Monday, May 30, 2011

I'm gonna say something thats going to piss people off.

If you bought one simply because you burn through books at a rate faster than you can trade them in, or want to tote around 3000 books on your kindle when you travel, or some other perfectly rational reason. Carry on, this fight dosen't concern you.

If you have bought into the whole e-reader thing because its "Good for the environment" Stop acting like such a smug bastard. Telling me I'm a Luddite cause I've not got some gimmick, is not going to convince me to buy one. It will actually convince me that, much like Hybrid car owners, all the people who own said products are assholes (Despite that not being true). Paper is a renewable resource, it can be and frequently is produced of materials other than trees. You're not the Lorax, so leave me the hell alone.

If you've bought one just to have the latest toy, maybe, make your e-penis bigger. Maybe you go around making statements online to the tune that you can't wait till books go away.. You were probably making the same statements 5 years ago about MP3's and how you just couldn't wait till CD's went away. You probably said the same thing about VHS, DVD, BETA, Laser disc, LP's. You hate old technology because well... it's old. The problem is, the corporations love digital media. Its so easy to control. They can take it off your I-tunes account, they can take it off your kindle, You have no recourse. No physical copy to fall back on. You are playing into the corporations hands. You are dancing to their tune, and soon they will undress and bugger you.

Furthermore you are facilitating the shutdown of one of the most liberating phases of human culture. The advent of the public library was one of the great achievements of the last 200 years. The very thought that anyone, no matter their socio-economic background could go and read a book, or gasp, research something. Cheap Mass Produced printed books didn't do away with hand printed, hand bound, works of art. It did allow the common person the chance to better themselves through education, get lost in a story, or simply read up on how to plant a garden.

The publishers however, would love to do away with libraries. They've in all likely hood always hated them. The gall of those libraries, buying books and loaning them out.. FOR FREE! its practically socialism. Damaging to the bottom line, showing nothing but hatred to the free market. How Dare they.

How Dare you.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Consumed So far , 2011 edition

1. The Sword and the Satchel - Elizabeth Boyer
2. The Sea of Trolls - Nancy Farmer
3. Treasures of Led Zeppelin - Chris Welch
4. How to Train your Dragon - Cressida Cowell
5. The Warded Man - Peter V. Brett
6. The Desert Spear - Peter V. Brett
7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
9. Master and Commander - Patrick O'Brian
10. The Land of the Silver Apples - Nancy Farmer
11. Rifleman Dodd - C.S. Forester
12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban - J.K. Rowling
13. The Crisis of Islam - Bernard Lewis
14. King's Dragon - Kate Elliot
15. Post Captain - Patrick O'Brian
16. The Elves and the Otterskin - Elizabeth Boyer
17. The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
18. Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfuss
19. The Elfish Gene - Mark Barrowcliffe
20. Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks - Ethan Gilsdorf
21. Conan the Fearless - Steve Perry
22. H.M.S. Surprise - Patrick O'Brian
23. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
24. The Iron Lords - Andrew J. Offutt
25. Shadows out of Hell - Andrew J. Offutt
26. Lady of the Snowmist - Andrew J. Offutt
27. Historiography - Ernst Breisach
28. The Thrall and the Dragon's Heart - Elizabeth Boyer
29. The Island's Of the Blessed - Nancy Farmer
30. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
31. The Dying Earth - Jack Vance
32. The Wizard and the Warlord - Elizabeth Boyer
33. The Mauritius Command - Patrick O'Brian
34. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
35. Conan the Warlord - Leonard Carpenter
36. Prince of Dogs - Kate Elliot
37. The Eyes of the Overworld - Jack Vance
38. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
39. Cugel's Saga - Jack Vance
40. Shadowmarch - Tad Williams
41. Rhialto The Marvelous - Jack Vance
42. The Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace *Abandoned just under 200 pages*
43. Kyrik: Warlock Warrior - Gardner F. Fox
44. Kyrik Fights the Demon World - Gardner F. Fox
45. Kyrik and the Wizard's Sword - Gardner F. Fox
46. Kyrik and the Lost Queen - Gardner F. Fox
47. Guys Write for Guys Read - Jon Scieszka
48. Hawkmoon: Jewel in the Skull - Micheal Moorcock
49. Hawkmoon: The Madgod's Amulet - Micheal Moorcock
50. Baudolino - Umberto Eco
51. Hawkmoon: The Sword of the Dawn - Micheal Moorcock
52. Hawkmoon: The Runestaff - Micheal Moorcock
53. Cry Havoc! - Beverly Nichols
54. Conan the Victorious - Robert Jordan
55. Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence - Paul Feig
56. The War against Boys - Christina Sommers
57. The Talisman - Stephen King and Peter Straub
58. Desolation Island - Patrick O'Brian
59. The Burning Stone - Kate Elliot
60. Shadowplay - Tad Williams
61. I hope they Serve Beer in hell - Tucker Max
62. The Reader - Bernhard Schlink

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Should I Sell...

My George R.R. Martin books?

Preceding the announcement of the Television show, and not wanting to repeat the whole Wheel of Time never ending story fiasco.. I have thus far not read any of the Song of Fire and Ice. I did this because I don't like to wait on new chapters of a story to come out. I'd have been terrible with the old Saturday serials. I have infinite patience to wait a series out to completion, provided I've not already started it.

However, due to the Television show. My attempts at avoiding spoilers are completely shot now. It is effectively impossible to avoid them. And what I've seen/read/heard does not enthuse me in the slightest. What interest and enthusiasm I had towards the prospect of reading the series has evaporated entirely. All I'm left with now is a stack of Hardcovers that are likely to never get read.

Hardcovers that are selling for 14-25$ on Amazon right now. Not as much as I paid for them, but would recoup at least the first 2 if I sold all 4 of them.

This is an odd choice since if he pulls the series up by its bootstraps and gets out of the nihilist slump its already in before the first one is out.. thats great. But I still don't think I'd actually bother reading them at this point. It's like he's based an entire series around the concept espoused by Dark Helmet "Evil will always triumph because Good is dumb!". Others of course have taken that and run with it and gotten away from even the pretense of having moral characters in their books.

I'm not saying that Martin himself feels this way, Lord of the Rings and Conan have their moments of doubt, but after them they gain something. The Ring is destroyed, Conan liberates an oppressed people from their mad king. After all the pain and suffering and doubt, a melancholy but positive outcome is achieved. One in which magic is eroded from the world, and Conan has to hold onto his new kingship with his fingernails against all comers.. but positive. Martin's world so far just dosen't seem like that sort of place. It feels to much like a world in which any positive outcome would be completely incongruous.

So it's a toss up. Do I keep the books in the hope of finding out that the ending redeems all the pain and suffering, and then read them knowing the ending before I go in. Or do I sell them, cash in on the Martin mania sweeping the internet right now and wash my hands of the whole thing? It seems like a series as well touted as this is one that I should like. I just am having a difficult time getting any enthusiasm back. It was easier before I knew anything about them other than that they were "Fantasy" which to me means something very specific. Something that I feel these books fail to be.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Television Tuesday - Hercules and the Amazon Women.

I've decided since I can, and haven't watched all the episodes, that I'll be reviewing the whole series starting with the movies.

Back before the TV series started, they made several Tele-films with the same cast that would eventually go on to star in the series. They are notable for starring Anthony Quinn as Zeus, but otherwise mostly forgettable. They are also notable for being the source of much of the footage used in the opening sequence of the TV series.

Right from the start you can tell its got a low budget, not as low a budget as Conan the Adventurer, but not as good as the later seasons of Hercules and Xena.

We are sort of thrown right into the middle of things, A fellow is getting married and Hercules is to be his best man. This fellow is Iolaus, a long time companion of the half god. He's also portrayed by a much better actor than Kevin Sorbo. He's marrying a woman for some reason he can't quite pin down, and paid a lot for her dowry to boot. She can't cook, dosen't clean, but she is pretty to look at. Sometimes looks is enough.

They go to visit Herc's mother, Alcmene. On their way there they come across a little girl crying. She half tells them a sob story about her dad getting eaten by a monster. Just as they are fixing to fall for her ruse she turns into a Hydra. After battling this beast, clearly put their by Hera, who is out to complicate Herc's life, the two continue on their way to Alcmene's house. While they are there, Zeus pays a visit and tries to help Hercules understand some things.

They head back to town, where Hercules has supper at Ioalus's house. As was told, the wife to be dosen't exactly know how to cook, so its an interesting meal. Before they can tie the knot however, a representative from a village comprised entirely of men comes to seek Hercules's aid. It seems their women have grown tired of them being lay-a-bouts and have run off to found their own village and alligned themselves with Hera.

All manner of adventures ensue, Lots of poorly rendered (by 2011 standards anyway) CGI monsters are slain, and in the end the wedding is still no closer. Seriously, it ends before the wedding. But the show is as I remembered it packed with humour. It's campy but seems to be totally aware of its camp and revels in it. Even though he didn't actually have anything to do with this first movie, It's extremely Sam Raimi..

Monday, May 23, 2011

In which I'm lectured on not "getting it".

So my attempt at getting a laugh yesterday didn't work so well. I guess I need to re-think my sense of humour a bit as I found it to be quite good.. so did my friends.. I dunno.. maybe we are just too jaded and cynical, or it was too local. But for whatever reason it landed with the squelching sound of a 3 day old fish.

Lets talk about something slightly more serious then.

The concept of "Getting it". I don't mean Sex, though that could be worked in I'm sure. I'm talking about something that everyone else likes but leaves you cold. A movie, a book, a musical act, a painting, a food. Whatever it is, there will assuredly be someone who dosen't like it for some reason. I tend to be that someone.

I've no appreciation for presentation on a plate so long as the food is good.
I've no appreciation for abstract or geometric art, unless the painting is of something. Lines on a white Canvas #9 is not art, it's an unfinished project.

Those are pretty easy to avoid. My financial situation dosen't allow for eating at a bunch of fancy restaurants, and there is no way I'd drive into Atlanta to look at an art installation or a dead horse in jars or whatever other Hot exhibit they have going. Arthouse movies are easy to avoid too, they don't tend to make it into theaters or my Netflix queue.

The big problems tend to pop up with Music and Literature.

I Like Classical alright, so long as its the right kind of classical. Jazz I have no use for. So that pretty much is strike one against me as far as the "educated" sort think of it. But despite my unabashed love of acts like Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf.. I'm apparently a racist because I don't much care for Lil' Wayne or Jay-Z... This is something I don't really get. I like Rock&Roll from its delta seeking roots to its metal branches, I think I know a fair bit about it. But simply being well informed isn't good enough if its the wrong sort of thing to be well informed about.

Literature is the big one though. Never have I seen so many examples of the Emperor's news clothes in action as I have with books. All it takes is some pretentious reviewer for the New York Times or The London Review of books to rave about something and suddenly if you don't like it then YOU are the one with the problem. Being content to live and let live is not an option. You have to like it or you are stupid. It's never the authors fault for making an impenetrable and un-accessible book. It's always your fault for not showing it the proper appreciation. It's certainly never that they are simply convincing themselves it's great because some one they respect tells them it is great. Never. Thats preposterous. It goes against all the indoctrination they had when they were in school.

But, like Ol' David Lo-Pan says.. 'You weren't put here to "Get It".'

I'll try and having something more genre relevant for you all soon.

I hope they Serve Beer in Hell.

I'm not sure whether I should be appalled or if flabbergasted is enough.

I don't even begin to know how to describe this "Book".

I feel like I need an Adult.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

So, I walk into Barnes & Noble...

I'm sure you have had this experience if you have one of these stores around. Where you walk into the store and the first thing your hit with is some one trying to get you to buy one of their Nook E-Readers. I'm not sure if these poor saps get paid on commission or not.. but it would certainly explain why they dog you for 5-10 minutes to try and sell you a kitschy novelty.

I realize that Amazon is selling more Kindle Books than Paperbacks now. But They are skewing that market because they sell old, public domain books, for the kindle for Free, or .99cents all the time. So yeah with that kind of thing going for them its no wonder they are outselling. Why would you buy that 6.99$ copy of Last of the Mohicans for your school book report when you can get it for .99cents? Why indeed.. You can get it for free if you go to Project Gutenberg.. Which is all the people on Amazon are doing.

I had it hammered into me time and again when I was little, trying to convince my mom that Zelda on the gameboy was like a book because it required reading. If it takes batteries, it's not really reading. I've never shaken that way of thinking. Books can be made from Paper, Cotton, Hemp, thin bits of wood or even stamped metal. But the minute it has a circuit attached to it, and takes batteries.. I just can't think of it as a book any longer.

I've found it's always the S.U.V. driving set that winds up buying them. They are the sort who usually only read the Oprah's Book of the Month Club sort of books. They stare wistfully at the Romance novels in the Grocery store aisle.. Because they just "Never have time to read". Those are the sorts I've seen buying the E-Reader. I think what I'm trying to say is, it's always people who are spending some one elses money. The other big purchaser would be College kids, or worse, Townies who are pretending to be college kids to pick up tail. But then I live in a College Town. So seeing College kids do anything never really registers anymore.

If I was going to open a coffee shop in town, I'd call it Study Hall, and only have hard wooden chairs and tables. The Menu would be a Card Catalog. If you can't find what you want, you can't have it. A minimum purchase of 1 drink per hour would be required in order to stay. I've been told to quit loitering so many times I can't remember them all.. its only fair.

*Because there seems to be some misunderstanding, I felt I needed to amend this to explain I'm not having a go at people who own e-readers. Just the people I've observed buying the NOOK in my local Barnes & Noble.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What If? Robert E. Howard.

I've got to ask your pardon ahead of time. I wrote this a while back and have been unsure if I should post it or not. But I feel that it's just too interested of a concept not too. So pardon me if I've gotten any facts wrong, I don't pretend to be a scholar in this matters, just a fan. Much like the old Marvel comics, we are going to imagine a world, one of many possible. One purely speculative and hypothetical, in which Robert E. Howard didn't commit suicide at age 30. I'm not particularly interested in the whys or wherefores of that. He did and the world's a poorer place for it. But what if he didn't?

What if, He went out to that car after having talked to the nurse. Sat down on the front seat. Pulled out that pistol, held it in his hands, checked to make sure it was loaded, put it to his head and then stopped. Took it down, looked at it, put it back in the sack or box he had it in and went back inside. Turned his grief into prose. Hammered out a succession of stories at his typewriter. hitting the keys with such fury it made his fingers hurt. The Funeral of his mother came and went. He began writing his western stories and soon got famous for them. He was struck again at the death of H.P. Lovecraft. Howard's Eulogy for Lovecraft was published in Weird Tales Magazine. Years went by and the storm clouds over Europe got darker, The ripples of discord got more violent in the pacific.

Howard never got back together with Novalyne. But they corresponded frequently. But after Pearl Harbour. Howard thought about following Edgar Rice Burroughs into the correspondent corps.. but his feelings that at 30 he was past his prime kept gnawing at him. He was beginning the downhill slope. He had hit his midlife crisis early but had chosen not to end it. Instead he just chose to enlist. He was 35 at the time, in good shape but to old to be drafted. One day he drove down to Brownwood and signed. Brownwood was home of the 141st Infantry. A unit steeped in Texas history. Being older than most of the men, he became an NCO. He definitely went with them to Europe. And there got cut off with them in the Voseges Mountains. This is where they earned their name as the Alamo Regiment.

Eventually the 141st Texas was relieved through the heroic efforts of the 442nd all Nisei regimental Combat Team. The Most decorated unit in US Military history. Being a man who recognized bravery no matter the origins. The Screams of 'BANZAI!' coming from the nisei men as they rushed the encircling Germans would have no doubt stayed with him. After the war was over, he set to work on an epic poem that would commemorate the battle in the Voseges. Eventually publishing it to great acclaim, both for himself and for all the men involved.

His westerns got more and more popular. In 1950 a small outfit called Gnome got in touch with him to see about re-printing his Conan yarns. He cleaned them up and mailed out new typescripts. These became immensely popular. Soon paperback editions of the gnomes were to be found in fox holes all over the Korean peninsula. He resisted the calls to write new Conan yarns, mainly coming from L. Sprague DeCamp. Though the two were never great friends, they had some vociferous conversations about why Conan was so popular.

He bought a copy of Lord of the Rings in 1955, and read it straight through. He was quoted later as saying "I loved the hell out of it", he also dismissed calls that Tolkien had lifted the story from his own "Hour of the Dragon". After these allegations, Howard and Tolkien began an infrequent exchange of letters. Maybe finding in the oxford don a surrogate for Lovecraft. They discussed GK Chesterton and James Fenimoor Cooper among other things.

In 1956 Howard received a manuscript from a fan in Sweden. He didn't think much of it, but wrote the fan a letter thanking him for taking the time to send it to him. The idea that people were so hungry for new Conan yarns they would write them themselves was an interesting one. So he thought, maybe other's can see the missing parts of Conan's life. He came up with the idea of getting others to write books and him editing them to make sure they stayed in the spirit of his own writing.

an initial offering of new novels and his own initial 21 completed yarns were all published in a uniform series of paperbacks by Lancer in the early 60's. Featuring works by the like of C.L. Moore, Henry Kuttner, and a relative newcomer Lin Carter, who he would eventually go on to co-edit a long lived Fantasy Anthology series with. Following this success, Howard took his place as the second father of Fantasy literature.

Robert E. Howard Died in 1964, age 58. He'd been out on one of his routine hikes in the Texas hill country when he'd gotten bit by a rattler. He shot the rattler and treated the bite, but even for a man of his size and physical condition it took him too swiftly for him to get help. He was Eulogized by Lin Carter, with J.R.R Tolkien provideding an epitaph from his still unfinished Silmarillion. "If all were now retold a man’s life would not suffice for the hearing."

Thats how I see it playing out on some alternate reality world. It would have been awesome.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lord of the Rings Online, Thoughts of a level 40 Elven Hunter

Like many Fantasy fans I used to play World of Warcraft. I didn't really get into it right away. It was a gift from a friend one year for Christmas. I played it off and on and enjoyed what I played, but at the time my computer wasn't really up to snuff and so I frequently got knocked off the game. As a result my friend got way beyond me level wise and I never really caught up. That seriously impacted my enjoyment of the game. True to real life, I had no better luck making new friends online than off. So I spent a lot of time playing by myself. When I got to top level, and because I didn't play a "Useful" spec I spent a lot of time bumming around capital cities trying to get into groups. After a while, I simply got tired of paying for this privilege, and quit. I dutifully came back each time an expansion was released, I'd play through the new content and then as usual, the same actions would repeat and I'd get left standing around in Ogrimar or Ironforge twiddling my virtual thumbs.

I realize that the following statement may sound odd for an mmo player to make, but I don't really like the "Multiplayer" aspect of the games. I'd be just as happy going back to the Neverwinter/Elder Scrolls model for Fantasy RPG's... I play too erratically to be relied upon, or to really find a group to play with.

World of Warcraft isn't really built to accommodate players that don't fall into either the dedicated camp or the casual camp. It's high end content is heinously difficult sometimes, frequently requiring guilds to maintain high numbers of alternate players, mid raid swap outs, and tremendous amounts of time and energy to complete. On the other end, some of their base level stuff is extremely simple, especially now after their various updates. It's fully possible to play through the entirety of levels 1-60 in a week's time without spending more than a few hours a day playing. It wasn't always that simple, but it was always accommodating to people who would maybe play an hour a day a few times a week. The Zones were small, the quests generally pretty easy. But for the middle ground it lacked some what, especially if you were mainly playing for the storyline.

In order to truly grasp the big picture, you had to play nearly every race/class combination for both factions. It had no "Story specific" quest lines. The closest you really got to that was the Missing Diplomat quest chain. This is where I feel Lord of the Rings Online really wins out.

It features some really difficult quests, and some enormously huge zones. I've been in the Lake Evendim zone for 8 levels now. The only wow zone that even approaches that is Stranglethorn Vale. It's not perfect though, some of the zones and quests have not been retooled for an individual player to complete yet. I've still got a couple of level 33 "Story Quests" kicking around because they are heinously difficult. But that was true of the level 30 and up zones on wow as well. It's the games way of telling you it's time to make friends.

Where as you can get to just about any place on wow in a few minutes, it can turn into a 45 minute long slog to get from Evendim to Rivendell, this is of course partly because there are certain transit stations you have to pay for separately every time you use in Lord of the Rings online. Which exemplifies exactly what makes it so different from wow. Your level of commitment to the game is proportional to how much you are willing to pay to play it.

For 0$ you can play a virtually limitless number of level 1-21 characters. You can experience the Shire, and Bree, just shy of making it to Weathertop. The important aspect is, almost from your first quest you are interacting with characters who are important. You are told that you as an individual player is valuable to the coming war effort. You are tasked with distracting black riders, trailing the fellowship, finding potent artifacts to be turned over to the big fish like Gandalf and Aragorn and Elrond. All of that for free. If you want to keep playing, you pay a fee and unlock a new zone and keep playing. The Lone Lands, The North Downs, The Tollshaws. Get bored? Don't buy any more. I've probably spent about 60$ already on the game, and haven't quite unlocked everything I would have had I bought the game when it first came out.

That Lifetime membership they sold for 200$, is still a fantastic deal, considering I've probably got another 100$ at least to spend before I've unlocked everything up to Mirkwood.. and a new Rohan/Isengard expansion is slated to come out later this year, I'd like to see it, but I've been playing this character for about 6 months now and still have another 20 levels before I will even make it to the first expansion. I'm sure I'll keep playing, but I've begun to feel what differentiated LOTRO from WOW is beginning to break down. It's beginning to feel that the things that made it different are dragging it over towards sameness. Difficulty meeting groups. WOW has addressed this marvelously with the cross server looking for group mechanic. You simply get in queue and the game will automatically assign you to a group.

So if anyone reading this has a character on Dwarrowdelf Server.. let me know if you want to group up.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tardis:Time And Relative Divisionally Interconnected Storytelling

Well since Blogger freaked out yesterday and Deleted this post. I thought I've give it another shot.

Of course what I wanted to talk about was Crossovers. One of the benifits of having a multiversal construct is that it allows for virtually limitless combinations for crossovers. Who can forget when the Punisher trucked it down to Riverdale to Chaperone the prom?

These constructs weren't supposed to exist. They are more typically the product of necessity than desire. They basically came about due to a combination of lack of knowledge, growth or simply because of casual disregard of what came before. Occasionally you do get an author or group of authors who collaborate closely and hammer out the multiversal model from the get go. Micheal Moorcock is one such. It's obvious that Stephen King at least toyed with the idea many times. References to things that would later become important in his Dark Tower series begin showing up very early in his catalog of books, well before he actually explained (or invented) reasons why they were important.

Occasionally you get vast multiveres crossing over with other multiverses. Every time you get a DC vs. Marvel comic. Or a Marvel Vs. Capcom video game.. But they can get bigger through a bit of constructing on our own.

From Dweomera Lagomorpha

Lets start with the Transformers for instance. They have crossed over with GIJOE numerous times. To get more confusing. Multiple Transformers universes have crossed over with multiple GIJOE universes, multiple times. The Original Transformers comic book, takes place in at least some form of the typical Marvel Universe. One in which Spiderman, SHIELD, The 80's Godzilla comic and the Savage land existed. Even if nothing else from the Marvel universe does. The Marvel GIJOE comic is slightly more confused. Since it exists in the Transformers universe, but also seems to inhabit it's own universe which it shares with the transformers, but not with the rest of the Marvel universe. In the US thats about as complicated as it got. In the UK however, Transformers existed in the normal Marvel Universe, along side a GIJOE analog known as Action Force.

Transformers UK brings us to the next link in our chain. Death's head.

From Dweomera Lagomorpha

This was a character that was not truly intended as a Transformers character, but one which has become more or less linked with them for good or ill. After showing up in his own one-shot called "High Noon Tex" he spent the next several months engaging in all manner of back and forths with our favorite Robots in diguise. Eventually he single handedly prevented the return of Unicron, and was unceremoniously flung through a time portal. It was while hurtling through Time that he collided with a certain blue telephone box.

From Dweomera Lagomorpha

After this rather amusing adventure the Doctor transported him into the far future of one of the many marvel Universes. He languished there until encountering the Fantastic four and hitching a ride back to the "Modern" day.. At least until he trifled with the 7th Doctor again and wound up in the year 2020. We already are all well aware that the various Doctors can interact, and thanks to the 2007 series are also aware that there are multiple universes in that canon as well.

The Transformers, Albeit a different universe of Transformers from the two previously discussed have Crossed over with the Avengers, Who of course crossed over with the X-Men, Who have Crossed over with both Star Trek The Original Series and Star Trek the Next Generation.

From Dweomera Lagomorpha

This loops back around with a comic currently in publication from IDW. It's titled Infestation. And it features a rather preposterous crossover. Not only does it have GIJOE, Transformers and Star Trek. It also features the Ghost Busters. Who if we follow the Cartoon, exist in a world in which all the stuff that H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith (And Robert E. Howard, who's work is already integrated into the Marvel Universe, and crosses over with Micheal Moorcocks Multiverse) were stories about real events.

I Guess what I'm trying to say is with all this rambling. That in theory, we could get a comic book in which Uatu the Watcher summons the Doctor and the Autobots and Captain Kirk, so that they can team up to fight off a demonically possessed Shoggoth made from the remnants of Unicron.

This will teach me to backup all my posts in another place.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Geek / Work conflict.

I'm not talking about conflicts at work arising from you being a geek, or nerd, or other pejorative.. I'm talking about how to balance gaming and having a nerd social life and working?

I may be approaching this the wrong way, I don't have a "Normal Job" I don't work m-f, 9-5. I wish I did. but as far as I'm concerned those jobs are about as real as Bigfoot. They either require a skillset I lack or am unwilling to outlay the money to learn.. or are simply too far away to make them worth going too. So I work a retail job, and with most retail jobs that means working Saturdays, and usually Sundays too.

My current conundrum is, the LARP group I'm a member of has a national organization. I'm relatively close to 3 of them, Atlanta,GA; Grenville, SC; and Chattanooga, TN. All of those tend to have events within about 2 hours from me.. which is about the limit that I'm willing to travel to go to .. pretty much anything. But each and every event costs 50$ to attend. If it's at a park thats close enough for me to leave and go to work and come back.. thats ok I miss a few hours but feel I get what I paid for.. If its more than an hour away, I can go on Saturday and stay that night and come home Sunday.. but then I'm missing out even more hours. When am I missing too much to consider it financially reasonable?

This has been a constant problem for me ever since I first started gaming. Back when I still had a local gaming store, They had Warhammer 40k play days on Saturdays, they were always over before I got off work. Yet if something was of an evening during the week, I would 9 out of 10 times have to work too. It made going to events or games of any sort, with any sort of regularity, extremely difficult. Not to mention frustrating. My experience with dungeons and dragons was possibly even worse. How many campaigns fell apart really before they even got going simply because when you are trying to get 4-5 people who all work retail jobs to have the same day off.. Herding cats dosen't even begin to describe it.

In the last two months since I've gotten back into LARPing I've found it very difficult indeed. I've had to leave both events on Friday night and return after work on Saturday, and then leaving early on Sunday to go to work. That was achievable only because of how close the event was to me. But for the rest of the year, the events are all at least twice as far, and some as much as 250 miles away. It's simply impossible to go to them without having the weekends free to do so.

When I mention these problems to others its generally the same old suggestion "Get a different job" or "Make time".. I can understand saying "Make time" when a person complains theres not enough time to read a book.. but they can watch 4 hours of TV.. But how do you make time for something like this? Books are, as a whole, relatively cheap. But I've yet to find a RPG or LARP or Card Game or Miniature game that dosen't require at least initial outlays of substantial sums of money. But I tend to get cold feet when it comes to spending, since I never know when I'll get to play.

If your in this situation of obligation competing with desire how do you balance the two things?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Austraian Oak? More like the Austrian Joke.

This isn't really anything all that important, but I've got to get it off my chest. For all my sure to come complaints about the new Conan movie, of which the trailer has just been released finally. I can't help but feeling that my main complaint are with those who are angry at the film for no reason other than not having Arnold Swarzegnegger in it. This of course is only exacerbated by fact hes no longer governor of California and is planning to resume acting.

Time and Time again I've found people both in real life and on the internet who are simply livid they would dare "Change" Conan so drastically. Beyond my anecdotes of people claiming that the character was created for Arnold to play. I've seen all manner of preposterous claims. One fellow on AICN was even trying to use Howard's own description as evidence that Arnold was perfect for the part. Apparently all other illustrations be they from the comics or novel covers.. totally got it wrong. I've not seen any one claiming that Howard picked Arnold to play the part yet.. but I'm sure theres some deluded fool out there that believes it. This seems to be the part that is so frustrating about it. No matter how many people you point it out too that Arnold isn't really that great of a Conan, they refuse to hear it. It's like dealing with Cult Members. (Which is Ironic, since the film also deals with Cult members)

But the part I don't understand the most, are the constant references to Arnold's "Charisma" on screen. This is something I really have trouble with.. since he spoke so few lines how would you know if he was Charismatic or not?

20 years ago I could have seen them making another Conan movie with Arnold in it, I'd probably even own it and watch it occasionally. But they didn't. Now it's a bit too late. The supports of Arnold however never cease to tire of pointing out that "They could still do the Iron Crown, Conan could go on one last adventure as an old king!" Just what we want, an adaption of Conan of the Isles. Arnold is flabby, out of shape, and has more or less just spent 8 years sitting on his ass behind a desk. He's not the Austrian Oak anymore. Theres lots of other films he could do, reprise characters that were actually developed for him.

Beyond Conan of course the other franchise everyone and their uncle wants him back on is The Terminator. I personally feel they only way this would work is with the CGI Arnold that was in Terminator Salvation. I felt he was already far too old to play the part convincingly in Terminator 3, and that came out nearly 10 years ago.

Personally, I'd like to see him do another True Lies, or even Kindergarten Cop. Most of my favorite Arnold films are the ones with a comedic edge to them. The man has pretty good timing especially when you make him the straight man to the insanity surrounding him. But I wouldn't turn up my nose at a reprisal of Dutch in another Predator movie.

Whiter and Nerdier than White and Nerdy.

Roll a D6

Monday, May 2, 2011

overheard recently, Conan Movie discussion.

I was at a gathering of some friends and overheard a conversation debating the merits (or in their opinion) lack of merits of the new Conan Film. This is all well and good.. I can fully understand not being that enthusiastic for a movie that has very little in common with Conan other than the name. So I walked over and joined in. Thats when I put my foot in the bear trap by apparently not being up on the reason why the new Conan movie was not going to be any good.

Person 1: So what do you think of the new Conan movie?
Me: I think it's not really got a lot in common with Conan and I'll probably skip it.
Person 2: Yeah it's gonna suck.
Person 1: I can't believe it's not got ahhnold in it, why even bother making it!
Me: Oh geeze...
Person 2: What?
Me: You do realize that Arnold had nothing to do with Conan, and in fact him being in it would make it even worse than it is now.
Person 2: No way, he was awesome!
Person 1: Yeah, Ahhnold IS Conan
Me: No he isn't. Robert E. Howard's Conan is Conan.
Person 1 & 2: Who?
Me: uhh.. The Guy who created Conan, wrote a bunch of short stories and novels back in the 30's.
Person 1: no.
Person 2: whoever told you that is an Idiot, Ahhnold created Conan.
Me: *Stunned silence*

How can I be expected to work with these sorts of persons? I mean I knew I was surrounded by Idiots... but seriously.. I had no idea that Robert E. Howard was a figment of my imagination.

I don't normally talk current events...

But just saw on the news that Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan.

It was a job high in costs, and low in profits. It was one we kept at doggedly, sometimes mis-stepping but never faltering. Congratulations to the US Military on their stunning achievement. No doubt their will be some time before this fully sinks in. Many were beginning to feel we would never acheive this goal, and that he would forever haunt the nightmares of those in power.

And while the US TV news erupts in cheers they are frequently forgetting that we are not alone in Afghanistan. Though he was killed by U.S. Forces, we couldn't have gotten him without the help of our friends and allies around the world. From our steadfast ally the United Kingdom, our friend of nearly 250 years France, all the way down the alphabet to tiny Tonga and The Ukraine, Their steadfast loyalty requires our gratitude and respect.

I want to say thank you to all the countries who, when my country was attacked, took up their swords and fought side by side with the Armed Forces of The United States over the last 10 years in Afghanistan.