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It was a pretty gaming intensive weekend; on Saturday I needed to get over three thousand words written for RPG Review 34, a special issue on game design, which has now been released - there was about 1,000 words on Friday and Sunday as well, as well as the layout. Later on session ran a game of Eclipse Phase which has arced up with as the Sentinels confront the neo-fascist Ultimates on an L5 Neptune trojan. It followed from an evening with [ profile] funontheupfield at a local bar where we played Forbidden Island (cooperative game, easily adaptable for an environmental rather than fantasy theme) and Quizzle. Aproporiately, a new issue of the RPG Review Cooperative Newletter, Crux Australi has just been released.

We've just change our Internet Service Provider. After many years with Optus, there were a couple of events (technical primarily) that were making the relationship shaky, but the clincher was when they wouldn't support Firefox on Linux with the given reason being that only a few people use it this "old" operating system. Well, we've shifted to iiNET, and although there was a bit of a hiccup with the setup, they've done the right thing in terms of compensation etc. In other home life news finished our tax today for the last financial year, a weird timetabling that apparently is ATO approved. Their administrative procedures are a mystery to us mere mortals. Finally, just in case anyone thought I wasn't nerdy enough, I've been using this great Android app which effectively gives one a command-line interface for operating one's phone. Accessing applications with the autocomplete shortcuts and easy of file system navigation I find are its principal advantages.
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In the global village, the local council election of the United States of America is certainly the most important. Like many others I was rather surprised (and quite horrified) by the election of Donald Trump this week. The psephologists were universally wrong. But at least they're doing the right thing and working out why. There has been a lot of silly opinion pieces trying to justify why the result occured, but the pre-election claims of Michael Moore turned out to be most prescient, not only for guessing that Trump would win but where he would win; namely by a failure to inspire the working-class states of the Great Lakes - that is really the only reason that Clinton lost; Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Unsurprisingly, I am currently in the midst of an article for the Isocracy Network on the election results with a few prescriptive solutions, the most obvious being don't ignore the working class. It also serves as a good focus for the Isocracy AGM (FB link) next Saturday at Trades Hall with Dr. Hans Baer speaking on the relationship between enviromentalism and socialism. This is certainly an issue which has relevance for the occasionally strained relationship here between the Australian Labor Party and the Greens. Similar lessons can be learned in this context; the importance of the environment may be paramount, but the protection of the enviroment will only occur with the support of the working class.

Speaking of work, in my fairly-well paid technocratic role it has been a very demanding week having returned from overseas. I fielded what I could what on the other side of the world, but the bulk of the effort was carried by NinjaDan who is really feeling the weight of what has been an increasingly quantity of technical requests, and certainly far beyond the capacity of 1 EFT looking after two HPC systems. In other work-related news [ profile] caseopaya has received a new job offer with a good pay rise and engaged in the delightful act of handing a resignation letter to a firm which won the Golden Turd for poor work conditions.

In home life we still have the delightful Jane keeping us company at least for a few more days. There's big hole in the ceiling of our dining-room due to the effects of the water pipe issues from before we left for overseas and one in the back of the wardrobe in our attic bedroom which probably leads to Naria or somesuch. The Owners Corporation is currently having a debate on whether to keep the Courtesy Bus or not, which led me to make a post on the appropriate closed group on Facebook where I illustrated some of the unspoken costs of getting rid of it; it seems that most people who engaged in that discussion are also supportive in retaining the service. Finally, last night went to visit Brendan who has been having his usual unluck with housemates. It was good to catch up as always, and we laughed ourselves through the quite moving NZ film Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which of course reminded me that I need to visit the home country again.
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Tonight we leave for Europe for a month (it took me a few minutes to pack). Our wonderful housesitter, Janie G., has arrived and familiarised herself with the environment. She has already proven her weight in gold by a timely discover of a resisentialist event; a water pipe on the second floor has burst, dripping through the ceiling plaster. That's going to be annoying and probably expensive to repair.

Currently at eResearchAustralasia, former co-worker Andrew Underwood is giving a very high-level keynote on artificial intelligence work at Dell. In the afternoon I'll be presenting on Spartan with a a further lightning presentation later on. The conference itself reminds a lot of Questnet, insofar there's big vendor input and a little light on the technical level.

Edit: Presentation went extremely well for such a short talk. Engaged and interested audience with a good turnout with people from several institutions expressing great interest on what we have done and considering adopting our model for their future implementations.

Appropriate for the Europe journey, I have joined The Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy. The good folk at the Institut für Sozialforschung have done some searching for me for works by Frederich Pollock. The following morning will be visiting the Frankfurt Center for Scientific Computing, who have gotten back to me. I have managed to list several places that we should visit at each city in this whirlwind tour.
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This week I wrote or submitted three contributions to various government agencies. The first was a draft for Linux Users Victoria, on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with particular attention drawn to intellectual property issues. The second was for the Victorian Secular Lobby, which was submitted to the Victorian parliamentary committee on end-of-life choices, based on last week's draft. The Isocracy Network is also considering a submission. The third was a submission to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to the Cultural Diversity Review, specifically on the classification of Unitarians as "Christian (Other)" in the Australian census. For the Victorian Secular Lobby, it's been a particularly good week with Special Religious Instruction taken out of the education curriculum.

I've had a busy end-of-week socially; on Thursday night [ profile] strangedave and [ profile] doctor_k_ were visiting Melbourne, so we organised dinner and a tour at the asylum for them and [ profile] mortonhall and Trevor (LJ name?). Great conversation and a pleasant walk of the grounds. Did the same for visiting Westalian nephew Luke from Muzzle and his friend Nick on Saturday night. Also on Saturday went to see [ profile] ser_pounce and [ profile] hathhalla for the grand final of the cheesequest; a contest between (substituted) white stilton, epoisses (fantastic soaked in champagne), and a small mountain of the garlic-and-herb boursin, made by yours truly, plus a few others just to complement. We also played Mice and Mystics, a cooperative storytelling boardgame, where we were seriously defeated twice. Also had an interesting political and plotting dinner on Friday with Anthony and Daye.

The final social activity of late this week was a session of 7th Sea where the PCs are increasingly coming to to terms with the scale of the political danger they've put them in; it's a fantasy version of a resource course. Apart form all this I've been playing house a fair bit, after purchasing a big antique sideboard, rearranging a variety of furnishings (especially bookcases) in the process. I don't really live in a house; it's more like a small library and museum. Or at least that's the plan.
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Spent much of Saturday stomping around Ikea for semi-disposable Swedish furniture. Having purchased an "almost new" queen-sized mattress from a neighbour earlier in the week, we also purchased a new queen sized bed frame, which didn't fit in our nook so back to the store it goes. So the old futon frame has been restored and that fits just snugly. Also purchased was three additional bookcases, making twenty-five through our homesmall library with still more yet to be shelved ("If you have enough book space, I don't want to talk to you" - Terry Pratchett). Blockout curtains are on the way to replace our cheap, bent, and ancient Venetian blinds. We're also looking at major upgrades to our increasingly dilapidated kitchen but that will have to wait for another day. The day concluded with my 4 G LG Optimus F5 ceasing to work after falling from a short height (will not turn on), so switching everything to a 3G HTC One; technically a generational downgrade, but with better technical specifications, it seems to be an improvement.

The next issue of RPG Review is due, with an overall subject matter of 'The Undead', and being late I am scrambling for articles. Unusually I am having a couple of quirky pieces on variations in the spectrum of dead and living, courtesy of some of the elaborations one finds in near-future games such as Eclipse Phase. It is fair to suggest that in the future what we largely consider a binary state (dead and alive) will be broken down more into a continuum, a proposal which Eclipse Phase takes to a speculative conclusion with the complete separation of mind and body into various skins with multiple backups and save points in consciousness. A very confusing situation indeed, and yet quite plausible. In other gaming news, played in Andrew's Laundry Files game on Thursday which involved several bureaucratic challenges (it is very like Paranoia sometimes) and today ran a session of 7th Sea which involved pretty much an battle with a (small) dragon for the entire session (discovery and battle write ups available).
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Pat Robertson has recently asked whether people who have sex with ducks are protected by hate crimes legislation; two young women engage take a satirical take with "sex with ducks". Both at Feminist Law Professors. It does remind me of a South Australian MP several years ago who argued that the decriminalisation of prostitution would lead to sex with ducks. What is it with ducks? Are they thinking of ducks with giant penises?

Recent addition to Casa di Lafayette/Hoehnhauss has been a video projector; a Hitachi XSGA CPSX5500. Several years ago these cost $10,000 and whilst the technology was superior to standard LCD, they were outrageously expensive; even a replacement globe costs over $1,000. So work bought three new projectors for their Access Grid room and I'm borrowing this old one. The resolution is very good, but the colour is a heavy shade of blue; hopeless for colour films, but excellent for our vast collection of black and white classic films (and [ profile] caseopaya knows her classics) projecting a 'screen' of some 2m by 1.5m.

Other recent entertainment includes an excellent game on Friday eve of Insectes and Companie (PDF, French language, translation coming) run by Fabrice and on the Sunday session of GURPS Krononauts which involved Hernan Cortes capturing of Moctezuma in the middle of his own capital and his subsequent sortie of against the 1,000 Spanish soldiers sent to arrest him (Wikipedia summary available). Whilst I have little friendly to say about his imperialism (although they did put an end to religious human sacrifice) one cannot help but be thoroughly impressed by his strategic and tactical genius mixed with an extraordinary confidence in his own abilities.
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The South-East Australian bushfires continued to rage during the week. Estimates of the dead are now around three hundred, although the official toll has stood at 181 for some time. The number of animals that have died is estimated to be in the millions. Apparently one needs to be university researcher to blame trees and the Greens, and divine inspiration to blame the decriminalisation of abortion.

I have started a new public policy website in accord to my 2009 plan. The idea is to combine elements of liberal, socialist and anarchist theory into a practical and results-orientated perspective. The intention is to gradually build the movement, one person at a time, into something that is both far more interesting and independent than what passes for most political organisations. On a related topic, having become frustrated over the years by the inability of semi-professional organisations to deal with IT workplace issues (wages, OH&S, collective bargaining), I have joined the ACTU-affiliated APESMA.

For sequential unix timestamp day (hat-tip to [ profile] tajna for the name), [ profile] caseopaya and I went to the hills to look at housing to buy despite the smell and haze of smoke that covered the city. Our landlords have increased the rent on our apartment by almost 25% and we're in the situation when where we can buy a significantly larger property with a mortgage repayment of less than we're currently paying in rent. So we had a trip out to Belgrave, Sassafras, and Mt. Dandenong and had a very late lunch outside the William Ricketts Sanctuary. No firm decisions yet from the initial scouting mission.

During the week also had a visit from [ profile] hathalla and [ profile] ser_pounce; it was a belated birthday gathering for the latter. I provided him a signed copy of [ profile] robin_d_laws's HeroQuest and made an enormous tiramisu using a famous [ profile] frou_frou recipe.


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