thereticent's recent activity

  1. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    I totally forgot to mention being dropped in a world without explanation and just having to follow the snatches of exposition like a puzzle--that sold me. I started Gardens of the Moon as I was...

    I totally forgot to mention being dropped in a world without explanation and just having to follow the snatches of exposition like a puzzle--that sold me. I started Gardens of the Moon as I was stalled out on my grad work, and it's till a great one to revisit for all the many, many things I can now recognize as "important later" or just slightly shifting my understanding of the world history into place. So gratifying. Then I slogged through the hardest parts of my dissertation with the Chain of Dogs in my mind as an internal motivation. It worked!

    As an aside, I used to play a lot of console and PC video games, stopped about 20ish years ago, and have tried a few times to play AAA games that came out in the meantime and holy exposition Batman! I have no interest in sitting through mini-movies or acting out a part in a mega-movie, so I usually just turn them off. Send me to an eerie place with interesting secrets a la Ecco the Dolphin or Blaster Master or Quake or Hollow Knight, and I'm likely to go discovery things. Aside over with.

    I haven't read Prince of Thorns, but I can say: both New Sun and Second Apocalypse do a great job dropping you into interesting worlds with long histories to discover. I had no problem with even some of the "workplace" descriptions in the former even though the protagonist is a torturer. In the latter, the various antagonists are perfectly manipulative and gaslight enough to make me queasy, but the real issue I warn people about is the reliance on physical and sexual horror to heighten disgust with the "bad guys." Think otherworldly humanoid-beasts with a desire to mutilate and make use of humans sexually after (before?) killing then. And black semen several times. Ew. These things aren't frequent, just vile when they're there. It was worth it to me for the story, the historical mysteries, and some of the characters, but...ew. So keep that in mind, I'd say.

    I've never found an audiobook that I enjoyed more than reading, with the exceptions of William Hootkins' version of Moby-Dick and Peter Yearsley's version of The King in Yellow. And the Malazan audiobooks do switch from one narrator (Ralph Lister) to another (Michael Page), and I've enjoyed both. You also have to deal with pronunciation differences, and neither says things exactly how I say them in my head. So I think it would depend on what you do and don't like with audiobooks. My issues are always odd, like, the narrator for The Second Apocalypse was great except that his female voices and the way he would "yell" "Noooooo!" for male characters are enough to keep me away.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    Your comment resonates so much! I often put on the audiobooks just to revisit the world as I fall asleep, sometimes with, uh, interesting results. Same as with my other major leisure genre of...

    Your comment resonates so much! I often put on the audiobooks just to revisit the world as I fall asleep, sometimes with, uh, interesting results. Same as with my other major leisure genre of weird fiction (Mieville, Lovecraft, Clarke). Many are the nights I've woken to Elder incantations intoned in a nightmarish voice. All in good fun for me. :)

    What keeps drawing me back to Malazan is its similar but not identical worldview to my own--especially the focus on a need for a balance of order and disorder, the multi-determined causality of critical events and their unpredictable results, the importance for trying to do right anyway, and the elevation of situational nuance and conflicting duties to free characters to show a new kind of heroic, creative morality. Plus the thousand characters and subtle jokes make every reread rewarding as entertainment.

    Thanks so much for the recommendations. I loved The Black Company and have not shaken the brilliant opening chapter of Thomas Covenant (though I did not continue reading at that time). I did really enjoy The Stormlight Archive, so Mistborn is a good bet for me. If you haven't read them, I very much enjoyed both The Book of the New Sun and The Second Apocalypse, though the latter is so bleak and at times thoroughly distasteful to me, so I may never revisit it. I've heard of The First Law but not Powder Mage, so consider those added to my list!

    A bit adjacent but not right on point: Gormenghast is another favorite world to revisit. Plus it's absolutely hilarious.

    Thanks for your patience as I rewrote this!

    2 votes
  3. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    I just wrote a long and maybe too effusive response with some additional recs, but then my Hermit app froze, so it's gone. This an IOU for a reply when I get some time to rewrite it!

    I just wrote a long and maybe too effusive response with some additional recs, but then my Hermit app froze, so it's gone. This an IOU for a reply when I get some time to rewrite it!

    2 votes
  4. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    thereticent
    Link
    Malazan Book of the Fallen for the third time. It's a sickness

    Malazan Book of the Fallen for the third time. It's a sickness

    2 votes
  5. Comment on What's one weird thing about yourself? in ~talk

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    I hope I didn't prompt this response with my comment last night. I tried to make it clear that I didn't want to talk about the thing itself so much as get some clarification on what lou meant by...

    I hope I didn't prompt this response with my comment last night. I tried to make it clear that I didn't want to talk about the thing itself so much as get some clarification on what lou meant by philosophical inclinations contributing. I certainly didn't mean any harm.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on What's one weird thing about yourself? in ~talk

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    Wow! I started off with Original Nuttah, based on your first post, and before the drums kicked in he kind of quietly got up and started a dance, then when the drums hit, his face LIT UP. He kept...

    Wow! I started off with Original Nuttah, based on your first post, and before the drums kicked in he kind of quietly got up and started a dance, then when the drums hit, his face LIT UP. He kept dancing and drumming on his legs and even said a minute later: "I really love these drums."

    I put on the first track of Richard D. James, and he kept a dance going, really liked the sped-up and slowed-down drum rolls. When I asked him what he thought, he was generally agreeable. And then that first out-of-time slowdown of 3-4 drum hits (?) made him really stop and take note.

    We have a daily routine where he and his brother alternate days choosing a song to listen to during the 5 minute drive to school, and he said he wants more of this. So thank you, so, so much. Our next try will be hip hop dance lessons, and I'll keep introducing some of the things you suggested, while of course letting him pick.

    Ha! Now it's been almost an hour and he is still grooving to himself.

    4 votes
  7. Comment on What's one weird thing about yourself? in ~talk

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    Dude, this is so much like my youngest kid! Even when he was a toddler it was tons of mouth noises (fffbrikadikidikadika...tuhkahtuhKAH, and so on). Now it's a near constant stream of rhythms from...

    Dude, this is so much like my youngest kid! Even when he was a toddler it was tons of mouth noises (fffbrikadikidikadika...tuhkahtuhKAH, and so on). Now it's a near constant stream of rhythms from him, often accompanied by dances. Not that it's only when he feels like dancing...for him it's more likely than not that if you run into him in the house he's subvocalizing some kind of complex beat. I don't know...the same way I might be going over an inner monologue, he's just vibing, as we say..Any suggestions on how to suss out whether he would do well channeling this into something creative? The kid's only six. He's got more groove than the rest of us combined!

    3 votes
  8. Comment on The Billionaire’s Bard: On the rationalist fictions of Neal Stephenson in ~books

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    You may be right that the connection with current rationalism is tenuous. At the same time, the author is pointing out something worthwhile--that the plot pits billionaire ingenuity against...

    You may be right that the connection with current rationalism is tenuous. At the same time, the author is pointing out something worthwhile--that the plot pits billionaire ingenuity against wokeist cancel-culture. Sure, it works as a plot device...and it also works as the launch point for a critical essay. My read of the article is essentially that Stephenson relies in his novel on a strawperson version of "the left" existing, where really that version is a tired myth clung to by non-leftists, in part because it behooves non-progressive liberals to perpetuate it.

    Another thing that came to mind for me is that unlike many sci-fi authors who use post-collapse dystopia as a cautionary tale against technocracy (I'll just say Terminator 2, because why not?), Stephenson's approach is to suggest that a better technocracy is the way out. It's not clearly right or wrong, but it is a political stance (whether or not he himself holds that position), and it's certainly one that appeals to the Grey Tribe types...or the LessWrong rationalists at least.

    7 votes
  9. Comment on What's one weird thing about yourself? in ~talk

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    Understood. I appreciate your boundaries!

    Understood. I appreciate your boundaries!

    2 votes
  10. Comment on What's one weird thing about yourself? in ~talk

    thereticent
    Link
    Okay, here are a couple, though I might be able to go on and on: I have a third nipple, and a fourth, and a fifth. All different stages, and all along my left "milk line." I always knew of the the...

    Okay, here are a couple, though I might be able to go on and on:

    I have a third nipple, and a fourth, and a fifth. All different stages, and all along my left "milk line." I always knew of the the third but didn't know what it was...my mother thought it was a burn mark from a dropped cigarette and thought she had blocked out the memory (she was always very upset that my dad would lie about smoking). But I realized this at age 30-something and then paid a little more attention and found the other two. Supposedly this makes me fey, which at least aligns with some other quirks I have.

    The other that comes to mind right now is that I have always experienced acutely how alive trees are, if that makes sense. Of course, they actually are alive, but they feel as alive and hugely present to me as any animal would. I visit them, hang out with them, greet them, etc., especially the ones I am most connected to. Makes for interesting disagreements with family members about what landscaping is reasonable versus insane.

    5 votes
  11. Comment on itch.io Bundle for Ukraine in ~games

    thereticent
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Sorry, just saw this! My son really loves the "Spring Collab 2020" community mod: https://gamebanana.com/maps/211745 But essentially, if you install the Everest mod loader, or maybe the Olympus...

    Sorry, just saw this! My son really loves the "Spring Collab 2020" community mod: https://gamebanana.com/maps/211745

    But essentially, if you install the Everest mod loader, or maybe the Olympus installer...either way they work together...then you can browse the gamebanana mods and load them all from one screen. He loves it.

    Just keep in mind that some mods/levels lean way into the precision platformer aspect (a la Geometry Dash) but there are others that are calmer. Enjoy!

    3 votes
  12. Comment on What's one weird thing about yourself? in ~talk

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    Would you be comfortable sharing in what way it can be seen as an extension of philosophical inclinations? Without saying too much, of course.

    Would you be comfortable sharing in what way it can be seen as an extension of philosophical inclinations? Without saying too much, of course.

    1 vote
  13. Comment on What's one weird thing about yourself? in ~talk

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    Oof, I feel for you. I have a couple of those scenes, but they don't bring on terror so much as making me deeply unsettled, and at worst a cold, heavy dread/resignation in the pit of my stomach....

    Oof, I feel for you. I have a couple of those scenes, but they don't bring on terror so much as making me deeply unsettled, and at worst a cold, heavy dread/resignation in the pit of my stomach. They usually show up in daydreams, but sometimes when my mind is wandering before falling asleep as well. I usually have to physically shake it off by getting up and doing something distracting. Worth noting that I am nearly 100% sure these both came from dreams at an early age, maybe 5 years old or younger.

    I can share them (and have a number of times). One is from my point of view, sitting in a bed, propped up against the headboard, looking into a vanity mirror directly across the room, and a man unknown to me is slowly crawling across the mirror-bed toward me with a menacing look on his face. Then it ends. It's never felt like impending abuse or anything sexual, despite the bedroom setting.

    The other is again from my point of view either in my childhood garage or behind a house with a field behind it. I'm looking at the door into the house (whether from the attached garage or the backyard/field) and a woman unknown to me has her back facing me as she opens the door and starts to enter, then she turns around, notices me, then shoots me "a look" that is menacing in some way. Then it ends.

    Friends I've told this to always notice the "predator eyes" and the silence. I don't much know what to make of it, but since you shared, I thought I'd commiserate a little.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on itch.io Bundle for Ukraine in ~games

    thereticent
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    This is really killer. I just bought it for my son, so it's nice that the games are hidden by default. I'm not sure how many are 10-year-old friendly, but it's a great cause and a really stellar...

    This is really killer. I just bought it for my son, so it's nice that the games are hidden by default. I'm not sure how many are 10-year-old friendly, but it's a great cause and a really stellar bundle. $50 well spent, and hey, now I have an itch.io account. Just wish I hadn't paid $20 for Celeste (PC) alone 2 weeks ago AFTER the kid became obsessed with the PS4 version ($20, more than a year ago) and just HAD to try the mods.

    I have to say, though, Celeste with mods alone would be worth all I've paid so far, based on how many excited "come check this out!" moments we've had.

    Thanks for posting. :)

    5 votes
  15. Comment on On communicating accurately with Americans in ~humanities

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    100%. Coming from a family that trends subclinical to very much diagnosable, I just assumed this was someone with ASD who maybe doesn't realize it. Also, it strikes me that they attribute the...

    100%. Coming from a family that trends subclinical to very much diagnosable, I just assumed this was someone with ASD who maybe doesn't realize it.

    Also, it strikes me that they attribute the indirectness to Americans, because they never provide a non-American counterexample! Certain British folks are famous for their understatement and implicature, much moreso than Americans. This article seems much more like a rant than an analysis.

    4 votes
  16. Comment on Goodbye, MIT in ~humanities

    thereticent
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    This prompts a thought I've dealt with a lot recently... First, I want to call the complaints bad faith bullshit. But these people honestly believe they are fighting a good fight and are...

    This prompts a thought I've dealt with a lot recently... First, I want to call the complaints bad faith bullshit. But these people honestly believe they are fighting a good fight and are straightforward in their methods. So, maybe it's ignorant bullshit. But the ignorance has to be willful at this point. To frame intersectionality and sexual assault bystander training as conspiracy theory level victimhood worship tells me that their ignorance has its roots in malice. Or if it's not ignorance, then it really is just bad faith bullshit.

    Bullshit either way.

    11 votes
  17. Comment on What have you been watching / reading this week? (Anime/Manga) in ~anime

    thereticent
    Link Parent
    Same here. It's kind of the highlight of my week! Or at least the discrete "one thing" I look forward to as me-time. I'm anime-only too, so it's all new material each week. Otherwise only 91 Days,...

    Same here. It's kind of the highlight of my week! Or at least the discrete "one thing" I look forward to as me-time. I'm anime-only too, so it's all new material each week.

    Otherwise only 91 Days, which... I don't know. I can barely stand the English dub accents. Good enough story, though.

    1 vote