Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The way to Hell is paved with good intentions

...and as intentions go, starting a blog is a classic, as far as the Net is concerned.

I had a blog once. It was supposed to be about politics. I made a bunch of posts, but then abandoned it. Partly it was because I discovered that I wanted to post about other things as well; mostly it was just that I found a better arena to express myself. Specifically, RPGWatch -- a site dedicated to computer role-playing games, but that also hosts what must be a nearly unique phenomenon on the Internet, namely, a forum dedicated to politics and religion that isn't (a) constantly engulfed in flames, (b) an echo-chamber, or (c) tyrannically moderated. Check it out. It's brilliant.

I left last week, and I miss it already.

Why set off, then?

The main reason is that I decided to give up on computer games. They've been something of a hobby for, oh, 20, 30 years or so. The problem is that I cannot control my gaming, and I finally mustered up the courage to actually admit this and face this fact. I'm not a basement-dwelling a-social olm or anything -- I have a wife and a job and stuff -- but I am a binge gamer. That is, when I'm playing a game, it takes over every minute of my free time; I can't stop thinking about it; I get nervous and surly, and it makes me neglect stuff I enjoy at least as much but that doesn't have these nasty side effects. Not to mention neglecting my loved ones, especially my incredibly patient wife.

What's more, I don't, ultimately, get all that much from them. There are a few games I've played over the years that have made a lasting impression -- Planescape: Torment and Fallout to name two; The Path by Tale of Tales is a recent one, and The Witcher by CDProjekt is another one. However, for each one of these I must've played a dozen that offered me not much more than obsession.

So, as I cannot moderate my gaming, my choice is between obsessive binge gaming and no gaming at all. Given that choice, I'm going to have to go with no gaming at all. I understand that it's generally not considered a great idea for binge drinkers to hang out with the drinking buddies at the old watering hole, so I figured I'd have to leave RPGWatch as well. Perhaps I'll return there at some point, once I've put a bit of distance between myself and my compulsions so I can watch them rhapsodizing about the character development system in Dragon Age (or whatever) without feeling compelled to go buy it RIGHT NOW and then disappear off the face of the planet for whatever-hundred hours it takes to complete.

Pity, but there it is -- and I hope I'll be able to find better things to do with my time. This blog, for example.

(Credit: XKCD.)

There are other reasons, too. One of them is that somehow I don't feel like getting into net.debates anymore. Sometimes they can be entertaining, informative, or stimulating. Sometimes they even go somewhere. I've even heard a rumor that someone, somewhere, has once changed their mind about something due to a net.debate. However, they mess with my head much like games do -- I keep thinking about them, keep manically checking the forum, and get annoyed and jumpy, not to mention stay up late. That's just not all that much fun, and it's even less fun if I actually end up getting into interpersonal stuff and say something I regret.

Sometimes it's worth it. There are issues I care about deeply enough for that. However, right now most of those have receded into the background as well. The exciting bits of the financial crisis seem to have passed, America is no longer irredeemably evil, the Green movement in Iran seems to have been corralled, the Middle East has returned to its default state of grinding slow-motion crisis, and watching Afghanistan circle the drain is just kinda depressing rather than interesting. And I can't really work up a good lather about health-care reform in the USA, not having any skin in that game.

But I still have an over-active mind that I need to empty out in words from time to time. Therefore, this blog. I don't know how often I'll be posting. I don't know what I'll be posting about. I certainly don't know if it'll be interesting to anyone. If anyone reads it, great. If not, that's great too. But here it is all the same.


  1. it is Titus from the rpgwatch here.

    I sure hope you post some interestign stuff here. I would ask you to let the people at the watch know if you post something, but after reading this page, I do see why that wouldn't be a good idea, good luck with your blog, and maybe, just maybe, I will hop in from time to time and react if there is something interesting.

  2. Thanks, Titus. I'm not going to advertise my ruminations on the Watch, though; for one thing, it wouldn't be polite, and for another, it would sort of defeat the purpose of having a blog in the first place -- it would be easier just to continue doing what I've been doing all along, i.e., posting at the Watch.

  3. Been busy in school. Just wanted to pop by and say I haven't missed your e-mail, but I have a test on the Renaissance and the scientific revolution next Friday with a truckload of books to read.

  4. Thanks for letting us know you're out here. Looking forward to reading your always interesting ruminations, and continuing my Mid-East and Euro education.