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fiendishrogue Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "fiendishrogue" journal:

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June 6th, 2008
12:38 pm


meme, from lodessa
Comment on this post and I will choose seven interests from your profile. You will then explain what they mean and why you are interested in them. Post this along with your answers in your own journal so that others can play along.

Altered Carbon
A novel by Richard Morgan featuring a body-hopping 'leet' spec ops ex-government ninja bribed out of prison and put in to a body not his own, to solve a mystery where the person who hired him had killed himself. No i'm not making this up! I was a little sceptical having read the blurb myself, but it got such good reviews and was highly recommended, so thought I would give it a try. Happily I found it was another one my my 'can't put down'TM books and I absolutely raced through it, loving each page. There are some very, very nasty bits, and some very not nice things happen in the book to both protagonist and the people he investigates, but these only serve to underline the world they inhabit. I went on to read the remaining two Takeshi Kovacs novels, Broken Angels and Woken Furies, but whilst good, neither can quite meet the exacting quality of both story and writing set by Altered Carbon. As such it remains in my top 5 books of all time.

Alternate realities
I used to firmly believe in parallel universe thoery, where there are uncountable versions of the present branching off all the time, and every decision ever made split off another universe. I used to use this as a bizarre form of entertainment, mostly in the form of advising others about it, and if I admit it, teasing them too :) I would for instance say 'there's a universe out there where we're together, where right now i'm touching you..' and because of the parallel universe theory, this has to be accepted as a definite reality. This caused a little consternation and never failed to get an intense reaction from whoever I talked to about it, it was a great conversation piece :) I used to spend entire evenings talking about it to friends, where we would imagine us kings or slaves in alien or quasi-historical cultures, where we ran around living as highwaymen or victorian steam-punk adventurers, all the while safe in the knowledge that somewhere out there it was true! There is a certain comfort and enjoyment in this, though I haven't really done this in some time. Now I tend to add another thing in to the mix, namely the nature of reality, and the very powerful fact that people carry around with them their own realities in their heads, occasionally clashing with others, but always trying to impose theirs on other people. Remembering that everyone has their own reality and perception has been key to me understanding the world in a deeper way.

Conjure One
When I clubbed/pubbed more in my early 20s, I used to listen to Front Line Assembly, as they were one of the more progressive/popular/melodic(?) industrial bands. One of my friends suggested I listen to Conjure One, as it was the same lead singer. Completely different to the singer's industrial roots, Conjure One is so melodic and emotive in style, very evocative and a pleasure to listen to. You can find an example of one of their songs here, and coincidentally watch one of my cards tricks at the same time ;)

Earth and Beyond
This was the first MMORPG I ever experienced, and was ahead of the curve with regards to the market, with an innovative (for the time) style of play and an entire universe brimming with untold stories. It was active for only 2 years, as around the time it was released, it was picked up from Westwood by EA Games. EA didn't want two online games competing for custom, as they had the Sims Online as well, so they stopped supporting E&B, and let it sunset after only 2 years. In many ways, E&B had a lot of the gaming mechanisms that makes Wow so popular today, and still has a very loyal following among online gamers, who are still boycotting EA and whinging on the EA forums about the issue! There is even a group of individuals dedicated to reverse engineering the game and bringing it back in to public useability. I'm sure it's mostly nostalgia, but even having played Wow (ahead of the rest of the MMORPG crowd by far) I still pine for E&B.

Envoy conditioning
This is the description of the training received by the protagonist of Altered Carbon. It boils down to the following (paraphrased from Wikipedia because the article describes it better than my original scribble):
Envoys are part intelligence operative and part elite soldier, trained to adapt quickly to new bodies and new environments. Envoy training is actually a form of psychospiritual conditioning that operates at subconscious levels. Envoys possess total recall and are able to discern subtle patterns within seemingly unrelated events. They possess a thorough understanding of body language and vocal tonality, such that they can often manipulate others with ease. They are able to control their physiological and psychological responses, such as fear and anger, at will. Another aspect that figures prominently in an Envoy's training is a systematic removal of every instinct that would give them any qualm about ending a life.

There is much in the above that is reminiscent of high level 'deep' martial arts training, where students learn until their actions are automatic, essentially they no longer need to think about how their bodies react. So Envoy Conditioning is a much more advanced form of this. It kind of segues with altered realities above, as envoy conditioning allows much more control over one's environment.

Spider Jerusalem
This is the protagonist of Transmetropolitan, one of the most famous works of Warren Ellis. He is a foul-mouthed train wreck of a man, but at his core he searches for and in some ways worships 'the truth', and sacrifices himself in pursuit of it. He's an example of giving all for your principles, not to mention a darn fine character with some excellent, if colourful language.

The cats of Seroster
A book by Robert Westall. In fact the first book I ever decided was 'my favourite book', at the age of 8 iirc. I re-read it every couple of years and still enjoy it now :) It follows a scoundrel called Cam throughout his visit to a city populated by a rare breed of golden cats. I particularly enjoy the writing fro the POV of the cats, and their society is in turns amusing and quite scary in its efficiency at getting what they want. Anyways, i've enjoyed this as both a child and an adult, and thoroughly recommend it as a fun read.

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May 22nd, 2008
08:50 am


Absolute genius
An unsigned British band who lacked the money to make their own music video took the unexpected step of performing in front of dozens of CCTV cameras and then using the UK Data Protection Act to acquire the footage.

Video available here

Very cool!

I wonder how long it will be before other people take up the idea?!

Current Mood: impressedimpressed
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May 20th, 2008
04:21 pm


Fanfic finished :D
Haven't posted here in a while but i've been busy on other projects.

Asoiaf fanfic for asoiaf_exchange is done, 4924 words are in the hands of a beta reader :D
Have more notes for my gritty modern supers, odyssey and a new noir concept that might be meshed with the supers. I blame watching Brick for the addition of noir, but my, that was a good and very enjoyable flick :)

I've now finished reading Transmetropolitan for the first time, and was blown away by it, such a good story and an entertaining read. Also read Fell and in the middle of re-reading the Authority. Mr Ellis is great, though I love the way certain aspects always creep through in the stories he writes. I blame him for wanting to make some of my ideas translate in to the comic format. I have no idea how to accomplish that one, as whilst I am ok and have even tested writing a comic in the 9 panel grid etc, i can't draw for toffee :s Still, Fell is a minimalist style, so perhaps I can throw something together, at the very least do it for my own secret portfolio. I'm still thinking of doing another 101 in 1001. The problem here of course being that i've accompished rather a lot this year already so it's difficult to think of things to put on the list.

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April 17th, 2008
02:41 pm


Have done another 1000 words for the asoiaf_exchange fic, but not really happy with them. I'm struggling to tell the story from two viewpoints, trying to split the telling between 2 POVs much like grrm does. I've rewritten the 2nd pov once already but it still doesn't sit right with me. Not sure if i've been unable to capture the essence of the character and need to re-read them from the books, or whether it just isn't working trying to do multiple povs for this particular story. Maybe what i'm missing is wanting to have one character's reactions, and being constrained with the viewpoint of the other. However I do want to illustrate certain things my using different perspectives :s Going to have to think about that one and decide what's best for the story. Think I'll keep going as things are I think and just try and get all the story told and down 'on paper'. I can always go back and edit the text to be from the initial viewpoint if things don't work out.

Also, having read some of the asoiaf_equinox fic I was too late to sign up for, i'm slightly scared at the good writing and storytelling i'm seeing. It's my first fanfic ever so I know I have nerves and all, but it's still daunting!

Also, I was stamped as Oberyn Martell in asoiaf_stamp which was quite a nice surprise :) Nowhere to host the pic yet but i'm sure i'll get round to registering another domain soon so will put it up then.

Current Mood: pensivepensive
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April 11th, 2008
02:26 pm


Surprise phonecall
Well that was completely out of the blue. A chap I used to work with just called me to say one of his new clients is a playing cards manufacturer who is just building a new website. Apparently the company provided the decks for the Casino Royale merchandise, but i've yet to take a look at it so can't confirm that yet. Anyway, he wants a section on the site of his products being used to perform card tricks, and my old workmate showed this chap my Youtube vids. He was apparently impressed enough that he wants to go ahead and hire me to do his website vids for him. I was stunned!

So now eagerly awaiting the contact details so I can take a look at the company in question. I'm a little rusty so this is probably a good time to start practising regularly again. Hopefully this will aid project 'write more' rather than torpedo it, as i'll have more things to write about, even if I technically have less time to write in. I have to get in to the habit of leaving my posts up, even if I don;t thikn they are interesting enough to remain public. I have this over-eager editor sat in my head that gets dissatisfied with everything I write if I re-read it too many times. My journal would be much longer if I just left it alone!

Must go hunting for more lj icons. My favourite x-man being (of course) Gambit, I'd like to find something card-related from him I think, Google here I come :)

For now that's an excellent end to quite a good week :D

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08:33 am


Riders on the storm
So how is my 'write 3 times a week' coming? Urm, well this is entry 2, because i'm going to count my entry to asoiaf_stamp because it took so long to type and did involve some thinking! I've written some more notes for the asoiaf_exchange but don't consider that enough really, as I haven't produced content yet, just planned it.

Subject? I forgot how much I liked The Doors until something on the radio last night (I listen whilst doing the washing up) reminded me of Riders on the storm. So I booted up Youtube (invaluable when you just *have* to listen to a song stuck in your head) and had a good listen. Unbelievably I've yet to buy a single track online using iTunes or anything, but it did make me think I should. My first reaction was 'hmm, where do I find a best of? Or should I start to build a collection of all their albums? Am I really that in to them? Ooh look something else shiny on the internet!'. I ended up playing a game instead of worrying about it any more.

Also watched Gladiator again last night. It never fails to get an emotional reaction from me. I always hate Commodus, I always pity Lucilla yet also despise her for being so weak in the beginning. It's probably unfair of me to do so given the lack of power women had in that culture, it was hardly as if she could have challenged her brother and she really did all she could to help Maximus. Ah Maximus, this is the first time I have watched this film since my daughter was born, and wow, certain scenes had so much more of an impact.

Current Mood: busybusy
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April 7th, 2008
01:28 pm


Ok so i've been in search of a watch for a good couple of weeks now. I haven't actually worn one for 10 years or so now, but increasingly it's becoming more tedious to locate and turn on my mobile just to find out the time. Plus, being a dad makes me think I really do need to have a watch now. My counter-culture 'sod what the time is' attitude appears to have completely dwindled away now! My only issue here is finding a watch I want to wear. Now I'm the first one to admit i'm hard to please when it comes to picking things for me. DVDs, books etc all have to be carefully considered. When it comes to something permanent and *gasp* something I'm going to wear all the time *swoon* then I become finicky to the max. This is proving somewhat problematic in finding a simple device that tells the time. I'd really like something unique (yes ok, an obvious statement there) and therein lies the main issue.

I started by looking at some of the binary watches available, that require some decoding in order to tell the time. No problem for me really as I work in Networking, so binary is second nature, and after all I doubt it takes much more than practice for anyone to learn to tell the time with one of those. But I simply don't like the available designs, open circuitboards and the like remove what elegance there can be had in such an unusual way of displaying the time. Tokyo Flash has an outstanding collection of futuristic looking watches, some of which I do quite like. The only problem here is the one I like 'Shinshoku', is now only available with a red/yellow/green LED colour scheme, whereas I would like the pure red LED ones, which are of course sold out :(

Ideally I'd like a leather cuff or 'non-feminine-looking bracelet' thing (if such an item even exists!) that has the time light up on it when a button is depressed, but otherwise looks just like a normal accessory. There are plenty of 'concept' watches out there that do this, but nothing i've been able to find that is in actual production (ok aside from the dot matrix version here, but it's WAY too bulky for my liking :s )

In an unsurprising move i'm probably being too picky to be able to select something to buy this side of christmas it seems, but i'll keep looking until i find something that screams 'you want me!'. After all, why settle when i've gone a decade without a watch so far?!

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
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April 4th, 2008
11:44 am


I think it's probably safe to say that everyone out there has a movie script or book idea. In fact when I took a look at doing a 101 in 1001 a couple of years ago, I was surprised and perhaps a little dismayed at the large number of potential authors out there. All of a sudden it seemed that everyone shared the same dream, and my own little ideas were tiny, tiny things in the veritable sea of words out there. That kind of thing puts me off, as I do like to at least think i'm doing something unique, even if I'm not. However, more and more it seems to me, understanding more about the process of being an author (rather than having an idea to write), that there is a huge difference. Everyone out there has a story to tell, but not everyone writes it. We no longer live in a world where the 'idea people' are deferred to and valued. Ideas are a dime a dozen these days. Being a writer means actually putting words down on paper, being productive, returning time after time to add more and more until you have enough to start editing in to a finished article. This is something I can really get behind, something I really want to do. I've had several ideas simmering away behind my eyes for the past few years and it's time to let them face the light of day.

Blogging is antithetical to being a writer according to Robin Hobb, who wrote an excellent article on it here. I can see exactly what she means, but coming from a 'not yet writing something each day' mindset, I am going to try and either blog OR write something daily from now. Not always going to be possible, lots going on in RL atm, but i'd say as long as I get something written 3 days a week for an hour at a time, that's progress from the current zero hours per week. It's the writing regularly thing that's the most important to get part of my routine I think.

Finished the first 1500 words of my asoiaf_exchange fic yesterday. Was a little daunted to start with, never having written a fanfic before, let alone specifically for someone else, but I think it's going ok so far. Should be well finished before the deadline so plenty of time to edit and tweak before hand in.

Current Mood: mellowmellow
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November 19th, 2007
11:11 am


Jazz Aces
My friend sent me an original recording of his guitar playing and asked me to do a trick to it, this is the result.

Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied

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November 14th, 2007
10:40 am


Twisted Aces

Current Mood: calmcalm
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