?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Jun. 21st, 2019 @ 06:53 pm Friday Five
Current Mood: blahblah

1. How do you beat the summer heat?
Here in the Netherlands, what qualifies as “summer heat” is something different than what it is in, say, Australia. Our living room faces the north, so our extension is in the shade of the house during the hottest hours, so that helps. And when it cools off in the evening, we open the hatch in the extension and open the windows in the attic, creating a ‘chimney’ through which hot air is expelled at the top and cool air taken in below.

2. Do you have air conditioning?
At the office and in my car, but not in the house.

3. What’s your idea of the perfect summer day?
Sunny, about 25 degrees Celcius, with a light breeze. To make it even more ideal would be if I have the day off and can go somewhere fun with klik.

4. What’s one thing you always seem to do every summer whether you want to or not?
I’m not sure I have specific summer activities that are always on the menu?

5. Are you ready for the summer?
I don’t have a set of preparations for summer, so… I guess?

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
azumanga
Jun. 19th, 2019 @ 07:49 pm Unexpected Topics Meme
Current Mood: hothot
Tags:

I got these three from ashmedai:

1. Homeopathy
I do have an opinion on homeopathy: it’s unscientific quackery that doesn’t work. In the Netherlands, it is in fact illegal now to suggest that a homeopathic ointment is a cure for something specific, prompting some really interesting text on the packaging. I won’t miss homeopathy when it disappears, and nobody should.

2. GMO’s
I also have an opinion on Genetically Modified Organisms. I’m a big fan of GMOs that help improve the quality of our food supply. Sadly, the EU has an irrational fear of GMOs and blocks their deployment in our food supply, which pretty much means that they’re (mostly) blocked worldwide. And that’s a bloody shame: because of this irrational fear, people are dying that could otherwise have been saved by Golden Rice.
And let’s not kid ourselves: the glucose syrup that’s in your candy bar is produced from sugar by molds that has been genetically engineered to be more efficient at converting sugar into glucose. The technique is understood very well, and so the risks can be managed.
(Normal disclaimers against food crop monoculture apply to GMOs too, obviously.)
What I am not a fan of, is the strain of GMOs that have been engineered to be resistant to a weed killer — that stuff is poisoning our planet, and the fact that some crops are resistant to it does not diminish that. And of course it’s the same company selling the weed killer and selling the resistant seeds, all tightly wound with patents and lawsuits — the worst kind of extractive capitalism.

3. The American Midwest
I… don’t really have an opinion on this. I actually had to look up what the Midwest is. I’ve never been even near it.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
Glowing LED
Jun. 16th, 2019 @ 12:05 pm Unexpected Topics meme
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Tags:

Let’s do a curious unexpected topics meme.
Those who wish to participate will say so, and I will give them three topics, or spheres of interests, which I think they are not interested in, or maybe I would be even surprised to learn that they have an affinity with.
It would be curious to learn who will be more surprised, those who hear what people think they are not interested in or cannot do, or those who learn that their expectations of people are either incorrect or spot on.

I got my topics from tabular_rasa:

Fanfiction
I’ve read a bit of fanfiction, but I can’t say it’s much of a factor in my life. Unless you consider the ‘fiction’ that emerges from a roleplaying game in a setting that existed before the RPG as fanfiction — then I’m a huge fanfiction (co-)author! I’ve played in Star Wars, Star Trek and a really large number of Middle-Earth games. I’ve preserved some of it in the form of session reports, which are kind-of like fanfiction — though written more with the intent to record what happened rather than make a story that is pleasing to read.

Opera (the music/performance genre)
I’m not a big fan, because I have trouble following the narrative. I’m apparently big on narrative, and if I have to read a book that explains it to me before I go see the opera itself, then there is not really a point in me going to see it.
We visited a lot of castles in Bavaria in 2016, and some of the most memorable ones were built by King Ludwig II. Ludwig was a big fan of the operas of Wagner, and it shows. Most impressive was the ‘reproduction’ (for lack of a better word) of the Venus Grotto from the opera Tannhauser at Linderhof castle. I find it fascinating that someone can be so inspired by something that does not really factor for me.

Fishing
From the road, the area where we live in seems like mostly concrete and stone, but in between the houses is a lot of park-land, with a lot of ponds that are all connected. There’s quite a few people fishing there, some with gear that looks pretty ‘professional’ to me. I know there are quite big fish in the ponds: once I saw a guy posing with a huge carp next to the edge of the pond — presumably just caught.
I don’t like fishing, but I do see the appeal of being quiet and sitting still, alone with your thoughts. Some of the fishers that I see around the ponds are in groups, drinking beers, and I kinda see the appeal there too — but that has little to do with fishing itself.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
SD Fub
Jun. 11th, 2019 @ 07:47 pm New bank
Current Mood: enragedenraged
Tags:

Last week, the news broke that my bank (ING) is going to scan through your statements to give you personalised advertisements. (Link is in Dutch, since this is a Dutch bank.)
I am vehemently opposed to this: not only should a bank stay out of my business if they are not explicitly invited to do so, but the very concept of personalised advertisements is exactly the vector that is used to erode our privacy and to deliver fascism to the world. To put it mildly: I am not a fan.
Yes, you can turn it off (the idiots even made it opt-out instead of opt-in!), but I’ve had enough. I’m going to switch banks. Switching banks could be a hassle, but there is a handy switching service that almost all banks are a part of, so that should be relatively painless.

In the Netherlands, we have two banks that profile themselves as ‘good’ banks, with respect for people and the environment. Banks that, for instance, do not invest in weapons manufacturers. One of those is Triodos, which is an independent bank — which I like, because the profits do not go to a larger banking conglomerate that does not share the values of the ‘good’ bank. So I took a peek at the “Fair Money Guide” (again, in Dutch) which is a cooperation between organisations promoting human rights, the environment and workers’ rights to rank the banks operating in the Netherlands against several criteria.
I took a look at the scores of Triodos, and it all looked quite decent. So I announced my intention to move to Triodos on Twitter and started the process to apply for an account.

And then a colleague pointed out that the ASN Bank scored slightly better than Triodos on many things. But the ASN is part of a larger bank (de Volksbank, which is state-owned after the government had to bail them out during the banking crisis), so I had my concerns. The ASN Twitter account actually replied to this conversation to point out that all three labels of de Volksbank follow the same principles — so the conglomerate as a whole is ‘good’.
Digging a bit deeper, there was all kinds of strange stuff coming up about Triodos. For instance, they’re based on anthroposophic principles. I love the accompanying architecture (I’ve did some work for a client who were housed in an office built on anthroposophic principles and I loved it there), but the mysticism I like… decidedly less. And it turns out that Triodos finances things like “Homeopaths without Borders” (like Docters without Borders, but then bringing quackery to those in need instead of actual medicine), or a homophobic evangelical group.

That’s not my definition of ‘good’, to say the least.

So I’m in the process of applying for an ASN account. I will literally put my money where my mouth is.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
Readman
Jun. 7th, 2019 @ 07:50 pm Seems like a fun meme
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Tags:


Ask your question in the comments. If it’s something I have an opinion on, I’ll answer.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
Glowing LED
Jun. 5th, 2019 @ 08:29 pm Japanese subcultures
Current Mood: goodgood
Tags: ,

Yesterday I finished up the (free, online) course “An Introduction To Japanese Subcultures“. The course offers a perspective from a cultural criticism viewpoint, formulated by four instructors from a Japanese university who themselves partake in certain subcultures. (For instance, in the third week, the instructor is dressed in a uniform from the original Gundam series and stands in front of the life-size Gundam statue in front of Diver City in Odaiba, Tokyo.)

As you know, we consume industrial amounts of anime, and of course we know quite a bit about ‘adjacent’ fields like manga and idols. So doing this course was really interesting, for two reasons. The first reason is that I never learned the vocabulary and structures of cultural criticism, and seeing it applied to something I know was an eye-opener. The way the instructors introduced and reasoned about the subjects was a totally new experience for me. I could separate the method and vocabulary a bit from the subject matter (because I know a bit about that), which told me some things about how these kinds of criticisms are structured and conducted.
The second is that it is extremely interesting to see how the themes we encounter often are actually inter-related and what they say about Japan as a culture and the subculture that birthed those themes. For instance, reading a Freudian perspective on giant robot anime (a genre that is near and dear to my heart) was really fun and gave me a better appreciation of the depth of the themes and genres.

In other words, a lot of fun. I didn’t engage with the other participants through the discussion boards as much as I did with the previous course I did on there, but I’m quite fine with that. I didn’t feel like being a sweaty try-hard for this course — perhaps because I am wary of engaging with other weebs.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
azumanga
May. 27th, 2019 @ 08:17 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: happyhappy
Happy birthday, kishenehn!
About this Entry
eten
May. 27th, 2019 @ 07:44 pm Outsider Resolution Bias
Current Mood: pensivepensive
Tags:

This thread by @POCGamer really made me think about RPG adventure design.
In short, scenarios in RPGs are often geared towards a team of outsiders (the adventuring party) to resolve any problem the locals may have. This makes the locals look incompetent and also feeds into a white-saviour/colonial mindset. And it makes no sense that locals should just sit around and wait for someone to arrive to solve their problems for them — especially not if the player characters could easily have been locals themselves.

I admit that I fell for this pattern too in some of the adventures I designed. One time, a player literally asked: “Why didn’t the mayor just walk upstream to see what was going on herself?”

Now that I am aware, I need to be mindful of this pattern in order to avoid it.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
Kashira? Kashira? Gozonji Kashira?
May. 24th, 2019 @ 08:01 pm RPG week
Current Mood: okayokay
Tags: ,

Last week’s RPG adventures started off with an online game of Fiasco, really early on Sunday morning. I had not played Fiasco before, and in general these ‘GM-full’ games (where every player is responsible for setting up part of the plot) are not really my thing. I’d rather just concentrate on playing my character instead of meta-gaming towards an interesting outcome. The premise is interesting: it’s like you’re all directing a Coen Brothers movie while having a ‘favourite’ character in the story.
The playset (basically the set-up for the game) we used was “Upton Abbey“, a setting inspired by British dramas about upper- and lower-class interactions in the 20’s. We weaved a tangled web of debt and sordid affairs both in business and in love. In the end, my character got stabbed by his pregnant lover, and his business partner let him bleed out and made it look like a suicide…
It was good fun, especially considering I played with a group of players that I had never played with before, which is always iffy. I knew some of them from our interactions on RPGGeek, so it’s not like I went in totally blind (I just would not have played). And this group has been playing together for years, so dropping in as a new player made me extra nervous. But it was good, clean fun, and the other players were patient with explaining the mechanics and made me feel at home. In fact, I’m playing again with them next Sunday!

I also bought the new Robotech RPG, which details the “Macross saga”. My love for Macross is well-documented on this blog, so I couldn’t pass up a new RPG. It uses the Savage Worlds ruleset, which I know is hugely popular with some people but that I never encountered. So I had to read up on that too. So far, it’s not that great — it’s been endless lists of character stats and equipment (and mecha!) lists so far. And the editing is quite atrocious too, which does not bode well. We’ll see!
Reading through it and identifying all the oddities how Harmony Gold perverted the Macross lore made me want to re-watch Macross to determine which statements in the game are actually true and which ones are American inventions. I ripped my DVD set on my anemic laptop, because that’s the only machine that still has a DVD player in this house… I’ll be watching through that in my ‘downtime’.

And yesterday I found out there is an upcoming RPG called “Against the Darkmaster“. I mean, at any given time there are upcoming RPGs, and most of them don’t interest me. But this one grabbed my attention because it has the exact same font and ‘trade dress’ as the classic MERP and Rolemaster games. Some research revealed that this is, indeed, a ‘retro-clone’ of MERP with all the Lord of the Rings-stuff stripped off. They have a quickstart and playtest, and I might download that and see what it’s like. It’s unlikely that I would go back to MERP/Rolemaster-style games as they are too ‘heavy’ rules-wise and too lethal for the more cinematic experiences I want these days. But on the other hand, the largest part of my RPG shelves are filled with those books…

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
UN Spacy
May. 18th, 2019 @ 03:11 pm Friday Five
Current Mood: okayokay

1. Has your house been renovated?
Oh yes, in a big way.

2. Have you ever painted a room?
Many times. Every time we moved house, while helping others move into a new space, etc. It’s an ok activity, if you have the proper tools and paint — cheap brushes and cheap paint gives the worst results.

3. Have you ever put in a new floor in a house?
Yes. We did the top floor ourselves: laminated flooring. It worked out quite well. But when we needed a new floor for the ground floor last year, we took one look at the odd corners there, and let a professional (our neighbour) handle it.

4. Have you ever worked with wallpaper?
I’ve done a few lines of wallpaper, but nothing major. Klik and her mother did the photo wallpaper in our bedroom, and I hear that was not a particularly pleasant experience.

5. Have you ever choose new colors for your flat or house?
We tend to go for neutral, cream-colour for the walls, and let the colour come from our furniture (which is how we ended up with a purple couch).

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
hand-eye coordination
May. 18th, 2019 @ 02:54 pm New userpic
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

It’s been a while since I added a new userpic. I always liked this scene, and now I have it as a userpic.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
flowers
May. 3rd, 2019 @ 07:42 pm Friday Five: History
Current Mood: calmcalm

1. Is there a particular historical period or event, anywhere in the world, that fascinates you?
The birth of the computer during WW2 is fascinating, and it gets more fascinating the more I learn about it.

2. Would you like to visit that time, or live in it permanently, or does the whole idea make you want to run screaming?
I’d rather not live in a time when a few fascist states dragged the whole world into war while setting out on a campaign of genocide. So, no.

3. What’s the best piece of historical writing, nonfiction or fiction, you’ve ever read?
Robert van Gulik’s Judge Dee novels are excellent. They’re good representations of life in Tang dynasty China (the books are kept in print by the university of Chicago, where the books are compulsory reading for their China studies program). But apart from that, they’re cool mysteries too!

4. What’s the worst?
Dunno. I don’t finish bad books.

5. Is there a historical site you would love to visit?
Ise Grand Shrine is still on my list. Maybe next time we visit Japan.

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
haiku
Apr. 28th, 2019 @ 07:00 pm Japan vacation, pt9
Current Mood: tiredtired
Tags: ,

Read more...Collapse )

And that was the last of these entries!

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
azumanga
Apr. 28th, 2019 @ 03:49 pm Japan vacation, pt8
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Tags: ,

Read more...Collapse )

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
eten
Apr. 28th, 2019 @ 09:32 am Japan vacation, pt7
Current Mood: mellowmellow
Tags: ,

Read more...Collapse )

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
Fleeing rabbit
Apr. 27th, 2019 @ 09:24 pm Crossposter fixed!
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
I managed to get the crossposter working again. I've updated the five posts with crappy vacation selfies, so those are now on LJ -- but they get backdated, so I guess they won't show up on your friends page.
So here's the list with entries so far: Part one, part two, part three, part four and part five.

The other entries should be posted and appear normally.
About this Entry
ADM3A
Apr. 27th, 2019 @ 07:42 pm Japan vacation, pt 6
Current Mood: coldcold
Tags: ,

Read more...Collapse )

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
juggling
Apr. 26th, 2019 @ 06:55 pm Japan vacation, pt5
Current Mood: contentcontent
Tags: ,

Read more...Collapse )

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
haiku
Apr. 26th, 2019 @ 06:41 pm Japan vacation, pt4
Current Mood: contentcontent
Tags: ,

Read more...Collapse )

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
sakuracoin
Apr. 25th, 2019 @ 07:00 pm Japan vacation, pt3
Current Mood: amusedamused
Tags: ,

Read more...Collapse )

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
About this Entry
sakuracoin