I don't question the logic of a hammerspace to shove ore, berries, and bits of runestone into. As a toon I am well aware of the joys of having the ability to pull whatever you need out of your pack at any time.
Anyway the thing to do with MMOs is compare them to World of Warcraft, I suppose, because the archetypal Everyone has played World of Warcraft. However I find myself feeling nostalgic over a different game: Dungeons and Dragons Online. Turbine's game shares a lot of similarities with ESO, and does certain things better and some things worse.
Action combat, for example. Both games have clicky combat, swing with mouse 1, dodge by double-tapping sort of manuvering. I remember DDO having a MUCH larger bar for skills... as you would expect. D&D characters are just rich with skills. Elder Scrolls gives you a dozen skill trees but at maximum ten slots (+2 Ultimate slots) to shove them in.
This does help you keep a clearer head during combat ("What are my options?" is always a limited set you prepared carefully ahead of time, and changing weapons to get to skill bar 2 is a Meaningful Action) but I do slightly resent the paucity of options. I know it's probably carefully balanced though. Just... would having an extra utility/support skill slot break everything? (Probably. Players will take every inch they are given and turn it into a mile somehow.)
At least ESO doesn't have a sadistic focus on your stats being built Exactly Correct. Although it's possible the community does.
It's not just the combat, though. Every area in DDO was either a town or an "Adventure Zone", be it a dungeon or overland area, with plenty to do in each. ESO feels similar: You go to town and questgivers fall over themselves to tell you about things to do, then you leave town and find a cave or ruin or a building on fire surrounded by questgivers and resolve some problems.
Or you just ... explore. While one of my characters has carefully been resolving every problem and sidequest she passes, the other has been sprinting off on a cross-faction road trip across the map of Tamriel, ignoring most quests as she romps up and down the roads just seeing the sights and heading for an ultimate goal. You can do this for actual reasons, or you can just do it for fun. It's very nice.
D&D Online had more things to DO in dungeons -- use Spot and hope to find hidden doors, for example... but ESO gives me the same feeling of "Oh dear, this hallway is trapped and I'm going to have to edge around them to that switch down there", or "Ooh! A treasure chest! Lockpicking time!"
The rest of the MMOverse may be off playing Guild Wars 2 (for good reason, it looks like the new expansion is a smash hit with just about everyone) but as usual a game that reminds me of a different game I was quite fond of is what I end up mooning over.
Hey everybody! Happy International Don't Fucking Upgrade Your Goddamn Mac Day!
There's a new Mac OS out today, and if you're a writer, illustrator, cartoonist, musician, attorney, baker, real estate agent, or literally any other form of creative professional, uncreative professional, gifted amateur, or student, you have one job until sometime early next year: DON'T FUCKING UPGRADE YOUR GODDAMN MAC.
Yes, I know: you want the new features. You thirst for the new emoji. The updater keeps asking you, and you secretly love feeling wanted. But listen to me: every year I watch someone walk straight into that banana peel, and I really want this year's statistic to not be you.
Because in the mild scenario, the update breaks something you rely on, and the first patch release fixes someone else's problem instead of yours, so you limp along in a half-functional state for multiple months. (This is twice as likely if you use any kind of add-on hardware like a scanner, and practically guaranteed if you're on a deadline.)
In the spicy scenario, you get fucked in ways heretofore totally unimaginable. Because guess what: this year's release has
🚨🚨☄💀🌋 A COMPLETELY NEW FILESYSTEM 🌋💀☄🚨🚨
(I've decorated that to approximate what computer people hear when that phrase is spoken.)
Real talk, don't upgrade til March.
(Yes, yes, fine: if your job is making software for Macs or doing IT support for Macs, go ahead and upgrade some, but not all, of your way-too-many computers. All the rest of you, cool your jets and wait out the first two or three patch releases.)
This is Cary Elwes' memoir of the making of the film, a book I had vaguely meant to read for years, but did not actually get around to until our new roommate left his copy in the house this summer as a sort of placeholder before actually moving in. It's very charming! I'd sort of always had a vague sense that Cary Elwes must in some way resent being forever branded as The Man In Black, and I'm sure that at some points he has and does, but this write-up is probably the most overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic Hollywood making-of memoir I've ever read. It's clearly intended for people who love the film and want to go on loving it, without a complicated feeling in sight.
My favorite part was probably the enthusiastic things that Cary Elwes and everyone interviewed had to say about Robin Wright and her acting as Buttercup; they're all like "we sailed through on jokes! playing the straight man is the hardest role in the cast! ALSO SHE CAME FROM SOAP OPERAS, SOAP OPERAS ARE SO HARD, DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY LINES PER DAY --" I went in braced to feel vaguely defensive of Robin Wright and Buttercup, as I so often do, and instead I was charmed and endeared!
I also enjoyed accounts of:
- Mandy Patinkin turning up to the first rehearsal with six months of sword practice under his belt, much to Cary Elwes' dismay
- William Goldman freaking out about Rob Reiner setting the leading lady on fire
- Andre the Giant accidentally conking Cary Elwes out on set
- Cary Elwes carefully arranging himself on the grass in an elegant lounging position to hide that he'd broken an ankle joyriding in a golf card
- so much detailed description of sword training and fight choreography! *__* SO MUCH
"There were several problems at DC at the time. Sales were bad (they're bad now but the entire industry sales are bad) and Marvel readers wouldn't be caught dead reading DC comics. I felt, as did many, that although DC fans understood the multiple Earths perfectly and without trouble, it was a problem to attract new readers and possibly a sign of a DC problem for the Marvel zombies. By simplifying the DC universe I believed we could attract new readers, which we did. Crisis was one of the first DC Comics (Titans being the other) that Marvel readers would check out."
- Marv Wolfman
( Read more... )
Workouts -- her interview with Robin Williams (I think 1989).
The symbol of all we possess -- the Miss America pageant, 1949.
Come in, Lassie -- Hollywood and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (1948)
The shit-kickers of Madison Avenue. (1995)
The strange techtonic coincidences of the recent Mexican earthquakes.
The closing of the Dictionary of American Regional English.
The dying art of disagreement.
How many times does it need to be said? Puerto Rico is American. Now can we get going and fix things up for six million Americans dealing with water, low on food and without electricity for the foreseeable future? And here's how you can help. If you need to explain how badly the island was hit by Hurricane Maria, quote from this.
Lessons from Rolling Stone.
Throw the little old lady down the stairs! An interview with John Huston. (1952)
How did women fare in China's Communist revolution?
Will Mark Zuckerberg 'like' this column? Facebook, social media, Russians and the election.
How did marriage become a mark of privilege?
3 ways the Republican anti-health bill differs from previous anti-health efforts.
Remember Anthony Weiner, who not only couldn't keep it in his pants but felt he *had* to send phone photos of it to underage girls? He's going to prison for 21 months. An ignoble end to what once was a very promising political career.
Women need to rewrite/update the New York state constitution. Were women involved in writing the state constitution in your state? Or wherever you are?
The world is on fire; Endellion was good-but-not-great; autumn in New York is almost as good as spring in New York; Chuck Schumer and his staff ignore their phones 100% of the time (Kirsten Gillibrand's staff is at least available sometimes, and my representative's staff ALWAYS talks to me); I made apple hand pies this weekend; the seminar I am taking is not as interesting as I was hoping but I will soldier on; the fact that no one has cut together the Elizabeth-Swann-relevant scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is an abomination; my office moved across campus and while there are some serious downsides, the fact that I no longer work in a dungeon is a net positive.
I cannot believe it is already almost Yom Kippur.
( Cover under the cut... )
A few months ago, I met a cute new person and we clicked pretty well from the start. We both had another primary partner at the time and we often talked about those relationships as well as (of course) many other things. After a while, he and his primary broke up, and he was pretty devastated by it. I didn’t mind that he was a bit more “down” when we spent time together, and it seemed only natural to me that he talked about his break-up feelings sometimes. I still don’t mind those things.
Now here comes the difficult part: I feel like this relationship is getting more and more asymmetrical. I’m busy with a demanding job and an active social life (and I like it that way), and he has a lot of time on his hands. He has made it clear that he’d prefer to spend much more time together than we currently do (including weekend trips and the like), while from my perspective we’re close to “too much”. He is way ahead of me with things like “I love you” (WAY too early for me!). I feel like I have to be “on” at all times when we’re together, because he always seems worried that I’m not being enthusiastic enough and something must be wrong and don’t you like me anymore?
He’s had a bunch of personal issues come up lately, and he’s generally pretty unhappy right now. I find it really hard to find a balance between being kind to a person I like, and setting some “don’t make me responsible for your happiness!”-boundaries. I understand anxiety and sadness and insecurity, because I deal with plenty of that in my own life, but it feels like he’s subconsciously weaponizing these things to demand my time and attention. He often says things like:
- “you’re the only good thing in my life right now”
- “I feel like everyone is rejecting/leaving me lately”
- “I’m not doing so well, Please view this post in your web browser to complete the quiz., can I come by tonight? I need comfort”
- “I’m dealing with so much shit that I can’t carry it on my own”
- “You give me so much strength when we spend time together”
I really like this guy! We have a lot in common and we’ve had fun times together. I would love to see him once or twice a month for many moons to come, and for us to grow closer over time, but right now I feel like I’m under siege and I have to focus on setting boundaries and finding new ways to say “no” all the time and it’s starting to suck the joy out of what (I hope) could be a genuinely fun and rewarding relationship – through good times and bad.
Can I salvage this? How can I communicate with him in a way that does NOT say “I can’t handle people who have negative emotions ever”, but rather “it feels like you’re using your emotions against me and that’s not cool”?
You’re absolutely right to see a litany of “you’re the only good thing in my life” and “everyone else is rejecting me (so you won’t, won’t you?)” statements as being red flags of codependence. I’m not sure the end result of my advice is “fun new relationship is salvaged!” but I think you do have a good opening here to have an honest talk with him about getting help in handling hard life stuff and the reciprocity & seriousness of your relationship.
There are two separate conversations to be had here. I’m not sure in which order, so, use your judgment.
“[Partner], I can see that you’re really suffering right now as you [grieve the loss of primary relationship][handle this recent raft of difficult life stuff]. I’m feeling overwhelmed by it all and I think it’s time to find some more support for this stuff. Maybe a trained sounding board – like a therapist or counselor – can help you process all of this.”
There is a 99.99% chance he will feel insulted and hurt that you are fobbing him off on other people instead of investing deeply in his emotional well-being yourself. Get ready for some intenso responses involving “You are tired of me and you are going to reject me like everyone else” + 1,000 reasons that therapy/counseling is impossible/useless/too hard for him. This is because:
- He is primed to feel rejected right now. Everything that isn’t “I love you come over right now and let me comfort you my dear boy” = rejection.
- You are sending him to other people instead of wanting to deal with it yourself. (That’s okay! Just, acknowledge the truth of that so you don’t fall for the negging when it comes).
- Mental health system is imperfect and it does take a lot of resources and energy to find a good fit and treatment that can work for you. It’s a hard thing to do when you’re feeling great, never mind when you’re feeling terrible. It’s okay to acknowledge the imperfections in the mental health system and also remind yourself that those difficulties don’t automatically make his emotional well-being your sole problem to deal with on demand in real time.
“I know this sucks and that’s not what you wanted to hear. You’re right, I am telling you that you need to find other people besides me to lean on, and you’re right, the mental health system can be really difficult/annoying/expensive. But I am not comfortable or prepared to continue being your main sounding board about this stuff. I think your problems are real and serious and that taking them seriously might involve bringing in a trained listening person for a little while. Think of it as giving yourself the gift of a safe space to unload and process all of this that’s 100% focused on you, a little time in your week where you have permission to feel as sad and lost as you need to feel and get all the feelings out so you can start to heal and deal with them.”
Get ready for a question like “So I guess I’m not allowed to talk about serious stuff or feelings with you anymore?” (It’s 99.99% coming)
Your script: “That’s not what I’m saying, but I am saying that I don’t want the time we spend together to be all about [Serious Feelings Stuff and Comfort]. I am asking you to find and take advantage of some alternate avenues for support and comfort, so things with us can be a little more balanced than they have been.”
Chances are he will not like it. He likes his comfort to come with a side of romance/sexytimes and whyyyyy should he make an effort to find a therapist when he has youuuu? But you’re doing a kind thing by being honest about your limits and directing him toward something that actually has a chance of making him feel better.
Sometimes the answer to “I had a terrible day, can I come over and be comforted” is simply “Sorry, not tonight.” And then you put your phone away and focus on what you originally planned to do and he finds a way to self-soothe somehow. If he deals with that well, then maybe it can get better.
That doesn’t mean there is no big conversation to be had. He wants to say “I love you” and plan weekends away and remind you that you’re the only great thing in his life and it’s making you feel crowded and overwhelmed. Time to talk about that. Maybe time to also talk honestly about the way you do polyamory, like the fact that you have someone in your life that you consider to be a primary partner and that there is a hierarchy there maybe not of feelings but in terms of how you allocate time/vacation days/long-term relationship planning, etc. It seems like your relationship really worked when he had that in place too but now things have become unbalanced. This conversation might mean that y’all create something new together over time or it might mean that he and you find out that are unsuited to each other.
The thing where he wants you to be “on” and show that you are sufficiently enthusiastic seems to be the best entry point for this conversation, as in, the next time he makes you you feel that way it’s time to talk about what’s up: “Listen, I like you a lot, and I like you enough that I can make space for you to be sad and grieving right now but that also means that you make space for me being tired or having an off night or for not exactly mirroring your enthusiasm back to you. For example, we’ve only known each other a short time and I’m not ready for ‘I love you’ yet. I would love to get there someday but I need more time. When you say ‘I’m the only good thing in your life’ I know you mean it as a compliment but it feels like pressure. Also time we spend together is already about the maximum time I have to spend with you in a given week. Like of course it would be nice to spend ‘more time’ together, but I can’t do that without breaking other commitments that are pleasurable and important to me. I need you to understand that and focus on enjoying the time we do spend together.”
Then, say the thing that’s the elephant in the room: “I feel like you want me to take the place of [Former Primary Partner] in your life, and that’s an okay thing for you to want on an emotional level, I get it, but it’s too much/not the right fit for me/not what I signed up for/making things unbalanced between us. I care about you a lot and I want to find a way to keep this going, so, how do we build something that is enjoyable and true and emotionally supportive without me feeling so pressured and you feeling so rejected?”
He’s not going to like hearing this because it’s going to feed into the story he is telling himself about how everyone rejects him. Also there maybe is no balance between “Ideally we’d hang out once or twice a month, forever” and “LOVE ME!!!!!” But if you can’t talk honestly about this stuff and you keep feeling suffocated and overwhelmed, the thing is not going to work. “I’m at the limit of what I have to give you in terms of time and affection” isn’t what any romantic partner really wants to hear, but it’s important information if it’s the truth. The truth can hurt but it can also help us make good decisions about how to take care of ourselves. He may decide that what you have to offer is not enough for him. You may decide that what he wants is just not compatible with what you want and need. That would be painful, but I have to think that it’s better than letting him continue to build this fortress of need around you while you’re looking for the escape hatch.
Reminder for commenters: Spell out the whole word “polyamory” please.
by Gideon Marcus
There are two poles when it comes to how science fiction magazines like to fill their pages. The Fantasy and Science Fiction approach involves lots of short stories -- it makes for an impressive Table of Contents and a lot of bite-sized pieces. Analog tends toward the other extreme: its stories tend to be novellas and serials, and you only get 4-5 piece of fiction each issue. As a result, the average quality of any given issue relies on a very few pieces. With Analog, if you don't like several of the authors, you're pretty much out of luck (and 50 cents).
The October 1962 Analog is, fortunately, not that bad, but a wide swath of it is taken up with a pretty lousy novella. If I'd started with it, I don't know if I'd have made it to the rest of the magazine. It's a good thing I read from the back first...
(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)