Saturday, April 30, 2005

Toronto ComicCon: Day 1

Went in today and arrived just before 2pm. I love Toronto public transit: it got me from one end of town to the other in what amounted to a pair of roughly straight lines. Got off the streetcar a stop early, but the walking only compounded the anticipation.

Arrived and got a student rate admission, and since I'm going back tomorrow I save about 2 bucks on the total cost of a full weekend pass. Which, since I didn't go Friday, is just fine!

As Ellis wasn't speaking yet, and wouldn't be for an hour or so, I got in the for the Brian Michael Bendis line. It was worth it. Great guy, Bendis. Short. Really short. And a lot balder than I'd imagined. But really nice guy. He signed my copy of The Powers Scriptbook, and seemed amazingly overjoyed, he thanked me straight out, for buying it. Also made sure I was coming to his writing workshop tomorrow, which I definitly am.

Also happened upon Bill Willingham, sitting on his own at a table, looking bored. Got him to sign my copy of Fables: Legends in Exile (in retrospect I should have brought my ENTIRE Fables collection along, but still...). Nice guy. Was happy that I loved Fables, but also humorously annoyed that I dislike Spectre: Day of Vengeance. He did, however, allay my fears that HE, an author who I ever much enjoy, had decided to make Animal Man's powers mystic in nature. Some author before him had done it, he said. I believe him. Got a photo of him...he looks a lot like a guy I game with regularly in the Toronto Camarilla named Hugh.

After that I went over to the room where Ellis was speaking. Got a seat in the very front row, and had about 20 minutes of good conversation with people before Ellis arrived. We got a bit bored before Warren arrived, so we took turns at the microphone advertising stuff (I advertised JasonK's blog/webcomic, Fables). Ellis arrived, and I got the first question, regarding what he thought of the Authority after he left the book. He said that the Authority was just a superhero comic boiled down to the bare bones, the perfect kernel of the superhero narrative. "It's a slut of a comic", he remarked. I really won't go into the whole Q and A, but suffice to say that I have a text file, and several pages of hardcopy notes, of stuff he said.

Physically, Ellis is a lot bigger and wider than I thought he'd be. I imagined him as this tall, skinny guy. He's built like a sportsman with a gimped out leg who hasn't been getting much exercise. If his leg wasn't crap, he's not someone I'd want to pick a fight with. His cane is interesting, in that it has the same body as my dragon cane, but with a cobra head. Same wood, to. He has no clue where it came from, as it was a Christmas present. Its got me interested in the origins of mine.

He's got a heavy accent, a bit closer to some of the Londoners I know than my Lanchishire relatives. He also swears constantly. His first words were "Are there any children in the room?" A baby in a stroller in the back was pointed to. "Well, alright. He won't understand any of this anyway. ARSE!"

He's hilarious, though. Had everyone laughing by the end, especially with his Alan Moore impressions ("...I've built a cave...under my house...for my magic. But now I cannot...SELL the house. Not everyone WANTS a...magic cave") and his stories about hanging out with other British comic writers, like Garth Ennis (such as the story about how Garth wasn't happy with a stag party, he demanded a stag weekend on a remote Irish island that has a 24-hour pub and killer seals).

Anyway, things broke up after that. I got a picture of myself and Ellis, talked to him for a minute or two, then went off to wait in the line to get his an hour.

During that hour I met a few interesting people. Two very boring guys who were big on collecting comics and getting them signed...but never reading or enjoying them. Their sole enjoyment of comics came from getting cover signatures, bagging the things, and shelving them. They were...I dunno. I just got a bad vibe off them.

I met a VERY cool Toronto indi comic artist, though, by the name of Willow Dawson. Her stuff is very nice. A bit more artsy than a lot of the sharper stuff thats in comic books normally, but its some nice stuff. I think I'm going to keep an eye out for her books. She has a card for a site she did illustrations for that has this cool, kinda-punk-looking angel on it. Very neat. She was good company whilst I waited in line.

Eventually I DID get to Warren. Got another picture with him, and got him to sign Absolute Planetary, Orbiter, Planetary: Leaving the 20th Century, and the infamous screenshot of my picture on his old blog (which I think I'm going to get laminated). The AP has a personalized signature, which is hella cool.

After that I got a second signing by Bendis, as he'd signed the cover of the scriptbook the first time, and I wanted an interior signature so it wouldn't feel like a crime to carry the book around a bit and shelve it with the rest of my stuff.

After that I wandered around for a bit...which was when I met Jason Carter (Marcus Cole from Babylon 5) and Anita la Salva (Zo'or from Earth: Final Conflict). They were incredibly friendly people who were plugging a horror movie they'd done...which I may think about picking up. They're definitly nice folk, I got a picture of the two of them.

After that I meandered my way out. The day has been a GOOD day. An amazing day. These are the days I live for.

I also have a new memory song. At a lot of cons I have one song stuck in my head that forever reminds me of that con. For Orion 2004 it's Blue Oyster Cult's "Heavy Metal: Black and Silver". For CAiNE it's a song from Les Mis who's title I don't remember. For this, it's Great Big Sea's "Beggarman" (which is very upbeat, fast paced song that I've had stuck in my head). AlexanderLambert's visit is recalled with Peter Yorn's "Red Right Hand". These songs automatically remind me of the emotions and experiences of the con.

Tomorrow I go to a writing workshop held by Bendis. I'll bring the laptop along to make notes. There's also another workshop on breaking into the industry afterwards, which I will also attend. I may not get to do Parkour tomorrow. But I can do that almost any many times can I do this?

3am Blackout

For some reason the entirety of Victoria College lost power last night for about 3 hours, between 3 and 6am. I spent most of it reading by the light of one stick, and three scented pillar, candles in a garbage can (to minimize fire risk).

There are a few pictures. But otherwise little to say, as my day has been eclipsed by meeting Warren Ellis, Brian Michael Bendis, and Bill Willingham. I will make an extensive post after I've copied all my notes from the Ellis Q&A onto my computer, and uploaded all the pictures.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Project Beowulf #1

Second draft is complete and emailed off to Jason and Alexander for another reading.

I gotta say that it looks a LOT better now. Its interesting to look at the three scripts I've written (Project Beowulf, A World Without Doors, and Ascent). PB is definitly the one that looked the worst the first time around. The script was cramped, a bit shoddy, and too many edits with too little thought for the appearence of the script itself led to it looking...not quite right. AWWDs similarly has a very amateurish script, unsurprising considering its the first script I put together. Ascent has the full force of my current, slightly more refined understanding, plus the fact that I've read through a bunch of scripts by other writers and figured out some of the tricks they use that really reduce the page count on things, but still keep the full appearence of the book throughout.

Now, if I had an artist I could actually shop PB around a bit. Unfortunatly, Image, Oni, and most of the other labels are looking for either writers/artists or writer-artist duos. Dark Horse is looking for writers, DC is activly discouraging people sending them scripts, and Marvel...I have no idea. Ask JasonK about Marvel.

REALLY need to ask Ray about the indi scene.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

By Consequence of Unfortunate Events...

Watched A Series of Unfortunate Events last night. It really is quite a good movie. I believe I shall purchase it, possibly waiting till Rogers Video has some used copies for $20. Or possibly shelling out $10 and cashing in my Bay gift card.

Its very clever, and makes me want to read the books. Jim Carrey has somehow been genetically modified by age into Matt Frewer (Max Headroom, Generation-X, Sherlock Holmes, Psi-Factor, many others). Which is great...because Matt Frewer is cool.

My main observation is that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are a three-man MacGyver. Those three characters were, frankly, amazing. And Jude Law as the narrator was just great.

What really blew me away about the movie was the ability to make something that looked almost like real life...but was set in an unspecified time and place. I think it was supposed to be England, but it could just as well have been New England, or New York. For all I know it could have been in fricking Madagascar. Time, similarly...there's stuff that looks like its right out of the late 19th/early 20th centuries, especially the clothing. But the cars have this '20s gadget feel to them, with all these cool buttons and levers that remind me of something the Shadow or the Spider would drive. But at the same time, in one of the deleted scenes Jim Carrey mentions a cell phone, there are CAR PHONES!, and the black police detective speaks English that is all too modern.

Which really reminds me of the Way Down. It's in its own little world, where anything outside is revealed only as nessecary, and even then is of unspecified location. Necropolis is, in theory, an American city. But there are elements of other cities in it.

Anyway, I think I shall buy the movie. Its worth it.

Now, some unfortunate complaints:

I looked at two comics yesterday, and my faith in the industry dropped. The new issue of The Authority introduced the thing the fans have been talking about for years, but I now realize makes very little sense. Jenny Quantum, the cute cuddly 8 year old who's actually been aging in real time (more or less), gained a new power. She gained the ability to access what I like to call "The Garden of Ancestral Jennies". Which is to say that all the Spirits of the past centuries have a city, in the middle of the aether, where they hang out. This is when I point out that the only reason Jenny Quantum is NAMED Jenny Quantum is because she was given that name by an insane scientist, in honor of the Spirit of the previous century who came before her, and who was a public figure of great influence and adoration.

It, thus, makes, no sense for the previous spirits to ALL have been named Jenny. Jenny Steam, Jenny Crusade, Jenny Stone, Jenny Fire...this is like one step above Mega-Man, and his arch nemeses: Wood-Man, Stone-Man, Fire-Man, and I-Don't-Give-A-Shit-Man. Also...when did Jenny get the power to talk to the regular Garden of Ancestral Memory?

Jenny Sparks is dead. Long live Jenny Sparks. And down with the imposters.

Secondly, I flipped through the new Spectre book. I wish to have words with whoever created it. Apparently not only has the Spectre decided to kill all magical creatures as the only way to erradicate evil...he has decided to lump Animal Man into this. When the hell was Animal Man mystically powered? He's powered by fucking alien genetic grafts! They're not magic!

On the upside...Enchantress is fucking hot. And there were characters I haven't seen in YEARS, including Rag Man, Blue Devil, I think I saw Abra Kadabra (...who isn't magic either, considering that it was established in his FIRST appearence or so that his powers are hyper-tech based, and it was set up YEARS ago that his powers are based on nano-tech weapons loaded into his skin). And apparently a sentient chimp who I think might be a reject from Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew.

That is all.

The Filthy Monkey, It Plans (again)

I won't be going to see Warren Ellis live on stage tonight, despite him giving a talk only a few blocks away from my residence. That's becuase I work on Thursdays. Ain't life a bitch.

On the upside, I WILL be going to see him at the Toronto Comic Con this weekend. Where he will be giving a speech, as will Brian Michael Bendis (Powers) and Bill Willingham (Fables). I will also hopefully get my copies of Absolute Planetary, The Powers Scriptbook, and Fables: Legends in Exile signed. Also planning to print out the screenshot I have of Warren's old blogpage where he posted the picture of me dressed as Rebus/The Invisible Man from Halloween, with the caption "The Filthy Monkey, It Plans".

I'm actually kind of hoping that Ray Fawkes is going to be there. Haven't seen him in months.

I am currently enjoying a veal and grilled zucchini sandwhich, courtesy It is good. There will also be chocolate cake.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I really like this stuff. Not a clue why. I was first introduced to it by my friend, Dave, during a Vampire: the Masquerade game. We ate it with honey. It was a good snack.

Now I'm hooked. Whenever Passover rolls around each year I try to score some from my Jewish friends (of whom I have many).

I think it might also be good with super sharp, super old cheddar cheese. Tuna might also be nice with it. Might also be nice with some salsa. Its a bit too crunchy for hummus.

Anyway, its something I enjoy munching on. And its a whole lot healhier than me tossing back dark chocolate covered esspresso beans when I want to crunch on something.

Monday, April 25, 2005

A Miscellania Of Things

Loading five Vinyl Cafe discs onto my iPod. For those that aren't familiar with this wonderful piece of Canadiana, the Vinyl Cafe is a CBC radio program done by the talented, and fantastically hilarious, Stuart McLean. It's about a guy who owns a record store, and his family, and their town, and all that jazz. Its funny, brilliant, and frankly beats most sitcom TV shows into the ground. If you see one of the two disc sets in the store, pick it up. Its worth it.

Secondly, Girl Genius, my favourite steampunk comic, is now a webcomic. Hurrah. It can be found at Much with the hilarity.

Similarly, I now have yet ANOTHER blog to read regularly (ok, to be honest, that makes four altogether, counting JasonK, Warren Ellis, and Corey). Said blog is authored by one Kaja Foglio, of...well...a whole lot of geeky gaming comics fame. Most recently, of Girl Genius.

I've heard, and read...stories...about Phil Foglio. That he walks around conventions dressed like a mad scientist. Ok...frankly, considering that the pinnacle of all fashion for me went out of style a little over a century and a quarter ago, I don't think I'm one to talk. But anyway!

In comics news, at the urging of Jason I've picked up Understanding Comics. I found a hardcover for $25 CDN at the Gray Region, so I'm laughing there. Jason claims its vital.

Project Beowulf #1 has finished being scripted, and Jason has done some editing. I shall now act on his edits and fix things up. Its looking good. After that it'll get another edit, and I'll write up a treatment (which will also get an edit), and then I'll start shopping it around. Crossing my fingers and praying all the while.

I've also started a new project, tentativly titled "Ascent". It's sci-fi, and totally diverging away from superheroes and that sort of stuff. It's something that I've been working on for a few months now, building a research and knowledge base. My Physics class has helped immensly with a few logistical details. I once again praise the power of search engings. Google is a true wonder to behold.

Finally, on the job front. Looks like I may be going back to Sharkey's for the summer. Worked there a couple years back. They're willing to take me back, since I did a good job for them then, and can promise a better job for them now. I'm holding out on a few other restaraunts, though, namely Paradiso, a new place called Barkman's, and possibly an Italian place called Seasons. All are looking promising, but its coming down to the deadline and Il Padre is really riding me hard to get a full time job before next week is over (my father has an annoying tendency to equate lack of information on his part to lack of effort on my part...he's a good guy, but he really does like to know everything that's going on). So I also cross my fingers there.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Amazing Power of Search-Engine!

For those that don't know, I'm the new VST Forsaken for the Toronto Camarilla Domain. Which means that I'm the guy running the Werewolf: The Forsaken LARP in Toronto.

Well, not quite. We're waiting for the LARP book to come out in the fall, so first I'm going to start off by actually building the city. The good news is that Toronto is being partitioned by venue, so I really don't have to do the ENTIRE city. The bad news is that I get the back ass end of beyond part of the city, so some judicious web work has been required.

Its going well now, though. I have a lot of basic notes and a good idea of what my first storylines will be. There'll be action, adventure, and a scene of a man wrestling a bear for no reason. And all sorts of other stuff.

But I've really learned a lot about some interesting aspects of the city so far. And I'm going to need to head East in the next week or so to get some pictures of places. A TTC Day Pass and my digital camera should do me good. Though its becoming more and more clear to me that I should get the microphone attachment for my iPod. I think it'll be damnably useful in the future. Especially in England.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

America, your justice system at work

"...state agents drank beer and watched from seats inside the club, ostensibly looking for violations of liquor laws at the same time."

It gets better.

"Police said Szuhay befriended the Total Xposure staff, drinking with them after hours while using the driver's license of Dawson's daughter."

While the case is about identity theft (Szuhay was using the driver's lisence and social security number of a woman in Cincinatti), I'm a touch more concerned that the whole gist of the operation was having federal agents sitting around a bar, getting drunk, and hoping to see someone underaged get served liquor. Oh, and that the undercover "agent" (really a US Marshal intern) basically seems to have attempted to get the other employees to admit to it, I think. The whole thing kind of stinks of entrapment.

It also stinks of me having nothing better to post about today. Hopefully more Way Down will be forthcoming in the next few days.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Passover Killed My Weekend

My apologies to all my Jewish readers.

I'm just rather annoyed. Becuase of people going away on Passover, the second part of Issue #1 of "Tales of the Old Corps" will not be done this weekend. And my Requiem LARP has been canceled and moved to next weekend, when I will probably be trying to get Warren Ellis drunk.

Not to mention that my job interview tomorrow was canceled, though that's not becuase of Passover.

I have no weekend plans now. This is very odd for me. I normally at the very least have something planned for Saturday night. I'm stumped now, to be honest. Totally stumped.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Since when has the "religious right" been a persecuted minority?

I'm really kind of dumb founded as to how the religious right and evangelical Christians in the US see themselves as a persecuted minority, such as what's seen here. I was reading an article in the Globe & Mail about a month or so back that was by a Globe reporter who went through the American South talking to Christians. Apparently many of them feel that they are a persecuted minority being shoved around by the whims of other religions and left-wing liberals.

See...this is one of those weird delusions that baffles me. It's like a cultural narrative used to justify them being "the good guys" by showing them to be the underdog. Some of them even feel that they're being persecuted by the President.

What is this persecution, might you ask? They feel that the government not outright banning abortion, divorce, same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and not bringing back madnatory school prayer is persecuting them. Since when was not having your political interests fulfilled persecution?

These people just confuse me. They're religion confuses me. I can understand hardline Catholics who stand against stuff the Bible stands against. I can't understand this weird religious culture that has grown in the south that supports things like lynchings, racism, and general persecution of everyone who's not of an accepted social norm.

I end rant now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tales of the Old Corps: A Thought

Something I just realized. Something that was established in the first game, that I just realized had a game effect.

Go'Hara is in a binary star system. Both stars, H'daeus and Sh'daeus, are red.

Go'Hara is Krypton-proof.

Houston, We Have a Pontiff

(EDIT: 04/19/05, 5:08pm EST. I found a more thorough look at the new Pope on Yahoo! News, so I changed the link.)

Pope Benedict XVI

Apparently a former member of the Hitler Youth, this former German Cardinal stands against progressive Catholicism and calls for Catholics to stand against "relativism".

Well, looks like all my hopes for a 21st century Church were just flushed down the toilet.

Ah well. Back to good old fashioned voodoo.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Tales of the Old Corps: Kishar Sen (Issue #1, Session 1)

The issue opened with Kishar Sen dropping out of the sky onto a speeding zipcraft whose occupants had just robbed a large currency skybarge. While they were gloating over their ill gotten gains, the savvy police officer had jumped out of a speeding car above them and right into their back seat.

A fight began, though despite superior numbers the criminals could not overtake Kishar Sen. One tried to hit him with a satchel of stolen money, while the other tried to grapple him from behind. Kishar was too quick, though, and grabbed the one lunging for him and threw the thief bodily into satchel-boy in the front seat. As they began to get up, satchel-boy went for his laser pistol, which was blasted out of his hand by Kishar Sen (with a rather good roll, I might say). The grappler from last round tried to lunge at Kishar again, but this time misjudged his jump and went flying out of the zipcraft and into a transport truck carrying an order of too-ripe fruit. At this point satchel-boy got a punch to the stomach for his troubles, which knocked him out.

(This fight took about 3 rounds. To be honest, you put a x2 hero, even one without any useful powers in a given situation, up against a trio of mooks and he's going to drop one of them each round. This was mainly just expositional violence to show off the fact that Kishar Sen could handle himself in a fight, and set up that this was definitly an alien civilization.)

And it was around that point that a space ship falling out of the sky into the city exploded. Kishar Sen put his laser pistol to the driver of the zipcraft and ordered him to land, at which point said driver was tossed into a waste collection bin and Kishar Sen hightailed it after the demolished space ship in time to see a quartet of white creatures with diamond-shaped heads, long barbed tails, and apparently the ability to fly swarm in on a biped dressed in a green, black, and white uniform, with a long eye stalk coming out of her head. She seemed to hold the advantage, until one of the white aliens yelled something gutteral, and then they all turned yellow. She got her ass handed to her, and they flew off.

(Flight. Shapeshifting. Eye beams. Mind reading. Bruce Wayne knew what they were in JLA. Do you? This was really just some further expositional violence that I didn't take part in, but it set up Kishar Sen getting the ring. It was, overall, pretty well scripted.)

Kishar Sen found the dying alien on the ground, and after a short but poetic speech she bequeathed to him her power ring, saying that the ring had found him worthy. With her final dying words, she told him the ring was powered by belief. Then she croaked.

Kishar Sen stood there for a moment, contemplating what to do...and then flew off after the aliens. Literally, he flew. WHich surprised him for a moment or two, but, in game terms, with a Will of 14, a Mind of 9, and a Spirit of 12, he doesn't surprise very easily or for very long. He absently asked himself where the invaders would go...and the ring responded!

(This scene was a bit freeform. With Int 7, Will 14, Mind 9, Spirit 12 you can have a character adapt to just about anything in a few rounds. Which is good when acclimatizing yourself to a Green Lantern ring. Kishar Sen also notably lacked Hal Jordan's threshold of disbelief, as he was already in a civilization with flying vehicles, limited contact with other races, and probably psychics somewhere. So using the ring for flight wasn't too difficult. Its not like Hal spending the first day or so coming to terms with the fact that aliens exist and want to kill him, and then suddenly realizing that maybe fighting the bad aliens with the cool green ring might be a good idea.)

Using the ring as a homing device, he managed to track them to the city's space port...only to find that he was too late! There was massive destruction everywhere, but he found some surviving maitenance technicians.

Or so he thought. An intangible alien reached up through the ground as the technicians moved to flank him, and he realized that they weren't Go'Haran. They were...something else. His laser pistol proved useless against them, as the blast he shot through the one crawling up his legs was regenerated instantly. The alien clawed at the pistol, blowing it up and sending it reeling away from the light and heat, and Kishar Sen falling to the ground from the force.

(The shot would have worked better if I'd rolled at least an 11. I dropped a few Hero Points to the laser pistol's EV of 5, jacking it up to a 7. If I'd rolled an 11 I probably would have done at least a RAP or two. But it was a nice setup for some heroic caption/voiceover monolouging. It also gave me a good surprise round to smack one of them around with the ring. Oh, and here's another hint on the aliens: they hate fire. Catching on yet?)

Kishar Sen lay on the ground as the aliens regrouped and began to move closer to him to check if he was dead. The mauling of the alien on his legs, and the explosion of the gun, would have killed, or at least blinded, a normal biped. But Kishar Sen stood up. And he told them that this ended now. As he spoke, his hands clenched, as if trying to hold something that wasn't there. And then he thought green thoughts. And his thoughts became something. He created a green spear, and lashed out at the nearest alien, slicing clean through it and knocking it out on its protoplasmic ass.

Then the rest of them realized what had happened, and they turned yellow. But Kishar Sen was too bright to fall for that, and he herded them with a few well placed energy blasts, getting them into one group, ready to charge him...then he seemingly missed. A stray blast of energy went right over their heads, and as they moved to charge...a building fell on them. But after a few minutes...they got back up.


(This was a great scene. Alexander and I had the classic GL discussion for using the ring. "I'll create a sandstorm! No, I'll blow up the ground under them!" "No! Make a boxing glove!" "No, wait, I know! I drop a building on them!". So that's what I did: I grabbed a demolished piece of building and squashed them with it, thus handily getting around the yellow impurity. It was a nice attack. I jacked somewhere around 5 Hero Points into the EV on it, so that on a 9 I'd knock them all flat on their asses. I rolled a 15. They each took 16RAPs of damage, which would have turned a normal human into a thick, gooey paste. But Alexander and I both felt that was too anticlimactic a way to defeat them, so they got a second wind, which lets us start the next session off with a bang...and also gives me a week to think up cool ways to fight them. I still want to do a sandstorm, lol. This game fricking ROCKS!)

Tales of the Old Corps

Before the Guardians left the galaxy.
Before the death of Abin Sur.
Before Alan Scott bought his magic lantern.
Before all these things there was the Green Lantern Corps.
They were the light in blackest night.
They were the shining beacon of justice and hope in a universe frought with injustice and corruption.
These are their stories.

This is the blurb I'm using for the new DC Heroes game AlexanderLambert is running for me. Basically we had a long conversation a week or so ago about the big problems with the Shroud. Mainly the problem there is that I was playing a hero wasn't just two heroes in one (in that special Jason Blud/Etrigan way), but the big, powerful hero there was categorically nuts. Also, there was the problem that Alexander, no offense to him, isn't the greatest with magically centered games. He just doesn't have the same knowledge base to work off of that I do, so I'm always expecting a bit more than what happens.

So we came up with a game that we BOTH wanted to do. He wanted to run a high flying, near-four color, superhero action game. So we mulled over it for a while. We threw out a bunch of different ideas. I didn't really want to play in a game where the main point was trying to audition for the JLA. He didn't want to run a game set in the Batman: Beyond setting but as "The Question: Beyond", in a corruption frought futuristic Hub City (Alexander is an enormous Question fan, but didn't want to run such a dark game). But finally we settled on something that I'd always wanted to play, and would free him up from having to worry about continuity issues:

He was going to run a Green Lantern game. But not a game about GLs on Earth. Hal Jordan would never appear. Earth might well never be mentioned. No, this game takes place in an indetermined time long before the Corps as we know it today. Probably somewhere between two and eight hundred years prior to our current time.

We talked over the sort of character I wanted to play for a while. I wanted to play a bipedal alien who was a cop on his home world before he became a Green Lantern. Now, for fantasy and sci-fi settings, I love doing desert, Arabia-style worlds. I'm not big on Middle Eastern mythology, or Islam, but I just love the old architecture, especially in the huge kingdoms in Arabian Nights and that sort of thing. And thus Go'Hara, a remote desert world in a binary star system in Sector 1419 was created.

I worked out the DC Heroes stats for the race once we'd figured out the general climate of the planet. Since its hot, the alien race should, in appearence, reflect this. I wanted them to be definitly alien, so I decided that Go'Harans would all have bright red skin with a fringe of silver and yellow scales around the outline of their bodies. I also figured that their hair would range from stark white to platinum blond, with yellow eyes and triangular pupils. I further decided that they'd be very heat resistance, since their world was so hot, and thus would have Flame Immunity linked to their Body. Also, since there were two suns and three moons, it would always be pretty bright, so I decided that Go'Harans would also have Shade linked to their Body. I finally decided to add two finishing touches. Since they were so heat-based already, Thermal Vision seemed a natural choice. And finally, just to add a neat facet to their society, I gave them all Solar Sustenance 12.

What this meant was that Go'Harans are photosynthetic, for the most part. They can eat normal food, but they don't need to if they can get at least a few hours of sunlight each day. Linked with the hot climate, this suggested that there would be very little taboos against showing flesh. So their clothes would be very loose body wrappings that served mainly to be used to hold pockets and clip things to. Men and women would both wear loose, flowing pants, and women would have a simple wrapping over their breasts to keep the book from being rated R. From there there would probably be slippers of some sort to keep from tracking your feet through anything nasty, and after that all clothes would be purely functional to hold important objects.

Go'Haran society would be divided into houses and castes. Each city would be ruled by the matriarchs and patriarchs of its major houses, and there would be a global senate of appointed representatives of each city. Wars would be between houses and cities. The Go'Harans wouldn't travel much, but rather live in relative wealth and decadence on their own planet. I also decided that police officers would be without house or caste. They were either outcasts, disowned from their houses, or they voluntarily gave up their familial ties in the cause of justice. THey all, thus, would take on the surname "Sen" to represent this.

Thus Kishar Sen was born. History-wise, he is the son of one of the major ruling families in his city, served as an officer in the house army for a few years, and then forswore his family to become a cop.

The next post will talk about last night's session. It rocked. Big time.

Oh yeah, it's been decided that Kishar will be using Abin Sur's oath. Because I love it so much. You know the one.

"In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power:
Green Lantern's light!"

Friday, April 15, 2005

I think I want to cry

I'm watching an episode in the fourth season of The West Wing entitled "The Long Goodbye". It's basically picking up the plot from last season that CJ's dad has Alzheimer's.

The really sad thing is that his rapid decline and general way of acting reminds me very much of my own grandfather. The similarities are so striking that, I think, its finally getting to me just how far gone my grandfather is.

My grandfather was a genius. He was a member of MENSA. He has a letter from the British government stating that his efforts at Blechley Park and in the Pacific during World War II were instrumental in the Allies winning the war. He held some kind of director/management position with BC Hydro. He went skiing, he went fishing, he went hiking, and biking. He told some of the most interesting war stories I've ever heard. He knew so much. When my mother and I were clearing out his workshop we found blueprints, dozens of blueprints, for electrial devices.

And now he wears diapers. He shuffles along the coridoors of his nursing home. When I last saw him he was trying to shuffle through a window. Just shuffling into it until someone called his attention to it. The really sad part for me is that he still knows who I am. I wonder what goes on in his head.

And now I'm just being overly morose. I'm going to shut up now.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Written by a friend of mine, Ray Fawkes (one of the infamous "Traditions' 7"), MNEMOVORE #1 just hit the stands today. Read it. Enjoy it. Ray does a fantastic job of creating a psychological horror with a Lovecraftian edge. One guy over at Barbelith described it as being like "Memento on Lovecraft".

The great thing is that it's an indi comics writer breaking out. While I haven't read any of Ray's stuff in the Toronto comics scene, this book really makes me want to go out and pick some of it. Generally my interest in indi-comics is somewhere between about 0 and nil, probably because I'm a hypocritical bourgoise bastard who likes to spend one moment singing the praises of anarchy and the next thanking God that he has a job.

Anyway, listen. Go grab a copy of this book. If you read this blog, its probably the sort of stuff you'll enjoy.

And for those that know me, to go out and plug a comic on the evidence of a single issue is...well...somewhere between unprecedented and just plain weird.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Random observations

It is apparently that time of the month when all my cookies expire. I've been having to relog into my common haunts right and left. This is somewhat annoying.

On the upside, I'm told that Uncle Paul (aka Prime Minister Paul Martin [this is the same vein as "Uncle Sam"]) is sending me a wonderful GST refund cheque for some $100 or so, and I'm getting $200 in Futureshop gift cards thanks to trading in a few dozen thousand VISA points. I think I shall pick up the second Teen Titans DVD, the second season of La Femme Nikita, the first season of CSI, and probably the fifth season of Babylon 5. Alternativly, I could save up seventy bucks and buy the third season of Farscape. So many options.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

DC: The New Frontier

I'm normally a little skeptical about JLA-based Elseworlds. There have been a few, and I only ever really enjoyed Age of Wonders, and then because I am so damnably enamoured with Victorian England.

But New Frontier...god. It goes right back to the meat of what DC is about. It goes back to those long forgotten, halcyon glory days of the 1950s. It captures the innate heroism of the time without the goofy gimmicks forced upon the characters by the CCA. It's a comic about real people, and real heroes...real heroes who also happen to be superheroes. Its a world where Superman isn't just some idiotic boyscout, but someone who honestly believes in the ideals he upholds, and gives a glimpse that he doesn't just naievly trust the government...he's actually trying to change it from the inside. To be the microcosm of what he feels America should be. And Wonder Woman...a Wonder Woman who shows the two sides of the Greek goddesses she follows: she is both the motherly and protective Hera, and also the wise and battle-hardened Athena. And she doesn't buy into political BS anymore than Superman.

And Green Lantern. This is possibly the most human portrayel of Hal Jordan I have ever seen. He has...feelings, fears, hopes, dreams. His dissapointments seem more real, especially when you watch how much he struggles with things before he gets the ring. In my mind the only thing that would have made New Frontier better is if he had said the Oath. He makes a comment, as he charges his ring, that "I feel like I should say something heroic"...but I can imagine how Cooke would break up the panel structure for the Oath, to center on the climax at the words "Green Lantern's light!".

And the little cameos. Vandal Savage in a cell, ranting about knowing the secrets of a primordial horror. The Chief, talking science and strategy, presumably...but he never says a word in the panel in which he appears (though there is later a picture of him surrounded by the heads of Robotman and Negative Man, with Elastic-Girl's silhouette in the background). Doctor Magnus BEFORE he made the Metal Men.

And the final issue. Dear god. A speech by JFK, summing up, really, what it was to be a superhero back then. A real speech, but the art that Cooke applies to it is just perfect. The glimpses he offers of things to come are of a larger, brighter, fuller world of heroes, proudly marching into a new dawn, a new age, a new frontier where the world is there's to defend. Embracing their purpose. Embracing their duty.

I HIGHLY recommend DC: The New Frontier. Volume 2 came out last week. You can buy them both. Don't let the slightly simplistic art fool you. Yeah, its a bit closer to Mignola than it is to the regular JLA team...but it WORKS.

Also, I think I like the Challengers of the Unknown now. It helps that I actually understand now who the hell they are. Before I only knew them by the TPB title "The Challengers of the Unknown: MUST DIE!" (greatest TPB title EVER!).

Adventures in Time and Space, Transcribed in FUTURE TENSE!


Possibly my favourite radio program, Dimension X aired nearly half a century ago on NBC radio. This was quality programming. This was the radio version of The Outer Limits. Half hour, self contained radio dramas. Some were original, most were adaptations of classic science fiction stories.

Its amazing, to be honest. Its a look at how people thought the future was going to be, or imagined it being.

I have my good friend, Steve Illot, to thank for getting me into Dimension X. He got me some 40-60 broadcasts in MP3 format, and they're loaded into my iPod. I've been listening to them over the past few days. They're actually turning out to be a good way of measuring time, as each episode is roughly 23 minutes in length, and the change between them is noticeable. They're also something that can be turned on and left to play for a long while, without having to go back to the iPod's controls and toggle up a new album or artist.

Dimension X also introduced me to some weird moments in history. Like the episode that's interupted by the President declaring war on Vietnam (or possibly Korea, I'm pretty sure it was Vietnam). Or the 2 or 3 that are broken up by it being "National Wheaties Week". Yeah, that's right. Good, old fashioned radio advertisments. Cheesy, but amusing. God, I even know the Wheaties slogan ("Pick up a box, and see how Wheaties at 7 helps at 11"). I am a sad, sad individual.

An End in Sight

Remember when I said that I'd burned every CD I owned onto my iPod?

Memory has proved me a liar. By about 20 discs. I got home to Oakville today for a few days of job hunting, and discovered, lo and behold, that I had another 20 or so CDs that I hadn't managed to fit in my binders at university (but will be able to now, thanks to space restructuring). These included several discs I had assumed lost, such as the first disc out of the pair for Metallica & the San Fransisco Symphony Orchestra, which I had presumed lost YEARS ago. Also, my Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer. I know where my Pillows CD is as well. It's not here. It is somewhere else. But I think I know where it is.

With this in mind, I have much on my iPod now that I've never really listened to. I found that a friend had given me a disc with MP3s of multiple NIN, Smashing Pumpkins, and Tea Party albumns. I'd never even listened to the damn thing. Now I will.

As a parting thought: Cassettes took up less space than records. CDs took up less space than cassettes. CDs take up even less space out of their cases, as their cases account for something like a 400% increase in physical space used. For one CD and case, that's not much. For over a hundred, that's really something. I managed to reduce an overflowing box to a nearly empty box by just taking the front booklet/jackets out and chucking the cases.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Revision to the Way Down stories

I'm changing the title for the fourth installment of "Tales from the Way Down". I can't write a story about Glaistig coming after the Way Down crew yet. Its too soon. I've written the story three different times, I've saved all three, and none of them work write. I'm going to think up a different angle for this chapter.

Once again, anyone who wants to see the three previous stories can email me and I'll send them to you. They're amusing, but not what I'm looking for here. But they've given me some good ideas for characters, and I've refined Glaistig's appearence to the point where the words match the picture in my head. That's a step in the right direction at least...right?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

In a Place Rather Unlike Nevada

I saw Sin City. Wow. Words can't quite express the depth to which I am enamoured with this movie.

For one thing, the black and white seemed so natural. And the credit sequence...when the title goes up on the screen you feel like you're watching something old. The actors fit right into the style, to. Bruce Willis has always done hardboiled cops well, and he just seems to fit totally naturally into a black and white movie. The man's getting old, but he has style. And there are these artsy cuts that, man, take me right back to the sort of surreal setup shots that happen in the black and white movies I enjoy so much (unreal, big shadows cast through windows, other stuff that really sets the scene but has this edge of surreality to it).

It's not quite one movie, though. It's really three. The stories of Hartigan, Marv, and Dwight dovetail at times, but barely mesh. You could chop it into a couple 40 minute TV movies and it'd work just as well. Still...together it comes out nice.

Watching this, I can see why Miller wrote a good Batman. I'm not a big fan of Dark Knight Returns, but watching the movie, if its anything like the comics, you can see that Miller had a grasp of the sort of world that the Batman lives in. Basin City was essentially a Gotham sub-in with less costumes and more sleeze.

Now, I've heard from a friend that, apparently, in the comics Marv is some kind of telekinetic. Or maybe that was Dwight. Either way, watching the two handle themselves there's something innately superhuman there. Marv breaks down walls, cars, and people, mowing through them like they aren't there. He takes the sort of damage that normally has Bruce lying on his back in the Batcave feeling sorry for himself. And Dwight? My big question is: how far, exactly, did he fall off that building?

It's a dark, gritty movie that could be modeled decently with Adventure!. Give Marv Pile Driver and really low level Body of Bronze and watch him beat the crap out of the mooks.

By far, however, I found the creepiest character in the movie to be Kevin. Elijah Wood, not saying a word. Frodo gone bad. Wood recalling back to his days in The Good Son when he played another young psychopath. Kevin was by far the most incredible thing out of the movie, even discounting That Yellow Bastard's rather...unique...revivification. Claws, funky martial arts, cannibalism, and not saying a word? Just...creepy.

Additionally, her work here convinces me that Jessica Alba could be Doctor Angela "The Engineer" Spica in a movie version of The Authority.

Oh, and speaking of comic book movies, word has it that Robert Kirkman has been optioned off to adapt Invincible to the silver screen. Pray with me, brothers and sisters, to see Invincible beat down people in live action.

Friday, April 08, 2005

No more teachers, no more books

Had my last class this afternoon. I am now three exams away from finishing my second year of university. W007!

So now I work on putting together study guides. And I need to find a job in Oakville.

On the upside: in three months I go to England. HURRAH!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Some Delays on Way Down

For those that might have been up way too late, I put the fourth segment of "Tales from the Way Down" up last night for about 15 minutes, then promptly removed it. It featured the introduction of two new characters, Glaistig and Lady Vapour. I like both of them, visually at least. Galistig, I'm not sure whether she's an anti-hero or a straight out villain. Lady Vapour...I love her, visually speaking. She's got cool visuals, but she doesn't have the sort of hook that I want, and she was a bit too close to the 7r4d3m4rk stories for my taste. I've been trying to balance the Way Down stuff on the edge between Unknown Armies, Constantine, The Matrix, and my old 7r4d3m4rk stuff, but this slipped a bit too far over into the Matrix angle and away from the occult stuff. It also, notably, stopped using the setting as a character, which is something I was aiming for in the last few installments.

So, I'm going to rewrite. If people really want it, I'll email them the faux-fourth chapter, but I don't think I'll be posting it here.

Also, I'm taking down the Project Beowulf scripts. I finished reworking the first issue. I've got some friends doing some read throughs and edits on it now. I think I'm going to submit it.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Polar Bears: Next to Wolves, My Favourite Animal

"Apart from naps, polar bears sleep seven to eight hours at a stretch. In spring and summer, polar bears tend to sleep more during the day than at night."

I love these critters now. They're just like me, lol.

Plus...y'know...they're cute. But in a viscious, bite-off-your-fucking-arm-when-annoyed sort of way.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pontifex Maximus Mortus Est (or something to that effect)

Warning to Catholics: Blasphemy ahead

So...yeah. Everyone'll be talking about this, no doubt. I'm pretty sure the people in the White House are pissed at how this breaks their news cycle on the Terry Shiavo case.

What did I think of the Pope? I think he was a nice guy who could have done a lot of good but instead decided to play it safe and stick with the old rules. I think he had an enormous amount of power and influence and he could have brought the Catholic Church into the 21st century, but he felt more comfortable in the 16th.

At the same time...yeah. He was a nice guy. I think he genuinly wanted peace, and I think that he genuinly wanted everyone else to have peace as well.

I also think he should have retired a while ago. But I also respect the fact that he stayed at the job until his dying day. You gotta respect that dedication.

I hope that the new Pope is a bit more progressive. I know, it ain't gonna happen, but hey, a guy can dream.

What would I like to see the new Pope do? First off, avoid taking the name Pious or Innocent, because the Popes who take those names seldom come out well in the end. Secondly, kick the clergy in the seat of their pants and throw them kicking and screaming into the baptism of the new millenium. Upset tradition. Let women into the church in some fashion other than being covered in what's really only a few steps away from a burkah, and realize that maybe, just MAYBE, the God they worship who apparently loves all things equally wants to be worshipped equally. Also, perhaps understanding that being realistic about overpopulation is better than being wistful, and perhaps announcing the birth control is no longer a sin. To quote Anya, "and frankly, it's ludicrous to have these interlocking bodies and not... interlock."

(I once heard a figure from a prominent Catholic scholar that Earth could give a kilometer of land to everyone on the planet and support another few billion. I'm assuming he meant that this included colonizing the ocean, the Sahara desert, Antartica, and possibly some of the more hell-holish places in Siberia. At the same time, people need to realize that humans, being naturally greedy, highly social beings, like to clump together into cities, and steal and buy as much as they can. Which means that the world cannot support its current population forever...just look at Africa and Asia. Sure, their overall LANDMASS could support another few billion, but they don't even have the food to support they people they have now.)

Anyway, we shall see who gets elected Pope. I wonder if he'll be from North America. I somehow doubt it, but it could happen.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, April 01, 2005

April Fools...I pray

...Strict31 has given a calmer head and assured me that this was an April Fool's prank.

I can only pray.

Kill Them All

(From the Toronto Star)
"Bernie Mac's hip-hop version of 'As Time Goes By' brings back fond memories for Ashton Kutcher and Paris the updated remake of the classic, but dated, Casablanca."

Yes. Casablanca is dated. It's filed under "Classics". To be a considered a "classic" the thing HAS to be dated! That's the fucking POINT!

Hip-Hop version? The hell? Because an idiot, a slut, and a comedian, and hip-hop music, are SO much more indicative of what life was REALLY like in the 1940s! In Baghdad! So the movie's CALLED Casablanca...but it's not really IN Casblanca.

The ire rising within me knows few boundaries. I LOVE Casablanca. Next to Maltese Falcon it is my favourite Bogart movie of all time. This...shit...perverts it beyond reason.

And's the fucking highest rated movie I've ever seen in the Toronto Star! It got four fucking stars! FOUR! These people are idiots.

See title line.