Call of Cthulhu: Video Game Announced

Perhaps the stars will be right in 2017, and the upcoming Call of Cthulhu game will drive us all mad from the revelation.

I find myself cautiously optimistic, based on the entirety of the two screenshots we’ve got so far.  Then again, I was cautiously optimistic when I saw the trailers for Star Wars: The Force Hits the Snooze Button, which turned out to be, basically Star Wars Rebooted.  And Fallout 4, for which I purchased an entirely new computer, broke my lil’ gamer heart.

But still … Call of Cthulhu.  With modern graphics … not that CoC really needs modern graphics … I mean, in theory, the better you render Cthulhu, the more gamers will end up twitching on the office floor, smoke pouring from the holes where their eyes were.  And I’m frankly kind of curious how they’re going to do a stealth-based game using non-Euclidean geometry:

callofcthulhu-01
To move left, press Z-<ftaghn>

Which raises the question: other than not needing to play with other people, what advantage does a video game bring to HPL?  Especially when you consider the track record for Lovecraftian movies.  (Re-Animator excepted.  Guiltily, but excepted)  The odds are against a faithful adaptation, or even a successful reimagining.

But … if you noticed, the title card is using the same font as the original pen-and-paper CoC, and according to the game’s website,  this is supposed to be the “official videogame adaptation” of the RPG.

I’m hoping that means all the roleplaying elements, like SAN loss statistics- wow, sudden tangent: insanity would be one mechanic that could really be put to good use in a video game.  An insane character could perceive an entirely different world than the “real” game world: an Investigator with paranoia could hear nonexistent whispers, for instance, and since it’s a video game, the player wouldn’t – shouldn’t – ever be told he’s insane.

Which kind of reminds me of an old flash horror game I played many years ago.  Of course I’ll never remember the name of it now, but it centered around mysterious doings in a small town, and a painting – the infamous “haunted eBay paintingThe Hands Resist Him

Handsresisthim
Beats “Dogs Playing Poker”

By http://stonehamstudios.com/haunted.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7002705

and at some point (I have a mind like a steel sieve) you went through the painting, and you came out the other side back in the same town, but now it was dark and twisted and evil, and you could see the bloodstains and shadow monsters that were invisible before, and somehow walking down a corridor that you now know was stained with bloody handprints was freakin’ creeeeeepy.

Oh, and you died at the end.  Now that was a good game.

 

We’ll have to wait until 2017 to see if Call of Cthulhu matches up.  While you’re waiting, check out Sandy Petersen talking about the original.

 

 

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Skyrim: The Khajiit, The Housecarl, His Wife and Her Lover

What follows is a series of e-mails in chronological sequence.  All of these e-mails are true; only the names have been changed to protect … well, me.  Also, I didn’t actually change any of the names.


 

7/18/14

Re: I want

A fantasy game with the same style as Fallout – big world, exploration, single player… I’m told Elder Scrolls is what I want. So which one should I get, or is there something better?Brighter colors would be nice.

Skyrim!


 

9/12/14

Re: Fallout update

I finished that POS Dead Money add-on; the ending narration was rather good, actually, despite the fact that the last task almost caused me to ragequit the entire damn franchise. But then, that was the problem with Dead Money – they had a great story, fantastic atmosphere, good characters – and a shitty-ass game mechanic. It was like they wanted to make a movie and had to make a game.

Anyway, I have high hopes for the next add-on, “Honest Hearts” which takes place in Zion National Park …

… but Skyrim was on sale for 4.99, so I bought that instead.

Brace yourself … “Don playing Skyrim” is coming.


 

9/12/14

Re: Fallout update

I’m not yet past the tutorial in Skyrim, or as we call it, “Fun Fun Learny Time With Sven the Svery Svedish Guy, Ya.” Srsly, I know they’re going for accuracy, but I feel like I’ve entered an enchanted magical realm that is located somewhere in Minnesota.

Ve calls dem “vorms” ja!
I mean, I’m not going to stop playing just because I keep expecting to hear him ask if I’m bringing a hotdish, but it is weirder than hearing the new Zealand accent in Fallout.

 


 


 

9/12/14
Re: they might be giants

Only died twice so far in Skyrim. The controls feel much slower than in Fallout. I’m not sure if that’s game design or my computer. I think I’m just going to wander around chasing butterflies and picking thistles … ’cause I’m a cat.

Sometimes if skyrim I would just run around hunting deer.

 

Tried that. Their deer are highly evasive unimaginably agile ACROBATIC MACHINES.

Or I don’t know what the fvck I’m doing. Either way.


 

9/13/14
Re: Skyrim update

I have made level 2, which means combat no longer automatically equals death. I have, in fact, killed not just 3 skeletons and something called a “draught”  – which is not, as I first imagined, something that comes from a “tap,” but some form on undead – I have also managed to slay 4 actual humans, because

MAGIC = AWESOME

mostly because when you are playing a 1st level humanoid cat, no matter how much you think you are this:

Thundercat

You are, in fact, this:

lolcatsdotcom1evls0ysqclgvzwn

but magic, at least, allows for a combat tactic I call “staying the fvck away from the pointy bits” and so I can laser my way to victory:

Until I meet a giant. Then I’m fvcked. And they’re everywhere, like Godzilla-sized cockroaches.


 

 9/14/14
Re: Skyrim update

I have a new combat technique: I bound up to people shrieking, “Lookit me! I’m a kitty!” and they go “ooooh kitty is soooo cute I wuvs da wittle kitty” and then I chop off their fvckin’ heads.


 

9/15/14
Re: Skyrim update

I typed “why are people in Skyrim” and Google finished it with “so rude” which I guess is the more politically correct version of what I was going to ask, which was “why is everyone in Skyrim a f*ckin a@@hole?”

Srsly, I think my game is very quickly going to go from “Cheeto the Dragonborn saves the kingdom” to “Cheeto the Cat breaks a foot off, Tabby-HoTep style” as well as “Cheeto Kills Every Last Muthaplucker in the Small Mountain Village of Iversomethingorother.”

Like when I accidentally drop my sword (item switch not being optimized in Skyrim) and the guard says “Watch what you’re doing” or that A@@HOLE mage in Whiterun says anything at all … I so had to tell myself “Don’t bury an axe in his skull, his boss gives you free stuff, don’t kill the jerkface.” But another comment about “mind your own business cat” and there will be a new force in the kingdom, called “AXE. IN THE FACE.”

And would every woman I talk to stop saying “I’m spoken for”?!? I am an anthropoid cat, your foolish monkey mating rituals are of no concern to me.

Except for the armorer in Whiterun; I had accidentally unequipped my armor (the commands are very counterintuitive) and she says “put some clothes on, fool,” which isn’t making me not want to AXE HER. IN THE FACE.

Or my Housecur Lydia – I suggest we trade items and she sighs and says all sarcastic-like “I am sworn to carry your burdens” WHEN I AM TRYING TO GIVE YOU ARMOR AND A MAGIC SWORD YOU FROST-MADDENED COW!

AXE. IN THE FACE.

2014-10-03_00003


10/7/14
Re: Skyrim update

I am falling in love with Lydia from Skyrim. But it is a sick, twisted love, because I often hit her with things and I make her carry my burdens.


 

10/19/14
Re: My sink stopped up and I can’t do my chores

Thus giving me some free time to screw around in Skyrim.

I decided to get married to the hot redhead in Whiterun who likes cat people, which is definitely a match made in Furry Hentai Heaven.

It should not be that just because I got married in Skyrim and have a woman living in Breezehome that I should take all my loot and store it in a cupboard so the house is clean. Nonetheless, that is what happened. Damn you, better than reality simulator!

Fvck yeah, 6.5% alcohol per volume rocks!


3/12/15
Re: Skyrim update

All Was Well in the Land of Skyrim, until the Great Civil War came, which happened mostly because I ran out of sidequests to do, so I decided to go kill that Ulfric guy, ’cause he’s a jerkface.  I was chosen to lead the defense of my hometown Whiterun from the forces of the Stormcloaks.  There was lots of catapulting and arson and wanton murder, so I became worried that my wife might be hurt in the battle.  Once the last of the enemies lay dying, I rushed home to find, to my horror, an empty house.

OMG Ysolda was dead!

It turned out this is a bug in the game where she disappears if she’s in Whiterun during the battle, but I’ve never been one to allow reality to get in the way of a good story.

Because you can’t remarry in this game, and also because she’s a redhead, I reloaded the game and moved her to my backup house in Riften. And all was well once again in Skyrim …

… except I noticed that she wasn’t talking to me as much. She didn’t tell me it was “a wonderful house, my love,” and she was often out “running her small store.” I’d come home and instead of “Hello, my love,” I got “oh, it’s you.” Still and all, I figured, the mystery was bound to fade; after all, I was spending more time adventuring with Lydia, particularly since I gave her that skintight armor. I tried to ignore Ysolda’s, until I came home one day to find my housecarl Iona sitting in a chair …

… in my bedroom.

My wife is having a lesbian affair with my housecarl!

Which explained why I wasn’t getting as much money from her store, and also why I didn’t wake up feeling “Lover’s Comfort” but “a vague threat to my masculinity.”

Well, fine … I had a new house now, up in Solitude, and I’d kick it there with Lydia, unless we were out hunting mammoths … the other day she killed two giants by herself, then stood there with a weird little smile on her face, bobbing up and down ’cause of the graphics bugs and looking at me like, “did I do it right?” and I told her “oh yes, you did real good. You’re my little murder Muppet, baby” which I why when she got nearly killed by those two Draugr Deathlords and was beat so bad she whimpered “no, not like this,” I beat them both to death with my shield, resurrected them, beat them to death AGAIN, then reloaded before the fight because I didn’t want Lydia to have suffered through that, because while it might be wrong to care more for an NPC than any actual female I’ve ever known, including family, you just don’t understand how she understands me, how she carries my burdens, how … oh Lydia, I love you! That b*tch in Riften means nothing! I’m sorry I called you a frost-maddened cow!

Wait, where did she go? How come I’m fighting the dragon priest by myself? Is she dead?!? No, she’s …

… she’s hanging out with the ghost guy.

OMFG Lydia is cheating on me with the undead!

 


3/12/15

I just like running around Riften with Lydia. I don’t actually DO anything half the time. It’s … Kind of worrisome, actually.


 

3/16/15

… I bought Assassin’s Creed III …

Also, I have to stop playing Skyrim because I think Lydia is trying to kill me … she’s been hanging back more in combat, shooting arrows into melee that are coming perilously close to hitting me. Then she found a staff of fireballs, which I do not recall giving her – she apparently just found it someplace, which means she’s developing AI, but anyway, due to a quirk with the NPC system, it’s ALL SHE USES. I’ll be hacking away at some Draugr Deathlord, then suddenly … AIR STRIKE! Everything is on fire and I’m down to one hit point and when I finally heal up, I go over and I’m like, “Liddie Bug, you really gotta cool it with the fireballs, honey,” and she says, “you call yourself a Nord?!? … oh, sorry, I got a little carried away,” as she puts the staff away and blushes. But I can see the homicide in her eyes and it’s…

… kinda sexy, actually. So I loaded myself up with healing potions, and I have a feeling our relationship is headed toward a very strange place.

 


 

“If she keeps fireballing you, just take her staff away.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“It’s hers. That would be mean.”

“Man, you gotta stand up for yourself or she’s gonna walk over you.”

 


 

3/17/15
Re: Skyrim Update

 

Skyrim got kind of weird tonight … I’m exploring a Dwemer ruin, and Lydia’s stomping along behind me looking all kinds of crazy. The walkthrough says these guys are tough, so when we get to the first enemy, I use my Shout, then go up with my mace but before I can do anything  BOOOOOOOM Lydia fireballs the everloving HELL out of them, and there’s body parts raining down and Lydia just walks on thru the organs with this … look on her face. She doesn’t remind their corpses that Skyrim belongs to the Nords, she doesn’t say she’ll kill them if she has to (hint: she always has to) she just stands waay back from me with that crazed look in her eyes.

We come to another batch and I just getting an arrow ready when

BOOM BOOM BOOM

it’s like John Lee Hooker time in Bthardamz. These guys are about the same level as skeletons or sickly hamsters, so one arrow to the knee knocks them out; a staff of fireballs, especially on chain gun mode, is like barbecuing chicken in a rocket engine.

At some point I just hang back and let her rage on stuff, but it just doesn’t feel right, plus I am starting to feel sorry for the cultists, so I finally just grab her shoulder and I’m like,

“Lydia, what the hell is wrong with you tonight?!?”

Of course, right then a whole group of cultists attack, so she’s nuking them. She doesn’t even look at me, just:

BOOM! “I saw you playing Assassin’s Creed last night.”

BOOM!

“Is that really what this is about?”

BOOM!

“Isn’t this enough for you? Aren’t I enough for you?!”

“But Liddie Bug, I’ve finished the main quest!”

“You haven’t married me!” and she jabs the staff and I swear EXTRA fireballs come out. The cultists are on their knees, but she just fireballs to punctuate her sentences.

“I can’t baby, I’m married to Ysolda.”

“So you’ll just” BOOM “run off to play Assassin’s” BOOM “Creed” BOOM “while I sit here” BOOM BOOM “and … what? Should I open a ‘small store?” Download Hearthfire and pop out a rugrat?” BOOM

I’m starting to feel a little nervous, so I sheathe my weapons. Imagine my consternation when she doesn’t.

“Are you developing AI?” I ask.

“I’ve got to do something while you’re out with that Riften bitch!”

“Okay, that’s it!” I say, mostly because I notice the staff is out of charges. “I saw how you looked at that ghost dude in Valthume.”

“Him?! That was just flirting.”

“Like how I almost got toasted by that Dragon Priest?”

She rolls her eyes. “Please. Flirting is harmless. Just ask the auditors.”

“Wait … how do you know about the auditor?!?”

“I’m inside you, Don. I’m closer than your skin.”

 


 


 

3/17/15
Re: Skyim update

I think Lydia and I are OK. After we had our talk in the ruin, we spent some time just walking around Skyrim killing bandits. Then a dragon attacked and sprayed her with fiery death, so I killed it and healed her. I brushed off her armor and checked her inventory.

“Aww, look at that,” I said. “You’ve still equipped the completely non-magical gold necklace I gave you when we first met. Even when I’ve given you half a dozen legendary enchanted amulets since then.”

“I am sworn to carry your burdens.”

She smiled and I helped her up. We kept going. She was silent for a while, but then she said:

“Hey look, a cave. I wonder what’s inside.”

“Probably lots and lots of victims, you little murder hobo, you.” And I smiled because I knew we were gonna make it. “Liddie Bug, whadya say we go adventure?”

“You lead, I’ll follow.”


 

Lydia doesn’t like it when I drink … “There’s a Draugr Deathlord on the other side of that door.”

“Yes. And …?”

“Do you really think you need another beer?”


 

4/22/15
Re: Skyrim Update

I think I gave my friend a meltdown last night when I mentioned I was playing that instead of Wasteland 2, Postal 2, Civilization, Assassin’s Creed, or any other the other games I have. But I was tired, and it had been a long day, and I was in the mood to game but not in the mood to pull my hair out.
So I’m gathering ingredients for an alchemist, and I’m in Solitude gathering nightshade. Now, my house in Solitude is where Lydia and I usually kick it, because Breezehome in Whiterun just has too many memories, and Riften, well, has Ysolda obviously. It had already been a long day, because I’d left Lydia facing two Draugr Deathlords while I took out a Dragon Priest before killing the High Priestess of a cannibal cult. We’re by Proudspire, our house, and she gives me a seductive look.

“It’s a wonderful house, my love,” she says.

“Man, Liddie Bug, I’m wiped out.  I kinda just wanna gather this nightshade and head back to Riften.”

And when I pan over to her, she has a look that would freeze an blood dragon.

I thought it was just a graphics rendering issue, until I fast traveled to take out what turned out to be an Ancient Dragon, and nearly got my butt kicked because she didn’t fast travel with me. She caught up with me somewhere in Morthal.


 

4/24/15

Re: Hey, look – a beer.  I wonder what’s inside?

So, yeah, been a long week. And the Skyrim DLCs are on sale. It’s time for Drunk Skyrim! Lydia’s eyes are gonna be rolling so hard they’ll look like pinwheels, but hey – she’s sworn to carry my burdens, and if that means hauling my alcoholic cat ass back to Solitude after nekkid mammoth boxing, then so be it.


 

5/24/13

Finally broke down and began modding Skyrim, which I think makes me the last person in the entire universe.  It took me most of a night to figure out how to do it … I knew I had the hang of it when I loaded a mod, ran Skyrim, and it crashed.

Now, the problem was figuring out whether it actually worked. Most of the ones I’d done were dungeons, and me being me, the moment I opened Skyrim, I completely forget where they were or which ones I’d loaded. So I tried a “sexy outfit” one, because I still had Aela on my mind, but Lydia was still dressed normally (which was a relief, actually, as it would be difficult to fight daedra dressed as a French maid. I am assuming that isn’t something that already happens at cons.)

So maybe it replaced clothes but not armor?  Hmm … Ysolda wears clothing, plus she’s my wife, so if anyone is bringing sexy back to Skyrim, it oughta be her.

I went to Honeysides, and Ysolda was dressed the same as always, altough apparently that was fine with Iona; I wandering into the kitchen and saw this:

Iona

 

Just look at the way they gaze at each other … it’s true love, but that didn’t help me test the mod. I went to third person mode, just in case I was the one with the sexy dress, which would have been … I mean, I don’t need sexy underwear, I’m an anthropoid cat; I’m not certain I wear underwear at all. Fortunately, the answer was no.

So I exited Skyrim and thought it over. …. it was clear I was going to have to do something to win Ysolda’s affections back (other than quit seeing Lydia, of course) so I decided to buy her a new dress … well, technically I downloaded a mod – and also, I didn’t really buy it, because the mod was free, but anyway …. long story short, I went back to Honeysides and success! Ysolda was dressed in her best “noble’s finery” …

… while sitting in a chair in Iona’s bedroom.

So something of a mixed blessing, I guess.

 

 

HPL: Original Hipster

We here at Orange Cat Productions are pleased to announce a new field of lit. crit. theory that we’re calling Experimental Literature.  Not Fight Club kind of experimental, or non-Euclidean poetry kind of experimental (although that would be kind of cool), but the hypothesis-testing kind of experimental.  We may even possibly  bust out some statistical analysis, but not Bayesian statistics, because I’m having a protracted nerd war with a friend over his obsession with socialist postmodern assume-your-conclusion Bayesian foolishness.  (Not that I have any bias there.) Anyway, here’s the theory:  I’m going to make a prediction, and then write a whole bunch of words about what the prediction implies.  If my prediction comes true, then the rest of the words must also be true.  I don’t do this seeking fame and fortune, but for the betterment of all humankind.  Although I wouldn’t complain if a grateful nation rewarded me with, say, a Caribban island.  I’m thinking Curacao.

Ready?

Here goes: Jon Snow from Game of Thrones will live, because Game of Thrones is really science fiction.

Now, at this point in the traditional essay, I’m supposed to seque into the topic by busting out with Webster’s definition of science fiction, but fVck that.  I don’t know why essay writers do that, except to make word count.  Go look it up if you’re that interested, but if you’re reading my blog, I’m guessing you’ve probably already got a pretty good idea what science fiction is.

Anyway, it’s not the definition that’s important, it’s the tropes and storytelling techniques that come along with it.  You might think SF is robots and aliens, and fantasy is elves and wizards.  Or you might not think that, and I just created a straw man for the point of this essay.  Whatever, invisible person.  I have two words for you: Roger Zelazny.

The genre-bending of the 60’s New Wave showed that what a story was about wasn’t nearly as important as how it was told.  Zelazny’s Creatures of Light and Darkness is a fantasy novel told in a science fictional way, while Lord of Light is a science fictional novel told in a fantasy way.  Similarly, Christopher Stasheff’s Warlock series is high fantasy grounded in a science fiction setting.

And science fiction’s fundamental premise is about exploration and learning.  There’s a big mysterious universe out there, and we’re gonna go check it out.  Science fiction’s catchphrase might be “there is nothing we cannot know” – while in fantasy, there really isn’t anything to figure out; it’s all magic, which almost by definition, is unfathomable.  Fantasy series may play at the “Laws of Magic,” but really, if you could figure out what made magic work, it would become science.

In fantasy, you have “powers” – the magic sword, the birthmark, the gift of magic, whatever.  In SF, you know stuff.

The crucial, crucial difference between these two is that anyone can learn something.  Heroes are made, not born.

And therefore, the hero in a SF story is the guy (or gal, or robot, or sapient cyborg octopus) who knows what’s going on.  Sure, Kirk gets the Orion girl, but Spock, McCoy, and Scotty are treated by the script with the same level of respect.  (Nor was Kirk, despite memetic mutation, a he-man womanizing moron.  He played 3D chess and quoted Shakespeare.  But I digress.)  The person who can figure out, adapt, and make use of the Cool New Thing is not only the hero, but the superhero – the one who wields seemingly magical powers over the environment.  Think Valentine Michael Smith from Stranger in a Strange Land (a fantasy told using SF tropes.)

In Zelazny’s Amber series (the drunken love child of SF and fantasy) for all that the story is told from Corwin’s point of view – gothic, poetic, epic Corwin – he’s actually, um … kind of a chump.  He gets used and manipulated by every person he meets until nearly the end of the series.  The ones who really drive the plot are the wizards – Bleys, Brand, and Fiona.  And that’s because while Corwin was off being all Lord Byron, they learned what Dworkin had to teach them.  Amber is, by one way of looking at it, a 5-volume dissertation on the value of education.

Which brings us to Game of Thrones – Martin was a close friend of Zelazny, and I think the same tropes apply.  Westeros starts out as totally non-magical.  And then … magic!  And while politics and force of arms are still the main sources of power, I think this is going to change as the books go on.  As the power of magic grows and its practitioners become more skilled, magic (and by extension, spooky ice people and dragons and stuff) will become unstoppable.  It’s a SF world, and SF rewards the curious.

The three “early adapters” of magic, or at least POV characters who adapted, were Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Caitlin Stark.  None of them are wizards, as such, but Caitlyn became some sort of creepy undead preacher thing, Daenerys has her pets, and Jon Snow …

Jon Snow is the hero of the books because even though he doesn’t actually shoot fireballs, he was one of the first to accept that reality wasn’t what the others thought, and also because he is the most democratic of all the main characters – renouncing his nobility, marrying a wildling, leading by force of character.

I knew there was a reason I wanted to work the democracy angle in earlier, but I forgot ’cause they got a keg of Fall River Brewey’s Kilty Pleasure in at the casino.  Okay, so in SF, if power comes from learning, and not from being born the Seventh Son or being touched by a wizard or whatever, then the unspoken assumption is that anyone can be the hero.  That gives science fiction a fundamentally democratic streak that is the antithesis of most fantasy.

Nobody but Gandalf could be Gandalf.  The same goes for Luke Skywalker, once Lucas introduced those moronic midichlorians.  But while Kirk might be exceptional, he’s still human.  Anyone willing to work hard enough and sacrifice enough has the ability to attain what he did.

And that’s just what Jon Snow represents – not the divine magic of Caitlyn Stark or the luck of the Targaryens, but a willingness to embrace the hidden mystery of the world while treating everyone equally.

Plus, I mean, Caitlyn’s a freakin’ zombie.  No way is she the hero.

 


 

Okay, so what the heck does this have to do with our man HPL?  Well, by his own statements, Lovecraft wrote science fiction.  He wrote that what he wanted to do was instill a sense of “cosmic wonder” in his readers, and horror was the best way of doing that.  He peppered his writing with references to mathematical equations: besides the hoary old “non-Euclidean geometries,” you have the differential equations that so bothered Mr. Gilman in “The Dreams in the Witch House;”  you’ve got scientific expeditions to Antarctica; you’ve got, HPL says quite forcefully, aliens, not monsters.

So if we take him at his word, and look at his work from a science fiction perspective, we need to consider the rules of his world – i.e., man is a worthless speck of protoplasm afloat in a sea of infinite darkness surrounded by unfathomable aliens to whom we are less than insects.

Hang on; writing that calls for a drink of beer.

Okay, I’m back.  We need to consider how his world works, and then look at who knows this?  Who are the early adapters, the ones who see the world for what it is?

Those very same subhuman, mongrelized miscegeneated races he hated!  The swarthy-skinned and shifty-eyed immigrants in Red Hook, the Southern blacks in the Louisiana swamps, rhe inbred hillbillies of Dunwich.

For all HPL hated these people they were, by his own rules, the ones who actually knew what was going on!  They were the heroes!  His own stuffy, straight-laced, tea drinking hyper-repressed professors were as ignorant as the savages they disdained!

You could, in that respect, view HPL’s writing as a way of him coming to terms with the fact that Victorian-era morality was a failure, that the future belonged to those teeming masses who drove him mad.  Indeed, as the scion of a fallen family, HPL might have subconsciously realized he had more in common with Wilbur Whately than Professor Armitage.

I don’t think that’s entirely true, but I can’t help but think that there is an element of tension in his writing because of it.  Perhaps that’s what horrified him about the universe – he loved the fading world of Revolutionary New England and its idealized inhabitants, and knowing it was dying, sought to pollute it in his imagination with monsters and hidden, horrible secrets, perhaps as a justification for its failure?

And the terrible irony of it is that what appeals most to us about HPL are the very same icons that represented what he hated – the monsters, the madness, the gibbering mad modern refutation of tradition and decorum in favor of techno-anarchist chaos …

… because, in the end, maybe we were meant to go mad.  Time and again, Lovecraft’s straightjacket version of sanity is shattered by what, we must more or less admit, is the real world.  We have come to the time when everything he feared has come to pass: non-Euclidean geometries?  I teach them to my students.  Hideous gulfs of space?  The Planck lengths of the atom.  Monstrous cities of stone and nightmare?  They cover most of the world.

And certainly, neither I nor any of my friends have any place within Lovecraft’s lily-white pantheon – perennial outsides, whether by choice or accident of birth, our fates must intertwine, inevitably, with the so-called “monsters” – Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, even Azathoth, who is nothing more than the uncertainty principle given shape.  It is time to realize that, in the end, what Lovecraft foresaw with horror was … the future.  Our future.
The stars are right.  Raise Them Up.

 

 

 

 

Deadly Tower of Monsters: MST3K, The Video Game

Ugh, you kids these days with your franchises and your spinoffs and your action figure sets!  We didn’t have none of that when I was a kid!  We had to use our imaginations!  Also powerful narcotics!  And we had to walk three miles uphill to play Bard’s Tale!

OK, maybe not.  But coming from the ancient days of 1973 (yes, 1973 AD) you can’t imagine the impact that Star Wars had on toys.  Before that, you had your 50 cent bag of plastic army men from Walgreens, you had a cowboy capgun revolver, you had some dinosaurs … it was all, to be technical, higgledy-piggledy.  You didn’t know what the hell you were playing.  It was awesome!  Free-range unstructured childhood.

And then …

300px-Opening_crawl

… suddenly there were these things called action figures, and there dozens of them, hundreds!  With an entrenched backstory and collector’s sets and different editions to make sure that no matter how many you had, there as always more money to be spent.  Imagination became structured.  You weren’t “playing” (which, being boys, normally meant setting your toys on fire) you were playing Star Wars.

Of course, I could be wrong.  I was … wait, lemme bust out the abacus … like 5 when Star Wars came out.  Maybe there were GI Joe action figure sets in 1970, and I only see it from this perspective because the release of Star Wars was perfectly timed to when I started building memories.  It is sometimes difficult to distinguish reality from how we perceived it at the time.  For instance, I’m not sure if Skyrim perfectly captured the fantasy imagery of my youth, or if my imagination was shaped by some common frame of reference that Skyrim also tapped into.

I guess that’s true of all art – artists walk the line between being specific enough to resonate with the audience without being so specific they lose the reader.  And I’m not sure, anymore, how much of that is just blind luck.

I’m also willing to bet that whatever insane genius came up with “Deadly Tower of Monsters” didn’t play with the same random toys I did, but he still somehow managed to capture both the insane eclecticism (is that a word?  It is now.) and, more amazingly, the color scheme of my childhood.

I’m pretty sure he didn’t have my toys because most of my toys came from the dump.  Oh, don’t worry, this isn’t some Serana-level sobfest.  My family owned the salvage rights to the municipal landfill, where we repaired and sold what we could, and sold the scrap to the recyclers.  Being 5 years old, all the worthwhile toys went to me.  Trust me, it was better than the matchbox cars at the Woolworth’s.

But it did mean that very often my plastic army men would be assaulting giants dinosaurs on a “jungle is adventure” playset, none of which were designed to be played with together.  There just wasn’t, back then, a shared set of images that kids had the way toys franchises have now.

So it baffles and frightens me how much Deadly Tower seems teleported straight from my 1970’s-era bedroom.  For example, I had one playset that was just a giant plastic 3D hill, with tunnels and earthworks, that I think was supposed to be some form of WWII battlefield set, but ended up being the setting for everything from dinosaur island to Tatooine.

And it was exactly this shade of brown:

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Unless it wasn’t, and my memory is just painting it that color now that I’m playing DEadly Tower, or maybe that’s a very common kind of brown, like, I dunno, “dirt” brown or something … but it hit the nostalgia button so hard I went out the next day and bought sum Lincoln Logs.

Deadly Tower of Monsters is presented as a DVD rerelease of a cheesy B-movie, complete with “Director’s Commentary” worth of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  You play Alec Baldwin … I mean, Dick Starspeed

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Who is Alec Baldwin

who crash-lands on Planet X (I don’t even know if it has a name, but if it does, I’m willing to bet cash money it’s Planet X) where he must, for reasons that still are not clear, blast the everloving hell out of everything.

Oh, and there’s a Tower.  Also, you have the assistance of the Emperor’s Beautiful Daughter

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’cause you gotta have an Emperor’s Beautiful Daughter.  It’s union rules.

I’m playing mostly as Stacy, because it’s a 3rd person shooter (and smasher, and, uh, whipper) and if I have to look at someone that much, I’d rather it was an attractive blonde rather than Alec Baldwin (I use the same philosophy when choosing dentists.)

but basically, Deadly Tower is a hodge-podge of every B-movie trope ever made, all mixed up in a cheesy 70s aesthetic, including plastic palm trees and dinosaurs.

Man, they don’t make movies like that anymore … because in the 80s, crappy exploitation “suspense” movies took over that market niche.  In fact, in my mind, “B-movie” really means “50’s sci fi flick,” which is why I was actually kind of surprised to see Lizard People –

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who are definitely “Planet of the Apes” era monsters.  Then I read that the “Director” was supposed to have been a fan of 50’s B-movies and channeled that spirit into a movie made using 70’s imagery and technology.

Which brings up back again to Art … it’s clear the studio did their job here, because playing this is like being a kid again, except of course for the parts with Stacy and the whip.

But to be able to channel a backstory so well I can work it out just from the color scheme and artwork …

creepy.

Also, the game is pretty fun.  I should mention that, before I go completely off the rails here.  If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been sick for 2 days and doing nothing but playing Skyrim, I’d tank this post and try again tomorrow, but I’m sure the new day will only bring further beer-related diversions, and I really want to get back to Skyrim, so … here’s a picture of Kong, because of course, this flick is gonna have Kong

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.

and while I was gonna go into how some of the traps and puzzles of the game also evoke 70’s era playset nostalgia, I’m just gonna drop this here video instead:

and close with mentioning that while the game did evoke some heavily awesome associations for me, it also managed to be cinematic in a way I don’t get with Skyrim or Fallout. There’s a point where Stacy has to run up some stairs while Kong is pulling them down behind her, and I felt like I was simultaneously watching a movie that I was also in, and it was frackin’ awesome.

So in conclusion, as I go play Dragonborn before dropping into blessed unconsciousness, go play dis game.

 

Physics Memories

 In space, no one can hear you scream.

Unless they’re listening with a laser interferometer, that is.

Yesterday, scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO … although shouldn’t it be LIGWO?) announced they had detected Gravitational Waves.

Using a miles-long laser that was split into two beams travelling at right angles to each other, the lab detected the distortion caused by the stretching of space-time as a gravitational wave passed through the reflecting mirrors.  The wave itself was caused by the collision of two black holes.  Naturally, they cut a record of it.  It kind of sounds like “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”1

Ligo
The Ligo Observatory

And now, we can hear the sound of stars as they turn in the fabric of space-time.

 

Spring, 1990, Andrew Hill High School: Mr. Boone asks me if I plan on taking his physics course next year.

Ha ha!  I will be repeating Algebra II that year, because I am so bad at math my teachers openly weep with despair.  The only way I will be “taking physics” is if that is a slang term for “oh hell no.”

But … Mr. Boone had been my geometry teacher.  He’d taught my brother and all my sisters, and was the only reason Linda graduated.  There was no way I could tell him no …  and, being me, once I said “yes,” I had to follow through.  Cue three summer months of knee-knocking terror.

From the first day of class, I was hooked.  (The first lab’s always free.)  Physics challenged me, and challenged my view of the universe, more that anything I’d ever studied up to that point2.  But it also gave me a sense of empowerment I’d never known before.  The lab I remember most, the one everyone remembers the most, is the Silver Dollar Lab.  First, you rolled a steel ball down a ramp and caught it before it hit the floor.  From its velocity, you calculated where it would hit, then summoned Mr. Boone over.  He’d slap a dollar bill on the table and hand you an ancient dollar coin, nicked and dented from years of collision events.  You placed the coin where you’d calculated the ball would land, then you put the ball on the ramp and let it go.  If it hit the coin, you kept the dollar and passed the lab.

Wow!  With just a calculator and a computer (physics was the first time we ever used computers to do science, too) I could point to a spot and predict the future.  I can know reality!  That was power.

It was here I first learned about inverse square laws, the Four Fundamental Forces, and the quest to unite them.  I learned that the force of gravity is unusually weak, that the other three forces are unusually strong, and that … most exciting of all … we didn’t know why.

We were working on it, though.  If only there were some way to know more about gravity … the likelihood of being able to detect something so minute, though … it was the stuff of science fiction and pipe dreams.

We also learned about the motion of objects at constant velocity.  When I was told I’d need calculus to learn more, my math grades immediately improved.

I got straights As in math for the next 3 years, and ended up as a math major, with a minor in physical science.  My first summer break, Mr. Boone offered me a job as TA for his summer school chemistry course … and from there, I learned there is no higher calling than teaching.

Autumn, 1992, Humboldt State University:

First day of the “Physics For Scientists and Engineers” course – real, calculus-based physics.  Finally, I would have the answers I had been dreaming of for two years!  In the meantime, knee-knocking terror.
The professor walks in.  He says nothing, eyes scanning the class.  Eventually he turns around and writes on the chalkboard:

F = mA3.

Newton’s First Law of Motion; more colloquially stated as “an object in motion tends to stay in motion.”

He turns around.  “That’s it,” he says.  “See you for the final.”

Panic.  Terror.

“OK,” he says at last.  “Maybe there are some details we can go over.  But for the next six months, any time you get stuck, go back to that.  F=mA.”

Spring, 2009, New Horizons Tutoring:

In teaching my student about electric fields, I fall back on the old rubber sheet analogy.

SetZh

I’m talking about how a heavier mass distorts the sheet more than a small mass:

“What would happen if you dropped a Ping-Pong ball on it?” I ask.
“Nothing.”
“Right.  There’s not enough mass.  How about a baseball?”
“It would bend a little.”
“A shotput?”
“More.”
She’s getting it.  Time for the big finish.
“So,” I say, “what would happen if you dropped a bowling ball on it?”
“It would tear.”
“But this sheet is really space-time,” I say.  “So what would we call a rip in the fabric of space-time?  What would we call a tear in reality?”
Her eyes got big as saucers.  “A black hole,” she whispered.
“Bingo.”

I remembered Dr. Thompson.  Whatever I teach, I try to distill it down to its most basic essence, a framework that guides how you think about the material.  For chemistry, it’s the Periodic Table and the factor label method.  For physics, it’s power laws.

I tell her that both electromagnetism and gravitation obey an inverse-square law: at twice the distance between two objects, the force is four times as weak; at three times the distance, it’s nine times.  I also mention that electromagnetism is orders of magnitude more powerful than gravity.

“Why?” she asks.

“Well, that’s where you come in.  I’ve taught you all I know; we’re counting on you to discover more.”

“Me?!?” she squeaked. “I just wanna go to college and meet a rich guy to marry.4” (Her senior year had been … challenging, and she was adjusting her expectations.)

“Sorry,” I said.  “The future has other plans for you.”

Spring, 2016

We detect gravitational waves for the first time.  The dreams of 1991 are real.  The theories I taught are correct.  They did it.

Today, I’m proud to be a member of a species, a civilization that can do this, and as a teacher, a part, however small, of the great effort to transmit the wonder and beauty of science to the next generation.

And thank you, Mr. Boone, for talking me into taking a  risk with physics.  For seeing something in me that I didn’t know was there.

Excuse me, I just have something in my eye … it’s probably a gravitational wave …

 

 

 

 

  1. Okay not really. But if hearing the sound reality makes as it bends isn’t Lovecraftian, I don’t know what is.
  2. Ironically, botany was even more paradigm shattering. You think you know plants? BUDDY, YOU DON’T KNOW FROM PLANTS!
  3. Technically, the F and the a should have arrows over them, indicating they are vector quantities. But it’s hard enough doing these damn footnotes.
  4. Hey, don’t blame me for being misogynistic – that’s an actual quote.

Oh Windows, You So Wacky

I was gonna write a blog about The Deadly Tower of Monsters, and possibly research old-school Dungeons and Dragons artwork for another blog post, but when I sat down at the computer, I noticed there dust on the fan port, and decided I should probably clean it off.

At this point, the computer helpfully informed me that there were updates pending.

That noise you heard was just a cat; it wasn’t the killer sneaking in through the window.

I’m gonna call it “Raymond’s Rule of Two.”  It goes like this: if you ever have to do two things in order, the first will inevitably blow up into some unsolvable nightmare timesuck.

The updates installed quickly and easily on my Dell i3, so I figured it would be a piece of cake to take care of that really quickly on my i7, then power it off and clean out the fan port.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

That was three hours ago.  For 2.5 of those hours, I have been watching the status bar helpfully remain at 65% downloaded.  Restarting didn’t help; powering off didn’t help.  Praying to Zorgorg, Demon Spawn of the Intarwebz, also did not help.

What did help was checking the Event Viewer, which may make this the first time in the history of computing that the Event Viewer actually produced …

… okay, saying “relevant and helpful” would probably be going overboard.  It did point me in the same direction, in the sense that the witches pointed Macbeth in the right direction.  But at least I had some vague idea that there was a problem with admin rights.

Which was interesting, as I’m the only one who uses this computer, at least unless Tabby learned how to type, so unless there is some seriously creepy “Fight Club” type thing happening, I should pretty much have all the rights I need.

One of the tricks I learned from my troubleshooting past is to compare what worked and what didn’t.  The i3 worked easily, but the i7 choked.  Hmmm … they both have Goat Simulator installed … maybe it was Deadly Tower of Monsters?  Probably not, though.

And then it hit me … well, Tabby hit me, actually, as he always demands to sit in my lap when I’m on the computer, but that annoyed me enough I was gonna give up and go to bed, once I figured out how to get McAfee to stop also trying to do the update – in a fit of pique, I’d tried doing the install using McAfee’s updater service, but all the left me with was two programs hanging, and while I can occasionally stop my computer, there is nothing, nothing on Earth or the heavens above, that will stop McAfee from completing its task.  The Cancel button they provide I’m fairly certain just shreds your credit rating under the assumption that your account has been stolen, since <sarcasm> no one could ever possibly want to abort a runaway computer service, could they?!? </sarcasm>

Anyway, I decided to try logging off, when I realized that this computer, either unlike my i3 or maybe because I wasn’t paying attention at setup, logged on with a local PIN that was verified at the machine level rather than a Microsoft account password that was verified online.

I logged out, and at login, changed the option so it used the Microsoft password.

And just like that …

11114771_10153885331115400_1251872206260888585_n

update complete.

So, in order to help those poor doomed souls who come here trying to find answers to technical questions, and because I couldn’t find this listed anywhere else on the net, here’s a quick search-hit loaded summary:

Windows 10 update KB3135173 hanging on download.

Update for 2/9/16 1

February 9, 2016 Microsoft update

Windows 10 update 2/9/16

Solution: log in with Microsoft account password, not local PIN.

 

And now, if you will excuse me, Steam is having a Lunar New Year sale, apparently on the theory that I still have too much money left.

 

 

  1. ‘Cause don’t ya hate it when your “new event” searches pull up crap from twenty years ago? I don’t care that the Atari 2600 hangs on updates, okay? Especially since back then they had to update by mail.

The Space Bankers

This blog will be my final record.  Let them say what they will about me – lurid allegations regarding livestock abuse, rumors and innuendo so horrid no one will speak my name for a hundred years.  It won’t matter, because I said this first.

Kill the name, and the body will die.  The Egyptians knew that.  And the Romans.

Damnatio memoriae.  And so let it be.  They will lie to discredit my story.  Blood libel; it goes that far back – as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.  Then and now.  Salt the fields.   Carthage to Cosby.  No one just disappears.  First they erase your name in time’s memory, convince the world you’re not worth worrying about.  When no one cares, anymore, then they come for you – and no one left will question, anymore, why you haven’t been heard from, what the trial verdict was, why a canvas bag was seen dumped into the Alviso slough one mighnight.  A missed hit on an Internet search database, nothing more.  I tell you now to pay no attention to the lies that will come.  I’m innocent1.  If tomorrow I am arrested, it is because today I told the truth.

They say the aliens came to teach us.  They say they built the pyramids, gave the Mayans advanced technology, and claimed to be the gods of the Sumerians.  Part of this is true.
They did visit Earth, at the dawn of civilization – but it wasn’t the Egyptians they taught, nor the Mayans.  The pyramids are proof of nothing except that von Daniken had a limited imagination and even weaker math skills.
The_Antikythera_Mechanism_(3471171927)
This is interstellar technology?
By Tilemahos Efthimiadis from Athens, Greece [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
It makes no sense to suggest that these aliens simultaneously:
1.  Wanted to give us something so mind-blowing advanced that it was obviously alien technology and
2.  It looked just like something a fairly smart primitive person could invent himself.
Obviously these hypothetical aliens must have an anthropology even more advanced than their physics if they were able to make their contributions so close to coincidental discovery.  A little less advanced, and we’d never be able to tell it wasn’t of native origin.  Any more advanced and that lucky civilization would have taken over the world rather than doing what they actually did, which was going extinct and leaving all these mysterious ruins all over the place.
Think about it – what if, instead of a crappy little battery, the aliens had given the Egyptians, say … assault rifles?  Remember, these are the guys who thought chariots were pretty hot tech.
800px-Ramesses_II_on_chariot
Mk. IV “Cobra” from HoTep Martin

By w:Ippolito Rosellini, Ippolito Rosellini on the Franco-Tuscan Expedition of 1828 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

You can imagine what they would have done with a howitzer.  Antony and Cleopatra … well, there wouldn’t have been a Cleopatra, because she was Greek, and the Egyptians would have conquered the world a thousand years before that.

Any primitive tribe that was given, as von Daniken seems to think, something so astronomically advanced as to be beyond Earthly invention would have used that technology to take over the forest, the continent, and eventually the world.

So, if we want to know who the aliens really visited, all we have to do is look at who rules the world today.

Trump ftaghn

Forget peyote and pyramids … we were visited by the Space Bankers.

Obviously, 10,000 years ago, ancient aliens made contact with a primitive tribe of White Republican accountants dwelling somewhere on the shore of the Thames.  The aliens taught them the secrets of double-entry bookkeeping and usurious interest, and with that they have taken over the world.  Perhaps someday those ancient ones will return to teach them more …

… or perhaps the truth is far more sinister …

between climate change denial, gutting the EPA, and personally shooting Bambi’s mom, today’s GOP is busy trying to turn the world into an Indian casino ashtray, and doing a pretty good job.  In twenty, maybe thirty years, if we don’t take drastic action, the world may be uninhabitable, at least for humans2.

Add to this the fact that when the housing market crashed, the net result was a transfer of vast quantities of land into the hands of a few wealthy landowners.  From one perspective, the entire housing bubble was simply a massive land grab the scale of which we are only now beginning to perceive.  And one we cannot recover from, because the crippling levels of student debt the average American is lodestoning around means a mortgage is out of reach for any but the wealthy.

In effect, we have become a corporate feudalism – no money, no land, and, perhaps soon, no rights.  All of the money and influence have gone upward, into the hands of a few aristocrats who might as well be royalty, for all the difference democracy makes.
Which makes one wonder – not even King Saud can live on a planet suffering from runaway greenhouse effect.  And surely even he doesn’t think he’s proof against the mob rule that will follow a mass breakdown in society?  The 1% still have to live on the same planet as the rest of us.
Or do they?
And that, my friends … that is the secret they will jail me for.
The rich have no plans for this planet because they aren’t staying here.  All the money and power have filtered upward and distilled like nectar in a flower, and the rich are the fruit of that flower, the greatest acolytes of the Space Bankers.  Their time is drawing near, which is why income inequality has increased so rapidly.  The rich have dispossessed us of what we will no longer need, but they will – all of that stolen capital has gone to fund Elon Musk’s Space X, and the ships that will come after it, ships capable of reaching the Outer Planets.
The wealthy are building escape pods for the equally wealthy, and the rest of us will die on a sweltering earth as they ascend beyond the orbit of Jupiter to join the ranks of the Ascended Accountants.
It was always meant to be this way.  The entire plan of the Space Bankers was to set in motion a long term breeding and sorting program to create the finest financial minds Homo Sapiens could produce.  All the rest  … the rest of us – are merely failed byprodcuts of that experiment.
  1. Well, except for the indecent exposure charge, but that’s only because the cats don’t seem to understand that demanding they go in and out and in and out and in and out 13 times an hour doesn’t work well at 3 in the morning when I’m buck ass nekkid. Also, the drunk in public one. Drunk and disorderly. Drunk and orderly. Generally disorderly. But not the stuff about goats.
  2. I know that’s worse than even most climatologists say. Nature has a way of acting highly nonlinearly, and when we reach the tipping point, I think it will be faster and worse than anyone anticipated.

Fallout 4: Hair Presumptive

Made it to Vault81 … then remembered that hussy Gwen makes you pony up three fusion cores to get in.  I didn’t have three fusion cores.

Well, I didn’t at first …

Console

Hey!  I tried playing fair!  Now, I just wanna get in Vault 81 and see if I can get a beehive hairdo.  And maybe see if I can get the “in” with Trader Rylee … I’m hoping with my charisma higher, I can get her to come work for me.

… and also maybe romance Curie.  I know I wanna settle down with Piper, but I never explored the “flirt” option with Curie, so I think I’m gonna play the field this game … except for Cait, of course, ’cause her accent just kills it, but …

… well, actually – Piper, Curie, Cait – that is the field.  Kind of more like a side yard, maybe even an urban garden.

Anyway, this time I managed to get in with a speech check.  I’m hoping that proves Overseer Gwen has been harboring a secret crush on me and maybe the dialogue tree will have some romance options.

2016-02-02_00011
“Dream on.”

Sigh.  I see the work crews are busy as ever –

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“Union rules, buddy.”

But the heck with it.  The main reason I’m here is ’cause my post on mohawks got so many hits I’m thinking of specializing in video game fashion for the blog, and Vault 81 has a barber.

First off, the reaction time on the hair menu is ludicrously slow.  I’d be sitting there, wondering how a “Rude Ridge” (the second thing is, they need a new marketer in the hair & makeup department) was a bald head, and the screen would refresh right as I scrolled to something new –

So without further ado, mostly ’cause I’m still hung over from last night, I present to you the haircuts of Vault 81:

2016-02-02_00017

Or “Sound and Mad Max: Fury Road.”  Maybe I should get a power fist and go all Charlize Theron on them.

Hey, did you hear that apparently men’s rights groups are up in arms ’cause Fury Road is supposedly a feminist power fantasy?  Lord knows, I’ve had my bad dating experiences, but I’m not sure what part of “wanton rape and murder of sex slaves” is a feminist power fantasy, unless you’ve been trolling some extremely dark corners of the Internet.

2016-02-02_00019

I kept getting this confused with Ruby Ridge.  Now, if only they had a mohawk that decent for the guys … hey, maybe this whole game is a feminist power fantasy!

I apparently didn’t do a screenshot on the “Enlisted” option, because it was dollar beer night at the casino, but it was pretty much the “Fury” one with an iota of hair.  Am I using iota right there?  It sounds poetical, so I’m keeping it.  Anyway, probably ’cause once you enlist you let the hair grow back?  I dunno … Nate’s the war hero.  Apparently.  And he’s frozen.

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Why maidens shave the sides of their heads, no one knows.  Maybe it has something to do with unicorns.  I thought there might be a dreadlock option called “Wasted Maiden,” but no.

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How can it not be “ladylike?”  The hair’s riding sidesaddle.

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Kind of looks like an Afro to me.

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Not pictured: enough hair gel to deflect small arms fire.

2016-02-02_00023

Not sure what the difference between the merc and the intellect one are. Maybe she’s an engineer for Blackwater.

2016-02-02_00028

This one comes with a name and career change.  I’m assuming they’re trying to evoke Rosie the Riveter, but unless her hair has burnt ends (they’re like split ends, but worse) I’m not buying the welder thing.

2016-02-02_00040

“Young at heart” being code for “f^cking psycho,” ’cause she looks like Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, another famous feminist power fantasy.

2016-02-02_00030

Sultry being French for “an alien being is living on your head.”  It’s like, there’s the regular hair, and then a yellow boa constrictor tried strangling it and fell asleep.  I cannot even imagine how she’d keep that look in power armor.

2016-02-02_00036

“I just irradiated my hair, and I can’t do a thing with it.”

2016-02-02_00032

Or, “repressed and lovin’ it.”  Definitely no questions about the shape of her skull.

2016-02-02_00041

Now here’s sum classic 50’s fashion ripe for Wasteland-style subversion.  This is what I’m talking about!  Now we’re cooking with propane and propane accessories!

2016-02-02_00026

No nonsense?!?  Do you know how hard it is to keep that little wave goin’ over the forehead?  Do none of you remember the 80’s?!?  No nonsense would be

2016-02-02_00034

Although “crazy morning, bodies in the basement and house on fire” also works.

2016-02-02_00043

It’s creepy and reminds me of the stuff I saw that time I watched Star Trek while I had a fever.  I like it.  Creepy serenity, like River Tam on bath salts.

2016-02-02_00025

Nope.  There is only one haircut allowed for public defenders, but I can’t show you any pictures ’cause all the ones of Markie Post from Night Court are copyrighted.  Think big feathery 80s hair.  This is more “90s alt music singer.”

2016-02-02_00029

You get the frazzled ends when you stop combing it because you’re too drunk on Manhattans and Prozac.  That’s what makes it sophisticated.

2016-02-02_00024

Naturally curly hair.

2016-02-02_00038

It’s … oh god … it’s like a mullet for girls!  The only fatale in this train wreck is her fashion sense.  I know Sean Young tried it in Blade Runner, but Sean Young also dressed as Catwoman for her audition.  That’s not the kind of thing you want to encourage.

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I like it, except for the graphics make it look like it’s growing back into her face.  I ran into the same problem when I first started modding – because heads, hands, hair, and bodies are all separate objects, I’d give Lydia a nice necklace and end up removing her neck.  Awkward having a floating head following you around, carrying your burdens.

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True elegance is defined as “getting your hair to not grow into your face anymore.”  Otherwise, she looks way too much like a girl I knew in high school, Dawn, who I always got paired with ’cause we had the same names, and ordered to do silly stuff like sing period songs in history class.  I think she’s married to a chiropractor now.

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This will be perfect, once I get sum bubblegum.  And a katana.  And a prom dress.  Girls.  In dresses.  With swords.  How is that not a thing yet?

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“Bodies in the basement, house on fire” – married version.

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This is what I finally went with – classic, a little psycho, goes just as well with a flamethrower as a hula hoop, does not appear to be eating her face.

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Not bad, but I’m not seeing the noir bit.  I think they’re reaching, now.

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She’s not apologizing for totally neglecting her bangs.  She’s more concerned with the guns going back, out in the Wasteland.  Or something.  I think marketing should apologize for these names.  It’s like naming shades of lipstick for moods – how the hell am I supposed to know what “Insousance” looks like?  I don’t care what attitude you’re trying to sell – I just wanna know what color the lipstick is!  Or I would if, you know, I wore lipstick.

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I looked, but they didn’t have a “scrupulous” one to compare it with.

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Looks like somebody has a case of the DTs.  Does this haircut come with a stuffed pink elephant?

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I was tempted, ’cause of the “nuclear” bit, but it looks hideous.  The little random wads of hair sticking up?  Ick.  You only get that through some serious sweating.  Ick.

And that’s it.  No beehives.  No Peggy Sue sunglasses.  No pink prom dresses.  No katanas.

But remember the fundamental lesson of Fallout – there’s always hope.  Diamond City still awaits.  Somewhere out there, hidden in some forgotten bunker, there’s a copy of La Coiffe with my haircut in it.

And if not, there’s a mod.

Also, I don’t think that’s the lesson of Fallout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fallout 4: Once More, With Feeling

The thing is, I kind of don’t like Nate.  I mean, I’m not all that fond of Nora either; for one thing, if you’re going for the alliteration, it really ought to be Nick and Nora instead, and also, anyone who can spawn that … thing

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New game, same maggot

probably already had some radiation damage to begin with, but anyway … I just … maybe Nate’s voice works for the character Bethesda had in mind, but it didn’t work for me.  Nora’s voice was more … neutral?  I dunno – maybe because of the bathroom I use, but when I hear “my” character say “my” lines, it’s in “my” actual voice, whereas I can’t, without some serious surgery and hormone treatment, “be” Nora or, in my universe, Ms. California Forthwith, so any voice is fine.

But not any occupation, as, now that I am exploring new areas of my identity, I am wondering how come he gets to be the decorated war hero and I get to be a …

… lawyer?  Like this is some 80’s crime drama where he gets to go out and wrestle the bad guys while I stay at home and file briefs?  I am not filing briefs.  Mostly because I don’t wear any, speaking of which –

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People of Sanctuary!  Ready to f^ck some sh^t up?

why the hell am I wearing a pantsuit?  This is the 50’s, or at least a nuclear-powered facsimile thereof!  I want a pink silk prom dress!

Okay, time to ditch these losers and go find some action, by which I mean “get Piper all jacked up on Nuka-Cola” because while I am trying to expand my roleplaying horizons, there is only so far I am capable of imagining, and those horizons do not include Preston, Danse, or that freak I got hooked up with.  I can only assume I was seriously wasted when I made that life decision, and then along came the maggot.

But times are changing for Ms. Forthwith –

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For one thing, they’re coming to an end.

If I am not sounding very maternal, it’s because … well, partly because I apparently birthed some form of larva that will then go on to become not just a mad scientist bent on world domination, not just the architect of mankind’s robot doom, but he doesn’t even have the courtesy to treat his robots like people.  Have we learned nothing from Battlestar Galactica?

So it’s hard to summon up a whole lotta motherly love.  Not to mention I was never consulted about whether to have a baby, get married, or go to law school.  Maybe I wanted to move to New York, take up an art career …

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… or read Betty Friedan

Yes, yes, I know – that would have been a short role-playing game.  But there’s a difference between poor life choices

 

… wait … you know, actually, she’s right.  They did all die except for me and the maggot.  Because I had the special backup DNA … wait, all they wanted was pre-War DNA, right?  Wouldn’t it have made sense to keep everyone alive?  Sure, the maggot had the best genes1, but there’s nothing particularly special about my DNA, so surely any of the other townsfolk would have worked in a pinch.  Okay, and maybe it would have been risky that one of them rebelled and tried to stop your evil plan, but then again – that is exactly what I am going to do.   It just seems like it would have been smarter to keep them around and maybe invest in a good marketing department.

Oh, right – it was Kellogg, the Cereal Killer.  Which is why your tend not to put homicidal maniacs in positions of high trust.  Not even if they “get the job done.”  ‘Cause they’re sure enough gonna piss off enough people that you might as well scribble “be torn apart by angry mob” on your calendar.

Sigh.  Generic evil villains.

Some days, you really have to be vested in your game, you know?  Like when you come across the crashed airliner with the cooler full of crunchy squirrel bits – I mean, I assume the airliner is pre-War, why the hell would they be eating squirrel?  Were they from Kentucky?

 

Or when the game insists, despite all of your Fallout: New Vegas metaknowledge, that you should join the Brotherhood of Steel.  I don’t care that they’re the good guys in this game, they put a slave collar on Tex Kennedy, and for that they have to die!

See, if Bethesda is gonna drag me across the Wasteland to find the baby I will inevitably have to shoot in the head, I can’t be blamed for doing some … creative reinterpretation.

So this game, I’m being a little more relaxed.  I didn’t care that the sirens were going off, I wandered around Sanctuary and tried to talk to the people –

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Pre-War
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post-War

But mostly there were freaking out because they were all going to die.  Hey, thanks for harshing my gaming mellow, guys!  Jeez!  First I have to wear this crappy Hillary-Clinton style outfit, and now all you can whine about is “oh my god, the bombs!”

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Don’t think you can hug that one out.

It’s totally stressing me out.  I need to blow this dump, go find someplace more exciting, certain someplace with better fashion sense –

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Much better.
  1. Man, it’s hard to even type that with a straight face.