Monday, January 20, 2020

Martin Luther King Day

I make this post every year on Martin Luther King Day, as racism continues to destroy everything we seek to build.

Today is a national holiday in the United States to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

It's easy to forget the kind of hatred and stupidity that King was fighting against, but a good place to start is here: What was Jim Crow. The Wikipedia entry for Jim Crow laws also has detailed information. And the Wikipedia entry for King is here.

Also, here's a link to a 2006 post when Eli asked me about Martin Luther King for the first time. It's still one of my favorite posts.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, what is probably the greatest piece of writing on gaming I've ever read: Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

This is tremendously thought-provoking: Superior pinpoints racism in science: Naive scientists plus strategic racists.

This is terrifying: Footage of Australian fire crew overwhelmed by flames.

Who knew that caring about your citizens actually works? Portugal has found an antidote to right wing populism.

From terrific artist Fredrik Skarstedt, and it's fascinating: Why I Take Fake Pills.

From C. Lee, and this is tremendously concerning: The medications that change who we are. This is wonderful: Selfless African grey parrots get by with a little help from friends. What? How an English Energy Crisis Helped Create Champagne. This is heartwarming: When Disasters Hit California, Sikh Temples Provide Meals and Refuge. A nice farewell: Okinawa native gave Ultraman distinct feel with eye for social ills.

From Wally, and this is awesome: Oldest material on Earth discovered. This is an excellent look at airline history and comfort: The great shrinking airline seat. These are absolutely stunning: Artist Carves Everyday Foods into Exquisitely Patterned Masterpieces. These are revealing: WWII Interactive Photos. I think Danny MacAskill could complete a Ninja Warrior course--on a bicycle: Danny MacAskill's Gymnasium.

From Chris Meadowcraft, and it's a foul concoction: Gin yogurt criticized.

From Eric Lundquist, and it's terrific: Botanical Sexism Cultivates Home-Grown Allergies.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Found: Steam Controller

[UPDATE: I have two backup controllers headed my way, so thanks very much!]

I was an idiot and didn't buy any extra Steam controllers during their recent end-of-life sale, but I've realized that I really depend on mine to play games that normally use a gamepad. For some reason, I can't do a ton of button presses with my right hand without pain, so I map everything to the circular touchpad and tap instead.

Game changer.

Of course, if the one I have breaks, I'm screwed. Really screwed. So if any of you stocked up on Steam controllers, and wouldn't mind selling me one, please let me know. Thanks.

A Visual Definition

Sub-optimal solution:


Gloria: "Nature can be really cruel, but at least animals don't talk and tweet about it."

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

I Want To Yell

We have a friend in Austin. A bright, vibrant woman. Four children, all as bright and vibrant as their mother. A husband, the same.

What a family. We love them. There's a classic children's book called Go, Dog, Go! about a lively and happy group of dogs, and since the family's last name rhymed with 'Go,' we always said, "Go, *****, go!" every time we saw them off to do something, which was always.

Each kid played hockey, and each kid was in a different age group. Two played travel. Four sets of practices, four sets of games, and travel.

They were always smiling.

We stayed in touch after we moved to Michigan. They're the kind of people you always stay in touch with.

The mom was in her mid forties, and a fitness instructor. On Wednesday night, she had a massive stroke.

On Sunday night, she became an organ donor. She was selfless, too.

Her husband has been incredibly gracious in how he has handled this terrible tragedy.

I am not feeling so goddamned charitable. I am not feeling gracious. I am so angry. I want to find the random number generator and kick it in the face until it can't get up anymore.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Send Us Your Armies

Vic Davis, the one-man band responsible for Armageddon Empires, Solium Infernum, Six Gun Saga, and The Occult Chronicles, has written a book.

Hell, yes, I say.

This book is titled Send Us Your Armies, and it's part of what is going to be a trilogy called Pilgrim's Path.

I finished reading it last week, and let me say this: Vic wrote the hell out of this story.

You can purchase it at the link above, and it's also available with Kindle Unlimited.

The world is better when Vic Davis is creating something.

Pharmacy Insider

I was talking to a pharmacist yesterday. She's retiring at the end of October, at the age of 62.

I asked her if it felt strange, once she'd set a date. "Yes, but I've been doing this for twenty years, and I've had both my knees replaced."

She told me that knee replacements were common in the pharmacy profession. "Occupational hazard," she said. Standing for long, long hours for years takes a toll. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Now it's the herder-ferter

I was watching a playoff game. Gloria was asleep on the couch next to me.

She had been asleep for several hours when I went upstairs, looking for a snack. I found Dove bars in the freezer, a huge win. I took one and went back downstairs. She stirred.

"Hey, I didn't know we had Dove bars!" I said.

She looked at me, confused. "Herder," she said.

"Dove bars," I said.

"What?" She looked at me again. "The ferter," she said.

"You don't understand," I said. "I already went to the herder-ferter and got one."

"Oh," she said. A few seconds passed. "The freezer."

"Not anymore," I said.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday Links!

A long, long week.

From C. Lee, and it's fascinating: A New Study Indicates Humans Self-Generate Misinformation. I'm a fan: Belching in a good way: How livestock could learn from Orkney sheep. So interesting: A virtual version of da Vinci’s mystery glass orb has helped explain its weirdness. What a mess: The 2010s were supposed to bring the ebook revolution. It never quite came.

From Wally, and go goats! California Cities Turn To Hired Hooves To Help Prevent Massive Wildfires. This is incredibly embarrassing: SentrySafe Opened With a Coat Hanger - LPL. This headline delivers in so many ways: The Maine Maritime football custom that ended with a ref shot by a cannon started with a 1968 prank. A long and terrific read: How New York’s Bagel Union Fought — and Beat — a Mafia Takeover.

From Meg McReynolds, and The Enthusiasm Engine approves: Make 2020 the Year of Maximum Enthusiasm.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

On Consolation

Writing every day at the Gardens gives me a wide view of humanity.

Every age. Every kind of behavior, both polite and otherwise. It's amazing what you see if you just sit and watch.

I notice children, because they're awesome. Most of them, anyway. A few appear to have futures serving a dark lord, but only a few.

I also notice how parents work with their children, particularly when they're distressed. Some parents, when their child gets upset and starts wailing, react by putting on a dog and pony show. "Don't cry! Look at the giant unicorn!" kind of reactions.

I don't remember how I handled those moments with Eli 18.5 (he didn't have many), but now, that strikes me as an inefficient reaction. It seems like it models behavior that says sorrow should be distracted, which seems unhealthy. It also makes it seem like being upset is not okay, when it's really just a normal part of life.

What I would do today is just ask "Is there anything I can do to help?" If the child said no, then I'd say, "I'll sit with you until you feel better." That way, the child would understand that it's okay to be upset, and that it will pass. A few minutes of patience seems like it would go a long way in helping children develop their own coping strategies.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020


"Look, I got this soup mug," Gloria said. She handed it to me.

It was hefty. Had a lid on it, so I couldn't see inside, but it felt like it was full of soup. "That's great," I said.

Later, I was going to have some dinner, and all plans had collapsed. "I think I'll just have that soup," I said.

"What soup?" Gloria asked.

"The soup in the mug."

There is no soup in the mug," she said.

"Wait, no soup? Then what's the use of it?"

"Well, it's a mug that you put soup in," she said.

"But there's no soup."

"It just holds soup. It doesn't come with soup."

"It should have already had soup," I said. "Have the soup that comes with purchase, then have a mug left over. Seems like a missed opportunity."

Two days later (today), I unloaded the dishwasher. In it, a ribbed, large mug. "Where do I put this thing?" I asked.

"That's the soup mug," Gloria said.

"Not to me."

She laughed. "You know that even if it had come with soup, the soup would be gone, and the mug would be exactly the same as it is now."

"Not exactly," I said. "I would have already had a positive experience with the mug, leading to a friendly relationship going forward. This way, it's been nothing but maintenance so far."

"I can't believe I'm having this conversation," she said. Or something like that.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

IGF Nominations Up!

Here are your finalists for the 2020 Independent Games Festival Awards

I can personally vouch for A Short Hike, which is terrific.

Kentucky Route Zero: Final Act January 28

Well, this is great news.

Kentucky Route Zero is a beautiful, shimmering thing, one of the most memorable games I've ever played. It puts magical realism into rural Kentucky, and if that isn't enough for you, I don't know what to say.

I wrote "one of the most memorable," but as I did that, I tried to think of a more memorable game. I can't. Everything about it is magical.

If you haven't played it, starting now is a good idea. It will probably a couple of weeks to work through the first four acts, and you'll be ready on January 28th for the last chapter.

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