Played a little 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons yesterday. It was the second time I’ve played. Some of the people I ref a GURPS game for have been playing for a while. I missed a game, but was back yesterday. It was fun. 5th Edition is a bit more “power gamer” of a system. Characters are a lot more powerful, but adversaries are too. It all evens out. There are some things I really like about it. For one thing, there are not limitations on the classes or levels that various characters races can achieve, and no difference between male and female characters. It is a much more inclusive game. There are more character class options too. At this point I prefer to GM in the GURPS system, but playing D&D is great fun. Always has been.
I’ve been skating a lot. Haven’t written much on this blog simply because I’ve not had that much to say. Watching politics in the country right now is mind-boggling, and it seems to be fueling a lot more social conflict. It’s a bummer. I’d rather skate and play games.
I finished rereading William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy today. Read it back in the 90s, or at least the first two. Never read the third one, Mona Lisa Overdrive. I enjoyed the trilogy a lot. You can’t rush through ’em. You gotta read them with a good, relaxed rhythm, and really imagine the scenes. You can’t worry too much about not totally understanding what’s going on. It will become clearer the more you read.
The skating of Mike Vallely. It does two things for me…
It makes me want to go skate.
Reminds me that trying to skating like someone else if folly. Even if I was younger, skating like Mike Vallely, even at a lower level, would not work for me. It’s not the way I skate. I can love it and be inspired by it, but ultimately we all skate like ourselves, and should be happy with that.
Anyway, a cool edit by his filmer/editor with some Joy Division.
In the early 1990s, I read the Sprawl Trilogy by William Gibson and a bunch of stuff about hackers. When my wife applied to grad school for Library Science, I read through the materials she got, and saw stuff about the internet. Having no career, and finding this quite interesting, I applied to grad school too. So when people ask me how I got interested in my career, I can honestly tell them it was cyberpunk science fiction that pulled me in. At the time I read that stuff I had barely even touched a computer.
The Internet was different back then. The World Wide Web, as the highly graphical representation of the internet we know today, was just taking off. This was about 1994. Mosaic was the web browser of choice, then came NetScape. There wasn’t that much on the web, and I actually preferred using Gopher, which was a non-graphical predecessor to the Web. There was no such thing as home broadband. You used a fairly slow modem. Downloading an image took some time.
I feel like there was, back then, a more geographic notion of the internet. A lot of activity was still based around universities. When you went to a Gopher site, or a Web site, you had more an idea that you were “going somewhere” — the idea that you were actually traversing cyberspace was more immediate. My first job as a reference librarian was at NASA Johnson Space Center. When doing research for the engineers, scientists, and astronauts there, I’d often imagine myself physically exploring the data — immersing myself in it.
Not everyone was “on the internet” back then, so if you were, you felt like you knew something. It was cool. To this day I like to Telnet to a server to do some work — makes me feel like a wizard.
Anyway, I watched this documentary about William Gibson tonight. I really enjoyed it. I am grateful to William Gibson for igniting my imagination and leading me to a very rewarding career.
I watched Blade Runner last night. It was the “Final Cut” version, released in 2007. Such a great movie. Blade Runner was originally released in 1982. Like a lot of great films from decades ago, it did not predict the ubiquity of wireless communications (Deckard has to use a futuristic phone booth), but otherwise it holds up really well. Visually it’s as stunning as ever, and it’s great to be able to stream it in HD to a fairly large screen in your own home.
The look and feel of Blade Runner is often cited as being the quintessential atmosphere of cyberpunk. I don’t really know about that. For one thing, the film has nothing to do with computer networks — there is no cyberspace. And while portions of Los Angeles look crowded, the streets often look deserted, presumably due to migration of people to the Offworld Colonies. I usually think of cyberpunk as being crowded everywhere. Still, I guess the noir feeling the movies carries off so well is somewhat compatible with William Gibson‘s Sprawl Trilogy.
Whenever I watch Blade Runner, I find myself wanting to know more about the world and its characters. There has been some additional fiction written about the setting, but that all just seems kind of ridiculous. Fan Fiction at best? Other than seeing Blade Runner 2049 when it comes out, perhaps it’s best to just let the film stand on its own.
Ran game 3 of my GURPS CyberPunk game tonight, in which the Players stopped a cult from transferring the mind of Cthulhu, a CyberSpace entity, into a corporeal body grown by a rogue scientist. All in the Texas Megacity of 2065.
Below is an animated GIF I made to be dread Cthulhu’s presence on a CyberSpace monitor.
Just a few sounds grabbed from the interwebs. Some stuff from the old Rudolph animated special, and ending with Cher — all with a little echo and reverb.
I originally had much grander plans for this years Christmas podcast, but just ran out of time. Oh well, maybe next year. This has been a strange Christmas, but I am glad for my friends and my extended family, especially my sisters-in-law and their families.
I hope everyone has an excellent Christmas. Peace.
Oh yeah, next post will be #666, so I’d better make it a lot better than this one.
I just wanted to write a little note about Haymarket Books, and how a lot of the time if you buy an actual physical book from them they make an eBook available to your for download also. I think this is really, really cool. I love it. I read better, faster, and with less eye strain on my Kindle, but I still like to have the book in physical form too. I think all books should be this way. It’s rad.
Some skateboard stuff I like. I used to be a Gravity longboards and Randal trucks guy, but since the companies have been sold I don’t really have any kind of longboarding company loyalty (other than ABEC-11 and Retro wheels, which rule). I’m listing stuff here that I own and use (well, I haven’t used the Moonshine deck, but they deserve props).
Mode Skateboards – maker of freestyle boards and really good FS wheels. Moonshine Skateboards – vert board company that fully supports freestyle. Cockfight Skateboards – Texas based company that makes good vert, ditch, and street boards. Good dudes. Bones Wheels – yeah – not the “little guy”, but they make Bones STF, which I really like. For my way of skating street and ditches, they work quite well. I’ve found them to be exceptionally long lasting as well. Tracker Trucks – they make the Fultrack- best freestyle truck around, forever. Khiro Bushings – really good bushings Reflex Bushings – from ABEC 11. More good bushings. Ace Trucks – good trucks with good quality control. Frank Pocellis Laminates – this guy laminates his own blanks before he cuts the boards. Really good stuff too! OJ Wheels – though Bones STF is my go-to wheel, I have found the pro signature OJ wheels to be quite good. It is my understanding that they are poured here in the US, but some of their price point stuff is not. Anyway, good wheels.