So I had to replace my dishwasher

and am a bit strapped for cash.

If anyone is interested, i’m selling some anime dvds, comics and music stuff on Amazon.  One highlight is I’ve got a 1st ed hardcover vol 1 of Girl Genius and I’m far and away the cheapest seller for it.

Some New Links Over on the Right —>

You may have noticed that the links list has expanded. Admittedly, these aren’t all of the blogs I follow, but these are ones that have reached “ascendancy” to blogroll here at Cirsova.

The Belle Jar – While I often find myself either in disagreement or, at best, hesitant agreement with the author of this blog, her writing is always thought provoking.  I mean, that Strawman she’s attacking in her last post sounds like a real asshole!

The Book Wars – This is probably one of my new favorite blogs. Even if you’re like me and unfamiliar with today’s world of YA literature, these posts are always amusing and insightful, though I’d like to see their Covers Wars be a little more along the lines of Good Show, Sir.

Dyson’s Dodecahedron – I’ve been following Dyson forever but hadn’t linked. I don’t know how useful the maps he posts are, but they sure are neat to look at!

Swords & Dorkery – It’s almost a crime that I haven’t had this in my blogroll for how long I’ve been following it. It’s been long overdue, Mike.

A Toast to Dragons – Same with Swords & Dorkery, totally a crime that this hasn’t been added yet. Matt’s all over the place with his blog, reviewing books, reviewing movies, writing about setting and worldbuilding, and, of course, promoting his own published works, so somewhere in there you’re bound to find something of interest.

Thulean Perspective – I originally had been hesitant to add the link, as it was not gaming related, but this website has delivered a lot of traffic to Cirsova, so the least I can do is return the favor. Though Varg and I probably do not see eye to eye on a lot of things (and you may not either), I’ve found him to be incredibly affable, as most people who are fans of history and games are.

What’s Your Tag – I can’t always read this blog, since they limit post length shown in the reader and they’re blocked by my webfilter at work, but they’re the only video gaming blog I regularly follow. Imagine a smaller and less gross version of Penny Arcade with less baggage.

One thing that people forget or do not know about the Nation of Islam

is that not only is it a Black Nationalist Separatist movement…

Source: The Final Call

Source: The Final Call

…it is also a UFO Religion.


In retrospect, I can’t help but wonder if all of those “you/he/she needs to beam back up to the mothership” quips from the 90s were veiled anti-NOI dog-whistles.  I wonder if anyone accused people of that?  Because that would be hilarious.  I know I’ll never find that cereal commercial on youtube…


Thucydides Thursday

Could this not have been written yesterday?

(emphasis mine)

Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defence. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head, to divine a plot a still shrewder; but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries. In fine, to forestall an intending criminal, or to suggest the idea of a crime where it was wanting, was equally commended until even blood became a weaker tie than party, from the superior readiness of those united by the latter to dare everything without reserve; for such associations had not in view the blessings derivable from established institutions but were formed by ambition for their overthrow; and the confidence of their members in each other rested less on any religious sanction than upon complicity in crime. The fair proposals of an adversary were met with jealous precautions by the stronger of the two, and not with a generous confidence. Revenge also was held of more account than self-preservation. Oaths of reconciliation, being only proffered on either side to meet an immediate difficulty, only held good so long as no other weapon was at hand; but when opportunity offered, he who first ventured to seize it and to take his enemy off his guard, thought this perfidious vengeance sweeter than an open one, since, considerations of safety apart, success by treachery won him the palm of superior intelligence. Indeed it is generally the case that men are readier to call rogues clever than simpletons honest, and are as ashamed of being the second as they are proud of being the first. The cause of all these evils was the lust for power arising from greed and ambition; and from these passions proceeded the violence of parties once engaged in contention.

Book 3, The Peloponnesian War, (trans. Richard Crawley)

We’re living in a time where those in power are awash in scandal and so untouchable that nothing can be done to stop them.  Their ability to conduct scandal and get away unscathed is praised and hailed as brilliant.  They destroy their opponents with base accusations and twisting of words.  They have no regard for the old institutions: how’s that ‘fundamental transformation’ working out for us?  No reasonably proposed solutions are considered because solving problems are the last thing on the minds of those in power.

“Why bother reading history?”

“Because it gives us important insights into the constancy of human nature.”

“But if human nature doesn’t change, what’s the point of reading about it?”

“…I dunno… Maybe you’re right?

Also, yay, Cirsova has over 10,000 views and over 100 followers!  Thanks!

I Will Not “Say Anything”

North Star Games’ ‘Say Anything’ was probably one of my worst ever gaming experiences. It is similar to “Wits and Wagers”(also by North Star and a lot of fun, actually), only the ‘correct’ answers to any of the questions are subjective to decision of the asker. Players write in their ‘best answer’, the person who asked the question chooses their favorite or whatever is true about them, people place their bets on the best answer, and the ‘judge’ reveals their choice.

Maybe this game has the potential to be fun, and some people seem to really enjoy it. But it’s not a good game to play with strangers or mixed company, particular with people who don’t know how to tone down the brocious behavior. The problems with the game were exacerbated by the fact that the only other girl at the table besides my girlfriend took it upon herself to be dedicated judge and question-asker (it’s supposed to go around the table). All the questions were about her, what she would like, what she thinks, etc. etc. This put the people who know her at an advantage and puts the people who are uncomfortable and unwilling to put down truly outrageous and suggestive things about this person they know nothing about at a HUGE disadvantage. Considering that I’m with my girlfriend and I don’t want to make an ass out of myself or be too presumptuous about this person I know nothing about, I’m half-assing answers or just putting stuff randomly. With questions like “Most of all, I would like a BIG -what-?”, I’m putting out “Teddy Bear” while three other players are racing to be the first to put down “Black Dick”(the guy who managed to play this answer first was black, not that that makes it any better).

The previous games of Resistance we’d played with these same people were MUCH less raunchy and a lot of fun, despite the fact that my inability to maintain a poker-face when accused of anything meant everyone thought I was a spy both games even though I wasn’t. It’s not that I don’t like these people, I do. It’s just that I’m very much not comfortable playing a game that relies heavily on having intimate knowledge of the players with strangers.  And when everyone else appears comfortable with what is going on, it’s difficult, as the outsider in the group, to say “I think this is inappropriate”.

Even though I will probably play games again with most of these people, I will never play ‘Say Anything’ again with anyone.

Character Mush

I had to come up with a background for my character to send to the DM.  I don’t know anything about the setting, the character we’re in service of, or anything really, so I had to keep things vague.  This isn’t what I sent.  It’s Character Mush.  Not polished, not paced, not very good.  Just mush.  But from it, I was able to get enough of the basic facts to send as bullets.  Anyway, even though I didn’t feel like spending enough effort on this to make it “good”, it seemed like a waste to just delete it.  And yeah, he’s a weaver-turned-warlord.
Bregar’s long and unlikely career began same as many children in the city: as an orphan scouring the streets for food an coin. Originally, Bregar had been the son of a weaver and a carpenter, though heavy taxes stole too much bread from their mouths, leaving them weak and succeptible to the seasonal plagues which afflicted the city. He was 10 when the cough took his parents. The city’s taxmen took everything else.

Larger than the other children, Bregar often found himself in the roll of footpad; his friends would set them up and he would knock them down. Usually the fat bureaucrats; the men working for the city were generally the only ones who had anything to take. He might have made a name for himself in the underworld, had not one of his victims been both a capable fighter and person of some importance in the city. At the age of 15, he was given a death sentence: to be sent to the frontier as part of the slave, debtor and prisoner auxilia for five years. He spent those years on the frontier, defying all odds time and again, surviving battles that few walked away from. Bregar proved his worth as an ambusher and skirmisher, and was soon given a small command of his own; some were fellow scoundrels, debtors and petty criminals who were fighting for their freedom, but others were volunteers and career military men.

Near the end of his fifth year, the auxillia faced a foe led by powerful magicians. Fire rained down and the army was decimated. The regulars retreated toward their supply line while the auxilia scattered, fleeing through the countryside. Though his sentence was almost up, Bregar was faced with a choice: return to the land that had took from him his parents and his freedom or live for himself, a free man? He rallied what he could of his companions and fled into the hills.

For a few years, the group hired out as mercenaries, guards or freelance adventurers, but many of the group still had dreams of returning home, paying off their debts, settling down. The massive defeat their homeland had suffered presented enough cover for them to eventually return, and those who could did. Bregar continued to hire himself out, usually as either a guard captain or scout leaders to powerful men who could afford someone with his skill and experience. Several years left him wealthy as a noble, and exploits in the name of a prince had earned him a title and an accompanying pension.

Bregar spent the days in opulent repose and the nights in drunken revelry. One night, on his way to his apartments, Bregar found himself confronted by a few dirty looking children. He was about to tell them to get out of his way when a loud, wet crack presaged his failing vision.

Bregar woke up in a strange bed, his head throbbing. He did not even bother to check his valuables. He knew they were gone. He had become what he had once hated. A fat pensioned nobleman, drawing his wealth from the purses of others rather than the labor of his hands. He’d gotten what he deserved.

“You are awake.”
“I am.”
“City life does not agree with you.”
“Doesn’t it, though?”
“You were once one of the most brilliant commanders, cunning scouts, and foremost warriors, I have heard. The Hero of Amun Hill. Leader of the Silent Slingers. A mercenary force to be feared and admired! And look at you now. Laid low by a child!”
Bregar sat up and touched the back of his head. It was bandaged, though wet with blood. “It would seem that I owe you my life.”
“I hope that the life you owe is not the one you lead now.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, look at you? You’re a mess! You were taken down by a mere boy with a stick! No, if you wish to thank me, I choose only to be thanked by the man who led a thousand ambushes. You see, my name is Palantir, and I am a travelling merchant. I have need of one who was skilled as he. You. You will not do the trick. Not yet.”

Does belief in the existence of “Rape Culture” victimize women?

“X things don’t cause rape, rapists cause rape.”

Deaf people have Deaf culture, but I don’t really think that rapists get together and have Rapist Culture.
If only rapists cause rape, then only rapists can contribute to rape culture.
Is everyone who contributes to rape culture a rapist, whether they raped someone or not?
What if a woman has created a work that ‘contributes to rape culture’?
Does a work magically not contribute to rape culture if it was created by a woman?
Even if the same work, were it created by a man, could be pointed to as an example of rape culture?
But since women are perpetual victims of rape culture, and victims are allowed no agency in their victimhood, a woman cannot, therefore, create or perpetuate rape culture.
Does the notion of “rape culture” and the perpetuation of the notion that rape culture exists, a notion that therefore removes agency from women, victimize women by reducing them to a state of perpetual victimhood in which they have no part or agency and therefore no control or means of escape?
Does my introspection on the matter create rape culture?

(It should be noted that this post at The Book Wars, which is an absolutely wonderful blog, is what got me down this line of thinking, particularly since most of the books singled out were written by female authors.)