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We Are Orcs


Tweet of the Day: Nine Adorable Pets in Space Illustrated 


She answered the insult with a swift stroke of her sword. The severed head left a bloody smear in the fresh snow. Gasha planted a foot on the prince’s corpse and bellowed to others, “Orc women are smart because orcs are smart. Orc women are strong because orcs are strong. Orc women have skills because orcs have skills. You can’t birth an orc without strength. You can’t teach orc without being smart. You can not survive as an orc without skill. We are these things because we are orcs.”

Lady Arana stepped forward, “Well said Lady Gasha.” She signaled to her entourage, “Take my brother, or what’s left of him, away.”


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TV Tropes Monday: Art Deco


Tweet of the Day: No One Should Feel Alone

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, defies this trope as:

Art Deco, also called style moderne , movement in the decorative arts and architecture that originated in the 1920s and developed into a major style in western Europe and the United States during the 1930s. Its name was derived from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris in 1925, where the style was first exhibited. Art Deco design represented modernism turned into fashion. Its products included both individually crafted luxury items and mass-produced wares, but, in either case, the intention was to create a sleek and antitraditional elegance that symbolized wealth and sophistication.

It is everything we think of the early 20th century in a neat package that contains: skyscrapers, aerodynamic design, black and white movies and the swing life. But it was more than that. It was escapism at its finest from a war to end all wars, an influenza epidemic that destroyed between 50 to 100 million lives and the racial strife that tore at the heart of Empires. It was the promise of that if you worked hard enough or had the right scheme  you too could join the ranks of the rich and famous. It was the dream of a fantastic future just around the corner while millions wallowed in the smoky grime inherent in the Industrial Revolution. Above all else it shouted an easy going control of all things, of the nature of life and man through the wonders of technology.

And while Art Deco seems a thing of the past, the ideas resurface time and time again from the Jet Age to the Information Age.

So let the good times roll before the world burns.



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Trump vs. Clinton: Different Kind of Awful

Just because Trump is a walking piece of human excrement doesn’t mean that Clinton is perfect, far from it. If the Republicans had fielded a competent candidate, Clinton would be down 20 points across the board. And it goes well beyond things like, “You hate her because she is a woman,” and “If you don’t like her you must be a Fox News junky.”

At a time when the country, if not the world cries out for radical change, in economic and defense policies, a push for true equality and the strength to tackle global climate change, Clinton represents the neo-liberal self-protectionist racket of the last three and a half decades. She stands for, at best, glacial change meant to mollify the on the edge middle class terrified of the chaos of minorities asserting their rights, foreign enemies stalking our picket fenced lanes and invasive assaults on our sexual personhood. She peddles in fear as much as the other candidate and offers no lasting solutions to the systemic problems of a decaying Eurocentric world.

So no, she is not as bad as Trump, but she offers a conservative view of the world that calls out for solutions to problems she is deliberately ignorant of and blissfully willing to tackle with the flimsiest of slogans. In other words, the choice is between setting one self on fire or keeping drinking the poison.

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My Story? I Got a Million of Them!



Tweet of the Day:  Musings on HBO Westworld Episode One


My story? I got a million of them! Should I tell you about the child of the handsome elven ranger and the saucy daughter of a gentry farmer? Or perhaps the one about laughing rogue who stole the heart of a pretty acolyte of Zilchus? Perhaps the story about the quick witted apprentice who outsmarted their portly master, the Wizard Zathos? Sure, Zathos was clever enough when it came to books and incantations, but gormless when it came to everything else. Maybe the one about the leader of an urchin gang who swept through market’s day like a windstorm and liberated countless victims of their valuables right under the eyes of the Watch.

Well, to tell the truth, none of those stories are about me, at least not directly. I come from a long line of highwaymen, thieves and rogues, the duBoroughs. Some say that we founded the Guild, but we never that important. We prefer to let others take the lead, while we reap the rewards. Mother was an apprentice to Zarthos, were in she met my father and together robbed him of everything he owned. My uncle, on my father’s side, was a cavalryman in the crazed Overking Ivid’s armies. When the inevitable came to pass, he turned to banditry, we think he may have a hold somewhere in the battlefield between the North Kingdom and Ahlissa, where he and his men raid both sides. He may have scampered away with a saucy wench or three in his time. That pretty acolyte of Zilchus? She my grandmother on my mother’s side. She also happened to be a priestess of Olidamara. And yes it was a set up for another grand heist. Let’s just say that the sniveling followers of Zilchus still, to this very day, hold a mighty grudge against us. It may well be why we seem to get all the gold but never really keep it. 

As for me, oh gentle sir, I am but a humble servant, at your service. Need to pawn off a valuable gem, come to me. Need something lifted in a hurry without worry, I am your man. When dirty deeds need to be done they will be done, but they never come dirt cheap.

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TV Tropes Monday: #KillThisTrope


Tweet of the Day: Pink Sunset 

No new trope this week. Instead I shall pose a question(s) to you, oh gentle readers, what tropes you believe need to die. What tropes show absolute laziness on the part of writers? What tropes what you can do without and why?

Input your answers in the comment section below or send them to @RafaWriter with the hashtag #KillThisTrope.

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TV Tropes Monday: No Such Agency



Tweet of the Day: On Writing- Editing


You don’t know us,

You never heard of us,

We were never here,

For we don’t exist.

There is No Such Agency.

When a writer wants a super-double-secret government agency to operate behind the scenes, this is the trope the summon from the shadows. An entire agency made up cloak and dagger types so secretive that no one will even admit it exists. Of course keeping an entire government agency underwraps is nigh impossible, although that has never stopped governments (or writers) from trying. Even the agency that the trope was named for, the National Security Agency, didn’t remain secret for long. It is easier to keep a department within an agency secret (or an agency within a department, governments are complicated like that), since most people outside (and even inside) a given department/agency/ministry know how the whole operation works (everybody tends to stick to their own cubicles in most organizations). More to the point is the fact that careful messaging can be as effective as absolute secrecy. For example, hiding the budget of an agency just leads reporters to dig out any juicy details, since government graf is something many readers/viewers can understand. But hiding what is exactly done with the money is different, since most reporters can’t tell the difference between signals intelligence (listening to enemy broadcast) versus human intelligence (human spies).

So unless you want to lampoon government excesses, thread lightly. Who knows, they might be watching.

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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 9 (c.3)- Watcher




Tweet of the Day: Gaming Introverts 


He exhaled a long plume of cigarette smoke. He smoked because he predecessor smoked. He sat in the chair in an empty office because that was what he predecessor did. He read from data pads and watched information through a dozen holo displays because that was how he did it. He could have streamed the information through his neural network, Yet, inexplicably, he enjoyed to simulate his forebears affectations down to the attractive female assistant that brought him another data pad to read.

She handed him the data pad, “The report on Avernus station, sir.”

“Thank you Caroline,” he said. Caroline turned to leave, “Caroline, what is your assessment of the report.”

Caroline stood in attention, “Your counterpart made several crucial errors.”

“Such as?”

“One, relying on batarian support. They are unreliable even in the best of times. Two, attempting to assassinate Commander Thompson-Ramos. Even if it had succeeded he has powerful friends that would have investigated his death and that would have led directly to us. Three, poor operational security created a easy trail for Thompson and his team to follow. Four, the use of Avernus as a command center with only one exit point left him no room to maneuver when the enemy showed up at his doorstep. Due to his blunders we lost ten years of work in a matter of months.  A sloppy operation all around, sir.”

He waved her off, “Thank you, Caroline.”

“Yes sir,” she said.

She was correct in all points. His counterpart overconfidence cost them dearly and now it was up to him to pick up the pieces. He opened another holo-window. It showed a real time picture of a civilian shuttle in flight courtesy of one thousands of intel satellites in orbit around colonies across the galaxy, courtesy of  Van Buren Infotek, formerly Tai-Yong Cybersecurity out of Hong Kong. Disguised as communications satellites and linked to the extranet through the comm-buoy system they served as one of the platforms at his disposal.

“It seems that Lord Darcy’s men are equally as ineffective.  Perhaps it is time to give them a wake up call,” he said aloud. With a press of a button he sent a message to one Major Wagner of the Libertas Defense Force. “Perhaps this will motivate them.” He then put out the butt of the cigarette in ashtray on the armrest, lit another and continued with his work.



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