Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars Eve

My family and I may not be going to see the new Star Wars movie until early next week, but the premiere of Episode VII is nearly here!

In honor of the occasion, I wanted to give you fine nerf-herders a few interesting links...
  • I put up a new video on the Cygnus Youtube channel, with text from the evocative post about Luke Skywalker that I blogged about this past April.  (Hat tip to Fialleril for writing such great words!)
  • If you're an old-school D&D player and would like to role-play adventures in a Galaxy Far Far Away™, I propose avoiding all licensed games.  Just go download a copy of Encounter Critical, and staple on Jeff Rients' super-awesome Star Wars campaign guide from a blog post back in 2010.  (For added context, see two earlier posts that describe Jeff's motivation, here and here.)
  • When I was first exploring the Internet in the late 1980s, I came across a script titled "Star Wars Episode III: Fall of the Republic," written by someone named John L. Flynn.  It's essentially fan fiction, but at the time there was nothing like this in existence.  Go read it!  No worse than the prequels, I say.
  • I wasn't a subscriber to the original Star Wars Fan Club Newsletter ("Bantha Tracks"), but my best friend in 1978 was.  I enjoyed leafing through those things when they'd arrive... getting the inside scoop on what "Star Wars II" would be about.  Someday I'll have to get my hands on some old copies to relive those times.

  • Lastly, I think I may have already blogged about my experience with an, um, less than reputable mail-order publishing house.  In 1982, on the heels of Yoda's wisdom, I sent away for a book (advertised in the back of Starlog magazine) called "The Teachings of the Force."  Darn thing never came.  The P.O. box was in a town just 45 minutes away... and my Dad worked in our local post office... so he drove me over there.  We tried to learn what we could learn.  No dice, though; the perps were long gone.  Still, if anyone out there happens to know if the following thing actually exists, I still would like to know more...  :-)
Redacted, der.

May the Force be with you all, this fine holiday season!

Update:  Saw Episode VII on Sunday!  Woo-hoo, that was some Star Wars.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Whose Tube? My Tube!

The day is here.  Here is the big announcement:  I've started a YouTube channel called "Cygnus' Magic Words."

The URL may change eventually, but for now it's the following mush of characters:

The tag line is "Magic words for the soul."  More from the channel description:
Since 2011, I've been blogging at about games, philosophy, and whatever other weird bits of esoterica I can think of. I'm no master of the Game, just a servant who wants to see what the future holds for both the high-concept stuff (like Hesse's Glass Bead Game) and my old favorites (classic tabletop roleplaying games like D&D).

Here on Youtube I'm exploring another aspect of that weirdness: the magic of WORDS. On my blog I've posted a lot about my favorite creative people, many of whom are wordsmiths of some sort. Posting excerpts of text is fun, but sometimes the words need to be heard by the ear. Sit back, close your eyes, and see how the words will change you.
Right now I've got four videos up.  You won't see me directly, but you'll hear me reading a variety of things -- both poetry and prose -- that I hope will inspire and move you.  What you'll see with your eyes, in most videos, is a sequence of Kandinsky-like artworks that I've generated via a randomizing computer program.  Why?  No reason other than it was fun to make.  (I'm not the first person to think of doing this, but I haven't cribbed from anyone else's algorithms. I'm still tweaking and optimizing.)

That's all for now.  If you're inclined, go have a listen.  Please let me know if there's anything that you'd enjoy hearing, too.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Must be magic

I hadn't heard of comedian and poet Bo Burnham before, but I've been charmed by (some of!) his off-beat verse.  The following are all from his book Egghead: Or, You Can't Survive on Ideas Alone.

Click to enlarge

One can definitely sense the timing & beats of a standup comic in the words.  Many of these have likely been tested out on the stage.  Some, which I won't reproduce here, were designed more for shock value than for deep insight... but a comedian can't be blamed for getting laughs by whatever means necessary.

I think Burnham cites both Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein as inspirations.  You can see their influence, but he adds a unique spark of his own.

This post does have something to do with the big reveal teased over the course of the last few posts.  I'm nearly ready to do that, so keep an eye on this space over the coming week.  :-)