Category Archives: From the journals

Did Carse say that audiences are necessary for finite games?

Did Carse say that audiences are necessary for finite games? If no audience, no finite game?

End of time is when players know to quite playing, and audiences to quit watching. But that’s arbitrary, no real resolution there unless one winner is definitive (that is, opponent is dead).

College b-ballers and Jeopardy players, sure, they like the aesthetic of play, play for its own sake, and yet, there’s a cash inducement to enter competition—NBA career, Jeopardy winnings—why would that be? Even if players enjoy the play itself, do they need a property reason to enter a competition?

Competitions are so arbitrary, you know?

Why can’t we enjoy basketball-qua-basketball instead of merely b-ball as means to a competition? The way Vegas looks at things, gamblers don’t care what the game is—basketball, football, boxing, horse racing—they just want a result, a score. So games are the means to scores, to declaring winners and losers—which attitude, in a sense, dismisses inherent value of basketball-qua-basketball.

[From journal of Weds., 6 April 2005, Journal 47, page 85]

My picture of me with long hair

[A school supervisor of mine said] how my picture of me with long hair was one of (or the) most surprising teacher pic—he said he had a brother with long hair, so maybe he’s not too shocked, though he said, “I don’t like the culture” of skateboarding.

Picture of me from a Daily Illini column, 1995.

But this relates to [a teacher colleague] in parking lot talking to me after school, how “that’s the guy who came to talk to my journalism class” in late ’95 or early ’96, I think. And that reminded me of how I was a different person there, the fleeting nature of self—I thought of interviewing others to see what I was like externally then. I didn’t put on a very good presentation, that’s for sure, not like I could now.

I said to [my colleague], yeah, maybe they should’ve looked into my past more before hiring me!

Idea from 11/18 evening:

—having fiction ideas in daily life, but they usually seem fake right away (that danged judgmental part of my mind), but maybe these ideas, when in composing mind, wouldn’t seem so bad.

—what M said about how your subconscious can’t deal with, can’t defuse, teasing/sarcasm/irony. What I said about how TV’s irony and cleverness will never come from honest, open composing

—anything done in time (on deadline) and repeatedly doesn’t need to be done well. And all performances in real time don’t need to be that great, either. Heroes’ quests aren’t conquered every day, you know. Humans can’t handle that.

[From journal of Fri., 19 Nov. 2004, Journal 39, page 224-5]

He notices everything

I noticed last night that the broadcast networks seem a little pixelated, lower quality picture, less detailed, [via satellite] than over the air. M said she wishes I hadn’t said that because then she noticed it. The installer guy said M’s husband wouldn’t realize it had been installed. She would surprise me with it—but she said, no, he notices everything.

My consciousness is a burden to me, I wrote in yesterday’s pocket page. Not most of the time it isn’t, but these days at school when I’m tired, it feels like a burden. What to do with my mind, my attention, when I don’t want to be at work—when all I want to do is be somewhere else, preferably resting—

[Brother] N is right—it’s stupid to complain about your job—and yet, there is this idea, for white-collar work at least (and maybe this is absent from blue-collar work) that you should like your job, that your work should suit you, match your interests—that your work is more a part of your identity than it is, maybe, for blue-collar workers.

[From journal of Fri., 23 Feb. 2007, Journal 81, pages 199-200]

Fu*k dramatic tension—I like watching a kid pick daisies

I’d like to understand my reactions to my work a little better. Ah, well. Maybe I will, one day. Who knows what or why I write—I write because I like to write. I have to write. I write because it seems like an important thing for me to do. It seems sometimes like the most important thing I do—and not just in the sense of having /leaving a legacy—that’s an ego thing.

I guess I feel like I’m learning about reality, what’s real—it sounds banal to say it, but I like—more than that—I feel valuable when I’m (as I said earlier) on my quest, my quest for understanding.

And sure, I can step back and say that it’s good some people want to be engineers. I want there to be products. I need to use some things that are designed and made by those with designing and making [skills and/or interests].

The world’s a bigger place than I imagine. Watching Japanese news last night reminded me of that just a little. Maybe one country’s news presents the whole world through its own bias/model—so to watch NHK news was to see news from a different model. Yes, we saw some stories we hadn’t seen in U.S. news—a Osprey aircraft having crashed off Okinawa, unnerving Japanese residents there, Japanese lithium-ion batteries being sent to International Space Station, and a statue of a “comfort woman” in South Korea put in front of a Japanese embassy there (I think was the story), straining relations between South Korea and Japan.

I don’t know. I don’t know why people would go through with the making of such banal movies as “Standing Still”—one review said that there was all the dramatic tension of a kid picking daisies. And I read that and I think that my writings don’t have dramatic tension, either—and then I think, so what? Fu*k dramatic tension—I like watching a kid pick daisies. Anyway, I should probably go nap now (at 1:27) — I’m getting sleepy.

And also, of course, I don’t need to defend or even define my own writings. I don’t have to get others interested in them the same way I’m interested in them—nobody will feel the same about your own writings as you will! So there.

Sat. Evening: I’m now not so sure why I spent so much time this morning talking about why I liked my journals, and whether others would get from them what I do. I could just, you know, stay focused on now—

[From journal of Sat., 7 Jan. 2017, Journal 244, page 118-20]

I don’t know how to do this

Rochelle’s play—The Miser—good stuff. A lot better than [play at school where I student-taught]. Some collegiate-level performances from M__ and others.

Saw Mr. P__ [who will be my principal next year]—he said I’ll have two physics, two physical science, and journalism—I’m excited by the idea of teaching journ., but I’m just not sure what I’ll do with them in the day-to-day. But then, I don’t really feel I know how to teach physics, either. I have now seen one model (my supervising teacher’s—I don’t consider what [a physics professor whose class I took] did to be even a workable model), but I don’t really think there’s a lot of value in the lecture method. As [someone] said, I want to inspire, to make science fun—or at least, let’s say, interesting and exciting—for these kids.

But I don’t know how to do this. I need to do some thinking and researching on this.

Idea: As the astronomy book I just got prompted  me to thinking about science—why is it that the universe is a certain level of complication, but it’s not extremely difficult nor extremely easy? It takes a few years of study, but the basic laws about the universe are understood, enough for humans to manipulate their environment, use rockets and lasers and stuff. Why is the Earth this complicated but no more/no less?

And yet, life goes on much as it has for the last 10K years, with or without knowledge of the universe.

Likewise, a psychological question: ability to learn—why is it what it is? Learning takes work, effort, but it’s not too hard to do. What is the transference of ideas? Why is it possible at all—and yet, since it is, why does it still take some effort—why can’t we read this once and have the material committed to memory? Some people have nearly photographic memory, so it’s possible—why not more widespread?

Every year is a vital year for reproduction for animals like birds. If they don’t reproduce every year, their species would soon die out. There performance is now. And this fact hasn’t changed with human arrival—from a year 30,000 years ago, to 1100 A.D. to 1902 to this year, animals are always on the edge of survival, needing to eat now and mate this year (thinking of birds here, etc.).

I was unmindful this week and got out of touch with my body—heart beating from adrenaline, tired, eating when not hungry and eating too much at meal time and eating crap food at other times. Doing work today got me back in touch with my body.

[From journal of Sat., 7 April 2001, Journal 30, page 86-7]

Pretty much an accident that your perceptions of the place matched the author’s description

Last day before Thanksgiving. A break will be good. It’s already 5;25, I for some reason read the Rock. Coll. magazine that came instead of starting to write but hey, no big deal. Now , after poopin’, it’s 5:45. Oh, well, here we go.

This story about a blue-collar guy who lived thriftily and donated $2.3 million to University of Great Falls. But what caught my eye was his avoidance of “putting on a show”—as opposed to all the grabs for attention out there now, you know, the cultural importance of attention. And I wondered if what he is indicating here is that he’s humble, … that he’s doing the donation entirely for his own personal reasons, not for publicity or external reasons at all.

Here’s the other article that caught my attention yesterday, both from Tues. [Chicago] Tribune. This guy, Meltzer, writes comic books, novels, and a TV show,” Jack & Bobby.” At first, the quote about if he writes about it, he’s been there—well, duh. I mean, yes, if you’re writing about a place that other people might also visit (that is, if you’re not just writing about a made-up or appropriated-from-real-life place), then, yes, you need to be there.

But the other side to that quote could be the editor is saying author really “evokes” the places he writes about. But all that means is that, after reading this, you go there and see for yourself, you can see what he’s writing about. But you’ve already read this description, and so that’s in your mind when you go there yourself, you know? You can’t have the experience fresh because you’ve already read it. And let’s say that you read about a place you’ve already been to. Well, then, it’s just pretty much an accident that your perceptions of the place matched the author’s description.

See, I think I wrote about this recently, how media perceptions are often so different– that is, the perception of a place I get from seeing the media representation is not the experience I have when I go to a place. I’m reminded of my Wash. D.C. trip in ’97 [as a reporter for an agriculture newspaper, with my trip paid for by a corn-growers group] and how White House was smaller than I thought it’d be, less impressive somehow. And how there’s that dissonance between your idea built from media and your perception of it right here.

It might have been funny if, instead of just an article about the topics, if I’d actually written about the process of lobbying. After all, that was sorta more unique than most media accounts—and, sh!t, that would’ve been much better than the dull-ass articles I did write. But within recent months I found and reread some writing I’d done that was about the press conference, how horrible it was and everything—pretty funny now. That would’ve been a better story. It was more-interesting material than yet another ethanol story, but there you go. I can’t imagine Warren actually publishing it—though I’d have to tone it down. Maybe he would’ve actually let me do a sidebar on the lobbying process. Oh, well.

[From journal of Weds., 24 Nov. 2004, Journal 40, page 34-8]

“I got enough earrings. I don’t even wear what I got.”

“I got enough earrings. I don’t even wear what I got,” said one of two old ladies, passing a jewelry store in Campus Hills mall [Normal, Illinois].

“Children! (snap) Over here where mommy is,” youngish mom with 2-3 kids, ditto location.

Do I have a compulsion to record, I asked myself, between recording and charting lottery numbers and scribbling overheard vocalizations—me, same spot.

(Gibberish)—a baby, stumbling alongside Ma, same spot.

(A conversation too soft to hear)– two young, 20-ish women.

I can’t get away with these that often. I’m not being that detailed, so these are only selections, and if they are selections, why include things with no data, other than cuteness, and that doesn’t last too often.

“Fine. I hear you’re the pick-up lady. Ann says you’re gonna pick them up,” said middle aged woman, in response to a “How are You?” from the older woman.

blah blah (?) file cabinet, like under Walmart (?) — one middle-aged woman to another

Slush, slush of a girl’s coat. Clock, clock of heels. Squish, squish of utility man’s footwear.

[From journal of 19 Nov. 1996, Journal 17, page 17]