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Am I heard?

I want to write it on facebook. Am I heard?

So I write it on facebook. Am I heard?

People respond on facebook. Am I heard?

I read their responses. Am I heard?

Their responses are ways for them to seem clever. Am I heard?

I delete the post. Am I heard?

I write it here instead, adding to a deserted pile of meaningless complaint. Am I heard?

My future self browses, sympathizes, shakes his head. Am I heard?

I don’t really have friends right now. I mean, there are people who are my friends, but I never get the chance to see them or talk to them. Instead, I spend time with people who want things from me, chiefly affirmation. Is that all that friends are?

M has people. Friends, adoring fans, colleagues, artists. They seek her out. I have M. That should be enough, right?

When I find my people, they get tired of me fast, because my eagerness kills any value in my company. It was supposed to be that this one project would open me, but I’m closed more than ever. I worked my body to new limits, and now I think the body should just die. What possible point can there be to longevity, if quality is impossible? Why do people judge the junkie? Life is no different than chasing the dragon.


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My greatest preoccupation? Games. I play games always. My opinion changes monthly, even daily, on whether games stand on their own as literature, or as social dialogue, or as true escape from the drudgery of life. After all, games can tell the most interactive and compelling stories (though they usually don’t), they can inspire people to understand one another (though they usually don’t), and they can transport someone away from their typical trudge through an unending barrage of tasks and demands from outdated systems (though they usually don’t).

I present here a list of games I played in the month of December, and what they held for me.

  • Pillars of Eternity – A throwback to the party-driven, turn-based dungeon crawls that revolutionized gameplay in my college years, PoE echoes some of the best writing of games like Planescape: Torment and the Baldur’s Gate series, while updating the game to play a little more like modern work. A mix of story and tactics, with lots of optional reading, and enough voice acting to keep it from becoming stale.
  • Kid Icarus – A NES classic which I rented several times but could never decipher. In this era of increasing difficulty, it actually plays like a primitive Dark Souls, with equal levels of frustration. I want to defeat it, and the simplicity of the gameplay deceives me into thinking it will happen.
  • Unepic – A Metroidvania-style platformer of surprising depth, Unepic also has a Dark Souls feel, but with a cornball, nerdy sense of humor. The criticism that the protagonist is unlikable is apt, but the game has surprised me many times, and that happens so rarely, that I have boosted this game’s rating in my mind to an A+.
  • Mistfall – This board game throttles me regularly. I can play solo — and I had to, just to learn the rules — but even with my considerable abilities in dungeon crawling, I have yet to succeed even once on its tutorial level. I still come back for more punishment, a credit to the game’s designers.
  • Guillotine – I have to hand it to this game’s designers: everyone likes this game. I have grown weary of it, having had to play it with so many people in this last month. While it has remarkable depth for its simple mechanics — and I truly admire that — it simply holds no real challenge for me. I can’t tell whether the randomness deadens the fun, or whether I just can’t cope with people who can’t see all their options within a few seconds, or who hold winning in such high regard that they plan for too long in a game that demands so little.
  • Mansions of Madness, Second Edition – I have so much to say about this, not because the game itself inspires verbosity, but because it is the first game I have played which utilizes what I think will be the only game play in the future, and I have mixed feelings about it. Should a board game be a video game? I honestly don’t know.
  • Invisible, Inc. – This reminds me of the Shadowrun game for the Sega Genesis, which I always loved; however, I think I will get tired of the procedural generation of it. I love rogue-likes and rogue-lites, but the game started with such an awesome story, and gave me X-Com in a more appealing style for my tastes, that I want the meat to be cooked a little more carefully, rather than simply McDonald’s-style churning out of missions. Is replayability more important than first-play?

I’ve played some other things, too, but they all sort of fall into the headings above, so I’m going to go shower now.

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The flitting butterfly that is the mind

I have been replacing meditation with video games and exercise with comfort food lately. As I know from… well, everyone and everything… this is common over the holidays and should be forgiven in one’s self. I would extend that courtesy to others, after all. The frustrating part is that I can remain disciplined for months at a time, checking off my daily list of things, and one month of depression and too many external needs will undo a year of work, both in mental stability and physical fitness. Why fight atrophy? My mind can find no rational response. 40 years old. Settled. Is there really any reason to do anything but wait to die? And isn’t that the most selfish thing? Living? Depleting resources that should belong to the young, the hopeful, and the ambitious?

I read recently that testosterone kills men. If a man “lets himself go,” as it were, he stands a greater chance of living a longer life. Nature created men as drones. Women have all the complex inner workings because only they serve the natural imperative of reproduction, and thus men should, by their own genetic structure, not live beyond their years of reproductive value. No wonder men collapse under the strain of mid-life crises, like the one I have fought for the last five years, maybe ten. The higher suicide rate corresponds directly to the actual purpose of male life: create something or die. By any rational, philosophical standard of modern life, that creation can not be more people. The Earth, and indeed human society, will explode under the strain of any more useless people. How can anyone compel themselves to live knowing that it amounts to nothing more than an obsolete, biological impulse? Why should we accept and indulge that impulse and not the more hedonistic ones that would birth a new Caligula state?

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I only want to say if there is a way
Take this cup away from me
For I don’t want to taste its poison
Feel it burn me, I have changed
I’m not as sure as when we started

Then I was inspired, now I’m sad and tired
Listen, surely I’ve exceeded expectations
Tried for three years, seems like thirty
Could you ask as much from any other man?

But if I die
See the saga through and do the things you ask of me
Let them hate me, hit me, hurt me, nail me to their tree

I’d wanna know, I’d wanna know my God
I’d wanna know, I’d wanna know my God
Wanna see, I’d wanna see my God
Wanna see, I’d wanna see my God

Why I should die?
Would I be more noticed than I was ever before?
Would the things I’ve said and done matter any more?

I’d have to know, I’d have to know my Lord
Have to know, I’d have to know my Lord
Have to see, I’d have to see my Lord
Have to see, I’d have to see my Lord

If I die what will be my reward?
If I die what will be my reward?
Have to know, I’d have to know my Lord
Have to know, have to know my Lord

Why should I die?
Why should I die?

Can you show me now that I would not be killed in vain?
Show me just a little of your omnipresent brain
Show me there’s a reason for your wanting me to die
You’re far too keen on where and how and not so hot on why

Alright I’ll die
Just, just watch me die
See how, see how I die
See how I die

Then I was inspired, now I’m sad and tired
After all I’ve tried for three years
Seems like ninety

Why then am I scared to finish what I started?
What you started, I didn’t start it

God, Thy will is hard but You hold every card
I will drink Your cup of poison
Nail me to Your cross and break me
Bleed me, beat me, kill me, take me now
Before I change my mind

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Stage Combat

Stage combat is perhaps the most all-encompassing tool that an actor can have. It teaches active listening, physical characterization, and the highest possible level of objectives, obstacles, and stakes; moreover, if one feels safe, one can collaborate to create more engaging and dynamic stories. With a firm grounding in stage combat, an actor increases their presence on stage, much the way a confident martial artist does in real life. No actor worth their salt should turn away such an opportunity.

I consider stage combat to be a modern martial art, focused on storytelling, rather than defense, much like many Eastern disciplines teach that, at the highest levels, violence and destruction are set aside in favor of aesthetic creation. A master becomes an artist, as the understanding of violence reminds one of their human nature (the earth, the id, the beast, etc.) but channeling that directionless passion are the creative and rational drives. As artists in the theatre, the consummation of all arts, we have the ability and responsibility to bring this violence as realistically to bear as we are able in order to confront and discuss — and perhaps, to change — the way in which we accept and cope with our natural tendency toward violence.

To that end, it is essential that we as fight directors, give our actors the tools required to tell these stories. By necessity, we begin to help with precautions against harm; after all, beyond the obvious preservation of the actor, if the actor must hesitate because of a safety concern, then we have hindered the story by whatever fraction that hesitation costs. Contrarily, when we instill in actors the knowledge and practice to free them of the constraint of fear, we not only allow that particular scene to come alive, but we bring the actors to a greater state of awareness and commitment, which can only serve them in all aspects of performance.

The responsibility is colossal for fight directors, as with any teachers, to keep this always in mind. We must understand fear, violence, and all of the darkest parts of our humanity in order to create compelling art, but we must be in command of those forces, and teach others to be in command of them, if that art is to be of value.

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In the still solemnity framed by these concrete walls, she begins to dance. At first, the movements hardly stir the air, like smoke listlessly insinuating itself into the sky. Then, her arms start to drift farther from her body, lashing eddies into invisible jet-streams. When her hips can no longer contain each ever-building undulation, her legs extend and her feet land, with tactile, silent thumps against the dark mats left there to collect dirt from outsiders’ shoes.

Even her eyelids join the dance, closing and rolling and widening as her body begins to leap and flicker across this world in her mind. No rhythm but her heartbeat, no melody but synapse boldly building bridges between suffering and solace, until they become the same. Extending, lengthening, then suddenly folding, potential informing kinetic, kinetic releasing potential, and all the while that expanding tension in every tendon that leads to catharsis.

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But, you know… who cares?


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NIN : The Becoming

I beat my machine it’s a part of me it’s inside of me
I’m stuck in this dream it’s changing me I am becoming
The me that you know had some second thoughts
He’s covered with scabs he is broken and sore
The me that you know doesn’t come around much
That part of me isn’t here anymore
All pain disappears it’s the nature of my circuitry
Drowns out all I hear no escape from this my new consciousness
The me that you know used to have feelings
But the blood has stopped pumping and he’s left to decay
The me that you know is now made up of wires
And even when I’m right with you I’m so far away
I can try to get away but I’ve strapped myself in
I can try to scratch away the sound in my ears
I can see it killing away all my bad parts
I don’t want to listen but it’s all too clear
Hiding backwards inside of me I feel so unafraid
Annie, hold a little tighter I might just slip away
It won’t give up it wants me dead
Goddamn this noise inside my head
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Poe fellow.

“When shall the artist assume his proper situation in society— in a society of thinking beings? How long shall he be enslaved? How long shall mind succumb to the grossest materiality? How long shall the veriest vermin of the Earth, who crawl around the altar of Mammon, be more esteemed of men than they, the gifted ministers to those exalted emotions which link us with the mysteries of Heaven?” -Edgar Allan Poe, 1836

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