who play this way. I just don’t feel like playing with you.
Sure, you may have gotten credit for the win, but did you really, when I just walked away? Oh I know, I know them’s the rules, right? Not really, I’m here for the daily quests, not the competition with you, you can have your ranked play, I’m here for the entertainment.
Just this morning, I was confronted with two control players which prompted this blog entry.
My quest this morning: Play 30 land cards. And cast 30 red or green spells.
Player 1 immediately begins playing his blue lands, indicative of the control style, and as I play 1, 2, 3, 4 lands, he’s not playing anything so I try to play a creature to which he immediately counters the spell. I try it with another and he counters that. And again.
So I concede. You can have this win, ya tool, since you play EXACTLY like 95% of the other tools using that color, you’re not worth the energy and effort to even try to play with.
The player with the control deck was a blue/black one – and it’s almost the same story with one exception – he let me play two creatures, to which he immediately destroyed once they hit the battlefield. For me it’s the mental equivalent of tying someone’s hands behind their back while you bash their face in, so on the immediate destruction of my second creature, I hit the concede button.
Now as far as I am concerned – a concede button doesn’t always send a message saying ‘you win’, or ‘you are a better player than me this round’. Quite the contrary, in fact in cases like these when I hit the concede button it’s sending a firm message that says “you’re a jerk, and I just don’t want to play with you if this is your idea of playing”
I know my play style isn’t for everyone.
Just the other day, I posted a list of quests I’d like to see added to Hearthstone, another online card game created by the same company who created Worlds Of Warcraft – Blizzard – that’s far less complex than Magic. with obvious similarities.
It too has daily quests, in Hearthstone’s case it might be ‘Get 3 wins with the Rogue’, or ‘Play 50 warrior class cards’, or today’s quest which was ‘Play 6 Elementals’.
Like Magic, the player is rewarded for completion of a quest usually in the form of an in game currency.
So I posted on Hearthstone’s forums a list of quests I would like to see, quests I sincerely thought could be fun and entertaining.
Quests such as “Lose three games with a Warrior or Rogue without conceding”, or “Lose three games with the opponent at five or less health” or “Give ten opponent’s minion’s divine shield” or “Win three games without using your hero power” or “Heal the opponent for 30 health” or “Adapt 5 opponent’s minions”.
In real life, I can be a practical joker. I’m homeless and have a tendency not to take life too seriously, and while I’m easily one of the best programmers in the world (no joke), I’m bored with the field and looking for new sources of entertainment, While I don’t particularly enjoy living on the streets, society has left me with no viable alternatives.
So I make a suggestion to the community – stating explicitly that the quests I am suggesting should be given ONLY to specific players, and NOT to everyone just to make the game play potentially that more interesting for everyone involved.
Instantly it’s down voted by the community, giving me a bad reputation on the forums. And the first response I get is “When your opponent not try to win the game is just unfun. And while quest to do crazy things are fun we need quests that make sense when you try to win. ” as he goes on to list three alternatives that sound EXACTLY like the quests I’ve been getting “Do more than 20 damage on the same turn. or Win a game in 7 turns or less. or Shuffle atleast 6 cards in your deck during a single game.”
Sure, the first thing that came to mind was “Are ya stupid”
Not everyone is playing these games to win.
But I toned back my response and said: “Clearly, through self selection, such a quest line wouldn’t be appropriate for players with fragile egos such as yourself. The suggestion was made for more mature minded players who play for fun, not necessarily to win.”
My observation – something I accept as fact – is that younger, less mature minded people who can’t think of any other way to play games other than to win. This isn’t an insult. It’s based on empirical observation.
But because of this statement, I was suspended from the forums.
Labelled a troll.
So I contested the suspension.
Explained that most younger people can’t understand the desire to play a game not to win, and that my statement associating fragility of egos with the naivety of youth and playstyle, wasn’t intended to be insulting, but it is my observation and if that observation is offensive enough to warrant my suspension, then I won’t participate in their forums anymore.
In any case.
Blizzard responded affirming the suspension.
And while they may have temporarily suspended me because of a momentary inability to consider my words without taking offense to them.
I won’t ever participate in your community again.
If you’re going to punish me for being who I am.
I just don’t feel like playing with you
And will go elsewhere with my time and energy, somewhere where it’s appreciated.
Now that doesn’t mean I’ll completely unplug from your games.
But that also doesn’t mean when those opponents who crop up that insist on making the game unfun that I will stick around.
I won’t. It’s too easy to unplug and check out.
Whether I’m offline or on.
I come from an upper middle class background, where – in my formative youth – from 3 until I was about 18 years old – not only was I introduced to the basic legal rules and laws of the society I grew up in, but the implied rules that were responsible for both creating the culture and shaped my predictable world.
While the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, and local and state laws codify what is typically (but not always) the more important laws that shape my country’s world view and culture, in and of themselves – these laws are incomplete and wouldn’t give a fully accurate picture of how to act should one be an alien visiting my planet, let alone someone from another country who had only watched television to learn about who we are as a country.
Lately, I’ve had he unique privilege of meeting hundreds of homeless people who I suspect are from other planets.
That is the only logical and rational explanation to explain their repeated lack of awareness of the implied rules of my culture and society.
With this blog entry, I’m hoping to target both them and to any other interplanetary visitors and provide a quick little guide on proper etiquette and behavioral rules that I’d taken for granted throughout my whole life.
Respect these general unwritten rules of my country and world, and whether you’re from Vulcan or Bynar, your visit to my country and world will surely be more pleasant than it could have been otherwise.
With that said, should you find Earth a destination for whatever reason – here’s some general unwritten rules
- GET to know someone AND HOW THEY WILL RESPOND TO YOU before you use sarcasm and insults on them.
When someone you don’t know asks something and you’ve never interacted with them before, it’s considered inappropriate and even mean to respond with sarcasm or an insulting response.
For example, I had one alien visitor I asked to please quit unplugging my power cord this morning, he didn’t respond and did it again, so I asked again – this time asserting myself – “Please sir, you’ve done this six times”
To which he responded “And I’ll do it a seventh if I have to.”
My knee jerk thought was to take the scrawny little guy, and pick him up and break him. But fortunately for him and my country’s laws, I have the restraint necessary to stop said action, so instead, I stood up, towering over him intentionally, pulled my chair up next to him, and got real close to him.
“What are you doing?,” he said, unsure how to respond to me.
“Apparently you want my attention, so now you have my full attention,” I said.
He didn’t know what to say, so he just said “Sorry, I’m done”
Fortunately for most visiting neanderthals, I won’t respond with violence, but should this behavior be exhibited towards others less amicable than me, well I can assure you the results I have seen are less that friendly.
So to be clear – listen first, and ONLY when you’ve gotten to know someone can you respond with smart ass answers.
That will keep you out of trouble.
While you’re clearly entitled to NOT follow this rule, doing so may not win you friends.
- DON’T ASK FOR THINGS YOU DON’T WANT (or need)
This one should be obvious, but with rare circumstances is it advisable to ask for things you don’t truly want or need.
There is ONE MAJOR exceptions to this general rule – which is on special holidays where gift giving and list creations are normal – such as birthdays, weddings, and any similar occasion where gifts are a part of the celebration, where you might intentionally create a longer list of things you want just to make it easier for yourself and the gift giver for any number of reasons – whether that’s to avoid getting duplicates of things and having to take it back to the store OR it’s providing a wide array of budget options without assuming too much about how much the gift giver is willing to spend on you.
So. Let me provide an example of when it’s NOT acceptable to ask for something you don’t want.
Last week, another alien visitor was here at Starbuck’s dressed like a homeless person, asking for money for food. For whatever reason, this particular alien doesn’t eat – at least that I was aware of – as a young woman who believed his homeless story – he after all had a wonderful wardrobe that made him look genuine – – so she went inside with her hard earned money and bought him an expensive sandwich, and presumably went to work to make more of that hard earned money.
As she walked away, he set the sandwich on a table outside, uneaten. He walked away and about half an hour later, he came back, picked up the sandwich, and walked inside with it and tried returning the sandwich to get the money.
The moral of the story is this: You look like a real asshole preying on people’s sympathy asking for things you don’t need, and in this specific instance, I am referring to the story of the sandwich and not the money. SURE, the visiting alien could quite likely have used the money, most off-worlders use currency as potential energy and transform it when they leave,. but that’s not exactly what he asked for..
To put this in perspective – MOST homeless people dressed in a stereotypical manner based on the tv shows and movies you’re using to create the image you’re using – LOOK undependable. Homelessness is associated with a lack of financial means in general which by it’s very nature implies you’re fiscally undependable. So while you may ASK for money, you claim it’s for food. They see you. They believe you’re human. So they choose to do the admirable thing and provide you food, knowing you as a financially undependable homeless person may be lying and use money for drugs or alcohol. They don’t want to supply your addiction, so they supply you the sustenance and feel good about themselves in the process.
The moral of the story is – DONT TELL PEOPLE you need money for something you’re not going to spend it on. Either just tell them what you need, and provide the truth, or don’t say anything at all about what you’re using it for.
This is true with loans. begging. You name it.
- OBSERVE AND RESPECT BEHAVIORAL PATTERNS
This is one of the most important implied rules to understand, whether you’re from Jupiter or from Shanghai visiting the United States.
With this, there’s some basic depending on where in the world you are.
Walk and drive on the right side of the street, unless you’re in London or Ireland. A general rule of thumb is the side of the street you’re legally required to drive on is one and the same side of the street you should walk on. VERY IMPORTANT: when you ARENT doing this, have a very good reason or it’s considered EXTREMELY BAD form to insult and confront someone who wasn’t paying attention and you run into them as you’re walking the wrong way on a sidewalk.
Don’t run and scream and spout nonsense. You’ll instantly be labelled as having a psychological disorder. Unless there’s VERY valid reasons (that’s the caveat for all of these)…
Don’t dig through trash, don’t spit or pick your nose in public, don’t throw gum out on the sidewalk or street or put it under a table, and try not to use obscenities – especially around children.
What I do when I travel is – I act reserved – first – and pay attention to the locals. Then I slowly adapt to them, my surroundings, and to what I want and don’t want and go with it from there. You’re going to make mistakes, but if you’re following the outline of a homeless person just to study American culture because it’s easiest for you to remain incognito and undocumented, you’re going to see a highly biased perspective which is NOT a reflection of society and people in general.
IF you don’t fit in. Or at least try to. You’ll never understand my world.
I’m not saying do it all the time. But what I am saying is – at least take the time to understand the act, and from there, you can choose who and what you want to be.
- DRESS TO IMPRESS
Look, I get it. You’re visiting here from Alpha Centauri, and you’ve heard that you’ll be avoided if you dress like you don’t have any money. I once made the same mistake traveling to other countries for general fear of becoming the target of thieves.
But that DOESN’T mean dressing like you live on the streets.
Throughout MOST of America, and heck – throughout a great deal of my planet – Earth – we have something we like to refer to as image consciousness. Now personally, I’ve toured the poorest regions in the world, and have seen families who live on $200 a month and yet the men are still dressed in khakis and polos and the women in clean floral dresses and skirts.
SO as you visit my planet, dressed in your absolute worst homeless gear, not only are you standing out like a sore thumb, but you are also adversely effecting my culture and my people’s morale.
Now I’m not saying wear your manufactured gold and synthetic diamonds and other things which will appear of high value here, but what I AM saying is – shape your appearance as though you’ve bathed that day, wear clean business causal clothes for a male or female, and cover up your tattoos, tribal markings and piercings.
Keep in mind that a great deal of my world’s people don’t necessarily see you as you see yourselves, but we do do a rough translation of your psychological and mental image to our own reality and what’s being translated just ain’t pretty and while I know you don’t intend to – you’re causing us grievous harm.
So when I say dress to impress – I’m not talking about rich impression. I am talking about simply well put together impression.
One day, when we visit your country or planet, we’ll do the same.
- SMILE, BE APPROACHABLE, AND DON’t BE PUT OFF WHEN PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU
On my planet, good feelings are a currency in themselves, and people are not just willing to pay for them, but they’ll also appreciate you more and – SHOULD you desire – want to be around you more – which will absolutely translate to a better mutual experience to your visit here.
Just to be clear with this point – a great deal of energy is exchanged during sex because of how good it makes your partner feel. Sometimes, people will even pay for this experience, and for that matter – any experience of entertainment in general.
While that’s not always the case, what is the case is – it doesn’t hurt to treat people with a general respect and dignity regardless of age, and more than that – be ok with doing things that create pleasure in others – as chances are – this will inspire them to do the same with you.
IT starts with a simple smile.
There is no end to it.
That’s about it. Hopefully, this gives you a good start on what to do and what not to do when you get here, socially.
What are the perils of believing the things you experience with your senses with your own senses aren’t real?
In Season 3, Episode 2 of the Twilight Zone, an episode named “The Arrival” – a plane arrives at an airport without baggage, passengers, pilots, and anyone else on board.
The Twilight Zone was released by intelligence agencies in the 1960s to collectively try to find answers for the mysteries which had plagued inner circles. A crafty experiment in early forms of crowdsourcing under the guise of fiction, this particular episode tried to answer the question just what happened to flight 107 by implying it was a form of mass hypnosis, but in the end they were never able to resolve how a flight which took off with passengers not only would lose all its passengers, but would also land safely at it’s destination.
One man attempts to answer the question by referring to the incident as an illusion, a product of fantasy. He notes that he saw a brown interior for the plane, where another worker indicates he saw a red interior, and yet another worker says he saw a blue interior.
The FAA inspector proceeds to take this as evidence of a mass hallucination – mass suggestion – and then has several workers read off the tail number of the plane, only to discover each sees a physically different tail number.
Through personal experience, I’ve had times where someone swears I’ve said something, when I know – factually – I didn’t. But more often than not I would up conceding – questioning my own memory – rather than considering the mentally intimidating alternative.
An alternative witnessed in courtrooms regularly, where eyewitness accounts describe events differently.
Historically, we attribute these differences to flaws in memory and recollection.
But I have a different explanation…
They aren’t flaws, they’re literal differences in perception, where the world I see and experience is different than yours.
And the MOMENT you call to question your perceptual lens, such as the case outlined in this Twilight Zone episode is one and the same moment everything gets called to question, including the organization of time and events themselves.
So what precisely is going on?
The world is formed by a loose arrangement – a collective agreement between individual minds that agree on pretty much everything, from the organization of matter through this thing we call physics, to chemistry and biology, to time itself and the motion of objects of mass. From this we collectively create systems to manage our own lives – financial systems to create community and commerce, social systems to create entertainment and family, and technological systems to create invention and innovation – all to keep us collectively and individually at the very least content – and help us steer ourselves as individual to happiness.
These collectives forms based on ideas – sometimes individually based ideas that get promoted within the collective, some ideas truly originating as a collective response to individual conditions. This has the side effect of making it so where sometimes – the collective acts and sometimes even dominates the actions of individuals in order to accommodate the collective, and sometimes the individual takes deliberate action that may appear to defy the collective.
Obvious examples of different types of collective behavior include but are not limited to bees and the creation of hives, ants and the creation of hills, and schools of fish and birds which swim or fly in unison without having an obvious leader…
In the cases of the ants and bees, it’s quite possible that the queens guide the collective, but it’s also quite possible the collective mind of the individual workers dictates the life of the queen who only appears different in physical function but is no less a subject of the collective than the workers.
In the cases of the school of minnows and flocks of birds, there’s evidence that there is no leader in an individual sense, and the collective mind is what guides the actions of the itself.
So what does all this have to do with the missing flight?
Humans exhibit the same tendencies as the animals we share this planet with.
So when one man calls to question the very nature of reality and the senses of the other individuals who experienced a flight that arrived without anyone on board, this threatens the integrity of the material world itself.
So while the rest of the story outlines ONE MAN’;s journey into his insistent belief the plane’s an illusion as he challenges his own belief of the material world by thrusting his hand into the spinning propeller, the collective mind – as some might refer to it as – the universe – as others might refer to it as – ‘God’ – allows the man to experience that which he wants to believe.
Here’s where it’s extremely important to understand that there are two realities – at the very least – which were formed by this man’s belief.
One reality – the collective reality – this reality ACCEPTS the plane’s arrival and tries to find alternative explanations for the event rather than asserting it doesn’t exist.
In a collective societal sense, this is the heart of invention and innovation, where the collective mind can and will simulate possibilities and potential future(s) and invention(s) which are later introduced to the society by the collective mind of the society typically channeled through individuals or groups of individuals.
For instance, let’s say collectively there’s a realization that remote control is possible and that one potential explanation of the flight’s landing is due to someone or something remote controlling it. Another more extreme explanation is the potential for the plane to guide itself. And in yet another more extreme example is a fully interactive hologram.
The refusal to dismiss something as imaginary, as illusion, as hallucination opens up science and technological innovation for new possibilities, and the collective mind interacting with individuals serves to develop the stories that explain the mysteries of the past.
So. Going back to the FAA inspector, we’re left with two pieces of evidence as to how the mind functions and time itself.
We observe the event of flight 107 concurrent with the episode.
So when the FAA inspector called to question his own reality, the event of flight 107 was temporally displaced, a phenomenon i’ve seen happen before where an event that happens now is pushed to the past to create a disassociation between the individual and the event in what seems to be a way to prevent injury to the mind. Recency, as anyone involved in current events will tell you, creates the biggest urgency. So if you artificially diminish the recency of an event, in this case the event the FAA guy observed is now 17 years in the past and is given to him as something that allows him to safely disassociate himself from the experience of trying to invalidate the experience of his own senses – now – hopefully – he can mentally heal from the event and potentially choose more amenable memories of the event that are consistent with his world view.
I’ve seen temporal displacement before. In Charlotte, NC I saw a missile flying overhead that looked exactly like a Cruise Missile (a nuclear bomb). The next day, in the papers, there was a story about ‘the bomb that never happened – a nuclear bomb accidentally dropped in Charlotte that never went off. The event I’d witnessed a part of the night before was publicly temporally displaced by 50 years.
I suspect the bomb went off.
And I suspect the movie Source Code depicts a real world system that’s in place which in a literal sense that rewrites time when a catastrophic event happens, thus preventing it from ever happening.
And I suspect among the arsenal of tools it uses to prevent it from ever happening is manipulation of the news to displace the event temporally to diminish the recency of the event to psychologically mitigate the risk to the minds that underwent the attack.
Now one final question concerning this man.
Why did each man see a different interior and tail number?
I suspect the system depicted in Source Code existed long before it’s physical portrayal by Hollywood, and existed in a collective sense long before then, and the fragmentation of the collective is exhibited by the lack of consensus on this thing we refer to as observable reality.
We’re born alone.
We die alone.
Which leads me to believe in concepts such as heaven, I ultimately get what I want because the world as experienced by me, perceptually, is one and the same world I believe in and created with my own mind.
First, let me preface this entry with – I’m not an actor.
But through various – and in many cases life defining or life and death circumstances – I’ve had to learn how to
lie – put on such as convincing emotional act, that if I failed to portray myself in the way I needed to – well let’s just say the results wouldn’t be pretty.
In 2003, I was nearing the end of my training with the NSA
ALL – and I do repeat ALL – members of the US Intelligence services known as the CIA and NSA are required to sign up for any branch of the US Military they desire, and in addition go through basic training as well as advanced training at Fort Meade.
I had assumed that signing up for the NSA gave me a free pass out of the military when I obtained proper clearance, but as I neared the end of my training, I learned the cold hard truth.
What truth is that you ask?
That I had to get myself out of the military.
For anyone unfamiliar with the US Military’s exit policy, despite what you think you have seen on television, once you have signed that dotted line not only is it not easy, as I learned it’s nearly impossible.
In fact, they tell you as much when you enter.
In very specific terms – they say “YOUR BODY IS NOW OURS”
And they mean it.
Now mind you – by the time I had learned that it was my responsibility to find a way out of the military and out of my contract – six to eight years of service – I’d been given access to all of the research material the NSA had to offer. I’d obtained the clearance to have access to all the information, but what I didn’t have was external personnel to rely on.
Only my own wits and ability to research.
So to be brief – how I got out was by discovering the only loophole I could find was by discovering that a strong desire to commit suicide would see my exit quickly, which required an act in front of some world class lie detectors in order to make my claim believable.
And to pull it off I learned to perfect the art of time shifting my mind.
From that point forward for the next few months, anytime I was interviewed by a commanding officer or the psychologist, I would take my mind – and intentionally think of the moments of despair I’d had in my life. The saddest moments, where I did indeed feel suicidal, as I shifted my mind and emotions back to these events, and thought about them – in a loop – as the words I discussed to those who were making sure I wasn’t lying would reek of depression, anxiety, and the stench of suicidal thoughts.
For me, it was a memory, but for them – I know it was pretty convincing.
But it clearly wasn’t 100%.
So I had to put on an act around my friends. And make it seem believable, as I knew full well they too could be enlisted as reconnaissance by the people who were interviewing me.
No, I wasn’t in actuality feeling suicidal.
But as I learned the military was planning on going to war, and me – not being a warrior at all and nor do I believe in war, I had entered the military with the belief I was transitioning into the NSA to prevent just this kind of thing, and when I learned that IF I failed, I would remain in the US Military and the very real premise of being involved in a war.
For me. This was absolutely life and death.
So for all my friends. Even my family who I conversed with long distance.
That was the toughest part for me.
The act had to be utterly convincing.
JUST in case someone else was listening.
I later learned, there had been others listening, the entire time.
So for five months – which felt like an eternity – I not only constantly brought my mind back to the saddest moments of my life, but I also constantly asked myself – how would a suicidal person act?
Thinking about depressed people I’d met in the past, and my own bouts with depression, I broke down, constantly, crying alot. I flipped the bird to every rule, not giving a shit about the trouble I would get in. I drank – A LOT, and took off from the base alone to go to the coast.
Now they didn’t know that I loved the coast and the serenity of it, and hearing the water made me feel awesome inside
As for the drinking, they didn’t know I was having the time of my life and partying like a rock star with people I didn’t know…
But they didn’t have to know.
I put on an act because of something I believed in.
And while I admire and respect every warrior that has enlisted and has fought for this country.
Not all warriors are cast from the same mold.
Some, like me, understand that we all put on acts and pretend to be someone we’re not to get what we want.
As actors, we think about certain things because we know that our words and actions follow our thoughts, and our body language reflects our thoughts and emotions, so rather than think with consistency with our words, we think with consistency with the image we wish to portray because that – as an act – influences the words we choose and the actions that follow.
As actors. We know the script and the dialogue created for us is intended to maximize our effectiveness.
As liars.. We know that our words don’t always speak what we feel.
But we know that our heart speaks louder than our words and we magnify our heart and emotions with our mind.
And hopefully, somewhere in there, you – whoever you are – understand that when actions speak louder than words, there’s a reason for that.
Focus the mind to embrace the emotions and state of being you desire to portray and wish to become.
The rest will naturally follow.
I didn’t try taking my life out in the Mojave desert back in 2011.
I NEVER wanted to commit suicide. In my entire life.
You collectively did.
Because you believed in my act.
That was a demonstration, to you as a world – just how much you override individuality and my rights as an individual to live freely.