Sunday, 4 October 2015

Podecast 4 - Bees

Scrap and I try to talk coherently for an hour about Bees, with a debateable level of success.


1.20 Scrap starts rambling about chromosomes
(seriously, think about skipping this part)
4.26 Gives up on that and starts again. Begins a very dark story about Bees.

8.00 King Arthur and Bees

9.55 The Demiplane of British History

13.25 Brief ramble here

13.40 Other Planes, verticality

14.50 Hook Birds

15.25 Dinosauroids -

15.35 The first few issues of Prophet.

(I think these are in fact the same guy.)

16.35 "Bees, have to get this back to bees.."

17.20 Evolution of pollen, and therefore bees.

17.45 Exploiting colony organisms. Pretending to be ants.

20.10 We are colony organisms.

21.20 The nihilism of not cleaning your room.

21.45 Emergency coping mechanisms.

23.09 Sudden change in conversation due to girlfriend interruption. The Death of Avril Lavigne.

24.24 Schizophrenia. The voices are probably real. Believing you are in the matrix.

26.13 "That's kind-of like a hive.."

26.45 In stories no-one can ever be competent.

28.15 Destroying a city with super-speed.

30.15 The delay between conception and creation.

31.00 Cut-Up

31.55 OSR trailer advancement.

32.50 "One day we'll set fire to parts of Dunedin."

33.48 Another cut here - Napoleon liked Bees.

34.42 Playing Cinderella

34.32 "You need skin"

36.00 More Hook Birds. (Free BFR development meeting discussion. Welcome to the idea factory people.)

40.20 Three minutes to survive a nuclear war.

41.30 Segue back to Bees.

41.35 Scraps adventure with a Beehive.

46.40 Bee-Knights vs Ape-Godzilla.

47.30 "Did Godzilla fight anything Ape-like?

49.48 Fighting all your enemies at once.

51.30 What does Matt Damon look like; a Ryan Gosling Chibi.

53.00 Jewel Thieves in 80's films. (I'm pretty sure jewels do play a large part right at the end of The Goonies.)

55.00 The strangeness of murder in civilised fiction.

56.45 Broadchurch.

58.00 The unity of actors across series.

59.20 "You're not in Guatemala now Doctor Ropata."

60.1.30 Bullying in british comics.

60.05.00 Scraps earliest reading memories. 2000 AD,

60.06.50 Feeling 'fucked up inside'.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The etymology of Desire

"The Romans believed that the relative position of the planets influenced earthly events. The endeavours of the astrologers and augers as they scrutinised the night sky are encapsulated in the Latin verb considerare. It meant 'to study the stars with great care', being a combination of the intensive prefix con- and sius. 'constellation star'. It soon came to be used more generally with the sense 'to observe carefully. to examine', before developing the figurative use 'to reflect upon'. In these senses it was borrowed into Old French, and from there into Middle English in the fourteenth century.

- The verb desire, which came into English in the thirteenth century via Old French desirer, is also derived from sidus. It comes from Latin desiderare which meant 'to regret, to miss' and hence 'to long for'. The original sense of desiderare and its connection with 'star' is obscure, but Skeat suggests 'to note the absence of stars' and hence the regret that the auguries were hidden."

(From 'Word Origins' by Linda and Roger Flavell.)

Monday, 28 September 2015

Why did I mix up these city-states?

The DM forgot where he left a minor city and went with the nearest equivalent, only realising later that we were in Osc-something, six days travel away from where we should have been in Osc-Somethingelse. And we had met the 'right' NPC's for Osc-Somethingelse too. I mean I met my hot insect baby-mamma and had hot inset sex. Dumped the kids on her too. So that happened.

So here are a bunch of reasons that you might have mixed up two city-states. I put the same-context dependant ones in the front and numbered the others so you can use them as a table if you need to.

- Love can move mountains and also city states. It was a miracle of love, the kind that happens to Lancelot when a fucking castle appears out of nowhere so he can bone Guenevere in peace.

- Deathfrost Mountain time emanations. Its near Deathfrost Mountain, that place if full of temporal shenanigans. Maybe we went all the way to the right place in a moment?

- The journey between the two cities is so fucking boring and so free of incident that, like a five hour shift on the biscuit lines, the moment its finished its simply wiped from the memory.

- Hot astronomer girlfriend swapped cities so she could get parallax on a particular star formation and we happened to go to the right one.

- Hot insect girlfriend organised city government-swap with Osc-Something for complex dynastic and economic reasons. Like a house-swap.

1. Names of all local cities changed regularly to confuse infiltrators from very-nearby enemy state.

2. Cities 'Harrisoned' now twinned in time and space. Kind-of reflections of each other but not necessarily causally connected. Like the Mad Max films. Its all a bit vague but probably a metaphor for something.

3. Cities 'Mievilled' A bit like like a Harrisoned city but a bit more practically worked out. They are separate but somehow share space. You could walk down a street in one and come out in the other. This is regular and people know about it but no-one takes advantage of it for COMPLEX POLITICAL REASONS. This is definitely a metaphor, for capitalism.

4. City 'Gaimaned'. Deal with para-deity means single city story-locked and eternal so long as people remember it, but the collective memories shape its physical expression. Council big on intellectual property laws and punish silly songs about the city with death. Will invade to stop rumours about them spreading. You went to the same place but it was different because the memories of it had changed.

5. Its the same city. Djinn fly it back and forth at dawn and dusk. You just went at different times.

6. Djinn again, one was ordered to build city B in a single night. Sneaked a few millennia into the future and took the ruins of city A and built them of that. They are literally the same stone. Scholars from City A go to City B to analyse relics and stones and try to work out their future history.

7. The second city is actually a necropolis of the first where bodies rest in simulations of their former homes. The people you interacted with were g g g ghoooosts! (Also if you saw old friends it means they're dead.)

8. Second city built as vast copy of the first by trillionare idiot obsessed with history and tales of old culture. Like those americans who buy London Bridge. An inhabited folly an a gigantic scale.

9. Mission-Impossible style plot by well resourced enemies with small army of illusionists and actors to persuade you one place was in fact another. You got Truman-Show'd.

10. Whole population swaps back and forth every 12 years in vast processions for ritual reasons. You jut missed the swap.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Podecast Three - Beauty

The subject today was 'beauty'

(It's shorter than usual because I had to go to Manchester.)

 click the image

Zak hates nature.


"The child of love and war is sex"

A thick silky coffee with cardamon

kelvin helmholtz

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Caliphate of Holes

The Caliphate of Holes

The shattered karst and black cyclopean frags that make up the Sifir, or 'The Plain of Sifir' or 'The Plain of Nothing', or more simply 'The Nothing', are uninterrupted and empty of life.

Only in the shadowed micro-climates of the black broken kaiju temple shards, bigger than buildings, will life appear, and then only the clenched octopoid charcoal-vermilion corn that grows in tangled bezoars. Despite its vile appearance the red-black safir corn still feeds safely and well. Enough to support the few mad banished vagabonds that haunt the safir and the wolfslugs that prey on them in turn.

Monsters haunt the safir, monsters and monstrous men and wild vortexes of time that pinwheel through the sky like storms. But, hidden till you see it is the Caliphate of Holes.

Each village, town or house in the Caliphate of Holes exists in a stepped-pyramid sinkhole. A natural occurrence, deliberately crafted by the hand of man.

The sides of these limestone pyramid-reflections have been cut into shelves and filled with soil. Crops grow in the steps and paths lead mazelike routes between the paths. At the bottom of each asifir (a-sifir meaning simply not-sifir, or 'not nothing') lies a home or several, a village, and in many cases the shell-palace of a noble line.

It is like walking the surface of a blasted alien world, then looking down into a green, green valley that opens up before you like a trap. The hole-sides protect the asifir from the cruel desiccating winds of the outer plain and as each stepped field sinks slowly through the water table, they grow green with life. many sifir have rivers running through their base, emerging from caves and apertures in the rock, all have wells and oases.

All the asifir, linked together in rulership, form the Caliphate of Holes, a hidden nation.

It is so difficult and dangerous to cross the sifir that most residents of the Caliphate do it only once. The asifir are connected in trade by a migratory culture of caravan guards, some of the toughest, most dangerous people on earth, who ply their beetle caravans across and through the labyrinth of the broken karst to connect the valuable markets of the asifir.

You can become rich quickly in the caravans of the Caliphate, and die quickly too.

The asifir are connected by this strange mercenary culture, but they are also connected beneath the stone as well. The whole Plain of Nothing is a gigantic water table feeding into the three mighty rivers of the south. rain does fall there but is absorbed so quickly by the rock that the place can seen parched seconds after a storm.

But underneath the surface the water trickles and runs, forming a lacework of hidden rivers and streams. All asifir have access to this underground world and, dangerous as it is, connecting to the Veins of the Earth and the terrible things that reside there, it is also a medium of communication.

A few asifir are lucky enough to be connected by navigable underground rivers, but even for the rest communication is still possible.

The watery underground world beneath the Sifir is home to a race of intelligent, albino octopus-men. The Calipahte exists in a state of alliance with this race, in a sense, the form two sides of the same coin. The Caliphate provides crops, food, space to devise and create and protection from, along with access to, the upper world. The Octopi-men first, when young, carry sealed messages between the asifir, worming through the perforated rocks, forming a postal system beneath the earth. Second, when adult, they emerge from the wells and oases and form the guards of the asifir, protecting them from the monsters and horrors of the plain. When Caravans appear from out of the plain, they are greeted fist by Octopi-men riding gigantic snails. These then lead them through the maze of the asifirs terraced fields.

Every aspect of the asifirs construction is devised towards protection. The layout of the terraces is like a puzzle hard to understand. Residents know it, but visitors can quickly be disconcerted by the narrow paths between paddies and fields. Even the crops themselves and the way they are laid out can be a form of trap.

The topmost, dryest terraces are usually planted with hypnotic poppies that require blind guides. Then come orchards protected with beehives in the branches of their trees. Anti-cavalry potato mazes can be found on lower levels. Thick grain crops are always grown in mazes. narrow paths lead between paddies of calligraphic rice, as the thin wind moves across the leaves of rice the shifting of te leaves en-masse forms single words and letters when seen from above, different each time On lower fields sheep-sized snails are herded and watched over by young shepherds and war-pigs are bred and kept secure.

(The asifir of the Caliphate of Holes are famous for their culturing of snails, but despite their success in this field, they cannot grow snails as large, intelligent or warlike as the 'Chivalric Snails' rumoured to exist in the lands of the Curlicue Throne, somewhere beyond the Snaegleborg. Though they are large enough to provide a kind of cavalry for the octopi men to guard against wolfslugs in the night, and worse things.)

A noble family rules each asifir from a home or small palace near its centre. Often these are gigantic shells of mega-snails long since extinct. What role these gigantic snails played in the formation and development of the sinkholes, and how they came to e extinct, is lost to history.

The noble youth are educated by clerics of the Caliph. The Caliph himself is a living vortex of time, though civilised, and his, or her, clerics are finely trained legal minds who act as impartial judges and lawyers for the asifir, as well as being combat-trained.

Since the culture of the Caliphate insists that the young marry only for love and for no other reason, and since it is very difficult to travel between asifirs, and because it is illegal to marry someone of your own family, and somewhat devient to marry below your family, a sizeable proportion of the messages carried through the underground maze of the water table are love letters.

Poetry is the accepted means of discovering and declaring love and it is entirely common for young couples to find each other through the written word, court, fall in love, all through the exchange of poetry, and then to meet only at the moment before being married (after at least one of them, usually the man, has survived a gruelling passage across the sifir.

Since poetry is the primary means of finding a mate and gaining and retaining status, the Caliphate produces very good poets. A good poet essentially has their choice of spouse. This has lead to the noble families of the Caliphate becoming somewhat obsessive in pursuit of this talent and poetical inbreeding, of character if not of bloodlines, has lead to a melancholic, depressive, sometimes bipolar, yet brilliant temperament amongst that class.

Since poetry is status, access to poetry is restricted to the upper class. It is illegal for anyone else to create any and the peasants of the Caliphate even sing their field songs without words, or in a deliberate nonsense fashion to ensure that no-one suspects them of illegal poetical talent.

Unpoetical, unromantic but likeable and practical-minded youngsters will often pay for 'bandit verse' so they can create the simulation of the perfect relationship and be allowed to marry. if they are known by their families to be 'un-versical' then this will be quietly allowed without comment.

And of course the folk stories and legends of the Caliphate are full of poems being delivered to the wrong people, Snail herders with an incredible unexpected talent, princesses wandering in the safir and bumping into bandit kings who happen to be incredible poets and are also exiled princes, princes being sucked into time vortexes and sending poetry through the calligraphic rice that ensures their own conception. All the creaky old classics.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Podecast 2 - Scrap Princess Omega

The second Podecast ever.

This one has a subject, it's about monsters.

 Click for Podecast
(Click it)


Rhiannas new video.
Ghosts and why they hold candles.
Skeletons and skeletor - egyptian theories of the dead.
Nazi Aurochs.
"I've been around some pretty smelly subcultures."
Eating living things.
Forbidden Planet.
Imperialism and microbiology.
Scrap fades in and out around this point for mysterious reasons.
Possible collaborations.
Natasha Allegri.
Stephen Pyne.
The state of modern poetry.
The Art of Not Being Governed.(He wasn't a poet.)