Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Silent Night, Deadly Night Vs. The Screaming Skull

* = Guess what we're going to blog about today?

I thought really hard about how I wanted to blog today. Yesterday I thought I hammered out a pretty decent little blog detailing my thoughts on crazy criticizing vs. the reality of a ‘creator’. Sure it was wrapped in Edition Warsspeak’ and Star Wars, but that was my intent. Upon reading the comments I sort of wondered if I just bathed in ‘Fail’. The thing is I can’t tell if it was humor that was vibrant color in thought and black and white in execution or if it was just Hating. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy and do both, but the confusion really made me think, which is always dangerous. So I decided to write about it today.

The Internet(s) is this great thing; it allows us instant gratification of our whims. Feel a bit randy; well the World Wide Web is full of naked ladies. Want to find the lyrics to that song that’s rumbling around in your head, well they are just a click away. What about that recipe for Eggs Benedict that you’ve always wanted to make, guess what there’s a place where you can get it. It allows you knowledge at your fingertips and the ability to communicate with virtually anyone at the drop of a hat. It’s amazing.

However it does not ‘do’ humor well. Now don’t get me wrong there are literally MILLIONS of funny videos, blogs, memes, etc. out there. I’m talking about the humor that generally happens between people. The kind that relies upon inflection, body language, facial expressions, the kind that needs the ‘small’ stuff to make it work. The Internet does slapstick, broad physical humor it’s like Gallagher. What it doesn’t do is George Carlin, and I’ve realized that most of my friends are more George Carlin than Gallagher.

Their humor is ‘black’, sarcastic, some might say caustic, observational, ‘you had to be there to get it’, and intelligent. All of these things don’t always jibe well with a medium where you can’t see your audience. When you can see someone you can get a feel for how far you can take something, what boundaries you can push, and when to pull it back a notch. On the Internet you just smash that F’N watermelon.

It’s not different with anger, hell I’d argue any emotion. This medium allows for instant gratification of our basest emotions and drives, see my earlier reference to naked ladies, or dudes whatever your into. That’s the beautiful disaster of the Interweb(s), anything you want you can have RIGHT NOW! If stupid people irritate you you can BLAST them in a forum thread, want to Hate on someone well that’s what Blogs are for. Want vengeance on someone; destroy him or her on a podcast. Haven’t humiliated a friend in awhile, why not show that picture of them puking on themselves on Facebook.

You don’t have to look them in the eyes. You don’t need to communicate with them, you can just communicate ‘at’ them. The sad thing is I like communicating with people. This, this thing I write, this is all about organization of thought. It’s sort of like talking to myself without having to pay a therapist or without having others think that I have really lost my mind.

Overall I think the least of 98% of humanity. I think that they really don’t have much to offer anyone but himself or herself. I choose who I associate with because I feel that they offer my life something that I can’t manufacture, like ‘inspirado’, myself. That could be intelligence, beauty, talent, music, art, humor, insight, etc. in the end it doesn’t matter they are my better. I acknowledge that, heck I relish it. They make me better by just being, by allowing me to know them and learn.

The Internet lessens that. It distills it down to just words with very little feeling, and certainly very few positive feelings. The things we write don’t mean as much as the things we say or do. They lack the passion, the vigor, or the emotional content that we intend them to have.

I think the other component that we have to remind ourselves of is a lot of us, myself at the forefront of this, don’t do subtle well. It’s a lost art. It’s a non-existent art when exuded through a keyboard and monitor. When you’re being sly or looking to make slight transitory changes in let’s say my emotional state the Interweb(s) is the absolute LAST place you want to do it. Subtle is Duluth, the World Wide Web is Las Vegas. Everything has to be big and loud for our ADHD Brains to comprehend and pay attention to, while when we are face to face or even over a phone our voices, eye contact, and body language tell the real tale.

Wow, that sounded super weird. Dave, Mike, Ant, etc. that last sentence may be as close to me trying to seduce you over the Internets as you’ll ever read. Whew, that was a HARD LEFT! Anywho, we do 80% of our communication non-verbally. 100% of our communication on-line is ‘verbal’. You do the math.

Last but not least is the personal component. In the last six months ago I’ve been thinking real hard about the ‘Work Ben’ versus the ‘Real Ben’. As detached and controlled as the ‘Work Ben’ can be he is a WAY more impressive and considerate communicator. I think the onus for this was the reality that I’m ‘teaching’ folks how to be a better communicator and then going home and not practicing it. When you constantly tell people to be ‘the smallest ripple in the pond, not for you or for the other person, but because it’s the most humane way to communicate’ and then you get irritated at some one in your ‘Real’ life and tell them you want to F’Ning kill them it doesn’t add up. There is too much contradiction. I have realized that while I want to be the smallest ripple I end up acting like an atom bomb.

That makes me a hypocrite. I don’t like nor do I want to be that. The final part of it was the realization that I missed a grand opportunity with the passing of my father. So many conversations were wasted time. I never got to say the things I wanted to, and am now realizing needed to. Instead I just ‘said’. There is nothing wrong with speaking with your passion and your emotion, but it has to be tempered with your intelligence and your pragmatism. It’s not about you or me; if we’re talking it’s about us.

What I realized is I don’t want to my last communications with someone to be some blustery alpha male bullshit, and especially not over the Interweb(s). So I’m trying. I’m trying really hard to be a better listener and communicator outside of work, to be more like the ‘Work Ben’ at home. It’s taking time, and in reality it’s taking some time away from other people, hence all the time alone in the basement. I’m trying to rebuild what’s there, better it.

In summation that’s what this is. Rather than shit talking or being confrontational this is an explanation. It’s not perfect, hell it’s the Internet(s), so it really sucks, but it’s what I have available to me at this moment. I’m hoping anyone who reads this gets that, and my sincerest hope is that maybe we all start communicating a bit better.

Look at that, it’s like getting a kiss on the mouth from Oprah. Now that I’ve ‘touchey feeley’ed all over you, how about an all NERD


- With the Open Playtest thing in its infancy for the D&D ‘Next’ or 5E, I’m curious where we are at with the D&D Miniatures Open Playtest rules. Is the Open Playtest is over, I have noticed that on Amazon there are packs up for pre-order, but where does that leave us? WotC is going to have to do something spectacular to get some buzz back from the Paizo/Wizkids tandem who already have one mini set out and another on the way.
- Speaking of WotC strange silence where are we at with the next D&D Adventure System game? I am literally in the middle of hammering out four decks of Monster Cards right now, so I’m VERY curious as to what their plan is going forward. The games have made money, they’ve gotten better with each release, and they’ve really inspired very creative folks on Board Game Geek to push the boundaries on what the tool set can do. SO, I’m curious as to what’s next, besides the cross compatibility with the up-coming Miniatures Skirmish game.
- I have a new appreciation for R.A. Salvatore after getting through book two of the Cleric Quintet. It is NOT the same type of read as the Drizzt books, at all. The main protagonist is a thinker not a fighter, there is some angst but it seems much more ‘real’. The failure of relationships, the moral questions of war, murder, and the ‘weakness’ of mercy all operate on a different level than any of his other books or characters. I really love this set of books, much more than I ever thought I would.
- Joe, you are my hero. Thank you for the car charger, with it you are allowing me to continue to prep for what will be a very gory and horror orientated next D&D session with the ‘Old School’ Group. I’ll let you all know if we’re going to be holding it in our basement or in my “Mom’s basement”.
- Shapeways dot com is friggin’ crazy! People 3D model things and you can buy them, sorta on the cheap. There are two sets of D&D style miniatures, one a set of 5 for like $10 and another of 4 for like $8.50 that I’m eyeing up to buy in the next few months as well as an insanely cool Beholder. Seeing as it took me like three years to learn Photoshop I’m not even going to entertain the idea of ‘making’ anything for that site, but a Geek can dream. Of more than just his "Mom's basement".

I think I’ve done enough damage today…

“Racing down the road
In a street machine of steel
Gears are jammed in full
I'm the madman at the wheel

Got my foot pinned to the floor
You can feel the engine roar
I got thunder in my hands
I'm metal thrashing mad

Driving like a maniac
Can't go any faster
Burning up the road
Headed for disaster”

* = I'm of the firm belief that Steve Ditko makes any and ALL situations better.

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