Oct. 16th, 2009


Oct. 16th, 2009 06:51 pm
1. Last night I went to see Wade Davis3 deliver the second part of the Massey Lectures -- Canada's own state-sponsored, radio-broadcast travelling academia roadshow. The theme of this year's Lecture is apparently conservationism-as-applied-to-cultures but the abstracted political element was mostly absent from this particular evening, which was basically an hour-long exploration of how it was that the Polynesian culture/population managed to colonize a series of islands thousands and thousands of kilometers apart without any of that fancy western navigational technology, thousands and thousands of years ago -- and how the fancy western navigators reacted when they realized that the Polynesians appeared to have done this. (Tip: it did not involve congratulating them on their incredible skill at seafaring.) The description of the 'Wayfinders' who led these expeditions, and how they successfully managed these journeys, was impressive to say the least1; the description of the lengths to which Europeans went to deny that it had occured was merely depressing.

2. Against what little better judgement remains to me, I started playing Aion, the latest in the line of EQ/WoW/etc. MMOs. This unfortunately means having regular contact with the larger population of the Internet, which is of course a giant mass of seethingly judgemental, misogynist, entitled, sexually insecure, blindingly self-centered human beings whose every social impulse is bent on maintaining the status quo of Internet Discourse at all costs. The worst part being of course that in the company of the Internet I invariably become more and more seethingly judgemental myself. On the one hand the game is fun and pretty and you can actually make characters who are overweight and still attractive; on the other hand, despite being able to make a dwarf with hands larger than your unnaturally-shrunken head and eyes like an alien creature, you cannot make a flat-chested female character2.

3. My shoulder still being injured I am sitting on my ass all day instead of playing frisbee or dancing or something, which is slowly driving me crazy.

4. Despite the ever-present spectre of impending poverty I still managed to spend $60 on used poetry books on the way home today. Better judgement can suck it.

1 Among other things, the wayfinders basically do not sleep for the entire length of the voyage, which could of course take months, during which nonsleepingness they somehow perform and integrate an array of mathematical & observational feats that include memorizing the entire path and duration of their journey up to that point, tracking backwards to the place they left.

2 And you certainly can't have a female character who does not shriek, squeal, simper and moan whenever she gets into a fight, because clearly even trained warriors and deadly assassins are still very easily scared and/or often mistake combat for sex. The men remain strangely silent while fighting. Go figure.

3 Wade Davis' job titles include 'Explorer-in-Residence' for National Geographic. Which presumably makes all sensible, healthy people in his direct vicinity want to either a) sleep with him or b) hollow out his body and wear his skin around.

4 What do you mean you shouldn't put the third footnote first in the text? I make my own rules! I am an Internet Grammar Rebel!



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