An Apartment and Fruit Flies

Zeeblee

This article is not actually an article.  It’s an excuse as well as a minor insight into the dude-being who is Jason (or Zeeblee if you prefer).  There is no real article because I have been busy.  I have been busy dealing with an apartment and fruit flies.

The real cause for the lack of article is the apartment.  I am in the process of moving out of my old one, and that process is nearly complete.  My stuff is boxed in the worst way possible (I am awful at packing) and piled away Tetris style (I’m good at that part).  Unfortunately, because I am so awful at packing almost all of my clothes are tucked away in a mysterious place, and I only managed to keep a day or two’s worth out of the boxes (laundry all the time!).  There really isn’t anything entertaining in this story except for the part where after attending dinner with a friend I decided to walk from my apartment to my new residence carrying my motorized-bike bag containing a gas can late at night.  Nefarious.

The other venture keeping me busy is my neuroscience fellowship researching octopamine in fruit flies.  Over the last month I have been learning my way around the lab and gaining more and more fly colonies to manage as well as getting more and more brain dissections to perform as well as getting more and more behavior assays to run.  The dissections seem to be going well despite how slow I am.  The behavior assays have barely gotten off the ground, and have the potential to come to a screeching halt due to complications (death).  Colony management has gotten a bit crazy compared to when I started as I am now monitoring the status of at least eight genetic crosses, each of which have multiple vials in multiple stages of development, of which the residents need to be sorted in various ways to match the part of the experiment which they are for.  Good news on that front:  I’m getting damn good at spotting male pupae, and I’m now an expert at putting small dots of paint on the backs of fruit flies.

Next week the lab should calm down and I will be all settled in, so I can successfully post something fun/cool.  Until then, just imagine me smooshing fly brains together until they are the size of a human brain, and then placing said brain within the cranium of a human subject to create the ultimate multi-brained flyman.

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Schindler’s List, and stories that inspire us

It is rare for a movie to reduce me to tears.  Not just tears, but quiet sobbing too.  Schindler’s List does it.

Schindler’s List tells a powerful, horrifying, and moving story, one which ought to be heard by everyone.  It is more than a story of persecution and salvation, it’s a story of inspiration and hope.

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Somebody Like Me

At the close of my previous post, the most consistent comment I got was ‘I had hoped for more of a story’, or ‘I wish you had gone more in depth into your experience’. And really, I hadn’t planned to. Why? Because stories about me are — I feel — inherently boring. I rarely do inner turmoil. I’m pretty focused, driven, and single-minded. There are a few things I do feel conflict about it, and until 2 or 3 years ago, I had thought race to be outside of that. So gather around, and I’ll tell you a story, the spiritual successor to my previous story,  or perhaps what it was meant to be. I had the words to say, but it wasn’t until I was given the right inspiration that I know how to say them. So while this is a story, it is also an homage, and the stylistic similarities are both intentional and the sincerest form of flattery.

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Temple in the Sands: A Musical Teaser

I’ve been working on a module for Call of Cthulhu for several years now, and I’ve finally found a model I like for organizing my written content.  It’s not fancy, and I’ll have to alter a few things eventually when I get around to posting maps and pictures alongside the text, but it will mean that other people can play the game that I’ve made without me running it for them.  But the module isn’t done yet, and is already far longer than most of our posts.  So with that in mind…

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Games Are Art

Zeeblee

As the title says, games are art.  I begin with this because I have gone through multiple false starts in getting this argument going.  While I believe most other gamers would agree with me, making this topic seem rather pointless, I have also noticed that a good deal of the rest of the world still does not acknowledge games as an artistic medium.  The debate over the artistic merit of games was quite loud years ago when Roger Ebert declared, “Games can never be art.” and since it has quieted down.  Unfortunately I think the quiet only really occurred because the only people speaking were gamers.  Well, that’s still going to be true today, but perhaps I can at least outline my argument well enough that if a non-gamer comes across it they can begin to understand what this medium means to us.

To begin I think it would actually be valuable for everyone to first watch Kellee Santiago’s TED Talk to which Ebert’s article responds to, and then to read Ebert’s article.

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The Daylight War, by Peter V. Brett

The Daylight War is the third installment in Peter V. Brett‘s slowly growing Demon Cycle.  I enjoyed it, though my reading of it was rudely interrupted by HPMoR rearing its really rather fetching head.  While not as horrifyingly addictive as its fanfic competitor, The Daylight War does offer a great deal of demon fighting, moderate doses of political intriguing, and a few dashes of vaguely awkward sex scenes.  Oh, and I guess I wasn’t paying attention when I read the first two books several years ago, but there’s a decent helping of weird cultural stuff going on too.  Maybe I’m not being fair?

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Now This Is A Story All About How…

I got to where I am right now
So I’d like to take a minute; just sit right there:
I’ll tell you how I got to the set of sociocultural beliefs I’m at right now and why I think it’s important (especially for gamers) to confront sexism/racism/homophobia within our community because minority groups are already not really taken seriously so all of their bad actions reflect on them whereas bad actions of ‘normal’ people just reflect on people which is why things like Steubenville don’t make the majority of our culture say ‘see, I knew football players were no good’ whereas things like this make people say ‘see, I knew gamers were no good’ when really both of them should lead us to the belief that we live in a self-propagating rape culture

…and I did this all after going to high school in a town called Bel-Air?

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HPMoR: Its Appeal is Surprisingly Reasonable

Early last week I finally gave in to the steadily building pile of recommendations and started reading Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.  By Friday I had barely managed to keep up with my other commitments and had forcibly redistributed my sleep cycle; but I finished all 87 chapters that are presently out, and was left wanting more.  I hadn’t understood why so many other people had thought that I would like the story: I’m not normally attracted to any sort of fanfic, and while I enjoyed the Harry Potter series I didn’t think it was the alpha and omega of wizardly fiction.  But now…

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Character of the Week: Jason’s Jackmerius

Zeeblee

I’m piggybacking off of Mattias’ article because in our discussions before he published it, certain parts of his character caught my fancy, and it inspired me to try my hand at my own iteration.  The core of the idea at the time in our discussions was:  Demon hunter who uses magic.  After more discussion Mattias mentioned how he was playing around with the idea of multiple personalities and the He Who Fights Monsters trope.  My thought:  What if this were literal?

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Held at Gunpoint

There’s a lovely new game that came out very recently.  It’s called Gunpoint.  Perhaps you may have heard of it…

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