Real Talk 24/09/18: Coldblooded

I don’t take enough pictures of myself, so yes, the above photo is from the same night I went to see Les Miserables. No, that’s not an alien spacecraft in the background, just a local museum, because Mexico City is cool like that.

Tides of Vengeance

If you don’t play World of Warcraft, go ahead and skip this section. It’s just going to be me ranting about a thing I love.

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for over a decade, and I’ve never had even close to as much fun as I have since the release of the recent expansion, Battle for Azeroth. Actually, it started before the expansion. Ever since the prepatch, I’ve been riding a wave of euphoria I was sure couldn’t last.

As amazing as the expansion has been so far, the new content patch they just announced, Tides of Vengeance, looks even better. They’re expanding the new systems I’m already loving like island expeditions and warfronts, and taking the story in directions I’m really excited about.

I guess there’s not much of a takeaway here other than I needed to vent my excitement. In any case, I consider video games art, and as an aspiring artist I find it extremely inspiring to consume art I love so much.

Which brings me to a counter intuitive thought. A lot of Warcraft players feel the opposite way about the game as I do right now. That’s nothing new. As a general rule, gamers don’t like things and like to complain about them. This isn’t me bashing you if you don’t like Warcraft, though. Instead, I have a recommendation.

Quit.

Yes, I’m more in love with this game than ever, and I don’t think it has ever been better. If you don’t feel the same, I’m sure your reasons are legitimate. You have every right to feel that way and to complain about it, but I believe it would be more productive for everyone involved for you to find a different work of art that you enjoy more.

We’re in an era now in which anyone with Wi-Fi has access to an embarrassment of riches when it comes to entertainment options. Unless you’re pathologically impossible to please, it’s basically guaranteed there’s something out there that you would love as much as I love Warcraft.

Whether it’s Warcraft or Star Wars or Game of Thrones or Rick and Morty, people seem to have a difficult time letting go of things they once loved even if they’ve come to hate them. Instead of finding something else that thrills and inspires them, they embark on a crusade to convince the creator of the art to change the art into something they love again. This seems unlikely to succeed, and if it did, would probably ruin the art for all the people who currently love it.

The thing that makes your soul sing is already out there. You don’t have to force something else to become it.

Downsizing the Tavern

When Alaric and I launched the Crossroads podcast, we were aiming for each episode to be about an hour. Being completely new to hosting a podcast, we underestimated our ability to come up with things to say and decided to make it easy on ourselves by coming up with a handful of topics. That way we only had to fill about ten minutes per topic. Instead, we had to force ourselves to stop talking after spending a full hour or more on each segment, resulting in a six hour podcast every week.

I still think it’s awesome we’re able to create that much content, but it’s hard to keep it up with out current schedules. The reality is, we spend at least as much time preparing for and putting out each episode as we do recording it, so we’ve each been putting over ten hours a week into something with no monetary reward. Not that the point is to make money, but we’re both more or less starving artists who should probably be focusing a little more on how we’re going to pay for groceries and clothing at this stage of our lives.

Going forward, at least for the foreseeable future, we’re scaling the show back to what we feel are the best segments. We’ll still kick each show off with our unconventional perspectives on current events. Then we’ll skip right to what is now the very end of the show, where we discuss whatever weird stuff is on our minds. This could be anything, but given who we are, will probably involve a lot of science, philosophy, and generally bizarre trains of thought.

While we’re putting the self-improvement, book club, and entertainment sections on hold for now, those are all still things I’m deeply passionate about. Leaving them off the show for now opens up the opportunity for me to talk about them more here on the blog. Speaking of this blog, I know I’ve been really inconsistent with my posts lately. Downsizing the podcast means I’ll have about six extra hours free a week, which should go a long way towards keeping this blog on track. So if you like the blog and didn’t listen to the podcast anyway, I guess this is just good news all around.

The Darkest Season

As of the 21st it’s officially autumn. I love the fall, for reasons that probably make me sound like a serial killer. Most people are celebrating the advent of pumpkin spice lattes and layered clothing. I’m celebrating the season of horror movies and grim weather.

I know I’m not the only one. There’s a whole goth subculture that starts celebrating Hallowe’en three months early. I’m about the farthest thing from a goth, though. In fact, I have about the happiest life I could ask for. I think that’s why I love horror, tragedy, and generally dark and sad stuff. With an abundance of happiness and triumph in my own life, I don’t need any of that in my fiction.

What’s strange is I would feel like I’m “missing” the dark and sad stuff from my life. Not that I wish bad stuff would happen to me–not at all. But for some reason, I crave entertainment that depicts the negative stuff that I’m not getting in real life.

Does anybody else get that? I’m genuinely curious. I know a lot of sad people who consume a lot of sad music and a lot of happy people who watch nothing but uplifting movies. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around that. The rare times when I do feel sad or uncertain, the last thing I want is to subject myself to entertainment that makes me feel more of that–in fact that’s the one time I crave happy feel-good stuff.

Maybe there’s two kinds of people when it comes to emotional entertainment. Like coldblooded and warmblooded animals. I’m coldblooded emotionally, which again makes me sound like a serial killer, but what I mean is that my emotional state reflects external stimulus. Since my mood is usually up, I seek to regulate it with entertainment that brings me down a bit. Other people are emotionally warmblooded. Their happiness or sadness is self-regulating. They’ll stay sad when exposed to happy stimulus or happy when exposed to sad stimulus. Just like a mammal in a cold environment has to burn resources to keep their internal temperature up, however, these people are drained by the act of regulating their emotions. A sad person is capable of maintaining their sadness in a happy environment, but feel more comfortable in a sad environment where they don’t have to burn emotional calories to maintain homeostasis.

Of course that doesn’t explain why my emotions can be brought down in a sad environment but naturally regulate back up to happiness afterward. This is a terrible theory.

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