Tag Archives: Notes

Notes: Giving Gifts

Should You Give Christmas Presents? | Philosophy Tube

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

3 minute Caramel Apple and Bran Flakes Cake #ad

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


Notes: TTC – Rivals of Ixalan Nicknames

TTC 205 - 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)

Dan in the Photobooth #14 - Flea Market Finds (Boba Fett, Gygor, Dragonzord)

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!

Notes: The Insane Jurassic Park Theory that Might Be True

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.

Notes: Daniel Solis on Tuckboxes

Designing Tuckboxes! [Card at Work - Game Box Design Part 2]

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

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

Secrets - Shut Up & Sit Down Review

  • 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:

Top 10 Bad Games By Great Designers


  • 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.

Teaching Talk: Helping Students Who Procrastinate (Tim Pychyl)

  • 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.
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