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Posts from October 2007

When Halloween and a wedding anniversary happen on the same day, you get cool stuff. My wife knows me well, so my first anniversary gift was this white dragon mini, Icingdeath, and Drizzt and Wulfgar. For you Drizzt-hating fans out there: too bad for you! I dig this stuff, and I'm a longtime fan (but not fanboy) of the first good-aligned drow elf.

So to sum it all up, this picture of a dragon, his mostly Reeces-based treasure hoarde, this year's pumpkins, and some probably cavities.

Happy Halloween, folks!

posted on 10.31.2007

And now for Part 2 of Hallowcast, a collection of Halloween-based or -inspired songs hosted by Sidedown. Stream it here or download the mp3 directly!

When pumpkins attack:

Only two more days of being able to indulge in the trappings of horror without people assuming you're just some weirdo.

  • Last night: Carved a pumpkin (above).
  • Tonight: Get together with some friends, eat candy, and run a single-session "housecrawl" Ravenloft game. Survivor horror meets D&D.
  • Tomorrow: Taking work off, but probably not doing as many festivities as I'd want on actual Halloween Day. There's too much work to do.

So this is my "half-cube" at work right now?:

What are you doing for Halloween? Anything at all? Or are most of you dressing up as a stick-in-the-mud?

posted on 10.29.2007

Oh, sure. They look innocent NOW. But tune in early next week. Something tells me that these pumpkins have insidious dreams of becoming lanterns of some kind...

Update: Hallowcast Part 2 has been delayed. Look for it on Monday.

posted on 10.23.2007

We took a drive up to my parents' place in Corning, NY this weekend. The autumn colors were perfect, the sense of October in full. The actual temperature, however, continues to disappoint. I'm reminded each morning how apart I am from the rest of the world. Today will be into the mid 80s, and the news anchormen say it's going to be a wondetrful day. Wonderful? 80°, in late October? I think not. In any case, time is on my side.

Update on horror movies:

  • The Descent - Recommended by two people, I rented this and enjoyed it. I was hoping for more story development regarding the monsters, but it was very well done and suitably freaky. Can anyone recommend this director's previous film, Dog Soldiers?
  • House - All right, I rented this one because I'd seen it many times long, long ago. Back in the days when monsters were rubber suits, not CGI. Good stuff, half-scary, half-goofy. Very 80s.

I'm considering seeing Resident Evil: Extinction this week. The RE movies have been lacking the rich story from the games and books, but at the end of the day they're still zombie movies. And I dig zombies. Look for some in The Darkwood Mask.

posted on 10.21.2007

For as far back as I've had the technology to do so, I’ve always loved sharing music I’ve got with other people. My oldest friends could tell you that I’ve practically forced it on them. Well, why stop now? There’s just too much crappy music in the mainstream of this planet, and it must be countered by an unorthodox and dauntless few.

So: 40 minutes of fun and FREE horror-themed music awaits you over at Sidedown’s periodic podcast, Downcast, which is a very diverse series of music you’d probably never come across. Accordingly, for this late October edition of Downcast, episode #75, I put together a selection of Halloween-ish songs from my collection. This is not your typical Halloween mix of “Monster Mash” and “Ghostbusters” (though my wife and I heartily approve of both). Each song is something I’m 95% confidence you’ve never heard before, with possibly one or two exceptions.

Download the mp3 now and start listening! And tune in next week at this same time for Part 2.

I am in a foul mood. There is no call for 76° temperatures this late in October. None! My stony hide is slick with atmospheric humidity. Heads will roll.

posted on 10.17.2007

Over the weekend Marisa and I (and her mom) went on what has now become our annual visit to Salem, Massachusetts because that town is pretty much Halloween Town throughout October due to its infamous history (the witch histeria, and subsequent trials and hanging in 1692). Now it's a major tourist location and home to the country's largest "real" witch population. I'm into magic within the fantasy genre, but certainly not in real life. Even so, I really dig this quaint little town, even if Massachusetts doesn't seem to have a single Starbucks. Dunkin Donuts--which America decidedly does not run on--appears to rule New England, that much is clear. But once you cross into New York, the twin-tailed mermaid and her invigorating and addictive brew reigns supreme.

We spent 2.5 days in Salem, and throughout one of those I pirated it up because I could. Marisa witched it up and donned a pair of curling black horns. This is fun for people like us.

I don't have time for a longer post than this for now, but I did post a handful of photos from the trip. Check them out here.

posted on 10.16.2007

When I turn on the news each morning, I expect to get a little peek at the world around, including weather and maybe some local stories. But then there's the inane stories that creep into the fore to appeal to the lowest common denominator, such as which celebrities are in jail, drug rehab, or other poetically-probable bind.

What I was particularly amused to hear this morning in the wrap-up segment was the recently published list of Worst Lyricists by the crappy music magazine Blender. Number 1 on their list was Sting. Err, okay, whatever.

Number 2 on their list of worst lyricists was Neil Peart of Rush. Neil. Peart. Worst lyrics? Hah-HAH! His lyrics are apparently described by the magazine as "richly awful tapestries of fantasy and science." Wow!

I wish they'd post a list of Best Lyricists. I'm very, very interested to see that. Hmm. Maybe they do. I ought to find out.

I can honestly say I've never been prouder to be a fan of fantasy and science. Weave on them tapestries, Mr. Peart!

posted on 10.08.2007

Because it's October, I'm watching more horror movies; some of them are truly awful, but there's no real knowing until you watch 'em. I don't pay much attention to critics. In any case, here's what I've watched so far this month.

  • Dead Silence - It looks great and has a decent twist at the end, but overall the story isn't strong enough to make this a really great movie. Plus, it breaks the Ghost Rule (see below).
  • The Ferryman - Pretty crappy. I'm not sure what John Rhys-Davies is doing in this movie. There's more gore than scare, though, so I don't recommend it.
  • The Marsh - Not too bad. It follows the usual "something tragic happened so I'll go live in a country manor to try and heal but scarier things happen there" routine and ends in a fairly predictable with with a moderate twist. But hey, it's got Forest Whitaker in it and he's always cool.
  • Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes - I wanted it to be as memorable as the original. But not even close. Oh well. I don't recommend it.

The Ghost Rule: In movies, ghosts are scary and have lots of crazy powers. For them to be believable, though (if that makes sense), their powers need to be consistent. You can't establish early in the movie that the ghost can manifest anywhere, anytime, at the director's whim, only to show that the protagonists can actually try and outrun the ghost in the end. Because we saw, earlier, that the ghost can be anywhere it wants. Be consistent! That's my ghost rule. I need to think up some examples of this.

Anyway, more to come. I'm interested in seeing Resident Evil: Extinction, but only because it's a zombie movie and I, as a rule, really like zombie movies. I'm not crazy about the plot direction of the Resident Evil movies, because I really enjoyed the games and the novels. Yes, I read every RE novel and liked them.

So...anyone see any scary movies lately? Recommend anything?

posted on 10.07.2007

As is posted over at the Goodman Games site: "Castle Whiterock Preview #3 – Time for another PDF preview of Castle Whiterock! This preview is a chapter from the Kingdom of Morrain Gazetteer that is included as part of the Castle Whiterock boxed set."

Essentially, it's a free download of the first chapter of the gazetteer that details the kingdom in which the Whiterock monster dungeon is located. Harley Stroh asked me at GenCon last year if I'd be willing to flesh out the history, culture, and layout of Morrain, which is a cold, northern kingdom of his invention originally introduced in the Gazetteer of the Known Realms boxed set. I liked the idea of a small, rural medieval country in a colder part of the world and I had a blast inventing its lore and breaking a few stereotypes. This I did while starting The Darkwood Mask last fall. In the end, Harley filled in the gaps I left (doing an amazing job) and now the whole thing has been grouped into that monster boxed set.

So check out the preview! I'd love to know what you think. It should be noted that the cover art is the work of Jeremy Simmons, artist and cartographer.

posted on 10.01.2007