a weblog by Schuyler D. Erle

Wed, 31 Jul 2002

[23:43] Semantics, and the 1000 Blank White Cards

I think I've finally found a worthy art project to take to Burning Man. At OSCon, Aron Wall hosted a New Card Game BOF. Never one to miss a new card game, I skipped both the Jam BOF and the Something Interesting Dominus Is Working On BOF to attend. The game bore a passing resemblance to 1000 Blank White Cards, in which the object is not merely to play cards but also invent new and entertaining ones. Perhaps more a direct inspiration for Aron's game may be found in Nomic, a game in which each move consists of adding a new rule to the game. No surprise, of course, that Aron is an avid Nomic player.

In Aron's game, which I recommended he call "Semantics", a player may each turn play a card or draw one, and a player wins either by playing a card that says "Win" on it, or by being the last player to not lose. Cards may be played at any time that alter the effects of other cards, modify them outright, remove them from the game entirely, introduce new cards, and so on. I figure it's a natural for Burning Man. I'm planning on making larger cards to start with, perhaps 6" x 9", made of oaktag or posterboard, and ideally with the sorts of illustrations that make 1000 Blank White Cards so charming. As a classic Black Rock twist, I'm hoping to invite the winner of each game to take their favorite card home with them, in exchange for a new and fun card of their own devise. I'm still waiting to hear from Aron about his recommended starting deck, but in the meantime, anybody got any other ideas?

On that note, I leave you with a thought from 1KBWC's author, Nathan McQuillen:

In the end, though, I think BWC's real appeal may lie in its similarity to the way in which many of us initially conceive our thoughts: fast, sketchy, often black and white; full of lewd desires and snappy retorts. The card structure provides four walls beyond which one generally does not color, but within which anything goes. So, I think, would we all like to live our lives.

Mon, 22 Jul 2002

[12:18] True Porn Clerk Stories

The other day I realized, as a cold claw of pure fear squeezed my frantic heart, that I have been working as a video clerk for ten months.

This is a job that I took on a temporary basis for just a month or two until freelancing picked back up and I got my financial shit in order.

Ten months.

It has been a test of patience, humility, and character.

It has been a lesson in dealing with all humankind, including their personal bodily fluids.

It has been $6.50 an hour.

Thus begins Ali Davis's True Porn Clerk Stories, the engaging diary of an intelligent, open-minded, sex-positive young woman trying to come to grips with the absurd realities of human sexuality, as viewed from behind the counter of an adult video store. Written with equal amounts of heart and grit, Ali's diary is an absolute must-read. Brava, Ms. Davis!

[01:58] Julia Butterfly Hill deported from Ecuador

The deportation of Julia Butterfly Hill from Ecuador, following her arrest during a protest of Occidental Petroleum's new Amazon oil pipeline, was reported on by no less than the Guardian. After reading about this, I dropped an email to a couple of hip guys from Amazon Watch that I met at the Ruckus Society tech camp who trek deep into the heart of South America armed with their wits and a couple of digital video cameras, and inquired how I might be of some assistance. I came across them at an absolutely fascinating three-hour workshop they gave at the Tech Camp on the care and feeding of high-tech gadgets in harsh jungle conditions, which I found quite inspiring. Thus far, they've just been asking for wi-fi advice, buti, in the meantime, I've decided to start learning Español.

Sun, 21 Jul 2002

[18:39] Doonesbury Character Caught Wardriving

Even Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury cartoon has taken note of wardriving. Guess the meme has gone mainstream. Trudeau is basically right, but he only gets half the picture -- yes, wardriving is usually freeloading. But the real power, the real vision, the real -- dare I say it? -- revolution behind wireless networking is not in Wi-Fi hotspots, it's the ability to build autonomous broadband networks that are organized and maintained at the grassroots level, as a service of, for, and by the community. But I digress.

Sat, 20 Jul 2002

[16:31] World's Smallest Website

Last night, coral pointed out the world's smallest website, measuring a meager 16 x 16 pixels. A remarkably user-friendly 256 square pixels at that, but I still wonder if the site isn't some marketing ploy cooked up by corrective lens manufacturers or their ilk.

[03:45] Bad 'blogger! No biscuit!

I am a bad 'blogger. I can't seem to walk the fine line between spending my time doing nothing but blogging and not blogging at all. You know what finally jarred me back to it? Julia's cat had kittens. Hell, the cat was hardly more than a kitten herself, but she got loose one night and came back the next day with her meows slurred and her fur disheveled, carrying a litter of five. She went into labor at 0400 a couple of nights ago. The first kitten born, the biggest of the five, didn't survive birth -- Julia thinks it broke its neck on the way out. The runt of the litter didn't survive either -- spindly, hairless, and basically ignored by its mother, Julia nursed it with a bottle for two days, before it too gave up this earth. But, uh, how often do domesticated mammals die in your home? Needless to say this led me to comtemplate how short life is, and to meditate on all the things I still hope to do before I give up this earth. So, here I am.

So, on a more humorous note, if it wasn't true, you'd think it was a joke, or something. (Thanks to Adam and Mike for pointing this out.)

Also, perl 5.8.0 finally sees the light of day. Congratulations to Jarkko, the 5.8.0 pumpking, who had better not plan on paying for any of his drinks at TPC next week.

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