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On Artistic Talent

One thing that bugs me, and which I hear a lot from people looking at drawings or playing Minecraft, is the tendency to look at anything that's been done well, and remark that they would never be able to make something as good as that. This is especially irritating in Minecraft, where we're all working with the same cubic-meter blocks of material, and thus there is no really good reason to think that any particular piece of work is impossible for you to match.   The idea of someone being natural

Starscape II Docs - Ship Design

This document gives a pretty good overview of the principles of shipbuilding.   ---     Spaceships vary wildly in their designs, based on their intended function, however, they can generally be classified according to their size and intended function. However, there are no standard ship classes; if you like, a good general principle is to build your ships along real-world Navy ship designs. However, your species’ biology and culture will influence this, and you’re free to design your ships howev

Starscape II Docs - Resources

This document outlines the resources in Starscape, and how you acquire or spend them.   ---     Starscape features only two Resources; Money and CHON. Money is a representative value of how much of an empire’s economy something takes to build and support, while CHON(Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen) represents how much a ship takes at creation, and needs periodically.     These resources are gathered on Planets, Moons, Asteroid Belts, and generated in Habitats.     Planets     While a very wid

Starscape II Docs - Common Technologies

The following is a brief overview of the technologies you can expect everyone to have.   ---     Every race has access to the following technologies; this means they have the science and industry needed to mass-produce, use, and understand them.     Scanners     Electromagnetic sensors: From radio waves all the way up to X-Rays, every race has an understanding of how to build these. These include devices such as infrared scanners, radar, LIDAR, and the like.     Gravimetric Sensors: Finely calib

Starscape II Documents - Cultural Advancements

The following is the list of traits that can be selected at the beginning of Starscape II. Choose carefully for maximum coolness.   ---       Races get 6 points. This list is a work in progress. If you have ideas for other traits that should be available, write them up and send them to Xomeron!     Trait: Cost: Description     Physical     Natural Radios: 1: Your species has either evolved naturally, or altered itself to include, natural radio antennae, obsoleting spoken words and allowing for n

Notes on Worldbuilding and Infodumps

It is hardly a secret that worldbuilding is my favorite part of writing. I don't care much for plots until I've got, at the very least, a detailed map of the relevant planet's ocean currents. I won't design a single character until I know where the tallest mountain is and whether it casts a significant rain shadow. I could go on, if I had no other responsibilities, for years, figuring out how a fictional world ticks. Once the planet is done, the ecosystems come in. Here I could get lost forever,



A Poll

I have recently procured a Black Pegasus in Minecraft, via the breeding of a Pegasus and a Unicorn.   Now, the Black Pegasus being the best of all horses, this one needs a name. I can't pick which.   Your options are either Sleipnir or Shadowfax (I named one of my other horses Stybba, and still another Snowmane, so LOTR-based names are perfectly valid).   Other options may be suggested, but nothing to do with MLP or I'll sic the Hounds of Tindalos on you.

Nether Doom Blues

More Technic fun.   I went tromping off through the Nether Portal I set up in a Siege Castle I captured a while ago, taking only weapons and food, with the intention of acquiring a few Blaze Rods so I could craft an Ender Chest or two... well, exactly two. Thaumcraft plans.   Knowing that a Nether Fortress would be the best thing to find, I set about the task of wandering aimlessly until I found one - finding, instead, this cheeky little pigman in a funky robe who immediately started setting me


You know that incredibly weird moment when you're trying to talk to the chief of a neighboring village, and you shoot him in the face instead, and he doesn't even get mad?


So here I am, hiding, terrified, in a shack I hollowed out of a rubber tree, when I see some dude with really long, thin legs marching around in diamond armor, carrying a diamond sword, and kind of walking like a chicken. It's night, so I figure he'd probably stab me if I went outside, so I just watch him through one of the windows.   This goes on for five minutes, until I realize that the only piece he's missing from a full set of diamond armor is the pants.   This disturbs me greatly, until I

After Midnight

If you want exciting things to happen, go talk to Eric Clapton.   This is me, listening to David Bowie, eating tiny ice cream, and reading Lord of the Rings.


I really wish - and yes, I know I'm a couple of decades too late for this to actually happen - but I really wish Yes would have decided whether to be infuriating or awesome, and then stuck with one of those things. They sort of bounced between great prog rock songs and the most annoyingly repetitive vocals this side of a political debate, and it's a bit like a minefield when you're about to listen to a Yes song you haven't heard before.


One of my friends recently showed me a video of a song from a live performance Metallica did in San Francisco in December of 2011, citing it as evidence that Metallica has "a breakthrough on the way". Intrigued, I listened to the song, and found myself gravely disappointed.   From the beginning, the song failed to sound noticeably different from other songs Metallica has done. Now, I'm not expecting them to suddenly become an entirely different sort of band, or for James Hetfield to pull a flute

Paranoid Ranting

I don't recommend it. It makes you look like an awful person, makes everything that moves think you're an awful person, except for that one guy in the corner telling you that yes, they are all out to get you, and when you calm down he just ends up looking and feeling awkward.

April Musician Spotlight - Ian Anderson

Yes, yes, I know. I'm a lazy sod and should be shot on sight for so terribly neglecting the Spotlight for this month. I know.   On the plus side, I have great (if stupidly delayed news) for you all.   On April 2nd (3rd in the States, aka where I'm at), Ian Anderson, frontman for Jethro Tull (you might recognize them as the legendary band behind albums like Aqualung, Thick As A Brick, and Stormwatch) released a sequel to Thick As A Brick, forty years after the release of the original. Owing to, f


Some of you are probably aware of the Minecraft server that caters, in part, to BZP members. Most of you who are aware of that probably frequent the Minecraft topic in COT, and thus may be aware of the recent server crash.   What you might not be fully aware of is the reason for this crash.   A small group of players, led by Madufruit42 (The Invisible Noob) with some assistance from myself, MTMerrick (thoron) and a handful of others, were working on building a railway from Ga-Koro (not an exact

Do Not Adjust Your Set. Do Not Attempt To Change The Dial.

So, umm... In some alternate universe, a lot of people are wondering why I'm a spoon now. They're also wondering why and how I developed the technology for gazing through the void, into the living rooms of people living an another universe.   The answer is not available to you at this time, alternate-universe commies. Instead, I leave you with the greatest question ever asked. Why aren't you a spoon instead of some antennae-faced alien hippie?

Musician Spotlight - And, Err, Sorry I'm Late With This One.

Yeah, yeah, I know - there wasn't a Musician Spotlight for January. I'm sure all -3 of you that read this thing were livid.   Ahem.   Anyway, I'm probably going to have some more business - sorry, busy-ness - so from now until April 3rd - or, until I update the Musician Spotlight again, whichever comes first - the Spotlight will be focused on Ian Anderson's new album, which is to be released as a direct sequel to the legendary Thick As a Brick... err, 40 years late.   I've heard lots of good thi



This Blasted Filter

I no doubt sound pretty daft here, but that's normal, so I'll plow on.   I've noticed that words like person keep getting changed to a word essentially signifying a small horse. A human being is not a small horse. I do not want every mention of a human being to be changed to a mention of a small horse. If someone knows of a way to stop this from happening, now would be a good time to mention it.   DISCLAIMER: I do not hate small horses. I am perfectly fine with small horses, TV shows about small



Subterranean Sand-Switch Blues

So I was showing off my grand sand-trap to a friend today - hmm. Before I say what happened, I should probably go over what was supposed to happen.   In a subterranean complex, I built a large domed room with the floor open to the Void. I then went around the perimeter of the room, placing pistons on one long circuit, with Repeaters used as the only direct redstone contact for each and every piston, and occasionally using a Repeater-and-wire loop on the outside of the circuit to extend the energ



Scary Monsters (And Super Creepers)

This is one of those times when the fact that I am incompetent to install a moderator for Minecraft, much less make one, really frustrates me.   See, I had what I consider to be an awesome idea for a moderator to use in Survival mode. Basically, the idea is that Creepers would be modified to no longer take fire, explosion, or fall damage, so they explode, then just go ahead and do it again. And again. And so on until you manage to kill them. Increasing their base health to around what Endermen h



The Whistler Begins To Play

My new flute arrived in the mail today. I'm already decently good with the penny whistle, so the most difficult thing for me is going to be getting a consistent sound out of that little embouchure. I'll be spending the next week working solely on that, after which I will allow myself to begin working on actually getting a tune out of the thing.   I'll be keeping a record of my progress on this blog, both for the really bored people who, for some reason, actually care about the "progress" some lo



Minecraft Take Two

Alright, alright, I know how to take a hint. No response on something generally means it's been weighed, measured, and found wanting. Really wanting. Thus, the other thing has been discontinued.   That being said, I'm still doing goofy things in Minecraft. Finally returned to the home continent, and ended up starting on a fortress that relies oh-so-much on projectile-based defenses. Currently working at a testing range I dug into the permafrost to ensure I've got the splash potions that will be



Minecraft Diaries #1

As of today, I'm starting a little diary detailing odd moments in my Minecrafting experience, from my character's point of view. The first of these will come in a batch, while the rest are likely to come one at a time.     ---Entry 1, January 16th   It is now a week since I became sick of the sight of snow, and, in a fit either of brilliance or madness, abandoned the mainland in my small wooden boat - a boat I had not built, much less used, until about an hour before I pushed off from the shore.



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