Tag Archives: rant

Bein’ Critical of Twitch-streamed D&D Games!

OK, then, more talk about tabletop RPGs on Twitch. This is where I get critical.

Most games on Twitch are Dungeons and Dragons. This is expected. I don’t play D&D anymore, and I haven’t for several years – and even when I did play it, well, I have been told I don’t play it in a very D&D way. I now have a much better idea of what that means.

Because, here’s the thing, when you start a game – and many of them do start in this exact way – saying a tiefling, a dragonkin, and a drow walk into a bar… that’s not the lead-in to an adventure. That’s an introduction to a fantasy-themed joke.

Continue reading Bein’ Critical of Twitch-streamed D&D Games!

Police and bad apples plus fixing the system

Some jobs can’t have bad apples.

Imagine you walk into a doctor’s office and you’re told, “Well, sure, a lot of doctors are good eggs, but a lot of other doctors are, well, racist. If you’re not a white person, they’ll either refuse to treat you or make your condition worse – not as an accident but maliciously, sometimes severely. And now and then, somewhere between a thousand and fifteen hundred times a year, they’ll decide to kill you, again, often with malice aforethought. BUT, I, who am a good doctor, will not do anything to fix this situation, because all the other doctors won’t like me, so I tolerate and, indeed, through the continued support of the organizations to which we mutually belong, encourage their racism and violence – and will indeed defend vocally and, occasionally, with the violence of my own those ‘bad apples.'”

Continue reading Police and bad apples plus fixing the system

Fuck Electric Cars

Let me explain. I ride my bicycle between 4000 and 5000 miles each year. That’s not even counting my ebike, which I use for as many errands as I can, which accounts for another five hundred to six hundred miles a year.

I was reading this content-free article from “cleantechnica”.com where they assert without a shred of, y’know, proof that electric cars are better than gasoline-powered cars. Is it true that e-cars are better than gas cars in terms of energy efficiency? Honestly, I don’t know, but I also don’t care. Like the oil industry, the e-car industry is doing it’s dead-level best to obscure the pass-through pollution – the total pollution the vehicle generates from the manufacture, use, and disposal – it creates.

Continue reading Fuck Electric Cars

YouTube now thinks I’m a sexist jerk because I watch video game reviews

I’ve been sick with bronchitis the past couple of weeks – which is a growing and uncomfortable health trend of mine, that every cold turns into bronchitis – which has allowed an interesting picture into the world of video gaming and sexism.

I’ve been watching more YouTube than I should. It comes in easily digestible chunks and much of it is easy to follow. And, honestly, I don’t care if I follow it. Mainly, I watch videos about bicycling, professional wrestling, comedy, and bicycling. However, since I’m sick, I’ve been keeping track of the unfolding disaster that is Fallout 76, plus some other videos by presenters who I found amusing.

Continue reading YouTube now thinks I’m a sexist jerk because I watch video game reviews

Thoughts on bad writing in video games using Rise of the Tomb Raider as a starting point

I’ve been under the weather, so I played through Rise of the Tomb Raider to pass the time rather than dwelling on how awful I’ve felt. It made me think about why writing for video games is so bad.

Don’t get me wrong: Rise of the Tomb Raider is an excellent game. While I’ll be using it for purposes of illustration, because I’ve just played it, many games commit far worse literary sins than Rise of the Tomb Raider. There will be spoilers under the cut to illustrate my various points about the awful writing in video games.

Continue reading Thoughts on bad writing in video games using Rise of the Tomb Raider as a starting point

There is no proof too much exercise will kill you: health news is the worst

There’s been a piece of “reporting” going around saying that it’s possible to exercise oneself to death. The New York Post’s headline is “You can exercise yourself to death, says new study.” A bunch of articles share that title, or slight variations on it.  Short form: it’s bullshit.  Deep and highly piled bullshit.

The news “stories” is based on a paper that has been electronically distributed by The Mayo Clinic Proceedings titled 25-Year Physical Activity Trajectories and Development of Subclinical Coronary Artery Disease as Measured by Coronary Artery Calcium by Deepika R. Laddu, PhD, Jamal S. Rana, MD, PhD, etc. I’ve provided links so, y’know, you can read it, too, if you’re so inclined. I did.

Continue reading There is no proof too much exercise will kill you: health news is the worst

Nearly Quit Writing This Week

I almost quit writing this past week. Art is a very rough road, and there are no clear signs to “success.” Effort and ability are not enough. I’ve got a bookshelf and tablet full of indie writers who have gone through the considerable effort of writing and publishing their works – but the truth is that few people are likely to read what they write. It is as I said: hard work and ability aren’t enough.

The flat truth: the number of writers in any given market are increasing at a much faster pace than the number of readers. The limited amount of time and money the audience has is being more finely distributed over an ever-increasing number of authors. So bad is it that it is considered de rigeur for indie writers to pay promotional sites to give away their books. It is a reader’s market, and for the readers it’s great! They get to read to their heart’s content and not pay a dime, to have a plethora of high-quality work for free, indeed, the expense is borne by the writer, not the consumer.

Continue reading Nearly Quit Writing This Week

How to get people riding recumbent bicycles

This Cruzbike blog post talks about the new Union Cycliste Internationale’s manifesto, Cycling for All. Cruzbike’s Jim Parker says, and I paraphrase, that without recumbents in the conversation, the UCI’s manifesto is so much hot air because upright bicycles are structurally unhealthy for people – causing serious pain if used regularly, particularly in middle-aged and older cyclists. If the UCI is serious about “bicycling for all,” we must talk about place of recumbents in the cycling world.

Of course, I agree that recumbents should be in the conversation – indeed, I think that most riders would prefer recumbents due to comfort. In the car biz, top speed and hill climbing ability is not the only criteria for excellence – comfort, style, affordability, etc., play serious roles. The constant criticism of upright bicyclists about the perceived lack of hill climbing ability of recumbents is simply irrelevant to the “the all” in the bicycling for all. Most riders will never seek out ten thousand feet of climbing for a day’s ride, after all, and will go to great lengths to avoid that kind of climbing.

Continue reading How to get people riding recumbent bicycles

Publishers have always made a killing on the backs of writers

Tara Sparling posted There’s An Indie Publishing Gold Rush, And Guess Who’s Making A Killing?

While the article is, itself, worth reading, I’d like to point out that publishing as we currently know it is the primary form of writer exploitation.

In traditional publication, writers give up much of their rights over their work for a period – often years, sometimes indefinitely. Most writers get damn little support, too. And for giving up the right to price their book, sell it where and how they please, and a bunch of editorial control, the writer gets ten percent of cover price (or about 20% of what the publishing house makes).

Defenders of traditional publication will say that the publisher assumes all the financial risk. Which is untrue. The writer has spent untold hours of their life writing and editing before they get to the point of publication – that’s financial risk, too. But no one talks about the financial risk of a writer because it happens beforehand. But it’s there and its real. The writer has spent their precious hours writing the book with the hopes of financial reward for their labor, after all.  That’s the definition of financial risk.  Writers are taking a chance writing at all.

Absent an argument of financial risk – which is shared equally by the writer and publisher – the rationale for the publisher getting eighty percent is. . . what, exactly?

Let’s flip the script a bit. You’re an engineer. You’ve spent a lot of time, money, and effort to become an engineer. And you spent another year of your life making a cool invention. So you take it to EngineerCo and pitch your invention. What they say is, “It’s a great invention, we like it, but we’re not going to pay you anything for it – or we’ll pay you a pittance, like, five grand for your years of work – and if we sell any, we’ll take eighty percent, and you won’t get paid anything until we recoup the money we forwarded to you.” If you’re an engineer, you’d be insulted and seek elsewhere – or go into business for yourself.  Society would praise you for your entrepreneurial spirit.

But that’s what publishers tell authors. Even when they like their work, they don’t pay a living wage for it (unless you’re one of the lucky few), and they take a shamelessly high percentage of book sales. So if your book sells a few hundred copies, they make their money back, and if it sells a million. . . well, they make about four times as much as the author.

It’s a good scam, really.  And the most significant one, too.  Traditional publishers are robbers.

I can’t seem to figure out what a publicist does – which is a good reason for not hiring one

I acknowledge that publicity doesn’t come naturally to me. And since I am lucky enough to be middle class, and have a little bit of money to just throw at a problem, I started looking into the effectiveness of a book publicist. So I found this article by Jane Friedman about her takeaway from a panel about book publicists.

Perhaps I have trained myself to see too many fnords – to see the unsaid but relevant things. But Friedman’s article goes on at some length about what publicists want from the writers with whom they work, but nothing about what the publicist brings to the table. What the publicist does for the writer is discussed in ONE LINE in Friedman’s article: “Publicity seeks to find, identify, or target the audience to make them aware of your book.” The rest? It is about saying how much work the author will need to do, and lowering expectations.

Continue reading I can’t seem to figure out what a publicist does – which is a good reason for not hiring one