The Swing of Things (June)

June 2, 2009

So, May was what might be called a bad month. Not because anything bad happened – nothing did, and in fact several good things happened – but because for the entire month I found it difficult to concentrate or get anything done. I finished the required schoolwork on time, but haven’t really gotten any further in my various writing pursuits, and since summer started I’ve basically been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer several hours a day (not that that’s a bad thing) and read a bunch of Tim Powers books (not that that’s a bad thing either).

It seems to be going away though. Over the last few days I’ve gotten “back into the swing of things”; I’ve actually gotten some work done on the cave-orcs campaign, and started on The Sound and the Fury – for fun, yes, but Faulkner can never be considered light reading. And I’m about to finish season 7 of Buffy, at which point I’ll have no excuse for not actually doing something with myself.

But anyway, I currently feel like someone who took a break when they shouldn’t have and is just now getting back into it. Who does this remind me of? None other than Thursagan – the Runecrafter. Guy who forged the Scepter of Fire. His backstory is, essentially: He quarreled with Durstorn, the lord of his clan, and went into self-imposed exile in the far north, not really accomplishing anything there. Many years later (how many, exactly, is unspecified), Rugnur dragged him back and got him to forge for them the Scepter of Fire – a task taking ten years.

So, if this analogy holds up, I’m going to create something awesome this summer. Of course, it also means I’m going to die – creating the Scepter cost all of the dwarves their lives (though Alanin and Krawg the gryphon escaped). Oh well.


Code Geass

March 22, 2009

I recently finished watching the anime Code Geass (only the second anime I’ve watched, after Death Note). My reaction was… mixed. I have a lot of complaints with it (I hate the anime style of animation, the school half was dumb – the series is about a high-schooler named Lelouch who is also leading a rebellion, and the parts at the school are stupid – and I found some of the events in the main plot somewhat unbelievable). But overall I thought it was good, worth watching if you have nothing better to do with 20 hours of your life (about how long it will take to watch all 50 of the 24-minute-long episodes).

The most interesting part was the ending… but I’m not sure what to make of the ending yet. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say it was well done and succeeded at surprising me. But I’m not sure I agree with the reasoning behind Lelouch’s actions. *shrug*

Anyway, if anyone reading this is really into anime, any suggestions for more anime series I would like, given that I found Death Note more interesting than Code Geass and my main problem with most animes is their immature sense of humor and poor quality of animation?

Incidentally, Wesnoth 1.6 has been released. This is the newest stable release, it has some new campaigns and much better graphics, go try it out. And download the Imperial Era and the associated campaigns as well from the add-on server – you know you want to.

Calm Down (March)

March 1, 2009

So, this semester has not been at all how I expected it to be when it started a month and a half ago, socially speaking; it’s been a weird roller-coaster, actually, and now I’m just about back where I started. Fun.

Anyway, social life interesting => little accomplished elsewhere, and that has indeed been the case. But spring break is coming up soon, and hopefully I’ll have some free time to get some Orbivm pixel art done, finish up the short story I’m writing, prepare to submit a (different) short story to the Writers & Illustrators of the Future writing contest…though I will have to cobble together an hour-long presentation about fractal dimension for my Math Colloquium class at some point as well.

I know I talk a lot on this blog about finally being able to sit down and do some work – but hey, most of the time when I say that it’s true. I tend to go in cycles; get a lot accomplished in a month, then get nothing done the next month, then get a lot done the next, etc.

What’s interesting about the coming month is that not only am I energy-wise moving into the “lots of work” cycle, but the social part of my life is being forcibly calmed down as well. (You can read this as referring to romantic entanglement(s) if you want to, but that’s not the only valid interpretation, and that’s all I’ll say about that.) To put it another way, there definitely won’t be many distractions in the coming month, and not only because nine days of it will be spent at home rather than at school.

Anyway, what Wesnoth/Orbivm character does this remind me of? In a strange way, it makes me think of Konrad, the hero of the original Wesnoth campaign Heir to the Throne. He dithers around for the first several scenarios of the campaign, and only starts focusing on his goal of finding the Scepter of Fire basically after the scenario Princess of Wesnoth, in which he fights Li’sar (whom he eventually marries, but whatever).

Konrad, portrait by Richard 'Jetryl' Kettering

Konrad, portrait by Richard 'Jetryl' Kettering

Fight!!! (February)

February 1, 2009

I have noticed recently that I often enjoy being enemies with someone more than being friends with them. I don’t mean “enemies” as in we actually detest each other – rather, I mean that, whenever we meet, we are constantly sparring verbally, never being “nice” (which means basically being polite) to each other. Often it’s more fun this way; after all, unless you’re good friends with someone, you don’t get much out of being polite to each other. But arguing with people when neither of you cares about the argument helps you think on your feet, improves your wit, and gives you a thick skin.

I’m afraid others don’t see it this way though; most people avoid confrontation like the plague. So sad. They’re missing out.

The only problem with this is that it can be used too often; there are probably some people I would be better off being civil to than arguing with, but that’s not how it goes down. Perhaps I ought to try being nice every once in a while…

Anyway, what Wesnoth/Orbivm character does this remind me of? Sparxus the Orc, a gladiator. As you may recall, he led one of the first bands of escaped orcs from the Lavinian Coliseums; they wanted to escape so they could fight who they wanted and not fight who they didn’t want to. Sparxus is more civil than most of the orcs, and ends up not really as enthusiastic about gladiatorial combat as some of them – but he still ends up dueling Grarivus, his mortal enemy who he was friends-of-convenience with while they made their escape, once they’ve reached safety. He can’t rise above his orcishness and love of violence.

The part that applies to me should be obvious. I don’t mean to imply I have a love of violence or am an orc, obviously.

(BTW, I do plan to write that post about the purpose of criminal punishments… eventually. Just haven’t had energy and time at the same time yet.)

Art and the GPL

September 15, 2008

This was written by the art director of the Battle for Wesnoth project (i.e. Richard “Jetryl” Kettering) and it explains better than I could why Wesnoth uses the GPL for its artwork (well, more generally, why it uses licenses without no-commercial-use, no-derivations, attribution, or similar clauses, in the context of a discussion about whether to switch from the GPL). It’s kind of long, but I think definitely worth reading.

I’m just linking rather than quoting it here because getting the formatting to work right would be a real pain, and isn’t worth it. I know I usually don’t just give links, but this is something I do think you should read, especially if you’re somewhat indifferent about the whole idea of open-source artwork.

The Wanderer (September)

September 4, 2008

As you have probably already read, I now reside in Rome – for the next four months, anyway.

But it’s not just that I’m in Europe… I’m going to be roaming around Europe a lot. This weekend our class takes a trip to Naples and Pompeii. The week after that is a travel weekend, and I’ll probably end up going somewhere there, though I’m not sure where yet; the week after that I’ll probably stay in Rome, but even so I’ll be seeing a bunch of stuff in the city and all that.

So… basically, in September, I’ll be wandering a lot. I’m currently listening to the sounds “The Wanderer” by Elvenking and “Wanderer” by Ensiferum; they fit pretty well with what I think this month will be like. You might say that those songs are the official songs of this month.

And who is the relevant Wesnothian character? Well, it has to be someone who travels around a lot, kind of a tourist. A human going from normal lands to somewhere foreign. Any good options?

I think the best choice is Alanin. He’s the Wesnothian representative among the dwarves in the Sceptre of Fire campaign (which I wrote). So, this month, I’ll be Alanin.



Incidentally, tomorrow I’m turning eighteen and it will be legal for me to drink in Italy. And vote in the USA. Yay, I guess.

Done! (July)

July 3, 2008

After four days, and an estimated 4,000 LEGO bricks, I have finished building the castle. It is two feet by two feet, the walls are eight inches tall, and the towers – one in each corner – are another eight inches tall. It weighs about twenty pounds. I will upload pictures to my Brickshelf gallery shortly.

Anyway, all this building has put me in an architectural mood. So for the month of July, I think, I should be the founder of a city, or the builder of a castle, or somesuch… my first thought was to be the king who reigned during the construction of the fortress of Halstead in 164 YW, but unfortunately he is unnamed in the Wesnoth Histories. Thus, I suppose, I ought to be Haldric I, the founder of the royal city of Weldyn.

Haldric is, from the point of view of the elves, a lying traitor who left them to fight the orcs alone after promising his aid, leading to the deaths of thousands of elves. From the point of view of Wesnoth, though, he was a wise king who refused to endanger his kingdom to aid the elves when the elves were planning to betray him. Personally, I side with the elves (as you might expect, since I wrote the “Breaking of the Pact” not “The Rise of Wesnoth” – that was Shade), but i can see why Haldric would be considered a good king.

I’m not really a fan of the Haldric I portrait from TROW (in fact I was rather strongly critical of the artist who drew it), but it’s the official one, so… here ’tis.

Haldric the Great

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