Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Little Things

Today before Japanese class I had two things to do–one was drop off something at old union, and another was to drop a letter off to the post office to send out.  I decided to drop the thing off at old union first because I didn’t know exactly where it was and I didn’t want to be late to class–I could always mail the thing later.

But, as I biked past the post office, I thought I saw someone that I might have recognized.  I still just parked my bike in front of old union and started taking a few steps……but then I changed my mind, doubled back, and started walking to the post office.  A few steps away, that girl stepped out and we saw each other and said hi to each other.

I don’t even know that girl’s name, to be honest.  I’ve seen her from social dance, and she seems friendly, but we hardly know each other.  But you know, that was totally worth it.  Maybe we’ll see each other again…maybe we’ll even become friends.  Whether or not, regardless, it was a little thing that mattered.

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That damned stigma about talking about games

Great weather!  I was a bit miffed biking to class because the sun was all out and I was like ugh, but then I came out of class and it was cloudy and I felt invigorated.

Anyways, I was writing some fanmail to Leigh Alexander and reading over this post while doing it.  I think that we tend to view gaming under a really heavy “lens” because of all the associations and experiences and stereotypes that we have about it, so it’s important to compare and contrast it to other mediums, like film and art and things like that.

We can look at people who play video games, or watch anime, or stuff like that a lot, and as much as I hate to say it, you often (not always, maybe not even most of the time) run into people who are a little bit quirky, or socially maladapted, or emotionally insensitive.  Of course, it’s all relative because IMHO so many people in the world are emotionally insensitive anyways.  But you can say that these sorts of people don’t know how to interact with people as well because their main interests don’t involve interacting with people as much.  I don’t know if there’s that much meat behind that statement though, because there’s lots of other hobbies that don’t involve interacting with people much either…

But the thing with gaming is that well, on the one hand, you’ve got these really weird people who are used to the anonymity of the internet and everything, and those sorts of people can be kind of not fun to talk with.  And then you’ve got people who only play games because they want to show that they’re better than you…and people who only play games to kill time.  If we can’t even talk among each other in a mature way, how can we expect to be able to talk to nongamers as well?

Sometimes I think I should be more vocal about games.  Sometimes it feels like I have some duty to spread the gospel and let it be known that they are something that can be appreciated in a multitude of ways.  That isn’t to say that I should teach everyone to appreciate games as art or anything…because who are you to say that everyone should appreciate games in that particular way?  And who are you to say that everyone should even -like- games in the first place, anyways?  But somehow it seems wrong to have this huge disconnect–to have this thing where if I mention that I’m a gamer, you totally don’t understand who I am.

Then again, isn’t it the same way for all of these other labels too?  If you say you’re a goth, or into lolita fashion, or you’re a hippie, or a punk rocker, that “us vs them” disconnect is there in much the same way.  But I think there’s still a difference here.  If you say you’re a goth, then I just honestly don’t have much of an idea of what that entails.  So yeah, I’m not going to understand all that goes on in that world.  But at the same time, I don’t have many preconceptions, so I’m not really going to =misunderstand= either.

In contrast, when I tell people that I like trance music, the conception that they get is totally wrong, because the only “trance” they know sounds way different than what I actually listen to.  And it’s bad because it’s not like they just have no idea what trance is–it’s that they have ONE idea of what trance is, and that idea is different than what it means to me.  The only thing they’re not sure about is “what’s the difference between trance and techno” which is a totally futile question to answer anyways because “techno” is meaningless as a term now and even sounds silly as a word, to boot.

 

Of course, it’s difficult to say “don’t draw conclusions about anybody”, because I know I draw inferences about people all the time.  Just today I was in the bookstore and there were these asian kids running around (tourists?) and I actually found myself getting really ticked off.  They weren’t being totally obnoxious or anything, but you could tell that they weren’t being respectful and cautious of what other people thought of them.  Which is, again, something that could be said about many people in the world, but it still managed to irk me far more than it should have.

 

Most (?) of the time, I don’t really mind the fact that I don’t talk about games very much in real life.  For me, it’s not a social activity, just like reading a book isn’t a social activity.  But sometimes it -does- bother me–the fact that this is a big part of my life yet the people who are close to me hardly even know about it sometimes.

And again, I think the biggest fear isn’t that people won’t understand what games are to me.  It’s okay for you not to have the same emotional responses to chiptune music as I do.  It’s okay for you to not think that pixel art is the greatest form of art in the world.  It’s okay for you to think that 3d graphics are better than 2d graphics.  It’s okay for you to get excited about gears of halo: modern warfare WHATEVER.  It’s okay for you to only play madden.

But it’s not okay for you to think that games are “just for kids”.  It’s not okay for you to think that chiptune music doesn’t have musical value.  It’s not okay for you to assume that I like “shooting other people in a virtual world all day”.  It’s not okay for you to think that games are something I do just to waste time, or that they somehow have less merit than other forms of art or recreation or media.  It’s not okay for you to =misunderstand=.

Sometimes gamers themselves are the biggest culprits too, either because they only know one small part of games and they assume everyone thinks the same way “what?  What the heck is Katamari Damacy?  Come on let’s play Halo; you said you’re a gamer, right?”…or because they’ve become so entrenched in their own particular way of thinking that they assume the other ways are “wrong” or invalid or inferior in some way.  “Guitar Hero sucks.  Japanese rhythm games are clearly better; you guys are all noobs.”

 

The thing is, though–even -without- the fear of being misunderstood, talking about games just isn’t something that really comes up in conversation.  Maybe it’s just because I don’t talk about myself that much–after all, a lot of people don’t know that I’ve been producing electronic music for 7 years.

 

The worst part is that there’s still that stupid =stigma= that’s still weighing down on my shoulders.  The idea that “I spent the whole day playing video games” is somehow a worse thing to say than “I spent the whole day reading books” or “I spent the whole day social dancing” or “I spent the whole day making music”.  And it shouldn’t be.  I know it’s hard because even I’m having trouble with it, so I want you to read those sentences over again and convince yourself that there is nothing wrong with spending the whole day playing video games, any more than there is with spending the whole day social dancing.

“But, video games are just a waste of time!” you say.  “They’re just a time killer and it means you’re procrastinating!”  “Plus, you’re not even interacting with other people!”

NO.  Stop right there because you’re just making excuses and assumptions, and you need to realize that and STOP.  Remember what we said earlier?  To some people, playing games isn’t just a way to kill time.  For some of us, playing games has emotional value, artistic value, etc.  I’m not saying that -all- games or gamers do, but you need to realize that games have just as much merit as books do in that sense.  Heck, some games ARE basically books (interactive books, at that).  And don’t give me that crap about “being antisocial” because reading books is just as antisocial.

I think this is why I feel such a bad vibe when I think about talking with “people in the real world” about video games.  It’s because that damn stigma is still there, and I don’t like the fact that the stigma is there, because it really ought not to be.  On the other hand, now that everyone and their mothers (literally, in some cases) has iPhones and is busy playing Angry Birds and Farmville, maybe all of these “people in the real world” will also learn what that “stigma” feels like.

 

Perhaps I really ought to start fighting that stigma.  It feels like I really ought to.  Maybe I’ll start.

I’ve said time and time again that it’s difficult to track and enumerate the ways in which I’ve changed throughout college, in comparison to the ways in which I changed throughout high school (found my identity, became Timm[ie], found out what real friendship was, etc).

However, I think one of the ways I’ve changed (I think!) is that I no longer have to look/search for new things to do in my life.  As an angel told me recently, it’s like I’ve sort of already figured things out–what makes me happy and what I like.  And it definitely feels like yes, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m just…set.  Like, I have everything I need, in a nice sustainable way, and I don’t really need anything else.  There is still sort of a longing for companionship there in some regards, and sometimes it’s the slightest bit frustrating that other people’s lives are so much “noisier” (I feel like just as “soft” has become my de-facto adjective, “noisy” has gotten a sort of antithetical quality in my mind lately), but as I realized recently, I am not searching for someone to complete me, but for someone to share my completeness with.

I mean, I’ve always had a pretty laid-back attitude towards things, but nowadays it’s even more nonchalant because it’s like I have it all down.  It’s not even just that things are all under control–it’s that there’s nothing that even seems like it =wouldn’t= be under control.  I bet it shows in my dancing too–nowadays I’m just a lot more confident when I dance.

And of course, if my classes at CCRMA have taught me anything, it’s that 7 years of producing electronic music have made me into quite a force to be reckoned with and that I’m just totally awesome at making music, and coding, and all that stuff.  And there’s other stuff, like getting 24th place in Ludum Dare which proved my worth in coding, game design, pixel art, and music–all of it.

I’m just kind of awesome.  I mean, even more than before.

Using ChucK as a sequencing and arrangement tool is like using the side of a pair of scissors as a hammer.  Yeah, you =can=…but…there’s no reason you would ever have to, or want to.

I’m looking at our next assignment and…it’s not doing much to help my rolling-eyes-at-CCRMA-people ego problem.  We’re supposed to record a bunch of different sounds (okay), then use ChucK to:

-process and transform the sounds
-arrange/compose something

Now, initially I took issue with the second one, as there’s no way I’m ever going to arrange something in ChucK that can match what I can do with a proper sequencer.  Yes, theoretically, it’s possible, but I can make like 7 minutes of music in FL over 1 hour, and programming stuff by hand is just not going to match that, unless you abuse repetition and randomization, or just make nonsense ambient stuff.

So I started trying to write up a message to the prof saying I was thinking about just using ChucK to mangle/transform/edit the sounds, and then sequence something using a different DAW.  I mean, even ModPlug Tracker would be an order of magnitude better than ChucK.  Actually, even using LSDJ would let me work faster than ChucK, and that runs on a =Game Boy=.

Anyways, that’s all fine and whatever.  The sad part is that I realized as I was writing this message, that ChucK isn’t even good at transforming and editing the sounds…I’m looking over all the built-in effects and such that are part of the language standard, and the ones that do exist are totally subpar–the echo effect in ChucK, for example, only gives you one simple echo, whereas if you load up a delay bank in FL, you get feedback, stereo separation, stereo offset, filtering of the echo, multiple echo lines, … And then you look at all the stuff I can do with FX plugins, like chop up samples, retrigger them, reverse them, vocode them, sample&hold filters, etc etc and it’s actually kind of depressing.  Why would I ever do audio processing with such a subpar tool?  Even if you say that ChucK can do fancy algorithmic stuff with formulas and whatnot, that’s something that FL can do too–you can enter equations like sin(exp(time)) or whatever and use them as automation controllers.  gah!

So, I don’t even know what the language is good for anymore.  Also, the assignment operator goes backward.

OHC171

http://compo.thasauce.net/rounds/view/OHC171

Greatness should be appreciated, but what happens if everyone who experienced it is gone? The humble and quiet end to something amazing is not forgotten, but not celebrated. Was it a great person? A great civilization? Tonight’s theme is “What once was great is now gone.”

My entry: http://compo.thasauce.net/files/DDRKirby_ISQ__-_Rise_and_Demise(OHC171).mp3

Yeah, so this time the theme came out and I was like UHHHHhhhhhhhhhh wtf.  So I loaded up a random VST and one of the first sounds was that weird chiptune thudbass thing and my mind was like METROID so that’s what I ran with.  I had the vision for the part at 0:54 pretty early on, and once I had that down I could tell yeah, we were going somewhere.

The part at 4:30 is done using tb_grumblebum to get that metroid “squeeee” effect, and then there’s a bunch of beepmap adding to the chaos so it’s reallllyyy triipppy.  Then we go back to the beginning theme, only this time in minor >:D, and with a really ominous pad texture from Alchemy.

Then I knew exactly what I had to do–samplereduced drums.  So that was pretty sweet.  The next section has sine blip that’s using dblue glitch to do reverses every other measure, which is really cool.

Yeah so I ended up getting a song that’s like 8:50 in length, which isn’t even what I was going for in the beginning.  So that was…uh, wow, impressive.  Granted, it’s pretty repetitive and all, but wow, it’s still just really crazy.  Definitely my longest entry so far.  And definitely serves as sort of an epic story/narrative-type song.

 

starla also submitted something this week, which is AWESOME, so I’m voting for it three times.

Whenever I thought about the question “would you rather lose your sight or your hearing?”, I used to be really tempted to just answer hearing, because I need my sight to do a lot of important things, including playing video games (except for those super-rare ones that don’t actually involve sight! ;P), and yes, though I knew I would be sacrificing music, I’d also be able to avoid the “noisiness” of the world, and of other people, and to me that was actually a plus.

Now that I actually think about it, it’s definitely not nearly that clear.  Besides the fact that music is awesome, you also have to keep in mind the fact that MY music is awesome…producing electronic is actually one of my most premier hobbies, which is saying QUITE a lot considering the number of hobbies that I have.  It’s “premier” in that I’ve been doing it for a long time, I really like it and enjoy it, I’m really good at it, it comes easily to me, I’m recognized for it, and heck, I’ve even made some money off of it.  If I really had to, it might not be bad to make a living off of it.  Though to be honest, there are probably easier ways to make a living.

Of course, it would make even more sense for me to lose my voice than either of hearing or sight, but for me that wouldn’t be nearly as comparable of a loss (think about how often I actually use my voice, relatively).  It’d be kind of cool to be a mute who makes awesome music and dances and plays video games and blogs and all that, though, don’t you think?

What do you call someone who is an angel of angels?

Never before have I met someone who has connected so deeply and effortlessly to my soul.  And this is the very first time that I’ve had a late heart-to-heart conversation with someone and not even felt the slightest bit bad about keeping them up because I know you love me and don’t mind.  I love you deeper than words can express…I love you so much that to be in a romantic relationship with you would be a step downward.