Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Riding the Omnibus

I bought some books by my favourite author, Graham Masterton, recently. One particularly difficult one called "Innocent Blood" I had to order from I waited and then they cancelled it, can't get it in paperback. That sent me looking for used copies. Oh, I can get used copies, but the prices start at $100 US for a paperback. Man oh man, I love his books, but that's crazy. Why exactly do people think they can get that price? I then did what any fan of Masterton would do, I went to Same deal there. No new paperbacks, used copies, same pricey range. Okay, fine then, I thought to myself. How about hard cover? had 1 copy left. I'm expecting it any day now.

Now as to other books of his. Some browsing at awarded me with some of the old books—out of the fiction ones, as opposed to his huge selection of horror novels. These old books have been given new life in Omnibus editions. What's an omnibus you ask? It's more than one novel printed as a single book. There is only one front cover, one spine, and one back cover. Most omnibus (the word is plural in Latin already) books, or omnibuses (in English anyway) in my experience contain three books/novels. Sometimes they are two like my new, obviously recently printed copy of "Corroboree" and "Empress" together. Other times they are large four like my used, but perfect, new condition copy of "Tengu", "The Devils of D-Day", "The Mirror", and "Charnel House" together. Just to be showy I'll add that I scored a new recent printing stand-alone copy of Famine too.

Some omnibuses have their stories collected on a thematic basis, whether or not they are all stories written by the same author, or different authors. On a tangential note those movies which are more than one self-contained or semi-related stories can also be called omnibuses though they typically go by the more common name of anthologies. Of course some books are called anthologies as well, though I believe those are collections of only short stories. A prime example would be the Hot Blood anthologies (Hot Blood, Hotter Blood, Hottest Blood, each with more than one volume). Other than Graham Masterton in the UK (the omnibuses anyway) the only other author I've seen omnibus books for is Dean Koontz, but that was a while ago and in hard cover.

Mood: lethargic.
Music: Innocent Exile by Iron Maiden and All By Myself by Green Day.

Iron Maiden: Killers
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Green Day: Dookie

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Ghosts and Me

I don’t think that I've blogged about this before specifically. I believe in ghostly phenomena. Thusly I believe in apparitions. I don't mind the word ghost. I do draw the line at spirits though. I don't believe that people get to wander around after death. It's not that I'm unreligious and don't believe in the soul. I just don't think that you get the chance to fix your life after it's over. It's against my personal religion within my regular religion. I think you're up the creek if you haven't done the things you needed to do. Likewise I don't think the matter of your death matters either. There's only one judgement. If someone is killed that judgement will come when the killer is likewise dead.

Maybe I have touched on this overall subject before. Certainly I coloured my blog about the fear of ghosts with my opinions. I certainly made reference to what I believe back when I talked about investigators of hauntings. Of course what I said there dealt also with more grounded "mythology" of hauntings. For example, going to a cemetery looking for ghosts is almost pointlessly stupid. Everyone in the cemetery is supposed to be laid to rest. They're not to be hanging around. It goes against the grain. It flies in the face of ghost logic. Go look for an accident scene or a crime scene or a hospital. Though of course for safety I advise against hanging around abandoned hospitals.

Over at Artzone I have a new picture in my gallery. It is a ghost, inexplicably enough given what I've said above, in a cemetery. The title of the piece is "I Don't Belong Here". The title has two meanings. If you don't know anything about the whys and wherefores of the picture then the title can be what the ghost is thinking. He doesn't believe he should be a ghost, he believes he should still be alive. Knowing what you know after reading this blog reveals the second meaning of the title. Ghosts don't belong in cemeteries. There can however be a reason for a ghost in a cemetery. Those reasons include murders committed in the cemetery and improper/illegal burials.

Mood: relaxed.
Music: Soul Intruders by Bruce Dickinson and Are We Waiting by Green Day.

Bruce Dickinson: Tyranny of Souls
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Green Day: American Idiot

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Am Sinister

Or perhaps sinistral is more technically correct for what I am talking about here. Not only that I've but I've been accused of being evil, clumsy, out of accord, feminine, a betrayer, cheater, and a southpaw. Confused yet? Some of the more sly out there know what I am talking about. Some of the people who are just like me know it too. I am left-handed. All of these things and more have been ascribed to left-handed people in the past. It's may be by sheer luck that I live in the modern day where we are no long exorcised from the populace or beaten into conformity.

Growing up left-handed posed only a few challenges for me as far as I can recall. I didn't have difficulty learning to print and write, though I always did, and always will, drag the side of my hand along everything I write. I just can't hold it up out of the way and still be legible. The biggest difficulty I had was with tying my shoes. No right-handed person could teach me. Thankfully I grew up in the prevalence of shoes held together/tight by Velcro. When I had a teacher in the fourth grade that was left-handed he taught me how to tie my shoes in like five minutes. It was quite hilarious.

Back to history and the maligned nature of the left, one of the bits of information that seemed both funny and could be put to use, is the idea of the "evil" religions that follow The Left Hand Path. "Left-hand-path religions are concentrated on individualism, free thought, intelligence and outstanding abilities and gifts." according to "The Historicity of the term Left Hand Path" by Vexen Crabtree. This of course plays into the positive ideas of left-handedness. Those considerations are that we are more creative, more visually oriented, and think in a way that we can multitask, and problem solve by looking at the overall problem rather than having to piece it together one step at a time like the right-handed. Of course such "improvements" on the human brain probably led to a fair share of the view that we are all sinister and to be mistrusted. Oh well.

Mood: flustered.
Music: For The Greater Good Of God by Iron Maiden and The March of the Black Queen by Queen.

Iron Maiden: A Matter of Life and Death
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Queen: II

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Fight, Kill, Roll Dice

I've been thinking again about the math and mechanics of combat in role-playing games. This is of course of importance for me since I am working on at least two games of my own design. It remains to be seen if both will run off of the same system mechanics. Just because I would like that to be so, doesn't mean that it will manifest. I started with the idea that for my fantasy setting I would use easy if not actually simplistic rules. There is no need to model your game entirely after physics and reality. There can be a certain disconnect, through short hand or the quality of being an abstract version of the concepts involved.

The point where I have a problem, both in decision making, and perhaps even in development, comes at the point where one has to move from one sort of combat into another. In particular I am thinking about the transition from unarmed combat to melee combat (hand held weapons with range being only a function of the weapon's own length) to ranged combat. Even within a medieval type setting there are troublesome issues that arise when moving from one form of combat to the next. Then it worsens when you consider modern weapons of varying types. Or, even if you stay medieval you have magic to deal with as another kind of combat. Maybe even psychic powers.

Above and beyond this, which isn't necessarily all that much of a struggle to work with, there is the consideration of movement during combat. Here at first blush you have changing from one form to another, the affect on accuracy of moving and fighting at the same time, and dealing with changing ranges. The faster the movement from either or both opponents the greater the effect it has on the combat and therefore the rules. All of this involves--yet at the same time doesn't take into consideration--the difference between grace or prowess, and hand eye co-ordination, not to also mention the difference in how fast the character is at either kind of combat driven by those factors.

Mood: deep-thoughs thinking.
Music: Cum On Feel The Noize by Quiet Riot and Shoot 'Em Down by Twisted Sister.

Quiet Riot: Metal Health
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Twisted Sister: Under the Blade

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Returning From Hiatus

Here I am, back from my time off from blogging. Let me just start by saying, I did much of nothing outside of necessary web design work, and some of my online gaming. Boy was it a joy. Needless to say I did next to nothing that I had planned on. I have set up two templates for the review's site though, so I can get some new reviews uploaded soon. I have the text of the reviews, and now the templates (for two movie categories); so, it's just a matter of putting them together and grabbing the code for the sales portion.

As for writing I did nothing. Catching up on newsletter emails I got nowhere. The game as I said progressed some and I have a few ideas floating around for the future. The players are dealing with some things now, and getting some idea of where things are going and how things are going to be. The story is shaping up excellently on several fronts as well as, I think, building in some good opportunities for the players to do their thing and stretch their playing skills.

On the art front I did spend a little bit of time in Daz3D. I was toying with the presets for PW Ghost, a shading/surface program plug-in for those not familiar with the name. First I used it on the very Casper-like ghost figure that I picked up in some pack of figures or other. Then I had a bit more of a dramatic idea. I opened up the faerie forest within the V3 Basic freebie. It has a scene that has everything in place. In it Victoria has a glowing light raised above her open hand. There is no object there to account for the glow from the light, so I put in a sphere, and then made it semi-transparent and textured with the PW Ghost.

(Sorry no music ads today.)