Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Uncovering the Past

How often do you uncover an entire lost civilization?

Inspiration Strikes

The guys at (current) work asked me to GM a Game of Thrones RPG in one of our upcoming sessions. For a while, I was completely lost as to how to develop a game that would suit everyone's interests while maintaining some attachment to the fantasy world without stealing too much - and at the same time presenting a logical reason for the group to come together.

Tonight, while watching Star Trek: Voyager of all shows, inspiration finally hit. I'm doing the initial outlines now, and I have to say (rather un-humbly) that this may be one of my best adventure premises yet.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Picture Post!

I wish I could claim credit for this masterful piece of Photoshoppery:

Friday, February 24, 2006

Olympic Post

Here's my two pennies on the Olympics this year: apparently I have not watched enough figure skating lately.

Note: she's 21.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Zombie Reviews

A friend shot me this site today - for zombies, by zombies!

From Our Northern Neighbor

Apparently things like this happen all the time in Canada:

    One Wednesday evening earlier this month, Angyiou was walking near the village community center with her two sons when a group of children playing street hockey nearby started shouting and pointing frantically.

    Angyiou, 41, turned around and saw a polar bear sizing up her 7-year-old son.

    She told the children to run and raced around to get between the bear and her son. Then she started kicking and punching the animal, according to police reports.
Full story here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What You've Been Missing

Dear Reader,

For too long now, your life has been missing something. You get up in the morning and think, "you know, if only I had that little something extra, I could be truly happy."

I've found that something extra. A Canadian web-based zombie-comedy serial "TV" series, free for all.

Why I Hope

Things like this give me hope.

New Things

Since it's now pretty much public knowledge, I can mention one of the other reasons I haven't been posting here much recently. March 3rd will be my last day at my current job; I was offered, and accepted, a position on the Xbox PR team. It's a great move for me career-wise, since I'll be staying in the entertainment/games industry, working for something I care about and believe in, and in another creative work environment.

Needless to say, I'm stoked.

The Best Hand

This weekend, I got the best poker hand I've ever had (yet): the 9, T, J, Q, and K of hearts (straight flush, one card off a royal flush). I flopped the straight with the K of diamonds instead, and the K of hearts came on 4th street. Two people followed me (must have had kings in their hands). It was amazing, and I'll be thinking about it all day.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Can't Catch a Break

I got my weekend kicked off right by making an easy $30 in an online poker tournament, but then lost a few bucks in a cashgame. With a couple of exceptions, the cashgames just don't seem to work out for me. I either can't catch the cards, or some goofus draws me out. And when I'm up, I'm not up enough to justify walking away - especially when I compare $8 for an hour's worth of playing to $30 or $50 for a 45-minute sit-and-go.

Is it that the tournament style agrees with me more? Maybe. I certainly feel different when I'm looking at an arbitrary number of chips versus a specific cashmoney amount that I know is either going into, or coming out of, my set-aside poker stash.

That being said, overall, I'm still way up from where I started when I began playing online. I just want to nail that cashgame a little bit though - or maybe I should just stick with what I appear to be good at.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Hell With 'Em

I've been watching the whole Muslim cartoon thing with a mix of amusement, dismay, and more recently, horror. I've kept quiet until now about it, but reading that a cleric has now issued a $1 million for the death of the cartoonist (even though they were drawn by 12 different cartoonists). Link via Andrew Sullivan.

So here's my take.

This is complete and utter bullshit.

First of all, let's hit the irony. The cartoons satirized the view of many Westerners that Muslims are violent - and how does the Muslim community respond? With violence.

Second, they call blasphemy. OK, but cartoons in Muslim countries like Iran that are far more blashpemous to Jews and Christians than these are.

Third, as others have noted, there's nothing that says others have to conform to your specific religious taboos. I eat pork, and Jews are not upset. I eat beef, and Hindus are not upset. Why is this any different?

That being said, I realize this is quite a complicated issue. I've been reading No god but God by Reza Aslan, which has given me a fairly different perspective on what's going on in the Muslim world at the moment. Aslan postulates that Islam is going through a "reformation" much in the same way the Christian church did in the early Renaissance, and we're really only seeing a small part of the internal religious strife in the Muslim world (the London bus bombings, for example, were very explicitly in Muslim neighborhoods, on busses that Muslims most often use).

That being said, I really don't know what to make of all this. It's one of those things that makes me throw up my hands and say, "what the fuck? The Hell with 'em."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hacking the... Atari?

The Atari Flashback 2 is not only a cool Atari 2600-like system with over 40 built-in games, it's also hackable to accept old Atari carts and much more!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Little Personal News

So I was supposed to go to New York for Toy Fair this weekend. I arrived at the airport nice and early on Saturday morning to discover my flight had been cancelled. The earliest they could get me in was about 16 hours before I left. Would I like to reschedule? No, thanks.

But why was the flight cancelled? That evening, 26 inches of snow dumped on Central Park (and I would have been staying about a block away). Let me repeat that: 26 inches of snow. In New York, where there's no place for four inches of snow to go, let alone 26 inches of snow.

On that front, I'm not at all sad I missed it.

So I joined Liz and Crabby that afternoon for my first time skiing. First I tried snowboarding, but discovered that people who have a hard time balancing on land on a normal day shouldn't really strap themselves to a plank and try to balance unnaturally on slippery stuff that's on an incline.

But skiing agreed with me a little more, except for the whole ski lift part, which nearly did me in. Shouldn't those things come equipped with safety bars? You'd think.

Monday night Liz and I spent together, as with last night, when we caught Duck Soup, one of my all-time favorite films, at the Grand Illusion in Seattle. If you're interested, it's showing through tomorrow night. I can't recommend it enough.

No Ice, Thanks

I typically don't get ice in my drinks at restaurants because I have a horrible habit of chewing it, and I know that someday I'm going to break my teeth on it. But as this science experiment shows, I'm kind of glad for other reasons, too.

Hat tip to MeFi.

Python on PBS

Monty Python returns to PBS later this month and into next month. Ladies and gentlemen, set your TIVOs!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Everything That's Wrong With The World...

...can be summed up in this story about a woman who was arrested for asking - asking - a person to stop talking on her cellphone during a movie.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Quote of the Day

Movies don't create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative.

Ultimate Showdown!

Watch the Ultimate Showdown!

Trek Humor

If you're up for a little (R-rated) Trek humor, go on over to Something Awful.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Expensive Future

When obsessions get out of control, sometimes you just have to walk away. But I bet he could make more back selling it.

A Name of My Own

Let it be noted that if I ever open a Mexican restaurant, it will be called Quetzalcoatl's.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Big Banged Resignation

The Buscho Numbfuck referenced in a post earlier today has been made to resign according to a link in this excellent post over at Talking Points Memo. One one hand we're seeing the promotion of Intelligent Design by someone who clearly (by the use of the term "theory" equating to "opinion" - see the link for more) does not understand scientific nomenclature, and (writer's opinion and an ad hominum attack) probably can't spell or pronounce nomenclature. And on that same hand, you can preclude pretty much anyone who has a basic understanding of science - because if you do, you likely don't support Intelligent Design as these folks are trotting it around.

But on the other hand, you have another person appointed by the Bush administration to a relatively high-level position whose only qualification appears to be that he was an intern in the 2004 Bush "war room." In fact, he even lied about having graduated from 12th Man Clown College, AKA Texas A&M. And he never even judged a horse show. Tisk, tisk, Bushies.

Bushie, you're doing a heck of a job.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cold Shower Time

That's a lot of hot all concentrated in one place.

History, Animated

Check out an animated GIF showing the ebb and flow of the Roman Empire from 300 BC to 1453 AD.

No More Kos

You'll notice that in a recent bout of housecleaning I removed the link to Daily Kos from my right nav bar. I did this for two reasons. First, the site has become a magnet for the tinfoil-hat part of the left, the kind of people who think that corporate satellites are really earthquake generators controlled by the Illuminati with the assistance of the Goldfish Fanciers. The kind of people who will cite some jackasses blog as a credible source of information and then screech and call you a tool when you dare question the authenticity of their information.

Second, it has completely lost its focus, largely due to the above. My main problem with the left is that it has no focus; it simply limps everywhere like a sick octopus, trying to stick its tentacles into everything and doing nothing effectively. Part of this is because everyone in the left has their OWN PET PROJECT that must be achieved at the expense of everyone else's PET PROJECTs. So if you want to SAVE THE WHALES, then you could care less about ATROCITIES IN PALESTINE, and if you want to FREE TIBET, then you could care less about REDUCING CORPORATE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS.

Feh, I say, feh.

The Power of Dumb

The Bushco Numbfucks have now infiltrated NASA. That links to a New York Times article, so in case you can't see it, here's the money paragraph:

    George Deutsch, a presidential appointee in NASA headquarters, told a Web designer working for the agency to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang, according to an e-mail message from Mr. Deutsch that another NASA employee forwarded to The Times.
There you go. They'll do anything to supplicate to their false idols on the "Christian Right." At least we're not calling it the dinosaur theory.


Monday, February 06, 2006

We've Come A Long Way

The Ed Sullivan Show - excuse me, the Superbowl Halftime Show - censored lyrics from the 24-year-old song "Start Me Up," which Micro$oft used in commercials and can be heard, uncensored, on any classic rock radio station in the US (and on the new Jack FM network that has insidiously infiltrated every aspect of US radio).

If there's anything I've learned in the last few months, it's that torture is OK, denying civil liberties is OK, and to protect people the media now censors songs released in 1981 because if they didn't, they'd risk the wrath of the shrewish rightwing minority.

Yeah, we've come a long way.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Book: Cell by Stephen King

As I mentioned before, Cell combines two of my favorite things: Stephen King and zombies. It's not really hordes of the undead, but he dedicates the book to George Romero and Richard Matheson, so I know what's going on.

Premise: at 3 PM on a weekday afternoon, cellphones start ringing. But there's a carrier signal built into cellphone communications that wipes out higher brain function, essentially turning the listeners into pure Id-driven killing machines. So only those not with a cellphone come out OK.

But the "phoners" aren't just zombies - they almost immediately start evolving into something else. Something perhaps even more sinister. So the survivors have to fight for survival against an ever-growing menace.

Cell is short for a King book (450 pages or so, if memory serves), but it's tightly written and edited in a way that reminds me of a first-time break-out novel rather than one by the master. Kudos to King and his editor for putting out a really snappy suspense novel, and for adding his own little mark to the zombie genre.

So in other words, if you like King or zombies or both, do yourself a favor and take a long weekend day or a few nights and read cell.

Game Day

T-minus about 3 hours and 20 minutes until the Home Team plays in the Big Game. Go Hawks! Others have been giving this much more coverage than me, so I'm going to refrain from making comment until the game is over (see Jeff's Blog for an in-depth analysis of pretty much everything leading up to the game).

Yesterday we were up early and cleaned the rest of the construction trash out of the garage, taking it to the dump before we get rid of our truck. The best part was tossing the glass shower door into the dumpster and watching it shatter into a thousand million tiny little pieces. What can I say - I'm easily amused.

Today we were up early and cleaning up after the windstorm that's been raging the last day and a half or so. There were branches and debris all over the yard and roof, so we cleaned up most of the big stuff until our yard waste containers were overflowing and called it quits. We're still going to have to tackle cleaning the gutters, but there's a least some sense of accomplishment right now.

I have a feeling that, during the Big Game, I'm going to be working on that aforementioned fiction. It's nice to be writing with the promise of a paycheck at the end of it all.

Friday, February 03, 2006

It Can Be Told

One of the projects I've been working on was announced just this morning: HorrorClix, WizKids' next Collectable Miniatures Game. And it's going to kick some serious ass!

Rome has Conquered!

Found today: an excellent resource for many things relating to the Roman empire.

Missing Inaction

So what's up? Where have I been recently? Why am I not returning phone calls or email? Why haven't I been posting here?

It's like this.

I got sick last week, and spent pretty much all the time I wasn't at work, asleep or wishing I was asleep. I feel better now, and I prevented the sick from being the really bad, hanging-on kind of sick, but it was still sick.

Also, I got a different kind of sick last Friday. Apparently my alcohol tolerance has gone down a bit since college. This is a mistake I will not repeat.

I've also been - gasp - writing! I have a paying fiction writing gig - let me repeat that, a paying fiction writing gig working on some stuff for my company's website. It's a little different than what I'm used to, but it's enjoyable all the same.

Now, add to that the single-biggest meeting and event our company puts on each year, when we invite all of our distributors to Seattle, entertain them for two days, and show them what we're working on for this year. Which means that we're going to make some major announcements in the next couple of days, which means that the PR guy is working overtime to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch (which it won't, but I have to at least try).

Now add to this mix that I'm going away very soon for a huge trade show, so I have to get all my regular work done, too - and you have an equation for not a lot of posting, emailing, and calling.

Sorry guys, things will be less crazy later this month.

Serial Killer Nursery

Do not click on this sentence unless you want to go to sleep scared tonight.