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Everything posted by dog-days

  1. Small point, but the Romans didn't practice human sacrifice at the time of Augustus. It was banned in 97BC and continued as such for the remainder of the Republic and into the Empire. Given the ritual aspects of death in the area and the execution of captives, this may seem to be splitting hairs. But the educated classes of Rome definitely saw human sacrifice as something uncivilised and unroman. Human sacrifice in the form of retainer burials died out in Egypt long before even the Ptolemies. And it was written into the faith of the Roman-era Jews that they shouldn't commit human sacrifice. They were also joyless stick-up-the-bums who disapproved of the Romans' amphitheatre entertainments.
  2. Random, but I enjoyed reading this: World's oldest letter handwritten by a Christian identified by the University of Basel. They've owned it for a hundred years after buying an assortment of papyri. I can't find out where they bought them from, just that they 'were acquired'. The English sources are all very passive voice. Fish liver sauce has got to be close relative of the infamous garum. These days if I was reading historical fiction and saw the writer drop in a mention of fish sauce, I might think unfairly that they were being a bit cliched. But this letter is a reminder that the stuff was more or less its own food group. Also interested to read that the letter writer and his brother were from a wealthy provincial family. Always puzzled how Christianity managed to go from freaky fringe cult to state religion. I can see how it would be useful to the emperors after it managed to become semi-respectable, but it's the jump from an offshoot of Judaism for oddballs expecting the end of the world to being the faith of people like Arrianus and Paulus with their extensive lands and vats of fish sauce that trips me up.
  3. Somehow missed this in August. Really glum news from Bioware. Around fifty staff laid off The number includes Mary Kirby one of the longest-standing Dragon Age writers. I most associate her for posting part of the Landsmeet flowchart on Twitter, but to everyone else she's probably better known for writing Varric. ETA: holy shit, they laid off Lukas Kristjanson too. He wrote Minsc!! Would the last one out of Bioware please close the doors and switch off the lights?
  4. Summer has suddenly arrived. In September. I went swimming yesterday evening off the Gower. If it continues like this, I'll probably try the same thing either tonight or later in the week. Why couldn't it have been a bit like this when I was on holiday?? (On a less petty note, I'm glad that the rainy summer topped up the reservoirs. And though I've enjoyed the hot, genuinely summery summers we've had over the last few years, I'm happy to pass on the grass fires.)
  5. Not generally, though I think the big companies are starting to try and market Thanksgiving as another means to separate us from our money. Make sure we aren't at risk of adding to our savings accounts in November. Rural communities used to have harvest festivals and harvest dinners (as seen in L.P.Hartley's 'The Go-Between'), but these aren't so common now and tended to fall earlier in the year. September-ish.
  6. I'm old-fashioned. It should be the 24th and they stay up for twelve days, unless you're a Christmas market in which case you get a pass from 1st December. Any earlier and you're burning in hell along with the plastic snowmen and singing reindeer heads. (These things really exist and are nightmarish). TBH, I don't put up decorations. I'm a bit of a Scrooge and that's only got worse since my dad died in December a couple of years ago. But I would really like a Norfolk Island Pine as houseplant. Put a few sparkly things on it and ta-da, it's a little Christmas tree. Take them off and it can live happily by a window the rest of the year.
  7. Fragment of good news for Friday morning. Man successfully sues Conservative Club in Cardiff (A man from the Irish Travellers wanted to hold a Christening party there for his baby daughter. Club staff member said no way and 'you know what you lot are like, doing coke in the toilets and spitting gum on the floor'. He brought a court case against them with the help of the Equality and Human Rights commission.
  8. Liked this episode more than the first two. Even if the denouement ends up being disappointing, I like the set up of the 'find Ezra and/or Thrawn' plot. Vanilla route is they're both alive and neither have changed much from when they were last seen. Likely (and also boring vanilla route) is Thrawn is exactly the same while Ezra goes through a jerkass/mopey phase that he snaps out of just in time to help save the day, possibly dying in the process or else returning to wherever he's been. I'm hoping that neither is the same in that what they've been through has changed them, and neither are necessarily equipped anymore to slot into the hero and villain role. Re: training. Even if Sabine does seem to have dropped an incredible number of levels (Pillars of Eternity 1 => 2 style), the choreography was excellent. Normally not a fan of training montages, but the moment when Sabine was finally able to sense Ahsoka's practice sword felt great.
  9. Wow, didn't mean to but watched the full scene again. So good. Much better than the later knock-off in the Kenobi show. The animators seem to have deliberately minimised some of Vader's bulk towards the end so that as he stands hesitating he looks more vulnerable and it's easier to imagine Anakin stuck in the suit. I can't remember what she was like in the final Rebels episodes, but here she is cocky and fun before she finds out that Vader is Anakin. I like this blogger's response to the first two episodes, pointing out that Sabine has shifted to take over Ahsoka's role. All that said, I'm hoping that Ahsoka's distance and reserve get stripped away and she's able to rediscover some of her passion and verve.
  10. Yep. Saw online today that it had built a Wordpress plugin in five minutes. I'm just waiting for it to learn idiomatic Welsh so I can use it to train me.
  11. Yep. Much better to do something Rashomon-inspired about the Jedi. (From several certain points of view...)
  12. Free Church of Scotland. One of the unsmiling, hell is waiting, fear the Lord, ye sinners, kinds of Christianity, or at least it was in the nineteenth century. For a quarter of a century, the islanders had a priest who made them attend church so much that it damaged their subsistence economy. They seem to have half-worshipped priests from the mainland after good experiences with a couple of earlier ones.
  13. Everything about St Kilda is fascinating, except maybe the birdshit. Still getting my head around how the islanders could let themselves be terrorised by a Wee Free for twenty-four years.
  14. Can't help, but would also be interested in recommendations. At the moment I just use my Outlook calendar notifications with varying levels of emphasis (e.g. rubber-stamp meeting no prep needed; DO THIS NOW IDIOT). Plus Outlook 'to do' and 'done' folders. Plus handwritten lists when Outlook gets overwhelming.
  15. I think they may be past their heyday by now, but ten years ago they were very big and active – probably more so than the sites you mention. And the users did produce some interesting content. I've never been a member or even semi-regular lurker; that said, my guess is that the tone has got worse as the culture wars have deepened. A woman I once knew online circa 2006 said she found it useful and sometimes posted there. Not sure if she still would. Plus, RPGCodex users tended to be vocal about the importance of narrative/writing in RPGs, perhaps to a greater degree than similar sites. CA writes quite dark material, as Wert mentions in his post. Sometimes it tends to deconstruct the prevailing moral universe (e.g. Kreia from KotOR2) or contains challenging, destructive/self-destructive male characters (e.g. Durance from PoE2, Ammon Jerro from NWN2). Basically, he writes the kind of stuff that Elon Musk would love. Not being down on Avellone's writing here: Musk reportedly loved Douglas Adams, and I can only assume that a lot of Hitchhiker's Guide went straight over Musk's head. While CA has had a big fan following for a long time, his relationships with his colleagues don't come over as being that great. Not just the Obsidian leadership, but with other developers. Wert mentioned that he's rarely project lead. Plus, it may be over-interpretation, but I've often thought that The Bridge Ablaze quest in PoE2 is a subtle dig at Avellone. (Durance, Avellone's character, is shown hiding away from the action rather being at the centre of events as PoE suggests he had been). So I guess having that group of really enthusiastic fans on Codex who tell him what he does is brilliant must have had a special appeal to him. Later, they supported him to the hilt over the sexual harassment and assault allegations, though frankly that may have done his reputation more harm than good.
  16. Was in WHSmith today. As usual, bit of a ghost shop. Lots of floorspace in a central location with very few customers. If I'd been asked to place bets on which would be the next big-name high street business to go under, it would have been Smiths, not Wilko. The latter in my hometown was always bustling – people stepping awkwardly around each other in the beer brewing aisle or reaching over someone's head to grab a pack of felt pens etc. WH Smith like a funeral in comparison. I can only assume that the post office agreement plus the obscene amounts they charge for a bottle of water in train stations and airports are keeping the WH Smith balance sheets healthy.
  17. RPG Codex has a pretty dodgy reputation. I don't think CA intentionally set out to get himself a cult there, but the fact that he did has tended to make me rather cautious of him.
  18. Sorry, Ilya. Think I was posting from my phone. RPG Codex Link.
  19. Enjoying S3 of Only Murders in the Building so far. Pleasantly daft.
  20. Full text of the resignation letter. It mostly seems to be spelled correctly and none of it's in crayon, so somebody else must have written most of it. eta: Though maybe she did – it's incredibly staccato: As expected. She attacks Sunak. And blames him for wearing Prada. And not being Boris. And uses very short sentences. With the full stops. In odd places.
  21. He seems to have made some comments that pull no punches on the RPG Codex. They condensed them into a Google Doc. Here's the thread for context. I'm not in either camp. Suspect the full story would be more complex.
  22. Think the Baldur's Gate 3 release may have disappeared a load of boarders into a crack in the fabric of time.
  23. Don't want to derail the thread: for clarification, I was talking about the quotation, not about the character or books (which I haven't read, and probably won't unless I go on a trans-continental quest for all the volumes). It's not the kind of quotation I'd want pinned to my wall any more than I'd want it there if pussy were deleted and replaced with y** or n***** Anyway, I am actually looking forward to reading more about the books since I haven't heard of them before.
  24. I remember seeing some emails/messages from CA making the kind of statements about colleagues (re their incompetence) that once they became public would have made any further cooperation impossible. ETA: just walked down memory lane and Google'd it. Ouch, CA did a lot of complaining in public. Some of the very personal remarks I'd thought were leaked emails just seem to be things he came out and said. Anyway, will try and watch more of the doc later. There was a bit of hype for Avowed at the end, though rather cautious hype. "Some people will really love it..." meaning others won't. And no Josh Sawyer of course.
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