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Libellus Secretum Sartaelis
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Date:2014-11-07 21:24
Mood: chipper

LONG TIME NO POST....   I'm over on Facebook (and on rare occasions, Twitter).

But I wanted to give a shoutout here on behalf of my very good friend and co-conspirator Sarah Roark, who has been producing a weekly Vampire Comedy webcomic, AFTER DAYLIGHT, for TWO YEARS now and is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a real book print run.  The comic is delightful, a mix of drama, snark, and social commentary, and she has some really nice backer perks lined up:

After Daylight Kickstarter Campaign

So go check it out! Get in on the action!

And if you're on FB and we're not friends, ping me....

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Date:2013-02-20 00:59
Mood: sleepy

So, down to the last week: I've seen:

Best Picture Nominees: Argo; Lincoln; Les Miserables; Life of Pi; Zero Dark Thirty; Silver Linings Playbook.

Other Award Nominees: The Hobbit; Skyfall; Brave; Prometheus; The Avengers; Snow White and the Huntsman.

Currently watching: Pillars of the Earth, which is fantastic.

And working on a new Vampire project.... (not for publication, unless blogs count).   Stay tuned.....

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Date:2013-01-19 19:42
Subject:Yes, still around....
Mood: mellow

Just spending more time on Facebook.

Working my way down the list of various Oscar-nominated films. Fortunately I live within walking distance of two movie theaters; one has 20 screens, and the other is run by the AFI, so they often show older or "artsy" movies. I hope to see MOST of them by the night of the awards. I will also, as is my tradition, organize the office Oscar Pool -- which is my revenge for my usually poor performance in the College Bowls and NCAA pools that my coworkers run. (They still haven't forgiven me for winning the NCAA March Madness pool one year...)

So far I've seen:

Best Picture Nominees: Argo; Lincoln; Les Miserables;

Other Award Nominees: The Hobbit; Skyfall; Brave; Prometheus; The Avengers; Snow White and the Huntsman.

Still planning to see: Life of Pi; Silver Linings Playbook; Zero Dark Thirty -- and if I can swing it, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Flight; Moonrise Kingdom; and maybe Amour and Wreck-it Ralph.

Listening to all the nominated soundtracks, too.

How's everyone been?

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Date:2012-03-15 22:34
Subject:Yes, I live.....
Mood: artistic

I'm spending much more time on Facebook nowadays... if you're on my Friends list here and you are on FB, friend me there too....

I'm working on a new website for the doll stories... will make announcements when it's all posted. Otherwise muddling along....

Need to bookmark this on new computer (laptop) so I remember to check it more often!

Oh, and I am now a total Netflix streaming addict. Mostly anime. I've been going through anime series like candy.

laters, must fix dinner now.... will TRY to post more often than once every year or two...

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Date:2010-05-22 04:13
Subject:Wow -- 25 states down, 25 to go.... and the World, lots yet to see...
Mood: sleepy

visited 25 states (50%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

visited 4 states (1.77%)
Create your own visited map of The World

Clearly I gotta get out more....

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Date:2010-03-19 17:51
Subject:Hee hee....
Mood: cheerful

Can I allow myself a brief moment of amusement for being (at least for the moment) ahead in my office's "March Madness" brackets, despite knowing NOTHING about college basketball?

We'll see how well my picks continue to hold up...

I think President Obama is ahead of me, though. (Sometimes it helps to actually know something about the teams, I suppose...)

I pick teams based on whether I know anyone who went to that school. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

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Date:2009-07-08 17:59
Subject:Neat crow video
Mood: amused

Are Crows Really That Smart? Really cool video -- tool-making crow.

Crows are pretty damned smart -- I did some research on them when working on Three Shades of Night, and found it fascinating stuff. Did you know that if you see crows hanging out together during the day in small groups (aka, a "murder" of crows), they're probably related? Or did you know that crows can distinguish between individual people -- and they will REMEMBER you, if you're the one who feeds them (or disturbs their nests to band or steal fledglings)!

(Loki says he still flinches when he sees one... but that's another story. :-))

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Date:2009-07-04 16:07
Subject:I love YouTube....
Mood: amused

This is great stuff: Buffy encounters Edward Cullen....

Yeah, I've been on a YouTube kick lately...

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Date:2009-06-26 19:25
Subject:Teaser trailer -- The Last Airbender

One of my most favorite ever animated series, now in production as a live-action movie (trilogy, if all goes well) directed by M Night Shyamalan. Slated for next summer.

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Date:2009-04-28 07:51
Subject:Exalted: Episode 4: Reflections of Summer Love (Part 2)
Mood: hungry

Finally, this completes the back episodes... This one took a long time to assemble, because the flashback photos were done at different times. Montages are useful things in visual storytelling, to cover a span of time or to gloss over a series of experiences the character has that build towards a future scene -- but they are time consuming to do! (I watched such a scene being filmed once, in DC -- the film crew took ALL DAY, doing shot after shot of the movie's main couple basically walking across a stretch of pavement with a lot of other incidental things going on around them, ranging from extras in business suits walking by to sidewalk vendors to a Dixieland Band. All day, over and over and over, from different heights and angles -- and the finished shot was less than ten seconds in the final movie, part of a montage sequence. Fascinating...)

Anyway, I digress: here we go:

Previous Episodes:

Click here for Reflections on Summer Love (Part 2)Collapse )

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Date:2009-04-27 02:27
Subject:Exalted: Episode 4: Reflections of Summer Love (Part I)
Mood: hot

I am so behind on keeping this up! So to inspire me to get the next three episodes finished (I've been distracted a lot lately...), here's the first part of the missing Episode 4! (Putting in the Episode 4 slot made the most sense for the story flow, I think...).

Previous Episodes:

Click here for Episode 4: Reflections of Summer LoveCollapse )

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Date:2009-04-14 01:03
Mood: tired

I haz a bro en eybo rd. some keyz totly fritzd. Note to me: Ice tea zpill on keybr d lazt week
bad. Ooopz.

needed new comptr nywayz. But will get new eybo rd zooner. Othr prioritiz right now. Mom iz getting bionic nee tomorrow so she can leep tall bldz, climb stairs & set off metl detectorz @ airportz. :-)

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Date:2009-04-07 11:51
Subject:You GO, Vermont!
Mood: optimistic

VERMONT just passed gay marriage, by overriding the governor's veto in both legislative houses.

The vote makes Vermont the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage, but the first to enact equal marriage rights legislatively.

On top of Iowa's Supreme Court decision (declaring limiting legal marriage to opposite-sex couples only as unconstitutional), this is all good progress.

We're still working on it here in Maryland...

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Date:2009-02-01 18:19
Subject:The cool ideas you can learn from anime....
Mood: pensive

from Story of Saiunkoku, a courtly romance/political intrigue/character relationships saga, set in a mythical land much like ancient Imperial China. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Dragon-blooded politics. Lots of beautiful bishi males, one very likable female heroine. Splendid costumes and setting. I just got the last three disks to complete the first season.

The idea: A duel by poison. Thirty six identical cups of wine on a 6x6 grid. One (or if the characters cheat, more than one - and in this case, both characters were cheating...) containing a deadly poison. One pair of 6-sided dice, one black one white. (designate a color as the one you read first). You roll the dice in a bowl to designate which cup on the grid you drink from. (Presumably if you roll and get the coordinates for an empty cup, you get a "pass" -- this didn't happen during the episode). The poison used was fairly fast-acting (but you might still not feel the effects of the poison until two or three cups later -- meaning it was possible for both characters to die, if more than one cup was poisoned.)

As a story device, it was brilliant -- it maintains a level of suspense as the characters roll the dice and drink. The characters were alone, it was just the two of them -- and their conflict was very personal. For those familiar with Dark Ages Toreador, think of Josselin versus Alexander.... It also allowed the dueling characters to have a very interesting (and revealing) conversation at the same time they were gambling on their lives -- and since they knew at least one of them would not survive to blab, they were both being uncharacteristically honest. It allowed the "good guy" character to show something of his dark and ruthless side, and the "evil" character to show something of his humanity, even a touch of vulnerability. Really great character moment all around.

I'm not going to tell you who won.... or lost.

Have to remember that one, though. (Genshaku can't wait to try it...).

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Date:2009-01-04 17:40
Subject:I have no good excuses for this, but....
Mood: sick

Vampire Gamers will appreciate this.... I found Sasha Vykos in 1/3 scale resin form.


Actually he is the newest "Zodiac" doll from Soom's Monthly Doll offering: Heliot, the God Monster (?), representing Sagitarius, the Archer. Bow and arrow included. And yes, that is a clear unicorn horn coming out of his forehead....

But with the right outfit (black leather), eyes and face-up, he really COULD be Sascha Vykos... though that isn't really my intent. Vampires are not on my radar much anymore... been there, staked that through the heart, moved on.... mostly....

Read moreCollapse )

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Date:2008-11-29 14:49
Subject:EXALTED: Episode 7: The Road Not Traveled (part 3)
Mood: blah

Previous Episodes:

I'm finishing up Episode 7 below.... then I will go back and post the revised (expanded) Episode 3, with all flashback scenes (at least the ones that Photobucket won't censor). And then, we can have Episode 8: Heartbroken Clouds. Coming Soon! (really, it's done and coded and everything...).

I'm in the process of doing some Flash animations and a spiffy website for all my doll stories (including some not related to Exalted, and A Tribute to the Fallen, which is the Leopold/Sartael story. If my boss will let me have some space on one of our servers, I'll post the link here when it's done.

Click here for Episode 7: The Road Not Traveled (Part III: Ayame's Regrets)Collapse )

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Date:2008-10-28 12:29
Subject:Rambling on -- Flash & ActionScript edition....
Mood: hungry

A number of years ago, before I got the job I have now, I actually worked for a short while on an online computer game. It was intended to be the "next generation" of MMPRPGs, to be story-based rather than combat based. We had some damned good ideas. What we didn't have was the time and massive up-front investment needed to build an online MMPRPG graphics engine from scratch. (oh, and people in charge with a lick of practical business sense between 'em, that woulda been nice too...).

What I'm finding interesting now.... at the time, we were looking at Java as our programming vehicle, with a special in-house scripting language (that I learned to use as it was developed) to connect scenes and lines of character dialog and build on player choices in ongoing storylines.

Based on what little I know already of Flash and ActionScript (the topic of the class I'm taking this semester), I bet by the end of the semester I could practically duplicate what we succeeded in doing before the company collapsed -- do an interactive storyline, at least, with some cool graphic effects -- just in Flash. (okay, there are a lot of things having to do with managing multiple users from different sources that I couldn't do...). But go through a multipath story, based on player choices? Sure. (Really, I could do that in basic HTML, but the graphics would be so much COOLER in Flash....)

But it's a lot to absorb in a very short amount of time. Flash is so incredibly complex -- just the arts/graphics side. You add the functions of ActionScript on top of that, which is as close to programming as I've ever gotten, and it gets INCREDIBLY complicated. Half the kids in the class are looking at interactive game development as their course of study -- this class is one of the first classes required for that path. Future classes I think get more into ActionScript.. not sure if I will go that route or not.

I'm looking at it more from the web-design end, but I'm also thinking of interesting ways to tell stories, combining photography, the special effects of Flash, and website interactivity. I'm also thinking of improving my background in Photoshop, and expanding into Illustrator -- since I bought the entire CS3 web design package, which is pretty hot stuff. Unfortunately, my 5-year-old computer at home can't run the damned thing! CS3 needs at least 1 GB of RAM. My poor lil' machine has 512MB. I had to load the software at work, where I (fortunately) had just gotten a new computer, which means I've been spending a lot of late nights and weekends at the office, working on Flash homework. Next spring, I think -- when I get my tax refunds -- it'lll be time for a new computer.

I was looking at the Leopold & Sartael story, which has just under 100 images (Yes, I know I haven't posted it here yet -- sorry! I will, as soon as I have time to put it in real HTML... Yes, that's Leopold in my Avatar pic). I could do some really cool things with that in Flash -- yes, it would mean re-doing almost half the images to include animation and "go to next" type buttons -- but it would be really really cool. To have Sartael's text actually APPEAR on a page, or to see Leopold's expression change.... or to expand to the Exalted series, and to have Exalted animas appear flickering around Genshaku or Citan.... mmm-mmm.

So that's what I've been up to. Flash and ActionScript, and working on doll costumes (another episode of Exalted is in the works too, as well as Halloween costumes for the Big Kids....). And following the election news. (one more week. Just one more week.... GO OBAMA!)

My parents' house has been on the market for several months now. Market currently sucks dingo kidneys. It's such a nice little house, too. Great location. Lots of shopping and easy access to NIH and downtown DC commuting, nice backyard, all that good stuff. Good schools, nice neighborhood. Not a big house, but big enough, and solidly constructed and well-maintained. Hope things turn around enough so they can get it sold....

Enough rambling. I really will try to post more often....

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Date:2008-10-14 18:19
Subject:Too Cool for Words.....
Mood: busy

Okay, this is just too cool for words.

The Obama campaign is even buying advertising space... in video games. These are apparently appearing in the online games. (?) Talk about thinking outside the box... (or inside the XBox, as it were....)

I have to say, the shot with the Transformer (?) and the one with the band (Rock Band? Guitar Hero?) gave me particular glee. I don't play video games, but I think this is brilliant.

Now that's the kind of innovative thinking we need in the 21st century. Yes, they are using my money very wisely!

I am taking a class in programming/designing for Flash (which is what runs most website animated effects nowadays). Very complicated stuff. But fun. Does take a lot of my time, because the program won't run on my home computer (I'm using CS3, I have the whole package now, which includes an updated Photoshop and even Illustrator -- whoot!) So I had to load the software at work, and can only work on it by staying late or coming in on weekends. A new computer will probably need to go on my Wish List. 512K of RAM simply doesn't cut it anymore.

Look for something spiffy to see 'round closer to Christmas....

Still doing doll stuff. New Exalted episode in development. More on the drawing board. And my Big Kids (dolls in 1/3 scale, like the one in my icon) are demanding equal time -- they're jealous because the Little Guys (1/6 scale) get all the new clothes, furniture, props, and screen time. Due to minimal props or costumes for the larger scale (and no room to store such things even if I had 'em), this will require some imaginative scripting. Or lots and lots of green screen effects.

The Leopold and Sartael story came out pretty well. Alas, I missed the deadline for the contest (though the story was very well received by the judges anyway). I still need to put it in HTML so I can post it here.

(A teaser: Old Man Yells At Snarky Possessed Book.....)

And my TV is broken. Dunno what happened. I push "on" and nothing happens, either on the remote or the button on the TV itself. (and yes, I did check every plug). Bummers. JUST as I was getting truly addicted to The Daily Show.... (Yes, I know I can watch it online, but it's not the same....). After over a decade of having a TV I never used, NOW that I have cable and actually started watching it, the damn thing up and dies. Well, it was a hand-me-down anyway. Maybe the stores will be desperate enough to really lower the prices on them soon....

Well, I'd better get back to working on Flash homework... sorry I'm so slow on updating here. I do READ my friends' postings every day though!

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Date:2008-09-11 12:37
Subject:In Rememberence: A moment of silence (and a poem)
Mood: Reflective

2:00pm, EDT: A Moment of Silence
posted on DailyKOS by MeteorBlades)

Someone also posted this poem, which I thought was worth sharing:

For the Falling Man
by Annie Farnsworth from Bodies of Water, Bodies of Light.

I see you again and again
tumbling out of the sky,
in your slate-grey suit and pressed white shirt.
At first I thought you were debris
from the explosion, maybe gray plaster wall
or fuselage but then I realized
that people were leaping.
I know who you are, I know
there's more to you than just this image
on the news, this ragdoll plummeting—
I know you were someone's lover, husband,
daddy. Last night you read stories
to your children, tucked them in, then curled into sleep
next to your wife. Perhaps there was small
sleepy talk of the future. Then,
before your morning coffee had cooled
you'd come to this; a choice between fire
or falling.
How feeble these words, billowing
in this aftermath, how ineffectual
this utterance of sorrow. We can see plainly
it's hopeless, even as the words trail from our mouths
—but we can't help ourselves—how I wish
we could trade them for something
that could really have caught you.

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Date:2008-04-16 18:10
Subject:Inquisitors, Angels and Demons, Oh My....
Mood: busy

I do have the rest of the Ayame story -- the third part is kinda long -- and will post it tonight or tomorrow night. Also have Episode 4 almost ready (last few shots are in post-production, and then I have to do the coding to insert the new shots into the old version of the episode. Flashback montages are a lot of work, you have to do so many scene changes for just one or two shots each....). So more Exalted goodies soon.

Meanwhile, back in the medieval World of Darkness...
New doll story project, which should also be of interest to White Wolf fans who remember Dark Ages: Inquisitor and Demon: The Fallen.... One of the doll boards I post on is having another photo-story contest: Angelic Descent. The contest's theme: Fallen Angels.

Ooooooh. Please, please don't throw me into that there briar patch, I'm a' beggin' you... Ideas, ideas, where are all my ideas...??

And then I remembered good old Brother Leopold von Murnau and the namesake of this LJ, the original Libellus Secretum Sartaelis. And a little vignette I had always thought about writing, about how crotchety old straight-arrow Leopold became THE patron saint for the modern-day Inquisition known as the Order of St. Leopold.... (something that is doubtless still causing poor Leopold to spin madly in his tomb).

[* * * For non-gamers reading this, I was one of the writers on the Dark Ages: Inquisitor game book, along with nagaina_ryuuoh, innocent_man, doctorcaligari, adders, and others. I did the opening fiction piece, which introduced Leopold von Murnau and Sartael, and so I've always had a special fondness for the members of House von Murnau. In our discussions for our section of the book, Myr and Sarah and I decided that Leopold needed some characteristic vulnerability or inherent flaw to make his life more interesting (in sense of that old Chinese Curse), and so we decided what he really really needed was his very own personal demon. And Voila! -- a new smart-ass character was born.* * * ]

Of course, none of my cast of dolls (at least not those who qualify for the contest) looks even REMOTELY like either Brother Leopold or how I'd imagined Sartael (who I always considered to be one of the Namaru) to appear. Especially not in apocolyptic form. (I had to dig the Demon: The Fallen core book out to remember the terms for these things, it's been so long...). So I am creating two (well, actually three) entirely new dolls for this project, including doing my first-ever hair-rooting job (because Obitsu simply doesn't offer a doll head that comes with a Dominican tonsure in aging silver-gray), and will have to do their faces and costumes and props (including Sartael's book, of course) and angelic/demonic wings and....

And the deadline is May 10, which is NOT a lot of time for this kind of thing. Fortunately it really is a short story, and fairly simple in terms of setting and props. (Not so simple in terms of special effects, though). I have about half the script done so far. Almost done with Leopold's hair.

So while I watch the Democratic candidate debate and the post-debate discussion on Countdown tonight, I will probably be working on constructing posable wings.

And yes, I will post the whole thing here when it's done! (wish me luck!)

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