atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#294: Random Bits

Today I've been thinking about what sort of little fictional project I could post here after Singularity is done. Depending on how big the next few chapters are I could wrap it up pretty quickly. (Not at the rate I'm going, though.)

I have another idea for a story I am willing to post here. It's got a working title of Methuselah and it's about a guy who ends up being tens of thousands of years old due to retroactive meddling on the part of the collective unconscious.

Singularity and Methuselah are kind of on the fringe for me. I normally prefer hard SF; although I can defend the events of Singularity by quoting Arthur C. Clarke (the "indistinguishable from magic" one) that's kind of a cop-out. Methuselah is even worse, if it turns out the way I'm thinking it'll turn out.

It also suffers from a major defect: there's no good place to end the story. What I may do is start writing it in hopes that an ending will occur to me, or just "pop up"...but I don't like to start writing a story without a general idea of where it's going to end up.

All my plot notes for Singularity will fit on a single page, but it's enough. The plot notes for Methuselah won't even take that much room.

The main thrust of Methuselah will be the prevention of the extinction of humanity, some 8,000 years in the future; but it's going to take some thought to make it work.

* * *

The weather today has been cold and windy. Very windy. It has been snowing in spurts, sometimes fairly heavily; but then it stops and the sun comes out for a bit before we get more snow. Sometimes it looks like a blizzard; others it looks like a sunny day.

Stupid Chicago weather.

Anyway, this past week Commonwealth Edison had its stooges out cutting down tree branches that might, one day, fall and strike a power line.

CE has been doing this for years. They all but killed a tree we had near the end of our driveway with excessive pruning. Now they come by every few years and hack off a few more branches from our other trees. They don't do a very pretty job of it, either.

So what happened early this afternoon, while I was idly surfing the internet? The lights went out, came on, went out, and FZZZZZZZZSSHHH I heard the sound of a high-amp 60-cycle AC circuit opening abruptly.


...or perhaps it was some bonehead who didn't slow down when a snow squall hit and ran into a pole. Who knows? But with the way the wind is blowing today I would bet on a downed branch. Heck, there have been times when the wind has blown so hard here that the aerodynamic drag on the power line ended up pulling transformers off the poles. That always makes for a pretty light show: all white and green light reflecting off the clouds as the thing burns. (Can't use PCBs in transformers, oh no! That's bad for the environment! We must use mineral oil, so that when a transformer goes down it burns. *sigh*)

I wonder if it was the same place the line went down last summer.

* * *

I spent a little while looking over my Spellfire cards.

In response to Magic: The Gathering by Wizards of the Coast, TSR released Spellfire, its own collectable card game (CCG) based on the D&D franchise.

I enjoyed Spellfire (SF) a lot more than I enjoyed Magic: The Gathering (MTG). SF's rules made more sense to me. MTG was less rigid but more complex; and its status as the first CCG meant it was already mature by the time I was getting into SF--it was hard to find players at my level of expertise. SF was easier in that regard.

I haven't played SF for quite some time now. I don't remember the last time I played it; perhaps late 2003.

When Wizards of the Coast (WotC) bought TSR, just about the first thing they did was eliminate SF from the universe through sheer force of will. And at the time I thought about that mystical TSR warehouse, wherever it was, that contained all sorts of collectable goodies.

TSR never threw anything out, never destroyed unsellable product--they just warehoused all of it. This was one reason they had trouble making profits; merchandise on-hand is a drag on the ledger.

So I envisioned that there were boxes of the first edition of Deities and Demigods, the one with the Melnibonéan gods from Moorcock, Saberhagen's characters, Lovecraft's...things...and so on, the one that got TSR sued. A pristine copy of that book is worth a small fortune these days.

I envisioned pallets of SF cards; Brenda Starr board games; cases of "Dragon Dice", the collectable dice game TSR had marketed for a while; miniatures; AD&D books and modules by the ton, including all the Spelljammer supplements.... It was kind of like the Lost City of Gold, only it was the Lost Trove of Gamer Geekdom.

WotC could have paid the entire amount of the purchase price for TSR if they'd been willing to do a little "back door dealing" on some of that stuff. Collectors would have mortgaged their souls for some of that stuff.

I would have driven to Geneva to score SF cards (particularly booster packs) at clearance prices. I never did finish my collection of any of the sets, other than the Ravenloft set. I got several boxes of the Ravenloft boosters at a comic store sale for something like $10 per box; I've still got an approximate assload of unopened Ravenloft boosters.

The thing that really gripes my wagger about the whole thing is that TSR was all set to release a Spelljammer set of boosters, and they canceled it. After, as I recall, the cards had been printed. So they, too, were in that warehouse....

And I'm pretty sure WotC shoveled all the SF cards into the Abyss. *sigh*

I don't blame WotC for removing from market a product which competed with their star product, particularly one which they had fairly and legally bought, and which really wasn't making all that much money anyway. I don't blame them, but I still don't like it.

* * *

Gateway says that my computer is "in production". If they ship it on Monday that'll be a full week ahead of schedule.

I'm just a little excited to be getting my first new computer in six years. I've only checked it two or three times per day....

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