Inspired by the list from this tweet:
There are 5 topics I can talk about for 30 minutes without any preparation:
1. Tech leadership
3. Particle physics; specifically string theory and gaps between general relativity & quantum mechanics
5. The great fashion houses
What are yours?
At first it was a little difficult to think of any topics but over time this post came together as I re-worked-out what I'm passionate about. So I present to you a post about:
- Showa and early Heisei Era Japan
I hope you enjoy, and if you ever meet me in person and are looking for a conversation starter... 👀...
I've written a lot about Pokémon on this site and I'd kick off the 30 mins with why Generation 2 (+ remakes) = the best generation. Sure the Generation 3 crowd have a strong argument but with what Generation 2 brought with its foundational changes, even up against physical limitations of the cartridge, have stood the test of now 8+ generations.
Moving into more niche facts and discussions such as:
- The original Pokémon art was drawn as pixel art, then Ken Sugamori drew them in the classic water colour style
- The reason we get two versions came from Shigeru Miyamoto himself
- Generation 6 missed out on a third version (Z) due to Game Freak's Project Gear 😭
- How the manga is entirely different and in which ways (the killings, the Pokéballs, etc)
- How I used to do the Red/Blue/Yellow rare candy glitch for kids at school before I had a Pokémon game myself
It would end up being a fantastic mismatch of facts spanning in-game lore to real world consequences. Each topic erratically jumped to like an enthusiastic frog with a place to go.
I'd begin with: I think it's an incredible general purpose language. The attention, money, and decisions Microsoft continues to invest into it is phenomenal. With the big API unification finally done in post .NET Core era, it properly runs nearly everywhere and is highly accessible.
After making some sort of sale pitch, I'd wanna move into my favourite niche space: performance optimisation. I really love optimising and getting to understand and talk about async state machines, memory management, and newer datatypes such as the
Talks like the one below are jammed full of things I'd just talk someone's ear off with:
Showa and early Heisei Era Japan
This is a more recent edition into my life. During the The Bad Times of the early 2020s I was in a presentation with the Principal Asia-Pacific Economist, Glenn Maguire and he brought up a book: Showa 1953-1989 by Shigeru Mizuki.
It's a manga styled history book talking about the revitalisation of Japan after the second world war. While not much of a history lover, I did really enjoy the story telling style and it being pictured. I ate it up so fast that I helped myself to seconds, thirds, and fourths - the rest of the Showa series.
These books themselves are a wealth of interest on the war, civil unrest, and politics, but then the 30 minute conversation can move into popular culture that was born from this era. Anime as we know it today was born from the post war American occupation of Japan. Tokyo's whole public transport infrastructure was a necessity and was the polar opposite of the deepening car dependencies of the West because of oil shortages and steep prices being outside of a salary worker's affordances.
It's hard to move away from WW2 as the Showa era was dictated by war, both participating and the post war effects. However, then we can get to the post war boom: the Japanese economic miracle.
All in all, this one might be a less cohesive narrative compared to the first two. With each topic being an island in the same ocean and it's up to the listener to navigate between them.
I love memes. I love the zeitgeist of internet culture. I love how transient they can be. I properly started being on "the internet" during the I Can Haz Cheezburger era - around the mid to late 2000s. I always had trouble (and still do) putting my feelings to thought and expression. But memes, memes could relate to me with simple phrases and pictures. I could finally feel related to with "I do that" or "that's how I feel". I could spend hours talking about just this aspect of memes and what they meant for my personal expression.
Then we have memes such as Twitch chat. These memes are ephemeral. The meta changing hourly. Fast moving chats such as in XQC's channel are my favourite. Thousands of people instantly aligning to this hive-mind that morphs and bulges as it evolves - instantly casting off anything that didn't catch in a comment or two. If money wasn't a thing, I'd dive right into some sort of anthropology study on Twitch chat.
Or in a slightly slower and constructed pace, we have whole entire phenomena erupt from nothing such as the Goncharov movie. An entirely made up movie with concepts, art, scripting, and more. An entire community coming around to a stitched on label to a show. If you want to read more, check out this writeup from Vice: ‘Goncharov’: How Tumblr Invented a Martin Scorsese Movie That Doesn't Exist.
Halo was my first proper dive into fictional lore. I used to watch my friend from school play Halo 1 on his computer. While too scared to play it myself, I was enthralled with this huge galaxy spanning lore with twists and what I thought was the coolest main character and his AI.
I owned Halo 2, played thousands of hours of Halo 3 and Reach. Loved the vibe of ODST, and ended up consuming all the books. I could never fit the three "Halo box set" books back in together after reading.
However, I did drop off after Bungie exited. I'm more of a Bungie Halo fan rather than a 343 Halo fan so talking about more recent lore will be lacking.
But there's more than lore. There's the culture you had to be there for. Infamous online Call of Duty and Halo lobbies. How two teams could trash talk each other. Or how a friend and I ranked pretty high playing team doubles. Or afternoon after school playing custom games. It was also a place to catch up online using voice. At the time of writing this it's easy to use Discord to yarn with friends but back then it wasn't as easy (or you used Skype) so across Xbox Live you could both game and chat.
Halo 3 will always be where my most favourite Halo memories will be.
I hope you enjoyed this little throw-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks post. I found it fun to write down possible avenues of what to talk about and it totally reaffirmed this is a thing I could do😇.