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October 8, 2009

Jeff in Venice, The Third Policeman, Shadow Pavilion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — inky @ 9:21 pm

Doo te doo te doo, it’s time for another episode of the increasingly erratic bookclub. Perhaps soon I will even be reviewing some IF too. It is a magical time in which anything could happen! But for now:
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September 13, 2009

Dune, The Magicians

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — inky @ 11:02 pm

The question on everyone’s lips is of course what have I been reading lately. Wonder no further!
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August 14, 2009

District 9

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — inky @ 7:48 pm

I had a work-sponsored trip to see District 9. The short version of the review is that I hadn’t seen any of the previews or anything, and had just heard a little bit about it, so I was expecting a political allegory involving aliens. What I got was a B-movie in Peter Jackson style (no, it wasn’t written or directed by him, but you can see why he wanted to produce it). Taken in that light it was fine but the plot still made no damn sense, so I am going to spend the rest of the post griping about it. Needless to say this is spoilers.
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August 4, 2009

Word from our sponsors

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — inky @ 10:54 am

Or two words, to be precise.
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July 23, 2009

The Dark Volume, The Manual of Detection

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — inky @ 7:47 pm

Mild spoilers for The Dark Volume (bad) and The Manual of Detection (good), so I guess I should put in a cut.
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July 3, 2009

Broadway

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — inky @ 9:31 am

Oh, yeah, so I also saw two Broadway shows.
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July 2, 2009

The Other Wind, Moby Dick, &c

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — inky @ 7:02 pm

I’m finally reading a few books again so here are a few lines about them:
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June 5, 2009

Surprises in the first 30 pages of Moby Dick

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — inky @ 5:04 pm

I started reading Moby Dick last night. I had assumed I basically knew the book via the cultural zeitgeist, but it turns out I was totally wrong. Like, here is what I found out in just the first couple dozen pages:

  1. It’s a comedy.
  2. The protagonist is not a sailor by profession.
  3. The first words are not “Call me Ishmael.”

At this rate, I am starting to think I’ll be wrong about Ahab and the whale teaming up at the end to fight off nazis.

May 24, 2009

Junior Leagues

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — inky @ 10:51 pm

I was thinking earlier about Hi-Ho! Cherry-O (as is so often the case). This and Candyland are generally accepted by parents as the worst board games ever invented. But now I’m thinking that is actually because of a misapprehension. See, they’re both educational games — Hi-Ho! Cherry-O is designed to teach counting and Candyland is designed to teach color matching or sugar addiction or something. Which means the intent is for an actual developable skill to be involved. Which means they’re sports, not games. So in this context it is perfectly sensible that they’re lame for parents — it’s like complaining that tee ball is insufficiently challenging.

There are two obvious ways to fix this. One would be to fix these two up so they are at a more appropriate skill level. Like Candyland could have more sophisticated color gradients a la this arrangement test. Or Hi-Ho! Cherry-O could have a spinner with things like “Add cherries equal to the largest prime factor of 600851475143.”

But what’s more interesting to me is the idea of adding some kind of meta-game layer on top which the parents would appreciate. So, say, what about Fantasy Candyland? Get together with the other parents at preschool and form a league, draft kids and then report results back to the PTA. Suddenly your games become much more gripping — you have $50 riding on Billy down the street drawing a blue in the next two cards. The only problem is if Billy just can’t perform up to standards and keeps trying to eat the cards, there’s nothing much you can do about it — you can’t send somebody down to the minors when they are a minor.

Return of the Golden Parrot: GM Wrapup

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — inky @ 2:10 pm

Ok, the game ran two sessions and seems to have hit a good stopping point, so perhaps I will write a little about it. As usual the original GM notes didn’t end up having more than a vague resemblance to the final product, but that is pretty much par for the course so I didn’t have too much invested in them. Anyway, let me talk about this in a couple of different ways.
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