Anything is possible-ness.

Neptune's Pride 2: slowest boardgame ever!

Sun, 02/16/2014 - 07:47 -- Andrew

So I've been off on a pretty awesome tangent for the last week or so playing an online "boardgame" called Neptune's Pride 2: Triton.  It's a compelling strategy space game that's heavy on intrigue and diplomacy, but its greatest attribute by far is its speed, or lack thereof.  

You play the game as the ruler of an interstellar empire accumulating resources and vying for control of a galaxy with 7 or so other players.  As you send your ships off hurtling through hyperspace on various attack vectors you quickly discover that:

  • Once they're in motion, they're in motion.  The carrier ships that move your fleets from one system to the next are like bullets leaving a gun, you can't call them back or reconsider their orders.
  • Hyperspace travel between start systems is not a swift process.  Once you've sent a carrier ship on its merry way, you pretty have to sit back and wait eight hours before you'll see the result.
  • Darn near anything can happen in 8 hours.  A star system that's empty when you launch your carrier ship towards it might very well get conquered twice by rivals in closer systems before you're even half way through your journey.

In short, you play this game over several weeks at a leisurely pace that requires only a few minutes of actual effort in any given day.  Requiring both patience and foresight, it is a slow-burning pleasure that is hard to beat.

McGill Explorations Rnd 1: The Arts Building

Thu, 02/13/2014 - 10:32 -- Alex

So a bunch of us who work-study-hang-out at McGill University have decided to snoop around some of the buildings on Friday evenings as a means of learning more about this awesome and contentious and sprawling place.

Last Friday eve, Alissa, Andrea and I met at the Erotic Gates. We waited for Vijay for a bit but then spoke with him and he couldn't make it so we ventured out on our own. Also, they're not really called the Erotic Gates. They're the Roddick Gates but try saying that really fast. It was kinda cold and we were all a bit tired and had stuff going on that night, so we opted for something fairly manageable: the domed Arts Building at the top of the path, straight in the middle of the McGill downtown campus and which, according to the website, dates back to 1837 when the McGill Board of Governors decided to erect (yikes!) the first new buildings on campus. Phallic much?

Why Can’t You Just Shut Up, Crawl Away and Disappear?: The Many Guises of Intolerance

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 17:14 -- Paul

As the public hearings into the “Charter of Quebec Values” slide from the ridiculous to the disturbing, and from there to the utterly absurd with talk of deporting Mormons and banning zombie walks, let’s pause to remember where this is all coming from. No, it’s not just the PQ looking for the “winning conditions” for a majority government.

20 ways to not be a gentrifier

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 16:57 -- Alex

Oakland, CA community organizer Dannette Lambert wrote this article about how not to contribute to gentrification in her city. And while it's written from the perspective of someone in Oakland, this applies to pretty much everywhere else where a neighborhood that wasn't all that popular suddenly becomes super popular and then condos and pricey bistros and so forth.

I currently live in Pt St Charles, QC and man does some of this stuff resonate.

Going to Extremes for Tar Sands Oil

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 09:49 -- Paul

Okay, I'm pretty left-wing I guess, but by temperament I consider myself to be a moderate, reasonable kind of guy. I'm not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You could even say I'm a bit "conservative" in some ways. I hate it when they move the furniture around in the office where I work, just when I was getting used to the way it was after the last time they moved things around....but I digress. It seems my opinions about the tar sands make me a dangerous extremist, according to the Government of Canada. You see, the Harper government and the pro-tar sands lobby (virtually indistinguishable at this point) have been portraying opposition to tar sands development as the work of foreign-funded "radical groups" bent on destroying our economy (to which all I have to say is this: “MWWAHAHAHAHAHA!”). To them, the imperative of extracting and distributing oil overrides all other considerations: treaty rights, human health and safety, even the right to dissent without being accused of treason by the Canadian state. Oh, and the future survival of the human race on Earth. All of which, I have to say, sounds pretty extreme to me.

Raising a Little Hell: Parenting and Social Change

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 17:52 -- Alex

On Wednesday Feb 12, I'll be moderating a conversation for the University of the Streets Cafe program at Concordia University. It'll feature luminaries sharing their thoughts on connecting parenting to social change. Come one, come all! It's taking place at La Tasse Gamine, 5658 Ave du Parc. Free event that starts at 7pm and runs til 9pm.

Paul is now doing some blogs!

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 10:00 -- Alex

Our friend Paul Beaulieu is going to be doing some blogs for High Alert. I first met Paul years ago when we were both involved with Montreal youth-rights organizations Head & Hands. Over the years, we've played anarchist soccer together, were in a band (Best Friends) and have shared laughs and stories over many a fine meal. Paul's also an accomplished singer-songwriter under the monicker A Montreal Paul- do yourself a favor and have a listen at his latest album, Awaiting an Awakening, filled with sweet psychedelic melodies. Note that the fantastic album artwork is also by him.

A glimpse at CastAR

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 06:57 -- Andrew

Jeri Ellsworth is the former Valve electrical engineer responsible for the mind-bending awesomeness that is this Commedore 64/bBass guitar hybrid  (watch her play it at around 2:15 in the video).

Her latest offering is CastAR, a light-weight augmented reality headset that can also be transformed into a virtual reality headset.  CastAR is still in development and is the first offering of a startup called 'Technical Illusions' that partners Ellsworth with veteran game programmer Rick Johnson.


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