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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Admissions against interest

If you're a serious reader, and you hold me in some measure of regard as a serious blogger who writes about presidential candidates and constitutional law and the like, and then you follow this jump, you'll almost certainly think badly of me. You probably shouldn't keep reading. You've been warned.

So look: It's been right there in my "About Beldar" page since I started this blog in August 2003, and I admited it on my professional website too:

Among my hobbies are computer games. That's been true since, oh, about 1975, the year before I almost got expelled from UT-Austin for being a computer bandit sneaking time on the mainframe to play ASCII-graphics "Star Trek." The second post I ever made here in 2003 contained screenshots of my two main characters from EverQuest — one of whom was a seven-foot-tall Norse babe, a level 60 rogue with an, ahem, exaggerated figure and the name of "Mizchif." The screenshots are still posted, fer pete's sake, along with those of my male wood elf bard, "Pontifex."

And that year or so I took off from blogging, in late 2005 and 2006? I played World of Warcraft with my teen-aged sons for more dozens of hours than I can be compelled to admit without a subpoena, or than they or I would ever admit to my ex-wife, subpoenaed or not. I took two priests to 60 with Blackwing Lair gear, too — one Horde, one Alliance, one on a PvP server and one on a Care-Bear.

(Some few of you reading this are going, "O'RLY? Shadow, holy, or disc build?" And some of you who are saying that are also middle-aged professionals, including other lawyers! You know who you are, but I won't name any names for now.)

(But the rest of you are going, "Whaaa ...?" Or rather, you're not "going" anything, you're, ahem, saying to yourself: "Goodness! I do believe Beldar has gone mad!" And you'd be at least partially right, too.)

Yes, I'm an almost-50 computer games geek — no, not level 50, I meant 50 years old! — even though I'm currently cold-turkey, and I've been completely off the habit for several months now. Yeah, I gave the undead priest to my younger son, because his end-game guild, post-Burning Crusade, really didn't need another 70 rogue, and so he's leveled the priest up to 70 now to hang out with my older son's 70 warlock. I can't take that account back now! — it would be ... wrong and mean. But:

As a consequence of all that gaming, I've pounded a few million keystrokes in casual conversation with teen-something and 20-something and, yes 30- and 40-something gamers over the last half-dozen years. And one cannot do that without picking up some of the associated culture being created by folks younger than oneself. Not more than a fraction of it; I don't flatter myself to think that I'm anything other than a "tragically un-hip old fart" in these online crowds, but they at least pretend to tolerate me for the most part.

I mean, they needed the heals, and I was the dude with the mana, wasn't I?

So: When Lileks wrote, on Monday of this past week, as part of his genuinely gripping on-going job saga, "This week I find out whether or not I has a bucket" (referring obliquely to his job as being the "bucket") — I already knew the pictures that his link would take me to:



Indeed, I had already spent a ridiculous amount of time studying these two silly, brilliant photos and their sillier captions. When BoingBoing posted this picture this week:


I already knew it referred to this website (which should be read back-to-front). And specifically, to this photo:


Because yes, I had indeed already skimmed through every single page and caption on that website, laughing until my eyes watered. It is silly beyond the power of words to describe, silly in part because it imagines that really hep cats (to use a term my dad would recognize) speak in a kind of pidgin English called "LOLcat" that, in turn, requires them (and us) to know pop cross-cultural references to oldies but goodies like "All your base are belong to us" in order for the captions to be funny. But, ya know, my WoW priests did their fair share of pew-pew-pews too.

I'm not bragging about any of this. It's insane. The adult parts of me keep trying to seize control and delete this damned post.

But pictures like this one still just crack me up:


And even though I'm mostly a dog-person instead of a cat-person, I'm still willing to argue the elegance of the photo and caption above at great length. Unless my computer fails suddenly:


These are admissions against interest, but ... I admit them. I'll probably end up fighting a big relevancy fight about whether I can be cross-examined about them the next time I testify to prove up attorneys' fees.

Just drop it, Beldar. You've done enough damage for one morning. kthxbai.

Posted by Beldar at 09:19 AM in Current Affairs, Family, Weblogs | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Admissions against interest and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) antimedia made the following comment | Jun 3, 2007 1:56:27 PM | Permalink

I'm a professional computer geek, and I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You may as well be speaking Chinese.

Whatever it is appears to be contagious. I would seek outside help.

(2) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Jun 3, 2007 5:41:45 PM | Permalink

It's OK, Beldar. I'm older than you are and played WoW for a bit. Currently, I'm enjoying Lord of the Rings Online, though not nearly as much as I was adicted to my first love, Asheron's Call.

Relax :)

(3) Milhouse made the following comment | Jun 3, 2007 7:43:58 PM | Permalink

I'm only very barely aware of the whole LOLcatz phenomenon, and I almost completely don't get it, but one doesn't have to know anything about that to laugh at the quantum box photo. Anyone who doesn't get that one isn't qualified to comment on anything that has happened in the past century.

(4) Milhouse made the following comment | Jun 3, 2007 10:31:08 PM | Permalink

Oh, and one more thing: All ur lolcatz has belong 2 us.

(5) Mark L made the following comment | Jun 4, 2007 6:39:56 AM | Permalink

I am ashamed to admit I understand what you are talking about. And, like you, I am in my fifties, and should know better.

Ah well. It's in the blood. I edited a wargaming fanzine when I was in high school and college.

(6) Dwight Silverman made the following comment | Jun 4, 2007 9:50:58 AM | Permalink

You're going to enjoy my column in tomorrow's paper.

I guess I can say it now ... I also pretty much a FORMER gamer. I wrote quite a bit about 3D shooters for a long time, but I've grown bored with them and gaming in general. My interest began to wane in my late 40s. I'm still very interested in the tech that enables high-end gaming -- powerful vidcards, processors, etc -- but less the games themselves these days. I guess it took me 30 years to grow up!

(7) Phelps made the following comment | Jun 4, 2007 12:19:06 PM | Permalink

A real priest can play all of them. I respecced to holy at 50, stayed there all the way to 70, and then respecced to shadow after 70. The guild needed a face melter, and I'm just that bad ass.

Healing? Hurting? I'm the guy with the magic hands.

(And at an even 30, I'm the young guy in most groups. WAY too many people in teh end-game are retired old ladies.)

(8) Dan S made the following comment | Jun 4, 2007 7:50:46 PM | Permalink

Heh, Beldar... one of the reasons I read you is because I DID read "about Beldar." And I've got a year on you, and probably a few more games too.

Yeah, I've published in the game trades a time or two also.

But my English M.A. resists a lot of the emerging dialects, though I do keep an eye on them. Interesting, yes. But I don't particularly want to see them as more than passing phenomena.

They do make for great captions for some odd reason. It may be they their freight makes them more poetic than "plain English."

Good post. Don't call me as a witness for you though.

(9) Beldar made the following comment | Jun 5, 2007 1:35:00 AM | Permalink

Here (until it disappears behind the Houston Chronicle's damned firewall for "dated" materials) is Dwight Silverman's promised column on LOLcatz.

(10) Loren made the following comment | Jun 7, 2007 3:47:45 PM | Permalink

Missed this post until today.

70 Night Elf Resto Druid. 67 Dwarf warrior Arms/fury/ 50 Human rouge subtlety spec. 27 Dranae Shaman ('Olphart').

40 Tauren Druid beast spec.

PvP servers.

And my 50th birthday is next month.

WoW is a lot of fun. And I enjoy the interaction with folks, including teens from across the country.

(11) Beth made the following comment | Jun 7, 2007 10:58:03 PM | Permalink


Don't be ashamed of teh gaming and LOLCATS. Some of us netgeeks have sunken to the level of not only posting goatse (with the appropriate warnings--I'm not cruel!), but actually becoming so desensitized to it that making detailed photoshopped images with it isn't traumatic. ;)

/should I even admit this?

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