Saturday, June 1, 2013

Gratuitous Self Aggrandizement & Some of My Other Interests

When we first start playing RPGs, often our early characters could be more properly termed, caricatures. They are usually quite broad and very static creatures, larger-than-life cardboard cutouts. There's nothing really wrong with characters like that; though, they are inherently limited. In my experience, these flat stereotypes can be very fun, for a time, but soon grow boring or grow into more complex personalities. The surly, impudent dwarf learns hard lessons, teaching him patience and how to keep a civil tongue. The carefree, singing elf learns of loss and suffering; he becomes the sword-singing avenger of the downtrodden. The stoic but kind paladin sees so much wickedness and pain that his mercy dwindles to righteous anger. Even the most stereotypical stock-characters can grow into something more.

As a group, Stereotypes are ephemeral, they evolve, mutate, and generate through time. The stunning irony is that stereotypes as entities are dynamic whereas individually they tend espouse static qualities. (Archetypes are the ones that don't really change.) What then is the stereotype of those in our hobby, the rpg nerds/ enthusiasts/ gamers/ etc.?*

I tend to see them as two basic forms. On one hand, there's the neck-bearded, socially-retarded, overweight, basement-dwelling buffoon. On the other, there's the pencil-necked, superhero-underoos, intelligent-come-ineffectual wimp. (Interesting that necks come into this twice.) Not a particularly pretty picture.

I'd like to do a bit to shift this paradigm. If you've read much of this blog, you've likely noted that I'm a nerd of epic proportions (and am way too into this shit). But that isn't all I am.

I've been working in home d├ęcor retail for a while now. I've professionally designed floral arrangements (artificial and formerly-living), done some interior design, and have sold very fancy cookware. I've also thrown a redneck across a pool table, busted noses with my skull, and killed animals for food. I'm well read in literature & philosophy. I love the works of Botticelli, A. C. Swinburne, William Blake, Robert Heinlein, Vermeer, and Ayn Rand. I'm also quite fond of Devo, Richard Hell, the Misfits, They Might Be Giants, and Rush. I'm a pretty damn good cook, and I very occasionally write a fairly good poem.

I've even got some evidence for the last two claims:

© 2012 Edward Lockhart
Tomato and Tarragon Swai Fish
2 Swai Fillets
White Pepper
Black Pepper
Sea Salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Can of Diced or Crushed Tomatoes
Tablespoon of Tomato Paste
Dash of Sea Salt
Dash of White Pepper
Two Dashes of Ground Marjoram
Dash or two of Garlic Powder
Dash or two Onion Powder
Like a tablespoon maybe of Tarragon
Teaspoonish of Basil
Tablespoon of Capers
Parsley and/or Dried Chives
One Slice of Baby Swiss or Crumbled Chevre (Goat) Cheese
Preheat Oven to 350°. Coat baking sheet with a thin layer of Olive Oil. Lay out the thawed Swai Fillets top down. Salt and Black Pepper the Bottoms. Flip. Salt and White Pepper the Tops. Sprinkle a generous amount of Paprika on top. If using Swiss, break it into thumb-print sized pieces and layer on top of fillets with a centimeter or two of space between the pieces.

Thoroughly Mix Garlic, Sea Salt, White Pepper, Marjoram, Onion, Tarragon, Basil, Capers, and Tomato Paste into Canned Tomatoes. Layer over Fillets. Bake 20-25 minutes (depending on size and thickness of fillets). If using Chevre, bake 18-20 minutes and sprinkle Chevre on top. Then switch to broiler and broil for 3-4 minutes. Remove and garnish generously with Parsley and/or Chives. Let stand a couple of minutes then EAT!

So yes, in short I am an actual person rather than a caricature. I'd like to try to shift people's expectations of gamers & nerds in general. What are you into beyond the typical nerd? Sound off about it in the comments. Sound off about it via social media, too, if you're into all that jazz. #beyondgeek

Who knows, maybe we can get this idea off the ground...

*I strongly dislike the label geek. The performative and derisive nature of it's etymology combined with its unpleasant sound sours me to the word. Though, it does rhyme with chic so I suppose it was inevitable. I much prefer nerd. YMMV.