Monday, July 24, 2017

I hope I never...

...write anything as ridiculous as a love scene involving a eunuch.  :(

I'm talking about Game of Thrones, of course.  Grey Worm and Missandei got it on.  Somehow.  :|

Of all the facepalm moments in the show--and there are many--this one is probably the facepalmiest.  The whole point of making eunuchs in the first place is to make an adult male who's devoid of sexual desire.  Eunuchs were traditionally used as harem guards because they could be trusted to not have sex with the harem girls, even when those eunuchs were only castrated but were left with intact penises.

Grey Worm can perform oral sex on Missandei, but it should be perfunctory only.  He shouldn't be having any sort of desire for her.  That's just not the way it works.

Don't get me wrong.  It was nice seeing Missandei's naked body.  She's got a great figure.  But that doesn't make it okay to contrive nonsense like this.

Fun experiment: google "eunuch" right now and see how much GoT-related stuff you get.

Monday, July 17, 2017

"Deleted" was the right choice

I saw the "Director's Cut" version of Alien today.  I'd seen the theatrical version many times, but never this version.  It's basically the same, except for an added scene: Ripley stumbles upon Dallas after he's been taken by the alien and cocooned.  He and Brent are being turned into eggs.  He begs her to kill him, and she does.

Here's the entire deleted scene:

I think the original decision to delete this scene was the correct one.  It adds confusion, since we don't know much about the species at this point, and providing this sort of info this late in the movie slows the pacing.  And for suspense purposes, it's better if we don't know anyway.

Another issue is that you don't really want your story's hero intentionally killing any good guys.  It muddies the waters, morally speaking, and it brings the hero down a few notches in the viewer's estimation.  Sure, Dallas begged her to do it, and yeah, it was a mercy killing, and necessary, but still.  Heroes don't fry good guys with flamethrowers.  This scene did more harm than good, so it was wisely cut.

So I won't be watching that version anymore.  Just the theatrical version.  Which, of course, is pretty awesome, and almost as cool as the sequel.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Darwinian internet

The internet is rapidly becoming unusable.  Website designers continue to load them up with popups and ads and autoplaying videos, stuff few of us want.  They have to monetize their sites, and I get that, but this ain't the way to do it.  It's my bandwidth, not yours, and I don't want to watch your video.  Also, many of these third-party ads are infected with malware.  It simply isn't safe to not use an adblocker.

(I've gotten malware before from what should have been a completely safe site.  I was lucky, and was able to recover the data, but it still scared the crap out of me.)

Then there's the fact that designers are trying to make their sites work across a wide variety of devices, and you've got a recipe for disaster.  When you try to be all things to all people, then you end up serving none of them well.

Some sites won't let you visit without turning your adblocker off.  Well, I'm not doing that.  I don't need to read your site so badly that I'm willing to risk malware.  Instead, I'll do more things like what I recently did: install Ublock Origin in addition to AdBlockPlus.  I'm using both simultaneously now, and the combo seems to do the trick.  Except for the website, which gets stuck in a never-loading loop.  Still haven't figured out what to about that yet.

This Darwinian struggle won't end any time soon.  Sites and users will be in a never-ending struggle with one another, similar to how militaries constantly come up with new weapons to breach an opponent's defense, which then requires new defensive innovation, which then spurs the need for better weapons, and so on and so forth, forever.

Is there a solution?  I don't know.  All I know is that the internet was pretty uncluttered back in the 00's, and I'm kind of nostalgic for it, even taking into account the relative lack of content.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I seem to recall...

...a leather-bound version of The Lord of the Rings available in bookstores.  It was a single volume, not split into a trilogy.  I've tried googling, and I've seen a few different editions, but none look like the one from my memory.  😕

I'd like to have a really nice version of the novel some day--I've currently just got the paperbacks--but I haven't seen any that I think are just fantastic.  And it would need to be pretty awesome, since this would just be a vanity thing.  I'm thinking burgundy leather, with gilded lettering and maybe some deep-set stamped runes or something.  It would also be cool if it came locked and the only way to open it is to say the word "mellon."  But that might be asking a bit much.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Jerry Miculek is not human

Don't take my word for it.  See for yourself:

At a thousand yards, that balloon is less than 1 minute of angle wide.  :o

Jerry's youtube channel is full of such circus-stunt shots.  He's the best shooter in the world, hands down.  The man is a robot.  It's the only logical explanation.

It's kind of depressing, really, since I know I'll never be as good at anything in my life as he is at shooting.  But it's inspiring, too, because it reminds us that the ceiling of human accomplishment might just be a lot higher than we thought it was.  So be like Jerry, and aim high.  :D

Friday, July 7, 2017

275 years ago today

Georgia colonists gave the Spanish Empire a bloody nose:

The British advance party, in pursuit of the defeated Spanish force, engaged in a skirmish, then fell back in face of advancing Spanish reinforcements. When the British reached a bend in the road, Lieutenants Southerland and Macoy ordered the column to stop. They took cover in a semi-circle shaped area around a clearing behind trees and palmettos, waiting for the advancing Spanish having taken cover in the dense forest. They watched as the Spanish broke rank, stacked arms and, taking out their kettles, prepared to cook dinner. The Spanish thought they were protected because they had the marsh on one side of them and the forest on the other. The British forces opened fire from behind the cover of trees and bushes, catching the Spanish off-guard. They fired multiple volleys from behind the protection of dense forest. The attack killed roughly 200 Spaniards. The ferocity of the fighting at Bloody Marsh was dramatic, and the battle took its name from the tradition that the marsh ran red with the blood of dead Spanish soldiers. The floor of the forest was strewn with the bodies of the dead and dying. A few Spanish officers attempted in vain to reform their ranks, but the Spanish soldiers and their allies fled, panic stricken, in multiple directions as they were hit with volley after volley of musket fire from behind the foliage. Barba himself was captured after being mortally wounded. The Battle of Bloody Marsh blunted the Spanish advance, and ultimately proved decisive.

There's a plaque at the site commemorating the battle:

This battle was an important one for Georgia.  The first European explorers here were Spanish, and the British didn't set up their colony until 1733.  By the time the War of Jenkins' Ear broke out, the colony's border with Florida was still disputed, and it wasn't certain whether the recently settled city of Savannah and its surrounding lands would remain British or fall to the Spanish.  Most of Savannah's Jewish community fled to Charleston, South Carolina, fearing the Spanish Inquisition.  They would later return to Savannah, though, and are still there today, one of the oldest Jewish congregations in America.

After the Revolution was won, and the national focus on the British had subsided a bit, some of the old hard feelings towards the Spanish returned.  France and Spain went to war with one another, and French ambassador Genêt wanted America to invade Spanish Florida.  General Elijah Clarke, one of Georgia's heroes of the Revolution, was only too happy to oblige, and he raised an army of local militia for the purpose.  President Washington caught wind of the plot and promptly expressed his disapproval.  Georgia's governor sided with Washington and told Clarke to knock it off.  Clarke was disappointed, but he obeyed.  He took his army and invaded Creek Indian country instead, setting up the short-lived Trans-Oconee Republic.

The threat from the Spanish Empire ended for good in 1821 when Spain ceded Florida to the United States.  But the turning point for Georgia was the Battle of Bloody Marsh, fought 275 years ago today on St. Simon's Island.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Progress report

The revisions based on advice from beta readers are complete.  I'm now putting the finishing touches on the three books of the Free Space trilogy.  I hope to publish them this month.

It's been a long time coming, and I'm really looking forward to releasing these books into the wild, if for no other reason than that I can move on without that particular monkey on my back.