Tuesday, December 3, 2013

ReBlog: "Where My Ladies At"


The Brain Scoop: Where My Ladies At?

This was an incredibly difficult video for me to write and record. I haven’t been this uncomfortable or nervous about an episode since we decided to launch the Wolf series. I did it because I know my fellow female creators are with me: these comments are not easy to ignore, and they do have a negative impact on our desire to make videos and blaze trails.

Things can be said about women being more sensitive than men, or that men deal with these comments too, or that we should just accept that they’re going to happen.. but if I do, I’ll quit. If I accept that this is just part of the deal, this is what it is and always has been, it’s a requirement of my job to toughen up and barrel through, I won’t be able to continue. The remarks are enough to make me want to throw my hands up and retreat to a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere. If the compromise is that I need to become desensitized, I would probably just do something else instead.

Let’s not create that kind of environment for our peers. Let’s be supportive, encouraging. Focus on the content, not the presenter. Ignoring the fact that these comments are uncomfortable is dismissive and counter-productive: let’s have less tolerance for both those comments, and the apathetic attitude attached to how they affect our community.

And, please: check out the women in the video description for more fantastic channels to subscribe to.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Regarding forcing your religious beliefs on society as a whole

Read this, figured I'd share it.

How can McDonald’s sell cheeseburgers, even though they’re banned in the Bible, which is fairly clear about not mixing milk and meat?  
OK, the Bible isn’t clear at all — I’m just making stuff up, a popular pastime when it comes to matters religious. There’s a pair of lines in Exodus about not boiling a kid in its mother’s milk — cruel, if you think about it — that Jewish scholars decided centuries ago means not to mix any kind of meat with any dairy, since you can never tell if any given patty is related to a certain cup of milk.  
The question remains: How can McDonald’s sell cheeseburgers, violating Jewish law? Not a toughie. Answer: Because the laws of kosher don’t matter to anyone but observant Jews. There is no health reason why you shouldn’t mix milk and meat. Jewish dietary law has no bearing on secular law. Jews, a scant minority, are uninterested in trying to force their arcane practices upon non-believers (except in parts of Israel where, alas, emboldened by numbers, observant Jews seem determined to show they can be just as bullying as any other faith). 
Anti-gay Christians are now approaching their cheeseburger moment — welcome, welcome — after the Supreme Court has tossed out much of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. The legal whip drops from the fundamentalist hand, which strikes them as oppression, forgetting they can still practice whatever private dogma they like regarding gays — never marry their own gender, disown their own gay children — but gay marriage is going up on the menu in more and more states. Society is marching — running, really — off without them, into a future of gay folk living openly without fear.  
It hurts, bubbie, I know. Here’s a Kleenex.  
You’ll get used to it. Take it from a Jew. You get used to the world not singing along with your religious peccadillos. (Not that keeping kosher and discriminating against gays are comparable, except as religiously inspired irrational acts). No harm in cleaving to your faith in the midst of a carnival of all you don’t believe. At Christmas, it isn’t like I suffer through all these foreign practices — caroling, wassailing, midnight massing. I accept them with humility — it’s not my party, but it’s someone’s party. It isn’t all about me.  
That takes practice, but you’ll get used to it. Used to more gay couples in TV commercials. Used to more same-gender pairs gazing out of the wedding announcements. My younger son and I were walking up Clinton Street last week and a pair of men coming out of the French Market paused to kiss — bye-bye honey, see you at dinner — directly in front of us. I felt the need to say something — a common reaction of mine. “We’re not in Northbrook anymore,” I said, a lame invitation to discuss the tableau, which went unheeded. The boy said nothing. Maybe he didn’t notice. Still, saying nothing is an undervalued skill. Michele Bachmann and her ilk, who clearly lost and will keep losing, announced they will re-double their efforts. 
“Time is not on the side of those seeking to create same-sex ‘marriage,’ ” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage will undoubtedly intensify.”  
Perkins says lots of dumb stuff, but you have to savor this bit of gibberish, because it is wrong in every particular. Time is not on their side. Time is conveying them onto the bench of shame with Bull Connor and Henry Ford. If you look at any opinion poll, desire to oppress gay people is directly proportional to age — older folk have the strongest anti-gay bias, younger people, less and less.  
And the “actual consequences of redefining marriage” are that fellow American citizens whose relationships were ignored or trivialized by society suddenly can get buried together in military cemeteries, make important medical decisions for each other, and hold their heads high at PTA Parent Night.  
There is a bedrock truth below all this, one that would have been unchanged no matter what the court ruled: Gay people don’t make worse spouses, or parents, or friends. If they did, chuckleheads like Perkins would wave any scrap of evidence like a flag. But there is none, so bigots have to try to twist these advances into some kind of religious oppression — that hating gays is a bedrock of Christian faith and to try to change that is persecution.  
Good luck with that one. Ask the next rabbi you see if he feels oppressed because the United States government doesn’t enforce Jewish dietary laws. He’ll take a step back — distancing himself from the crazy person — and say, “No, and believe me, we know what real oppression is.” That’s where Perkins et al. will be in 50 years, only their privately held torch will not be a harmless dietary quirk, but a shameful, refuted hatred gilded with a thin, worn and crumbling veneer of faith.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why you hate men so much!

I'm a bit tired right now, partially because I just woke up and am sleepy, but also because I'm tired of experiencing conversations like this.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tropes vs Women ep4

I imagine anyone who is looking here has probably already seen it.  But hey, here it is;  Anne Sarkesian's fourth video, this one on a trope that I've talked about on my blog as well.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Games are populated by skinheads.

So, apparently the average game protagonist is a skinhead-- at best, stubble or a mohawk . Don't you love modern marketing?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Stupid Game Advertising

Saw an advertisement for Lord of Ultima on Origin. Clicked it, then was blasted in the face with the image of a guy in platemail with an axe (which was cool enough).... and two women in summer dresses that did not in any way match the rest of the image.

Goddamnit gaming industry. Goddamnit.  It's almost like gaming advertising for these "free to play" strategy games has only five images of women in total.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Making writing that isn't wordy

As a bit of a condolence to the few poor, miserable souls who actually visit this place (assuming that number is above zero, which is not a safe assumption), I've been sort of sitting on the next parts of my story for some time now.  The main worry I have is that, well, they're too wordy.  There's a lot of personality bits, exposition, and dialogue in the story at this point.  I'm trying to figure out what exactly I should do to reduce the level of dialogue... show, rather than tell.

So... I have two options.  I'm deciding whether or not to post what I have and ask for feedback, or just go and try to re-write it entirely.  If anyone visits this place, feel free to leave your opinion on the topic.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Brainstorming Mk2

Developing the concept further, there are two ideas here.  The first, is that the pairs represent mental dispositions:

White <--Attitude--> Black
Grey <--Liveliness--> Green
Brown <--Alacrity--> Yellow
Blue <--Dedication--> Red
Clear <--Method--> Violet

This would make the various colors opposed to each-other.  Which is why I have not put much effort in to it, because it does not always make sense.  Red and Blue would not necessarily be opposed to eachother-- fire and water to create steam for example.  Clear and violet to give substance to mental constructs.  White and black to sacrifice your own health to heal others.

And so on and so forth.

Thus, I think it works better simply as a representation on a larger sphere-- the ultimate goal of most wizards is to attempt to understand the mythical Eleventh Sphere, the sphere of Ascension where one literally becomes magic, or so the story goes (what actually happens I am not revealing here).

White <--Holy <--Relation to the Gods--> Unholy--> Black
Grey <-- Artificial <--Relation to Nature--> Natural--> Green
Brown <--Within <--Relation to the World--> Without--> Yellow
Blue <--Cold <--Relation to Heat Energy--> Hot--> Red
Clear <-- Physical <--Relation to the Mind--> Mental--> Violet

So, then, if the spheres do not represent mental dispositions, what do they represent?  Abstract concepts-- each one represents a different section of the four dimensional hypersphere that is the Eleventh Sphere.  Every element is, in some way, connected to every other element, but they are connected most strongly to their opposite.  Thus why Brown has magnetic powers, and Yellow has meteoric summons-- they are intrinsically connected despite being, at the same time, opposites to each other.  Brown is the power within the Earth, while Yellow is the power beyond the Earth, but both are inherently connected to the Earth.

An easier label of the pairings might go as such:  Divine, Life, Source, Energy, and Substance, creating five colleges within the wizard's school of magic, a much easier number to organize than ten (which is why I did the pairing system to begin with).

The College of Divines:  Studies holy and shadow magic.  There are no demons or angelic hosts in this setting, but there are deities.  The exact nature of these deities, however, is only known by the archmages.  There are five archmages for this subdivision of the wizard's college-- two Holy archmages, two Shadow archmages, and one headmaster who oversees both.   The headmaster of the College of Divines has been the grandmaster of the Wizard's College more often than any other headmaster.  The Campus of Twin Divinities looks much like a cathedral, with the white magic students cloistered in the upper levels while the black magic students study within the crypts below.  Their attire tends towards traditional loose mage's robes, with either hoods or hats depending on the taste of the wearer.

The College of Life:  Studies druidic and golemantic/technomantic magics.  There is only one archmage, and only by necessity of needing a headmaster-- the most powerful golemancers prefer to call themselves Artificers, while the most powerful druids call themselves Grand Druids.  The headmaster, however, still wields a lot of power within the college because of their bureaucratic authority, and thus they tend to be the one keeping both sides from fighting.  Indeed, the head of the College of Life is often the one called upon to make decisions regarding diplomatic matters for the Wizard's College as a whole.  The Campus of Creative Magicks Is made up of a widely disparate group of workshops, nature preserves, parks, zoos, arenas, and storage areas which are spread roughly in a circle around the central dormitory.  Their attire tends to be more functional than other schools, even incorporating armor, although they all wear the clockwork tree symbol of the college somewhere on their robe.

The College of Sources:  Studies geomantic and astrological magics.  There are seven archmages of the order, three Astrological and four Geomantic, with the headmaster being the most powerful Astrologist.  The reason for this splitting has been lost to annals of time, but the headmaster of the College of Source is still required to respect and run their opposing school, thus they tend to be long-lived masters of both, but rarely become the Grandmaster of the wizard's college.  The Campus of Heaven and Earth is what is traditionally thought of when commoners think of Wizard colleges, striking as it does both deep in to the ground and in to the sky, with Geomancers studing in the rocky cellars while Astrologists peering at the stars from the tower above.  Their attire tends to be more showy than the rest, including jewelry created by Geomancers, arranged in patterns that are said to be fortuitous by Astrologists, and because of the necessities of the campus, they tend to wear pants and tunics, believed to be more suitable for climbing stairs as the various initiates have to do until they learn their a travel magic.

The College of Energy:  Studies pyromancy and aquamancy.  There are three archmages, whom are rotated out amongst the top fifteen wizards of the college.  The headmaster is more of a military general than anything, and indeed may not even be a wizard at all.  This often results in scorn from the other schools, but the wizards of the College of Energy always give their headmaster respect, for they have almost always earned it.  As a result of the separation of the Grandmaster and Master Militant, the headmaster of the College of Energy is almost never also a grandmaster, instead holding what is often the more powerful position of Master Militant.  The Campus of the Elements is often described as a glorified barracks and military camp, and there is some justification for this despite it having a combination of pools, lakes, fire pits, and bonfires.  The headmaster runs the college with the efficiency of a general, and they train their wizards in more physical combat as well as magical.  As a result, their attire often includes chainmail and a sheathed (and heavily enchanted) weapon, or even a magical musket traded from the College of Life.

The College of Substance:  Studies general arcana and illusions.  There are ten archmages, evenly split between the college, with the two most powerful sharing the headmaster's spot unless one of them concedes it.  In the case of concession, the headmaster of the College of Substance rivals the College of Divinity in number of grandmasters, although this is happening less and less as time goes on.  The Campus of Mind and Matter is a wondrous sight to behold, a floating castle surrounded by wondrously resplendent energies and images, and it is known as a party school.  Despite this, it provides the best general education to its students of any of the colleges, and is by far the most egalitarian and creative-- even if its students often take longer to complete its courses than in other colleges.  Their attire tends to fit in with the fashion of the times, varying as much between decades as between individual students, but they always wear a circlet which glows when worn by an approved member of the college-- and unwanted guests may find themselves being pushed off to fall to their doom!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I'm still working on the other story!  I just can't seem to get the next chapter to a state which I am happy with.  Too much re-writing and then I feel it's incoherent and now I'm gonna just start the chapter over.  But I'm also planning out the next story's setting.  Wizards as a concept are fascinating ot me.  I plan on having the concept of the next story be similar to a more serious take on Magicka.  Magic is created through various "spheres", which embody concepts that are often difficult to understand and sometimes even inherently contradictory.

White <-> Black
Grey <-> Green
Brown <-> Yellow
Blue <-> Red
Clear <-> Violet

Each sphere is associated with five concepts. A type of magic; an element; a boon; a form of travel; and a flaw. All magics are, however, capable of fulfilling most roles (healing, buffing, damage dealing, minion-making, martial arts, swordmagery, etc, because they are not defined by how they are used, but by what they are) and in the end, no sphere is either more or less evil than the other, although that doesn't necessarily mean that the common person won't think of it that way.  Each one has a tendency, but these are not universal-- merely common traits of wizards who end up choosing that specific sphere.

-- Type: Healing
-- Element: Holy
-- Boon: Protection
-- Movement: Flight
-- Flaw: Arrogance
-- Example spells: Healing Hands, Luminal Blast, Bless, Revive, Disintegrate
-- Tend to be optimistic, but preachy.

-- Type: Necromancy
-- Element: Darkness
-- Boon: Life-Stealing
-- Movement: Shadow-Stepping
-- Flaw: Pessimism
-- Example spells: Blood-Siphon, Shadow-Strike, Drinking Blade, Create Undead, Touch of Death
-- Tend to be alluring and friendly, but pessimistic and sometimes nihilistic.

-- Type: Golemancy
-- Element: Metal
-- Boon: Endurance
-- Movement: Automated Constructs
-- Flaw: Laziness
-- Example spells: Fix Imperfection, Iron Hands, Create Stone Warrior, Golemantic Resurrection, Create Mithril Golem
-- Tend to be brilliant inventors, but lazy.

-- Type: Druidic
-- Element: Nature
-- Boon: Regeneration
-- Movement: Gliding/Hovering
-- Flaw: Short-sightedness
-- Example spells: Regenerate, Poison Needles, Infinite Ivy, Infestation, Temporary Immortality
-- Tend to be well-meaning, yet rarely think of long-term impacts of their actions.

-- Type: Geomancy
-- Element: Earth
-- Boon: Shielding
-- Movement: Tunneling
-- Flaw: Slow to change
-- Example spells: Stonegrowth, Rock Spikes, Earthquake Trap, Animate Stone, Petrify
-- Tend to be diligent, but dour. and conservative.

-- Type: Astromancy
-- Element: Lightning
-- Boon: Retribution
-- Movement: Teleportation
-- Flaw: Wrathful
-- Example spells: Starlight Cloak, Lightning Bolt, Spark of Life, Meteor Strike, Thundergod
-- Tend to be motivated and just, but also prone to fits of rage.

-- Type: Aquamancy
-- Element: Water
-- Boon: Evasion
-- Movement: water-Walking/Breathing
-- Flaw: Indecisive
-- Example spells: Lifedew, Water Spear, Ice Crash, Water-Clone, Bloodfreeze
-- Tend to be adaptive and intelligent, but indecisive and prone to second-guessing.

-- Type: Pyromancy
-- Element: Fire
-- Boon: Power
-- Movement: Haste
-- Flaw: Passion
-- Example spells: Warmth, Fireball, Magma Bolt, Phoenix Blessing, Conflagration
-- Tend to be highly passionate about whatever they do-- and burn themselves out often.

-- Type:  Arcana
-- Element: Force
-- Boon:  Generalism
-- Movement: Force-Assist
-- Flaw: Incoherency
-- Example spells: Wound-Binding, Force Bolt, Exponential Impact, Force Cage, Telekinetic Crush
-- Tend to be considerate and decisive... until they become distracted-- oo shiny!

-- Type: Illusions
-- Element: Mind
-- Boon: Mirror Image
-- Movement: Image-Walking
-- Flaw: Hedonism
-- Example spells: Wounds to Illusion, Injury from Insult, Illusory Army, Temporal Wavering, Mind-Snap
-- Tend to be joyous and gregarious, but also often forget their goals in seeking to enjoy life.