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The Illuminated Name of the Rose is TRON 2.0

Evening! Been a good couple of weeks since the last newspost - you know, this is beginning to sound like "It has been two weeks since my last confession." I think I ought to just step up the pace or shut up. I've also noticed that there's been a fair bit of whinging in my news posts lately. I think there's a rant in there somewhere; it just needs some teasing out.

Anyway. One of the reasons, or excuses, why there haven't been any news posts for the last couple of weeks is the visit of Melissa Resch, a talented artist and poet whom Vickie met up with on the about.com poetry boards. I think I mentioned in the last news post that Melissa is a U.S. native (currently based out of Provincetown, in Massachusets) who was in Perth for four months to expand her palate. She wanted to see Sydney before she went back to the States, so Vickie offered to put her up here for the week. I didn't really know Melissa before she arrived; we only spoken once or twice a couple of weeks before she was due to leave Perth.

So after only a week of shared time, I can safely say Melissa is one of those quality people whom we feel lucky to be able to call friends. She's a very pleasant, easy-going, cheery person, and frankly we wouldn't have minded having her around for the one week of her time that we did have. With any luck, she may be back in Australia on a more permanent basis. I won't say any more for fear of hexing things for her, though.

Speaking of overseas travel, we're going to see if we can get to the UK in November. I'd been planning it for August of next year, but without going into detail, let's just say current circumstances have us thinking that the sooner we paid a visit to my family over there, the better. Vickie reminded me that I have some money in a savings account over there that could cover the air-fares. Dad's in the UK for a couple of weeks right now, and is helping me to get my hands on the money. In the meantime, we're thinking of dragging Mum out of the house at some point to go see a movie; you know, help keep her occupied while Dad's away.

Well, after all my bitching about the money situation, things are still a little tight at the mo - at least in part because I splurged on the long-awaited Tron 2.0. By God, it's fun. It's pretty much everything I've been waiting for; it really pulls out all the stops to look, sound and feel like the Electronic World presented in Tron, with 20 years of advancement on top of it. If there are any deficiencies in my opinion, it's that the story could have been meatier (I would have liked more from the ending instead of the almost pilot-episode-style "there are problems still yet to solve" wind-up that was presented). With any luck, though, there'll be more on its way; Richard Taylor, the head of visual effects on Tron, has been deeply involved with the computer game, and has been recorded as saying that Disney are watching Tron 2.0's sales very closely, with an eye toward green-lighting a new Tron feature if it does well enough. My fingers, I assure you, are crossed - and although it meant laying out $90 on a piece of software, I feel a little glad that I've somehow "done my part" in making a new Tron movie happen. (Heh! "Doing my part" to get a movie made - I am starting to sound like a fan. I've had enough of that sort of fanaticism from the Battlestar Galactica boards; I'd better not start at it myself.)

Hmm? Oh, yes, very much. Well worth the $90. Please buy it yourself; I need to hook up for some Internet-based Disc Arena with someone whose ping is less than 200.

On the general gaming front, we had a nice gaming evening on Saturday night. Dan, Mandi and Gav came over. Dan brought the Steve Jackson Games card game Illuminati over, and we spent at least three hours learning and playing a single game. Dan won, but (to me, at least) it didn't feel like an easy victory. He won at right around the time we needed to wind up and call it a night anyway, but I still had an intense, solid game.

Maybe next time, though, we need to play something requiring less tactical and strategic planning. I'm thinking along the lines of a "beer-n-pretzels" game that doesn't force players to concentrate on rules and a winning strategy in order to get the most out of it. The sort of game where you can just sit around, relax and be social in between - and during - turns, but still feel that you've had "a good game" (actually, games plural - we only had one long game of Illuminati, and some more variety would have been nice).

On reflection, I notice that you don't get that sort of gameplay out of RPGs, or a lot of the other games that gamers like (i.e. Illuminati, Hacker and Chez Geek), don't really allow. There's another rant in there, I think, so I'll make a note in the Rant File and leave this topic here for the moment. It ain't news. But still, let's be fair: I was all for Illuminati when Dan suggested it, and had played it once or twice before, so it's not like I had no idea what I was getting into.

General gaming again: Gav and Mandi stayed overnight (no sniggering from the back, thank you) and after Mandi's mum picked her up and I dropped Vickie in at work (she had a twelve-hour shift yesterday), Gav and I played two games of Crimson Skies. He's bought himself the Broadway Bombers squadron, and in both games he did a very good job of making mincemeat out of me. It was a good return from the last two matches, where I managed to down his Red Skull Legion quite respectably. I think I need to do some homework on his planes; find out what their strengths ands weaknesses are. In the meantime, we also bounced some ideas around for a Star Wars campaign; he's thinking of something along the lines of the Jedi Academy computer game he's playing right now.

In a similar vein, I'm asking some friends to help me dig myself out of this ideas-funk I've dug myself into over the Heavy Gear campaign. With any luck, I'll be able to consistently bounce ideas off this "brains trust" and put some quality adventures together.

Marcus has set me up some web space on his hosting servers for me. I've uploaded Movable Type, but there are still a few things Marcus and I need to sort out before it works properly.

Something fun happened last Sunday - my PC's power supply unit went Boom. No, Hayama, it wasn't like the last time; I didn't flip the little red switch on the back to the lower voltage. Anyway, I took it into EYO Technologies after we dropped Melissa at the airport on Monday; as it was under warranty, I received a credit that I used on a more powerful unit. I also bought a stick of RAM for Mum and Dad's PC (the installation fee from which covered the cost of upgrading the PSU).

Vickie's Bead Business is taking off; she's bought some good stock though eBay and the bead store in Chatswood, which she's used to make some very funky designs. Now we have to organise the means of selling them. We've still got loan of Gav's camera and the experimentation I'm doing with Marcus' web space will go toward putting a site together that Vickie can post the photos on.

I've discovered a classic piece of eighties Cyberpunk: Max Headroom. I've known of Max for ages, but had never actually seen the show; the Video Ezy down the road had the first two episodes on tape, so I rented them out. Funny stuff, and perhaps like Tron, a little ahead of its time (the show only did twelve episodes before being canned). All you Cyberpunk 2020 RPGers out there should get it, if you can; it's a pretty good template for a Media-based campaign. Unfortunately, despite being re-run on the TechTV cable channel in the states recently, there appear to be no plans to re-release Max on VHS or DVD.

And finally, tonight: Vickie managed to snag a VHS of The Name of the Rose from eBay. It's very good stuff! Great acting from everyone involved, especially the leads (Sean Connery, Christian Slater and F. Murray Abraham) and a very intense story. If Boots hasn't seen it, I think we'll have to sit him down to watch it: it's the sort of gorgeously-shot, densely-plotted film he'll enjoy.

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