Deviant Paradigm: Of The Wolf Within
Random garbage. Remarks about the comic Deviant Paradigm, notes about my life, comments about politics. This is my place to rant and rave. Fear this, World! FEAR IT!


Nickname: Avvy
Age: 24
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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.

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Halloween Party: Images 2005

Deviant Paradigm
Deviant Paradigm: Beware of Catgirl

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Semper Nox Noctis: Memoirs of the OverAlpha 1


Deviant Paradigm
--My Webcomic--


Enea Volare Mezzo
-- Sapph's Blog --

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-- Jonathan and Luke's Blog --

Fear No Darkness...
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-- My source for political news !!Conservative Site Alert!! --

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

But I've Got This Feeling
That I Was Put Here For You

I can just make her out
through the haze of the bar.
Her hair grabs my eyes and
refuses to let them continue on
their bored path around the room.
Her hair's a bit dramatic,
blond tipped with black, or
brunette striped with red or orange
or gold, but it seizes my attention.
I can't help but examine her face.
Her features are fine, hard lines
balanced with soft curves, high
cheekbones but not gaunt. Her
eyes are unusual, a cat's vivid green,
following every movement around her,
or the gray of overcast clouds, which
pick up every hint of violet in the room.
Full lips draw back in a smile to
reveal teeth carefully polished white.
Something about them suggests that
she might have just finished fighting
away an addiction to nicotine, but
they now sparkle in the light. Her mouth
moves quickly, she's saying something,
probably low and sharp, judging by the way
all of her friends start to laugh. The sound
of her laughter can be picked out among
them, the melody to beautiful music.
You can tell she is dominant, the way that
she sits back but always has something to
say, how everything is said to her, how
her friends always listen to every word she
whispers. She is an alpha among equals,
leading when she chooses or when it falls
to her. She's drinking something dark.
Something bitter. It looks an awful lot like
what I'm drinking now. Good beer.
With a body like hers, the kind that gets
described as "great." She's just a hair
shorter than I, slender, the kind of girl
I've always imagined holding on my lap.
Her proportions aren't what many guys
would go for, but my preferences aren't
theirs. A new song comes on the jukebox.
I know this one, I like it. Her ears seem
to perk up at its cords. Does she know it
too? Her eyes catch mine, and she smiles.
Could she be smiling at me? I grin
in return, hoping that she is actually looking.
I can see the fire in her eyes. She
burns. Perhaps that fire is tired
of kindling. Perhaps the hunger in
her soul is sick of appetizers. Perhaps
I could be the main course. Perhaps
I could burn with her. I can hear
the Wolf whispering to me. Telling me
that now is the time I should move,
that I need to act immediately. That
I should take what I want, what she's
offering. And, for once, I want to listen.
I agree. I want to act. My body seems
made of lead as I struggle against it,
trying to get up to talk to her. I don't even
know what I might possibly try to say.
Just as I stand, some guy walks up to
their table. Tall, athletic, a blond mop
tops his head. The kind of guy who has
never felt loneliness, who has never even
had to try to find a date. The kind of
guy that I have never been and can not
compete with. He speaks, she listens.
They smile. I flag the waitress and sit
back down. The night is still young and
I have a lot of drinking left to do.

You can't turn off that you're dead.


There, that guy, near the bar. The one
with the brown hair shining gold in
the light, playing with it like a puppy
with a bone. I can just pick out his
green eyes from here. But they're not
just green. There's something else about
them, something different. They shine
brightly with intelligence and humor.
And somewhere beneath them, you can
see it. A fire burning. The kind that
can burn and consume, but seeks to be
banked by another fire. A fire looking
for something just like it. I know
what that sort of fire burns like. I know
exactly. He's smiling again, and I can
almost make his voice out against the
din of the bar. He laughs. That smile
and laugh were what first caught my
attention. But the rest of him is holding
it now. His bright white teeth are
framed by a goatee, trimmed short
with care. You can just make out the
cleft in his chin through it when you
look closely. His nose is a tad crooked,
attesting that he hasn't spent his whole
life avoiding conflict. His face is
expressive and he gestures widely with
his hands, every word a joke, every
action deliberate. And his friends hang
on his every word and deed. They defer
to him, tell him everything. He's just
there now, but you can tell, he could own
the room if it came to him. The only reason
he's not in charge now is because he doesn't
feel like it. He's a leader. There's that
certain feel about him. He's not dressed like
everyone else. His style is smooth and
tight. Black leather and blue sateen.
Not everybody can do leather pants, but
this guy looks natural in them. I wish
I could pull off leather half as well.
He's not a body builder by any means,
but his clothes make it obvious that
he isn't carrying around a spare tire either.
He's drinking some dark beer, a man who
knows what he likes and can appreciate
darker tastes. His whole body moves
with a scarcely contained energy. The
jukebox starts playing a different song.
This is one of my favorites. As I listen
I notice him mouthing the words. Does
he like this song too? He's looking over
this way. Our eyes lock. My heart
beats faster. I nervously smile at him.
He smiles back, the light sparkling over
his teeth. Was it enough? Will he come
over and introduce himself? He's standing
up. That's the cue for my sister's boyfriend
to show up. And of course he notices me,
has to talk to me. Dammit. Does God really
hate me? I look around him. I can see the fire
go out in the eyes of the guy at the bar. Dammit.

You can't turn off that you're dead.

Italicized lyrics from "I Have Been Right All Along by Armor For Sleep.

Flash is Still From Hell
You know, I wish Macromedia would have gotten back to me. I should have a copy of Flash 8, which I understand actually fixed some problems. But no, I've got my Flash MX 2004 instead. Sapph claims my current site design on Deviant Paradigm causes him physical pain, so he worked me up a new layout and I agreed to try to put it together. I'd wanted to do the damn thing in Flash, but that was before I rembered...The geniuses at Macromedia declared that it wouldn't dynamically load anything but JPEG's. How useful! Of course, what can I expect from a place with a website that is so close to purified unusability? Even MySQL's horrible mistake of a search engine is more likely to accidentally stumble on what you wanted to find than Macromedia's, which is supposed to be powered by Google, the evil masters of searching themselves. And don't get me started on how long it takes to do anything on their site. At least I've got Sephiroth. There's a place that's got it's act together. Look Macromedia! It's your documentation in a usable format! I was hoping that Adobe would improve things at Macromedia, but obviously, the website's only overhaul is replacing the logo.

So we'll see if I can at least do a freaking menu in Flash. That would at least be something.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas to All
Merry Christmas, and happy whatever else you care to celebrate! This year, since Christmas is on a Sunday, we opened our presents early and I'll get to wear my new suit to church. The jacket will be added as a part of my "sexy outfit," I'm thinking. I've also got enough MST3K to last us for some time, so you all will have to put up with me making terrible quotes about terrible movies for a while. And everyone who I know personally will be suffering through them with Mike, Joel, the robots, and I. *grin* I also got the Armor For Sleep CD, What to Do When You Are Dead. I like it because listening to depressing music cheers me up when I'm depressed, and it's hard to get more depressing than Armor For Sleep. On this CD, virtually every song's "character" that's more or less singing the song, is either dead, dying, or will die soon. You just have to love it.

Deviant Paradigm: State of the Comic
Well, I just discovered that my website's a bit broken, so I'll have to fix that, either tomorrow or when I get off work on Monday. I've got the first Christmas comic up. It really doesn't happen to make any sense at all yet, but the punchline will be coming up shortly. Then I'm sure you all will laugh. Of course, everyone who knows about my comic has probably heard me tell them the joke. I'm not happy about the background, ("Oh look! Green!") but it was either that or not have it up at all, and I'm sick of not having comics up. Hopefully I'll have the next one up by the end of the week.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Pants of Note
I should just make my leather pants into a regular discussion topic, seeing as how I end up talking about them so much. This last week, I engendered comments every single night I wore them. Saturday, we went drinking and Karaoke at Clancy's (I was pretty rough, but in my defense, it has been a while since I did any sort of singing in public) a woman asked me where I got my pants. I wish I could offer her a place, but truth be told, they were a gift from my Uncle and he didn't remember where he found them. She was after a pair for her boyfriend or husband, but a positive comment nevertheless. Sunday, at the Goofy Foot listening to the Jazzholes, a more or less house band who is very good at playing ambient jazz, the waitress commented on them, ("Nice Pants," she said, rubbing them). And then on Tuesday, playing Shadowrun at Alan's some random friends of a roommate had the best comment of all, "You...Your pants are worth noting." (that being the transitive form of "note" for anyone prone to misunderstanding).

Of course, I also got what I find somewhat less flattering comments on Tuesday. Peter, one of Alan and Sapph's friends who is back in town for Christmas, told me, "Brian, you look like something out of a gay wet dream." Then of course, he turns to Sapph for confimation. Sapph just nods vigorously. I already knew this one, having been informed of it before. To his credit, Peter then tried to separate the request from my person -- not that it would do any good. *sigh* You know, someday I'm going to have to make everybody eat their blasted words. My Fonz powers will finally manifest and I will be able to spontaneously generate beautiful women with a snap of my fingers.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Back Home for the Holidays
Well, I'm back at my folks' for Christmas. Of course, that just means I'm trapped here with this horrible bird. I hate it more than I have ever hated any living, undead, or inanimate thing.

Went to the dentist -- still no cavities. My teeth seem to be doing quite well, in spite of all the gallons of Cherry Coke that my body requires to function. I drove around looking for Sapph and Mal's present(s) (it's one gift consisting of two items for the both of them). I found an instance of one part that looked cool, but violated Sapph's "no spikes" policy. I found an instance of the other part that would be perfect, except for the costing as much as I wanted to spend over all bit. So no go with that either. Looks like I won't be able to pick up what I want until I get back.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

State of the Comic
Well, it'll break continuity, but I think I'm going to run a holiday strip. Quite frankly, I think it's too funny to miss doing. I've got the first couple frames sketeched out and I'm working on coloring them. If I can manage to force myself to actually work on it over the next couple days, I'll have it up before I go home for Christmas.

In the Style Of
For the curious, here's a bit of background on the creation of the characters that are and will be featured in Deviant Paradigm.

Av is, unsurprisingly, something of an idealized form of myself. In actuality, his callsign of Avatar is a reference to Ultima, not to the fact that he is my representation. That use of the word is a fortitous coincidence. What I find really fascinating is how little Av is idealized from myself, at least in a physical nature. Most idealized forms that people draw and put online look very different from themselves. Av is me, but if I worked out. His fighting style is based on the fighting style used by Christopher Lambert in Beowulf (which I must recommend. It's a great movie, so long as you don't mind that the only things it bears in common with the actual epic is character names and a very vague semblence of plot).

Dawn is based on what I found attractive in high school, as that is when she originates. She was very much what I considered a perfect woman to be like. In many ways, Dawn is still an ideal of what I am attracted to, even the scar down the side of her face (which she tries to keep hidden). As I say (and Av will), I tend to see "pretty" in perfection, but true beauty lies in the tiny imperfections that make us human. Dawn is vaguely modeled after a girl from high school, and my leaving that behind is part of the reason that she is not dating Av anymore (that and when I suddenly became a fanboy my little universe got some bleed over).

C.C. is from an old Runza ad, as I recall. You'll forgive me if my memory is a bit fuzzy, C.C. dates from when I was about five years old. His name is trite precisely because he comes from then, which is why I abbreviate it (also I don't like saying things all the way out and like shortening them to initials -- it's an engineer thing). I can't explain exactly why he decided to go into medicine, he just did. C.C. has always been with Av, one of those steadfast friend characters, even before Av was Av (I've always fancied a doctorate, so he called him "Doc", though whether I end up with one or not is up for debate right now).

Luke and Jonathan are adaptations of my friends Luke and Jonathan, who demanded that they be put into my comic. As such, they are the hardest to write for, since they aren't my own, original characters. They're much like themselves in life, but with certain traits amplified. For example, Luke won't actually do anything to make a buck, but making him out to be a money-grubbing bastard was designed to make him more humorous and explain why he bothers to mess around with the rest of the Crew. Jonathan has similar reasons for being the way he is.

Watching Monkeybone again today reminded that Aya is rather in the style of Miss Kitty from that movie, a character that's a big part of why I like the it (much of the humor being a bit crude for my tastes). Aya also bears some stylistic influence from Kitty from Under Power. Those were the influences that I brought, at least, into her creation. I actually can't claim full responsibility for Aya, though. Aya owes a lot to Sapph's envisioning of her. I've got a lovely bit of "pre-fan art" that I'll put up once she's formally introduced. That would be the first sketch that would become what she is now, after I adapted it for my own purposes. She's also been guided into being by all the anime I've watched in the past and my own personal preferences.

Sapph and Mal (the boyfriend) will also be appearing for certain. Sapph appears as an idealized form of himself as well, albeit one twisted by his own fetishes. (Quit looking at me like that. I didn't say there was anything wrong with it, just that it was done.) Mal is far less idealized. While I haven't gotten to write much with him in it, he's going to pretty much just be the furry version of himself, I suspect. Mal has worked as my weirdness filter for a few years now, pretty much ever since I met him Freshman year, so he really doesn't need to have a personality tweaked for the bizarre.

Well, that's it for now. I'll try to fill in some of the little inspirations and backgrounds on some of the other characters later, if I remember, but that's a lot of text to digest right up there.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Too Much to Ask For
The original primary point of this blog was catharsis, so you all have to put up with it sometimes. This is one of those times. Those of you who have no interest in listening to the blog owner whine can just skip this one. I don't blame you. I wouldn't want to read it either.

I often wonder these days if what I want is too much to ask for. Is it too much to ask for a girl that suits my tastes? Someone who agrees with me often but not always (that would be boring), likes gaming (I used to say "knows the definition of the word 'frag' and can use it in a sentence," but that might be too restrictive; though this needs to include computer/video games and role-playing games or at least the toleration of one and the love of the other), enjoys (or at least tolerates) MacGuyver, enjoys dancing, suits my asthetic specifications (which is not as difficult as one would imagine or as easy as my desperation implies), and lives within a roughly 200 mile radius.

The last one is the newest requirement. My ex was from Florida, and after I flew her up here for Independence day I came to the realization that I need such a requirement. You see, I have problems even touching people unless I feel I have some sort of permission to do so. This, among other things, leaves me starved for human affection. Among other problems, that leads to my being touchy-feely affectionate to the point of creepiness at times. In order to combat this, I need someone who I can see at least a couple times a month, not a couple times (at the most) in a year.

And it would be handy if she was just a little bit of a furry. Yeah, I dread that sort of thing too, but I'm questionably borderline, and with my friends (most specifically Sapph and Serge) "helping" me, essentially by throwing me bodily toward it, it's probably only a matter of time before I get much worse. The other thing I need is for her to be somewhat aggressive. This is not because I cannot or will not be, quite the opposite rather. It is because I want a partner, someone who can match my fire. If she cannot do that, I fear I should grow bored. I'm attracted to the girls who aren't afraid to take what they want sometimes. I don't want someone who's too out there, as I said, I'm looking for someone who can match me. But I don't think that will end up being too hard. One benefit of living in these times is that there is no shortage of fairly aggressive women.

Of course, the most difficult requirement for any girlfriend of mine is that she be attracted to me. For one thing, I'm only of about average appearance, granted my ex and Sapph both would disagree with me here. I'd guess she only felt that way because we were dating (obligation you understand; I met her over the Internet and we were dating before she ever saw much of a picture of me). And as for Sapph, well, in his case I blame the alcohol. Also, I have a rather bizarre sense of humor, which occasionally ventures into the region of mean and nasty, and I'm very strongly opinionated and ridiculously competitive.

I'm sure there are people out there that fit these requirements and still remain available to me, but I can't ever seem to meet them. For one thing, I am terrified that anyone I ask will have someone in their lives already but will not tell me right out. I don't want some sort of kind let down -- I want the truth of the matter. This is a big part due to my history. I dated a girl once for whom "I don't have a boyfriend" (she did say this) meant more like "Well, there is a guy who thinks he's my boyfriend, but I'm not really sure I like him any more, so I'd like to play the field a little." You'd be impressed at how cynical this makes a person. And I'm a social inept. I can deal with social situations, but it takes effort from me. I can't just do it instinctually. And since you need a social situation to meet people, I'm really stuck. The Wolf takes great pleasure in reminding me that if I was good at social situations I'd have a warm body beside me some nights. And it's additionally frustrating because I don't seem to have any talent for attracting women. Contrast this with what appear to be miraculous powers of gaybait that I have been cursed with and you'll see why I am so discontent. And then my friends poke fun of me (as they rightly should do, I certainly don't blame them for it). But I end up getting left increasingly hopeless and depressed. That I think is why I've invested time and money this last semester in trying to grasp myself. I'm just trying to find a way to make myself more attractive to those that I would like to attract. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be working. Not that it's going to stop me from continuing my efforts. There's got to be somebody out there. And I'll find her...Or die trying.

Thanks for letting me get all that out. I now return you to your regularly posted angry pointless ranting and happy pointless ranting.

Always With the New Games
Holy crap. I read Penny-Arcade when I work, and I notice that they've got the whole of their Prince of Persia comics up. I am surprised to say the least... I recognize the voice of the Dark Prince that Tycho has so eloquently written. I know those words. The Wolf speaks them to me. Most specifically the words of the seventh and eighth pages. It's creepy. Makes me want to buy the game. And it is available on my platform of choice. Tempting. I would give in, except for the little problem of my being broke right now.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Always With the New Editions
*grumble* Stupid university. None of the books I have are capable of being sold back. Not even my Astronomy book which is still in the plastic wrap. Everything's got new editions. Or at least it seems like everything is switching to a new edition. It's a real pain. That extra cash infusion would have been really nice.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Merry Christmas to All... And to All the Hard Goodbye
AT LONG LAST! I saw in Sears today, finishing up my holiday purchases, Sin City. The extended edition has finally been released! "Uncut and unrated." *grin* Were it not for the season, it would be in my possession even now. Sadly, I cannot trust someone like my brother not to get clever and see into my dark heart and spot my great desire. But once Christmas is over, if I do not have it, I will purchase it immediately. It actually ranks higher in want than MacGuyver's 4th season (released December 6th), which is saying something. There's nothing like the extended edition release of the most hyperviolent movie to be created in recent times to put someone in the Christmas spirit.

Finals Week -- Is That a Light?
Well, one day left to finals week and one final remaining. Speech. Yeah, I'm snickering too. I actually will study for it, but I'm not very worried. Let me put it this way -- I could go, write my name on the top of the test (yes it's a test), hand it back totally blank, and end up with a B in the class. So no, I'm not very worried about it.

But today...By Shockley. We were giving presentations in my "Technology, Science, and Civilizations" class. (Essentially it's "watch movies and write papers about science and civilization" class. I fell asleep a lot.) Now, for finals week, you get two hours of class to take the final, so instead of taking a final, we did presentations of our semester projects (mine was a paper that I wrote last night over the course of about three hours, so it wasn't quite as good as it might have been). But, of course, with so many students with so much to say (okay, only twenty-some students or so, most of them in groups of two or three, but anyway) we went over time. We sat in that stupid room for THREE AND A HALF HOURS. Staring at Powerpoint presentations for three and a half hours. I thought my eyes would melt. By the end of it, we were down to about eight people who were just happy to get out of there.

Three hours of listening to presentations is surprisingly exhausting, so I took a nap on returning. This of course (I swear there's a causal relationship) made disasters happen at work. So I had to do some remote modifications to our autoupdating system (since I wrote the server side functionality, it was my responsibility to fix that part of the problem). But it should be good to go on that end, just waiting for the clients to get updated so they ask for things the right way again, but at least this time the system isn't totally broken. And no, for the record I am not looking forward to going to work tomorrow to deal with the Flash monstrosity and people who want to bend it to their own whims. But sadly, what's a Frankensteinian web developer to do? I made the monster, now I have to keep working on it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Disasters, Averted and Incoming
Well, at least that's resolved. The Wolf and I didn't manage to do anything particularly stupid, which we'd thought about, last night. So my friend and I came to an understanding today, and are now back on speaking terms. There's one disaster averted. I got to court a few others for work this morning. We put an actual firewall on our server, but we keep forgetting which ports need to be opened until something fails. Then we panic and move to fix it. Right now, the spam filter is all manner of nonfunctional. I've got it circumvented just so that the email works at all. The odd thing is that it just stopped working sometime last week. *shrug* That server is insane. Then there's the continual disaster of Finals this week. And just to finish up the week, I have to go to work on Friday (don't worry fellas, I will be back in time to do whatever it is that we'll be doing, come Hell or high water) because I'm meeting with some people that would like us to adapt the Flash monstrosity to suit their purposes and I have to be there as the primary (and pretty much only) developer on the project to gauge the feasibility and how long it would take. <sarc> Gee, I can't wait to adapt the Flash monstrosity to do other things Satan never intended Flash to do.</sarc> (PHP is from Heaven, Flash is from Hell -- I'm using both.) That software tried to claim my soul several times already. But it looks like I'll have to go another round. And it still isn't ready for release to its primary market. I'm going to have a Flash-filled holiday break by the looks of things. At least these guys have the good taste to act impressed by it and flatter my abilities.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Looking for Christmas Spirit
And so, we're nearing Christmas, by any account, religious or secular, a supposedly joyous time of year. And what mood am I in? Angry and depressed.

First off, all this stupid togetherness, seeing my brother with his girlfriend and all the other happy couples around serves only to feed my envy and remind me of how terribly alone I am. Then I come and find out that one side of my family has scheduled their Christmas celebration for New Years' Day. That pretty much guarantees that I won't be able to make it. It's bloody New Years'. I'm going to be out all night with my friends. I am not going to be in any kind of shape to drive three hours down highways and county roads to get to my grandparents' house by noon. Simply not going to happen. I just got done catching hell because I tried to do something nice for one of my friends, only it turned out not to be what they would have liked me to do at all. And, of course, just to top things off, my grandmother died last year around this time. *sigh* This just is not one of my favorite times of year any more.

Can anybody out there offer advice as to where I can find some of this "Christmas spirit" stuff? I need a reminder as to what we're celebrating. A real example of why this is the celebration of the savior's birth and why he'd want to come down and save us poor, benighted bastards anyway.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

"I have a dog and cat at home...A vampire's not that weird."
Last night, we just goofed off. So we went drinking and rented a movie from Blockbuster, because I had a $0.99 rental coupon. We were looking for something mindless to run in the background as we played SPANC. And Sapph spotted Vampire Effect. He suggested it, because, after all, a Hong Kong cinema title involving Kung-fu and vampires was certainly something we could just put in and run. We were so wrong. Holy crap. Now I have to buy this movie. It was freaking awesome. Just totally ridiculous. It's in the horror section, but it's not horror at all. It's a crazy action/comedy, the sort of thing only Hong Kong has been able to produce well. It's even got Jackie Chan guest starring in it. The story's not great, but the dialog is a riot and the acting is excellent. It's just so bizarre. The part where the vampire prince is confessing to the girl he loves that he's a vampire is so funny I almost made myself sick laughing. In fact, the quote that forms the title is a line from that part. Rent this one, it's worth the money for a laugh. I've bought much more awful movies for much sillier reasons (like buying Hollow Man simply for its turning invisible special effect). Now I just have to find where I can buy it so I add it to my Christmas list.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Is it a Zombie or an Engineer?
To all who have wondered where I have been for the past week, that would be "the lab." I have spent more waking hours in that building than I have out side of it for the past week. But I have finally completed my project. I'm now just waiting for the lab TA to finish up his work so he can come and check me off. Then I'm out of here. Whether I go to sleep or go drinking -- very hard drinking -- is currently up for debate. I guess we'll see. I should actually be online tonight! Watch for me.

-- Update 12/8/05 3:02 PM --
Just got signed off. Now I can leave this blasted place for the rest of the week. *cries tears of joy*

Monday, December 05, 2005

Phoenix Blood Update
Well, we didn't actually get any gaming done, but we played around with character generation. I'm rather excited about it, mostly because my friends seem interested in my own little game. The great part is that some of them are rules junkies like myself, most notably Alan, who will quite happily fill in any parts that I don't want to do, because I've done most of the work and can fill in anything that he doesn't want to do. Right now there's an awful lot of work to do with the system before character generation is good to go, but we got a great start with it, and did some things that I've been wanting to do for a while. Now I've just got to type what we did up and fill in the rest. Then we can really get into play testing and tweaking the rules.

For those who are curious, the premise is pretty much high fantasy. But I wanted a good fantasy game and started to work this up (this was before I was even introduced to D&D). Once I actually played D&D, I was disappointed in it. Its simplicity tends to retard flexibility. So I wanted to put the best parts of all the games I've played together into a system. On that topic, I should go back through my Palladium games and remind myself of what they do. Anyway, Phoenix Blood is currently showing strong influences of Shadowrun, largely because I respect that game system a great deal. It is also bound to incorporate parts of MechWarrior 2, since that was the first RPG I ever played and still features one of the best "weclome to GM'ing" sections I've found. The skill system has the feature that I've always wanted that using a skill more improves it faster. The magic system will be an interesting set of rules that is partly Shadowrun, partly D&D, partly GURPS, and partly something all its own. The thing Alan finds so fascinating is that it's a high magic gameworld, something he's wanted to play for a long time, but every attempt at making D&D into something like that didn't end as well as he'd have liked. In the end, Phoenix Blood will feature MUD-level quantities of playable character races, and it currently is doing that with professions (Phoenix Blood is classless, as I find classes unrealistic). Right now I've just got the base races of fantasy (human, dwarf, three varieties of elf, gnome, and orc), some races that I long ago decreed into Phoenix Blood (Kaami (cat-people), and Rao (wolf-people)), and another couple races that you never get to play in more traditional games, Centaurs and Lizardmen. Jonathan is all about the Centaurs. There's about a dozen and a half different schools of magic and I'm planning on having a religion system that actually allows the gods to interfere with the game. It should end up being a lot of fun if I can get everything worked out. And with all the help I've got, I'm not too worried about it.

If anybody has any suggestions or things they've always wanted to see in a fantasy game, feel free to suggest them. You never know, your little idea might make it into a game that other people play.

Pit of Frustration
Welcome to the Pit of Frustration, now 27% more infuriating!

ARGH! Most people are looking forward to the end of the school year. I'm not one of them. For one thing, I need another couple weeks to get my bedamned project done. It won't, for reasons I have yet to determine, despite days of trying, work. All I seem to get is a migrane. I'm at the point of developing muscle tremors from the frustrated rage. Another two hours in the lab and I'm at the 'strangling people' point. And if Jamie inflicts her RENT soundtrack on me again, I'm in danger of destroying whatever's playing it and then beating her severely with the busted remains. This is not the time for me. My patience, what very little of it actually exists, is gone, and I'm not in the position to get drunk enough not to care. Is it too much to ask just for things to work properly? I'm not even asking for first try. I just think a week's worth of trying ought to at least give me some clues as to what to look for. The project is doing some stuff with the serial port on an 8051 microcontroller. It receives data. Not the right data, but it's receiving something. That's better than what it sends, which is nothing at all. I probably wouldn't be at this point of boiling frustrated rage if it weren't the end of the stupid semester and this supposedly being an easy lab assignment. Oh, and it being due last week with another one due this Wednesday...WHICH BUILDS ON IT. So it's wrong end of the rake time for me. I just don't know what to do any more, but I'm about to break down. Clear the area.

-- Update --
And there went the fire. All that's left now is the cold...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Gaming Night Tonight -- Phoenix Blood
Taking a break from Spycraft tonight. I want to level my players, but with school ending, I don't have the energy to invest in it. Instead, we're going to feed my fantasy craving. But since I hate D&D, we're doing something different. *grin* We'll be playing Phoenix Blood. There's a reason you haven't heard of it. It's because I've made it up. This is the second time I've put much energy into working out its rules. There's still a lot of changes that will have to be made and tweaks to be done, but I've figured out most of the basics. So the game report this week will be very different, being a playtesting report. Once I've got a rulebook that is reasonably complete, I'll post it up for everyone to enjoy and try out. I'd like to even have illustrations in it, like all the best of the books, but I can't afford to pay the artists I know for art to put into it, unless they drastically reduce their prices. But that'll be a bridge I can burn when I come to it. It might be good to have all the basic rules, like 'how does combat work' and 'what affects do the various races have on the game,' first.

Phoenix Blood -- Does it run through your veins?

Fickle Coincidence
I have never had the power of coincidence laugh so openly in my face before...

For background, I seem to have enormous powers of disturbing coincidence. I end up with coworkers who fit basic physical descriptions and have a full name, first and last, that is one letter off from that of characters I made up years before.

Freshman year, two weeks before April Fools day, I suggested that it would be a funny prank to have the front desk do a fire drill while Luke was in the shower. Of course, I couldn't pull something like that off. So I forgot about it, until, that is, it was April Fools day and the fire alarm went off. I walked the long way to go past Luke's room (at the time we weren't roommates), so I could complain about it to him. Then he runs up to me, dripping wet, and says fiercely, "I'm going to kill you." I collapsed on the floor laughing. Turns out some construction workers cutting copper pipe had just happened to trigger the fire alarm at the same time Luke was showering.

Freshman summer, I was watching Soul Assassin, which is a pretty run-of-the-mill action movie from Europe, nothing special. Except it featured the first cool gay character I'd ever seen. Up until then, the only gay characters I'd see were out of things like "Will and Grace," you know, the kind of characters that make you want to beat gays severely with chains and cattle prods (since Sapph backs me up on this, I don't feel bad voicing the opinion). On the other hand, Soul Assassin's gay character is an ex-super hacker who owns a bar and isn't obnoxious. He ends up getting killed by the bad guys, which is sad. But back to the point -- after watching the witty, sexualized banter between him and his friend, the main character (who is not gay), I decided that that was the sort of relationship I'd like to have if I ever had any gay friends. So sue me, I find witty, sexualized banter amusing, especially when all parties involved know nothing's ever going to come of it. About two months ago, I realized that's the relationship Sapph and I have. I watched this movie about a year and 9 months before I met him, and I never made any attempt to make our relationship out this way. Just another weird coincidence.

So last week I realize that I haven't tried to invoke my powers of coincidence to get me a date. So I suggest, out loud, that it would be a mighty big coincidence for the girl I rather fancy from class to come out of her place of work (which, I'm pretty sure, coincidentally is right across from the gas station where I have an ATM -- BTW, this is the second gas station I had to find. The one I used to go to is, coincidentally, gone.) to discover that her car won't start, and I'm across the street getting cash, notice her plight, and jumpstart her car. This gives me the kick in the head I need to ask her out, we go out, fall in love, etc.. You know the story. Anyhow, I'm in class today, when she states she's missing something because it's in her car. Now I know what you're thinking, "So what, what's all this have to do with your long-winded story?" Just one thing. She doesn't have her stuff because it's in her car, which is at the shop -- having a new battery put in. There goes the jumpstart icebreaker, eh? Like I said, I've never had coincidence laugh so openly in my face. Obviously I can't abuse my power, and it only works when I don't think it will. Damnation. Why can't this be easy?

-- Update 12/2/2005 3:08 PM --
It occurs to me that I've been stabbed in the back by coincidence before. Back in high school, just to further mock my crush on the Dark One it granted her a past as a old school platform gamer. In fact, the one game she always recalled with fondness was Duke Nukem. Duke bloody Nukem. It was always like God was establishing how close she was to perfect, then pointing out that she never had any intention of dating me. Though at the time, I probably deserved it. So what did I do to deserve the wrath of coincidence this time?

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