Category Archives: Meta

Yet with strange aeons…

For the last several years, I’ve blogged off-and-on at my dedicated game blog, The Lost Level. That’s been fun; but now I’ve also become interested in reviving this, my personal blog, again after several years of dormancy. To keep things nicely consolidated, I’ve merged the contents of my game blog with this one, and plan to continue posting here instead of there.

I have a sinking feeling that you can expect mostly game-related posts here for the foreseeable future, but you may once again get the occasional glimpse into the horror of my personal life as well.

So that’s why a hundred-odd new posts about games have appeared here all of a sudden. And why this blog has lurched abruptly out of its long-dormant state. Hope to see you around here!

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Break time

Things have been quiet here lately… too quiet, perhaps. After some reflection I’ve decided that a bit of change may do me some good–so I’ll be taking a little break from this blog for a while. I am confident I shall return before too long, but I’d like to take some time off to focus on some other writing projects for a bit. Granted, I haven’t really been posting here regularly for a while anyway; but by actually writing a post acknowledging this, I’ll feel a bit less guilty about concentrating my online energy elsewhere.

It’s been real, it’s been fun, it’s even been real fun. I’ll be back in a while. Hold down the fort while I’m gone.

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Playing with feeds

I’ve been playing around with my blog feeds–specifically, I’m toying with using FeedBurner in conjunction with my blog. To that end, I’ve got a new feed you can use for my blog which incorporates my flickr photos and links as well as normal blog posts. If you want to try it out, plug this link into your feed reader of choice:
(If you aren’t familiar with blog/RSS feeds, take a moment to read about ’em–you’ll thank me later, I promise.)
If you’d prefer your feed to contain only posts, as is the usual custom for blog feeds, that feed is still available. Links to both are down at the bottom left of the blog.
I’m mostly playing around with this to see how it works, and so I’d appreciate it if you tried out the new FeedBurner link and let me know what you think. It’s quite possible I’ve broken things in the course of meddling with the feeds, so if you notice any problems or annoyances with the new or old feeds, please let me know.

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In absentia

Good heavens, it’s been quiet around here lately. Most of my blogging energy has been focused here lately. At some point, balance will be restored and I will get back into the swing of talking about such fascinating and important topics as roleplaying games, movies I like, and my many virtues. I find myself missing the more personal blogging I get to do here.
I’m even ridiculously behind in my blog reading. Had you recently posted the cure for cancer on your blog, it would have gone unnoticed by yours truly. I’ll see if I can remedy that lapse… if I can find the courage to start up my feed reader. As long as none of you have been posting about politics. You haven’t been posting about politics, have you?

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Scorched earth

A quick note of apology: while deleting a large chunk of comment spam (several hundred) yesterday, I unintentionally deleted a handful of legitimate comments posted recently here and at Michele’s blog. In my zeal to destroy the offending spam comments, I got a bit careless.
So if you’ve noticed that a comment of yours has disappeared, and are perhaps wondering if I deleted it because I hate you, rest assured: such is not the case. My apologies, and I’ll be more careful in the future.

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Silence is golden

Sorry for the long break from posting there. I know you’re hurt and disappointed, but it could’ve been worse: I could’ve been here posting about Terri Schiavo, the Pope, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears’ pregnancy, the Iraq War, what I had for dinner last night (ham and potatoes, quite delicious!), and/or the latest efforts by [your favorite politician] to undermine Truth, Justice and the American Way.
My absence is partly due to lack of motivation, and partly because Michele and I have been working on a little blog project of our own. Take a look at what we’ve been up to. (Comments, and participation, welcome.)

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Chilling effect

I’ve removed a blog post from last week after it sparked some heated discussion. I don’t normally like to delete blog posts or comments–I prefer that people’s statements stand, for better or worse–but in this case I felt prompted to do so. I’m not criticizing any of the commentors, and in fact a number of worthwhile points came up in the discussion. If you want to discuss it further, feel free to drop me a note. I don’t plan to make deleting posts or comments a habit, nor do I want to muffle feisty discussions in the future.
And if you’re chafing under the iron fist of my censorship, look at it this way: if you had the foresight to save or print out that post and comments, you now own a genuine collector’s item. I bet you could sell that sucker on Ebay for major bucks.

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Information overload

Warning: rambling, poorly-organized thoughts follow.
I enjoy discussion and speculation about the blogosphere’s influence on the Old Media, and so I read with interest this exchange between Jeff Jarvis and the NYT’s Bill Keller (via Andrew Sullivan). Searching about the web will reveal a great many other conversations taking place about the same general topic.
There are a lot of issues behind the “blogs vs. Old Media” question. Are blogs going to break down and rebuild in their own image the way we receive and interpret news and information? Will blogs force a reform of Old Media practices and attitudes and then settle comfortably into peaceful co-existence with a reformed media establishment? Or are blogs just a flash in the pan, the refuge of embittered hacks who mistake the nitpicking of legitimate news stories with meaningful journalism?
More importantly, I think the questions boil down to this: who will act as the information gatekeepers of the next century? Do we want a trained and professional cadre that we trust to filter news and information for us responsibly? Or do we want everyone to have equal access to all available information, and place on individuals the burden of filtering that information down to a meaningful, comprehensible digest?
One fact that has been slowly dawning on me over the last year is that the latter method–having access to a vast amount of information and trying to filter it down into something I can understand and to which I can respond–is a truly daunting task. I want raw, “unprocessed” news and information to be freely available so that I can form my own ideas based upon them; I dislike the idea of getting my information pre-filtered and pre-packaged via a newspaper, radio station, or news network. So at first glance, the internet and the blogosphere seem like a dream come true: so much information, so many opinions, so much data, all free to compete for my attention in an equal-opportunity ocean of ideas!
That sounds good to me. But while I like this system better than the alternative, I’m not convinced that it leads to a more informed populace at all, despite the easy access we now have to the same pool of facts and information from which the Old Media draws its stories. Faced with a million different points of view and information aggregators, people simply choose the ones that support viewpoints they already hold. With all the ideas floating around the web, you’d think that we’d all be more open than ever to other points of view and opposing opinions; but the reality is that our new ability to choose our own information sources actually makes it easier than ever to avoid exposure to ideas we don’t like. We choose what we believe, and then we choose information channels that confirm those views. To use a political example: If you’re a liberal, you probably read mostly liberal blogs and news that reinforce your beliefs, and you find it difficult to understand how anyone could possibly be a conservative. My own diet of mostly conservative information confirms my own conservative beliefs, and makes me feel the same way about liberals.
The sheer vastness of information out there is simply impossible to interpret without applying filters, and the vastness of the internet makes it easier than ever to find a filter that conforms exactly to your wishes. And the vastness of information means it’s easier than ever to find backing for your ideas, no matter how reasonable or crazy there are. Have an opinion about abortion, gun control, or the president? Give me five minutes with Google and I guarantee I can produce convincing-sounding data that argues exactly the opposite.
How exactly have we benefited from this vast openness of information?
Don’t get me wrong. Given a choice between having my news spoon-fed to me by a massive, biased, elitist, yellow-journalist news bureaucracy or picking my own news sources from a vast pool of equal contenders, I’ll go with the latter option without hesitation. But there are days that I wonder: are we actually tapping into a vast and unbiased information universe? Or faced with more information than we can possibly comprehend, do we just pick and choose the things that confirm what we already believe?

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