Print Story It's all in the social context
By aphrael (Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 11:13:29 PM EST) (all tags)
I did basically two things over the long weekend: my husband and I went to a multi-day board game convention and played lots of games (including two games of advanced civilization), and I went to an EDM party and saw Benny Benassi, Fedde Le Grand, Armin van Buuren, and Infected Mushroom.

The crowd at the gaming convention made me feel young and thin.

The crowd at the EDM party made me feel old and fat.


The party was the best part of the weekend for me; this isn't a surprise, I haven't been dancing since December (I missed the big music festival in April), and there's something about the experience of being in a hot crowded dance floor surrounded by people having a blast dancing to trance music which makes my soul soar and leaves a happy glow for weeks afterwards. Given the somber nature of the last week and a half, and the fact that I still can't fall asleep for thinking about it, it was a fantastic respite.

Security was basically the tightest i've ever experienced it - 75 mins in line (causing me to miss Boys' Noize, my #3 act for the day), and they even searched my earplugs (!?) looking for drugs. The good news was that the guy in line in front of me - a talkative man in an orange full body jumpsuit with a rainbow tie - was entertaining and amusing to listen to. This made the time pass nicely.

One of the concessionaires had the bright idea to freeze the bottles of water, which was very helpful; the main floor was warm enough and crowded enough that i could feel heat radiating off of people (including myself). I got asked for water more at this event than any other I've gone to before, which was kind of unexpected.

The layout was neat: the DJs were on a rotating stage in the center of the floor, which made it very easy to get to the 'front'; I ended up in the front row after each time I went out for more water, which is very unusual.

Fedde Le Grand and Benny Benassi were pretty good; Armin was somehow disappointing. Infected Mushroom was good, but by then I was really too tired to care.

I had to take the bus back to my friends' hotel room - J had the car - which led to a serious error in planning: I had a 45 minute wait for the bus, which I chose to take outside. In 55 degree temperature. while soaking wet from my sweat and the sweat of 10,000 of my closest friends. (I had extra clothes in my pocket to help keep me warm. They were soaked through, too).

I was shivering by the time I made it to the hotel. Teeth chattering, the whole works. I should have taxid it.

Still, the party was worth it. :)


The con began and ended with games of Advanced Civilization. The first one, Friday night, was my regularly scheduled game; I run the game every year and as a result, by volunterring to be GM, I get free admission. Last year we had enough people for two games, this year only one; all were experienced players, though, so we blasted through, ending around 4 AM. J won, I came in last, but the overall score range was surprisingly narrow; really, anyone could have won had things gone differently on the last turn. I've never been in a game that close before.

The Monday day game was requested by a friend who wanted to learn it, and it was a friends only game; three of five players were newbies, and we had just barely gotten through the early iron age when the hotel kicked us out (WE WANT OUR TABLE BACK). One of the newbies and one of the experienced players were fighting it out for first place.

Other weekend games included Age of Renaissance (I won after a lucky war turned the tide in my favor), the Scepter of Zavandor, Through the Ages, and Race for the Galaxy. J played two games of Twilight Imperium, one of which lasted fifteen hours. (Horrors).

My sleep schedule is still hosed.


Apparently someone died at the EDM party, from what looks like dehydration exacerbated by e. This is sad, but not entirely surprising; the environment of such things is inherently a bit dangerous and you really have to take care to not get dehydrated at them.

The political response is annoying. I mean, it's one thing for the police to investigate to see if the promoter could have prevented it (they couldn't); it's another thing for members of the local board of supervisors to be calling on the state to ban such events at that venue (which is state owned). That's a bizarre (if predictable) over-reaction ... can't let the kids have fun if the fun involves risk, can we?


One of the amusing things about going away for the weekend is finding major news stories have happened while you've been gone.

The big one this weekend: apparently Israel boarded a Turkish-flagged ship in international waters, attempting to enforce its blockade of Gaza. The people on the ship tried to fight them off; the Israeli commandos fought back; people died.
It's a brilliant move by whoever organized the convoy and a terrible own-goal by Israel. Congratulations, Israel: you've just royally enraged your one real ally in the region. And you've hammered a nail into the side of NATO which could easily lead to cracks that undermine the entire organization.
I mean, lets be clear here: by boarding a Turkish-flagged ship in international waters, Israel just conducted an act of war against a member of NATO. A country whom the US is pledged by treaty to defend.

If Turkey wanted to press the issue they could use this to tear NATO asunder, because there's no way the US would attack Israel in retaliation over this.

With friends like this, the US doesn't need enemies.


I still ... I had fun this weekend. Life is mostly back to normal. I've kind of gotten to the point where I can experience joy at what time I had to know Erik rather than sorrow at the time I won't have.

And yet.

Deep down, I still don't believe. And so every reminder is a knife to my gut.

Another memorial service on Sunday. I both want to go and don't want to go.

And often when falling asleep my mind wanders to his death, and I cannot sleep.

< If it's Wednesday, it must be weigh-in | You've lost a million dollars! >
It's all in the social context | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 hidden)
Many hugs my friend! by R343L (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 12:25:30 AM EST
And I hope to give you non-virtual ones in a few days!

The fact of Erik is still kind of unreal to me. It's not like were were close. My greatest contact with him anymore was facebook ... but there he tended to comment or post about things of interest to me, was funny, and posted enough about his personal and professoinal life for me to realize that he really is a loss in a wider sense.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

Pass him one or two from me, would ya? (nt) by notafurry (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 11:04:50 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Were they under Turkish registry . . . by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 01:33:29 AM EST
or just sporting Turkish flags? There is a difference. Also, regarding that E death - it's not so much dehydration as it is heatstroke.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

One of the ships was sporting a US flag by lm (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 07:54:34 AM EST
The flags of Greece and Sweden were also represented. I don't think the flag really matters that much in this case.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Exactly. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 02:19:35 PM EST
I have a German flag on my wall. That doesn't make my house the consulate.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
maritime rules are different. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #23 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 03:54:39 PM EST
and in general - see, for example, the san remo manual - the rules are set by the flag the ship is flying.

this makes sense if you think about it: I can't possibly know what country you're registered with unless I board you and ask you to show me your papers ... so a rule governing when I can board you can't depend on that knowledge.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
If they had flown an Italian flag by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #29 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 07:26:45 PM EST
it wouldn't have made it an attack on Italy, provided the ship wasn't under Italian registry, no?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
um, that's hardly analogous by lm (2.00 / 0) #28 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 06:43:16 PM EST
Unless your room is, in fact, a consulate and you're officially flying the flag.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
criticizing Isreal? you sound like a NAZI!!!! by clover kicker (4.00 / 0) #4 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 05:50:18 AM EST
You wouldn't want to be labeled a NAZI would you?

On the bright side, the Israelis may have killed by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #5 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 06:39:02 AM EST
the latest Star Wars system, which requires the deployment of a radar system to Turkey.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

The aid flotilla by lm (4.00 / 0) #7 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 07:59:37 AM EST
My best guess is that it was a trap intended to provoke exactly the sort of response from Israel that it did. On a strategic level, I think this maneuver by the Pro-Gaza parties was very similar to Gandhi's salt march. They wanted a violent response that they could use to get the attention of the entire world.

Of all the conflicts I've studied through history, I can't think of any where I've thought that the regimes involved were less sympathetic than the main players in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The worst of it is both regimes are freely elected.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
godwin twice in the same thread by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:55:36 AM EST
I'm not a historian, but I gotta put my money on Hitler -vs- Stalin as "least sympathetic regimes".

The Isr/Pal guys are epic jerks, and my preferred solution is to evict the lot of them and bulldoze the entire country into the Dead Sea so there's nothing left to fight about... but it's sunshine and lollipops compared to Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia.

And yeah I think they expected to be boarded and milk the publicity, I don't think anyone thought the IDF would be daft enough to actually shoot anyone.

[ Parent ]
Yes they did by kwsNI (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 10:17:28 AM EST
They 100% expected to provoke a shooting match.  The IDF boarded with non-lethal weapons in their hands and were taken by surprise.  The protesters were already wearing gas masks, were armed with knives and clubs and pulled backup pistols off the first two soldiers they laid into.  And that's just from the video the flotilla released!  Tactically, the soldiers did what they had to in that situation, which was switching to real weapons in self defense. 

Strategically, however, the planning, the intel, the whole situation was poorly thought out.  The boarding party walked into a trap and Israel didn't have a clue.  For starters, they had moderate international support to stop the flotilla peacefully but they sent a commando unit in at night to do it.  Second, they weren't prepared to document the resistance they encountered.

Hard to believe no one actually thought that through.  Well, I guess the Turks did. 

[ Parent ]
Some of the Turks ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 06:31:32 PM EST
... were expecting to be `martyrs.'

Not all, mind you. The coalition that put the aid flotilla together is an interesting base of odd bedfellows.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
I'll grant that by lm (2.00 / 0) #27 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 06:32:55 PM EST
But I don't usually think of WWII as a Stalin/Hitler conflict. But I'll certainly allow that said conflict has more unsympathetic antagonists.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
What con? A big one? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 09:32:21 AM EST
Not that I get to any.

origins is coming up by garlic (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 06:07:59 PM EST
it's in columbus, OH. And I have extra space in my hotel room...

[ Parent ]
kublacon by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #25 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 06:14:39 PM EST
not that I'm particularly pro-Israel by nathan (4.00 / 0) #11 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 11:00:01 AM EST
But Turkey hasn't really been an "ally" for a while. Turkey has been tilting Islamist for a long time now.

Consider Turkish pop culture: "The film features a Jewish-American U.S. Army doctor (Gary Busey) who removes organs from injured civilian prisoners to sell to rich people in New York, London and Tel Aviv for transplantation." Wow!

and yet by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 11:48:46 AM EST
they still let israel's air force for training maneuvers.

the pro-israel policy was set up by the turkish army back when the turkish army was calling the shots; it never had broad popular support. but back then it didn't matter.

turkey's a democracy now, and as a democracy it has to be responsive to the public - who are much less pro-israel than the army was. because they are much less secular, and much more islamic, than the army was.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
i don't disagree with any of this by nathan (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 11:57:46 AM EST
Note that, accepting this argument, there is essentially nothing the Israelis could do that would make an increasingly democratic Turkey like them. Popular Islamist government equals inevitably chilled relations.

[ Parent ]
right by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 12:00:58 PM EST
but as i said elsewhere: there's a huge difference between chilled relations ten years from now and chilled relations now.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
granted by nathan (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 12:04:24 PM EST
No one has ever accused the Israelis of being good at PR.

[ Parent ]
they used to be by gzt (2.00 / 0) #30 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:53:19 PM EST
see the article in my diary. that's how they got a state in the first place. PR.

[ Parent ]
That doesn't really matter by notafurry (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 12:00:32 PM EST
The alliance was still valid and valuable, to both sides but especially to Israel. You don't have to like your ally, you just need to be able to trust and rely on them. Consider US-Pakistan; strong alliance, critical to the US presence in south Asia, but neither side actually likes the other very much.

[ Parent ]
as aphrael said above, by nathan (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 12:03:42 PM EST

Democratization and Islamization are mutually reinforcing in Turkey at this point. I don't think it's at all clear that Erdogan et al. particularly want Israel's friendship.

The comparison with Pakistan just strengthens this point: Pakistan's relationship with the USA is driven by elites within the Pakistani government, and a fully democratic Pakistan would be less committed to the relationship.

[ Parent ]
this is one of the things by aphrael (4.00 / 0) #19 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 12:50:05 PM EST
which always puzzled me about the bush administration's long-term strategy for iraq and the middle east: while democraticization is an independent positive good, democratic governments in the region will be more opposed to us than the governments they are replacing. (except, possibly, in Iran).
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Certainly by notafurry (2.00 / 0) #21 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 02:37:22 PM EST
But as of last week, that alliance was valid and useful and strong. Certain to last? No, few alliances are. Valuable for now is valuable for now - you don't throw it away on a whim. This was stupid.

[ Parent ]
It's all in the social context | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 hidden)