[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Thursday, 2016-05-05

Definition of “virtue signaling”

Filed under: Philosophy,Society,Writing — bblackmoor @ 10:46

vir·tue sig·nal·ing
/ˈvərCHo͞o ˈsiɡnəliNG/
gerund or present participle

  1. a phrase used by sociopaths when trying to explain the behaviour of someone who has empathy.
    “she is collecting cans of food for the hurricane victims, but that’s just virtue signaling”
    “my rape jokes were funny, but I got fired because my supervisor was virtue signaling”
    “people who call Donald Trump a bigot and a sexist are just virtue signaling”

Wednesday, 2012-11-28

Pasting spaces into Google Docs

Filed under: Software,The Internet,Writing — bblackmoor @ 16:19

I just spent too much time pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to get Google Docs to paste spaces and keep them spaces, rather than turning the spaces into tabs. I couldn’t find a way to prevent it, so here is what I did.

  1. Paste my text into a text editor, such as Notepad++.
  2. In the text editor, find & replace every instance of a space ” ” with a character that does not already exist in the text, nor in the document you intend to paste that text into. In my case, I used a tilde “~”.
  3. Copy this modified text, and paste it into Google Docs.
  4. In Google Docs, find & replace every instance of the placeholder character with a space ” “.

Is it ridiculous that you need to do this to keep Google Docs from corrupting what you are pasting? Yes. Yes, it is.

Tuesday, 2012-10-16

Bugs and mopping

Filed under: Gaming,Home,Work,Writing — bblackmoor @ 20:06
angry mop man

What a day. I tracked down a very devious bug of my own design and fixed it, so hopefully that project I am two days behind on will be finished before I am four days behind on it.

Then I cleaned the hot tub thoroughly with a mop and a bucket of bleach-water, in the dark. Thank goodness for security lights and cotton string mops! There’s nothing quite like a cotton string mop for a job like that. Then I filled the tub and started it up. The pump is running and the tub doesn’t appear to be leaking, but there’s a lot of water splashed all over the place so I can’t be absolutely certain about the lack of leaking. The current water temperature is 58 degrees — let’s hope the temperature rises!

And now I get to spend the next couple of hours before bedtime working on the Character Sheet Helper for Bulletproof Blues. I have renamed it from “Character Builder” in the hope that the new name will better convey the notion that this spreadsheet isn’t required to play the game: its main purpose is to help make attractive, easy-to-share character sheets.

Thursday, 2012-05-31

Collaboration marketplace needed

Filed under: Books,Work,Writing — bblackmoor @ 09:01

Old booksI had an idea a couple of months ago. It would be a marketplace for writers, editors, and artists to come together as collaborators. It would be driven by the authors: in the new model of book distribution, authors are in control. They set the prices, they decide where the book will be distributed, and they are the ones that get paid by the distributors.

But authors need talented editors and gifted artists. Most authors aren’t either of those things. How is an author to find an editor with a good track record, one who sees themselves as on the authors side? How can an author find a cover artist or map artist who can meet a deadline and produce work according to spec? And how can the editors and artists find the authors who need them and who will pay on time (editors and artists want to feed their cats, too).

So my idea was a marketplace for this, where authors, artists, and editors would meet as peers. Everyone would be able to review everyone else, but only if they’d worked with them. The marketplace site would make sure that everyone got paid, and would act as the middleman to keep everyone honest. For this service, the marketplace would keep, say, 10% of the transacction (which should be enough to cover the site’s costs).

I pitched this to the company I work for, but it was too far from our current business focus to interest them. I would love to get it started, but I don’t have the start-up capital or the business acumen to make it work. I wish I did. So, here it is: a business that I believe is desperately needed. If you have the resources to start a business but just lack the idea, feel free to use this one.

Thursday, 2012-01-19

Supreme Court Says Congress May Re-Copyright Public Domain Works

Filed under: Entertainment,Intellectual Property,Writing — bblackmoor @ 00:50
the road to insanity

Because it’s not enough to have eviscerated the public domain by extending copyright protection to an INSANE duration. Now they want to make it SMALLER. Because, you know, who cares about the public interest as long as the media robber barons can make a buck and have more control over our cultural heritage, right?

Congress may take books, musical compositions and other works out of the public domain, where they can be freely used and adapted, and grant them copyright status again, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.


Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University and a plaintiff’s lawyer in the case, called the decision “unfortunate” and said it “suggests Congress is not required to pay particularly close attention to the interests of the public when it passes copyright laws.”

When it comes to copyright, Congress stopped paying attention to the interests of the public a long time ago.

Tuesday, 2011-12-13

Crazy December

Filed under: Fine Living,Friends,Gaming,Work,Writing — bblackmoor @ 23:16
Welcome to our haunted house

It’s been a crazy December. The craziness actually started in October, with my wife being in car #2 in a five-car accident on the freeway. She is almost healed up from that, and she has a shiny new Honda, so all’s well that ends well, but still, it was a crazy time for a while there.

I am spending a lot of time working. I haven’t counted the hours, but I would estimate somewhere around 60 to 70 per week. I don’t mind that: it’s close to the end of the project, and everyone’s antsy — and I love my job. But it means that I have not had as much time to indulge my hobbies as I would like.

One of those hobbies is my car, a 2003 Hyundai Tiburon. I have been meaning to do some cosmetic work to it for, well, months, but for a lot of those months, every weekend it was either raining or over 100 degrees outside. Bleh. Lucky me, my car was hit in a restaurant parking lot. That time of the year, I guess. The lady who hit me was honorable and asked around for the owner of the car. The insurance settlement was enough to repair the damage she did, and also took care of the cosmetic stuff I had been planning to work on.

Another hobby is a superhero roleplaying game I am working on. I would really, really like to have it completed by the end of the month, and on DriveThruRPG by mid-January. But we’ll see.

I am not the only one with problems. A dear friend of mine —

Let’s sidebar, for a moment. English is a great language, rich with the diversity of the many cultures we have absorbed or conquered, but I feel it has a few serious deficiencies. One of these is our word “friend”. I think we need at least three words for what is currently referred to as “friend”. We have “acquaintance”, of course — someone whom we have met, and perhaps encounter socially from time to time, but whom we do not actually know and with whom we do not intentionally socialize. Then we have:

The social friend: You drink with him at parties, and maybe have lunch with him once in a while just to have some company. He’s amusing, most of the time, and you don’t mind talking to him, as long as the conversation stays light. You might know his political or philosophical beliefs, but if so, it’s because he volunteers that information to anyone within earshot, not because you actually want to know, and not because he has any interest in what you think. You’ve never met his family, nor he yours, and if something serious happened in your life, you’d probably think of telling him the time you ran into him, but you would never make a call specifically to tell him your personal problems, nor would he think to make such a call to you.

The good friend: You have lunch because you enjoy each other’s company. You help each other move, if you don’t have plans. You talk about your kids, or your spouses, and you actually listen to the other person. On the other hand, you probably don’t talk about the intimate details of your marriage problems, or how broken up you really were when your cat died. You might not ever be truly close, but you respect each other and you like each other.

The dear friend: You have known each other through good times and bad. You have disagreed, sometimes quite seriously, but your friendship has persisted long after those disagreements have been forgotten. If you go out of town, he’s the first one you ask to watch your cat, and if he asks, you agree immediately. If he calls you and needs a ride because his car broke down in Pennsylvania, you ask him for directions. If he is in trouble, you respond. It’s just that simple.

So, as I was saying, a dear friend of mine had some personal issues a week or so ago, and for a while I was worried about him. I still am, actually, but not as much as I was a week ago. But it was really surreal for a while.

On the other hand, it hasn’t been all bad. After literally years of searching, we have finally found a house that is closer to where my wife works (she commutes an hour each way right now) and which she likes. This was no small feat. It’s also nearly $100,000 less than some other houses we were looking at just a few weeks ago, which pleases my wife more than pretty much anything else ever will. As it happens, the interest rates just bottomed out, so we are getting a good deal all around. Barring unforeseen catastrophe, we should be moved into our new (to us) house by the end of February, which is outstanding.

So… crazy, crazy month. That’s what I am saying.

Sunday, 2011-06-12

Gay girl in Damascus is neither

Filed under: Entertainment,Society,Writing — bblackmoor @ 21:04

I must be slipping. Historically, I have always had a very good knack for spotting people who adopt personas on the Internet. Sadly, one of my recent causes célèbres turns out to be one of these personas.

Gay Girl In Damascus is, in fact, a fellow in Scotland named Tom MacMaster.

Well, that’s disappointing. Still, although Amina Arraf is fictional, the events happening in Syria are real, and there are a lot of real people in Syria suffering under the repression there. So at least he’s increased awareness of a part of the world where conventional journalism is extremely difficult due to the media restrictions there.

And he’s a pretty good writer.

Monday, 2011-04-25

So you need a typeface

Filed under: Art,Writing — bblackmoor @ 20:22

I ran across this at Gary Corby’s web site. Very cool. I found this very helpful. I never know what typeface to use. I stay awake long nights, fretting over it.

So you need a typeface

Sunday, 2011-03-06

Ridiculous capitalization rules

Filed under: Writing — bblackmoor @ 13:05

Anyone who has taken an English class in the last fifty years knows how ridiculous the rules are for capitalizing titles in English. First word, sure. Proper nouns, sure. Pronouns? Why would a pronoun be capitalized? “In” when it is functioning as an adverb, but not when it is functioning as a preposition. Uh… yeah. Prepositions aren’t capitalized, but sometimes they are if they are longer than four letters, depending on whom you ask. And it gets worse; this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So here is my rule for capitalizing titles:

A title is capitalized as though it were a sentence.

Either capitalize every word in a title, or capitalize it as though it were a sentence… whichever you think looks better.

That’s the best I can do.

Sunday, 2011-02-27

Note to self

Filed under: Writing — bblackmoor @ 10:11

Note to self: Don’t write blogs at four in the morning when you are so drunk you can barely stand.

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