Painting With Shotguns #51

I Really Should Know Better

The other day, I had me a new Escapist article up — “The Pasty White Person Is King” — which admittedly was poised to raise a little controversy by dint of it being about race. (In particular, it’s about the white-washing of video games, wherein many races fail to be represented well or at all, especially in terms of character creation.) Now, one point in the article was my fault, in which the writing suggested that you couldn’t change the color of your skin in Dragon Age, and what I really should’ve said (and the article now says) is that you can change the color of your skin but it’s more like applying a new coat of paint — it does not cascade through the storyline, it seems to have no effect at all on the skin color of your family, friends, rest of the world, etc.

I’ll take my licks on that one. It’s a little bit of splitting hairs, but I was wrong, so bad on me.

The thing that gets me is the alarming amount of casual racism that pops up in the comments — okay, I’m not surprised at the existence of said racists, but I’m surprised at a) how racist they are and b) how ignorant they are of their own racism. Hey, if you’re going to be racist, at least own it. It’s not a good thing, but I appreciate self-awareness more than utter ignorance. Weirder still are the few commenters who somehow found my article to be racist. *scratches head* I don’t know if I wrote the most elegant article, but racist? Really? Anybody care to explain that? Like, in a way that doesn’t sound like moonbat logic?

All the more troubling is what happens when you pop over to another excellent article in that issue, “Muslims In My Monitor,” by fellow DMLA author Saladin Ahmed. Saladin basically says, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we had some positive Muslim role models instead of lots of Muslim villains in video games?” And in reading the comments, you’d think he was building a mosque in the Oval Office. People are very bold, very open about their distrust and distaste of, well, every Muslim ever. A lot of the logic comes down to, “Well, if you so-called moderate Muslims would do more to speak out against the extremist Muslims, we wouldn’t have to call you all terrorists.” As if a Muslim should preface every opinion with, “I disown Al-Qaeda and all its extremism” before preceding.

“I disown Al-Qaeda and all its extremism, and I think we should be able to have religious freedom in this country like everybody else.”

“I disown Al-Qaeda and all its extremism, and I think it’d be super nifty if we had some great Muslim role models in video games.”

“I disown Al-Qaeda and all its extremism, and I really like Honey Nut Cheerios.”

It’s bold-faced, underlined, highlighted prejudice, and it’s growing more inflamed with this nonsense “Ground Zero Mosque” debate — you know, the non-debate that’s been turned into a gas fire by all the assholes pouring gas and fire on it? That one? The one that staggeringly betrays some of the core precepts of this country? The one that highlights the irony of a GOP who pretends to want small government but who really wants the biggest goddamn monolithic Christian government you ever did see? The one that fails to recognize that nobody’s trying to build a terrorist training camp with concrete formed from the ashes of 9/11 jumpers, the one that doesn’t care to see the truth that it was never a straight-up mosque, that the Muslims are already present, that the “hallowed ground” of Ground Zero isn’t that at all?

Astounding after all this time we can still associate “terrorist” with “Muslim” so completely. (Though, let me also go to the other side and say this kind of intolerance is so nasty, so messy, it gets on everything like a spreading stain: no, every Catholic is not a boy-toucher, every Mormon isn’t a polygamist, and so on.)

Anyway.

Check out the articles in question, then if you’re brave, poke your head into the comments.

Blu-Ray Is A Staggering Disappointment (So Far)

We have a Blu-Ray player.

It, like apparently many Blu-Ray players, has a startling downside: it will not resume play on a disc. If I’m in the middle of watching a movie and I stop it, when I go to resume play, the fucking thing starts over.

I thought, surely this is insanity. Something is wrong. The device is broken! Or I’m missing a setting somewhere. No. No, apparently not. Some Blu-Ray players just… have this problem. It’s an alarming throwback: in fact, I don’t know of any media format out there right now that forces me to restart every time I stop. Not books, not tapes, not CDs or DVDs. Okay, a handful of games, maybe, but that’s something built into the challenge, not a failure of design or technology.

Further, Blu-Ray just doesn’t look that special. I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison, but Blu-Ray actually looks kind of disappointing. In fact, it looks too dark. This is after I’ve already modified my television away from the god-awful factory settings, so that everything else looks great. Television. Games. Movies I play on Netflix (which is thankfully built right into the television for maximum awesomeness). Hell, even DVDs I play in my Blu-Ray look better than the Blu-Rays I play in my Blu-Ray player.

Which is insanity, really.

Plus, I can stop and start those whenever I like! Resume play, done.

Why can I do that on DVDs in that player, but not Blu-Rays?

Have I taken a crazy pill?

Meh. Fnuh. Pshh. You ask me, Blu-Ray is just a pit-stop, an already flagging format on the way toward straight-up digital downloadable. Doesn’t help that many of the discs remain at almost stupidly expensive levels (despite the fact the players are now fairly cheap). Anybody else out there have Blu-Ray? Like it? Love it? Hate it? Indifferent to it?

Total sidenote: anybody have any great Netflix Watch Instantly recommendations? Loving that on the TV, and loving that I can stream right to my iPhone now, too. Super-slick.

The Future Of Terribleminds

You’ll note I’ve gone ahead and stopped using Roman numerals. I figured it would be best if I stopped embarrassing myself by using inaccurate numerals.

Interesting that I’ve been doing PWS for a year or so, now.

Do you like the PWS still? Continued thumbs-up?

Do you like the daily blogging?

Do you like the writing advice? On that one, I’m smelling flagging interest — the views on writing posts have been down, while views on other posts are up. Comments, too. That’s okay: if I’m hitting a wall, I might slow down on the writing advice. Unless it’s just a summer blip? You tell me. Good? Maybe take a breather on it? Slow down? Stop it entirely? Any opinions you got, throw ‘em at me.

Anything else you’d prefer to see? Do you like that I occasionally stir up controversy, or is that just irritating? Anything I don’t do that you’d like to see? Anything with the website design and functionality?

Let’s just call this a sweeping terribleminds review: what grade do you give the site and the blog? You tell me what you like, dislike, what you want to see, what you damn sure don’t want to see.

My feelings won’t be hurt.

I mean, they will, but I’ll cry in private.

The Lynx Is Hungry For Links

You want links? Done.

Review of Joelle Charbonneau’s SKATING AROUND THE LAW at ITW — check it out!

I do not own an iPad, but I love this iPad case: the Dodocase.

Hey, good news, everybody! We’re building a nation of idiots! Woooo! *eats a gun*

Wait, you don’t fear hospitals? Oh, oh, here: let me fix that for you.

Charlie Brooker tells you: you want motivation to write, then get a proper deadline.

Ten Star Wars comic books you should read. Anybody read these?

A reporter gave a bunch of panhandlers free credit cards. Here’s what happened.

HOLY CRAP VICTORIAN TERMINATOR ARM — STEAMPUNK SKYNET IS ACTIVE.

The Inner Journey” — great bit of writing advice from Donald Maass, the king of killer writing advice.

And, finally, a blog post that really speaks the truth: “Chuck Wendig Is The Devil.”

39 comments

  • You’re looking for feedback on the blog, eh? I think I could put together a criticism or two. If only I knew how to give and receive criticism. I should search the Web for some advice.

    I will actually devote some dedicated brain cycles to this question, Mr. Wingding. Like Napoleon, I shall return.

    But I couldn’t surf away before I noted that I perversely want to buy an iPad just so I can own that Dodocase. So sexy.

  • …what Blu-ray did you buy? I have a Panasonic BPmummblemumble-55 and can pause, start, resume, share, love and dream. Ditto on the PS3. I won’t spend more than $15 on a blu-ray, and I seem to be able to stick with that down here. *shrug* I like the differences I can see with the ones I’ve bought. (I LIKE HOW SPECIFIC I AM.)

    ALso, what TV are you watching it on? Plasma? LCD? Cathode-ray-tube? Camera Obscura? Because that’s your problem, right there. Those are not reliable AND the picture’s upside down.

    • @Stoney:

      I’m watching films cast by shadow puppets on a cave wall. What, isn’t that the newfangled tech? DAMNIT.

      The TV is an LED 46″ Samsung. The TV itself is the bee’s emmereffing knees. It is the brightest, crispest screen I could’ve imagined — all the more so once I dismantled the horribly dark and over-red factory settings (damn if they don’t love making the REDs bleed across the screen).

      The Blu-Ray came with the TV, so I didn’t buy it separately — it, too, is a Samsung… er, something something 5500, maybe?

      I hear the PS3 is really the best damn Blu-Ray player out there. But I don’t want to buy a PS3 just for that since, again, I think Blu Ray is not long for this world. I give it two years tops before almost everything is straight-up piped to your tube or your ‘puter.

      TUBE POOTER.

      No, I dunno. Just punchy this morning.

      – c.

  • I disown Al Qaeda and all its extremism, as well as Nazism, fascism, Peronism, the Nativist Riots, the Cleveland Indians and Athletes Foot – all in an effort to say Very! well written take on the whole fear and the fearful debate folks are having about the Mosque 4 blocks from the former World Trade Center site.

  • I like the writing advice, and would even like it if you went further with it. Perhaps talk about different kinds of writing? Like writing clear rules for RPGs and stuff like that, as well as narrative and ‘normal’ stuff.

    The problem with advice, is that often there isn’t much to comment on. It is just there, and you agree with it or not. If you disagree you might comment, but with good writing advice most don’t.

    Love Painting With Shotguns though!

  • The Gods told us to disown more or less everything.

    Feedbackwise, just keep on doin’ what yer doin’ and the Gods will be happy. Nay, ecstatic. I always have an empty aching belly for your cunning blend of writing advice, opinion and naked bear wrestling. Etc.

    Recipes? Well, can take or leave those. Mostly because I don’t have the focus or inclination at this point in my hectic carousel. Which I’m sure is my bad. Pay no mind to the quorn-stuffing guy in the corner.

    Actually, writing advice coupled with writing experience is what does good things to my head at the mo. Like, how do you cope with chopping a gorgeous scene because it don’t work in context? What if you have a fire your favourite character for misbehaving on the page? The nuts and the bolts and the heartache. Not even advice; more like writers’ empathy, I guess.

    Well, back to the grind………. x

  • Sorry, you couldn’t pay me enough to comment on The Escapist EVER. I’m getting a little too old for internet pissing contests. But I did read both your and Saladin’s articles. I think Saladin might have made his point a little more eloquently. I also think there comes a point where (as a biracial person) I’m just sick of hearing people, no matter how well meaning or what their complexion is, pointing out what I should be outraged at or offended by. Not that I think you were doing that. But a lot of the commenters certainly were.

    Though I’d love to see a good Native character outside of a historical context. Or more biracial characters period. Especially biracial characters that don’t look like a perfect aggregate of their parents – ’cause phenotypes don’t always express like that.

    Anyway …

    Terrible Minds. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t slack on the writing advice. *puppy dog eyes* It’s what drew me here in the first place. Hell, it’s what Rory comes to read. If you want him to comment more I’ll put a stun gun to his ass to make sure he does. But the once a week (or so) writing advice is tremendously helpful – as a refresher course, a reminder of what I’ve forgotten, and a different perspective.

    The food posts I could take or leave. TV posts I can just leave since we have maybe zero viewing overlap. But that’s ok. It’s not so much a complaint as much as an confession that I don’t read them.

    My only real complaint is the sliding header menu thing on the main page. It likes to freak out sometimes and stack all the headers at once down the page. Also slows loading times when it works. Just a second or two, but enough to be noticeable.

    All in all, you get a B.75.

    Oh and, I disown Al Qaeda and all its extremism, and I approve this message.

    • But I did read both your and Saladin’s articles. I think Saladin might have made his point a little more eloquently. I also think there comes a point where (as a biracial person) I’m just sick of hearing people, no matter how well meaning or what their complexion is, pointing out what I should be outraged at or offended by. Not that I think you were doing that. But a lot of the commenters certainly were.

      Though I’d love to see a good Native character outside of a historical context. Or more biracial characters period. Especially biracial characters that don’t look like a perfect aggregate of their parents – ’cause phenotypes don’t always express like that.

      Anyway …

      Terrible Minds. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t slack on the writing advice. *puppy dog eyes* It’s what drew me here in the first place. Hell, it’s what Rory comes to read. If you want him to comment more I’ll put a stun gun to his ass to make sure he does. But the once a week (or so) writing advice is tremendously helpful – as a refresher course, a reminder of what I’ve forgotten, and a different perspective.

      The food posts I could take or leave. TV posts I can just leave since we have maybe zero viewing overlap. But that’s ok. It’s not so much a complaint as much as an confession that I don’t read them.

      My only real complaint is the sliding header menu thing on the main page. It likes to freak out sometimes and stack all the headers at once down the page. Also slows loading times when it works. Just a second or two, but enough to be noticeable.

      All in all, you get a B.75.

      @Kate:

      Oof! A couple ouchies in there. Only a B/75%? (Isn’t 75% a C?) Sad face. I do agree that Saladin’s article was more eloquent, though, yes.

      Curious to see if others have problems with the main page. What browser and Internet speed? Looks okay on the PCs I’ve used, and doesn’t seem slow even on my antiquated laptop –? The main page is mostly for discoverability and new visitors. Most other traffic seems to come in through the BLOG page or the individual articles.

      Food posts and TV posts will remain, but I won’t do them too often!

      – c.

  • Your article was dead-on, Chuck. As an underrepresented gamer it’s frustrating that some games I play, games that are escapism by nature, give me either 1. no female option or 2. female with DDD boobs and a 10 inch waist. Yeah, that’s me.

    The general response to the lack of realistic options is “well, mostly guys play video games.”

    As much as I love gaming there’s certainly the good ol’ white boy club syndrome happening.

    I have hope, though. Some companies are trying to be progressive with diversity. Valve has been doing the best job, imo. Still needs improvement, but they’re best of what’s out there currently.

    As far as the blog, I like the writing related posts. They help a lot. I’d like to see them continue for my own selfish reasons. =)

    • @Michelle –

      Thanks! Glad the article worked for you!

      Your point stands true, and I think a lot of the, “I don’t see the problem” comments come from people who don’t see the problem because their needs as gamers — or, more succinctly, as white male players — are very clearly met.

      Valve is really one of my favorite game companies right now. I wish they released with greater frequency is all!

      – c.

  • Way back in the ’80s, right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Jonathan Tweet published an article in a fanzine he was doing at the time. He was out of the gaming industry, selling mutual funds IIRC, and just spouting off on various topics of interest. His thesis in this particular article was that the vacuum left by the Soviet Union would need to be filled. That the USA needed an enemy and if one did not present itself, that we would create one. His guess as to who that enemy would be? Islam.

    He’s turned out to be oddly prescient. Even before 9/11, we took the regime we built to counter our enemy Iran, and turned them into an enemy. After 9/11, we stoked the fires. Now we have a nation where one of the worst things you can call someone is “Muslim.”

  • Hmm something I just said didn’t come out right or make sense.

    “As an underrepresented gamer it’s frustrating that some games I play, games that are escapism by nature, give me either 1. no female option or 2. female with DDD boobs and a 10 inch waist. Yeah, that’s me.”

    Meaning – I still want to relate to my character even though the game is a fantasy, an escape. So don’t give me that bullshit that medieval Europe only had white people (or similar dumb reason for the lack of options). It’s a video game, a fantasy, an escape. Let me be a character resembling myself in RL or not. It should be my choice to make.

  • The racist thing…. Best I can figure is that it’s a phenomenon I’ve seen before… The argument is essentially that you, being white, and coming to the defense of minorities is in itself a tacit form of racism because it’s not your place to presume they need your defense. Or something.

    It falls to the implicit racism in the “white privilege” arguments, that somehow your opinion isn’t valid or is inherently oppressive because you are a white male.

    • The racist thing…. Best I can figure is that it’s a phenomenon I’ve seen before… The argument is essentially that you, being white, and coming to the defense of minorities is in itself a tacit form of racism because it’s not your place to presume they need your defense. Or something.

      It falls to the implicit racism in the “white privilege” arguments, that somehow your opinion isn’t valid or is inherently oppressive because you are a white male.

      @Chris –

      That’s possibly it. Though what a weird argument, really. Assuming that oppression can only be called out and diminished by the actively oppressed? (Were that true, charity would be seen as racist, prejudicial, a signal of the oppressor trying to elevate the oppressed only as a demonstration of superiority.)

      It seems strange, that argument, because it leaves only two other choices: a) join the oppression or b) offer indifference.

      – c.

  • On the Blu-Ray issue, I find that discs from Paramount pictures have some sort of built-in screen saver that activates very shortly after I pause. I don’t even have enough time to make a smoothie before that thing pops up. Anyway, upon trying to resume play it does nothing. But, if I hit the menu button, it will either resume immediately or show the main menu again, allowing me to hit play which starts the movie where I’d initially paused it. Other company’s discs don’t do this, and there are probably a few companies whose discs operate similarly to Paramount’s, but I just can’t think of them off the top of my head.

    As far as the darkness of the picture goes, I would just make a preset specific for blu-ray if you’re not happy with the darkness of the image. I’ve got a Samsung, as well and can make presets (and by the fact that yours is an LED version I can definitely say mine is older). The player itself is a PS3 and you’ve heard right, it kicks ass.

    Finally, daily blog: awesome. I wish I had the time and patience to work on mine every day, but then I’m not a writer type buy a drawer type. What really kills me is that I was working on articles on giving and receiving criticism when yours popped up. I’m still debating whether to throw in the towel on them or not. At the very least I need some distance because your articles are still fresh in my head. I might just give links to your stuff and call it a day, in the end — who knows?!

    By the way, did you ever resolve the e-reader issue, or did I miss that entry? My Mrs. (who is awesome, by the way), bought me an ipad. Turns out it’s a write-off due to its many uses at conventions, personal appearances, and travel. I wouldn’t have spent the money, but I’m sure glad she did. I’m loving it! Sorry to brag. I’m going to go get back to painting and minding my own business. Cheers!

    • @Steven:

      a) No iPad yet. Still trying to convince the wife it’s a reasonable expenditure. :) But yes, for me it would also be a write-off, thankfully. I’d get it for work purposes first and foremost.

      b) Darkness of picture: it’s funny, I’ve got a bunch of pre-sets, and I have one pre-set for most viewings that really reduces the black levels and punches up the image in a nice bright way. It works across the board. But on Blu-Ray, even that setting seems over-dark, over contrasty. I dunno. Again, it doesn’t happen if I play regular DVDs on that same Blu-Ray player? Very confusing. The player is probably pants, but even in stores I have trouble seeing the super-crazy-awesome value of Blu-Ray. At best it’s a middling step up, but it’s possible I just haven’t seen the true glory of Blu-Ray on, say, a PS3.

      c) Don’t throw in the towel — use my articles as a springboard to talk about stuff I didn’t! I’m sure you have a whole other world of experience in that regard.

      – c.

  • That’s supposed to be a B POINT 75. So essentially a B+. This is what I get for trying to be clever.

    I’m on Firefox 3 on XP (because my laptop is antiquated and, well, I’m too lazy to replace it and I like XP damn it). Speed I’m not sure on. But it’s not slow. Like I said, it’s just a second or two – not a big deal. I think there’s something my browser doesn’t like about the code since it happens when I use FF on the Mac.

    • @Kate:

      Well, I’ll take the B.75, either way. :) I was just being snarky, I’ll take anything above, say, an F+.

      I dunno, I’m on — FF 3.6, I think? XP is a good operating system. I need to get into Windows 7 soon, though.

      – c.

  • I’ll just stop cruising the main page. Problem solved.

    Now, if you’ll pardon me, I need to go hunt down that Tenacious D bit.. Maybe watch the movie. Do a few cock push-ups. Oh, wait …

  • I never said it made sense, man. I’ve actually seen the opposite too… Where white girls were telling me that something Neil Gaiman said was racist toward Native Americans, but that I just couldn’t see it because my people have been the subject of racism for so long that I’m blind to it.

  • @Chris & Chuck: Neil Gaiman made a comment about European graveyards and how freaking stacked they are because of how much longer they’ve been around in teeming European cities (much more eloquently than that), and a bunch of jackwagon dipshits hied off to complain about how Neil was disrespecting the Native Americans who have been around forever with THEIR gravesites.

    That’s the short version. I didn’t have the patience for the long bit.

    Anyway, Chuck! As you know, you’re my hero. I enjoy terribleminds as-is. I like the writing advice, and I hope to keep passing along your writing advice to my brain, my writing friends, and the hopefuls who will one day ask me, “How did you learn to write?” To which I will respond, “In school, but there’s some great advice at terribleminds to read once you’ve mastered the cursive.”

    I really dig the fact that your topics are all over the place. If this were JUST a writing blog or JUST a television blog or JUST a random-shit blog, it wouldn’t be as good. I don’t read every post—there are days when I miss it due to time/effort/interest/laziness/bees—but I always enjoy browsing.

    I give your blog varying grades:
    A+ for humor and engagingness. Is that a word? Engagery? Whatever. A for keeping my attention.

    B for relevancy. Screw relevancy. Seriously, you don’t live my life, why should you write for me? If I don’t like a post about elk meat—which I can’t eat, yes, you may pity me now—then that’s okay. I get enough interest from watching the words leap off the page.

    B for the amount of effort you put into it. And I have it at a B because it’s a two-sided sword. The nice thing about a blog post every day—as Wil Wheaton has built upon his epic foundation—is that it keeps people coming back. The bad thing, of course, is that it’s a LOT of information to process for anyone who doesn’t check/answer the call every day. If I miss a day, unless the blog post is something that I know I’ll use/read/like, I won’t bother going back to them.

    So… my math means that you get an A. I respect terribleminds. I think it’s phenomenal, and the only blog I read as often as I do.

    This wasn’t helpful in the slightest. :)

  • If you talk about race, you’re racist.

    If you talk about sex, you’re sexist.

    If you talk about religion, you’re extremist.

    If you do anything involving white men, sexy women, or religious negativity, you’re a game designer, and therefore apparently the worst of all three.

  • I don’t want to come off as a fanboi or anything, but I love the blog and can state it succinctly. There are only 4 blogs I read regularly: Rob Donoghue, Seth Godin, Andrew Sullivan, and yours. And, yes, keep up the writing advice (plus I like the PWS and food stuff too).

    As for blu-ray, I have it and can definitely tell the difference, and I’m definitely not a videophile snob. You might confirm the output. There are some cheap/older players that don’t have any better picture quality than standard DVD players. Look online and see if it has full HD 1080p output. If not, that could be the problem. On the restart issue, you could just pause the movie and leave the player on. It’s not like it’s going to wear it out.

  • If there was a way to put a time and date stamp on the comments it would highlight how involved you are with your blog. I love it here and I love the manner that your readers compose themselves and wouldnt change a thing.

    If being stung by bees bothers you then kicking beehives is a poor choice of pastime. The anonymity of the internet allows for positivity as well as negativity. I think you should focus on how awesome the people that follow you here are and distance yourself from the douchebaggery of the escapist. I hope they pay extra when you get death threats cause otherwise it aint worth it

  • I’m primarily a lurker. I lurk, lurkingly. But I’m willing to break radio silence. It’s not a lot to ask, considering how good this entire blog is.

    This is the blog I read the most, and I dig the shit out of the writing advice. It’s chin-breakingly useful, for a variety of reasons.

    1) I’m being published at a nauseating level of inexperience, and your key-clackings hit all the right notes. I know very few people who know what they’re talking about, and the ones that actually do are pretty tight-lipped when it comes to handing out pointers. By reading this, I get to maintain my facade of zen professionalism, and pretend to know what I’m talking about.

    2) I’m a lazy asshole, and sifting through the Writing Advice archive is an easy-as-shit way to get a lazy asshole writer motivated. When I first started reading this blog, I actually stuck a post-it note to my monitor that says “Don’t be lazy, fucker.” It stares at me accusingly everyday. The words are burned into my skull, hooking clawed fingers into my dreams, lashing me with a whip made out of… like, orphans, or whatever.

    tl;dr – Writing Advice is the doberman’s danglers. Keep it up, for my entirely selfish reasons.

    • @Ben:

      Lots of laugh points on that one.

      Glad it works for you — I blog in part to keep this lazy asshole (points thumbs at self) motivated, so it’s all good to pass it alone. :D

      – c.

  • 1. I like the writing advice: A+
    2. I like the humour: A
    3. Beard advice: D- (Beards that smell like spoiled food are the bane of beardom!)
    4. Big toed black eyed owls howling down your chimney to eat your children and have sex with your dog.. Not so much.

  • I enjoy this blog a lot. It’s inspiring to me in a number of ways. Keep doing what you are doing, IMO.

    Game design… I have a lot to say about game design, and it is one of the reasons why I started my own blog (but have yet to finish one of many essay’s I have on the topic). Women are the largest growing demographics of gamers. Diablo II – my favorite character type – Necromancer. I grumble every time that my avatar is male. I recently installed Medieval Total War on my laptop, and grumble about the gender roles in it – why can’t I be a female ruler and kick butt too? And it’s not like it isn’t historically accurate either. Tropico: Pirate Cove.. no gender assumptions, and good options for customizing female pirate rulers. Now, I will play a game because it is a good game, but I always have to have a talk with myself as to why my minions are calling me my Lord or my King or Sir and the backstory I create for myself in those situations become amusing in and of themselves.

    Netflix: Movie recommendation if you haven’t watched it yet: World’s Greatest Dad (with Robin Williams). Also, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog if you haven’t seen that yet either. Julie/Julia turned out to be far better than I expected. And finally, the Masters of Horror series. Some are better than others, some are horror spoofs, and some will burn into your mind for the rest of your life – for me, that one was Takashi Miike’s: Imprint

    • Thanks, all, for the comments and help!

      @Dawn: I am actually really into seeing Julie/Julia, so, good stuff. Thanks! Also for the reminder to finish up the MoH series…

      – c.

  • Blu-ray – agree with you 100%. It’s really not THAT much better, especially considering the price difference. Especially considering that the majority of movies are still not filmed in a format that is easily converted to BluRay. You can up-sample a classic movie shot on film, but it’s still going to be a movie shot on film, not with a digital blu-Ray quality camera. By the same token, you can up-sample an old 4-bit analog file to 24bit…but it doesn’t pick up any new quality. It’s like that amazing resampling trick they do in CSI where they seem to be able to zoom into a blurry grainy shot and somehow make it crystal clear. WTF? Not possible.

    As for movie recommendations: Just saw “Moon”, directed by Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s son, FYI). It’s a cult classic. A Bradbury meets Kafka film where Kevin Spacey lends his voice to a robot. It’s not the movie of the year, but someone like yourself would have an appreciation for it.

  • I don’t have to disown Al-Qaeda because I never owned any part of them nor do I ever plan of condoning their actions.

    That said, I’m starting to read this blog more and more often, and with good reason. The design is clear, sharp and to the point. Kind of like the knife you’re holding to my throat.

    As for Blu-Ray: Not all movies are made to truly take full advantage of the format. I only have 3 Blu-Ray films; not because there’s a darth lack of choice, but because I’m very selective as to what I think best uses the format. The Dark Knight and Watchmen definitely show off the advantage of Blu-Ray films in terms of visual and aural quality. I also got Batman: Under the Red Hood on Blu-Ray. That one makes me agree on the point of “no clear visual difference there” argument, but, on the other hand, you save more shelf space with the single disc and smaller box. I know it’s a stupid argument, since they could easily ship DVDs in Blu-Ray-style boxes, but hey.

    Finally, I do recommend people giving a Linux distro a spin (for people with older/slower computers). Maybe once every six months as things change that rapidly in the Open Source world. I use Ubuntu, but I hear Mint is great for most new users, and Fedora has been making strides in making things easier for most people too. There is a wide-range of choice, but the advantage is that you can easily find something that matches your needs.

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