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I devoted a bunch of my August leisure to video games, so I haven't been reading as much as I might have. No doubt this trend will continue for different reasons as I fall on into a morass of schoolwork.
Gene Wolfe, The Claw of the Conciliator
Gene Wolfe, The Sword of the Lictor
Gene Wolfe, The Citadel of the Autarch
Sean Stewart, Resurrection Man
School began Tuesday and continues; today I had my first class that wasn't that class' initial introduction. (For Social and Political Philosophy; we watched a video on the Milgram experiments with the shocking.) The campus is much busier and yet somehow more organized than it was in the summer; somehow the effect of the vast tides of people surging between buildings past signs and booths and shouting isn't anarchic, but fractal, every piece of it presumably making cheerful sense if you look closer. On the first day, there were people with shirts saying 'I am UBC' holding signs and leading around huddled groups of first-year students; the signs apparently just had to be distinctive, and I saw a lot of people with seemingly random words: "Somatic", "Endemic", "Bourgeoi$". I also saw five or six different people I knew from Langara, which was unexpected and heartening, as all the Langara people I'd kept in touch with have stayed there (hi, Marilee and Allison); most notably, Goldie, from my introductory Metaphysics class in 2006, is in the Social and Political class, and we hung out for some time measured in hours afterward.

The main things going on in my home are preparations for my sister to move out (for, yes, the second time); this time she is going to Fort St. John, which is considerably farther away as well as being, by my family's standards, almost bewilderingly small and inconveniently located as technical cities go. ("It's not that it's in the middle of nowhere; it's just that it's nowhere near anywhere else.") She is going there because she has been offered a job at their local newspaper, the Alaska Highway News, which suits her very well on account of how she's a newspaper reporter with an adventurous streak. So there has been a lot of putting things in boxes, and we bought a new car (a startling shade of red; so far my mother won't let anyone else touch it or get inside) because Tess is getting the old Volvo, and attitudes are generally a harried sort of excited.

I am playing in Rachel's online AD&D campaign on Saturdays. I rolled somebody who could have been a paladin even if we were playing 2nd edition*, so a paladin is what I'm playing, which is neat because I've always kind of wanted to try it. It's very different from being the wizard I played last campaign, who was always making pragmatic moral compromises; that was fun and interesting not least because of the way it often made me the player kind of uncomfortable, but it's a very different sort of gratifying to play someone who speaks up when something seems wrong, and won't kill someone who isn't facing him with a sword in his hand and won't allow the torture of prisoners, etc.

(* We're playing 3.5, which I seem to be getting used to; I still think they made some unfortunate decisions in the Player's Handbook, and that a lot of the character classes feel less special than they used to, but some 2nd edition rules are starting to have the same startling quaintness for me that 1st edition does. It's a little bit sad.)

The sun is starting to learn again to be comfortable. I always liked autumn and spring the best.
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A year or two ago, the principals in my late & lamented AD&D group were sitting around idly pursuing some worldbuilding tangent or other, and we came up with the idea for this powerful undead wizard with a peculiar gap in his knowledge and memory -- he doesn't know how it was he died, or who was responsible for bringing him back as he is. Eventually, by some magical means, he travels back in time to find out, and of course it turns out that he ends up in a situation where he himself is the one who grants his corpse its fell animation.

Then he says, "I know where I came from... But where did all you non-zombies come from?"
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Since reading this I've learned that there really is a movie adaptation of 'A Sound Of Thunder' out right now, but I didn't yet know that when I rode the bus past a movie theatre and glimpsed a poster for it, appropriately but unrevealingly decorated with a butterfly. It was very surreal.

Last night instead of AD&D cola ran a game of Paranoia, which I've never played before, and which was awesome fun - more than I expected it to be, actually, considering what I knew about the system. I was thinking of writing up a report; I probably won't, but it worked out quite wonderfully to a sort of slapstick comedy of errors, and plot points hinged upon puns, and I got several times to demand of various other parties, "Have you ever been in a war?", and, somehow, we all survived, and actually took no damage (though Marilee was shot by the Computer in the epilogue).

Afterward, cola and Rowen and I walked to the skytrain, stopping to eat on the way, and we each noticed and remarked that the air was thick with smoke. As I bussed to school this morning, the smoke was still there.

Today, after attending it for the first time, I dropped Religions of the West; I'd have liked to have had more time to consider the decision, but this was the last day I could get any sort of refund. I liked my classmates, but something in the teacher's manner had me feeling increasingly oppressed and desparate. He's apparently a Vancouver city councillor, though I don't think that's related.
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Interesting how this seems to make some people more cheerful to contemplate, and some people less. I fell mostly into the former camp.

Not because you have to, but because you WANT to! Things you enjoy, even when no one around you wants to go out and play. What lowers your stress/blood pressure/anxiety level? Make a list, post it to your journal... and then tag 5 friends and ask them to post it to theirs.

(The strangest and most interesting piece of those instructions is the second sentence, which seems to forbid the mention of phone conversation, or physical affection, or my AD&D game, or silly and joyful late-night contact with Rachel, or anything else that requires a willing participant besides myself. I haven't seen anyone else try to comply with this, but I think that I will.)

It starts with 'reading' )

I don't really care enough about the 'tagging' aspect of this particular game to bother, not to mention that my supply of candidates has been fairly comprehensively tapped. On the off-chance that someone reading this has been yearning to get tagged and hasn't yet, well, I know it's not the same, but you certainly have my permission to take the thing.
garran: (Default)
I am trying to determine which AD&D alignment best corresponds to the theories we've discussed in Moral Philosophy. (I will stop short of actually designing a specialty priest for each.)

Within. )

It's amusing that this exercise is so helpful and clarifying to my understanding.

Edit: Oops! I forgot the Ethics of Care! With its emphasis on individual relationships and disdain for larger principle, it can probably best be described as Chaotic Good.


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Andy H.

February 2013

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