Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Skin of the Fish

A.K.A. More Than a Way Over a Wall

Scale is a very important factor in writing. A huge piece of a story's tone comes from it. Let's take a look at a practical example. Here's a big scoop for you. One of the stories I'm working on is a tale of ghoulish overrun. Some luck people have read part of the work, as the serial story “Sun Cycle”, from back in Killing Time Horror E-rag™, and I'm adding onto it, to make it into a slightly unconventional book. I started the whole idea off with one scene, a reporter for a radio station interrupts what he is doing to comment on a man walking down the middle of a busy road, in the middle of a massive blackout. You guessed it, it came to me, sitting in the living room listening to radio on that day so much of the US and Canada was in a blackout state.

For those wondering, the man wandering the road, is one of the walking dead. No, it's not a zombie, well not the kind usually referred to as such in conjunction with Romero's Living Dead. In fact this is something a bit unusual. That's neither here nor there but I wanted to make the distinction for my own ego. Back to scale... I start with one, let's call it a ghoul--since I'm sensitive about leaking the official name I'm using--and from there I build up to a number of them. One incident, one ghoul, compared to several incidents, several ghouls, it's the essence of scale (as if they didn't know, silly Bob...), or maybe more technically changing the scale.

It should be pretty easy to see the difference between the two ends of that scale. Now, I'm also dealing with another scare that isn't so linear. I have the frequency of the number of ghouls set, not a high number, but perhaps statistically huge compared to the number of regular people still around. Here we're talking a different scale of things. People to ghouls. Likewise another scale is one city with ghouls compared to a number of States with ghouls. Going back, there is a distinctly different scale effect caused by the mysterious disappearance of so many people. There's aren't enough ghouls or people around still to account for any reasonable population number. If we take these different (though in all honesty related) scales and set them side by side, like a sound board in a recording studio, we form an overall super-scale for the entire story.

Now, I have some decisions still yet to be made. I've toyed with the idea of making the ghoul's coverage limited to less than half of the country. I think that scales the story back. It might provide an answer to the lack of population--they've been evacuated. I envision that alteration as something akin to the domain of the Tall Man in Phantasm (or so I've been given the impression, not having seen 1 or 3). Another change of scale I considered was the end of the world scenario, the people remaining are it, the only ones left, and the ghouls are some sign of infernal influence. Either of these can be done spring-boarding off of what I have done so far without an alteration needed, a changing super-scale open to drive the story in new directions. Something to think about, certainly nothing earth shattering, but important.

Mood: conflicted.
Music: Blood Runs Cold by Def Leppard and Be The Ball by Slash's Snakepit.

Def Leppard: Slang
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Slash's Snakepit: It's Five O'clock Somewhere

Friday, June 23, 2006

How Much is that Ghost Dog in the Window?

Weirdness time... Last night I went to bed early, it was still dark as dark out. I was lying in bed with my eyes closed and seemingly not sleeping when I felt this strong wind whip up in the room (Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter!) and then something big and heavy came up on the bed and settled in very close as well as pinning my one arm out away from me. I felt more than heard an almost whimpering, from a hot, breathing, object next to me. I opened my eyes but couldn't see anything--after all it was dark! I tried to touch it with my hand but I could only wave it about. The arm I could move was pinned by the upper arm only, underneath the thing. It seemed odd though that I couldn't feel it with my forearm. My other arm was against me and fully pinned.

I had, and I don't know how or why, the distinct impression that it was a dog climbed up on the bed--to precise a Doberman. Crazy, I know, given I couldn't see anything and I could only feel it from certain parts like the pinned arm and the warmth against my chest. I continued trying to touch it with the hand that was free but to no avail. Next thing I know I have my eyes open and my heart hammering in my chest and I'm alone. There was nothing there, and that's the way it should be. There's no Doberman around here, nor do I have a dog of any kind. The one dog I briefly had aeons ago wasn't a Doberman, and it was never in the upstairs ever. I'm sure the people of that newsgroup I lurked on (until it seemed to evaporate like so much miasma or perhaps, dare I say, ectoplasm) would have had a hey day with a dream like this.

Later in the night, without the wind, and with my back to it, I felt/dreamt the thing again. This time I tried to will it away and eventually it did, and I feel back asleep. It was sort of like, I can only describe it as it's kind of like the dreaming where you're thinking and you only half see things like an imagining. You don't really see but yet there's a dark background with darker lines defining what you only “sort of” see. Only this was a touch closer to a real dream; most likely because of the dark room lending itself to the verisimilitude. At the same time it was kind of like one of those times where you startle awake with the sensation that you're falling. Well this was like that except instead of falling it was a dog.

Just remember this story when it comes out later I slowly descended into my own horror story of madness, and the account I made of it on the walls, in my own blood, that it makes all my favourite horror books seem like the good old days of joy and light. Have a good night kiddies, be good or the ghost dog will climb in your bed and not get out again!

Mood: psychadelic.
Music: Comes and Goes by Moist and Black Lodge by Anthrax.

Moist: Mercedes 5 and Dime
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Anthrax: Sound of White Noise

Monday, June 19, 2006

O Great Thing of My Formative Years

This might seem just the slightest bit crazy for a blog topic, but I'm going to go ahead anyway. Admittedly, I can see it connecting to previous entries, notably in the “Casting Back to the Start” vein. Maybe there'll be a tad of repetition, and I'm almost certain there'll be some revision. On with it...

Over the weekend I watched the first disc, six episodes, of the classic anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Wow, I think this was the first real source of horror for me. Sure, to a degree it's the big monster--or here mostly, so far at least--big robot wrecking everything kind of horror and it seems the “thing” can't be beaten, giant Space Mummy aside. While there is a childish naivete to some of the presentation, and the take on the stories, the show is also obviously very mature, and quite decidedly dark.

This is kind of spoiler ridden from here on out, so if you want to keep it totally fresh for when you see it yourself, and I can really recommend it, then maybe you'd best skip to the music suggestions at the end.

Even though the blood is frequently multi-coloured, particularly as it flies through the air along with spit, there is a lot of it. The show is quite violent, a good thing I must say. There's a fairly high death toll already, both with the civilians and the villains. Our lead hero isn't above lying to children both for furtherance of good, which comes off a slight bit selfishness versus selfishness, and also both capable of standing idly by and watching mayhem and murder as well as feeling the crushing pain of failing to save lives when he does step in. It's a bit confused and complex at the same time, the dealing with revenge, struggling with the past, and just how to deal with it all. There's a wonderfully twisted bit... I couldn't save your father... this is the thing I couldn't save him from... here you have to destroy it to get on with your life... vengeance is good, don't mind that you might be killing people to do it, they're only killers... oh and yeah it scary, but you'll feel better when you make us break the rules because we want to break them, and use violence.

Then there is the character interaction which is likewise complicated. First we have the somewhat conventional Japanese let's use familial familiar terms. So, is anyone in any way related to anyone else? It shall remain to be seen. Memory, and its of probably frighteningly bad dubbing in English and of course even worse translation--never mind the intentional butchering--collides with what's in front of me to muddle things worse. However certain things are obvious such as of course... boy leads girl on team, girl has feelings for team leader, wants to express them, maybe shouldn't, boy is a bit of a clod and doesn't get it, or maybe does but has no idea how to handle it, or ignores it for any number of reasons, not the least his driving goal to complete his mission.

All in all wicked, excellent stuff, though I found it to be really heavy stuff and rather than watch the next disc the second night I took a break with something lighter, if serial killings can be called lighter. Before I go I would like to point out a couple things. For starters, yeah Gatchaman is in some ways is very 70's. Much to my surprise it's really early seventies, and actually older than I am. Also it is so easy to see the things that it must have influenced. It is ground breaking, and though it could be construed now as horribly cliche, it seems to me it must be the grand daddy of those cliches. So there we go.

Mood: frenetic.
Music: Beneath These Waves by Demons & Wizards and Future World by Helloween.

Demons & Wizards: Touched By the Crimson King
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Helloween: Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 1

Bird go!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

We All Have to Make Our Sacrifices

First off let me start by saying that I can't believe I don't have a review up for it already. I was watching “The Mangler” the other night, love that movie, even the excessive screaming in the one part didn't bother this time. I still have to shake my head at why there is so much negative publicity for that movie. I don't understand it one bit. Anyway, it got me thinking on the track of sacrifices, a topic that is somehow close my heart even aside from the reason why I'm here talking about it today.

Why am I talking about it today? I was thinking about how if I weren't working hard and diligently at becoming a traditionally published author, that I might just have a lot more to talk about with some of the amazing story ideas that I'm dying to work on. I could go on and on about them, and maybe I could if it weren't for the strong hand of paranoia on my shoulder--you know the kind backed by way too much hard evidence. Of course just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you.

*Sings* Baby's got a locomotive... baby's gone off the track... *Ahem*

Last night I was watching “The Dead Zone”, the movie, not the series which I didn't bother to watch because no channel close enough to receive worth beans bothered to air it. Again the idea of sacrifice comes up. This is more of the type I'm thinking of here today. What if you could do something and save people, but the thing you did wasn't morally right? Of course that's one avenue I want to travel, though admittedly perhaps tangentially. The other one, is what if by doing a right thing you actually ended up doing more harm, lives saved or not? Would you still do it? Something to ponder.

Mood: maudlin.
Music: Judgement of Heaven by Iron Maiden and Wasting My Hate by Metallica.

Iron Maiden: The X-Factor
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Metallica: Load

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dress for the Weather

Weird weather we have going on. First they were saying it was one of the warmest springs on record, next thing I know I'm freezing to death and have a massively painful, cramped, cold laced back that's nearly killing me. Only bit of relief I've had was when I seized up on taking one of the pills I was taking for the pain. Suddenly, sweaty, eyes bloodshot, coughing up saliva that wouldn't pass down my collapsed esophagus and the back ceased to be much of anything sensation-wise. Thrills.

If it isn't bad enough the back pain upsets my stomach, stress no doubt, but now my stomach hurts from the heaving and coughing. The only bright thing I can say is that at least I kept both pills down. Of course now I pretty much know I'm asking for trouble to even try and take another pill. Once I've tripped this stupid hiatus hernia, that's it for pill taking for a couple days until things settle down and strained muscles there strengthen up again.

Well, I've let this delay me a day but I decided not to let it totally win so here I am doing my blog. Heh heh, of course it's taken over as the topic, but who am I to argue with enough to yammer about for a short entry. Here's hoping the rest of the world is having a better weekend... even if it is nearly over...

Mood: further down the spiral.
Music: No More Lies by Iron Maiden and On With The Show by Motley Crue.

Iron Maiden: Dance of Death
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Motely Crue: Too Fast For Love

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's the Most Evilest Day in a Millennium


Is today going to be a day that lives on infamy? Judging by the fact I've heard nothing about anything happening on June 6th, 1006 A.D. I would have to say that no, not much is going to happen. Then again what do I know about the crackpots who might do something big on any given day. So, here's hoping nothing but a whack of horror movie watching! Today, should be (I never want to be certain where anyone else is concerned with doing or not doing something) the opening of the remake of The Omen, good luck to them, I'm not a big fan of the original even. So... let me tell you all a harrowing little tale.

There once was a little boy name Todd who had an older brother named Victor. Now Victor wasn't very nice to Todd and called him names, and sometimes even picked him up and dropped him on his head. One day Todd decided that enough was enough and he would get back at Victor for being so mean to him. So Todd went to the library. Another older boy named Henry hung around at the library all of the time in the back. Henry always wore black and everything had long sleeves even in the hottest part of the summer.

Todd asked Henry, who wasn't so nice either, if he would like to help play a joke on Victor. Henry's eyes lit up and he said that he would. Henry said he even knew what joke to pull already. First though, Henry needed Billy, Victor's cat. Todd went home and waited for the cat to step into the carrier he used as a litter box and then he slammed the door shut. Billy hissed and thrashed around and pitched a fit. Todd carted the carrier out to the street and Henry drove away with Billy who would never be seen again.

Victor looked and looked, then looked some more for Billy the next day. That night Victor cried and sobbed. The day after he moped around. Todd was sad too, but that was going to be price of seeing Victor get what he really deserved. Next, and just to borrow, Todd needed to take Victor's comb to Henry. Henry had everything all laid out: a circle with two squares at ninety degree angles inside it, funny symbols drawn out all over, candles at the corners of the room, all of it on the basement floor below the library.

Todd held Henry's hand and they sang a long slow song with not much of a tune, and a lot of repetition. Then it was done. Henry told Todd to go home and see what they had done to Victor. Comb in hand, Todd rushed home. Inside the front door came the most terrible of smells, all coppery and tinged salty. Blue smoke wafted out of the living room, where the smell seemed to be worse too. Todd went in. Mommy lay in the chair dripping blood on the carpet. Daddy stood in the far corner holding the shotgun Todd was never to play with. In the middle of the floor was a hairy thing, sodden in blood, singed parts still smoking. The thing was wearing Victor's favourite shirt.

Back in the library basement Henry laughed. A ledger lay open in front of him. The day's date was filled in, June 6th, 2006. Next to it were the words, “Final Evil Deed Complete, 6:06:06 p.m. Devil Standard Time. Hello 13th Infernal Crown!“

Have a nice most evilest day in the Millennium!

Mood: mischievous.
Music: Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden and God Bless the Children of the Beast by Motely Crue.

Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast
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Motley Crue: Shout at the Devil

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Ye Olde Tome

The first of the month somehow feels like the first of the week. I was just thinking about what I slaved away on all weekend. It was something for RPGing purposes. A while back I had started compiling a bunch of files to make GMing easier. So I was building a huge HTML resource of Palladium Books® materials, notably Rifts®. They made one part easy and gave us a list of all of the Rifts spells for the wizards of all types, the Invocation Spell list. Now this only includes the scholarly types of magic users and excludes specialised schools such Necromancy or Conjuring or Temporal Magic.

So, being the industrious type I went ahead and started files by level for the spells. The list would be a bunch of links to the spells themselves on my computer. Now, this is something that is okay to do for your own personal edification and fun, but under no circumstances should you ever spread around the files to other people because that would be a breach of the fair use rule, and copyright, which is already wobbly at best any more. Remember, buy books! Author's need to make a living.

Well this list was great and all, but Rifts is about a myriad of universes, and Palladium has a number of different game worlds. So, I thought why not make a Megaversal® Invocation spell list. With that in mind, and having only piddled around with it, I decided to make the huge push and finish the list and of course it would link to all of the spells. By time I was done, and this was at the minimum 20 hours of work, I changed the list from 312 spells to 492! The worst of the work, not the longest mind you, was the twenty or so spells I had to hand copy out of books. The rest were scanned and OCRed ages ago, another personally allowed thing but don't share it! Now I have the super source for wizard spells. There are some cool extras. The coolest of course come from a Nightbane® book called “Through the Glass Darkly”. Click the name to buy, it's awesome, and unlike the CDs where I'm affiliated with Amazon I have no such tie to Palladium, it's just they rock so hard! The moral of today's blog? Maybe it's have fun, and don't break the law doing it.

There will be a slight delay before a special blog on 6/6/06.

Mood: conflicted.
Music: Slave to Love by Quiet Riot and Bad Rain by Widowmaker (a Dee Snider band).

Quiet Riot: QR III
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Widowmaker: Stand By for Pain