Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Enraged Bookworm Terrorizes Helpless Border Guards

America, when will you wake up to the dangers of sci-fi encroachment?  How many poor defenseless border guards have to be choked by nerdofascists before our bleeding heart government takes action?  We are at war, people!  And I bet it's not just science fiction writers.  We should really be taking a close look at academics and journalists, too.  This guy is a biologist, and I'd be very interested to hear why the liberal media didn't think that was worth including in the first paragraph.  Not one of their organizations has ever officially stood up to condemn the doctrine of customs-guard strangulation, you know.

Here's the story:

Monday, December 07, 2009

What is the Code?

Sometimes I just can't help but add a few lines to these presentations:

Asimov on Wrongness

Here's a great response to the all-too-familiar "scientists used to say ___[insert superseded theory here]___ so science don't know nothin" argument.


You really should read the whole article, but this paragraph sums it up beautifully:

My answer to him was, "John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

Not that I have any illusions here.  This essay is not exactly breaking news, and yet we're still hearing the "science don't know nothin" argument echoed on a regular basis.  If anything, it's more virulent now than ever.  These people are not going to abandon a favored quip just because it's dishonest.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Side Trip

A few weeks ago, Tom & I went to the Carnage convention in Vermont. The con and the night drive over the mountains to get there were fun, but we can talk about that later. This is about the trip home.

Since we both had a day to kill, we stopped in Syracuse on the way back to Cleveland and spent the night at an old hotel downtown. Park View or something like that. We ate at a barbecue place with "dinosaur" in the name and then went back to our room to crash for the night.

The next day, instead of getting back on the expressway, we picked up a New York road atlas and took off in roughly the direction we wanted to go, figuring out our route as we went along. We ended up driving along Cayuga Lake towards Ithaca. Neither of us had been there before, although Tom had once played a game where it was the supernatural center of the Americas.

After a fairly scenic drive along the lake, we found Ithaca and rather liked the look of it, both of us agreeing that we should come back some time when we could really explore the town. We weren't intending to stop but, on the way out of town, we saw this:

Not wanting to let that pass without at least getting a picture, we turned around and stopped at the park, learning that we were at "Buttermilk Falls." We didn't really have time to take the hiking trail, but we had a look around the waterfall and stretched our legs a bit.

We took a lot of pictures but, since you can go buy whole calendars full of professionally photographed waterfalls if that's what you want, I'll only bore you with a couple more of our shots.

First, here's one looking the other way:

And here's another one of the lower part of the waterfall:

Thinking that this would be the last adventure for the day, we got back into the car and picked out a new course towards Erie, where we intended to re-connect with the expressway. Out in the middle of nowhere, however, we passed a sign advertising a place called "Tag's Tavern." TAG, of course, is the name of Tom's homebrew RPG (short for "Tom's Adventure Gaming") so we had to find the place and stop for a drink, no matter what kind of dive it turned out to be.

But it wasn't a dive at all. It was apparently kind of famous, with memorabilia from all kinds of bands that had performed there. We sat right across from a guitar signed by all the members of Styx. They also had great food and friendly locals with none of the Lovecraftian insularity we had encountered in Vermont. (Okay, we met plenty of nice people in Vermont too, but the cranky ones are more fun to talk about.) Of course, they weren't so friendly that we could admit to them why we were there. The official story was that we had to stop here because "Tag" was Tom's old nickname.

From there it was pretty much a regular drive. We never would have found any of this stuff if we hadn't wandered off the track, though. And that, folks, is why I love traveling with Tom.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's Normal?

Checking on a quote from Shaft, of all things, I stumbled across this:

How about you? Can you answer those children and parenting questions?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Your Very Own Constitution

This is almost too dead-on to be funny.  Almost.

Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be
The Onion, November 14, 2009

ESCONDIDO, CA—Spurred by an administration he believes to be guilty of numerous transgressions, self-described American patriot Kyle Mortensen, 47, is a vehement defender of ideas he seems to think are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and principles that brave men have fought and died for solely in his head...

"Right there in the preamble, the authors make their priorities clear: 'one nation under God,'" said Mortensen, attributing to the Constitution a line from the Pledge of Allegiance, which itself did not include any reference to a deity until 1954. "Well, there's a reason they put that right at the top."...


Friday, November 13, 2009


Freezing brains!  Now that's my kind of science!

What they really need to do is remove the brains first, then keep them floating at various levels in one giant vat with a big glass wall so you can see them all.  I'm thinking supercooled liquid, maybe pale green, although that's awfully traditional.  I suppose they could go with something more daring like yellow or sky blue.  It also depends on what kind of lights you have flashing on your gigantic instrument panels.  And the uniforms your henchmen wear, of course.

Once they've got the color scheme down, all these brains need to be wired together so they can be turned into processor components for a super-computer that tells the future.  Or at least one that can beat that damn chicken at checkers.

Darpa: Freeze Soldiers to Save Injured Brains
By Katie Drummond, November 13, 2009

The Pentagon's mad science division has a new way to deal with the 70,000+ troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury: freeze 'em.

Darpa, the military's far-out research arm, is looking for research projects that would create a "therapeutic hypothermia device" to prevent traumatic brain injuries from causing permanent molecular damage to the brain. The idea is based on successful studies that used cortical cooling to treat survivors of strokes and cardiac arrest. According to Darpa's solicitation, cooling down the brain after trauma can offer "dramatic neuroprotection" that will prevent long-term harm to cognition and motor skills...

Click here for the rest of the article.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Cool But Fishy History of Cleveland

A friend introduced me to this blog with some great pictures from old postcards and information about Cleveland's history.  What frustrates me, however, is that there is not a word about the war with the fish people that established Cleveland's independence from the decadent Under-Erie Empire.  I know the pictures exist.  You can even see the crumbled remains of some of the war memorials, and anyone who has driven in town knows that the original city planners were not human.  Remnants of fish people architecture are everywhere, even showing up a few times in this suppressionist blog, although of course they are never named for what they really are.

Anyway, here's the link:  http://coolhistoryofcleveland.blog.com/

It's a neat site, despite the conspiracy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Eek! 40!

Actually, I don't feel so bad about this birthday, especially since it turns out that the Internet and I are turning 40 together (almost).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Five Stages of Watching a Browns Game

Denial: In this stage, the Browns fan simply refuses to acknowledge the uncomfortable fact that his team is going to lose. "We're still in the first quarter and we've already made a field goal! We're only four points behind. We can totally win this!"

Anger: As the dissonance between the fan's protective self-deception and the actual performance of the Browns becomes increasingly difficult to ignore, the fan is forced to defend his comforting delusion more aggressively. "That ref has it in for us! The Packers would never have made those last three touchdowns if not for the crappy calls!"

Bargaining: This phase is characterized by a growing awareness that the Browns can't possibly win the game on their own, but a continuing refusal to accept the inevitable conclusion. The fan therefore convinces himself that it is possible for his own actions to influence the game in some way. "Come on guys! If we all show our support, the Browns will rally! Let's do the wave! DEE-FENCE! DEE-FENCE! DEE-FENCE!"

Depression: At this point, even the most dedicated fan realizes that there is no hope. The Browns are going to lose. Again. All of the fan's defense mechanisms have been overwhelmed, resulting in a crippling emotional exhaustion. "To hell with this. I'm going home at half time. I don't even want to know what the rest of this game is going to be like. I wish I'd never heard of football."

Acceptance: With sufficient amounts of beer, pork products, and peer support, the fan recovers somewhat from his depression and achieves a degree of functional equilibrium. "I guess even a Browns game is better than nothing. At least it got me out of the house for a while. Cleveland rocks!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Temptation of Responsibility

Last night, I was clicking away pretty good at a story I need to finish.  Television (and even radio) off, Tom at work, cats... well... not doing anything I couldn't ignore.  The silence was speaking clearly to me.  At around midnight, though, I thought, "I should go to bed."  I had been up even later Sunday night for the same reason and it was starting to wear on me a little.  I could have gone another hour easily, maybe two, maybe more, but then I would be droopy at work the next day.

This sort of thing was much more clear to me when my day job was walking barefoot on broken glass.  I suppose I should thank Tyson for giving me that much, anyway.  Back in those days, I could easily respond to that first twinge with, "hell with those asshats. If I shuffle through the day without knowing where I am, it'll be a blessing, and if only half my brain is working, it'll still be more than I owe them."  But I kinda like this job.  I kinda like the people, even.

So I went to bed telling myself that I got some work done tonight, and this way I could get up tomorrow, have a good day at the job, come home, and work some more.  Hah.  I slept through my alarm, I was late, and I'm still groggy after five cups of coffee.  Maybe I'll get some writing done afterward, maybe not.  So much for being responsible.  After all, would it really have mattered if I had been a little more groggy today?  I end up napping or going to bed early either way, right?

So let me just say thanks again, Tyson.  I'll try to keep you in mind whenever I forget the importance of not giving a shit.  Cheers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Directing Space: 1999

"Okay Barbara, in this scene, your character is trying to...  Barbara?  Ms. Bain?  Oh, never mind.  Just stare vacantly at the wall like you always do.  We'll add some special effects and another shot of the scary bald guy in tights later."

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Dog Meat?

Dogs First Tamed in China -- To Be Food?
John Roach for National Geographic News, September 4, 2009
Wolves were domesticated no more than 16,300 years ago in southern China, a new genetic analysis suggests—and it's possible the canines were tamed to be livestock, not pets, the study author speculates...

Click here for the whole article.
Interesting article, but that one bit of speculation doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Cows and goats, for example, take in things we can't eat and turn them into something we can. Dogs, on the other hand, eat meat. It's kind of inefficient to breed something specifically as a food supply when you're going to have to share your own meals with it. Sure, people did and do eat dogs, but it's quite a leap from there to say that this was the primary reason for domesticating them.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Gen Con Forever

I've recently come home from yet another Gen Con. Tom does a pretty good job of summing up our adventures in his blog, so I'll leave most of that to him. And I have a public photo album on Facebook with the best of the pictures I took. I just wanted to say that I love this con more every year. It's really an amazing event. A whole clump of downtown Indianapolis - several blocks at least - is transformed for four days (and then some) into a village of gamers. Local restaurants and bars have even started putting up banners and getting their staff to wear costumes for the event.

Just being in the crowd is quite a feeling. Normally I hate crowds. Anyone who's known me long enough has watched me duck and weave desperately through a crowd, abandoning slower friends and family like they were luggage that was about to explode. Gen Con is different. I don't know if it's because the thrill of being there overrides my anxiety or just that these wandering geeks are my people, but I'm perfectly happy to shuffle through a crowd if I'm anywhere near Gen Con. This is also where I catch up with a lot of the friends that I don't see much of. Heck, it's where I met some of them.

I love to play games anywhere. Sometimes a board game grabs me, but mostly I go to conventions for role-playing games. It's great to sit down in a circle of completely unfamiliar minds and build a world together. This is not like hanging out with writers. Writers have to be meticulous designers, keeping in mind the complexities of story structure and the always-growing list of trite and otherwise verboten elements. Gamers just want an engaging world to play in, where things like "over the top" and even "derivative" are selling points more often than criticisms. This is happening all over the place at Gen Con, spilling right out of the scheduled rooms and onto any unoccupied table.

There are, of course, all the other reasons people go to the big cons: huge exhibit halls and movies and seminars and parties and zombies and industry insiders and so on. Don't take my dismissive tone the wrong way, because I love all that stuff. I just don't have a lot to say about it.

I remain torn on whether I prefer to stay at the Stone Soup Inn or a place downtown. I love the Stone Soup Inn, and the long walk is good for me. I just load up what I need in a backpack and I'm set for the day. For 2007 we got a place that was fairly close, and for 2008 we were right in the middle of the village of gamers, and that was great. Nice to be able to make trips back to the room on a whim, and not have to allow for a forty-five minute walk. It was also nice to stay late and not worry about the walk back. But I do love the Stone Soup, and this year the distance didn't trip me up much.

Next year I'm planning to run the whole sixteen hours or whatever it takes to get the free badge; partly for the free badge and partly because I've been getting into running stuff at conventions so much lately that I think it'll be a fun challenge. I've got two planned so far. I'll probably just run those two adventures several times. The first is for the planned POW! release event, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force at the Mountains of Madness." The other will be a Qalidar True20 one in which time travelers hunt down a fugitive at Gygax's famous Keep on the Borderlands. I don't have a title for that one yet, but you can expect to find the words "keep" and "borderlands" in there somewhere. I'd love to run a Peryton RPG one as well, but this True20 adventure will demand a bit more preparation than usual and I don't want to overdo it. We'll see.

Barely out of Gen Con 2009 and we're already scheming for 2010. See what I mean about this con?

Previous Gen Con Write-Ups:

Monday, July 27, 2009

His Name is Robert Paulson

Space Monkey: But Sir, in Project Mayhem we have no names!
Narrator: This is a man, and he has a name: Robert Paulson. He's dead now because of us. Do you understand that?
Another Space Monkey: I understand. In death, a member of Project Mayhem has a name. His name is Robert Paulson.
Space Monkeys: (chanting) His name is Robert Paulson...
Narrator: Stop it.
Space Monkeys: (chanting) His name is Robert Paulson. His name is Robert Paulson...
Narrator: Shut up! This is all over with!
Space Monkeys: His name is Robert Paulson. His name is Robert Paulson. His name is Robert Paulson. His name is Robert Paulson. His name is Robert Paulson...
If you've ever had to deal with creative writing students, or anyone eager to be accepted into the literary community, this scene from the movie Fight Club might seem familiar to you. Take what might once have been a handy bit of advice, generalize it beyond all meaning, and turn it into a religion. Then escape into the real world and trot around like a drug-sniffing dog, digging through story after story for a forbidden phrase, blind to the larger context or the rhythm of the sentence, and point dutifully until Master tells you how clever you are. Repeat forever.

Most of these literary space monkeys can show you a few pages of paper tiger examples, complete with sanitized alternatives. But even the best rule is only an approximation. The

You know what? This is a waste of time. I probably only got into this rant because I wanted to put off working on something important that I should have already finished. Here's the short version: don't be seduced by simple truths.

I can't believe I almost wrote an essay about writing.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Origins 2009

We packed up and headed out for Columbus Friday afternoon. The con had been going since Wednesday, but we were just in for the weekend on this one. Our big gaming event has always been Gen Con Indy. That’s the one where we take time off work and go all out. But anyway, Origins is relatively close and is obviously a big deal, so off we go.

We did some ad hoc navigation and found our way to a Holiday Inn about a mile from the convention center, got settled there, and hoofed our way over to sign up for Origins. We got our badges, found Mandy and Steve (and Rick and Mike) in short order, had some dinner at the market, and re-acquainted ourselves with the “Big Bar” at the Hyatt. Went back to the hotel to chill, Tom limping along behind. I stayed up a bit to make the pre-gens for my Peryton RPG adventure and then we both crashed.

Saturday, we made our way down to the Convention Center again in plenty of time to have a look around, have lunch and have a few drinks before our events started at two. Narcissist that I am, I had to find where my stuff was displayed in the exhibit hall, and spotted our logo in a Studio 2 ad in the program. Tom went off to run “Song of the Songhai” for WHAP and I went to my own event.

I showed up at my Peryton RPG table to find Mandy, Steve, and a walk-in whose name I can’t remember. I wish I could, because his halfling wizard/berserker, Rabrell Pepperdane, was hilarious. We were just getting to the character distribution when another couple (Cathryn and John) showed up looking for a game, so I got to hand out all my pre-gen characters for once. Everyone named their character and came up with some background, giving us Sir Dirk (Steve’s human templar), Marlo (Mandy’s human fighter/mystic), Athena (Cathryn’s elf rogue), Lao (John’s orc fighter), and the aforementioned Rabrell Pepperdane.

It was, for me, one of the best Peryton RPG convention sessions ever. Of course, I can’t speak for the players, but I like to think that I wouldn’t have enjoyed running it so much if they hadn’t been engaged and having a good time as well. They only encountered a few of the horrors in my cursed village before making a run for the wizard’s tower, so they missed a lot of my background hooks, but at least the stuff they saw got them spooked enough to want to do that. Rabrell managed to find uses for several pieces of the junk I saddled him with, especially the garden spade and the block of cheese, but he never got up the nerve to consult his captive demon. Unfortunately, Rabrell’s player had to leave before they got to the tower.

In the tower, they fought some melting demons and a little intra-party conflict that had been brewing for a while came to a head. The argument was over the trustworthiness of the boy they had rescued back in the village. I don’t want to give too much away because we’re publishing this one eventually, but the kid was being tied up, sliced at, yanked out of the path of orc-spears, and repeatedly grilled for information. Luckily, Lao found time to wander up through the glowing rift into the Phlogiston and figure out how to put things right.

I was really pleased with the way the mechanics served the role-playing and the story in this session, and found that the removal of “alignment” (a change in the upcoming Revised Edition) didn’t unravel the fabric of society or anything. Of course, good players can make a lot of things work well, and I had a table full of those.

So anyway, the session ended with victory for the heroes. Some other stuff happened at the convention. I think we went out to eat, had some cocktails, and played Tunnels & Trolls or Yahtzee or something else with a lot of d6’s. We must have driven home at some point. Whatever. But man, that Peryton RPG game rocked!

Other, less important details are covered in Tom's write-up.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brain Mapping of Tools

I'm sure most people can think of anecdotes of the "extension of your arm" experience, but it's cool to see some real evidence behind it.  Seeing this kind of adaptability gives me hope that the human brain might grow up some day, after all.

Tools are 'temporary body parts'
BBC News

The brain represents tools as extensions to the body, according to researchers writing in Current Biology. After the use of a grasping tool, participants asked to grasp an object with their own hands did so more slowly and sluggishly. Blindfolded participants also overestimated the length of their tool-using arm after the exercise. The research seems to confirm a century-old hypothesis that the brain models tools as parts of the body...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Too Too Solid Flesh?

Maybe we're not so solid after all:

... there's a growing consensus among scientists that the relationship between us and our microbes is much more of a two-way street. With new technologies that allow scientists to better identify and study the organisms that live in and on us, we've become aware that bacteria, though tiny, are powerful chemical factories that fundamentally affect how the human body functions. They are not simply random squatters, but organized communities that evolve with us and are passed down from generation to generation. Through research that has blurred the boundary between medical and environmental microbiology, we're beginning to understand that because the human body constitutes their environment, these microbial communities have been forced to adapt to changes in our diets, health, and lifestyle choices. Yet they, in turn, are also part of our environments, and our bodies have adapted to them. Our dinner guests, it seems, have shaped the very path of human evolution...

Equally challenging, though in a different respect, will be changing long-held ideas about ourselves as independent individuals. How do we make sense of this suddenly crowded self? David Relman suggests that how well you come to terms with symbiosis "depends on how comfortable you are with not being alone." A body that is a habitat and a continuously evolving system is not something most of us consider; the sense of a singular, continuous self is a prerequisite for sanity, at least in Western psychology. A symbiotic perspective depends on a willingness to see yourself as the product of evolutionary timescales. After all, our cells carry an ancient stamp of symbiosis in the form of mitochondria. These energy-producing organelles are the vestiges of symbiotic bacteria that migrated into cells long ago. Even those parts of us we consider human are part bacterial. "In some ways, we're an amalgam and a continuously evolving collective," Relman says...

The rest of the article:

Read the whole thing.  It's a good one.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Lovecraftian Monster Invades Aquarium

Check out this four-foot polychaete worm, found skulking about in an aquarium, killing coral and fish when nobody was looking. Remind anybody of the fungi from Yuggoth? Or, better yet, the tingler?

Some more tidbits:

Matt Slater, the aquarium's curator, said: 'Something was guzzling our reef but we had no idea what, we also found an injured Tang Fish so we laid traps but they got ripped apart in the night.

'That worm must have obliterated the traps. The bait was full of hooks which he must have just digested.'

'We also discovered that he is covered with thousands of bristles which are capable of inflicting a sting resulting in permanent numbness.'
For the original story, go to:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dalek Remains Found!

From Ananova:
Marc Oakland, 42, said: "I'd just shifted a tree branch with my foot when I noticed something dark and round slowly coming up to the surface. I got the shock of my life when a Dalek head bobbed up in front of me"...


I knew it! It's real! It's all real!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Words I Hate

Here's one: academe
Used in a sentence: Somewhere, there might be more pretentious twist on "academic" than academe, but I doubt it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


No, not really.

But I did get some great news from our distributor yesterday!  It seems Qalidar and Troll Tunnels are actually selling enough to not only pay for themselves, but make a profit.  Okay, I'm not completely sure about Troll Tunnels because we spent too much money on that one and I haven't gone back to the spreadsheet yet.  Despite the subject header, it certainly doesn't mean I'm rich, or anywhere near becoming rich, but it does kind of suggest that I can make this game design/writing thing work as a little bit of extra income instead of an extravagantly expensive hobby. 

I allowed myself a little mini-celebration last night while Tom was at work, with pizza, wine, and Doctor Who.  Now that I have evidence that people will actually see my work, though, I'm eager to get back to it.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Moral Outrage

A bad taste in your mouth - moral outrage has origins in physical disgust
Category: Psychology
Posted on: February 27, 2009 8:30 AM, by Ed Yong

Both objects and behaviour can be described as disgusting. The term could equally apply to someone who cheats other people out of money as it could to the sight of rancid food or the taste of sour milk. That's not just a linguistic quirk. Some scientists believe that the revulsion we feel towards immoral behaviour isn't based on our vaunted mental abilities, but on ancient impulses that evolved to put us off toxic or infectious foods...



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Biblical Morality Quiz

Your morality is 0% in line with that of the bible.

Damn you heathen! Your book learnin' has done warped your mind. You shall not be invited next time I sacrifice a goat.

Do You Have Biblical Morals?
Take More Quizzes

Monday, February 23, 2009

Two Things I'm Sick of Hearing About

(1) Slumdog Millionaire.  And I'm sure it'll only get worse now that they've won everything.  Maybe it's just an NPR thing, but every time I've turned on the radio for the past several months, all I hear is the latest Slumdog Millionaire feature.  How many Oscars will Slumdog Millionaire win?  How much do random interviewees love Slumdog Millionaire?  How much does a panal of critics love Slumdog Millionaire?  What do real Indians think of Slumdog Millionaire?  How does Slumdog Millionaire compare to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?  Might be a good movie.  I don't know.  I doubt if I ever will. 

(2) Savage Worlds.  If you don't participate in the RPG events at gaming conventions, you probably don't know what I'm talking about.  If you do, you probably just started playing the game and can't wait to share the Good News with me.  Don't get me wrong; it's a fine game.  I played it once and had a good time, but enough is enough.  It's really not that special and, even if it were, nothing could live up to this ridiculous hype. 

Friday, February 20, 2009


Subtitled: They're not even sure it is a baby!

So today I'm going to natter on about some ideas that came together just now, mostly because I was looking for a place to make a note of them and, apart from a few of my Facebook friends, I don't think anybody reads this page.

I follow this blog called Pharyngula, which is named after one of the stages of embryonic development, and I was thinking this might be a cool name for a monster.  "Embryo" and "monster" came together in my mind for two main reasons: (1) David Lynch's Eraserhead and (2) one of my brother's equally disturbing creations.  The first one should be obvious to anyone who has seen the film.  If you haven't seen Eraserhead, go rent it.  There's no reason you shouldn't suffer as I have suffered.

The second one came from Wu Teh, a character Mike created for a comic book we were going to do a few years ago.  I suppose this comic book could serve as another embryonic reference because, like many embryos, it failed to attach to its metaphorical uterine wall and was flushed into oblivion without anyone ever knowing it existed.  I suppose that's what comes of trying to make H.P. Lovecraft and Jack Kirby have a baby.  If you find this metaphor too creepy and disturbing, you're not going to like Wu Teh.  Chief Scientist Wu Teh looks like a floating infant with the head of an old Chinese man.  He was, in the original concept, a rakshasa who just didn't quite get what humans were supposed to look like, or why they don't like being vivisected.  You'll get to meet Mike's latest revision of Wu Teh in POW!erful Tales, to be released in March or whenever we feel like it.

So anyway, my next step was to find out more about this word I'm thinking of using.  Turns out pharyngula is a really basic stage, without the "twisted baby" creepiness I was looking for.  Maybe I can still go back to the pharyngula as some kind of fishy tadpole demon or something.  Maybe some kind of Lovecraftian "ancient roots" background based on the theme of common descent, since that's one of the things you notice in early development.  We'll work on that another time.

A little way down the list, however, is "larva."  I know there are mythological connections to that one, so I go skipping off to Monstropedia to confirm my suspicions.  Roman mythology has two kinds of lemures, or spirits of the dead: lares, or friendly ancestor spirits, and larvae, or wicked and fearful souls.  The lemur connection is interesting too.  It turns out that the critter got its name from the spirit because of its big eyes, nocturnal habits, and weird calls.

So picture a thing like a human infant with a big head, absurdly large round eyes, and rows of skinny little extra arms waving back and forth all down its sides like a shrimp.  It's got a bony little tail curving out of its spine, and it floats in the air as if swimming.  In addition to standard demonic nastiness, they sit on your chest while you sleep and send you nightmares like the hags in Germanic folklore.  If you've ever suffered from sleep paralysis, you've probably got one of these latched onto you.  Not a bad little larva, huh?

Friday, February 13, 2009


I don't actually believe in astrology, but I love it.  Yes, of course it's superstitious mumbo-jumbo, but at least it's non-threatening mumbo-jumbo; Ben Stein isn't trying to get it taught in schools as an alternative to physics.  Partly, I'm drawn to it because of my general fascination with occult beliefs and methods.  Partly, it's kind of like a Rorschach test.  You read over what is more or less random splatter and see what comes to mind, and sometimes it reminds you of things you forgot, or gets you wandering off on a new track.

Here's today's horoscope for me (Scorpio):

You are often drawn into the hidden recesses of your own subconscious mind. Sometimes these journeys within are quite complex and can suck you into deep waters that completely submerge you. Today, however, you can dance in and out of the shadows with apparent ease as the agile Libra Moon moves through your 12th House of Imagination. Relax; you don't have to make a big deal out of anything right now.

Okay, so murky journeys to the subconscious aren't exactly a new thing for me but still, it's fun to be reminded in colorful language that it's cool.    And the last bit is nice.  Kind of like the "don't panic" on the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

This gets me thinking about Qalidar.  Maybe I'm still moony-eyed over it but, so far, I still think the only problem with my work on this one is that there could be a lot more.  So, maybe when I finish that second POW! story, or during a break (because you know I can "dance in and out of the shadows with apparent ease"), I'll scrawl out some ideas for future supplements and a story or two.  We had talked about doing an anthology, but the trademark issues make that a little iffy, so a story set there would seem like a good fit for a future issue of Chimaera.

E-Book & Print Distribution

The latest Peryton news. Might as well post it here too.

And now for the announcement we promised: Troll Tunnels is now available for Amazon's Kindle Reader. You can download the whole book, including all the full-page illustrations, for $5.59, unless you don't have a Kindle, in which case it's $364.59. That last part will probably not be mentioned in future advertisements.

Also, if you're a retailer, you can now order our stuff through Alliance and other major distributors world-wide. Drop us a line if you're interested in carrying something that we haven't made available yet and we'll bump it up in the roster.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Old Faithful

It's raining today with a promise of storminess later, but for the past few days, it's been really nice.  We even got out, took the bus to Ohio City, and wandered around a bit in the balmy thirty-seven degree weather last Friday.  Our wandering always seems to land us at the Old Angle Tavern, but hey, it's a great place to be.

The down side of nice weather is that, when the neighbors stop shivering long enough to talk to each other, it inevitably turns into screeching and yelling and door-slamming.  And really, it's not so much that I mind the noise (I do mind it a little, but not a lot - there's good solid brick between us and them), but that I keep wondering: how can anybody live like that?  These people are angry all the time.  With blood pressure like that, they'd probably pop like a balloon if you scratched them. 

But hey, we're expecting some fun stormy weather and I just finished "The Man Comes Around" for POW!erful Tales and I'm looking forward to some City of Heroes (or Villains) action tonight with Tom, Mike and Em to reward myself, so it's all good. 

Monday, February 09, 2009

Just Another Peryton?

Here's the funny thing: I decided to maintain this blog, and even tag it with the "christinalea.com" domain name, so I'd have an easy-to-update personal website. Partly this was for blather and for general writing talk that didn't relate to Peryton Publishing. Mainly it was so I would have a place to express opinions without worrying about who they might offend. Looking back over the recent posts, though, I don't see much of any of those things. Mostly it's just me nattering on about Peryton Publishing stuff. I suppose my choice of articles in the somewhat frequently-updated "web highlights" box says a bit, but still, that doesn't really count as a post, does it?

So, okay, sorry, I'll try harder. Soon enough, I'll have a new freelancing credit to plug that I had nothing to do with publishing. It's been awhile since I had one of those, and I'm kind of excited. I don't want to say too much about that, though, because I don't want it to be old news when it goes on sale.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I've had a fairly productive day.  I think now I will enjoy going to bed, reading something light and entertaining, and falling asleep with some cats. 

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Get On With It

Somebody bought a copy of the Peryton RPG through Lulu yesterday.  Yes, online sales have slowed down enough on that book that I notice one purchase.  The funny thing is that I actually had a mixed reaction.  Glad to make a sale, but also kind of cringing because I was supposed to have put out the revised edition three months ago, and I still haven't finished the layouts.  That was the first book I did for Peryton Publishing, and all I see when I look at the current edition these days is what I did wrong.  I just hope the customer won't feel that way.

What this really is, is another jab in the belly telling me to get back on the ball.  I'm sitting on three covers and several pieces of interior artwork, all of which is paid for.  I've got two overdue stories to finish (and a web page to put up) for POW!erful Tales, Loar to finish, and of course the aforementioned Peryton RPG revision (which should be easy but keeps getting pushed back).  And that's not even considering whatever layouts I'll need to do for Tom.  At least I don't have to translate so much anymore.  Thank Grod for that rogue editor we befriended in Milwaukee.

Don't get me wrong.  I've been working; it's just that it's been a bit too leisurely.  "Okay, I've put in a couple of hours today.  Time to watch another old Doctor Who episode on the Netflix box."  And, a lot of times, the work I did get done was crap work like web updates, financial drudgery, trying to communicate with humans, and stuff like that.

This stuff is all gonna rock, too.  I just have to shake off the Holiday sloth and get back to it, cause I'm already bursting with ideas for new projects to chastise myself over after this.