If you like board or card games, or, for that matter, dice games and you’re looking for something different to play that won’t require a significant outflow of cash to acquire, you may want to check out Cheapass Games.
They have a whole section of “print it yourself” games for free right here:
Most of the games are funny. Some are odd. It’s a pretty mixed bag. Some of them even have artwork by fantasy/horror artist Brom.
It’s very much worth having a look.
Anyone up for a game of “Unexploded Cow” or “Devil Bunny Wants a Ham”?
Can I just offer a pro tip here?
There are people in the world who simply do not like to be touched, especially by people they do not know very well. Just as some people are huggers some people are not.
Please do not make the assumption that something horrible and traumatic must have happened to us. That is not necessarily the case. Nothing awful happened to me, I am just not a physically affectionate individual. That does not make me a liar. That does not entitle you to assume that I am hiding something from you. This also doesn’t make it okay or acceptable for you to try to get me to tell you why I am the way that I am. Even if there was a reason that I could potentially pinpoint as the source for my “perceived issues”, that also does not give you the right to even start asking me about them. Those kinds of conversations should be reserved for people who make the person who experienced them feel safe and comfortable enough to talk. Demanding answers makes you categorically excluded from that group.
Please, also, refrain from taking it upon yourself to make the decision that you know me well enough to touch me. You probably, in fact, do not. You may never earn the right to touch me. This is not a failing on your part. This is also not a failing on mine. Some people are allowed to invade my significant personal space bubble and others are not. This does not mean that I hate you. It does not mean you have to work to somehow raise yourself in my esteem. It just means that you are not someone I am okay having touch me. If the time comes where that decision needs made, upon the offer of physical affection, you are going to have to allow me to make the decision to let you touch me. Please do not decide for me.
Also, because I have allowed physical affection between us once, please do not assume that it will now happen all the time. I may have wanted and even welcomed being touched because of particular circumstances. They may not exist in the current moment. It is okay to offer again. In fact, it’s okay to offer every time. But please keep in mind, it is an offer. Please be respectful of the fact that I may choose not to accept that offer. Again, it is not a failing on your part, nor is it a failing on mine. It does not mean that I am angry at you. It does not mean that you have somehow upset me. It does not mean that I like you any less than the last time I saw you. It just means that, right now, I do not want to be touched.
I absolutely know the difference between good touch and bad touch. I do not suffer from a phobia of being touched. I have been accused of both things, as if they are not valid reasons to not want to be touched. I just equate being touched with a certain level of intimacy and comfort that I may not feel towards you, even if I identify you as a person who would never hurt me.
More than anything else, though, please don’t make me feel like a freak. I am no less of a human being than you are. I still have feelings, I still experience emotions. I think. I create. I dream. This is just the way that I am. I shouldn’t be made to feel as if something is wrong with me. I shouldn’t have to wonder if I should feel bad because I don’t want to be touched. This is how I am.
So, this comes out on September 30th. Which means, my wallet will be several dollars lighter and I will have plans for a couple of days.
A & E raised eyebrows and fan ire by canceling their second highest rated show, “Longmire”. They’re giving one reason, but the author of the Longmire novels and the star of the show belive differently.
A rich horde of fossils from the Sahara has revealed that the largest known predator to ever walk the earth was also a superb swimmer, overturning the common view that dinosaurs were terrestrial beasts.
This is why I still love paleontology. There’s so much we’re still figuring out about dinosaurs. Nature, even chemically transformed, long buried nature, is still full of surprises. Fossils in Morocco have been found that suggest Spinosaurus was an adept swimmer.
Also, I love the whole idea of trying to find rare fossils and having to hunt down the one guy who seems to be able to find them in the Sahara. There’s some story inspiration in there, for sure.
A while ago, I sent in some money to a Kickstarter campaign, because Bill Plympton was asking for money to make a new movie. I own a few Plympton films and had the privilege of meeting him at a film festival of his works several years ago, where he sold DVDs of “Guard Dog” and signed postcards for everyone in the audience. The project got funded, the movie got made, and I got to watch it as one of the people who helped fund it.
Plympton’s animation style is distinctive. It’s sketchy and a little bit twitchy and, also, totally unmistakable. His previous films showed their penciled roots, which was never a problem for me because I love hand-drawn animation. Every film he makes, short or long, is a product of pure love and it shows in every single frame. It’s still hand drawn and it’s beautiful.
"Cheatin’" is the story of Ella and Jake. They meet, they fall in love, and, through some miscommunication, Jake starts cheating on Ella. At first, Ella is lost in a mire of loneliness and self-pity, but then, she stumbles upon an unlikely solution to her problem. Or, at least she thinks she has.
"Cheatin’" used some different techniques from Plympton’s other animation work, which you can find out about in the production blog. If you’ve ever been curious about how hand-drawn animation gets done, that blog will give you all kinds of education on the process. As a result of that new process, the colors are much more vibrant in "Cheatin’" It’s a brighter movie than I’m used to seeing from Plympton’s studio.
One of the things that I have always found so striking about a Bill Plympton feature film is that there’s no dialog. There are noises from the characters, they have voices, but they communicate through facial expressions, gestures, and body language. The stories are always complex, but they’re also always so visual. The animation style Plympton employs is so expressive that words would just detract from the story.
There’s also music and, like any movie, the music helps stage the mood, but when the need arises, the animation emphasizes what’s happening with the score so much that it makes the music a centerpiece. Plympton never does that frivolously. There are moments where a sweeping musical number is not only appropriate, it’s practically a requirement.
"Cheatin’" is an animated movie for adults. There is enough symbolism and enough depictions of animated sexual situations in it that it’s probably a pretty solid PG-13 at least.
It’s a little bit odd, there are certainly some Outer Limits-ish sci-fi elements to it, but that’s part of why I enjoy it. The basic plot is one of the oldest stories out there, but the way that Ella chooses to deal with it and the ultimate resolution are not only interesting but original.
I enjoyed it and I’m definitely looking forward to owning it on DVD.
My alma mater has decided, in its infinite wisdom, that a library is no place for books. Where once there were stacks and study areas, there are now areas full of benches and beanbags where students are encouraged to relax and talk with each other, play board games, or do anything else but study. There has been an almost constant barrage of assurances from the decision makers responsible for this that “everything is online”. Obviously, none of them have written a paper for a class in many, many years, especially for a specialized class at, say, the 300 level or above. I find their attitude towards the library and what libraries are supposed to be repulsive. There are plenty of places for students to socialize, and a number of them are conveniently located on campus. There are fewer places that offer a quiet refuge to study, much fewer.
Of course, all of this push towards a library-less library has led to an enormous amount of renovation and redecoration. They unveiled brand new signage for the men’s and women’s restrooms. I’ve posted them here so you can see them.
The minute I saw them I cringed as my stomach dropped and flipped over. Way to gender stereotype, UNL libraries. Way to be inclusive. Because every woman has long hair and every guy has short hair, especially in college. In fact, every woman and every man in Nebraska looks just like they’ve stepped out of a fifties-era picture book. Girls look like this. Boys look like this. Not only that, they appear to be perfectly happy to be perfect little pictographic stereotypes. We’re all normalized here, we’re all so totally binary we could be sorted by very brief visual inspection.
There are other problems with these signs, too. The old signs were those little bald, kind of chunky almost stick figures, you know, the naked guy and the girl in the dress/wearing a cape (I went with the cape one as soon as I saw the meme, because I like the cape theory of women’s bathrooms, thanks). More importantly, they were very high contrast, the figures and letters were in a bright, bold orange that showed up against every background color they had it on. Secondly, and, I think, most important of all, those signs had braille on them, allowing for visually impaired students who read braille to verify they were at the right bathroom. I saw visually impaired students using those braille dots more than once.
There are no braille dots on these signs.
I am offended by these signs on so many levels. I’m not the only one. I’m hoping that UNL figures out how terrible these signs are very quickly and corrects it, but I’m not going to hold my breath. After all, they appeared to have just made it to the fifties with their graphics.
Graham Joyce died today.
I first found out about him through Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow’s “Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror” anthologies. They would make recommendations, each taking a subsection and write these sprawling catalogs of books that they found magnificent. (This is how I discovered “Swordspoint” by the way). One year, one of those recommendations was “The Tooth Fairy.”
Because it was Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow and I trusted them, I got the book. It was weird and wonderful and terrifying and confusing and, above everything else, beautifully written. I was utterly lost to those printed pages, adrift in the vision Graham Joyce had spun onto the paper. I started reading it on a Friday night and I kept reading it until dawn, when I was finished. I had no sleep and had to go work on the farm with my parents the next day for a few hours before going and putting in a shift in, of all places, a Wal-Mart. Even though I was dead tired, I had no regrets. I knew what happened next, or at least, the things that happened, one after another after another after another until the end of the book. So, exhausted as I was, I was also supremely, smugly satisfied beyond all measure because it was a very good book.
It put Graham Joyce on my list of Must Buy authors, even though the place where I lived made me special order them every. Damn. Time.
And now, Graham Joyce is gone, which makes the world a little less extraordinary.
Some of his magic lives on in my bookshelves, and I may need to go cuddle up to them to remind myself of that.
First, though, I just need a little bit of time to be sad.