The original plan for yesterday was to meet adopted niece Jessi (in from Texas for MidWest FurFest, sort of) for lunch and conversation, but ended up wasting most of the day waiting for the tree surgeon to fail to show up. Headed for Rosemont at about 4:00 PM, with the intention of getting to the hotel, finding Jessi, and transporting her to her evening plans in Oak Park. Traffic was predictably abysmal; I texted Jessi "Close" while sitting at a stoplight from about a mile from the hotel. I was a half block south of the hotel cut off, turn signal on, dead stopped in traffic, when someone knocked on my window. Jessi had been heading back to the hotel from the convention center with friends and just happened to look up and see me, so she climbed in and we spent most of the next hour and a half yammering at each other while we fought traffic. Good visit, much too short, but there may be a reprise this evening.
When was the last time a tall, beautiful blonde knocked on YOUR window during a traffic jam and asked for a ride?
Since Friday's visit with Jessi turned into taxi service, we discussed Saturday plans. She was going to take the train up to Round Lake to hang out with fellow former OPRF inmate and Makoto denizen Eva, and I offered to provide her a ride back to Rosemont, which she accepted. I got out to Round Lake a bit after 7:00, we visited with Eva (whom I had not seen in about 15 years) and her family until about 9:00, and then Jessi and I went back to Rosemont and parked in a loading zone for about an hour while the conversation continued. So a very good visit, but under strange circumstances. There was one long, dark stretch of Route 83 where the rain was intense enough that I was too busy driving to talk, and Jessi was nervous enough that she couldn't stop talking. It's humorous in hindsight...
The tree is coming down, more or less as planned. (There are occasional un-nerving loud thumping noises.) One more worry dealt with.
G-mail will let me send out 5MB files. I have "Gods, Men, & Monster" formatted for .epub, .mobi, and .pdf, and all of the files are smaller than that (1.6, 3.8, and 3.0 MB respectively). I'm planning to give the book away anyway; why not start now, and get the ball rolling? If you're interested, either PM me your e-mail address, or just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and ask for a copy. Please specify the desired file type, and don't be freaked out if the return comes from pauldavidhaynie @gmail.com.
And the tree is gone. Well, except for the fifteen foot high stump (which I asked them to leave intact) and several tons of oak logs stacked in the back yard...
The original lyric was, "They're made by little guys LOCKED in Hollow Tree." Hollow Tree is a maximum security prison in Alfheim.
"Oh, you never would believe where those magic cookies come from; they're made by convict elves locked in Hollow Tree. And what do you think gives those cookies their magic? They're baked in demon ovens and there's no factory."
Yesterday, someone asked me if I had changed the name of the main character in "The Girl on the Hearth" from Cinder to Ember because the traditional character has no agency, and my version does. I had to admit, sheepishly, that that had never occurred to me, but I could hear David Oliver laughing at me as I said it; we both know he's much smarter than I am, and as far as he's concerned, I only exist for his amusement.
Posted on D&D Fantasy Art:
This is an art prompt, for anyone who wants it; there is a lot of drama in the idea, even though it is pure D&D cheese. I certainly don't have the artistic chops to do the concept justice.
First, a simple military fact: If you have range and mobility on your opponent, you are probably going to win.
Second, while the Tarrasque is amazingly tough, it is absolutely vulnerable to the Sacred Flame spell. Given the spell's low power, and the Tarrasque's saving throw advantage, you'd have to cast the spell about 500 times to do the job, but the possibility is there. A first level cleric with the ability to fly at a speed of 40 or better could do it.
I have this image in my head of a female Gnome Rogue pilot and a male Halfling Cleric "gunner" on a flying carpet rigged with a bamboo (or similar) clamping frame (built by the gnome, obviously) doing strafing runs on the Tarrasque. It's silly, it's cheesy, it's dramatic as hell.
Do with it as you will.
I've been saying for a while now that we need to convince the cat that fatter mice taste better.
It has occurred to me that that may be too subtle, so here is an alternative:
No rancher ever got rich by starving his cattle.
(To paraphrase Mr. Heinlein: Appealing to the other fellow's better nature won't work if he doesn't have one. Appeal to his self interest instead.)
And here we have a bit of D&D fiction, inspired by the misadventures of a character played by a friend of mine. (Safrina's death was part of the campaign; this is just something that got stuck in my head.) It took something like four hours from conception to completion, and actual composition only took about an hour.
(I have been informed that the character's friends actually did recover Safrina's ashes, which vaporizes this story, but it's still an interesting piece.
From the "Creativity Rant" file:
Ruminating on a recurring theme: Most of the time, people who are looking to find more creativity look for advice from highly creative people. This is pretty much analogous to asking an Olympic Decathlete for advice on living with cystic fibrosis.
Today's rant was triggered by comments from writer Jodi Picoult, who writes REALLY depressing books that sell well. There is a market for really depressing books, for some reason, and I can't hold her success against her. I can, however, fault her for being an insensitive ass on the basis of the following comments on writer's block: "I don't believe in writer's block. Think about it - when you were blocked in college and had to write a paper, didn't it always manage to fix itself the night before the paper was due? Writer's block is having too much time on your hands." And: "You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page."
All of which is to say, she doesn't have a clue what she's talking about. She has apparently never had the experience of watching an important deadline, and the attached opportunity, disintegrate while she stared at a blank page. And she certainly has never started to read the previous day's output, and been led thereby to contemplate suicide.
Life isn't fair. Creativity, like energy, and intelligence, and talent in any given field you care to name, is not distributed evenly. Some people have large quantities of several of these things; some people have very little of any of them. They're not transferable, so there is no point in talking about generosity in such things, but there is certainly still room for sensitivity and compassion.
Hyena: Last ride of the season?
Man at the gas pump: Yep.
Hyena: She's beautiful.
Man at the gas pump: Thanks. It took a lot of years to make her that way.
Hyena: Was she always British Racing Green?
Man at the gas pump: No, she was black from the factory.
Hyena: But since you had to repaint her anyway, why not BRG?
Man at the gas pump: Yep.
The highways of the Big Onion are not kind to automotive gems. Doesn't mean you don't see them from time to time anyway.
(The car in question was a vintage MG Midget Roadster, probably a post-war TC or TD.)
We saved up the three CW-DC "Elseworlds" episodes and watched them as a block last night. When John Wesley Shipp showed up and identified himself as the :"Flash from Earth 90", one of my cranial denizens made a comment, and I told him to shut up and watch the show. But I paid enough attention that when, sometime later, they referred to Supergirl's home as "Earth 38", the joke was confirmed and I started to laugh, which made Dementia reach for the pause button.
Superman was introduced in 1938.
Shipp's version of the Flash premiered in 1990.
It was a throwaway, but it was fun, and I'm glad I caught it.
Had some bond ost (cheese with caraway seeds) with my supper tonight. It's almost the only Swedish culinary tradition that existed in my family, and the ONLY one that survived in my own household. Thanks to Tim J Haynie and Patti Haynie for the annual present.
Posted in a couple of places:
A bit of RPG history: By this time, we have all gotten used to the slot based "Jack Vance" magic system in D&D, but I have never lost sight of how WEIRD it was back in the beginning. I think, though can't prove, that NO ONE who sat down with a copy of the White Box ever figured out how the magic system was supposed to work unless they had some kind of pipeline back to Lake Geneva. There was a detailed article that made things clear in "The Strategic Review" (a forerunner of "Dragon" that ran for six issues), but by that time people all over the world had made up their own interpretations.
This morning I finally sat down with the White Box and looked up the magic rules, and the following paragraph, plus some tables, is all that there were:
Spells and levels: The number above each column is the spell level (complexity, a somewhat subjective determination on the part of your authors). The number in each column opposite each applicable character indicates the number of spells of each level that can be used (remembered during any single adventure) by that character. Spells are listed and explained later. A spell used once may not be reused in the same day.
Of such things are alternate rule sets born.
Commented on a pagan social board:
Human input will never be eliminated. The problem is that the number of humans available already exceeds the amount of work that actually needs to be done, and that problem is going to continue to get worse. Automation has already pushed the free market value of unskilled human labor down to a level which is non-survivable, and the problem is only going to get worse.
Heinlein's "Beyond This Horizon" is looking more and more like a utopian story...