Happy birthday to me!

Aug. 20th, 2017 04:46 pm
dorchadas: (Green Sky)
[personal profile] dorchadas
I'm 35 today! Halfway through my three-score and ten.

Today is a low activity day. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd invited me to go along to the Glenwood Art Fair, but I've been pretty active for the rest of the weekend and I thought rather stay at home, so I've mostly been playing Four Swords Adventures and reading my RSS feeds. I did take a short break to go out collecting Pokemon and one of my eggs hatched into a ゴマゾウ.

The events happened yesterday and the day before. On Friday, I had the first birthday party I've had in over a decade and a half, and while it was sparsely attended because my birthday had the bad luck to fall on Gen Con weekend, I had a nice time. I went with a cyberpunk theme, because I already dress like this, and we got appropriate food to go with it. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd made street-vendor-style skewers and bought an incredibly salty seaweed salad, sōmen, and taiyaki from an Asian market nearby. [tumblr.com profile] goodbyeomelas had asked me earlier in the week if I wanted anything baked for the party, and then showed up with two caramel cheesecakes. One of them got eaten at the party, but we still have the second one in the fridge. Yum.

We got a bunch of alcohol and I came up with some on-theme drinks, too. Emoji Awesomeface Cylon

Here's the drinks menu )

I really liked the Company Man, actually. I'll probably have another one tonight so I can use up more of the syrup before it goes bad. And while I didn't specifically set out to do so, I thought it was funny that all the drinks were varying shades of green.

Last night, after Call of Cthulhu, my parents met us at our apartment and we walked into Andersonville to go to Anteprima for dinner. We got in after a short wait, and while the main room was deafeningly loud, they led us through it into the small courtyard in the back, so we were actually able to have a nice conversation and eat a large meal. I got the duck--the duck on the menu and my father requesting a place with food that my mother would eat were what led me to pick Anteprima in the first place--and it was delicious. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd got a yellowtail dish that was almost good enough to make me wish that I had ordered it instead, but not quite. After dinner, and presents, my parents made the trip back to their house out in the suburbs, since they're still looking after my sister's dogs and so they couldn't stay too late.

A lot of what I asked for was silly Kirby and Warcraft goods, but I did get a set of bluetooth headphones, so maybe I can stop cutting it so close with my battery at work. An iPhone 7 and listening to podcasts all day don't mix very well with wired headphones.

And now, back to Legend of Zelda. Emoji Snapping Minish Cap

clarification

Aug. 20th, 2017 02:05 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
When I ask you not to show images of that torch march, or of the Swastika, it's not because I think sweeping them under the digital rug will Solve All Our Problems about race in America.

We all have to work through our own mental crap, the stuff we inherited from parents and society and friends. That's our job. That's each individual person's job -- to figure out for 'self what is true and right and honest and compassionate.

But that doesn't mean we are obliged to take on what those symbols represent. We are not obliged to be on the side that believes that hatred, racism, and genocide will make a better world.

We know that's not true.

In the meantime, we do not have to do the Nazis' work by spreading their images, by giving them our minds. We don't owe them that. We don't owe them anything, not one thing.

In Second Life terms, they're griefers. They get their rocks off by causing trouble, by hurting people, by causing damage. Unfortunately, in real life, I cannot press two buttons and ban them from the US. I don't have that power here. Neither do you.

So we need to keep them out of our heads. And not allow them to add to the pile of stuff we're already dealing with.

It's important to know who your enemies are. It's also important to know when they are trying mind games and to not let them win.

(Apologies if this is not as thoughtful as usual. I have a hell of a headache.)
dorchadas: (Great Old Ones)
[personal profile] dorchadas
​​Dramatis Personae
  • Luc Durand, French Professor of Linguistics
  • Radovan Venclovic, Romani ex-soldier
  • Rosaline St. Clair, American Antiquities Dealer
  • Valentina Durnovo, Russian Countess/Gentlewoman
  • Yan Nikolaev, Bulgarian police inspector
The next day was their appointment with Beylab the perspires, but not until the evening. At breakfast, they discussed the man and bear they had seen. Radovan was convinced he was benign, saying that anyone who an animal trusted couldn't be all bad, but Rosaline wasn't so sure. When Feyar arrived, the party asked him about the proper etiquette for the meeting. Feyar explained that no gifts were required, putting their minds at ease, and they decided to go investigate the Red Mosque. After a long walk through the city, they arrived at a crumbling building that pedestrians walked by without even a glance at its grim-encrusted walls. Several young men, perhaps a street gang, lounged in the doorway and beckoned, calling out "Nice things! Nice things!" and gesturing to the investigators. The countess approached, asking about the trinkets, but then asked about the gang and the mosque, no whether they had seen anything unusual in the mosque at night. Feyar translated the answer--that they sometimes saw other gangs, but no one else. She asked about the Brotherhood, but the gang had only heard rumors. They took the countess's money without incident, and the investigators left.

For a change of pace, the party spent some time on tourism at the Hagia Sophia. The ancient cathedral was glorious, but had seen better days. The Basilica Cistern was across the street, so that was their next destination. That was better kept up but empty of water. After lunch, they visited the Hippodrome, and then the time had come to go to the baths and meet with Beylab. Knowing that Beylab was a stickler for punctuality, the investigators made an effort to arrive on time, and entered the bathhouse and left the bustle of the street behind. The professor checked the skin of the other bathers, but none of them seemed to have any identifiable tattoos or marring of the skin. The women went off into their own section, and the men prepared to meet the perspirer.

Beylab was lounging on a navel stone in the bath, grossly fat, and awaiting his visitors. The professor, Yan, and Radovan approached as Beylab raised a hand, and they took places next to Beylab on the stone. He greeted the party and asked them what they want to know, and the professor mentioned the disappearances of children. Beylab explained that it was an evil statue-worshipping cult, and that the children had not appeared in the slave markets. He said that the cult extended to the city bureaucracy, and that the statue's destruction was key to ending the cult. The ritual of destruction was in the cemetery, in Garaznet's grave, and suggested that the break into the grave in the night. As he reached for water and made to speak more, a shape surged up out of the water behind him and cut his throat!

Radovan and Yan heard the roaring of flames and pulled the professor off the stone as fire surged up and seared the body of Beylab. As the assassin fled, the three gave chase before they were blocked by two other bathers. Yan noticed that one of them had a mismatched ear and the other had an eye that was cloudy, and shouted, "They're here!" He tried to shove past the men but they stood firm, and Radovan's sucker punch flew wide. They made no hostile action, and in a moment it was obvious why--the flesh of Beylab flowed off his bones like a wave, surging across the water toward the men like a red tide. One of the cultists was caught by the monster, shrieking in pain as it reared up over him and began devouring him, and the party fled in terror leaving the screams behind.

There were already police outside, and when they saw the Europeans one approached and spoke in broken English, asked them to stay and and give their statements. Another policeman entered the bath and returned in moments, vomiting in the street. Another policeman later took the investigators statements, and the professor left out the parts about the cult or the monster, describing only a madman assassinating someone else in public. The police called a cab and they returned to their hotel, where the professor explained what Beylab had told them. They debated what to do, but quickly decided that they could not visit the graveyard tonight. Yan and the professor dressed and went down to dinner and had a long awkward conversation about their backgrounds, while the others had dinner sent up to their rooms.

The next morning, there was a message from the British Embassy requesting their immediate presence, so they bolted down their coffee and took the car provided. They were met by Sir Douglas Rutherford, in a clear agitation. He got right to the point, saying that his son was abducted in the last night, and asked for their help. The investigators agreed, and the ambassador said that his son James was last seen in the embassy garden and that he suspected the servants. He summoned the servants, and they stood in a line while the investigators examined them. One servant had mismatched eyes, and when he noticed the attention, he took a step back. The professor shouted to arrest him, and as guards appeared and seized him, the servant screamed that the Brotherhood had the boy and there was no hope. The Skin Beast would come and all of them were doomed. As he struggled, the tattoo suddenly revealed on his arm writhed and the skin of his face drew inward, flowing down his mouth and choking him to death.

Later, as they were drinking brandy with the ambassador, he said that he suspected the Red Mosque and while police searches had turned up nothing, he no longer trusted the police. The professor asked for excavating equipment, and while Sir Douglas was suspicious of his reasoning, he offered to provide it. He further suggested they speak to Lieutenant Douglas Hennessy about the British officer's death. The lieutenant met them in the lobby of their hotel, and the professor noticed that he was extremely nervous, constantly glancing around at the passersby. After asking what they knew, he said that the Drakes were part of a continent-wide smuggling and vice ring known for flaying people. He said that Evelyn was suspected in a murder, shortly before she disappeared, and that a local member named Phelps had recently turned up dead, but Yan realized that he was holding something back. The countess pushed further, mentioning the flayings that the investigators had encountered, and the lieutenant revealed that Mr. Phelps was deformed, half his face having been seemingly melted. The lieutenant said he was being transferred out, but asked that they tell Sir Douglas anything they discovered, and then he left.

After preparing, the investigators went down to the docks to hire a boat. Feyar suggested hiring a fishing boat, and they chartered the boat of a man named Haqim. And they were crossing the straight, Rosaline and Radovan noticed another fishing boat crossing on a similar course, but it remained at sea instead of docking, and it was too far away to make out any details. They landed and Haqim promised to wait, and the party made the short walk to the cemetery.
The countess's player: "Is this grave-robbing? Three of us are white. It's archeology."
After two hours of searching they found the tomb of Garaznet, its letters almost entirely faded away from the weathering of centuries. As Radovan and Yan began digging, Radovan noticed that the dirt wasn't as packed-down as it should be, but shrugged and kept digging. After some time, as the shovels clinking against a stone box, a man approached. He was babbling, in tattered robes, and Feyar explained that he was called the "Companion to the Dead." The professor listened, but most of what the beggar said was nonsense. He urged on their digging and said that "they" were numerous tonight as Yan and Radovan levered open the tomb of Garaznet, but when he heard the sound of stone on stone, he screamed "Don't let him out!" and leapt onto the countess and professor, flailing away. Eventually he backed away as an overwhelming foetor comes from the tomb. The lib slid back, and inside was a bubbling vat of flesh!

The flesh flowed out of the tomb and wrapped around one of the countess's legs as Rosaline began screaming in panic and Yan staggered around sightlessly. The professor threw a lantern onto the monster but it seemed to have no effect, and as he was looking for another weapon, dozens of shapes appeared out of the darkness and the Brothers of the Skin captured the party. The party was disarmed and tied to stone monuments with the weapons just out of reach and formed a circle, which parted to reveal six cultists carrying a squirming bundle. Four others brought in an older man, ancient and shriveled, on a chair born on their shoulders. He questioned them about the scrolls and the statue, but the party was silent. After a short moment, the old man looked at Radovan and began muttering. Radovan's skin twitched and seemed to rot, and Radovan shrieked for a moment and then slumped in his bonds. After further questioning, the old man again muttered and the same thing happened to Yan, though before he fell unconscious, Yan yelled that the simulacrum was in the bank vault.

Content warning: Violence toward children )

On the Golden Horn, Aktar led them to his room, a small cluttered dwelling. In the light, he seemed vaguely familiar, but none of the investigators could place it. Aktar revealed that he was disguised as a Roma, but actually worked for Ataturk spying out threats to Turkey. His daughter had been kidnapped by the cult, and he had followed the cult to their headquarters and found what remained of his daughter. He suggested they join forces and fight the cult. The investigators agreed, and they decided that they needed to get to the Sedefkar Simulacrum before the cult did. They arrived, leaving Radovan and Yan behind in Aktar's room, and found the bank closed, so they immediately changed tack and went to the hotel. The front desk clerk asked them if they had gone and come back--the cult had obviously already been there. Their roomed had Ben searched, and the scroll was missing. Aktar suggested that they must go to the cultist's headquarters immediately and warn the British and French, and they traveled to the cistern where the secret entrance to the cult's headquarters was. The stairs led down into water, but there was a small boat, and Aktar rowed them through the water to a secret passage, and the investigators travel down a spiral staircase. At the bottom were ooze-covered walls and a small door, on the other side of which was a tomb lit by a greenish glow and covered with horrific carvings.

Across the chamber was an antechamber with a guard facing away from them. Rosaline whispered that he had to be subdued, and Aktar drew a knife, crept behind the cultist, and cut his throat. As lights entered the room, shelves of scrolls were revealed, but a quickly glance didn't reveal anything out of the ordinary and the group continued on through a surgical room separated from the main room of the mosque by a curtain. The professor peeked out and saw a large group of cultists, but they were all facing away from the curtain, so the investigators slipped out into the room next door, only to find that it was a meat locker filled with disembodied limbs. There was also the body of a skinned woman hanging on a meat hook, and when the countess saw it she gasped but steeled herself. Rosaline noticed a pearl necklace lying on the floor, and she discretely pocketed it.

There was nowhere else but he main chamber, so the investigators snuck into the mosque chamber and crept into the crowd. In the center, under the mosque dome, is a stone slab with five indentations carved into it. Five children, James Rutherford among them, were led into the chamber and waited nervously near the slab. Aktar suggested that he would create a distraction while the others rescued the children, and lacking options, they agreed. As they waited, red-robed figures brought out the Simulacrum and placed it into the indentations on the slab. The old man also came out and pulled a scroll out of his robes, and began chanting. The professor understood part of the ritual, asking for power through the suffering of the flesh. As he stepped forward to end the ritual, his mouth sealed itself shut. The investigators began to usher the children out of the mosque, Aktar shouted, "foreign traitors!" and stepped forward, seizing the scroll, and completes the ritual. The statue absorbed itself into his flesh, and Aktar laughed manically and revealed himself as Mehmet Makryat, son of Selim Makryat, the new master of the Brotherhood of the Skin, and ordered the cultists to kill their old master, which they did with enthusiasm.

The investigators tried to run, but they were overwhelmed and escorted away. They were led past other cells full of maimed and mutilated prisoners, begging and whining, and shut into a cell on the top of the minaret of the Shunned Mosque. The professor understood some of the guard's speech--they were discussing the "flapping man," who might come for them, and they were desperate to retreat. As they left, the light revealed a shape in the corner, limbless and eyeless, covered in a blanket. He shouted out at the party, and Rosaline recognized the voice of Professor Smith before he fell unconscious.

Hours later, the door opened to reveal Mehmet Makryat, who lit a cigarette and monologued about his plan. He had impersonated Professor Smith from the beginning, setting the investigators on their entire quest, and revealed that he had been following them along the way and helping them overcome their difficulties. He thanked them for helping him defeat his father, and asked them how they had defeated Le Comte. They did not answer, and Mehmet explained that the Simulacrum's power was corrupting them already and they had only one hundred hours remaining in their lives, and that he was off to London to retrieve the Ritual of Cleansing that would save him from the Simulacrum's effects. With a smile, he said that he would unchain them so that they could see their bodies fall into slime, and he left. When he did, Professor Smith confirms Mehmet's story, but he said that the brothers believed the Flapping Man was a spirit of rage, and they could use that to escape. After some time, a pair of guards arrived to unshackle the investigators. As the countess passed Professor Smith, she flapped the blanket and screamed, and the the guards ran back down the stairs. Rosaline looked at Professor Smith and, after a short internal struggle, she slit his throat to end his suffering. Then the investigators fled down the stairs past the cells, past flayed skins, and the countess grabbed one and put it on. She ran out and babbled in a mix of languages, and the Brothers ran screaming in fear. The countess heard something behind her, and turned to see the real Flapping Man charging the Brothers. With that as a distraction, the party ran. Outside was James Rutherford, who ran up to them as they fled, as the sunrise washed the walls of the Shunned Mosque with blood-red light..
Annals of the Fallen
  1. Gianni Abbadelli, Italian Vatican Parapsychologist, arm torn off by čudovište in Vinkovci, February 8th, 1923.
  2. Demir Sadik, Turkish Revolutionary/Field Medic, devoured by the living lair of the Baba Yaga in the forests outside Orašac, February 13th, 1923.
  3. Jazmina Moric, Croat Linguist, killed by a thrown grenade during a battle with the Butchers at Sofiiski Universet, February 15th, 1923.
  4. Radovan Venclovic, Romani Ex-Soldier, driven to madness by the beast of flesh in the cemetery at Üsküdar, February 20th, 1923.
  5. Yan Nikolaev, Bulgarian Police Inspector, driven to madness by the beast of flesh in the cemetery at Üsküdar, February 20th, 1923.
Over three thousand words. This was action-packed from beginning to end.

This part is, frankly, one of the weakest parts of the entire campaign--not only is it a railroad from start to finish, it has the players betrayed and captured by someone they thought would be their ally multiple times in sequence and the revelation that the entire quest across Europe and everything they accomplished was all at the bidding of the villain, so it would have been better if the PCs had just ignored Professor Smith's plea entirely and went on with their lives. I knew this was coming, and I've known for the entire game, so it didn't bother me that much. And it is a cosmic horror game, so it does a good job of showing the investigators' actions coming to naught. But as a roleplaying game device, it's poor form.

[livejournal.com profile] mutantur said that the new version of the campaign has an option to end in a climactic battle at the Shunned Mosque where the PCs kill Mehmet Makryat and destroy the cult once and for all, which allows for immediate revenge. It's not how the scenario originally went, however, so we're going to do the original ending. That means there's two, maybe three more games and then we're done with the Horror on the Orient Express! Emoji ~ Cat smile
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Here's the thing. The point of the white supremacists' march in Charlottesville was to make us feel afraid and helpless. You know this and I know this. But there's a psychological bit in there that a friend on Facebook pointed out that I had missed.

It's this: the symbolism of them carrying torches. Something about that apparently goes back to a primordial bit of the brain that keeps the fear going. Maybe it's the shared ancestral memory of towns and cities burning centuries ago -- every one of us has, somewhere in our history, some ancient family member who was burned out of a home in some war or other. (I can tell you that my own ancestral fear of being burned out goes back two generations, to when my grandfather's blacksmith's shop went up in flames in midwinter, and it was a hard fight by the local fire brigade to keep the house nearby from going up as well. If both hadn't been next to the river, the family would have been homeless.) But the point is that something nearly primordial in us sees campfires as friendly (we cook over them) and torches as hostile, unfriendly and dangerous. And when it's a mob with torches? Especially dangerous and frightening.

And those of us who post and repost news items are spreading images of torches. We're doing the frightening for them and keeping it going. Think about what happened when we kept seeing the Twin Towers collapsing in the weeks after 9/11, when the horror and the fear just did not go away because those images kept feeding it.

So this is what I am asking you to do:

1. If, anywhere on any social media, you have posted a picture from Charlottesville with torches in it, please delete it. Or edit it so it's a bunch of ugly white men without torches. We already know what happened there -- everyone knows. We don't have to see that picture any more. We don't have to spread their message of hate for them. That's not our job.

2. Take extra care to keep your own mind free from that image, and from the fear that it and other images of the Charlottesville riot can foster. Make sure to spend time with loving pets, or out in nature, or with people you love or doing things you care about. Make sure to put joy in your life on purpose, not by accident, in whatever way pleases you. Take time to appreciate good things around you. Joy and appreciation are powerful weapons against fear; they set the ground for generosity, caring and peace.

Thank you.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Dreamwidth will not allow me to respond to replies to comments in other people's journals now. It simply will not allow me onto the page.

Petra: when I was there, St. Bonaventure University was 1800 people in all, plus 200 or so grad students, so fairly small. Not without its bad behavior by some and a number of outright scoundrels, but I don't recall Paladino being one of them.

assorted stuff from a hell of a week

Aug. 18th, 2017 08:19 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
"Things won't change if the Grand Wizard remains in office." And he's running out of Republicans to alienate. Mitt Romney called on him to back away from his response to Charlottesville.

Since the police refused to protect the Charlottesville synagogue, the synagogue has hired armed security guards.

You'll never be as radical as this 18th Century Quaker dwarf. So you know: Quakers did not wear military uniforms or take up arms. This is relevant.

White pride is not a culture. And Southern pride in a time of terror, which talks about real Southern culture.

A social justice syllabus.

The entire US military has broken away from Trump and openly denounced racism.

The ACLU will no longer defend hate groups protesting while carrying firearms. This is a first.

A 21-year-old Nazi sympathizer who marched in Charlottesville is now whining that his life is over because he was identified as marching with Nazis and KKK. I don't have a violin small enough.

The real horror of Trump's response to Charlottesville.

A Charlottesville ER nurse talks, after a day of decompression.

Retracing Willa Cather's steps in the south of France.

Are we different writers when we move from longhand to a screen? I can say that I write poetry differently with a pen in hand, and essays differently, and I don't write nonfiction there at all.

The landscape of Civil War commemoration. 13,000 monuments, and descriptions.

Churches Uniting in Christ statement on white nationalism and white supremacism. The member churches of CUIC include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church, the International Council of Community Churches, the Moravian Church (Northern Province), the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

The president's Arts and Humanities Council, founded by Obama, has resigned over Trump's Charlottesville response.

Bannon's out of the White House; Trumpists are more afraid of him now.

3 major charities canceled Mar-a-Lago galas.

Charlottesville forces media and tech companies to draw a line on what they will allow.

In Oregon, rural Muslims fight for safety and inclusion.

In Iran, cracking down on journalists.

Ranking countries by their blasphemy laws.

New Dallas police officers face questions on how an ethical officer would act.

It's hard to find an impartial jury for pharmaceuticals scammer Martin Shkreli's
trial.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
1. Look out the window and see how many demonstrators there are and how well armed they are. If you can't see them from there, go where you can. Take a picture with your phone - if you don't have a cell phone, get your aide to do it. Estimate the number of people in the group, their general ages and level of organization, and the visible armaments present. Is it signs on wood, not cardboard, posts? Is it flags on wooden flagpoles? Clubs? Swords? Is it pistols? Shotguns? Semi-automatic weapons? You should be able to tell from the photo. Are there insignia or symbols present? What groups do they represent? What is the goal of those groups?

1a. If there are fewer demonstrators than your available police and with less-able weapons, send the police to keep order. Or even if there are a few more but they are not heavily armed.

2. If there are more demonstrators than you have police, or they are better armed (though with all the gifts of military weaponry to local police groups this seems unlikely), get on the phone to call your State Police, local station or substation, and inform them of the situation and ask them for help. State police are well armed, generally extremely well trained, and just the people who should be there making sure things stay calm and the different groups of demonstrators stay clear of one another.

3. If for some reason (I cannot think of one but perhaps one exists in some alternate universe) you cannot call the State Police for help (or, in Virginia, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Police), get on the phone to the governor and ask for the local branch of the National Guard to be mobilized to protect the people of your constituency.

Dear mayor/supervisor/top elected official, it is your job to make sure that peaceful protesters are not beaten down either by police or by armed insurgents who consider themselves protesters although by being armed and hostile they do not come under the coverage of the First Amendment. It is your job to keep people safe. If you don't call out adequate police/state cops/Guardsmen, you are failing your job and your people, and you do not deserve to be in office.

Is that clear???

The Mist: Redone botanic elves

Aug. 18th, 2017 09:13 am
dorchadas: (Pile of Dice)
[personal profile] dorchadas
A while ago, I wrote up a description of elves for a science-fantasy RPG setting I'm working on. I liked them, but they were based on elves as creatures of Faerie and didn't really have anything science-fiction about them at all, so now I went back and changed them a lot and I think they fit a lot better:

Elf
The elves have always been a people apart. Before the coming of the Mist, the elves were united by the Elven Court of the Elder Wood, the center of elven civilization. There the Queen ruled, advised by the oldest of her people and the spirits of the forest. Even the far-flung communities in other forests paid homage to the Elven Court, their bonds aided by the Emerald Roads that facilitated travel from elven community to community.

The Mist ended that forever. As it washed over the Elder Wood, the elves made a choice. Some of them gave themselves fully to the rule of the forest spirits, forsaking such technology as they used and following the dictates of their shamans. Others saw the changes that the Mist wrought in those creatures it touched and determined to learn from them. They studied the Changed, using all their magic to form bastions among the woods to hold the Mist at bay, and developed the art of fleshcrafting. The former are known as the wild elves, and the latter as the mist elves.

There are rumors of a third group, who fled underground to avoid the Mist rather than ascending to the heights. It is said that the Mist changed them as they fled, that they worship spirits of fungus and spider and unclean things, and that they have tunnels under the surviving lands and raid the surface for slaves. But theses are merely rumors.

Physical Description: Generally taller than humans, elves possess a graceful, slender physique seemingly made of bark, vines and foliage. They vary greatly in appearance, as wild as nature itself. They encompass the colors of all plant life, tending towards shades of green and brown. Their hair grows leaves and branches. The older they are, the more growths they have, sometimes becoming long twisted vines that hang to their waist or longer. Their flesh is wooden, smooth when they are young and furrowing more and more as they grow older until it resembles the gnarled bark of an ancient tree. Their eyes vary from virgin wood green, morning sun gold, rich brown earth, to deep sky blue, but always a solid color with neither pupil nor iris visible.

The wild elves live in the forests and frequently dress in animal skins or clothing of bark and leaves, whereas mist elves wear suits designed to keep off the mist and work with fleshcrafted creatures, or the symbiotic armor given to their warriors.

Society: Where the elves were once unified, now there is a great division among them. The wild elves are ruled by shamans who speak to the forest spirits and look up to the warriors who practice supernatural martial arts learned from the spirits of the animals around them. The mist elves delve ever deeper into the arts of fleshwarping in the hope of discovering the secret of adaptation to the Mist without losing themselves to it.

There are still some similarities, however. Both cultures have a deep-seated appreciation for artistry and craftsmanship, and whether it’s a carved wooden chair or a piece of living furniture, an elven artisan will always work to their utmost and take pride in their work. Magic is held is high esteem, and the lifeshapers of the mist elves and spiritspeakers of the wild elves are some of the most honored members of their communities.

Relations: Others were always suspicious of the elves because of their insularity, and their new behavior has not changed that. It is the wild elves who are the most well-thought-of, because while they are savage and unpredictable, at least their powers are understandable. Wild elves get along especially well with grippli and sesheyans, who share their wilderness homes. Whatever it is that the mist elves are doing in their living strongholds makes the other races nervous, and their appearance, swathed entirely in robes or with visible symbiotic grafts attached to their bodies, does not allay that concern. There are some elves who live in the patchwork human cities that sprang up after the Mist came, but they are often not entirely trusted there, even after long years of residence.

And here's a picture I found on the internet that's a pretty good visual inspiration:



Pathfinder game mechanics )

Exalted stats )

Maybe someday, I'll actually be able to run this.

Help!

Aug. 18th, 2017 10:41 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I am having an extreme amount of trouble logging in and staying logged in. Dreamwidth is requiring me to log in every time I go to a different page for the last two days. I had to log in to go from my reading page to here. It doesn't recognize my login sometimes and asks if I want to start an account -- when I have been here since the beginning. It is ignoring me when I check 'remember me' at login.

I have tried to contact support, but it logs me out as I write the ticket, and then does the same thing when I write it again. And then tells me the entry is invalid and needs to be done over. For this reason I haven't been able to contact Support.

If anyone from Support is reading this, would you please do what you can to stop this frustrating situation?

Believe what you see.

Aug. 18th, 2017 12:01 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
From a Charlottesville resident:

"There seems to be a perception from people outside of Charlottesville that what is going on here is two opposing groups coming to town and fighting some ideological battle that has gotten messy. That is not what is happening here. What is happening here is that several hate groups from the extreme right have come together under the "unite the right" banner here in our town and basically started acting as terrorists. This may seem like an exaggeration but it's not...."
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Confederate-honoring statues are going down. In Hollywood Forever Cemetery, LA. And Lexington, KY. And quite a few other places. And Nancy Pelosi wants them out of the Capitol. Here's a list across the country.

And whose heritage do public symbols of confederacy belong to, anyway?

Florida has more racist hate groups than any other state; I wonder how old the members are.

Texas A&M cancels a rally by white supremacists, because of the possibility of violence against students.

Congressman Will Hurd and others say Trump should apologize for his remarks about Charlottesville.

Not only did Trump's business leaders walk away from him, they're not quiet about why. Here's another statement of why, including the following: "To be clear, the council never lived up to its potential for delivering policies that lift up working families. In fact, we were never called to a single official meeting, even though it comprised some of the world’s top business and labor leaders. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. joined to bring the voices of working people to the table and advocate the manufacturing initiatives our country desperately needs. But the only thing the council ever manufactured was letterhead. In the end, it was just another broken promise."

It took quite a bit of behind the scenes discussion, apparently.

And a look into the past history of American racism in the other inconvenient truth. Note the role Nixon had in creating hatred and persecution that continues to this day.

The racist who organized the Charlottesville white separtists ran away from his own press conference. Another white separatist was stuck having a press conference in his own office after two hotels turned him down.

I am not sure I agree with this idea of how to handle Trump, by making him say only what is written down. Why? I'm not sure he's literate enough to deal with the concepts. Even when he writes things down, they're offensive, ignorant, ahistorical and just plain wrong. And he's as much of a racist in private as in public. It's not just for show. He's bad enough at being president that the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is saying, publicly, Trump lacks the stability and competence to do the job. Is he about to go down in flames? The big question: What do you do when the President is unAmerican?

At this point, domestic terrorism is not a federal crime; that may change soon. Or we may have to consider if we are heading for another civil war.

Bannon doesn't understand about interviews. He should. He was a founder of Breitbart, and fell down their hole long ago.

And Silicon Valley is having an anti-Nazi purge. Twitter is shutting down white supremacist accounts. Can they shut down Trump now? Maybe the damaging myth of the longer genius nerd is involved.

The NYTimes has thoughts on how to roll back fanaticism.

***

Is there a better way to protest?

Malala is going to Oxford.

New Jersey introduces a fund to support local journalism.

A new poem by Sherman Alexie.

Trump's anti-abortion policies could keep girls around the world out of school.

Top journalists talk about the best job advice they were ever given. And 7 quick tips for conducting tough interviews.

When someone is hit by a train in the NY Subway, where do they put the body? In the MTA lunchrooms!

Some thoughts on signaling behavior and decisionmaking in government.

Buddhist wisdom: Everything we do matters, but two things are critical.

You don't know about Vernice Warfield, but you should.

Meg Wollitzer on feeling strong without a security blanket.

Talking with Lili Taylor and Janeane Garofalo.

And down they come

Aug. 17th, 2017 11:34 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
In Baltimore, four Confederate statues were taken down at night and without prior notice, by order of the mayor. The City Council had called for their removal, also.

In Durham, NC, the night after Charlottesville, citizens tore down a Confederate statue. Police are investigating. Three of the crowd are turning themselves in. And, in a genuine I-Am-Spartacus! move, others are joining them.

Why quiet liberal Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, became ground zero.

A positive and creative reaction to Nazis marching through your town -- don't just donate to anti-Nazi groups, but get out there and cheer them on as helping anti-Nazi groups. Confuses the hell out of them.

Why Robert Mueller is looking at Trump SoHo. Not about Confederates, but about working to throw a fascist out of the White House. And another piece of the Trump/Russia puzzle. Yes, it's probably slashy but I'm not interested to know the details.

And because of Charlottesville, Trump's two business councils dissolved themselves -- walked away. He, of course, took credit for disbanding them, but it was another lie.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are moving to formally censure Trump over his response to Charlottesville that indicated he was on the side of the Nazis and white supremacists.

***

In China, Facebook tests a stealth app. And how stealthy will it be if the NY Times is writing about it? Do they think they have no readers in China?

TED: How your brain decides what is beautiful. And let's end ageism. And the fascinating reason children write letters backward.

"Virtue signaling" isn't the problem. Not believing each other is. I'd add, not trusting each other.

Why some famous singers are ruining their voices. And yes, there are people whose voices I hear and it makes my own throat hurt.

Libraries are the real punk rock.

100 law professors have written to Trump to tell him there is no question that the Dream Act is Constitutional.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
First -- you need to know that the March for Racial Justice has been scheduled for Yom Kippur, excluding anyone Jewish who might want to participate, and the organizers refuse to reschedule: behind cut for length )

ETA: They changed the date.

Second, a Quaker response to Charlottesville from Baltimore Yearly Meeting Quoting: behind cut for length )

Third, the experience of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville. Behind cut for length, but please, please read it. )

Fourth, a philosophical principle coined in 1945 could be a key US defense against white supremacists. It's the Paradox of Tolerance:

1. A tolerant society should be tolerant by default,
2. With one exception: it should not tolerate intolerance itself.

Experimentalising with Googlishness

Aug. 17th, 2017 12:46 pm
cmcmck: (Default)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 
How about this?















101 Update

Aug. 17th, 2017 12:07 am
zhelana: (hockey - joy)
[personal profile] zhelana
Progress This week:

Prepare and teach a class on Judaism in period - I'm reading a book on the Khazars although this is not the class I planned. This may wind up being a second class and I'll still do the one I planned though.

Post 100 situations prompts to AO3 - Well I had some difficulty figuring out how to do it on AO3 so I'm putting it on ff.net.

30 entries to monthly diary day - yep posted this month.

30 new kiva loans - did that on the 15th, I made a loan to Zamiyya Natalia for education expenses in the Dominican Republic.

Read 3 books on the Kyivan Rus - there may not be 3 English language books on the Kyivan Rus. I'm searching. Though I'm currently reading a book on the Khazars which mentions them, and I'm counting.

Listen to 90 podcasts - I listened to one about whether we've historically had a right to privacy in this country. Spoiler alert: that's a no.

Read the entire bible - I've started 1 Kings

It can happen here

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:05 am
dorchadas: (Warcraft Face your Nightmares)
[personal profile] dorchadas
Posting today instead of tomorrow because there's no farmer's market dinner this week. Now that the school term is starting at [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's workplace, her summer break is over and she can't consistently make time to gather ingredients for dinner anymore. There may be sporadic farmer's market dinners before the market closes in October--those meals are really good--but it's no longer a routine thing.

Charlottesville affected me more than I thought it would. Some of it was reading accounts like this one from a local synagogue, about how the police refused to provide protection and they had to hire private security to protect from roving bands of Nazis. Or this account of weapons caches, similar to what happened in Rwanda, indicating that the Nazis were using Charlottesville as a training exercise for a para-military operation somewhere else. And then the President of the United Sates of America revealed that he's a Nazi sympathizer at a press conference, so the Nazis' goals were mostly achieved. Great. 2017. emoji head in hands

It reminds me of an old statement I read by a rabbi from centuries ago that history was divided into periods of persecution and periods of leniency. A lot of young Jews seemed to think that the cycle had been broken, at least in America, and that the concerns of their elders were overblown. I suspect they don't think that anymore.

At least the weather's nice. I'm not sure we've had a day over 30°C for the entire month of August and the weather report shows that it won't get higher than that for the next upcoming week either. Since my preferred clothing style includes pants at all times, I appreciate the deference the atmosphere is showing me.

I started playing Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (well, ゼルダの伝説:4つの剣+) and I'm filled with immense nostalgia for A Link to the Past. Four Swords Adventures reuses a lot of the sprites and music from ALttP, but also has a lot of toonification from Wind Waker. The bomb explosions are cel-shaded, a lot of the enemies are round and blobby, and the water effects are much more liquid-based than pixelized. The gameplay is all hack and slash, but I'm finding it surprisingly fun so far. We'll see if that's still true after I get past the second area.

Start throwing (metaphorical) rocks.

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:18 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
On taking action against white supremacists as metaphorical rock-paper-scissors.

I'm not going to repeat all the links in the superb posts I'm seeing. Instead, I'm asking you to go read this one by [personal profile] rydra_wong and this one by [personal profile] kore because they're brilliant. And they have good historical info on the way the Klan has moved through the last century of US history, what knocked them down and what's different now. For instance, I don't recall any other time when KKK/white supremacist members rallied without their robes, with their faces uncovered and in bright torchlight so they're identifiable in the camera photos that are posted online -- and then must account to the others in their lives (bosses, families, universities) for their actions.

And yes, Trump did not slip when he said the alt-left in Charlottesville was attacking "us". He did mean that he identifies with the white supremacists/Nazis/KKK. It wasn't a slip-up, no matter what you hear from "unnamed White House sources". Watch the Rachel Maddow videos in [personal profile] kore's post; she puts it together well. Ignore the toadies from the staff. But do take note of them as untrustworthy; they have already sold themselves to Trump.

ETA: [personal profile] rachelmanija is planning to be part of a counterprotest, to oppose Nazis at a rally in Los Angeles this Saturday, and invites those of you who wish to join her to let her know. Be safe, please, and counterprotest while keeping a good distance from people with clubs and other weapons, okay?

In the middle of this hatefulness, I implore you to find something that feeds your spirit, your soul, whatever you want to call the deepest inmost part of yourself, that makes you happy, that gives you joy, and keep doing it. The only way to do this kind of work, opposing hate, and get through it sanely is to fill yourself first with joy and love and peace to give you strength. Whatever it is, let it be your refuge. We will not see the last of this for a long time; best to start now to create your own inner sanctuary that nobody can mess with. For me it is meditation, prayer, shamanic practice, and tai chi. Handwork also helps-- knitting, spinning, weaving. Walking on the woods trails, when my foot is up to it again. Music, always. You can't give to others from your own lack; fill yourself first.

Food Pr0n: Hoisin-Glazed Rack of Lamb

Aug. 15th, 2017 06:45 pm
jss: (food)
[personal profile] jss
Tonight for dinner I went with an easy recipe: Hoisin-glazed rack of lamb.
  1. Trim the excess fat off an 8-rib, 1-lb (or less) rack of lamb.
  2. Begin preheating the oven to 400˚F.
  3. Cut the rack in half.
  4. Put the two half-racks in a foil-lined baking dish.
  5. Top each with a sprinkling of garlic powder and onion powder.
  6. Apply about 1 tsp. hoisin sauce to each half rack. Smear to coat top and sides.
  7. Roast for about 18 minutes at 400˚F.
  8. Rest 10 minutes, covered in foil, before service.
At service, cut the racks into individual chops. I served my lamb with (instant) roasted garlic mashed potatoes (add water and nuke while the lamb is resting) and extra hoisin sauce. Dessert was a bowl of fresh cherries.
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