Baldwin

February 18th, 2017 by harold

I saw I Am Not Your Negro the other day.

It starts with James talking about how living in Paris, he didn’t miss anything about the US but one thing: black people.

I know what he felt now more than ever: I’ve never had as many black folks in my life as of now and damn.

Damn. You have no idea.

That sweet love and beautiful connections I experience interlace with this harshly divided world. Black people after the past years of watching ourselves die in real life in HD, after NOT voting for that motherfucker are so fed up. My white France is missing me. My France doesn’t care about its black population, never did.

Division has intensified. People don’t understand the weight and test of time, especially when they don’t have to care about it because they’re on the easy side. Being in the middle is more isolating, more strenuous than ever.

That intersectional shit is cutting deep and fast man, I’m trying to navigate it like Spike in his Swordfish II in the middle of an asteroid field. I’m going to the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, this micro world where less than 2% of people are black. And I’m probably going to stay in Oakland where as Dave Chappelle jokes “you put all of them niggers on the other side of the bridge huh?”.

It’s this weird bag of very high adversity, straight up hostility on one hand and complete comprehension and cultural acceptation on the other hand. Every minute of my life, I witness and experience things you only read or hear about.

It’s so corrosive. I wish it would stop. I know it won’t. I guess it also makes me feel alive like nothing else.

The media question

February 17th, 2017 by harold

The media amplifies anxiety, and then offer programming that offers relief from that anxiety.

It’s been shown repeatedly that watching TV increases the perception that other places, particularly cities, are far more dangerous than they are.

The media likes events and circuses and bowl games, because they have a beginning and an ending, and because they can be programmed and promoted. They invite us into the situation room, alarm us with breaking news and then effortlessly move onto the next crisis.

They train us to expect quick and neat resolutions to problems, because those are easier to sell.

They push us to think short-term, to care about now and not later.

And now they’re being gamed at their own game, because the artificial scarcity that was created by the FCC has been replaced by a surplus and a race to the bottom, with no gatekeepers and with plenty of advertisers willing to pay for any shred of attention.

Intellectual pursuits don’t align with the options that media would rather have us care about.

It’s a good read. Reduce your daily media intake. Read articles on how to make some stuff you were wondering about. Avoid the fuck outta Twitter. Read about the transfer of that player to that other team.

And don’t forget about your local life.

Stop the bundles

February 14th, 2017 by harold

I mean, I get it. We all get it. Charity, good vibes and unity.

But that’s too much. ACLU just got six times the money it receives a year, in one month. It’s got so much sudden money, they felt like they should join Y Combinator to help manage the enormous wealth –$24M received in one weekend- they got. That’s awesome, good for them. Good for us.

So why game developers feel the need to double down by completely eroding games value a few weeks later? $30 for 30 games –$600 worth at full price- is absurd. We already have such a hard time to make people understand that $19.99 is not expensive for a few hours of enjoyable entertainment that sending them the message that they can get that game for virtually nothing sometime in the future, is not something we should do or encourage. At all.

We already have such a hard time to get enough money to make great games, we cannot afford those ridiculous bargains. Developers who already made more than enough can afford it but it’s such a selfish way of looking at our craft, I don’t really get it.

It’s like no one is interested in sustaining our world, setting up an economy? Other entertainment businesses don’t do that. There are no $1 movie tickets, $2 music albums. Bandcamp run a charity thing recently too but people paid the music full price, Bandcamp just redistributed all the money to charities. There are already tons of cheap or really not expensive entertainment.

There’s no need to bargain our absurdly-hard-to-make craft like that. I think it needs to stop.

IT

February 12th, 2017 by harold

Can we talk about Isaiah Thomas. I know, I can’t be a fan because he plays for the Celtics and when you’re in LA you can’t be for the Celtics. That’s wrong and common sense. And those Lakers are dope and promising.

But my boy is ME: left-handed, 1,75m. You should not possibly be doing that well in a forest of big ass 2m trunks. He looks like a kid playing with adults on the court. And yet he’s crucial to Boston, scoring like the mailman. Clutch af. Making it rain from the perimeter. It’s absurd.

You have to understand, after the 90s and the Bulls the 2000s were definitely about the big men: Shaq, Duncan, Garnett, the 2004 Pistons. These days a lot of small players have a big impact but THAT small and THAT impactful I’m like “nah, this isn’t supposed to happen”.

Isaiah does it though.

Real talk

February 11th, 2017 by harold

Things that might be worth stating because holy shit y’all are wildly losing it:

– Presidents are not directly responsible for everything a government does, for fuck’s sake. Governments are systems running in the background and presidents are just a face for it. They sign shit but it’s not like they have the choice to not sign things if they don’t want to. Example: do you think Obama wouldn’t have legalized weed across the country when we have a picture of him smoking some and that a few states legalized it and are doing great? Of course he would have but he could not. The feds. DEA. Agencies that need budgets and told him to STFU. Same way, you think he could say stop bombing the middle east when the military has a $580B annual budget (ponder on that number), employs millions of people, covers millions of families with strong healthcare, offers the best loans you can possibly get? Of course he fucking could not. The military owns the US government since forever. We all know that.

– We do not live in absolute. We live in a world with boundaries, basic rules and a History that determines what we’re doing today. It’s about balancing and counterbalancing. Absolute Free speech doesn’t exist because if you incite violence, instill hate and fear and get your ass whooped because of that, it’s because you needed to STFU in the first place you idiot. If you scream out loud that you love everyone and want to hug everybody on sight, you will be fine. I know, it’s fucking nuts.

– You think you can just read a link after a 5mn search on the internet and think you got the picture, you didn’t. Data takes time to understand, hence the “let that sink in”. You’re not a CPU+RAM. The world scale is so much bigger than you imagine and if you’re in your 20s you don’t know shit, never will. It takes a long time to understand the consequences of redlining in the US or how Arabs feel after the past 60 years or how women feel, still getting 30% less money wise while running households. You need to eat shit, travel, be vulnerable somewhere unfamiliar to understand some things. Reading about it or watching a documentary online will never give you the understanding you need, just the start of it.

– Stop freaking the fuck out all the time. Stop being scared. I lived on three continents with a pretty big variety of people, the biggest constant is that people are just trying to be happy, minding their own business. You look dumb fearing brown people when you escort white terrorists to jail after they randomly killed a bunch of innocents. You look dumb when you act like discrimination is a thing of the past while all numbers and facts show the incredibly not diverse or inclusive state of most things in our societies. We see you, we see it.

So back to work. Do better. Resist the pettiness. Fuck your pride, fuck your guilt. Open up, listen. Ponder. STFU. And act. Thank you.

Output

February 2nd, 2017 by harold

Last month I:

– created dozens of sound effects

– edited and uploaded two reels

– recorded a few hours of ambiences

– produced a few music tracks, including a GoGo track

– assisted a photo shoot

– cut, grinded, sanded 18 big ass art frames

– cut, grinded, sanded 2 huge ass fireplace screens

– painted my house’s lobby ceiling, including the part over the stairs where it’s scary

I’m not counting the usual stuff and the 40 or 50 miles biked on the Women’s march. So it’s doable. I do not recommend at all though. it’s a bit too much of a stretch, from noisy hard physical work all the way to super high concept brainy work that requires silence, I’m tired like I’ve rarely been.

This month I just got a potentially super dope gig for a big name in tech to make music for and my flight reservation for the GDC17 is in my inbox. Everything’s in flames but I’m making moves.

I know things look gross from a distance but locally there’s a lot of care, love and sticking together happening and it makes me happy.

This is how racism hits hard

January 28th, 2017 by harold

I’m just reading Herbie Hancock’s autobiography. It’s about music and life choices and creativity.

Herbie like me, like black in men is an ambassador of loving one another. He had the luck to avoid most of the rough and hard racism most of his life.

Nevertheless, he speaks about Emmett Till who was his age and coming from the same neighborhood in Chicago. He was shook when it happened, enough that he writes a few pages about it in his biography. Who wouldn’t be traumatized after seeing those pictures.

Well, we just learned yesterday that the white woman confirmed that she lied about Emmett Till doing anything to her. He did not. He got lynched for no reason.

It’s shit like this, people. It’s shit like this. Black people don’t look after racism or proof of racism. We’d rather have none of that. We’d rather have no proof, no statements, no pictures, no trauma, no trust issues, no tears, no pain.

We’d rather just live.

Guh-riiind

January 27th, 2017 by harold

Sunset Griffith

Man, those four years are going to be long.

It rained a lot –almost a full week of water, cray- and everything is luscious and green.

Working four different jobs, no insurance, living the dream. I probably will go to the GDC this year, I won a ticket at the lottery. Still have to find a place to crash.

GGJ Reduced

January 23rd, 2017 by harold

The first year the global game jam happened, over 300 games were made over the weekend.

Yesterday it was 7204 games. It’s impossible to curate such a huge output, so what’s the point? I mean I know it’s all about the journey but…

I think it’s time to make the GGJ something smaller, with a game, a team per city. Make more ambitious games/prototypes this way. Working in a team of say 25 for 3 days requires a lot of control and focus, it would probably make the GGJ a lot less accessible but there are other jams for smaller teams and people with less experience.

Also the industry is always like “crunch is bad” but we have an annual event that requires people to crunch? Learning to work with a bigger team while avoiding/reducing extremes would be great training for future careers. Just sayin’

Women’s March LA

January 22nd, 2017 by harold

WomensmarchLA

4 billion people. I counted.

It was great and it also showed the divide, the absence of trust. Everyone in his own bubble from people who are “still with Her” to people who “voted for Bernie so it’s not my fault”, to interracial couples –when intersectionality exists for real- who are definitely the exception and not the rule. Virtual Unity.

I live with three white folks, two women and one dude. I’m the only one who went to the march and I know they could all have been there in the morning. I’m not even surprised and I’m mad that I’m not surprised. I just know it fits this world where a whole lot of fake shit is happening and people are OK with that.

So back to work. Back to being a fuck ton better without a smart ass sign, no bragging rights, just plain making the world better, silently. That works wonder.