July 18, 2019, 12:21:06 PM

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Messages - The Gem Cutter

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1
**Gem Cutter rushes in after his long absence, leaps onto the bar, and cries "Hear ye!"**

Gem Cutter, AKA Scott Hamilton, will be ranging around the UK for 2 weeks beginning Sunday. Here's where I'll be. My wife's never been to Europe, so this is a bucket-list excursion for us. If I am coming through your area and you'd like to meet, you can email me at js.hamilton2010@gmail, and we can see if a visit is workable. Half the trip's in Ireland. Here's where we'll be staying - it's a bus tour of fools, so here's the stops for the night:

14 July London, England. Arriving early Sunday morning. Will be heading to the Tower of London, snacking here & there, nothing big on the schedule. So this is an ideal day to meet anyone around London interested in meeting up for a bite or a drink.
15 July Park Inn Cardiff City Centre, Cardiff
16 July Ibis Liverpool Centre Albert Dock Hotal, Liverpool
17 July Red Cow Moran Hotel, Dublin
19 July Earl of Desmond Hotel Tralee, Co. Kerry
21  July Twin Trees Hotel and Leisure Club, Ballina, Co. Mayo
22 July Belfast, Ireland
23 July, Hotel Arrochar, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
24 July, Edinburgh, Best Western Braid Hills Hotel
26 July, Holiday Inn Leeds-Garforth, Leeds, England
27  July, London (we're running to Hampton Court)

If you're able to meet, please do reach out! I promise I'm cooler in person than my posts would suggest  8) And the first round's on me.

Sorry I've been absent. In the past 30 days I had a friend die unexpectedly (just 44) after flying home from the UK, my son's housewarming of his first-ever house he bought, a reunion of army buddies, and a bunch of other stuff. So yeah, a whirlwind tour to cap off a whirlwind year.
Cheers!
-Scott

2
I am indeed coming to the UK in July. London area on the 13th, west through Wales, then Ireland, then Scotland, then back to London. Should arrive on the 13th. If anyone wants to meet up, probably going to Tower of London on the 13th?

3
Have to disagree with you Bea.

Spoiler for Hiden:
There are new powerful women whose arcs are rising to take their place, these being Arya, Sansa, and the last Grayjoy. The villain must always be the most powerful force, and Cersei played that role well, but her time on the stage is over. Raising another woman to take her place is many things, but it is not disempowering. Since Arya defeated the King of Winter (Ice), I foresee she may be the bane of Fire, as well.

I liken the Mother of Dragons to Anakin Skywalker, only this time, we entered the story not knowing how it would end - and seeing a beloved character fall without knowing ahead of time is a very different experience.

I enjoyed the battle, in that it was portrayed the way battles really are: an unholy mess.

As for Drogon's success -
Spoiler for Hiden:
Bronn called it. Catching dragons unaware is one thing. But a lasting principle of war is that anything that does not move is destroyed. Anchored ships and anchored scorpions do not move.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Yara and Sansa aren't on screen; Arya is a poster girl for the "Women must give up their femininity to be strong" trope. I get why women would be disappointed about where they've gone with this, even if the path is logical. I'm somewhat disappointed myself, even if I personally found it clear that Dany was going to be a mad queen from the start of this season.

I also make Bea very right about the speed with which she's gone from ruthless tyrant to genocidal madwoman. Her trusted advisers may no longer be there to talk her out of things, but they were talking her out of excessive brutality against the powerful opposing her, not indulging in collateral damage in an already won battle. And if she's gone berserk, why not just go straight to Cersei after she took out the static targets?

Speaking of which - it makes sense to me that she'd make relatively short work of a fleet at anchor, just not that the ballistas which were so accurate that they took out a dragon with three arcing shots (I assume arcing or the dragons would have seen them first) suddenly become Storm Trooper level of effective. It doesn't follow internal consistency to me.
Regarding ballistas and scorpions vs. dragons, with all primitive ranged weapons up to the mid-1800s, there is a huge difference in effectiveness between volley fire and aimed shots. The difference is even more pronounced on moving targets, which typically only move in 2 dimensions. Flying targets move in three. Similarly, an ambush of volley fire (a tactic still used against aerial targets today) is even more effective. But once the flyer knows where the weapons are, they're doomed. Static things die. Hence the wheels on almost every anti-air platform dating back to the 1940s.

Don't get me wrong, the shock of the scene was not worth the drama that could have been developed. I wouldn't call it excellent storytelling. But throughout the series, we have seen Tywin's comment of Aegon "changing the rules" played out over and over. The Night King changed the rules. Robb Stark did. Then the Lannisters did by shifting from warfare to treachery. The dragons changed the rules, then scorpions did, then Denarys read some history and discovered the counter for them, and it worked, just as it did in Westeros' history. So yes, some apparent inconsistency - that is actually just surprising.

People keep looking at this series and misapplying medieval warfare. "Why would you not have your troops INSIDE the walls?" has been applied to both Winterfell and King's Landing. The not-that-complicated answer:  DRAGONS and the need to be able to fix and finish them by forcing the dragon-rider to either not support the main effort or risk the loss of the dragon. Denarys won by realizing that destroying the scorpions WAS the main effort. I don't know why she bothered with the fleet at all, actually.

4
Have to disagree with you Bea.

Spoiler for Hiden:
There are new powerful women whose arcs are rising to take their place, these being Arya, Sansa, and the last Grayjoy. The villain must always be the most powerful force, and Cersei played that role well, but her time on the stage is over. Raising another woman to take her place is many things, but it is not disempowering. Since Arya defeated the King of Winter (Ice), I foresee she may be the bane of Fire, as well.

I liken the Mother of Dragons to Anakin Skywalker, only this time, we entered the story not knowing how it would end - and seeing a beloved character fall without knowing ahead of time is a very different experience.

I enjoyed the battle, in that it was portrayed the way battles really are: an unholy mess.

As for Drogon's success -
Spoiler for Hiden:
Bronn called it. Catching dragons unaware is one thing. But a lasting principle of war is that anything that does not move is destroyed. Anchored ships and anchored scorpions do not move.

5
They should have turned to the fandom with a poll: "For $3 extra on your HBO bill for the next 4 months, we can do 10 episodes instead of 6 - what do you say?" I'd have paid and I'd have paid more than that.

6
Loved everything so far. A lot. And I think most of the faults are the result of taking what should have been an extra long season and cramming it into an even shorter one. The prophecies and plot lines we're missing are on the cutting room floor, because you can't shove a size 10 foot in a size 3 shoe. My 2 cents.
Spoiler for Hiden:
As for the battle, it was perfect in terms of strategy and realism, and the faults we see as such are seen that way because they didn't have enough time for exposition dialogue. Siege engines up front, the charge, all of it actually makes great sense, in the context of not knowing what to expect. They had to be ready for multiple kinds of enemy plans, and sadly, the enemy was very smart and the worst thing you can have in an enemy - patient and careful with his most devastating weapon. I do wish the white-walkers had been engaged, but frankly, the enemy's strategy was so successful they were overkill.

7
If only the show's creators were given the reins on Star Wars movies, it would be amazing!!

8
Frequency and prominence of reminders should probably support the reason for the reminders. Are you intending to prevent unwelcome surprise, for one example? Or are you trying to remind them WHY char X is deciding to do something?

My point is that if the reminder is about plot (equipment on hand, skills someone has, etc.) that should short and shallow probably. If it is about character (context of actions and statements, or whatever) that should be more subtle, and needing reminders could mean more characterization is needed. There are many other variances, and I advise you consider differing approaches to serve each.

9
Welcome back!

10
I have thought of John's situation every day, and I am so sorry to hear this news.

There was a fantasy novel I read where the people had a customary question they asked about funerals they did not attend: "Was the fire bright?" I hope the fire was bright and the pain of this time fades soon.

Keeping you in my thoughts Jmack. Be well.

11
Writers' Corner / Re: Only Mostly Dead Poets Society
« on: April 06, 2019, 05:56:45 AM »
Behind You Your Family Remains

There’s darkness in your sky.
Your broken wings can’t fly.
The light you followed for so long won’t shine.

And now you stand alone.
And only you can know,
How far you’ve flown and now you can’t fly home.

And I know your faithful heart’s about to break,
And there’s only so much more that you can take.
But when the light goes out,
And your hopes all fade,
Behind you your family remains.

Rivals in the fight, Siblings in the light,
We tried we learned we grew and it’s alright.
We did what we could do.
We pushed we learned we grew.
We fought we won we lost we pushed on through.

So when you’ve passed the point and know there’s no return,
When the light that lit the way no longer burns,
When the light goes out,
And your hopes all fade,
Behind you your family remains.

The love we hold for you,
Brings no light to what you must do,
But when the light goes out,
And your hopes all fade,
Behind you your family remains.

12
General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: March 29, 2019, 04:17:26 AM »
Huh. Robert Mueller just release his report.

Got to say I'm pretty disappointed with his conclusions. I would rather it had never been released and the orange menace had it hanging over his head the whole time.

I was really hoping he would go out of the White House and straight into prison. That was probably too much to hope for, although from what I have heard he's done plenty of illegal things.

It would be pointless to say once more that I'm sick of him and all the populist leaders like him. No doubt we have another six years of this moron to put up with.

I sympathize greatly. But consider - the report is merely the facts. What to do with the facts, in this case, was never up to Mueller. 300+ pages of facts, evidence, and testimony. He's referred a vast amount of info to authorities who can level charges against the president, and likely will. Tampering with the national election is an illusion - it's tampering with multiple state elections (the ones the President cannot pardon). I believe Mueller has laid the ax at Congress's feet - the only ones who can impeach anyway. So once again democracy hinges upon the real power - the voter. Call your representatives. Speak out. Support candidates who listen. Make it your key issue and tell others to do the same. It seems like it's just noise, but noise matters. Silence is acceptance.

13
Writers' Corner / Re: Take a look at my magic system?
« on: March 29, 2019, 04:09:59 AM »
As my name directly suggests, I made my magic system circle around gems and their very real properties, and also involved (some) mages being able to move energy around. My system had a Source, and most mages moved energy from the Source into this world. While this is powerful, it is limited to their will, their psyche. The other kind directs energy not from the Source but into it, like a drain, which is really not limited at all.

I think what you're looking for are crystals - most of which are not precious or even valuable. Quartz, for example, is amazing... check out piezoelectricity and the other interesting properties of some of the lesser known crystals... really quite amazing. This is literally what you are talking about - transforming physical energy into electricity and back. Lightning involves many kinds of energy. The heat alone will literally melt your face - and this is merely the byproduct.

If you look into the properties of gems, their purity, the way they are cut (ratios and angles), and their smoothness - all these impact their properties in surprising ways. Hence my name. There is an interesting invention that I decided to make my MacGuffin - it is a strange conical mirror that focuses a laser so you can transform crystal components (dust, essentially) into a crystal. This is similar to how salt crystallizes as water evaporates - but allows someone to precisely control the laser. Without this device, 'growing' crystals is haphazard and leads to poor clarity and consistency. But with it, one can make amazing crystals very quickly. In a world where crystals allow magic, that is the super-power behind the super power.

I hope this hasn't been dull. Just trying to urge you on and offer some brainstorming :)

14
Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Torture/Cruelty
« on: March 26, 2019, 03:09:49 AM »
With regards to any intense content, whether cruelty, sex, violence, (and of course we all have different senses of what constitutes intense content), I think the writer should aim for a particular audience. Some, like me, cannot stand it - I do not find it entertaining in the traditional sense. That said, the cruelty in GoT made me hate the perpetrators with an intensity that took my breath and made me long for justice to an extent I've not experienced elsewhere. Like the sickening stomach-flop of a good roller coaster, I do not enjoy it - but it does make the ride more compelling.

This kind of content is one of the key areas where the adage "Show don't tell" breaks down. Sometimes, you should not show, if it will drive your readers away or shatter the overall tone or whatever. Comments about the many dead birds, cats, and dogs in a neighborhood can convey that someone is cruel to animals, and inspire the desired dread or anger without actually subjecting the audience to an animal's suffering.

15
I'm not sure if people outside the UK can access this, I really hope you can.

This half hour program called "The digital human" is broadcasted every Monday. Today's episode, called "Haven", was amazing, I listened to it while driving home from work and just missed the first 10 minutes or so.

It relates to a life online, to how people can create relationships online and have wonderful friends, and help each other... all the things that so many of you, present and past members, have done for me, ever since this thread was created.
A big hug and kiss of thanks to all my *real* friends :-*

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0003jst

Hahaha, I said it first!

"I wouldn’t know his signature or how his sweaters feel,
I only know the words we shared in a world that is unreal,

And yet –

I know him from the echo of the things he’s shared and said,
I know him from the tug of thoughts he set within my head,
I know him from his love of those that he holds close and dear,
And through the words we’ve often shared I feel that we are near."


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