Gettin’ Wood

I ain’t never seen picks on a plane

I hate flying.

This is a recent development — Somewhere between the forced radiation doses and gropes post 9/11 and my encroaching old age, I became aware of my mortality. The fancies of youth gave way to cold hard reality, and I became painfully aware that hurtling through the sky in a metal bird steered by a human being only a bit less flawed than myself (If I’m lucky) isn’t exactly the safest.

Nowadays I (usually) can’t sleep on planes. Or any moving vehicle really; There’s something about dying in my sleep that feels so lame. But i coasted through half of my flight, thanks to good old work-related sleep deprivation and a hefty dose of pre-flight whiskey.

So anyway: Minecraft.

Upon waking, I pulled out my brand new but increasingly trusty Macbook Air, which I’ve dutifully loaded up with the essentials — Evernote (for wordsmithing), random Python related shit (for that feeling of personal development), Dungeons of Dredmor (to keep me humble/morose), and the one-two punch that is Dropbox and Minecraft.

I’m a builder. Or more specifically, an organizer, as I’m more interested in being a part of the foundation of what could be than going through the actual process of pulling a thing together single-handedly. It isn’t so much a lack of vision or motivation as it is a paralyzing awareness of all that could be. I become less interested in a thing when I know that — given a few, similarly motivated comrades — a thing could become so much more. I’m convinced it’s part of the reason why I haven’t finished a single player game in ages — stuff is more fun when there’s someone else along for the ride.

It’s a strange handicap, isn’t it? Becoming frustrated with a project because, with a bit of help, I (we) could accomplish so much more. There’s a life lesson in there somewhere, I’m sure of it.

So anyway: Minecraft.

Minecraft is a canvas, brimming with potential. With my saves linked to my Dropbox account I have potential access to my worlds wherever I go, progress updated whenever I have an internet connection. I harvest, and I plan. I place chests: someone will need these supplies someday. I plant roads: we’ll build a settlement here, level these mountains and clear these forests. I amass tools, and I dream big, and I ultimately lose interest.

The ideal: I become master of my domain, hoarding raw materials and crafting a realm ready for folks to join me on, once I’ve deemed it ready and move it over to the multiplayer server I’ve built.

The reality: no one gives a shit, myself included. There’s purely a masturbatory pleasure here, and I’m knock knock knockin’ on trees and stone and coal while dreaming up fanciful labyrinths and towers because when I’m lying on my deathbed (or sitting upright in my death chair as this hunk of steel and wire implausibly collapses from the sky) I want to feel like I got something accomplished during my time on this wet marble.

Yes, my goals for the endgame are a bit different than most. I’ve got bylines in all sorts of places, including a cover feature for Wired magazine. I’m (ostensibly) a magazine editor for a tech publication, covering the hardware that I (and I alone, it seems) love — shit I’d have wet dreams about a decade and a half ago. I’ve managed to ensnare a brilliant chemist in some sloppy semblance of romance, despite my best efforts and a debilitating penchant for recreational chemistry. But I won’t have made it until I’ve made something — many somethings — with as many people as I can snag along the way.

This is something of a recurring theme — EVE. WoW. Programming. Nascent attempts at getting others hooked on Minecraft and Terraria. This little writing project I’ve been so terrible at contributing to. I want to set a thing in motion, and when it finally starts to come together, I realize I have no idea where I’m going with all of this.

So I get wood.

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