September 2002

“If a sufficient number of people who wanted to st

“If a sufficient number of people who wanted to stop war really did gather together, they would first of all begin by making war upon those who disagreed with them. And it is still more certain that they would make war on people who also want to stop wars but in another way.” — Gurdjieff.

For everyone looking for Sunsword, he’s over here now. For everyone looking for Arcadian del Sol, his statement is over here. For everyone looking for redheads, you have excellent taste.

For everyone who wrote in about My Date With Hooters (you pr0n producers, feel free to use that title), thanks for your concern and assuagement of my ego, even though “assuagement” isn’t technically a word. The consensus is that the wedding band on my finger was a big red “Safe To Play With” sign. Funny, I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.

Waterthread has a problem.

The site was begun by Joe as a site with little pretension to much of anything beyond a weblog where Joe could bitch about his job. Then Bucky Carooe was given the keys to the Chevy, and all hell was set loose. No, I don’t understand the whole “Carooe” thing, either. When I asked, I was told they were “literate tribbles”. This particular literate tribble began writing passionately about gaming, at a time when writing passionately and literately seemed the exclusive preserve of Shadowbane fan sites. A small group of fans began to develop, who shared an appetite for snarky writing and cynical, world-weary bitching. (deadpan) Wow, that never happened before.

Then blew up, and blew up again, and blew up again, and blew up again, and finally apparently blew up and didn’t come back. Many of the message board habitues had no interest in snarky writing, or passion on gaming, or, well much else beyond posting blind links to Doug Winger. Without getting too deeply into the politics involved, player2player’s community and waterthread’s community, although both originating from a tiny little corner of the Internet I used to be involved with, were entirely different.

Not that different is bad, mind you. Some of the most ferociously content-free “spammers” of the LtM boards ended up as the Morlocks, and they’ll kick you in the pancake if you bad mouth them. Definitely a niche. Not the same niche. Not the same community. But a niche.

Except that player2player’s users lost their niche, and waterthread’s niche looked homey and niche-like. So they settled in. And became uncomfortable. And were berated.

You see, communities aren’t monolithic. You can’t control them. You can’t drive them. You can claim not to be one, but it won’t help – you’ll become one anyway. They will grow beyond your intentions. They will take root, and become something you had no intention of raising. And Joe is looking at a $200 monthly server bill.

And’s lead story currently, without any apparent irony, is how MMO companies lose control of their message forums.

Fear community – it’s not afraid of you.

“A witty saying proves nothing.” — Voltaire.

“A witty saying proves nothing.” — Voltaire.

I keep listening to Sky High. Over and over again. ALL THREE REMIXES.

Obviously, I need therapy. So I went to Hooters for lunch. It wasn’t my idea. But WHAT THE HEY, they have hot wings. Mmm, hot wings.

Now bear in mind, I have a very tight definition of “personal space”. That definition is “STOP TOUCHING ME“. I don’t like strange people touching me. Even attractive women. ESPECIALLY attractive women. It makes me …jumpy.

I’m sitting next to two – very single – male coworkers. The waitress brings our drinks… and brushes against me. I grit my teeth and (hopefully nonchalantly) move a little to the right after she leaves. I’m probably in her line of fire for delivering stuff.

She comes to take our orders. And brushes against me again. A LOT. As in, “mm, freckles there?”. I start to get REALLY DAMNED UNCOMFORTABLE.

This KEEPS HAPPENING. My companions begin to notice. The two – very single – male coworkers I’m sitting between are starting to get jealous. I start to get ruder and ruder. “Would you like to pack up that salad to go?” “No.” “It’s cold now, but it can be heated up and last a really long time!” “NO.”

By the time we finally leave I’ve been labelled the Casanova of Hooters. I’m REALLY INSULTED. I figure that I was labelled the most pathetic male specimen there, and that some REALLY HOT CRACKLING SEXUAL TENSION would bump up the tippage.

An alternate theory a friend postulated makes more sense. You see, Hooters girls are like strippers, except they get paid less and aren’t actually technically naked. But the same core interaction of scantily-clad women and slavering men still applies. And we all know that while in movies, strippers have hearts of gold and are just trying to pay the kids’ college tuition, in real life, they really hate you, they’re probably lesbian and not the kind you watch on Cinemax, and, well, they really hate you a LOT. Because you don’t bathe enough, if for no other reason. The theory, then, is that I was picked as the one person who would be uncomfortable with this attention, while my companions would be uncomfortable with NOT getting enough attention. In other words, people are broken. You read it here first.

Or maybe I just blew it all out of proportion. Telling me a lie! Without a reason why! I’ve blown it all sky high!

From the

From the New York Times: President Bush has formally changed the face of America’s primary enemy from Osama bin Laden, whereabouts unknown, to Saddam Hussein, an old nemesis who cheated both Mr. Bush’s father and President Clinton out of fulfillment of the terms of surrender that ended the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

I want to go back in time 40 years. To before I was born. To the world at the time of the Cuban missile crisis and brinksmanship in Southeast Asia and Timothy Leary discovering wack things in the chem lab. I want to talk to the people then, and tell them that it’s going to get better, that the world isn’t nearly insane enough to blow itself into a powdery mist, that eventually the nation will be riveted by youthful singers trilling out Burt Bacharach melodies on television, and that the nation will go from facing down total annihilation (because dude, it’s so easily modded) to the New York FREAKING TIMES announcing that THE FACE OF OUR ENEMY HAS FORMALLY CHANGED, AS OF THIS MORNING. You may now reprint your wanted posters, your Eat This, Osama! t-shirts… Oceania really is at war with Eastasia.

Dear god. Tell me I’m just on too much sinus medication or something, and the world isn’t really this surreal.

Oh, and I’ve been informed, yet again, that I have sold my soul. It’s on the Internet, so IT MUST BE TRUE! I guess that makes me a soulless zombie. BRAINS….

My heart can take on any appearance. The heart

My heart can take on any appearance. The heart varies in accordance with variations of the innermost consciousness. It may appear in form as a gazelle meadow, a monkish cloister, an idol-temple, a pilgrim Kaaba, the tablets of the Torah for certain sciences, the bequest of the leaves of the Koran.

My duty is the debt of Love. I accept freely and willingly whatever burden is placed upon me. Love is as the love of lovers, except that instead of loving the phenomenon, I love the Essential. That religion, that duty, is mine, and is my faith. A purpose of human love is to demonstrate ultimate, real love. This is the love which is conscious. The other is that which makes man unconscious of himself.

— Ibn al-Arabi

This Wednesday, take some time to discover the works of those great majority of Muslims that build instead of tearing down.

The promise of Neverwinter Nights hasn’t quite been fulfilled yet (mainly because too many people seem determined to shoehorn an MMO out of it somehow) but some gems are appearing. Check out the woefully-undernamed “A Tragedy in Tragidor” for writing worthy of the best of Planescape: Torment, or the “Penultima” series if you’re into Terry Pratchett (I’m not, but I appreciate a well-crafted module). Find em both at Neverwinter Vault.

So what about mine? Well, I continue to hack away at it on weekends (that I’m not at work, anyway). It’s from a pen and paper campaign I ran a few lifetimes back, where a human empire is at war with elves and the party is a mercenary band caught in the middle. Here’s a screenshot from the opener, where the party literally hits the beach in the middle of a battle.

NWN handles large scale melees surprisingly well… on my machine anyway. I wonder how it will scale on less beefy machines. But as it is it’s fascinating just watching the two sides hack away at each other. Then again I entertain easily. Anyway, when I get it in shape to test I’ll post it here. At the current rate, that should be sometime in 2004. Whee!