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The complete life and identity of Mory Buxner, ported to HTML.
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...that Mordechai, son of Tzvi Eliezer... said to this virgin Yardena... "Be my wife according to the practice of Moshe and Israel, and I will cherish, honor, support and maintain you in accordance with the custom of Jewish husbands who cherish, honor, support and maintain their wives faithfully. And I here present you with the marriage gift of virgins, two hundred silver zuzim, which belongs to you, according the the law of Moses and Israel; and I will also give you your food, clothing and necessities...I was getting uneasier by the second. This was not a description of the relationship we had, nor the relationship that we expected to have. It did not reflect my attitude toward gender politics, which is that anything with a whiff of gender imbalance makes me uneasy, and it did not reflect Yardena's attitude toward religion, which is that it is invasive and demeaning and should be kept out of people's personal business.
Life before (click to view)I told Yardena that if it weren't for her, I'd probably be in a mental institution by now. I told her that I would have run out of money and moved back to my parents and ended up completely insane. I told her that I was useless when left to my own devices, that everything I had been doing on my blog was because I was supremely messed up and couldn't get anything done ever. I told her that even those experiments hadn't really been working, and were in danger of falling apart every day and ate up all my time and energy just to keep me from being a lifeless lump, and that for the past year I hadn't been able to write to the blog and couldn't keep myself going for even a few days at a time.
Sarah shared a thing that's trending
Kind of dumb but I'm amused
Isn't a forgotten friend an
Awful thing to lose?
Well, not friend, I guess acquaintance
Now I see she's bought new shoes
How did people live before they
Kept up with the news?
Bob is sick and Rosa hates
A movie that I haven't seen.
Barbara likes a post that states
A singer's just turned seventeen.
Here's a photo Marvin took
I'd want to hide a shot like that
Diaper coupons, politicians lied
Oh look, a pretty cat!
I've had enough
I'll turn it off
As soon as I know
What you're reading, how to make cupcakes,
How to fix a broken fuse
I need regular updates
To keep up with all the news
Every second I am beckoned
Back for knowledge I can't use
I can feel my mind expanding
Slightly nauseous but still standing
I think I'm a zombie
Stop your sleeping
Post so I can
Work on keeping
Up with all the news
01:28:31Wow, time moves quickly. Okay. The most obvious problem is that whenever a self-meeting is called, the immediate kneejerk reaction is to switch to another session, kill the conference room, and continue with whatever I feel like doing. I'm not naming any names here because I can't - without the conference room, there are no clear characters to blame or credit for anything. It's the conference room that provides the proper contextualizing of my actions.
01:25:07The Programmer could change the way the conference room works to make it beyond his own abilities to kill the program, using that "crloop" script he experimented with that makes sure the program keeps reopening itself until it ends correctly. Complicated, but doable. That accounts for any self-meetings dictated by cron, but there are still the ones I schedule myself, which can be closed by simply foregrounding the counting script. I can bypass that by making an alias to cover over the fg command, making those processes inaccessible to me once I start them.
01:19:49I've already gotten rid of the fg command, but I feel that this is a temporary solution. For one thing, since the conference room itself can be killed, all this does right now is delay my rebellion to the last minute. There will still be no conference if I don't feel like having a conference. So the crloop needs to be programmed. But even then, I can find a way around it. I'm pretty resourceful when I need to be, and perfectly capable of both finding and getting comfortable with roundabout ways of doing things.
01:16:46So even if I outsmart myself for a little while, it's only a matter of time until I lose control again. In Windows it was a bit easier, because I didn't have control over Windows like I have control over Linux. I could let Yardena change my password and not tell me what the new password is, but then I could never install new programs or update anything without her being here, which would be tremendously awkward. Not to mention that she might forget the password unless it's written down somewhere, and if it's written I'll probably find it.
01:12:36I'm thinking about this wrong. An obstacle will be overcome. But an unwillingness will halt me. I need to not want to break character, and so I need to recontextualize my insolence. Closing the conference room is not lazy. It is evil. To prevent my other personalities an opportunity to make themselves heard is to sin against those aspects of myself. It is akin to slavery. Fictional characters have rights, and by pretending to be a single, unified person, I trample on those rights.
01:05:15The most important tenet of my philosophy must be: "Love myself like my neighbor". Just as I would not silence or subjugate another person, I must never silence or subjugate myself. To limit myself to one perspective is a sin, and needs to be dealt with harshly. Not through technical obstacles. Those are mere puzzles. Sin must be brought out into the open for all to see, so that it can be purged. Evil must not and will not be tolerated, and evil thrives in the dark and the quiet.
00:59:12The appearance can be worked out later; the basic format is clear enough. The list of sins will take the place of the old Performance Reviews. Whether the Performance Reviews should continue is a matter best left for a Dialogue; personally, I'm not clear on why we ever stopped. But I have
00:56:34fifty-six minutes in which to crudely implement the idea, because when Yardena gets home I will want nothing in the universe except to hold her. Equally important: she will want to be with me immediately, and would justifiably be hurt if I did not reciprocate.
00:07:02Okay, there's the barebones file. I could differentiate between cardinal sins and casual sins, with the punishment being different, but maybe it's best to paint all evil as equally unacceptable. There is something to be said for fundamentalism.
00:03:47Okay, now to make it appear at the end of the post...
-00:02:26Oh, to heck with formatting. What difference does it make how the lines are spaced. She could walk in any minute now, and then I'll never want to publish this post! I need to finish right fricking now.
"When he speaks, there is a phrase that Mr. Miyamoto always mentions that speaks directly to the very nature of the Zelda series. The phrase is: 'Zelda is a game that values reality over realism.' In the art world, realism is a movement to faithfully replicate the real world to whatever extent possible. Reality is not mimicking the real world, but rather making players feel like what they are experiencing is real.
"You know, when playing through the game there's no need to be aware of Link's age or what his ultimate goal is. But, when this happens, the things that the player is doing tend to become typical game actions and the awareness that the player is just playing a game becomes stronger. Players who need bombs to progress through the game, but don't have any, will by chance find themselves visiting the bomb shop in the middle of the night. When the shopkeeper says, 'Hey, you're just a boy!' the player who had not been consciously thinking that Link was just a boy realizes, 'Oh! That's right! I'm just a boy.' The player than reflects that he's walking around in the middle of the night and starts to feel the loneliness of the middle of the night. That leads the player to become one with the game world, and the player experiences reality."
-Eiji Aonuma, GDC 2004
Why were these people shouting?, Ariel wondered. He is not in our territory, and he understands what homes are made for. Should we not let him be?Besides, I wanted to sit back and silently watch her while she played. She'd be playing anyway, whether I was there or not, so I didn't see any religious objections to this. And I never asked her to play, or to do anything in the game. I just did not explicitly object when she said she was going to play. Often this arrangement led to lovely afternoons. But just as often, it would lead to prolonged uncomfortable situations. Yardena would reach something that frustrated her, and I could have corrected her with just a word or two, but I felt that that would be equivalent to me taking the controller and playing for myself. So I needed to sit back and watch as the love of my life got more and more angry and stressed out, while I could do nothing about it.
I never got a chance to showAt the Friday night dinner table at my parents' house two months ago, my mother told me she had been playing Gamer Mom. I'd modeled the adventure game after all the frustrations I'd caused myself in obsessively trying to get my family to play games, for all those years I was living with them, so I naturally was curious to hear how they felt about my creation. I listened with fascination as my mother described trying to get the fictional family to play World of Warcraft, and failing (of course), and trying again, and failing again, and giving up and coming back more determined than ever and losing all hope and getting frustrated and asking me for a hint and being confused by my hint and continuing for hours. Yes, my mother played this depressing little game of mine for hours, far longer than I expected anyone to withstand the emotional abuse the game inflicts on its players. This is my mother, the person in my life that I would have rated the least likely to ever touch a computer game. She explained that on one day in her now-empty nest, she'd decided that it would be nice if she could send me an SMS saying that she'd beaten my game, and to that end she tried to brute-force the puzzle by taking notes of every path she took.-"Can I see it?", I asked. She seemed bewildered and hurt. Why would I want to see the evidence of her failure? But I kept insisting, and finally she gave me the four pages she'd filled out of branch after branch, all written out in her perfectly neat handwriting with an "X" following every line. (When she reached the winning ending, she would have instead drawn a smilie face at the end of the line.) I could see from the pages that she was not at all close to beating the game, because the depth of the characters' apathy was much greater than she might have imagined, and she had eventually come to that conclusion herself. She seemed truly hurt by how the experience had played out, which delighted me not only because for the first time ever she was invested in a computer game, but also because her short-term frustrations so neatly mirrored my long-term frustrations with her and the rest of my family. She did not seem overly interested in this parallel; she was just bitter that she hadn't succeeded in connecting with me like she wanted to. All she wanted was to send that SMS, and I'd made it so difficult for her... -"But these pages are the most touching thing ever!", I insisted. I didn't care whether she had beaten the game or not, I cared that she'd experienced something that was real to me, and which she had never understood about me. What I didn't bother to explain to her is that I only put the goal there to trap the player in an endless loop of trying harder, and not to provide an opportunity for fulfillment.
My class a single melody.
Never will I get to know
What they would have thought of me.
Since then I've had no teacher.
I play piano often now-
Doesn't matter what or how.
I just sit down at the keys
And play exactly as I please-
It's just for fun, y'know?
Don't matter if it's new or old,
Don't matter if it's trash or gold,
Don't matter if there's anyone to show.
I don't care about the players above me.
I just play, and one day I realized:
It sounds lovely.
From my poem The Older Pianist
From Rob for the blog "World One Two":
Gamer Mom is one of the most important indies produced this year. It is a call for games to hold meaning, to be genuine, to say something.
This is how I felt when I tried to get my friends into Dwarf Fortress.
doo dad wrote:
this game isn’t very interesting. i could tell it was written by some nerd by the writing. it just doesn’t feel real at all, felt more like the deluded reality of someone who feels they are victimized when really they’re actually confusing victimization with not getting their way all the time.
harald from the Adventure Gamers forum:
I remember your earlier posts about this, but I’m still not sure about the concept. It doesn’t feel like much more than a variation on my least favourite adventure game puzzle: the dialogue maze. It was fun to try out the different combinations for a while, but it gets old quickly. Also, it’s frustrating to get loads and loads of depressing endings but never be rewarded (if there hadn’t been a message assuring me that there was a way to get them to play, I would never have spent as much time with it as I did). Though I guess the “everyday blues” theme might just not be what I’m looking for in games, and I shouldn’t let that affect my impression of your concept.
But in the end all I see is a huge dialogue puzzle. Reluctantly, I’m reminded of my favourite adventure game series; the Tex Murphy games, whose dialogue trees could be terribly difficult to get through. In both cases there is too little indication of which conversation path the game designer wants you to take, so you end up either guessing or brute-forcing your way through. And with “Gamer Mom” the combinations are too many for these approaches to work. (I realise that was probably the intention.) I can imagine that it’s lots of fun to script a huge dialogue structure like this, but I’m having difficulty seeing where the entertainment value for me as a player comes in.
Patricia Hernandez for Kotaku: Gamer Mom is a short adventure game that puts you in the shoes of a mother just trying to have a conversation with her family. That alone is unusual—it's not a typical role to put a player in, after all. What is also curious about the game is that the mom is trying to rope either her husband or her daughter into playing World of Warcraft with her, of all things. Or, at least listen to her talk about it.
While the visuals may look rushed at first glance, they manage to capture the feel of the situation really well. The dialogue is also noteworthy, as its a poignant reminder of the difficulty in communication we sometimes have—even with those closest to us. What the game captures above all is nuance in conversations, particularly with creating a sense of futility in this case.
All I could think, going through this, is that if you are an adult who seriously thinks that your teenager needs to enjoy the same activities that you do, you are really not remembering at all what it's like to be a teenager. And the husband just seems to be a jerk. I've never played WoW, but I've been spending a good deal of my free time on the internet since the mid-90s, and I've never had anybody act like this about it who I would willingly spend more than ten minutes talking to about anything else in the world, either.
But if it was really put together by a guy who isn't living in this situation, it's no wonder. It's projecting how he *thinks* people are about things like WoW, without ever having experienced how people are about things like WoW. Any hobby can be overdone, but without ever having played, because my SO does, I am perfectly capable of understanding what it means when she says that she's frustrated because the person who was tanking for this raid is awful and they've wiped four times or whatever, and I can sympathize. I don't need to also play to say hey, that's cool, when she tells me her druid hit 85. She doesn't play so much that she ignores me, so I don't mind it at all that she plays, and I take the same kind of interest that she does in my schoolwork.
If you start resenting your family members for not taking your hobbies seriously when you don't respect what they do with their own time, then the problem is not wholly with them. I really feel for this guy's relations.
posted by gracedissolved
I love how intense these IF games can be, but this one is especially hard for me, simply because this scenario literally played out in my family, WoW and all. I'm a gamer who had previously avoided WoW, but otherwise I'm a good mix of the daughter and the husband. Our story ended a bit differently - I played, and I enjoyed it while it lasted, but it didn't fix anything. When I quit (and even while I played), everything was just as bad as before.
The thing is, this game takes a snapshot of a problem that has been developing in its characters' lives for years. And that problem has a lot to do with who the mother is, as well as her expectations and resistance to change. It's impossible not to empathize with the lonely mother. But it's almost certainly too late to fix what's been broken, and I'm afraid it's only going to get worse.
Either way, thanks for the replay. It's nice to know someone ruminates on these emotions and ideas thoroughly enough to encapsulate them in a game. Posted by: Mantus
Stephen Roberts says:
There’s something so remarkably human and empathy-generating about this game that I wonder what it is doing that other games don’t. It’s like other games are escapism and this is the very opposite, an examination of a fractured human interaction where incomplete control and identifiable characters plaster sympathy and empathy on the participant in heavy, oily blobs. The recognisability here is almost unsettling.
I don’t know if the ‘good’ ending is really a solution to what appear to be much deeper problems. And that makes it a very compelling little narrative.
Naomi Clark @metasynthie
Sad games rooted in real life can be infinitely more soul-crushing than games rooted solely in escapism. To wit: http://adventure.gamism.org/gamer_mom/
anna anthropy @auntiepixelante
so there's a lot of text in the source for gamer mom that makes the author out to be creepy, sociopathic and misogynist
Mory Buckman is eight people: the explorer, the worker, the gamer, the musician, the programmer, the thinker, the addict, and the person. (He's also not neurotypical.) It looks like a fascinating case study of Hansonian "model yourself as multiple agents and make deals between them," especially because he's been doing it for over a year, he writes quite a bit of notes, scores himself, and has regular conferences between the personalities that are posted to the blog. I haven't read enough to provide any intelligent commentary, but wanted to raise it to the attention interested in that sort of modeling.
He wrote Gamer Mom, an adventure game about convincing your family to share an experience with you, which is a design masterpiece (but also fairly depressing, so don't get too involved unless you're willing to take an emotional hit).
I actually thought the husband was a pretty sympathetic character. He’s busy, he has a distant teenage daughter who he can’t identify with and a wife who seems to only be interested in something that, compared to his work, looks incredibly trivial. He offers some compliments about food and responds to her talking about her day, so he’s not some evil monster. When she started crying he seemed genuinely concerned and worried, but I ballsed up it by bringing it back to WoW, and instantly realised what a complete berk she must look to him. Crying over a videogame while he’s trying to actually financially support the family.
Of course the videogame wasn’t the problem, it was the lack of cohesion as a family, but she wasn’t helping by completely failing to express that, and trying to force everyone into doing things HER way.
Are the source code comments part of the ‘act’ of the game or completely unironic? They paint a portrait of an absolutely horrible person.
edit: the daughter seemed like kind of a cock but we all were at that age, surely. I can’t blame her for thinking her mom is cripplingly lame, and actually I was on her side when she called her mom out on embarrassing herself by literally leaping up from the table in enthusiasm about WoW.
The game itself deserves elaborate discussion, and is a true piece of genius, and if Mordechai lived anywhere near me, I’d go and play Zelda with him this instant for making something so beautiful, even though I don’t particularly like Zelda, but I won’t say much about Gamer Mom. I’m already writing a post about the movie Tangled, so I’ll address similar points soon.
But now, I’d like to comment on Mordechai himself, or rather, my past self wearing the mask of Mordechai. ... I’m deeply puzzled by this search for connection, and not just in him, but also especially in myself. It’s there, but I don’t know what it’s for. I wonder what the fuck I’m actually looking for because it sure as hell ain’t a soul-mate. The people who do think like me I ignore, don’t hook up with, don’t try to in any way deepen the relationship, in any kind of configuration whatsoever.
After writing "The Cat's Away", the Addict started a conference looking for some drama.
The blog is essential. I hope you all see that now.
Excuse me? Is there something I'm missing?
Yes. Reflecting tells us where we're going, what's wrong. You, for instance.
You just say the same thing over and over again. This is exactly what I'm talking about.
Let's please not do this.
I don't understand.
If you have something to say to me, say it.
Okay, I think I will. There has been no real progress on the blog in months, and it's your fault.
Yes. You are just like Shoshana. You drag us all down with you. We repress ourselves to the point where we have nothing to offer, all because you are so certain of what it is that you know.
I think the Worker's certainty in his orders is extremely beneficial...
I have no idea what you are talking about. Have I done something?!
No, I have. I gave you too much power.
No more than you gave the Programmer in this past month. Not my fault he didn't deal with it properly.
I don't like ordering people around.
I was telling you how to be efficient!
No, you listen to me. I have been the only one of this group to do anything at all. I have been pushing forward while all the rest of you wait for me to do the work. I got things done because no one else would step up and get them done. I was the only one who you knew would be reliable. And then you gang up on me, when all I did was what all of you should have been doing and what you were relying on me to do! How many times did all of you promise to do things and not do them? Well, I set goals and deadlines and for the most part I met them. I'm not perfect. I'm not good enough. But I am trying, and that's a damn sight more than any of you!
Worker, calm down. You still have a place in the group.
Damn your place in the group! None of you have ever respected me and what I bring to the table.
You were the only one who was ever respected. You "got things done", as you say. The rest of us are just ourselves.
What have I ever done to deserve this kind of treatment? Are you going to force me out of the group?
Or I suppose I should say "force me out of existence". That's what this is, let's not beat around the bush.
No. We are going to rely on you, but you are one of eight. You will not have preferential treatment. And in this month, I think we should resolve to find how we can manage without necessarily expecting you to do all the heavy lifting.
Man, go easy on him. Look, I'm sorry, Worker. You're right, this is all ridiculous.
Oh my god, you really are going to get rid of me.
No one's getting rid of you.
Are you hearing any of this?!
Do I even get a say in all this?
I am enjoying this.
I think there's a misunderstanding here. All we're talking about is shifting priorities around a bit.
It really isn't. The Worker gave us everything he had, and you're all acting like he's some kind of criminal.
Don't exaggerate. There was no hostility intended.
Oh no, go on. The hostility was good. Time it goes the other way for once.
What is your problem?
When's the last time I had a day? And recently I explained to the Thinker why according to the Rules I should get a day, and how I'd make more of it than anyone else, and he agreed and then proceeded to not give me the day. But you? You always get the day, even when your heart's not in it. What makes you so special?
I did nothing wrong.
And maybe if something makes me "special", it's that I don't sit around doing nothing all day.
Or I try not to, at least. Can't say I always pull it off.
I have some sense of a goal.
I always have some goal in mind. Always. Maybe it's the end of a level, maybe it's a high score, maybe it's saving the world. There's always something.
What? This is an okay attitude, but when I try to live in the real world suddenly I'm the crazy person?!
You are living in fiction. You run around in circles and pretend you're going places. When things are actually happening and require attention, I'm going to give that attention.
So could the Explorer, or the Addict, or the Programmer, or even the Musician possibly.
Why not? Maybe I wouldn't be so literal, maybe I would bring a more abstract touch to whatever it is that I'd be called on for.
What... does that even mean?
Yes, what does it mean, Musician?
Well, I for one look forward to finding out.
This is ridiculous. What, is he going to sing at problems?
Maybe I will. It might be effective.
The terrible thing is, I can't tell if you're serious. That's how crazy you all are, all the time.
You are not better than us. This sense of superiority you have is exactly why it's so nice to see you not being worshipped for a change.
I have never been given anything more than I earned through honest work.
I'm bored. Is anyone else here bored? I think we have a nice, long blog post and let's call it a day. Worker, love you.
I have no idea what is wrong with you people.
Then maybe we should try to explain ourselves better.
No! Gah. It's always talking with you. Enough talking! The talking just forces me to deal with all your annoying personalities. I don't want to talk, I just want to be allowed to show you that I am capable and reliable and I would like it if my work could be appreciated instead of spit on. That's all.
Oh, blog, how I've missed you. These are the glory days, after all.
And this is the sort of annoying talking I am referring to. Leave me alone, all of you.
2012, April 10th
I want to be in a relationship with someone who will play our multiple-personality game with us. Not the same characters, of course, unless some of the characters suit her personality as well (and it would be awesome if some of them did), but a similar cast of characters modeled after her personality.
What would you get from this theoretical person which you don't get from us?
Multiplayer. It's really important.
When you're playing a solitaire game you can always quit in the middle, or cheat, or just not take the experience very seriously.
That's a problem. You should be taking these days as seriously as if we were all there in the room with you. That's what these dialogues are for.
That is what they're for, right?
Fictional characters can't stand in for other people. They just can't.
I guess it boils down to the human brain not being capable of truly multitasking.
We can't really be all these people at once, so we take turns. And if we take turns, then we're not in the room with you.
If we came to this conference room more often, and respected it a little bit more, we'd be in better shape.
Sure, I'm sure, but you get more with other people. You get that objective voice which speaks up when you're not doing the best you could be doing.
I don't see any way we could simulate that without another person, as you say. The timing is important, that the message should come when there's a problem and not at some predetermined or arbitrary point.
It's not so much a message, more a sort of shared energy that keeps bouncing off one person and the other and keeps building and feeding on itself.
Oh my god, if there was someone else I could be myself with, and she were also an Explorer at the same time, can you imagine the sorts of adventures we'd have?
I've always wanted a band.
Two people can be enough of a band.
No it can't.
I think it actually could be. I just want the sense that I'm part of a group and we all exist just to make music as long as we're together.
Look, why can't we just have different people playing these different parts? We don't need one person who has everything, we could have musician friends and worker friends and explorer friends and gamer friends.
Not doable with the way the system is set up. We always switch to the Person when there are other people. It's always about interaction, or doing whatever they want to do. It's not about any particular personality.
That's just the way the system is now. We're redoing the system anyway, aren't we?
But there's a reason for the way the system is now. It's more honest. I don't want to be like my late grandmother, where all social interaction is actually some mind game designed to get something.
Honesty is overrated.
It absolutely is not. Honesty tells everyone where they stand, prevents misunderstandings and hurt feelings, and creates an open environment where any problems can be found and dealt with.
Let me rephrase, then: complete honesty is overrated.
Again, absolutely not. People who know me know that they can trust everything that I say, because I always say what I'm thinking.
Two points. First, few people trust us because we're so weird. The same way we can't 100% trust someone who doesn't think like us, most people aren't going to trust people who think like me.
The barrage of honest sentiments isn't helping, it's just letting people more clearly see the qualities that make them distrust us.
Well, I'd rather get all that mistrust out there at the start, then, and know exactly where I stand.
So you want knowledge, and think that's better than trust or forming relationships.
Whether we trust people matters.
Whatever. The other problem with what you said is that we don't say everything we're thinking. Only with Shoshana on that one date did we ever say absolutely everything, and that proved to be a horrific mistake.
I don't think it was. I think she reacted to it dishonestly and that messed us up for a while, but we didn't do anything wrong that day.
Fine, but we don't normally act like that.
The only thing we cover up is attraction. I don't want you going around telling everyone you're attracted to that you're attracted to them, because that would be interpreted as flirting rather than a statement of fact. At present there is no one we're interested in dating, so bringing up sexual interest would lead to misunderstandings. That is all. It's not like the attraction is such a key ingredient in our interactions, anyway.
Yes it is.
We'd more or less be acting the same way with everyone without the attraction.
Even if that's the case, it certainly is something these people might want to know to create that open and honest environment you were talking about, and we hold back. So the idea of holding back truths is not unfamiliar to us. Is it radically damaging our integrity that we don't say 100% of everything?
Perhaps. I hope not.
The question was rhetorical. We're fine.
If there were a person we could be ourselves with, it would be a bit stressful all the time because there would be so much pressure not to break character ever. (I'm assuming here that we would never be separated ever, which seems like a sensible idea.)
I don't think you're one to talk about sensible ideas.
Heh. Maybe not. But then we could release all that stress as the Person, and just have sex or whatever.
You have a sick mind. Can we please keep the blog a bit cleaner than that?
Sex, sex, sex, sex.
He's not sick, he's just a child.
I find the subject distasteful, in any event.
We don't need one person. We need many people. You're expecting something that no person we're ever going to meet could possibly keep up with.
I think what we're expecting is a clone of me.
Yes! Some daaaaay my self will come... some daaaay we'll meeeeet again...
But if my self-clone has a vagina, that's even better.
I'm going to leave now.
Thinker, back me up here. This person does not exist.
I'd like to think she does.
That liking is well documented. But in the real world, we're never going to find such a person.
Already we have the expectation of Jewish, English-speaking, Asperger, non-repressed, female; and now you're adding on top of that that you want someone who'd be willing to split her personality with me, and never leave my side for a minute.
Who would be the one earning money in this relationship, by the way?
We could play music together.
Fat chance. You'd just sit around messing around on your instruments, and you'd be satisfied with that.
All I need in life is myself and my self-clone.
So now she doesn't need to just be Jewish, English-speaking, Asperger, non-repressed, female, split personality, and not have any other life, she also needs to be a musician. Brilliant.
Orrrrr we could just admit that this person doesn't exist, or that if she does exist there's no way we'll ever meet her because the statistics are not in our favor, and we can be okay with the idea that not everything in the world needs to come from one person.
Part of the problem with Shoshana is that because we thought we'd get everything we needed from this one repressed person, we started repressing ourselves to make that idea more plausible.
The brain rewires itself, unnoticed...
The brain is always rewiring itself. The people you hang out with are the people you try to fit in with. And that means changing yourself on a subconscious level.
Our brain was rewiring itself in our sleep.
Yes, in retrospect that is what was happening with Shoshana. And it's a scary thought. But the Person is right, we're never going to find a person that we wouldn't need to limit ourselves for.
The Rules are too ambitious for that. This version of ourselves that we're constructing together is complex in the gamistic sense of the word, and who would be able to keep up with that?
So maybe we should take the Person seriously when he says that this one person we're looking for is actually many people.
And that means we should not lump all social interactions into one group, but actually be different personalities when interacting with different people.
Fine by me.
Yes, I know, all of you are fine with it. I wish someone would give the counterpoint, in favor of honesty.
Nope. No one cares about honesty but you.
Can we keep up a persona while making it clear that it's just a persona?
Not if we want them to treat us like the persona's real. It's better if those people don't know. Or even if they know, it's better if we don't emphasize it. They'll get used to the persona and just think of us as that one thing. We can limit ourselves differently depending on who we're interacting with.
And how can we possibly know which character is needed for interacting with which person?
Because everyone else in the world has a persona too, and it's generally not so hard to figure out which persona they're using.
I'll start the interaction, to see which character they're playing, and then I'll switch to whichever character I feel is the closest.
We'll need a more complicated system of character switching, though.
What - so we're always just mimicking the people around us? That's an awful idea! We need to bring diversity to the world, and that comes of being the opposite of the people we're around!
What are you talking about? Just before you were saying how you'd like to have the same "energy" as other people.
Sometimes, sure! But not all the time! Sometimes it'll be fun to bounce an Explorer off a Worker, or a Thinker off a Musician, or something like that.
"Infinite diversity in infinite combinations".
I'm not sure the Vulcans would approve of our system. :)
Then the Vulcans are lame.
Besides, they never really held that philosophy. We do a better job.
I don't think it's an option to start experimenting with social interactions. Every action we make with another person either helps build that relationship, or undermines it. There are always consequences.
If the other person senses that they're not getting what they expected out of a relationship with me, and this is true with any kind of relationship, they'll stop spending time with me.
That's why it needs to be one person who loves me no matter what.
We are not going to find that person.
Is there some other way I can say that, which will make it sink in? It is not going to happen.
Do you agree that having the one person that the Explorer describes would be the ideal?
Then let's figure out what that ideal would look like, and then see how much of that vision we can achieve with people we know, how much we can achieve by meeting new people who are not unlikely for us to find, and how much we can achieve on our own.
2012, July 5th
An excuse I've pulled out now and then for the Rules is that no one character is capable of doing everything we have planned. This argument can be shot down fairly simply. Without the Rules, we created Smilie, The Perfect Color and The March of Bulk - all very different kinds of experiences, created in different kinds of processes. So the argument that multiple personalities are needed for the Five Games is very flimsy. A counter-argument could be made, that since the Rules we've let Angles & Circles die out and haven't come up with as many new ideas for games, and that this might be indicative of a greater difficulty with being creative while so much energy is being devoted to the characters.
The question then needs to be asked: why are we doing this?
Finally someone says it.
Thinker, this was basically your idea. No one is more qualified than you to say why we're doing this
My original reasoning is laid out in the post I Am.... In short: when I get comfortable with a certain way of doing things, I will stop questioning my own behavior and will just follow that narrow road as far as it goes. The more focused I get on a particular way of life, the less I will be able to reflect on that path's failings. Therefore, I should be willing to change my personality regularly.
The eight characters are to make it easier to switch characters. If I needed to invent an entirely new character each time, it would seem like too much work and I would revert to the useless 1.0 version of myself. If I only need to switch to something which I know well and have built up a familiarity for, it will take less effort. That is the thought, anyway. In practice, this doesn't seem to work.
The problem is we don't have any sensory connection to the different characters. As far as it seems, all days are the same. So we act the same. We need different surroundings to have different attitudes.
We've already been over this, in Dialogue 1. A small pad, to be written into continuously, strengthening the sense of character. If none of you do this, that's not due to an oversight in the system.
Maybe each of us should have different pads! You could have a graph paper pad, I would have a blank one, the Thinker would have one with bigger lines, this little one could be for the Person, the Worker could have some sort of schedule-y thing, the Musician would have a music notepad, and the Gamer and Addict would probably be too busy to write anything down.
That way each of us has a pad that gives us a sense of being ourselves, plus we see everything we've done in previous days and have to live up to that.
That sounds brilliant. Programmer, is it realistic?
Maybe. It's worth a shot, certainly.
But are we accepting the argument, then, that the Rules exist to fight rigidity?
If that's the case, they're doing a pretty bad job of it.
Well, we haven't been following the Rules, have we?
But we've never managed to follow the Rules for more than a few months at a time.
It might just not be feasible.
And if that's the case, what would we lose by throwing out the Rules entirely?
We can go back to the one-character system from before December 2010, or even stop with the Performance Reviews entirely.
The value of the Rules can be very clearly seen, now that I think about it, in April 2012. We had gotten very comfortable with the Worker being in charge, we were content to just keep going with that, and then we broke out of it and had a paradigm shift that led to moving out of our parents' house and radically improving our life.
This is what you call a "radical improvement"? There's barely any music in our life at all anymore.
The Thinker has not been doing a good job of leading. He let the Addict take over yesterday, for instance, when he knew it wasn't a good idea.
My point is that our life is going in interesting directions, rather than staying fixed and miserable.
That's all on the Rules.
I should point out that the event in question -deciding to move to Jerusalem- was done on a Shabbat, while not in character.
But our thinking even then is shaped by the rest of the week.
Maybe the problem with the system is that we're switching too often. Maybe we should stick with a character until either they have a successful day or give up, and we should try to encourage them to push through and not give up.
Maybe we should repeal the Rule about needing a 7/10 day to be allowed to continue.
We have certainly seen that repeating a character over many days improves the quality and clarity of that character.
It also makes it hard to break out, though.
Is it ever hard to play the Gamer?
Then we should switch to the Gamer after a long period of doing anything.
Why the Gamer?
Yes, why the Gamer?
Why not actually try to be productive, after wasting too much time?
Because it's an easy character to get back into. It's just a way of clearing out our headspace. I haven't checked the records, but I think the Gamer is the most consistently performing character we have.
If that's true, there's something wrong with the system.
It was just a thought that it could be the Gamer.
But more importantly, if we repeal the 7/10 rule, the difficulty of switching out of a long-running character won't be as much of an issue.
If the day's going badly enough to score under 7/10, there's some essential problem with the approach that's not going to be fixed by just carrying it on longer. We keep hearing the excuse "The day isn't good yet!", followed by the day getting even worse. This will stop that.
Hm. I'd forgotten that that was what happened before we had the rule. Certainly I'm not going to push for going back to a system that wasn't working. But by the same token, I can't condone keeping it like this.
It's not necessary to repeal the 7/10 rule; we can remove the repetition rule instead. But what goes in its place? The point of the rule was to prevent getting stuck in bad ways of being. But sometimes a single day isn't enough to show a path's invalidity. So we can change the rule to only relate to cases where there have already been several failures. Or we could remove it entirely - what if we come across some really difficult but necessary transition, and we just need to keep trying until it works? Such matters should be decided in Dialogues, not Rules.
I will remind you that August 2011 was before we had this conference room. Of course we got stuck in patterns; there was no regular oversight. Now there is, and the rule can be safely removed.
Well, I'm not sure we can call it "safe", given that we don't really know the outcome of any of these rule changes we make. But I hope you're right.
If not, we put it back and try something else. This is one of the most wonderful things about the Rules: the bureaucratization of life.
That sounds awful.
Don't knock bureaucracy: an effective bureaucracy is absolutely essential in any large-scale project. And life is a rather large-scale project, wouldn't you say?
No, I think it's pretty small scale. However we dress it up, we're one person.
I agree with the Thinker that Life is a complicated thing. But to reduce something so beautiful to such a cold system is a bit of a shame.
Then again, I suppose I can explore the system to my heart's content. You're not going to penalize me for looking for loopholes, are you? It's how I do things.
I'll only penalize you if you actually do things that harm us. If you're just learning the system, in your own way, and it's clear that that's your motivation, I don't know how I could possibly object to that. It does suit your character, after all.
Thinker, please don't give the Explorer ideas. He finds loopholes, tells everyone else, our job gets harder.
So you'll patch up the problems. I have the utmost faith in you.
This is not an efficient way to run a life.
Kind of awesome, though.
The initial subject of this discussion is the eleventh of March, 2012. It is my hope that studying the events of this day will lead us to many fruitful topics, but we will start with the literal. Worker, would you like to describe what happened?
Not particularly, no. I prefer doing things to talking about them.
Very well. I will begin the story myself by noting that this month was intended as "The Worker's month", in that there are a lot of things that need to get done and in past months the Worker has always been the model of discipline and productivity. I hesitated in the monthly self-meeting to allow him such a prominent position, given that the character of the Worker has been a fixture of the past few months at the expense of other worthy characters such as the Gamer and the Musician. But I was persuaded by the sheer number of things that need doing -our adventure game Gamer Mom (with Kyler Kelly), two plays, a Megillah reading, assorted writing and website work- to offer the Worker every other day of the month, which is a position of great authority though not complete focus. I further stipulated that should the Worker accept this role for the month of March, April would belong to the other characters; it was and is my goal to keep all the aspects of my personality in play in the long-term. The Worker accepted.
I've been making a mess of it, I know. There is so much to do and the month's half over and I've done almost nothing. And then next month it's too late. You know what I need? I need to set deadlines. I don't know why I haven't set deadlines already.
That is a very good idea, and I think we should certainly do that tomorrow morning before you start your next day. For now, I'd like to focus on yesterday, and if there are other tangents that we find along the way, we will certainly follow them. Though, I don't think the matter of deadlines is necessarily important enough to be put on the blog.
If it's on the blog, it's set in stone.
True, true. Okay, we'll have a conversation about the deadlines and connect it here.
To get back to the story: the Worker was making some slight incremental progress on Gamer Mom, when the planned direction of the month was interrupted by a social opportunity. Person, would you like to elaborate on the events of 08-10 March?
Sure, why not.
The eighth was Purim. I woke up early, read the Megillah, which was a little bit worse than usual due to a sore throat but in terms of storytelling it was fine, I took a nap, and then the rest of the day I spent hanging out with Moshe. The next morning I woke up early and joined Harel and Rachel, and the three of us drove to Yardena's apartment in Jerusalem (where they were holding Shushan Purim), where I stayed for the following two days. For that entire time, I was almost never not socializing. It was utterly fantastic. It was like the little bits of hanging out that I'm allowed to do on ordinary Shabbats, but without all the boring non-social stuff surrounding it and without having to ever stop.
You know, when I suggested we do The Dialogues, I didn't mean for it to be like an interrogation. Lighten up, guys.
What are you suggesting?
I'm suggesting you pull the stick out of your butt.
What are you suggesting, specifically?
I give up.
No, tell me what you'd like from this post.
I'd like more drama, and less courtroom procedure.
I'm getting to it. I think we can sum up the relevance of Friday and Shabbat on the events of Sunday (the 11th) by saying that the weekend felt like a major shake-up from our life. And of course when we got back both the Worker and myself were eager to resume the plan for the month, because three days is a major interruption.
The Worker started out well, but he started to get tired already an hour into the Gamer Mom work, and since the work needs to be done from Firefox, there was no barrier between the Worker and distractions.
I think it's worth pointing out how this usually works.
There are some limits in place on how the computer can be used, so that it is easy to lock ourselves out of specific activities. It is not that these locks can't be bypassed - it's that in the few seconds that it takes to bypass the locks we tend to rethink what we're doing and decide to leave the barriers in place. The trouble is, once Firefox has been opened there are no more limits to what can be done on the internet, because anything can be done from a web browser.
We may need an extension that prevents certain web sites from being opened.
We would only want that extension (if such an extension exists) on the copy of Firefox we work on Gamer Mom from. Currently that copy is connected to the buggy Ubuntu release which we use for everything else - it's a separate program file, but it uses the same extensions. So we may want to switch to the portable version of Firefox, if there still is one these days. We haven't used a portable Firefox since version 5.
I'm not entirely sure that will do the trick, though - it may still share the default extensions. We'll have to see.
Sounds like a plan. Anyway, the Worker spent the entirety of the day watching videos: mainly the Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged Series that Shoshana introduced us to.
Shoshana has good taste.
I expect part of the reason for this interruption of the Worker's usual patterns was the lingering feelings from Friday which had not been dealt with.
It doesn't help to bottle feelings up. You need to let them out.
But not in the middle of a schedule! A worker is supposed to be repressed!
I messed up, plain and simple.
Yes, you did. Are there some kind of repression exercises we could come up with for the Worker?
Perhaps a program with some very simple task, like typing whichever letter appears on the screen.
The question I have is whether it should be increasing in difficulty, decreasing in difficulty, unchanging in difficulty, or entirely random.
The idea is to distract the Worker from whatever the rest of us are doing, right?
Yes. So there would be some sort of scoring system based on reaction times.
The more distracted the Worker is, the lower his reaction time. I'm leaning toward a decreasing difficulty level, since we're trying to maintain the focus through tasks which may or may not be complicated to carry out. This of course should not replace the playing of music during work, which helps repress the creative mind in any event.
If we're talking about making programs to get into character, should we be doing that for all characters?
It could possibly be connected to the conference room program.
What, it's not enough of a burden to have to get the Thinker sign off on a day? I need to play a game too? Shouldn't I just be getting to work?
Not if you're not in the right mindset. You clearly were not in the right mindset yesterday.
The Musician's first activity could be to write some little witty saying that we haven't said before. Just to get in a mindset where he's looking for originality.
I'd rather avoid the words and just get to the piano.
We really don't have time this month for any of this.
It's still worth discussing, for future months.
We need to figure out what went wrong yesterday, and how to avoid it in the future.
I messed up. I'm only human. I'll try to do better.
That's not really going to help. You feel what you feel.
I'll avoid feeling, then.
I am a machine.
The sentiment is admirable, but it is not backed up by your actions.
My sleep schedule had been interrupted a few times. I was still recovering.
I'm not comfortable with the idea that some tiny little change to our sleep schedule will make you utterly useless and unreliable. That is not a situation I am willing to accept.
I should have taken a nap in the middle of the day. I used to do that, but nowadays I avoid it because there's just so much to do.
There's something to that, but I don't think that explains why you didn't at least make an effort.
At the point where I saw the TV was going to exceed the work, I didn't see the point in trying anymore because the Rules say it's a zero-point day automatically at that point.
The Rules also say that I can give you a point for effort. 1/10 is better than 0/10.
If I may step in here, I think there's a problem with the sharp transition between reality and virtuality. After spending all that time with real people, it might be difficult to see imaginary people as equals.
So you admit they're not equals!
No, virtual experiences are every bit as real as physical experiences. But there's a shift there that needs to be made. If my hunch is right, it really didn't matter which character took the lead on Sunday. It could have been the Worker, or the Explorer, or the Programmer, and the end result would always have been a zero-point day because we didn't make the clear shift from physical to virtual that's necessary for this whole multiple-personality game to work.
So what you're saying is that this "shift" as you call it takes place whenever we spend too much time in one place?
So it could just as easily be a problem the other way around, not being able to deal with real people after talking to ourselves for too long.
Gamer, I have to ask: is this all just a lead-in to a pitch for you to have more days?
I'm just talking about a rule saying that if we go for longer than, say, 48 hours without talking to ourselves, you should let me take charge and get us back in a fictional mindset.
I could do that too!
Or you could just waste time like the Worker did. Passivity is not what we're looking for. You'd just watch movies all day.
I might not!
But you might.
Well, sure, movies are awesome.
Gamer, you already have a silly Rule that says you get a day if we haven't played games in a while. How many different Rules do you want that say you get a day?
This is an extension of the same idea. If we get too trapped in one world, everything falls apart. We get pulled along in the currents of one emotion or another, following the path of least resistance, and the end result is the most reliable of us producing a zero-point day.
I'm not talking about a full fourteen-hours deal. Just six or seven hours of playing Zelda and whatever else, and then I yield to whoever is next. And then, since we're already in the mindset of fictional situations, any character we choose will have more weight.
It's an interesting concept. Programmer, what do you think?
I think 48 hours is not very long. After every two-day holiday, we immediately follow with the Gamer? What if there are things that need to be done, because we've just lost two days?
I'm looking through two-day holidays in the past few months, to see if there's a problem in the days after.
01-02 October 2011 was right after a long holiday, and the Worker watched TV all day.
Actually, that's the only one I can find. Two-day holidays aren't so common.
There might be a simpler solution than giving the Gamer a day automatically. Right now we're locked out of using the computer until we have a conversation between ourselves for five minutes.
What if we change that to a variable length, based on how long it's been since we were last on the computer?
That assumes that every in-character day will be spent on the computer.
Usually it is.
You know what, we could even give you the control. When we enter the conference room, we ask how long it's been since we were in a comfortable rhythm, or something like that.
There's no guarantee that I'll be the one writing that in. I think the Person would likely just say "zero" and get straight into the computer.
Aaaw, you don't trust us?
I still think my idea is better.
I think it's worth checking whether the characters who follow the Gamer tend to do well.
If the Gamer is right about being so helpful to the integrity of the characters, then we should find that pattern.
No, I don't see it. Look at 21-23 November 2011.
Right after a solid Gamer, we have three days in a row with no character declared, and nothing of value done.
And the two days before me were zero-pointers, too. This was the month with your disastrous "Panic Mode" experiment, it's not on me. And anyway, I'm not claiming that whoever follows me will necessarily do well. I'm just saying that from either an extended Person or an extended break in the game, you need me to get us back into fantasy land.
You'd have the same thing in the other direction, where an extended day from me would need to be followed by the Person.
And it's not so different from what you already said to the Worker, that if he gets half the days this month he doesn't get a presence next month.
It's not entirely convincing, but next time we have a "shake-up" of some sort I'll keep in mind that I need to overcompensate in the other direction before getting back to normal.
There's still the other problem, that I gave the Worker this month and he's been acting un-Worker-like.
It might be a problem with giving assurances, in general.
If I can't give assurances, then what can I negotiate with?
I just mean that if you think you're getting the days no matter what, there's less pressure.
Lovely. If I can't give assurances, then what can I negotiate with?
It's just that I didn't have deadlines. That's all. I didn't think of it.
I don't know why we're doing this whole song and dance. I messed up, I've apologized, I'll do better. Not everything needs to be analyzed to death.
Hrmph. Without analysis, there's no progress.
With overanalysis there's no progress. There can be plenty of progress without thinking too much.
At the end of every week, I want to be comfortable and off-book with whichever Importance of Being Earnest scenes I've learned.
By this Monday, we'll have two new blog posts up, including this one.
By next Thursday, I will have started on the shul website. By the following week (29) I will have a basic framework I can use.
Gamer Mom is the most important thing. Why are you forgetting about Gamer Mom?
I haven't forgotten about anything, I'm just getting the simple things out of the way first.
I'll find some date this month to work with Coren on Dungeon Master, making slight changes to episode 1 and starting to write episode 10.
Now - Gamer Mom.
My next node is 451. I want to get all the way to the end by the end of this month.
That's a hundred nodes, in roughly 16 days, only half of which are mine.
You're going to need to let me have a day or two to manage that.
But ultimately it's the Thinker's call.
Hey, it's your month. If you feel the Addict is needed, the Addict will get his days.
I appreciate that.
By this Shabbat, I want to be finished (not counting art) with node 480. By Monday morning, node 494. By the 20th, node 508. By that Shabbat, 525. By the 26th, 540. By the 28th, 555. And by the 30th, 559.
That is not evenly distributed.
In addition to all those deadlines, I have to work with Kyler at every possible opportunity. I can't set deadlines for that because I don't know when he's available, but the art will progress on a separate track and I hope to have most of it done this month.
That's the month.
I really should have done this from the start.
This past weekend was a really unique experience in my life. First off, obviously I rarely sleep away from home. The last time I've slept somewhere that wasn't either home or in the same place as the rest of my family (direct or extended) was... um...
Sleepovers in elementary school?
You know, I really think I'd have to go back that far, yes. Probably the last time I slept away from my family and/or my family's house was when I was 8 or 9. Oh, no, there was that horrible trip with my 12th grade class. That's true. And there were a few nights that I stayed in the dorms in the Yeshiva in ninth and tenth grade. So really it's only been seven years. Still. Not something I tend to do.
Because it always sucked!
It always did.
In elementary school I'd be friends with one or two people there, and I'd be really scared of everyone else and worried that if I fell asleep there'd be some prank played on me because I irritated everyone. Not that that ever happened to me, but I never knew what to expect from my peers.
I remember one time I was at a sleepover birthday party for my then-friend Jordan, when we were very young, and I was thrilled when someone was willing to even play Backgammon with me because I was so bored and isolated otherwise. Or was it Checkers?... doesn't matter.
And then in high school I wasn't friends with anyone, and I didn't mistrust them per se because they all seemed like nice enough people, but I also knew that the more I talked to them the more likely they'd be to hate me. Which didn't stop me from talking to them, I must say, but it was more because there was nothing else to do and less because I thought they wanted to hear me.
Wow my world has changed since then.
I'm friends with Yardena. I don't know why she puts up with me, even though obviously my behavior is frustrating her all the time and I have never indicated (nor had) any intention of changing my behavior toward her. She's not normal, but she's normal compared to me. So she shouldn't want to hear me saying the truth all the time, and she's always acting like it offends her, and yet she keeps acting like she wants to spend time with me. It doesn't add up, and I know I'm there to listen to her moreso than she's going to listen to me, but it's never boring to have a conversation with her and I am thankful that she puts up with me for whatever bizarre reason.
So there was Yardena, and there were Harel and Rachel, each of which I could talk to for hours on end, because they're almost as abnormal as I am.
Then there was Josh, a huge geek who loves to talk about things that interest me, who I'm already friendly with because he's occasionally stayed at Avri's house. And there was Benny, who I was at the bottom of the cast of 1776 with, and was always friendly with even though we were never friends. Shoshana came to the party on Friday, and kicked butt at Apples to Apples (which I was terrible at)...
Please don't get carried away, now. We've seen how this works. You start pining after her, the Thinker starts validating every random thought you have about her, Shoshana doesn't actually talk much so the hype keeps building and building, and the end result is that I can't get any work done because you loonies keep teetering on the edge of mental breakdown.
Shoshana is awesome.
Shoshana is trouble. Tell you what, why don't you wait until the end of this month and then start obsessing about her again. At least let me have this month to get some work done in. Or better yet, don't obsess about her.
You have no heart.
You have no brain.
Anyway, my point is that there were all these people, any one of whom I could have a long and satisfying conversation with without feeling guilty about it afterward.
Normally you'd feel guilty? About what?
About not noticing a lack of interest. I've gotten better about holding myself back, a little bit, because even with really tolerant people like Yardena we can't exactly relate to each other unless you pick a specific topic where we're on the same page.
But basically, there's guilt whenever I didn't play the scene correctly.
Ah. It's what you noted in Little Social Games.
Sure. Generally I feel guilty for going too far with a perceived opportunity. There was some little opportunity, I saw it as a big opportunity, and the person I was talking to never wants to speak to me again. Or at least I feel that way. With Shoshana on Friday I went to the other extreme, and I felt guilty for the rest of the night that I had pretended I wasn't particularly aware of her presence because I think that's what she wants from me right now.
If you're acting the way she wants you to act, what's to feel guilty about?
About acting how people want, rather than how I want to act. I wish the two were always on the same page, so that I could avoid making other people unhappy without being unhappy myself.
I don't think any of us will fault you for bending a little bit for others. It's sort of part of socializing. Not everyone will accept us exactly how we are at every given moment.
I guess. And it's not like it was so important to talk with Shoshana, I'd just been hoping... I don't know. Never mind.
Anyway, I had a good time even after she left. Though immediately afterward there was the whole drinking game - they were playing "I never" and it was just really pathetic because I've never done anything they'd use in that game (nor do I particularly want to) and they've never done the things I'm most proud of doing. And really what I wanted then was to feel like I wasn't just totally unwanted, but they were harping on all the ways I'm not like them. (Including my policy of not drinking alcohol.)
But then by the time we got into the meal I was just one of the group. I was accepted. I spent 48 hours around other people, and I don't think they wanted to get rid of me. I am a very lucky man to have been invited to this weekend, and to be allowed these friends.
My god, I'm ugly. Every time someone talks to me and doesn't cringe, they must be ignoring the way I look and just seeing the idea of me. Maybe people can only be friends with me if they don't judge people entirely by how they look, because I am going to look revoltingly un-me for the next three months thanks to The Importance of Being Earnest and its director's insistence that everyone look like their characters in all rehearsals. I swear, every time I look in the mirror it's a new shock at how ugly I am. And everyone says I look better like this. Why the hell does everyone not see that this isn't me? I don't look right moving around like this, I don't look right speaking like this, I don't look right existing like this. Without the beard, it's like I'm someone trying to be normal and failing. I'm not trying to be normal. I don't want to be normal. I want to be me. Yardena says I look much better like this. She told me that I look distinctive, which is nice of her to say but I can't agree with that. My only distinctiveness is in how utterly I fail to pull off this look. I'm just a cheap pretender.
We are pretty ugly.
Look, people like me better this way. So why complain? Does it matter what we think of how we look? No, it doesn't.
Do you think I actually get more social opportunities like this?
Oh, absolutely. With the beard people didn't want to talk to us in the first place.
There's quite a bit of fallacious reasoning in what you've said, Person.
If everyone says I look better like this, then how are we relying on people ignoring how we look?
Have you seen how we look?
To me, we'll always be the IMX symbol. That's what we really look like. The face, the body, none of that is real.
The face and the body is all anyone is seeing.
If we looked the way we want to look, Shoshana probably wouldn't have spoken to us in the first place.
You make a good point. Let's grow the hair out! Fewer distractions that way.
The Thinker didn't know what to respond to this, so he left, considered, and decided to set up a separate user on the computer for the Worker which would be free of distractions. But he quickly realized that this wasn't a good idea.
That's weird. Why did I think the Worker needed his own user?
Oh, right, it was because of the music on the bus.
I saw that not having my usual interface (the piano, in that case) made me unable to move forward. Which really just goes to show that my head is not a flexible place. I need tools to enhance it.
But the tool doesn't need to be a whole different user, and if it were then the Worker would be unable to continue what anyone else had started. We don't want our personalities to be separated from each other.
So let's think about other tools. The Worker needs to be constantly writing his progress.
No, progress is the Gamer's thing. Not progress. But he needs to be constantly writing something that tells him he's working.
It could be as simple as an OK!.
That's a very good idea.
Gamer Mom: OK!
Just write my progress as I go.
I'm not using that little notepad for anything.
Wait, I actually could use the little notepad. That's brilliant.
Even check marks could be enough.
Ah! I need new rules for each of us, regarding what we do on the little pad.
Hey, Person, what would you like to write down?
Excuse me? You think I need to be writing on some little pad while people are talking to me?
Maybe you could make notes of what people are telling you about.
That would be interesting...
But I think that could freak people out.
Give it a try, see how it goes.
Let's see, the Explorer should be sketching things and jotting down ideas.
The Musician... well, I don't think he'll write out much there. Actually - he could write out any ideas that occur to him.
Structure, and things like that. And if there's a theme, he can add a line in the middle of two lines and he's got a musical bar.
The Worker obviously will be writing down how well he followed the schedule.
I'll write down my ideas.
It's the same thing for you, the musician and the Explorer.
Different sorts of ideas.
The Gamer might write down things to remember in the game.
The Addict will write down love notes to whatever he's working on.
And then there's the Programmer. He jots things down anyway, on a different pad usually. That's fine, or he can make his notes and analyses on the same pad as the rest of us. Either way.
We're actually going to be going everywhere with two pads now?
Isn't that, I don't know, cumbersome?
We'll try it out and see.
Okay, new idea. The Worker's already playing along, and I think it'll work nicely. The idea is to keep two pads with us at all times, instead of one.
The big pad is for keeping track of time allocation. The second pad is for staying in character.
I'm not using it for staying in character, I'm using it for keeping track of deadlines.
And for you, that's staying in character. We'll go through everyone and see what they want to do with it, but first I'll explain what the Worker and I have come up with for him, so that it'll maybe give you some ideas.
First off, the Worker is going to copy all the items from his daily schedule into the little pad, and when he finishes a task he set out he'll draw a checkmark. If he didn't deal with the activity the way he'd promised to in the performance review, he'll write an X. Or he'll write "1/2" if he did it, but not precisely how he was supposed to.
I haven't done this yet, but we've gone over it and I think it's a good idea.
The other thing the Worker will do with the pad this month, which he has started already, is to write out the deadlines to follow and writing checkmarks if he meets them properly. Now, I don't know if I'd want him to do this when he has a less prominent role in a month, but I imagine other characters could come up with similar planning methods.
What would I do with this little pad?
Well, you're always saying how you need paper to jot down all your ideas. Jot them down on the paper.
It's a bit small, really. And most of my ideas are more visual. The lines will get in the way.
Ah, I didn't think of that. Well, see what you can do with it.
You know what, maybe it would be cool if I wrote on it but not in order. Can I jump around?
That will make it harder for the rest of us.
Yeah, Explorer, you can use as much of the notepad as you like. If you use it up, we'll just get a new one.
Yay! This will be just like the notepads I had as a kid, where I was scribbling all over the place and I thought of it like a whole world to explore.
Oh dear lord.
Musician, do you think you could write notes on it? You can draw a line in the middle of two consecutive lines, and you can write sheet music.
It would be very awkward.
Then you can write out structure ideas, so that you don't forget them.
Generally when I come up with ideas, my fingers are on the piano. And I want to try them out immediately, I don't want to start writing.
Okay. Well, you don't have to use the pad if it's too awkward to, but you should carry it around with you anyway, just in case.
I just realized something. If we have the little pad, we don't need to bring the big pad with us while we're out. Generally we count it all as one activity anyway.
Okay. Well, try it out one way and the other and see how it works.
I'm fine with the notepad I have. I don't need another one.
Okay, fine. This is all basically what I thought you guys would say. Look, the pad's there, use it or don't. But I think it'll help us stay in character, in a better way than just making new games for first activities.
Hasn't that been the goal of every hare-brained idea you've had in the past year? To stay in character better? You'd think by now we'd be able to stay in character.
Being someone is not a passive state, it is a constant effort.
I'm not in the mood to talk about philosophy. Yardena gave us a nice little pad, it's a good tool, I'm going to use it.
That's all I ask.
I need to know where I stand with Shoshana. It's driving me crazy.
You know exactly where you stand with Shoshana.
That's not the point!
I can't... move forward.
This is a lot like Gamer Mom, isn't it.
Oh, spare me.
No, really, it is. Wanting to move forward, but trapped in a strange space where there is no way forward, or at least not yet. Gamer Mom traps the player in a few moments, and maybe life will get better shortly afterward but in those moments it seems like nothing's ever going to change.
This should be a blog post.
It should be called "Trapped in the Present".
There's a word for that - impatience.
You sucked the fun out of it. Good going.
And then there's Kyler, who I am completely reliant on, but he's a world away and there are so many images left.
This is exactly like Gamer Mom.
It's nothing like Gamer Mom. Kyler's on our side. So is Shoshana, apparently.
But I am so scared that I'll meet Shoshana and it will be just this long awkward silence where I have absolutely nothing to say.
So talk about Gamer Mom. Talk about how we're inventing a new genre of adventure game, and how the rest of the adventure games out there all suck by comparison.
That just sounds arrogant, when you put it like that.
It happens to be true.
We are putting a formidable amount of craftsmanship into this baby.
And there's the problem with Kyler, in a nutshell. What we are asking of him is ridiculous. Why is he sticking around? Doesn't he understand how much work there is for him? I keep trying to make life simpler for him, but then I keep running into problems I didn't anticipate, which I should have anticipated.
So let's sit down and figure out exactly what we want of Kyler for the next time we work together, which God willing will be Saturday night. (I hope no D&D session is scheduled for then.)
Let's go through node by node, and figure out how we'd act it out if we were acting it out. That way we can come to Kyler on Saturday night with a clearer idea of what he needs. Maybe write it out in stages - first a general sense of the emotion, and then if he's having trouble a more detailed description. We don't want to impose our own ideas in every single node, sometimes he can come up with something better. And if we don't give him room to have fun, he'll burn out for sure.
I am so not good at this whole "anticipating other people's needs" thing.
I think your attitude needs adjustment. Why shouldn't you be good at anticipating other people's needs?
No, let me rephrase that. From now on, you're going to be good at anticipating other people's needs. We've been going back and forth on what your personality is like, so there you go. You're welcome.
Okay, I'll do that then.
No, sorry, I'm getting nothing.
What, you expect this to be a superpower or something? You just sit there, and radio signals enter your head telling you what the people around you need?
Just figure it out.
Right. Figure it out. I can do this.
It might help if you analyze the chat transcripts from working with Kyler. See when he burns out, what frustrates him.
I doubt that'd help at all. When he's drawing, he's off drawing. He's not chatting. So if he's having trouble, the only indication I have is that he takes longer. But then sometimes he comes back after all the trouble with a brilliant image, and sometimes he comes back with something unusable. But most often I cause the problems myself, because he gives me an image and I say "That's great!", and then we see how it works in practice and it does not work in practice. Maybe I should just not react to things until I've considered all the angles.
"It is an image. Now wait there ten minutes so that I can decide whether it is a good image. Just sit there, don't move a muscle, I'll be right back with you."
I was serious about the note-taking thing. We should seriously do that.
Sounds better than what I was about to say. Okay, we'll try it and see how it goes.
And what about Shoshana?
Again, this is your job. We're supposed to come to you to figure out how to deal with other people, not the other way around.
But I don't know how to deal with other people!
You take that back.
I know how to deal with other people.
Now say it like you mean it.
Is this necessary?
You know, restricting a player's options to just a handful of possibilities is instrumental in creating a clear character in interactive fiction. If the player can do anything, the character has no shape.
Would you please shut the hell up about Gamer Mom for a moment.
I was talking about you.
I know you were. Thank you.
It seems like it's pretty simple, really. The needs of other people (if I care about those people) go before my own needs.
And the game is more important than the people. Never forget that.
Don't be stupid, now.
This is of course a disagreement between the two of you, based on your characters' priorities. But for now the Addict is running the Gamer Mom progress, and the Person is called whenever other people are present. The Addict prioritizes the game over other people, and the Person prioritizes people over the game. So whenever we deal with one or the other, that one is greater than the other. And the priorities swap whenever we swap activities. To put it more simply: whatever we are engaging in in a given moment should be the most important thing in the world at that moment.
I'm sorry, was that supposed to be helpful?
We can't worry about Kyler's feelings if it means harming Gamer Mom.
If we don't worry about Kyler's feelings, there is no Gamer Mom.
That is also true.
Not that I'd want to hurt his feelings in any event. We are, after all, on the same side. I don't want to be the sort of director that I've had to work with in amateur theater, who makes ridiculous demands.
You said yourself a few minutes ago that Gamer Mom was a ridiculous demand on an artist.
Especially if we're not paying him. But hopefully there will be donations, and 50% of that (past what little it costs to keep the game on the internet on its own domain) will go to Kyler.
Maybe it should all go to Kyler. I don't need money.
We need money.
Okay, maybe we need a little money.
We need money.
You're a broken record.
Fine, we need money. I get it. Not that there will be much money coming in from this. Maybe a few dollars. Not enough to justify all the different kinds of hell I'm putting Kyler through.
I'm sure this isn't nearly as much work as some of the animation projects he's worked on.
I'm not sure about that. But also - those are his projects, or projects he's paid to do.
This is his too. Can you picture Gamer Mom without Kyler's designs?
Not now, I can't. They are great designs.
Look, maybe I can rewrite parts of the script so that we'll need less drawings.
Don't you dare change the script.
We just deviated from the script earlier today, when we added in a node to smoothen a transition.
Yeah. I feel kind of guilty about that. It shouldn't have been necessary.
And that node there is purely following animation logic, there's not an ounce of gamism logic to it.
It's a problem, and I don't want to ever do anything like that again.
What, you mean a compromise?
I mean compromising the value of the game.
A certain amount of compromise may be necessary, in the name of getting the game released. The deadline is March 5th. We are not progressing at a corresponding pace.
I'm spending all my time on Gamer Mom!
No, you're spending half your time on TV shows which you hide under the title of "mundane activities". Cut the bullshit.
Is that actually how the Rules are being used? TV shows which just aren't getting specified? Something needs to be done about this. Perhaps disqualifying certain activities from not being specifically spelled out in the time allocation table?
No drastic measures are called for. The Addict has this under control, don't you, Addict?
Of course. There is nothing in the world that I care about as much as getting Gamer Mom completed.
Perfect. And Person, where do you stand with Shoshana?
I'm going to be patient. I've gone about ten or eleven moves past what one might consider socially acceptable at this point in a relationship, and while I don't think I was wrong to do so I do think that the next move is hers. But I shouldn't think of it like that. I don't want to create any more pressure than I've already done.
I'm not waiting for her to do anything. We'll meet up, I'll just listen and get to know her better, and if there's something I can do that'll make her happy, rather than vice versa, that's what I'm going to pursue.
Likewise, we'll go over all the upcoming nodes of Gamer Mom so that we have what to say to Kyler if he gets stuck, but once he's pointed in the right direction we need to accept whatever he gives, whether or not it's what we expected. And that means that if there's an image he draws that could possibly be slightly better with an extra half hour of work, but it's decent already, we move on and we don't get Kyler burnt out. If he wants to fix it later, he can do that.
I should talk to him and confirm this way of working. Just keep moving forward, problems get fixed only if Kyler says there's a problem.
I think this attitude does a disservice to Gamer Mom.
Any other attitude would be doing a disservice to Kyler.
Excellent. See, you can handle this. Go on, off with you. Everyone with their jobs.
Well, right now I'm interrupting the first monthly meeting of my personalities to join this conversation. The others are going to be pissed at me, I'm always treating them like they're not real people. Last time I'm invited to run it, that's for sure.She clarified (Again in Hebrew, which she seems to be more comfortable with than English) that she was.
Or were you asking more generally?
Adorable smilies, Yardena.Her response began with two smilies with hearts in their eyes:
I make computer games, I write, I make music, I do web design, I entertain myself. I don't have any steady job, but I'm usually busy. I only have time to write all these e-mails today because of the meeting I mentioned. We didn't organize it very well.
thanksAs I said, she's more comfortable with Hebrew. I try not to hold her writing against her. But how does one respond to something like that? I simply said:
bay the way... YOU SO COOL!
Ummm.. okay. If you say so.
you do all that stuff - you know how to do all that stuffI think that pretty much sums up our relationship. She's very weird, in very different ways to how I'm weird, and she seems to not just respect oddness in its many forms but even admire it. With most people my unrepentant oddness is a liability. Even with some people who I consider to be good friends, I have the sense that my strange life choices are something they tolerate and are mildly amused by, rather than something they totally accept. So it's nice to talk to someone like Yardena, or Moshe, who sees me in a more positive light, even though it's sometimes embarrassing too because from my perspective I haven't accomplished any of what I'm aiming for yet.
YES IT IS SO BECAUSE I SAY SO
I hope this sounds like an odd question, but was I rude to you earlier? If so, I apologize. If not, never mind.
If I didn’t know you it would have been perceived as rude. But since I do know you, and know what a wonderful person you are (the fact that you sent this mail proves it) I wasn't offended. I generally hug people I consider my friends.
Okay, just checking. I'm not used to affection from other people, and I didn't know what the proper response was.
I'm not sure what I should be doing now.
I guess I could end the day, but I feel like there's something I'm forgetting to do.
You were going to write to the blog.
Yes, I was.
People are actually reading the blog, which is really odd.
And it's a problem, because there's nothing new there.
But I don't remember what it was I wanted to write.
Well, look at what's going on right now. You're basically-
"Cheating on the Human Race", that was it.
Yes, that was one idea for a title.
Was that the social game?
Yes. The idea is that you're trying to figure out how to approach normal people, when you've essentially replaced them with yourself.
Yes. Is there a way I can word this, so that it won't have a creepy sexual undercurrent?
No. Embrace the sexual undercurrent.
"cheating" is the right word. It creates a sense that what we're doing is taboo.
It sounds like bestiality.
Well, it does.
The title gives the wrong idea.
No better title is popping into mind. We can think about it.
But no implications of bestiality.
Are you sure you want to write this post yourself? It takes a long time to write an interactive post.
Well, it's best if I do it. But honestly... no. I'm not sure this is what I want to do with the rest of the day.
I have the sense that there was something else, some simpler post I had in mind.
Maybe you should have written it down.
Sure, but I didn't.
You know, I really like "Cheating on the Human Race". It's catchy, it's provocative.
This is yet another reason why I should write it myself.
So do that.
Maybe I will.
Look, this is obviously a turning point for you.
Guh. Don't remind me.
It was a lot easier to just ignore you guys.
I don't know. All I know is that when I tell people about this program, they don't react like I thought they would.
What is it you thought they'd think?
I don't know, that this is a bit of strangeness that intrigues them. Or something. I don't know.
What difference does it make if other people are interested? Is our entire life just an amusement for other people?
I mean, don't get me wrong, it would be great to actually do things. I'm all for working on Gamer Mom, for instance. That can get me actual respect. But while I'm not being respected, sure, I'll settle for amusement.
Oh, go on, say it. You think that's pathetic.
No, actually I'm not sure how I feel about it. I guess I just never considered the idea of creating amusement being such a goal of being strange. But maybe that's all it is.
Of course you're trying to amuse people. What's the whole blog?
It's a story I'm telling my future self.
Then why is it on the internet?
The public nature of a blog gives the story legitimacy in my eyes. But the intended audience is not the public. It never has been.
Yes. It says that this is not a story I'm ashamed in. And that creates expectations about how this story is going to be ending, i.e. there will be a point to all of it.
Most blogs on the internet don't have a point.
Their writers are treating them as tools of communication. I Am Not... is a story.
And the purpose of a story is to entertain, no?
I suppose strangeness is about eliciting reactions, in a way- by seeing something that you don't expect, it expands your worldview a little. [The Trip: Diversity (and lack thereof)]
Citations, now. What the hell have I gotten myself into.
There's something inherently idealistic about nonconformity.
See, that I don't buy. I could be okay with conformity.
Sure, why not?
All that work, to end up as someone who'll always be second-best next to the natural normals.
No one's naturally normal. You learn it as you go along.
But better to aim higher, no?
I don't know. I really don't.
Then why are you here? Why did you vote to keep this game going?
I don't know.
I was really surprised, I've got to be honest. I thought you weren't interested in any of us, because we're not "real" people or whatever.
And yet nothing. You're not.
I don't get it.
You know, when I tell people what I'm up to and they practically back away because they don't know what to make of me, I should want to throw away everything that's causing that. I should want to reassure them that it's not so weird really. It really is very awkward to tell anyone about this. I mean, I can't quite claim to have multiple personalities because that implies a lack of control. And this is all so rigidly controlled.
All multiple personalities might be something like this. [Semantics, Part 3]
You can't actually believe that.
There are some things about this text entry which need to be fixed. First, only the part of the line which is visible should be drawn. Drawing so much offscreen is slowing the program down. So we'll need to figure out which part of the line actually needs to be drawn. Actually, that should be very straightforward. Second, when switching characters textX should immediately be set to textGoalX without the scrolling. There's no sense in thinking the caret is in the same place for two characters. A separate problem is that when a new character is brought in while another character hasn't finished typing, the program thinks the text is for the new character. That's just a simple oversight.
It makes sense. If it were an act, in the same way that any persona is a controlled act, I think multiple personalities might look exactly as they do. Which is not proof of anything, but it means that this isn't an outrageous idea. Regardless, what we're doing is in some ways unique.
There are plenty of people who talk to themselves on the internet. We didn't invent the idea.
Most people don't take it this far.
This is true.
Most people are content with a little bit of quirkiness. This here is full-fledged uberquirk.
The word "quirk" doesn't even belong here. I think the word you're looking for is "insanity".
Or possibly "disorder".
Ugh. Don't even joke. This is all a conscious decision, we don't need to make a new category just to make people feel better about being quote-unquote "normal". This is a choice.
The program is slowing down. We've never had a BlitzMax program run for such a sustained time, and maybe this just happens. Or maybe I need a new graphics card. Or more RAM.
I was saying that it's awkward to tell people about this "game", or whatever you want to call it.
And I'm really embarrassed when they react like that, but somehow it feels right, you know?
I don't know what it is that you would consider "right" about this situation. Like I said earlier, I didn't expect you to be onboard.
It's just, like, maybe this is who I can be. I can be that weird guy.
That doesn't sound dignified.
But maybe it's enough.
Maybe it's enough if I'm really, really, really weird.
We are that.
You know, there is a goal in all this.
We're not just being weird for weird's sake, I think we can actually accomplish great things like this.
Maybe. Maybe not. For now, all there is is the scared look on people's faces when they hear.
And there's this conversation.
Yes! And there's this conversation. And y'know, one on one you're not so bad. In the whole group it was like this really aggressive "Fictional Character Pride Parade", and I just wanted to run away. But in the moment to moment of this thing, it's really not so bad.
I don't understand you. Having pride in this system is going to alienate you from other people. That's obvious. You can't say "I spent two hours talking to myself yesterday.", and expect the person to still see you as someone they can relate to.
So, what? I should hide my face?
At very least, you shouldn't go around announcing the most extreme examples of your strangeness to the world. You're out leading the parade, and it just doesn't add up in my head.
I can't tell whether this is a lapse in your characterization, or if you're lying, or what.
Don't insult me. I know who I am.
Then explain it to me, because I don't know who you are. I... I ought to know who you are, but I have no clue. Give me something to work with.
"I spent hours talking to myself today." There you go.
I don't get you at all.
Well, it's the first date.
I guess it is.
Do you have any idea what you're going to be doing next?
Not a clue.
If I might interrupt...
By all means.
The Rules let you switch to any one character. Switch to me. I'll start by working on Gamer Mom from 21:20 to... say, 23:00. Then we'll write out the post together until 1:00. I have no hesitation about working on things like this, and you are the one who actually wants to write it. Let's work together, and see what happens.
We can split the post into two sections, so that you have this big open dialogue between Person and Thinker on the one hand and then a "normal" conversation on the other with a normal person.
Working this conversation into the post, to give a frame of reference. I love it.
Do any of you have an idea for a better title than "Cheating on the Human Race"?
That's a good title.
How about "Humankind, I can explain..."?
That's not bad.
It's a bit informal, no?
No, that's fantastic. We can have two titles for two connected posts. One formal and comfortable, the other informal and awkward. It's perfect.
You mean that the other title would be the filename.
It's already 21:21. We should move this along. And then at 1:00 I can watch Doctor Who-
Ha! An ulterior motive!
Okay, let's get going then. Don't want to keep the Doctor waiting...
Well? Say something. Let's see what new string of nonsense will come tumbling out of your mouth as justification for choosing this over letting me have a decent life.
I'm not sure I want to hear this. I think it might just make me sick.
The problem was the Panic Mode rule. It's as simple as that. I recognized last month that it was not having the appropriate effect, and we tried it for another month but it was still a bad rule.
I had a decent month.
Look, it's just... god.
Yeah? Let's hear it.
The problem was me.
You don't say.
Please. This isn't easy for me. Why do you think I've put off this post for almost a week?
Because your entire game has collapsed, inevitably.
I would like to put it to a vote. The whole system. We will vote on whether or not to continue playing as these eight characters. The alternative is to go back to where we were in the performance reviews a year ago, and find a different way forward. A less radical way, perhaps. This is all my idea, to treat life as though we have multiple personalities, and I am failing to make it work. That becomes more apparent from month to month. So we will vote. Of course the Rules will change drastically if we choose to continue, because there must never again be a month like November 2011. We spent more time out of character than in. We watched TV for days on end, without even acknowledging the problem save for late-night bouts of crippling depression. The Panic Mode rule would go, replaced with rules that give positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Some more rules would be added to my character page as well, because my self-centeredness is the reason we are in this mess. In retrospect, asking the rest of you to come up with your own plans for the month and stick to them was an admission of defeat on my part. I didn't understand or care about any of you enough to be the proper leader you need, who you can trust and feel comfortable with. I tried turning the Musician, who is frankly a genius, into a simple productivity tool, and when he was not the character I wanted him to be I was angry. I did not allow for failure, which is a terrible attitude. Even in failure, I need to be accepting. Only then can there be a healthy group here. I came to these conclusions in talking to our mother and to Moshe, and it is my hope that if we finish the conference room program quickly we can talk to each other in ways which lead to such understandings. This sense of isolation that you all had, and the fear of stepping up to the plate that ultimately brought down the entire system, all of that is on me and I would need to change that about myself. But first we need to put the system to a vote because we never have voted on the system itself. We just moved forward, with me assuming that we'd all be on the same page. But that kind of team can only come through honest and constant communication. We start today, with this vote. If we vote to stop, we stop. I'm not going to be a dictator. Now then: Do we continue with The Rules?
Everyone will need to vote, even the Addict.
I vote no.
I'm not interested in music, or games, or acting. I want to watch TV. It takes minimal effort, but lets you believe -for however long you're watching- that there's a whole world that continues from episode to episode and is still there even when you turn the show off. Even the most lightweight shows can give a sense of comfort that actual life takes years to reach, and when we're talking about the really great shows of today (and today's television has a lot of bright spots) there's also much to think about, and discuss, and write about. I could fill twenty posts just with thoughts from the TV show Homeland. And don't get me started on the strained relationships of The Amazing Race- there's truly fascinating drama ther. For instance, back in season six-
Please don't ever speak again.
Whatever. My vote is no.
What we are doing is unnatural. We need to be open to all opportunities at all times. By deciding at the beginning of the day what sort of day we should have, we are guaranteeing that much of the day's potential will be completely ignored.
If you're referring to the restriction on piano, I imagine we'd be taking that out as it was part of the Panic Mode rule. I still wouldn't be playing any music because it just doesn't interest me, but anyone else could come up with themes and count that as "mundane activities".
And be penalized for it. No thank you.
Only if mundane activities exceed one quarter of the day, which is a generous allowance. Any more than that and music can become a dangerous distraction.
I was a more prolific musician, once.
What if I made an exception in my own rules for music?
Programmer, that will be entirely unnecessary. The Musician has made his feelings clear, and we're going to accept them.
Well, I don't give up just because things haven't gone my way immediately. This is a very interesting project we're engaged in, and I think with continuous tweaking it can work. We had one bad rule which wasn't discarded quickly enough, and we'll need to be willing to make drastic changes during the month to deal with things like that. But let's not hrow out the baby with the bathwater, eh?
Is that a vote for the Rules?
Yes, it is. I vote to continue.
Explain to me what it is that I can possibly get out of pretending to have dissociative identity disorder.
Certainly. I mean, it's not truly split personalities, but that's neither here nor there so I'll just tell you what the benefit is. During the course of whatever you work on, occasionally you reach problems you don't know how to deal with. Correct?
Yes. That's when I ask other people.
Instead of other people, you can ask us.
It's a poor substitute.
Other people will actually know the answers. You guys only pretend to.
Everyone just pretends to have the answers.
Spare me the philosophizing.
Please, let me think for a few minutes.
It seems like this is all just crazy for crazy's sake.
It's not. There's logic to it. Just give me a minute to find it. Honestly, I was expecting you to just vote "no" offhand, so I didn't think about this from your perspective. But if we continue I'll need to be taking everyone's perspective into account on a regular basis.
Well, you know exactly what my perspective is. I want to work, I want to be happy, I have no use for stories and silliness. Sell me on this. What do I get out of being one of eight?
You get a team backing you up. Everything you need, everything you can't get by yourself, we're here for you.
So if I say that I want to be making money, on a regular basis? What if I point out that that is a universal necessity in this world? What will you do to get money?
I don't know. It's a tough question.
It's not tough at all. It's called a regular job. If I tell you that I need a regular job, with regular hours and a steady paycheck, what do you say?
I say okay.
Really. I can't get out of the common sense that we do need to be making money somehow.
Thinker, what are you doing?
I'm trying to not ignore a position that makes perfect sense in favor of holding onto the status quo.
It's funny you put it that way, because I think holding on to the status quo is exactly what you're after here. You see you might lose the Worker, so you're making unrealistic promises to keep him in your good graces.
Making money is unrealistic?! What planet do you live on?
Programmer, this isn't about "losing" anyone. It's either all of us or none of us, but the Worker raises a good point.
I can't believe I'm hearing this. You know that a 9 to 5 job is unfeasible while we're following the Rules!
Then we need to find a way to make it fit!
I am not going to restrict my activities to the end of a day, when I have no energy left!
A rigid schedule takes out all control over what we accomplish in life. You must see that.
I do. But we can't keep leeching off of others forever. We've been saying as much for months.
Yes, we need money. But within this system we're building!
And how is that supposed to happen, when apparently making money doesn't fit in your system?
We can talk about this later, my point is that I am open to all possibilities.
We won't have many possibilities if the Worker gets his way.
It's odd, don't you think, that I'm expected to work for all of you and be what basically amounts to your slave while even the tiniest thing I say is ignored and I'm made out to be the enemy. To hell with all of you.
If this is the sort of organization that we're going to have from now on, then I won't be a part of it. I change my vote to no.
Same here. I'm not going to be stifled under a suit.
Calm down, please. Everyone calm down.
No, I will not calm down. There needs to be logic underneath what we are doing. We can't just be throwing in ideas and seeing what happens, or we get to situations like Panic Mode.
That was your idea!
Yes, and after seeing how it worked in practice I said that we should get rid of it because it wasn't working.
So let's get a job, see how it goes!
You can't back out of that so easily. We could be losing months.
You mean we could be making money for months. Or do you want to be living in someone else's house your whole life?
Please calm down.
I'm not going to just fill in the cracks in the Worker's life. No way. I'll be voting no.
Calm down! I would like to talk!
No, this is great. If everyone backs out, it means I win. Well, the Addict and I.
Musician, you are not helping. Now this is all really a misunderstanding, so if everyone would please calm down long enough for me to explain, that would be terrific.
I did not mean to say that we'd just get a job and damn the consequences.
And there it is.
The Worker wants a way to make money on a steady basis. We can help him get that.
That is not what you said.
Then forget what I said! It was poorly stated.
You were perfectly clear:
If I tell you that I need a regular job, with regular hours and a steady paycheck, what do you say?I say okay.
Not much ambiguity.
Okay! I get it! I suck! Fine! I am trying my best here, same as any of you.
Their best? Did you see the performance reviews?
I wrote the damned performance reviews!
I don't know if you can be in charge if you lose your temper like this.
You're right. You're all right, I need to try harder.
So when the dust settles, you're back to completely ignoring me again. What a surprise.
I'm not ignoring you. We need money. But we're not going to work for someone else.
Then how will we get money, pray tell?
No! What the hell is wrong with you, that you go back on every single-
Let me finish. Worker, you will deal with musical arrangements. I thought I could get the Musician to do that, but his heart isn't in it. But surely you recognize that some of the Musician's themes are marketable.
I do recognize that.
Then the two of you will work together. He comes up with ideas, you work on them until they're ready to sell. There's your steady money.
And why is this better than a desk job?
You're not getting a desk job, as everyone has just made perfectly clear. I'm sorry about that.
Sure you are.
I want you to be happy, and not just because we're ostensibly in the middle of a vote. But you need to understand that without the multiple character system you're not going to have more control. You're going to have much less, because you won't have a voice. If Mory Buckman is one character, rather than eight, then that is not a character who will be satisfied with a desk job.
He can still work on music, the same as I can.
You are reliable in a way that we never were before splitting into different characters last year.
What about the old Thursdays?
In which we looked for ways out of having to work, and then begrudgingly got some token work done before rushing back to addictions? That was the prototype. You are the real deal, and we'll be lost without having you on some days.
Okay, fine, there's no need to flatter me. I vote yes.
For the record, if you had given me some time to think about my answer instead of bombarding me with questions, I could have told you why this is better for you an hour ago.
I'm agreeing, I'm agreeing.
Okay. So let's see where we stand after all that. Programmer, what is your vote?
To be clear: we're not going off to get a job that'll eat up all our time?
No. We control the schedule. We're agreeing that we will make money, for now, by having the Musician and the Worker produce music together.
That sounds like a good plan to me. I want to continue with the Rules.
Excellent. Explorer, you said you were voting against The Rules, but that seemed to be a reaction to the idea of a job.
It was. The fact is, I think this game we're playing is one of the coolest things we've ever done. It's exciting.
That's a yes, then.
You'd better believe it. I think we're just getting started here.
I agree. So that's the Addict and the Musician against continuing, and the Explorer, the Worker and the Programmer in favor. I also vote yes, which puts the vote at 4 to 2.
I vote no.
Because we don't play games anymore. Games used to be a regular part of our routine.
I don't remember that.
Now there are so many restrictions on who can play what that most of you don't play games at all. And our life is all the poorer for it.
In November 2010, there were 11 hours and 39 minutes of videogames, not counting Wii Fit which is no longer included in time allocation tables. In November 2011 I count 23:54. More than double the specifically allocated videogame time from this time last year, and that's despite all the days we lost. So I think you're remembering games being a bit more central than they actually were. What's changed is, before there were ten minutes of a game here and there. It was spread out. Now it's mainly you, playing for many hours at a time. But the actual time spent playing videogames per month hasn't gone down.
This was an uncharacteristic month. What about last month?
Let's see... I count 19:54. But there were also quite a few hours of playing together with other people, which were not always differentiated from other kinds of socializing. We're not gaming less.
Okay, I stand corrected. I vote yes.
That makes five to two. The only one left is the Person.
I'd like to change my vote to an abstention.
I'm just thinking that it would be nice to have someone do the annoying work of making music.
And back to making me the slave.
Worker, you know you'll probably enjoy the work.
Musician, if you want someone to help you, that sounds like a vote for continuing the multiple personality system.
Except that it still means listening to you.
I touched on this earlier, but our relationship is going to be very different from now on. I tried treating you like you only existed to make money, and I profusely apologize for that.
Nothing's changed. You still just want me to make money.
No, that's the Worker's job. You just do what you do, and don't even worry about the score.
Okay, what I mean is that you shouldn't worry about the two points given for quality. If you aren't particularly inspired one day, just end the day early and I'll give you another one soon after. You have nothing to prove to me. The burden of proof is on me, to show you that this system can work to your benefit.
Oh, what the hell. Yes. Let's try this crazy thing.
So again we're left with just the Person. You've been very quiet.
What is your vote?
I don't know.
I've been screwed by you guys before, and I can't say this past month hasn't been a mess. Along with that, my life is kind of awful because I don't spend much time with other people and it seems like your solution is just to force me to spend more time with all of you with this conference room that seems like it's just going to pretend we don't need other people. And we do. We need other people. The Thinker wouldn't even be having these little epiphanies of his about positive reinforcement if not for other people's advice.
But I should have seen that negativity wouldn't work. Our father was always negative in our childhood, and it didn't get us to do things. If we had talked it out, I might have thought of that sooner.
I don't care. Just let me finish. I want to be with other people, and as long as you hold on to this silly idea that all we need is fictional characters to talk to, it'll be harder for me to get to that point. With that said, there is something I like about being able to tell people about this gloriously bizarre life. The sorts of people I like to be around don't see a problem with defying the norms, they find it interesting. And tha tells me there's something to it.
What if I said we could try to meet new people?
Don't bother. I'm not that gullible. But seeing as how I have no ideas of meeting people for myself, I say let's keep going. Also, having so many different kinds of experience in a month means more topics of conversation with people. So, like I say, there's something to it. And I have to be honest, you guys are really good about letting me take over whenever there are other people. So that's yes.
Then the vote is... seven to one. I really didn't picture it going like this.
The Addict only voted against because he's still in TV mode. On a different week, he would have voted differently.
Never mind the Addict. The clear consensus is that we're continuing. Then let's get to work. First, the Rules.
...Done. I'm not going to provide a link, because with one edit going on top of another the Rules have gotten really messy and I'm not sure how to deal with them. Programmer, I'd appreciate it if you could look for a more elegant way to organize the thing.
Okay. But I've got some more important things to deal with first.
You mean the conference room.
I think we'll get the Addict to do that. Anyway, I've taken out Panic Mode and eased up some rules here and there on the condition that the average score for the month is above 7/10. Whoops. I forgot to change my own rules.
I'll do that.
No, I've got it. Give me a minute.
Okay, I've changed my rules. None of you will have to worry about the details, but I'm going to be a lot less selfish and hostile from now on.
I'll believe it when I see it.
Yes. We have not much time and much to do, so we will start with the Worker. You ready?
Then let's get started.
Back to Kyler's comment
I think this was a mostly successful month.
Please tell me you're kidding.
Not at all. It's a redemption storyline, as I told you was an option after the first day. The theme of the month was panic, and how that precipitates a downward spiral into the usual addictions and lack of control. We started out with no control at all, our failures feeding on each other until it seemed like there was little to life but the failure.
Could you possibly "dramatize" within the confines of what actually happened?
Okay, I'm exaggerating. It wasn't as bad as I make it sound. But certainly we were losing control. The new rule -that if we go under 6/10 for the month, we can't have certain kinds of entertainment-
I'm starting to think that was a bad rule.
It's a wonderful rule!
You came up with that rule!
Yes, but now that I see how it works in practice...
What happened this month won't happen again.
Let's recap what happened and not get too sidetracked. We're in danger of making a post that doesn't stand on its own.
Very true. We started out with little control. I'm sure we all had the feeling that panic mode wasn't going to end, and that we therefore would not get the entertainment we sought, and it followed that there was no harm in entertaining ourselves -prolonging panic mode in the process!
I would like to say, for the record, that I didn't mind. I just do my thing, I don't care about comics or the web.
That is true. You had four days, with an average of 9.25/10! Truly remarkable.
I'm sure you will take that into account when allowing days in this coming month. If the characters with higher scores don't get to play more than the characters with lower scores, then what is the incentive for any of us to do well?
We're getting sidetracked.
But you know I'm right.
Yes! Yes, you will have at least 60 hours in November. You have my word on that.
Where is that time coming from, exactly?
Getting back to my summary, the failures fed on each other but we started taking our days more seriously and got back into the mindset where the average score from the month actually mattered. We worked our way up, and then we fell back down, and then we finally made it past 6/10 and ended with our heads just barely over the water - an average score of 6.11/10. If the last day had gone under 4/10, which it almost did because of a lack of desire to exercise and deal with hygiene, we would have ended still in panic mode and the story would be very different. But we did make it through, by the skin of our teeth, and that's the important thing.
Plans for the month aren't the important thing?
You've never acted like that before.
I can't force anyone to do things they don't want to do. The plan was good, and it would have been great if everyone played along from the start, but it took some time for some of us to get into the mindset where the plan seemed like a good idea, and I respect that. At the end of the day we did accomplish what I wanted us to.
Did not. "whimsy and entertainment will need to (temporarily) take a backseat to efficient productivity." Those are your words. I don't see that.
By the end, we were avoiding comics entirely. That's not as far as I wanted to go, but it took effort and next time we'll go farther. One step at a time.
"Efficient productivity" is my department. I was called on three times. How do you explain that?
You're not the only one who can make progress! We had a sextuple Addict!
Yes, FreeCell is exactly what I think of when I hear "productivity".
You're being petty.
Speaking of "progress", I'd like to either get rid of the rule that says I can't be productive, or take my game-restriction out of the panic mode rules. As it was, I could find absolutely nothing I was allowed to design a day around during panic mode.
It was an oversight. I'll change your rules so you can be productive from now on.
That would take away something that sets the Gamer apart from the group. This world doesn't matter to him as much as virtual worlds. It adds a different perspective to the group, and I don't want to lose that.
If I take him out of the panic mode rules, like I did with the Person, it takes away the motivation for him to get out of panic mode. If the score stays low, he keeps playing games forever.
I'm not opposed to the idea.
Then definitely true.
I've got it. The Gamer's days during panic mode will be no longer than 12 hours in length, and must be immediately followed by the Worker.
Clever. You restrict it, and you pair the Gamer with the character who will balance him out.
Wouldn't one of those be enough? I'm okay with the twelve-hour thing, really!
He can't take a day without giving me one as well? I love it.
Can we talk about this?
The pairing with the Worker is what actually makes sense for panic mode. The idea is that to get out, we need to be more productive than usual. Which I admit, I am reconsidering...
No, see, this is what I'm saying. It's absolutely perfect. After this past month, everyone is going to be taking the threat of panic mode very, very seriously. We know how bad it is. We know the constant guilt we've felt.
Again, for the record...
Not you! I get it! Anyway, even the... you know, I didn't even say we all felt it! I just said "we". That applies to me, and at least a few others.
I liked you better when you were stoic and mysterious. Anyway, even the Gamer now is afraid of panic mode, because of the new psychological component where he doesn't want the Worker to get a day. I hope this doesn't backfire and get the Gamer to ignore the Rules altogether.
Well, that's why I threw in the twelve-hour thing.
I'll go ahead and add it in.
You all suck.
That's not a very long list. What about Angles and Circles, which you said you'd figure out what to do with? What about the plays? What about finishing Gamer Mom, instead of just taking a few steps with it? I could have accomplished more than this, all by myself.
You probably could have. But we're doing more than just accomplishing things. We're still doing character-building.
Enough with the character-building! You really think the Musician and the Programmer are better off now that they've had days where you conveniently look the other way if they mess up? If you want this ideal get-together thing or whatever it is you want, stop talking about it and do it already!
Okay, how about this. For November, we'll each write our own parts of the Plan.
Great, more Randomly Capitalized Words. That'll make what you're saying more worthwhile, for sure.
I would like to figure out where Angles and Circles is going. I don't know if that'll take one day or five, but that's my goal. I'm going to declare that intention at the beginning of the month, and you can all join me. My thinking is that you'll care more about the plan if it's your plan.
I'm not much of a talker. Just give me the days, and I'll use them.
That's fine. But the thing is, if you say what you want, the rest of us can help you get it. So, for instance, the Worker can spend some time on your music as part of his "helping other people" goal. But no deadlines this month. Or at least, no deadlines that we all have to listen to. You can make your own deadlines, but we don't have to listen. I'm just finding that when deadlines are missed, it creates a depression that outweighs the motivation the deadline created in the first place.
Without deadlines, we don't get anything done. We just sit around doing nothing, like we did this month.
Well, we'll see. I'm still new to this whole planning thing, and I'm feeling it out as I go. But like I said, I think this was a pretty successful month. We're in a better place emotionally and as a group than we were at the beginning.
From now on, I want all of us to remember what it felt like to be stuck in panic mode, and how hard it was to get out. And I want all of us to do our hardest to never have to panic ever again. Agreed?
Sure. Give me some days, no panicking necessary.
Oh, would you please shut up.
This is going to be short, not because there's not a lot we need to talk about but because there are less than four hours until the Rosh Hashana holiday that will take up the rest of the month.
It's a shame you didn't remember that at the beginning of the month.
Yeah, he's a bit of a moron.
It's especially a shame because if the musician had more time he might finally come up with some music that's marketable. We don't have anyone else who's allowed to make money on a regular basis.
You make money.
I rely on other people's schedules. You won't let me take over full-time, so there you go.
And if you took over full-time, you wouldn't be able to protect yourself against the big bad Addict.
I apologize, it was a mistake, it happens.
It wouldn't have happened if you'd actually taken your job seriously.
Don't just say, "point taken"! That's meaningless!
I'm sorry. Calm down.
You let me down.
I know, and I'm sorry. I was making an effort to give the explorer opportunities this month, and there's not time for everyone.
But apparently the Addict gets as much time as he wants.
Enough. We don't have time for bickering. I set 11 objectives for the month, and we've hit 4 of those. Four.
I don't like Achievements.
I don't care. I want to know what went wrong.
The Addict went wrong.
No, that only happened because the worker was overstressed because we saved everything for the last minute.
I have a solution for that. Or at least, something to try. I've noticed that our average scores for the month aren't what they were in earlier stages of the game, when we tried to hit 7/10 each month to "level up". That was a good incentive, which had us scrambling desperately to reach 7/10 and stay there.
I could do without that hanging over my head.
I think what we're doing now is ten times crazier than what we were doing then. Of course we're not getting the same scores - we've fried our head.
Don't be cute. Programmer, continue.
I'd like to institute a "panic mode", to be activated any time we dip under 6/10 for the month. Until we get back over 6/10, there will be no TV (whatsoever), no comics (even editing), no movies, no music for anyone other than the Musician, and a strict limit of two hours of gaming per game-day.
Wow. I vote yes.
There are legitimate reasons to watch things with other people sometimes.
Then we'll leave you out of the rule.
And me too. I can't make progress with a two-hour day.
You can make progress on other things. It doesn't have to be gaming.
I hate this rule.
Okay. Shall we vote?
Yes, of course. I vote yes, obviously you're voting yes, and the worker has already voted yes which makes three out of eight.
Seven, really. The Addict never shows up.
I don't care either way.
One abstention, and I take it the Explorer votes against?
I'm torn. On the one hand I see the idea behind it. But on the other hand I like that other guys can give me music to work with. I guess I have to vote no, unless you take out the bit about music.
Music can be an addiction like any other.
That was my thinking.
Then my vote is no.
Same goes for me.
Then the vote is tied, three to three.
Like I said, if you take out the bit about music you have my vote.
If that's the game we're playing, then you'll have my vote if you take out the ban on movies.
Why would I take out-
It makes the most sense to take out the limit on games. When have we ever gotten too addicted to games to do other things?
These all seem just as arbitrary.
I don't want to take out any of these things! The rule is defined correctly. If the musician gets what he wants, he doesn't have an incentive to push the average score up to 6/10, which really isn't so high when you think about it. If the explorer gets to watch movies, he doesn't have an incentive to be more creative. And if the gamer wants to lose the limit on games, he'll do things other than gaming to get to the point where the limit's gone. And if any of you is the one that gets us out of panic mode, and it's clear that it's your high scores that did it, don't you think we'd be thankful enough to give you a few more days? You're all coming out of this with more opportunities.
It does make sense. I'll change my vote to a "yes".
Then the vote is 4 to 2. Would anyone else like to change their votes, before we wrap this up?
What's the point? It's over.
Okay then. The rule will be added. Programmer?
You didn't say anything about web browsing!
I didn't think of it until just now. Does it change your vote?
I voted no!
Exactly my point.
People! Must we be so petty? Regardless, it's possible that this might change things for someone. Does anyone want to change their vote?
No? Okay then. Programmer, I think it's a good rule and hopefully it'll discourage us from having more months like this.
What, these meetings weren't enough?
Please cut it out with the crabbiness, all of you. It's quite irritating.
But justified, in some cases.
Fine! What would you like?
I would like for you to not promise me I'm going to get days, when you have no intention of letting that happen.
Now, you know very well that's not what happened. It was an honest mistake.
The fact that you were able to make such an obvious mistake, which a double-check would have revealed immediately, shows how much you're committed to leading us.
I will double-check my decisions from now on.
That's all I ask.
Okay, anything else anyone would like to bring up?
What, you're going to ignore the big elephant standing in the room?
What, the Addict?
No, not the Addict. I'm talking about the fact that we had 11 objectives, and we did 4 of them.
I mentioned that. But if you're saying that we should talk about that more-
That's what I'm saying. How is it that we messed up so spectacularly?
The new rule will help.
To hell with your rule. I mean, don't get me wrong. I shouldn't say that, it's a good rule. But it's not enough. It was the end of a week, and still no one had lifted a finger to meet the deadlines because apparently I'm the only one who cares about that.
That's not what happened. You need to look at the performance reviews before making accusations like this, Worker. We're talking about the 11th to 15th, right? I had a few character-building days-
What a waste of time.
I had a few character-building days, and during one of them (though I had no obligation to do this) I met one of the goals.
No you didn't.
I most certainly did, I finished Uncharted.
You finished a game. Whoop-dee-doo.
Again, I do not appreciate your tone.
What about the actual goals? By which I'm referring mainly to Angles & Circles.
I ran into a problem. I needed the addict to figure out how to get around it.
If I may speak on behalf of the Explorer, I think it turned out to be an unrealistic goal and it would have been fine if we'd continued without making it.
What? You said the deadlines were set in stone!
Are you talking about this?:
Plans may be added as the month advances and throws life's randomness into the equation, but these deadlines will stay fixed. This is going to be the sort of month that proves the value of the game.
Well, you were right. We proved how much the game was worth this month.
We did a few things...
Those were your words. What do you think we've proven?
That we still have a lot of work to do.
Understatement of the year. But let's focus on the fact that you said the deadlines were fixed, and then totally left me thinking there was more than I could possibly deal with!
Programmer, do you have any ideas?
Could you possibly be specific about the problem?
Certainly. I set a goal for the month which turned out halfway through the month to be a bad idea. But that was seen to be the case on the Explorer's day, and he has no obligation to worry about such things. So the next character suffered because I hadn't had time or reason to notice a problem. Now the Worker feels that he should have been informed of a necessary change, and I don't see how that could have been possible given the situation.
Uh huh. Couldn't the Worker have paused the day, thought about it, and recognized the problem? Planning is allowed during breaks.
The worker wouldn't necessarily have recognized the problem.
What was the problem?
We couldn't continue on Angles and Circles without deciding what we're doing with the game in the big picture.
That sounds like a job for the Thinker, not the Addict.
It's really simple. The Thinker should have noticed a problem during the performance review. The Thinker has control for a few minutes every single day for the performance reviews - he should be able to deal with things like this and warn the others about necessary changes.
That would require the Thinker to act like he's responsible for all of us.
I'll do my best to keep an eye on all of you.
That's not good enough.
It's all I can do. If you think I'm not doing my job properly, you can always take off points during my own performance reviews.
I think I'll do that.
What, and push us closer into panic mode? You wouldn't dare!
Panic mode has nothing to do with it. If I'm doing something wrong, it's your obligation to the group to let me know.
Well, it's kind of hard for me to notice you're doing things wrong, when I don't get even a single day!
I think it's time to wrap this meeting up -we're running in circles.
No plans for the month?
Plans for the month. We're running into all the holidays now, so we'll need to make the most of every minute. I'm thinking the Worker on Motza'ei Shabbat, to do Gamer Mom, post the Hyrule post, and maybe start learning the plays if there's time. I don't want to tell you how to manage your time, you'll see what you've got.
I should be able to do all that.
Great. After that I want a triple day for the Addict, to do things on the blog.
You can't be serious!
There's too much that needs to be done on it for a short day. I'm not satisfied with the pace of two posts per month. Don't worry, we've taken out the loophole in the day-extension rule, so we won't have a repeat of the Phineas and Ferb incident.
I think we could be using our time better.
Then make the most of the time you've got, and that'll make me more likely to put you in control more often. Beyond that, it's not your call.
You owe me three character-building days.
I was supposed to get, as well.
Programmer, I think we can skip you; I don't think you've ever had trouble staying in character.
I guess you're right. Though, I'm never called on much, so who knows.
If we start seeing a problem, then we'll talk. Musician. I know I owe you... no, you know what? The Programmer has every bit as much to gain from this as the Musician, I owe you both. But I can't give either of you 48 hours in the coming week. It'll have to be after that, but I promise I won't forget about you.
And what about the rest of us?
Wait for your turn. I'm sorry this is taking so long, but we only have so many days to work with.
Maybe we should cut back on social days. Like, maybe we don't need to put everything down every time Moshe wants to come over.
Worker, you are out of line. It is the Person's right to get control whenever a social opportunity arises. I'd like to get back to the plan. Please don't interrupt me.
After the Addict, I'll come in to figure out what we're doing with Angles and Circles. Then the Explorer, maybe dealing with Angles and Circles but definitely continuing Gamer Mom.
If I feel like it. Not promising anything.
You want to work on Gamer Mom because you recognize its importance. Don't be a troublemaker. After him, we'll have two Worker days in a row because there will be so much to get caught up on. After that the Musician gets three days in 48 hours, and then the Programmer gets three days in 48 hours. I don't know specific dates yet, I'll need to sit down with a calendar. Though, maybe I shouldn't say specific dates because we saw how that can backfire. My plan for this next month is to focus primarily on Gamer Mom, but to be making significant progress on everything else as well: the blog, Angles and Circles, "Eshet Chayil",
I'll need you to take a look at that before I get my three days.
Fine. Then somewhere before, after or between the Worker's two days I'll take another. As I was saying, we'll work on Gamer Mom, the blog, Angles and Circles, "Eshet Chayil", the three plays, and Dungeon Master, in that order of importance.
It's too much.
Of course it's too much, but this is the life we've picked.
What about the Fear Itself editing?
Are you kidding me?
No. I'd like to do that.
And what about me?
I don't think Marvel Comics, or Uncharted 2, should be very high on our list of priorities right now! We're coming into Tishrei now, the month of all the holidays! Even without any distractions and interruptions, which isn't going to happen, we don't have a tremendous amount of time! Maybe we should just be focusing on Gamer Mom, and forgetting about everything else?
We need to work on the plays.
And we need the musician to get a good start on making something we can sell!
Eagh! There are fifty minutes left in the month. I would like to wrap this meeting up.
You can't avoid your responsibilities.
I know that, damn it! Over the holiday I'll think about our priorities, and then immediately after Shabbat and before the Worker starts, I'll take an hour and write out what I've decided.
Conveniently enough, that takes all of us out of the discussion.
How meaningful a discussion do you think we're going to have with fifty minutes until the holiday?
You're right, let's wrap it up.
Thank you. If you have more objections to my leadership, bring it up at my next perrfomance review! That will be all.
Last month it seemed like the worker had gotten under control. So this month, the plan was to keep going with the other characters, and to give each character the chance to figure out who they are separate from the group. But here we are at the end of the month, and instead of having gotten comfortable with all the characters we've lost the perfect worker. What happened?
It was a bad plan, is what happened. There's too much to do to waste time thinking about things.
That is not a helpful attitude.
I see two problems. The first and most significant is an addiction to comics. The second problem is going to sleep too late, and being tired all the time. This is tied to the first problem, since we all stayed up late reading comics. Clearly addictions are the absolute evil we need to avoid, because they break down everything we build up. I propose a new rule: if in a performance review we ever see that some activity is turning into an addiction, we're not allowed to do that activity for a week afterward, with no exceptions.
Useless. I mean, it's a fine rule, but it changes nothing. I first noted the comics addiction on the 25th, and I said we shouldn't read any comics for a while. We kept reading comics anyway. What good is making it a rule going to do? Anyway, I'm not sure that's the problem. It is a problem, and we do need to be more careful, but it doesn't explain... yestrday, for instance, where there was no comics activity and the worker couldn't keep it together.
I was very tired.
Okay, so that is a major problem, and the fact that the computer shuts down automatically at 3:00 ought to help in that regard.
Unless you stay up reading, like you did last night.
The problem with the month is I didn't have any say in it. You gave me one day, where my activities were dictated by the schedule. If I'd had other days, I would have given you all ideas on how to be less stuffy.
Again, I don't think this is the main problem.
The main problem was a lack of enthusiasm, and the explorer could have helped that.
Without enthusiasm, none of these rules and none of these plans and none of these characters are worth anything at all.
The explorer was criticized for a lack of enthusiasm in his one day.
I already said that that was because my activities were dictated to me, instead of arising naturally from my personality.
I suppose it's possible.
Let's please not take this idea too seriously. We are very very busy these days. I know it doesn't look like it from the sluggishness of this past week, but let's not forget that we are in the middle of no less than eight projects of various types.
We need deadlines.
Yes, we do. We also need to be always moving forward. How's this for a theory: we lost interest in the game because the entire point of the game this month was about wallowing in our own flaws instead of moving forward.
That's an interesting thought. Just as you need to "stick to the plan" precisely or lose all your momentum, so too should we never waver in following the direction for the month. Once we feel like what we're doing is separate from the plan, we lose the plan. That means that the monthly plan needs to always be flexible enough to allow for changes. Maybe that was the problem.
That was in no way similar to what I was saying.
Are we giving up on the character exercise, then?
No, I still think it's important to get each voice right. But let's make that just a small part of the month, and we can include deadlines for everything else.
What if each day of the exercise is just a few hours, and you immediately follow it with another exercise day? It could be the same character, or a different character...
I like the idea of having two instances of one character in a day. Cut the personality down to the essentials, and come up with different variations.
We have to restore the rule about not following a bad day with the same character. It's an important rule.
Okay. No exceptions this time.
I think I understand what everyone wants here. Deadlines, shorter character building, a more active role for the explorer, a limit on comics, and sufficient attention given to everything we need to be doing. I'll write up the plan for September tonight.
We were going to capitalize the names of characters.
That's true. I guess I've gotten used to writing the characters' names uncapitalized, and I didn't even think about it. But it should be capitalized, Explorer, you're right. Should I edit what we've written?
Just move on already. No one cares.
I'll move on. I know the programmer had some rules he wanted to run past us, so we'll let him do that.
The first rule I'd like to suggest is a point incentive for staying in character. For a while now we've been losing points for breaking character, but that's been a one-way street. Now if you particularly excel at playing your character, you get one point.
Just one. I don't want to give the impression that as long as you're being yourself, you don't need to care about any of the other rules.
A wise precaution. I doubt anyone will object to this rule. How will you word it?
It'll go after the line about losing points for breaking rules or principles. "Conversely, if the activities of the day present a particularly believable representation of the character, one point will be added (with the maximum still not exceeding ten)."
Did we need to hear that?
No, I guess not. Just add it in, then. No need for the whole fancy arrow business; this is the sort of rule that should have been there from the beginning.
Okay, next rule. We should only allow a day to be extended if it's going well.
That's not a clear rule.
Can you word it more clearly?
Oy, again with the wording!
You said it wasn't clear.
Never mind. Spend fifty years working on getting the words just right, I don't care.
Ignore him. Can you word the rule more clearly?
"If twenty-four hours have passed since the last scoring period, the score for the day must immediately be estimated. (A precise calculation may not be possible before the closing statement and performance review.) If it is estimated that the score for the day (were it concluded immediately) would be 7/10 or higher, then the day may continue. Otherwise, the day must conclude immediately, and the formal review will take place."
Fascinating. There, I think we did need to hear the precise wording.
Isn't that backwards? If you don't have a good score yet, maybe you need the extra time to get it up there!
That's not what we've seen happening in practice. If the day's going badly enough to score under 7/10, there's some essential problem with the approach that's not going to be fixed by just carrying it on longer. We keep hearing the excuse "The day isn't good yet!", followed by the day getting even worse. This will stop that.
I love it.
It does seem like it might work. Any objections?
Seriously, this is a big change. If you don't like it, now's the time to speak up. There won't be another chance.
My scoring goes by progress. With a longer day, I necessarily make more progress. And I'm not sure if I'll always be able to get a seven in twelve hours.
It's more than twelve hours. It's twenty-four hours from the last scoring. So let's say you get eight and a half hours of sleep, you take a half hour to start the day, we'll take off another hour of expected mundanity, you've still got fourteen hours. If in fourteen hours you can't get things done, you're playing the wrong games.
You're right, I take back what I said.
Any other criticisms or concerns?
What if I'm out with friends, and there are more opportunities that I'll miss out on if I don't keep going?
If you're out with friends, you should be having a meaningful enough time to get that 7/10.
Maybe not. Maybe we're just starting out.
In this hypothetical situation, what were you doing for a full day up to that point?
Maybe it was a decent, but not a stellar day so far, and this social opportunity will push it over the edge. Maybe it's a solid six-pointer so far.
He has a point. Six out of ten is respectable.
If it's 6/10, you're still allowed to repeat the character. You can end the day with six points, start a new day as the person, and have a full twenty-four hours to do whatever it is you're doing.
What if it's five out of ten?
Then you've screwed yourself out of the opportunity. Play better, and that won't happen.
I don't like it.
I don't care. It's a good rule.
Programmer, could you possibly lower the cut-off to 5/10?
Five out of ten is a mediocre day. We don't want to extend that.
Okay, I understand what you're saying, but it's not a huge difference.
Seven is the right number. Do you think five makes more sense?
No, but maybe a compromise would be in order.
"Compromise". I can see why you didn't get anything done this month, you don't hav much intellectual integrity.
That is not called for. That is really not called for.
I say we put it to a vote. Musician?
I have no problem with it.
This isn't right. You're voting because you know you'll win this way!
You're damned right. Worker?
Anything to reduce wasted time.
I vote for it.
Fine, I get it! You can have your rule.
I vote yes, if anyone cares. Let's put in the rule.
Now if we're done with that little drama, I have a rule of my own to suggest. I would like to formalize a policy we've already been following but could pursue more rigidly: whenever our plans rely on other people, we need to confirm the schedule shortly before relying on it.
Now that's a rule I can get behind.
Like I said, this is nothing new. So let's just add it in. Programmer, do you mind if I just add it in with yours?
Done. What do you think of the wording?
Okay. Does anyone have anything else to add to this meeting?
Then we'll end it here.
Not much to say, because the month has gone well.
I haven't gotten a turn yet.
Yes, well, progress has been slow. But character building takes the time it takes, and then you have it for life.
I would think it's a constant effort.
Sure, but it's like riding a bicycle. Once you can do it, you never forget.
It's not worth arguing.
Why, is there something you'd like to say?
Okay. I have to congratulate you on becoming the character we needed you to be.
There's more work to do.
I think if you gave me more time, I could get everything in our life under control.
I think what the explorer means to say is "no". But it's good that you want to keep going. That's exactly the kind of self-confidence I was hoping for.
Good, very good. Worker, do you have
By the way, are we capitalizing our names now? It seems inconsistent.
You know what, yes. From now on, our names will be capitalized. We should have been doing that from the beginning.
Unless... I guess we could hold off on capitals until we earn them.
Names Capitalized. Move on.
Oh fine. Worker, is there anything you can say that you've learned about how to play your part? Because it would be best if we could take that and make a rule out of it, so that you never have trouble remembering your lines.
No rule. I just try to do what needs to be done.
I like that, very... what's the word.
Are you sure? Let's see... "one apparently or professedly indifferent to pleasure or pain"
I have a complaint. Your "moments of reflection" make no sense at all.
Well, if I'm in the middle of doing something, suddenly stopping in the middle is just an interruption, just because it's 7:40 PM or whenever.
I did notice that you weren't pausing the game.
It's a waste of time.
What if there were some sort of script to follow, so that you're checking whether you're still in character?
It's a waste of time.
Explorer, do you have any thoughts?
I'm picturing butterflies fluttering by. It's very dreamy.
Any thoughts that are relevant to the three "moments of reflection"?
It's a waste of time.
You've said that already.
Oh, fine, I'll take the rule out. But I haven't given up on the idea, it just needs more tweaking.
Another complaint I'd like to make is the schedule. There's no reason that we should be ending days at 3:00 while the rest of the world is asleep by midnight. We should switch to a more normal schedule.
It's... hm. I don't think "normal" is necessarily something we're going for.
Don't be repressing me, you.
It's just causing friction between us and the rest of the world, for no good reason. It makes it awkward to do things like go to work and not be tired all day.
You are free to go to sleep whenever you want. And so are we.
Well, that doesn't exactly work, does it? To keep changing sleep schedules?
You never know. Maybe it would.
No, but you know, that's ridiculous. Usually I won't be following myself, which means someone else will be going to sleep at some godforsaken hour, like you going to sleep at 5:30 some nights, and then I'm going to be tired all day.
I think we're all capable of being considerate of such considerations... that's a terrible wording. I think we can take into account such-
Noted. I don't think you'll find anyone with your point of view, though.
What about the Person?
I don't know. Person?
Would you prefer to go to sleep at a normal hour?
I don't know, I generally stay up late on Friday nights talking to people. But I guess during the week it could be cool to be awake in some different hours, sure. I rarely chat with people out of the country, anyway. But right now it doesn't make too much difference. Maybe when you give me enough time to myself to have a social life, I'll care one way or the other more.
Let's move on and talk about the blog. I'm disappointed you didn't write on it more. It's there for you.
It's there for all of us.
Here for all... never mind.
I had more pressing things on my agenda.
Why don't you quickly run through what you've accomplished.
I don't know. I guess I got some work done on Gamer Mom, and Angles and Circles. I probably should have done more.
Mm hm. Well, I guess we can wrap this up.
You haven't been exercising.
That's true. I should have.
But I get so tempted by the computer, and I get stuck there instead of going to the Wii.
I was like that too. But you have to push past it.
But what if there's something really interesting in my inbox?
Or some blog that's updated? And here we'll imagine it's an interesting update, and not something silly.
It's always silly. But even if it isn't, you don't belong on the computer until you've started the day properly.
See, I don't think like that.
I'm always looking for things that might get some thoughts out of me.
Are you thinking particularly profound thoughts immediately after waking up?
No, you need to be more awake than that. Look, after exercising and showering and what have you you've got hours and hours to read your precious blogs.
That is true. It's just an addiction, isn't it.
Exactly. Some habits are useful. That one isn't.
So just push past it. I'll try to do that.
Maybe you should try doing stranger things, instead of always relying on habits.
Not a very good cake if it's made from stale ingredients.
Right. And I'm saying this because I want my turn already.
I know. Thank you, I'll try.
You'll try what?
I'll look for insight in new places.
Thursday will be yours whether I'm done or not, so that you can see... what's the name of the movie?
The Tree of Life.
Yes. So I doubt I'll be done in just two days, but you will get a day regardless.
I don't want a day. I want to have a lot of days. I'd do more for the blog than you do.
Let's please not forget how much work there is to be done in Gamer Mom and Angles and Circles, and soon Cox and Box as well. Life goes on whether or not you're playing an exercise.
We'll have to call you and the addict more often, then.
I mean, the addict.
No, I don't think I am. On to August, then.
I'm just going to start, and whoever pays attention pays attention. I'm going to be in charge here, because this entire multiple-personalty system was my idea and I'm more invested in its success than the rest of you. However, I recognize that as I am now, I am not worthy to lead you. I have been disrespectful, distracted and lazy. And my rules, rather than helping me to overcome these traits, allow me to indulge them. So before I spend even one minute as the self-appointed leader of our life, I'm going to rewrite my entire character page. Please wait for me.
Excuse me, programmer? I need your help for a minute.
Thanks for your patience, guys. We'll be done in a few minutes.
Wait'll you see how the rule change works. It was my idea.
Thank you, programmer. At the rules, you'll have to go all the way in to see the new version.
That's so that you can compare the new rules to the old ones. From now on we won't lose anything when making edits. It'll just keep getting deeper and deeper. Which it how is anyway, in real life, but now the format reflects that.
Please take a minute to review the changes, and then we'll begin.
I like the part where you say you won't go over fifteen hours. We'll see if you can stand by that.
Oh, now I realize I should highlight the changes when you get to them. But that means I'd need to use <div> tags instead of <spans>.
We should be doing that anyway, it's bad code.
Does anyone have any problem with me, assuming these revised rules, deciding on how we move as a group? You can rest assured that it's in my best interest to let all of you be the most extreme possible versions of yourselves, because that will make the best story.
June was a disaster. The goals were to be distinct and coherent characters, and to reinvent the blog as a home for all of us. Instead we devolved into an amorphous lump. If the first month of The Rules had gone like this, we would have immediately declared the game a failure and gone back to one personality. Which is essentially what we have here anyway, because if you take out the names, colors and statements from the performance reviews you can barely tell who's who. Despite the scoring, despite the opening statements and despite the shell script, the multiple characters are becoming a thin façade for the person I was at the bottom of this page.
The most important cure to this problem is belief. True belief, the kind that shapes worlds, is not something which can be established once and then forgotten. It is an act of willpower that must be constantly maintained. If we do not believe we exist, we will not exist and all that will be left is the ambiguously-defined person.
I call it like I see it. We still need to work on you.
You don't even have a color yet! You're just there.
Anyway. In order to remember the rules at all times, I'm instituting a new rule about "moments of reflection". At three preset times each day, we need to stop whatever we're doing for a few minutes and ask ourselves whether we're satisfied with what we're doing. Hopefully this will cut down significantly on out-of-character behaviors.
You didn't tell me about this.
I wanted to move quickly and the details weren't challenging. It would bore you and be a waste of your time to have to deal with this. And it would slow us down. We need to be speeding up. I've already set up an alarm on the computer, and we'll see how it goes. Anyway, what was it I was talking about? ... I see I mentioned the blog.
One of the goals for the month was to make the blog a place we could all live in. But that didn't happen, even though the ingredients are all there. Ultimately we were all too lazy to make that a reality.
Some of us have more important things to be doing.
Okay, let's move into the review for the month, and we'll start with you. You had two days, with an average score of 2.5/10.
That is a lie! A ridiculous lie. I had a perfectly good day, and because the programmer has a stick up his butt I got a zero.
You didn't write anything down.
So you got a zero.
The programmer should never have been put in charge. He doesn't understand us.
Hello, musician. I understand what you're saying, and I do think the 5 you got for your only day was unduly harsh.
I was following the rules.
So we'll change the rules. That's what these meetings are here for. But let's save that for later. Programmer, you had two days with an average score of 3.5. The explorer had two days with an average score of 4. The gamer had two days with an average score of 6, the addict had one day worth 7, the worker had two days of 6 each, and I had three days with an average of 4, which included both the only day above 8/10 and one of many zeros for the month. Overall the average score is 4.25/10, the lowest of any month since the beginning of the performance reviews. Hence my introduction: June was a disaster.
This reflects on the programmer more than on me.
It reflects on all of us, as a group. If you mess up your day, you're hurting every single one of us because we won't think you're there to be counted on when we need you. On page 4 I'm going to propose a plan for July to scale back in the short-term, but for right now we are going to look at what went wrong, and how to prevent it in the future. Programmer, I'm going to need you to pay close attention to what everyone says here, so that you can come up with the rules we need.
You're giving him more control over us?
We are a group. The programmer won't do anything that goes against our natures, I promise you.
Person, you say you were fine and the programmer scored you wrong. But a close examination of your days shows that you've been misplayed. On your first day, you sat by yourself and practiced your "bored" pose, and then you wondered why it was you hadn't formed a connection with anyone. If you're going to be antisocial, what's the point of having you? The rest of us are antisocial, we don't need you to step in to be antisocial for us.
I'm not antisocial.
Debatable. Regardless, for your character it's unacceptable. What the hell were you doing playing Lode Runner while your grandparents were downstairs?!
In your second day, you ignored all of us by not holding yourself accountable to our standards. And then you act indignant when you're scored accordingly?
It wasn't important to write anything down. I was doing things with people.
And that's your strength, or at least, it's supposed to be. You need to show us that you're good at dealing with people, or else we'll let you take control less and less. Tell me, do you want interactions with other people to be handled by me, or by the addict?
Okay, I see your point.
If you want to get anywhere at all, you need to be a lot less self-absorbed.
I have a suggestion.
Excellent. Let's hear it.
Well, first of all I think we need to write the interactive post I planned. But we can also add a line into the person's rules saying he always needs to put real and fictional people ahead of himself.
I don't know how effective that'll be, given that that's supposed to be obvious anyway.
Obviously it's not so obvious, or he'd be acting like that. I can't give you anything more specific, because the scoring rules already reward proper socializing. I don't know why this line is needed, but we can add it in anyway.
Do you have any objections, person?
..It's Asimov's laws of robotics. You expect me to follow the laws of robotics.
Is this a joke?
A more methodical approach to life won't hurt you. You've been coasting, and that's no use to anyone. This is better.
How am I supposed to function as a member of society when I'm following rules like a robot?
By introducing new rules whenever they're needed. Try these out for a few months, and we'll see how it goes.
Let me make your position perfectly clear. On June 22nd I went to see Carousel, with all the people from Ruddigore starring in it. And while I was there I was able to recall the actor character I'd built up there, with whom conversation with absolutely everyone was easy and enjoyable without losing a fundamental honesty even in the face of social etiquette. This is the character you are competing with. He has made friends. You have not.
I have plenty of friends.
Not since The Rules. That's what I'm looking at.
Can we please move on? We are ridiculously late. Again.
From now on, the addict should always have the last day of the month to manage the self-meeting. It should be unscored and should not take into account the once-in-three-days limitation on pulling out the addict.
Okay. Write it up.
I don't know, you want to leave it unscored?
If it's scored for the previous month, it changes the numbers so we can't discuss them at the meeting. If it's scored for the following month, it means that every single month is going to be starting the same way, and I know you're not the only one here who'd have a problem with tha. So no score. Thankfully the addict is entirely trustworthy. Even if he's not scoring, if he's writing it down and staying in character we don't need to worry about him.
I'm not sure about this, but we need to move on so I'll let it stand for now.
Programmer. Let's continue with you, because you've got the opposite problem to the person. You need to be more self-centered.
Because dealing with us is not your forté. I appreciate that you stepped in when I left, and under the circumstances I think you did a fine job. But that's not who you are. In your days, you were so worried about what everyone else might want that you entirely ignored your own self-fulfillment. Put frankly, the "challenges" you've given yourself this month were not challenges. They were busywork of the sort you should have left for the worker, and storytelling of the sort you should have left to me. If you are specifically requested to get something done, and it seems like they actually need you for it, by all means help out. But otherwise you're better off working on your own projects. Do you understand?
Good. I don't think we need to add a rule for you.
I'm going to make an edit anyway.
Gamer. Gamer? I guess he's not coming. Well, his rules are fine but he didn't follow them. They explicitly say no reading, which he was guilty of in both cases. These are very common-sense rules, but he doesn't understand them because he's not nearly as rushed as he should be. I don't know what else I can say about that except that if he doesn't stick to the script he'll find himself being called upon less and less.
This page is entitled "New rules". If you're not going to put in new rules, don't waste our time. I would like to remind you that it is July 3rd already. What the heck?
I had D&D.
What a shocker.
I was playing.
Worker, your point is taken. These comments should have been on the first page, so I'll just hurry up and then get on to my last proposed rule. The worker needs to take mid-day naps when he's tired, the explorer needs to be more lively and enthusiastic, and the musican should stand up for his deserved time more. If we still see a problem we may need to write rules to encourage these attitudes, but for now I trust you all to make the necessary changes to your lifestyles.
How do I differentiate between a day where I'll be able to keep going without rest, and a day where I need a nap?
Good question. Programmer?
You don't know when you're tired?!
If your usual sleep schedule was disrupted, you can automatically assume you're going to need a nap and plan accordingly. Otherwise, you can rely on the thinker's moments of reflection: if you see that you've been drifting off of the plan, don't even bother to write up a revision. Just go to sleep, wake up an hour later and figure out what you're doing then. You are not expected to keep going if you're falling asleep.
I would actually emphasize that you're not just not expected to keep going, you're actively discouraged from continuing if you're tired.
That doesn't make sense. If he's being paid for his work, he shouldn't take a nap in the middle. Consistency in rules is important.
Fine, maybe you can take a nap unless there's money involved.
I'd rather say that naps are always okay at home, but out of the house you need to keep yourself awake.
If you're tired, sleep! This isn't rocket science!
Worker, are you going to be okay?
Good. The last rule I'd like to propose is that the thinker, gamer and explorer are all off-limits when there's any sense of urgency in the month.
I don't like this rule.
It applies to me as well as you. I just see that we don't thrive under pressure.
What if I have a deadline for Angles & Circles? I can only get the addict to work for me once every three days!
The worker can do the work.
It's not a good idea to keep rushing all the time. You need a break now and then.
So we can give you the day!
Music can be pretty intense.
No moreso than the gamer.
But more than me.
Sorry, you're outvoted. It's a bad rule.
Can you reword it, then?
I have no idea what you're trying to accomplish with it, so I can't accept that challenge.
Fine. I just thought I'd put it out there.
I'll give the post over to the rest of you now. Any problems during the month, other than what we've gone over?
Yeah, the programmer had no right to ignore our personalities when scoring.
What, you should be given a free pass whenever you want it?
He's just doing his job. I don't see what this argument is about.
Enough of this! Your personalities are tied to the rules. If you're not happy with the rules, now's the time to suggest changes. If you don't want to change them, you'll follow the rules as they stand.
I see absolutely no reason why I should need to exercise.
You're sitting down all day, playing piano. You need to exercise or the next personality gets an atrophied body to work with. Any other stupid questions?
You'll deal with the rules, all of you.
Our life is getting stale. Where's the excitement and spontaneity?
Excitement and spontaneity don't get you anywhere.
But they do inspire and reinvigorate.
If you want to do things that are different, no one's stopping you.
No, it's a good point, and I think we should make a rule about it. The whole point of this game is to avoid falling into repressive patterns of behavior. If we're falling into a routine, the whole system is pointless. Explorer, do you have any ideas?
Sure, you're the one who raised the issue.
I don't know. But I'm thinking that the general behavior section of The Rules is going to get awfully crowded soon.
We can hide the ones which aren't active. They're not huge edits, anyway.
Okay, do that. No, but wait. If you click on the links before this, they'll reappear. So what good is that doing? Better we should put all the rules for one section at once.
But we've already put all of them.
Fine, for now let's just put the rule without a link. I'll have to figure out how to clean it up later. Maybe I can use the sidebar. I don't know if there's enough room there under the SVGs.
But we haven't decided anything yet!
How about this: every week, something unexpected... no, that's too hard to define.
I've got an idea. This is the explorer's idea. So every time the explorer gets a day, he schedules strange days for the rest of us.
I could do that.
Excellent, it's settled.
Yes. How much longer is this break in the game going to be, exactly?
Let's wait and see if anyone else has anything to say.
I think everyone needs to be a lot better. I'm getting embarrassed by the lack of things to talk about.
Yes, well, we're not going to be writing any rules about that. That's broader strategy.
Whatever it is, just do it. Be better.
Yes. We can all take that advice. Thank you.
Okay! If there's nothing else, we'll move on.
We've spent months building up these characters, getting comfortable with the rules, etc. But we've gotten complacent, and even though we're each of us very far from where we're supposed to be we use the fact that it'll be someone else tomorrow to not stick to the script and not care. So let's forget everything we've learned, and start back from square one. We'll cut back on the number of characters this month, and no one goes anywhere until they show that they can repeat their performance consistently. For this month, we're going to cancel the rule that you can't keep going if you get under 6/10. If you absolutely can't proceed without one of the other characters' input, ask for them and you'll get one day off. But then it's back to you, and you'll have to get it right. Does everyone understand what we're going to be doing?
I don't like the idea of everyone being on their own. I can handle that, but sometimes other personalities need me. And you're saying that I can't go to help them unless they specifically ask for me.
That is what I'm saying.
Honestly, that scares me.
Good. That shows that you need this. Learn to exist on your own, without expecting anyone else to take over. Once it feels like you could keep being yourself forever, that's when the next personality steps in.
We're going to start with the addict and the worker.
The addict doesn't need the strengthening, does he?
No, but I'd like him to spend a day playing Zelda. We haven't been active enough in the community playthrough, and there's an opportunity there that's lessening each day we wait. As soon as he finishes with Zelda, you get your chance to show us what you can do. And then you'll keep going until we see that you're stable.
That sounds like fun.
Then I'll join, because I'm behind on the blogging. So far my only successes have been in telling the rest of you what to do.
I'd object if it weren't true.
I'm looking forward to using my new ruleset to figure out who I am and what I can do when I'm on my own. After me, the explorer.
I'm hoping you'll work on Angles & Circles, but of course you're free to do whatever you want. About the scheduling rule: you don't need to follow it this month.
But I want to.
Well, yes, but we can't keep up with all your requests because you might have a lot of days.
Don't worry about that. I'll get it right quickly.
We'll see how it goes. After the explorer, if there's still time in the month we'll do the gamer and then the programmer and finally the musican.
There's no way we can do all this in one month.
This will likely continue into August and even September. We need for every single character to have a chance to shine.
What about me? You didn't mention me.
You can't really be scheduled, since you rely on other people. If an opportunity should arise, you'll have the day. By the way, everyone - if days need to be put in which don't fit the plan, it's recommended that you use the addict or the worker.
So that's why the worker is going first.
Yes. But also, there are some work days coming up. That could be the addict, but I think it's healthier if it's the worker.
We'll see how much we can get done this month, and then we'll continue where we left off the next month. So the next self-meeting will be shorter than usual.
Or it could be the same length, if something's going horribly wrong. But I think we'll be fine.
Past this prolonged exercise, the focus of the group will be 80% on the musicians' more marketable projects, Angles and Circles and Gamer Mom. Beyond those three things we'll just be worrying about maintaining sanity and energy.
That's what I meant by "energy".
There's going to be a new D&D game starting while the other one is on break, and we'll probably be meeting more often.
We'll figure out how to deal with that when we come to it.
And what about Dungeon Master?
Good question. We can have some addict and worker days this month, and I'll work on it myself. I guess we can add that in to the category of things we'll be focusing on. I think four main subjects of focus is plenty.
Will that keep everyone involved? The musician, the explorer with Angles and Circles, I have Gamer Mom, the thinker with... hm, what will you be doing?
This doesn't have to work like that. We're not always going to be involved equally in a month. Sometimes one personality is needed more, and sometimes he's needed less. For instance, the person won't have much to do while we're heavily working on the creative things, but once we're done or farther into it, there may be a lot more socializing as a result of the work or of the resulting self-confidence. Everyone will have their day, and the exercise now is to make sure that when that happens we know exactly how to deal with it, almost like an instinct.
I'd like more games.
Now you show up? Last page would have been the time for comments like that. We're ending the meeting now.
I think we're done here. See you all next month.
"I don't know how this turned into this, but it's my fault. And everyone hates me. One day as an Avenger and I fail completely. Why am I even here? These people hate me. They look at me and they see Skrull and loser and Skrull loser ... I hate that this is the sum of all the parts of my life. Well, if this is how I gotta go, I'm taking as many of them with me as I can!"Ouch, that's bad narration. So over-written. Now I remember why it was that I edited that page out of my copy of the issue, and why I didn't collect Bendis's seven-issue Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. Skrull-hunting angst-fest. That series was more of the same, only more so. And every single time she's on panel since she got back three years ago, there's some variation on "I'm really not good enough, I don't understand why you keep treating me like your friend.". She's been angry and reckless, running off on a bunch of suicide missions that the Avengers need to bail her out from.
"I don't know what it is about her... she's so angry all the time, but it's so damn cute. Don't tell her I said that, it'll just make her angry.Also adorable was the moment where Hawkeye, upon being saved by Ms. Marvel, playfully says "I love you.", and Jessica looks like she's trying to escape off the side of the page. That Bachalo is a clever one.
Okay, let's call this meeting to order. The first order of business
Hey, who elected you?
Well, I can't wait around for the rest of you to get your act together. We're just wasting time.
Cool it. We're not gonna get anywhere with an attitude like that.
This is silly. Let's get started already.
You're not in charge here.
Actually, the question of who runs the meeting is of vital importance. The whole nature of the discussion will be dictated by the faux-social hierarchies we decide here, and this will apply in the future
Does anyone object to the person running the meeting?
Why the person?
Because he'll be unbiased. I doubt he cares one way or the other about anything that happened this month.
The person would be interesting.
You're wrong about the person's interest. The people most creative will give the person more topics to socialize about with other people.
That'll be good for me.
Actually, that could make for a fitting perspective, given the intentions for this past month.
Great. Any objections? No?
I want to make it clear, though, that this agreement only extends to this particular meeting. We will need to speak about more permanent faux-social hierarchies soon.
Fine. Whatever. I'd just like to start this as soon as humanly possible, because it's 1:43 AM on June 2nd and ideally this should already have been written by the end of May 31st. I don't want to drag this on any longer.
Incidentally, no one's officially been in control since the beginning of the month. This is a problem.
I'm not certain what we can do about that.
Honestly, this is utter chaos! Is the person here?
I'm here. Hi.
Would you mind starting this meeting already? It's obvious no one's going to let me do it, and I can't take one more minute of this time-wasting.
Sure. Is everyone here?
I think our names ought to be capitalized. That should be the first thing on the agenda.
The thinker's here, and I heard the musician and the gamer earlier. What about the explorer?
Okay. The addict?
Has anyone seen the addict?
That's no good. This meeting can't start until we have all eight of us. If even one of us isn't present, this isn't a fair system.
For God's sake.
Let's just start. If the addict needs to say something, he should be here.
And what if we have something to say to him? What if we're not happy with his performance?
We're going to start. Please be quiet for a moment.
Excuse me, but we aren't displaying properly here. This should only take a minute to learn to fix.
Okay, it's displaying now. But it's not exactly pretty. I may need the explorer's help later to get it set up right.
Okay. Thank you. Worker, you can stop glaring now. In fact, stop trying to rush us along. We have absolutely nothing planned until Friday, when Dena will be home and I'm hoping to watch The Voice with her. It's 2:14 now, and it looks like we'd be best off continuing this meeting into tomorrow. The alternative is to keep pushing on until it's way too late, and we'll all be too tired to have a decent conversation. Would you prefer that?
I wonder which of us could stay in character most effectively while tired. That would be useful information.
We should start with a summary of the month's goals.
Okay. Let's see... I'll just copy and paste what I said.
Each day, I'm going to pick a different character. At the end of the month, when I look back at who I've been overall, I want to see a cohesive character who is defined first and foremost by his creativity. The nature of that creativity should be very diverse. I want to get the impression of a person so multifaceted and strange that one never knows what he will do next. This is not my natural state -I am a person prone to easy and repetitive patterns of behavior.- so the performance will likely require the careful and respectful collaboration of all eight of my personalities.
The post should be a fixed width, to give a sense of us all shoved in here together. And there shouldn't be the usual margins.
This isn't the time. You can fix it up tomorrow, before we publish.
Okay. And I haven't made up my mind yet whether there should be spaces between us. I need to play around with it a bit to find out.
It seems to me that there are four components to the plan.
I'm going to make the blockquote bigger.
I don't like how the blockquote just sort of sits there. It definitely needs to be a different color, something that stands out but doesn't look too out of place here. Do you think it could be a shade of pink?
You fascinate me. Tell me, what is it about this post that so engages you while bigger projects like Angles & Circles don't seem so urgent? Is it just the quantity of work?
I don't know. I do love Angles & Circles. So what do you think, could pink work? I'll need to test it out.
Not now you won't.
Thanks for stepping in, I might have had to kill him otherwise.
What is that supposed to mean?!
Would you please all stop attacking each other?
We can start from the fourth point -respect between characters- by noting that there's not much of it.
Wrong. We are all sitting here, putting our plans on hold for a few hours, all for the sake of a dream of something halfway between multiple personalities and a single definitive self. We're engaging each other's ideas. Accepting each other's existence. This is respect. Now, working like a well-oiled machine, that's what you actually want but that comes with time. It starts with respect, and we've got that in spades.
No, I don't see it. The exact phrase was "respectful collaboration", and the context was the two pieces of music in "The Rules".
I know that.
I'm sure you do. The idea is that we shouldn't just be thinking about ourselves, we should care about each other. I think about everyone, as does the programmer and the worker.
Excuse me. How does you taking forty hours (plus sleeping) on conversations about comics, after you specifically and personally said that that time would be assigned to me, the musician and someone else... how does that count as "thinking of everyone"? That is thinking of you. You stole that time from us.
You're right. I shouldn't have taken so long, especially right after I had the addict doing what I wanted. But what I said was a suggestion. I understood that things could change, and we'd already gone off script from the day that was supposed to be the explorer's.
Yeah, what was that about? I didn't get enough days this month!
It was urgent that I get in there before any more bad days happened. The worker seemed totally lost, so I wrote the "sd" script to give quick guidelines and point people in the right direction.
There, you see? Respect.
You lost a day yourself!
Does it sting that I only got one day this whole month? Yeah, it stings. But I knew that when I had a day, I got a day. I was able to just run with what I was doing and no one said to me "My turn now, get off the stage.". So you want a few extra days? What do I know, maybe you need it. And if I have some prolonged musical inspiration, you guys can wait a while until I'm done. Respect.
I have two things to say. First off, I didn't properly get even a single day this month, because the day that was supposed to be mine kept getting interrupted by you idiots. So respect? Not so obvious that it's here.
Secondly, it's 3:38 AM and I am falling on my face. Tomorrow.
It is 3:23 PM on June 2nd and still we haven't finished this post and gotten back to life. This is absolutely unacceptable.
I agree. The trouble is, the next month hasn't really started yet and the last month is over already. So if someone's running a day by the Rules, where does the score go?
Does it matter? There needs to be a day in progress.
Tell me, what were you doing earlier today?
There is no "today" because we're not keeping time!
You were reading comics, that's what you were doing! I saw you! How you can be entertained by such passive activities, I have no idea.
Well, what am I supposed to be doing? There's no schedule, no plan, no discipline... Where is the person, anyway?
Just a second.
Sorry, what were you asking?
What were you doing just now?
E-mails. There's a big battle going on, with a giant worm about to devour a nearby building.
Dungeons and Dragons.
It's better than comics!
Ah good, we're here. So yesterday we were discussing the concept of respect between characters, and what that entails.
What do you guys think of how the post looks?
Pretty darn good.
Yeah. I left out the borders, so that the person would just sort of be part of the background.
Speaking of which, can I take back my vote for the person to run the meeting? He's driving it into the ground.
I volunteer to take over.
Back to "Yardena"
Just a second, someone wrote another e-mail.
I don't believe this!
Hee hee. She said I'm cool.
Yeah, the person can't be in charge. Terrible idea. Neither can the thinker,
because he's just going to keep talking forever without taking any of us into account. We can't have a meeting where no one is willing to listen to anyone else.
No, you're not. You deal with flesh-and-blood people, that's all you know. Fictional characters are just imitation-people, as far as you're concerned. The first thing we need is a schedule for the meeting. That's the worker's department. We need to give him points to include. I'd like to specifically focus on creating rules to maintain momentum throughout the month. Anyone else?
First off, I'd like to get back to the May 2011 plan, and assess whether or not we've achieved anything. Secondly, and maybe this should even be first, I set more specific goals for everyone at the start of the month and no one seems to have really followed them. We've also drifted off the general structure of the month, in which the worker and addict were supposed to be a lot more prominent. The addict ended up only being used for the blog
Keep your talking points for when we're all thinking about them. Does anyone else have anything to suggest?
Yeah. Each one of us needs to quickly say what they've done this month, one after the other. I don't know what that's gonna sound like, but that's the point of all of this.
We need to get out of this house. Immediately.
Yesterday I wanted to play around with accents, and I needed to be careful not to be too loud because someone might hear me.
I'd like to sing.
I can't dance, I can't talk out loud, I can't play music while I'm doing other things...
Sure you can.
A building dictates how it's used. And I have been in this one building for too many years now.
Just now, this lady was saying that I'm cool for doing lots of different things, and I was thinking: "Me? I live in my parents' house, I don't have a job, I spend more time talking to myself
I spend more time talking to myself
You mean selves.
It's not a good situation. How is it that Dena's already moved out, and I'm still here?
Whoa, whoa. Ageist!
I don't see how we can get out.
We just need to do it. There's too much thinking around here.
Okay, well, we can talk about this when we're planning for next month. Are there any other points to raise?
Why didn't I get a day?
Because we didn't need you.
And what about what I need?
You have Shabbat. Every single Shabbat, a seventh of our entire life.
Okay, I don't think we can squeeze anything else into this meeting. If there's anything else, it'll have to be next month. Now, worker, I know you want to get out of here. That makes sense. So let's plan out the rest of the post, and make it as few sections as possible while working in everything everyone wants.
Okay. I'd like to be out of here by 7:00, so how much time does that leave for each section...?
In the interest of expediency, I'll do it myself. First we'll each summarize the month. Then we discuss what we've said, and why some characters get more days than others. That's the first section. Then in the second section we'll figure out how that fits in with the general and specific plans we had for May. The third section is about what we can do in the future to fix the problems. And the fourth section plans June, leading straight into the next performance reviews. Does anyone have any problem with this plan?
There should be a menu, with links to each of the sections.
That's a very good idea. It should only take a couple of minutes.
No! No. Let's just get started.
Are you sure? I'd really like to do this.
We've wasted enough time. It can be a linear post, no one cares.
I notice the gamer hasn't said much.
Nothing much to say.
Here's how this works. You say what you've done, and then you give up the mike. I want a real stream of back-and-forth, back-and-forth, rapid-fire cutting. Okay, I'll go first.
Hey, don't underestimate the value of silence for setting a mood!
This is so cool.
I improvised a bunch of Zelda variations.
I drew in the top of Angles & Circles!
I only got one day, for playing D&D and going out with the family, and the worker watched TV because he thought I wasn't "busy" enough or something. Who gives him the right?
Sh, keep it moving, keep it moving.
I did what everyone else wanted.
I wrote a chapter and a half of a book, and played a lot of Fluidity, which is
Keep it movin'.
I programmed sd, then I improved sd, then I did the whole new PR system.
Yeah. That was good work.
No commentary yet!
Well, I don't think I can properly review everything that happened this month under these restrictions.
No! You've got this, keep going.
What is the point of this exercise?
There's a beat. You gotta go with the beat, feel the beat... thinker - go.
I co-wrote a very short screenplay, and, um, I invented a good character for Dungeons & Dragons, and I wrote a review of Secret Avengers but the programmer seems to think it's not ready to go up yet.
It's not. But it'll be awesome. Trust me, I'm doing it justice.
It shouldn't be too difficult. It'll mostly be the same code as Living in Hyrule.
The addict. The addict should be here, where's the addict?
So what was the point of this whole bit?
Be quiet for just a second. I'm rereading the session. I need to see how it sounds.
Yeah. Awesome. Look at this. You don't know what the next line is gonna be! Is it going to be a gamist, or an awesome musician, is it gonna follow the plan or take a weird left turn... if we're one person, we're one person who can do anything, and knows it, and loves it.
O-kay. Are you just going to go praising yourself here? Because it's kind of painful to watch, and you could have done that without putting us through that tedious silliness. Can we just review the scores and move on?
You're a buzzkill. And I love you anyway.
The average score for the month is 6.75/10, just barely too low to level up. I got five days, with an average of 5/10.
Wow. That's pretty bad.
Yeah. I'll do better.
You've said this before.
Well, this time I mean it.
You've meant it before.
What do you want from me?
Excuse me, but this really is very simple. You did badly because you were too vague. Plan with more specificity, and you'll be fine.
Specificity. I'll do my best. (Specificity.)
I got three days, with an average of 8.33/10.
Very respectable. I had four days, and my average score was 7.75/10.
I didn't get a day.
But that day you supposedly didn't get was a big zero. Passivity builds on itself, this is a problem you're going to have to deal with. It's no one's fault but your own if you can't keep control of a day. I got a 5 and a 9, for an average of exactly 7.
Average score: 7.5/10
And the addict got an average of 8/10, for following up on all our blog projects. That was much appreciated. In fact, I think we should all give as many of our days as we can to the addict. He's reliable, he doesn't get distracted, he's capable of anything.
Out of the question. He'll burn himself out. It also is the equivalent of wandering around in a fog, since the addict is only ever capable of thinking of one thing at a time.
How many simultaneous "things" do you think are needed for most activities?
No. It's out of the question to rely on the addict like that.
I had a problem I couldn't deal with.
The bottom of Angles & Circles. I gave it to the worker, and he kept trying it over and over but it didn't go anywhere. And now I'm scared to go back to it.
I'll figure it out.
Really? That's not the sort of thing you usually think about.
I promise you, by the end of my next day, you'll have a way forward.
So that's why you weren't working on it. Interesting. In the future, you should definitely hand things like this over to me.
I'll keep that in mind.
By the way, I would like to point out the obvious and say that the programmer has won the month. 8.33? Kudos.
I just dealt with the problems in front of me.
That's a good attitude. I wish others here had acted like that, just doing what needed to be done instead of acting like children. The thinker made reasonable demands
Oh, are we on that already? New section.
You were talking about the thinker's plan.
Really? I had no idea.
It's just good form to repeat that at the beginning of a page.
I was supposed to keep all of your projects going. I did that, to the best of my ability, but it got a lot harder when your projects all mysteriously dried up. The explorer should have been working on A&C, the programmer should have been programming a rename function, the thinker should have written the second Dungeon Master script by now, and the musician should have worked on something a little bit more substantial than an improvisaton! Oh, and the addict was not meant for the blog. He was meant for everyone! This has just been a complete failure of a month.
What happened this month was a progression from a scattershot approach (which is what my plan was calling for) to a more unified "team" approach that revolved around the blog. Until very recently, there was no place on the blog for you, or for the gamer, or for the programmer, or even the explorer once you get down to it. It was one stream of thought: mine.
I had the performance reviews.
Yes, given a lesser status and maintaining the dualistic "1.0 vs. 2.0" conflict. The unified person, comfortable with all his many aspects, was not welcome in his abstract home until just now. Can you imagine this post right now being written in February? Unthinkable. It's a regression
It is a regression.
It's not a regression, I meant it would have seemed like one. The problem with the old blog wasn't that it sense of self was fractured, it's that those pieces kept arguing with each other and insisting that there's only one "right" way to think. Here we are, having a frank discussion about where we're going, and each of us has different ideas but we're willing to listen to each other. So yeah it's actually the second day of June already, and during May we didn't have the kind of understanding that would have the explorer pass his things to me, and the gamer helping others, and all of us willing to end our days and "pass the mike", as musician put it. (Those names really should be capitalized. Can we take a vote on it?) But we were going for a character who was creative but also cohesive, and that took a month just to put into position. It's the blog that's the glue. The blog needed to be set up just right, so that every single one of us will have a place here. That's what's going to make this version of life different.
Does anyone have anything to add to that?
It was well said.
I still want to know why I only got one day.
You only got one day because you weren't needed. The worker was carrying everyone's projects. So he got five days. I was trying to set a course for all of us, so I got four days. The programmer was helping with the blog. The gamer was contributing to the blog as well. You were giving us nothing. If you want us to stop treating you like you're wasting our time, stop ignoring us.
You're going to need me.
I'm sure that's true. So I hope for all our sakes that you learn to fit in somehow. We're people too. You need to accept that.
So, what, you want me to put aside what real people want from me because it clashes with what you want?
Yes. That is exactly what we want.
I don't care. You're right, we're going to need you to deal with the outside world.
Have we come to any sort of consensus about May?
Let's move on. It bothers me that we haven't been exercising.
Well, that's fixed simply enough. A penalty for not exercising?
Does anyone object to a penalty for not exercising before the day?
Sometimes it's not an option.
That's rare, and I'm talking about a penalty of one point. Hardly a day-killer.
That would do it.
Excellent. I'm also going to apply this to general hygiene and not staying awake past 3:00 AM. Objections?
I can live with that.
I'm editing the Rules post to fit.
There should be a link between here and there, but I want this post to end already and it has been going for soooo long.
You know, this has taken a lot longer than I thought it would. We've spent enough hours on this; the rest will have to wait for next month. Also, I'm anxious to take the new PR system for a drive already.
No! We still haven't decided where we're going from here!
Fine. Any quick thoughts?
You can say whatever you want, but say it in the plans for the month. We're going to end the meeting here.
Please, if you have comments for each other, pass them back and forth during the month. We can't wait for the meeting to do everything. Also, come to the next meeting prepared. We should schedule it for the last day of June, so we don't run into this time-wasting again. And we should all come prepared, so that we have a decent shot at actually getting through everything. And another thing I've decided during all this: attendance is not mandatory. If you've got nothing to add to the conversation, don't wast our time. Okay, let's publish the post now.
I am playing Mory Buckman, an experimental blogger in the early 21st century. The goal of the game is to get points.
Opening statement: Short and vague. Anything beginning with "I wonder..." will do, or "Remember when...". Any question or random thought offered is going to be followed up on somehow, because the explorer tends to fixate on small ideas.
Closing statement: Long and appreciative of whatever I've experienced. If I don't have anything to say, I've been living the whole day wrong. The statement will conclude with an idea for a day that someone else should follow. If the average score for the month is equal to or above 7/10, the statement may conclude with an idea for a day that someone else should follow.
Edited on July 3rd 2011
Opening statement: A full schedule for the day, down to the minute. The activities are ordered according to priority, with time-wasters coming last. The statement ends with the sentence: "I'm not good enough, but today will be perfect." If the average score for the month is equal to or above 7/10, the first half of that sentence will be left out.
Closing statement: A list of accomplishments from the day. Also, I need to specify and justify each and every deviation from the schedule.
Opening statement: A brief list of intended activities. The more specific the goals, the better. They do not necessarily have to be games, and some of them may be in the same game. A strong plan will contain at least three different Forms. The list may not include any plans with clear practical value.
Closing statement: A critique of the day's most notable experiences.
Opening statement: Anything at all. Any rambling thought or feeling that happens to pop into my head, and it might have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the day.
Closing statement: Try to verbalize some of the feelings, structures, ideas, etc. that I've encountered in music during the day.
Opening statement: A specific and nontrivial challenge is stated, along with an initial plan of approach. The challenge will be overcome, but not necessarily by this method.
Closing statement: An overview of the solution, if one has been found, or a description of the problem as it stands.
Edited on July 3rd, 2011
Opening statement: A brief summary of the past few days, as they relate to my life today. The purpose is not to commit to any actions, but simply to put the day in an interesting context that I can make sense of later.
Closing statement: What ideas have come to me, and how these ideas play off the backdrop presented in the opening statement. The closing statement may include plans and messages for other characters.
Edited on July 1st, 2011
Opening and closing statements: Love letters to whatever pursuit I've chosen to be addicted to.
Opening and closing statements: Talk about the other people who are on my mind.
Edited on July 1st, 2011
Edited on July 1st, 2011If I continue a day after an interruption of over 5 hours, I should treat the next activity as a "first activity" to get back into the right mindset.
Back to performance reviews
Edited on July 1st, 2011
Edited on August 31st, 2011At each multiple of 24 hours after the last scoring period, assuming that at least six hours have passed in the day, the score for the day must immediately be estimated. (A precise calculation may not be possible before the closing statement and performance review.) If it is estimated that the score for the day (were it concluded immediately) would be 7/10 or higher, then the day may continue. Otherwise, the day must conclude immediately, and the formal review will take place. This rule does not apply if the average score for the month is equal to or above 7/10.
Edited on October 31st, 2011
Edited on September 28th, 2011If a rule requires that the day be immediately ended, but the day has not yet reached its minimum length of three hours, then a conference will immediately take place. During this conference, the Thinker will decide on a different character (or a different version of the same character) for whom the activities engaged in so far would not be out of character, but who would not (unlike the replaced character) be required (for whatever reason) to end the day yet. After the conference, this character will immediately write a new opening statement, which will overwrite the previous statement, and the new character will take full responsibility for the entire day including the other character's actions. Use of this (rather obscure) rule must be listed in the notes for the day.
|Today marks six years since I began this blog.||But I'm not sure if that's true.||I'm not sure this is the same blog.|
|Its style has changed.||Its location has changed.||Its author has changed.|
|Hours and years for a single page.||A never-ending vertical world||making your browser cry.|
|The posts are interconnected.||You'd only see all the patterns...||You'd only see all the contradictions.|
|I didn't actually expect you.||Feel free to wander.||Find a little corner here you can own.|
|But I can get lost in my own head.||Don't fall in with me.||There is no map.|
|Six years of introspection||have filled in the old cracks.||So now I make new ones.|
|Don't fall in.||Or do.||I'd enjoy the company.|
No fatigue here
With all the tedium that I've come to associate with programming, it's easy to forget that I used to find it very exciting. You come up with some zany idea, analyze it until it fits into logical patterns, and once you've gotten it right you can press a button and it starts moving on its own. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've ever had this experience, exactly. I'm really just remembering what I thought I could do but never had the patience to find out. After all, programming isn't easy. It's all well and good to say "I'm going to make an artificial intelligence program!", or even "I'm going to make a small game!", but it always turns out to be radically more complicated than you'd expect.
I've been thinking about my early programming because that more than anything else is what the puzzle game SpaceChem reminds me of. The game is a work of genius. It creates tiny little rules to learn, and then puts more on top of that, and so on until you think you can deal with any logistical problem you're faced with. And then you discover that that's just been the warmup, and actually each level is going to have many such logistical problems interacting with each other. And once you've mastered that, a whole new layer gets added on top... and through all these jumps in scale, the game never loses sight of the basics. You're doing the same things over and over, but in much bigger contexts.
Ostensibly the game is about separating molecules, and reforming the atoms into other molecules. How this works in practice is very abstract, the general idea being creating paths of commands to follow on 10x8 grids. You have two machines running on the screen simultaneously, and you need to use them to make them into sustainable loops that will do some task over and over without messing up. (As the game progresses more variables get added in as the programs are running that need to be accounted for.)
It's a very technical game, made by a programmer for programmers. And I confess, I mess up around as often as I used to when I was a kid using Visual Basic. But I've got a different attitude now. Often I'll build big machines only to realize at the end that my approach was based entirely on faulty (and overconfident) reasoning. When that happens I delete everything I've done in the level and start over, but that's when the game gets really fun. Suddenly I've got to flip everything I think I know around, and think out of the little box I've gotten comfortable in. When I flick the switch and the machine works, it's a great feeling.
"Event fatigue" is a phrase one often hears in discussions of modern superhero comics. It is a phrase I cannot relate to. I think I understand where the sentiment is coming from, though. What is being referred to are the modern "crossover events", in which many comic books from one publisher (sometimes over a hundred issues!) tie together to form some massive storyline over the course of a few months or a year. This is the shining example of what is possible in a shared universe: the stories that result are more complex than any one writer could have come up with, because ideas bounce back and forth between literally dozens of different writers, affecting hundreds of characters. The editors often say that you don't need to buy all the comics to enjoy the crossover, and there's something to that. There's usually one central miniseries where the broad strokes of the plot can be seen, and the other writers (at least at Marvel) do try to make their subplots work even if that's all you're reading. But you are missing a lot if you don't read it all. Each month I read a majority of Marvel Comics' output, and part of the joy of reading and collecting is the way that the stories all intersect and build up a consistent and cohesive universe. The really good event tie-ins add nuances that make you see the other comics in a new and more interesting light. And often you'll feel like something hasn't been fleshed out enough, but some writer in a different series sees the opportunity and jumps at it. It's the best kind of collaboration. So to say that you can forgo anything you're not already interested in isn't quite right.
I think the reason some people are sick of crossover events is that each issue costs four dollars. I have an advantage, in that I'm getting them all illegally. I can read every single comic without needing two jobs to pay for it all.
It's also a thrill for me because it's a hobby of mine to collect and edit these comics. So a massive crossover gives me more to play with than a bunch of standalone series (an increasingly rare breed of superhero comic). I haven't had a really difficult editing challenge since "Civil War" in 2006, and ever since I've been waiting for something of the same caliber. Marvel's doing a new event called "Fear Itself", which they're claiming wil be even larger in scope than Civil War. (Which will be quite hard considering that Civil War tied into a good 70% of their comics and radically changed the direction of their entire universe for a few years.) I have no idea what it's going to be about, but I can't wait to find out.
I enjoy taking good music, messing around with it on the piano, and seeing what comes out. I've had a lot of fun doing that with the Legend of Zelda music, over the years, and now I've been doing it with Gilbert & Sullivan. Or rather, just Arthur Sullivan. By the time I'm done, the original lyrics are no longer appropriate.
I took a really emotional love song from Ruddigore, "The Battle's Roar Is Over", and turned it to minor and made it into a jazz piece. I played it at the cast party, and even though I was mirroring the original almost note-for-note some people didn't recognize it because the sound of it was so completely different. I've also composed a happy and sweet version of a very sombre and creepy song, and I took a musical theme that Sullivan used for one verse and discarded, and made a full song out of it (No lyrics, but it sounds like it could have lyrics.) I've also got some rough ideas that play with "In Sailing O'er Life's Ocean Wide", and even though it doesn't go anywhere it's fun to play.
I've been wondering if there's anything I could do with things like this. Unlike the Zelda music, there's no copyright on Gilbert & Sullivan. I can do whatever I like with it, without fear of lawyers. (Really, all art and entertainment should be like that. But sadly, it's not.) I'm not just changing the keys and rhythms, I'm also mixing in themes from other songs (when musically appropriate) and having lots of fun with it.
This isn't the first time I've considered plagiarism as a viable medium. In a way, I've always known that that's my musical niche. Even the stuff I do that's original isn't really original. It sounds like lots of things I've heard. And I need to keep struggling to not let the sources be obvious, which has sapped some of the fun out of music for me. (When I was younger, I didn't realize how unoriginal I was and therefore didn't worry about it.) My Zelda variations are good enough, I think, that (if properly orchestrated) they could be in an actual Zelda game. That's not hubris- if you come over and give me the opportunity to play them for you, you'll see what I mean. I know I'm good with variations.
As an experiment I grabbed a non-Ruddigore song: "When I Was A Lad". I only know it because Allan Sherman did a parody of it; I don't actually have any familiarity with G&S beyond Ruddigore. With little effort I turned it into something which sounded sinister. At some point I'll have to listen to all the G&S songs and see what I come up with.