Walter

Lame-O-Ween

It is now official, that I need to do something cool for Halloween next year. Seriously.

My Halloween consisted of me working late, buying a 2 liter of diet coke at the corner store, noting that I had forgotten to put up any of my halloween decorations, and then falling asleep in my chair around 9:30 PM. It was one of those weeks (and having a really nasty cold didn't help).

I did get to see some drunken college kids on the T Saturday night (apparently that's when all the Boston Halloween parties went down), including the "Other Super Friends", a lesser known crime fighting team consisting of (Christian Bale/Dark Knight) Batman, Eminem, and (circa 1989) Flavor Flav.

I also finished reading Stephen King's "Danse Macabre", which was not so much about writing as it was about Steve-o's view on horror novels and movies. I was hoping for more insight on horror psychology and less of a history lesson, but he does make some good points, tells some great Harlan Ellison stories, and reminded me that I am really behind on Robert Bloch and Fritz Leiber. Like, 30+ years. I read a lot (and I mean, a lot) of classic sci fi and horror novels growing up, completely tapped out the Science Fiction and Horror short story compilation directories of three different libraries, and developed the impression that I had made my way through the "classic" stuff and well into the crap strata, but somehow I missed most of Stephen King's personal favorites on the way down. I definitely need to work on that.
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Walter

Japanese curses are no fun

I haven't really had time to do much for Halloween this year, but I did dig up a classic horror movie on youtube.

Noroi ("The Curse") is sort of the Japanese cousin of the Blair Witch Project. But rather than shaky-cam footage of darkness and bitchy campers, it is presented in "Incomplete Documentary" form, with archival films, home movies, interviews with crazy homeless people, and even clips from cheesy daytime TV shows... Mundane, amateurish, or even tedious in parts, it represents the unedited footage that an investigative reporter left behind before he mysteriously disappeared.

But viewed together, in sequence, a lot of small, very disturbing details start to come together. What initially come across as random clips of bad Japanese television become suggestions of very horrible, unseen, and strangely related events. As it was left incomplete by the (missing) author, there's no overarching narrative, so you're left with the comments he makes "live" during his interviews, and a lot of reading between the lines... Which makes it a little hard to follow at times, but much more disturbing when you start to make the connections.

It's fairly long, and cut up into little chunks on YouTube, but the first couple of parts will give you a good idea of whether it's your kinda party.

Part 1 ... Part 2 ... Part 3 ... Part 4

Part 5 ... Part 6 ... Part 7 ... Part 8

Part 9 ... Part 10 ... Part 11 ... Part 12


There are only a handful of special effects, and they're pretty subtle; Mostly it's about details and sounds, at least until things really start getting weird. And as a lot of the really terrible stuff happens off camera, it's not that disturbing... Unless you have a good imagination, and a talent for filling in blanks and question marks with horrible things, in which case it's pretty awful.
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Walter

At The Other Mountains Of Madness

Just in time for halloween... Scientists are getting ready to check out what some (Halloween Spirited) news outlets are referring to as the Antarctic Mountain Range that shouldn't be there.

Not to be confused with the fictional Mountains Of Madness described in H.P. Lovecraft's story, which coincidentally are also in Antarctica, and also should not exist.

Now for the real question... While it seems clear that they "Were not meant to be", is it also true that mankind is "Not meant to know" about them? Scientists hope to find out real soon!
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    amused
Prince Of Sky

un-LOST

I just came back from a week long vacation spent many, many miles off the coast of Maine, and didn't even see a computer for a good six days or so, not counting my cell phone. Which, despite all expectations to the contrary, did kinda work from out there (at least in clear weather, on certain sides of the Island.)

Some of the highlights from my crappy phone camera:

Stormy SkiesOn the way outFun With DucksKite-tasticAn Evening on White HeadAn Evening on White Head Snake and SarahDouble HorizonSunset from the LighthouseSeal LedgesPropellering Home

And more on my Flickr stream.
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    relaxed
:(

Tricked again... and again.... and....

Um.... Thanks, guys. I guess.

My LiveJournal Trick-or-Treat Haul
tenth goes trick-or-treating, dressed up as Richard Stallman.
alistairenix tricks you! You get a dead frog.
asmenoth tricks you! You get a block of wood.
cyli tricks you! You get a rock.
glyf tricks you! You get a toothbrush.
hesterwild tricks you! You get a dead frog.
hippygoth tricks you! You get a 3.5-inch floppy disc.
ladygwyn tricks you! You get an eraser.
lilin gives you 16 purple orange-flavoured pieces of chewing gum.
mirthness tricks you! You get a clothespin.
murphyzlaw tricks you! You get a wad of paper.
tenth ends up with 16 pieces of candy, a dead frog, a block of wood, a rock, a toothbrush, a dead frog, a 3.5-inch floppy disc, an eraser, a clothespin, and a wad of paper.
Go trick-or-treating! Username:
Another fun meme brought to you by rfreebern.
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    amused
Walter

4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

Has it really been four editions? It seems like it wasn't all that long ago that I bought a briefcase full of weird books at a yard sale for like ten bucks... Weird ass books that proclaimed they would let me explore a world of poorly drawn and garishly colored critters and become a legendary hero, at least in my own mind and those of anyone else fortunate(?) enough to attempt to figure out the rules with me.

D&D has come a long way since then, and it's been especially interesting to consider how they'd top 3rd Edition, which was a complete reimagining of almost everything we had grown familar with over the years. Well, it's here... Or it will be, next week. But the first major release of 4th Edition is Adventure H1 (yay for module codes!), more commonly referred to as "Keep On The Shadowfell".

And if this is any indication of what we can expect from 4th Ed products, then it seems that WotC has finally gotten their tabletop RPG act together. In addition to the 80 page glossy color magazine-style adventure book, it also includes a 16 page pamphlet of quick-start 4th Edition rules, five premade adventurer characters, and three large double-sided poster style maps, covering six major areas of the adventure. The maps are notably also glossy and in color, with detailed, painted backgrounds and an overlaid grid with subtle indications of walls, inclines, and difficult terrain. While there are no rules for character advancement, each premade adventurer has annotations for the abilities they gain at second and third level, covering all the levelling that's expected to occur during the module.

Adventure H1: Keep on the Shadowfell
Click here for all the glossy colory goodness (on my crappy cell camera)


"Keep on the Shadowfell" is a pretty decent introduction to what we have come to expect from an adventure for character levels 1-3... No dragons, yet, but there are certainly some dungeons, minor but vicious monsters to beat the crap out of, a small town, some NPC villagers, some totally over the top Indiana Jones style traps, a few (not very tricky) puzzles, and of course the big nasty villain from the cover of the box.

The overall presentation is great; The two books and three maps come inside a cardboard sleeve decorated in the style of an (extremely thin) dark, leather bound tome. The books themselves are decorated to match the design on the sleeve, and it looks great together, even after the postal service folded mine in half and jammed it into my tiny mailbox. The cover is a fine piece of artwork, though somewhat of a spoiler for the plot... However, it also portrays some things that don't happen/appear in the adventure, so whatever. It may just be the inflation talking, but 96 pages of gaming stuff, three maps, and enough 4th Edition rules to start playing the "new D&D" seems like a pretty good deal for under $20.

(EDIT: Apparently it has been too long since I actually paid money for a module; The general consensus is that they did an incredibly cheap printing, at least in terms of the paper and binding. I guess I'm dating myself, RPG module-wise, by being impressed that everything was in color. But media quality aside, it does still look nice.)

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    Clutch - The Devil And Me
Walter

Beyond The Fountains Of Varnoth

If you are even vaguely familiar with Heavy Metal (the movie, or the publication, or with questionable late 70's early 80's pulp sci fi in general), then you will most likely get some serious lawls from this South Park clip.

It's kind of a long story... The kids have discovered that you can get high from sniffing cat pee (okay, short story) but the resulting hallucination sequence is pretty goddamned classic regardless.
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    Don Felder - Heavy Metal