I haven’t touched this blog in like a couple of months, and even before then it’s been a rare thing. Basically, NaNoWriMo, Christmas, college and the panic that comes with applying for university kept me busy, as well as a few other personal projects.

That and I feel like I’m all out of shit to say for a number of reasons. Largely because things have pissed me off more than cheered me up (and I really don’t want to fill this blog up with endless rants – dammin, Jim, I’m 28, not 82), and a lot of what I have had to say of late tends to fit “comfortably” within a couple of Tweets. Oh, yeah, and I’m currently under a feature block on Facebook right now, and I don’t know the full extent of that, but the extent of Facebook’s hypocrisy. See, as far as I can tell, the block may have been a result of a comment I left on a post made by Real Radio North East, in which they asked their listeners to write three words that summed up the prior 24 hours. My contribution was “Stupid mouse broke” because, well, my stupid mouse broke that day. Overpriced piece of crap that it was. That comment had since disappeared, and I also found that the station has also blocked me on Twitter.

It was either that or the station is taking it out on me because I called them out, when they tried to claim someone else’s image as their own by slapping their shitty logo over the original.

The original image is actually a user card from someecards.

The original image is actually a user card from someecards. And yes, I was understandably pissed that they pulled that shit. They quietly took the post down an hour or two later and then tried to pretend it never happened.

In any case, it’s looking to be the case that I’m going to be stuck in that feature block for a whole month, possibly more, and I don’t even know if this post will go through to my page, or if I am even able to comment on my own page (never really had that opportunity, to be quite honest). Either for doing the right thing or posting something that was about as offensive as breathing. Which might cause a few eye rolls, but let’s face it, if you’re offended by the act of calling an inanimate human interface device stupid, you might want give your life, and your priorities some long hard reconsideration.

And yet, while I am being penalised for the most moronic of possible reasons, others continue to get away with personally attacking someone and calling them the C-word for the “crime” of “failing” to post a link and spouting transphobic shit, to name but a few examples of the bullshit I’ve reported, only to be told that no action had been taken because none of them had been in violation of their community “standards”. Seriously, Facebook? Fucking hypocrites. I wouldn’t be surprised, at this point, if the site’s support “team” was nothing but an army of robotic bros, given this and their history of allowing pages promoting domestic abuse to go unpunished for months.

So, yeah, I went off on a rant. Again. On a lighter note, I’m going to try and give this blog a little more love. I have a few ideas which I might be posting over the next few weeks. So, erm, stay tuned?

Learn to Read

As much as I like WordPress, it isn’t without its flaws and Automattic is prone to making some incredibly boneheaded decisions, the biggest one, in my opinion, was the addition of Like and Reblog buttons in the site’s Reader of all things.

Why is this an issue, you ask? Well, here’s the amount of Likes I’ve gotten from the short story I posted:

8 likes in the space of a morning? Not too bad, you might think, until you look at the actual amount of views in the same day...

8 likes in the space of a morning? Not too bad, you might think, until you look at the actual amount of views in the same day…

That sound you hear in your head is the sound Sonic The Hedgehog makes when he tried to hug one of Dr. Eggman’s minions without any rings.

All those Likers, all eight of them, most likely have been scrolling through specific tags in the Reader and indiscriminately clicking Like on each one, purely for the purposes of promoting their own blogs in the laziest fashion possible, and they didn’t even have to click through into the blog post itself to do it. They expect people to see the notification, their mere on the list name piquing enough curiosity to click through to their blog, and with any luck they’ll follow it.

And to be honest, I’m starting to thing “Why the hell should I?”

Why should I bother reading your blog, following it or offering any form of comment or criticism if you can’t even be arsed to take a few minutes out to do the same? I’m not putting my time into these posts just to turn my notification bar into your personal billboard, and frankly, the more I see this shit, the less inclined I am to bother posting anything.

And it is, for the most part, Automattic’s fault for enabling that shit. They introduced the option to like posts in the reader, posts that aren’t fully displayed there, nor do they register as a view, without having to visit the blog post itself. There’s no incentive to do so.

The sooner they realise their error and remove that stupid feature, the better, in my opinion, but since it’s been there for the better part of a year already, that seems unlikely.

NOTE: That big bar of 106 views there is nothing to shout about. 104 of them were attributed to a single visitor and all occurred in the space of a few minutes, which strikes me as humanly impossible, so I suspect some kind of bot came across my blog that day.

2 Pickles

I have a couple of problems to cover today. The first concerning NaNoWriMo.

November looms ever closer and I have done next to no planning for my next effort beyond originally wanting it to be a continuation of my last two NaNos (which still haven’t been finished) and wanting my protagonist to deal with angry decap-happy fairies. However, the imminent sunsetting of City of Heroes, which seems destined to die despite efforts by its community to convince NCsoft to sell it off or otherwise keep it open, has opened up a lot of characters to me. Not their costumes, of course, since through using the ingame costume editor, I was using assets owned by NC to create them, but I should be able to re-use the names, concepts and backstories of my own characters.

Trouble is, now I’m tempted to put aside Sophia Dawn and the gang for the time being and focus on one of these characters instead. And I’d really rather not. Even if I did, which character would I use? The gun-slinging cheerful vampire treasure hunter? The young weapons genius with a little Tony Stark and a bit of Motoko Kusanagi in her? The beer-guzzling slacker of a criminal that uses stolen experimental tech to get rich and get laid (to no avail)?

Or perhaps I should just stick to what I’ve been doing the past two NaNos.

The other pickle: The Library. This was supposed to host my book reviews, but unfortunately, that idea fell off a cliff for the past month of so – chaos and tiredness – and I’ve just not been reading anything over the course of that time. I’m also not reading fast enough to make regular posts. I’m wondering if I should expand that blog to cover other media, perhaps. Or perhaps make it a book news blog of some kind, but that’ll probably require watching social networks and RSS feeds like a caffeine-overdosed hawk. And possibly a lot more books on the “Read” pile than the “Unread” pile.

I’d like to see some use out of that blog considering I spent a couple of quid on domain mapping it (derp!), but I’m not entirely sure where to start.

Battle Music – August 2012

Battle Music for August 2012:

One Bandcamp, one YouTube and one SoundCloud Does that mean I do even? I’ll see myself out.


Battle Music – July 2012

Battle Music for July 2012:

Most are YouTube links, with a couple of SoundCloud links and one Bandcamp.

Battle Music – June 2012

Battle Music for June 2012:

Some YouTube links and some are Bandcamp. Apologies for the lacklustre list this month. :|


In between struggling to work my way through Metal Gear Solid once again (last time I stopped a few chapters in for reasons I’ll point out when I finish and review it, if that ever happens) I’ve been wondering how best to draw attention to my new book review blog.

At the moment, I’m pretty much dependent on the WordPress reader, but since Automattic decided to stick “Like” buttons in there users have been able to “Like” posts without necessarily reading the posts in question, which means, sure, people are seeing your posts, but you’re not getting the views to match the Likes. It’s made life easier for bloggers to Like a post purely to promote their own blogs. Some would probably say I should follow suit, but I’d rather not. I Like posts because I like them. An additional problem is that only WordPress users have access to the reader, which limits my potential audience a fair bit, as does the fact that posts on the reader can sink under the sea of new posts almost as quickly as they appear.

I have a Facebook page, but it’s personal and private. I do publish my posts there, but only my friends see them, and even then, I often have doubts that they’re showing up on anyone’s feed to begin with because of all the pissing about on Facebook’s part.

My Twitter account is a different story. Unlike my Facebook page, it’s public and I did get a review retweeted by an author last night, which was equal parts awesome and scary. Sadly, it didn’t quite get me the views I’d gotten when Lazerhawk posted a link to my Insert Disk 7 post about his album. I should perhaps start doing #ICYMI tweets, though, because like the WordPress reader, tweets can disappear as quickly as they are posted.

As for what I could be using, WordPress still offers auto-sharing for LinkedIn, tumblr and, uh, Yahoo! I don’t think I’m really in a position to sign up for LinkedIn. I don’t fully understand tumblr either. Every time I look there, most people seem to use it purely for photoblogging. Maybe I should create an account, but despite my better efforts, I can’t see quite how it’ll be of any help. And what the hell is Yahoo! Updates?

More to the point, what other options do I have?

The Library of Richie Stacker

Anyone who’s been following me on Twitter this week may have been aware of my griping of late (like that’s new). Today, the source of that griping has been made public: my first attempt at a proper book review is up on my new blog, The Library of Richie Stacker. I’ve probably made a bad call in opting to start with the The Hunger Games, but in between pressing on through A Song of Ice and Fire (current progress: A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow is out of the way) it’s my most recent read that I felt still remained fresh in my caffeine-deprived head.

My reviews will, for the most part, likely blather on, and a lot of important points may get lost in all that rambling so I’ve taken to trying to highlight those points with pretty colours. Green ones are good, red are bad. The yellow ones are neither, but still remain interesting or odd enough to point out to the reader. I’ve also kept it simple as to whether I think it’s worth a read or not. I can’t say I’m a fan of numbered ratings, but that’s another story. You’ll just find READ IT or LEAVE IT at the end of each review.

As a new blog, it’s… probably a clusterfail already, but I’m open to suggestions. Perhaps the colours are offensive your eyesight, or I don’t need so much crap in the sidebar, or I should give up trying to force the Piano Black theme to suit my Duran Duran influenced tastes and either drop the pink title or get off my arse and get a proper header image up there. Suggest away.

Also, don’t expect a regular schedule. I may still have a job for another half a year (probably) and what passes for a life, so I won’t get a great deal of spare time to read as quickly as I’d like. I still have that old and new gods damned epic to catch up on before George R. R. Martin pushes out another volume.

Battle Music – May 2012

Battle Music for May 2012:

As before, some links lead to YouTube, others to Bandcamp. Enjoy!

Battle Music – April 2012

Battle Music for April 2012:

Obligatory warning: Some links lead to YouTube, others lead to Bandcamp. All lead to good music.