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 05:34 on 13-07-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Ooh, and I just stumbled on some leaked footage from Mass Effect 3.

It wasn't what I was expecting.
permalink
at 21:10 on 12-07-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I've been really enjoying The AV Club's rewatches of older shows. Right now they've been doing a series on Star Trek: The Next Generation that's been pretty solid all the way through. Particularly good are the comments; everyone is on the ball, and there's also a lovely comedic pairing of two gimmick posters who go by the handles of "Frakes" and "Sirtis" who offer their own insane behind-the-scenes tidbits. (For the record, Johnathan Frakes is a lovable horndog who has a way with an anecdote, while Marina Sirtis is a jaded old Hollywood hand who doesn't care what anyone thinks of her.) I'd also recommend a look at their X-Files/Millenium watchthrough, which is starting to convince me to go back to the former and see what I missed first time around.
permalink
at 20:08 on 12-07-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
As near as I can tell, the translation project's been put on hold while Ice-Pick works on their new game. The game's still playable in its current state; it's just really elliptically phrased and navigating the dialogue trees can be hit-and-miss. Still, it kinda fits with the environment, and you're going to be quicksaving/quickloading a LOT anyway. (And, hell, I think English sounds really cool once you run some Russian grammar through it.)
permalink
at 14:07 on 12-07-2011, Arthur B
I clicked through to that article but then I stopped reading because I said "You know what? I want to experience this for myself." Will probably buy in the near future (may wait to see if the fan retranslation patch mentioned on the wikipedia article is any good).
permalink
at 13:38 on 12-07-2011, valse de la lune
Alasdair: omg Ice-Pick Lodge <3 <3

I could never manage to play Pathologic though, but The Void was mind-bendingly amazing.
permalink
at 09:57 on 12-07-2011, Arthur B
Yeah, wow. "Waaah, my wife doesn't take everything I say absolutely 100% seriously and sometimes we have to compromise on things, married life is haaaaaaard."
permalink
at 09:19 on 12-07-2011, Dan H
I love
this.


Mind, this someone I know. I am not exactly unbiased.


Thanks, that was really interesting.

But dear me, facepalm, Moffat. Facepalm.
permalink
at 08:23 on 12-07-2011, Arthur B
Yeah, I did a search for his comments on Black Gate and I think it's fair to say that if he hadn't provided something of value to the site owners (or had dirt on them) then it beggars belief that they don't consider him a nuisance. Not least because of his maddening tendency to post more or less the same rant over and over again with mild variations. (He keeps banging on, for example, about his conspiracy theory that when the head of DAW Books died his daughter took over and immediately cancelled the Gor contract.)

I like “pulp” and “Sword and Sorcery” in all its gory, sexist, glory. Big, awesome barbarians, though an occasional wizard or rouge can slip in. Women are to be barmaids, princesses, slave girls, dancers, victims to be rescued, etc. Blacks and MezoAmerican like peoples are either rare “Noble Savages” or hideous cannibals with filed teeth. Orientals are sinister characters, though their women look hot but unless they are “Rescued sacrifice victim” also very sinister. Of course, awesome “Noble Savages” think Kubotai from “Conan the Barbarian”! Mix in lovecraft, westerns, maybe some not too queer Burroughs like stuff…

Oh gosh, that's just special.

Have you seen this conversation? He goes into a little detail about the sort of stories he'd like to write and direct if he had his way.

“NO! The VENGEANCE SQUAD doesn’t just SCARE the pig that sent jobs overseas and laid off Americans! They break into his house and with hot pliers MUTILATE him and his FAMILY in front of him! Really, can’t that 8 year old “actress” brat playing his daughter tolerate some fake blood and spirit gum as fake torn skin? She sure screams loud enough when they don’t bring her the right gourmet entre from some cafe I can’t pronounce the name of…”

I guess someone might be mad about losing their job?
permalink
at 02:20 on 12-07-2011, Michal
I am amazed that the response to GreenGestalt wasn't simply a torrent of ridicule.

I mean, maybe Black Gate has a fairly tight moderating policy, but I can't imagine many other places where people are still taken halfway seriously after posting something like that aside from crank conspiracy theory outlets and Men's Rights sites.

I'm not sure what's going on in the comments section of Black Gate. From what I understand, GreenGestalt might've sold a story to the magazine, once, which is why they let him yammer on every time someone makes a joky post about Gor. I don't know, and I don't even think it's very likely. He blamed the PC wussifying of the market for his inability to publish anything, for one thing, instead of the (more probable) reason that he might just be a bad writer who also happens to be racist, sexist and homophobic.

Then again, I noticed someone just got pounced on in the blog post I linked for even suggesting what Theo said might just be a tad bit sexist. I mean "he cannot reasonably be described as sexist due to his institutional and cultural preferences for non-female writers"...really? REALLY? It's a bit of a shame because some of the contributors to the site are really great people (Brian Murphy and Matthew David Surridge spring to mind). Plus, I've been quoted on it, and would rather not have guilt by association.

Also, check out GreenGestalt's political cartoons on YouTube.

The lack of talent and humour in that video is astounding. Just astounding.
permalink
at 02:04 on 12-07-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Oh hell yes. One man fights his way through Pathologic and lives to blog the tale.
permalink
at 00:12 on 12-07-2011, Cammalot
(There should be an "is" in there...)
permalink
at 23:44 on 11-07-2011, Cammalot
I love this.

Mind, this someone I know. I am not exactly unbiased.
permalink
at 14:05 on 11-07-2011, Dan H
Sorry, responding to a slightly older discussion (have been without internets).

Obviously, wider cultural perceptions and so on will differ and thats fine, but
things that are simply correct language comprehension?


Even that's more ambiguous than you might think, because language often has quite subtle distinctions in it and (at the risk of overgeneralising quite a technical point) no two native English speakers will understand every single English sentence the same way.

A good example is probably things like "smiled", "choked", and of course "hissed" as speech tags - some people (like Gamer2k4 I think) - are okay with these terms because they act like easy-to-use labels for particular forms of speech, while other people find them annoying and jarring (because they get hung up on how you actually gasp, or pant, or choke the individual words).
permalink
at 08:12 on 11-07-2011, Arthur B
I am amazed that the response to GreenGestalt wasn't simply a torrent of ridicule.

I mean, maybe Black Gate has a fairly tight moderating policy, but I can't imagine many other places where people are still taken halfway seriously after posting something like that aside from crank conspiracy theory outlets and Men's Rights sites. (Spoiler:
THEY'RE THE SAME THING.
)

Also, check out GreenGestalt's political cartoons on YouTube.
permalink
at 06:37 on 11-07-2011, Michal
Let's chalk it all to personal taste, shall we?

I feel like addressing the article thoroughly, but I have a mortal fear of joining up and posting in the Black Gate comments section after seeing some accusations there that Lin Carter was, in fact, murdered in a conspiracy by political correct zealots to discredit the fantasy genre, and that the Gor series was dropped due to the machinations of evil feminists spreading their nefarious tendrils throughout the fantasy publishing industry.

I'm not joking. (It's the third comment down)
permalink
at 23:01 on 10-07-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
The only reason I brought up the reading aloud bit was because I've been told that it's easier to notice when things are awkwardly phrased or not written well if you read something out loud than if you just read it silently to yourself.

Oh, that's very true. I do like to just read things aloud every once and awhile, and there really is a difference between reading silently (where you can just subconsciously ignore some elements of style and absorb the words as pure information) and reciting a passage (where you have to consciously notice the structure so you can rebroadcast the passage correctly).

Actually saw this used to some effect in a comic adaptation of a Babysitter's Club book once (DON'T JUDGE ME! I WORK IN A LIBRARY! SOMETIMES I GET BORED!), where one of the characters spoke with a stilted, somewhat awkward phraseology that suggested she had picked up most of her cues regarding speech from reading rather than conversing with other people. A little crude as a device, yes, but effective all the same.

It also reminded me of how I usually speak, which was a bit of a kick in the pants, let me tell you.
permalink
at 09:57 on 10-07-2011, Shim
Obviously, wider cultural perceptions and so on will differ and thats fine, but things that are simply correct language comprehension? If three people who are otherwise identical simply read a sentence differently then they just don't actually know English in a similar way.

That's true, but I think Vermisvere was meaning the fluffier kind of interpretation; that's certainly what I meant in my previous post. More pragmatics than syntax. Things like how you perceive a particular level of description, or how a writing style comes across to you, or what impression of a character you get from the structure of their dialogue. For a non-text example: I've seen suggestions that one reason Americans tend to perceive British men as effeminate is that Brits have a slightly higher tendency to cross their legs when sitting down. I believe that we're also felt to overuse "please" and "thanks" to the point of insincerity compared to some cultures; that strikes me as something that could come across in writing differently depending on cultural background.

In terms of writing generally, compared to other languages, modern English has a low tolerance for repeating the same word in close proximity. It also tends towards longer sentences than the Celtic languages I read, partly because of structural differences (Celtic languages use prepositional phrases a lot, often where English has a verb, so sentences can get very complicated very quickly). So something that comes across as brisk and fast-paced to people of English-speaking background might not create the same effect if a reader's literary expectations are different (if that makes sense) even though they're perfectly fluent in the language. Or culturally, a way to describing or talking to someone that's affectionate in one culture might seem patronising or creepy or threatening in another.

I mean the same applies to some extent when you move into a genre you haven't read much before and have to adapt to new norms, so it seems plausible that cultural background might have a similar influence, and in the same way it would probably wane the more English literature you read.

So that's all speculation, it's broadly my area but not something I've studied, but there's probably research on it... might look into that.
permalink
at 05:56 on 10-07-2011, Vermisvere
“…Is it possible for the system to sustain simultaneously political subjection and the subjectivity of the producer/consumer? It does not really seem so. In effect, the fundamental condition of the existence of the universal network, which is the central hypothesis of this constitutional framework, is that it be hybrid, and that is, for our purposes, that the political subject be fleeting and passive, while the producing and consuming agent is present and active. This means that, far from being a simple repetition of a traditional
equilibrium, the formation of the new mixed constitution leads to a fundamental disequilibrium among the established actors and thus to a new social dynamic that liberates the producing and consuming subject from (or at least makes ambiguous its position within) the mechanisms of political subjection….”

The reviewer's best guess was that the passage said "consumers make bad citizens."


My best guess would have to be "the new proposed framework will liberate the economic aspect of the system from the political aspect, with the former playing an active role in the new system, whilst the latter plays a passive role. This will upset the currently established social dynamic, in which the producing and consuming aspect is closely tied to political subjectivity"...or something like that anyway, I think.

Ow, that entire passage just made my head hurt.

This reminds me of something I drew a while back.


Ha, ha, nice! Someone should make a Ray Winstone/Hugh Jackman hybrid and get him to say "I AM BEOWULVARINE!".
permalink
at 03:29 on 10-07-2011, Michal
The reminds me of something I drew a while back.

I love the fact that "Picard fights Cthulhu" has a soundtrack. Picard vs. Cthulhu goes right up on the list of "works capable of inspiring awesome shock", methinks.
permalink
at 01:51 on 10-07-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
And now, ladies and gentlemen, art in its purest form.
permalink
at 01:50 on 10-07-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Actually, Michal, I didn't find that passage you posted completely unreadable. I'll be the first to admit that I'm basically shit at any philosophical discussion, but I could sorta muddle out a meaning.

Now, if you want Grade A academic gibberish, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's Empire is a damned good source. One review I read quoted this passage:

“…Is it possible for the system to sustain simultaneously political subjection and the subjectivity of the producer/consumer? It does not really seem so. In effect, the fundamental condition of the existence of the universal network, which is the central hypothesis of this constitutional framework, is that it be hybrid, and that is, for our purposes, that the political subject be fleeting and passive, while the producing and consuming agent is present and active. This means that, far from being a simple repetition of a traditional equilibrium, the formation of the new mixed constitution leads to a fundamental disequilibrium among the established actors and thus to a new social dynamic that liberates the producing and consuming subject from (or at least makes ambiguous its position within) the mechanisms of political subjection….”

The reviewer's best guess was that the passage said "consumers make bad citizens."

Of course, even a six-year old knows the real purpose of obtuse writing.
permalink
at 00:28 on 10-07-2011, Michal
don't know if that's 100% accurate, but about a million years at university was enough for me. :P [...]I think a great deal of academic discourse these days is unfortunately devoted to the principle that if it's as complex as possible, or preferably, more than is possible, it will confound and impress those who have trouble understanding it. Which is a shame because it means that a lot of good work gets lost in the wash.

Guy, I don't know what possessed you to try to disentangle that sentence, but applause is in order. Thanks for the Chomsky link--"Hey, even Chomsky doesn't quite understand Foucault!" There's actually a very good case to be made for Foucault's (mainly historical) work being misused by scholars in other disciplines.

I'm thinking of labeling Judith Butler's "A Bad Writer Bites back" as "The Butlerian Jihad" (after all, the responses it spawned were a great deal more entertaining than the Brian Herbert/Kevin J. Anderson book of the same name).
permalink
at 23:41 on 09-07-2011, Tamara
I think that the diversity of readership is an important thing to factor in, as well. After all, if you had a Russian person, an English person and a Chinese person all reading an English text (provided all three of them are familiar with the language), they are all going to interpret the text in different ways


I find that an odd notion. Honestly, I know I put a considerable amount of effort in stripping away un-English influences when i'm reading an English text (well, alright, I don't as its subconscious, but I definitely notice when I mess up. Found out what an antimacasser is yesterday. Huh. I thought it was some kind of...pedestal.) Obviously, wider cultural perceptions and so on will differ and thats fine, but things that are simply correct language comprehension? If three people who are otherwise identical simply read a sentence differently then they just don't actually know English in a similar way.
permalink
at 21:09 on 09-07-2011, Vermisvere
Well, just came back from seeing Super 8...not exactly impressed, especially towards the end when J.J. Abrams began hoarding one too many movie cliches into the plot by the bucketload, but I'll give the guy some credit on the action parts, seeing as
the scene with the alien attacking the bus with the military dudes and the kid protagonists towards the end
was pretty well done in my opinion. Although maybe I'm being too harsh on the guy seeing as I didn't particularly like his version of Star Trek either.

And to add to discussion below...

I think that the diversity of readership is an important thing to factor in, as well. After all, if you had a Russian person, an English person and a Chinese person all reading an English text (provided all three of them are familiar with the language), they are all going to interpret the text in different ways, whether it be a sentence describing Harry whacking tables as he makes an angry statement about his parents' deaths or one about a panting guard bursting through the doors as he attempts to deliver a message to the Queen. Something that appears odd to one person may be perfectly acceptable to another.
permalink