Friday, April 26, 2013
Big news - lots of conveniences, new features, and support for Apocalypse World and Monsterhearts.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Sometimes, in a piece otherwise intended to be humorous, some deep truth is exposed. And as all things on the internet are, it is seen by many but then forgotten almost as quickly as it appeared. But because it is special, it remains, buried deep within each of us, until at some future point someone looking for a pithy way to express something dredges it up and turns it into a meme.
I watched such a thing happen today. This piece at Wonkette, while funny in itself, is a callback to one of those great internet things that was both universally experienced and nearly forgotten.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the Onion ran a number of spot-on pieces that captured the anger, sadness, confusion, and absurdity of the terrorist attacks. They were all good, but by far the most touching was this article. I'd say to go read it, but you already have. I just re-read it and it still makes me misty.
The title, plus the emotional weight of the article, made it perfect for memetization - but it was too soon. And "too soon" after 9/11 was a long time. But now, over a decade later and with bin Ladin dead and al Qaeda largely in tatters, a window has opened. All that was needed was for someone to remember - to reach back and pull that headline from the recesses of our national memory back into the daylight. Doktor Zoom was that man,1 and I personally thank him for reminding me of what might have been the best thing to come out of the post-9/11 media storm.
"Not knowing what else to do," is the perfect way to hold up a floundering response to a terrible event for the ridicule (or at least the examination) it deserves. I hope we continue to use it for a long time to come.
1 Okay, the Onion AV Club did this half a year ago, but I didn't see it, and plus, it doesn't count if the Onion does it.
Monday, April 15, 2013
No, really. Doomed. Why, you ask?
There are three problems with Bitcoin as it stands:
- There is a limited supply of Bitcoins
- More miners make transactions more expensive, not less
- The Bitcoin network is ultimately insecure
These are all ultimately tied to each other, and related to the way the system works.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Please let me know. I moderate aggressively and a lot of spam looks at first glance like legit comments. The spammers are getting better at making word-salad that at least looks on topic.
So I tend to be the contrarian voice over at DMing with Charisma, and recently we had an exchange which I'll excerpt as follows:
Me: If people are forgetting to RP, that means that there aren’t sufficient rules to support RP, or it’s not compelling for the players to engage those rules. It’s a failure of design.
Him: I’m not going to respond ... because I’m fairly certain I can’t do it with civility.
In fairness, I probably deserved that. It was a strong statement and I should have gone into a lot more specific detail - which is what I'm going to do here. But to do that, I'm going to have to use...
Thursday, February 28, 2013
I've been doing a more-or-less-weekly open indie game series at the local store on Sundays. I post a schedule with a different game each week, and if there are enough interested people, we run it. If there aren't, we don't.
Monster of the Week was a bit over a week ago, and it was a lot of fun.
Monster of the Week (MotW) borrows Apocalypse World's "color-first" ruleset to simulate ensemble-cast monster-hunting TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, and Supernatural. The playbooks are very evocative (always a plus for this type of game) and cover most of the character archetypes from those shows pretty well. You can check them out for free at the Generic Games site.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
I do not understand why people do not like her. No - let me rephrase - I do not understand why people dislike her.
Not liking someone takes no effort. Indifference is the default attitude towards all things. But actively disliking someone - that takes work. We expend emotional energy to maintain annoyance. It's draining.
So why do we do it? Why do we love to hate? For some of us, for some people, it allows us to feel better about ourselves. We have our own shortcomings. We're not famous, or rich, or successful, or thin. But for those people who are - at least some of them, the ones who seem too happy or confident or for whom it comes a little too easy - we can tell ourselves a story about how they're bad, fake, unlikable people and in doing so we can feel better about ourselves.
It's dishonest. It's pointless. But it's often unconscious. And regardless, people have a hard time avoiding counterproductive behavior even when they know it's counterproductive.
Meh. Maybe I do understand the hate. But it's not rational or reasonable. It comes from a place of our own insecurity; our need to cut others down when we can't (or won't) raise ourselves up. And that's kind of sad when you think about it. Because we should be celebrating others' success and looking for ways to emulate it in our own lives.
In other words, for the "Hathahaters", the problem is not in their star(s) but in themselves.
The worst thing you can say about Anne Hathaway is that she's a thirty-something theater geek who made it big doing what she loves to do. I'm a thirty-something band geek with a successful career (though not in music). I relate. A lot of my friends in high school were people like her. She seems smart, and funny, and relatively nice (in the few real glimpses we get of her). She's professional and career-focused and a feminist who isn't afraid to speak her mind and call people out when they deserve it.
Tell me again what's not to like?
Thursday, February 21, 2013
We've got eight episodes up and a backlog of 12+ that will go up gradually as I clear it. Most of the start is kind of random, but it's gradually settling down and getting more structure.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
So things have been going pretty well lately. At first, it was really weird because my brain kept telling me it couldn't be right and the bottom was about to fall out, but after a day or two of that not happening (and some encouragement from friends), awesome just seems to have become the new normal. Here's a brief rundown of stuff that has happened lately:
- I've been given some new responsibility at work - system architecture design on a project that's central to our flagship product. It's a lot of pressure and a lot of new managerial/organizational responsibilities, and I'm rightly a little apprehensive. But it feels really good to know that people wanted me on that project, in that role.
- Karen is also kicking butt and taking names at work. She's performing a full year ahead of where they expect her to be in her residency. But then again, if you know Karen, you expect that kind of thing.
- I've been invited to play with the Winds of the Blue Ridge, an incredible wind ensemble in Roanoke. From what I've seen in one rehearsal, they're at a level comparable to some of the better college bands - certainly as good as any group I've ever played with. It's an honor and a pleasure to have the opportunity. That doesn't mean I'm going to skip out on the Blacksburg Community Band, though. The BBCB is a wonderful social outlet and I don't think I could ever leave.
- The friendly local game store is doing well enough that the proprietor - a friend of mine - can lay back a little and stop working 60+ hour weeks. This is the first time that the place has been truly financially healthy (the closing of the other game store in our little college town didn't hurt) since I've known him, and I am tremendously happy for him. Not to mention the fact that it's one of the places I regularly hang out with friends, so I've got a selfish interest in its continued success!
- Along the same lines, my Friday night gaming group pretty much good to go with our new podcast (announcement forthcoming). We've got a domain, a blog, weeks worth of recordings, and an intro and outtro. I just need to start putting up shows and do some pub work. This is the biggest question mark of all the things going on, because I don't know whether we're going to get any kind of audience, but I sure as hell am going to try.
- Our Live Gamescreen app is reaching V1 maturity and will soon have rule support for "Powered by the Apocalypse" games.
- I've just run the first session of my recurring "indie game series", a set of one-shot RPGs at the game store on Sunday nights. The first game was Monster of the Week and it was a ton of fun. I'll have to review it at some point.
- I've also gotten news that a couple of co-workers are having babies and that some friends of ours have just gotten engaged. I am wonderfully happy for all of them - congrats!
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Okay, it was a supermarket. And he had an AR-15.
Technically, this is a legal thing to do, if the establishment doesn't prohibit the carrying of firearms, especially in the great state of Virginia in which I live.
Practically, this is not the sort of thing a sane individual does. It is not the sort of thing that happens in a sane society.
If I am going about my daily business and I see someone with an assault rifle who is not obviously in the uniform of the police or National Guard, my first reaction is going to be, "Oh my god, there's a guy with a gun, run away!" And even if it is someone in uniform, I'm going to to be, "Oh my god, is there a dangerous criminal around?"
These are not unreasonable conclusions to draw. Rifles like the AR-15 and AK-47 are military-grade anti-personnel weapons. They are designed for one purpose: to kill people. The only reason to be carrying an AR-15 on your person is because you expect to have to shoot someone. The rational thought that should go through someone's head upon seeing an individual armed with an AR-15 is, therefore, "somebody in the vicinity is about to get shot." And considering how even shootouts involving highly trained police and military types tend to have civilian injuries as collateral damage, the sane response for most individuals in that situation should be to run the hell away.
By the same token, if an individual expects to be engaging in a firefight - even defensively - basic decency dictates that they should try to do it somewhere isolated and not filled with innocent bystanders. Yes, people do have a constitutional right to bear arms (and we can debate what that means or if it even makes sense in 21st Century America), but waltzing into a Kroger with military-grade weaponry is at best irresponsible. It's like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater... while wielding a lit blowtorch.