Nuadha's Tale

Ignorance can be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. -Thomas Jefferson

Friday, October 31, 2003

This Modern World
In the Halloween spirit, Tom Tomorrow explores one of my greatest fears.

Ah well, Democracy was getting old anyhow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

First iPod, now iTunes
At least two PC using friends have posted about how much they are loving iTunes.

This bugs me. Where Microsoft fans have always been able to flaunt the larger library of games on their favorite platform, I was happy to see iPod be a Mac exclusive. Then Apple made the iPods Windows-compatible. Then, I was happy that I had the ability to legally download songs in iTunes and they didn't.

If PC users ever get a good operating system, I'll really be bugged.

Almost Human
I'm feeling a lot better. I almost feel human again. Thank the goddess, I was tired of coughing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
Picked up the new PS2 Castlevania and started playing it tonight. So far, it's living up to it's name. It's Konami's third attempt at a 3D Castlevania. I still don't think it's as good as the 2D games but it's a lot better than the N64 games. It plays a lot like Devil May Cry, which I'd say is a good thing.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Bowling in Vice City
Played a little GTA:VC this morning and finally found some more hidden packages, unlocking the mini-gun. In a completely related note, I went on a spree in the game this morning that earned me the highest media attention I've gotten yet: International Crisis. Between the mini-gun and the tank I managed to steal, there was much carnage in Vice City this morning.

Funny enough, I was watching Bowling for Columbine last night right before I got an urge to play some GTA and shoot a bunch of people. Does Michael Moore lead to violent video games?

Re-watching Bowling, it wasn't as good the second time. Perhaps the shock wore off or perhaps it's just the difference between seeing it in a theatre in Ann Arbor vs on your couch at home.

Sick and Tired
Well, it wasn't just warm at work. I've been kinda feverish for the last couple days. Carla's sick as well so the sound around the house is of constant coughing. Every once in a while we cough at the same time and I can't decide if it's funny or just pathetic. Synchranized coughing.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Still sick
Starting feeling better over the last couple of days, but today I'm feeling really crappy again. My throat isn't as sore as Tuesday, but I have a bad cough and I'm feeling kind of warm. Although, I suspect the warm feeling isn't a fever but the tempature in the building. It's felt warm in here for the last week but I didn't feel warm at all at home.

In good news, the hard drive finally arrived this morning for the iMac.

More on Walmart
PBS has this article

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Sick Again
Started getting a sore throat again Monday night. By yesterday morning it was painful to talk. It's a bit better now, but it still hurts. I thought I was over this. I see on Jarrod's blog that he's got what sounds like the same symptoms and it has been lasting a while. Great.

(Via MacGeek and Palladia)
Ohhhhhh my!  You're 'Othello!'
Ohhhhh, my! You're 'Othello!'

Which famous Shakespeare play are you?
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Monday, October 20, 2003

I never thought I'd find myself seriously quoting Clinton....

The road to tyranny, we must never forget, begins with the destruction of the truth.
-Bill Clinton

Queer as Folk
Carla and I borrowed the season one DVD box from J&P. We'll probably be watching them soon.

find your queer
as folk personality

(Via Eternal Eponine)

Sunday, October 19, 2003

(Via Double N)

You're Jack Burton.
The Pork Chop Express.

Which B-Movie Badass Are You?
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Of course I was hoping for.....

You're Nada from They Live.
They Live.

Which B-Movie Badass Are You?
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We were just talking about this classic of American cinema last night.

...and just to make sure he was a possibility....I put in the answers I guessed would most likely take me to the greatest B-Movie hero ever....

You're Ash, baby.
Gimme some sugar baby.

Which B-Movie Badass Are You?
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Have I mentioned that I can't wait for the Army of Darkness RPG book?

Friday, October 17, 2003

Bachelor Party
JohnJack's bachelor party is tonight. Carla and I are low on cash, so I will probably offer to be a designated driver. Drinking can get way expensive.

Computer Down
I took out the hard drive and returned it. We have a new 5400 rpm hard drive on its way. It should be here early next week, but until then posting will be lighter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Wish I had found this site earlier.
This website for Mac Tech Support looks to be useful. Unfortunately, it is the first website I've found that warns that some of the higher speed ata hard drives they make now have a tendency to overheat in the iMacs. This really sucks because I just installed another high speed drive in the Mac. Hopefully, the third drive's the charm. Carla and I hadn't noticed any difference with the speed anyway.

Monday, October 13, 2003

iMac up and running again. New hard drive sound healthier than the last one.

Bush as Christ? Check out the AP photo in this article. (EDIT- The picture is no longer there. It had Shrub's head bowed as if in prayer and a halo of light around his head. Really, I'm not kidding.)

Also, I found a free copy of W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty. Despite its menacing title, the book is nothing but more Bush propoganda which reminds me of the Hitler propoganda I've read in the past. The private school Bush attended is described as "legendary in the Bush clan as the brine from which his father first rose like Apollo, back in the early 1940's." It goes on to tell how after Pearl Harbor was bombed, Bush Sr. "gilded his legend by vowing to put off Yale and enter the war. His sense of duty was honed at Andover, whose understated motto was Non Sibi, not for one's self."

I was finding the propoganda nature of the book amusing and getting some chuckles out of it until Bush is described as having learned discipline and duty from training as a pilot. The book wasn't even attempting to mention that part of the discipline he displayed was skipping his last year of service.

Today, Dennis Kucinich officially announces that he will be running for president. According to NPR this morning, he will be here in Michigan at Wayne State University. The closest thing to a progressive candidate the Democrats have, if he becomes the Democratic choice, I might vote Democrat.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

J&P's Housewarming
...was a lot of fun.

Off Line
So y'all know.....

The new hard drive quit working, so C and I are without a computer once more. I'm going to check the connections and make sure it's seated properly, but I'm fairly certain we just got a bad hard drive. It sounded funny. It wasn't as noisy as our first one, so I didn't sweat it much but it sounded much too "scratchy." I was opening up a web page yesterday morning when it made a clicking sound and just froze. Now, the Mac does not detect a hard drive.

I hope I can find the receipt....

Friday, October 10, 2003

Sleep deprivation
So, I stayed up until three in the morning Wednesday night setting up Claimh Solais and preparing for the Buffy game that I run tonight. I knew I wasn't working yesterday, so I didn't think it would be a problem. I could just sleep in.

I underestimated how regimented my body has gotten at getting up in the morning. I woke up at 7 am and was wide awake. As a result, I was almost falling asleep at the table last night in Neil's Champions game and am still a bit tired today. It used to be that I could get away with the occassional four-hour sleep night. I guess I'm not as young as I used to be. (That's a stupid statement. Who is as young as they used to be. Logically, I'm not as young as I used to be when I started this post. Noone in the world is as young as they use to be.....except maybe Dick Clark.)

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Claimh Solais

I offer you another Nuadha blog. From here on, Nuadha's Tale will be my place for posting my personal and day-to-day entries, as well as my political and non-gaming rants. All gaming related posting and the occassional book or movie review will be at my new blog, courtesy of the generous webmistress of, MaBarry.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Coming soon to a URL near you...
I've decided it was time for a seperate blog for game relate entries. I've been posting and wanting to post more gaming related stuff these days and I thought it would be nice to be able to seperate it for ease of reading. I'm sure some people who read this blog are more interested in my game-related posts than my political/social rants or general complaints about life. I'm also sure that some of my friends may want to read my blog just to see what's up in my life but aren't as interested in reading whatever gaming thought entered my mind. Soon you will have a choice. The same Nuadha in two great flavors! Watch this space for details.

I'm not sure why, but I was really grouchy at work all day. For some reason, I just had less patience than normal with people and everyone bugged me. I'm glad it's over. I have tomorrow off. Hopefully, I'll be in a better mood Friday.

Celtic Myth: The Knowledge of the Gods
Found this on a website on bardic poetry:

The Knowledge of the Gods
By Skip Ellison © 2001

Long ago before the Tuatha Dé Danann came to Ireland
They dwelt in a land to the West
A land of many mysteries
The land where they learned their magic

In this land there were four great cities
And in those cities were four great teachers
From those four great teachers came four great treasures
The treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann

The first of those cities was called Gorias
And the great teacher there was Esras
From Esras came the great lance, Gae Assail
Whose head had to be kept in blood to keep from bursting into flame

The next of those cities was called Findias
And the great teacher there was called Seamus
From Seamus came the great sword, Claimh Solais, Sword of Light
From whose stroke none ever escaped nor recovered

The next of those cities was called Murias
And the great teacher there was called Uiscias
From Uiscias came the great cauldron, The Undry
Which gave all sustenance based on their need and worth

The last of those cities was called Falias
And the great teacher there was called Morfessa
From Morfessa came the great stone, Lia Fail, Stone of Destiny
Who would roar and cry out when touched by the rightful King of Erin

And the great lance, Gae Assail, was given to Lugh
Who had learned that power needs to be controlled
And the great sword, Claimh Solais, was given to Nuadu
Who had learned that power needs to be tempered with justice

And the great cauldron, The Undry, was given to Dagda
Who had learned that everything worthwhile comes from within
And the great stone, Lia Fail, was given to all the Tuatha Dé Danann
To show them their rightful kings

Having learned the knowledge of the masters
And having gained the treasures from the masters
The Tuatha Dé Danann traveled to the East
To the land that would be known as Ireland

It's neat that it refers to the Tuatha de Danaan coming from the West. I've not seen that before. The closest I've seen to a version giving a location for the four cities was one that hinted that the Tuatha de Danaan came from mainland Europe, but that was one of the books that also suggested that the Children of Danu were actually a tribe of Celts, one of the first to arrive in Ireland, which makes a lot of sense.

I was living in denial. I didn't believe the people of California would actually elect a guy like Arnold just because he's a celebrity. Now, my faith in our American Democracy has hit a new low. I'm disgusted. Maybe I haven't followed the story well enough. I did try and avoid it. Maybe, I missed some reason other than the fact that he's a celebrity that people would vote for him and ignore the fact that he's a Hitler admirer. However, from everything I saw and heard he came off as uneducated on the issue in the governor debate and never made any statements of any substance.

.....and the guy has a worse reputation about his dealings with women than Clinton!!!!

Then, driving in to work, I realized once again what I geek I am. After the numbness of the shock wore off, it occured to me with great horror what the second worse thing about all this. Conan, the King may never get made now. I've waited so long for this movie and they were going to finally start making it soon. Not much chance now.

The World of Connemara
I ran my first session. It seemed to go pretty well. Everyone had fun. The D&D rules may take some getting used to, but I think I'll be comfortable with them after a couple of sessions.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Comic Books: Women in Refigerators
Yeah, it's a really slow day at work....

A message board I visit had this link to Women in Refigerators, a website that lists the tragic fates of several female characters in comic books. Much like black superheroes, the female characters in comics have often been handled poorly by (often male) comic book writers. While I think that the website misses out on the fact that many, many male characters go through the ringer too, there is a good point here. Too often, writers try to create drama in comics by doing somthing really tragic to a character.

Perhaps the reason it seems to happen more often to women is that the writers often don't know how to write women and go to the cheap dramatic effect: tragedy. I certainly don't think it's anything sinister or that the writers are glorifying violence against women. I also don't think it's like WiR suggests, that the male audience likes this stuff. (I don't know one guy who said it was cool when Kyle Rayner's girlfriend was stuffed in the fridge in Green Lantern. I think everyone was disgusted by that issue.)

I think this is one of the things I always appreciated about Superman. Writers couldn't just kill Lois Lane to make drama. There would be an uproar. So, Superman comics have always had to be create the drama without resorting to tactics like the infamous "woman-in-refigerator" issue that Ron Marz gave to Green Lantern. (Which brings me back to my point that they do this kinda crap to guys too. Ron Marz started his GL run but having Hal Jordan going crazy and killing his friends, The Green Lantern Corps. I don't call it sexist. It's just bad writing. Ron Marz has gotten a lot better over the years, but those early issues of his GL run were painful to read.) With Superman, DC has always had to put the best writers they could on the comic because they know how hard it is to create drama for Mr. Invunerable when they can't even hurt the people he loves.

One of the interesting bits in the site is Nancy Collins' piece in which she says:

Although Sonja Blue is raped and is transformed by it into a vampire, her rape isn't a way of receiving her "power" from a male force, but an attempt to mirror the Maimed Hero. In many fables and legends the hero is given a defect/maiming necessary to surmount to come the hero (Oedipus, the Celtic guy with the silver hand I'm blanking on, King Arthur, Osiris). In some cases, the maiming is a sacrifice for knowledge (Odin), the badge of a warrior (the Amazons) or a means of disguising immense "inner" strength and ability (Papa Legba, Hepahestus, The Fisher King). However, you might notice few females in that list, except for the Amazons, who sacrificed a breast in order to be better archers. (Having caught a tit in a bow string, I can see why.) For women, a not-very-subtle symbolic form of maiming (i.e. loss of the self) is the rape. The rape is usually also symbolic in rendering the women sterile and therefore, placing her outside the "natural" reproductive role of womanhood, enables her to pursue the more masculine role of avenging warrior. Many of the Greek and Roman goddesses of vengeance (Nemesis, Ate, the Furies) were represented as either virgins or hags -- women who have yet to become part of the "bleeding sisterhood" or have passed beyond their fertile, nurturing years.

Which got me thinking about an unrelated topic: my interest in Nuadha (the silver handed guy that her mind blanked out on). I also really liked Osirus and Arthur (whom I guess could count as a maimed hero, although I never thought of him that way). Why do I like the Maimed Hero? Does it say something about me? If so, what?

Celtic Myth: Gods in Exile
Cool. I have a new book on the Celtic Myth, The Religion of the Ancient Celts by J.A. MacCulloch. Rather than just telling the myths, this books talks about the variations of the myths and the religion involved. Under the chapter regarding the Tuatha de Danaan, the author describes how a 10th century scholar wasn't sure if he could classify the Tuatha de Danaan as deities or "devils." He also gives the best possibility for the Tuatha de Danaan: Gods in Exile. The myths say that they were the children of the Goddess Danu and her three husbands and that they came from their magical cities, but they walked the earth and were eventually defeated by men. Their final fate was to be turned into the Aes Sidhe, the little people that live in Irish hills according to faerie lore. From giants to little people, the Tuatha de Danaan were not very god-like. They were painfully mortal, yet descended of the gods.

Monday Mashup: We Are Legend
This week's Monday Mashup asks us to mash I Am Legend. I haven't read the book, but I've read a comic adaption and watched the movie (Omega Man, although I hear there was another movie that was more loyal to the book). So, I'm working off of these sources.

I Am Legend is your classic zombie survival story with a twist. The character is besieged by Vampires (called mutants in Omega Man) instead of Zombies and in the end learns that the Vampires fear him as much as he fears them. The first and most obvious choice of games is All Flesh Must be Eaten, the zombie horror game from Eden studios. Of course, that would be more of a direct translation than a proper mash.

The scenario has many exciting possibilities for the Amber: Diceless Roleplaying Game. One that instantly comes to mind is Amber itself beseiged by monsters from off in shadow. The family has set up their defense in the castle and Kolvir. The Jewel was lost some time ago. The family finds it difficult/impossible to shift shadow so close to the Pattern and supplies are running low. They have found a few ways to sneak out of the castle but it is dangerous. They find that Rebma has aligned with the attackers....but why? There is something oddly familiar about these creatures and why do they fear the Amberites so? They almost treat the Amberites as...gods. Why are they here to destroy them?

The main scenario for a I Am Legend mashup that came to mind was for Changeling: the Dreaming or any other modern fantasy setting with Fae in a real-world city like New York or L.A.. The PCs are Fae. For years they lived amongst mankind unseen. Then the Hollow Ones appeared. Extremely banal humans that recognized the Fae for what they were: a threat. The Fae found themselves ruthlessly hunted and killed by these creatures. Now, a small group of surviving Fae have set up a magically hidden stronghold in the sewers of New York. Several fantastic creatures, seelie and unseelie, find themselves working together to survive. The Hollow Ones are less of a threat at day as they return to their grey lives and the 9-5, so the Fae venture out from their stronghold during the day....but even then they must be careful. Not all of the Hollow Ones work nine-to-fives.

The Hollow Ones were named such because that is how the Fae see their souls. Hollow. The Hollow Ones would disagree. They are warriors for a cause. The Hollow Ones have tapped into an old racial memory from the times when Fae would play cruel tricks on humanity and times were less civil between the Faerie worlds and mortals. They don't know why, but they deeply fear the Fae. At first they may fear they are going insane, as many of their friends cannot see the fantastic creatures that walk the streets. Eventually, through the internet and occult shops they find other Hollow Ones and together realize one thing. The Fae are a threat to it is supposed to be. They were given powers to fight that threat. They are invulnerable to fae glamours, like the ones that hide the fae from mortal eyes. Fae also find it extremely difficult to work any form of glamour when a Hollow One is present. (In Changeling, you could increase the difficulty by one for each point of banality above 5 and if that increases the difficulty above 9 , require additional successes for each point it would have raised the target number over nine.) The Hollow Ones fight like they are possessed. So normal during the day, at night they gather in packs and hunt through the city...sure that the only thing that quiet their unquiet minds is the deaths of the Fae.

This plot could also work really well for the upcoming Angel Roleplaying Game, as the Angel series has shown us that not all demons are evil, although it would obviously take some changes. The PCs would be demons instead of Fae. The big change is the hunters. It could be a team of newly Slayers and other Demon Hunters, but they would have to be a lot less reasonable than the Buffy or Angel gangs. A group that all have their reasons for completely and utterly hating all demons and not willing to give them a chance to explain that they are "nice" demons.

Gaming Resource: Maps
Legolas has some maps on his website, both historical and fantasy. I didn't see any that were usefule to Connemara right now, but I'm noting it here for my reference later.

Gaming Resource: Medieval Demographics....Made Easy!
So, how many people should live in a typical fantasy village? How many castles should a kingdom of 500,000 people have? How big is a really large city? This website breaks it down.

Monday, October 06, 2003

The Child's Journey
Grabbing the link for my Columbus post, I re-read my post regarding "The Child's Journey." I've read a few more books lately that fall into that category and once again seem to follow the structure.

The newest one I'm reading is Mercedes Lackey's Arrows of the Queen, the first book of her Heralds of Valdemar trilogy. I actually started this one back in March because a player in "Morpheus Interrupted" was playing Talia.


To review, the structure is basically this:

  • The Child starts is in a miserable situation, usually living with step-parents, uncles or aunts. Harry Potter and James (of Giant Peach fame) started living with aunts and uncles, but sometimes it's other things that make life miserable for the child. For Ender (of Ender's Game) it was a bully brother. For Talia it was living amongst the Holderkin, a people very oppressive to women. Even Alice had to escape her lessons.

  • The child finds out there is something special about them.

  • This special nature allows the child to escpae the situation.

  • Child meets new friends

  • This special nature allows the child to escape the bad situation.

  • Away from home the child meets new friends who are accepting of the difference of the child.

  • The child, with the help of his or her new friends saves the day.

I've thought of a few more stories (like the all-time classic child's journey, Cinderella) that fit the mold over the last year, but Talia's story really sticks out.

So.... realizing that we human beings identify stongly with these child heroes because we were all once children like them (although hopefully not to the extreme), I've been thinking for a while now how I could use this information to form a roleplaying scenario.

One of the ideas I've had was a Ender's Game scenario based around Amber. I think I've posted the description of that one here before.

Another thought I have is having a group of Amberite children raised "cruelly" by their Amberite parents. Escaping their parents, they flee into shadow. This could be somewhat Lord of the Flies-ish, but has the bonus of starting the characters in a cruel place. That "special gift" that unites. They are Amberites, obviously, but maybe they also have some new, special ability that the elders never had. Perhaps their gift allows them to walk shadow without having walked the Pattern. Perhaps there could be a big secret about the birth of the children that has been kept from them by the elders.

Oh well, I'm rambling. Point of the post- Talia is another example of this scenario. That's all.

Columbus Day: The Conquest of Paradise
In Fourteen-Hundred and Ninety-Three, Columbus stole all he could see.

I've already posted my Columbus rant last year, so I won't go into it. (For those of you who haven't read it, you can find it here.)

Still, Patrick reminds me of one one thing I miss about Interfirst. Even though I don't agree with giving a mass-murderer like Columbus (or "Saint" Patrick) a holiday, it's always nice to get a paid day off.

OK....I know I just said I wouldn't rant, but I just have to say this. The thing that really upsets me about the Columbus story is that the descriptions from his journals make the pre-Spaniard "Indian" society sound like a paradise on earth.

The new TV season has started. There's not a lot of TV programs I'm interested in, but there are enough.

Wednesday night is Smallville and Angel.

Smallville was really good for the first season but was so-so last season. A few episodes, like the one with Christopher Reeve, rocked. The majority of the episodes were lame. Still, I like of lot of the stuff they are doing with the Superman mythos. I'm sure many other Superman fans hate it and I can easily see why they would, but I think it's a lot of fun and plays with one of my favorite "what-ifs" of the Superman story. "What if Jor-El (Superman's Kryptonian father) was a real bastard?" The season premiere was pretty good (I thought), although the red K, bad boy Clark is getting really old. As has been the case since the beginning of the series, I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with Lex. Also, they introduced Morgan Edge in the premiere andin an excellent bit of casting, had him played by Rutger Hauer.

The Angel premiere was great. Carla and I didn't watch Angel last season, although several friends of told us that it was terrific. We're just following Spike over to Angel, but I really liked the theme of the episode (and apparently the season) as the crew of Angel deal with being given control of Wolfram & Hart, the evil law firm that has been the main source of evil in L.A.. Can they make W&H a force for good in L.A. or will the law firm corrupt them? The premiere only had Spike in the last couple seconds, but it was a great entrance. I really liked the character of Eve, the Wolfram & Hart employee that is obviously there to corrupt the team (and has already turned Gunn into the most evil, soulless thing imaginable).

Since I work Wednesday nights, I'm having to watch these shows on tape. Carla and I went out and bought a Super VHS recorder so I can get better copies than the ones I was getting from the crappy old VCR. (The VCR I was using was a 4-head that Carla and I bought a few years back. It was the cheapest one we could find and the recordings showed that.) SVHS is great. The recordings are almost as good as watching the tv live.

There aren't many other shows on that interest me. I may start watching Gilmore Girls now that it is doesn't conflict with Buffy. I like the episodes I've seen before, but I'm not sure if that's a show I'd schedule myself to watch. I've been wanting to start watching West Wing for a while now, but it conflicts with Angel, so no West Wing.

I watched the Tarzan premiere last night. I missed a good chunk of it because of being paged for a work issue, but what I saw looked really promising. It looked better than Smallville has been lately, at least.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Looked around online. It looks like we just needed to format the hard drive. I didn't skip any steps and I made sure everythind was seated properly, so it should be good.

It sucks that without the computer, I can't get online but my best source for Mac technical help is online. Sure, I should have realized that I was going to need to format the drive, but sometimes you need someone online to point out that common sense stuff.

Another Book Meme
The idea of this meme is to take the list from somebody and cross off anybody who is not on your shelf and add authors from your bookshelf to get back to the original ten. Silly, pointless stuff. Here goes anyway:

Eternal Eponine's List:
J.K. Rowling
Nancy Garden
Robin Hobb
Patricia C. Wrede
Terry Pratchett
Roger Zelazny
Philip Pullman
Poppy Z. Brite
Neil Gaiman
Tamora Pierce

My List:
J.K. Rowling
Robin Hobb
Terry Pratchett
Roger Zelazny
Philip Pullman
Poppy Z. Brite
Neil Gaiman
Michael Moorcock
Ray Bradbury
Isaac Asimov

Of course, I would have had to strike out more if I had to have read them. I've never read any Robin Hobb, although I keep meaning to. The same goes for Pullman. I've read the rest of them and they are all good reads.

Our hard drive finally died last week. We picked up a new hard drive for our iMac and installed it, but now the computer doesn't recognize it. Until I get this figured out, Carla and I will be hard-to-reach. If you need to get a hold of us, use the telephone.