braindump, 3 April 2017

When I posted a brief excuse to the lowercase esports podcast feed earlier in March, I was confident that I just needed a little bit of time to get my mind over a few things, and that normal programming would resume on the following Tuesday. 

When that day came to pass, I decided to push resuming production back to April. I never fully explained why I punted production in that small audio post, but I feel as if I’m stuck in a mental rut and won’t be able to move along until I clear my mind. I have so much on my mind and no one to share it with. 

And so, here goes nothing. No promises I’ll be able to communicate everything in my head, but I’ll try.

  • I’ve said time and time again that lowercase esports and its related podcast doesn’t need thousands of subscribers or millions of impressions to help me feel as if I’m not wasting my time. The lack of momentum is beginning to appeal to the pragmatic side of my mind, and I’m beginning to believe that perhaps the effort I’m putting into the podcast isn’t worth the return, though, when I consider what the return was supposed to be — which was nothing, of course—I realized that I shouldn’t be upset that the result is exactly what my goal was. While I intend to continue the podcast into the future, I’m going to keep it on the stress-less side and potentially decrease ongoing production of the podcast.

  • My mother was remarried yesterday. I walked her down the aisle and gave her away to her new husband. I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. I wasn’t. Well, not entirely for that reason, anyway. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t screw up escorting my mother. Instead, I was reminded of how much I look like my father at every guests’ earliest convenience. If I was upset at any of the day’s events, it was that. The day wasn’t about him, but I’d be lying if I told you he wasn’t on my mind. 

  • My go-to game as of late has been Squad, though there are some other games that are competing for my time, and one of them is Fire Emblem Heroes. Throw away the storytelling attempt immediately, because this game is about min-maxing a four-character team for a considerable number of challenges and passively-online showdowns. Characters included in the game come from all corners of various Fire Emblem universes and modernized portraits of classic characters are absolutely well done. My greatest accomplishment with the game is the constant victory of being able to prove the existence of my self-control by not purchasing orbs.

  • I’m starting to believe I am or I was or I had been or I might be borderline depressed. Well, not really, but hey, I’m just trying to joke around, like I did on my most recent Facebook post. You know. Compensating. My aunt asked me about it before my mother’s wedding rehearsal this past Saturday, and I told her, “25/75.” When asked to explain my answer, I clarified, “25 percent actually, 75 percent stress… and this.” While the source of the second number might change, I know it’s not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. So… I think I’m fine, but who’s perfect?

  • I’d like to return to Atlanta to be a part of the audience at ELEAGUE for their SFV Invitational at some point during its run over the next handful of weeks. The production has been excellent so far, and I would imagine that many in the FGC — especially those in the Street Fighter V scene — should be taking notes and considering upping their production game to maintain the audience hype that ELEAGUE is going to be building over the next few weeks.

  • Destiny 2 has been announced and it’s confirmed that the 8 September release will include a PC port. Whether it’s going to be released via Steam or the Windows Play Anywhere scheme, I think I’m going to stick with it this time around. While I’m considering playing on my PC, I’ve decided to restart my attempts to explore the Xbox One side of the current game. Right now, I’m still working through the story arc from the near-beginning (for some reason, I had a copy of the original game’s story quest when I returned to it this week). 

  • Speaking of Xbox One, the latest UI update is incredibly slick. You should take a look at it. I miss being able to snap a Twitch feed, though.

I’ll probably never get a real response to this.

to: tcook@apple.com
from: hello@bcarr.me
re: Real MBP upgrade?

Any chance Apple will ever get around to shipping a real MacBook Pro that isn’t afraid to trade power for battery life? Say, something with a desktop-class Nvidia 1000 series chipset, like other manufacturers are providing?

I mean, either that or being able to install OS X on PC hardware would be great too. I’d pay for that privilege.

I love Apple and my MacBook Air is the most solid Apple product I’ve ever purchased, but I’ve been thinking about upgrading for awhile now, and paying nearly three grand for a MacBook Pro that’s graphically less powerful than the refurbished Acer laptop I bought nearly a year ago for $900 hurts my soul too much to commit to.

— Brad

Thirty.

I was thinking about walking over to a local sushi place for lunch, but instead, I’ve ended up in the sun room at the house with my laptop out, the ELEAGUE stream showing Immortals giving EnVyUs the L. After thinking about what I was going to do with the rest of my day, I’m still not settled on what I’m going to do.

Okay. Maybe I can make a quick run for sushi. I’ve been craving it.

Reactivated the contact info page. 

Nothing to seriously report here, but I’ve re-added the link to the contact info page back to the site. It’s just details regarding another couple of email addresses, but they’re addresses that I check all of the time and feel confident in being able to maintain.

I’m also exploring ways to revamp the blog and the podcast for 2017, including promoting the podcast and cross-posting to YouTube (since there’s been a shift from actual podcasts to calling things that aren’t podcasts, podcasts).

Small posts are also going to be making a comeback for the sake of my own sanity.

Back to the blog.

I’ve made one of these posts before using the same title. And yet, I’ve committed another exodus from this blog to Medium. And once again, I’m returning to this WordPress installation that I’ve had online for years.

In an age where Twitter’s stability and timeline seem to be getting more constrained every day top the point where the social media platform’s sunset years (or quarters) are in front of it, I just feel like the platform where I’m the most at home at isn’t exactly the most dependable place to put my ideas going forward. While it still exists, I’m going to use it, rest assured.

As far as why I’m moving back to the blog from Medium, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t live up to the massive amount of writing and formality that Medium seems to bring for my longer-than-a-tweet content. I like Medium as a platform. I like the design of everything on Medium. The editor is brilliant. The functionality of publications and profiles makes sense to me.

I think Medium will find more success from users and freelance writers who’ve actually spent time honing their writing skills. It’s fair to say that I don’t have that experience and ability, as much as I’d like to have thought that I could be a news writer or some sort of journalist about esports or anything else, really. I just want to write snarky posts that drip in sarcasm and skepticism (potentially ignorance) on a site that I control and own.

So yeah. Smaller posts. More direct writing. Less feeling like I have to write epic dissertations. More thinking like I can use the blog to help keep up without giving others a feed overload.

I’m going to try.

I thought writing more notes would help me write more posts. I was wrong.

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Shortly after I started the lowercase esports podcast, I came to the conclusion a one-man-show podcast that episodes needed to have some sort of structure. Without some sort of very basic order, I found I could not keep the central idea of the episode in mind without forgetting key parts of my argument which, in turn, would shred the quality of the result.

For a time, I tried publishing smaller posts. When an important source would link to something on Twitter, I would throw that tweet into a post and summarize my appraisal of the information or insight that was linked. I was lured into false sense of improving about these posts.

Ultimately, I felt I couldn’t cannibalize the content of my podcast by analyzing my sources two or three paragraphs at a time and publishing them to the blog as if I were shooting from the hip.

I resolved to making notes for themed episodes were I would need to bounce from one major idea to the other.

Of course, I needed someplace to put those notes. I bought a few ruled notebooks and ordered a leather notebook cover.

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A short aside as I mention equipment: if you’re serious about writing, get a real implement to write with. Separate it from your normal writing procedure. Don’t use it to sketch with. Don’t use it to write on Post-It notes. Don’t use it to sign your name with. Only use it to write.

And buy a fountain pen. Even a low-end fountain pen like the Preppy is an incredibly solid pen that only a moron or a child could ruin. As The Art Of Manliness puts it:

It makes you feel like a sir. I’ll admit it — one of the appeals of writing with a fountain pen is that it just makes you feel awesome. There’s something about writing with the same implement that Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill used that makes you feel like a true gentleman and scholar.

My initial method ended up being the note taking procedure of choice: every time I had a thought I wanted to save for later or read an article I had an opinion about, I wrote it down in that notebook.

After a few days of exclusively writing notes about various esports happenings and potential goings on, I stopped worrying about the performance of my posts. After a few more days, I stopped posting regularly. Why?

I felt more satisfied being able to recall details about my archived thoughts than I did when I was carelessly pushing articles into the ether.

Now, that might ring out as a tad defeatist, but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t. Self-deprecation is something of a way of life for me. I can also tell you it’s helped me develop into quite the social butterfly.

Being satisfied with my working material has invariably led to more confident podcasts. Monologues that used to be scatterbrained are now marginally more focused than they used to be.

Now, even though I’ve finished my first notebook, I still haven’t cracked the code on consistently keeping everything I’ve written out by hand in my mind as I record the podcast. I still have to refer to my notes if I don’t want to reorganize the episode according to what returns to the top of my head as I talk through the subject matter, but I’m feeling better about what I’m doing with the podcast.

So… what about publishing my notes… as posts?

Now, that could work.

Braindump: 26 July 2016

I originally posted this to Facebook, but I don’t think it’s worth posting to Medium. So here’s this. If you find me on Facebook and we haven’t had a face-to-face, don’t expect an add. I try to keep things separate that way.


Updates of all types in varying degrees of relevance in no particular order:

  • I went to EVO. It was good. Vegas wasn’t nearly as bad as the weather around Richmond lately, though. At least it didn’t feel as bad. There was more of a breeze there than there is here. I’m not sure why that is. There was a lot of people there. I ran seven pools between Friday and Saturday. Has definitely sealed its place in my annual routine.
  • A friend of mine runs a tournament called Smash Attack in NY. I want to go up there in August. Nothing finalized yet, but am currently taking suggestions for a whirlwind walking southern hick tourist tour of Brooklyn.
  • During poker time on vacation, I stacked this one woman twice. As she’s considering moving in one of the times, she asked me if I had something against her. I told her I’m just trying not to screw up. She calls, I turn over quads, the table sings a unison note of surprise. I stack her for probably $90. She proceeds to target me for the remainder of the evening, passive aggressively mentioning to the seat next to her how “you’re just not supposed to assume he has quad jacks all the time until he does.” Later, she reloads a third time. A few hands later, after the button passes me, I stand up and begin stacking my winnings to head over the cashier. “You’re leaving right after I buy in again?” I tell her “Lady, I have a plane to catch and I should probably share the book I’ve been reading all night with everyone at the table.”
  • I’m going to reorganize my friends list on here. Maybe I will log in more often. I still don’t like Facebook. It’s okay. Nobody likes Twitter anymore and I’ve always been the slow, pedantic hick that can’t catch up. Everybody wins. It’s fine. If you’re the type that gets offended when someone unfriends you, please refocus your offense into something else.
  • I am playing Pokemon Go. Team Mystic. I catch Pidgeys and Zubats more often than I’d like. Mildly losing interest. Hoping Nintendo won’t screw up Fire Emblem when they bring it to phones.
  • Politics are happening. Here’s your friendly reminder not to be a douchelord or douchelady during this time. Also to support C-SPAN, because 90% of things on other news channels are bad.
  • Additional politics suggestion: watch the UK Parliament do this thing called Prime Minister’s Questions every Wednesday. You’ll start to wish POTUS (the current one, either of the standing candidates, whoever) could do that on a regular basis instead of hiding behind their Press Secretary.
  • October doesn’t seem that long ago. Sometimes I think about it and I have to mentally check the math—the first thing that comes to mind is ‘six months ago’ when it’s closer to ten months. It’s as if the summer has dragged on too long. Or something.
  • Why does Facebook not support Markdown? Sakes. How do people handle all of this plain text? Cue headache.