January Pieces Of My Mind #3

  • Prepping to play Fiasco tonight. Trouble is most of the playsets demand intimate familiarity with the US. We’re Swedish. I’ve translated and localised the Suburbia playset to Stockholm, which worked well. But tonight I’m suggesting London 1593 and Dragon Slaying Aftermath from Anthology 1. Had similar trouble with the dirty words version of Codenames. Almost none of my gaming buddies knew enough US slang for sex and drugs to play it successfully.
  • I’m not a digital native. But I’ve used the Web since I was 22 or 23, that is, for most of my life now.
  • Hey cool, Lord Dunsany has an almost invulnerable dragon with one small weakness already in 1908, when Tolkien is 16.
  • Movie: What’s Up Doc? (1972). Loving tribute to screwball comedy, involving four identical overnight bags with different contents. Grade: good!
  • The middle of my life so far was in mid-June of 1997. I was on the PhD programme, prepping to head my first own excavations two weeks later on Gotland. Living with my 1st wife in the apartment we’d bought from my grandma. We had no idea that Junior would be born one year and a few weeks later.
  • This old fellow I know is recovering really well from the stroke two weeks ago. I told him we’re pretty good cooks around my place and would be happy to make whatever he wants to eat when he comes home. “Really, I can’t let you deprive me of the pleasure of cooking, can I?”
  • Someone downloads a paper of mine from Academia, leaves an explanation: “I am creating a contemporary divination kit connected to the Völvas and these historic game pieces are a wonderful rabbit hole to go down.”
  • Note to self: don’t invite beloved Danish writer of fairy tales H.C. Andersen to stay at your house.
  • The Early Modern Parliament of Poland was infamously ineffective as every measure it adopted had to be unanimous. In other words: every MP had the right of veto. Sweden’s current government functions on the same principle. It can only enact policies that both the Crypto-Fascists and the Liberals approve. Each of these parties have the right of veto. And these two parties have in the recent past identified each other as ranking among their main ideological adversaries.
  • Tabletop game rules: if the rules are so complicated that I feel the need for a computer to run them correctly, then I want the game off my table and into a computer.
  • Movie: Nomad. In the footsteps of Bruce Chatwin (2019). Slow, visually attractive, not very informative, somewhat self-indulgent documentary about Werner Herzog’s relationship to his author friend. Similarly to Chatwin, Herzog’s relationship to social anthropology and archaeology is the casual amateur’s. Grade: OK.
  • We have long had AIs that learn and play boardgames. Next step: feed information about the rules and components of hundreds of boardgames into an AI and ask it to design new ones.
  • Dreamed that I was flipping through an amusing book for something to read out loud. Couldn’t find anything funny enough. My dream-world circuitry can’t generate amusing prose on the fly.
  • On re-wilding, environmental protection and the cultural landscape. Many types of older cultural landscape, such as hay meadows, have extremely rich and unusual biodiversity. Many of the plant and insect species there have evolved to flourish in those environments. But they are 100% artificial. The nature vs culture dichotomy does not always apply in environmental conservation. (Modern monocultures for grain and softwood suck, though.)
  • A young person told me today how they graduated from high school with an A in physics despite an exceptionally bad physics teacher. It involved a period when they skipped physics classes in order to sit in the school library and study physics on their own.
  • Watching the first episode of Jeeves & Wooster (1990) for the first time. ❤

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

6 thoughts on “January Pieces Of My Mind #3”

  1. The NATO has the same unanimous requirement for accepting new members. So Sweden and Finland are waiting for Turkey to stop playing the cock on the dungheap.

    But also the EU has the same rule. Turkey has applied for membership years ago…


  2. What’s up Doc – Am I correct in my memory that the lead character had a tartan bag full of musical rocks, and a bossy fiancee named Eunice? And he ended up with the Barbara Streisand character? The rest of the plot escapes me but I do remember laughing – a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “A young person told me today how they graduated from high school with an A in physics despite an exceptionally bad physics teacher.”

    My physics teacher was so bad he asked me to help him. It was a lesson in market economics – if you pay all teachers the same irrespective of their subjects, and therefore irrespective of other demands for their services, you end up with shortcomings of quantity or quality or both in subjects that offer other careers.

    That was also the reason we couldn’t have a metalworking class: that teacher had resigned to work in construction. Apparently the builders of our local nuclear power station needed high quality craftsmen to act as foremen/tutors on site.

    Liked by 1 person

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