tablesaw: Ration Hornblower, from the cast of Smile Time, peeks his horn nose out at you. (Ratio Hornblower)
This is my Dear Author letter for Invisible Ficathon. It's also my first Dear Author letter, so bear with me. I'm going to copy the "Details" information (which were written "IC"), and fill it out with some extra information, including source information.

I am not really a fic reader; even in fandoms I'm deep into, I prefer reading meta. The fic I read is rare, usually highly recced out of things like Yuletide, and has kind of meta qualities. I like crossovers and other things that highlight form and literary quirks of the source, rather than having an engagement with the characters themselves. Similarly, I read gen almost exclusively. However, as you will see below, I'm not ruling out romance or porn in some circumstances where I suspect it would be interesting and/or hilarious.

Gigamesh
My favorite part of every Gigamesh fic is the Hannahanian commentary that by necessity accompanies it. I know that fandom has generally decided the commentary should be about twice the wordcount of the accompanying fic (as in the 33/67 Drabble exchanges), but I prefer the ratio to be much more skewed to the commentary side. I'd hope for at least a triple-sized commentary, but if you feel comfortable making it even bigger, go for it!

Also, while I generally read only gen fic, I do also enjoy Gigamesh fic that is half-and-half. I go both ways: romantic/sexual fic with gen commentary is OK, as is gen fic with romantic/sexual commentary. But doubling up on the pairings is right out.
Source: A Perfect Vacuum by Stanislaw Lem.

A Perfect Vacuum is a collection of reviews of fictional books. There are preview pages available on Google Books that can give you an idea of what the book is like. It is modeled after James Joyce's Ulysses (using the mythology of Gilgamesh and Enkidu), and more especially, the very intricate and often suspect textual analysis of the same. "Our task is made easier in that Hannahan—unlike Joyce!—provided his book with a commentary, which is twice the size of the novel itself (to be exact, Gigamesh runs 395 pages, the Commentary 847)."

Blasto (fictional film series)
I also really love the dialogue of Blasto (and Bubin) and love reading crossovers with other fandoms (or vice versa). Gen only. I'm not trying to be a prude, but I'm not interested in reading about Hanar procreative activities. no, not even with Asari.
Source: Mass Effect series.

The Mass Effect wiki has a good summary, but I strongly recommend listening to the entire audio of Blasto 6: Partners in Crime, as taken from the Mass Effect 3; it's about ten minutes. You will understand why I love the dialogue. There's apparently a comic book too, but I haven't read it.

Escape from Zyzzlvaria
I'd love to see Captain Blastoid in a crossover with other fandoms like Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, The Matrix, The Producers, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego and others that have no apparent connection to each other. Gen only, please.
Source: D2: The Mighty Duck Konundrum, MIT Mystery Hunt 2009, MIT Mystery Hunt 2010, Round 2009 (from a different timeline, and so not necessarily canon).

I'm not specifically asking for there to a be a puzzle in the fic, but, if you really want . . .

Tulola-Gobu
I'd really like to see more about what happened between Nasta-se and Dullo-ge before the start of the novel that led to the murder. If at all possible, please write in Chaosian, or, if you can't, be sure to capture as much of the color of the language as you can.
Source: Son of the Realm of Unspeakable Chaos (Translation)

Another puzzle-based source, but I really wanted to include this one because I felt like conlangs deserved a place in the Invisible Ficathon. The known Chaosian dictionary is limited and is mostly dedicated to describing flags, hence my reference to "the color of the language."

See You Next Wednesday
I don't even know how to give guidance. It seems like everyone who writes fic for this has seen a completely different film. If your fic can provide insight into some of those discrepancies, that'd be great, but if not, go wild.
Source: The films of John Landis (Wikipedia page).

This title has referred to lots of different films within films, so I really don't want to limit interpretations, but I'd love to see something that tries to merge two or more. Also, given that one of the most notable See You Next Wednesdays is advertised "A Non-Stop Orgy" (though the parts of the film we see does seem to have lots of orgy interruptions), I totally accept that this one may get porny.

Dixon Hill (series)
I love Haircut Lapinski fic, and I have yet to see anyone address his obsession with fractions with appropriate detail.
Source: Star Trek: The Next Generation (Memory Alpha)

The noir detective novels that Picard uses for holographic recreation. One of the characters gives the line: "I'm as jumpy as Haircut Lapinski trying to land on a fraction." That is the best line. THE BEST. And it has been plaguing TNG fans for a while, based on websearches. It is time for the truth to be known.
tablesaw: Paul, who is a ghost, declares this to be "Booooring!" (Booooring)
At my birthday bar thing/dinner I was tipped off to the fact that there's a reasonably close movie theater in North Hollywood that shows second-run movies for three dollars, or a buck fifty on Sundays. So [personal profile] temptingcuriosity and I took a trip on Sunday to see Wreck-It Ralph. It was fun, and I'm glad I saw it because everyone else I know has seen it already. And I don't know if you've heard, but it's about videogames.

I wanted to review it here, because I'm committed to doing more reviewing of things, but I can barely bring myself to care enough to think of something to say. I enjoyed myself enough when I was watching it, but by the time I was home my enjoyment had all drained away.

There's no problem that can't be solved in the scope of a two-hour movie, as [profile] joshroby once pointed out, but that doesn't mean that all stories can be told in that scope. In the undoubtedly worked and reworked and re-reworked plot of Wreck-It Ralph, there isn't much room for the stories of characters outside of a precoded series of checkpoints, an inevitable grind until leveling up (but not changing classes).

Perhaps there's something to say here about Wreck-It Ralph's ultimate message that it's better to be happy with your crappy job than to fight the system: the heroes are rewarded for maintaining or restoring the status quo. But, hey, it's a Disney movie with Bowser and Q-Bert in it. It's too big to fail, right?

I did really like Alan Tudyk's amazing performance as King Candy, though. I'd say it was an ok use of two hours and $1.50.
tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
Saturday: I went with [personal profile] temptingcuriosity to LACMA for the Drawing Surrealism exhibit. The raw imagination on display reminded me very strongly of the underground indie aesthetic championed by Anna Anthropy in "Rise of the Videogame Zinesters." There's a lot of interesting connections to be made there, with the Dadaists and surrealists using games to promote automatism in creation, the use of collage (reusing sprites), and even a possible connection to the Futurist obsession with machine art.

Sunday: Virtually attended the planning meeting for the MIT Mystery Hunt next weekend. It's always good to see everyone, even the camera was mostly on [personal profile] tahnan doing his one-knee-on-a-chair pose.

Monday: I said goodbye to the Xmas tree immediately after the Epiphany. That almost never happens.

Tuesday: Made it out to a boardgaming night for the first time in a while. Played Chaos in the Old World to completion for the first time, and actually eked out a win. I've had a hard time with this game before, because the extremely asymmetrical roles can make it hard to figure out how to do things, but I finally pushed through. Still not entirely my game, but I won't be so quick to avoid it, either. I also got to dazzle everyone with word knowledge when playing and generally refereeing Bananagrams.

Wednesday: My main glasses broke a little while ago, and my backups are threatening to quit too, so I scheduled a new eye exam. I also made a quick jump into Sherman Oaks to pick up last year's prescription, just in case I need to make an emergency run to Lens Crafters for a cheap replacement. Having two hours to kill, I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Toshi Sushi. It was a great evening, as I was joined at the sushi bar by three lovely women who over-ordered and were pleased to hear of my birthday so that they had an excuse to foist some of the food onto me.

A cameraphone picture of a plate of sushi, all slightly different, with an assortment of fish, rice, sauces and toppings. They all taste delicious.

Heading to bed now. More birthday stuff later.
tablesaw: Two yellow roses against a bright blue sky. (Family Roses)
This past weekend was a lazy one, like the New Year weekend before. (The Xmas weekend was stressful, with most of my Christmas Day trivia written on Christmas Eve.) [personal profile] temptingcuriosity and I went to LACMA on Saturday, avoiding the bigger events (Kubrick and Caravaggio) and indulging our own personal preferences (Surrealist Drawings and Maya artifacts). On Sunday we stayed in, made bacon pancakes, and lounged around because it was cold outside.

I asked her what she was looking for from the new year, but I already knew what her year looked like, when I thought about it. Really, I wanted her to ask me the question. I know I want to get hired permanently at this new job, but past that I wasn't sure. Talking about it, I realized that I wanted to create more in 2013. Not a particular thing, or a big thing, just lots of things.

Recently, I say a lot that I'm too much in my head. I talk to folks a bit more on Twitter, and I'm talking to people in person, but I'm not getting things out in non-conversational settings anymore. As a true geek, I worry about the narrow bandwidth of talking to people one-on-one; I just don't have enough time to tell things to everyone I would like to. Blog posts allow you, my friends and readers, to time-shift the Tablesaw experience to fit your schedule (something I know I appreciate).

But while blog posts are always things I need to do more often, to get into the habit of writing long things (or just short things that aren't twitter), what I want to do is just create more things that I can share. And saying it the other day made me excited and happy. A good sign, I think.

This year I don't just want to do things I love, I want to make new things to send out into the world with them, so that my experiences can travel beyond the horizon of my personal bubble. I want to write about at least one thing a week, TV, movie, game, what have you. I want to make some more puzzles, definitely at least one thing I can bring to the NPL convention in Austin. I want to finally hide a geocache in LA. I want to make some games, eventually, somewhere. There's a pre-Companions DW/AW game knocking around in my head that mostly needs a lot of research (that TemptingCuriosity is eager to help with).

My birthday is on Thursday, and I turn 35, a number that is a multiple of the amount of fingers on one hand, which means that I'll probably freak out sometime this year, though I'm successfully blocking it out for now. It's a good time to have a plan, and it's a good time to have a plan that focuses so much on simple joys. Last year was not a good one, this one will be better.
tablesaw: Two women put the star on a Christmas tree. (Apocalyptic Christmas)
Once again, my gift list remains much the same as the years before:
  • Booze. Last year my cousin and his wife got me a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black which kept me company throughout the year. In fact, I depleted all of my scotches (Famous Grouse and Yamazaki) this year, and I'm almost out of my good bourbon. I would love some good replacements, along with other interesting liqueurs.
  • Wardrobe. My wardrobe still contains the following things:
    • Jeans worn casually
    • Chinos worn casually or at work
    • collared shirts worn at work or over
    • Nice T-shirts
    • and occasionally a casual sport jacket.
    New additions to any of those categories are welcome. For T-shirts, think along the lines of Threadless or sites like Threadless. I'm probably most in need of jeans, actually. Sizes can vary, but pants are usually 38/34, fitted shirts are 17.5x34/35, T shirts are XL.
  • Music. I still, still don't get enough of it on my own. Things from my high-school years (early alternative) are what I usually look for when I hit Amoeba. I prefer used CDs as a medium, over downloads.
  • Stuff to do. Movie passes, theatre tickets, nice restaurants. Things to go out and do. (I've already got an American Cinematheque subscription, but an extension beyond April might be nice.)
  • Techno Stuff
    • My old DVD player gave up the ghost recently, and I'd like to replace it with a BluRay player that can play DVDs, BluRay, and stream video.
    • On the other hand, I could also go with a barebones BluRay/DVD player and a separate Roku unit for Netflix and streaming.
    • My iPod nano is dying. Right now I'm using my new tablet to substitute, but I'd like something else that I can keep music on. I'm abandoning Apple, so any small little MP3 player is fine.
    • Speaking of my new tablet (a Nexus 7), I need a case for it so I can protect the screen and not be so tender with it always and forever.
  • Tea. I'm actually running low on tea, so it would be a good time for gifts of that. I usually drink at work, so I don't want anything too fancy. But I do like all types of loose-leaf tea. I usually buy in person from Bird Pick (Cloud and Fog is one of my favorites), but I'd be curious about the fanciful blends from Adagio Teas. I'm also interested in The Boston Tea Campaign.
  • Miscellaneous T[hings]
    • My old reliable Ikea floor lamp in the living room snapped in half, and I've been resting it on its side on a chair in the living room. This has been going on for quite a while now, and I haven't done anything about it. I probably should, at some point.
    • I could use a new dice bag. Don't know when I lost me old one, but right now I have them in a bowl at home, and a ziploc when traveling. Not so cool.
    As always, strongly avoid books (graphic novel TPBs are OK), videogames, and DVDs, which I already have too many of and not enough time for.
tablesaw: A man comes home frome work, his hat reads "Crossword Makers Inc" (Crossword Makers Inc)
I just finished this month's puzzle test at Logic Masters India. This month's Puzzle Marathon was a different format. Instead of setting aside a few hours and trying to solve as many puzzles in the time limit, there were ten large puzzles that could be solved at any time over the course of nine days. Solving any puzzle under an hour net some bonus points, but any puzzle correctly completed is worth a base amount of points, no matter when it's finished.

I did okay. My best puzzle was the Loop the Loops, which is a combination of two of my best puzzle types. But I had some catastrophic failures on the Star Battle and the "Small Neighbors." Still, because of the way the way the puzzle was structured, I followed through and eventually got them entered correctly. In fact, because of thes coring system, I was able to take breaks to recompose myself. After trying to solve the Small Neighbors puzzle after work, I ended up getting on the Metro and finishing it on the ride home.

I knew that the worst for me would be the last two puzzles, a hard Samurai Sudoku and a hard Kakuro. The sudoku gave me a lot of trouble, but eventually I worked through it after a few hours (with a sleep break in between). At that point, I'd earned all the points I could from the test—the scoring discarded the worst score, and since I knew that I wouldn't be able to solve a large, hard sudoku in an hour that it was just going to be the base points, like several others. Still, there was a special notice appearing on the site for people who solved all ten, so I figured I'd push through, for completeness' sake.

That was one of the most grueling puzzling experiences in my life.

Kakuro is my least favorite puzzle type. I hate the number of combinations that have to be constantly checked and rechecked, especially at harder levels. And this puzzle inevitably magnified everything about Kakuro that I hate. And that's in addition to the portions I had to do over a few times because of fatigue errors. Total time for one Kakuro: 22 hours and 50 minutes of nothing but pain.

Okay, admittedly, a significant portion was food, sleep, talking on the phone, playing Batman: Arkham City and working. But still—PAIN.

I guess that's a point in favor of the normal contest type: I can ignore the Kakuro and know I'm not losing any points.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Last night I came home with a headache, and I ended up falling asleep early, sleeping with the lights on. That's always disorienting (I couldn't figure out what day it was when I woke up), though I caught up with the sleep I needed, and I'm feeling much better.

Thanksgiving was a quiet day with family and Gelson's food. It's been gorgeous in LA, recently and Thursday was no exception. I got to see my neice again, who is now walking and occasionally saying syllables.

On Wednesday, I saw The Muppets at the El Capitan, which was cool because the El Capitan is the location of the Muppet Show in the movie itself. As we walked in, the audience received wristbands with jingle bells on them, to accompany the stage show of Kermit and Miss Piggy singing winter holiday songs. As the previews began to play, the audience developed a spontaneous tradition of jingling before the preview played, during the screen containing the MPAA rating.

Working the days before Thanksgiving, I was a wreck, though. As my department gets ready to be transferred to the new company, everyone's been trying to run out their sick days before they lose them when we get cashed out. As a result, we've been horrifically understaffed, with more than half the department gone at any given day. Especially when combined with the holiday. I've been carrying a lot of stress home with me. My holidays are postponed until the end of the month, when I'll get a four-day weekend from November 29-December 2.

On Saturday, I went over to Dave's for his birthday celebration, playing The Secret of Mana to celebrate his 30th birthday. It was a lot of fun. I'd been itching to play videogames for a while, but somehow not managing to sit down to do it when at home. Spending a few hours wandering around on an SNES game was just the ticket.

Earlier that morning, I took part in the LA Homewalk for the United Way. Thankfully, it wasn't raining (it would rain on Sunday), and so everyone stayed dry. The most surprising thing was that according to my GPS, the length of the walk was more than the 3 miles/5 kilometers announced. When I was finished, my GPS said 3.98 miles, well over 6 kilometers. That explains why it took so much longer than expected. In all, I raised over $400 for the United Way.

On Thursday, I saw The Language Archive at the East West Players. It was a really good show, and it hit a bunch of emotional buttons for me, between a painful breakup and the loss of language between generations. There was a question-and-answer session after the show, and the director mentioned that among the ten people at one early production meeting, seven had experiences not speaking the language of their grandparents, including Japanese, Korean, Yiddish, and Lakota. The show continues through this weekend, and I recommend it, if you can make it.
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
Xbox 360 owners!

Now until Wednesday, the Pinball FX2 is giving away a free pinball table to play with their game. Pinball FX2 is also a free download, but you usually have to pay to downnload individual tables to play within it. But for now, you can get one pinball table completely free.

"Paranormal" is a really nice table. I played it today and found it fairly straightforward, for all of its bells and whistles. It's very reminiscent of the classics Twilight Zone and Theatre of Magic.

I'd love to see other friends on the high scores tables, so if you have a chance, get this now.
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
Since I had business on the second floor, I decided to climb my way back to the sixteenth, to see how my body was doing.

I have to admit, I've been slacking on my exercise routine. I haven't been using my stationary bike as hard, or remembering to do other exercises as often. I haven't been sleeping as well, so I haven't gotten up early enough to lengthen the walking part of my commute.

On the other hand, various lifestyle changes have kept this slacking from turning into giving up entirely. My main focus has been my exercise bike, which I keep parked in front of the TV, and I've gotten fairly good at watching TV or playing videogames while on the bike instead of the couch. So when I'm "slacking," I'm not finding the energy for a full high-speed, high-tension workout; but I do still sit on the bike and pedal more leisurely, sometimes for two or three hours. And I still find time for wall push-ups, though with less rigor than I used to have.

Walking up the stairs, it was harder than I'd like it to be, but even though I felt like I was going to give up after about four flights . . . I didn't ever actually have to. I didn't even need to stop for a breather. It helped wake me up a bit too. In fact, if I hadn't had to get back to work, I probably would've kept going up.

I've said before that I have a tendency to slide into slothfulness. I don't really gain much pleasure from exercise, and I don't know that it's ever going to be something I seek out. But I'm glad that I've put a stopper on how far back I can slide.

GO FAST

Sep. 13th, 2011 04:50 pm
tablesaw: Gaff, from <cite>Blade Runner</cite> (Gaff)
On Sunday, at the season opener of Dungeonmaster, I saw [livejournal.com profile] aimegame before the show, among others. When I asked what she'd been doing, she said, "Racing go-karts!" and invited me to join her and some friends on the track on Monday. I'd been feeling a little under-socialized, so last night I headed out to Torrance to race.

It was my first time in a go-kart, but I acquitted myself well. [livejournal.com profile] aimegame had yelled that the only thing I had to do was "GO FAST," and I took it to heart, barreling into turns and sliding all over the damn place. It turns out that my previous experience with drifting in Mario Kart was incorrect: in fact, sliding around curves makes you go slower, rather than giving you a burst of glowing speed. On the other hand, skidding around a corner takes less time than crashing into the corner, and my drifiting kept me from a race-stopping collision with the barriers several times. Though I was in the basement among eight racers in my first match, the second, when it was just the three of us, I managed to eke out second place over [livejournal.com profile] aimegame.

What I didn't expect was the toll it would take on my arms. I know I don't have the greatest upper body strength, but after the races, my arms were trembling, and it hurt to lift things, which was a bit much, even for me. It certainly didn't feel like I was overstressing myself while I was racing, but there was a decent amount of adrenaline. Whether the steering actually did require more work than I'd realize, or the rush of speed had simply caused me to grip the wheel too tightly for too long, my arms were wrecked. Between that and some bumping around in the cart that left my back and sides a bit sore, I've been feeling the kart all day.

I'm probably going to join them again, but I might need to work more on my push-ups before then.
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
Hello, Google Profiles Team Member, and others!

There's not a whole lot I can do to talk to you as you go through this appeal, so I'm making this public post as the first informational link on my appeal, to help you get some context about what's going on here.

See, I was suspended on August 3rd. I appealed and was summarily rejected, but you asked me to send an e-mail for further review. The ticket number for that appeal was apparently #845437331. I sent an e-mail on August 4th. A public copy is here: http://tablesaw.dreamwidth.org/484324.html. Over the weekend, I waited to see if you'd respond or simply let it fall into the black hole of non-responses. But something different happened. My account went from having failed its appeal to having never had an appeal. At least, that's what it looked like from my profile page. I'm not sure; it's possible that my profile was reinstated and then re-rejected before anyone could see it. But I'm a little concerned that my last appeal, and the carefully considered words I sent you have been wiped clean from the last time.

But before we dicsuss theory, let's get to the links, shall we?

http://tablesaw.dreamwidth.org/profile

Dreamwidth is essentially my current base of operations on the Internet, where I am Tablesaw. This is a social network, where I am connected to hundreds of people who know me as Tablesaw. As you can see, I have archives for this name going back to 2002. Of course, many of those earlier entries are actually transferred from the previous iteration of this blog.

http://tablesaw.livejournal.com/profile

It was at Livejournal that I started the blog in 2002, and started to be known as Tablesaw to a wider web audience. Again, as a social network, LiveJournal introduced me to many people whom I now associate with offline as Tablesaw.

http://www.puzzlers.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=krewe:noms:tablesaw

Before that, I joined the National Puzzlers' League, an organization with over a century of experience using chosen names in "real life," as Tablesaw. Now, I know what you're thinking, Google Person. That website looks terrible and doesn't itself, vouch for my identity much. I'll admit, I don't use the website much either. But then, you've kind of placed yourself in a bind, asking me to prove things that happen in "real life" with links on the internet. You see, most of the NPL events happen off of the internet (where all of my friends call me Tablesaw), so the web presence is naturally still a bit sketchy. Of course, it's there where I met the woman who would become my fiancée as Tablesaw.

http://ifmud.port4000.com:4001/finger?user=Tablesaw

And before the NPL, I was on IFmud as Tablesaw. Again, an online space that translated into "real life" friends who call me Tablesaw. There was, for example, the time when a dozen or so of us got together and rented a house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, something that we managed without ever having to use anything but the handles from the MUD.

https://plus.google.com/110575895677561507998/posts/YHtqJ5AXeAF
http://tablesaw.dreamwidth.org/482794.html

I don't know if you can see my own posts on G+ while I'm suspended, because I know the technology is still new. The second link is a backup. This link tells the story of the history of being recoginzed as Tablesaw by a small company that you might have heard of called "Google." See, it's hard to document my seven years of using Tablesaw Tablesawsen on my Gmail account as a link, so the best I can do is to tell you about it and assume that you can look up the information on your own. As they say in the legal profession, the documents responsive to your request are already in your custody and control. I can't tell you how to look into the history of my e-mail account, or my web history account (which I've also used since it was brought online).

https://picasaweb.google.com/tablesaw

Though I can show you the place where I've been using a Google social service under the name Tablesaw for four years. (Though, of course, I can't leave comments on most of my friends' pages like I could last month, because they're on Google Plus, and I'm suspended.)

http://www.geocaching.com/profile/
http://forum.caravelgames.com/member.php?Action=viewprofile&username=Tablesaw
http://www.croco-puzzle.com/Ue-Raetsel/ratinggraph.php?id=2249&type=all
http://forums.unfiction.com/forums/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=1460
http://www.gamersquarter.com/forums/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=159

And a further assortment of links to places where I'm known by Tablesaw on line, and where I interact with people who call me Tablesaw offline. Some of those represent places I don't visit much anymore. In fact, one person I encircled was someone from one of those fora with whom I hadn't really had contact in years, and I was so glad that using the name Tablesaw on Google Plus allowed us to find each other. Of course, that connection's gone now.

https://plus.google.com/110575895677561507998/posts/4hyoVecgxux

Finally, one more post from Google Plus, where one of the people I meet with weekly tells someone mocking my name, in no uncertain terms, that Tablesaw's the name they know me by.

Ok, links done, let's talk about your policy.




See, as I mentioned in that letter I sent to you guys last week, despite suspending me a bunch of times and linking me to your progressively updated Names Policy, nobody's actually told me what it is that's wrong with my name.

I understand that you don't want my legal or government-recognized name. That's good, because I don't really want to give it to you. (Though it does raise the question of why you'd asked for a But you do want "the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you", and I've already given it to you—you've had it for over seven years.

Let's back up. Because, to be honest, there's a problem with your "Common Name" request, which is that I don't have just one common name. I've really got two. One of them I listed as my main profile name (in fact, as I said, I listed it as my main profile name seven years ago), the other I've listed as a nickname under privacy lock. I'm assuming that you can see that, with Google Profile powers, but I'm not going to mention it in this post, because it is, still, an open letter.

You're not really clear on what the difference is between a "common name" and a "nickname" really is. As far as I can tell, my two common names are also nicknames (since neither is, obviously, the name that my local government rigorously identifies me as). Now, I can see how helpful it is to have that other name in my nickname field, locked down under security so that only people whom I choose can see it, but beyond that, I don't see what your problem is with which common name I've placed where.

There's lots of reasons I don't want my other common name up in the big fancy spot on my profile. One reason is that the other nickname is rather close to the name by which the government rigorously identifies me. As you should be aware by now, what with the My Name Is Me campaign and other e-mails I know you're getting, is that making a name like that public opens one up to a lot of different forms of danger. And a lot of that ties into the circumstances I have two common names in the first place. Many people I know are aware of both names, and which they use at any given time is their business (and can switch in the same conversation sometimes). But the people who know me as Tablesaw (which includes a lot of people like my family (Hi, mom!)) have something in common: they are the people with whom I am more willing to share information about my life. And the people who know me only by my other common name are people whom I want to know as little about me as possible.

In other words, the social network that revolves around me as Tablesaw is far more valuable than the one that revolves around me as my other common name. More valuable to me, personally and emotionally, and more valuable to you because I'll be active in sharing with them.

And of course, there's the simple fact that I was here with this name long before Google Plus. When I went to initiate this appeal, the dialogue box that now appears eager to usher in a new name, wiping away years of history informs me that the name I change to is going to be changed in all Google products. Really? When just a month ago, it was perfectly fine for me to use all (and boy, do I mean all) Google products as Tablesaw, now you tell me that name's no good?

Well, maybe you do.

But you know—I know there's a lot of entitlement issues going around with Google Plus—but I do feel, after all this time, that I do deserve to be told why my name's not good enough for you anymore, if for no other reason than so that I can decide if I can change it for you.

Ok. I think that's it.

I hope you read all this, because I guarantee you, someone's going to.

And you know what? Depending on when you read this in relation to when other people read this, you can probably keep going down this page to see a bunch of my friends, friends in "real life"—and I guess I didn't even get to the part where somehow, "offline" is "real life," as though everything that happens on the Internet is somehow fictional (because, really, if online isn't "real life," then what does that make a web-based company like Google?)—tell you how they call me Tablesaw offline too.

I don't know if it even matters anymore.

After seven years, I'm starting to figure out what the cost will be of moving me e-mail address, simply because you think my name's not good enough for you and you won't tell me why.

Okay, it's late and I'm getting maudlin about this.

Best of luck with all this, Google Profiles Team Member. If you've read this far down, you deserve it.

And hell, you know what, I'm going to turn off IP logging, on the off chance that you want to leave a message. Anons get screened, and I won't reveal if you ask me not to.

Bed now. For reals.

Tablesaw out.

Infodump

Jun. 5th, 2011 10:58 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Things done since ever.

  • Bought tickets for the NPL Convention in Providence. Will be flying into Boston on the 4th (5 p.m. EDT), looking to bum around before heading to the hotel on Wednesday afternoon, then flying out of Logan early on the 11th (7 a.m.). Who'll be around?
  • I also said, "Screw it!" and asked for the rest of that week off from work, so it's going to be a real vacation for me all through to the 15th. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. But it will not be working.
  • I'm coming out of a funk (well, came out of a funk a week or so ago). It's always hard to identify it when I'm in it, till my body rebels and says, "No, Tablesaw, you need to do things again. You're going to do those situps, and then you're going to go out and see people." I'm looking ahead to when the pushback happens, the time when I feel a little sick or a little tired, and I let my momentum slip, and I can't pick it up again. On the horizon, this is most likely to happen because . . .
  • I'm probably going into the dentist this week to get my other wisdom tooth looked at. I have a feeling it's going to need removal too. The last time that happened it took a lot out of me. If it happens again, I'm going to need to plan ahead so that I can remomentatize myself.
  • I planned to go geocaching with [personal profile] trinker, and then found out it was to happen on her birthday, so I went all out to be the birthday fairy. It turned out kind of okay.
  • All the TV shows ended, and everyone is pregnant, I guess.
  • My phone, my crappy-ass phone—that is only one step removed from a crappy assphone—has started losing its charge, so I'm actually getting a smartphone. Virgin Mobile, which I've been using to keep my cell-phone bill under $10/month, has an unlimited data plan for $25/month. It should arrive this week. So that'll be interesting.
  • The Portal 2 print is framed and gorgeous-looking. I'm also wrestling with framing these prints on the cheap, which would be easier if the United States and Canada hadn't decided that they wanted their own special paper sizes.
  • Oh, I got a haircut too. For me, it's super short. But then, my hair was getting kind of long. For a while, it looked way too young for my big, bearded, thirty-three-year-old face, but it's looking better with a beard trim.
  • I watched a friend run Dungeon World at Strategicon over the weekend, which got me rereading Apocalypse World. After playing through a campaign, the directives made a lot more sense. It's a fascinating game, which is probably why I keep talking about it to everyone I meet. Also, much like with Smallville, I'm seeing it in the shows I watch. Sons of Anarchy and Dexter are totally running on Apocalypse World.
  • Finished Dragon Age:Origins. Pablum is too exciting a word.
  • Visited the Museum of Death, knocking another item off of my bucket list (defined as things that are close enough for me to throw a bucket at). It was disappointing. I was hoping for a curatorial perspective beyond, "WOW ISN'T THIS COOOOOOOOL!? SERIAL KILLERS, MAN! FUCK SOCIETY!" There were some nice touches: a set of crime-scene photographs near (what I assume was) the brief mention of the murder-suicide. On the other hand, relics of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein were counterposed with "ads containing humorous depictions of cannibals." Yeah, that wasn't too pleasant.
Gotta go to bed now . . .
tablesaw: The pixelated dog from Duck Hunt, emerging from a real field of tall green grass beneath a clear blue sky. (Duck Hunt)
I follow Live Granades because, although I don't go to the IFMud much anymore, I spent a lot of time there, and really liked Stephen, and even spent some time on vacation with him and Misty. Mostly, I like looking at the pictures of their kids and Misty's craftwork.

But this is a seriously great post:
So to recap: a game intended to be religious was changed by its first disciple so that access to the religion involved either money or being famous. Possible responses include subverting it within or declaring a reformation and forking the project. Sound familiar?
Seriously go read it.

Stephen says later:
You want to know why I care about games? This is why. Chain World has spawned arguments about the greater meaning of games and how they reflect the wider world. Leave aside arguments about whether games are art or not. Games like Chain World have something to say about our lives.
Of the people I read talking about videogames, I really do think that Auntie Pixelante is the most insightful and radical. At a time when the "industry" is obsessed with making sure that videogames are "mature" while remaining juvenile, Anna Anthropy steps up to show what you can do when you're really at peace with the role of sex (even supposedly deviant sex) in a functioning human's life. Recently, Craft and Punishment closely examined the relationship between game maker and game player and the BDSM participants. And
Beyond Indie, presented at this year's Game Developers Conference proclaims:
the promise of tools like game maker—that let anyone make a game with no professional or programming experience—and the cheap broadband internet that allows them to distribute their games without a publisher is GAMES MADE BY EVERYONE FOR EVERYONE, not games by the same small handful of nerds for the same nerds to play.
Geek Feminism points out that the father of the first true videogame console, one that used a microprocessor specifically to play games, was Jerry Lawson, a black engineer. I knew about the Fairchild Channel F from my Encyclopedia of Game Machines, but while the importance of the machine is mentioned, Lawson isn't. (The space is saved for the head of Fairchild, Gordon Moore.)

Just a few cool things in videogames recently.

GIP

Mar. 1st, 2011 11:09 pm
tablesaw: Burton Guster says 'Beer' in a seriously manly fashion, man. Because it's a man thing. Beer. (Beer)
I now have an icon for booze-related things. Made by [personal profile] entwashian!



Also, I made one for puzzle constructing, based on last week's Buttersafe.



I also updated my Duck Hunt icon, based "Schadenfreude Dog" from Aled Lewis's Videogames vs. Real Life series.

tablesaw: Two yellow roses against a bright blue sky. (Family Roses)
I went out on two abbreviated hikes (more like walks), one with [personal profile] trinker and family in north Valley, and one alone in west Valley. I'm finally nearing my 200th geocache find, eight years after starting.

I went to my dentist about what I assumed was a small cavity. We were both shocked to discover that it was, instead, a massive cavity that had grown faster than normal humans can manage, and that I now need a root canal. And also, after the root canal, I'll probably need another wisdom tooth pulled. And also my dental coverage had disappeared (though that got cleared up the next day).

I got into more of a routine with stretching and using the exercise bike. Current games for playing on the exercise bike: Castle Crashers, because it is simple and repetitive, and Super Meat Boy, because it causes you to feed the frustration back into your legs.

I made it to Laz's boardgaming night for the first time in 2011, and played Power Grid, which was balanced and fun.

I went to [livejournal.com profile] cramerica house-reheating party, and spent some time catching up with folks like Artistry and Bartok whom I haven't seen in a while.

I had a two-day workweek.

Oh, and also, I bought a new car a new car, and returned the Jeep to my parents.
tablesaw: Futurama's Robot Devil, El Diablo Robotico (El Diablo Robotico)
When I got my new computer and started learning of the glories that is Steam, they were in the middle of some massive year-end sales. I bought a bunch of games, then, many on impulse. The impulsiest of impulses was Everyday Genius: SquareLogic

I know, I know. If you're one of the puzzle connoisseurs, you're shaking your head. It's calculodoku (presented in the New York Times as Kenken), which isn't the most thrilling puzzle form (unless it's being done with extreme care, as people like [livejournal.com profile] motris give it). I wouldn't have given it a second look, except that the sale had reduced it's price from $9.99 to $1.50. And since I was already having fun with Croco-Puzzle, all I had to ask myself was "Do I think I can get a buck fifty's worth of puzzle out of this churned-out schlock.

My answer was, actually, yes. Particularly when I saw, from the screenshots that some of the levels featured twin grids, where the numbers in one grid were the same as the numbers in the other. That's a form of the puzzle that can provide some interesting twists, but that can be hard to do on paper because of the extra bookkeeping involved. So it went onto the list with other, actually good games, like the LucasArts Adventure Pack.

And I played through it, whiling away the time with the mindless puzzles. There were certainly things to like, there's a little box that appears and shows possible combinations that you can choose from, which keeps you from having to redo the math. (On the other hand, it's not always precisely accurate, though it rarely precludes answers that could be valid, except during hidden cages.) Although there were an absurd number of computer generated puzzles, you could skip most of them, by only solving a representative puzzle of each type. And the error checking is a bit harsh (a stray click can kill your streak of error-free puzzles) but makes solving difficult puzzles more relaxing, since the game can automatically dial you back to the place you made your first mistake, if you want.

After unlocking everything, I thought I might try to get the achievement for solving all the puzzles in one "location" (meaning they're generally of the same type). I went to the easiest level (the first "region" is all 1-4 puzzles), and looked for the location with the fewest puzzles. That turned out to be the "hidden cages" location with 200 (yeah, computer generated all right). None were really thrilling, but a nice way to kill time mindlessly while IMing with folks, or watching Hulu or Netflix.

Until this.

Now, I didn't have a great puzzle-solving day today. My Croco-puzzle times were crap because I missed a lot of obvious things. So I could just be missing something terrible obvious here. But it looks, to me like I was able to find a valid solution to this puzzle that is being treated as an error by the game. I'd love to write an angry e-mail to the creators about shoddy product, but . . . I keep thinking I'm missing something. So below the cuts, I've provided screenshots of the puzzle, and my proposed solution.

Shallows 118, original state )

Shallows 118, my solution )

Please, puzzlers, either vindicate me or knock some sense into me. I can't stand the not knowing.

Theme Song

Jan. 19th, 2011 02:52 pm
tablesaw: The pixelated dog from Duck Hunt, emerging from a real field of tall green grass beneath a clear blue sky. (Duck Hunt)
If you hadn't noticed from the previous links, the theme this year was videogames. The wedding that teams were invited to turned out to be the wedding of Mario and Peach, which was predictably interrupted by Bowser. As for what happened next . . . it's probably best to let the Hunt mastermind explain the whole story:

Still Unsolved (MP4) highly recommended for pretty much everyone.
tablesaw: "This sounds like Waiting for Spy Godot" (Hunt)
I still am not quite prepared to talk in detail about the Mystery Hunt, because a lot has to do with my team experience, which was awesome, but also more personal. So instead, here's a list of recommended puzzles from this year's Hunt.

This post contains minor spoilers. Most Mystery Hunt puzzles have little or no instructions. Under the cut tags, I'm going to give more explicit instructions and some comments to make the puzzles accessible, both to more casual solvers and to seasoned veterans who want to skip ahead to the good stuff. (If you don't see any cut text and you would prefer not to see some or all of these spoilers, read this page from my Jaunary 19 page.) Complete answers to each puzzle can be found using the "Call in answer" link at the top of each page.

Keyboard Cat. How it works )

Toad's List. How it works )

Everybody's Got to Be Somewhere. How it Works )

Meta Testing. What It Is, How It Works )

Timbales. What it is )

Stuff Nerd People Like. What It Is, How It Works )

Expletive Deleted. Figuring out how to fill in the blanks shouldn't be that hard, and I'd feel bad spelling it out. I will spell out how to get from there to the final answer: How to Get from There to the Final Answer )

The Cats Meow. How It Works, Why It's Fun Even if You Don't Want to Solve It )

Part of Speech. How It Works )

Painted Potsherds. How It Works )

Inventory Quest. How It Works )

Laureate. No need for spoiler tags, this one is straight up with its instructions. This is a cryptic crossword, so if you're not familiar with those conventions, it's going to be very difficult. Specifically, this is a cryptic in the style of the Listener Cryptic, so if you're an American cryptic solver unfamiliar with British conventions, this will still be very hard. But if you do happen to be familiar with solving very difficult cryptics in the British vein, this puzzle is lots of fun.

Hints, with a bit of love!. How )

A Representative Sampling. How It Works )

Plotlines. I think this is the puzzle that maximizes accessibility and awesomeness. Definitely look even if you click through immediately to the answers. How It Works )

Toto, I Have a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore. I can't really spoil this one, but I feel like the aha is fairly accesible to the right sorts of geek. If you don't see what's going on fairly quickly, click through to the answer. If you do, here's how to get a final answer ).

Unnatural Law. How It Works )

E Pluribus Unum. Okay, this one looks unfair, but it's actually fairly tractable, and can be a good way to start thinking laterally about puzzles like this. How It Works )

Unlikely Situations. Just look at the puzzle. If this puzzle is for you, you'll recognize it instantly and figure out what to do. If you don't it's probably not the puzzle for you. How It Works ) Even if you don't want to solve the puzzle, you may want to click through to the answer to see a little bit more about the subject.



So those are my recommendations. There's a lot more stuff that I enjoyed, but it's all less accessible, and I'll probably need to talk about them more spoilerily to do them justice. These are just ones I think more people would get a kick out of.

If you think I've listed too many, then here are my top three fun, accessible puzzles: Toad's List, Inventory Quest, and Plotlines. Go do those.

Also, here are some puzzles that I didn't work on but are on my list to try. No descriptions because I haven't spent any time working on them.
tablesaw: Two women put the star on a Christmas tree. (Apocalyptic Christmas)
I'm finally getting some traction on the holiday season, and that includes putting up a holiday gift list for friends and family.

Things I would like for the holidays (and then also my birthday).

Art. The walls are pretty bare right now, so I'm looking for things to hang to replace some of the things that are gone. I know it's a tricky thing, because I also want it to reflect my own tastes, which is hard to do since I don't know what to put up on the walls in the first place, but that's something I'm looking for.

Massage. Some talented amateurs have let me know that I really need to work on the tension in my everywhere. So gift certificates, recommendations, and even personal volunteering to give me a massage would be wonderful.

Graphic Novels/Comic-Book Trade Paperbacks. The price of these and the speed at which I read them often make me feel guilty buying them, or severely restrict the rate at which I do. But since I reread them often, it usually works out. I think I'll do a separate post of what I have and things I look for when I go shopping. The last thing that really made me drool was Astro City: The Dark Age 1 & 2.

Pants. (This is mostly for my mom's reference.) This year was really hard on my work khakis, with a number of pairs becoming unusable for various reasons. I'm currently 38 waist, 34 inseam.

Tie clips. Every so often, I put on a tie and wish I had a tie clip for it. I don't know why. It's good men's jewelry. I used to have them as a kid, before all my ties had their own holders in the back, but I don't have any anymore.

Music. I just don't usually buy stuff on my own, so gifts of music are definitely appreciated.

Classy Booze. I've been having fun exposing myself to new types of alcohol. A friend pointed out these gift baskets, which made me drool, but anything new to try would be fine. The only thing that I don't particularly care for is vodka. The thing I've started trying most recently is scotch.

Last year, my uncle picked something off my wish list, and I realized it was terribly out of date. I spent some time today clearing out a bunch of stuff and adding a few other things that I actually do want now. Some of the graphic novels are on there, some music is still there from before, a few DVDs, etc. Also on there is the re-release of Betrayal at House on the Hill, which I was drooling over in the store the other day.

Things to avoid:

Videogames. I have a bunch of them right now, and I need to get through some of them. Unless you are absolutely sure that it's something I want and will love, you probably shouldn't get one for me. Consider just lending it to me instead.

Books. Same deal here. I've got lots of to-read items that another book may just make me sad. (Exception is the graphic novels I talked about above, because I go through them much quicker.)

Some DVDs. I now have Netflix instant (but not a regular disc-shipping account), which is a much more convenient way for me to watch most of the things that would be given on DVD. Most things, but not all. There are still TV shows that aren't available, so those would be things to get me, though I'd probably prefer to borrow them as well.

However, I do some fandom iconning, and one of my projects for the coming year is to try vidding, so shows and movies I like enough to watch for those purposes are safe bets.

And with those last three in particular, I always prefer to receive pre-owned items if possible.
tablesaw: Futurama's Robot Devil, El Diablo Robotico (El Diablo Robotico)
A while ago, I finally broke down and got a Facebook account. I try to make it as one-way as possible—there's no information of my own on the site, I just use it to keep in touch with other folks who use it as their major form of communication. It doesn't even have a picture on it, so if you'd like to befriend me, you'll probably need to contact me in e-mail and prod me to add you.

But I was thinking about other social-networking things too, especially since I finally added Steam to my computer. There's social networking on everything now, it seems. So here are some places I am:

XBOX Live: LaSierraDeMesa
Wii Friend: 3313-9279-5908-0771
Steam: Tablesaw
Hulu: Tablesaw

Still resisting Tumblr and Twitter for now.

Profile

tablesaw: -- (Default)
Tablesaw Tablesawsen

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