Sunday, March 29, 2009

I, Methuselah

This weekend I went to the 2009 North American VTES qualifier in Berkeley. VTES (I still call it by the original name, Jyhad) is a card game where you take on the role of an ancient vampire (a methuselah) in a bid for global, or at least table, domination.

In one sense I'm not really that into card games. I play borrowed decks, aren't up on all the rules, and am indifferent about collecting. But I do enjoy playing the games themselves, so I'll attend these bigger tournaments, even though it requires a little bit of driving and some expense.

In an unexpected turn of events, I managed to do pretty well, and have now qualified to play in the national championship. Of course, five out of eighteenish (not sure exactly) people qualified at this tournament, so it's not a particularly cruel cut. Still, that outcome was much better than I expected, and I was pleasently surprised that my luck held the whole day.

The actual championships are in Atlanta this year, so it's not like I'll be going. But I could if I wanted!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crushes and the Common Cold

As a kind of preamble, I have decided to detail my theory of crushes. I read a lot, and I watch way too many movies, and so I've been exposed to a lot of theoretical (and theatrical) models of attraction, but I don't really think any of them have done a very good job of explaining the processes. After giving it some thought, I think I might have come up with something that works.

In my opinion, a crush is the romantic equivilant to the common cold. Both can come on suddenly and through even the most tangental or incidental contact. They each leave you distracted and even, at times, miserable, but they have the good graces to depart after a week or so. Best of all, it seems like you only get each strain once, and for your efforts lifetime immunity is your reward.

I personally crush hard. Which might seem kind of strange, until you remember that I can stand very few people. So those I do get on with, I really like (not that you can tell from how I treat them). This is as true of my friends and social acquaintances as it is of potential romantic partners.

But whereas when, in those rare instances in which I meet someone tolerable, I work to develop friendships, I do my best to avoid crushes like the plague. Of course, that's not exactly something I have any control over, but when I have the misfortune of becoming infected, I can at least take steps to stop the spread.

I just got over one particularly virulent strain, though not, I'd admit, without effort. Actually, that I caught the bug at all surprised me to no end, because I'd known her for quite a while, and never really thought of her in these terms at all. In fact, she's not really someone I deal with much, outside one small and compartmentalized part of the basketcase that is my life.

The absurdity of the circumstances made recovery easier, but I realized that were it not for the impossibility of advancement, I might have had more to contend with than a simple cold. In a lot of ways, she's exactly what I'd want in another person. Intelligent, paitent, humorous, and labored with a becoming, and yet not so severe as to be annoying, insufficient estimate of self-worth.

Generous to a fault, but possessed of a certain gentle cynicism that allows her to draw unfavorable conclusions of other people in a way that is still somehow endearing. She can share a private joke, play the rogue or the coquette with equal (and sometimes alternating) vitality, or even just turn loneliness into shared boredom.

Of course she has her faults too, a great variety of personal inadequacies and other annoyances, but it is the nature of the infection to consider those of little importance, or even to some degree desireable. Shaking the bug was a little more difficult this time than it has been in previous occasions with other people, but I find in fact that I derive more joy now that I can resume our previous friendship than I ever did from the delerious daydreams of limerence.