Sunday, April 24, 2005

A few random thoughts

So, do you think Joh held out as long as he did to get his own news slot, away from the Pope and the Bali Heroin Mules? if there's one thing that man loved, it was his own spotlight.

Beyond that, you'd have to say that his final timing was the biggest pair of forks for "the Chooks" he could possibly have come up with. His death announced at 10 past 6 on a Saturday? 10's news finished just as he passed, and Channels 7 and 9 would have been like Keystone Cops on speed trying to get the word out before the other one.

I'm so glad I don't work on the hill anymore. Nights like that are the reason why I gave it away.

Tomorrow's ANZAC day. I know that a lot of my colleagues have issues with the whole thing, particularly regarding the glorification of war and the army in a time when we're fighting a useless and illegal war, however I can't help but imagine what it would have been like, 17 or 18, before dawn, heading to a foreign shore in boats knowing that the people on that shore were just as ready to kill you as you were to kill them. I had one of those moments of reality the other day while driving. I felt scared shitless just for a moment.

I'm not sure which I find scarier; an enemy that wants to kill me, or knowing that I was about to have to kill someone else to survive.

Does narrative need a climax? I've read a few things lately that makes me wonder whether it isn't just a metaphor for the male sexual urge. If that is so, what does it say about the standard Horror genre, with its continuing cycle of tension and release, tension and release; the ultimate in feminine sexual metaphor (especially with all that blood) or just the male sexual urge expanded beyond its capabilities?

Why do we bother with the Internet if we're not using it to do something with the real world? I mean the tangible world, the place we call home. Without that root in the real, we're just moving electrons.

Then again, maybe all those electronic butterfly wings can have some effect. But if it did, would it just be a virtual Hurricane?

One of my lecturers last year started her series of lectures with the question "What's New about New Media?" and I have to agree. Most of the stuff we see on the Internet, now moving to an IPod, Laptop or Mobile Phone near you just uses old methods of communication and rebundles them with a few links or a smaller screen size.

For God's sakes people, if you're going to create content for something new, can't we make the most of the interactivity it gives us? Time shifting is not a valid reason. Portability is definitely not a valid reason.

I know, it's kind of hypocritical of me of all people to be saying this, given that my work, to this point, seems to involve re-purposing television, radio and print content for New Media delivery. That's why I'm so excited about the plans we have coming up. And also a bit scared. Pushing the envelope on what's already been done is never an easy thing.

A slight aside from the last. Would it be fair to say that the ultimate display of exactly what sort of narrative possibilities New Media technologies can bring us is the Massive Multiplayer Online Game? Quite apart from experiences of Tele-Presence, or virtual realty, the opportunity to create your own stories in an open and endless environment strikes me as the ultimate narrative possibility; a scenario where authors create worlds and the people in them create the characters and the stories.

Lets take it further. What, then, from a narrative point of view, is the difference between these and our old fashioned table top role playing game? Same idea, just no ongoing monthly fee. No screen, that's true, but what can be more real than the world in your own imagination?

Which kind of brings me back to a previous point. If we're not doing this to make change to the real world, why bother? Does this mean I've just argued myself out of getting back into roleplaying and into volunteering for a local homeless shelter? At least table top is face to face.

Is personal entertainment a valid excuse? Am I taking myself far too seriously? Do these questions really mean anything?

All I know is that tomorrow's a public holiday and I have to work; a present from prior Trade Unions to give up public holidays for more annual leave. I would hardly call myself a hardened Capitalist, but sometimes I really hate Unions, and not for that pathetic reason I just gave.

But it's getting late, I have to get into work tomorrow and Firefox has just finished downloading version 1.03 so I had better get this rambling finished so I can install it.


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