Monday, December 15, 2014

Gamer

I should be finishing up my various assignments before my finals on Tuesday. But... there it is.

I recall, very clearly, the moment I stopped personally identifying as a "gamer." Amber and I were at GameStop, and the new Duke Nukem game was about to come out. Amber and the cashier had an excited exchange about it, and somehow I got dragged into it. I was aware of the game, and the franchise in a general sense, but had never played them. The cashier just kind of shook her head (yes, two women were involved in this conversation) and said, "You might not be as much of a gamer as you think you are."

Once upon a time, I would've taken that as an insult. I prided myself on self-identifying as a gamer and a geek. It was important, for some reason, in ways that I've lost touch of in the past several years. But in that moment, I took a brief pause to reflect on the statement, and agreed with the notion. And was perfectly fine with it.

I bring this up because in the past few weeks, I've been contemplating my whole thing with Sundays. You see, every Sunday now for around... goddamn, seven years? I've played D&D. Or some other TTRPG, but generally D&D, generally d20. And the other week, it just... I don't know.

Like, this past summer, I pretty much stopped playing video games. Now I don't consider something like Civilization to fall into the same category as other games: that's mostly a "I have a day to burn, umm... play Civ, I guess" kind of thing. It's not something I really pursue, it's just... a really long game of solitaire, essentially.

I only played Minecraft this past week because I found out that a mod that I'd wanted to play a year ago had finally updated to the version I'm on a few months ago, and I wanted to try it out. Of course, I also applied for a position with the "company" that makes the mod, and wanted to be at least familiar with their new content. Actually I applied because I was kind of appalled that something that was so hyped had such... shitty dungeon design. Not that they're to blame, they're using the built-in methods from Minecraft, but... if there is a place to make PGC shine, it is instanced dungeons in Minecraft.

Anyway.

So, I've pretty much stopped playing video games. I don't really care anymore. And I'm slowly moving towards that opinion in regards to tabletop RPGs, as well. Playing the game is just so... I don't know, trite? I feel like I want to say that I've grown past it, but I'm not sure if that's the right word. But it feels like the right word.

Now, on the other hand, designing this shit is totally awesome. I designed a card-based RPG in a couple weeks, a couple months ago, and it's friggin' awesome. But even so, now that we've got the basics hammered out and playtested it a few times, it's like... okay, yes, card game. I don't want to play it. I want to design it, and design more, and actually do something business-like with it. Sitting around playing a goddamn CCG that I made is... okay, I guess, but I probably have better things to do with my time, you know?

I guess what I'm trying to get across is that the "gamer" label doesn't really feel like it applies, anymore. I might play games now and again, it's not like I'm opposed to the notion or completely abandoning it. But games - specifically the playing of games - being a major component of my life is definitely trending towards not being a thing. Game design and game-playing are, and always will be (at least in my mind), two very different things. While both are hobbies, one is definitely more intellectually stimulating than the other, and I feel like I've achieved something when I do something awesome with game design. The same cannot be said for playing a game.

Anyway, it's late. I should probably go to sleep so I can finish shit tomorrow, and probably study for my finals on Tuesday.

153 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Overreaction

So the other night, when I was upset at myself for getting drunkenly angry... apparently my PS3 was not cooperating, and that's why I was angry. Which is sensible - I had a solid reason. Not like I just started freaking out for no reason.

Went out drinking pretty much every night this week, except last night because I'm out of gas and nowhere was open. Anyway, I managed to go through each night without freaking out. Hell, Orby and I even playtested the card-based RPG I wrote up a month or so ago, and it went pretty well.

...

In other news, today I signed up for graduation. That's a bit of a weird feeling. I'll be walking with the computer science folks... not sure how many of us there will be, but it'll be better than walking with the philosophy students. Interestingly enough I can count on one hand the number of my fellow philosophy students I can actually stand; most of them I just want to punch in the face for being so goddamn retarded.

I remember on Tuesday, one of them was trying to convince me that gravity falls off at a rate of the cube root of the distance, not the square root... oh look, the inverse-square law! Goddamn people. Pro-tip to any philosophy students reading this: shut the ever-loving fuck up about anything other than philosophy, unless you actually have studied it and know what you're talking about. Shoving your head up your ass about other fields when you don't know what's going on is seriously probably one of the reasons we are generally ridiculed.

In my Lit class, I'm reading Ibsen's A Doll's House. Reading it makes me angry... watching the film version from the 70's makes me even more angry. Why am I supposed to sympathize with a character who is utterly unable to take responsibility for her actions? Why am I supposed to sympathize with a character who thinks the law doesn't apply to her, because she's special or whatever? The fuck is this nonsense. At least with Shakespeare, I knew what I was getting into... but this is just fucking stupid.

Oh and then over the next few weeks we're reading Death of a Salesman. Because I didn't get sick of reading that in high school.

Ugh. Whatever. Just a couple more weeks left to this semester, and then like... a month and a half off. And then the final semester.

It'll feel good to finally be done... 169 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fury

The other day, someone in one of my classes compared me to Bruce Banner: he anticipated the notion that I would have whiteboards in my place (I do, because they're awesome), I'm always angry, and I've done some studying of physics in my time.

It's not an incorrect comparison. But it does bother me.

Last night I got hammered. Happened somewhat by accident... I got more hammered than I'd intended. Of what I remember, I was having a good time. An okay time, at the very least. But then, apparently, at some point, I started freaking out and yelling a lot and just generally being an angry person.

I don't know why I get so goddamn angry. I don't know why I'm angry all the time. I have a lot of things to be angry about, sure... but at this point, I also have a lot of things to not be angry about. So why the hell am I so angry all the time?

It's getting... no, it is out of hand. It needs to stop. I just have no idea how to stop it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mortal

It's been awhile. So much for my plan of doing five or so posts a month, eh?

Life has been busy. Well... perhaps not "life," but I'll get to that in a moment. Lots of irons in the fire, sure enough, but not a whole lot coming to fruition.

Middle of last month or so, I decided to get back into gaming. Resubbed to both Eve and FF XIV. Haven't played much Eve - still no reason to - but I went into XIV with gusto. Dived right back into it, and that... kind of consumed my time, quite a bit.

It's not to say I didn't have fun. I did, for most of it. But then the other day, I was playing, and was kind of getting bored... just a slump, I told myself.

Then I was driving to class on Tuesday, and - nearly back to back - "Cat's in the Cradle" played, followed by "Dust in the Wind." I then kind of had one of those revelatory moments, and was like, "oh right, I'm mortal. I should probably do shit."

Haven't logged into either game since.

Classes are going okay. I figured out in the last couple weeks that if I wear headphones and listen to my post-rock track on Pandora on super-low volume, it does wonders for my focus - if I actually try to pay attention. Otherwise it completely destroys my ability to passively listen (ie, when I'm paying solitaire instead of paying attention). So it's a work in progress, but when it works, it works, and it's awesome.

Today I finally acknowledged the inevitable and, in the spirit of acknowledging my mortality, put together my academic plan for my graduate degree. I now know exactly where I want to go, the degree I am going for, and the classes I will be taking - and in what order. I'll be able to finish in literally a year, which is fantastic.

Chances are good that I'll be starting that up within a year of graduating in the spring. I have momentum, now; the storm can rage all it wants, but I am finally sailing under my own power, despite it. I'm not interested in resting on my laurels; there's shit to be done, and I won't be able to accomplish it by basking in my achievements. Even if I manage to graduate on time, this time around, an undergrad in computer science and philosophy is just... insufficient for my goals. I need more.

I may always need more, but that's another story.

I've also begun contemplating looking for a job, specifically in Seattle. Amazon is apparently hiring, and that sounds like as good a venue as any. I just need something solid that can give me a decent monetary base to work with, and provide me with funding while I pursue my graduate degree. Once I have that in hand, I can begin working towards figuring out how to get to Bloomington and get the joint doctorate in cognitive science and informatics with a complex systems emphasis.

The road is clear. The path is set. I have but to walk it.

177 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Swan

Been awhile.

Classes are going... acceptably. Not awesome, but not terrible.

Financial aid shenanigans are afoot once more. In the midst of appeals. Fun times.

Had an extensive interview down in Neenah the other day. This place apparently simultaneously wants me to work for them really bad, and also doesn't want me to work for them at all: during the interview, I got an email saying I didn't get a job with them (not the one I was interviewing for, I think). So it's all been... kind of chaotic.

Journey playtests have been chaotic, but mildly informative. We will do some white-room testing this Friday, hopefully, and then move on to the actual story bullshit next time.

Just a whole lot of chaos, these days. Less feeling like floating, though, and more like freefall... the end of this place is nearing, and I think my life is sensing that. This is like... the boss rush of my life, right here. Which is kind of a stupid comparison, but I'll take it.

Only 222 days remain. That is... I mean, obviously the number keeps getting smaller, but still. It gets smaller faster, these days, it seems; the passage of time has gotten a little strange for me, as of late. I attribute it to being older.

Anyway. I have an exam shortly... should probably prepare for that, or something.

222 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Slow

Nine days. Lots has happened.

I've had three interviews. They all seemed to go pretty well, I think... two were at one place, for a comp sci internship. I've never really felt like I knew enough to even be considered for such a job, so that was - admittedly - a bit of a confidence boost.

Other one was for a night auditor job at a hotel nearby. Not nearly as glamorous, but... it's not food, which is a nice change of pace.

Unfortunately, I probably won't know about either one for awhile yet. The internship thing sounded... shaky, I guess? It's all remote, and they're a consulting firm, so I guess it's harder to get a job that way. Or something. They were kind of unclear. And the auditing job, well... they have a number of other candidates, and I might have been a bit late to the interview, which sure as hell didn't help my chances any.

Anyway.

I've sold ten copies of my thing, which you can find on the sidebar. Ten copies... ugh. Feels like so little. Haven't sold any in a couple days. Starting to get a little disheartened.

I have put almost no work into Journey, and we start up our playtest in a couple days. That's going to be... super fun.

My classes are kind of insane. I hate my philosophy class; specifically, I loathe the professor. He's the one guy I have gotten less than a B from in a philosophy course. He seems to have issue with me having opinions. I don't know. That was also like... six years ago, so maybe he's mellowed out some. I know his handwriting has improved, so at least that's something.

I'm also having issues adjusting my sleep schedule. I have class in seven hours, and I have to be on campus for... eight hours, with no opportunities for naps or anything like I did last semester. So... yeah.

I wonder if my phone is charged yet. Eh... 80%? I guess I'll take it. Need it to be good to go for an alarm, and the cord doesn't reach to the futon.

Oh yeah, and it's getting cold here again. Makes me want to watch Black Swan... I watched that my first week at the hovel, now a few years ago. Don't know if it was good times, but it was interesting times. Maybe now I'll always associate the smell of fall with that place. I know it's the first time that I moved that wasn't at the end of spring or start of summer... even moving into the dorms, that was the end of August, so it still smelled like summer outside.

I hate the winters here. I like snow, don't get me wrong, but... fucking cold. I hate the cold. At least this should be the last winter I spent in this miserable hellhole, assuming all goes well.

248 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Crumble

Oy. What a week.

Trying to get my phone reactivated in the event that I get a call-back regarding a job. That has been a super-fun experience. ...wait, I mean the other one. Super-shitty. That's the phrase.

Still wait-listed on a bunch of classes. Been scrambling to figure out exactly what the hell I need to take to ensure that I can graduate on time. Ha! Well, on time for me, anyway. I'm about five years too late to graduate "on time," but... life happens, I guess.

Finally started doing the self-publishing thing. Don't know if I've mentioned that on here before, but it was a crazy drunken thought I had a couple weeks ago, and it finally got off the ground. Put a link to it in the sidebar thingy where I put my work. Also stuck a link to my Minecraft mod, because... completeness, I guess.

...

First class of this semester starts in just over four hours. My sleep schedule got all kinds of fucked once summer hit, and while I adjusted it mildly to accommodate my only in-person class at TC over the summer, it pretty much went right back to nocturnal once that was done. I guess nearly a decade of almost entirely being nocturnal will do that to you.

Alcohol is still making me angry. Not entirely sure why. I mean... I'm an angry person, I guess. So it makes sense that when the inhibitions are removed, all that bullshit comes out. Probably doesn't help that not much is really going my way these days.

...has anything ever really gone my way?

Success has been rare. Every victory tainted by all the defeats that happened along the way. Even this self-publishing thing... it's cool that I finally got off my ass and started doing something even vaguely productive, but... fuck. I don't see it as a success. Sure, selling three copies in the first 24 hours, as a no-name guy just doing this by his damn self... I don't know if that's decent or not. I mean it beats not selling any. Just doesn't strike me as fantastic, though, you know? Like any putz could have done that.

Hmm.

Maybe my problem is that there is nothing that I have succeeded at that I was only able to do so because I am me. By that I mean that there's nothing I've done that someone else couldn't have done. I'm not sure if that makes sense... I've been up too long already as it is, today. But I can't go to sleep now, since classes are so very soon.

Damn my inability to take naps.

I'm still a goddamn mess, inside. Nearly 30, and still a fucking mess. What a pathetic excuse for an adult I am. Squandered time...

No sense getting all upset about it now. One foot in front of the other. Don't look back. Just gotta keep marching ever onward. My dawn will come soon enough...

257 days remain.

A still more glorious dawn awaits.