# 2006-11-01

Oh well. The one time I wanted to paste a log from IRC to the bot, it didn’t work. I wonder what the problem was.

And when I tried to post this, the initial = got lost.

Argh.

Too many problems, too little benefit.

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# 2006-11-01 iLike Feedback

Hm, things I have noticed:

2. How can I add related music?
3. I’d like to see a random selection people who are listening to the same track or the same artist as I am, and visit their profile.
4. I think LastFM gets it right: A track should be considered “listened to” when you play it beginning to end. If I don’t like a song, I’ll skip ahead. I didn’t “listen” to it. I skipped it.

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# 2006-11-01 rcirc Colors

I fixed rcircColoredNicks for the latest EmacsW32 (which uses the pretest to build, yay!).

I also noticed that OddmuseMode doesn’t work on Windows because the shell sucks. Perhaps I should not use shell-command-on-region.

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# 2006-11-03 Need a Break

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…

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Comments on 2006-11-03 Need a Break

Nur fuer ein paar Tage nach Bangkok, oder geht es auch an den Strand? Kannst du noch ein wenig Thai? Jan Mrskos wohnt in Lampang, und Ulli Baum wahrscheinlich in Phuket. An beide wirst du dich kaum noch erinnern. Schoen Ferien fuer dich und Claudia

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-11-04 00:20 UTC

An Jan kann ich mich noch gut erinnern! Leider haben wir wirklich nur etwa acht Tage wirklich Zeit etwas zu machen, und deswegen werden wir die gesamte Zeit in Bangkok bleiben. Urbanes Asien! Ich weiss nur noch wenig: Mai dai – nicht gut, mai lu – weiss ich nicht, mai au – brauch ich nicht, haha. Und natürlich sawadee. Aber sonst nichts… Es ist schon zu lange her!

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-04 02:59 UTC

Da faellt mir noch “mai mi” - “no have” ein. Wo werdet ihr wohnen, wisst ihr das schon? Kun chue arrai krab, wie heisst du/sie. Sawadee krab und sawadi kaaa (fuer die Frauen), aber das hast du ja schon erwaehnt. Vergiss’ das “krab” und das “kaa” nicht, sonst ist es unhoeflich. Wieso habt ihr nur so kurz gebucht? Kennt Claudia Thailand schon? Bangkok hat jetzt einen neuen Flugplatz, seit ein paar Wochen oder Monaten. Bin neugierig, wie du den Verkehr beurteilst in der Stadt. Einen elevated train soll es schon auf kurzen Strecken geben.

Maurice Brown wohnt wahrscheinlich auch noch dort, aber ich habe den Kontakt zu ihm verloren.

Gute Reise, passt gut auf euch auf und kommt gut zurueck.

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-11-04 22:57 UTC

Wir gehen leider nur kurz, weil Claudia ja nur vier Wochen Ferien im Jahr hat (mit Überstunden kompensieren kommt sie zwar auf fünf, ist aber immer noch wenig…) – und dieses Jahr war sie schon in Ägypten (Kairo & Alexandria) und auf Kreta (beide Male nicht mit mir). Von den zwei Wochen, die uns bleiben, gehen zwei Tage drauf, wegen dem Wochenende, an dem Claudia noch Pläne hat, zwei Tage wegen der Reisezeit selber, und dann noch schieben wegen den Flügen – bleiben also nur neun Nächte in Bangkok. Wir haben “bonzig” gebucht und werden ins Novotel gehen für USD 954 (neun Nächte, zwei Personen, inkl. Frühstück).

Den neuen Flughafen habe ich in der Zeitung gesehen. Sieht wirklich überdimensioniert aus. Und vom Skytrain habe ich auch schon gehört.

Weisst du noch, an welcher Hauptstrasse wir gewohnt haben? Ich habe es vergessen… Und die Zahlen weiss ich auch nicht mehr so genau. Haa sip heisst fünfzig, wenn ich mich nicht täusche.

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-05 01:35 UTC

Die Hauptstrasse hiess Paholyotin Road und sie geht bis zum Flugplatz und dann noch weiter nach Norden. Wir haben links von der Strasse gewohnt, wenn man stadtauswaerts faehrt und zwar ziemlich in der Mitte zwischen dem Obelisken (grosser Kreisverkehr auf der Paholyotin Road) und diesem Sonntagsmarkt, hiess der nicht so wie Chatanooga, chuk chuk, oder so aehnlich. Links von der Paholyotin (Richtung stadtauswaerts) hat es eine Parallelstrasse, die hiess Ari 5 (ha) und auf Hoehe eines bekannten Spitals (ein grosser Schmuckladen, wo wir immer mit Besuchern hingingen, war auch in der Naehe), wenn du dort nach rechts abbiegst (stadtauswaerts fahrend) und dann wieder nach links, dann kommst du auf die Strasse wo wir gewohnt haben. Sie laeuft parallel zur Paholyotin und zu Ari 5 und liegt genau dazwischen. Den Namen weiss ich nicht mehr genau, aber “ARI 5” war Bestandteil dieses Namens.

Wenn du mal zum Abendbuffet ins Shangrila Hotel kommst, dann kannst du fuer mich ein Photo von den Dekorationen am Buffet machen. Dann kann ich das hier im Kochkurs zeigen!!!!!

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-11-05 18:10 UTC

Eben habe ich gegoogelt und das Novhotel gefunden. Liegt sehr zentral. Der Sonntagsmarkt heisst Chatuchak und der sky-train faehrt die Paholyotin Strasse raus. Mein Obelisk heisst “Victoria Monument”, die naechste U-Bahnstation ist Sanam Pao und dann kommt die Station “Ari”, dort musst du aussteigen. Unsere Strasse hiess Soy Ari 5.

Wie das Nummer eins Hotel in Bangkok heisst weiss ich immer noch nicht. Der 5 o’clock tea war dort beruehmt, ebenso, wie der Sonntag Morgen Brunch und auch das Restaurant, dass zum Hotel gehoert, aber am anderen Ufer liegt, mit hoteleigenem Boot (gratis) erreichbar.

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-11-05 18:34 UTC

Oriental heisst das Hotel, ich habe es eben auf der Karte gefunden. tuk heisst billig und paeng heisst teuer. Paeng maag (sehr teuer) das hatte Anja schnell gelernt. Jetzt mache ich Schluss. Nochmals: eine schoen Reise.

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-11-05 18:55 UTC

Da bin ich ja immer gespannter!

Vielen Dank für all die kleinen Hinweise. Soviel hatte ich schon vergessen…

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-07 18:18 UTC

hoffe, der eine oder spielabend liegt drin während deinen ferien?

zeno 2006-11-08 06:15 UTC

Klar doch.

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-08 07:24 UTC

# 2006-11-04 G.R.A.W. and Microsoft Live Marketplace

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.

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# 2006-11-05 Merchandising

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!

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I just ran into [1], an RMS Guavara.

AaronHawley 2006-11-06 05:36 UTC

I’d expect to find [2] there, it’s the logo of the column with that same name…. (and yes, this is kinda self-pluggish

StefanKamphausen 2006-11-06 13:37 UTC

# 2006-11-06 Markets and Firms

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.”

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Comments on 2006-11-06 Markets and Firms

There was discussion of it at EmacsWiki:FreeSoftware.

AaronHawley 2006-11-06 21:57 UTC

Ah, thanks!

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-06 23:48 UTC

# 2006-11-07 Cluster Bomb Fanboys

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:

The numbers of cluster bombs deployed are mind-boggling. The US air force released 19m over Cambodia, 70m in Vietnam and 208m in Laos. Over much shorter periods, the US and the UK dropped some 54m cluster bombs on Iraq during the 1991 Gulf war and around 2m during the 2003 Iraq invasion. Israel scattered 4m cluster bombs over Lebanon during its latest invasion earlier this year, almost all of them during the final 72 hours. It looked like revenge, or an attempt (like its deliberate bombing of the Jiyeh power plant, causing a massive oil spill) to cripple Lebanon’s economy. Since the invasion, more than two Lebanese civilians have been blown up by cluster bombs each day on average. [1]

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:

Regarding Iraq, the Democrats’ plan has two parts. First, they want Iraqis to assume “primary responsibility for securing and governing their country”. Then they want “responsible redeployment” of American forces.
Older readers may recognise this formula. It’s Vietnamisation - the Nixon-Kissinger plan for extracting us from a mistake. But Vietnamisation was not a plan for victory. It was a plan for what was called “peace with honour” and is now known as “defeat”.
Maybe A New Direction is just a campaign document. My fear is that the House Democrats may try to use it as a basis for governing. [2]

The reasons for voting against the Republicans:

1. Send a strong signal against future war-monger wannabes.

The reasons to vote for Democrats:

# 2006-11-07 Interesting Error Messages

I connected to iLike and got the following error message:

"I've fallen... and I can't get up!"
We’re down for a few moments while we update our servers with new features. Hold tight, we’ll be back shortly!
Looking for something to do in the meantime? Why don’t you enjoy a nice game of Lemmings or Sudoku.

What a cute idea!

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# 2006-11-07 Timecapsule Design

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.

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Heh. If it’s a Linux Time Capsule the messages would all be written on the outside. In Obfuscated Perl.

A Microsoft Time Capsule would weigh 900 tonnes, be surrounded by ten layers of barbed wire, security cameras and guard dogs. But the door would be open. Inside would be an EULA stating that the contents are confidential. There would be nothing else in the capsule. It would break after being opened for an hour.

An Apple Time Capsule would be gorgeous to look at; so gorgeous that you’d not want to open it up. It would either be all white, or all black. There would be a tiny scratched screen covered in fingerprints. If you do open it, the contents would be written in Obfuscated Perl.

A Sony Time Capsule could only be opened using Sony hardware. It would be made by Sony, and only contain items owned by Sony. It would gradually get smaller over time.

A MacDonalds Time Capsule would be made of red and yellow cardboard. It would look nothing like it’s picture; the lid would fall sloppily to one side and it will be leaking a strange off-white liquid. It will contain 10,000 calories and come with a side-order of fries.

Clearly, I have too much time on my hands today

GreyWulf 2006-11-07 11:03 UTC

http://www.deadmedia.org puts this in some perspective.

– Anonyme 2006-11-12 17:09 UTC

# 2006-11-08 Einspruch gegen den Einsatz von Wahlcomputern

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:

Bevor der Stadtverordnetenversammlung nun den neuen Oberbürgermeister wählt, muss der Wahleinspruch in einer öffentlichen Sitzung geprüft werden. Auf Anfrage von heise online bestätigte die Kreiswahlleiterin den Vorgang, wollte sich aber nicht zu den Vorwürfen Langens oder des CCC äußern. Sie werde bis zur Sitzung ein Gutachten erstellen. Wann konkret über den Einspruch entschieden wird, steht noch nicht fest. Die Ernennung des Oberbürgermeisters wurde vorläufig um acht Tage auf den 28. November verschoben. [1]

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.

I was afraid Germany would just resignate in the face of the investments made. The USA and the Netherlands still have to take appropriate steps.

# 2006-11-09 Nostalgia for Rolplaying Games

GreyWulf writes about the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia “released back in 1991 as an effort to collect all of the Real D&D (RD&D - as opposed to AD&D; Artificial D&D )”

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!

Sniff.

I ended up buying the book. My first PDF book purchase!

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.

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Comments on 2006-11-09 Nostalgia for Rolplaying Games

Way to go, Alex I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. The text is in a very tightly compressed 3 column layout which can be difficult to read on screen, so it’s definitely best to print it out. As I said in the review, think in terms of “castes” rather than character classes, and it even makes sense. There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about the system, and it’s just as much fun to play now as was all those years ago.

We’re in the middle of playtesting Microlite20 in our group now, though we’re itching to get back to classic D&D gaming once more.

GreyWulf 2006-11-09 11:47 UTC

The printer in my company failed to print it. Terrible. I’ll have to read it on screen, haha.

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-09 15:26 UTC

There’s also nostalgia for better spelling in page titles.

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-10 15:47 UTC

Misspelled page titles are worse when the page in question is the first post tagged RPG on this blog!

AlexSchroeder 2012-03-01 09:55 UTC

# 2006-11-09 Presentations

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…

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# 2006-11-10 Importance of Info Pages

While following some referrers, I stumbled upon the ArchLinux wiki. And there, on a page about ArchLinux, I found this:

In its goal to be simple and lightweight, I’ve left out the relatively useless portions of a Linux system, things like /usr/doc and the info pages [1]

I bet they don’t use Emacs.

When I start editing my Makefiles, I need to refer to the info pages every single time.

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# 2006-11-10 Rollenspiele in Zürich

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.

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# 2006-11-11 Preparing for Bangkok

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)

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Comments on 2006-11-11 Preparing for Bangkok

Yoooohooo! Bangkok this year!

V 2006-11-18 18:42 UTC

When do you go to Bangkok? Have you read the Wikitravel guide? I think the English one is a lot farther developed than the German one.

EvanProdromou 2006-11-21 17:58 UTC

I’m back!! And no, I did not read Wikitravel before going. We buy old-fashioned books; our prefered publisher in the travel category is “Reise Know-How” (German).

Pictures to follow, I’m sure. I guess I’ll have to get a paid Flickr account so that I can have more than three sets…

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-24 10:25 UTC

# 2006-11-11 Sikkim Trekking

A friend of ours who went to Sikkim & Darjeeling posted his pictures on Flickr. [1] [2] [3]

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.

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Thanks for the link! I wanted to post an entry on my blog as well, but had no time so far

2ni 2006-11-14 09:17 UTC

# 2006-11-12 Scoop

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.

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My favorite Woddie Allen film is by far The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), in which, somewhat unsurprisingly, Allen doesn’t appear. – hober

My favorite was "Sleeper."

LionKimbro 2006-11-14 00:30 UTC

# 2006-11-14 Arrival

I felt nervous and edgy the day of our departure. Strange, I used to be so calm. Maybe our terrible all-nighter the last year (2005-11-10 India Pictures) had gotten to me.

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.

We ate in the Baan Khun Mae restaurant just in front of the hotel on Soi 7 and paid a little over 800฿ including service charge. The food was excellent. Check out some reviews online. [1] [2] [3]

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…

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Wenn ich die Photos der Gerichte vom Baan Khun Mae Restaurant sehe, dann wuerde ich mich am liebsten gleich ins Flugzeug setzen und nach Thailand reisen. Schon das ausgezeichnete Essen ist die Reise wert.

– Helmut Schroeder 2006-11-25 17:09 UTC

We had deep fried king fish, prawn red curry (not sure whether it was paenang curry?), minced shrimp springrolls, dimsum with peanut and turnip filling, taro broiled in syrup with coconut milk, according to our notes.

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-26 00:08 UTC

# 2006-11-15 Chinatown

We woke up at around 4am and couldn’t sleep until 6am. Jet lag! Then we had to get up at around nine for breakfast. Argh!

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.

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# 2006-11-16 Ayutthaya

We took an organized tour to Ayutthaya and looked at a few temples. As you can see from the WikiTravel page, there are tons of tempels to visit, and we saw but three of them. We started with Wat Yai Chaimonkorn where we saw the reclining Buddha (no pictures), the courtyard with the many Buddha statues (no pictures), and the big Chedi, then we drove to Wat Phra Si Sanphet, looked at the big Buddha inside the double roof house, and then at the ruins of the old city.

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.

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How long were you in Thailand ? You don’t seem to have traveled around as much as you did when you were here

AlokSingh 2006-11-27 09:30 UTC

Hehe. Definitely not as busy as in India! We spent nine nights in Bangkok, and we stayed in the same hotel all the time.

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-27 11:04 UTC

# 2006-11-17 Sanam Luang

Today we wanted to see the temples in Bangkok. Sanam Luang is the district to visit. We got up at 9:00, ate breakfast, and took bus 15 from Mah Boon Krong Center to Wat Phra Kaeo (Images:Wat+Phra+Kaeo) and Grand Palace.

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.

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# 2006-11-18 Chatuchak Weekend Market

Today is a Saturday. Time for the Chatuchak Weekend Market!

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…

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# 2006-11-19 Around Parliament

We got up late. Big surprise!

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…

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# 2006-11-20 Giant Swing

We left the hotel at around 15:00… Enough said!

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.

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# 2006-11-21 Patunam

Tuesday. Erawan Shrine, Baiyoke 2 Tower, meandering through Patunam market, Indra Plaza, Big C, Narai Phand (Thai handicraft), bought presents, trousers for Claudia & her students, ate in Once Upon a Time in Soi 17, got lost in some sort of opening night at the Gaysorn Plaza where the rich & beautiful drank sparkling wine and listened to Jazz music as TV moderators babbled on and on about special sales and credit cards and sweepstakes. We must have gotten lost in a parallel universe. It took us a while to find our way back into our own lives.

By then the effects of the arm, shoulder, and back massage we had gotten at the hotel had worn off.

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# 2006-11-22 Cabbage Field Palace

Claudia hat migraine and stayed at the hotel. I went to Suan Pakkard Palace (“Cabbage Field Palace”) and went shopping in the Narai Phand again. (“A joint venture between the Ministry of Industry and the private sector, Narai Phand Co., Ltd has evolved to become the largest Thai Handicrafts center in Thailand.”) In the evening, I met Claudia and we went shopping in Mah Boon Krong. We decided to buy an iPod Nano 4G for Claudia to replace her CD collection when she goes teaching.

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 [1]. Rather fitting for the last night in Bangkok…

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# 2006-11-23 Time to Go

“Every thing has an end, except the sausage, which as two.” At least that’s what they say in German.

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.

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# 2006-11-25 Flickr

I gave in and bought a Flickr “pro” account giving me more than just three sets to work with. [1] 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.

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I guess some data hungry molochs are better than others though Flickr has managed to retain a lot of its independence from Yahoo, which is good; it still feels pretty much like it did in the old pre-bought-by-Yahoo days.

I’ve added you as a contact in Flickr. Welcome to our world!

btw - I’m in the middle of changing the layout on the Macropedia, so don’t worry if it looks….odd… for a while - background images are uploading oh…so….slowly….

GreyWulf 2006-11-26 10:34 UTC

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:

• Very quick to power up and shoot → I often want to point and shoot, not to point, wait, and shoot.
• No optical zoom → less moving parts to break (this is what happened to the optical zooms of my old Panasonics)

What I didn’t like:

• Night shots that looked ok on the LCD turned out to be very dark or full of noise (which gets worse if you later want to quickly normalize levels electronically)

Why not go for a Digital SLR? You get much better picture quality, better battery life and more control.

For the price, the Pentax K110D is hard to beat. Here in the UK it’s just £376 including lens, over £100 less than the cheapest Nikon or Canon. The K100D is much more expensive (£599). The only difference is that the K100D has built in image stabilisation. It’s nice, but no great loss for the difference in price. It uses SD cards too, so your 1Gb card won’t be wasted

The K110D looks perfect for low-light photography. It goes all the way to ISO3200 - that’s 3 stops more sensitive than most compact digitals, and what I use on my Canon 300D for night photography.

If I was looking for a throw around camera, that’s the one I’d go for.

GreyWulf 2006-11-26 14:03 UTC

Hm, the review does sound interesting. I’m just afraid I got used to very small and light-weight cameras. I’ll try and find a shop here in Zürich where I can pick it up give it a try. Too bad I gave away my dad’s very old non-digital camera with some lenses many years ago. Should I buy a “real” camera again, those lenses would have come handy.

It seems that I should be able to get the K100D with the 18-55mm lens for CHF 871 (GBP 372) from a shop in the town I work in. That would be nice because I could go there if breaks…

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-26 14:45 UTC

Good idea. When it comes to cameras, it’s all about how it feels in your hands and whether your mind works the same way as the controls. I prefer Canons while Christa loves Nikons. It’s a mentality thing, nothing more.

If I remember rightly, the Pentax is tiny for a digital SLR. While it’s not as small as a compact, it should fit easily into a large coat pocket. And Pentax lenses are great - very cheap, very popular, and very sharp. It’s easy to pick up second-hand pentax lenses for very little money right now. While I’d never buy lenses from ebay, it does give a good indication of second-hand lens prices for Pentaxes.

The lens that comes as standard with the camera looks very good though, so I don’t think you’d need to replace it for a while

GreyWulf 2006-11-26 15:09 UTC

For quick snapshots without waiting for things to set up, I’ve come to appreciate being able to have my cellphone (Sony k800i) ready in standby mode and just open the lens cover and shoot whenever I find a composition.

DianeMurray 2006-11-26 20:32 UTC

Hm, how strange. The difference between the Pentax K100D (CHF 871) and Pentax K110D (853) seems to be really small (using the price comparison portal toppreise.ch). I like built-in image stabilisation because I don’t like using a flash.

When I picked up one of the cameras in a shop, I was surprised how light they were, but I was still scared of the bulk. Would I carry such a camera on the streets of Rio, Tetuan, or Rome? I don’t know. I’ll have to change my entire approach to digital fotography. I think I’ll just have to go ahead and do it.

And so I did.

I ordered it.

As for mobile phones – both Claudia and I are currently stuck with lousy 1.3 megapixel phones, and we’re not planning to invest any money in new phones. I’ll probably give my Exilim S2 to Claudia and she’ll carry it along…

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-27 22:57 UTC

Excellent! I look forward to seeing your photos.

That price difference is unfair! The cheapest I’ve found the K100D in the UK is £549 - that’s a big price hike from the K110D. Ah well.

I’ve lugged cameras though Kenya, Venice and New York, among others. Generally there’s no problem provided you don’t just leave it someplace and walk away. I’ve known soooooooo many people do that with their cameras, then act surprised when it ain’t there when they return. Park benches. That’s the most common spot.

If I’m in a tourist area, I always wind the strap around my wrist rather than carry the camera around my neck. That way it’s more accessible for me, but less accessible to others. Simple, really.

The only time I had trouble was here in the UK - a group of “youths” approached looking non too friendly. That’s when I was happy I’d got my black carbon fibre monopod on hand. A quick flick of the release mechanism on that and they fled

GreyWulf 2006-11-28 17:18 UTC

What’s this monopod thing? A martial arts kind of thing?

In all fairness, the merchant hasn’t written back to confirm my order. Weird.

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-28 17:52 UTC

ich bin super zufrieden mit meiner exilim 7.2. schnell, gute bilder, klein.

und du meinst, bevor ich mir (endlich!) eine neue sd karte kaufe, soll ich mal bei dir nachfragen?

zeno 2006-11-28 21:16 UTC

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 Philosophy. 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.

Reading more about the d20 SRD and seeing the list of reviews on EN World, I stumbled upon the Asian Bestiary Vol 1. It would fit that new campaign idea I have… 😊

Oh and I translated M20 into German! M20 Grundregeln.

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Ich wäre (als Spieler) gerne dabei bei einem Spiel. M20 tönt sehr gut.

– Chris 2006-11-27 12:28 UTC

Habe eben die Übersetzung gelesen, das motiviert sehr. Was noch nach bald 20 Jahren Rollenspiel so ein Charakterblatt auslösen kann… ;)

– Chris 2006-11-27 15:57 UTC

I’m very glad you like Microlite20, Alex. From a philosophy point of view, there seem to be two different schools in RPG design; the “rules for everything” school of thought (D&D), and those systems that are small, light, simple and avoid excess lawgiving. Insert your comparison between UNIX and Microsoft here

M20 is an attempt to force D20 into the second camp and away from the former. That way we get the best of both worlds - all those lovely monsters, adventures and campaign worlds ready for the picking, but none of the arguments about rules.

That’s the idea, anyway

I like that people are extending it, taking it in different directions. I was amazed the someone came up with a Modern variant within a week of me posting it on ENWorld. While it’s not how I’d do it (I’d just change the names of the classes to Brawler, Jack-of-all-Trades, Priest and Arcanist and leave it at that), it showed a real empathy and buzz for what M20 was all about. We’d replaced the D&D PHB, the Monster Manual and the d20 Modern manual with couple of mini booklets.

Small and light frees folks to just sit down and role-play. And that, end the end of the day, is what it’s all about

GreyWulf 2006-11-27 22:55 UTC

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.

Examples: GURPS Lite is free on e23 and the D&D Rules Cyclopedia is $5.95 from RPG Now. 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 [1] [2].) 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. Too late. I bought it. Tags: Comments on 2006-11-28 Downloading Books I’ve found the best solution is to use something like Fine Print (or psbook in Linux) to produce A5 sized booklets. That works very well, and keeps the costs down. The price of .pdfs is wonderful right now; I don’t mind paying$6 for a classic adventure or new supplement, especially as the quality (especially of the new stuff) is so good. Role-players never had it so good. As you said, there’s a lot of great free stuff out there too.

If you’re looking for an good campaign setting, the Mahasarpa Campaign is a terrific one based on Indian and Asian mythology. It’s a web enhancement for Oriental Adventures (which I’ve just finished re-reading), but that isn’t really needed to get the feel of the setting. I ran a campaign using this setting a while back and loved it.

I’m thinking about starting a new campaign myself, and plan to use the city of Ptolus as an entry point into the World's Largest Dungeon. That should sort my gaming needs for years!

The Platyer's Guide to Ptolus is a free download, and it’s probably the best city-based/urban campaign setting ever made. I’d troughing through it now.

GreyWulf 2006-11-28 17:11 UTC

Thanks for the pointers! I will look into it.

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-28 17:53 UTC

Kitsunemori tönt sehr gut, z. B. der Höfling (spielt es in der Zeit von Genji oder Heike? Ah, beides wäre für diesen Charakter ein Fest) oder Shinto-Priester (der vielleicht mit Kaligraphien Demönen beschwört oder Schutzzauber wirkt) oder natürlich der Bogeschützte…

– Chris 2006-11-28 22:09 UTC

# 2006-11-29 Finding the Tengu

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.

See also Wikipedia:Tengu and if you feel like exploring, on to Wikipedia:Kuniyoshi, a print artist, who is related to Wikipedia:Suikoden, a game I have played on the original Playstation. Whee!

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Comments on 2006-11-29 Finding the Tengu

SOJOBO / TENGU KING hat Minamoto Yoshitsue ausgebildet. Und der hat die Heike geschlagen, mitsammt deren Chef Taira no Kiomori. Der wiederum hat mal - bei einem Feldzug gegen eine Armee Mönche - mit einem Pfeil auf einen Schrein geschossen. Um zu beweisen, dass die Götter entweder nicht rachsüchtig oder nicht sehr mächtig sind.

– Chris 2006-11-29 20:07 UTC

Genau von denen reden wir.

Ich habe mir mal Japanische Volksmärchen (für 2€ bei Amazon 2nd hand erhältlich) auf das Bett gelegt. Vielleicht gibt es ja noch mehr Inspiration!

Und ich habe mir die wichtigsten Regelbücher gekauft: D&D Player's Handbook v3.5 und D&D Dungeon Master's Guide v3.5 von Wizards of the Coast. Go D&D, go!

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-30, 2006-12-01

Habe ich schon mal das Buch “Die Geschichte vom Prinzen Genji” erwähnt? Ist eines der ältesten japanischen Bücher und erzählt das Leben eines japanischen Prinzen in der Heian-Zeit (794–1185), der “seligen alten Zeit” Japans, in denen es noch keine Kriege(r) gab und der Reichtum und die Macht des Hofes absolut war. Die zwei Bände sind wirklich gut: am Anfang ein wenig unbeholfen (die Autorin war da - gemäss erklärendem Text - noch wenig geübt) und gegen Ende ein wenig repetitiv, aber trotzdem ein ausgezeichnet Buch.

Ein dünnes Buch ist “Das Kopfkissenbuch der Dame Sei Shonagon”, es wurde in der gleichen Zeit geschrieben und beschreibt den Alltag der Autorin am Hof.

– Chris 2006-12-01 19:13 UTC

Ja, wir haben schon einmal über Prinz Genji gesprochen – dass die Frau zum Beispiel immer hinter der Papierwand verborgen war, und so weiter. Jetzt muss ich mir es wirklich einmal bestellen.

So. Bei BookMooch bestellt.

Dabei habe ich übrigens noch den hier gesehen: The Tale of Genji (Kodansha Bilingual Comics) (Paperback) by Waki Yamato. Wär’ das nichts für dich?

AlexSchroeder 2006-12-01

Bestellt!

– Chris 2006-12-01 21:06 UTC