[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Monday, 2011-08-29

Subtext and misplaced enthusiasm

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 11:27
Enthusiasm

I read an article a while back comparing how Japanese people express emotion in public to how Americans express emotion in public. The gist of it was that Americans tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves, while Japanese people generally don’t. That’s probably not news to anyone with a passing familiarity with Japanese media.

However, an interesting side effect of this is how Americans and Japanese people tend to interpret the emotions of others, based on what the other person is expressing. Japanese people, according to the study I was reading, tend to assume that people are feeling more than they are displaying, when compared to how Americans would interpret the same person’s behaviour. There is (according to that study) a common cultural bias in Japan, and everyone adjusts their perceptions up accordingly. Or, to put it another way, there is a common cultural bias toward excessive displays of emotion in the United States, and Americans reduce their perception of the other person’s emotional state accordingly.

(I am giving the study I read astonishingly short shrift. If you want a scholarly evaluation, there have been a number of studies done on the topic, and you’ll have no trouble finding some.)

This came to mind recently when someone assumed I was insulting them when I expressed enthusiasm over something. I said, effectively, “This is awesome! Check this out!”. The other person interpreted this as, “You are an idiot if you don’t try this!”

I freely admit that I sometimes get wound up about things — quite often, things that have no real importance. I am a fount of misplaced enthusiasm.

However, if I think someone is an idiot, I generally say so. My personal bias is that I say pretty much what I think, and I expect that others are doing the same. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether people are sincere: I assume they are until I find out differently. I think this is a good way to live. If you trust too much, you will occasionally be deceived, but you will live in torment if you cannot trust enough.

However, I have known for many years that not everyone shares this cultural bias. Some people do, in fact, mean “you’re an idiot if you don’t like waffles” when they say “I like waffles”. And so, they expect that other people mean that, too. They project onto others their own nature.

I think that’s really sad. I can’t imagine how dismal it must be to live in a world like that.

Sunday, 2011-08-28

The Mugs of August – Simple glass beer mug

Filed under: Art,Family,Food,Friends — bblackmoor @ 22:06
Simple glass beer mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

Spent an hour or so with Erik, one of my oldest friends, this afternoon. That’s the best thing that’s happened to me in a few weeks.

Sometimes the simple things are best. That’s what I like about this plain glass beer mug. It’s solid, sturdy, comfortable… it’s just a good, practical mug. Like the Pepsi mug, it was a gift from my mother.

Saturday, 2011-08-27

The Mugs of August – Engraved beer mug

Filed under: Art,Family,Food — bblackmoor @ 23:30
Engraved beer mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

Hope everyone is safe from the hurricane and is among people who care about them.

This mug was made just for me by someone who cares about me: my sister-in-law, Danica. Danica is super artistic; she has her own photography studio. She engraved this mighty beer mug with my name and gave it to me for Christmas in 2009. (Susan received a wine glass, similarly engraved. Hers has her own name, of course.)

Assuming the worst is a self-fulfilling prophecy

Filed under: Friends — bblackmoor @ 20:46

Observation: The people I get along with best choose to assume good faith — that I am saying what I mean, and that there’s no sinister subtext. The people I don’t get along with choose to interpret what I say in the worst possible way — that anything I say is in some way a veiled insult.

I’m not saying that I have no input in this equation: clearly, I do. I have worked, and shall continue to work, to improve my contribution to that equation. But I think it’s important for me to realize that there are parts of the equation that are beyond my control, and that they always will be.

It’s also important to remind myself to assume good faith in others.

Friday, 2011-08-26

The Mugs of August – We The People (U.S. Constitution) mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Friends,Movies — bblackmoor @ 23:13
We The People (U.S. Constitution) mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

A good day at work is a great day. Just wanted to say that. 🙂

In December 2009, we went to Philadelphia to see Cinematic Titanic Live at the Keswick Theatre on New Year’s Eve. It was an awesome show, although six-plus hours in antique theatre seats was a test of my endurance.

On the way up to Philadelphia, we stopped outside D.C. to have lunch with my sister Kat and her family. That was awesome. After that, we got to see some interesting architecture in Baltimore, because I had my GPS set to avoid tolls, and it took us through some really interesting neighborhoods that I would have been afraid to stop in. We eventually figured out what was going on, and got back on the freeway.

While in Philadelphia, we hung out with some friends (both named Chris) who live in that part of the country, who graciously showed us around some of the finer dining establishments. Chris introduced me to Smithwick’s, which is now one of my favorite beers.

We also spent a day in the bitter, freezing cold, touring the historic sights of Philadelphia. We visited the Liberty Bell (which had a large sign informing visitors of all the things they were not at liberty to do), and a bunch of old historic buildings, most of which I don’t remember all that clearly (they kind of blurred together after a while). I do recall the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art, and the Rocky statue. I particularly liked the museums.

We got this U.S. Constitution mug from the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art. Much like the actual U.S. Constitution, we don’t actually use it.

Thursday, 2011-08-25

The Mugs of August – Mug from the Jekyll & Hyde Club, Chicago, IL

Filed under: Art,Food,Movies,Travel — bblackmoor @ 23:33
Mug from the Jekyll & Hyde Club, Chicago, IL

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

Feeling nauseous as hell, but I want to get this done.

In the late 1990s, Susan was sent to Chicago for a week for training on polarized light microscopy (note to self — get the actual date from her, and make sure I have the term correct). I went with her, and while she was in class all day, I wandered around Chicago. It was awesome. For such a large city, people were incredibly friendly. I ate pizza at some famous Chicago restaurant that had the best pizza I have ever had, I had a hot dog (or was it a cheese steak? memory fails me…) at some famous hole-in-the-wall place that used Cheez-Whiz instead of actual cheese (and it wasn’t half bad!), and I just generally wandered around and made a nuisance of myself.

At night, we went out on the town. Drinks and an awesome view at the Sears Tower (which was, at that time, just recently dethroned as the tallest building in the world). Drinks and blues at Buddy Guy’s. Dinner, drinks, and a haunted house at the Jekyll & Hyde Club (warning: that web page has a very loud and obnoxious Flash animation). I’m sorry to see that the Chicago location closed. It had great food, and a great atmosphere.

Anyway, that’s where this enormous coffee mug came from. This was the first of the humongous giant coffee mugs I bought. For the first week after we came back, I actually tried drinking coffee from it, but that’s not really very practical. At the speed at which I drink coffee, it gets cold about halfway through the mug. Nowadays, it holds a dozen or so pair of 3D glasses from various 3D movies that have come out in the last couple of years. Frankly, I doubt I’ll be putting any more 3D glasses in it.

Blarf

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 19:28

Rested for a while, and I’m feeling marginally better. Stomach is still uneasy, but perhaps it will settle down. Wondering whether eating something would be a good idea or a bad idea. Today was almost a total loss. Aside from a fifteen-minute bit of philosophizing around lunchtime, I don’t think I accomplished a single useful thing today. Which is bad. And I seriously doubt I will rectify the situation this evening. Still so nauseous…

But tomorrow is a new day! I’ll get an early start, tackle a project that I have been banging my head on for much too long, finish it, and start the weekend knowing that I have accomplished something!

In honor of my upset stomach, queasiness, and general malaise, I bring you “I’m so sick”.

I’m So Sick from BaronSoosdon on Vimeo.

Thoughts on the ad hominem fallacy

Filed under: Society,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 10:48
Duty calls

When you are arguing with someone, try to remember that there is a difference between the person and their ideas. When you’ve made your point as well as you can, agree to disagree. Don’t ever say nasty things about the person. For one thing, it’s irrelevant, and it demonstrates that you have sloppy thinking. For another, particularly on the internet, you only see the other person through a very small window. There is a great deal more to the other person than just that they disagree with you on some political policy that neither of you has any control over, or some game rule that will never matter because you don’t play in each other’s games. The other person has an entire life outside of your insignificant disagreement with them. Basing your judgement of them on such scanty evidence is irrational. Assume that they have family and friends and lovers who respect them, just like you do.

And if they’re wrong, so what? Let them be wrong. You’re wrong sometimes, too.

edit: To clarify a point of confusion: this is not directed at anyone in particular, and I include myself among the target audience.

Wednesday, 2011-08-24

The Mugs of August – Absolutely huge travel mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Work — bblackmoor @ 22:59
Absolutely huge travel mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

This gallon-sized travel mug is another of the mugs Susan received while working at Philip Morris doing environmental and recycling stuff. This one is from Weyerhaeuser. “Weyerhaeuser creates sustainable solutions to the world’s challenges through the development of innovative forest products that are essential to everyday lives.” In case you didn’t know.

Look at that mug, man. Man, that sucker’s huuuuge !

It’s a big mug, that’s all.

Game design workshop

Filed under: Gaming — bblackmoor @ 22:36
steampunk d6

Thinking about starting a YahooGroup to discuss new homebrewed rule systems, modifications and house rules for existing systems, and so on. A game design workshop, if you will.

On the one hand, I’m not sure there is much interest in that, despite what people are prone to say. On the other hand, I am not sure YahooGroups is best suited for that sort of discussion nowadays. My perception is that most substantive discussions have moved elsewhere, and what remain on YahooGroups are relatively insular islands of thought. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not the environment I’d be looking for.

If you are aware of a venue for lively but civil discussion of practical game design (as opposed to theoretical navel-gazing, which again, is not necessarily bad, but not what I am looking for), feel free to mention it.

I suppose I should clarify what I mean by “lively but civil”. Here are a couple of benchmarks:

  1. Conversation is focused on game design, not on politics or controversies. (There are plenty of other places to discuss evolution or the Tea Party or Justin Bieber.)
  2. Critique of ideas is accepted and encouraged: critique of people is not. (It is sad how many people can’t tell the difference.)

Ideally, this is the sort of interaction I would have with my local game group. Sadly, real life has taken its toll, and my local game group is no more.

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