Spiritual Grinding

A dear aunt of mine who lives in Texas once told me that she and her family doesn’t watch news on TV, and that they also don’t have cable TV. A reason she has for that was how emotionally draining the news could be, making it a waste of time, especially with her still having a lot of self issues to deal with. Instead, she and her family get their news from apps and the Internet, something which had me looking at the Internet in a better light. Of course, she and I still know that the Internet isn’t perfect, considering the usual concerned elder’s warning I kept in mind, which she gave along with comparing it to a dangerous marketplace, something which I responded to by expressing how I likened it to a nightclub.

Recently, though, I remembered that as I was looking for help in dealing with the moral and spiritual struggles I had to face at school. That also got me asking my aunt a question:

“If the emotionally draining stuff you have to deal with isn’t like a TV that you can switch off and put away conveniently, then what do you think would be good ways to deal with such problems?”

My aunt then called that a great question, and then she pointed out how much of a control freak I was, considering all the other stuff I told her about as I sought guidance from her. Then, as a start, she asked to me pray the Serenity Prayer frequently:

“O God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace. Taking, as He did, the sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever.”

As for how I responded to all that, well, I easily took it and thanked my aunt for that. If I were my younger self, though, then I would probably end up doing some more angst-surfing the Net alone in my room and skipping classes while thinking that I’m upholding actual justice for me and society.

Me as I am now still has a long way to go, though. That question I asked my aunt was something that also came out of having to deal with emotionally draining and spiritually challenging stuff at school. I’ve had to listen to professors and schoolmates expressing their discontent towards the government and its vocally foolish supporters yet again, and at a higher frequency too, considering recent incidents. And although I would agree that there are things that the government of my country is not doing well at, I didn’t sit well with the idea of doing things like name-calling and dehumanizing government officials, fellow humans with rights whom we claimed to be fighting for. Those who claimed to be fighting for justice that way ended up looking no different from the ones they considered their enemies, and it was something sickening that also made feel regret towards pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in the university I’m in. They try to fight for the rights of many fellow humans by dehumanizing some fellow humans as well, and the thought of that made me let out bitter laughs.

But you know what I just did there? I was pretty much talking just like they did, portraying fellow foolish humans like they’re hopeless cases. Maybe it’s not as bad as they tend to do, but it’s still bad. I distorted their faces further, faces I’m not trying to understand as much as I should because of my pride that wants to lord my high ground over them – even if I do have the moral high ground – via snappy comebacks and such. I can win the earthly battle that way, sure, but I would lose in the spiritual war that way as well.

If we were to talk about my current state of spiritual affairs in role-playing video game terms, I’m not grinding for experience points well. Like, instead of taking my time on defeating mobs with levels nearer to my own current level until I’m strong enough to handle a boss, I run away from them a lot while still aiming to defeat a boss. That’s also something which I remember doing during one Final Fantasy V playthrough I ended up giving up on years ago.

And so, “Do your ordinary duties extraordinarily well” rings true yet again. The popularly despised homework is also becoming more a source of relief for me, and I find it easier to look for the good within others, even within non-believers. Like grinding in role-playing video games, it can seem tedious, sure, but that would be the case if I don’t have a good end in mind and making sure that I don’t lose my handle on the basic controls and moves I tend to take for granted.

Like, really, the importance of the basics hit me hard when I have to go through things like when I have to deeply think about things like how fiction works in our lives so much that it’s a very important part of our lives, how a short story is different from the novel aside from word count, and why we aspiring creative writers have to learn about the theoretical aspects of creative writing.

So yeah, trying to speak with the help of gaming terms again, all the spiritual chaos I have to deal with from other people at school and the rest of society so far are the mobs. They can overwhelm me if I don’t have a good handle on the basic controls and moves. I know they’ll come around to mess with me, but they still tend to appear suddenly. They’re also easier to deal with when I have allies around, especially allies with varying skillsets.

As for the bosses of spiritual chaos? Well, I think they’re the chaos within me. Defeating mobs and gaining enough experience to fight a boss is like how I manage to face and beat my own faults better. Fighting with the help of a party of allies also becomes more important there, too.

Cheat codes? I don’t think that’s possible here, though, even if I try to scream and beg for such. God’s way better than the best programmers here on earth, and with how He works, there certainly are proper ways to overcome the challenges we face in life, and if we’re unable to find them, then we’re just not trying hard enough.

Like, for example, not letting others help me well. It’s something I’ve done before, even to the point of considering them dead weight. I guess I can say that I was doing technique spamming or using the same moveset over and over like it’s the one true solution to all my problems in life. That sort of thing can be seen in how angsty I’ve been in the past, which involved me that being some edgy nut with a habit of frowning and glaring would burn down all the ill will that others have.

There’s also my rigidity in terms of change, particularly sudden ones, combined with giving in a lot to bad impulses. It’s like being underprepared in terms of items and equipment while also insisting on using a set of equipment that’s less likely to help me beat a certain sort of enemy, and/or just attacking and attacking without taking caution and watching out for the enemy changing their tactics and using my recklessness against me. For example, there’s me still insisting on working on this despite depriving myself of sleep like its some overdue paid work I have to finish, which isn’t what this reflection series is supposed to be. I have a hard time accepting that I have to put aside important yet extracurricular activities like this for another time in favor of more basic yet still important things, like making sure I eat enough, exercise enough, study enough, and sleep enough.

So yeah, I guess the Run option and all those escape spells and items are things I won’t be needing to use very much in my life…

Now, time to get back to grinding…though maybe I should take some time to change equipment, stock up on items, and get some rest first. That, and revise my tactics and strategies as well, especially with the help of my partymates.

Also, God Almighty keep on helping us all.

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Danganronpa and Divorcing Hope from Theology

A dear friend of mine wrote a freaking worthwhile article about a favorite video game of mine, yo! \(^o^)

Medieval Otaku

Below is a link to a post on Beneath the Tangles I wrote on hope, Danganronpa, and the imagination.  It might be a little academic, but I hope that my dear readers enjoy it.

Danganronpa and Divorcing Hope from Theology

Dan 1

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Rome: City of beauty, history and…#Pokemon?

CNS Blog

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Screenshot_20160714-162454 A Pokemon Go avatar in St. Peter’s Square.

ROME  — Pokemon Go, the location-based augmented reality game based on the popular animated cartoon, has swept across the United States and has made it here to Italy.

The most coveted Pokestop in Vatican City, however, is the least accessible one: the window of the papal apartment where Pope Francis delivers his Sunday Angelus address.

Using a mobile phone’s GPS and camera, players can catch and train virtual Pokemon as well as battle with other players at designated areas called Pokegyms.

As players walk around, they can reach designated areas in the maps called Pokestops where they can pick items, such as Pokeballs, unhatched Pokemon eggs, and other goodies.

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The window of the papal apartments is one of the many Pokestops in Vatican City.

Given my schedule, I’m not one to indulge in mobile games as often as…

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Game of Mercy: U.S. YouTuber gifts pope videogame

Thank you very much, MatPat. Also, my interest in Undertale has skyrocketed, yo! \(^o^)

CNS Blog

frisk.JPG Screengrab of the videogame character, Frisk, and Pope Francis from Matthew Patrick’s YouTube video “Game Theory: Why I gave the pope Undertale.” Patrick met the pope with other YouTubers in May.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis got game — an online, role-playing, cult video game, that is.

Appropriately, the game is not a stereotypical virtual world of bloody combat by blasphemous brutes, but the critically acclaimed video game, Undertale, which lets players choose to dialogue with and feel mercy for “monsters” rather than attack and kill them.

U.S. gamer, Matthew Patrick, was one of a dozen YouTubers, who met with the pope in May as part of a world congress sponsored by Scholas Occurrentes. The highly popular vloggers, who have, when tallied together, about 25 million subscribers, were invited to meet and interview the pope.

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The problem of the demiurge

And here are some thoughts about the “divine” bosses that gamers can wreck in RPGs and all that.

Res Studiorum et Ludorum

Nocturne, among other things, has got me thinking about the way religion and theology are addressed in games, or at least in the JRPGs that I’ve gorged on like so many tongue-numbing pieces of sour candy through the years of my youth.

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Tobby’s Recommendation Yell: The Boogie Man

tbm jacket

Hi, nutshellcrackers. By the time I started writing this, I have finished playing Uri-san’s The Boogie Man. I livetweeted about it too. Look up #TobbyPlaysTBMAlone on Twitter if you wanna see the tweets. And for those who are worried about spoilers, I tried to not to fill them with spoilers, but if you get spoiled, well…I apologize.

Anyway! I’ve got a lot that I’d like to talk about regarding this game. One, I’m a voice actor in it. Two, I’d like to make a review about this game. Three, I’d like to talk about my experience with the project and the production crew. Four, YEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! and other related stuff.

So yeah, I guess that’s what I’ll talk about in this post. Now, time to get started. And I guess I should start with the review. I’ll put the rest of this post under a Read More, as I’ll definitely be letting out spoilers along the way. Continue reading

Tobby’s Recommendation Yell: Paranoiac

I have finished recording and editing my third Let’s Play series (as for why the second one, Yanderella, doesn’t have a Recommendation Yell for it, well, I was lazy at first, and now, I feel like it’s not worth recommending), the Let’s Played game is another game by Uri-san, and I’d like to recommend it!

Say hello to Paranoiac, nutshellcrackers! By the way, it’s a horror game. If you don’t like horror games, then feel free to stop reading.

Anyway, Paranoiac. It’s a freeware horror adventure game by Uri. It was also made in the WOLF RPG Editor, just like the two Strange Men Series games (By the way, Paranoiac is not a part of the Strange Men Series) that I had recommended, The Crooked Man and The Sandman. Its story is centered on Miki Takamura, a novelist who starts living in her aunt’s house. This game is a horror game, so I feel like I should just let you go see the game for yourself if you want to know more about its story.

Hm, maybe I should drop some hints about this story in this game while I talk about my thoughts on the game. Yeah, let’s try that, crazy bear boy. And don’t spoil your audience here, please.

Okay, so it has mentally messed up characters in it. I’m not that well-versed in the field of psychology, but I feel like those characters were depicted well. I wonder what well-trained psychologists would say if they clear this game…?

Another thing I’d like to say about the game is that the freaking chase-and-hide segments are freaking tough. Uri-san, what’s the logic behind those hiding spots? Being chased and finding out that you’ve been hiding in the wrong spot via jumpscaring photo and sound can be scary, but when put together with Paranoiac’s chase-and-hide and mechanic, it gets less scary and more annoying. Still, I think I did get creeped out at certain points there. And maybe I wasn’t feeling as creeped out as when I first watched a Let’s Play series of this game. I thank PewDiePie and Markiplier very much for the horror endurance training that I got into via watching their horror game Let’s Plays. Hm, I think my mental fortitude has something to do with the uneasiness level that I had when I Let’s Played this game…

But yeah, I think Paranoiac has a significant creepiness factor, despite the freaking tough chase-and-hide mechanic, and I think the story makes up most of what makes the game creepy. And speaking of the story, I think it’s freaking interesting, and I think it reminded me well about the do’s and don’t’s in giving support to depressed people. Also, this game has a good ending, and I think you should work hard to find it if you want to play this game.

If you wanna play Paranoiac, then here’s a link to the English-translated version of it. If you wanna share your thoughts about it, then feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments! ^_^

Tobby’s Fun Time with a Bunch of Close Friends and a Fighting Game!

So, yesterday, at my house, I hung out with four close friends after a long while of not hanging out face-to-face. During the mealtimes, we talked about the states of our lives, how our college days have been going recently, and interests and stuff. Them chats during the mealtimes were a most memorable part of that hangout. During those chats, I realized that “I should work harder and manage my time better AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” and “Hey, I’m more calmly listening to and learning from the stupidity that some of them saying and doing! Freaking nuts!” Yeah, certain dear close friends who hung out with me yesterday, I really felt like facepalming at some of the stupidity that you think, say, and do. Like when you talked about that statue…what was that…? Something about whoever is pointed at by that statue will get disbarred or something…? The way you talked about it had an air implying that you were praying for someone’s failure, but I’m not sure if that’s how it went. Huh, talk about them chats being a most memorable part of that hangout. Anyway, I remember them spouting stupid stuff during the chats and the rest of the hangout, and I even felt “Again, why and how did I become close friends with these guys?” Still, it wasn’t as uncomfortable as our previous face-to-face hangouts. It was way more fun. Perhaps the most fun one I’ve had as of now.

And now, I’d like to talk about what I now think is the truly most memorable part of yesterday’s hangout:

Thanks to one of those close friends, Wacks, who has a PlayStation 3, we played Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax. From what I know, that game is a PS3 2-D fighting game developed by Sega, probably developed and released in commemoration of Dengeki Bunko’s 20th anniversary, and the featured characters are characters from light novels published by Dengeki Bunko (such as SAO’s Kirito and Asuna, Shakugan no Shana’s Shana, and even Toradora’s Taiga Aisaka!), plus some characters from Sega games (such as Valkyria Chronicles’ Selvaria Bles). I don’t really think that I’m that great at fighting games, but still, I had fun playing it with my close friends! Also, I used Kirito in all the battles that I participated in, and now, I think that my interest in Sword Art Online has significantly increased again, hahaha! ^_^ Freaking nuts, I should set some time for reading the light novels before checking out its anime…

In this kinda awkward illustration of mine, Kirito's face shows how I was feeling most of time yesterday while I was playing Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax with a bunch of my close friends.

In this kinda awkward illustration of mine, Kirito’s face shows how I was feeling most of time yesterday while I was playing Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax with a bunch of my close friends.

Anyway, I think I really had the most fun when I played a really fun video game (I should learn more Japanese before I play this again) with them! During that time, I felt more confidence inside me whenever I tried to act really hilariously! I don’t know if I sound funny to most of you nutshellcrackers out there, but hey, I’m really glad that I’m not being a pessimistic nut…a hard-shelled nut who feels like there’s no way to break that hard shell without destroying the nourishing seed inside it. Yeah, I felt really energetic back there with my friends…and that experience had helped me realize that “Hey, you definitely need some friends (They gotta have good enough personalities, of course!) that you can regularly do face-to-face hangouts with, ’cause I don’t think you’d have much happiness inside you in your future days at school without such people.”

Thanks very much for yesterday’s hangout with me at my house, Gabby, Wacks, Miguel, and Matthew!

And by the way, nutshellcrackers, if you’d like to talk about specific experiences with friends which were very important factors in your growth into a better person, then feel free to share them in the comments! ^_^

Meat Hunter Online

“Hey, Aquabrain, get over here!”

“Whatchu want, motherfucker? Gonna blow me up with an RPG again?”

*KABOOM*

“Eyyyyyyyup.”

And the rest of my pals laughed at my retarded friend’s plight.

“Holy shit, he just ran and went!”

“It’s like they channeled a damn fucking comedy show!”

“GAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Such was one of the things that we did and enjoyed while playing Meat Hunter Online, the multiplayer version of a famous virtual reality wide-open sandbox game, Meat Hunter. In the world of Meat Hunter, chaos reigned like in its single player version. Crime and violence were rampant, and we milked all the black comedy and steaming hot pleasures that we could get as much as we could. For us, it was a good way to relieve ourselves from the annoyances of the outside world.

Of course, we weren’t going to do crime in the outside world. That would be a freaking hassle for us, and we wouldn’t be able to do stuff we want to do, like playing more video games, getting girls, getting laid, and making music. Steaming hot sex with steaming hot girls, playing awesome video games with my friends, and making and playing face-melting rock and roll…they were pretty much the stuff that we wanted the most in our crappy college lives.

“Aquabrain, make sure you have your head on properly before you respawn, ’cause you forget to do it every time we hang out!” I shouted at my friend’s corpse, which was more than a hundred storeys below us.

Again, the rest of my friends laughed. Aquabrain was the butt monkey of our crew because of his hilariously high-pitched voice and hilarious stupidity and perversion that borders on insanity. In-game, he looks like a masked serial killer in black and blue, and his in-game image is emphasized by his memorable voice.

“Hey, retard! If you need help, here’s a booger that I just picked! Maybe it can help in keeping your head between your shoulders! Oh, and your other head might need that booger since it looks like it’s gonna fall off after all your wanking!”

Then, there was Cougar. He was our go-to guy when it came to picking up girls, and manliness was a thing that he liked to talk about very very much. He also has a vulgar sense of humor, which he shows a lot whenever he’s with us. Despite the name, his in-game appearance is a guy wearing a black business suit and a cow mask.

“Hey, Cougar…what’s wanking?”

We suddenly had another burst of laughter after hearing our “kid” friend say that line. His name was Billy Burstfire, and he was the pseudo-kiddie member of our group, as he had the ability to turn his voice into a high, childlike voice without the support of a voice modifier. When he plays games in multiplayer, he often uses his childlike voice to mess around while interacting with other players. His in-game appearance is a guy wearing a white shirt, red shorts, red slippers, and a teddy bear head.

“Goddammit,” Cougar said as he tried to catch his breath, “Billy and that fucking stupid voice of yours…ahahaha…”

“I asked that question with that voice so many times to so many people while I was wandering around this game,” Billy mirthfully replied with his normal, mid-high voice, “And they were all freaking out and swearing so fucking much!”

“Yeah, yeah, we know that, Billy…ahahaha…” I said while I held my sides as I was on my knees.

“Yo…Kinshi…” Cougar added as he kept on gasping for air, “You know…any more…glitches…in this game…?”

“Meh, I don’t have any ideas right now,” I replied as I stood up. “Anyway, you still wanna keep on messing around?”

“Hell yeah, man!” Cougar, who had fully recovered, shouted with a middle finger high up in the air. “This is damn freaking virtual reality, and there’s so many shit that we need to do! Like VR sex! Oh yeah, I wanna go to the strip club again!”

“Hell yeah, alright!”

“To the strip club~ To the strip club~”

As we left our butt monkey friend to follow us to the strip club all by himself, the three of us stood and prepared our parachute packs near the edge of the skyscraper roof where we were standing on.

Yet again, I decided to make a hilarious scene out of what we were doing. I’m the hawk-masked Kinshi, the super prankster of the group. Making hilarity out of situations was something that I specialized in, and boy, did our group find so much fun out of my skills.

“What’s up, all you manly soldiers here?” I started with a very loud and energetic voice. “We all have a mission, and do you know what that mission is?”

“Go to the strip club!” Billy replied with his childish voice.

“And bang some hotties!” Cougar roared while he wiggled his fingers.

“Aaaaaaalright, soldiers! Good that you understand! But first, we need to jump off this building, land with style, and ride wild towards the club! Billy, you go first!”

And then I kicked Billy off the roof with a roundhouse kick.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaa…”

He screamed with his childlike voice as he fell, and Cougar and I laughed at how he reacted to my kick.

“Cougar! Show us your manly skydiving skills!”

“Oh, fuck yeah, I will! Feast your eyes on this hotness, all the hot women in the world! Whooooooooo~hooooooooooooo!”

And Cougar jumped off, doing multiple spins and flips in the air as he fell. As I thought that what he was doing wasn’t hilarious enough, I decided to take out my rocket launcher.

“Yo, Cougar, are those the manliest tricks that you can do?”

I launched a rocket after saying that.

“Haha, fuck you, Kinshi, it’s hard to dodge rockets while flying in the ai–*KABOOM*”

The manly Cougar exploded spectacularly after being kissed by the raging rocket. I decided to give him a salute for being a part of the creation of such a spectacular explosion.

After creating those hilarious scenes, I prepared to jump off…

[Attention, all players of Meat Hunter Online.]

And I would have jumped off if it weren’t for that deep and robotic voice.

[Attention, all players. Attention, all players. I, the creator of this game, have an important announcement for all of you.]

While I heard that voice, I suddenly felt like something was wrong with the place. The noise of cars, weapons, and even the wind suddenly went quiet, leaving the noise of the probably confused people around and below me.

I suddenly felt like something really bad was going to happen. And I felt like it was gonna be a very familiar situation, too.

[Several minutes ago, I have activated major adjustments in this game.]

Yup, it’s starting to feel very very familiar. I think it was something like some story from two centuries ago, back when VR tech for video games was growing? Tch, whatever, I needed to listen to this announcement carefully for now.

[These major adjustments will make a more realistic gaming experience for all of you players.]

My stomach suddenly felt like it was twisting and turning as a sinking feeling dragged it down.

[With the activation of these adjustments, the logout method has changed.]

“Don’t tell me that you’re going to say what I think you’re going to say…” I muttered as I opened the menu.

[The only ways for a player to logout are…]

My fears grew bigger when I saw my menu.

[…to defeat me, the boss of this world…]

I didn’t want to believe what the creator was going to say next. I don’t want to believe it.

[…or to die, which will cause your death in the real world. Oh, and removing your VR helmets will cause your death as well, as the helmets have high-powered microwaves built to fry your brain when they are removed within these conditions.]

Shit. I knew it. The situation that all VR tech makers, VR video game developers, and avid video gamers feared is happening.

[With the help of the virtual reality technology where this game operates, your in-game appearances will be changed to your appearances in real life.]

It’s a Sword Art Online situation, and shit, we’re trapped.

And fucking hell, it looks like I murdered my friends as well.

“Goddammit, goddammit, GODDAMMIT! Shit, shit, SHIT! Fucking fuck, FUCK!”

I didn’t want this happen, we were here just for fun, we didn’t want a death game, I didn’t want my friends to actually die, I just wanted to have fun, dammit, shit, fuck, fuck, shit, dammit, fuck…We just wanted to have some fun in these crappy lives of ours, we wanted to get out of all those fucking school work, we wanted to be free from our annoying parents and teachers, we don’t want to die, we just want to have fun, why is this happening, why why WHY?

This is just a dream. This is probably just a dream, right? If I just reset myself, I’d probably be alright, right? I’d meet my friends again, right? We’ll all be together again, and we can have all the fun we want, kill each other for fun, bang strippers for fun, and have fun all night long…haha…haha…This is probably a prank. Yeah, this is probably a prank. Haha…I know a prank when I see one…

The menu…reset, reset…oh yeah, resetting means shooting yourself in the head, and it costs five hundred dollars…Do I have enough cash? Yeah, I have enough cash…Tap that…Pull out a gun…Point it at my head…Pull the trigger…


The Woodflame mansion was greeted by a loud buzz as its family members except Clearvane, the eldest child, ate dinner together at the table. As for why Clearvane was not with his family at the dinner table, the Woodflame family members decided not to disturb their sleeping fellow family member who had been doing an impressive job of keeping the family business working well despite some troublesome aspects of his personality. As for the loud buzz, a maid, thinking that it was the buzzing of the doorbell, went to check outside the front door of the mansion and found no one.

It was only after ten minutes that the maids informed the rest of the Woodflame family about the smell of smoke that was coming out of Clearvane’s room. As Clearvane’s two younger siblings worriedly considered the possibility of their brother getting into a Sword Art Online incident (They were avid video gamers as well, but VR was something that they didn’t want to try after reading about a fictional story which featured the namesake of that incident as its title.), the Woodflame parents knocked on their eldest son’s door, which was locked. After several attempts and several silent responses, the Woodflame father broke the door down while he held great worry inside his heart.

What they found inside Clearvane’s room became a part of the worst tragedies in the history of the Clearvane family, and what they found also became a part of what became one of the biggest news topics in the early years of the 23rd century.

Still, until more than two years had passed after the first death in the Meat Hunter Online incident occurred, the Woodflame family never knew that Clearvane, also known as “Kinshi” within his small circle of close friends, had accidentally killed his close friends and then killed himself as despair swallowed his heart completely.

After they found out how his true feelings went while he lived, Clearvane Woodflame’s life became an important memory in the Woodflame family, and the Woodflames vowed to never let any of their family members live a life similar to Clearvane’s life.