Sunday, December 31, 2006

You say you want a revolution...

A freind of mine is a very devout Christian, and where we diverge on beliefs, he doesn't beat people over the head with it. His idea of Christian is one who follows a Christ-like life.

So I have a habbit of emailing him links to what I tend to call Stupid Christian Tricks. You know the ones, like what the Phelps morons are up to lately, or why the park service can't talk about how old the Grand Canyon is.

So he asks me "Why you send me this stuff - just so I don't want to call myself a Christian anymore?"

And my honest response was "No, so you will. Your faith is stronger than a hundred of those goobers, and it's people like you who will make things like this fade into obscurity, by reminding the world of what real Christianity is."

I wanna see all the non-freaky Christians of the US start standing up and telling the hard core fundamentalists, the so-called Christians who'll stop at nothing to see that the US becomes their way or the highway, that they are Sick and Tired of the "religious reich" being the public face of Christianity. I want to see them stand up and show the world that the extremists are not the soul of the path.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Why Uru Live Matters

I think Uru's power, and the reason the gaming industry should stand up and take notice is twofold:

First, it got brought back to life on the power of the concept, and the enthusiasm of the fan base. This has never happened before, usualy once a game gets killed, especially if the boxed bversion is on the shelves already, it stays dead.

The only real analogy out there is the Browncoats and Firefly. Uru Live is the Serenity of the gaming world.

It took GameTap's willingness & vision of reaching out to smaller companies, rejected by the Big Name Publishers, to make it happen. David Reid of GameTap mentioned this in his PAX interview.

If GameTap does continue in this vein, it will (Gods Willing), bring back unique and innovative game designs. No more cookie cutter, barely different concepts and gameplay, because that's all the big publishers will pay for and produce. Smaller companies will be able to push boundaries, because there's a place for them.

Which brings me to the second item:

Uru pushes boundaries of what people expect a multiplayer online experience to be.

The first question Joe Gamer asks is "What is there besides PVP and collecting loot and leveling?"

Gamers have been conditioned to expect nothing else out of their MMO experience. Nothing. Check every single MMO out there right now, and they are ALL the same concept in different packaging. They are fun, enjoyed by the people who play them, visually stunning, but they all follow a basic framework.

Uru doesn't, and that confuses people. They can't wrap their brains around it. Is the world ready for an MMO where the story and interaction is the focus? It better be, because it's about to get it.

(feel free to link to this, or C&P it with my name)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

thoughts from the VaxJedi

Often, he says things I was thinking, much better than I ever could:
... RWAs [right wing authoritarians] are angry with us because they've been told to mistake our tolerance and flexibility for moral unseriousness.
- From Orcinus, a liberal blog

This is really the key to a lot of things, including the perception of polyamory. What a lot of people see in polyamory (even many of those who take a 'hey, if it works for them, I guess that's okay' stance) is permissiveness. Too often, the argument that "people should be free to do these things" is not seen as a choice borne out of ethical behavior, but rather a laxity of moral character - "yeah sure that's okay - it's not a big deal." The same with non-traditional families, gay marriage, etc.

The point is that polyamory needs to be described as a choice that is rooted in ethical consideration. By and large, poly people are poly not because they can 'get away with it.' They are poly because they feel that this is the best choice - because they feel it's the right thing to do. That's the key. For poly people, being poly is, in their life, not a loophole, but a moral imperative. This imperative tells us that things like love, family, intimacy, connection, shared joy and shared resposnibility, these are the moral high ground, even when their form falls outside of societal norms and common definitions. I refer to the phrase "God is love" a lot - I find it an incredibly concise description of what I believe. And thus, I do not deny God when he comes knocking at my door - even if he is dressed funny.

This goes for larger liberal/progressive ideals - tolerance, flexibility, relativism are not ethical shortcuts. They are definitive moral stances. I think that even liberals forget that sometimes.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Best Quote About Homosexuality Ever

From Tom Smith:
"And the only difference between them and other people is, they prefer romantic and sexual partners of the same gender rather than the opposite."


That's it. That's the only difference. And yet that one tiny, insignificant thing has become an excuse for some to treat them like less than human. Like they're less worthy of having rights than others. How sad.

Buh

The world is...fucked up. And it has nothing to do with religion. It's not messed up because more people are X, or not enough people are Y, or people Z are creeps...

It's because we're forgotten how to treat other human beings with dignity and respect, no matter who they are.

ATTENTION US MILITARY PERSONNEL

Reposted with permission fron the Making Light blog. Clarification and comments are there.

ATTENTION US MILITARY PERSONNEL

You are not required to obey an unlawful order.

You are required to disobey an unlawful order.

You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

The Constitution states (Article VI):
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.


Here is article 3, the common article, to the Geneva Conventions, a duly ratified treaty made under the authority of the United States:

Article 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

2. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.

An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.

The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.

The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.


Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is straightforward and clear. Under Article VI of the Constitution, it forms part of the supreme law of the land.

You personally will be held responsible for all of your actions, in all countries, at all times and places, for the rest of your life. “I was only following orders” is not a defense.

What all this is leading to:

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, it is your duty to disobey that order. No “clarification,” whether passed by Congress or signed by the president, relieves you of that duty.

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, this is what to do:

1. Request that your superior put the order in writing.

2. If your superior puts the order in writing, inform your superior that you intend to disobey that order.

3. Request trial by courtmartial.


You will almost certainly face disciplinary action, harassment of various kinds, loss of pay, loss of liberty, discomfort and indignity. America relies on you and your courage to face those challenges.

We, the people, need you to support and defend the Constitution. I am certain that your honor and patriotism are equal to the task.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Healthy People 2000 initiative from the CDC, Item 14.8: "Reduce the cesarean delivery rate to no more than 15 per 100 deliveries" (15%) (having failed to meet that goal in 2000, the Healthy People 2010 initiative merely says "reduce cesarean amoung low risk patients", but still sets a goal for first time mothers of 15%. However, it fids a repeat cesarean rate of 63% acceptable)

The World Health Organization states: "There is no justification to have a caesarean section rate of higher than10 - 15 %. Vaginal deliveries after a caesarean section shouldbe encouraged."

Babies Delivered by Cesarean More Likely to Die
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed over 5.7 million live births and nearly 12,000 infant deaths over a four-year period.

Now, compare those to the 2005 Cesarean Rates for Seattle Hospitals

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Athiests' Good Works-Part 1

Quoted from a reply to my other blog:

From www.positiveatheism.com, in a conversation on the topic:
~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9553.htm

Atheist Centre of India
The Atheist Centre was founded in 1940 by the Gora family, who were associated with Ghandi and the nationalist movement for freedom. They provide counseling, are fighting against the caste system and for the abolition of child marriages, helping ex-prostitutes, and protecting widows from inhumane customs. They also dispell superstitions by scientific demonstrations, and are asked to calm witchcraft hysterias. They provide sex education and family planning, are carrying on a rural development program, and have a center for free cornea grafting operations which is giving sight to the blind.
http://www.positiveatheism.org/tocindia.htm

Atheist Charity
This is a new, small charity run by atheist volunteers. They currently give money to other charities for the poor, are involved in forming a non-discriminatory alternative to the Boy Scouts, and later will start natural disaster relief projects.
http://www.atheistcharity.org

EARTHWARD, Inc.
Earth's Atheist Resistance To Holy Wars And Religious Devastation gives humanitarian aid to victims of religiously motivated violence.
http://earthward.net

Humanitas
Dutch organization for social care an community development, based upon humanistic principles with projects in the fields of child-care, elderly homes, support for the homeless, care for the disabled, visiting and empowering the lonely, and grief counseling.
http://www.humanitas.nl

Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries
Hivos is an organisation working to promote: democracy; economic development; cultural development; human rights, including equal rights for women, in the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin-America and South-east Europe. It also combats poverty and the spread of AIDS in those areas.
http://www.hivos.nl/

Furthermore, humanist organizations such as the International Humanist and Ethical Union at
http://www.hivos.nl/
have been cooperating with the U.N. in promoting global human rights and social progress. Several people named Humanists of the Year by the AHA (American Humanist Association) at
http://www.humanist.net
have been leaders in the U.N. and/or helped draft human rights documents.

~~~~~~~~~~~
They raise the idea that there are few athiest charity organizations for the several reasons. A) Religious charities utilize their works as prolethetizing and recruitment/conversion opportunities, and thus are very vocal about them (And they are self-perpetuating for this reason.) B) The lack of belief in a diety does not bond individuals together in the same way that an organized religion does, etc.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Morality

rsjm brought up a sermon on 1st Corinthians, where Paul is telling the Corinthian church to behave.

Paul says, "Just because society thinks it's ok, doesn't mean God does". I accept that as a fundamental of Christian belief, and don't see any problem with a Christian chosing to live their life that way.

Paul says that God's rules are for God's people. That's a very Judaic way of thinking, too, and an area where Christianity changed from Judaism. Jews believe the rules in the Torah are for them, and they're the only people who should live by them, and too bad about those other folks.

Christianity, OTOH, expects *everyone* to live by their rules, and some are willing to impose those by force and law.

And that's where Christianity and I break. They (in the general theological sense) accept their morality as the only morality, and no one else is living a moral life but them. And, especially recently, power-holding Christans are willing to enfoce their morality through the law. This, in my mind, risks puts things on par with the thecracies of the Middle East, and other places where religion is state-enforced. Especially in America, no one religion should have the right to enforce its beliefs on the populace.

I think until Christianity as a whole begins to understand that people of other faiths can be moral beings, and that morality is much more about how we treat the people around us, and less about arbitrary rules, there will always be a cultural rift between Christians, and non-Christans.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

PSA

Reguarding the use of 'public' information in order to defame or otherwise disparage me and mine:

I have said my piece. Blade has said his. If the perpetrator wishes to continue trying to justify his mudslinging, he'll need to come out of his safe little cave and engage in public debate, where everyone can see his behavior.

Please know that I bear no ill will towards other members of his family, or others who enjoy his company and his community, unless, like some, they have used the sheild of his power there to attack me directly.

Monday, September 18, 2006

pot, meet kettle

People would tell us that they were warned to stay away from us... And some did actually listen... The other people who came over here anyway were shunned after that... Or looked at strangely in the community. And all it took for that to happen was to come to a place and say hello to a few people...

Even on place that still took place... It sure felt nice having people who have never even met you claim how horrible you really are...


Gee, I'm sure I'd have no idea how *that* feels...to be condemned just for the people you hang out with, or be branded with a certain label because of unfounded rumor and overreaction. Or have people hate you without ever talking to you, because their 'leader' said to hate you.

gotta love to hear something like that out of the same group of people who've been running a hate campaign on you for almost 2 years.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Clothes make the...

Glitzy t-shirts with suggestive slogans. Hip hugger jeans. THONG panties, for ghus sake. And now padded bras in sizes that would fit my 6 year old?

You will hardly find another person on the planet more apt to wave the flag of sexual freedom and being able to wear clothes that make you feel sexy, and I've happily reclaimed slut as a title of pride. Sexuality should be enjoyed, not hidden from.

But 'slut' clothes for girls who have barely entered puberty is too much. For one, it's giving girls the wrong message about themselves, that they have to be sexually suggestive to be attractive. Two, it makes it damn hard to advocate for free sexual expression in adults, when that image is being marketed inapproprately.

How can we say it's OK for a woman to dress in a clevage-baring shirt, and that she still has rights and boundaries, when little girls who havn't even got actual breast tissue are being encouraged to show off their 'assets'.

They have no idea what message their clothing sends, they have no idea that these things can be interpreted sexually, they just see the glitz, and that it's what their favorite -fill in the blank- wears.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Today

I honor Liam Colhoun, and all of the innocents who have ever lost their lives because of someone else's religious or political fanatacism.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

This comes from the blog of Cyantist Ryan Warzecha, an all around nifty guy:

Consider this a quest... no, a request... We have a great number of people signed up for the beta; however, I am a one of those types of people where there can never be enough. Call me crazy but I want a number that I spit out my morning coffee out when I see it. I want a number that when I say the number in the morning meeting that someone has to give Moke The Heimlich because he choked on his juice. I want a number that it gives Mark D night sweats worrying if the server will stay up. I think you get what I am getting at. This does not mean I want you to sign up with every email address you have. Some one might ask if Turner is going to base funding on the number of people in beta.That is not the case. I just want the numbers for my own personal vendetta to say "Hey World .. We are back... and guess what, this time its personal"


Completely seperate from the giggles I get at the thought of Moke snorting Orange Juice out his nose, everyone should sign up for beta :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So, the recent weirdness in the Uru community has had the unusual effect of actually starting to heal some rifts rather than cause them. I'm all for that. I'm still not letting my guard down in certain quarters though. While I'm fine with hatchet burrying, I'm not to 'trust', by any strech. Especially when the assessment that people in my 'lifestyle' are selfish 'me-first' people, and that sort of additude is the cause of the community's problems is still pinned for all to see. Sugar-coat it and generalize it (after the fact) all they want, that was a direct accusation, and a direct insult.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Mousie


I had a few people ask at Mysterium, so I thought I'd give the rundown here.

I have three kids, ages 16, 12 and 6.

The youngest is Mirriam, also known as Mousie, and she has a very rare (under 1000 known cases) genetic disorder called Smith-Magenis Syndrome. SMS is caused, primarily by a section of the 17th chromasome being missing, and in some kids, just the RAI1 gene missing.

SMS causes erratic behaviour, developmental delays, self injury behaviors and inverted melatonin levels, so they don't sleep well. Symptoms of SMS are often diagnosed as autism spectrum, OCD, ADHD or other behavioral psychiatric diagnosises. It takes a genetic test to find the SMS deletion, and as it becomes more widely known, more kids are being tested.

We were VERY lucking in that Dr. Magenis, the molecular geneticist who helped identify SMS worked at the childrens hospital that Mousie went to. Originally, Miri's SMS tests came out negative, because she's not missing anything on her 17th chromasome, but last fall two different facilities doing research on SMS confirmed that Miri's RAI1 gene is mutated.

She's a very cute kid, always on the go. She takes 24/7 care, so it's a challenge, especially without any respite or backup, but we squeek by.

Monday, July 31, 2006

We are Mysterium of Borg, you will be linked

Wow. How do you compress 5 days of amazement down into a blog post? Everything was a blast, from the roadtrip, to the amusement park, to heek, to Cyan, to presentation, to talking to caching. I can't even begin.

Wolfie, it was damn good to meet you. Give em hell.
Marten, thanks for enduring me :)
Prof Askew, you are teh roxxor, baby!
Keshwyn, yay for universe shrinkage!
EricL, I love you, bro.
Deg, you are to nifty.
River, you have to SHARE Nicolas Cage, yah hear?
Saphira, thank you for saying hello. Lets keep that going.
Ocelot and Alahmnat, you guys are entirely too cute together.
Ireen, you are fantabulous, especially when wet!
Jean, it's a shpedoinkel day!

I miss you all already, only 363 days to go!

Friday, July 28, 2006

And so it begins...

Here I am at Mysterium, relaxing for a bit in our hotel room before venturing out into the mayhem. Drive over here was good, if long, and the decorated cars got a plethora of funny looks. Yay! Sat up all night talking Myst with people. How nice to be able to geek without eyes glazing over.
So good to see so many people, and Greydragon came by last night to tell us all about what had happened at the mornings Town Hall (squee!) It's going to be a good weekend.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Echos of the Past

it might be well if you would ask yourself, are you better off than you were four years ago?...Is America as respected throughout the world as it was?


My answer to the first? Yes, and no. Yes, because we have more income and a home, but that has little to do with government economic policies. No, because we struggle with a child with disabilities on a daily basis, going deeper into debt for her care, completely unsupported by society in any way. No social services, no respite, no parent training, nothing.

Are we as respected? Hell no. Most of the world is starting to see America as the bully on the block, thowing its weight around if they don't dance to our tune, and a majority of Americans, in their ethnocentrism, don't care.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Oi

One again, the Guild of Drama Llamas is gunning for my head. I've long since passed being irritated or wounded by anything they say, their opinion matters not a whit to me. And anyone with enough brain cells to rub together can look at the reality, as compared to their cacophany, and form their own judgements as to my worth, so I have no fears that the tide of opinion will suddenly favor them.

Now, I just look at them and think how sad they are, to be so wrapped up in their hatered and delusions, that they focus on little else but taking me down. Down from where? That's what gets me...I'm just a random person in the community, and yet they seem hell-bent to discredit me. *shrug*

I often wonder how they came to the ELERI IS TEH SUXXOR EBIL platform, beyond my telling their leader what I thought of his manners and methods. Evidently disagreeing with the Guildmaster is enough to make me public enemy number one.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

'gashi

Sinnish Proverb
lakashim oso barlen odudhiyu

Loosely translated:
God is too big for one religion

Friday, June 23, 2006

Yay Music

Nifty musician Michael Garfield is doing a pacific northwest tour in July, with dates in Spokane, Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and more. Goest thou, and listen. Is good stuff. If you talk to him, tell him a Zaadzster sent you :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

the war against the HPV vaccine

HPV, the human papillomavirus, is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women. You've probably seen the new ads on TV about it. It's highly contagious, and almost completely asymptomatic and unseen unless detected by a pap smear, or cance appears.

The FDA has just approved a vaccine to prevent HPV infection. This is a good thing, right? Evidently the members of the Extreme Religious Right think no. They say that by giving a vaccine against this cancer-causing virus, it'll encourage promiscuity.

That's right folks...the religious wackos maquerading as Christians in this country would rather allow women to risk getting cancer, than do anything that might seem to 'condone' sex.

HERE is a good essay on the subject

Monday, June 12, 2006

PHC is teh Love

You might not have always liked Republicans, but you could count on them to manage the bank. They might be lousy tippers, act snooty, talk through their noses, wear spats and splash mud on you as they race their Pierce-Arrows through the village, but you knew they could do the math. To see them produce a ninny and then follow him loyally into the swamp for five years is disconcerting, like seeing the Rolling Stones take up lite jazz. So here we are at an uneasy point in our history, mired in a costly war and getting nowhere, a supine Congress granting absolute power to a president who seems to get smaller and dimmer, and the best the Republicans can offer is San Franciscophobia? This is beyond pitiful. This is violently stupid.


The rest of Garrison Keillor's bit is HERE

The Three Sorrys

First you feel sorry
Second you say you're sorry
Third you do something to show you're sorry.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Birth rant #782

How did we come to the point that the 'right' way to give birth is on your back, surrounded by bright lights and people bundled up like you're a hazmat spill?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Buhwah?

Ubisoft ditched Live, but funds Orgasm Training Bunnies?!?

Extended discussion

I ask, in all seriousness: Do you really feel safer than you did Sept. 12, 2001? And, if you do, do you feel the cost has been worth it? Do you feel we, as a nation, are doing all right? Is this, the path we're on now, what America is all about?

Much ado...

I wonder if people would be as up in arms if they'd said "pre-diabetic" or "pre-cancerous". "Pre-pregnant" is a medical term, not a social commentary. *sigh*

Monday, May 15, 2006

Music!

That's right kiddos! It's Radio Free D'ni! Coming to you live from D'mala, it's the most eclectic, unexpected radio show ever to hit the underground. And we really mean underground!

Tune your winamp dials to the usual place http://callahans.seanmcpherson.com:10000/listen.pls starting at 5pm Pacific!

Harumph

My ambassadorial radar was twitching...

Sure enough, there's not even BLIP of news on MMORPG.com about the return of live. Not even a mention of the official press release.

This is offensive! An outrage! We need to head over there with pitchforks and blazing torc...eerrr.....

what I mean is, one of the top mmorpg sites really should have the news, we should politely email them and remind them of the fact.

Friday, May 12, 2006

$

Doing Faerie Oracle and Elemental Oracle readings for $15, to help cover Widget's emergency c-section vet bill. (Kitten pics are HERE) Drop me a message.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The mind boggles

The fight against birth control

This just makes me ill. It's one thing to debate abortion, but to argue against the ability for someone to not get pregnant in the first place? Grarrr.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

D'ni Filk

From Julian Lapis:

The very model of a Cavern Representative

I am the very model of a Cavern Representative
Most consider me to be all knowing and articulative
I know the kings of D’ni and locations geographical
From Kerath’s Arch to Ae’gura in order typographical

I’ve travelled all the journeys and have studied Yeesha’s lifelong path
And turned the tables on a scary hammer wielding psychopath
I’m capable of solving every riddle D’ni ever had…
Whilst humming all of Ryan’s songs without going completely mad!

(Whilst humming all of Ryan’s songs without going completely mad,
Whilst humming all of Ryan’s songs without going completely mad,
Whilst humming all of Ryan’s songs without going completely-pletly mad!)

I can calibrate and activate the Zero single handedly
And trap a crazy father without getting shot repeatedly
The point is most consider me quite friendly and attentive
This is why I am the very model of a Cavern Representative!

(The point is most consider him quite friendly and attentive
This is why he’s the very model of a Cavern Representative!)

I know precisely what is meant by Shorah and Korfah V’ja
And have tumbled through a fissure made entirely of shiny stars
I did not fall for Sharper’s tricks or Esher’s random mutterings
But watch intently all of Lewin’s monetary flutterings

I’ve trawled a dying world to help a young lass return to her home
And battled wits with Bahro using nothing but a lump of stone
I’ve spun inside a marble, trying to hold on to my sanity…
Not mentioning my conflicts with a brother’s inhumanity!

(Not mentioning his conflicts with a brother’s inhumanity,
Not mentioning his conflicts with a brother’s inhumanity,
Not mentioning his conflicts with a brother’s inhumani-manity!)

In fact it could be said my D’ni knowledge is exemplary
Quite simply put, the very best of this modern century
The point is most consider me quite friendly and attentive
This is why I am the very model of a Cavern Representative!

(The point is most consider him quite friendly and attentive
This is why he is the very model of a Cavern Representative!)


Julian, you are the man.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Deep City LIVES

It's a DAMN good day to be a Myst fan.

www.urulive.com

now where are my hankies??

Monday, May 01, 2006

Thought for the Day

What happens when we can love someone, and not feel posessive of them?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Computer Games as Fandom

One of my odd quirks is that I occasionally randomly write college-paper-like essays on topics that come to my brain... the most recent was the lack of respect that computer games get from the fen communities

Go to any science fiction/fantasy convention and you’ll see people dressed as their favorite characters, from Klingons to Browncoats, from PsiCops to Goa’uld. You’ll see characters from movies, television, comics, books, anime...but rarely will you see a computer game character.

Listen to panels, and its the same story, discussions about the latest film projects, the newest TV shows, so and so’s latest book in such and such universe. Wander down to gaming, and you might hear discussion of the hot MMORPG of the week, but almost never discussion of the story.

So what have computer games taken such a backseat to film, television and books as a medium for creative science fiction and fantasy storytelling? Partially because, up until recently, they haven’t been able to deliver.

One of the early forerunners was the best selling computer game of all time until The Sims came along. With five games, a publisher-thwarted online multiplayer spin off, three books, (with a 4th pending), a Disneyworld attraction that was doomed by lack of appropriate technology, it has a background to stand up to any in book or on screen. A developed language, an established history, a fully realized culture, elements of hard science and fantasy woven into the story, not as throw-away plot devices, and a basic premise that should make any fan drool; that books can transport you to other worlds. And yet, how many of you, until that last sentence, even knew I was talking about Cyan World’s Myst series? A universe that has everything that most fen want in a background, and it’s been overlooked for almost 15 years, except by a dedicated group of fans.

Since the first Myst game arrived, and the technology developed for games has skyrocketed, developers have had to stand up and take notice that they can’t just have mindless pixel shapes running around on a screen. Players want realistic characters, interaction, and history. They want motivation for what’s happening, and why they are doing what they do.

Some of the online multiplayer games are taking a stand in developing cultures for their different races, story backgrounds, and world histories.

City of Heroes (and its partner game, City of Villains), for example, has a complete timeline and history, with story elements that are slowly released as part of gameplay. Guild Wars (Which calls itself a “Competitive Online Role playing Game”) comes with a “Lore Book” that gives, well, lore about the game world, and players are given quests that help further the storyline.

In the world of single player games, story is becoming an important part of even the most dyed in the wool first person shooter. Halo (and Halo 2) follows in the footsteps of the science fiction greats by creating a fine mix of alien and human conflict on a strange world. The good balance of story characters and gameplay make it worth paying attention to as a work of creative fiction, even if the thought of a movie adaptation makes many fen cringe.

In essence, I find very little to separate a well-written, richly historied computer game from the well-written, richly historied mainstays of science fiction and fantasy fandom. I think we do the people who put their creative efforts into these works a disservice by so roundly rejecting them.

How then, do we change this perception of computer games as not worthy of fandom? Perhaps by encouraging more panels on computer game fandom, by offering genre-specific costuming prizes at conventions, by interviewing computer game writers and artists and bringing their talents to the spotlight.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

not strangling people

I know that people are coming from a point of compassion. I understand that they see us in ongoing distress, and they want that stress to go away.

However, the nagging about putting our child in a home, or 'in the system', is not helpful. Especially when weve stated, repeatedly, why that is not currently an option. "You can't afford not to" is not a empathetic or constructive statement, it is born of ignorance. Putting the family in tens of thousands of dollars of debt each month is not going to ease the stress level. Relying on an overtaxed, underfunded, dubious state system is not going to provide her with support and stability.

So stop. Just, stop. If that's all you have to say about the situation, just stop talking. Because you are not helping.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ahh, politics

Evidently, publicly disagreeing with certain people in certain places makes you a happy target for their pattern of spreading malicious disinformation. Can you see me quaking in my boots?

I have no fear of these mayhemic mudslingers, because I know who I am, the people who's opinion I give a damn about know who I am, and everyone else can either be sucked in by lies, or not.

I am not playing this game here, there or anywhere else.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hmmm

You have two items. Properly handled, both items are safe and effective for the jobs they do. They both have the potential for accidents, that can cause serious harm, up to and including fatalities. They can both, in the wrong hands, be used to deliberately cause harm, although one has been designed for that purpose, and one hasn't.

It would make sense, then, that both things should be carefully monitored, right? That people should have to prove the ability to use them safely, understand the rules surrounding them, and have their ownership and use of the items tracked, and have stiff penalties for misuse?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I gotta crow!

The major website project I've been working on has gotten off the ground, finally.

RespiteSearch.org

After years of wrestling with inadequate resources in finding respite care for our daughter, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Why Real Lve Preacher is teh roxxor

I disagree. You do pick and choose in the Bible. You do because there is no other choice but to do so. I presume you do not advocate slavery as a valid way of having people work for you. And yet the New Testament encourages slaves not to rebel but to be obedient to their masters. I assume (I hope rightly) that you permit the women of your church to cut their hair. Paul forbade this clearly in First Corinthians.

If you worship on Sunday and carry out a normal Saturday for our culture, you are disregarding one of the Ten Commandments. At what point did you decide that commandment was less important than the others?

I could go on and on with this list. I could, for example, go into Leviticus and bring out a couple of doozies.

So you see, the Bible isn't the kind of book that will allow you to make wild claims like, "I used to pick and choose but now I don't."

It's just not possible to avoid picking and choosing, and I feel if you would examine the way you use scripture you will see that interpretation, prioritizing, and choosing are things we cannot avoid.


rlp in the responses to his essay on Slippery Slope Argument

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hear those War Drums?

My own views on the hotbutton of abortion aside, The idea of a state passing a law forbidding it even in cases of rape or incest strikes me as not the way to deal with the issue. So colour me irritated with South Dakota did just that.

However, in a brilliant show of native sovregnity, President Cecilia Fire Thunder, of the Ogala Sioux Tribe, has announce her intent to have a Planned Parenthood clinic opened on tribal lands, where it can provide reproductive health services, including, if needed, abortion, free of the state law.

http://www.indianz.com/News/2006/013061.asp

Healthy Parents =Healthy Kids

A new study found that treating depression in mothers, means their kids are less likely to be depressed.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/03/21/moms.and.depression.ap/index.html

Monday, March 20, 2006

Movie

So, V for Vendetta. Good movie, lots of preaching to the choir. The people who really should get the idea of recognizing extreme governement control aren't the people who'll be sitting in the theatre.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Just Not OK

If you are a pharmacist, your job, what you are licenced by your state to do, is dispense the medications that a DOCTOR has decided are the appropriate ones for THEIR patient. Your job is not to second guess the doctor, or pass judgement on the patient for the medications they are taking. AT THE MOST your job is to flag potential dangerous drug interactions, and contact the doctor.

If you have moral issues with handing out some of those drugs, you need a new job. Being a service-oriented pharmacist is not the place for you.

What comes next? Doctors being allowed to not treat obese patients, because they belive gluttony is a sin? Laws allowing waitstaff to refuse to serve somoene the steak they ordered, because the waitress is a vegitarian? Your morals allow you to make choices for YOURSELF. They do not give you the right to make choices for others.

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Uru Live Petition

Over 4000 people signed that first petition, but that list of names is 2 years old! Lets get a current and relevant headcount! The investors want numbers? Lets show them just how many people think Uru Live is worth having!

This call goes out to ALL Uru fans, not just UU users. And the call goes out to anyone who would value playing a mind-challenging, family friendly, non-violent online adventure game.

This time, we CAN make a difference!

http://www.petitiononline.com/uru2006/petition.html

(Feel free to copy the above text just as it is, to post elsewhere.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Making a Mockery

What's the difference between mockery, 'bashing', hate speech, teasing, bullying, etc? How is it that mocking something is ok, but bashing something isn't? Isn't 'bashing' just another form of mockery?

Sybilla Says:
I think it's a question of degree. Teasing is meant to either annoy or playfully mock the recipient. It can be either playful or mean, and sometimes gets taken to extremes, at which point it's no longer teasing, but abuse. Bashing, however, is aggressive and threatening, the verbal equivalent of getting severely beat up. In the middle is mocking, which, to me, is like heavy-handed teasing with malicious intent. Bullying is a means of intimidation and usually carries a threat or undercurrent of violence.

Wikipedia offers an in-depth look into bashing and its implications.

While writing this damn long comment, I consulted a dictionary, and this is what it told me:

Tease: "1. To annoy or pester; vex. 2. To make fun of; mock playfully."

Bash: "To engage in harsh, accusatory, threatening criticism." Also "to beat or assault severely."

Mock: "To treat with ridicule or contempt; deride."

Bully: "To treat in an overbearing or intimidating manner."

So yes, I think it's a matter of degree and intent. The difference between teasing and bashing is much like the difference between laughing at someone for the way she's dressed and punching her in the mouth because of it.


It seems that the question becomes, when a person or group is engaged in an activity that mocks or saterises another person or group-what is their intent and motivation, and will it be hurtful and truly harmful for the people being mocked, were they to experience it?

I think that the lions share of responsibility for determining if something is harmful is first, the recipient or subject of the mockery, followed by society as a whole. First for the subject, to stand up and say what's being done is hurtful, and should not be accepted, then for society to agree, and take steps to eliminate the mocking.

For example, take blackfaced performance. Up until the mid 20th century, blackface was considered and acceptable way to portray African-Americans. No one though twice about if it was offensive or harmful. Even some African-American performers wore blackface when portraying black characters. It took years before that form of mocking the apperance and stereyotyped personality of 'coons' was deemed unacceptable.

Obviously, offending someone with mockery or sature is unavoidable, because of the nature of satire, but when does mockery cross the line, and how do we determine that? Just saying "X deserves to be mocked" is unacceptable, because it runs perilously close to telling someone to just get a sense of humor, or you're 'just joking'.

Tell that to the Jews trying to eliminate the mockery of the 'moneylender', or the Pagans and the warty witch at Halloween, or the Christians trying to get out from under the shadow of Phelps and Robertson, and so on and so forth...
Speculative Preenactment. Like the SCA or Civil War players, only for the future. Not like a LARP, with stats and storyline and such.

This came out of a bit of discussion of Uru as an Alternate Reality Game, rather than a MMORPG. Blade actually participated in Majestic for a while, and I would count The Stone as a puzzle based ARG, because of its offline comunity aspects.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Quote of the Day

From the VAXJedi:
Everytime a bunch of people take a stand against intolerance of various forms, and call people on intolerance, I hear someone say something like 'aren't you being intolerant of intolerant people?'. When I hear that, I just want to be intolerant of their right to breathe by wrapping my hands around their neck. It annoys me because it's just semantic gymnastics that simply isn't as clever as the person thinks it is.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Beginnings, for all of us.

Can you do it? Can you walk through this door Cyan has given us, with open heart, open hand, and open mind? Can you start with a blank page, and begin anew?

Who gives a flying squee if such and such a group has a 'hood already? Who cares if so and so has made an avatar? Sure, we can go back to our own little corners and kvetch to ourselves, but are we humble enough to take what Cyan is offering, and make a fresh start of it? Can we let the wounds heal, or will we keep opening them? Can we put away the blame and judgement and rebuild, or, like the D'ni, will our pride keep us down?

What 'they' and 'them' are doing is unimportant. What matters is you. Me. Are we ready for d'mala, and D'mala? I sure the hell am ready to try.

*holds out hand*

Who's coming?

D'mala

How is D'mala that different from UU and the shards we already have?

Several big reasons, most of which can be found on the new UU FAQ:

17) Who are the people in Until Uru who are asking questions and doing surveys?
Employees of Cyan and our licensees will be periodically asking questions and collecting information. Thanks for your input.

19) Does this mean URU Live is coming back?
No, this is just a small step.

20) Will fan Ages be supported?
It is Cyan's goal to allow our fans to begin to write their own Ages. We hope to provide the tools and process in the future. But for now they are not supported.


Contrast this to the original UU FAQ, which made it very clear that we were never to expect new content, that Cyan wan't involved in UU at all, and UU was just something they were allowing.

Now, we have an offical "cannon" shard, where we can anticipate seeing DRC people, there's the potential of Cyan-created storyline, and officially sacntioned content. It fills in the gaps that UU had. And, there was a whole lot of "yet"s in Rand's letter.

I think many of the problems that plagued the community were a symptom of bored people trying to fill the no content void. With the potential of a changing story and enviroment, I think much of that will be eliminated.

And the until in UU is much more than just symbolic, now...

21) Will Until Uru be shut down if Uru Live comes back?
The name "Until Uru" says it all.


Uru: Ages Beyond Myst can be found very cheaply on Amazon. Uru: Complete Chronicles works too, and can be had just as cheaply. Working on getting the tutorial information for the needed dual install.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Quote of the Week

"There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers or principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of the flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril, we can never surrender. The future is all around us waiting in moments of transition to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of the future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Well, that explains it!

Conversation with a seeekrit Cyantist:
Eleri: Where in the Cyan contract does it say "employees must enjoy the fine art of making the fans sweat." *chuckle*
Unnamed Cyantist: umm in the last paragraph .. Near the line that says we must make comments that seem vague
Eleri: is there a special training for that?
UC: more like watching others..
Eleri: "Enigmatics the RAWA Way", sorta like a spendy weekend seminar
UC: or Enigmatic for Dummies - a cheap book you can buy at Borders
Eleri: heehee

Friday, February 03, 2006

Lonely in a crowd

On a good day we can attempt a family outing…on a bad day we stay home and fight over the last two Excedrin at the bottom of the bottle.


That's a quote from another SMS family, but it could just as easily be us. Trying to explain the ups and downs of SMS to 'normal' people often ends up like trying to describe blue to a blind man. Especially when it comes to behavior. Poeople have a hard time beliving that a child can be 'hard wired' to hurt themselves, or that they might really not understand cause and effect. I'm ready to print out little cards that say "No, my child isn't an undiciplined brat, she has a super-rare genetic mutation. Thank you for your compassion." Handing that to someone after they've made a snarky comment may be mean, but it makes me feel better when they eat crow.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Love

RSJM talks alot about how (if I interpret his words correctly) the core of true Christianity is trying to follow Jesus' exmaple of living a life of Love. And while he and I disagree on just what areas of loving one another are OK, the basic message is one I think would make the world a much nicer place if more of us loved. Not just romantic love, or sexual love, or parental/child love, but the idea that everything we do should come from a place of true loving compassion for each other and the space around us. When you talk to someone, when you interact with them, how are you giving them love in that moment? How are you letting your loving self show? Are your actions coming from a point of true compassion and caring, or some other emotion? How would those words and actions, if they were directed at you, impact you?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Autism Fundraiser

If you, or anyone you know, is into comic boocs, or robots, you might be interested in BOTS:

"Inspired by Nic's son Ben, PPS set out to create a project to promote autism awareness and raise money for the Autism Society of America. BOTS is a collection of artwork, donated by many of today's top comic artists. Contributors include Tim Sale, Randy Kintz, Sanford Greene, Lesean Thomas and Craig Rousseau. BOTS is currently in production and will debut at Mega Con in Orlando, FL, February 24th-26th. "

http://projectautism.blogspot.com/
http://www.portalproductionsstudio.4t.com/index.html

Aquila Memorial Auction

Upon the sugestion of several community members, we've put together an auction to help support Aquila's family. Please consider donating or bidding on an item.

Aquila Memorial Auction

Sunday, January 22, 2006

hmmm

I find that I'm full of a great deal of anger and pain today. Frustrated at a system that seems to be designed to let parents fail, frustrated at the people who suggest extremes, rather than support smaller actions that'll prevent larger problems.

One of the drawbacks to not being a member of an organised religion is the lack of a built-in support network. And it's not that the desire or the will to help isn't there in most pagan groups, it's that the needed infrastructure dosn't exist. Many churches have resources to draw upon when needed, from social support to financial assistance, and these are often supported by tithes and tax free donations.

I need to take some time today to collect myself.

Honor the Warriors, protest the war

"Talk show hosts like Hannity, O'Reilly and Limbaugh act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any credence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have."
--Spc. Doug Barber, who took his own life Tuesday, after struggling with PTSD for two years




More backstory here at angry_biscuit's post on the subject.


Look into it yourself. How is the current administration 'supporting our troops' once they come home, unable to serve?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

No More Abuse

From my friend John. He is wise.
"What right do you have to be happy?
"You're not good enough, you haven't done enough, and you haven't met my standards. You should feel sad, and anxious and dissatisfied, you should never relax and feel contentment or peace, until you've changed yourself to fit my mold."

Every day people hear those words, or words that mean the same thing. Every day people suffer in silence, wondering if they'll ever measure up. They struggle and carry on, but every time they improve, the standards get stricter, and the criticism harsher.

Does it make matters better if I tell you the abusers are suffering just as much? Or does that give away the punchline?

Shouldn't every victim be allowed to say "Stop! I'm not perfect, but I'm trying! Back off and let me be the best I can! Let me learn who I am, without being picked on and yelled at and scorned and mocked, and once I know who I am, then I can decide if I like it, or figure out what I want to change!"

Would not most victims agree that contempt, mockery, and unbridled criticism are among the worst ways to create positive change?

Ah, but the rules often change... when the victim is one's self.

"it's for your own good"
"the real world is hard, so I have to be hard"
"it's what you need"
"I just want you to live up to your potential"

So harsh and ugly when laid bare, when seen in retrospect, where the full extent of the damage done is visible.

And yet they're done to and by the self with impunity, dozens of times a day, by millions of people across the world... the only time when being a cruel abuser is considered acceptable... or even, sometimes, a virtue!

Crazy world we live in, isn't it?

dreaming

In all my time doing birth related stuff, I've found that one of the biggest challenges has been finding the space to do things. Most of the time we don't need space every day, or even every week, and finding someplace that is cost effective, comfortable, and available is sometimes beyond our ability.

My dream is to have a birth professional's co op, where people can use the space as needed, for teaching classes, or holding workshops, or meetings, or consults with clients. Someplace that parents can call and get hooked up with many different services, and birth pros can call for space, knowing it's going to be a calm, soothing birth-friendly space.

Someday, when I win the lottery ;) Or at least find enough like minded people to start a LLC.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

eep

I sent off The Story to be critiqued at a writer's workshop, at the gentle nudging of the organizer, who also happens to be a published author and former Hugo nominee. He seems to think it's good, we'll see if anyone else does.

Also sent it off to a friend of Blade's for an editorial once over, since I know my ability to catch silly spelling and punctuation mistakes is pretty slim.

Resolution for 2006 is to actually submit it to publishers. Heck, I'll even start at the top and send it to Asimov's and F&SF, first. Heh. Maybe.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Great Mysterium Roadtrip 2006

I've started plotting and planning this. The basic idea is for a bunch of us to meet in one place, load people and things into cars, and drive a caravan across to Spokane.

Right now I'm looking at two different routes, from the two big PNW travel hubs, Seattle and Portland. I'm looking at distance, attractions and facilities on the way, and other interesting things along the way. Once I have those mapped out, I'll put up a poll to chose between them.

Some quickie FAQ:

1) This would be a full day trip. Straight driving from either Portland or Seattle runs about 4-5 hours. I dislike driving straight through, and it's impractical with a caravan, so we'd be making regular stops.

2) We'll stay together. If you're the kind of person who doesn't want to be held up by others, or drive only 70, this might not be the adventure for you.

3) There's Stuff to Do along the way, and I want to plan time in for those.

4) There will be some financial outlay. Some of that will depend on what we come up with as far as vehicles, gas, food. No one would be turned away for lack of funds, though! (I might just put them to work...)

5) You will be responsible for getting to the launch pad in Portland or Seattle. I highly reccomend the Amtrak Cascade train for any travel between Vancouver BC and Eugene OR.