R685: Week Five Reflection

This week has been a blast in class! Talking about Open Source Software was already exciting enough, and then! Dr. Bonk assigned us each a prominent figure in the open source movement to role play as, and as anything must when including Richard Stallman, open source software using the GNU license, or not using the GNU license, and other people, it quickly devolved into a lot of terribly fun and surprisingly in-character sniping. I broke character exactly once, to post a link to this xkcd strip, which is a favorite of mine, and inspired this incredible photo of Stallman. So it was that this week I got to combine one of my passions – the open source movement – with one of my favorite hobbies – role playing.

Perhaps my favorite “player character” was Laurie, who was assigned the role of Stallman for the week. I was impressed early on by her quick perception of exactly how Stallman communicates in text, but she continued to be a great source of amusement as she teased discussion out of the other folks. If she had half as much fun writing those posts as I’ve had reading them, she’s had a pretty good week. I also rather enjoyed Dr. Bonk stepping in as the “non-player character” who knows everyone (this is a role playing trope. I played THAT VERY CHARACTER last weekend, except instead of being a mild-mannered academic with a legendary collection of awesome hats, she was a Russian assassin. What a varied and interesting life I get to live!)

Connexions. It doesn’t even look like a word anymore. Then again, neither does Sakai. GNU never did to me.

On a slightly off-topic but related note, I was conspicuously absent from the forums for about two days – Saturday and Sunday – which I spent in Indianapolis, dressed up like an elf, hiking across the snow (literally! About two-thirds of my steps I didn’t sink in AT ALL), and hitting people with a foam sword. Oh, and great role playing, too, though our characters are a bit less tech-savvy. Thanks to my armor, I haven’t slouched in two days. I played hard all weekend, and it was one heck of a fun time, but now I’m exhausted. I hope my responses to people’s posts tomorrow won’t be too late for the fun to continue.

As you might be able to tell, role playing is one of my favorite hobbies. I have Live Action Role Play (LARP) games scheduled… well, to be honest, most weekends of the month. I get the chance to play a lot of cool games based on the White Wolf system (Vampire: the Masquerade and Werewolf: the Apocalypse) here in Bloomington, and then I am lucky to have a large group of friends to game with in Indy, where we play a sword-and-sorcery boffer LARP called Trials of Terra Nova. There’s a game we go to in Michigan that’s also a fantasy setting, but as Michigan is cold, that won’t be happening until May. So, good choice, Dr. Bonk.

As a side note: I’ve got to say, having a blog relating to class is really useful to me because it means I can get off on these only tangentially-connected side stories, of which I have a million. Perhaps I should blog about my other classes as well! Though I don’t think many professors would take kindly to me furiously typing a blog post with a tangent instead of paying attention to the lecture. The game I played this weekend actually is quite notable for its extensive use of various emerging technologies for logistics and communications – in addition to a central repository of files (managed by Google docs, unfortunately, not GitHub), there is a forum and a mailing list, which we can use to discuss things and keep in touch – and in touch with our characters – in between games, which happen once a month.