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comment by Devac
Devac  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 29, 2017

I social-engineered myself into a party where I didn't know anyone. Not bad for a nerd, right? After talking with most of the people there, even hitting it off with some, I'm not sure if it could work out in the long run. I wasn't myself on purpose.

It was mostly boring. After a surprisingly short time, every conversation I got into felt so hackneyed that it was possible for me to predict the dialogue flow without even thinking. All the drama and social structures seemed transparent after not much longer than forty minutes. There was surprisingly little to do or understand. Perhaps it was the point all along, but it doesn't mean it wasn't stultifying.

However, they didn't hate me for no better reason than existing while I wasn't myself. There was no ridicule or supercilious finger-pointing. Which means that kb must have been correct. I'm not sure what to do now. I should at least try to adapt, but I'll most likely be out of that age bracket before observing any progress.


The Call of Cthulhu session has ended abruptly due to a case of TPK (Total Party Kill). Three characters died, two were knocked-out and subsequently abducted by cultists. I can't recall the last time I saw so many consecutive rolls that failed. Apart from discussing some of the CoC's mechanical drawbacks, which are numerous, we decided to change the genre for the next game. It's a choice between Cyberpunk 2020 and Earthdawn.


Control theory + programming = a lot of free time.

I finally found a way to automate most of my work. There's still a need for me to come to the institute to swap samples and calibrate some of the doodahs, but it cut down my workload by almost 80%. Two days running and so far there were no problems. It has already done more work than I'm able (or willing) to do in a week!

rezzeJ  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    It was mostly boring. After a surprisingly short time, every conversation I got into felt so hackneyed that it was possible for me to predict the dialogue flow without even thinking.

Not too surprising. As you didn't know anybody, then the majority of the conversations would've been filled with small talk. The nature of small talk is that it's conventional. It's people exchanging lines that have been socially agreed as polite and amicable.

There's no surprise that it would get tiresome after 40 minutes. I mean, that's barely enough time to scratch the surface of one person, let alone a whole party of people.

That's why everyone tends to drink at parties, because it helps them to care less about such things.

rd95  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So, here's the thing about conversation that rezzeJ and kleinbl00 kind of touched on, but kind of didn't. Contrary to what some people seem to believe sometimes, every last person you meet has the potential to be absolutely fascinating to you. First and foremost, when you talk to people and you want to get to know them, start talking to them as if you already assumed that they're gonna blow you away. This brings about your inquisitive side and suddenly turns you from a passive listener waiting for your turn to speak into an active listener.

Here's a super simplified version.

Devac: Do you have any hobbies?

rd95: I like fishing.

D: That's cool. I'm into role playing games.

You waited to hear my response, not because you were interested in what I had to say, but because it's the polite thing to do. Then you gave your polite, expected response and now we're back where we started, struggling to find something to talk about. You learned something about me, but you didn't learn about me.

With active listening, it's a whole new ball game.

D: Do you have any hobbies?

r: I like fishing.

D: Oh? What do you like most about it.

r: Honestly? I'm not a very good fisherman and I don't catch anything very often and when I do, I do catch and release. I really like getting into the outdoors though, experience nature and the quiet a bit. There's a lot of beauty there.

D: I know what you mean. Are you a pretty big nature buff?

r: Totally. I've been that way ever since I was a kid. My parents used to take me hiking, exploring creeks, teaching me about animals. It's something that never left me.

With just a few more questions and an earnest desire to learn about me, you now know that I don't care about fishing for fishing's sake, I love nature, I love beauty, and I gave an example about how my parents taking an active, hands on role in my childhood helped me develop into who I am. Now you have more avenues to ask questions to know more about me and what was at first a conscious attempt to find me interesting becomes a subconscious, honest fascination.

Here's the real kicker. People love to talk about themselves, not because they're selfish and self centered, but it's because that's the one topic they know best of all. And when you give them the opportunity, asking them question after question with true interest, they actually like you more. You come across as polite, sincere, open, and friendly. That forty minutes spent talking to a person? It'll go by like lightning and there's a good chance, by the time things are said and done, you'll have a phone number, an e-mail, or at the very least, an interesting conversation.

I'm not pulling your leg here. This has worked for me every since college man. I fucking love talking to people and I'll talk to anyone about anything they're comfortable talking about and I always look forward to an opportunity to get someone new.

Edit: Added a point.

Dala  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I fucking love talking to people and I'll talk to anyone about anything they're comfortable talking about and I always look forward to an opportunity to get someone new.

True story, and it's a good thing too because I am so introverted it's kinda painful to look at, so it is good to have him around to do all the talking.

goobster  ·  229 days ago  ·  link  ·  


This is how I interact with people in person. I ask them questions, and listen to their answers.

People are always blown away that I know X, Y, and Z about a person, or I know someone who is expert at N, or who has been to B.

I mean... I talk to them. I ask them questions, and they tell me about themselves. So why wouldn't I know all this stuff about them?

People also like being listened to. So I tend to be liked by those I talk to. That's nice, too.

kleinbl00  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    It's a choice between Cyberpunk 2020 and Earthdawn.

Every time you open your mouth about games it's a flood of forgotten memories. Holy shit dude. Cyberpunk 2020. That's some straight-up Walter Jon Williams shit right there.

As far as the parties:

As I recall, you're a Feynman fan. Feynman loved parties because he refused to acknowledge the awkwardness which means he was never awkward. Eccentric? Surely. Brilliant? Without a doubt. But I think we can agree that Feynman was on a different level than most people at the parties he went to and not only did he go to them regularly, he thrived there.

An observation? You're deeply passionate about the things that interest you. However, you assume that it's impossible for the people around you to be passionate about those things as well. You're young; you've been surrounded by children most of your life and children are cruel because they can be. They explore the limits and effects of cruelty on each other in order to calibrate. Adults are calibrated. And they can smell fear.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a giant nerd. Carl Sagan was a giant nerd. What they have in common is a passion for engaging other people where their nerdiness lies. Your task, the next time you go to a party (you will go to a party) is to figure out a way to explain your weather simulations to average ordinary people in such a way that they understand how cool it is. Your problem right now is that you know down to your very bones that it's only cool to you and that makes your position defiant and insular. The nerd that plays with action figures by himself is a loner. The nerd that influences others into playing with action figures through his charisma and enthusiasm is a leader.

We all predict the dialogue flow without thinking. That's the point - we're not thinking, we're having fun. We all find the drama and social structures transparent. They are the framework within which we explore each other to find the stuff we don't know.

It's supposed to be effortless. Then you can expend your efforts on important stuff, like getting laid.

Devac  ·  229 days ago  ·  link  ·  
This comment has been deleted.
veen  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I really, really hope you also know about Cyberpunk 2077?

CD Projekt Red (the guys behind The Witcher series, and probably the best game developers alive now) have not released anything besides that 4 year old trailer and that it's going to be an RPG, but they are most definitely still working on it. I am SO hyped for this game.

edit: Oh and this tidbit of info.

kleinbl00  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Trailers are easy. gameplay is hard. Watching that was like observing the Stations of the Cross:

First we stand at the Shrine of Zhora.

Then we bow before the Ghost in the Shell Geisha.

We nod in passing to Molly from Neuromancer.

Then we prostrate ourselves before Judge Dredd.

It's what ultimately doomed cyberpunk - the early works were about the uneasy assimilation of technology by the fringe and what it would do to society. It became about the fashion; Outland is every bit the Western High Noon was, despite the fact that it's set on one of Saturn's moons.

There already is a cyberpunk video game. It's called Mirror's Edge. And just like the early cyberpunk, it was necessary to adapt to different mechanics in order to make the gameplay interesting. It's what ultimately doomed the Matrix series to the dustbin of history; they plumbed all the tropes of cyberpunk but wrapped them around a garden-variety messiah narrative in order to make it accessible to the general public but that easily-accessible messiah narrative is boring and the cyberpunk tropes are no longer fresh.

Roy Batty is a toddler now.

Isherwood  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If the witcher series is any indication 2077 is going to be largely about the morality of the various shitty decisions you have to make in a world where cybernetics create inequity. I really like the development company, CDPR, and think they could do great things for the cyberpunk genre.

Mechanically, I liked Mirror's Edge - it used interesting mechanics that weren't all fighting. But as far as it's merit as a sci-fi story, I don't think it had much. I played ME1 in college a lot and couldn't even paint the story back in broad strokes today (time trials were fun though.)

But based on their past works, I think CDPR will avoid the pitfall. The witcher games were all about non-black and white moral decisions. It wasn't, "do you want to hug or punch this baby?" it was more, "do you want to save these children from getting eaten, or save that village from a wrathful spirit?"

I feel like they get story.

veen  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I fully agree and for all we know it could be a total dud. But if any developer can pull it off it's CD Projekt Red. The whole reason The Witcher 3 is so great is because it perfectly blends an open world RPG and interesting combat with great storylines. And The Witcher's world, characters, stories and themes are faithfully adapted from a fantasy book series and expanded upon. If TW3 is anything to go by, this will be to Mirror's Edge what Mirror's Edge is to Superhot.

user-inactivated  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Don't be afraid of changing the subject of a conversation when it doesn't interest you! You can use small talk to ease in and out if it's not a natural transition.

rd95  ·  230 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Indeed. Something as simple as coughing or clearing your throat can be enough to create a subconscious stop to the topic and create an opportunity to bring up a new subject.