friday, april 28, 2006
We’re reading Paradise Lost in Milton class, and I am totally enjoying it because I can visualize it in ASCII. Let me draw you a picture. If Milton played Nethack, he would (hopefully) recognize this as the beginning of Book II, where Satan is debating the state of Hell with his buddies:
------- /----------/ \---------\ |} A }| |} & A A ^ }| |} A & & & }| |} & & & }| |} ^ H H }| |} H & ; ; }| |} ^ }| |}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}| \----------------------------/
I love how Nethack’s lower levels (called Gehennom) owe their entire mythology to this poem. You can’t imagine* how neat it is to see Demogorgon, Beelzebub, Orcus, and Moloch play a part in something I am required to read. My old friends! I met Demogorgon once, horribly; I usually pay off Beelzebub; Orcus killed me a long time ago; I have a very healthy fear of Moloch. Also, Chaos and old Night’s territory? That’s just the Plane of Air. (I’m only at the end of Book II, so I may find more amusing resonances later.)
Not only do I get to try to reconcile the chronologies of Heaven, Hell, the Bible, and Milton — like everyone else does — I get to try to make sense of the poem within the chronology of Nethack, too. But only if I feel like it, which I do.
*Somehow I think there are very few people who have read Paradise Lost after ascending in Nethack.
tuesday, april 18, 2006
I visited the swings in the Isla Vista park today and it was awesome.
I like Isla Vista; it is a strange little place that I want to think about more. Since it’s mostly made up of students, it violates Jane Jacob’s rule that a good community needs to have people who live there for a long time. We don’t get invested in the community; we don’t begin to own buildings or bring in more sophisticated businesses, so rents are high, housing is bad, and there are a zillion weird little independent restaurants and shops. I like it, but I probably wouldn’t if I had to live there.
saturday, april 15, 2006
I like my odd combination of spring quarter classes:
- African and African-American Travel Narratives
- Evolutionary Medicine
- Language in Society
- Milton’s Major Poetry
- Unix: History, Philosophy, Influence
Ibn Battuta, hookworms, the superstandard language ideology, MILK MEE, and filesystem abstractions? Yay!
friday, april 07, 2006
My college has a little student lounge with a refrigerator, microwave, student mailboxes, giant reading chairs, and a couple of bulletin boards displaying flyers from two years ago. It is excellent. This is one of the various signs on the refrigerator:
It looks like this inside:
But sadly, all the soups are gone:
sunday, april 02, 2006
I love taking the train from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles. It is different from riding in a car; the train is slower, more peaceful, and has endless interesting things to see out of the window. At a few of the stops on the way: