Thanks to David Ball at Ongoing Worlds for taking the time to ask questions and spread the word!
Ever heard people talking about MUSHs or MUDs in the same breath as PBEM or PBP? They’re actually quite similar, and I was able to interview Wes Platt, the creator of OtherSpace, an original space-opera MUSH. He’s been running OtherSpace for 14 years and has a following of over 200 members.
So what is a MUSH?
If you like reading and writing stories in real-time, improvisationally, with other people, it’s the sort of thing you’d probably enjoy. It’s a lot of fun if you get a kick of developing characters and crafting dialogue on the fly, reacting to situations, and following chains of action and consequence toward not-always-predictable territory.
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For the past couple of weeks, ever since the third “litter bombing,” when Huck flipped the cat’s litter box and spread the contents all over the kitchen and living room floor, I started an experiment. The experiment began with a premise: It’s not just anxious behavior, it’s personal. Sienna and Huck never really got along, but until recently they had a “mediator,” for lack of a better word, in Elsa – Sienna’s sister, who I had to let go after she suffered a seizure that left her in a coma.
Elsa loved Huck. They got along great. Sienna could cope with that. She just lurked behind the couch and let her sister handle the big polar bear dog.
Now that Elsa was gone, Sienna no longer had that barrier and Huck wanted a playmate. That wasn’t a role Sienna could fill.
So, Sienna got in the habit of occasionally relieving herself on the couch where Huck liked to sleep. My theory: Huck decided to wreck her litter box in what might equate to “dog revenge.” He just didn’t realize that the revenge affected me far more than it did Sienna.
It occurred to me that maybe I was just anthropomorphizing the animals just a little. Still, I figured, what the hell? Experiment time.
During the day, I segregated them. I left Sienna and her litter box in the side of the apartment with the bedroom, the bathroom, and an open door to the laundry room where she could reach her food. Huck got the living room, kitchen, and the stairwell leading down to the front door.
And, what do you know: Peace in our time!
The couch hasn’t been soiled lately. Huck has stopped tearing things up. They seem to get along most of the time now when I get home and open the doors, allowing them to mingle again.
Apparently, they just needed their own space.
Just in time for my 45th birthday, George Lucas is issuing the Star Wars movie series in Blu-Ray format.
I feel like swatting him on the snout with a newspaper and saying, “No, George. NO.”
I’ve fallen for this crap too many times before. I’ve worn out the original trilogy in both VHS and Betamax. I’ve owned multiple versions of the DVDs – from the prequels to the modified original trilogy (Greedo stupidly shooting first) to the classic versions of the old movies.
I can’t bring myself to reward Lucas with yet another sack full of cash for the same crap with a different coat of paint. I’m done letting my nostalgia for the older movies overwhelm my good sense. So, no, George. NO. I won’t buy this new Blu-Ray edition. Nor will I go to the theaters to watch the movies in 3D, 4D, Smell-o-Vision, or Jedi-Rama.
Doubt he’ll miss my money much, though. Plenty of suckers will take the deal.
I’m not a cat person.
All the cats that I’ve allowed into my life were either by accident or through association with someone else.
I don’t hate cats. I’ve been around them ever since I was a kid. For the most part, we’ve tolerated each other. But I don’t feel the same sort of attachment that I do to a big affable dog like Huck.
That’s not to say I don’t get attached. I do. It’s just different.
Don’t count on people who call themselves pals when you’re huddled in a lifeboat that’s slowly – or maybe not so slowly – filling with water.
Oh, sure, maybe you dined together at the captain’s table before the ship breached its hull on that stray iceberg that everyone saw coming. That was a lifetime ago. Survival is serious business. No room in that little boat for camaraderie. It might sound cynical, but it’s true: It’s you or them.
When the lifeboat engineer walks up to you after the ship starts sinking and says you can take X number of passengers with you, don’t haggle to bring extra. Take only what you can carry. Save only what the lifeboat can hold.
If you ignore this advice, you really shouldn’t be surprised when that extra passenger turns out to have a naturally cynical outlook, a healthy sense of self-preservation, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to make sure that if the lifeboat sinks, they’re going to be the last in the water with the sharks.
When other sensible passengers share clear evidence that the boat would stay afloat longer with fewer people and more buckets, don’t dismiss this as panicked exaggeration, even if another passenger that you might trust says it’s nothing to worry about.
While you’re floating along, bailing salt water and searching the horizon for signs of rescue, pay attention when a passenger pipes up with a seemingly hypothetical question, such as: “If you were presented with the opportunity to toss someone else in the deep blue if it meant you’d last longer in the lifeboat, would you?” Don’t toss this aside as harmless ethical musing. That passenger probably wants to use your leg as a paddle and the rest of your corpse as a pontoon.
Start looking for land.
Okay, apparently this makes me a bad person, but I liked Iron Man 2 more than the first – even though, true enough, I thought the first movie was awesome. On subsequent viewings, though, I find that the original Iron Man is sluggish in spots. I never felt like Iron Man 2 let up.
This is probably where the good and bad lines fall.
Stuff I liked: Mickey Rourke as Whiplash, but only when he didn’t use a full metal suit. Don Cheadle as Lt. Col. Rhodes. The little homage to Walt Disney and his old EPCOT promo videos. Scarlet Johannsen, the world’s greatest computer-generated actress! Pepper getting a promotion to run Stark Industries! The aerial battles!
Stuff I didn’t like so much: Sam Rockwell’s spray-on tan palms. Whiplash in the full metal suit. Pepper turning into a whiny failure as Stark Industries CEO.