Flash Fiction: The Long Way Down

This week’s flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig involved perusing Flickr for interesting photos.  I picked this one.  I haven’t put it at the top of this post because the owner hasn’t given me the right to share it, but I strongly suggest that you go take a quick look.  It’s pretty, for one thing, and it’s also the image that inspired this story.

Funny note; though the character was originally nameless, in one of my attempts at writing this I quickly discovered that I was writing Carmen Sandiego.  The final result isn’t about Carmen Sandiego, but I kept the name because it’s the right image to have for her.  With that in mind, read on! Continue reading

Would Watch Again: Fury Road

Mad-Max-Fury-Road-Banner-Charlize-Theron-Tom-Hardy

This movie is awesome.  It is awe-inspiring.  It is, very literally, spectacular.

If you like action movies, or you like the post-apocalyptic aesthetic, this movie is for you.  If you normally turn up your nose at action movies because they are laden with troubling bullshit, you can still try this movie.  Not because there aren’t troubling themes dealing with sex slavery and the subjugation of women, but because these things are dealt with well, with considerable respect and aplomb, in a movie that treats its female characters as real and very impressive people even when some of the movie’s characters do not.  Fury Road may or may not be a feminist movie (more on that later) but I think it’s a movie that you can watch without feeling like someone snuck you a shit sandwich.

Plus, it’s a really well made action movie, period.  I saw it on Saturday and would happily see it again RIGHT NOW.  It isn’t the tightly-plotted / intricately arranged tapestry of Die Hard; it’s like a formidable piece of Brutalist architecture.  It dominates the landscape with its physicality, its constant tension, and the relentless pace of its driving (heh) narrative.  For more of my thoughts on the matter, read on.

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Awesome RPG Material Generators

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 3.18.58 PM The above image may not look like much, but it is actually amazing.  It’s the product of a brilliant set of GMing tools, too good to pass up.  This site (http://donjon.bin.sh/) offers you a random dungeon generator, with settings for party size, level, hall layout, shape, room size, and more.  It gives you easily legible maps with mouseover text notes, and downloadable “secret-free” versions for your players.  Other sections of the same site offer more random generators than I can shake a stick at, ranging from inns and magic shops to weather, treasure hoards, and encounters.  It’s not perfect since it’s all pretty, uh, random, and you’ll want to edit features to fit your settings and stories… but it’s amazing when it comes to giving you rapid access to otherwise fiddly information for barely any effort. I do still want the ability to edit generated maps without having to convert them into some other system or format.  But I’ve had so much fun playing around with this for the past few days, and it’s given me piles of ideas.  Suddenly, almost all the prep work that I usually don’t like doing for D&D can be offloaded onto this, and that inspires me.  If you run games and tell stories of any sort, check this out.  It’s too cool to miss, even if you never end up using it yourself.

Flash Fiction: Making Bad Decisions Quickly

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This week is car chase week on terribleminds.  Now, I know that this car I have up here isn’t technically from Detroit, despite the words I use later on (I think it’s an Australian Ford model), but I couldn’t resist.  It fit the car I was imagining too well for me to care.  So, with that in mind, I hope you enjoy my story: Continue reading

As Fancy As It Looks: Furious 7

furious-7

I’ve now seen both Furious 7 and Age of Ultron.  I like both of these movies, but I think I might actually like Furious 7 more. To be fair, my expectations were so startlingly low when I walked into Furious 7 that the movie had nowhere to go but up; even so, this supremely goofy movie successfully hit me in the feels when I hadn’t expected it, and I like that.  It hit me in the feels partly for reasons outside of the movie itself, but it didn’t really matter in the end.  It was still good.

On the topic of my low expectations, it seems that I’d forgotten what I learned with the previous movie in the series, 6 Fast 6 Furious, or whatever it was called.  It turns out that I really enjoy the speed and enthusiasm of this fast-car soap-opera-with-guns.  I still have some significant problems with it, from the omnipresent male gaze to the inconsistent outcomes of characters’ consistently dangerous shenanigans, but … somehow I still found it highly entertaining.  Maybe I’ll be able to explain. Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Mustn’t Bother Mummy

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I’m doing Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge again this week, as I have since January, and I’ve had some trouble.  This week’s prompt is a new version of the same subgenre blender that inspired me to write Dreams of Drowning.  I got a very different combination this time (it’s a different random table, after all), and now I’m supposed to write a whodunit / comic fantasy.  In 1500 words.

I’m about 3/4ths of the way to stumped.

I have written this with the whodunit firmly in mind.  But trying to intentionally make comic fantasy?  I’m really not sure what to do with myself.  I’ve written pieces that I thought were comedic, or which people told me were funny, but that’s always been an incidental sort of thing; I guess the truth of it is that I don’t write those moments thinking “now it’s time to write some comedy.”

Anyway, I don’t know that I’d call this particularly comic, but I do hope you enjoy it. Continue reading

World Building: Making The Outer Planes Better

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Once again, I find myself investigating the cosmological background of the setting I’ve most recently created.  I was reading through the Dungeon Master’s Guide again, reading the section on planes near the beginning, and I’m in that usual place: somewhere between excited and miffed.  Fortunately, it’s easy enough to change the things that haven’t excited me.

I’m comfortable, for the most part, with the material the DMG offers on things like the Astral and Ethereal planes.  I’m more okay with the DMG’s ideas for the Shadowfell, the Feywild, and the various elemental planes.  I’m not very happy about their ideas for the Outer Planes.  I have some rewriting to do; let me tell you why.

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Flash Fiction: The Search History of a King

Oedipus-E-Hillemacher

This week’s flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig is to tell a story in six to ten search terms.  I suppose I’m cheating a bit, since I’m re-telling a story, but as soon as I had the idea it stuck.  I couldn’t resist.  Enjoy.

Search History:

  • route from delphi to thebes
  • sphinx riddle answer
  • how to cure infertility
  • define hubris
  • define nemesis
  • paternity testing