Skip to main content

Early to Rise

Tomorrow at 7 AM I board a Jetblue flight to Southern California for an extended-weekend vacation with my wife, who (by virtue of being gainfully employed) is financing all of this (along with some very generous friends). We're going to meet friends whom I've known for quite some time. Some of them I've met in-person before, and I'm looking forward to reconnecting. Some of them I've never met or seen, and I'm looking forward to putting a voice and a face to the personality I already know. Some of them I consider colleagues and heroes and I just want to give them whatever support and cheering I can.

It's odd, though, because as I get older and grayer, I get more interested in playing games and thinking about the games I play, and less interested in identifying as a "gamer" as a significant indicator of my personal identity. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd make the grade, as it were, as a gamer in most circles: I came to videogames pretty late in my life (like, late-20s late). It was my mother and my sister who were really into videogames when I was a kid. The Atari 2600 and the TRS-80 and the Commodore 64 that lived in our house weren't mine and I wasn't particularly engaged with them. Even when I was lobbying my parents to shell out the cash for a 56K modem, it wasn't to play games on BBSs, it was to make connections and share recipes and programs and stuff like that.

I've been playing tabletop games since I was eight or nine, and I started playing euro-style boardgames when I moved to San Francisco and got involved in that, but again, that was in my 20s; before that, I was mostly about rolling dice (though I didn't really engage with Dungeons and Dragons until 3rd Edition, and I know those words probably don't really mean much to most folk but trust me I just forfeited my "nerd" card with that statement).

I read a lot of genre fiction but that doesn't make me a "fictioner"; I've watched a lot of movies and TV but that doesn't make me a "movier" or a "TVier". I play games, but that doesn't really make me a gamer. And I've spent a non-trivial amount of time distancing myself from the "nerd" and "geek" subcultures because they are often fantastically toxic and frequently unwilling to even admit to the toxicity.

The thing is, though, I'm a male and I'm white and I work in IT, so I get a pass on a bunch of stuff by being emblematic of the norm in all of these subcultures. I wear glasses and t-shirts and jeans and I can quote Monty Python so my gaps or quirks are overlooked. No one challenges my right to engage in the conversation about Batman despite the fact that I've only read a handful of trade paperback collections by only a couple of authors that I really like, and none of the historical stuff. I can pass, so I get a seat at the table. I don't have to produce my bona-fides.

This got really dark and maudlin so I'll just finish up by saying that I'm really looking forward to seeing my friends. And I'm glad I get to make this trip with my wife, who loves and engages and invests in all of this and thereby makes me want to love and engage and invest in it, simply through her force of will. I'll be back next week with more musings, and probably a couple of days of cursing at python.

I promise I'll have fun storming the castle!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Money and Happiness as a fungible resource

Money really does buy happiness. Anyone who tells you differently has a vested interest in keeping you poor, unhappy, or both. I know this because I grew up on the ragged edge of poor, and then backed my way into a career in IT, which is where the modern world keeps all the money that isn't in Finance. So I am one of the extreme minority of Generation X that actually had an adulthood that was markedly more financially stable than my parents. And let me tell you: money really does buy happiness. To be clear: at 45 years old, I'm now in a relationship and a period of my life where our household is effectively double-income, no kids. I live in the city, but I own a house, and can only afford to do that because of our combined income. We also have two cars -- one new, one used (though neither of them is getting driven very much these days) -- and we have a small discretionary budget every month for things like videogames, books, and the like. What my brother used to call DAM -- Dic

Occasional Media Consumption: Man of Steel (2013)

Every so often, there's a movie where I watch it and think, "that was pretty bad", and then time goes by, and I see other people talking about it, and so I watch it again, thinking I was too harsh on it, and after watching it again, I think "not only was that movie bad, it was worse  than I remember". I try very hard not to hate-watch anything, movies or TV or whatever, because that's a waste of time, energy, and emotion. My expectation was that my first reading of this film was overblown, that my reaction to it was as an outsider, someone who didn't know the depth and breadth of the Clark Kent / Kal-El story, and who couldn't appreciate the subtleties or easter eggs or whatever. But in the intervening years, I've read a bunch of DC comics, and many of them Superman comics. And I've come to a conclusion upon rewatching this movie, one that surprised me given the budget, the cast, and the story being told. Rarely has any movie so misunderstood

Occasional Media Consumption: Justice League (2017)

So let's get this out of the way first: this movie is bad. I mean, it's bad . And not in the way that most superhero movies are bad, though it is bad in that way too: inconsistent characterizations, lack of understanding of motivations, weirdly-shot fight scenes, dodgy use of CG, etc. I mean, it is bad in all of these ways too, especially the whole thing where they digitally removed a mustache from Henry Cavill, who's honestly doing his best with a bad script and a character he's fundamentally unsuited to play. Gail Godot, in an iconic roll for her, suddenly shoved out of the way to make room for (also fundamentally-miscast) Ben Affleck's the Batman and Cavill's Superman, And Ray Fisher and Ezra Miller trying to introduce characters that honestly deserve their own movies. Jason Momoa's Aquaman got his own movie, but as far as I can tell he's just stepped into this one from a whole different universe and is basically pretending to live in the grim-n-gritt