damerell: (food)
posted by [personal profile] damerell at 05:32pm on 11/11/2018
1) What was the first type of cheese you ever ate?

I dunno who these people are with perfect recall of cheese, but they're not me.

2) What was the type of cheese you ate most recently?

Some fairly generic Double Gloucester in a sandwich.

3) What is the most unusual cheese you ever ate?

Goat's cheese has always struck me as unusual inasmuch as it's cheese, and I love cheese, except that goat's cheese tastes utterly horrible.

4) What is your favourite cheese?

The next one. Er. To be honest you can't go wrong with a nice lump of good Red Leicester, boring as I'm told this is.

5) What is your favourite dish made with cheese?

"Piece of cheese", which goes like this: 1) find some cheese 2) cut off a piece 3) eat it.
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] damerell at 06:28pm on 01/07/2018
This is basically all spoilers for The Delirium Brief, one of Stross's Laundry books.

Consistency - one trivial gripe and two serious ones )
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] damerell at 06:50pm on 08/06/2018
I've been reading back through some old roleplaying books, and came to this glorious take on encumbrance in _Dungeoneer_ - an RPG based on the old Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, and one which also had some serious systematic problems detailed in a boring footnote. [1]

Rather than listing specific item weights in kilos (no, really, quite advanced for 1989), they suggest that a Hero can carry 10 medium-sized items. Light items count as 1/2 an item, Heavy items as three, and Very Heavy items are more. So far, so good. Then we come to the examples of these categories.

Light items include a pouch of coins, a plate, an ale flagon, a dagger... and a domestic cat.

Indeed, yes. Picking up 20 domestic cats seems a totally plausible scenario. You may say, perhaps they are in a sack that someone else will open, or dead, but cats weigh about 4kg. I daresay Thumpface the Mighty can pick up an 80kg backpack, but can they really run around the dungeon smiting orcs with it?

Medium objects end with a smaller creature like a Dwarf or a Goblin. We don't know how big Goblins are, but we do know dwarves are the standard four foot axe maniacs. Ten of those seems ambitious; indeed, a dwarf PC has the same carrying capacity, so can presumably carry ten of their fellow dwarves. Axes and all.

What of Heavy objects? They include a full chest of treasure, a bed, and a creature which is human-sized "or greater". You will want a bed after picking all of those up, especially since you still have room for two domestic cats.

[1] The major problem is that in character creation you roll SKILL on d6+6 and that determines how good you are at everything, aside from taking hits (but since SKILL lets you fight expertly, dodge, avoid falling into pits, climb slopes, and everything, you'd rather have more SKILL than more STAMINA) and being lucky (but SKILL will avoid many times you have to Test your Luck).

Everything. There are a large number of specialist skills, like Sword or Climb. They all default to your SKILL. If you buy levels in them, they add to your SKILL. And to add insult to injury? You get as many levels to buy as your SKILL, and you can't spend more than 4 in any given skill, so if you roll a 7, you can at most get to 11 - using half your points to not even match your lucky friend who still has 12 points to spend.
damerell: (computers)
posted by [personal profile] damerell at 05:26am on 16/05/2018
I think I've asked this elsewhere, but does anyone have a Raspberry Pi 3 I could borrow for a week or so, please? (Not immediately; I'm off to Germany today). I have a project I think one might be good for but I don't want to drop 50 quid on one without seeing if it actually _is_ useful first.
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] damerell at 06:38am on 29/03/2018
I've just been plugging through Kameron Hurley's The Stars Are Legion, and while it's quite well written, my God, is everything awful all the time. This isn't specifically about Hurley, although AFAICT all her stuff is like that, but about this vexing (to me) narrative device of having everything be uniformly dreadful.

I just finished Raven Stratagem (sequel to Ninefox Gambit, not appreciably a happier book), so my benchmark for "awful" is set quite high... but people tell jokes in that universe (albeit mostly gallows humour), they eat pastries (even if that does provide a vector for assassination attempts), they had happy childhoods until something ghastly happened to their parents, etc.

When everything's awful it loses any force. I got to the bit in the Hurley where it turns out someone routinely eats her own mutated newborn, and, well, of course she does. No-one in this world ever tucks into a ham sandwich.

It reminds me of the transition between early Warhammer 40,000 (yeah, never a pinnacle of fine writing) where everything was slightly tongue-in-cheek and modern editions which are entirely po-faced ghastliness. (I think, given modern Blizzard, this sort of thing may be correlated with thinking an excellent design for armour is looking like you covered yourself in glue and rolled around an ironmonger. One reason I usually play Sgt. Hammer in HOTS is she's one of about 2 characters who ever says anything remotely lighthearted, and that game's got more enormous shoulder pads than 80s power dressing. But I digress).

Ghastliness is more effective, I think, when there's some kind of contrast with non-ghastliness. Hope must exist, if only so it can be brutally crushed.

In fairness, I have to mention that there's a bit of a problem here with my contention that unremitting awfulness makes for bad reading; that problem is Edgar Allan Poe. I'm not sure what to say about that. :-/
damerell: (brains)
posted by [personal profile] damerell at 07:29pm on 05/01/2018
I just reread The Martian.

On Sol 37 he realises the Hab's atmosphere is 64% hydrogen and 9% oxygen, so a single spark might blow it up.

But what was he doing last? He produced this state of affairs by (imperfectly) burning hydrogen with a naked flame. So, why hasn't he blown it up already?
damerell: (nethack)
posted by [personal profile] damerell at 04:20pm on 09/12/2017
One of the questions that vexes NetHack players (you don't have to be one to follow this) is whether the character is wearing pants and/or trousers.

The argument that they are is firstly that the game doesn't represent objects with no game function; junk on the dungeon floor doesn't show up, the knapsack you keep your belongings in isn't an item in and of itself, etc. Sure, you have ordinary clothes - who would go spelunking naked - but they don't need to be modelled. Secondly, you can sit on a cockatrice corpse - ordinarily, touching one with your bare flesh turns you to stone - without anything bad happening. Plainly there is fabric in the way.

The argument that they are not is simple; in the game one has encounters with incubi and succubi, who remove your armour, piece by piece, sometimes asking [1] about each one; but they never ask about your pants, even if your stats are so high that they ask about each armour piece every time. Plainly there is no fabric in the way.

The answer came to me yesterday; the character is wearing a frock. All NetHack characters wear frocks (with no underwear, but we know they're adventurous). When sitting, they scoot the hem up under their bottom, and so aren't petrified when sitting unwisely.

[1] yeees, it's a bit dubious when one thinks about it.
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] damerell at 04:30pm on 24/11/2017
It's my birthday on Monday, the 27th. I'll be in the Devonshire (the Cambridge one) from about 1930. I know it's a school night but perhaps one or two of you might be there...
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] damerell at 07:24pm on 18/09/2017
Note: food eaten between supper and breakfast is incorrectly referred to as a midnight snack. The correct term is "dark lunch".
damerell: NetHack. (normal)
posted by [personal profile] damerell at 06:03pm on 15/07/2017
Today, I got an email from LJ to the effect that my LJ account had been logged into from, which is J. Random IP Address in France. Mysteriously, although this was some hours ago, I don't seem to have embarked on a spree of Viagra posts/comments or anything. Hence I've ended the unknown login session, changed password, deleted account (weirdly, all of which I could do without agreeing to the evil new T&Cs).

I imagine this is a manifestation of the downfall of LJ, but:
worth checking yourself (www.livejournal.com/manage/logins.bml ) if you ain't already deleted your account?
let me know, please, if I suddenly go spammy anywhere else...


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