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 12:39 on 27-11-2013, Arthur B
Oh, you play Echo Bazaar?

Well, played. In the long run the slow pace of unlocking new content (both at the player end in terms of the time it took to do stuff and at the developer end in terms of the time it took to unleash now things) took its toll and I lost interest. It has honestly been an age since I've even kept up with what's going on with it so I'm not aware of any of the changes.

I'm confident you weren't going to stalk me, I'm just managing the expectations of anyone else who might be reading. :)
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at 12:13 on 27-11-2013, Adrienne
Arthur B: Oh, you play Echo Bazaar? I miss it, I feel like they sucked a lot of the joy out of it recently and it makes me sad.

I apparently already follow you on Twitter, actually. (My memory is terrible lately, because stress.) I wasn't looking to stalk you, though! Just to potentially communicate with you in some manner that wasn't going to irritate a bunch of other people.
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at 10:59 on 27-11-2013, Arthur B
@James D:
That might be the case, but even so it's in poor taste considering that the games industry is notorious for suckering people in on the basis of fannish dreams, working them like dogs, and then discarding their burned-out husks when someone younger, cheaper, and even more exploitable comes along.

To be honest it reads more like an ad designed to put off anyone who isn't desperate for a job or who has sufficient self-esteem to want a life outside of work, which feels like a recipe for exploitation to me. Plus if your first interaction with an employer consists of lies, insincerity and mind games that doesn't actually bode well, you know?

@Adrienne:
My twitter name is awakeasaurusrex. It's not very interesting for stalking purposes though because it's mostly abandoned, and is only ever used for logging into stuff which uses Twitter as an account system (like Echo Bazaar) or for following/interacting with Slender Man ARGs. (I also purged it a while back because I see no utility in an archive of witty one-liners whose contexts have been lost in time like tears in rain.)
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at 08:04 on 27-11-2013, Adrienne
Arthur B: I think I remember that you have a Twitter, but I don't know what it is -- will you tell me?
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at 03:41 on 27-11-2013, James D
In fairness, Penny Arcade is probably popular enough among the CS/IT crowd that if they made the job seem too appealing, they'd probably get about a billion applications. I'd be willing to bet the actual job is way less shitty than they make it seem.
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at 02:42 on 27-11-2013, Melanie
Negotiable, but you should know up front we're not a terribly money-motivated group.


Oh, wow. So, basically, "as little as we can talk you into--you're not some kind of capitalist pig that cares about that kind of thing, right?"
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at 01:36 on 27-11-2013, Arthur B
It's been a few months, so it's time for Penny Arcade to say/do something awful. This job advertisement (backup if it's pulled or edited) has them affably joshing about how actually they pay a crappy wage and don't give a fuck if you're in an offensive work environment (specifically citing that as a feature of the job) and they're advertising for one position but are actually piling on more than you can probably reasonably expect any one person to do in that role.

tl;dr version: "We would like a super genius IT person with an extensive list of qualifications and experience who can deliver the moon on a stick. We will pay you poorly and fuck up your work/life balance and you will never, ever be allowed to tune out and forget work".
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at 19:31 on 26-11-2013, Arthur B
1 hour on train to work and 1 hour on the way back achieves a lot. Especially with Dick and Moorcock, whose works tend to be brief.
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at 18:52 on 26-11-2013, James D
Plus, if Arthur gets a girlfriend, he might not ever finish those ridiculously lengthy Philip K Dick and Michael Moorcock reviews!! (seriously, how do you have the time to read that much)
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at 09:58 on 26-11-2013, Arthur B
It is a lonely life, the way of the necromancer...

For serious though, the combination of nerdboy self-esteem issues early on (including deeply embarrassing full-on Nice Guy syndrome at points) followed up with busy career/not actually diverting much attention to looking later in life adds up, especially when you include the fact that there's been instances where in principle I could have chased something up, but in practice it'd have been a terrible idea or otherwise wasn't actually appealing to me. I'm not actually the sort of guy who throws much energy into the pursuit of sex and/or romance when you get down to it.
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at 09:16 on 26-11-2013, Adrienne
Arthur B: I cannot believe (pursuant to a comment over on a thread) that you have spent most of your life single! I, for one, have a GIANT NERD CRUSH on you -- how are so many people of your preferred gender(s) failing to perceive how awesome you are?
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at 11:08 on 25-11-2013, Arthur B
@Andy: Thanks for the clarification. I had other questions but luckily I found a handy guide that explains everything.
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at 11:02 on 25-11-2013, Andy G
@Arthur B:
Isn't the important place some sort of timey-wimey separate dimension in which all the Doctor's timelines overlap or something, meaning he can see his earlier incarnations? Anyway, he only went there to rescue Clara, and then they both return to the real world. It was more a contrivance for the audience's sake that Hurt was introduced there. Later on, Hurt is transported into Matt Smith's timeline by Billy Piper playing the conscience of a WMD.
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at 00:56 on 25-11-2013, Arthur B
@Andy G:
Clara and Doctor go to Important Place where it is hinted that something significant will happen. They encounter the Hurt-Doctor. Episode abruptly ends. What is supposed to have happened next?
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at 00:50 on 25-11-2013, Adrienne
Cheriola: My fave bras are these, which do not have an underwire but nonetheless are very supportive (I have fairly large breasts). Lane Bryant also has other nice bras.

They're also having a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale on most of their bras right now. I'm doing pretty well for myself at the moment, and I know the suckage of not having decent things to corral one's boobs with. So I tell you what: I have this about.me page over here, and you can click the Email Me button to send me an email. Assuming you're willing to trust me with your address, and assuming they have anything you like over at Lane Bryant, i'll buy you a pair of bras including the shipping overseas. Just point me at the ones you like, tell me size and color and your address, and you'll have 'em in a few weeks.

Do remember that different countries have different bra sizes. I found a convenient converter the other week, though. (That link may also be of use to other Ferretbrainers with breasts.)
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at 23:08 on 24-11-2013, Andy G
@Dan H: Well David Tennant and Matt Smith actually had longer tenures than most of the older Doctors (David Tennant had second longest tenure of all) but McGann, Eccleston and Hurt were a regeneration each for very short runs.
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at 23:04 on 24-11-2013, Andy G
@Arthur B:
Which unresolved end-of-season cliffhanger are you talking about? I think supposedly they're all going to be sorted at Christmas ...
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at 22:19 on 24-11-2013, Dan H
New Who already feels old to me. ;)


They do seem to be rapidly catching up with Old Who in terms of Doctors, we've been through - what five now?
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at 21:41 on 24-11-2013, Arthur B
You mean the worst of new Who?

New Who already feels old to me. ;)

Also, what the fuck happened to the cliffhanger at the end of last season?
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at 20:44 on 24-11-2013, Andy G
You mean the worst of new Who? To be fair, it had a lot of the best of new Who (and Moffat) as well: strong performances, some good dialogue, some imaginative and deftly executed sequences. And I think actually, in this case (as an anniversary episode) a little *more* continuity and nostalgia might have been appropriate: the central scenario was sketched in a very abstract way and arguably didn't engage more than superficially with old Who or even with the RTD era of New Who.
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at 15:04 on 24-11-2013, Arthur B
I expected it to be more of the worst of old Who - shoddily paced, very shouty, trying its best to show off how clever it is whilst not actually being as clever as it thinks, and overladen with continuity. So I avoided it. Based on your response and the plot synopses I've seen, I made the right call.

It occurs to me that John Hurt's dilemma in this one and
Tennant's dilemma in End of Time are both - almost certainly consciously - highly reminiscent of Tom Baker agonising over whether he really has the right to genocide the Daleks before they're even created in Genesis of the Daleks. I mean, don't get me wrong, that's a powerful moment and one of the best stories of the original series, it just saddens me that both RTD and Moffat seem to be going out of their way to recall and riff on such moments rather than creating great moments of their very own. It sort of reduces the series to a museum piece - complete with Curator, in this case - dedicated to recalling its glorious past, which is exactly the sort of self-obsessed nostalgia the original series was a nice antidote to.
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at 14:29 on 24-11-2013, Andy G
So did anyone watch the Doctor Who 50th special last night (or whatever time of day it was in your timezone)?

I thought it worked very well indeed at the level of individual scenes, with some great performances and interactions between characters, several wonderful cameos and lots of entertaining/funny/emotional moments, and so I certainly didn't feel let down. But the plot as a whole was 100% Moffat: narrative coherence sacrificed to a tricksy, convoluted set-up that didn't really make sense.
At the centre of the story is John Hurt's dilemma of whether or not to use a super-WMD to wipe out the Daleks and Timelords at once, but it's never made clear *why* this is a dilemma: what will the terrible consequences be if he *doesn't* push the button? This lack of rationale really undercuts the dramatic scenes where the Doctors struggle with the decision to push the button. This dilemma is resolved, meanwhile, by a mechanism that makes no sense: some sort of second-order form of time travel initiated somehow by Billy Piper in order to bring about a conclusion that is admittedly spectacular and stirring, but brushes over the very seriousness of the initial dilemma ("Oh well, I guess if we stick the planet in a painting, the Daleks will just destroy themselves or something" is an overly convenient way of writing away the threat posed by the Daleks).

By contrast, in RTD's take on the Doctor's dilemma in The End of Time (which this episode basically ignores), the Doctor pushes the button to prevent the Timelords using the "Ultimate Sanction" to destroy the universe. The Doctor's dilemma and guilt is intelligible. It seems a bit cheap for Moffat to re-write that and retrospectively undercut much of RTD's series, especially when the Time War backstory belonged far more to RTD's era than Moffat's.

Overall, I can forgive the episode a lot for all the genuinely great bits it did contain (and it's good that the Timelords, like the Daleks, have been written back into the continuity). But as good as it was, it's actually made me more convinced than ever that Moffat really needs to step down asap.
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at 01:20 on 23-11-2013, Sunnyskywalker
I am darkly entertained that the Last Deadloss Visions includes a letter from George R.R. Martin which includes the sympathetic statement, "I know all too vividly how easily and how badly these things can get out of hand." And noting that something of his came out in 1985 rather than the scheduled 1978. The funny thing was, I was just thinking that now GRRM's publishing schedule looked pretty good by comparison when I reached this point.

Also, on clothes: a few weeks ago, I ended up running my car keys through the clothes dryer for reasons ultimately coming down to having been wearing pants which were for some bizarre reason designed without pockets at the time. Because what on earth would women use pockets for, or...? Cannot fathom what goes on in those clothing designers' heads. (Maybe the answer is "nothing.")
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at 00:58 on 23-11-2013, Melanie
Thanks for the tip, but that's well outside my price range


Ah, that sucks then. :(

Just sayin', even real, made-for-men denim is a poor insulator and not good winter clothing.


Yeah, but there are degrees, right? Not to mention that temperature range where really thin clothing is unacceptably cold, but heavyish denim is basically fine (I have a denim jacket that's pretty comfortable for when it's cold but still above freezing or thereabouts).
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