jeweled platypus


friday, april 28, 2006
Beelzebub is an ampersand today

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.

comments (2)
tuesday, april 18, 2006
A purple dinosaur watching you

I visited the swings in the Isla Vista park today and it was awesome.

a blurry self-portrait

the park where I was singing

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.

comments (0)
saturday, april 15, 2006
Two thirds times one quarter

I like my odd combination of spring quarter classes:

Ibn Battuta, hookworms, the superstandard language ideology, MILK MEE, and filesystem abstractions? Yay!

comments (1)
friday, april 07, 2006
No caviar or ramen

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:

hey ccs!

It looks like this inside:

inside the fridge

But sadly, all the soups are gone:

no more soup

comments (5)
sunday, april 02, 2006
Exit the spot stop

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:

the spot burgers and palm trees

exit only, ventura county fair

bicyclists and benches

comments (0)

I’m Britta Gustafson.

Popular posts

Fold a paper icosahedron

My handmade map of California

How the internet feels like a city

Blade Runner in San Francisco

Learning to see telephone poles

How UCSB joined ARPAnet

What is a book?

a little pixelly man, upside-down