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Tuesday Option #1 – Trailblazer

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Published on: June 29, 2011

The next four Wednesdays will be options for the starting story for Choose Your Tuesdays. After the fourth is done, I’ll put up a poll and let you choose. Without further ado: Trailblazer.

 

Gosser had never really trusted space travel. Oh, over the years he had done quite a bit of it. And, in fact, he was a pretty handy pilot, and an even better navigator. But still, he could never quite ignore the fact that a few inches of wood and some complex enchantments were all that separated him from the cold and nothingness of space. Actually, a quick glance at his navigation stone, or, he supposed, out a window, would tell him that he was flying in Frajey’s Cloud, and he would also have highly charged particles to deal with if his thin hull failed.

A solid thud echoed through the bridge of his ship. Broden’s Beard! How had they gotten in ballista range so quickly? He willed a little more power through the helm and in to his navigation stone. He was still at least a minute from the spellshift path he had charted. It was dangerous to shift in the Cloud, all the energy bouncing around loose out there played havoc with the helm at faster than light speeds. Still, another pair of thuds told him that the Coalition ship that was chasing him was too close for him to survive to the safe zone. He did have that used spell cannon he had bought on Bohren, but he had never test fired the thing, the ammo was too expensive. If it worked, though, it would scare the Greenbacks in the very least, and burn a hole clean through their hull at the best. If it didn’t work, though, he would have just attacked a better armed and armored ship head on. So it was a dangerous shift, or a potential suicide run? How come he never had good options?

Still A Bit Busy

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Published on: June 22, 2011

Life is still firing on all cylinders here today, so this will be another brief Wednesday post. Thanks for your patience.

The consensus seems to be that the new choose your own adventure bit should be weekly. I’m okay with that. My current plan is to post four different story hooks for the next four Wednesdays, and then put up a poll as to which of these you want us to do first. (The things themselves will probably be on Tuesdays, because I like “Choose Your Own Tuesdays.” But, writing the things will let me get ahead for a couple Wednesdays, because being busy isn’t going away for a while.)

I’ll see you Friday, Minions.

Briefly Apologizing for the Future

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Published on: June 15, 2011

Sorry for the super-late post today. There have been some unexpected developments in my personal life, and doing a blog post slipped my mind.

So, just a quick one today. There were some pretty good suggestions in response to last Wednesday’s post. I like the idea of doing a cooking show, but I don’t have the resources, so we’re going to throw that one on the back burner for a while. Luke suggested a choose your own adventure thing, and I like the idea. It may be a bit before my schedule’s back in to a shape where it will be able to sustain a new blog feature, so, in the meantime, what kind of story would you like to be choosing the direction of? First person, or following a character? Should I present a couple options, or leave it more open? And how often would you like to see an update? Smaller weeklies, or bigger monthlies?

I’ll see you guys below, and if not, on Friday for sure.

The New Stuff

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Published on: June 8, 2011

So, I’m feeling pretty good about this blog thing. I’ve hit a pretty solid stride, and I even occasionally manage to get a little bit ahead. I can’t get cocky yet, I’ve fallen from higher levels of progress before, but still, I’m doing okay, for me, at least. I’m moving at the end of the month, so I’m trying to get ahead solidly to avoid missing posts during the transition. It’s been tricky. The biggest thing I’m finding is that I have trouble coming up with more than one Wednesday post topic per week. So, if you guys want me to write on any particular topic, please let me know, suggestions are very welcome.

One of the things I promised myself when I started this push for a three a week blog posts was that when it got easy, I would take more stuff on. Well, Minions, it’s gotten easy. It’s time for new projects to stack on to this thing. I already have one secret project in the works, but that’s a bit off yet, and a bit of a bigger chunk-type deal, so I’m looking for something more regular and bite-sized to do. So, twice in one post I’m asking for suggestions from the Minions. What would you like to see here every week? Feel free to suggest whatever. I really want to try something fun and unique, so if you have something cool, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll try it for at least a little while.

See you in the comments, and then I’ll see you Friday.

Advertainment

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Published on: June 1, 2011

So, there are a lot of things about marketing that bug me. I’m not going to talk about most of them today. There is, however, one class of ad that confuses me, and I want to air that confusion.

I don’t understand ads that claim that there’s some industry that doesn’t want you to know about the product on offer. If you’ve spent much time on the internet without an ad blocker, you’ve probably seen these. They seem to occur super frequently in those annoying acai berry ads. They’ll inform you that they have some crazy secrets that health experts or whoever don’t want you to know. And, if you pay them some money, they’ll tell you what that secret is. Here’s the thing that I don’t get: If the shadowy cabal of health experts that secretly run the medical industry/globe purportedly know about the tremendous health benefits of your one little secret, and you’ve somehow found a way to monetize that secret, why wouldn’t the aforementioned cabal already be making money that way? That makes no sense. Surely there can’t be people who think that someone who takes out a series of the most annoying ads on the internet would be so altruistic as to give away their health secrets for prices so low the entirety of the health care industry can’t find a way to compete with their business model.

You know what, the acai berry thing is almost reasonable compared to some of the rest of these things. I get that there’s a part of the brain that wants to believe that there’s a magic cure for fatness and general unhealthiness that you could have if only some hidden dark power wasn’t keeping you from it. There’s a good narrative there, and I could see wanting to believe it so badly that you ignore some pretty compelling logic to the contrary. But I saw an ad in this form that simply blew my mind today. So there I was, looking at, I don’t know, funny pictures of walruses or something and right at the bottom of the page in a text ad so unobtrusive that I barely noticed it was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. Some guy apparently had found a way to pay $9 a month for insurance, and the insurance industry was deathly afraid of me finding out about it.

I’ll give you a second to let that sink in.

Buh.

Okay, let’s run through this. Maybe it’s just me that thinks this is such an unbelievably stupid claim to make. Maybe there are people I need to convince. First of all, I didn’t omit any information in that description of the ad. It truly just said that there was a way to pay nine dollars for “insurance.” There was zero indication as to exactly what was being insured. I suppose, thinking about it now, that whoever this guy is found a way to insure his car against mosquito bites (or something equally ridiculous) for only nine bones a month, but even in this case I doubt that there were a bunch of insurance executives losing much sleep over the pending loss of the secret to great vehicular insect bite insurance. No, this ad more or less claims to insure anything for nine a month. Car, house, boat, life, health, helicopter, or, I don’t know, aircraft carrier or something, go nuts – you could insure anything your little heart desires against damage. That’s pretty impressive, and also really, really stupid. So let’s say, for the sake of argument that the ad had claimed something more modest like, say, car insurance for nine a month. This is a sum that is so much lower than any conceivable amount any other insurance agency charges that it should raise immediate red flags. Nothing is free, and all those savings have to come from somewhere. And this being the insurance industry, not exactly known for their commitment to the Light side, I imagine those savings come from investors buying shares in the pooled debt you and and the other policy holders owe on your souls.

I don’t know, I’ve gotten all rambly, and I can’t even remember what my point was at this juncture. I guess I’ve safely vented my spleen, and also I’ve probably attracted the attention of every spambot within five hundred internet miles.

What's It Like In There?

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Published on: May 25, 2011

So, the other day I was reading an entertainment blog. (Don’t judge me.) Specifically, I had clicked a link in to an article about Lisa Edelstein (who plays Dr. Cuddy) leaving House before the last season. It was just a quick news brief – couldn’t have been more than three paragraphs long, and these are entertainment blog paragraphs we’re talking about here. This unfortunately meant that the comments section was visible without having to scroll down.

Now, comments sections aren’t universally terrible. For instance, I do like our conversations, Minions. Still, a civil comments section is rare enough that I find it to be good policy to just avoid them entirely. As I commented on Twitter that day, that way lies madness, and not the good kind. Whatever terrible alchemy of low barrier to entry and complete anonymity that exists in comment sections is frequently a recipe for the worst sort of near-human discourse. It kind of makes me sad that we have unprecedented access to more of humanity than ever before in all of history, and we, as a species, mostly choose to use it declaring our ordinal superiority and insulting other people in utterly uncreative ways.

That being said, this comment section was not one of the rare civil ones. It was, in fact, one of those terrible breeds of comment section that makes the 12-year old racists that so often lurk YouTube comment sections look like reasonable, logical individuals. It was a comment section full of so much rage and vitriol, that I’m not entirely unsure the pure hate radiating out of the HTML isn’t what’s been causing my computer issues the last couple days. These people were, to sum up, so mad.

I don’t understand how someone gets that mad. It just doesn’t make sense to me. There were people threatening violence and murder on the perpetrators of this terrifying act. (Which, again, is an actress that none of these people have ever met leaving a TV show that they like to watch.) I understand being upset. I understand getting invested in a show and a character and being sad when it changes in to something you don’t like anymore. I’m a Star Wars fan, for Yoda’s sake, I get it. I just don’t understand threatening violence -  threatening to end the existence of another person for ruining (maybe) a thing you like to look at for an hour (44 minutes, sans commercials) every week. I don’t understand, and I can’t understand.

But I kind of want to.

I don’t know. If I could get into the head of somebody at that moment I imagine I wouldn’t like what I found. But, I have this darned desire to understand the world, and I kind of want to know. And really, the thought processes that I don’t fully understand aren’t contained solely in the heads of people who become murderous over television casting decisions. No, I imagine that to be a pretty small slice of the pie chart of thoughts I can’t grasp. The fact remains that I’m trapped over here in my head, and you’re all everybody trapped over there in your heads, and there exists no bridge between us. I’m sorry it has to be this way. Tell you what. I’ll keep trying to describe the weather over here, and if you feel like telling me about the mental-atmospheric conditions up by you, I’d be glad to hear.

Milestones

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Published on: May 18, 2011

So, it’s the 20th week of 2011, which means that on Friday I will have maintained the three-a-week update schedule for 20 weeks. Twenty is not generally a very highly regarded milestone in popular number culture. Sure, it’s divisible by 10, but it’s so close to 25, so close to the quarter of 100, which, for some reason is more psychologically significant. You know what? Nuts to that. I’m celebrating Twenties. It’s just a plain better number, at least for our purposes. Twenty has some great geek connections, being the highest possible roll on a twenty-sided die, the best outcome from rolling the king of the polyhedrons. And why is 1/4 of 100 such a big deal, anyways? 1/5 of 100 is just as arbitrarily significant. If nothing else, celebrating the 20′s means that we get to celebrate that much more often.

So, I’m celebrating this week. Twenty weeks without a missed update. (Late, yes, but missed, no.) If you were to look back at the posts from before this year (and I heartily suggest that you don’t, ever) you might notice that three posts a year had been a pretty difficult rate to hit for a while in there. I feel pretty good about keeping the pace as well as I have.

Thanks for keeping me company, Minions.

Buhh

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Published on: May 11, 2011

It’s just so hot here right now. It’s like all the heats are here, and they’re mad. Mad about coolness, I think. It’s a well known fact that when heats get angry they exude stickiness, which there is definitely a lot of to be had. Bolstered by their fresh new coat of stickiness, they swarm around the room, exuding heat and hate, and occasionally other anagrams. (Nag a rams? Could be.) My will to get stuff done enters defensive mode. S-foils are locked in attack positions, shields are raised, cauldrons are filled with boiling oil, etc. The battle is fierce. To hear the talesingers tell it, the mighty mightiness of the combat shook the very earth. My will to do stuff fought like laser-etched titanium space-lions, but alas, it was to no avail. The heats in their swarms could not be stopped even by the mighty beatings of the Fan of Destiny. Woe to all the mes who wanted to get some stuff done today, seriously.

Or another, better, metaphor.

The Rolling Waters of the Lethe

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Published on: May 4, 2011

You may have noticed that there wasn’t a post here this morning. Sorry about that.

Let’s talk about forgetfulness.

Abrupt (if meaningful) segues aside, forgetfulness is something that I struggle with all the time. Most of this site’s previous late posts involve lateness to some degree (usually because I forgot to schedule them properly). I’m not really sure what it is about my brain that makes me so prone to losing things that I need to do. And, because meta-cognition is a hobby of mine, I think about my forgetting a lot. I think there are, for me at least, two different versions of forgetfulness. The distinctions are subtle, but I think vital. Maybe the distinctions are too pedantic, but it’s my blog, and I’ll talk about whatever I want, so nana nana na na.

These classes are thus:

  1. Things that I easily forget
  2. Things that I have trouble remembering

(Yes, I used a numbered list for only two items. What are you going to do about it? You’re super picky today, did you know that?) So, yeah, those seem like the same thing, but I think there’s a difference.

When I easily forget something the piece of information or task to be completed gets entered in to my brain, and that information simply disappears. I hear a number or learn a name (two particularly difficult things for me to remember) and it goes in one of my ears and out the other. If you were to directly quiz me about that info, I couldn’t tell you word one about it.

Something that I have trouble remembering, on the other hand, gets well stored, often in exquisite, extravagant detail. The issue is then that when I need that piece of info, say, the fact that it’s Tuesday night and I should really write a post for tomorrow, the information is hanging out somewhere deep inside my skull, cozily holed up in a bunker, safe from the nuclear weapons of remembrance. (I’m feeling metaphorical today.) This second one is the one that bothers me. Lots of people forget easily. There’s a whole Eddie Izzard bit about forgetting names as they’re being told to you. It’s this second thing where my physical memory is actually quite good but the retrieval system is flawed that really makes me want to strangle an octopus.

In any case, I’m sorry if you came here looking for a post and it wasn’t there. Feel free to suggest suitable punishments in the comments below, and I’ll see you Friday.

    Age Ed

    Categories: Whatever Wednesday
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    Published on: April 27, 2011

    I feel old.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I’m 25. Which, while being a full quarter of a century, is not a particularly old age. But still. I feel like an old man, and I don’t really like it.

    Why do I feel old? Lots of reasons. For instance, I have uttered the phrase, “That means we wouldn’t get home until like 8:30. No thanks.” Also, I have checked in to the clinic complaining of chest pains. (It was a minor problem, but thanks for your concern.) Also, some teenager who rang up my groceries called me “sir.”

    That last one is actually why I feel old today. I’ve been called “sir” before, but in the past it’s always been when addressing me to ask me a question because the waitress or cashier or whoever doesn’t know my name. But this time she just said, “Have a good day, sir.” Have a good day? Have a good day!?

    So I went home, popped a Werther’s Original, and asserted to some youthful hooligans that my lawn was an unacceptable venue for their shenanigans.

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