March 19, 2019, 04:20:15 AM

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Re: The King's Paws (with one holding a bottle of Peri Peri sauce.) Enjoy the holidays, everyone.  :)
December 24, 2018, 02:50:58 PM
Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel Babaganoush is Baba Jaga's younger sister who married an eggplant farmer.

(My brother's gf already has a nickname and it's Fox.)

December 25, 2018, 08:08:19 PM
Re: The King's Paws (with one holding a bottle of Peri Peri sauce.) I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and all that. I got a pipe, a tobacco jar, and all the accessories so I can get my 'old man with a pipe' on :)

The final day of a long and particularly difficult year is upon us. Perhaps it's just me, but if 2018 is unusual, it is not simply because of difficulties, but the multimodal, multidisciplinary aspect to them: politics, relationships, work, medical issues, family, you name it. Let's hope 2019 is a little less turbulent. For my part, I am hoping Robert Mueller brings me some more indictments to start off my year :)

Best wishes to you all for a wonderful year - I hope everything you need comes to you when it will do the most good

December 31, 2018, 04:44:19 AM
Re: The King's Paws (with one holding a bottle of Peri Peri sauce.) 36 minutes to our midnight, Sending you all sincere good wishes for a happy, healthy New Year. There is hope here for 2019, an election sometime when we may get sanity and humanity back again is looking more  possible by the day.  This has made me very happy, but as ScarletBea mentioned my muscles are being annoying so I cannot ramble on here very often. Keep safe dear friends and thank you writers, having short stories as a monthly free gift is magical.  :) 8)
December 31, 2018, 12:33:58 PM
Re: What are you currently reading?
Started John Dies at the End. Delightfully Twisted.

I resent that title.  8)

January 09, 2019, 04:22:40 PM
Re: What are you currently reading?
Started John Dies at the End. Delightfully Twisted.
Great book. I thought that the sequel This Book is Full of Spiders was even better.

January 09, 2019, 08:37:17 PM
Re: The King's Paws (with one holding a bottle of Peri Peri sauce.) Hmm. There's been an interesting development. Or at least the precursor to a development.

Every year the town authorities open up applications for what I'll translate as "artist pay". People who contribute to local culture in some way can send in an application, and those who are accepted get a pretty good payout, spread out over nine months. Earlier today I had a face-to-face conversation with the guy who arranges the committee. He explained the workings, I told him my general story, and the result is that I am going to write a novella in Icelandic, and then donate it to the town in some fashion.

IF I get accepted, of course.

And if I do get accepted I'll have a nice little side project to go along with my longer stuff, and finally make some actual money off my writing. And if I don't I'll have lost nothing by simply sending in an application.

January 23, 2019, 06:21:32 PM
Re: Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel
Wait, what? WHAT? Dude, how you can just drop that casually like it's a normal thing?

You have the weirdest life. :P
You just said what I (everyone?) was thinking ;D

Okay so at the time, there was an economic crisis, no one had any money, there were people taking over busses in the city b/c the prices went up and burning tires and everyone was robbing everyone and there were vigilante mobs.  So getting held hostage was sort of par for the course.  We also got tied up later and I sort of got pistolwhipped "eres americano, donde esta su plata!" while tied to this girl from canada until she told them I was French and they were like 'oh, sorry."  But Ive been held at gunpoint and knifepoint and assaulted probably like 10 or 11 times (once you total them all up, not each) so there's that.  No lasting injuries really, just a scar on my face, two under my hair from beer bottles and guns, and a knife wound in the back.

I wouldn't say life has been kind exactly, but I will say this, it's never been boring.
You don't need to write fantasy novels, you need to write memoirs.

January 25, 2019, 04:34:20 PM
Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
I saw this circulating elsewhere. It's incredibly scathing, but too irresistible not to post, so I put it in spoiler tags.

Spoiler for Hiden:

Someone asked "Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?"

Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England, wrote this magnificent response:

"A few things spring to mind.

Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace - all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.

So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing - not once, ever.

I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility - for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.

But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is - his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.

And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults - he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.

Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.

Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.

And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.

Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.

He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.

He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.

That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.

There are unspoken rules to this stuff - the Queensberry rules of basic decency - and he breaks them all. He punches downwards - which a gentleman should, would, could never do - and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless - and he kicks them when they are down.

So the fact that a significant minority - perhaps a third - of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think 'Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
* Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
* You don't need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.

After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.

God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.

In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws - he would make a Trump.

And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:

'My God… what… have… I… created?

If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set."

February 17, 2019, 12:26:31 PM
Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world Ok I really planned to keep my mouth shut on all this religion crap, but I just can't anymore.  So here comes a 20 page essay no one asked for and probably no one is going to read but whatever.

Anarchism probably isn't what you think it is.

The way most people think about human nature today is influenced by Freud, Malthus and Hobbes: People are violent animals at the core (the id), and social control from government and religion and whatnot (the superego) is what keeps us from tearing eachother apart.  Freud psychologized it, Malthus biologized it, but this statist bullshit has been spouted since Hobbes in his "man against man" to rationalize the monopoly of violence held by the state.

Real biologists have found extensive evidence for the value of mutualism and cooperation (ideas pioneered over a century ago by the anarchist Kropotkin but independently arrived at by modern biologists like Frans de Waal) and Freud's statism was largely reversed by Marcuse, but these severely dysfunctional Freudian ideas have political agency and keep everyone acting like Sheeple so they are here to stay.

Anyway, anarchists have a lot of opinions about human nature (some think it's good, some think it's neutral), but they think evil actually comes from the state.  It's states that drive war, facilitate gross inequality (via the monarchy, it's invention the corporation, and of course colonialism and imperialism).  Anarchists are different from libertarians because they are critical of both the state and capitalism. In fact they see the two as being inseparable and call it state-capitalism.  They usually support alternative social organizations (indigenous self-governments, cooperatives, syndicalism, you name it). Some of them even like the church. Some of them have run for political office. (as did Proudhon, the first Anarchist). It's about fighting *hierarchy* and *inequality*, usually with consensus-based (as opposed to representative) democracy. The circle-A is actually an A within an O and the O stands for Order. In the late 1800s and early 1900s most social movements were anarchistic.  People saw the state AND capitalist exploitation as neo-colonial forces to fend off.  The reason you have a 40 hour work week today is because ANARCHISTS died to bring it to you.  Look up the Haymarket Affair. Go. Right now.  Google it.  And come back and publicly thank anarchists that you're not working 20 hour shift in a factory since the age of 7. (Some hack historians will tell you it was b/c businesses "found people worked more effectively" when they weren't deprived of sleep and starving but that's a load of shit. It was anarchists, and if you don't believe me sod off.)

(FYI I emailed FF about writing a post about anarchism in fantasy but, as with all my emails they never replied.)

Okay so that's settled.  What about religion? What Rostum was saying was that all institutions are inherently political and therefore corrupt. But unlike the state, which owes it's existence to authoritarianism, violence and capitalist exploitation, religion has the flexibility to be many different things. Religion is just a form of "social thickness"-- a way that people relate to form independent networks with their own sorts of norms. You've got Quakers and Unitarians (I'm sorry you sour atheists, but there is nothing bad you can say about Quakers) on one hand, then you've got Evangelicals on the other (I seriously can't think of anything good about Evangelicals no matter how hard I try).

In my opinion. Religion, when it's good, is anarchistic. It is a control on the inevitable repressive trajectory of the state.

For all its corruption, and priests banging nuns and kids and murdering people and who knows what else over the centuries.... the catholic church was the ONLY effective control on the monarchy which would have driven serfs to even more unsavory levels of exploitation. Alms for the poor isn't a solution, but without them we might not have the space for social movements today. Philanthropy might not even be valued.

In the colonial period, it was largely Jesuit priests that organized indigenous resistance to colonial powers and slave traders.

Today, the catholic church is the largest social service agency in Latin America. Liberation theology is responsible for anti-poverty and indigenous rights movements across the continent. It is the most effective way for people to organize en masse.  In El Salvador, priests and nuns died defending people from a violent, repressive state owned by a few families.

In Spain, interestingly, things played out differently. During Franco's rule, the Catholic church sided with the state, supporting fascism and essentially attempting to re-establish the monarchy.  Anarchist were Franco's biggest thorn, suicide bombers and armed resistance keeping him at bay in southern Spain.  Any way long story short, Spain is now incredibly atheist, b/c Franco lost and they never recovered.

As a dominant ideology, religion plays a much more unleasant role in the US. Religious leaders are responsible for the xenophobia, racism and fervent mobilization of much of the Republican base.  But you still have those crazy catholic nun activists that tried the shut down the School of Americas (a center training torturers in Latin America) in protests year after year, and all kinds of anti-nuke protests.  You also have the Baptist church in the African American community, both politically mobilizing people for the democrats and providing an anti-gang influence.

So which of these is doing "what it actually teaches"? Most of the bible is poorly translated, third hand accounts, invented in a congress of elites. If God is real, he didn't say any of those words and he's probably royally pissed that people would dare to pretend to speak for him for their own personal gain. So by that logic, joining a church is probably the fastest way to go downstairs.

If God isn't real, or if he's just really chill and forgiving about that whole hubris thing, then maybe "what it teaches" doesn't really matter and religion is just a social technology: the compassion or lack thereof in the hearts of those that use that social technology is that makes it good or evil.

Religious people who believe without thinking do so at the peril of their very souls, and atheists who dismiss it sourly are equally lost. In my opinion.  Obviously this is all just my most very humble opinion. Except the anarchism stuff. That's fact.

February 21, 2019, 02:37:10 PM