Asides

Memo to Hearthstone Tournament Organizers…

Updated: It appears the organizers have reversed their earlier decision :

After causing a controversy, an international e-sports league is changing its rules to welcome women players.

The International E-sports Federation (IESF) is ending its policy that prohibited women from competing against men in pro-gaming competitions, according to a post on its website.

Original post continues below:

Are you fucking kidding me?

The IeSF, or International e-Sports Federation, is a global organisation based in South Korea that is comprised of e-sports associations from across the world. Their stated aim is to promote e-sports as a “true sport”. The IeSF’s sixth World Championship will take place this November, in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Here’s the tournament list, from the organisation’s Facebook event page:

  • Male Competition: Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, Ultra Street Fighter IV
  • Female Competition: Starcraft 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2

It’s an absurd division. Seemingly it tells us that Ultra Street Fighter IV is for boys, and Tekken Tag Tournament is for girls; that women aren’t meant to play Dota 2 or Hearthstone; and that while both men and women can play Starcraft 2, they damn well better not do it together.

Of course, that’s not what the IeSF are saying. Their reasoning is far more insidious than that. In a reply to a Facebook comment asking why men and women had been divided, the IeSF responded with the following:

“The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports.”

It’s a bizarre statement, attempting to defend a seemingly indefensible decision. E-sports can be recognised as a “legitimate sport” while still staying true to the differences that exist. Hearthstone is not a game that requires any division by gender—to do so is a completely arbitrary decision that smacks of a desperation to be taken seriously.

Women play video games. Get used to it.

(h/t @Gloriwulf)

KOOOOPPPPPIIIITTTTTAAAARRRRRRRR!!!!!

I am in an undisclosed location on the East Coast for something very important, so I had to go to sleep last night before the Kings game was over. Just before I turned off the lights and shut down my laptop, I saw the great Anze Kopitar score what would become the game winning goal, to lead the LA Kings to an historic comeback against the San Jose Chokes Sharks. (They are now just the fourth team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 game deficit in the playoffs and advance to the next round).

Had I been at home, I would have reposted this vine to celebrate the occasion:

Now, I’m not saying that I called it on April 17, but … maybe I called it on April 17.

All good-natured ribbing aside, what an incredible series this was. I’m looking forward to the next round, because it’s Duck Season.

midnight highway

The second song on the Kill Bill Volume 1 soundtrack is a fantastic rockabilly number called That Certain Female. It has this great thick guitar riff with a lot of echo and delay and, for me, it conjures up images of Route 66 under a new moon, windows down and radio blaring as a ’58 Chevy puts miles between its mysterious driver and Chicago as fast as he can lay them down.

This music fills the dark and bug-spattered spaces between Amarillo and Tucumcari, staccato white lines flashing by in the headlights, the smell of exhaust and old tobacco swirling with dust.

Is he running toward something or away from something? Or is it a she behind the wheel? What’s in the trunk? What’s in the backseat? When we see the driver’s eyes in the rear view mirror, briefly lit by the glowing cherry of a cigarette, are they determined? Resigned? Afraid? Tear-stained? Vengeful?

Maybe they are all these things.

The road goes on.

 

 

interlude: from a family dinner

Ryan and Nolan came over for dinner last night, and for the first time in far too long, I ate dinner with my entire family.

While we sat at the table and ate, Anne told us that she is thinking about getting a Mini Countryman when she pays off her Cooper S.

“I like the way it handles, and I like the extra space that it has. It sort of feels like my Mini, but there’s just more room inside,” She said.

I said, “Oh! So that means that maybe I can get the little two-seater Mini when my lease is up?”

“Isn’t that a mid-life crisis car?” Ryan said.

“No,” I said, “A mid-life crisis car is something you buy so you can drive around and try to pick up twenty year-old girls.”

Without missing a beat, Nolan said, “Oh! Can I have a mid-life crisis car? That sounds like something I could use.”

He’s twenty-two, and clearly has my sense of humor.

 

Ten great Tabletop games you can use to introduce your friends to gaming

Via Reddit, I saw this fantastic list at Board Game Geek, detailing the top 100 “gateway” games, which is how we describe a game you use as an infection vector for tabletop gaming.

Here’s the top ten, as voted on by Board Game Geek members:

1 Ticket to Ride/TTR Europe
2 Carcassonne (all)
3 King of Tokyo
4 Dixit
5 For Sale
6 Diamant/Incan Gold
7 Can’t Stop
8 Pandemic
9 Love Letter
10 Settlers of Catan

As I’ve written before, different games work for different people, and someone who loves Ticket To Ride may not like King of Tokyo at all, so ask your non-gamer or tabletop-curious friends questions, and choose their gateway game carefully. All of these games have a high ratio of luck to strategy, which makes it a lot of fun for experienced and new players alike to play together.

And, as luck would have it, a lot of these games have been played on Tabletop, so you can get an assist from Your Old Pal Wil Wheaton when you introduce one of them to a new gamer. Just use the links above.

Have fun, and PLAY MORE GAMES!

This is all about dogs taking shits. If that sort of thing grosses you out, don’t read it.

This is all about dogs taking shits. If that sort of thing grosses you out, don’t read it.

I walked out into the backyard, and got the dog-shit-picker-upper-thing out of the place where it lives. I carried it to the lawn, and began using it for its prescribed purpose.

After a couple of scoops, Marlowe joined me on the lawn. “You guys sure do poop a lot,” I said. She looked at me with sweet eyes and a pibble smile.

I continued to pick up their dirty, sinful business, and Riley arrived. She surveyed the situation, and decided to take a huge shit in the middle of the yard. “Thanks for not waiting until I put this away, Piles,” I said.

I turned my back to her and worked my way toward the back of the lawn. The sun was warm on my back, a very light breeze rustling the leaves on the camphor trees.

I turned around just in time to see Marlowe eating Riley’s poop.

“Goddammit, Marlowe! Stop eating shit!” I said.

She took a few steps away from me, looking guiltily back over her shoulder. “That is so gross, dude. Don’t do that!”

She looked at me, hunched her back, and pooped. I’m pretty sure she was thinking, “I’m sorry. Here, let me put it back.”

 

 

I’m ready for dream time, Mister Bubbles

I continue to have way more fun with my Makerbot than I ever thought possible.

A few days ago, I printed out a Big Daddy figure, from one of my favourite video games of all time, Bioshock. I used a glow-in-the-dark filament, and the result looks like this:

3d-printed big daddy

3d-printed big daddy glows in the dark

I got the model from Thingiverse. It took 16 hours to print, and I used supports, 5% infill, .1mm layer thickness, and 2 shells. I sliced it in Makerware.

You may notice that some of the pipes around his head are messed up. That’s not the fault of the model, that’s my fault. When I was cutting off the supports, some of them snapped off (probably because it needed more infill to be stronger) and I had to put them back together with epoxy. I don’t really mind that those pieces are a little weird, though, because it gives the impression to me that this particular Big Daddy has been stomping around Rapture for a really long time.

Eventually, I’ll start making practical things, but until then, I’ll be busy making beautiful toys and models, because I can.

 

Goddammit, Popular Science. You had one job.

I used to subscribe to a lot of magazines, but over the years I’ve let all the subscriptions lapse. If I really want to read something, I pick it up on a newsstand, or read it online. One of the great things about my Kindle, for instance, is how I can grab an individual issue of something like The Nation or Mother Jones when I’m on vacation, and not have to deal with another physical piece of media that’s going to take up space in my bag.

I’ve found that I most frequently read magazines when I’m on airplanes (which is about twice a month, it turns out), so I usually pick up the latest WIRED or Scientific American or Mental_Floss when I’m on my way to the gate, read it, and leave it behind for the next passenger to enjoy.

But I know that magazines rely on subscriptions, and subscribing to things I really like is a good way to support that publication’s writers, editors, and staff, so I recently went ahead and subscribed to Popular Science and Mental Floss. When I signed up, I specifically requested that my information not be shared, rented, given, sold, gifted, delivered, or handed off in a dark alleyway dead drop to any third parties. Because I know that publishers don’t always honor these requests, I use unique and humorous names when I subscribe to magazines, so I know who isn’t honoring my requests.

So far, Mental_Floss is doing a great job not sharing my information. But Popular Science? Not so much. this delightful bit of junk mail showed up yesterday, along with my latest issue:

Popular Science gave my information to a third party. Not cool, PopSci

This is incredibly annoying, and violates the trust I placed in the magazine when I decided to give them my money. Awesomeface Wheaton will not be renewing his subscription, and now I get to enjoy months of telling all the third parties that Popular Science gave my information to that I don’t want their bullshit.

Look, print publications, you’re fighting with Internet and digital for eyeballs every single day. When you do shit like this, it just hastens your demise.

Don’t be a dick, magazine publishers. Do not share my information means do not share my information.