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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Programming Frustrations
color cycle (slow)
By the way... would any of you happen to have a sledgehammer and the home address of the twit who thought it would be a good idea to make setMinimumSize(Dimension size) NOT implicitly call setPreferredSize(Dimension size) when the min is larger than the preferred, or the preferred is undefined? I'd like to have a little conversation with him about that programming decision, to make it so Swing components will prefer to size something at below its minimum functional size if you don't explicitly set the preferredSize as well.

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I see what you're saying, but what I say to that is Math.max on each axis, so you would wind up preferring 60x100 in your example.

As for banning: yes, it's been a big issue. I'll go and check... let's see, the ban list on my journal (most done before comment made on my jorunal because of conduct on other peoples' journals, but I've got a few reactive bans) has cardniality... uhm... 41. (That's only counting the one user with two journals one time.) Of those, 15 are Support Volunteers, and all but a few of the reactive bans (where I deleted a comment and hit "BAN" instead of going to www.livejournal.com/admin/console/ and using ban_set) was of a Support Volunteer. Eight of those Support bans were reactive; the other seven were semireactive- due to comments directed at me in somebody else's journal (actually a thread of Rah's that got to several thousand comments). Several more bans on my journal are a direct result of that one incident causing 15 support-volunteer bans, when my journal got listed at ljdrama and bombed from there, netting all other reactive bans and a few more preemptive ones.

Unusual people with openly unusual spiritual beliefs tend to be popular targets. I'm in that category, so I've got more bans than most have to.

Belief in 404 *would* be unusual

That is something I've never heard of. I suppose Kistaro makes more sense now. I can also understand people not taking you seriously upon saying that you believe this. The assertion of being a dragon seems not to impact anything else, however, so I don't know why anyone would care all that much if they thought something negative of it.

LJDrama? You're famous! (ha)

But I *really* want the preferred size to have be 50x100 with a minimum of 60x60. 50x100 covers more area than 60x60, so it's sufficient. I don't need to bulge it an extra 10px when I enjoy the 1:2 proportion of my object more!

The problem with 50x100 vs 60x60, though, is that I suspect it can leave Swing in an undefined state. What I expect you to get is something that starts at 50x100. Let's say it gets resized to 55x100; you will find that no force on this Earth will shrink it x'ly again, and that's true until you pass 60, and nothing will shrink it below 60. It's something that I suspect is not a useful action for the program to take.

Spiritual identity connects to psychology, philosophy, outlook on life, and far more than it might seem at first. If you're interested- talk after 102 on Tuesday? I know that gives you about five minutes, but I can answer about two questions in full in that time.

I suppose you're right. If it simply stretches between min and max is there all that much benefit in specifying a "preferred" size anyway?

Yes, spiritual identity does influence you as the person who has that identity. I meant that it doesn't impact them much, so they'd just be going out of their way to belittle you. Well, you're welcome to answer questions, but I don't know what to ask. I don't really understand what it supposedly means as the referenced FAQ says that it doesn't preclude anything else. As if it is a tagging interface that marks you as something, but adds no additional requirements to make it true. (Yes, that's not a sentence). How does it impact your life to believe in this fact? I must not be a dragon, for I know myself to be human and, though I might be a listener (a term I used before learning to program), that does not make me anything other than someone whom people trust to hold information... [Paragraph smalled b/c it looked too big.]

Preferred size is what pack() looks at, and I presume the primary front of most autosizification algorithms in Swing.

First point in microparagraph (font size, not content level): Agreed. I honestly don't understand how people can get a kick out of mocking somebody for no reason whatsoever.

As for "what it means?" Simple, yet not simple. Rather Zen in that respect. How I came to it? I didn't. I stopped denying it. When I was really very young\, I somehow just knew that they're human, and I'm not, and it doesn't really matter anyway and I never brought it up. (Things aren't very complex to a four-year-old.) But by this time I was in preschool (I had been since age 3), and was already utterly failing to fit in. (It didn't help that the teacher didn't like me, ever since I corrected her in the middle of singing "A circle has no sides" that it has an infinite number of sides. And I knew exactly what that meant. Only now do I really appreciate how out-of-the-ordinary that might have been.) In my attempts to cope with the world, I suppressed it- denied everything about me that was unique, trying to force myself to fit in.

That was the last time I made that mistake. Attempts to fit in failed, and I gave them up. But thoughts of inhumanity were- temporarily- suppressed. They resurfaced in grand style sometime around third grade, where they were suppressed because all my classmates said I was crazy anyway and that just proved it and they must be right if I think I'm not human and they must really be right if I'm feeling these limbs that aren't there. (I was fond of run-on sentences at that age.)

My social problems proceeded to get worse. I never comprimised my pacifism; I would not hurt others. I never comprimised my integrity: I would not skip class, I would not lie. I never comprimised my enjoyment of learning, just to fit in. (That happened when I got some really bad teachers.) I was also young (and that got worse when I skipped 7th and 8th grade). I idolized (most of) my teachers. I was nice, kind, generous, and helpful. In short, I was about as unlike my peers as it was possible to be, and there was nothing I could do to even more thoroughly paint a target on my butt that I had not already done.

Some time in the middle of all of this, the suppression failed again. It was up just as quickly.


We should just assume everyone has at least a 1600x1200 monitor and just define fixed dimensions. Then, disallow resizing the window and everything is fine!

Then I got pulled out into homeschooling, after my parents discovered with how bad they thought things were, they were still worse than even that. The actual incident involved somebody else using me to prove that laser pointers are not harmless to the eyes when aimed well. (The superintendent then tried to say it was all my fault because I refused to fit in. She also tried to say I didn't really have asthma, I just faked it to get out of school. My mother and I had to physically pull my father back down into his chair, off of Mrs. Sullivan's desk, to get his fist out of her face.) I was, at this point, a depressed, suicidal, destroyed wreck, convinced of my worthlessness by the dedicated work of my peers.

Some time later, I got into volunteering at the Science Center. More than visits with my psychologist, it healed me. My working at the Science Center is what saved me: I was doing something I had always wanted to do. And I have gone down in St. Louis Science Center history as the first Summer Teen Volunteer to ever be promoted to year-round full volunteer status, breaking all the rules that said I had to be 19. I was 14 at the time, and I'm not even 19 yet. (I'm 17.75, about. Counting for this life, of course.) And then my thoughts of other-ness, that I wasn't human- even a very specific variety of non-human- returned, and were quickly suppressed. I was good at it by then. And it clashed with my entire scientific upbringing.

And then I stumbled across www.tomorrowlands.org and found that there existed somebody else that way. All my suppression for that spontaneously failed, crumbling to shards of denial like "But he is, sure, that works for him, it can't be me, it's just wishful thinking" and similar thoughts. I was essentially catatonic for three days, until my next shift at the Science Center.

Something happened- a very specific something, but I don't feel like getting into it here at the moment- but I gave it all up then- the suppression, and just accepted myself for who I was, whatever that was.

Fast forward about a year and a half. You Are Here.

...I should probably properly HTMLify that and jam it on a web page somewhere, and/or give it to raki for the DRP.

How does it impact my life? I cannot know. I have no other frame of reference. The identity does not change the most critical underlying reality: that I am very different. I have never been any other way, and I cannot be anybody, anything other than myself, even though I made that mistake of trying. I can't know how I'm changed: I'm not any other way. There is nothing else to compare it to.

But from how accepting it (or if you prefer, believing it) changes things? It has stopped my otherwise ever-present flow of "What's wrong with me, why am I so different" that had been so destructive for me, for one. It has helped me accept myself better, for two. And those two things have so many clear implications on their own...

So, now do you have any questions to ask?

A question? Yes. You know you are different, and that is all well and good. ("Normal" people are often obnoxious to deal with--this much is true. I'm not the most typical of people--at least in my opinion...) You are you. That is well and good, too. (In fact, that's very important. Since you've realized that, though, we'll move on.) In a moment of serendipity, you discovered a website in which someone else described himself in a draconian way. (Draconian herein refers to the definition in use on the FAQ and other pages, though the standard definition refers to regulations and hails back to Draco.) If you found a similar such site that had the same content but every instance of "dragon" were replaced with "bobcat", "pixie", or "marshmallow" would you accept yourself as one of those? [I hope I don't sound rude or somesuch. I'm definitely not trying to be.] The question I suppose is, is there any particular reason to choose a dragon to represent/be yourself other than that's what you encountered? (The FAQ is rather...brief...in its answer to this question.) I think that this point may be part of why some do not accept your beliefs. It's one thing to be different, but another thing to claim to be a particular non-human being. You certainly seem human enough to me. And not a bad one at that. In fact, you're quite good at it and not all too unusual. If you didn't tell me you were as you say, I wouldn't have guessed it.

[Sorry for the threadjack. I figured it was better to ask here than lj_support :). If you want to end it, that's okay, too.]

Obviously, I'm not kistaro. But I also believe myself to be draconic, and so if you don't mind, I'll attempt to give you some sort of answer, from my life and what I've found.

I discovered things in a similar way - by stumbling across pages on the Internet, Baxil's FAQ among them. I gathered terms from them - terms like Otherkin - and expanded my search until I was looking at articles written by people who were elves, foxes, horses, wolves, etc. As I read, I examined myself, my feelings, thoughts, and memories. I decided that dragon was the only thing that fit me, for a variety of reasons. One was that dragons have been showing up in the margins of my papers since elementary school, and that I've been reading dragon books for as long. (I went through a unicorn phase, and have a persistent interest in dolphins and wolves as well, but not as strong or recurring as in dragons.) Another reason is that I've had intermittent back pain since late middle school. I had been blaming it on heavy backpacks, but I thought for a moment and realized that wings would cause the same sort of feeling, especially if they were growing. I've since had phantom wings and tail manifest in such a way as to cause and explain the problematic tensions. I also fit more personality traits of a typical dragon, and had strong opinions on what was and wasn't "right" when I looked at pictures or descriptions of dragons. For instance, I always liked Pernese dragons better than stereotypical Western dragons, because Pern's dragons aren't scaled. Smooth skin wasn't quite right either, but it was a lot closer than scales.

The biggest reason would have to be that it just feels right. I might be able to pretend to be a wolf, but I will never be a wolf. I will always be a dragon, because I wouldn't feel right calling myself anything else.

I apologize if any of that was hard to follow or at all incoherant. Feel free to email me at inuki42 (at) hotmail.com, or reply here, if you have any questions. (My journal is friends-only, otherwise I'd invite you to bring questions over there.)

PS Kistaro, why don't you write up a description of what you'd like me to draw? I can start kicking around ideas and rough sketches at least, even if we can't finalize anything for a while. Email is good (no character limits).

No need to apologize; 'twas quite comprehensible. It's always nice to hear another view. If you feel you've anything to add to any questions throughout this thread, I'd be grateful for insightful answers if you have any--I don't know what questions are specific to each of you individually and which are common to the two of you (and possibly to others of the dragons). Does identifying with being a dragon mean (to you) that you have trouble in identifying with being human as well? Surely this life is a unique experience, and, though we take our past with us as we go about our days and our roots are important, we're all in it together from wheree'er came...

If this isn't something y'want t'answer, that's okay, too. Or if you choose to ignore this question and answer as if I said "What's the capital of Nova Scotia" or something random, that's quite fine.

I identify as human to some extent, because I have to. If I didn't, at least a little, I wouldn't be in college, for starters. I understand that if I were to walk around broadcasting my draconity on a daily basis (by wearing wings and a tail, for example, or some other immediately visible sign), people would probably call me crazy and lock me up. If not that far, they would at least treat me as something "less than human," because "humans are the top of the evolutionary ladder, and no animal can be as intelligent as humans." So I vocally identify as human, in order to have the benefits all humans are given. (Also, I would have real problems if I were to be suddenly put in a shape other than human. I'm used to this physical form by now.)

Many of my beliefs and opinions are similar to or shared by humans - like a belief in _something_ greater and more powerful than we are. (I don't put a name on it/them, but a deity or deities, or something(s) we would label as such.) It's hard for me to draw a line and say "these beliefs/thoughts are human, those are dragon" - it just doesn't work that way. Thoughts and beliefs are held by individuals, and I don't think they correllate easily to species (as long as the various species in question have comparable thought patterns). I think behavior patterns can be correllated to some extent - humans don't think about nature/the world as a whole as much, dragons tend to react with claws and teeth when startled - but only as trends.

Being human and dragon at the same time is something of a learning experience. I didn't realize my draconity until high school, so I have to assume my childhood was fairly typical. I identified as human for most of my life (slightly on the violent side, but still human), and realizing that I was also dragon made a lot of things fall into place. For instance, I realized that my fairly short temper and its rather violent expression could be credited not only to my father (his is similar), but to the fact that I was dragon. (My brother didn't get any of my father's temper, so I'm guessing draconity reinforced genetics, where genetics alone may have given me a diluted form.) As a dragon, I was almost definitely large enough to consider humans lunch - so I feel little guilt about hurting those I don't know.

Ultimately, though, draconity is an inner trait. I believe it's possible to be dragon without phantom wings, hoarding behavior, a quick temper, a fondness for meat, or anything else typically "dragon" - it's a belief and a self-image. There's a lot of people who pretend to be dragon, but don't believe it - they're not really dragons, though if they pretend long enough I believe it's possible for them to start taking on the traits without realizing it. For all I know, I might just be pretending myself - but I think it's having a positive effect. I feel less lost and confused, and more grounded to the world and this life. I'm trying to use my belief to make myself a better, healthier person - not as an excuse for socially unacceptable behavior.

I'm not sure how much I answered your question and how much I just talked, but that's some of my thoughts on being dragon.

Just Thoughts are Just Fine

Since I've not heard anything about this prior to the discussion herein, pretty much anything you say is insightful and interesting. It's right kind of you to be all discussive about it. {Or, "it is rather nice of you to lend your knowledge in a dialogue regarding the matter" if phrases like "right kind" don't do it for you.)

I'm curious: what is it, would you say, that makes a human "human" beyond the biology? I don't think I could offer a good answer to that question. (It's okay if you can't, either.) I know this question gets away from the dragon side of things a bit, so if it's leading outside of where you feel like going, it's okay if you don't continue along this line. You say you identified as human throughout your childhood but have subsequently realized you're something else. What is it, would you say, that defines human that doesn't fit you quite right?

Something that was not clear from my twenty-minute abridged form post, which is what you saw (the unabridged form pushes 100K): For every period of unsuppression, it was not generalized feelings of inhumanity. It was very specific feelings of inhumanity, and then I did identify as a dragon. That is not backfilling it; every one of those cases, there was nothing generalized.

I seem human to you for four entirely reasonable reasons:
1. I look like one. This is because, for this life, I happen to be shaped like one.
2. Remember that post about censoring myself, stopping myself because I know I'm about to totally socially screw up if I say everything I've got? I do that. That's what you see.
3. "Human" is an extremely broad term. There is incredible variation among humans- so much that there is almost nothing, especially in the psychological or behavioral department, that is out of range.
4. You expect me to be a human. And why wouldn't you? The entire concept of this senitent being in front of you having a soul that doesn't match its body is so far out of the paradigm of "normal" that it's not even on the map. "Crazy" is far closer to mainland, and so much easier for you.

You would never have guessed this for two simple reasons. As stated in point four, it's not something one would generally consider under any circumstances. Second, how well do you really know me? Besides the obvious "not very well, apparently" from this, you know me as a classmate who sits a row in front of you and writes unusual notes. You know me as a classmate in lab. You know me as an interesting person to talk to. You know me as an opponent at "Confusion." You know me as the inventor of that game. But how much of a window in to me has any of that given you?

And backing up a step: Why I "chose" dragon? I didn't choose. I instead accept myself as one. I could go on about years upon years of dreams, weird meditations, a painful desire to fly on my own wings, the feeling of limbs that aren't there, how I can get totally stoned on a good stiff fresh wind- but I'm not sure that it would take you any closer to what I am trying to say. And do not read too far into labels: I am me, and nothing else. "Dragon" is a convinient label handily supplied by the local mythology, useful for granting images and other impressions, other things it feels to mean. Some of them- many of them- mutually conflicting, some that don't really apply to me that well. But then is that ever true of any definition, that any individual perfectly matches any general definition?

And no, I didn't "pick this up." All that baxil's site did for me was drop a wake-up brick on my head. I've had this all along, my entire life- a plurality of lives (what, all this and you expect me to not be a reincarnationalist?)- and all that's ever changed is how much I accept it or don't.

Sorry if there's a bit of a frustrated edge to this; it's not at you. I have just had a very frustrating romp through the provided code for Lab 4 and determined that there is no static place I can go to find a white or black Othello piece to compare to so I can figure out what color to draw any given space on the board. I can hack around it by checking the string of a piece once, figure out whether that's black or white, and then declare all non-null non-that pieces to be the other thing, and figure everything out by storing a pointer to only one piece and a boolean saying exactly what that is. I should not have to do that, however. For that matter, it's probably worth points off.

That and it's almost 5:00a new time.

I'll likely respond later in full* (for the present there's work to be done), but I just thought I'd say that I'd be surprised if there were anyone who didn't censor [vast] parts of what s/he wants to say. That's part of our wacky existence here. Of course, when talking to me, total strangers sometimes don't censor themselves and I get interesting and oftentimes strange stories from their life to carry with me though I'll never see them again...but I don't imagine that's normal.

*in full, as in more thoroughly, not as in exhaustively--'relatively moreso' if you will

Differentiation Yet Unity

Firstly, I have to say "oops" as I'd been trying to avoid using the word "chose" (in it's various forms). But that aside...

Believing in reincarnation isn't too far afield. Most religions believe in *something* after this life is over...they just disagree on what it is. To that end, could it be argued that you are presently a human though were previously a dragon and are suffering a form of phantom limb syndrome? If reincarnation is true, then perhaps all of us were from something/one else previously, and different people just retain parts of prior incarnations better than others?

I suppose that my present questions hope to lead to that, though there are obviously differences between any two given persons, that we are all alike to some extent despite our varied backgrounds. You have said that you do not fit in (a common malady). This is often from trying to fit oneself to a particular conception of what they believe to be "the norm". If at present you have found yourself and are happy, then that's a Good Thing™ and well enough. Perhaps your spirit's ancestry is different than mine own; it doesn't change that we are presently here together in this common experience we call "humanity".

Oh, by the way...I like the style. It's nicer than the old one (in my opinion).

Re: Differentiation Yet Unity

You're catching on. I do suspect I was shaped like this in a past life, but I make one further assertion: the form in question is one that is more "natural" to me. This is supported somewhat by the fact that I still identify with it, and you are at this point correct to point out the circularity of such an argument.

What it comes to- as it almost inevitably does- is the definition of "human". By purely biological definitions, I make no claims in any way against humanity. I argue only in my identity, my soul, my perspective, and my outlook.

We are all together in one society, one culture, one species, and one unique set of experiences that cannot exist anywhere else: every culture is unique, at the nation level or the more generic species level. But it is a situation I will experience very differently from you- as must everybody experience everything uniquely. And I deny none of this.

But through it all, I still fail to identify as human. I have tried to before, and it's come crashing down: I do not strive to identify as a dragon, I must fight if I wish to not. And I have nothing to gain by doing that, nothing to gain except a phony normalcy and a blithe ignorance- nay, a denial- of an identity, of what is most naturally myself, that I am actively fighting.

In the end, this is all coming down to nothing more exotic than identity. And nothing less exotic, nothing less aetheric...

What unites us is that we are all beings. We exist. We are. Everyone comes from a different background, true. I suppose you are fortunate to have a notion of where you believe that background lies. Many spend their whole lives searching never to discover it.

What is it to identify as human? I don't think we can fail at it if we do not know what it is we're doing. I only think of myself as human because I have two arms, two legs, two ears, two eyes, etc. etc. arranged just so. There is nothing mental or spiritual inside that I can possibly know would mark me as a human as I don't have anyone else's mental or spiritual states as a reference. I call myself a listener because I listen. People strangely identify that I listen and tell me things. But I don't know how that came to be... In my travels the world over I've met some others like me. We have nothing so specific to relate to as a dragon, however. We have but our power to listen.

Stepping back a second, it's interesting how this conversation came to be. Both of us just happen to know each other and both help in support and you happen to comment in response to negative activity. It's interesting.

Stepping back again, we see that one can step back an absurd (read, infinite) number of times and so I'm going to stop here.

Identity is an extremely complex thing- a statement that I believe this thread stands as adequate proof for. There is absolutely no absolute frame of reference for identity.

But I am not looking outside for a frame of reference. I am making absolutely no appeal to anything objective, no appeal to logic. I just am, and that's all I can say: I exist, and I identify as existing as this.

And "this" is far beyond any label. It's more complex than the Java keyword of the same name. "Dragon" is simply the most convinient label I have for a polymorphic concept of infinite complexity.

I must also register agreement with something Inuki said: that I am also human, for this life. I don't have a choice: if I had no human identity at all, I wouldn't be able to function. I consider awareness of the fact that I presently lack wings and hence diving out a fifth-floor window is a Bad Idea to be something of human identity: to understand this physical form, and to simply be in this society. I make absolutely no claims of inhuman biology. I've got my mutations- natural body temperature of 95.5 degrees, and it plummets when I get hungry- but that, and the other various variances, are well within normal bounds. Physically, I am human. Biologically- and hence the associated drives- I am human. Mentally, spiritually? Therein lies the contradiction.

It might be strange, but I beleive that no soul has any inherent natural form. But, as evidenced by myself and several others, it is very possible for one to "pick up" a form and wind up quite attached to it- and then a spot confused when it winds up incarnated in something shaped almost, but not entirely, unlike that.

I'm enjoying this philosophising, really, so take it as a bit of a warning: my replies from this point onward are likely to have questionable amounts of relevance to the question that spawned it, should this continue (and I rather hope it does). They will be for the pure fun of thinking, expressing, philosophising... and I do hope you are enjoying this for the same reason.

For some reason, I think you might like the forums at http://www.tomorrowlands.org/ because of the level of philosophy it can hit. Humans welcome!

See you in class- uh, technically, later today.

Philosophisizing is fine, fun, and all that. I'll get to that later... I don't know that I'll participate in the forums just because I don't really say things in online forums too much. (Except LJ, here, but that's a little different.) Yes...see you "today".

This comment doesn't really say much but is an attempt to make the comment to which it is a reply 'appear' as it were. I've been noticing the comments-do-not-appear-until-replied-to thing happening a few times recently...too lazy to look up the relevant Zilla item at the moment.

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