== zed tan ==

What I Learned From Being a First-time Dungeon Master

pokémon dungeons and dragons dungeon master game design play
Over the new year, a few close friends and I huddled over alcohol (much needed), cakies (cake-ish cookies; thanks✨), an iPad, paper, and dice to play our first Dungeons and Dragons game. I was volunteered as the first dungeon master (DM, for virtue-signalling). So naturally, I took the basic rules and mangled them to produce a Pokémon-flavoured Dungeons and Dragons game. You can see some of the results here: https://axiomatic-coal. Read more...

Unpacking Westworld S2E10

comment science fiction westworld
I’m skipping the rest of Westworld S2 because it’s turned out to be a fairly straightforward season, and instead am going to focus on what its finale did. S2E10 very neatly ties off the narrative threads that it starts off, even explaining Bernard’s fragmented experience of time as a safety mechanism that he’s written into his own code to prevent anyone (even himself) from deciphering his memories. I think S2E10 not only serves as a fitting ending for the season, but also brings up several important points. Read more...

We March Backwards Into the Future

zed recursion
I am thinking of The Binding of Isaac, Y combinators, recursion, and Marshall MacLuhan. I had a long conversation about death with a good friend today over economy rice (I remember someone telling me that eating economy rice alone is the saddest thing in the world). Our conversation skirted the rims of the contingency of death, about how death doesn’t discriminate, and how the only thing that insulates you from death is either divine influence, or not caring. Read more...

2018-01-01 Changelog

2017 2018
From 2017 and up Gained rudimentary proficiency in python, bash scripting, powershell scripting, SASS. Started learning a statically typed programming language. Had my first open-source pull request accepted Finished Agamben’s The Open Started on too many books. Built a content-driven website and was paid for it. Learned an authoring tool. Gained rudimentary proficiency in managing Docker containers. Learned many things about editorship and management. Bought a powerhouse PC. Played video games. Read more...

San Junipero

san junipero black mirror tv cinema
San Junipero made me cry. It made me cry because it’s a story about a pair of lovers dealing with trauma, loss, and pain. Tears constitute an involuntary emotional response to presented stimuli — stimuli that usually exceeds a certain emotional threshold. We cry with joy, relief, pain, hurt, etc. Working with that assumption, we also know that crying can be caused, and by extension, manufactured. San Junipero, and the rest of Black Mirror, manufactures its audiences’ response to the series to produce an illusion of edification. Read more...

PSA — 1984 Available on the Internet Archive

Zed Orwell Internet-Archive Literature
(via Smashing Magazine) The Internet Archive has put up the Austrian edition of 1984, both in pdf and in audio book form. The copyright for this edition of the book has apparently expired in, well, Austria. NB: obligatory copyright warning – download and share at your own discretion. Here are the links to the files on the Internet Archive: PDF Audio book George Orwell’s woke novel is an everyman’s introduction to one of the potential outcomes – reductio ad absurdum – of a “bad emperor” having come to power in a highly connected world. Read more...

Thoughts on Westworld

cinema film Westworld(2016)
Over time, repetition becomes variation. Westworld (2016) managed to hold my attention for more than 6 episodes – 6 (now 9) hours that I feel must result in a product, or at least a short introspective into what held my attention in the series where I drift off drastically in others. Here are a few thoughts: Total surveillance is mundane. There are no moments where surveillance becomes a source of horror. Read more...


Zed Stories India
I spent 2 years teaching my students about the paradox of transit. Consider the train. Or the bus, or the car. The bus I take on my morning commute is never the same bus, or if it is the same, I never notice because they all look the same. I am stationary on the bus — seated thigh to thigh with the next man or woman or child, or standing with an arm dangling from the plastic grip of one of those things that hang from the frame of the bus for some like us who do not hanker for the security of a standing pole but opt to swing free grounded by our own two feet. Read more...


Zed Stories
M was standing toes deep at the school sandpit, white sneakers pushed up against small dunes of damp brown and clutching a small marble in his right hand. Marbles weren’t allowed in school, but he found one when he went to the sand pit to dust away his boredom. Found it squatting and watching the sand, as if reading the grains of tiny rock that, post-grade-school-recess, was damp and clumpy. Read more...

Don’t Climb the Triund in July and Other Stories

Zed India Triund
Five of us spent 2 weeks in India missing the sun. I began giving Hendric the look whenever he’d say we have to bring out the tripod to catch the sunrise/set, because: (1) the tripod was really stable, which meant that it was also heavy; (2) the sun was avoiding us. That is not to say, of course, that we didn’t see the sun at all. The sun is all-present in the wide open skies of this part of South Asia where the clay-coloured buildings kept people (and their things) in a vaguely organised grid. Read more...
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