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 18:49 on 22-02-2012, Michal
More from Nick's Cafe Canadien: This post on the Dvorak keyboard is almost sublime.
at 15:45 on 22-02-2012, Arthur B
In which Mark Charan Newton is self-critical:

They should print this out and give it to authors in a little leaflet the first time they get published.
at 14:52 on 22-02-2012, Cammalot
(I think Strange Horizons *did* favorably review his second book.)

Oh, and I can vouch for the Yankee-ism -- grading a class 'on a curve' means that instead of grading out of 100 percent, you grade out of whatever the best score in the class was. This will go into efffect sometimes if everyone in the class does lousily on an exam, even the consistently high scorers; it's assumed that something was off with the test. Which helps out the low scorers if the top grade was, like, 64 (very low, but not failing) or so. Everyone will then be graded out of 64 percent. Someone who screws up the curve gets a phenomenal grade, so everyone else has to suck up what they actually scored rather than getting any merciful adjustments. That said, I think I was in a class that got a test graded 'on a curve' about ONCE, in seventh grade (age 12 or thereabouts), maybe.
at 13:06 on 22-02-2012, Wardog
Wow, he totally agrees with me about himself! That almost tempts me to read his second book. Almost.
at 12:43 on 22-02-2012, Cammalot
In which Mark Charan Newton is self-critical:
at 12:41 on 22-02-2012, Wardog
OMG, adorable. That helped.
at 12:32 on 22-02-2012, Shim
Here, try Gronk for that. If you still notice symptoms, judicious application of Ellie may be required. Always read the label.
at 11:41 on 22-02-2012, Wardog
And I played an Indie game yesterday. Life is one big suck.
at 11:39 on 22-02-2012, Wardog
Pat wrecked my Wednesday, the fucker.
at 11:03 on 22-02-2012, Arthur B
I’m not comparing a woman to a book, I’m comparing two different types of infatuation.

And yet he fails to grasp the really compelling parallel between the two situations: they both involve him getting bent out of sorts because someone made a decision he didn't approve of about something he doesn't have any authority over (and shouldn't have expected to have any say in).
at 10:09 on 22-02-2012, valse de la lune
Well we can always make Peter Watts the new Bakker, if you're interested in deep vileness. :P

My tweet about that Rothfuss post got RT'd quite a bit, which was surprising. Being sexist/racist asshats mightn't yet ruin your career, but at least it will affect your reputation online, which is something.
at 09:48 on 22-02-2012, Wardog
Oh I SEE ... *laughs*

Well it's still annoying :P

See, I am so bad at chemistry I cannot read things ABOUT chemistry correctly.

My other points STAND HARD however.

(I kind of assumed she was so awesome at chemistry that in some way staring at her breasts prevented the narrator from getting his proper A)
at 09:32 on 22-02-2012, Shim
I don't pretend to understand the curve-grading business, but I think that quote would mean she was so awesome at chemistry that even though he was also awesome at chemistry he still only got an A- because the boundary for As got pushed up.
at 09:16 on 22-02-2012, Wardog
I, err, braved the comments to see if anybody else felt like pointing out to him he was being a shithead but...

I’m not comparing a woman to a book, I’m comparing two different types of infatuation.

The crush you feel for a girl you don’t really know and the attachment you feel toward a book you read in high school fall pretty firmly into the same category. They’re both intensely personal, one-sided experiences.

YES, they are, except one of them is a profoundly offensive intensely personal, one-sided experience...

I am sad :/

Also, no intention of making Pat the new Mr Bakker, and sorry if it sounds like I hypocritically am ... just ... err ... lettin' off steam :(
at 09:12 on 22-02-2012, Wardog
That is awful... awful! I can't believe he thought that was a reasonable analogy...

You know that it’s going to be like? It’s going to be like wandering onto an internet porn site and seeing a video of a girl I had a crush on in high school. You probably knew someone like her. The smart girl. The shy girl. The one who wore glasses and was a little socially awkward. The one who screwed up the curve in chemistry so you got an A- instead of an A.

God, girls are so shit. First they won't sleep with you, then they suck at chemistry, and then they have sex with people not you. It must be so hard being Patrick Rothfuss...

Sorry I don't mean to randomly bitch at the guy but siiiiiigh.
at 06:16 on 22-02-2012, Kellicat
If anyone here ever wanted to know if Patrick Rothfuss had creepy ideas about women in real life, here's your chance to see it for yourself.

(He manages to invoke the madonna/whore stereotype when talking about movie adaptations of the Hobbit of all things.)
at 18:38 on 21-02-2012, Ibmiller
Oh, Meg Cabot. I was introduced to her work through Insatiable, which I thought was a hilarious parody of the Twilight and True Blood phenomenon. Sadly, the follow-up lost nearly all the intelligence, humor, and basic premise.

What exactly is she doing writing introductions to Pride and Prejudice, anyway?
at 18:14 on 21-02-2012, Wardog
I was messing around the other day on Iplayer while I was doing my virtual filing (that's not a euphemism) and I ran across Dara O'Brian doing a stand-up segment on video games which I absolutely adored. It's just really nice to see mainstream observational comedy about video games... Also he clearly does love video games (and plays them like I do...)
at 18:05 on 21-02-2012, Michal
From Meg Cabot's durr-worthy introduction to Pride and Prejudice:

OK, so I'll admit it: I saw the movie first... But, as I had discovered from reading Peter Benchley's book Jaws, sometimes there are scenes in the book that aren't in the movie... The movies always leave something out. Which is what makes Pride and Prejudice such a joy to read over and over. Because you can make up your own movie about it -- in your head.

(I can't stop laughing at this)
at 13:34 on 21-02-2012, Arthur B
The Composites, characters from literature sketched using police composite sketch software. Includes Text Factor heroes Sam Spade and Kevin.
at 22:35 on 20-02-2012, Arthur B
They're hanging with the Tau these days and calling themselves the Demiurg.

The filthy treacherous xenos.
at 20:18 on 20-02-2012, valse de la lune
Yes, but what about the Squats.
at 18:53 on 20-02-2012, Arthur B
Strapline for the movie? I think it should be the strapline for the franchise. "In the grim darkness of the far future there is only Chaos Marines and... stuff."
at 18:01 on 20-02-2012, Dan H
I don't remember much about the plot now except that there wasn't much of one, but they were on this planet to do... stuff and there are Chaos Marines and... stuff

That should totally be the strapline for the movie.

Ultramarine: There Are Chaos Marines and Stuff