Friday, October 21, 2016

A Little Red Flag for Gamers

A comment I left for a YouTube video demonstrating GTA5 with very realistic, detailed graphics.

Um, the closer the graphics get to real life, the closer you come to murder. [Shrugs] You don't like hearing that, but now that the NPCs aren't cartoon characters anymore, you can't really use the defense "Nobody dies in a video game." It's creepy to the rest of us that you find bystanders being popped like water balloons funny. No, you're right, video games don't make people violent. They already are.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Apples and Orangutans

A comment I left after reading Survey Finds High Support for Communism Among Millenials by Nicole Russell:

Nicole, what we usually refer to as communism and socialism are actually totalitarianism pretending to be communism or socialism. In its fundamental form, socialism doesn't have anything to do with murder. The mass murders and imposed poverty of these societies result from the totalitarian regimes controlling these societies, and those regimes, living in luxury, are hardly socialistic or given to sharing everything in common. Differentiate between ideologies. Lumping everything non-capitalistic under "mass-murder-enabling ideologies" is too simple and easy. It's lazy writing. I'm not a big fan of socialism, since hundreds of years of people attempting it and failing indicate that humans are too self-oriented for it to work, but I have to object to your lumping Bernie Sanders socialism with the former Soviet Union and similar totalitarian societies. Completely different animals.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Ol' Rockin' Chair'll Get Me

The self-description I submitted on my application for membership to the Creative Talent Network, an online group based in Burbank for artists in the animation industry:

My reel of LightWave models is at and includes two of the models I built for Dan Dare and Max Steel when I worked briefly at Netter Digital just before it closed. I abandoned 3D modeling in 2004 because it was a crowded field in a lousy economy, and I went into web and print graphics. But my head never completely left 3D. Even though I'm not overly interested in the animation on the screen now (why all the bathroom humor?), I nonetheless would love to work on the beautiful interior and exterior environments in which some of those scenes take place. Game environments can be beautiful too (like GTA5), but I'm disgusted by the violence in games.

Talented, but I don't know what to do with it or how to use it. All I've gotten since college is "Thanks, but we were looking for someone with a little more experience." I thought becoming involved in a group like this might help me move forward. But here I expect I'll get "We're sorry, but you need to have a few more production credits under your belt." What to do, especially now that I've turned 60? I suppose find a rocking chair and daydream wistfully about what could've been.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

My ongoing argument with Zazzle

A message I submitted on their Contact Us page:

The problem with fonts being displayed differently on different tees still hasn't been addressed after existing for several years. Please address this issue.

In the attached image of a tee design, which is found at, it's obvious that the design on the first two tees has been corrupted compared to the identical design on the remaining tees. There is only one design, composed of parentheses from the Typo Upright and French fonts at different point sizes, and the design on each of the tees should be identical. If you'll click on See All Styles and scroll down through the styles, you'll see that the problem appears on some of the tees but not all.

The tees which display a corrupted design seem to have a zone around the edges of the printable area that will change the point size of any text object that extends into it. The tees which don't corrupt the design don't have this zone, and image files are unaffected by this zone. I believe that an effort was made to keep designers' texts from extending outside the printable area some time ago, but the project wasn't completed and so some of the tees don't display this function. It may be that the project was abandoned because it was seen not to work, but it was left in place on the tees that had been altered.

It seems that it would be a simple matter to go into the code that controls how, for example, the Women's Basic T-Shirt and the Women's American Apparel Fine Jersey T-Shirt, treats text, and remove that function. This should be done for the sake of the customer shopping for tees. The customer could find a design they like but see that the design is corrupted on the tee they're interested in, and so they don't purchase the item. One wonders how many lost sales have resulted from this glitch over the years.

The design tool is pretty awesome otherwise, and I'm surprised that other POD sites haven't implemented something like it.


Saturday, October 01, 2016

Of Soft Colons and Hard Commas

I couldn't help being a grammar cop when I found on Steam an item titled STEINS;GATE and I posted the comment below on a related forum.

Oh no, I'm two years late to the discussion. While browsing on Steam, I came across STEINS;GATE and wondered why the semicolon was used in the title. I started reading reviews of the game but didn't find anything and so I Googled it and came to this page. From the reviews, STEINS;GATE sounds like an excellent visual novel, and so my comments here shouldn't reflect on the creators of the game; they are quite talented.

It would be interesting if the use of the semicolon here is an example of how World English is evolving. If all through the continent of Asia, for example, the semicolon in English has come to mean "related to but not possessed by" then I'd understand its use here. If not, however, then this is just a typographical error. I've had English professors whose hair would stand on end if they saw the semicolon used this way. If a student submitted a paper with a proper noun styled like this, those professors would circle the semicolon vigorously in red and make a brief comment with a lot of exclamation marks. That would be an overreaction, of course, but you can see that the construction is so odd that even I'm motivated to comment on it, two years late even. [It looks to me like lint has gotten stuck on the monitor between the two words.]

FatalSleep provided a very clearly written answer, but in contemporary Standard English, the semicolon isn't used to connect nouns unless they are in a complex series. If you have a series of three or more elements, and one or more of those elements has three or more elements of its own, 1) a semicolon is used to separate the main elements in the series, to avoid confusion. The only other time a semicolon can be used correctly in Standard English is 2) to connect two independent clauses with no conjunction when they aren't serial clauses. The last sentence of my first paragraph is an example of that. These are the only two correct uses of the semicolon. The semicolon isn't a soft colon, even though that's what the name looks like; it's a hard comma, with only two uses. [It should probably be called a supercomma instead of a semicolon.]

In contemporary usage, STEINS:GATE is more familiar and would've been a better choice. The irony is that, because STEINS modifies the noun GATE, nothing is needed to show that they are connected. STEINS GATE is referring to only one gate, closely associated with STEINS but not possessed by them because there's no apostrophe. A variation of that would be SteinsGate, using camel caps, to indicate the same thing. [Or perhaps STEINS.GATE? How about STEINS|GATE? STEINS\GATE? STEINS_GATE?] Even STEINS-GATE would've been better than STEINS;GATE. But they've also created CHAOS;HEAD and ROBOTICS;NOTES. My professors would've burst a blood vessel over those. What were the designers thinking?

If lots of people start using a semicolon to connect words because they think it looks cool, then eventually it will become standard usage in World English and no one will complain. Eventually. Users of Standard English will wonder why, but they'll just shrug and say "Like, whatever."