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more meme questions.

shazamaramack asked me some pretty in-depth questions for this meme and each question also has a small background story to it. The summary of these questions before the cut are paraphrased for the sake of brevity. i also only completely answer three of these questions because two of them (3 and 5) need separate entries and time and energy i don't have right now.

1. How long have you been playing poker? How often do you play now? Is it just entertaining or is it also a significant source of income?
2. Do you think I missed a lot of great experiences and connections by not playing DDR? How has it changed your life?
3. Is music in your life mostly about creating, or do you also listen to a lot? Who are your favorite artists? What are your favorite albums?
4. What are *your* top 5 movies? How about top 5 movies that I probably haven't seen (i.e. recommendations)?
5. I've heard you have a unique perspective regarding monogamy, but haven't heard any details. If it's not too private, what's your take?

1. My friends and I got really into poker about seven years ago. We started having tournaments and playing online a lot, but Stephen and Jeff were the only ones that turned it into a temporary profession. Now, like laser tag and DDR, it seems to just be a rare indulgence rather than a common bond. How long have you been playing? How often do you play now? Is it just entertaining or is it also a significant source of income?

i think the first time i played poker was in 2004. It happened when Jeff and Stephen and company came down to Eugene for one of our DDR gatherings and they had just gotten into it. We were sitting outside at Scott Scriven's house i think and Jeff explained to a bunch of people how to play the game. I remember that the first hand i was ever dealt was QQ. I got pretty interested in the game immediately and discovered that poker was a big thing in Eugene. Various bars had poker tournaments pretty much every day of the week, and i found one bar in particular that sported a $20 buy-in tournament, so i started playing that irregularly without really knowing what i was doing other than instinct. From there i kept up with it and then started to actually learn how to play properly from reading the standard 2+2 books, getting guidance from Jeff/Stephen/Tyler, and playing a lot.

ever since i moved to new orleans, i started playing at Harrah's roughly once a week. sometimes a little more, sometimes less depending on what's going on. over thanksgiving break if i stay here i usually play every night starting wednesday until the following sunday. last summer i ended up only playing maybe twice over three months simply because i was too busy with all of my marching band writing and choir piece writing that i couldn't justify blowing a whole weekend on poker (because usually i start playing on saturday night between 6-8 and don't get home until 4-7 in the morning which usually makes my sunday a sleep day).

poker is pretty important to me, but despite that and despite the fact that i'm always trying to improve my game and learn how to plug my leaks and that i keep track of my earnings and ROI like a good long-term poker player should, it's not my first priority nor will it be for a while. I'm not good enough at it to make it a significant source of income, but i am good enough to make it a slush fund. I could probably get good enough to make it a significant chunk of income, but when i stopped playing over the summer, that was a definite decision in my mind to have it take a backburner to what i'm trying to do with my composition career (which isn't even my day job right now). This could change in the future, but right now to keep it restricted to that is the right decision for me long term. Right now it serves as that aforementioned slush fund, a good social outlet and a good distraction, a good way for me to keep my wits sharp, and a good analogy to how i should also approach certain aspects of my life.

2. There were about six of us in high school that over the years have bonded over countless games. The only ones that I skipped were DDR and WOW. Do you think I missed a lot of great experiences and connections by not playing DDR? How has it changed your life?

yes, but it doesn't matter. Everyone has their outlet, their connections. How being a more direct part of the DDR community could have changed your life is useless speculation. being a part of that community was and is a pretty a special thing to me, but you must have something like that that i don't.

The question of how DDR has changed my life is a tricky one. In some sense it's changed my life a lot and in another sense it hasn't changed it at all. One of the things that it's done is given me another network of people to connect with and how that network springboarded into other things. I would not be the poker player i am today without DDR. I would not have some of the great friendships that i have without DDR. DDR gave me another means of which i could express my creativity and thought process that had its analogy to my composition life and my marching band life.

The problem with DDR specifically is that it just acted as a conduit for those other things, but in itself it's a professional dead end. I had the chance to break into it when ITG3 was on the horizon as i had written some of the double-charts that were slated to be a part of that game, but once that fell apart because of the intellectual copyright issues, it wasn't worth it for me to continue to try to pursue professionally when i wasn't asked to do PIU Pro. In this, a different network community with the same sort of cliqueness but in a completely different world, the drum corps/marching band world, served me better because those connections were able to land me jobs with real income and eventually was what was able to pull me out of ultimately undesirable corporate work to what i'm doing now for my day job.

Earlier this year when Plaid's Scintilli came out, i had just gotten back into writing stepcharts again for complicated reasons and had planned on writing stepcharts for every track in that album because there was a lot of interesting potential. But a couple of weeks into that project, suddenly i had other projects, real projects that could have had real financial and professional return that needed to take that time, so i pushed it down in priority. That decision and that adjustment was an important one. My creative energy when i have the time and space to put into it needs to go towards things that will further my professional career and desires, and DDR stepcharting isn't it. I'll still put a lot of energy into DSR^3 because it's not like me to ever half-ass a project, but i do it in the understanding that all it is nostalgia. something fun that will keep me in shape and help keep that initial connection all of those years ago alive, but not something that will ever get me anywhere in the future.

3. Music is a huge part of my life. I have to have headphones on to work or exercise or commute. I aspire to be in a band, but for now I'm a pretty shitty guitar player. I know music is a big part of your life, but I imagine in a different way. Is it mostly about creating, or do you also listen to a lot? Who are your favorite artists? What are your favorite albums? When i was younger i listened to more music and more diverse music. As i got older, my tastes changed and i devoted a lot less of my time to listening to music and discovering new artists. i'm not quite sure why that is - part of it is that my tastes have established themselves much more, but part of it maybe is because searching out for that stuff seems like a waste of energy, and even if there are some great bands and artists out there that i haven't discovered, it's not like discovering them does much more for me than the stuff i listen to now, so if i stumble upon it, awesome, but if i don't, then oh well. life is all about missed opportunities as much as made ones, and if i miss out on this great band or that great band, well, that's just how it goes.

the stuff that appeals to me falls into probably three different categories: music that effects me on an emotional or a primal level, music that challenges my senses, and music that can do both. This translates mostly these days to electronica, rap, and new "art" music (what most people would term "contemporary classical").

an expansion of these categories, what they mean conceptually and practically in terms of bands is something i'll expand on in another entry since i want to get this done tonight and i'm fucking tired.

4. What are *your* top 5 movies? How about top 5 movies that I probably haven't seen (i.e. recommendations)?

My all-time favorite movie is Memento. My second all-time favorite is Unbreakable.

Lucky Number Slevin fits in my top five, and The Station Agent has always been somewhere in there two, although Moon/Source Code start to take that over as well as The Incredibles. The recent british series Sherlock ranks up there - even though that's a series and not a movie, it still kind of counts since each episode is an hour and a half long.

After that it gets a little blurry because it depends a lot on individual taste. If we talk about directors, Bruce Timm's treatment of the DC universe is pretty great - Batman: Under the Red Hood is the best treatment of the batman franchise in a movie out of any of them, with Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker a close second (although you need to watch the Batman Beyond television series to fully appreciate it). All of the DCAU movies are pretty awesome (except for the two Batman/Superman ones).

I'm pretty fond of Nolan's other work. Nothing beats Memento, but Inception, though flawed, was pretty wonderful, and i just watched The Prestige, which was also flawed but pretty wonderful.

i'm also very fond of Napolean Dynamite, Dodgeball: An Underdog Story, Hot Fuzz, and Best in Show.

for stuff more classic, there are staples like The Princess Bride, The Goonies, Back to the Future 1 and 2, Leon the Professional, Time Bandits, the Dark Crystal.

i have always always liked Dark City over The Matrix.

um, Muholland Drive is fun, as are Gaiman movies.

really, i'm picky about my movies and i don't watch a lot of them. i'm much more into telly shows than movies, so it might be worthwhile to have a conversation about that sometime in the future. :) I have posted up reviews of movies on here (which i'm sure you've seen), so if you want a wider breadth of material to pick from or to know what to avoid, just follow the tag.

5. The system of human relationships fascinates me. I'm surprised that manogomy is still so wide spread despite its obvious flaws that contribute to high rates of divorce and adultery. (And despite this surprise, I've spent the last 12 years devoted to it.) I've heard you have a unique perspective, but haven't heard any details. If it's not too private, what's your take?

Yeah, this too deserves a completely separate entry. I'll work on it over the next week or so.


yay last night in los angeles. concert was a big success and my piece was a big hit. who knows, maybe i'll become a big choral composer. i certainly hope not.

tag cloud:


( read spoken (2) — speak )
Mar. 28th, 2012 07:17 am (UTC)
1. Why don't you like Facebook?
2. Is there a specific characteristic or behavior of yourself that you can identify as derived from your upbringing? (something you know you do/ enjoy because you've always been that way, or you do/ enjoy because your parents/ family were like that/ did that).
3. When was the last time you were in a strip club? Do you enjoy strip/ gentlemen's clubs?
4. When was the last time something made you gleefully, euphorically happy?
5. What's your favorite childhood memory (10 years or younger)?
Mar. 28th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
i'll probably end up answering these questions before i get to dan's last question since dan's last question is a big can of worms. :)
( read spoken (2) — speak )


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March 2017