Monthly Archives: November 2012

Life in the Owlbear Hegemony

Because I have nothing more pertinent, relevant, or sensible to contribute.

6am: Woken by hootroars, since owlbears are for no particularly logical reason diurnal. (SHUT UP YES THEY ARE.)

7am: After hurling chunks of raw bloody meat to one’s personal owlbear master, typically located in a foul-smelling pit in the backyard, eat breakfast of carefully nutritionally balanced grey stuff that tastes like cardboard marinated in bleach.

8am: One hour drive to Miserable Work Pit complex. Because owlbears are somewhat literal-minded, you are punished with electrical shocks if you do not take exactly one hour.

9am-12 noon: Pointless labour in Miserable Work Pit complex. Pits are assigned at random, meaning that if you had any pointless labour left uncompleted the previous day, someone else will have to do it. Work is often interrupted when one of the owlbears present is hungry.

12 noon-12:30pm: Feeding time. Yet more raw bloody meat.

12:30pm-1:00pm: Lunch break. Food is neither nutritious nor delicious. In fact, nutritionally speaking, you would in fact be better off skipping lunch.

1:00pm-5:00pm: Paperwork. Pieces of paper are sorted according to which owlbear would most like to nest in them. Accuracy not a major factor.

5:00pm: Drive home, subject to same requirements as drive to work. Some people who live close to a Miserable Work Pit complex have developed quite intricate pieces of equipment so they can jump out of the car as it goes past their house and it will drive around the block by itself for another twenty minutes before pulling into the garage. Or more often the neighbour’s flower beds.

6:00pm: Another day, another few hundred chunks of raw meat. Where the heck is it all coming from?

7:00pm: Everyone simultaneously claims to be not hungry because starvation is better than the nutritional bars served at dinner.

8:00pm: Existential crisis.

9:00pm: Go to bed.

3:00am: Wake up and scream.

Remember: be on your guard. IT COULD HAPPEN.

– OSM out


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Elements, Redux: Further Thoughts On Each Element

A while back, I did a post on Elements: the Game. Now for some more details, because hey, you guys never get bored of reading about a game you don’t play.

Life. Good at: Healing, efficient beaters. Bad at: Removal. Life decks tend to grab large fistfuls of HP and use their cheap and beefy creatures to beat you down.

Earth. Good at: Taking hits, dishing them out. Bad at: Killing enemy creatures. Earth is pretty much as scrappy as you’d expect. Its grand annoying tactic is shrieker spam – delay enemy creatures with petrify and guard effects, while unleashing big hitters that burrow into the ground (halving attack power but making them impossible to target) and slowly pummel the opponent to death.

Aether. Good at: Too freaking much. Bad at: Being fun to play against. Aether is not a deck you feel better after engaging. In fact, usually you will come out with an expression of acute rage and a passionate hatred of whichever fool decided that a permission deck was a good idea. Aether has one of the nastiest single-target removal spells in the game, plus a shield that grants invulnerability to physical damage, a sword that can lobotomise enemy creatures, and multiple creatures it’s impossible to hit. 90% of Aether decks you will encounter boil down to “cast intangible creatures, drop a Dimensional Shift every third turn so enemy creatures can’t attack, and just laugh for the rest of the day.” And that’s not particularly rewarding to play against, because it means you can’t actually influence the game all that much.

Dark. Good at: Lifedrain, underhanded ploys. Bad at: Defences. Dark decks tend to be heavy on indirect moves – stealing enemy weapons and shields, draining enemy quanta, throwing around stuff that deals damage and restores life. Sadly, Dark creatures tend to be alarmingly fragile.

Fire. Good at: Removal, speed. Weakness: Creatures are even more fragile than Dark. Of all the common critters Fire has, only two have more than one HP. And while the lava golem can pump itself up, that requires a supply of earth quanta. The phoenix is interesting, however; the confounded thing just won’t die and is almost impossible to get rid of.

Light. Good at: Protection, heavy hitting. Weakness: Not cheap. Light decks tend to be elite but expensive forces that heal up when they’re about to die and simply won’t stop coming.

Gravity. Good at: Dishing out damage, resilience. Bad at: Mass removal. Gravity is the more or less sole province of the Momentum ability, which can go right through shields, and the Gravity Pull ability, which uses a creature to soak up hits. However, since their primary shield only stops creatures with high toughness, a large number of smaller troops can just walk right past.

Death. Good at: Wearing down the enemy, blocking attacks. Bad at: Killing big creatures. Death decks are good at a slow, grinding, attrition-based strategy that’s heavy on poison and the creation of skeletons. However, an enemy with a high resilience will dish out several hits before it dies and that’s not usually a good position to be in.

Time. Good at: speed, numbers. Bad at: Reliability. Time is the only element to get persistent card draw, but their only removal is temporary (or requires a lot of scarabs and a supply of gravity quanta) and some of their stuff, such as the Fate Egg, can backfire badly if you’re unlucky.

Entropy. Good at: creature destruction, acceleration. Bad at: Reliability. Compared to Entropy, Time is dependable. And cheaper. But Time doesn’t have acceleration like Nova, while Entropy does. Schrodinger’s Cat works nicely with Death stuff, allowing you to mass-produce skeletons and bone walls.

Air. Good at: mass removal, sledgehammer blows. Bad at: Heavy removal. Air encourages a pricey but devastating alpha-strike approach with large flying creatures everywhere.

Water. Good at: Endurance, delaying tactics. Bad at: Direct damage. Water is good at freezing creatures, cutting down enemy numbers, and otherwise holding off defeat. However, apart from one or two creatures, it’s not so good at inflicting direct harm.

– OSM out

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Facebook’s “do you know” emails are getting ridiculous

I am looking at the Junk folder of my email account right now.

I have Facebook “do you know” emails for the following:
Lovely Lightworker. Obviously I don’t know anyone named Lovely Lightworker, because no parent on Earth would be a sufficiently disaffected ex-hippie to inflict that name on their child, and anyone who would should be reported to the government immediately.

Moon SunStar. As above, with bells on.

Abida Yoga Fitnes. Oh hey look at that crazy person eye twitch I just picked up at that last word.

Saturn The-Planet. Just…what?

Harmony Angel. Anyone who uses their “Works at” section to deliver pseudo-profound horsehockey needs to be hit with a cattle prod.

Fifth Dimension Ascension. >Random Facebook Idiot: Ascend more casually.

And that’s why Facebook is a bad thing to subscribe to.

– OSM out.

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Surviving the Internet: Surviving 4chan

This is a joke. If you want to survive the Internet, stay well away from 4chan.

For the uninitiated, 4chan takes the form of a high-speed, low-average-IQ messageboard, in much the same way and for much the same reason that Cthulhu takes the form of a squid monster. The real secret of its existence is that there are some terrible things from forgotten dimensions which have to be trapped somewhere, and one was caged within the Interwebs.

Each captcha it flashes up when one attempts to make a post is a name of this abhorrence, which we might as well call All Ocedthu because that was the most recent one to pop up during my research incursions. When all of the names have been cycled through, it will be unleashed. The conservative estimate is that this will happen within about eight weeks.

– OSM out

and probably in need of serious therapy.

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Fountainhead update

I haven’t read any of it since my last post on it.
My excuse is that I found the first six Bone graphic novels at the library and couldn’t resist. Also Ayn Rand is a really bad writer.

I still intend to read it eventually. It’s just that my plan of 100 pages per week failed quite a while ago and I really don’t care about it enough to try and get back to managing it.

So I’m sorry if you were waiting with bated breath for the next installment. (I’m pretty sure you weren’t, but you know, just in case.)

– OSM out

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Filed under An Awful Awful Book

Rules for Commenting

Because I think it’s important to set these down now, rather than later, here are a few rules for any of you who wish to achieve the awesome* and inspiring* notoriety* of one who has posted a comment on this blog. So if you’ve posted something that you intended constructively and it hasn’t made the cut, a) it’s your own fault, and b) here’s how you can ensure that your next contribution to this incredible* repository* of human knowledge makes the cut.

Also I have no better ideas for what to write today, and you can count yourself lucky I didn’t go with my first idea and turn this into a Karkat-style time travel flame war. I have read way too much Homestuck over the past few weeks.

[note: words marked with * are sarcastic]


Rule #1: I Do Not Live Under A Bridge And Harass Billygoats.

Unless you can provide conclusive evidence that you do, in fact, come from Alternia, trolls are not welcome here. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me. A good debate is a fun way to spend an afternoon. But incoherent personal attacks are neither good nor a form of debate, and thus, I class them as trolling. (I have no doubt that the guy who described atheism as “a unique ideology of the lost,the doubter,and selfish.,” [sic] thought he was contributing, but a) I don’t like being insulted, b) I don’t see what’s so bad about doubt, and c) the punctuation has me on the verge of going full Kharn the Betrayer, so goodbye.)


Rule #2: I Am Not A Singing Viking In A Restaurant

I don’t class spam as just the ravings of mindless digital dimwits set up by con artists to send nonsense, but commentary that adds nothing to anything. As a result, incoherent nonsense and stuff that’s off-topic is likely to be given the Big Goodbye. (So far I’ve only let one post make it past this rule, and that comes from someone I know in meatspace so he kind of gets a free pass. Wantonly abusing my power? Well it’s about the only power I have, so what the hell.) Taking a leaf from MTG Salvation, I’m also defining one-word and one-letter posts as spam. So the guy who just wrote “9”, well, sorry, but if you could include more detail next time, your comment might actually make it onto the page.


Rule #3: I Am, In Fact, Invading Grammar Czechoslovakia

I don’t mind a bit of linguistic disruption. Sentences that aren’t perfectly grammatical don’t send me into killing rages, and a typo won’t have me coming down on you like a ton of bricks. But if you can’t figure out the space key or complete a simple sentence without four misspellings, then you’re not welcome here. (If English is not your first language, then I’m sorry, but I want to set a good example for others for whom English is not their first language, and part of that is keeping this place at least relatively safe for the sanity of the ghosts of Strunk and White.)


And that’s how you can fill an entire 500 word post without needing to come up with quality content.

– OSM out

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Don’t take up Pascal’s Wager


Just yesterday, I had a freak encounter with a wild Pascal’s Wager. It’s the argument that even if you don’t find the (lack of) evidence for God convincing, you should believe anyway, because if you believe and you’re right you go to Heaven, but if you believe and you’re wrong, you’ve lost nothing, right? It’s a surprisingly common argument. A lot of people find it compelling.

It’s also a load of horsehockey.

When you get right down to it, it has two parts and both of them are terrible – three if you count the assumption that believing something is a little switch you can just toggle on the spur of the moment, but I don’t see any reason to waste time on that one. The part aimed at the listener basically goes “atheists are bad people who need an incentive like self-preservation to believe.” Yeah, no. I disbelieve in God because I have never seen compelling evidence that He exists, and thus I do not find the argument that He does particularly compelling. It’s not “because Christianity didn’t give me pie.” It’s “because Christianity can’t back up its claims.” Totally different phenomenon.

But if the implicit disrespect to not just me but all atheists wasn’t enough, then there’s what Pascal’s Wager says about Pascal’s God. And what it says is not good.

Fundamentally, it says that Christian morality has all the sincerity of a bratty seven-year-old becoming a Perfect Little Angel (TM) when the Christmas decorations go up. It’s not about doing the right thing because it’s the right thing. It’s about doing the right thing because you want stuff. And moreover, it says that God doesn’t care. It says that God cares more about getting compliments that flatter Him than he does about whether those compliments mean anything.

And frankly, if that’s what you believe your God is like, then screw Him with a drill press. Because if I’m wrong and there is a God, and he cares more about His ego than He does about truth, then frankly, I’d prefer Hell. It may be a lake of eternal fire and pitchforks being inserted into places pitchforks aren’t meant to go, but at least it’s an honest lake of fire. I’d much rather have torment that’s honest than an enormous garden packed with pretty flowers and two-faced vipers.

Come on. If you’re going to believe in something, at least believe in something that isn’t a complete self-obsessed tool. Come up with a God I can respect, even if I can’t believe in Him.

(As an aside, if applied consistently, the logical conclusion of Pascal’s Wager is that we should all devote ourselves to all religions simultaneously, just on the off chance that one of them is right. Because hey, just because Beni from The Mummy is a sleazy, spineless rat who would feed his own mother to alligators to save his own miserable hide, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t emulate him, right? Scene, in case you have no idea what I’m talking about.)

– OSM out

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