I have been raised on Star Wars. I’ve been held in the arms of Prowse’s Vader when I was less than a year old. I’d worn out video cassettes by the time I was 2. I liked to dress as Darth Vader. My most viewed photo on Flickr is me doing just that.
When I see these trailers and adverts for VII it’s triggering some very deep involuntary emotional responses. All these adverts make me so happy. There’s so many girl positive aspects to them and I am thankful for everyday now and forward that little nerd girls can feel free to love the things they love.
What happened next was that I finally got around to reading an acquaintance’s book; this’ll get me in the mood for travel, I thought.
It turned out they’d already done just what I was planning to do with my trip – travelling around the USA on the magic rail ticket and just seeing what was out there.
Bugger, I thought. Bother and damnation.
Then, what happened after that was that I simply got over it. Sure, it’s a bit odd to do a very similar thing, but the motivation and manner were different, and no two adventures are the same. Everything would be fine; it was just an unfortunately timed discovery.
Variables. Excitement. Adventure.
It was time to get planning.
I have always relied on the kindness of strangers. That is how I’ve had the great fortune to make many friends.
Sometimes, all I’ve been able to repay them with is friendship. Mostly, that’s enough. A few people earnt my undying loyalty.
A long time ago, I used to be a well-liked figure on an internet radio station for an online game. I was popular because whilst the music I played was often excellent, if I do say so myself, it was mostly because I had a quirky profile picture and an English accent. I was (am) a girl who played games.
This left me with a tangible network of friends all over the states, from fellow DJ’s to listeners who seemed to be genuinely nice people.
Back in the day, I had plenty of invites to visit people, offers of spare rooms and places to visit in towns I’d never been to. I’d never had the money, or the confidence to travel alone.
Now, 6 years on, I’d decided to take up those offers. After all, I’d repay them with tales of travel in a fancy accent. Having been to the last 2 incidences of the yearly convention held in Phoenix, Arizona, I figured my chances were good. I’d gotten used to solo travel, no longer felt so out of place eating alone in bars and restaurants, and was well on the way to travelling light, even if I rarely did.
After an exciting but short-lived project ended, I had time on my hands. I also had most of the cost of a plane ticket to PHX. What I’d really wanted to do the first time I went over to the States was to ride a train. One of those massive, hulking, hurtling monsters, miles long and blowing that familiar whistle as they pelted through tiny towns heading for sleeping prairies. They’d sounded just like in movies the first time I’d heard one, floating in on an ineffectual breeze at 5am in a stuffy rental cottage in Mesa. They still do.
I didn’t ride one that time. Nor the next time. Just took some snaps and imagined what it might be like to ride the box cars just as the romanticized visions of hobos did.
A friend visiting from North Carolina had bought a magic rail ticket which meant she could travel the British isles for ridiculously cheap. I’d already discovered that the USA already had their own in kind, but once again, I’d never had the time. I’d always thought it would be cars or greyhounds that took me on a tour of the states, but why had I never thought about taking a train?
I remembered that there had been few real routes and that the network of trains wasn’t really like ours. Public transport was often lacking. The car was king.
I couldn’t drive. That wasn’t an option for me. It would be expensive and I couldn’t do it anyway. I was getting a train. Trains.
An adventurer was me.
10 years ago, this is not where I would (could?) have seen myself. But it’s awesome, so awesome. I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be blonde or wearing hoop earrings, either (they were a thank you gift from the teams I work for).
I have a badass haircut, a badass job, awesome and amazingly cool friends (both new and old) who continuously astound me with their kindness, generosity and humour.
Why, it makes me want to throw a Thanksgiving.
I had finally found words to detail my feelings about Valentine’s Day, but they escaped as soon as I went to set them to pixel. I’ll try to muddle through.
It’s become cliche to say one doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, that it’s so crass and commercial, that it’s simply for suckers. I can’t say I disagree, but the truth is I’ll enjoy a token of affection on that day just the same as any other day. Of course, a thoughtful gesture on any other day might be met with a little less suspicion of peer pressure, but there it is.
If I see a small delightful gift and am of the mind to give it, of course I will. Likewise, were I to gift on the 14th Feb, it would be more from a sense of not wanting to seem callous and assume the other party had Holiday Apathy also (though you’d have hoped it would have been discussed already).
I am looking forward to catching Die Hard 5 tomorrow. It’s an interesting choice for a (very deliberate) Valentine’s Day release movie.
I’ll be watching it alone, as I do most movies, but I enjoy knowing that over in America, across all the states they live in, my gaming clan will be taking their sweeties to watch it for a subversive Valentine’s date.
Before I went overseas, I’d been going through the motions for some time. Maybe even years. Getting up, going to work, coming home, wasting time. Never quite making enough effort to make things happen, to see friends often, to do things that made me happy.
Deserts have a history in narratives of self-discovery. I don’t think I discovered myself, but I think I maybe broke out of just being so numb all the time.
To feel things so intensely again was a joy. No one trigger, but many things all together – feeling independent again, going with the moment, trying new things, feeling that thrill, excitement, actual goddamn feelings again. I also know now what my first ink will be.
It’s time to stop forgetting, time to start getting on with things. Promptly.
Gaming Made Me: Fallout 2 | Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
I love this article. Heartfelt and touching, engagingly written, and interesting to see the effects games and RPGs can have on people in palpable, positive ways.
Statement President Nixon was to read in case the astronauts were stranded on the Moon, July 18, 1969 (via reddit) http://t.co/aBKdmlyf — Doug Coupland (@DougCoupland)