[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2021-10-08

“School choice”

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 10:47

School choice” is to education what “right to work” is to worker rights. The powerful get more power, at the expense of everyone else.

If one were cynical, one might even think that was the goal.

Wednesday, 2018-03-21

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 16:39

“Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” (2001) is a strange movie. Like all of the Godzilla reboots up to that point, it’s a direct sequel to the original Godzilla, ignoring everything in between. However, it goes in some new directions for a Godzilla movie.

First of all, Godzilla’s look is different, in one small but very visible way: he has solid white zombie eyes. In previous Godzilla movies, Godzilla’s eyes always looked like, well, eyes. Giving Godzilla solid white eyes makes it clear that this is a monster, not a defender of the Earth.

Godzilla has gone back and forth from being a villain or a hero, and in this one he’s the villain. That by itself is not strange. What is strange is that King Ghidorah is the hero of this movie (with some help from a sacrifice play by Mothra). Making Ghidorah (formerly “the space monster”) into a defender of the Earth is a 180 degree about-face.

Thirdly, prior to the power-up of Ghidorah into King Ghidorah, none of the three monsters facing up against Godzilla are as large or as powerful as Godzilla. They are at best about three-quarters of Godzilla’s size. That’s different. In the only previous movie where Godzilla fought smaller monsters, it was a swarm of them, and they eventually merged into a giant monster as big or bigger than Godzilla.

And the ending is the most bizarre of any Godzilla movie ever made, in my opinion.

It’s a good movie, though. I enjoyed it, anyway.

Wednesday, 2014-05-28

Facebook vs. Google+: a comparison of conversations about gaming

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 10:18

I recently posted the following question/comment to both a Facebook RPG group and a Google+ RPG group, to see if there would be any substantial difference in the quantity and quality of the resulting conversation. This was not a “troll” post, in so far as 1) the post accurately described my opinion, and 2) I was careful not to denigrate the games or the people who wrote them (in fact, I complimented the games, and those compliments are sincere). However, I did choose this topic because I hoped that it would spark a conversation, and I did deliberately phrase my initial post in a manner intended to elicit a polarized response. So take that for what it’s worth.

So… transhumanist games. On the one hand, Eclipse Phase and Nova Praxis look like well-made games with interesting settings. The skill and the creativity of the authors are admirable. On the other hand, a core premise of these games is that people will willingly — even routinely — commit suicide in the process of having some sort of copy of themselves made. I just can’t fathom any sane person ever doing that.

Even if you could have a duplicate of yourself made, why would the real you bother killing yourself? I can’t think of anyone other than a “suicide bomber” — someone willing to die for a cause — who would be willing to undertake such a thing. It’s madness. The closest comparison I can think of is Paranoia, but as crazy as Paranoia is, it doesn’t feature people routinely dying on purpose in order to activate their next clone.

As the conversations progressed, I kept my contributions to each conversation as similar as possible, in order to keep the experiment as unbiased as possible.

The Google+ post received 10 responses (excluding mine), from 4 people. The first response began with the sentence, “This is a lack of imagination on your part.” That generally sums up the tone of the responses on Google+: adversarial, and not focused on gaming at all.

The Facebook post received 41 responses (excluding mine), from 16 people. The first response began with the sentence, “People aren’t always logical.” This generally sums up the tone of the responses on Facebook: conversational, and focused on the characters in the setting. The Facebook conversation also branched out into the themes and genres of the games I referred to in my initial post, particularly Eclipse Phase, which I was reminded was a horror game.

Draw your own conclusions.

P.S. As a result of the conversation on Facebook, my own attitude toward playing these “transhumanist” games (particularly Eclipse Phase) has definitely changed. I can see myself actually playing in them now.

Thursday, 2014-05-15

Django Unchained

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 22:02
Django Unchained

Susan and I just watched Django Unchained. Wow. This is officially my favorite Quentin Tarentino movie, and it makes me want to go back and re-watch a bunch of my favorite spaghetti westerns.

Monday, 2013-01-21


Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 23:18

Grudges are a waste of time. They accomplish nothing and only make you unhappy. So don’t hold grudges — especially against yourself.

Thursday, 2012-04-26

Bulletproof Blues: Headquarters

Filed under: Gaming,General — bblackmoor @ 22:41

Bulletproof Blues coverA random bit, just for fun. This is an Advantage, which are small not-quite-powers that characters can have:


The character has one or more bases of operation, equipped with supplies and equipment reasonable for the character’s background and skills. If the character is a member of a team, the base(s) might be shared with the other team members, at the player’s discretion. A headquarters is primarily a convenience for the GM and a fun asset for the character. It is not generally useful in combat, and is mainly used for flavor and a setting for roleplaying. For example, a high-tech base might have an air-tight security system, complete with laser turrets and knockout gas, but this won’t keep the base from being broken into by villains or taken over by an evil computer virus.

Wednesday, 2012-01-04

Now that’s a warranty

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 23:10
black Swingline stapler

My black Swingline stapler broke a week ago, and I finally got around to buying a new one today. When I got home and was looking at the packaging, I noticed that it had a limited lifetime warranty. Wondering if my old stapler was also under warranty, I called the 800 number on the package.

After navigating through the menu, I finally reached a human being: a young woman, judging by her voice.

“ACCO Brands customer service. How may I help you?”

“Hi. I have a Swingline stapler, and it broke, and I was wondering if it was covered under warranty.”

“What is the model of the stapler?”

“It says Model 646 on the bottom.”

“And how long have you owned the stapler?”

“About fifteen years.”

… pause …

“Are you serious?”

“Yes, I am being serious.”

… pause …

“Okay… I think the warranty on that is one year, but let me check… Ah. That has a lifetime warranty. We will send you a new stapler. May I have your address?”

So I gave her my address, and she said the stapler should arrive in seven to ten days.

Now that’s a warranty.

This house I hate

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 07:29
Welcome to our haunted house

I woke up at 05:45 this morning, and like yesterday, I spent the first hour of my day trying to go back to sleep, and hating the house we will be buying.

We close on January 12. I keep hoping that something will go wrong and we can walk away from it. I hate this house. I have hated it since the day I first saw the inside of it, back in June. I hate it more every time I step inside it. So why are we buying it? Firstly, because it’s closer to where Susan works. She has been driving an hour each way to work for the past couple of years, and that just sucks. I wouldn’t do it: she should not have to. This house is something like 15 minutes from where she works. Secondly, it’s a decent deal. We are getting it for $251,000, and it appraises for $265,000. Of course, after we spend $100,000 remodeling it (and we will: it’s a nightmare), it will still only be worth $265,000, and I will still hate it, but hopefully I will hate it a little less.

But the main reason we are buying this is because we have to buy something. We have been renting for the past six years, which is just throwing money away. Even if we sink $100,000 more into remodeling this house I hate and then sell it in ten years and lose money on it (and we will: I guarantee it), we would lose even more by renting for another ten years.

If we are going to spend $350,000 on it anyway, why not buy a house that costs that much: one that I actually like? We have seen several such houses. Because there is a difference between a $251,000 mortgage and planning to spend $100,000 on remodeling, and having a $351,000 mortgage. If money gets tight, we can choose not to remodel. If we have a mortgage payment to make, we lose that option. A $351,000 mortgage would stretch our budget to the point where even the slightest disruption would put us in the red. We would be completely unprepared for even minor emergencies, much less something catastrophic. It would be irresponsible to put ourselves in that position for the next 20 or 30 years.

That’s what I have to keep telling myself.

So I wake up each morning, hating this house, and reminding myself why buying it is the sensible thing to do.

Monday, 2011-08-29

Subtext and misplaced enthusiasm

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 11:27

I read an article a while back comparing how Japanese people express emotion in public to how Americans express emotion in public. The gist of it was that Americans tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves, while Japanese people generally don’t. That’s probably not news to anyone with a passing familiarity with Japanese media.

However, an interesting side effect of this is how Americans and Japanese people tend to interpret the emotions of others, based on what the other person is expressing. Japanese people, according to the study I was reading, tend to assume that people are feeling more than they are displaying, when compared to how Americans would interpret the same person’s behaviour. There is (according to that study) a common cultural bias in Japan, and everyone adjusts their perceptions up accordingly. Or, to put it another way, there is a common cultural bias toward excessive displays of emotion in the United States, and Americans reduce their perception of the other person’s emotional state accordingly.

(I am giving the study I read astonishingly short shrift. If you want a scholarly evaluation, there have been a number of studies done on the topic, and you’ll have no trouble finding some.)

This came to mind recently when someone assumed I was insulting them when I expressed enthusiasm over something. I said, effectively, “This is awesome! Check this out!”. The other person interpreted this as, “You are an idiot if you don’t try this!”

I freely admit that I sometimes get wound up about things — quite often, things that have no real importance. I am a fount of misplaced enthusiasm.

However, if I think someone is an idiot, I generally say so. My personal bias is that I say pretty much what I think, and I expect that others are doing the same. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether people are sincere: I assume they are until I find out differently. I think this is a good way to live. If you trust too much, you will occasionally be deceived, but you will live in torment if you cannot trust enough.

However, I have known for many years that not everyone shares this cultural bias. Some people do, in fact, mean “you’re an idiot if you don’t like waffles” when they say “I like waffles”. And so, they expect that other people mean that, too. They project onto others their own nature.

I think that’s really sad. I can’t imagine how dismal it must be to live in a world like that.

Thursday, 2011-08-25


Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 19:28

Rested for a while, and I’m feeling marginally better. Stomach is still uneasy, but perhaps it will settle down. Wondering whether eating something would be a good idea or a bad idea. Today was almost a total loss. Aside from a fifteen-minute bit of philosophizing around lunchtime, I don’t think I accomplished a single useful thing today. Which is bad. And I seriously doubt I will rectify the situation this evening. Still so nauseous…

But tomorrow is a new day! I’ll get an early start, tackle a project that I have been banging my head on for much too long, finish it, and start the weekend knowing that I have accomplished something!

In honor of my upset stomach, queasiness, and general malaise, I bring you “I’m so sick”.

I’m So Sick from BaronSoosdon on Vimeo.

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