Monday, November 29, 2004

I’m writing this on the plane back to Stanford after Thanksgiving weekend. Like most holiday weekends, this wasn’t exactly a restful vacation, but it was not for that unrefreshing. I got to see The Incredibles and Finding Neverland with the family, and if I’m lucky then tonight I’ll get to see Alexander. However, Phoebe’s birthday party is tonight, which may interfere with my consumption of yet more bad cinema themed upon the ancient world. I will see Alexander at some point, however, and I may even have a review to post of it. Personally I think what makes Alexander such a compelling figure is that he was a truly terrible man who was nevertheless a truly great leader. As Ian Morris said, one of the prerequisites for being called “the Great” is that you have to be a homicidal sociopath. How favorable my review is will doubtless have a good deal to do with how Oliver Stone chooses to portray one of history’s great butchers.

(edit: I did see Alexander, and I was ... intrigued by it. I'll probably post a review at some later point. Preliminary suggestion, if you intend to see it: read up on the Battle of Gaugamela and the Battle of the Hydaspes River ahead of time. Gaugamela especially is important to understand, and because the portrayal is pretty realistic it helps to already know what's happening.)

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today. What I actually wanted to talk about was returning to The Circle after a long absence—one during which I have hardly even thought about Phoenix Earth. Partially that’s because Starsiege: 2845 is tapping into my limited store of creative energy, but mostly it’s because there’s been other stuff on my mind. Like law school. And Nari. And, you know, other fairy-tale related stuff.

But playing Monica again was truly wonderful. Like The DM, I had sort of thought that my playing career had peaked with Danielle. But no, that’s really not true. I don’t know if Monica is better than Danielle, either in terms of how great her character is intrinsically or how well I play her. Different characters for different stages of my life. But she is at least as good as Danielle. (Interesting thought: Danielle was an instantiation of Alanna, and Monica is an instantiation of Keladry.) I mean, I actually broke down crying because Monica broke down crying. Really. You should have been there.

It is ironic that this blog is intended to serve as a soapbox for me to display the parts of me that don’t get displayed otherwise at Stanford, and yet it is incapable of showing one of the great parts of my personality which are hidden at school: my roleplaying side. One of my great regrets is that my Stanford friends have never seen me roleplay. I really can’t translate that into prose unless my audience has seen it firsthand. I mean my Stanford friends have never seen me really roleplay—the kind of roleplaying which is the heart crying itself out into the world. It’s not just that I’m a very different sort of person around the gang than I am up here. Not just that my gamer side really only exists in LA. Never meeting Danielle or Monica … I mean, that’s like never seeing me dance. Never seeing me dance, of course, would hardly make or break a friendship with me. It wouldn’t be all that big a deal really … just a shame. And you really can’t meet Danielle or Monica outside of their respective games. I guess I could have a conversation with you as either woman, but it just wouldn’t be the same.

Of course the real reason that was so wonderful was not simply because it was great art or great self-expression. It was because it was just so good to feel. I have had lots of good things happen to me at law school, and it’s not as if it isn’t fun. And of course there are lots of people who are working harder than me or doing harder things, so I hate to sound like I’m complaining. But I am being stretched all the same, and it does feel a little bit like being a page. Being stretched all the time is not exactly good for just feeling. But playing Monica certainly is.

And so, for that matter, is seeing good movies. Honestly, I love my time period. We have so much art! And sure some of it’s bad, but really, we have so much more good art than any other time period, and we have it in so many media! Like The Incredibles and Finding Neverland. And Christmas music. Speaking of Christmas music, Alanna and I apparently got our wires crossed as to when she was coming out and when I was going to Dickens Fair. Not that there’s anything we could have done about it, but it’s sad that I shall not get to see her at Dickens after all. Still, I shall go to Dickens next week. That should be fun.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

So I told the Duelist that I'd post a vitriolic blog post no matter who won the election, and even though I'm pretty sure he doesn't read this I feel like I should go ahead and post. However, in deference to friends like Phoebe and the DM, I think I'll tone down the vitriol.

First off, I might as well admit that I appreciate as much as the next metropolitan Californian Republican an election result which vindicates a lifetime of feeling vaguely persecuted for my voting record. But the truth is that I've only ever felt vaguely persecuted for my voting record, and I've felt much more seriously persecuted for other aspects of my individuality.

Mostly I intended to rant about the people who feel that the fate of the nation hangs on the presidency. I'll concede that it makes a difference, and it's even possible (though I consider it highly unlikely) that it will make a difference that actually affects my personal contentedness in any serious way. But I'd like to suggest a few things.

First, I'd like to suggest that we are Americans regardless of who our chief executive is. While I'm at it, I'd like to suggest that you can vote against somebody, but unless you're willing to renounce your citizenship rights, then you support the result regardless. Americans support the Constitution and the results it decrees whether we like those individual results or not. If the result matters so much to you that you feel you can no longer support the Constitution, well, time to fish or cut bait. Drink hemlock or get out of Athens. I submit to you that it matters that much to very few Americans, and I would appreciate it as a personal favor if nobody pretended that it did in my presence just so they could let off the steam because they became personally invested in the executive race.

Second, I'd like to suggest that the truly important things in life were not at issue here. God help us when the most important things on the American mind are foreign policy, taxes, jobs, abortion, and our precious civil liberties. Oh wait ... they already are. Well, God help America then. Love of one's neighbor, love of God ... those things are important. They certainly bear upon our foreign policy, our taxes, our jobs, our stance on abortion, and they probably imply certain civil liberties. But I'd like to suggest that neither God nor morality (if you're one of those people who think there's a difference) are for or against tax cuts. Reasonable minds can differ as to the best way to love our neighbors. I submit that a man's worth is not determined by his stance on abortion, whether he has a job, or whether his country's constitution enshrines a right to liberty. Do those things matter? Sure, of course they do. Maybe they're even important. But there are more important things in life that are beyond the reach of any election.

P.S. I am continuously bemused by the fact that the DM doesn't appear to consider me a mystic. I mean, I claim to speak in tongues, and when I say I believe in angels I don't mean it in some namby-pamby sort of subjective or metaphorical way. I mean it in the alien intelligence which can mess with your mind, and quite possibly with your brain, hardcore way. I believe that God tells me things, which probably though not necessarily also involves direct manipulation of my physiology. I don't know how much more mystic I can get, but somehow I don't seem to count. But that's probably a post for another time.

God help America. Last time I checked we didn't trust in the president, anyway.