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|Tuesday, December 10th, 2013|
|An Open Letter to Dodge Motors
An Open Letter to Dodge Motors
10 December 2013
Dear Dodge Motors,
My first car was a 1974 gold and white Dodge Charger SE. Loved that car, my parents bought it used for me in the summer of 81 and I drove it for years. Since that time, I’ve owned many cars, several of them Chrysler or Dodge models. Thus, it pains me to say that I am furious with you.
In 2006 my wife bought a 2004 white Dodge Stratus. Been one of the best cars I’ve ever driven. In 2011, my grandfather-in-law bought us a 2010 white Dodge Avenger. It too has been a joy to drive. Having expressed my love for these care, I, now, must ask, “Why in the Name of all that is Holy did you put the battery in front left fender just before the wheel well?”
Once while out in the country on a Sunday afternoon, the battery in the Stratus died. We tried to jump it off using the poles, set up for this operation, under the hood. It didn’t work. I worked the heavy plastic cover (held in place with plastic grommets) off the hiding place of my battery. I manhandled the battery out of its hole and discovered that it was a Mopar battery…that needed to be maintained. I added water to the battery, let it charge up, and started our car. I put the unreplaceable cover in my trunk and drove off.
Today, my wife could not get the Avenger to start. A couple of hours later, when my father-in-law came by, the Avenger started up after a number of clicks and the clock on the radio resetting to 12:00. This evening after work, I fought the cover off the battery’s hiding place to discover two badly corroded connectors and a battery reservoir half empty of water. It was another factory installed Mopar battery. The cover is still lying in my yard.
I can only think of two reasons to design a car with a battery hidden in such a place. 1. The designer/engineer has no clue about car care and maintenance, so he or she didn’t know any better. 2. Dodge and their parent company Chrysler are morally bankrupt. I believe the latter.
I believe that the cars we are driving were designed in such a manner to make owners unwilling to perform simple upkeep and repairs on their cars; thus, forcing them to return to dealership for service. The fact that heavy plastic cover is held on by grommets that are no longer usable after they are removed is just cheap. If I took my Avenger in for service, I would have been charged for a service person to clean my battery connectors, possibly tighten them, add water to my battery, and then charged for several grommets.
Despite having been a fan of Dodge for over 30 years, this has driven to seek another car company. I will look at Dodge cars the next time I go to buy, but unless I see a radical change in the design of your vehicles, I will be buying from a different company.
I am also posting this letter on all of my social networking sites.
|New Novel Started, Plus LJ Twitter Resolution
Well, more people seem to like the Tweets than dislike, so I'll turn them back on. I wish the connection LJ uses had the option to put the whole post behind a LJ-cut instead of arbitrarily tossing one in after 20 Tweets or so... but it doesn't. Sorry about that! I'll try to put more actual-content posts on LJ to fill in the gaps.
Meanwhile, I started the first draft of my next novel today! :) Progress so far: 1,112 of ~90k. This one started as a comic (remember the Turnabout?
), which then morphed into another comic, but the more I thought about it, the better it seemed to work as a novel. This one should clock in on the higher side of the ~90k wordcount, as it's a pretty epic and sprawly story by my usual standards. I'm hoping FurPlanet will be interested in carrying it. :)
In other news, I've almost completely got my "what I want my workspace to be like" worked out-- unfortunately, it entails another drafting table exactly like the one I'm currently using! Which costs ~$450 or so. So I'm gonna have to open up commissions again, it seems! I expect to be doing that later this week, probably as soon as FurAffinity gets back out of "read-only" mode (since many of my would-be commissioners seem to prefer communicating via FA notes).
Anyway, time to feed the kitties! Catcha later, LJ. :)
-The Gneech Current Mood: busy
|Numenera and the History of Plunder
I had a wonderful time at Dragonmeet and in London with the Pelgrinistas. One of the happy discoveries on returning home is that my 13th Age co-designer has a a guest blog ready to roll. Over to Jonathan.Now that Bruce Cordell’s and Monte Cook’s Kickstarter campaign for The Strange is over, we can once again pay attention to Numenera, Monte’s new RPG about exploring the mind-boggling world of the far future. Numenera is remarkable for, among other things, its emphasis on loot. The game is explicitly about exploring the mysterious world and recovering wondrous artifacts from ages past. Many of these devices are powerful enough to influence the course of a game session or campaign. They’re game-changers. In some ways, this emphasis is a return to original D&D and a reversal of a general trend in RPGs away from loot.
In original D&D, there was precious little to differentiate one fighting man from another, other than magic items. Fighters had no skills, powers, or tricks, just stats. But loot found in the dungeon made one fighter different from another. An elven cloak made one character invisible, while a necklace of missiles let you throw fireballs. Magic items dropped randomly, based on big percentile tables, so they could be disruptive. The level of a treasure determined the chance it included a magic item but did not influence which random of magic item you found. If a low-level character randomly found a big magic item, it changed the game’s dynamics. The party could now take down monsters that had outclassed them or avoid obstacles that would otherwise have stymied them. Our campaigns were thrown off-balance, but it sure was fun to cut loose with overpowered magic items.
With 3rd Ed, Monte, Skip, and I rationalized the random tables, categorizing magic items as mundane, minor, medium, and major. The idea was to reduce the disruptive effects of magic items, making loot less of a factor in differentiating characters. Even so, there were plenty of ways for magic items to have a big impact on play, especially anything that let you go invisible, fly, or otherwise substantially change the fundamentals of combat and dungeoneering. In 2007, Fourth ed took normalization even further. Magic weapon abilities, for example, were all made modest enough that each one was less valuable than an additional +1 on attacks would be. A +2 weapon with no ability is better than a +1 weapon with the best ability. That approach ensures that the weapons’ special abilities can’t disrupt game balance. Thirteenth Age follows this logic as well. Outside of the F20 tradition, loot has generally been even less important. My own RPGs (Ars Magica, Over the Edge, and Everway) have little loot to speak of, and you see much the same in Champions, Call of Cthulhu, Vampire, Feng Shui, and other significant RPGs.
An exception that proves the rule was my slim RPG Omega World, a d20 take on Gamma World. I created that game specifically to recapture some of the disruption that had been balanced out of 3rd Ed. Omega World was meant as a change of pace, without the balance necessary to handle campaigns of indefinite length. Random good luck and random bad luck were built into the game’s DNA. Like Gamma World before it, Omega World was about characters with strange powers exploring a mysterious, fallen world, hoping to find powerful artifacts from ages past. Which brings us back to Numenera.
Numenera takes loot to the next level. The very title of the game refers to the unfathomable technology left over from eight past “worlds.” Here, game-changing loot isn’t a problem to be moderated. It’s the core of the game. How do you get over-the-top loot without knocking the campaign off-balance? Monte squares this circle by giving each item limited uses, often one. Using crazy loot is part of the game, but the action doesn’t spiral out of control. Monte has preserved for us something that most RPG designers have left behind—preserved it and advanced it. It’s exciting to see Monte bucking a nearly universal trend and giving players an experience that’s hard to find elsewhere. Numenera successfully advances classic roleplaying tropes in ways other than loot, such as character identity and dungeon crawling, but discussion of those will have to wait for future posts.
|Meditation on Tony and Renee
My friends Tony and Renee contain secret generators, hidden wellsprings of power, volcano-like depths of astonishing goodness and virtue. Their whole lives hinge on the act of helping people. Strangers, friends, family, and countless students and clients in between — these friends of mine strive and learn and work so they can better improve people’s lives, day by day. Their capacities and devotion astound me. They set a remarkable tone — playful but meaningful — as friends, as coaches, as parents. I think of them as family and I do so with happy pride and a selfish twinge. Watching them, I get a glimpse and glimmer of an idea: How to be friendly and fun without being frivolous. How to do good for the people around me. How to act like a grown up. They’re great.
|Gallifrey Tweets No More
I have decided to stop the aggregate Tweets posts to LJ. It turns out I almost never go back to look at them, and it was getting kind of discouraging to look at my LJ and see "My Tweets, My Tweets, My Tweets" all the time. I think it was producing more noise than signal.
I do miss the days of a vibrant LJ community, tho. Where have all the comments gone? Say what you want about life in 140 characters, there is at least a lot of conversation going on over there!
I'll try to make a point of putting more cool stuff here tho. :)
EDIT: Hmm. Maybe I'm being too hasty here. You folks tell me, yes Tweets, or no? I'd like to know what people think. :) Current Mood: okay
|December 10, 2013: To explore Strange New Words!
Originally published at Mouseferatu: Rodent of the Dark. You can comment here or there.
And it’s ready!
Strange New Words, my novel-length collection of short fiction, is finally available. Thirteen tales–some of which are reprints, some of which are brand new to this collection–ready and waiting for you!
Right now, it’s available at Amazon, for Kindle, and at Smashwords, in multiple formats including PDF and EPUB. All for what I dare say is quite a reasonable cost. Although not ready yet, it will also eventually be available as a softcover print book through Amazon, and as a PDF, a softcover, or a hardcover through Drive Thru Fiction.
I appreciate the support of each and every one of you; I couldn’t have gotten this out alone. I’m really proud of how this came together, and I’m looking forward to hearing what you all think.
(And yes, I’ll be doing a formal catalog page for this book; just haven’t gotten to it yet.)
Don’t forget to pick up Lost Covenant while you’re at it.
|Monday, December 9th, 2013|
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- Sun, 12:28: Snowy weather always makes me want to watch gunbunny anime. I don't get that.
- Sun, 12:37: It's the future, and law enforcement is recklessly gun-happy women in bikinis. Because that makes sense. http://t.co/wKNJRrliqi
- Sun, 12:40: RT @SamGrittner: I'm God's gift to women if he stopped at a gas station last minute.
- Sun, 13:24: Honestly, I think if I were the #Redskins I would have called in sick today.
- Sun, 13:42: Put in Cousins! Put in Smith! Put in that guy selling hot dogs in the stands! It's not like you can hurt the #Redskins now.
- Sun, 18:36: So, as we do every year around this time, @laurierobey put up our Christmas tree and watched "Scrooge" starring Albert Finney.
- Sun, 18:37: I am now officially heartwarmed.
- Sun, 18:40: It also hit me square in the gut, 'cos it reminded me of Kerry on several levels. So I'm heartwarmed and gut-punched.
- Sun, 18:40: I need to give my internal organs a rest now.
- Sun, 18:41: RT @foalpapers: Ah, that blissful, zen moment when I've crossed off or rescheduled all my To Do list items for the day, but tomorrow's have…
|Sunday, December 8th, 2013|
|No SMOFCon for me
Because of some things I'm contemplating, I had additionally contemplated (although it's likely part of the same... Never mind) attending SmofCon
here in Toronto.
It's a recurring travelling convention for convention organizers. I think it would be interesting to get perspectives from people who run events. But this weekend was a holiday one, with parties and screenings and planning of parties, so it just fell by the wayside. Such is life. Current Mood: contemplative
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- Sat, 12:30: RT @seananmcguire: I am awake. I wish to file a complaint.
- Sat, 12:32: And now, the Talking Boat. https://t.co/kfshfZ6eQe
- Sat, 20:08: I think... some art needs doing.
- Sat, 22:24: Gneech Christmas Card 2013 http://t.co/af4P1aVShn
- Sat, 22:24: Gneech Christmas Card 2013: http://t.co/HqC4obiR7C
- Sat, 22:30: I'm a little worried about @mlp_Rainbow Dash. http://t.co/sBjdKuNY4D
- Sat, 22:37: A #Borderlands point-and-click adventure? Weeeeird. But I like the sound of it! http://t.co/AMJ9DgetJw
- Sat, 22:38: My rule will be harsh but fair. //RT @Miertam: The church of @the_gneech We just need a million more followers and we get tax free status.
- Sun, 08:24: #InkyGirl says "OMG the sky is falling!" I simply reply enigmatically, "Winter is coming," and nod sagely. http://t.co/SpDVmqUX5O
- Sun, 08:38: She's never seen snow! It's weeeeeeeeird! //RT @LadyMoonglo: she looks so concerned!
|Saturday, December 7th, 2013|
|2013 Reading #47 to 49
Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America's Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
by Boris Kachka
If you're not fascinated by the inner workings of the publishing business, then this book is probably not for you. Fortunately for me, I am. Kachka provides a detailed history of one of New York's most distinctive publishing houses, mostly by following the life of co-founder Roger Straus, who might as well have been the Roger Sterling character in Mad Men.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux was full of skulduggery, betrayal, and lust, and that's before the house's many authors got into the act. It also did a pretty amazing job of publishing artistic work that actually sold, including a rather long list of books I love. It must have been an amazing place to work, and I'm glad Kachka captured the experiences of the people who were there at a critical time in New York's literary history.The Amulet of Samarkand
by Jonathan Stroud
A friend demanded that I read this, and I'm glad she did. The Amulet of Samarkand
is a hoot, not least because of its narrator -- Bartimaeus, a sassy djinn who would be completely at home in a hard-boiled detective novel. Which this sort of is, in its own way, just set in magical London and not Sam Spade's Los Angeles.
The tone put me off just a little at first, because Stroud throws you in at the deep end and tells you almost nothing about the world you're entering. Bartimaeus also has a fondness for footnotes, which is a favorite device of writers who only think they're as clever as Terry Pratchett. As I read on, though, it became clear that it was Bartimaeus
who thought of himself as the clever writer, and that Stroud knows exactly what he is doing as he fills you in on the story and the world.
The other major character -- Nathaniel, the young wizard who summons Bartimaeus -- holds up his end of the story, but it's the djinn who's the star here. He's a character that you love because of his flaws, and I'm looking forward to spending some more time with him in future volumes.Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy
by L.A. Meyer
I've always been fond of historical YA novels, though I'm not sure they were called that when I was reading Johnny Tremain
. Come to think of it, I'm not sure what they call them now. I haven't picked up any in a while, though, so this one just sort of jumped out at me on the library shelf.
It's a lot of fun. It hits the plot points you'd expect from the intersection of "swashbuckling Navy adventure" and "cross-dressing hero," but it does so with style. It doesn't hurt that "Jacky" is a resourceful guttersnipe with enough smarts and charisma that you can actually believe in her ability to hide her identity for months on a crowded ship. (It doesn't hurt that her disguise isn't 100% perfect,, either. Mayer portrays several characters as being aware that something's a little strange, but they're completely unable to imagine the truth. That makes a lot of sense to me.)
The story gets a little wild at the end, but at that point, who cares? I was invested in the characters and the ship and eager to see what would happen next. I'm also pleasantly surprised to see that there are sequels -- and I suppose I should have expected them, since C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian proved that you can't keep a great sailor hero on dry land for long...
|Play: My Dear Watson
http://grubbstreet.blogspot.com/2013/12/play-my-dear-watson.htmlThe Hound of the Baskervilles
, Based on the Original Story by Arthur Conan Doyle, Adapted by David Pichette and R. Hamilton Wright, Directed by Allison Narver. Through December 15
This is a Rep production, top to bottom. You know that in this space I kvetch about how it is called the Seattle Rep, and then they bring in some successful company from elsewhere or a one-person show or puppets, for god's sake, and I opine how I'm not sure that it is living up to the Repertory in the name. However, this adaptation of the classic a Sherlock Holmes novel is both original and native top to bottom. Adapters Pichette and Wright are both actors whose work I've enjoyed, and I've appreciated director Narver's work as well. And the bulk of the capable and competent cast list use the winning phrase "was last seen at the Rep in..." and then lists some of the titles we've reviewed here.
In addition, this could be a play that could easily taken on the road and play with great success back east (take THAT, other Rep companies!). In the theater calender, this would be considered the "safe" holiday play - something you could bring the out-of-town in-laws to, and it pulls out all the stops for stagecraft and presentation. And, of course, the subject is well-known to everyone, as all have encountered Holmes to some degree or another through their years.
And Holmes is hot. We have the action-hero steampunk Holmes on the big screen. We have the sociopathic modern Holmes (US and UK varieties) on the little screen. We have numerous PBS-versions of Holmes still haunting the DVDs, and various other media adaptations. And we have the original texts of course. And of the Holmes stories, the best-known is probably the Hound of the Baskervilles
, with its spooky moors and man-killing, glowing yeth hound. And while watching the play I kept referring back to the Basil Rathbone movie version, and I would not be alone.
So we have an extremely popular character in that character's well-known work. Do we call spoilers at this point? Do you have to say "The kids die" about Romeo and Juliet? Does Celine Deon's voice swell in song and you lean over and tell your seatmate "The ship sinks, you know."? But there are some differences between original and adaptation so let us call spoilers and be done with it. Some characters have evaporated, or have their roles taken up by others, and scenes occur that work in the play (they hold a dinner party for the locals to bring everyone onto the stage at once, for example), that are not necessary on the printed page. And it does change the story, but let me deal with the excellent actors, first.
Darragh Kennan is an excellent Holmes, fitting well within the various Holmesian hordes. His Holmes is smug, often haughty,but extremely competent. More than a touch OCD. He knows his tobaccos and accents but not his Shakespeare. He is often wrong. He makes mistakes. He is a much more human Holmes than the iconic version and Kennan plays up the self-satisfied, too-clever-by-half version of him well.
Andrew McGinn balances Holmes acerbic nature as the more welcoming, warmer, more human member of the partnership in Watson. Watson is a continual quandry in Holmesiana, is that he is a capable Doctor but often takes the back seat as the expository character, the one which Holmes reveals his thought process to, and thereby to us. As a result, he tends to come off as a bit of clod, while it is through Watson that we see Holmes in the first place. In Baskervilles
, Holmes disappears for a good bit of the plot (part of the first act and almost the entirety of the second) and Watson soldiers on, collecting the clues and interacting with the locals on a level that a chilly Holmes never could.
Oddly, the character that steals the show (and there are several would-be thieves in the talented group), is Connor Toms (previously in Red
) as the Canadian heir to Baskerville Hall, Sir Henry. Recently imported from the Great White, this adaption runs with the fish-out-of-water comedy throughout, the front-facing Sir Henry trying to shake hands with everyone, tip the servants, and insisting people call him "Hank". He runs into the very proper English with its stoopshouldered serving class and repressed emotions like a hurricane making landfall in Scotland.
I mentioned others engaged in stealing the show as well, both with main roles and as part of the ensemble. Rob Burgess as the horrified butler Barrymore. Marianne Owen as both Barrymore's wife and a wondrous turn as Mrs. Hudson, both tolerant and knowing where to draw the line with her famous tenants. Basil Harris as the Doctor who brings the case to Holmes and serves as an interesting mirror to Watson. Charles Leggett as the bad neighbor with a generations-long grudge, Quinn Franzen as the of-course-he's-a-bit-spotty butterfly hunter and Hana Lass as his slightly-psychic sister. Within the confines of the play, they have a bit more suspicion cast upon each in turn as Watson (and Holmes, when he appears fully) has to examine when dealing with a phosphorescent hound on the moors.
And here's the thing that offended at least one purest in our group - in removing a couple of characters from the book they messed with some of the plot, and ended up in a different final place than the novel. It is interesting, but given the shotgun approach to modern Holmes stories, it is perfectly permissible. But it does feel odd, given that so much is so right. And what bothered me that we got a "villains speech" at the end when the mastermind explains all, which doesn't feel right for Holmes as well. Holmes is the guy that gets it right, explains it all, pulls off the sheet to reveal the entire plan, and the culprit says "Ay, that's correct. It's a fair cop." Not here, and now, a week later, I'm still not sure about it.
The stagecraft, by the way, was the Rep at its best, filled with sliding walls and projected images. They choreograph a chase through Paddington Station that is positively brilliant, capturing the feeling and flavor through other members of the ensemble, sliding pillars, pirouetting staircases, and perfect timing. This is to handle something that theater handles badly, given its limitations - showing a chase which involves more than running from one side of the stage to the other.
runs for another week, then must close, so you should order tickets. This was the first Sunday matinee I've been to in a long time where the main floor was sold out, and a friend who knew someone at the ticket office said there would be no rush (last-minute, cheap) tickets. It is popular show, well-down and well-presented, and sums up everything that Rep company is supposed to do for its audience. A very proper, Holmesian Christmas present, indeed.
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- Fri, 12:07: Hmm. This world's magic system appears to pretty much be "bending." Not sure how I feel about that. #WriterWorldProblems
- Fri, 12:44: I've summarized myself into a corner! #SnowflakeMethod #AmWriting
- Fri, 13:58: And now, adding a subplot just because @LadyRowyn asked for it. #AmWriting
- Fri, 14:29: It's your fault my plot is mushrooming all over the third act! Darnit! XD // RT @LadyRowyn: Woohoo!
- Fri, 14:48: Ack. O.o How am I gonna get my characters out of this? #AmWriting
- Fri, 15:00: I was thinking in more general terms, but those will probably be involved! ;) // RT @Skyliting: wd40 and a crowbar?
- Fri, 15:38: Hey, my beta readers! There's a new and biggish post, in the usual place. :) Thanks!
- Fri, 23:06: The problem with writing all day as my day job, I have a real hard time shutting it off at night.
- Fri, 23:08: But I gotta work out a balance, or I'll burn myself out. :P
- Fri, 23:54: I don't wanna namedrop or anything, but I totally knew @graveyardgreg before he was cool. >.> In any case, I hope he has a happy birthday.
|Blatantly Stolen Thing
(This quiz thing stolen in turn from malinaldarose
. Mine now.)1. What time did you get up this morning?
The first time, 07:40. The second time at 09:20. Both times because Isambard was barking at magpies. The magpies were taunting him, to be fair.2. How do you like your steak?
Very, very rare, please, and none of your sauce business.3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
I think it was the second new Trek film. Cinema happens about twice a year, because it requires a four-hour chunk of time that is not work, study, gaming, or SCA, and that leaves very few such chunks.4. What is your favourite TV show?
I think it has to be Fringe
. In a world where almost all the TV shows I like are not as good as they could be, Fringe stands out as being better than it really should be.5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I quite like where I am now, to be honest. In years to come, I'd like to move a bit further into the country, and into a bigger house. But I like Maynooth, and I like this house.6. What did you have for breakfast?
Eggs, bacon, two doughnuts, and an enormous quantity of coffee.7. What is your favourite cuisine?
Medieval English Noble. Oh, you mean modern? If I had to stick to on, I like Scandinavian food, but mostly I like to pick and mix.8. What foods do you dislike?
Lettuce and tripe. And I'll eat lettuce. I am the original omniovre.9. Favourite Place to Eat Out?
The Witchery in Edinburgh is the best restaurant I've eaten in, I think.10. Favourite dressing?
People have favourite dressings? I don't know, Caesar Salad dressing? Plain wine-vinegar-and-olive-oil-with-herbs?11. What kind of vehicle do you drive?
Nissan Almera, although I'm not licenced yet.12. What are your favourite clothes?
My SCA garb, which is vastly more comfortable than any other set of clothes I own.13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
Current top of the list is Iceland, I think. But it's a long list.14. Where would you want to retire?
I don't understand the question. Retirement is for people who intend to stop doing things.15. Favourite time of day?
Nighttime, by far.16. Where were you born?
Holles Street Hospital, Dublin. And an inordinate number of significant events in my life have happened in a square mile around there - went to college, met my wife, had the civil wedding ceremony, got my first job, and so on and on. I work within a short distance of it now, and pass by it frequently.17. What is your favourite sport to watch?
Ice hockey, or hurling, but watching sport is so low on the entertainment totem pole that it essentially never happens.18. What's your dream job?
If I knew that, I'd go and do it. I like the current one a lot, but I think some combination of academia, consulting, and writing would suit me a bit better. Something where I can pick and choose the work I'm doing, and not end up doing paid advertising for a plastic surgery clinic, for example, on which I currently spend about 5% of my time.19. How many siblings?
Two, both younger brothers.20. Favourite pastime/hobby?
It's a difficult choice between running and planning tabletop RPGs, and the SCA. The SCA is something I can relax into; I don't need to be thinking all the time for it. But thinking nonstop is fun too, so gaming works well.21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
What an odd question. I answer these things more as a thought exercise than for anyone's curiousity, including my own.22. Bird watcher?
Not really. I like birds, and I seem to recognise more of them than most, but I wouldn't generally go out of my way to see them.23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Night. I wake up somewhere between two and four hours after I've got up.24. Do you have any pets?
One dog, Isambard Kingdom Spaniel, and one cat, Shandri.25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?
My pre-Christmas assignments are all submitted? I think making a fuss of new and exciting things only encourages them, and a life full of new and exciting is a life that's going off the rails.26. What did you want to be when you were little?
For quite some time, a woodworker like my father. Then a writer. But every single job I've ever had didn't exist when I was a kid, so it's not a terribly meaningful question. I never really wanted to be an astronaut, mostly because I was firmly convinced that space travel would be ordinary by the time I grew up, and who wants to be a bus driver? Mostly, I think, I wanted to have time and peace to read.27. What is your best childhood memory?
I don't remember much before seven or so, and I had to do a lot of growing up quite quickly around nine or ten. But I think a summer in my mid-teens, when I sold honey on the side of the road in Ashford in Co. Wicklow, and read my way through every fantasy and SF book in an excellent second-hand bookshop that was there qualifies, as a sort of conglomerate. I would get up in the morning from my bed in the caravan, eat breakfast in a trucker café, go to the bookshop and sell back the previous day's books at half price, pick up some new ones, and read them while people stopped and bought honey from me at the stand. In the later evening, I'd get fish and chips, and finish the books. Repeat the next day. I don't know how long I did it for, but it was fantastic.28. Are you a cat or dog person?
Both, but slightly more on the feline side.29. Are you married?
Very much so, and very happily.30. Always wear your seat belt?
Yes. Quite apart from it being illegal not to here, I think it'd be remarkably stupid not to.31. Been in a car accident?
A few minor ones when I was a kid, nothing serious.32. Any pet peeves?
Quite a number, but I'm getting good at selecting the right dialogue choices to avoid them, as it were.33. Favourite Pizza Toppings?
Meat. Also eggs. Breakfast pizzas FTW.34. Favourite Flower?
Uh... I don't know. Never given it a moment's thought. Cornflowers, maybe?35. Favourite ice cream?
Haagen-Dazs Strawberry Cheesecake, I think. Although I've had some very good pistachio ones.36. Favourite fast food restaurant?
I am a Burger King loyalist.37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test?
Not taken it yet, but I don't intend to fail it if I can help it.38. From whom did you get your last email?
Like, top of the inbox? I get a few hundred a day, most of which get filtered off. Top of the inbox is a message from a SCAdian currently living in Paris, who's coming to Dublin and wants to know if there are any practices on while she's here.39. Which store would you blow all your money in?
A good armour shop, where I could try on stuff and get all the pieces I need would be a Very Good Thing. No such beast exists on this side of the Atlantic, and possibly not at all.40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
Not really, nor will I for the next while. Work, study, and hobbies occupying most hours mean that spontaneous now usually means some form of pain later. Unless deciding to do a dungeon run in Neverwinter instead of just poking around solo counts, and I don't feel it does.41. Like your job?
Very much.42. Broccoli?
Many years ago, a friend mentioned that the only way he could stand to eat broccoli was to pretend he was a brontosaurus biting the tops off trees. I've felt more positive toward broccoli ever since.43. What was your favourite vacation?
Cruise up the coast of Norway, from Bergen to Kirkenes and back, in late winter, having gone by train from Oslo to Bergen.44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
Nina. And there's the shire Christmas night out coming up, to which I am looking forward immensely.45. What are you listening to right now?
Isambard occasionally woofing at the magpies.46. What is your favourite colour?
Black, realistically. Green, otherwise.47. How many tattoos do you have?
One, a simple spiral on my left shoulder.49. What time did you finish this quiz?
It is now 14:30 on 07/12/2012.50. Coffee Drinker?
Oh gods yes. Current Mood: accomplished
|Friday, December 6th, 2013|
So....I've been presented with a PIP at work. It is not objective. At all. So I called in HR. Hooray for new experiences!
A few years before the first appearance of the Swarm, after the Final War, three teenage brothers lived with their parents just barely on the edge of the ruins of Pittsburgh.
One day, the eldest brother was sent to look for salvage in the ruins. He had with him some jerky and a bottle of moonshine. During his search, he encountered a mutant writhing on the ground in the middle of a vacant lot.
"Please," said the mutant. "I think the radiation has got me at last. Do you have something for me to eat or drink, so I may take some comfort before I die?"( Read more...Collapse )
|Meditation on Anne Petersen
This post is part of a series about people from whom I am learning:
I’m lucky to get to play games like RPGs with Anne, whose sense of character and story are formidable. I could say that I admire Anne’s photography, craftiness, curiosity, or quick-witted instincts to look up all that which she does not know. I could say that and be honest and write about that, but the thing I’m learning lately from Anne are some great practices and habits for discussing difficult topics. Charged topics. Political topics. Rough-edged, half-formed, hot-to-the-touch, fresh-from-the-fire topics that I’d shy away from online. Anne’s open-minded, true-hearted, generous methodology helps me clarify and sharpen my own thoughts, opinions, positions — and reveal my errors and assumptions. “That’s fair,” she says, to let you know that you’ve been heard. It’s like being able to hone a dull dagger on a sharp sword. She could slay me dead, I suspect, with that sword, but Anne uses her immense creative, design, and managerial skills only for good. Thankfully! With those skills she can crack open, unmake, and remake anything she pleases.
( Read more...Collapse )
- Thu, 13:33: #InkyGirl rides again! http://t.co/zMTte7v0ev
- Thu, 14:20: Things stinkier than what #Dasher did in the upstairs litterbox: 1) What he did in the downstairs litterbox. 2) Nothing.
- Thu, 14:24: Whoa, my life exactly! //RT @RizzoRattie: its as if people know when Ive just started drawing. Queue the phone just going off non stop now
- Thu, 14:35: Ummm… TweetDeck? Is there some reason you’re not letting me schedule a tweet for a date other than today?
- Thu, 17:49: RT @KidFury: I'm not sad. Nelson Mandela was 95 and pretty much a badass revolutionary. I'm more grateful for him than anything.
- Thu, 21:58: Spent the day reconfiguring my studio w/ the help of Sirfox and @LaurieRobey. Carpets are gone (allergist recommended) and new desk in.
- Thu, 22:02: The new desk in question was bought for my mom, but she never used it. Well I will!
- Fri, 08:38: "I realize it's purely a matter of taste, but YOU ARE SO DAMN WRONG!" #ThingsIWantToSayButDont #Usually
- Fri, 09:08: In other news, apparently Space Dandy is a dandy guy in the space. *nods*
- Fri, 10:00: RT @mangastudio: What's better than Manga Studio for $24.99? How about Manga Studio, Poser MotionArtist AND ScatterShow for $49.99! http://…
|Thursday, December 5th, 2013|
A few years before the first appearance of the Swarm, after the Final War, there was a man named Braveheart Charlie who lived in a forest that was several days walk away from the ruins of Salt Lake City.
Charlie liked to explore odd parts of the forest. One day, while in the wilder, eastern end of the forest, Charlie heard an echoed boom and saw a fireball just on the edge of the forest. Walking around some burning trees, he discovered a fresh crater, smelling of baked earth and molten iron.( Read more...Collapse ) Current Mood: hungry
|Meditation on Shannon Glass
This post is part of a series about people from whom I am learning:
My friend Shannon Glass doesn’t mess around. When she works, when she plays, when she joshes around, she’s all in. She takes things seriously but she sees the joy in the absurd. She’s got a great eye — she’s designed parties, plates, homes, gifts, and more with an impeccable style that I admire. Get her a recipe and she makes it sing. Get her some fabric and she teaches it manners. If she wants to make something, she learns, and then she makes it. Just like that. Then she adds the winning detail that elevates the whole thing. Shannon’s also showing me what it’s like to be firm in convictions, to take no shit, to be strong without stepping on people to show how strong I am. I can’t hardly wait to be old friends with Shannon.