Source

Submissions

(These are listed in no particular order, I simply pulled the submissions from the reddit post)

1 – ukdaza https://soundcloud.com/ukdaza/destiny-composition-challenge

The mastering on this is craaaaaaaaazy loud, pretty much the entire track is non-stop clipping. The drums are also in the incorrect time signature, which leads to them sounding pretty “off” during the entire thing. Those two glaring problems aside, I am absolutely in LOVE with the guitar playing. Easily my favorite musical performance of any of the tracks I listened to. I’m not sure what it is about that crazy, bluesy, emotional, guitar-driven sound, but I’m absolutely in love with that style. A second take for this was provided (at my request/demand), but the guitar still clips a bit. But it’s insanely sick playing.

2 – Deramico https://soundcloud.com/deramico/lingering-rem

This arrangement was done in a more electronic style. I think the composer here has a really nice ear for melody/improvisation, evident from both slow sections. I liked the changing of the melody instrument during the second slow section as well. I think it would have been cool to hear some more contrast between the two sections, not that there isn’t enough already, but perhaps that wouldn’t fit in with the style of this arrangement. Overall, a very slick track.

3 – Guan yo https://soundcloud.com/guan-yu/for-destiny-complete

Ahhh, of course, what would a composition contest be without a wubstep submission? That being said, this track is amazingly well polished, goddamn. The drop is nice, and the transition between sections is really sick as well. The rhythm on the second “fast” section changes the pace of everything so much. My only real complaint about this track is the fade-out ending; I would have liked to have heard something a bit more “resolute” to end the song. Otherwise, super sick dubstep arrangement!

4 – Cparsons https://soundcloud.com/cparsons/composition-challenge-1

I really like the guitar playing in this arrangement. I wish there was more contrast between the two sections (something I really wanted to hear), but regardless of that, the guitar playing sounds really slick in this. The piano highlights and the little guitar licks add enough to keep it interesting throughout the entire thing as well.

5 – Vincent Pavone https://soundcloud.com/vincent-pavone/destiny-composition-challenge

This arrangement is so cool. Incredibly polished, and very well arranged. The piano arrangement is very tasteful, and actually holds true to the example I originally put forth, but the build-up around the piano (with the arrangement of the individual strings) and the small flourishes make this sound incredibly cool. Not to mention the sick change of chords at 1:09, which was handled incredibly tastefully.

6 – meetle https://soundcloud.com/meetle/destinycomp1

The metallic sounding percussion at the beginning sounds a bit out of place, but once the rest of the percussion comes in, it all fits together in an easily digestible way. The strings were handled pretty well, considering how much of a stark contrast there is between them and the percussion. My only complaint about this piece is the use of my playing (the original sample) in the arrangement, instead of re-arranging it, heh.

7 – Quincentopolis https://soundcloud.com/quincentopolis/infestors-mid-fixed

Here’s an interesting dance remix. The contrast between the two sections in this one is actually really really amazing. The only complaint is that the piano rhythm seems a tad off during some parts of the song. Other than that, the instrumentation and overall “sound” of the track sounds really dance-able (I think, but I hate dancing, so it’s hard for me to say).

8 – NineB https://soundcloud.com/nineb/return-of-the-infestor

This guitar playing is super sexy. The mastering is a little bit off as the guitar seems to clip a bit, but it’s manageable. The solo section sounds really cool, and the changes in chords were handled well, too. The  biggest complaint I have with this is the percussion (bass?) in the song sounds “off”, like it’s in a different key or something. Not sure if it’s intentional not, as it kind of sounds like it could fit.

9 – 7th Horizon https://soundcloud.com/7thhorizon/composition-challenge-some

This is a chill sounding electronic arrangement, but I don’t think there’s enough similarity between this and the original track to qualify it as a remix or rearrangement, heh.

10 – Kasperhhk https://soundcloud.com/kasperhhk/composition-challenge-1-take-2

This has a super indie/”recorded in my bedroom” kind of vibe going on, but it fits and I think it sounds cool. The guitar playing is a bit rough around some of the edges, but this is a decent attempt using only guitars for an arrangement.

11 – Calum Brockie https://soundcloud.com/calum-brockie/composition-challenge-1

The instrumentation is amazingly and tastefully varied on this piece. I was happy when I heard the trumpet enter towards the start of the song, and the accoustic guitar finishing the song was perfect. I really enjoyed the syncopated rhythms throughout the song as well. This is an amazingly polished piece, and very mature in regards to how all of the instruments were handled.

12 – Klausto https://soundcloud.com/klausto/destinys-composition-challenge

This arrangement is pretty nice, but I’m not a huge fan of the instrumentation. The “hollow” kind of sound is really pervasive throughout the entire piece. Interesting take on the more spare areas of the piano in the middle/ending section, though.

13 – bugofwrath https://soundcloud.com/bugofwrath/comp-attempt-three

This guy actually submitted three separate versions, with the first two in the original key, and the third in Eb, but he said his favorite was the third, so I went with that one. To be honest, the piano playing on all three versions is really well done. The only thing I could have asked for is a larger contrast between the “fast/slow” sections and a little bit of a better recording. Otherwise, the piano playing was really enjoyable to listen to.

Winner

There were a ton of great submissions, so picking a single winner is really difficult. Thankfully, this is my contest, so I can do whatever I want, and what I want to do in this case is highlight two “winning” tracks.

https://soundcloud.com/cparsons/composition-challenge-1

https://soundcloud.com/vincent-pavone/destiny-composition-challenge

These are both pretty different from each other, but still very well done. I love the guitar sound so much on the first one, and I like the instrumentation and arrangement of the second one.

I’ll have the next challenge posted soon, and I’ll be featuring whatever these guys want me to feature over the next couple weeks on my stream!

Images

Assembly Video

ChanmanV and I talked a while ago about me assembling a new system for him. His budget was pretty high (anywhere from 2-2.5k), but we were able to assemble what he wanted for much cheaper. He needed a system that could stream at 1080p/60fps while still being able to tackle any game at 1080p. I’ll go over my rationale for each part below.

CPU – Intel 4770k

Haswell offers the best single-threaded performance on the market right now. That makes it a great choice for gaming, as many games still do poorly in regards to multi-threading. The fact that this offers hyperthreading also makes it a good candidate for streaming, as programs like OBS and Xsplit definitely take advantage of multi-threaded processors.

Cooler – Corsair H100i

I really love this cooler. It’s quiet, it looks nice and clean, the blue light is tasteful and it’s incredibly reliable.

Motherboard – Gigabyte UD3h

Gigabyte was the king of Z77, so I’m still a bit partial to their UD3H boards. This board provided excellent OC support for me, and has plenty of features for extra USB/SATA ports, as well as support for crossfire.

RAM – Crucial Ballistix 16GB DDR3-1600

We went ahead and threw 16GB of 1600 RAM into the case, even though he probably could have gotten by with 8GB.

GPU(s) – XFX Radeon HD GHz edition 3GB 7970 X 2

At this price, Xfire’d 7970’s are pretty much the best option you can go with for graphics. AMD has been taking massive steps to remedy their microstutter issue, and the 7970 continues to be a very cost-effective card for high performance systems.

Case – Thermaltake VN300M1W2N ATX Full Tower

We went with this case because ChanmanV wanted a case that he could easily add or remove a HDD/SDD from. This case is cool because if has a hot-swappable bay right on the top of the case, allowing you easily and quickly pop a drive in or out.

PSU – SeaSonic X Series 1050W

This PSU is a tad on the overkill side, but once you factor in PSU aging and the desire to overclock both GPUs and the CPU, it becomes a reasonable purchase.

DVD Drive – Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE

Just a standard optical drive for reading DVDs.

 

I’ve been playing DayZ over the past few days (weeks?).

I’ve been playing DayZ a lot. It hurts me financially to do so. I don’t really make enough solely on subs to sustain myself (though the additional income via computer building now is kind of nice), and I do need to stream to sustain my income. So why the shortage of streams lately?

When I started streaming a long time ago, the reason why I started streaming was because I knew it was something I could be good at. I’m a naturally funny person, I’m smart enough to make jokes and I’m reflective enough to understand what I need to change when it comes to entertaining other people. These are qualities that I’ve worked on since a very young age; since I started playing games with a friend growing up, when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old. Me and a couple little black dudes that lived near my grandma grew up playing NES->SEGA/SNES games together, and it was always a good time. Growing up some more from that, I made friends with Chris, who lived behind my house for some time, and then Frank and Kyle as I got to middle school.

A lot of my life revolved around playing games, and a lot of the skills that I picked up in life were acquired from playing games. The only reason I did as well as I did in school (despite being a horrible slacker) was because of my early addiction to games like Phantasy Star, Final Fantasy, Parasite Eve, Shining Force, etc…If you can read and comprehend text quickly, you’re set for everything up to grade 12.

As I grew older, games continued to be a central part of my life. One of the most entertaining phases was around 5th grade, when I was playing MUDs online. MUDs are essentially text-based RPGs, where you leveled characters in worlds and interacted with other players. The entire purpose of a lot of these games (especially on SWR-based engines) was to discovering bugs or flaws that would yield large advantages. Things like crafting containers with 5,000 characters, dropping them in a room, then waiting for an enemy to walk in, auto-view the container (causing him to disconnect due to buffer overflow), and then kill him…these things were relatively common place. It was amazing fun. It was one lateral thinking exercise after another. What if your character gets punished and sent to hell? There was typically no way out, not unless an imm (that stands for “Immortal”, the admins of MUDs) removed you. But you could create a second account, acquire a grenade, hide it in a container (so an imm wouldn’t see), break a rule to get that account helled, then drop the grenade in hell after activating it to kill the original character helled, causing him to respawn out of hell. There were literally a million little bugs, both discovered and (I’m sure) still undiscovered, that players could exploit to screw each other over.

Regardless, through all of these games that I grew up playing, I was always playing games with other people. Even though I was a “nerd” in a lot of respects (played games, was in band, loved music, etc…) I was amazingly social. Even the jocks in school knew me well for rastlin’ the jammies of a lot of the other kids. It’s amazing with how much shit I could talk and get away with in high school; people would always let it slide by because I was funny, though. Really funny.

So streaming is obvious to me. I can play games, and I can have people watch me play games and enjoy it. It’s not work to me. It’s cake. I can make jokes while playing (I’ve been doing it all my life), I enjoy the challenge and competitive aspect of playing games, and I tend to like most of the games that I play. Opening a door to invite others to take part in that experience is almost the natural evolution of everything I’ve been doing in my life.

DayZ reminds me of a lot of the older games that I used to play. I’ve been playing with some t2 subs over the past few weeks and it’s been amazing. There’s a lot of jostling of jimmies, a lot of joking around, a lot of talking shit, and a lot of fun playing. It feels like I’m actually playing and enjoying games again with other people who play and enjoy games. It sounds silly to say it that way, but that feeling is completely absent in a lot of the games I’ve been playing recently. I’m not under the illusion that a lot of people play with me at the moment “because I’m Destiny”, etc…but at the very least it seems they’re enjoying themselves as well, and they don’t have any problem giving me shit as well.

Everything about streaming and being a relatively popular figure carries so much vitriol with it.

When I’m playing League of Legends, I just want to play League and improve my game. I don’t want to play several games in a day where I wind up in queue with someone going “Oh great it’s this faggot, Destiny”, or “rofl this fucking kid feeds all day”, or even have them on the enemy team “rofl go back to sc2 scrub” “why the fuck are you so bad, how is your stream even popular.”

I am almost a sociopath in regards to both my personal relationships and when dealing with strangers over the internet. I’m not a person who logs off every night, frustrated from solo-queuing, and cries on his pillow because of random internet haters. But after a while, it starts to wear on me, and it makes the entire experience so “not fun” anymore. I can only queue so many games in row with people talking shit over and over and over again before it becomes dreadful to me. It’s not fun to verbally combat person after person, especially when we’re not even engaged in a 1v1. It’s become hard for me to even tell how much I’m improving or not because I play so many games where it’s constantly 2v3 or 2v4. Coupling that with the constant onslaught of verbal abuse, it just makes it impossible to have fun playing a game. I don’t feel like anyone else playing ranked games even enjoy playing, or even want to improve. It’s just a constant shit-fest of people bitching at each other. There are a few games that are fun to play, because there will be a couple of other people in the games that are clearly having fun, but the majority of games are just filled with people who either know me and want to fuck with me, or who are just generally lame people to play games with.

In case you’re wondering, SC2 was more or less the same as well.

Playing games in Diamond I was literally the most fun I’ve had in League a long time because there were actually players more popular than me in a lot of the games. It was an amazing feeling, watching other lanes getting camped over and over again because the person was a popular streamer or an LCS player. Or being in a game where no one really “knew” me as well as the other popular players.

The biggest problem, though, is that it’s not just the players that are sucking the fun out of the game, it’s the audience a lot, too. I don’t necessarily mean my stream viewers (although there is evidence of it happening there), but mainly the entire community of people who rally around “e-sports”. Obviously we tend to “nostalgia” the past with rose-tinted glasses, but gamers were a small enough minority (at least where I grew up) that people were just that…gamers. If you played games, chances are you could play games with other people, and enjoy yourself doing it.

All of these conversations have happened to you at one point in time if you played a lot of games as a kid:

“Oh, you play games? We could play Halo some time!”

“You’re a gamer? Who’s your favorite character in SSMB?”

“Mario Kart? Do you know about the shortcut jump on Rainbow Road?”

This whole fierce allegiance that people feel to a particular video game is so unlike anything I’ve ever grown up with in my life. The idea that you can alienate different gamers because they play a game that’s different than the game you play is such a foreign concept outside of this whole “e-sports” shit. I guess it kind of started a long time back with hardcore 1.6 kids, but I feel like it’s more present today than ever, especially with League becoming as popular as it is.

Even during sub game days, it’s impossible to just have fun in games. Everyone acts like every person has to play perfectly at all times. If someone is playing a champ that they’ve never played before, or I’m jungling a champ I’ve never played before, the chat is full of stupid shit whenever something goes wrong. It’s almost like people have completely forgotten that playing games is just supposed to be fun. It’s so annoying having a chat full of people who act like they are LCS players, all giving insane, destructive criticism at every single opportunity. This isn’t something that’s even unique to my chat. It happens in the LoL forums and it happens in the lolgens as well.

Starting on Monday I’ll return to my more strict schedule of streaming by 1EST for 8 or so hours, but I’m kind of doing it begrudgingly at this point. It’s so hard to look forward to a day of games filled with people in search of their 5 minutes of fame. Sometimes I think it’d be nice to go back to being relatively unknown with 50 viewers, just so I could enter every game as “another person”, rather than “omg Destiny”.

These days, it seems as though everyone on the internet is building their own PC. Of course, there are still plenty of people who buy pre-builts from stores or receive them as gifts from their parents. That won’t stop the online PC enthusiast community from telling you to build your own until they’re blue in the face.

And why not? Building your own PC is superior to purchasing a pre-built for a myriad of reasons. You get full control over what parts you want inside of it and you don’t have to pay for extra stuff you don’t want. You get a more intimate understanding of your PC, yielding greater knowledge of individual parts and giving you the opportunity to upgrade down the line. And you often save a lot of money building a system equivalent (or exceeding) in power to a pre-built PC.

With all of these things being undeniably true, there are still some people who are a bit scared of assembling a PC on their own. They’ve heard horror stories of ESD (electrostatic discharge) frying motherboards, or people destroying pins by depressing the lever too quickly on their incorrectly positioned CPU. Others are scared that if something breaks, troubleshooting would be a nightmare – when you build your own PC, there is no “tech support” number to call like there would be with HP or Dell.

So what does one do, if they’re too wary to build a PC of their own, but they’re cognizant of the benefits of doing so? They turn to the mighty custom, pre-built PC.

It seems as though this is the logical bridge between inexperienced builders and a customized PC. You have the option to choose your parts, you get tech support, and someone else does all of the “heavy lifting” – so to speak- for you. Most (if not all) custom pre-built services on line even offer to overclock for you! This, of course, begs the question raises the legitimate question: are these customized, pre-built PCs already worth the money?

For full disclosure – I offer my own personal services in building PCs for other people. This article directly analyses people that I might consider my competitors. It is in my full financial interest to be as biased and unforgiving as possible when discussing their services – it is my hope in these next few pages to convince you that I am not. It is also my hope in writing this to encourage you, as a customer, to be mindful of the purchases you make so as not to reinforce bad or sloppy sales tactics by larger companies, and it is my hope that said companies work a bit harder in delivering an honest, worthwhile product to their customers.

I am going to be visiting each website as a layman and searching for a mid-level, gaming PC. My approximate budget will vary between $800-$1300 USD. I will discuss the flaws in each build I come across at said price point, and offer some suggestions/revisions concerning said flaws.

Suspect #1 – ibuypower.com

As I open the website of my first potential seller, I glance over the tabs in search of “Gaming PC”. I scroll down and I see “FEATURED GAMING DESKTOPS”, and I see a couple that have caught my eye.

Here’s our first option (Special-A) for $1,099 USD, and here is our second (Weekly Gamer Special) for $1,469 USD.

I’m going to ignore the plethora of “customization” options below, because I don’t even want to get into how much of a rip-off 99% of the services listed are. For instance, charging an extra $49 for overclocking a k series processor..? That out of the way, let’s look at the issues our first $1,099 PC has.

Let’s look at our first option, Special-A.

Problem 1: 4770k processor. Why? There is absolutely no reason to recommend an i7 for a gaming rig. Games today simply do not take advantage of more than 4 threads. [1] [2] A quick rule of thumb from someone with experience building systems – if someone suggests you an i7 and you haven’t explicitly told them you are going to be working with video editing or 3d modeling, run! An i7 is a total waste of money for any gaming system, especially when your graphics card is a…

Problem 2: 650ti graphics card?! Even though the 7850 is priced similarly and is a superior option [1][2], neither card is appropriate in a $1,000 machine. If you’re building a $1,000 machine and you’re not spending at least $250-350 towards graphics, you could hardly even call it a gaming PC.

Problem 3: 16GB of RAM. Why? Completely and totally unnecessary, especially in a gaming PC.

I won’t even get into how stupid it is to include a no-name liquid cooler (that probably gives worse performance and costs more than any decent air cooler) and still charge extra for overclocking…

Shudder.

The thing that upsets me is that the problems with the first rig have nothing to do with the total cost of the system. It’s that someone who is inexperienced with building systems picked which parts to put into a PC built for gaming. This is troubling to me. Maybe the next system will fare better.

Next up is the $1,469 “Weekly Gamer Special” machine.

Problem 1: i7-3820. What?!?!?! A low-class, Sandybridge-E chip? We’ve already established, earlier, that games simply aren’t equipped to take advantage of more than 4 threads, so why on earth would you include a processor that is two generations old that has worse per-thread performance compared to newer Haswell or Ivybridge chips? [1 – SB is the 2700k chip, which is comparable in single-threaded performance to SB-E] In terms of gaming, sandybridge-e tends to be more expensive, yet worse! in terms of performance. [2] The 3820 isn’t even a 6-core processor. Just a normal quadcore, comparable to the 2600-2700k SB chips. This might be the single worst processor you can buy for gaming – it’s expensive, it’s bad, and it’s out-dated.

Problem 2: GTX-770. This card isn’t terrible, but if you’re spending upwards of $1,500 for a system, you can easily do better.

Problem 3: 16GB of RAM again..? I guess this number is just for dick-waving contests?

So what on earth did we get for $1,469? A terrible processor, no operating system, an okay graphics card, no SSD, a PSU that’s only 600w that leaves us no room for adding a second GPU…??? Who chose these parts??

Suspect #2 – cyberpowerpc.com

Sigh…let’s venture over here and see if we can find something better. Upon opening the page, I immediately scroll down to the “Featured Gaming Systems” section and eyeball two PCs in the upper part of my price range. Immediately, something catches my eye.

Remember earlier when I said that the per-thread performance of the 3820 was worse than the per-thread performance of newer chips, such as Haswell chips? By their own benchmark standards, posted on their website, their $1,319 machine is worse for gaming than their $1,169 machine. If you were new to building machines and wound up on one of these sites, how confused do you think you would be to see those numbers??

I could do a point-by-point analysis of each machine, as we did earlier, but it appears as though the same sins have been committed. The first build, for $1,169, sports a measly 7870 with another 4770k! i7’s have no business in gaming machines! Why is this a trend?! And the second machine was sporting a disgusting 3820, with a GTX760! The 760 isn’t a terrible card, but in a $1,319 gaming rig?! Dear God, why?! No SSDs? No OS’s? What on earth are you paying for in these systems? It’s not like I’d even get a cool case, like I would with…

Suspect #3 – alienware.com

(NEXT SECTION MAY BE EXPLICIT, CHILDREN BEWARE)

I threw this one in for giggles because everyone gives Alienware a hard time for their prices. Let’s see how it stacks up against the other two, popular, “custom pre-builts” websites.

Let’s look at the $1,399 Aurora.

Problem 1: i7-3820. Okay, fuck this chip. I don’t know who thought it’d be funny to include this processor in every single gaming build, but seriously, fuck this chip. The IPC is bad, it’s two generations old, it sucks. I’ve said all I’ve had to say earlier, but Jesus, this chip is fucking TERRIBLE for gaming rigs.

Problem 2: GTX 660. IN A $1,400 BUILD?! A GTX 660? WHAAAAAAAAT??? You should have a MUCH more powerful card in a rig like this; who in their right fucking mind would fork over so much money for such a shitty system?!

Problem 3: 1TB HDD…and that’s it. No SSD. No additional storage. No mouse, no keyboard. At least we get Windows 7 with this build! And the operating system is a generation old, to match the generation old GPU and the two generation old processor!

This build is GARBAGE. Glancing even higher, EVEN THE $2,548 USES AN I7-3820. WHO PUTS THIS SHIT TOGETHER?! WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUU

(explicit section ending)

Verdict

Every single one of these websites is terrible. It’s embarrassing to think that people are tricked into believing they’re getting a good deal by purchasing a “custom” PC from any of these websites. Someone asked me a while ago how my personal prices for building PCs stacked up against larger websites like these. When I started going through what these websites offered, originally I was guessing I’d only be pointing out how high their prices were. The truth was much, much more upsetting.

There are two possibilities concerning these websites: Either the people in charge of putting these parts together are ignorant, and have no idea what needs to actually be in a gaming PC, or they are actively trying to scam the people who visit their website. Both possibilities are unacceptable to me.

So now that we’ve torn apart the pickings from the aforementioned websites, what exactly is a good PC for gaming? Let’s take a look at something like this.

Assumptions: Person wants a PC strictly for gaming, his budget is around $1,300. Let’s see what we can come up with.

$1,300 sample gaming rig

Ahh…it’s like a breath of fresh air compared to the mountains of garbage we had to wade through to get here.

The CPU is a 3570k, an Ivybridge i5. It only has 4 cores because we only need 4 cores, and it is a newer architecture than SB, yielding greater IPC (instructions per clock – basically how much work the CPU can do in a given clock cycle) to give us higher framerates in our games. It can be overclocked, and we’ve added a 212 air cooler to it to keep it nice and cool. The UD3H motherboard is pretty much the standard when it comes to Z77 overclocking. 8 gigs of 1600Mhz 9 CAS RAM, because that’s all we need. A 2TB HDD, because 1TB HDD’s are expensive given how little storage they provide. A GTX 780 to DESTROY any game you throw at it at 1080p. Honestly, you could even cut back on the GTX780, or xfire 7950’s or SLI 770’s, but those are all finer points that would need to be looked at. The Source 210 is a nice case that will have room for everything and is cheap, letting us put more money towards other components. The PSU is rock solid – SeaSonic make amazing PSUs. And the DVD reader will perform its job of reading DVDs just fine.

Now some would argue over different smaller points concerning the above build, but one fact is undeniable – it will absolutely annihilate any of the earlier builds we examined posted on any of those websites, even the builds costing $100-$200 more. The performance you get out of this rig (gtx 780 + 3570k) is astronomically greater than anything a lesser GPU/SB-E chip can provide.

I hope you enjoyed the read, and I encourage every single person out there to do the reading necessary so you can simply assemble a PC of your own! But if you are too scared to go down that route, be careful what you’re getting yourself into when it comes to custom pre-builts.

Happy gaming! ^_^

So I’m going to go ahead and start this off by doing the one thing that you should never, ever do: self-diagnose.

I’m pretty sure I have something called delayed sleep phase disorder, although I’ve never been formally diagnosed – though I do hold a Ph.D. in wikipedialogy. I actually never knew this was even a real “thing”, and without a professional diagnosis I can’t really say for sure that I even have this, but stumbling upon it and reading up all of the symptoms on that wiki page was pretty shocking for me, as it’s something I’ve wrestled with for the better part of my adolescent and adult life. One of the major reasons that I started the streaming schedule a while back was to see if I could hook myself onto a normal sleeping schedule. Though I was able to do it for a few months, I’ve had a couple of hiccups along the way.

For those of you who didn’t read the linked article, let me take a moment to explain what exactly this is like. For a normal person, when the sun rises, it naturally (via physiology) makes you more “awake”. Your “peek” hours where you feel the most awake, alert and intellectually functional occur around the mid-day, when the sun is at its peak. This isn’t “just” a feeling, it’s a complex set of biologically induced responses to sunlight and darkness. [1] This means that even if you wake up late in the day, say, around noon or 2 PM, it’s still relatively “easy” for you to fall asleep when it’s dark outside, because your body wants to reset itself anyway.

For me, and I guess for others with DSPD, the phenomenon that I mentioned occurs the exact same way, except in reverse.

For me, personally, I have a very difficult time sleeping when it’s dark outside. As soon as the sun goes down, I am physically wired to stay awake. And I don’t mean stay awake like “Oh I’m such a vampire! A night owl top lel!11”, I mean like feel like it’s daytime to me. I could go out and run errands, do my workout routine, stay awake and read stuff or study or play games, etc…etc…I feel like it’s “mid-day” to me around midnight to 2 AM. However, the second the sun comes out, the energy starts to completely and totally drain from my body. Even if I wake up late, say, at like 2-3AM, as soon as noon-time rolls around I am completely dead. When I’m trying to “reset” my sleep schedule to “normal hours”, it is an enormous struggle for me to stay awake once the sun comes out. I feel groggy, tired, and miserable. It almost feels like torture stretching out my awake cycle into the daylight hours.

That being said, if I do manage to barely make it through the day and the sun starts to go down, I will once again feel completely fucking wired at night time. This is one of the major reasons why it’s so hard for me to reset my sleep schedule. Even if I was exhausted at noon, barely conscious at 4PM, and almost falling asleep while standing at 6PM, as soon as 9-10PM rolls around I can effortlessly stay awake from another 4-8 hours. At that point I could honestly just stay awake until the sun came out again, and this has actually happened to me several times while resetting a sleep schedule. I’ll struggle to stay awake until night, and as soon as night rolls around I will easily waste 6-8 hours on other stupid shit, like reading reddit or messing around in chat.
So right now, I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve had trouble starting on time for the past couple of weeks. That’s because I stayed awake too late some night and got hooked into this night schedule again, and it’s insanely difficult for me to break it. I’ve considered just switching to a completely nocturnal schedule a few times, but this is a bad habit, socially, due to events and what not occurring during the day, and it’s bad for my European viewers.
There’s no real “point” to this post, other than to kind of shed some light on this little personal struggle of mine. If you’re going through something like this, I’d be curious to hear if you’ve found a way through it that doesn’t involve taking melatonin or something.

I’ve always been a big fan of music. I grew up with it, and even ended up going to college majoring in woodwind performance. I’ve always been fascinated by composition, and there are a few older “works” of mine that are floating around the internet if you look hard enough. I’ve always wanted to get really deep into DAW’s, but the amount of time required for me to invest in them makes it prohibitive for me. I know I could learn it if I spent x amount of time a day on it, but between managing my Youtube stuff, trying to play League at a professional level, working through e-mails, building computers, and dealing with all of my website stuff, I just don’t really have the time to invest anymore in learning something new like that.

And that’s where you come in!

I’ve always had these little melodic ideas but I never have time to do anything with them. I jokingly strung a few different riffs together and called it “Serenade of the Infestor” and played it for Axeltoss in a hotel lobby one day. I didn’t think much of it, but a few months later, someone came out with a remix of that really simple arrangement of chords and rhythm. The idea that someone can take a really simple melodic statement and superimpose their own ideas onto it is really fascinating to me. I have these little bits and pieces of melodies or progressions that float around in my head sometimes, and to know that someone else could take one and interpret it in a way that was previously completely unknown to me is really cool.

What does any of this have to do with anything? Well, now what I want to do is use my streaming platform for two different things: 1) selfishly indulge in my desire to hear other people interpret my little melodic bits of information, and 2) provide exposure to people who do. So every few weeks I’m going to dump a little melody and ask anyone who’s interested to take it and interpret it how they see fit. I’ll provide some loose guidelines for how I see things, but really I’m just curious what you can do with the piece of melody I give you. After an arbitrary amount of time (two weeks? four weeks?) I’ll go through all of the submissions, pick out my favorite (or maybe my top 2 or 3? depending on how many people submit them), and promote that particular remixers soundcloud/website at the end of my stream every week.

Challenge #1 – http://vocaroo.com/i/s1Hjjoo4tt5z (I had to play this using the line-in from my keyboard to the computer, and everything “sounds” like a half-second later in your headphones, so please forgive any weird bumps or something that occur because this messes with m y mind a lot, heh)

This little modal thing switches between C-G, with the entirety of it being in the key of G (so any melody played on C would be C Lydian, or C-D-E-F#-G-A-B). I have very little interest in the actual melody, that can be changed if you so desire. What I’m more interested is the contrast between the two sections. I like the idea of a slower, more minimalist section that moves into a larger, flowing, lush sections filled with more instrumentation, that moves back into that quieter, more stripped down section. The transition and contrast between those two sections can be huge, and it’s what I’m really interested to hear.

Your style can be anything, the instrumentation can be anything, and there’s no restrictions on interpretation. If you feel like you need more information, feel free to click the above “Discuss” button and post any questions you have!

Part list/rationale

CPU: Intel i7-3930k

I need a really beefy processor so that I can handle streaming at a high quality (1080p@48fps) while being able to play without suffering a major loss in performance. Even though Ivybridge/Haswell are out now, the raw power I get from two additional cores is more beneficial to me than increased IPC from a newer CPU that only has 4 cores.

Cooler: Swiftech H220

I’ve heard amazing things about this cooler. The radiator pump is better than the Kraken x60, the loop allows customization if you want to add a GPU block down the line, and the block that sits on the CPU is 100% Copper. I replaced the two Swiftech fans on the radiator with four SP120 fans from Corsair in a push-pull configuration.

Motherboard – ASRock X79 Extreme9

There’s no great reason to go with this board over the comparable Extreme6. This one comes with its own sound card, though, and has excellent support for overclocking, which I plan to do a lot of.

Memory – G.Skill Sniper Gaming Series 32GB (4x8GB)

32 GB of RAM is huge overkill, but the LGA2011 platform supports quad-channel memory and throwing 4GB sticks into a $2,500 system seems kind of silly.

SSD – Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB

Amazing SSD with an amazing controller using amazing NAND.

GPU – MSI GeForce GTX 780

Single card solutions are superior for streaming than crossfire or SLI set-ups, otherwise I would probably be running crossfired 7970’s. The 780 is superior to the Titan when you consider the price point, as the Titan barely outperforms it, they are built on the same GK110 chip, and the Titan is far more expensive ($1050 vs $650).

Case – Switch 810

This case is, hands down, the best case I’ve ever worked with in my entire life. Plenty of cooling, zero problem getting the radiator installed, abundance of assistance for cable management and a nicely sized window so I can look in and see all of my beautiful parts.

PSU – SeaSonic 850W

What can I say? SeaSonic makes excellent power supplies and 850 watts is plenty of power for my system.

Streaming, exercising, Las Vegas, and sickness. It’s been quite a month!

This was my first month on the Convict Conditioning program, and it’s been interesting. I’ve more or less started at all of the basic exercises, then worked my way up from the super basic ones to the ones that are actually challenging for me to complete.

I’m not going to include body shots in this post (or probably the next one, either) because I look essentially the same, but I feel different! Here are a couple of really cool things I’ve noticed/learned/experienced over the past month –

1) The “soreness” of working out every day is gone, pretty much completely. After the first week or so, it was very annoying, sometimes lasting 48 hours after training that particular muscle group, but now I don’t have to worry about it at all. It’s really hard to not want to train every other day, but I’m still giving muscle groups 2 days of rest between workouts.

2) Going along with the first one, there are added benefits that I never even really considered before! Things like “mowing the lawn” that would always leave me feeling sore the next day now have no affect on me. The last week that I mowed the lawn, I worked arms almost immediately after, and even after all of that I still felt fine the next day. While I was in Vegas I spent a large portion of the day simply walking around the strip with Erin and I wasn’t sore at all in my legs the next day. To some people this seems really silly or insignificant, but it’s really surprising/nice for me to experience it for the first time.

3) I never had a “high metabolism”…I was just eating way less than I thought I was. I haven’t really started counting calories or anything like that yet, but I noticed when I started my workouts that I never had the energy to actually do that. Once I started eating more, I noticed that changed immediately. I’d always considered myself someone who simply had a high metabolism and was able to eat a lot, but after starting my workout I really noticed that I was simply not eating that much, even if it felt like I could eat a ton.

4) The Gold Standard protein drinks are easily doable, they taste pretty good (using the double chocolate one). My only complaint is that it’s impossible to completely stir out all of the “lumps” in the mixture. I’m considering purchasing a blender for it, but I’m not sure if it’s even worth it just to mix chocolate milk. I tried mixing it into pancake batter and it actually turned out pretty well, which was surprising to say the least.

I had to wind down on the workouts at the end of this month because I’ve been pretty sick, which sucks, but I’m finally getting over it and I hope to restart my routine tomorrow when I wake up.

Next update will be the 1st of next month!

Current upper body pictures – http://imgur.com/a/ODNJt

There were a few additional benefits for me getting into a steady schedule with streaming: it allowed me to start to actually schedule other things. I’ve spent the last month getting into a routine doing bodyweight workouts (MRTs AS I’VE BEEN LEAD TO BELIEVE). Also in the last month I’ve had fast food two times. Before that month, I’d probably go out to eat at least 20 times a month, and that’s low-balling it (not joking).

I know it seems really silly/stupid to some of you, but those that know, know it can be really hard to break the cycle of constantly eating out. So I’m really proud that I’ve moved onto making food for myself. It’s also saving me a bit of money, which is cool. I’m kind of happy with the MRT stuff as well, though I’m ready to kick that up a notch as well.

Starting next Monday I’ll be doing a new routine of MRT stuff based on the “Convict Conditioning” book by Paul Wade. The exercises seem like they make sense, and all of the exercises are body-weight based, which means I don’t have to worry about ever leaving the house (because I could never stand to deprive you guys of more stream time).

I’m not really “supr omg srs” on the dieting part yet; I’m just eating cooked stuff and being relatively healthy in terms of food selection (oat/grain based bread, minimal junk food, drinking water/milk/v8 instead of any soda). I have no plans yet to do any crazy bulking or smash back protein shakes for epic muscle gains. I appreciate all of your suggestions for new diets, but honestly, 90% of you are completely fucking retarded when it comes to suggesting someone a new diet so I’m going by a collection of all of the information I’ve gotten. (Test if you’ve read this far: If anyone in the comment section below suggests any kind of diet with a ridiculous amount of protein + 3k+ carbs so that I can get a huge bulk going, even though I’m not going to the gym or spending 2 hours a day working out, you’re going to get banned from my subreddit PEACE)

I’ll be doing a month by month update for two reasons: 1) it keeps me accountable, I’d feel bad posting the same body every single month, and 2) I’m curious to see the changes as well, and 3) maybe other people out there will be curious about how this particular conditioning/workout regiment works.

If you have any questions/suggestions/etc…feel free to leave them on my subreddit, and if you’re a hot grill I’ll respond.

How does it work?

You start off with 325 points and the ability to unlock champions to add to your fantasy roster. Those champions gain points for you based on how I perform in my games on stream. For a more detailed breakdown of how the points work, you can view the rules listed at the bottom of the league page – http://www.destiny.gg/league.

The first beta-season is going to be starting tomorrow, on Monday! The season will end on June 30th.

 

What can I win?

Subscribers are eligible for real prizes (cash paid out to Paypal accounts), but anyone can play.

Subscriber prizes:

1st: $150

2nd: $100

3rd: $75

4th: $50

None-Subscriber prizes:

1st: A metaphorical pat on the back

2nd: A metaphorical high five

3rd: 15 internet dollars, redeemable: no where

4th: A free gmail account, that you have to set-up yourself

 

I’ll be a bit more creative with the prizes next season. This one is mainly just a beta test to see how things go.