06 April, 2018

Freehand Ink #4: A Smug Rascal

I'll admit, I'm enjoying the fallout from the ongoing saga with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. Those who follow me on Twitter (pre-2018) and Ello may be more familiar as to why, but I'll summarize it here.

I never liked Facebook.  I deactivated it in late 2015 then deleted it shortly before Trump got inaugurated. I didn't like the way Facebook operated with regards to data. I loathed the fact that I had to download an extension to make Facebook somewhat usable.

I would also be lying if I didn't mention that also I quit Facebook to distance myself from everyone I knew from college.      

Those last two years at university were a special sort of hell. I got my worth in education, but there are times in which I wish I had spoken my mind instead of just going with it. That instead of being some absurd jackass, I could've been, at least, a rational one.

On Ello, I said that 2015 would be the year in which I "put my foot down" and actually move on up either in my career or into graduate school. The other thing that I meant, but never mentioned outright, was that I would go back to "being myself", which like the other thing I failed to do.

Well, almost anyway. I felt that I was more myself on Ello than on Facebook or Twitter. I geeked out about things that I usually wouldn't elsewhere and I talked about trips I took with my family when I was kid in a discussion about books and travel.

I also met a lot of cool people there. Fellow writers, artists, and the like.

I spent the weekend reading through Rascal, a book written by one of those very writers, Logospilgrim. Rascal: A Manifesto sets out to help the reader embrace themselves through seven vignettes, each titled after the "seven deadly sins". Each sin becomes a virtue as Logos talks the reader through how others, what Logos calls "the abuser", justify the immoral nature that they give these "sins". I should note that Logos characterizes the abuser as either a violent, controlling parental figure or a religious doctrine that makes said suffering acceptable, giving false hope of a better afterlife.

The theme of embracing one's self in the face of social adversity, abuse, and fear is something that Logos has tackled before in other works. Her memoir from 2015, There's A Hula Girl on my Dashboard, uses those same experiences as a springboard as she talks about her journey discovering her own religious faith-where it was, who helped her, and what she found out. Her other recent work, The Corner Store Epiphany, also tackles the same themes as seen in Rascal, but focuses mainly on finding comfort and motivation through hobbies that she enjoyed from her childhood and ultimately uses those pastimes to move forward from what (and who) held her back.

Or to put it simply, to become a Rascal.

I read this book partly to prepare myself for when I start writing out the post on self-censorship, internalizing what should've been said or asked, and telling people what "they want to hear" as opposed to just straight up being honest. The other reason why I read it, is that I have a lot of catching up to do with regards to keeping in touch with people. I wasn't in the best frame of mind to do so for the past few years. I know that a few relatives have sent me messages after I left Facebook and have promised someone while I was working that I would in fact e-mail them shortly after. That was two years ago.

If any of you are reading this, I'll get back to you soon. I also know that I'm slacking on a book review for Sean Bonner's Don't Go Outside and I need to let a few people on Patreon know that I received their stuff.

I've also been sitting on a Raspberry Pi for about a year, which I only booted up a few times, that I meant to use to educate myself on Python. I think you get the idea by now.

I know that in past checkups, or Freehand posts, I lauded the people I patronized by spotlighting their work. In the previous edition, I did so egregiously alongside the efforts of people like Peter Boghossian and Dave Rubin who provide platforms for the exchanges of ideas including ones they disagree with. If it wen't for the current circumstances-as in the fact that we have a "Twitter President" among other things-I would say finding the idea of debating ideas in 2018 revolutionary is, well, weird considering the tools we have now. But here we are nonetheless.

I still stand by what I said previously though, that investing money into these content creators has, within a course of year and a few months, had the same effect on me as those early experiences on Ello.

(And yes, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that Logospilgrim also has a Patreon.)

It has also, in part, helped me clean up my Twitter that I previously struggled and failed to do. Twice, even after tweeting about it sometime in the past couple of years. Being able to stay in the loop following around four-hundred and ninety-five people as opposed to plus seven-hundred without going mad is nice alongside other reasons. Some of which I'll probably touch upon in said post on self-censorship.

I also cut out a lot of the video game streamers and Let's Players I used to watch. I got easily distracted with those in the former and I'm not exactly one for chatting in most cases. Many in the latter I merely lost interest in and I believe that at least one of them is on the way out with the way their Overblood riff went. Then again, the way they started leaves a lot to be desired while aging very poorly because the MST3K model for LPs which started out as more mocking than riffing for a closed internet community loses most of its comedic value when unleashed into the wild a la the Streisand effect. I won't link those, but it shouldn't be too hard to find them. Just be aware that there's foul language, some of it bigoted depending on which one you discover and you wonder why there's a stigma against those who play video games wether or not one identifies as a gamer.

That said, and goes without saying, that those who I currently patronize do excellent work on that front. Steve Benway's another good one along with Jimmy Hapa, Octav1us Kitten, Lazy Game Reviews, and PushingUpRoses among others. I did a tweet with my seven favorite YouTubers in 2016 that needs serve updating along with being lost to the midsts of time, or just resting in a Tweet archive. It would be a nice diversion.

But I digress. Four months in and I'm already optimistic about the rest of 2018, at least on a personal front. Hopefully it will also be on a wider scale, in which certain figures leave office, open science and open access becomes more of a thing, and that outrage culture takes a good look at itself. If Jordan Peterson is right about one thing, it's this...



That's enough waffling for one day...

There is however, quite a bit on Facebook and it's issues, or blatant disregard, of user privacy alongside other things. I'll list them here:



Videos from the Queue




If you have a working DVD of the Doctor Who serial "The Armageddon Factor", then you're probably already familiar with this series, where Tom Baker read through four short horror stories. Here's another where he reads through Ray Bradbury's "The Emissary" if you liked what you saw above.    

Also...


Reading List



That's it from me this week until whenever I blog next. Might start work on that post in a bit or work on some scenes for Incarceration Troupe, depending on how I feel. Have a great weekend and I'll write again later.  

15 March, 2018

Freehand Ink #3 (or what was formerly the Weekend Checkup)

I had an impromptu plan to belt out a "Weekend Checkup" either on Friday or Saturday before I blogged about Incarceration Troupe, but I forgot.

Or rather, I put it off like I procrastinated on blogging for the past year and writing in general for the past two years (excluding IT), distracting myself with other things. Most notably a five-part documentary and another academic panel which features most of the same panelists. Both of which, I'll link to later.

I also juggle two jobs. Friday and Saturday, I only had to work one of them so I really have no excuse for not blogging something then. I'll admit that ever since I gained more days at my other job, as in more programs, I haven't had ample time to either write or blog. My time on Twitter's also to blame here, pretty much going against what I said on Ello among other things.

I'm working on all this slowly but surely.

One more thing: I decided to switch the name of the Weekend Checkup to "Freehand Ink" so that I don't restrict myself to having these brief catch-ups, reading list, and video queue by a specific deadline. Also, because I thought that titled sounded catchier.

Now... 

I wanted to start this out with an addendum to my previous post in which I explained the whole concept of a "Outrage Warrior". I'll admit, this was video in which I first heard the term (jump to around 5:40) and extended, or rather twisted that definition in the post to include the Alt-Right. I'm hesitant to use the term "social justice warrior" on its own because of how charged the term is and thought that "Outrage Warrior" worked as a term which encompasses both extremes. I was afraid of any backlash if I did so, and was also nervous of the same thing when posting it. I do like the term and I apologize to Liana for misusing it.

(As an aside: Liana herself does excellent vlogs and currently does a show called Lady Bits which offers a more in-depth look at women who work on video games along with women in them-both as playable and non-playable characters. I definitely recommend checking it out and if you like it, consider supporting her on Patreon.)

This whole fear of being shamed for having a different opinion is something I'm putting on my to-blog list in part because of this tweet I found while skimming through Peter Boghossian's timeline...


...to which I retweeted...

It goes without saying that I'm trying to self-censor and internalize less while expressing myself and asking more. Writing that blog post will probably be a doozy, but it needs to be done.

Videos from the Queue




This was the panel I mentioned earlier as one of the main reasons I put off writing this. Another interesting discussion with Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying, and Peter Boghossian along with Christina Hoff Sommers about the notion of victimhood, intersectionality, and the state of free speech in academia. Ever since that other panel, and their interview on Joe Rogan that I listened to twice, I've felt much better about things in general. Which sounds weird, but I've actually been able to focus on my writing without worrying about whether a detail's going to "offend" some person or another or just some grammatical bump I can smooth out in post.

They talk nuance. They're not dogmatic in any part of the political spectrum or dabble in ideological purism. Dave Rubin and Liana are also like this, or at least that's how I see it. So's Jordan Peterson and I had no idea who he was until I listened to Russell Brand's interview with him just yesterday along with Peterson's interview with Quillette founder and editor Claire Lehmann.

Again, I'll expand on all this in that self-censorship post, but for now I'll say that they're a motivational force behind my writing now. As sappy as it sounds.



I also feel that way about most, if not all, of the people I support on Patreon. Some of which I'm tabling for a post on playing video games which leads me to the next two videos...



DJ Slope is one of the Game Lords, and his attitude towards his work is contagious. My first exposure to his work was through his Kickscammers series where he takes a look at Kickstarter projects that do what it says on the tin, that don't make their funding goal, are just plain odd, or a combination of the three. It wasn't until the Metroid video here that I decided to subscribe to him, partly because I loved the series as much as he does, but also because of his enthusiasm throughout the whole thing. Even with Other M which I confess that I never played because of what I heard about the story, DJ Slope gave it a fair shot in his review.

(Side-Note: He also talked not playing the game for the story elements, which led me to re-download Shin Megami Tensei IV for the 3DS and spend most of late December playing that. Actually got more out of that a second time around. Might review it later...) 

In one of his earliest Complete History videos, DJ Slope starts it out by saying that no matter what console you have that there will always be good games for it. Again, I just love his approach to games and if you agree after watching these videos, you can also support him on Patreon.

On the topic of Game Lords...



I remember this coming up in my YouTube recommendations a couple times and on when I got off work on Thursday I decided to start watching this. The entire series is really worth your time. Kim does an excellent job following Peter Molyneux's career along with the companies he founded then decimated years later.

I've spotlighted her work in an earlier post so there really isn't anything new to add. Between the four of them, they produce videos that are well-researched and highly entertaining.    

Also...


I also wanted to put this Kickstarter out there from Paul Rose (aka Mr. Biffo) of Digitiser fame. Goes without saying that I'm not as familiar with shows such as Bad Influence and Gamesmaster aside from Nostalgia Nerd's commentaries of the former and a recent stream from Kim. Thing is, I like Mr. Biffo's writing style, and tech, and crowdfunding campaigns like this. Check it out if you can!

Reading List


On my Shelf

I just finished Robert Webb's How Not to Be a Boy and Russell Brand's Recovery this week. Both of which I enjoyed in part because I liked them already for their past work.

Russell Brand in Recovery has this way of waxing spiritually while simultaneously staying grounded in his writing. I see that book being a huge help to those suffering from addictions or anyone who messed up down the line and needs guidance in moving on from that experience.

Robert Webb is very down-to-earth in How Not to Be a Boy and is an all-around good read.

I've started reading Christine Sneed's The Virginity of Famous Men and am slowly making it through the first volume of Toby Hadoke and Rob Sherman's Running Through Corridors. I also have Fire and Fury on the nightstand, but put off that one. Well, I tried reading it at the first job before my shift began then thought better of it. I'll get to that one in due time along with Offworld.

Volume seven of the Adventures with the Wife in Space takes priority over all of them though. Just got my book yesterday with some nice Kickstarter bonuses and I'm looking forward to reading it. This is also Neil & Sue Perryman we're talking about here so I know it will be a good read.

On Writing

More or less just jotting down notes for particular scenes that I'll write later. Nothing particular special.



 

...and that's pretty much it for now. I'll blog again sometime next week depending on how my work schedule turns out.

05 March, 2018

"Lacking Audacity and Impulse"

I know that in the past I promised to blog about this and that--from Korean dramas and what I personally thought about Donald Trump among other things. I set up schedules, which on paper would've seen me belting out at least a couple of mini-pieces a month.

None of it panned out. There are a few reasons as to why:

  • Mini-works? Didn't feel motivated or inspired by anything significant to warrant a prompt.
  • Korean Dramas? At the time, I was still in the "literary" mindset. As in, it would have been critical in all the wrong ways, not only taking the fun out of it but it would be culturally insensitive of me to do so. 

As for my personal take on President Trump, well, I had a folder of links which connected the issues that I thought were important, mostly related to government transparency, tech policy, and climate change.

I put that one off for a year and have no intention on going back to it. The best way I can explain why in brief is this: I lack both the audacity and impulses of an "Outrage Warrior".

The term in question, coined by Liana Kerzner in her YouTube videos, describes both the dogmatic left, usually referred to as Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), and the extreme (Alt) right. I would be lying if I said that if I did not once had those qualities, which is what happens when identifying a a Marxist because of how easy I found it to write papers based on the associated literary theory.

Also, it had a lot to do with trying to fit in with the schools literary clique, because the only writers I admired at the time who had some place in the literary canon were Douglas Adams, Aldous Huxley, and possibly Jon Krakauer. That, however, is a story for a different day.

Another anecdote, that has a better place in future and yet, has a lot to do with the subject at hand is this: I play video games.

Anyone who's either followed me whether it's through here, Ello, or Twitter, or is familiar with me offline already knows this to some degree. When Gamergate went down four years ago, I was very much on what they called "the right side of history", or rather I quit playing video games altogether because I worried about the guilt by association. I endorsed Leigh Alexander on the basis that her take on games made them into something akin to literature and got excited when The State of Play was a thing along with Crash Override and Boing Boing's Offworld.

So yes, the "right side of history" here placed me smack dab in the dogmatic left. At least that was the case until last year in which some decided to resort to bullying. This resulted in porn actress August Ames committing suicide similar to the shaming of Justine Sacco with those involved even justifying it. In relation to Gamergate, Laura Kate Dale got backlash for an interview with John Bain (TotalBiscuit) whom Feminist Frequency, and others, assumed was the face of the movement. This was what he had to say about Quinn in 2014, by the way, and this is TB talking about misogyny in relation to the issue:

The problem is this. Even after reading a ton of info on this, I still have no idea how much of it is true, how much of the controversy is genuine concern about the state of the industry and how much is just rabble-rousing for the sake of it. Misogyny is very real in the games industry, it's pretty disgusting, but it's also a problem that is not confined to our industry and most of what is being said about it is repetitive noise. Any right-thinking individual knows that hating women is bad, we don't need libraries worth of articles to tell us that. We know that some people that play videogames are also horrible pieces of shit. Problem is some of those people are in on this discussion, it was obvious the moment I started getting Twitter replies about it.

Aside from the TwitLonger, and this vlog, I know very little regarding TB aside from the fact that he technically wasn't the face of Gamergate. Even Crash Override could tell you that much, as schizoid as the writing is. Point is, the harassment of Lara Kate Dale was uncalled for and the moral high ground for it was null and void.

And then you have this, which speaks for itself...




I'll note that I haven't read James Damore's memo at all, but watched the panel in its entirety and enjoyed the discussion. The irony here is that they started walking out when a woman, and an evolutionary biologist at that, had the floor.

I'm trying my best not to find myself in another tangent or take this rant off the rails, but it's hard for me not to be pissed off at the jackassery on display here in the name of social justice. I'm not scot-free either since it's easy to poop out Twitter outrage whether I retweeted someone else, "liking" a tweet, or condensing my thoughts into a tweet, which is why I deleted my old tweets once the new year began. I had moments of "outrage" when discussing certain topics when I was active on Boing Boing's forums--mostly about Jeremy Clarkson and one of PewDiePie's controversies. Still love the former in The Grand Tour, don't care so much about the latter nor do I have time for him.

I think that Trump is dangerous and an all-around dumbass who is proud of his illiteracy. The Alt-Right's ascent into power is also unnerving, but if you bully or harass using the same rhetoiric for the sake of "social justice", how does that make you any different? Does shutting down the ideas of others, or more accurately, barring dialogue a wise move given the circumstances? Is a knee-jerk reaction beneficial in any way that is not cathartic and if so, how?

Me? I don't have neither the time nor patience to snap over a single tweet, memo, article, or situation without actually doing some analysis so I can actually have a solid opinion on something. It's because of this that I no longer have the audacity or impulses of an "Outrage Warrior".

Privileged? An entitled thing to say? Your right, your call.


24 June, 2017

Weekend Checkup for June 24 & June 25 2017 (#2)


After I wrote the last weekend checkup, I thought it over and decided that I prefer writing these as opposed to a set of lists with links. Most of this is inspired by the newsletters I read weekly including Sean Bonner's The Crowd which I linked to last time.

Speaking of Sean, this came in...



...it's not the pin. Don't Go Outside: Tokyo Street Photos was a Kickstarter-funded project that I first read about in early January and was lucky enough to back the tier for a signed and numbered copy. I mentioned Sean last week as one of the major inspirations for my foray into the blogsphere, but it goes slightly deeper than that. I started following him on Google+ not too shortly after my cousin gave me an invite. This was also when I started reading Cory Doctorow and ultimately Boing Boing and so much of it stems from that fact that Sean also embraced Creative Commons by using the licenses on his photos--the book itself uses a CC-BY-NC license. I started following Safecast shortly after and made a donation to them last year along with backing their bGeigie Raku project.

It goes without saying that Sean's awesome, and I'm looking forward to reading his book!

The pin comes from Tinkity Tonk, a group dedicated to connecting fellow Wittertainment (Kermode & Mayo) listeners through these pins while raising money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society with one pound donated for every pin purchased. Long time followers might be familiar with my love of the duo as I posted about then elsewhere--mostly here, Twitter, and my former Google+ account which unfortunately no longer contains said post among others. I've been listening to Mark and Simon since 2008,  far into October, in which Mark praised Of Time and the City while calling Quantum of Solace a "Question of Sport".

That was the haul, and here's the video of the week...




It is part of a larger series where Banjo Guy Ollie fixes up and restores arcade machines which you can view here. I would also reccomend watching this playlist where he makes his own game room.

Unfamilar with Banjo Guy Ollie? I'll let this speak for itself...


You can find his music channel here as Banjo Guy Ollie. His channel for DIY, painting, reviews of retro handhleds and MSX games, thrifts, and vlogs is here under BG Ollie.

Goes without saying, both channels have their own respective Patreons here and here.


What I've been reading...

I just finished JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times of John Nathan-Turner which covers its namesake who took the reins as producer of Doctor Who from 1980 to 1989.  Richard Marson does some really thorough research here and I'm still not sure what to think about JN-T. There is no doubt that he is responsible in part for keeping the show alive for fifty-plus years and that some elements of the show are more prevelent than ever in the modern series which I think is great. Aside from that, I don't know.

In the meantime, I started reading William Gibson's Neuromancer and I'm still working on Cory Doctorow's Walkaway. There's also Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text, The Offworld Collection, and Ukept on my Kindle, but those are on hold alongside a couple of Wodehouse anthologies and Peter Matthiessen's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.

Progress on writing...

Very little, if not much at all. I've done some late spring cleaning on my computer so that I could easily access and work on my projects. Last year was slightly better on the Showcase, now Incarceration Troupe, where I managed to iron out some of the places where I had trouble and made it further into the story.

Oh, there's anothe project in the works that I might post on Wattpad if I can't market it. More on that later.

As for the rest...

Nothing much happened between the past couple weeks, at least personally. In politics, there's the health care bill in the US that, if it passes, would not only repeal Obamacare, but would be an overall disaster. Here's Barack Obama on the matter (Note: Facebook Link). Russia's interference in last year's elections is more of a thing than not. Locally, the town council was about to close a local golf course pub and resturant, only to renew its lease days later. I'll leave this letter from the owners' lawyer here (Note: Facebook link) which is rather telling. Municipal elections for the town proper happen this November, however, so there's some hope.

Jon Ronson wrote about the mysterious arnsons happening in San Francisco's Mission District and Hideo Kojima's Snatcher is more than just a remix of its parts.

From Ronson:
The numbers cited by Campos and others—45 fires in two years—also weren’t necessarily as suspicious as they seemed. It turns out that 25 fires a year is about average for the Mission. But there’s a reason that arson is on everyone’s mind: While the number of fires has stayed steady, the value of the real estate in question has not. The 27 fires that burned in the Mission in 2006 caused $2.6 million in damage; the 22 fires in 2015 caused almost $15.6 million in damage.
From Kotaku's Peter Tieryas:
Unlike the protagonists in many noirish cyberpunk books and films, Gillian Seed is expressive rather than following the trope of being stoic and subdued. His strong personality goes from melancholy amnesiac to driven investigator and even womanizer (though he gets almost universally rejected). He’s a likable character, even with his flaws. He’s visually inspired in part by Rick Deckard from Blade Runner, but also the more humorous Lupin the Third from the eponymous animated series. 

I'll talk again soon and hello to Jason Isaacs!

11 June, 2017

Weekend Checkup for June 10 &11, 2017


I planned, over a month ago, that after I did some online spring cleaning,  I would post a series of weekend links on May 12th. Then the following week, I planned to use my vacation time to blog things that I wanted to write out for awhile. Most of "spring cleaning" was managing my Patreon contributions and culling through who I followed on Twitter. The latter went as well as I thought.

Same goes for this post. I did enjoy my vacation however, and with it came a nice bookstore haul...



The only one that came via Amazon was Jem Roberts's The Frood, while the two Doctor Who novels, White Trash, and The Handmaid's Tale I bought at Bank Square Books. We are the Change We Seek, Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, and Bird by Bird were from the Savoy Bookshop while all the Shakespeare plays I purchased at Barnes & Noble in Warwick. I read through The Frood already and loved it as the book expands on Douglas's life and career beyond the confines of Neil Gaiman's Don't Panic. I also finished A.L. Kennedy's Doctor Who: The Drosten's Curse and, while it was nice to see an Fourth Doctor novel, its take on psychological and cosmic horror ultimately hindered it.

Speaking of Who, I've been obsessed since the new season began. Bill (Pearl Mackie) and the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Calpaldi) are an excellent duo and a breath of fresh air since Clara left two years ago. Aside from this past week*, I've enjoyed their stories. I thought about doing Doctor Who reviews in a similar vein to Stuart Ian Burns over at Feeling Listless or Frank Collins who has done a thorough, academic analysis of "The Empress of Mars" that I think is worth reading. My mind flashes back to the Behind the Sofa blog in which they both contributed to, a site which is partly responsible for my initial inspiration into the blogosphere alongside FL, Tachyon TV, and Dan Gillmor via Mediactive.

Also, Sean Bonner and Documentally also played a major role to the point that, if it weren't for the former's newsletter, Just Another Crowd, I would never know of Seth Abramson. Seth's done some excellent interpretations of the Trump Administration's actions via his Twitter. The Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article on him which I found via Sean's newsletter (#275 in the letter archive).

Speaking of politics, my local borough went through their mayoral and council elections and I couldn't be happier with the results. The opposition didn't sell me enough on their campaign leading to similar issues I had with Bernie Sanders last year. I also ran into their candidate for Mayor in passing who made me feel rather uneasy and intimidated by him. It's complicated and I'd rather not blog about it right now, but it did affect my vote.


Writing that also was slightly unnerving so here's my video of the week to ease your troubles...




Kim Justice does these excellent documentaries on retro games and gaming culture. This is just one of many, and it's s still ongoing. In fact, if you contribute to her Patreon, you'll get early access to later episodes. I've only started watching her videos after listening to her interview with the guys at the Retro Hour Podcast, and thought, "Hey, this was the sort of thing I was looking for with Let's Plays." This video on notable Playstation ads of the '90s is another one of my favorites so far and the semiotic examination makes it more than worthwhile.


As for the Rest...

I've been playing around with the Brave browser for about a few months and it's nice to not only see a privacy-centric browser, but one that's similar to Vivaldi. By that, I mean that they are both browsers with features already built in as opposed to having to search through the extensions marketplace. I found that while using private tabs, Brave is very friendly to my SSD over a few hours of usage. As for RAM, it goes without saying as it's also Chromium-based. I felt comfortable enough with it though that I decided to get Firefox off my computer altogether and that's something.

Mastodon might be my new favorite social network once I finally decide to cull through Twitter. It's open-source and decentralized like Diaspora, meaning that there are multiple, separate instances that connect together. It respects privacy in the same way that Ello does and then some, but more importantly, you can pay to keep the network going via creator Gargron's Patreon. My first post on there mentions this, a fact that I hope gets much love. Brave's on the same page with Brave Payments where the user can voluntary send money to sites whose work they support, while wishing not to be tracked by them.

In other contributions worth donating to, the GaymerX East Kickstarter is still ongoing--five more days as of today. Regardless as to whether or not you're attending, you would be providing a space for LBGTQ players to showcase their latest developments and provide a space to well...play. The rewards are also worth it and I'll admit, after watching TieTuesday** play through Read Only Memories, I'm interested. It's my kind of title. Enough said. Either way, if you can, donate.

One last thing before I go. Remember my recent Doctor Who bug, well, I found this blogger via Clayton Hickman on Twitter, and his analysis of Eric Saward's writing is something else:

Saward has a particular prose style which can be brutally efficient, the grammar of which is so at pains to be correct, it’s awkward.  (Not unlike that last sentence.)

Consider his habit of giving characters concise, frank questions to elicit a response from another character. Often these questions try to fit in both a descriptive noun and and active verb. “The escape was prevented?” is an example. The line could be, “everything worked out fine” or “no harm was done”. But in Saward’s style, we find out two things: there was an escape and it failed. In one super efficient question!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like something anyone would actually say. See also, “you have the Doctor?” And “you fear an attack?”. And my personal favourite, from The Mark of the Rani, “you suspect another motive?”

That's all for now! I'll blog again soonish!

*Mark Gatiss isn't my favorite of the NuWho writers. At least recently anyway. Loved the throwbacks though.

**If you're interested in catching Tie's streams, he's moved over to Twitch. The archived ROM stream was originally broadcast on Hitbox (now Smashcast). You can also donate to his Patreon here.

26 March, 2017

Catching Up and Belated Weekend Links for March 25th & 26

I've neglected this blog for far longer than I intended. I did write a couple posts about the election, but then just decided to go back offline again, not so much offline as being on Twitter for longer than necessary.  If you came here from there, then that means the IFTTT recipe I put into place works. From here on out, I won't be on Twitter as much in favor of posting here and elsewhere in which long-form content thrives or is a thing (Ello, Goodreads, etc.). I'll expand on that in a later post along with talking about my sudden hiatus and other changes which I thought about over for the past year.

Instead, here's some late links for the weekend of March 25th & 26th, 2017.

SKILL, STAMINA, and LUCK--A BBC Radio 4 Documentary on the history of interactive fiction from text-adventures and Dungeons & Dragons to today's video games.
What was it that set them apart? They were part of a much wider literary innovation known as interactive fiction. You don't merely read them, page by page, cover to cover. You were asked to make decisions all the way along about what would happen next, where you would go, who you would even fight, which page to turn to. And you often had to keep a notebook and pair of dice close to hand while doing so. You might fail along the way and have to start again (or more likely you'd keep your finger in the previous page until you were satisfied you'd made the right choice). Essentially, they were puzzle books.
The World Wide Web turned 28 earlier this month...


The Oxford Comma is important. Atlas Obscura reports on a court case which brings this point home.
The comma, Barron then wrote, was important, since ambiguities “must be construed liberally” under Maine law, meaning that the delivery drivers, who had sued for overtime pay, might in fact be entitled to such pay since “distribution” in the law is not unambiguously separate from “packing for shipment.”
Motherboard reports on the refugees who helped Edward Snowden and the ongoing issues they face today.
As it turns out, this fear was not unwarranted. In the past weeks, Motherboard spoke to the refugees and Snowden's lawyer Tibbo, to find out what's changed since they became known through an investigation of the German Handelsblatt and the National Post. They describe a situation that has deteriorated significantly.

And here's what I've been watching this month starting with Ariel Waldman's look into Earth's history as a giant snowball...




Waldman did an interview for Rebecca Watson and Ken Plume's podcast, Just Admit I'm Right, that also gets streamed live on YouTube for their $5+ patrons. I'll hyperlink the corresponding episode when it comes up on the iTunes feed. Until then, and if your are fans of Rebecca and/or Ken, you should pledge to their respective Patreon pages if you can. I have and I can tell you the streams are worth it.

The next video is actually an playlist for a Let's Play I finished watching yesterday. I've embedded it here, but I recommend that if you're interested for the long-haul, to watch it on YouTube in full. There's also the cut commentary version here.


I've followed Chip and Ironicus for years now, at least since 2010, and their Let's Plays are filled with funny riffs and roasting, while also analyzing the game itself. Programming, design, narrative, anything that makes the game great or interesting gets covered in some way. This latest entry also made it into a Waypoint article by Cameron Kunzelman that not only is a shout out to these LPers but is also about the experience of watching Let's Plays in general:
The magic is happening in the let's play moment. I'm not just enjoying the game, and I'm not just enjoying the two guys talking about it. I am enjoying this weird composite of a game filtered through the mind of two people I've never met. We're a decade into LP culture now, and if you're in it you probably think this is the most boring thing, but it never fails to amaze me that I can enjoy someone else enjoying something so much that I can't conceive of one without the other. I have zero interest in playing an Uncharted game, not because of some problem, but just because they're not for me. But Chip and Ironicus open up a door to an experience of a game, not just a game itself, in a very fulfilling way.
...and that's all from me this weekend. I'll post more soon. Bear with me as I return to the blogosphere and ultimately back to writing.

22 December, 2016

On Trump...

I can't write. I can't think straight. I don't know where to begin...

I spent the evening watching the Al Jazeera coverage and planned on writing as it progressed for NaNoWriMo's sake. I stopped trying. I tweet-stormed through most of the night, crossing fingers and fearing the worst as the projections rolled in. Eventually I gave up, and now with the electors' votes tallied, I've just, well, had it. I've lost faith, assuming that the electors would be intelligent enough to block his entry. John Oliver said it best when he said that, "This is not normal," and people like journalist Sarah Kendzior on Twitter go above and beyond explaining how unordinary it is.

 I would prefer not to reiterate how it will all go to crap now. Just let this sink in, "this" being the result of Poland's Law and Justice Party's first year in office:

[...]now school textbooks are being redesigned to downplay evolution and climate change and to recount a fanciful version of Poland's history; the government is mooting giving hoteliers the right to turn away customers based on sexual orientation or skin-color; a minister rejected an international accord against wife-beating because it subverted traditional gender roles; Parliament is about to get the right to choose which journalists may report from its debates; the guy in charge of national sex-ed curriculum believes that condoms give women cancer; a proposed law will virtually end opposition protests; and disloyal journalists at the "independent" state broadcaster have been purged.   

Goes without saying that something similar could happen here. Preferably, it won't or at least be stifled greatly by efforts from groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The latter of which I donated to this year and am now a member of for the year until I pledge again.

But still, everyone loses. Those in minority groups will feel it most, but if you're also white, cisgendered, or part of the status quo consider the fact that Trump will now have full access to the NSA or how he plans to take down the EPA through his Cabinet.

There's a lot more that I want to say, but I'm saving that for a separate post. This is just the gist of how I feel and what might happen. More or less things which I mentioned in my previous post on the election, plus the rest of his baggage.

The American Majority did not vote for him, but here we are...