Previously, in Trip's Life...

27 June 2001 - Wednesday

Today's Philosophy Rant: The Preservation of Mystery

Rather than engage in self-serving promotion of my own position, I'll just provide the reader a link to this account.

Evening of 26 June 2001

In fact, there is writing. Surprisingly much writing, considering how out of practice I am and how little time I spent actually writing (what with the stupid STUPID Mac creature crashing, and me being a lazy parasite, and all). Perhaps someday there will even be enough words that they will be worth putting up on the web.

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26 June 2001 - Tuesday

Today's smugness:

Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 09:07:56 -0700
From: Bryant Durrell 
Subject: [ Re: OT [UA] All
Humans are Liars]
X-Mailer: Mutt 1.0i
----- Forwarded message -----
Date: 26 Jun 2001 12:32:48 -0000
From: "Nick Wedig" 
Subject: Re: OT [UA] All Humans are Liars
List-Id: The Unknown Armies RPG Mailing List

>I've always felt a love scene with a sultry (enormous,
>dangling, scaly dugs and bigger, bluer lips filmed in
>soft focus) female deep one coming aboard to seduce
>the dashing captain Doug Nigguroth (sort of like a
>cross between Wilbur Whately and Captain Kirk) would
>make television worth watching again.
Sex with lovecraftian horrors... sounds a lot like
School Colors From Outer Space, the rpg crossover that
shouldn't exist:
ObUA: sex... slimy, loathsome horrors... Carnals!
Mr. Teapot
really needs some players who've played a lot of CoC
so he could spring this on them

[.sigs deleted for neatness]

Now I feel all motivated to work on Lovecraft Country, the prophesied successor to SCOOS, which will be less like TFOS in slimy drag. If only I had a system... (Here, I will hoist myself on my own rant about how the world needs fewer game systems made just for the joy of being different.)

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25 June 2001 - Monday

Yay no more oncall! Not that it was at all bad this week; you'd think the site was stable, or something.

Monday evening is now officially my writing time. Except tonight it's 19:30 before I even get home, never mind eat dinner (Hong Kong Bakery dim sum, yum!), so I think this week it will be Tuesday.

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21 June 2001 - Thursday

Today I am smug because in about half an hour I solved an HTML problem that had stumped a professional HTMLer* for weeks. However, lest I seem to be gloating excessively, I should point out that it is probably Kit's highly developed aesthetic sense that kept her from finding that solution, because what I wrote goes beyond kludginess into the realm of butt-ugly. And not just any butt, either; my butt.

But it does, in fact, work.

*Why yes, verbing does weird language.

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20 June 2001 - Wednesday

I was right, seeing the Utena Movie with other people is better: they all have such interesting theories! I think I like Christy's theory, but I can't repeat it here without spoilers.

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17 June 2001 - Sunday

All movies, all the time!

Last night I watched the Revolutionary Girl Utena Movie. I've seen it before, and engaged in analysis of it, but the one-word review is still "Buh". (If I get two words, add "Woo!"; if you've seen it, you know which scene I mean.) I'd add, "Short-haired Utena is a major cutie!" but then you'd all mock me so er damn too late.

This afternoon, I saw Moulin Rouge and Shrek, which were both good in different fairy-tale ways. Moulin Rouge starts out with the line "That's when the unconscious Argentinian fell through my ceiling" and then dives straight into a pit of visual decadence. Shrek just mocks all other animated fantasy movies, especially if they came from Disney, but successfully avoids the error that Beauty and the Beast fell into, so I give it points for that. (I am given to understand Shrek is based on a book of the same name that doesn't have any of this namby-pamby crap about the heroprotagonist turning out to be even vaguely nice, but oh well.)

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16 June 2001 - Saturday

As usual, everyone claimed to enjoy SPD, for reasons that are completely unclear to me. Sigh.

But today I am smug, becase when I got back from yummy Thai lunch I read Liralen 's journal and found that she agreed with me about the fight with swords at the end of Flag in Exile, by David Weber. My phrasing there is deliberate, because it was not a swordfight; it was a fight that happened to use swords, and it was established in the very first book that Honor Harrington had been practicing martial arts diligently for decades. I won't deny that there is a fair amount of piling excessive amounts of competence onto Honor throughout the early and middle part of the series, but I claimed this wasn't an instance of that, and Liralen, whose exciting past amply qualifies her to judge this, agrees with me. Thus, I am smug.

Neener neener. :)

Later on 15 June 2001

June 13's Philosophy Rant, Revisited

I recorded this from TooMUSH today (and edited it for format and spelling).

Trip made Kit write up her philosophy rant, though.

Kit grins. Trip did. At least in brief.

Trip says, "Oh, the problem with 'he wouldn't do it again if he were in jail for the rest of his life' is that people escape from jail moderately frequently."

Kit's not under the impression that people escape from maximum security prisons all that often, although she's certainly never looked into it. It's also very expensive to keep someone in jail for a life term. (Of course, it's also very expensive to execute someone). I still don't think those are good reasons to kill somebody.

Trip says, "Not from maximum security prisons, but I dunno that we can afford to keep all violent criminals in maximum security. (On the other hand, if we stopped imprisoning nonviolent criminals, it might work better.)"

Kit says, "Wasn't McVeigh in a pretty high security prison? I think he was."

Kit says, "And yeah. Prison is not the way to deal with most offenders. :P"

Trip nods, but I meant in the general case, imprisoning someone doesn't actually guarantee that they won't hurt anyone ever again.

Trip says, "But, yah, even if drugs remain illegal, drug offenders should not be going to prison."

Kit says, "Psychologically speaking, executing somebody doesn't keep him from hurting people, either. The ones he damaged are already hurt and will be permenantly. it prevents him from hurting somebody /new/, yeah, but getting back to the point :), I don't believe the risk of escape from prison is high enough to justify taking the life of another human being."

Trip nods. It is certainly a point on which reasonable people can disagree.

Kit grins. Reasonable people like us!

Trip nods!

Trip guesses it depends a lot on the type of crime. Someone who blows his top and kills someone probably needs anger management therapy and a minder, but can eventually be part of society again. A terrorist who kills people because he thinks it's the right thing to do, or a serial killer, who can't be fixed, would be different.

Kit says, "People like that should probably be put into some kind of holding facility, yes, because that tends to be a moral imperative for them, blowing people up, and that's ... very difficult to train out of someone. But most murders are in fact one time offenses."

You say, "Yah. There are, IMHO, two classes of violent criminals: those who fucked up, and those who just don't care about your pathetic Western/Christian/Liberal/Capitalist/Technocratic/... social contract."

You say, "The first class can probably be helped; the second class are, IMHO, enemies of humanity(tm?), and get no beef coming if their private war results in them getting shot."

Kit says, "Yeah, I think you're basically right."

Kit thinks there's probably some cross-pollenation: ie, once you've fucked up, you shrug off caring about your pathetic * contract, but yeah.

Kit says, "Obviously we just need to rule the world."

Trip nods.

Trip says, "Yah!"

Trip has some twisted sort of respect for personal beliefs that thinks we can't conclude that people in the second category are actually wrong, any more than the salmonella bacteria in his chicken sandwich are wrong: they're doing their thing as best they can. But that doesn't stop him from cooking his chicken thoroughly.

Kit grins. Yeah.

Trip says, "Which is not to say that I equate human beings, or even Republicans, to bacteria, but if someone is so adamant that he is Other, then he gets treated like any other non-person that threatens people."

Kit in fact shares that twisted sort of respect. I'm not sure it's exactly twisted, the respect. But that doesn't prevent people whose beliefs are so radically different from that of society in general's from being dangerous to society in general.

Kit LAUGHS. Even Republicans. :)

Trip waves his tentacles. Yah, what it comes down to is that he's not making moral judgements; this is a practical matter.

Kit thinks that there is room for Other, and that indeed Other is necessary, but at the same time ... the Other that is necessary is a majority rebelling against a superimposed authority, not an individual blowing up a federal building, I think. I mean, if a majority supported McVeigh, he would become symbolic of the Other that was necessary, but the majority doesn't.

Kit is either making lots of sense or none at all. :)

Kit nods. Nevermind morality. :)

Trip says, "You are, but... because I'm not making moral judgements, even if I believe I am right, even if I am rebelling against the soulless alien overlords who all look like John Travolta, I can't object to their regarding me as an enemy and trying to stop me."

Trip says, "I mean, it's a practical problem, and I certainly wish they'd stop sending hunter droids after me, but I can't really blame them for trying to defend themselves."

Kit giggles and giggles.

Kit says, "You're so cool. :)"

Kit says, "you're right, too. But mostly you're cool. :)"

Thus, I am smug.

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15 June 2001 - Friday

We played Infinite Sea last night, with moderate success. The GM continues to steal NPC descriptions from Escaflowne, which meets with no disapproval, and Dave's character got to appear on-screen for the first time. However, the experience awards continue a somewhat alarming downward trend; if this continues, next session we will get the last 100 xp we'll ever see.

I got to bed more or less eight hours before it was time to get up, but with the heat, I did not even stay even on sleep, let alone catch up. Very sleepy. No brain at all.

And SPD tonight, too. Maybe I'll kill off all the PCs by 20:00 and go to bed.

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14 June 2001 - Thursday

Random gaming at the Bertani-Young's place last night: Chrono nauts, a somewhat silly timetravel game by the people who brought you Fluxx; Fluxx itself; and a semi-interminable game of Chez Geek that lasted until well past my bed time not counting trying to assemble people to go home. But much fun was had, cats were mocked, and we only wanted to kill John Hart six or eight times.

Sleepy. No brain.

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13 June 2001 - Wednesday

Today's Philosophy Rant: Nonviolence and Social Stability

(Actually, this is more like Monday's philosophy rant, since that's when the execution of McVeigh (insert link to your favorite news site here) incited many people to think and argue about the issue, but oh well.)

I've heard, from more than one person, and on more than one occasion, that it is always wrong to use violence/deadly force against a human being, and no one should do it, ever, full stop: anyone who is willing to kill a human being is criminally insane by definition.

Despite the stereotype commonly applied to people who don't agree wholeheartedly with this view, I don't advocate going out and shooting anyone who looks at you crosseyed, or even people who cut you off in traffic. In fact, I even agree that if everyone in the world were completely opposed to violence, everyone would win fairly big (in the game-theoretical sense, anyway); think what could have been accomplished if even half the US military budget since WWII had been spent on ecological remediation, WHO, spaceflight, or anything else even faintly productive.

Unfortunately, that's not a stable situation. If everyone is pacifistic, everyone wins big, but if even one person decides it's okay to initiate violence to get what he wants, he wins big, and everyone else loses. After all, what are they going to do to stop him? Static defenses won't necessarily work, and even if they do, the effort of building them cuts into the rewards of peace. Not building defenses means anything you have belongs to the deviant (possibly over your dead body), so again you lose the benefit of universal peace. And if there's no benefit to being peaceful, but some benefit to being violent, the lone deviant isn't going to remain unique forever.

(Yes, I realize that I am oversimplifying; one violent person among six billion, or even six million, is not actually a major influence on the average person, but is certainly a major influence on some of them, and you never know when you'll be next...)

If almost everyone is unwilling to initiate violence, but willing to respond in kind as needed, the situation is more stable: only deviants would start trouble, but they could then be dealt with. The benefits of being mostly peaceful are not as great, but the damage done by deviants is much reduced. (For fans of the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, this is analogous to the Tit-for-Tat strategy, which in the long term wins out over Always-Nice, Always-Rotten, and any other strategy devised so far.)

Admittedly, this is not as clear-cut a situation as Never Be Violent Ever Period: for all possible situations, how much force, if any, is allowed? how much, if any, is optimum? On the other hand, the fact that this does require more thought than a single simple slogan suggests that it's probably more applicable to the real world.

This is not to say that I support the death penalty in practice, mind you; I don't trust a government to execute the right people any more than I trust it to do anything else right, which is about as far as I can throw it. But I have less than no problem with self-defense to whatever degree of force is necessary. It would be nice to repair violent criminals and make them functional members of society, but a dead mugger/neo-Nazi/tobacco executive is definitively not a threat to anyone any more.


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12 June 2001 - Tuesday

Last night I dreamt that I added Space Parasite as a character class to Evercrack (hey, it's not my fault they gave me root). Then we tinkered with the animation files until, no matter which way the parasite faced, when it moved it looked like it was COMING TO SUCK OUT YOUR BRAIN!

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9 June 2001 - Saturday

For the second time, now, I have seen Fushigi Yuugi up to the huge cliffhanger at the end of the first DVD set. Argh!

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6 June 2001 - Wednesday

I'm famous! Rabid space pirates have stolen my SCOOS URL and pawned it to memepool! All power is mine!

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5 June 2001 - Tuesday

I'm sure this has been weighing on your minds as much as on mine, so here it is: I finally decided to give Rimiqui another Rogue level, thus maintaining the party's nonspellcasting purity.

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2 June 2001 - Saturday

For no reason that I can understand, SPD seems to have gone well. I guess long-term plots are overrated. :)

Silkiegame didn't go so well. Three players can't argue as much as seven, or even four, but they can more easily make plans I hadn't anticipated, and improvisation doesn't always contain a path to victory. The PCs ended up getting shamelessly manipulated by the druids (for whom Neutral Asshole is apparently a valid alignment) and then not helped by the senior bard, so they lost 1000gp and a nice magic item, and then we had to bring the session to a close before they could wreak a horrible revenge, or even plan one. :(

To add to the doom, we have no idea when, if ever, we will be able to play again, since the player of honor will be restricted to the spawning pits for an indeterminate amount of time. Double sigh. :(

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1 June 2001 - Friday

Infinite Sea last night. We lost Gwen but gained Dave, so I guess it all evens out. Plus, we gained a level! Not that I have any idea what class to take the level in; I don't think there are any classes that would make it easier for Rimiqui to get laid.

SPD tonight, whee.

Premonitions by Bryant (Wed Oct 10 22:39:47 2001)

Suddenly, I have a feeling that Trip will add a comment system to this someday. I dunno when he'll have the time, though. I should have less pizza before sleep, I'd stop having these dreams.

Premonitions by Trip (Thu Oct 11 11:19:03 2001)

Well, *I* predict that someday someone will make millions from a plastic hoop that encourages teenagers to lewdly gyrate their hips.

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