A Train of Thought

So titled because it is being written on a train.

Today, roughly thirty men will stand on a cricket pitch. They will kick an oddly shaped ball between themselves in a competitive manner. This isn’t a rare occurence, but apparently this time it’s a big enough deal for bands to be called in, celebrations to be had, excess amounts of alcohol to be consumed and book-keepers to exploit probability and marketing to make rather large sums of money. This happens every year.

They paraded the men yesterday, you know? Put them in utes and drove them through Melbourne. I wasn’t there myself, but from the year that I did see it, I think it’s fair to make the assumption that they are still using utes. To use sedans would kind of defeat the purpose of the parade, I think. Still, they were displayed to hoards of adoring fans, waving and smiling or whatever. Some were asked questions by journalists, probably the captains and coaches, taking about what they believe will happen but not really and instead merely mildly complimenting the opposing team in a politically correct way. You can’t slander your opposition when you’ve got a microphone in your face, but you can’t give away your entire game plan either. And to play yourself up would just make yourself look like a jerk.

The media, of course, love the event. They love the sport.

There are people drinking on the train I’m on. Are they allowed to do that? From the sound of it they’re drinking apple cider, or at least one of them is. Consider themselves members of that punk “anti-culture”, by the looks of it. I don’t have a problem with punks, really, and although they are the loudest group (from where I’m sitting) when they converse, I have no quarrel with them. The hairstyle one of them sports is actually somewhat impressive. But I just don’t think it’s legal to drink alcohol on a public train. Maybe it’s glass-bottled soft drinks, and one of them is instead having an apple juice. Or maybe one of them has the nickname “Apple”. Each to their own, I guess.

Anyway, the media love the sport. It sells papers, especially on this weekend. It makes people watch the news. It gives reason to people subscribing to Foxtel. The media often push the idea that it’s part of Victorian culture, the AFL. And maybe it is, but if so, I wonder why. Is it like a self-fulfilling prophecy? Is it part of our culture because the media says it is, or does the media say it is because it’s a part of the culture?

I’ve got my headphones on now, listening to the Frozen Synapse soundtrack. I don’t have the numbers in front of me at the moment, but the game originally cost around twenty or twenty-five dollars. And that was without the soundtrack, which costs six alone. I think. Yet the Humble Indie Bundle is running, and the average price paid is around the five dollar mark. Five dollars, for a product that would normally cost five or six times that. If the product wasn’t distributed digitally, and by the people who do the bundle and not the people who actually make the game, I don’t think it’d be commercially viable. And yet, over the first two days, the bundle has made half a million dollars, with twelve days left. That half a million, of course, is the lump number of however much is going to charity, the developer, and the people who run the bundle. Even so, the past bundles have raised two million dollars for charity alone. That’s the EFF and Child’s Play. I, personally, put my charity money into EFF, not Child’s Play, but that’s just my own political biases there.

I can’t work out if the Humble Indie Bundles are actually a good business system. Considering that less than two dollars of my five dollar payment went to the developers, Mode 7, for something that would have normally cost twenty-six dollars, are they making a profit or a loss? That was roughly a third of my payment. If the bundle makes half a million dollars every two days, that means it should make a grand total of seven million dollars. If one third of that goes to Mode 7, assuming that everyone else splits the money the same way I did, they would receive a little under two and a half million dollars. And they aren’t even exposed to operating costs due to this, that’s Wolfire’s job. Who will also make two and a half million dollars, again assuming that everyone is me.

At five dollars, and seven million dollars total, that’d be 1.4 million sales. If there were 1.4 million sales of Frozen Synapse outside the bundle, that’d be somewhere between twenty-eight and forty-two million dollars of raw revenue for Mode 7.

Is this a good or bad business strategy? I mean, it’s a fantastic concept, the HIB. There’s no doubt I wouldn’t have known about Frozen Synapse without it. But is Mode 7 actually making a profit? What, at the end of the day, is a profit? Should we just ignore the opportunity cost?

The train is at Footscray station, now. Or not anymore, as it’s on the move again. There used to be a football team here, but they moved to Brisbane.

My headphones may be starting to break, just slightly. It’s the headband, as always, or rather the point between the headband and where it connects to the thing that has the speaker attached to it. Which is a shame, because these are brilliant headphones. I need to take more care of my headphones. I also need to buy some superglue.

I don’t really understand why people can be mad, almost bigoted supporters of any one football club. There’s seventeen of them. And yet it seems perfectly normal to choose exactly one, not two, not none, and sing praises of it exclusively, cursing any other name and dashing the children of those that support any other club. This makes absolutely no sense to me. It’s a group of men that are exceptionally skilled at kicking a red oblong. Yes, they are very good, but they aren’t really contributing to society. I haven’t seen anyone get outraged because their opinions of one group of university researchers doesn’t match some other person’s opinion. Very few people care for thte names of the CSIRO people working with anthrax derivatives out near Geelong. Otherwise fashionable people don’t wear gaudy scarves with “GO CERN!” stitched into them.

There are police officers at Southern Cross station. I wonder if they are merely there for the presence, or if they are looking for someone.

I’ve missed my tram stop. That, combined with the fact that my myki is fast running out of money, makes me a somewhat unhappy man.

Someone once told me that glass is actually a slow-moving fluid, and there’s a lot of glass in Melbourne. We coat or buildings in it, of course, just like any other city. It makes me worry that if an apocalyptic event was to occur, and all the humans suddenly died, in millions of years time all the glass will have dripped down the side of the buildings, puddling, pooling and flowing down the streets.  The tram stop shelters will become wireframes, and the skyscrapers will all be naked.


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