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Tycho / 2 days ago

My fever keeps riding a data set that, at its highest point, I think I can see; I’m traversing it on a kind of minecart.  I don’t mind.  Sometimes the thinking is disordered, and sometimes it is oddly interactive and sometimes it is revelatory.  I can see sages of the past from here, and they wave to me.  I wave back.

Gabe and I have often responded to queries of the form “what will you do in the future” with what I think is a fairly typical response for people who make stuff, which is to say “make stuff for kids.”  Depending on the age range, such books have a substantial art load so I think it was a natural vector for him.  I said yes also, because I think I can add text to his work to grant it a novel context.  But in general I think of projects like these as complicated puzzles: I figure out what I want the reader to feel, and then I reverse engineer that into a kind of linguistic machine designed to produce it.  I think my fever is spiking again.  But maybe that’s good; maybe I can tell the truth here without the sense of agoraphobic, exposed terror that so often accompanies truth-telling.  These are challenges I undertake on behalf of my friends in the hopes of maximizing their effort.  Occasionally I succeed.

In the summer of 2016 I started making work for myself.

The primary fruits of this are Acquisitions Incorporated: The “C” Team and, now, an illustrated, hardbound book of poetry called Lexcalibur.  I wrote about half of it with my daughter asleep on my lap, using my off-hand, without bonuses.  It looks like this:

And under the dustjacket, it looks like THIS:

There is also an audiobook of it, technically two, performed by Liam O’Brien and Fryda Wolf, who - I mean, check those links.  You know these two.  They both put their spin on it, giving them “notes” was a rarity.  They burrowed into the work and were at home.

My hope is that the book will be useful to you; I explicitly state that much in the subtitle.  It’s a “children’s book” in quotes but I wrote it for everybody.  I know what it’s like to have to read a dumb book to your kids, and I tried to spare you that.  I think people who have no idea who we are - the vast majority of humans - could find something to enjoy here.  And, as long as nobody follows me back to my lair, everything should be fine.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 4 days ago

We played a bit of Battle Chasers: Nightwar back when it hit on Big Machines, got to the point where we realized that we felt very good about what they were doing, found some bugs and then waited for the Switch version which just came out.

Like I said when it came out, Battle Chasers was a book he could reliably get me to real when we were living together.  It kinda came out when it came out, but I was playing a lot of D&D back then and seeing some of those classic ideas through that lens was fascinating.  Of course, as we suggest in the strip, Gabriel’s worship of Joe Mad is an ancient religion as men reckon time.  I have my own gods, also, even if they are not drawn from any of the recognized pantheons.  And I don’t fucks with heresy.

We have something very cool hitting the store today.  A couple things, technically.  Writing it let me turn the worst months of my life into the thing I might be most proud of, which is an almost inconceivably positive result given the depths that precipitated it.

This is why you must always have a trick up your sleeve, some expression of yourself you have ground to an edge.  You must be prepared to, at the very least, impersonate a holy vessel.  You never know when you will be required to perform alchemy.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 6 days ago

I mean, sometimes this rubric might work.  Sometimes.  Maybe.  It’s like if you choose your Pokemon based on your favorites.  It works super well if all your favorites are also incredibly powerful and happen to create a harmonious symphony of types.  That’s a great scenario, and when it happens, look: it’s something to celebrate.

Baseline Magic, where you make decks and murder people with them, is very intimidating for me.  I feel like I’m entering my child in some kind of Kumite and it’s not a good feeling. For some reason I tend to prefer all the games that sail in the weird orbit around the core: Commander, where you choose a cool nut and build a deck around it, is fun and a little more casual in feel.  Two-Headed Giant is basically Magic: Co-op, which I like because it’s possible to blame the life I’ve lived and the things I’ve done on competent others.

I’ve always been like that, though; I’ve always had whatever this disease is.  I liked the WoW TCG, but mostly because they had a way to play against megapowerful bosses with cards that there like three times the regular size and you could get raid loot off them out of a booster pack.  That’s why.

I can keep about one set in my head at a time, that’s just where I’m at; most of the Magic I play is drafting around packs when a new set comes out.  If I put together something solid there, something whose operation feels good in my head, then I start using it in the other modes.  I might play those other modes so long that I hit the next release.  Then I typically wake up in the middle of the street, naked as the day I was born, sleeping in a nest made from bits of booster foil.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 1 week ago

Magic comes and goes around here.  I mean Magic: The Gathering, specifically.  Obviously the mystic winds shift as well, this way and that, toward, and - terrifyingly - away from the worldseed.  Thus are the epochs of men defined.

The condition usually spreads through contact in the home, and that’s what happened here: youth typically start on something softer and move into the hard stuff.  There is a land beyond Hearthstone, and it has something called The Stack.  Among other things, The Stack means that you can do things, rude things, on your opponent’s turn.  Which means you have a reason to end your turn with a little mana left.  Which means, among other things, that these two games are only very, very superficially comparable.

So now both Gabriels are playing Magic against each other and I understand it’s gotten thoroughly real.  I couldn’t tell you if it was true or not, I may not even be equipped intellectually to know, but playing Magic against someone always makes me feel like I’m competing against the physical weight of their brain with mine.  Between building the deck and the fairly sophisticated order of operations puzzles that generate optimal play, it can feel pretty bad to lose sometimes.

For whatever reason, games like this never got popular at my house.  We play competitive games, but nothing with that texture.  There are are games I’ve been playing against Elliot since he was five or six and I’ve never won once.  We can always tell maybe four turns away.  We laugh, and laugh, and roll around.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 2 weeks ago

Right as I’m about to jump ship, Gabriel is going back to Apple.  Once he started drawing on the new iPad Pro, it wound a clock somewhere in the heart of the universe that would bring him back to the platform in other ways.  He has sent me some animojis or whatever and it seems like he’s having a good time…?

The first time I lost the Lightning to Headphone adapter for this iPhone 8, another clock was wound, except this one ran opposite to the first.  I am weird about headphones and I have a lot of them.  There are people with much deeper wells of jargon to describe sound, which they might call Audio, but this may be the only time I eschew lexicon.  I hear music with my gut.  I change headphones all the time so I’m the worst person for this transition period.  I thought I’d be safe on Android because Google talked so much shit about Apple removing the headphone jack, but then they did it too.  Lots of people are.  That’s just sorta where everybody is going, and I know there are some options here, but I feel like buying a non-Google Android Phone as a longtime Apple user isn’t a good plan.  I want to believe at some level that somebody is at least trying to define the experience all the way down to the metal.

Because this stuff is now on my periphery, I watched the Android P stuff with genuine interest.  I’d say I’m getting in while the getting seems, at least preliminarily, quite good.

They did show something novel called Google Duplex, which seems (at this juncture) to be a kind of Rorschach Blot.  How do you feel about your phone not simply acting as a personal itinerary, but also an assistant that literally makes calls for you to other humans and schedules services?  The way I’ve seen it break down online is sharp.  You’re either excited slash complicit or concerned slash a luddite coward.

Brenna probably wouldn’t want me to say this, but it’s not too bad: she really doesn’t like calling strangers on the phone.  “Doesn’t Like” is not strong enough as a term.  I thought for sure she’d find this type of feature helpful, like, as helpful as other ingenious social prophylactics, for example “vaccines.”  It mostly freaked her the fuck out because it feels like, and may well be, lying to people.

I find this sort of thing very interesting, though your mileage may vary; I don’t know if I hate it because it’s kinda fucked or if it’s just new.  The case I would make is that the more we cocoon the more we need cocoons.  This state of affairs is awesome for cocoon vendors and maybe has ramifications for everybody else that we don’t know about yet.  And it’s okay to think about that.

(CW)TB out.

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