Monday, October 31, 2011

I've got a feeling...

Well it's Halloween and outside of some music videos and purchasing a dozen of bags of candy, I am not participating in the festivities, except at work. Still I will celebrating soon enough at the Carnage Convention in New Hampshire, and my second big party of the year. Because lordheads know that I have so many, but this one really sticks out.

And as guy who that has to work most what everyone else calls a the "real" Holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and new Years; this upcoming event is kind of my Winter holidays. That is until Elvismas, January 8th, which is the birth of the real new year after all.

Happy All Saints' Celebrations folks.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I Declare War on the BBC and Marriage.

Did I forget to mention that NPR has made my list as well?... Okay one crisis at a time here.

Sure the Kenyans sent troops into neighboring Somali around the da
y of its release. All for it, I dislike the name Al-Shabob as much as I dislike Shirai Law. Fine, police are provoking riots in Oakland. Okay, I get it, somethings take precedence. But Elder Tunnels Halloween 2012 has been out for two weeks now, and neither the BBC or NPR has mentioned this earth-shaking event. While sales and response have increased a bit from last year's at this time, I expected to be living on a remote Island in the India Ocean by January off of the profits. Instead I have to do shameless plugs in my blog... sigh.

Thursday was Pery's Birthday, and I was sweating about what to do to make her day special. Couldn't do much financially. Monk and K-Bell got married in-between GenC
on in August and the Carnage Convention this upcoming week. Then the was the release of that rag that I mentioned above. And it happens to be re-cert time for a couple classes required for my profession, which I love despite my avoidance of thinking about it. Needless to say, my OT has had to be spent elsewhere. But we're married, so I just felt obliged to do something. So Wednesday night and Thursday night at work, I concocted the most ill-conceived Birthday party ever. At home in the AM, I FaceBooked a few people, as well as invited my partner, Em, Pery's unofficial son, about a party at our usual hangout The Old Angle. I then freed up $30 bucks for a cake, and wallah instant awkward get-together. The place was crowded, because I suppose no one else in Ohio City has a job on Fridays, and there was only Larry behind the bar and on the floor. We had to sit in "the Castle" which usually isn't lit. About six people shuffled in, out of eight invited (not bad), but not many stuck around longer than 45 minutes and it was taking 40 minutes to get any service. Em stuck around for dinner, and Pery seemed happy with her new toys from the Amazing Spiderman cake that I had purchased. But if I hadn't been married, and if it wasn't for Monk's marriage, I wouldn't be so damned broke or have a canker sore from the damned cake icing.
Okay it since it's Halloween, my first, or second, or sometimes fourth, favorite holiday time, I figured I'd mention some of the better scary movies that might not register on most people's radars. Call it Kopfy's Kamera Kampy, err Obscura, err Obskura. Oddly enough there are some zom
bie movies, despite my rule "A little bit of zombies or pirates goes a loooooong way."

Dead Heist- This urban horror is definitely a Sasquatch (on a scale of Smurf to Godzilla). While I do like me some Krimi flix, what I especially like how it gets over the End-of-the-World and comes up with a way to end the zombie invasion. Not to spoil too much, but soccer shin guards are essential!

The Horde- Once again an urban horror with the trappings of a Krimi flik, but this time in French. Don't you feel cultured? This one is a King Kong. Just the scene on on the roof of the project building makes this film worth the watch, and there is a whole lot more.

And then there's Hisss- Imagine Cat People meets Bollywood. This movie is so quirky that you have to like it. Of course Pery got jealous of the hot woman I couldn't help but gawk at. Between a Sasquatch and Robo-Monster, but definitely merits a bowl of popcorn.

And so now comes Continuing Education credits... sigh, homework.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fantasy Movies are Supposed to be Bad.

Scott Malthouse, usually a keen observer of the universe of the fantastic, has it wrong this week over at the Trollish Delver, where he states, to paraphrase, the first D&D movie is the best ever. Where he is wrong, besides just being ironic for satire's sake, is that the movie Dungeons and Dragons is the last of good old fashioned bad fantasy flix on the silver screen. The following year, big budget block-busters would pull the rug out on decades worth of low budget productions by Italian producers combing gyms and researching issues of Penthouse for their short list of stars.

It might've been the same year as the 2000 release of D&D, but when Russel Crow co-opted the sword and sandals drama, he and his gang destroyed decades of hard work by producers of some of the weirdest movies of all time, swords and sandal dramas (sometimes confused with the Toga and Torches sub-genre). Directors such as Umberto Scarpelli and even Cecil B DeMill took the success of the Biblical dramas and turned them on their heads to produce tales with scores of lush olive skinned women and an over oiled body-building man, with a few guys running around in Centurion armor. While Gladiator was about as coherently written as classics like say Goliath versus the Vampires, Ridley Scott just turned the whole thing into schmoltzey face time for a few actors, ignoring the basics.

And then the next year came my now most hated fantasy movie series ever, the Lord of the Rings series, that rejected every precedent of sword and sorcery films, by not having the characters wander over a 300 meter block of woods with a scrap wood city built in a nearby streambed, but instead making action packed video game trailer, with silly romantic interludes for the bored wife dragged into the theater and finally plenty of Man-Boy Love Association promos for the pudding eating critics. And what one got was Peter Jackson's wife's take on what would Liv Tyler, Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom do if they ever got Viggo Morgensen alone, with snowboarding. Gone, from then on, are the days of Deathstalker and Hawk the Slayer, for long lasting scenes of Gandalf and Frodo staring at each while, while Bilbo glowers. Samwise and Gollum are in a flat out cat fight throughout the last flik of this overdone soap opera.

And from there it has only gotten worse. The Christians and the established anti-Christians began their fantasy movie wars against each other with Hollywood video-game trailers of their takes on The Chronicles of Narnia and His Dark Materials, respectively. Definitely no adult movie entertainers or former Playboy models in either of those two franchises. A bit more amusing has been the Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling and Terry Prachet adaptations here and there. Each showing that others can stand on the shoulders of both Clive Barker and the master JRR Tolkien to craft "new angles" in writing essentially teen fiction for the new millennium film media and have tens of million of fans without having ten fans that ever read a book. These efforts would give the Vampire subgenre a true and authentic message when crass and badly produced CGI masterpieces would soon be bombarded on the mass viewing audiences throughout the world.

Now I am not saying that any of these new takes on fantasy should be any different than they are. Believe me in ten years time, they will appear to a new crop of viewers as bad as Krull, The Odyssey with Armand Assante or Legend. What I am saying is that fantasy fliks need to stop trying to appeal to everyone at every age group all at once, well more accurately in the same flik.

As an example of a producer/director getting this axiom, I have, with much chagrin, George Lucas. This lover of midgets, seems to have understood this in his prequels of Star Wars. The first was a cartoon, with a couple adult scenes designed for the parents who could not talk about sex around their 10 year-old. Second is for 14 year-olds, the parents are still there but having a beer at Chilis at the other end of the mall. The third is flat out a 15-19 year old melodrama, who can himself to and from home-- or in Kevin Smith's case, a 40 year-old who's mother is still willing to come pick him up. But in making fantasy movies, it shouldn't be an over-funded "art school" project, released a decade after graduation, that shows an understanding the basics of photography with film production and a knowledge of Stanly Kubric films and the Flash Gordon serials. And this project should not turn into a psycho-social experiment in how much money one can squeeze out various markets over three decades... But I am diverging here.

A fantasy flik on the silver screen these days could attempt to be not "family-friendly" by not not saying the word "fuck, while providing graphic images of blood and gore for a PG-13 crowd, and it would find fans. Even if the project would not get mega-market release in all the affluent suburbs of the USA, Canada, the UK, France and the Ukraine all at midnight of the same day, and Alan Dean Foster or Michael Stackpole writing the novel-- mostly because the novel was already written!

Luckily there is the Scy-Fy channel which keeps the flix about the character types and finding the actors that can quirkily fit them. I speak of my favorite fantasy flix of late The Knights of Blood Steel and Dark Kingdoms. This leaves the family-friendly stuff for network TV, like the upcoming Once Upon a Time (how clever) and Grimm.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sitting by the presses

And so Peryton and I sit tonight. We think CCrabb will be sending the Halloween issue of E-Tunn to us this evening, so after watching too many episodes of Star Trek Deep Space Nine after dinner we've moved to our traditional places at the computers doing much of nothing. Pery did get the cover ready, a nice piece by Jeff Cortez, who did the last issue's cover as well. Of course, back in August I set the release date at 15.Oct, so I wouldn't be surprised if it takes until tomorrow.

Been researching a lot of 1970s over the past year, mostly for something called "Nixon World" for a very niche audience, a group in Arizona that actually plays Ken St Andre's PowerTrip superhero RPG. This project has taken in two directions. There is the rather sci-fi'ish conspiracy aspect, which the Trollgod talked about that started the thing. And then the notes I am taking make from the actual history is making some good background for a realistic, well somewhat, espionage background for a game like Mercenary, Spies and Private Eyes, Top Secret or what has one. So once again on another lark (a lark from lark hee!) I outlined an MSPE scenario for Carnage coming real soon called "The Wrong Side of History" in which characters play PCs that resemble Carlos "The Jackal" Martinez, Gudrun Ensslin and a few other of the losers of the Cold War. Their KGB contact has been something of a hoot in writing up, a Pavel Moskin. I made him a one time fighter pilot during the Korean War, one of the "secret" ones who flew for North Korea. So now all I have to do is remember how to play MSPE again, I do have the book. I'll relearn it when I format the scenario after I flesh it out. With "Wrong Side" I decided not to go with WHAP! because I need to totally rework the game, to make it fun for me run. Too things going there, and not as efficient as I feel a T&T derivative rules system should be.

And for anyone that is awaiting the Powder Punk project, that is still coming along nicely. The spells, this is a fantasy game after all, are taking a while to write up, as they aren't your typical one spell does one thing. The spells are more like learned rituals, multiple spells occur in a single one, depending on a person's attributes. I think it's a nice way of showing how the magic is slipping off the world, but still have enough for plots about witches and witchhunters to be fun and not political treatises on the suppression of feminism throughout history.

Well CCrabb is on-line, wahoo she's getting the magazine ready.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

And Carnage will ensue

Working a lot of overtime this season, to pay for Elder Tunnels publication and Monk and K-Bell's wedding present. But it looks like it'll be an easy task to have enough cash to make our yearly trek to Vermont to make the Carnage gaming convention. And despite the increased fatigue, the creative juices are flowing.

One thing about working in the day, is that I get to see Cleveland and environs in the day light. In previous years, my OT shifts were in support of Indian baseball games, but luckily this year this honor has been handed off to newer medics hand picked by my supervisor just to work these events-- a thought that had occurred to me years ago, I disagree with Baseball past Labor day. This has lead to some cell phone camera work to entertain Pery during her work days. Call it urban exploration on the clock. At night, it'd have to called, "living out a cop show as a side character." Still surprising to see how the day time world goes on and not have to work at baseball games.

While out on the road during these extra work shifts, I don't get to carry around my laptop PC (I know, such a Luddite no magic phone Eye-pad or what has one); but my shirt pocket notepads are filling up with notes and jots. And during my time off, the notes are getting transcribed into typing at a steady pace. Also I've had the energy to work on my epic novel, some 20 years in the making now, of an orkish invasion into the Fair Lands of a fantasy world, from the orks', and whatnot, perspectives. Not sure how far I'll get into it this time, but I'm posting the roughs in daily fashion at the Trollhalla, so next time I start it up I won't be likely to start it all from scratch once again.

Sadly my Oktoberfest activities were mostly limited to watching celebrations at nursing homes while at work, and viewing pictures of the Bayern Munich soccer team's Facebook page. Still Pery and I had an on-line party with our friends Mystic Fool, from New York, Misha the Berserker, from Russia and Khaydhiak, from Florida last Friday night and Saturday AM. A totally spontaneous party, it took us all by surprise, and there was much dancing and rejoicing.

One cannot live on bread alone, one needs BEER!!!!