Book Review: Lifeless New Worlds

Review of Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System (audiobook edition) by Ray Jayawardhana, Narrated by Bronson Pinchot

I was excited going into Strange New Worlds. I’m a sucker for astronomy, but I don’t keep up with it as much as I should, so I was looking forward to getting to hear about the new techniques and results in the field. Especially as relate to exoplanets and alien life, something I’ve been acutely interested in since I started working on a science fiction RPG.

I got what I asked for, and I wish I hadn’t. Continue reading

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Re-reads: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Part 1)

Dear friend,

Re-reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower is like holding a tin can on a string, and the other end is pulled taut by myself in 9th grade. I think that’s when I first read it, as that would be around when I was dating the girl I think of when I try to remember the time period. I don’t even remember where I got my copy, which probably means it was from the ASPCA thrift store downtown. It was a good way to spend a day, especially when you were borderline broke and in a town full of a perfectly wholesome nothing to do. Besides, I didn’t know any of the kids that had pot, and I’m still convinced my parents are psychic and would have known if I ever got high anyway.

My dad told me once that I wasn’t a very good liar. I can’t really dispute it. Continue reading

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(Tentatively) Hanging Out My Shingle

Hey everyone. As you may have guessed from a few of my previous posts about job searching and stuff, I’m ~on the hunt~ for new opportunities as my current gig at the datacenter dies down. As such, I figured I would take this opportunity to hang out my (admittedly still unfinished) shingle. If you have any freelance writing or editing gigs you could point me towards, including blogs that could use more content, research projects, general articles, or copy editing, please let me know! Oh, and fiction. God yes to any fiction opportunities, including writing for video games, tie-in fiction, ARGs, etc. If you don’t know of any, that’s okay too! I just want to get the word out as I ramp up to trying to do more paying writing.

You can contact me directly through the e-mail linked in the right column of the site, or leave links in the comments.

I’ve also started doing some work so I can pitch myself more effectively to potential employers. I finally put together an updated portfolio that includes example posts and academic papers alongside some of my older game projects. I’m also in the process of making myself a professional site because I love this site too much to keep it the kind of sterile that professional sites often end up being. I want to be my whole self here, not just my best self, and a little separation between professional and (semi-)personal never hurt anyone.

It’s been fun thinking of ideas to write articles about, too. The only issue I have is that I’m not super sure where to pitch them. If anyone has any recommendations for where to pitch articles about history, including zoological history, please let me know in the comments or via an e-mail. It’d be shame to do a bunch of research, finish an article, and then have nowhere to house it.

So, yeah! Exciting things are afoot. The last thing I want to ask of you, my loyal audience that numbers ~possibly the double digits~, is your opinion. I’m thinking of putting my new professional site at the domain name scrivian.com. (Scrivian = scrivener + Ian.) Is that straightforward and professional enough? Or do you think I should go back to the drawing board?

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Hey Ian, Watcha Into Lately?

It’s been forever since I did one of these, and I thought it might be fun.  A quick tour around the games, TV/film, books, and music I’ve been digging on lately.

TV/Film

Hunter x Hunter

Peter and I have been watching a ton of Hunter x Hunter. It’s a great anime, and is interesting because the main character, Gon, is a very shonen-anime protagonist in a world that does *not* support his optimism. It’s a nice twist on the genre, and so many of the characters are well-developed it’s fun to watch even if sometimes the plotting on a per-episode basis can be a little stiff. It’s also pretty good at keeping the season arcs and opposition varied.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

I’m including this just because it’s completely bonkers and has Angela Lansbury being a child-hating literal witch in it. It’s great, the overall plot makes no sense, and there’s an almost completely out-of-place animated sequence in the middle. Oh, and a set that we were pretty sure is from Mary Poppins shows up in the middle. Highly recommended, if only to see it once and embrace the madness. Continue reading

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The Search Begins

Another quick update right from my keyboard to your eyeballs. Your glistening eyeballs.

*ahem*

I probably shouldn’t write lines like that now that I’m hosting my (updated) portfolio on this site again. But if I didn’t write occasional strange sentences that I desperately hoped were funny into my blog posts, it wouldn’t feel like me.

Wait, portfolio, you ask? Continue reading

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A Day (Almost) Without Internet

OR WAS IT?!?!?

Okay, so it wasn’t *quite* like this.
Source.

On Saturday I decided to try a little experiment. I wanted to see what it would be like to do an internet detox without, say, breaking all of my connections, switching to a dumbphone, etc. So I set some rules for myself, along with a rough admonishment to try and not use the internet as much as possible, and went for it.

It was a great fucking day.

I used the internet only a handful of times over the course of the day. A few times when I got notifications of e-mails (mostly school, but also one for a new blog comment that turned out to be spam), once for a long period to watch videos and read articles for school, and a few times to IM my boyfriend. (We would text, but we have so many old texts our SMS apps have gotten very weird.) Oh, and a few times to look at a map to either estimate travel times or make sure I wasn’t lost. But that was it. No dinking around, no trying to find solutions to Linux problems,  no social media, no blogging. Continue reading

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Comic: Rainy Mornings

Every. Damn. Time.

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New Friends, Linux Frustrations, and an Uncertain Future

Hi all! It’s been days since I posted, so clearly it’s time to subject you all to another rambling blog post.

New Friends

First off, Peter and I headed out to Oregon over the weekend and came back with new friends! Reptile friends. Say hello to Chrysanthemum, my new bearded dragon:

She’s been very good. The car ride didn’t seem to stress her out at all, and she ate well Sunday night and yesterday. She hasn’t seemed interested in food today, but given that she’s almost definitely suffering from relocation stress that’s hardly unreasonable. I’m looking forward to getting to know her better and helping her grow up big and strong. Even if it means fishing cockroaches out of a cup with tongs two times a day. (It’s not all glamor in reptile keeping!) Continue reading

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Comic: Morning Routine

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It’s About Ethics in Book Ownership!

Hey all. This is a short post today, because I want to pose a question.

First, some backstory. I’m looking at trying to declutter. Not to Marie Kondo levels, as much as thanking my clothes for their service appeals to me, but just to try and make my spaces at home feel less overstuffed. One thing that would be helpful is reducing the number of physical books I have. There’s a number, mostly novels, that I wouldn’t mind owning in e-book instead. But, e-books are expensive! At least, in the numbers I’m looking at, and especially for books I already own in a different format.

Which brings up an ethical question that looks like it hasn’t been discussed much on the internet since around 2010: How do you feel about book piracy of ebooks for a book you already own? I realize it’s illegal due to the way copyright law works. But how do you feel about it on an ethical level? And what if the person who downloaded the ebooks got rid of their print books afterwards? Should they shred them, since that way it’s more like a trans-substantiation of format? Donate? Is it kosher to sell them?

I haven’t decided what I’ll do, and if I do end up taking the less-than-kosher route, I’ll probably not admit to it in a blog post. But I’m very curious what everyone thinks about it. Let me know in the comments! And be nice if people disagree with you! Thanks. 🙂

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