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Captain Marvel is missing something: a heart. Comparing this origin story to Captain America: The First Avenger makes it glaringly obvious that the people who wrote and directed this movie didn't understand what makes an audience care about a hero. Rather than show us what makes Carol Danvers special and engaging our emotions, the movie simply tells us - over and over - how great she is.

That doesn't work It turns the movie into nothing more than a huge advertisement for a lead character that we have no reason to care about in the first place. A quick montage of her repeatedly "getting up" after falling down is an inadequate replacement for the comparatively extensive scenes of a puny Steve Rogers standing up to bullies and stubbornly doing the right thing - no matter the cost - in Captain America.

There was also a moment in Captain Marvel which demonstrated that the writers and directors neither understood nor respected the genre. A key element of the movie is the struggle between the Skrulls and the Kree to acquire a device that is presented as a sort of ultimate weapon: the Lightspeed engine. Apparently nobody realized that an engine that can travel at the speed of light would still take years to reach even the nearest star. Given that effectively instantaneous interstellar travel via boom tube is demonstrated in the movie long before the Lightspeed engine is even introduced, that whole aspect of the plot makes no sense.

That flaw could have been easily fixed by simply calling it a "hyperspeed" engine, or some other jargon which implied enormous speed. But nobody cared enough, or understood basic physics and the plot of the movie enough, to notice that the name of a critical element in the movie made no sense. That obvious error slipped by every single person involved in the making of this hundred-million-plus movie. That's how disconnected from the fans the writers, directors, and Disney/Marvel themselves have become.

As for the rest of the movie, it was pretty much paint-by-the-numbers. Phoned in. Uninspired. Perhaps Brie Larson could have improved it a bit with overwhelming charisma, but she either couldn't or wasn't allowed to. She's a "hero" who has little personality other than the occasional smirk. Who becomes the most powerful being in the universe by accident, and doesn't seem to be touched by that. Who has no weaknesses or flaws. She's just perfect, and she knows it. How are we supposed to identify with THAT?

That's a boring hero. And if she's the new leader of the MCU, and isn't enormously improved in her next appearance (as Thor was improved in Thor: Ragnarok), the outlook is poor for the quality of the MCU going forward - no matter how much Disney artifically inflates the numbers.
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James Branch Cabell - a contemporary of Dunsany, and generally considered to be similar to him - albeit more "shocking". His novel Jurgen: A Comedy of Justice was denounced as indecent and the subject of an obscenity trial, although by modern standards it's relatively tame. Many of his works are available for free on Project Gutenberg.
 
Robert W. Chambers - another contemporary of Dunsany, and another early fantasist. He's best known for his collection The King In Yellow, which was used by writers such as H.P. Lovecraft and others in the same way that Lovecraft's Necronomicon has been used by later writers. Others who have referenced elements from The King In Yellow include Blue Oyster Cult (in their song "E.T.I"), Marion Zimmer Bradley in her Darkover series, and Lawrence Watt-Evans in his excellent Lords of Dus series. I highly recommend Watt-Evans, by the way.
 
Fritz Lieber was not quite a contemporary of Dunsany, as he was born in 1910. But he was a relatively early fantasy writer, and had a certain poetry to his style which is sometimes reminiscent of Dunsany. A surprising number of his works are available on Project Gutenberg. He was also a noted science fiction author. His son wrote a few rather good novels as well.
 
Fredric Brown was a contemporary of Lieber, and is one of my favorite authors. He wrote fantasy, mystery, and science fiction; one of his stories, "Arena", was credited for the original Star Trek episode of the same name, although the episode and story were actually rather different (the story was far more sophisticated and clever). He was particularly noted for writing "short-shorts", stories that were extremely short and which often featured surprising endings. Humor was also a frequent element in his work. Unfortunately not much of his work is available on Project Gutenberg, but some is available in commercial ebook format.
 
Cordwainer Smith was like Dunsany in that he was unique. Poetry and a sense of magic suffuse his works, although they are technically science fiction (he also wrote a couple of thrillers before he turned to science fiction). He grew up in China, and his writing style is patterned on Chinese folktales and stories. He was also an extremely unusual man who wrote the definitive work on psychological warfare. Unfortunately he died young, and only one of his works is available on Project Gutenberg. However, some of his works are available commercially in ebook form. A definitive collection of his science fiction is available in hardcover, as is an authoritative edition of his one novel. Strongly recommended; there's nobody like him, another way in which he resembles Dunsany.

Larry Niven is relatively modern, and in fact is the first author on this list who is still alive - as well as completely unrepresented on Project Gutenberg. Although he's best known as a "hard" science fiction writer (despite being more entertaining and imaginative than most authors in that category), he's also a fan of Dunsany. He wrote an outstanding Dansanian story set at the edge of the world called "Transfer of Power", which is included in his collection
Convergent Series (which I highly recommend; that story is what got me into Dunsany). His more recent work has been uneven, but his earlier works are excellent. He's unusual in that he writes outstanding short stories, but also wrote excellent novels as well.
 
Barry Hughart is also still alive, but gave up writing many years ago. He did produce a fantasy novel which has much of the fairy-tale quality of Dunsany's work: Bridge of Birds, which won the World Fantasy Award. The two sequels to that work are worth reading, but don't quite capture the magic of the original. Again, strongly recommended.
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For the past two weeks I've been doing intermittent fasting. Basically I skip breakfast, drink plenty of water, and eat one meal at around 3-4pm.

That's it. That's enough to tide me over for the rest of the day. I'm sleeping better, have virtually no heartburn, and I've lost some weight. The great thing is that it doesn't require any effort. I do get hungry around noon, but knowing that I'll eat at 3pm makes it easier to deal with the hunger, And I feel as if I have more energy, too.

I've also been doing light weightlifting. That seems to be having an effect as well. I spoke to my doctor about doing this last month, and she was very enthusiastic; apparently intermittent fasting is now medically approved. I've heard all sorts of interesting claims about what IF (as it's called) can do for you; I take those with a grain of salt. But I can definitely say that I feel better since I started doing it.
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When I reserved tickets for Captain Marvel online on opening day (at a theater where all seats are reservation-only), almost all the seats were sold out. But when I actually WENT to the showing, there were a lot of empty seats - far more than were indicated on the reservation page. Apparently my experience was nowhere near unique. Others noted the same thing, and an anonymous theater owner reported that there were 25 extra tickets reserved for each showing - but nobody showed up for those 25.

It's quite possible that Disney is spending a bit of money to boost the numbers, Perhaps that makes sense from their angle, just as deleting negative audience reviews from Rotten Tomatoes apparently did.

Theaters make most of their money on tentpole movie through popcorn/food sales, If Disney IS buying lots of tickets to artificially inflate the numbers, doesn't that mean that the theaters are being screwed? No-shows don't buy food, after all.

As for the movie itself, I was disappointed. The writing was surprisingly lackluster, and Brie Larson didn't show any of the charisma that other MCU stars have. I just didn't find it memorable...which is not a good thing if Captain Marvel is to be the standard-bearer of the franchise going forward. And I say that as a big MCU fan. Between Black Panther and Captain Marvel, MCU movies may no longer be a must-see. Time will tell.
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One thing I haven't seen mentioned about the recent revelation that the rich are buying college admissions for their children: this greatly devalues all Ivy League and other prestigious college degrees. You graduated from Harvard? Who bought your way in?

Anyone with a top-college degree (particularly those from wealthy families) has now lost an undefined but very real value from their degree.
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A disappointment. Brie Larson underwhelms as a superhero without charisma. A good supporting cast can't hide the lack of emotional content or decent writing; a good movie surprises, but Captain Marvel does anything but. If this is the new face of the MCU, Marvel urgently needs to retool.
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A few weeks ago I started having caffeinated coffee again.

A few weeks minus a few days ago I started having nuclear-level heartburn again.

Apparently this was cause and effect. Luckily I'm okay with decaf. Hard to believe that a caffeine could cause that much pain!
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Seven months ago I went to a new dentist. I needed two root canals and crowns. The first one went smoothly; it was a computer-created crown, made right there in the office. It felt great, very much like the original tooth.

A couple of weeks later I went back for the second crown. The dentist who had done the first tooth no longer worked there. Instead they had a new guy. But he was very different.

He kept me in the chair for six and a half hours. Three times the Novocaine wore off and had to be re-injected. Over and over he told me to close my teeth, even when I kept telling him that my cheek was swollen and in the way. He demanded I close my teeth on my cheek until the blood was flowing freely. And he mangled my crown and the tooth behind it, which didn't need work to begin with. I ended up with a massive cheek infection that lasted for two weeks even with antibiotics. Don't forget, I am a very nervous dental patient!

And then he charged me extra for fixing the damage he did to the tooth behind the crown - the one that hadn't needed work at all.

I had decided not to go back. But when I saw my endodontist last week, I told her and her receptionist about what had happened. To my surprise, I got a call from her receptionist on Friday. Short version: that dentist got fired. Apparently he mangled a lot of other people, too. And some of them, unlike me, complained about it. The funniest thing was that it turns out that he was a prison dentist for twenty years! So I guess he was used to working on people who couldn't complain.

So now I can honestly say that I've spent six and a half hours being tortured by a prison dentist.
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Most of my friends didn't go to Arisia this year. I, of course, haven't gone for the last two years - not since I was banned from the Programming track because the Head of Security didn't like my cosplay.

But one friend did go this year, and for some reason he asked a lot of people why I was kicked out. I would have rather he hadn't done that, but I didn't know until I was too late. Anyway, here's what apparently all the Arisia people he spoke to agreed on:

I broke the code. I did the unforgivable, by speaking out against Arisia in a public forum. Program participants represent Arisia, and by going on the record complaining about Arisia, they commit the unforgivable sin and will be banned forever from being a program participant.

I had several thoughts when I heard this. First, who the hell are all these people who know me and why I was kicked out? Are they seriously that obsessed with revenge, considering that they're dealing with a scandal-plagued con that's in a death spiral? At what point did Arisia adopt the code of Omerta - the Mafia code of silence?

Also, given how hostile Arisia has usually been to ANY criticism, it seems that their approach is to basically stifle any and all critiques. That isn't new, of course. Arisia has always had a problem with that. Still, it seems surprisingly absolute - and stupid. How can they improve if they attack anyone who dares speak out about a problem?

Then another thought occurred to me. Top people in Arisia went public about the con covering up allegations of rape and harassment. Have those people been banned by Arisia? Obviously not. So does this code of silence only apply to "lesser" people? Which people? Is this code written down somewhere? Shouldn't program participants be warned about it?

Hey, won't I be double-banned for writing this?

Okay, seriously. I don't want to go back to Arisia. Not as long as it is what it has become: a sanctimonious bunch of hypocrites eager to punish those who complain about bad treatment. People who proudly proclaim how tolerant they are, while using their own biases to shut down inoffensive topics that they don't like. A vengeful clique with an enemies list. People who are more concerned about having enough ribbons listing the wearer's preferred personal pronouns than about producing a safe, fun, welcoming convention for everyone.

I was at the first Arisia, and never missed one until I was kicked out two years ago. This isn't the Arisia I loved in the old days. The current management are not the sort of fans I want to hang out with - much less spend a thousand dollars or more to see. They've driven out most of the best people. I only hope that when Arisia implodes a new, better con is created in its place. If that happens, I'll support it to the best of my ability.
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 I went to see Glass last night, and I have to say that I really liked it. So did the friends who went with me. It's much much better than the critics are saying, and a very satisfying ending to the trilogy. What is it with critics and their apparently uncontrollable drive to crap on M. Night Shyamalan?

I'm at the point where I don't take critics seriously about any movie anymore.
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 I try not to shop at Walmart. On the rare occasions when I go there, I pay in cash to deny them data.

So you can imagine how I felt when I went in there recently and saw my face on the self-checkout cash register screen. There was a small camera lens directly above the screen. Has anyone else seen that?

Anyway, I covered the camera with my hand and the image disappeared. I know that they have my image anyway. But I don't like this invasion of privacy bullshit.

I'm tempted to stick a small sticky note over those lenses when I go there. Maybe with something written on them. But what?

Belzebub

Nov. 4th, 2018 12:24 am
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I’ve been making notes toward this writeup for some time now, but the disaster of Blizzard’s announcement of Diablo: Immortal prompted me to hurry it up a bit. I’m sure that Diablo fans need it!

If you’re a Diablo fan and haven’t played the Diablo 1 HD mod, you have a total delight in store. It’s an amazingly detailed and enormously expanded version of Diablo 1, updated for modern displays and Windows versions. It’s also rebalanced to make it effectively more than four times bigger than the original Diablo 1.


Oh, the mod is also named Belzebub (sp). I’m going to call it Belzebub below to avoid confusion. But it is, in truth, the original Diablo 1 game - with huge improvements.


The graphics are, of course, the originals. They look a bit better, but they’re still not anything close to modern. But it wasn’t amazing graphics that made Diablo 1 a genre-creating game anyway. Unlike Diablo 1, Belzebub will run on Windows 10 (and Windows XP, and everything between those OSes). You can set it to as high as 1920 x 1080 resolution, allowing you to see a much larger area of the game. You can also zoom in and out within a large range by using your mouse’s scroll button.


Now let’s talk about gameplay improvements.


Storage has been enormously improved. Your own character’s storage is still the same with 40 individual slots. But you now have a private stash in the village which contains 50 tabs with 100 slot each - 10 x 10, for a total of 5,000 slots!


What’s more, you also have a trade stash. This is ten tabs of 100 slots each. It works like normal storage, except it can be accessed by any character that has been run on the same system. In other words, you can effortlessly trade items between your characters.


Items in these storage containers are saved with the game. You can exit and come back later, and they will still be there. There’s also an additional storage option, but that’s connected to Crafting. I’ll discuss that later on.


Gold has also been made much more convenient. Rather than being limited to 5,000 gold per slot, the limit is now a million gold per slot. You can also put gold in your private and trading stashes. If my math is correct, that means that you can have a total of - wait for it - 6,400,000,000 gold - that’s over six billion!


Installation is a breeze. All it takes is copying the files to a drive, and running the Belzebub executable. Make a shortcut to the executable, if you want, and you’re good to go. The total size is 560MB. That’s not a typo. Five hundred and sixty megabytes. And you won’t need the Diablo 1 CD to play the game.


There are several places that you can download the game. You can Google “Diablo 1 HD mod Belzebub”, or just use these links:


The mod files can be downloaded here: https://diablo-hd-belzebub.en.uptodown.com/windows


Make a new folder (I call mine Diablo 1 HD Mod) and unzip the files into that. Also download the DIABDAT.MPQ file here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0GjgCzh8BBgTVpXU3NIbVdtNlE/view and put the DIABDAT.MPQ file into the same folder as the other files. It makes a Diablo 1 CD unnecessary.


Saving has changed. It’s no longer a snapshot of the second that you saved; rather, it saves when you exit. Waypoints that you’ve opened will remain open, but levels will be re-generated and re-stocked with monsters. So it’s now the same as Diablo 2, in that regard.


Oh, I’ve heard that Multiplayer play is possible over a LAN, but I haven’t had a chance to try that yet.


Character classes have been expanded. You can play the original Warrior, Rogue, and Sorcerer classes, but now you can also play a Barbarian, Necromancer, or Assassin. I should note that I’ve only played a Sorcerer so far, so I can’t yet provide class-specific tips for the other categories.


Skills have been fixed and expanded to increase class differentiation. The Repair skill of the Warrior and the Recharge skill of the Sorcerer have been made actually useful, by making them only have a chance of success, but without the risk of reducing the maximum durability or charges of the item. Better still, new character-specific skills have been added, for a total of five per class. I’ve only played a sorcerer so far, so I can’t talk about the skills of the other classes yet. But in addition to Staff Recharge, Sorcerers now have access to Elemental Drain (which temporarily increases your ability to penetrate resistances and immunities), Mana Shield (which is no longer a spell, but acts as one), Etherealize (reducing the damage you take for a short time), and Temporal Slowdown - which slows down the rest of the world for a short period, from your perspective. Mana Shield also no longer goes down when mana reaches zero; if you restore mana with a potion before all your hit points are gone, further damage will go against the mana again.


Permanent effects have been fixed. Remember the shrines and cauldrons that could ruin your character forever by reducing maximum mana? Those are now timed, temporary effects. They can be canceled by simply clicking on an icon in the upper right corner. On the downside, characteristic-increasing potions have also been nerfed. They work for nine minutes, and don’t stack. But to balance that out, the permanent hit point reduction cause by the Black Death zombies has been eliminated.


Spells have been greatly increased. There are now six levels of spell with seven spells in each level. In addition to the old familiar spells, there are new spells based on Diablo II spells - including cold spells, more area-effect spells, and convenient new spells such as Warp, which teleports you to the nearest entry or exit point within range.


One spell has been seriously nerfed: Stone Curse. It now has only a chance of turning a target to stone, and can be resisted. What’s more, if it’s successful the target gains a very high damage resistance while it’s petrified. That makes it more a spell for crowd control, rather than the ultimate spell that it was in Diablo 1.


Waypoints have been inserted from Diablo 2. There are still the usual 16 levels, but there are now waypoints on every second level. That’s Cathedral levels 2 and 4, Crypts 6 and 8, Caves 10 and 12, and Hell 14 and 16. The Waypoints must be activated just as with Diablo 2, of course.


Quests which were planned for the original Diablo 1 but were deleted before release have now been completed and implemented. They include two village-based quests, as well as quite a few additional quests underground. Some of these take you to new areas which are effectively areas in themselves. For example, the Butcher is no longer in the usual room; once you’re there, you have to find a way to get to the Butcher’s lair, which is filled with a lot more demons before you get to the Butcher himself.


There are two quests which require a bit of explanation. An Arcane Sanctuary quest has been added to the Crypts; you reach it when you find three Ancient Tomes in two squares and a rectangle. There’s also a quest in the caves which requires you to stand on four stones in the correct order. A hint: it’s always best to consider what’s new, or what’s snew!


Bosses and mini-bosses are now much more difficult. They tend to have more resistances and to be generally much tougher; it’s no longer practical to just spam a mouse button. Strategy is necessary. For example, the Valor quest is much as it was before, except that the end boss is a killer. He’s not just more powerful; he actually uses spells such as Firewall against you, too.


Death has become less painful. That’s good, because you’re likely to die much more often - or at least, I did. Rather than dropping your equipped gear, you simply drop some gold when you die; a substantial enough amount to hurt, but at least you come back with all your gear!


Items have enormously increased in both number and variety. Again, this seems to be based on Diablo 2. There are set items which show in green; so far these all seem to be the same as in D2. There are uniques, and rares, with prefixes and suffixes. Many items have quite a few properties! Qualities which were once given in absolutes or with a limited number of possibilities now have their improvements listed as percentages, which vary quite a lot. For example, hit recovery speed is now a percentage, and can be increased by multiple equipped items at once. The same is true for speed of attack.


There are also items which can increase Spellpower. These generally increase damage for all spells by a percentage. Items which increase spell levels (either for individual spells, all spells, or both) also still exist.


Tristram itself has changed a bit. There’s a couple of new NPCs, including one from Diablo 2. NPC locations have been made a bit more convenient (especially Wirt), and more characters give quests now. Vocals seem to have been recorded for the reinstated quests when D1 was created, so you can hear some interesting new comments from old favorites. As I mentioned earlier, there are some quests which are now village-based.


One thing that seems minor, but that really makes a difference is NPC movement. Some NPCs still stay in place, but others now move around the village; they seem to be talking with each other. It gives the village a more real feeling, somehow.


Refreshment has been added at Adria’s. Just as Peppin the healer will heal you for free, Adria apparently offers free drinks; these restore your mana to full. It’s a nice idea.


Crafting is a major addition. It’s not quite like crafting in D2 or D3. It can only be started once you’ve successfully completed the Anvil of Fury quest. The Anvil is then set up next to Griswold’s forge. You can use it to Salvage magic items that you don’t want to sell (including items which have zero value - they generally don’t produce much, but they will produce something of value), creating gems, oils, tokens, and symbols. At about the same time that you finish that quest, you’ll start finding recipes occasionally among treasure. They look like scrolls, but they are listed in orange text. These are learned by simply right-clicking on them once they’re in your inventory. Once you’ve learned a recipe, it disappears - but you now know the recipe permanently.


Using the Anvil you can put ingredients and items together to create powerful new class-specific items. Recipes include random powers along with specified ones, so you can redo a recipe if you don’t like the result. There are higher levels of recipe which produce more powerful items, but these are only available in higher difficulties!


Oh, one more tip: the area of the Anvil where the gems/oils/tokens appear from salvaged magic items is another durable storage area. The items in it persist from game to game.


Difficulties have been increased by one: there’s now Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Torment. However those levels are seamless. Difficulty has been rescaled, making the higher levels feel more like extensions of the whole game. There are many items, spells, and skills that you can’t attain in Normal. That makes the game itself feel more than four times bigger!


To get specific for a moment, Golems have been changed a bit. They don’t seem to be quite as aggressive any more, and they’re less liable to open doors on their own. They’re not affected by attack spells, although they can still be injured and destroyed by standing in firewalls or lightning walls. They can be healed with Heal Other, which is handy.


One drawback to golems is that sometimes they can block a doorway or narrow space. If you move towards them, however, they move a little away from you and you can get through.


Although the game has been enhanced to a remarkable degree - it’s really impressive - it’s still the original Diablo 1 at its core; the classic horror CRPG that created the genre.


And it’s a hell of a lot better than any mobile game, you can bet on that!


[I was originally planning to include images, but don’t have time for that now. I may add them to the webpage of this writeup later.]

bobquasit: (Default)
 So Arisia was apparently protecting rapists, or covering up accusations of rape. And yet I was kicked out because the head of security went berserk over my cosplay.

I'm tempted to say "If I'd only known, I'd have skipped the cosplay and just raped someone."

But that would be tasteless. Still, it's nice to know that Arisia kept the con safe from atheist events. I'm sure that was a good use of their time!
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If I were to write a longish post about the Diablo 1 HD mod, would anyone here be interested? Should I put in the effort?

It runs on anything from Windows XP to Win10. It's Diablo 1, the game that created the modern computer RPG genre, but extremely expanded - deleted quests have been finished and implemented, as have a number of features from Diablo 2. It's a truly impressive piece of work.

I was thinking of writing it up, and noting all the differences that I've found between the original and this mod. Of course I'd include links to the files themselves, which are remarkably easy to install and *don't* require the original Diablo 1 CD-ROM. So...should I write it, or not?
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Lately it feels as if there's been a mad stampede of users out of G+. More and more people are falling head over heels in love with one or another alternate service, pulling up stakes, and heading for the horizon.

This troubles me. G+ users were an unusual community; more thoughtful than Facebook, and kinder than Reddit. You pretty much had to be an interesting person to stay there while the Facebook juggernaut rolled on.

I have to admit something: I had pretty much given up on social media for the last six months or so. Facebook had become intolerable to me, with its frenetic shallowness and judgmentalism. Reddit was simply toxic. I couldn't help but see social media as a hollow replacement for the real-world, long-term social interaction that we as social animals have evolved to need: privatized, monetized, monitorable, and controllable. A roadblock to any chance of long-term human survival or a living decent human life.

But with the impending shutdown of Google Plus, I saw that people could actually work together online for a constructive purpose. That's a rare thing, and I value it. The thought of a community that can do that - and that cares enough to do that - being scattered to the winds makes me sad.

That's all I've got. I don't have an answer. Thanks for reading this.
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My other places:
MeWe - https://mewe.com/i/petermaranci
Pluspora (Diaspora pod) - https://pluspora.com/people/47880fd0aed201364742005056268def
Minds - https://www.minds.com/Quasit

I'm also on LiveJournal, Reddit, Gab, Meetup, Twitter, Blogspot, Ello (I'd forgotten about that), and some even more obscure places. But I don't use those much.

Chew Gum

Oct. 19th, 2018 11:06 pm
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More and more, I have been seeing my phone as not mine. Instead it seems an alien intruder into my life, something out of John Carpenter's They Live, constantly broadcasting advertising at me for the benefit of an elite and system that wants to exterminate most of the human race.
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 Let's see. With the demise of Google Plus, how many social media sites am I on? Because it seems that I'll need to duplicate my posts on **all** of them until I get a better idea of which I like best.

Google Plus
Pluspora
MeWe
Minds.com
Dreamwidth
Blogspot

It makes me tired just _thinking_ about it!
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Since Google announced their plans to shutter Google Plus, I've been part of a group there that's trying to find the best alternative. Here's something I'm posting there today:

I'd like to suggest considering a social media site that hasn't been talked about here, as far as I know: Dreamwidth.

Dreamwidth has been operating for eleven years now. It has circles, communities, tags, the ability to follow or be followed *without* "friending", and it has an active and generally friendly body of users. It's not swarmed with memes, or at least the parts that I see aren't. You can create different views that will allow you to see posts from specified groups of friends or communities. Privacy controls are outstanding, and the service as a whole is *very* easy to use.

It's ad-free. There are free accounts, and there is no posting limit. There are also paid accounts; they get the additional option of searching their posts internally.

They keep out spammers quite effectively. Their policies on free speech are enlightened; when the Russian government started enforcing restrictive and homophobic policies on LiveJournal, many users migrated to Dreamwidth.

The code is a fork of LiveJournal code. It was set up by ex-LiveJournal staffers, and they have continued to update and improve it. Journals can be imported to other LJ-code-based sites, and posts can be automatically copied elsewhere at your option. You the option of logging in via OpenID.

It's not perfect. There's a mobile app for LJ-type sites, but it doesn't work very well. I use the browser on my Android to post there instead, but that's not ideal.

As far as I know, there's no way to download your data - although you can mirror your posts on LJ-based sites.

Here's my Dreamwidth journal, although most of the posts are private and won't show; I've had a couple of stalkers over the years, although as far as I know neither was actually a Dreamwidth user.

https://bobquasit.dreamwidth.org/

And here's the Wikipedia entry about the site. I do think it's worth considering.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamwidth

Birthday

Oct. 8th, 2018 01:37 am
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Sebastian turned 17 on Friday, and we had a family party for him today. Sebastian and I had been cleaning the apartment for the past week or more, and I think we did a great job. I stayed up late some nights, so that when he woke up in the morning he would see real signs of improvement (and feel guilty, and help me more). :D

We cleaned the hell out of the main floor. We dusted, mopped, scrubbed, neatened, swept, vacuumed, you name it. I hand-sewed armchair arm covers for the chair that Widget has clawed to near-destruction. I even scrubbed the front door!

For the party I made burgers. They came out really well - big, tender, juicy, and smoky. We had ice cream for dessert, and I bought four flavors from Wright's Dairy Farm: chocolate, apple crisp, coffee, and maple walnut. They were great. Their ice cream has improved since the last time I had it, incidentally.

I almost forgot: Sebastian and I had our own little birthday celebration on Friday evening. We went to That's Entertainment in Worcester, and I bought him a Darth Vader movie replica helmet, Black Series. It was expensive, but he loves it. And it's a really high-quality item. I also bought us some movies and graphic novels. Then we had dinner at Coney Island hot dogs (which, despite the name, is in Worcester).

It was a good weekend.

April 2019

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