29 October 2006

Coming Out as a Geek

Well, not really. I've been out off the Geek closet for years, but have no real idea of how much of a handle on my geekdom the people I know and call friends have or not. Well, having (finally) gotten around to passing on the address of this page to friends some may or may not swing by and find out at some point.

Granted, there's not that much geek stuff here yet - though more than a hint, it's less than an avalanche. I assume though that should I keep up with this whole blog thing, and splurge thoughts out into the ether here for any length of time then I shall certainly end up posting about a lot of geek subjects - gaming, genre TV, books and so forth. On the other hand it may just end up a vent point, more or less as it has been used so far, and nothing else. Yes, I've got one big, self-examining piece under construction but most of the things I've committed to the page are really minor, diary-esque mental dung droppings rather than anything truly interesting or insightful.

Maybe one day eh?


OK, maybe not, but we can all dream.

Maybe it's That Time Of Year?

Friday apathy has drifted over this whole weekend. There hasn't been a single thing - bar calling Garry late on Friday, to chat bollocks with a mate before he jets off to SA to meet his brother-in-law to be - that I have actively wanted to do in the last 3 days. OK, so that's not quite true - I wanted to watch HIGNFY and QI on Friday too, but I didn't really feel like it and wouldn't have been annoyed had I missed them. Managed to enjoy them all the same though.

All I really want is for there to be something I can desire to do, and enjoy doing, that I could dabble in at the beginning and end of the day, such that between those times I feel that touch more motivated to work. And currently nothing that I can think of is sparking even the slightest bit of interest in me. I have a wealth of games, books, films, music etc but none of it appeals. I have no desire to go out in the autumn air (and no disposable income to spend should I do so).

Its severely depressing, and possibly seasonal: its pretty much the exact same feeling I had when I moved back here 15 months ago and which persisted until January. I think I need a big kick up the arse from an external stimulus else I'll end up rotting inside for another 2 months, and that fucking scares me.

27 October 2006

That Friday Feeling

I get the impression from the context the phrase is most often used in that "that Firday Feeling" is meant to be a positive one associated with the weekend and not working.

"That Friday Feeling" for me seems to be summed up by one (not-even-a) word: meh.

Utter apathy and disinterest are back, a week to the day since I last felt like this.

23 October 2006

Coming Soon...

Or, well, sometime - when it's done - is my screed on WoW, disillusionment, MMOcrack, life, the universe and everything (well, ok - not the last two, but it'll seem like it, I think).

Inspired not just by the post that I referred to here but by my uncertainty toward the game as things stand and other's views (as determined by message boards and/or blogs) and a re-evaluation of my free time and how I (don't) use it.

A preview of the Ashes?

I hope not. England once again limped to defeat in a one-day game - this time against this winter's Test opponents - as they were drubbed by the Aussies in the pointless-but-nevertheless-significant Champion's Trophy (from which the defeat eliminated us).

It's certainly true to say that England are a bad one day side. It's also certainly true to say they are a good Test side. We probably shouldn't read too much into this defeat really but it's tough not to really. The Ashes is not far away and I can't shake this horrible feeling that it's going to be a disaster. Injuries to key players have hampered the England team since their famous acheivement in September 2005 but that's no excuse, and the side has generally looked a shade of the one that reclaimed the urn after a torrid 18 years - despite the uncovering of gems like Monty Panesar.

I've never thought we would win the series Down Under - much like I didn't actually believe that England would win the Ashes in 2005 (I always thought it was going to be close, though) - but I had held hopes of a drawn series and thus holding on to the trophy. But given the backward steps the team seems to have taken I would now not be surprised if we get hammered. Whilst I'm eagerly anticipating the Ashes, it's with a strong sense of tepidation!

A Nice Change of Pace

This weekend was both pleasant and extremely frustrating.

Midway through last week my brother and his girlfriend rang up to say they'd be coming for the weekend; we see them rarely enough so it was a nice change from the usual. However like all changes might, it came with a downside - that is me doing a lot less work than planned, precisely because I see them so infrequently and thus could not afford to shut myself away and get anything done.

But to concentrate on the good - it'd been a long while since I've actually particpated in any real discussion as opposed to idle conversation. Actually talking about things - current affairs, politics, old times, whatever else, made a change and it was nice to have my mind and ideas challenged for a change. When the majority of my social interactions consist of idle chatter over meals or side banter whilst really doing something else I find my brain switching off, and I'm sure that contributes to the malaise I described here. Opportunities to fight back against that kind of slow braindeath are to be welcomed at every turn, and it was a pleasant chance to exercise the old grey matter.

Another thing that was really good about the weekend was that I just didn't end up ploughing any significant length of time into WoW... the time spent not working was ploughed into other pursuits - both while the guests were here and before they arrived as well as since they left last night. This is another good fight I want to make myself fight - the "MMO as default activity" syndrome that both sucks all enjoyment out of the game itself and contributes to the mental dullness and general lack of motivation. I'd like to get back to the point where I either only log in when I am going to enjoy it - i.e. it's a choice of something I want to do at the time rather than something I'm doing because I can't think of anything else to do with my free time (hence the default activity line) - or I cancel the account again because I'm not enjoying it under any circumstances.

Instead, whilst my brother was here we played a few games of Carcassonne (Hunters and Gatherers edition). It never, ever, ceases to amaze me how amazing the Carcassonne games are. Dead simple in principle, dead complex to master, great fun, endlessly replayable and accessable to everyone - keen player of games or not. Tiles FTW!

20 October 2006

An Evening with Apathy


Just have no desire to do anyhting this evening. Moreover I actually actively don't want to do any of the things I might ordinarily do. I'm feeling kinda fed up with everything - be it TV, games or books of any kind.

Actually I'm kinda ambivalent about writing this too... but hey, it fills the time. Or not. Was going to write something about WoW and disillusionment/boredom but I think it's time to stop, 'cause I can't think of anything to say.

Not right now at least.


18 October 2006

Wow. WoW.

Came across a link to a very interesting Blog post on the mindset and effect of getting to the "top" in World of Warcraft over on RPGnet forums today.

I'll not say more than this in the immediate term: it's an eye opening read.

The post can be found here for those interested.

17 October 2006

Bloody busses

Normally the bus I take to get to Bicester on nights I game is vaguely on time. Tonight it just didn't turn up, so I felt obliged to call ahead and make my excuses, and call off for the week. *sigh*

Not only does this mean no gaming this week, but it compounds a communication mix-up that played out over e-mail in organising tonight... needless to say when I called ahead the host had already set off for the bus station to collect me. Thankfully his other half was in and the message was relayed, but it leaves me feeling a little guilty, somewhat flakey and stupid, even though there was little I could do. I felt it was the lesser of two evils for me to not show and the session to go ahead at a reasonable time a man down than have an already short session further truncated whilst everyone waits around for me - one at a cold, dark, bus station in Bicester. I just hope the others understand and see it similarly.

16 October 2006

What a Pain in the...

a) Back.

Gods I hate it when I wake up with back pain. I'm only 26 and do nothing to put undue strain on my back (beyond having somewhat suboptimal posture), but every so often I'll wake up with really persistant aches in my lower back that only clear some indeterminate time after I've got out of bed. Normally that's then it for the day, but sometimes - like now - it returns during the day. It really makes concentrating on anything difficult and doesn't predispose me to good moods. Whenever it flares up I am reminded that I should put effort in to improving my posture generally - and I do, for as long as it takes for the most recent aches to vanish at least. I've also been sleeping on the floor for what... 8-9 months now because I'm sure my poor matress was contributing to the problem. This move put paid to the waking pains for a while but lately it's been intermittantly back... co-inciding with very sleepless nights. I'm really fed up of not having a proper bed to collapse into in the evenings now, too... comfort and sleep have been permanently divorced in my mind.

b) Bridge of the nose

No idea why... kinda like a headache except the pain (dull, achey) is concentrated squarely between - rather than behind, or above - my eyes. It makes for a very odd sensation indeed - and not a pleasant one.

15 October 2006

Same old England.

Words cannot express how dire today's result was so I'll just let the scorecard tell the story.

Oh how the Aussies will be laughing this winter, the England cricket team is currently a long way shy of the one that recaptured the Ashes in 2005. *sigh*

13 October 2006

Favourite Oxymorons

Oxymorons are kinda fun... and everyone has their favourites, usually classics like "Microsoft Works" or "Military Intelligence."

My current favourite is Early Night - the thing described being, as best I can tell, the single biggest myth of adulthood (shortly followed by... nah, not going there). Seriously, I keep telling myself that one day soon I'll track down, ambush and exploit an Early Night - I've heard it's a great way to catch up on sleep - but no matter how hard I try I just cannot find one anywhere. Been looking for years, too.

I guess it's kind of ironic justice that a guy who's PhD (currently undergoing final corrections) involved studies where circadian rhythmicity was a factor is afflicted with an endogenous activity rhythm that has bugger all in common with normal everyday life. As I type I'm practically falling asleep, I'm that tired, and its what... quarter to 5 in the afternoon right now. Yet come a normal, decent, time to go to bed I'll be wide awake... come an hour when my body might actually let me nod off, I'll not feel the slightest inclination or need to do so. And this is why the early night is, to me, a myth; if I try to go to bed early - tired or no - I just cannot or will not sleep... in essence it does me no good. So generally I'll stay up longer, wake up mentally and have to force myself to go to bed when mentally wide awake in order to drift off. And often even then I don't sleep. I've probably been sleep deprived for the entirity of my adult life come to think of it...

Not really much about oxymorons in that at all in the end. Oh well.

12 October 2006

Who'd of thought...

That just listing a load of place names had any place in music.

Sometimes when I'm stressed I find I can only get to sleep at nights by having music playing at low volume when I hit the sack. Last night it was Lemon Jelly's Lost Horizons - wonderfully relaxing music, complex enough to warrant actually listening, tune in to tune out, and inspired simplicity wrapped up nicely in blissful perfection.

But I've always had a thing for Ramblin' Man - wherein the majority of the tune consists of spoken word recitations of place names over a soothing, repeating melody. It's just perfect. Bizarre, but perfect. And now it comes in WoW flavour as someone has made an Azeroth travel diary with the tune as backing. Fucking inspired!

Pointless Weather Update

Yeah, so that rain I was moaning about earlier...

Flash floods in the local area and a closed ring road.

25 houses flooded in a village not far south.

Yeah. Autumn is foul.

A minor personal revalation

Aside from the fact I'm a lazy git and can't motivate myself worth a damn.

It just struck me that, for the time being at least, the things that I thought I looked for in gaming are not the things that bring me most pleasure when gaming. Chiefly I'm talking RPGs here, but if I'm honest I can probably extrapolate it to videogaming or boardgaming too.

In essense, at this stage of my life, the chief benefit I get from any of these activities is derived purely from them being conducted social occasions, rather than any pleasure garnered from the nature of the game(s) themselves or how/why they are played.

Do I think my needs and wants have changed? Long term, probably not. I am however beginning to realise just how socially and mentally isolated the last 4 years have left me, withdrawing evermore into myself - especially in the last year where I've been retracting even from a lot of e-contacts I had (case in point, lessening involvement over at RPG.net forums - whether the gaming forums or the off-topic/geek media communities there), and am on the verge of losing touch with a lot of people that I really would rather not lose touch with. I must give myself a big kick up the arse and sort this out. (I tell myself similar things on different topics every day and nothing gets done but this is getting chronic now and really needs stamping out.)

But yeah... this all means that the nights when I go out gaming are first and foremost social occasions now; touching base with the outside world. As such I've lost the drive or motivation to craft game situations to my benefit, to impose any creativity on it, all in favour of just getting out, meeting up and putting the most simple of enjoyments first. I hope this'll change again soon, 'cause I'd really like to rediscover the creative spark that has waxed and waned for as long as I've been aware - thus letting me enjoy both the social occasion and actively use it to further higher creative desires which currently cannot be stirred.

Or otherwise summed up: crap, my mind is dormant

11 October 2006

Autumn. Bleh.

Never understood why people like this season. Really. The cold starts setting in, the weather goes to shit and it's dark before the day even seems to have started.

Right now, I'm trying to get the enthusiasm together to start some work, but all I can see out of the window is sheets of rain and the occasional flash of lightning. The TV signal keeps getting interrupted and it's bloody dark. At 10.30 in the morning. Gah!

To make things worse it's Wednesday morning and I didn't sleep last night. Monday and Tuesday somehow passed me by almost entirely - apart from last night, which was good fun. X-com a la Unknown Armies with all the moral ambiguity lacking from the old trun based videogames, and all the humour that comes from a group of unskilled amateurs chasing aliens round with big guns and no sense.

How would you stop a runaway cruise ship?

09 October 2006

Pissing in the Wind

So yeah... my previous blog effort (logging a freeform RPG effort with friends) stalled when it became necessary to transcribe from notes rather than chatlogs.

Rather than convert Dogtown Life into my personal moaning/ranting/whatever else project I've finally gotten around to posting this instead. It remains to be seen what, or even whether, I post to this often, infrequently, or at all but I see it as a source of venting, randomness, opinions... but above all somewhere to splurge out anything I feel wants to be communicated.

Moreover it may just serve as the missing link in getting my arse into gear and keeping contact with a few people I should be mailing and phoning more often.

So yeah. I'm Graham, and this is me pissing in the electronic wind.