Tags: meme

Drop bears

15 Things

List the 15 items you would put in a time capsule to illustrate who you are right now to your future children.

1. A dictionary. (This year's edition).
2. A thesaurus. (Ditto).
3. A netbook.
4. Paper.
5. A fistful of biros.
6. A 20-sided dice.
7. A copy of SWING.
8. A bottle of Mountain Dew or can of Relentless.
9. A jar of Pataks.
10. A Playstation 3.
11. A picture of me and Donna curled up on the sofa playing games.
12. Train tickets to Reading and London.
13. A political dictionary.
14. A dartboard with David Cameron's face on it, plus a crossbow. A siege crossbow.
15. A figurine of a cat.

Are friends the new family, or not?

Yes and no.

I'm certainly closer to my friends than I am to some of my family and my family is relatively small and relatively scattered compared to a lot of families. I only really feel close to my parents. By and large my friends have been there for me over the years though and I'm closer to them, can tell them things, do things with them, understand them and be understood by them more than most of my family.

The difference lies in something more primal I think. It's very, very, very hard to abandon family, harder than friends - no matter how close you are. Even if you fall out there's some sort of bond or societal expectation that family HAS to look out for each other.

So, I wouldn't say the two are equivalent, but close and probably closer with every passing generation as family loses its societal legitimacy - up to a point - and the people you choose to associate and share with take more and more primacy.

Looking back... looking forward

Where did you think you'd be at this point in your life? Where did you hope you'd be?

Married (check) with one or two kids (no) and working in either comics or gaming (kind of check) or an author (not really, yet).

Life never really goes according to plan, I need to find a way to turn what I have accomplished into something more. I've had the opportunities now and then but they've all faltered at one point or another and the world has changed so much just in my lifetime. I was born into a generation that's used to change as a way of life I think, due to the acceleration and rapidity of those changes, but it does tend to mean that there's nothing 'solid' under your feet, nothing you can rely on. That makes forward planning a bit tricky.

I hoped I could make an actual living doing what I love, rather than scraping by. I wouldn't change a thing, but it would be nice for this all to be a more viable economic model of sustaining myself.

Otherwise, by and large, I'm where I wanted to be, doing what I wanted to do.

Go me.

What's more important to you, ethics or value? Fair trade or cheap?

Tricky one.

Ethics are important but there's also pragmatism to consider. Being ethical is a luxury that you have to be able to afford because any time ethics come into it the price tends to go up whether it's freerange chickens or fairtrade chocolate.

We try to buy local, ethically where we can but staples tend to be bought on a pragmatic basis (price) while luxuries, when we're splashing out anyway, we tend to go for the ethical side more.

It's a sad fact, and something that Hugh Fernley Whittingstall et al still can't seem to get their heads around, that you can't always afford to be ethical.

That's at a personal level. At a geopolitical level I expect better of our governments and the double-standards being shown towards the Middle East revolts (and arms deals) is a case in point. When people talk about an 'ethical foreign policy' I expect one. If practicalities get in the way, be bloody honest about it as I am with where I get chicken.
Global Frequency

Will humanity ever be united?

I would like to think so. There's more that unites us than divides us and the increasingly ubiquitous nature of telecommunications binds us together more, even if travel is becoming expensive again. Of course, that greater communication also means clashes. It's like Douglas Adams' Babel Fish 'Caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation' - OK, well not quite, that accolade goes to religion, but the point is that with greater communication people get to hear about each other and memes clash.

Twenty, even ten or perhaps even five years ago, a religious nut setting fire to a Koran in Florida would not even be heard about by a religious nut in a Muslim state who then feels he has to up the ante by killing someone. Greater communication brings these memes and their zombies into conflict and they fight to see who wins. Unfortunately that means that two of the very worst memes humanity has managed to come up with - Christianity and Islam - are now embroiled in a war for meat-based processing power across cyberspace as much as meatspace. I'd refer you to the hilarious 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day' as a prime example of one of the battlegrounds.

Eventually somebody will win and call me biased but I do tend to think that will, eventually, by secular, liberal, leftist, Western values. They've proven themselves to be resilient and desirable (ultimately it was the desire to be western, combined with economic issues, that collapsed the USSR) and also - at least in that incarnation - have some fact and rationality behind them. Sure, we have our own problems with lunatic memes like the American Tea Party or the UK's various NIMBY organisations and Daily Mail readers but things have, generally, been steadily improving bit by bit since The Enlightenment.

I'm optimistic that fact will win out eventually and, honestly, we're all in this together, like it or not. The facts tend to win out over desires in the end. Just ask a breatharian. If you can.

If you could live in the world of a particular book or film, which would it be?

Hmmm... probably Ian M Banks 'Culture'. A techno-enabled anarchistic transhuman star empire? Yes please. Immortality, boundless technology, the ability to go wherever and do whatever you want - essentially.

Most worlds from books or novels are set up to be 'interesting' which means lots of conflict and trouble. That's not a place you'd want to live in. While Banks' books cover 'flashpoints' of trouble they are exceptional circumstances in a universe that by and large is pretty damn awesome.

I'm not so enamoured of fantasy that I'm willing to move to a world without indoor plumbing and proper medicine, nor does the idea of a galactic war appeal since I know that I'd be next to useless in such situations. Bumming around the galaxy as a tourist however... that appeals.

The Perfect Game

If you could make your dream computer game/RPG/board game, what would it be? Describe it. Reality is no barrier.

An MMO based around colonisation of a new planet with the following features:
  • A community that wasn't dominated by dickheads.
  • Where you could have a genuine impact on the world.
  • Where almost everything was crafted.
  • Where the world was dynamic and responsive to player's actions/despoilment.
  • That had GM led/operated events.
  • Based on a standard, but perhaps lower than normal, subscription option.
  • That wasn't a WoW clone.
  • That had no pretensions about outdoing WoW and was targetted at its own niche.
  • No classes/levels.
You would arrive on this new planet with some basic items and exchange credits and you could take off in any direction and do anything you wanted. Almost like a bigger, slower, more complex 'Minecraft' in a way.

How do you stay motivated to do things?

Short answer... I don't.

Long answer... hard slog and forcing oneself often accomplishes as much, if not more, than motivation. Still, I still frequently suffer total motivation failure.

Oddly, when I AM motivated to do something it can become more difficult as I end up setting impossibly high standards for myself that I can't meet and so end up paralysed with the inability to do anything - because it won't be good enough.

Another problem is that I am a person who has at least ten 'cool' ideas a day and my motivation frequently switches from whatever I SHOULD be focussing on to something else from the scattershot concept firing range that is the interior of my skull.

What few little tricks I've found mostly revolve around giving myself little rewards if I manage to do X. It's surprising how effective that can be.