Memoirs of a Lonely Techie

“I can't go on any more bad dates. I would rather be home alone than out with some guy who sells socks on the internet.”

After you, milady. Just, uh, make sure you take your shoes off. My lease is up in 6 months and I don’t want to be charged the carpet replacement fee. No harm in being careful, right? And oh, I am careful, just so you know.

There’s an elegant shoe-rack inside, directly to your right. It’s inspired by the classic Pac-Man game board. You probably already noticed that, what with the giant pixel-art Pac-Man Jr. on the wall. Perhaps you have also noticed the semi-complete set of ghosties sitting on the wall-rack, next to the FIOS box? I’m short a Clyde. My roomie broke him last month. That’s what I get for letting his coworkers use the place for a soirée.

Oh, but no worries about him. He’s out all weekend. Yep, it’s nothing but us tonight. Us, some shampagnee, and the 64” DLP. Sixty. Four. Impressed? Try missing a headshot on that baby.

I’m really happy you decided to drop by, you know. I had to make some changes to my plans, of course, but I hope you think it’s worth it. I’ve had this stew sitting in the crock pot for 6 or 7 hours now. Doesn’t it smell delish? I mean, it’s, uh, good enough to eat, right? You can put your coat on the futon.

I fear I’ve been rude, what with sitting you directly in front of the Xbox. It’s the 120 Gb model, of course. That’s a custom paint job, too. Microsoft doesn’t just sell a Hello Kitty model and matching controller. They probably should, though. You’d buy one, right?

But enough about toys, there’s a mood that needs to be set. I have aromatherapy candles that will … Oh, the bathroom? Yes, it’s down the hall. Take your time down the seven foot hall leading down to it. There’s a nice display of Marios along the wall. I call it the evolution set. See if you can find the missing link. *snort* It’s a joke, see, because there’s a picture of A Link to the Past Link between the 8-bit and 16-bit sprites. Clever, I know.

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LonelyTech
w007!
[size=10]posted 47 minutes ago from Tweetie[/size]
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Oh! I was just checking my twitter feed while you were indisposed. I took the liberty of setting up our evening. Yes, those are the candles I mentioned. They’re in commemorative Street Fighter tealight cups. Shaped like hadokens, naturally. Now that we have appropriate lighting, allow me a moment to set the stage. All it takes is a click of this controller and voila!

You may notice the music playing. It’s from my LastFM playlist. I call it “Encounters.” Yes, I always have some Barry White oozing from my speakers as I Pwn n00bz, as they say. There’s a Dragonforce track coming up after a few of these Pink Floyd songs. And no, this isn't streaming from a computer. It’s coming straight from the ‘box. It has to be at least a 256k VBR file. It’s just so rich, though that could be the Polk speakers. Wouldn’t you agree?

I couldn’t help but notice you were surprised when I pulled out the controller to start the music. It’s a little something we call convergence. You thought I just kept the Xbox around because I like playing games, right? No way! It’s a complete entertainment hub. Why, I could rent The Matrix off of this thing and we’d be watching it in, like, three minutes. Or I could stream episodes of The Guild or TopGear straight from my torrentbox. That’s before we even add in the Rock Band instruments.

This might be forward, but I think we’ve got a hell of a night before us. Don’t you think? Maybe even, um, a morning?

But that LastFM integration … uh … it’s something isn’t it? I mean, just five years ago, people probably would have looked down on someone like me. We probably would have gone to, like, a movie and had to listen to all those other people eat popcorn or fiddle around. Or we would have had to go … out. But things have really changed. These things aren’t just game boxes. They’re whole media delivery systems. Can you imagine telling someone you had spent a night playing with a plastic guitar during the SNES years? What a long, strange trip it’s been.

And you know, it’s so nice to see the world of gaming open up. As a casual gamer, you probably really appreciate not having to learn all the complicated button presses or deal with all the timing stuff that most hardcore gamers have to learn. Yep, just pick up a Wii stick, wiggle it around. Fun. Right?

No, I don’t own a Wii. It’s, well, it’s not a real console. All I can do is play games on it. And really, the games aren’t that good. I might as well have a DS Lite if I wanted to just play games. At least that way I’d be able to play something on the bus, or while I’m on the can.

Not much convergence to be had on that Wii. It has a web browser. That’s cool. I guess. Like you could do anything with that. But if that’s your thing, knock yourself out kiddo.

The Xbox? It’s a convergence orgy. Hell, you probably forgot the music was coming out of it until now. But there it is, the center of a finely tuned video/music experience, and the heart of our wonderful evening. Together.

I knew you’d get it. Watching you look through the rows of trade-ins at GameStore #241, I knew you’d understand how revolutionary this gaming stuff can be. Because, uh, it’s not like they hyped the release of a LastFM iPhone app. No! They talked up its inclusion on a gaming platform. Gaming! They looked at the system and thought, “People could use some tunes on this.” Like I said, opening up the experience, right. They didn’t say “gamers” could really use this, they thought, “Oh yeah, regular people would love this.” Because REGULAR PEOPLE are using these.

You keep checking your phone. Did you want to catch tonight’s 1 vs. 100 match? I have an extra Gold account if you want to play Modern Warfare 2, but there’s also that Nirvana track-pack for RB2. You haven’t really touched the stew, either. Is it not to your liking?

Perhaps you need a massage? I have a few XBLA games that will do just that. One, in particular, uses multiple controllers to get the job done. Or maybe you would prefer the limited edition My Merry Melody shoulder massager I imported from Japan? It’s mint-in-box, of course, but what the hell. I think this qualifies as a special occasion.

Oh no, don’t get your coat. Work tomorrow? So early? We’re not even 1/3 of the way through the playlist! Oh no, I understand. I should probably get to bed as well. Let me unlock the door for you. Mayhaps I should walk you to your conveyance? Just as well. I should check to see if anyone on my friends list is playing. They might want to party up or something.

Oh, hey, before you leave, can I get your gamertag?

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LonelyTech
convergence denied! : (
[size=10]posted 12 minutes ago from Tweetie[/size]

Comments

Loved the article Spaz. I definitely relate to your lonely techie in the desire to be surrounded by all that wonderful geeky goodness, and to be proud of it too. Though I have made a concerted effort to at least contain all my nerdy paraphernalia to one room, or "Geek Cave." Though odds and ends seem to slip out in subtle ways ("Whats this Nuka-Cola bottle opener on your fridge?" "Oh, that's just an obscure cola product. I think it's from India.")

Your commentary on convergence is also very astute. Seems like more and more tech is keeping us planted in our living rooms. Everything is available from your seat on the couch so why bother going out and developing social skills?

Dynamic Convergence!

Dear Sir,

I have read your advertisement and now I would like links to purchase the fine products that you have been promoting, viz. hadouken-shaped tealights etc.

Convergence: pushing sexy ladies aside so there's more room for technological orgies!

I've been with the same girl for the past 15 years....so it has been a while. However, if memory serves....I believe that getting laid usually involves pretending you are something different than what you really are. The reason involves that whole "girls are attracted to dirt bags" thing.

I kept imagining Christopher Walken narrating this.

For some reason, the narrator I heard was the same voice I hear when I read those articles by Smoove B in The Onion. Weird, because the personalities are polar opposites.

indy wrote:

I kept imagining Christopher Walken narrating this.

Whoa! O_o

I vote for Christopher Walken. That is absolutely who I heard. And as a girl who used to work at one of those "GameStores," I can totally feel for the girl in this scenario!

Keladry wrote:

And as a girl who used to work at one of those "GameStores,"

Well, hello there. Can I get you a drink in a commemorative Mario glass? I have Toad and Princess Peach glasses as well. Perhaps some cham-pagnee?

I heard hints of Rodney Dangerfield.

Awesome piece by the way.

indy wrote:

I kept imagining Christopher Walken narrating this.

Since I clicked the link at the beginning, I kinda did too.

Very enjoyable article, Spaz.

indy wrote:

I kept imagining Christopher Walken narrating this.

Keladry wrote:

I vote for Christopher Walken. That is absolutely who I heard. And as a girl who used to work at one of those "GameStores," I can totally feel for the girl in this scenario!

Did you guys not click the link at the beginning of the article?

Nice article Spaz.

I find it interesting that lots of people feel for the girl in this scenario. Certainly, her reaction doesn't surprise me, and I respect her need for someone not so...geeky. But this kind of thing can be avoided by being upfront in the first place. I am a nerd, and a gamer. I like nerdy things, and I have a nerdy sense of style. If you can't handle me needing video game time, this isn't going to work between us. Ever.

Now on the flip side, I also recognize needing together time and having bonding activities. This is where having overlapping interests is vital. My wife and I do this with TV shows and movies we both like to watch (chief among these is The Office and anything by Joss Whedon), and some videogames that we both like to play (mainly Rock Band, Beatles or regular, and New Super Mario Bros. Wii thanks to the co-op). It also helps that we both like "alone time". For me, it's other games I don't play with her; for her, it's playing the piano or reading a book. I think this is actually very important. Even though we mostly don't see eye to eye on the whole video game thing, it's okay. She doesn't need to be forced into my gaming world more than she already is, because there are other ways which we spend time together and bond.

I can tell that I'm on the wrong side of the techie/geek wall, because when I read this I sympathized with the woman more than anything. This is exactly the scenario I think of whenever I see people with large collections of, say, Street Fighter action figures on prominent display in their living rooms.

It's less the nerdiness than the faux-schmooze Quagmire vibe the narrator is giving off. Replace the geek references with, I don't know, workout gear or stock market lingo and it's equally unappealing.

Welcome to my secret lair on Skullcrusher Mountain.

In other news, women prefer men who don't remind them of their little nephews, who let their lifestyles speak for themselves, and who have an air of understated confidence.

That apartment sounds like a sweet, sweet bachelor pad, but it's definitely not going to be attractive to more than a very specific subset of girl. But didn't we already have this discussion a couple of months ago in a dating-angst thread?

Coldstream wrote:

In other news, women prefer men who don't remind them of their little nephews, who let their lifestyles speak for themselves, and who have an air of understated confidence.

That apartment sounds like a sweet, sweet bachelor pad, but it's definitely not going to be attractive to more than a very specific subset of girl. But didn't we already have this discussion a couple of months ago in a dating-angst thread?

It's about how you play your cards as much as about your hand.

Jerrak wrote:

I believe that getting laid usually involves pretending you are something different than what you really are. The reason involves that whole "girls are attracted to dirt bags" thing.

Unless you have it easy, like me. See, I am a dirt-bag.

Ladies, right this way....

wordsmythe wrote:
Coldstream wrote:

In other news, women prefer men who don't remind them of their little nephews, who let their lifestyles speak for themselves, and who have an air of understated confidence.

That apartment sounds like a sweet, sweet bachelor pad, but it's definitely not going to be attractive to more than a very specific subset of girl. But didn't we already have this discussion a couple of months ago in a dating-angst thread?

It's about how you play your cards as much as about your hand.

QFT. Would a display of collectibles be more socially acceptable if they weren't limited edition Street Fighter characters, but limited edition Royal Doulton dolls? (Er, maybe that depends if it's the guy's place or the girl's.)

That said, most of the creepiness of the article was the narrator's complete obsession with his own stuff and obliviousness to the fact that it might not be all things to all people. I second Brennil's comment. Like Wordsmythe said, play your cards right.

Gravey wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Coldstream wrote:

In other news, women prefer men who don't remind them of their little nephews, who let their lifestyles speak for themselves, and who have an air of understated confidence.

That apartment sounds like a sweet, sweet bachelor pad, but it's definitely not going to be attractive to more than a very specific subset of girl. But didn't we already have this discussion a couple of months ago in a dating-angst thread?

It's about how you play your cards as much as about your hand.

QFT. Would a display of collectibles be more socially acceptable if they weren't limited edition Street Fighter characters, but limited edition Royal Doulton dolls? (Er, maybe that depends if it's the guy's place or the girl's,) something is up.

That said, most of the creepiness of the article was the narrator's complete obsession with his own stuff and obliviousness to the fact that it might not be all things to all people. I second Brennil's comment. Like Wordsmythe said, play your cards right.

I think where that creepiness comes from though, is the fact that everything he wanted(movies, games, music, etc.) with the exception of female company was available right there in his living room, in front of his Xbox. There is no impetus to go outside into the big scary world and develop the social skills that are appropriate for this kind of situation. Most of us learn in about High School that most of the girls out there are probably not interested in the fact that we can do a 50+ hit combo in Street Fighter at any given moment. If this guy hasn't learned that by the time he's old enough to be on his own, in an apartment (albeit with an absentee roommate.)
Then again, maybe this is the beginnings of him trying to break out of the cocoon he's in, and he just needs to learn these lessons the hard way. He had to go out somewhere to meet this girl in the first place, since I can't imagine a blind date agreeing to spend the evening at someones place if she didn't know him all. I wshould hope his journey into the world of real people is a good one, but really I just hope it's not too disappointing.

Rob_Anybody wrote:
Gravey wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Coldstream wrote:

In other news, women prefer men who don't remind them of their little nephews, who let their lifestyles speak for themselves, and who have an air of understated confidence.

That apartment sounds like a sweet, sweet bachelor pad, but it's definitely not going to be attractive to more than a very specific subset of girl. But didn't we already have this discussion a couple of months ago in a dating-angst thread?

It's about how you play your cards as much as about your hand.

QFT. Would a display of collectibles be more socially acceptable if they weren't limited edition Street Fighter characters, but limited edition Royal Doulton dolls? (Er, maybe that depends if it's the guy's place or the girl's,) something is up.

That said, most of the creepiness of the article was the narrator's complete obsession with his own stuff and obliviousness to the fact that it might not be all things to all people. I second Brennil's comment. Like Wordsmythe said, play your cards right.

I think where that creepiness comes from though, is the fact that everything he wanted(movies, games, music, etc.) with the exception of female company was available right there in his living room, in front of his Xbox. There is no impetus to go outside into the big scary world and develop the social skills that are appropriate for this kind of situation. Most of us learn in about High School that most of the girls out there are probably not interested in the fact that we can do a 50+ hit combo in Street Fighter at any given moment. If this guy hasn't learned that by the time he's old enough to be on his own, in an apartment (albeit with an absentee roommate.)
Then again, maybe this is the beginnings of him trying to break out of the cocoon he's in, and he just needs to learn these lessons the hard way. He had to go out somewhere to meet this girl in the first place, since I can't imagine a blind date agreeing to spend the evening at someones place if she didn't know him all. I wshould hope his journey into the world of real people is a good one, but really I just hope it's not too disappointing.

Hopefully he gets constructive feedback on his Twitter.

l2 date nub

wordsmythe wrote:
Coldstream wrote:

In other news, women prefer men who don't remind them of their little nephews, who let their lifestyles speak for themselves, and who have an air of understated confidence.

That apartment sounds like a sweet, sweet bachelor pad, but it's definitely not going to be attractive to more than a very specific subset of girl. But didn't we already have this discussion a couple of months ago in a dating-angst thread?

It's about how you play your cards as much as about your hand.

Otherwise, you'll just be spending a lot of time with your hand.

wordsmythe wrote:
indy wrote:

I kept imagining Christopher Walken narrating this.

Keladry wrote:

I vote for Christopher Walken. That is absolutely who I heard. And as a girl who used to work at one of those "GameStores," I can totally feel for the girl in this scenario!

Did you guys not click the link at the beginning of the article?

Sadly, though I did, I saw nothing. Dang Canada.

Aw. I can't leave my canuckian bros in the lurch.

This isn't quite as good (watch the lower left box for what the "broadcast" version is like), but it'll do!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNCOF...

Rob_Anybody wrote:

Then again, maybe this is the beginnings of him trying to break out of the cocoon he's in, and he just needs to learn these lessons the hard way. He had to go out somewhere to meet this girl in the first place, since I can't imagine a blind date agreeing to spend the evening at someones place if she didn't know him all. I wshould hope his journey into the world of real people is a good one, but really I just hope it's not too disappointing.

Spaz wrote:

Watching you look through the rows of trade-ins at GameStore #241, I knew you’d understand how revolutionary this gaming stuff can be.

Not quite the journey into the world of real people you were thinking of, I suspect.

Brennil wrote:

It's less the nerdiness than the faux-schmooze Quagmire vibe the narrator is giving off. Replace the geek references with, I don't know, workout gear or stock market lingo and it's equally unappealing.

Agreed - think Patrick Bateman discoursing on Huey Lewis & the News in American Psycho. (You know, right before he buries the axe in the dude's head.) But the mostly good-natured self-parody in the piece tempers the creepiness nicely.

Gravey wrote:

That said, most of the creepiness of the article was the narrator's complete obsession with his own stuff and obliviousness to the fact that it might not be all things to all people.

Right. I wonder what the PR folks at Microsoft would think of this clever skewering of their latest target market/product strategy. I would hope they have enough soul left to at least salvage a chuckle or two.

Rob_Anybody wrote:
Keladry wrote:

And as a girl who used to work at one of those "GameStores,"

Well, hello there. Can I get you a drink in a commemorative Mario glass? I have Toad and Princess Peach glasses as well. Perhaps some cham-pagnee?

LOL.

No.

But can I have the Toad glass?

wordsmythe wrote:
indy wrote:

I kept imagining Christopher Walken narrating this.

Keladry wrote:

I vote for Christopher Walken. That is absolutely who I heard. And as a girl who used to work at one of those "GameStores," I can totally feel for the girl in this scenario!

Did you guys not click the link at the beginning of the article?

I didn't! I totally missed it. Love Christopher Walken.