John Walker's Electronic House

by on May.17, 2004, under The Rest

This evening I am a complicated combination of inspired, and entirely uninspired.

I’m also feeling that strange awareness of having the strangest audience for this blog. People either read this because I am the bloke who writes the budget reviews in a PC games magazine, or because they know me in real life. I think the overlap of this particular Venn diagram is a little on the small side.

I mention this because it creates a confusing dichotomy in my brain about what I want to write here. Sometimes I want to moan about being single or something, but then I think: oh no, there are strangers reading, strangers who might think I am some sort of love god, and how can I disillusion them? No. No, I don’t ever really think that. But I do feel troubled about discussing the finer minutia of my morbid life.

Sometimes I want to moan about my degree, and where I am with my youth work qualifications. I’ve got less than a month to have all my fieldwork stuff in, and I’m ages behind on it all, due to being very lazy indeed. But I have to get it all sorted because otherwise I’ll have wasted an enormous amount of the last two years. Not the actual youth work itself – that is what it is, independent of this silly degree. It’s just that the degree leeches off the youth work, trying to make it all official and important and qualified and journalled and rubberstamped. The wasted time will have been all the stupid journals I have written, and all the tedious ‘small group’ meetings I’ve attended, and the endless forms and meetings and dilemmas and confrontations. Blimey, that’s a bit sad – my motivation to finish is so the crappy times at least went towards something. I expect I’m just moping. I’m sure I’ll have more enthusiasm soon. Perhaps I’ll find it again after Deadline Day, June 11th. (That reminds me – when Kieron Gillen used to do Gamer’s game commissions, they included the line, “And by ‘deadline’, we mean exactly that. The line which, if you cross, you will be made dead.”)

I should mention some of the stuff I’m doing for PC Format. In the issue in the shops at the moment – the one with the stupid rubbish photo of a girl licking a graphics card, irony apparently – I have a four page feature all about file sharing and stuff. It’s quite good. It’s good enough that it annoyed Macrovision (people responsible for the copy protection on CDs and games) so much that they wanted to tell me off… by taking me out for lunch. How media-whore is that?! So this at once proved that there is indeed such a thing as a free lunch, and in fact one that gets you more paid work as a result of it. They sure showed me.

But there’s other stuff too. As a result of that article, I’m supposed to be writing a monthly half page thing about file sharing and the RIAA and suchlike. Though I got myself in some trouble with that today. I made a comment about some senior editor bloke I don’t know in my copy, and he – erk – read it. I wasn’t rude or anything, I just said that I’d ignored something he’d said to do in the commission because it didn’t work. He sent me a cross email. I imagine I’ll be killed to death tomorrow for that.

But better, I have a monthly page now of writing about weird websites. It’s not the most original idea, but I don’t think it needs to be. It’s a place to link to whatever websites have made me laugh or be impressed that month, and to look back on an old dead site that was once great. It’s fun to write, so I’m really pleased to have that.

Plus, this month I got to realise an ambition that I’ve had for ages – I got to write about toilets in PC games.

For the last few years, it’s been something of a running, er, joke, that I’ve pitched the idea of a feature about toilets in PC games. Obviously no one has ever said yes, because it’s a rubbish idea that just amuses me to say out loud, but would probably be the worst thing ever if I had to do it. But, the perfect compromise was realised. Alec at Format commissioned a single page of it. I’m really pleased with the result – I’ve managed to get some really good genuine developer quotes, and put together a really deadpan (though completely ridiculous) page. I don’t want to spoil any of the jokes or names of developers here, so if you’re the only person who’ll care about this, you’ve got just over a month to wait. I’ve also got a few pages about Sid Meier in the PCF out in a few days.

Interesting – the thing this entry was going to be about hasn’t come up. I’ll write that next, just above. However, instead, I think I’ve decided to be a bit more open and honest on this blog, whenever I get around to updating it. Who cares what strangers think? Well, I do, but let’s ignore that.

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