Takes a sec to explain ;)

Haha, hi.

I could tell you what I do, but it would take a while and then you would look at me and go "Why?" I guess I'll do it anyway though, since that's the point here?

I suppose I am defined to some extent by what I do, but I prefer the philosophy that goes the other way and says that you define what you do. I don't like rigid definitions for people, so the second is more platable.

I'm a graduate student in English literature. I'm starting my doctorate in Medieval Studies in the fall. Language study is expected for my field, and I like it. I'm fluent in French (lived there for a year, as an English assistant in Reims), and I read Latin well. I've also studied Old English, Ancient Greek, and German, and I'll get around to Old Norse at some point. I'd like to add others. I really like the way Italian sounds and I want to learn it.

A broad list of my interests in medieval studies would look like: Old and Middle English language and literature, Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon culture, comparative oral tradition, epic, Arthurian literature, History of the English Language, paleography, mythography, and translation.

Truth be told, I think 90% of English studies are useless, but someone has to do them, eh? I try to focus on the productive parts, like manuscript studies, languages, and translation. I dislike most critical theory (approaches used to try to determine the meaning of a text, such as Freudian analysis...mostly it involves taking a crackpot author with subjective ideas and applying it as widely as possible to the text in question; then seeing what turns up.) It's absolute nonsense and little better than saying "I think this is X or Y, just because." I would prefer honest opinions.

Hmm...I teach freshmen composition too. A teaching assistant is a good thing to be as a graduate student. It gives you teaching experience and pays the bills at the same time.

Oh, and I'll be 25 in a couple weeks. Five more years of grad. school probably. It should be interesting. My name's Chad, as you can see from the username. I'm fairly easy-going and talkative I suppose.

Eh...that makes me sound as if my life is consumed with academia. But that's kind of true. I am in grad. school after all. For the summation of grad student life by way of comedy, I point you to http://www.phdcomics.com, a rather hilarious comic strip.

I read a lot when I have the time, I write, I walk, I hold one-sided conversations with my dog when it is a particularly dull day (Siberian-Husky, he's too smart for his own good but still chases his tail and likes to catch it and chew on it). For the moment, I'm liberated from the absolute necessity of studying by the summer break.

I used to play Everquest when I was an undergrad. I played WoW for a month. And I still occasionally play a text-based MUD called Gemstone IV (http://gemstone.net).

I came to the Greater Kingdom from a link on Tales of MU, but I prefer it to TMU.

Forums: 
Kitabare's picture

Petitioner

... look like a slacker. I'll be 29 in a couple of weeks and haven't done nearly as much as you. But I kinda like it that way.

The whole Medieval Studies thing kinda reminds me of Timeline.

Chad-Writtenfire's picture

So I can sum up my activities on a sheet of paper. That might just be sad. Wink
Timeline is a good movie. I read the book too, which was a little better. But people always say that, and for a movie adaptation, it wasn't bad at all. A lack of detail in the movie was my main complaint, I think, but it's been a while and I don't recall all the details.

sarianna's picture

Devotee

Hi and welcome! Heh, I'm an undergrad in CompLit and I also utterly despise critical theory, huzzah for you teaching and NOT forcing it down the froshlings' throats! Thankfully summer is here, for sure. On the bright side, we still get to read MeiLin's awesome stuff..better'n some stuffy crap from Foucault, etc. Wink

Chad-Writtenfire's picture

I don't know how, but I got through my entire undergrad. (in English) without a single dedicated theory course. They were there...I just ignored them and it wasn't required. And none of my professors seemed to care if I used it. I only had to take one diverse literature (aka, feminist) course, which did nothing more than read a few novels like The Bell Jar, Nervous Condition, and Written on the Body. Maybe I skipped it because I spent all of my extra credits in languages and older literature.
I got to my MA and I was like, "Theory? What to do you mean? People study this?" It was a little painful.
Foucault is completely illegible...I had to read his first volume in a course. It might have been better in French, but I somehow doubt it. It reads like someone's scribblings in a notebook, and it only has about three citations in the entire book!

If I do anything, it's rhetorical analysis, historicism, etc. Those things that pre-dated Theory....

The study of the oral tradition has a "theory" behind it, but it's a theory of how people remembered 13,000 line poems...it's more like an anthropological or psycholinguistic theory.

V's picture

Embodiment

I spent way too much time playing those back in college. Mostly hack n slash, tho, not too big on the RP. I also stuck to the free ones...it'd be hard to justify up to $50/month like Gemstone seems to offer. I avoided picking up WoW until the start of this year--I was into it for a while, but am now down to the 'casual' level

Kahlmulandr's picture

I use to love Gemstone III back in the day but after some changes made to the gameplay I stopped. Though I have to admit the game changes were probally good for me cause I was shelling out 40$ a month for a game. Also had a thing for Starcraft and Diablo. Tried WoW but didn't last long. Blum 3

Kahlmulandr

Chad-Writtenfire's picture

I've played Gemstone since...96 or so, off and on. When I get bored and need something to do, I usually go back to it. I picked up a premium account once or twice, but I didn't think it was worth it. The 15-dollar basic is good enough. (For everyone who doesn't play, premium accounts get more merchants (things to buy special items from) and other services).
I think Everquest was one reason I was perpetually sleeping through my morning courses.... I played it for about three years.
The game change isn't that bad. The level cap at 100 seemed strange for a while, but it's probably more reasonable.

I started out as an Elven Bard, played him for six years or so. Then I switched to a Dwarven Cleric, and eventually converted him to a Paladin when that class opened up. I'll play Gemstone mostly to socialize...I get tired of hunt, rest, hunt, rest, and so on for experience. The Paladin is (level) 53 or something. (Which is middling high, since the levels in GS are increasingly more difficult with each one. 100 has been the cap for a few years now. Before that, it was open, but the levels all required the same amount of additional experience after level 20). At 20, your character gets the title "Lord" or "Lady" to put in front of their name. Other titles are at higher levels. 40 is "Great Lord/Lady" now, High Lord is 70...Grand Lord is 90. People who were over 100 once the levels were converted, due to having experience over the cap, got the titles "Venerable" and a couple of others.

Katie's picture

Embodiment

Dunno the term, but I play Diablo (1 and 2) and Starcraft, and warcraft. Not WoW though.

Sharkinabox's picture

MUD stands for Multi-User Domain, if I remember correctly. It's essentially net-based roleplaying carried out on some sort of chatserver that incorporates lots of useful functions for roleplaying and some sort of setting of variable quality. The good ones are really good, and the bad ones are barely functional. I used to play them (good god, was I in fourth grade?) back in the day, but then I stopped.

Also starcraft is an excellent game, but Diablo 2 get s too mindless for me. Diablo 1 was genuinely scary (again, I was young when I played it, so perhaps not the most reliable opinion) and therefore awesome.

Chad-Writtenfire's picture

Shark's right. Sometimes I'll call it a Multi-User Dungeon too.
Gemstone IV is pretty good. The game is probably better than it use to be, since they added a class or two, a bunch of spells, and kept expanding things. Also a lot more scheduled events these days. Wandering merchants are a little less common, but they show up sometimes.
Gemstone is pure roleplaying. It's practically built into the characters and world. One of the first things you can do to get to level 1 quickly (you start at 0) is listen to a lecture on how to act in the world. There's this old warrior, Raging Thrak, who calls you a turnip farmer if you misbehave. Most of the older characters will reinforce the roleplaying requirements, and there are spells to "bind" and "silence" as well as "stun" people. Sometimes you'll see the healers and priests sitting around in the town center, and a bound and silenced young character sitting next to them until he learns manners. Basically every spell and attack works on other player characters, but PvP is not very common.
Gemstone has a special niche like that. A lot of the players have been around it for years, some since it started in 89 or so.

V's picture

Embodiment

Yeah, Multi-User Dungeons have been around since...dunno, but all you really need is a 386 and a telnet connection, so they've been around for a long time. They generally fall on a spectrum from pure hack and slash (like, say, Diablo), to pure roleplay...anything from "Second Life" without graphics to a fully-GM'd world. The one thing they have in common is that they're purely text-based. Some codebases have forms of an ascii automap, but they aren't in the majority.

Basically, if you take the interface of "Zork" or other old Infocom games ("Go north" "It is dark. You have been eaten by a grue.") and mix it with the character building and loot finding of Angband or Diablo, you have a HnS game. Now add telnet so 10-50 people can play at once (small/medium MUD) or several hundred (large one), all in the same environment, and you have a MUD.

Everquest, WoW, etc can all be thought of as "graphical MUDs"...a LOT of the gameplay concepts map over directly. Parties, tanks, blasters (uhm, DPS), levels, stats, gear, etc etc.

They're very easy to start up, and a good place to practice coding--there's a lot of pre-packaged codebases if you want to start from scratch. Back in the day, it was generally accepted that if you hit the max level and stuck around, you'd learn to code...either writing/adding new zones, or adding new features As such, there's a wide variety but the good ones that have several involved, competent admins can last for years, and the communities that form can be very close. In college I played a sci-fi one called SWMud, and by the time I graduated I had over a year of online time. Yeah, OK, I had no life. But "gamer" is an actual clique, now. I was ahead of my time.

So, yeah. I guess I shouldn't be that surprised to see current and former MUDders around here...the type of person who pounces on a hundred-thousand-word online novel is probably more likely to get their entertainment from a furiously scrolling screen of text, too.

MUDs, especially the HnS ones, seem to be dying a slow death in the face of large graphical commercial offerings like WoW. Their strongest selling point these days is RP...there's SO much more flexibility and room for world-changing RP events and political intrigue in text. The larger RP worlds, commercial or non, seem to have the most staying power.

teehee's picture

Devotee

@ "furiously scrolling screen" for some reason.

V's picture

Embodiment

The combat spam can get ridiculous, when you have "fifth attack" trained and you walk into a room with 3 monsters, so you're hitting, missing, being parried, or dodged for at least 5 lines, plus all their (multiple) attacks, plus--hey, are you in a party with 2-3 others? And all this happens every 2 or 3 seconds, whatever the 'combat round' time for the MUD is. You will develop an uncanny ability to notice important details in all that, like your hit points, or whether an invis PK just cast 'curse' on you (to block your recall) and is about to backstab you.

Don't get me started on movement. It may be nice that every room has a full paragraph or two describing it, but when you easily remember trivia like having to go recall;s;e;e;e;e;e;e;e;e;e;e;e;e;e;s;s;s;s;e;e;s;e;e;d;s;u;u;u;u;n;d to get to elemental canyon, it's very common to have multiple pages queued up by the time you stop running. And the canyon's a stock area, it's actually pretty close to town, all things considered Smile

sarianna's picture

Devotee

Bwahahaha! You got it. It's even nuttier on a non-stock MUCK, where you can reset 'home' to wherever you like, and the exits aren't your standard n/s/e/w/u/d. When I was a tween I spent a lot of time on The Lion King MUCK (have I just dated myself? I suppose.), and whew, the number of odd exits there... and I did love the rooms that were mazes, I still have no idea how that was done. Kind of like the Lost Woods in Zelda, you know?

Sounds like you're also a traditional MUDder... that is to say, not using a client to macro-ify directions. Give me an 80-width telnet terminal and I'm happy. Smile Sometimes I find myself very much bored with WoW. There's so little to read, after all.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

You are OLD SCHOOL! Wink

sarianna's picture

Devotee

I still miss my old 12Mhz DOS box.... all those memories of learning silly "facts" to get past the childproofing of Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards! Biggrin

V's picture

Embodiment

My last (current, I guess) client of choice was Cantrip, since the macros and triggers are fully programmable in Applescript and Perl. I could hit 'control' and dynamically remap my keypad and some other buttons from 'ground' directions (the basic n/s/ne/sw etc, with some strange ones like upnortheast and downnorthwest on shift) into flying ones...'vector 1 0 0', 'vector 0 1 0', 'speed 100 2', things of that nature. I'm quite willing to use technology to my advantage.

The problem is that I played so many DIFFERENT MUDs that it was never worth my while to make a really good autowalk system. So I still had most of the old-school talents to a greater or lesser extent.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

"have I just dated myself?"

(would anyone else? ;))

Chad-Writtenfire's picture

For scrolling screens, what's better in a MUD than a horde of invading demons attacking your town? Heroes run to the rescue left and right, 80% of them die immediately because they shouldn't have been out there in the first place but thought it was cool to have their spines ripped out by a demon or to be eaten by a griffin. Of the other 20%, 5% of them are busy rescuing the dead and the empaths and the clerics are happy for once since the Town Center is chock full of stuff for them to do, since they are too chatty to leave their friends to go and hunt for experience; another 5% is busy activating magical items in a vain attempt to prolong their inevitable demise at the face of the invading demon horde, and the last 10% is distractedly killing everything in sight because they capped out a while ago and the invasions are the only things that liven up their day...meanwhile they're wondering what all the fuss is about, this invasion is nothing compared to the zombie kobold invasion of '99 when all those pesky critters overran the town and ransacked the bank and left their loot sacks lying around as trash that blew around town for three weeks and the interest rate in the bank was shot all to Hades after that and....what are you whining about, kid, it's only a demon, I've already killed forty of them, see, here, quit crying and hold this demon head, the spine is kind of chewy actually, don't tell your mother...now where was I, oh right, lootsacks all over the damn town, and the merchants swore off their arrivals until we cleaned it up and the bakers wouldn't make us lunch, and man, that was an invasion all right...
Meanwhile, this rambling old ranger meets his old wizard friend and the two reminisce about how hard things used to be, and how the kids these days just don't die as neatly as they used to, and how all the clerics just aren't as good at resurrection any longer...and eventually the two of them get so bored, and since there's only about one runt-sized demon left now anyway, they put on some paper-mache demon masks and decide to help out the invading team, since the gods aren't even capable of getting an invasion right these days, and proceed to escort the demon runt through the entire town and surrounding environs, laughing maniacally and exclaiming about how easy the kids these days have it.

Chad-Writtenfire's picture

Speaking of directions, V, what I always thought was funny was when a new player asked how to get somewhere, and what he got in reply was a long set of compass abbreviations, like that list you gave, typed from memory.
The new player then is obliged to go, "Wow, you remember all that off the top of your head?"
The older player looks at him and shakes his head sadly and says, "Don't try to escape, young warrior, it is your destiny. You too will one day be a walking compendium of directional abbreviations and a wizard with ASCII art. You will look back on this time and rue the day that you were so young and innocent. ...Now go kill some goblins and leave me alone, and I think the blacksmith has some tasks for you to do making iron. If that doesn't work, then check the town messenger, since he always has a pile of messages for hopeful little things like you to deliver. I tried to get one out of him the other day, but he ran me off with a broom. Enjoy your easy life while you can. And don't forget, e, n, go door, up steps, e, e, e, d, touch mirror, rub crystal, d, d, go arch, go catacombs, e, s, se, s, go blood-stained altar, lay down, drop coin, climb chute, crawl e, stand, e, e, e, e, say hello, pull demon nose. I'll see you when you're getting resurrected."

Kahlmulandr's picture

Must....fight...urge...to...reactivate....account.

I have to admit im curious now about the changes...and if anyone I remember or that remembers me still play. Augie Washee Kadesha Shonison are the ones that stick out the most in my memory

Katie's picture

Embodiment

only text based game I've played is Zork.
So far I've managed to avoid the grues.
Reading this has inspired me (through much laughter) to go look for more. Smile Because I have just loads of time on my hands!

V's picture

Embodiment

I haven't played them in ages, but if you're curious or just want to experience a bit of internet history, go check out http://www.xs4all.nl/~pot/infocom/
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is particularly fine, although there's a number of classics. I just wish they'd scanned or otherwise posted some of the bonus material...the calendars, pictures, etc. There's a lot of very zany humor in them.

BTW, that site just showed up first on a quick google "infocom games"...I'm sure there's others out there. Back in the day (mid 90s) I had the Lost Treasures of Infocom Mac edition, so I have most of the ones you see listed on that site. Best of luck!

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