uh oh...

While we're on the subject of distraction...

As someone who does not count himself among the admirers of "casual" games like Farmville, Mafia Wars, and the like (to say the very least), but who, for a period a few years ago, lost untold hours to The Kingdom of Loathing, my discovery yesterday of the browser-based game Echo Bazaar raises a red flag. While it is still too soon to tell for sure, this one definitely holds the potential to eat one's life (for a few weeks at least).

It's pretty much impossible to describe the play of Echo Bazaar in a paragraph or two, but, like any self-respecting MMOG, there's a dedicated Wiki that includes a Getting Started guide and a detailed walkthrough of the the first few actions to get you going.

What's really intriguing about Echo Bazaar is the world-building. It takes place in "Fallen London," a vaguely Victorian underground version of actual London with a touch of steampunk, a touch of Lovecraft, and more than a touch of China Mieville (along with a welcome touch of dark humor). It's also fairly non-linear, giving you the freedom simply to explore or to pursue various of the goals that become available as your experience increases. And, unlike many such games (The Kingdom of Loathing excepted), the writing (presented in small, bite-sized chunks) is typically worth reading (and sometimes quite wonderful).

One element that could put some people off is that Echo Bazaar requires a Twitter account to play. But the developers go to great lengths to assure players that there is never any requirement to involve your account if you don't want to. However, if you do choose to take advantage of the Twitter integration, there are definite advantages to cooperating with friends who are also playing (you must be following each other on Twitter to do so). Personally, I find the Twitter requirement totally benign (and I'm a person who refuses to go anywhere near any Facebook games).

That being said, I did create a separate Twitter account specifically for Echo Bazaar. So, if any of my myriad readers do decide to give it a try, come follow Ariel Hawksquill. Once you've found lodging, perhaps we can help each other out (or compare nightmares).

And if there aren't any posts here for a while, you'll know why.


modern art

Q: How many performance artists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: I don’t know, I had to leave after four hours.



Now this is some major league distraction. Made entirely on my iPhone after getting home from work today. Shot with iTimeLapse Pro, edited with ReelDirector, score created with GrooveMaker. On a fucking phone.
(Nice of the weather to cooperate.)


into the moonset

Probably not quite as awesome as attractive young women kissing, but still an effectively distracting option to ranting about infuriating stuff like this and this. Jeeze.


mini quote of the day (right-wing hypocrite edition)

Indiana Republican Rep. Mark Souder, evangelical right-wing hypocrite (is that redundant?) and vocal supporter of "family values" and abstinance-only sex education, announced today that he is retiring. Seems that he has been having an affair with a young woman who he first met when she was a guest host on a Christian radio show in 2004, and who he later hired as a part-time staff member.

Souder, who has been married since 1974 and has three grown children, reportedly met his mistress for sex in various Indiana State Parks. And, in another of those death-of-irony moments, a video has surfaced in which Souder is interviewed by his mistress on the value of abstinance-only sex education (although it now seems to have disappeared from YouTube).

In his resignation speech today, Souder said he would be leaving "the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C." to focus on "...renewing my walk with my lord."

He and his lord will no doubt be walking along the Appalachian Trail.


i can hardly wait

Because we (and by "we," I mean "I") need a break from the constant barrage of disheartening political developments and dispiriting idiocy, that's why. (Probably NSFW.)

(by Ditlev Rosing & Frederik Valentin)


caleb howe: worst fucking person in the world

Last week, Roger Ebert, film critic, vocal liberal, cancer survivor, prolific Twitterer, and general all-around good person, posted a tweet critical of some kids in California who decided to provocatively wear American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo. In response, right-wing blogger Caleb Howe of the conservative site Red State chose to reply via his own Twitter account with a prime example the insightful and well-reasoned debate the right is so well-known for:

What a sad fucking excuse for a human being.


tweet of the day

And the day isn't even half over yet.
More here.



Obvious? Yeah. So?