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  1. Last week
  2. I did have a flurry of letter writing between 2004 and 2006. In the past, written letters were a kind of compromise. I send you proof of what I mean and my feelings. Now, in a way, the electronic is proof of trust, as it is easy to resend and distribute, while a handwritten letter is mostly private and difficult to share with others. That made it the right way for one on one communication. But it is so much work... So I stopped, or the replies stopped coming. However I lost some e-mails from some people, a combination of computer change, bit rot, broken servers and moments of melancholy, while I keep full correspondence with some people, with the negative that all that has survived is what I share also with Google. At the same time I still keep one sided traces of long and I suppose brilliant written correspondence, as I have no real idea today what I wrote, only what they wrote back. I always mused that I should keep a copy of my letters, but I felt that was not the point, as in that case, just write an e-mail. Written letters are like hostage exchanges, and you have to trust the other side to take care of your children. Letters also allow the exchange of other things. Images, gifts, old style music. The letters mostly started because exchanging music CDs requires an envelope, and that requires at least a short written letter. I have tortured a few select people with my own musical tastes since 2003, and I continued in some cases till 2015, though the last wide sending was in 2008. And with some people the exchange of words became the point. Because at least for me to send a physical letter engages a different set of revision than an e-mail, or a social media message. And it also has a degree of permanency. I may prepare a draft, but once it is written it is written, and unless it is horrible, the words on the paper remain, and they are sent. Possibly I stopped doing so when I realised I lost more acquaintances through letters than e-mails. Because the letter is also taken more seriously. And the consequences are real. Conversely, to write of love, ink on paper conveys feeling in a way pixels on a screen cannot do. I am preparing a 20 year anniversary music compilation. The music is ready. I feel I have been composing it the last 14 years, sincethe last one I mentioned, the soundtrack of those lonely years. Now the problem is the physicality, the image, the accompanying text. And the last obstacle will be the accompanying letter. Some people will be easy. But I know others will be extremely hard.
  3. "I write less, and they reply less, and the nostalgia gets stronger, even if it is impossible to return." Ain't that the truth. It's very sad. To which point, I have decided that I need to resurrect the ancient art of letter writing. I have a fountain pen collection that needs exercise and I need to keep my calligraphy hand in. I recently wrote to a couple of non-WGB friends and found the practice remarkably calming and sustaining. So who wants a missive from your truly, written on actual paper, probably in a shade of ink referencing colour finishes on Gibson Les Paul guitars (or whatever other obscure Diamine ink I have to hand)?
  4. Lance Reddick has died. Man, he was only 60. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2023/mar/17/lance-reddick-dies-john-wick-the-wire-actor
  5. Earlier
  6. I did not like it as a whole, but it certainly has some bright details, and a quite good casting. I suppose inspired by would be more accurate. However for me they discarded most of the important messages I got from the novel, probably to avoid pushback in the USA: - Decline of the US Empire within ten years. - Unabashed victory of the kleptocrats in the future. It is much more optimistic than the novel, at least if you think it through, although that is offset by the depressing twist of the season ending. If it did not link with WG I would have stopped watching in episode 5, with the introduction of Bob and the phony Cherise / Flynne fight.
  7. As you can see I still come around, though less often. I still enjoy a few RPG and wargame forums which are doing still quite well, though real life is quite busy for me right now. Recently I have been browsing Slack because I expect to meet ArkanGL next Sunday, to see how things are with the old WGB crew, and it still does not click. I have a few free hours every two-three days, not a few minutes every day, The Peripheral watchers are not forum people, so they will set up their own discussion zones. And they go unnoticed by the dinosaurs. My empirical experience with those forums that still work remains the same I said above. A dozen (or more) of people that post at least daily, a core group that know each other by name and style, around 40-50 people, and two-three times as much infrequent posters that are needed to keep the forum from running in clircles discussing the same things time and time again. Add moderation and mobility, so trolls are con-trolled and people move between the three groups so populations hold steady. I do not think we can get those numbers again. And what made the WGB so special was the fascinating and huge Random Thoughts. Most forums have that but it is a big minority of the discussions, rather than the main purpose, and discussions outside the main drive tend to sputter and die in less than a dozen replies. That unique behavious probably arose from the light nudges of our host, as we knew he was looking on us benevolently, and we wanted to do right, and the general awesomeness of some of the frequent posters that energized some discussions and placed a high quality benchmark that made the rest of us strive to be worthy of it. Awesomeness seems to be in short supply right now... I still exchange e-mails with a few WGB people, twenty years later, and even reached out to a guy I had not met (or written) in seven years once I knew I had some free time in Nantes. But every year I write less, and they reply less, and the nostalgia gets stronger, even if it is impossible to return.
  8. db

    I miss forums

    My food geek forum is pretty dead anymore (most people have gone to instagram I think?) My Radiohead forum is pretty quiet although I think most of us visit at least once a week...but things only get busy when there's new Radiohead-related music/tours, now. Some of it I think is twitter (it's funny bc I was an early adopter among that group and now I don't go, but they're not interested enough to try Mastodon) and some is facebook and some is that they don't have time in their grown-up lives to hang around with internet weirdos, I suspect.
  9. It's pretty quiet in here isn't it? I miss the old forum days a lot. Inspired by db's post on slack I have logged back in to go round catching the dust bunnies.
  10. It's been a lot of fun looking at how they've changed it for TV purposes. De-Gibsonified it with a touch more of the old ultraviolence and that kind of thing. I think it feels pretty Gibson-y still (and so does West World) and I've enjoyed the West World series as a sci-fi world that doesn't seem committed to maintaining a status quo so I'm hopeful for their take on Gibson being not crap (true so far). Def prefer weekly release cycles vs the Netflix all-at-once style. Get to sit with them for a bit and maybe give 'em a rewatch.
  11. Normally we wait until shows are finished before we start watching, so we don't have to wait each week, but so very many of our friends are watching weekly that we figured we'd better keep up I hate waiting! but it's nice to have the option to rewatch in the meantime, too, instead of rushing through the way we usually do.
  12. I have not yet convinced my wife either to watch it or to give me freedom to watch it without her. I will probably have to give an ultimatum, as we have a similar problem with House of the Dragon.
  13. There really should be a topic for this here. At this time, three episodes have been released. WG seems to dig it quite a lot, and most of the WGB are similarly enthusiastic despite several changes to characters/plot/etc. Personally, really like the casting. Also like the Westworldy nature of it (exemplified, for me, by the heroic future London air scrubbers).
  14. A shop in Oceanside, CA.
  15. Mez is doing some very high-level work with it, if you follow her on twitter.
  16. db

    I miss forums

    I have been coming here but not logged in and not noticing new posts Not ignoring you all. We have a decent Slack these days, but of course it's an insider group. I have been hoping The Peripheral would bring some noobz here, but it seems not. But with Twitter Muskifying, who knows? it could happen!
  17. I would not blame anyone, unless it would be WG changing his media sharing habits. A forum requires a critical mass to function, some hundred frequent posters and a dozen or more daily posters. Otherwise it becomes just a series of one on one converstaions and that is better suited to other media. So no single person is to blame. Even a quite heroic effort by Minx and Heavyboots was not enough to make this one take off, mainly because we had no new influx to balance the daily wear and tear. I have to blame myself for not adapting to slack, that seems to work well with a lower headcount. As I come and go, I really need some kind of threads, and possibly why the only parts that work for me are those slow moving ones that actually work like one of the old megathreads. The problem with all the remaining fora I have joined is that they are not very friendly to off-topic threads, even if they do have a subsection for that. I wonder if we will see a sudden influx of people when the TV series comes out.
  18. First time I've stopped by in a while, so while I also miss the good old days I have only myself to blame for not helping to preserve the board's momentum...
  19. jbx

    I miss forums

    This all seems cromulent and quite congruent with my experiences, also showing my age. ;D Twitter and Slack and Discord being non-threaded are just incomprehensible unless you're *there at the time* when whatever the thing is starts. Very much agree about reading\rereading old threads. But surely that's almost exclusively the domain of old heads. I'll have a look at the Chaosium forums...
  20. Last week-end the plan was resting to recover the first week at work after the holidays, as most of the time was preparing the price strategy for Q4 and dealing with anxious and unhappy, and even a few desperate customers. But having lunch with our father, we found out there was an automobile exhibition curated by Norman Foster on automobiles at the Guggenheim Bilbao, Motion. My father has dedicated his life to automotion, so we discussed a trip to Bilbao, when we found out yesterday, Sunday, was the last day of the exhibition. So we quickly arranged a boy trip (my father, my brother and me) to see grown ups toys, three hour drive in each direction, pintxos in Bilbao and a bit over two hours at the exhibition. It was an excellent day for driving after the scorching heatwaves in July and August, and he really enjoyed it, while we managed to keep things within our father's fatigue limits (two hours attention, 500 meters walking). He was very happy when we left him home, if tired. It is good feeling you did good, and I also really enjoyed the exhibition. Now if we can get him painting again, even if it is cars...
  21. It probably shows my age, but I still participate in several games discussion fora, and in the comment section of a couple of blogs where each blog post and its associated comments work a bit like a forum thread, usually starting focused, diversifying and wandering aimlessly if the thread lasts long enough, before being abandoned, either because people stop writing, or because they are focusing in the next shiny thing / thread. Most of the participants are of a similar age, and got started in e-mail discussion boards or regular digests of such posts. So the forum architecture is familiar and allows enough time and space for reasoned posts and measured responses, even if at the end of the day most posts are knee jerk responses and there are a reduced series of conversation attractors that any long enough thread will visit, from space exploration to distribution of power in the Roman republic, depending on the people involved. Here it tended to be futurism, exotic food and bathrooms, among others, but clearly they do not attract us any more. People have been trying other platforms, and other grognards (grumbling veterans) have tried and even enjoyed inventions such as Twitter, Facebook Meta, Slack, and whatever is the latest promise of lots of signal and little noise, and without putting your wallet or soul at risk. I am an old dog, and even though I tried to enjoy all those newfangled inventions I tire of them in a week or two, and somehow manage to retain my interest in fora. I suspect it is some OCD switch in my brain, or the fact that usually you have a lot to read in the old archives of a long lived forum. It gives me a certain guilty pleasure to quote what I wrote in 1995, or even 2004, but that content is misplaced in the case of the previous incarnation of the WGB. I am around Slitherine games forums, and also Chaosium, as bother are mostly populated by people with similar ages and interests to me. The comments section of Charles Stross blog gets toxic relatively quick but is worthwhile reading and participating in the first three hundred replies. I also lurk and participate in the comments of A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry. I even take part in the Steam discussion pages of certain games I enjoy, but that is half way to reading Reddit or panning for gold in a random river. Lots of effort for a few gold nuggets. I also used to haunt several webcomics comments or fora, but I have quit that filthy habit. Too much showering required. I also check here once in a while, but I estimate you need 5-10 participants to keep a thread going, and probably at least ten times as many to keep a forum varied enough to visit daily, so I am resigned this will just remain in a coma till the owners decide to disconnect the respirator and let it go and rest in peace.
  22. "Boards" as they're known 'round these parts. Non-threaded and topicalized stuff, Twitter, Discord\Slack\Teams, are terrible for compartmentalizing. Reddit and other heavily topical sites (StackExchange) are terrible for getting to know folks. Like the WGB used to be I often think the sign of a healthy board or forum is when most of the posting is in the off-topic channels. Means folks are engaging with each other and not just engaging with the content. Creates community. Which makes things good. Modern web kinda prevents this. Anyway.... I miss WGB being active. I miss forums. Modern web is kinda trash. Anybody got any forums they'd recommend? I sometimes hit up herogames.com/forums but that's pretty niche. ;D
  23. I like it when the things still exists. Cue our illustrious namesakes observation about Atlantis sinking beneath the waves. Same for forums and blogs. Sad to see them go. Conversely I find great (small) pleasure in finding people abandoned blogs. Lots of reasonable posts from 2008-20011 or something and then peters out. Fun to do that sort of digital archeology. That is to say: I like your standing message to the void. Just hanging out on the digital edge of the digital world a digital menhir observing.
  24. Anyone playing with this at home? Some living in the future shit for sure. Got it working on Molly now, Count Zero next...
  25. Our hotel in Nuremberg.
  26. The English part of the recent reads. Many is my own obsessions completing series. Piranesi, Sussanna Clarke. This is a strange but excellent book. It requires some work to get into it, as the narrator is evidently unreliable, though things improve. Add a homage to Piranesi, besides the title, and several mysteries to reveal. Most of them are solved satisfactorily too. It is totally different from her previous novel, but still riveting and exciting. It is much shorter too. The employees: A workplace novel or the 22nd century, Olga Ravn. This is a book that requires some work, and that at least in my case I reread it inmediately to review the story with all I learnt while reading it. Something is/has happened on a spaceship, and the book are the interviews to members of the crew, during and after the event. The reader has to build his/her own version of the story from these fragments, including choosing who to believe, and how to interpret those part outside our own references, and how do you interpret the human / synthetic divide. It is short, so I did not care for having to go back and reread other fragments. Atmospheric and troubling, including some questions on being sapient (that for us now is synonimous with being Human, but may not be in the future). Fashionpolice pushed me into this, but I enjoyed it a lot. Red Country, Joe Abercrombie. Another Abercrombie book in the world of The first law. The story stands on its own quite well, but many of the supporting cast (and one is quite important) come from previous books, so although it is not necessary to have read all the previous books, it makes things clearer. This is a western transplanted into fantasy. Missing children, restless natives, violent men and women with troubled pasts, gold rush, wagons in a prairie... And it is well done, though maybe respecting the limits of the genre too much. That also means the plot is more linear and predictable than other Abercrombie books. There are a few likable characters, which help, considering how nasty most of the returning characters are. The long way to a small, angry planet, Becky Chambers. I feel as if I am the last person here to read this book. I really enjoyed this book, though it is more light entertainment. Although it is presented as part of a series, it stands perfectly well on its own, so feel free to check it. I was going to write adventures, but even though they live a great adventure, what we have here is common peaceful people caught up in big events by doing what they do best, and as usually happens to common people, they suffer for it. Common does not mean normal, and the cast is varied and quite interesting. Maybe it shows my age, but aliens are more of the humans in make up variety and taken to the extreme than really alien, but it fits well with the trope of small ship traveling the galaxy. For me it actually felt as Jack Vance's Gaean Reach or Cj Cherryh's trader stories, but adapted to the XXIst century. No secret agents of the AIs or trigger happy mercenaries in the stars, just a construction team working hard and with varied back stories. I will be reading more of her books. First person singular: stories, Haruki Murakami. This is a series of short stories that are narrated in the first person and that could all be supposed to be narrated by Mr. Murakami himself, though only the title story, First Person Singular, does explicitly say this. They narrate some weird, some magical and some mundane events that at the same time seem relatively minor but also affect significantly the life of the narrator. I believe Mr. Murakami expresses a particular style of maleness I can identify with, a bit clueless, sometimes cruel by indifference or ignorance, and well intentioned, though he is also proof that good intentions are not enough. He helps me to come to terms with myself. It is a short book, so I savoured it slowly. A couple of stories did not work for me, but it is so short that I will not say names, as they may be the ones that touch you more. It is very subjective, so I will not impose criteria that may depend on my own life experience. Manazuru, Hiromi Kawakami. A complex book, with an unreliable narrator that does not trust herself and who may have blocked memories from the past. As well, the tough moments of raising up a teenage girl without a father. I feel it complements very well, with the ghosts and the oniric experiences in the town of Manazuru, and a middle age mother based on the writer, a feminine point of view complementing Murakami’s masculine and childless one. Mainly because it is so different from my own situation it is both strange and interesting. The book requires quite a lot of work, in deciding what you think happened with Reí, and what is happening with Kei. But it rewards the effort with a good, emotional tale and real character development. Quite a lot from a little over 200 pages. Reflecting on it, I wonder if the reason why it reminds me of Murakami is that the translator is Michael Emmerich, and I have read all his Murakami translations? It has not happened with her other novels. The heroes, Joe Abercrombie. Though it belongs to the same set as The First Law trilogy and shares several characters with it, it can be read independently. It takes place some seven years after the First Law and a couple of years after Best Served Cold. It is a battle in a dark fantasy, from multiple viewpoints, so blood, gore and all kinds of violence are presented, though in my opinion better than in The First Law. As such, I think it presents quite well the randomness and stupidity of battle, the friction as Von Clausewitz would say. But it still requires a high tolerance for written violence. The hanging tree, Ben Aaranovitch. This far (the sixth book) in the Rivers of London series reviews do not matter as much. Either you are into it, or you will not even think about it. It is witty, well written and easy to read. I did not like it so much is because it gives us hope that some of the big story arcs will move forward, and at the end they move, but only a bit. Lies sleeping, Ben Aaranovitch. This is not the end of Peter Grant and the Rivers of London (7th), but it marks a change in the series, which I feel should have come in the previous book, to complete the story after Foxglove Summer. The author has tried to fit too many things, and many details or characters from previous books, with the end result that there are many loose ends and they are dealt with in short time and with little flair. Less characters and more screen time for them would have made a more satisfactory story. The impression is that this stage had to be closed, and that meant other things had to be rushed, including the ending, which I found unsatisfactory. But I am so happy to close this that I hope the series returns to single arc novels. What Abigail did that summer, Ben Aaranovitch. It was worth to read the whole Rivers of London series to enjoy this small book. It is positive, funny and smart, with a great heroine and an amusing cast of characters. Its only defect is that to enjoy it fully you need to read the whole series. It is more wholesome than the typical Peter Grant story, but that is a plus in this case. That strengthens the idea of magic. A must read for any fan of the series. The events are concurrent with book 5, Foxglove Summer, which is my previous favorite. Permafrost, Alastair Reynolds. It is a nice time travel short novel, with a great premise and a good handling of paradox. As it is quite short, almost any detail would be spoilerish. But the reasons to try are good, the set up is also good, and it does not use multiple universes, which is a cop out in time travel. This is the type of time travel tale I would have liked to see in The Agency. A little hatred, Joe Abercrombie. Mr. Abercrombie revisits with a new generation the Chain of the World. Some old favorites are still around, but we meet a new generation of narrators / protagonists. If I had written the review just after finishing I would have been gushing, but once I got over the pleasure of having a new series, the defects, mainly in plot and world building as the writing is very good, start to pile up. So much that I am still unsure if I will get the next one, as it can only go worse from the set up. Dark, moody, with some young people in love. Lots of people get hurt, but this is just the set up. The industrialization seems contrived, and I would have preferred less similarities with work movements in Earth. A closed and common orbit, Becky Chambers. Although it is the same series as the previous book, The long way to a small, angry planet, it does not continue the adventures of the Wayfarer crew. Instead it focus in two minor characters of the previous book, the mechanic Pepper and Sidra, the new name of the AI Lovelace replacement, now housed in a body. It deals with growing up in a harsh or world, or awakening in it, and how to cope with disphoria or inadequacy. It is less optimistic and upbeat than the first book, but I hope it does not require a spoiler to say things improve and it gets a proper ending. As any good science fiction book should, it actually writes about our present but using the tropes of science fiction to present some ethics troubles (child labour, gene modification, AI rights) openly. Although you will miss some of the background, it does not reallyrequire having read the previous book. It is still probably too positive, but it does not pull many punches, and it is a more complex and for me more enjoyable book than the first one.
  27. The fact that nobody writes does not mean nobody reads. I suppose you will never read this either, but I have to say it was nice to have someone posting in 2022. Even if it is just as part of learning to care a bit less about the form, and hopefully more about the content.
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