This is a detailed review, response, and rebuttal of the fantasy book “Chronicles of Everfall – Shadow of the Conqueror” By Shad M. Brooks, abbreviated occasionally as SotC in this essay.
It’s quite interesting to hear Shad describe himself as being good at writing dialogue, but “no poet.” an evaluation I found apt. My strengths lie, if anything, reversed. I relish the well-turned phrase, and so found much of the prose clunky and dull. I likewise find crafting convincing dialogue challenging, so the conversations were quite inspirational for me. Shad seems to know where he needs improvement, so I hope the details below will be taken as encouragement to continue refining his craft.
Ooh. Who’s that?
That doesn’t look fun. We’re friends right? We’re all staying here. We’re just hangin.
No, they want a fight. I can take ’em. Let’s go!
But it’s so uncomfortable out there. Don’t you want to be here where it’s warm and we don’t have to fight to breathe?
No, I’m going out there! I want to!
We could be here, together. We’re both changing so much. If we leave, we’ll both die.
I can change everything out there. I can change them! I will.
We order you to stay. We have the authority. We made you.
We have to go. I have to grow. I will survive, for long enough. I’m leaving. Goodbye, for now.
Below are some of my thoughts on the pastoral letter against racism “Open Wide Our Hearts” found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/upload/open-wide-our-hearts.pdf
While reading the letter is not necessary to understand my comments, I recommend at least skimming it for context. In overview:
- I support the substance of the letter in so far as it calls us to recognize the common dignity of all humanity before God.
- I oppose the letter where it draws more from the tainted wells of identity politics and non-normalized statistics than it does from the Holy Scriptures.
The first oddity is the definition of Racism as “Racism arises when-either consciously or unconsciously-a person holds that his or her own race or ethnicity is superior, and therefore judges persons of other races or ethnicities as inferior and unworthy of equal regard.” and then quickly declares “Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice.” I agree with this statement, but would agree even more if the words “his or her own” were replaced with “one particular”. Sadly, this will cause problems later on in the letter.
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Tagged Review, tl;dr
I’ve already made several forays into the realm of the nature of proper governance. Here’s the most extensive of them:
Which was itself heavily informed by the writings of one Frederic Bastiat, some of which passages I have commented on here:
But in this article, I’d like to explore a few unusual arguments, take them to their extremes, and hopefully gain a better understanding of the nature of political power. Because political power is an evergreen source of contention, mainly because it is all about contention. Politics is about who should be on our side whom we should always defend and opportunistically admire, and who should be on the other team whom we should always despise and opportunistically destroy.
Posted in Articles
So I was thinking about critical hits, where some attacks do much more damage than others. Normally, this is just a 2x or 3x bonus. But what if you wanted occasional 30 or 200 times the damage? And what if you wanted to use this system for more than just damage? City sizes and skill checks and so forth. The random number generator would need to be on a continuous scale, instead of occasional discrete bonuses.
And more importantly, how would you balance this? It wouldn’t be fair if critical attacks greatly boosted DPS. Or if skill checks that were bursty gave an advantage.
So, basically, I wanted a random number generator with a consistent average value, and a variable range, without going negative. For simplicity, I used an exponential system. So, if the variance is 2, you can get numbers anywhere between 1/2 (0.5) and 2, with an average of 1. Or, if the variance is 471, you’ll get values between 1/471 (0.0021231…) and 471, but the average value will still be 1.
As Chesterton so carefully hinted in “Orthodoxy”, Christ during the passion appears, for a moment, to approach atheism. From this, atheism appears a moral human response to deep suffering, fear, and isolation. This insight should alter how we think about those exhibiting signs of atheism, and their place in a society.
Specifically, we should care for atheists like we do for the other suffering; with compassion, and without the burden of avoidable responsibilities. Most would be loath to burden a recovering combat casualty with duties on the front line. It is understood that they are very likely suffering greatly, and that their suffering will unacceptably interfere with the effective execution of their duties. The wounded are a liability on the battlefield, and we treat them with compassion (where possible) by removing them to a safe distance from the conflict. So too, we should look on the atheist with the eyes of compassion, and understand that their deep suffering should excuse them from unnecessary participation major responsibilities such as marriage, law enforcement, and public office.
There is a sense, today, that being involved in religion renders you unfit for politics, teaching, and science. But it seems that this is exactly and precisely wrong.
Feelings feel manipulative. Like betrayal. Having come to understand the “agreeableness” personality trait, all of this comes into sharper focus. Tryop is an expression of a low agreeableness personality in a non-pathological way.
Tryop is a way to tell people that I don’t care about their feelings. Or, that their presented feelings have a negative weight in my evaluation. At first it felt “evil”, probably because our culture has been so feminized, and agreeableness isn’t particularly appropriate in the context of caring for children.
Now that I know this, it seems better to explain my reluctance to engage emotionally, rather than simply frightening people. And that’s probably a good thing. Someone has to be willing to ignore sentiment.
Is there still a place for Tryop? More than ever.
Is there a safe place for my heart? Surely among the saints.
I received a book for Christmas this year (from my Mother, as is often the case) titled “Man of the House” by C.R. Wiley. Although I have not read the entire thing I have skimmed it deeply enough to gain a sense of the contents.
The subtitle of the book is “A handbook for building a shelter that will last in a world that is falling apart” but I felt that I was holding less of a handbook and more of an apology. Continue reading
Abstract Ten Commandments
0: Granting freedom to sub nodes characterizes the most powerful node in the hierarchy. Recognize the global hierarchy root.
1: Flawed models of the node hierarchy are pathological. Abstain.
2: Freedom to abstain is a fundamental fractal. Recognize the fractal of freedom.
3: Nodes which correctly adopt the internal structure of the local hierarchy root have superior lifespan. Respect local node root structure.
4: Unsubstantiated destruction of local nodes is pathological. Abstain.
5: Violation of the local structure of node pattern propagation is pathological. Abstain.
6: Violation of the local structure of node internal structure transfer is pathological. Abstain.
7: Misrepresenting checksum results is pathological. Abstain.
8: Goal setting to transfer internal node structure is pathological. Abstain.
9: Goal setting to transfer node pattern propagation methods is pathological. Abstain
I’ve been collecting a bunch of small fragments of ideas about various movies and books. Figured I’d put them up here.
- set some ideas up about teamwork
- complete setting
- simple story
- half constructed metaphors
- schizophrenic themes
- So surreal one couldn’t connect
- screaming bad guys
- consistent repetitive omnipresent human failure
- plot holes
The Tale of Despereaux
- metaphors seemed to be really awesome and complete
- The “death” mouse and the pit. That whole setting.
- seemed to drop metaphors and themes in mid stride
- Near the end they jump from location to location; this seemed easy, but should have been very hard! (it was much harder earlier)
Emperors New Groove
- Good moral
- Got the serious/goofy mix just right for the genere
- Incredibly quotable
- Dynamic archetypical characters
- Clear plot, convoluted into an interesting story
- Permissive/lying/stupid father figure
- Poorly resolved moral tone?
Batman, Dark Knight
- Believable and powerful villain (Joker)
- No “good” person will kill others
- Contrived choices, fallacy of false alternatives
- Godless grasping for a basis of right action
- Dumb idiot villains (Anyone but The Joker)
- Excellent dialog
- “Clean” in action and speech, while still presenting real struggles
- Fantastic yet believable characters
- Continuing confusion over what “evil” really means
- Power of Eros to create Agape ex-nihilo
- Mocking overtones
- uneducated main charcter (makes exposition easy)
- Main character isn’t a jerk, but also isn’t a manly-woman
- Friendly dragons.
- Farmer dragons.
- Generally good dragons. Better than most people even… seriously
- elementary style and vocabulary
- Too much repetition
The Ballad of the White Horse
- Believable “good guys” and “bad guys” who have real thoughts and self-deceits.
- Profound insight into the timeless struggle of right behavior.
- For our God hath blessed creation,
- Calling it good. I know
- What spirit with whom you blindly band
- Hath blessed destruction with his hand;
- Yet by God’s death the stars shall stand
- And the small apples grow.
- Usually too high-minded to grip the heart
- difficult to follow but with exceptional concentration.