Law vs. chaos: close-minded vs. open-minded

This is sort of a logical extension of my earlier comments about looking at law vs. chaos in term so moral relativism. A lawful character is more likely to be close-minded, or at least set in his or her ways, whereas a chaotic character is more likely to be open-minded or willing to entertain different points of view. 

Note, this doesn't have to mean that a lawful character would look down on people with other points of view, or that they'll feel compelled to push those views onto other people. Both of these traits could be excellent for a lawful evil character, and could still be played will for even a lawful good character, but I don't feel that they're necessary. For example, if we apply this to religious beliefs then a lawful character could just as easily be praying for people to "see the light" as he or she would be to go about actively proselytizing.

On the chaotic side, the character is more likely to be accepting of different beliefs and points of view. Taking the same religious argument, then a chaotic good character could very easily still see the good that is done by believers of other gods and see them as kindred spirits, even if they don't follow the same god. 

Similarly, a lawful character is more likely to hold to their beliefs more strongly and feel more threatened if they are challenged, whereas the chaotic character would be more likely to hear the person out and be swayed by their words. 

This doesn't have to mean that a chaotic character can't have strongly held convictions, it can simply be a matter that they see those as their own personal convictions and they see how they might not necessarily work for everyone.

Exploring good and evil

When I started my law vs. chaos alignment series I glossed over good and evil. I did this for 2 reasons, the first is that I was intentionally focusing on just the law and chaos axis on the alignment scale. The second reason was that I do feel that good vs. evil is much easier for players to wrap their heads around.

In both my initial post, and my post on moral relativism, I made some quick comments about good vs. evil being more easily definable. In particular in the moral relativism one I briefly touched on the concept that mechanically good vs. evil should be absolute. That's what I wanted to expand on a little more here.

The reason I said it needs to be absolute in the game mechanics is that in Dungeons and Dragons, and Pathfinder, there are game mechanics built around alignment. There are several spells and effects that only work on characters with a certain alignment. If you allow the mechanics to bend on what it means to be good or evil then it becomes far too easy for a character to write one alignment on their sheet but play another. I've seen this quite a bit with neutral characters, who by rights should really be evil, except for the fact that they're playing with the "good guys".

In a game system that has hard and fast rules around being good or evil I think there needs to be a well defined criteria for what it means to be good or evil. Otherwise you run the risk of arguments around alignment shifts or how somebody can have a certain alignment on their sheet (player or NPC) yet still perform a certain act.

I think it's a very worthwhile exercise for a GM to figure out exactly what that criteria will be and to spell it out for the players. Feel free to engage them in the discussion as well. Some food for thought that tend to come up a lot would be things like torture, killing defenseless foes, killing innocents, etc. Where things can really get hazy though is if you start applying this to a society. For instance, can a society that allows slavery be a good-aligned society? 

Law vs. Chaos: Group vs. individual

Continuing with my law vs. chaos series. Another approach is the dichotomy of the group vs. the individual.  The chaotic character values personal freedom and would be more likely to have their own interests in mind whereas the lawful character will more likely place the importance of the group over an individual or his or her self.

I realize that this can get a little tough for an evil character though, if they're evil they're more likely to be out for their own interests aren't they? That doesn't necessarily have to be the case. Think of the lawful evil dictator who will do anything to maintain control of his kingdom. 

Now on the chaotic side, a chaotic good character doesn't have to be driven to overthrow any society, but they're definitely going to fight against an oppressive rule, or the idea of sacrificing personal freedom for society, even if it would be for the good of the group. 

GM Advice: Don't let your characters be as dumb as your players

Taking a break from the law vs. chaos topic. Sorry about being a day late on this as well. I am trying to stick to a Tuesdays and Thursdays schedule.

I'm taking a bit of a different approach today and offering up some GM advice. While I tend to be more of a player I do put a great deal of thought into what it takes to run a good game. Sometimes I think I over think that and that's why I don't tend to run stuff, I'm waiting for that perfect campaign. That said, I figure I can at least offer some advice from the player's perspective.

One of the issues that has come up a lot in my current gaming group is when the GM lets the players' lack of focus, or poor memory, to allow for the characters to do something monumentally stupid. 

Case in point, we had one situation where we were attacking a large group and wanted to capture at least a few people alive in order to question them about the big bad's plans. It was a large combat and we ended the session right after the combat. In the next session I think we were down a player and we spent a lot of the time just socializing and dealing with the bookkeeping of collecting the treasure from the previous combat. Then we started to move the story along a little bit but I know personally I just wasn't in the groove that night.  In the process, we completely forgot about the goal of getting some captives so we made no efforts to stabilize or revive any of the enemies, so they all died. 

This is definitely a situation where I think the GM should speak up. To the characters this is just after the battle, for the players it was a week later and we weren't all that focused. Because of this we failed to take advantage of the situation and were left sort of floundering for how to proceed. 

Obviously it is possible to go too far with this. You don't want a GM to second guess the players at every turn, but I think it's at least acceptable to remind the players about something they'd discussed in the previous session, when it makes sense that their characters would certainly not have forgotten that. 

Your players will have off nights, they won't be focused, they'll forget what happened in the last session. Heck, sometimes they'll just go to make some ridiculously dumb move without realizing it when their character really should know better. As a GM I think it's important to catch those situations and at least nudge the players along. 

Law vs. Chaos: Tradition vs. progress

Continuing on with my exploration of the law vs. chaos alignment axis I have a little bit of a different take. One possible interpretation of law vs. chaos is in terms of attitudes toward tradition or progress.

On the lawful side you could have a very conservative attitude where traditions are valued and change only happens slowly after careful consideration. On the chaotic side you could have a character who feels that most, or perhaps all, traditions have little value anymore and need to be cast aside in the interests of progress. Such an individual could be in favour of rapid technological advancement or exploring new ways to do things, or simply be railing against a rigid culture based on strongly held traditions.

Again, I feel this interpretation adds some excellent meat for a neutral character on this axis. Such a character could still strongly value some traditions but not others. Or, they could feel that progress in some areas is important but not all. Or perhaps they do try to maintain a balance between progress and sticking to the "old ways". For example, take a character who wants to be a craftsman and truly values the traditional methods of the craft but grates against the rigid guild structure that controls who can practice that craft. 

The other area I feel this interpretation can really shine is when applied to an entire society or culture. It's fairly common to apply an alignment to an entire culture and this interpretation really lends itself to that. It can allow for a chaotic society that still has some rules or laws, they're simply more likely to be far less and far less rigidly stuck to. This is a society that is not very held up on tradition and doing things a certain way just because they always had been. It could be a society of free-thinkers, artists and inventors, or at least one where those types of people are valued. 

Law vs. Chaos: Moral relativism

Picking up on my exploration of different ways to look at law vs. chaos on the alignment scale. I thought moral relativism was a very good one to start with. For a lawful character, they could tend to see morality as very absolute, possibly completely so, while a chaotic character could tend to see morality as far more relative.

For instance, a lawful good character is going to be far more likely to see certain things as always being wrong, no matter what the reason. This often leads to trouble if you have a thief in the party. On the other hand, a chaotic good character could be far more willing to do some morally questionable acts if it's in the interest of furthering a greater good, they might be more willing to take an attitude that the ends justify the means. 

Now one area to watch out for with moral relativism is how this will apply to good vs. evil in game mechanics. Personally, I tend to believe that if the game is going to have certain game mechanics hard tied to good or evil alignment then it necessitates that good vs. evil be fairly rigidly defined. This doesn't mean that you can't play morally relativistic characters, it just means you may have to be prepared for some of those actions to trigger an alignment shift on the good vs. evil axis. For instance, if that chaotic good character mentioned above were to start making frequent use of torture as a way to extract information I'd be very tempted to shift them to chaotic neutral, even if they were using that information to further a good goal. I realize that not everybody sees things in this way so GMs would be well advised to clarify their position at the start of a campaign so that this doesn't result in conflict later. 

Where I think this gets particularly interesting is it allows for a good amount of room for playing an interesting neutral character on the law vs. chaos axis. For them, certain things would always be right or wrong whereas others would depend on circumstances. Which things fall into those categories and why? Or perhaps there's certain circumstances that always make something right or wrong, again why? I find that typically playing a neutral character on the law vs. chaos axis just tends to mean that law vs. chaos really isn't that important, it just fades into the background, and I like the idea of this approach allowing some real meaningful "meat" for a neutral character, as well as for each extreme.

Exploring alignment: Law vs. Chaos

One of the things I wanted to do with the relaunched site was to have a forum for posting some of my thoughts on tabletop roleplaying games. I first got into the hobby when I was in elementary school and played quite a bit with my brother as well as some friends early in jr. high.

For most of my later teens and twenties I didn't have a group to game with and I fell out of things but I've always remained very interested in the hobby and aspects of the way different games work.  Over the past 8 years or so I've been playing with one group in a variety of different campaigns and it's really rekindled my interest to try more things.

One of the areas I wanted to explore was alignment. It's a pretty core concept in Dungeons and Dragons (although 4th edition has seriously changed it) and Pathfinder and it seems to be a big area of contention.

Good versus evil is fairly definable and tends to not trip people up too much, but it's the law vs. chaos axis where I've seen the most problems, particularly with chaotic aligned characters. Often players use chaotic to just mean "random" and to almost be a bit of a cop out where they can just do whatever they want at any time and justify it by saying, "but my character's chaotic". 

I'm a firm believer that "chaotic" doesn't have to mean "insane" and that's often how players play it. I think it's the term "chaos" that really throws people. But, let's take it from the opposite angle, if you have a lawful character then they should be completely predictable in every situation right? In fact the GM shouldn't even have to bother asking the player what their character is going to do because it should be completely predictable. Taken from this perspective I think it shows how utterly ridiculous it is to act in a completely random fashion just because your alignment is chaotic. 

I have several different ideas to approaches to the law vs. chaos axis that I think can add a lot more flavour, depth and realism to your character and allow for you to play a chaotic character who isn't chaotic stupid. I'm going to try to keep these posts short so I'll keep this to an intro post and will continue this series for different approaches to the law vs. chaos axis of the alignments. 

Tildefrugal rides again

Wow, I knew when I was moving my hosting over to Squarespace that I wanted to do a relaunch of my tildefrugal site, focusing more on geeky topics I'm interested in. I was shocked to see that the last blog post on the old site was from 2006!

This site is much more of a work in progress than my photography site. I'd focused my energies on that as my hosting contract was coming up for renewal and I didn't have nearly as much time to work on the design for this site. 

I've tried to keep as much of the old content as possible but some material has been intentionally dropped. It may come back, it may not. 

Finally connected

The saga continues. On Wednesday I called Eastlink again to see if they couldn't do something for me. I was lucky and the supervisor I got was someone I used to work with. He tried to do what he could but it turned out he still couldn't get anyone out before Friday. That was fine, at least this time I was booked for Friday.

Friday afternoon came and I started waiting. Around 3:30 I started to get worried that they wouldn't show up so I asked my mother to call them and confirm, they said it was definitely on for that day. She called again at 4:30, was told the same thing. By 6:30 we still hadn't seen anyone so she called again, she spent ages on the phone with them and in the end it was found out that the work order was lost. Now I have some theories that it was the same installer as the last 2 times, he knew it'd be a long job and it was getting close to when he wanted to wrap up for the day so he "lost" the order.

At this point I was really feeling defeated. I was really feeling like switching to Aliant but the main issue was that I just wanted internet and phone hooked up and there was no way they'd be able to get that done before next week.

They said they were going to try to squeeze me in today but I wasn't too optimistic because I'd been told that before. My mother called them early in the morning and she called me back later to tell me that they had gotten me on for today. I was still in, "I'll believe it when I see it," mode. Fortunately, they did finally show up, it was a long job but I am back up and running with phone and internet.

Cut off (or, The Utilities Curse)

Sigh, I mentioned moving in my recent post. What I didn't mention is that while the move has gone smoothly for the most part, I've had a horrible time dealing with utilities. First, it was NS Power, my landlords are new and didn't realise that I could just call NSP and tell them I was moving to that address and put the power in my name, so they called to have the power disconnected. I was delaying calling NSP because I was trying to push back my move in date (and start of my lease) to the middle of December. NSP turned out to be surprisingly quick in disconnecting the power though, so there was no power at my flat at the beginning of the month. My landlords are new landlords so I don't blame them for not knowing that I could just take over the account and it was my own fault for not calling earlier.

What followed was a comedy of errors though. Because the power was turned off I had to turn the main switch for my power off for them to turn it back on. We looked for the main switch and couldn't find it, well we thought we found it but that was just the switch for the furnace. This was on a Friday, NSP said they'd be out on Monday (the 4th), it was cold over the weekend so I headed over on Monday evening to see if it was back on because I wanted to get the heat on. Of course it wasn't. To make things even more fun, it was a big snow storm that night and on the way back to my old place I saw all the power on my street go out, and it stayed out for a good 3 hours or so. To make matters more fun, the next morning I found out that my phone had died for some reason (it was on fine during the power outage and when the power came back). I called Eastlink from work the next morning, at first they said it was an outage in the area and would be back up shortly, it was still out later in the day and by that time the outage had been fixed so they had to send out a service tech the next day (Wednesday).

I didn't dare call NSP Monday night because I knew there were lots of outages so I called them the next day, they said they'd be out on Wednesday and again told me to turn off the main switch. I explained how we couldn't find the main switch so they told me to pull all the fuses, which should work as well. So I went back to my place that night and pulled all the fuses out. To add to all the fun, I was putting in a lot of overtime that week, because of that I was able to take Wednesday off. This turned out to be fortunate because when the Eastlink techs showed up they did some work but it didn't fix the line, they did some more looking and determined there was a problem that required another crew to come out and install some equipment to fix the problem, I finally got my phone back early in the afternoon.

Once I got my phone back I called NSP to see if they had been out, they couldn't check yet (the crews don't report in until the end of their shift) but they told me how to check on my meter if they had turned on the power. I went over to my new place and saw it wasn't turned on yet. I waited until later in the afternoon and checked again, still not on. By this time I was really getting worried about there being no heat in the place. I called back NSP and they again told me about the main switch, I explained again that we couldn't find it but I'd pulled all the fuses, they said there was still some load on the meter and couldn't turn it back on and it would be Friday when they could be out again and that I'd have to there when they did it because if there was still a load that time they wouldn't go back again. I argued with them for awhile, they finally agreed to send a tech out that night but they wanted to charge me an after hours fee. I fought over that and finally had the fee waived. My mother and I had to wait in a cold (by this time it was 3 degrees C in the flat), dark flat. They showed up, saw there was still a load on the line but he could turn it on because I was there (they just can't do it if I'm not there). Turns out that my main switch is in the other tenants basement, which makes things fun. Finally I had power though.

I put that behind me and focused on my move. Eastlink was set to come out on Friday (the 15th) to install my cable, phone and internet. They showed up around 2, he did a bit of work and then told me he couldn't do the install because he couldn't ground the cable line. This was a bit odd because there was cable there already and it was grounded off the meter for my electrical service but apparently they're no longer allowed to ground it that way. He told me he could put a ground post into the ground, which would interfere with the shared driveway so was out, or drill into the basement and connect to the electrical service. Of course that means the other tenant's basement (see, I told you this was fun). Fortunately they were home, we went into their basement but couldn't get near the electrical service because there were too many boxes in the way, and the installer said he'd still need permission from the landlord so he couldn't do it.

Much phoning to Eastlink ensued, which is really hard to do when you have no phone at home and no cell phone. The short version is that I've had numerous broken promises of call backs and I'm really getting tired of being asked, "don't you have a cell phone?" The most annoying part is that all the time they were trying to get something earlier for me, they never booked an install for me for the time they could get (which they could always cancel if they did get someone out earlier) so everytime I called they kept getting me a later install date. Finally I just settled on booking something for today (Wednesday), my mother took the morning off so she could be there for the installer.

I was hoping that would at least get me internet installed but I was still sceptical about the phone getting hooked up. I got a call from my mother and she told me the installer had been back out and had now declared that there was no ground wire on the electrical service so he couldn't ground off the service. The good news is that my landlords are incredible and when my mother called them they were more worried about me not having phone than the work that need to be done, they called their electrician and he went out right away to put the ground wire on. The bad news is that now I'm pushed back to Friday to get installed, I still have no internet or phone at home. I'm now going to start another round of calling to Eastlink but I'm not expecting much at this point. I'm really annoyed because the installer made it sound like we might need an electrician to add the wire and we couldn't check it the last time he was out. Now he's making it sound like he told me I would need an electrician out before he came back, which he definitely didn't make clear to me. The other thing that really bothers me is that if I actually had my phone service hooked up and then lost service they'd have to be out within 24 hours to fix it because it's an emergency service but it's apparently completely acceptable to leave me with no phone service for a week when it comes to getting it installed.

If Eastlink had have booked a new install for me the first time I called I would have been booked for Monday, if the installer had have clearly told me I absolutely needed an electrician out there I could have had one out on the Friday or the weekend, and everything would have been installed 2 days ago. Instead, I'm left waiting with no service for 2 more days. Hopefully this is the end of the utilities curse.

Ages since I've posted

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted something on my blog! Honestly, there hasn't been too much to report and who wants to read a blog about someone's day to day life?

There have been a couple of changes in the last year. I'm still working at the same place, it's been super busy lately which is good and bad. The big change has been that I just moved to a new place. My lease for my old place was up the end of this month and I got lucky in finding a really good place. The only problem was that it was available for Dec 1st. So money's been a bit tight with paying double rent this month but I'm pretty happy with the new place and I have a lot more space.

The only other moderately exciting thing with the year has been that I've been getting tired of being single and have been trying to meet and date more girls. Back in the summer I finally cracked and started trying online dating. It's been good and bad but overall it hasn't been too bad and I have made some new friends at least. I'll leave the sordid details up to your imaginations. ;-)


Well it's been awhile since I've posted any news so I thought it would be good to give some updates.

The big thing that's been dominating my time lately has been getting ready to move. I'll be moving a week from today so I'm trying to tie up the loose ends. I've done most of the shopping for the apartment so that's good but I still have a lot of packing left to do.

I've registered for another photo course in the winter. It will be advanced photo this time. I found that doing the intro black and white this term was fun but I don't think I'd want to do it again. I'm feeling like I've reached a point where I've pretty much gotten what I can out of the continuing education courses and it's time for me to work on something more advanced.

The big plan is to apply to join Viewpoint Gallery and to try to get some exhibition quality prints ready. I have a lot of material from SE Asia that I like and it really feels like a much more cohesive body of work than a lot of my past shooting so I think it could be useable for this. I've also been finally starting to see a definite style emerging in my work, even in the few things I've shot since I got back so I think it's a good time to start talking about my photography and explore the opportunities for showing it. It's also a great way to start pushing myself further.

The downside is that it means I'll probably be spending most of the class time working on past work rather than shooting new stuff. But it is winter so that tends to be a downtime for my shooting anyways. That will be my next challenge though, to start getting out and shooting on a more consistent basis.


Not a lot of posting lately but not all that much going on that would be worth posting.

But recently there's been some changes.

The first is just a minor one. I had been allowing anonymous comments to be posted on my blog. I liked the idea that people didn't have to register with Blogger just to post a comment. Well that's ended due to spammers posting links on my pages. I've deleted the spam links and I've set it so you have to be a registered Blogger user to post now. Yet another example of a small group of people ruining something for the rest of us.

I've been playing with Joomla (formerly Mambo) for handling my site. There's some things I don't like about it but it has a lot of power for managing things so I think I will switch to it at some point. When I do that I'll be able to use their comments system which should allow me to let people post anonymously yet still give me the ability to block spammers by their IP address.

The big change though is that I'm moving out in December. I found a pretty nice apartment that's within my budget for rent so I'm pretty happy about that. It looks like I'll be moving on Dec 16.

Visa Problems

Man this is annoying.

I ordered a new scanner from Vistek. First, it was backordered, not a big deal it happens.

Now today I first get an email that it's now in stock (great) but then another email from a sales rep telling me my visa card has been declined.

So I call Vistek and confirm my credit card info but it still doesn't go through. Then I get to call Scotiabank and find out what's up.

Turns out it's a problem from when my card got renewed.

Last summer I noticed that my visa card was going to expire in 2005 and that I might still be away when it expired. So I called Scotiabank and asked them if they could send me my renewed card early. I had explained the situation clearly on the phone and the person I talked to seemed to understand and said they'd mail me out a new card with a new expiry date. So a few days later a new card arrived with the same expiry date, doesn't do me any good. I figure they messed up and just sent a replacement card.

So I had to call them back and I got a ruder rep on the phone but explained the situation and they said they'd fix it up. Sure enough, this time I did receive a new card with the proper expiry date. I figured that was the end of this saga.

Turns out I was wrong. When I was away they sent another new card (to my home in Canada). I figured this was just because it would be around my normal renewal schedule. When I got home I checked out the card and all the info was the same, the same expiry date and the same number. The only difference was the 3 extra digits on the back of the card (since they're different for every card even if the card number is the same). So I put that card aside but didn't activate it because I didn't have any need.

Turns out that was a mistake, since I didn't activate that card they've put a hold on this one (which makes no sense because it's a perfectly valid card that doesn't expire for another 2 years). I found this out when I called them today. Even more annoying was the rep said that it should have a different expiry date. She said, "your old card should be 07/07 and the new one will be 08/07." I said, "no, the old card was 06/07 and the new card was the same." Then she sort of argued with me a bit that they wouldn't issue 2 cards with the same expiry date. Of course I didn't have the other card with me so I couldn't really pursue this and I just told her I'd call back when I found the other card (which I fortunately had held on to).

Still, that's a lot of mistakes all from one fairly straightforward situation. And it's a lot of wasted time on my behalf to try to get their mistakes fixed up. I'm also a little worried about when this happened and what other charges may not have gone through (which could result in late fees for me for something that's not my fault).


Been pretty busy since I got back. There's not really a whole lot to report which is why the blog isn't getting updated as regularly as it once was.

I'm almost done my course so that should free up some time for me after that. It's been pretty tough getting in to get work done. I hate to say it, but that was one advantage to the weird hours I worked before. During the summer the photo department is closed on the weekends and where I'm working M-F 9-5 it means I can only get in on weekdays in the evening.

I'd like to do some work on the site and also get a new scanner so I can put up some photos from my trip. I'm holding off on the scanner until my course finishes because I don't want it to distract me from doing work for the course. Once I get the scanner I should be able to get some photos up pretty quickly. Other site work is going to have to wait. I'd really like to update the last of the old out of date content and I'm also planning to use Mambo for managing my content. The big thing I need for that though is to find a good gallery for it that will do what I want it to. Or, find out if I can add in some of the mambo features to my own gallery implementation.

1 Month Already?

Wow it's really hard to believe that I've already been back for a month. So much has happened. It's unreal that I've already finished my first week of work. I don't know how I managed to luck into getting a new job that quickly and the place seems really cool and the people are great so I'm excited about what it has to offer.

I've also hit a point of thinking more about if this was really where I saw my life going and trying to figure out where I did see myself at this point. In a lot of ways it feels like things have gone in a completely different way than I'd thought but at the same time I look back at what I have accomplished and experienced already and figure I'm not doing too badly.

The next big phase will be moving out. Fortunately, I have the luxury of having the time to look for something good. I had been thinking of renting but my mother happened to mention buying a house in passing and that has gotten me thinking of that as an option. It'll all depend on what's available.


Well it's pretty incredible but I haven't been back 3 weeks yet and I've already had an interview and a job offer! It's really cool to get something so quickly since I've had long periods of unemployment before.

I've been offered a job at the North End Community Health Centre. It's nice to be doing some more work with a community-based organisation. It's a mix of technical and admin support so it sounds like there should be a variety of work to do.

A big plus though is that it's a regular Monday to Friday 9 to 5 job. I think this will make a huge difference to my quality of life here in Halifax.

Settling In

Well not a whole lot to talk about now that I'm back. Most of the last week has been sent just adjusting to the jet lag and lack of sleep.

Last night I started my colour photo class so that was pretty cool.

I've pretty much adjusted from the jet lag but still get really tired at odd times sometimes. I'm trying to make the most out of the time that I have now to get some stuff done. I have to sort through all my photos that I took while away. Unfortunately, my old slide scanner won't work with the G5 so until I get a new slide scanner there's not likely going to be any pictures posted. It's one of the top items for me to buy but I'm trying to wait until I find work first so that I don't blow all my savings while I'm unemployed. The good thing is that I do have some money saved so once I find a job I can get the scanner right away.

I'm hoping to get a router in the near future which will allow me to setup my linux box again. I have some plans for how I want to develop the site and it will be good to have the linux box back up and running so that I have a test platform again. At the moment, I'm really looking at moving the site to use Mambo for content management. I'm trying to find out if I can get a good photo gallery that will work with it. Gallery seems to do a lot of what I want but it's not database backed so I'd have to do a fair amount of work I think to get it to work with my photo database. Ideally, I'd like to find something that already uses a database which could be modified to include more photographic information.

Back in Laos

Well I've been pretty slack on blogging but I'm back in Laos now. It feels a little strange to be back in a country where things are more familiar after travelling for a month.

Cambodia was pretty good but I did get a bit worn out from all the temples. My motorcycle driver was really good though and he helped me see a lot of cool places.

Honestly though, I found that Angkor Wat itself was kind of disappointing. I think part of it is that it's so hyped that your expectations get raised too high. The other thing is that it's completely overrun by tourists which really takes away from the experience. I found that I enjoyed a lot of the other temples much better as I found them much more atmospheric and they tended to not have as many tourists.

What was particularly odd about Cambodia though was their complete aversion to their own currency (the riel). I'm used to having prices quoted in other currencies (such as USD or Baht) but they honestly seem to prefer to deal in USD or Baht in Cambodia. I went to a money exchange place and tried to exchange $50, they told me they didn't have riel but they could change it into smaller bills. After that I gave up on trying to use riel, I just paid in dollars and got back riel in change.

I also have to take back everything bad that I said about the aggressive sellers in Vietnam, they have absolutely nothing on the sellers in Cambodia. Particularly little kids would come up to you and keep pestering you to buy something for really long times. I saw some people have the same kid harrass them for well over 10 minutes.

Well now I'm back in Laos. Only a for a few days and then it's back to Canada. I'm not really sure how I feel about that.