Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, meandering, muddled mind.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Finally, a Game Post, Sorta: Silverleaf

Like many Imperial Officers, the Lieutenant Major had ambitions that exceeded his abilities. Probably from some "high-born" clan with a few Force sensitives who had been become Sith. It made the rest of the family feel like they were entitled to things they had not earned. Back on Rattatak, the bounty hunter known as Silverleaf had earned—indeed, fought for—every honor and privilege he had received. That the weasely Imp clearly looked down on the near-human (even the term itself was offensive) looming over him made Silverleaf want to crush the man's skull like an egg.
But Mako had determined that the little schemer was essential to luring their true quarry down to the planet. So the hunter kept his impulse in check. The Cathar wench at the Imp's side set the Rattataki's common sense atingle, though. Her lack of interest in their conversation was just little too studied. But the Lieutenant Major prattled on, oblivious, and Silverleaf remained silent about her.

*****
The Rattataki were known across the galaxy as fearsome warriors. Clans and tribes had fought over the planet's meager resources for centuries. Weak or stupid individuals didn't usually last past childhood. Xuxuy Tesig was neither, and he had proven himself time and again not only in battle, but also the often more vicious gladiatorial combat that passed for entertainment on his homeworld. The scars running down his face from the nexu he'd battled in The Cauldron were proof of that.

At only 20 standard years—and already a veteran of the Games—the silver-skinned goliath had left Rattatak to seek adventure in the galaxy. After a few years as a mercenary, Tesig met an old bounty hunter named Braden. Claiming he'd never seen a man with a steadier aim nor a cooler head in battle, Braden recruited the Rattataki onto a team looking to get into the Mandalorians' Great Hunt. Braden's dataslicer, Mako—a Great Hunt enthusiast—insisted that the freshly minted bounty hunter needed a nickname, dubbing him Silverleaf.
*****

"All I need you to do is create 'problems' for a few of the local operations that are not under my personal jurisdiction," the weasel was saying. "My superior's reputation then suffers, and I will be in a position to replace him."

"I'm not exactly in the sabotage business, bub."

Mako cut in, "But I'm sure we can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement."

"Excellent," the Lieutenant Major actually rubbed his hands together in excitement. "This is actually a bounty of sorts. Here are the coordinates to the munitions factory. I already have a slicer inside. Her escort squad was decimated by the malfunctioning droids, and she refuses to carry out the plan without an extraction team. Force her to slice the factory, then take care of her. No loose ends, if you know what I mean."

"Understood," replied Silverleaf. "Get in. Do the slice. Do the slicer. Get out. We'll be back before sundown."
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If you're interested in joining the madness (Vloggers are welcome, too!), Belghast has a set of rules for qualifying for any prizes at the end. Your second stop should be the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Blaugust the Third: Allowing Comments on Your Blog

Jessica "Liore" Cook has some pretty solid advice regarding the comment section on your blog:
  1. Make sure your comment sections are functioning. Leave a test comment both as yourself and as a guest to kick the tires.
  2. Visit your comment sections on a phone to ensure that they’re legible.
  3. Requiring that I sign in with an account before leaving a comment is a significant barrier. If I can only leave a comment with a Disqus or social media account, I simply won’t bother. Sorry, but it’s just not worth trying to remember what name my social media account will use or sharing my personal information with yet another service.
There are two sides to Rule 3. I started out trying to keep my comments as open as possible; I even gave similar (Blogspot specific) advice during the first NBI. But shortly thereafter, my spam went through through the roof, and no anonymous commenter ever posted anything worthwhile. Silver lining: it's never been trolls, only commercial spam.

I have opened it up on occasion since, including about a month ago while doing my SWTOR speeder contest. However, even with the spam filter on Blogger, I have spent a significant amount of time dealing with spam, both cleaning out the filter (hairball!) and catching what the filter misses (which honestly isn’t much). But Blogger allows for all sorts of login sources that most people I know are already logged into, assuming they are allowing cookies on their computers: Google, LiveJournal, WordPress, TypePad, AIM, OpenID.

Also, while I didn't exactly have to sign in to Liore's blog, I did have to fill out the little form asking my name, email, and an optional website. Upon doing so and posting my comment, WP/Gravatar recognized me as "rowan" and put my "Locke" gravatar next to my name. So while perhaps easier to remember, the information I had to provide amounted to a login, anyway.

Having said all that, I understand if people don’t want to jump through hoops to comment. I resisted commenting through Disqus for the longest time, and still refuse to log into FB for the purpose of commenting elsewhere online. Just to test (once again) my spam filters, I am going to re-open IHTtS to anonymous commenting. Let's see how this goes.
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If you're interested in joining the madness (Vloggers are welcome, too!), Belghast has a set of rules for qualifying for any prizes at the end. Your second stop should be the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Blaugust the Second: Blaugust as a Writing Exercise

In the heat and doldrums of the late summer, Belghast sent out a call to his fellow bloggers: "Follow me! Post every day!"

I'm not sure what I want to get out of this Blaugust. A good chunk of my posts last year were about what a pain it turned out to be. And I ended up hardly posting in September, which I then dubbed Slacktember. While I don't think I can or want to sustain the daily pace of  Blaugust indefinitely, I am hoping to not be so burned out by the end that I only post twice the following month.
I also hope to post less about how I don't really want to post. Because that's kind of lame.

But if blogging is like a marathon, Blaugust is like a sprint at the end of the marathon. One of the keys is finding a good routine. Through the years, I have tended to compose my posts during downtime at the office, in between assignments. Obviously this means that when work gets busy, the blog suffers, because I have neither the habit nor the energy to writing at home in the evening.

I could get up in the morning and post while waking up, like Bel does. But that has never really worked well for me, and it impacts how late I can stay up. Unlike Scooter, I need a good 8 hours of sleep, so an 05:30 wake up requires that I be in bed asleep by 21:30 (9:30 for you non-military Americans). If I want to include a decent post in that routine, I need to get up even earlier, necessitating an even earlier bedtime. I understand now why my father, who arose about 4:30 every morning while I was growing up, was asleep in the recliner by about 7 pm on weeknights. And when would I ever get to gaming, the discussion of which is the whole reason for this blog?

Are all these things just excuses for not developing a good writing routine? If I had a little more self-discipline, could I develop the writing routine that I could then use to actually write the fiction I would like to? Can I develop the strength or stamina to write even when inspiration hasn't struck?
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If you're interested in joining the madness (Vloggers are welcome, too!), Belghast has a set of rules for qualifying for any prizes at the end. Your second stop should be the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
~~~~~~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Blaugust the First: Rise of the Blaugustians

Just give Bel a few years. . .
The month of August is upon us. Last year, Belghast the Aggronaut challenged the blogosphere to follow his pattern of daily blogging for 31 days. While old Bel was surprised by the number of people that ended up participating, I was not. Despite (or perhaps partly because of) Bel's self-deprecation, he has developed quite a following.

I see nothing wrong with beginning the insanity of Blaugust with a roll call of my fellow inmates:


I included Tales of the Aggronaut and IHTtS as well, so the count will be slightly different than Bel's. I think I will create a special blogroll for the month, as well. But not today. And since I have to fluff this up a bit, can I just say making two columns in html was a pain?

If you're interested in joining the madness (Vloggers are welcome, too!), Belghast has a set of rules for qualifying for any prizes at the end. Your second stop should be the Blaugust Nook, where Bel is keeping track of everything and community members are sharing encouragement and ideas.
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"We were a good team. Weren't we?"

So Scooter and I just finished Season 2 of Agents of SHIELD on Tuesday night. When the show premiered almost two years ago, I was pretty hyped, coming off the high of The Avengers. I even wrote up a short, positive review of the pilot. Unfortunately, the next few episodes were a little "meh," and I ended up losing interest, especially given how seldom I watch weekly episodic television. Also, unfortunately, I apparently stopped watching about the same time Season 1—like John Cleese—got better.

The benefits of Netflix include the ability to binge watch entire seasons of show in a relatively brief period of time, allowing weak episodes to be subsumed into the larger flow of a series. Such is the case with AoS. I watched the first season in December or January, when Scooter was busy with something else, and ended up really enjoying it. But Hulu didn't have all the episodes from Season 2, and I didn't want to start "in the middle." And Scooter still needed to catch up with Season 1. So we've been doing just that for the past few weeks, interspersed with SWTOR sessions.

Anyway, the second season was even better than the first, though there were still a few episodes here and there that were weaker than others. I like how they tie the AoS storyline into events from the movies without making it necessary to see either the movies or the show to make sense of what is going on. Some interesting plotlines have developed, and the season finale brought some good closure, while teasing a few new plotlines for Season 3. I don't want to spoil anything if you haven't seen the show. I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity to see Agents of SHIELD in the near future.
~~~
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.