February 25th, 2002

The gentleman is always properly dressed

Weekend Update

I went over to Second Circle on Saturday. Initially the plan was to hang out with Jim to do geeky stuff, and we did. I gave some pointers on how to make a few of his decks tighter. We played. We talked about our mutual disillusionment with gaming. We played some more. The exercise was laid back, the deck design stuff I recommended was mostly along the lines of trimming down to core concepts (most of the work was already done), and gabbing with someone of like mind was comforting. Like me, Jim’s been feeling like there are just other things that he should be doing but isn’t, and that realization is leading to a bit of a crisis of faith about spending the time that these various pass-times require.

I’ve been wrestling with my love/hate relationship with gaming for some time now, and to have someone voice the same concerns/ideas was bizarre. In my story, the periods that have been marked by a heavy devotion to one or more games have coincided with some of the worst events of my life. This coupled with what becomes a predominantly sedentary lifestyle and habitual avoidance of things I most need to get done, and you have some idea of where the discomfort stems. To be fair, gaming has allowed me to meet a number of really great people both directly and indirectly, and as a result, I now actually have a circle of friends. I guess what’s required is a balance, and I’ve had some trouble walking the line of moderation.

What was kind of cool about Saturday was that after Jim and I had finished up, I felt like I went from being his guest to being a guest of the house. We all hung out in front of the tube, alternating talking and watching the various offerings of the magic box. Jim eventually left to go to Sue’s place, but I stayed. Watched a movie, got dinner, and didn’t leave until after midnight (in spite of “…but you don’t have to go” protests.) I was comfortable, and actually felt like they enjoyed (or at least didn’t mind) my being around. It wasn’t until mid-day Sunday that I started doing my habitual second-guessing and wondering if I had outstayed my welcome. I shrugged it off.

Sunday was lazy. Got up late, didn’t shower until I had watched a stupidly predictable film adaptation of a stupidly predictable novel by Robin Cook. Even then, I didn’t manage to leave the house until I got a call from one of Paul’s friends about meeting him in Davis for some cheap Mexican food. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get my arse in gear and get into the gym (the original plan), but I think I needed the downtime for some reason. Was relaxed enough by the end of the day that the insomnia that’s been plaguing me melted away. Slept nine hours. Woke up early and refreshed.
  • Current Music
    Garbage, "Queer"
The gentleman is always properly dressed

Emotion is Dead?

I bought music yesterday. CD Spins/Davis had a couple of copies of the Garbage cd that I’ve coveted for years (yay!) as well as a cheap price on The Juliana Theory’s Emotion is Dead. I ended up having a conversation with the audiophile behind the counter who was simultaneously feeding me information as well as testing my acumen. (Just for the record, I’m a total neophyte and ultimately know very little.) When I shared that I had just sort of stumbled onto TJT through LJ, he started talking about them and then about other bands on the Tooth and Nail label, which apparently runs some interesting emo/punk offerings.

Then, he told me that a good number of the bands on the label were bands with Christian leanings, including, he suspects, TJT.

Ok, this floored me, and I found that a little bothersome. It disturbs me that I would have a mildly visceral reaction to a “type” label to the point where I’d start second-guessing whether my first reactions to the music were valid. If I like the music, should it really matter? Well, sometimes.

I remember being very young, having grown up in a conservative community, and getting freaked out when I learned that Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Bronski Beat were both bands that were made up of gay men. There was an initial reaction of shock, though I’m not really sure where it came from. Still, I managed to get past it because a) I didn’t really have an issue with homosexuality and I suspected that the reaction was more learned than genuine, b) I really did enjoy their music and c) they never identified themselves as “gay bands” per se. They were bands which just happened to have gay members.

I’ve had more difficulty with the idea of Christian rock. Just as an example, I find POD endlessly tedious. When I hear their music, I end up reinterpreting all of their lyrics through the perspective of a conservative Bible-thumper because they’ve identified themselves as such. I’m not sure if it’s fair, but that perspective is one that raises my hackles at mere mention. I don't want to get beaten about the head with their ideas.

There is limitation that comes with such deliberate self-labeling. Christian rock will carry a message and will appeal to a certain audience. It will speak against many of the tenets that I cling to. Bands that label themselves Christian make it clear that they are looking for a specific audience. Ultimately, in labeling themselves, they force a label on those who are interested in them. It’s sort of like what happens with personals ads... The people who state in their ads that they are Christian or Jewish do so because they are looking for someone who shares a predictable set of values.


I’ll let you know what I think of the disk later.