Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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A weekend killing monsters

We should strive to look on the bright side of… well, everything that happens to us.
For instance: I spent about twenty years, more or less, without playing PC games, basically because I was too busy doing other stuff. And right now, I have a very old, no-name PC on which two thirds of the recent games don’t run.

Bright side: I can get old PC games for real cheap, and they run a wonder on my anything-but-state-of-the-art system – and right now I feel like playing something new.

So yesterday I spent three euro and a half (the price of a bucket of ice cream) on a 2012 game called Torchlight II – a fantasy RPG with a vague steampunkish flavor and lots and lots of monsters.

I found it on Steam, it runs on my Linux machine and it is a pleasure to see.
Sure, it’s old, but considering I missed it when it came out, it’s new to me. And it’s kinda fun to play in the role of a wandering engineer taking quests together with his pet alpaca.

Yep, every character you play gets a random pet at creation, and I got an alpaca – not the fiercest of creatures, but he’s saved my life a few times already.

So that’s how I’ll spend the weekend – killing monsters and exploring strange places, and letting off some steam.


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Visit the Dying Earth (and do some good)

A quick heads-up for those of you out there that like roleplaying games, or Jack Vance – or both.
The Bundle of Holding is offering the Compleat Dying Earth package – everything you need to play in the world of Cugel and Rhialto, as to say The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game, designed by Robin D. Laws and published (quite fitytingly) by Pelgrane Press.

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Sunday afternoon

The problem, my brother always tells me, is that in this place we live, all days are absolutely equal. There’s nothing to do, no one to talk to, not even a park bench in the shade where you can go and sit, have a breath of fresh air and maybe read a book.
It’s like being in the damn Devil’s Island. But with vineyards.

Which means I spent most of the day doing research for my next story, and trying to get the selfsame story started… which I did. Three times.
None of those beginnings was any good, but I have the chain of events quite clear in my mind, and now I’m going to put down an outline.
Then I’ll sleep over it, and tomorrow I will start and hopefully finish the first draft, and have the finished work by the end of the month, barring accidents.
This is a fun project, and I really hope to be able to place the story in the market I have in my sights.

Then August will be here, and we’ll see what that brings.
A huge project I was supposed to work on in August shifted to September, so I might be able to finally nail shut the boxes of a couple of stories I have here idling. And maybe start a new pet project of mine – this time, a collaboration.
We’ll see.

Sometimes it’s good to be on the Devil’s Island.


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The outlaws of Sherwood Forest are online

I was doing some preliminary research and warm-up for my next writing project, and as I was looking for online resources, I stumbled on the University of Rochester’s Robbins Library Digital Projects page, which features a number of online collections of texts and materials about – among others – the Crusades, the Matter of Britain, and, to my great pleasure, Robin Hood.

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The Curse of Kwan Yin: Three Strangers (1946)

It’s pretty straightforward, in the end: you pitch me a noir movie featuring Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet, I will drop everything else and watch the hell out of it, and then probably do a post about it.
Which is exactly what happened last night, when I spent one hour and a half with a bowl of dark chocolate ice cream and Jean Negulesco’s 1946 flick, Three Strangers.
And what a bizarre movie it was!

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Charade once again

Today it was an anomalous day – I slept late, I went to the supermarket at lunchtime, and when I got back I made myself some sandwiches and I re-watched for the umpteenth time Charade, the 1963 “mock Hitchcock” movie directed by Stanley Donen and starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

Set in Paris and featuring a great support cast (including Walther Matthau, James Coburn and George Kennedy), the film is an unusual mix of crime thriller, screwball comedy and romance, and it should not work, but it does.

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More Monstress time

Today I took the afternoon off – the heat was insufferable, so I got me a big cup of ice cream and the first two Monstress collections (thank you, mysterious fan who had them delivered) and called it a day off.

And I must say I am absolutely impressed by both the quality of the artwork and the depth and fun of the story. Beautiful.
No better way to try and get some of my energies back.
The ice cream helped, too.