Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 17:04 on 16-05-2012, Michal
Also gah. Unprofessional small presses FTL

I read this yesterday. Ideally, you should avoid publications that don't even pay in copies, but the situation is still crap.

There was another blog post which I'm too lazy to dig around for right now where some other person submitted a story to this guy and he actually called her back and shouted at her. He's a typical fellow who starts up his own "small press" essentially to publish his own work because no one would buy it (there's quite a few of these, as you might guess). Which is fine, if you don't try to cover it up by opening for submissions from others and acting like you, the author, are in no way associated with your vanity press.
at 15:23 on 16-05-2012, James D
There's some legal ambiguity regarding the latter half of his output, but it's pretty much generally accepted as public domain even here in the US. The only exceptions, as far as I'm aware, are from among the stuff he co-wrote with or ghost-wrote for other people.
at 13:41 on 16-05-2012, Arthur B
Well, Lovecraft's stuff is out of copyright in most countries except for rogue states like the US...
at 13:32 on 16-05-2012, Furare
Feminazguls is made of win.

I do wonder if it would have its name changed for copyright violation reasons, but then a friend of mine made a joke guild called 'Necronomnomnomicon' and that's not been hit yet, so maybe it would be okay... *schemes*
at 11:31 on 16-05-2012, Arthur B
The Moon is a harsh Nazgul.
at 11:29 on 16-05-2012, Wardog
Feminazguls ... I LOVE IT.

She'd better also be providing spectral speeds to gallop around on...
at 10:57 on 16-05-2012, Adrienne
Furare: valse de la lune (@requireshate on Twitter) has been working on popularizing Feminazgul, and i personally adore that coinage. :)
at 10:56 on 16-05-2012, Adrienne
Michal - Scalzi's blog has a HUGE readership. Though he does note that today was a particularly busy day even for his blog:

I'm heartened by how much of that 801-comment thread is actually people engaging with each other, though there are certainly comments and commenters who (as usual) make me despair of the human race. Not least, there's an MRA/PUA guy in there who is clearly completely unaware of how awful he sounds.
at 10:05 on 16-05-2012, Furare
Wow, did they change the definition of "victimise" while I wasn't looking or something? o_O

And I love the analogy. I would love to make a guild called "Feminazis", but I think my friends would refuse to join and the GMs would probably change the name almost instantly anyway.
at 08:33 on 16-05-2012, Arthur B
I actually think the difficulty setting analogy works really well because it's a good counter to "duh bluh I'm a straight white male but I'm poor as dirt/life has obviously screwed me over in this, that and the other way and my so-called privilege has been no help at all/I live in my parents' basement playing videogames and send out occasional job applications which are rejected because I refuse to wear a tie to interviews and scowl at the interviewer" thanks to the whole "you can still lose on the low difficulty mode due to misfortune/PVP malice/just plain not playing as well as others" angle.

Even MRA/foreveralone Redditors should be able to grasp that one. It's speaking their language. Though I suspect they'd blame the Feminazi Guild for all their woes.
at 05:43 on 16-05-2012, Fin
why do i always make the mistake of reading the comments?

i agreed with ian ironwoods point about “straight white males” getting the same random start in life and it just turning up in the better end of the scale, i dont see why we should be victimized for taking advantage of a good deal, lets face it most people regardless of their “difficulty setting” would jump at a fast track or free bonuses, the game is the way its is and we all just play the best we can, some with better odds

victimised. ಠ_ಠ
at 05:23 on 16-05-2012, Michal
801 comments already? And it was posted today?
at 05:00 on 16-05-2012, Frank
If Straight White Male were a difficulty play level for a video game, it would be Casual/Easy. Some kinks in it, like who designed the game, but a fun entry into thinking of privilege for the novice.
at 22:28 on 15-05-2012, Michal
Michal -- oh, that DOES sound hilarious. Author? Title?

Unfortunately, I don't remember the title or author. I was thinking of buying it just for the lulz but there were something like seven typographical errors on the first page and I just couldn't do it. The cover art was terrifically bad, though.

I'm sure it'll still be there the next time I visit Well Read Books, I'll note it down then.
at 21:58 on 15-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
This is old, and it is horrible on so many levels, but it made me laugh.
at 21:46 on 15-05-2012, Adrienne
Michal -- oh, that DOES sound hilarious. Author? Title?
at 21:43 on 15-05-2012, Shim
Robinson: does it work by analyzing lyrics or melody?

Well, the source of my frustration was "Children" by Robert Miles, which has a fairly nondescript one-word title, a fairly obscure composer with a nondescript name, and is entirely instrumental. At this point you might see why I was flummoxed. So I can safely say that it handles melody, whether it cares about lyrics I dunno. I'm at least a competent singer so how good it is I can't say.

Going off on a brief tangent: it's entirely possible it analyses the lyrics, since I know spectrographic phonetic analysis can pull apart speech into component sounds, so you could match for phonetic patterns. On the other hand I suspect interpersonal deviation might make this really ineffective, especially as they're going for a global audience. GW Bush vs. QE2 vs. Angela Merkel singing "Penny Lane" will sound pretty different, and none of them will sound like the Beatles. So harmonic patterns are more likely to work, even if people sing at different pitches. But I'm really not an expert.
at 20:36 on 15-05-2012, Robinson L
Shimmin: Midomi which lets you sing into a mike and compares it to crowdsourced renditions. To my surprise it actually worked

Interesting. I don't really use my mic - probably just as well - but for curiosity's sake, does it work by analyzing lyrics or melody? Because I can remember several occasions where I've been trying to recall a song, and only gotten memorable orchestral flourishes. On the other hand, I couldn't carry a tune in a barrel of wet cement, so trying to recognize a melody from my vocalizations is likely to be a losing prospect.

Michal: A science fiction novel about evil environmentalists who have taken over the world and our oil-guzzling heroes must rise against them.

That sounds hilarious.
at 18:30 on 15-05-2012, Michal
Oh man, I saw the worst self-published book at the used bookstore yesterday (I have the feeling that the author himself might've dropped it off). A science fiction novel about evil environmentalists who have taken over the world and our oil-guzzling heroes must rise against them. I'm still chuckling at the idea that ENVIRONMENTALISTS HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD. Somehow.
at 07:20 on 15-05-2012, Adrienne
Apropos of nothing at all, i hate my industry sometimes:
at 02:35 on 15-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Ooookay, new rule for any future playthroughs of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat:

Only venture outside between the hours of 9 AM and 4 PM. NO EXCEPTIONS.
at 01:38 on 15-05-2012, James D
Right now, I'm thinking it's gonna turn out that the monster is a bloodsucker and it tears all their faces off. Either that or a controller.

I'm hoping for a chimera.
at 01:06 on 15-05-2012, Frank
Maybe the Paranomal Acitivity guy is updating the Baba Yaga tale.