Zak asked on G+ for folks to share their degrees/areas of interest. In thinking about it, I doubt mine would tell you much about me. Well, maybe as a person, what I was most curious to learn-- but not so much as a D&D blogger, why I'm so interested in simplifying and systematizing. So here's the real scoop.
I come from Okies. On both sides. Folks that learned to keep everything because if it isn't valuable now it might be later. My father's parents had a wrecking yard. I grew up playing on piles of radiators and broken batteries. My aunt stored old clothes in broken down cars. I got to see what ruined in the weather, what lasted-- the plastic bits and glass and brass.
In a world like that I guess you either give yourself up to chaos or your start trying to process it all. You learn to categorize. You learn to sift. Someone sees a pile of trash, you see the radiators as scrap brass and the batteries as scrap lead. Someone sees a garage full of junk, you learn to save the knick-kacks from occupied Japan as well as the family letters and photos: the ephemeral.
So when I see 1e's Psionics, I see a pile, yes, but there's some cool stuff in there-- I found a set of Russian text books in a junked car once, a lighter from the Berlin Olympics in an old shed-- and I want to pull that pile apart and organize it.
When I see all the moving parts a DM needs to be able to handle-- the potions, the rings, the spells-- I want to isolate them, one-by-one, and master each category. I recognize that things can exist in multiple categories at once, and that sometimes all you get from digging around is something smelly on your hands and a tear in your Levis. But you have to try.
Sometimes I see other folks talking about their games and it seems like they are sitting in lawn chairs propped up on big piles of stuff. A roll of stiff garden hose under one foot, a shoe box of tattered romances under another. They're smiling and having fun. It stresses me out and puzzles me. I want to say "Hold on, we can make this easier on everyone. Get up from your chair and I'll sort through this for you."
And as you become familiar with the categories of things you also become a lover of the hard to find. Someone says they have a way to model fatigue without tracking points, someone offers a way to make travelling through the abstract wilderness come alive, you say "Could you put that aside for me? I'm driving right over with my checkbook."
So reading blogs becomes like cruising garage sales; you see the same baby clothes, the same old particle board furniture and you wonder why you're getting sun burned for this. Then you'll see an old nail puller for a dollar or a Moon Knight comic peeking from a basket of coloring books and it gets you excited all over again and you want to tell someone and you want to hurry to the next pile to dig through.