Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The lecture on flatulence

Okay. Dreams can take us to funky places. I don't mind the nightmares, but sometimes there are all-out comedy moments there, too. Some of my favorites come from the body trying to tell me something.

For me, when I have to take a leak, my dreams fill up with mysterious tons of water. Elevators full, airplanes full, waterfalls in the desk drawer, suddenly pulled out of a car and dropped into a river. Sometimes they seem to go on for hours, drenching wet, until we finally get the message.

Here was a funny twist on this phenomenon. I woke up for a moment, had a spot of gas, rolled over, and my dream changed from something on a train to:

Boring lecture hall. Emotionless professor who looked like a character from a Monopoly game card, going on and on:

"Some primitive cultures would say a wish when they felt a fart coming on. And then they would blow extra hard to try and get the message up to Grandfather. I'm not sure these people really expected an answer, other than to be hit with whatever their wives had in their hands at the time. But the women would do the same thing in their secret huts, reciting cryptic spells and then blowing hard while their sisters beat drums to cover up the audio evidence. They could walk outside after a degassing ritual and actually appear innocent of the whole ordeal. The men didn't want to know what went on in those huts, I assure you. According to Al Gore, this was the beginning of the end of the ozone layer."

And there you have it. Dare I say it? My brain fart of the week.

Happy feet, sad reminder

We went to see "Happy Feet" last week. Figured it would just be goofy, probably some top-tapping in there. I was good to see a film that wants to entertain. There were serious bits, and the expected ecological theme later on. What was odd was that they put so much work into the graphics. If you can sit through the orca scene or the blizzard scene, or the chase scenes without at least thinking "Wow," I recommend checking your vital signs. Singing penguins with attitude? They could have been just funny sketches if that's all they were going for.

Oddly, one of the big walruses was voiced by Steve Irwin. I wonder if this is the last piece of new work he did? What a guy. I still miss him, but it's not the same when watching the Croc Hunter just makes me feel bad, now that he's gone. And where does that feeling come from? It's not like we knew the guy, but yeah, he took us places and showed us a good time. It's a little odd knowing that he's not out in the wild somewhere, cooking up a new adventure.

Still, I can conjure those Happy Feet when I need them, and mourning does go more quickly for these imaginary friends.

Friday, December 15, 2006

game madness

The past few months, I have been trying to do something other than fiction. But I find that nonfiction just bugs me -- I feel like whatever I'm saying is readily available elsewhere. It's an odd sort of dissatisfaction.

So I've been going for the middle ground: trying (again) to do some writing for the gaming markets. But the typical role playing game has so many rules, and I've finally come to the conclusion that there isn't a system I'd actually want to run a game in. Every system has some crazy problem, either too much detail or not enough, so I'm stuck again. The open calls for writers almost always require buying some new book, even though I already have a zillion of them, and they're not cheap. Likewise, a guy would have to be insane to try and introduce a new system at this point in time. A gaming book needs about a thousand killer illustrations before anyone will look at it.

I did send a bunch of work in to a project using the Savage Worlds ruleset, but the project itself seems to have fizzled.

It seems like it would take a computer to keep track of all the tiny little rules now. But when I start to sketch out code, it grinds up against needing thousands of little graphics ... or being a text-based adventure thing, which is old, old, old. Personally, I'd like an online game that allows a huge range of actions, instead of ones that are all pretty but only let you fight.

So, my endless quest continues. Madness for the holidays.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

an odd kind of blowout sale

The local Humane Society was having a fundraising craft fair this weekend, and we had a table. It was an outdoor thing. We wrestled to get the canopy and tables set up on Saturday, and there were some gusty winds. Someone's whole canopy blew over and knocked an old lady down, then the society sent out volunteers with huge bags of dog food to use as sandbags to keep us from blowing away. We had a whiteboard to write a sales blurb on, and drew a blank at first, but then we realized it was an honest old-fashioned BLOWOUT SALE!

There was a funny mellow Persian cat in a chair at one of the tables. When whole displays were blowing down and things were breaking, it barely looked around to see what the fuss was about. Cute. Where do people find these mellow cats? Ours bounce off the walls for no reason at all. Forget about taking them anywhere.

We got out for a horse & carriage ride down on Grand Avenue saturday night. When the horses came around each time, they brought a strong odor with them. It took a while for it to register. It smelled like Iowa! When the guy asked which carriage we wanted to ride in, I had to shrug. "Don't care. They both smell like Iowa." Was a nice little community thing, and shops were open, families walking around. Finally some life in our little downtown. The place was like a ghost town 5 years ago.

Sunday morning 8:30am, there was about a 40 mph sustained wind with some nasty gusts, and nobody even tried to setup their stuff. In fact a few people had (duh) left their displays up overnight, and they blew away or got trashed. Not too smart. So we gave up & went home, watched some football, went back over there around 11am and it was still windy. But we got a little spot against the side of the building, and the wind went around us. Seemed like a good spot. Until we realized we were next to the raffle table, and people thought our stuff was part of the raffle -- but once we made a gap it went okay.

Not many customers. The weather probably kept the wimps away. But the Humane Society did raise some money, and people were going in and out adopting animals all day, so it worked out good in the end.