March 19th, 2008


Is this what patriotism feels like?

There's a lot of linkage today to Barack Obama's speech about race in the U.S. I don't usually talk about politics much, but I have to say that I think this is really something quite extraordinary.

Normally I try to stay as far away from political speechifying as I can, because it makes my brain itch and fills me with annoyance. This is something different. I read it -- I haven't listened to it, just read it -- and it's like, oh my god, he's actually saying something. Something other than "vote for me", which yes, was in there, but alongside some very interesting statements about how American society works or doesn't, and ways to think about a set of problems, and observations about people, and...

It's like he's saying "Okay, fine. You want to talk about race? Let's talk about race." And then he pulls out the race card and tears it into tiny pieces and throws it on the floor because people need to stop freaking out about it and focus, people, focus on all this other big important stuff because then we could actually accomplish something, and I don't think I've quite processed it all yet.

Somebody who can say things like this is actually running for president? As in, might actually be elected? Not just in theory, but, like, actually elected in reality? That... doesn't really fit into my worldview at the moment.

To be honest, I'm kind of afraid to let that idea in, because if I do and he doesn't get elected, I'll be heartbroken, and if he does, I might have to, y'know, abandon my hip and jaded Gen-X cynicism about American politics and actually care about stuff, and I'm really not sure what to do about that.

Even now I'm distancing myself from it with humor and irony because I think that speech may have actually moved me, and I just... don't know how to react to that.
chibi dr t


There was impromptu gaming at Chris's last night. We had planned to play Race for the Galaxy but ended up with 5 instead of 4 (me, Chris, Tom, Bryree, and Matt K.), and so we played Kingsburg.

It's got the usual collect resources to build stuff that gets you victory points thing going on, but the really novel mechanic is influencing the royal court. There are 18 advisors, numbered from 1 to 18. Each round, you roll three dice, and then you can hire advisors by placing one or more dice that total whatever the advisor's value is. Of course, the other players are doing the same thing, and each advisor can only be hired once. So there's an interesting strategic challenge of figuring out who to hire, which get even more complicated once you start collecting chips that add +2 to a set of dice, bonus dice, and/or the building that lets you adjust one set of dice up or down by 1. "Okay, I rolled 6-5-2, so I can do 8 and 5 or 7 and 6 -- except that Matt just took 8, the bastard!"

I didn't do very well (I think my strategy was well-diversified but didn't have enough focus) but I had a good time.

I need a new icon for "gaming".