The overall mood here at the The Jones Report offices (current number of employees: three, counting the two cats WHO ARE USELESS BY THE WAY) has improved remarkably since I touched the bottom of the proverbial pool in January. For readers who expressed their concern over my dark mood, 1. thank you, that's very sweet of you, and 2. dark moods are a part of life--well, my life, anyway--and I don't necessarily fear them, or loathe them entirely. They are what they are, nothing more.
But I do firmly believe that when you are in a dark place, down at the bottom of the old pool, it's your responsibility to figure out how to get back to the surface.
So, when the Global Game Jam organizers asked me to come out and talk to the Game Jam participants last week at the British Columbia Institute of Technology on either Friday night or Sunday night (my choice), I responded by saying: "Hey, Game Jam Organizers, let me completely blow your minds AND COME OUT BOTH NIGHTS."
It turned out to be a terrific idea, too. A bunch of people were split into teams, then challenged to make a game, or some semblance of a game, in 48 hours. There were many high points, as well as many fine people to converse with. The sole low point came during my "talk" on Friday evening. I took the microphone, not realizing that the event's organizers expected me to expertly expound on a topic. Instead, what I did was ramble on like I'd recently endured a severe head trauma, with my only strategy being this: the less I had to say, the louder I'd go ahead and say it.
Finally, looking out over a room full of Game Jammers anxious to start coding and "jamming" and doing what Game Jammers do, I said, in the loudest voice possible: "OK, SO WHO HERE WATCHES THE SHOW?" Referring, of course, to Reviews on the Run, the show that I host with Victor, and which airs on CityTV across Canada at least 97 times a day.
It's the dead of winter here in British Columbia, with temperatures hovering around the 0 degrees celsius, so it is far too cold for crickets to be alive this time of year. But in that moment, looking out across that vast, suddenly silent room of people, I'd swear I heard one. Or two.
Apparently, no one watches the show, or, if they do watch it, they were not willing to admit to it in a public forum.
The opportunity to listen to a man speak IN A LOUD VOICE on nothing in particular for 10 or possibly even 11 minutes was probably not the dual lightning bolts of energy and personality--shazam, energy! shazam, personality!--that the Game Jam's organizers were looking for to launch the event. (Colin, my camera man for the evening informed me afterward that it did seem as if I was "grasping around" during my loud speech-talk. He actually used the word "grasping around," which makes me think now that I delivered the oratorial equivalent of someone spending 10-11 minutes searching for a lost contact lens.)
Anyway, the Game Jam was a ball. And the "jammers" made some incredibly cool stuff in the 48 hour time frame. This game, called Dino Fling, was my favorite. Did they make that in 48 hours from scratch? ANSWER: THEY DID.
But the rain returned to metro Vancouver this morning, and it appears to be dropping anchor in the city for the foreseeable future. Which brings me back to my 100-Things project.
To re-cap: A few weeks back, while feeling particularly low, I started an endeavor I'm calling the 100 Things That I Just Love So Much project. (You can read the first installment here.)
And so, it continues.
90. Resident Evil 4 - Shinji Mikami's 2005 masterpiece. I've finished it at least five times.
89. "Game of Pricks" by Guided By Voices; possibly the most exhilarating 1:33 of music ever.
88. Jesus's Son - Denis Johnson's short story collection
87. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters - Seth Gordon's terrific documentary
86. A medium-rare filet and a Pilsner at Keens Steak House on 36th Street in Manhattan. Sit at the bar at around three in the afternoon. The universe will suddenly make sense in this moment.
85. Eastbound and Down on DVD - Watch the show, then watch the 13:05 extra titled "All The Times Someone Fucked Up." You will be happy. Very, very happy.
84. The NY Times Crossword puzzle (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays only) (I'm not sharp enough to handle the rest of the week.)
83. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. If you memorize only one poem in your life, make it this one.
82. Super Nintendo - circa 1991
81. David Simon's The Wire, in its entirety.
80. The Quitter by Harvey Pekar.
79. My DVD box set of the original Star Wars trilogy, signed by George, that says, "Scott, Find a way to tell your story."
78. American Movie - Chris Smith's superb 1999 documentary about one man's quest to make a horror movie.
77. Track 14, titled "Peanut Brittle" off the Paul F. Tompkins album, Impersonal. You. Will. Laugh. Trust me.
76. Hearing Jenny Lewis sing the word "fuck." Examples: "A Better Son/Daughter" by Rilo Kiley/Jenny Lewis; "Spectacular Views" by Rilo Kiley/Jenny Lewis. Seriously, hearing her say "fuck" can turn a whole day around.
75. Shadow of Rome (PS2) - Motohide Eschiro's effort is one of the best games no one has ever played. So, you know, sad face.
74. Fieldrunners for the iPhone. So long, downtime! Hardly knew you!
73. "The Pugilist At Rest" by Thom Jones. I re-read this short story at least once a year.
72. Any album by the now deceased comedian Mitch Hedberg.
71. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. One of maybe five books that I've read compulsively in my life.
70. 1999's The Matrix by the Wachowski Brothers. Only referring to the original here. The sequels were horse shit. Confession, the ending of this movie, when Neo realizes his potential, this moment of personal reckoning, always makes my eyes a little moist.
[I'll keep posting in the coming days. And if you've got your own 100 TIJL lists, I'd be interested in seeing them. Link to them in the comments below.]