Game names

Feb. 28th, 2010 10:43 pm
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Hey, indie role-playing game designers! I love many of your games, but there’s this one thing’s been driving me nuts, and I think you could maybe do something about it: When you’re coming up with a name for your game, could you consider that people interested in it are going to do Google searches, not just for the game’s home page, but for online discussions?

Take Vincent Baker as your model in this. When you google for Dogs in the Vineyard, Kill Puppies for Satan, or Mechaton, you get links pointing to pages about those games.

But what if you’ve been hearing about this awesome SF RPG called Diaspora? Not only do none of those links point to anything having to do with the game in question, but one of them is about an entirely different game! The same goes for Shock:.

Worse yet is a game I found mentioned today on an RPG forum — Project: Vanguard. Without the colon, this was the name of a US Naval Research Labs project from the 1950s, with the goal of launching a satellite. Not only does a simple Google search not turn up anything about the game, but “vanguard” is a common enough term in RPG names and discussions that even putting the name in quotes and adding “rpg”, while it does turn up good links, also turns up a lot of false positives.

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Aaaaauuugh! I managed to totally forget that there was a Sketchcrawl on Sunday! And the weather was nice, too! At least there’s another one coming up on December 11th; I’ve set my Backpack account to email me a reminder a few days in advance.

Crappy day

Jul. 10th, 2005 11:42 pm
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This here been one of them crappy days. Hot and sweaty, felt like someone had turned up the local gravity, and on top of that I had a headache for most of the evening. Didn’t feel like doing much of anything. Managed to get laundry done, strolled around the neighborhood a bit, had some iced tea and a brownie at Basic. Haven’t drawn anything in what feels like forever.

I’m currently just about halfway through Rafael Sabatini’s Scaramouche. D’you think if they made another movie of it nowadays, the distributor would work up some kind of cross-promotion with Fandango? Anyway, it’s fabulous. Lots of snappy dialog, philosophical arguments, and intriguing. I’ll have to read Sabatini’s Captain Blood at some point, but I’ve got a stack of other books that need attending to. Bruce Sterling The Zenith Angle recently came out in paper, as did Charlie Stross’s Iron Sunrise and The Family Trade, and I’ve also got Cory Doctorow’s new book, Someome Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, and John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. I need to start reading faster.
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Look, if I disobey the command to “Don’t read this”, what makes you think I’m gonna obey the orders hidden behind the cut?
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WTF? The #1 hit for “papasan chairs” on Google is a negative search result on Lycos? What are they feeding those pigeons?

Google search screenshot for "papasan chairs"

At least this turned up. It may do. Maybe I’ll stroll up to Tar-zhay tomorrow to see if they’ve got one on display for me to try out. I’m not sure if those legs’ll support my hefty ass.

A big comfy chair and a good light source. A little table next to it for holding a cup of tea or something too. Yeah, that’s what I need.
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Hey, did Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, any of that crowd, any of them bother to mention that boxer shorts fit funny when you put ’em on backwards? Hanh?

Damn DOS

May. 18th, 2004 02:24 pm
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Can anyone explain this to me?

N:\fake\path\here>dir *bur*
 Volume in drive N is fakevolumename
 Volume Serial Number is 12345678

 Directory of [path deleted]

05/18/2004  02:08p              30,666 TX030_BUR.jpg
04/14/2004  12:44p              36,537 SO129_ECR.jpg
05/18/2004  02:08p              28,059 TX032_BUR.jpg
05/07/2004  02:02p              25,932 FT098_BUR.jpg
05/18/2004  02:08p              28,587 TX031_BUR.jpg
05/13/2004  12:20p              30,084 FT097_BUR.jpg
05/07/2004  02:02p              25,584 FT099_BUR.jpg
               7 File(s)        205,449 bytes
               0 Dir(s)  36,263,952,384 bytes free
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Been feeling kinda low-level crappy recently. Not so much today; yesterday I noticed myself clenching my jay and grinding my teeth a whole lot. Still don’t know why. Maybe it’s just not going to the gym.

Or not drawing. It’s been a while since I really had time to sit and draw like I used to. I’ve started taking my pocket-sized Moleskine sketchbook and a 005 Micron Pigma in my jacket breast pocket and sketching people on the train again:

[ sketches ]

Soooo rusty. I’ve also been sketching school uniform designs for [ profile] bigscary’s upcoming online RPG. Rusty there, too. The pen just don’t dance like it used to.
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Trying to make up a character for a Big Eyes, Small Mouth game has reminded me of the annoying things about a system that I generally like.

RPG neeping here )

Another annoying thing that has nothing to do with the system is that I want to make up a necromancer, but the character who shows up when I start typing is a rakshasa.
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How long have piercings and tattoos been really popular? In the mainstream of the US middle class, I mean. Has it been long enough that people with piercings and tattoos can be horrified when their kids want to get jewelry implanted in their eyeballs? (Thanks, [ profile] zoe_trope, I’ll be having nightmares now.)
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Grrrr. I picked up my new PDA at Circuit City last night, a Sony Clié TJ37. Sony ships a CD that contains a special-for-Cliés version of the Palm Desktop, but it’s only a Windows app. I figured this only mattered for things like accessing the MP3 player. Nope. From hunting around on the web, I’ve finally discovered that any Clié with an MP3 player won’t sync at all with the ordinary Palm Desktop on a Mac.

There’s a solution — The Missing Sync, a piece of third-party software, which gives Mac users full access to the Clié. I eventually bought the download version (after waiting an hour because their store site’s server was down). I got my confirmation email, which was supposed to contain a download URL, but didn’t. I wrote to customer service, who’ll eventually get around to me by the next business day. Fuckers.

Update: Actually, they emailed me with an URL about seven hours after I sent the complaint. Still not as good as it could have been, but better than the next day.
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Grrrr. Within a few minutes of starting to use it, my old Palm IIIx went into a circular-reboot crash, with the only way out being to wipe all the data. All the data that I’d spent two hours loading in last night. At least it happened while I was still at home, and hadn’t started actually keeping anything irreplaceable on it. Back to the dying Visor. The good news is that I may be able to afford a new Palm this month after all. And the Zire 71 is slightly smaller than the IIIx in all three dimensions, so I’ll probably be able to use my old Covertec Cobra PDA holder with it. (Covertec doesn’t make the Cobra anymore, and I can‘t tell if their new models have the same belt clip system that made the Cobra so great. Their new, annoying website mentions a “Fully movable ‘Wips’ System belt clip built into each case”, but doesn’t tell me what the fuck that means, or provide any pictures of it.) (OK, it looks like it’s something similar. Why the fuck did I have to go to another website to find a photo of Covertec’s main distinguishing feature?)

In other shopping difficulty news, I was unable to find any Jim’s Big Ego albums locally. Tried the Virgin Megastores at both Union and Times Squares, and a bunch of small shops on St Marks Place. Virgin’s got this new thing where you go to a kiosk and thump your finger on a “Search” button a bunch of times and no search screen appears; it’ll probably be all the rage among large, faceless retail establishments.
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Every so often I’ll see a story in the news on a topic I know about. Every single time this happens, the story is a pile of rubbish. Here’s the latest, from The Guardian:

Just 48 hours before Lord Hutton delivers his verdict on the controversy surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, the BBC has begun an advertising experiment that involves buying up all internet search terms relating to the inquiry.

Despite being one of the main players in the drama, anyone searching for "Hutton inquiry" or "Hutton report" on the UK's most popular search engine Google is automatically directed to a paid-for link to BBC Online's own news coverage of the inquiry.

Well, that sounds pretty creepy. But wait — “automatically directed to”? What does that mean? When I do a Google search, I get a list of links, and I can click on the one I want, I’m not automatically directed anywhere. And since when does Google sell link rankings? Ah, further in the story, we find out what’s actually going on:

Through Google's Ad Words service advertisers can bid to buy up search terms that relate to their business. The more they bid, the higher up their link is shown on the right-hand side of the page next to Google's normal results sorted by relevancy.

Oh, that’s all? The BBC bought an ad on Google? What’s the big deal? Lots of people do that. That bears no resemblance at all to what The Guardian claimed in the opening paragraphs.

To top it all off, when I actually Google for hutton inquiry, I don’t see any ads at all. The top link goes to (I don’t know who owns that, and don’t care enough to do a whois). And in a fine display of self-referentiality, the top news link goes to that Guardian story.

So, is all mainstream news reporting this bad, and I just don’t realize it most of the time?
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You’ve probably seen this argument: If you’re not willing to personally kill and butcher an animal, you shouldn’t eat meat.

Let’s apply that logic to other areas of life, using the magic of reductio ad absurdum! )
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One thing Jersey City’s teaching me is how good the transit was in NYC. Not just the transit itself, but the support services. Specifically: the maps.

There doesn’t seem to be a bus map for Jersey City. Each borough in NYC has a map showing all of the bus routes, overlaid on a street map of the borough, so you can find your start and finish points and then see what routes go by and where the intersection are. No such thing here. We’ve just got route maps for each route, so you’ve got to already know what route goes where, and gods forbid you need to transfer, ’cause then your decision tree starts branching out into mystery space.

It looks like there’s one bus route that goes past where tomorrow’s interview is, and it doesn’t intersect with any other bus route. It looks like there are two routes that go near me. Do either of them go within a few blocks of that first bus? I don’t know, and there’s no easy way to find out. NJ Transit’s website is supposed to be able to advise me, but when I use that form, it claims there are no routes near my origin.

As far as I can tell, from consulting an actual map of Hudson County and guesstimating where the light rail stops are (’cause they’re not marked, though the PATH stations are), it looks like my options are (1) walk three-quarters of a mile or so east to the light rail, take a two-and-a-half mile train trip to a spot three-quarters of a mile or so northwest of my destination, and then walk from there, or (2) just walk two miles south. In the snow, all uphill both ways, no doubt.
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Yesterday, [ profile] akawil, [ profile] ladymondegreen, and I celebrated the new year with a trip out to the Indian neighborhood near Journal Square for some vegetarian dosa and curry. They had Indian shows running on the satellite TV, mostly with lots of singing and dancing, though we came in towards the end of a low-end comedy/action movie (or TV show). I understand most Indian movies are musicals; I wonder what Hollywood action movies would be like now if directors had been inspired by Bollywood instead of Hong Kong. All singing dancing Matrix!

Today there was some confusion over where Games-Club-in-Exile would be held, so I wound up just staying home. (I’d missed the previous two GCs, but got in a bit of gaming at the party on Wednesday, so I wasn’t jonesing too hard.) I hung out at Ground for a while and finished inking this drawing I’d started after dinner last night:

Drawing of dancing girl )

Speaking of the confusion, there’s a dynamic in online communication that some people seem not to have grasped. On arguments )
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Other stuff from yesterday:

I’m down to one last lead in the pack of ten non-photo-blue 0.5mm mechanical pencil leads I bought in September. (That’s not including the current one and replacement sitting in my mechanical pencil.) I’ve been going through ’em pretty quick recently. I stopped off at Kinokuniya Books to stock up, and they only had one pack left! Aiieeee! I’m sure they’re ordering more, but will they get in by the time I need them (which should be, um, March or April) They had another kind, but they were 0.7mm.

[ profile] bugsybanana and I had to walk about eight blocks out of our way to get around the huge cordoned-off area north of Times Square. We could have walked through if we’d been willing to wait on line and show ID. I had no intention of starting off my new year by acting like a citizen of the Soviet Union and showing fucking identification papers to the cops just to walk the public streets of my own city. Sorry, I’m just one of those cranky old guys who remembers living in a free country.
avram: (Doomed)
Grrr! Dreamhost, where I have hosted and stick the images I post here, isn’t letting me upload stuff. I keep trying, and their file server keeps failing to recognize my password. Their web control panel recognizes it fine, so the password still works in some sense. I’m nowhere near my disk space limit, and I’m paid up through the end of the month. I entered a support request last night, but haven’t gotten a reply. Not happy.

But it’s an excuse to use this new icon.
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Turns out that you can open a stuck jar of gesso by prying under the lid with a screwdriver. Works real well. Lid comes off all at once, real quick-like. If your goal involves covering your shirt, hands, arms, and several floor tiles with gesso, I cannot recommend this technique highly enough.

But that’s not all! Since the first question 90% of my friends ask when I talk about gesso is “What is gesso?”, I figured I’d provide a web link. I typed what is gesso into Google, and it came back with a definition link.

April 2017



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