0004 Byetera 12: Personal Words

Memetic infection! Caught from Paka. Ask me for five words or phrases, and I will give them to you. Then, you will tell the world what they mean.

winter

The season of death, with the promise of rebirth. The time of the chrysalis. The season of ice and snow; in Seattle, the season of storm. Winter has always been the season with which I’ve most closely identified, and the time of the year that I’ve felt most happy, in seeming contradiction to most folks.

programming

The twenty-first century plumber’s trade. I didn’t want to be a “computer person” when I was in high school; I wanted to be a writer. Writers, however, didn’t make money, not back in 1992, and I wanted to be able to support a family. So, I chose to follow what I thought were my father’s footsteps, learning to make technology happen to put food on the table and money in the bank so that I could one day have the spare time to actually do what I wanted without worrying how I’d pay for my existence. Now I barely ever write, but at least I’m spending the time engaging the world socially, which is something I thought I’d never do.

World of Darkness

My second permanent headperson‘s name was Colin “Shadowstep” Stephens, a Gangrel Embraced in 1922. My third was Damon “Sparky” Gaehill, a Ragabash Glass Walker, white-hat hacker and Burning Man aficionado. Two games dominated the last half of high school and the first half of college; one of these involved so many characters, subplots, and interwoven stories that my roommate Sean and I had to plot them on graph paper to keep them clear. I had a twenty-seven-hour marathon gaming session that evolved from tabletop to LARP and back as we needed to migrate from room to room, from apartment to store or restaurant and back. The players and GMs in the game would call each other by their character names on campus and start in-game conversations in the middle of the day, then e-mail the results to others in the group. At times, I had to be able to keep up to five different personalities in mind at once as I spoke with others, to be able to adopt multiple personae and to be able to interrupt myself in a different accent. Personal aesthetics completely aside, the World of Darkness was my world for five years, and I miss it.

home ownership

One of the great myths, and one of the last remaining truths. Financial freedom, financial ruin. Caveat emptor. Ultimately, my dream involves owning a house… or more properly, owning a company that owns an apartment building so that “my place” really is big enough for everyone. A space inviolate… if you can afford it, and you can take care of it. No more sharing the walls and worrying about the security deposit; instead you worry what the neighbors will think and whether you’ll recoup your investment. You own a house; you build a home.

personal mythology

The universe is cold, dark, and unfeeling. You are a collection of random atoms, bound together and possessed of a curious notion of continuity for an unknown span. There’s no reason for you to exist, any more than there’s reason for anyone else to do so. Thus, you must make your own purpose. You have to decide who you are, and then you have to decide what that means, and then you have to decide what you’re going to do about it. Life is like bridge; you’ve got no control over the rules of the game, the cards you’re dealt or how the opposition plays, but you can always work out with others behind the scenes how to make the most of what you can do. Sometimes that means taking home all the marbles; sometimes it means minimizing your losses. Everyone around you is right when they tell you that the dragons and the faerie castles are just cardboard and balsa wood… but so are the banks and the governments, and that’s the secret they’ve let themselves forget. Just because you believe it, doesn’t make it true; just because nobody else believes it, doesn’t make it false. I know, deep down in my neurons, that Bear and Rabbit are just labels I’ve attached to personality traits and collections of ideas and ideals, that they’re no more gods than I am, that they’re figments of my imagination and that I can rationally explain them away as tools to anthropomorphize an inherently uncaring universe… but that doesn’t stop them from being Real.


You’re something beautiful, a contradiction.

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