athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] eggshellhammer and I just had an online conversation about gaming and pop culture that might be worth sharing, at least for my own future reference. It started out being about gaming and pop culture, anyway ... .

[livejournal.com profile] eggshellhammer:
I've been in this noir DnD game, for... I dunno. Maybe 20, 24 sessions now.

And it's getting hard.

Not that it isn't fun -- but it's hard to endure it.

Because the world I exist in when I go there is such an agonizing moral vacuum. and even though my character has such great power to kill and to endure suffering, I can't make things better.

I don't have anything I can punch that will make a better day rise.

Because in noir, there are no good decisions.

And my only power is violence.

I'm constantly trapped in cycles of violence, and I can't escape them. I can't resolve them.


Your Obedient Serpent:
Sounds frustrating.

The secret in noir is to play the Hard Boiled Detective: do the best you can, help who you can, and maintain your own integrity in the face of a hopelessly corrupt world, because, if there's any moral dimension to that existence at all, it's what you bring to it.

Your quest is noble because it's futile.

The difference between Philip Marlowe and Don Quixote is that Marlowe knows that he's not going to win in the long run, and that even his little victories are often Pyhrric. But he keeps pushing on, because there's an important difference between "Not Winning" and Giving Up.

When you give up, you've lost.

If you keep pushing, and fighting, and striving, then even if you haven't won -- you haven't lost.

If you were playing in a Gothic-Punk game like the old World of Darkness, that would be part of it. Part of playing that game is embracing the Emo. Noir isn't too far off from that. You're a Tragic Hero, and you know it -- and that's what gives you strength. You're standing in front of the tank in Tiannamon Square, and flipping it off.

The Hard Boiled Detective doesn't back down, doesn't compromise, and if he gets the shit kicked out of him or gets killed, he does so knowing that he did it on his terms.

The people who look at an "agonizing moral vacuum" and decide it doesn't matter what they do, that they can kill and torture and do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals?

They've already lost.

The people who curl up in despair because they're not Saving the World? They've lost, too.


...and somewhere along the line, I think I might have stopped talking to Eggshell about his game.


And no, I didn't realize the inherent pun in advising "Eggshell" to play a "hard-boiled" character until I was almost ready to post this. Observing this in the Comments is both redundant and unnecessary.
athelind: (Default)

You know, I used to think that it was awful that life was so unfair.
Then, I thought:


Wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair,
and all the terrible things that happen to us come
because we actually deserve them?"


So, now, I take great comfort in the hostility and unfairness of the universe.



-- "Marcus Cole",
in J. Michael Straczynski's
Babylon 5

athelind: (Default)
About a month ago, I made a friends-locked post about this; now it's time to turn the cards face up.

[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I are separating.

On Friday, she'll be flying to the Philippines for business. Immediately thereafter, I will be moving out.

This is not a divorce. We are not "breaking up". We still love each other; gods, do we love each other. We still want to be together.

However, since I graduated from CSUMB in 2003, I have not held a full-time job for more than three months; they've all been short-term contract or temp positions. My current part-time retail position barely lets me pick up my prescriptions and the occasional grocery run.

She needs to know that, if something happens to her, I can actually survive.

I need to know that, too. I wish we didn't have to do this, but, honestly, until I make some drastic change in my situation, I'm just going to keep spinning my wheels.

The separation will continue until I have a permanent, full-time job that lasts more than six months.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thoughtsdriftby, I have a place to stay until I can get my shit together.

I will do everything in my power to insure than the duration is as short as I can make it.


athelind: (Default)
A statement like that might seem to need qualifiers, but really, it doesn't.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

About very nearly anything.


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