Time (2021/08/20)

The worst thing about not being independently wealthy is the pressure of time.

If I had time I'd do so many things. I'd finish all my programing projects. I'd explore new projects. I'd get back into writing. I'd do more biking and climbing. I'd find a good story to try to film. I'd try my handing at acting.

But, alas, the need to work keeps me busy during the most productive hours of the day and I'm left tired and drained and lacking sufficient motivation to pursue the other interests.

Boo.

Summer Lull (2021/06/07)

Summer months are always so busy. Softball really gets in the way, but beyond that - there's just a bunch of stuff to do.

On top of that, our gaming machines are in a useable state, so there's a lot of gaming going on.

I also have several projects perpetually in rotation, so there's that.

But there's not a lot that's noteworthy.

I did get a 3d printer for my birthday, and I've been investing time in trying to get that working. It's a lot of fun...and fairly stressful.

Mired (2021/05/13)

Ok, urchin is definitely ready for business. I ditched the weird text file format and just marshal/unmarshal ocaml objects. It works much better.

I also ditched blightmud. It's just a little too flaky, so I'm back to the tried and true tinyfugue. I mean, it's essentially abandonware, but there are a few people out there patching it and keeping it running. And really, how much more development do you need?

The only piece I'm still not happy with, is the lack of compression support in urchin. I'll have to figure out a way to factor than in, but for now it's useful enough to do what I need it to.

Mostly.

Deeper in the MUD (2021/04/27)

So, my MUD proxy is basically good enough to use, now. I called it Urchin.

It supports triggers and aliases, at the moment. You can reload the config files while running, and thhe aliases/triggers can be self-referential (mostly).

I'm not super jazzed about the config file format. Right now it's just a text file with a lame regexable format.

What I'd really like, is the ability to include raw ocaml in the aliases so that you can do complex computations and stuff, but that will require some work to get there.

Playing in the MUD (2021/04/19)

For the last year or so, Jena and I have been collecting components to build ourselves some gaming PCs. Early in our marriage we spent a lot of time playing Unreal Tournament, Quake, Urban Terror, etc.

Unfortunately, the current market for high-end GPUs is beyond ridiculous. We got tired of waiting for what we wanted (at anything approaching retail price), so we ordered a pair of GeForce 750s for dirt cheap.

Now we're gaming, but we rekindled another old love: text-based MUD gaming.

It's been 20-odd years since we spent a lot of time mudding together, but the client landscape seems to have shrivelled up. I used to play with tinyfugue, but that has gone the way of Detroit, it seems, so I was hoping to find something to replace it.

I found a client written in Rust called BlightMUD. It's pretty capable. Looks nice, is reminiscent of tinyfugue in a way, but I feel like some messages go missing and sometimes the rendering gets goofed up.

Another hangup is that the scripting language is Lua. I've never had (and continue to not have) any desire to learn Lua. I don't know why. But it's just not something I'm interested in.

So how to script in a language I enjoy if it's not supported in the client I'm trying to use?

Well, I stumbled across a project called pycat. It's basically a proxy that sits between your client and the server. It allows you to do all your scripting in the proxy, so it doesn't matter what client you have.

Unfortunately, it has a lot of poorly documented functionality and I was in a hurry to get up and running, and most unfortunately, it seems to swallow certain keypresses. mozartmud.net has a paging interface for their help pages, which have options like

`[Return or (C)ontinue, (B)ack, (Q)uit]”`

but pycat does something (that I haven't figured out) that munges up that functionality.

So, naturally, I'm writing something myself. In OCaml.

A new PC (2021/04/13)

Here comes another pointless ramble.

Over the last year Jena and I have been collecting parts to build a couple of cool gaming PCs.

Naturally, we picked the worst time in history to try to do such a thing. Processors and GPUs are in short supply, largely due to a bunch of cryptomining losers who are trying to make an easy buck.

We ended up getting some pretty basic video cards, but our processors are fairly beefy Ryzens, so games at least run...if not at the speed and clarity that we were targetting.

The big question, now, is what to do (for myself) software-wise.

Windows is a stinking dumpster fire, and anyone who says otherwise is wrong. It is so backward and hacky. Using Windows 10 is in so many ways the same experience as using Windows 95. And no, that was not some heydey of magical computing. It was good for the time, but it was also 26 years ago!

Linux used to be my go-to but it has, it its own way, become less impressive over the years. It's not fun, anymore.

I'd love an alternative. Haiku looks amazing. Of course, I love my 9front, the various BSDs are always there.

But this is, after all, intended to be a gaming PC, so realitically my options are Windows or Linux (with SteamPlay), and in that equation, there is one clear winner.

For a long time, Debian was my distro of choice. Stable, easy to use, predictable. But they were so quick to jump on the systemd wagon, and at the time I was working on a project that ended up pitting me against some systemd issues that were dismissed by Poettering in a mailing list post. Couple that with random freezes during boot on a laptop that worked fine previously, and it soured me pretty completely on the whole systemd thing.

So, Debian is dead to me, but fortunately a very capable replacement has appeared in the form of Void Linux. Its tool xbps is very reminiscent of dpkg, so there's not too much to learn there, and they are blissfully free of the systemd cancer.

So, the main OS will be Void Linux, but for those windows-only hairballs that I just can't dodge, I'll have a dual-boot situation so I can pop into windows whene I really have to. It's sort of like insurance. I hope I'll never have to use it, and I'm sure I'll get screwed whenever I do. But since Microsoft is still what most hardware manufacturers target first, I may still end up there now and then.

OCaml 4.12 and chibi (2021/03/11)

Not making a ton of progress on this port, but the changelog talks a lot about changes in the memory model, so it's probably worth resetting to the new version.

On the chibi front, I abandoned the original mkfile (for better or worse) and added a generator rc script. mk doesn't like running subshells in certain instances (that I'm not clear on), but splitting out the generation into a script avoids all that weirdness.

I actually feel pretty close to a workable solution as far as the chibi rework goes, but we'll see what new issues crop up.

Mysterious Acid (2021/03/02)

So, I'm currently trying to get chibi-scheme building in Plan9 again, but I'm running into a weird issue.

There is a character being read, and it's being compared to EOF. EOF is a #define of (-1), and the character read is a custom type of sexpsintt, which should be an intptr.

Long story short, EOF should be promotable to the same size integer as the character, which seems to work in a test app I wrote to investigate, but in the chibi code, it's not.

If I was more familiar with acid, I could probably break in there and get a much more granular view of what's happening, but unfortunately, acid is a magic black box to me. And the documentation that I've found so far does not shine any useful light on it.

Hopefully I'll get something figured out, because I'm increasingly thinking that chibi is the path forward for me to do functional programming in plan9.

Sony (2021/02/26)

Sony is what Apple would have been without Steve Jobs, and by that I mean really good hardware and no comprehension of good software or user experience.

Witness the mini-disc player. Lightyears ahead of cds. Could have been the digital standard that staved off mp3s, but instead...Sony had to screw it up with Orwellian digital media restrictions and closed protocols. They had the chance, but they totally screwed themselves.

How about today? All I want to do is put some damn funds in my damn digital wallet. Something that every other digital entity in the world seems to handle with no problems. But can Sony, a huge company worth billions of dollars do it?

Of course not. It's a series of spinning activity indicators and returning me to the same submission screen with no indication of anything having happened. And indeed, nothing did happen, because the funds are all right where they began.

Cool (2021/02/24)

We're in the dead of winter, so what thing inevitably happens?

That's right, the furnace craps out. So now we're waiting for the hvac repair person to show up tonight and hopefully be able to fix the blower with whatever inventory is on the truck. Otherwise, we're in for a cold night.

Blurg.

Torn... (2021/02/22)

So, I mentioned how much fun I'm having with OCaml, but I also mentioned that it needs work to get a post 4.07 version working, and that's work that I'm struggling with.

I also mentioned how much I like scheme, and I recently paid a visit to chibi-scheme again (that is written in C and likes to be Plan9 friendly) and saw that there are a couple of recent changes that are keeping it from working on this platform.

chibi is a very comprehensive scheme implementation, and it's r7rs! So I decided to try my hand at fixing the problems. I'm past one hurdle, and my merge request was accepted. Now I'm trying to figure out why it's hanging trying to set up the environment. Once that's done, though, maybe I'll shift my hobby work over to chibi.

It's now the thing that's checking the most boxes for me: runs in plan9, functional language, fun to program, and best of all - first-class 9p support.

Sorry, this is a bit of a rambler, but I'm mainly posting here to test some gemini syncing stuff. ;)

gergo is back! (2021/02/15)

So, I got on the phone with a friend who builds mechanical keyboards and he said that the first thing that he suspects is the usb connector. I bought a fancy cable for my new keyboard and I noticed that it was a pretty tight fit...possibly enough to push the connector out of place with the force it took to connect it.

So, with some fiddling I finally got the keyboard to respond again.

Yay!

So, I'm back on the pain train trying to get comfortable with the keys again, but I'm happy to be here.

Ugh (2021/02/09)

Well, my gergo appears to be dead.

See, I could have saved some money by building it myself, but I have no soldering skills and very rudimentary electronics ability.

So, I paid to have it built and shipped to me. Due to mail shenanigans, it took weeks to get here. Once it arrived I was super stoked to get right in and start using it.

But almost immediately I noticed a few issues. Once I walked into the office and I heard what sounded like a stuck key (the bell was dinging over and over), so I unplugged the keyboard and plugged it back in. I chocked it up to breaking in new low profile switches.

A couple of times the first time I'd connect in the morning, the keyboard would be in a weird state, like it was in the wrong keymap. I verified by going to the keyboard test page on qmk.fm.

So, I'd reflash it with my keymap and it would work fine.

This morning, nothing. No response at all. No DFU mode, no indication that it's getting power at all.

It's frustrating. If I had built it myself, I might have some idea of what to do to troubleshoot, but I didn't, so I have nothing to go on.

I've reached out to Jane from g heavy industry, but communication latency is like, days, usually.

sigh

I don't know. I hate to have a really expensive paperweight, but I'm not sure what options I have right now.

duckduckgah (2021/02/04)

So, google search results have trended less and less useful as time goes on. I've used them since they were an experimental search page hosted on the Stanford university servers. These days when I search for something, I get back a bunch of useless crap that google thinks I meant to ask for instead of the stuff that I actually did ask for. It's infuriating.

For a while I thought that duckduckgo would be a decent alternative. When I started with them a few years back, it felt like they were returning the results that I thought google should have been giving me.

Alas, that was then. These days ddg has somehow surpassed google in the "useless garbage results" metric.

Instead of returning stuff that I supposedly "really wanted" that is occasionally almost helpful, ddg goes a step beyond and actively ignores things that I've asked for. Opting instead to offer me results completely unrelated to my query.

Quoting words apparently no longer marks them as required. The search query now seems to just pick words that are easy to find in the index and returns whatever is floating at the top.

The only thing more useless is every other search engine. We're somehow back in the computing dark ages as far as web searching is concerned.

What's it worth to you? (2021/02/01)

I mentioned that I'm having a lot of fun with OCaml in Plan9. I'd like to do more (maybe try getting dune and opam to work), but the current version available is 4.07.

The reason is that there were significant changes to the build system after this point to facilitate more architecture support (arm - yay!), but those changes broke the things that made the Plan9 port simple.

I've offered a $100 bounty to anyone who can get OCaml 4.11 building in Plan9, but nobody seems interested. So, I've started down that road myself, but I'm enough of a Plan9 noob, still, that it's pretty challenging.

It's worth at least $100 to be. Maybe after banging my head against the wall for a while it will become worth more than that.

Time will tell.

Ouch. Cool keeb. (2021/02/01)

So, I got a new keyboard today. It's a gergo from G Heavy Industries. Go check it out. It's really something.

I'm having a lot of fun with it, but it's going to take some time to get back up to speed.

First of all, it's got low profile switches, which are pretty cool but man, are they touchy. The slightest pressure registers as a touch, and I'm apparently pretty heavy handed. I'm constantly sending unintentional keypresses.

The other pain point is that it's ortholinear, so the keys line up more naturally with your fingers. Problem is, I have decades of muscle memory trying to send my fingers the wrong direction. This leads to constantly hitting the wrong keys.

A final issue is that it's a 50% keyboard, which means that any non-letter keys have to me mapped to non-standard locations, which means that I'm constantly checking a chart to see where the keys are.

Still. I'm looking forward to getting good at my cool new keyboard.

Current Projects (2021/01/29)

I'm going to list some of my current projects here not to brag, but so that I can keep track. There are other note-taking options, but I'm currently vibing in geminispace.

OCaml, Scheme...or both? (2021/01/29)

So, my first foray into functional programming was through the scheme lense. I find scheme super fun, and I've been working on various projects.

Generally speaking, when I do computing stuff for fun, I do it in the context of Plan9. Plan9 (more specifically, 9front) is just so fun to me. It takes me back to the days sitting in front of our 8088 trying to figure out how write batch scripts in DOS 3.2, browsing a BBS looking for hidden secrets, finally getting colors to work in my turbo pascal class in middle school.

Anyway, if I can't do it in Plan9, I'm not really that interested. When I started down the scheme path, Scheme 9 from Empty Space was the best option I could find. It's written in simple C and (almost) compiles perfectly in Plan9, but I got hung up trying to get a good 9p implementation made, and I got myself stuck in a corner. I sort of burned out on it, so I wanted to try something new.

I was at a c++ conference where I ran into one of the big contributors of 9front (Ori Bernstein) and he mentioned that OCaml (4.07) had recently been ported to 9front. I decided to check it out. It's crazy. I had a very brief encounter with Haskell and found it super fun, but alas, no Plan 9, so I didn't get into it too much. OCaml feels just as whacky as Haskell, but it's available in 9front. Win win!

So I started monkeying with that.

Now I've got several half-finished OCaml projects (one of which is a from-scratch scheme interpreter...I'm once again stuck, but this time it's trying to figure out how to do hygienic macros) and I'm having a blast.

I'll start linking them here, eventually.

Growing up? (2021/01/27)

So, as I've been converting this little corner of mine to geminispace, I've been glancing at past entries to see where the conversion is working and where it's breaking down.

There's some significant breakage in the past when I used to add more html, but whatever. Who's reading that anyway, except for me and some web spiders?

Beyond the breakage, though, I see a lot of anger and some attitudes that I not only no longer feel, I'm actually embarrassed by.

I've gone from a pretty convinced libertarian to what is probably closer to a democratic socialist.

A lot of that attitude change has actually happened fairly recently. Maybe the last 2 or 3 years, and was really kicked into high gear during 2020 with the pandemic and police protests. Libertarianism assumes a lot of people. The argument to cut taxes (and the social programs that they fund) is usually backed by the idea that people should be able to fund the charities that they support, and that where the government no longer offers services, society will stand up and care for their own by creating their own safety nets without government oversight.

Yeah. I call bullshit.

If nothing else, 2020 showed that most people (all conservatives, I see no evidence to the contrary) have no interest in helping their fellows and are only concerned with their own wellbeing.

Witness the empty water and toilet paper shelves during the pandemic. No reason at all for that except to make sure that you have more than you need and screw anybody else.

How about wearing masks? It's the simplest possible thing to do to help society, but a huge chunk of the country (including so-called Christians) refuse to make the smallest effort to accomodate those at most risk.

So, basically, where I once thought that people could be trusted to take care of each other, I see now that unrestricted capitalism is greed. It's designed to benefit a tiny few at the expense of the rest.

I can see why I bought into that when I was younger, but I feel like I've done some growing and moved beyond the selfishness.

Getting geminied (2021/01/26)

I'm working on getting this werc block mirrored to geminispace.

Maybe it will encourage me to start blaghing again.

Us vs Them (2020/08/27)

Tribalism seems to be built into human nature. Maybe it's an adaptation of ancient man to aid in survival in a hostile world. Maybe it's a residual effect of a premortal war of good versus evil. Maybe it's just a result of the human brain doing what it does best (finding patterns in data sets).

Whatever the trigger or cause, we humans are quick to categorize, label, and group things. As a survival mechanism, it helps us make snap judgements. If threats are predetermined, we can react quickly to them.

One of the most used tactics of those who strive for power is to create unity through exclusion. We are the best, they hold us back. Distill any large scale human conflict down and at its root is "us versus them".

It's so ingrained into our human programming that it's almost unavoidable. This is what is so scary.

Before my oldest came out as a trans person, the LGBT+ community was not something I cared about. "Us" did not include them, thus they were "them", and whatever injustices or abuse that they endured was "too bad", but I didn't really care. I love my child and want what's best for him. And so now the LGBT+ community is "us" and the bigots that rail against us are "them", and man...what an eye opener that has been.

I can now see that things that used to be "totally reasonable arguments" or "just a joke", are really just disguised hate. There is certainly room for reasoned discussion, but where that lies on the spectrum is not where I used to think it was.

Race relations are another obvious example of this. I've actually lost friends over the protests this year. I thought any rational person would agree that systemic racism and police brutality are objectively wrong, but apparently in 2020 if you're in the cult you're "us" and if not, you're "them". And once you've been put in the "them" bucket and dehumanized, you're fair game to be maced, shot, and beaten.

Back on 9 (2019/08/12)

Due to a bunch of stuff that happened that I won't cover right now, I'm running 9front on a raspberry pi3 at my desk and am using it (almost) as my primary development platform.

The project I'm working on is c++ and ios/android, so it's not native development, but I have written some tools and scripts to make it possible for me to do just about everything I need from acme.

It's fun to try and meld seemingly incompatible things together into a workable setup.

Yerba Mate Review: Ximango Tradicional (2019/04/02)

Producto de: Brazil

Olor: Very fresh and grassy. Reminiscent of unsmoked yaupon. It's also very green in color, which also leads me to believe it's unsmoked.

Polvo: A lot. Like, really a lot. It looks like matcha tea. I have a fairly open bombilla, and it's getting clogged. Initial sips have been gritty with the powder.

Sabor: As expected, it's very fresh and grassy, but it's not powerfully astringent like green yaupon. The flavor is actually surprisingly mellow and pleasant. It has a very green tea taste.

Resultado: 4 de 5. I really like the flavor of this Brazilian "Erva Mate." It's fresh, but mellow, and really pleasant. I only mark it down because it's so darned dusty. Because of the mild flavor, this is a mate that I would actually consider using as an 'first taste' for anyone that enjoys teas.

Update: Turns out Ximango is actually a chimarrรฃo, which is a unique Brazilian take on mate. It's technically a yerba mate (comes from ilex paraguariensis), but is intentionally powdery like matcha.

From what I can read, you still drink it with the standard mate/bombilla setup, but I haven't quite mastered it, yet. I always end up with dry powder in the bottom of my gourd.

Scheming (2018/08/13)

Current project: S9FES Martian Edition.

I wanted to get more familiar with lisp, and the easiest way I could see to get lispy in 9front was with Scheme 9 from Empty Space. After getting it all building and installing, I decided to start adding some minor tweaks.

Eventually, I wanted to start on a project for which I need some 9p bindings, and now I've been stuck on that for several months. It's just my fun downtime project, so rapid development isn't really a concern.

In other bits of spare time I've been working on bog (actually succeeded by mire now).

Useless, but fun. Hobbies are allowed to be that way.

The Deseret Alphabet on Plan9 (2017/10/03)

Interestingly, the Deseret Alphabet was accepted into the Unicode standard way back in version 3.1. So, there are code points for it right now.

If you're running macOS, there is a rather nice implementation of it in one of their system fonts (Baskerville, I think), which actually looks really good; it has ascenders and descenders which the original glyphs lack. I don't know about windows, but the default vga in Plan9 is a definite 'no'.

So, how to get Deseret Alphabet fonts in my 9front installation...

It's slightly more tricky than I thought, since many of the existing font options are only the piece that contains the DA glyphs, and not the ASCII range. Which means you can't just fire up rio with the new font because it's missing...well, everything you need for it to be useful.

Further complicating things is the fact that I don't know how to make mothra use a different font. My only option right now (that I can see) is to hget the page I want to look at. Lame.

The 2 fonts I found that work well are Analecta and Everson Mono.

Using ttf2subf I was able to easily convert them both. Everson Mono could be used as a default font, since it's a clean sans serif and looks ok. Analecta is much fancier, and the DA glyphs look great, but it's a little too flashy to be a default font.

The following is a sentence in the Deseret Alphabet. If you have a font for it, it should show up. Otherwise you get the little boxes.

๐œ๐ฎ๐‘… ๐ฎ๐‘† ๐‘‹๐ด ๐‘๐ฒ๐‘‰๐‘…๐ป ๐ฒ๐ป๐ฏ๐‘‹๐น๐ป ๐ฐ๐ป ๐‘‰๐ด๐ป๐จ๐‘ ๐ฎ๐‘Œ ๐‘„ ๐”๐ฏ๐‘†๐ฏ๐‘‰๐ฏ๐ป ๐ˆ๐‘Š๐‘๐ฒ๐บ๐ฏ๐ป.

Typing in the Deseret Alphabet (2017/10/03)

Maybe it's because the only languages I ever speak or type (English and Spanish) use the Latin alphabet, but it seems awfully complicated to enter text in a non-latin way...especially on a latin keyboard.

I mean, UTF-8 seems pretty ubiquitous, but typing more characters outside of the ASCII range than an occasional emoji seems to bring a lot of overhead. Compound that with the fact that the Deseret Alphabet isn't a different language, it's just a phonetic version of English.

What I eventually ended up doing is to define an input style in emacs that will convert my own phonetic spelling into the proper glyphs.

So, for the example in my Deseret Alphabet on Plan9 post, I went into emacs, selected 'deseret' as my input type, and entered:

THHis iz mai furst utempt at riteeng in thh Dezeret Alfubet.

Side note: one of the criticisms of the DA is the lack of a schwa, or unpronounced vowel character. Using the 'u' sound in the word 'first' seems wrong, but it's the accepted practice, apparently. I would have been ok with just 'frst', but I also think a schwa would have worked there, if such a thing existed.

Here is my deseret.el:

(require 'quail)

(quail-define-package
 "deseret" "English" "๐”๐ฏ๐‘†๐ฏ๐‘‰๐ฏ๐ป" nil
 "Easy Deseret Alphabet transcription"
 nil t t t t nil nil nil nil nil t)

;; upper-case starts at 10400
;; lower-case starts at 10428

(quail-define-rules
 ("EE" ?๐€) ("ee" ?๐จ)
 ("AY" ?๐) ("ay" ?๐ฉ)
 ("AH" ?๐‚) ("ah" ?๐ช)
 ("AW" ?๐ƒ) ("aw" ?๐ซ)
 ("OH" ?๐„) ("oh" ?๐ฌ)
 ("OO" ?๐…) ("oo" ?๐ญ)
 ("I" ?๐†) ("i" ?๐ฎ)	; it
 ("E" ?๐‡) ("e" ?๐ฏ)	; get
 ("A" ?๐ˆ) ("a" ?๐ฐ)	; hat
 ("O" ?๐‰) ("o" ?๐ฑ)	; 'ot' as a victim of the cotโ€“caught merger, I don't know what this is
 ("U" ?๐Š) ("u" ?๐ฒ)	; but
 ("UU" ?๐‹) ("uu" ?๐ณ)	; book
 ("AI" ?๐Œ) ("ai" ?๐ด)	; high
 ("OW" ?๐) ("ow" ?๐ต)
 ("W" ?๐Ž) ("w" ?๐ถ)
 ("Y" ?๐) ("y" ?๐ท)
 ("H" ?๐) ("h" ?๐ธ)
 ("P" ?๐‘) ("p" ?๐น)
 ("B" ?๐’) ("b" ?๐บ)
 ("T" ?๐“) ("t" ?๐ป)
 ("D" ?๐”) ("d" ?๐ผ)
 ("CH" ?๐•) ("ch" ?๐ฝ)
 ("J" ?๐–) ("j" ?๐พ)	; dส’ (judge)
 ("K" ?๐—) ("k" ?๐ฟ)
 ("G" ?๐˜) ("g" ?๐‘€)
 ("F" ?๐™) ("f" ?๐‘)
 ("V" ?๐š) ("v" ?๐‘‚)
 ("TH" ?๐›) ("th" ?๐‘ƒ)	; thigh
 ("THH" ?๐œ) ("thh" ?๐‘„)	; the
 ("S" ?๐) ("s" ?๐‘…)
 ("Z" ?๐ž) ("z" ?๐‘†)
 ("SH" ?๐Ÿ) ("sh" ?๐‘‡)
 ("ZH" ?๐ ) ("zh" ?๐‘ˆ)
 ("R" ?๐ก) ("r" ?๐‘‰)
 ("L" ?๐ข) ("l" ?๐‘Š)
 ("M" ?๐ฃ) ("m" ?๐‘‹)
 ("N" ?๐ค) ("n" ?๐‘Œ)
 ("NG" ?๐ฅ) ("ng" ?๐‘)
 ("OY" ?๐ฆ) ("oy" ?๐‘Ž)
 ("EW" ?๐ง) ("ew" ?๐‘)
 )

The Deseret Alphabet (2017/10/03)

Back when the LDS church was setting its foundations in the Utah Valley, there were a lot of foreign immigrants arriving that had to learn English (an undertaking that I'm increasingly impressed by).

Anyone who speaks English knows, the rules for spelling are inconsistent at best, and aggressively abstruse at worst, so Brigham Young thought that it would be easier for non-English speakers to learn the language if they didn't have to deal with the disaster that is spelling.

President Young and some scholars (George D. Watt, a shorthand expert, chief among them) came up with a phonetic alphabet to so that things could be written as they sound.

The resulting writing method was dubbed the Deseret Alphabet.

It has led an interesting existance. Aside from some initial book printings, it never gained much of a foothold in the church, and fell to the wayside. Now that (most of us) don't have to work the fields 16 hours a day, there's time to look into cultural oddities and the internet contains everything we want to know. So, I've been looking into the Deseret Alphabet lately.

Back when I was in Junior High, my cousin and I developed a 'secret code' based on Cyrillic characters. I think that if we'd known about the Deseret Alphabet back then, chances are fairly good we would have just gone with that. Alas, we were born 20 years too early.

ACSLBRPG (2016/12/13)

If you haven't been exposed to the fantastic Actual Cannibal Shia Labeouf, you owe it to yourself to watch it now.

I was introduced to it by some close friends, and we have had running Shia-based jokes since then, so when I stumbled across the Actual Cannibal Shia Labeouf RPG it was obvious that we would have to play.

The rules are about as simple as you can imagine (get the PDF found in the link), so getting a game running is easy.

We've played a couple of times now and each game is hilariously absurd. Definately worth a play.

Anglish (2016/05/17)

So, I found this interesting thing the other day: The Anglish Moot.

The whole idea is to take English and try to remove the Latin, Greek, and French words. The thinking is that since those words have no root in English, they make the language harder to learn by introducing irregularities and things that don't follow the rules.

A popular example is inebriated, which has no relation to other English terms. The replacement drunk is obviously related to the English drink.

For a neat sample, consider the Declaration of Independence, otherwise known as the B.F.A. Selfhood Ledger

Bitcoin (2016/01/29)

I've never really bothered to try to understand the hype around bitcoin, but we were bored the other day and watched a documentary on it.

Now I'm the proud owner of 0.05188202 bitcoins.

I put a link in the blagh header in case somebody wants to send me some, but since I'm the only person who reads this, well...

Stuff and Pathfinder (2015/10/25)

So, once again, the game has been terribly difficult to get together. I got a Pathfinder Adventure Path, a warm-up module, drew a large map for our minis...the whole enchilada.

Then nothing.

We've had a couple of false starts (scheduled something and then it gets pre-empted).

You should never give me time to read up on a subject, though. So, since things were in a holding pattern, I attempted to become more familiar with Pathfinder (a GM should know the game rules, after all) and I kept finding little things that bothered me.

Pathfinder is very complete, with rules for nearly every eventuality. And this is good...sometimes. In my case, it felt restrictive. I know that I can 'house rule' things, but I think that in order to make good custom rules, you have to know the rules you're going to be breaking, and there's just so much to know.

So I started looking around. There are a lot of d20-style games out there, but I wasn't looking for a total departure of the DnD style...just something that fit what I was looking for a little more closely.

Enter 13th Age. Ah...finally, something that has a clear DnD ancestry, but has a lot of freedom. Enough has been said about what 13th Age actually is on the rest of the internet that I'm not going to go into a lengthy explanation, but suffice to say it has some very attractive elements for customizing a game and moulding rules to fit your style without 'violating' the game.

Now I have the core rulebook and the expansion 13 True Ways (oddly, there was no druid in the core book, and that's what Jena is playing). The last remaining hurdle is actually getting together to play.

Wish me luck.

Pathfinder and stuff (2015/08/31)

When I was a kid, the "DnD is evil" movement was in full effect. I never had anybody invite me to a game, but I also had no way of getting dice or books.

Now I'm a grown adult, and the internet exists, so I can get what I want. My family is all fairly nerdy, so we think we could have fun playing a pen and paper RPG.

I bought DnD 3.5 books (current, at the time), and then we never played. So, a couple of years later I bought the starter set. We played that, had a great time, and then never did anything else.

Then DnD 4 came out. I bought the books...and we never played.

5th edition came out. I bought the Player's handbook...and we haven't played.

Then, a game store opened up the street from my house. I went in and talked to the owner, and he told me of Pathfinder.

I'm excited again (and so is the rest of the family). I bought a bunch of stuff...books, campaign materials, GM gear.

This time for sure. We're going to play it, and hopefully, often.