Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wordpress Move: Finalized

New blog is here: http://jakejesson.wordpress.com/

And I'm transitioning to using that now.

My current plan, unless I change my mind, is to start punting comments away to the equivalent post on Wordpress.

I'm not currently planning to do much cross-posting, but we'll see.

UPDATE: Deleted a few recent duplicated posts. If you came here looking for them, you'll find them at the link above.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wordpress Move

I'm moving this blog to Wordpress. Blogger just doesn't have the kind of features that I sort of expect. Not that Wordpress-Free-Version is perfect either, but it seems initially to be significantly better. Been considering this & researching it for a long while, and I think it's finally time.

Especially because the major blog I read these days is John Scalzi's Wordpress-based "Whatever" and I keep envying the format, dammit.

Not quite sure if I'm going to continue to cross-post content here. I'm also not quite sure if I should move all my old posts to Blogger. Currently I'm leaning towards cross-posting new content (though that might be a little... eh), and importing just the posts from the beginning of this year.

EDIT: Okay, Wordpress has an excellent import tool. Now if I can just get the auto-tweeting functionality...

EDITx2: And that's done too. I think I'm going to take off the auto-tweet on this blog for now...


I got another comment from my new friend "sfg", which I've deleted from this post for being off-topic. But, for the curious, I am going to reply to that in a post on the Wordpress blog.

Any further off-topic comments on this blog - for instance, further troll comments to this post - will be deleted. Just an FYI.

Torment Post x9 Combo: The Queer Thing IV

A follow-up on the David Gaider thing from this post: http://jakejesson.blogspot.com/2013/03/torment-post-x6-combo-queer-thing.html 

The Torment devs deleted the 'Gayder panders to minorities!' thread from their forums entirely. Apparently they agreed that it was rather disgusting.

But not before Gaider himself responded, on the Bioware forums...

 Ha! I see I've become synonymous with BioWare, have I? Clearly I am responsible for everything BioWare decides to do. smilie

Rather telling, to be honest. I do enjoy the "excessive pandering to minorities" comment-- because giving content to anyone that isn't part of the majority is clearly bad and unworthy. Pandering to the interests of a small group of hardcore elitist homophobes, however? SO much better. 
I don't know why fans feel the burning need to imagine developers are at each other's throats. Like I said earlier, I look forward to seeing what the Numenara team comes up with. Should be very different and cool, and I imagine the developers don't need the kind of "guidance" that poll is offering to make it amazing.

Context: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/13/index/15532880/6#16349642

All this is doing is tempting me to try to pre-order Dragon Age 3 (or get it shortly after launch) depending on available funds, which til now I'd only done with Skyrim (and that was a gift) & Torment: Numenera.

It also makes me want to get Dragon Age 1 & 2 for PS3 despite already having them for PC.

And it's making me a pretty big fan of Gaider & Bioware. I already enjoyed their stuff, even though their games do have flaws that I could go into. But all this undeserved hate JUST for allowing queer people to exist and *gasp* letting you romance them just makes me want to fanboy at them forever.

(Good thing I'm allergic to that and just tend to more harshly criticize the things I love... usually, anyway. :P)


UPDATE: Ha! I found how the thread deletion happened:
@ColinMcComb You might want to get some moderation on the Uservoice. Getting kinda reddit in there http://bit.ly/13gL6d2

@koshare2 Thanks for pointing this out. I'll see what we can do.

@ColinMcComb Thanks, Colin. You're honestly the first person in a long time who actually makes me a little bit proud to be a "gamer." :)

@koshare2 That was seriously just some skeevy crap. Ew.


EDIT: Looks like I attracted a troll. As their comment was not interesting enough to merit a reply, it has been deleted.  

Nota bene: If you're going to troll, be entertaining, otherwise, don't bother, because I'm just going to delete your comments.

EDITx2: My new friend is a spammer, so I'm going to temporarily disallow comments on this post. :)

One of their new comments made me laugh, though, so I'm going to quote the part that entertained me:
Deleting my comment, huh? Don't like being called for the agenda pusher that you are? Get the hell out of video games.
 They continued onward with more generic vitriol, but it wasn't entertaining enough to be quoted.


EDITx3: hahahahahahahhahahahahahahaha


I spent the entire morning lurking on the RPG Codex before posting this. Fuckin' brilliant.

I think the main thing I take issue with is being called "butthurt". I mean, I don't have any reason to be butthurt here. Everything's turned out exactly as I wanted. But ah well, you can't have everything.

I also replied to that thread. For the clue-free, I am thedeadlymoose. If my comment isn't approved out of the moderation queue, here it is (though it might not make sense out of context):
I'm not gonna lie. This is my favorite thing ever.

After months of lurking, I didn't think 'y'all finding my incredibly shitty personal blog' would be the thing to make me actually sign up an account.

I can't think of a better set of people to incoherently tear me a new asshole. <3 br="">
Also, hi, Hiver!

By the way, Hiver: yes, the fact that you're beta-testing did get me to raise my backer level. :P

If that's how it's gonna work, hopefully the fact that I will also be beta-testing will get some more of you motherfuckers to raise your tiers as well. Otherwise I might fag the entire game up with my gay mind control.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Torment Post x8 Combo: The Queer Thing III

....and Colin McComb, in two separate places, has now directly addressed all the concerns I had!

Colin McComb is the creative lead, the guy running this entire fuckin' shebang, so I really could not be happier. Seriously. I'm ecstatic.

Regarding 'letting queer people exist', he responded to this question:
 Reading your interview about Torment on the Penny Arcade Report, I get the sense that you want to downplay player romances as a thing, and I can get behind that. Could you speak to whether or not LGBT characters will be in the game at all?
 With this reply:
Sure they will. But we're just going to put them in, and we're not going to make a big deal about their inclusion. In other words, they're here, they're queer, and so what? :)

That is, we're not *making an effort* to include them. We're just including them. Here's Numenera writer/editor Shanna Germain's post on the subject (read down): http://shannagermain2.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/why-i-love-building-the-ninth-world/
The asker replied:
 That's a relief; the way you seemed to dodge the question in the interview made me a little worried. Glad to see that concern was unfounded. In an industry that treats any inclusion as a effort, it's hard not to make assumptions.
To which I can say: HEAR, HEAR. (And to Colin's comment, FUCK YES.)

Original context here: http://www.formspring.me/CMcComb/q/438826247087218058 (until Formspring shuts down, which I hear it's gonna)

If you're wondering why Colin felt the need to specify the 'not *making an effort* thing', since it's a non sequiter from the question - it's because (I'm guessing) he, like the other Torment devs, is well aware of the accusation of 'pandering' at the suggestion of including queer characters at all.

It's the typical debate tactic of the anti-gay, since it easily wins over people who are casually reading it and don't necessarily understand the subject. And his reply tells me that he does understand the subject, which is honest to gods a huge relief.

Regarding the romance thing, Colin also covered that in this interview: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-03-22-torments-USD3-5m-kickstarter-stretch-goal-is-obsidians-chris-avellone

Relevant quote:
"While we have ruled out physical relationships in Torment, we do intend to leave the question of exploring relationships open, and we're going to do that without regard for gender or race," said McComb. "The Ninth World is a billion years in the future, and humanity has changed in that time. We'll present what we consider alternative relationships today in a simple, matter-of-fact format, and that's because that's what those relationships should be. We don't want to 'earn points' for this - we want to present a logical, coherent world."
 This is utterly fantastic and I'm extremely excited. Once again: FUCK YES.

(Heh - Dare I even hope that they're going to include polyamory? For that, I'm not going to ask, I'm just going to wait and see.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Torment Post x7 Combo: The Queer Thing II

Stomachache. Can't sleep. Posting more. Gonna pay hell for this tomorrow.

Result of my last post: Even bigger storm of shit, this time, with constant troll comments, promotions of child rape as a valid alternative (one of the pro-pedophilia people seems to be actually serious), and much, much more.

The devs responded to that post with:
You might be interested in these thoughts on the Ninth World by Shanna Germain (editor of the Numenera game): http://shannagermain2.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/why-i-love-building-the-ninth-world/
They gave it a "Status: Considering" (the Race post got a "Planned").

The tl;dr from that link:
Sex, of course, is another matter all to itself. The sexuality of Ninth World humans is as varied as you might expect. Same-sex couples are a seamless part of the world, as are those with a wide range of sexual interests. Yet, not all sexuality is portrayed in a positive light, because again, that wouldn’t be true to the human sexuality as we know it. Sometimes sex is used for nefarious purposes, and you can expect some of that in the game as well.
On the whole, I find this encouraging, though imperfect. In other words, we'll have to wait and see... though honestly, at this point, I'm going to be on the lookout for gay characters actually IN the game.

One of the main things I've had to point out in comments is the sheer number of "obviously straight" people; including most of the main cast of the original game, and many NPCs, "obviously straight" by virtue of being in opposite-sex relationships or expressing opposite-sex desires. (To be fair, some of them may be bisexual, but I'm not going to assume THAT much.)

Many of the commentors seem to think all gays SHOULD be invisible, and if they're visible, it's pandering (and the bad kind of pandering, no less). There's a whole lot to deal with there. Most of the dissenters are trolls, though I've been engaging the ones who just appear to be flagrantly misunderstanding.

(I've also been engaging some of the trolls. Not gonna lie.)

Also, a funny side note....

Of the the three big game creators who have great track records of allowing queer people to exist in their worlds, two of them are big-game companies (Bioware & Bethesda).

The third... is another old-school game company, Obsidian, and they ALSO did a kickstarter a while back for an old-school-style RPG called "Project Eternity". This game is actually run by the original creator of Planescape:Torment. Their concept art shows at least one character who isn't white, and in the last game they did (Fallout: New Vegas) two of the most important characters in the game were gay (and one was a man - yes, that makes a difference, unfortunately).

...I'm starting to get tempted to back that RPG too, with their 'slacker backer' option. Because even though I'm not sure if there were many/any background gay characters (I am certain there were background straight characters, because there always are), that's still a damn good track record.

(I'll probably eventually buy that game regardless... but choosing the backer option is about making a point, if only to myself.)

EDIT: The marvelous Shanna Germain came to respond in person! See her comment in the comment trail.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Torment Post x6 Combo: The Queer Thing

...I may have also forgotten to mention that a large number of old-school fans are incredibly homophobic.

After seeing a lot of angry comments about teh gays, including rage about Bioware's David Gaider (or "Gayder", to several of the homophobes) and his tendency to include teh gays in games he's involved in (Dragon Age; to a lesser extent, Mass Effect), I posted another giant proposal post...

"Let LGBTQ People Exist In Torment/Numenera (Without "Pandering")"

The majority of us can agree - as do the devs - that we won't have much romance in Torment, and no sex. That's 110% fine. That's not what this is about.

My proposal is: If you have people in relationships in the world, don't forget LGBTQ relationships. I don't care what kind, so long as we can exist in the world, same as people in straight relationships will presumably also exist in the world.

We don't need people calling themselves 'gay' or 'bisexual' or even 'straight'. This isn't about identity politics either.

It's just that presumably you'll have characters in relationships or expressing desire for relationships....

FOR EXAMPLE... Maybe that male shaman has a male partner living with him instead of a female partner. Maybe that female prostitute takes only female customers - or, hell, maybe that male prostitute takes both male AND female customers. Maybe an Annah-equivalent will only kiss you if you're a woman (the option not even appearing for a male character).

The first Torment didn't really do this. But that doesn't make it not a classic-RPG thing. I mean, Temple of Elemental Evil generated a ton of controversy for allowing a male character to enter a same-sex marriage, back in 2003 before the majority of the country supported that.

And again: NO PANDERING. DON'T make any huge deal about it. DON'T include a character who aggressively hits on people of the same sex. DON'T make a race of tentacled all-female alien lesbians, DON'T throw in a troupe of flamboyant gay men. Pretty sure no LGBTQ gamer here wants that kind of weird fuckin' pandering. Just let us EXIST.


Something to consider as well, along the lines of the "Let's Be Gay" topic: If there's LOW-LEVEL straight romance, CONSIDER letting us have LOW-LEVEL gay romance too (both genders). NO SEX, just like straight romance. DON'T push it on the player like certain other RPGs have, of course. DON'T turn it into some kind of fanfiction-esque drama. Keep it simple, if you put it in at all.

But the above part is not NEARLY as important as 'let LGBTQ people exist in the world'. If you want to make the PC straight? Make the PC straight. But If gender exists (and gender DOES exist, as already established), so should we.

Because I am not much of a confrontational type and the amount of shit I'm going to get for this is not going to be all that much fun to deal with, I wasn't even originally gonna post anything about that. But after wading through so many homophobic comments, and then the homophobic topic urging the devs to not 'pander to minorities' (code for: teh gays, lumped in with necrophiliacs and pedophiles by many of the supporting commentators in-between homophobic insults)... I just had to, really. Ugh.

Topic located here: https://torment.uservoice.com/forums/197950-game-ideas/suggestions/3763637-let-lgbtq-people-exist-in-torment-numenera-withou

Most of the homophobic comments can be found in the following two topics (plus my individual replies):


I'd say "enjoy", but... you probably won't.

Torment Post x5 Combo: The Race Thing II

People flung a LOT of shit, accusing me of single-handedly ruining the new Torment game. I never knew I had so much power and influence. Also: It turns out there are a lot of racists in the old-school gaming community. Who knew?

However, here's the dev response:
This is something we have talked about a lot. Diversity is something we are striving for, but at the same time many of us are straight-haired white people (well, except Colin…maybe he used to be?). We might need you backers to help catch our blind spots :-)
 This enraged a number of people, but it made me pretty happy, obviously!

 (The Colin thing is a reference to Colin McComb, creative lead on both the original game and this new game. He's bald. Very bald.)

Previous post: http://jakejesson.blogspot.com/2013/03/torment-post-x4-combo-race-thing.html

Link to the topic: https://torment.uservoice.com/forums/197950-game-ideas/suggestions/3750208-don-t-make-us-play-another-straight-haired-white

2013 Goals: Week 10 Postmortem

Novel: 21,000 / 35,000 words.

I'm really getting back into the swing of things, fortunately. Hopefully I can keep it up.

Here's the weird thing, though. I've written over 1/5 of the book, if it's going to be 100,000 words.

But I'm only in the fifth chapter. Introducing the fifth of five POV characters.

...This may end up being significantly longer than 100K words unless I can figure out a way to trim, or rearrange. Maybe clip up the opening chapters? Hm. Or... just keep the first chapters significantly longer to keep the 'introduction to characters' thing, but flip rapidly through characters as we get further into the novel.

Perspective: The first draft (which I never 100% finished, to be fair) had each character with 12, 13, or 14 POV chapters total. If I kept this word count up, they'd have more like five each... and that's not taking into account that I have a completely new fifth POV character. Jesus.

I'm currently leaning towards shorter chapters as the novel progresses. Maybe once I'm done with this draft, I'll go back and try to figure out how best to break up the opening chapters. Or decide if they're going to stay the same.

We'll see what happens!

Working Out: 4/4 times. 

Didn't fall behind. Phew. And I worked out today, so I'm off to a good start for this week.

Blogging: 4/3 posts. (+1 from earlier weeks, ideal total 4)

WHEEEE. Success. I'm back on schedule again.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weekend Novel Update

Gah. I've written a lot today, but I also threw a lot of excess wordage away. In terms of word-count, that's two steps forward but one step back.

Ah well. I would have had to cut that stuff anyway. Sigh. And the shortest chapter I've written so far is due to get some critique next week. Maybe they'll demand that I expand it!

Nah, I shouldn't be thinking of it that way. The goal is only technically word-count based. It's really all about getting to the end... and if I do that with a lower word count, then I still succeed.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Torment Post x4 Combo: The Race Thing

God, I'm really into this game, aren't I?

Today the game devs opened up a forum for people to voice their opinions on game ideas. Here's mine:


The post is titled: "Don't *Make* Us Play Another Straight-Haired White Person"

Text follows:
This is suggestion with two versions aimed at the same goal.

One of the things I loved about PS:T was how startling the protagonist looked. He was clearly human, but... he wasn't some generic white male model like the guy plastered on the Mass Effect covers or wearing the Dovahkiin helmet. He was a six-foot-plus gray-skinned zombie with dreadlocks and features that obscured his ethnicity. He looked more like Frankenstein than a mass-market-approved ultra-Aryan dude.

In mass-market fantasy RPGs there's an extremely limited palette. Like... you know how in Dragon Age and Skyrim, you can't be a black person without straightened hair? And you can't be an Asian person at all? Ethnic cleansing's a bitch, I guess.

That shit's going to be even weirder in Numenera, which is supposed to be Future!Earth.
I know we aren't going to get much PC customization... and that's fine. But here are some things I WOULD like to see.



* Let us change the race of the PC. Black, brown, Asian, at least.
* Let us have curly or afro-textured hair. (If you don't know what the former looks like, go see "Brave". If you don't know what the latter looks like, google "natural hair" or "afro-textured hair".) And dreadlocks! The Nameless One had dreadlocks, dammit. You don't even have to google those!
* While you're at it? Throw in a couple beards. This is off-topic, sure. But let's call it 'diversity'. Yeah, that's the ticket. Seriously, everyone wants beards.


* If we CAN'T have the above... then instead of MAKING us play a white PC, then make the PC look at least as racially ambiguous & unique as The Nameless One. The current artwork for the female PC is lovely and badass-looking (seriously, I love that painting), but she's no racially ambiguous gray-skinned dreadlocked zombie. She's a white chick. Assuming the male PC currently looks the same.


This is sort of the like the 'more portraits' topic but much more specific & basic. Which is why I'm putting it in this forum, instead of the stretch goals one.

PS yes, I'm poking fun, but this is a serious suggestion. I spent years as an artist. I know exactly how it is to only draw white people or straight-haired people because that's pretty much the default that you're taught to draw. That's why I think it needs to be a suggestion in the first place: it's something the devs may not have thought of.

Finally... I'd be disappointed if Torment, after bucking this annoying trope in the original game, went right back to it on the second go-round. Isn't Torment SUPPOSED to be bucking RPG tropes, after all? Why not this trope too?

Let's see if it starts a clusterfuck or not. I honestly really hope it's non-controversial and that the developers think it's a good idea. But... Heh. We'll see!

PS: Yes... I engaged in some oversimplification... But it was already such a wall of text. :P And there's some problematic assumptions with "racially ambiguous"... but I would definitely prefer that to the 'default white' route that I'm worried they'll go in. Personally, at least. Feel free to argue that point in the comments.

I basically included what I thought would be a "good start" that's conspicuously missing from a video game. If you're as into "Torment" as I am, feel free to go weigh in there.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Torment Post

I posted about new "Torment" game's Kickstarter on a Facebook writing group I'm part of ("Raymond Obstfeld's Creative Writing Stuff", for the curious), and because I can, I'm going to reproduce the relevant parts here. Maybe it'll help explain some of my excitement.

Another Kickstarter project relevant to writers:

I was /going/ to post both about this and the Veronica Mars thing, but Raymond beat me to it, so I'll just post about this one. LONG POST WARNING.

This Kickstarter, which broke all previous Kickstarter records in the past few days until Veronica Mars broke the records again just today, is for the follow-up game to the ancient 1999 game "Planescape: Torment".

Why is this important to writers?

If you're a gamer, you already know. The upshot is that well over a decade later, Planescape: Torment is still widely considered the absolute best-written (and most literary) game of all time. Having played it, I can confirm that it deserves it.

It's not the best game ever created; certainly not. The gameplay is "okay". People love this game because of the story, the characters, the setting, and the themes. (The artwork is also excellent, but there have been many other beautiful games before & sense.)

It's a game that's essentially a lavishly illustrated novel, and a very good (and very unusual) novel at that. It's never been equaled since because it's still very difficult to get a good story together under typical game publishing constraints: "Months? For writing?"

Sure, you've got some decent work in, say, Bioware RPGs, but even then, if you're a gamer who likes story, you know myriad ways in which THAT'S gone wrong. Planescape: Torment was long thought to be a one-shot deal, a /kind/ of game that would never happen again, until now.

Now, it's already fully funded by, and the excess funding is going into - bringing in more writers to expand the game. Let me emphasize this again: This is going to be one of the first modern games ever to primarily focus on writing. (The developers are even able to - gasp! - hire a professional editor!)

That's reinforced by the fact that this isn't even a literal sequel. It doesn't continue the events of the first game, it doesn't have any of the characters from the first game, it takes place in a different universe entirely from the first game. It's being created on a thematic premise, as a game that promises an excellent story as its primary draw, put together by a bunch of experienced writers.

It's a paradigm alien to the current game publishing industry, now made possible for pretty much the first time ever thanks to Kickstarter. If you love gaming, and more importantly if you love good writing in gaming, this is THE project to watch.

(If you want to play the original, you'll need a Windows PC and $10: http://www.gog.com/gamecard/planescape_torment )

Kickstarter's being... awful good to writers these days, I must say. Granted, these are established properties, but they're also 'unpublishable' properties succeeding almost entirely on the promise of really good writing.

You can probably guess the Veronica Mars thing from context. If not, check it out here, because it's also kind of awesome and I hope they succeed: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-mars-movie-project

2013 Goals: Week 9 Postmortem

Novel: [TOO LOW] / 35,000 words.

Yeah, this is presenting some difficulty. I'm somewhat regretting taking all that time off in January. Really threw me off, especially since over the last couple weeks I've had a large number of "bad days" in terms of production. I'll have to remember that next time I'm tempted to start a fairly big (1-month) project in the middle of a really giant (8-month) project.

At the time, I had thought I could do both at once. Turns out... Not so much.

Working Out: 4/4 times. 

All well and good so far. I actually am in danger of falling behind this week because I would normally have worked out already today or Tuesday, and I haven't. Hopefully that doesn't keep going. (I've got some reminder alarms set...)

Blogging: 4/3 posts. (+2 from earlier weeks, ideal total 5)

Phew. A bit of catch-up there. Gotta do another 4-post week this week; I've got a couple in the pipeline already, thankfully.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Numenera Game Setting

...So the new Torment game is gonna be set in a new setting (as in, not Planescape). The setting was also funded via Kickstarter: http://www.numenera.com/

First impressions are fairly positive. I generally like fantasy with a side of sci-fi (it's what I'm working on, after all), and this pushes some of those buttons despite being more soildy in the science fantasy camp.

It does look pretty appropriate to the "Torment" ... franchise-apparent. It's got a lot of the vast magical weird shit from that first game, just with a different justification for it.

My main nitpick so far: "Jack" is a pretty neat reskin of "Rogue" or "Thief". But on first impressions... "Glaive", while cool sounding, is an unnecessary rename of "Fighter", and "Nano" is just "Mage" but sillier-sounding. I do like the concepts from what I've seen of them, but... Yeah.

A lot of the rest of the game seems pretty appealing. Especially the part where it's designed to be a deep setting that's easy to use without a ton of 100% necessary math, unlike, say, any version of D&D ever.

No idea if I'll play it though. I recently tried to restart D&D, but... didn't get incredibly far before having to give up due to schedule complexity.

I don't really think I've seen an RPG quite like it before. It's set on Earth a billion years in the future. I think what fascinates me most about it is that it's supposedly during the ninth great worldwide civilization, of which we were maybe eventually the first. (As far as I can tell.) It's taking the billion years seriously (or as serious as you can get considering people still look like people, although I guess that's technically possible). It has a lot in common conceptually with Dying Earth (which D&D of course ripped off of - or so I'm told because I have yet to read it) and Book of the New Sun (which I have read, and which I quite enjoyed). It's taking the 'sufficiently advanced technology' idea to its logical extent, and making a science fantasy world from it. And re: the ninth civilization - it seems that some of those other civilizations may have gone through other sci-fi tropes: abandoned Earth for the stars long ago, gone to other dimensions, ascended to become higher beings... and yet humanity kept on anyway, and magic is mastering what's been left behind.

I tangented a little. I think what's generally not grabbed me in previous post-apocalyptic worlds is the fact that there was just one apocalypse, just one great civilization that fell, and it's one that we as a reader understand completely. Here, we have the ruins of a billion-years' worth of humanity and eight previous completely fallen civilizations. It's those layers that make it work for me, I think; much more potential.

Planescape: Torment Spiritual Sequel

Another game in the franchise: Torment: Tides of Numenera


If you have any idea what Planescape: Torment is, and what a 'spiritual sequel' to it might mean, you probably just peed yourself with glee.

If you don't have any idea what Planescape: Torment is, you're probably thinking "Huh? That's kind of a terrible title." (And it is.) Maybe you google Planescape: Torment, see the crappy box art (which it is), and that it's an old-school (clunk-tastic) D&D game from 1999 and think "Okay, people are just weird."

You can probably guess which category I'm in, but if it helps: I backed the project. I have never backed any Kickstarter projects before, including several that I was very excited about. I am not exactly swimming in excess cash and this may mean I have to skip a meal or two (nothing worse than that, I'm not dirt poor, I have a blog after all), and I don't care. Backed it anyway.

Basically: I am ridiculously excited for this.

Friday, March 8, 2013

I Have Acquired A New Skill

...and it is a skill that will not do me much good in ordinary life, or indeed for too many years in the future, so it's a good thing that it wasn't a skill that took me too long to acquire.

The skill is: Creating custom weapons and items for Borderlands.

Not Borderlands 2, which we don't have yet, though sometime in the future we almost certainly will. By "we" here I mean one of my partners whom I live with and the only partner with whom I game with pretty extensively.

One of the reasons I decided to figure out how to do this was pretty basic. I love game mods in general, and Borderlands is one of the vanishingly few games on the PS3 which can be modded, and therefore one of the few games where me learning how to mod it will actually benefit anyone besides myself. (I normally don't put much time into game modding anymore precisely because if it's only benefiting me, why am I not spending that time writing?)

The other reason... Well. For those of you who don't know, Borderlands is a game based in large part about acquiring ridiculous amounts of entertaining guns and associated loot....

(Side note: "Entertaining" loot is key there; Borderlands guns are best thought of as combinations of real-life guns with magic wands. A sizeable percentage of them spit elemental fire, lightning, green "corrosive" uh... "bullets", and, well, explosions. And that's not even touching the special effects. It's this that allows more fun to be had with Borderlands loot than your average gunwank action game, such as Army of Two: 40th Day, which we've also played. 40th Day is fun to a certain extent - certainly, the mechanics are fairly excellent - but once you get bored with the aggro system and painting your guns bright purple, the entire game feels old very quickly, especially considering the overall terrible aesthetic. Might play it again, sure, but there's a limit to the replay value there.)

....And acquiring said ridiculous amounts of loot can be a lot of fun. Eventually, though, you can reach a point in the game where you're no longer finding anything that isn't the same as what you already have, unless you're willing to farm for hours, which we're only willing to do in short spurts and with an actually decent payoff rate. We reached such a point, and got sick of farming, and therefore... just stopped playing the game, a few months ago.

There really aren't very many coop games on the PS3 that work for both me and my partner. Besides Borderlands, the main option is Resident Evil. (Review Part 2 of which is coming when I get my head back out of Borderlands.) Mutually being not-terribly-interested in playing one of those games presents a problem if we want to play together.

So... solution: Use mod tools to generate the loot we would have farmed for anyway. Not necessarily all of it, but a chunk of it, including level-appropriate versions of weapons we already have but don't won't to discard just because they're basically useless now due to level difference. Also, for changing out parts of guns that are perfect except...

A good example is a particular sniper rifle that my partner loves, but which for some reason she keeps getting with a randomly assigned scope that she absolutely loathes because it has no crosshairs and our television is decidedly not high-definition and is fairly small when it comes to split-screen gaming. This is a problem when she plays the sniper character. (I play the... the wizard character. Not sure how else to describe her. She's pretty much a wizard. Except less on the 'glass cannon' side of things, and obviously not with real guns.) Now we can just pick a different scope. (Any different scope.)

 And that's why I've picked up a new yet relatively useless skill.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2013 Goals: Week 9 Postmortem

This may have been the worst second-half-of-a-week all this year. And I still feel exhausted. It hasn't even been that anything bad happened... just a bunch of insomnia hitting for several days in a row. I had truly awful insomnia a few months ago and  I was just getting used to it not being so bad anymore. Sigh.

Well, time to face the music.

Novel: [PITIFULLY LOW] / 31,500 words.

Still above the 50% mark (though I don't know how far above it). Notes to self: First address insomnia, then address this.

Working Out: 4/4 times. (RESET.)

Okay, so here's the deal... I hadn't been counting walking, even when I walked for a full hour. That was honestly pretty silly.

I still don't want to count long walks exclusively in place of the working out that involves running & working out... in part because I walk several times a day usually three days a week, and that would take up 3 of 4 of the times right there, and make the gym hours & independent tiny workouts meaningless.

I think I can stand to count them for the four periods I missed though. Maybe if they count cumulatively for one workout per week? Or maybe only in special cases? I dunno. Thoughts?

Blogging: 2/3 posts. (+1 from earlier weeks, ideal total 4)


Okay, now I've got to write 5 posts this week. Whoops.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Midweek Novel Update

...because I can.

Vastly rewrote one and a half chapters today. I hated both chapters when I woke up this morning, and I quite like them now, so that's hopefully a good sign.


I should have been at 28,000 words last week, and by this coming Tuesday, I should be at 31,500 words.

So... Yes, I'm more than 50% towards being 'caught up', but partially due to the rewriting (unfortunately necessary in this case, so that I don't hate the chapter and can build off of it comfortably) I'm also not as close to catching up as I thought.

Let's pretend I'm going to be caught up on Tuesday, and give myself some possibly unrealistic mini-goals.

I've got Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and let's be generous and give myself Tuesday as well since that's when I write the update. Five days.

MATH TIEM: 31,500 words minus 18,240 equals 13,260 words total. Divide 13,260 words by 5 days. That's... 2,652 words per day.

...Wow. Yeah, that is sort of unrealistic. It's not impossible, but that would mean all those days need to be seriously good days. Without much rewriting, if any.

Still, aim for the stars... or is it the moon?

We'll see what I can do.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

2013 Goals: Week 8 Postmortem

Taking a break from writing a shit-ton of words for the novel.

Novel: [IN FLUX] / 28,000 words.

A lot of writing has been gotten done. (Been... gotten... Wow, that's awkward phrasing.) I'm not caught up, though. I'm actually not sure that I've progressed too far beyond the "50% of where I'm supposed to be" mark. Gah. February's over, and I've taken two months to tackle a month's worth of work.

I need to say "no" to more projects. Really. Gotta do it. It's not just been the SCP Foundation that's been taking up my extra time... But, uh. It's been a large part of it.

Working Out: 4/4 times. (+4 from earlier weeks, ideal total 8)

I'm going to stop treading water here eventually. Really. Eventually.

Blogging: 3/3 posts. (+1 from earlier weeks, ideal total 4)

Should have blogged more. Still owe an extra post for this week. Was supposed to be the Part 2 of the Resident Evil post, but... Didn't quite get there.

Maybe I'll do that today. But first... More work on the novel. 

The SCP Foundation: 9/2 articles.

Yup. I went and wrote another one, this time for the sister site, the Wanderers' Library. I wrote it in a creative fury in between novel chapters to get myself unstuck. I don't feel bad about that, because that didn't get in the way of my novel. (What did get in the way was drama. Delicious drama. Sigh)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More Contest Stuff

...Speaking of contest stuff.

I designed a hub page for the new canon produced by my team for this contest:


Mine isn't the absolute best there is, but I like it well enough. I do have to wonder if it could use more streamlining. I spent a few hours editing it down into a manageable size; story of my life. But that doesn't mean it couldn't use more editing.

(Also, my team didn't take top spot. The team who did... Well, you know what? I'm just gonna link their hub page here, because it's pretty damn excellent: http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/unfounded-hub If you want to read the stories, I particularly recommend "All Things Considered" and "Da Capo al Fine".)

So many plans for more entries. So little time. So much "real life" (novel) writing to be done. We'll see what I ultimately get done.

To My New Visitor[s]

So a couple people from the SCP Foundation now know about this blog! So that's ... different.

I wonder what they (you) think (thought) about my posts about the contest, including the one where I went through all the entries in my canon and subjected them to the Bechdel test (and other relatively mild forms of social analysis). The idea makes me chuckle. I certainly didn't tell anyone I was doing that, though I didn't, like, withhold it, on purpose.

I notice I compartmentalize a lot. I don't actually intentionally hide parts of my thought process. It just... happens. I've been noticing it recently. Trying to actually be open about everything - not necessarily on this blog, but in real life. As for the internet... maybe I can stand to be pretty open, though where the line is there, I do not know.

Also, yes, I know I'm kind of a terrible blog post writer. But hey, that's the point of writing all this crap this year - to get better at that! So... Deal with it. ;)

2013 Goals: Week 7 Postmortem

This post isn't late. Which is a good thing, because I'm a little behind on other stuff.

Novel: [IN FLUX] / 24,500 words.

I think I jinxed my streak a little. Though only a little. I wrote a decent amount, then had to throw it away. Plus Chapter 2 got a critique, and some valid issues were brought up, that I need to fix quick & keep going.

And... I lost at least a day to internet drama. Exciting! I backed off of it before the whole week went to waste, though.

Working Out: 4/4 times. (+4 from earlier weeks, ideal total 8)

Yet another "treading water" week.

Blogging: 2/3 posts.


Now I owe four posts instead of three for this week. Oops.

That's about it for this postmortem. Time to sleep - clock just turned midnight.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013 Goals: Week 6 Postmortem

An overdue post.

Novel: 11,025 / 21,000 words.

I am barely over halfway to where I need to be to be on schedule. Oh yes, I am gonna need to work fast. Luckily I'm back into the novel and am currently on a little bit of a streak... which I hopefully did not just jinx.

Working Out: 4/4 times. (+4 from earlier weeks, ideal total 8)

Another "treading water" week. Again, as long as I'm not getting further behind...

Blogging: 5/3 posts. (+1 from earlier weeks, ideal total 4)

...Ha. For once I'm ahead of schedule, meaning I owe one less post this week. Sweet. Gonna need to catch up on the novel, after all...

Regarding the SCP Foundation article goal, I'm gonna take oedalis' advice and skip this month if I need to catch up. I may write an article anyway if I need a temporary break from the novel to recharge. (I do have a bajillion article ideas.) We'll see.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Another Reply To The Germarican

Replying to: this post!

QUICK SUMMARY: Jess and I are blogging back and forth at each other, as an experiment in progress. She thought she'd be the first to delay a blog post for forever. Instead, it was me. It's been a couple days shy of a full month since she replied.

And now... THE REPLY.

Hey Jess...
The problem with taking inspiration from a vblog and trying to translate it in to a a blog blog is that a lot of things like intros and so forth don't work as well if they're just written.  This make me wonder how much of an 'introduction' each of our posts actually need. I guess what it comes down to is am I writing this blog just for you - Jake aka one of my bff's - or for some poor soul that might stumble across this blogging experiment and wonder what it's all about. I guess we can create a post where we explain in detail what this is all about and then link to it every time, but honestly, I'm writing this for us so there's that.
 Yeah, that's an issue, isn't it? I guess we can... quote extensively? Like I just did? I did a Quick Summary at the top of this post but... I dunno if that will work every time. I'm not even sure it does work at all.

I gotta say, it feels weird starting another blog considering that I now have a facebook, twitter, tumblr, livejournal, myspace, pinterest AND Blogspot that I'm planning on updating. Well, I don't update myspace anymore but I will never delete it because Darren Hayes commented on one of my pictures.
 First off, that is a perfectly excellent reason to never delete that myspace. Second off... Oh man. Yeah, me too. Besides this Blogspost, I have a Facebook and a Twitter, an old LiveJournal, and I'm considering creating a new LiveJournal after discovering that one of my internet author heroes has a livejournal. Though she actually isn't currently updating it. So... there's that. I'm also considering starting a tumblr. Gah. Though I haven't totally grokked how tumblr works yet.

 It went so well that she lives down the street from me now. Mwahahaha!

This is still terribly hilarious.

I also approve of the Tim Drake picspam. Though I just don't care for that outfit on him. As silly as the new outfit looks, I prefer it quite a lot. (Like I've said before, it also looks kind of cool, not just silly. But still silly.)


They really want you to think these guys are SUPER HARDCORE, don't they?

 Somehow I don't think the art matches the internal monologue.

Online comments for this image describe Robin's outfit as "something a Vegas showgirl would wear."

Oh comics. You're so... so... Yeah.

And now... the elephant in the room. Namely, that I'm posting incredibly late. There was a reason - the website contest - but there are always reasons, aren't there? (Well, I guess 'I was just lazy' could be a reason.)

Should we have a specific schedule - like, once a week, posting on alternating weeks? Should we do punishments? (I know oedalis is excited about that idea.) If we do punishments, what kinds? We can't really duplicate Brotherhood 2.0 style punishments, in part because I think we'd find different things amusing and in part because we didn't grow up together, so we can't be quite as (hilariously) vindictive. And we can't really go to the 'videotape yourself doing embarrassing things well because, well, we're not doing a vlog.

I guess that goes back to the whole thing about taking inspiration from a vlog but not being a vlog. Anyways. What are your thoughts?

Vlog Brothers Meter: August 30, 2007
That's 872 videos to go as of today. I've watched ... almost (but not quite) 200, out of over a thousand total. Actually, before this blog post I'd lost my place, but I found it again! So that's a plus.

(Deadjournal challenge next time. I've already put this blog off enough. :P)

Resident Evil 5 & 6 Review, Part 1

I've been playing a lot of Resident Evil 6 lately.

Why Resident Evil 6, you may ask? It's not that Resident Evil 6 is a great game. I don't have a ton of time for gaming these days; why pick that particular game?

Well, for the same reason why I've played about a jillion hours of Resident Evil 5: because of its co-op. If you're on the PS3, and you're not playing Borderlands, and if you don't like side-scrollers, then Resident Evil 5 & 6 are simply the best cooperative games there are.

(There's a certain level of irony to this, because classic Resident Evil fans tend to hate the coop, because having a partner inherently strips some of the survival horror out. But frankly I wouldn't be playing the series if it weren't for coop because there are so few coop games out there. Jesus.)

And I am pretty much primarily playing coop games these days. I have a personal rule that I won't be playing single-player games until I get to a certain point of my novel - possibly not until I finish it, unless I get ahead of schedule 3/4 of the way into this draft and need a break.

RE5 & 6 are full of flaws, even when you're just picking on gameplay. RE5 is the worst offender: Not being able to move and shoot at the same time during gameplay is just the start, along with a clunky inventory system, awful melee and a ridiculous love of shitty Quicktime events.

RE6 takes a couple steps backward: inventory can only be modified in-game, which is annoying - it would be more immersive but let's not kid ourselves about Resident Evil's immersion here. But thankfully it takes even more steps forward - you can move and shoot at the same fucking time! Melee is actually a ton of fun! Inventory is less clunky! There's a setting you can turn on to get around of most Quicktime events! It's all around more entertaining to play.

The story of both games is appalling. RE6 is slightly better than RE5, but not by much. When it's not bad, it's confusing, and when it's not confusing, it's bad, and usually it's both. But I'm not playing for the story anyway; admittedly the attempt at a story is an improvement over Borderlands' fetch-quest-slash-grind method, but that doesn't make it not appalling.

The terrible story gets a little more fun (okay, a lot more fun) in RE5 when you unlock ridiculous fetish-y outfits for both characters to wear through all those awful cutscenes. Sadly, so far that's not the case for RE6.

Both games feel like you just wouldn't want to finish them if you were only playing solo play.

Resident Evil 5's gameplay is simply too aggravating until you get used to it; it's a ton of fun now, but required a lot of investment to get there that only seemed worth it in cooperative play.

Resident Evil 6 fares a bit better, with the first two-thirds of the first campaign being pretty awesome. (There are four campaigns, by the way. This is a long fucking game. Each single campaign is ... around half to two-thirds as long as the entire campaign of Resident Evil 5.)

Unfortunately... the second campaign of RE6 gets pretty shitty if you haven't unlocked a bunch of skills to make killing things easier. And if you're not willing to point farm, well, fat chance there. And the characters in the second campaign are the least likeable or interesting. We actually took a several-month break from the game in aggravation after getting through the second campaign, before coming back, point farming, and actually having fun (gasp!) with the third campaign. (We're about to start the fourth, which I hear is supposed to be actually pretty good.)

So again... if it wasn't coop, I wouldn't have returned to the game.

But the coop is just marvelous. It's hard to emphasize how much fun it is, especially in RE6. Both games seriously suck you in by actually stacking up rewards for completing campaigns or accomplishing certain goals. Primarily, in both games you can buy skills or abilities or costumes with points earned by playing the campaign/s. And you can play the campaign/s over and over with all those purchased points. It's hard to overestimate how much replay value this adds to the game, especially - again - if you're playing coop. And the games get more fun as you earn more abilities and ratchet up the difficulty.

Both games also have a non-story mode called "Mercenaries", which is 'just alright' in RE5, but more fun in RE6, mostly because the gameplay is much (much) better and partly also because you can purchase abilities specific to Mercenaries in RE6. In both games, playing Mercenaries earns goodies for the main game too. My partner and I are playing a lot of this right now.

Heh. This was going to be an analysis of the problematic aspects of Resident Evil's character portrayals... yet I've segued into a goddamn game review, and I'm mostly out of time. Time to change the post title to "Part 1" and move on to "Part 2" next week. In Part 2, I'll address the character stuff, and I'll also note anything I missed in Part 1.

Friday, February 8, 2013

2013 Goals: Week 5 Postmortem

Novel: [NOT ENOUGH]/ 17,500 words.

I'm struggling to get back into this, now that the contest is over. Sigh.

Working Out: 4/4 times. (+4 from earlier weeks)

Same as last week. At least I'm not getting further behind.

Blogging: 3/3 posts. (+1 from earlier weeks)

Yup. Still need to get in that reply to Jess. Will do over the next couple days... I'm already working on it, but it's not done.

SCP Foundation: 8/1 articles. 

That isn't a typo, of course. I was required to do one for last month, but I did eight.

Technically that means I'm covered for the next seven months. Not sure how I'll decide to handle that; it seems almost against the spirit of the resolutions. But then, I did get pretty behind on my novel to get the time to write those eight articles, and I'm gonna need extra time to catch up. Any thoughts?

More Contest Post-Mortem

I went and did this for my own amusement / educational value. Food for thought...

01. Apakht: Female:male ratio 1:1 / Bechdel test: Fails (I wrote this)
02. The Gate Opens: Female:male ratio 0:5 / Bechdel test: Fails (I wrote this)
03. Revelation: Female:male ratio 2:1 / Bechdel test: Fails (I wrote this)
04. Stormfront: Female:male ratio 4:4 / Bechdel test: Passes (Female author)
05. Awakenings: Female:male ratio 2:1 / Bechdel test: Fails (I wrote this)
06. White Horse: Female:male ratio 1:1 / Bechdel test: Fails (I wrote this)
07. Red Horse: Female:male ratio 0:3 / Bechdel test: Fails
08. Interlude Notes: Female:male ratio 0:0 / N/A
09. Black Horse: Female:male ratio 2:4 / Bechdel test: Passes (Female author)
10. Interlude Svalbard: 2:2 / Bechdel test: Passes (Female author)
11. Pale Horse: Female:male ratio 1:2 / Bechdel test: Fails
12. Bloody Autumn: Female:male ratio 0:2 / Bechdel test: Fails
13. Stirrings: Female:male ratio 0:1 / Bechdel test: Fails (Female author)
14. Ganymede: Female:male ratio 5:2 / Bechdel test: Passes (I wrote this)

So... only one of my stories passed the Bechdel test. The others that passed were all written by a female author.

Reminder: To pass the Bechdel test, one must have two or more female characters, who talk to each other, about something besides a man. (It's incredibly easy to find stories with two or more male characters, who talk to each other, about something besides a woman. That's the vast majority of all modern stories.)

There's also a dearth of female characters in the tale series, which didn't surprise me going in, since while the site has a significant minority of female members, it's still male-dominated.

Note that there are also multiple "it" characters, who are genderless/genderfluid/etc, but I didn't take them into account because they're all supernatural entities. (I //did// take into account gendered supernatural entities.) There were no 'basically human' characters who weren't cisgender.

There are only two obvious POC (people of color, for y'all who don't know acronyms) characters. "Obvious" meaning the story lets you know they're people of color.

There are a few queer characters in the stories, but they're not obvious. Only two (past) relationships are shown, and they're both straight relationships.

(This is in part because only my original characters are queer, and the relationships both involved characters who weren't mine and are probably straight, though ironically several of the straight characters involved or mentioned were //written// by queer authors. I can't specify further, because as far as I know they're not 'out' to the site at large.)

The flip sides to all this is that several of (actually, most of) the female characters are significant and in positions of power. Only one is relevant at all for being a love interest, and that doesn't even get revealed until the end story (and she's a major character). And of the obvious POC, both are major players.

By the way, just in case I get comments here from people who don't know me: I'm not saying that this decreases the quality of my stories here or my teammates' stories, thanks. It's still worthwhile food for thought.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Yes! The contest is over.

We went down to the wire, but we got absolutely everything in that we wanted to get in. Fourteen stories, or twelve if you only count full stories (two of 'em were one-scene interludes).

My team really came through. I didn't think we'd get everything in, or that it would all be good, but... we did, and it is. It was a ton of effort, between planning things & managing everyone, but it was all worth it.

I am so goddamn happy.

Reminder: You can find the stories here: http://www.scp-wiki.net/new-years-contest if you scroll down to "Eschatology". (Warning: Not all of it will make sense if you're not a Foundation member and haven't read all the referenced stuff... but it's designed to hopefully be entertaining even if you have no clue what's going.)

Now it's time to work on some other projects... most importantly, back to my novel, and second most importantly, catching up with blog posts. Not super behind, but I do have a one-post deficit, and that post is one Jess has been waiting for for quite a while.

(Last week's postmortem tonight or tomorrow.)

Monday, February 4, 2013

That Damned Contest...

...ends tomorrow. Which means I'm gonna be spending most of my time tonight working on my final entries. Because Tuesday night? I'll be in class. Yeah.

Here's the hub: http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/new-years-contest

My entries so far can be found under: "Competitive Eschatology" - under "thedeadlymoose". More are coming later, either tonight or tomorrow.

And if you're really bored, here is the sandbox page with a ton of planning and some current drafts in it: http://scpsandbox2.wikidot.com/eschatology-project-hub

I actually haven't got enough done today. Need to get the hell on that. But first, gotta walk to the bank to get laundry money.

Also... I still need to write that reply to Jess before tomorrow. Hopefully I can get that done too!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Oh my gawd.

He's just so goddamn adorable.

And yes, this is a cat picture post. What about it?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 Goals: Week 4 Postmortem

Novel: [NOT ENOUGH]/ 14,000 words.

Basically, see last post. This week I will be getting together at least SOMETHING, but it won't be enough to catch up, I already know. The contest has been seriously absorbing my time.

Working Out: 4/4 times. (+4 from earlier weeks)

Well, at least I'm not getting further behind. Need to knock out that backlog. I've worked out twice this week so far, though, so maybe I can do 5 times total.

Blogging: 2/3 posts.

Well, goddamn it.

Hopefully four posts this week shouldn't be a huge issue. This counts as one, of course, so - three to go.

I'm doing pretty excellently on my work for the SCP Foundation, though... at least, I think I am. Sigh. Don't you hate it when you're just not sure if the stuff you've written is actually good?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Taking On Too Much

What I've done this week so far:

* Read almost 2,000 articles for research for this motherfucking contest.
* See above.
* See above.
* See above.
* Rewrite my article for the SCP Foundation posted last week (which took an entire day).
* See first bullet point.
* See above.

I haven't worked on my novel at all, and the contest still has seven more days to go. And I'm on the line for at least three short stories.

This is going to be pretty interesting!

Also, I'm not going to make my blog post goal for this week. Obviously. I'll do four next week to make up for it. And finally reply to Jess!

Also also, here's my article for the Foundation that I posted earlier this week: SCP-1985

I'm pretty pleased with it, but I think it could use a little bit more work, and almost certainly some additional material to flesh it out in an entertaining way. (Like an interview log. Hmmm...)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013 Goals: Week 3 Postmortem

Time flies. Today was another day of non-stop writing (minus a large chunk of midday, where I was either driving, or meeting a friend).

Novel: [NOT ENOUGH]/ 10,500 words.

I'm not going to measure this. I already know I fell short. I feel less badly about this than I usually would because I've been so productive this week in other writing areas. I'll start feeling pretty bad if it puts me behind a month, though. Don't want to be forced to make up too much ground.

Speaking of which...

SCP Foundation: 1? of [2-4] articles.

An unexpected change in how many articles are due, because of the contest mentioned last post. The question mark comes after the 1 because I don't know yet if it's going to survive (though I certainly hope so), and the [2-4] is there because I don't know if I need to ultimately write 2, 3, or 4 articles this month. Depends on what the rest of my contest team is able to produce.

Working Out: 3/4 times. (+3 from earlier weeks)

I'm just going to say "argh" to this. On the plus side, I already worked out today, which is the first day of the 'resolution week'.

Blogging: 3/3 posts.

Success, even though the posts were not exactly what I'd been planning to write. Jess, I will try and reply to your post this week!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Deadlines Approaching

Weekly deadline fast approaching for my writing goal this week, 10,500 words. I've thrown away so much that I'm actually not sure I'm going to make the goal. I'm in a buffer-free area; I've got some material later on already written, but that doesn't count til I reach that point. So I may be about to get behind. We'll see. Perhaps if I do, I should post when , even if it's not a post-mortem post.

This is also when I'm working on my monthly SCP article or articles. In this case, articles, because I'm entering a contest (more updates on that later) and it's got its own deadlines. This means I have three total articles on my docket. One actual SCP document (indirectly related to the contest), two "Foundation tales" - IE, short stories (directly related to the contest).

By end of tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan 22nd: Basic story outline materials should be finished. This is going to require approximately three hours of reading, which I need to do either today, late tonight, or tomorrow evening, because otherwise I'm busy. This is in addition to finishing my weekly novel goal. This is why I'm not sure I'll make it. We'll see.
By end of Wednesday, Jan 23rd: First draft of first story should be done.
By end of Thursday, Jan 24th: First draft of second story should be done. This is also the date entries may be submitted for the contest (for about a week, I think - I'll have to check on that too).

That's a hell of a lot of writing to do. At least I've spent Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and today doing almost nonstop writing, so I can probably keep the trend going. Gonna try, at least. Either way, all this is getting done, whether on time or not.

Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 Goals: Week 2 Postmortem

This update coming a little late because my blog stopped working for a day or two.

Novel: ????/ 7000 words.

I think I'm on track here. Unfortunately, I didn't think to measure on the day I was supposed to since I wasn't writing a post anyway, and since I'm also in territory where I'm keeping some of the previously written material, extrapolating an actual count is going to be difficult. And now we're a couple days into next week. We'll see.

Working Out: 3/4 times. (+2 from earlier weeks)

Wow, I really suck at this. What partly is killer here is that I've had a few days where I worked out more than 15 minutes at once, but that doesn't count towards resoltions.

Blogging: 3/3 posts.

Success. The contrast between working out & blogging here is actually pretty amusing, because working out is something I've succeeded at before, whereas blogging is something I've failed at pretty consistently before. I mean, my history on this blog is peppered with posts saying that this time, maybe, I will actually start posting regularly.

Already I've posted more posts this year than I posted in all of 2012, which was my worst year to date (I'm actually surprised to learn that). My best year was 2009, which I should pass in February if all goes well. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Template Change

Changing the template because Dynamic Views appears to be just... Broken.

Because I couldn't get the blog to load for most of the day, last week's postmortem will go up tomorrow.

Any suggestions for another template from fellow Blogspot people?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Questions Re: Authors & Reviewers

I found this story while searching for something entirely different, and I thought it would be interesting to pose some questions about it.

The short version of the story:

  • "Vine" reviewer (blog author) reads book, posts 4-star review on Amazon.
  • Author starts pushing for #1 New York Times Bestseller slot on Facebook; is unhappy that it stays steady at #2.
  • Someone gives the book a 1-star review on Amazon. It's not abusive, mind you. It's just harsh.
  • Author's husband tears into the 1-star reviewer; legions of fans jump on board. Death threats ensue.
  • Author references the fracas in an amused fashion
  • Blog author changes review to 1-star, explains that it's because they can't support the author's behavior:
  •  Both the blog author and the original 1-star reviewer receive threats and anonymous phone calls.
  • Author steps in, sorta-kinda. One of her comments:
amy--we did reach out to her with an official apology. if she is really getting death threats, which is appalling, she should probably remove her post--or at least stop talking about it. alternatively, she should call the police ASAP. There is nothing i can do to help her from atlanta. why are you still talking about it? i think you are making it worse for this poor woman by drawing attention to it on my page. if you care about her and want it to die down, please stop posting about it on my page. that is what i mean by "protect all involved". i'm sorry you don't seem to follow this logic. but maybe you want the drama to continue? if so, THAT is really, really bad.
...And that about summarizes it. Full details in the link in the post above, naturally.

So my questions to you, dear blog readers, are:

Should the book's author have acted differently? How?


Should the blog author have changed their review? (edit: I meant, from a 4-star to 1-star, which they did; was that a good thing or a bad thing?)


If you were either of these people, what might have you done differently? What might you have wished you'd done differently?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Homestuck Race Debate

Warning: This post is mostly for my own benefit. Most people who I personally know read this blog either don't read Homestuck or haven't caught up. And many of them actively dislike Homestuck, if only for the crazy fandom that circulates around it. And this is an 'aggregator-style' post about a kerfluffle in the Homestuck fandom. So you've been warned.

On that note, this post contains spoilers.

 If you're continuing anyway, a brief notes of context.

First, go here: http://www.mspaintadventures.com/ Look at the front page, which is also the first page of the (several-thousand-page and running) comic called Homestuck.

Actually, what the heck, I'll paste it for the lazy.

What race is that kid?

Well, you might assume he's white, and he's certainly drawn as if he has straight hair, but Homestuck characters are canonically aracial. Naturally, this leads to most people assuming they're white. And a vocal minority of fans who hate that assumption (myself amongst them, though I'm not really clear on whether I count as part of the HS fandom because until now I haven't participated at all). The author is well aware of this debate. (That context is important.)

Making characters aracial is potentially problematic, but I am going to skim over that for the moment in interest of brevity, and also because I don't think my thoughts have wrapped around that completely anyway.

Homestuck has often had a "Trickster Mode" as a joke in the Flash entries where you can control the characters involved.

Here's a screenshot:

That's the same character as the one depicted in the opening page. Note presence of skin color (and alternate hair color, and alternate colors everywhere.)

Now, partially as a nod to fans, partly as a plot device, the author, Andrew Hussies, has made Trickster Mode an Official Plot Device in Homestuck. The character who enters Trickster mode has a similar skin color to the one in the picture above (IE, they're apparently white, and not white in the literal sense).

This twitter conversation ensues: https://twitter.com/andrewhussie/status/288847003738308609

Following that, the next few updates had the Trickster mode character commenting to another character (who's horrified at her change): "I feel so... CAUCASIAN!" on this page (bright flashing colors warning, by the way). With a bunch of skin color tones in a row at the bottom (and the choice of pantone 7507c - the character's current skin tone - blinking).

Spiderlass on Tumblr summed up pretty well many peoples' problems with this in this post: (I won't quote, just go read the whole thing if you've gotten this far.)

If you go to the Homestuck page I linked, you'll see that the word now reads "PEACHY!" And the skin color tones are replaced by a series of fruit. Because the author got horrified at the reaction and tossed out the joke.

His explanation: "I thought the joke was funny, but..."
But actually what motivates me more to revise it is noticing more than a few unsavory individuals using it as justification to harass POCs or anyone who, reasonably, wanted to voice their concerns. On reflection I’d rather not have my decisions serve as fodder for the arguments of such people.
Full post here.

And he followed up after people got ANGRY!!! that he stooped to self-censorship!!!:
This is why the claim “social justice is in essence a form of censorship” is so ironic here. Because the forces of social justice aren’t actually making me change anything. In this case, it’s actually the people who OPPOSE those concerns in the ugliest manner who motivated me to “censor” myself.

Most people here would agree that some SJ enthusiasts can get pretty carried away. But if you feel convinced social justice is a crushing form of censorship, you might want to rethink that idea. Because apparently “one of the only people who could say and do whatever they damn well pleased” for the first time ever decided to redact a joke, not because of SJ bloggers, but because of the behavior of their most strident critics. And if you truly dislike censorship, and do not wish to see more self-censorship in the future, then you would be doing your part to behave in a way that doesn’t make creators feel embarrassed to be defended by you.
Full post here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 Goals: Week 1 Postmortem

Novel: 5,836/3500 words.

I built up a bit of a barrier just before the New Year on this draft, intentionally, and it's paid off. I'm still ahead of schedule, even though I spent a few days ruminating on necessary changes to another chapter. I'll try to keep writing ahead of schedule to allow myself those occasional 'thinking days'.

SCP Foundation: 0/0 articles. (+0 to make up.)

This isn't due yet! In the next two postmortem posts, I won't mention it unless there's a reason to.

Working Out: 2/4 times. (+0 to make up.)

I didn't think this one would be my first stiffed resolution, but there it is. My sleep cycle got in the way of this one, and my own desire to procrastinate. Sigh.

I now have two micro-sessions to make up by the end of the month. On that note, I've signed up for some workout classes, so hopefully after this month this resolution gets easier to keep.

Though I'm thinking of modifying it to make it so that I have to be physically active for one minute per hour. To combat the ill effects of sittin' around.

Blogging: 3/3 posts. (+0 to make up.)

Success! Even if I posted the last one at the last second. Having Jess to reply to really helped with that. Thanks, Jess. Let's keep doin' that.

Total Resolutions Kept: 3/4

Let's see if I can do better this coming week.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Blog Subtitle Time

Your thoughts! Give them to me.

I like "Then Again", but I'm a bit tired of "Fairies, Sex, and Spacemen." Any suggestions for a new title?

I'm tempted to steal "Middle of May" from an old journal... but I'm not certain.

I am also happy to change "Then Again" if necessary, or just get rid of the subtitle altogether.

I may change this again in the near future, so don't be afraid to suggest silly things, so long as they're not too silly to be usable.

January 7th 2013, Early Morning

Hey Jess.

This is the post I am replying to. (We should probably keep linking back to each other or this will make even less sense.) Update: Now cross-posted here!

I am writing this at about 4 AM. But it's not as bad as it sounds: I woke up at 4 PM yesterday (after an all-nighter that lasted til 9 AM. I intended to stay up all day to reset my sleep cycle, but it did not work). I slept at 9 AM and woke up at a little bit past 2 AM. I will probably nap soon before I have to get up at 8 AM. My sleep cycle is pretty hilarious.

Yes, blogging. I am technically not yet behind on my blogs for this year because I set myself a rule that I can make a whole bunch of posts at the end of the week. This year, the end of the "week" is Monday, meaning I have a whole entire day to meet my quota of ... three ... or was it four... posts. Meaning, counting this one, that I have... two... or is it one... post/s left for this week.

(I really should have made my working out resolutions and blogging resolutions have the same number.)

I am starting my week on Tuesday and ending it on Monday because New Year's Day was Monday.

I think I may be behind on working out already. But don't tell anyone.

Anyway, I could not help but notice that you did not explain what we were doing. Because I am the helpful friend, I will proceed to explain for our audience of two or three people.

You, Jess, are being my blogging buddy to help me, Jake, in one of my New Year's resolutions. We got the idea of chatting at each other from vlog brothers. Though we are not, in fact, brother and sister, we have often been mistaken for brother and sister, so it is close enough I guess.

Somehow I originally typed "brother in sister" in the above sentence, which I am happy to say was not a Freudian slip, because it would be terrible to somehow grow awkward sexual tension out of nowhere after knowing each other for approximately thirteen years. Or maybe hilarious. I don't know. Luckily, today is not the day we find out.

Is thirteen years right? I am not certain. I'm pretty sure we met late-1999 - early-2000. Do you remember? I know we bonded over media out before that point, such as The Phantom Menace...

Still sexy.

...and Gargoyles...

Still awesome. Also still sexy.

Also, we have planned since we were teenagers to co-write some stuff in the future, although, as you know, only I am currently writing, and when we are rich and famous, these blogs will stand forever in infamy. Alternatively, we will laugh at our hubris while we are on our death beds. In this version of the future, we are dying at the same time, which is actually kind of terrible.

You mentioned: "Regular updating? Um, I’ll try really hard. I hope that works for you cause that’s as good as you’re gonna get XD"

That's perfectly excellent for starters. Maybe we can challenge each other to keep to a schedule later! For now, let's take baby steps and rely on our compulsive need to chatter at each other, and our willingness to keep reminding the other person to reply when it's not our turn.


Oh my god. I had almost completely forgotten about my deadjournal. Oh man. I had this blog from 2002-2005. How old was I, then? I can't math. Let's figure this out:
  • 2013: I will (but have not yet) turn 28
  • 2012: 27
  • 2011: 26
  • 2010: 25
  • 2009: 24
  • 2008: 23
  • 2007: 22
  • 2006: 21
  • 2005: 20
  • 2004: 19
  • 2003: 18
  • 2002: 17
So I had this blog from age 17 to age 20. Sometime after or during that, I got a livejournal, and then migrated here. I have been blogging for over ten years.

Seventeen through twenty. Hot damn. Those were my "teen angst" years, coming on a little late and spilling into my twenties because I was overall pretty happy through most of high school. Don't get me wrong, some of it is horrifying in retrospect, but ignorance was bliss at the time. You remember.

Just look at my very first post:

Yay...my first entry ever here...or in a journal ever. ^_^ Actually, I was debating getting one for a while now, but it took Jessi registering to provide the impetus for me to do the same.

That's right, Jess. I have been using you to motivate my blogging for my entire blogging career.

Also, check out that badass anime emoticon. Hah. That's a theme throughout: tons and tons of anime emoticons. But I'll follow up on that in another post.

And Jess, that's my first challenge for you...

Blogging Challenge Number One!

Find your old deadjournal. You don't even have to link it if you don't have to - I know you sometimes come down with a bad case of Shy On The Internet. But go through the posts - all the posts. Skim wherever you like. Comment on the posts overall in some way as thoughts come to you.

If you accept this challenge, I will do the same. I might do it anyway. Who knows. I'm just so damn unpredictable. You can't pin me down!


Animorphs is a fantastic thing to talk about. Unfortunately, I have already written quite the wall of text on other things. Fortunately, there will be many more opportunities to talk about Animorphs in the future, especially since I'm planning to reread them at some point. I will just say right now that I am very very happy that they are re-releasing this series, and especially that they're doing it in e-reader format.

I cannot remember my favorite Animorphs character. I loved Jake, Rachel, Cassie, and Tobias... Ax and Marco came second, but I loved them too, really.  But yes, Jake was the hottest in the TV show. However, I barely watched that. Ah well!


Well, that depends, doesn't it? I have to imagine that people will be able to power our current devices or retrieve data somehow, if we keep the level of technology we have now or higher. If we don't keep that level of technology... well, we're going to lose a whole damn lot of work. But, you know, most civilizations have left much, much less behind than they would have liked. So it's okay, I guess, from the long view.

I don't know if the paper saving is staggering yet, but I would wager it at least eventually will be. And that's almost as good.

This make me think of a question for you: How do you think the world will end?

Something happy, something sad.

I'll do this one next post! I already know what I'm gonna write, but I'm out of time for now.

And another thing:

I have been also been watching vlogbrothers as you suggested. That's where I got the challenge idea from. You're right. The first few videos are really awkward. As these blog posts surely are too. But they are pretty much all great. And inspiring! Even though I still hate the introductory music.

I would like to suggest something else...

Suggestion Time

One of the things we've done constantly throughout the time we've known each other is drag each other into consuming media.

This blogging back-and-forth comes from that. I got you into Crash Course. You segued from that into Vlog brothers (which I had ignored) and now you've got me into that, too.

So... let's keep doing that, but through our blog. Maybe we can work this into challenges later, but - baby steps! For now, let's do meters.

I'll start with Vlog Brothers. I suggest you start with Homestuck: Note which page you're currently on. Update when you post, even if it remains the same between posts. I will do the same, noting which Vlog Brothers video I'm currently on.

We can add more meters as we blog more.

Do you accept this suggestion?

Bonus question! Should I make a tumblr and cross-post things there? 

I close my post with this adorable cat picture.

Aw yiss.


Suggestions Summary:
  • Deadjournal Challenge.
  • Meter Suggestion.

P.S.: I noticed you used a "hey jake" tag on your tumblr. That is a good idea and I am stealing it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolutions 2013

I've never made resolutions for the new year before. Gonna try that out this year.

My first inclination is to take on way too much, and make a ton of ambitious resolutions that will inevitably fail. My second inclination is hopefully more reasonable. I'll stick to the "writing" category, since that's probably the most reasonable.

Resolution #1: Novel.

I partly mean "finish my novel" and I partly mean "rewrite my novel" here, because most of it has already been written at some point in the last year and a half. But almost all of it needs to be rewritten, and half of what I've already written needs to be discarded. Such is rewriting. Especially when you're me, and using this novel to learn how to write (something which, I am told, is not necessarily recommended).

I'm dividing this one up by months. Fantasy word counts tend to range between 80,000 words to 120,000 words if you want to play it safe as a first-time author. I want to be generous with these goals, so I'll say 120,000. I'll divide that by 8 months, leaving 4 months to rewrite, to get 15K words per month. Divided by 30, that's 500 words per day. I could write more, but again, I'm trying to be generous with myself here.

* January: 15,000 words
* Feburary: 30,000 words
* March: 45,000 words
* April: 60,000 words
* May: 75,000 words
* June: 90,000 words
* July: 105,000 words
* August: 120,000 words
* September: Revise first 30,000 words
* October: Revise first 60,000 words
* November: Revise first 90,000 words
* December. Revise all 120,000 words

If I have to do another rewrite later, that's fine. Some form of rewriting is to be expected. The goal is to have a complete, polished draft.

Resolution #2: Twelve new pieces for the SCP Foundation.

(For those of you who aren't familiar with the SCP Foundation, the short version is that it's a collaborative writing website, based primarily around short stories in the horror fiction category. There's a large number of pieces that fall into the humor and general speculative fiction genres, too. I write and staff for this site. If you visit this month, January 2012, you'll find that the featured Tale on the front page is one of mine: "Recovered Data File".)

This one's pretty straightforward: one piece a month. Technically, I could write more: these aren't long pieces. But I'll also be working on staff projects for the site and writing my novel. And these resolutions are supposed to be generous. So a piece a month is more realistic.

Resolution #3: Work out.

(I'm vaguely embarrassed to type this one out.)

I'll say that the way to fulfill this is to work out for a total of no less than 15 minutes per day for 4 days a week. Any skipped days must be made up within a month. Can't cheat and do 45 minutes one day and count that for three days. That's a pretty low bar to reach, yes. But generous, remember?

Resolution #4: Blog.

This is actually going to be the hardest one, because for some reason blogging is the first thing I forget to do. That's why I'm setting the bar even lower: one blog post per day, three days a week. If I get to the end of the month and I'm way behind, I can write several per day to make up for lost time. Skipped posts still have to be made up within a month, though.


And those are my four resolutions for the coming year. Let's see if I can manage to not break them. Hopefully the systemic way they're set up will help.