Gregory Avery-Weir 0:00
Audacious Compassion, Episode 24: Enjoying That Hamburger.
Hello, and welcome to Audacious Compassion, A podcast where we explore how to find compassion in the most difficult places in daily life. I’m Gregory.
And I’m Melissa.
And today we’ll be talking about being compassionate towards a group of anonymous people that you perceive as immorally complacent. So how are you doing, Melissa?
Melissa Avery-Weir 0:47
Nothing quite so heavy as our theme suggests! I’ve been having a lot of fun lately, sort of doing things that I consider easy bits of creativity.
So like I have in my head that to be a creative, to be a creative person, I need to kind of be creating works from whole cloth, writing whole stories, writing novels take along works, right? And that kind of stuff burdens you and you were sitting there.
Gregory Avery-Weir 1:13
Melissa Avery-Weir 1:14
When you’re like, I need to be doing something. And suddenly writer’s block exists. And so something I’ve been having fun doing lately is sort of finding little constructive bits of creativity that don’t have that burden. So I’ve been doing some streaming on Twitch where I’ll pick a game some, you know, I’ve got some indie games that I haven’t either played much or played at all and just streaming them for an hour or so a week. Been playing a whole lot of fallen London, which I’ll talk about later, but sort of constructing narratives there, doing more role playing in that scene.
I’ve started a tumbler for micro fiction.
Gregory Avery-Weir 1:54
Melissa Avery-Weir 1:55
Um, we will see if I do more than a few posts there. But also some like one on one RP for our Saturday game. Our Rosette Diceless game that we play.
Gregory Avery-Weir 2:09
Melissa Avery-Weir 2:10
Just sort of using Discord and taking time in the evenings to just sort of role play characters back and forth. And so I don’t know, I find that really satisfying. It’s, it’s sort of scratching an itch that has felt unscratched for a while, where, you know, some of the work we’ve been doing for Future Proof, has been, you know, finishing Rosette Diceless, finishing Majesty, there was not actually a lot of creative work there.
Gregory Avery-Weir 2:34
Yeah, it was a lot of crafting. Not a lot of creation.
Melissa Avery-Weir 2:38
Right. And I do take a lot of joy in crafting. I don’t think I could be a web developer and not do so.
You I could be a very unhappy one.
Right, , it’d be miserable. But I do also like, sort of making things that are… even if they’re ephemeral, like role playing scenes aren’t a thing that exists forever. But they’re memorable nonetheless.
Gregory Avery-Weir 3:03
Melissa Avery-Weir 3:03
Yeah. How are you doing?
Gregory Avery-Weir 3:04
I’m doing just fine. For my job, I do web development for clients. So I’m a freelancer. And one of my longtime clients problem I, my longest term client ever recently got bought, that transitions going just fine. But there was that moment of uncertainty when it first came, especially because the the company that’s buying them is, of course, a larger one, with locations in multiple cities, and especially as hippie anti capitalist people, we have an automatic distrust of corporations and more distrust them larger the corporation is. So I kind of have this thing in my head, this image of what a company that buys another company is like, oh, and of course, like, there’s going to be things I like about it, there’s going to be things I dislike about it, but they weren’t just buying the company in order to sell off all the office furniture and fire everyone. Like, they wouldn’t be buying the company I do work for if that’s what they wanted to do. That’s not the actual value of the people I work with.
But that experience of the uncertainty around: “Who are these people? And what is their perspective? And are we going to be able to do the same stuff?” And the answer is no, you’re not always going to do all the same stuff. Some of the Some things are going to change. And I think that a lot of my coworkers were more nervous than I was
Melissa Avery-Weir 4:37
Sure! You have a little more protection by virtue of being a freelancer.
I’m a contractor, I get to set my own schedule. And worst case, I can find another job by saying, “Hey, I was working for the same company for X number of years,” and they’re not working remotely a lot, most of them, and actually have retirement stuff tied up in it, and health insurance stuff tied up… which I mean, it’s nice that they do. But since that’s not something I’ve got tied up with that one client, that’s not something I have to worry about.
Things are looking good. But there’s that uncertainty when it’s when you just hear a brief description of what these people are going to be, and let your mind kind of wander and worry about the things that could go wrong. Think about all the horror stories you’ve heard. And of course, it’s never going to be perfect. And it’s never going to be your worst case scenario, right?
I always worked for lots of companies that have had lots of management and strategic shifts over my career. And there are a few things that they always say that are just like nothing words, or at least when you start out, you don’t think they’re nothing where we’re gonna keep everything good about the organization, they keep everything good, or this isn’t going to be a major shift. Or, you know, we, it’s, we need to make some new strategies. But, you know, down at the execution level, it’s not gonna be a huge thing, right?
And that kind of stuff like you’re just like “Snooze fest! Come on play. If there’s a strategy change, there must be an execution change, or you’re not actually. Yeah,
So I don’t envy you that and I hope things work out.
Yeah. So far, there haven’t been any major problems. Been a few long meetings about corporate culture and have to switch over every single internet system we use. So different email, different calendar, different time tracking, slack stuff is going to get integrated. It’s it’s all shifting.
Gregory Avery-Weir 6:45
But generally, it’s just a branding change.
Melissa Avery-Weir 6:50
So we had a prompt from, I’ll say, a friend of the show. There was a bunch of specific detail on this, but we kind of distilled it down to the most important parts.
Gregory Avery-Weir 6:59
Discussion idea: how to not simply hate the hyper capitalist dystopia that is Vegas. (nauseated emoji)
I had to go present a paper, so for “work.” So much waste and excess when I’m already feeling guilty about the part I’m not playing and the crises facing our country slash communities.
I’ve been called judgmental a time or two in my life. I thought I was doing a good job working on it. But maybe I just learned I’m not being so successful.
Vegas is full of horrible rich white people spending arbitrarily high amounts of money on booze, food, lodging, everything it’s basically a printing press some wealthy A-hole owns this place and sets whatever prices and people just pay it. What else could any of these people be doing for themselves, or heck, even for others.
Every casino is full of these zombie people stuck on screens. They play slot machines. A friggin disgusting throng of crowded masses, all wearing clothing that’s incredibly expensive because “brands,” spending so much money on garbage and excess, like a concentrated version of the worst parts of our country at a time when we could really benefit from being our best selves.
What does a PhD like me matter when kids are being kept in jails away from their families in my very county? (frowny emoji)
Clearly I didn’t try particularly hard to like the place or people but dang, could they meet me in the middle? Obviously, I will strongly consider whether to submit to any future conferences that would be hosted there.
I think we’ve all been there like
Viva Las Vegas. I have not been to Vegas.
Well, no, I mean, I’ve been in that position. I’ve been to Vegas once or twice. I think when I was much younger, I haven’t been as an adult. But we’ve been in the place where we end up at a location, an unfamiliar circumstance with unfamiliar people, and they just bug the hell out of us.
Melissa Avery-Weir 8:47
Right? It’s hard to kind of be in that spot where you need to either protect yourself or get where you’re going or take care of whatever it is you’re doing. You got stuff to do. You’re not there just to wander around. Right? Get to know people. Exactly. It just feels like you’re being bombarded by whatever is bugging you in that culture. And so it’s easy to be like, you know, I would I would be perfectly fine if I never stepped foot in this place again. And furthermore, what the hell is wrong with everybody living here? Yeah. Why would anyone choose to live here? Or especially to come here voluntarily? Yep. And I mean, Vegas particular is a major tourist attraction, right? Like, it’s like a totally a thing for bachelor parties, or Yeah, like destination
Gregory Avery-Weir 9:32
You got stuff to do. You’re not there just to wander around. Right? Get to know people.
Melissa Avery-Weir 9:32
Exactly. It just feels like you’re being bombarded by whatever is bugging you in that culture. And so it’s easy to be like, you know, I would I would be perfectly fine if I never stepped foot in this place again. And furthermore, what the hell is wrong with everybody living here?
Gregory Avery-Weir 9:32
Yeah. Why would anyone choose to live here? Or especially to come here voluntarily? Yep.
Melissa Avery-Weir 9:32
And I mean, Vegas particular is a major tourist attraction, right? Like, it’s like a totally a thing for bachelor parties, or like destination events to be held in Vegas.
Gregory Avery-Weir 9:34
I sometimes feel that sort of thing. Like, if I go to a mall, especially a Mills mall that seems hyper curated or if I’m around people who have significantly different political views, or cultural views, or whatever, than I do… those things get to you. And you don’t know anything else about these people, right? Except the things that you’re noticing that are unpleasant, right?
Melissa Avery-Weir 10:00
I think this happens even in professional settings. Like if I get to a conference, let’s say, go to Microsoft has a huge conference called Ignite. And this is like, massive 10s of thousands of people crowd up in Orlando. And, you know, Nope, nothing wrong with the conference itself. But sometimes you’ll be looking at the track and you’ll be like, the, the event for pick on a thing that’s always picked on. But SharePoint is booked out. Like there’s, there’s it’s standing room only. And you’re like, Who? Who is choosing to do this with their time, right?
I remember us going to The Game Developers Conference and seeing game developers, you know, people who are industry professionals, who could be like sharing creativity and chatting shop with people like lining up to play the latest game. Maybe that is even out already. Yeah. Like, what are you doing? Right? You this was an expensive conference, right? And you’re doing a thing you could be doing at home in the next few months. Exactly.
Exactly. So those are, I think, all along the same scale of passing a moral judgment on people doing things very differently than you.
Yeah, it’s different from if you see people doing something like actively wrong, right, right. Like, that’s a circumstance where maybe that those strong feelings can cloud how you’re viewing people. But But those feelings are about a thing that you almost feel responsibility to stop, right. There’s no real responsibility to stop someone from playing a video game or a slot machine. Unless they’re incredibly sick, right? You just kind of watch them do a thing you wouldn’t be doing in their position. And it’s hard to, especially when you don’t understand why they’re doing it. Mm hmm. Think of them as doing it for any sort of good reason, right?
Or if you are educated on why people do this, to already have a reason lined up. The reason people gamble is because… psychology 101.
And that’s the only reason or the core reason, right?
So it’s easy to sort of funnel that up. But like, How accurate is that, right? Let’s take Las Vegas specifically. So there’s a lot more to Vegas than the strip.
Gregory Avery-Weir 12:16
That’s their motto, right?
Melissa Avery-Weir 12:18
Practically their motto at this point. So I am a fan of the beginning of the Vegas Golden Knights. The hockey team that just started this past year.
And I’ve also known I’ve worked with people who have lived in Vegas and moved to Charlotte because this is where jobs were for, with paper trying out and their perspective on the city is just like, it’s just a city like we just I worked for Wells Fargo, you know what I mean? Or, or I did programming work, or my kids went to really good schools. And, you know, it’s just a place that has colleges and good schools for kids and decent jobs and is in the desert. Yeah, and those people, the people that are being highlighted
Yeah, and those people, the people that are being highlighted again and again, in this prompt, are not… probably mostly not natives; they’re tourists.
And if they were doing that sort of thing, day in, day out, that would be pause for at least major criticism, right? But these are people who maybe they go to Vegas at most every few years, right? Some people probably go yearly, or by yearly, but mostly people are like, we’re finally going to Vegas!
Right! It’s like a trip to Disney. I personally might write a similar sort of question about why would you go to Disney? Stay home and watch the movies. Like, why would you spend thousands of dollars to get down there and visit five parks and like, run everyone ragged, your kids are not going to enjoy it.
Gregory Avery-Weir 13:52
And like, you know, someone who rode roller coasters, their entire life would be ridiculous. Someone who just hung out on the beach all the time would…
Melissa Avery-Weir 13:58
Would be kind of cool.
Gregory Avery-Weir 14:00
Yeah, kind of cool.
Melissa Avery-Weir 14:01
That’s my retirement dream.
Gregory Avery-Weir 14:02
Yeah, you know, the things the things that anyone would do in their time off, if you’re going especially you’re going to a place on work will look ridiculous, right? And the fact that it’s a tourist place means that there are certain kind of benefits to Las Vegas, like Las Vegas is genuinely a center of culture in a lot of ways.
Like I’m a big fan of stage magic. I’ve talked about it on the podcast before there are like two places in the US that you can easily go to see more than one stage magic show in a week. That’s Las Vegas and Atlantic City, slightly, you know, adding in Hollywood a little bit. Because that’s kind of where the center of magic education is. But it’s those two places.
And that’s because stage magic isn’t that popular. And it’s kind of weirdly hokey. And it’s also relatively expensive to set up like, you need equipment and you need a certain kind of venue. So where are you going to get a bunch of people who are willing to do something kind of silly in large numbers where it’s rare for you to actually be interested in them. Renaissance festivals are where you go to watch jousting. Las Vegas is where you go to watch stage magic. Yeah, like it’s, it’s, there’s, there’s value there. The Star Trek experience was in Las Vegas. Where else would you put a collection of Star Trek memorabilia that a whole bunch of people are going to get to see it
Melissa Avery-Weir 15:30
Yeah, I think the only other place to be Hollywood, where the sets are, or were… I don’t know if theythey’re still up but yeah
Gregory Avery-Weir 15:36
And I mean if you think that Las Vegas is capitalist and tacky Los Angeles and Hollywood are going to be similar right
Melissa Avery-Weir 15:42
And then there’s you know there are softer stuff like… Vegas in particular after the shooting last year really kind of came together in a way that I think surprised a lot of people. Kind of expected it just to be like, “Oh yeah, reopen the casinos move along with life.”
But they gave, you know, they gave folks who were part of that both as helpers and those whose lives were lost like a lot of tributefor a long time so it’s not just kind of this heartless place
Gregory Avery-Weir 16:16
Melissa Avery-Weir 16:18
that’s it i mean the strip is real right
Gregory Avery-Weir 16:21
Yeah. I mean there there are places that… Gambling is, I think, fundamentally exploitative like running a casino.
Melissa Avery-Weir 16:29
I think so.
Gregory Avery-Weir 16:30
Those games can be fun to play but if you’re playing if you’re running them as a business then you’re basically just printing money like ours submitter said.
Melissa Avery-Weir 16:53
Exactly. And I don’t know if there is the mafia really thing because like,
Gregory Avery-Weir 16:54
I mean, there there is a lot of organized crime influence on Las Vegas in the past, there probably still is, it’s probably better than it used to be.
But, you know, where do you find people who are willing to do something that everyone feels is kind of shady and have a lot of capital and want to do it in the middle of the desert? Like, yeah, you’re gonna run into that sort of influence, which is unfortunate. Yes, but it’s just a consequence of the circumstance. Yeah, it’s not like it’s not that people in Nevada are worse than people in North Carolina.
Melissa Avery-Weir 17:18
Right. So, okay, thinking about that. If someone is choosing he said, people in Nevada, not necessarily worse, but what if you are choosing to go. What if so, for focusing on the strip and all the decadence there, like, is where you choose your vacation a thing to be judged on? I mean, it is.
Gregory Avery-Weir 17:36
Sure, yeah, I mean, I there there are things that you could do with it. But I’m not sure that I would particularly judge someone who said I want to vacation in Las Vegas. Like they’re like we said, there are things that you can do in Las Vegas that are hard to do elsewhere, especially a variety of things.
Melissa Avery-Weir 17:53
Cirque du Soleil, every day!
Gregory Avery-Weir 17:55
Yeah, like I want to watch acrobats, stage magic, some sort of cool musical performance from an out of touch performer and maybe do some fun shopping where I won’t buy much, but I’ll look at all the fancy stuff and do a motion simulator ride. Like all those things and ride a roller coaster like,
again, Las Vegas and Atlantic City are the two places. And they’re, I would say, equivalent.
Melissa Avery-Weir 18:34
And it is going to cost you a ton of money to do. So it’s not that that’s something that strikes me as interesting. It’s like if I were going to a casino, and I’ve never gambled beyond like the dining room table. But if I were going to go gamble, I would of course that a budget right? And I would probably end up spending more on the stage shows than I would on gambling. But that’s obviously not true for everybody. But it’s Vegas is not cheap for that tourism. Definitely. Which I don’t know any place that is right.
Gregory Avery-Weir 18:51
But like, I don’t think that we would judge someone who did a tour of Europe who you know saved up for it and didn’t do so exploitively. That would sound like a cool thing. But that’s going to be you know, thousand dollars of plane tickets. A whole bunch of cost for the tours. Flights to Las Vegas are cheap. Those shows are $50 to $75, depending on what it is.
Melissa Avery-Weir 19:14
This ep is gonna make me want to go to Vegas.
Gregory Avery-Weir 19:16
It’s a weird, creepy, but kind-of-cool-in-ways place. Our querent mentioned having trouble getting tickets to a show and the tickets to a show being too expensive. And yeah, I mean, they are. Yeah, and that that is a thing that happens in in performing arts.
Melissa Avery-Weir 19:34
Right. I’ve never managed to see anything in New York.
Gregory Avery-Weir 19:37
Yeah, concert tickets. Yeah.
Which, again, bad but not unique to that place.
Melissa Avery-Weir 19:42
Gregory Avery-Weir 19:44
So I mean, I think these feelings aren’t misplaced. I think that those that frustration and that disgust with the state of our economy, and all that is completely I mean, I think all feelings are fine, right? Like, those are real feelings that you’re feeling and no sense and thinking they’re bad. But I also think they’re totally justified, understandable, but they make it hard to recognize the humanity and those tourists and the people that live in Vegas and so on. So how do you get through those feelings even when they’re justified and kind of see more nuance and more detail and understand them as people and see the stuff that’s not just hyper capitalist dystopia?
Melissa Avery-Weir 20:29
Yeah, I think that’s tough. I think when your initial reaction is this strong, I think you have to work for it. So my perception of a place like Phoenix, which I’ve now been to a few times is one of sort of political disgust. You’ve got Arpaio at the time running around doing awful things to people who… like anyway, right, right? So here we go.
But when you visit, and you like, step on to a national park. Yeah. And you’re like, holy crap, like, this place is cool. Like, people have cacti in their front yards. Looking for the wonder in the world. Even if that wonder isn’t in the humans itself, like I just mentioned, like horticulture, yeah, can be like, reaffirming, right, like, so if people have cacti in their front yard, that means that they prune those things back so that they don’t end up with prickly pears in their house.
Gregory Avery-Weir 21:35
And it’s it’s hard to do when you’re like, there for work, right?
Melissa Avery-Weir 21:42
Very hard to do.
Gregory Avery-Weir 21:42
And you’re going through a conference and you’re tired, and then either you’re drinking or people around, you are drinking and it’s really fast paced, and you’ve got other stuff to worry about.
Melissa Avery-Weir 21:51
And something always goes wrong, like your Lyft doesn’t work or, you know, like you just can’t get from one place to another.
Gregory Avery-Weir 21:58
And, and I think we see that there’s a definite lack of specific observations of specific people in the prompt. Even in the stuff that we cut out. There’s, you know, some drunk people in this circumstance, there’s a person that was that was in kind of in a service position and was inconsiderate but no one who is silver. It’s like, I talked to someone that I knew the name of.
Melissa Avery-Weir 22:21
Gregory Avery-Weir 22:23
And I think that part of that is that I don’t know that this person had a chance to write like, this person didn’t have a chance to check for best local places to eat right in Las Vegas, or go to whatever museum or something is in Las Vegas for, again, for people who are interested in the sort of thing that this question asker is interested in, like, part of it is that they’re not into these things. And so people who paint their chests for a sports game are going to seem really weird to people who aren’t into that subculture.
Melissa Avery-Weir 22:58
Exactly. Exactly. So yeah, I mean, if you just don’t have time, or access, or don’t take time or access,
Gregory Avery-Weir 23:08
They say, why can’t they just meet me in the middle? And I mean, given this person did presumably fly out to Las Vegas, and that’s going quite a distance. But I think that there’s a certain amount of emotional effort that wasn’t made like yeah, this question asked her maybe didn’t meet them in the middle either.
Melissa Avery-Weir 23:30
And yeah, I I question a model of empathy and compassion that requires the other party to do anything
Gregory Avery-Weir 23:40
Melissa Avery-Weir 23:41
Like Meet me in the middle is what you say when your relationship isn’t going well?
Gregory Avery-Weir 23:44
Melissa Avery-Weir 23:45
Not when you’re like, is this person a human being worthy of respect. Not that Las Vegas is a person but you know what I mean.
Gregory Avery-Weir 23:53
And I don’t think the question asked her dehumanized those people but I think that maybe they could have thought of them as more human than they did.
Melissa Avery-Weir 24:01
Yeah, yeah. As someone who’s very critical of capitalism, is very critical of the cultures that spawn capitalism it is very difficult to say, “Hey, you hand wringing liberals step up, and do your…” to not say that. So therefore, Vegas is a place where people are actively, deliberately consciously building businesses and choosing to engage in some of the worst capitalism.
Gregory Avery-Weir 24:27
Yeah, but everything is relative. Seems like a kind of a cop out thing to say, but I mean, this person’s an academic. Mm hmm. There are a lot of people who would look at the academic life, like, how decadent is this? You’re not spending your time constructing anything, right? You’re, you’ve got this cushy job you’ve got, you know, if you’ve got tenure you got this kind of guaranteed position regardless.
And even like everyone in America is, in some sense, complicit in our imperialist exploitative policies towards everyone, like we are, we are benefiting from slavery, right? in East Asia, and Latin America, etc. Because our clothes are made by wage slaves, so on and so forth. And that’s really awful.
Melissa Avery-Weir 25:24
So does that minimize Vegas? Does it put it in perspective of saying like, yes, it is hyper capitalist, but everything else isn’t other major capitals. places are not actually that much worse. I think it provides an analogy that can help you understand how to empathize with
Gregory Avery-Weir 25:46
I think it provides an analogy that can help you understand how to empathize with people. So think of the things that you would want to say to someone who said, “You’re revolting and disgusting for being part of the society.” And that sort of thing would also apply to how you can think about the people that you see in Las Vegas. Yeah, so some things that are generally useful in compassion is, what’s that person thinking right now?
How are they feeling? Like, that’s a that’s something that you can maybe not guess accurately. But you can at least construct something, right. When you can stress something charitable, right? Yeah. Cuz
Melissa Avery-Weir 26:19
‘Cuz if the answer is nothing, speaking of slot machines… Maybe a little more creativity, right? Like just thinking about, like, the roleplaying stuff I was talking about earlier. Like, okay, so this person’s playing slot machines, what are they thinking?
They’re thinking they’re glad not to be at home with their children. Right now. I’m taking a break, right? Or, or that person looks like they’re really enjoying that hamburger. Maybe good taste in fashion. Maybe it’s too expensive. But you can understand why people sometimes splurge on something that is more expensive than it needs to be. Yeah.
Gregory Avery-Weir 26:51
Or that person looks like they’re really enjoying that hamburger. Maybe good taste in fashion. Maybe it’s too expensive. But you can understand why people sometimes splurge on something that is more expensive than it needs to be.
Melissa Avery-Weir 26:53
So I mean, that’s, that’s a challenge, especially when you got these genuine strong feelings. You kind of gotta take a step back and work at it. You need to take the effort, right? You can still not be a fan of Vegas, you get like, within, hopefully, finding and maybe just the strip, right. Like,
You can still not be a fan of Vegas.
Which is totally fine.
And again, maybe just the strip, right. Like, there’s also that too, but like just saying like, you know, this city is like, completely against my morals? Like this is this is not a good place. This is not a place where good things are happening. That’s fine. Yeah, if I were to walk into… I mean, there are places in Russia where Oh, yeah. Where I would was totally like, no, like, I’m not going to participate in covering my hair for religion.
I know that the politics in Russia, are super bad, right? And so I don’t condone those things, but I can still try to see the people there as people.
Gregory Avery-Weir 27:53
And I think it’s okay to not be compassionate, sometimes, like, you can’t be compassionate 100% of the time. If you want to be sometimes you got to put in that effort. Yeah, and it’s not easy. Not easy.
Melissa Avery-Weir 28:07
So what have you been inspired by lately?
Gregory Avery-Weir 28:10
Well, I have been playing a game called The Norwood Suite by a developer and musician called Cosmo D. And they make weird surreal musically-themed games.
Melissa Avery-Weir 28:25
That sounds awesome.
Gregory Avery-Weir 28:27
This is… they’ve got a really interesting visual style where it’s drawing from naive art, in a way. Like, this is a game where you are going to a hotel and have been sent on some sort of mission that’s unclear. You’re some sort of agent or detective or something. It’s very vague. And this is like a hotel up in the mountains that used to be the home of this eccentric musician or eccentric company was or and it’s been converted into a hotel and you’re wandering around this place.
And there’s like, relatively realistic surrealism, like giant statues with glowing eyes. But there’s also things that could never actually happen. Like at one point, you have to turn on a wireless router and it opens an eye and looks at you and you’re booting it up. You are opening trunks of cars, and finding like cow skulls and glowing orbs in them.
Melissa Avery-Weir 29:31
and you’re encountering all these people who kind of look like it. Did you ever use poser 3d? Oh, yeah. program it like makes relatively generic looking people. Uh huh. This sort of has that slightly waxy look of the people. But it’s clearly intentional, because like some people have, like heads, they’re the wrong shape or size, or people have weird skin texture. And maybe it’s someone what stuff I mean, like, Hey, that looks cool. I’m going to keep that. Or maybe it’s even more intentional. Yeah, but everything looks really weird. It’s very, very musical. Everyone in the hotel seems to think that you work there, you just have that look. And so people keep asking you for help, then? Nothing? No, yeah. And that’s kind of what you have to do in order to progress and explore more. And there’s like a DJ who’s been performing one show every night. And this is it’s there 300 night, performing in the in the basement to like, grab the music written by Norwood, the composer seems to be dangerous to play. I’ll see, we’ll keep talking about like, the sweet is a musical sweet, not a hotel suite? Well, it is about okay. And
Gregory Avery-Weir 30:45
A program that like makes relatively generic looking people. Uh huh. This sort of has that slightly waxy look of the people. But it’s clearly intentional, because like some people have, like heads, they’re the wrong shape or size, or people have weird skin texture. And maybe it’s someone messing with stuff and being like, “Hey, that looks cool. I’m going to keep that.” Or maybe it’s even more intentional. Yeah, but everything looks really weird.
It’s very, very musical… Everyone in the hotel seems to think that you work there, you just have that look. And so people keep asking you for help.
And are you helping them?
Yeah. That’s kind of what you have to do in order to progress and explore more. And there’s like a DJ who’s been performing one show every night. And this is their 300th night performing in the basement. The music written by Norwood, the composer, seems to be dangerous to play.
Melissa Avery-Weir 30:47
Oh, so the suite is a musical suite, not a hotel suite?
Gregory Avery-Weir 30:49
Well, it is both.
Melissa Avery-Weir 30:50
Gregory Avery-Weir 30:53
And it’s just a very strange place. And it’s one of those games where it makes it very strong initial impression. And characters make very strong proclamations about other people in the game. So, you know, some will say, well, anyone who would want to stay here is that or people who are here from this company… Tere’s an energy drink company having a conference there and seem to maybe be trying to take over the world? It’s unclear, but they are cast very immediately as these you know, these awful conspiracy people who fire this person and are awful, but you immediately meet some of these people.
And it’s like, “Oh, they’re fine.” Many of them are. Maybe they are trying to take over the world. But also, you know, they’re, they seem all right other than that.
And it’s very weird and very confronting. It constantly disrupts your expectations. You’ll be given a key to a hotel room, and you’ll open it up and there’ll be like spy equipment everywhere. And then you’ll throw a lever and a door, a secret panel will open up and you’ll walk through a hallway with big musical statues, and like piano themed wall shapes, that’re swirling around you, and then you’ll end up coming out of the bar. And people are constantly saying things like, “Did you just did just walk out of a secret passage? Did you come out from a hole in the ceiling? Where’d you come from?”
Melissa Avery-Weir 32:29
Gregory Avery-Weir 32:30
And that, that sense of like a game which keeps you on your toes and constantly challenges the things that you’ve assumed about the people in it and the sending in it is just really interesting. It’s inspirational to think, how can I make my work more uncomfortable for people?
That’s what we seek to do.
In a good way, you know, like, like, the stretching in yoga is uncomfortable but has benefits.
So what have you been inspired by lately?
Melissa Avery-Weir 33:02
Ah, also a video game. Um, I have been playing an ungodly amount of Fallen London, which I would swear we’ve talked about, but I could not find notes.
Gregory Avery-Weir 33:15
I’m sure we’ve mentioned it in passing a whole bunch.
Melissa Avery-Weir 33:19
So it is a game by a company called Failbetter Games. We talked about them last month for kind of kicking off the Love Indies Week. And it’s a browser based game, Victorian-London-placed, where London has been dropped, been lowered by bats, into a very, very large cavern. So it’s a fallen city.
And so you are playing a person who is engaging in whatever kind of schemes… there are a lot of schemes available. This game is old, about eight years old, I think I’ve been playing it for about six off and on.
But earlier this year, I started a character second character who has who is playing a plot that is particularly evil? Evil, I think.
Gregory Avery-Weir 34:16
Melissa Avery-Weir 34:35
Destructive, yes. And so they are betraying people and kind of consuming things that should not be consumed and will make a trip to go to a destination that will essentially end this character. Whenever I get through this, figure out how to do this whole thing. pull all the pieces together. There’s a wall at which they say, the company asks, that you not share whatever’s behind this door once you click the button, and then your character ceases to be to be playable.
Gregory Avery-Weir 34:53
Yeah, the story — Seeking Mr. Eaten’s Name — is all about like uncovering this dark secret. This maybe demonic or ghostly figure, it’s unclear what this being is. But right, everyone doesn’t want you uncover the secret for many reasons. One of which, being that it seems to destroy people, when they find out too much about it.
Melissa Avery-Weir 35:19
And you, you essentially destroy your character’s life. As you proceed through this, you have to give up any profession you have, which is your primary source of income. So it’s incredibly destructive. This game… I tipped over a point this past week where I made a third character, because I needed another character to betray.
Gregory Avery-Weir 35:38
Might be a sign you have a problem.
Melissa Avery-Weir 35:40
Which is when I also… yeah, yeah.
Gregory Avery-Weir 35:44
…started making your roleplaying Tumblr, right?
Melissa Avery-Weir 35:48
Right. So we’ll see where this goes. But the game overall has really interesting themes around sort of choosing what doors you’re gonna close. And so you know, you’ve got it’s, there are some role playing standard role playing game type stuff have, you have stats, and you can progress those. And it’s generally a good idea to progress them relatively evenly. But you also in any pretty much any story involved, you are going to make a choice, and that choice is going to hurt somebody or prevent someone from getting help or something like that.
And so while you do end up spending a fair amount of time and grinds for whatever sort of equipment you need for things, a lot of the actual plots deal with sort of saying, you know, this group of people or this particular person has gone too far, or I’m going to join them in going too far, or I’m going to join them in their decadence or I’m going to join them in their in their austerity, and it’s a complex game.
Gregory Avery-Weir 36:54
Yeah, it’s got this overriding theme of love. But often, it kind of seems like the people who are pursuing love, maybe don’t understand what love really is.
Melissa Avery-Weir 37:03
I’m not sure anyone does.
Gregory Avery-Weir 37:05
They might be devils, they might be aliens. They might be any sort of weird thing.
Melissa Avery-Weir 37:09
There’s definitely things where folks who are kind of obsessed or fixated on sensation, or like having a particular emotion, right, like taking drugs in the form of honey, I guess, of various sorts, to induce dream so they can have romance that they wouldn’t have in the real world and that sort of thing. So it’s a potent game and told my interest. I mean, there were a couple of years I think I didn’t play much, but it’s generally held my interest since you introduced me to it.
So it’s, like I said, it’s been inspiring. It’s it’s got me writing this little Tumblr which I’ll I guess we’ll link to probably in the show notes.
Gregory Avery-Weir 37:55
So we’ve talked about various ways in which folks kind of Judge large groups of anonymous people Hmm, looking at people that you don’t know much about and seeing them as think we said, morally complacent earlier, not actively doing anything
immoral. A complacent.
Melissa Avery-Weir 38:17
Yes, yes. complacent concerning morals. Yes, that idea of they’re not doing the right thing rather than they’re doing something wrong, that spawns difficult feelings that tend to shut you off from actual true understanding.
Right. And it’s, it raises the interesting question of: what’s your threshold here?
So the thing that came to mind fairly immediately was why is New York okay, but Vegas isn’t? New York is the banking capital of the US the banks right that have done bad things to people’s livelihoods for quite some time in this country. Why is that okay? But Vegas isn’t.
Gregory Avery-Weir 39:03
And obviously there is a threshold right there is there’s a certain level where you’re like, Hey white supremacists? Yeah I’m not going to try too hard to be compassionate towards right I’ll be compassionate towards maybe the people that I think can have their minds changed but a large segment of nine be like yeah you know what you can change your own mind if you want to in cases like tourists in Las Vegas they’re probably not forever morally lost.
Melissa Avery-Weir 39:33
Right. Like, knowing people who have done like the riverboat thing or like if you live in Kentucky or something you can go on a boat and gamble there…
Gregory Avery-Weir 39:42
Oh, right because because it’s offshore or something.
Melissa Avery-Weir 39:45
And there are people who have gambling problems who that sort of thing or bingo I guess is another kind of hole for that.
if you’re going to look at people on vacation and say this vacation is too far where’s your threshold there? Are riverboat people also crossing a line?
Gregory Avery-Weir 40:05
And in that case, if they’ve got a problem, like if they’re ill, in some way, that’s even less reason to condemn them. Right. Like
Melissa Avery-Weir 40:13
So yeah, I mean, the question of what your threshold is, is I think… they mentioned in the prompt like I’ve been called judgy before, or judgmental before, I think.
And I think that is kind of where that question sits, is like, you’re going to condemn some things.
Gregory Avery-Weir 40:33
You’re going to judge. That’s one of the things we do is people.
Melissa Avery-Weir 40:36
Take a hard look at what your thresholds are. And maybe it’s not, maybe it’s not a hard threshold, right? Like maybe it’s a blurred line or a gradient.
And if you’re not okay, with how judgmental you’re being, you’re gonna have to take effort to change that you’re gonna have to step back imagine stuff and yeah, it’s not going to be easy, but I think it’s useful.
Gregory Avery-Weir 41:05
So thank you for talking to me today, Melissa
Melissa Avery-Weir 41:07
And thank you for talking to me.
Gregory Avery-Weir 41:08
And thank you all for listening. This has been Aaudacious Compassion. If you have a question or a prop for discussion, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s AVERY dash WEIR dot net.
We’re on Twitter and Facebook @audaciouscast and if you want to like us, if you want to follow us, if you want to rate us on whatever, please do so. We’d love to have more people listening. We’d love to have more people submitting prompts. Please if you like the show share it with folks you know.
I’m Gregory Avery we’re and I can be found on Twitter @gregoryweir.
Melissa Avery-Weir 41:47
I’m Melissa everywhere and I can be found at email@example.com.
Gregory Avery-Weir 41:53
And together we are Future Proof Games, a video game studio. You can visit us at futureproofgames.com. We’ve recently released a role playing game, Rosette Diceless. If you’re interested in collaborative improvisational consent focused role playing games without…
That is tabletop or LARP but not a RPG that one plays digitally.
Yes, yes, it is. It is what is called a pen and paper RPG. Although those things are not always required.
Melissa Avery-Weir 42:23
Gregory Avery-Weir 42:24
Our theme music is “Invisible Light” by Josh Woodward. available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Talk to you later!