Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weekend Music: "Unbroken" by Tim McGraw

Friday, December 30, 2011

It's the Magic: You Are Here, Part Four

Three weeks ago, I introduced a tactical multiplayer Magic rules set involving a map and rules that altered areas of effect and ranges of attack. Two weeks ago, I posted that map and finished the core rules. Last week, I went over minion rules and this week, I'm finishing up the project with player-as-planeswalker rules. 

Summoning a Planeswalker

            Whenever the active player would like the aid of another player, they may suggest a mana cost to that player. That player may decline and may also decline further offers for the rest of the turn. If they approve of the cost, the active player may cast them from their hand by paying that mana cost and discarding a card
The name of a player planeswalker spell is the summoned player’s name.
A player’s mana cost is the same from the time it is approved until the end of the game.
Once a player has a mana cost, any other player may cast them by paying their cost (the mana cost plus discarding a card). A player cannot summon themselves.
Casting a player as a planeswalker works like casting a planeswalker spell. It goes on the stack and may be countered. Its colors, mana costs, and characteristics are for those of a planewalker spell with that player's name, thier mana cost, the colors reflected by their mana cost, its subtype is that player's first name or nickname, its loyalty is equal to its converted mana cost plus one, it has no text.

You will pretty much be casting this, but hopefully better.
Inevitably better, really.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Penny Reviews: 2011, Part III

I got a lot of comics in 2011, and as people often do at the end of a year, I've taken a moment to reflect on my purchases and share the resulting insights with you, the unwary reader. This is the last day, so if you’re visiting for the first time, I’m afraid you’ll have no idea what’s going on.

Midnighter, Vol 1 & 2 by Garth Ennis
The Midnighter and Garth Ennis do graphic, fun violence. Volume One was The Midnighter versus Hitler and time cops. The concept is so high that when high gets a long weekend, it gets Ennis’ Midnightered for three days straight. On paper, it’s diet pepsi and pop tarts.

The execution was pop tarts and the star Rigel. This analogy doesn’t work because those two things don’t “mix” and don’t make bad comics. Maybe it’s not Ennis’ fault. The Midnighter is admittedly a two-faceted badass character; it’s possible that he needs an ensemble to contrast with, or at least a straight man.
#1 Worst

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Penny Reviews: 2011, Part II

I got a lot of comics in 2011, and as people often do at the end of a year, I’m taking this week (week does not include Playing Favorites Tuesday, It’s the Magic Friday, Weekend Music Saturday, or Sunday) to reflect on my purchases and share the resulting insights with you, the unwary reader.

Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller
Daredevil is not and will never be on a top ten list, except for possibly “Top Ten Things Called ‘super’ That Can Stub Their Toes on Florescent Orange Safety Equipment,” a category in which he would take nine slots out of ten, ultimately losing to a comatose Miss Marvel.

His momma so fat—oh, right his mother left him as a child and never loved him so her body proportions are unknown.

Born Again is about The Kingpin learning that Matt Murdock is Daredevil and destroying Matt Murdock. Murdock gets better. The end.
Honorable Mention

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 45

Every Most Tuesdays I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

Since my villains list thus far has consisted of Doctor Doom, Lex Luthor, and Victoria Hand (with a brief aside on Norman Osborn), I think it’s safe to say that this exercise is somewhat self-indulgent. In that vein, I’d like to talk about Chaplain Action, He-Man of the Cloth!

Chaplain Action, He-Manof the Cloth appeared in The Authority arc “Transfer of Power,” where the original team was presumed dead/murdered and a government-sponsored team I refer to as The Republican Authority took their place as the center point of the story. Chaplain Action, He-Man of the Cloth was originally part of a publicity effort to cast the new Authority as devoutly religious (to contrast with the…somewhat hedonistic style of their predecessors). When the cameras turned off however, he continued to (mostly somewhat) bring the team to heel on their moral excesses. Even when success pushed the team itself to the same hedonistic heights (depths? No. Definitely heights.) as the original, it was him who provided the bulk of the leadership and integrity. While his main focus was on bringing The Colonel (the racist, sexist electricity-manipulating jerk who was team leader) in line--with violence of course--he also managed to focus on the best parts of the team and attempted to bring them to the surface.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Penny Reviews: 2011, Part I

I got a lot of comics in 2011 (while reviewing them for this blog, I made the mistake of estimating their cost and lost three hours to a haze of fiscal shame), and as people often do at the end of a year, I've taken a moment (actual value of moment is three days) to reflect on my purchases and share the resulting insights with you, the unwary reader.

Planetary Vol 4 by Warren Ellis
Fucking. Awesome.
Here's your change
#1 Best

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Weekend Music: "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack

The December Weekend Music arc continues upwards towards, ever-brighter.

LAW website here.

Merry Christmas, guys.

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's the Magic: You Are Here, Part Three

Two weeks ago, I started talking about a tactical tweak to multiplayer Magic involving a planar map that messed with areas of effect and ranges of attack. Last week, I posted that map, finished presenting the core rules, and started listing the (extensive) optional rules. I'm continuing with the optional rules this week with the concept of minions borrowed from the Magic website (link below). Next week, I'll start in with some player-as-planeswalker rules. Both are long and complicated and thoroughly fun according to the several (imaginary) people I've shown them to. 

Minions and Masters: Minion and Master are player statuses (as is, by default 'neither minion nor master'). Minions are usually players who would have been lost the game because of life loss, but became a minion instead. Their life total becomes ten and they simply continue playing (see optional rules for Poison and Minions, below). Though it is possible for a minion to win, it is very difficult. Minions always have a master, and a minion's master is usually the player who controlled the effect which would have eliminated them from the game. A player cannot become their own minion (ie, killing themselves with their own ability). If a master becomes someone else's minion, their master gains their minions. If a minion loses a second time, their life total becomes five and they simply continue playing with a new master (or the old one. Again, depending on who killed them). The last non-minion player wins the game.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Ha-ha. Seriously. I was on boat all day yesterday and most of today. The original post here was an outline that I had scheduled to run and couldn't take down or finish because I was incommunicado (and pretty much comatose).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 44

Every Most Tuesdays I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

Seriously, I never read Osborne as a Spider-Man villain, so maybe being a cackling maniac with no depth was what made him one of the arch-nemeses of one of comics’ standard bearers, but, man, I’d like to think that there was some characterization at work that made him a loathsome counterpoint to the na├»ve, morally-driven Peter Parker. Even in the movie, he was an aggressive, dominating figure who loved his family, but took it (well, just Harry) for granted in his quest to remain powerful (perhaps even powerful enough to protect them, which I don’t think was the angle from the movie, but it could have been, given that if they did explicitly cover what happened to his wife, I’ve long since forgotten.). That’s a hero.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Weekend Music: "When She's Gone, She's Gone" by Brooks and Dunn

I know three things about these guys:
1) They did not make a video for my favorite song of theirs.
2) Barack Obama played one of their songs, "Only In America," whenever he received the Democratic nomination in 2008, which was awesome!
3) How to link their website.

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's the Magic: You Are Here, Part Two

Last week, I started talking about a tactical tweak to multiplayer Magic involving a planar map that messed with areas of effect and ranges of attack. It was insanely over-complicated and had all the thoroughness of one afternoon's manic crafting of Magic rules, but I still present it (and it's map) to you for your digestion. 

This week's addition finishes the core rules with the special rules that apply to some of the planes and begins the first of three entries related to optional advanced rules which have no place in any game ever. Where articles from the Magic website are the inspiration for a particular rule set, I try to give them credit.

Planar Special Abilties
There are several different multiplayer modes which work with Tactical MPM.

            Planechase – There are five Planechase planes. When a player first moves to a Planechase plane they turn up the first card of their planechase deck (or a common planechase deck, if one is being used). That planechase card works identically to a normal planechase card. If a player rolls a planeswalk symbol while attempting to planeswalk on a planechase plane, they can either opt to replace the current plane with another from the top of the deck, or move to another plane normally (see The Things You’ll Do from last week's blog). Additionally, if another planechase plane has a planechase card that has the same subtype as the planechase card of the plane you are currently on, you may instead move from one of those planes to the other as if they were adjacent for free (regular responses and restrictions for moving to a new plane apply). Planechase planes are colorless and have RoA and RoE 1.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Results for doing a YouTube search for Ezra Miller (reason isn't important!):
Videos of interviews with Ezra Miller: 10,278 average views
Videos of movie clips and trailers with Ezra Miller: 12,059 average views
Videos of other people talking about Ezra Miller: 3,150 views
That one video that's just stills of Ezra Miller set to obnoxious music: 396
Video with the clip from the movie where he's making out with another dude: 26,807 (well, 26,808 now)

Thank you, internet. I will never feel alone with you around.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 43

That said, Victoria Hand is a pretty good example of an ideologically-motivated villain who becomes a hero even because her environment (and not she changes). I suppose that The Punisher would also count as someone whose morality wouldn’t change, though the context of their actions might mark them as a villain, but I’m hard-pressed to think of any other characters who would qualify for this. I mean, The Crime Syndicate of America (from Grant Morrison’s “Earth 2” Justice League of America) sort of counts, because (or so I hear it) in their universe, the paradigm supports evil, selfishness, and corruption, while on the DC main universe, it supports good, selflessness, and integrity.  The bad guys can’t win in the DCU and they can’t lose on Earth 2. They’re still criminals and jerks, but their effectiveness is, in fact, determined by just what universe they’re in (I don’t know if this is a subtle nod to the ‘uber if their name is on the cover’ principle of comic book battles or not, but it’s Grant Morrison, so there really is no telling).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Team Fortress 2 Videos

I could swear I've posted these before.

Team Fortress 2 is the sequel to a popular First Person Shooter that I've never heard of, but I can guess the name of. It uses a set of different types of characters you can play, from a flame guy(no video) to a soldier(video!). Anyway, the characters are visually and functionally distinct, giving them miles of personality, as the introduction videos below demonstrate.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Weekend Music: "Once Upon a Fool Ago" by Trace Adkins

I know two things about this Trace Adkins:
1) The dude is a 20th Level Redneck with a Divorcee Prestige Class.
2) How to link his website.

Friday, December 09, 2011

It's the Magic: You Are Here, Part One

For the longest time, I've wanted a larger structure to my games of Magic. I was trying to make that happen when I accidentally stumbled upon a tactical version of mutliplayer Magic that uses a player's position on a map of the multiverse instead of their seating arrangement to determine who they can and cannot attack. Turn order remains unaffected until you Ally with someone else (see The Thing's You'll Do, below).

This does add a game board element to Magic, but then, if you've got the table space for decks, graveyards, battlefields, exile zones, command zones, life counters, poison counters, sideboards, deck boxes, proxied double-faced cards, at least one laptop somewhere to consult the comprehensive rules and gatherer for any rules/errata disputes, and possibly command zones, scheme decks, planar decks, coins for flipping, planar dice, tokens, and counters then you can probably just go ahead and squeeze a game board on there.

Don't actually have the game board on file. I'll post it next week.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Timewalking Archive Trap: Rules of War

Time: Oct 1, 2006
Location: A forum on the internet

[Name Withheld 01]: And I hate to say it, but where is ANY kind of body armor for ground forces....oh wait, they dont HAVE ground forces, they just send the "security" guys down there. Even during the Dominion War, no one even THOUGHT about putting any personell assigned to ground duty in any body armor.

[Name Withheld 02]: That's right -- Noone. Including the Cardassian and Dominion militaries.

VanVelding: There's a reason for that:
Scene: Start of the Dominion War, somewhere near the Cardassian/Federation/Bajoran/whatever border. Sisko, Weyoun, and Dukat sit down.
Weyoun: Captain, we should discuss the terms on which this war is to be fought.
Sisko: That's why I'm here gentlemen.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 42

Every Most Tuesdays I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

Materialistic villains are a simple counterpoint to heroes, but I can see why it’s not a dynamic that’s played up more often. Modern super-criminals  who are after money will usually use it to either do drugs, buy weapons to kill superheroes, or get foiled in the attempt and never have their full plans revealed. It’s usually unambiguous that they’ll spend it on something terrible when it’s discussed at all. It’s pretty rare that they’ll spend it on rent or their daughter’s operation (Thomas Hayden-Church). Sometimes, there’s a plan to retire somewhere far away with a special someone, but more often, that special someone is a harem. If they didn’t, if they were paying off student loans or funding cancer research (the real kind, not the kind that you test on human subjects to accidentally turn them into super-villains), then the heroes would be put in an ambiguous moral situation. The righteous violence that pervades the medium is grounded on a sense of clear right and wrong, and that ambiguity undermines a central theme. That clash with the fundamental nature of the comics is why you rarely see those types of robberies.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Linkstorm: It Gets Less Political. Promise.

Jon Huntsman isn't crazy. He realizes Republicans need to face facts on science. He's not calling for the dismantling of federal regulatory agencies simply so that he can make more money hand over fist. He's pro-second amendment, pro-life with the standard exceptions and fully supports civil unions. He is still a politician, and is thusly slippery, non-committal, and often says nothing, but he's better than the alternatives. If Bachmann, Cain[1], Perry, and Gingrich can be frontrunners, Huntsman at least deserves some limelight. He has the potential to be unifying instead of polarizing. But hey, it's probably going to be Romney anyway. I don't mind that actually, so long as they make his biopic soon enough for Bruce Campbell to get the lead role[2].

I actually only bring this up because I have a tab open for his donations page, but I'm not certain on whether or not it's worth it. I do like him (if you hadn't guessed) and he needs the money (his dad actually dropped a load of cash into his campaign, which is embarrassing and gives a pretty bad impression). At the same time, I have to ask if its worth the effort the minimal (easily forgettable) indecision I've had over this has given me ideas for the novel[3], so it's not a total waste.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


“I’ve always wanted to work at a club.”
“As what, a bouncer? Bartender?”
“No. What I do now, just at a club.”
“I like the atmosphere.”
* * *

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 41

Every Most Tuesdays I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

Okay, I’m on this thing now.  I know Dean Cain’s Clark from “Lois and Clark” did some petty things that I don’t think of as super(though I can’t think of any specific examples), but maybe that’s part of his relatability? I mean, wouldn’t we do some petty things against people who are jerks if we had Superman’s powers?  Most of us would go beyond ‘petty,’ which is strange because I’ve used that word so much to describe super-villains. They aren’t petty, they’re petty and they won’t let it go. Oh, man, with the exception of the hairpiece thing, I’m not really sure what I’ve got on Superman doing that kind of thing. I’m sure it was common in The Silver Age. On the one hand, I get that Superman is a persona; he is that guy of course, but he’s also Clark Kent, average human reporter who doesn’t carry the weight of the world on his shoulders all of the time. Someone who does relax, who has fun, and enjoys the life that he works so hard to preserve for others. No, again Clark Kent is a reporter who’s clumsy and awkward. He doesn’t exude confidence or enjoy the company of others. Again, I’m thinking is the guy who can bench press planets and have quiet evenings with Lois Lane is someone else entirely, someone who can do all the things I listed two sentences ago. A guy who misses his planets and a family he’ll never see, but enjoys baseball and his mom’s apple pie. A guy who talks to his wife about the burdens of being a living icon while causing some occasional mischief with his god-like powers. Again, I think of Superman as really being Kal-El, Last Son of Krypton, Clark Kent by day, Superman…also by day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011: Rejected Excerpt

Ah, The Spider, come in. I’ve been told so much about you. 

That’s nice to hear. Thanks for seeing me; I’m looking forward to working for your lab. 

Tell me a little about yourself.

I’ve got doctorates in physics, engineering, biology, and mathematics. I was Head of Research in Denver University’s Biology Department for seven years. I was Interim Dean of Sciences for six months. I ran my own research company for ten years. I’m UNITY certified. And I am widely regarded as a ruthless shadow of the night who prowls the rooftops of my city as a merciless spirit of vengeance.

Thank you. Can I ask you, as an unholy abomination of man and arthropod, can you make an antidote for your own poison…if you bite yourself by accident?

I’m…not poisonous.


Theoretically, yes. Provided I had enough remaining venom to use as a basis.

Can you spin a web? If so, of what size or sizes?

I don’t do Spider-Man jokes.

I understand. If you used the teleporting device of Seth Brundle, but there was a common house spider in there with you, would you become half spider, half man-spider or would it not make much difference at all?

According to the movie, half my DNA would be overwritten with that of the spider, so yeah probably. Are we going to talk about my qualifications as a biologist, an engineer, and an administrator?

I’m sorry, the remainder of the interview will consist of The Spider questions. Now, are you attracted to spider women or human women?

Neither, I guess; male spiders often put their seed into a tiny web, which they then move to their pedipalps, which they then inject into the female’s genital opening.

So, what about a human woman who was wearing a fake spider vagina? Would you put your seed web into that?

Would you have sex with a monkey that had a human vagina?

This interview isn’t about me. What about The Outlaw?

The shapeshifting super-criminal with delusions about being my arch-nemesis?

What if you were somewhere, say a club or a bus stop or something, and there was a beautiful red head there giving you the eye.


She offers to have sex with you, but you think she might be The Outlaw.

Why? Can I tell she’s a meta or something?

No. You’re just feeling paranoid that day.

I don’t know. It’s hard to say.

She guarantees it will be the best sex of your life, and you’ll never know if it was The Outlaw or not.

I don’t know…yeah, I guess. If I’d never know.

It was The Outlaw.

Aw, c’mon!

It was The Outlaw. Deal with it. What’s spider porn like?

Pretty hot, but remember that depending on the species, the female will liquify and drink the male after.

Fair enough. When people dress in spider costumes and have sex, are they still called furries? 

I don’t know.

Because you have those little hairs on your legs.

I…still don’t know.

That’s all the questions I have for you today. Thank you for coming.

Did I get the job?

No, we don’t hire dirty spiders.  

With thanks to Saturday Night Live and Christopher Walken.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's the Magic: Attack Bears Coming to Grips With the Size of the Job Before Them

Huh, That’s Funny
Alright, so I have two plans on how to address the issues I talked about last week: adding more cards to my hypothetical lands-and-vanilla creatures format or making stuff up.

Adding Cards
Additional cards let the format address the issues without making it just another way to play Magic, but with dumber creatures. However, the criterion for including cards must be simple and, obviously, include cards which address our problems.

-Offset the sorcery-speed, summoning sickened creatures that make up the core of game play.
-Don’t always support the format. Jace's Ingenuity, for example, does address the issue of drawing out, but doesn’t add much, to the centrality of creature combat to the game.
-Do not provide a permanent effect, so they don’t complicate the board state.
-Evens the playing field for non-Green decks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Timewalking Archive Trap: Nerd Points

TrackerMoonl: What did yall talk about?
VanVelding: Dukat, initially.
VanVelding: The badguy from DS9.
VanVelding: I'm like, "everyone has a stake in kicking his ass at the end."
VanVelding: Relatively speaking, Sisko was indifferent towards the bastard.
VanVelding: Their only beef was professional. Sisko was Jesus, and Dukat was that kid from The Omen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 40

Every Most Tuesdays I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

Throughout this all, Doctor Doom is reserved, almost reactionary. He doesn't go looking for fights, but finishes them utterly once they start. He doesn't commit genocide against other alien invaders, just wrecks their ability to make war. He doesn’t go out looking for a fight with The Celestials, he just stops them from interfering in the affairs of lesser civilizations because they interfered with his. He gains the Inifinity Gems because he's confident that he can and should wield this power. While I haven't read any of the “Infinity Gauntlet” that wasn't written by Brian Clevinger, I'm pretty sure there was a lot of fucking hand-wringing over what to do with the Infinity Gems once Thanos was defeated. A lot of “that's too much responsibility for one man”s being thrown around. While Doctor Doom doesn't doubt the morality of his actions, once he can surpass his petty desires to rule the world, avenge himself on Reed Richards, and save his mother's soul, his moral compass points as well as any superhero's that doesn't doubt itself and eagerly agrees to ignore The Prime Directive if someone else does first.

It's strange that Doctor Doom's actions in this story still aren't heroic; they're responsible. He doesn't have that moral myopia that only lets him hit the guy in front of him. He'd rather the job be done definitively than to keep bloodshed at a minimum. The exception is that he doesn't concern himself with the massive consequences of fighting the most powerful beings in the universe because he is right and they are wrong. Indeed, that kind of moral myopia isn't foreign to Doom, it's actually his normal level of petty elimination of people who oppose him. He will change the status quo of existence itself because it inconveniences him. That the consequences destroy Earth are no matter; he uses the last of his power to give the Earth a glorious rebirth. Of course, Doom himself is given a rebirth as a simple human, so much the better to begin his quest anew.

Doom must strive. Doom must oppose. It's only in adversity that Doctor Doom finds his calling. It's only by punching so far above his weight class that he can find the challenges that a genius—nay, a man—of his caliber requires. The central point of his character isn't to protect others or even to take his petty vengeances, it is to seek, to strive, to find, and not to yield (Yes, Tennyson). It’s the same unquenchable fire that drives heroes, but its direction is totally inward, pushing Doom to test and prove himself. Doom must be the best, he must be worthy of his own image.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

A Lone Post Emerges From a Desolate Wasteland

Hey, I spend most of last week being the only clerk on the barge and not getting a lot of sleep and not even being in the office during the hours where we're allowed to be on the internet and it was a real drag and I even took a few days off of NaNoWriMo so I'm behind on that too. Super-swear, I'll have some stuff up this week.

But hey, at least the weekend music is still updating.

Oh, November's theme seems to be the uplifting topic of domestic abuse.

Well...enjoy that then.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekend Music: "Independence Day" by Martina McBride

I know two things about Martina McBride:
1) She also does "Concrete Angel," so I'm assuming her full bio references the fact that she's a robot from the future programmed to rip out my #$&@ing heart with country music.
2) How to link her website

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2012 Update

We’re at the halfway point. How is everyone doing? Good. I’m actually halfway done. It is fucking eerie to be halfway done with a writing assignment halfway to the due date. That shit has not happened in a long, long time.

Speaking of ancient history, Monday and Tuesday officially marked the last week of Quinius. I messed it up again this year, but the things I got right were clearly great moments where I entered the very heart of my holiday and felt it beat. I wish I could be less douchey and vague about it, but that’s what I gots!

Back to NaNoWriMo. I’m at the halfway point, which should mean I’m halfway done with the story I wanted to tell. Not so! Let me demonstrate how behind/off track I am here:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 39

Every Most Tuesdays I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.

In the What-If, however, Doctor Doom detects The Beyonder's survival and doesn't fall for his trickery. The heroes are not revived and Doom is free to master his new powers and return to Earth.

He does, and pwns heavily. He is opposed first by Tony Stark and Doctor Strange. He simply adjusts Tony's Blood Alcohol Content to make him permanently drunk (bypassing the 'bottle' part of “Demon in the Bottle”) and though Doctor Strange has spent time in a hyperbolic time chamber preparing new spells for the battle, Doom simply
Silences him and punts him elsewhere in the multiverse. Then the other heroes rally; pregnant Sue Storm, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, US Agent and...seriously, they are fairly unmemorable from that point forward. It's the C-Team plus S.H.I.E.L.D versus deus ex Doom and in the end...well, Doctor Doom only knows how to rule worlds and defeat that Accursed Richards, and he left all of his Richardses on WarWorld.

Monday, November 14, 2011

7252 - Just a Diet Coke Nerd

 Tweets are great. My tweets are better. And these tweets are the best of the better.

Okay. NOW my pop-tart gauge is full. I'm grungy, on a road trip, and full of diet coke. Space-lizards on pulsars aren't this lizard happy.
Friday, March 12, 2010 11:11:43 AM

Saw the Coke guy putting up cokes. Just gave him all of my money. Those are the rules.
September 17, 2010 5:47:20 AM

Just like how you give Jesus all the gifts if he shows up for Christmas. Same thing.
September 17, 2010 5:48:23 AM
Deprivation is good for the soul. Pop-Tarts are good for the tummy.
September 06, 2010 8:39:01 AM

I left pop tarts from my last time off. Did I ever tell me I'm my hero? I'm everything I wish I could be? I could fly higher than an eagle.
August 06, 2010 7:23:58 AM

Reading the Monster Manual section entitled 'Zombie Hulk Tactics.' It's longer than you think. #dnd
July 24, 2010 9:42:43 AM

Mage: the Awakening. Matt isn't supposed to be this jaded to the rulers of the world of magic, but remember that he is tenured.
July 09, 2010 3:08:37 AM

You've never heard of us. We're a dwarf band; we're totally underground.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 7:56:43 PM

vs. Necrons: Are you dying?! That's desertion! You'll be shot! #necrons #40k #darkcrusade
June 25, 2010 1:56:34 PM

So...Eres Badlands has a different victory condition. Glad I went for broke instead of all that 'defend my base' crap. #40k #darkcrusade
Thursday, June 24, 2010 5:48:34 PM

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weekend Music: "Never Again" by Nickelback

I know two things about this band:
1) I like them.
2) How to link their website.

Nickelback probably isn't a great band and they even have a few songs I hate. I'm sure they're technically terrible, but I never personally got how they get the flak they do. Well, not entirely, anyway.

Moving along, the next seven weeks will mostly be country music. Also, because Brooks and Dunn's "When She's Gone, She's Gone" isn't on YouTube, I guess I'll slap together a video for it (if I can) so I can share it with you guys. If you have any imagery to suggest, let me know. (Yes, I know that link leads to MySpace. That's what I'm trying to fix here.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's the Magic: Highly Trained Attack Bears

Huh, That’s Funny
I have a bear problem. I have bears in my collection, but until the Hanna-Barberra set comes out (scheduled for 2015 under the code names "Scooby," "Dooby," & "Doo"), there just aren't enough picnic baskets to really do much for them.

Before I continue, I have to lay out a few pieces of terminology:
Vanilla Creatures – These creatures only have a power and toughness. For most purposes, they are tokens creatures printed on a card (with a cost, name, etc.). Unless they're big, and maybe not even then, their game play value is very limited.

French Vanilla Creatures – These creatures are like vanilla creatures except that they have one or more keyword abilities, like flying, trample, haste, lifelink, deathtouch, etc.. They're often more useful, and can often turn a game around, but don't always see a lot of play either (Hey Flensermite. Don't worry; you're a staple in Kris tournaments.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011: The Denver Five excerpt

Eric Roberts had been working with UNITY from the very beginning. When the Lassick Incident broke, no one knew how to handle a mentally unstable, highly-manifested metahuman. He was a psychologist specializing in anxiety disorders at the time He had an office and estate in New York state, paid for with his empathic abilities, telling people about how the world wasn’t the harsh and unforgiving entity they’d imagine it was. He convinced people to trust in the innate kindness of others, to believe that most people wanted to help others.
When he’d seen the Lassick Incident, he’d been comfortable saying those words while hiding his own meta abilities. He’d been comfortable telling himself that discretion was a reasonable route when so much of mankind was still coming to grips with the implications of metahumanity, all too aware of how easy it was for people to focus exclusively on the dangers life’s changes presented at the loss of those opportunities.
Stopping Lassick and saving his victims cost Eric Roberts more than a comfortable practice and a nice house, but now, after helping so many metas become bearers of that message, he didn’t doubt it was the right thing for him to do.
None the less, there were less rewarding days, like today, when an invisible metahuman walks into his office, stands on his ceiling, and asks to sign up for UNITY training.
“I assume that your abilities consist of enhanced strength and the ability to mimic the coloration of any toaster pastry.”
“Um, no. I can turn invisible.” The voice sounded nervous and serious; either too stupid to get the joke or too serious, “I can also fly.”
Young too. Anxious. He took a moment to chide himself for trying to turn everyone into nails for his particular specialty of hammer.
“I think I, um, might have a selective ability to channel fundamental forces around my Ehm-field.”
Roberts leaned back. Definitely serious. And anxious. Middle class. Male. Not stupid.
“That’s certainly a thought. How much do you know about Ehm theory?”
“Just a little bit. I, uh, read about on net-uh, the internet.”
Definitely middle class and smart, but he’s pretending not to be. He wants to be the type of average citizen that doesn’t use net-plus.
Not everyone liked UNITY. Some people didn’t like it because they didn’t like metas. They didn’t like the idea of individual people randomly manifesting super human powers, they didn’t like the culture of acceptance that had largely grown up around such different people, and they didn’t like the thought that it was now slightly more likely that the person next to them in line at the grocery store could incinerate them with their eyes. There were also people who thought metas were all fine and good up to being the saviors of humanity, but who didn’t think that UNITY should be the default organization for training them. While not as vociferous or violent as the others, they did tend to be tenacious about undermining UNITY’s credibility at every turn.
Up to, and including, putting a sympathetic meta undercover at a UNITY facility.
“Go ahead and tell me what you know and I’ll fill in the rest. You might save yourself a few days of class time if you know what you’re talking about now.”
Dr. Roberts spent the next five minutes listening and nodding while filling out paperwork on his terminal. Yes, Ehm Theory was named for Doctor James Ehm, an Australian researcher believed to be the first person to manifest seven years ago. Yes, He created the first map of trans-atomic biocircuit structures created by human consciousness and how they could potentially store and release energies according to preexisting neural pathways. Yes, almost every human had an Ehm Field, but it was only manifested metas who could control and project theirs. His young visitor did a remarkable job with the dates and technical names, forgetting about his not-so-smart cover story in an effort to impress his audience.
“I am impressed,” Roberts told him at the end, “I just need your name and I’ll have your file all set up.”
“My name?”
“Yes, if that’s not too much trouble.”
There was a slight pause as Doctor Roberts considered the possibility that his visitor spent weeks practicing his approach, studying UNITY, Ehm Theory, and perhaps even Doctor Roberts and the Denver facility itself, but had never thought about the pseudonym he would use.
“I…uh, it’s just that I’m…” he was faltering badly. Roberts was worried that he’d bolt, not because he was eager to take a malcontent into his charge, but because UNITY training was a massive boon to every meta who received it and every human they interacted with thereafter.
“Take your time,” he put on his best professional voice of patience, “you can use an assumed name if you like. Most metas do.”
“I just don’t like having my name in computers. I don’t want to be shuffled around in some electronic system.” He was rambling now, too busy stalling for time to come up with an answer or a next step.
“Look, you can make something up. No pressure.”
“I’m just…cyber-paranoid.”
“That’s fine.”

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Field Manual Kris: What's Getting Written

I'll level with you guys; I'm a bit burnt out. Having problems with the internet at work is a convenient excuse, but even before NaNoWriMo, my ability to sustain this blog the way I have just isn't there. I've taken a couple of emotional blows lately and I'm getting to the end of this streak where I just pretend that I'm going to get back to school and getting around to where I forsake it forever until I'm an obnoxious fifty-year old or I just go back and finish the fight. I'll keep putting stuff out, but it'll probably be MWF for a while until I get a better long-term plan going.

Everything after this is incoherent rambling.

I'm reading Robert E. Howard, which is a trip. He wrote the series of short stories that becomes the Conan the Barbarian mythos (Yes, he apparenlty knew Lovecraft, now fuck off about that forever unless you can--right now--give me detailed reviews of five Lovecraft works and why they're relevant beyond being a mechanism to relieve hipster nerds from their money. In fact, fuck off about Lovecraft altogether unless you can do that.). I think Conan is pretty fundamental geek reading, and I've actually picked up a collection of Howard's Conan works, along Asimov's Foundation, LeGuin's, A Wizard of Earthsea, and Hadleman's Forever War, because fuck it, my next series of reviews will aquaint me (and thusly, you) with the fundamentals of nerd literature.

It's not right that I don't do a full ten, and to that end I'm also eyeing Ender's Game, Downbelow Station, Dragonlance (yes, that dragonlance) and 2001.Also considering a quick reread of A Fire Upon The Deep, because hive-mind wolf packs are awesome.

Yes, by the end, I may even be permitted to talk about Lovecraft (though it's not bloodly likely).

Oh, right, but I was talking about how Robert Howard's work was trippy. Not a pyschodelic, jump-dolphins-ate-the-script-so-make-something-up-last-Episode-of-The-Prisoner trippy, but just strange to read about and to read. According to a number of people Howard is a great writer. His work is "highly charged" and "fast and furious and girm". Ignoring quotes from the cover of his collected works, it has at the very least stood the test of time. However, upon reading "The Phoenix on the Sword," "The Frost-Giant's Daughter," "The God in the Bowl," "The Tower of the Elephant," and "The Scarlet Citadel," I have noticed several things about Howard's Conan stories.

I That shit is economical. Seriously, "The Phoenix on the Sword" uses broad charicatures to give us all six antagonists in two pages. There's a side story about a ring; that shit totally pays off. It seems contrived, but then there's not too much room for being cutesy and sparse with your Checkov's Guns.

II Conan does not impress me much. He's great at killing. Alright, he's bad-ass at killing, but he's just sort of 'meh' at everything else. Somehow, I expected more. But I'll admit that his less-than-badass qualities do make him a more grounded character.

III A magical guy will solve everything. This is pretty common.

IV These villains certainly like to exposit. I mean, they tell you what's going on, but they might as well have a sign up when they're telling you.

V That magical guy was a dream...or was he? He wasn't.

VI Don't be black, fat, or even a little gay. Seriously.

VII Wizards are assholes. Always. Even the good ones are 50% scary and 100% asshole.

VIII There is a well-formed universe here and its heavens are populated by some freaky shit. If you read this before learning Lovecraft and Howard were contemporaries, the subsequent revelation of that fact will not faze you in the slightest.

IX Conan is awesome, but far from omnipotent. He gets his ass kicked sometimes. At very specific times. See point number II.

X Yeah, it's pretty good.

It's especially good because what I'm doing for National Novel Writing Month is creating a series of short stories with similar characters that develops over time. If I aim larger, will get bogged down with trying to connect everything and keep it going, I'd much rather work on making each event I want to cover into something self contained. It reduces my perfectionist overhead while still succeeding at making the pieces of a larger story that I can edit into something more cohesive later. Of course, with the Conan stories actually being economically told short stories that are part of a larger connected universe, it's very helpful for me to look at Howard as a model to see how he does it, even if "how he does it" consists of Exposition, one line to describe a character, exposition, character openly says his motivations, fighting, bad guy dies.

I'll add the magical dudes in post.