Bob Dylan’s Nobel prize…

Posted: October 13, 2016 in rock'n'roll

…totally made my day.

It’s an extremely unpopular opinion here, but damn.

…and his name is Jeff Vogel.

Not only because Avadon: The Black Fortress is a game – THE game – I didn’t know I had been looking for. Not only because I love birds and “Vogel” means “bird” in German. Not only because he has published all those thoughtful blog posts.

Not only. But because of it all. And especially this… something I never expected to see. I’ll quote it: it’s from the analysis of TW3 I’m linking to above:

There was some vigorous critical debate about The Witcher 3 when it came out, but it primarily centered around whether this Polish game, made by Poles and set in a fantasy Poland based on Polish books, had too many white people.

(Side note: Did you know that many Eastern Europeans, who occupy a large, diverse region with a long and rich history, severe poverty, and recent history of vicious oppression, find it intensely irritating to be thoughtlessly lumped into the huge, vague category of “white people”?)

The question of whether the Polish people deserve the right to make their own representations of themselves without getting permission from affluent North American academics is one I plan to leave entirely alone.

There are no words to describe how grateful I am for this.

Skin colour probably matters a lot over there in the huge portion of the English-speaking world. But here, in the Eastern Europe, waaaaaaaaaay subtler clues will feed our local Nazi leanings. Hutu vs Tutsi, “white” version.

It’s why I will never do a Ursula le Guin and consciously write “people of colour” into my stuff. It’s why I don’t have any “drow”- or “Dunmeri”-type of dark-skinned elves in my settings.

Because I am an outsider writing in English, and I don’t want to pretend this skin colour prejudice is as prevalent in the culture I come from as it is in the English-speaking one; I want my stuff to have real-world echoes, and the real world I know (but most of my readers do not know) cloaks its issues in different vestments.

Hell. Yes there do exist some Russians who will dislike “people of colour”.

But our biggest-known poet and writer, the person who single-handedly revolutionarised Russian literature – Alexander Pushkin – was of African descent.

And not only him, actually.

And BTW, this TW3 analysis would have been great even without that paragraph. It points out a lot of things generally overlooked. Comments are worth skimming, too.

Few metal fans would disagree with the fact that Blackie Lawless is one of the best vocalists in metal history. But even fewer would disagree that W.A.S.P. could use some outside songwriting aid.

Blackie didn’t grow up as a metalhead. He’s older than that – he helped codify some of the genre’s conventions actually. But he did it in the heyday of the 80s mainstream metal – which was, let’s face it, as mainstream as any other mainstream: it was all pop music at heart. It was a logical result of the mainstream 50s, 60s and 70s, same as Blackie’s songwriting.

Originally he was influenced by rock’n’roll stuff, think Elvis, Little Richard and the like. And The Beatles. Then The Ramones and maybe other punk bands, too. The Ramones were what he mentioned in one of the interviews.

And even in 2001, he was still sure that he was doing “commercial music”, and there were certain harmonic restrictions (like, his “Euphoria” instrumental was an example of what you cannot do as a commercial songwriter because it’s pure “artistic indulgence” and too unconventional). Okay, W.A.S.P. pays his bills (and luxurious hobbies), so it probably is commercial. But doesn’t this literal stepping on the throat of one’s own song just sound weird in the context of contemporary metal? Especially if we listen to something like Tarja Turunen’s latest albums that are even more experimental than many of the more underground releases… and it doesn’t get more “commercial” than Tarja.

And her stuff isn’t 250% metal either. It has loads of pop and punk inside. Same as W.A.S.P.

Maybe they should team up.

Okay, all this babbling was meant to introduce my perspective: that is, more “unconventional” W.A.S.P. songs, or at least those that execute the conventions better than other songs do. Proceed under the cut for the actual music, arranged in a more or less chronological order =) This post covers Blackie’s releases of the 20th century.

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AoA Subsurface is a popular shader for DS+3Delight. It has a problem, though: it’s a shader mixer network, and shader mixer is hardwired to output completely unwanted visibility attributes when there is an “image” brick attached to surface opacity anywhere up the line, even when there is no image there, only colour.

Those attributes tell 3Delight to run the whole shader when calculating raytraced shadows and diffuse light transport like ambient occlusion or indirect lighting – yes, even when your object is completely solid!!

This can slow your renders down. Exact amount varies, but still, why put up with those extra calculations?

We can fix it by tinkering with the spaghetti in the shader mixer.

IMPORTANT: unfortunately this is not a one-off fix that will automatically carry over to all the AoA presets you have – because every shader mixer preset actually has the whole network saved in it and not just parameter values. So you will need to remember to fix every preset you may use. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy once you get the gist of it.

Here is how to do it.

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Blackie is…

Posted: September 4, 2016 in rock'n'roll

…sixty today.

Sounds impossible, right?

Expect an unconventional W.A.S.P. best-of post later this week.

new album soon!

Posted: September 3, 2016 in rock'n'roll


Fibermesh eyebrow bundle…

Posted: August 25, 2016 in rock'n'roll

for only $7.5 till Aug 29th!

These are technically for G3 (one pair for G3M, another for G3F), but with a little extra effort (parenting amd manual posing), they will work with any figure.

Kaer Morhen 2.0

Posted: August 14, 2016 in life+the universe+everything

It is now understood, for example, that great height is due to the combination of an unusually large number of positive variants, and possibly some very rare mutations that have a large effect on their own.

The genomics researcher George Church maintains a list of some of these single mutations. They include a variant of LRP5 that leads to extra-strong bones, a variant of MSTN that produces extra lean muscle, and a variant of SCN9A that is associated with pain insensitivity.4

Church has also been involved in one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of recent decades: the development of a highly efficient gene editing tool called CRISPR, which has been approved for clinical trials for medical applications. If CRISPR-related technologies develop as anticipated, designer humans are at most a few decades away. Editing is most easily done soon after conception, when the embryo consists of only a small number of cells, but it is also possible in adults.

I don’t even know now what I want for my first post-singularity birthday ;D

Anyone else here fervently hoping for the (technological) singularity to arrive ASAP, BTW?

…it might not hurt if every professor, opinion journalist, and foundation expert, as a condition of career advancement, had to spend a year or two working in a shopping mall, hotel, hospital, or warehouse. Our out-of-touch intelligentsia might learn some lessons that cannot be obtained from books and seminars alone.

…would be having those American professors try to survive for a few months on the average salary of their Russian colleagues. And not those from Skolkovo (you probably know it as Skoltech), but those from other “national research universities”.

This is my thread on the DAZ forums, where a user posted other tips (which didn’t work for me) and I posted a workaround I discovered.

Actually I probably like it even more – when using the library from Firefox, the icons are much bigger.