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Random observation for the evening that is too long to post on Twitter, but is about Twitter.

So the Magic the Gathering folks I follow were tweeting about the #mtg  hashtag this evening. Apparently there is a VH1 show called Marrying the Game that has started using #mtg  as well.  For obvious reasons.

This reminds me of the late 90’s domain name wars.  Remember when it mattered who had  Or, at least we thought it did.  Search engines (mainly Google) mean that people don’t just bang URLs into their browser bar.

But on Twitter things are much more like the late 90s than the late 90s ever were.  The 140 character limit means that #mtg  is much more valuable than#magicthegathering . Even more importantly, nobody owns #mtg .  Instead, its held by the loudest voices.  The fans of Marrying the Game are (I suspect) going to depart to a quieter hashtag.

I don’t really know what this means, but I suspect it could be interesting fodder for a sociologist. More worryingly, I wonder if there are copyright or trademark angles to go after Twitter for letting people use a particular hashtag. What happens if #mtg  is trademarked by Marrying the Game?

Working Families

My vote doesn’t matter this election. Unless you live in Ohio*, yours probably does not either. The next president of the United States will be decided in the same way whether or not I stay home on Tuesday.

But, I want my vote to count. I am a liberal and I want the next president to reflect my views. I want him** to support a woman’s right to choose; a fair wage for men, women, and minorities; marriage equality; emissions regulation; and a host of other vital progressive issues. That said, I don’t choose to vote for a third party candidate. While I believe Democrats are often too centrist, there is a clear difference between them and Republicans, and I can’t cast a vote that would help a Republican candidate, even by omission.

Fortunately, because I live in New York***, I can vote in a way that reflects my views and communicates my progressive stance to the candidate I vote for, without worrying that I am throwing my vote away to a candidate who has no realistic chance to win.

Fusion voting means that the same candidate appears under multiple parties on the New York ballot. On Tuesday I will vote for Barack Obama under the Working Families line. My vote will count for the president just as if I’d voted Democratic, but Mr. Obama will see that a progressive voted for him. Four years ago I was joined by 150,000 New Yorkers – not bad for a 10 year old party.

The Working Families Party reflects my values . They support raising the minimum wage, reducing carbon emissions, civil rights for the LGBT community, and a host of other progressive causes. If you live in New York, I strongly urge you to vote Working Families as well.

* Or maybe Virginia, Wisconsin  or Nevada. See the tipping point states on

** Not “her” this year. But soon.

* Fusion voting is permitted in other states as well, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont. Several of those states have Working Families Parties of their own as well.

Anchors Away…

US vs. the Rest of the World?  Our navy is pretty big…

Also, don’t miss the discussion thread on BGG


Dishonored is an amazing game.  The immersive setting and varied play style have drawn me in completely.  And yet…

Early in the game I was skulking my way through a mad scientist’s lair when I stumbled upon two characters – male and female – who were servants of the house.  The man noticed me, drew his sword, and squared off against me.  The woman clutched her head in a panic and fled.  In fact, I quickly realized that this was a hard and fast rule of the game – men fight, women run.

Pervasive sexism is the order of the day for Dishonored.  The few female characters are children needing to be rescued, an empress who is murdered to provide my character with motivation, a few maids I can leer at in the bath, and a gaggle of faceless prostitutes.*

This is not a sexism that comes from malice, but from laziness. I’m sure it never occurred to the developers and writers that some, perhaps even half, of their guards could be female.  When designing locations for the game they never thought past “whorehouse.” Perhaps they even intended a gesture of inclusiveness in the fact that the murdered leader is female, never giving a thought to the grand tradition of women in refrigerators (

But this is how sexism works.  Misogynists are not mustache twirling villains   They are men and women who don’t notice, don’t think, and don’t care.

Dishonored is far from the only video game that is populated by weak and sexualized female characters.  Sexism is a fundamental fact of the majority of media that we consume; not just video games, but board games, movies, music, books… the list goes on.  Its so easy for the writers, illustrators, designers, directors and, yes, consumers of these media to simply not see the sexism that is plainly there.

But I can’t not see it, at least in this case.  And yet…. Dishonored is the best game I’ve played this year.  If only it was not so flawed.  If only our society was not so flawed.

Academy of Medicine Rare Book Collection

Last night I went on a tour of the Academy of Medicine Rare Book Collection.  I took a bunch of pictures, many of which are of upside down books because that is the angle I was at.  Sigh.

The collection is open to the public, so if you are in NYC you should go!

Angry Birds Survey

Jessica Hammer, Robert Scott and I put this survey together.  Go take it!

Valde Bellum Incipit

My Nobilis LARP set in 1914 and co-written with Kaitlin Heller went wonderfully.  We ran a two day LARP – which forced us to write a bit more than 6000 words very quickly the morning of the second day as the events of the first day had largely invalidated several people’s character sheets.  It was totally exhausting and a great time!  The players have put togeather a tumblr with memories of the game: