Experiments in Ontological Relativism

and Other Brain Farts

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Yes, Virginia, There is a Blog

Posted by Jason on January 31, 2012

I know, I know. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I haven’t forgotten that I have a blog. I just haven’t been writing much lately, at least not in terms of fiction. And since this was set up to be primarily a fiction-only blog, well… You see my conundrum.

I do want to get back to writing fiction, even if it’s just short vignettes to post here, and I have some plans in the works to make that happen. In the meantime, though, I’m finding myself writing and saying things that I am pretty proud of and that I want to have a centralized place to share.

So I’ve decided to open this blog up to more than just fiction. I’d sort of started down that path already with reviews, but I think I want to make it a little more expansive. From now on, I think opinions, thoughts, ruminations, gaming, hobbies–your more typical blog fare, I suppose–will all be fair game here. But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. The sweet, delicious pudding. Mmm…

For those of you who read this blog but might not keep up with me other places (I think there’s maybe two of you) I’ve also been writing recently for TheSecretLair.com. It’s a fantastic site, and I’m privileged to be just one of the many talented bloggers there. I thought about cross-posting my articles here, but I decided against it. Since I’d rather drive traffic there and help increase their numbers (as the kids say),  I think I’ll post a notice and a brief snippet here when I write something new for the Lair.

You can see all the articles I’ve already written for the Lair here, though I highly encourage you to read everyone else’s stuff too (hint: it is good!). Most recently, I’ve been writing a series on the History of English. Y’know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Now I’m off to churn the brain-mill and see if I can excrete some new original content for this place. It will ooze forth from my face-holes… like pudding. Mmm, pudding.

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On Hipster Irony, -isms, and Sea Monsters

Posted by Jason on December 14, 2009

In her review of Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters, Jaymee Goh made a wonderful, precise summary of a trend that has been bothering me very much lately:

“Modern humour apparently requires some jaded, cynical worldview in which we are to say something we know is an -ism in order to show how in touch we are with the bad, horrible world. But you know what? Knowing something is racist, and saying it while knowing it’s racist doesn’t make it any less racist. Or sexist. Or ableist. It’s still an -ism, no matter how you wrap it.”

Context is an amazing tool, to be sure. It can entirely change the meaning of a word, a phrase, an entire text. But context is a funny thing: it can be easily missed, and it can be changed. And I think the ironic hipster “oh-I’m-being-offensive-but-not-really-because-I-know-I-am-and-see-how-enlightened-I’m-being-by-acknowledging-it?” is on the verge of falling afoul of both.

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Posted in General, Non-Fiction | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

On the Virology of Thought

Posted by Jason on September 29, 2009

[This post started as a comment on Mur Lafferty’s post for Banned Books Week. As it grew, I realized it was probably too long for a single blog comment, and probably deserved a home of its own. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!]

Ideas are dangerous. In a way, most of the last 2,500 years (and especially the last 500 or so) has been nothing but a war of one idea against, or occasionally alongside of, another. Whether that idea is a religion, a scientific principle, an economic theory, a philosphy, a system of government, or something else entirely, people in recorded history have done more harm and good in the service of ideas than for any other reason. It’s little wonder, then, that so many people feel that society needs to be protected from these dangerous, intriguing ideas.
And the best way to remove a danger is to eliminate the threat, right? So if we ban all these strange radical ideas, then they’ll go away and not bother anyone ever again, right? Right?
Well, no.

Ideas are dangerous. In a way, most of the last 2,500 years (and especially the last 500 or so) has been nothing but a war of one idea against, or occasionally alongside of, another. Whether that idea is a religion, a scientific principle, an economic theory, a philosphy, a system of government, or something else entirely, people in recorded history have done more harm and good in the service of ideas than for any other reason. It’s little wonder, then, that so many people feel that society needs to be protected from these dangerous, intriguing ideas.

And the best way to remove a danger is to eliminate the threat, right? So if we ban all these strange radical ideas, then they’ll go away and not bother anyone ever again, right? Right?

Well, no. Those who think this way profoundly misunderstand the nature of ideas. Ideas, as anyone who has spent much time on the Internet will tell you, are viral.

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Posted in General, Non-Fiction | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

50 First Lines – #10

Posted by Jason on August 28, 2009

If this were an ordinary story, I’d probably start off by telling you all about where I was born, who my parents were, what my childhood was like, and why I don’t have any thumbs.

Creative Commons License
50 First Lines by Jason Ramboz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Posted in General | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Geekiest Thing I Have Ever Written

Posted by Jason on August 21, 2009

Courtesy of the #songsincode meme on Twitter, I bring you the geekiest piece of text I have ever produced in my life:

String JungleLove(){
     String str = "";
     for(i=1;i<=5;i++){
          if (i/2!=0)
               str += "O";
          else
               str += "E";
     }
     return str;
}

If you get this, you can rest comfortably in the fact that you are at least as geeky as I am. If you don’t get it, then you’re probably happier that way.

Posted in General, Non-Fiction | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Quick ‘n’ Dirty Review: The City & The City

Posted by Jason on July 24, 2009

This is a copy of the review I just posted over on Goodreads. It is in no way an attempt to crosspost to my seldom-updated blog in order to bring you what the kids call “moar content.” Move along.

 

The City & The City, by China Miéville.The City & The City cover

 

Although this book is often shelved as science fiction or fantasy, there really are no out-of-the-ordinary elements to the work (except, of course, that it takes place in a city that doesn’t really exist). Even so, however, there’s an overwhelming sense of weird to the novel that appeals to many speculative fiction fans, myself among them. I enjoyed this book immensely, and I’d just like to briefly share a few thoughts.

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Further Thoughts on “SyFy” – A D&D Story

Posted by Jason on March 17, 2009

Much has been said already on the whole “SyFy” debacle. Without rehashing it too much here, I think it’s safe to say that the response has been… negative. Overwhelmingly negative, with very few (if any) positive comments.

After what they said, I’m not really surprised. But thinking over it again today, I realized that there’s another element in play here that (to my knowledge) no one else has commented on yet. On some level, whether we realize it or not, I think we geeks feel betrayed.

Maybe that’s not obvious right away, so let me explain… No, let me do one better. This is (supposed to be) a fiction blog, so why don’t you settle in, get some popcorn, and let me illustrate with a story.


  “Cool Kids Don’t Play D&D”

Sid wasn’t my first Dungeons & Dragons friend, but I thought he was my best one.

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Posted in Fiction, General | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

To the “SyFy” Channel Executives

Posted by Jason on March 16, 2009

[Note: If you haven’t already, you should read this article. This post is a comment that I tried to post over there, but it seems to be timing out and not actually posting the comment. As you can probably tell, this really upsets me. I’ll try to write some more coherent thoughts on the issue once I’ve calmed down a bit.]

Dear Idiotic Executives,

Thank you for finally making overt what your programming choices have implied for years: that you hate your core audience.

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Posted in General, Non-Fiction | 36 Comments »

Vint Cerf Answers Your Questions (or at least mine)!

Posted by Jason on February 24, 2009

Last week, Google VP and Internet Evangelist (not to mention co-founder of the Internet) Vint Cerf visited my work. He gave a fantastic talk (audio only version here) on the history of the Internet, where it’s going, IPv6, and networks in space (among other things). It was a realy treat to get to see him, and nothing beats getting an Internet history lesson from someone who was actually there.

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Public Domain is Your Friend

Posted by Jason on February 5, 2009

*tap tap* Umm, hello? Is this thing on? *long squeal of feedback*

Oh, I guess it is. Wasn’t sure with all this electron dust lying around. Sorry there haven’t been any new updates here in… well, too long. Those who know me can guess why, what with all the craziness that has been happening lately. But fear not! There is New Stuff Coming(tm)!

I’m a new media junkie. I love seeing all the new ways creative people are finding to integrate technology and art, and spread it out to the world. And I want to be a part of that. I’ve always loved to tell stories; and more than that, I love to share my stories. I really want to be part of this whole podcasting/new media thing, because I think I have some things I’d like to share with the world.

But there are some technical hurdles to overcome, too. I don’t know much about audio engineering, editing, producing… all that fun and exciting stuff. And I don’t want my lack of experience in these matters to get in the way of people enjoying my own content. But, thanks to the wonders of public domain, I think I may have a solution. But first I need your help.

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