Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good Listening

While working on an application today, I was listening to portions of the BBC radio broadcast of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a broad grin occasionally plastered across my face. I'm positive someone else in the office must have seen this and been momentarily puzzled.

Which makes me smile again.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mistaken Terror

This morning I had a moment of pure, unadulterated terror.

I have a conversion due August 1, 2008. For some reason, I thought today was August 13. My face blanched and my head spun as I instantly pondered all the consequences. My thoughts ran something like this:
Oh my G-d, this is it. I finally screwed up. I knew this was coming. They're going to have to fire me. Do I go tell them now or wait until the afternoon? No, I tell them now. My G-d, my mom is going to kill me. I'll spend my days at home, watching TV and eating. I'll have to find a new job. Do I go to the board games tonight? Could I act happy even though I lost my job?
Literally, it took less than a minute for all of these thoughts, and more, to pass through my mind – probably more like 5-15 seconds.

Soon thereafter, though not soon enough, I looked at the wooden calendar marker on my desk and realized that today is June 13. But it was too late. My nerves are frayed. My muscles are tight from tension. My head is still spinning. I'm barely breathing. My whole body is wracked.

This reminded me of the time my publicity professor outed my blog on the last day of class. Pure instantaneous terror. Same thing here though with a slightly different flavor.

I think my head is broken.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Board Games vs. Computer Versions of Board Games

The question posed is thus: Do Computer Versions Of Boardgames Ruin The Real Thing?
Two games in particular that I enjoy are Carcasonne and Settlers of Catan. Since I don't have many people to play with, I naturally try to find an on-line version of the games I like to play. However, now I'm wondering if this is a good idea. With Carcasonne, for example, I have played hundreds of games on ASO Brain recently, and I think my desire to play the game is a little bit less now. It would probably take me years of play on a physical board to get to this point. Does the quick-fix, play 8 games in two hours approach to gaming diminish our enthusiasm for the real game? Often times, when playing against an ultra-fast PC or computer player, you can play enough games to start to see patterns that you may not have seen in the real thing for years (50 plays, for example), or because the people are less predictable. Plus, IMO, most games are more interesting with live people, and therefore you might get sick of a game after playing it online, but really, you are not playing with interesting opponents. I think I might avoid games against the CPU for now on to prevent this from happening. And believe me, this will be nearly IMPOSSIBLE for me to do, but it might be necessary...

Anyone else share my feelings on this?
It's a renewed, older thread from January of this year (2008), but the topic piqued my interest. To date, I have avoided playing computer versions of board games and I mean avoided as in not having downloaded or looked into computer versions of board games despite learning of them. The question, as posed above, is why?

It's not like I'm computer-illiterate or haven't played computer games. I built my current desktop and I've been playing computer games since the days of 16-color VGA. If I know computers and regularly play computer games, wouldn't it make sense to merge two of my interests in a single medium, computer versions of board games?

Well, you can find the response I posted below:
Seeing as this popped up (again, so to speak), I'll chime in.

I don't play computer versions of board games because I want to separate board games from my computer gaming. I want board games to remain a social experience with physical pieces. I want them to be paced, with real-world timing and resolution. I am purposefully maintaining board games as an insulated entertainment entity, retaining a particular specialty as social experiences (even if it's only a 2-player game).

I've played a lot of computer games. I know how they have the tendency to increase personal isolation and decrease social activities or become faux social activities. Even playing with other people via the computer is isolating as it inherently detracts from necessary real world interactions. I'm an ex-WoW raiding junky. I know that road and I try very hard to avoid falling under its siren lure once again.

So for me, it's not about spoiling the game itself or surpassing other gamers in skill. It's about maintaining board games as a special, real world social activity.

I will note one game that I purposefully switched from real life to online: Magic the Gathering. Up until I discovered the online version (MtGO), I forsook the real-world game since I wouldn't get to play it often (no friends playing it), meaning card purchases would largely go unused and be wasted. In contrast, MtGO enabled me to find a game at any time of day or night. It made purchasing packs easier. Card management is easier (e.g., sorting cards, making decks, testing decks). MtGO makes the game accessible for me.

But I never viewed MtG as a social activity and MtG players were not a lot with whom I wished to socialize. On the other hand, the board gamers I've had the pleasure of getting to know are generally friendly, intelligent, well-spoken people who share a common interest and are not overly competitive. In other words, they're people I enjoy being friends with and board games are a unique avenue for me to make such friends and hang out with them.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Not Good

Not feeling well today.

Super tired. Sleep last night was intermittent. Would have been little/short regardless, but waking up at 4:10am after going to sleep at 2am = problem. And I couldn't get back to sleep. Lay in my bed, perhaps dozing for brief periods but no longer streaks.

Also feeling a wee bit nauseous. Just in the back of my throat – I don't think I'm actually going to expel anything.

Head is spinning too. Hard to concentrate or focus on anything.

Occasionally break out in a light sweat, feeling warm at those times.

Initially was going to try & wait 'til mid-to-late afternoon before I leave. Then I was thinking early afternoon, like shortly after lunch. Now I'm thinking sooner. Much sooner.

Nausea not good.

Coffee tasted like crap this morning.

Head hurt.

Popping two Tylenol.

Can't tell if this is the sleep deprivation or a new med or a combo of both. Could also be the weather, it's drizzling today.

All I want to do is go home and be unconscious.

Think I'm going to leave soon. I am absolutely miserable right now.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

An Interesting Topic

What is "interesting?"

Every now and again, I struggle with the notion of what makes something "interesting," primarily in relation to discussion topics.

I'm fairly certain that my day-to-day "this is what happened on Friday, and on Saturday I did this" posts are not interesting. Excepting when they catch on some deeper topic (e.g., posts earlier this year about boardgame.girl), the posts are largely devoid of interesting or poignant tales and generally serve merely as reminders, for me, of things I've done.

My ordinary day-to-day itself isn't very interesting to me. Maybe today I read my graphic novel or I read my current novel or I played my current computer or video game or I watched a current TV show. Little of it is out of the ordinary or extraordinary so as to be worthy of much notice.

I often find discussions on meta-topics to be interesting. For example, discussing the notion of interesting topics makes for an interesting topic in and of itself, at least in my opinion. I've always been a fan of metaphysics. Occasionally at the boardgame groups, we refer to the selection of a game as a or the metagame. For me, examination of these broader topics can offer further insight into other fields and have the potential for affecting how people think. I'm not interested in changing what people think. I am interested in how people think and that they think.

When at parties or gatherings with unknown persons, a common topic is the droll "What do you do?" or "What is your profession?" Invariably, my answer is: "I am a patent agent. I write patents and work on getting them issued. Our big clients are X and Y so most of the patents I work with concern A, B and C." Invariably, the response is: "Oh, how interesting!"

I suppose they need to say something, but calling it "interesting?" I usually don't find my work to be "interesting." I suppose a layperson might be enamored of the field and, possibly, even curious concerning aspects thereof, but I really don't have an answer for "Oh, how interesting!" Sometimes I'll choose to relate an "interesting" invention or such, but often I am at a loss for words. "Interesting?" What's interesting about an invention for a communication protocol? Or a user interface? Or a semiconductor? "Interesting" indeed!

I hope this post is "interesting." In my mind, it has the potential to spark the mind of you, my intrepid reader. Did you find it "interesting?" What is "interesting" to you?