Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of 2016

The 1960's bragged about being the weirdest decade ever that no one could ever top and 2016 went, "Hold my beer."

I am very glad 2016 is over. May a year as weird and off putting not grace our age again for some time.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Tidbits

2016: The year where even Vulcans could understand the word, "Fuck."

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Con Logic

A convention needs leaders:

Person 1: "I have several years of experience in this position performing this task on both a larger and smaller scale than you currently require."

Person 2: "I have no experience at this at all."

Person 2 gets the position. CON LOGIC.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Tidbits

Where does a mouse keep it's valuables?

In a Swiss bank.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

MRA's

I dislike MRA's because they are dominated by a bunch of whiny cry babies. Too much blaming other people and not enough personal responsibility. This is the same reason I dislike other groups and I make no exception for them just because I'm also male.

I can understand the point some MRA's make when they highlight injustice and inequality. However, I feel that many of their solutions rely too much on the "there should be a law" school of thought rather than "we should strive to be better people." Legislation is a lazy (and usually ineffective) solution to societal issues.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Forum Memories

Many years ago, I was on an Internet forum. I was very active on it, even got promoted to moderator. I was one of the popular members, who everyone knew and liked discussing things with.

But, as time went on, I had arguments with the owner and others. I was one who liked to argue and discuss matters, while they preferred to leave their sacred cows untouched and unchallenged. There was a falling out. Eventually I was banned. (Along with several other very popular members with similar attitudes.)

There was outcry. The defense was, "Hey, it's his forum, he can do what he wants with it." True! That was the case. If he didn't want me or others on his forum, he could indeed ban us for any reason he chose. And he chose to give none, just a dismissal.

Shortly thereafter, the forum died of attrition as the average poster decided they didn't want to hang around a place where people were banned arbitrarily with no explanations. They left, moving on to other forums. Today, that place isn't even online anymore, dead to the world. His legacy is a dead website and shattered social network.

Moral of the story: Just because you can do what you want with what you own, doesn't mean you should. Bad choices can kill off the very thing you're trying to preserve.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Tidbits

I am like a zombie when it comes to my tastes in a significant other.

Braaaaaaaains.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Everyone Knows"

The way to manipulate the majority is not through direct and overt convincing of a point, but to shape the background noise of their life. If the media they consume, stories that they hear, and rumors that are spread generally conform to a certain set of assumptions, those beliefs will gradually become accepted by the average person at least in a fuzzy sense. Keep it up long enough and things that challenge those assumptions will be seen as increasingly ludicrous - even if those challenges are the truth itself.

Specific historical examples: Japan's educational system during the Meiji restoration, which trained millions of youths that Japanese were racially superior to other Asians and Japan's manifest destiny to rule the Pacific; Mao's spread of communism after driving out the GMD from mainland China; and, the Catholic Church in medieval times.

This is why appeals to popularity are invalid arguments. "Everyone knows" is not a basis of fact; in fact, as history shows, what "everyone knows" is frequently wrong. (A corollary is that just because something is widely held doesn't make it wrong by necessity - it only increases the likelihood.) Skepticism should increase the more people seem to assume a fundamental principle without evidence. Demand proof, not popularity.

For example, one reason I like the Bill Nye and Ken Hamm debate on evolution is that Nye was able to make his case without a resort to popularity. He didn't have to say "but everyone knows this." He came in with facts, math, and logical arguments that showed why evolution has earned its place as the dominant theory. Evolution isn't true because a majority of scientists subscribe to it; a majority of scientists accept it because it has the evidence to back it up.

Contrast that positive example with a lot of what passes for arguments these days. "Everyone knows that this viewpoint means you're a nut," "everyone knows that no religion makes you evil," or "everyone knows that government does what's best." Hoyt coined the phrase "Argument by posturing." I think that's a good way to describe the attitude underlying those who use this kind of tactic to marginalize others.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Frank Cho

Frank Cho's take down of the people screaming over his art is wonderful. His "Outrage!" Spider-Gwen should go down as one of the great satirical memes. We need more artists willing to stand up to the empty shrieking heads who claim to act out of "decency" or other such claptrap.

I feel we're on the cusp of another Wertham the way things are going. Artists like Cho, who defy calls to conform, will help stop that.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Friday, December 9, 2016

Tidbits

If you made running shoes from the skin of a Slowbro, would they be walking shoes?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Irregular at Magic High School

I enjoyed "Irregular at Magic High School" thoroughly.

The soundtrack is amazing. I love several of the background tracks, which rely heavily on EDM. The animation is also gorgeous. The visuals on magic are some of the best I've seen. 

Storywise, the world is fascinating and the way it approaches magic - an application of math that influences reality's foundations to trigger physical phenomenon - is a lot of fun. I really enjoyed how the author put thought into this system and innovation: shortly after introducing gravity controlling flight magic, for example, he immediately takes it to the next step of fusion reactions through gravity control. Brilliant science fiction.

One thing I liked is that while it has a lot of talking, which I normally find boring, the dialogue is good enough to hold my interest. A common complaint about is the gobs of techno-babble it uses to explain other techno-babble. Personally, I like those bits (probably my Star Trek background coming in). The explanations also make sense in the context given with some gap-filling on the part of the viewer.

A large chunk of the characters are actually interesting! I found Tatsuya a very refreshing male lead. He gets criticized as being overpowered, but I see him as very similar to Alucard in Hellsing: immense power that came at the cost of his identity, making him a tragic figure. I like that he always decides by reason and logic instead of emotion. He's the polar opposite of the inept but hot blooded hero so much anime has. He's careful and calculating even in the smallest thing. That he has such amazing rational capacity makes all of his accomplishments seem plausible and avoids Gary Stu status.

While the male lead does have romantic interests from some of the female cast, not all of them are enamored with him. There are several other pairings, helping the show avoid the harem trope of SAO.

My main critiques are aimed at the last arc, "Yokohama Disturbance." It felt rushed, especially the fight scenes. We get major revelations about Tatsuya, but the exposition seems too short. I understand his powers are basically all creative applications of a single skill, but the show doesn't tie it all together as well as it could

I am fine with Tatsuya being exceptionally powerful, but it felt his classmates, who are supposed to be more average, were comparatively too strong. One of the bad guys that gets built up as a true threat is taken down twice by high school kids in short conflicts. It was very underwhelming. The fights needed to be longer to justify the outcomes as the result of struggle and hardship to defeat a superior foe. As is, none of the villains ever came off as truly a danger, which undermined the tension. Tatsuya curb stomping someone is fun, but when everyone is brushing off battles with just a few bruises, it makes him seem weaker.

I'm hoping for a second season, since the novels are ongoing. One of my hopes is that we see Tatsuya have a match at some point. One of the rules for being incredibly powerful is that you're rarely unique - or others learn how to deal with you over time. It'll be good to see him have to deal with that in the future.

Overall, the series is worth watching, at least for the first few episodes. The last arc is sadly a bit rushed compared to the rest and feels poorly constructed. It's a definite "Your mileage may vary" series. I recommend the series, on Netflix subbed only, for anyone who likes their magic to be more science based.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Last Month of 2016

2016 continues to ratchet up the kicks to the groin each month. I half expect December to have some kind of extinction level event.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Feedback Sources

That feeling when you spend time crafting carefully considered comments to prompt improvements - and are completely ignored for no reason other than not being in the "inner circle."

Remember, if you aren't open to feedback from myriad sources (regardless of their relation to you socially), your organization will languish and expire.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Tidbits

You know you're a teacher when you spend more at the math conference than the anime convention.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mad Science Popcorn

Once, while I was working at a concession stand, they had me do nothing but the popcorn. Such a mundane repetitive task might be boring to some. I chose to make it more interesting. I got to see what happens when you vary the oil, popcorn, and flavor mixture in increasing extremes. Some combinations worked well, others were...messy. (I think the double oil mixture proved most successful.)

Never let a mad scientist be in charge of your popper.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Respectful Treatment

"I don't think you treat me with respect."

"On the contrary, sir, I treat you with the same respect I have for most people."

"...And how much is that?"

"Hardly any."

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro is dead! Like Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez, he demonstrated through deeds the utter hopelessness and horrors of socialism and communism in practice. Thousands upon thousands of dissidents killed and in jail. Obscene mortality rates under backwater "universal health care." Their socialist economics starved the people to death, as their communist government murdered any who dared speak out.

Let's hope that his death will signal the impending demise of socialism in Cuba. That they will hopefully begin to transition away from the outdated economic and political systems of an earlier century and toward one of civilized societies: the free market and a constitutional republic.

Castro's failure to improve the lives of the people under him should be remembered for centuries to come as a reminder of why socialism and communism have never worked and will never work. And why any who espouse such systems here or abroad are fundamentally the enemies of all mankind. Let us never indulge the Castro sympathizers, because they desire the deaths of their neighbors.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Tidbits

Lame Harry Potter pick up line:

"Are you a fantastic beast? Because I just found you."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Glitter IUD's

In a world with IUD's infused with glitter...

"They didn't warn us. We should have seen it, but we were fools. FOOLS. We knew glitter was immortal, ever lasting wherever it touched. How we never saw what might happen if we let it inside. Sure, it stopped babies, but no one thought about what happens after...

"It started small, at first. 'The new Liberace's' they called them: babies with amazing sparkle talents born across the world. We stood in awe of their glittery wonder, ignorant to what would happen next...

"More people used them. An entire generation, stewed in an unholy mix of bodily fluids, fevered dreams, and glitter. When they came, we all thought it would be a new renaissance, a golden age of mankind. We would have new gods to worship, to bathe us in their multicolored glow.

"But what we got. These weren't gods. They were demons. We'd opened Guf's Door, and from it emerged beasts clad in Rhine stones and calling for human sacrifice in blaring falsetto screeches.

"We had brought back...disco."

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ordinal Numbers and Letters

In terms of spacing, incrementing by letters allows greater distinctions than numbers. Given a single space, digits can do ten distinctions: 0-9. Letters have 26: A-Z. Add a second space. Numbers give you 100, but letters can do 676.

Interesting that, by nature, we tend to use numbers over letters for sorting, despite the greater economy of a letter-based ordinal system.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Tidbits

"Education is messing with students' minds." - Ed Burger, President of Southwestern University

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lessons of Presidents

Each president has taught us something, usually a negative lesson. As the threat of authoritarian rule increases in America, ti is good to reflect on what we've learned so far. Most of these lessons are reminders of warning from our founding fathers.

From Bush, we saw that power wielded "for the greater good" was still evil. Domestic spying, foreign invasions, and indefinite detentions were carried out to "help" us, but they only resulted in tearing down our rights and freedoms. The panopticon grew stronger. Bush convinced us to trade liberty for security and reminded us why that exchange is never equivalent.

Obama showed us that politicians who promise "hope and change" will never deliver. Empty rhetoric can inspire and attract, but corruption and abuse of power will lurk behind honeyed words. The use of government agencies to silence and suppress dissent, threats made to the careers of skeptical journalists, and the assassination of American citizens via drones without judge or jury were all from this time.

His supporters also displayed a new level of blind loyalty. All criticism of Obama was "racist." Those who opposed his policies were "traitors." Truth became treason to those who backed the empire of lies. And these were people who had previously spoken (rightly) against the excesses of Bush. Their opposition to authority was revealed not as a matter of principles, but of preferring authority figures who shared their affiliation.

Now we have Trump. What will be his lesson? Using the expanded authority ushered in by Obama, he will wield unprecedented executive power. And his clear disregard for liberty and federalism means he will not hesitate to use it. Even while an "outsider" (a title that can be debated), he will still behave as a central overbearing autocrat. The flaws and failures of Bush and Obama will be repeated. He portrays himself as an outsider and businessman. But while a businessman he may be, he is no capitalist, having made his fortune by exploiting the system.

However, what is on trial with his election is, sadly, capitalism itself. To the average person, Trump IS a capitalist. He is the representative of the free market, given the power and instructed to "drain the swamp" left by his two immediate predecessors. If he fails, the lesson people will take is not "authoritarianism is bad" (the bipartisan lesson of Bush and Obama) but that the free market really is to blame. The rabid insanity of Warren, Sanders, and other socialists and progressives will be held as true.

My primary worry is not a Trump presidency and the apparent madness he brings to the office. It is his highly likelihood of failure - and the madness of the NEXT president. All because we will have failed to learn our lessons.

Game Demo Experience

While demonstrating a game for a player, his grandma came over and asked what he was up to. He explained the game and added, pointing at me, "Don't worry, he's not one of the weird ones." I asked him what he meant and he replied that she was afraid he'd be influenced by Austin's "weird people." Note that I was dressed as a steampunk mad scientist when he said this.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sleep and You Fail

While I worked as a cashier some time ago, I would have a lot of college kids buying coffee for midterms. I came up with this spiel I delivered while waiting for their receipt to print:

"Have you read your coffee's instruction manual? No? Okay, here's what you need to know. Sleep is a reset button. If you sleep, everything you've studied will be forgotten. So you must continue to consume coffee. Sleep and you fail. The only path to success is to stay awake. Forever."

I mixed this with a shorter variant:

"Don't sleep. Sleep and you fail. Midterms are faster than you can imagine. If you sleep, they'll catch you. And then it's over. I am so sorry."

Being a cashier was fun.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Ancient One

A fan theory on the Ancient One in the Dr. Strange film that isn't bad: the Ancient One, being very powerful with magic, knows how to shapeshift. So he decided one day to look like Tilda Swinton. Because who wouldn't?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Game Design Reflections

Some small notes I wrote to myself as I was developing games some time ago.

Creativity and follow through. Those are two key traits of successful creators. I like associating with people who have both and I get frustrated around those who have the former, but not the latter. The ground is strewn with the remains of wonderful projects that never saw the light of day because creative people couldn't get their act together. It's also a very good idea not to allow that type to be in charge - nothing will ever be completed.

Part of the steampunk experience that game needs to capture correctly is "class." Part of the veneer of the Victorian era was a certain high brow feeling to it. For a video game, that means interesting visuals. For a table-top RPG, that means words. Vocabulary is exceptionally important to create the right atmosphere. If you're trying to paint a 10-dollar scene with nickel words, it creates cognitive dissonance.

That feeling when you come up with a much cooler name for something than you originally had.

On race design: I like to take a page from TF2 and make sure each race has a different silhouette than the others. That is, seeing nothing but their outline, you can identify them. Too many humanoids gets repetitive. I think most players appreciate when developers put extra work into making really original races to play as rather than "generic orc #64289."

Don't create a "combat system" (an RPG mainly for fighting). Pathfinder and D&D do that already and are much more popular. Go for the people tired of combat after combat and want something else to bite into.

I am tempted to call explosives in my game "Badda Booms." I'm not going to, but the temptation is SO STRONG.

Crafting systems and how to implement them. You can go for realism and have it be slow, or you can go a more flashy, anime route. I haven't seen the latter done (and I think it'll be cool), so that's how my game will go with it. Super engineering indistinguishable from magic. All of the cool factor while still being rooted in scientific laws.

The benefit of creating a game on your own is also the downside: all the mistakes are yours. And it's up to you to fix it.

One benefit of creating a game of my own is the only mistakes in design will be mine. If prior experience is any indicator, that will be a welcome decrease in uncorrected errors. I have had so many experiences with spotting mistakes, pointing them out, and then being ignored only to end up proven right in the end. It was a running gag eventually where we'd tally up how often a suggestion made months or a year prior and rejected offhand would later turn out to have been the optimal solution all along. Now I just have to be sure to take my own advice.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I Go On

"But everyone thinks you're a monster!" said the child, horrified at the implication. "How do you go on?"

"I go on because I must," was his reply. The voice acquired a punctuating low bass as it grew more solemn. "I go on because the opinions of others do not shape me. It may make the going harder, but I have goals and dreams and I shall not rest until they are fulfilled. I do not crawl away and abandon my pursuits because others believe I have caused harm when I did not. Their beliefs are their own, as my purpose is mine."

The wizened face no longer appeared quite so weathered or tired. A fire burned within, one that gave a breath of vigor the boy had not seen before. "I go on because I know that I am not a monster - and that knowledge is all that matters."

Dead People Vote Now

I wonder how many dead people are casting ballots for Hillary today. And how many remembered to vote early and often?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Don't Vote for the Lesser Evil

Student: Who did you vote for?

Me: Darth Vader. Force choke if you disagree with him? Now that's a guy who'll get things done.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Mood Playlist

A selection of music to reflect my mood as my life continues on. The first 6 are where I was; the next 6 are where I am and will try to continue to be.


















Lying Sacks of Crap

After the leaks that showed Hillary and the DNC rigged the primaries, Sanders fans were only JUST REALIZING that Hillary and her supporters - such as the DNC chair - are lying sacks of crap with no scruples about who they have to screw over for power.

Guys, we've known this since the 90's! This was entirely predictable! Sadly, this then turned into:

"I can't believe Hillary would do that to Sanders! That ticks me off!"
"She does it because she knows you'll vote for her anyway, no matter how dirty she gets shutting down Sanders."
"But we can't let a Republican win! No matter what!"
"And you just proved my point."

If your party can use your fear to ensure your slavish devotion, they don't have to follow the rules.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Current Status

(This is a very personal post. If you don't care for such things, you may ignore it.)

Am I currently safe? Yes! I am doing all right. I'm back to gaming weekly with friends and have several projects doing quite well.

As many of my friends know, the last month or so has been a time of high stress for me. I've had to deal with the worst breakup I've ever had, along with betrayal.

I want to take this time to thank the dozens and dozens of people who have come out to support me during this trying time. I've had people across the country - con chairs, vendors, artists, writers, and more - tell me they have my back. I've been invited to several conventions I've never been to before, offered spots on two podcasts, and introduced to an even broader range of people. A few of my exes have reached out to me and reminded me that, if I was anywhere close to as evil and despicable as what others say, they would have never dated me to begin with.

Despite the loss of a few friends, my core inner circle remains intact and by my side as my overall network has expanded. I think it's because I've done good things for others that so many are willing to aid me now. That's the best anyone can hope for in times like these. My overall faith in humanity has been bolstered by this.

I want to especially thank the Brown University alumni who have reached out to me about my ex. According to them, I am not her first victim. They've pledged support in any way they can if the attacks get worse. I am very grateful for this - it reflects well on Brown that it's alumni would come to the aid of a relative stranger in need.

There are 4 incidents I want to make public so people know they occurred:

1. On October 8, 2016, around 2 AM, there was a loud banging on the front door of my home. A figure ran away. I unfortunately could not see them clearly. I've since installed a security system in case this happens again.

2. On October 12, 2016, a black SUV with Texas plates followed my mom as she was taking out the recycling trash. It tailed her for several minutes and sped off when she tried to look closely at the plates. (She sadly did not get the plates, as she wasn't wearing her glasses at the time.)

3. On October 29, 2016, in the late evening, a car parked in front of our house, a passenger got out, watched our house for over a minute, and then got back in and drove off. This was not a vehicle that normally parks in this area.

4. There have been a marked increase in the number of phone calls from "ID blocked" and international numbers to my home since early October.

Authorities and my lawyer are aware of these incidents as well as the likely suspects. If anything happens to me, they'll be able to act on this. That lends me some peace of mind.

What now?

I'll be focusing on my writing and the various projects I've been invited to join. I'll continue to post to this blog, as I distance myself from social media.

Tidbits

You know how the Doctor can speak baby? I can speak high schooler. Geeky high schooler, but the dialect is close enough.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Haruhi-ism

Haruhi Suzumiya as a tsundere I don't care about. Haruhi as a symbol of insane levels of energy and god tier reality bending from sheer force of will? Now that's the version I like. She's a force of nature that slams into everyone around her like a non-stop area explosion that only grows in intensity over time.

She's a less scheming version of the "puppet master" archetype that attracts me to many mad scientists. Her ability to ignore the laws of physics actually makes her more dangerous, since she doesn't have to come to success through experimentation or manipulation. If she wants it, reality obliges her by making it come to fruition.

As a manifestation of unbounded manic energy incarnate, Haruhi is fun on a lot of levels.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Criminal Investigations

"If I say a controversy is over played and act like we're sick of it, that means it's not a controversy anymore, right?"

"...That's not how criminal investigations work, Hillary."

Monday, October 31, 2016

Horror Setup

A good horror setup: the unknown. Have your characters watching the action and not knowing what the threat is, caught with only glimpses. Your imagination fills in the rest and the tension adds suspense.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Election Flashback


"Trump could be the next Hitler!"

"No, Hitler was a democratic socialist who stressed income inequality and blamed it on rich Jewish bankers who stole value from the typical German laborer. He then proposed measures to 'fix' the problems through greater state control of the economy. Trump is definitely not proposing that."

"That does sound vaguely familiar, though."

Friday, October 28, 2016

Tidbits

"I worked in Yellowstone park as a wolf for awhile. I was accepted by the pack quite quickly. It got a bit hairy, no pun intended, when I became the alpha male. Eventually I realized that two of the other wolves were Christian Bale and Daniel Day-Lewis.” - Benedict Cumberbatch, SDCC 2014

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hate Speech Tactics

There's a strong tendency this cycle, more than even 2008 and 2012, to engage in a lot of classic hate speech tactics, such as:

Othering  ("They're not part of MY America")

Dehumanizing  ("They're all criminals!" "They're all deplorables!")

Rationalizing ("They're evil so it's fine if I break their stuff or if someone else does it")

Paranoia ("That negative fact about my candidate is only there because the other candidate paid to have it planted")

It's no wonder we've seen fire bombs, mob violence, and general civil unrest.

Other symptoms include:

The death of skepticism ("The other candidate is a liar, but mine speaks the truth!")

Blind dismissal of facts that run contrary to candidate narratives ("They fight for the average person!")

Higher levels of smug willful ignorance than I can recall previously ("I refuse to read and analyze those facts because I already know they're unimportant and that makes me better than you!")

The only thing close to the last one is how the GOP ignored poll numbers in 2008 and 2012, choosing to believe less reliable numbers instead.

There are a lot of otherwise intelligent people who are purposefully castrating their higher brain functions and devolving into partisan troglodytes. And it's only getting worse.

Nanotech Weasels

"There’s a reason the Black Lives Matter protestors haven’t invaded Hillary’s space, because we all suspect she’d shriek “GUARDS! SEIZE THEM!” super villain style, and then have them devoured by her nanotech enhanced attack weasels." - Larry Correia

That's a SF story I'd want to read. Hillary as the Evil Queen and her death weasel army. And only YOU can stop them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cakes in the Rain

Donna wanted to be a successful artesianal baker, but her cakes were all wet.

Ravenclaw for Life

*Woman's Harry Potter ring tone goes off*

 Me: Ravenclaw for life!

Her friend: Ravenclaw is awesome!

Woman: I took a test and it said I was Hufflepuff.

Her friend and I: Oh, sorry.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Same Owners, Same Goals

"Just because Bush and Hillary are owned by the same people doesn't mean they're the same!"

YES. YES IT DOES. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT IT MEANS.

Since that quote was coined, though, I should note that Hillary has been revealed as owned by far more people than Bush was. Progress?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Chinese Wedding Dreses

I've always found Chinese red wedding dresses more beautiful than the white western ones. Something I disliked in Taiwan was how the western style weddings had supplanted the traditional ones.

So many there seemed ashamed of their own heritage. The main driver? The brides. I knew one wedded couple and the bride didn't even want to consider a Chinese dress. Somehow, the media has convinced them it's better to look like an American bride than a Chinese one. That could tie into the popularity of plastic surgery to make faces look more western.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

How Do High IQ's Think?

The response to this question at Quora spoke to me pretty deeply. Mainly in how it mirrors so much of my own personal experiences with others. I've extracted the most relevant portions below:

"When I ask a question, I receive condescension from my peers, and literally watch them gloat over them 'knowing something' I don't. When I have an answer, it is weighed less than anyone else's. When I have a suggestion, it is resisted always until or unless circumstances obviate it's acquirement...

"I see solutions everywhere. I also see people highly resistant to change even when they agree with the solution.

"I see fraudulence everywhere. I see people who are deeply, deeply in love with a façade they project which brings them power in some aspect...

"I see hopelessness everywhere. I see people clinging so violently to a hope (either an opinion or an idea) which brings their life into relevance, that even broaching another possibility is perceived as an attempt to invalidate their entire worth as a human being.

"I see totalitarianism everywhere. I see people so wildly bent upon demanding others accept and even celebrate whatever they do in the name of tolerance, that even only tolerating it is seen as bigoted hatred worthy of being intolerant towards...

"I see the purposeful invention of conflict. I see people individually and en masse actually seeking aspects of others with which to choose to take offence, then creating a massive smear campaign to besmirch the very character of a person based upon a perceived slight...

"Socially….exceedingly lonely and have been my entire life. Virtually always misunderstood, virtually always see through the façade I'm presented with from someone else….and virtually always borne out as correct over time."

Her line about having an answer and it being weighted less? Been there. Resisted suggestions? Yes. Same with being borne out as correct over time.

One example of this from my past: my hobby of game development. Those reactions over and over again are why I started to pursue my own game development work rather than continue under others: they were simply too slow to see the fixes that had to be done to the problems.

Starting with another company was good for acquiring basic skills in the field. I certainly wouldn't be as good at writing games today if I hadn't cut my teeth on other games first. But after a while the tedium of pointing out flaws, proposing solutions, and then being entirely ignored by those above me grew too much.

Now that I have a game that (mostly) conforms to the solutions I created, I've been proven correct: my approach was the better one and I am the better game designer for it. I learned what I could, but rapidly outpaced and out grew those who started ahead of me in the learning curve.

As I continue to dedicate my time into it, I don't see my growth slowing down. I am always seeing ways to improve - approaches those I used to seek answers from remain clueless of.






Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Times Are Not a Changin'

We have:

1. Nuclear war tensions with Russia.
2. Heightened racial tensions and protests across the country.
3. Fire bombings in North Carolina.

What decade is this?

Monday, October 17, 2016

What Makes a Good Gardener

"Wow, he's such a good gardener."

"Yeah, he used to be a pimp."

"How does that help?"

"He knows how to handle hose."

Tied Up with Paradoxes

"I want to be tied up. I'd like to use paradoxes."

"Paradoxes?"

"I meant paracord!"

"Who'd tie you up with paradoxes? The Doctor?"

"...Oh, stop..."

"Imagine the Doctor doing a BDSM bit. He'd pilot the Top and Relative Domination in Subspace. He'd wibbly your wobbly and make you lose all sense of timey wimey. He'd have a whole special setting for the sonic screwdriver..."

"Safe word! SAFE WORD!"

"Robot & Frank"

Netflix recommendation: "Robot & Frank." A near future darkly humorous sci-fi flick about an aging man with a past and his new robot helper who he grows to see as a friend. It has themes of old vs. new, the loss of self to mental degradation, reclaiming past glory, and family. All packed into a short 80-some minute feature. The dialogue and acting are wonderful. It really surprised me how much I liked it after viewing.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Trump, HRC, and Women

One of the worrisome trends I've been seeing with the 2016 election is how sexual assault has become a partisan issue.

Right now there's a lot of outrage over Trump's assaults on women. There is also debate over the veracity. Let's assume for the sake of argument that they're true. Bill Clinton has also been accused of rape over the years. Let's assume those accusations are true, as well.

The people who are willing to believe Trump's accusers are the same people I've seen label Bill Clinton's rape victims as "trailer trash" and "opportunists." Similarly, the people I've seen willing to believe Bill Clinton's victims, but dismiss those against Trump as made up by the media. In other words, which victims you believe has a lot to do with your party. That really shouldn't be how it works.

Now, I do see HRC supporters argue that Hillary isn't Bill, so she's not morally tainted like her husband. The problem there, though, is that Hillary knew of, condoned, and helped cover up Bill Clinton's rapes. That's according to multiple victims. She may not have been the rapist, but she was right there alongside him making sure no one stopped him. That makes her morally equivalent to Bill, who committed the acts. This, in turn, makes her morally equal to Trump, who stands accused of similar. (To be fair, Bill Clinton has done worse to his victims than what Trump stands accused of so far.)

But when you point out this fact, the narrative instantly switches to, "Well, if  equal, at least she's more qualified." Covering up sexual assault counts as a quality her supporters desire in a president, it seems. One HRC supporter even said, "Well, of course she'd threaten someone endangering her marriage. It makes her more human!" Apparently threatening to ruin the life of a rape victim, and possibly have her killed, makes someone more human. But only to a Democrat.

Much of the protest over Trump's actions are from HRC supporters. Their willingness to sweep under the rug or outright dismiss Hillary's own role in perpetuating sexual assault shows it isn't "outrage over rape culture" that is motivating them. If it was, they'd be just as horrified at how Hillary bullied victims into silence for decades. To them, the victims are nothing more than a means to an end to help condemn someone they don't like. And Clinton's victims can be ignored because their rape doesn't count.

Tidbits

"That's the best Wonder Woman cosplay ever!"

"Maybe, but I don't see her invisible plane."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Combat and Non-Combat

Good lesson for RPG designers: if your game is combat-only focused, there is a cap on how many people will be interested. Mostly because Pathfinder and D&D are combat focused and - guess what - they are more popular than you will be. That means you have to appeal to non-combat players to have any chance of sustainability.

From day 1, you need to think of how non-combat actions will be balanced. Design so that a non-fighting build is just as viable and interesting as the typical warrior or barbarian. If someone doesn't have a chance to talk their way out of a bad situation, or convince the other person to join them, you need to rethink your game system.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hegelian

What do you get when you apply the Hegelian dialectic to a choice between food and poison?

A dead philosopher.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Self-Control

I can only control myself. If others reject what I create, I must finish the creation myself. If others spurn my company, I must find new friends myself. If others ignore my advice, I ought to follow that advice myself.

I may be betrayed and made an unperson by others, but I won't do that to myself. And so I will succeed where they want me to fail.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Tidbits

Are guys who really love their motorcylces "bikesexuals?"

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Arrow

Arrow is a series about Captain Harkness becoming a billionaire in the 21st century and wanting to wipe out a slum where his then wife (#3617 to hold that title) was killed. And River Song is there, too, having lost one of her daughters that she had while gallivanting around the same time period. Why they don't just ask the Doctor to help is beyond me.

Scenes from a Game 2

Me: I activate my character's Avatar state!

Arbiter: You get this cool cinematic!

Me: Yay!

Arbiter: And then... *rolls* You die.

 Me: Oh. Well, definitely not using THAT again.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Scenes From a Game

Scene from a game I ran in 2015:

Kibou: I kick my slave to punish her for disobedience!

*Rolls*

Me: You miss, tripping and falling onto the ground. Your slave lands on top of you.

Kibou: I bite her face off in frustration!

*Rolls*

Me: You gently kiss her on the cheek. She looks vaguely uncomfortable.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Tidbits

If Nietzsche were a white rapper, would he philosophize with a "STOP! HAMMER TIME?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Presidential Qualifiers

Saying someone is qualified to be president because they've been in politics a long time is like arguing that stool that's been in your bowels a long time is qualified to be your brain.

Morality of Actions and Actors

The morality of an act is independent of the actor or their affiliations. If a serial killer provides food to a starving man, he has committed a moral act. If a philanthropist murders a man in cold blood, he has committed an immoral act. The action itself must be judged on its own. However, when judging the worth of the actor, then these previous behaviors can be accounted for.

I see a lot of people responding to critiques of actions as though they were critiques of actors and vice versa. It makes discussions difficult.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Debate Style

Political analysis post. No sides taken, just analysis. Topic: debate style.

Hillary will be the usual. I don't expect she'll do anything out of the ordinary. She'll have the usual set of one liners and a phrase she repeats a lot. Standard stuff we've seen a dozen times before.

Trump has basically two approaches, which makes him more interesting to discuss: he can choose to go the typical politician route and try and appear more traditionally presidential OR he can double down on the bombast, slamming and insulting and never stopping.

In the past, when he's had this choice, he has always chosen the latter. Despite it being low on content or substance, this has had no small amount of success for him. It got him the nomination and he's coming into this debate with Hillary's formerly double digit leads in multiple swing states now barely there at all. At the same time, there are limits to how far you can get on bravado alone. He needs to put more substance out there and being churlish doesn't do that.

Another factor: pretty much no matter what he says, he will be depicted as a bad guy. Any challenge to Hillary will be label misogynist (regardless of whether it actually is). If he goes a calmer route, he'll still be labeled a mad man by the press at large. The gains from it are therefore minimal. It's probably why he's chosen to adopt such an over the top persona to begin with. It's a question of how much of that we'll see.

So, does he try and increase his voter pool by doing a face turn to appear more palatable or does he own the role of the heel to keep the energy and momentum going? It'll be an interesting choice.

Not a Puppy Mill

"I'm going to start a dog farm."

"A puppy mill? That's horrible!"

"What? No! What kind of monster do you think I am?"

"Oh, phew. What will it be, then?"

"I'm going to breed them for eating."

Dystopia Brainstorm

An old post I made back in 2015:

"I want to create a dystopia. But I'm not sure what kind. Cyberpunk mega-Corp is boring and too overdone from the 80's and 90's, so that's out. There's failed scientifically planned utopia, hedonistic gilded cage, authoritarian nightmare, psychologically manipulative shadow cabal...

"I'm trying to think of one that isn't done a lot."

 We ended up settling on "What if Tumblr ran a country." It makes people cringe every time we say it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tidbits

When the cheese maker was berated by his wife, he said simply: "Am I not gouda 'nuff for you?"

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Why Don't you Obey the Law?

I like the sarcastic "Why don't you obey the law?" memes. However, let's avoid the Nazi and Communist ones - no reason to Godwinize things before they start. There are plenty of other historical examples of government run amok: Jim Crow, Prohibition, Japanese Internment, etc. It's more fun to be snarky when you also demonstrate a broader range of knowledge than "Nazis were evil."

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Math in Narnia

In Narnia, the shortest distance between two points is a lion.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ice Cream Adulting

Being an adult means having a car with which you can hunt down an ice cream truck if it dares drive past you without stopping.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Tidbits

Forget Goku vs. Superman. I want to see Luffy vs. Plastic Man.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Buckets

Trump supporters and Hillary supporters are in the same bucket. And it's labeled something much more offensive than "deplorable."

Email Leaks

A political leader having their email hacked and leaked is essentially the same as what they've authorized the NSA to do to us. Yet we're supposed to feel safe with the latter and horrified by the former.

We should be grateful to the hackers who have given us the transparency we deserve that the media denies us regularly.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Time Travel Data

How much data is there on time travel?

1.21 gigabytes!

Convention Logistics: GM Badges

Why give GM badges at a con? Man hours.

I typically requires 8 hours of game running for 1 badge (2 four hour sessions). The typical game has an 8 person limit. So 16 people, each getting 4 hours, for 64 man hours of content provided for 1 badge.

A typical panelist will do a 1 hour panel for a badge. They would need 64 people there to do the equivalent of a GM. Some panelists do more (I've run 3 hour workshops for 100+), some do less. A typical range is 50-100 man hours of entertainment for a single panelist badge. However, this ratio decreases when you add co-panelists. If you have 2, then it's 25-50. If you have as many as 4 panelists, then it's 16-25 man hours per badge.

GM'S provide the same average level of man hour entertainment for a con as a panelist. That's why you should always compensate them similarly.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mulan Live Action

If they do a live action Mulan, I'd love to see Ming-na Wen play Mulan's mother.

I just hope they don't cast Tilda Swinton or Scarlet Johansen as the lead!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 Flashback - 15 Years Later

It was my sophomore year of college at WPI. (The year I had a 4.0 GPA - a good year, all things considered.) I was commuting to school. The car radio wasn't on when I was driving to school that morning, so when I got on campus I hadn't heard anything going in. I was in class, Cell Biology with Professor Adams (awesome guy), from 9 - 10 AM.

I came out and went straight to Olin Hall, 3rd floor, to the Alpha Phi Omega office. We had a meeting of the membership committee then. I waited ~15 minutes before the head of the committee came in and said, "Didn't you hear what happened?"

We turned on the TV in the APO office. It was antenna, so we could only get local stations. On Channel 5 (ABC), I watched the towers fall live on TV. I also heard of the strike on the Pentagon.

We left the office to find a better TV. We went to the lounge in another building (my memory fails me on which) and watched more. This is when I heard about the crash in Pennsylvania. A guy freaked out, "They're coming to get me! They're coming to get me!" A professor asked him to be quiet and he settled down.

I went to the campus center, sat with fellow Wedge Rats in the OctoWedge to watch the big screen. I found out classes were canceled. Called my parents. Went home. I skipped the memorials on campus - I wanted to be with my parents.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Tidbits

Don't you hate it when you're making an argumentative point about US History and you get your Presidents mixed up?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

RIP Phyllis Schafly

“My opponent says a woman’s place is in the home. But my husband replies, a woman’s place is in the House — the U.S. House of Representatives.” - Phyllis Schafly, 1970

Phyllis Schafly is where the "A woman's place is in the House" slogan comes from. She used the quip when running as a Republican for Congress against her male Democrat opponent who had told her, essentially, to get back in the kitchen. She passed away Monday 9/5 at the age of 92.

When she began political commentary, there were few if any female voices. Hers would emerge as one of the biggest of the 20th century, including brilliant take downs of Rockefeller Republicans and a wonderful critique of Kissinger's foreign policies. While some debated the merits of lipstick, she wrote of ICBM's and the Cold War. She helped defeat the poorly worded and hastily designed ERA, which, among other flaws, would have ended the female exemption to the draft during Vietnam. Who knows how many mothers, sisters, and daughters would have been lost if that had passed?

She was a powerful female voice of the 60's and 70's that paved the way for later generations of women in political commentary on both sides of the aisle. A brilliant mind and gifted writer, even if you didn't agree with what she said.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Tidbits

On good days, I feel like a character from a Robert Heinlein novel.

Bad days? Kurt Vonnegut.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Tidbits

The DVD of "How to Train Your Dragon" is great quality. No hiccups at all!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tidbits

"Hey, baby, I'd love to be the GPS for your life's journey."

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tidbits

That feeling when someone with whom you've had great conversations just stops talking to you for no discernible reason.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tidbits

The best make-up in the world cannot hide an ugly soul.

Not that it stops some people from trying...

Friday, July 29, 2016

Tidbits

There is a certain joy that comes from being able to level up a character for a table-top RPG.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tidbits

"Have you read Les Miserables?"

"Why would I want to read about sad lesbians?"

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tidbits

During the thunderstorm, quarter-sized multi-headed serpents rained down from the sky.

Hydra Hail.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tidbits

If you think a clever hashtag is all you need to solve society's ills, then you are one of society's ills.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Tidbits

Few things compare to the sense of accomplishment of finishing the assembly of a new book shelf.

Few things are as frustrating as realizing that, despite having a new book shelf, you still have far too little space for your books.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Tidbits

"Man, it costs a dollar to use an air pump at a gas station these days. I remember when it was a quarter!"

"That's inflation for you."

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tidbits

Sign held by an Apocalyptic Creationist: "The End is Nye."

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tidbits

Random line of dialogue: "You're just trash upset that no one will take you out."

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tidbits

There is moving past an emotion and there's shoving it aside. Moving past means letting it blow over you, so its energy is spent. The latter bottles it up, making it more potent.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tidbits

What did one fireman whisper to the other?

Hail Hydrant.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tidbits

"I want someone who's really intelligent!"

"What about that one?"

"Oh. They overthink things."

"...You're not very good at figuring out what 'really intelligent' means, are you?"

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tidbits

Imagine a world where every false Snopes story was actually true.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tidbits

In medieval times, ruffians would commonly make themselves appear more intimidating by holding their bows sideways.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Tidbits

Stay away from the indecisive, the unstable, and the directionless. Their chaos will only weaken you.

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1st

1. A whole lotta celebrities died.

2. We're all getting technology today from 20 years into the future.

3. I'm pregnant/married/a widower/serial killer.

I think that covers things.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Tidbits

People who kill with literacy devices are called "essay-ssins."

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Tidbits

If there was a joint Patrick Stewart - Avery Brooks panel at a convention, they should name it: "To Baldly Go."

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ghostbuster Down

Ehere. Egon.

Harold Ramis. Harold Ramisn't.

I think he'd appreciate jokes to celebrate the anniversary of his passing.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Tidbits

"Excuse me, sir, but would you be interested in a free trip to heaven?"

"Trip to heaven? Wouldn't I have to be de-"

"YES."

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tidbits

The untold battle of the soda wars: Dr. Pepper, M.D. vs. Dr. Pepper, Ph.D.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tidbits

Who needs fantastical horror creatures or ominous music to stir tension when the greatest anxieties and fears are buried in the everyday mind?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Tidbits

Why shouldn't you be mean to confectioners?

You get bad karma-l.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tidbits

That feeling when someone else prints while you're printing, the two jobs are mixed in, and you don't want the other person going through and looking at what you printed.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tidbits

What happens when you slice an ice chest into 5 equal pieces?

 You get 20% cooler.

Friday, January 8, 2016