FC2014: 8 bit vs the Guy Gavriel Kay

(This title will make more sense shortly…)

Last weekend Further Confusion digitized its way into San Jose with a “Scott Pilgrim”-type theme.  While the themeing didn’t seem too much in evidence at the con – it may well have been too close to the regular geekery that goes on there anyway! – I fired myself into it wholeheartedly and gained many 1-ups as the weekend went on.  Let’s start, shall we? Continue reading

Also 40!

D&D celebrated its 40th anniversary on the weekend… which makes it pretty easy for me to remember how long the game has been around.  I, of course, didn’t start playing until much later, which was in Grade 10 (though I’d been playing Top Secret and other RPGs for a few years before then).  There’s been a lot of good press and a lot of sharing from people on the role and impact D&D has made in their life, and it’s been great to read.  I’m still playing, and still deriving lots of fun out of it, still meeting great people through it, still writing and expressing creativity through it, and still telling stories.  I love that I got into RPGs and that they tickle my imagination like so.  Happy 40th, D&D.  Here’s to leveling up another 40 levels and more.

The Tyranny of Talented

We often use the word “talented” to extol the abilities of someone else.  They do something cool, and we exclaim “Wow, you’re so talented!”  Sounds great, sounds positive, sounds like admiration… yet… there’s something else there I’ve begun to notice, another current that isn’t so hot.  And that is this:  talent has the prime definition of “a special natural ability or aptitude.”   As an ingrained, born-with thing, this has two implications:  one, to call someone talented can actually be a bit of an insult, as it discounts, dismisses, and ignores the amount of hard work that they put into developing that skill or ability.  Talking to an Olympian and saying “oh, you’re just so talented!” belittles (if unintentionally) all the mornings they woke up before dawn to practice two hours before going to school/work/etc, all the aches and pains and heartache and defeats and struggles and work and intensity and dedication.

Secondly, and perhaps more subversive in our everyday lives, is that it effectively says “I can never get what you have, because you were born with it.”  It limits what we can achieve and cuts off any thought of our own working hard to attain something.  The more we think about talent, the more we create the idea that people are just born with the majority of their skills, abilities, attitudes, aptitudes, ways of being, and etc – and so if we are lacking any of those, we are unlikely to be able to gain it, as, clearly, we weren’t born with it.

I say we ought to depreciate the use of “talent” in our language.  “You have great skill” or “I am impressed by what you can do” or any number of other sayings acknowledges the human being within both of us, giving us the freedom to be known and to grow.

2013 Dances into the Sunset

So here we are, with 2013 at an end just a few days ago.  Already.  I know I pretty much say that at the end of every year, but wow did this year ever seem to go by at breakneck speed.  Before I knew it, October had arrived, and then before I knew October, even that was gone.  If there was a year of strange time dilation, I think this was it.  (Cue spooky music)  Thankfully, I remember every excellent moment of the year, and there were many an excellent and glorious crowning moments of personal delight that lie like jewels amongst the sea of delight.  Look out, I’m delving into bad poetville!  Strap in, as this coaster is about to leave the station!  And it’ll be a long and sweet ride… Continue reading