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 21:58 on 14-07-2011, Arthur B
I wasn't sure whether I could be bothered or not, so I decided to look up spoilers on the basis that either they'd excite me enough that I'd want to read how they happen or irritate me enough to make me decide not to go for it.

Neither happened. A lot of names appeared but I only remembered a fraction of them. Those spoilers I did understand, I was completely apathetic about. So I guess I'll be leaving out Dance with Dragons unless people report that it's exceptionally well-written.
at 21:28 on 14-07-2011, Wardog
If I bother with it, it will assuredly be on Kindle...
at 20:03 on 14-07-2011, Andy G
Just bought A Dance with Dragons. Bloody hell it's big. It's not so much a doorstep so much as an offensive weapon.
at 13:35 on 14-07-2011, Wardog permalink
at 06:28 on 13-07-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
It's a reference to some random crappy video (possibly this one) out of the former Yugoslavia that includes a sequence depicting several soldiers playing a folk song, chief among them a very serious man on an accordion.

Then someone made a TF2 version of it in Garry's Mod and it snowballed.

To cut a long story short, RANDOM INTERNET GIBBERISH LOL.
at 06:22 on 13-07-2011, Michal

I think I could stare at this thing for hours. The art style reminds me of a children's book I read about castles a very long time ago.
at 05:41 on 13-07-2011, Orion
I don't get it.
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.
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.
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.)
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).
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.
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."
at 09:19 on 12-07-2011, Dan H
I love

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

Thanks, that was really interesting.

But dear me, facepalm, Moffat. Facepalm.
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?
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.
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.
at 00:12 on 12-07-2011, Cammalot
(There should be an "is" in there...)
at 23:44 on 11-07-2011, Cammalot
I love this.

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

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