Shared posts

02 Apr 21:23

misbehavingmaiar: sebastian-bond: but-the-library-of-alexandria: the thing about writing fantasy...




the thing about writing fantasy stories is that language is so based on history that it can be hard to decide how far suspension of disbelief can carry you word-choice wise - what do you call a french braid in a world with no france? can a queen ann neckline be described if there was no queen ann? where do you draw the line? can you use the word platonic if plato never existed? can you name a character chris in a land without christianity? can you even say ‘bungalow’ in a world where there was no indian language for the word to originate from? is there a single word in any language that doesn’t have a story behind it? to be accurate a fantasy story would be written in a fantasy language but who has the time for that

Tolkien had the time apparently

LIsten. Linguistics Georg, who invented over 10,000 conlangs each day, is an outlier and should not have been counted. 

15 Sep 05:08

admiralchristy replied to your link “Every Southern Gothic Novel Ever”Really glad to see you...

admiralchristy replied to your link “Every Southern Gothic Novel Ever”
Really glad to see you repping The Toast. I write for them sometimes and they’re my favorite people. =]

I do enjoy The Toast :D I have a friend who reads it more regularly than I do and she sends me links, and then I play the How Long game. 

The How Long game consists of navigating the Toast website using only the links below the article you’re reading or the links above it, and timing how long it takes before you’ve read all the links you have access to. Usually it’s like…2, 3 hours for me. :D 

24 Mar 16:43

rocketmouse:copperbadge: rocketmouse: Chicago Public Library has an ecard option, which looks like...




Chicago Public Library has an ecard option, which looks like it can be done entirely online. It says Chicago residents (local residency requirements at most libraries are because public libraries are taxpayer-funded, so they want to be sure they’re giving the services to people who have already paid for them - some libraries will issue non-resident or short-term library cards for a fee), but it doesn’t look like it needs any proof of the address, so you could put in any address (either your own or one of someone who’d let you know if they mailed things to that address). 

They do indeed have an ecard — which can only be used to access online resources. You can’t check out physical books or media with it. It’s essentially a login for the ebook lending library (which is nearly impossible to figure out, oh my god, I hate Overdrive so passionately). 

So, you know, you still can’t get a physical book with one :D

Yes, but it sounds like you were also agreeing with the sentiment that digital access is where it’s at anyway. So here’s your digital option that only costs the taxes you’re already paying, and will, in many cases, also act as a 1-month temporary card for physical loans until you can get your hands on required paperwork.

I think you’re conflating two parts of the discussion though (which is happening A LOT in these threads). 

On the one hand yes, I am absolutely for ebooks and an ecard is a great way to get them if you can figure out how to use Overdrive. I am for ebooks in a general sense, or more specifically I’m against random art projects shaming people for not reading physical books.

But liking ebooks is not the point I was making with this specific post, which is that the ecard does not materially contribute to the secondary argument: whether or not “but it’s a library book” is a hole in the “millennials have a difficult time acquiring and maintaining a library” argument. This illustrates, I think, that it can be literally just as hard and in some cases harder to get a physical book from the library as it is to buy and keep a physical book of your own. 

22 Feb 22:06

jumpingjacktrash: micdotcom:'American Horror Story's Jamie...



'American Horror Story's Jamie Brewer just became the first woman with Down syndrome to walk the NYFW runway! 

Jamie Brewer graced the crowd at designer Carrie Hammer’s runway show during the Mercedes-Benz-sponsored event. The actress is the latest member of the designer’s campaign, “Role Models Not Runway Models,” which aims to highlight powerful, inspiring and exemplary women — not necessarily models — in her shows.

Brewer’s inclusion is a milestone in many ways

check out the story for more gif clips, she is FIERCE and having so much fun. great outfit too, classy and classic.

idk if most of y’all know this, i have a side bog called swaggregator that’s just a daily queue of People Being Awesome, because i know tumblr is full of bad news that can make you lose your faith in humanity and i want to counteract that a little. usually it’s news stories about people saving each other (or animals, or species, or neighborhoods) but sometimes it’s just people being so happy, or so charismatic, or so sassy that it just makes you smile.

as soon as i saw her grinning on the runway i knew this story belonged there. that is one of the greatest smiles i ever saw.

21 Jun 07:27

NEW SERIES: The House in the Wall

by Mark Waid

If you like THE EIGHTH SEAL, this is a very good day for you.

Writer James Tynion IV (Eighth Seal, Batman Eternal, The Woods) today launches the first chapter in his new Thrillbent horror series, THE HOUSE IN THE WALL. Joining him are co-writer Noah J. Yuenkel, artist Eryk Donovan, and colorist Fred Stresing, and together they creep me the hell out. Or, rather, their work does. You know what I mean. I’m sure they’re lovely people. I am willing to overlook the fact that James frequently, frequently giggles with a pitch, tone and volume identical to everything that ever gave you a nightmare when you were five. On the plus side, his table manners are impeccable.

THE HOUSE IN THE WALL is a ghost story stripped of all the hoary tropes and infused with a macabre edge familiar to Tynion’s fans. It’s about a recurring dream, a series of corridors, an impossible house, and a very brave woman scrambling to survive. It is awesome. And, like EMPIRE, it comes to subscribers every two weeks. For your $3.99 a month, that’s yet another comic delivered under the Thrillbent banner to join THE DAMNATION OF CHARLIE WORMWOOD, EMPIRE, ALBERT THE ALIEN, our full 300+ library of “back issues” of our various other series… and more new series to be announced in the next couple of weeks. I would pay that just to read one James Tynion IV comic, and I’m saying that with utter sincerity. Given all that comes with that… you shouldn’t miss this. THE HOUSE IN THE WALL. Check it out here.

The post NEW SERIES: The House in the Wall appeared first on Thrillbent.

04 Jun 19:24

Poe’s Law: That moment when a Fox Business commentator sounds...


Ugh. This is depressing.

Poe’s Law: That moment when a Fox Business commentator sounds just like a Disney villain.

With the sole distinction that Yzma is capable of telling the difference between genuine morals and political imperatives, and the other one… not so much.

05 Nov 04:36

Hey Austin: Next Thursday, Come Watch Jejune Institute Documentary The Institute

by Brandon Boyer


[This post is re-blogged from Venus Patrol sister-organization JUEGOS RANCHEROS, our local Austin indie game collective.]

Never got your chance to be inducted into The Jejune Institute, the amazing real-world game that transformed the city of San Francisco into a magical & mysterious playground? Then it is crucial that you join us at Austin’s North Door next Thursday, November 7th, at 7:00PM, as JUEGOS RANCHEROS presents a free screening of The Institute, the newly released documentary that takes “invites viewers down the rabbit hole into a secret underground world teeming just beneath the surface of everyday life.”


Any attempt to describe The Jejune Institute will always fall short of just how fantastic the experience was — from being first led into an intimidating Financial District skyscraper, to being given your first mission & re-emerging into the San Francisco streets to find that the clues had been around you all along, to hiking through the park with a transistor radio to pick up pirate radio broadcasts that you never knew existed & realizing that the plot was thickening by the minute.

But watching The Institute does an amazing job of carrying you along for the ride you might have missed, and introducing you to the game’s creators, participants & key figures, only to discover that behind the curtain — there are only more curtains.


Following its recent screening at the Austin Film Society, JUEGOS RANCHEROS is very excited to be able to present The Institute free of charge and open to the public, so even more of you can fall down its peculiar & enlightening rabbit-hole, in our first ever movie-night.

The presentation will begin promptly at 7:30PM, so please arrive early & in plenty of time to grab a good seat & not interrupt the film!


And don’t believe for a second that this is our least interactive meetup to date — head to The Institute’s website and download & print your own personal induction card to accompany your viewing of the film, which will help you unlock even more mysteries…

[PS: not in Austin or can't make it to the screening? You can play along at home by downloading the film on iTunes!]

Doors will be open Thursday, November 7th, at 7:00PM at North Door, 501 Brushy Street, Austin, TX 78702! The show is free and open to all the public — come drink, play, and meet the people changing the way you think about videogames!

The post Hey Austin: Next Thursday, Come Watch Jejune Institute Documentary The Institute appeared first on VENUS PATROL.

14 Aug 03:43

Sturgeon’s Law, Taste and RPGMaker

by Mark Filipowich

Sturgeon’s Law states that “90% of everything is crud.” If TvTropes is to be believed, there are a number of addendums to the law, such as: “if ever less than 90% of everything is crud than one needs to adjust their standards,” and “90% of people can’t distinguish crud from noncrud.” Almost everything created is a heap of load-bearing garbage to support the glorious minority of culture-forming genius. If you look at the brilliance of high art and find flaws than you aren’t reading it properly, if you see any virtue in the drivel beneath than you don’t have a high enough standard.

The attitudes enforced by these various “Laws” now associated with science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon prop up a status quo where creativity is a quality of the rare genius destined to speak on behalf of a generation and everyone else is just everyone else. The genius is born with an innate gift and duty to observe society, he—by sheer coincidence it is almost always he—produces culture from a vacuum and is rarely understood in his own time by anyone other than the keen publisher that collects the yearly harvest his work yields. Said another way, we are “raised to believe that a select few create and the rest are just fans. Rich white people create and we suck it up.” (Porpentine. “Creation Under Capitalism.” Nightmare Mode. Nov 25 2012.).

90% of everything isn’t crud, it’s just average. Average is, more often than not, good enough with greatness and annoyances peppered throughout. Most work comes with some measure of both genius and crud; arguing where and how each stand out on a case-by-case basis (ie criticism) is a long and laborious process. One worth taking but not one generally valued. The practice enforced by Sturgeon’s law is one of absolutes: a thing is beyond value or it’s worthless. Sturgeon’s “laws” and the attitudes at their root are about controlling taste and credibility to keep it in privileged hands.

Games have their own struggles over who controls “taste.” We know this. Fake geek girls, nerd cred, narratology vs ludology, formalism vs new journalism, casual vs hardcore, piracy, DRM and whatever this week’s issue is are all recurring debates that attempt to reinforce a structure where 90% of games and the people that play them are crud. Only a small number of games are valuable and only a small number of people can arbitrate the difference. Not accidentally, the top ten percent of “valuable” games cost a lot of money and heap of trash games it rests is recognizable from a distance because it’s cheap or free and therefore worthless. I quoted Porpentine earlier because Twine developers and players—perhaps more than anyone—have faced adversity for the accessibility of their material, and accessibility is the natural enemy of the tastemaker.

Developers using less specialized and inexpensive tools like Twine, Game Maker or even Unity are faced with scepticism. Games made with these engines have to prove their authenticity whereas no designed-by-committee, “core” targeting gun-porn has to prove a thing because a thousand fresh grads spend four years perfecting jiggle physics before being laid off.

The benefits of tools designed to be inexpensive and easy to learn should be obvious. But there’s a well-documented culture of tastemakers trying to delegitimize the work of small developers. Indies need to be judged by triple-A standards and they need to be as available and as public as triple A studios with an army of PR staff at their disposal. It isn’t that Indies can’t produce games of the same quality as major publishers or that triple A games don’t produce anything good, it’s just that the industry is judged by the standard of moneyed producers and quality is based on a return of investment. It’s no revelation to say that keeping up with games is impossible without considerable disposable income (Beirne, Stephen. “Poor Community Spirit.” Re/Action. July 12 2013.), so it’s frustrating that there’s such a stubborn elitist culture controlling what gets to be valued and what doesn’t.

When a game made with RPG Maker is available for free there are some default assumptions that come with it; chief among them is that RPG Maker is only capable of producing Final Fantasy fan-fiction. Fan-fiction has its own ongoing struggle with legitimacy—which I’m not at all qualified to discuss—but even outside of fan-games there’s a plethora of brilliant content that never gets a chance because of the elitist culture that dictates taste.

This is where I get to the point of this post: RPG Maker games are among the most original, clever and powerful I have played. So in the spirit of enjoying creativity outside the current “taste” structure I’d like to offer a number of games and developers based in RPG Maker that deserve an audience. Some of these games are under an hour and some are several dozen. Also, while there are a handful of very good RPGMaker available on Steam (To The Moon and Cherry Tree High Comedy Club spring to mind), I’ll only be listing games that are available for free. Each heading is linked to the game’s site where it can be downloaded.

Alter A.L.I.A. Genesis (2007)

A cross between 2D puzzle-platforming and active turn-based JRPG combat. Alter Alia Genesis takes place in a giant slum/prison complex of a polluted dystopia. The story is told through manga-esque panels of images that, while simple, really emphasize the Japanese inspiration of the aesthetic. Think of it as a manga crossover between Running Man and Blade Runner. Developer NeoK returns to this universe in a handful of other efforts in RPGMaker but this is the template for his later work.

Cherry PrInEcess (2013)

The player controls Liberty, a woman who’s magical cherry pies change the gender of whomever is struck in the face with them for one day. In this isometric dungeon crawler the player must fend off giant spiders and carnivorous eating trees in search of townsfolk to gender-swap with their pies. It’s a colourful, short and silly approach. Although it takes a gender binary for granted, it’s a good instance of having fun with gender politics without making fun of them. Cherry PrInEcess was developed in a week for the Lite Cook-Off contest (one of many orchestrated by the RPG Maker community) by a Welsh developer known as Caz.

Exit Fate (2009)

What starts as an apparent homage to JRPGs quickly becomes a beast of its own. Somewhere in the over 30 hour campaign, SCF’s Exit Fate starts subverting the conventions its paying tribute to. Ultimately, Exit Fate is about deciding who has the right to govern and how should they do that. There are some inherent classist issues to bear in those themes (Filipowich, Mark. “The Perspective of Privilege.” The Border House. May 1 2013), but it’s still a compelling political drama. Moreover, the elegant combat design and constant challenge makes it as appealing to first time JRPG players as to long-time fans.

Mainichi (2012)

Mainichi, the Japanese word for every day, is a biographical videogame-villanelle about the author’s daily public experiences. There are no tutorials or visual aids, just learned behaviours that the player must refine to prompt better responses out of strangers. Mainichi is a study in what is normal and what normality internalizes in people. It is the experience of a person’s interactions with subtle, ongoing systems that are learned through constant, oppressive exposure rather than through the conscious instruction we expect from games or from privilege. Brice herself has given a lot of context for Mainichi’s origins at about the time it was released last year (“Postpartum: Mainichi – How Personal Experience Became a Game.” The Border House. Nov 12 2012).

Sunset Over Imdhal (2005)

The player controls Lohn, a 13-year-old boy and the lone survivor of a plague that suddenly swept through the besieged city of Imdahl in this title from developer Teo Mathlein.  After failing to nurse his mother back to health, he encounters the—unknown to him—commander of Imdahl’s invaders, who offers to send him a year back in time to prevent the plague from happening. Once sent back, Lohn, though just a boy, is tasked with finding and killing the plague’s patient zero before the disease spreads. Imdahl is set to Italian composer Antonia Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” with each concerto matching the game’s current season. The pastel aesthetic and SNES-era sprites (many borrowed from Chrono Trigger) strongly contrast the darkness of Lohn’s mission. Most of the gameplay involves tracking down and investigating townspeople, forcing the player to get to know and become attached to the doomed city.

Starless Umbra (ongoing)

Like Exit Fate, Starless Umbra harkens back to the glory days of JRPGs but with a greater emphasis on roaming and exploration. It has its fair share of clichés, but it so faithfully emulates the best features of its source material that it’s hard to fault the game for treading familiar ground. It puts the player in control of a likable cast in a fleshed out world, its themes are extravagant and its narration is flamboyant. While the game is not yet complete, developer Andrew Keturi’s polished demo of the game is available for download. Much of Keturi’s work has been adjusting the game based on advice and criticisms players have had on Starless Umbra’s first few hours. It’s an ambitious but promising project based on refreshing the best conventions of the genre’s heyday.