Dearest JT Eberhard

Hi JT,

You’re doing a bang-up job of telling all these various social justice causes how to do things better, by being nicer, by being more generous to people who say things that are coded specifically to hurt them. And you’re further doing a bang-up job listening to all your friends and peers and those people more experienced in various causes than you when they tell you that you’re fucking up, monumentally.
[Read more...]

Pattern recognition

It’s not a secret that I like JT Eberhard. I think he’s a generally savvy guy. He’s good at atheist activism. He is good FOR atheist activism. He is very much pro-equality, and he generally doesn’t take any nonsense that is directed at him.

He’s got a serious feminism problem, though. Not that he’s anti-feminist — on the contrary. Just ask him. The problem is, he is not good at feminist activism. And he is not good FOR feminist activism. And when feminists tell him so, he is apparently turning, one at a time, against them. In this, I see JT going very, very wrong, despite all his claimed good intentions. I am remiss if I do not attempt to help him right this wrong, even if it takes some frank observations and tough words and hurt feelings.
[Read more...]

Gameathon: You did good, and you should feel good!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m ecstatic with how the gameathon went. Despite the technical glitches and scheduling issues and having to cut it off about 2.5 hrs before our predicted end time (oof), it was still ridiculously successful. We got more guests than we were expecting and often had to double, triple and quadruple up. We got more donations than we were expecting, raising a total of $523.89 each for Women In Secularism and Camp Quest, and covered all expenses necessary to start this up so I’m not even in the red! Yes, seriously, I was a bit pessimistic at first, thinking nobody would show or donate and that we weren’t going to make enough to cover those expenses. I was fully prepared to have to eat the cost just to have something to give to CQ/WIS. But as it stood, we had enough to cover all the major expenses and plenty to give to both charities.

And the fun we had! If you missed the broadcast, it’s all still available here, and I plan on pulling chunks of it out to put on Youtube for easier access. I curb-stomped JT repeatedly at Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, though in fairness his internet was basically horrendous throughout the whole event (despite them sending someone out to fix it). He got his comeuppance when he played Contra on the NES and got to Stage 4 on the default three lives — he’s a beast. And despite my immense experience with Megaman, he beat me handily a few times when we did some stage time trials . I played some Bible games to show the audience the kind of crap available for the NES from Wisdom Tree, Jodi played some Toejam and Earl, we did some three-player Ninja Turtles (albeit briefly), we each played a few games that we’d never seen before (including Ninja Baseball Batman — which is awesome!).

Then there were guests. Ed Brayton made a surprise appearance, Glendon Mellow hung out for a while, Russell Glasser was a good sport and visited twice — once on Saturday afternoon and once on Sunday morning shortly before we threw in the towel. Stephanie Zvan made a yet-unmet challenge: find proof of the existence of an Atari II (or thereabouts) Taipan! clone called Shanghai (and no, not the Mahjongg Solitaire game). James Croft visited to give us a rousing speech… or two. Though both of which may have been lifted from other sources, come to think of it. I met a bunch of people for the first time, like Lauren Lane and Lux Pickel. And we introduced Brianne to the concept of emulation and she was absolutely ecstatic to play as Yoshi in Mario Kart and drive into a wall repeatedly.

This is going to happen again next year, without question. But it may have to happen with JT and I in the same place, if the internet is going to be any near as recalcitrant next time around.

And none of this would have been possible without you. Thank you all, so very much.

Gamers For Godlessness gameathonapalooza: Challenge us. I dare you.

I’ve got a few blog posts stewing in my brainpan at the moment, but between work and prep for the 24 hour gameathon on Saturday, I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and actually write any of it.

But the gameathon — The First Annual Gamers For Godlessness 24 Hour Gameathonapalooza Starring JT (Eberhard) and J(ason) T(hibeault) With Special Guests — is shaping up to be epic. The live stream will be posted as an embedded twitch.tv stream and chat room right here at this very blog.

With Russell Glasser’s help, and with assists by Aliasalpha, John Lenard and Craig Robertson (cheers, gents!), we managed to get three player MAME working with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles In Time. It took a lot of fiddling, but we’ve managed to work out the kinks and we should be ready to go for Saturday. Meaning me, JT Eberhard, Russell Glasser and Debbie Goddard are definitely going to play four-player Ninja Turtles.

Ninja Turtles screenshot

Russell’s already excited. I know for sure he’ll be there. Though, I have a few people who expressed interest who hasn’t actually gotten back to me with a definitive time yet. I hate leaving scheduling to the last second, so I’m about to go bother them by email now.

JT has suggested that we do gaming stunts and dares for pledges — making the amount you, the viewers, pledge dependent on such things as how many levels we can beat in Contra with only three lives, how fast we can get through Megaman 2 Flash Man’s stage (hell with that! I say Quick Man! Those laser beams are horrendous!), et cetera.

And I think we’re going to cap the gaming at about the N64. Any newer than that, and we’re not really doing the name “classic” justice.

So, what do you want to see us do in exchange for your pledges? And remember, after the first $300 to cover our overhead, half of our pledges will go to Women In Secularism, and half to Camp Quest.
[Read more...]

Gamers For Godlessness gameathon is in 7 days!

Start your countdown. In exactly seven days — minus whatever time delta there was between my posting this and you reading it — the great Gamers For Godlessness 24-hour gameathon, starring JT Eberhard and yours truly, will officially begin. Holy shit. It’s actually happening. It’ll be, say it with me, On Like Donkey Kong.

We’ll be raising funds to split evenly between Camp Quest and Women In Secularism (minus a sadly unavoidable $300 overhead for software and hardware we’ve incurred setting this up).

Among the games we *know* we’ll be playing, are River City Ransom (whose virtues Angry Video Game Nerd thinks are shortcomings!), Super Street Fighter 2 for the SNES (and maybe arcade if we can manage!), Kirby Superstar’s Great Cave Offensive, some Mortal Kombat game or another, and pretty much any co-op or competitive game our guests suggest.

Oh yeah. Did I mention the guests due to phone in by Skype, and maybe even play the games if we can manage? No? Well, I’m mentioning them now. No, now. NOW.

I’ve gotten confirmation that Russell Glasser, Stephanie Zvan, Ashley Miller, Brianne Bilyeu, Kylie Sturgess and Avicenna of FtB will all make appearances, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Debbie Goddard of Skepchick and CFI will be hanging out, and if we can manage, she and Russell will make players 3 and 4 in a round of Ninja Turtles and/or Simpsons (the arcade games). Lux Pickel will be visiting from Teen Skepchick, Glendon Mellow the Flying Trilobite will (I hope) find a chunk of time in his busy schedule to jump on and maybe geek out about comic book video games, and Dr. Dave who co-blogs at WWJTD is also hopefully going to make an appearance.

And in the meantime, I’m dusting off my ten-year-old Street Fighter 2 skillz so I am not a total failure. Which character can do the Falcon Punch again?

I’m going to set up the donation button sometime this weekend, at the same time as JT and I square away the last details prior to the gameathon.

Are you ready for this?

Punish the politician who called Jessica Ahlquist an “evil little thing”

JT Eberhard is climbing the Reddit charts today with his post asking American voters to remind a certain politician that telling the truth does not make one “evil”.

Up until recently a Rhode Island high school had a prayer hanging in a government building. When they were asked to take it down the administrators lied about the prayer repeatedly. While it was being hammered out in court, students at the school, as well as a frothing pack of Jesus-lovers harassed a 16 year-old girl the entire time. After a judge affirmed that the lying administrators were breaking the law, those students and the other Jesus-lovers doubled their efforts, many of them threatened the well-being of the 16 year-old girl implicitly or directly.

It should be noted that all the girl did was ask the lying administrators to stop breaking the law and, when they refused, she told the truth under oath (which the administrators did not).

Sadly, asking a politician to appreciate honesty is like asking a thief to appreciate surveillance. Peter G. Palumbo, the Democrat in the RI House from the Cranston district, has no rebukes for the Jesus-loving liars, bullies, or thugs. He has nothing negative to say about the people who felt they were above the Constitution and lied to subvert it. He did, however, have something to say about Jessica. Palumbo said, sarcastically, that she is “An evil little thing.” That may have bee said sarcastically (there is debate over whether or not that line was sarcastic, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt), but the line “I think she’s being coerced by evil people” was most assuredly not. She is not being coerced, and her cause is not evil.

Emphasis mine. Just wanted to point out that lying for Jesus is not a party line type deal.

I’m sure you can help keep this ball rolling. Telling the truth under oath about a prayer up on a wall in school is apparently an incredibly brave thing to do for a sixteen year old girl. By telling the truth, and having a judge agree that this prayer makes that school de facto Christian and is therefore unconstitutional, she has earned the enmity of everyone who would prefer a lie that protects their religion than the rights of this sixteen year old girl. She is being harassed on Twitter, in real life, and now by small-minded and provincial politicians. You voters can do something about that last.