PyWeek - Explanation of the Pyweek 13 themes


This is the post where I talk about different meanings behind the words in the themes, and their cultural context. Mostly it's to help non-native English speakers, but I also want to encourage a variety of uses of the themes.


Critical in More Criticals means having important consequences, like a critical decision. To criticize means to judge. Someone who judges too harshly is overly critical. If professional reviewers like something, it receives critical acclaim. The scientific method uses critical thinking to test ideas. Literary criticism (often involving critical essays) is the academic study of literature.

Someone close to death is in critical condition. They can be put there with a critical blow (or hit). In physics, a critical point is where a substance changes state (like water changing from a liquid to a solid at 0C), a critical nuclear reaction is strong enough to sustain itself, and critical mass is the amount of nuclear material needed to go critical.

More means additional. Greedy or insatiable characters are often seen demanding more. Catchphrases with more include more power, more dakka, more cowbell, and more magic.



Mr. Fixit is a nickname for a man who's good at fixing things, especially a repairman. Someone earning this name will probably be skilled, clever, and resourceful.

Electronics, furniture, and cars are often fixed. In addition to objects, fixing problems (including medical problems) means solving them, and fixing mistakes means correcting them. You can fix someone up with a date by arranging it for them.

To fix
also means to attach, or keep from moving. If you fix your eyes on something, you watch it steadily. An amount that doesn't change, such as an interest rate, an income, a price, or a wedding date, is fixed. As seen from the Earth, stars are fixed. A navigator who gets a fix finds their ship's position.

Getting a dose of something you're addicted to is getting your fix. In a fix means in trouble. A fixed contest is tampered with. Fixing housepets means removing their reproductive organs.

The Mr. part of Mr. Fixit just means it's a nickname for a man. Other common nicknames are Mr. Nice Guy, Mr. Right, and Mr. Big.


Mutate! means to change, in particular, to experience genetic mutation, when a DNA sequence changes. Mutation can be caused by chemicals or radiation, or it can happen without any external cause. Mutation is usually harmful, such as when it causes cancer, but beneficial mutations are spread by natural selection and contribute to evolution.

Mutation is common in science fiction, where it usually works different. Mutants often get superpowers or become monsters. It's also common for fully-formed organisms to get unrealistic structural changes when they mutate, or even change into a completely different species.

 Mutation usually refers to genes, but objects, feelings, personalities, and anything else that changes can be said to mutate. Ideas can undergo memetic mutation.


Technically anyone you haven't met is a stranger, but a Mysterious Stranger in fiction tends to be untalkative, cryptic, and ominous. Discovering the stranger's identity may be an important part of the plot. Or, the stranger may provide an important object or piece of information and then disappear, never to be identified at all. In The Mysterious Stranger, a novel by Mark Twain, Satan's nephew visits a small Austrian village and mayhem ensues.

Stranger in a Strange Land is a science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein about a Martian coming to Earth. L'Étranger (The Stranger) is a novel by Albert Camus about the meaninglessness of existence or something. Children are warned don't talk to strangers. A complete stranger is also called a perfect stranger. Besides unfamiliar, strange can mean unusual, which makes it ironic when the truth is stranger than fiction. People who associate despite what you'd expect are said to make strange bedfellows.

Even stories that are not mystery stories often have mysterious elements, such as shops, legends, islands, writings, organizations, and lost civilizations. Characters will commonly have a mysterious past. God has been known to move in a mysterious way.


A Negotiator seeks an agreement through dialogue. Contracts, laws, and treaties are often negotiated. Employment contract negotiation is a primary purpose of labor unions. 

Haggling or bargaining is negotiation of a selling price. Dialogue in relationships between people can also be considered negotiation. A crisis negotiator (or hostage negotiator) is a psychologist working for law enforcement to deal with dangerous or suicidal people and "talk them out of it", possibly into a negotiated surrender. Many authorities refuse to negotiate with terrorists.
Negotiate a check means transfer it to someone. Negotiate a curve or stretch of river means successfully travel it.

 
Okay, that's all I got. Feel free to add your own!

Cosmologicon on 2011/09/05 05:03
edited on 2011/09/05 06:23


Comments: (log in to comment)

Thanks Cosmo! Broken image at the top - some Amazon referral error.
Thanks richard for the guide.
Thanks Richard, that's been very helpful.

Anyway, go Mutation! :)
If someone can explain what the themes mean within the game, for people who haven't played the game, I think that would be helpful.
Thanks Cosmologicon!

These expressions come from the Fallout games. A unique feature of these games is that when gaining a level you don't just get to raise your accuracy or damage by some percent but you can also choose perks. Perks give the game a lot of color and the theme candidates are all names of perks.

More Criticals — "You are more likely to cause Critical Hits in combat if you have this Perk. Each level of More Criticals will get you a +5% chance to cause a critical hit. This is a good thing."
Mr Fixit — "This Perk will give you a one-time bonus of +20% to the Repair and Science skills. A little late night cramming never hurt anybody, especially you."
Mutate! — "The radiation of the wasteland has changed you! One of your Traits has mutated into something else..."
Mysterious Stranger — "With this Perk, you have gained the attention of a Mysterious Stranger, who will appear to help you from time to time."
Negotiator — "You are a very skilled negotiator. Not only can you barter with the best of them, but you can talk your way into or out of almost anything.This Perk gives a one-time bonus of +10% to Speech and Barter."
I applaud the theme choices. All of them are completely packed with meaning, yet extremely malleable to almost anything you can imagine. Inspirational yet not confining.