Ex Bibliotheca

The life and times of Zack Weinberg.

Thursday, 7 February 2002

# 10 PM


Today I got up, looked out the window, saw the threatening clouds, and thought "There have been threatening clouds all week, and every day they've burned off by two PM; I don't need waterproof clothing today."

So, of course, today it rained. I did have a relatively waterproof jacket, but my shoes are soaked through.

Interestingly, this morning there was a thread in rec.arts.sf.fandom about fiction that does and does not have "creationist" assumptions embedded in it, with the works of Ken Macleod suggested as a prime example of the second category. (They are also uniformly excellent books. -ed)

What's this got to do with the weather? Well, my first two paragraphs up there have got a creationist assumption embedded in them, by the terms of the thread—the idea that it rained today because I didn't wear my rain boots finds causality where there is none, and (by implication) ascribes consciously malevolent humor to the weather, which is not alive. From there, it's not much of a leap to an actively participating trickster god, and from there to a creative one. Consider Ifni from David Brin's Uplift series, who is a consciously worshipped deity of the perversity of the cosmos, and in some contexts described as the chief servitor of God Almighty. (She's said to determine the course of luck by rolling dice, which I bet is a deliberate nod to role-playing games.)

Now personally I don't mind leaving a few gods in my universe, but it's always good to examine assumptions, eh? And different assumptions make for new, different stories, and there can never be too many new stories.

bureaucracy update

I am now $620 poorer and officially enrolled in CS 260. The Dean of the College of Engineering looked at my form and asked me when I'd graduated from Columbia; turns out he went there too, just barely before I was born.

There were some kids ahead of me in line at the UC Extension office who were trying to get the cashier to let them pay the exorbitant fees next week after their "refund checks" (tax refunds this early?) came in. The cashier was not sympathetic. They bailed out of the line and stood around griping at each other. I suggested post-dated checks to one of them, but didn't stick around to see what the cashier thought of that idea.