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 03:05 on 11-12-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Oh, this is nice. I was browsing the Youtubes looking for some LPs to watch over dinner, and I came across a duo known as Slowbeef and Diabeetus, two SA goons who basically invented the concept of LPing, and I stumbled across the commentary they did for two forgotten third-person shooters called Dead to Rights and its sequel, Dead to Rights: Retribution.

They're not good games. But they're the kind of stupid I like. The first game follows the adventures of homicidal supercop Jack Slate and his equally homicidal Siberian husky companion Shadow as they fight crime in Grant City, and by "fight crime" I mean "murder everyone." If you can imagine what Max Payne would have been like if the developers had spent their time huffing paint, then you can imagine Dead to Rights. The sequel manages to be even more gloriously stupid, which sees Jack reacting to the murder of his father (Col. Campbell from Metal Gear Solid et al.) by waging a one-man war against the Combine AND the Geth, and culminates with a knife fight against Squidward (well, his VO). Oh, and Shadow is upgraded from "husky" to "wolf-bear-demon thing."

There's an entire "best of" compilation of their run here.

And just to whet your appetite, here's an excerpt from their commentary of the first game. I promise that it is the best thing you will see all day.
at 01:10 on 11-12-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
Congrats Michal! I hope you'll have fun studying.
at 20:36 on 10-12-2011, Robinson L
Ash: How did NaNo go for you, Ferretbrain?

For me it went about the same as last time I participated. Which is to say that I won, and I finished the story I was working on, but only within the last two hours of the month.

I guess I'm getting better in some areas, though. Last time (2009) I was essentially throwing random crap (and a whole lot of shout-outs and in-jokes) at OpenOffice Writer for thirty days. This year I had an actual plot worked out, and an interesting theme to tackle. The end result was still rubbish, as before, but I think this time there's a salvageable story buried in there, should I ever feel energized to revisit it.
at 20:02 on 10-12-2011, Ash
Good luck and congrats, Michal!

How did NaNo go for you, Ferretbrain?
at 14:36 on 10-12-2011, Wardog
That's fantastic news - congratulations Michal!

(thank fuck for Xmas and hello again Fb - work has been slaying meeee!)
at 03:52 on 10-12-2011, Sister Magpie
at 20:00 on 09-12-2011, Robinson L
Congratulations and best of luck, Michal.
at 18:02 on 09-12-2011, valse de la lune
at 18:00 on 09-12-2011, Michal
Wooo! Fully accepted into my MA program today!

I am so excited. And terrified. But also excited.
at 14:27 on 09-12-2011, valse de la lune
Bastion is now on Chrome. As in you can play it in your browser.

I am bamboozled.
at 20:09 on 08-12-2011, valse de la lune
I don't honestly think Malinda Lo is a very good author, but oh wow look at this reekingly homophobic e-mail she got. Jeeeesus.
at 05:33 on 08-12-2011, Michal
In other news...why do I keep on reading Theo's posts on Black Gate? I should know better by now.

Inappropriate analogy? Check. A sneer at paranormal romance for no real reason? Check. (In this case, a really stupid reason: "Men have been writing this kind of crap for years but when the genders are flipped around IT'S REPREHENSIBLE!") Defending the rape-to-redemption plot (Because the story of the rapist's guilt is always a more important story to tell than that of the victim)? Check. Sneaking in a way to insult Muslims? Check. Professorial tone in which the man, in all his wisdom, tells the silly woman what to do? CHECK.
at 20:59 on 07-12-2011, Michal
The oil sands look like the Somme after a good shelling. Or possibly worse. It's awful.

You can listen to the segment here. Far as I can tell, the argument goes "if we stop buying oil from the Middle East, they'll stop oppressing the women there, so buy oil from Canada."
at 20:36 on 07-12-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I'm not sure I follow the spokesman's logic. Did they happen to include a flow chart in the explanation?

Truth be told I don't really like this oil shale business, mostly because I remember looking at some photographs of the Alberta oil fields Edward Burtynsky took a few years back and thinking to myself "Oh, we are so going to pay for this for the next century." I'm fully expecting a flood of stories to come out of Alberta in the 2040s all asking why the provincial cancer rate has increased 8000% over the past two decades.

On the other hand, I support nuclear power, so what do I know?
at 19:31 on 07-12-2011, Michal
So, there was an "ethical oil" spokesman on CBC Radio's The Current yesterday (I only got around to the podcast today), and now it appears we must build an oil pipeline from Alberta to Texas in order to save Muslim women from oppression.

at 19:23 on 07-12-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
It also appears that one of Joss Whedon's projects, a slasher-horror thingy that's been sitting on a shelf for a while ever since MGM went bankrupt and got its script leaked called The Cabin in the Woods is going to see the light of day. And here is the trailer.

Three thoughts:

1) I have no idea what the hell just happened.

2) I can't listen to that Marilyn Manson cover of "I Put A Spell On You" without imagining a platinum-blonde Patricia Arquette doing an affectless striptease for Robert Loggia. Thank you, David Lynch.

3) Slenderman's gonna be awfully pissed when he finds out Masky stole his best suit for that cameo.
at 16:46 on 07-12-2011, Arthur B
This indie SF film, purely based on the trailer and the way the filmmakers are talking about it, is giving me a special feeling in my pants.
at 05:46 on 07-12-2011, Arthur B
Is the Nice Guy Rules tumblr meant to be a spoof or not?

I'm inclined to think it is sincere, but if it isn't my guess would be it's not a spoof so much as a cunning trap, getting all the tumblr Nice Guys to out themselves by gushing about how wonderful it is. Balance of probabilities seems against that though.
at 04:49 on 07-12-2011, Michal
I think the most irritating one is, "In her unpredictable world, be her one amazing source of consistency."

Since when has "consistency" ever been paired with "amazing"? And isn't this just encouragement to never change, never re-evaluate, never do any self-analysis? An invitation to never grow as a person, for in sameness lies your greatest quality?


Well, at least an invitation to be a predictable bore, at any rate.
at 21:53 on 06-12-2011, Andy G
Is the Nice Guy Rules tumblr meant to be a spoof or not?
at 20:13 on 06-12-2011, Melissa G.
Personally the ridiculously high pedestal these rules place the girl on is what bugs me the most. Protip: the opposite of misogyny is *not* treating a woman like a fragile exalted goddess. I really, really despise that kind of worship behavior.
at 13:47 on 06-12-2011, Arthur B
I know, right? Plus their platonic ideal of romance seems to be acting like an insufferable goody-two-shoes who won't leave the object of their affection alone. If someone followed all the rules it'd be like being stalked by Fotherington-Thomas.
at 13:10 on 06-12-2011, Fin
i like all the comments about how women are too stupid to get that the blog isn't sexist

also, lol 'why do people feel the need to overanalyse a good gesture?' i don't know, why do nice guys feel the need to ignore boundaries?