Monthly Archives: January 2013

A warning

I will not be able to make my usual updates next week, since I will be quite a long way away from my usual base of operations.

Sorry, but the travel is mandatory and I have no idea what kind of shape I’ll be in during it. I think it better to skip posts of “arrrrrrgh wgstfl” entirely.

– OSM out


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I feel like M. Bison hearing Guile had been shot

Today, all goes to plan, I’m putting my ageing laptop in for a reformat. After five years of always having a joke about the awfulness of Vista close to hand, I’m getting it wiped and replaced by XP. (Yes yes I know Windows 8, but at present I can’t run any contemporary games anyway because my laptop is so far behind the technical curve it might as well be running on thermionic valves.)

And if I’m being honest, I think I’m going to miss it.

I mean, Vista was an awful piece of kit. The system event notification service went belly-up four years ago and I never got around to fixing it, instead hatching workarounds for the long boot times and complete inability to connect to other systems. The battery time was down to half an hour at minimum settings. Even the Documents folder was glitchy, leaving TMP files lying around unless the file was placed in a folder – I recycled virtually the entire Documents folder a while back, saved something else and it still happened.

And yet, somehow I can’t help but feel like I’m losing a worthy adversary.

This will probably fade as soon as I get it back from the shop tomorrow and can actually do stuff with it again, but what the hell.

– OSM out

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The most annoying thing about teetotallism

I don’t drink.

I don’t have any moral or philosophical objections to alcohol or anything. I don’t believe drinking is evil. I’m not a recovering alcoholic. I just don’t find it enjoyable. Wine, to me, tastes foul, and beer is absolutely repugnant. I can handle vodka, if it’s mixed with something I like, but then the question becomes: why bother? Why not just drink the thing I like and skip the firewater entirely? So I just generally don’t bother.

The most annoying thing mentioned in the title? Quite simple, really. Whenever I tell people the reason that I don’t drink, there is a virtually 100% probability that someone will ask “have you tried [drink]?”

Why do people do this? Is the idea that I might be perfectly happy not drinking totally foreign to these people? Is that the issue here?

But I reserve my mental Defcon 1 for the phrase “we need to find you a drink”. Well, we’ve verified that I don’t need to find me a drink, so what I assume this means when I hear it is, you need to find me a drink.

But, Mr. (and it usually is a male) Hypothetical Person, why do you need to find me a drink? How will making me drink improve your life in any way? Clearly it won’t, so we end up with a kind of pointless and stupid endeavour that boils down to “I drink so you should drink too”. Uh, no. Not gonna happen. I do not need help finding the drink for me. I’ve found it, it’s called lemon squash. Thankyou for playing.

The main barrier to my enjoyment as a teetotaller is not the absence of alcohol. It’s the presence of morons who don’t seem to realise that I refrain from drinking by choice.

– OSM out

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How to Lose at Magic: the Gathering

Eight simple rules for getting the least out of the game.

8. Never Mulligan. Trading in a bad hand is a waste of everyone’s valuable time.

7. Never Use the Stack. Instants are just sorceries in denial.

6. Chump Block Everything. There is no circumstance in which it’s better to take a hit than to preserve a creature.

5. Run a Lifegain Deck with Nothing that Abuses a High Life Total. Since losing is the opposite of winning, something that takes you further away from losing obviously makes you closer to winning, right?

4. Card Advantage Is For Wimps. Using eight cards to kill a single creature, and none of them are reusable? A perfect strategy.

3. Synergy, Schmynergy. Cards don’t have to work together, and those who insist they do are losers.

2. Mana Balance Is A Waste Of Time. Making your deck vital on splashed colour, or having an equal mix of lands in two colours when three quarters of cards use one of them primarily, is a thing that can’t possibly backfire.

1. Squirrels Are Of No Significance. They’re just tiny critters with no special rules, right? Right?

– OSM out

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Exalted: Shards, Six Months On

So Shards of the Exalted Dream was released six months ago…last week. (I misremembered the date it was released, OK?)

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, the final book for the second edition of Exalted was a collection of alternate settings and mechanics – Gunstar Autochthonia, in which the Exalted lost the Primordial War and went on the run; Heaven’s Reach, a science-fiction setting; Burn Legend, a Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat/Tekken love letter with a totally different combat system; and Modern, a conspiracy setting. At the time of release, I thought Gunstar and Burn Legend were the best.

Now? Now my favourite is Heaven’s Reach.

It’s got everything I like in a setting. It’s huge, so there’s plenty of room to drop in virtually anything; it’s got tons of interesting one-off mentions and plot hooks; and it’s really well written – Eric Brennan’s writing somehow manages to be simultaneously detailed enough that it feels cohesive, and vague enough that you can make quite substantial alterations without feeling like it’s going against the grain of the setting.

– OSM out

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I have now seen Street Fighter

To clarify, I’m talking about the 1994 version that was, tragically, Raul Julia’s last, and which almost as tragically was not Jean-Claude Van Damme’s last.

And it was awesome.

I mean, by any reasonable standard of filmmaking it’s terrible. The special effects are awful, the plot is dotted with pointless action sequences and makes no sense, and nobody can understand a damn thing the hero is actually saying. (This is because Guile, who is so American he has the US flag tattooed on both biceps, was played by a guy with a Dutch accent you can use to break up small rocks. That is the kind of logic we are dealing with here.)

And yet, somehow, this doesn’t matter. It has real charisma, mainly on the back of Raul Julia’s awesomely over-the-top portrayal of M. Bison, and while very little thought went into the script or even the casting, there are still moments of genuine humour and hints of competence.

All in all, I’m glad I own it (admittedly on VHS), and when the VCR gives up the ghost, I shall probably try to find it on DVD.

– OSM out

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So. Fifty posts.

Yep. This is the fiftieth.

In the time since I started this blog, the Curiosity rover reached Mars, the Higgs boson was discovered (and idiots freaked out because how dare they use Comic Sans in the announcement), and America spent altogether too long listening to a guy lying through his teeth.

I have gathered 256 views, 8 followers (plus a couple of people I know personally who read occasionally), and no major recognition anywhere.

I officially joined the Misadventure Gurus youtube…thing…for one video so far (language warning), and started a tumblr account in-character as Karkat from Homestuck (spoiler warning and language warning).

And the world somehow failed to end on a date when nothing sensible said it would.

Thanks for reading the fifty posts so far, and I hope that at least some of the next fifty will contain actual quality content.

– OSM out

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