Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

On the Importance of British Nannies

When I was young, my family had a British nanny for awhile. I remember she stayed in a large, comfy bed in the basement, and I remember she had a quaint wind-up clock that I thought was really cool. I don't remember her name, and eventually she went back to Britain. She left her clock behind, I think as a gift for me. I don't remember what happened to that clock, and don't remember much of her except that she was kind and a bit plump, and that she sometimes would read to me (although I was well into reading by myself at that age, I remember enjoying it). I hope wherever she is, she is well.. Even though I don't like the idea of servants, and think they are a symptom of society not working as it should, I still remember her with fondness. I'm not sure nannies of this sort are really servants though -- as I understand, in exchange for helping to manage the four of us for awhile, she got a home for awhile far from her actual home, and thus got to see some more of the world. I don't know if she was paid too or if it was just room and board. Perhaps that's a fair exchange that would still take place in a postcapitalist society. All this kind of ties to a humourous but sick bit of humour that kinda popped into my head on reading the news recently. I bet the mom from this news story is thinking "Damnit, I said a BRITISH nanny!". Some people don't make good babysitters, I guess.

With all the thinking about controllers and systems recently with three new gaming systems set to come out soon, I'm reminded of the first video game controller I really loved -- the NES Advantage. I initially was pretty sure I wouldn't buy a Wii because the controller they're hyping is stupid. Now I'm thinking I'll get one and ignore their stock controller (which I'm still convinced is stupid). My friend Mac has suggested that Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Brothers 3 are the primary games I'll like in the initial lineup. Given how much fun I've gotten out of getting Paper Mario 2 (Picked it up for $20 at the local game exchange), I don't think it's a bad bet to say that the Wii will be worth it (although I may wait a bit after it comes out to see if the price will drop). I do need to be careful not to let these amusements distract me too much from other things I consider more important.

With a lot of folk and traditional music I have, I'm irritated at how they don't seem to do it quite right -- they arn't singing in the right language, they mix two languages, they don't put enough emphasis or oomph into it (or too much), and similar. It's almost enough to make me want to start a band just to get decent recordings of the relevant songs. All that said, I do have a wonderful collection of music -- the Russian, Klezmer, Jewish traditional, and Flamenco portions are my favourite. I would love to hear advice on what more to get in the Russian style -- I'm very picky in that I tend to like the kind of stuff the Red Army Choir sung (DeVotchKa, which I was introduced to while they opened for the Dresden Dolls, and Ivan Rebroff's songs are also examples of the kind of music I'm thinking of). It's rare that I don't like Flamenco music.

Oh, here's a pic of me with the current state of the facial hair. It's been growing at a decent clip.

I was initially going to try to build a list of 10 similarities and dissimilarities between OSU and CMU, but I ran out of ideas partway through (and coming up with suitable similarities is surprisingly difficult. Here's where I got:

10 similarities between OSU and CMU

  1. Neither of them really "own" their initials
  2. Attractive campus with a large defining road on one side (High/Forbes)
  3. Good computer science programmes
10 dissimilarities
  1. OSU has a school of Farming (Agriculture, as they call it). CMU once had a school of Mining, a long time ago.
  2. OSU admits everyone with a pulse. CMU isn't easy to get into
  3. OSU is inexpensive (~$7500/year). CMU is very expensive (~32k/year)
  4. OSU is liberal and has a number of activists. CMU is largely apolitical with a lot of apathy
  5. Ohio State has the Oval as a gathering place, where people regularly argue and preachers come to preach. CMU is private property
  6. Quarters (OSU) versus Semesters (CMU)
  7. OSU's branches are all in Ohio. CMU's branches are all over the world

Some time back, I met some game designer guy visiting some KGBFolk, and we all went to grab a meal at India Garden. His attitude to gaming kind of disturbed me -- he apparently would, when getting a new strategy game (to play for himself?!), play it a few turns a hundred times, quantifying how much progress he made at the end of each interval, take the most promising game at that point, and then play the next few turns of it a hundred times, repeating ad nausium. While this may be interesting in the abstract because it might bear a passing resemblance to evolution, it seems to me to be the sign of a badly broken person who also doesn't really understand games. To my surprise, he didn't show any understanding of game theory either, and after finishing discussion of gameage, he showed his fetish of order extends into philosophy, with similarly ugly results. I can understand those who are free spirits who like living by intuition and feeling. I can also understand those who like constructing frameworks to understand the big picture. These to me represent the arts and science/philosophy side of humanity. I have never been very good at connecting with or respecting people who are the more "no theory, no soul, all business" sort of people -- it feels to me like they're afraid of life and uncertainty, and are living in a way that's like an automaton. These people freak me out, and I hope to see society rearchitected so that these kind of people stop coming about. Perhaps more art and philosophy classes would help?

I note, with considerable feelings of guilt, that I in fact had a great deal of notice that the CMU CS clusters were at risk (as I clean out my email box of old read and unread mail), and that I simply ignored (or didn't pay attention to, for those that were read) the notices of meetings and discussion that were happening back then. I can't explain how so much managed to completely slip by me -- I sometimes am bad about reading email, and once something is more than one page up in my inbox, it's forgotten for several months at least until I do another cleaning. Oops.


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