Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Disconnected Thoughts

I'm buzzing and crashing and typing around Thai as she washes my hands at the same time this afternoon, so do not expect a prodigy.

Thought one: Oh, boy, a 10th follower. After my usual custom (I expect people with 200 or 11,015 or 33,000 followers are a lot more blase about it) I clicked the picture to get to the profile and found two sites I can't read for beans.
Why this person wishes to follow me, I have no idea. But lookit all the pretty pictures! It's something to do with architecture, or maybe architectural details. And who am I to look a gift follower in the mouth? Welcome aboard, whoever you are.

Thought two: Self-discovery time. I'm weirded out by this and it'll take a bit of background. Those of you who've read my books may have noticed that I have some structural quirks, like alternating viewpoint between chapters, and that when magic exists its constrained tightly by rules, which the characters figure out to the best of their ability. This is one of the pleasures of fiction for me. Narrative imposes order on the chaos of life and gives it a structural consistency that the real world has no business with.

Those of you who game with me may have noticed that game rules function the same way. I rely on those around me to keep of how they work, using them as the framework from which to hang story and on which to build characters. Unlike the game mechanics and rules lawyers of the world, I don't pounce on new supplements and alternate rules because I don't need them. As long as I'm playing my character and can succeed or fail as a result of my own choices, nothing else matters. Expanded and alternate rules only confuse me.

I would have said that I was the same way about the limited number of computer games I play. I have been saying that I am very conservative about downloading hacks and game mods because I don't know how they're going to interact with my game and I can't fix it if it glitches and in general such things don't add enough to be worth the risk. But --

I discovered that a Sims2 feature I would like a great deal exists in an expansion pack which I do not wish to have, as its entire theme screams "time sink you wouldn't enjoy." I was told that a downloadable fan-created code modification would provide the same feature without all the stuff I don't want. Yet I found myself considering installing the expansion pack I don't want in preference to the modification.

Now, it's true that programs and machines that work fine for other people don't necessarily work for me. I can't count the number of times I've been told by tech people that I didn't have a problem I was indeed having, because that problem as described was impossible. They keep telling me that until I sit them down in my chair, turn my back on them, and tell them exactly what is happening as it happens, at which point they stop writing me off as an idiot and get interested. Since I'd never be able to get a knowledgeable game tech to sit in my chair, this is a good reason to avoid using a bunch of hacks, cheats, and modifications the way some players do in hope of building The Perfect Game.

But this is a single, apparently simple, modification. All I should have to do is back up my game, install the modification, and remove it and reload the backup if a problem arises. Since I don't have any other modifications, and I back up the game regularly, and the impossible glitch thing doesn't happen all the time, just enough for me to be sure it's a real phenomenon, doing this is a low risk.

So the only reason to want to spend money on an expansion pack I don't want in preference to taking that low risk must be, that there is something important to my enjoyment of the game to knowing that I am getting what I want from it within the context of the original rules set.

What the larger implications of this self-discovery may be, or if there are any, I have no idea.

However, it goes to show that, even 50 years of vigorous introspection isn't enough for us to know ourselves entire. So how much hope have we of knowing those around us?

Therefore, let us be gentle with one another.

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