Category Archives: True Story

Leveling Up My Character

I’ve been playing this game online called Dawn of the Dragons (DotD for short), which I imagine is sort of similar to games like Magic: The Gathering and D&D, although I really have no idea because I’ve never played those. DotD is boring and pointless, and I hate myself for playing it, but I nevertheless feel driven to level up my character. His name is Fancy and he’s a World-Strider level 119.

This isn't even what he normally looks like. I dressed him up to look cooler.

Proof, for some reason.

The site where I play has a chat window placed vertically alongside the game. There are many different games on the site, each with its own chat room, but this one is different somehow. It’s like a clubhouse. Everyone talks in code and signs each message with a “kawaii”-styled emoticon: “Just blew 300 stam and only got 3.45b on my raid. Anyone with a golem-specific proc in their legion or some good debuffs want to help me out? ^_^”

What I’ve just written could be gibberish. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are no golem-specific procs in DotD. Puh.

I used to make fun of my girlfriend for playing role-playing board games with her nerdier friends. I would deliberately misidentify it as LARPing (Live Action Role Playing). “Have fun LARPing,” I’d say to her as she left for game night.

“Stop calling it that.”

Then she’d leave and I’d lounge on the sofa, her cat sleeping on my stomach, flipping channels or just doing nothing for hours until she’d get home. She ended up breaking up with me, but I think there were other reasons.

That’s one of the cliches about people who play these kinds of games — that they don’t have girlfriends, which by extension suggests that they’re all males. I can’t speak to the truth on that. The Internet hides gender fairly well, and I have no reason to investigate. I don’t know any of these people in the chat, though they seem to know each other, if only by their online handles. Conventional wisdom is that online communities are full of lonely people making superficial gestures to replace meaningful human connection, filling the void where real friendship should be with a cheap approximation.

I don’t know if that’s true. In fact, it’s probably an unfair assessment, but I still feel kind of lame for playing DotD. Whenever my brother comes around and sees it open on my computer screen I tell him, half joking, not to look at my shame. I don’t like the idea that, by playing this game, I am somehow performing loneliness. It hurt, the breakup. It still hurts. There is a void, yes, but I swear to God I’m not filling it in. ^_^

My Goodness, Do They Like to Cluck!

That’s Aubrey Plaza dressed as a chicken. The picture quality is pretty bad, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Back in 1999, my mom and my older brother John acted in a community theater production of The Ugly Duckling. It didn’t click until fairly recently, while watching an interview on Letterman, that they shared the stage with an up-and-coming celebrity.

Aubrey Plaza, for those who don’t know, plays April Ludgate, a government office worker on NBC’s Parks and Recreation. She also recently starred in the critically acclaimed film Safety Not Guaranteed. Notably (or perhaps not), she’s from my home state of Delaware.

Delaware rarely produces famous people, so when it does, we lose our collective mind, all of us claiming undue ownership of whatever scrapings of our hometown hero’s narrative we can find (“I used to drive past Ryan Phillippe’s mom’s house all the time” or “Judge Reinhold used to ride his bike in a park that I have also been to” or “Joe Biden has really soft hands”). We make ourselves into extras in the proverbial films of minor celebrities’ lives. It’s kind of pathetic, I guess, but it happens so infrequently that it doesn’t really matter.

So what the hell, let’s do this thing. Continue reading

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