Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cool Stuff Sunday: "Concept Art and Rifles?"

Woo! SUNDAY! I'm not on call, so guess what? I'm going to write and play video games! Because the apartment doesn't have to be cleaned more than once every few months, right? (I joke. I clean weekly because that's gross). Anywhoooooo... COOL STUFF! Also I saw Deadpool last night. It was Deadpool

Someone has completed Dark Souls without getting hit. That's...dedication. (Someone help the poor guy...) 

George Miller talks about Mad Max: Fury Road

The new Star Wars comics are great. (No major spoilers in link, but it's scans from a comic). 

Some lost J.R.R. Tolkien poems have been found

The making of Deadpool's suit. 

Every 90's commercial ever

I want an FG-42 German Paratrooper rifle. Buy me one. 

Punctuation in novels is weird

Youtube needs to fix its broken fair use/DMCA takedown system. Seriously

Don't ever ask hackers to hack you

Concept art for The Force Awakens implies it could have been a darker movie... 

Learn science from Dr. Dinosaur! 

Dark Souls III wallpapers for you. 

MORE Star Wars concept art!

So...Slashy Souls is a thing. Not sure how to feel about it.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Backlog Blitz: Master System, Week One, "Fun is Alien to These Games"

Another day, another old system's catalog of games to explore... Truly, the life of a bored twenty-something with a tendency towards reclusiveness is filled with excitement! Or maybe disappointment. Could go either way. Anyway! Sega Master System. It's a thing. The Genesis is better. And the NES/SNES are better still. Yeah, I said it. Fite me after skool. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Last Month's Books: "The Marriage of Stellar and Subpar"

I haven't had much time to read this month, so I'm rationing book reviews from last month out a bit. Padding things, see. It's a viable review tactic. Totally. Hopefully next week will be calmer. In other news, I hate business-class phone systems and the issues they have. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Story: "Le Capitaine"

I dreamt of alligators and screaming men. When morning came, Jackson in the grip of August never seemed so sweet. Course, Jackson's got gators nearby, out in the cypress swamp. But not the kind I dreamt of. Not gators which have got a taste of le cochon gris.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Worm Fodder: Youboy!

Yes, that's his name. Surprisingly, of the three characters I had for that game (Youboy!, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern), Youboy! had the longest lifespan. He almost survived. Almost.

NAME: Youboy!

SYSTEM: Dungeon Crawl Classics

LIFESPAN: One session.

ABOUT: An orphan, Youboy! ended up working for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as a combination of muscle, pack mule, and general servant. They named him. They weren't good at naming.

NOTABLE FEATS: Outliving his employers; fighting a shambling horror of undead flesh; helping topple said shambling horror into a chasm.

CAUSE OF DEATH: Falling into a chasm.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Poem: "For the East"

When the grey rain dripping
From lilac trees
Becomes purple-gold pollen,
I turn to the east and sneeze.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Oh, hey! Remember the previous two Cardinal Direction poems I wrote? Here's another one... Now I just need to do one for the South. Yay me. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Music Roundup Monday: "Heavy as a Very Heavy Thing"

Last week's theme was fun. Heavy music. Not just in terms of sonic weight, but also in terms of...feel? Like, CCR isn't a "heavy" band, but a lot of their songs are heavy. Emotionally heavy, maybe? I don't know. Anyway, all of these songs are heavy in their own way.

Iggy and the Trolls - "Inferiority Complex"

Black Sabbath - "Electric Funeral"

SubRosa - "Ghosts of a Dead Empire"

Creedence Clearwater Revival - "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"

Finntroll - "Galgasang"

Alice in Chains - "Grind"

OM - "Haqq al-Yaqin"

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Worm Fodder: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

Rosencrantz. Or maybe Guildenstern?
Seriously. When you get two tax collectors with near-identical stats on your sheet of level 0 starter characters, you HAVE to be some kind of duo. Laurel and Hardy. Penn and Teller. George and Lemmy. Thomson and Thompson. I chose to go with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern for a couple reasons. One: The inevitable joke when both of them bite the dust. (Level 0 characters have a very short lifespan in Dungeon Crawl Classics.) Two: I really really really like the movie Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Three: I really really really like Hamlet

NAMES: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

SYSTEM: Dungeon Crawl Classics

LIFESPAN: One session

ABOUT: A duo of tax collectors. Incredibly dedicated to their profession, to the point that when they woke up in a mysterious temple-dungeon, they began appraising the structure. (Onyx and gilt are expensive, and if that's not being reported...)

NOTABLE FEATS: Mostly just providing warm bodies between the rest of the party and certain doom. Seriously. Read what killed them. 

CAUSE OF DEATH: Guildenstern--died to a very heavy door. Rosencrantz--mauled by a zombie.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Backlog Blitz: SNES, Week Eighteen, "Tactical Ogre Clinging"

It's the end of an era. No, really. I've finished playing Super Nintendo games. I have no more ROMs to play. My emulator can rest in peace now. What's next? A short, one or two week hiatus. Then on to the system that does what Nintendon't. SEGAAAAAAAAA~ But for now, let's look at some more old games.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Last Month's Games: "The DOOM Which Came To Gotham"

Last month I played quite a few games. I didn't really like any of them. So sad. Let's tear them to shreds. Except for Nidhogg. Nidhogg was great. Anyway, I have Vanilla Coke in my fridge, and tomorrow's Saturday and I'm on-call, so... I don't really know where I'm going with this, honestly. It's been The Longest Week. I've been playing Darkest Dungeon instead of writing. I'm a terrible author. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

OverAnalyzed: Infinitely-Spawning Enemies In The Witcher

Games are a funny thing. There are some where it feels natural for enemies to respawn time after time, where mechanic and setting mesh perfectly. Take Dark Souls, a game I love to talk about because it’s so well-crafted. Within the setting, respawning enemies make sense on multiple levels—many are hollowed Undead, and thus have the same Lazarus effect as the player; in addition, the flow of time is distorted, which is essentially “Magic, I ain’t gotta explain nuffin” but is still an answer. There are other games, however, where such jack-in-the-box enemies don’t make sense at all. Two that spring to mind are Far Cry 2 and The Witcher. Both are great games. But both have enemy respawns that border on the nonsensical.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Worm Fodder: Blue Saul

I love Blue Saul. In fairness, I love most of the characters I play. But Blue Saul... Look, playing a hobbit--excuse me, halfling--with larger-than-life appetites and an atrocious Scottish/Irish brogue is glorious. Seriously. One of our other players is Scottish, and watching the pain on his face when I spoke in character was half of the fun.

NAME: "Blue" Saul Chelet

SYSTEM: Dungeon Crawl Classics

LIFESPAN: Oneshot and beyond.

ABOUT: Blue Saul was a halfling dyer who primarily worked with blue dyes. This resulted in his hands and forearms turning a lovely shade of blue, as well as his name. When he was a boy he wanted to be a wizard, but halflings have no magical aptitude. So he put his dreams on hold. Then his wife left him and took the kids. So he wandered about in search of solace, until he found the rest of the party.

NOTABLE FEATS: Convincing a bank manager that he and the rest of the party were an investigatory team sent after a rash of mysterious break-in attempts; despite his lack of magical ability, proved quite skilled at examining/investigating anything magical or supernatural; angering an elf tailor, as is tradition; leaving a town to be destroyed by a cataclysmic battle between a dragon and a demon, intimidating orc woman at his side.

CAUSE OF DEATH: Unless the orc woman killed him, he's living happily ever after.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Poem: "For The North"

When the toad-green leaves
Outside my window
Are the same shade as the night,
I turn to the north and howl.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
So a while back I posted a poem called "For The West" and said that it was supposed to be part of a cycle about the four cardinal directions, and that I was too lazy to write the rest. As it turns out, I had written a second one and lost it. This is the second one. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Worm Fodder: Barnabras Kollens

Yes, he is named after Barnabras Collins. Yes, it was intentional. Yes, he definitely failed to live up to his namesake. He's a character I played. You shouldn't be surprised.

NAME: Barnabras Kollens

SYSTEM: Dungeon Crawl Classics


ABOUT: An undertaker obsessed with romanticizing death. In a modern world, he would have been a Goth. Very cultured, but also completely out of touch with societal norms. 

NOTABLE FEATS: Accidentally resurrecting a zombie girl; convincing a seamstress to make fancy clothes for himself and the zombie; participating in the investigation of a bank break-in; marrying the zombie in a parody of Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride, accidentally unleashing the demon trapped beneath the church; being vaporized along with his zombie bride. 

CAUSE OF DEATH: Probably the emerging demon trapped under the church, it wasn't clear. 

Music Roundup Monday: "Creepy Folk Week"

You know, I should write an intro for this. I mean, it's a bunch of slightly-unsettling folk songs from various traditions--France, the Ukraine, Poland, Britain, and America. Nah.

Guilhem Desq - "Omen"

Corvus Corax - "Totentanz"

Faun - "Iduna"

Marcin Przybyłowicz - "The Song of the Sword-Dancer"

Drudkh - "Archaic Dance"

Townes Van Zandt - "Lungs"

Eilen Jewell - "Bang Bang Bang"

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Worm Fodder: Daniel the Grimy

Daniel the Grimy... Look. His character portrait? Doesn't do him justice. That makes him look like he had some sort of tragic mental deficiency. He did not. He was just incredibly, cripplingly stupid. A giant man-child. His INT was suboptimal but survivable, but his WIS was...negatory. 

NAME: Daniel the Grimy

SYSTEM: Dungeon Crawl Classics

ABOUT: A gravedigger with an inexplicable Southern accent who wandered into a conspiracy bigger than himself. 

NOTABLE FEATS: Had his shovel enchanted by an elven smith who thought it would be funny, giving the shovel sentience; murdered--well, his shovel murdered--a fellow adventurer; unleashed a tomb filled with giant graveworms; became part of a three-headed ghost giant a la Monty Python. 

CAUSE OF DEATH: Turned into a half-sphinx and murdered by another player's sphinx-hating spear. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Worm Fodder: Aengus Fanaiochtla

Aengus was a great character. Shame I didn't get to play him longer. He was only a oneshot character, though. The oneshot's premise and setting was great, but no continuations have come to fruition. Alas. Might-have-beens aren't worth weeping about. Except for Elise. COME BACK, ELISE! Ahem.

NAME: Aengus Fanaiochtla



ABOUT: Government scribe with delusions of poetic grandeur. Assigned to a supernatural-investigation task force. Speaker with the dead.

NOTABLE FEATS: Helping cover up the death of the local mayor, which was caused by another member of the investigation task force; investigating a series of supernatural deaths; speaking with several corpses; surviving an attack by a separate investigation party; helping unleash an extraplanar monster; cutting off an elf's fingers to help banish the extraplanar monster.

CAUSE OF DEATH: Shot by a fellow investigator who blamed him for the monster's escape.

Backlog Blitz: SNES, Week Seventeen, "

I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point. About fifteen games left to play, some of which will inevitably not be worth even reviewing. So probably two-to-three weeks left of the SNES Backlog Blitz. Then it's on to the Sega Genesis. Why did I ever think this was a good idea? Make it stop. Make it stooooooop. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Last Month's Books: "A Thin Sliver of Hope in the Dark of the Mediocre"

I say it almost every Friday night, but, it's been a long week. I am very tired. Popcorn, movie, sleep. (Not Deadpool, sadly. I don't have the energy to go to that right now. Maybe next weekend). Anyway, I've finally started stepping up my book-reading, which is good, I guess. Yay me. Since I only have three categories of reviews (books/comics, movies/tv, and games), I'm not going to put everything I read/watched/played in one month into one post, since I'd run out faster than I replenished the backlog of reviews. So yeah. Yay. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Story: "Statement at the Automation of Tuskar Rock Lighthouse"

The sea hungers for me. For six generations, the men of my family have kept the Tuskar Rock lighthouse, off the Irish coast at County Wexford.  Even before the lighthouse was built, the sea devoured us. As my thrice-great-grandad and thirteen others laboured building the lighthouse tower, the sea rose up and swept them into the deeps. Only two men survived, an old Manx-man laborer, and my twice-great-grandad.

Well, we built that lighthouse. And my family, we manned it, ever since my twice-great-grandad's day. We were the only ones fool enough to--for the sea round Tuskar Rock is greedy. Oh yes. One hundred seventy-six ships the sea here has claimed, since first we began our watch, and no doubt more besides. Aer Lingus flight 712 crashed within sight of our lighthouse, and we watched the sea swallow those passengers down.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Worm Fodder: The Right Reverend Bhagwhan Rhaneesh

Ah, the Right Reverend. He was... Interesting. You'd think a charlatan like him would have been better at pretending to be a religious figure. But he wasn't. Instead he was very clearly a sleazeball. And so much fun to play. (Also, I'm skipping Aloysius the Sane for now since he is--technically--still an active character). 

NAME: The Right Reverend Bhagwhan Rhaneesh


ABOUT: A charlatan who, while pretending to be a Reverend of the Path of the Golden Rays, accidentally made a pact with the King In Yellow, an Outer Being with decidedly devious leanings. This turned him from a common charlatan into a warlock-posing-as-preacher. He possessed a terrible, unfounded hatred of dwarves. (When your life revolves around conning people out of their money, a race of Scottish misers is a nightmare). 

GREATEST FEATS: Surviving as long as he did in a party half-filled with dwarves; managing to keep his warlock class hidden for a surprisingly long time despite casting "agonizing blast" repeatedly; causing multiple civilian casualties after casting an illusion which made a massive fire appear to have been quenched; surviving a zombie outbreak (which he helped start) and orc warband; being half-eaten by a door mimic; being slowly team-killed across multiple sessions due to "accidents" triggered by anti-dwarf racism. 

CAUSE OF DEATH: Stumbled into river canyon and drowned after being tripped by the dwarf paladin. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Worm Fodder: Quincy Sweetleaf

Ah, Quincy Sweetleaf. By far one of my favorite characters to play as. If I felt like goofing off, I had him partake in some opium. If I felt like playing the hero, I had him abstain. If we needed some comic relief, in came the perennially-renamed manservant. He did a little bit of everything, if not well. (Seriously, his contributions to combat Blackpowder guns are not all that great... But I wanted a Colonial British "Great White Hunter" style feel to him, so... Guns it was.)

NAME: Quincy Sweetleaf

SYSTEM: D&D 3.5e

LIFESPAN: 10+ sessions, and into the sunset.

ABOUT: A moderately-wealthy half-elf urban ranger with severe parental abandonment issues, an opium addiction, racial superiority complex, and an invisible manservant named "Geoffrey," "Luke," "Nibblesworth," "Jeeves," "Nigel," "Alfred," and many many more. 

NOTABLE FEATS: Quitting opium during a fever dream involving melting goblins and an ace of spades; facing down a mechanical dragon; surviving the Great Yellow Flood of '78; instigating the overthrow of an elven racial purity program (if only because he didn't think it went far enough...); joining a resistance movement against an expansionist king; learning societal norms; helping save the universe, I guess.

CAUSE OF DEATH: Survived campaign, although he probably died in a bar fight after implying elves were superior one too many times. 

Poem Tuesday: "Koutí"

Like something out of Pandora's Box,
My love for you has winged
Its way into the world,
And cannot be recaptured.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
Someone I know got engaged today. He's unbelievably happy and excited. Aaaaaand then there's me over here in the corner writing happy little poems like this. Hey, I can see the humor in things!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Music Roundup Monday: "Covers That Did It Better"

Okay, not all of these covers did it BETTER, per se. Dio's "Holy Diver" is just as good as Steve'n'Seagulls' version. Same for Nirvana and Bowie with "The Man Who Sold the World." But they're as good, and in SOME RESPECTS, better. Now don't kill me. And yes, there are two songs by Nirvana. I like their MTV Unplugged performance. Sue me.

Steve'n'Seagulls - "Holy Diver"

Five Finger Death Punch - "Bad Company"

William Shatner - "Common People"

Nirvana - "The Man Who Sold the World"

Nirvana - "In the Pines"

Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Higher Ground"

August Burns Red - "Baby One More Time"

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cool Stuff Sunday: "Scraping the Barrel"

This was a busy week. Meaning that I didn't find a whole lot of cool stuff on the internet. Meaning that Cool Stuff Sunday is a little bare today. (At least it's not a little bear, huh? HUH?)

D&D is now on Steam. Yep.

Gwendoline Christie will be back in Star Wars VIII, meaning that Captain Phasma survived... YES.

Original D&D was meant to be much bigger than many people remember.

The presidential candidates, as ranked by their ability in a fight.

You can listen to J.R.R. Tolkien read songs and poems from The Lord of the Rings.

Rumor has it that EA will release Star Wars: Imperial Commando in 2017... YERS.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Backlog Blitz: SNES, Week Sixteen, "Secret of the Street-Fighting Samurai Star"

Nope. Not a good batch of games this week. Not at all. At least not on the Super Nintendo front. Ask me about DarkMaus instead! That's a good (if overly-hard) top-down action RPG that is suspiciously similar to Dark Souls. Hmmmm...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Last Month's Movies: "Someone Else?"

Thank goodness I pre-write these. Some nights I get home and can barely stay awake long enough to write the intro and copy-paste the review. Tonight is one of those nights... On an unrelated note, I really want to buy a PS4, and though I have the money for it, still feel guilty about even considering it. Very torn.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Story: "Gnóthaire Bréagach"

Twelve minutes and thirty-seven seconds after beginning his daily jog, Luke Puntum realized he lacked a pulse. This discovery troubled him slightly. Twelve minutes and fifty-two seconds after beginning his daily jog, Luke Puntum was dead. This troubled him immensely. Five days, eleven hours, and forty-two minutes after beginning his daily jog, Luke Puntum woke up.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Poem Tuesday: "For the Left-Behind"

After all this time...
Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter,
And yet...
I don't want to go.
You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.
I'll be with you, even if you can't see me.
Our time together was short, but it was the best time of my life.
Go, then, there are other worlds than this--
Whatever happens, happens.
I'm a leaf
          on the wind,
              so slow...
It's a terrible day for rain.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
I know what this one means... So many friends I've forgotten to say goodbye to... Letting good people slip away is something I'm too good at. Anyway. That was depressing. I had a lovely day, though. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Music Roundup Monday: "Emo Week!"

Yay! It was emo week last week, full of songs that are sad and depressing and forlorn! That was fun! Let's recap! (Also, scheduling note: I'm going to be traveling several days this week, so... The chances of me posting 7/7 days is...low.)

Death Cab for Cutie - "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"

Johnny Mandel - "Suicide is Painless" (M.A.S.H. theme. The original--movie--theme, with lyrics).

Johnny Cash - "Hurt"

Sufjan Stevens - "To Be Alone With You"

Simon and Garfunkel - "The Sound of Silence"