Fantasy Maps – hand drawn vs. digital

I’m a huge fan of maps. I draw lots of them, and occasionally give them away free on this site. But I’m a bit old school when it comes to my preferences. I love hand drawn maps, but I’m not a fan of digital maps.

Laidback DM - Connectable Town Maps 2

Why don’t I like fully digitally created maps? They take just as long as hand drawn ones, and arguably are just as good or sometimes even better looking. For me, purely digital maps look a bit too much like a computer game, and often they look a bit artificial. The really good ones look a bit TOO good. In many ways, they get away from the idea of a pre-tech fantasy world.

But hand drawn maps? They fit the fantasy setting. When I see a good hand drawn map, it invokes warm, fuzzy feelings and feels as if it was drawn by a cartographer on an actual fantasy world. It’s more in keeping with the games I play and the main reason why I will never go ‘full digital’ (I hand draw my maps and then color them digitally in photoshop, but that’s only because I’m an awful painter).

Laidback DM - Map Stretch Goal2

There are a number of old school, hand drawing cartographers out there. Many provide their maps for free or have patreon sites where you can get regular maps for a low price. Here’s a few of my faves:

Game on!

Steve 😊

If you like old school, hand drawn maps, check out my own maps at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/browser/publisher/13989

For more Laidback DM, click here.

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Today/Tomorrow. A poem.

Today:

All at once, there’s no one there,
the dark, an isolation tank.
The world outside faded away,
a post-apocalyptic prank.

Tomorrow:

The light here that lingers on,
electric in the morning dew.
This joyous, often mellow song
that shows it’s face to me and you.

Today:

I’m excommunicated, now,
shunned, it seems, by those I love.
Black hole, it lingers here, anon,
crushing fractious head above.

Tomorrow:

Perhaps, I overthink too much.
Every thought, catastrophe;
maverick mountains, molehills grown
in usual, post-haste anxiety.

Today/tomorrow:

My burden and my onward sorrow,
a division so intensely personal.
The fate that I must always follow
—black dog consumes his fill of offal.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Flanking: Good Team Work or Unbalancing the Game?

Flanking is an optional rule in D&D 5e, generally used with miniatures (although you can also use it in theater-of-the-mind combat if you want—I do). Flanking is where two or more miniatures ‘surround’ another (which we’ll call the 3rd), on directly opposite sides. The theory is that the 2nd miniature is distracting the 3rd while the 1st attacks, granting Advantage to the 1st’s attacks (and then the 2nd’s, if they are still in the same position when their turn rolls around). Flanking applies to melee attacks only. Sorry, archers—you already get it pretty good (especially if you’re a Rogue).

If my description is a little unclear, here’s the official rule from the DM’s guide: “When a creature and at least one of its allies are adjacent to an enemy and on opposite sides or corners of the enemy’s space, they flank that enemy, and each of them has Advantage on melee attack rolls against that enemy.”

Flanked!
Yep. She’s flanked by Goblins.

Not every DM uses the flanking rule, but it is an option that enables the party to think more tactically (and in more of a meta-gaming way, if you want to think of a downside) in combat. Much like the use of special abilities using bonus actions that stun or trip opponents to give Advantage first before your actual attack action, the flanking rule means players will tend to think how they can get an Advantage in any fight by flanking opponents any opportunity they can. Having finished off a monster, a player might deliberately move behind another monster to allow one of their team mates an opportunity to move up to the opposite side and have Advantage on their attack.

Flanking does have a downside to play – battles with miniatures tend to be more static, as inevitably those monsters or PCs escaping the flanking situation tend to be subjected to opportunity attacks as they move out of the flanked situation. Thus they hold their ground more often.

Multiple flanking is where a miniature is surrounded on all sides, with each character directly opposite giving the other Advantage. This makes short work of big monsters, but also means the characters can be damaged more easily as they are all in close combat with a major beastie (I roll randomly to see who gets hit in these situations, simulating the monster flailing around it to try to get out of the situation. Unless it’s two sizes bigger than the PCs, and then it can step over them).

Does flanking unbalance the game? That depends. If you’re the sort of DM who likes to use small numbers of more powerful opponents, the PCs can gain the upper hand if they can use their superior numbers to constantly flank. If you prefer to use large numbers of weaker monsters it makes them more effective as they can use flanking tactics to hit the PCs more often and wear them down. With flanking, even large numbers of low-level Goblins can wear down higher-level melee-based characters. I don’t believe flanking unbalances the game. It just means both players and DM need to think more tactically when using the rule.

So, if you’re not currently using flanking, you may wish to consider it. And remember: players may get Advantage from flanking, but monsters do, too.

Game on!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

Time to drive. a poem.

The manual transmission
sticks at times,
a reminder that we
need a service and I
need to find a new place
for my engine to unwind.

There was a time
when things were simpler,
when you could change
the sparks yourself.
But now it’s all computers,
and instruments
and waxing/waning moments
in technicolor
and surround sound.

Now, I need to feel
the road beneath my wheels
and roam free of this room
that encapsulates
and encourages me.
I don’t believe
you would appreciate
this fresh and wise
perspective.

Now, it’s time to drive.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Critical Hits – spicing up the natural 20 in D&D 5e

So, you rolled a 1 on d20 attack roll. It means you categorically missed, no matter what your modifier. The opposite goes when rolling a 20 on d20 attack roll. You hit and get to roll your weapon’s damage dice twice, adding any relevant modifier after.

Laidback DM - stevestillstanding.com

I’ve seen lots of items supporting Critical Fails (check out my own Critical Fumble cards as an example – Shameless Plug), but not so much with Critical Hits. This is probably because there is already a rule providing double damage when rolling the golden 20.

Be that as it may, here are some additional options for critical hits that won’t unbalance your game.

The player gets to choose to do the standard damage dice twice + modifiers, or take one of the following options:

  • Instead of damage, the player gets to stun, blind or knock the opponent prone for one round.
  • Instead of damage, the player is entitled to a bonus action disengage (assuming they have a bonus action available).
  • Instead of damage, the player gets an additional attack action (i.e. if the player has more than one attack per action they get multiple attacks again).
  • Instead of damage, the player gets 25% more experience if the monster is defeated (this can be cumulative if the option is taken again).

When all is said and done, there’s no real need to house rule Critical Hits. But it does bring a bit more variety into combat, and everyone loves that.

So, what critical hit bonuses (if any) do you use in your game?

For more Laidback DM, click here.

Curious. A poem.

Mister curious

Digging up questions
And quotients
And seeking answers
Undivided, yet multiplied

How curious
Can one man be
In a world where
Everything
Is laid out plain to see?

Keep digging

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Expectations. A poem.

How often do expectations
Let us down?
How often do we strain
And stretch the imagination
In a tug of war
Of real and immaterial
And how often do we fail
Because we thought
Just a little too much
And a little too long
A little too wild
A little too strong
How often do expectations
Let us down?

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

No Muse. A poem.

I have no muse
And so my words
Flow winsome
And aimless
Waltzing on
To chaotic beats
And tiresome chords
Waiting for one
To lead me back
To place my foot
Upon the boards
To find the fire
And burn it bright
To shape the cadence
Of my heart
Until I should sway
And careen
And relive the light
Of ecstasy
In every word and
Cache of thought.

I have no muse
But she exists
In mind and soul
A vast horizon
That flows beyond
The scope of my
Fevered thoughts
And vacant brow.

Perhaps I shall write
Of her now.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Consequential Rage. A poem.

I tire of being a wanderer,
of petty inconsistency
and introverted wiles,
bickering and bleating
in this bleak and vast
apogee of mind.

I wanted to be confident,
full of vanity and fire
—an actor on a stage—
such eloquence, so wild,
such convoluted things to say,
so naked in his pride.

But my mind said not
to question why I am,
why I think this way.
Why my heart transcends
and acquiesces,
it’s just the price I pay.

And so this tired wanderer
does blunder on and on,
making ripples in his wake
until his song is sung—
a mournful theme that sets
this sorry world aflame.

Until the curtain
and the page
draw to a close
this meaningful and
consequential rage.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Scene, Set and Match. A poem.

Scene: a small, Italian restaurant.

Two newly-matched.
Time set aside.
Something right
and something wrong.
Laughter and humility.
Understanding and empathy.
Certainty and unreality.
Scene, set and match.

Let’s do this all again,
shall we?

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters. A movie review.

No spoilers!

If you like oversized beasties ripping buildings apart you’re gonna love this pic. Even the family drama at the centre of the movie was good.

I enjoyed the first Godzilla a few years back, and then Skull Island, the Kong movie set in the same cinematic universe. This sequel works as well as the others, setting up Godzilla as the dude Kong will fight in the next movie. Monarch, the semi-secret monster-hunting organisation is back, this time with husband and wife scientists (Vera Farmiga and Kyle Chandler) and their daughter (Millie Bobbie Brown) working with them. There’s a new eco-terrorist (Charles Dance) determined to set the various ubermonsters free and return the planet to a more natural state, but one of the Titans turns out to be more than Monarch can handle.

One problem—Monarch, an almost faceless organisation, is the human link between all the movies, but none of the recognisable characters stay for long, so there’s no one for viewers to emotionally connect with over time (something the Marvel movies do so well). The character development and acting in Godzilla 2 is great, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to just have a big monster as the thing that brings audiences back each time. I’m hoping some of the faces in this movie will be back for Godzilla vs Kong, because we need some likeable ongoing human characters to root for.

Godzilla 2 was enjoyable and well worth a watch. The special effects were amazing! I’m just hoping the connective tissue between these movies becomes a little more recognisable.

Rating: B

For more Movie Buff ‘n Stuff, click here.

Guessed. A poem.

My guest, I guessed I knew you;
I was wrong, as I often am,
But fail to admit to.

My guest, you came and went away,
And left me wanting more,
As I have and will, for days.

My guest, I tasted the soul of you,
Guessed at the flavour, and,
Surprised, forgot the golden rule:

To love is, eventually, to lose,
No matter the guest
You guessed you’d choose.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Eternal Vacancy. A sonnet.

You are as far from my thoughts as you aren’t
Sequestered and dream-like, merely a ghost
Wandering hallways that lie black and burnt
My mind harks to you, once or twice at most
Another fills this shady vacancy
Whispering lonely hellos and goodbyes
From the shadows that long imprison me
Manufacturing bindings for the blind
She dances, in 3/4 time upon the floor
Her message, all rhythm and subtextual
Her presence awakens the flame amore
And like the jester, I play the fool

Like all of my misguided gestures
Lost eternal as her spirit sings

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Driven. A poem.

The prairie and the road calls,
A waltz of remembrance
Dancing along the asphalt,
Like a tumbleweed made of last regrets.

The stick shift clicks in place,
The tension defining its existence
mirrored on the driver’s face.

Wheels spin and smoke
And the car strides forth
Like the lion on the newborn veldt,
Hunting for the prey that will stoke
Each and every kindled fire.

Every junction calls his name,
A whisper passing by
Like a ghost of Christmas past,
A brief entanglement in a roadside motel
That’s far too short and soon forgotten.

The freeway calls to him,
The art majestic and the weary eye,
Casting all doubts aside.
The way of all things revealed,
Found and lost and soon to be received.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. A movie review.

No spoilers!

I hate Pokémon. But my son dragged me to see this because of his lifelong obsession with the cute and annoying cartoon creatures, and I have to say…it wasn’t that bad.

Pokémon-less Tim (Justice Smith) finds out his estranged dad has died in a car accident and travels to Ryme City, where Pokémon live in harmony with humans. Most humans bond with a Pokémon, but not Tim. He meets Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) in his father’s apartment and after breathing a strange gas, realises he can understand what Pikachu says. Pikachu believes Tim’s father is still alive, so they team up.

What can I say about this movie? It’s definitely for kids or lifelong fans. The Pokémon are nicely realised in 3D animation next to their live action counterparts. They’re not as annoying as the cartoons where trainers throw pokeballs at each other and the doofus creatures fight (although there is a scene like that to keep longterm fans happy). There are a few amusing jokes along the way (it seems Reynolds is destined to do his Deadpool-shtick for the rest of his acting career – this version is a lot tamer, of course). The CGI is good, the creatures are cute and cuddly, there’s some cliches and a few nice twists in the story.

Whilst I’m not a fan, I didn’t mind sitting through Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. My son lapped it up. And he’s not exactly a kid anymore.

Rating: C (my son and other big kids who don’t want to grow up: B)

For more movie reviews, click

here.

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum. A movie review.

No spoilers!

I’m a big fan of the John Wick movies. JW3 is another fine entry in the violent action series.

Keanu Reeves is back as John Wick, the almost-retired hit man who loves his dead wife and wreaks bloody vengeance on, well, pretty much everyone over the death of the dog she left him. JW3 starts where JW2 left off: the High Table of assassins has excommunicated him and he needs to get out of New York fast in order to survive. This leads to lots of murder and mayhem, with Wick disposing of various assassins in new and gruesome ways. JW3 is all about loyalty and the consequences of Wick’s actions in previous films. There’s even a sly Matrix joke.

johnwick3

There’s a bit more world building about the High Table, some new characters, some new twists and a set up for the next movie (how unexpected), but don’t expect searing dialogue and multi-textured layers of meaning. That’s not what these films are about.

The JW franchise has prided itself on its use of practical effects and wonderfully visceral fight sequences. There are several action set pieces in JW3 and Keanu continues to perform many of the fight scenes himself. But age is catching up with him and in JW3 there’s more use of stunt doubles and CGI than previously. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, it’s just an observation. There seems to be more guys getting punched and kicked in the balls than ever before, but maybe I just noticed it more this time around (there’s lots of crossed-leg moments in this film, especially when the dogs come out—for guys, anyway).

JW3 is great. Wick punches, kicks, throws and shoots his way out of trouble. And back into it. I’ll be back for the next one.

Rating: B+

For more movie reviews, click here.

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The Blind Sailor. A poem.

From one moment to the next,
I am a transient in time;
seeking eternal mystery,
enigmatic and sublime.
Mired and overblown is me,
a windward sailor seeks
beyond Creusa and Medea,
his fabled Golden Fleece.

So forgive me if I hurt you,
for I know not what I do.
Forgive the misbegotten sailor,
who turns and bids “adieu”.
A blind man set a wandering
without sight to truly see,
the one I’ve searched
for constantly,
right there in front of me.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Mountain Climber. A poem.

I never found a mountain I couldn’t climb, you see.

Motivation was the biggest issue,
Dragging at my footsteps like leaden weights,
Pulling like some tug of war with Heracles,
Straining to be free.

When I made it to the top,
I would look out and celebrate my accomplishment,
Because though it was just one mountain past,
The next might be my very last.

I might fall into a chasm of my own making,
Suffer a landslide of confidence;
The rocky ground might break beneath my feet,
Offering no purchase or relief.

I never found a mountain I couldn’t climb, you see:
My only enemy was me.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

First Meet. A poem.

Audacious, the old me would have said,
To fly so straight and true,
Like an arrow knocked and loosed
To sail into the air above the heads
Of warring knights and daring do,
To find it’s mark in the heart of hearts,
The tree of chance that lies in you.

No mysticism here, without/within,
To charge a sense of fertile whim,
No voodoo dance upon a grave,
No flight of fancy, or too close a shave.

Just an unsure step in the midst of things,
A minefield of broken hearts and cherubic thoughts,
Of misdemeanours, tales of woe
All heaped and gorged upon, just so.
An all-you-can-eat bonanza
Of insecurity and misanthropes.

How are you, it’s nice to meet. Would you like a coffee,
Maybe something to eat?

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Footsteps Away. A poem.

I walk through the dark,
The sound of my feet echoing
Through the empty streets.
The dog stops and sniffs,
A victim of instinct,
circumstantial scents
and sense.

In the distance,
The thump of a kick drum—
Faster than my heart beat,
But just as reassuringly present.
Occasional passers by
Nod their heads or not,
Their shadows passing
Like uncommitted storm fronts.

Past restaurants where diners
Make faces in pantomime;
Charades played between lovers,
Long time friends
And new acquaintances.

This walk and sidewalk
Has seen better days,
The patterns laid down
For all to miss and misplace
In the quiet solitude,
As ostentatious fervour plays out
Just footsteps away.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Laidback DM: Trading Places

During long campaigns, some players might not turn up for sessions, some might retire, new players will join. There are good reasons for changes in your ongoing cast—work and family commitments, sports, meetings and significant events in peoples’ lives. And some players just move on because your game might not be what they’re looking for.

So, what can you as a DM, do to prevent players from dropping out of your game or to cover short-term absences?

  • Accept that some things are outside your control. Don’t stress unnecessarily about it.
  • Get feedback from your players. Ask them what they like and don’t like about the games you run. Take the feedback on board and use it constructively.
  • Have you picked up the signals being given off by your players? Boredom, non-game-related cell phone usage, missing sessions for no reason? Ask the player if they’re okay. Ask them what you can do to re-engage them with the game. What type of game do they prefer? Work with your players to make the campaign one you all want to play.
  • If a player has real life reasons why they can’t attend, work with them by making it part of the story. Maybe the PC goes off to a monastery to study and only joins the party once ever four adventures. I have a standing rule that if a PC drops out for a short period they can drop back in anytime—when they turn up the party comes up with a story reason for why the PC was absent from the earlier part of the adventure.
  • Use Milestones for PC advancement rather than Experience Points. That way all PCs stay the same level, whether they are there or absent from sessions. The other players will understand because there will be times when they’re absent as well.
  • Treat everyone equally and even-handedly and don’t play favourites.

And hopefully you’ll have less player movement. Or at least you’ll be more prepared for when it happens.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

For more Laidback DM, click here.

Laidback DM: Shotglass Adventures in Print!

Hi All,

The print proof for Shotglass Adventures arrived today and I just finished sending rewards emails to all the Kickstarter Supporters (who get a digital copy for free, along with all the digital stretch goal rewards shown at the bottom of this post, and have the option to purchase a softcover book version at cost + postage).

I’m pretty proud of this book. Here are a few shots of the cover and interiors:

Shotglass Adventures book - Laidback DM Shotglass Adventures book - Laidback DM

I’m already working on Shotglass Adventures II, which is turning out bigger and better! It will be on Kickstarter soon, so keep an eye out both there and on this blog.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

img_2307

For more Laidback DM, click here.

Enfilade. A poem.

The enfilade is over
And bodies lie strewn
Across the battlefield
Like broken bottles
Leaking last regrets

You have cut me down
Your machine gun wit
And explosive rejoinders
Creating a no man’s land
Where I lie fractured.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Book Sale! ‘The All or the Nothing’ at 20% off for a limited time

Hi all

My first print poetry book, The All or the Nothing, is currently on sale for 20% off for a limited time. It’s normally $10.00 Australian but is now $8.00, which is approximately $5.60 American or 4.30 British pounds (my keyboard doesn’t have a pound symbol – DOH!).

Inside, you’ll find 62 poems about love, depression, madness, insecurity, anxiety, fear, heartbreak and dating. It’s enough to turn you to drink. But in a dignified, semi-happy way. Oh, there are poems about that, too.

To get your copy, click on this link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/stephen-thompson/the-all-or-the-nothing/paperback/product-23811868.html

Cheers

Steve 🙂

PS – My second book, Poetry for the Sad, Lost Lonely and Endangered is available as well (but not on sale – Double-DOH!). Click here for information about that one

poetry book - the all or the nothing - stevestillstanding

 

 

Influence. A poem.

I have read your words
And seen my influence

My mind is contours of constancy
Of riotous colour and ascendancy
My words spill across the canvas
Every emotion eagerly revealed
A zeitgeist for you to watch
And absorb and capture
Like a winsome butterfly

You take these pieces of me
And make them yours

But I am not bitter
I am a proud father
For a little part of me
Like strands of encoded DNA
And mental prevarication
Is birthed and lives on
In everything
You write

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

I Live. A poem.

I live

         Amongst

                          Serrated tongues

                          And plastic

                         Hearts

                                                      Amongst

                         The detritus

                         Of bitter

                        meaning

And

                        Forlorn hopes

I live

          Because

                       I can

                                And will

                     Always

I live

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

The Hole. A poem.

The hole stares back at me,
A great, unblinking eye
That will not let me be.
The hole is black as pitch
And filled with pain and lies,
Every scar and every stitch.
The hole it draws me in,
Inescapable gravity,
A match I cannot win.
The hole encloses me
And I am down again
Never to be free.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Life, Finally. A poem.

My wanderings,
part of me, intrinsically.
My wonderings,
ostensibly necessary.
My heart and head,
as one, not separately.
My head and heart,
all I need, invariably.

My turns of phrase
never lead me astray.
My phrasing, beguiling,
when it turns that way.
My life is finally, where I
want and need to be.
My life, the sum, is the
worst and best of me.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

The Curse of the Weeping Woman. A movie review.

The Curse of La Llorona, or The Curse of the Weeping Woman as it’s called for Australian release, is an okay horror movie that does its best to scare you with a rejigged ghost story that’s fun to watch but fairly shallow and somewhat forgettable.

I don’t watch a lot of horror movies, as I tend to compare them to my fave, The Grudge, which was actually scary. It’s not often that I’m surprised by a horror genre flick, and The Curse of the Weeping Woman is no exception. Sure, there are a few jump scares (okay, I jumped once), but this ‘ghost coming for your children’ story seems a bit old hat, and not just because it’s set in 1973.

The actors are good—the mother and kids are especially great at displaying fear and shock. The practical effects are effective and it’s only when the director decided to use CGI at the end that the effects suffer.

This movie is loosely part of The Conjuring universe, although you don’t need to be a fan of that series to see this one. The Curse of the Weeping Woman is an okay horror movie, which Conjuring completists may enjoy more.

Rating: C (Conjuring fans C+)

For more Movie Buff ‘n Stuff, click here.

The Search. A poem.

I have yet to find
The erstwhile substance,
The peace of mind,
Free from nomenclature
And chilled regrets.

The ice upon my lake,
Covered in spider filigree
And waiting to consume
Me with every overly
Anxious step.

My navigation clears,
The further I go,
But slow-witted overtures
And death-defy requests fall
On ears long since deaf.

The search goes on,
The snow ever deepens.
Each footstep harder
In this trackless realm of
possibilities and deep unrest.

But still I seek,
Still I yearn alone,
And eventually I will find
The one true love that will
forever free my head.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

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