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Messages - tebakutis

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General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: February 19, 2019, 09:49:59 PM »
Bernie announced he's running and already my Facebook feed is full of people who supported Clinton in the last election vomiting vitriol. In fact the only reason I even knew he's running is from posts by angry centrists

Just a reminder that we've since learned many of the folks who people thought were divisive "Bernie Bros" in 2016 were actually Russian trolls. I reposted this from MAGA Reddit today.


All I'd say is before we say progressives are splitting (again) we make sure the people screaming on both sides are actually progressives and not MAGA trolls or Russian bots.

EDIT: There's no indication he plans to run as an independent (thus splitting the progressive vote) and I think he knows better. While I'd prefer someone younger and less old/white, I will 100% support him if he wins the nomination.

To be fair, I'd support a potato if it was up against Trump. :p

Well, that didn't take long. As of now, we already have pretty much photorealistic VR (for enterprise applications - $6000 dollar headsets!) But to a big company, that's nothing, and the applications for training (particularly the eyetracking data) are exciting.


Consumer headsets still lag far behind this (the Varjo is 20x more clearer than the HTC Vive) but just the fact that these headsets exist is truly exciting. Just as with the advance of flatscreen and HDTVs (which were initially thousands of dollars) 10 years from now, this tech may be available to consumers at a reasonable price.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: February 19, 2019, 03:18:23 PM »
Seeing all this unfold I've wondered what American society can even do about these folks, since there seems to be no reaching out to them, and they're fed a steady diet of opinion reinforcements by their chosen mediums.

I don't think there is anything we can do to bring these folks back, at this point. They're basically a lost cause. The only way forward is to isolate them as much as possible (outvote them) and push back as hard as we can against the Republican voter suppression, gerrymandering, and other dirty tricks that allowed these ignorant angry racists to have an outsized voice in our politics.

Essentially, we have to ensure that the majority (many of whom haven't voted in the past) continue to stay motivated, keep voting, and keep these idiots as far away as possible from real political power until they all die off. I don't see any other solution. The GOP has brainwashed them beyond recovery.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: New Tropes and Cliches
« on: February 18, 2019, 08:57:19 PM »
I have felt recently that the anti-hero, the grimdark MC, the jaded-bitter-warrior-who's-all-shades-of-grey is the new cliche/trope. I'm enjoying a bit of a swing away from that in stuff I'm reading recently, some books that are subverting that by having characters who are genuinely and earnestly trying to do good and the right thing, though that is sometimes a very complicated thing.

So maybe Skip's right, and the subversion is swinging back to the "hero genuinely does the right thing". :)

I second this perception (moving back to heroes who genuinely do the right thing) and I believe the kids are calling it "hopepunk" (Joseph Brassey's Skyfarer is a great example).

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: February 18, 2019, 08:56:13 PM »
I've just finished Thunderhead (Arcs of a Scythe #2), and holy hell, this is seriously one of the greatest book and sequel I've ever read. With that ending, I definitely am in a dire need for a sequel, otherwise I'd travel to neal Shusterman's house and ram on his front door demanding to get it myself.

Frankly the best YA and one of the most original stories I've ever read, and I'd wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone at all. It's the only YA series, and one of the extremely few series where I gave 5 stars for two consecutive books, and that is saying quite a lot.  :D

Well now you have me curious. I don't read much YA, but your strong recommendation may make me check this one out.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: February 18, 2019, 08:55:08 PM »

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."

100% all of this. I loathe anyone who voted for and supports this orange asshole, and that includes my so-called "countrymen". MAGA supporters are, without exception, absolutely terrible people.

Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / Splitting Arrows (A Glyphbinder Prequel)
« on: February 12, 2019, 03:37:00 PM »
Some of you may remember I announced my short story, Splitting Arrrows, won 1st place in the 2018 Farpoint Convention Writer's Contest. It was printed in their 2019 program book this past weekend, and I've decided to throw it up online for all. So, if you're interested in reading a (short) fantasy short story, you can find it here!


General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: February 07, 2019, 09:14:51 PM »
This is just the start, I guess. It's nice how they looked the wrong way when he was a racist, homophobic asshole but once he takes $400 out of their pocket they scream murder.

Yup. The only thing that will snap them out of their blind devotion to Trump is when he starts directly hurting them, both financially and otherwise. I have no sympathy for these people, as they were 100% fine with him hurting anyone who was not them (and even over a thousand innocent children) until they personally were affected. But it's reassuring to see his blind cult members *finally* starting to turn on him, and I think it's why McConnell will dump him before 2020.

The tax plan that screwed these people was actually McConnell, not Trump - Trump simply rubber stamped it into law because he knew he'd benefit - but I'm certain McConnell will have no problem making these people THINK it was Trump, and will easily get their votes again in 2020 by lying and saying he never supported the bill he passed.

This was interesting:


It's about how elder scrolls lore was actually community built

This. Lawrence is an awesome guy, and I thought this was a great way to say goodbye before traveling across the sea.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: February 06, 2019, 10:28:27 PM »
In a bit of good news from the blight that is US politics, the Democrats taking back the House is starting to bear fruit. Since 2016 Republicans have blocked every single avenue into investigating the rampant corruption of Trump and his many cronies. They can no longer do that. This article on CNN lays out just how dramatically tides have shifted.


My prediction: Trump is out before the end of 2019 (if the Mueller report doesn't finish him, the investigations that the GOP can no longer block will) and McConnell/the GOP will claim they were against him all along, and lay the blame for every evil, reprehensible action they have championed purely at Trump's feet. The GOP will then, of course, say the biggest threat is "Democratic socialists!" (and every way they screwed their voters was all Trump, not them) and tell their brainwashed base voting Republican again is the only way to stop it.

And, I suspect, that brainwashed base will buy it hook, line, and sinker. We'll just have to hope the energy we had in 2018 carries over to 2020.

I am steadily feeling more confident we will finally get rid of Trump, though the huge amount of damage he (and the Republicans who used him) have done to our democracy and our most vulnerable will persist for decades, if not longer. As far as the thousands of innocent children Trump ordered abducted (and is now refusing to reunite with their parents because it's "too hard") ... they will live with the trauma of his actions for the rest of their lives.

Since I'm boosting books I loved today, I thought I'd go ahead and post my review of The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes for those who might be interested. Seriously, it's a damn good book (and the rest are great as well).


Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: February 05, 2019, 08:10:22 PM »
Going to add one more link since I'm boosting Skyfarer.

If you're curious what the world is like (it has sleek cool airships, floating islands, and badass magical knight military contractors) you can't go wrong with the intro to FF 12. Honestly, I feel like this could be a trailer for a Skyfarer movie.


Started watching a few episodes of Into the Badlands season 1. If you liked an action, fantasy, dystopian-ish series with loads of kungfu action but without much plot, this is totally spot on.

I really enjoyed the first season. I wanted to watch the second, too, but stopped maybe halfway through? I think it was a mix of not having time for TV (was writing AND doing VR at the time) and also not being super intrigued by the plot, despite the incredibly well done action scenes and my like for the cast. Maybe I'll get back to it one day.

I will say that the Widow's fight scene in the first few eps remains one of my favorites. The sad thing is, I don't remember her ever again being quite that much of a badass.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: The Painted Man / The Warded Man
« on: February 05, 2019, 08:05:38 PM »
So yeah, I'm in the camp that, were I Brett's editor, I'd have told him to scrap the entire Leesha story arc. Literally the entire thing. Even beyond 'that scene' at the end, I found nothing redeemable in it, so I'm curious what those who loved her up until the end saw that I missed. A synopsis of Leesha's story for me went as thus:
- 13 year old girl procrastinates that she hasn't 'bloodied the sheets' yet and can't have sex with her husband to be who is so big and brave and handsome.
- girl is hounded by husband to be for sex, and almost goes through with it, but decides to wait because mum banging her boyfriends dad in the next room is distracting....
(snipped rest)

Holy cow that sounds horrible. Like, that is not something I'd write or want to read. The crazy thing is I remember reading The Warded Man (the first book, I think?) and don't recall this sticking out as badly as it is described here (I didn't like it enough to read the sequel). But laid out as you have, it's not an arc I'd want to read in any book.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: February 05, 2019, 01:09:44 AM »
I need to read the sequel. I really enjoyed the first one. It kind of felt like reading Final Fantasy XII, and that's not a bad thing.

Absolutely! The FF 12 vibe (and for that matter, the FF IV vibe) was incredibly strong with that book. If I had to describe it I'd definitely go with Final Fantasy 12 meets Firefly.

The other thing I really like is that both Skyfarer and Dragon Road each tell a complete story. No need to tread water or set things up for sequels, though I DO want another book.

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