Monday, August 31, 2015

Nerd World

Youtube has brought about a fascinating portal into a world that previously you either understood intuitively because you were a prt of it, or you didn't understand at all.

But now the observer can observe without fundamentally changing the environment. That world is nerd world. You can gaze on it via youtube clips called 'let's play'.

I didn't really stumble on nerd world by accident. Rather resentfully. What I as an artist was looking for was the mind numbing hours of entertainment videogames provide without needing my hands that were occupied with drawing.

The annoying thing was that these lengthy youtube playlists arent just screen capture recordings of people silently playing video games, but often come with the commentary of the nerds playing these games.

At first I felt like offering the advice I heard was often offered to non-comedian talk show guests, 'don't try to be funny'. I've written before that for me the defining character trait of nerds is a lack of imagination. Hence the draw to high fantasy epics and computer games and movies with lots of explosions and plot twists, because to the unimaginative a little entertainment goes a long way.

But I strongly suspect that an being easily surprised makes for a geat comedy crowd and really shitty comedians. (Scarily alt-comedy rooms may subsequently be able to feed off theselves)

So at first I was in pain but at a loss for reliably long sources of quality entertainment.

Eventually though, I began to appreciate being able to see the world through the prism of a nerd.

I'm sure many nerds have for example heard about Donald Trump's run for the gop ticket or the mike brown ferguson riots and other topical news stories. They may even have strong opinions about matters of social justice. But in nerd world, the decisions of blizzard game designers are actually important to their lives. The inclusion of characters in the street fighter 5 roster are worthy of debate.

Which isn't to say matters like these are important. They are in fact quite sad, and sadly unlikely to be improved by actual fans, just like fan fiction's greatest contribution to the world is 50 shades of grey.

But we are most judgemental of others when they remind us of ourselves, and it is what nerds can teach us about ourselves that makes the study of this human extreme worthwhile.

The ability to get emotionally invested in the completely trivial at the expense of a real and fascinating world around us is common to us all but exemplified by nerds.

I'm afraid though if you are having belly laughs to the commentary in-jokes of a lets play video there's probably no helping you.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The days that are hard

When you are in the zone, your muse is singing, you are experiencing the neurological state of flow, being an artist is easy.

The days that are hard are when you aren't. The work is sluggish and feels like actual work. And that's when you can just put your pen away as a hobbyist until you feel it again. But I think when you want the job you have to enjoy these hard days too. Work through them to set you up for more flow. Like running through your wall in a marathon.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Marry Well

A few hours ago I recieved a text from my motherto inform me she's coming home for her uncle's funeral. I expressed my condolences for this great uncle I'm not sure I met and then I recieved this backstory about her paternal grandmother's family not liking my own grandma.

My maternal grandparents were a mismatch. An unhappy marriage common in that day and age where divorces were unfortunately uncommon and furthermore came with dire economic consequences for mothers.

And yet to some extent I, two generations down, am paying for the mismatch.

I don't want to sound like one of those 'we gotta get the population down' dipshits whom are the grown up uneducated version of smarmy private school dipshits that argue the merits of totalitarianism, both of which have to be argued from the perspective of the least favored in the solution.

But I do wish we just removed the pressure to find a mate and have children in general. Not that I have problems with breeders, but that I have problems with settlers.

Looking about at your friends that tend to care about this shit, what do you observe? Broadly speaking people who do relationships tend to date 3-5 serious partners before marrying the last one.

In the breakups people do ask a lot of questions of the world and themselves, but do they carry this over to the hookups?

How common is it for a person to actively ask 'how is he similar to the last guy I dated?'

I'd say not common at all. Generally Tristan can be very similar to Trent, the crucial difference is that Tristan has a clean slate, he may have a history of cheating but he hasn't cheated on you (yet).

It's also not uncommon for the next partner to actually be the last partner. Is it more common, do you feel, for somebody to ask 'has Trent changed?' Or to say 'Trent has changed.'

And for that matter have you changed?

I pride myself on learning from past experience, though I'm not sure I am lsuccessful. But one thing I wont do for example, is date somebody because I can. This isn't to say I pursue unobtainable partners per se (though the result is largely the same) but that I won't ever again enter a relationship because someone is perfectly nice and into me and I do get lonely. That's not enough.

I've even learned from non-starter relationships what is now an article of faith for me - "wishing somebody would change is at the expense of the person who actually is that someone else." And that cuts both ways, I won't date somebody that gives me the impression they need me to be somebody else.

These though are lessons specific to my experience.

I watched the Big Bird documentary earlier today. I was touched many times over but he was a guy that had been married to both the wrong and right woman. Particularly touching was when he described crying inside the big bird costume as he was going through his divorce.

His children are rare exceptions, born into an unhappy marriage they were raised in a happy one and loved their stepmother.

I remember reading in 'How to Love' about histrionic personality disorder how histrionic make 'poor child rearers' and I think thats a good hueristic as to whether you're settling for a particulalry poor partner. Based on how they treat you and what you know of them, would you really put your child in their arms? Or are you hoping that parenthood will change them?

Maybe not. Earnestly, I don't know if people with low self-esteem for example, would be capable of having the double standard for their children. I don't know.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Right now we could all be reading a book"

Not that I read.

But this line from the Boondocks cracked me up.

I like the Boondocks because it has almost nothing to do with the white man. When he does feature he'll be voiced by Samuel L Jackson, or he'll be a cruel punchline. Exploitative, mean and ignorant. A good enjoyable burn in other words, and I think in it's most sensitive and fair treatment of white racism, the Boondocks portrays accurately how little racists care.

Where it is great is on it's commentary of activism, where it has been itching a scratch of mine exacerbated in recent times by actually reading my facebook newsfeed.

I think more than any other series I've ever seen the boondocks demonstrates that there are morons on both sides of any debate, including the right side and they undermine actual progress.

Take the institutional racism in the American judicial system. Because african Americans are disproportionately convicted (and arrested, and probably advised to take plea deals) but the show satirize R Kelly's underage sex tape going to court and defense building a case around Kelly being a victim of racism.

Or having Martin Luther King Jr awake from a coma and criticize current bslack culture as being symptomatic of their oppression.

I cant really disect a show i couldn't write myself and could never execute. But I needed to see it.

My social network crowd is a progressive crowd, left leaning liberal bias. Thankfully most aren't activists (social media activists) and none so far as I'm aware are conspiracy nuts that worry about the gold standard being defunct and shit.

For example, you're on the right side of Australian history if you are pro marriage equality and pro meeting our human rights signatory status on asylum seekers.

But you are confused if you call yourself a 'real Australian' to welcome refugees. Or think it necessary to counter protest a protest people that aren't protesting any actual legislation, in a country that has already voted and ridiculed the one nation party out of existence. And you are confused if you applied the rainbow filter to your facebook profile picture and then bandy terms like Islamophobia around for people who are protesting sharia law.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015


Thinking takes energy, so if you can avoid it your brain will. And hopefully that last sentence helps you avoid having to read Daniel Kahneman's very thorough book 'thinking fast and slow'.

One way we commonly avoid thinking is to use 'substitution' which is when faced with a difficult question that requires effort to answer, we substitute the question for an easier one and then use the answer to the easier question.

It's a really common mental habbit. And it conserves a lot if energy, furnishing us with 'good enough' think using 3.14 instead of the actual number of pi.

The most problematic substitution though are the hard questions, the example from the book was this:

How happy are you with your life over past 6 months?

How happy are you with your sex life over the past 6 months?

Presented in this order responses don't correlate, peoples consider each question, reverse the order suddenly the answers do correlate.

Sex life bad = overall life bad. Can do it with career as well.

What i feel i see is that this doesn't apply just to filling out questionnaires but when it comes to actually trying to solve the problems of what to do with our lives. Even though the moments may be just as fleeting, it translates to decisions and translates to actions.

Figuring out what will make us happy is a hard complex simultaneous equation with at least 6 variables to solve for anddealing in absract rather than concrete terms.

How to achieve happiness = hard. How to achieve status = easy.

At least the how to part.

Take any wayward 20 something and what advice is offered them? Go back to school and change career (or become a career academic), or just plain get a job. If the job isn't the obvious solution it'll be a relationship, specifically - get one. Or get laid depending onthe coothness of your vizier.

I'm not saying career and relationships aren't crucial components of happiness. Perhaps though that is why sex and money are the two main indicators of status.

A career that makes you happy winds up requiring a lot of things working in concert and money isn't necessarily going to be in the mix, let alone significant.

Sex may feature in your most important relationships, but it's unlikely to define over the long run. Conversation is. Again complicated.

But how many people in their internal lives carry a status objective as their priority?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


The trouble with history is that we tend to focus on the least identifiable characters. To an extent, i mean go back to hunter gatherer times, we don't, we call this period pre-history.

But what were most people doing in western europe and northern Africa when Julius Caesar was walking around? Most people were toiling the fields.

See what I'm saying? Probably not. But it's the old ordinary versus special causes, and we are for the most part blind to ordinary causes. Let's say 5% of the population are especially influential. Then 95% are ordinarily influential. The 5% don't regularly occur and so we notice both them and their impact. A "management by exception " approach. 

Most of us live quite ordinary lives resembling quite closely many other people. 

Here though is the point, look at a serf or a slave 600 years ago, what did their lives comprise of?

Days of toil to sustain their existence, support their family and pay taxes to the church. Reduce that further, you have people toiling away in service to an imaginary being. (Even allowing one of the major religions to be true leaves the majority of people serving an imaginary being.)

Now look to modern western life. What has changed?

People toil in service to imaginary beings. Just the details change. The gods are corporations, for the most part, legal entities whose interests most people dedicate most of their waking hours to. No more real than the pantheon of gods were.

The elites derive their authority from these persons, but are still subject to time and chance.

This is no conspiracy this is a habit we possess, perhaps no different than our ability to engage in sport or root for fictitious characters. 

Get what I'm saying?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Relationship advice reduction

Date somebody who is happy.