Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Quotations: Object Oriented Ontology in a Nutshell, which is also a type of Object

"We cannot support formalism, which holds that the specific content of any experience is relatively unimportant.  But neither can we support materialism, which grants privilege to the original soil from which anything grows, and thereby denies the autonomy or relative independence of that reality itself.  Instead, we can only support objects.  The reason objects are not formalizable is because they cannot be reduced to their conditions of unknowability, whether mathematical or otherwise.  But objects are also not 'materializable,' because the neighborhood conditions of their genesis are relevant only within strict limits.  Nor are objects a hylemorphic combination of both forma and matter, since objects are precisely what lies between those two extremes, engaging with them only occasionally and indirectly.  Instead, objects are what the classical tradition called substantial forms, inhabiting a mezzanine level of the cosmos, and can be paraphrased neither as a meaning for some observer nor as the dangling product of some genetic-environmental backstory."--Graham Harman, Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sister is My New Mother Now

...Well, if Sister was an acceptable appellation for the Internet, anyway.  Otherwise, this is just me trying to shoehorn in an Arrested Development reference.  Anyway, for whatever reason, I managed to get through life without picking up some basic skills at the point when they're commonly learned.  It was university when I learned how to do my laundry (which isn't that uncommon), and three years later--my first year out of student rez--when I learned how to do my own grocery shopping.  I don't even want to tell you when I learned to tie my shoes.  Some skills I've just never picked up at all--I have no idea, for example, how to cook any meat more complicated than a hotdog; I switched to vegetarianism long before my "pay attention to people cooking" moment kicked in.

Recently, I've started using online how-to guides.  It's all the information of a book guide, but without having to use those judgmental librarians as the go-between.  I've learned how to iron things (which I actually had been taught explicitly before, but ironing appears to be a skill I need to relearn every six months or it just atrophies from lack of use).  I've learned how to tie a scarf (slipknot style.  Very simple, never would have stumbled on it in a hundred years let to my own devices).  And, just this morning, I learned how to properly scramble an egg (the step I was missing was mixing the yolks before dropping them in the skillet.  Previously, I just sort of cracked the eggs straight into it, and let the cards fall where they may).  I fried up some hashbrowns as well, and it feels nice to be eating a proper breakfast for once (not quite as nice as sleeping through breakfast, but we all carry our burdens).

Every year when when I go back to Saskatchewan for X-Mas, I tell myself I'm going to pay more attention to the daily routines of my parents.  And every year, it doesn't quite happen.  Last year, the siren call of Skyrim beckoned.  The year before that, Dragon Quest IX.  And so on and so forth until you have 2008, and my decision to regain every one of the achievements I once had in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  This is the first X-Mas since I got really creative on Steam, so who knows what it'll be: Batman: Arkham City?  The Witcher?  STALKER? Civilization V?  I don't know, but I think we'll all be pleasantly surprised.  ....Or I suppose I could just talk to my family.  But really, what are the odds of that happening?

(Honestly, it's enough to make you think Sherry Turkle was right.  I'm so glad I downloaded her e-book.)

Later Days. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Random Quotations: Road Trip

"For one whole year he did nothing but drive, traveling back and forth across America as he waited for the money to run out.  He hadn't expected it to go on that long, but one thing kept leading to another, and by the time Nashe understood what was happening to him, he was past the point of wanting it to end."-- Paul Auster, The Music of Chance.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Book Triad IX: Digital Unfathomables. And more Leafs.

We've got an eclectic set this time around.  A Leafs book, a digital media book, and a sci fi.  Let's get to it.
 We're looking at:

Leafs AbomiNation: The dismayed fan's handbook to why the Leafs stink and how they can rise again by Dave Feeschuk and Michael Grange
Blindsight by Peter Watts
Hello Avatar: Rise of the Networked Generation by Beth Coleman

Reviews after the break.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bibliophile: Restoration Comedy and the Scottish Sci-Fi at Capilano U

I spit my truth as I say my rhyme,
Sit back, fool, it's book talking time.

I call people fools a lot.

This is Bibliophile.

This week, we're moving from Alberta to British Columbia, with Capilano University.  Talk on their library's new books, after the break.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Game retrospective: Avadon: The Black Fortress

I've talked about Spiderweb Games before, in the context of Geneforge.  I'd like to speak briefly about one of the more recent games from the developer, Avadon.  More specifically, I'd like to speak about the game's final boss. That means there will be spoilers during the discussion below, but they'll be prefaced by pictures first.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Detergent Run

So I got up this Sunday morning, and, in a break from norm, I actually woke up before noon.  I went to do my laundry, and realized that I was out of detergent.  Now, I don't want to overstate things, but it was the end of an era.  When I first moved Out East, four years ago, my parents bought me two jumbo economy sized things of laundry detergents.  And they lasted all this time.  It's a testament to wise purchases, value products, and my stinginess combined with my tolerance for funky-smelling clothes. I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the wisdom of my parents, and their generosity in buying me such a gift.

But just a moment, though.  Because as momentous as running out of detergent is, it's the acquisition of the new detergent that's the focus of today.  I had a few options, in terms of places to go: there's a Sobeys about 3 k away, a Zehr's at the end of a bus route, and a Shoppers about a 10 min walk.  The Sobeys I deemed too far for travel without a car, the Zehrs too time-consuming, and the Shoppers too marked up.  So I went with option D: the Wholesale Club nearby, for those who, for whatever reason, do not have access to a proper Costco.  I went to the store, and I bought a few extra things while I was there: a loaf of bread, a giant tub of peanut butter, and some lovely discount pizza pops.  Mmmm.  I debated buying a pack of Nibs, but eventually decided to err on the side of not buying candy.

Things took on a Kafka-esque level when I went to the check-out.  There were three tills, none of which had more than one person at them.  Easy, right?  Wrong.  I went to the first till, just  in time to hear that the gentleman in front of me, purchasing $1000 of goods (!) had just gotten his credit card declined.  "Well, jeez," he said, "the missus must have charged a few things without telling me.  You see, we've got a bit of a windfall coming, but it doesn't clear till the end of the week, so we're a little short at the moment.  And it's over, but I don't know how much over.  What if we take off this item?  No?  well, what about this one?  Well, I'll pay for some of it in cash, but I don't want to use all the cash on me, so I'll just use... hmmm...."  I looked at his $1000 worth of items.  I looked at my five items.  I went  to the next till.  Unfortunately, during the conversation, or perhaps monologue, someone else had gone to the till, wheeling up in a full trolley of stuff.  Till 3 it is, then.  There, there was an elderly couple, debating on whether to buy two packs of plastic cups, or perhaps purchase a third, to get the price reduction.  And then whether the bananas were on sale.  And then they counted out their change, the last seventeen cents or so in pennies.  One.  By.  One.  Gah.

Honestly, it was like someone had decided they were going to put on a live performance of everything I hate about shopping checkouts.  All it was missing was a screaming baby. 
At least I got the detergent.  Clothes, you shall be clean once more.

Later Days.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

No, Guys, This is a Really Cool Idea

Project: document and preserve every instance in fiction wherein the phrase "enough to get him killed" was uttered.

Later Days.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Quotations: This is Good Stuff, Folks

"You are here near me, like a bright flame.  That is more important than why or how you are here.  And your friend also--for all I know you may be lovers.  Or else you have a lover back in your own country or in Crieste.  The things we crave are either near us or far.  Whereas time is about process.  I have lived many years and i have learned not to trust process.  Creation, destruction, these are not the real story.  When we dwell on such things, we inevitably  lapse into cliche.  The true drama is in these relationships of space." --Hicksville, Dylan Horrocks

Later Days.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book Triad: Kings, Leafs, and Eldritch Horrors + Bonus Film Review

My, these book triad things go a lot faster when you're not reading Cloud Atlas.  Speaking of which, under the book reviews is a review of the film Cloud Atlas!  Timely!
Today's trio of books is:
In the Dust of This Planet: The Horror of Philosophy vol 1 by Eugene Thacker
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healey
Inside Maple Leaf Gardens: The Rise And Fall Of The Toronto Maple Leafs by William Houston

Reviews after the break.

Videogame Mascots

This is an idle little thing; I'm not really thinking it through totally, so feel free to poke it full of teeny tiny holes in the comments. Videogame Mascots and the totem, after the break.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Quotations: Weapons of Biblical Destruction

"As varied as the Medieval accounts of plague and pestilence are, one of the common motifs, along with the angry God, is that of plague and pestilence as divine weapon.  The divine sovereign doesn't simply pass judgment; the sovereign weaponizes life--the pathological life of 'plagues'--and turns it against the earthly life of the creature, itself a product of divine will." --Eugene Thacker, In the Dust of This Planet

Apparently, Object Oriented Ontology delves into horror all the time.  I have never had more enthusiasm for OOO.

Later Days.