First -“The Worst Year Ever, Until Next Year“, from the New Yorker:
There is no limit to the amount of misfortune a person can take in via the Internet, and there’s no easy way to properly calibrate it—no guidebook for how to expand your heart to accommodate these simultaneous scales of human experience; no way to train your heart to separate the banal from the profound. Our ability to change things is not increasing at the same rate as our ability to know about them. No, 2016 is not the worst year ever, but it’s the year I started feeling like the Internet would only ever induce the sense of powerlessness that comes when the sphere of what a person can influence remains static, while the sphere of what can influence us seems to expand without limit, allowing no respite at all.
Second, also from the New Yorker – Patti Smith on her Nobel performance:
Words of kindness continued through the day, and in the end I had to come to terms with the truer nature of my duty. Why do we commit our work? Why do we perform? It is above all for the entertainment and transformation of the people. It is all for them. The song asked for nothing. The creator of the song asked for nothing. So why should I ask for anything?
When my husband, Fred, died, my father told me that time does not heal all wounds but gives us the tools to endure them.
Third – it is becoming increasingly unlikely that I will be able to publish my ridiculously overlong year in review any time soon. I have suddenly become overwhelmed by my to-play list, I have a recording project that I’ve become intimidated by (which, incidentally, is supposed to help me jumpstart my other recording project), and – last but certainly not least – I have finally gotten the change to try out a PSVR unit, and it is a literal game-changer.
I want to get into the details of the paragraph above, because it’s a doozy.
My birthday was on the 8th, and for the last few years I’ve become increasingly weird about it. Like: I refuse to celebrate it, I don’t want any presents, I would prefer to curl up into a ball and stay under the covers all day. (I would have stayed home this year, except I ran out of vacation AND sick days and had no choice but to come in to work; as it happens, I ended up crawling into bed at, like, 8:30pm.) I appreciate and am grateful for the Facebook mentions, but even then I feel a little silly.
So what I did, instead, was go on a game-buying rampage. As I believe I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I recently installed new (and gigantic) hard drives on both my Xbox One and my PS4, and so I’m re-downloading my entire digital libraries on both systems. I’m also in an arbitrary but still frantic rush to hit the 100K mark in Xbox Achievements before years’ end. And so, to that end, I’ve been playing a ton of shit – I’m going back and forth between so many different games that I feel like I’m having whiplash. I suppose I’m primarily focused on Watch Dogs 2 and Dishonored 2, but I’m also spending time with Gears 4, FFXV, Steep, Dead Rising 4, Battlefield 1, Stardew Valley, The Last Guardian, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Mafia 3, and I’m dabbling with the idea of replaying Witcher 3 on XB1 as well. As you might imagine, this is insane.
And now, also, I’ve finally gotten a chance to use PSVR. There’s some sort of Wired Magazine expo happening in the lobby of my office, and they happen to have a PSVR demo unit, and I’ve been sneaking down there during lulls and checking it out. I’ve been very curious about VR for a while now, and I knew that because my PC was basically dead, PSVR was the only way I’d be able to experience it. And, I mean… I don’t know how to describe it. It’s the sort of thing that really has to be experienced first-hand in order to properly understand it. And now that I’ve finally experienced it… I need it, urgently. It is astonishing. I want my whole entire family to try it over the holidays – even my mom, whose experience with videogames does not venture all that far beyond Solitaire on her iPad.
I’ve only tried a few things – one was a shark tank demo, and then I played a few minutes of both Rez Infinite and Thumper. The latter two games are simply jaw dropping; indeed, Thumper might very well be the most intense gaming experience I’ve had in years, which is saying something considering it’s essentially a rhythm/QTE game. (It also helps that the headphones on the demo unit were amazing.)
How can I possibly talk about 2016, then, when there’s still so much I haven’t tried yet?
And, of course, there’s the recording projects. This is not the right venue to discuss what’s going on there – I might post that on my secret blog, later – but the short version is that there’s simply not enough time in the day to get everything done. I’ve done a lot of prep work, but I haven’t yet laid down any tracks. I don’t necessarily have a deadline on this, but I do want to finish it soon… but unless I take some time off from work – which I can’t – I don’t know when it’s gonna happen. It’s GOING to happen, though.