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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in jack_darke's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, February 4th, 2010
5:21 pm
Praise the Gods and other such utterances...
Some time ago, something happened for which we all should be grateful for and which I just remembered:

Happy Birthday, lurkerwithout!

Best wishes from over the pond, mate.


Current Mood: cheerful
Sunday, December 13th, 2009
6:10 pm
Seriously, how is this not common knowledge?

Simple rules for freelance teachers of adult professional education

1) Be a teacher
As a freelance teacher, you get paid to teach. You do not spend entire hours of your worktime telling pointless stories of your life to illustrate how awesome you are. If you have to point that out, it is most probably not the case. This is professional education, not group therapy.

2) Be prepared
Do not prepare today’s lesson during course. You’ll have a hard time explaining the stuff you’re supposed to be teaching right now and someone is bound to notice. If you did not have time to properly prepare, do not cover it up by telling your students to study their books on their own because of the “valuable lesson of teamwork”. It may come across like you’re not really needed.

3) Be competent
Do not out yourself as a complete tool by yelling at someone who just questioned your method of teaching. Furthermore, if you have the luck of some of your students backing you up with arguments, do not repeat them like they were yours all along.

4) Be neutral
Do not add endless diatribe of your own political point of view to aforementioned pointless stories. It has nothing to do with what you are teaching, it is basically propaganda and it feels like getting mentally belched in the face.

5) Behave with integrity
Do not contradict yourself when voicing opinions. Someone will notice the double standards and write you off as the opinionated asshat you are.

6) Be careful
Don’t ever EVER piss off an artist.

Current Mood: annoyed
Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
9:04 pm
Professional Education
Day 3

Gestern fohr' i mit der Tram ins Industriegebiet'n.
Draußen regn't's und drinnen stinkt's, und i steh in der Mitt'n.
Die Leit, ob's sitzen oder stengan, olle ham es fade Aug',
und sicher net nur in der Tramway,
i glaub, des hom's 'n ganzen Tog, jo.
Bei DEKRA untariachtet wer, der waß Gott wos derzöhlt.
Er is' so reich, er is' so gut, er kennt die ganze Wölt.
In Wirklichkeit is' er a Sandler, hocknstat und dauernd fett,
des letzte Weh in meine Augen, na, i pock eam net!

Yesterday, I drove the tramway to the industrial park
Outside it rained and inside it smelled, and I stood in the middle
People, whether they sat or stood, stared glassy-eyed
surely not only in the tramway
I think they do this all day
At DEKRA teaches someone, telling all kinds of stories
That he's rich and great and knows the whole world
In fact, he is a bum, unemployed and permanently drunk
The last thing I need right now, no, I can't stand him.

Did I mention that my teacher sucks ass?

Current Mood: annoyed
Monday, November 16th, 2009
7:03 pm
School Days Are Back
Back to school, day one. Guvmint Job Agency gets me a free course (logistics), but all I can do is complain: The guys in the course next door get a 2500 € driving license and you cheap fuckers stick me in here?

It started with one of the head honchos of the academy giving us a half-hour corporate horseshit excerpt and then cleared the stage for our teacher. We did some 3rd-grader math and some texts about professional education in Germany, which primarily concerned itself with the situation of people age 16 to 20 (e.g. fresh outta school); which is a bleeding laugh, considering that the youngest member of our course is 29 years old.

Ah well.. one day down, 149 to go....

Current Mood: tired
Friday, November 13th, 2009
5:10 pm
I am an artist
There, I said it. Took me damn well long enough.

Day after day I loose myself in countless forms of other people's artwork, be it music, pictures, movies, comics, books and everything inbetween.

Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way started it all; but the works that recently affected me the most were the webcomics SUBNORMALITY and Platinum Grit (thank you, Lurker) as well as the website Enter The Story.

Here their were artists who gushed their heart out; who made lifeless material (paper, ink, colours, bits & bytes) seem so much alive that it drove tears to my eyes.

Today it came to a point where not creating anything of my own became downright painful. I want to tell stories - by any means necessary; pictures, texts, sounds, speaking, reading - anything. I sat there, all afternoon, practising my rusty skills with an inkpen and even now, there is still an aching, sore point in my guts that tells me to never stop again.

It's gotta be BREAKAGE. The word came to me a few days back and wouldn't leave me ever since. Along with a whole lot of other things who I want to do all at once now and never stop to eat or even sleep. "Play from your fucking heart!" as Bill Hicks put it best. I will.

Current Mood: indescribable
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
1:49 pm
Alphabet Meme
Leave me a comment and I will give you a letter.
Then, write 10 things that you love starting with that letter. Post the list in your journal. Give out letters to those who comment in return.

lurkerwithout tagged me with "B".

1. Barbecue
2. Bill Hicks
3. Beatles
4. Brom
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
6. Bondage
7. Blind Guardian
8. Being John Malkovich
9. BLA Blitzer
10. Bloopers

Right, this better be bloody enough of this bollocks.
Friday, April 3rd, 2009
2:37 pm
Interest Meme!

1.Post and I'll pick one thing off your interests list and ask you five questions about it.
2. Post this on your journal so you may do the same to your friends.
3. Hopefully we will learn more about each other and new fandoms!

lurkerwithout asked me about Deadlands:

Oh Lurker – now you did it. I'll never shut up...

1) Which version do you prefer?

In terms of rules, I started out with the "Classic" rules and stuck to it ever since. I don't own a single d20 book (not counting the few dual-statted Deadlands books) and mainly regarded it as a waste of time and money. I know they fixed this in one of the Epitaphs (by converting it to d20 Modern), but the notion that, since you now have hit points, you better had to get a crate of ammo ready if you want to duel a high-level NPC was a major turn-off.
I own the GURPS: Deadlands book because I once had a (not so) brilliant idea for a crossover but don't really use it.
As for DL: Reloaded, I own the books (Savage Worlds basic rules, DL: Reloaded, Coffin Rock and really looking forward to The Flood), but have a few irks with the castrated rules set (Mad Scientists not being able to freely invent what they want anymore for one).

As for Background, this is really tough. I started out with the Weird West setting approximately around the time it was published, but I also found the Hell on Earth version quite entertaining (enough to own every single book of that line). Deadlands: Lost Colony is also a great game world for which I sadly could never excite any players.

2) Marshall or Player?

I started out as a player. When our Earthdawn group folded mid-session because the GM – primadonna that he was – decided that we were not worth his great inspired work of his holy imagination anymore; so half the players were looking for a way to spend the rest of an otherwise disappointing Saturday. Our group consisted of me and two of my pals; one as an additional player, one as the GM.
The GM was...well, I like that guy. He's a friendly, if somewhat shy person; and although I don't share a single gaming group with him anymore, I still meet him from time to time, so I'm just going to repeat here what I actually said to his face. I liked him as a player, but as a GM? He really, really sucked. He had a lot of neat ideas for a plot, but they all lacked horribly in execution. During the first session, you would marvel at all the different layers of plot that were going on and how they would all fit together in the end; but during the second or third gaming session you would realize that he made it all up as he went along. The end result was little more than a chaotic mess of situations bolted together without any cohesion or logical explanation.
After I particularly devastating gaming session, I decided to tell him so and took over the Marshal's badge and (with a few brief spells under other GMs) have been stuck with it ever since.

3)What types of characters do you favor?

As a player? Let's see: My first character – dingleberry that I was – was an undead Huckster/gunslinger (though I later ditched the huckster part, concentrating on the gunslinger-from-hell-out-for-revenge aspect) from Alabama. Other characters I played long enough to remember were a burly blacksmith from New Orleans, and a hyper-intelligent southern gentleman Mad Scientist from Richmond, VA. If anything else, I favor characters with a personal goal around which to build their personalities and/or a proper profession (although it usually means putting an extra 2-3 character creation points into the Trade: XX or Professional: XX skills.
Ah, and one other thing. It started with the first gaming group and repeated itself in later incarnations throughout all settings: Our characters were always primarily southern boys with the occasional yank thrown in the mix. It didn't seem to matter in what location we would start off in game; odds were, that the majority of the characters could whistle dixie, curse General Sherman's name and cheer for Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis. If one of the players happened to play a yankee, the political (and religious) in-game discussions were absolutely priceless.

As a GM I favor diversity among my players in terms of backgrounds, abilities and personalities, but I don't make it mandatory, seeing as the DL setting provides enough variations for each of the character backgrounds anyway. The one thing I do make mandatory is that the characters must be inclined to work with a group. Loner characters tend to split the game up into two separate gaming sessions eating up game time twice as fast.

4)Concentrating on the Steam-Punk, Horror or Western bits?

Initially, I focused on the Western aspect of the game, with my skills at describing dastardly scenes getting better along the way (“as your bowie knife slices through the larynx of your opponent you feel the sensation similar to cutting through a walnut travel up your arm”). Nowadays, when I run a DL game I try to focus on the Western and Horror themes as equally as possible when running DL: The Weird West with more focus on action and paranoia when Gming Hell on Earth.

5) Regular playing cards or special Deadlands decks?

Although I did have the chance to pick up the Official Deadlands Playing Cards decks, I decided not to; mainly because my FLGS wanted a frickin' 35€ for it – enough to buy a sourcebook plus one of the Dime Novels.

Current Mood: awake
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
6:05 pm
Update SLA NPC directory
- Wrote the team8 post
- Wrote a pm to Kia
- found the GIMP manual
- downloaded the "Wanderer" - fan fiction

Current Mood: anxious
5:57 pm
Hi to all you two and a half people who read this!
I decided to start creating an NPC directory for Cubicle 7's SLA Industries game. Fanworks, non-profit, non-copyright-infringing, of course. pythia_delphie had a few projects of her own and created the artsystuff lj-community, where I will periodically update.

Ironic fact: daver2323 (the game's inventor) recently deleted his account. Please come back, Dave! :(

Current Mood: artistic
Thursday, September 11th, 2008
3:31 pm
So it ended one and a half year ago."It" being a relationship that lasted a good seven years.

It ended sad. But it's death throes were butt ugly, savage and utterly embarrassing for everyone involved.

I'm not going into "who's fault was it" here; because it's been done to death and beyond. No, this story is about something seemingly trivial, yet utterly heartbreaking, if you think about it a bit longer.

She had these plants in her room. Some six to seven pots with various specimen of the green stuff. I'm not a botanist and I only have one plant whose name I can barely remember (not in English, mind you), which had been a friend's gift she didn't want to keep because she ran out of space.

Anyway, the plants. Some of them had been gifts from friends, and some others she had specifically bought for her appartment.
They made her room a bit warmer in tone and atmosphere, and I would often admire how she managed to keep all of them alive. Me and plants? That never seemed to work out; except for the one she gave me (which is probably a mutated artifact from the Great Old Ones - it just doesn't die).

Her apartment is literally next door to mine (which explains some of the brutal, savage stuff mentioned above); so even after the relationship ended, I could still see these little green buddies sitting on her window sill, strangely greeting me, when ever I left my apartment or returned.

Then, something happened. I don't know what exactly, but I have my theories (which mostly involve an invasion of body snatchers): I realized on day, that the plants weren't as healthy and green as they had been. They were turning light brown, with hanging leaves; seemingly craving the sun - the only form of nourishment they still got. Fearfully calling out to me, sadly waving their dried out appendages; slowly dying away.

I didn't do anything. These were her plants, for her to care for. After all, she kept them alive in the past. Then they vanished. The window sill was empty; cleaned but devoid of any sign of life.

She found a job somewhere else, she told me; she'd be moving there soon. I didn't think of the plants anymore. Maybe she gave them away to friends, because she didn't want them in her new apartment - maybe she had succeeded in reviving them and stored them somewhere else - at her mother's, maybe - where the sun could reach them better.

In front of my window, there's the wall of the garage of my landlady. And in front of that wall is a small pile of unused roof tiles, covered with roofing felt....

One morning, I opened my window for a smoke and saw something that brought tears to my eyes.

Photobucket Image Hosting

There they were; piled up like body bags in the morgue. Nothing left but the pots, which stood like silent tombstones on a shabby graveyard reserved for the poor and the downtrodden. She had stopped caring.

An insane thought crossed my mind. An impulse of corniness paired with bittersweet irony; born from an immature urge to not let that stand.

I stood in front of them, saluting like on a soldier's grave for the whole duration of "Rose of Allendale" by the Dubliners. What would you have done?

Current Mood: melancholy
Monday, September 8th, 2008
5:40 pm
5 Characters Meme
1. Comment on this post.
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Think of 5 fictional characters and post their names and your comments on these characters in your LJ.

lurkerwithout gave me the letter "N".

1. Nermal
Garfield's adorable nemesis; so cute could puke all day long....

2. Nerzhul
Without any knowledge of WoW and related trivia whatsoever: The legendary orc necromancer; scourge of humankind who first tried to open the portal for his demonic lords during the second orc/human war.

3. Nebula
Granddaughter of Thanos, the Mad Titan. Twice as powerhungry, twice as sexy, half as effective.

4. Neeva
The gladiator woman of Tyr; once the fighting partner of Rikus the Mul, she joined the conspiracy to kill Kalak the Tyrant. Between the stubborn Rikus, the idealistic Agis and the ambivalent Sadire, she always remained the voice of reason for this band of Athasian heroes. Though she shouldn't have taken Rikus back; with that shit he gave her, I'd have this moron axed long ago.

5. Nobody
The greatest hero the west has ever seen...

There! I did it! Finally another post! Thanks Lurks. :)
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
11:18 am
Update & some stuff
Stuff first

Yoinked from pimpfork:

Comment on this message, and I shall:
1. Tell you why I friended you.
2. Associate you with something - fandom, a song, a color, a photo, a word etc.
3. Tell you something I like about you.
4. Tell you a memory I have of you.
5. Ask something I've always wanted to know about you.
6. Tell you my favorite user pic of yours.
7. In return, you must post this in your LJ.

I was thinking of songs to dedicate to my significant other. So far, I've come up with the following:

The Beatles - All My Loving
Tom Petty - King's Highway


Took a shitty job with even shittier pay. And I won't see pythia_delphie for another two days. On the upside, I started drawing again. Go forth and visit the link below, you lot of indifferent bastards!


Current Mood: annoyed
Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
1:46 pm
My personal Book of Records
Two new entries:

I'm sick for the fourth day in a row now.

Down to about 4 cigarettes per day.

Here's some music. Contains socialistic devil guitars, satanistic and subversive music and sweaty man nipples.

Current Mood: sick
Thursday, January 24th, 2008
5:38 pm
SLA Industries Art That Never Was
There are things that are a pity. Then there are things that are a fucking shame. And then there's this.

Derek Dow, a.k.a. artmunki apparently created a lot of pictures for SLA Industries' recently cancelled book "Drops of Blood", which would have been about the blood cults of the planet Mort.

Just check out every picture labelled with "DoB", and you can tell that he put a lot of effort into it.
Not bad for a "procrastinator" (his own words) I say :P

From what I've gathered, the artwork was ordered, but never needed or paid for.

This really hurts, you know. This artwork, together with the writings of John Dodd, now-former line developer for the game, would have turned this book into a fucking masterpiece for which I'd have shelled out a 50 € without so much as a second thought.

I know I'm a sucker for anything SLA, but Cannibal Sector 1 was awesome as a horror themed rpg supplement - all in large parts due to John Dodd.

Just fuck.


Current Mood: aggravated
Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
3:42 pm
One of them quizzies
Your results:
You are Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
Lex Luthor
Dark Phoenix
The Joker
Green Goblin
Poison Ivy
Mr. Freeze
Blessed with smarts and power but burdened by vanity.

Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test

"Burdened by vanity?" - Ow that hurt....
On to the super-heroes:

Your results:
You are Spider-Man
Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

..and the Hulk only second choice :( . Meh, I think I'll go with my super-villain persona instead.

Current Mood: amused
Friday, January 4th, 2008
12:16 pm
Dance lessons & other stuff
I'm taking dance lessons again.

The last time I had dance lessons was too long ago and I had about a gazillion reasons to not take them anymore.

My girlfriend talked me into it and after the refreshing course for beginners I realized that I had completely forgotten the reason why I liked it in the first place: It's fun.

I find myself looking forward to the "advanced course" next Sunday and I have a strange itching in the bones of my legs calling out for some more jive and cha-cha-cha.

Books I recently read:

- Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Good story, likeable characters and a perfect ending. That's more than you usually find in a book these days.....

- The Obsidian Oracle by Troy Denning
Part of his Prism-Pentad-Saga for TSR's Dark Sun setting back in the days.
For a novel based on an RPG-setting, it's pretty good.

What I particularly like about the characters is that everyone of them has his/her own little flaws without coming across like complete assholes. Sadira is a power-hungry slut; Agis of Asticles is self-righteous to the point of stupidity; and for almost everything Rikus does you want to reach into the pages and pimp-slap him. And Neeva....err, okay, Neeva is the voice of reason in this bunch of heroes.
The series also stars one of the most entertaining and evil antagonists I've read about so far: The King of their home city of Tyr, Tithian.

The Saga evolved a great deal since the first two books, where you could almost hear the dice rolls (I'm still convinced these heroes were the PCs of the game designers). The Obsidian Oracle centers mostly around the friendship of Agis and Tithian; the former being sent out to bring the latter back to Tyr.....
(Telling more would be a bit of a spoiler ;) )

Currently reading
- Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
"God is dead. Meet The Kids" - A story about Anansi's (from American Gods) two sons, Fat Charlie and Spider. Kept me up all night.

- The Cerulean Storm by Troy Denning
The finale of the Prism Pentad series which includes some major changes to the world of Athas.

And Now To Something Completely Different
I'm a bit worried about my latest fascination with Ireland; which has so far turned into an unhealthy obsession with Irish Folk songs, history of the country, Garth Ennis and shepherd's pie.
Obsession meaning that some of the songs I've heard actually make me want to be Irish.
I don't even like Guinness, dammit!

That's it for now. More someday later.


Current Mood: calm
Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
9:43 pm
The Golden Compass - Short Review
Intellectually insulting.

Current Mood: busy
Tuesday, December 25th, 2007
2:26 pm
Frohe Weihnachten
Gedanken, wirr in den Raum geworfen wie immer:

Das wäre alles.

Current Mood: calm
Wednesday, December 19th, 2007
4:02 pm
SLA Industries Campaign Journal
System: Nightfall's SLA Industries

GM: Yours Truly

PCs: Garret (Human), Cypher (Wraith Raider), Delight (Ebon), and introducing: Yarish (Wraith Raider)
NPCs: Sathariel (Brain Waster)

What the hell happened:
The Department of Cloak Division decided to contact Squad Psycho Angels mid-mission in the economically cheapest way possible: Yarish, Wraith Raider Operative fresh from Meny is sent on a blue BPN as a courier into the crater hole in search for the squad. Maybe someone should have told him that a Body Blocker Armour (otherwise known as "Body Toilet Paper") isn't such a bright idea for such a mission.
Sneaking his way through the rat and toxic waste infected lower levels of Downtown, he comes across the squad the minute the Scavs strike.
The three Scavengers are quickly overcome, but at a dear price:
Garret is knocked unconscious and Delight is left severely injured, his Deathsuit almost ripped to shreds. On the upside, two of the Scavs are dead and the last one fled deeper into the lower levels.
While recovering from the fight, Squad Psycho Angels hears the message Yarish delivered: Apparently, every single faction is now interested in the Scavs from Dante, from Darknight to Thresher to the Shaktar Highlord Shahanti. The mission parameters are changed to complete annihilation of the remaining Scavs; their bodies, their equipment - nothing shall remain.

As usual, no explanation is offered as to "why".....
to be continued

Current Mood: calm
Thursday, December 13th, 2007
9:59 pm
Cassandra Pathological Co-dependency
I found this ages ago on the (meanwhile dead) Nightfall homepage for SLA Industries. Rings true in so many ways...

"When you hurt someone, repress them to the point that they lose hope, they will become weak. At that point, if you tell them that their suffering is for a purpose, for their own good, they will love you for it, even to their destruction if those around them are similarly repressed. If you wish to free such a person, you must drag them screaming into the light, and even then it may be such a dependency that it is impossible for them to find their own way back."
Cf. Hostage's Stockholm syndrome.

Weakness - suffering, martyrdom, lack of responsibility – is seductive. We all fear the future. If we can avoid thinking about it and abrogate responsibility, cling to an illusion of empowerment safe in the repressed knowledge that we have none, we will be happy.

1. Ergo, society is one large self-delusion.

Religion provides fake empowerment in the future, in return for safe oppression now. Money provides a similar fake empowerment, but in the here and now. In doing so, it makes us feel better than religion, because we feel we are achieving right away. Media feed this, by providing heaven and nirvana on earth, a mythic golden life to tantalise us - the futurology of finance. Similarly, schlock is Hell - the second part of the double-whammy. Like heaven, it is awaiting us on every modern corner, and like heaven, it is false. People do not want liberty. They want happiness handed down to them in return for doing what they are told.

2. money wins by providing a set of rules that are obviously, tangibly meaningful and that offer deferred happiness in return for obedience and doing 'the right thing'.
3. Governments, bosses, tycoons are part of this feedback loop, not controllers of it. There is no Conspiracy - our model has enslaved us.

Looking in to the glass
Are there ways out of this? A new set of controls could be put in place. To win, it would need to fit certain givens:
It tells us what to do and keeps us occupied
It rewards obedience with immediate, obvious happiness and safety
It punishes disobedience with misery or death
Maybe VR can do this. I hope not...

Assuming that this does not happen though, what trends are in place?
Money does not much care what social structure we use, so long as it remains the primary reward form. We are greedy - we want the promised land - so we try to accumulate. We resent others, and become isolated. Those who have least become violently desperate to share in what is "theirs by right", heightening the Hell side. Those who have most become arrogant and portray their own stereotypes to the rest of us. The bulk of us, in the middle, are whipped along nicely, carrot and stick. This seems unlikely to change, but may get more extreme.

4. The poor will get more violent, more resentful, more criminal. The rich will get more isolated. The middle classes will withdraw as much possible for security. Society will mix less.
5. Bosses are already often absent; maybe they will stop mixing with the workforces all together, and white collar be separated from blue collar. Work social ties may intensify to replace the extended family - clans - but disenchantment and staff turnover will make this hard to completely firm.
6. Families will mix within their broad career marketplace areas. Specialist schooling and burbclaves are unlikely to arise, but there may be some greater intensification of school stratification.
7. Personal security will become a pressing concern in the face of increasing mindless violence.

The end result of these trends - people in Career clans, isolated as nuclear families. The biological imperative is too strong still to remove that feature entirely. Rising crime levels require ever-stronger personal security. People get more paranoid, more desperate to escape, leading to greater misery. Median living standards decrease, as the mean rises. Escapism will continue to intensify. While the bulk of the herd have no imagination, they will continue to be drawn to soap-operas and Hello! magazine.

The end result is easy to see, at least in the short term - more and more like LA, only worse. After that though, well, the situation is ripe for a charismatic leader to sweep to quasi-religious dominance. When that happens, if it happens only in the west, widespread war will follow, and maybe the Eschaton. If it does not, poorer nations may cause trouble, but not global-scale. The next big frontier will take a lot of people, and provide a focus for everyday interests.

Current Mood: pessimistic
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