On Friday, the usual games and geekery crowd had a celebration of Melanie's birthday by playing games, and we ended up playing Wizardology.

Which was my choice, since I've never played it before, but I conclude that I don't like it. Way too much depends on chance and luck of the draw, nor do your odds of succeeding increase as you progress through the game; I cannot imagine how playing the game multiple times would increase your odds of winning, the way they would for Settlers of Catan.

Best comment of the night, by Carmen on the Twilight love triangle: "Would you rather have an oral fixation, or doggy style for the rest of your life?"

Saturday i picked up the first season of Babylon 5, as a boxed set of DVDs, at the pharmacy. Thankfully, Abi Sutherland's rewatch on Making Light had told me what episodes I may safely skip, so I watched 1, 6, 7 and 8 before going to bed. I am enjoying it so far, therefore (possibly because I skipped the bad episodes.) The aliens in this one may actually be intelligent, although the first incluing by basically accusing Londo, on behalf of his entire species, of misleading humans a hundred years before, threw me off. Even if he is an ambassador, no individual can speak for his entire species' decisions of possibly before he was born, nor have to.

I happen to feel very strongly on that point, of confusing individuals with groups, possibly because of hearing "Oh, those Russians did..." way too many times. When you equate the self-identity of a population of umpteen million with the actions of a few hundred people in the government, especially if you know that this government is not fairly and democratically elected, that is assigning responsibility without power. And just plain feels like being accused of something you didn't do.

Probably a common feeling for many members of monoliths, be they Arabs, mining industry workers, members of the media, or Microsoft employees. The cure for it, however, is pausing to think a little and distinguish the monolith into a few more subsets, separating the human beings from the system.

I guess both these frustrations, the one with Wizardology and the one with Sinclair's discussion with Londo, come from the same source: I want effort to be correlated with reward, and I do not like punishment not related with your own effort. Indeed, I react to frustration, to feeling powerless in the system, strongly enough that there are many good books set in oppressive regimes that I have quit reading (e.g. Cory Doctorow's For The Win), even though I know that the hero will triumph in the end; I do not want to emotionally empathize with that world for even the short time before the heroes will start winning, by pretending that I was in their place and in their place, there was nothing I could do.
syncategorematic: (guitar)
( Jul. 17th, 2011 10:49 pm)
I had to go out in the evening to hang a towel on the chair of my balcony, and just stopped, looking and listening and smelling the dark summer stillness, watching the trees quiver against the velvety sky, a rabbit dart by on its way to the lawn, random late-night headlights adding yellow eyes to the orange sodium glow of the streetlights.

Moved by the idea that I've taken too little advantage of my balcony in the two and a half years I will lose it, I went and grabbed my guitar and fingerpicked for a while, softly, moving through chords, they sounding clearer with no voice to mask them. Minor, major, seventh, suspended second, add 9th...

Among the things I find...enchanting, magical, sexy, call it what you will, playing music softly on a summer's night will be in the top ten. It makes me long to live in a place where every night is a summer night like this, where all year round you can sit on your balcony and strum chords quietly to yourself, to someone else, to the streetlights and the cats, with not even the late-night dogwalker below noticing you. Make music. To the sky and the air. Maybe it is sexiness. Maybe it is worship.

But I've got to get up early in the morning.
I know some of you like crafting, knitting, crochet, etc. I have just re-discovered this YouTube channel.To be honest, I should have posted it long ago: Mikey's partner Dan was actually my accompanist at a recital last year, and Mikey came to watch Dan play and crocheted a really cool hat-thing on a spool to pass the time while we went through the tedium of setup etc. I asked Mikey afterwards what he did, and he told me about his and Dan's crafting and cooking shows, and gave me his business card, but I lost it. Today I re-found the website, though, through the almighty Google.

In other news, it has just thundered and hailed like whoa over this town. Like, heavens opening, and the rapture did happen and nobody noticed and now LBGod is smiting the left behind. Hailstones, the size of peas.*

*I once came across an Imponderables question: "What was used to measure hailstones before golf balls were invented?" and realized that I had once read a description that compared the size of hailstones to walnuts, answering that question. So I make a point of always comparing the size of natural organic hailstones to natural organic objects.

There was a major cloud over Kincardine at totality, so I did not see it out my window. But I did see the crescent of the penumbra, and the tiny sliver that ended up happening.

When I was about nine years old, and there was an annular solar eclipse over Ottawa and my mother took me out of school to see it through smoked glass, I had seen the crescent too, not the total state. It looked a lot like the moon, through our homemade smoked glass (obviously, this has done no lasting damage to my eyesight; even my right-eye myopia was occurring even before then.)

Question for science fiction fans: is there an app somewhere online for which you can input a multiple-moon system's orbital periods, the period of the planet in question (since, according to Kepler's law, it is a function of the distance) and get a schedule of when there will be two moons in the sky, when three, when one will be in eclipse while another will not, etc.? It's a system of quadratic and cubic equations, so technically, you can lay it out by hand and solve with a calculator, but it just seems the kind of number-crunching a computer might do. For a reasonable number of moons.


syncategorematic: (Default)


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