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Alon Rand
Works at Mount Holyoke College
Attended Syracuse University
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Alon Rand

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This is bizarre and awesome.
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Alon Rand

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Amazing stuff.
Ed Yong originally shared:
 
Fairy wasps are smaller than amoebas, and their brains shouldn't work.
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Yay! Something new to inject into my next victim's urethra!
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Alon Rand

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I'm not actually into the Elder Scrolls series myself (though I'm contemplating getting this particular one at some point). Nevertheless, I found this most amusing.
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Good to know!
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Mark Simon's profile photoDan Walters's profile photoAlon Rand's profile photo
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Just to be clear, I wasn't criticizing heroism in sci-fi thrillerdom, so much as pointing out that it doesn't have as much of a place in horror. Protagonists in horror stories typically come out traumatized—the fact that they saved the day is often intentionally passed over.

Frankly, one of the best examples of the above comes from a classic Sierra adventure game, written by Roberta Williams of King's Quest fame. The game was called Phantasmagoria, and it was one of those live-action-on-green-screen style games that tried to blend computer graphics with real actors. The plot was basically that you played Adriane, the wife of a photographer, after you and your husband have both moved into this old mansion that used to be owned by a famous magician who died under mysterious circumstances. Anyway, in the first part of the game, you unwittingly release a demon from a book that possesses your husband, and throughout the course of the game, it slowly starts to drive him insane, although Adriane doesn't realize it at first. Most of the game is spent exploring the house and its grounds, as you slowly discover the horrors that came to bear while the magician was its custodian—you witness him murder each of his four wives in horrifically gory ways, and eventually see how he died. By the seventh chapter, your husband is fully possessed and tries to kill you. The only way to make it through in one piece is by killing him, and then banishing the demon in its true form via a ritual you learn about. If you fail, you either have to watch your head get split open by a bladed pendulum or your face literally torn apart by the demon's claws—both deaths were so gory that I literally couldn't sleep the night after I beat it when I was thirteen. Anyway, the last shot of the game is Adriane leaving the mansion, bloodied and bruised, with this blank look of complete despondency on her face.
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Have him in circles
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Alon Rand

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Printers are so entitled.
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Alon Rand

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So, since DC Universe Online has gone to a freemium model, I thought I'd give it a go. I downloaded it onto my PS3 last night (took several hours) and have been messing around with the character creator this afternoon. I finished designing my first character about 10 minutes ago, and have been waiting to get into the game itself ever since. So that's a black mark.
I was more than a little surprised at how limited the choices were in creation, though. The options to customize appearance are reasonably robust, though no better than City of Heroes was years ago when I gave that a shot, and CoH has broadened their choices considerably since. The place where they were really stingy was in power sets. There are only 6: Fire, Ice, Gadgets, Nature, Mind, and Sorcery. You have about a dozen implementation choices after that (basically how do you use your powers--shoot blasts from your hands, wield a weapon, punch stuff, etc.) that provide some variation beyond that, but still, that's really limited. Doesn't even allow them to cover the bases for many of their most iconic existing heroes. I had to discard the concept I was going to start with in favor of something far more generic as a result. I remember CoH had 2 or 3 times that many power types (as well as classes that are analagous to the weapon types in DCUO) way back when, and I think, again, has a good deal more now.
We'll see what the content of the game itself is like. If it doesn't impress me, I may load up CoH again, now that it, too, has gone freemium, and see what changes have been wrought there in the last few years.
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I have a serious problem with this claim people make that the first X levels in a game are just a tutorial. It's usually a ridiculously high number, as though anyone with finite time and other games that are actually fun right from the start would invest the days or weeks of time necessary to bring a character up to level X. Reaching level 30 probably takes something like 20 or 30 hours, if not more. I can't imagine playing a game for that long before the fun actually begins. If I don't enjoy playing it after 2 or 3 hours, it was either designed badly, or it isn't for me.
Now, that said, I will also say that I'm not, by nature, a social gamer. I play almost exclusively single-player games, and I play them primarily to experience character development and story (solid gameplay mechanics and pretty graphics are also important, but they're secondary to me). Hence, I have tried a few MMOs, but never stuck with one; the story generally takes a back seat, and character development is usually non-existent. That's why I'm also very interested in The Old Republic, because they're putting those elements, at least according to their marketing, at center stage.
Thanks for the tip about the style menu, though. I'll take a look at that if I log back in.
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Alon Rand

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Came on this indirectly. Sorry, it's not a happy thing. It fills me with shame that I share a species designation with some of the slime discussed in these. But I think it's a genuinely important subject on which to advance awareness and discussion all the same.
Zack Weinberg originally shared:
 
Three-for-one, suggest you read in order, quoted without comment other than to say that sometimes - often - I am really fucking disappointed in my fellow man. (Gendered noun intentional.)

http://glutenfreegirl.com/warm-brown-rice-and-grilled-vegetable-salad/
http://ittybiz.com/death-threats-online/
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/08/31/the-sort-of-crap-i-dont-get/
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Alon Rand

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I'm so sorry, Wil. But that may be one of the best things ever. I think http://wilwheatonsuperteen.tumblr.com/post/2137543336/the-wesley-crusher-estrogen-brigade is my very favorite one of all, and its not even a picture. I cannot imagine how mortifying it must have been being you in the 90s.
Wil Wheaton originally shared:
 
I just ... uh ... thought that some of you, um, reading this may want to know that this ... this exists.
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Hee.
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Alon Rand

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Wee! I am typing this (somewhat awkwardly, admittedly) with the touch screen of my brand new Asus tablet (could use the bluetooth keyboard, but I don't feel like it). I've been busily installing and configuring things all evening, and still have more to do. Should probably stop and go to bed, continue tomorrow evening. But CS5 says it's only got 19 minutes left (though it's been making that claim for the last 5 minutes) and I'd like to let it finish.
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Have him in circles
17 people
Ally Chilson's profile photo
Seth Sibley's profile photo
Mike Sackton's profile photo
Daniel Cailler's profile photo
Andrew Cross's profile photo
Nicole Sibley's profile photo
Lore Sjöberg's profile photo
Education
  • Syracuse University
    BA, Philosophy, 1997 - 2001
  • Clark University
    Graphic Design
  • Shrewsbury High School
    1993 - 1997
Work
Occupation
Senior Research Analyst
Employment
  • Mount Holyoke College
    Senior Research Analyst, 2007 - present
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Gender
Male