Larry Hosken: New

Back before I knew anything about non-top-40 music, San Francisco had a punk rock venue Mabuhay Gardens. There aren't so many anecdotes floating around about that place nowadays. But Andy Prieboy just blogged some reminiscences that might interest locals and such. Well, they interested me.

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2019-02-15T18:08:00.543331

Book Report; The Fifth Season

This science-fiction novel depicts a cruel society, laying out some tragic consequences. It was a saddening read.

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2019-02-14T15:13:49.336957

A new batch of Nordic LARP talk videos went up a few days back. One of these applies even to non-LARPers. At least, it applies to non-LARPers who collaborate on big, ambitious projects. Brace yourself, this talk has a naughty name: The Piss Room. (TL;DR: if you neglect taking care of yourself so that you can "burn the midnight oil" on your project, it can backfire: if you burn out then you will make your project worse.)

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2019-02-13T15:36:34.830105

Question for you: If you're like most folks, you know it's good to get early feedback on projects but you don't like it when someone judges your rough, unpolished work. How do you get yourself to nevertheless show rough work to someone and get their feedback?

I'm signed up to lecture some newbie puzzle-writer nerds about how to work with an editor when writing puzzles.

I know lots of folks have trouble letting someone else see their work before it's polished.

I can give advice that works for me on getting past that… but I've noticed that I'm generally less wired for shame-in-rough-work than most folks. My techniques probably don't work for everyone.

Like, the same attitude that caused me to say "Sure, I will speak in public. Why wouldn't I?" suggests that for this one aspect of working with an editor, I'm ⅔ blind to the problem. Also the same attitude that means I'm probably going to leave that extraneous "Like" at the start of this paragraph when I publish this here blog post, yep.

So… what helps? What do you tell yourself? When it comes to puzzles, I say "Here are three rough ideas. Which one should I turn into a puzzle?" It works for me, but I bet for some folks that's three times as hard as saying "Here is one rough idea."

If you don't want to post your rough, unpolished answer out here on some public web page, you can mail me at lahosken at gmail dot com or contact me however. If you don't want to even email me your unpolished answer… c'mon, I obviously don't know what you should do about that. Help me out, would you?

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2019-02-07T18:30:37.565060

Book Report: Manhattan Beach

It's a novel. People enter the water, people exit the water. People change names, people change themselves. There's some WWII waterfront life bits, which were fun; and shipwreck raft survival which was realistic (but maybe not so interesting to me since I'd already read enough accounts of such?). There was some WWII criminal life bits, which were probably well-researched and well-written, but which I wasn't so interested in. Probably fans of novels would tell me I shouldn't try reading this novel as if it were non-fiction, hoping to gobble up facts. Ah well.

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2019-02-06T14:28:24.118818

Conten Conundrum Management System

Playin' with puzzletron. I guess when your puzzlehunt has more than 100 puzzles, you want something more sophisticated than a spreadsheet to keep track of 'em.

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2019-02-05T17:48:44.452714

In case there was any doubt that I am a Californian: I polished off a 3# sack of oranges in two days.

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2019-01-31T14:03:16.631687

Book Report: Reporter

content warning: war crimes, uspol

It's an autobiography by Seymour Hersh, who reported on (among other things) the My Lai massacre, Watergate, and Abu Ghraib.

There's an important lesson for soldiers in this book. If an officer orders you to do something illegal, that probably doesn't mean that they're desperate to accomplish some goal vital to our nation. "We will disavow all knowledge" isn't cool. They probably don't need you to take extreme measures to save the day. They're probably just taking sloppy shortcuts, hoping to get promoted before anyone figures out what you did. Oh yeah, and part of their strategy to buy time for that "before anyone figures out" part: they'll throw you under the bus if investigators show up.

The Vietnam war was going poorly for the USA. But the press pool working at the Pentagon didn't know it—they were so glad for "access" to Pentagon reports that they passed those reports along uncritically. Hersh followed up on rumors of things going poorly, followed up on rumors of an atrocity. And thus he turned up some ugly truths. E.g., he found out about the My Lai massacre, which was pretty horrible. And he found out about the officers who put those massacre-ing soldiers into that situation and… and there are reasons you don't put soldiers into that kind of situation and we know this and yet. And yet. Ugh. So there was a cover-up, ostensibly to protect the soldiers, but really to protect those officers. And Hersh navigated this tragic mire.

And there's more in this vein.

Hersh mentions that he didn't want to tell other reporters about his investigation methods because he wanted to keep getting scoops. But with the benefit of hindsight, you want to tell him: There were plenty of scoops for every reporter thinking of investigating wrongdoing by the Vietnam-war-era Pentagon.

This book isn't an uplifting chuckle. But it's interesting if you have a strong stomach… and maybe some lighter reading you can switch to when you need it.

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2019-01-30T16:41:59.317761

Here ya go, my Mystery Hunt 2019 write-up. Includes a picture of a kitten.

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2019-01-25T21:42:14.046978

Aftermath

I stopped resisting, just downloaded ♫ Semper Paratus ♫ and added it to my folder of walking music. #mysteryhunt

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2019-01-25T14:18:13.763376

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