mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Moments of Viggo
from Shadows Fall (Crucible Chapter Five)



Sitting outslde the Hound barracks,
sipping the hot mead of the black bean,
watching all the ladies walk by. 

Rathmon sees a living Havok, exclaims "Constantine!" and shimmers away.

Ragnoc is gone and Viggo stands guard over Fox, Samedi, and the corpse. Not that they need guarding, but Viggo doesn't know what else to do. Should he hug the people or hold the body like Fox does? Or would that be seen as odd or wrong? As always, Viggo finds it difficult to know how to handle people experiencing emotion.

Unable to stop the fall of the axe himself, he watches as an Alteraanian shield comes between him and the descending weapon. Thank you, Alistair, that would not have been a good way to die.  

Beaten by greater numbers in the dark, awaiting inevitable death, he lies and admires the stars. I never  looked at them enough he thinks. 

Hearing a beautiful melodic voice, feeling the brush of light hands, when his last memory was of entering the final dark as the blade bit into the back of his neck. His body twitches as the singing continues until the woman compresses his chest and breath begins again in a long, painful, inhalation of sweet, sweet air. The constant Dark murmur is gone, and the colours have returned, Sachsen blue, the fair lady Elena is exactly the sort of sight one wishes to see when awaking from the sleep of the dead   

Finding out that Elric was responsible for Viggo's resurrection, by providing the Angelhair that he had won in a story-telling contest with the ghosts of children on the same night. 

Fox tells him that she doesn't want to have to say prayers to his ancestors over his body again.

The demon shoots fire at Viggo, and Viggo laughs. The demon tries electricity on Lea and she laughs also. Disconcerted, the demon tries the reverse tactic, shock at Viggo & fire at Lea, clearly unaware of the Hound mutagen that makes them immune to both. The demon then quickly falls to Lea's Holy Axe. Viggo says to the demons dead form "Sorry, you picked the wrong targets this time."  

Taking the claws of an infected and crazed dryad to the face as he tries to hold her down while surgery is performed.

With a slight bow to Adaedem, Viggo indicates recognition and respect. Adaedem returns a nod of recognition at least, and says "Make sure these fools don't get too close." Viggos complies with the demon's request, as it seems the safest course of action. He finds he has to explain to some people who Adaedem, Tribune of the Court of the Pale Crown is, and what he is capable of. Viggo struggles with the fact that though he has no reason to dislike the Lady Nikora, her current predicament, seems for some reason he doesn't quite understand, highly amusing.      

This... feeling of anger, that Fox should have to suffer both the loss of Ragnoc and then the loss of Samedi within a space of two days.This feeling of the unfairness of it all. Is this hate he is feeling toward Samedi for doing this to Fox? But why does he care? Fox is a friend and a comrade, yes, but why this confusingly strong feeling toward Samedi who was only doing the necessary thing? And why this feeling of anger at the universe in general for not preventing this from happening to Fox? Is this something like that love thing people were talking about it?  
 
Viggo, though less inebriated than when Garm threw him out of the tavern, was still a little hazy. Having lost all his coin when he died the previous night seemed less of an issue after the vampire tavern owner told him that prostitution wasn't legal in Daggerwood. He'd realized she was trying to help with her advice about talking to people to get sex, but knew that, outside of other Hounds, that sort of thing led to all sorts of complications, and thus he had always preferred a nice simple exchange of value. But it had been a good night to a great day otherwise, and ending it with a good fuck would have been his preference. Best way to celebrate not being dead!
It had seemed unlikely Viggo would get such a celebration until Manfabio and his entourage had appeared. Whilst many of the lads Manfabio had with him were tempting, he only had eyes for the luscious creature who first tempted him to join the party. He waited for her to work her way around to him again, and when she asked if she could do anything for him, he made it plain what he was most interested in. She was unfazed by his desire, and suggested they retire to a dark area behind a nearby tree.
Afterwards, Viggo couldn't remember details, just flashes of bouncing fire-light on perfect skin, her touch on him, his rough hands on that seemingly fragile body, and the wonderful feeling of release, like nothing he had ever felt before.
"Yes" thought Viggo, "This was a good night."
Later, as the other hounds teased him for sleeping with what was, in retrospect, obviously a succubus, Manfabio having been revealed as the Crimson King, he couldn't bring himself to regret it. She had not asked for anything from him, he had not felt drained by the experience. The one problem he thought, was whether he would be spoiled for sex with anyone else. Was even someone as hot as Fox able to compete with Manfabio's servant? "Didn't even get her name..." he though before laughing at himself for the idea that a demon would voluntarily give out her name.
 
In horror he watches as Emmeline's head is severed, unable to reach her in time to stop the kllling blow. The head being hurled at him did not have the full effect the demon desired, mere gore wasn't enough to faze a Hound. But the weapon break leaves him defenceless again.

Wearing night-clothes, with all his own weapons broken, carrying a borrowed axe, he answers the unstoppable demon "That's coz we're not fucking ants, you prick."  The demon is drawn from Lea and the important people to deal to "the mouthy bastard", as he goes down again Viggo thinks "The ant got you to do what he wanted you to do, even if it it did cost it's life." 

Viggo speaks in Aetherial with the demons recently released from the Dark by the Malevingian's sacrifice, telling them that the new chapter of the Order of the Wolf, the Ebon Wolves, led by the malefactor Janus, would be happy to provide a place for those who want one, if they felt they could not return to the Ebon Legion anymore. Viggo now respects and admires the Malevigian, for her sacrifice, rescuing her remaining forces from the Dark in exchange for herself returning to them. He reflects on how much has changed since arriving on Averynas, as he is now welcoming demons he would once have tried to killed on sight. Drinking with Janus, and seeing him get cleansed by the Crimson Marquis, and then state his case to the Hound leadership, there is so little difference between us.  

Hydra 2014

Apr. 15th, 2014 01:48 pm
mundens: Pixie -like angel with fiery wings (Burning Angel)

Great weekend, need moar sleep.

I have however, proved to myself that I am still capable of staying up till four in the morning on both Friday & Saturday night, and still going to work the next Monday. Luckily I didn't have a lot of thinking to do on Monday. So what is it about Naomi, Steph, Nick & I, that results in the four of us always being in the Maere Hall (Taverna) long after midnight? This time we were joined by Daniel & on Saturday night also by Ollie. Team Snore Room FTW!

Friday night I got to be Bobby Singer in "Roadhouse Blues." It was a lot of fun, especially the way the random music kept being appropriate to the situation. As per the series, we failed to save any of the "innocent humans" in the end. All in all, a good start to Nick's LARP writing career, even if he did try to lead me into the river twice in a row.

Saturday morning  Bryn & I played inquisitors in Kerry & Paula's Exodus. The most interesting thing to me in the game was observing the power dynamics. Even though significantly outnumbered, not once were the inquisitors truly threatened by any of the villagers, and even the most belligerent and powerful male in the village submitted to his torture without a struggle.

I remember one of the stroppier villagers (Sam, I think?) at one point declaring You can't burn all of us!" and enjoyed watching the play of emotions over her face as we replied, almost in unison "Yes, we can. We will raise the entire village if necessary!"

Of course, we burned two innocents, the very observant old woman, and the priest who confessed to spare the rest of the village, meaning it was technically a tragic failure, but it was still great as an exploration of the context. Another interesting thing was how both Bryn and I were so keen to get out of the Inquisitor robes at the end.

Saturday afternoon I played in Hannah Mckie's BDL Play Competition. This reminded me why I prefer being in LARPs over being in plays, I suck at remembering lines. It was interesting to see the sexism inherent in a lot of the structures, the guy with the least lines who appears only briefly at the end of the play, listed first in the Dramatis Personae, the actors being given their certificates in the prize giving in this order also.

And I experienced being a "cripple". I don't know if Hannah intentionally meant for the warm-up exercises that consisted mainly of walking to be such a trial for James, the polio victim with a semi-functional leg, but that, and said leg accidentally catching the chair leg as I got up to receive my certificate, and people throughout assuming I couldn't do things because of my leg, and trying to be "nice" to me because of it... well, let's just say that I feel I have a far better understanding of how those with real physical restrictions might feel, though of course being subject to it for only three hours can't be compared to living it.

Then Saturday evening I got to be the opposite, a supremely confident and extremely physically capable Bravosi. Thanks Daniel, for that first round fight. It was a perfect way of introducing my character to those who hadn't met him yet. I loved pulling off the woolen cloak and fighting in the rain in the cut-down tunic and just generally acting as an honourable swashbuckler. By the end of the game though, Itzal had become somewhat numb. he had been robbed of his vengeance on Seda by another's  dishonourable act, he had been knocked out of the tournament, and he had discovered too much about what the "Ruler" became. He was happy for his sister Rosalia, & Amatus, whom he considered a brother, as their loves worked out, and for the end of the feud, but knew he would lose his only love again at the end of the evening when Damoc returned to the dead. With the ranks of the Bravosi  drastically reduced by the various events of the evening, there was little left for him but duty to family & his newly returned sister. I must give my thanks yet again, Leonie, for the lovely last memory of Damoc you left Itzal with.
 
Sunday morning was Slash. I was impressed with the way the new players threw themselves so physically into their roles, & it wasn't at all awkward having my son acting as an NPC. Not at all. :) 

Sunday afternoon I attended a funeral. By this stage I was starting to burn out, so couldn't summon up any energy to protest about being ejected from the funeral, after my plans had failed, though this was also partially because IC I felt bad about those plans anyway. So I took a few photos of Hydra Games instead. Will try & upload them soon. It was nice of Sophie's character to talk to me outside anyway, and later for her & the monkey girl *grin* to invite me back inside. Though quite why I was the monkey girl's hero I don't know.

The tea-cup mechanic was interesting, but often hard to react to usefully, as often one is thinking about what one has just said, or what the hecks going on over there?

So overall, I played Bobby Singer, a filth wizard, two homosexual men, a religious torturer, and a swashbuckling bravo. None of these were married, or hooked up in any way, to Naomi, so I think that streak has been well & truly broken.

Not all the emotions I experienced in character over this weekend were fun, some of the were downright horrible, but luckily I am, OOC, happy enough at present that I could actually enjoy feeling terrible IC.  

 

mundens: The Brain, from the cartoon Pinky & The Brain  (Brain)

Finding the right product or motivation for your kid is the key. Some kids love making games. Others enjoy writing stories. One little boy I taught got very excited about "hacking" existing websites with Chrome Inspect Element tool. Another girl wanted to learn Java to make Minecraft mods. 

You don't need to be a professional developer to get kids started in programming. Many of the products include lightweight curriculums and roadmaps to help the kid learn more. One of the most important qualities of a programmer is the ability to figure out problems. Googling is allowed!

This is not a conclusive list - I'd love to hear more recommendations from you in the comments.

For the smallest ones (5-8)
For the elementary schoolers (7-12)
For the teenagers and beyond (13 -> )
  • Codecademy. Interactive exercises in the browser for Python, Ruby, JavaScript, HTML (full disclosure, I used to work here!).
  • Codeschool. Dive deeper into different programming languages. 
  • Dash. Learn to make websites with an interactive tutorial. 
  • Coursera. I liked the Startup Engineering course. 
Ruby for children (just because of Ruby)

Books and stories

Curriculum and community

  • Code.org has a very large resource list to try out.
  • Mozilla Webmaker includes tons of tools and guides for building the web.
  • CoderDojo is a global non-profit for starting a coding club for kids. 
  • DIY.org is a community for kids to learn to make things. 
  • CS Unplugged has activities you can do without a computer to teach programming fundamentals. 
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Overall observations : Loved how people started coming to Jack for a certain type of help with their problems. So much happened that on many occasions I was thinking along the lines of "What? It's not lunch time yet?!?!" or similar. So much happened that when I tried to tell Sally about what happened Sunday night I had to keep jumping back in sequence because of all the stuff I forgot. So much happened that some poor person who made the innocent mistake of asking how how Jack's day had been in the Taverna at some point got an exasperated listing of the "highlights", mainly all the bits with dead bodies, in response.

The Weekend of the Queens Birthday Ball & Leo & Moss' Wedding
(From the perspective of Jack Gaunt, variously known as Jack of Hearts, Red-Hand Jack, etc)

Friday Night

The night before Leo & Moss' wedding was supposed to include a bit of a stag do for Leo. It didn't happen.

There was the appearance of Bess' body, now inhabited by a person known as "74." Some may have thought that it was disgust at the homunculi process that made me uneasy around 74, but it was really because I'd had a hand in that, and I knew Bess didn't want whatever it was they did to her. May as well be open about this now, as I've told everyone that matters, including 74 herself.

See, I'd been approached by Mr. Black to find Bess sometime ago, and when I'd tracked her down to somewhere near the port, I'd gone along with Mr. Black to bring her in. As soon as she'd seen Mr. Black, she'd screamed and run. So I knew she must have been forced into this process. For some reason, I felt guilt over this. It's not like I haven't killed people before, and sometimes not in nice ways either, so why was the idea of helping create this homunculi a problem to me? It's not even as if I cared for Bess all that much, she was a cute chorus girl, and was trying to better herself, but it's not like we had any special connection or anything. At least that's how I thought at the time anyways.

During the evening a Lord Cyrus Khain turned up. He was East India Company, and turned up on a zeppelin I'd seen before, the fast wee beauty Mr. Black had been using. So I thought I'd better treat him right. He seemed fond of 74, and even told me his pet name for her. I let him know I'd worked for Mr. Black, so he knew I was connected, & could be useful. Seems Mr. Black was head of his security detail.

So it was that later, when he asked for an escort back to his zeppelin, I volunteered. I was pretty certain that he was headed the wrong way, but what the hell, I didn't mind wandering round in the dark. At least not until we saw The Cage all lit-up like a fairground.

The Gear, Orpha, reckoned it had somehow turned itself on, so she tried to turn it off, and as should have been expected, we were soon beset by demons in the dark. Khain took everything remarkably well, putting in a few good licks of his own. Luckily a roving patrol came upon us before we were over-run by the demons, and the cage was properly deactivated.

At some point later I remember Leo including me in the group of people he trusted. This made me feel good, even though it also made me feel like he was placing trust in the wrong places.

Lily told me some new gypsies had arrived, and among them was Sero, the brother of her ex-husband. She also said that while she didn't do it, she was suspected of killing the guy. The guy was a bastard and deserved to die, but I knows the law ain't always too hot on reasonable explanations for killing people, so she was right to be worried. Lily told me to follow her into the meeting, I guess as moral support, or in case Sero got ugly, so I did. A couple of the gypsies questioned my presence, but I just said "Lily wanted me here" making it plain that I was only leaving if she asked me too, and they backed down. I guess sometimes a rep is useful. Either that or Lily's rep amongst the gypsies is as good. It seemed like this fella was takin' it well, but Lily though it was a bit too easy.

Lord Kain left to make his way to his airship again, this time turning down an escort. Idiot.

A group of us decided to go on an expedition to the lighthouse in the dark for fun. Lily, Esther, Zek, and some others played on the ropes a bit.

Finally the usual suspects Jasper, Esther, Lily, and meself flopped out the back of the Taverna with our whiskey, joined this time by a young lad who'd come in with the mercenaries, Luka. Turns out not only was he a gear, but he could sing and play the uke pretty good too.

Saturday ( Before Lunch )

Got up, went and had a shower. On the way back from the shower I found a dead body carefully positioned by the path with violets on it's eyes. It weren't there afore I'd gone for a shower. Not someone I knew, one of the new people. Assumed that it was the Violet killer we had been told about. Got a medic to look at the body to see if they could tell anything, throat had been cut. but not much else useful. Leo dealt with the body.

After breakfast I got some mail from Aura. It was a bit of a surprise, and had stuff in it I can't really tell y'all about. But the letter was addressed to Lily as well, so I went looking for her. She weren't in her bed, or anywhere round the camp, and no-one had seen her that morning.

I saw her go to bed meself sometime after midnight, and stayed up for some time after that with Luka, and then fell asleep in the back of the Taverna. I got up relatively early as I normally do, and she weren't there then, so she must have left sometime before dawn.

This was worrying, but I had no idea where to start searching, and everyone was preparing for the wedding anyway, so didn't seem all that interested in helping me look. I was thinking about going and looking myself, but one thing I've learned when hunting people is that if you go out into the wilds searching and you ain't got a specific location you're pretty much wasting your time. Even if the person you;re looking for wants to be found, you'd have to have the Devil's own luck to actually find someone. I've always found it better to hang round places where the sort of people who might be involved are. Someone will let something drop, some hired thug will open his mouth accidentally (or because you're standing on his throat). So I let things simmer, even though part of my head was imagining what could be happening to Lily while I was sitting there.

Zek wanted me to go with him and a couple of others to pick up some parish document from a ruined church, something we'd put off the night before as it seemed safer to do it in the daylight. We got there no worries and found the documents. When we got back it was time to dress for the wedding, so I did.

The wedding was, well, a wedding. You know what they're like, you stand around, the preacher says stuff, and all the women cry. Leaf stood in for the preacher, and Moss & Leo did look happy. I acted as an honour guard with Slav, not that I had any idea what I was doing, not being military, I just copied Slav.

Sero actually turned up to the wedding like he said he would. This meant either he had nothing to do with Lily disappearing or he had chutzpah up the wazoo. While watching the wedding I noticed that a guy in a red, white & blue cravat entered the hall after the married couple did.

With the wedding over, someone called me outside because they'd found a body on the balcony. Seems people round here are starting to treat me like a Sherif or something. It was another of the Violet killer's victims, this time with an extra severed hand placed betwen the hands of the corpse. (Never did find out whose hand that was)

We didn't want to disturb Leo, as he was having wedding photos with Moss and the guy who dressed like a Japanese, so we got the body into the infirmary and got someone other than Moss to look at it, determined the throat had been slit again, but very little else. Then took the body out for burning.

I had my suspicions about cravat man being the killer, seeing as he'd come in after everyone else, and where the body was placed, and passed them onto one or two people so we could try and keep an eye on him.

Esther received a letter from Lily via one of the bandits who didn't like the way a job was going. Seems the bandits had been hired by Sero who had actually kidnapped Lily, and was steadily getting crazier. The bandits had helped because they thought they were going to get some ransom, but it was starting to look increasingly unlikely that Sero would actually ransom her.

So we finally formed a posse to go get Lily. Ivy, Jasper, Violet, X, X, and the cravat man came along. I made sure Jasper and Ivy knew about my suspicions over cravat man, but we thought having him along meant we could keep a better eye on him. Damn shame I didn't let Violet in on my suspicions as well, given what happened later.

We got to the bandit camp and it became plain that Sero was losing it. He only had two bandits still with him, and even they were getting antsy, it was pretty obvious he weren't going to get away from us. Ivy started talking to him, tellin' him that actually she had killed his brother, and she was going to kill him as well. Jasper went round the edge. One of the bandits was being convinced to stand down. I think Sero knew he was a goner, so he started taunting me, and I could see that Lily had been hurt and was still in her night clothes. I started to feel the demon come into me, and started toward him...

I tried to fight him properly, but I was losing it, and he was actually a relatively good fighter. In the end Ivy tripped him, I trapped his blade with my foot and fell on his chest as the demon took over. Then there was just a red haze, blood, flesh, growling, and Sero screaming. Then Lily's voice chanting the Lord's Prayer...

Next thing I fully remember is Lily comforting me. I was crying. I'd let out the demon agin in front of her, and in front of Ivy and others. Lily was sanguine though, she said he deserved it. I couldn't disagree, but I wondered what would come of this. How could the others accept amongst them a guy who could rip a heart out like that? Surprisingly, no-one really approached me about it. Still things were busy I suppose and I'm not exactly the friendliest guy in the world.

Saturday ( After Lunch )

In keeping with the way shit keeps happening around people who get married, Moss disappeared while she was supposed to be resting after lunch. Leo, of course took it bad and basically abdicated command spending the time searchin' for her. Not that I blame him, he don't have my expereince at waiting these things out, and it was his wedding day after all, hadn't even got to the night part yet!

At around this time, a guy called Prometheus turned up. Turns out it was he had attached my hand and fixed me up after I lay dying in that saloon. He corrected my belief that the hand was a demon hand, he claimed it was regrown using parts of himself, and that he himself was a homunculus. he told me that homunculi use the same sort of aetheric energy as demons do. I have to say that I am not a scientician so did not understand much of what he said, so I hope some of them what knows this stuff got a better chance to talk to him.

But he did tell me several useful things that I can understand. Firstly he told me about the sword. It seems demons make weapons from their own kind, so hitting them with that sword is like I was beating up humans with someone's ripped-off arm, except more effective cos it's sharp. Also the blade has a consciousness in it. Prometheus tried to suppress the consciousness, but failed because it was too strong, and enlisted 74, as another homunculus with the same sort of energy, to assist. Unfortunately this hurt her, and caused internal bleeding. Damn. Poor Bess, I'm still hurting her.

Shortly after this we began experiencing attacks from zombies, though it turned out that they weren't the usual dead people, they were homunculi. Someone determined that they were some of the 150 military recruits that had gone missing, which gave us a sort of upper limit on their numbers, but didn't help all that much in defeating them.

Several waves came thru, but we survived them reasonably OK, even though half our people were off practicing dancing through some of them.

At some point during the afternoon, an East India Company employee brought me some useful info about an opportunity to make a little profit on the side, so I looked up Lily & let her know about it. It felt good to be planning another caper together.

In the late afternoon, between homunculi attacks, Lord Khaine came into camp bearing Moss in his arms. He took her straight to the infirmary, and we scrambled to get someone to go find Leo. I spoke to Lord Khaine afterwards, and he was full of praise for Moss' bravery in helping them escape the capture of those who had detained them. I'm afraid I'm a little unsure who it was that had them captive, cultists if I'm rememberin' right, but it turns out Khaine had been captured since the previous night when he had yet again failed to find his airship. But he certainly seemed the complete English gentleman down-playing his part in the fight, and calling his own wounds scratches.

Saturday ( Night - The Ball )

So we went to the ball. There were piles of swords and other weapons hidden under the seats, the cushions, and the stage, that we'd snuck in previously while setting up, seeing as we weren't supposed to be carrying real weapons. Leaf made Gypsy Mules for the attendees. The Queen & Lord Khain arrived. Khain had brought Charmin of the Forest People on his arm, whom the doorman introduced as Lady Smythe. I spoke to him about it and it turned out that the amusing leader of the Forest People, Jonathan Smythe is actually the Earl of Rochester!

Lily dragged me into a dance and other than a bit of a muck up at the start, it didn't go too badly. At one point Lily convinced Amadeus to go and bow to the Queen with her, embarrassing her.

Then, suddenly, for no apparent reason, Jasper attacked the Queen, wounding her before running from the hall. People pursued Jasper as the Queen's guards surrounded her and healers dealt with the wound. I let the gypsies who hadn't seen what happened know, as there was the possibility people would blame the gypsies as a whole for the attack on the Queen. I'm guessing that at some point the decision was made to evacuate the Queen and the other toffs by Zeppelin as I know a team escorted them down there.

We were planning to close up the ball hall & return to the Taverna but then the Taverna filled again with gas so we all returned to the ball hall, only to be assaulted by homunculi similar to the ones that had attacked in the afternoon.

There were many waves of them and things got quite desperate for a while, but my blade had begun to sing to me and I danced with it, a ferocious smile on my face. I could see by the gleam in her eyes that Lily was catching part of that feelin' and we grinned at each other, knowing without saying that this was the edge we lived for. The surprising thing was that Amadeus joined us in the dance. He had not used sword and shield before, but he'd found a set from somewhere and he was a natural, looking like Achilles or some other hero from the Greek tales, and the three of us exulted in the battle together.

Finally as things reached their most desperate, with everyone being wounded unto death and the medics and doctors having run out of bandages and supplies, a lull.

Professor Milton said he needed some of his equipment from the laboratory to create new curatives as we were fast running out, so me, Milton, Lily, and X set out for the laboratory on the other side of the camp. We'd been traveling for a short while when we realized Lily's coin scarf really wasn't helping us be stealthy. Milton & I continued on alone to the laboratory and got his gear. I then decided to loop back the long way round to the back of the hall to hopefully avoid any potential zombie encounters.

74 was worried that she'd run out of the opium she needed to keep operating efficiently and asked if she could get some off of Leaf. Leaf, after being promised payment, said sure, but it was back in the infirmary. I was still buzzing on the blade high, so I volunteered to go and get it, but I didn't know what it looked like, so Flint said he'd come with me. When 74 found out what we were doing, she protested, saying that we shouldn't risk our lives, preparing to go with us. I laughed and made some flippant comment to hide the fact that I felt I owed her, or Bess, something.

As Flint & I reached the Taverna we detected traces of gas and put on our masks. First we found the mercenary valkyrie Eir, who warned us that Zek had succumbed to the gas in the infirmary. He was waving his sword around in panic, I tried to calm him, but we were in a hurry, so I trapped his blade and grabbed his hand. Talking to him continuously I led him out of the infirmary and back to the ball venue, relying on Flint to grab the opium, and ensure Eir followed us. I have no idea what them two were doing in the infirmary, but we made it back to the hall with both opium and people.

As people were healed, and we repaired the barricades they sang songs to keep up their spirits, and I pitched in with "Jerusalem" a hymn the preacher-man that brought me up had forced me to learn as a child. Seemed appropriate for some reason.

After the lull, there were more waves of zombies, but this time with proper barricades, we fought then off relatively easily.

Saturday (Night - Late)

Once the Taverna was re-occupied and made safe (for the moment) it was time for the "special operation" that Ivy had organized earlier.

A picked team of stealthy fighters, Ivy, Jasper, Samira, and myself, (anyone else ?) snuck out of camp individually so as not to alert any potential cultist spies and made our way to the cult meeting we had intelligence about. It went well to begin with, Ivy and I taking out the first two guards on the path without raising an alarm. Unfortunately the third guard spotted us and was able to get off a warning before we killed him.

The team rushed the ritual circle, but it was too late, the remaining cultists managed to perform some sort of magic that made them invisible to us, and they got away. Just as we thought it was a total bust, we heard two people coming up the path toward the ritual circle. We apprehended them and it turned out to be Esther and Elise. Esther realizing that the game was up didn't deny her cult membership and started insulting us and telling us how we were all fools to believe we could win against the demons. Elise professed no knowledge of where Esther was taking her, and stuck to this story.

The revelation of Esther's treachery struck Jasper & myself particularly hard, as we had spent many nights drinking & partying together in the back of the taverna, and I'm sure many remember the "marriage" between Esther & Jasper, but where as the two of us still couldn't believe it, it was Ivy who gave the traitor the treatment she deserved.

We got back to the taverna and Ivy took Esther into the infirmary where she was joined by Father Wilde. The two proceeded to interrogate her, while the rest of us kept an eye on Elise. I have to admit that seeing Esther afterwards, and knowing as I did that she was pregnant, presumably with Artemis' child, was hard even for me. It was made harder when Ivy summoned me to guard Esther in the makeshift cell in the administration building while they interrogated Elise.

Unfortunately, Amadeus, whom it turns out, had a childhood crush on Esther insisted on visiting Esther in her cell. She proceeded to laugh and flirt at him, all the while keeping up her insults and blasphemies. At one point she tried to escape, perhaps she though I wouldn't hurt her or Amadeus would step in to help rescue her, but though she kicked me a couple of times I managed to restrain her without having to hit her. Finally when Amadeus started asking serious questions about the cult worship, as if he was interested in it, I'd had enough and told him to leave. Even so, it was still hard to act as Esther's jailer and to listen to the words that kept spewing from her mouth, and I was afraid I would lose my temper and do what she was obviously goading me to do. Luckily Ivy came back and relieved me, putting Jasper on guard. I dread to think how he handled it, and he did look very fragile at times.

Had a chat with Cailin, trying to convince her not wander off into the night. Moss helped my mood by reminding me what a peppermint cat was. Try one if you ever get the chance!

Finally everyone retired to the back of the taverna again, and Moss got drunk. Not entirely sure how much of a wedding night them two got, given the drinking and the length and events of the day.

Sunday (Morning)

Seems Cailin had gone missing over night. Another one gone. But she had told me she was thinking of leaving anyway, so I sorta assumed she had, seeing as I hadn't felt I'd been too convincing in trying to get her to stay.

Lily and I started to plan our caper, and Lily decided to recruit Luka as our lookout. I though this was a good idea, and Luka readily agreed.

Amadeus asked me if I would provide him some "support" during a meeting with Dashwood at the Zeppelin tower, as he expected some trouble, and I agreed to assist him as he'd been such a fun fight companion the previous evening. I also felt sorry for him after the way Esther had treated him.

Unfortunately before we could deal with thatm the camp was attacked by super homunculi. Armoured, with big weapons, and very strong. They obviousy wanted something from the infirmary. They had it and were moving out before we had even started fighting them properly.

More of them came and we were being outclassed. Ivy went down and was picked up by a homunculi and taken into the copse.

I followed up to the copse Ivy had disappeared into. Someone was fighting the remaining armoured homunculus and doing reasonably well against them, so I concentrated on the captives. 74 was out of it, as was Samira. I could only carry one of them at a time. As it was, I chose Samira because she was closest to the fighting, and carried her back to the infirmary. By the time I came back for 74, she was already rescued and the fight was over.

Leo immediately formed a posse to go look for Ivy, but he only left Slav and myself as fighters to defend the taverna, and we saw another wave of homunculi coming in. We barricaded the doors, but they were ripped off. Slav defended one door and I the other, but Slav's door was wider and I imagine two managed to swing at him, taking him down, then those two were behind me and I was disarmed, down, and unconscious within seconds.

I came to chained to a chair in an abattoir. Blood covered the walls and pieces of human flesh and bone lay strewn around. The good thing was that chained to a chair next to me was Ivy. She was awake and annoyed. Even better, although my hands were chained, my guns were still in their holsters.

A mad doctor was explaining to her that he was making better soldiers for the army. He ranted for a while, telling us how he was going to turn us into homunculi, and unfortunately before he left he ordered his zombies to remove my guns. Damn.

Ivy and I struggled with the chains for a bit, and then Gadget whispered to us that they hadn't removed all her tools. There followed a bit of jiggling about of the chairs as I got the tools from Gadget and then awkwardly passed them over to Ivy. I kept the door wedged with my feet in case any of the enemy returned while we were working, but Ivy managed to get herself free, and then she released me.

We peeked outside. The place was surrounded with homunculi. Quietly, Ivy retrieved her lock-picks, and went to work on everyone else's chains. Here was Cailin! She'd been kidnapped by super homunculi from her bunk room earlier in the morning. Here also was Charmin, and another forest person, who was badly wounded. seems they hadn't made it back to the forest the previous night. Slav & Gadget were the others captured. Once released, we quickly armed ourselves with whatever was available, such as meat cleavers, scalpels, human skulls & femur bones. We were going to assault whoever first came to the door, hopefully the doctor, and make a run for it.

Unfortunately I had been disarmed and the homunculi must have left my sword back at the camp, because I was beginning to lose it. Ivy could tell, she'd seen me lose it just yesterday, and she was trying to calm me. I whispered to her, if it looked like I was going to lose it totally, she should point me at the doctor & run, hopefully I could be a diversion at least.

Then we heard people coming toward the door, the door was opened, and someone came in, and I jumped them with a skull, but it was Elise, the potential cultist from the previous night. She was understandably worried at being attacked in such away, and we'd lost our surprise, but the mad Doctor just said something about "They're getting frisky in there!" and locked the door again. She was, it seems, just another captive to the Doc

Ivy began working on the door from the inside with her tools. I was having trouble keeping it together and began hitting my head against the cinder block wall for clarity, but I think it worried the others.

Ivy was just about finished when we saw some of our people creeping past outside, and shortly thereafter heard the sounds of battle. Finally Ivy made it thru the door, and cleverly she stood aside to let me thru. I saw the crazy doctor not too far away and rushed toward him trying to get a grip on him for a kill. This, I believe, resulted in most of the zombies nearby focusing themselves on stopping me, hopefully letting the others get clear more easily. not that I was really thinking about tactics much at the time.

Unsurprisingly, being effectively unarmed and facing massive odds, it wasn't long before I fell from my wounds as the homunculi protected their master. Luckily they were kept busy by the attacks of Leo's group, meaning that none of them had time to finish me off, so before too long I was being awoken by Lily, who had snuck round the back with Flint, and brought my sword, along with healing poultices and smelling salts.

I jumped back into a whirling melee that continued for a while until it seemed a super-homunculus was holding us off almost all by himself, presumably whilst his master made his retreat. I believe that it was during this battle that Flint received the wounds that would eventually result in his death, and that Leo received the wounds that laid him out for many days, that Cailin & Eir had to perform surgery for.

But I was still in battle at this stage and while I tried to fight smart, trying to trap the homunculus' weapon with my blade so that others could hit it, we were not doing well and people were falling. Ivy was down and still being attacked. "No!", I was thinking, "Not when we were almost free & clear, no more!" The blood rage built again and I found myself dropping my sword and moving inside the homunculus' weapon range, leaping on it and burying my hand deep in it's chest. Still the homunculus proved too strong for me, flinging me off and across the clearing into the lab's wall. But it's heart was still in my fist, and while it kept fighting, it was plainly now running down, and it was the only enemy remaining standing, so slowly but surely it was hacked apart. I almost felt sorry for it. Until I looked at the carnage it had caused.

 

 

We prepared to make our way back to the camp. At this stage, still in armour and full of adrenalin, Leo was still walking and taking command. I suggested we should destroy the lab to prevent the mad doctor from using it again, so after quickly checking the premises for useful stuff, we set light to some of the flammable liquids and stood clear as the place turned into an inferno.

On the way back from the super-zombie fight, I found myself licking blood from my blade. It was soothing and tasty, but I fear it unnerved Zek a bit.

John, Earl of Rochester appeared, and thanked us profusely for saving his sister Charmin from the Doctor, returning some of our goods that he said they'd "found in the forest". Luckily my guns were amongst them, so I was happy.

Sunday ( Afternoon )

Lily, Luka and I were just about ready for our planned profitable excursion, when Amadeus signaled it was time for his meeting that he wanted coverage for. Lily & Luka tagged along, though I wasn't expecting them to need to get involved. The meeting with Dashwwod went on & on, and while I was watching I realized that somehow Zek had joined Lily as a watcher as well.

Just as I thought Dashwood & Amadeus were closing down the meeting, a guy in aviator goggles whom I'd never seen before turned up. This was apparently the trouble Amadeus had expected, but before I could react the guy put both of them down with some sort of magic power! He just sort of held out his hand and they collapsed!

I moved in, firing slowly and steadily at the new guy as i walked in, but them it became obvious he had troops in support, I was outnumbered, and they hit me with sleep gas, which I hadn't been expecting, and starting with hands full of guns couldn't get my mask on in time.

I was awoken by Lily, with Zek, and we determined that the raiders had taken both Dashwood & Amadeus. Shortly thereafter the mercenaries, Thor, Loki & Eir arrived, as Luka had gone off for help when it had become apparent there was a number of enemies. We followed up the raiders as quickly as we could, finding Dashwood lying on the trail as we ran, and then got split up from the mercenaries when Lily thought she had heard people in a different direction. When we were moving down the trail again we started hearing the sounds of combat, and it became apparent that the mercenaries had caught up with the raiders. By the time we got there, Amadeus had been freed and the mercenaries were in pursuit of the remaining raiders. I'm still unsure what happened there overall. Probably should talk to Amadeus about it if I get the chance. I might have followed it up at the time but I quickly had other things to worry about!

It was about this time that Lily told me Flint was dead. I don't know how she knew. One of those gypsy things I guess. I get back with Lily, Zek, & Luka, from rescuing Amadeus, to find Mr. Black waiting with other members of the East India Company.

Mr. Black finishes his conversation and turns to me, says something about tying up loose ends, and proceeds to shoot me at point blank range in the head...

I awake suddenly in the back room of the gypsy Taverna with Lily, Luka, & Zek, still trying to dodge a bullet. They hold me down as I thrash about in panic for a bit. They wonder why I'm still alive. Zek finally removes my hat revealing there is no hole in my forehead just a massive purplin' bruise. Zek then pries the small calibre pistol slug out of my hat revealing the armour plating inside it. Luckily Black only used a small pistol.

Lily proceeds to punch me for almost dying on her again.

Shortly afterward she got us whiskey, to drink to Flint, and we went to pay our respects in the infirmary. While we were there, the decision was made to perform the funeral. I helped carry the stretcher containing Flint's body out to the field for cremation. I felt honoured that no gypsy disputed or even questioned my taking a corner of the stretcher.

The ceremony was moving. I have been at many funerals over the years, but the natural grief of the gypsy women, Ivy, Moss, & Lily as they cried to the light rain seemed more honest than the black-veiled sobs I have seen before. I drank to Flint's spirit as honestly as the next, after all, he took his fatal wounds while rescuing Ivy, Cailin, Gadget, Charmin, Slav, and I from the mad doctor, but I did not know him as the others did, so did not speak to his record.

It would be nice to be remembered in such a way when I go.

Lily and I slumped together next to the outside wall of the Taverna, with others around us and discussed how things were falling apart. Ivy had to leave on an extraction mission for the Queen in China, the military were withdrawing from the island and techanically Slav & Leo would have to go with them, even though Leo was too injured to move. I spoke with Jasper telling him I would fight anyone who tried to move Leo, and Jasper said that General Cannon had said he could be left so that was not a problem.

We watched as columns of soldiers marched theough the camp to the dock. In one column, a soldier was being dragged by his comrades whilst complaining he did not want to go and die. The soldier broke free of his comrades, and his lieutenant shot him in the head as he ran.

There was a commotion inside, and raised voices in the direction of the infirmary. I feared General Cannon had insisted on Leo being moved after all, so I rushed to the infirmary to find the obnoxious Russian officer facing off with Jasper, a soldier with a firearm beside him. I place my blade at the soldier's neck and suggested that he should not do anything rash, and others in the taverna rallied around us.

The Russian bastard, realizing he was very close to being cut down by a mob, which included Sgt Slav, took a moment to warn Slav of the consequences of his decision to side with us, and then withdrew. It turned out there was no threat to Leo just the Russian dick mouthing off at Jasper who was too raw from the funeral and other events to take it calmly.

Lily went and got her tarot, and given the determined look on her face, I worried she was going to do something she'd later regret. But she just read the cards for Flint, the short way, and dealt, X of Staves, Death, X of Cups. She grinned, and I asked her to tell me what it meant. When she told me, I burst into a laughter cut with tears as the clarity of the reading hit me.

That was pretty much the last memorable thing that happened that Sunday. At least that I can talk about openly anyways. Let's hope we don't have another weekend like that one for a while at least.

I think I gotta do something about the situation with Aura though. I wonder if Lily feels like breaking into the Society's castle in Edinburgh with me...
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Like many things, this started as a comment on someone else's post, but got far too long for that. So, this is my view on the boycott of Scott Card's work on Superman being conducted by some comic shops and, presumably, comic purchasers.

Firstly I should point out that I don't buy Superman, the concept doesn't interest me that much. Scott Card writing it isn't likely to make me change my mind, so I can't really boycott the work, as I had no intention of buying it in the first place. Alan Moore, perhaps, but then he's already done the Miracle-Man arc, which is his exploration of what a real Superman would be.

I think it's perfectly valid for people to complain about an artist's views and to boycott that artist's work if they don't like those views, but personally I prefer to accept the art as it is, and not be bothered by the creator's personal views, unless those views actually do make their work bad. While a work can be, and almost always is, coloured by an artist's views to some extent, much of the time, especially when those views are not relevant to the thrust of the work, those views do not come across in the work in any significant way.

I think Scott's being a Mormon and vehemently disliking gays are both abhorrent practices, but that doesn't mean I'll automatically dismiss his art. I feel "Enders Game", and the series derived from it, is a classic of the genre and that won't change regardless of Scott's views on any subject. Scott has also written and edited probably the best self-help guides for aspiring SF authors out there. But his "Alvin Maker" series too closely parallels certain Books of Mormon, and suffers greatly for it.

Frank Miller is a homophobic, sexist, ableist, anti-Islamic, right wing bigot, but his art and writing in "Daredevil", "Ronin" & "The Dark Knight Returns" (the original comic) are superb. "300" however, is a complete load of crap because he let his views get too close to the surface of his work. On the other hand, "300" was one of Miller's more financially successful franchises, and I suspect people may be fooling themselves if they think DC are going to be negatively impacted in any significant way by being associated with Scott.

Tom Cruise and John Travolta are religious fruitcakes who also make stupid pronouncements in public, among other things. I happen to think that Travolta's performances in things like "Pulp Fiction" & "Swordfish" are great, and Cruise's performance's in "Rain Man" and "Born on the Fourth of July" are even more impressive.

Wagner wrote some great music, even though he was basically a Nazi.

To me, it's nice when an artist, in whatever field, happens to have social or political views that are similar to my own, but it's not necessary for me to enjoy their work, and I prefer to examine the work, not the artist, when making an aesthetic judgement on the work's quality.

If I did not do that, I would have to dismiss Shakespeare as being anti-semitic, sexist, classist, and numerous other things that are unacceptable today.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Climbing high on a windy mountain overlooking the sea to get a better view of the massive tidal & storm surges in the ocean below, I watched sea birds glide down to the sea, becoming first dots, and then invisible against the steel grey mountains of water. One of them grew bigger instead, growing past the size of a seabird, until I was aware that it was a human in a feathered flight suit. He hovered almost stationary in front of me, balancing in mid-air between the updraft of the cliffs and the wind rushing over the top of the mountain.

"Come on" he said, "There'll never be a better time than this!" I signed assent, and he folded his arm wings, plummeting feet first like a missile toward the heaving seas below. I watched him accelerate to terminal, and shortly before he became too small to see, I saw the orange glow of lift fields extending, transferring much of his vertical velocity to horizontal, and he finally disappeared from my normal vision as he speared down towards a wave that seemed as large as Kapiti Island, but it was not all that different in a sea of waves of similar or larger size.

My ocular enhancers and HUD activated at a thought, and my sight of Kurt (yes, suddenly I remembered his name was Kurt) became clear again. Small coloured dots appeared in my field of vision, indicating other fliers, with ID info. Some rich fuckers had paid for custom icons to appear on my HUD. Around the edges of my vision the dots were replaced by arrows pointing to items outside my site. The sea itself had a number of dots, some green & tiny moving in shoals, others in red, moving fast around the shoals. I focused and zoomed on one with a rising altitude indication just in time to see it break surface in pursuit of prey. It looked like something from Earth's past, a sea-going dinosaur fish with armoured plates and multiple rows of needle teeth.

Cutting the HUD, I made some last minute adjustments to my own suit and moved to the edge of the cliff, balancing myself against the updraft. To be honest, I was scared. Sure we had the flight suits. But the scale of this sea coast, the size of the waves, the consequences of any failure of equipment or skill... then I laughed at myself. Of course, that was the point wasn't it? The fantastic feeling of fear, the rush of the risk... I leaned over the edge supported only by the updraft and savoured the terror.

I folded my arm-wings, and no longer supported by the updraft I toppled forward over those gigantic waves, the air rushing and buffeting me faster as I fell...

Then the alarm went off.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)

The Problem

In 2010, a Select Committee unanimously recommended that software be excluded from patentability. Clause 10A(1) of the Patents Bill will achieve this.

Unfortunately, the Government has decided to add clause 10A(2) at the last minute. While intended to preserve the availability of patents for inventions containing embedded software, this clause actually undermines the intended exclusion of software patents.

The Remedy

In order to preserve the exclusion of software patents, but still preserve patents for inventions containing embedded software, we request the following replacement for clause 10A(2) of the Patents Bill:

10A(2):  Subsection (1) does not prevent an invention that makes use of an embedded computer program from being patentable.

This change fulfils these crucial requirements:

  1. it preserves the Select Committee's unanimous recommendation that software be excluded from patentability.
  2. it ensures that patents are still available for inventions containing embedded software, such as Fisher & Paykel washing machines.
  3. it avoids the controversial, counter-productive and unwanted "as such" proviso in the current clause 10A(2).

Take Action

If you agree with the proposed remedy, and you are a New Zealander-based software developer or a supporter, please add your signature to the list using the form below.


http://no.softwarepatents.org.nz/

Morbid MP3s

Sep. 3rd, 2012 01:13 pm
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Well, that was a successful complete re-work of the persistence mechanism of the core object structure in the application. Now to see if it survives regression testing.

The mp3 oracle was rather morbid this morning. Firstly, it gave me Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear The Reaper", which is basically about happily accepting death; followed by REM's "Everybody Hurts", which is basically an anti-suicide song; and finally in this sequence came Nick Cave's "When I Go", which is basically a somewhat tongue-in-cheek catalogue of all the things that will happen after the singer dies, done in a New Orleans-style dirge that you could imagine being the accompaniment to a funeral procession down Bourbon St.

Anyway, all I can say in response is that I have no intention of dying soon, though I do agree there is little point in fearing it. How can I die when there are so many things still to do? I've always imagined that the primary emotion I'd feel on dying would be anger rather than fear, as in "How dare you interrupt me Mr. Death? I'm busy! Go away, or I'll kill you!" I imagine I'm a prime candidate for becoming a liche. I wouldn't be surprised if some years from now people start complaining about the smell, and on investigation it is discovered I died months ago, but have been continuing on, as if nothing had happened, on sheer will-power.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
OK, I didn't expect this to be on the agenda quite yet, but what's your opinion on the hitting and molesting of bots in VR?

Watch this. You can skip to 0.47s for a start, the hitting is at about 2.05s, and the molesting is at 3.00s

I have nothing against consensual violence between partners, in fact I enjoy it. I go into many violent games and have no problems blowing away male or female or other opponents, or beating the crap out of them, and seeing the blood spatter in slow motion.

But this... this disturbs me.

mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Recently posted this on FaceBook, decided I should post here as well, as this is more reliable.



Unlike many on my friends list, I actually remember the events depicted in this movie. I was eight. When moon landing was broadcast, the entire Bamber Bridge Primary school were gathered in the school hall to watch it on the school's single
television that was a huge black & white monstrosity.

I felt lucky to be at a school that had a television. Our family didn't own one, my mother had to make do with the radio broadcast where she worked as a receptionist for an optician. My father was one of a huge crowd who skipped work and gathered round the television display in the window of Preston's fanciest department store.

After watching it, my best friend at the time, J.J. ( I know longer know what the initials stood for, if I ever did.) said "I'm gonna do that when I grow up." Robert said "But you're a girl!" J.J. said "So?" in that sort of voice that dared anyone else to come up with similar irrelevancies. No-one did. I smiled at J.J and said "Me too."

Over the next few weeks J.J., Robert, & I explored the school yard and various woods and demolition sites on the long walk home as astronauts. We bounced over terrain trying to emulate that well-known, slow-motion. 0.6G dance we'd all seen on various broadcasts, talking to each other in clipped, scratchy voices with added squawks, clicks, and beeps.

Between us we pushed human exploration as far as Neptune as we searched the few books in the library for new worlds to explore. For our game they had to be real worlds though, not the ones in stories.

I especially remember Neptune because it was cold & dark, and even in the heated space suits and with the torches. J.J. admitted it was cold and suggested that we cuddle to keep warm. I agreed, even though that meant I'd have to (ewww!) touch a girl. I was willing to make that sacrifice for the good of the expedition. Robert thought it was silly, and said his suit had super-heaters and he didn't need to cuddle.

As the sun set and "Neptune" started getting really cold, we waited for the call from Mission Control that would mean we'd have to make our way back to our individual space capsules where our mothers were making our dinners (how could brave astronauts survive for months-long journeys without bringing their mothers to cook for them?), J.J. said "How do astronauts kiss with these helmets on?"

Just like a girl I thought, bringing silly love stuff into an otherwise exciting adventure. But I didn't vocalize that thought, because a) she'd probably hit me, and b) well, astronauts on a mission didn't argue, they just solved problems together.

"They'd bring their helmets together and pretend to kiss, but they'd do it without talking about it, so Mission Control didn't know what they were doing." I said. J.J. thought a moment. "You're right" she said "Mission Control would giggle if astronauts kissed."

"Hey look, there's an interesting rock!" she said, pointing to behind an allotment shed, and she bounced slowly over to it, with me following behind. As we reached it, J.J. held a finger several centimeters in front of her lips, miming the "be quiet" sign over an astronaut's helmet. Then she stuck her lips out in an over-emphasized kiss, and motioned me toward her.

I probably would have told her not to be silly, except, well, we were just pretending and we had pretended before to be James Bond and his extremely capable female fellow agent. Then I'd had to point out that even though James Bond did it, it wasn't very professional to kiss during a mission. This wasn't as bad as that, as we were separated by our space helmets. I moved and crouched a bit so my face lined up with hers, and we moved our faces together until our helmets touched.

J.J. still had her kiss going, and closed her eyes, so I did the same. We were like that for what seemed like some time, eyes closed with mouths in kiss formation, until I suddenly felt her nose and lips touch mine. I was startled and jumped back flustered.

"You broke our helmets!" I yelled. She just grinned & looked satisfied before miming asphyxiation. Luckily Robert had heard my yell over the radios, and rescued us with mimed "emergency breathing masks". I could tell he was suspicious about the "rock fall" that had broken our helmets though.

So that was how this astronaut had his first kiss on Neptune.

I wonder if J.J. ever made it?

(Note: not everything above actually happened as written, I just felt inspired to write it out as a story in homage of Neil Armstrong and my remembrance of the childhood his Apollo XI mission influenced. Though most of it did happen sort of like that. :) )
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
I recently bought a bulk lot of old hex-based war-games, primarily games with magazines like Strategy & Tactics and The Wargamer (I'm selling the extras on Trade Me BTW )

It came with a pile of folders containing photocopies of old computer game manuals, war-gaming catalogues and piles of paper containing the previous owner's own game designs, results and records of games played, etc. I'm going to toss the vast majority of it, as I don't keep paper like this anymore, but I couldn't resist having a look through it and it reminded me of the sort of stuff I used to do at college.

It even has paper lists of where on the cassette tapes this person's Commodore 64 games were. Who remembers winding tape to counter positions to load programs ?

The pile also contained a lot of extra counters, either hand-made or for games that were in magazines like Aries.

This is a real nostalgia fest, remembering why I loved getting Strategy & Tactics back in the 70's as it's info was far superior to what was generally available to the public in New Zealand back then. The first magazine I ever actually subscribed to.

Hmm, this nostalgia trip is making me think a meme should be started about people's firsts...
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
This morning's random ride-to-work play list had a sort of theme. It started with 3 Doors Down's Running Out Of Days
And all these little things in life they all create this haze
There’s too many things to get done, and I’m running out of days
There was Sir Bob's We Are The World, which I didn't even realize was on my phone. My anthem came up, New Model Army's Before I Get Old
Live real fast, still not die
Never get old
This was followed by Peter Gabriel's Biko which is still emotional after all these years, and just as relevant now.
You can blow out a candle
But you can't blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher
I had to think then. To many people that I know now, Steve Biko is just a part of history, if they've ever heard of him. He was more than that to me when I was a teenager.

That was a long time ago. I've become tired & cynical. All of my edginess, if any is left, is in the areas of play & personal interaction. All the people I know now are "safe". Even the burners aren't what I'd call radical, though I admire their skills. I used to hang out with bikies, gang members, radicals, anarchists, criminals (the lines blur all the time in those groups). I used to bump fists with convicted murderers. Not that I want to do it again, but I used to haul body bags from helicopters. I used to fly round the country as part of an aerobatic team. Now possibly the most edgy thing in my life is having friends who are sex workers.

In many ways this is a good thing. I'm probably not physically capable of leaping from a 25ft roof, rolling, and coming up into a run without pause anymore. I probably can't take down heavier and stronger men with speed, skill & ruthlessness anymore. I'm out of practice, lazy, and unfit. It's good I am in a safe environment because I probably couldn't handle an unsafe one anymore.

But it does leave me feeling that there's something missing and I should be doing something about it. The first step though must be to deal with that lack of fitness. If only to better survive the coming zombie apocalypse.

Funny really, one of the reasons I did what I did around combat training when younger was that I fully expected there to be a nuclear holocaust, primarily affecting the Northern hemisphere, and I did what I could to be "ready" to survive it. Now it's zombies.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
This article ('It Evolved Into Birds' on MotherBoard by Claire Evans) asked several cyber-punk writers "What happened to cyber-punk?"
Several people were flippant and seemingly didn't care to give a real answer, and others made the obvious statement that it's tropes got appropriated by the mainstream. But I want to give my answer, which I believe isn't quite like the others. To me, cyber-punk went from being a literary genre to being an emerging reality.

Anonymous, Wikileaks, Lulzsec, the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring, to name just the big ones everyone knows, all reflect the core of the genre. Cyber-warfare teams are a reality on all sides of the law and the world. Physical military attacks where the primary objective is to access a data net have already occurred many times. A private security company is the second largest company (by number of employees) in the world. Corporate armies abound. Security breaches make front page news regularly. Corporate attempts to regulate the net keep coming.

Sure we can't upload minds yet, and we don't wave Wintermute level AI's yet, but we do have swarms of bug-size reconnaissance drones, intelligent limbs, direct neural interfaces (admittedly limited use at present), plug-in cyber-replacements for eyes & organs (if you can afford them), we have citizen surveillance, we have media stars like Jack Barron (from Norman Spinrad's proto-cyber-punk novel "Bug Jack Barron", I could go on & on.

And the core ideas of freedom from corporate controls, of being allowed to follow your own path, dress style, gender-preference, belief system, music, etc. are now endemic in "western" culture (even though violently opposed in some places) and are making huge in-roads into non-"Western" cultures as the net spreads ideas, images, desires, philosophies, movements, anger, support, propaganda, and anything we can digitize.

What happened to cyber-punk ? It moved from theory into practice.
mundens: A coquettish fairy looking at you over her shouder, by Masamune Shirow (Shirow Fairy)
In the heat of the night
In the heat of the day...


The Sister's Dominion had just begun playing in my ears, when, like an apparition from long gone nights evoked by that song, she appeared in front of my morning-addled senses.

Petite, in a black leather bustier, only just concealing a bright red lacy bra, tattooed flowers spiralling round her wrists. Dark black hair with a hint of colour, pinned up to reveal her pale white shoulders and a single pair of butterfly wings tattooed on her shoulder blades. The obligatory, over-large and unneccessary, sun-glasses, and a cigarette, completed the gothic fairy look.

Sounds like an opening for a story doesn't it?

But actually that's exactly what happened this morning as I went to get my coffee.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Last night, I think primarily because of the heat, I slept poorly, and thus remembered my dream

The scene was the kitchen area of a camp-site, like Brookfields, during something like Hydra or Chimera, and people had gathered for breakfast.

We were kissing hungrily, ignoring the stares of those around us, even though I knew that I should not be kissing you where others might see. I didn't care, and it seemed neither did you, there had been something more that night, and we were beyond caring about social norms, basking in each others company.

There were nervous attempts at jokes from those around us, about us "practicing for our character roles". Some acted disgusted, some looked jealous, others just found it funny but it was obvious everyone knew that what was happening in front of them would have significant consequences to the social group and our other relationships.

Later that day, everyone prepared for sleep, and somehow whatever had happened to the original pair of us appeared to have infected others. A whole group of us placed our sleeping bags in a pile along with some mattresses and jumped into them together. There were limbs, torsos, hands, feet, and other parts, all touching and moving together. It was very difficult to sleep that way.

Later, I awoke, and the camp for LARPs had somehow morphed into a training center, and it was my first day on the job. I stumbled into it, hungover, wearing only bath robe & shorts, looking very Dude-like, to discover that some-one had scheduled me to run a course on Digital Communication Technology first thing in the morning that I had not even read yet.

I went to the class room, and, in my bath robe, apologized to the three or four students who were already there, saying there must be some sort of scheduling mistake, and that I'd sort it out, and headed off to the staff room.

There I found all my colleagues from when I was at Software Education, along with the writer of the course. When I approached him about it, he told me that it would be easy, I knew all the stuff in the course already, and I could easily handle it. I restrained myself from punching the smug-looking bastard in the face and told him that while that might be true, it would have been nice to have been told about the course before breakfast this morning...


At this point I woke up to find that both the side of my face and the top of my left foot were aching as if they'd been punched or stood upon, respectively.

And no, I'm not going to run the first part of my dream as a LARP at Hydra. Though I suppose it's possible the Slash LARP might head that way.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Been wandering around today as if I have a concussion, finding it hard to think straight, to remember thing to get things done. I've been not very observant, being surprised by things I should have seen earlier, etc. and my head has felt woolly and on the verge of illness. I've pushed on through it, getting a new hoover for half price at Farmers, and number of little things done round the house. But if this keeps up, I'm not going to be up to any new year partying. Which would be a shame, as I have many invitations.

I have got nowhere near as much done this week as I had hoped, I suspect mainly because of the lure of Skyrim, finding GOG, and the fact that a lot of what I want to get done involved sorting stuff of mine, and that is always distracting, as one discovers something one hasn't actually read or looked at in detail yet, or going off on tangents associated to what one finds.

For instance, finding GOG was a result of trying to throw out ancient photocopied manuals for ancient PC games, that I had copied back when I was in the air force in the eighties. I reasoned to myself that if I could find online PDF copies of these manuals I didn't need to keep the stack of photocopies. Searching on the game manuals led me to a link that described how GOG had bundled Wing Commander I & II, with no DRM, in a form that would run on Windows along with official PDF copies of the manuals, and the original "Bible" distributed to those working on the Wing Commander projects. At GOG I discovered several free games I remembered and found myself buying several of their games that I missed being able to play on more modern machines at half proice because of their holiday sale...

That became some tangent, huh? All from trying to throw out a small pile of paper.
See why I don't get anything done?

There has been an awful lot of linkage and discussion about geeks, depression, and Asperger's, on the web recently, culminating in the inclusion of suicide in Violet Blue's latest column due to the suicide of one of Diapsora's founders. It's interesting, I have never, ever, considered suicide during my life, because it always felt to me that doing so would be to admit defeat, and letting the bastards win. "Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light" has been my motto with regard to death ever since I read that poem. It's stuck with me since school, from the one few high school English syllabus parts I really got into, the war poets.

I've had situations in which suicide would have been considered a potential option by some people, so much so that I've even had people worried for me in that way, but the closest I have come is that potentially fatal recklessness one gets when one just doesn't care, and I guess I have just been lucky when in those moods

Oh, I got my packet of random shirts from Tee Fury today too. It was full of win. There was only one shirt I had to look up to figure out what it was about, and having done so, I might be forced to give it to someone who likes bacon.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
As most of you will know I hit fifty last Friday. This led to a bit of retrospective thinking about my life, which in turn led me to asking my other if she had any photos of me as a baby as it would be nice to see them. They arrived today, and I decided to scan them so my other could have the originals back, and then I thought there might be some amusement to be gained by posting them on here.

My mother didn't have very many photos, but you have to remember that back then getting film developed was quite expensive, at least in comparison to wages. People actually got employed to develop films in local chemists. My mother was the daughter of a "downstairs" lady, and as I was born out of wedlock as the result of an affair my teenage mother had with an older and married naval officer, our little family, consisting of me, my mother, her mother, and her mother's live-in companion, were on the poor end of the scale when I was born.
Image Heavy, click to see pictures! )

Well, I hope some of you enjoyed that little glimpse into my early childhood. I certainly enjoyed putting it together, being all reminiscy and stuff.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Last Friday I turned fifty.

The previous night, I had attended Thursday Night Curry, starting in the Fork & Brewer with [livejournal.com profile] adrexia, Joel, Jacob, & Martin. [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly joined us at Dawaat, along with others regular TNC-ers.

I'd taken my birth day off of work, after [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly expressed surprise that I hadn't already arranged to. I had intended just to go to work as normal and head into the party after work. Had I done so, I might have gotten to the party on time! As it was I slept in at [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly's place.

When she awoke I was presented with a marvelous gift, two beautiful limited edition resin Studio McVey miniatures that had had been masterfully painted by Rachel (of Iron Halo. The first is "ar Fiach" a modern/steampunk fantasy avian elf creature with a musket perched on a brick chimney, sculpted by Yannik Hennebo, and the second is a lovely rendition of "Pan" sculpted by Jaques-Alexandre Gillois.

  

  

Yes, those are tiny naked green fairies in the Pan picture, and while ar Fiach is wearing a fancy jacket (probably stolen from a washing line somewhere) she sure ain't wearing a shirt!

I think you'll all agree Rachel has definitely done these sculpts justice. She went town on adding fairy forest detail to the "Pan" base, and added an entire roof to "ar Fiach", as you''ll see if you go and look at the originals on the Studio McVey site (I can't provide a direct link because they have a silly Flash-based site). I spent some time examining the detail on these miniatures in sunlight. I would have loved to show them off to people at the party, but I was afraid of potential damage. Not that anyone would do so intentionally, of course, but they are resin and very fragile. Anyway, you really need sunlight, or really good artificial light, and a very close look to see the detail, so photos are probably more useful to get the full effect.

Following that lovely start to the day, we toddled down to Caffiend's in Petone for a late brunch, where I made my first mistake of the day, leaving my Samsung Galaxy SII sitting on the table when we left. Of course I didn't realize this until somewhat later.

After returning from Petone, my lady retired for further rest and I proceeded to play Borderlands on my Envy17, as I had recently purchase the PC version complete with all downloadable content for the minimal fee of $7.49 during Steam's Halloween sale.

It was then that I made my second mistake, of not keeping a proper eye on the passing time, and suddenly realized I should have been at the Fork & Brewer five minutes ago. It was also at this stage that I realized I no longer had my cell phone, as it is my primary timing mechanism. Then had to wait while my lady got up, as I was also supposed to have woken her with time to get up, so in the end I didn't get to the bar until almost ten to six. Sorry to keep people waiting!

Despite the late start, Part One was good, with people from mutilple "families" turning up. Certain people were being naughty in the corner of the booth, not that I minded, but as a result certain ladies might be interested in the picture that [livejournal.com profile] wyldcard pxted to me... Moving on, I received a number of presents, including a dice bag complete with dice flogger, a book on bootleg whisky during WWII, and some white curacao from my D&D dungeon-mistress.

The Fork & Brewer's beer selection was good and I discovered a couple of new brews that I will drink again, though I stuck mainly with the good old Emerson's Bookbinder.

I would have stayed longer in the bar, but some people wanted actual food ( I don't know why, it just soaks up the alcohol quicker!), so we cruised off to a Korean place Sophie knew which was too small/full, and ended up instead at a nearby Vietnamese place.

Got back home not too late and fell asleep.

Saturday morning I got up early, as I'd gone to sleep pretty early for me, and then played Borderlands again until [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly woke up, when I got showered & dressed and headed down to Caffiends and luckily recovered my Galaxy, did some shopping on the way back, and then waited until it was time to go to Yum Cha at Dragons with the family.

My mother and sisters came down from Levin, the first time I'd seen them in quite some time, Ele & Ben came over also, but the big surprise was [livejournal.com profile] ferrouswheel turning up with [livejournal.com profile] tatnja, all the way from Hong Kong! Thanks for that Joel, it was a nice surprise, and I'm sure others appreciated seeing you too! :)

[livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly tells me Ben tried all of the strange foods, and [livejournal.com profile] thomasdequinc seemed to get on well with Ben also. The food was good (I <3 coconut buns), but I had to sneak into Joe's Garage afterwards for some real coffee.

Then it was back to Harbourview for more Borderlands before needing to prepare for Part Two. Yes I know I should have been playing SkyRim, but that would have involved taking my PS3 round too, and anyway [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly's TV isn't big enough. *grin*. I have actually shown great restraint in not playing SkyRim over the last few days. I think it's wearing thin though, maybe I'll give in tonight.

I put out all the snacks with assistance from others at the the flat, and the first selection of drinks, and then got a bit flustered as the first people were arriving as I had discovered the secondary hard-drive on my lap top, where the play list I had set up was stored, seemed to have failed. Anyone happen to have a spare 1TB laptop drive anywhere? Hopefully I haven't lost too much in that crash, as the first sign of the drive going was the back-up failing, and I thought it was the the back-up drive and it's drivers that was the problem initially, so I don't have a recent back-up of the drive.

Luckily all the actual music was on the main drive, and [livejournal.com profile] wyldcard expressed his love for 80's music, volunteering to be the de-facto DJ for the night, so we managed to work around the hardware issue.

More people arrived, and I got other presents including new music from [livejournal.com profile] panda_pitt booze of various varieties, including a nice looking Laphroiag, and books. [livejournal.com profile] tyellas insisted on feeding me a chocolate-coated strawberry, not that I needed much convincing.

I'm not sure what time I ended up getting into the spa, but it was after the first round of savouries, and there were a lot of other people already there when I got in. Obviously, one does not talk about the spa, but I feel it's OK to talk about a few fun things around the periphery, such as how [livejournal.com profile] evie_fae and [livejournal.com profile] jarratt_gray's choice of Bruichladdich Rocks as a gift went down really well. Coming after the strong peatiness of the 16 yr-old Lagavulin (trust [livejournal.com profile] adrexia to go straight for the good stuff when sent out for another bottle!), it's easy to see why this spa event was particularly memorable.

The one draw-back of the spa is that there were people that I'd intended to talk to, that I never really got the chance to, and even some gifts that were left for me that I didn't get to thank people for in person. I know [livejournal.com profile] pombagira left me some witchy bath salts, so thanks for those, Polly! Apologies to anyone else I didn't manage to spend time with, and thanks for coming!I don't even know if any fire-spinning occurred out front, as had been rumoured to occur.

Once the spa party finished up (not sure when that happened, someone may be able to let me know) I found myself involved in a long session of interpretive dance with [livejournal.com profile] adrexia to the soundtrack of Bob Dylan's "Blood On the Tracks" (primarily). I'm sure we must have been amusing to those socializing in the kitchen, but it was a lot of fun, even if I am not the most co-ordinated of dancers, and the one or two lifts I attempted were abortive, despite [livejournal.com profile] adrexia's co-operation. I hope we didn't scare the hare too much. The dancing was eventually ended, I believe, by car pool people needing to leave, and I do not know if I said good-bye to all the people remaining, I was, after all, somewhat drunk.

After everyone left, I found myself lying in bed with [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly listening to songs on my Galaxy SII (Tori's Bells for Her seemed appropriately beautiful to my mood) whilst exchanging tweets and Facebook entries with other party-goers who had also not yet gone to sleep.

On waking in the morning I found my legs very weak and wobbly. I blame the combination of several hours soaking in hot water, followed by the interpretative dance. Overall though, I felt pretty good. My commiserations to those who did not, and/or who had to get up & go to work.

My lady & I got up relatively early, to head into town to pick up her latest cat from the airport, which had been kindly brought up from Christchurch by [livejournal.com profile] argentbear, whom it was good to catch up with during the car ride, and then did some party clean-up.

After I got back to Wolf Castle I found a large pile of parcels had arrived while I'd been away, including a large order of RAFM miniatures that had been spending several months making it's way toward me across the sea, so before crashing I unpacked and processed some of that stuff. My lounge really looks like I've only just moved in now. So many figures, so little time.

To sum up though, I have fun memories from a great weekend into which many people put effort to make it lovely and memorable. Thanks to all, though especially thanks to [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly for hosting us and transporting me when I was drunk, and arranging beautiful gifts, and being accepting of me sharing significant & meaningful times with others. Thanks to those others, and to all, for your hugs, kisses, gifts of song and joy, your presence, your assistance when needed, your energy, and your love.

I am now fifty, but I've had a spring in my step on the way to work this week, and am not at all feeling old, because of you all. <3

I'll leave you with a song from the party play-list that is one of my favourites, from Simple Minds, the title of which I think sums up my attitude at present : Alive & Kicking

You turn me on, you lift me up
And like the sweetest cup I'd share with you
You lift me up, don't you ever stop, I'm here with you


Bliss Stage

Nov. 5th, 2011 02:23 pm
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)

"I'm an Eager Young Soldier!"





"You don't need to worry about me. Those aliens won't stand a chance. Bring'em on!"



Personality:As an Eager Young Soldier, you're still a novice ANIMa pilot, but excited to do your part in the war. You difficult history has toughened you and your fascination with violence drives you, but your determination has yet to be tested in a real war. Your heart is filled with anger and passion.

Advice: Relax. Regardless of what's happened to you in the past, don't be so afraid of being hurt that you don't make new friends. You've got a wealth of experience and knowledge, but that's all wasted if you don't share it with the people who need it. If you open up to the world just a little bit, who knows what might happen?

Which Bliss Stage Pilot are you?
Bliss Stage
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Yesterday turned into the least boring** day I have spent here so far.

The day was horribly hot and bright, but I allowed myself to be dragged out to brunch overlooking the ocean, and other than the amount of interest the ants found in my legs, it was quite nice sitting in a little shaded gazebo drinking pineapple juice and eating pancakes.

Later I was also convinced to go swimming in the ocean, and to go para-sailing, which I have to say was absolutely terrifying. Being strapped into a harness that is old & worn, and then being dangled over shark-infested waters several hundred feet up with nothing but the skill of a bored boat-driver keeping you from crashing into the hard water and being drowned by the parachute canopy (they didn't give us knives for cutting our way out of the parachute and it's lines, and we weren't wearing quick release harnesses either) is not my idea of fun.

Possibly it's because I know far too much about what happens when you hit the water in a parachute from training in the Air Force. Possibly it's because the people running the operation actually forgot to put us in harnesses in the first place, and I had to remind them. Possibly it's because it felt like I was going to fall out of the harness at any moment, and I spent the entire time I was up in the air trying not lean forward too far. Anyway, I doubt I'm going to do that particular trip again.

I will admit that in the brief moments I managed to distract myself from the terror, the view was wonderful, and the soaring swooping motions the parachute would make as the wind changed and the boat driver adjusted for it, were great fun. I found the driver's skill at being able to winch us in and land us standing on the deck of the boat impressive.

After having survived that, I needed a drink, and my lady bought me a "bananarama", something quite alcoholic with bananas in it, that may or may not have been a political comment, and was accompanied by deep fried bananas and ice cream. I chased that with a big glass of pineapple juice to deal with dehydration.

This was followed by another dunking in the ocean to cool off, as all that flying around had resulted in quite a bit of heat being captured my skin. Playing in the ocean is a lot of fun here, as long as you avoid all the wild-life.

After that we crashed for a few hours back in our room.

We got up at around 7pm and walked to the resort next door for dinner at Cross. Cross is the most expensive of the restaurants attached to the Raddisson, It's run by Richard Cross, an ex-Christchurch chef, and I can heartily recommend it. Every course was superb, from the ciabatte garlic bread entree, thru the beef main, to the kava ice cream dessert. The beef was probably the best I have ever had, cooked perfectly even though it was inches thick, served with cubes of a wonderful cheese, shiitake mushrooms, & potatoes au gratin. The kava ice cream was presented with a tower of spun green toffee almost as thin as candy floss, home made marshmallows, and a pina colada to wash it down. My lady had a huge Akaroa salmon steak, and their "chocaholics" dessert, both platters being presented in such wonderful style, I wished Id brough my camera with me to photograph them.

The service was superb also. My lady asked for water melon juice, and though they didn't have it on the menu, they came back with freshly crushed water melon in a glass. Naturally the meal cost more than most, but in this case, I think the meal was totally worth the price.

Today we woke up late. I haven't bothered with any breakfast as yet. Weather outside is a bit oppressive.

Only about another two weeks of this hell to endure before I get back home.

(**Yeah, I'm afraid beach resorts largely represent boredom to me. There's only so much of sitting around waiting for other people to do nothing I can take. Thank Gaia for Inotia 3 on my Galaxy SII. I also don't get this fascination that other people have for exposing themselves to the radiation from an un-shielded fusion reactor.)

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