Archives for March 2008

Earliest recorded sounds!

These sounds are truly amazing. The recording on a phonautograph of a woman singing, made in 1860, is actually recognizable as a human voice. The other sounds listed at the site are not as accessible, but fascinating nonetheless for their extreme age. They remind me of EVPs.

The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate

 A very entertaining and thought-provoking story from September 2007 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, by Ted Chiang.

Last Dresden character

Here's another one Scott came up with.

Name: Henry Watson
Henry “If-you-say-‘elementary, my dear'-will-kick-your-face-in” Watson
mid 40s, always impeccably dressed (some would say overly so), even in the August heat of Birmingham in a suit and tie never seems to sweat, of mixed ancestry that caused him alot of grief early in his career, Grandfather was a Haitian Hogun who seemingly had a stroke or other mental and physical break down before Henry was born but would talk to Henry, and only Henry, when he was young. his dad is black (so he would be in the line of succession for being a Hogun) and his mama is white. but his dad was like a black lawyer during the Civil Rights Movement who married a white activist. His dad turned his back on the old ways but when his father took ill, he got him and moved him in with him in B'ham
comes across as a no nonsense by the books kinda guy, but in reality knows enough to let some things slide and to ignore the rules when necessary

Aspects: Strictly by-the-book (at least around other cops)
“You're all right, kid, you can stay–just don't mess up the evidence”
Protect the public, no matter what it takes

More Dresden

Here's Scott's character, at least partially, for the Dresden Files RPG. You can tell we both got hung up on the “Aspects” section.


Name: Michael “Mike” Ransom
High Concept: Anti-necromancer
Personal Struggle: his violent streak and his uncertainty about his place in the world – he always pictured what his life as a minister was going to be like and now it’s all different and the world is a more dangerous place than he thought
Where Did You Come From? Mike was born with the caul over his face – his grandmother (who had been the daughter of a well digger who used a willow rod to find water) said he was a warlock but no one in the family believed that. When she told him that as a child, it upset him.
What Shapes You? His main magicy-ness is mild flashes of premonition and possibly a magical ‘sight' that causes things that are magical to stand out to him like they are a different cell in a cartoon. But it’s very passive, not at all something he has tried to develop until recently and he considers it a spiritual gift: prophecy and discernment. He still feels that he is called by God, and that specifically it’s to help people who have been harmed by the dark things of the world. He doesn’t use a lot of religious language around most people, 'cause he knows it puts them off and he is not like Michael Carpenter, but that’s how he thinks of all of it, as part of a calling. Never really wild or anything, but very independent and very strong willed. Got into lots of fights when he was younger, considers himself to have a violent streak. i think his sense of anger and righteousness gets the better of him. I suspect he did and has had to do things that were a lot more violent in his combat against the dead and dark in B'ham than he is comfortable with.
What’s Your First Novel?
Mike Ransom, a young seminary graduate and new pastor of the Pea Vine Baptist Church, discovers that his congregation attends more than one kind of service in a week and he might just need more than prayer to put an end to it.

ArtRage and Dresden

Thanks to a post from 

, I found out about ArtRage, a wonderful painting program. I've been using it on the Iron Man costume design I'm working on for the Project Rooftop contest. The chalk tool is finally allowing me to get a texture/look I want for his virtual armor. I'll post here when I get it done to my satisfaction.

I'm very excited to be getting character writeups from the Birmingham alpha playtest of the Dresden Files RPG from

. S and I did some sample characters for the Magic City when we first found out about the game. This is as far as I got with mine:

Diana Nicolaides

Name: Diana Alcina Nicolaides

High Concept: urban archaeologist

Personal Struggle:

Where Did You Come From? Diana grew up in a Greek Orthodox home, the middle of five children. Her parents owned a Greek restaurant in downtown Birmingham. After school she would wander the block or so around the restaurant, developing a love of old buildings. She made up elaborate stories about the former inhabitants with which she regaled her younger brother and sister.

What Shapes You? When Diana was 6 and her oldest brother Daniel was 10, they were exploring an old abandoned building not far from their parents’ restaurant. Daniel, a mischievous boy, teased and tormented her on a regular basis, and decided to hide from her. She was getting frantic to find him and entered the remains of a one-room apartment. Diana called to him and, just as she stepped near what seemed to be a closet door, a feeling of terror washed over her. The closet door opened and a pale man covered in blood, holding a long knife stepped out toward her. She screamed, shoved the man back into the closet with all her strength, pushed a chair in front of it, and ran. Only after she huddled in her own bedroom did she calm down enough to realize that the man had been translucent—she could see her brother’s laughing face through him. When her brother didn’t come home for supper, Diana told her parents, leaving out the image she saw. Her father left to find him, without success. He found the chair near the closet door, but Daniel was nowhere to be found. The police were called in, but there was no trace of the boy.

When Diana went to Chicago University to study urban archaeology and architecture, she became more skeptical about the mystical and spiritual teachings of the church.