Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Diary of Jizana M'Rell: Entry # 8 [RPG]



RUN TIME 29/12765 24:29


Kessidus is dead, Carn showed more backbone than I anticipated, and Sian hates me now.

The Sith came back, and succeeded in corrupting Wimrick.  I saw it all through the Force--they hacked Kessidus literally to pieces.  Prann and Ayden were lucky to escape with their lives.  We're on our way to Coruscant now, having destroyed one of the Sith bases.  Carn seems sure that war is coming, but it could mean something else.  Undoubtedly this was what Doneeta was in a hurry to tell the other Jedi when I saw him arrive on Ossus those many weeks ago . . .

I offered Carn a bargain--if he took me as his apprentice, I wouldn't tell the galaxy about the Sarama and his role in it.  I'm not sure what made him refuse.  Was his loyalty to Master Bes that strong?  Surely she would have understood that I had placed him in an impossible position and wouldn't hold it against him.  Or was the thought of taking me as an apprentice so truly horrible and repugnant that he was willing to risk the lives of the Sarama, who he spent 20 years trying to protect, and the possible fall of the Republic just to keep me from becoming a Jedi?  And the sheer gall of them to cut me from the Academy because of the "dark side" when Wimrick was a Sith agent all along!

But regardless, Carn had his way, and now the galaxy knows everything.  I received a letter from the Republic Chancellor.  They want me to go on the lecture circuit, but I won't leave Sian.  In the long run, despite possibly harmful short-term effects, what I did will turn out to be the best--already the Republic is investigating and attempting to make sure what happened to the Sarama will never happen again.

Sian doesn't understand why I did it, and how can I explain it to her when I don't know myself?  She wouldn't even listen to me when I asked her to go to Ossus.  Doesn't she understand the Sith at all?!!  I understand them all too well after having read their little "Guide to Pain."  I will keep her safe though, no matter what.  I may be a pacifist, but when it comes to Sian, I will do whatever it takes.

Still, intergalactic war, revolution.  I am now truly alone.  I must confess that events have developed in a direction I had not anticipated.  But I know what must be done, and I will set things right.


RUN TIME 269/12765 24:43


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What I Read (2014)

I'm slowing down in my dotage!  Hopefully, a better routine will get me back in pace in 2015.

Jan. 2, 2014:  Homer, The Illiad  "Interesting how it starts in media res and ends at a surprising point.  Quite bloody too!"

Jan. 8, 2014:  N.D. Wilson, The Chestnut King  "Final book in 100 Cupboards trilogy.  Good but not great.  Still, a writer with potential."

Jan. 9, 2014: James L. Sutter, Before They Were Giants  "Planet Stories collection for first published work by major SF writers with own commentary.  Really enjoyable and introduced me to some authors to check out."

Feb. 2014: Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson, The Gathering Storm "Fantastic page-turner.  Best WoT book in ages."

Mar. 5, 2014: Jeff Kinney, Journal d’un dégonflé: La vérite toute moche "Still laugh-out loud funny and very entertaining."

Mar. 6, 2014: David Lyon & Marguerite Van Die, Rethinking Church, State, and Modernity: Canada Between Europe and America, "Fairly good collection of essays for anyone interested in church & state in Canada."

Mar. 17, 2014: Michael Reeves, Patterns of Force "Third 'Coruscant Nights' Star Wars book.  Okay, but largely forgettable."

Mar. 2014: Stephen King, Carrie "My e-book re-read.  Brilliant, and you can see why it made him an instant star.  Yes, there's horror, but the overwhelming sense is tragedy and sadness."

Mar. 24, 2014: Carolyn Maree Evans, Legal Protection of Religious Freedom in Australia "Excellent, well-researched, and concise overview of statutory and constitutional dimensions of topic."

Mar. 31, 2014: Paul Heelas & Linda Woodhead, The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality "Thought-provoking study of traditional religious activity vs 'holistic milieu' in English city w/ wider implications drawn for future of spirituality."

Mar. 31, 2014: Philip Roth, Portnoy's Complaint "Plotless, stream of consciousness monologue on Jewish life in post-war N.J.  Still very funny, even if I can't connect to much of it personally."

Apr. 7, 2014: R.A. Salvatore, The Legend of Drizzt Vol. 2 "Trilogy as Drizzt & friends liberate Mithril Hall, rescue Regis from Calimport.  Introduces Artemis Entreri.  Entertaining."

May 5, 2014: Stephen King, Salem's Lot "King brings realism to a vampire tale, and it works quite well."

May 15, 2014: Andrew Lang, Cock Lane and Common-Sense "Discussion of supernatural phenomenon, unfocussed & w/out strong guiding thesis."

May 28, 2014: J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter et les Reliques de la Mort "A bit exposition-heavy at times, but still a satisfying conclusion to the series."

June 5, 2014: Sarah Pinborough, Long Time Dead "Torchwood Miracle Day prequel--Suzie Costello lives again & has to be stopped.  Pretty good all in all."

June 11, 2014: David Budbill, Bones on Black Spruce Mountain "YA book about 2 boys on camping trip.  Theme of loneliness & family.  Very good, and worth keeping."

June 12, 2014: Charlaine Harris, Dead Until Dark "Re-read of first Sookie Stackhouse book.  Still love the well-described, evocative setting."

June 14, 2014: Laurie R. King, The Game "Holmes & Russell on an adventure in India.  Great skill in evoking a setting, even if plotting still falls flat."

June 28, 2014: Stephen King, The Shining "Classic & still spooky.  King really makes you care about the characters, which is what makes the horror work."

June 29, 2014: Carrie Vaughn, Kitty Takes a Holiday "Third in the werewolf series, as skinwalkers attack.  Enjoyable."

June 29, 2014: Elizabeth George, I, Richard "Short story collection.  Mostly 'twist in the tail' types, with one slight tale featuring Lynley.  Not worth getting."

July 8, 2014: William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham, "Norton edition; classic story of economic fall but moral rise.  Fairly interesting, & very useful essays on literary realism."

July 20, 2014: C.J. Henderson & Erica Henderson, Baby's First Mythos "Silly rhymes & alphabet from Cthulhu mythos.  Not worth the cost, but some great artwork."

July 24, 2014: Mircea Eliade, Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions "Collection of essays showing breathtaking and wide-ranging familiarity with culture, religion, and language around the world."

July 2014: Charlaine Harris, Living Dead in Dallas "Second Sookie Stackhouse novel.  Main plot with anti-vampire cult in Dallas is strong, but subplot with murder of gay cook poorly written & borderline problematic."

August 12, 2014: Stephen King, Night Shift "Still an excellent collection of short stories."

August 2014: Danielle Dumais, Sortilèleges, salsa, et compagnie: L’Evénement "First volume in pre-teen series about kids who gain magic powers after magnetic storm.  Not worth reading."

August 21, 2014: Gary Bouma, Australian Soul: Religion & Spirituality in the 21st Century "Some good overview, but also some polemic mixed w/ scholarship."

August 25, 2014: James Swallow, Faith & Fire "Frankly fantastic.  Warhammer 40K book about Sisters of Battle.  Would make a great movie."

September 2014: Barbara Hambly, Planet of Twilight "Boring paint-by-numbers Star Wars book."

September 23, 2014: Constance Greene, Double-Dare O'Toole "Fantastic YA novel about Fex, a boy who just can't resist a double-dare.  Sweet & insightful."

October 2014: No Author, Doctor Who Companion Compendium "Nicely packaged collection of trivia."

October 29, 2014: Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City "Fascinating tale of construction of Chicago's World Fair while serial killer strikes in the shadows.  True story."

November 2014: Gary Johns (ed.), Recognise What? "Essays opposing recognition of indigenous persons in the Australian Constitution."

November 2014: Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson, Towers of Midnight "Next to last Wheel of Time book.  Excellent & exciting."

December 2014: Charlaine Harris, A Touch of Dead "Sookie Stackhouse short story collection.  Not required reading for sure."

December 2014: Jasper Fforde, First Among Sequels "Fourth of the Thursday Next books.  Surprising time jump, but remains incredibly creative and fun to read."

December 18, 2014: A.B. McKillop, Pierre Berton: A Biography "Journalist, historian, and 'Canadian Icon.'  Focusses on professional life, but little sense of personal life."

December 20, 2014: Richard Lee Byers, Unholy "Third book in the Haunted Lands series of FR Thay novels.  Decent."

December 23, 2014: Jude Watson, Secret Weapon "7th Last of the Jedi book.  Surprisingly really interesting and page turning.  Looking forward to others."

December 25, 2014: H. Paul Jeffers, Complete Idiot's Guide to the Great Depression "Bought for Cthulhu gaming research, finished years later!"

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stargunner [GAMES]

Tonight I finished another one of the games available for free download from Good Old Games, Stargunner.  I've been playing this game off and on for a full year now, so there's a sense of accomplishment in finally finishing the damn game.  Stargunner is a straight shooter: you get a spaceship, and your sole job is to blow up enemy spaceships until you reach the boss and blow it up.  There's the usual array of power-ups and the ability to customize your ship's weapons using credits earned on previous levels, but truthfully there's nothing particularly original or interesting about the game.  That being said, it's freakin' hard.  Once I learned I could save in the middle of a level I made huge steps forward, but definitely not a game
for the easily frustrated.