One journal entry a month; can't accuse me of attention-whoring. I'd considered longhanding this one, but I feel like typing these up makes more sense. A quick note on longhand writing (writing with pen and paper) vs. typing: I've been using longhand for "formal" writing for about a month now. I'd had a feeling, for a long time, that manual writing had certain advantages over typing. The primary benefit seems to lie in the longer amount of time it takes for an idea to go from brain to paper. Neal Stephenson spoke on this during his appearance on Lex Fridman's podcast. It's ringing true for me. A longhand first draft feels higher quality than a typed one. A subsequent longhand edit also feels better. I can't scientifically quantify or qualify this; but as someone who's written for almost four decades, the sensation of writing and the perceived quality of draft is better, to me, longhand. The speed of composition, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Or does it? Perhaps it's not about how fast one can shit out ideas. Perhaps slowing down, taking time, making that connection from the mind through the hand to the page, is just better. But for this nonsense? There's only so many hours in the day and typing stuff like this out is simply a matter of convenience.
There's a list of questions circulating on social media. I don't know where it came from. Here are my answers:
What game had a lasting impression on you?
When I think about "games that made me", Baldur's Gate always comes to mind. There were certainly many games played before it (the original released on PC in '98, and I played my first video game in '79 or '80) and many more since, but BG is the one that's stuck at the top of my head and refuses to be unseated. At the time it was the closest a video game had come to simulating the Dungeons & Dragons experience; the first game I'd played whose companion non-player characters seemed "alive"; and the first video game story that punched me so hard in the mental gut that I can legitimately call it "stunning". The Ultima games, particularly the Avatar cycle (Ultimas IV through VII), are also worth mentioning for similar reasons. Would they have the same effect on modern games? Unlikely, but all the more reason for me to treasure those memories—memories that only seem to grow stronger with every year that passes.
Who is your favorite female video game character?
This is such a loaded question in 2022. I suppose it speaks more to the meme author's agenda than anything else. Rather than argue gender diversity in video games, I'll just say: when given the option, I typically create and play female characters in games. They're always dark-skinned, blue-eyed, white-haired, bad-asses. As for pre-crafted, written female characters... the Lara Croft from the '13 reboot comes to mind first, then Ellie from The Last of Us. I hear Aloy from the Horizon franchise is excellent, but I have yet to give that game a proper play through.
What game do you consider "so bad it's good"?
I generally don't have the patience for bad games. As soon as I feel like my time is being wasted I tune out. "Bad" is also such a nebulous term. Bad graphics? Game play? Writing? And then what redeems it into the "it's good" category? I hate offering a non-answer like this, but for a stock reply like Deadly Premonition... I simply haven't played that game to completion.
Who's your favorite male video game character?
Again weird that this question wasn't grouped with the previous one, or the gender qualifier dropped entirely. My Ultima avatar was always male, but that was only because there wasn't a choice. For written characters? A few years ago I might have said Desmond from the Assassin's Creed franchise. Kratos has had an incredible run through the God of War franchise, too—though, to my discredit, I still haven't finished the most recent entry. Captain Price had a strong voice. I can't really name any more without being disingenuous.
What are your top five favorite video game soundtracks?
I love music. I've made music for most of my life. But I've almost never just sat down and listened to video game music on its own. Is that weird? It's the same thing with movie soundtracks. That said, there are five tracks from games that circle around in my mind all the time:
The page itself was titled "more on the wry thing" (writing? writhing?) with the subtitle "just another five star warning".
From the page's bio: Self-centered, self-serving, self-motivated, self-analytical, self-denying, self-ish little shit.
Interests: art, asia, comics, design, dj, fashion, gamecube, geisha, japan, korn, music, ninja, nintendo, oakley, painting, percussion, pornography, ps2, role-playing games, samurai, sex, sony, surrealism, techno, tool, turntablism, video games, webcomics, women, xbox
12:38am: hello world
I would be sorely disappointed if a greater number of people viewed my literary excretions here than they did on my actual, paid-for web presence.
I mean, I can be Google'd for fuck's sake.
It's like that scene in "The Jerk" when Mavin R. Johnstone figures he's become a somebody because he's listed in the phone book.
After all, "Millions of people read these pages every day!"
Nice to meecha. Charmed, I'm sure.
11:36am: cyber self degredation
So I'm surfing around in here and noticing that quite a few people have rather suggestive photos of themselves (mostly men in mid-grip), and a lot more seem to be looking for "erotically good times".
I've made it my mission in life (or rather, it has been my mission) to save women from having to sell themselves out on webcams.
This is not a solicitation of any kind, nor is it a request for people to stop whatever they do that gives them whatever modicum of pleasure they wish to extract from the dark, cold expanses of the digital delusionscape we have made for ourselves.
It's just that anyone who is grasping in the dark for sexual gratification and spending untold hours with technical difficulties, stuttering webcamera images, and scratchy and intermittent voice transmissions: try going to a museum or art exhibition and picking up a live body.
I think, providing of course that you're the kind of person who possesses the courage to openly speak to another human being in the flesh, you'd be pleasantly surprised to find that there are just as many sexually active people walking the streets as there are taking out their frustrations on the 'net (if not more).
I guess I was blessed by having gone through all this when I was much younger and learned so much more quickly.
Just as a side note, I once joined an internet "dating" service (read: relentless, depressing, desperation chat zone) to see what kind of people were looking for what kind of action.
I entered all my vitals and did a search for some straight sex. Got about 1000 hits, maybe 10 in my area.
I then logged in again, claiming to be a woman, and did the same search. I got 100,000 hits, with about 100 in my area.
10 to one are lousy odds. Imagine being in a room, at a party, in this situation. One woman you know is horny, nine guys who are definitely looking to score, and you.
I'll take the single woman wandering the aisles at the nearest Van Gogh exhibit any time. No competition.
Plus, trust me, she's horny.
There's only one way to find out though...
5:43pm: this is not a title
Got a guy next to me in the internet cafe rambling on about how the 'net has become this "great externalization of humankind's psyche", so I turn to him and say:
"Bullshit. It's just interactive television. And television is the great externalizer. What we've done with these pathetic models of the human brain is create a paradigm for ourselves where we no longer need to think, despite the glaring inferiority of the devices that now deceive us."
I can tell I lost him somewhere around "paradigm". So I make it simple:
"You can turn off your computer. Can you turn off your brain?"
And he's giving me this look, right? So before he can make some witty riposte about using beer to flip the switch I say:
"Hey, I'm no intellectual giant, but if you're gonna suddenly spout nonsense in public you at least ought to expect a reaction of some kind."
That gets him back to his pointing-and-clicking.
"We don't like your attitude," they said.
"Well I guess that means you're gonna like this ass-kicking even less," was my reply.
What is freedom?
Is it the ability to choose your own adventure? When I "played" those books back in grade school I always kept my fingers planted between the pages of particularly critical choices. I remember the more complex ones wouldn't lead on that you'd made a wrong move until a few sections and choices further, so you'd have to put a lot of fingers between a lot of pages.
In life there's no putting fingers between pages. There are no save points, no revival potions, no reincarnations or second chances.
None that you can empirically prove, anyways.
So what is freedom?
The ability to choose your own adventure? Fine. So then why is it that so many of us able-bodied and able-minded human beings are choosing lives of servitude and self-denial when we could be living large and in charge of our own destinies? Why do so many of us choose to give ourselves over to other people, nameless corporations, and intangible ethereal holinesses?
Some would argue that organization is the key to advancement of a species. I would not try to counter that argument. I believe that organization is essential to survival of any group of individuals.
Trouble is, the human system on an individual level is self-organizing.
So why the hell do we leave organization of mass-systems in the hands of inefficient and capricious bureaucracies?
Because we are fucking lazy. We are unwilling to fight our inherent laziness enough to self-motivate, self-improve, and self-develop.
Ah but not all is lost, for not all are lost.
I believe the basic human struggle of all living generations of human beings lies in this: the struggle against one's own nature.
We rail and moan for freedom, and I think freedom is but a choice.
That first choice you made when you turned the first page of this great pick-a-path to glory adventure that we call "modern life": should I make my own decisions? Turn to page 123. Should I leave it up to someone else? Turn to page 86.
This is not a static choice. In fact, this choice is always there, just under the surface of every opportunity to make a decision that presents itself to us, suspected or not, unawares or fully conscious.
We always have the right, by default, to fight and breach the walls that we have allowed "society" to create for us, by simply exercising the incontrovertible right of being to make up our own fucking minds.
Now, your correct response to the preceding is: "You're thirty years old, and you're just figuring this out?" to which I say: "No, I've known this all along, it's only now that I can begin to verbalize it, so fuck you."
Are you with me?
12:01am: wants versuz needs
Well goddamn if Oakley hasn't gone and done it again.
So they're releasing a whole new system of ultra-cool, totally wicked, urban soldier gear. Most of it in black shot through with red. So what?
Damn if I didn't just lay out a pile for some stuff that has suddenly become last season.
And I lie to myself and say I don't need it.
I don't need it. None of it.
I need it. Who am I kidding.
Must find a way to work 90-hour weeks to pay for my next order...