The Iliad may have been written by one man. It may have been written by a hundred men. But let us remember that there was more unity in those times in a hundred men than there is unity now in one man. Then a city was like one man. Now one man is like a city in civil war.
One of the terrors of dating is Milan Kundera, and specifically, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the sexually-transmitted book that this Czech-born author has inflicted on a generation of American youth.Dating Without Kundera via Enthusiasms.
I fully recognize the important role of the dating book, that is, the carefully selected work you lend a prospective lover sometime in the golden honeymoon period between your second cup of coffee together and the first time you spend a night in the same bed without touching ...
The main thing systems like Inform added over really old-style [interactive fiction] was more explicit modeling. An old-school way of doing things would be to write lots of chunks of text, parsers, code that causes things to happen, etc.; to the extent a world really exists, it's only because all the stuff you've thrown in is consistent with each other, the same way a world exists in a novel. Systems like Inform, instead, add an explicit declarative model of a world; there are objects with properties and locations, possible actions with preconditions and effects, containers and reachability, etc. A lot of the action and text is then attached to that model, and interactions and output are partly generated from it.via
One thing still hardcoded in that model is style. The fact that a car is in the room with you and visible to you is explicitly modeled (not just buried in a canned snippet of text), but the style of how that's presented to you isn't explicitly modeled. Is it a matter-of-fact "There is a car here", some kind of dramatic gothic description, a vague offhand description, etc., etc.? The way to control that in standard IF is by attaching canned text snippets to different events. If you want style to change based on gameplay events, you write multiple canned text snippets and then write code to swap them in and out. And of course just informing the user of an object is one of the simpler kinds of output, so it gets more complex if you want to change style for, say, ongoing action, or want to present things in other than strictly this-is-happening-at-present narrative order, etc. You end up with tons of hacks like: an event happened now in the world model but we want to tell it to the player later as a flashback, so suppress the normal output and set this flag, then attach a callback to some other event that will replay the tell-about-this code later when we want it.
The main new thing Curveship adds to that is an explicit model of narration. It's motivated by a view in narratology (a sort of formalist variety of literary theory) that narratives are composed of an abstract "what really happened" component plus a narrational "how I am telling the reader about what happened" component. Since IF systems only have the first explicitly, Curveship adds the second too.
Sura (Chapter) 5 of the Koran says that God sent mankind the Torah, the Gospel and the Koran. “For every one of you, We have appointed a path and a way ... So compete with one another in good works.”from the New York Times letters section
We have also sound-houses, where we practise and demon- strate all sounds and their generation. We have harmony which you have not, of quarter-sounds and lesser slides of sounds. Divers instruments of music likewise to you unknown, some sweeter than any you have; with bells and rings that are dainty and sweet. We represent small sounds as great and deep, likewise great sounds extenuate and sharp; we make divers tremblings and warblings of sounds, which in their orig- inal are entire. We represent and imitate all articulate sounds and letters, and the voices and notes of beasts and birds. We have certain helps which, set to the ear, do further the hearing greatly; we have also divers strange and artificial echoes, re- flecting the voice many times, and, as it were, tossing it; and some that give back the voice louder than it came, some shriller and some deeper; yea, some rendering the voice, differing in the letters or articulate sound from that they receive. We have all means to convey sounds in trunks and pipes, in strange lines and distances.- Francis Bacon, The New Atlantis
Nor did she see what I strayed into town for in the morning, or why I took pleasure in sitting in the still green bake of the Civil War courthouse square after my thick breakfast of griddle cakes and eggs and coffee. But I did, and warmed my belly and shins while the little locust trolley clinked and crept to the harbor and over the trestles of the bog-spanning bridge where the green beasts and bulrush-rocking birds kept up their hot, small-time uproar. I brought along a book, but there was too much brown stain on the pages from the sun. The benches were white iron, roomy enough for three or four old gaffers to snooze on in the swamp-tasting sweet warmth that made the redwing blackbirds fierce and quick, and the flowers frill, but other living things slow and lazy-blooded. I soaked in the heavy nourishing air and this befriending atmosphere like a rich life-cake, the kind that encourages love and brings a mild pain of emotions. A state that lets you rest in your own specific gravity, and where you are not subject matter but sit in your own nature, tasting original tastes as good as the first man, and are outside of the busy human tamper, left free even of your own habits. Which only lie on you illusory in the sunshine, in the usual relation of your feet or fingers or the knot of your shoestrings and are without power. No more than the comb or shadow of your hair has power on your brain.
Hello, and welcome to the eleventh stop on the "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" virtual book tour, the book tour that has ignored every hint you've dropped -- the yawns, the glances at your watch, the insistence that you've got to get up early tomorrow -- and just refuses to leave. My name's Bono and I'm here to talk about third-world debt forgiveness-- No, no. Wait. My name Greg Knauss, and I'm here to shamelessly pitch my book. Sorry for the confusion.
"Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" is now officially approved by my wife. She lay down on the sofa the other night and read it for the first time, because I had apparently neglected to mention to her that I'd been documenting the most intimate details of our lives on a Web site. When asked for a quote, she said, "I can't believe people pay six bucks for this."
There's an "only" missing from that, the way I figure it.
Today's reading is from James Stegall's "I Don't Care If I Ever Get Paid to Write," because I'm just sick to death of that damnedable "Rainy Day" thing:
I've apprehended homeless men who've shoved telephones down their pants and twelve-year-old girls with backpacks full of make-up. I've caught single mothers pushing out strollers with packages of diapers hidden beneath their babies. I caught a woman who emptied an end cap of three hundred Power Ranger figurines into a cart and attempted to push it out the door. One tall man pushed a television out the front doors with his daughter sitting on his shoulders When he saw me he, tried to run and his little girl hit her head on the doorjamb. She started to scream like a siren. That's how I got him.
I apprehended one fourteen-year-old boy who shoplifted a collectable baseball (barely over the $10 minimum). When I notified his mother she said, "Keep him." I had to call the police.
And now, questions from people with far, far too much time on their hands:
A man in a purple sweater asks: If you were to say, race your children -- and I'm not saying you have or implying that you've thought about it at great length -- but if you were to race your three kids from one end of the biggest room of your house to the other, what do you think the approximate finishing times would be for each child and who would win?
Here at Total Bastard Laboratories, we'll never settle for simple conjecture. It's hard, scientifically justifiable experimentation you're looking for, sir, and it's hard, scientifically justifiable experimentation you're going to get.
At approximately 6:45pm PST, at the Total Bastard Test Area and Living Room, Subjects T, M and P* were lined up along the eastern border of the proving grounds, after the coffee table was moved out of the way. Both Subjects T and M showed pre-test jitters, as they repeatedly attempted to wander away and look out the window. Subject P displayed almost preternatural clam, largely because he had fallen asleep in his bouncy seat. Once Subjects T and M were returned to their starting positions -- after the test administrator threatened to count to three -- and the heats were begun.
Trial One ended in a draw, as both Subjects T and M returned to the window while subject P continued to sleep, possibly passing gas in the process. This last is conjecture, but Subjects T and M both denied responsibility and the test administrator refuses to even consider the possibility that it was him.
Trial Two results were abandoned as flawed, because the test administrator had to push both Subjects T and M across the Test Area, muttering helpful "C'mon! Go! C'mon!"s as they went.
Trial Three presented Subject T as the clear winner, though he refused to stop at the foyer and continued down the hall, through the family room, the kitchen, the dining room and back around to the living room again -- repeatedly, four laps by the official count -- all the while shouting "C'mon! Go! C'mon!" Subject M trailed, after a tentative start, wailing "Eeeeee!" The tests were brought to a conclusion when the test administrator's wife interrupted the fifth circuit by saying, "Calm down! Calm down! It's dinner time! In your seats, now!" And then, to the administrator, "I wish you wouldn't do that to them before we eat." Subject P was left on the proving grounds to finish his nap. He crossed the finish line roughly an hour later, after he pooped and had to be taken upstairs to be changed.
Final times -- Subject T: three seconds; Subject M: four seconds; Subject P: one hour (assisted).
For more scientifically rigorous child-rearing and/or -racing, please join the tour tomorrow, when it stops at Harrumph.
* I just realized that my son's initials spell "tmp," or the common computer abbreviation for "temporary." I refuse to consider what subconscious processes might have led to that. Besides, Joanne picked Pete's name.
About 1983, I asked Marie Jolas about James Joyce's relationship to women. As well as I can recall verbatim, this is what she said:
"He was always polite to women, always. He was always a gentleman, always courteous, gracious to women... And he would ask questions of women that no one else would, no other man would."
What kind of questions, I asked her.
"What is it like to give birth? What is it like to menstruate? Many questions like that."
And women answered? I asked.
"Yes. We all told him. He was so interested and courteous. He listened."
Marie Jolas and her husband Eugene knew Joyce quite well. Eugene published "Work in Progress" in his magazine, transition.
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