Sunday, November 29, 2009

Folk tales

Folk tales are impossible to write. Probably precisely because they're folk tales to begin with. It might explain that urban legends notwithstanding there have been no new folk tales in a long time (some anthropologists and linguists would say that not since European ancestors have migrated from the Indian subcontinent). Reading an English, French, Russian, Italian, German, Chinese folk tale, almost immediately it's clear that they all have something in common: simplicity, bordering on starkness. Modern fiction is full of symbolism, elaborate descriptions, complex plot, multilayered characters. Compared to it folk tales are stark, almost boring; yet unlike modern fiction folklore is remarkably hard to emulate. In its simplicity it has authenticity that resists imitation, that is impossible to fake. Maybe only children's stories (that is stories told by the children) can begin to approach the paradoxical complexity of a folk tale, maybe there are some barriers to a sense of unadulterated wonder, that accumulate as we grow up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Unknown Armies

I love this game. I'd gladly talk about it more later on, but for now, here are some bizarre rumours (that I made up) in the spirit of Unknown Armies:

All human history prior to and including the 80s is false. That's why no one can quite remember the 80s, all anyone can remember is 80s movies disguised as simulated memory. Seriously, does anyone believe that we went around in leg warmers, that wearing mullets was hot, that a Flock of Seagulls was music, and that Kevi...n Bacon was a real movie star? So the question is, who wants us to believe that 80s were real...?

The Canadian Department of Defense's sub-department of musical instruments is still locked in a struggle to the death with the Third Reich due to a bureaucratic oversight. I almost laughed, then I noticed the allocated budget. And what would the Department of Defense be doing with the Trumpets of Jericho anyways? I think they know something we don't...

There is an old man who lives beneath the Laurier street bridge in downtown. Just before dawn and dusk he turns a largy rusty wheel, and then the sun rises or sets. I hear he's got a serious heart condition, and it's only a matter of time now. I wonder what'll happen to the sun if no one takes over from him...

Cats are latent psychic users. Get enough of them together and you can use their combined power to screw around with reality. Crazy Cat Ladies know that - they use their cats to breach the walls to other worlds all the time. That's why they don't take good care of themselves. Why bother? They got whole wonderful worlds... of adventure and romance on the other side! They stay away from Ulthar though, I wonder why...

Do you know why building new roads leads to an increase in traffic? Because about 1 in 5 automobiles is not real - the roads themselves somehow make those appear. Why? So that we'll build more roads to handle the increased traffic. But what's the roads' ultimate agenda...?

Every horoscope is real. For someone. Somewhere. Some-when. Just not for you.

Do you remember your imaginary friend? No? Well he remembers you. Since you've forgotten him, he's been out on the streets, trying to eke out a living, which isn't easy when you don't technically exist. Most nights, he just sits in an alley and gets drunk with other forgotten imaginary friends, remembering when he was happy. When he had someone who believed in him. He wants those days to be back real bad. Bad enough to do something drastic...

Currently playing: Lacuna Coil "Karmacode" album.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


A recent poll on my favorite forum had brought up a hitherto unresolved conflict that has been waged since the dawn of man kind. Turnips or celery? Which of these diabolical vegetables will descend from night-shrouded sky to dominate the human race for all eternity, forcing us to construct their cyclopean ziggurats and unholy temples?

Clearly turnips for a number of compelling reasons:
1) You can kill someone with a turnip or hurt someone bad. What the hell is a celery going to do? Maybe if you force someone to deepthroat it they might choke...
2) The deepseated hatred that turnips feel towards the European descendants (most of medieval peasant diet depended on turnips in lieu of potatoes) will fuel their bloodthirsty rage as they rampage through our cities, violating our sheep, enslaving our women, driving our cars. Don't forget that rage = +4 bonus to Strength, a +4 bonus to Constitution, and a +2 morale bonus on Will Saves but a -2 penalty to Armor Class, except in Turnip case they cannot be fatigued at the end of the rage. Can celery rage? I think not!
3) Judging by the various ways in which celery can be put to use in our diet, it is a weak and submissive vegetable that is only too willing to oblige its human overlords' desires for a fat-free watery largely taste-free ambiguous vegetable to go along with chicken wings, cheeze whiz and peanut butter, whereas turnips are resistant to being imbibed in any form! Clearly the hardy and barbaric turnips will triumph not only over weak and indolent celery, but also the human race - weakened as it is by a non-turnip diet.

All hail turnips - are future overlords!


Despite my self-professed dislike for most poetry, I write poetry (badly). Like a dumbass that I am I occasionally post it straight to facebook and nowhere else. Having a blog gives me an excuse to salvage it and post it for all to see. Yay me. :)

On the way back
Summer rises through the trees,
their branches a frame, a sun its canvas
The motions carry it down to the gentle sea, the sand soaking its name.
The line is carved by its passing, but
it is washed away by the unexpected tide
Carrying it once more away
So that it may begin again.
Translucent home.

The cold
Some dreams are not important to remember
Others too important to recall.
Can't say which one awoke me,
I saw a stop, oh just another stop,
And the cold that entered from the dream
Had seeped into the brick, into the concrete, into glass.

There was a man, an old and deep-pocketed man,
With glasses and the unshaved face and with the hair that seemed to say -
Don't you see that nary a comb, oh nary a drop has touched me.
There was a girl. A fresh and spotless thing.
Her walk rose triumphant above the pavement, bourne by the cold.
And though she was swift, three steps from him was all it took.
Two hands sad and tired, one neck cruelly gentle.
What he felt, what I felt, we both felt, and we knew
She had something we had before it was cold, and now it was ours
And was no one's.

I got off at the next stop.
I walked fast, I ran and I panted, lusting after the cooling neck.
Was it still there? Was it discarded?
But the brick, the concrete, the glass were the same,
And the bags piled like shit.
And all is the same, and where he is, and where she is.
One stop? Two stops? Five stops?
Where are the street signs under the frost?
Where is that anonymous cold?

I saw him again, and the brick was the same,
And the concrete and glass were cold.
And every time I got off and walked,
Ranging with purpose, searching for that stop.
And where I am and where she is and where the stop is,
Are in his deepest pocket, there with our unremembered dreams,
Along with other people's trash,
Those coldest blackest bags.

Welcome to my blog

As is customary (I guess?), I'm posting this to welcome you (who are you anyway?) to my new blog. Here I will discuss my random musings and observations about games, music, movies, RPGs, teaching, politics, and fun history facts. Oh and cooking recipes. And links to other blogs that I find interesting. So, welcome aboard, and don't hesitate to post.