Archive for September, 2004

wow is right

Worlds of Warcraft. There, I’ve said it. Far more addicting than the also recently aquired Fable (for XBox), Worlds of Warcraft has supplanted City of Heroes as my new favorite video game. I still know lots more people who play CoH, so I’m not going to give it up entirely, I’m just giving some of those people a chance to catch up with the atomic pig, who is about five levels above most of their highest level characters. ;)

So yeah, I got accepted into the WoW beta test. That means that this newest latest addiction is entirely free. (Until release.) Unfortunately, all our characters will go away at that time. So Grid, my level 12 Undead Mage will at that time cease to exist. I think I will probably stop playing at that time. At least, I hope I will be sick of it by then.

Unlike city of heroes, worlds of warcraft is a very different game, depending on what “race” you choose to play. (At least in the early levels anyway.) There are less options for customizing your character up front, but more options as the game progresses. They are very different games, really.

Fable is also pretty fun. I just don’t know when I’ll get around to playing it in betwen marathon nights full of WoW goodness. Laura started playing it, and last actually went to bed later than I did. (After last sunday realizing I’d played WoW from midnight to 7:30, I decided I’m going to make sure I get in bed by 1 am from now on.) It’s just added incentive to start playing earlier.

know thyself

I went to Tai Chi today for the first time in about two weeks. As we began the standing meditation (in the beginning of class, just after stretches) I was composing this blog entry about how I’m going to take a break from Tai Chi for a while. Maybe all winter, I thought. But then as class ended, and I was wishing we did the entire form at the end of every class (as we did today), I started chatting with some of the people I’ve gotten to “know” from my months at the studio. Then the next (more advanced) class began, and as most of those friends turned towards it, the instructor turned back and beckoned to me specifically. It was my first non-beginning tai-chi course at the studio. After that class, I didn’t feel like I’d learned anything extraordinary, but then it’s not about learning extraordinary things. It’s about practicing tai chi. And it’s about knowing yourself.

One of my last posts was about how important I think it is to know yourself emotionally, and how I feel that is the poet’s job and obligation. Tai Chi is about knowing your physical self. And unfortunately, you can’t just think about your body and know how it bends and how it moves. You actually have to bend and move to know those things. And interestingly enough, the more you bend and move, the better you become at bending and moving. The same probably holds true for the non-physical self as well. The more you think the better you are going to be at thinking.

So I think maybe I’ll keep going to Tai Chi for now at least. I do really feel a sense of inner peace after class, a sense of calm and collection. Strange that you have to not think to feel the most centered.

marty brand poems

Dr Bombay sent me a link to his friend Charlie’s blog, where Charlie talks a bunch about poetry, and in this particular entry, about whether we can talk about poets as brand names.

Charlie’s final point is that brands are stagnating for the artist. Brands must stay the same to be recognizable, this is true, but it seems to me that an artist can still change while their brand stays (basically) the same. Think of U2. Their brand (public image) has definitely changed over the years, but very slowly, and not nearly as often as their music (for better or worse). There are examples of successful brand revolutions too. Think of Christina Aguilera, who went from being branded a twelve year old to being branded a super-slut virtually over night. Changing your image isn’t impossible, just very difficult.

Having worked in a large marketing company for a few years, I heard the term “brand” thrown around all the time… but it was never used to refer to what the actual product was… it was always used to refer to the public image of said product.

I would argue that all artists are branded whether they know it or not. Whether they go through the process of branding themselves is the real question. To market yourself as an artist, you have to have an image. All branding does is try to keep some semblance of control over that image.

This is true of poets too, although many of them (us) choose to eschew the process entirely, and either allow our publishers to make all the marketing (branding) decisions, or attempt to allow our words to speak for itself. Sure, some of the biggest name poets probably have some kind of brand, but I’ll bet none of them have logos. (I just spent far too long looking for this quiz that I saw online a few months back where you had to match up popular artists and sports stars with their respective logos. It was really a cool quiz, if you remember where it’s at, send me the link, please.)

The phenomenon of Charlie’s blog for me is not that it’s largely about poetry and writing (which I love,) but that it’s so amazingly thoughtful and insightful. Then linking from his blog to Victoria Chen’s, it was like finding a wormhole into this other world where people actually care about poetry the majority of the time.

Strangely enough, however, that world is probably as repulsive to me as it is attractive. I think if poetry were more popular than it is, I would be more hesitant to write it. Plus, there is something so sticky about academic studies of poetry. Some part of me just thinks poems are.

I get upset when people talk about this movement or that movement in poetry. The whole idea of having a movement in poetry for me requires an artistic revolution where you write a manifesto and all your friends get together and think about similar ideas. It seems to me that calling yourself this type of poet or that type of poet is such a big fad. Isn’t that era over already? Nobody actually writes manifestos anymore, but they all talk about different types of poetry as if every poem fit neatly into one or two categories and that was it.

I’d much rather hear discussion about a poem itself than about the category it may or may not fit into.

Man, now I’m just whining.

poet as lifeologist

In today’s writer’s almanac, there was a quote from Babette Deutsch that read:

The poet, like the lover, is a person unable to reconcile what he knows with what he feels. His peculiarity is that he is under a certain compulsion to do so.

This is actually very similar to another quote from her that I already had in my collection:

Poetry is important. No less than science, it seeks a hold upon reality, and the closeness of its approach is the test of its success.

I have always thought this to be true. The poet’s job is often to bottle or catalogue emotion. It is interesting to note that I don’t really practice what I preach… in other words that I do this remarkably poorly. Most of my poems are really just wordplaying buffoonery. I don’t even bother throwing in a dead housepet or lost pair of shoes. (OK, I may have one poem about a lost pair of shoes. Maybe.) Anyway, most of my poems are light and fluffy. But still, maybe they capture a hint of what it means to be me.

But it’s really more the philosophy of the above statements that I try to live by. I am someone who wants to know WHY I have all the thoughts and emotions that I do. I want to trace down my grumpiness on any given afternoon to the midnight snack I had the night before. Or perhaps more commonly find the reason behind a particular jealousy or relationship aggravation. I live by this idea so much that it’s not uncommon for me to get frustrated at other people when they don’t share this same philosophy. If someone doesn’t know why they feel the way I do, my typical response is to berate them for not thinking about it sooner. And goad them into spending some time thinking about it.

A poet is a scientist in the study of his or her own life. Science begins and ends with observation, but along the way one must hypothesize and theorize and test ones own life to find consistency. To find conclusion. To find meaning.

I don’t really have any particularly startling discoveries today, but I’m going to find some poems by Babette Deutsch, and maybe I can share in some of hers.

Tuesday inside

It’s cold in the office and I guess I probably have dozens of more important things to be doing, but my inbox is filled with unread Writer’s Almanac entries and the one from today burns sinewy words into my braincan leaving sleepy room for unresolved plots and wordspun passages of time like model trains on a table or plates of spaghetti and asparagus. (Tastes like science experiments or genetic mutations.) And hot rods and supermodels and teflon-slickwet sidewalks, and all the while my slinky consciousness undulating or rolling down the stairs or just sitting still in a spiral that is near impossible to follow to any conclusion because it just keeps on like a mobius strip or simple circle lacking any plan or finishing touch.

Disturbing pig fact for the day: Last night I read that dripping male pig saliva on a female pig in heat will completely immobilize the female.

What I Do and Am

Tonight I did not play city of heroes. Instead I played some mindless puzzle games from shockwave.com. I do not really recommend shockwave. Yesterday I signed up for their GameBlast subscription thinking that it would allow me to play all their download games while that subscription was valid. Their website led me to this conclusion, but unfortunately, not all their games are covered by a gameblast subscription. When I found this out I was pretty upset. Especially since the game I had wanted to play was one of the ones not covered under GameBlast’s subscription fees.

Shockwave has some kind of reseller contract with popcap games. Now, as we all know, Popcap makes some of the finest and bestest action puzzle games known to mankind. When I started really comparing the games available under the GameBlast subscription to the ones that weren’t, I realized that none of the popcap games I know and love are covered or available that way. I’m really pissed at gameblast for not being up front about what games are available via subscription, and what games you have to pay for individually. I read the fine print, and even if I cancel my subscription today, I still have to pay for a whole month of their service at minimum, so tonight I decided to get my money’s worth. They have a few pretty fun games. Most of them are crap though. One popcap game beats the lot of them hands down.

Nate wants to play Lemonaid Tycoon before I cancel it, but then it’s totally getting turned off. Shockwave sucks. Down with shockwave.

So yeah, I was going to write in some existential stuff here about how you are what you do. That phrase is never more appropriate than when you’re doing nothing. Even the productive part of my evening, when I went to Best Buy was a big waste of time, because I got home and realized I’d bought the wrong kind of DVD media. I’ll be going back sometime tomorrow to return it.

I’m a giant waste of flesh. …well, maybe not really, Zelda must find me moderately useful as he’s laying on my feet right now.

I should probably make some effort to sleep. I have a meeting tomorrow morning. Plus I told my brother to show up before then so we could burn coppies of his promo DVD. Now I’m going to only have one or two DVDs for him to use until I get back from going to best buy after the meeting.

impending steampunk cinema

Tonight is a sneak preview for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I’ve been excited to see this since I first saw the previews what must be at least a year ago. Feels like this movie has been about to come out forever. I’m really only going to see giant robots trampling through a steampunk city.

I reached a milestone today in my “rip all CDs to mp3” project: I’m finally into the ‘C’s. I have about 215 albums ripped at this point, and about a hundred of them are filed under A or B. At last count, I had about 800 CDs, (but that doesn’t count multi-cd sets or box sets) so at best I’m about a fourth done. Looking at my shelves at home is frustrating though, as the progress seems nowhere near that far.

In City of Hero news, the Atomic Pig made level 19 last night. I’ve sworn I’d make level 20 before the new update comes out… but seeing as how we’ve all already downloaded it (it just hasn’t been “turned on” yet), I’m guessing they’re going to throw the switch sometime very soon. (Which means I may not make my self-imposed deadline.) I didn’t even have to convince laura to create a character the other day when she did. She spent over two hours in the character creation process, and then spent about ten minutes playing before she was tired of it.

I have a new idea for blogistry.com (which I own but have done basically nothing with. I’m thinking about just writing or finding some kind of syndication software to syndicate blogs that are “known” experts in the blog software realm. Ideally, I’d only syndicate entries that were in suitable categories. Of course, this brings up rights issues and all that kind of jazz, so I’d probably want to get permission from everyone first. But the idea is that there’s no way I’m going to be an expert in every blog-related field. Hell, I doubt I’m an expert in ANY blog-related field at this point. My changes to WordPress are still sitting in the back of my brain, unmade and only half-formed.

I notice that I have more desire to read blogs when I’m actually actively blogging. A month or two ago in an IM conversation, Yami said she reads blogs like I play videogames. (Which basically meant for her every day after she gets off work. My video game schedule is much more sporadic and unscheduled.) Anyway, reading even just the ones I want to read is quite a hefty time commitment. I don’t think I was probably ever “into it” to the point where I would read all the ones I wanted to, and I probably never will be. I just hope I can at least keep up with my friend’s blogs for a while at least. (But by “keep up” I don’t mean every day or anything.)

It is interesting to note the rate at which emails and comments about my last entry have hit my ears and inbox. I suppose it carried a fair bit of “heavy” news, and coupled with your inability to leave comments here, you’re probably all just dying to express some kind of sympathy. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, other than to reassure people that it’s probably not as bad as it all sounded. I was quite depressed, but have been much better. Laura and I are good, but not really in danger of getting engaged again any time soon. (And she has certainly not expressed a desire to do so, despite having occasionally seemed wistful and upset about it herself.) I don’t think I’m going to go into all the gory details here, (although some part of me wants to) mostly because they’re over, and I want to focus on the present.

…like Sky Captain in T-minus 1.5 hours.

catching up

So I realize that it’s been quite a while. Lots of things have happened and continue to happen. Laura and I are no longer engaged. (That’s a quite recent development.) I’m still taking tai-chi classes. Still playing City of Heroes. Ren fest has started and is almost over. (I’m not going as much this year as I have in the past. It’s mostly just been one day a weekend so far.) My birthday was at the beginning of this month and passed with a bout of the usual birthday manic depressive rollercoaster. I have had a recent urge to write fiction again. I’ve finished reading a few good novels. (The Golden Age and its two sequels by John C. Wright, and Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, among others.) I’m currently reading the fourth in the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, which is absolutely fantastic, and has had me near stitches at times.

I played unicycle hockey last night for the first time in ages. I’m composing this blog entry on my laptop, and will be leaving soon to get out to fest in time to watch my friend Fisch in the fencing tournament they have every year at the fencing booth.

Last night after unicycling I went to Steve’s place for his birthday party. Tonight is another birthday party at Kris’s place. I may stop there on my way out to fest. I am also missing Merlin and Shalene’s housewarming party as I write this. Merlin, if you read this, I’m sorry I missed it.

I doubt I’ll get another chance to write this weekend as I’ve got far too much to do tomorrow.

this blog is languid

I’m having a mid-blog crisis, I think. Changing priorities and stuff. I’ll be back. I think. Meanwhile, I’ve been fairly good at updating the mindblurbs for those few of you who enjoy them. I still want to switch blogging software. I still try desperately to enjoy life more than I abhor it.