Blaugust Is Next Month

1,719 words.

I’ve just been reliably informed that next month is August. In fact, it will be August in just over two weeks from the time of this writing. (Which was yesterday, as of the time of this posting.) That means Blaugust is back. Head over there to Tales from the Aggronaut for all the details.

Thanks to Belghast for making these awesome images available!

I have to be honest. The idea of writing a blog post every day for a month elicits a heavy sigh from me. It’s like signing up for a marathon. Literally, for me, since I doubt I could even walk a mile right now, let alone run 26 of them. It’s like signing up for something that I know is going to be a slog for me, in other words, and it’s hard to find a lot of motivation for that.

Last year about this time I had just gotten a cataract removed from one eye. There is technically a cataract growing in the other eye, too, but it’s not a problem yet. That all reminds me I still need new glasses. I’m not very good about making appointments for stuff. A pair of 1.25x reader glasses has been working serviceably well and it was only $20.

Anyway. This year I can see okay, but I have an even worse problem: Sitting in a chair typing into a document hurts my back quite a lot. There’s just something about the act of sitting the “right” way with my back straight and my arms out in front of me on a keyboard that just *hurts*. It’s a pain that goes from the base of my spine through my right shoulder blade to the back of my neck and shoulders. It just aches and throbs and on bad days it’s just miserable, and all it takes to aggravate it is a half hour sitting at a keyboard typing continuously, particularly in the morning. It’s gotten better since last year but it’s still there, just waiting to spring out on any given day and effectively cripple me.

It’s put a big old damper on my enthusiasm for writing, let me tell you. I have to write in 10-15 minute sessions. Which is not very conducive to productivity. You end up with this spewage of consciousness on the page that sounds quite mad.

But I still like the idea of participating in Blaugust. It’s a nice community event. The blogging part of it is a huge drag, but the community part is neato. :)

So with the idea of writing every day for a month looking like a Sisyphean task, and painful to boot, I started trying to think of ways I could make the event fun and interesting and challenging to me in new and different ways.

I hear there’s this thing the kids are into called “streaming.” I have a tremendously long backlog of Steam games I’ve bought but never played. In the past, I’ve occasionally done this episodic thing in video and writing form I call a “snap judgment,” where I play a game for an hour and write my final review of it as if I’ve played the whole game. So I wondered: What if I stream a new Steam game for an hour every day and talk about it?

I went to Steam and found the list where it sorts by your played time. The number of games I own with zero hours is a lot more than 31, so I won’t have any shortage of games. Here’s my first pass at such a list, in reverse alphabetical order because that’s how I wrote them down for some reason:

  1. World in Conflict
  2. Vortex: The Gateway
  3. Viscera Cleanup Detail: Shadow Warrior
  4. Tree of Savior
  5. Titan Souls
  6. TimeShift
  7. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
  8. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
  9. The Age of Decadence
  10. Serious Sam Fusion (2017 beta)
  11. Remember Me
  12. Quake III Arena
  13. Penumbra: Requiem
  14. Never Alone
  15. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
  16. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
  17. Max Payne 3
  18. Kholat
  19. Hitman: Absolution
  20. Half-Life 2
  21. Game of Thrones
  22. Enclave
  23. Dead Space 2
  24. Darksiders II
  25. Crysis Wars
  26. Crysis 2 Maximum Edition
  27. Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3
  28. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  29. BioShock 2 Remastered
  30. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  31. A Story About My Uncle
  32. Alan Wake
  33. A Beginner’s Guide

I didn’t even know I owned some of those. And some I think I’ve played, despite what Steam says. And some I *know* I’ve played either a little or a lot but I thought it would be fun to look at them again. I’ll probably randomize the order.

I’m not a streamer though, and I have very little interest in the popular notion of what streaming has become. For example, here are some things you *won’t* see in a stream from me:

  • SLOBS Themes
  • Green screens
  • Overlays
  • Emotes
  • Fancy switching
  • Face cameras taking up 1/2 of the screen
  • Probably no face cameras at all because I’ve been letting my hair and beard grow and I look quite a lot like a crazy old hermit right now
  • Swearing every other word just for the lulz
  • Yelling about smashing a bell or whatever
  • Yelling about racism or sexism or whatever
  • Yelling about anything really, yelling hurts my delicate vocal cords
  • Other people’s copyrighted music playing in the background because Twitch can’t enforce laws
  • Any real understanding of streamer culture

Here are some things you *would* see in my streams:

  • A game I haven’t seen before and my live reactions to and analysis of it
  • Pretending I’m talking to a huge audience of riveted listeners even though probably nobody is watching or cares
  • Pretending I’m in a better mood than I probably am in
  • Pretending that it’s perfectly normal to sit by myself in a room and talk about games into a microphone
  • Dumb, subtle, dry jokes that I think are really funny but most people can’t even tell if it’s a joke
  • References to things that most people aren’t old enough to get
  • Watching cut scenes and dialog without interrupting them
  • Reading unvoiced text out loud, sometimes in terrible accents because I think it’s more fun that way
  • A lot of stretch breaks because it hurts my back to sit in a chair for too long
  • A few minutes talking about whatever the Blaugust subject of the day is, so I don’t have to write much about it
  • Trying to think of something generally positive to say every day even though there’s not really very much to be positive about
  • My cat jumping up on the keyboard in front of the screen and bumping the microphone to tell me she wants to go outside
  • My dog snoring very loudly in the corner

My streams probably won’t last much more than an hour. And they would probably be around 5-6 pm my time (Eastern). Although I’ve always thought that a “morning show” would be cool, too.

Anyway it’s an idea. I might change my mind and abandon the whole thing tomorrow. But it’s a new and different project I’ve never done before and I don’t know how it will turn out, which is both exciting and terrifying, which is the exact place where creativity is supposed to be. Based on my life history I’m sure that I will probably put way too much effort into making it a “show” I can be proud of regardless of whether anyone else ever watches it. Which is, incidentally, the exact attitude that should be taken into blogging. So it sort of fits with the spirit of Blaugust.

As for what to *blog* about every day, I suspect I will end up just writing up a couple of paragraphs about each the streams, and the games therein. Mostly focusing on how much better they could have been, I would imagine.

So anyway I signed up for Blaugust. I can trace my first “blog posts” back to around 1997 when I posted Quake match summaries on the clan’s web site, so I technically should be a “mentor,” but I signed up as a “participant.” To be perfectly blunt, my advice to any prospective new blogger would simply be: Don’t bother. Kind of like how every actor discourages people from getting into acting. If you have the passion and dedication and specific reasons to press onward in the face of everyone telling you not to do it, then blogging might be right for you. Otherwise, tweeting, vlogging, streaming, or podcasting is the clearly superior way to find an audience. Probably not the greatest of cheerleading for Blaugust, but there you go. :) The point is, I’d be happy to answer questions about blogging but I don’t feel a great need to volunteer information. The first rule of blogging, for any new bloggers out there, is not to blog about blogging. :)

Incidentally, I’ve also been thinking of “rebranding” all of my social media handles for ages. I need to consolidate my online stuff. Maybe I’ll finally go through with that during this Blaugust when everyone will be paying more attention. (Don’t worry I won’t change the profile picture. :)

P. S. I tried to do a test stream this afternoon and Twitch won’t give me a stream key until I setup two-factor authentication on my account, which I think is new since last year, the last time I streamed something. The second factor is a phone number. It’s the only major site that I’m aware of that forces you to give them a phone number. Everyone else just “encourages” you to. Twitch says: No phone number, no service. Millennials Only. You Must Assimilate. There’s the door, old person who still remembers what privacy is. Since Twitch is owned by Amazon, giving Twitch my phone number is basically the same as giving every salesperson in the entire world my phone number. I can’t believe nobody has rioted over this in the past year. The point is I was going to stream to Twitch for widest possible dissemination but now I’m probably just going to use YouTube. Twitch is just too weird now anyway. Or just say to heck with the whole idea. It’s evening now and the entire plan seems very ill-conceived upon a second glance.

P. P. S. Maybe I could go super meta and stream the writing of blog posts!

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