ericr [at] ericrosenfield [dot] com

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Fucking hell Perdido Street Station is long.

You know you’re loving it.

So this happened yesterday


I’m adamant that the Second Doctor had the best costume design.

I’m going to reblog this picture until someone likes it because it’s dope damnit.

I’m adamant that the Second Doctor had the best costume design.

Blue Bottle Coffee:


Hi - can you just do me a quick favor, either before or after you read this, and click that link, copy-paste the post into the text box, and hit send? Thanks. Let me explain why - that was a marketing survey for Blue Bottle Coffee that I got sent. Or, at least, it was one of the answers available within that survey, which I just got.

Originally I was going to pick eight, which seemed about like the likelihood that I would recommend Blue Bottle Coffee to a friend, since you asked in an e-mail to me. Not actually an e-mail with any content, mind you. Literally, the subject line was “How likely are you to recommend Blue Bottle Coffee to a friend?” The e-mail contained your logo, a repeat of that qustion, and ten… no, sorry, eleven links allowing me to answer that question on a lickert scale from Not Likely to Very Likely.

Which was fine. I actually clicked one, I think because I appreciated the utterly brazen nature of the surprise. “SURVEY QUESTION GO.” Fantastic. Actually, you know why I answered it? Because I figured there was a chance you were going to, like, offer me 20% off on an order or something, because I’m one of your biweekly subscription customers ever since you bought out Tonx.

Tonx was great. Lovely subscription coffee service - sent me a pound of coffee every two weeks, always good, not over roasted. I’m not a coffee connoisseur by any measure - I think flavor notes are mostly kind of silly, though I see the utility in a broad sense. But I have the equipment to make a good cup, and I appreciate decent beans. But you bought them out because you’re trying to be the next Starbucks, but you’re still keeping quality up in a way they don’t, and while you had a good online store going, you thought subscription services were probably still viable in the coffee market, which makes sense. I just sort of kept on keeping on because my coffee kept arriving, but I’d never looked at your other products, and if you were to, say, offer me a quick coupon as a thank you in exchange for harvesting my data, I might buy some, not least because I just had breakfast and my cup of coffee was quite good. And one of yours.

See, you’re a pretty good coffee retailer, and I appreciate that. I really do. Not, like, my favorite thing in the world, but you’ve got quality product, and if a conversation about where I get my coffee from with someone I’ve had over and made a cup for ensued, I’d probably recommend you as an excellent place to get coffee. So I figured, OK, 8. You’re a good company, I like you, thanks for asking in your incredibly brazen exploitation of me as a customer via a spammy and naggy automated e-mail that treats me as an owned piece of data instead of as someone who gives you my money because I like your coffee, thanks.

Then it took me to a page saying “Tell us a bit more about why you chose 8.” And since I was doing this on my phone as I did a distracted e-mail check because 70s Doctor Who is a little slow sometimes, I didn’t really want to answer that. I mean, the answer is “because you make good coffee,” but at that point I switched to being annoyed. I kind of wanted to write a snarky thing about the absurdity of asking me specifically why I chose an eight on an eleven point lickert scale to evaluate a question like “how likely are you to recommend Blue Bottle Coffee to a friend,” because seriously, why are you even asking that on an eleven point scale? What the fuck kind of precision do you even think you’re getting from my distracted phone check during The Ark in Space, Blue Bottle Coffee?

I mean, come on. Our relationship is not such that you get to just demand “tell us a bit more about why you chose 8.” I mean, you’re not even asking. It’s just fucking rude at this point. I picked it because it felt about right for how much I like your coffee, which is obviously the question you’re asking. There’s your answer to your very silly and rude question. But seriously, don’t be demanding and bossy - yes, that’s what you’re being, this is the situation where “bossy” is *actually the word to use* - to your customers while also asking for data at a level of precision way higher than is actually meaningful. At least have a well-designed rude marketing instrument.

I’m going to click “Submit” on this now, in any case, and I really hope it takes me to a nice coupon for my trouble, because I might buy some coffee from your non-subscription service instead of the subscription that’s really just my old subscription to Tonx, a company that never sent me spammy messages like this and who I’d have rated a ten before you took them over and began what’s obviously going to be a year or two spiral to the ground where I drop you eventually in a rebalancing of my coffee usage. (Right now you supplement the local roaster in who’s roasting room my wife and I spent an hour last time we bought coffee just sitting and chatting about coffee and ways of making it and the like, and honestly you’re always going to as long as we live in the Bethel area. Man, if *they* sent me an e-mail like this… but I mean, they never would. They know me as an actual human being.


Anyway, that’s what I sent Blue Bottle the first time. Well, except for the bit at the top about copying and pasting. We’re getting to that. Because, see, all I got for their rude e-mail was a page saying “Thanks, we really appreciate your feedback,” And so now I’ve cancelled my subscription and just decided I’d go to the local roaster more often.

Anyway, you want to know a fun thing? I can leave a going away present for your rude company that bought out the perfectly pleasant subscription service we got a trial of as a Christmas present and thought “this is nice, let’s keep doing this?” and turned it into an annoying exercise in shitty digital customer relations.

See, your badly designed survey is just HTML coded. Each of the eleven points on your lickert scale is just a link to a website with the question. And you’re, what, just logging submissions, right? This entire marketing thing is just going to be a mess of data, and you’ll study who clicked what, and then who sent in comments. Probably do, what, an analysis of what words show up frequently in what rankings, make a PowerPoint about it, and get paid more money than I do for this nonsense? Yeah. That’s my guess.

So if I were to, just because I think it’s funny, re-assess the probability of my recommending Blue Bottle Coffee, this time on my Tumblr, and then suggest that it would be funny if people clicked on this link, which handily answers your shitty survey with a “0″ and invites them to enter comments, and then copied and pasted the entire contents of this post into the text box and submitted it, I’d probably break your survey.


(Oh, yes, please do reblog.)



So that’s three people who’d back my Patreon. 

Oh well.  Saves me bothering.

That’s not really how to do market research. Though I think a Kickstarter is probably the better way to start for you.

I’ll back you Shab-man!

I’ve not. I’m mostly uninterested in children’s media outside of what was an active influence on my own childhood.


May the Fourth be with you! 




The Nightly Show, April 23, 2015

Larry Wilmore > Whatever Else You’re Watching

“When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.”

- Ta-Nehisi Coates fucking killing it in The Atlantic (via philsandifer)

“On the other hand, there is no such thing as apolitical science fiction. Whenever aliens show up, one thing those aliens signify, necessarily, is the issue of immigration and otherness. Any time a scientist insists that we are all in grave danger and is laughed off by the political establishment, it makes reference to the climate change debate, or, in older times, the debate over atomic energy and nuclear weapons. Any time technology becomes too advanced and a danger to us we have a commentary on genetic engineering, the Internet, or some older object of paranoia. Science fiction, by virtue of its conceit, is about the world and how it changes, and that’s necessarily political. And beyond that, mass culture is necessary political, in that it necessarily makes assumptions about the shared values of a population.”


Philip Sandifer, TARDIS Eruditorum - An Unofficial Critical History of Doctor Who Volume One: William Hartnell (via halftheislandismissing)

Found this vanity searching myself on Tumblr and thought “ooh, this is a timely quote.”

(via philsandifer)

This seems to be the common refrain. Judging by the abysmally skewed sample set of “people who appear on my dash and are doing this ask” I have come to the conclusion that Phil is responsible for approximately 90% of all instances in which one Tumblr user follows another.


Science Dork…..
requested by theyoungwolfreborn

Always reblog the moon being an egg.


Theodore Beale says that his commenters “tend to skew much more intelligent and broadly educated than you’re probably accustomed to encountering.”

Here’s some highlights from his post on me.

  • Tragic waste of a human life.
  • Oh look the ikkle wabbit found the reason why its shitty little life is…

This is so depressing.

Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons: An Analysis of Theodore Beale and his Supporters:


A new update to my actual, like, writing of stuff blog, Philip Sandifer: Writer

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were old friends, working as lawyers a few doors down from each other and sometimes serving as co-council on legal cases.

After Hamilton architected the Constitution and became the Secretary of the Treasury under Washington, Aaron Burr changed the Tammany social club into the Tammany Hall political machine that would dominate New York politics for over 100 years. This made him the most powerful man in New York politics, a title he took away from Alexander Hamilton.

Aaron Burr tried to trick Jefferson out of the presidency. He told Jefferson that they’d go in together with him as president and Burr and Vice President, but secretly worked behind the scenes to try and make himself president instead (at the time the person with the second most votes for president became Vice President). However his plan backfired, Jefferson and Burr were tied in the electoral college, the vote went to congress and after 35 ties the 36th went to Jefferson AFTER Hamilton (Jefferson’s sworn nemesis) comes out in the press in favor of Jefferson, influencing his friends in congress. Says Hamilton, seeing through Burr’s naked ambition, “At least Jefferson stands for something.”

Burr, now Vice President of the United States is so pissed at Hamilton for costing him the presidency, slagging him off in the press and behind his back, that he challenges Hamilton to a duel. They meet at Wehawken, New Jersey, and the sitting Vice President shoots dead the former Secretary of the Treasury. This is very close, and with the same pistols, to where Hamilton’s son Philip was also shot dead in a duel (defending his father’s honor, no less).

For most people, this is where they’re knowledge of the story ends. But it gets much, much more insane. Burr, after hiding from the law in Pennsylvania, has all charges against him dropped. His political career is finished though, he’s forever known as the man who killed Hamilton.

Burr still wants to lead a country, however. He goes south, and leases 40,000 acres of land from Spain in what’s then Florida and is now Louisiana. He fills this land with armed farmers who can form a militia. He meets with British agents and Mexican revolutionaries and forms a plan: raise an army, help revolutionaries overthrow Spanish rule in Mexico and either take over part of the southwest as his own country or install himself as king of all Mexico (since, as a racist, he believes the Mexicans are not suited to rule themselves).

News of this plan gets back to Jefferson, along with rumors that Burr also wants to overthrow the Jefferson administration and rule America too. Jefferson puts out a warrant for Burr’s arrest as a traitor to his nation. Burr flees. Again.

Burr runs away to England. There he once again tries to raise an money and a military to invade Mexico. He fails. He goes to France, wanting to convince Napoleon to help him invade Mexico. Napoleon refuses to see him.

Finally, Burr returns to New York and reopens his law practice (at first under an assumed name to avoid creditors). He has a stroke and dies, but not before trying to scam a wealthy widow out of her money through marriage.

And that’s the story of Aaron Burr. 

(Got interested in this story after seeing the Hamilton musical at the Public Theater, which is super dope– really, really good. Now I want to read the novel Gore Vidal wrote about this guy, it’s probably amazing.)

“For art to be ‘un-political’ means only to ally itself with the ruling group.”

- Bertolt Brecht - A Short Organum for the Theatre (via bustakay)


I’d like to propose that in the world of movie tropes, there is such a thing as the Magical White Guy. He’s like a cross between the magical negro and the manic pixie dream girl, and he’s there to help all the non-white guys out there true their course and find their purpose. Mostly women, though.

– from my new thing about movies where straight male sexual predation is neither bad, nor simply normal, but actually a display of compassionate magic in which your dick can show women how everything bad that happens to them is their own fault.

after the jump: pictures of dick bones!

How copyright affects our future (TEDx re-cut) - YouTube




Remember this: To win the Republican nomination, it will be necessary to pledge to repeal Obamacare, along with ALL of President Obama’s executive orders. If the Republican nominee wins the election, almost all of the important progress that has been made on trans rights at the federal level over the last 6 years will be swept away, along with the health insurance of millions of people. Whomever this Republican President nominates to the Federal judiciary will continue the efforts of the far right to curtail the rights of vulnerable populations and enrich the top 1% at the expense of everyone else. 

This election will literally be life and death for a lot of people… For a lot of trans folks, too. You might not like the Democratic Party. You might not like Hillary Clinton… But you still have a moral obligation to vote democratic if you care about what happens to women, racial minorities, the LGBT population, and the middle class/working class/poor folks of this country. 

We can’t afford anyone sitting this one out because they smugly assume there is no difference between the two major American parties. Register, and vote. 

Or, you know, vote for another party. That’s an option, too.

which is effectively a vote for the republicans, as well you know.




Criticism, Etc.