I’m back in New York City! This is the place where I first decided to start making Stream of Pretentiousness. Let me set the tone of the game by telling you an anecdote about moving here.
I’m only here for the next 3 months, and on a tight budget. I live in a shared bedroom with a total of 6 beds. I’m top bunk on the left, and I don’t get much privacy.
Luckily I have an important group chat where I can talk about what happens to my bodily functions without privacy.
There’s no such thing as a stupid question, so I usually tend to just ask.
I took that shower. My mind’s been a lot clearer.
That was a joke. This isn’t strictly interactive non-fiction.
My showers have been really nice lately and it isn’t because of what we talked about last time.
Well it is because of that. But it’s also because the lights are out.
I turn on my phone’s flashlight and then everything’s bathed in this ghostly glow.
That’s how it looks in my head. I make this game on a tight schedule okay?
Anyway, partway through it, the flashlight turns off and then I can’t see anything. It’s like floating in the hot water rain.
The first time I did it, I couldn’t find my soap in the dark and I’m pretty sure I used someone else’s. I smelled like peppermint after.
Then I turn the flashlight on again and I can see the mist from the shower, just floating in the dark like I do.
I only wish the lights worked when I go to pee…
Homesickness is a vulnerable state. Sometimes vulnerability is the best opportunity to grow, but not when you share it in all the wrong places.
One of my new roommates is Christian and I really didn’t see it coming.
I guess I assume most people of color are even better Woke Atheists™ than I am, especially outside of Utah. And everyone else in the house is queer. And there’s a poster on the wall that says Gay Street.
So I thought I could be myself.
And I knew that was a mistake right after I showed him my Christmas party photos.
I suddenly felt very unsafe.
I didn’t say what I wanted to.
Fuck, these streets are so lonely.
Getting off the subway I saw a deck of cards someone had ripped to shreds and scattered everywhere.
And I realized I’ve been dealt a really good hand with this summer in New York, but that’s what sucks:
No amount of loneliness would make it a good decision to shred the deck and go back to the certainty of home.
Home here isn’t really a home yet. I’m out of place in this neighborhood. My earbuds broke today so I can’t retreat into my music.
At least I’m here now, I can open the front door
…and hear a song I’ve never heard before.
It’s from inside my apartment.
Oh my God, it’s him!
What do I say?
I could have said “That sound was the most beautiful thing I heard today.”
I could have said “Fuck you.”
I could have said…
…what I said to myself when I went to the roof and went over that moment in my head.
But it’s not my job to say all that to a stranger.
So if you’re wondering where I’ve gone in the next 24 hours, know that it started with a google search and the permission to keep clicking “Open Link in New Tab.”
Fractive really needs an editor. Last year the episode structures were more free-flowing because internally they looked more like this.
You can see how there’s a little more room for creativity, structure-wise.
I’m having a pretty rough morning. I was the first person to get to RC, and I had a lot on my mind.
I didn't get such good sleep last night. There were some kind of alarm going off down the street and it seemed like half an hour with sirens rushing past outside the window.
Last week I bought noise canceling headphones to help with this kind of situation.
They couldn’t drown out everything. And I think it was a mistake trying to listen to a podcast instead of music—podcasts keep my brain running instead of calming it down—but it was the season finale and I got excited…
Then I had weird dreams and woke up at 6:30. I’m fucking exhausted.
Maybe it’s just that I’m past the Honeymoon stage, but maybe New York isn’t my city after all.
Just 10 bagels in and I’m already getting sick of them, but I don’t have any other breakfast food in the fridge here.
I have most of a dozen eggs in the fridge at home, but I think I just have to cut my losses there.
I haven’t been able to find any cream cheese out here, and I’ve checked like half a dozen stores. It’s not that their cream cheese is particularly good, but I have this weird no-reason brand loyalty to Philadelphia blueberry cream cheese. I’ve been eating my bagels with some communal jam in the RC fridge, but I really miss the real stuff. :’(
I was gonna make myself eggs for breakfast every morning but the sink in the apartment piles up with other people’s dishes. I’ve never had an apartment where that didn’t happen. I almost never cook because of it. Really makes me miss living at home, my real home.
The Chemex here is pretty awesome. I love the visceral feel of making coffee with it. Maybe I’ll make a minigame all about that.
The problem is it takes so damn long.
Orange juice in the meantime?
When I realized cooking at my apartment was a bust, I still managed to salvage some of the groceries I’d bought. A jug of orange juice I stuffed in my backpack along with a pack of paper plates I brought all the way on the subway to RC.
I got in an argument once about the environmental sustainability of using paper plates. I figured they were shitty for the environment, but my friend pointed out that we use a ton of water washing our reusable plates, too. I didn’t bother to do any more research after that and I kind of feel bad about it, but I use paper plates now when I don’t have the energy to wash dishes.
The worst thing in the world is the feeling of not yet having your morning coffee, and having to actually make the coffee while still in that state of spiritual dysfunction. Also making breakfast.
Yesterday I messed up and put a packet of sugar directly in the pot. I was so furious with myself, even though I knew it was such a small mistake. I had to bring up a mantra I’ve been using to reign myself in, “The things you say to yourself, you wouldn’t say to anyone else.”
As I was laying awake at 6:30 in the morning I had a chance to watch the first episode of Season 5. It wasn’t as bad as Season 4 but I’m still really worried that it’ll suck.
Out here starving for connections to home and my comfortable past, I need this season to not suck. That show used to mean so much to me.
Here all alone, I can play my music through the speakers. I can actually sing along! It’s been so long since I last sang. I can change into a skirt without anyone noticing.
I guess it’s not so bad.
Okay this episode was a whole lot of work, but I nailed it. I mean, you be the judge and all, maybe it’s boring as hell (probably) but the point is, I wanted to be nonlinear and I did it, and I stuck with it and wrote everything I put on the outline instead of quitting halfway.
Fractive still needs a proper editor, though.
Tomorrow I’ll probably just dump some bullshit I’ve already written. :P
See you then,
I’m feeling lazy so I just want to show you something I wrote a while ago.
There’s a backstory if you’re into that kind of thing.
If not, click here.
For about three weeks, I was a writer for Her Campus Utah.
You are about to read my third article, which was deemed extremely hilarious but too vulgar to be published.
That’s not why I quit—I quit because the site is run by a for-profit company that doesn’t pay its writers anything. It seems really unfair and anti-feminist that the women who set out to empower women in college, would see fit to profit off of unpaid labor by women.
Without further ado… Valentines from a Tinder Daddy
First of all I noticed that his shirt was visibly wet in several different places which I couldn’t explain because it hadn’t been raining the night before. I don’t ask Bible Boy questions so we’ll never know why.
He had a big metal basket on wheels stuffed with crumpled up clothes: “Oh good morning Nat! I have to do laundry.”
“Do you have to do your laundry?”
(Is he trying to get me to do laundry together??)
“There’s this good laundromat down the block. I mean it’s a little bit further than the other ones but I like it.”
(Someone’s in the bathroom and I need to pee so I can’t just peace out. Fuck)
“Do you know about detoxing?”
(Please don’t explain this to me.)
“It’s basically when you try to cleanse your environment and the things you put in your body of things that are toxic to you.”
“I’m not as diligent about it as I should be but I do use this non-toxic laundry detergent. And I filter my water.”
“When I use toxic laundry detergent I notice I actually feel sick. That Tide stuff is so bad for you. I don’t know if you feel ill, but I do.”
“And do you know about detoxing your liver? I won’t explain it but just look it up, okay?”
“Sorry loading all that on you I just really like encouraging people to do these good things!”
(The bathroom’s open!)
Everything’s broken today and I’m just gonna leave it like that.
I might have overreacted yesterday.
I know there’s not much of an audience for what I’m doing here, but of the people who do read, I wonder if anyone else really understands why I get so emotional about what engine I’m using to make Stream of Pretentiousness.
This game represents a lot to me. It’s actually more of a test bed for the game I’ve been working on for the last year and a half. My plan was to do Stream of Pretentiousness for a month in SpaceFractive, the engine I was planning to use for my magnum opus, so I could spot all the engine’s weaknesses and build it into the tool I need.
So when I thought it wasn’t going to work anymore, I freaked out.
I tried to learn Ink in a morning and I actually used it to make yesterday’s episode (still within SpaceFractive). This was a really good thing to do—now I know if things really don’t work out with Fractive, I have other options. But I don’t have to quit on Fractive altogether! I still love this engine and I’ve got more fun left to have with it.
Everyone who’s played enough (or studied game theory) knows that Tic-Tac-Toe is broken.
As long as both players aren’t stupid, the game will end in a draw.
I tried to explain that when you challenged me that night, but somehow against you I still felt kept on my Toes
Like you knew so much more than me
Or would stumble onto a Chessmaster-level move I knew mathematically couldn’t exist
And each game we played I feared I was wrong, I’d be the fool
And I knew I would keep playing forever, if it was with you—
I guess I know now that you weren’t playing the same game.
You’re playing an irreverent interactive nonfiction game written and programmed by Nat Quayle Nelson. New episodes are released daily Monday-Friday!
Season 1 was made in Twine. Lots of people get stuck playing it because they don’t see the back button. It might be hard to see, but it’s there on the left. Trust me.