A french bulldog with his widdle tonguey sticking out like a cute sweet baby

SRF #10: Post-headache gaming, TV drama, and retiree concerts

I’ve been playing a lot of Left 4 Dead 2 at the behest of 9-year-old Sunshine. I played the original on XBox 360 before I was even married to Spousal Unit Zappa, much less pregnant with my second child, so it’s always funny to have this boisterous little gamer ordering me around like I was born yesterday.

To be fair, he’s way better at gaming than me, and approaches it in a wholly different way. I was not a tenth the gamer at his age; I still do not take the time to approach strategy the way he does. Structured games like those in Fortnite and Roblox have set his expectations for how zombie survival games should be played, so he simply expects to spend periods of time setting traps before enemy rushes, timing resources between waves, and other mechanics that have been iterated into future generations of games.

The strategies he deploys are impressive. It’s funny seeing how readily this little guy turns waves of zombies controlled by AI into red mist. He’s been playing a lot of Orange Box classic Team Fortress 2 (apparently popular in his age group because it’s free and cartoony). Playing against actual humans online is always ten thousand times the challenge of playing against bots. His reflexes far outmatch the enemies.

Of course, we lack team cohesion when we’re doing games together. None of us are coordinated in that way. But we’re getting better maybe? We’re practicing.


The relentless pleasures of antiquated games filling my Steam library from decades past continues to make me wonder, “Why in the world would I buy anything new ever again?” I’m playing so many games and everything is…old. I feel really happy.


If posts from yesterday morning seemed dreadful, it’s because I wrote them with a severe headache. Idk man. I feel better now.


Yet again, a genre TV show is imperiled, and a fan base must mobilize to save it. Poor Shadow & Bone. Frankly I think the studios expect it at this point. It’s fairly predictable which properties are cult favorites and will cause this reaction. The studios like it. The problem is, if we don’t mobilize to save a show, they really will just kill it. Would it teach them a lesson to stop doing big efforts like this, even though fan energy is being exploited and emotions unnecessarily wrought? Or would we just lose shows we love? I’ve got no answer, but I’m sick of seeing it happen. Just leave our shows to us. Especially you, Netflix.


CNBC: Starbucks workers file more labor complaints with NYC as union goes on largest-ever strike


Originally, I saw this.

One Take News: Melissa Barrera Dropped From ‘Scream VII’ Due To Controversial Comments

I went looking for the specific controversial comments, since it said she cited this article (Jewish Currents) written by “Raz Segal… an associate professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Stockton University and the endowed professor in the study of modern genocide.” But I couldn’t find the actual words.

PopCrave on X reports that the comments she made were:

“Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp. Cornering everyone together, with nowhere to go, no electricity no water…people are still silently watching it all happen. THIS IS GENOCIDE & ETHNIC CLEANSING.”

Then I saw this.

Variety: Spyglass Says Melissa Barrera Was Fired From ‘Scream’ Due to Rhetoric That ‘Flagrantly Crosses the Line Into Hate Speech’

Spyglass Media Group initially declined comment when Variety broke the news that the company had dropped Melissa Barrera from the cast of “Scream 7.” But now the production banner behind the hit horror franchise’s revival is pushing back on a narrative that has quickly coalesced around the decision: that Barrera was fired for showing support for the Palestinian cause. Instead, a spokesperson clarifies that Barrera’s posts were interpreted as antisemitic.

“Spyglass’ stance is unequivocally clear: We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech,” a Spyglass spokesperson tells Variety.


Publisher’s Weekly: ACLU, Parents, and Students Sue Alaska School District Over Book Bans


Book Riot: Project Gutenberg Produced 5000 AI Audiobooks, but How Do They Sound?

The tl;dr is not good. I’ve used screen readers for a variety of reasons, but trying to listen to AI reading fiction (like if I’m getting help proofreading a book) is incredibly difficult to pay attention to. Tools that allow you to tweak an AI voice’s delivery are available. It means investing many hours into “programming” your AI voice, at which point you’ve become an AI shepherd and you might as well have hired someone to do it better naturally.

This stuff just isn’t good for anyone. Leave art to the artists. I love my voice performers.


Engadget: OpenAI and Microsoft hit with copyright lawsuit from non-fiction authors


The Rolling Stones tour is literally sponsored by AARP. (Axios) …Huh. Well, all right.


Art Technica: The infectious disease forecast for Thanksgiving is looking dicey.

Dammit, I still haven’t gotten out of the house to get vaccinated. I reeeaally gotta do that. I don’t go anywhere so I’m not directly going to catch anything, but higher community rates means it’s easier for my kid to bring things home to me.


Blackout poetry from Only Fragments that does well capturing the awful frustration of emailing our representatives, who don’t care what we say.


The New Yorker: Why Can’t We Quit the Morning Show?

Nobody told me the show is as insane as it sounds. Without the CW’s teen soaps, where will I get my insane TV? If I can ever remember to look at Apple TV I might try this. After I remember to watch season 2 of Schmigadoon!

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