Thursday, October 28, 2010

Copy Book, in advance of NaNoWriMo

From the first page of The Golden Bowl, by Henry James:

"If it was a question of an Imperium, he said to himself, and if one wished, as a Roman, to recover a little sense of that, the place to do so was on London Bridge, or even, on a fine afternoon in May, at Hyde Park Corner. It was not indeed to either of those places that these grounds of his predilection, after all sufficiently vague, had, at the moment we are concerned with him, guided his steps; he had strayed simply enough into Bond Street, where his imagination, working at comparatively short range, caused him now and then to stop before a window in which objects massive and lumpish, in silver and gold, in the forms to which precious stones contribute, or in leather, steel, brass, applied to a hundred uses and abuses, were as tumbled together as if, in the insolence of Empire, they had been the loot of far-off victories."


Why am I making you read James at this late hour (it's a quarter to lunch where I'm at)? Well, mainly it's because I love James's sentences, but with this there's the added element of inspiration. For my NaNoWriMo novel, Tickle Arms, about the visit of a two-armed stranger to the insular, provincial Valley of the Crash, I plan to write in a pastiche of James's particular fustian. I hope it will give my gonzo sword-and-planet-and-mad-science setting the right kind of Space: 1889-type--decidedly not-punk steampunk--vibe. Is it Edwardian? My British history is quite spotty.


Meanwhile, I hope all of you male-types will consider participating in Mo-vember, the moustache-growing-for-prostate-cancer-fighting event that I learned about through The Art of Manliness.


Here's some inspiration for youse (from The Art of Manliness):


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What, there's a 15 in 15 going around?

Okay, I'll blurt out the games as quickly as I think of them.



  1. D&D (BECMI) My first exposure to D&D was a Moldvay red book I found at the dump, but Mentzer was the game I pored over in my pre-teen years.
  2. Dangerous Journeys--Mythus This was the first game I refereed for multiple sessions (for more than one player, Erik).
  3. Angband I wish there weren't so many video games here, but I'll never regret my time spent with this one.
  4. Super Mario Bros. 2 I bought this with my paper route money in '89.
  5. Gemfire (SNES) I always wanted to mock up a boardgame version of this--viola: Runewars did it for me.
  6. Final Fantasy "II" (SNES) I got really wrapped up in the story of this, at least twice. "You spoony bard!"
  7. Puerto Rico This was my first euro-game. The first of hundreds.
  8. D&D 3X I ran my first real campaign under these rules and it was a good time. So good I almost miss the 900 cubic feet of books I got rid of a couple years ago.
  9. Swords & Wizardry-->Labyrinth Lord-->LotFP:WFRP This is where I am now, and the OSR is like the best thing in gaming ever.
  10. Carcassonne The euro-game I've played the most of, though I rarely play it anymore.
  11. Games Workshop Combat Cards I just loved the world implied by the pictures of the minis and their names. I didn't know about Warhammer Fantasy Battle as a tween, so this was the best I could do.
  12. The Mutant Earth '89 This was a game I invented when I was 13, to allow my brother and friends to play mutant turtles and mutant badgers and robot bikers. It will soon be resurrected (again!) for my LotFP:WFRP game.
  13. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker I just love this game--the sounds, the graphics, the sailing.
  14. Sid Meier's Civilization I did nothing but play this in at least one of my Accelerated Independent Study hours in '93-'94.
  15. Magic: the Gathering Ah, thousands of cards. Thousands.

And now I'll add in some comments.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Here's a cool artist you should know

You probably already do, if you have ever browsed the stacks of your local library where the Burroughs Mars novels are shelved.

It's Mahlon Blaine (1894 1969). Here's the first illustration that appears in the 1974 Canaveral Press edition of A Fighting Man of Mars:




And here's where I found it (and you can find the rest of his illustrations for that book there as well).

The illustrations are dated '62, so I just imagine that it was creepy weirdness like this that inspired all the psychedelic heads to make all that acid rock music down in San Francisco and over in Canterbury.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why did we stop saying 'anon'?

And why do I not know how to punctuate a sentence like that? It's different in the UK (and in the Englishes of elsewhere) than the US, no? Bah.

But why don't we just start saying 'anon' again. Think of the children--they're going to have to read Shakespeare and his ilk eventutally, so can't we do them a solid and just make sure they know what 'anon' means BEFORE they encounter it, say in The Merry Wives of Windsor?

Whoa. I was looking for a Shakespeare quote and I found this thing on Random House.com that says 'anon' is still in use in British English. Good show, old chaps!

I'm fairly certain it's not in use in American English, at least not in the Far West, since I didn't really know what it meant and I think I'm reasonably knowledgeable about my native language.

Anyroad--I shall write again anon. (But not really very soon.)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Song for the Season

Here's one of those Frank Zappa songs that, when I sing it to people, they often say, "No. There is no way that is actually a song that someone recorded."

Goblin Girl, as performed in New York City on Halloween 1981, I think.



I have no excuse for the clothes Frank and Bobby are wearing.