Friday, November 5, 2010

[WOD] The Hedge Tales, Week 2- The Turning

[Welcome to the 2nd week of the Hedge Tales. This is personally my favorite of the five stories. I wrote it first, and came back to it throughout the series as a touchstone whenever I was stuck. Enjoy!]

I woke up different. I’m long and lean, covered in soft brown fur, with whiskers and ears that telescope on the top my head. My mouth is elongated, and full of big teeth. My eyes are sharper, with clearer vision, but in a much lower spectrum. Colors are washed out, and bright things look a touch grainy. My nose is aflame with a million scents and textures in the air. It’s like a factory of information and my brain is on overload at the moment. I can’t help but notice that I have four legs, with bends going the wrong way at the joints, and weirdest of all, a tail. I shake myself in a strangely dismissive gesture, and I make a slight chuffing noise. I try to get back to business.

I look myself over in depth, and the closest I can come to understanding it is to think of myself as lupine, maybe a coyote. I hear a weird “meep-meep” in my head, strangely familiar, but terribly disconnected. I don’t know where it’s from. I circle around, getting used to the pads on my feet. I’m more than a little wobbly, confusion hazing my every thought. I rest my head on my paws, smelling the loam and the world around me on their fur. I doze off, a strange cloud of unease and bizarre thoughts running through my head.

I wake, and the world is different. It’s a vast forest, full of life. I spend the longest time drinking in the leaves, the trees, the bushes, the pollen, the flowers, the birds, the rabbits and the many other creatures that dwell here. I catch a whiff of a vole, and I straighten, trying to determine how many strides it will take to catch it. I know it’s not what I really want to hunt, but it’s near, and it’s small; so it will do.

I make a leap, pouncing after the terrified little rodent. I feel the air rushing under my chest, my legs rippling as I tear after my target, my muscles bunching and loosening under my pelt as the earth glides beneath me. My teeth catch the skin behind its little head, my snout all fangs and fury.

I clamp my mouth, and the world is different. It’s an arid desert, dry and empty in the hot sun. The rocks and sand are blazing in the mid day, and all around me is bleached out under the torture of the solar blast. I take a moment to smell the immediate area, and I can sense water, but it’s hidden. I know I won’t last long with my tongue hanging out, panting away my hydration. I head to a large section of boulders, and find an outcropping. I begin to dig a small hole, and wiggle myself into it, using the slight umbrella of shade from the overhang. I rest my head for the slightest moment.

The world is different again. I can’t remember how many times the world was changed. Weeks, months and maybe years of perpetual change passed me by as I struggled to accept this form. This existence is alien and difficult, but a part of myself recognizes its usefulness. I know that I learned to live in each new place, adapting and using the little resources I had every time something is made again. Every time I came close to any kind of solace, or indulge in my primal desires, the world was different.

I encounter others in the lupus families as I make my way through these strange lands. I learn their languages, their ways of communicating. I make some mistakes, to be sure. I quickly learn the many ways to show that I'm not after territory- to keep my tail low, to avert my head, to dig a makeshift latrine, not to howl, and to stay out of the way of alphas marking their areas. I don't want territory, but even if I wanted it, I couldn't keep it. I learned that lesson very quickly here.

As much as things change here, there are some constants. I can easily predict that as soon as I pursue prey, or show interest in an area, or find myself settled, I'll be shaken into a strange new place where I have to learn to adapt again.

Something jangles in my head- a fitting little ditty that seems so close but so far away. "How do we sleep when our world is turning?"

I keep it in my head every time the world is different.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

[Shout-out] QUICK- look over there!

Thor, an amazing source of all manner of knowledge and resources, has posted his response to the interesting thoughts posted in my comments earlier this week.

You need to check it out. Like

He's over there at Creative Twilight.

[Mom Time] My kids

I've mentioned that I HAVE kids a few times. I have made some passing references to the fact that they game, but haven't talked about them specifically very often.

I have 2 kids- a teen boy, and a teen girl.

TheBoy- Is kind of "gonzo" a la Hunter S. Thompson. He plays a lot of crazy stuff: Magic the Gathering, Dark Heresy, D&D versions 3.5 or before, World of Darkness, Savage Worlds- all games with pretty fantastic settings. It seems to me that the more "out there", the better, for him.

TheGirl- Is still "cutting her teeth". She's in a tabletop game run by a fun loving, wacky GM, and the World of Darkness game as well.

Last night, I heard TheGirl saying: "I call in the face punching!".

I have to admit I was both proud and a little mortified at the same time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A General Musing of the Random sort

[This is sort of filler due to not having an RPG session to write up this week. It's also on my mind.]

So I am fairly well known for misreading things on a pretty regular basis. Sometimes, I SEE things "wrong" too.

The FTW logo? I did not "get it" for MONTHS.

Wanna know what I saw?

I saw an Egyptian Mummy (with the wrapped beard and everything) facing to the right; with a really -really-really WEIRD hat.

I just didn't see a Space Marine in profile facing LEFT, spewing bullets. Just... didn't.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

[40K] ANewer Player's Questions: Deployment

I've watched more games than I can count. I have read the rules. I have even played more than a couple games (granted, more than 15 years ago). I STILL do not understand deployment.

It seems pretty important- Sandwyrm over at theBack40K says his single biggest piece of advice is to practice. I've read countless battle reports where deployment appeared to have a hand in the win/loss outcome. I understand that it's got a crucial part to your strategy and approach to the game.

I just simply don't understand it. For all proactical purposes the whole "get your guys on the board" section of the game might as well be written in Sanskrit by Einstein. Deployment is akin to anything with an "8" in it for me.

I'm sure that explaining it in comments is likely "unpossible"; so if you could send me to 40K for idiot's school, or point me in the direction of a good website with clear and easy to understand descriptions of what to do when and WHY; maybe I'll learn something. [Maybe.]

Monday, November 1, 2010

[Blogging] Speaking Authoritatively

There are some blogs I love to read because their authors are seriously fun people, or are sharing my brain from several states away (I'm talking about YOU, Christian). I have a whole list of blogs that are on my roll simply because they are funny or their writers are just my kind of wacky.

I do have a serious side. I enjoy a thoughtful, well written discussion of whatever topic is at hand. A welcoming, inclusive and straightforward writeup of whatever might be the topic of the day is an ideal article for me to find. I recently came across a post that was all of these things- but was regarding a topic on which I had absolutely no knowledge. It didn't matter; I still loved the post.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

[Weekly Whimsy] A Word On Rides

Welcome to Weekly Whimsy! An authoritative address on accessorization, accessibility, adaptation and admiration of automobiles among afficionados in our armada of acolytes.

[I adore words, just in case ya didn't know. On to today's topic!]

(No, you're not seeing double. This is posted over at iHOP as well.)

Come along and ride on a fantastic voyage - Coolio, Fantastic Voyage 

There's something both fascinating and fabulous about any form of locomotion with a motor and wheels. The appearance of any kind of vehicle seems to turn certain brains to mush, reverting them back to their four
year old selves. I've seen it countless times, mostly in men, but a few of the women I know fall victim to it as well. It's especially pronounced when the motor is especially powerful, or is encased in a fancy or
visually attractive package. Throw a Lambo out, and -wham- instant stupid.

I'm personally turned into a blithering idiot by vintage muscle cars. I'm an absolute nut for the Shelby era cars, but have a serious case of lust for pretty much any long hood setback power car prior to 1969. A prime
example is this luscious hunk:

um.... droool... I'm supposed to be writing a blog entry... damn... Blink... back to the thought at hand...

This general fondness for machines and go-fast has a tendency to creep into popular culture. Who doesn't remember this?

Many gaming experiences have gone through some sort of vehicle-related trauma, some funny; some ridiculous. I recently played in a D20 Modern Miami Vice setting with detectives in partnerships; my “partner” Tim had an endless and morbid tendency to use cars rather than weapons. The night wasn't complete without a car being totally demolished at his hands. His coup de grace was dropping a bulldozer onto a cigarette boat from on top of a cliff, setting things into a fiery inferno. A good friend played in a Star Wars game where he “piloted” the ship into the docking bay, causing damage and mayhem along the way. I know I've heard countless other more than slightly amusing but yet mortifying stories involving various forms
of transport and the exploits of their handlers; most too ridiculous to recount here.

Perhaps the best examples of vehicular obsession I've seen are in 40K. Thor over at Creative Twilight has a bad case of Kult of Speed; Sandwyrm and Dethtron have hard-ons for mech; and some of the best conversions I've witnessed are machinery.

While they feature a large part in many armies, for the most part, jet packs and air bikes are left as is:

It's the wheels that get the conversion love. Examples include this figure, which I think my CSM playing friend will like:

(Said friend wants to convert at least one of his attack bikes into a trike- I think the chopper will give him some inspiration)

Then there's Kamui's brilliant and grungy battle wagon: (Seen at Creative Twilight)

And this breathtaking ork trukk by JB (seen at TheBack40K)

While I'm no expert, I do love talking about cars & trucks. A lot of times I don't understand the language, but I understand intent. I do have a little knowledge- I worked at a gas station which generated a small amount of information required for the job; and I help people sell their cars through advertising, so I have learned a lot of short cuts and more than a few hard and fast rules according to make or manufacturer. It's in the talking that I learn the most.

Asking questions to my friends often brings out their passion and energy for the vehicles in question. I completely enjoy watching a face light up, and seeing a normally quiet or introverted guy break out of his shell to tell me all about his latest modeling trick or the way he scrounged for bits to make something “just right”.

I've had a blast discussing and sharing some of the engines that make my heart race. I hope you've enjoyed the ride... {wink}