24 February 2006

Spinning 'Round

Tuesday night I finally got to play Fibonacci's game. Quite enjoyable (though I think color-coding the numbers would make parts of it run more smoothly). Somewhat to my surprise, the cards I printed out are not horribly difficult to handle. They are on uncoated cardstock, so I thought they might stick together something awful. Play is relatively smooth, though it seems like the earth spells are almost TOO powerful. Which was rather nice, actually, as I had earth as one of my elements, but... *shrugs*

I say they're too powerful, because then the maze itself becomes irrelevant. So long as you have enough earth points, you can shift the maze however you like (though it may take several turns to accomplish). This makes objects in odd places suddenly accessible within a turn or two. On the other hand, by the time you acquire the spells that allow all this, the game has usually gone on a bit long, so it's nice to have a convenient solution. *shrugs again*

Wednesday we started on application problems in Math 015. In this class, they are extremely straight-forward. For the most part, it's just translating sentences into equations, and then solving. A few of them involved reading the info and figuring out how to set up the equation (checkbook balancing in one case, counting light bulbs in another). Usually the 11 am class is sharper at answering questions than the 9:30 am class, but the 9:30 class got all the "tricky" backwards subtractions (9 less than a number is "x-9" not "9-x"), while the 11:00 class missed most of them. Not a quiz, just me writing the problem out and asking people how to translate it into symbols.

Then I had a sword lesson with Don before driving back to Pocatello. Apparently my stiff shoulders cause even more problems with sword form than they do with the regular form. *sighs* They're getting better. Something that I hadn't realized when we were first learning the sword form is that the sword is nearly always kept in close to the body. Which explains the stories of people who practice with real, sharp blades cutting their own toes off. And there is a practical reason for the practice: if your arm isn't extended, it's hard for someone to chop it off; also, it means the power is coming from your center and your root, and you're not trying to muscle it. But I have a VERY long way to go.

Nothing much of interest yesterday. We looked at "trees" (graph theory, not botany) in Math 123.

And this week (Monday, I think), I acquired Season 3 of Babylon 5. It was one of those "Force is with me" moments. I had been thinking I would like to get another season of B5, so I wandered over to Fred Meyer's electronics section, and lucked into a 20% off sale on all DVD's. Plus I had just gotten $9 in discount coupons for Fred Meyer. Upshot: I paid $55 for it instead of $80. I'm up through Episode 5 now. And, just like Season 2, the first few episodes are rather rough and rocky but they've been steadily improving.

Episode 3 (A Day in the Strife) was the turning point, and it was a mixture of good and bad. All the Narn intrigue was beautifully written and acted. However there were two segments at the beginning and end of the episodes (an assembly discussing new trade regulations) where I could tell the writer had been thinking: "Hmmmm.... I ought to show some of the day to day station business that the officers have to deal with..." It was not smoothly integrated into the plot, though an obvious effort was made. Also, this episode had an element that was a rehash of an early second season plot device: a probe that claims it will attack the station unless X is done (which turns out to be a lie). Almost identical to the plot sequence of the lost Minbari fighter squadron that turned up second season, trying to die with honor, right down to Sheridan's actions.

Episodes 4 & 5 were both well done, except for a few minor details. One quibble with Ep. 4 (Passing Through Gethsemane): it seems a bit of a stretch that Lita Alexandar would return JUST WHEN a rogue telepath would be useful. Better to have had her on and off the station a few times (or even once) before this episode.

Random Comment: Nightwatch rhetoric sounds almost exactly like the fascist drivel spouted by Bush and his cronies. Why do you s'pose that is...hmmm?

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