Friday, March 29, 2013

Linkstorm: Carrots

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Early Webcomics

Over the past few Thursdays, I've been posting old scripts from a aborted webcomic project a year or so back. Truth be told, I revised the first set heavily and have subsequently thrown out the old ones in favor of straight-up writing new material.

Even then, I wasn't satisfied with the result. I'll get back to it next Thursday, but I thought that I'd take a second to look over some popular webcomics and talk about what they did and how they did it in the beginning.
Sluggy Freelance-Riff and Torg, who don't have names until the second comic, are two guys just fucking with technology. The first week features demon summoning via internet, Windows 95 jokes, and knocks on Alanis Morissette. Still though, it quickly tells you that Torg is kind of a geek and wears unmoving plaid, Riff solves problems and wears sunglasses, they drink, they play on computers, and they live in a world where you can summon demons on the internet as a gag.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Very Mature Discussion About Love Potions

So I was reading io9 and they had a fine article about consent and love potions in the Harry Potter universe, mainly that love potions aren't consent to sexual acts. Whatever. It was one of about a dozen quaint posts I skim over every day between putting in job apps. However, this one was a bit different because a user named crashfrog framed the issue thusly:
Genuine love is no less a chemical phenomenon than any "love potion" might be, we know it comes about as a result of chemical releases in the brain you can't really control (indeed, that love is a non-volitional experience is pretty central to our conception of it), but for whatever reason we don't consider sexual consent under those circumstances to be invalid. If you consented to intercourse under the effects of a love potion, I can't see how that's any different than consenting to intercourse under the effects of just regular ol' love, both being chemical influences outside your control. 
If you ever have doubt in the goodness of the internet, know that many people took exception to this. The conversation continued on and we talked a bit about it before I actually looked up Harry Potter love potions and found they were pretty directly fucked up and not related very much to actual love.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Riddick: More Riddick

So apparently...

I'm going to have a blog about love potions up on Wednesday.

Which means that blog I had on a topic I pulled out of nowhere at the last minute will be pushed back to Friday. Sorry, fans.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's the Magic: Goatnapper

Huh, That's Funny
Click through image for best card ruling ever.

Consider it for a moment.


It's terrible, right?

It does two things: exists as a 2/2 creature and steals a goat.

For a 2/2 red creature, Goatnapper is more expensive than you'd want. For those of you who don't play competitively, a creature's size is irrelevant if it's not cost-effective.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Linkstorm: Good Pie

I'm very sorry Derek. I know we just talked about this.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blog in 1016 Words: Withers Gotta Fly Free

Gonna go ahead and scratch "wither cage" off my list of potential wither strategies and "impervious" off the list of obsidian adjectives.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bitching about blogging

Sometimes, having a professional blog means I can't use lines like, "Members of organizations like One Million Moms are the only women with a valid groupon good for one suck on my dick, but they have every right to participate in the national discourse."

It's a hard-knock life.

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's the Magic: Trackerbymoonlight

Hi guys I'm Tracker by Moonlight. After being given the option many times, I've decided to take VanVelding up on his offer to let me have a post in his blog. Largely this is due to the fact that I find it lacking balance in a certain Magic: the Gathering related area.

It's Magic: What is your favorite color? Black! No...Green! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Black is the best color in magic because it’s fun. Anyone who's spent time gambling will tell you that the roll of the dice or the drop of a single card can make your day, and black frequently makes you go all-in with every single gamble.

Many of the spells in black mess with you just as they cut your opponent to shreds, making each one you drop a hazard that could cost you the farm. Some of these pan out

Friday, March 15, 2013

Freepublican Finale

It started as a poorly-focused libertarian project built around promoting the work of a single individual, but became something much worse. Naming any of the players involved would be unprofessional, but for the sake of simplicity, I call the entire fiasco "The Freepublican Job."

We live in a society. By definition, we have to balance our needs and desires with those of the people among us. If we were all identical, it would be far easier, but people have a diversity of lives that most of us cannot fully grasp. We have to be conscientious of the consequences of our actions on people whose lives we can never anticipate.

It can be exhausting to try to be considerate of others and to anticipate how our actions affect others. It can be an almost stifling weight for people who are comfortable seeing the world from their singular perspective.

The siren song of libertarianism is that it promises to let us shake off those concerns. Perhaps that, and not institutional failings, are the reason it's been so much more successful taking root amongst wealthier individuals.

In a world where no one is required to think about anyone else, those who have temporal power feel that they could come out ahead, either because of the skills which make them powerful in the first place, or because of the temporal power they've already gained.

That's the ultimate failing of libertarianism. It's easy for the powerful to let everyone fend for themselves. It relieves them of the societal expectation to give any of their accumulated wealth to anyone else. It helps them sleep easily at night.

It's a philosophy which demands sensible fiscal policy from government and stipulates that it should never be used to impose societal expectations on others. No matter how strong those ideas are though, it will never gain a significant foothold until it's more than an excuse for the wealthy to shake off the responsibility that comes with their power.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Denver 5 Proof of Concept, pt 03

A few months ago, I and a friend kicked around an aborted comics project featuring superhuman jerks being jerks on a truly superhuman level. Character descriptions are here and the pilot plots are posted below.

Comic 011
1. Cyberparanoid is in a hallway. He obviously sneaking.

"I'm a spy, working within the belly of the beast."

2. Close up on Cyberparanoid as he sneaks through a door. He's turning invisible, so half of him should be...invisible.
"U.N.I.T.Y.'s altrustic exterior can't be trusted and I'm here to find out the truth. My ability to go unseen is crucial."

3. This is our first look into the break room. If the Denver U.N.I.T.Y. Compound faces the East, then the room is at the 'back' of the North side of the building. It has a simple door on the Eastern end and a clear door on the Western side which is all-glass. That door leads to an external metal staircase which leads down to the first floor and the yard beyond. Beside that door is a flatscreen TV mounted on the wall with a moth-eaten couch facing it. The opposite wall—beside the door that leads further into the compound has a refrigerator and a countertop which bends around to run along the north wall as well with a sink in it. The northern wall between the countertop and the west wall has small windows that run along the top with cheap, gaudy curtains covering them. Cyberparanoid is at the lounge refrigerator taking a Rockin' Fuel bottle from it.
"I'm a soldier in a war most will never see."

4. Cyberparanoid sneaks out the way he came in, drinking the Rocket Fuel.
Who took the last Rocin' Fuel?!
"Spies live in a world wrapped in eternal moral greyness."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Star Trek Crash Course

Star Trek is great. If you're reading this, you probably already know that. You also probably like roleplaying every setting that inspires you, and if Star Trek does one thing, it's inspire people. The question is this: How do you get your non-Star Trek friends to "get" Star Trek?

Whovians have it easy; the adventures of the good doctor from Gallifrey are fantasy in space. The only rules that apply are those of drama. Similarly, Mass Effect mostly nods to the science requisite to serve its actiony, genre-packed, Tolkienesque setting.

Star Trek was never smart enough to commit to either strict continuity or pure drama. There are hard rules to Trek, but drama, imagination, and morality tales take turns dragging those rules into a corner and working them over violently with spanners.The setting is packed with technologies and ideas that should change the universe's functions fundamentally. In Star Trek, the airplane would have been discovered, used to bomb Washington D.C.,  then thwarted by a sailing vessel and never been explored again in favor of slightly more ergonomic sails. It's a fucking mess.

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's the Magic: Afterimage

Ever since last week, I've been excited about combining Glitterfang with Burning Inquiry. 

As my two favorite one-drops for red mana, I'm eager to make a card that does a bit of both. Not literally both of course, but a bit of each.

It has a scaled-back version of Burning Inquiry--in that everyone has to draw a card, then discard one at random--but with the swing of making Glitterfangs for each card specifically discarded this way.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Guys, I Am So Tired

If you're reading this, you probably know a few things about me. I'm well educated. I can put a few words together. I've been a clerk, an retail manager, a writer, a mechanic, and a former sailor in The US Navy. I have a degree in Nuclear Engineering Technology. I say without reservation that I am a friggin' genius.

I've been looking for a permanent job for about a year now. I don't have an engineering degree proper. I have some computer science training, but no actual certifications and I don't have enough knowledge of CSS, Javascript, and SQL. I certainly don't have experience in any of those fields, as I opted to work offshore to pay my way though college because my parents, (and this will be the only time I say this collectively) god bless their souls, couldn't afford to pay for it[1].

Friday, March 08, 2013

Guns, and the Rights to Thereof

It started as a poorly-focused Libertarian project built around promoting the work of a single individual, but became something much worse. Naming any of the players involved would be unprofessional, but for the sake of simplicity, Saio Kaas calls the entire fiasco "The Freepublican Job." After much professional and mature debate, Saio Kaas is doing more freelance work while I handle this week's Freepublican post.

Guns have been a big issue lately, huh? As someone who's generally in the center, but leans liberal, it's almost frightening to see the veneer of detached rationality melt away from those further on the left when they discuss guns. Like nuclear power, guns are something frightening and other to them. The bone-deep fear gives them an absolutist attitude that empowers them to eschew rational discussion in favor of repeating just how right their attitudes are.

Obviously, I don't think taking everyone's guns away is the answer. I'd say that if the left calmed down and explained that they feel the same way, the right might finally get that point, but I'm not stupid. I might be the only one in this conversation who's not. The resistance to gun legislation isn't to preserve a completely unregulated weapons market; there are plenty of laws that restrict weapon (and gun) ownership, as well as every other amendment in The Bill of Rights. If you don't believe me, try suing the government over a loved one killed in Iraq. Try protesting in the middle of the road of Time Square. Try keeping your property once eminent domain comes up. Try getting a trial for US citizens killed in drone strikes. Try being a governor who doesn't want your National Guard sent overseas.  Whether you like it or not, the 0th Admendment is "People should be free, but let's be reasonable here."

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Denver 5 Proof of Concept, pt 02

A few months ago, I and a friend kicked around an aborted comics project featuring superhuman jerks being jerks on a truly superhuman level. Character descriptions are here and the pilot plots are posted below.

*Doctor Bob, sitting at a desk with Tyler. This is a profile shot instead of the head-on shot of 001. It established that although the words are the same, this is actually a different strip.*
(DB): "All metas trained by U.N.I.T.Y. may be called upon at any time to serve a front-line role in an emergency."
*Shows Tyler using a defibrillator over a dummy. DB's voice continues, but he is, again, not present.*
DB: "Basic first aid should be administered unhesitatingly and expertly. U.N.I.T.Y. certification means saving lives, and doing so responsibly."
*Shows Tyler moving ambulances over a simple map of a city with fires on various buildings. OR with parts of a miniature city in front of him, a 'scoreboard' is behind him with a countdown timer and words similar to "Crisis Response Scenario 03." Regardless of the exact image, DB is again only narrating and not present. Again.*
DB: "Whether it's because of your meta abilities or perceived affiliation with U.N.I.T.Y., others will often defer to you in a crisis."
*Cuts back to Bob and Tyler in the room.*
DB: "Your goal is to be ready for any—"
Tyler *incredulous*: "Wait. The Spider is here?"

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


So sometime on Monday, rebels in Syria took the city of Raqqa. It was apparently a big deal and it comes as the US Secretary of State talks about giving non-military support to the rebels, the rebels and the government engage in pre-talks posturing, a million refugees await delivery of promised winter aid, and some other boring stuff.

"Oooh, that city," said no one.

I am preoccupied with the fact that the moment the rebels rolled into town, they tore down a statue of Hafez Assad, the predecessor and father of the nation's current leader. At first I thought it was stock footage from the now-famous/infamous dismantling of the Saddam Hussein statue in Firdos Square around 2003, but not, it was another statue of a guy in a suit getting pulled down.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Monday, March 04, 2013

It's the Magic: Blue/Red is the Best Color

This Week's Best Thing Ever
Blue/Red is the best color in Magic. Blue is the naquadah of the color pie--the term that describes the philosophy behind allocating abilities to each of the game's five colors--in that it goes with just about anything. It initially seems obvious that in a game where power comes from cards the color that draws more cards might be a bit complimentary, but Blue is more than card draw.

It's that of course, but much more.

You get more spells with cards like Hivemind. You can figuratively steal creatures with cards like Clone. You can literally steal artifacts and enchantments. That is, when your own cards can just drop stupid creatures with artifact synergy.  

Seven of the top twenty-four community-rated cards in Modern are artifacts. Considering that eight of those are lands---


Friday, March 01, 2013

Looking Backwards, then down. Deep down.

It started as a poorly-focused libertarian project built around promoting the work of a single individual, but became something much worse. Naming any of the players involved would be unprofessional, but for the sake of simplicity, I call the entire fiasco "The Freepublican Job."

Part of the reading materials for the job was Looking Backward: 2012-2162. It was based on another book, Looking Backward: 2000-1887, apparently a seminal liberal work I wasn't familiar with. Both books are centered around characters who find themselves thrown forward in time to see a world improved by the writer's ideology, with the latter being a libertarian ideology.

It would be easy to call it a bad book; the story is sparse, there's no conflict, the ending is inevitable, and it's not very original. There's a conversation to be had about writing stories that aren't supposed to be good stories, but now isn't the time.

Looking Backward: 2012-2162 is the story of a textbook liberal college professor who's locked in a time capsule and wakes up in a libertarian wonderland occupies thirteen of the fractured states of america. He tours his new world, learns about the foibles of the old one, and raises faint arguments that the ultimate, liberated people of the future bat aside with condescension.