[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Wednesday, 2019-02-06

Ethnographics of a fantasy world

Filed under: Gaming — bblackmoor @ 23:21

So here’s something weird that I have never thought of before. I am planning to run a fantasy game in the next month or two, and have been contemplating various setting options. One that seemed to pique the players’ interest was what I described as an “Asian slurry” fantasy world (ASFW from here out) — a not-Earth mixture of various Asian myths and legends, with an overlay of the anime version of China and/or Japan and/or Korea.

The premise of the game is that the PCs are transported there from our world (something like the Thomas Covenant books or the Doomfarers Of Coramonde).

So I am thinking of this, and it occurs to me: there is a virtually zero chance that all of the PCs will have what we generally think of as Asian features. I don’t think I have ever run a modern day game with more than one PC with Asian ancestry. So these visitors from another world will look strange and different to the people of ASFW.

I’m not sure if this is a problem or not. At first I thought it would be, but now I am thinking I might be able to tie that into the background of the game. Maybe they aren’t the first round-eyed strangers from another world to have visited ASFW…

Now for the weird thing. This — the difference in appearance between the population of a fantasy world and the PCs-from-another-world who arrive there — has literally never crossed my mind before. None of the other fantasy settings I was thinking about sparked this thought. Mentally, I just populated them with the same melange of Europeans of varying swarthiness with a sprinkling of Arabs and Africans, such that any PCs from our world would blend in with the population with little effort (at least until they start talking).

I don’t have a conclusion to draw from this. I just thought it was weird.

Wednesday, 2019-01-30

R.I.P., Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe

Filed under: History — bblackmoor @ 08:00

Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe
Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe (née Clemm; August 15, 1822 – January 30, 1847) was the wife of American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The couple were first cousins and publicly married when Virginia Clemm was 13 and Poe was 26. Biographers disagree as to the nature of the couple’s relationship. Though their marriage was loving, some biographers suggest they viewed one another more like a brother and sister. In January 1842 she contracted tuberculosis, growing worse for five years until she died of the disease at the age of 24 in the family’s cottage, at that time outside New York City.

Along with other family members, Virginia Clemm and Edgar Allan Poe lived together off and on for several years before their marriage. The couple often moved to accommodate Poe’s employment, living intermittently in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. A few years after their wedding, Poe was involved in a substantial scandal involving Frances Sargent Osgood and Elizabeth F. Ellet. Rumors about amorous improprieties on her husband’s part affected Virginia Poe so much that on her deathbed she claimed that Ellet had murdered her. After her death, her body was eventually placed under the same memorial marker as her husband’s in Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore, Maryland. Only one image of Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe has been authenticated: a watercolor portrait painted several hours after her death.

The disease and eventual death of his wife had a substantial effect on Edgar Allan Poe, who became despondent and turned to alcohol to cope. Her struggles with illness and death are believed to have affected his poetry and prose, where dying young women appear as a frequent motif, as in “Annabel Lee”, “The Raven”, and “Ligeia”.

(from Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe, Wikipedia)

Friday, 2019-01-25

The limits of rationalization

Filed under: Technology — bblackmoor @ 11:06

So here’s a fun thing. NVidia just came out with the RTX 2060 (a computer video card), which is 50% faster than my current card (GTX 960 — a pretty fast card in its own right). The RTX 2060 costs $380… not cheap… but I could rationalize it (it’s 50% faster!). HOWEVER…

I have three monitors. They have DVI inputs. The RTX 2060 has three DisplayPort outputs. A DisplayPort to DVI adapter is $107. I would need three of them. It would almost be cheaper to buy three new monitors. In any case, I can rationalize spending $380 for a 50% faster video card, but I can’t rationalize $700 for a faster video card — not while my current card works perfectly well.

Gigabyte Geforce RTX 2060

Wednesday, 2019-01-23

Translation job scam

Filed under: Work — bblackmoor @ 11:03

If you get an email offering you a job cleaning up translations into English, like the one I have pasted below, it’s a scam. Just delete it. It’s not a real job. Do NOT reply to them

Our rapidly enlarging company is searching for a Business Correspondence Corrector who is fluent in English language to assist in interaction with our foreign clients. Your duties are to overview our business textual content files and also modifying grammar issues.

Friday, 2018-12-07

The problem with libertarians

Filed under: Philosophy,Politics — bblackmoor @ 10:40

I was a capital-L Libertarian for a decade or so. The thing is, they are absolutely opposed to the initiation of physical force, because it’s the single greatest infringement of another person’s liberty. I think this is a good thing. For one thing, it would make the USA far less of an analogue of the Empire in Star Wars.

Gadsden flag

There are, unfortunately, two rather significant problems with libertarians. First, although they are opposed to the initiation of force, far too many of them fetishize the idea of retaliation. Once you do that, it becomes very easy to rationalize any violence or atrocity, because after all, “they started it”. You’ve seen the Gadsden flag, I assume, the one with the snake? “Don’t tread on me”? That’s not a celebration of living in peace and harmony: it’s a fetish symbol for someone who wants the opportunity to use violence and is looking for an excuse.

The second major problem with libertarians is that they are purposefully blind to the fact that physical violence is not the only form of coercion. A libertarian is perfectly fine with a single company buying all of the patents on a life-saving drug and then demanding your life savings for a dose of it, because that’s not physical violence — but it is obviously a direct “your money or your life” form of coercion, to everyone not blinded by their religious fervor. And it is a religious fervor, make no mistake. When you adhere to a creed or philosophy in defiance of the clear and measurable harm that philosophy causes, you have become a religious zealot — a fanatic.

Sunday, 2018-11-18

The rage virus vs. homeopathy

Filed under: Friends,Medicine,Politics — bblackmoor @ 12:26

One of my oldest and dearest friends has been poisoned by the hate propaganda that has become so prevalent since Rush Limbaugh popularized it back in the 1980s. I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to pull him back to reality. He eventually un-“friend”-ed me. I think that friendship is over: the poison has consumed him.

I have another friend who thinks that “free speech” should be protected regardless of how hateful or ridiculously false it is. “Outlawing expression and a marketplace of ideas doesn’t protect people.” I said that the last couple of decades has conclusively proven him wrong: giving overt lies and vicious hatred the same legal protection as we give facts and legitimate journalism has had a direct impact on our society, turning what was once a fringe movement into one of the two dominant political parties in the USA. He eventually un-“friend”-ed me, too. That friendship might be salvaged, some day.

Nothing on this page is real: How lies become truth in online America
“Nothing on this page is real”: How lies become truth in online America

Monday, 2018-11-12

Make your individual voices heard

Filed under: Civil Rights,History,Society — bblackmoor @ 08:45

“If you see intolerance and hate, speak out against them. Make your individual voices heard, not for selfish things, but for honor and decency among men, for the rights of all people.”

— General J.M. Wainwright’s 1946 message to discharged soldiers.

General J.M. Wainwright's 1946 message to discharged soldiers

Sunday, 2018-10-14

Doctor Who season 37

Filed under: Television — bblackmoor @ 19:52

Tonight’s entertainment was the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who (which is either the 11th season or the 37th, depending on when you start counting… I’m going to call it the 37th season, but I may be the only one). We enjoyed it, and I like Jodie Whittaker. I really hate the new Doctor Who’s outfit, though. I loved the previous Doctor Who’s outfit, and I really liked Peter Capaldi, but I got bored with his run by his third or fourth episode and stopped watching them, so I guess an outfit isn’t everything.

I am little a puzzled by the … what’s the opposite of a cliffhanger? Leaving things out at the beginning. How did Peter Capaldi turn into Jodie Whittaker? What happened to the Tardis? I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Tuesday, 2018-10-09

Stop worrying about being falsely accused of sexual assault

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 15:11

A public service message to my fellow men:

Based on available data, you are more likely to fall out of bed and die than you are of being falsely accused of sexual assault.

Do you worry about falling out of bed and dying? No? Then stop worrying about being falsely accused of sexual assault. It almost never happens. (When it does happen, it is usually pretty damned obvious that the accuser is making it up, because the sort of people who make up that kind of thing tend to fall into a handful of unflattering categories.)

On the other hand, around one in four women are sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.

So, you know, maybe have some perspective and stop being whiny little babies.

Thanks, dudes.

Monday, 2018-10-08

Happy Columbus Day!

Filed under: History,Mythology,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 07:43

Happy Columbus Day! Much like St. Patrick’s Day, this day has very little to do with the actual historical Christopher Columbus (who was by all accounts a truly despicable human being, although he may also have been a completely typical example of his time). What we are actually celebrating is the spirit of exploration that is tied so firmly to the American spirit. We are explorers and pioneers. We went where no one had gone before. We are risk takers who follow our dreams even when the people around us claim that we’d fall off the edge of the world (not in Columbus’ era — those folks knew the world was round). It’s also a day to celebrate the contribution that we Americans have gained thanks to Italian immigrants and (if we’re lucky) our Italian ancestors. These are things worth celebrating.

If you use this as an opportunity to complain about Columbus, Imperialism, or colonialism… well, there are good reasons to be aware of those things. But that’s not what we are celebrating on Columbus Day.

map and telescope

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