athelind: (Default)
Old leezard is old.

I talk about RPGs with a lot of people, most notably, [ profile] normanrafferty.

The Rat has been gaming almost as long as I have, but that "almost" is significant -- never more so than when he'll contradict me about "how things were in the early days".1 I notice similar disconnects when reading LiveJournals, blogs... even the Designer Notes inside published RPGs.

What Rafferty and most other gamers don't realize is those few short years between 1978, when Your Obedient Serpent started gaming, and 1983-84, when The Rat started gaming, are a lot like the first three minutes after the Big Bang.2

Science Fiction Fans refer to "First Fandom" as those who were actively involved in fannish activity before 1 January 1938. The role-playing equivalent, IMNSHO, would be those already playing D&D when Dallas Egbert went missing on 16 August 1979 (yep, exactly 30 years ago this Sunday).3

Git offa my hex paper lawn, you whippersnappers! )

athelind: (Default)
This made me laugh out loud:

I may have to print it out and post it at work.

Speaking as a long-time fan of the Green Lanterns, who's read the book(s) through all the ups and downs since 1970 or so, this multi-year arc that Geoff Johns has been writing is the Best Damned Run Of Green Lantern ever, one of the best things DC has done in the last decade, and Blackest Night is shaping up to be the "Final Crisis" that Final Crisis wasn't.

Honestly, it's a big part of why I still bother with superhero comics.

After, what, five years of non-stop Big Events and Red Skies Crossovers from both major companies, after a year of working in a comic store, and after my Fanfic Epiphany from a couple of years ago, I've come very close to burning out on commercialized adolescent power fantasies.

But Johns is good, and Blackest Night is not so much an Editorially-Mandated MegaCrossover as it is the logical climax of the story he's been telling for the last five years.

Still and nonetheless... "They turned Green Lanterns into Care Bears" is spit-take-worthy.

athelind: (Default)
Both Kinds: X1 and X2 indicates a distinction that seems non-existent to an outsider, but to an insider, seems not only significant, but a proud example of diversity and broad tastes.

Derives from the scene in The Blues Brothers in which the eponymous band cruise into a cowboy bar and claim to be the act that's actually booked their, stealing their gig. As they're setting up, they try to get an idea of what they should play:

Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?
Bar Manager: Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western.

Can also be used for the inversion, where an insider who really knows the diversity of a field winces at what a dabbler considers "diverse":

Grognard: "What kind of games do you usually play here?"
WoW Refugee: "Oh, we play both kinds: Dungeons and Dragons."
addendum, 16 Feb 2010: "I don't play D&D, I play Pathfinder."

In rare instances, it works both ways simultaneously:

Customer: "What kind of comics do you sell?"
Loyal Diamond Minion: "Both kinds: Marvel and DC."

athelind: (Default)
I find myself amused by some of the "new entries" in the "Canonical Glossary of Slang for Cyberpunk".

Current slang such as "Cobweb Site" and "Dead Tree Edition" has infiltrated "future" slang as as the "bleeding edge of the One-And-Twenty" slips toward the Present Day and into the Recent Past.

athelind: (Default)
On the extremely slim chance that seventy-five other people on your Flist haven't already linked this, I give you John Hodgman, and his tribute to the First Nerd President of the Modern Era:

athelind: (Default)
[ profile] normanrafferty huhs. "That's weird. I can receive Roadrunner mail, but not send it.
[ profile] pyat prefers Blade Runner mail!
[ profile] leonard_arlotte says, "I've read things that you wouldn't believe. Free Diplomas burning off the shoulder of Orion. Enlarged penises glittering by the Tannhäuser Gate. All this will be lost, like spam in the rain."

Please credit [ profile] leonard_arlotte for this. He deserves all the blame credit.

athelind: (Default)
In an obscure comment on TV Tropes, I read a rumor that part of Fox's motivation in the Watchmen suit may be to leverage Warner into finally clearing up the DVD rights tangle on the Adam West Batman series.

If this gets resolved with "We'll let you release Watchmen if you let us release Batman on DVD", that's a win/win in my book, and Fox might actually be forgiven their trespasses on the comics community.

Bear in mind the source -- this is an unattributed wiki comment about a rumor. I'm not even sure if there are rights issues with Digital Distribution of Dozier's Dynamic Duo: the Movie based on the series has been out in several editions over the years.

athelind: (Default)
Today at work, I noticed a Star Wars action figure of a droid that came with a "data entry terminal" as an accessory. I don't remember which of the half-dozen movies this droid showed up in, but I do remember him clearly, standing in the background, tapping data into his terminal.

My first impression was that this was a classic example of Zeerust: why have a humanoid robot type data into a system, instead of just directly interfacing with the system?

Almost simultaneously, though, another thought struck me: Wow, that's one way to check the spread of viruses and malicious software.

Not quite so "quaint" from that perspective, is it?

A few other Perfectly Reasonably Explanations occurred to me later -- it's easier to establish some degree of uniformity in user interfaces than it is in underlying code, for instance. [ profile] quelonzia's iMac, my Ubuntu box, and that Windows PC that's over there all have mice and keyboards and monitors, but I'll be damned if we can get their supposedly-compatible file-sharing protocols to talk to each other. Spread that across a Galactic Empire dealing with the patchwork remnants of a Republic, and see if you don't wanna just put a droid at a keyboard.

athelind: (Default)

Judge rules in favor of Fox's frivolous Watchmen lawsuit.

The movie won't hit the March release date, if we even see it this year.

[ profile] jdarkwulf notes that Fux waited until the movie was far enough along to start showing "flashy, FX-laden trailers" before they filed suit -- which isn't quite true, since they filed in February, but I do agree that the waited long enough to demonstrate "bad faith" to the court.

I say we march on the Fox studios, and leave them a smoking ruin.

Or find an inside man who can hack their computer systems and leave them in a smoking ruin.

So long as a smoking ruin is involved, I'm happy.

athelind: (Default)
[ profile] quelonzia's favorite movie is the 1951 classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still.

This Saturday, we went to see the 2008 version, starring Keanu Reeves.

Here is her review -- it's sort of our review, since it summarizes our post-cinema conversation.

I may elaborate on this further, if I get motivated -- but hers is so succinct and to the point.

athelind: (Default)
A recent thread in [ profile] chrissawyer's LiveJournal discussed the "decline" of SF Fandom. In particular, [ profile] shockwave77598 said,

"The young who would have found their way into SF and SFantasy a generation ago have instead moved into Anime and Manga. DragonCon and Project Akon are huge, even by Worldcon standards (5000 people or so). The result of this is that there's less new blood coming in and SF is growing increasingly older and smaller.

A couple of us have wondered what the cause is without pointing blame; a small answer is that SF doesn't appeal much to a generation that has never known a world without a computer on their desk or been unable to call someone with their pocket telephone. They've been handed the future on a silver platter and don't seem to care much about what's ahead for them anymore.

"SF is growing increasingly older and smaller"?

Now, wait a minute.

  • You rarely see a Top Ten Bestseller's list that doesn't include an SF or Fantasy novel anymore, even if you don't include Horror as part of the "Speculative Fiction" supergenre (and Old Time Fen like Forry Ackerman certainly would).

  • It's no longer a wait of three to five years between big-budget, A-List F/SF films -- now you get three to five of them every year. And this time, I am leaving out horror.

  • The current television line-up is crammed full of shows SF/Fantasy shows, and has been since the early '90s. Not a lot of them are Star Trek-style Space Opera, but I can think of at least two that are, even if I don't watch either of them. Almost every broadcast network has fielded an SF/Fantasy show that has done well in the ratings and enjoyed a run of several seasons.

Sure, SPACE OPERA is taking a downturn in popularity, at least on the large and small screens, but I think that has as much or more to do with the excreable quality of recent entries in the Star Trek and Star Wars mythoi. Enterprise and Episodes 1 and 2 have driven people away from Space Fantasy.

SF isn't "growing smaller". Exactly the opposite is happening: SF has grown larger. It's no longer an isolated little fandom -- it's MAINSTREAM. As [ profile] normanrafferty likes to say, "The Underground Has Become The Establishment". And that means that it no longer suits the psychological needs of the alienated and disaffected outcasts who need some sense of identity to distinguish themselves from the people who alienated them in the first place. "Fans Are Slans" holds little comfort when everyone's a Slan.

To find that same sense of Unity In Persecuted Superiority, Those Who Would Be Fen must delve more deeply into the fringes of Fandom. They hook into Anime and Manga, though even those have become increasingly mainstream. They go Goth. They become Furry.

(I'm speaking as a Fan, by the way. As a teenager, I comforted myself that I Was Fan and They Were Mundane, that I had the imagination and the creativity and the insight to look at the future and dare to imagine its shape, to ask questions and make speculations that Mundane minds wouldn't consider, and as such, I was better prepared to face the World That Was Coming. When I hear some Furries talk about how cruel and narrow-minded "humans" are compared to the animal-in-spirit, it all sounds so familiar.)

Yes, I, too, have always enjoyed tales of an optimistic future, that innocent faith that Progress Will Save Us All. Despite the current popularity of dystopian settings, I don't think that kind of optimism is gone from the genre. Most of those dystopias show people struggling to improve things, to challenge the rotten establishment, to undermine the oppressors.

We live in the future, now and today. Reality has caught up with speculation, and in some ways, sped ahead. SF has changed its focus accordingly: rather than dreaming of a wonderful tomorrow... it depicts the struggle to create the future of those dreams.
athelind: (Default)
Back in my days at Texas A&M, I spent a lot of time hanging with the SCA group there.

And with Cepheid Variable, the science fiction fan organization.

And with the now-defunct gaming group.

(...this may have a little something to do with my failure to graduate from that hallowed institution...)

Anyway, this afternoon, I happened to recall a song that was in the repertoire of an SCA friend of mine back in those days -- "Dragon Road". I did a Google search, looking for the lyrics, assuming it was an SCA standard.

Much to my surprise, I happened to find his own site -- and that was the only reference Google could find to that particular song. He doesn't know where it came from, either.

But he's got the MP3: Scroll down for "Dragon Road".

It's magnificently geeky: more D&D than SCA, to be honest, as the chorus reveals:

And there were dragons, dragons, flying o'er the road,
Wyverns all around us, and behind us, yellow mold,
And there were orcses, orcses, filling all the wood,
And they all jumped upon us because we were Lawful Good...

Update: I found the lyrics, with a credit line! "by Sir Cipriano d'Alvarez mka Guy Bradley "

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