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


"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!"


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."


"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.


"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


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

A dead philosopher.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


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


Are guys who really love their motorcylces "bikesexuals?"

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


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!


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

Kibou: I bite her face off in frustration!


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