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Naomi Nabbit
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Naomi Nabbit

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Haircut! Now to see if I can blow dry it right :o
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If the blow dryer doesn't work out, I'll try that, thanks!

Naomi Nabbit

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If you like snarky military sci-fi roleplaying, there's a kickstarter currently running for a tabletop RPG set in the Schlock Mercenary universe. In the RPG, the party plays the commanding officers of a company of mercenaries.

The game has some interesting stuff going for it, one of which is their "Ablative Meat" mechanic. If a PC would be killed, they can spend a plot point to have an NPC grunt take the hit instead. To do so, they have to take an index card, give the grunt a name, race, and three pieces of backstory. Then, the GM flips a coin - heads, the grunt survives whatever it was that would have killed you and gains some bonus skill points. Tails, the grunt dies and the GM tears up the card in front of you. You can choose previously-generated grunts and, if they survive, they get more bonus skill points. If your character does actually die for real later on, you can choose to immediately take over one of these pre-generated grunts, giving them a battlefield promotion. The character comes with a pre-made backstory, a history of near-death experiences that they've shared with the other party members already (including people whose lives they've saved!), and they come with bonus experience accumulated from those near-death experiences.

The basic system is 3D6+skill vs a target number. However, your weapons and materiel can have modifiers that cause different results to behave differently. So, you could have a modifier on a weapon that makes you auto-hit if you roll a straight on the three dice, or a weapon that explodes in your face if you roll triples. In addition, one die is the "Mayhem" die, and if it rolls a higher number than the other two and the roll was successful, the GM draws a card from the "Mayhem" deck to see what else happened as a result of your roll (collateral damage, friendly fire, and so on).

It sounds fun, and I promised Sarah I'd run a game in the system in a year when it comes out.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/howardtayler/the-planet-mercenary-role-playing-game
Howard Tayler is raising funds for The Planet Mercenary Role Playing Game on Kickstarter! created by Howard Tayler and Alan Bahr, and set in the universe of SCHLOCK MERCENARY
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I truly did not expect to like this RPG system.

This has made me reconsider. Please mention how it goes.

Naomi Nabbit

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For those whom we haven't already told, +Sarah Nabbit is pregnant. Assuming all goes well, our child will be born fairly close to our birthiversary (late October/early November). I'm alternating between being nervous, being excited, and cackling madly (http://imago.hitherby.com/2005/11/an-unclean-legacy-the-marvelous-fingerbone/).

(Btw, you can't embed links in a G+ post without displaying their full path? Irritating.)
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Congratulations!

Naomi Nabbit

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I <3 you, Google.
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I didn't know it was possible for a Nyan Cat to be idle.

Naomi Nabbit

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There's a puzzle hunt (BAPHL 9) running in Providence on April 5th. Anyone interested in being on a team with me? Team size is 6 people. http://www.baphl.org/9/
About BAPHLTop. Imagine that I'm new to this whole "BAPHL" thing. What is it? BAPHL is the Boston Area Puzzle Hunt League. It is a recurring series of puzzle hunts that take place in the Boston area. BAPHL hunts incorporate an element of exploration to the traditional pen-and-paper puzzles, ...
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If you two are up for it, we still need three more.

Naomi Nabbit

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Yeah, my understanding was (feel free to correct me if I am super wrong) that the right hormone therapy can get a clitoris to grow out into a small but functional penis. It doesn't reroute any tubing down the middle so it's not the same for all purposes, and I'd guess the drugs don't have exactly the same effects on everyone who tries them, but last I'd heard some female-assigned-at-birth men (am I using that term right?) are able to grow a penis that works for penetrative sex. 

Also, fifteenthed that the state of any given person's genitals are none of my damned business. These questions are like people saying they can't explain gay weddings to their kids, because they think explaining gay weddings entails explaining gay sex - the same logical fallacy is rattling around in there.

Naomi Nabbit

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If you like both MMOs and jRPGs, FFXIV is actually pretty fun. Sarah and I have been playing it for over a year now. The game has a main story that reads like an FF game and tons of references to other FFs (like going to the Gold Saucer to play Triple Triad), which is awesome for fangirls like me ^_^. As MMOs go, it's really grind-light, and since the expansion just came out, there's like no grind at all for the pre-exp content.

Features of the game include a FF3/5 style Job system where you can switch your class at will (outside of non-PvP instances and combat) so you can do almost everything on one character. It has an interesting minigame for its crafting system that I'm pretty fond of. It has the Triple Triad CCG from FFVIII and chocobo raising and racing reminiscent of FFVII's. It has a bunch of things taken from other MMOs, like open world quests, a dungeon finder for automatically matching up with other people to run dungeons, a glamour system to change what your gear looks like, flying mounts in the expansion (the first you get is, of course, a black chocobo), and so on.

One thing I particularly love about FFXIV compared to other MMOs I've played is that, with very few exceptions, armor looks basically the same on male and female characters, being just as revealing or not on both.

If you're interested in trying it out at all, let me know so I can give you our ingame info and a referral code that gives you free stuff... and me too (or Sarah if you like her more), which is totally not why I'm posting this, I swear. <_<


Also, if you've heard bad things about FFXIV from before to 2013, none of them are true any longer. Basically, in 2011 when FFXIV was first released, it was hailed as the worst MMO to ever exist. And then SE did something weird - they admitted the game was poorly made and fundamentally flawed, they apologized, and then they spent two years rewriting and redesigning the game basically from scratch (they even rewrote the engine). This time, they listened to their fans, addressed their complaints, and the re-release is a totally different game.
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Yeah, well, let us know! We're not all that far into the expansion yet because we're trying to do, like, everything at once <_< PLD is my highest at 54, and Sarah's WHM is also 54. I'm leveling four combat classes, three crafters, all three gatherers, and two desynth classes, all at once. Sarah's "only" doing three combat classes, one crafter, two gatherers, and two desynth.

Also, sidequests! They must be done!

Also, chances are we won't be playing as much four months from now because baby, but that's a while from now.

Naomi Nabbit

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If Google (GChat, GMail) still lists my name as "Nyren" for you, you can correct this if you'd like:

1. In GMail, click the "Gmail" word in the upper left with the down arrow next to it and select "Contacts."

2. Once in the Contacts app, find me and select "edit" (the pencil icon).

3. In the edit screen, it should have my old name in either the "Name" or "Nickname" field. Delete my old name and save (don't replace it with anything).

Google will then automatically fill in what I have listed on my account as my current name whenever it lists my name for you.

This also works for anyone else on your contact list who has changed their name. Google will randomly lock in everyone's name that you've talked to until you manually clear them like this. Once cleared, their name will update if they change it again, but only until Google decides to lock it in again...
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Thank you! I found that since I'd changed my shortname for you as Naomi in Adium, that sent the data back to Google and you're listed as such in my contacts. I added your last name for clarity.

Naomi Nabbit

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A very good article someone shared with me. It mostly focuses on the ways women in technical fields who express femininity are treated.

https://medium.com/@sailorhg/coding-like-a-girl-595b90791cce

After reading that article, I realized that strong feminine female characters really are rare in media, and I'm even more incredibly happy that Brandon Sanderson wrote "Warbreaker" the way he did. I had the thought when I first read it that Sanderson was somehow being sexist by having female characters that were feminine and not strong in masculine ways. Later, of course, I realized that it was that thought that was actually sexist.
(this was originally given as a talk at AlterConf in Oakland)
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Just ran across another example, where reviewers were discouraged from brushing up on the subject and encouraged to give feedback based on more general criteria.  There is definitely a trend to not focus on the technical content.  (Sorry, I otherwise liked the article, but that one point really struck me oddly.)

Naomi Nabbit

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So, with two LARPs having ended last weekend, like a bunch of people, I need a new game to play. I'm thinking about Fifth Gate, but there are a few logistical downsides there (Sarah and I are interested in different worlds, for one). Anyone have any other suggestions?

Also, it's so tempting to dive back into work on Dreaming of Eden. All the staff members just had too much going on to work on it for a while, but maybe there's more time now? The rulebook is almost done, just need a bit more input, and then we can start talking to Rob about licencing the Accelerant system or whatnot. And then we can start putting up character creation info.

Assuming we're still going forward with it, that is. Need to get the gang together and discuss it further. Might need some staff changes if people are too busy or have lost interest.
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Google Maps claims that the site is just under an hour from our house -- we'd be happy to drive with either one or both of you if you can get yourselves back and forth from our place.

Of course if might get kind of squishy if we all try to go in one car for the crossover events, but we'll probably have some sort of additional cargo carrying capacity by then anyway.

Naomi Nabbit

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So, Sarah introduced me to the Tinker Bell film series this past weekend. She said it was very good, but I didn't really believe her, because she tends to enjoy children's shows and movies more than me. I, of course, was wrong. I put one of them on as background noise while playing a video game, hoping it wouldn't distract me too much from the game. I had to stop playing the game because the game was distracting me too much from the movie.

If you like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, you should check out these movies. They have a very similar feel, and they're all on Netflix right now. The Tinkerbell movies are similar to MLP in that they focus on young, female characters with a variety of interests, personalities, interests, and strengths who do the things modern women do, like having tea, taming cats, fighting pirates, revolutionizing industry... And all the while, learning something about friendship along the way.

Like MLP, it goes against the sexist trend of older shows that were aimed at young women and showcased "traditional" stark gender roles. The movies show men and women doing the same things, including art and animal husbandry, but also science and mechanical engineering.

I've started paying much more attention to voice actors lately, and these movies have some really great voice talent. They star Mae Whitman (Katara from Avatar) as the voice of Tinkerbell, and the supporting cast includes Kristin Chenoweth (Originated Glinda the Good Witch in the Broadway musical, "Wicked"), Lucy Liu (O-Ren Ishii from Kill Bill), and Raven-Symoné (Olivia Kendall from the Cosby Show). There are also some other interesting names scattered in the cast. The first movie is narrated by Loreena McKennitt, one of my favorite singers. The third movie includes Michael Sheen (David Frost from Frost/Nixon) as a major character, and the fourth has Timothy Dalton (James Bond from the 80s Bond movies and Rassilon from Doctor Who (2005)) as a major character. The fifth movie's focal character is voiced by Christina Hendricks ("Saffron" from Firefly) and has Tom Hiddleston (Loki from the Thor/Avengers movies) on the cast.

So, yeah, I found the movies very enjoyable, beautiful, and creative. But, if ponies aren't your thing, faeries probably won't be either.
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Naomi Nabbit

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I've been listening to audio dramas in the car. Any suggestions for what I should listen to? Below are quick reviews of the ones I've listened to so far.

"The Leviathan Chronicles" (http://www.leviathanchronicles.com/) is a really well produced action/adventure series. I really love the modern-Jules Verne feel it has, with the supersonic jet that's also a submarine, the flying blimp air fortress, the city at the bottom of the ocean, and so on. But, the plot holes really started to get to me. The biggest one is when gruesome, crippling injuries are described, and then in the next scene, the person is fine with no wound management. This happens a LOT and was immediately noticeable (and jarring) from the first episode. Also, the main character's intelligence drops to almost nothing in the second season. The inconsistency with her character and her repeated stupidity despite the series's assurances that she's a genius really irritated me. I don't know if I'll finish the series when the rest of it comes out. Still, the action scenes came out so well... So, it's fun if you like action, but be warned it's full of holes.

"Children of the Gods" (http://childrenofthegods.net/main/) also has awesome production values (amazing sounding dog fights in space for the win!), but suffers in other ways. The biggest problem with it is that the author seems to have no idea how to write dialogue, especially not dialogue between military personnel. Everyone seems to be focused on acting tough and yelling to make a point, like a really cheesy army movie. And, all the characters seem prone to sudden mood swings, judging by the dialogue.

"7th Son" (http://jchutchins.net/7th-son-original-podcast-trilogy/) isn't really an audio drama so much as a series of novels first published in podcast form. The audio version of the book series is extremely well read and read by the author, with each character having a distinct and recognizable voice. He does a really good job of it, in my opinion. The story is pretty good and I'd recommend it if you like thrillers about assassination and conspiracy with sci-fi overtones.

My favorite audio drama is still "The Mask of Inanna" (http://www.themaskofinanna.com/). Compared to the other things I've been listening to, it was coherent, it was cohesive, it was concise and kept on track, it had no glaring plotholes, and it was fun. It is a tale of an elderly former audio drama star who is hired to record and broadcast the last few episodes of the horror show he never finished. Except, there is something really strange surrounding the audio drama and the people who hired him... Every episode contains a show-within-the-show done in the style of a 50s era radio drama, and most of them come across beautifully and tie in to the main story. I strongly recommend it if you like urban fantasy and/or radio dramas from the 50s, or if you just like a good story.

The first audio drama I listened to was "Second Shift" (secondshiftpodcast.com). But, it was years ago that I last listened to it, and while I remember really enjoying it, I had nothing to really compare it against. I'm listening to it again with Sarah right now, so I'll have to see how it comes across on a second listen-through. The story is a tale of three teenagers who are teleported to a fantasy world full of magic and danger. The premise is not my favorite, but the story is good. I also really love the voice acting (of course, I'm biased there), and think the unique accents they came up with are wonderfully executed. That said, I find the three main characters to be extremely annoying in the beginning, but that's intended. They're not taking things seriously yet because they don't believe anything that's happening is real, which is fair. We're only on chapter 3, and I remember it getting so much better later on.
Leviathan Chronicles. Enter Leviathan.
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I highly suggest that if you like Doctor Who at all (and know the old Who doctors) you should check out the Big Finish Doctor Who Audio Dramas. They're fantastically written and star the actors from Old Who. (and they have magnificent production values). Getting them directly is expensive, though. 
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George was extremely well-informed, and quite helpful. The problem we were having was intermittent, and as it was hardware related and difficult to reproduce he installed an application to help monitor heat levels, and gave us some cooling advice for my tank of a laptop.
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Wonderful chocolate! I also loved the homemade pistachio ice pop.
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