Quick Question

Should I move the Words & Things posts to the main blog, or leave them there? I think if I leave them there, I can use the main blog for more focused, thematic articles, and let the W&T page be the random key-punching.

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Words and Things

I missed an entire week of writing and most of a week of work due to illness and a wedding. We’ll be back with w&t in the upcoming week.

Post-Privacy Generation: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love my Cybernetics

I was born into a post-privacy generation. This is not to say that my generation has rolled over and accepted this; quite the contrary, many of my peers are outraged by the common invasion, some of them choosing to avoid social media altogether (others of them, seemingly ignorant of the irony, posting on social media about the invasion of privacy). I’ve never been one of those. Read more

Follow-Up

In my last post, I shared the tragic backstory of my current RPG character, Jack. I sent the story I shared to my Game Master about an hour before the game where our party fought the Big, Bad, Evil Guy, Archbishop Michael of the false cult of Aroden (the same Michael who, as a younger, lower-ranked cleric of the same cult, killed Cornelius/Jack’s wife; see last post). The fight ended when Jack transmutated himself into a giant raptor and ate Michael whole. Ok, yes, I understand why some people think this hobby is weird. Read more

Tragic Backstory

If you’re unfamiliar with tabletop RPGs, think Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). If you’re unfamiliar with D&D (or incorrectly associate it with devil worship), watch the first episode of Netflix’s Stranger Things. RPGs, or Role-Playing Games, are basically collective storytelling; each player has a character or role that they play within the world of the story. Makes sense that a writer would like to play them, right? Read more

Mourning the Living

Two different important people in my life are going through different, difficult separations almost simultaneously. I shared this with one of them just now:

In my experience, the hardest mourning is for those still alive.

If that makes no sense to you, thank God that you are so blessed. If you know exactly what I mean by mourning those still alive, I sympathize.

Life is rarely fair. Death does not always mean the cessation of biological processes. You are not alone. You are loved.

Living Large

I stand 6’3″ and weigh 395 pounds (190 cm and 180 kg, for those in the civilized world). My shoulders are about 22-24 inches across (55-60 cm; rough estimate). I am a large man. Mix that with the gnarly beard and long hair; you understand why I do a great Rubeus Hagrid impression.

According to the CDC, the average American male is 5’9″ (175 cm) and 195.7 lbs (88.7 kg). The difference between my height and the average American male is roughly equivalent to the distance from the top of my head to the bottom of my chin (measured with the beard squished flat). Most people who only see me standing up don’t know if my dandruff is flaring.

My entire life, I’ve been bigger than my peers. Even before I became morbidly obese, I was broader, thicker, and taller than most of my classmates. My mom didn’t tell me to be nice with the other kids; she told me to be gentle, because I might accidentally hurt someone else.

I share these vitals so you can appreciate the care with which I navigate my world. When I’m walking through the corridors at work, where there are several people whose height comes up to my armpit, I slow down around corners and maintain 360ยบ awareness, not unlike a semi on the road. Maybe you can also appreciate how annoying it is when a smaller person isn’t paying attention and nearly runs into me.

I can stop my significant girth on a dime from a brisk walk. I know this well because of how many times I’ve had to do so. The look of quick terror when smaller people notice they were almost run down stabs at the gentle giant instilled in me from a young age. However, if I’m having a bad day, if the sounds of Ludacris’s “Move Bitch” sound soothing to my addled mind, I think about these vitals in a different light. Haven’t and won’t let anyone bounce off me, but on my worst days, I’ve had some thoughts of Lilliputians looking up at me.

Guess I’m a good man; well, I’m alright.

Mal
Firefly, “Shindig”

Trying a First Line

I knew our civilization was doomed when I witnessed the advent of the idle mobile game; we’d become entertained not by playing games, but by making games play themselves.

I have a couple of flash stories that hinge around what I thought of as captivating first lines, but I need a third to go with them to make them a complete set. Do you think that would make an interesting opener to a short story?

Also, idle games. I’ve played a few for a while, and I ultimately stop playing them because of this critique. They start out where you tap a button repeatedly, which, I recognize, shares the critique previous generations had of video games I grew up playing, but there is no timing, no hand-eye coordination, no strategy. Just press the button as often as it will let you. Then, once you’ve gathered enough in-game resources, you can buy a manager/automaton that will push the button for you. Now, you’ve got a new button to push and more automata to purchase with the in-game resources being mined by the previous automata. Wash, rinse, repeat. At first, it’s a resource game where you try to decide where you want to spend your resources, but ultimately, it’s just a waiting game: wait for the automata to produce enough widgets to build more automata.

As a way to burn a few minutes in a waiting room, in a waiting room, it’s not too bad, but I’d just as soon play something that requires some thought, reaction time, or both. And as a form of proper entertainment, why bother? Read a book.