Who was the most badass military commander in history?

Today, while listening to the amazing Hardcore History podcast about The Mongol Invasions, I learned the answer to that question-

THIS GUY!

Subutai (1176–1248) was the primary military strategist and general of Genghis Khan and Ögedei Khan. He directed more than twenty campaigns in which he conquered thirty-two nations and won sixty-five pitched battles, during which he conquered or overran more territory than any other commander in history. He gained victory by means of imaginative and sophisticated strategies and routinely coordinated movements of armies that were hundreds of kilometers away from each other. He is also remembered for devising the campaign that destroyed the armies of Hungary and Poland within two days of each other, by forces over five hundred kilometers apart. (From Subutai – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

As you will learn, if you give the amazing Hardcore History episode a listen (I recommend listening to the show in general, and this particular mini-series is one of their very best.) at one point he took a Scouting Force of 20,000 men on a little three year tour of Europe, and in the process conquered 11 nations, including Russia! He did this with fairly small casualties (he still had roughly 3/4 of his men at the end of the “tour”) and this was after fighting numerous battles where his army was outnumbered 2:1 or 3:1! The enemy was usually completely slaughtered with nearly 100% casualties.

There is also no record of him losing a single battle- ever.

Ah, if only Zhuge Liang was still alive when Subutai was, that would have been a glorious fight!

S.H.I.E.L.D.E.D. – Resume Video for guy who wants to work on the new SHIELD TV series.

The most awesome resume video ever! This is an actual production designer who wants to work on Joss Whedon’s new SHIELD TV series, so he put together this video with SHIELD to show why he’s the right guy for the job. Really funny and well done!

Discworld City Watch Television Series | The Mary Sue

I’m a HUGE Diskworld and Night Watch fan, so this is great news for me! Supposedly it will air in 2014. A long wait, but likely worth it! 🙂

It’s been known that a Discworld television show based in the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork and the cast of characters it is associated with has been in various stages of preproduction discussion for more than a year now. In fact, there’s even video evidence of Sir Terry Pratchett talking with writers about coppers starting up an inter-species band, the trickiness of humane prisoner treatment, and what it might be like to have the undead coming in to file reports on their own murders.

via Discworld City Watch Television Series | The Mary Sue.

Why don’t I like Heist stories?

So here’s something I’ve been puzzling over.

I like Mystery stories- ones where a clever character tries to puzzle through a challenge and then put all the pieces together to solve a problem. (Murder, Puzzle, whatever.) And you would think that I would like Heist stories (Ocean’s 11, Leverage, Lupin III, etc) just as much, if not more, because they’re just the flipside of mysteries. Heck, they’re even better than mysteries in theory because the characters are hyper-proactive, usually very smart and capable, and everything is working toward a clear goal. It’s a total recipe for successful storytelling!

But, they leave me as cold as the gold they steal.

I don’t hate them. I don’t even dislike them. It’s just on the whole they just hold nearly zero interest for me, and I’m actually puzzled myself as to why. Heck, I’ve even written one or two of them for KFAT over the years (the most obvious being the second season premier of Twin Stars) but when it comes to reading/viewing/listening to other people do them it just doesn’t click.

I can also think of a few recent heist-esque movies I liked, like MI: Ghost Protocol (didn’t like the ones before it, though) and Fast Five wasn’t bad either. (Not great, but fun.) Although I have to think hard to find Heist stories I liked, and these came to mind because they were recent.

Maybe it’s one of those things you either like or you don’t, and I just don’t. Not sure.

Anyone else out there feel the same way?

 

Project Play- Aftermath

Today I attended Project Play, London’s first (or is that most recent? not sure) gaming convention of the universal sort. What I mean by that is that there wasn’t just Role Playing Games, or Tabletop Games, or Electronic Games, or Console Games, or Mobile Games, or Tablet Games or Classic Games or even Card Games- there was all of them! And more!

Fanshawe’s Student Union building was filled with game sellers, producers, and players. It also played host to Doll fans, Cosplayers, and Anime fans, who each had their own little areas, and other oddities like the Personal Computer Museum. (Which made me feel quite old as I looked at all the consoles I used to play as a kid, like the Atari 2600, the Intellivision, and the Commodore 64. I remember when the Vic 20 was new!) A nice collection of different smaller fandoms all under one roof that wouldn’t normally have enough people for a con, but could collectively benefit from being together.

I arrived about halfway into the event and I spent my time flitting from place to place and visiting with different people I knew, but mostly I spent time at the Forest City Go Club table playing teaching games of Go with Matt and Mark (who were kind enough to give up their day to man the table). When I first got there the club had been relegated to a back room, but eventually we managed to get moved to a more central location between a number of video game producers and things really started to hum! Quite a few people were interested in learning about Go, and with luck we made a few new Go fans. (And maybe club members! We’ll see in the coming weeks!)

I’d say somewhere between two and three hundred people came out to Project Play today. That’s just a guess, but by the afternoon that place was really moving, and it was a joy to see. There have been attempts to hold Comic and Sci-Fi conventions in London before, with varying degrees of success, but none of them really brought together so many diverse groups and done it so well.

I hope that there’s another Project Play next year, and that it’s bigger and better advertised than this one! I think they’ve only tapped their potential, and will just get bigger and better from here!

Rob

Project Play

The biggest hands-on gaming event in Southwestern Ontario

Gaming, Digital Art Showcase, Cosplay and more, to provide gaming opportunities for children in need

Fanshawe Student Centre – Sunday, September 16, 2012, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Project Play.

My Second Novel- Little Gou and the Crocodile Princess, is done!

In Summer, 2008 I started what was to be my first novel- Little Gou and the Crocodile Princess. A thrilling WuXia adventure story centered around everyone’s favorite gambler in his first long-form adventure. I wrote the first 40,000 words of the story at a rapid pace, with everything coming together like a finely crafted puzzle. It was great, it was fun, it was going to rock!

Then I hit writer’s block with the story so hard that I think it gave my grandchildren a bloody nose.

Try as I might, I couldn’t get the story moving again. All my attempts failed, and the tricks I used to plot it out produced nothing but boring crap.

So, I set it aside and moved on to other projects. I was in full audio-drama production mode, so it wasn’t hard to just let that fill my creative needs and figure that I’d return to Crocodile Princess when the time was right.

Well, after 4 years of aborted attempts, and one novel (Twin Stars, Book One) completed, I sat down at the end of July and told myself I was going to finish this thing. I’d just gotten done listening to Stephen King’s book “On Writing”, which I adored, and decided that instead of plotting it out and trying to force things, I’d follow his approach and just sit down each morning and let it flow. I started using my old laptop, which can’t connect to the net, stuck it in the basement and used that as a writing area. I decided that I wouldn’t force it, just try to feel my way through the story inch by inch as naturally as I could.

Then I wrote. Every day.

I also decided to take some writing advice I’d heard once from Podcaster Mur Lafferty- “It’s okay to suck.” (Which I took to mean your first draft will often suck, but just write it anyways and then fix it during revision.)

Well, this morning, on the last day of Summer (as we teachers reckon it) I wrote the work FIN at end of page 511 and saved it. (Then saved it again on a memory stick, and stuck it up on Carbonite to make sure it doesn’t get lost- ever!) At 96,449 words, I wrote roughly 54,000 of them in just the last month, which means I both won by NaNoWriMo standards, and have now written my longest 100% original work ever. (Twin Stars being an adaption of the first season of the audio dramas.)

Now, I will set it aside and let it sit for a few months while I focus on work, editing Twin Stars and getting it out for sale, and possibly writing my third novel. (Which will likely either be a Young Adult fantasy novel, a detective novel set in Taiwan, or a techno-thriller set in the near future.) Editing Crocodile Princess will also be an interesting challenge, because my writing style has changed a lot in the past four years, and I will have to make the two halves blend with each other. Either way, I’ve finished a novel, and now know I can do it if I try.

For now, the important thing is letting my brain rest and catching up on all the movies and other media I’ve ignoring over the past month while I focussed on writing.

And get lunch. Lunch is good.

Rob