Wednesday, November 30, 2005

First draft DONE

5000 words, counting foot notes.

This assignment is the largest I've written for a class. It's also really useful to me becuase it is, for all intents and purposes, the jumping off point for working on a full on treatment for ASCENT.

Yeah, I took one of my comic book ideas and changed it a little to fit it into the assignment.

This is good, actually, because ASCENT is by far one of the stranger and more complex settings I've worked out. Its also got a lot of actual science in it. Its all about astronauts, theoretical physics, space ships, and blatantly abusing the laws of physics.

The funny thing is that the only time I actually quote anything in the paper is the two quotes from JFK's Rice Stadium "Moon Speech". One is the famous "We choose to go to the moon". The other begins with "We sail on this new sea". Honestly, that speech has some GREAT quotes for a story about space travel.

I tried to find a compartivly useful Bush quote about space travel. Bush's speeches look so much better on paper. But alas, there wasn't much to use. So I stuck with JFK. Still a classic.

The first third of the paper is just narrative giving a brief history. The rest of it is all quotes from people involved with the incident, and foot notes. LOTS of footnotes. About a thousand words worth of footnotes. Yes...a 5th of my paper is foot notes.


“Have you ever wondered how weird it is that we can put ship that goes faster than light into space…and we STILL can’t cure the common cold?"

Monday, November 28, 2005

Bibliography for my Science Fiction & Fantasy (ENG237) final project

Just to give you an idea of all the sources I am drawing on for my 3000+ word "World Building" assignment. Some of the stories and novels are for concepts that I have to tie back into the class.

Macguire, Gregory. Wicked. New York: ReganBooks-HarperCollins, 1995.

Chiang, Ted. “Understand.” 1991. Stories of Your Life and Others. New York: Orb, 2002. 45-92.

Chiang, Ted. “The Evolution of Human Science.” 2000. Stories of Your Life and Others. New York: Orb, 2002. 241-244.

Chiang, Ted. “Story of Your Life.” 1998. Stories of Your Life and Others. New York: Orb, 2002. 117-178.

Okorafor-Mbachu, Nnedi. “When Scarabs Multiply.” So Long Been Dreaming. Ed. Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004. 70-78

Koboyashi, Tamai. “Panopte’s Eye.” So Long Been Dreaming. Ed. Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004. 95-106.

Delany, Samuel R. Dhalgren. New York: Vintage Books, 2001.

Ellis, Warren. Orbiter. New York: DC/Vertigo, 2003.

Millis, Marc G. “Challenge to Create the Space Drive.” Journal of Propulsion and Power 13.5 (1997): 577-682. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. < >.

“Ideas Based On What We’d Like To Achieve”. Gleen Research Centre. Ed. Kathleen Zona. 1 July 2005. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 23 Nov. 2005. < >.

“Majestic-12”. 26 Nov. 2005. < >.

“Majesty-12.” Wikipedia. 26 Nov. 2005. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 26 Nov. 2005. < >.

“Area 51”. Wikipedia. 25 Nov. 2005. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 26 Nov. 2005. < >.

Justice, Daniel. “Lecture 2”. ENG237H1F: Science Fiction & Fantasy. University of Toronto. 29 Sept. 2005.

Kennedy, John F. “Rice Stadium Moon Speech.” Rice Stadium, Houston. 12 Sept. 1962.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

"I'm going to be very ashamed of you if that wafer is load-bearing."

Have I mentioned John Allison's Scary-Go-Round before?

No? Go read it. Its much with the laughin' and the sassin'. And the sammiches. It's damn hilarious, especially after being in England this summer and thus actually UNDERSTANDING some of the culturally specific jokes.

Go back and start from the beginning. Then you will know the glory of all 26 chapters. And the scheming, stinging underwater trickery of the Portugese Man-o-war.

And don't forget the flying scorpion. It flies, it stings, it sometimes sings.

Second Snow of the Season

We're getting some decent snowfall tongiht. One person I heard said that we're getting between 10 and 12cm, which is encouraging. You all know how much I love snow.

Just thought you might want to know about that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Greatest Hero of Canada and Her Other, Lesser, Allies


Decoder Ring Theatre produces the fine tales of Canada's greatest masked mystery man in his neverending battle against the criminal elements of the fair city of Toronto!

How could you NOT love a show that begins with a six-episode mini-series about the hero in WWII, kicking the ass of Nazi villains like the seemingly immortal Baron Otto Pilot, the cheerfully neurotic Dorothy Dynamite, or the oily Dr. von Slick?

Not sold yet? Wait, there's more!

An babbling Prime Minister Mackenzie King, reduced to a childlike state of idiocy by a prototype German insanity ray! Here's a little bit of obscure Canadiana: PM King talked to his dog, Sparky. Well, in the Red Panda, Sparky talks back! In fact, he talks back to command the glorious Allied forces of the top secret Panda Division!, led by the bravest of the brave, truest of the true, the RED PANDA!

After the WWII series, the Red Panda heads to the streets of Toronto in guise of a wealthy man-about-town with his trusty drive/sidekick, in her guise of The Flying Squirrel.

The Red Panda didn't come back to a city run by the enemies of the Spider or the Shadow, though. No, like the mythical aviator G-8 and the stalwart soldier of virtue, Doc Savage, the Red Panda has brought his Weird War home with him! Between the supernatural catburglar known as The Sphynx, the terrors of Professor Zombie, and the superspeed thief, the Jackrabbit, the Red Panda has his work cut out for him! Only his brilliant technological talents, his uncanny skill with the art of hypnotism, and the timely assistance of the Flying Squirrel allow him to combat these threats!

Look out, evil, here comes...


Neither the Bard nor Chasing the Muse are affiliated in any way, shape, or form with Decoder Ring Theatre. He's just an innocent pulp geek who's getting his radio fix. Cut him some slack.

They Got the Mustard Out!

AlexanderLambert let me load his "Once More, With Feeling" CD onto my iPod. It ROCKS! Gotta say that "Going Through the Motions", "Rest in Peace", and "Walk Through the Fire" are probably by favourite songs on there. James Marsters is as surprisingly good singer. He loses his rather awful Cockney accent, but still...the guy's a damn good actor, I gotta say.

One of my Firefly players is a musician. I may try to convince Matt to compose a little opening song to the game. That'd rock.

Updates (since its been more than two weeks since the last)

Foreign Visitors

AlexanderLambert (from Productive Nihilism) came up last week to stay at my place for a week whilst avoiding his job. It was pretty good. He's like a good luck charm when it comes to LARP, as my LS Gangrel Inquisitor, Justin Mercier, FINALLY tracked down some dangerous rogue ghouls and stripped all their military hardware off them, and the infamous Master Craftsman Herr Doktor Innis Dupoir Nachteltaffen was able to secure a volcano fortress island along with legions of molemen minions (the scene started with Innis waking up to a giant amchine screaming "I am the UNDERMINER!")...anyway...

I introduced Alexander to a few movies I had kicking around, including The Boondock Saints, while he showed me Videodrome. All hail the new flesh.

And, in addition to having him read damn near my entire TPB collection (including all five books of Invincible, three of Noble Causes, two of Gotham Central, Superman: Secret Identity, Ex Machina, Jack Staff, Ultra, and PS238), I talked him into buying the four-book nWoD corebook set (World of Darkness, Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening). Which shall be of much amusement.


Had Mage LARP character creation (mark 2) on Sunday. Now, I already made my Mage and got him sanctioned for play over in Hamilton. Doctor Sir Martin Emmanuel Blackhall, aka Kepler, Free Council Obrimos. I'm even putting together a Global Frequency-style Free Council group called The Global Symposium, which is open to all Camarilla Free Council PCs.

I'm REALLY psyched for this. Yeah, its sad, I'm psyched to play a 60+ year old English Astrophysics professor.

Phone Book Zombie Updates

I'm working on a 44-page script adaptation of the full length PBZ short story, "Delivery", that I submitted to the ZombieAid charity e-zine this summer, but it apparently didn't make it. So...rather than reediting and then resubmiting to another magazine, I'm writing it into a comic book. Why? Because...

...I'm in talks with an artist ATM. Not sure how much I can really say, but it started when I showed him the scripts for the original two page PBZ strip, and the three page Excelsior fragment. He loved them. This guys art is just outstanding, and he seems really psyched about the whole project.

I'm about a quarter of the way through the script right now and I'm really happy with it. Its got a really dynamic feel to it, like some of my early work on Project: BEOWULF. As much as I love SUICIDE YAKUZA, its a very static book (at least the first issue is).

I'm really looking forward to seeing where this all goes. I have high hopes. It has a potential to open a lot of doors.

That's Artist #1. I met a rather nice girl down at the comics shop the other day (don't look at me like that, she's 16...god, you people) who is one of the best amateur manga artists I've seen. Seriously. Her work is really nifty. She expressed a certain amount of interest in "Unnamed Super-Western" that I've been tossing around. Unsure of where that's going to go. Probably nowhere. But there is always hope.

That is all for now, mortals!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Romantic Musings 10

We had a presentation by a friend of the prof’s on “Romanticism and Painting”. This probably would have been useful to me…if I hadn’t gotten the same lecture back in OAC art.

Errr…and there was other stuff. Like the fact that the “handout” she gave us was straight out of the same textbook I used in OAC (grade 13). Or the fact that I’m relatively sure I know WAY more about “The Oath of Horatii” than was presented in the lecture.

So what was I doing during the lecture? I was on my wireless card, surfing Wikipedia, looking up every artist and painting she brought up so I could get a decent resolution look at them (I hate slide projectors). I’d forgotten how much I loved Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People”. It’s a NICE painting. Lady Liberty in the middle, with this kid with a pair of pistols on one side and a middle-class looking gentleman with a rifle on the other. It’s a powerful painting, one that really brings up the spirit of the French Revolution rather than its rather messy reality.

I like “The Oath of Horatii”, though. It’s a father holding three swords to his sons who are about to go off and fight for Rome. They reach out to swear an oath on the swords in the service of the State while the women against the back wall cry. It’s a very solid example of three-piece composition. The sons, the father, and the women. The lines are very straight with a lot of strong verticals, which suggest the strength of and solidity, not to mention the static moment-in-time feel, of this solemn moment.

Thank you, Karl Mustoe. I still actually remember most of my art history. And they say you forget all about high school.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Romantic Musings 9

I was going to respond to Blake, then I realized that last week I was supposed to directly respond to “Dejection: An Ode” by Coleridge.

So I’m responding to that instead.

It didn’t satisfy me. Most of it, at least. I found that it dragged on, and that dragging on meant that some of the really good lines or sets of lines were overshadowed by the weight of the poem. Stanza 6 is one of the redeeming qualities of the poem, though.

Stanza 6 speaks back to the Blake poem-essays I’m studying for my final paper. “My shaping spirit of Imagination” is a powerful and suggestive line, and really speaks to the Poetic Genius. This is shown as innate in the poet, but something that grief can strike down. This really speaks to me, not sure why.

But at the same time the stanza is defeated by the sheer density of the poem. Its just too weighty for me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Holiday Malaise

A funny thing happened to me last Tuesday.

Halloween was just over, and the big, trendy, super-expensive mall behind Il Posto already has its Christmas decorations up.

And Chapters-Indigo is pumping out Christmas carols.

It's not even the halfway through November, people! Show a little frelling restraint!

Chasing The Muse turns 1

I've been blogging for just over a year now.


Classical Musings 8

Ah, Kubla Khan. My FAVOURITE Coleridge poem of all time. THIS is the good stuff. I have to say that Coleridge is one of my favourite Romantic poets.

What I find really interesting is that the impetus for the poem came from a dream he had. Well either that or when he was high on opium. I guess it may well have been hard to tell the difference. Either way its interesting to see poetry used as a sort of dream journal.

Kubla Khan just really gets me. Its beautiful. What I really remember, though, is the last few lines.

“And all should cry, Beware! Beware
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a ring around him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.”

It’s a really powerful verse, but its weird and kind of incongruous with the rest of the poem. It almost suggests that Kubla Khan within Xanadu is some sort of demon that needs to be contained, or perhaps that the poet is the power behind Xanadu, the creative force of Kulba Khan, and so references “the milk of Paradise” and suggests that the poet is almost a Bacchic cultist, which I find really neat. Probably because I’m also a Classicl Civ major, and I love seeing the two meet.

Big Damn Podcast and the Big Damn RPG

(take 2, since last time Blogger AGAIN killed my post)

I'm not really a big fan of podcasts. Really the only one I ever used to listen to was Warren Ellis' Superburst Mixtapes, which weren't really podcasts at all but just music compilations availible online that Warren was kind enough to assemble from some of his favourite indie bands.

But lately I've been listening a lot, nigh on obsessivly, to the Firefly/Serenity podcast The Signal, the big damn podcast about all things Firefly.

Now, I'm a big fan of the TV show and the movie, as most of you ought to know by now, so it should come as no surprise that a podcast about my favourite sci-fi TV show (tied with Farscape) should instantly make it to my favourites list. I'm a devoted Brown Coat. Ergo...yeah.

I unforunatly came to the Signal late, after its 14th episode, and thus I wasn't able to really get into the major social activities surrounding it that involved its rise to fame on Podcast Pickle and Podcast Alley, or the massive guerilla marketing campaign. The first season is now over, ended at episode 16, along with three or four "special edition" episodes. Its well worth the read. It's hella shiny, serious da bein wah. They have a bunch of interviews ("big damn interviews"), and some great little segments on things like the food of Firefly, and "How to Speak Chinese". These folks went ping ming with this show, and it shows. These are some serious dedicated Brown Coats.

Thankfully Les and Kari (the hosts) have said that they're going to put together a second season, probably sometime in February. I'm hoping for the first week, becuase it would make an excellent birthday present.

On a related topic, if you haven't picked up a copy of Margaret Weis' Serenity Roleplaying Game, then go out now. Right damn now. Its the big damn RPG of the year (well...except Mage, my Mage fandom outweighs my Firefly fandom by just a bit in terms of RPGs). The system is very, very slick, relativly quick and clean, and everything really makes sense. The ONE thing, and really the only thing, that I dislike in the book is that their ship building rules are all based on weight and mass, and are just too damn complicated.

I'm going to be running a Serenity game soon, so I'll probably begin reports on just how the big damn adventures are going. Got some great players lined up for it, all of whom know a decent amount about the show. I have high hopes.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Romantic Musings 7

Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I haven’t read it since high school. It brings back fond memories. It’s a great poem, really fun, really evocative. Just beautiful.

It also brings back shameful memories of the horrible ballad I wrote for my high school English class. We shall not speak about it. It was written in Lotus Wordpro, and thus is untranslateable on this computer. We are all so very, very glad. I remember writing an 800 word essay on the occult imagery in the poem. I now understand that that essay was all bunk. All hokum. All bullshit. I was a lot stupider back in high school.

Actually, come to think of it, I think I studied it back in first year as well. I did not write a stupid essay on it, though. And very possibly second year as well. This poem is fucking haunting me!

It really IS a cool poem. The imagery is great, and the whole idea of it is really neat. I wish we saw more poetry like this today.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Huh. Neil Gaiman made a movie. And a damn good one at that.

It's creepy, and moody, and very, very good. Very surreal. The mix of computer animation, pupeteering, claymation, artwork, and real actors is quite nifty. The whole dichtomy of things was cool.

It really reminded me of his novel Coraline. More specifically the Black Queen reminded me quite a bit of the Other Mother, right down to offering her new clothes to replace her old rags, and as much ice cream as she can eat.

The idea of the mix between Helena's two personalities was cool. The fact that her Black Country (or whatever it was called) opposite was "anti-Helena" was also quite funny. But it was true. She was a literal, rather than metaphorically, interpretation of the girl with the curl in the middle of her head. At her core, Helena is an essentially good character. Anti-Helena is rotten and spoiled and essentially bad, but not really evil. Really the two characters are Nurture over Nature.

Valentine was a nifty character who's roguish shades-of-grey personality was wonderfully illustrated with his mask and costume. If you notice, his costume and mask are equal parts black and white. He was just a damn fun character, though his outfit and mask kept reminding me of Stark from Farscape (which I've been watching LOTS of since my third season arrived last week).

I'll grab it when it comes out on DVD. Saw it at the only Canadian cinema showing it. If you can, go see it. Its well worth it.