Tags: introspection


Fear Addicted, Danger Illustrated

It's been a very busy month and I had trouble remembering what I'd played at Big Bad Con this year. Fortunately I got there in the end, so there'll be a late (and probably backdated) con post shortly.

I thought my computer had died today, so I spent all day on campus working with a furious energy to overcome the sting of a potentially huge bill. Fortunately when I got home I was able to tackle the issue more rationally and sorted it out. Phew!

Now I'm writing said Big Bad Con 2012 report and having a drink.

Here's some 1999 for you (me).

Gateway 2012: Monday

As usual, I hadn't scheduled a Monday morning game. I was prepared to run The Sprawl, but Rob's flight would have made for a very short game, so we played a couple of rounds of Conquering Corsairs to test out some of the new ideas that had come out of the playtest with Antoine and developed over the weekend. Expect a much more quick playing and focused game in the next iteration.

The con finished with a hat trick of Pann's which was also a hat trick for fried chicken (although this last serving was as part of a breakfast waffle order).

So that was Gateway 2012. Hopefully not my last Strategicon, but quite possibly it was. I've had a good run of them over the last few years, and through them I've made a lot of great friends and done a lot of great gaming outside them, including most of the other cons I've attended while I've been in the US, especially the Nerdly Beach Parties. Game on dudes!


I'm very glad that in certain contexts I have a well-developed, subconscious, sense of what is good for me. I'm also glad that sense of what is good for me has a hardline to my mouth. Combined with my pathological avoidance of backing out of things, it results in having to follow through on unpleasant, but ultimately beneficial, tasks that I volunteer for. Many are professional, some are personal, such as writing a few words to be spoken in absentia at a funeral.

Songs about Los Angeles

I've been thinking about place and space a lot recently, so when Octopushat made a list of his five favourite songs about Los Angeles, I decided to do the same. I've been wanting to write something about L.A. for a while, in part inspired by coming across this blog post while trying to find out more about the second song on this list.

In no particular order.

Shihad 'La-la-land'

Of course this was going top the list: a high-energy critique of the vacuous and fast-paced world of the entertainment industry by one of my favourite bands. Plus, an appropriately frenetic video featuring a Angelina Jolie-like cyborg and a very young Jon Toogood.

Alexander Hamilton 'L.A.'

This is a remix of MURS' 'L.A.' (L dot A dot). I prefer the remix because I'm not a big fan of the original's bare hip hop aesthetic. However, I really like MURS' lyrics for their underground hip hop authenticity. The L.A. they refer to is much closer to the real L.A than the rich white parts of town associated with the entertainment industry. At least, closer to the real L.A. of my daily experience. My L.A. is centred on riding the Vermont bus through K-town to West Adams, catching the Red Line between Downtown and Hollywood, and riding the Hollywood DASH loop. It's an ethnic patchwork of predominantly working class Angelenos going about their daily business rather than the glitz and glamour that so many songs reference. Thinking of which...

Hathbanger 'Party & Bullshit (In The USA)' (Notorious B.I.G. vs. Miley Cyrus)

And speaking of the entertainment industry, I love this mash-up for the way it deflates that bubble. The L.A. connection, comes from the full verses of the Miley Cyrus track.

Victor Menegaux – Going Back To Dani (Notorious B.I.G. vs. Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Another Mash-up. No apologies, it's one of the most vibrate musical genres of the 21st century. I like both originals, but this is definitely a case where the sum is greater than the parts.
Besides. It has a Fatburger reference. Represent, yo.

Buuuut, the lyrics are all Biggie, no Anthony...

Red Hot Chili peppers 'Dani California'

Menegaux's mash-up sacrifices all of the Kiedis vocals, so the original has to have a place here too. This came out in the year I moved to L.A., so it's not surprising that it was one of the songs on the airline radio for my first couple of trans-pacific flights. This is always my "looking out the window at L.A. on the way to for from New Zealand" song. I'd never actually seen the video before tonight though.

I was going to include the epic 'California Love' by Dr Dre et al., but I've used up my five and it's really just a favourite track with no particular resonance aside from being about California. If I included that one, I'd have to slip in some Katy Perry.

That said, I will slip in a sixth.

The Dresden Dolls 'Shores of California'

Filmed on the beach in L.A. and created by one of my favourite artists of the last 5-7 years. I have so many good and hopeful memories associated with The Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer and those memories, for better or worse, will always be associated with Los Angeles.

I can't do Christchurch. Not now. But probably not ever. The music that I associate with Christchurch is the music that I associate with 30 years of my life, and especially my 20s. It's too all encompassing to be a viable sub-category of my musical tastes.

A Meandering Reply

This morning I read Mash's post about social dynamics (f-locked). I was going to reply there, but I felt like the subject deserved a fuller treatment, or at least one I was capable of editing!

I can't remember how old I was when I first did the Myers-Briggs test, about 14 maybe? I was certainly old enough to realise the validity problems of self-reporting, although I wouldn't have called it that. I certainly thought of myself as a introvert at the time, so I wasn't surprised to find that the test pegged me as an INTJ. It seemed to fit, but millions of people find personal relevance in astrology, so it's hard to say.

At any rate, I think of myself as an introvert, but I think I'd score pretty marginally on that scale now. If the basic distinction between introverts and extroverts is whether one gains or expends energy in social situations, then I'd have to say I'm an extrovert. At least, once I get comfortable in a situation. That can take me a while, but once I get there, I'm pretty much a natural networker. Then again, maybe that's what an introvert would think.

There was some discussion on Mash's post about feeling that one is imposing in social situations. I'm confident in my reading of social cues, so I don't feel this way very often, and I suspect that On thing that has certainly changed between past and present me is that I am much more confident now. You might think that writing style demonstrated in the previous two paragraphs indicates a lack of confidence in my self-analysis, but it's the T in the INTJ coming out: there are no objective standards against which to measure my own internal experience, so it would seem disingenuous not to qualify it.

That line of reasoning got me thinking about my style of blog writing generally. There are several bloggers whose writing I admire a great deal (some of whom will read this), and while I don't model my writing on them, I do try to consider what they do, how they do it, and why I don't. One thing that always strikes me is the relative paucity of memory and personal experience beyond the immediate concern of whatever topic I'm discussing. I think it's fair to say that this is a characteristic that extends beyond my writing. Writing this post and re-reading about the INTJ personality type has prompted me to consider this an offshoot of the same concern for objectivity that leads to my frequent qualificatory statements.

The thing that prompted me to expand what could have been a characteristically ephemeral comment reply into a longer and more considered post was a specific reference to my social connections as "numerous and strong". Actually, this statement was a comparative, but I don't think that matters a great deal in this case. I do think that my social connections are numerous; I make new friends wherever I go, and quite easily once I get into that comfort zone that I alluded to above. That said, I don't think most of the bonds I make are that strong. Although, this would depend on the meaning one assigns to "strong" in this case. Perhaps I'm being greedy, but I wish I had more that were stronger. There are some complex dynamics at work here, often including distance and cultural upbringing. Something I've been working on overcoming over the last few years is to remove a kind of glass ceiling that I artificially impose on the strength of my relationships. I've been pretty successful at this on some fronts, less on others.

I'm leaving this unlocked for John. I don't think I'll get to those 25 questions, perhaps this will suffice as a substitute.

A Monday Night in La-La-Land

There are a lot of little things that I could post about right now. It's been a funny old day. I had to teach at 10 and I had to prepare a quiz and look over the Latin I expected we'd get through beforehand, so after a late night and not much sleep last night, and a late night and not much sleep the night before and several others between previous New Bev screenings and gaming evenings, and looking down the barrel of another tonight, I took a nap this afternoon. So now I feel able to get my dice on until the wee hours, but don't feel sufficiently focused to actually use the intervening hours productively. Thus, my January; tomorrow, I'm getting my shit together.

The wedding over the weekend was fantastic, especially the gaming themed table accoutrements and the post wedding edition of #Barcon. Each table was marked and named for a Dominion card, I was at the Forge. The placemats were like double-sided character sheets with boxes to be filled with colour crayonswith details of how we knew the couple, favourite memories, how far we came, and so on. These were collected at the end of the night to form the guest book.

The post reception Weddingcon was an all board game affair as far as I was concerned. It's quite hard to devise decent strategies for Dominion while drunk, but that didn't stop me winning a game with the Prosperity Expansion, as well as a game of Terra Nova.

Meanwhile, in the realtime, D&D with Maptools over the intertubes is pretty fun:

And that, as they say, is that.

The Finest of Threads

A.K.A, Red or Blue?

I've read a lot of inspirational stuff recently and I'm slowly percolating and processing it all. Some of it has relatively simple take-away messages; others will require much longer to tease out. Some are interesting to reflect on in a detached manner; others I'd like to really get to grips with and use. Some are linked below; others are not.

Jonathan Coulton: "The Truth:
1. Most of being creative is showing up.
2. Sometimes showing up is the hardest thing in the world to do.

Kevin Smith: "If it never feels like work, it’s NOT work."

Seth Goldin: "Show up."

"Roleplaying games are systems of control." What does that mean? What should it mean at a prescriptive level? Or is it already at a prescriptive level?