Episode 1149: Take Off Every Zig

Jan. 25th, 2015 10:11 am
[syndicated profile] darths_and_droids_feed

Episode 1149: Take Off Every Zig

Consistency of environment is a key part of immersion in a scenario.

If the heroes have cleverly circumvented a spiked pit trap on their way into the dungeon by taking their time and being very careful, it's almost imperative on you to make sure that when they return through the same corridor they are running for their lives.

today, yesterday

Jan. 25th, 2015 08:48 pm
surpassingly: (kitteh: charge of the light brigade)
[personal profile] surpassingly
Content notes and warnings: pretty explicit discussion of suicidality, homophobia, mental illness, physical health

... )
sineala: (Avengers: Steve/Tony: Shoulders)
[personal profile] sineala
I spent all of last weekend reading all of Hickman's Avengers/New Avengers run. Then this kind of happened.

Left Us Burned (2301 words) by Sineala
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel (Comics), Marvel 616, Avengers (Comics)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Characters: Steve Rogers, Tony Stark
Additional Tags: Angst, Fix-It
Summary: Steve realizes he hasn't been himself lately. Neither has Tony. After the last of the Cabal's incursions, Steve confronts Tony in Wakanda, and certain truths are uttered.

Kyle File

Jan. 24th, 2015 03:00 pm
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed
Rumor: Chris Kyle shot dozens of Hurricane Katrina looters, killed two attempted carjackers, and punched Jesse Ventura in the face.

Agent Carter 1x01

Jan. 24th, 2015 09:28 pm
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
I will keep watching this, but I have mixed feelings about the pilot episode.

Read more... )

Hadean news of the week

Jan. 25th, 2015 02:20 am
[syndicated profile] gameshelf_feed

Posted by Andrew Plotkin

I thought this was the boring part of the release process. Hadean Lands has been out for a couple of months, I've done a couple of iOS updates, time to settle down and work through the Kickstarter rewards. Plan for more distribution platforms, like Steam and the Humble Store. Boring stuff.

Wrong! It's crazy excitement time.

First thing this week, two fantastic reviews appeared:

"The best video game I played last year is a science-fiction thriller about alchemy, and it has no graphics or sound effects." -- David Auerbach, Slate

"Hadean Lands is an endlessly clever experience." -- Sean Clancy, Pocket Tactics

Suddenly the sales rate is going nuts, Twitter activity is buzzing, and my head is spinning.

When a wave of publicity hits, that's when you want a Steam Greenlight page, right? (Greenlight is the voting system that Steam uses to gauge public interest in new indie games.) So I have spent the past day constructing one. Here it is:

Vote for Hadean Lands on Steam Greenlight!

This isn't a purchase; it just indicates to Steam that this is the kind of game you want them to offer. When enough "yes" votes accumulate, I get a slot on the Steam storefront. (No, I don't know how many votes is enough.)

(Speaking of Greenlight, I note that two other parser IF games went up this month: Jack Toresal and The Secret Letter (Mike Gentry and David Cornelson) and The Shadow in the Cathedral (Ian Finley and Jon Ingold). There's also Her Story, which is not a text game, but is by IF author Sam Barlow. And that must only scratch the surface; I haven't even tried to survey the Greenlight world.)

Other news:

  • The process for getting a Humble Store slot is already under way. They say there's a queue for games to show up there, and I'm in it.

  • The current sales widgets (Humble Widget and Itch.IO) now offer separate downloads for Mac, Windows, and "generic" (everything else). The generic download is the same package that's been available all along; it contains the game file and instructions for finding an interpreter. The Mac package contains the interpreter, ready to install. The Windows package has a standard Windows installer which sets everything up for you.

  • David Welbourn has written a detailed walkthrough of HL. Massive spoilers, obviously! When it comes to HL hints, I like to send people to the IF forum rather than a walkthrough. I think it's more engaging to talk to other fans about the game, rather than finding a file of answers on the Internet. But David's work is terrific and deserves recognition. (Also, maybe, a tip? He's got a Patreon for creating IF walkthroughs.)

  • The Kickstarter reward CDs are in production. They should reach me by Feb 6th, says the duplicator.

  • I have the reward books now; they just have to be packaged up and hauled to the post office.

  • The reward posters have arrived, but the printer screwed up somehow. Half of the posters are smeared. The other half are fine, but I want to ship them all in one batch, so there will be a delay. I have contacted customer service and hopefully it will all get straightened out; I don't know when. Sorry about this.

  • For added fun, I have jury duty next week. That will fill up an unknown number of work days.

I want to address one other issue: the font preferences in the Mac and Windows interpreters. "But there are no font preferences in the Mac and Windows interpreters!" Yes, Watson, that is the curious thing.

In fact you can adjust the fonts in Gargoyle. You have to edit a file called garglk.ini, which is bundled with the interpreter (on Windows) or in your home directory (on Mac). On Linux I believe it's named .garglkrc. Go in there with a text editor and bump up the propsize line, and also leading while you're at it.

(If you used the Windows installer, you'll have to make the file editable first. Select Properties on the garglk.ini file, select Security, edit the permissions).

Yes, this is a rigmarole. Why did I stick you with it? The short answer is, well, the Kickstarter was for a game and an iOS interpreter. I didn't have time to write desktop interpreters too. Gargoyle is the best interpreter available right now, but it started as a Linux project, it's got this Unix-style config file, and that's just the way it goes.

(For the Steam release, I'd like to modify this. But no bets right now.)

Today I learned

Jan. 24th, 2015 08:18 pm
sineala: (Avatar: Katara is dubious)
[personal profile] sineala
Today I learned that the motto of MI6 is "semper occultus." (That's "always hidden.")

For some reason, this just cracks me up. It's like "okay, our super secret spy agency needs a Latin motto; what should we do?" Ahahaha.

Also today I have learned from two separate sources that the MI6 head's codename is C (and that this was the inspiration for M in James Bond) because the first head, Captain Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming (man, that's a name) signed everything with C in green ink.

(I was kind of dubious about the first source because the first source was Ultimate Hulk vs. Iron Man which then went on to tell me that Pete Wisdom (who is apparently not a mutant in Ults) tried to make himself into a a super-soldier for MI6 and gave himself a creepy gigantic brain that meant his head needed to be specially physically supported and also made him a telepath or something and now he's dead because the Hulk squashed him. Noooo. But the second source was Only Connect so I guess that's okay.)
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Samuel Jackson from Pulp Fiction

“That had better be one charming pig.” – Jules, Pulp Fiction

Dear Captain Awkward,

I have a problem. I am a feminist. Why is that a problem? Because my boyfriend, as generous and thoughtful and funny and sweet as he is, doesn’t get it. At all. We’ve been dating for over a year and I love him, which is what makes this so hard. About three months into our relationship, I noticed that when I’d bring up some women-centric issue (i.e, the Steubenville rape case), his argument was “Well, she shouldn’t have been drinking so much.” Which, of course, is awful and, yes, I may have gone to bed angry that night.

I chalked it up to him just “being a guy” and being influenced by the world’s habit of blaming the victim, etc. But then, as our relationship progressed, these things just kept. popping. up. To the point where he told me that he believes in Men’s Rights and he thinks feminists are crazy and damaging. I’ve told him my feelings on this and how hurtful and scary I think these opinions are. He’s told me that he may be influenced this way because of a (really bad) past relationship, a relationship which I knew all about when we started dating.

If I knew he had these opinions and this hate back when we first started dating, I would have walked away in a heartbeat. But I’ve been sucked in. I love him. But every time this comes up, like if there’s a news story that’s big (Gamergate and the Ugly Shirt Comet Guy were big topics) where he feels “feminists” are getting out of line, I feel sick inside.

I’m embarrassed when we go to parties and my level headed friends (both men and women) don’t share his opinions, I feel my stomach tighten when I’m browsing online and see a story about feminist issues – not because the story makes me upset, but because I’m worried about what HE will think about it. I’ve honestly told him ALL of this and he doesn’t want me to change my opinions for him. He says that my opinions and views don’t change the way he feels about me. But do they change the way I feel about him? I think so. 

I know all of this sounds like a laundry list of reasons to break up. But he has so many fantastic qualities and there’s a reason I’ve stuck around this long. Do you have any suggestions for how to… I don’t know… fix this?

First, I guess I should congratulate you on finding possibly the world’s hottest and most charismatic man, the apocryphal Brad Pitt in all MRA arguments about how women are unfair when they have preferences about which men they interact with and how, i.e. “You’d put up with vile and creepy stuff from an alpha like Brad Pitt, just not meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Digging into this more, you’re both “allowed” your opinions, but you’re the one whose stomach is in knots when you see a news story that he might have a different opinion on? You’re constantly embarrassed when he’s around your friends? And one bad relationship with a woman turned him against all women (except for you)?*

Here are some concerns, expressed as questions:
Brad Pitt in a white shirt

Looking more ‘sheveled than usual. Def. has time to follow women into elevators and stand too close to them on public transit.

  • “I believe in the Men’s Rights Movement.” So, like, what parts of it exactly? How deep does his MRA sentiment go? Jerkass comments here and there, vague sympathies, or actually participating in trolling? Celebrating mass murderers who are fueled by misogyny? Reading sites that post personal details of feminists the better to doxx them, harass them, and try to get them fired from their jobs? (these are all real things, though I am not linking them except to send you to We Hunted The Mammoth for the depressing almost-daily rundown)
  • You said if you’d known he felt like this when you started dating, you’d have walked out in a heartbeat. How did this all start coming up? Do you feel like he downplayed or kept silent about these views in the early stages of dating on purpose?
  • Do you find yourself minimizing your own views, not bringing up things that are important to you, because you’re tiptoeing around to avoid the inevitable argument? Or are your days all him ranting about “false rape accusations!” and you being like “those aren’t really a factor, tho” all the time? Sounds sexy.
  • When he says “feminists are crazy and damaging,” you realize, he means you, right? He means you.
  • Does he similarly hold back from discussing topics that he knows might upset you?
  • How does he treat your friends when this stuff comes up when you’re out and about?
  • What will he do if someday youget out of line“? Right now you are the magical exception to all of these other “out of line,” “crazy,” “damaging” women (women like me).

It does in fact sound like a laundry list of reasons to break up (or re-read The Lysistrata), but you do you. Your decisions about your life and your heart are your own. Some people really get off on the whole Opposites Attract/I Have Found The One Good One vibe, or think that systematically destroying each other”s arguments is a form of foreplay, and you two might be those people. The thing you have to know going forward, though, is that you cannot “fix” another adult to make them be more how you want them to be. You can decide to love what’s there, you can disengage, but there’s no fixing them, and as soon as you see the other person as a collection of things that needs fixing, the relationship has a hole in the bucket, Dear Liza.

I guess the most optimistic thing I could say is that many of us go through a period in our lives where we try out extreme views of one sort or another that don’t hold up over time or with more experience and self-awareness. True story: I was a vocal libertarian** for two semesters of college, and I apologize for anyone who was in any kind of discussion-based class with me back then as I tried on the the position of The One Person Who Could Clearly See The Flaws In The System That No One Had Ever Seen Or Pointed Out Before. I do think that some of the young dudes who are very, very concerned about ethics in game journalism right now are going to feel super-sheepish about the whole thing before long, with the caveat that having ridiculous views is one thing, harassing behavior is another, and that no one is required to hang out and be someone’s Humanity Tutor. You do NOT have to be the shining example of womanhood who melts his steely heart and shows him the way. “He might grow out of it” isn’t a ringing endorsement, and if you are both, say, 52 instead of 22, your Nope Rocket awaits you.

This rocket goes to "nope"

Destination: Nopetune

Recommended reading:

*This is the fishiest logic, to me. After millenia of oppression, violence against women, centuries of being legal property, straight women will still find something to love about and root for in straight men. But one bad relationship is an excuse to hate women and think they deserve fewer rights than men? Oh wait. Except for you. You the shining exception to all other women. Until you mess up in some way, of course.

**Apologies to actual libertarians out there in the crowd. 18-year-old me was definitely one of the obnoxious ones who ruins it for the rest of y’all.

Day 24: How to Find a Therapist

Jan. 24th, 2015 10:06 am
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Sixbeforelunch asked about this. (Yes, month meme answers will spill into next month.)

I won't go much into logistics because those are so localized. However, I will mention that therapists frequently have dreadful websites, so I take those with a grain of salt and just look for giant red flags (for me) such as phrases like "holistically incentivizing inner growth via process-oriented 'out of the box' thinking" or "we shall dance together in the inner sphere of oneness" or "Byron Katie."

Statistically speaking, the most important predictor of the success of therapy is the rapport between the therapist and the client. So the most important questions to ask yourself are, "Do I like this person? Do I think this is someone I could come to trust? Do I think I could talk to this person about the stuff I want to talk about?"

If you hate the therapist on the first session, don't go back. If you're not sure, maybe try one more session. You should feel at least reasonably/tentatively good with them by session three. It's not just about how competent they are; it's about chemistry and having a good match. You can do OK with someone you don't bond with (especially with some very skills-oriented therapy like CBT) but if it's not skills-oriented or you actively dislike them, you probably won't get much out of it.

That being said, rapport alone will do just fine for life problems. It will also often do just fine for life problems plus mental illness or trauma that has already been treated and that you already have a reasonable grip on. If you have a mental illness or trauma that you're addressing for the first time, or have never successfully addressed, there are a lot of very specific treatments that not all therapists will know about or use. This is where experts come in handy.

(Including but not limited to OCD, ADHD, specific anxiety like phobias or social anxiety, and PTSD. If you have serious specific anxiety and you've never tried CBT, an anxiety specialist who uses CBT can be life-changing.)

Think about what's important to you and what you're worried will be misunderstood. What are your dealbreakers?

I had a phone conversation with my current therapist before ever meeting him in which I interrogated him at length about his opinions about the internet. Only when I was satisfied that he would treat internet-based relationships as real relationships and not judge me for caring about online interactions did I go to see him. I also sounded him out about certain issues involving being a therapist that I'd previously clashed with other therapists I knew over. Only when I was satisfied that we were on the same page about that did I go to meet him.

Feel free to ask questions!

TomTom by Grant Fikes

Jan. 24th, 2015 05:00 pm
[syndicated profile] grand_master_puzzles_feed

Posted by Grant Fikes

TomTom by Grant Fikes


Theme: Mysterious L’s

Author/Opus: This is the 161st puzzle from our contributing puzzlemaster Grant Fikes.

Rules: Standard TomTom rules, using the integers 1-7.

Answer String: Enter the 2nd row from left to right followed by the 4th row from left to right. Separate the entries with a comma.

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 6:15, Master = 9:45, Expert = 19:30

Note: Follow this link for other classic TomTom. If you are new to this puzzle type, here are our easiest TomTom to get started on.

The post TomTom by Grant Fikes appeared first on The Art of Puzzles.

Oh, Festivids

Jan. 24th, 2015 05:22 am
giandujakiss: (festivids)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
So, as you may or may not know, this year we've got brand new technical challenges.

Viddler is no longer offering free accounts, and YouTube and Vimeo are both now vigorously taking down vids if they don't like the music selection. This is a serious challenge to the FV model, because we need a streaming site that can host vids anonymously for the thing to work. Technically, people can just submit vids as download links - upload them to Dropbox or whatever - but in practice, when people come to view vids during the anon period, they don't like downloading things, so download-only vids don't tend to get a lot of views or comments.

So! [personal profile] lithiumdoll offered to redesign the Festivids website so that we can host vids at the site itself.

It's been a tremendous amount of work for her, and of course, there have been lots of technical issues - both the site redesign itself, and then lots of back and forth with the company that hosts the website because of bugs on that end. But it's basically saving Festivids - I don't think we could feasibly do it without the site hosting.

LJ is now offering video hosting - and yesterday we considered that as a backup - but the problem there is, the vids won't crosspost (so you couldn't watch them on Dreamwidth) and more importantly, any single account can't host more than 2 GB, which isn't enough for Festivids. But we'll keep that in our pocket if things get desperate.

"Make the right thing the easy thing"

Jan. 24th, 2015 01:08 am
rosefox: "Joy through making things happen" (accomplishment)
[personal profile] rosefox
Yesterday I told my therapist that I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious, with a physical sensation in my shoulders and back of carrying a lot of heavy things around. We talked through the various obligations in my life and figured out what I could cut back.

Today I put theory into practice )

I'm really glad I used today's energy to make tomorrow easier on myself. You're welcome, FutureRose!


Jan. 23rd, 2015 10:05 pm
yhlee: snowflake (StoryNexus: snowflake)
[personal profile] yhlee
Someday I should *sigh* log back into StoryNexus and copy-paste all the Winterstrike game text out into a text file. *wince* (I did have it locally in a Microsoft Word .doc but naturally there were changes made during playtesting with my lovely lovely beta testers, and then Failbetter Games made additional changes because I can't balance micropayments worth squat)

I bet the StoryNexus interface is totally unrecognizable from when I was coding.


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