Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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october 21 i think

i like sweden. this trip, it reminds me a lot of oakland; people are nice in both places.

got the hook up it's a pilot, whee. but here it's cold - like 5degrees. (centigrade). fresh off the plane i realized svante my host had taken me up on my offer to transport myself to the city by bus and there would be no welcoming ride or greeting. i milled about the airport converting currency and trying to find an internet terminal to get his cellphone number he'd mailed me and i'd forgotten to pilotize. the credit card internet terminal didn't work and i was happy - i decided to bus it into the city and walk around.

a few days back at howard and judy's, i let another woman touch me as only amy has. judy cut my hair, crew cut style. earlier that day i'd decided to curtail my follicles and there was no stopping and judy was so well qualified to make me look army or just summercamplittleboy. amy thought it was cute, and she advised me that often women change their hair when they are entering a new phase of life.

bald with hands, by sofie

well, right now, just after noon here in stockholm, my hands hurt and i'm contemplating sneaking away to the as yet uninitiated spray-razorfish interoffice sauna, in the new company HQ in an old petroleum firm building. i'm at mattias' computer, because he was just called and informed his house is on fire.

i think there are a few directions ahead of me:

svante asked me to bring him a book, robert mckee: story: substance, structure, style, and the principles of screenwriting. i figured i should read something of heft on the plane because playing dragon's bane for 12 hours is just a bad idea, and newspapers are the same day in and day out. so this book is about storytelling, pretty male straightforward hollywood storytelling. he critiques it and observes alternatives, but ultimately he's good at what he does, and he does solid american film storytelling teaching. so it was interesting to read someone dissecting elements of story. it made me think some of this web site, and all the pointless antiplotly unclimactic meanderings i dump daily. i even considered starting to edit these daily daze while i was reading! but like pascal said in a postscript of a long letter to a friend, sorry for the long letter - i didn't have time to write anything shorter. these are generally hurried letters, because i'm so full of it and because i would rather link out than edit within. whatever

dragon's bane - an urban scene but anyways, towards direction - reading through this book reminded me some of my plan to make a pilot game using the dragon bane engine. i've contacting palmcreations, and they're developing level creation tools. so i've got scene sketches and enemy sketches, ideas for interactions and "quests" as it were, what's lacking so far is overarching plot. i'm very excited to make a modern adventure roll playing scenario, in large part because i'm easily engaged by those genre of games, but also because i think of alternative landscapes, fantasy worlds, scifi worlds, i imagine them in pieces - the way a building might look. or a wallet. or what gender interaction might be. (of course much informed by george alec effinger, as well as william gibson and david eddings, katherine kurtz, weis & hickman, etc)

so i figure designing a game allows me to build that world the way these pieces come to me. i don't want to develop a plotless environment (that's what most games are - strings of relatively banally connected quests), but it would be fun to make something people could wander around in and interact with and groove into and perhaps even catch a mood from. there are two distinct videogame pregenitors to what i have in mind - the game made of "neuromancer" by interplay, in the late eighties, and the game made of effinger's books, "circuit's edge" by infocom (during their brief graphical phase - early ninties?). both feature leather coated protagonists staggering around perpetually dark streets taking drugs and dodging punks and police, trying to steal software and hardware from "the man."

so i'll throw in a little bit of kez, current culture masked in some kind of future iteration, witty remarks from insignificant players. so many games emphasize everything except wit. so i'll be happy to build in a few places to chortle. maybe some of wilson's villanous artwork. an urban sensibility. something i would want to play!

the palmpilot is exciting because there's four colours, an 80x80 screen - a very limited platform. there's like two decent games in this genre. a new and limited platform is inspiring for limited design. gotta keep the whole thing under 200k. and gotta work on a plot. like some save the world type shit.

this edu thing has me excited too - i'm preparing remarks for links98 and education and information technology conference here in stockholm next week. i told howard about my idea and he did something he always does, like on september thirtieth - he reigned me in by tacitly reminding me how many ideas i have and how few i follow through on, and he urged me to hit the books. jeez, that was depressing, i wanted im to join me frollicking in the fields of illuminating inspiration - the time has come for web based textbooks! you think you're the first person to think of that?

and then i'm tempted to be lazy and cocky and think of myself like some kind of pulse-fingering idea factory. someone else can execute - i'll just think of stuff. but then i go home and hit the books. until i get distracted by a web page or a video game or a friend.

talkin' 'bout my generation

so svante sez we're going to an elk slaughterhouse tomorrow. i need a camera for that.

talking to him about my daily life made me realize i've somehow avoided chronicling here the delicious mundaneities of this particular time/space framing - i'll have to address my erranding when it's not an omnibook keyboard with swedish characters.

tomorrow we head north into some colder weather. walking from the bus station today i stopped at uff, thrift, to pick up a hat. later i returned with geek david and swedish tv "sajber" minidocumentary on justin and amy with jane's addiction music creator christopher akerlund, and i picked up a knee length brown leather jacket for 100 kroner.

we'll drive up in svante's 70s pontiac, with his playstation, omnibook, and his brother's digital camera. then we'll be joined by a number of other folks, friends of svante's. we'll probably drink and carry on in broken english. i should learn swedish already. i should go to sleep. there's elk in the freezer there. anybody got any good elk recipes? svante sez you cook it like meat. meat. mmm, meat. jesus.

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justin hall | <justin at bud dot com>