Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Totally freaking out, dude

Here's how it goes when I join a website... well, it happened when I joined an APA back in the early 90s, too, so I guess it applies to any kind of social organization where people communicate with each other through text. But, anyway, here's how things go:

If the website has any kind of content moderation, I will, inevitably, post something at some point or do something at some point (usually the latter) that is either an inarguable violation of the Terms of Service (if only because most websites that are moderated deliberately leave their TOS somewhat subjective, so creative mods can generally find a reason to get pissy with anyone if they really want to) or that isn't actually a violation of any known written TOS but that pisses someone off anyway.

When this happens, I will get a Come To Jesus email from a mod telling me I've fucked up, explaining how I've fucked up, and warning me in no uncertain terms that if I continue to fuck up this way, I will be suspended or banned.

When I get this kind of email from a mod, one of two things will happen. If I'm in an unusually pleasant mood, and the mod him or herself isn't being a total little bitch about it, I will acknowledge the error, apologize, thank the mod for pointing it out, and advise I'll do better in the future.

This has happened, I don't know, maybe three times in my storied history with such organizations.

If I'm not in an unusually pleasant mood, as I usually am not at times when mods end up sending me warnings because when mods end up sending me warnings it's usually because some fucktard on a site who has been there longer than me has done something to piss me off, and it's already escalated to flamewar status, and by that point half a dozen to a dozen other regular users of the site will be jumping all over my shit while completely ignoring, or actively supporting, the fuckwad who originally pissed on me, because that's how it works with these things, and I'm pretty goddam aggravated by all this, and then, to top it off, I get some shitty note from a mod telling me my behavior is unacceptable and I need to mend my ways OR DIE... ::DEEP breath:: I say, if I'm NOT in a great mood when I get one of these aggravating little "Dear Huck You Suck" notices, and especially if the mod sending the note is coming across like they're God on the Throne and I'm some scabby little pederast trying to sneak a cigarette in the holy lavatory, well... then I will respond in a much less pleasant way.

Which will result in me being banned from that site.

In the old days, if I still had any interest in the site, I'd just set up another account using another email address, but nowadays, with everyone hip to the ISP number dealio, you have to go to a public library or use a buddy's computer to do that, and sometimes it's not worth the effort just to get back into a place where you're clearly not welcome anyway.

Now, every once in a while I happen across a site where the management has a wonderfully enlightened attitude towards free expression and they've taken a vow to never, ever, under any circumstances ban any user no matter how provocative, controversial or confrontational that user may be.

When I come across these sites, one of two things happens:

Either (a) within a few days, a week at the most, I so infuriate the operator of the site that he or she make a one time only exception to their rules because I am just SUCH a total shitbag and they can't STAND it, or, (b), within a few weeks, a month at the most, I have so utterly alienated everyone on the site that there's little point in me hanging out there any longer. Anything I post becomes the equivalent of trolling, because no matter what it is, the only responses I get are bile, vitriol, and screaming abuse.

This happened at Aaron Hawkins' site. It happened at MTG: Salvation. It happened at HCRealms. It happened on the old AOL boards I used to post to frequently. It happened in the Amateur Press Alliance I was once a member of. It happened when I was writing for that dickbag Dave LeBlanc at CBEM. And it's happening again right now at

It's not like I don't understand what's going on here. I'm different from most people... better... and even when I share a hobby interest with others, I tend to do so in my own special and unique way. Sometimes being different (better) is all it takes to get me booted from a site; Aaron Hawkins, who was a pretty cool, pretty funny, pretty smart, and goddam articulate fellow in his own right, simply could not handle the fact tht I was indisputably cooler, funnier, smarter, and more articulate than he was. (Also, I was white, and male. Aaron didn't have race problems, as long as the white people hanging around on his site were female, comely, and frequently flirtatious. White guys, on the other hand, seemed to baffle and annoy him in about equal measure, and white guys who were smarter than he was just pissed him off like you wouldn't believe.)

Hardly anybody running a social website likes anyone who is smarter, funnier, and cooler than they are, and I nearly always am, so I start out with that against me going in: once I start posting on a site, I tend to get a lot of attention, and that tends to put some people's noses seriously out of joint. (Again, see Hawkins, Aaron, above.)

When you're posting to someone's blog, the above is enough to get you booted in short order. When you're posting to some hobby site, well, what happens there is that I generally enjoy the hobby, yes I do... but I enjoy it in a different fashion from other people.

For example, I used to play a game called HeroClix. This game is a brilliant idea, but it had pretty rotten execution, which is to say, the rules for it sucked, as they would force your clix representations of Spider-Man or Captain America to move and do battle in ways that greatly contradict the way Spider-Man and Captain America are presented in the comics. For the vast majority of clix players, this is a matter of no import; it's a game, after all, separate and distinct from the source material, and sometimes when you adapt from one media to another, you have to make some changes.

I never accepted that, so I created my own House Rules for HeroClix which made the game far, far superior to the official version. And whenever I'd go on a HeroClix related site, inevitably the subject of my House Rules would come up. At which point, a great many people would become offended by the very notion that someone out there would dare to create house rules for Their Beloved Game, and as tiny minded tools have done when offended since time immemorial, they would immediately begin launching personal attacks and abuse at me. And I would respond in kind, because that's what I do, and then, well, see above.

The situation at is essentially the same as this. I roleplay, but I don't use the Dungeons and Dragons rules system when I do. I have my own roleplaying campaign called World of Empire, and I use my own original rules system for it. I didn't completely create the system; I inherited a system from a guy I used to game with up north and I added a lot of my own original subsystems to it. But the system works extremely well for the kind of detailed, nuanced roleplaying... TRUE roleplaying... that I enjoy... far far better than Dungeons & Dragons, which isn't designed for real roleplaying anyway.

So I went over to to try and find a few more players for my campaign. At that time, I had only three -- my wife, one of my stepdaughters, and Nate. Three is an okay party size, but a few more is better, and anyway, about half the time my stepdaughter had to miss sessions, and two is just too small a party to get a lot done. Anyway, I wanted a few more players, so off I went to the site.

Where it was basically the HeroClix thing all over again. I posted a few notices saying I was looking for players. A few people responded that my game sounded cool, and what version of D&D was I running? To which I would spit venomously and say "I don't use D&D, D&D isn't a roleplaying system, I use my own system". (No, really. I'd type back something like ::spitting contemptuously:: I don't use DnD, I have my own system. I want to actually ROLEPLAY, not move a cardboard stand up around through a dungeon packed with monsters and treasure and moronic magic items.)

Which, for some reason I will never understand, would tend to really piss some people off.

Fortunately, LouisvilleRPG is one of those very enlightened websites where they never ban anyone no matter how big a jerk they are. So I still have an account active there. But I've pretty quickly alienated a great many people there through what they describe as my 'arrogance' and 'rudeness', which I myself prefer to think of as 'refreshing directness and blunt, straightforward honesty'.

I'm not quite at critical mass there yet. But it's getting there. I'm not yet at the point where anything I post draws screams of outrage and bellows of derision. I am, however, at the point of diminishing returns and rapidly escalating flamewars. Here's how this goes:

I'm posting in some thread. Or someone mentions me or something related to me in another thread, innocuously.

Out of nowhere, some cretin will suddenly swoop into the thread and toss a few ad hominem insults at me. These insults are often poorly spelled and the words in the sentences frequently don't mean what the writer clearly thinks they mean, but, nonetheless, the hostility is clear.

Me being me, I'll respond in some way, advising the person who has just attacked me that no, it's Dickheads Get In Free Day on some other site, not here, or merely wondering out loud how he can see to type with his head wedged so far up his ass. Something like that.

Then it's on like Donkey Kong. Out of the very ether a screaming horde of snot-spackled fapwads will condense in a boiling knot of poor grammar, creative spelling and vigorously incorrect punctuation, screaming at me for being rude and crass and mean and unkind and generally taking enormous issue with the way I'm being so insulting to that poor, poor guy who... er... um... well, you know, just that poor guy I'm attacking, for no reason, apparently, at least, as far as these hobblewits are concerned. So I start returning fire at all these new hecklers, and here's the thing about me in these circumstances -- if someone starts up with me in a textual environment, they get the whole ammo belt back from me. I do not stint, nor do I pull punches, nor do I hold back any troops once I've been engaged. I bring the fucking heat. I'm not firing a few warning shots, I'm out to scorch the entire region where my attackers are standing down to the bedrock and then piss in the smoking ashes. You come at me, you insult me for no reason, you disrespect me in a textual environment where I'm not worried about losing my job or getting beat up, then the gloves are fucking off, bitch. And if you were stupid enough to come unarmed to this battle of wits, if you were dumb enough to bring a butter knife to a goddam orbital nuclear exchange, my friend, well, that's too goddam bad for you. I'm the nicest, sweetest guy in the world IRL, and I'm still the nicest, sweetest guy in the world in a textual environment as long as we've got the mutual love and respect mojo working, oh yes I am.

But if you decide to get it on with me, if you decide you really need to get down and get funky all over my ass, if you feel it's absolutely imperative that you get right up in my face and spray spittle, well... brace yourself. The sky is about to fall.

But, again, here's what really pisses me off about these situations: I never, and I mean, not EVER, insult anyone first. I don't fire until I'm fired on. That's a constant; that's who I am. And yet that carries no weight in these things. Some fuckwit drops into a thread and calls me a piece of shit, I tell him he'd better stop typing so fast or he might accidentally bite his boyfriend's dick off, and suddenly, I'M the bad guy! Suddenly there's blood in the water, the posse is out, and the lynching is well under way, and nobody says a word to the first guy who started the whole thing.


It's all about ME. Naturally.

We had one of these things flare up yesterday. I'm bopping along in a thread, having a good time, and some dicknose comes in and starts bitching at me. So I verbally slap the shit out of him. Abruptly, forty three other bungholes swarm the thread, calling me every name in the book, and when I say "okay, SHITBAG over there started it, what about him?" all I get back is "Well, you're a bastard and you don't like D&D so shut the fuck up".

It's, as they say in the trade, a total bummer, dude.

But fuck them all, anyway. I'm right, they're wrong, I'm weak, they're stron... no, wait, I screwed that up.

Anyway. I have a fabulous wife and great kids and I run a fantastic roleplaying campaign and the objective truth of the matter is, D&D is a suck system and anyone who plays it when they could play something better is a retard.

So screw it.

* * * *

And here's the latest, starting with the last paragraph of one of my most fervent detractor's latest screed about me, and then moving into my response:

Also if I were a better man, I would take Merlin's approach and turn my back on you and have all the others follow suit, I wonder how long it would be after you started to post and realized no one was responding to you before you just disappeared, your last active date drifting from days to weeks, weeks to months, and finally months to years.

I'd enjoy that. But here's the thing -- the people with the character to actually do something like that on this site are the people who have enough character to realize I'm much, much more than the description above. They have enough presence of mind to see that I've posted an enormous amount of original material to the site, I've linked to a lot of interesting stuff, I have my own subforum devoted to my own original campaign and game system, that I contribute significantly. Unlike certain others, and despite what some of those people insist, the insults that get thrown in various threads do not define me, nor do they comprise most of what I offer to this community.

And they will also never acknowledge that if you really want me to stop offering personal insults, the answer is so simple even a dimwit could implement it -- STOP INSULTING ME.

And stop taking my opinions regarding various game systems personally. If you think you're one of the exceptional few who can play DnD while still being an intelligent, creative, and imaginative roleplayer, well, you probably are. Certainly those people exist on this site. They have apparently always been able to discern that whoever I'm talking about, I'm not talking about them, and, well, the fact that they can discern that means, they are correct.

If, on the other hand, when you read me saying things like "DnD is a system generally designed for gamers who do not want to roleplay on more than a two dimensional level, and who are not interested in engaging either their intellects or their imaginations while gaming in more than a rudimentary way", you completely disregard the word 'generally', or the self evident fact that this is simply an opinion expressed by some guy you've never met whom you would simply ignore if you actually had any level of maturity or self respect, and instead, your hackles immediately rise, your craggy brow ridges furrow, and you say to yourself, in whatever glottal sublanguage it is you speak in the echoing, cavernous, yet still shallow depths of what your betters might generously label your 'mind', "Garsh, he's talkin' about ME, I'm gonna throw a FIT", and then, you throw a fit, well, you have created a self fulfilling prophecy, and then fulfilled it yourself. Congratulations.

But in point of fact, I wasn't talking about you, I was speaking in general, (the tip there is the word 'generally', easily overlooked by morons, dimwits, slopebrows and mouthbreathers throughout the ages), based on my experiences and observations. Which I am entitled to do, as is everyone else on this site.

Those who insist on seeing me only through the lens of the various spirited defenses I have made of myself after (and ONLY after) being attacked by tiny minded trolls, are, well, tiny minded trolls. Said tiny minded trolls, who regardless of what I post, where, on what subject, will continually find occasion to barrage me with insults simply because, well, I don't know what it is simply because, it used to be my arrogance but I owned my arrogance so then suddenly it wasn't my arrogance any more (personally, I think said people just can't stand the fact that I actually know how to spell; I think it drives them berserk), anyway, these soulless small brained little dimwits who continually buzz around all the threads I participate in whining and sniveling and crying and wringing their hands and sobbing and whimpering like bitches and throwing out their little fifth grade invective, these are the people who can [i]never[/i] ignore me.

They do not have it in them. They know they should. They bluster. They huff and they puff. They strut around, as much as they can strut with the piss from their last tantrum still dribbling down their legs, and they fume, and they sputter, and they snarl like little rat dogs.. "Oh, we should just ignore him and be above him and not engage him and oh that's what we should do and yes, let's by all means just ignore him and OH MY GOD DOC NEBULA IS A LOAD!!!!! SMITE SMITE SMITE SMITE SMITE SMITE!!!!"

These people... and they know who they are... will never be able to stop screeching at me. They do not have that level of self control, and they will never have it. They cannot fathom that (a) I never insult anyone who hasn't insulted me first, and (b) there is much, much more to my presence on this site, or on any site, than the vituperative exchanges that other people incite, and then cry like little fucking toddlers about.

These characterizations of my detractors are doubtless what some of those detractors (the ones who have managed to edge, barely, into triple digit IQ ranges) would characterize as 'passive aggressive', as I'm not specifically naming names. (They use that term because they heard someone smarter than them, probably some guy on an afternoon talk show, use it once. They're not really sure what it means.) However, to name names would be to pay far more individual attention to these droning gnats than they actually merit. They know who they are, and right now, they are fuming at these descriptions, largely because deep down in their hearts, they know I am entirely correct about them. They will posture and preen endlessly about how they should just walk away from the altercation, and stand above it all with the lordly majesty that will forever be beyond their grasp. But they can't. They can't.

They don't like me, so whenever I post, on whatever subject, they will have no choice but to come buzzing in like the insects they are and start pelting me with their dung yet again. It's simply beyond their capacity to control. It's what makes them what they are... and what will always keep them from being what they aren't.

They will never contribute anything but abuse. They have no creativity in them. They cannot add anything to the sum of what was here when they arrived except offal. They have never created anything; if ever an original thought stirred by spontaneous generation arose from the sterile, empty barrens of their minds, it would have immediately gone mad and committed suicide from the overwhelming existential horror of the emptiness around it. They use the products of better human beings, while simultaneously sneering and jeering at same. They beat their chests and declare proudly that they don't care if they spell the words they use correctly, that it isn't important to them if they actually know how to use the language they are attempting to communicate in appropriately, and, hell, why should it be, when all they want to do with it is attack, attack, attack?

They are lazy, they are stupid, they are insecure and insanely jealous of anyone who has any ability to create something worthwhile out of nothingness, and like jackals to a campfire, they will never be able to keep themselves from continually heckling anyone whom they dimly perceive with their vestigial little protosentiences might be their better.

So ignore me, bitches.

I fucking DARE you.

* * * *

I present this because it's a pretty good summary of how I feel about this sort of thing. Not just to drive X crazy. ::grin:: Although, you know, I say good business is where you find it...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Back from the dead?


I've got some stuff I want to write out of my system, anyway.

A lot of reality shows parade across the various TVs in my home these days. Back when I was single I rarely watched TV at all, mostly, I suppose, because I never had cable until I moved in with SuperWife (then SuperGirlfriend) but also because to me, a TV is largely a monitor for whatever technology I hook up to it that shows me movies. I love movies, I hate most TV.

And the TV I hate above all other TV is reality TV.

So there really isn't any reality TV that doesn't fill me with the warm sweet urge to empty a full clip of ammo into the television screen, but even amongst the intellectual and creative wasteland that is reality TV, there are pockets of horror that transcend the normal horrors of the banal, arid, and sterile genre. Such pockets go by names like ROCK OF LOVE, or I LOVE MONEY, or pretty much anything that features a family we're supposed to find fascinating because apparently the parents either refuse to make responsible use of birth control or are too stupid to figure out how.

But even with all of these, well, I generally figure that the one saving grace of reality TV, if it can be said to have one, which is probably doubtful, is that everyone involved in these horrifying shows is there voluntarily. In fact, they line up by the stadiums full in hopes of being singled out for the wonderful privilege of being humiliated, insulted, and abused on national TV. And I figure, if they're that stupid, well, they get what they get.

Still, the longer I live, it seems, the shorter the list of People I Do Not Want To Kill With A Chainsaw becomes.

Stacy London and/or Clinton Kelly, of the TLC reality show WHAT NOT TO WEAR, are definitely not on that list.

I've occasionally gotten glimpses of this show as others in my family have avidly perused it. And the brief glances I've had before I flee screaming from the room have always infuriated me. These two morons London and Kelly, who have somehow gained the apparently unshakable and nearly criminal delusion that their opinions of what other people choose to clothe themselves with actually matter in some meaningful way, essentially walk the Earth like Cain in KUNG FU, seeking out poor hapless dumbasses who fail to dress they way these buttheads think is proper. Having found a victim, these twittering shitbags then prance about snarkily for the next several days, belittling and badgering their chosen target over said target's taste in clothing, after which they destroy the poor guy or chick's clothes and replace them with a batch of froo froo crap that looks like the sort of thing a human version of Barbie or Ken might wear, if we presume Barbie or Ken is homosexual, was raised by retarded preppies, and is so neurotically insecure that upon being braced by a couple of fashion Nazis who have apparently been spying on her without her permission for the last several weeks and who want to invade her closet and destroy all her shit, she doesn't immediately smash both their larynxes with the heels of either hand and then coolly watch these fuckwipes choke to death on their own thin, inbred blood.

I hated this show when I thought the poor cretins who were taking this abuse were actually volunteers, as seems to be the case with every other reality show. But yesterday my children informed me that on WHAT NOT TO WEAR, the people singled out to have their fashion sense forcibly upgraded are not, in fact, volunteers... they are folks whose relatives and friends have sent in their names to the producers of WHAT NOT TO WEAR, after which, cretins London and Kelly film them surreptitiously for days or weeks to establish exactly how poorly they dress, prior to walking up to them and saying "Surprise, you don't know how to dress yourself, we're going to insult and abuse you on TV!"

It amazes me that nobody has killed these little shits yet.

Amazes, and appalls, and disappoints me.

That's one thing, and I feel much better about it now, thank you very much.

Here's another:

I have a lot of geek t-shirts. Nowhere near as many as I'd like, mind you, but, still, I have a lot of them. Some of them are reliable attention getters when I wear them outside the house, and none has proven to be more so than the one pictured to the right.

There are many interesting things about this t-shirt, but probably the thing I find most interesting is that it's like an Instant Geekiness Level test. You can pretty much figure exactly how deep into the Nerd Abyss a particular comics fan is by how many of the heads on that t-shirt they can correctly name. (You get into a whole different level of Comics Nerddom when you find you can name every artist represented on the shirt, too, although, really, there are only three... but, still, you have to be a pretty dedicated comics nerd to know that every head on that shirt except two were drawn by the same artist... and while many comics nerds can quickly tell you who that artist is, only a small percentage can pick out the two heads that weren't drawn by said artist, much less who drew those two.)

And, well, I have to tell you, to date I am the ONLY person who has ever named all 16 characters depicted on that tee shirt correctly. Even the serious geeks I encounter at geek shops who can name every other person shown on that shirt always falter and fail at the guy in the bottom row, second from the right as you're looking at the graphic. You know, the guy next to Wolverine. (I'm sure you knew that was Wolverine. If you can't pick Wolverine out of that kind of line up, then I cannot imagine what wild concatenation of circumstances brought you to this blog, much less saw you reading down through any one entry on it to this point without either surfing onward in irritated bafflement or simply falling into a coma from rampant boredom.)

Now, if you can name every other character on it, but you can't name that one guy, well, don't feel bad. To describe that character as obscure would be a vast, vast understatement. There is no way that character deserves representation in any format alongside all those other characters. I mean, some of those other characters are kind of obscure to a non-serious comics fan (by which I mean, some of them have never appeared in any other medium besides comics, and a few of them haven't appeared in any comics for at least ten years, that I know of, anyway), yes. But that one guy that nobody but me has ever been able to identify? That guy isn't even a sidekick. I don't think he even qualifies as a supporting character. His greatest claim to fame to date is that once upon a time the She Hulk used him as a boytoy for several issues of a not particularly good run of a classic comics title featuring a superteam this bozo was never a member of back in... what... the early 90s? No, more likely the mid to late 80s. And Jesus, I'm old.

(Now, if Mike Norton is reading this, of course, he knows who that guy is. But comics fans with the kind of insane indepth knowledge of arcane Silver Age superhero trivia like Mike Norton and I are pretty rare on the ground these days, I think.)

I'd like it if someone out there would put out a similar t-shirt as the one pictured, but with all female heads from the Silver Age Marvel Universe, instead. It would be a nice little item for the girl geeks in the audience, and what the hell, I'd buy one, too.

Here's another page with some really cool t-shirts, too. Don't just look at the first page after either link. Go on to the next several. For me, at least, there are several "OH MY GOD I WANT I WANT!!!" items on each page.

But I'm shallow like that, I guess.

Tieing this all back to the opening item in this post, if some horrifying cretin were to sic London and Kelly on me, well, I'd certainly have to render London and Kelly down into gruel, and I would be entirely justified in doing so, because I'm fairly certain that the very first thing they'd sneer haughtily at would be any t-shirts I had like those on these pages. And for such an offense, a slow boiling down in a 55 gallon drum to one's component chemicals would be justice, pure and simple.