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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)

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Postal Dropbox Adventures: When A Bunch Of Relentless Sadists Get Your Mailing Address, aka Unboxing #3 · 7:46pm July 18th

So just to review: anyone who needs to get the dropbox address can find it pinned to the top of the #p-o-unboxing channel in my Discord server, and that's also where I do live openings. (The quotes below are from the last session.)

I really like getting postcards.

And since the last time we did this, I opened up an Amazon wishlist. I know I've mentioned all of these things before, but this is officially the saga cell for this kind of blog. There's a certain need to review. And I am encouraging people to look at the wishlist.

I am not encouraging y'all to take anything off it. (The format will usually remain 'two items I like, two items I need, and two things which are nice to have, but no sane person would pay for them.') It's just that some of you are choosing to use the dropbox for the opportunity to torture me. So if you see what I'd sort of want to have, maybe it'll provide more inspiration for the opposite.

Y'see, I'd been wondering why I hadn't been in the middle of a trend. 'Hey, a fanfic writer opened a dropbox and stuff is showing up! Let's all get in on this!' Those with a decent follower count on site might just yell FREE STUFF! and let loose the pseudonym-titled mailing locations of war.

But to my very limited knowledge (and please correct me if I'm wrong here), no one else has. And I don't think it's because a dropbox is too hard to arrange: my problems there won't be shared by many. Cost may be a factor for a few, but... I suspect there's another reason why I seem to be the only one out there.

Because they're reading these blogs and they're afraid of what you'll do to THEM.

As always, I will not quote any postcards or letters, nor will I show pictures of them -- well, not the writing. If I get a decent collection assembled, I might eventually make a little art display for Followers Of The World. But anything you send me in the way of words is private.

Everything else gets used as evidence at the trial.

Two repeats from previous blogs, which I feel have to be said again.

This is not a contest. There is no oneupmanship in play.

(Because some of you are trying to outsadist each other.)

And everything which eventually lands on my stoop is a burst of joy. I'm grateful to everyone. I appreciate all of you. I really do.

I don't necessarily understand any of you...

As witness.

Shall we?

In the order I opened them a couple of weeks ago, at-the-time live in the Discord server...

It was a happy start, as the first envelope yielded one of the original wishlist items.

I'm probably a steelbook addict, but Criterions are a minor high. They restore, they tend to have the best special features, they have a great catalog, and their only flaw is that they refuse to have digital copies. This is supposed to be a very strong film, and I've never had a problem keeping up with subtitles.

It was a happy start and again, I'm grateful.

In retrospect, they were setting me up.


I wasn't aware of this film. (I'm just hoping it'll play, as the DVD came off the spindle in shipping. Slightly scratched, but I think it's in usable condition.) Here's the first attempt to introduce me to Australia cinema, and it's based-as-loosely-as-possible on a true story. Because during the moon landing -- you know: the one which got broadcast to the world? -- someone had to make sure the signal got through. This is their more-or-less tale.

I admit, I'm curious. And with the #deadstreaming channel in the Discord server, I can liveblog movies. (Yes, I still need to post my thoughts on Luca.) People are aware of that.

Which is part of the problem...

I'm just going to reproduce my live reaction on this next one.

Next envelope...
Gotta be a book. Thin hardcover, slightly oversized.
But very thin. 120, 144 pages or so.
We are about to play a game.
The name of the game is 'Who's Gonna Die?'
This is a joke.
It is an expensive joke.
It is the literary equivalent of powdered crickets.
...no, wait.
It's below that.
Someone sent me a fungus.


...so apparently there's this old joke.

...yeah. And the server has a hobby section, where a lot of people show off the Warhammer miniatures they've been working on. There's some beautiful paint jobs on display. I appreciate the artistry. So when you put it all together...

Look. I don't mind the Warhammer talk. I'm old-school WoD. Y'know what your group is? The one that's more expensive than mine. You can have a retirement plan, or you can have a small faction. Crack is, in fact, cheaper. After a while, so are Corvettes.

Talk about Warhammer in the server as much as you like. But this was a joke gift: a gaming one-off -- and it'll have to stay that way. I don't have the kind of money it takes to get into this game. No one has that kind of money.

Also, the setting is just too dark and cynical for me.


Because going back to that chat transcript:

There may be other FIMFic writers lurking in here.
Watching the proceedings.
Thinking 'Gee, if I opened my own dropbox, I could see what my readers really think of me!'
And if you are present, and if that is in fact what you are thinking...
...that is your answer.
They send you fungi.

I have the Lord Of The Rings film trilogy. It's an old set -- DVD extended editions -- but I don't think I'm going to upgrade any time soon, or possibly ever. It's a clear enough picture for my purposes and without a Gigantic Sale (tm), there's no point in searching out better copies. Besides, Peter Jackson is sort of an up-and-down director for me. He did a great job with this trilogy -- but arguably padded out The Hobbit until the heart was lost.

Meanwhile, The Frighteners is one of my favorite films. (For WoD people, it's the Wraith movie.)

And King Kong was... it was... it was long. I think we can all agree on that.

So for me, he's kind of hit or miss.

Let's call this one a hit. The kind someone aims at your sternum with the intention of stopping your heart.

The goal was apparently for me to put a liveblog viewing in #deadstreaming. And to quote myself again...

You don't have the money.
No one has the money.
...actually, he does, but he's not giving it to me.

(Note the lack of Ko-Fi link.)
(You're sadists and I am not pushing my luck.)

We have running jokes.

Some of you really need to start running.

Those were the envelopes. The next thing up was a box.

To wit, it was a useless box.

I am not insulting the person who sent it. This is, quite literally, a Useless Box. That is the purpose of the contents: to have no purpose at all. And I was trying to puzzle it out. Figure out what it did, and why. Had to go looking for batteries at one point...

And then I got it powered up.

So here's how it works.
You flip the switch. If the batteries are in place, this starts the internal motor.
One side of the box lid opens slightly.
A tiny piece of plastic emerges and flips the switch the other way, turning the box off.
Repeat as desired. It will never do anything else.

Once again.
...what did I ever do to you?
I know I desecrated a shrine! You have to tell me which one!
It's been a while! There were a lot of shrines!

Someone spent money on this.

...don't necessarily understand any of you...

So this is what rich people do all day.
They make the lives of the poor miserable.
...like I didn't already know that.
Next. Box.

...well, that saved a life. Second wishlist item.
We're gonna science the @$#% out of it.

And that was followed by Wishlist Item #3.

Just to explain: my bedroom pillow was down to a bunch of loosely-associated clumps in a sack. (So basically MyPillow with all of the same quality control, but without the associated price tag.) I wishlisted what I thought was a reasonable specimen in the hopes of getting my insomnia down to where I was not sleeping for three hours a night instead of five. Results to follow.

Any time I post a chapter, I set off my insomnia.

Literally can't sleep for second-guessing...

The last item is why I sometimes feel afraid to talk about anything happening with my life in the server. All I did was say that my mouse had a failing right-side switch. Up to twenty clicks to open one menu. Had to replace it soon...


Again: I am grateful. Guilt-ridden, but... grateful. And the first half of that is why, when my keyboard started to die, I asked everyone for advice on models and then told them I was getting the new one myself. (You can find that discussion in #general.)

However, I will ask for some advice, because we're still trying to work out what's actually happening.

The keyboard has been giving me intermittent problems for several weeks. (This is my current model.) After several hours of having the system running, everything stands a chance to go CapsLock. If I manage to unlock it, the period and comma keys remain in the shifted state, typing < and > only.

At the same time, Firefox freezes. I won't be able to switch between tabs. It can be closed, but any attempt to open a new one will have the system say it's already running.

The only cure is to restart the system. Sometimes I have to restart it six times, because once the process begins, Windows may not recognize the keyboard's presence. I can unplug it, switch ports, move it around for input locations. It doesn't seem to help. And once I get a single crash this way, the next one may not be far behind. It's hit me a few times during writing sessions. Fortunately, none of this touches the mouse and I can save my work before going through the routine desperation, but it can be thirty minutes before I can get going again.

I don't know if this is a keyboard issue, a Firefox issue, Windows, or something going wrong with the USB ports. I'm hoping a keyboard swap might solve it, but I have no guarantees -- and that's why I haven't ordered anything yet. (I did boost my Amazon balance this morning, just in case.) If anyone has an idea as to what's going on, feel free to post it.

We also had a lively Discord server debate last night about mechanical keyboards vs. membrane ones. Subs vs. dubs for writers.

Given the nature of this follower group, despite what I said last night, I fully expect a keyboard may land in my dropbox within the next two weeks.

Given the open sadism, I'll save you some of the research.

Everything which lands on my stoop is a burst of joy.
And fear.
Mostly fear.

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Comments ( 21 )

Also, the setting is just too dark and cynical for me.

Personally, I find the grim darkness of the 41st millennium goes so over the top, it loops back around to being hilarious. But that's based on not going terribly deep into it. Yours is certainly an understandable stance to take.

Sorry I couldn't be any help with the keyboard. I tend to work off of laptops these days; attaching peripherals is often more trouble than it's worth. In any case, thanks for giving us an opportunity to more tangibly express our gratitude and/or thirst for vengeance.

We love you, Estee.

Some of us just have a funny way of showing it…

"The Use of Medieval Weaponry" was me. It's only half a joke. You will presumably branch out from ponies at some point, you write in the fantasy genre and have the occasional fight scene. It's a fantastic beginner's introduction to how historical melee weapons were actually used and gives a primer on multiple fighting styles along with some neat historical anecdotes and quotes from actual masters. I genuinely think it's a useful resource for an author.

If you do find it helpful another reasonably cheap resource to look into is Codex Martialis. An RPG written by another HEMA instructor and historian. Even if you never play a single game with it the hundred or so combat feats that each describe a real historical combat technique are worth the price if you want to learn about such things. He also tried to make his armor and weapon sourcebooks as system agnostic and genuinely educational as possible.

It's an old set -- DVD extended editions -- but I don't think I'm going to upgrade any time soon, or possibly ever.

Is it that really cool older DVD set, in the fancy box with all the bonus features? Because I have that, and it's so cool I never want to get rid of it!

If he played, WH could quickly reduce Jeff Bezos to giving $5 handies to pay for his next faction update.

Required to break silence for Obligatory Comment (mandatory in my professional capacity) that Not All Wargames Are Warhammer; and If You Play Scales That Are Not 28/25/40mm, Prices Are Much More Sane.


I am about 33% of the mind to send Estee a load of Aotrs Shipyards stuff on principle* as the council for the other side (I'd say rules as well, but I need emails to send complementary copies), but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't know what to do with them even if I did.

*Reprinting my entire catalogue of some hundreds of models (to log print time, for the direct sale price that no-one is interested in) has been project with a timescale of literal years and I do not have SPACE to double the size of all my starship fleets and ground armies, nor do I want to just throw it all away.


so over the top, it loops back around to being hilarious

The Ciaphas Cain stories are the best for this. They were my intro to the 40k universe, and they're probably my favorites. In these stories, the parts of the Imperium which aren't actively being crapped on at any time aren't all that bad. When things do go bad, they go so far off the rails as to be hilarious. Add in some damned funny writing and a willingness to poke fun at both the characters and the setting, and you get an enjoyable read.

(Unfortunately, I found the latest entry to the series to be pretty meh. It came after a long hiatus, and reads like the author just duct-taped all the scraps he had lying about into something vaguely story-shaped. It reads like a third-rate Ciaphas Cain fanfic. If you want to read the good stories, just pick up the three omnibus collections.)

...well, that saved a life. Second wishlist item.
We're gonna science the @$#% out of it.

:twilightoops: :rainbowlaugh:

oh, in that crazy collab "MLP time loops" there are a few references to WH40k...mostly revolving around Leman Russ.
he's a terrible cook and a lousy driver.
oh, and Pinkie Pie becomes a Chaos God.

The presupposes that Pinkie Pie is not already a chaos god (or goddess, I don't know how 40K handles its theology)

I had a bunch of Kansas postcards I was going to send, but... Well, I bought a poster frame at a garage sale for a quarter and it had 25 postcards in it, so all I need to do is open the cover and attach stamps to the... sticky glued postcards. Hm.... Fairly certain the Postal Police would track me down and execute me for jamming up 25 mail sorting machines across the country, so now I need to get my glacial rump in gear and actually--(shudder)--buy a bunch of postcards and stamps. Hopefully I can get it done before EFNW, but if not, I'll print a bunch of address labels and pass the postcards out at writing events. "Here, write something nice to Estee. I paid for the stamp."

Yes, I'm epic cheap. And I just posted a blog (for free) that encouraged others to spend their money and send you postcards, which only goes to prove the point. :pinkiehappy:


(Unfortunately, I found the latest entry to the series to be pretty meh. It came after a long hiatus, and reads like the author just duct-taped all the scraps he had lying about into something vaguely story-shaped. It reads like a third-rate Ciaphas Cain fanfic. If you want to read the good stories, just pick up the three omnibus collections.)

It might be because this is the point where GW has made the transition from "game company" to "service provider," as Warhammer+ came out soon after that and a number of fan creators have been given the "nice content there, shame if something happens to it if you don't give it to us" treatment lately. There might have been some serious editorial changes at Games Workshop and Black Library because they have to appeal to the Mystical Wider Audience.

I don’t know if you have tried this but the first thing I would try is reinstalling the keyboard drivers you should be able to find them if you open up the device manager and right click your device. That is my little bit of tech support knowledge. The other would be to get a can of compressed air and blow it into the areas between the keys that are causing trouble.

I've been using Logitech's low-end keyboard and mouse offerings for a couple of decades, and plan to continue indefinitely. They work decently and are cheap enough to be considered disposable (and cheap enough that I usually have a spare around).

So, as an interim measure or as a test to see if the keyboard was the problem, picking up a spare keyboard of adequate quality won't set you back much.

(Logitech K120 keyboard and Logitech M100 mouse if you want specific models.)

Nothing says you're a fun guy like an Ork book :p
(No I didn't send it, I just found the pun not rotten enough to resist)


Fairly certain the Postal Police would track me down and execute me for jamming up 25 mail sorting machines across the country

Yeah, I would be quite cross after the third time or so I had to isolate the unit, lock it out, and then fish the pulped remains of the sticky out of the feed belts again

Once again.
...what did I ever do to you?
I know I desecrated a shrine! You have to tell me which one!
It's been a while! There were a lot of shrines!

I suspect it wasn’t any of the shrines, but rather that someone is trying to remind you that The House Twinkle Ancestral Piano... I believe the phrase is “Still got shooters out here.”?

On the keyboard issue: You may need to update the device drivers. And if that doesn't work you may need to uninstall the device drivers and reinstall the latest version. Thankfully this is much easier to do for keyboard drivers than mouse drivers. If that doesn't help then it is most likely more of a PC issue than it is a keyboard issue and you may need to consider either upgrading your motherboard or getting a new-ish PC, depending on how tech savvy and patient you are when it comes to building slash upgrading your own PC.

You can get a decent laptop for writing slash web browsing for under a hundred bucks, just don't expect to be running very many games on it. A decent desktop isn't too much more expensive, but, again, it'll really only be good for documents and general web browsing. I'm not sure just what you'd actually need in a computer but if all you really want to do is use a word processer like LibreOffice Writer and have access to Google Drive and other websites it's... relatively inexpensive, and lasts for a good long while.

I'm old-school WoD.

Uh...what does "WoD" stand for? :rainbowhuh:

An Internet search gives me "Workout of the Day", but I'm pretty sure that's not it.

5561052 Given Estee's writing style, I believe that's World of Darkness, the system that has Werewolf the Apocalypse and Vampire the Masquerade in it. They're cheerful role playing games, filled with joy and sunshine. (Not)

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