28 April 2002

O thrill of Geekdom!

I’m sitting on the patio on a glorious April evening, typing on my laptop. To test the range of my wireless network I walked the extent our property. (Which isn’t difficult to do on a 7500 s.f. lot.) The reception is great no matter where I am. In fact, the worst reception is in the television room, which is blocked from the computer room by several walls.

I can imagine few things more pleasant than being able to work on the computer while sitting outside, watching the cats, listening to the birds, smelling the neighbor’s barbeque. Maria and Escar are raking their yard. The boy next door is playing basketball. He must have a new ball; he’s been dribbling it up-and-down the sidewalk all day. Occasionally a small plane drones overhead. All the while I’m able to keep up with the Mariners game over the Internet while listening to mp3s from my desktop machine.

A blue jay flits down into tulip bed, finds something interesting to eat. Toto is beside herself. She cackles that “I’m-a-cat-and-I-see-a-bird” cackle, scrunches down. She’s on the patio, though, thirty feet from the bird. The range is too great for an effective attack.

The jay hops around and Toto is a bunch of nerves. Satchel is watching Toto.

The blue jay flies away.

Toto consoles herself by finding a spider on the leg of the patio table. She torments that to death instead. Such is the life of a cat: sometimes the bird is in sight yet you must settle for a spider.

I finally finished the first V.S. Naipaul book and am now ready to start Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples. I’m curious to read about the changes between 1979 and 1995 in the Islamic nations that Naipaul visited.

Islam is fascinating.

It’s a religion, sure, but it’s one foreign to the Judeo-Christian ethic in which I was raised. Islam is all-consuming; it’s not just a religion, it’s a political system, a code of personal ethics, a complete way of life. No other religion can compare to it.

And the Big Picture I’m beginning to see (from reading the Koran, books on Islam, and post September 11th media accounts (alternative and mainstream)) is that of all the major world religions, Islam has the greatest chance of becoming a global unifying belief, an unstoppable force that achieves world domination. Not any time soon, mind you, eventually. It’s come far in 1400 years. So long as the Western mind is unable to grasp the Islamic mind, the West is not going to be able cope with it.

(I should mention here that I’m neither pro-Islam or anti-Islam, just as I’m neither pro-Christianity or anti-Christianity. Members of both religions would think otherwise. I’m an atheist, and think most (all?) religion is, on the balance, harmful to individuals and communities. There are positive aspects to religion, but they’re nothing that cannot exist apart from the religion.

Christianity is derived from ancient myths and rules, codified into the contradictory mass of stories we call the Bible. Islam is derived from the self-serving “visions” of the self-proclaimed prophet Mohammed, as codified in the Koran. I have no problem when beleivers keep to themselves and win converts through example. When an adherent to a particular faith begins to prosletyze, or to beleive that his (or her) religious beliefs can and should be forced upon others, then I get upset.

Life your life, leave me alone.

If there’s a hell (and there isn’t), I’ll burn in it and you’ll be up on your white fluffy cloud or in your chamber with seventy-two virgins. Don’t subject me to an Earthly hell just because you’ve found religion.)

I managed to get the lawn mowed today. I also started playing the games for my APBA baseball league. (In away games, played by other owners, my record is 2-17! Amazing. I’ve never owned a team so pathetic.)

Most of my day was spent playing Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, though. I finished the single-player game yesterday; it merits perhaps a B or B- due to some very glaring problems. (A more detailed review, by a more forgiving player than myself (though he still notes problems) can be found at Game Basement.) This morning, on a whim, I decided to play some multi-player over the internet.

Bad move.

For six hours I ran and jumped and fought my way through multi-player capture the flag. Outstanding! This is great fun.

The maps are well designed, and large, so that each player can concentrate on what he likes the most. Most people run around with light-sabers all the time and use Force Grip. (Need a list of Force Powers?)

Me? I have no lightsaber skills at all (and thus no lightsaber), but have maxed out Force Speed and Force Jump and Force Push (to fight Force Grip). My little Jedi runs swiftly and jumps high and is a master of stealth. I’m always the highest scoring player on my team. Assuming moderately skilled teammates, my team usually wins.

I need to loan this game to Mac ASAP so that it doesn’t take up all of my free time…

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