Review: I Am Zombie

I am Zombie 2

I Am Zombie is the latest offering from legendary game designer Mark Rein•Hagen and his new studio, Make Believe Games. It is an innovative tabletop roleplaying game that puts the player in the role of one the Toxic, a group of intelligent zombies. Mark Rein•Hagen is best known for his groundbreaking World of Darkness games that brought to life (or unlife in some cases) genre defining modern takes on classic dark archetypes like Vampires, Werewolves and Spirits.

The game comes in two parts. The Field Guide is written from within the world by the mysterious Purgatory Press. It introduces you to Toxic society with a sexy “come-hither” look and then a slap to the face with the brutality of your new situation. The glorious, stunning art from Mark Kelly resonates throughout the entire book. The second component, the Player Kit, contains the gorgeous ID cards, chips, dice and character journal – everything you need to play the game.

I Am Zombie channels the feel of a 1970s Grindhouse film with government agents, sex, hot cars and savage chainsaw violence. The Toxic lurk in the dark, grimy places of our world and their own underground settlements beneath the thriving hustle and bustle of the Breather cities.  

The Axiom system powering I Am Zombie is a series of rules that combines dice, cards and tokens to create amazing stories filled with action and drama. Character creation is simple, just pick 5 cards and you’re ready to go. As your character develops you add more cards, which in turn gives you access to new skills, tricks and even powers. It is worth noting the first Axiom (golden rule) asks you to make the game your own; only use the rules you find necessary to tell the best possible stories and have the most fun with your group. It is this level of flexibility and customization that makes the game versatile to all types of players. This degree of ownership made me feel invested in the system. 

I am zombie play

 

I am Zombie is the first game in the new ANØMALY line and is to be followed by Xenofactor, where you are a clandestine agent of the Aliens (Men In Black? Count me in). Overall, Mark and the team at Make Believe Games have delivered a beautiful product, an innovative system, an amazing experience and a fresh take on the Zombie genre.  

For more details or to get a copy:

http://www.makebelievegames.com/

Amazon

Drivethru RPG

 
– Keagan Belbin

Interview: Saskia Littlewood

Rising Phoenix Studios young writer Keagan Belbin chats with Devonport artist & photographer Saskia Littlewood:

  1. Your photography/art has a very unique tone and voice to it, what ideologies lie behind your chosen style? 

My photography is mainly landscape-based though I’m not strictly a “landscape photographer”. I generally make images of what is around me, using my iPhone 6s.

I then “blend” my images on the phone using Apps. Sometimes I include plain images with these in a series, meaning I don’t adjust or filter them.

I aim to conceal or change the familiar. This is not to confuse people, but to bring about a certain level of recognition or of curiosity, and changing people’s perceptions of a place.

I use architectural elements and natural elements as symbols and metaphors. Historically landscape photography (and painting) can act as metaphors for human emotion and experience.

My work references this history but I’m using a relatively new way of creating and exhibiting photographs.

The technology itself is a part of my themes. I blend technique with the ideas/concepts. The techniques are part of and often transparent in the finished art work. I use contemporary and industrial materials to print my photographs onto.

  1.    You previous exhibition, ‘An Obscured Landscape’ was in October of last year, how do you feel now, about the work you put out? 

I feel really happy about the work I made for An Obscured Landscape. It was not only about landscape but trying to find a way to convey the idea of filters of consciousness and the landscape of Devonport. I wanted to make something very contemporary. It was a specific series of challenges to create that project, including working out how to enlarge the images to a big size, and to find a material to print onto which would highlight my ideas. I wanted the final images on the wall to look like lit iPhone screens.

  1.    You use an iPhone and iPad, rather than traditional cameras, for your pieces. What inspired you to choose this medium, and how do you feel it compares to the use of a camera, both in say its limitations and advantages? 

My training is in film and digital SLR photo-imaging, and the thing that inspired me to start making images with iPhone (I started with the 5), was that it was very versatile and easy to use. Everyone uses them everywhere, especially on and for social media. The iPhone6s I have now is bigger and heavier with a large screen, so that makes in camera editing easier. I enjoy how everything you need is in the one place, including emails, facebook, the net etc. I like taking selfies with the phone and thinking of ways I could use these in future. I don’t delete much, I back up my photos to USB because you never know how an image may inspire you later. The limitations are the aperture size and the related file size. But these are problems that I turned to my advantage.

  1.    What can you tell me about what you have planned for your next project for the triad 1 show?    

I shot my images for triad 1 in one day. This was the plan because I had a very specific theme, and I had a model. Also, it was a sunny day and rain was forecast for the rest of that week.

I focused on the skating scene in Devonport and went to the skate park, where I made mostly slow-motion videos. I then used my phone to create still images from these videos. These were then run through Video and Photo Apps.

For some reason the sculptural forms I found, both in the environment and in the figures and movements of the skaters, reminded me of a Giorgio de Chirico painting.

Slowing everything right down allowed me to capture some of the skating “in flight”, so it ended up being about Time and Space, as well as being an emotional experience.

I found some music which seemed to sync well with the resulting slides I made.

  1. The arts community in Tasmania, especially in the North West, is a small but passionate one. What advice would you have for budding Devonport artists, looking to find their own artistic voice?

My advice to other artists who may be emerging, is to aim to produce innovative work, and to narrow down beginning ideas to a single idea. Art isn’t prescriptive it’s better to start with simple ideas and build as you go. The original concept can become quite complex, just in the doing, then you need to re-evaluate as you go.

You need some computer skills in the digital environment. Time management for projects are critical I find. If it is for a gallery for example, there are deadlines to meet and communications to keep up.

Lastly, the techniques you use need to combine well or interestingly with your ideas. It’s no use having all of the ideas if they are not well-executed, and there’s a reason for using these techniques in the first place.

 

https://nolanart.com.au/exhibitions/obscured-landscape-saskia-littlewood/

 

Fairer Conditions Spell Good News For Firefighters

Across the state over twenty five fires are still burning but
that number is falling and is far down from the more than seventy
that have blazed in remote areas over the past two months.

Around two hundred and fifty fire-fighters from interstate have arrived,
over the past several weeks and have set up at a specially assigned base camp
near Stanley in the state’s north-west.
The Tasmania Fire Service say this has been the biggest mobilisation of interstate fire-fighters ever in Tasmania.

TFS chief officer Gavin Freeman said that shift to favourable weather conditions
should mean more fire-fighters will be able douse the blaze’s edge
rather than meerly hold containment lines and thus start to push back against the bulk of the fires.

“We’re now able, because the fire conditions have abated, to get closer in
to where the fire edge actually is with tanker crews to extinguish
the fire directly without taking large tracts of land out,” he said.

“There’s still a lot of work to do, a lot of mopping up to do.”

He also stated that the next few days should be vital in aiding crews before the weather warms up, later in the week.

“We’re pretty confident that we’ve got some solid lines
around these fires, but we’re at the hands of the weather,” he said.

“There still could be the possibility of unpredicted wind changes or unpredicted strong winds that these fires could escape.”

Mr Freeman said he expected the interstate crews should remain at the Stanley home base for the next fortnight,
to bolster the line of Tasmanian crews working at the borders of a blaze covering more than 60,000 hectares.

“We have some plans in place to continue that on through March if need be, but I don’t anticipate that will be the case,” Mr Freeman said.

For more information, please visit: www.fire.tas.gov.au

Heritage Farming Weekend

The Historical Machinery Club Tasmania is holding their biennial Sassafras Heritage Farming Weekend soon.

The weekend is set to be a fun and informative filled time, with many events on offer including but not limited to:

-Potato Harvesting info sessions

-A Fergie Tractor Display

-Steam Display

-Stone Crushing

-Sheep Shearing

-And everything from Vintage Tractors to Vintage Cars and a Miniature Railway.

There will also be a Craft Display and live music
from Rino and Jade along with Tania Kernaghan, so there is sure to be something for the whole family.

The event will be held from Friday the 26th of February to the 28th,
with gates opening at 9:00 am, on 7738 Bass Highway, Sassafras, Latrobe.

Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

For more information, please visit: sassafrasheritagefarmingweekend.com.au

Country Music In Latrobe

The Town of Latrobe will play host to their annual Country Music Day this Sunday, with enjoyable country music presented by artists from the North-West and other parts of Tasmania.

The  event will be held in this picturesque setting of Bell’s Parade and will take place from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm.The day is to be conducted by the Lions Club of Forth Valley and will also be in aid of raising funds for the club’s community service activities.

Food and drinks will be on offer throughout the day.

For further information: 0407 803 529.

The 2016 Devonport Triathlon

dev tri

In its 31st year, the Devonport Triathlon, one of Australia’s oldest championship triathlons will be held this month, at the Mersey Bluff. The event is open to all and will feature both a kids and community “tri it” triathlon races. It boasts some legendary star talent in the form of Emma Carney, Brad Beven, Loretta Harrop and Craig Walton.

The event will take place on Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st of February, with gates opening at 7 am.

For more information visit: http://www.devonporttriathlon.com.au/

 

Keagan Belbin

Fires Rage Across Tasmania

Difficult to control bush fires are still raging across Tasmania with several communities at risk from falling embers and thick smoke.

What had started as several small fires have over the course of several weeks been pushed forward by strong winds, adding to the challenges faced by firefighter teams.

The state’s first ever four day total fire ban has been issued today, as currently more than fifty fires burn across the state and authorities are attempting to cut down any additional risks.
TFS chief officer, Gavin Freeman, today urged people to practice caution and good sense.

“We know it’s a long weekend and we know there will be people camping, but just gas fired cookers, they’re ok as long as the area around them is cleared, but no open fires please,” he said.

While many are being maintained and monitored across remote parts of the state, twelve are currently (at time of posting) burning close to communities and are at the “advice” alert level. No immediate threat is faced by these communities but they are advised to practice caution and remain ready for more news.

Two larger blazes however have recently been upgraded to the “watch and act” alert level, with firefighters issuing several advisements to residents in and around the areas of Nunamara on the Tasman Highway, with the between Bourkes Road and Binghams Road most affected.

All residents are advised to:
-Be on the lookout for falling embers, being scattered by strong winds.
-Be mindful of the danger of thick smoke.
-Take action to ensure your house and family are safe.
-If the premises is too unprepared, be prepared to leave, quickly.
-If you have a bushfire survival plan, use it now.

Firefighters have also issued a warning to anyone who doesn’t live in or near the Nunamara area to stay away and if travelling, find an alternate route.

A “watch and act” alert is also in affect for the Mawbanna area, with the blaze located next to Pipeline road.

The warnings issued to residents near this area include the same warnings as above but also include:

-Keep up to date on details of the situation by listening to ABC local radio or visiting    www.fire.tas.gov.au for updated alerts.
-Residents are also advised to report any fire activity they believe fire services are not currently be aware of, specifically fresh sparks/embers.

-Drivers in the region are also advised to drive with their headlights on no matter the time of day, when driving through smoke, to avoid accident.

Across the state, the effects of the numerous ongoing blazes are being felt in a very real way with a blanket of thick white smoke covering much of the state, moving across towns and even reaching the cities. Visibility ranges from hazy to very obscuring with many drivers across the state using their headlights to avoid risk of accident.

While temperatures have dropped slightly across the state this week, lack of significant rainfall and strong winds have meant that Tasmanian fire crews have been stretched thin, maintaining such a large number of blazes.

With more than forty two thousand hectares burnt in the past ten days, the decision was made to call in reinforcements from interstate, to alleviate some of the stress on Tasmanian fire crews and help regain control. More than one hundred remote area fire fighters are being flown in from New South Wales and will be joined by more than thirty support personnel.

Emergency Management Minister Rene Hidding said that this reinforcement boost combined with expected cooler weather approaching next week is a welcome wave of good news.

“With interstate back-up to arrive tomorrow and more favourable weather conditions forecast, I am advised that substantial progress can be made by early to mid next week,” he said.
For any details or queries about the current fire situation near you,

please visit www.fire.tas.gov.au

Health and wellbeing in Latrobe.

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The town of Latrobe is set to play host to a refreshing festival at the end of this month with the Total Health and Wellness Festival.
Events include physical health checks and life tools, presentations on holistic therapies, nutrition and skin care. There will also be plenty of stalls offering a wide variety of retail and handmade goods.

The festival will be held at the Latrobe Memorial Hall, on the 28th – 29th of November

For more information please visit: www.facebook.com/HealthWellnessLatrobe

Keagan Belbin.

Delta Therapy Dogs

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A local not-for-profit organisation is currently seeking help of the four legged variety.

Delta Therapy Dogs is a group dedicated to providing a unique kind of support: the canine kind. Many recent studies have found interaction with animals, especially dogs can have amazing impact on the elderly in aged care, people living with dementia and other disabilities, with young people especially benefitting from the engagement.
It can be as simple as a pat and a hug.
Sue Jennings of the group has been taking her dog, a beautiful border collie named Tash to the Emmerton Park aged care centre, in the state’s north-west for nearly three years.
“We just go round and spend 10 or 15 minutes with the residents in their rooms and Tash goes up and gets the big pats,” she said.
“I just have a little chat with them and see how they’re going.
“It’s known that if people can pat and stroke dogs, particularly in their last few years, then it’s beneficial to their health.”
In fact, it’s not just the dogs’ handlers who notice a positive change.
Emmerton Park’s leisure and lifestyle co-ordinator Dave Dunkerley said the visits had had a wonderful impact on the residents.
“It’s very relaxing, they mellow, they start chatting, they talk to a dog very often first and then they’ll talk to us,” he said.
He also said of note, was the behaviour of dementia patients.
“Particularly with dementia you can get some undesirable behaviours at times, but the dogs tend to lessen the behaviours,” he said.
Recently the group has faced hard times, with a number of the handlers finding full time work and many of the dogs, getting older and needing to retire. So they have put the call out, for help from human and dog alike.
Northern coordinator, Claire Curtis, recently said the organisation was in desperate need for more volunteers to keep the program going.
“We’ve been visiting in Burnie for a long time, but I have teams from Forth, Ulverstone and Somerset covering these facilities,” she said.
“We desperately need volunteers down in Smithton and Circular Head as well.
“We assess dogs from 18 months to ten years of age and they only have to be a well-behaved, well-mannered dog.”
The organisation currently visited 19 facilities in Tasmania’s north, but wanted to expand their services.
“I know there’s respite centres, brain injury units, there are a lot of places that could still benefit from having a dog coming in every week,” she said.
“But at the moment, until we got more volunteers we can’t do that.”
For more details please visit:  www.deltadogsafetas.org.au

Or call: 6248 7661

Keagan Belbin.

Psychs on bikes

psychs

A group of dedicated mental health professionals arrived in Tasmania last week but while doctors often come and go, these ones are part of a unique group: one that is travelling on two wheels.

The annual Psychs on Bikes tour this year came to Tasmania for the first time.

Thirteen psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health support nurses, will this week travel the state with the goal of spreading mental health awareness to regional and regional communities.

The riders are from all across Australia and bring a wealth of knowledge in a state where mental health is an increasingly large issue.

The group understands that one factor that can affect people choosing to seek is money issues so they will also be providing free health checks that include, blood mass indication tests, blood pressure tests and respiratory function tests.

Their main focus is raising awareness of mental health issues and trying to combat some of the stigma associated with mental health which can be a big problem especially facing men in a rural area.

Their goals are to sit with community members and have simple, light chats, encouraging “speaking up.”

Psychs on Bikes president Joe Dunn spoke about the focus on men being important, with the focus on patience but perseverance “The idea is to engage men in these communities because they tend to under-use health services.”

“The suicide rate is four men to one women, so things need to change.”

Tony Barker, an outreach worker with Rural Alive and Well, spoke about how the tour also encourages men to find a healthy balance between relationships, lifestyle and work-life.

“It’s all about talking to a mate and making that initial conversation,” Mr Barker said.

Over the course of the week the Psychs on Bikes toured Smithton, Queenstown, Bothwell, Longford, Sheffield and other towns across the state.

http://mossrocket.com/clients/psychsonbikes/

Keagan Belbin