Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Reflection: "The Sun Goes Down on Galway Bay..."

It's been a pretty good year, 2015 has. Lots of big life junk happening, some awesome, some bittersweet. 

Gustavus finally kicked me out--something about "completing major requirements" and "four year college" and "graduation." I wasn't paying much attention. Parted ways with a lot of great people that made the whole experience wonderful. I miss all of them. 

Left Gustavus Tech Services behind, too. Would have worked there forever if I could have, but again, something about "student employment" and "you can't live in the ceiling tiles." It was a great place to work, taught me a lot, and everyone there are freaking saints for putting up with me. GTS homies, GTS fo' lyfe and beyond! I'm sure my horcruxes will be tormenting them for years to come. (Or at least until they find the last few. Don't ask why I had that many photos of myself printed. It's not a path of inquiry you want to go down.)

Wrote a book. Well, a collection of short stories and poems. It's called Hallowed Ground. It's a thing, and was tons of fun to write and proof and format and... Okay, it was tons of fun to write. (Shameless plug--Info about Hallowed Ground here:

Now? I'm working IT for a tax company. We do tax stuff. That's about all I know. I just work there. It's challenging, interesting, and always something new. Every now and again I still write. 

I realized that, a couple years ago, I was getting ready to travel to Ireland. I miss Ballyvaughan and Galway, and the people I traveled with. (Even if my reflection essay was gloomy gus.) That month is one of the best of my life. Some day I'll go back, and watch the sun go down on Galway Bay...

Anyway, happy new year, everyone. May it be filled with peace, joy, and wonder. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Poem: "Wolf-That-Hungers"

Wolf-That-Hungers waits at the gate of dreams.
She steals the breath of sleepers and lies upon their chest.
Her howl is the crying of a hungry child;
Her fur is as grey as starvation.
Crop-blight follows her;
In her shadow crawls drought.
As locusts does she cut a path.
Her path is that of the dry riverbed.
She knocks upon the door in human guise.
Her guise is that of the landlord.
She knocks upon the door in human guise.
Her guise is that of the repo man.
She knocks upon the door in human guise.
Her guise is that of the IRS.
Famine is her sire. Her dam is Greed.
Whelps has she, and many:
Blight and mold,
Locust and marching army,
Flood and drought,
Envy and Lust.
These are her vanguard.
For her rearguard, there is only Death.
She hungers for all that she sees
And her stomach is larger than her eyes.
Her possessions are numberless
Yet always she desires more.
By many names is she known:
The Devourer
Capitalism pays her worship,
Communism strengthens her jaws.
Long she will wait at the gate of dreams,
Stealing the breath of the sleepers.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Just wrote this one the other night. I enjoy writing exaltations for vaguely-malevolent beings: Forces of nature, human vices, stuff like that. It has a lot of room for interesting imagery. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Poem: "For the West"

When the death-white snow
In my front yard
Turns the same shade as the dirt,
I look to the west and weep. 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Originally this was supposed to be part of a cycle of the four cardinal directions, but I only wrote this one. Because I leave a lot of things incomplete. It's one of my few life skills. I have issues. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Music Roundup Monday: "Apparently This is Theme Song Week"

And by apparently, I mean "is" because 3/7 of this week's songs are soundtracks for various movies and TV shows. Also I may or may not be entirely coherent. I'm not sure if I'm actually typing words right now. They look like words. Are they? I hope so. 

The Soul Benders - "7 and 7 Is"

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cool Stuff Sunday: "Luke and Leia Are Siblings"

So this Cool Stuff Sunday is going to have a decided lean towards two franchises in particular. You should be able to guess at least one of them. What that means is: Minor spoilers ahoy. 

Some of the less-acknowledged inspirations for Dark Souls. Berserk always gets mentioned, but what about others

Miyazaki himself says that Dark Souls has been mined of all new content. Time to move on to Dark Souls II, people! 

A dude I play pen-and-paper RPGs with has retooled the various D&D races. 

Sawney Bean is probably fictional, but horrifying all the same. 

Want to listen to MORE than just the same 20 songs in Fallout 4? So do I. 

Who is Supreme Leader Snoke? Mild-to-moderate Star Wars: The Force Awakens spoilers within. 

Luke Skywalker was a terrorist

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Backlog Blitz: SNES, Week Eleven, "Jurassic MegaCity One"

I'm baaaaaack suckers! Going to be running off backlogs for a while until I get emulators up and running on my desktop PC, but things are looking brighter for Backlog Blitz. Anyway, it's 11:30, I'm eating ramen, and there's licorice. Let's hit it!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Worm Fodder: Commissar Gaius Galt

The good commissar below was my first-ever RPG character, and he was a strong start to the world of pen-and-paper RPGs. Not only that, but he managed to stay alive in the grim darkness of the far future, and end his career on his own terms.

NAME: Commissar Gaius Galt

SYSTEM: Warhammer 40K: Only War

LIFESPAN: A complete game arc, around eight sessions.

ABOUT: A political officer whose job was to improve morale, execute deserters, and purge heretics. He was very good at all of those things. He also had a hatred for cyborgs due to the "servitor incident" which had forever marred his career.

NOTABLE FEATS: Survived encounter with Eldar (space elf), losing only one limb! Manged to execute a cultist by throwing his chainsaw-sword into the cultist's chest, at which point the chainsaw revved thanks to a gust of wind. Faced down a towering daemon of excess and only whimpered a little.

CAUSE OF DEATH: Self-inflicted gunshot wound due to stress.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wandery Wednesday: "Dreamcatcher"

I had a nightmare last night, I don't know what about. That's the thing about my nightmares. They vanish as soon as I open my eyes. But I remember that I had a nightmare. It leaves me with a jittery, uneasy feeling for the day. 

And the kick of it is, I know what my nightmares are about. I know what I fear. Being alone. I'm terrified of loneliness, yet I spend my free time isolated, by choice. It's a catch-22 I'm not sure I want to escape. As if I could anyway. 

The funny thing about dreams is that I don't remember them. Well, that's a lie. I remember two kinds. The falling dreams. I remember those. They happen frequently. I hit ground every time. And the Jurassic Park dreams. They are a...unique sort. A night terror all to my own. For years I've been trying to escape Isla Nublar. I never have yet. Freud or a dream theorist would have a grand time with that dream. Dinosaurs, a jungle, a sense of helplessness. So many things you can claim to learn about me. 

When I have a good dream, I don't recall a single specific. Never have. Never will. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe they're nightmares too. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Poem: "Homecoming"

The agony of the grave
Has descended upon me,
The malaise of misspent life
Gnaws at my soul.
I returned to my hometown
Seeking my adolescent love.
But I found she now possessed a small-town mind,
And a small-town heart to match.
So I stand on my roof
Watching my dreams crash down as shooting stars.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The irony is that all the people I cared about in middle school, high school, or college are still pretty legit people. If anything, I'm the one with a small-town heart. My horizons are pretty much limited to my apartment walls, and I'm okay with that. Most of the time. My dreams have dwindled. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cool Stuff Sunday: "Scarcity Sunday"

So for some reason, I just didn't find a lot of cool stuff on the internet this week. That doesn't mean that cool stuff wasn't out there! I just didn't find it. I was playing Fallout 4. 100 hours in and counting! Thinking I'll wrap up the main quest after this. Maybe. I don't know. We'll see. Anyway. 

Speaking of Fallout 4, this dude has ripped every magazine cover for your perusal. 

The Wet Bandits shouldn't have survived Home Alone

Ol' Billy Shakespeare helped steal the Globe Theater. 

Nuka Quantum is coming to Target! AW YAS. 

"All I Want For Christmas is You" sounds much sadder in a minor key. (Duh). 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wandery Wednesday: "Kleptomania"

Fallout 4 has taught me something. I'm a hoarder. Not the traditional kind that clutters up their house until it's unlivable. No, I'm a virtual hoarder. Terabytes upon terabytes of data in various hard drives. Will I ever use it? Probably not. Literal thousands of hours of music. Hundreds of movies. Dozens of TV shows. Thousands of books. Hundreds of thousands of wallpapers I'll never use as wallpapers. It's obscene. And I keep downloading more.

Why? Couldn't tell you. Maybe it makes me happy for a brief minute. A distraction from the constant voices in my head that remind me that I've given up on my dreams. In the immortal words of Culture Club, "I string along." 

Poem: "Caoineadh"

The earth cries out beneath your feet,
It weeps to see you pass.
And while I wandered in the street,
You danced upon the grass.

I heard your laughter in the air,
It burned my soul like fire.
The sunset shone upon your hair
Like blood upon the lyre.

You passed on into shadowlands,
Leaving behind your light,
And I wrung my crimsoned hands
For I lost you in the night.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
In my head, this is sung to an Irish lament. Which one? Couldn't tell you...

Monday, December 7, 2015

Music Roundup Monday: "Springsteen in Winter"

Yeah, somehow I managed to post Springsteen twice in a week. I've been trying not to most the same artists twice at all. Whatevs. Anyway, I have a really nice desktop PC now, plus my laptop is back from being repaired. That means I can, you know, start drawing on my song of the day backlog. Anyway. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cool Stuff Sunday: "Ketchup Time"

Well hai there. I haz computer again, which means I haz interesting stuff to share again. Glorious, innit? Some quite varied stuff on the platter, so let's take a look. 

The art of editing in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Awesome Legend of Zelda posters

Are you a replicant? Take the test

Here's a map of the Commonwealth of Fallout 4. Stay out of the red. 

Viking clothing is surprisingly colorful

An exploration of "Gorgo, Mormo" in Lovecraft's "The Horror at Red Hook." 

Do you love your cat enough to write a poem about it? 

These guys are reading through original D&D's Appendix N. 

Dark Souls III in-game footage hypeeee!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wandery Wednesday: "Maladapt"

I daydream. Always have. It's part of being a writer, I guess. I'm always thinking of new settings, new characters, new dynamics. When I was a kid, I would act those stories out. (I had a copious collection of cap guns, plastic swords, and other assorted cheap trinkets). Eventually, I realized that I was getting too old for that behavior to seem normal anymore. So everything got bottled up in my head. For the most part, it was channeled into writing. Hence, you know, the English degree, the blog, the book of short stories and poems... 

But sometimes I still find myself acting out scenes in my head, getting into the mindspace of characters to analyze how they would react, how they would speak. Again, something a lot of writers do, to some degree or another. Sometimes, though, I wonder. As awful as the lives of some of my characters are, why do their lives often seem better than mine? 

I don't know. I don't know. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Poem: "Haiku for Thoughts of Fall"

I sit and I think,
Although more often I sit,
Watching leaves drift down. 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Yeah, I wrote this one when it was still fall and not the second coming of the Ice Giants. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wandery Wednesday: "Obligatory Post Before More Fallout 4"

Fallout 4 came out. Which means my routine will become "Work. Game. Sleep" for the foreseeable future. That is all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Poem: "Unfulfilled Cycle"

In the summer of my discontent
You stood against the sun,
Casting a shadow darker than a midnight doorway,
And I fell inside.

In the autumn of my yearning
You walked among the spectral trees,
Like the wake of the Medusa,
And our hands entwined.

In the winter of my hope
You lay in the snow
As stars melted the night
And kept us warm.

In the spring of my quietude
You murmured of blue-grey shores
Where cherry blossoms fell eternally
And I lost you. 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Initial phrase shamelessly stolen and inverted from Richard III. The rest is my own. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cool Stuff Sunday: "Beowulf Does the Uptown Funk"

Ohhaithere! I just woke up from a pleasant and incredibly cozy sleep. Now I've opened my windows, donned a jacket, and am sitting in a cool breeze. Why? Because I like the fresh (freezing) air. Also I am an idiot. Anyway. Let's talk about cool stuff from the internet. 

These Star Wars: The Force Awakens character posters

Do you want to print your own D&D 5e spellbook? This site is for you. 

100 movies dancing to "Uptown Funk." 

I disagree 99% with this article about the PMRC and "extreme" music but it's still interesting. 

The Daily Bestiary has invented adventures based around EVERY monster in the D&D 3.5/Pathfinder Monster Manuals. 

This Pip-Boy 3000 is hype as hype can be. The 10th can't come too soon!

Beowulf is available to read online! (The medieval manuscript, that is!)

Noel Gallagher is a very angry person. And also very funny

You're doing familiars in games wrong, sez this article

The making of Fallout 4 is pretty dang cool. 

There's a new Mass Effect: Andromeda teaser as of N7 Day yesterday. Goosebumps.

On a 16-speed turntable, the Chipmunks actually sound pretty cool. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Backlog Blitz: SNES, Week Ten, "I Should Start Playing Old Games Again..."

Ugh. I'm freaking tired as freak. Stayed up until 2AM playing D&D with some dudes. It was pretty dang fun. Investigated a serious of mysterious deaths, accidentally killed a mayor, spent four hours frantically covering it up and not investigating the deaths, botched the actual investigation and unleashed an all-consuming demon, and then nearly screwed up banishing the bloody thing. It was great. Anyway, old games. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Media of the Month: October 2015, "Sometimes I Forget to Finish the Titles of My Blogs Until I Publish Them"

Well this was a pretty varied month. And by "pretty varied" I mean schizophrenic in the extreme. Anyway. I don't really care about any of this because Fallout 4 releases in like four days so EEEEEEEEEE. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Short Story: "The Holms"

“That is, they engaged in single combat; the spot for such encounters being called a holm, consisting of a circular space marked out by stones.”

Once, there had been twenty stones around the holm. Twenty stones, almost too large for a man to carry comfortably in one hand. Nine of those stones remained. Skulls had replaced the other eleven stones—skulls of men who would be king, each fleshless bone scoured clean by ice and wind.

Regin Radsvid knew each skull by name. Lugal Redtooth, first to die at the holm, and his slayer, Hlaeving Holm-Crowned. Skogul of the Longships, distant relative to Regin, who had led the raiding fleets under Hlaeving’s rule. Larger than the other skulls was Atrid Man-Mountain’s, for Atrid had been a giant of a man. He had fought honorably only to be slain by a poisoned blade. On it went. Each skull once had entered the holm to contest their right to rule.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wandery Wednesday: "The Last Skateboard of Autumn"

Before dinner, I headed out to the abandoned parking lot nearby. The weather's warmish today, but autumn is here, and the chill is coming. So I dragged out the skateboard and had myself the last skate session of the year. Probably. Barring an Indian summer. 

That kind of kicked up my melancholy, though. Last time skateboarding for the year... I love autumn. It's probably my favorite season--very Gothic, very moody and atmospheric. But all the same, my depression seems to flare up a bit when this time of year rolls 'round. I think it's because autumn is a time of endings, of drawing to a close. I start to think about friendships that have slipped away, about missed opportunities, about paths less traveled by. And so on. I'm not bitter. I'm rarely bitter. I'm just...a bit sad. As a wise person once said, "Well yeah, and I'm sad, but at the same time I'm really happy that something could make me feel that sad. It's like, it makes me feel alive, you know? It makes me feel human. And the only way I could feel this sad now is if I felt somethin' really good before. So I have to take the bad with the good, so I guess what I'm feelin' is like a, beautiful sadness..."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Poem: "She"

She shakes the stars out of her skirt,
Unseen by all but the moon;
The black-haired goddess
Guides ghosts home
Across a gossamer web
Woven by spiders in the void,
Suspended from ten thousand points of light.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
There was an inspiration behind this poem, but I forgot it. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Music Roundup Monday: "Folk Yer Halloween"

I just got home from work. Because I am an stupid, I volunteered to be responsible for swapping out a network switch. The swap...didn't go smoothly. Not because of any fault of my own, but just usual bad luck. Anyway. Music. And happy stuff. Yay.

Micah P. Hinson - "Diggin' a Grave"

Solander - "Huckleberry Finn"

Guy Clark - "Soldier's Joy"

"Weird" Al Yankovic - "Virus Alert"

The Misfits - "Dig Up Her Bones"

Rob Zombie - "The Devil's Rejects"

Nine Inch Nails - "The Good Soldier"

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Cool Stuff Sunday: "Spooky Scary Steve Lichman..."

Some really scary stuff this week. I mean, it is Halloween weekend. So that's to be expected. But this first one? Oh lordy. Scared the pantsu right off of me.

Jar-Jar Binks is a Sith Lord.

The full Fallout 4 skill tree.

A history of rock and roll in 100 riffs.

The Ryckoning.

Slipknot's not-really-that-new but new-to-me music video for "The Devil In I."

The West Marches is a really cool RPG setting/world/idea.

A brief history of haunted houses in literature.

Steve Lichman looks hilarious.

Micro-reviews of some lesser-known RPGs.

Backlog Blitz: SNES, Week Nine, "Finally, It's Time to Fight the FlashBacks in F-Zero Gravity!"

This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but something came up at the last minute. I wish I could say it was a hot date. It wasn't. Alas. Oh well. Sadness. Despair. Etc. Etc. Etc. Anyways, all I have to say is F yous all. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

OverAnalyzed: A Short History of Horror Fiction and the Gothic

Tomorrow is Halloween and I have an old essay on horror writing and its Gothic roots floating around on my hard drive. I am also lazy. This combines to bring you this not-so-short history of horror and its roots. I make no claims of accuracy. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Short Story: Hallowed Ground

Seamus Rafferty, oldest fisher in Ballyvaughan, lay alone before the altar. No family knelt near his flimsy pine coffin. In fact, the church of Mary Stella Maris sat empty save for Seamus in his coffin and young Father Brendan in his vestments.

As he stumbled through the Requiem Mass, Father Brendan was almost glad for the absence of mourners. A botched funeral could damage his standing in the isolated village even further. Already he felt the parishioners barely tolerated him. His youth, his unfamiliarity with their customs and dialect, his books of canon law. Ballyvaughan wanted Father Duncan back, but Father Duncan had been recalled for his near-heretical writings. So Father Brendan arrived and sent Father Duncan away.

But even the village’s polite dislike of Father Brendan did not explain why no mourners were present at Seamus Rafferty’s funeral. The old fisher had a large and loving family, and a reputation for generosity and kindness towards all. Why, just last night at the man’s wake—Father Brendan was present to pronounce a few edifying words—hadn’t three separate friends lamented the world was worse off without Seamus Rafferty in it?

Father Brendan puzzled over this mystery until he intoned the last “Requiescat in Pace, Amen” over Seamus’ body, whereupon Michael the sacristan peeked in to announce that six strong men were here to carry the coffin.

Michael was older than Seamus by far, but lacked the honorary of “Old Michael.” Instead, locals called him Sacristan Michael to distinguish him from various other Michaels roundabouts. Though a bit crook-legged, Michael remained spry and spent his free time, when not tending the church, documenting local ruins and history. Father Brendan found Michael an invaluable guide to area customs: The second Angelus at evening, the strange fishers’ prayers in neither Latin nor Gaelic nor English, the taboo against naming the drowned dead, the red doors to “ward the Gentry away.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wandery Wednesday: "Is Settling Really Settling?"

I wonder a lot if I'm "settling." You know, taking the the safe path, the guaranteed salary, all that jazz. You know, the opposite of "follow your dreams!" Settling.

I'm settling, I think. I could have gone straight from college into a graduate writing program. Instead, I'm taking a year off, working, living in the city, writing when I'm not too tired. I like it. All the same, it's getting close to the time when I need to start applying to grad programs if I want to get into one next year. And the question nagging me is--do I? I love writing. I don't ever want to quit writing. It's one of my outlets, one of the few things I'm marginally good at. (I SAID MARGINALLY.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Poem: Halloween Horror Haiku

Late night, home alone.
Blocked number moans your name,
Then a fuse blows out.

If doubt should arise,
Remember to double-tap
And aim for the head.

In a creepy house,
The leatherbound book of spells
Will want to kill you.

Chainsaw revving up
In sweltering Texas heat.
Squeal, lil’ piggy, squeal.

Haunted puzzle box
Unleashes Pinhead and co.
Hell will soon be raised.

Where we are going,
We won’t need eyes. Libera
Nos ex infernus.

Most clowns are quite nice.
Unless they’re in a storm drain.
Those rip your arm off.

He drowned in a lake.
Now he wears a hockey mask
And kills horny teens.

Do not fall asleep.
Dreams are his dark hunting grounds.
His claws are quite sharp.

It starts with a hug.
Afterwards the fear begins.
No-one heard you scream.

Poor girl never learned:
They’re all going to laugh at you!
Pig blood leaves a stain.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
So, how many of these movies do you recognize? Hopefully all of them! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cool Stuff Sunday: "MAMMA MIA, I Love to eat PIZZA with PEPPERONI!"

Well, it's Sunday at 10am, and I'm awake, which is startling in its own right. It's been an interesting week at work--lots and lots of stuff happening--so I've been slacking off a bit on the writing front. Instead I've been playing Chivalry: Medieval Warfare until my hand-eye coordination starts to suffer. So what's cool this week?

The IMAX poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This Samus Aran cosplay is awesome

Jackie Chan learning from a little kid is adorable

I love to eat BRUSKETTA but I don't pronounce it like that jerk who over-pronounces foreign words. 

Ever wanted your computer to make typewriter sounds? This program can help. 

Check out famous authors' notebooks!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Backlog Blitz: SNES, Week Eight, "These Ones Are Out of Order"

Long story short, I got my hands on some other ROMs that looked interesting, so I'm talking about them today, despite them not following alphabetically from the previous week. Deal with it, suckaaaaas!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wandery Wednesday: "I Went to My Work Job Today. I Did a Network Configure."

So over the weekend the phone system was upgraded at work. This involved me working Friday night and a chunk of Saturday to get all the phones hooked up. There were some issues, but nothing too major. 10 failures out of 175ish is pretty solid. I got to learn how to configure the phone network ports using command-line interface, which has been...a thing. I'm starting to see green lines of code running vertically down my vision... Think I should see a doctor. Anyway. It was fun. And most of the issues have settled down by this afternoon. Which is a huge relief. That said, could things have been better? Yes. We definitely need to clear out some ports on our server/switch racks. One floor has no ports for new phones. None. No places to plug new phones into. Nada. Which is worrying and will have to be dealt with. 

I spent the early evening trying to get my budget sorted. 401K withholding, grocery budget, allowance for buying video games and cool stuff, tithe to the crushing financial burden that accompanies being an English major, rent payment, lots of fun stuff. So I'm rewarding myself with pizza, rum, and video games.

Speaking of games, I've been playing Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, which is a fun bit of the old FPS genre. First-Person Stabbing, that is. It's a first-person online swordfighting battle simulating sort of jobber. It's actually quite enjoyable. There are bits I dislike (either have weapon/armor skins be purchasable, like in League of Legends, and make the game free OR make the game cost money and have everything be unlockable. I'm not a big fan of developers who go "let's make them pay for the game AND pay for cosmetic stuff!" CS:GO can get away with that. You can't. Also this was a long parenthetical...) but overall I'd say it's well worth the $6 I paid. Heck, I've put 15 hours in already, which is not something I usually do with multiplayer games. As soon as my pizza is finished, I'm going right back to playing. Woo!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Poem: "N'Orleans Villanelle"

A voodoo moon rides over the sugarcane;
Gators glide through the mangrove trees;
Dead men dance in Lake Ponchartrain.

She loved him. He left her like a hurricane:
Broken down and riddled with disease.
A waning moon rode over the sugarcane.

She got a gris-gris filled with wolfsbane,
Dropped in a picture of that lousy sleaze.
Dead men dance in Lake Ponchartrain.

Padlocked him up in a rusty chain,
Turned a stone ear to his whining pleas.
A red moon rode over the sugarcane.

She drove him out there in hammering rain,
Parked in a clump of zombie trees,
Watched dead men dancing in Lake Ponchartrain.

He’d never hurt another girl again.
As his face sunk down she laughed with the breeze.
A voodoo moon rides over the sugarcane,
And a dead man dances in Lake Ponchartrain. 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
It's almost Halloween, so it's time to break out the semi-spooky stuff. Wooooeeeeeooooo... 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Music Roundup Monday: "

Well, the phone changeover at work this weekend went surprisingly well. Only had 8 failures out of ~180 users, which seems like a pretty good percentage. I mean, 100% success rate would be ideal, but also pretty much impossible. Anyway, music!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cool Stuff Sunday: The Three D's (Dungeons, Dragons, and...Devourers?)

It is Sunday. I have eaten delicious pizza from a local pizza place, followed by delicious pie from a local Target SuperStore. Let's talk about what stuff this week was super cool.

A 3D-printed portable railgun

The Gorillaz are releasing new music in 2016. 

Characters in Mad Max: Fury Road have really cool names.

Folklore inspirations for monsters in Witcher 3.

A dungeon generator for you role-playing game types. 

3D-printable dungeon terrain, also for you role-playing game types. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Backlog Blitz: SNES, Week Seven, "Beauty is in the Eye..."

So last night and this morning were spent at work switching to a different IP phone system. That was fun. I can't feel my fingers. Let's eat trail mix and talk about old games while I try to forget that on Monday, everyone will hate the new system as much as the old one. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Very Short Story: Vitae Homunculae

Buying the garden gnomes was my first mistake. I don't even have a garden--just a balcony with some planters of ferns, overlooking midtown. But I saw the little guys--gals--whatever--in a pet shop window. Their teensy gnome houses carved out of tennis-ball halves, their grey peaked caps... You watched The Smurfs as a kid, right? Who wouldn't want some Smurfs?

Anyhow, I took a dozen. That's how many the pet shop lady said was enough to start a colony. I brought them home, set them up on the balcony. They liked it out there, I guess. Kind of hard to tell, since I couldn't really hear them. But they would stand and stare up at me when I came out to water my ferns, then run shrieking into their tennis-ball huts when the watering can rained down. 

That went on for a few months and we started to get along. By now I could recognize each gnome on sight--Poopsie was the fat one, Dum-Dum was the muscle, and so on. But fall was getting cold, and these gnomes couldn't survive a North Dakota winter. 

So I made mistake number two. I brought the gnomes inside. Oh man. They loved it indoors. The carpet was practically a savannah to them, and there were all sorts of resources to plunder. Like the wiring in my headphones, or my rice, or... Look, suffice to say they got into things. At first it was cute, but after the third set of headphones, not so much. 

Which leads us directly to mistake number three: Teaching them English. Now I'm staring at a "Declaration of Gnomish Rights" and--no, please, you're the fifth attorney I've visited!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wandery Wednesday: "I Went to the Archery Park. I Did an Archery."

So a long time ago (before college), I shot archery. I was...moderately good. I placed in a couple state youth tournaments, and my archery group placed as a team multiple times. So...moderately good. It helped that I would spend an hour or two a day over the summer just shooting archery. I actually wore out a Yellow Jacket target, which are designed to reconstruct themselves. And then I started college and started working full-time during the summer and, well, my free time dropped considerably.

It's probably been a year and a half since I shot archery last. Until last weekend. I discovered a dinky little archery park about a quarter-mile from my apartment. It's nothing fancy, just an open area with some distance markers and some moldy haybales to shoot into. But all the same it was fun to see that my overall ability hasn't degraded much with time. Back when I was shooting ~two full tournament rounds a day, it was a good day if I averaged 85% of shots into a tennis-ball sized zone of the target at twenty yards. I managed that this weekend, which is pleasantly surprising.

Anyway, it seems that very few people actually use the archery park for, you know, archery. This became apparent to me after the first pedestrians to pass spent several minutes watching me, examining my car, and generally rubbernecking. I felt a bit violated. Then the old ladies walked by and actually wrote down my license plate number. After that I decided to leave...

I don't really know where I was going with this, other than "don't be a menace to South Central while shooting your bow in the hood." Or something.

Oh, and also. I realized that Saturday Evening Warfare (Wednesdays) was taking up a disproportionate amount of my writing time. (You know how hard it is to edit down 50+ pages of Skype textlog into a five-page blog post? HARD.) That means that, for the time being, SEWW is on hiatus. Sorry. Instead you get About random junk I've done. Sorry.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Poem: "Backcountry Prophecy"

I see my life
In the broken-down, sway-back farmhouses
Of the Minnesota backcountry,
Out on snake-weaving dirt roads no one travels,
Where only ghosts reside,
Murmuring might-have-beens.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
I don't think anywhere in Minnesota truly qualifies as "backcountry," at least not compared to, say, Montana or Australia. But still, you get out on a winding country road in early fall, just before harvest season, when the light's almost gone, and you'll feel as alone as alone can be. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cool Stuff Sunday: "Watashi Wa Taitoru o Motte Imasen"

It's Sunday, I'm hungry for Chinese food, and I'm too lazy to actually go get Chinese food. Let's talk about stuff on the internet instead.

I don't know why this mashup amuses me.

Apparently Far Cry Primal is going to be a thing. This makes me happy.

This dude is an awesome skater.

Kender suck. Seriously. If someone you know likes kender, stop associating with them. And no, I don't mean Kinder Surprise.

Don't trust used armor salesmen.

This site lets you build and print dungeon maps. All you PnP gamers, you're welcome.

Dungeon Robber is essentially a one-person dungeon crawl, in Flash. It's pretty fun.

Marceline the Vampire Queen is finally getting her whole story told on Adventure Time. Woo! Sadness incoming!

I keep watching this Star Wars: Battlefront video, and it gets funnier every time. The only good thing to come out of the Star Wars: Battlefront beta.

This video contains the most important Japanese phrases you will ever need to know, minus one: "Watashi wa baka gaikoku hitodesu. Sore wa kawaīde wanaidesu ka?"

Bird Boy is a really cool webcomic now becoming a physical comic.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Backlog Blitz: SNES, Week Six, "The Death of a Good Series"

I just fried up some delicious potatoes, and earlier I set up a Raspberry Pi to emulate old games, so I'm in a good mood to talk about retro gaming. Let's get to it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Poem: "Rum, Obscurity, and the Lash"

Drink cheap rum;
Contemplate self-improvement;
More cheap rum;
You've chased dreams all your life--
Everyone says keep chasing--
You're tired of running:
Maybe it's time to settle
For cheap rum
And a few good friends
And obscurity.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Thankfully this poem is only partially biographical. I do sometimes wonder if I should give up on my dreams. Someday maybe I will.