Playpen

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 22:30 on 14-04-2012, Adrienne
Arthur B: He's been threadshitting at Scalzi's and at tor.com, recently. And he's just got such a uniquely bombastic and irritating method of doing so that the ordinary "troll bingo" and "derailing bingo" stuff just doesn't seem sufficient to the task. (Plus, reading his crap makes me want to drink. A LOT.)
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at 22:00 on 14-04-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Okay, everyone. Star Wars is completely dead now. Just shut her down.
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at 19:14 on 14-04-2012, Arthur B
I'm only about four episodes in, but I'm beginning to understand why people have been copying it over the years (and also why that probably isn't a good idea).

Yeah, that's a really neat detail from the scene.

I think part of the reason it works whereas so many other things which try a similar thing don't is that Lynch really goes the extra mile there to make sure that everything there is a little skewed. It's easy to come up with some cryptic phrases and odd imagery and just throw it out there but I think that scene really works thanks to the enormous amount of attention it pays to stuff like the sounds and the movement and the hesitancy of the performances and so on.

There's a really nice Inception-y layers-of-dream aspect to the whole sequence, actually, because you've got all the very disjointed flashes of imagery followed up by the still disjointed but somewhat more complete appearances from Mike and BOB and then the more lucid Red Room sequence.
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at 19:05 on 14-04-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
The tree itself only makes a cameo, but there's a lot of Evil Dead references (I've heard that even the titular cabin is based on the plans of the Evil Dead cabin). There's also references and cameos from just about everything ever made in the past thirty years.

I probably should do a brief write-up on it. It's a meta-commentary on horror, but it's still fun. There's criticism, but it doesn't descend to Michael Hanake levels of schoolmarmish hectoring.

Also, a middle manager is murdered by a unicorn.
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at 18:58 on 14-04-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I've also been watching Twin Peaks (at long last!), and I wanted to point out a little detail that really impressed me. In the third episode, we get to see Agent Dale Cooper's dream and get our first look at the Red Room. We also meet the Man From Another Place, whom we first see with his back to the camera, shuddering in place. However, his footage has been sped up slightly (and probably reversed as well), so it gives the impression that he's vibrating like a beetle on a log. It's a simple-as-hell effect, it's incredibly creepy (I think it touches on Freud's idea of the uncanny with a human exhibiting inhuman attributes i.e. insectile movement), and it's really well done. You can see it here at about the 2:34 mark.

I'm only about four episodes in, but I'm beginning to understand why people have been copying it over the years (and also why that probably isn't a good idea).
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at 18:54 on 14-04-2012, Arthur B
Do things get all Evil Dead then?
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at 18:48 on 14-04-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Yeah, threadshitting is kind of a recurring pattern with Stirling. Aside from Ferretbrain, I've seen it happen at least three times before.

In happier news, I just saw The Cabin in the Woods and am strongly considering making "Angry Molesting Tree" my go-to user name from now on.
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at 14:08 on 14-04-2012, Arthur B
Oh dear, what's he been doing?
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at 07:17 on 14-04-2012, Adrienne
So à propos of nothing that's been going on HERE lately (though it has been known to happen in the past), I'm suddenly seized with a great desire to create either the SM Stirling Threadshitting Bingo Card, or the SM Stirling Threadshitting Drinking Game. Or maybe both. Gah.
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at 19:09 on 13-04-2012, Wardog
Yeah, we're fixing spider font of doom :)
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at 19:05 on 13-04-2012, Ibmiller
As another Chromezombie, I like the new title font, but the main text fonts are just so spidery and trick my eyes into thinking it's fading from view. Sadface.

But then, my favorite font is Garamond, because I can trick teachers into accepting it instead of Times New Roman :-)
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at 17:49 on 13-04-2012, Guy
You've all gone mad... mad with power.

So... Purisa? Umpush? Sawasdee? Who comes up with these names?
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at 16:27 on 13-04-2012, Wardog
Yeah, I just chose random fonts that looked cool on preview - I'm glad the 'title' font looks funky at least :D
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at 15:29 on 13-04-2012, Andy G
@Rami Don't trust my judgement too much! I'm probably just taking a while to adjust - by tomorrow, it'll look perfect to me.
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at 15:05 on 13-04-2012, Arthur B
Looking at the main Cantarell page it says it's optimised for HTC mobile phones. It does look good on my mobile so maybe it can be kept for the mobile version of the site. :)

Plus the new font for the big titles at tops of pages looks dead classy.
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at 14:51 on 13-04-2012, Rami
Andy: it sounds more and more like I have to suck it up and give it a full design refresh :-(
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at 14:49 on 13-04-2012, Rami
Arthur: whitespace is the same but the font is a bit bigger and more spaced out so it probably looks a bit bigger?

The current font is called Cantarell and we thought it looked nice (but didn't check Chrome on Windows :-().
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at 14:43 on 13-04-2012, Andy G
I think somehow the font jars with the very straight lines in the surround - would it look better if they were less plain? Or possibly I'm just unable to adjust to change.
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at 14:32 on 13-04-2012, Arthur B
Having checked on Firefox the new font does look significantly better on it. In particular, it seems to be notably darker and so doesn't disappear against the background. (Then again some parts of letters still look a bit dodgy. The cross-bars on capital H and the middle bar on capital E look ridiculously thick compared to the rest of the text, whereas the top crossbar on P is vanishingly thin.)

EDIT: Checking it looks like the above effects I mention vary where text appears - in general if text is normal size, like this comment on the main Playpen page, it's fine, whereas if it's a tad smaller like on the Playpen boxes on the front page it looks a bit worse. So perhaps the issue with this font is that it doesn't scale brilliantly?
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at 13:39 on 13-04-2012, Wardog
I like the new font but then on account of having My only issue is that, for whatever reason, it looks shitetastic on Chrome, but lovely on firefox. I agree with Rami that personalised fonts look a bit snazzier than verdana. I originally chose verdana because it's so damn readable but it does look, err, a bit blah. I was just kinda conscious of the fact Fb is looking kind of fossilised - it's meant to be retro but there's a limit :)
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at 12:59 on 13-04-2012, Arthur B
Also: is it just me or has the whitespace on the right-hand side of the screen got even more huge? Are we becoming Google Plus now? ;)
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at 10:20 on 13-04-2012, Arthur B
Well if you want original you'll want to use WingDings or something like that. :)

What is the current font and why did you pick this one in particular?
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at 10:00 on 13-04-2012, Rami
Originality, mostly. I'd like Fb to look a bit less like no effort had been put into it ;-)
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at 09:18 on 13-04-2012, Arthur B
Just to help us pick, what criteria is the new font meant to fulfil that the old one didn't?
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