Sep 29 2005

Chapter Heading:

Sitting reading fragments, because I can’t really concentrate on anything. I pick up a couple of Ballard tomes and leaf through them. “Internal emigration, the route laid down by Kafka.” He’s talking about novelists, but I can see that as being the situation for so many people. Stories, fictions, other worlds, even the girl with the celebrity mag on the train. We’re getting the fuck out of here. In a display of agonising banality mag-woman reported her opinions regarding Paris Hilton’s sidekick; she was lost in a world of magnified human icons, with their dieting plans and marketed personalities. Had this woman emigrated too, to a world where all the gloss trash took on some greater reality? A gossip-rag unKafka, trapped in Swansea but living in Celebrity Glam-land?

I’m wondering if my own life has always been about leaving the country without moving. As a kid people remarked on my self-sufficiency: I was quite happy to be left alone, to amuse myself. Not that I was a loner – I was certainly more amiable than I am now. But I don’t think I was ever faced with boredom. But I wonder if my gift for sidestepping boredom has stopped me from achieving some greater arc in life. Reading Svendsen’s book on boredom has given over to some searching thoughts. One thread in the book suggests that our human activities need to be imbued with meaning in order to avoid their being plunged into boredom. Even repetitive tasks, given the right context, can provide meaning. Conversely, many great projects are made in through boredom-torture, and the attempts to dissolve that state through meaningful work. I wonder if my own disquiet in recent times has something to do with my capacity to get lost in minutiae, without ever getting bored enough to reach for the stars. I should at least be looking up, I think. (Can you be immune to meaning? A kind of Death of Affect, looping back to Ballard. Cultural aphasia, a life through perpetual redescription, with no grounding and no truth.)

I find myself getting stuck on a load of age old problems. One of those, which bugs me because I can find so little material that genuinely focuses on the idea, is that of meaning perception, a la Colin Wilson. If I can grant myself the resolution to do so, I’ll work up something about this. I’m not sure how, but the seed is there.

I’ve worked on a mass of small projects in the last few years, but the activities themselves haven’t satisfied me. I’m wondering if I could compose a book entirely of titles, perhaps with occasional marginalia and footnotes, of books and essays that I will never get round to writing.

Here are a few of those:

Keraunopathology, or Post-electrocution Syndrome

“Spam is actually generated by the ghosts of bad salesmen, trapped in the Internet.”

Also: Murder

electric fences/fried air

An Ounce of Redemption and a Ton of Ruin

The Sound of Vast Metal Bending To The Sea

Information a kind of heat / Cultural boiling point.

Weird Skull Control

Melancholic Gritty Magicalism, Offset by Baroque Periods of Surreal Titanism

Zip Zipman: The Ultimate Salesman

Slippery Cognition

The Brain Scans of Dying Luminaries / Alpha Wave Charts

Gas Hammers

half rabbit, half spider

Complex Thunder

The Fear of Voids – Kenophobia

Hmm. Which one needs to be written?

Incidentally, I deleted a comment made on the original boredom post, where a nameless American had stated ‘You are a jackass.’ I should have left it there. I now wonder if he was just pissed off with my idiotic whimsy, or whether he really was a disgruntled Heidegger reader. We may never know.

Sep 27 2005

Warm Welcome

Sep 24 2005

Hat & Gentleman

Via Anonymous Philanthropist, which also features numerous pictures of esoteric robots, for the automata fan.

Sep 24 2005

The World Is Broken

Tom Waits (1999): “This guy from Texas got paid 300 bucks to do me. That was his specialty, anyway, that he does this perfect impersonation of me. And they did this whole thing around “Step Right Up,” and every now and then they would say “Fritos” or whatever. And afterward, the guy felt so bad, he came out as our star witness.”

This morning, as I watched the Constructivist Tesco’s adverts (60 million corpses in the wake of the Communist experiment are no problem for this ad campaign!) I was thinking about how much damage advertising is doing to my soul. Then I found that Tom Waits had been impersonated to advertise Fritos. What. The Fuck.

Sep 24 2005

CCP Interview

Gamasutra: So CCP has a distinct philosophy with regard to game design?

Richardsson: Power to the players. Nothing compares to a player that is enabled to affect the universe. We create tools for players to create content. For example, a massive alliance of corporations – our versions of guilds – with real, legendary players, leading them, controlling large areas of space and building up infrastructure is truly awesome content. We can never create that, but we can create the environment and tools enabling it to happen.

Gamasutra‘s cover feature for the weekend is by me: an interview with CCP’s Nathan Richardsson. Regular reader’s will have noticed him lurking around the comments on Greg Costikyan’s Death To The Games Industry piece.

Sep 23 2005

More Battles In The Stars

“You can actually create whatever kind of robot you like, money permitting. The robot has a design template and so you can choose if it has a head, or what kind of gun you want and where on the robot you want it. You can also increase the armour defence of the body or whatever. It’s quite cool. You’re given a lot of freedom. I plan on spending ever penny I have on making the ultimate robot in my next battle. It’ll mean I’m bankrupt again but at least there’ll be loads of wicked EXPLOSIONS and GRAPHICS. It’s a bit weird having a spaced-out fly around and then suddenly finding yourself in an rts battle. I like it though.”

Check out Ste’s some dude from the Triforce forum’s Space Rangers 2 blog:

Sep 23 2005

The Indignant Folk

“Did anyone else find it ironic that, by having their PR professionals handle the questions instead of the engineers, the interview resulted in terrible PR for Blizzard?”

There’s a lesson here.

Sep 21 2005


So all quiet on the Rossignol front, then. Or so you’d think were you to gauge the activity in this here region of hypertext as representative of my output in the last couple of weeks. The truth is that I’ve been playing a fuck of a lot of games, and sometimes even writing about them. Hey: it’s my job. I love that. Yeah, I can even sign off days of idling clicking at nothing in Eve Online as somehow My Job. Because it is.

Ah yes. Other games played recently include Age of Empires III, Fable: The PC Version, Darwinia: Buy The Fucking Game, F.E.A.R., Hulk, Battlefield 2, Second Life, Bone, and How Long Can I Sit Here Playing Games Before The Food Runs Out. I like that last one best, but I’m rubbish at it and keep going to the shop for snacks cheats.

I’ve also been smirking at Eno’s Oblique Strategies, which Gillen rediscovered the other day.

[19:29] Kieron: Also, I plan to cook
[19:29] Kieron: And click a Oblique Strategy for the road.
[19:29] Jim: heh
[19:30] Kieron: “Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them.”
[19:30] Jim: !
[19:30] Kieron: Right
[19:30] Jim: The Zen of Eno
[19:30] Kieron: This is going to be an imaginative stir fry
[19:30] Kieron: Hope Jane is okay with it

And so on. I am vaguely tempted to make a gamer’s spoof of this, but that’s some kind of double nerd inversion, and I wasn’t sure that the world was ready.

In the moments when I get a cup of tea and sit in the fading sunshine, I’ve been re-reading a selection of JG Ballard’s journalism, which is actually getting on a bit now, so I hope a new reader turns up soon.

Anyway, there’s a piece called Project For A Glossary Of The Twentieth Century, which was a series of possible feature titles on the subject of the human body that Ballard turned into a list of spoof definitions.

One of those:

Personal Computers Perhaps unwisely, the brain is subcontracting many of its core functions, creating branch economies that one day amalgamate and mount a management buy-out.”


I’ve also come up with some incredible feature ideas for PC Gamer UK. That magazine continues to shine. Watch That Space.

Sep 19 2005

Scuffed Round The Bass Clef

Amazon’s categories for music are “Popular Music” “Classical Music” and “Used Music”.

I bought some of the used stuff.

Sep 16 2005

But What Is A Revolution, Really?

Spacewar, 1962.

Via Zang