Some of you may remember, lo these many months ago, when I did the Cryptic Stitching Story Nexus game. I love the setting, I love the characters, I love the idea, and Story Nexus went into maintenance mode and won't be developed further, so my thought was to port it to Twine.
I'll be honest, I made kind of a hash of it. It's a BIG game (how did I make such a big game?) and I didn't know my way around Twine nearly well enough and was trying to make it do things it wasn't great at, and I was having to commit some dreadful coding sins there and it was kind of splurghly. I did not have enough of a clear master-document to know where I was and it got just...dense. I was hammering square pegs into holes that weren't even on the right side of the board.
But I love Cryptic and I don't want it to die.
So what I'm trying to do now is cook up a game that is unrelated and much much smaller. An hour or two to play, maybe, no complex grinding, just start here and go there. And this is undoubtedly what I should have done in the first place, because I already figured out a thing that I did wrong that would have saved me a lot of grief in Cryptic.
The new game is called Papercut Forest, and it takes places in a world entirely made of cut paper. It is not complicated, it is a small world and a small story and I am hoping to have it done by the end of November, barring incident.
And then, hopefully I will have learned enough from putting it together to throw myself at Cryptic from a better direction this time.
Studio Ghibli captures everyone’s hearts with its creations, even scientists.
My Neighbor Totoro is a masterful piece of animation that features two little girls, their mysterious and furry friend, and a bus that also happens to be a cat. That catbus made enough of an impression on scientist Ivo de Sena Oliveira and his team that last year they dubbed a new species of velvet worm after it and the film — Eoperipatus totoros.
At first look, the name fits pretty well. Velvet worms aren’t really anything you’ve seen before. As entomologist Gwen Pearson notes in WIRED, these squishy creatures are “not worms, not insects, millipedes, centipedes, or slugs,” they wiggle around their own branch on the tree of life called Onychophora. Velvet worms don’t have exoskeletons like insects either– instead they use fluid pressure inside their bodies to propel their adorably stumpy legs forward and to stay inflated. To date, we’ve only seen three Eoperipatus totoros worms.
But we know that velvet worms are voracious, Spider-Man-style hunters.
Velvet worms are absurd. They have two Blastoise-style goo cannons that launch immobilizing gunk at prey from serious distance. Once prey is trapped underneath the stuff, the worm catbuses over to it and uses sets of mouth blades to puncture exoskeletons and inject digestive enzymes. Then it slurps up the goo left over. Yummy.
I’d rather ride the catbus.
Kyle Hill is the Science Editor of Nerdist Industries. Follow on Twitter @Sci_Phile.
Oh hey there, friends! We’re creeping closer and closer to All Hallows’ Eve, a/k/a Halloween, and it sort of feels like this week is moving at a glacial speed. We want ghosts! We want goblins! We definitely want candy. And we want even more of all that spooky, scary #Nerdoween content to keep us monster mashing ’til Friday rolls around. Because we love you, we’ve got a grab bag of delectable TV news for you to consume, but be careful: you don’t want to overdo and it get sick. (Leave me alone, mom!) Without further ado, onto the television treats!
Agent Carter‘s Kicking Ass and Taking Names. (… And wearing an awesome Carmen San Diego hat?) In the midst of all that Marvel hullaballoo from earlier this week, some of you may have missed a brand new TV spot for Marvel’s upcoming small screen fare, the much-anticipated Agent Carter. “Sometimes the best man for the job… is a woman.” Who’da thunk? *Raises hand* [ScreenRant]
Who Is, Vince Gilligan? Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan got his very own category on Jeopardy Monday night, and the folks over at the A.V. Club have imagined what that experience must have been like for the charming Southern genius: [A.V. Club]
Game of Thrones Fans Are Obsessive All Over the World! Game of Thrones is currently filming in countries all across the globe, and fans in the area are trying to catch a peek at filming. (Hey, wouldn’t you?) Vulture has a handy/hilarious gallery of ways the producers are trying to keep fans away, from strategically placed umbrellas to polite notes. All to, presumably, no avail. [Vulture]
Get Me This Book, STAT: Furry Potter and the Goblet of Cookies. Sesame Street has done it again, this time with a Harry Potter parody that made me both nostalgic for the books and hungry. Well played, Cookie Monster. Well played. [Nerdist]
More Child Favorites Turned into TV Shows. Yes, I know that Richie Rich was a comic strip, but it was also a quintessential ’90s movie for every daydreaming kid. I mean, Ri¢hie Ri¢h (Macauley Culkin, of course) had it all… well, except friends, I suppose. Anyway, Dreamworks Animation’s AwesomeTV has sold a live-action Richie Rich series to Netflix, so like it or not, we’ll be seeing that soon! [Variety]
FUNimation Broadcast Dubs for Laughing Under the Clouds and Psycho-Pass 2. FUNimation Sr. Manager of Social Strategy and Development, Justin Rojas swung by Nerdist HQ to talk about the new subscriber-based initiative with our own Malik Forte! Read more about it right here right meow: [Nerdist]
Vague Tidbits about The Leftovers Are Vague. But hey, that’s the spirit of any Lindelof show, right? In a turn of events that surprised everyone who stuck around for The Leftovers, including me, the last few episodes of the HBO rapture (maybe?) drama really tied the whole thing together. Damn you, Lindelof! Why can’t I quit you? Lindelof answered some questions about season two, including the possibility that Ann Dowd’s Patti would be back: [TVLine]
Well, that about does it for us at the ol’ TV-Cap! We’ll be back tomorrow with some fresh television news and a celebratory spooky dance, for it shall finally be Halloween!
There are obvious issues – first among them being the fact that not all followers are motivated by kindness or concern for the person they’re following. As has been noted extensively elsewhere, this is open season for stalkers and unscrupulous Human Resources departments. There are the usual accusations and counter-accusations of who does and doesn't know how Twitter works. It's all got very depressing.
Myself, I do not much like this idea. As can be seen from, ooh, my last post, I am very open about my mental health, netside. This is deliberate. People know exactly as much as I tell them. You could tell more about my mental health by the quantity of my tweets than by their content. The worse I feel, the quieter I get.
I have people I trust. I know who they are and how to get in touch with them. I may or may not do this via Twitter. If I tweet something that expresses a negative change in my mental health, I do not want or expect some stranger to interpret it as a call to action. It would be embarrassing for all of us. A request for help will be explicit, even if it’s just ‘feeling down, pls send hugs’. I don’t know what the Samaritans Radar might pick up from my Twitter feed, but I don’t think it would be much use, because (ha!) this is not the way I use Twitter.
I read. I think. I think. I read. I think. I write. I delete. I write. I post. I link on Twitter. By the time I’ve done all that I’m already feeling better, because I find writing very cathartic. My Twitter cross-posts to my Facebook and reaches friends and family who are infinitely better qualified to help me.
I know that I am in a position of relative privilege, both in having been able to disentangle my mental health issues from their effects on my self-esteem and communicativeness to the extent that I feel able to make contact and ask for help, and in having the tools and experience to communicate intentionally and clearly, this sentence aside. But do you know what, it’s bloody patronising to assume that everyone else doesn’t, that the whole of the rest of Twitter knows better than them what they need.
This thing could be useful if it were opt in. As it is, people are opting out of Twitter so that they can’t show up on the radar, and that alone ought to be telling the Samaritans something. I want to opt out of it. I can, apparently, do this by Direct Messaging @samaritans – which I actually can’t do because they don’t follow me. I hope they will cop on to this problem shortly. I still think it should be opt in. I am sure that there are people for whom this service would be useful. I’m really, really not one of them. It’s not useful for me – and while it does no more to me than make me feel vaguely intruded upon, it is demonstrably and actively harmful for some others.
This morning, I was walking to MIT Mental Health at around 9:45am for my appointment with Dr. Hsi. As I came to the point on Vassar Street where a large area is cordoned off for MIT's memorial to Sean Collier, there was an MIT Police officer stopping traffic and pedestrians as a dump truck was entering the site across the sidewalk. I believe he was facing away from me. Once the truck passed, he started waving his hand that was closer to the buildings (away from the street) and pedestrians started passing him in the opposite direction as I was going. Since I assumed his other hand was stopping traffic, I decided to walk as well, and walked on the street side of him, but still on the sidewalk, to avoid running into the pedestrians going in the other way. I didn't hear or see him say or gesture anything that I thought indicated I should stop.
Given that I am already creeped out and morally upset about the fetishization of Sean Collier, and was further annoyed by this situation, and was probably not in the most calm mental state, after passing, I decided to shout "Fuck Sean Collier!" twice loudly. Someone behind me, I assume the cop replied, "Fuck you, too!", which I thought was an unsurprising and reasonable response. I replied, perhaps unwisely, "And fuck you, too!", which was probably not a great decision on my part. I then continued walking to MIT Medical and went to my appointment assuming the matter had ended.
As I was walking down the stairs in Medical after my appointment, at about 10:45am, I saw an MIT bike cop (wearing a helmet and blue windbreaker) talking to one of the receptionists on the second floor. I started to wonder if this had something to do with me, but decided I was being paranoid and ignored it. However, he started to follow me down the stairs and asked me to stop. He asked if I was a student here, and I said he was. He then showed me a photo on his smartphone that was blurry but clearly my face photographed this morning, and asked if it was me. I said it was. I asked if he wanted to talk to me further, and he said he did, and that I "had some choice words about Sean Collier", which I acknowledged I did. We stopped at the bottom of the stairs and I asked if he wanted to see my ID. He said he did, so I showed it to him, along with my driver's license. He said he didn't need the license, but took down my name and ID number. He asked me if I had a problem with Sean Collier, and I said I did, but that I didn't wish to discuss it further. He said something about me of course having free speech. He also called on his radio, something in code, but since a second officer arrived in a few minutes, I assume it was a call for backup.
I asked if I was free to go and he said no, not until he finished taking down my information. I asked what I was being written up for, was it for what I'd said? He told me no, it was for crossing when a police officer had told me to stop. This seems plausible in that they would have had to photograph my face while I was crossing, though it is possible that it was a security camera photo taken later (the lighting in it makes me suspect that it was taken indoors), in which case I believe this to be a serious breach of MIT's stated policies about when the police can access security camera footage.
In any case, I said that I thought the officer was waving me on, and he repeated that the officer had signaled me to stop and that I hadn't. I repeatedly asserted that it was clearly a misunderstanding: I'd believed the waving hand was for traffic in both directions, and hadn't heard him say anything contrary when I kept going. He let the matter drop, so I asked who the report was being written for, and he said he was submitting it at the police station. I asked whether it was public record and he said he didn't know. I told him that I'd go down to the station in a couple of days to see if I could get a copy, and he said that was my right. He then asked if I "had a date of birth"; I said it was on my driver's license and I showed him that; he took it down. Perhaps because he noticed that it was an out-of-state license, he asked if I lived on campus, and I said yes. He asked where, and I gave him my dorm and room number.
Eventually he told me I was free to go, and wished me a nice day. I replied that I hoped he understood if I didn't wish him the same as I walked away, at which point a second officer showed up and stopped me, asking if we were done here. I told him that the first officer had said I was free to go and asked if he was changing that. After a bit of apparent confusion between them---certainly I was confused---it became clear I was free, and as I left one of them said "Have a nice day!" and I replied "I won't!" I then walked to lab to write this up.
by Guest Contributor Roberto Lovato, originally published at Latino Rebels
MISSION DISTRICT, SAN FRANCISCO—A new age is upon us, the Age of Soy.
No, I’m not talking about some new genetically-modified organism that will (further) fundamentally alter the corn in our tacos, the gas in our cars or the farmland of the Midwest.
The development of which I speak has to do with how Mountain View, California-based Google’s launch of .SOY, a web domain targeting the country’s Latinos, was supposed to herald a new day on the Latino web, with some “Hispanic marketing experts” waxing triumphant about our (finally) getting some respect from a company that has a less-than-triumphant record of hiring Latinos or black people.
And then the Latino and vegan web responded: Hey Google, “soy,” (Spanish for “I am”) sounds more like a domain name for one of the tony vegan Mexican restaurants that Google and other Silicon Valley workers eat $15 tacos at than it does a hub for online Latinos.
Far from being the Latino web sensation Google and its “experts” expected, .SOY provides fodder for the amateur comedian in us all, with Latinos and vegans joining forces, taking the “.SOY” domain and applying it to different adjectives like quépendejo.soy (how stupid I am), #soyhispandering or calling .SOY “The must-have domain for the lactose-intolerant.”
And you would think a search company such as Google would have known more about a meme and all its variations making the online rounds for a few years now:
Beyond raising the indelicate question (When will Google launch the .IAMWHITE domain?), Google’s latest move raises a more important question: How can a company based in parts of the United States where the overwhelming majority of the country’s 50 million Latinos live, be so border-walled off from the physical, geographic and cultural reality just outside its gates, so self-absorbed in the virtual world where it is king? Another equally pointed question has to do with us, specifically with where and how Latinos relate to the Digital Darwinism that is (again) shuffling and redefining the social and economic positions of Latinos and us all.
In searching for an answer, there’s no better place to find it than here in the Bay Area birthplace of the digital economy. Whether in the area around Twitter headquarters, in the biotech labs surrounding the soon-to-be World Champion (again!) Giants’ stadium or in the former farmlands where I saw Latino farm workers harvesting fruits and vegetables pushed out by mostly non-Latino workers and companies harvesting the new crop (enormous wealth and astonishing class divisions), the genetically-modifying ethic and the spirit in Google’s .SOY capitalism is clear: We will define you for you—if you let us.
Protests by anti-gentrifying forces against private (as in gated off from everybody else) Google buses on 24th and Valencia in the Mission district say as much about Google and renters, Google and working people and Google and Latinos as they do about the we-won’t-let-you dignity of communities struggling not to be erased or forgotten in the Great Digital Transition that Google, The Most Valuable Company on Earth, leads behind the “don’t be evil” slogan. Four blocks from 24th, I saw those same race and class dynamics in the successful fight of soccer-playing Latino youth against Dropbox employees to win back a soccer field just behind my grandmother’s former home on 20th street. Unlike my abuela, who rented at reasonable rates to immigrants, landlords on 24th and on 20th and throughout the formerly working class neighborhoods of the Bay Area joined Google and other tech companies in the long march of digital progress that has brought us the $3000-a-month bedroom rental in the Mission.
As an alumni, I was especially saddened to see how this same Darwinian instinct created a UC Berkeley (UCB) where Latino and black enrollments have diminished to the point where the university no longer ranks among the top 50 Latino-friendly universities in the country. Especially gross and dangerous are comparisons of low working-class Latino enrollments and high middle-class Asia-Pacific Islander enrollments at UCB that are explained in the most subtle, survival-of-the-fittest undertones over cappuccinos in cafes that once housed Black and Brown Panther meetings and “Third World Solidarity” organizing meetings (digitally driven rents make revolution exponentially more difficult).
Google’s faux pas has its political equivalent in the patently false notion that immigration or other Latino issues were ever part of some nonexistent “progressive” community in rapidly non-working class San Francisco and other cities. Such perceptions, exploited by Democrats, are equivalent to Mission District Día De Los Muertos celebrations largely devoid of Latinos as well as to upscale Mexican restaurants where Mexicans work, but can’t eat at because they don’t earn enough in working at the upscale Mexican restaurant.
It is within such an actually existing cultural context that .SOY is born and may (or may not) thrive. The good news is that many of us are waking up. Here in the Mission, we saw this self-determination in the win against Dropbox. On the national playing field, we see it in the devastation wrought on the Democrat-Republican Washington consensus on immigration—legalizing four out of 11 million people in exchange for even more border militarization, more laws punishing tens of millions of immigrants under cover of “comprehensive immigration reform” proposals. We know that self-respect leads us to take the action of non-participation in anti-democratic processes not of our own making or without our consent or consultation.
Had they looked beyond the gated walls of their headquarters or outside the plastic borders of their imperial computer screens, Google’s chieftains might have realized that the energy and money spent on creating the solipsistic self-absorption inherent in .SOY would have been better placed in a more community-oriented approach of something like .SOMOS, which means WE ARE.
The post Google to Latinos: We Will Define You for You appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.
Yesterday I wrote about how the money spent on adult Halloween revelry now rivals, or even exceeds, that spent on kids. This may seem like a surprising shift, but it turns out it’s the focus on children that’s new. Halloween as the kid holiday we know it in the U.S. today was really invented in the 1950s.
This, and more fun facts about the history of Halloween, in this two-minute History Channel summary:Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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I posted recently about Once Upon a Rhyme: Volume I of the Charming Tales and the upcoming Happily Never After: Volume II of the Charming Tales by Jack Heckel. Now I have a guest post about the books to share with you.
The Charming Tales: A Few Thoughts On the Long and Winding Road to Publication by Jack Heckel:
Recently, SurLaLune was nice enough to mention the release of my debut novel Once Upon a Rhyme, the first volume of The Charming Tales, in a blog entry. In that post a mention was made of the fact that a number of recent releases have been told from Prince Charming’s perspective, and it got me thinking about the original inspiration for the novels, and how quixotic is the journey from concept to page.
The Charming Tales originally came from my obsession with Gregory Maguire’s novels, and particularly from a vacation spent reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Although nothing about Maguire’s prose is simple, I was enthralled with the way simply switching perspective could change the way you experienced a story. That in turn led me to reread, cover to cover, my very ragged copy of The Annotated Brothers Grimm by Maria Tatar. I love this volume, because I learn something new every time I read her commentary.
Anyway, there I was reading these stories I knew so well and imagining how they might be different if told from the perspective of one or other of the characters, when I came to my favorite Grimm story, The Seven Ravens. If you’re unfamiliar with the tale of The Seven Ravens, and I know it isn’t among the pantheon of Cinderella or Snow White or Beauty and the Beast, it is the story of a girl who takes up a quest to rescue her brothers, who have been cursed to live as ravens. It is an unusual story because the girl goes on her quest entirely alone and unaided. It is also unusual in that it lacks the presence in even a peripheral way of a romantic interest for our heroine.
In the annotated volume, the story is preceded almost immediately by Cinderella, with its unnamed, but earnest, shoe-bearing prince hero, and is followed immediately by Little Red Riding Hood with its woodcutter deus ex machina. The absence of a rescuing hero figure in The Seven Ravens struck me, and I thought what would happen to the stories of Cinderella or Snow White or Sleeping Beauty if their “Prince Charmings” never showed up?
From this kernel of a thought the Charming Tales grew, but as they do between conception and execution the vision changed.
As you probably don’t know, I am the combined persona of two co-authors, John Peck and Harry Heckel, or as I call them, Thing 1 and Thing 2. Thing 1’s original thought was how sad and tragic would it be for Prince Charming, a man destined to be a great hero, if he failed. To what depths of despair would he be driven? How tormented would he be as the fairytale spun on without him? However, when Thing 1 told Thing 2 about the idea of the story, Thing 2 didn’t see the story as a tragedy, but as a comedy. And the more Thing 1 and Thing 2 talked the more the comic potential of a book based around Prince Charming became apparent.
New questions replaced the earlier ones. How insufferable would a man be if he knew he was destined to be a great hero? How quick would he be to fulfill his quest when to undertake it would also be to risk his reputation and his celebrity should he fail? To what lengths would such a man go to regain his reputation once the “rescue” of the maiden, his sole raison d’etre, had been taken from him? And what about the princess, wouldn’t she be a little miffed to miss out on her “prince charming” moment?
Another wonderful thing about exploring Charming’s altered character arc from a place of humor rather than tragedy is that it allows us to play fast and loose with the ridiculousness of the literal fairytale world. So, even though the main plot of Once Upon a Rhyme may resemble a twisted version of Sleeping Beauty, with a slumbering maiden being rescued from the clutches of a dragon, it was also possible to engage in a game of fairytale mixology a la Into the Woods and weave in other elements as well, including Cinderella’s famous glass slippers, the dwarfs from Snow White, an aged beast from Beauty and the Beast, a family of gruff billy goats, trolls, talking frogs, and so on. At times, and in the best traditions of fairytale, the story and characters seemed to take on a life of their own, telling themselves rather than being told.
It brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors, Terry Pratchett, “People think stories are shaped by people. In fact, it is the other way around.” At least for me The Charming Tales certainly prove Pratchett’s point, shaping itself to fit a mold that even I could not have foreseen.
Want to read more about fairy tale from Jack Heckel? Try these posts at Tor:
Fairytale’s Most Wanted: The Five Most Well-Known Character Types
Been There, Done That: Why We Keep Retelling Fairy Tales
Power Corrupts? Absolutely!
Slarom, the Backward Morals of Fairytales
Are All Princesses Really Waiting for Princes to Come?
Emails will be coming through, and assignments should also show up on your AO3 Assignments page! (See http://archiveofourown.org/users/YOUR-NA
Assignments are due: Sat. 20 Dec 2014 06:00PM UTC What time is that for me? | Countdown
Write to us at email@example.com if you did not offer any of the requests in your assignment. You are only guaranteed to match on one fandom. However, you can write for any fandom and character set your recipient requested, not just the one you matched on.
You must write one story of 1000 words that includes all the requested characters - unless your recipient’s optional details or letter clearly indicate that they would be happy otherwise.
If your recipient has a placeholder letter, or if they included a URL but the entry appears to still be locked, please wait until the 2nd of November to see if they are going to put one up or unlock it before emailing us.
If your recipient didn't put in any optional details, or you would like more information or clarifications, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll act as go-between. We will be dealing with these requests as they come in, but we'll be making up fake questions for the other fandoms to keep the element of surprise (unless you want to do this for us - eg if you happen to know the other fandoms), so it will take some time. We’ll tell you when we've emailed your recipient, and then let you know their responses if we hear back (sadly not everyone replies to emails). Do not contact your recipient, even anonymously.
Optional Details Are Optional. You are only required to write a story based on the fandom and characters requested. However, we do expect you to respect any triggers or squicks your recipient may have listed - please do not include anything you believe will upset them.
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Anonymity Is Important
Part of the fun of Yuletide is the surprise, so please remember, don’t publicly share the details of your assignment with anyone else, including what fandom you are writing, until after reveals. You are encouraged to use beta readers, but even in asking people to beta read, please keep your assignment details hidden from general view. Do not contact your recipient directly to ask about their preferences.
Do not post your story outside the Yuletide Collection until after reveals.
Posts coming soon: a #yuletide RPF opt-in; instructions on posting works to the collection; beta resources. Remember that Yuletide Admin announcements are posted simultaneously to LiveJournal and Dreamwidth. You may also want to keep an eye on the Yuletide member comm for useful resources and fun stuff.