Nature's windchimes made of static
Shiva's spears for lingering ice
Dust falls in to make you melt
Warmer embrace to change your mind
Impact exposes your frozen heart
Ok, sorry, that idea just popped into my head. Yesterday was another wasted day - I couldn't decide whether I wanted to have an awesome day outside walking, running, and collecting samples of random things to look at with my microscope or if I wanted to do some more work on my BLOG software, maybe try to get the duck-CTF thing done, or do some systems hacking on the OSD, so I decided to play Civ3 until I decided, which meant that the whole day went by without my spending much time off the couch. Sigh. I should stop doing that.
As I went to sleep last night, I remembered playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was younger and how a year after our local group started, my mom got caught up in that hysteria over it and became worried that it was destroying my mind as a tool of satan. I think I had a few conversations with her about it and she was ok with it after that. Now that I'm a bit older, it's interesting to think about what impact DnD had on me:
- For starters, it was a great way to bring the circle of friends that got into it closer together. I was usually DM (I tended to play mages, psionicists, or totally wacky creatures like centaurs otherwise), I think Tim used to usually play a basher-type fighter, Matt would play an over-the-top scandalous cleric, and Henry and Stephen would vary things a bit more.. There were occasionally other people in the group, depending on campaign, I think.
- It gave me a lot of content for occasional daydreams and dreams. Some part of me occasionally wants to point at malfunctioning electronics and shout "Mordenkainen's Disjunction!"
- It introduced me to distorted but contentful versions of a lot of world mythologies, and helped drive home the point that people of other faiths really exist. I was already a Christian Atheist when I started (that is, an atheist who thought that Christianity was false and that God didn't exist), but with that understanding, later enhanced by meeting real-life people of other faiths, I was able to take the next step into being a full Atheist (who thinks that all religious faiths are false and that no gods exist). I think it's important that people be exposed to and think about other faiths at a young age at least partly to make this shift in perspective possible - a Christian Atheist still orbits Christianity and if they get tired or have a disaster in life, they may be tempted to land, while a full Atheist, having no privileged place to land, is spared that temptation.
- It inspired interest in world cultures - while some of the campaign settings were highly fictional (e.g. Forgotten Realms), some of them were more-or-less based on real cultures (like Al Qadima or the Eastern Adventures setting)
- The alignment system sometimes floats around in my mind in search of things to connect to (like the word "bulldozer", perhaps?). In the original DnD, there was a simple Good-Neutral-Evil scale that suggested that being lawful is always good, chaotic always evil, etc. In Advanced DnD, they made it slightly more complex by having two axes of difference - Law/Chaos and Good/Evil. I sometimes amuse myself by trying to fit this axis onto other spheres of life like politics (where Law/Chaos might indicate how much someone likes rule of law and hard rules and Good/Evil might map onto how much someone goes for public good as opposed to darwinian outlooks - by this scale I'd probably call myself neutral good .. hehe) or philosophy (where chaotics are the quacks and others who are always taking potshots at science and philosophy, lawfuls are the a-priori theorists and formalists (to which I used to belong), and neutrals are the empiricists (to which I belong).. I haven't figured out a real good-evil axis for that one though).. The axes don't really fit though - as shown by the example of people who like to try to represent politics on a compass, reality doesn't reduce so nicely into neat categories. Maybe this helped me learn that lesson in itself..
- I have some really cool dice
Clocks everywhere are confused as to what time it is, thanks to this DST-moving rubbish we're doing. I guess maybe we can call it Bush2K, eh?