I like these quizzes. I wind up with results like Mace Windu, Kermit the Frog… I bet that if I took a "What Star Trek: The Next Generation Character Are You?" quiz, I’d wind up as Jean-Luc Picard. Either him, or William Riker. Being associated, no matter how frivolously, with these characters who are wise, intelligent, brimming over with leadership and bad-assness, is a bit of an ego stroke for me. I’m none of those things, but I like knowing that I test well. I’m the guy who got that disgustingly high score on the SAT when I was in high school. Of course, I’m also the guy who wasn’t able to get a career going when I got out of college. If that isn’t an object lesson in the value of standardized testing, I don’t know what is.
And yes, I did finally see Attack of the Clones. I may have written about that here before. I can’t recall, and I’m too lazy right now to go back through my recent archives and look for it. I can definitely say that I was generally pleased with this film, in the way that I’m generally pleased with 21st century medicine. Despite its faults, 21st century medicine at least isn’t 1th century medicine (people are at least no longer getting their appendix removed by their barber/dentist); and at least Attack of the Clones didn’t have Jar Jar Binks in it. Not much of him, at least.
I have to say that I think George Lucas may have made some serious mistakes. Tonight, Jennifer and I rented the first Star Wars film made, Episode IV: A New Hope (which was released in 1977 as just plain ol’ Star Wars); and there are simply too many overarching storylines that contain self-contradictions for Lucas to easily resolve with just one more film. Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn’t remember ever owning a droid in Episode IV; but in Episodes I and II, R2-D2 is one of Kenobi’s constant companions. And I can’t help wondering how much Luke’s Uncle Owen knew about Darth Vader and Luke’s father? If he knew who Luke’s father really was, would he have ever allowed talk of Luke going off to the Academy ever happen at all? He seemed singularly non-plussed when Luke first mentioned Kenobi to him. And, of course, there’s the issue of C-3PO and R2-D2 knowing Darth Vader. Lucas could say that the two droids simply had their memories erased between the settings of II and IV, but that’s too pat an explanation.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the storyline so far. I think that producing Episodes I, II, and III as children’s films might be a mistake; the storyline is far too complex and sophisticated to make very good children’s films. Anakin is not going through the Campbellian "Hero’s Journey" that Luke Skywalker did; instead, he’s experiencing a descent into darkness. It is interesting, but such a theme doesn’t have the same mythic resonance with young people that the Hero’s Journey does.
Not to say that Episodes I and II were failures, of course. They’ve made lots of money for Lucas, and lots of people like the films. I just think that they could have been made much more interesting (for me, at least; they probably wouldn’t have succeeded if I’d written them). Ah, well.
But at any rate, I was going to tell you about the presentation I gave on Ximian Evolution, the desktop personal information management tool for Linux. I was not, of course, the only person giving the presentation; it was part of a special class arranged for the City of Davis. There were two other people giving presentations that night, on variations on the topic of "Linux on the Desktop". My presentation was short; probably only about five minutes in length. Nevertheless, I think it went well; I’m scheduled to give a much longer talk on the subject at the LUGOD meeting in mid-October. The subject of Linux for home use is something I’m still finding interesting. I went and applied to be the site guide for Linux.about.com, part of the About.com network, and the focus I gave them in my application was "Linux for the Home". Surprisingly, the editors liked my application enough to move me to the next level; so over the next two weeks or so I’ll be working like mad to pull together a lot of information about Linux and writing up articles in order to make it to the next stage of the application process. Compensation for this job would only be about $100 per month or so, but it should be fun.
And speaking of fun things, I’ve put Outer Darkness on hold for awhile, because my heart just wasn’t into it. Instead, I’ve decided to run a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign. The story is one I’ve been developing since before I got married (heck, I remember talking to one of the guys at my bachelor party about it), but the setting itself has been in development for at least a decade. I already know the introductory scenes I’m going to run for Evilpheemy and for Jennifer. All I need now is time.
The writing continues. "Homeworld" (formerly known as "Homestead") is plodding along slowly. The Troll King’s Daughter is as well. I don’t know what the heck I’m doing with "Mother Tsan Chan". I’ve been having an extremely difficult time keeping up with my resolution to put in 1,000 words per day… although I suppose that this entry will count towards that goal.
And, of course, I still find myself fascinated by the field of ecological systems engineering. It’s kind of an object lesson for me: when I graduated with my BA, I had always assumed that at some point, as soon as I figured out what I wanted to study in graduate school, I’d be able to go back and get in. My dismay at realizing that it wasn’t going to happen at all still hasn’t quite gone away. However, there is a lot of information out there and probably lots of places for people with no aptitude for math or engineering. If I were a billionaire, I’d start something like The Eden Project, which is exactly the sort of thing I had been hoping to do.
On another note, my question of the day is this: if President Bush is willing to commit to a complete overhaul of the federal government by the end of 2002, why isn’t he willing to commit to a timeline of any sort for a Middle East peace process? I suppose that with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, when it bogs down in Congress past 2002 — as it’s destined to do, I don’t think anyone can deny that — then Bush will be able to point at the Democrats and blame them for "standing in the way of the defense of all Americans" (not that I wouldn’t put it past Gore or Clinton to have done something similar if the parties were reversed, of course — remember that I loathe all politicians equally). When any timetable he commits to for a Middle East process fails (and does anyone seriously believe that Israel and Palestine want peace?), who would he blame? No, staying out would be the safest course for him.
At a party I went to the other night at Evilpheemy’s, I learned that meterologists were predicting winds this past weekend of 30 to 40 miles per hour. Wisely, I avoided telling Jennifer this before our 30 mile bike ride. Yep, a Jedi master. That’s me.