"I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?" - Chuang Tzu

Spoilery review below the cut. )
atolnon: (Default)
( Mar. 5th, 2011 04:31 pm)
I've been putting together a concept CD for my Sidereal character I expect to play in the upcoming Exalted game, both to get me in the right frame of mind before a game, and because it's been kind of a while since I've taken the time to really put together a mix CD that I really enjoy. Most of them had been real quick and dirty affairs - a rough collection of songs I wanted to listed to right at the moment without any real regard for flow. As I write this, I feel my eyes drawn to a pair of really old mix CDs that I occasionally still pull out. I'd compiled the songs in high school, more or less based on if I felt good or bad that day.

One was orange and the other purple - orange was ostensibly the feel-good CD, but most of the songs are pretty wistful - Incubus' Steller, Wish You Were Here, some tunes from BoA, Counting Crows Long December, Smashing Pumpkins' Here's to the Atom Bomb and 1979. The purple CD is mostly Deftones, Garbage, NIN, and Stabbing Westward. My chief feelings, looking back, were anger and a sense of wistful placidity. That's pretty clearly depression, there. But they hold up well, even if it reminds me of how young I was at the time.

It's an interesting exercise, so I might actually write more on it later.
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I really wanted to be able to comment on a complete project sometime in this weekend period, but it's really not to be. Persona 4 is a very long game (which I'm nearing the end of), and a few friends were around when I was playing it. Near the middle, the series usually inserts something to break the serious mood, and it's fairly long, so I watched what amounted to 'The Culture Fair' episode which involved a little fan service, poking fun at the male characters, and basically a lot of mutual embarrassment.

Something that just came to mind - the humor seems to come from the female characters lack of self-esteem (and one exception) while humor that stemmed from male characters tended to take the form of digs at their egos and situations where their masculinity is called into questions. IE, the females were entered into a beauty pageant as a joke, while the males were entered into a cross-dressing event as a similar gag. These norms are going to be a part of my eventual wrap-up on the game, though, so I won't give an opinion about it now.

Discussion about my game has become more intense here, and a few others have asked to play so I'll probably open a few slots for characters that tend to come and go. Honestly, I'm a little flattered. I should have the third game wrap-up on the website tomorrow.

I'm continuing to play MineCraft. It's a difficult game to talk about because there's no metric of success.

One thing I've been thinking about for a while is the Sandman series which, as I mentioned in passing a while ago, I actually did finish reading. I think I owe the series a re-read before I launch into thoughts about it and it'll be difficult to speak of it without launching into what's just a recap.
atolnon: (Default)
( Sep. 13th, 2010 09:22 am)
I enjoyed the hell out of my Sunday, I've got to tell you. I don't think I even put on shoes, you know? I think I was in pajamas and a Rogue Nation t-shirt a size too big for me until somewhere around 4 PM, when I endeavored to clean the shower somewhat and then use it. All the trappings of being categorically lazy were present, but I would doubt that the apartment has frequently looked cleaner then it does right now. You could eat off the counters, which is not something I would have recommended a week ago.

Part of this is due to my roommate working something like 100 hour weeks. He's not unsanitary, or not really unsanitary, he's just messy. Some of his mess resists cleanup, since he leaves his mail and work papers just wherever in the living room and alcohol containers more or less just re-spawn after being taken to the recycling bin. But still.

Last week, I ordered the last three volumes of Scott Pilgrim and one Metric CD off Amazon. I also picked up the last volume of Sandman and read it over a few hours on Saturday, which marks the end of that reading. The whole bit was a little anti-climactic, which I suppose was the point of volume 10, after all. Now that I've got the whole main collection - finally - and have read the whole thing, I guess I'll give some of my initial feedback maybe tomorrow, or maybe later tonight of my graphic novels don't show up in the post.

Point is, I've got a lot of media running through my hands at the moment.

I'm spending my time at work reading FreakAngels www.freakangels.com/ and Blame! www.mangafox.com/manga/blame/ when I'm not on Salon, NPR, or RPG.net. Except that I'm enjoying them both in great amounts but totally different ways, I don't have much to say right now. I also have a World War X game upcoming on Thursday and I'm running a Mage game for 2 people tomorrow. Given that, I'd say that there's apt to be a post about every other day until all that's been gone through. If you're interested in my analysis of these things, I may be giving you something to procrastinate with for a few minutes with these next few days.

Edit : I got all the Scott Pilgrim and the Fantasies in the same day. I spent the night drinking, writing a Mage game, reading Scott Pilgrim and listening to Metric. Frank also showed up early and we hung out a little while, so no new entries for you.
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atolnon: (Default)
( Apr. 22nd, 2010 12:20 pm)
If you read Penny Arcade(1), and you might, then you've probably seen Tycho and Gabe's response to Ebert's response(2) to Kellee Santiago's TED(3) (and Kellee responded to Ebert first(4), so it's possible you've seen that as well.). I am trying to give an impression of layers, here, but it's more akin to everyone trying to talk at once. We're in a crowded room, and Ebert yelled the nerd-equivalent of 'fire', and this is the kind of discussion that results.

Before I go any further, Tycho and Gabe and Kellee are correct. Kellee says that games are art, and they are. Tycho and Gabe are correct in that it's something of a non-conversation. Ebert is usually eloquent and sharp, but his remarks regarding games are cloudy and imprecise. The definition of art has always been murky; it relies entirely on dividing endeavors between what is and what isn't itself.

We love these divisions, but they're little more then conceptual guidelines that allow us to communicate. Video games check many of the boxes that we mentally conflate with art, just in a different way then we're taught to consider them. What is and what isn't art is a useless conversation, because practically speaking, almost every creative endeavor is art of a type. We make things and expect them to have an impact on those that engage with them. That's art.

I guess I'm more interested in those divisions then going further with the debate up top. There's the art-not art, then the high art-low art, then the literature-not literature, canon-non canon... you know, these are mostly useless divisions we use to make us feel better about the things we engage in. They exist to give a meaning to activities that are mostly hobbies. Important, maybe critical hobbies. Hobbies that do have inter-discipline differences. But instead of describing them by what they do, we title them based on how we want to feel about ourselves when we engage in them.

I watch films, and films are art. I watch films that are art, and the films that you watch are not. My hobby is important and I am made more meaningful based on its pursuit. You play games, and games are not art. My consumption makes me more meaningful then your consumption makes you.

That's it. It's just marketing.

(1) http://www.penny-arcade.com/  This actually has a direct link to most of the articles.
(2) http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/04/video_games_can_never_be_art.html
(3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9y6MYDSAww - I think this is right.
(4) http://kotaku.com/5520437/my-response-to-roger-ebert-video-game-skeptic
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I failed to get a new driver's license. When I checked the website, it basically just said I needed an valid out of state ID but that was only pertaining to if I needed to test or not. Totally missed the part where I needed 3 forms of ID. A yearbook counts but a college ID doesn't. I don't know how this works.

At that point I did what and logical person is going to do being put into this situation. No, not getting the required identification and driving back. I pulled up Hulu and decided to watch some The Daily Show! Hurrah!

This is what never fails to fascinate me. Stewart is basically the toughest interview in town, on any network. Regardless of who wins the debate, and regardless of the fact that this is a comedy show, Stewart's coverage of the news and maybe more importantly, his interviews with guests, are more intense then anything else I see on TV. I was particularly impressed with the fact that they actually opened up the health care bill and actually discussed readings directly from the bill. It took up at least half the episode. Pretty fucking hardcore, if you ask me. 
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