End of year disorientation?

Once again it is the end of year crunch at work and we're all scrambling to get things done before holiday break. That we even get a holiday break is something that I'm still not quite used to, though I'm certainly not going to complain about it, either. I spent most of the week pulling almost all nighters and cursing specific ways of getting things done that aren't anything like what anyone else does. Oh, well. So it goes. Everybody does it differently, nobody does it right.

Covid-19 cases still going up around the country. Plagues do that. Of course …

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Casting a data point into the origins of the Polybius myth.

A couple of days ago (a couple of minutes ago, as I happen to write this) I watched a documentary on Youtube about a modern urban legend, the video game called Polybius.  I don't want to give away the entire story if you've not heard it before, but a capsule version is that in 1981.ev a strange video game called Polybius was installed in a number of video arcades in the Pacific Northwest.  The game supposedly had a strange effect on some of the people playing it, ranging from long periods of hypnosis to night terrors, epileptic convulsions and …

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A long-forgotten Commodore game. Was it ever released?

UPDATE (20210214): The game has, in fact, been found (along with its manual) and is playable online at the Internet Archive.

UPDATE (20170120): The game may have been found!

Many years ago, maybe a year after 321 Contact magazine merged with Enter magazine, there was a review of a video game which seemed like it was a tie-in for the movie 2010: The Year We Make Contact.  The scenario was that you'd just gained access to the USS Discovery, and you had to repair all of the systems on board the ship to win the game.  As I recall, a …

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Gamefest and The Art of Video Games.

A couple of months back the American Art Museum (part of the Smithsonian) announced that it was collecting ideas for an art exhibit that would reside in DC until September of 2012 and then go on tour around the country. The exhibit, called The Art of Video Games is a tribute not only to video games as a form of art, but also to the artists and programmers who devote unthinkable amounts of time and energy to perfecting their craft.. and building the games that so many have come to hold near and dear to their hearts. Now, as we …

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Mage rote: Portal Gun

Game: Mage: the Ascension
Rote: Portal Gun (alternatively, Artifact *)
Spheres: Correspondence
*
Tradition: Sons of Ether
Commonly used focus: Self explanatory

Effect: The Virtual Adepts came up with it but it took the Sons of Ether to make it practical. Nobody's quite sure if Valve only has Sleepers on staff or if there are a couple of VA's among their coders, but everyone agrees that having a device that can forge Correspondence portals in the blink of an eye is a handy thing, albeit horribly vulgar. While gamers eat this stuff up like cake using one of these badboys outside is …

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LARPers Gone Wild: Fallout 2 in Russia!

When I was younger and had more time on my hands I used to LARP a couple of times a month with House of the Unknown at CMU.  We never really did anything terribly elaborate - I was one of the few who dressed up because my character was sufficiently different from me, but a lot of folks just wore whatever they happened to have handywhich suited.  I also used to go to anime conventions and cosplay a bit, though I never really put the kind of effort into any of my costumes that most folks do.  I certainly never did …

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Two warmup posts before I try to set my head straight.

I'll spare everyone my usual apology for not posting anything lately and jump right into a catch-up post as a warmup for a longer, hopefully more interesting entry later today.

First of all, earlier this week a cultural icon passed - Bettie Page, queen of the pin-up, died of pneumonia at the age of 85 following a heart attack suffered earlier this month. Page was well known for her line of 'naughty girl' photographs, which featured nudity, lingerie, implied lesbian trysts, and even light bondage (the latter two scandalous for their time). Page stopped modelling in 1957 and all but disappeared …

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Happy day-before-Yule, everyone.

It's been an interesting trip back to Pennsylvania, to say the very least. Lyssa and I finally got the TARDIS loaded up and set course for Pittsburgh around 1130 EST/EDT yesterday morning, stopped off for a quick lunch at the local deli, and then headed for the northbound beltway for the long haul.

I'm very glad that I was able to talk Lyssa out of driving home on Friday night because driving conditions were so bad in the DC area. Between the rain, the darkness, and all the headlights of people trying to do last minute shopping it really …

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