aesmael: (haircut)
 EXT. The Fields of Pelennor

The Witch Queen: "Fool. No living man may hinder me."

Eowyn: "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman."

The Witch Queen: "Then, hinder me."

They kiss passionately.
aesmael: (haircut)
Saw some folk talking about the forgiveability or lack thereof of Darth Vader, particularly wert the murder of children.

The prequel films had not been made at the time Return of the Jedi had been released, and I don't believe Lucas' claims of having planned the whole thing out from the beginning, so usually I am not interested in judging the first three Star Wars films on the basis of actions or emotions depicted in the prequels. I also don't recall Luke saying at any point that he forgave Vader for his past actions, prequel or otherwise. What I remember is Luke saying he still senses good in him, which I interpret as the potential or desire to turn away from evil and to do good.

My feeling is the idea of Vader being redeemed is not that his single act of casting down the emperor, but that it represents an internal change and a commitment on his part. That, had Vader survived, he would have devoted himself to doing good and to make what restitution he could for the evils of the empire. But his single act in the throne room doesn't make him good in itself, doesn't undo the evils of his past. It is a symbol of the change in the character and the new path he is taking, as is his ghost's appearance as Anakin later on.

I don't think it's a matter of having been forgiven and I don't think the evil Vader did in the past is or can be undone.

I do think there's a potential term collision between redemption as in 'how fans feel about a character' and redemption as in 'character internals reflected in externals'. I also suspect these opinions of mine are strongly influenced by the surrounding Christian cultural context; certainly I've had to work at not using Christian-sourced terminology in the writing of this post and probably missed some nonetheless.
aesmael: (tricicat)
Overheard PA announcement from nearby primary school. Distortion made it sound like GLaDOS. Frightening thought.
aesmael: (sudden sailor)

Last night watched Fallen, which is one of those lesser-known films I am personally fond of. Tend to be disappointed there aren't more stories where a police investigation uncovers some supernatural crime, provoking a genre shift. Especially Criminal Minds I keep wanting them to stumbling across vampires or similar (or did, before I quit watching the show).

Had not realised on previous viewings how much this story is open to a sequel - there is an organisation of demon-aware people who hope to someday fight them, and the lead's nephew is possibly being raised by the daughter of the last cop to be destroyed by Azazel.

Also watched The Taking of Pelham One Two Three because that was on after, and it had gotten a couple of remakes, so I figured it was probably a good film. Turns out it was.

Today had an afternoon shift at the library, much more social than usual. Got to the sign-on book when I arrived and found a note for me from my supervisor, along with her copy of The Transformers soundtrack to borrow.

Got home, got changed, walked around barefoot on the lawn, enjoying the feel of wet grass under my feet.

Read an article interview with Terry Pratchett which touched on the toll alzheimers is taking on him.

Watched Grimm S02E14. Changed group dynamic! Lead's boss presenting himself as an ally now his nature has been revealed, which was odd as I'd been interpreting him as a secret adversary. This may still be true.

Watched Castle S06E01. Definitely missed the end of the last season. This show has almost no value to me as a mystery series; mostly watch for character fun and the way it plays up various genre tropes and references (not always mystery ones). Sort of like Scooby Doo in that Castle always reaches for the most extravagant and genre-riffic explanations he can find.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Just started watching a video of someone playing Doom and had to stop because in the first 20 seconds the player made two 360 degree clockwise rotations while looking around. Problem is first that ey completed the rotation, but moreso that ey made the second rotation and I know ey're not going to reverse that because why would ey? No need to, right? But it is making me twitchy and panicky.

Doesn't usually get me so bad. Hope I can go back and finish watching the video.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

I've been wanting to do NaNoWriMo this year, but I've also been trying to be all responsible and productive, which makes it harder to justify long stretches of time writing each day. Or 'writing', as is more often the case. The plan I've settled on is to put some time toward studying each day, and if after taking care of that and any other urgent, important business there is still time, then I should write. No particular story in mind this year, once again I am aiming to work scattershot on a variety of small ones. My real goal is to get back into a regular writing habit.

The study is especially important, as I got a letter back unexpectedly quickly offering me a place in the course I applied to. Much of yesterday was used up accepting the offer and reading over documents I am required to read. So today will be putting in mandatory application for optional government loan on an already-subsidised course of study. I've been quite worried that I won't be sufficiently prepared this time round either, so I am making extra effort to reacquaint myself with physics and mathematics between now and then.

I aim to be more organised, capable and diligent than I was a decade ago, and actually get this done. Really, I am in a very fortunate position to have the opportunity.

In other news, I was bored at work last week and started taking down notes on scrap paper for some personal projects. One side was for a library classification system I'd like to develop:

Top-level categories - three? Roughly Knowledge, Action, and Creation. Knowledge, straightforwardly(?) about 'things' in the world, containing e.g. Computing, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, Language, Mathematics, Sociology, Technology, History, Law, Chemistry, Politics, Biology, Physics.

'Creation' covers creative works + their criticism and interpretation, etc. Includes drama, music, poetry, prose fiction, essays, comedy.

'Action' covers activities which are primarily something done, such as play or entertainment, rather than descriptions or theories about the world or acts of imaginative creation, though subsets may include both or either. Includes sports, athletics, motor racing, performing arts, board games, computer games, role-playing games, card games, and other formal or informal competitions at which generally the only thing at stake is itself (or the contents of wagers).

Design principle: 'unboxed'. To avoid the DDC pitfall of cramming less (designer perspective) central material into the margins as new is discovered or deemed sufficiently important. Each level should in principle be open-ended, so that new sub/categories can be added and occupy the same amount of notational space as previous categories. May be best to use letters since those are not decimalised and can be wrapped around e.g. 'A', 'AA', 'AAA', etc. However with proper hierarchy markers numbers may not be a problem, and thus become desirable as less in need of translation.

Interdisciplinary work + 3 spatial dimensions precludes perfect cataloguing and shelving.

The other is part of a series of exercises in mapping for the game Doom. I'm not sure what the long-term benefit would be, since it is not as if I have grand future plans those are merely a skill-development prelude to, but it is something I would like to do. The first of those exercises is making replacements for each map in the original game, within vanilla (i.e. unmodified) limits and taking inspiration from the original map name and some other elements. That is, to practice by making my own take on the originally released game. So, I wrote down some notes for my level ideas, which have been rattling around for a few months now. I really ought to either succeed at getting an editor to work on Ubuntu or getting access to a Windows machine.

E1M1 (The Hangar): Former humans + imps only, no keys, no shotgun. Ideal design: two large, open, cratey rooms (the hangars), 'bridge' crosses a chasm and reverse direction through area overlooked by starting zone, proceeds straight to exit. Secret area: after bridge, lowered wall ambush leading to a 'shooting gallery' running parallel to the main path for several rooms - player should be able to ambush some monsters within the gallery and in the regular run. Possibly a further secret to a last stand room. Open + airy feel.

E1M2 (Nuclear Plant): Early encounter in one direction with locked doors, no key on map. Former humans, imps, demons, secret shotgun. Early, easy key (make it hard to miss). Rad-suit in small switch-opened compartment (can we do overlooking glass window from control room?). To access second half of map player must proceed through reactor area. Bounded by airlock (used timed door if possible to force it remaining closed a while after passing through), player must seal their entrance to open an access tunnel, and fight through that to the exit-airlock. Entire space between airlocks is radiation zone. Enclosed feeling, tight corridors. Map is relatively small, to be revisited later.

E1M3 (Toxin Refinery): Lots of perilous catwalks around toxic sludge, barrel areas, active machinery if possible. Teleporter ambushes in awkward environments to fight from.

As you can see, I don't have so many specifics in mind for E1M3 as yet. The major concept I have in mind is to feature damaging 'nukage' floors a lot more than the official level, where they show up only occasionally, and try to a) make the playing area more interesting and difficult with environmental hazards and b) make the map look a bit more like that stuff is actually processed there. Since this is the map with the exit to the secret level, I need to come up with a somewhat interesting puzzle to unlock that too. I like the idea, too, of introducing the first teleporter ambushes of the episode make what seemed a safe, easy path suddenly cramped and dangerous, with the player at risk of falling into the toxic liquid (not far) below if overzealous in evasion. This would also be the first level that outright gives the player a shotgun, as well as featuring shotgunners / sergeants as enemies.

A concept I would like to use in general is what I call 'last stand' areas, where most new weapons and notable supply caches are found in areas decorated to indicate your fellow space marines died with or wielding them. Or else are traps.

E1M9 (Military Base): Almost exclusively zombie / possessed enemies. I want to feature tight, oppressive spaces with lots of line triggers revealing enemies and being sniped at from cubby-holes. Possibly some more open corridors too. Given the previous map, player should probably enter from something like the sewer. Chaingun or multiple chainguns present only in secrets. At the end of the map, the player should be ambushed by a swarm of imps and demons, the only non-humans on the map.

Ideas for further on are vaguer. Since I think I am probably not so great skillwise, am planning to balance maps so that I find them hard on the middle difficulty and shape the other difficulties around that. Shall see if these ideas get anywhere.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Got a call today from my supervisor at the charity shop. Of the two people I am sure get paid for their work there, it seems the other is having the day off, and she wanted to know what I hours I would be working, to be assured she would not be running the shop solo.

Tempted to wonder if this means I am considered reliable, or competent. A more likely explanation is that I am known to regularly be there during approximately the desired hours and thus am a likely candidate for chasing that up with.

I keep seeing flashes of reaction to a recent issue in which Superman renounces his US citizenship, which I didn't particularly care to know about, so now other people who don't care about it can have my small thoughts. Mainly, I don't like it because a moves like that means reminding everyone that as a character he is so strongly identified with that country. I'd rather forget, and have the character's adventures genericised to the point of obscuring national identity as far as possible. Which isn't very far at all with any scrutiny, but the many heroes in so many contexts who are to some degree instruments of foreign patriotism[1] discomfits me. I would prefer to ignore that and enjoy the parts I enjoy.

[1] I don't exactly want heroes of local patriotism either, but there is an unpleasant tension when the most of heroes are from elsewhere trumpeting the virtue of that elsewhere, or passive assumption of its pre-eminence. A levelled field would be nice. That seems unlikely. Humas are humans; we like our kith and kin.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Watching an episode of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes this morning, was surprised to see the character meeting them at some installation introduce herself as Carol - correctly guessed this is meant to be Carol Danvers, AKA Ms. Marvel. If you are [personal profile] aurora_starlight or myself, you'll know we have been grumbling about the male-heavy nature of this Avengers line-up, and specifically the lack of Ms. Marvel (Ami has also written recently about racial diversity and The Avengers).

So, knowing she is not on the team and thus not a 'primary hero' in this context, her presence in the episode led me to worry how she would be treated. Would she be incompetent? Would she be obstructive? As it turned out, not quite either - rather, she'd be gun-violent and fairly useless, because this was a Ms. Marvel origin episode in which she had only a minor part to play. Knocked out early in the episode, she wakes up at the end to discover she now has powers.

Disappointing, as I've been fond of the character since learning of her existence (and had her in mind when developing a character for a setting of my own), but have hardly at all gotten to see her in an active role, or any role at all. However I did learn on looking through Ms. Marvel's Wikipedia article that she is reportedly joining the Avengers in Season 2.

That might be good. Currently women are represented on the team by Wasp, who seems primarily there for fun and focused on her boyfriend (I would enjoy her much more if she were one of several women on the team, because she is a lot of fun), and at some point Black Widow - a vaguely Russian character currently a double agent for a villainous organisation. At least from looking at her article I see she has a long heroic history and association with the team. Had been skeptical how the show would have this villain turn to the side of good.

Hoping will get to see this character I like being heroic and awesome before too long. Am perpetually suspicious of the writers and other persons on such matters.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

I really should have said something all the way back when I first heard about it, because then it might have been news to someone who read this and cared about it too, but it seems Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is being made into a miniseries. That's potentially good news to me, since I liked Good Omens a lot when I read it in high school, borrowing it from the library to read over again.

What's more surprising is Pratchett's Watch subseries (of the Discworld series) is being adapted into a semi-original television series, what looks to be telling new mystery stories using the established characters. Am even more curious how that will turn out. Would have guessed it to be animated, but since the company making it (also making the Good Omens miniseries) also made the previous Discworld live adaptations I'd bet on it being live action, if I were to bet.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Forgot to add this last night - also in The Hungry Earth Amy suggests to the Silurians that if they want to live in harmony with humans there are several abandoned places they could inhabit, listing the Australian Outback, Nevada plains and Sahara.

But... people live there. And we already have a pretty bad history with taking land from some people and declaring it to belong to others, including two of the specific places listed. Australia, for example, having been declared terra nulllius in the past as a justification for occupation and colonisation by quite possibly my ancestors. It upset and, yes, outraged me last year to see it so casually suggested that this behaviour be perpetuated, especially when in context of the show there was no hint this wouldn't be a perfectly fine thing to do.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

ABC is replaying season 5 of the new Doctor Who series. As much fun as the show can be, plenty of the episodes of that season annoyed me, possibly more than any other season of that show I've watched. Possibly.

The weeping angels double, for example. Despite being written by the same person who originally devised those creatures, the story comes off as a betrayal of the concept when we see them moving on screen and the ploy of someone pretending to be able to see successfully keeping them frozen until the ruse is revealed. Granted we learn in the story that the Doctor's information on the angels was incomplete in their previous appearance, but the angels' freezing being volitional rather than automatic and unresistable really seems a violation of the whole creature concept. Where the angels were perfect for Blink, I don't see why just about any other creature couldn't have been substituted for them in The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone. Which is a shame since the first episode did a good job of adding some new, frightening twists to them before it fell apart.

But what I really wanted to right about was the current double (first part last week, second part in a couple of days), The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood. Mainly how enthusiastic the Doctor was in his praise of the Silurian doctor Malokeh, for his curiosity about humans. Which struck me as very jarring because at least one human in the story expressed terror of him on account of being dissected and examined while still alive and conscious. That the person in question survived apparently unharmed seems beside the point - any time humans do something similar to aliens, the Doctor has a tendency to verbally eviscerate them, if not worse. Incidents like that contribute to my view of the Doctor as having a disturbing madonna / whore sort of relationship with humans.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Being interviewed for, say, a retail job, would it help my chances to perform a version of 'Part of Your World' customised to their business?

Look at this stuff
Isn't it neat?
Wouldn't you think our range is complete?
Wouldn't you think we're the store
The store that has everything?
Look at this trove
Treasures untold
How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Looking around here you think
Sure, we've got everything
We've got washers and dryers a-plenty
We've got ovens and toasters galore
You want vacuum cleaners?
We've got twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal You want more

Only had the first verse in mind. Might do a longer version later. Maybe a library version.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

A long while ago, reading the dc20 Modern System Reference Document I was struck by the section on Incantations.

To me it seemed an excellent system within the rules for opening inter-planar travel to low level or non-magical characters. I tend to regard that as important, so I set about designing 'Incantations' to facilitate that sort of travel. Normally the designs include construction of a specific ritual chamber or other structure / prepared area in which the incantation itself is to be performed. A sort of symbolic machinery, is what I was going for.

Alright. Well. So I was recently pondering a bit of story design and wandered onto this topic of inter-planar ritual machinery again. In D&D style cosmology (or among my preferred version[s] thereof) I'd been designing tools for characters to travel from the 'Prime Material' plane, the place where your standard pseudo-medieval fantasy adventure takes place, to the numerous elemental, ideological and transitive planes of that cosmology where its unworldly beings dwell. Angels and demons and djinn and such. But this time, this time I wondered about a machine made to facilitate transport between different layers of the material plane, something that could be tuned between destinations, between different layers. Where those other planes are like conceptualisations made manifest this would be... not quite visiting alternate histories, but travelling to other planets that may be similar or different but at least abide by (usually?) the same physics.

I wondered if that could be a fun game, being of a civilisation with little or no magic, that builds or possibly finds such a device relic and sets out to explore with it. I suppose it could be called something like Planegate: SG1.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Probably because I have been reading so much about them again, some weeks ago the idea came into my head that someday, when I am much, much improved in my programming ability, I might try to make a roguelike game of my own.

Not with an expectation of popularity, or whatever, but because as a long-term goal I think it is difficult yet something I potentially could do. I'd like to try it. I want to become able to do such things. So I'd better work harder on developing my skills and finish those other projects of mine, right?

My first idea was to try and make some sort of World of Warcraft roguelike, mainly because I'd been saying for a while that if such a thing existed I'd play it, but also because a lot of the pieces of such a game seem to already existed. There are roguelikes with overland areas and multiple dungeons, ones with NPCs who give quests, and there is even an (under development) version of Diablo, which I believe has a similar random item scheme. Not that this would make such an undertaking anything near trivial for me. Most of the features mentioned previously are found in variants of the Angband codebase, which presumably are relatively easy to transfer across games (since I witness developers of those games speak of doing so and having done so), but DiabloRL at least runs on a different, closed engine, albeit one whose descendent is intended partly as a tool for easy roguelike making by others.

Anyway, even if those parts were easy, making it into the game it is supposed to be would still be a project of years. How does one convert a game designed to feature death as a painless, minor and frequent setback to a genre which has permadeath as a core mechanic? Or a game designed around multiplayer interaction, especially when it comes to defeating bosses, into something fit for solo play that still feels somehow like its inspiration?

I suppose one could compromise by making the spirit healers impose a harsh and permanent penalty, without the option of running to one's corpse in order to recover? But then why would anyone play a class other than shaman or warlock? Recent reading about the release in English of Shiren the Wanderer on the Wii suggests the idea that perhaps experience and items achieved in a dungeon cannot be kept unless it is completed (and survived). Surely a large part of the problem here is that I don't have a well-defined design problem or goal to work to, and am just speculating wildly about what such a game could be. That seems fine to me, as far as I know such wild speculation is a workable way to build a pool of ideas from which more coherent conception and design goals can be constructed. What can it be? What should it be?

Well, attempts to emulate the multiplayer aspect shouldn't result in players having to grind and maintain large stables of near-equal level characters to tackle dungeons a la Pokemon; I'm almost certain of that! Anyway, in the hypothetical future where actual coding work on this game happens I'd best start with something simple, probably something much simpler than making a basic demo Elwynn Forest to romp in, but the idea serves to say 'start simple'.

And I should probably make an actual development document for such ideas sometimes, but first I'm making a post because (right now) I enjoy being creative publicly and think maybe it is a good thing to do so. So, ideas and conversions and such?

Resting in inns / cities: get rid of, probably. That mechanic was aimed at decreasing addictive play by rewarding taking breaks. I don't think any game made by me is going to have that problem.
Flight points: Excellent idea for dealing with expansive overworld in my opinion. Unlikely to have flight animations but still! Free 'portation between visited zones. What if that could be integrated into some kind of save point mechanic? Let's not get carried away.
Hunger mechanic and food scarcity: "Drat! I could've taken the Lich King if only I didn't starve to death three chambers away."

Anyway, those are relatively superficial questions.
Classes and races: Obviously got to feel like the originals but how to do it, I don't know. Especially with the being built for inter-class synergy.
Multiplayer aspect and 'group' quests / dungeons: don't know. Maybe just build for a solo PVE experience - I don't intend to try for actual multiplayer, but if I could find a clever way to simulate it that would be great. Maybe some sort of limited cooperation like the original game's Dungeon Finder interface? Laugh now; me pulling that off is funny. And now I laugh again, because what if you could at points activate such a task-focused queue and be given temporarily a handful of random NPCs to assist you for something, working like NetHack's pets or Crawl's summonses?
Talents: presumably, might not require much innovation
Professions: someday maybe?
Quests: probably reduced to 'enter dungeon X and kill entity y'

And from the other side, it would certainly be turn-based and rendered in ASCII because that and random playing area generation is the point. Oh! What about randomised items for identification? Items don't play thaat much role in the game, so probably more would need to be added (and some that aren't good!) for having to identify them to be a worthwhile aspect of play. Which leads to... what is the scope? Is it meant to be a grindy, lengthy process like the original, or something quicker and simpler? And I don't know the answer to that.

All of which brings us to the other thing: the WoWRL idea ended up being a bit superseded a few days ago by a new inspiration. I was watching a Korean period martial arts film, English title Shadowless Sword and thought it would be a lot of fun to make a game in which the player character could do things like the characters in that film, or similar films... you'll need to use your imagination, it's just ASCII and text.

But it seemed an immediately compelling idea: make a roguelike game in which the focus is the combat itself (although to impart motive energy and some sort of sensibility probably there will need to be some sort of quest or goal, which will likely take on an importance) and the player is encouraged to pull off impressive feats with eir character.

I envision it as being that most enemies in the game would fall into the category 'mooks' and be little threat to the main character, tempered by frequent bosses with similar abilities to the player character. Perhaps a system in which skilfull or impressive stunts are rewarded, and thus faced with a boss or mini-boss opponent the player can use the swarms of mooks to build up some sort of luck (or whatever) bonus in order to pull off still greater feats and defeat eir foe?

I was thinking at character creation one would select from among a set of skilled-combat archetypes as character class, then be encouraged to specialise within that archetype by developing skills within that archetype's range. So I have been trying to think of character concepts which could be useful and fun to play in such a game. I don't, when it comes to it, know enough about that area of fiction to embark on a categorisation project, but perhaps I can learn and work from what others have done and know. Or how much distinction to make between styles - I was originally thinking you'd have wuxia-style character and... what else?

The film I saw isn't a wuxia film, I think, because that seems to be a specifically Chinese category, so either despite the characters having similar abilities to those in the few wuxia films I have seen there needs to be some distinction made, or a more general category made. Or I need to learn more to understand better the disctinction. What else?

I suppose the questions are more like: what is the term for the archetype found in many Asian films of the skilled warrior who fights with a variety of weapons and performs feats beyond the ability of ordinary humans? Who fights with a single weapon? Who fits with no weapon, or improvised weapons? What degree of distinction is useful to make? At the moment to me it looks like the useful distinctions are weapons / unarmed, with an option for specialising into a specific weapon for the former or improvising environmental weapons for the latter. I want to support things like fighting an entire battle with one's sword still in its scabbard (but still being used), or fighting an entirely evasive battle. Often, from what I've seen, important characters' weapons are also important or special, though more often in the sense of cuts through other blades / isn't cut through by other blades and being of high quality, rather than having, frex, a fiery aura. I always have difficulty telling if this is representative of the weapon's or the wielder's quality, but presumably a blend of both.

What else? In the realm of Western character types, Hollywood action films fall short. The characters may be skilled and resourceful, but not when it comes to the actual fighting in ways this game is meant to capture. So instead... swashbucklers and jedi. Yup. The primary criterion is 'character types who do fun and interesting things in battle', so nyah. Those present fun possibilities. The other closest approximation would be superheroes, but I don't want to write a superhero design interface and anyway I think the flavour doesn't quite fit.

I still have the nagging feeling that I'm not making a distinction between some character types who ought to be, and that I'm overlooking adding at least one category, but in neither case do I know what. At one point I thought to add a more directly martial character type like the European knight or the manga / anime character Guts, but in retrospect I think I was reaching and it wouldn't be interesting enough to justify itself.

Talking with people about this led to what could form a design goal for the project: the hypothetical player should find the content portrayed convincingly enough to run with be able to reasonably believe any two character types stand a fair chance with each other.

Would probably be a smaller game than the World of Warcraft one, but I wonder if it would be more difficult to write. It's the sort of thing that thrives on highly interactive environments. Oh! That's another thing - jedi characters probably benefit from having blaster bolts to deflect, but that might interfere with the balance of everything else. I thought about having each class initially begin in its own, segregated mini-dungeon but that's probably a bad idea, a stop-gap solution. Introduce gunslingers as a playable character type? Oh, that's enough, that's more than enough. Let's stop here and work on what's immediate.

Now here's another big question: years from now when (maybe) I've learned enough to actually code such games, will I still want to? Tess suggested if I want to make games I could start with a sprite game for the Android platform, maybe I should look into that.

I need better tags for this.

aesmael: (tricicat)
Dream was weird. About a guy writing a television show which featured a global zombie plague at the same time as ETI first contact, sort of like V if the aliens passed by without making contact and weren't necessarily evil crossed with... I don't know what has zombies like those ones. I Am Legend? The original text, I mean (which were vampires, I'm told, and that the story predates the modern 'zombie plague' concept anyway and was actually one of the originators, all in accordance with the Wikigospel).

Then my brain made up some Batman trivia, like that batarangs were made up by a woman named Barbara who worked in production design, as a criticism of excess in characterisation thematics. Also that she'd worked on a previous film which was the first to use the black on gold text as a sort of logo for Batman because she had invented it then for a character making reference to the superhero - so that the first external reference to the style happened before it officially was the style.

There were other details, but those mostly involve blood, a young undead girl making a nest for herself in her home (and discreetly protecting her unaware living little sister), a writing race between myself and the apparent (fictitious) friend who was writing this show, and an impromptu janitorial musical number / multi-wave slaughter, so perhaps I should refrain.

Mm. Went to bed early, woke up very early, may try and get more sleep.
aesmael: (haircut)

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Last time I put it down was when Stephen Wraysford's thoughts turned to the pain of abandonment as something he had feared all his life. When I read that I felt I now understood why Faulks had chosen to write a James Bond novel.

Abandonment as the source of pain had been a major theme in The Girl at the Lion d'Or too, so if that is a recurring theme for Faulks the author it makes sense for him to pen something Bondly. The character James Bond is not only someone who is a loner, he is lonely. An orphan, essentially raised by the British government to work for them in his adult life, the most stable connections he has are friendly colleagues. Any closer connections he forms die or betray him. Loneliness and the pain of abandonment are easy enough themes to work into a Bond story.

Looking at the brief bit relevant on Wikipedia it seems this may well be what he did.

aesmael: (haircut)

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Trying to catalogue my music collection has put me to thinking about ways music has changed over the years. The vast majority of popular music these days I am quite sure does not use the system of opus numbering found in Western classical music (and Wikipedia provides the term 'European art music', which for now I like so as not to have 'classical music' being ambiguous with the classical period, and intend to remember and use).

Popular music these days does not use opus numbers (and why would it, being of a different music tradition?), but I have received the impression a rigorous such numbering was always unusual, and anyway I have also found it increasingly difficult to locate such catalogued numberings for composers from the end of the romantic period on. I do however often derive pleasure from playing about with cataloguing and classifying systems, applying them in unintended ways, and wonder at what results we might get attempting to give popular music opus numbers. To play at ordering by similar schemes and see if anything of diverting interest shows.

Opus numbers, those seem a bit diverse in what they cover, since the signification seems to be 'chronological ordering of works released by %artist'. Covering single works, long or short, thematic collections or groups of pieces that happen to be released together. Seems fair for encompassing the variety of albums released these days as well. So what would we get then? Something like:

Enya's Op. 17, No. 5 "Only If..."


The CROSS of Changes, Op. 2: III. Return to Innocence by Enigma

The number is high for Enya because I attempted to count singles as separate releases, on the basis that those often feature additional versions of tracks and otherwise unavailable tracks as B-sides. For Enigma I did not bother, but probably should have reversed that since Enigma appears much more likely to release various remixes and cuts. Which means I took the easy approach there.

I think this is nifty. It would amuse me greatly if I could do this with all the popular music in my collection and have an easy way of switching between music identity schemes.

aesmael: (haircut)

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Feeling sleepy. Was up until 0500 catching up on RSS reading, which is probably going to have consequences. Of which speaking, my thighs and hips are currently being sore after yesterday moving cabinets and other large things, since my family had a new television cabinet delivered yesterday and that had to be put in place.

Been absent from posted writing a while. Was doing the NaNoWriMo thing, then later in the month [ profile] mantic_angel was encouraging me to go back to World of Warcraft. Of course I was still busy with the writing so I put that off until the beginning of the month. We only have a limited data allowance, 12 GB per month without even an off-peak bonus, so I went and bought the Wrath of the Lich King expansion hoping to thereby bypass large patch downloads which would eat the whole thing up very quickly.

Of course that did not work. When I put the disc in I was informed my laptop did not meet the minimum requirements, so I ended up having to download those patches after all and we quickly reached the limit of our data allowance. That was before the first 2.5 GB patch was even finished downloading, and after a couple of days at throttled speeds when it finally did come to its end it turned out to have been a stalled installation anyway, so I had to download it over again. That was my occupation for the previous thirteen days, downloading patches for World of Warcraft and complaining about the slowness of the connection.

IM still worked for me, and surprisingly Skype did too, but for much of that time I was not even able to load web pages. So, absent. The downloads finished right about when our new billing month came and our connection speed was restored, so for now we are back.

I have not been doing any writing this month. I had intended to be doing editing of a story from last year (I still intend to be doing editing of that story) but felt I could not unless I had resolved various other tasks and backlogs which remain unresolved. I don't know how I will manage that or when I will feel like I am 'allowed' to get on with that editing. Since I haven't been writing I have been jumping around other, often unplanned creative projects. Outlined some concepts for a couple of magic systems (one based around people who work with books, the other based around sexual preferences). Renewed working with [ profile] pazi_ashfeather on design for a shared setting (although mostly has been her work). Been stirring some ideas for classification schemes to facilitate using astronomy in secondary world settings without referencing Earth-tied concepts (like 'Jupiter' or 'Edgeworth-Kuiper belt'), which really needs to be properly written out for more progress to be made. Renewed concepts for converting creatures from Doom and other sources to the d20 system for a project, though I am thinking of scrapping that part of the project (or the project entirely, depending on mood). Most recently I started work on an ecology generator for D&D, although it will be a long time before that is done since I have yet to learn all the skills that project will need.

Which reminds me, am also proud codingwise to have recently managed a crude sort of search program. It may not be much good, but I mostly made it myself so I feel good about that. That's where we are up to now; my next task now net connection is restored is to catch up with jobsearching and reading so I can get on with more practical work on my projects.

aesmael: (haircut)
Yesterday was the first full day for aimed-at-children network ABC3. I ended up watching a fair bit of it, since there were superhero cartoons I was curious about. Also Skyland, which as far as I can tell is Star Wars but intend to keep watching anyway in case maybe it actually isn't.

The other shows were all based on Marvel Comics franchises (and bear in mind almost my only exposure to comicbooks is from cartoons like these, live action films, television series and [ profile] lost_angelwings). First, okay, first was The Spectacular Spider-Man on a different channel which is fun, but I can never seem to tell where in the series we are.

Later was Wolverine and the X-Men, which I had already watched most of so this time around is more to fill in the gaps than anything else. I prefer to call it 'The Wolverine Show' and although it is not bad, have a lot more fun talking about with [ profile] lost_angelwings than watching alone. Like the time Shadowcat phases through ice into the ocean during a battle and isn't seen again for several episodes.

After that was The Super Hero Squad Show. I'd heard from [ profile] lost_angelwings that she dislikes the show. After watching an episode I also dislike it. The animation was unpleasant to watch and the show itself wasn't fun to me. Reminded me a bit of Muppet Babies although maybe that show had redeeming qualities (I don't remember if it was good or bad). Maybe part of the problem is I am not fond of or attached to most of the characters, although that hasn't been a problem for me with Justice League episodes and actually I think I recognised most of the characters - Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Storm, Ms Marvel, Wolverine, Silver Surfer... probably missed a few. Wikipedia says I missed many.

In the first episode they ended up fighting Mole Man (not the one from The Simpsons and a Japanese Kaiju movie. That sounds much more fun than it ended up being. Maybe the problem is the target audience is too young for me? I don't quite think so since it spent a lot of time being almost but not quite enjoyable, but I was a bad judge of what children would enjoy even when I was a child so maybe. There wasn't anything I saw on Wikipedia suggesting what age group it was targeted at though.

Iron Man is Batman, apparently. His mouth moves when he talks (as does Doctor Doom's) and that bugs me.

Hulk is Grimlock and that makes me sad.

That Silver Surfer was given a Californian Surfer accent confuses and angers me.

From what I heard I think I would enjoy seeing Ms Marvel in a different, fun context.

Last was the first four episodes of Iron Man: Armoured Adventures which I was surprised to find is my favourite of these so far. I was going to say while talking about The Super Hero Squad Show that just about anything describable with "... but as kids!" is almost bound to be bad (although they aren't actually younger in that show, the animation just makes that connection for me). Fortunately I did not, since this show stars a teenaged Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and James Rhodes.

In this version Tony's father Howard Stark was the founder of Stark Industries and killed by Obadiah Stane, who took over the company and now Tony has to attend high school.

In only vaguely related news, the final episode of Ergo Proxy played last week. It had I think a nice blend of resolution and openness at the end, and I was quite fond of a lot of the devices used during the latter part of the series. Tomorrow they begin broadcast of Death Note in the same timeslot, which is handy since as [ profile] infinitely_late may recall, I did not have access to ABC2 the last time it aired.



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