A Good Name’s a Terrible Thing to Waste

Let’s talk about Twitter names. It’s popular, right? It’s hard to get a name, sometimes seemingly impossible. All the good ones are taken, leaving you with whatever no one else wanted for the past couple years, regardless of activity on the account. It could have two tweets asking how to use it from 2007, but it’s taken. Here are some of the worst twitter wastes of names ever:


  1. Pokemon. Frankly, I’m surprised that Nintendo doesn’t have this registered to tweet important Pokemon news, but no. Instead we have Barry, with such insightful tweets as “HOW TO USE?”, “Hi! Everybody!”, “hi”, and…well, that’s it. This twitter was registered for 3 tweets, then to rot for over 2 years.
  2. Information. You’d think this would be a catch-all, maybe information on Twitter itself or news? Well, it started out well enough, two posts within 8 minutes of each other, but then it just ended. Not even a real attempt at an information feed, just a few tweets and complete abandonment.
  3. Sports. Another catch-all, but a bit more specific. This one didn’t even try for two tweets close together; it went straight from January to November of 2010, then another in February of 2011, then they gave up. The best part? Out of the three tweets under this account name, they’re not even all sports-related.
  4. Style. This one tried a bit harder than the others on this list – it got up to 10 tweets! And a grand total of 4 of them were style related. Unfortunately, it’s on this list for a reason – October 2010 marked its last post, putting it among great, yet inactive accounts.
  5. Dessert. This one makes me sad, I love sweet things. Not even a single tweet. ):

Now, some #information for you: there is in fact a way to get an unused username. This blog post outlines how you would get ahold of a username that hasn’t been used for a certain amount of time. Very tempting to take up /pokemon…


Any other useless Twitter accounts that you know of?


Do You Like Cute Things?

Okay, here’s the deal. You like cute things, right? You like buying cute things, right? Domo in a sunhat? Chowder grinning at you? Check out Mew and Woof. By tomorrow they should have their shop up, with cellphone charms and necklaces with cute pendants that you can be proud to have. Here are a few of my favorites:


Sun Hat Domo


Moustache Domo



So, there you have it. If you’re looking for cute, you now know where to go. To Mew and Woof, awayyy!

New Obsession: Pokémon White

Okay, I’ve been a fan of Pokémon for years. I got Red and Blue when they first came out, Red for my sister, Blue for me. I was 6. Ever since then, between my sister and I, we’ve had:

  • Red, Blue, Yellow
  • Gold, Silver, Crystal (2 copies)
  • Ruby, Sapphire
  • Pearl
  • Heart Gold

And none of that includes the non-RPG ones, of which we had:

  • Pokémon Snap
  • Pokémon Stadium
  • Pokémon Coliseum
  • Hey You, Pikachu!
  • Pokémon Trading Card Game (not the cards, the GBC game)

So, I’ve had a bit of experience in Pokémon, to say the least. 12 years of following a genre can do that to you. I’d been pretty disappointed lately. I got Heart Gold, thought it was kind of fun, but needed prodding just to beat the Elite Four in Johto. If I remember correctly, my character has been endlessly standing at the Snorlax in Kanto, waiting for me to care enough to be able to catch it. So when my friends started talking about Black and White and new Pokémon and new adventures, I was pretty jaded. My boyfriend got me White for Valentine’s Day and got himself Black, and we began play.


I can now officially say that this Pokémon game rates as my favorite one…ever.


How Much History is Too Much? Part 2

What if some of your background is negative?


This was brought up by a character I created for our long-term Call of Cthulhu campaign. She was a professor knowledgable in a language that we’d need, nothing special in that universe really. We got to a point where the Keeper asked us what was more important to us, our investigation or the law. The characters that had been there long-term gladly agreed that the investigation is of utmost importance and wanted to go forward. As much as I wanted to go forward (it had been nearly 5 hours and I hadn’t made a single roll), I knew my character wouldn’t have. She’s just a professor. We were breaking into a house, and she trips over her own feet (DEX of 4). She just got into this investigation, doesn’t really understand the stakes, and wouldn’t think it necessary to do what we did. So she chose to wait with the people getting the cars ready instead of shooting police officers.


By the time it was over, six cars were after our two. We were blocked in with no way of escape, and I did the thing that felt most logical for my character: I jumped out of the car and ran through the alleys. I didn’t have the important documents from breaking in, I didn’t kill anyone, I wanted to get out of there. But because I felt like my character wouldn’t want to be a part of it, I lost out on one of the best scenes my Keeper has ever seen: a car chase, two cars against six, shooting out the windows, exploding buildings, a priest driving one car and a paperboy the other.


Yeah, I could have made a half-assed justification like “My character now sees the seriousness of the situation and thinks it’s alright to shoot out the windows at cop cars”, but if I did I would feel bad about it. When I create my character, I have a personality in mind for it. Just like I know what I would do, I know what my character would do, and not doing what she would do with any made-up justification would sit wrong with me. I knew that she wouldn’t do that, so I didn’t want to make her just because I wanted to.


How do you deal with a hindering personality in a character? Maybe you make a coward character, not knowing that the scenario is going to require a lot of action, and you’re stuck sitting out most of it. Do you handle it by just always making brave characters, or do you consider it a challenge?

How Much History is Too Much?

How much background is enough for a roleplaying character?

I’ve played plenty of oneshots, and am currently in the middle of a long campaign of Call of Cthulhu. I’ve swung wildly between 100 Questions to Ask about your Roleplaying Character and “My character’s name is Jane  Doe, these are her skills, let’s play”, and everywhere in between. I’m never sure how much background to actually put into my character.


The first character I made was a football player named Chad. He had background and history, a girlfriend within the game, a unique personality and potential for growth. When his girlfriend died in the first oneshot, he moved on to the next with a new respect for the supernatural and a more sober personality, and died that scenario.


Then I started making nearly background-less characters. “He’s gone to college…which one? Does it matter?” because hey, it’s a oneshot, we die most of the time anyway and quirks make it harder to use your own mental faculties. If you make your character have a fear of something for flavor background, it makes you unable to investigate anything related to that, you have to sit out, etc. It just seemed silly to have a lot of background for a character.


I thought I’d change my ways when my first Masks of Nyarlathotep character turned out horribly. I hated her, everything about her. She wasn’t good at anything that someone else wasn’t better at, she was a coward so she couldn’t do anything in a fight, I was miserable playing her, so the Keeper let me make a new one. I decided to do her right. I spent hours just deciding on her name, decided she had parental issues because she was a Chinese woman with a job and clashes with her father because of it, made her somewhat fearless and smart. I spent more time creating her than playing her; she died that session, and now I have to make a new one for the next one.


This post was partly inspired by my Keeper. We did a oneshot because not everyone could be there, with him playing and someone else running it for once. He got so into creating his character that he refused to play unless there was monetary compensation, and created a part of himself that only the Keeper could see that caused him to plan to commit suicide by the end of the session if he hadn’t died. And yet, his school was, including the quotes, “Police Academy”, and he didn’t put much stock in the rest of the flavor added into the character sheets. Is that the secret, the quirks have nothing to do with the character sheets?


How much is too much background? Should I have expected my character to die and planned accordingly? Should you tone down the roleplaying background for a oneshot, or plan each one as if you’ll be that character forever?

Watson and Jeopardy

Some of my readers might have watched Jeopardy tonight. Probably a lot more of you than usual, actually. Why? Because a supercomputer was playing against the two champions.


In case you weren’t watching, this was how it worked – while the answer was being read, a text version of it was submitted to Watson, the supercomputer. Light sensors detected the offscreen cue as to when it was allowed to answer, and then it would buzz in…or not, depending on its surety of the answer. Some of its answers were wrong, obviously. It was asked for an art period once and answered with “What is Picasso?” But more often than not, Watson swept the competition.


In the Final Jeopardy question, while both human competitors got it right (Chicago has an airport named after a WWII veteran and another after a WWII battle), Watson got it wrong, guessing Toronto when the category was cities in the United States. There are obviously bugs in the system. But overall, it was scary accurate, trouncing both Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.


One of the most amusing parts of watching was by far seeing the computer’s second and third guesses. While a question about Paradise Lost brought up the obvious answer of John Milton, the computer’s third choice? Satan. When a question about the name of a stolen painting was asked, one of his options was “art theft”. Imagining those answers in place of the correct ones was most satisfying.


Is this a scary rendition of what’s to come? Or is it just a bit of good fun?

The Making of a Model, Part 1

So I get the box. It looks like this.



Pretty cool, but I feel like the Ball is watching me. Judging me.


I watch you while you sleep.


I open the box and pull out the instructions, stare blankly at them for a few seconds until I start to understand what they’re trying to say. Or show, since they’re entirely in Japanese. Now, I don’t have any of the tools necessary to make this model on my own, so I bring the box over to my boyfriend’s room, and he lends me an exacto-knife and clippers. I cautiously begin work, first cutting too far from the piece and then not shaving off the nibs fast enough. Finally he lends me his really sharp knife, the one that he usually uses, while telling me to be careful with it. I slice my thumb open in a few minutes.


The whole process of building the model was a lot faster than I expected. It may have just been the Ball itself, or I may have been way overestimating how long it would take (although my boyfriend was gawking at the fact that it only went up to C, not G or H like the model he was doing). It ended up taking me a few hours to put it together.



And my favorite, the “Come at me bro”:


I have yet to do the panel lines, because I’m really nervous about those. My boyfriend can’t even give me advice about it, since he’s never used the markers on his models either, so I’m really just on my own here. Maybe I can convince myself that I’m brave enough sometime soon.


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