Archive for January, 2016

The Piano Guys – Hello/Lacrimosa

Just released today, this gave me chills.

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Eric Prydz – Breathe (feat. Rob Swire)

I almost posted this yesterday, but I didn’t want to forget about the new Otto Knows song. Anyway, I’m not a huge fan of Eric Prydz’s earlier music, but I really enjoyed his Opus, which he released six months ago. And based on this song, I think I’m going to like the full album Opus, which he’s releasing in early February. All that being said, there might be more Eric Prydz on here in the future.

Otto Knows – Dying for You (feat. Lindsey Stirling and Alex Aris)

League and Presence

I started playing League of Legends (or just League, for short) in my first semester of my undergraduate career, September 2013. While I can’t get exact numbers, over the following two years, I probably played more than 1000 matches across all of its game modes (a match usually lasts between 30 minutes and an hour), with nearly 400 ranked games during Seasons 4 and 5 (2014 and 2015). And I enjoyed it. Aside from my participation in musical ensembles and time spent with family and friends, it was probably my favorite extracurricular activity. If you’d asked me this August, going into my third year of school, I would probably have said that this trend would continue up to, and through, the present. But instead, my playing League ground to a near halt. My last match was during the first week of November. Over the course of the entire semester, I played fewer than 10 matches.

This change was not due to conscious choice. I still followed this year’s World Championship, watching replays of the games that I couldn’t catch live. I enjoy the gameplay, the strategy and competition in the game. And I still really enjoy playing and improving at the game, especially in the role that I have chosen as my “main”, support. However, I do have some ideas as to why I myself have played the game less often. I think part of it stems from my new living situation this academic year, in a house with eight other guys. One of the few down-sides of the new house I’m living in is the somewhat unreliable internet, which I’ve been wary of when deciding whether or not to play. On another note, some of the few matches I did play were among the most frustrating I’ve ever played. In one of my last matches (Thresh in a solo ranked), we had a great start, and I helped get both my ADC and my mid-laner fed (in normal English, I helped two of my teammates get really far ahead of their opponents), only to watch our team get dismantled mid-game by a Darius that had only barely won top lane (juggernauts are fun, right?). This semester also felt more busy, with schoolwork, with my three major musical commitments, and especially with my house-mates. Since none of my house-mates play League regularly, and I’ve spent more time with them, I had less time on my own, which I previously would have spent playing the game. Though League is a social game, in that a typical match requires a player to interact with nine others from anywhere in North America (each region of the world has an server to host the game), it is admittedly anti-social to anyone in the player’s direct vicinity (that is, unless they are playing together)

Despite my other distractions, I have found myself missing playing every so often. Throughout my winter break I’ve had the opportunities to satisfy one of these desires, but since I decided to leave my mouse at school during winter break, and don’t plan on learning to play on a touchpad, I’ve opted not to. Those times have afforded me the opportunity to reflect more objectively on the time that I do (or did) spend playing. I played a lot of League of Legends during my first couple of years of college, and I don’t regret most of that time. Some of my best memories of my second year were of staying up late with A and J trying to succeed in a ranked 3s team that either trampled the opponent or got steamrolled. And this past summer was made significantly more bearable by the numerous games I played over Skype with a group of friends from home, including one ranked 5s match where I played Jinx for the first time ever (we still won, somehow). Individually, League of Legends gave me, a definite introvert, a much-needed outlet: a competitive activity that I could enjoy without direct human-human contact.

That being said, there are times that I wish that I had spent less time playing.

The primary reason why I wish I had spent less time in League of Legends is that I want to be present. While I do need to spend time alone to recharge from being “burned out” from people, I was spending far more time than was required to satisfy that need, and I think that got in the way of more important relationships. Even if I am playing a game on the kitchen counter at home, my presence is in the game, not with my family around me. Since League is such a complex game, it requires a player’s attention in such a way that prevents authentic interaction with others that aren’t in the game. This reminds me of a portion of a talk given by spoken word and rap artist Propaganda: “Multi-tasking is a myth. You ain’t doing anything good, just everything awful.” You can’t play a game of League and spend time with others at the same time, doing both well. So if I need to choose between the game and the people I love, I would pick the latter.

So far, I guess that it’s worked. Though I’m working a full-time internship, much more of my free time at home has been spent with my family and with N. I’ve enjoyed it, and I’ve felt less torn about having limited time with them before going back to school.

I probably won’t stay away from League indefinitely. I’d say that it’s probably my favorite game that I’ve played, whether electronic or otherwise, and I’m sure that I will eventually play again. However, I hope that I don’t play as much as I did in the years before this past semester. I certainly don’t expect to play 200 ranked matches in Season 6, like I did in Season 4 or Season 5. As life tends to be, it is all about finding a balance, and I’m glad to be closer to that balance now than I was. Hopefully League of Legends will be a little more balanced when I return than when I left it.

Hillsong Young & Free – This is Living (feat. Lecrae)

Happy New Year!