Crawl! fanzine, pre-order now!

Straycouches Press’s first zine is now available for pre-order. This is a zine dedicated to the DCC RPG, and it’s what I’ll refer to as a “D&D” zine.

The next zine, which isn’t a D&D zine, will be announced today or tomorrow. It’s a top secret production, totally un-authorized, and you’ll love it. Well, someone might not… hehe. It’ll be ready to ship ASAP.

Happy Birthday Borfo!

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STRAYCOUCHES PRESS

I’ve decided to create an imprint to publish all my crap. It’ll be STRAYCOUCHES PRESS. Yes, it’s awkward to say, stranger to spell, but I’ve been using straycouches as my domain for a while, and it feels right to me. I’ll be using the same website, www.straycouches.com, as the website as well.

It’s hard to believe that I’ll be using using the skills that I learned at school for something productive. I have no plans on getting rich doing this, but I want to publish books, zines and other printed arts outside of the boring internet. I have several books lined up. The first will be outside of the Straycouches Press Imprint for a while, but it is by all means a Straycouches publication. It’s called Crawl! Fanzine. It’s a zine dedicated to the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. Next up is top secret. It will likely not be authorized by its actual contributers, but I figure that it should be shared, and that’s my goal and reasoning for publishing it. I expect trouble. 

I also plan to publish some books on security culture and online security. Online security? Ironic, I know, but if it’s analog, it’s harder to be censored.

These first publications will be zines. Analog, laser printed, hand-folded & stapled zines. The analog nature of zines is what I’m interested in doing. Later on I’ll publish actual books. Which isn’t much different than printing zines, only more expensive. Costs are a huge factor considering I’m broke. I’ll also consider publishing ebooks. Likely in the epub format first, possibly later in mobi/kindle and pdf. But I’m not too interested in those formats, yet. (Also ironically, all the books will created as PDF for print. I just don’t plan to release them as suck.)

All the software I will be using will be open-source, or availably freely. I’ll be using Scribus for desktop publishing, Inkscape for logos and designs, and gimp and Paint.NET for raster graphics. Paint.NET, although not OpenSource, is freely available for Windows and does 99% of the image modifications I need quickly and easily. But Inkscape & Scribus is where all the real work is done.

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The Hunger Games, review

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m impressed. This was my first young adult fiction title. Decent writing style, excellent action scenes and a well paced plot. I really enjoyed this book and poured through it in 2 days. Ive never seen so many people reading the same book at one time, but I was probably one of many impressed by the movie trailers. I know I’m not the only one who wants to read the book before seeing the film. Now I’m really anxious about the film and really nervous about some of the casting choices. Like Lenny Kravitz as Cinna? Ugh, not sure about that one. His pep speech during the teaser trailer made me cringe. But this should be about the book, which is excellent, and not the trailers for the films, which are definitely intriguing.

UPDATE1: There were some really intense moments for what is supposedly a YA novel. The violence will stun you and the depressing moments will make your heart ache. The book is told through the eyes of the main character, Katniss Everdeen, and it does a pretty good job making you feel her pain, sadness and anxieties. While driving you through a whole range of emotions, the book also makes you think. The only telling feature, that reminds you that you’re reading a YA book, is the 6th grade vocabulary and the lack of ‘dirty words’ or sex. The violence is there in force as it must also be in the film, definitely rated PG-13. “Watching” children kill each other for fun is sick, but not what the book is about. The book is really a commentary on how disgusting the world is getting, or can get when powers that be go unchecked. There are subversive undertones in the book that the shallow may miss if they fixate on the killing. This book focuses on this sickness, children killing children for sport, while touching on the problems of the world such as world hunger and general cruelty, like the death sentence for stealing in a world where the few have abundance and the rest have little, sound familiar?

It’s a good book that makes you think. The fact that this is marketed to kids is impressive, and if these kids get the overall message, it gives me hope. If it inspires more kids to read, awesome. But if it manages to get some of these kids to question “The Capitol”, even better. The mocking-jay has potential to be the next generation’s Guy Fawkes mask.

UPDATE2: This book is also about food. It’s aptly titled, because it goes through the effects of hunger and touches upon the dangers of eating too much when you haven’t had much to eat for a long period of time. The way Katniss engorges herself before the games, her almost silly-but cute-focus on Lamb stew and the struggles that the poor have just to eat, while those in the Capitol can press a button and have anything they desire within seconds. Reading this book makes you hungry. It’s probably intentional, and almost cheesy. But it works. I’m getting hungry now.

View all my reviews

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This interruption is brought to you by #SOPA & #PIPA #STRIKETOOLS #J18 #SOPABlackout

On-strike1

My sites will be BLACKED OUT tomorrow in solidarity with the ANTI-SOPA & ANTI-PIPA actions that will be happening all over the Internet tomorrow.

I hear Google (and Youtube) will be doing something in solidarity. I doubt they'll black-out their site, but whatever they do will probably reach more people than before. So there is hope. I don't have much hope for Twitter though, they're notorious for ignoring hash-tags that don't deal with some pop celebrity or some stupid commercial venture. Burger King is in the TOP TEN?

I'm curious about how many people in the US don't know what this SOPA/PIPA business is all about. Well if this campaign does what it plans to do, congress will be getting a lot of calls from angry consumers. 

Is this the first real internet strike? This should be interesting.

Join in the fun! Here's some links to get you started:

Information and detailed analysis on SOPA & PIPA, a must read to understand the bills and know why they're BAD:

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Heads of State: 9 games about tyrants on th REVS’ SHOW, TONITE @ 6 on http://www.killradio.org/

Please join us HTTP://WWW.KILLRADIO.ORG for the REV’S SHOW. Our special guest is the creator of Heads of State, nine games about dictators.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2088966277/heads-of-state-nine-short-games-about-tyrants

He’s a super cool guy, a fellow gamer, cyclist and advocate for green city living. If you can, make a pledge and support the Kickstarter!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2088966277/heads-of-state-nine-short-games-about-tyrants

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Jury Independance

I totally understand that in order for our justice system to work, there has to be a jury of impartial community peers. While most people will find any excuse to get out of jury duty, I actually have been anxiously waiting for my time to come around. The last time I had to report, I was put on the bench immediately. I got drilled by the judge about my feelings towards cops; or as I like to call them, pigs. Also came out my libertarian feelings about the prosecution of drugs use. Instead of being kicked off the jury, they waited until the next Monday to give me the boot. Back then I would have appreciated it if they let me off the Friday after my questions. 

About a year ago I was laughing, along with a zillion others, about a book called Go The Fuck To Sleep. A book written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés. What usually happens to me is I find myself obsessing over little details. Which lead me to the artist and the other books he has done. The one that really caught my eye was called Jury Independance Illustrated. It blew my mind. It taught me about a little known right called Jury Nullification. Basically if you're the jury of a court case and you believe or feel that the law in violation is unjust, you are well within your rights to reject that law, and declare the defendant, "NOT GUILTY". Armed with this knowledge I found myself itching to be on a jury and exercising this right.

Last week I got a jury summons. I actually didn't recieve the original notice, but instead got a nasty-gram from the court–threatening to fine me $1200. What? No way. I called in, and told them I could report after Thanksgiving. So I did. Today I went through the whole process and orientation, and waited to get assigned. And so I did. I got the nicest bailiff and the sweetest Judge, totally different than the Lich-judge I got the last time that drilled me about my past. I was totally hoping to get a Drug related case, but nervous about exercising my rights. I had thoughts of arguing with fellow jurors, and the possibility of caving in to pressure. While waiting to get questioned it was obvious what kind of world we live in. If a jury sample is a general example of the pupulation at large, we're fucked. I was the only juror to ever get arrested. I was one of three or four of around 30 that didn't support drug laws (and inherently the war on the drugs.) I was probably the only one with a general distrust of cops. The questions came up, and I answered them honestly. But this time the judge didn't make me feel like a criminal. He was a totally sweet old judge.

I was Jury #16. When #7 was excused by the defence, I was next in line to fill that seat. I got up to take that seat which was literally 5 steps away. Before I even sat down I was excused by the Prosecution. No lie. Everyone laughed. 

It seems unfair, honestly. It's supposed to be a jury of peers, not a hand-picked crowd of potentially safe bets. It's totally true that if I was selected and if the defendant didn't commit any violent crimes, I would have probably dead-locked the jury. 

I recommend everyone read Jury Independance, and other Ricardo Cortés books

It's good shit.

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