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Game on! September 19, 2011 12:00 PM   Subscribe

MeFi Mag September issue is HERE!(MagCloud) and also HERE!(pdf direct). It's all about games, and while not the massive tome we'd hoped for (more a modest pastime), it still includes:

—A brief essay from Languagehat on getting conned
—A sweet stencil from Mike Mongo to spread throughout the world
—A new card game from Troll
—An article on highfalutin' literary palindromes from Mark Saltveit
—A crossword from Woodblock100
—An article on the Vic Viper from Jharris
—A hidden picture of Brandon's wang

I'd like to thank all of our contributors again for helping make this another good issue, and apologize for being late with it. If we had subscribers or advertisers, they'd be angry.

NEXT ISSUE: DEATH DEATH DEATH

We've bumped that deadline back to October 15, which means we'll get it out before Halloween (so if you've gotten a recent message from me about September 20, and you're sweating, you can breathe a little easier).

We'd like: Eulogies, remembrances, poems, ghost stories, paper masks, murders, and the mix of serious and silly that y'all do so well. Please let me know what you're doing, and get it in early if you at all can, because then I can get it out to copy eds (who are, as always, awesome). SUBMIT HERE.

THE HOPPER:

One of the ways that we decide on future themes (November will likely be SEX) is by perusing the hopper to see what people have turned in. But our hopper's running pretty dry right now, so if you have things that you have written that do not fit any of our announced themes PLEASE SUBMIT THEM. We need them! It will make us happy! SUBMIT!

Also, please feel free to send us letters and comments. Or pictures of places you've stenciled Mongo's picture, because that'd be awesome too.
posted by klangklangston to MetaFilter-Related at 12:00 PM (60 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Great job! You all always do such a fine job with these. So visually appealing. Am I allowed to submit Nattie for the MeFiMag draft? Because her stories are just fantastic. Nice editor's note. Keep up the good work.
posted by cashman at 12:13 PM on September 19, 2011


that poor gummi bear!
posted by The Whelk at 12:17 PM on September 19, 2011


Man, that stencil truly is sweet. I've never done any graffiti in my whole life, but now I've got the urge of stenciling DEFY all over the place.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:22 PM on September 19, 2011


After ordering the print version of the last issue, I promised my non-MeFite partner that I would be sure to get the rest after I came home and found him reading "some great new magazine that came addressed to you."

But the inclusion of the stencil has immediately called this promise into question as, as much as I adore him and it, I'm afraid the north side of Chicago would be awash in denials.

Spoiler alert: I'll do it anyway.

posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:34 PM on September 19, 2011


Yay! I feel clever for figuring out the editor's note within seconds.
posted by juv3nal at 12:34 PM on September 19, 2011


Fantastic! Thank you for accepting my piece. I have been hand-wringing over it for weeks, wondering if it was accepted. I love you guys. I'll be ordering a few prints shortly. (Sorry for the crappy Paint graphic. I know, I suck.)

If anyone actually tries to play Trench Warfare, I'd really appreciate some feedback on the gameplay, clarity of the rule-set, etc.

Now, time for a leisurely read. These articles look great.
posted by troll at 12:40 PM on September 19, 2011


Embarrassingly, it took me far longer than that to encode the ed note.

As for the stencil, I haven't gotten around to doing it yet, but I've found that with a bit of that plastic they use for binder covers (a little thicker than regular transparency acetate), you can transfer them really well and the plastic holds up better than paper through multiple applications. Maybe Mike'll be along to share other tips.
posted by klangklangston at 12:41 PM on September 19, 2011


Is the editorial note ROT13?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:45 PM on September 19, 2011


hey what's that big lit-up disc thingy?
posted by Hoopo at 12:47 PM on September 19, 2011


Big shout out to Woodblock100 who spotted some typos after the very last minute.

As a thank you, we've pressed him into service as a proofreader on future issues.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:47 PM on September 19, 2011


languagehat's teenage Buenos Aires game is exactly how I used to traverse the mall anytime I was forced to go, to buy shoes for instance. Nowadays, though, all my mall shopping is with my wife, and zigzagging through the crowd to get to my destination without being slowed down by people or distractions is no longer completely possible.
posted by mysterpigg at 12:47 PM on September 19, 2011


Is the editorial note ROT13?
It is not, which in itself is a huge clue to what it is.
posted by juv3nal at 12:54 PM on September 19, 2011


"As a thank you, we've pressed him into service as a proofreader on future issues."

No good deed goes unpunished.

"Is the editorial note ROT13?"

"Lw'v qrw URW13, ehfdxvh wrr pdqb PhIlwhv fdq uhdg wkdw zlwkrxw wklqnlqj."
posted by klangklangston at 12:57 PM on September 19, 2011


klangklangston: " "Lw'v qrw URW13, ehfdxvh wrr pdqb PhIlwhv fdq uhdg wkdw zlwkrxw wklqnlqj.""

Gesundheit.
posted by zarq at 1:37 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


jeeze this is good

especially looks awesome on the ipad
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:48 PM on September 19, 2011


Brandon and Ashley, that is some GORGEOUS design there. Can't wait to sit down and read the copy. But seriously, that is beautifully done.
posted by jbickers at 2:00 PM on September 19, 2011


Just dropped by to

*claps stomps and whistles*
posted by bearwife at 2:01 PM on September 19, 2011


crossword answers should be in the next issue :P
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:13 PM on September 19, 2011


Oh yeah, if there are any other designers out there that want to join in the fun and do some layout, hit up via MeFi Mail or email.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:17 PM on September 19, 2011


Looks great. Great work.
posted by crunchland at 2:47 PM on September 19, 2011


A simple substitution cypher, you say? Me, I'm not taken in. If you decode the expression that's at the end of the editor's note TWICE, you get “Zebbop!”, which is clearly derived from this message from The Elders.
posted by scruss at 2:50 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brandon's wang! I saw Brandon's wang!
posted by Sailormom at 7:05 PM on September 19, 2011


Thanks guys, that's my leisurely Saturday sorted.
posted by arcticseal at 10:07 PM on September 19, 2011


Oh yaye. I will make the deadline this time!


Brandon's wang! I saw Brandon's wang!

It is statistically likely that you're married. So that's cool.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:53 PM on September 19, 2011


OH SHIT YOU AREN'T

I can fix that for you.

Y'know, to preserve your honor.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:55 PM on September 19, 2011


Love the bold, take-no-prisoners approach to graphics that y'all have going. The magazine ain't afraid to be BIG and COLORFUL. This is good. It's absolutely great what you editors are doing.

But now, folks, I gotta say this: when I get a request to use a photo (as I did from Brandon this time) I expect that said photo will appear uncropped. The whole image, the whole shebang, the whole nine yards, the whole enchilada, and all other wholes. If it's going to be cropped, you should tell people that beforehand, as a courtesy, at the least.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:09 AM on September 20, 2011


Woot! Love the mag. Can't wait to read every word. Not sure where I'm going to stencil Amy, but I feel the burning desire to do so.

Also, I am frantically trying to figure out what I can come up with for the sex or death issue.....
posted by Sophie1 at 8:00 AM on September 20, 2011


Death? Cool.
posted by ColdChef at 8:30 AM on September 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm in awe of you guys. Nice work.

Thankfully, I did not see Brandon's wang, but I think the magazine could use a "centerfold" feature. Each issue introducing the world to new Mefite doing his/her thing In the Real World, overthinking their little plate of beans and whatnot.
posted by Skygazer at 8:43 AM on September 20, 2011


*Clothes on, of course.

Or maybe not. But that's a whole other can of beans.

Or bean-O...

posted by Skygazer at 9:03 AM on September 20, 2011


Once again, a fabulous issue! Thank you all for your hard work! It is gorgeous.
posted by pemberkins at 10:21 AM on September 20, 2011


Loving this! The game concept was inspired. And the editor's note was fun to solve.
posted by misha at 4:06 PM on September 20, 2011


Have you guys given any thought to running a caption contest? I think the Mefi audience would be quite receptive to such a thing ... Answers/entries could be posted to these Metatalk threads, and perhaps a selection of the best could appear in each 'next' issue.

You could start by asking for alternate captions to the cartoon in the current issue, on page 4 ...
posted by woodblock100 at 5:56 PM on September 20, 2011


These continue to be wonderfully great. It's a genuine treat to see (screen)names I recognize attached to great writing or puzzles or photos. And at the same time, names I don't recognize are people I will take greater note of in future threads!

Keep up the great work!
posted by barnacles at 3:30 AM on September 21, 2011


Oh, and I suppose I should mention:

I downloaded the first magazine as soon as it came out ... and then I didn't read it. While I was stuck on a tropical atoll for a few extra weeks when the boat decided not to come, I had ample time to go through all the PDFs on my hard drive and read and read and re-read, and I came across the copy of MeFi Mag #1.

Let's be frank, here: I fuckin' devoured it. And it's not just the island fever talking: one of the total reading highlights of my marooning! I re-read it and passed the PDF to my partner so she could do the same. And she did.

Completely sold me on the magazine, and once I'm back to firmer terra firma, gonna see what I can do to repay you for that. Thanks so much, yall.
posted by barnacles at 3:33 AM on September 21, 2011


Ok, I can't help myself. I just want to say that there is an egregious grammatical error in the section 'To spawn', and the scenario 'Mechanized' is out of alphabetical order. I feel like a moron, and I'm sorry for blemishing the mag.

That is all.
posted by troll at 4:32 AM on September 21, 2011


At least two editors read that "The player must announce the position before the card they see it" bit. It's our fault.
posted by klangklangston at 10:10 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's fixed and reuploaded, both to Magcloud and web version.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:16 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Very fun read. Took me more than a few seconds to decipher the editor's note, btw. Really enjoyed the palindrome/reversal article and admit that being a very fast NYT crossword puzzler was no help with this very British example. And yes, this is gorgeous too.
posted by bearwife at 2:37 PM on September 21, 2011


Brandon's been after me to post the current list of upcoming themes, so hopefully some of you have some stuff that we can chuck in the hopper.

This is what we have planned, though if we end up with more of some better theme, we may jump on that instead. Luckily, we've got a bit of lead time, y'know?

October — Death
November — Sex
December — Nerds
January — Music
February — Leaps, extensions and do-overs
March — Anniversaries
April — The future
May — Food
June — Travel
July — Cities

So, if you've got stuff that fits any of these, Submit.
posted by klangklangston at 1:36 PM on September 22, 2011


... being a very fast NYT crossword puzzler was no help with this very British example

Seeing as how MetaFilter seems to be pretty 'top heavy' with US people, I wasn't sure if that type of puzzle was really a good fit for the magazine, but the Eds decided to go with it anyway. Thinking about it this evening again though, it seemed like it might be a good idea to write up a 'Solver's Guide'.

So I did, and you can download it here (6-page .rtf file). It explains the derivations and construction of each of the clues, so that people who have never done a cryptic before can get a look at how they work. Do I need to add 'spoiler alert'? It - of course - has all the answers to the puzzle.
posted by woodblock100 at 5:10 AM on September 23, 2011


Thanks for that list of themes there, klang. I plan to SUBMIT!

I'm just a little wee tiny bit disappointed that my comment upthread went entirely unaddressed, though. I guess it's just not a matter of concern? At all?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:15 AM on September 23, 2011


I'm just a little wee tiny bit disappointed that my comment upthread went entirely unaddressed, though. I guess it's just not a matter of concern? At all?

I thought it was a good photo that went with the theme, would look good on the back cover and that it could be cropped nothing was really lost in the cropping. Clearly you feel differently and as the author of the photo I'll have to respect that going forward and keep it in mind with other photos.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:51 AM on September 23, 2011


Thanks Brandon. And in case it wasn't clear from my comment, I'm not especially upset that this particular photo got cropped! But I do think that in the future it should be made clear to people that their photo might (or definitely will, depending) get cropped. Contributors should be made aware of that.

And as it happens, this was indeed the kind of photo that was, yes, pretty croppable* without losing the basic idea. So, in fact, I don't "feel differently" on that point. Again, it's just the courtesy of letting your contributors know about these sorts of things that I think is important.

*spelling?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:06 AM on September 23, 2011


My thoughts on this is that cropping is like editing i.e. it's going to happen to photos in any publication by the nature of the beast. Just as any writer can expect a submitted article to be reviewed and edited, so should an artist or photographer expect their photos to be edited.

If I've given the impression that artwork submitted to MeFi Mag will print wholly untouched, unedited and/or uncropped, then I apologize That is simply not capable of happening. Photos and artwork will be reviewed, color corrected if needed and potentially cropped. This isn't just subjective direction on my part (though sometimes it is), it's a fact of print publishing. If a photo is to go all the way to the edge of the paper, as your does, it's going to be cropped because some of the photo has to extend past the end of the page (what's called 'bleeding'). Technically that's a crop, one that had to happen and it's practical to have to inform everyone that has a bleeding photo that "oh hey, your photo is being cropped'.

The cover photo, by Kronos_to_Earth, is also cropped. It didn't fit our size exactly (few photos do for the cover), so it was a question of either using a good photo with unimportant parts cropped out or not using a good photo. I think choosing the latter makes for better cover and publication and will continue to lean in that direction in the future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:33 AM on September 23, 2011


If a photo is to go all the way to the edge of the paper, as your does, it's going to be cropped because some of the photo has to extend past the end of the page (what's called 'bleeding').

Yes, in fact I know what the bleed is. I've had lots of experience myself with designing CD jackets, both for my own releases and for other labels I've worked for. Done all the layouts, worked extensively with Photoshop ans Illustrator, gotten everything printer ready, etc. A bit of bleed-off type cropping is not exactly what we're talking about here, though! Almost half of the image was zotzed, which goes beyond what you'd normally just call a bleed crop.

Now, I understand, the format of the back cover required that much of a crop, if the image was going to fill up the entire back cover. And again, I think it was the right thing to do, from a design/graphics standpoint. But I think if you're cutting out roughly half of the photo, if that's your plan from the get-go, it's a simple courtesy to let the photographer know that that's what's gonna happen.

That would appear to be the only point on which we disagree!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:38 AM on September 23, 2011


For those wondering about the term 'bleed' and what it means, here's a visual aid. It's an image of this issues cover, but with the bleed and various marks. For simplicity sake, just imagine the entire graphic is a single sheet of paper. Everything in the magenta tinged area is printed on the sheet of paper, but then trimmed off to produce the final cover.

The specific bleed in this demo is for Magcloud, which .125 inches at the top and bottom, .25 inches on the outside and 0 inches on the inside (don't want to bleed the cover into the back cover). Other printers may have different settings, based on how they've configured their printing process. Also note that none of required by Magcloud, they're just visual aids for this demo
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:41 AM on September 23, 2011


Now, I understand, the format of the back cover required that much of a crop, if the image was going to fill up the entire back cover. And again, I think it was the right thing to do, from a design/graphics standpoint. But I think if you're cutting out roughly half of the photo, if that's your plan from the get-go, it's a simple courtesy to let the photographer know that that's what's gonna happen.

It wasn't the plan from the get go, so that brings up the question of going back and getting approval from the original photographer. We're not going to do that, period. It invites a lot of back and forth about what to use and how to use it. We've actually done on a few pieces previously at MeFi Mag and it has thrown last minute delays in the production cycle, so we've decided not to do that in the future.

So going forward, I'd suggest that those who wish to have their photos or artwork cropped in anyway, please indicate so on the submission and we'll factor that into the decision on whether to run the artwork or not. The photo may still be edited color wise, I do that on a case by case basis.

For those who are curious about this particular photo that appeared on the back of issue #6, here's the original and cropped photo.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:07 AM on September 23, 2011


You know, it's funny, Brandon, I saw your Flickr post on my "contacts" notices at Flickr, as soon as it came up, visible, of course, as a thumbnail. But the name of the poster (your name) was just below my window. Before scrolling down to see who the poster was, I immediately thought "Hey! That looks like one my pics!"

So, anyway, thanks for making it clear that there will be no notifying of photo contributors about extreme cropping. As long as we know, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:17 AM on September 23, 2011


As long as we know, right?

Absolutely! I encourage anyone else who has issues with this or any other aspect of MeFi Mag to voice those complaints. I can't say we'll always agree or change what we're doing, but we will listen and think about what is being said.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 AM on September 23, 2011


Sorry about missing that, Flapjax, though it looks like Brandon got to it. Pretty much, if you're going to submit art (or anything), you've gotta trust us.

I thought everyone knew that art gets cut and cropped for publication, so that was a blindspot on my part too.

But I also thought that everyone knew that we didn't pay anyone for their submissions until we got an angry letter about it (not from a contributor).
posted by klangklangston at 9:36 AM on September 23, 2011


klangklangston: " I thought everyone knew that art gets cut and cropped for publication, so that was a blindspot on my part too. "

FWIW, there are usage rights limitations on both cutting and cropping of images purchased from a syndication service like Getty or WireImage. In my experience working with photographers, (especially those who retain the rights to their images) they're generally okay with sizing and limited cropping. But if the crop or edit changes the fundamental nature of the image, then that can sometimes get sticky.
posted by zarq at 9:48 AM on September 23, 2011


But I also thought that everyone knew that we didn't pay anyone for their submissions...

Nor is anyone who works on the mag paid. It's an all volunteer effort.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:03 AM on September 23, 2011


Absolutely! I encourage anyone else who has issues with this or any other aspect of MeFi Mag to voice those complaints. I can't say we'll always agree or change what we're doing, but we will listen and think about what is being said.

Well, I have a complaint. I don't want to pile-on, and I don't want to be a pain in the ass, but. If you change someone's text, do you let them see the changes before the magazine goes out? In issue #3, the text I submitted was changed, introducing some typos and a sentence that I think is inaccurate. If I had been given a chance to review the text, I could have spotted these problems. The thing is, this appears under my name. If authorship were not ascribed to me, I wouldn't have a problem with it, but when it appears under my name, I want to be sure it's correct.

Another question, just to appease my curiosity. Shortly after issue #3, I emailed both you and klangklangston about a version of my graph (the Nevada-looking graph about AskMe travel & transportation questions) that included all of the AskMe categories. I didn't get a response to the email, so I'm wondering, would you rather we not email you directly, but just submit via the MeFi Mag website?
posted by -jf- at 9:35 PM on September 23, 2011


Jf,
klang can handle the editing question.

Email us both the typo in your story and I'll change the PDFs and web versions.

I just sent you email asking for clarification on the email that was never responded to. Otherwise, anyone should feel free to contact us via email, mine is in my profile, Josh will probably be along shortly to indicate which address he wants to use.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:56 PM on September 23, 2011


Thanks for the quick reply. I'll send those typos to you.
posted by -jf- at 10:28 PM on September 23, 2011


would you rather we not email you directly, but just submit via the MeFi Mag website?

D'oh! Klang and I have our emails listed on the website, so yeah obviously free free to contact us for problems, queries or hugs in the form of bribes. Submissions should go through the submission portal though.

Your typos are fixed up and new PDFs uploaded.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:16 AM on September 24, 2011


I see that Brandon got the typos, but you didn't send that email to me (or if you did, it's lost in the ether).

As for the original, I had to cut 200 words from a 600 word explanation in order to make it fit on the page. I'm sorry if there were typos in there; I ran it past a copy ed before putting it in and neither of us caught any.
posted by klangklangston at 10:20 AM on September 24, 2011


[Belatedly] Thanks, guys, for addressing my complaint, and for fixing those typos.
(As for the editing, I understand why you had to reduce it, and I'm not at all trying to argue that you shouldn't do such editing.)
posted by -jf- at 9:14 PM on September 25, 2011


I just received three prints in the mail. The quality is impeccable. Unfortunately, my edits didn't make it to the press in time, so I'm ordering three more.

I would encourage those who are still on the fence to do the same. The difference between the .pdf and print editions is striking; the formatting really comes together in-hand. JHarris' piece in particular looks quite lively, and everybody knows crosswords are more fun on paper.

If there is anything I can do to help the mag along in the future, don't hesitate to ask.

This is MetaFilter at its best. Kudos to Team MefiMag.
posted by troll at 2:17 PM on September 26, 2011


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