January 26th, 2007

Semiformalishmaybe

Atrophy and Cancer

At the 61c tonight, I sat next to a really cute couple that looked to be either newly in love or really deeply in love - they were holding hands and kind of staring into each others eyes as they talked, sometimes holding both hands. I kind of wish I had been invisible so it wouldn't've been awkward to look. Just as much as it's painful to see such things for me, it's also really lifting. Kind-of-related, Valentine's day is coming up, a day which, thanks to widespread celebration of/by happy couples, has almost always left me feeling pretty bitter. Related, today's xkcd kind of struck home, and also made me remember that I've done that a few times.

The weather continues to be terrible and grows colder yet, but this does mean ski/snowboard season is here(?). I just need to hunt down a posse of interested people and at least one car to go to Seven Springs. Interested people should let me know.

I'm probably going to see Pan's Labyrinth on Sunday, with what's turning out to be a group composed of all females apart from me who probably don't know each other. If anyone else wants to join the herd, regardless of gender, right now I think we're aiming for sometime in the afternoon. The time isn't remotely close to being firm yet, and some people might drop if their schedule doesn't fit, but it should still hopefully be a decent set of people. Again, let me know.

Semiformalishmaybe

Sulphur, Smoke, Mist, and Clay

It would be an interesting other cosmology for a DnD game - instead of the classical european elements (earth,air,fire,water) or classical chinese (wood, metal, fire, earth, water), one might use these, and set them on a cycle, whereby mist would represent midnight to six, clay six to noon, sulphur noon to eighteen, and smoke eighteen to midnight. Maybe if one wanted to be elaborate about time, one could then set spells to change in power based on these things, or have two suns and two moons, etc. Some part of me is always collecting ideas about different cosmologies, ways for various magic (or psionics) to work, and similar for some gaming campaign that will probably never happen because it's hard to get good gamers. It's still fun to collect and think about these things though.

On that topic, I've been thinking about how, in the way I've played some games recently, I've tended to eventually read a lot of spoilers on various wikis. I stopped playing Dofus (their gameplay didn't keep me interested for long enough), but I still play KOL and a few other games when the mood strikes me. Spoilers really change the way I think of the game though, moving me a bit of the way from being a pure player of the game to admiring its construction, perhaps towards even being a developer of such things if I were invited in or a constructor of similar games. Is KOL less fun given that I use the guides so much? It's at least differently fun, and this is the case of a lot of games I play - it's not so much discovery of new content that keeps me in as the opportunity to develop things - it almost reminds me of gardening (which when I was much younger I enjoyed - I still probably would if I had a nice outdoor or greenhouse place for it). The Civilization series of games really appeals to me because that's a big part of the game - I like to plant things, watch them grow, and tinker with stuff that has a real effect. It's also kind of similar to doing code refactoring on a large project while trying to nudge other programmers to improve their style and learn new ways of doing things. I sometimes enjoy other kinds of games (like Smash Brothers and other sufficiently silly fighting games), but they feel more like amusements than the "joyish labour" that strategically nurturing things gives.

Some games that are insufficiently deep (the problems they pose permit easy solutions) are really ruined by spoilers or sometimes by playing too similar of a game, and if the choices are insufficiently broad (or even feel so, like in chess, although I know chess is very deep in its own way), I might not be able to get hooked in the first place or might quit when games are near to being won as the thinking involved becomes superfluous. I don't even generally need to play "to win" to have a good time, but having purpose helps.

Sometimes I've been in the situation where I avoided becoming close to someone because I could see from the start exactly how my friendship/relationship would turn out and the utter predictability pre-bored me enough to stay away. Sometimes I even thought that it would be pleasant to be friends with them, but boredom won out over pleasantness. There are times when I really can't stand to be bored, and other times when predictability and tranquility is really what I need. To live is to embody many contradictions.

Unrelated, there are times when my communication skills really suck and I say things that are either irritating as hell (in their phrasing, not the content) or are puzzlingly unclear yet fiercely phrased. I appreciate it when other people call me on this when I do it, as I often don't realise when I am and it often bugs me when other people do it. Of course, when it's my content that's irritating as hell, that's subjective and a necessary part of being a thinker, so I don't mind.