Today a package came in with two books for me. I have already begun delving into one of the books Addiction by Design. It’s insufferably written as an anthropological ethnography, but I think nonetheless the author did do some useful, objective research on her topic beyond interviews and politicized musings about sociocultural buzzwords. The purpose of the work is to explore the industry of machine gambling and its effects on people. I found the book after watching South Park, particularly their “Freemium” episode that points out, quite mischievously and with an iron edge of outrage, observed neurological research on addiction and habituation in mobile games and gambling systems, not to mention a host of other side shots at various other misery industries.
I think that it’s a particularly interesting topic given how dopaminergic nearly everything involving software has become. To play a simple game of solitaire now, one cannot simply purchase an advertising-free copy of the game in the basic form it came on Microsoft platforms in. Instead, there is an always-on connection expectation, pulsing and inescapable advertisements, and a push to upgrade the experience with additional purchases beyond the basic game.
Overall, today was a fine day. I’ve got my current story open, ready to write another portion of my protagonist’s journey towards the big pivotal reveal of the tale. Yet at the same time I am distracted like a bird in a house of particularly shiny mirrors. My left foot is injured, acute sesamoiditis, which is one of the most unpleasant phenomena I have ever experienced, despite its being pretty non-threatening and more a waiting game than anything else. At my job I accomplished a decent amount, while also feeling as though I had wasted a significant amount of the time I could have used to work on ongoing projects.
One thing that I did manage to do was make one of the Germans I run into frequently laugh quite hard. Definitely he belied the stereotype of the dour Deutschlander, and over a cigarette he, I, and a coworker traded some decent jokes and stories. One thing that I will miss when my time out here is over is the regular interaction with people from all over the world. It has been a feature of my work for some time, but especially acute in a place as expatriate as the State of Qatar.
So here I am, all plied with books, doing laundry, writing on my story, and chugging along through another evening. I aim to write in this journal every day until eventually something interesting comes of it, I end up with a readership, or some other grand effect.