Look okay, so the thing with the NSW state election is that it was never going to go Labor, as I said a couple days before the election:
My reasoning here is that the memory of being burned by the farcical parade of labor premiers for the past decade is still too fresh (we had three premiers in the space of 5 years, which is enough to disrupt any legislative agenda), and NSW Labor still hasn’t done anything to significantly separate itself from that era. There has been no break, no repudiation of what went wrong, no communication of having ‘learned their lesson’ (whether that really is the case or not, I’m talking purely about the realm of perception).
Add to that situation the fact that the ICAC affairs and resignations were only last year and you can understand why, actually no, maybe NSW voters aren’t being completely fucking stupid and maybe it’s fairly sensible to think that Labor maybe shouldn’t be in government again just yet. People don’t seem to love Baird – there’s no widespread sense of identification with the son of a former politician and career banker, try as he might to SMS his way into the minds of everyone in the state – but they sure as hell still dislike NSW state Labor. And that dislike seems mostly entirely reasonable to me. In my electorate even a ten percent (!!) swing away from Stuart Ayres to the Labor candidate Emma Hussar wasn’t enough, because of the cataclysmic landslide Ayers benefited from after Karyn Paluzzano resigned in disgrace back in 2010 (Paluzzano presented me with awards at my High School graduation in 2004 – mum & dad have the photo on the fridge), with Ayers at the time picking up a twenty-seven percent swing (!!!!) signalling the beginning of the end for Kristina Keneally’s government – the point at which the cat was finally out of the bag that Labor was about to get fucking whacked later that year.
Heck, even Jackie Kelly picked up 10% of the vote in Penrith which goes to show the hunger there is in the electorate for third parties and alternative (and lol no the greens don’t really count out here). Also the west has almost completely lost it’s distaste for the idea of a second airport in Sydney, which is why Kelly couldn’t really muster up a solid protest vote.
Anyway, Baird looks set to begin preparing to sell off the NSW power grid which is exactly the wrong lesson to take away from his electoral victory and for which I am absolutely sure he will be massively punished at the next election. Electorates as disengaged as the state of NSW (particularly out here in the west) electorates aren’t willing to vote anyone out to pre-empt bad shit like the power sell-off, they’re only ever going to do it reactively, not proactively. Especially when doing so means going back to what seems like a political abuser who hasn’t really convinced you they’ve learned their lesson yet.
“Actually, in spite of the fact that everyone considered him mad, José Arcadio Sugundo was at that time the most lucid inhabitant of the house. He taught little Aureliano how to read and write, initiated him in the study of the parchments, and he inculcated him with such a personal interpretation of what the banana company had meant to Macondo that many years later, when Aurelian became part of the world, one would have thought that he was telling a hallucinated version, because it was radically opposed to the false one that the historians had created and consecrated in the schoolbooks. In the small isolated room where the arid air never penetrated, nor the dust, nor the heat, both had the atavistic vision of an old man, his back to the window, wearing a hat with a brim like the wings of a crow who spoke about the world many years before they had been born. Both described at the same time how it was always March there and always Monday, and then they understood that José Arcadio Buendia was not as crazy as the family said, but that he was the only one who had enough lucidity to sense the truth of the fact that time also stumbled and had accidents and could therefore splinter and leave an eternalized fragment in a room.” Garbriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, p.355.
This is my second favourite passage from the whole book (the first one involves a two page long description of some rather animated and purposive blood trails and their passage throughout a town, across roads, under tables, skirting objects, etc. Blood is fairly magical in this book. Heck everything is magical, its fair to say.)
I want to drop out
Live on a farm
Grow my own food
Marry a sweetheart
Raise her children
Harness the sun
to farm for fish
I want to say that I feel like it’s a lot down to the silo-ification of research fields and disciplines that this type of extremely practical, extremely fascinating pure research (??) isn’t really done anymore…? or if it is, it’s not applied or communicated in the same way? (forget about science communication its a wash) Less science on TV? But I wasn’t around back then, so I can’t really know for sure…
Dang. Watch that clip where he talks about the effects of that one sketch and its catch-phrase (i mean the rest of the video after that is surprisingly interesting too, but yeah).
if someone asked me right now and forced me to answer honestly, “will you miss gdc?” i would have to answer “not especially.” this is not because it wasnt good or great or amazing – it certainly was all those things at times for me. and its not because i wont miss the people, because i will. instead its because i cannot really have normal human responses right now. as ive mentioned to a couple of people, i am just so completely overwhelmed and overshadowed by the entire thesis object, which looms over and above me, blocking out all the light and any ability to see and live normally. i have been living with it, in this final interstitial “finishing” phase, for over a year now and it has restricted my ability to anticipate and enjoy anything fully. its a terrifying gradual process and i had no idea what i was getting into when i started… i had no idea this was going to be the result. I cant even imagine how long or what it will take to get me back to being me again. such is its force that it prevents me from envisioning credibly anything post-phd… maybe it will only take a day, or a week, from handing it in. whatever, dont go having any strong feelings about my situation either, its no ones fault but mine and its not the end of the world… its just a numbing, a deadening of the sensory responses by the always present knowledge that it’s not yet done. it literally sucks all my ability for anticipation because i literally want nothing else more than for it to be done. but that want is not a fiery want, its more like a smouldering coal fire, deep underground that changes the geological makeup of the local environment. there might not be much felt heat or smoke, but its there… underground… waiting… working…
also theres something a bit disenchanting about being at GDC without having done anything really vital in the scene for so long. i didnt really have anything to tell people about or discuss excitedly. im not making a game, not reviewing games, not even critiquing games, barely even publishing about games… its fine, im pivoting, but its weird. its always been weird. who the hell am i in games anyway? who was i and who will i be? are these questions even worth asking? …
shoutouts to some amazing people this week who managed to penetrate even my soporific stupor: richard lemarchand who literally brings tears to my eyes when i think about him sometimes. harry lee who provokes similar feelings and admiration. my friend brendan keogh who is basically a rock of a human being, does anything upset that man? who can say. michael abbott who is a fucking rock star. laura parker who is completely and utterly fearless and charming. kris ligman who deserves a better world than this one.
shout outs to everyone i hung out with and shout-outs to all the other really cool people who i didnt get to spend as much time as i would have liked to, too many to name, too many to note.
i want to take this laptop, this stack of paper representing my thesis in draft form, drive to the ocean, and throw the fucking lot into the sea
something clicked last week and i’m done.
i’m done, but the thesis isn’t. yet.
the change is imperceptible, largely mental, and completely crucial. before the thesis was something i was terribly invested in, it was close to me, it was right here; felt.
today? it’s a million miles away, its on the other side of the ocean. i’ve divested of all but The Work left to finish it up to a point where it Doesn’t Suck Enough such that I can live with it.
mark the meaningless milestone
i wash my hands of this thing
woah a blog entry doesnt even need a title
I cant sleep.
I never can.
Fuck I hate this. my bed is cursed