Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Equal Means Equal - gender under the law

Let's see - as a woman -
  • I can vote, 
  • I can drive, 
  • I can run a corporation, 
  • I can kill for my country, 
  • I can die for my country, 
and I can do all of this while (among other things)
  • being legally forced to accept 80% or less of the pay, 
  • getting raped and shamed for it while my rapist gets custody rights of the child I'm not allowed to abort.
Yep. We're the shining example of "civilization."

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fiction Friday - A Snark About Herbert's Dune Novels

If you haven't read Frank Herbert's original Dune trilogy, you should.  All kinds of commentary on human nature, big sweeping epic story, blah, blah. One of my favorite parts is that the characters are - literally - all geniuses, and they act like it. Lots of deep character interaction, but very few stupid mistakes like "Well, if only you had said what you meant, I wouldn't have jumped to the wrong conclusion." I hate stupid mistakes. When these people fuck things up, it's because they did it with purpose.

A core premise of the books is that Paul Atreides becomes god-leader of an army of mega-genius ninja women.

Alas, I always took the "man leading the powerful women" as the classic male fantasy of a harem of strong, powerful, smart, deadly, dutiful, pliant and obedient women.

I wanted to enjoy the simple juxtaposition and irony of a thousand generation breeding program getting flipped on its head at 999, and finally completely torqued at 1000 (and ultimately wrong, since Duncan Idaho is the real kwisatz haderach  like 25 000 years later still), but ... yeah.

I guess, really, as long as humans are involved, there would have been a no-win for Herbert on gender-roles, but in fairness, I think he balanced things really well by having strong characters, epic dramas, and largely ignoring gender entirely by making the real enemy always something internalized like  "survival against nature, survival against betrayal, etc., etc."

It was his son, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson who screwed it all up later by making these deep, complex thinkers into a bunch of romance-novel dumbfuck-mistake drama queens.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cool Quotes: Weaponized Language

Terry Dyke wrote

One thing that confounds liberal, rational people is the language of the Right. Even though it sounds like English, it is spoken from a worldview with entirely different premises than what we assume.

We assume a speech act is meant to convey empirical information about the world. Speech acts for them, however, consist of using weaponized language to land blows on their opponents.

Whatever the "content" might be, its relation to the empirical world is unimportant, as long as it delivers damage.

They may sincerely believe bits and pieces of the content, but chiefly as "ideological boilerplate" that identifies themselves to each other.

Meanwhile, poor rational chumps like us assume there are debatable assertions being made and fall right into the trap. What they hear is "This guy is trying to convince me I'm not a Republican!" and laugh all the way back to their highly-perfected verbal arsenal.

Do not be distracted by what they say, for that is exactly their intent.


Original post

Confederate Flag - the wrong damn target right now

Yes, the Confederate flag means "racism" to a lot of people. Unfortunately, to a lot of people, it also means something else.

The only thing dumber and more naive than "taking down the Confederate flag will end racism" is "making abortion illegal will end unwanted pregnancy."

Do I think getting rid of the Confederate flag - long a symbol of rebellion, selfishness and anarchy (not to mention white supremancy and slavery) - is a good idea? 

Yes, but now is the wrong time - doing it now is just going to cause people to entrench in their sense of martyrdom and entitlement, and that won't help a damn thing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

4K Television - is that color or cost?

I can honestly say I don't give a crap about the new 4K Ultra HD TVs, now in shiny pastel color frames, with the eighty-button Uber-All-in-One remote control, and big as a fucking house.

Does that make me a bad Millennial?

You know, actually this image reminds me of the "video walls" from Fahrenheit 451. Kind of freaky to think we're wrapping around so fast into that world, too.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Gun Owners: Charleston just happened - shut the fuck up for a few weeks, okay?

Nine people masacred in Charleston, SC, church.


Liked the shit out of a ton of posts on Facebook tonight.

Except the pro-gun memes. 

Clearly mentally ill, racist Christian white man commits mass murder after sitting in a worship ceremony for an hour. 

Doesn't matter what you think you're saying, the message being heard is
"Criminals deserve guns, too!" and "This wouldn't have happened if the victims had carried guns in the House of God!"

Seriously, guys, just shut the fuck up for a few weeks.  Waving your gun hard-on around today, you just look like assholes.


Reposted from G+ with permission.  Totally is the kind of thing I'd write, but my FB account got closed last year, I'd use better grammer, and I'd probably use more F-bombs :)

Friday, June 19, 2015

D&D 5e v 3e: Xanaphia Naile, Noble-born Rockstar

Xanaphia Naile, Bard

This is my favorite bard character from D&D Pathfinder (originally 3e, later upgraded).  I'm reading the 5e PHB and wanted to see what a conversion might look like.

It's obvious that 5e is a very different game than the earlier editions, but it looks like a really fun game to play.  (Unlike 4e, which I never liked, but did play when I couldn't find something better.)

One of the core mechanics of 3.x was that, at some point, the character graduated from "die roll + modifiers" to "modifiers + die roll."

For example, the iconic level 20 Fighter has a BAB of +20. Realistically, she probably has another +10 to +15 or more in mods between Feats, Enhanced Strength, magic weapons, and situational modifiers.  Egro, 35+1d20 for her attack roll typically means "Don't roll a 1."

Trending with 4e and galvanized in 5e is a massive reduction in modifiers and re-empowerment of the dice. Seriously, that 5e level 20 Fighter probably musters a total of +12 on the attack roll, thus making the d20 god of her fate.

I mean, it works for 5e, and the whole dis/advantage mechanic is cool.  I'm just saying the random factor has been reintroduced, and this really changes the flavor of the game.

(I have no idea who the model is, but I loved her "chain shirt")

Highlights of Pathfinder Version

Chaotic Good Half-Elf Bard 7
Charisma 18
Feats: Skill Focus (Perform), Improved Skill Focus (Perform), Natural Performer, Beautiful Voice
Skills:  Perform (sing) +24 [10 ranks]

When she performs, it's her teammates that are her backup band, and they give her a +2 Synergy bonus on checks.  With this, she can Take 10 on a Perform check, get a result of 36, which according to the Epic Level Handbook can flip a Hostile audience to Friendly.  In other words, the Legions of Hell would throw a riot unless the fallen angel noble holding her hostage sent her - and her companions - home with laurels and wreaths.  This is why those kelpies have no chance.

Highlights of 5e

Chaotic Good Half-Elf Bard 7
Charisma 18
Skills: Performance +10 (Proficiency +3)

I know, right?  Yeah, 5e is a totally different animal.  The 5e character doesn't sing as well - I mean, she's not likely to get an audience with the Celestial Throne, but she is a much better fighter.

So.  Yeah.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Blue Pill or the Red Pill - It's an Important Choice

I don't think the writers of The Matrix meant anything political when the question was "the blue pill, or the red pill," but it makes a lovely allegory.

Unlike The Matrix, where taking the red pill dumps you from the artificial fantasy land where others control everything you see, hear and - for all practical purposes - think, in the real world the red pill (or the red party) is the evil group of mind-controllers. In the real world, the blue pill is the best bastion of sanity and freedom from oppression.

Just so we're clear:  the Democrats are fucked up, too.  It's a matter of degree.  I'm finding it hard to locate any GOP member of the US Federal Congress who isn't a total sack of shit, without redeeming qualities.  (Unlike the DNC, who are - today, anyway - only mostly sacks of shit, and many actually do have some redeeming qualities.)  

It's a case of "lesser of two evils."  The option is to dump the worse evil now, and continue pressing the standards upward, so that eventually the choice isn't "lesser of two evils," but "hey, these people are actually pretty good, let's keep them, and dump all the evil bastards once and for all!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner - observations on why people care right now

Caitlyn Jenner is mega-news news mostly because transgender issues have been bubbling up to higher profile in the last few years.

But, the tipping point is that here was this totally minor and almost irrelevant character on the Kardashians - a show quintessentially about the pointless antics of hot women - and suddenly this pointless character is not merely - and here is the third element - the Once Upon A Time Man's Man of Men, but is now HERself a hot chick. (Which just fucks with the whole foundation of the concept of Man's Man, and Men are generally insecure to start with, so woe be their foundation growing tits on them.)

It's an intersection of real issues with splashy sensationalism at its finest.

And let's be honest - part of the "Caitlyn Jenner" show is men being squeamish and icky, and women laughing at them.

Men, as a species, are terrified of emasculation - homosexuality and castration are two of the biggest inbred fears.

I mean, seriously guys, you have a thousand jokes about beer goggles and fucking the ugly chick, so you've already set the bar low for if the tunnel is wet, and she tells you what a stud you are, why should you care if that tunnel was built from an inverted penis or a piece of intestine (in which case, it's kind of like anal sex and vaginal sex all-in-one).

So, you want to talk "feminization"?  Here's the descriptive text - Vaginoplasty (penile inversion), and here's the video. 

Suck it up boys - the truth is that trans women have more guts - if less balls - than you do!

Frankly, it's pretty fucking amazing that techniques like this exist at all.  The steps involved are incredible, and the results are equally amazing.

Women Are Disenfranchised

Frankly, yet-another-reason trans women have more balls than straight men, is that one of the many dangers of making the choice is the inherent sexism of humanity.  To say, "as a man, I am a member of a privileged class, but in order to live my life properly, I must surrender that privilege, in addition to everything else" is HUGE (and, in a lot of ways, I'd call it insane, so that more than anything convinces me how miserable trans women must be living in a male body).

Caitlyn Jenner is interesting and entertainment (I'm not yet convinced about entertaining). Transgender issues are news. Itks a natural nexus, and there you go.  Frankly, I think she looks better now than she has for years. Coming out has really done wonders for her.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Musical Monday - "Playing D&D" - SJ Tucker

"Everyone's Dungeon Bound"  hahahaa

I got introduced to D&D in college. I love that it's become so mainstream and normal. There isn't a video game today that wasn't influenced by D&D and its offspring, either directly (a lot of the dev teams and production teams have gamer history) or indirectly (pop culture is so infiltrated by gamers, it's inevitable).

This is a fun vid, and they've got some Old School books as props. It's also a catchy tune, with some eye candy for the nerds ;-)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Stochastic terrorism - even the good guys can be dragged down

So, what I'm saying - to no-one in particular - is that one of these days, an NRA-loving "sportsman" is going to wake-the-fuck-up and realize the billionaires have been playing "Fuck you, moron," with the NRA-loving sportsmen.

Some of those hunting rifles have more than enough range to evacuate a cranium, on the country club golf course, from the wild undeveloped landscape outside the shiny chain link fencing. Then we'll see a bit of turn in letting the riff-raff buy whatever-the-fuck-they-want.

Yeah, even us "good guys" can play stochastic terrorist, you fuckwads, so your own enlightened self-interest is to stop treating the riff-raff like shit, start treating us like human beings instead of disposable resources, and practice being decent human beings.

(On a tangent, this second meme will probably reappear in a "It's a Gun, Not a Condom" rant sometime in the future. I mean, seriously?  Whatever.  But, that very stupidity actually fit this rant well, since the idea of stochastic terrorism is turning someone with muddled thinking into a weapon, and the point of this rant is that someday those will muddled thinking with wake u and realize who has really been fucking with their heads.  Okay, sorry, I just explained the joke, but whatever, it's a fucked up mess.)

Batting 7000!

Especially that last column just blows me away. I feel a bit like maybe I've hit a tipping point, and slow, but continuous, growth is inevitable. 
Yeah me! :)

view count days
days (total) views per day
during the period
posts (delta) posts (total) views per post (total average)
1000 94 94 10.6 85 85 11.8
2000 72 166 13.9 52 137 14.6
3000 34 200 29.4 28 165 18.2
4000 21 221 47.6 16 181 22.1
5000 15 236 66.6 12 193 25.9
6000* 30 266 33.3 17 210 28.6
7000 17 283 58.8 18 228 30.7

* 6000 views happened while I was on hiatus, so I have no concrete values, and so extrapolated based on available data

Image text from CoolText.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Value Of A Dollar - perspective and context are everything

I thank God I've never had economic woes so bad that a single dollar caused me distress.

I was at the post office, and the guy in front of me was frustrated with the postal worker, because when he asked "the total," she gave him the postage total, not the total of postage plus reinforced envelope pulled off the post office shelf, and he was surprised when the total was $3.85 instead of $2.67.

At first I was annoyed he was splitting hairs over a dollar, but then I listened to his words and his tone. He wasn't bitching about a dollar because he felt ripped off, he was frustrated because he needed that dollar for something else. 

Probably to feed the stick-thin four year-old girl who stood dutifully and cluelessly by his side.

I thank God I've never had economic woes so bad that a single dollar caused me distress.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sanity is Circular

They say you can pass through insanity into a terrible kind of hyper-sanity.

This suggests the "sanity scale" is a circle, not a line.

That means one can walk backwards from sanity, through hyper-sanity and on into insanity.

I think this is my path. To become hyper-sane - hyper-aware, hyper-cognizant, hyper-clear thinker.

Sometimes, when I am rested, and my mind unfocused, I can see the Source Code.

This suggests I am correct, for I have never gone "insane."

But, the trap is that to continue to walk this path "backwards," perhaps I'd slip into insanity.  Then continue thru madness back to health and normalcy.  That sounds dull.

Perhaps I've already gone insane. If I walk the path backwards, but am the only one who understands this is even possible, how will anyone know when I cross the boundary?

I am not Buddha, nor Jesus; they intuitively knew how to cope with this. It is a wonder I have any sanity at all.


Monday, June 8, 2015

The only ZomPoc film that ever made me cry

I hate zombies. I hate them in fiction, I hate them in D&D, and I really hate ZomPoc movies and stories. I hate the creatures, I detest the premise.

There have been a few movies that I liked that happened to contain zombies, and I would have enjoyed them more without the zombies.

Those DC ZomPoc and Marvel ZomPoc stories? Bleah. Well-written, but zombies.

So, I say all that, because there is one ZomPoc movie I actually like. I can't quite say "love," but I have wacthed it seveal times over the last two years, and I keep coming back to it.

"Cargo" was a little indie short about a dad who saves his baby from the ZomPoc.

If this doesn't make you cry, then you have no heart

 Cargo (2013) Movie Poster

Friday, June 5, 2015

Fiction Friday - Eliminate the extraneous detail

So I'm talking to my filmmaker friend, who wrote and directed one of the most awesome short films in the history of short films, and she was telling me that the crew guys really wanted to build a fire pit on the set of her New Zealand short film, because the guy was out camping.

She vetoed it, feeling that it would just be an extraneous detail. That if people are noticing the absence of the fire pit, or even just looking for it, then they're not even watching the story, and they've already lost them.

I try to keep that in mind. Extraneous detail is bad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Let us remember Semi-Gov Sarah Palin

I originally wrote this in June, 2013, but I think it remains instructive about many "politicians," and it's always good to remember what a quality person Semi-Governor Palin is, just in case she tries to get herself into the limelight again.


I do not believe that Sarah Palin will run for the Senate.

I do believe that Sarah Palin will make noises about running for the Senate and probably form an exploratory committee to raise money.

Here are my reasons:

* Sarah Palin is selfish;

* Sarah Palin likes attention;

* Sarah Palin doesn't particularly like hard work;

* Famous people can get paid a lot of money for doing almost nothing;

* Sarah Palin really likes having a national profile and getting paid lots of money simply for being Sarah Palin (a bit like being famous for being famous);

* An exploratory committee would mean people give her money, because they want to see her in the Senate (naïve as they are, she'll take their money, because she is selfish);

* An exploratory committee gets her public attention, which gets her back in the spotlight;

* Sarah Palin is good at leveraging attention into bigger attention - she can use one spotlight to get other spotlights pointed at her (e.g. invited again to speak at conventions, invited again to speak on Fox News, etc.), and all of these mean she gets paid, and gets more exposure, making her famous again for being famous (whereupon she can demand higher fees);

* Being in the Senate is a lot of hard work, even though they only show up half the year (the other half actually does require work, mostly fund-raising), and Sarah Palin doesn't particularly like hard work.

I would really like Sarah Palin to go away, and stop making the world a more stupid and selfish place.

That's what I think. Thank you for reading this far :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Old Posts Need Love #2 - Three I am Most Proud Of

I write a lot, obviously, and I'm very proud of all of it, but some things I am more proud of than others. My top three (at least at the time of this writing):

Be A Personality
I've been saying for years the secret to success on the Interwebs is to be an interesting person. Interesting content is great, but "Duck Dynasty" didn't get huge ratings because it as about hunting in the woods.

Why I Wake Up (Promises of the Future)
Just a nice bit of poetic prose (not poetry, per se, but you'll see when you get there)

Find Your Voice #3
As it implies, this is number three in a series (it has links to the first two), but this capstones the whole point of the series and makes its own arguments, too.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pageview today hits 250!?

This one stands by itself. :-)

I'm not making any effort to boost my stats, which is why this amazes me so much. I'm just so enchanted, stunned and flattered that people enjoy my writing so much. I know, I know, I keep saying that. I guess that keeping myself in that permanent state of gratitude and awe means I won't be disappointed if the rate of growth slows, and it also means I constantly have something to be excited about :)

Musical Monday - Halestorm - Mz Hyde

It wasn't like he didn't know before he committed for life.  He's embraced the variety of the madness, which is a good thing. Yep. I'm a lucky lady.

I love Lzzy Hale's voice. Just something about the harmonics is great.  Plus, she has such incredible passion - you can hear it in her voice, and see it in every video. She loves the music, and she loves performing.  I bet she and the band are living a surreal (if working their butts off) life. I hope they have even more success, and continue to have fun.