It's challenge time!
Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.
Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!
Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!
Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.
3/5. The last Discworld book.
Well, that's that, then.
It's not a particularly inspired book, but nor is it the dire mess of some of the recent offerings. Not too surprising, I guess – it's basically the same book he'd written four or five times previously, so clearly the steps were familiar: threat from outside, faeries, how the progress of technology and particularly the railroad changes the face of the world, coming into power as a function of coming into self-knowledge.
No, all that, *handwave*. Been there, done that, and much better than this version.
No, this book is made by the first quarter, which is all about the death of a witch. And as constant Discworld readers will know, a witch is aware of her impending death, and is able – required, even – to prepare for it. Dig her own grave, do the final washing up, scrub the place until it shines. And then lie down and wait.
The first quarter of this, the last Discworld book, is about that. And, um. Ouch.
I've always been somewhat scornful of the idea that chess is a sport. I mean all it involves is sitting in a chair. You need only a minimum amount of dexterity, and you can play chess while instructing someone else to physically move your chess piece with the same results and the chess board is merely a convenient way of manifesting the state of the game; people can - and do - play in their heads.
The idea of e-sports - video games that are billed as 'sports' has baffled me even more, although unlike chess, you can make a point about fast reflexes and mashing buttons at the right time and in the right sequence demanding physical skills.
I'll come back to that.
On the games front, as someone who only eats when people buy games we *love* social gamers. Yes, the tournaments are for the hardcore, but the vast majority of the gaming public is our bread and butter - literally.
My hackles rose immediately. Not because the term 'social gamer' is necessarily derogatory (though often used as such), but because 'social gaming' describes a particular *type* of game, where people collaborate. They're often resource management and -exchange games; very often mobile or browser games, etc etc. And by framing it as 'hardcore vs social' we're coming to the core of my problem with much of 'gaming culture': I'm a gamer, but neither descriptor is appropriate for me.
I do not like social games; and while I play some mobile games they fulfil a different function for me than desktop games; I also play a number of different types of desktop games.
Bioware is one game company that does suggest the easy difficulty setting for those who just want to explore the story, though not in exactly the way you worded it. You might enjoy their games. Twitch games have a twitch culture, but not everyone makes twitch games - because we want to sell to those who enjoy a slower, more thoughtful experience too. I'm sorry you feel unwelcome in the gaming space, but please know that this is not by design of at least a lot of us in the industry. We try to think about the entire potential customer base for each game, and do our best to expand it as much as possible.
This is incredibly good to hear. I've been thinking about what makes games better for me. It's kind of important to me as someone who is designing a game engine: lots of people (I hope) will eventually use my system TO make games, and if there are things I can bake into the application that will make it harder to design non-inclusive games, I'm all for it. Given that there won't be a real-time combat system (I'm still working out what kind of combat system will work for this), it is unlikely that hardcore gamers will flock to it; I'm looking more towards the Twine end of the market.
So here's my personal list of things that make games better (or worse):
( Gameplay and more )
So, yes. For me, a 2h uninterrupted gaming session is a rare thing. On the other side of the scale there's a student learning to play Dota 2
... and here she is again, after 93 hours logged.
( Time Investment )
The idea that you have to be good at something to enjoy it feels pretty toxic overall. (See also ursulav's "permission to make bad art") If no-one gets hurt (which when it comes to physical exercise and pastimes involving animals is not a given), then people making bad art don't diminish great artists, people jogging in the park don't take anything away from marathon runners, and people who sing in the shower don't ruin the whole genre of opera.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Let me start off by saying that I don't think the words 'game' and 'sport' are the best, or even the most useful terms here, but I have no better ones, and I want to get on with the concept.
( Games you play and games you have to beat )
So that's something that I hadn't realised until I started writing this post: maybe the reason that I don't get on with some video games isn't that I'm bad at them, it's that they want a different _type_ of person sitting in front of them than I am. And while you can change the rules for a boardgame easily (and I have done so in almost every instance) and decide to play chess with a handicap or replay a particular situation or solve a puzzle someone else has set, video games - unless the designer provides those settings - tie you into playing as you're told to. Large and open-world games and games that you can finish in a myriad of ways allow you to play (do this quest first, use those kinds of troops); games that have one single solution (first you beat this enemy then you get the key to that door) and games that you need to be on top form to survive in _disallow_ play, and you can't take your ball and go home.
I'm still not happy with 'games vs. sport' - I am still looking for a better term, but it might be useful TO have a term for 'video games you need to beat and that can only be played in one way' vs. 'game that allows you to experiment.'
Scott is at work today, all day. The evening is going to be full-- We need to get to the library, and he needs to grill something so we have food. Well, it's cool enough that I could bake the meat in the oven, but Scott gets cranky when I do that if the weather is remotely good enough for him to grill. I also want him to go to either Whole Foods or Plum Market to see about getting samples of two of the lotions/ointments that the radiation folks recommend.
Cordelia's got a cold. I'm pretty sure I'm doomed to get it because Cordelia's been hugging me a lot and kissing me and so on. She's got a sore throat, and when she lies down, she coughs a lot. She got me up an hour after I went to bed so that I could dig out some cough syrup for her. I gave her the stuff I use (Kroger brand) since that's for ages 12 and up. Somehow or another the cup that came with the bottle vanished, so we had to use a much smaller cup twice in order to get her the full dose. I think she can find the bottle again and open it herself, so she can get some for herself at bedtime tonight. I mean, I will be around, but I'd like her to do a bit on her own.
I was hoping to try her with some Dayquil today to see if it's something she can take on a school day (I have problems with it, so it's possible she might), but Scott either hasn't bought any for a while or is keeping it in his lunchbox. I think the latter is more likely.
I have no idea whether or not catching Cordelia's cold will affect my radiation treatment. It's not mentioned in either of the handbooks they gave me, and I'm more than a little reluctant to google such a thing. I'll ask when I talk to someone about the lotion/ointment options. Even if I avoid this cold, Cordelia and Scott get a fair number of colds, and I catch about 2/3 of them. It's just part of our normal fall/winter.
It's kind of hard, watching all of the excitement over Yuletide and not participating. I think that not doing it was the right decision. I haven't written in months, and I'm not sure I will until after radiation and Christmas. I would like to, but somehow, I can't find the energy to do it. Possibly, if I started talking to someone about one of my projects, that might help, but I'm not sure that it would, and I'm not sure where or how to start those conversations or with whom. A lot of my WIP are stalled out at points where I really need to do something on my own to move them forward.
Cordelia is waiting eagerly for the new Rick Riordan book. I pre-ordered a copy from the local bookstore, and I had Scott get me some cash that I can send with Cordelia when she goes to pick it up. Cash is easier than trying to figure out the logistics of sending a check or paying by credit card. I expect that, if I called them, we could work something out with either check or credit card, but it would be a PITA when cash works just as well.
I applied for an account at the UM Credit Union last night. I think I filled everything out accurately. The website kind of panicked me by announcing that I had three minutes left to finish filling out the form before it wiped all the information and made me start over. I hadn't been particularly slow, and I still had reading their contract/agreement documents ahead of me, so the time limit seemed more than a little strange. I hadn't gotten up and walked away for even a minute, so it wasn't responding to a prolonged idle period. I have no idea.
It's 15 years since the Human Rights Act became law. The @Libdems will fight tooth and nail to protect this landmark piece of legislation.
— Tim Farron (@timfarron) October 2, 2015
This follows the overwhelming passing of the following motion, extolling the Human Rights Act and reaffirming our whole-hearted support for it, at the Bournemouth conference:
F34 Policy motion: Human Rights Passed (Amendment One passed with lines 9-10 deleted)
Conference believes that:
I. Human rights and civil liberties are fundamental to a fair, free and open society. They are vital to ensuring that the state is appropriately constrained and accountable for its use of power.
II. Human rights laws protect everyone, not only weak and vulnerable people, for example they have:
a) Stopped the state spying on citizens, supported peaceful protest and protected soldiers.
b) Helped rape victims, defended domestic violence victims and guarded against slavery.
c) Enhanced media freedom, protected whistle-blowers and provided answers for grieving families.
d) Preserved the right to a fair trial, prevented indiscriminate stop-and-search and protected minorities.
e) Helped elderly people subjected to physical abuse in their care homes and patients who suffered inhumane and degrading treatment at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.
f) Ended corporal punishment in schools and protected parents’ rights in care proceedings.
III. Liberal Democrats recognise the leading role the UK took in drawing up the European Convention on Human Rights after the Second World War, based on long-standing British traditions of civil liberties.
IV. Membership of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is particularly important for the UK because among its 46 signatories the UK is in a very small minority in not having its own written constitution.
V. The UK has a vital role in showing world leadership in the upholding of universal human rights, which would be wrecked by the UK joining the pariah states who reject international human rights agreements.
VI. While UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies have a vital role in protecting the public and investigating criminal activity, we must ensure the state does not over-reach the bounds set by the ECHR in pursuing those roles.
VII. Transparency and independent scrutiny of the activities of security agencies is vital.
Conference applauds the fact that Liberal Democrats in Government in the last Parliament blocked Conservative plans to repeal the Human Rights Act and the Conservatives’ Communications Data Bill (the so-called ‘Snoopers’ Charter’) which would have forced internet service providers to keep records of citizens’ texts, emails and every website visited. Conference notes that the previous Labour Government attempted to introduce similar legislation.
Conference is therefore deeply alarmed by:
i) The threat posed to human rights in the United Kingdom by Conservative plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights, which could weaken the protection of human rights in Britain, including the right to privacy and family life.
ii) The unwillingness of many Conservatives to accept the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and to abide by the UK’s international treaty obligation under the Convention.
iii) The prospect that the UK may leave, or be forced out of, the ECHR if plans supported by some Conservatives are implemented, depriving our citizens of the protection of the Convention and the Strasbourg Court and destroying the UK’s capacity to lead on human rights internationally.
iv) The threat to the peace and stability of Northern Ireland posed by the potential repeal of the Human Rights Act, which implemented a key element of the Good Friday Agreement 1998 to incorporate the ECHR into Northern Ireland law.
v) Proposals included in the Queen’s Speech, which are similar to those in the Communications Data Bill, and which would lead to the bulk collection of information by internet service providers.
vi) The Conservatives’ opposition to recommendations in the report by David Anderson QC for more accountable security services, including judicial approval for requests to intercept communications.
Conference resolves to:
A. Champion human rights and the UK’s membership of the ECHR.
B. Challenge misleading accounts of the effects of the ECHR and the Human Rights Act.
C. Retain the Human Rights Act unless it is replaced with a Bill of Rights which incorporates and builds on those rights set out in the ECHR with the critical mechanisms of the Human Rights Act which relate to public authorities, legislation and courts in the UK; and oppose any attempts by Conservatives to introduce a British Bill of Rights which does not achieve this.
D. Oppose measures called for by the Conservatives, such as the bulk collection of data by internet service providers, which would lead to a disproportionate level of surveillance of members of the public.
Conference also calls for:
1. A Digital Bill of Rights, to define and enshrine the digital rights of the citizen, including:
a) The principle that everyone has the right to control their own data.
b) The right to use strong encryption to protect privacy and security.
c) The principle that public bodies should only be able to invade an individual’s privacy where there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
2. A new Freedoms Act, to protect citizens from excessive state power, including:
a) Measures to protect free speech and the right to cause offence.
b) Measures to prevent heavy handed policing with tighter regulation of ‘kettling’.
c) Tighter rules on the use of CCTV and facial images.
3. The Government to demonstrate its commitment to human rights by:
a) Ratifying, acceding to and incorporating into domestic law all outstanding protocols of the European Convention on Human Rights, including but not limited to:
i) Protocol 1, Article 2 (Right to education).
ii) Protocol 4 (Right of free movement).
iii) Protocol 7 (Rights of those accused of a crime).
iv) Protocol 12 (Right of non-discrimination).
This motion reaffirms and updates policy on human rights most recently set out in the General Election Manifesto, Stronger Economy. Fairer Society. Opportunity for Everyone (2015), policy motion A Digital Bill of Rights (2014), policy paper 117, Power to the People (2014), and policy motion Human Rights (2013).
* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist in Newbury and West Berkshire. He is part of the Liberal Democrat Voice team and blogs at Liberal Burblings.
2/5. In a far future dystopic solar system, time operatives go into the past to steal its resources. Until one operative – let's call him Mr. Manpain – brings someone forward
Okay, I am getting kind of uncanny. Ugh, I thought, halfway through this book, I bet this got optioned for a movie. Bingo. Michael Bay will direct. Why oh why is it that I can spot a terrible summer blockbuster at fifty paces? But also can't spot a book that would make a good movie with a map and directions?
Anyway, whatever, I anticipated every "twist" this book had to offer, because duh, and hissed and winced as it treated every woman as an object to be killed or saved by/for a man, and complained with increasing grumpiness about why we couldn't get more of some of the interesting worldbuildy bits and less of, you know, everything else. Particularly Mr. Manpain, blech.
So very much not seeing the movie.
I have to admit, I laughed, especially at the “Pluto” part.
Still, I do sometimes worry about the future of NASA marketing. Promoting movies like “The Martian” is great, but I wonder if this will backfire in the long run. I agree with my friend Joel Achenbach; Congressional squabbling over NASA’s budget and the lack of a clear vision or plan to get to Mars only serves to contrast what NASA promotes versus what they can actually do.
This is not NASA’s fault, mind you. I lay the blame squarely on Congress. They have a clear path ahead of them — fully funding Commercial Crew — but instead keep throwing money at the Space Launch System (which, if built, will cost so much NASA won’t be able to do anything with it) and the Orion capsule, which now may not be able to take humans in it until 2023, a full eight years after Commercial Crew would’ve been able to send humans into space, had Congress funded it.
What a mess. The majority of Americans love NASA, and it’s incredible that NASA can do such amazing feats like send probes to Pluto and Saturn and protoplanets like Vesta and Ceres at all, let alone given the Keystone Kops feel of the Congresspeople pulling the purse strings. My only hope now is that these folks in Congress get replaced in the 2016 elections.
It’s hard to look to the stars when the people funding you have their heads jammed into pork barrels.
I just want to get this thing done, so I can concentrate on organising with a museum to have a look at a couple of assemblages to use my method on. Admittedly, first the method must be tested, but that's for other people (so not to risk bias - is the written up method clear and concise for its purpose, and does the sexed traits in one sheep population match those of another population?).
( Images not appearing in The Crusade )
We previously carried the full text of Nick Clegg’s speech to the Bournemouth conference. Here below is the video of the speech, courtesy of the party’s conference YouTube channel.
I wasn’t in the hall for the speech. I have now had a chance to watch it back. It is an excellent speech, full of passion and realism. I particularly liked the passages when Nick refers to real people, such as the nurse now facing a £2,000 income cut from George Osborne’s recent budget.
The May result was shattering for us all, but Nick offers a credible message of passion and optimism.
* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist in Newbury and West Berkshire. He is part of the Liberal Democrat Voice team and blogs at Liberal Burblings.
But it's gone now, and I can take a rest for a week to 10 days before a final manic incorporation of Jami's line-edit and KT's work on the start and agent submissions prior to the agent round on November 3rd. My first draft was 144kwds, I cut that to 121kwds for the Pitchwars submission, it's now just under 100kwds, which I wouldn't have believed possible a month ago. And pretty much all of that is rewriting rather than deletions. It's now a more marketable length (120k was possible, but pushing it) and a much tighter piece of work. Really pleased with how this has gone.
Gonna go sleep for a week!
Original air date: March 6, 1995
Director: Paolo Barzman
Writer: Alan Swayze
Synopsis: Thugs kill Immortal Ceirdwyn's mortal lover Steven, and she vows revenge. Duncan gets involved when a young pickpocket named Paolo, the brother of one of Steven's murderers, steals Duncan's wallet. Meanwhile, Richie's racing days come to a dramatic end.
Please share your thoughts and reactions in comments. The master post for all discussion posts is here.
Happy Bunday! Thanks, Devan, Stefanie, and bunny Winnie! Devan writes, “This is my bunny Winnie(Short for Winston), This was a picture taken during the day he was neutered, and he was sleeping A LOT that day, this was one of the moments next to his strawberry hut. Nowadays, Winnie is as playful and jumpy as a young bunny can be!”
ETA: Thankfully, I worried for naught. I was instructed on how to look properly, and lo, the nominations were sent. PHEW.
Also I just returned from a great matinee celebrating Michael Ende (the writer) and his father, the painter Edgar Ende (the occasion is the 20th anniversary of Michael's death and the 40th of Edgar's), and while the matinee itself was fabulous, a great mixture of prose text excerpts and songs written by Michael Ende together with anecdotes by his illustrator and friend, plus an exhibition of Edgar's paintings, I learned something terribly sad. Now I've known ever since his original indignant interviews back in the 80s that Michael Ende despised and hated (the later term is not too strong in this case) the movie version of The Never-Ending Story, but I hadn't known until today there was an additional reason for this beyond "author despises film version of work due to it getting all he cares about completely wrong". Michael Ende and his wife, actress Ingeborg Hoffmann, lived in Genzano di Roma, and when the movie The Never-Ending Story hit the local cinema, Ende told his wife "you don't have to watch it" - he himself had done so at a preview in Munich, and had been vocally appalled - "but if you must, it's here now, it'll probably be your last chance". She went and watched. And got so upset that she got a pulmonary embolism and died. She literally got transported out of the cinema by the ambulance to her deathbed in the hospital.
There are a lot of authors who feel wronged by translations of their work into other media, and you might agree or disagree with this, but this event certainly sets a kind of morbid record for "author's life ruined by film based on his work"....
Release week is upon us! Here’s where you can find me:
First of all, I’m doing a Reddit AMA on Monday, the fifth. I’ll be in the air when that link goes up, but watch Orbit’s twitter, and I’ll try to tweet the link when I can. Or Tumbl and blog, but I’m more likely to be able to tweet from my phone, and likely to only be able to Tumbl or blog when I get to the hotel, which will be very shortly before I begin answering questions. (Yes, the timing on this is dicey. We’ll make it work, one way or the other.)
Then! (Copied from my previous “where I’ll be” post):
Tuesday, October 6
7 PM: University Temple United Methodist Church The Sanctuary, 1415 NE 43rd Street, Seattle, WA
Wednesday, October 7
7 PM: Tattered Cover, Denver, CO
Thursday, October 8
7 PM: Powell’s, Beaverton, OR
Friday, October 9
7:30 PM: Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA
Saturday, October 10
3 PM: Borderlands, San Francisco, CA
I’ll have some swag to hand out, as long as supplies last. I will try to have Awn Elming and Translator Dlique pins on me, as well as these:
I’d love to show you what these Book Three pins look like, but that would be a spoiler! As long as I still have some, I will hand them out to anyone at a signing who wants one, and once you’ve read the book you can find out for yourself!
If you can, come see me! I’m looking forward to meeting you! Also, if you’re coming to an event, please consider buying your copy of Mercy from the store in question. They’re being super nice and helpful having me in, and their being able to sell some books as a consequence makes that worthwhile for them. If you can’t, or can’t afford a copy just now, no worries, it’s all good.
See you soon!
Mirrored from Ann Leckie.
Support this site's full-text RSS feed by buying The Comics: An Illustrated History Of Comic Book Art
The Comics: An Illustrated History Of Comic Book Art, written by the creator of the Joker, is a great look at the long history of the comic book form.
(What's the deal with these links? Click here for info.)
Judge Parker, 10/4/15
Oh, hey, I guess we’re turning back to some actual Parker family dynamics in the strip ostensibly named for them! April has just fallen seventeen notches in my esteem for using the perfectly gross phrase “give her a grandchild,” though I’m sort of impressed at how sure she is that she’ll be able to overcome the uncertainties of the human reproductive process within a set timeframe by sheer force of steely will. Of course, we should note the way April artfully deflects Abbey’s assumption that she was going to the Balkans on World Bank business. April is of course a CIA operative and knife-weilding killer, so presumably in a few weeks reports will emerge from Montenegro of an isolated mountain village, the entire population of which was found murdered in their sleep, with the only inhabitant missing being a single newborn baby. Katherine will have her grandchild within the year, all right. Katherine will have it in record time.
Six Chix, 10/4/15
This poor woman is addicted to tops! She must fight this addiction by purging all tops from her life. There will be no tops, only bottoms. Every object will have a lower half but no upper half, an undersurface but no covering. How is this possible? What nightmare of madness-inducing, unnatural geometry is she unleashing on the universe? We will all be collateral damage in her terrible battle against her addiction.
This post, "Not sure if it’s less gross or MUCH GROSSER that it’s not the potential father saying this", originally appeared on The Comics Curmudgeon, which is the best blog on the Internet.
Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.”
So the king said to Joab and the commanders of the army, who were with him, “Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and take a census of the people, so that I may know how many there are.”
But Joab said to the king, “May the Lord your God increase the number of the people a hundredfold, while the eyes of my lord the king can still see it! But why does my lord the king want to do this?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab and the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to take a census of the people of Israel. They crossed the Jordan, and began from Aroer and from the city that is in the middle of the valley, towards Gad and on to Jazer. Then they came to Gilead, and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites; and they came to Dan, and from Dan they went round to Sidon, and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites; and they went out to the Negeb of Judah at Beer-sheba. So when they had gone through all the land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Joab reported to the king the number of those who had been recorded: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand soldiers able to draw the sword, and those of Judah were five hundred thousand.
But afterwards, David was stricken to the heart because he had numbered the people. David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.”
When David rose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, “Go and say to David: Thus says the Lord: Three things I offer you; choose one of them, and I will do it to you.”
So Gad came to David and told him; he asked him, “Shall three years of famine come to you on your land? Or will you flee for three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me.”
Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into human hands.”
So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from that morning until the appointed time; and seventy thousand of the people died, from Dan to Beer-sheba. But when the angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented concerning the evil, and said to the angel who was bringing destruction among the people, “It is enough; now stay your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then by the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
When David saw the angel who was destroying the people, he said to the Lord, “I alone have sinned, and I alone have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”