wait, what?

So for Christmas I got the Legend of the Five Rings 3rd Edition book. Nerrrrrrrd. Anyway, apparently "Getting out of bed" is an example of a mundane action that you'd only have to roll Difficulty 5 for. Shouldn't that really be an automatic action? What does it mean if you fail to get out of bed? Do you get to try again later? What kind of skill would you use for this?

In conclusion, this seems like the kind of oversight that would be fun to abuse as a GM. So don't let me run L5R for a while, OK? For your own benefit.

Also: if you have problems with this, here are some tips for getting out of bed. Apparently this is a major problem. Here are basic instructions, in case you forgot.


harry potter and the deathly hallows

I was going to post this as a comment on Megan's LiveJournal, but I figure it could be put to better use here. It works much better if you understand that the name of the new Harry Potter book is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (SPOILER WARNING!)

Deathly: 1. Of, resembling, or characteristic of death: a deathly silence. 2. Causing death; fatal.


Hallow: 1. To make or set apart as holy. 2. To respect or honor greatly; revere.


Synopsis: Something cool happens at the beginning of the book, and then Harry just kind of dicks around for about fifty chapters. Things get cooler at the end, though, as Ron, Hermione, and Harry have a threesome, Tonks writes long, sad posts in her Wizards' LiveJournal, Snape says "BTW I'm the Deathly Hallows," and Harry Potter once again has to get someone else to rescue him. In the end, it is revealed that Voldemort's spirit is hiding inside the necromantically reanimated body of Dumbledore, and so, Harry must kill Dumbledore one last time. (SPOILER WARNING!) Dumbledore dies.

In conclusion, there are many fantasy novels better and less predictable than the Harry Potter series. Like China Mieville. Assuming that you ignore the endings of all his novels, which are terrible (possibly because he is a Marxist).


babycart assassin

So Mitch just called me today to ask if Lone Wolf and Cub is a good manga. That was kind of random. Lone Wolf and Cub is a good manga. Also: I have only two more volumes to go until the end! After that, I figure I'll work on Astro Boy or something.


ray mansera: more interesting than presented here

Ray had figured out the meaning of the spiral. He had found it in a book about ancient Rome. There was a Pictish cult in Scotland, on the very border of the Empire: the White Howlers. Their deity was something called the Three Worms. Or maybe it was one Worm with three heads. But one was War, one was Hunger, and one was Corruption. The Worms lived at the center of Hell, in the Black Spiral Labyrinth. The Black Spiral Labyrinth twisted nine times. It was exactly how Ray had always seen it. During the cult’s initiation rituals, their members would “Dance the Black Spiral Labyrinth.” As the cultist danced closer and closer to the center, his madness grew and grew until he was “Like a Wilde Beaste.” It didn’t explain why the spiral was inside him, but it was clear that Anya knew something. And if the spiral was madness, then what would happen to Ray after he finished traversing all the Labyrinth’s paths and then reached the center? And what would happen to his friends?


hi, nat!

So Nat, this girl from my art history class (whom I have mentioned before, briefly and somewhat undescriptively) has managed to find this here blog. I'm very impressed, since many of my regular friends can't even find it (rimshot). I'm still trying to figure out where this lies on the Weird-Awesome Continuum, but I'm leaning towards "Awesome" because she is a pretty cool girl.


I have started reading Dinosaur Comics and I really enjoy the side characters, like the Devil. Or the raccoons and cephalopods! And who could forget Morris?


why my art history ta is pretty cool

"I hit my head today, and I think I have a concussion, because I feel really weird."



So for those who haven't heard, I got a job working at circulation in the university library. It pays minimum wage, and I mostly just move books around so far. Although eventually, I'll be trained for actually checking them in. I have a seven-and-a-half-hour shift Sundays, which sucks because it's quiet, lonely, and dusty. But at least I get paid.


lily pulchella has been encountering difficulties of an entirely different sort

The vines stretched up and fixed the last pane of glass in place with their sticky sap. Lily wiped the sweat of concentration from her brow, satisfied that the job was finally finished. She made a few small tweaks to the flowers, then stepped back and admired the greenhouse, light streaming in filtered green through the leaves that covered the ceiling, flowers blooming in dashes of vibrant color. Lily thought it was beautiful. Hopefully the new girl would think so, too. Lily checked her watch. She should be getting here soon.

Everybody was waiting at the door when the new girl rang the bell. Everybody was a bit surprised to discover they had a doorbell. Ethel opened the door, with a “Hello, sweetie. Please come in. Welcome to…” but Lily was no longer paying attention. She was stunned. Vivian, it seemed her name was. Vivian Kaufmann. Short black hair shone in the morning light streaming in through the door behind her. She looked over the room with her deep brown eyes, smiling and waving hello. Plain clothes, not revealing, bright colors. Small breasts, but Lily found that cute. Found her cute, actually, and more. At the right time, she said, “Hi, I’m Lily.”

Vivian said, “Nice to meet you, Lily.”

Lily said, “Nice to meet you too.”

They shook hands.

Lily and Vivian were sitting in the greenhouse, drinking from a bottle of wine raided from the kitchen. Golden sunset glowed all through the glass, casting green shadows through the leaves. Vivian sat in a patch of gold, Lily in a patch of green. “You’re the nicest,” said Vivian, her cheeks blushing slightly, probably from the wine.

“Thank you,” said Lily, her cheeks blushing slightly too.

“I mean it. I’ve been here… um…” she giggled. “I’ve been here a day now. And you’re easily the nicest person here to me. Not that everybody else isn’t nice. But you’re just so… friendly.”

“Thank you.” Lily smiled. Vivian smiled back. There was a pause, but it wasn’t awkward. “So, I noticed you changed your clothes.”

“Really? How observant…” Vivian giggled. “This is what I wear when I’m relaxing.” It was closer-cut, tighter. It hugged her curves well.

“I like it. It looks really good on you. I think it’s even better than your other clothes.”

“Oh,” said Vivian. “Thank you.” And they kept on chatting and drinking until it was midnight and time to scale the stairs and back to bed.

A week later, and they were friends. That was obvious by now. But something more? Was there that spark in her eyes? Was there something to the way she acted differently around Lily than anyone else? They had shared secrets, but there was one secret that Lily had not shared, not knowing how Vivian would react, not wanting to spoil the hope that she felt the same way. Her heart was giving itself to Vivian, but was Vivian willing to receive, or (dare to dream) give in return? Lily lay awake in her garden thinking and her flowers bloomed from passion unspoken, blood-red and royal purple saying how she felt in her own secret language, the one that Vivian could not read. But Lily hoped, prayed, whispering it to her trees, that she would get the message. And that she would say,



all about tom swift

I had submitted these lists to McSweeney's, but they turned me down.

Tom Swift and his Giant Telescope
Tom Swift and his Giant Magnet
Tom Swift and his Talking Pictures
Tom Swift Among the Fire Fighters
Tom Swift and his Big Tunnel
Tom Swift and his Great Searchlight
Tom Swift and his Wireless Message
Tom Swift and his Motorcycle

Tom Swift and his Chest of Secrets
Tom Swift and his Great Oil Gusher
Tom Swift and his Television Detector
Tom Swift and his Magnetic Silencer

Eradicate “Rad” Sampson

Tom Swift and his Atomic Earth Blaster
Tom Swift in the Caves of Nuclear Fire
Tom Swift and his Electronic Retroscope
Tom Swift and his Spectromarine Selector
Tom Swift and his Triphibian Atomicar
Tom Swift and his Megascope Space Prober
Tom Swift and his Repelatron Skyway
Tom Swift and his Polar-Ray Dynasphere
Tom Swift and his Subocean Geotron


what has sonia berren been doing this year?

The alleyway was dark. Sonia, wearing a leather jacket to protect against the cold (and make herself look more intimidating) fingered Mittens’ skull inside her pocket. She looked over at Ms. Jacqueline C. Mize, who was dressed in her spiky metal best. “One of those guys had better show soon,” she said. Sonia nodded in agreement. “I mean, I can understand Mr. Mysterious not showing up on time, but Adam? It’s not like he’s got anything better to do.”

“I resent that,” said a voice from over Sonia’s shoulder. She turned around to see Adam. “So when’s this guy gonna show up?” he asked.

“Don’t know,” said Ms. Jacqueline C. Mize. She checked her watch. “He said 9 P.M. over the phone. It’s 8:59 now… wait, no, now it’s 9 right on the dot.”

There was a cough from one end of the alley. Everybody turned to see a tall man in a trenchcoat and hat silhouetted against the light from the street. “I am here,” he said, in a deep, cold voice. “Identify yourselves.”

“I’m Ms. Jacqueline C. Mize,” said Ms. Jacqueline C. Mize.

“Sonia here. No last name until I trust you.”

“Adam Timios here. I guess you know my last name already.”

The man stepped closer. “I know all of you. Three? This will be hard. But not impossible.” He took off his trenchcoat and dropped it to the dirty ground. Then he took off his hat. Sonia cautiously took some wires out of her pocket and started to concentrate on the space between her and the man.

“My name is…” he paused, cocking his head slightly. He dropped his hat to the ground. “Not important.” He raised his arms, and bullets fired out of them like they were machine guns.

Sonia thought of the air becoming a wall, of all those little invisible wires bound densely together. The bullets hit the wall and stopped. “Drat,” said the man, and he charged forward in some kind of berserk football tackle. The wires broke, but Adam was at the ready with a gust of wind to knock the man off his feet and onto his back. But he was quick to get up.

“You reality deviants are a nuisance.” He stood up and shot a grenade out of his elbow at the fleeing trio. Jacqueline stopped, pivoted, and caught it, throwing it back at the man with startling reflexes. He dodged, and it exploded just behind him in the alley.

Everybody scrambled out into the street. Down by the industrial district, nobody was there to see them except for the streetlamps. Jacqueline, looking around for a weapon, found a chain-link fence and ripped out a post with surprising strength. Adam was preparing a fireball when the man jumped out and fired off a few more clips, full auto. Another wall on Sonia’s part rendered them ineffective, and Jacqueline moved in for a whack. The post wrapped around his head like it was made of solid steel, which Sonia imagined probably wasn’t far off. The fireball, so impressive in execution, did nothing either. The man just took it straight to the chest, and knocked Jacqueline back with a swing of his arm.

A general sense of “well, shit” came over the party. Jacqueline was down and probably out, and fireballs were no good. Muffins whispered to Sonia, “Hey, dumbass, you’re good with wires, right?”

Sonia was a bit busy dodging fast and powerful blows. “Yeah, so?”

“So what I’m saying is, this guy’s a cyborg.”

“SO?” Sonia was more than a little annoyed.


“Shut the hell up, Muffins. I get you.” She focused her senses and, yes, he did have a lot of wires inside him. She could hear the power running from them. She took out a length of wire from her pocket, and imagined it as though it was a part of him. Then she snapped it in two. He stopped moving.

“Did you do that?” asked Adam.



“By the way,” said Sonia, going over to tend to Jacqueline, “if a mysterious stranger ever offers you info ever again…”

“Yeah. I get it.”


winter weather is the best weather: two vignettes of the past week

On Wednesday last, I was searching for a rock for my art project. The beach seemed a likely place for the size and color that I needed, and the buses took me to Alki Beach. On a lonely little bit of rocky beach, I found what I needed, stooping to pick up rocks while the seagull looked on. It was evening; the sun was setting over the hill and filtering none of its light to me. Satisfied, I went back to the bus stop, but found that the bus that took me there did not have a returning counterpart, and the next bus wouldn't be along for half an hour. The bitter cold sunk in, and there was no-one else around in the blueish light, just me and the waves and the fish and chips restaurants a few blocks down. Seeking warmth, I walked up the bus route, buying some battered cod and French fries in a vague attempt to stay warm. The bus arrived, but there was no connecting bus for some time to come. As the bus drove along residences and up hills, passengers got off one by one into the darkening night. Then there was just me and the driver. But the bus ahead of us was the one I wanted, with no wait, and soon the lights of the city returned and I was safe.

On Saturday, Erin had done her laundry at the apartment, and, as it was time for me to leave, I was giving her a ride back to her place. I opened the door, but discovered thick sheets of water between us and the parking garage. We had no umbrella and no recourse but to run, Erin bundling up her clothes-bag in her rain jacket. I dashed madly, becoming soaked in just seconds before reaching the shelter of the garage. I turned around to see how Erin was doing, and there was a flash and a clap of thunder from over the hill. On the drive to her apartment, the gutters were running in torrents, but the rain soon calmed. On the highway? The rain was thicker but I sped through the blackness, Sons and Daughters in the CD player like a punk rock ban sidhe, orange stripe on my left, white stripe on my right, the road curiously slickly visible. There were a few cars on the shoulder: stragglers that were too weak to continue on, I think.


being a gold farmer in wow is a fascinating profession

I find the tone of cyberpunk espionage in this article to be fascinating. It is a very complex world, the MMORPG.


guess how i did at state champs!

Round 1: He has Zur the Enchanter, Confiscate, and Copy Enchantment. Black cannot kill enchantments.

Round 2: He has 3 Call of the Herds in his opening hand. The next game, he has Stormbind. Black cannot deal with six elephants. It also cannot kill enchantments.

Round 3: R/W Storm is not a very good deck. I win!

Round 4: Creatureless Rack + discard is not a very good deck. I win!

Round 5: It's a mirror match, but I play stupidly.

Round 6: "Gain 4 life" is not fun for an aggro deck to hear in Standard. Also, black cannot kill Paladin en-Vec.

I drop.


rpg status update

While I have the 2nd act written, i need to script the action sequences, which is harder than you'd expect because I'd like to make them actually interesting. That's hard to do in turn-based combat. I also want to do little stories for what happens to the characters in the year between, but I have those about half done. Oh, and I need to make the 3rd act interesting. It could be much better. But these things will hopefully be done one day, and then maybe sometime Bryan and Young will start calling me back, and then we can play. Maybe.


some things

It's pretty much officially autumn now - the leaves are dying, the crows are out in droves, and there's cold in the air. This is pretty much my favorite season, but it's too bad I don't really have anything to do on Halloween.

A quote from Jen Graves, Stranger art critic and guest speaker in my Contemporary Art class: "Richard Serra has stopped throwing molten lead."

Games I've been playing reviewed alongside girls from my classes:

Jade Empire: This game is very Americanized Chinese. I mean, ornithopers? Scantily-clad women? Come on. It's too bad the combat kind of sucks, too. Other than that, it's very very pretty and Bioware is still good at characterization. Although there isn't a single female character that I care about in the game, so it sucks being a male character.

Angela: A Chinese girl in my Japanese class who is cheerful and somewhat interesting. We have similar taste in cute things. Facebook tells me she is a conservative Christian.

Chrono Cross: The bad thing about hard bosses in RPGs is that, if you lose, you can't learn how to beat the boss like you could in an action game. No, you have to make your characters stronger. I don't like that.
I stumbled upon a ruined futuristic city, and I was all thinking "Wait, this is going to be another Miyazaki ripoff like FFX now, isn't it? Technology is evil and all that." But then the futuristic city turned out to actually be from the future. Bravo, Chrono Cross. I applaud your ingenuity.

Sarah: I'm just going to put an 'H' on her name because I don't know how she spells it. She's from my Native American Art History class and I pretty much like her. She's pretty cute, bright, and interesting, although I wish I knew more about her. She likes anime, I guess, and is a better artist than I am, although that's pretty much true of everybody. Unfortunately for me, she doesn't seem to have a lot of free time, but I think she might have my phone number. Not that she's called me, mind.

Time Spiral: This is a pretty fun set. The best part about the timeshifted cards is that I keep forgetting what's in them. It's like a surprise every time!

Nat: Another name I'm not sure how to spell. She's Sarah's friend, with a pretty nice dry wit. We seem to end up talking about slash fiction more than seems logical.

Dead Rising: This game is pretty much the most fun I can think of having on the Xbox 360. Beating zombies is fun. Beating zombies with pretty much anything you can find is even more fun. Taking pictures of them afterwards is pretty much the greatest.

Swan: She makes her own jewelry for a living and she's extremely friendly. She lives in Beacon Hill and it's too bad that she has a boyfriend. Oh well. She's from my Contemporary Art class.

Just Cause: I haven't actually played this game, but seeing how it's Grand Theft Auto meets CIA-sponsored regime change, with parachutes and grappling hooks, it's pretty fun to watch. Stealing helicopters in midair is excellent.

Nabe: A communications exchange student from Seoul, in my Contemporary Art class. Her English isn't necessarily the best, but she's really friendly. And she apparently lives in my building, five floors up. But she has a boyfriend too, of course.

Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Sticking it to the Man is fun. Spraying grafitti is fun. I just wish it were a better game.

Also: I've decided to update weekly now. Tell your friends! And be sure to punch me when I don't update.



Last year, I decided to walk all the way around Lake Washington, a few hours at a time, using the bus to get back and pick up from last time. This weekend, I finished it. Here's the photos. Although I forgot my camera for some stretches, so you're out of luck there.


readership survey

So I would be interested in knowing just who reads this on a regular basis. Therefore, please comment and tell me who you are.


synopses of recent interesting dreams

Me and some other people are trapped by some invisible force or threat in a small group of buildings, one of which is a department store. The person preventing us from leaving is a man who resembles a creepy Steve Buscemi. Periodically, he invites us to his private office. People who go there disappear, and then reappear later, leading me to suspect that he is draining us of energy. He calls me into his office. Thinking fast, I compliment him on his abilities and wonder if I might become his apprentice, secretly plotting to use his powers to defeat him.

I am watching Aladdin fight a giant cyclops, or possibly two. He is very acrobatic, leaping and swinging around on the monster's body and using his scimitar to slash at vulnerable spots. Upon waking, I reflect that it was probably the Prince of Persia and not Aladdin, although I got the distinct impression that I was part of his crew, so it may have been Sinbad.

It is the end of the world. I am waiting at a bus stop. A bus pulls up to me, but there are no walls and no seats, just the skeletal metal frame. Later, I am on a beach. It is sunny and clear, but it seems cold. There are huge slabs of metal sticking out of the beach, apparently wreckage from some large vehicle or complex. They are painted a dull red. I am inside a ramshackle building. A line of large blue beetles flies past me, all chained together. The scientist tells my that these are souls, and that this island is set up to do experiments on people's souls.

My family (not my actual family, though) is being hunted by a giraffe with psychic powers. This is much more terrifying than it sounds because the giraffe is completely unstoppable. We drive down to the police station, but the police say they are powerless to stop it and we are inclined to agree when it blows a hole in the wall and stoops its neck to climb through. We drive back home and hide. I am looking out the window of my room when I notice a giant version of Darth Vader's face mask (without helmet) in the neighbors' yard. It turns around when it notices me, and summons a giant robot who immediately begins to punch through the side of the house. I consider fleeing across the lake in the kayak, but the robot (who is working for the giraffe) would more than likely notice me so I choose to wake up instead.

I am a prisoner on a strange prison in the middle of a cold, stormy sea. There are two towers, connected by a metal net with a walkway on top. The towers are shaped like screws, in that they flare up at the top to form a platform that is likely a helipad of sorts. There are no guards. A freight ship passes close and offers us (the prisoners) a chance to escape. We take it, and jump on board. We are soon enlisted in bailing out the ship, which is quickly filling up with water. We make it to a port, where gigantic cranes tower over the docks and there is a precariously high bridge connecting two cities over the water. When I wake up, I remember that this port has shown up in my dreams before.

Bonus Dream Links
Slow Wave
David Firth (Sock series)


war of the worlds: a comparison

After watching Spielberg's version of War of the Worlds, I realized that the ending sucked, so I watched the old version to see if the ending was any better. Then I decided to read the original book, and I also realized I had a couple other alternate book versions of it lying around. So here's a comparison of five different versions of Martians kicking Earth's ass. Warning! Spoilers for a story over a hundred years old!


Its dry and unattached attitude is occasionally boring, but it's still extremely imaginative, given as it is pretty much the first novel to imagine alien invasion and all that. The devotion to telling the reader exactly where the Martians attacked would probably be better if the reader actually lived in England. My main complaint with this book is that The Time Machine is better.


Much like Wells' novel set the standard for books, this movie set the standard for alien invasions. It deviates a lot from Wells' novel, making the main character a scientist who pretty much mostly just follows the military around, thus removing most of the tension of panicking humans and Martians terrorizing the countryside. Oh, and the special effects didn't support tripods back then, so the war machines are flying things that were modeled after swans. Seriously. Because when I think of horrible engines of destruction, I always imagine them as graceful swans. I'm willing to forgive their war machines for sucking, though, because their Martians actually look a lot better than Spielberg's, plus that sequence with the electronic eye gave me recurring nightmares as a kid.
The ending is much better than Spielberg's, too, possibly even better than Wells' ending. The main character, separated from his love interest in the mob fleeing Los Angeles, wanders through the deserted city while Martians destroy it, ultimately joining a group taking refuge in a church and singing hymns, waiting for the heat ray that never comes, because God saved them by killing off all the Martians with germs. Although God didn't save the minister that tried to make peace with the Martians earlier. No, God just let him get vaporized.


Apart from the opening and the main character, Spielberg's version is essentially true to the original, only adapted somewhat for the modern day. The Martians' hunting-horn? The red weed? The vampirism? The crazy guy? All from the book. Unlike the book, however, Spielberg puts a lot of emotion into his scenes. I really like the war machines in this one, because they're such efficient engines of destruction. Having to wash particles of carbonized human from your body is pretty neat from a horror standpoint, although I'm unsure why the heat ray doesn't work on hats. Must be using Krankorian technology.
The ending sucks, though, and it sucks hard. Martians killed by germs? How boring. At least Wells offered us an epilogue telling us of what happened after everything got cleaned up. This one just fades out on with Morgan Freeman telling us how great paramecium are.


The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, volume two covers the Martian invasion of Earth, and Britain's secret efforts to destroy it. While the details of the story as Wells describes are included more or less accurately, right down to including the same lines of dialogue from the sequence at the first landing, there's much more liberty taken with the back end. The League is called upon to run around and do various errands: Hyde and Nemo to defend London, and Quatermain and Ms. Murray have to go pay a visit to Dr. Moreau to go retrieve one of his hybrids to fight the Martians. Oh, and the Invisible Man turns traitor and sells us out to the Martians. Because he's a bastard.
In this version, the Martians aren't even originally from Mars - they're a parasite-like race that set up camp on Mars, but were driven off with the combined forces of John Carter and Lieutenant Gulliver Jones, plus some of C.S. Lewis' Seroni. However, they had made plans to invade Earth. The tripods in League are probably the best-looking rendition, being very sinister and organic, true to the original. Ultimately, the Martians are killed off by germs again, but in this version, it's by Moreau's hybrid of anthrax and streptococcus used against them by the secret Freemason branch of the British army. And the League falls apart, because the Invisible Man and Mr. Hyde are dead and Nemo is really upset at the British for developing germ bombs. It's still kind of a disappointing ending, but at least there's finally another volume coming out next month.


Howard Waldrop's stories are best described as "indescribably strange." This is a story about what happened to the Martians who invaded Texas. Spoilers: They were foiled by a sheriff who was intended to be played by Slim Pickens. There are a lot of stories like this, but Howard Waldrop's has Slim Pickens talking about how he had a dream where he was an Aztec warrior, so his is clearly the best. Texas should not be messed with, because they have cannons and they will shoot them at you.


Pretty much the best one as far as I'm concerned. Radio has a very compellingly hypnotic quality, and the realistic presentation of the first half combined with the vagueness of the description and the vaguely eulogistic tones of Welles' voice just really make this one work for me. It also has the black smoke and the Martians' efforts to build a flying machine, both of which get left out of most versions. The ending still sucks, but at least it's being read by Orson Welles.


Closest Adaptation: Either Welles or Spielberg.
Best War Machines: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Most Badass War Machines: Spielberg.
Best Martians: Byron Haskins. All other Martians suck by comparison. Why is that?


The Time Machine is a better novel, but not as popular for adaptations. The original movie is good too, but not the remake.


a post about erin bean

So Erin is here at my house and she's disappointed that there probably isn't a post about her on my blog. Therefore, this is a post about Erin, to ensure that the only thing I've ever said about her on the Internet isn't that she's not as pretty as Halo 2.

Erin Bean is a much better friend than Halo 2.


i wrote a sestina

Sometime, let’s ride the night-time ferry
Its lights stretched out on rippling water.
The windy mourning of the seabirds
Will guide us through our lonely journey
And tell of great and unnamed sadness
Awaiting in the dim horizon.

And when we reach that dark horizon
We’ll cast our souls off of this ferry
And drown in oceans made of sadness.
But tears are nothing to this water
And, at the end of our death-journey
We’ll find only the countless seabirds.

Oh, how they keen and cry, those seabirds!
They know what’s there, at the horizon
That makes us carry on our journey.
For what is this, our night-time ferry
If not a shrine on pitch-dark water,
A testament to all our sadness.

We can’t see limits to this sadness
And so, distraught, we ask the seabirds,
Who all reply, “There is no water,
“There’s happiness on that horizon
“If only you’d step off that ferry.
“Put to an end your foolish journey!”

But nothing’s left to us save journey,
Return’s prevented by our sadness
So we’ll forever ride this ferry
Plagued by the lying of the seabirds.
We know what’s there, at the horizon
For there begins the endless water.

Eternity on unlit water!
The ancient promise of this journey,
The light we see on the horizon -
Is it not better to know sadness?
Or to give in and join the seabirds
That skirl about the grand night-ferry?

The water here gives way to sadness
Here ends our journey, where the seabirds
Leave our night-ferry: the horizon.



late at night the internet is trying to send me messages

Did you ever get the feeling that God is trapped somewhere inside there, and he occasionally reaches out a tendril to try and struggle for freedom?

p.s. Knuuuuddel!


i will fucking kill microsoft

Imagine that there is a game you enjoy playing on the Xbox. That game will not be playable on the 360. What will be, however, is Drake of the 99 Dragons.

And, of course, nobody cares about backwards compatibility.


my arch-nemeses

Ranked from least to greatest (sort of), my Arch-Nemesis List is kind of odd. But it seems to be worth recording, if only for remembering who they are. My Not Worth My Contempt List is much longer.

Patrick True
Technically, he shouldn't be on here any more. But he has really annoying Magic decks, so he stays.

Once, I ordered the expansion for Icewind Dale from them and it arrived about two days later. Not even Amazon delivers that fast. They pretty much went bankrupt last year, so I guess I don't have to fear them any more, but they managed to take the rights to most of my favorite RPGs down with them.

I have had bad experiences with warlocks. Firstly: They used to be able to kill me without even stopping, just by putting a few choice curses on me. Secondly: They tend to use fear on monsters even when they're in a group and are in no danger of dying. I don't want to chase down the damn ogre because you're scared of going down to half health, and I sure as Hell don't want him bringing all his friends with him as he runs back. Thirdly: If I'm the party leader and someone needs a teleport, and then you complain that you don't want to do it because of some stupid reason, and I tell you to do it, leaving is okay. Sending me tells for 5 minutes complaining about how immature I am is not.

Square Enix
Somebody must have sold their soul to the Devil somewhere along the line. Nothing else could explain why Final Fantasy is popular. I understand that FFVII was a good game. But was it really good enough to justify a series of perpetually less-inspired sequels? And crappy spinoffs like X-2? And Advent Children? Grim Fandango is pretty much my favorite video game. If they ever made a movie that did to Grim Fandango what Advent Children does to FFVII, throwing together a shallow and disjointed plot and relegating all of the minor characters to gratuitous cameos, then throwing in the dead villain at the end for no reason other than that he's popular, well, I probably wouldn't like it. I might even hate it. I certainly wouldn't gush over it like every Final Fantasy fan ever does for Advent Children. I like to believe there's a special circle reserved in Hell for Japanese RPG developers.

The Great Japanese Empire
Probably the least competent military venture in the 20th century. The story of Japan in World War Two is alternately depressing, infuriating, and comical, combining baby-stabbing, rape, horrifying propaganda, and unnecessary nuclear detonations into one nice little package. It wouldn't be quite as bad if the Japanese wouldn't keep pretending like it didn't happen. At least I can get my revenge on them by playing Pacific Assault.

Bicyclists pretty much think they're the best people in the world. They don't drive cars and don't pollute the environment, so they can be all smug and drive in the road while ignoring stop signs. And they're faster than pedestrians, so they can pretty much zoom by you hazardously without so much as a by-your-leave. Would a by-your-leave be too much to ask for?

Undead Rogues
Please stop stabbing me. I can understand if I'm near your level, because then it's fair. But if you're 20 levels higher than me, you've got nothing to gain. And don't kill me while I'm fighting a monster, either. That's just rude.

The use of the word "otaku" to describe American Japanophiles is rather ironic. In Japanese, it translates roughly to mean someone who likes homemade stuff. It might be nerdy and uncool, but at least it's Japanese. Cat ears? Unnecessary use of catchphrases? Idolizing Pocky? Drawing everything with big eyes? Can't you just admit that your subculture is culturally bankrupt, unable to contribute anything new, cursed to forever imitate people and styles far more creative than you? Somewhere in Japan, I like to think that there's an equivalent culture, made up of people who worship mediocre American animation and comics. At the very least, it might lead to some amusing New Mutants fan fiction.

Irony is a clever foe. It is now bloated and obscene, nearly impossible to defeat. You people took irony and ran it into the ground with your endless T-shirts and your stupid haircuts and your tight pants. Now you're going to pay.

The Sun
No enemy could be greater than this celestial body. It's too bright, it's too hot, and it's impossible to escape. I dread blue skies; I feel that the world is much better with clouds. You people who like it so much? Remember that it's essentially just a giant nuclear reactor beaming radiation down onto us. Clouds? They're what keeps our skin from frying off.


Level: Final

I finished all my finals today in a rather grueling four-hour block. After I was done, I was walking back through the plaza at sunset, with the cherry blossoms beginning to bloom and the birds singing all around me.

It occured to me that such a golden-lit Victorian pastoral/neo-classical scene might make a good setting for a video game.

Edit: Fuck yes! String implements Comparable! I didn't fail that bit!



Last night at about 2:00 A.M. I saw a very bright flash from outside my window. A couple seconds later, there was a truly epic thunderclap, the kind so close that it vibrates the very air itself. Apparently it also snowed a bit last night. And this morning it was beautifully sunny.

I went down to the horticulture gardens at sunset, and there were dozens of crows in the trees, conversing.

This weekend, I will attempt to make a go of staying in the dorm without accidentally throwing away my fucking I.D. card when the card office is closed for three days.


how i spent my st. valentine's day

Homework, class, headache, Magic cards.



Look at this page. Use Ctrl-F if you're impatient.

Apparently they were developing Portal III?

Also: movie proposal?


one week late is better than nothing?

Last weekend I went to the Guildpact prerelease. I even managed to get up pretty early to get down there in time for the big seven-round flight. Seven rounds is a bit much, it turns out.

While I was waiting for the flight to start, the fire alarm went off and everybody had to be evacuated outside for a while. I took this as a signal to go into red.

The flight finally got underway and everybody opened their packs. Mine contained Birds of Paradise and Temple Garden, which pretty much means that I win the tournament right there. The guy across from me opened another Birds, and the guy next to him opened another one, foil this time. Good times.

Oh, and apparently there were a number of missorted tournament packs being opened with more than the usual number of rares. Like about 10 more than the usual number. This seemed to be an auspicious omen.

My cardpool, sadly, didn't really have anything that looked excellent in one color or another. I decided red/green/blue would be nice, since I had Gruul beatdown creatures that I could back up with some blue control and Leap of Flame for the win. Actually, I could Leap of Flame for the win quite a bit. I even swung for 17 damage in one game, with two 6/4s Leaping along with a 3/5 flyer. Pain!

Unfortunately, my deck would often fold to removal spells and had no draw and no burn. That plus a few silly play errors like attacking with my wurm instead of saving it to win me the game on the next fucking turn meant that I only went 3-4. That only got me four packs, which was kind of too bad, since I was hoping to bring something back to draft with at my cluster.

I moved on to the draft. It seemed like nobody next to me was in green/red, and I was able to build a damned aggressive Gruul deck with only about two spells, a metric fuck-ton of creatures, and two copies of SKARRG, THE RAGE PITS!

Sadly, I got eliminated in the first round by an equally competent Izzet deck that could keep laying out bounce with replicate and picking me off with Wee Dragonauts (easily the cutesiest name in the new set). I didn't lose by much, though, since I went 1-2 and got him down to 1 life in the deciding match. Curse my lack of burn spells.

So I basically managed to lose the tournament and still come out even. I even picked up a bunch of green/red cards I wanted, including probably the most underrated cards thus far: the 4/1 Solifuge and Killer Instinct, the second card to be named after a fighting game.

Oh yeah, plus Birds of Paradise and Temple Garden. Suckas.


Since I got my clustermates back into Magic, one of them decided to find decks online and print them out. He found one that he liked a lot, and I asked what was in it.

"It's got those artifact lands," he said, "and a whole bunch more artifacts."

"Is it Affinity?"

"I don't know. It's got a bunch of artifacts, and a black guy that makes you lose life."

"Does it have Arcbound Ravager?"

So I am playing against Ravager Affinity after Skullclamp, but before the lands/Disciple bannings. I try out most of my decent decks against it. I lose quite a bit, as is to be expected, but my broken red deck can handle him nicely. My Golgari deck also does surprisingly well. It heartens me to see Sisters of Stone Death playing against one of the most broken decks in a long time and formally handing it its ass on a silver platter.


the gates have opened

World of Warcraft seems to have undergone the first of many epic battles yesterday. Kind of makes me wish that my server would get off its ass and donate some linen bandages. Not that I'd be high-level enough to enjoy it.


a philosophical truism

Nothing validates your existence like a girl giving you stars and then asking if you are a tree.


The right leg of my glasses is currently attached with nothing more than Scotch tape and a sewing needle.


anno domini two thousand six

Yesterday I made a pilgrimage to this distant building that could be seen from my dorm's stairwell. It caught my eye because it was significantly taller than the surrounding buildings. It turned out to be two separate buildings entirely.

I went down to the beach nearby and there, surrounded by the wall of lights on the other side, the dim twilight, and the hush of the surf, I made by new years' resolutions:

Complete a major art project, find a girlfriend, and do my laundry.

I have done one of those.

On the way back, it briefly rained.