RLLauthor@outlook.com and @RLL_author GO TO AMAZON KINDLE STORE AND TYPE RLL. YOU WILL FIND MY BOOKS.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

NO CALL FOR A NEW BOARDGAMING BLOG: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

For a minute I considered setting up another blog, to handle boardgame content. Then I reconsidered. With boardgame-themed videos going up regularly, my video outlet is the gaming outlet.
   This is my blog, and I'll talk about whatever I want to. And if I want to, I'll mention gaming here as well. No call for a whole new blog, to handle gaming articles.
   I'll let the blog post titles take care of all that. You'll know from the title if there's gaming in the air.
   Somewhen in the history of the universe, before our planet blows away into the cosmos, I'll post revised rules for a tiny game. And you'll know this from the blog title.
   Frantically checks unpublished blog post.
   Yes, the title is game-related.
   (Discovers there are eighteen unpublished blog posts. Hardly any of those seem remotely publishable. Must work on this problem over coffee. Lots of coffee.)

*

An extra blog, devoted to gaming, is an extra headache in terms of admin. Too much admin. I chant this by the light of a misty full moon, razorwire cobwebs clinging to doorways, as autumn crystallises into winter.
   A lot of coffee fuels the effort that goes into scripting, filming, editing, and sound editing those gaming videos. Mostly, if I want to say anything about gaming...I'll say what I must in videos.
   All that content goes to YouTube, and I can't justify the admin on creating a gaming blog that I won't post to frequently enough. Game stuff is welcome here. It's simpler to make this simple. Keeping things simple is the complex part.

*

How are things in gaming-land, and is there honey still for tea? The last two videos (checking game components, and The Raven by Poe) were heavy on sound editing.
   It's possible to script, record, film, edit and sound edit, and publish a video in one day. But I'm taking two to three days to nail the jelly to the wall each time.
   Filming game components took over an hour to furnish the raw camera footage. The rule is brutal: film more stuff than you need, and chop that shit down to fit the audio.
   As much as possible, I script what I want to say. That noble endeavour throws itself on spiked railings after two minutes...
   I'm often forced to go in and paraphrase, drop a forgotten point in, or just damn well scrap the audio and start over, ad-libbing like a maniac let loose in the Louvre with an open pot of purple emulsion.

*

Now I must away to clear the gaming table for another video. Off goes the giant plastic skull. Farewell, I say, to the more accurate life-size skull. Goodbye to the statues and cheerio to the restaurant frames that hold murder-themed posters.
   It's time to set up the next miniature movie. Lights, camera, action, camera glitch, inaction, darkness...







Monday, 1 October 2018

MY TWITTER CRUSH DIED. HASHTAG SAD FACE: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.


I'll get to the FUCK ME messages later.
   In my experience, Twitter hasn’t been the place for fraudulent hijinks. Except that one time. I gained a follower who was hard to pin down. This person changed Twitter description and the visuals quite often. I’d see a comment from WORLD HATES MICE and the @TWITTERCRUSH part of the name stayed the same…next to a different image. 
   Who is this? MURDER FRIED DOLPHINS @TWITTERCRUSH (image of strawberries) came in and made a comment. What sort of comment? Oh, dropping into a self-created conversation in mid-flow and wondering what I thought of the matter.
   Being American, and aiming at politics, @TWITTERCRUSH made references to politicians down at county level, and I cared not. Later, finally noticing this Space Cadet (wired to the back end of the moon), I made a point of checking out the main feed.
   I hesitate to describe the account as belonging to the OLD MAN RANTS AT CLOUD school of public discourse, but I don’t hesitate long.
   Easy choice. I dismissed this wave of negativity. No, I didn’t bother unfollowing…I just turned and did something else with my life. (Which I suspect involved coffee.)

*

Then, one night, a funny thing happened on the way to the Twitter. I received a Direct Message. If you haven’t experienced the Direct Message on Twitter, it’s as useful as a fart in a spacesuit. At least it tells you that your sense of smell is working.
   Regular Tweeps send me Direct Messages of worth. These are rare birds.
   This message was from a semi-random individual with a familiar picture up…and a name I vaguely recalled. We’ll say this was a woman. We are all cats on the internet.
   This woman said hello, and apologised for using a second account…as…gasp, shock, horror…her first account was hacked. I ran checks on both accounts. There they were. Same photo. This meant nothing.
   She was planning a trip to the big city, and her idea was to meet @TWITTERCRUSH. I seemed to have some involvement with the @TWITTERCRUSH account…
   (A lie was told there, surely.)
   On that flimsy basis, was this big city person trustworthy?
   From across the school playground, using the power of Twitter, someone played out a game of MY MATE FANCIES YOUR MATE. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?
   I think the catfish lurks on the bottom of the pond, waiting to strike.
   Scam e-mail is a thing. Those African Princes don’t fund themselves, y’know. Being from accounts almost exclusively in France, I suspect more than a few African Princes of not being African at all. This is a theme we’ll return to very quickly.
   I’ve only had this one Direct Message in Twitter playing that game. I decided not to play. Instead, I made my excuses and left, reeling off a witty comment about @TWITTERCRUSH and “her” identity. If a man, he was a very lucky man based on his past. How so?
   On regular Twitter posts, @TWITTERCRUSH commented about going to a school that I checked for authenticity…it was an all-girl school with a mostly-black student population. By that, we’re talking 99% of the school.
   On normal Twitter, I knew something was deeply twisted about @TWITTERCRUSH once I noticed the character, so I was running background checks even before I needed to run background checks.
   You always need to run those before you need to. There’s no such thing as normal Twitter.
   Catfish swam away, with a laugh, finding me witty and entertaining. I didn’t bite. But I did look long and hard at @TWITTERCRUSH and associates.
   A world of negativity over there. I did some fishing of my own. One night, I decided on a very public Twitter cull. I started calling out certain types of account as I zapped them one by one. No fucks given, slash and burn, slice and dice, eat shit and die, fuckers.
   The usual suspects.
   I reached for ManageFlitter, and called up the inactive accounts.
   Here’s a media consultant who started the account a year ago. Ten Tweets in all that time. I remembered following media consultant when the account opened. Nothing since then. Zap. Bye. And so on.
   Amazon Best-selling author. I once gained that title and know exactly what it takes to earn the pointless trophy, meaning…I am not impressed. Goodbye, best-selling advertiser.
   Twitter expert. Following fifteen people. Followers 20,000. Hasn’t Tweeted in a month. No loss there. KAPOW.
   I don’t follow these accounts now, so how did they appear then? Overnight an otherwise okay account can add best-selling author to the bio, or during Happy Hour the media pundit slashes the following to immediate family and pets, reducing admin.
   Gone fishin’. I waited to see if @TWITTERCRUSH took the bait. In went the worm, wriggling…I sent the Tweet out…
   Here’s one. Ah. Twitter crush. Gets a pass. But for how long? One Tweet will save that account.

*

Without naming the account, I moved on and zapped accounts with no profile picture, accounts with no biography, and accounts that were clearly dead. I’m choosy, these days. Though I was choosy, back then.
   My Twitter feed is full of hashtagged coffee Tweets and references to STAR WARS and random stuff. I rarely Tweet my own books out there. I’ve taken to cutting ultra-heavy self-promoting authors as I go along. But, yes, I was still choosy, before.
   Well…
   It wasn’t long before @TWITTERCRUSH snapped at the bait. “She” checked in, and wondered if “she” should Tweet more often to avoid my cull. Joke. This motherfucker did nothing but Tweet, so was safe from my cull.
   Wrong.
   I gave it a week, and started force-unfollowing the scabby accounts around the crush. Hangers-on and like-minded bottom-feeders. Bit by bit, I dismantled a poisonous network built into this Space Cadet’s Twitter activity. No ties to me, as I severed the tentacles. There was one genuine account, and I let that stay.
   Then it was time to remove the offender “herself” – which I did without difficulty. This was a weapons-grade troll, and my gradual actions played out as defusing a bomb. I had no more contact with the crush after that.
   Except, of course, through that one genuine person who was tied to the old network. Years later, seeing a Tweet on that feed, I noticed the @TWITTERCRUSH account still going, but not at the same fast-paced rush.
   The account posted a picture of a black woman and…
   No, come off it, that’s not true.
   The account posted a picture of an old white guy, finally emerging from that all-girl school with a sex-change and quite the palest skin I’ve ever seen on an African-American. Maybe it was the filter on that photo. You know the one. The bullshit one.
   Yes. @TWITTERCRUSH was severely ill, and the account turned robotic. My Twitter crush died. Hashtag sad face.
   This prompted me to check my Twitter settings. Over the length of my Twitter journey, I’ve blocked 30 accounts. They were all fake spam accounts that sprang up for a short irritating period before Twitter clamped down on the wriggly pus-filled worms.
   That’s why there weren’t many of them. And they didn’t show up immediately. Took a wee while for the bots to crawl out of their vats.
   I’ve never blocked an actual person. Bots, yes. No, I’ve never retired a human by mistake.

*

Why tell this story? I tell stories.
   People tell me their stories about the Direct Message. Those stories involve women and dick pics and pumpkins, oh my! There are hacked accounts, obvious fake identities, backstage author-bashing from authors who never knew better but should know now. (Though they never will.)
   I don’t get any of that. Yes, I mean I don’t receive any of that and I don’t get any of it, either. Meanwhile, in fraudulent e-mail land, I am offered banking upgrades I suspect are financial downgrades.
   My PayPal account has been suspended so many times they went and outlawed hanging. I don’t think I’ll ever get back inside my non-existent Bank of Ireland account. Damn it. How else am I to liberate Sani Abacha’s missing millions?
   I could e-mail strangers for help with the processing fees. Wait, what’s this? An invitation to explore the depths of Lake Toplitz? The only gold to be made out of that scheme is by renting diving equipment to explorers. And as the government keeps a lid on that activity, there’s precious little gold in them thar depths.


*

So a funny thing happened on the way to this blog post. I had these stats at my fingertips, showing dead accounts. However, I ignored one category - the influential.
   Inactive accounts were easy to spot, right?
   Wrong. There were "influential" accounts that only Tweeted robotically, to avoid being flagged as inactive. That did it. I took a flamethrower to my Twitter and burned...
   The sly fuckers with multiple near-identical Twitter accounts, who followed me at much-delayed intervals...
   Non-bio accounts that had a biography once, long-ago.
   All of those active accounts that generated best-seller status long after the fact...
   Accounts that were accounts on behalf of other accounts...
   Strange accounts that were protected for no discernible reason...
   Advertising accounts pretending to be people...
   Bundled accounts that were all part of the same business...
   And many variations on a theme.
   Flame on.
   I killed a lot of advertisers, about three serial killers, and enough best-sellers to stock a fucking library of trashy airport novels.
   They fell before me like ripe grain before the reaper's scythe. On into the Valley of Unfollow rode the 600. I've never had a massive Twitter audience. That's thanks to aiming for a bit of quality rather than quantity.
   I may fell more Twitter trees by year's end. Or by day's end. Depends on my mood. Hashtag scythe.

*

And the FUCK ME messages?
   Unfeasibly pneumatic breasts surgically attached to women are now popping up on my screen, thanks to Google fucking Chrome, coinciding with e-mails from similarly-endowed boob robots.
   I put this down to my YouTube channel. Starting that up, I opened another e-mail avenue to the data-skimming automatons out there in the cloud.
   It took a while to notice, as the e-mail is bumped to the rubbish. And my screen doesn't register anything on the right edge - the on-screen notifications are somewhere inside the right border of the TV, where the plastic frame lies.
   Some accounts, useful ones, official ones, are kicked to the rubbish by my e-mail settings. For this reason, I rake through the leaves looking for gold...
   And find the FUCK ME e-mails. I suspect the pop-out pop-ups are in a different resolution now, so a right boob squeezes onto the interface from time to time. Always in lycra. I suspect that's what the boob is made from, too.


Saturday, 1 September 2018

THERE'S NOTHING LEFT TO SAY ABOUT FALEENA HOPKINS: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

No, I'm not late to this party. I went to the other place, and dropped by here as the dawn rose and the clean-up was well underway.
   The dust settled over the dust that had already settled over this one. That's deliberate. I didn't feel like jumping in feet-first and head very far behind the action when the story crashed into the wild. Here's the long and the short of it...

*

I wish more authors would read copyright law and cast a glance over trade mark law when deciding to embark on the stormy journey of turning themselves into authors.
   Do you want to be a writer? Read the copyright law covering your jurisdiction. Check out the law in other countries where your work might wash ashore.
   I've been involved in copyright issues as a matter of routine. Occasionally, I've brushed up against copyright's industrious cousin, trade mark law.
   And I've resolved all the issues without recourse to a single court battle.


*

Before I chased after publishing deals, I made a point of reading copyright law. Scandalous, I know. To think that I'd go and check up on the primary piece of legislation governing the industry I wished to operate in. Yes, BEFORE I sent a manuscript off anywhere.
   What the red wet fuck was I thinking?
   I was thinking...I don't want to be sued over anything, ever. But I definitely don't want to be sued over something that I can easily bring under control - behaviour relating to copyright.
   And that's my behaviour covering my own copyright material as well as my responses to all the other stuff by everyone else and the kitchen sink, too.
   The main copyright law I work under is the 1988 act, amended down the years. But I've looked at the law in other countries and from other time-frames.
   There's nothing in there, or in any of the trade mark acts, letting you smash your stamp down on a generic word like, oh, say, why not choose one at random...the word...
   COCKY.
   This sort of nonsense didn't work for the (far from) Fine brothers when they attempted to stamp a trade mark on (PEOPLE) REACT TO videos, and it didn't do Faleena Hopkins any good when she tried her land-grab on the real estate known as the word COCKY.
   You can't make money from putting my work out as your own. I will Liam Neeson your buttocks. Just take out the reference to daughter in that scene and put the phrase my writing there, instead. Copyright law is there for me.
   But as Robert De Niro insists, there's a flip-side to that coin. I can't charge rent from the entire world and half the moon just by grabbing a trade mark to the word COCKY.

*

If you register a trade mark, don't make a mess of it before you start. The money you spend washes away in the rain of your own tears.
   Not the tears of your lawyers - the legal eagles are paid promptly, after all.
   If you think you've come up with a property that you should be charging everyone rent on, ask yourself this important question: did you bother to read and really attempt to understand the law?
   Even then, professional legal advice is recommended thrice-over.
   Authors should stick to writing stories, and not have endless stories written about their conduct. We all learn that the hard way. Some of those scribblers learn it harder than the rest of us, it seems.
   This purple-faced incident was another of those writerly things boiling away over in the world of the romance books. I list a few romance authors in my group of writer friends, and they rolled their eyes so hard at Faleena's moment of madness that the world almost tremored.
   That tells you everything. And so...
   I don't have anything left to say about Faleena Hopkins and her land-grab over the word COCKY.
   Crank up your search engine and wade into the mire as deep as you dare. Plenty of people are out there in swamp-boats, and they've mapped the hazards in detail.


*

Read copyright law. When required, read it again. Those acts are amended, after all. Not to the extent that we, as writers, get to camp out over words...waiting for flies to run into the webs we've set up. Hell, no.
   Cast a glance over trade mark law, too.
   I've said it before. Avoid litigation. Instead, create. But I should add...avoid grabbing a word for your own evil purposes. The world will mock you for being too...
   Greedy.
   Come on. You didn't think I was going to end with the word cocky...
   ;)


   

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

CONTENT CREATION. YOUTUBE PROGRESS: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

The thing about posting your first YouTube video is that you should post a second one.
   When you post a second one, YouTube sends congratulations on creating a proper channel, doing responsible things, and saving the day. You aren't a one-video wonder.
   That's YouTube progress.
   I went through this before, publishing on Amazon. With my first book published, I closed in on a deadline to put out a second work, and had a deadline beyond that to publish the third one. These deadlines were measured in weeks.
   On YouTube, I had a deadline for my first video, based on a competition. Publish and be damned. I could put out a video more-or-less every week, right?
   These videos are meant to run around ten minutes. Okay, the second one turned into an epic more than double that limit. I'm all for experimentation.
   Learned that from a nutritionist named Frankenstein.



How are things going so far?   
   Chaotically.
   And that's good.



  
This first video was cut down to fit inside fifteen minutes. I spent a week navigating my way through, on and off - and that was with a load of equipment to hand. With the unboxing video out of the way, I turned to gaming equipment...





I tightened the scripting process and made my dice tower video in a day. Boom. I felt it important to tell beginners what a dice tower is and why you might want to use one in boardgaming.
   Why not start with a video on dice before discussing dice towers? Well, m'lud, y' see, it's like this...





How to get into this dicey subject? I knew any talk on dice would end up as a long talk on dice. This video turned into a week of effort down in the lab, and couldn't be scripted, filmed, and edited inside a day.
   The battle was to create a video out of the clean-up from the video before. And I struggled to keep that down to half an hour. Editing the hell out of sound as well as vision, the best I managed was dropping the finished product as close to twenty minutes as I could.




You'd think a ten-minute video on content creation would be a quickie, done in a day. But I had to fix a few bits and pieces with a second run of filming.

   These ten-minute videos are all longer than ten minutes. Raggy? Ruh-oh.
   If I can script, film, and edit in one day, then I always have the option of a second stab at filming extra scenes to emphasise a point or to address pacing issues...
   And I'd like to do that second run on the same day. It isn't always possible to stick to the plan. But it's no great failure to return to a project a day later and see what sort of glorious mess you've almost come up with.
   There'll be more videos. Longer videos. Not just game equipment movies or unboxing sagas. There'll be no more unboxing sagas, though. This, I vow.
   Just as I vowed there'd be no unboxing videos on my YouTube channel...
   That went well. What's the first video on there? Sensitive readers, look away now.
   The inevitable Patreon, and Patreon video, must follow. But I've decided I need a good ten videos out there, trying to be helpful to gaming beginners, before I wave the monetary flag.
   And then we'll run into the technical difficulties of actual gameplay. The plan is to run games internationally, from my Top Secret Volcano Base, without being jammed by the Soviets.
   Did I just say Soviets? Must be thinking of a spy boardgame with a Cold War theme to it. Koff koff.



I am dropping hints about future videos in the mini-movies I'm making now. Where is it all leading? That's obvious.

   The channel will play Dungeons & Dragons with Vin Diesel on the Orient Express and then alight for a game of Istanbul in Istanbul, followed by a chilly game of K2...at the foot of K2. Not climbing that one.
   We'll top it off with a quick trip to Mars for a game of Mission: Red Planet. These goals are all easily attainable. Diesel on the Orient Express.



Though we may have to curb Mr Diesel's dice-rolling techniques., to avoid shattering the crockery...




Attainable goals. Turkish coffee in tiny cups. The game has nothing to do with coffee - it's all about rubies. Unless you play the game with the expansion that's all about coffee...



Mountaineering in a game without doing any real mountaineering. Hell, we can throw in caving without going to any caves. Call it a two-for-one deal...






The mission to Mars I am not sure about...that may mean having to travel with Elon Musk. Always a risky proposition. A good anti-fungal cream should see us all through.





Image of Vin Diesel taken from D&Diesel with Vin Diesel, and used here under the copyright doctrines of Fair Dealing and Fair use for purposes of illustration. Click on Vin Diesel to go to that video.

For my video channel, click here...








Wednesday, 1 August 2018

RISE OF TRIBES UNBOXING: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Alchemical procedures concluded, I posted a video on YouTube. That post saw the start of my YouTube channel, featuring videos on tabletop games: equipment, gameplay, random thoughts, and, yes, an unboxing.



RISE OF TRIBES, by Breaking Games, may be the only game to feature in an unboxing video on the channel. We'll call it a first and a last.
   The channel isn't about producing unboxing videos. It's all about telling stories based around games, whether those are boardgames, card games, or roleplaying games.



Still, you must start somewhere. There's a competition to win loot, and a deadline hovers. If you wait around for the perfect moment, you'll never create content. But if you have the rocket of a deadline up your arse, that tends to focus your concentration.



I'll continue with a few game equipment videos after the unboxing. Soon enough, I'll tackle a gameplay video.
   If all goes loosely according to my non-plans, the first game video will be an international event of a piratical nature with Melissa C. Water. We'll play a game in the face of her Tourette-related issues...


*

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder might be the trickiest thing to deal with, but I will steer Melissa through a few games in which the problem is lessened.
   Her swearing, from the Coprolalia, shouldn't cause us too much difficulty. YouTube videos are routinely demonetised based on changes in the weather and the letter R in the month.
   Or the word DAY in the day of the week.
   You'd think a video highlighting the difficulties of dealing with Coprolalia wouldn't be demonetised thanks to the swearing, but Melissa has experienced flagging for that.



Filters that flag the word breast affect articles on breast cancer. Think before you blink.
   Tourette is called the Swearing Disease, but it's not true - for 90% of the people with that particular neurological condition.
   We are going to swear in the Tourette videos. Melissa belongs to the glorious 10% of people with Tourette who have the sweary aspect to the condition.
   And I'm Scottish. You can't step outside your door without batting swearwords away with a shitty stick, in Old Scotlandia.


*

Will Melissa fuckshitbuggerhellyeahsuckitPluto her way through boardgames? Yes. She may end up ruling the Coprolalia Clan in RISE OF TRIBES. And there's nothing wrong in that.

Here's the full video of Melissa on flagging videos...



For the RISE OF TRIBES unboxing video, click the picture below. This takes you to my YouTube channel, which is named after this blog: REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE. (Though, officially, YouTube forced me to name it after myself in the small print.)






Friday, 27 July 2018

BOARDGAMING WITH TOURETTE: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Melissa C. Water is helping me gradually close in on the target. There'll be piracy on the high seas in low company. And a good time had by all.
   You can lay to that, shipmates.

*

My first YouTube video won't be a gameplay example, though. We're still sailing into port across choppy waters on that score. However, the video introduction is done...
   What to expect, in a video dealing with games? Dice, of course. 


There'll be several piratical games in time, so anticipate the arrival of treasure chests. I decided YouTube videos on tabletop games needed a sense of the theatrical. That's when I opted for the use of many props.
   What else to expect, in videos dealing with games? Cards, of course...


I'll make videos on gaming equipment. Cards. Dice. The table. A much-needed cloth. Daggers. Gunpowder. Small quantities of uranium. The usual stuff.
   There'll be games, too. Shocking, I know...


I determined, quite early, that gloves make great props for introducing games thematically. Piratical gloves go well with tales of larceny upon the seven seas, and so on.
   But, as handy tools, gloves are effing useless when it comes to moving game components around. Luckily, I only bought a few different pairs of gloves for the channel.
   They'll be used for effect here and there. No need to stuff a wardrobe full of them. Practicality outbids theatricality in this game, every single time.


Pictured: a still from the unboxing video I am planning to open my channel with. This is a shot of RISE OF TRIBES, by Breaking Games.
   I had a terrible time great fun lifting components out of the box with my awkward cumbersome begloved fingers wonderful atmospheric gloves. Would rather eat glass than attempt that again. Fun times.


Running a game internationally brings a whole host of problems to the gaming table. Fiddling around with counters on the end of gloved hands...isn't going to be one of those problems.
   I will face Tourette-based issues with Melissa C. Water, joining the game all the way from French Canada. We might be interrupted by full-on body tics. Convulsions. They appear epileptic in nature.
   We won't feature in the games as visual players ourselves. The emphasis is on telling a story and capturing game board imagery. The privacy issue, therefore, doesn't come up.
   I wouldn't be publishing footage of Melissa in convulsions anyway. What kind of Sick Space Muppet do you take me for? That leads to another point, though. How much of the audio do we use in the videos?


In my dealings with Melissa (editing her Kindle book), I found that she remained relatively calm when she latched onto a subject of interest to her. Tourette-based behaviour rose in frequency the more she talked about Tourette itself.
   Discussing audio tics, generated by Coprolalia, draws attention to the audio tics and increases the frequency of those sounds.
   I feel we face a vicious downward spiral and a virtuous upward spiral when we speak privately, depending entirely on the topics covered.
   It's my hope that gameplay will be of benefit to Melissa. We'll see. The channel is here to tell stories based around games. Winning and losing are of far less importance. The old adage applies.
   Did you have fun? Then you won.
   As far as audio is concerned, the videos are all going to be edited anyway. This is a real problem with gameplay videos online - lack of editing.
   I'm not going to name names here, or point fingers, and the people involved weren't famous YouTubers or big names in the boardgame side of things anyway.
   But I watched this video waiting for a game to start, and the people concerned were more interested in consuming meals. If I ever make game videos, I vowed, then I am not going to start game set-up with an introductory preamble that involves baking an effing cake.
   (Veering off, I must add this. There's a team out there on YouTube called Sugar High Score. If anyone could do a fascinating gameplay video about baking a cake, they'd take the biscuit.)
   My Bad Pun Detector is broken. Where was I?
   Yes, back to what I was saying about dusty desert-blown game videos. I was stuck with the charge of the pizza brigade. Well, I think it was pizza. Frankly, I'd lost the will to care by that point.
   Edit your nineteen-hour videos, folks.
   I'll do my best to edit out the faffing about. That means the Tourette-based videos face the same treatment. We might be forced to edit the worst tics out. But I might just as easily be forced to edit away the worst fumblings over intransigent game counters. Note to self: gloves are problematic.
   Luckily, Melissa is keen to see where this takes us, and she's game. You kinda have to be game, to game.
   Also, Melissa has a cool piratical gaming bonus...


Melissa C. Water's photos appear by kind permission.




Tuesday, 24 July 2018

BOARDGAMES AND OTHER PLANS: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

I entered a competition.
   And now you know that I had other plans.


*

For a million years I've been planning more content. This involves writing. But the content is visual. Yes, I'm making videos. And yes, I'm using a lot of silly voices in populating those videos with characters.
   I decided I could do something vague in the area of boardgames. Boardgaming is about telling stories by hurling plastic cubes across cardboard maps...


Or hunting Dracula across Europe...

  
 Trying to track the Whitechapel murderer to his lair...
   Assisting Sherlock Holmes in curious investigations...


 Monopoly it ain't.
   Setting up a small film studio, I went about the daunting task of assembling a system, a machine, for churning out videos about games. Yes, I had to buy in a load of games of all shapes and sizes. In all sorts of price-brackets.

  

Occasionally, I backed a KICKSTARTER. One game arrived. And with it, thanks to the makers, came a chance to win a prize if I did an unboxing video.
   This marketing move put me under the gun. I had a time-limit, and brought my video plans forward.

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What will this boardgame channel, on the YouTube, bring to the audience? Silly voices, of course.
   I have no interest in acting. However, down the years people kept telling me I should be one of those actors, dahling. Not having any interest in that area, I stuck to writing stories.


In writing stories, I read my work aloud in the different accents of the characters passing through semi-imaginary worlds.
   Now I plan to inflict those silly voices on a bewildered public. But there's more to this than hijinks and low comedy.

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One offshoot of boardgaming, with its own playlist on the YouTube channel, will be BOARDGAMING WITH TOURETTE. I'll host games internationally, with Melissa C. Water in Canada.



We'll explore the idea of running games with someone who faces more than a few difficulties in getting through play. This includes Tourette tics, Coprolalia, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
   Just typing COPROLALIA TOURETTE into the search engine throws one of Melissa's videos at me. For the purposes of this blog, I searched for BOARDGAMING TOURETTE.
   I discovered one game on the boardgaming database, BGG, about shouting a word as you turn a card over. No videos found. Smjj from Sweden doesn't like it. Thanks, boardgame database. Hardly inspirational stuff. Leaving the database for the wider world web, I tried again.
   BOARDGAMING WITH TOURETTE threw the same vague card game at me. Surely we can do better than this. There are many hurdles to blast through. Blasting through them, we'll find that we can do better than this.
   As with everything else, these plans take a million years and a million more. But I am under the gun, and must away to unbox a game in front of several cameras.

Pictured above: Pandemic Legacy, with 12 mm dice replacing stickers. Fury of Dracula, 3rd edition, receiving an undead helping hand. Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective: Whitechapel/West End adventures.
   Deep Sea Adventure with a playmat replacing the submarine token. Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. A cluster of ships spilling across the board of Black Fleet.
   Melissa C. Water appears by kind permission.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

REVISITING FICTION WHEN A SERIES IS DEAD AND GONE: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

That series was over.
   And I waved it fare-thee-well in the long-ago of back-in-the-day. Then it occurred to me that I should make sure the series was dead. It wasn't.
   Walter Mosley's detective series featuring Easy Rawlins started its publication history with Devil in a Blue Dress. If you haven't read any of the books, don't start with that one.
   Begin with Gone Fishin', which charts the misadventures of Easy and his friend Mouse in the long-ago of back-in-the-day.
   I am revisiting the series and starting with the fishing expedition.

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And I'll have to buy more books. (No more books. The shelves can't take them. But perhaps the space above the bookshelves can be pressed into service. Again.)
   Mosley declared a finish to the series a little over a decade ago in the far-off planetoid that was 2007.
   And I thought that was the end of the run. Years flew by, and Mosley gave us another trilogy since the demise of his series.
   Instead of picking up from the revival, I thought I might as well trudge back to the very start and read the whole show.
   So I have good reason to revisit fiction when a series is dead and gone. It's not dead yet.

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I read books more than once: occupational requirement of being a scribbler. Which book have I read the most? I don't know. But I'll hazard a guess.
   If a series is done historically - the author died in 1900, say - then I could work my way through a series once.
   But if the author still has a pulse and the urge to pen a tale, then I'll do a fair bit of revisiting.
   I'll read the first book. Then I'll discover a sequel. And read the first book again.
   If the third book takes an age to materialise, I'll read the first two again again before carrying on with the business of absorbing tales.
   Non-fiction books bear returning to, just to brush up on a subject or to compare alongside a new book on that subject.
   I must invoke the Jules Verne Rule. When reading Verne, chances are you are reading the most atrocious "translations" of Verne. Once I discovered a top translator in the name of Butcher, I had to revisit Verne. Though...
   You can't revisit decent translations of Verne if you've read slop before. I had to revisit Verne for the first time ever. (Let's put that on the movie poster.)
   The same applies to books you thought you'd read. You read them again for the first time ever.
   I haven't had to revisit a book with the last page ripped out. Not yet.
   Some books are interrupted. I can pick those up again from where I left off, even if an indecent amount of time passed in the great meanwhile. The choice is to continue from the very next word or to revisit the start of the book. And an easy choice it is. The longer the great meanwhile, the more likely it is I'll start afresh.

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Perhaps a series is taken over by living hands, after the intellectual property is plucked from the cold dead digits of the creator. Is reading the new stuff in a series really revisiting the work?
   The new writer, presumably, revisited the work in order to build on the foundations of what came before. But there is no legal guarantee of this. Nor should there be.

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Revisiting Easy Rawlins set me thinking about revisiting all sorts of books and in all kinds of ways. Proper revisits. Improper revisits. Clandestine trips. Detours. Muddy ground leading to muddier waters.
   That's a lot of contemplation. But there lies an occupational hazard, lurking on the stacks: books set you to thinking. And that's as it should be.
   If I'm not around for an age, I've gone fishin'. Not literally: literaturely.