Hm, things I have noticed:
I also noticed that OddmuseMode doesn’t work on Windows because the shell sucks. Perhaps I should not use
Ugh! I need a break – the project at work has been picking up, I haven’t slept enough in recent days, Arabic homework gets done very late or not at all, we’re both tired at the end of the day. But next week we’re going to fly to Bangkok and spend a few days there! I lived in Bangkok for two years as a teenager, so it’ll be interesting to see if any memories are coming back. 😊
After Bangkok, I won’t be going back to work for the rest of year, finally enjoying my winter holidays. They already got postponed by about three weeks because of that project.
I have nine weeks of overtime. 😟
Strangely enough I’ve found the time to play some Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (G.R.A.W.) on the Xbox 360 these days. I guess when I come home worn out and stretched thin, I need some simple mental exercises to bring back into the world of the living, and playing a game does just that. Or maybe it’s the opposite and playing games prevents me from meeting people and be a lively & friendly person? I don’t know. Our calendar is also stuffed with people we need to see…
I’ve finally spent a few dollars online on the “Microsoft Xbox Live Marketplace” to buy an extension for G.R.A.W. – more maps for coop missions. Interesting experience. Now I have to download 725M of data. And as it stands, my Xbox has no way to make any backups. Terrible.
I wonder if I can connect to the Xbox (which is connected to the Internet via a wireless card) using any known protocol in order to copy the file elsewhere. This being the DRM protected hell-hole I think it is, that probably won’t work.
It started with a project (Oddmuse), then I went to a conference and needed a T-Shirt. Then I travelled and needed a business card that had no connection with my current employer. And in the great tradition of selling yourself for money and cheap thrills:
I was tempted to add Hasta la victoria, siempre!
I don’t remember where I put this link on my blog as a to-read before. I remember reading the introduction once and liking it very much. Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm. I particularly liked the discussion of the markets and firms phenomenon: “For decades our understanding of economic production has been that individuals order their productive activities in one of two ways: either as employees in firms, following the directions of managers, or as individuals in markets, following price signals.”
GuardianUnlimited has a “comment is free” section. Something for op’ed pieces, I guess. This one has an interesting title: “Britain is determined to protect its right to kill civilians at random” – regarding cluster bombs:
There’s also a sad report on the plans Democrats have. It sounds very lame. On the EmacsChannel, somebody recently called them “politiclones” – which is only slightly better than “politiclowns” I guess. But I’ve long claimed that Democrats will probably not be much better than Republicans:
The reasons for voting against the Republicans:
The reasons to vote for Democrats:
I connected to iLike and got the following error message:
What a cute idea!
Yesterday we were cuddling up in bed late at night and watching the first episode of Stargate SG-1 Season 1, and today I was walking through the autumn mists to work, and I remembered the “One Day In Britain Project” where people were asked to blog about their daily life and send it to a central registry, which would then put it in a timecapsule and bury it somewhere. And I started wondering. Assuming we put the stuff on tape, how do we make sure that the people opening the capsule don’t erase the tape? Or how do we make sure that they have the technology to read such a tape? Shouldn’t that capsule require a controlled input of electricity before it opened? And how do we handle thermal stress (expansion and contraction of the material leading to micro cracks)? And all of that before we get to the problem of data formats.
I started Googling…
I found a report called “Building a Time Capsule: Guidelines for Preserving Materials” by the Minnesota Historical Society (PDF).
The Yahoo Timecapsule is also collecting contributions until 2006-11-08 – the deadline is tomorrow! If you want to be preserved, you better send a contribution now…
I also found the International Time Capsule Society online. On their page, they mention the Crypt of Civilization buried in 1940: “The encyclopedic inventory of items in the Crypt includes, in a swimming pool size chamber, over 640,000 pages of micro-filmed material, hundreds of newsreels and recordings, […] and thousands of other items, many from ordinary daily life. There also is a device designed to teach the English language to the Crypt’s finders.”
I wonder how this device works.
To appreciate the kind of people involved in these projects, consider the list of Most-Wanted Time Capsules, including the following interesting comment: “When a search was organized recently in preparation for new building work, not even remote sensing equipment or a clairvoyant could locate the time capsule.”
It seems that most timecapsules have been concerned with physical items. I wonder how we will preserve electronical artefacts for future generations. I have thought of this problem before when thinking about Open Access or Open Standards and the problems of Retrocomputing (where the hardware to use a particular piece of software no longer exists – thanks to the amazing emulators available today this danger seems to be receding). But this is new to me in terms of archeology…
Notice the small obstacles on your way into the crypt: When I tried to upload the comic from 2006-10-13 Land of Plenty to the Yahoo Time Capsule, I got thwarted three times and aborted my attempts.
Good news! Heise reports: A German citizen has launched a formal appeal against the communal elections of a city in Germany where Dutch election computers were used. The nomination of the major has been delayed by eight days while the appeal is discussed in a public meeting:
That’s what I call an improvement: The old fashioned processes can still be used to stop the madness.
See 2006-10-25 Diebold Fiasko auch in Deutschland möglich for my earlier post on the same subject.
And since none of my former roleplaying friends play anymore, I just sit on my books and dream of days gone by. Read GreyWulf’s review, by the way. You’re supposed to build a stronghold or something like it when you get to level 9 and try to ascend and turn into an Immortal eventually… Those were the days!
I ended up buying the book. My first PDF book purchase!
See 2006-11-28 Downloading Books for more comments on downloading PDF books.
And I signed up for the Secret Guild of Adventurers, a page where players of roleplaying games can register themselves and look for other players. I found five other people had signed up from Zürich, and I sent them a mail asking for groups or offering to start a new one. One of the people I wrote replied practically immediately, interested in starting a new group. Heh, wouldn’t that be awesome.
In real life, I’ve been playing a lot of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (G.R.A.W.) on the Xbox 360. Strangely enough, I haven’t returned to playing Oblivion, yet.
On the EmacsChannel, dds reminded me of the Takahashi method presentations (you know, the ones where every single slide contains just a word or two in huge letters) and pointed me to a XUL Application to make these. Here’s an example in Japanese.
Then again, when was the last presentation I actually learnt anything? The “good” presentations are usually entertaining – but useful? I can’t remember…
While following some referrers, I stumbled upon the ArchLinux wiki. And there, on a page about ArchLinux, I found this:
I bet they don’t use Emacs.
When I start editing my Makefiles, I need to refer to the info pages every single time.
Jetzt wird es ernst. Ich habe ein paar Leuten von der Secret Guild of Adventurers geschrieben. Keine Ahnung ob das wirklich der richtige Ort ist. Etwas mehr Google Recherche hat zu einer Liste von Spieltreffs in Zürich geführt…
Tja. Freitag würde sich natürlich mit meinem Aikido überschneiden. Aber vielleicht sind alle drei Adressen natürlich ein Ort, wo man nach Gleichgesinnten suchen könnte.
Preparations for Bangkok are creeping into our daily routine. We cleared some space in the living room and placed two open suitcases there. Just so we can avoid the terrible rush we had last year. (2005-11-10 India Pictures)
I don’t think I finished writing about our holidays in India last year. It’s pretty amazing to be able to keep in touch with people via IRC, their blogs, and their Flickr pics.
Based on Claudia’s mother’s insistence that we go and watch a Woody Allen movie, we went to see Scoop (2006). I like Scarlett Johansson, but I don’t like Allen’s humor too much. And I don’t like the particular suspense that comes up with people that might go psycho at any moment, no matter how funny all the rest of the movie is.
Thus, while entertaining, I still wouldn’t recommend it.
We arrived with Austrian Airlines via Vienna, booked via Ebookers, and wondered whether we should take the bus, where to get a taxi, tired, but finally we did take a taxi from a booth where they had written down our destination on a piece of paper. The driver read the piece of paper, nodded, and started to drive. I waited, but he didn’t switch on his meter. I waited some more, and then pointed it out to the driver. He said that the guys sending us in had agreed to 500฿. But that wasn’t true. The lady had said something of around 400฿. So I insisted on the meter again. Then he showed me a semi-official piece of paper where it said either 50 or 50.00 or something. But I again insisted on the meter. So he switched it on, and the rest of the trip was uneventful. I paid the two toll fares when necessary and towards the end the driver even offered us two mint candies. Having read about tourists being drugged and robbed, and having seen him trying to cheat us, we happily accepted the candies, openened them, and hid them in our backpack.
The hotel upgraded our room and we loved them for it. In fact, we enjoyed all of our nine nights at the Novotel Siam Square, which we had booked via Asia Rooms after spending hours comparing rates and locations and websites.
I liked the live music – a girl playing some sort of instrument all night long.
We did in fact return to this restaurant towards the end of our stay…
Breakfast was good. I settled for a routine of waffles with mapple syrup and some Miso soup. Claudia settled for hash browns and white beans in a sweet red sauce. Yuck!! That’s what hotel buffets do to you. Mind tricks!
On our way along Soi 7 to Mah Boon Krong Center we met a Thai who said he was teaching law at Chulalongkorn University. Note the little “English” link in the title bar when following the link and clicking through the intro. Or check out the Chulalongkorn University history page. In the end he recommended we take a Tuk Tuk to the domestic Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) and then we should buy a suit in some mall or outlet he knew was having a sale, and I think it was connected to his sister who importing textiles from Thailand to the USA, having a shop in Manhattan, and she was living in our hotel and he had just visited her, and so on. We declined the suit stuff but let him tell a Tuk Tuk driver about the TAT. There we booked a tour to Ayutthaya for 2000฿ for the next day.
After verifying that I still liked MBK Center and showing the food court to Claudia, we asked the two friendly persons at the information booth for the bus to Chinatown.
Yes, I love travelling by public transport. And I enjoy bus rides in Bangkok. So we took bus 73 from Siam Square to Chinatown. We asked our seat neighbour where to get off and ended up somewhere in the middle of Yaowarat road. Perfect!
After exploring the alleys and seeing our first Thai and our first Chinese temple (see the Flickr set), we headed home, showered, slept for an hour or two, and spent the evening exploring the shopping malls, saw the cinema complex at the top of Siam Paragon, noticed the Siam Ocean World at the bottom, and decided to come back to see The Banquet (2006) one of these days.
We ate in the MK Restaurant by the BTS station. Since we didn’t know what it was all about, we ordered some stuff and noticed it was all based on soup. Then we realized that everybody else was ordering pieces of meat and vegetables and putting them into that boiling pot of soup that our waiter had just removed. Aha, we thought! “Fondue Chinois!” – That’s what we call it here in Switzerland, and it is a very traditional thing to eat on Christmas eve. And here it was called “Suki”. The Chulalongkorn students seemed to love it; we had to wait for a table.
We promised ourselves to be back. And to bring an extra jacket because it was freezing cold due to the air conditioning.
Next, the bus drove us back to the winter- or summerpalace in Bang Pa-In. It had a very nice looking Chinese house, a museum showing the interior of buildings in Western style (not too interesting for us), and a few buildings that were closed to the public. The guide suggested we take Golf buggies to get around. They cost 400฿, which was a total rip-off. Don’t do it.
We drove down to Ayutthaya with a bus (had to get up at 6:00!), and returned on a ship. I don’t recommend the cruise – it’s still hot, I find ship cruises boring, and I think I would have preferred to see more Wats in Ayutthaya, now that I know how much I missed. I admit that the pictures of our approach to Bangkok might look impressive. But the fact remains that it was a boring cruise. I’m too young for this kind of thing!
In the evening back in Bangkok we went to see The Banquet (2006). I sort of liked it, even though I could not explain the source of the last dagger in the final scene. The gore was too much for Claudia. She was expecting something like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). What she got was a story were everybody dies and every swordfight involves spraying blood and evil blades. (Somehow, Claudia has a strong aversion against blade weapons. I don’t know why.)
When we got out, we realized that there is practically no food to be had in Bangkok after 22:00 and thus we ordered California rolls and pizza at the hotel lounge. The pizza was ok, but there’s better Sushi to be had in Zürich.
Then we crossed the street over to Lak Muang and looked at the Bangkok city shrine. This is the first time we saw a shrine dedicated amongst other things to fertility, ie. it had lots of young women and men praying and big wooden penises on display. There was also a little play being enacted and a small group of poor people watching.
We walked down the street down to Wat Po and saw some more golden temple buildings, and tons of stone guardians. I loved those! (Images:Wat+Po) If you’re wondering about the foot diagrams amonst all the images, you need to know that Wat Po houses a famous massage school.
On the way back we wanted to catch a bus home but it was quite a walk back to the bus 15 stop we had come from. I asked a bystander and he started talking to us and ended up by suggesting we go see the “Happy Buddha” that was only open today and that today was 250 years Bangkok and I hadn’t heard of it! He was definitely overdoing it and getting on my nerves. By then a Tuk Tuk driver had joined the discussion saying that the Happy Buddha was closing at five and that we would have no time for a bus… We thanked them all and said we wanted to take a little stroll and walked. After covering a few bus stations on foot, I had determined that bus 47 would take us home and asked somebody about the correct direction. And that’s how we got home.
I had talked to Claudia about Bangkok nightlife fifteen years earlier, where the highschool students used to meet in Goldfinger in Patpong and had mentioned the listless movements of the girls in their bikinis. (Images:Patpong) I hadn’t mentioned the live fucking show, the girl pulling razor blades on a string from her vagina, the other girl opening a soft drink bottle using her vagina, and the show where the girls would shoot peeled bananas from their vaginas into the public. Yuck! I think I went twice, once with my parents and a friend, and once with friends from school, just to know what it was all about. I think I was quite traumatized back then. Nothing obvious, but I rarely spoke about this to anyone. I could barely bring myself to speak about it to Claudia.
But Claudia hat heard of Patpong from other people and decided that she couldn’t just not go. And today was going to be the day. With a heavy heart I agreed. We took the Skytrain to Sala Daeng and walked through Patpong Soi 1 to 3. It seemed very tame from the outside. We got asked several times whether we wanted to see that “Ping Pong Show” which must be all the rage at the moment, but at least nobody offered me a girl or a boy or a child… Most of Patpong was just bars and shops and a bustling night market. There were only a few Go Go bars, and they looked like they always did: Bored women in bikins vaguely going through the dancing motions. I bet the back alleys and second floor shows are as bad as they used to be, but at least we didn’t see anything.
I felt much better.
Patpong seemed so much tamer than I remembered it.
Well, to tell you the truth, we got up late, ate breakfast, slept some more, went to the pool, and then we went to the weekend market; we took the Skytrain at about 15:00. We didn’t buy anything but we noted tea sets (well, I did), little porcelain elephants to hold salt and pepper, Japanese style straw sandals, trousers Claudia wanted to use for her dancing, funny T-shirts, elephant pouches, and Chinese lions. When we came back, it was still hot.
Chatuchak (or Jatujak) market is along Pahon Yothin Road – we used to live around here from 1989 to 1991: Soi Ari 5! But we didn’t get off at Aree station because I was already tired.
When we came back, we changed clothes, rested for a bit, and decided to go back to the MK Restaurant for some Suki. It poured! Our only confrontation with a tropical downpour. We borrowed an umbrella from the bell captain at the reception and went anyway. MK was full of students again, so we had to wait. This time we knew what we had to order and we loved it. It cost 286฿. Then we went to Starbucks and ordered two Tofee Nut Latte, Butter Scones, and a Butter Fly Biscuit. That already cost 305฿, however. Amazing!
Soon after we went to the Hardrock Café. They had just finished building it when I was about to leave in 1991, so I only remember coming once or twice. Getting in cost 500฿ for the two of us, with the first drink included. The day just kept getting more expensive. Two extra Colas at the end of the day cost 195฿.
These guys must have understood all the Make Money Fast emails I kept deleting a few years ago…
Then we ate breakfast, slept some more, and got up at 13:00. We took the cab to Vimarnmek Palace for 90฿. The taxi meter worked. No problem! (Mai dai!)
We got stuck in the traffic and arrived there at 15:00. We got out shortly before 16:00. Things were already closing again! We slept too long.
We walked down Thanon Rajasima, and came to Thanon Ayutthaya. It was blocked with what looked like old buses. Military stuff! There were soldiers taking a nap in the shade, looking bored. But the road was blocked. Why?
It took me a while to realize that this road led straight to the parliament, and since Thailand was under military rule after the coup – these must be the troups “occupying” the centers of power! Eek!
Half way to the King Chulalongkorn Monument, we noticed a market on our left. “What is this?” I asked a policemen at the insistence of Claudia. As expected, he pointed towards the market and said: “Yes, yes!” There’s a lesson for Claudia.
We walked around and there were many Thai women with head scarves, and the food stalls all had big blue signs saying “حلال”. I knew immediately what this was all about: Halal food that satisfies Muslim religious requirements! As I looked closer, I noticed that this label was issued by the Muslim Committee of Thailand. It’s official! I don’t think there is anything like it here in Switzerland. But then again, the Muslims I know around here don’t buy their meat at the ordinary food outlets. They buy them at the Turkish butcher’s. And those are the only butchers still left. Most of the others had to fold as food distribution changed in the 1990s.
At the back of the market we were able to see the big square where King Chulalongkorn Monument stands. There was a parade going on! The reality of the coup was creepy. I lived in Bangkok at the time of the last coup about fifteen years ago! Creepy.
We walked to Wat Benchamabopit – the Marble Temple. It was late. The tourists had left, only a few professional looking photographers remained behind. The priests were chanting inside the main building.
We took another cab to Wat Indraviharn. There’s a huge 41m Buddha and various other statues. The big Buddha looks upon some old wooden houses outside the temple grounds. I took a picture and a few grinning kids approached. I smiled. One of them shouted: “Fuck!” What the fuck? Then more of them started shouting: “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck you!” We left.
Later I read in our guidebook that the Buddha is overlooking many poor brothels. I guess the kids thought I was interested or something. Brrr!
Elated by the positive Taxi experience, we took a Tuk Tuk to Thanon Samsen Soi 2, looking for a restaurant recommended in the book. We agreed on 20฿, but it turns out that we were somewhere around Soi 8 or 10, so it was a really short trip. Damn crook!!
There was no good-looking restaurant to be found, however. So we took out the map and noticed that Khao San Road (Images:Khao+San+Road) was nearby. We decided to walk there and find another restaurant in Thanon Rambutri. We were looking for the Au Thong, but I think we got the wrong one. The food wasn’t awesome, but it was expensive none the less. Oh well.
We walked down Thaon Rambutri and up Thanon Khao San, and to the Democracy Monument, where we got our favorite bus: Bus 15!
Back at the hotel, Claudia suggested we watch Inside Man (2006) using the video-on-demand system of the hotel. It cost about as much as going to a good cinema would have (385฿), but audio quality was lousy. Oh well. The movie was ok entertainment…
Went to the Giant Swing area. Later we found that the Giant Swing was gone, but we saw everything else we wanted to see: Got out one station before Democracy Monument (by the small old tower) and walked towards the Golden Mount, which is part of Wat Saket. We saw smoke rising from a fire as we were looking down upon the surroundings from up there. We heard sirens come and go and saw an occasional tiny fire-truck racing through the street maze. I felt queasy.
We looked at Wat Ratchanadta containing a Lohaprasad, a copy of Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka). It was being renovated.
We looked at the Amulet Market in the Wat Ratchanadta backyard and walked down Mahachani Road and up Bamrung Muang Road (where they sell golden statues and everything else you might need to build your own temple) up to Giant Swing. But it was missing. How strange. We looked at the little Vishnu Mandir, and went to see Wat Suthat.
By then the sun was hanging low in the sky and the light was marvelous again. After that we walked to Romanni Nart Park and spent half an hour watching Thais exert themselves in the evening heat.
Then we walked back to Giant Swing, accross the big square in front of the town hall and up Thanon Dinso to Democracy Monument, where we ate a terrific dinner at the Sorn Daeng Restaurant with two women singing Thai evergreens.
On the way back I didn’t want to walk to the bus station on the other side of Democracy Monument and decided to look for the next bus station. As there were so many roads leading in the general direction, we ended up missing the right one and had to ask a young man for help in choosing the correct bus to take us back to Siam Square. No more bus 15. This time we needed the 79.
We got ourselves a Thai massage at Chang in Soi 6, Siam Square. Excellent. We paid 250฿ + 20฿ tip each. Upstairs, were we were given two simple pyjamas, we heard another customer snoring through his massage I almost felt the floor vibrating.
By then the effects of the arm, shoulder, and back massage we had gotten at the hotel had worn off.
We also went to see an IMAX movie about the underwater world, because the entry to the movie came with our ticket to Ocean World. And we stopped in Starbucks and Claudia discovered Scones which she had eaten as a small child when the family had spent their holidays in the UK. At 15:00 Claudia feels like some Western Food. Ugh! We end up in “Holy Pizza” at Siam Square. Quite the Western Revival.
Later that evening I felt like going to MK, but we ended up in Baan Khun Mae Restaurant on Siam Square Soi 7 again . Rather fitting for the last night in Bangkok…
Time to go!
I can’t quite remember what we did. The pictures we took seem to indicate that we spent more time in Patunam.
I gave in and bought a Flickr “pro” account giving me more than just three sets to work with.  On the one hand, I feel better because I’m actually paying for the service I’m using instead of leeching, but on the other hand I feel lousy because I once again sold a tiny piece of my soul to one of the data hungry molochs of our time – this time Yahoo instead of Google.
I’m reading camera reviews… I think I want a replacement for my trusted Exilim S2. Right now the Digital Camera Resource Buyers Guide recommends various Canon Powershots, Fuji FinePix F30 because it is “great at low light shooting” (something I like to do a lot!), Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 because of the big zoom, and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W50 because of numerous accessories.
I was totally ready to buy another Exilim, but the Fuji FinePix F30 does sound interesting. I’ll have to spend some more time reading the reviews. Unfortunately they don’t use SD cards and I just bought a 1G SD card… 😟
The stuff I liked about the Exilim S2:
What I didn’t like:
Success! When we came back from Bangkok I had an invitation for a Shadowrun session last Friday waiting for me in my mailbox. Ignoring jetlag, I took all my dice, three frozen pizzas, and a bowl of salad to join this new session. We agreed to make up characters as we went along and I decided to play a weapons expert acting as the bodyguard for another player who had chosen to play a retired army officer running his own security consulting company. The setting was calm and quiet Zürich with the center of town sealed off from the rest. We were to retrieve a little girl from there. It seemed as if she had been kidnapped, but later it turned out that we were in fact trying to kidnap her. Interesting setting.
The entire evening was basically role-playing only with not a single dice being thrown. That worked well with our decision to leave character creation to later. During play I decided to just copy the example weapon expert stats and inventory from the Shadowrun rulebook for my character.
Unfortunately the game master and one of the players had a repeated discussion about a particular issue that turned me off. Basically the game master tried to push a “connection” down the player’s throat who didn’t think it was as valuable as it should be, given the choices he had made during character creation. I think it was ill communicated by the game master, and the player didn’t have enough people skills to difuse the situation. I felt particularly confused by his comment later that this kind of arguing for your character was basically ubiquitous at conventions by the “pros”. What lousy players!
Let’s see how this develops. Perhaps with time I’ll be able to adapt to their playing style or set an example for the others to follow when it comes to GM cooperation.
I’ve started fleshing out a campaign based on a few ideas I had while I was away in Bangkok. Perhaps I should just write it up for this wiki. And while I’m at it, I might as well embrace M20 and write it up using this very short and succinct d20 variant. I like its design philosphy. The wiki that goes with it, and the various “extension” sheets offered by other players give it the same kind of small & tight but extensible architecture I like so much in Oddmuse. Strange how certain design elements seem to apply to both software projects and game rules. But then again, a program is basically a very complex instruction set itself, so in a way the two might be closer related than one might think.
Oh and I translated M20 into German! M20 Grundregeln.
How weird. My renewed interested in roleplaying games (RPG) has led me to a few sites, and it’s amazing to see how much material is offered either for download – either free (specially “light” versions of the rules) or for a few dollars.
And if you start reading EN World reviews you’ll notice that many of them review PDF files instead of actual books. How amazing! And as far as I can tell, these PDF files are not burdened with evil DRM! At least the D&D Rules Cyclopedia I bought was an ordinary PDF file. (2006-11-09 Nostalgia for Rolplaying Games) Well, I didn’t really care for all the backgrounds blowing the file size up to over 70MB, but it’s still nice to see that you can get old stuff as well. I mean, you can download the AD&D 2nd Ed. Dungeon Masters Guide for $4.95 from RPG Now!
As I said – I’m stunned!
Yes, I admit it. I spent most of my gaming in AD&D 2nd Ed.
As for the price tag: I think CHF 5 would be fair, which is about USD 3. Why are the PDF files I mentioned about twice as expensive? I guess I have to consider the alternative scenario of getting a printed book and doing the scanning and OCR myself. Even if I share it with a large group of people, I’d still be spending a lot of time on it. That’s why I’m still willing to pay the price.
Other products such as a four page character class description is much cheaper. Lost Classes: Sword of Khonsu costs $1.29, for example. Cool!
On the upper end, something as cool as the about 350 page MonkeyGod Presents: From Stone to Steel costs $18.00 and the nearly 200 page Kitsunemori Campaign Setting costs $13.95 and there’s a twenty page free preview available for download! (Read the raving review!) And there’s both print and PDF releases, eg. The Asian Bestiary, Vol. I - PDF and The Asian Bestiary, Vol. II - PDF are available for download at $16.99 each, where as the print edition costs $24.99. (Reviews at EN World  .)
Maybe I should buy the Kitsunemori instead of trying to write something up myself. I wonder how much a professional printing would cost. I gave SauterCopy a call and they told me it would cost about CHF 200, ie. about USD 160 to print. Ugh!! Who said anything about eBooks being cheap and cool!? I guess I’ll have to get used to using my laptop when running a game. Or use black & white when printing.
I bought it.
Looking for hooks in in the Kitsunemori Campaign Setting, I happened upon a monster that seemed non-magic enough to offer an interesting start into a campaign built on Japanese folklore – the Tengu. That link points to an excellent page, by the way. I have printed the Tengu page to PDF and will distribute it to players once this gets going. I love the Internet.