Category: Notes

MOVED POST 7

This post was deemed important to my PhD and has been moved to my academic blog. If you don’t know where that is, that’s okay! Or you can contact me to ask me where to find it.

Otherwise, don’t worry about it.

MOVED POST 6

This post was deemed important to my PhD and has been moved to my academic blog. If you don’t know where that is, that’s okay! Or you can contact me to ask me where to find it.

Otherwise, don’t worry about it.

Notes: Giving Gifts

One of those things that happens when you develop some expertise (ha ha ha) in a field, you’re going to see your own expertise as an element in the works around you. You’ll see someone doing something and think oh, if only you knew what I did, and then the next thought, oh you should listen to me inform you of what you’re missing. That is, to say, learning can make you into a meddlesome tit.

But despite that warning, this whole thing about Christmas Presents is an interesting discussion of perceptions of values, of what we can value, but my immediate reaction upon hearing the premise, should you give Christmas Presents, and a question that viewed as a way of making people happy is that it’s a game.

Giving people Christmas presents – or any present really – is a game. It’s a game where I am trying to show you you. Now there are constraints – I can’t spend too much, or too little, and I can’t ask you (I mean, I can, but it deflates the game a little). There could be all sorts of mindsets for this game. I could view it as cooperative, where we both win if I get you something that satisfies you and vice versa. It can be competitive – you might be wanting more than you give, you might be wanting to use this to demonstrate power or competence over me, and you might even view it as a game with minimal participation. You want to get out of the game as fast as possible. That leaves all sorts of different attitudes towards the play of the game, but the time spent within this game is play. It’s creative. You test ideas out, you consider options, and then, crucially, with the thing that makes this game really interesting, you make your choice, make it obscured, and reveal that choice at the end of the game.

This is why giving money is gauche. It says I don’t know you. It also doesn’t have any interesting tension associated with it. We disguise gifts in funny boxes or with suspicious wrapping. We even tease one another with the decision.

Now I am studying play and the making of games, so obviously I’m going to see this. I could be fulla nonsense.

Still, good channel.

Notes: Sorted Bran Flake Cake

Here’s a thing that taught me something!

This recipe – set aside the laddish racing – is a really nice little dessert to make. I’ve done some experimenting with it and some findings so far.

  • The bran cereal can be replaced with muesli or oats. Dicing it up makes it more of a texture than ‘cake with stuff in it.’
  • You can put a lot of things in the bottom of the mug! I’ve done it with diced bits of apple, you can use apple saue, but also jersey caramels, or a dash of strawberry jam
  • You can stick things in the mix! I put in some chocolate chips and they came out of it nice, if they were small enough
  • This thing creates its own sauce with the brown sugar and milk, so you’re best off mixing it with flavours that go well with that, like apple and caramel or vanilla ice cream

 

Staying Sensitive

There’s this story about my grandfather.

Back in the day you did a lot of odd work around the infrastructure of Australia. Power poles and telephone poles were still being put in. It’s funny that now we don’t need them that telephone poles are so comparatively new. Anyway, at the time, my grandfather was sitting, hanging by a strap, to do work on a juncture box – one of the old hard metal boxes full of fuses that were used for determining throughput, fixing fuses, that kind of thing.

Anyway, it seemed that something went wrong in the box, or maybe he messed up – and there was a huge, nasty spark, a belch of lightning that threw him back, off the pole, and kicked him meters away, burned all over. Medical care rushed to help him, kept his eyes covered, and bandaged him up.

Months of healing. Nervousness. Uncertainty. Learning to live in the darkness. Fears he’d lose his sight.

Then, when the time came, when the doctors were as sure that his eyes would be as okay as they could be, they unwound the wrappings from his head, slowly, one by one, letting his burn-healed skill adjust. Slowly, slowly, until finally, they were removed… and he could open his eyes, to see how much damage had been done to his eyes in that moment of lightning.

… and then, he looked around and realised his eyes were fine.

In the flash between the explosion and the impact, his eyes had slammed close, his eyelids had protected him. And this story, we were then told, was proof of how miraculously well-tund our bodies are. Praise Jesus, etcetera.

I heard this story, first, as it was told as something that happened to my grandfather. Then years later I heard someone else, who wasn’t related to me, saying it’d happened to their grandfather. Then some fishing around and it turned out to just be one of those stories, even if it described a phenomenon that could actually happen. It’s a bit like the Bricklayer’s Story.

The thing about this story, the thing that really does nag at me as I go about my day, as I clean my glasses because I know my eyes are getting worse, as I sniff milk to make sure it’s okay, as I run my finger along a surface to detect imperfections in a print, is that sensitivity is so obviously and stupidly important.

Why wouldn’t you want to be sensitive? Your entire body is made up of systems designed to preserve your sensitivity. You check for smells and tastes and touch. You blink to keep your eyes sensitive. You feel pain to keep you from damaging your sense of touch.

In the end, the only person who wants my eyes to be less sensitive is going to sell me glasses or steal from me where I can’t see.

Notes: TTC – Rivals of Ixalan Nicknames

Here’s a thing I like!

The nicknames podcasts from TTC, a casual magic podcast that seems mostly to not actually be about casual magic so much but is still a good bit of Magic Content that rarely (Iconic Masters aside) spends its time making people feel bad. This episode – and the other ones like it are really cool to me because the Nickname podcasts are sort of an unintentional deep-dive into the details of what cards are doing in their art and mechanics to construct the nicknames. Sometimes it’s making references that don’t connect – like the Metal Gear Solid jokes? But often it’s otherwise examining the art in depth, or examining mechanics in the greater context of MTG history.

This is cool stuff and I like it.

Notes: Toy Galaxy (In General)

I’ve been watching these videos mostly as I do other work, something where if I miss a detail I’m not missing much, but the main thing they show me is interesting ways people applied small, interesting ideas of how toys work, or of what people thought were worth making into toys.

These videos are weirdly comforting to me because so far the philosophy of the channel as I see it, tends to regard these toys as toys. There’s a note about when the toys are played with, when they are appreciated, when they are loved, and a noncompetitive spirit talking about other collectors. Dan is willing to use his own personal preferences, his tastes as a guide, and his talk about these are things he regards as cool rather than things he regards as expensive.

This is something that makes me happy.

Also, weirdly, looking at the silly things we used to make toys out of? Gives me ideas for games. Like that Mighty Max playset shark!

Hyperirrigation

Originally this was just going to be a short note about this curious term I’ve become used to using and relating the anecdote of when I remembered hearing it, and therefore, where I learned it, because it’s a good word. I like it.

The notion of Hyperirrigation is the idea that it’s something that encourages something that doesn’t need it. It’s like watering kudzu, or fertilising bamboo in the hopes it’ll grow even faster, plants that themselves do not need that sort of encouragement (in the environments I’m familiar with them). It’s a word I thought I learned from Christopher Hitchens, describing his view on American Objectivism – that it was a hyperirrigation of the cultural attitude towards selfishness.

I went to find the quote so I could put it in a neat little sconce and share it and appreciate just the word and its contributary nature as an idea while I was sharing it. You know, removing from the totality of Christopher Hitchens, a man who was pro-Iraq invasion and thought Margaret Thatcher was hot, and instead just showing the interesting word he played with and the idea he used it to express. Because even jerks can use words well (and indeed, understanding the wholeness of the jerks who do is a useful tool for understanding people).

And then I went looking for the quote.

And I couldn’t find it.

I did find something similar, but it lacks the word.

“I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement [Libertarians] in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.”

Straight up, I don’t know where I learned this word. What’s worse, is that looking for it, it seems more of a medical term as it relates to nasal irrigation, which is interesting but you don’t want to do an unfiltered google image search for it, trust you me. This puts me in a strange quandrary – because if I didn’t learn this quote from Hitchens as I thought I did, did I invent it? Surely not.

And thus, I share this thought with you. I’m sure as soon as this goes up, someone will happily tell me where they heard it, and it’ll all be solved.

Notes: The Insane Jurassic Park Theory that Might Be True


There’s a bit of a thing about ‘fan theories’ being extremely annoying and stupid (looking at you, Game Theorists), and there being a bit of a … backlash? Sidelash? from other fan commentators dismissing them as fanfiction, and therefore, not worth paying attention to. Me, I think that fanfiction needs to be taken seriously, and this video is a great example of ways it can enrich media.

In this work, we have advanced, forward knowledge of how things work since the original story came out, and some meaningless plotholes and a few character details, extra media from other movies – basically, this theory explains something that was never really intended to be there. On the other hand, this creates an interesting version of the reality presented in the story, and what you wind up with is a richer story with a little shift of characters, a little difference in how we perceive the movie from 20 years ago and now.

This is also a practice I learned in Bible Study: It’s called a harmonisation, when two things contradict one another. You construct a new diegesis with fictive information that justifies the conflict.

Thinking In Two Directions

Some notes about writing and notebooking in the
body of a book as it pertains to fluid thinking
once you get into the habit of thinking of ‘who
told me that,’ you’ll start verifying ideas, of ‘to
me, this makes sense,’ becoming less common.
The problem with much of us these days, with the
world, is a feeling of emotional certainty about what
is not necessarily true or even scrutinised. I’m
gunna admit my own habit of accepting ideas that
roll with how I already think, ideas that tell
me, ‘you are doing okay’ and to be honest
I don’t think that’s necessarily an evil. You
ain’t going to stop your brain doing it, so
the next best thing is to refine your responses to the
sharpest point possible to look at reflection as a
tool for critical self-engagement to make it
in an otherwise unexamind and uncritical world.
The next thing to do is examine the first word on each
shed.


this was originally written at MOAB, hand on paper

Notes: Daniel Solis on Tuckboxes

Disclosure is that Daniel Solis is a designer who also publishes on DriveThruCards and his work has heavily informed some of my own work.

  • The damage tucks get over time is a real thing and I don’t have a good solution for it
  • Top-and-bottom tucks are actually harder to get into and can have the bottom fall out; I really don’t like those for larger, heavier games
  • DTC Tuckboxes are easier to put cards away into and get out of too:
  • UGH that backwards design is so much smarter than what I do, ugh, dangit

Notes: How Disney Uses Language

  • Comparisons between Frozen and Moana are sort of a sign that right now, because they’re only one of a small number of films with the similar premise (woman-centered narrative).
  • The riff in both Jungle Book and Aladdin feel kinda like the Oriental Riff, aka Aladdin’s Cave that opens a lot of other things like Turning Japanese. Like, the iconic ‘Oriental Sounding’ music isn’t from anywhere in the Orient anywhere.
  • Cultural Appropriation is a big topic and it’s hard to talk about it in Youtube spaces, and it’s even harder to talk about on Twitter.
  • The Bulgarian choir music thing is just straight up super interesting.
    • Is this fusional, using Bulgarian choir style with the Inupiat lyrics?
  • The thing about Librettists and Operatic Composers amuse me juxtaposed with a Gilbert and Sullivan quote because they hated each other so much by the end, because they couldn’t see it as a synthesis of their work.
  • English is a fixed-stress language; words have a proper emphasis in them, but words don’t have a proper emphasis in a sentence, or rather, the emphasis tends to indicate the subject.
  • Vocables! There’s like, a language for singing, in a language? That’s super cool! I wonder if it’s also part of transmission/commonality between cultures, so they can all sing the same songs even if their languages change over time and space.
  • I really do want to see Moana. It looks really great.
  • God, Lilo and Stitch was also great.
  • The question of cultural appropriation between Hawai’i and France and Polynesian narrative.
  • I really, really love the detail that the characters are singing the song in its original language, and then they stop singing it when the language shifts to English. It becomes nondiegetic, which is really cool.
  • This form of video isn’t actually so demanding of production values. I can do this. I can do this even with Microsoft Movie Editor.

Notes: Secrets

  • Hidden identity small-box game
  • The materiality. Tokens can’t be mistaken for cards can’t be mistaken for the mat for the arrows.
  • Observing it seems too much of the game is invisible
  • Ways to keep people engaged in the off-turn
  • The draw-and-share cards mechanic is appealing based on games like Secret Hitler too, I like that
  • Can the game be handled with a low-material tool for agreeing/refusing?
  • Think about this in light of HMS Dolores
    • Oh they made Dolores
      • Well then
  • Aesthetic is super important, lots of cool, vibrant art, minimal background work
  • Giving people positive/negative score cards/trying to force busts/breaks
  • Alternate mechanism ideas?
  • I expect I’ll try doing something with this – the secret identities/common pool of cards thing is very desireable, but it needs to have some extra way to get some teeth

Notes: Bad Games By Great Designers

Today, a healthy chunk of video watching people talk about their experiences playing games, found via Youtube random suggestion:

Notes

  • Most of these complaints about games are about what this player experiences and how they prefer to experience games.
  • Sam Healy’s complaints about Codenames point to one of Codenames’ strengths as a weakness: The game is largely intense, engaging, and quiet. It’s a communication game.
  • The complaints about Citadels suggest that games can have truly terrible failure states, failure states so deep players can be left without any way to play at all.
  • Even if the overreaction is comical, the frustration these things speak to is very real.
  • Consider that Zee complains about Bloodborne having a very grim theme.
  • Reiner Knizier’s huge library makes it possible he can have his weaknesses shown up. Iterate more you’ll see the problems you have as a designer.
  • Seafall is such an elaborate experience people are really resistant to call it bad first-up, but with enough time to percolate, all the good memories of the game fade away.
  • Mathy games are hard to love.
  • Werewolf as a game requires everyone to be bought into it, to work; yet the game sells itself as inclusive to large groups with a player count sometimes into the sixties.
    • This suggests there’s a base assumption the game has that lots of people want to play a game where they inherently can’t trust
    • It also suggests an assumption that lots of people want to play a game with knockouts as solutions
  • Almost all these complaints are exaggerated and gently so, but can be sorted into individual subjective preferences (such as the Bloodborne theme) and exacerbations of the game (such as Citadels being capable of leaving a player without a turn).

Notes: Procrastination, with Tim Pychyl

Here’s a thing I’m going to try and do more often. I watch educational programming or advertisements or reviews on Youtube from time to time and I take notes, and then I try to make sure I remember those notes. With that in mind, here’s a little talk about Procrastination I watched today and the notes I took on it.

Shout out to SJA for putting this video in my path.

  • Emotional intelligence helps you with resisting procrastination
  • Economic models are very cold and require rational actors
  • Delays are not procrastination, but procrastination are delay
  • There are actual developmental barriers here, and you can’t expect everyone to handle this the same way
  • Negative reinforcement is about avoiding negative things, not about being punished
  • ‘People who are procrastinating,’ not ‘procastinators’
  • Working Under Pressure is a persistent myth
  • Procrastination can be connected to more optimistic thought patterns, which I imagine makes it difficult with mental patterns like depression
  • Goal intentions vs Implementation intentions not ‘I’ll work on the assignment tonight’ but ‘I will do the structural outline of section 2, after dinner.’
  • Having definitive plans makes tasks seem more handleable.

Rando Identification Guide

We’re all familiar with randos – uninvited assholes brigading into our conversations in shared communal spaces. Randos exist in a whole range of contexts. They are sometimes in real spaces, but more often than not, randos are enabled by online spaces, places where they can be independent of their actions, and those consequences. Randos can often be harmless, but they do represent a drain on your time and resources. Try to bear this in mind if you ever go out of your way to identify and define the randos in your environment.

For the purpose of this discussion I will be using the word ‘he’ to describe all Randos. Note this is not an absolute gender thing, I am sure there are people who do not use ‘he’ who could be randos. But every rando I’ve dealt with has been a he. Which is I’m sure, just coincidence.

Ayn Rando: Well, he says, I don’t see why I should have to do things for other people. What’s courtesy and kindness do for me?
Marlon Rando: Insists on offering you his time, which you, of course, do not want. This does not seem to perturb him. This is an offer you can’t refuse.
Rando Calrissian: Seems to be your friend. May even have some signals to indicate camaraderie. Then he’ll tag the conversation into some complete dickhead and suddenly you’re off to the races.
Rando Lee: Starts a conversation and is quite obnoxious, only to disappear around the fifth or sixth response. The account is deleted. They are never seen again.
Rando Munroe: Doesn’t seem to have any opinions of his own, but really likes quoting XKCD comics that tangentially relate to what you’re talking about. Ha ha, yes, someone is wrong on the internet, yes.
Rando Newman: You can tell there’s a cohesion there to their thoughts and arguments, but they’re just stating them in this pointless, stilted way that just doesn’t have any useful or meaningful connection to what you’re saying.
Rando Paul: Like the Ayn Rando, but thinks the real reason you don’t agree with him is because you haven’t heard all the evidence.
Rando Savage (Macho Man variety): Doesn’t seem to have anything to say except Oh Yeaaahh. Harmless and in its own way, kinda charming.
Rando Savage (DC variety): Jesus christ, where did this asshole come from? Believes in neanderthal population dynamics, and ‘it’s just biology,’ he’s convinced he’s the superior human because he’s embracing ideas that haven’t been useful since the development of agriculture.
Rando von Winkle: What year is it? Where are we? What’s ‘third wave’ feminism, even? Somehow this Rando wants to talk about current events or recent history without having an awareness of anything that’s happened at all in easily either of your lifetimes.
William Rando Hearst: Convinced he is the real source of news, wishes to inform you about current events as he understands them. Especially in speciality fields like science or videogame journalism where you may, in fact, be quite confident and familiar. Still, without his valuable insight, how would you ever know that Videogame A is better than Videogame B even though you weren’t talking about either of them?

These are not all the kind of Randos you might encounter! There are quite a lot of randos out there in the world. Be sure to document any that you spot, and maybe you’ll find a totally brand new type of rando*!
* You won’t, these tired chore behaviours are representative of a very limited set of social parameters.