Sunday, 9 December 2012

[actual play] Vampire the Requiem - The Two Thrones

Episode 2 - Bloody Mary


Part 3


Galen sat in the dark, trying to focus his own senses and mind on the Mithraeum, to tap into the voice that spoke to him. He sat there in the dark, his mind open to the shadows, and yet he heard nothing. But a part of him nagged at his mind. Jealousy and envy. He wanted things, and part of him whispered his desires.

The next night Tristan awoke, again his dreams disturbed. But later the dreams would seem even more real. Dressed and ready to go out to his club, Tristan, and his ghoul, Carl, heard the screams of a woman. The screams came from with in the building, from the floor below of the apartment block. Tristan, with some hesitation, went out to see what was wrong. The apartments all opened out onto the atrium, and from here all floors could be seen. Two floors down a woman was screaming. She was screaming for her dead husband, and for her daughter.

Others were out of their apartments and also listening, and so with them, Tristan headed down to the woman. Some tried to console her, and others tried to ask what had happened. All Tristan could see was the large amounts of blood - not her blood - on her hands and clothes.

Tristan went inside, looking to find the daughter who should have been inside. It seemed the mother had been working late at the theater and so her husband and daughter were at home. Tristan could see that there was blood, red stains across the plastered walls and the door handle. Hardly fresh though.

Tristan crept into the apartment, noting the expensive furniture, the type of thing his parents liked. There on the floor was the dead husband, and as Tristan stepped forward there was the unsettling squelch of blood as it seeped up from the carpet. Blood had pooled all about the man. But there was something strange. He was face down before a large mirror, and the blood - it had some how flowed up to the mirror. The mirror it self was old, and the frame was ornate with pealing gold leaf. And it was cracked.

Tristan went forward and crouched down, and found that the man had lost his eyes. They were torn from the sockets and he was left with a grimace of pain. Tristan could hear the police sirens getting close. Someone had called the police. It was then that he also heard a frightened panting. From the bedroom door he could see crouched in the wardrobe, peering through the crack of the door, was the daughter. Tristan beckoned her to him in his most sympathetic voice, and lifted her up, taking her quickly from the apartment and the body of her father.

At the club, Tristan and Galen met and spoke to each other about what had happened and what they had learnt. Tristan explained how he would later go back and into the apartment once the police were done with the crime scene. Galen of course obtained the written invitations from Tristan, and was planning on going back with the gift for Nails. But Galen was also planning on going down to the Mithraeum again to see if he could determine the source of that voice.

In the darkness of the canals and tunnels Galen walked, trying not to fall in the water, dodging rats and trying to ensure he did not get lost. As he shone the torch around, he saw in walking towards him a figure, walking tall in a long overcoat and top hat. As the figure got closer Galen stood still. The Beast in him did not stir, but he was scared of this strange being. Galen stood still, and simply said 'Good Evening'. The figure did not reply, except to tilt his hat in respect. As they walked past, Galen for a moment though he could see the true form of the being. That the hat was long ears, the face was fanged and with a bat like snout, and the the coat was in fact wings through which his torch shone.

Galen's first stop was with Nails, back in the Undercity gathering spot. The chamber was not empty, and again there were fires lit, laughter, whispers and the exchange of goods. Nails was unfortunately not present, but some of the others did say that he would be along in short time.

Galen was approached by a bald, gaunt looking vampire, who introduced himself as Ralf. Ralf listened to Galen and confirmed for him the rumours of the blood sorcerer employed by Natalia Kerkfot. Ralf then went on to offer his aid in future and that he would see Galen around.

Galen finally got to see Nails and  gave him the invitation to Elysium for which Nails was greatful. Galen then left the gathering in the sewers and headed back to the Mithraeum in the hopes of communing with the entity he thought lurked there.

The club was strange that night, and Tristan felt constantly on edge. Always as if he was being watched. In the crowded club no-one ever noticed his blurred reflection, but he began to get the feeling that something was off with the mirrors. He then spotted it, the dead husband, his eyes missing, and somehow reaching for him in the mirror.

Tristan made a quick exit from the club and head back to his apartment haven, only to be haunted by the apparition future. Both he and his ghoul, Carl, saw the eyeless man reaching out for them, blood pouring forth from his empty eye sockets and mouth.

Tristan and Carl left the apartment and decided that until the haunting ceased then
they would stay  in a hotel. It was while they were leaving the apartment that they realized they were being followed. Choosing to confront the person, they were met by a small, lanky man. There was something strange about him. He called himself Mikey, and said he knew that they were being haunted, and knew what was killing people. But he would only help if they would promise his own safety until the killer was stopped. Mikey then reached out with his hand to shake on it. Tristan was wary of this stranger and had learnt the simply touching other vampires could cause trouble. Who knew what he was dealing with here. He told the man to leave them and that there was no deal, but Mikey, as he left, suggested they look at the bloodline.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Darker Days Radio Episode #40

Dave "Death and Arcana" Brookshaw

Mike and Chris are joined again by Dave Brookshaw, a writer for Mage's recent Left-Hand Path sourcebook. In the Secret Frequency, the hosts explore Fengdu, the Chinese City of the Dead, and also discuss the legend of a slumbering dragon beneath Beijing. Following that is a lengthy Q&A with Dave Brookshaw, looking at Requiem's Blood Sorcery, the God Machine Chronicles, and the upcoming NWoD game, Mummy: the Curse.

Don't worry, we have some CWoD discussion in this episode too! And get pumped for our upcoming NWO Conventionbook review.

Darker Days Contest Information:

Send us some feedback, questions, or Forgotten Lore material and you'll have a chance to win a White Wolf novel or anthology.

Be sure to check us out at or our Posterous forum at!/. Be sure to subscribe through iTunes!

Featured Books:

Link For This Show:

Dave Brookshaw on Twitter:

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff:

icon for podbean

 Standard Podcasts [01:47:43m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download | Embeddable Player | Hits (1)


Rate it:

Thursday, 15 November 2012

[actual play] Vampire the Requiem - The Two Thrones


Episode 2: Bloody Mary


Part 1


Tristan dreamt. He was in Manchester, and in the cold alleyway blood dripped, a pitter patter of claret, onto the cobbled street. His mouth was slick with blood and there on the ground was his latest kill. The body was like a broken doll in the street lights. It was then it heard it. A disembodied voice from in the gloom of the alley way, calling for him, needing him.

Tristan followed the voice, down the twisting, Escher like street, and barely noticed how the street gave way to thick vines of tearing thorns. The whisper beckoned to him, wanted him, and led him to a graveyard. The moon was high in the sky, and from a mausoleum. Tristan walked up to the gate of the tomb, and went into the darkness.

Tristan awoke in his bed in a sweat, the sheen of blood staining the bed sheets. He needed to feed and have a walk.

Galen was awake and preparing for the meeting at Elysium. Once more it was held at the Circle Club, and it was a chance for Galen to find out more about the blood sorcerer that Constable Ihram was looking for. It was in Galen's bathroom, of his grotty haven, that his mentor (if you can call an aspiration that), had left him a message. The mirror was steamed up and written in the condensation was 'The Thorns, they Tear'.

Galen and Tristan were at the Circle Club. There was still much talk about the death of Fiona, and that Galen was something of a hero amongst the younger Carthians. There was also talk of renewed fights and postering between the Invictus and the Carthians, and that the Constable, and certain elder Carthians and Invictus had been working to prevent these fights.

The entire Elysium was abruptly interrupted as a man burst down the stairway from the entrance. He immediately made his way to Bishop Michael Kenner. The bearded, stern looking priest, and leader of the Lancea Sanctum in the city, looked down on the cowering man. The younger vampire begged for forgiveness, crying that all his friends were dead, that they had been punished by the mother of Longinus.

The young vampire was taken aside by the Bishop and the Elysium was rife with gossip. Ihram took Tristan and Galen to the store room and, following his earlier deal with Galen, but now also offering Tristan an incentive, asked for them to go and take their Ruth along with them and investigate the haven of the dead vampires. Ihram knew where they made their haven as he had been watching them like many of the coteries of young Kindred and Anarchs.

The coterie took Ruth's van and made their way to haven, which was an abandoned apartment block in Longsight. They made their way in through the damaged fence and into the dank and filth ridden building. There were signs of fire damage and the place was littered with all manner of foul things. Needles from addicts and discarded condoms and spray paint cans were scattered around, and the coterie that Tristan and Galen were looking for were in a pair of apartments. There were bodies all around in the apartments. There were mortals and there were decapitated vampires. There were even bodies of Kindred who had had their hearts removed.

Tristan picked about and found a pile of notes that look like some sort of instructions for a ritual, while Galen took photos. In the bathroom Galen found a grotty and foul room, and in the basin was sticky blood. On the cracked mirror was a bloody hand smear, and weirdly there was a foot print. The bloody print was on the basin, and somehow was halfway in the mirror, or would be if the mirror was not there.

Ruth looked at the notes and explained to the others that this was some sort of initiation ritual, but with no special meaning. It was some sort of petty mimicry of a Lancea Sanctum ritual, but with the added nonsense of calling upon the Bloody Mary myth, and of course this has perhaps some relation to the tales of Longinus’ mother, the ‘Bloody Mary’.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

[actual play] Vampire the Requiem - The Two Thrones



Vampire the Requiem - Manchester
Season 2 - The Two Thrones
Episode 1 - Ashen Cross

Part 2


Tristan left the club and found Patrick Falken sat waiting on the hood of his car.The sharp suited businessman was smoking and flicking the ash onto the hood of the car. Tristan tersely asked what Patrick wanted. Patrick had learnt of the missing Invictus vampire, and that there were now a number of issues to deal with. In particular he wanted Tristan to investigate the missing vampire. He suggests that they meet the next evening to sort out the details as they need to move fast.

The next evening Galen awoke in the hotel room he used for the night. He had holed up in the bathroom to ensure he was not hit by any sunlight. He checked his emails and made his way back to his haven, checking that he wasn’t followed.

Tristan met at Ship Canal House, where Patrick Falken kept his offices. The offices reflected the art nouveau design of the building, and Partick’s office was painted in dark greens with dark stained wood furnishings. He was sat before his computer and explained to Tristan that there were a number of people investigating the missing vampire. There was of course the lover, who had now drawn in a Lancea Sanctum Bailiff. He also suggested that Natalia Kerkoft’s own personal Hound would more than likely be involved. Patrick suggested to Tristan to find out why the hell any of this happened as the last thing he needed was a murder of an Invictus vampire on Carthian territory.

At Elysium, at the Circle Club, Galen sat waiting at the bar for Tristan to arrive. While at the bar he was approached by an unknown man who simply warned Galen not to speak to anyone. He gave the name of Dillinger.

Later on Tristan arrived, and together with Galen they privately spoke with Matthew Rain. Matthew suggested they speak to Rebecca Castle to find out more about the dead vampire’s lover and the Bailiff. He did mention that while the gossip was about how Fiona had died, the real issue was more to do with why, or why this was more important.

Galen headed off to go and see the Chamberlain in order to get an audience with the Constable, while Tristan headed off to the church where Rebecca held her practice.

Galen got the sense of being followed. Just as he spotted his shadow she was already in his face. She led him down an alleyway and threatened him. She knew what he did and was expecting a deal. He told her he didn’t know what she was talking about. She then said that when Galen was ready to make a deal she would meet him at the gas station. With that she slinked back off into the crowd of the busy night.


Arriving at the museum, Galen was told to wait, but was eventually taken to the Chamberlain. Galen was led through some of the exhibits to an older part of the museum and then downstairs. In an office which resembled a dusty library, the Chamberlain sat with an overspilling ash tray. Odans was rather anachronistic, wearing a suit more Victorian in style. Odans explained that he was happy that Galen had come seeking his advice and that of the Constable, but there are limits to what the Carthians can help with.

Tristan arrived at the gloomy church and headed around the back to the vicar’s chambers. He rapped on the door and was greeted by two ghouls. Rebecca recognised his voice and allowed him in, but briefly as she had a study group arriving. Tristan was welcome to join them.

She explain to Tris
tan on questioning that she does not favour Hoyle due to his romantic involvement with an Invictus, and it has begun to show in his growing thirst for power. She also explains that she did not know that the Bailiff was working on the case, and she finds it odd as it is outside of the Bailiff’s jurisdiction.


Galen had time to kill and needed to be sure of threat and so drove to the gas station he visited the other night. He went into the shop to pay for a chocolate bar and was joined by the girl. In the light it was clear that she lived on the streets, her hair lank and hair coat caked in filth. Together they drove for a bit in the direction of the grounds where Galen disposed of the body, but Galen pulled over, ending any deal the girl thought she could get out of him.

Tristan was at his club. It was busy, as expected for a Friday night. As he stood watching he got the sense of being watched, and someone kept whispering to him. It came from all directions. He then spotted at the fire exit a man with a face covered in red veins. Tristan followed him outside into the alleyway. The vile looking vampire presented himself as Dillinger and that he works for Kerkoft and wants Galen for questioning.

As the club night wrapped up, Tristan went to leave and headed to the carpark when he felt the Beast stir and was confronted by Fiona’s lover, Scott Hoyle. Scott swung for Tristan, not satisfied with the answers he was getting. But Tristan proved the faster and stronger fighter, slamming the vampire against a brick wall, leaving the man dazed, and crying tears of blood, sobbing for his missing lover.








Tuesday, 9 October 2012

[actual play] Vampire the Requiem - The Two Thrones

Vampire the Requiem - Manchester

Season 2 - The Two Thrones

Episode 1 - Ashen Cross

Galen awoke on the floor, face down. It was cold and concrete, and filthy. And sticky. Galen sat up and looked at his hands as his eyes adjusted to the gloom. The dirt filtered light shone down from the flickering lights above. It reflected off the blood that was caked over his hands. And there was more. It covered his face, his clothes, and his mouth tasted of it. And then there was the body. Galen brushed his lank dark hair to the side to see better. There on the stairs with him has body. A vampire. He knew this because he could sense the blood in his mouth was vitae. Galen’s eyes widen at the realization.

Where the hell am I?

Galen reached out with his senses.The rat piss stench intensified. The light from above became an stark orange. And now he could hear the sounds of cars above. He was in a carpark, in the stairwell, and he was below ground. He hurried search the body, looking for some clue to give him an idea of who they were, who she was. He skin was sunken, like stretched vellum. And her fangs were exposed.

Galen  rushed up the steps and out into the carpark. He checked the cars there, and choose an older model that was less likely to have an alarm. With his elbow he shattered the passenger window, popped the trunk and rooted about. He found and overcoat and a bag of recently worn sportswear. He then went back and quickly dragged the body to the car and bundled the corpse into the trunk. Galen then put on some of the clothes in the sports bag, as at least they were cleaner than what he was currently wearing. With that done all that was left was to drive and find somewhere to get rid of the body.

In Fallowfield, Tristan had arrived at the Lancea Sanctum mass that he had been invited to. It was a typical red brick church that was common to Manchester. There we some ghouls as guards on the gate to the grounds and at the front doors. But they were dressed like normal parishioners. Tristen stepped out of the car and smoothed his suit down and idly check himself in the mirror, for what it was worth.
At the front door of the church waiting was Sister Rebecca Castle. She was dressed in her stern suit, but also wore the muted robes of the Westminster Creed. No regal reds and purples here. Just blacks and whites and silver Chi-Rho on each breast. She greeted Tristan, thanking him for his time and for representing the Carthians, and how that she hoped that they could reaffirm the alliance between church and government as she fears that return of the Ordo Dracul to the city is just the start of darker times.
Tristan took a seat in the church, which plain, as is standard with a Protestant church. Once the front doors were shut and locked the curtains were drawn across all windows and the nights rites began.
First Castle read out notices which were all rather mundane and uninteresting. Tristan just sat at the back of the church checking his phone. But once those had all been read out the real business began. Castle had chosen to read from the Rule of Golgotha.

‘Incline your ears, O my children of the night, and let these humble words

fly to your hearts. Know that the teachings of our father Longinus are a

great burden upon us, and that the judgment of God is most justly severe.

Recognize that these words are written not at the bidding of any man, nor

any demon, but for and through the purpose of our God.’

Galen drove from the carpark, in Ancoats, near the train station, to an abandoned factory. Along the way he stopped off to buy some petrol, which he was using to soak the body and the wood piled on top of it. To make sure there would be no other evidence Galen had also smashed out the fangs from the corpse for later disposal. He looked on as the fire blazed, and it was then he got a call. It was Ruth, and she was pissed. She berated Galen for being late, and that she had heard from the dealer he didn’t show. Galen said he could meet them in 2 hours time.

Tristan watched the Lancea Sanctum rites continue, and as 3 mortals we brought before the altar. Their thoughts were slit and from the collected blood was then used as a sacrament. New members of the Covenant were anointed with blood and then the Mass was over. The gathered vampires split up into small groups to chat, and Tristan was joined by another of the Lancea Sanctum, the androgynous Nosferatu Priscus, Amanda Heath. She asked Tristan about the mass and how it work to their benefit to ensure the close relations with between the Lancea Sanctum and the Carthians.

Tristan left the church and checked his phone, noting that there was a message from Ruth. He listened to her complaint about Galen, and she said she would meet him and Galen at the Ascension club.

At the Ascension Club, Tristan was pleased to see it busy, ripe for h
unting. He made his way towards the vip area where the ghouled security kept watch. Past the curtains and into the secluded room were two other Kindred. One was the known to Tristan, Lauren Esten. She was dressed in her typically seductive attire and with her platinum hair. She had one of her herd with her and he was drowsy from being fed upon. Another man was present, dressed in a suit and with cropped curly hair. He introduced himself as Scott Hoyle and that he was looking for a missing friend and was wondering if she had come by the club. He explain that he had thought he had seen her with Galen.

Ruth arrived and showed Tristan to the store room of the club, where they waited for Galen who had picked up the goods from the dealers. Galen brought in a large sports bag and inside were parcels wrapped in brown paper and then in clingfilm. Ruth pulled out a flick knife and punctured one to show them that it was what she needed to continue manufacturing the next batch of speed. This material was just what she was cutting the speed with.

Tristan explained that there was someone in the club looking for Galen. Galen, concerned, went to see who this person was, even though they were both sure that this man was hiding something.

In the vip area Galen met Scott, and Scott explained that he was looking for Fiona Redditch, and that he had seen Galen with her. Galen dismissed it and that the woman that Scott described had not been with him at any point in the night. Scott got increasingly annoyed with Galen, and threatened that both he and Tristan would get what they deserved if Fiona was not found.

Galen, in need of more information, went to Elysium, held in the Circle Club, located under St Ann’s arcade. Galen awaited outside the black door, emblazoned upon which was a gold circle. He went inside and showed his ID and proceeded down into the club. The club was a dark and sombre place, with black slate and under lighting giving the cool glow to the venue. Galen waited for a chance to speak to the Myrmidon, Estabelle Duncanson. She wore her typical Victorian style garb. Estabelle took the time to listen to Galen’s questions, and informed him that the real Scott Hoyle had been in looking for Fiona, and that Fiona was a Invictus lacky while Scott Hoyle was of a Lancea Sanctum and believed to be romantically involved.

Galen returned to his haven, the old house back in Chorlton, and prepared to sleep for the evening. It was as he entered his ‘coffin’ that he noted something was wrong. The fangs of Fiona he had left there earlier were gone.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Darker Days Podcast » Blog Archive » Darker Days Radio: Darkling #26 - Iron Kingdoms

Mike and Chris are joined by Simon Berman, Community Coordinator and Staff Writer for Privateer Press.

In this Darkling we discuss the recent release from Privateer Press, the new edition of the Iron Kingdoms RPG. We look at what the setting has to offer, the similarity the game rules have with the wargames Warmachine and Hordes, and briefly discuss what we can look forward to in the future for this exciting new edition.

Send any feedback or questions send us an email at

For more information on all the products discussed in the show go to

Alternatively you can get more news and information by searching for Privateer Press on Google +, Facebook and Twitter, and you can also go looking for Simon Berman on there if you are interested in all his other work.

Be sure to check us out at or our Posterous forum at!/. Be sure to subscribe through iTunes!

Our new domain name is

Interested in the console game for Warmachine being developed by White Moon Games? Check out the fantastic trailer from E3

Interested in getting hold of Iron Kingdoms products digitally (D20 material but hey still a great read) follow the links Drivethrurpg.

Interested in painting lessons for your new Iron Kingdoms, Warmachine and Hordes minis and you're in the UK, check out

Below are some examples of their excellent Warmachine figures they have painted.

icon for podbean

 Standard Podcasts [01:04:11m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download | Embeddable Player | Hits (0)

'; }


Rate it:

Friday, 21 September 2012

[Vampire the Requiem] Galen

So as part of season two of my Vampire the Requiem chronicle we have one new character, Galen.


Galen is 




I am laying here in the grass of this warm summer night and watching the space above me.  The blinking stars I see there, are like small needles in a black carped. These lights are like hope, tiny, but people fight for it and in the end they are disappearing in the big black void. Void. That’s all I feel since I was embraced a few years ago.  I don’t know who it did and in the end it doesn’t matter, because here I am. Now I became to a life sucking monster, a Vampire, like a black hole swallows all life into a nothing. There are other Monsters alike me, some of them are bathing in glamour while they are stealing the energy of the mortals, other are more animals which are hiding in the darkness. But yet I couldn’t find anybody else, who is alike me, an instrument of the Void. Perhaps I am the only one. But also that doesn’t matter. Only one came to me to teach me the abilities and the lore of the darkness and the Void in my heart. Khaimann. I’ve never seen him, but I know when he is close to me. Then he whispers in my ear telling me truths and giving orders for the next lesson.

The sound of my MD-player is coming to my ears through the wind which bends the grass. On this disk are the latest sounds of the Jodrell Bank Telescope. It recorded sounds of a pulsar, far away of earth. I cant find any inspirations in it. I am musician, this is my instrument to show the Void which surrounds us and to destroy the illusions of all the light and the hope. I had been an musician already in lifetime, a guitarist. I cant remember this time anymore, there are only blurs of it left. It doesn’t matter anymore. But why are these thoughts coming to me right now.

I get up from the grass and shake the dirt away, then I notice somebody is close to me. A girl and a boy some meters away from me and they haven’t noticed me yet. The hunger overcomes me, sometimes I like to play with the hunger, trying to get closer to the physical void inside, but to keep the control over the animal inside, I have to drink blood sometimes. Oh, I can smell them. Teenagers, about to do  naughty things. Easy victims. In their reach I hide in the shadows and watch them both. A young gothic girl, perhaps 14 years old and a boy, about 17 years old, sporty but not really attractive. I see how they are playing and kissing each other. The boy is rude and I understand that he is here for the only one reason. She was easy to get and he took the chance and brought her here to do it. And tomorrow he would be accepted again by his friends as a man and not a boy anymore. She was looking for attention and love, which she couldn’t find at home. She believed that this guy would give it to her, because he was the first one who paid attention for more than five minutes.

His hands gets down on her body and tries to find a way in her pants, but she resist and says “not so fast, this is all new to me” but he is going on with his wanting and forces her hand away. She tries to fight him with words and her small hands, but she has no chance against him. To get control over the situation he hit her right in the face with the fist and tears her clothing down. He starts to penetrate her and her lips leaves a small whining. Its almost like a sad song. This is my turn, now I gonna interfere  and will take my dinner. I run out the shadow with my claws and teeth ready and attack the guy. My first strike hits him in the back, surprised about what happens to him, he is not able to react. My nails are tearing his skin and my teeth are digging in his neck to get this sweet juice what I need. In my ecstasy I almost forget the girl, I will take her after. I am feeling the warmth coming to my body and I feel the life and emotions again. Then the feeling is getting weaker and the blood flow disappears, I am coming back to earth and his body falls into the grass. The girl is still there and her pants are down her knees. Her eyes are full of tears and fear but over her lips I hear a small whisper. “kill me, please!” My hunger flies away immediately . “Why?” I answer. “There is nothing to life for me. This guy gave me love, when he tried to rape me. I wanted it, when he hit me and when he were violent to me, I felt his love. But you killed him. So please take me in your arms with all your love and kill me.” I feel fascinated by her fear and her wanting to die at the same time. Down her arms I see the scars and the fresh wounds she made by herself with a knife. She lost her hope for life and she barely understands that  everything is a lie. Love, warmth, light, success, Life, family everything is such fragile illusion when you are on the bottom of the world. “No. I wont kill you, because now you are enlightened by the great void.”

I move away from her and disappear in the shadow, but I am certain that I will meet her again. Perhaps then I gonna drink her blood, her sweet blood… a bit.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Sony Xperia S + P


So for the last few months or so I have had a new phone. Guess what brand (it's in the title). Now I have a soft spot for Sony phones. They have constantly been good feature phones; cyber shot, walkman, and of course now we are in the age of the smartphone. Now Sony was once in bed with Ericsson, and the first Android phone I bought was the Xperia X10. Now it had a lot of criticisms as it didn't come with the latest version of Android - it shipped with 1.6 - but over the lifetime of the phone it was upgraded up to 2.3 and by that point it was quite a good phone and did what I wanted, even if it was a little slow and laggy. But it still worked. Also compared to the phones at the time the X10 had a more original design in my opinion. It had a soft touch back that curved to fit in the hand well.

Now at the time my wife had the iPhone 3Gs. Now that still is quite a great phone. A bit limited for my tastes. It feels a bit clunky to use, but it still looks good compared to some of what comes out now. Also it had that nice pebble like back to it. It made is comfortable in the hand.

Now the new phones. So I have a Xperia S and same has the Xperia P. The S, P and the U, and the three phones of the new range, with the S being the largest and the P being the middle sized phone.

So design wise what do we have. We still have the curved back, and the S still has that nice soft touch plastic finish. It's a slim phone, and quite angular and imposing. Almost monolithic. Sharp edges and none of that pill-like overly curved corners. It of course as nice brushed metal buttons, and as always a dedicated camera button - which even when in locked mode the camera will spring to life. Otherwise it seems rather plain. Except that the phone as on the lower portion below the screen a clear strip that illuminates when the phone charges or is activated. This strip is also is where the antenna is. This strip really is a bit of a gimmick but also something that stops the phone being like all other black slabs. But recently this has become a useful design as an app now allows the strip to pulse when the phone receives a text or misses a call.

The P,  is of course a smaller phone, (4.0 inch diagonal widescreen HD rather than the 4.3 of the S). But rather than soft touch plastic the P is a aluminium body, following all the same design principles.

Now it's hard to say which phone looks better. Large screen and thinner, or aluminium body.

Now the S has just got android 4.0 while the P is getting the update from 2.3 in August. Now the difference between the software are subtle, and more so because Sony don't do any heavy skinning of android. The skin is an nice simplification of what was on my X10. Live wallpapers are simple but attractive, and the timescape app has been reduced in it's importance to the system. As for 4.0 compared to 2.3, Sony have backported some features.

Now if there is one thing I really like about the P is the white magic screen. So while both have Bravia Reality display screens, with the both using full HD, the P also has something extra. White Magic means the pixels are the typical green, cyan an magenta, but also a fourth white pixel. this pixel makes the screen brighter and also means the screen uses less power. It really does make a difference.

Is there much more to say? Well I think the improved screens and sizes make them both ideal for reading books, pdfs, comics, and are really good for watching movies.

If there is a phone that has got some unfair reviews recently it is the S.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Occult art show in Brooklyn

Occult art show in Brooklyn

by David Pescovitz,
November 30th -0001

David Pescovitz

Collector of anomalies, esoterica, and curiosities.

Where not otherwise specified, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution. Boing Boing is a trademark of Happy Mutants LLC in the United States and other countries.

Original Page:

Shared from Pocket

The Secret World - Review


Monday, 7 May 2012

Computers in my Life - Nerd from Birth - Part 5



About time I did the next one in this series.


University of course for me would be filled with computers and consoles. I remember that a room mate who was in the room next door on my floor of halls had bought with his first part of his student loan the PS2. I remember playing a lot of GTA3 on it and a few other games. I know the summer after my first year of uni was spent playing FFX as a friend back home also had the PS2.


In my second year of uni I of course got my own PC, which of course meant that I was now able to write stuff for roleplay on a more regular basis, plus be online a lot and take part gaming discussions.

But it was during my second year of uni that I got hold of a Xbox. Now this meant such games as Halo, and most importantly Silent Hill 2. Silent Hill 2 was an amazing game, that really put me on edge with it's horror and atmosphere. I did eventually complete the game to get the ultimate ending and to this day that game still freaks me out.

Another great game on the Xbox was Jet Set Radio Future. It was a stylish skater game, which blended elements of more serious skater type games with a more anime, cartoon, cell shaded look. Visually it was stunning. Gameplay wise it was so difficult. I did complete all of it but one challenge - echoing the issue I had with Treasure Island Dizzy on the Amiga (I completed the game all except for 1 gold coin).



The Xbox was a great bit of kit in the long run. I know many people who chipped it and turned it into a media centre. It was pretty cool to have it running and streaming movies off a pc. But I never did that with mine.


Of course the most important thing for me during university involving computers was my learning how to program. As part of my final thesis for my degree I was learning how to program in Fortran in order to modify computational chemistry programs. While I only had to spend 9 hours working on my thesis project I spent a lot more time on it learning to hack code, and learn other bits of programming languages. I was also generating data on large clusters and so really getting into the whole world of high performance computing. This is pretty much the start of my major geekdom into computers.


Next up Xbox 360, Android and Smart Phones.



Sunday, 29 April 2012

Computers in my Life - Nerd from Birth - Part 4

So where are we now in my journey of computing? Ah I think the nineties.


The nineties were filled with great things for me. I discovered alternative music, wargaming, roleplaying games, Vampire the Masquerade and of course .... nope... not girls. I wasn't the cool.


Around that time friends had consoles like the Sega Mega Drive, and then the Playstation. Weekends were spent playing games like Tekken, Resident Evil 2 and lots of Golden Eye on a set up with a N64, two tvs, a tv splitter, and some paper put across the upper or lower part of the screens for team play. Add to the mix games of Magic the Gathering and of course tv shows like Buffy, Angel and Stargate.


Now I never had a console. My parents weren't that flush with cash. But we did get a PC. Now at school they had PCs and so I was already used to using Word and Excel and of course a little bit mroe programming, but nothing major. In fact high school used to have a whole load of BBC computers before the switch over.

Now this was I guess the new world for computing. We got a PC, and then it wasn't long until it was connected to the net. Yeah, or course I used it for home work. But there was more. Chatrooms and forums and fan sites.

So via the PC I found more sites devoted to the goth alternative asthetic, I found White Wolf fan sites and the old online gaming chat forums. And of course there was some gaming to be had. Diablo 2, Mech Warrior and a few others.

Needless to say the PC was a important part of my life it helped me discover so many things that went on to shape who I am now.


Oh and dial up? What the fuck was that!


Yeah I wanted to be one of these guys!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Computers in my Life - Nerd from Birth - Part 3 @rustyrockets

As a brief aside, here is a great piece by Russel Brand from his series 'Ponderland'. The series in general is excellent, and some of the observations are hilarious. In particular in this episode he comments on how computers and cellphones have changed. Note this was him joking about how cellphones have changed our lives, and this was recorded before smartphones had arrived.


Anyway the clip itself is about the ZX Spectrum. Fortuantely the Amiga 500 didn't sound like it was shitting out bees when loading games. Enjoy.



Friday, 27 April 2012

Computers in my Life - Nerd from Birth - Part 2

The Amiga 500 - and others.


So last time I quickly blogged about the pong computer console. My memories of it are that it has a certain chemical smell to it. The white plastic had yellowed quickly with time. And of course it was heavy. Very heavy.

Now other friends at primary school had computers. One had the ZX Spectrum, and another had an Amstrad. My cousins had of course an Atari 520 ST (or something of that brandfrom around that time). Another friend had the Commodore 64.

But one Christmas, I think 1991 as I was 7, my parents got for my sister and myself the Amiga 500 Screen Gems pack.

Holy shit.




It had games based on movies (Nightbreed, Back to the Future Part 2, Days of Thunder), another game called Shadow of the Beast 2. Fuck these were hard games to play. Even mroe so when you only have a mouse.

Other things included we Delux Paint 2 which was quite impressive for what it could do. To be able to create images on a colour screen was amazing.

Now of course it had attachements that would allow you to output to the TV and video. So in theory you could do video editing with it.

Of course it only had 512k of RAM, but we did get it an upgrade to a full meg of Ram (how fucking stupid does that sound in this day an age). But it did mean there were more games to play with it. Mortal Kombat was a favourite. So too was Worms, and even Dune 2, a legendary precusor to Command and Conquer.


At the time there were numerous Amiga magazines that came out, with freeware and demo games. Furthmore we also got books that let us program out own games for it. Yes I really did this. At the age of 8 I knew what a go to loop was. Amiga Basic was my first true foray into programming.

Now at school they did have a BBC Acorn computer. It of course ran off tapes and cartirdges. But compared to the Amiga it seemed dated.

Some fun facts about the Amiga 500 and the 500 + which a friend got a year later.

Some games would not run using a meg of RAM. You had to turn the Ram off... physically.

Also some games would not run on the 500 + because of this issue. More funny was that some games would not run on the 500 + because.... the 500 + had a real 1000 bits of ram. Yes, not 1024, but 1000. Hmmm...

We also got a printer for it. A dot matrix printer. Remember how those seemed to grind paper out. Almost like some small animal was chiselling it out of stone like it was the Flintstones.

I think some of the craziest things I remember about it was that I once did fully max out it's ram. I borrowed from school Delux Paint 3D. Yeah 3D mofos! And so tried to do some animating with it. Yeah. You see to do that you really need more RAM or some form of storage to write out to.

Now I think, at the time, the bundle my parents was around £500. That is a lot of money for the time.

In retrospect I have found memories of this machine. I think it taught me a lot, and got me into computer gaming. As far as device life time it last a good long while before my parents bought a PC. I know they still have the amiga packed away. I wonder how much it would go for? Fuck all it seems. Hmmm.... a quid for a Amiga plus extras, and £15 postage.... bargin!




Computers in my Life - Nerd from Birth

So I though this was interesting as it all relates to how I became me, a goth, gamer, podcaster, and computational chemist and programmer. Also Gamerati posted something on google plus where they showed an old gaming system. And it made me think. I have been in contact with gaming machines since birth. So here starts my computer journey.




Above is the Tele-Partner. I think this is what my parents had, perhaps even still have in storage. It certainly looked quite similar to this. Really when I think about it I'm quite surprised they even had something like this. It's as old as me. I do even remember playing with it. Needless to say back in 1988 this was quite a novelty.

Now we didn't have the light gun, so we could only play the pong games.


Next up - Amiga 500 - Birth of a programmer.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012