Weird History: Kowloon Walled City

Weird History: Kowloon Walled City

<!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> After seeing a lifetime’s worth of Hong Kong films, I decided I never wanted to live there; when I thought about it, even the idea of a visit made me shudder. Part of it was the certainty that I would be caught in the middle of a cop/criminal gun battle on a bus or in the street or at a bar or a convenience store. The other part is that Hong Kong is really, really crowded. It’s an island, after all, one that’s packed to the brim with people. People who sometimes even live in cages because there isn’t room for them all (and they’re poor). And I just don’t like crowds. Or cities. Or people, for that matter. So Kowloon Walled City would have been my worst nightmare. <!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> The rundown: Kowloon Walled City (hereafter known as KWC) was originally a Chinese fort, but in the late 1800’s is became a sort of enclave and people just moved in. After World War II the population increased (basically, a bunch of squatters moved in and the ruling British government gave up trying to throw them out), and by 1987 there were 33,000 people living in this 6.5 acre area. Got that? Thirty-three thousand people. My father-in-law owns a couple hundred acres, and I can’t imagine fitting 33,000 people in that space, let alone a measly 6 ½ acres. As usually happens when there are too many people and not enough space, KWC expanded up. <!– P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } –> The government didn’t want much...

Barfing for Great Justice!

A few weeks ago I posted the conversation I had with Vincent Baker. In that conversation he talked about how he believed that a game master was in alignment or out of alignment with a game, and that the rules in Apocalypse World helped put a Gamemaster in alignment. I think we both agreed that perhaps more could be done to put players in alignment. Here’s the first three statements from Apocalypse World, page XX. Barf forth apocalyptica Address yourself to the characters, not the players. Make your move, but misdirect. Etc. These are somewhat poetic, but not necessarily the standards to fly as a flag for general purpose use. Vincent breaks them down in the book, and the flowery nature will help to recall them in play, but it doesn’t suit for general purpose. Vincent makes clear that general purpose is not his goal. I’m not sure we can make a perfect general purpose set of instructions, but I do think these “alignment rules,”or “Barfers,” are an example that can be looked at broadly and set to other games. For instance Vincent’s barfing, plus Episode 16 of the D&D podcast have lead me to what I think is alignment with 4 ed Dungeons and Dragons. Let’s play with that and see what trying to make our own “Barfer” nets us. Make the Player Character’s heroes, by hitting the players where they aren’t looking. D&D is about creative combats. It’s exception based design leaves lots of room for you to introduce new rules. Your players should have to be constantly adapting to new tactics. Whether you introduce these problems through...

MW Achieved!

So, remember that Tezuka manga I love, called MW? And how they made a live-action movie? Well, I just purchased it on DVD.  Now I shall wait on pins and needles until it arrives in the mail and I shall watch and review it as soon as I get it. Maybe not as soon as I get it, because I will probably have to wait until Gohan is asleep. I am a pretty liberal mommy but I don’t know if he should be exposed to things like disturbing violence and guys making out. And of God, how I hope there are guys making...

Off-Topic: Superman is Expensive

The first appearance of Superman (Action Comics #1, 1938) recently sold for ONE MILLION DOLLARS BWHAHAHAHAHAHA! Damn! As cool as it might be to own the very first Superman comic, in excellent shape, what the Hell do you do with it? Frame it on the wall? Stick it in a safe? I am not a collector; I’ve never really understood the concept of spending money on stuff so you can pile it on a shelf. If I’m going to spend ONE MILLION DOLLARS on something, I better be able to live in it or maybe travel under the sea in...

Look at Me! Look at Me!

This is kind of cool, a subscription story service that sends you a story in your e-mail once a week. Oh yeah, this week’s story is mine! ^_^ It’s my retelling of “Yuki-onna”, a Japanese folktale related in Lafcadio Hearn’s collection Kwaidan. Short-Story.Me! (it really is cool, the stories are short enough to read quickly in one sitting. Quality varies (the horror ones aren’t so great usually) but they are always...
Off-Topic: Get Out of My Head, Jeff Bridges!

Off-Topic: Get Out of My Head, Jeff Bridges!

So a couple weeks ago, I dreamed I was married to Jeff Bridges. Not Tron Jeff Bridges, The Big Lebowski Jeff Bridges. The Men Who Stare at Goats Jeff Bridges, Scruffy Old Jeff Bridges.  Why the Hell would I dream of Jeff Bridges? True, he’s been a part of my life since I was a toddler (having voiced Prince Lir in The Best Movie Ever Made, The Last Unicorn), but I don’t particularly care about him either eay, except he’s made some good movies. In the dream we had a daughter named Sorres. Like the last name Torres, but with an S. Don’t ask me where that came from. Then, last night, I dreamed we had a house and there was a tornado and Jeff Bridges happened to be passing our house in a black SUV so he pulled over and came in to take shelter in our basement with us.  He was with his wife and their five little kids (except he only has three kids and they are grown-up, I looked it up). I’m kind of curious to see what my next Jeff Bridges dream will...