Art Fair Tokyo

Until she quit work to have Mayuki, Yuriko worked at the executive committee of Art Fair Tokyo. This year’s fair, with which she had very little to do, was held last week, and yesterday was the last day. Obviously, we had to go to see it. One reason was that Yuriko wanted to; she is interested in the art, and definitely wanted to see how things were going. The other reason was to show Mayuki off to Yuriko’s former co-workers.

Showing Mayuki off was a great success. We walked into the office, and were immediately surrounded by people saying “Oooh, isn’t she cute?”. (This is, of course, an indisputable truth.) Everyone seemed very pleased to see her, and Mayuki responded by being very smiley, and very pleased to see everyone.

The Art Fair itself was a bit more mixed. A six-month-old baby is not the ideal companion in such a context, although some other people who know Yuriko told us that Mayuki was cute, and Mayuki actually fell asleep while I was carrying her around. So, although it looked busy, and there were some interesting looking galleries and works on display, we didn’t have as much time to look around as even I would have liked, and Yuriko wants to spend longer in such places than I do. Maybe when Mayuki is a bit bigger, we’ll be able to work out some sort of pattern that lets Yuriko enjoy it properly.

On the way back home, we were sitting next to an older lady on the bus. She was very taken with Mayuki (this is apparently quite common), and even gave us sweets “to eat on the baby’s behalf”. That’s not so common.

The interesting thing was that she commented, in the course of the journey, that my Japanese was very good, and asked where I was from. Both the comment and the question were directed at Yuriko…

Complete Adventurer

This is another Dungeons and Dragons book, containing new classes, prestige classes, feats, skills, equipment, and spells. The book is aimed at characters who have lots of skills, so primarily rogues, with a few sidelights on rangers, bards, and, slightly oddly, druids. It does its job well.

The scout, which is a base class, is essentially what the ranger should have been; a wilderness-oriented version of the rogue. It would make much more sense for the scout to be in the Player’s Handbook and the ranger to be in this one, but that’s not the way the game developed historically. The scout also looks to be well-designed; it does, at least, look like an appealing class to me.

Among the prestige classes, the tempest, which makes two-weapon fighting a wholly viable option, and the daggerspell mage and shaper stood out for me. The latter two classes are based around spellcasters who fight with two daggers, and seem to do a good job of making an interesting and stylish concept viable in mechanical terms.

The other sections might not have grabbed me, but there’s plenty of solid material there, and I can see the feats, items, and spells getting plenty of use in games. In fact, some of the spells looked like they could be very useful to certain sorts of characters, but I would need to think rather harder than I plan to in the immediate future to work out exactly what their impact would be.

Reading this book, however, confirmed my opinion of D&D, as stated before. It’s just not quite what I want out of an RPG. Close, but not quite there. I really am going to have to write my own.

Surveys and Prejudice

The Guardian has just reported on a survey by Stonewall, headlining the article “Homophobia rife in British society, landmark equality survey finds”. However, the results quoted in the article are all the percentages of gays and lesbians who would expect to encounter prejudice if they did something. It’s not even how many of them think they have actually encountered prejudice in those situations.

I can’t help thinking that this sheds next to no light on the subject. There is good evidence that a lot of white people think that councils and the like are prejudiced against them, and would expect to be discriminated against if they applied for council housing or benefits. This is not, however, evidence that the British authorities are actually biased against white Britons.

A quick look at the original survey shows that Stonewall was actually investigating expectations of prejudice. This is an important thing to investigate: expectation of prejudice can prevent participation even when there would not, in fact, be any prejudice were you to try. However, without an investigation into actual levels of prejudice, it’s no use at all, for anything.

The actual level of prejudice could be higher, lower, or the same. Suppose it’s the same. In this case, the gay and lesbian community is remarkably perceptive, and there are good reasons to believe that, if prejudice were reduced, they would notice, and take advantage of the new atmosphere.

Suppose it’s higher. In that case, gays and lesbians are unrealistically trusting. In this case, and the previous one, all the action to be taken should be directed at the wider community.

Finally, suppose it’s lower. In that case, gays and lesbians are seeing prejudice where it doesn’t exist, and the need is for an education campaign aimed at gays and lesbians, to remove their prejudice against heterosexuals.

So, really not very good reporting at all. Much worse than the Guardian normally manages.