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Have arrived in BrisVegas (as it is known by many) for eResearchAustralasia, and am staying at the pretty acceptable Spring Hill Mews. The first day's arrival was spoilt by illness, I suspect because some fucker sneezed on me on the plane on the way over. Still, by the end of the second day I was feeling better and arrived for the conference welcome reception and then joined a group for dinner at Mucho Mexicano. Whilst it is early days yet the conference itself has been so-so from the first few speakers. Leeanne Enoch gave a good introduction to the conference, especially for a politician, and David De Roure's presentation on Ada Lovelace and computer-generated music was quite enjoyable. I suspect for the rest of this afternoon I'll be staying in the Advancecd Computing stream.

Before leaving Melbourne, I did have the opportunity to run a session of Eclipse Phase finishing the Chain Reaction scenario, which will then be followed up with the subsequent related scenarios. In addition, Karl B., has assisted with the final editing of Papers & Paychecks although, alas, I still haven't managed to track down Tim Kask to do the foreword. On my return to Melbourne it looks like I'll finally get around to seeing Blade Runner 2049, given that I am "a bit" of a fan of the original.

Prior to departure I also managed to see Peter Hook and the Light, at their final Melbourne concert, performing Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures and Closer (after selling my previous tickets to [ profile] fustian_. It was a great concert and in next couple of days I hope to have a review written for [personal profile] reddragdiva for Rocknerd, which I'm sure he's looking forward to. Should also mention that I'm half-way through writing an article about that strange alliance that's grown between the Democratic Socialists of America and the Juggalos.
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Have had a fairly busy week in my favourite pastime. Every day this week I've been working on finishing Papers & Paychecks as well as RPG Review 35-36, now a double issue of Antipodean gaming material. To have both out by the end of the month would be ideal, and I think that is certainly going to happen at current rates of work. Much of RPG Review has been helped by [personal profile] reverancepavane whose epic writing for RPGaDay has been nothing less than extraordinary. In actual play on Wednesday finished the classic introductory Stormbringer scenario The Tower of Yrkath Florn which includes nothing less than a Melnibonéan wheel (my calculations put the value at around $3m AUD). As I've wryly remarked this may very well be our Stormbringer; a theme which I don't think the game does well is the idea of tragedy from power. It was also a heavy Eclipse Phase weekend, with a game on Friday night which curiously was chasing down a antagonist whom the players in my Sunday game are close to encountering for the first time. Whilst a good scenario, once again I could not help but chuckle at the author's rather light idea of what a seedy "sex and drugs and gangs" red-light district would consist of - especially in a transhumanist environment.

On Friday finally managed to write up my review of The Residents concert from March last year. On Saturday attended Software Freedom Day and the LUV AGM, where I have found myself on the committee for yet another year. Afterwards went to [ profile] usekh's memorial birthday at the Back Bar. Kudos are due to [personal profile] damien_wise for doing most of the organising of the event. Today visited St Michael's to hear Rev. Ric Holland's impressive service on forgiveness, also taking the opportunity to introduce Shupu, to the location. I hadn't been for several months and was never a regular attendee, so I was quite surprised to discover a few people remembered me. The Rev. offered to catch up for coffee some time and I certainly intend to take up that invitation. Afterwards made my way to university, and stumbled upon the a protest against racism and fascism which I attended; the media of course, concentrated on a very minor disruption, ignoring the important message that the Rohingyan refugee speaking was presenting at the same time.
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It's been several days since I last posted, with a week dominated by work-related activities. There was three days of training which I arranged and sat in on from the West Australian Pawsey supercomputing centre, one introductory course, then OpenMP, then MPI programming. In the meantime my courses I announced in the last post were filled in under twelve hours, so a new set have been advertised for next month. After the Pawsey course was the OpenStack Australia Day, which was really quite good. Large enough for three streams of speakers (business, technical, innovation), but small enough to be inimate and an opportunity to catch up with many co-workers in this space (good period of time spent with Francois from ChCh, Dylan from CSIRO, and Tim from Red Hat). My own talk The Why and How of HPC-Cloud Hybrids with OpenStack was very well received with standing room only in the hall. I will be repeating it on Monday at Telstra.

Other major events of the week included a battle-heavy session of Eclipse Phase last Sunday. The previous session was staging and preparation. This one included the interesting physics of fire and movement on a small asteroid. Finally, the most important out-of-work activity of the week would have to been the Victorian Secular Lobby Annual General Meeting, which had a few new members turn up, along with an excellent presentation on the state of secularism in the Liberal Party by John Bade - a rather sobering presentation on how traditional liberals in that group need to toughen up against the theocrats, especially given that Senator Bernardi has left the party and merged with Family First. It might be a painful split for the Liberal Party, but it they will be stronger for it in the longer run.
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Dropped in to the Unitarians on Sunday to hear Paul Dahan give his presentation on Land Price a Cause of Poverty and Source of Unearned Income. It was a good topic, and Paul does get his points in a storyteller's style. Rick B., was meant to be taking the service, but his train of thought was a little askew, so I took the opportunity to task if he wanted me to take over. It was a fairly seemless process. Afterwards Rohan McL. presented to The Philosophy Forum on Ontology and Violence, also held at the Unitarians..

Afterwards that was another session of Eclipse Phase, as the Sentinels finished off their Vurt-inspired hallucinatory scenario (part one, The Vurt in the Mind's Eye, part two, Of Fictions Imitating Reality). In a very closely related science fiction trajectory went to the Astor the following night with [ profile] caseopaya, [ profile] funontheupfield and Maria to watch the Tarkovsky psychodramatic film, Stalker. I appreciate the rumours that this is where the KGB poisoned him, but they seemed to do well enough in finding the most polluted place on earth to do the set.

Other major event of the past days was a presentation I gave just a few hours ago at Linux Users of Victoria, on Open Stack and the Barcelona Summit. I tried to give a conceptual overview of cloud technology in general, and OpenStack in particular with summary detail of the core and optional services, as well as the governance process, the techical changes in the Newton release, and the future of OpenStack's development. The well-attended LUV meeting also was addressed by Jacinta R., who spoke on various types of algorithms including some very recent developments by László Babai on Graph Isomorphism.
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It is true that I have several major interests in my life, external to hearth and mind. There is a professional dedication to provide researchers the skills to use free and open source computional tools. There is a political side dedicated to the practical implementation of personal liberty and social democracy, and the continuum that is between. There a long-standing interest in philosophy which, despite its innate propensity of some of its adherents to lead to unverifiable metaphysical presumptions and scholasticism, is at its heart the most important and most difficult field of inquiry. My other academic pursuits betray interests in organisational structure, strategy, and management, the effectis of normative systems on positive economics, and of course advanced adult and tertiary education. Aesthetically, I am known to have a some love of high art, yet also with deeply ingrained rocknerd sensibilities.

Then there's roleplaying games. My public vice whether it is from orcs, and hobbits, of faerie tales and dragons, or little green men from Mars, spaceships and wormholes, or even - to a lesser extent - superpowered individuals who wear their underwear on the outside. I know about 'Of Dice and Men', I have 'The Elfish Gene' (to use two pun-inspired books on the subject). But despite these popular culture affectations, where else do I find improvised theatre that places the characters in the heroic age of mythology, or the troubles of transhuman speculations. Where else do I find the exploration of models of reality with genre influences and debates? It is in roleplaying games, the undergound home theatre of the era, that is the only refuge for cerebral geekdom. After all there's not one, but two serious books entitled 'Philosophy and Dungeons & Dragons'. I feel it more important to do one on RuneQuest.

In any case this was a roleplaying weekend, starting no less with an interview with Dan Davenport from on IRC over the upcoming Papers and Paychecks. Best line of endorsement that came from the interview: "I have to say, this game has some solid mechanics for a game based on a joke". After that I finished my interviews for the Alternity Player's Handbook and Gamemaster's Guide, and did a write-up of the last episode of our Eclipse Phase. The following day it was writing a review of the old TSR game Gangbusters (which took a lot less time), and putting it altogether to be released as RPG Review 32 which includes - no less - an interview with the author of BECMI D&D, Frank Mentzer. That afternoon was our session of Eclipe Phase using the new playtester rules which have some nice features (but that's all I can say at this stage, because I'm under a NDA). Of course, this wan't all I did over the weekend - but because things have been a bit RPG-heavy of late, I have felt the need to justify this idle pursuit within myslf.
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The end of the year is approaching and I find myself dearly wishing there was about another month so I would have a chance of completing the somewhat optimistic set of tasks that I manage to set myself each year. Of course, in such circumstances where I think many are finding themselves winding down, my psychology directs me to redouble my efforts. This can lead to some interesting conflicts as all sorts of social events are called around this time. Most prominent this past week was an extended lunch (approximately six hours) at Rosetta hosted by some representatives of SanDisk and HGST for a few of us (which couldn't have been cheap), and the day prior the Puppet Camp, the highlight of which was spending the day with former co-worker, Dylan G. He wins the prize for worst pun of the day when I wryly mentioned it wasn't much of a camp. "Oh yes, it is. Everything is intense", he quipped. Somehow among all this I've managed to finish my part of a co-authored paper with the good folk at the University of Freiburg HPC centre, in preparation for the International Supercomputing Conference in Frankfurt next year.

Another activity over the past day has been getting the final touches of RPG Review issue 32 together, now that Frank Menzter's interview has been received. I am hoping to have it released before the weekend is out. The issue is heavily biased towards the various games and material relevant to TSR, which really founded the RPG hobby in their own right. At the same time, we're now into the final three weeks of the Papers and Paychecks Kickstarter which I am still optimistic can make it over the line before the due date at Christmas evening. Currently playing Eclipse Phase with our usual international group which mostly plays via Google Hangouts; we've been making our way through a playtest of some new experimental rules for the game, which we I will also test out with our Sunday group as well. Speaking of which it's also been confirmed that the next issue of RPG Review will feature Rob Boyle, designer of Eclipse Phase as the main subject for our upcoming Transhumanist issue, which is due by the end of the year. Certainly Eclipse Phase has bee the most significant RPG I've been involved in for a couple of years now; the exploration of plausible and dangerous post-human future with genuinely alien contact is far superior to much of what passes as science fiction film.
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Whilst others on Saturday were concerned on which side of the grand ritual of the boot would be premiers for the year, we nerdlingers held a Cheesequest day, between myself [ profile] caseopaya, [ profile] hathhalla, and [ profile] ser_pounce. I made a small mountain of liptauer (including a surprisingly tasty vegan not-cheese variant), which was contrasted with a crumbly Warrnambool cheddar, and some Wensleydale with cranberries. All of which was accompanied with a tofu goulash, which another European dish of "find vegetables, add 'x' (spices, stock, cream etc), simmer". Afterwards we played the classic realist-comedy game of Junta where one plays a ruling family of a Latin American dictatorship. The idea, of course, it to get as much money as you can into your Swiss bank account from foreign aid before the international backers give up on you. An early run as El Presidente followed by a well-time assassination resulted in my victory.

Overall it was a good weekend for games; played Eclipse Phase Mars on Friday night via our usual multinational Google Hangouts group, and on Sunday ran the Eclipse Phase Extrasolar group, and gave them a little more than they bargained for with robotic spiders under the sea. It is something worth realising; GMs of Eclipse Phase can be a lot challenging to their player-characters because of the backup system - even more so than fantasy GMs with various Raise Dead or Resurrection magics. Indeed, there is something to be said about the hostile alien system where the GM goes out of their way to confront the PCs with deadly forces that are beyond their capacity to defeat in a stand-up conflict. Interestingly the game dove-tailed well with The Philosophy Forum group which met earlier that afternoon. Our planned speaker had fallen ill and thus could not attend, but nevertheless was kind enough to provide some papers on the pro-technology environmentalism and its relationship with transhumanism, which was just as well given the excellent turnout.

Baa baa black sheep how much wool can you carry? 'Well, it all depends on the load-bearing capacity of my legs, and now we have new ways of calculating this'. Yes, I'm the co-author of a published paper (I helped with the computational side of things) with the snappy title: Spatial Distribution of Material Properties in Load Bearing Femur as Characterized by Evolutionary Structural Optimization. I have also been preparing papers for my presentations at eResearch Australasia next Tuesday, and OpenStack Summit in Barcelona in three week's time. Janie G., from SA will be our housesitter whilst we're away. All legs of the transport are now booked with a combination of train and bus through Germany, Switzerland, France, and Spain. In the next couple of days I'll get what remains of the hotels bookings done.
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It's been a interesting past week for various gaming endeavours. The next issue of RPG Review is coming out soon, although it will be slightly delayed as our guest interview subject - Frank Mentzer - will be away for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile I've been working on Papers and Paychecks, along with several reviews, with a planned Kickstarter launch on October 24. In actual play the Eclipse Phase session last Sunday involved transporting alien eggs (what could go wrong?) to a transhuman habitation and a visit to the cold water world of Droplet. Tonight will be running Delta Green Mimesis, a home brew system that is a stripped down version of GURPS on a simulationist perspective and a built-up version of HeroQuest from a narrativist perspective.

Today was an gruelling day in training, running a course on parallel programming, covering issues in computer architecture, data parallelism using job submissions, library and package extensions in existing applications and programming languages, usage of OpenMP shared-memory programming, finally MPI distributed memory programming. Most of the people were already fairly experienced in the subject, so I hope it wasn't too simple for them. That will be the last training course for several weeks, as Europe beckons. After that courses are being planned for economics (primarily maths and stats), and engineering (numerical solvers and continuum mechanics) It was meant to be an introductory course. Afterwards was the HPC Users Forum where I gave a short presentation on various transition actions from the Edward to Spartan systems and updates on the latter. Not a huge attendance, but a worthwhile one.
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Today was Anne Kays' Memorial Service at the Unitarian Church. The opening hymn was Paul Robeson's Hymn to Nations. I followed with a selection from a John Chadwick poem for the opening words, then four eulogies by family members and friends (providing superb recollections of Anne's life and contributions), a musical Interlude (Judy Small "A Heroine of Mine"), a historical and religious reference to Anne Askew, a reading from "The Inquirer" by Florence W., and finally closing words from Sean O'Casey's, Sunset and Evening Star, and for closing music Nana Mouskouri's "Amazing Grace". I must confess I felt more uncertain conducting this service than any other, with a sense of deeply wanting it to be just right, due to both the honour of being selected to give the service by Anne and a desire to give respect to her memory. Members of the family seemed to think it went well, so I can feel satisfied with that.

The days preceding were a mixture of various social occasions. Last night was a night at the Astor Cinema to see a couple of classic B-grade Christopher Lee films; The Wicker Man and Dracula Prince of Darkness. Sunday's gaming session was Eclipse Phase where the PCs had the first real experience of an extrasolar planet and an experience not unlike the first half of the movie Aliens. Continuing to work backwards, Saturday night was a big dinner at Vicky's Restaurant with [ profile] log_reloaded in celebration of her completing her Diploma of Accounting.
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Three new articles added this week RPG Review, including my own piece on The Undead in Eclipse Phase. Have also elaborated on some proposals for extending the Rez Points system in the Eclipse Phase Companion. The fourth RPG Review newsletter will be released this weekend as well. Also, ran another session of Fear Itself on Thursday, which went as well (but even stranger) than the last session with the recursive scenario of roleplaying characters in a LARP (not unlike the very cheesy, Knights of Badassdom).

On the way back from the game [ profile] funontheupfield made the observation that my spending habits had not changed from the time that since I was an undergraduate, with the exception of a couple of relatively minor 'trophy items' (I'm a sucker for nice pens, mechanical watches, and really old books). It was something that I believed myself but it was good to hear it from others. However, because life provides a narrative in the past tense, I received a not insubstantial tax return from the ATO for several years of returns (I admit I had been treating them like a bank). It was quite a welcome discovery, although now I have the issue of working out what do with this additional cash.

Work was pretty turgid this week, pretty much spent the better part of the least three days getting a greater software stack optimised and installed on Spartan, so when users come on-board there's a better range of applications. We're using what is perhaps a misnomer, EasyBuild, which essentially is a collection of Python scripts for primarily source-code installations. I am not convinced yet that it serves any greater functionality to standard configuration scripts. Both of course come with the usual issues of dependencies, missing libraries, and so on.
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The past weekend included two sessions of Eclipse Phase. Friday night's game was the first chapter of Dance with the Devil, which was basically information gathering and not terribly exciting. Sunday's session in contrast was action-packed from the very start involving releasing psychotics in an asylum, hijacking a train, and shooting their way out of a starport. The consistent exposure of the combat system does make me wonder whether it could not be streamlined in the dice-rolling and made more descriptive in its effects. Later this week I'll write up some modifications to the system and add them to the Eclipse Phase Companion, after consultation with the other players and reviews on the game's forum.

Appropriately this Saturday was a Linux Users of Victoria beginners meeting with an talk by [ profile] xanni_au on gaming with Linux, which will also provide the foundation for an article for RPG Review. An appropriate follow-up was at work today which was a day-long training session for some fifteen UniMelb postgraduates with NinjaDan providing the information for the NeCTAR cloud platform whilst I provided the information on the new Spartan HPC system.

On the aesthetic dimension, visited a local record store as part of Record Store Day, reverting to my adolescence by buying a few items from the early 80s. Later that evening caught up with Adrian A., who was visiting from the UK. A group of Perth expatriates made up the small crowd, visiting Penny Blue Bar, followed by the Nant Whiskey Bar next door, in Drivers Lane. It was a good night with a good collection of drinks. It must be said Melbourne does have a impressive collection of small bars in its various laneways and these were good choices.
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Saturday was spent [ profile] sebastianne and Luke and took them on a tour of our home's environs, the Kew Asylum and nearby grounds, including the bat colony by the river. It had been some months since we'd spent time in each other's company and it's always a great pleasure to engage with such a witty mind. I must think of some cunning plan to get her involved in politics and secularism again.

Following day I presented at a meeting of The Philosophy Forum on The Epistemology of Madness. Meeting went extremely well, very well attended and with excellent discussion. Those in attendence certainly seemed agreeable to notions that insanity cannot be equated with mere deviance, and that forms of incarceration is only justified under circumstances where it is causing harm. Also, as a matter of administrivia, the group unanimously decided not to be a subcommittee of the Unitarian church where we meet. Said organisation will kill themselves through bureaucracy.

After philosophy was a different sort of madness, this time in space via the game Eclipse Phase. I'd played in a session on Friday night where we continued our escapes outside the Mars TITAN Quarantine Zone. To up the ante I took the players in my game to the Jovian asteroids where they encountered the remains of a TITAN system along with (taking an old tip from [ profile] cheshirenoir, "stainless steel rats". The next step for the characters in my game will be the Jovian Republic, a sort of combination of North and South American conservativism - played with a nuanced view of the problems of posthuman and augmented intelligences, they certainly make a good argument.

Last night caught up with Jo H., and friends from Perth and went to see The Jesus and Mary Chain perform the thirtieth anniversary of their debut album Psychocandy (youtube) at The Forum, a particularly beautiful late noveau building with a fascinating history. In the near future I'll put a review up at Rocknerd, along with a planned review of Central Belters, a best-of album by Mogwai. Funk-punk political radicals, The Gang of Four are also playing at the same location in a few weeks, so I might end up there as well.
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I've written a few paragraphs on Multicore World, essentially giving an overview of what was a small, specialist, but high quality conference. The most disappointing aspect was, due to being quite new to my current job that I simply couldn't take the necessary leave to travel around the country and catch up with NZ-located friends as I am want to do. Whilst the conference location, right on Wellington harbour, was great, I simply had only sufficient time to travel to and from the hotel room to the venue (the conference also tended to run from 0800 to 2000 hours each day). One significant positive to the conference was catching up with John Gustafson who took the time to write a frankly overwhelming praise singer's foreward to my book on Sequential and Parallel Programming with C and Fortran (actually, there's some good history and humour there, but the conclusion just floored me).

On the return trip squeezed in two in-flight movies, The Martian and The Peanuts Movie. The former was a little too much on heroic side and included one major scientific error (the dust storm), but was otherwise an exciting feel-good film. The latter was full of nostalgic charm with all the favourite characters and situations. Apropos entertainments, on my return to Melbourne have enjoyed two games (one as player and one as GM) of Eclipse Phase. In the second game the story arc has moved from being introduced to firewall in the main belt, acquiring some alien technology, and making their way to the Jovian orbit. An issue concerning VR time dilation in the game has also been resolved. This, and a number of rule elaborations and clarifications will be included in the Eclipse Phase Companion which I'll put in the RPG Review github in the next day or so.

Today I managed to meet up with [ profile] certifiedwaif whom I've know for some twenty years online but never had a face-to-face encounter (despite the fact we're relatively nearby on the global scale of things. We had lunch with members of the team, chatted about various programming and numerical calculation issues (his PhD and work interests) and generally had a pleasant time. With NinjaDan discussed how Internet culture can be very much like the belles-lettres of yesteryear, but without the latency (which allows for higher levels of literary intimacy). Internet culture does mean that it is not uncommon to have friends and associates that one doesn't meet face-to-face for several years, and yet still share close and continuing communication. With the possible exception of short-wave radio aficionados, who are in many way the culture's precursors, this is a significant change to the way we live.
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The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour. The entire planet is hurtling around the sun at sixty seven thousand miles an hour. And I can feel it.

I was rather impressed by this Christopher Eccleston quote as the Ninth Doctor, which re-established the series and gave it added seriousness by dealing with the complexity of the issues surrounding time travel. It was demanding, challenging, almost expressing anger with triviality. In the real world, I am quite fond of the elegance of Igor Dmitriyevich Novikov's work in this field. But I do feel it, in the spatial and temporal sense. The sheer immensity of the universe compares grandly to the small gods on the pale blue dot that humans seem so prevalent to following.

Today I began my 49th orbit attached to the third planet of Sol (on the eve of a planetary alignment - the stars are right!. Although this poor planet which has a questionable future (I am following the deliberations of the Athropocene Working Party quite closely). A small mountain of well-wishing came through, mostly on Facebook, of which I am deeply appreciative. Facebook of course is the mass consumer social media; Livejournal with its implicit anonymity and and orientation towards more productive and reflective entires cannot compete against the immediacy of a shared stream.

Clinging to this speck in space, in a blink of time's eye, hurtling ever onwards to a terminal conclusion, one cannot help but wonder, if there is anyone out there? Some may recall last September the paper that popular media reported that looked like alien megastructures. At the time, the paper argued that the aperiodic dips in flux was probably due to a family of exocomets (but it didn't stop me from reading it in detail and telling [ profile] caseopaya that 'this may be the most important scientific paper ever written'). Now it turns out that comets cannot explain the flux issues - and New Scientist has been brave enough to use the "A" word.

It may seem minor in comparison and it doubtless is, but one of my gaming groups has convinced me to run an Eclipse Phase campaign, starting this Sunday. I've run it before, and played in two different stories. But running my own narrative will allow me to engage to some detail with the game rules, and to push the transhumanism and first contact themes along with a deliberately chosen isolationist (outer planets) setting. As part of the RPG Review Cooperative I'll also endeavour to use this as a foundation for an Eclipse Phase Companion.
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First three days of this week were pretty much entirely taken up with the HPC and Linux courses for the RMIT SPACE research centre. They were a good group and worked well through the material, however I understand that they are working through their own parallel program and in that regard they certainly have their work cut out for them. A planned three-day course at La Trobe University has been delayed given us a moment's respite to get our ISO 9001:2008 audit in order which has been sadly neglected somewhat.

Took two days off for the end of the week and went to the Gippsland South region with [ profile] caseopaya. We stayed at the thoroughly functional Inverloch Cabins. It's a pleasant town whose main feature is some rather impressive beaches. Nearby we also visited the very impressive Wonthaggi State Coal Mine heritage centre which included quite an extensive underground tour. It was also a short trip to Phillip Island, a place perhaps most famous for it's evening Penguin Parade and Nobbies which is well worth the visit. There was certainly plenty of wildlife; apart from the aforementioned penguins there were numerous Cape Barren Geese with goslings about along with the occasional wallaby. Needless to say, picked up a few unique Ingress visits and hacks and had a chat with one of the agents from the opposing faction on the island, which is one of their strongholds.

Managed to get home in time last night to rush out the door to play in the regular fortnightly session of Eclipse Phase and finish off the Chain Reaction scenario, which really hasn't grappled with the technological and social changes of a transhumanist future. In other gaming news, updated my reviews from the Pirates issue of RPG Review and copied them to the site. Currently working on some reviews for "dead and undead" themed games, mainly White Wolf line (obviously) but also with zombie apocalypse settings such as All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Also interested in exploring the strangely neglected subject of undead in 7th Sea.
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About a week or so ago a small storm occurred on the Linux Australia mailing list about women in IT, or specifically the existence of bridging programmes to improve the significant gender disparity. It is clear from the discussion that some are still unaware of the existence of subtle but powerful forms of discrimination that exist - so I've written a small article on the matter. In other Linux-related news, on Wednesday night gave a presentation at Linux Users of Victoria on Linux and MMORPGs (PDF) which looked at the history of multiplayer games, virtual worlds, MUDs etc and some contemporary examples. Enjoyed doing a "show and tell" with an original boxed set of Dungeons & Dragons with supplements and went positively nostalgic in the final slide. On Saturday 16th Andrew Pam will be giving a more hands-on talk at the LUV Beginners meeting in the same. Was also pointed to a very good article on Bringing Gaming to the Library - but say, who is that playing Glest in the photo?

Thursday night was another episode of Martin's Eclipse Phase game, albeit the game was heavily interspersed with a great deal of tangental table banter. I now know far more about Titan than would be necessarily outside of that context, including our mission objective at a base near lake of methane, ethane, and propane at the moon's south pole. In terms of other visitations to Willsmere, was delighted to play host today to [ profile] uke and his partner Leslie, and youngster Ezekiel. Gave the tour of the estate including on of the main entrance building apartments which is going up for auction soon. Speaking of which, Willsmere once included a resident involved in the first same-sex marriage in Australia - courtesy of St. Francis' Catholic Church - take a walk on the wild side.
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This Sunday (11am, 110 Grey St, East Melbourne) I'm speaking at the local Unitarian Church on "The Inspirational Malala Yousafzai", which will have a couple of surprises in it. This will be followed by The Philosophy Forum with Rohan McLeod on "Theories of Language and Definitions", which will cover the pragmatic, semantic, etc. On a further education-related matter, the new course in Tertiary and Adult Education policy goes well. Have completed the first five weeks of readings before the end of week one. Written some notes on the first week's readings, Knowledge Economy and Tertiary Education. Finally, in education related matters, have completed the "Chapter Octave" in the Mathematical Programming book that I'm writing - next will be finishing off "Chapter R". Haven't decided what order to put these in. The next year at work is looking like that it will at least double the training courses that we offer with yours truly doing nearly all of the work (in addition to internal auditing of the company, HPC systems administration, project management, internal information management etc).

Played an excellent and entertaining game of Eclipse Phase last night, involving a linguistic virus that has infected half the party already. I've been very fortunate to pick up another copy of the core rulebook, along with supplements Gatecrashing, Sunward, and Panoptican. Of course, the good folk at Posthuman Studios release much of their material for free, under a Creative Commons license, which is just another feather in the cap of how awesome they are. My Quicksales store continues to do well with the site living up to its name. It is such a gradual process, but people are expressing interest and buying, possibly because the prices are at the less expensive end of the "buy me now" prices for comparative condition. Not sure what this Sunday's game is going to be; Michael is running a Lake-Town Middle Earth game but there seems unsure whether it will be Rolemaster, MERP, or Fantasy Craft.

Oh, and Lucky Rat has had a benign tumor removed. The aptly-named rodent that has avoided becoming snake food, cat food, and now dodged the big c, continues to travel along blithely as if there isn't a care in the world. Except for the time she lost the tip of her tail (could have been worse, it could have been a paw, I suppose).


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