Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Batman Beyond - Seeing Double

I never saw Batman Beyond. Some of that is because it mostly took place during The Great Pop-Cultural Blind Spot. My general lack of interest makes up the rest.

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a Batman fanboy; I like a selection of very good Batman stories. Good Batman stories tend to be very good stories in general (Good Green Lantern stories, on the other hand, tend to induce slightly less vomiting than other GL stories.). I love the potential in seeing what happens when Batman gets too old to be Batman[1]. His whole deal is that he is just a man and like all men must face decay and death[2]. To paraphrase The Bible, how Bruce Wayne faces life at an old age is at least as important as how he faces death.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Progress Report: 30 DEC 13 Close of Business

Hey, so daily progress report: GO!

Progress Report: 30 DEC 13

So, I have something of a history of heaping too much onto my plate. So I was thinking about what would happen if I kept a record of all of that stuff over the course of a few days so I can see where I'm getting shit done. Not exciting, but good for a few laughs. 

Maybe.

Probably not.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Night at The Movies

So, the guys were talking a few weeks about about how physical separation keeps us from going to a movie together, then talking about it later. I think it was Derek who floated the idea that since we all have Netflix, we could just pick a movie there, watch it, then talk about it during a video/audio chat later that week.

My Sand, Steel, and Sunsets game is ending today, and we've got some downtime before Terry's Werewolf game picks back up. Next Friday or Saturday should have a good time for all of us to get together and turn something over. We've got three candidates, Troll Hunter, Gallowwalkers, and Solomon Kane. Everyone interested can rank the movies and we'll hash out a time via email.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Timewalking Archive Trap: Battle-Civ Beta: Episode #6 The Greatest of Things

As you might be aware, I've recently redownloaded Civilization 2, one of the top three most addicting games ever created (the others being Minecraft and WoW). It brought up a lot of old memories and a quick search through my downloaded Xanga blog revealed that I'd already blogged about a game of Civilization 2. So enjoy this Timewalking Archive Trap from May of 2007.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nerding Out of The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special

As you know, I love friggin' Doctor Who.

Or maybe I don't talk about it much because I'm afraid it'll creep you out, much as it has done to my roleplaying group. Aaanyway, I do and I saw the 50th Anniversary special (plus or minus fifteen years of being off the air) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That said, I'm a fucking insatiable nerd prick, so I've got some nitpicks the size of a fucking planet to bring up. A nit for each Doctor, actually.

It's perfectly natural, as a nerd, I have a locked (deadlocked, some might say) emotional progression in response to good things:


I first noticed this paradigm when I heard that Victoria Hand was going to be in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Surprisingly, her role was so understated, I never really around to hating her. AoS is definitely progressing in tiny, steady steps.

MASSIVE FUCKING SPOILERS BELOW:

Friday, December 13, 2013

I Think This Is My Stop, Family Guy

So, Brian died on Family Guy a few weeks ago (don't worry; he's coming back). Long story short, Stewie destroys his time travel machine forever, consequently Brian goes outside and dies, and the family gets a new dog. And, guys, this is my stop.

As a comics fan, I recognize all of the beats. The elimination of a wacky, recent addition to the series (the time travel machine). The death of a major character in an attempt to engage the audience's concern for a character. The desperate introduction of a replacement character like so much New Coke. They just need an awkward crossover that bumps up ratings for a week while eternally hobbling them with canon, and my comics-ruin-everything Bingo card is complete.

Oh, wait.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Timewalking Archive Trap: Battle-Civ Beta: Episode #5, Roman Contact, Roman Civil War

As you might be aware, I've recently redownloaded Civilization 2, one of the top three most addicting games ever created (the others being Minecraft and WoW). It brought up a lot of old memories and a quick search through my downloaded Xanga blog revealed that I'd already blogged about a game of Civilization 2. So enjoy this Timewalking Archive Trap from May of 2007.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Bitchin' about work

Aw man, I'm just gonna gripe about work. Maybe you want to too? Go ahead. Knock yourself out.

So, I do this gig in a post office where I just take people's boxes and get postage on them and sell stamps and shit. It should be the fucking simplest thing on Earth, but some folks are like "Here's an egg. I don't have a box and I want to send it to Germany. By ground. Don't you have Germany's zip code? I don't want to pay more than 30p."

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Timewalking Archive Trap: Battle-Civ Beta: Episode #4, the Age of Colonization

As you might be aware, I've recently redownloaded Civilization 2, one of the top three most addicting games ever created (the others being Minecraft and WoW). It brought up a lot of old memories and a quick search through my downloaded Xanga blog revealed that I'd already blogged about a game of Civilization 2. So enjoy this Timewalking Archive Trap from May of 2007.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Why brain? Why?

So, I was trying to do some...stuff the other day and suddenly it popped into my head that Jon Stewart has had sex. Then my brain went off-script and imagined him, tiny, hairy, older guy that he is, kneeling on his desk and just pounding away. It was not a sexy scene.

Then, words came:

Jon Stewart: "And now to our senior vagina correspondent."

Jon Stewart's Penis (with the voice of Aasif Mandvi): "Thanks Jon. I'm here in the vagina, and I gotta say it looks awful, but it feels great! This just in; faster, Jon."

Jon Stewart: "Will do penis. Thanks for that report. My penis, everyone."

*Applause*

My brain cannot be trusted.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Updates

Don't have the next 64 Deck Bag ready. They're kind of a bear. They use tables and there's a cut and paste angle. They're kind of a whole...deal. Actually, they're why I'm probably going to be taking wordpress off of the big boy site in the near future and starting from scratch over there (wordpress blogs can't handle fucking tables?). It'll be a whole thing.

I'm trying to get through the holiday season. Trying to get into modding some Minecraft as a way to learn Java. Looking for more gainful employment. Trying to get some freelance work. Wrapping up my first FATE RPG in the next few days. (I'll probably be posting some of that here, or at least links to it.).

Kinda busy despite all of the silence that's permeated this blog lately. Sorry for the delays. If it's any help, this place may be quiet, but I still have a tumblr, a hot guys tumblr, and a talk-about-politics tumblr.

I'm also angling to get linkstorms done. I really, really like doing them and I want to do them, but sometimes I get caught in a vicious cycle of overproduction and then it seems like they're too negative. Anywhoo, I'm still workin' on it folks.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Timewalking Archive Trap: Battle-Civ Beta: Episode #3, But for mine own part, it was all Jade Falcon to me!

As you might be aware, I've recently redownloaded Civilization 2, one of the top three most addicting games ever created (the others being Minecraft and WoW). It brought up a lot of old memories and a quick search through my downloaded Xanga blog revealed that I'd already blogged about a game of Civilization 2. So enjoy this Timewalking Archive Trap from May of 2007.

Monday, November 25, 2013

64 Deck Bag: Round 01

Sivitri Scarzam Hello, and welcome to The 64 Deck Bag, I'm Sivitri Scarzam, and this is the steward of valeron, um...
Steward of Valeron Stewart.
Sivitri Scarzam Really?
Steward of Valeron Really.
Sivitri Scarzam Wow. I guess we know what colors creativity comes in. Well, Stewart and I are your hosts for today's entertainment. Stewart?
Steward of Valeron Our dark masters, manipulators on an inconceivable scale of evil—
Sivitri Scarzam —hail them—
Steward of Valeron —have arranged matches to the death between sixty-four cosmic beings of inconceivable power: planeswalkers. All for your entertainment.
Sivitri Scarzam And mine. Today's bout takes place on the plane of Yarikama, amidst a war between the encroaching forces of industry and the abandoned descendants of ancient angels.
Steward of Valeron Indeed, like many this place is woefully torn by strife.
Sivitri Scarzam Well, it's about it be.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Working on the Linkstorm

Working on it, but I need to edit it and I also need to sleep before tomorrow, so...probably not until tomorrow evening. Sorry.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Timewalking Archive Trap: Battle-Civ Beta: Episode #2

As you might be aware, I've recently redownloaded Civilization 2, one of the top three most addicting games ever created (the others being Minecraft and WoW). It brought up a lot of old memories and a quick search through my downloaded Xanga blog revealed that I'd already blogged about a game of Civilization 2. So enjoy this Timewalking Archive Trap from May of 2007.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nerd Overload Videos

These came up yesterday, but even posting them now, you'll probably have seen them by now.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Timewalking Archive Trap: Battle-Civ Beta: Special Delivery, World Map

As you might be aware, I've recently redownloaded Civilization 2, one of the top three most addicting games ever created (the others being Minecraft and WoW). It brought up a lot of old memories and a quick search through my downloaded Xanga blog revealed that I'd already blogged about a game of Civilization 2. So enjoy this Timewalking Archive Trap from May of 2007.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Trusty Lord: Trust in RPGs

So, as you know, I've been running a roleplaying game (if I had my stuff just a little more together, you'd be reading about that right now instead of this). I originally wanted to do a 26 part series on roleplaying theory, the FATE system, and the specific Steel, Sand, and Sunsets game I'm running. Life happened and now I'm running that game instead of theorizing about it.

Trust. When you think about it (or mistype it like I just did), it reminds you of the word "truest." Generally, players do want characters that are true, as it's a virtue. Having a player that's trusting is considered a drawback. Earning trust is a sign of power; giving it is a sign of weakness.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Timewalking Archive Trap: Battle-Civ Beta: Episode #1

As you might be aware, I've recently redownloaded Civilization 2, one of the top three most addicting games ever created (the others being Minecraft and WoW). It brought up a lot of old memories and a quick search through my downloaded Xanga blog revealed that I'd already blogged about a game of Civilization 2. So enjoy this Timewalking Archive Trap from May of 2007.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Baboons and Dogs


Warning: Crying puppies.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Sorry, but last night was Halloween

...and I did fuck-all, so I'd like to keep that going as long as possible. Hope you guys have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hurdles of S.H.I.E.L.D.: We're keeping the name

So, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been getting incrementally better. Last week had an episode with real-life superpowers. Even better, it moved the awful, shallow, irritating Rising Tide story that much closer to completion. Once it safely fades into the background like The Maquis, maybe we can finally focus on major villains like...ugh, "centipede."

The previous week was very good. Quite possibly the best episode of the series yet. Sure, the superpowers were just some advanced technology, but it was played well, the story was clever and it was a joy to watch. I mean, you have to deal with the time that the total badass was having a knock-down drag-out fight and then totally stood there looking around in complete darkness for ten seconds while her opponent causally picked up a gun, but it was a great episode.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Zah-ham-baye, zah-ham-baye

So, Terry and I have been playing Magic lately. Amidst a lot of other games, I finally got my zombie deck, "Zompocalypse Now" off:

Click through for the full-size image.

Every D10 represents that many zombies. Because of my Undead Alchemist (blue card on the far right), in lieu of damage my zombies caused Terry to put a card from his library into his graveyard. For every creature card put into his graveyard that way, I got another 2/2 zombie (with +3/+3 from my Zombie lords).

I just want to say that even though Terry was losing, he didn't scoop so I could run up my zombies and win legitimately. He's a good friend.

Friday, October 25, 2013

This Dark Matter Thing Was Handled Poorly

For those of you who don't know, which is everyone because no one cares, there was once this group of guys who were modding an FPS. Anyway, they made a really popular mod and then they made a free-to-play FPS based on that and it was sorta popular in some circles.

They didn't make much money though and they didn't like their publisher. They suspected said publisher was only out to make a quick buck and not concerned with the long-term health of the property. So when those guy began working on their new title, Dark Matter, they didn't bother with a publisher.

Then they ran out of money so they tried a Kickstarter. The Kickstarter failed at around 12%. A few months later, they released Dark Matter on steam. Despite the fact that they clearly detailed the content of the game on the site, it ended abruptly at around four hours in. With a text screen of all fucking things.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Beyond: Two Souls-It Actually Is a Video Game

So, with personal stuff coming up lately, I'm not doing Denver 5 for the forseeable future. I am very sorry.

However, I did get paid to play some Beyond: Two Souls, and it's pretty great. It's the video game that's made by the same guys who made Heavy Rain, and they apparently learned very little since then. Not that Heavy Rain was bad, it just wasn't very good.

Anyway, Ellen Page is Jodie Holmes who has a ghost attached to her (they call it an "entity" because they don't want to sound silly even though the portals to the underworld they create are called fucking "condensers." It's like, what, does the ghost realm have a fucking dewpoint?). So she's raised in a lab since childhood and joins the CIA, but then also runs away. She's a hobo psychic badass as a character class and somehow they manage to make it all work together.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sorry for the drop-off lately

I've been wrapped up in a job that isn't just about doing the work, but actively fighting over the job itself to get the work done. It's--well, let's just say that I've lost one of my liquor glasses to the shitty website architecture at this fucking place.

I'll blog about it in hateful detail once the job is done, which might be as early as Friday if I can't get this shit worked out.

Yaaaaaaaaay.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hiddleston as Wilson as Loki

I'm not a Loki fan. I get why the attractive, damaged, emo supervillain could be attractive, but he's still a pissy, self-centered, insecure prick who's willing to decimate Earth because his family loves the shit out of him, but just doesn't express that love enough for Loki's taste.

I've got family like Loki.

None the less, he's a good character and a good villain and Hiddleston plays the shit out of him.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Politics as Candy

One of the things I like to do to keep up with government is to send the incoming vice president a Snickers the day after Inauguration Day. If the president finishes his term, then I'm out the price of a Snickers. If, gods forbid, he doesn't, then I can send the new president a single request, written on the back of a receipt for a Snickers.

That's why Ford pulled out of Vietnam.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Apparently Some of My Friends Are Philistines

So, I've been reading Gerard Way's The True Lives of Fabulous Killjoys from Dark Horse Comics. It's no Umbrella Academy (few things are), but it's a good follow-on to the last album My Chemical Romance released, Danger Days. I've been shocked (not really) that folks haven't seen the two...plot-important videos for Danger Days.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Hurdles of S.H.I.E.L.D.

So, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (AoS) has had three episodes. I'm liking it, even if it's the reason I'm dreading Tuesdays now. AoS has a lot of hurdles to overcome. It's the bastard  child of a popular king. It exists to make a bit more revenue and add value to the Marvel film franchise. When Thor 2 and Captain America 2 come out, you sure as heck better bet AoS is gonna spend an episode for each one reminding the audience that THIS THING MIGHT BE ADDRESSED BY THOR/CAPTAIN AMERICA IN SOME OTHER NARRATIVE. PERHAPS ONE HAPPENING AT THE NEARBY THEATER ON NOVEMBER 8/APRIL 4.

I'm cool with that, but it's a one-way street; AoS can't have Dr Doom or Power Man or Iron Man because "Fox Studios," "you never know," and "LOL, nope!" The Fury cameo from the second week was nice, but Fury, like Hill, doesn't have an arc or history; he's untethered. If AoS is going to plug into the Marve movie universe or channel the power of the Marvel Comics Universe, it'll have to receive a box of good Marvel stuff, no matter how small. That risks making AoS look tiny next to superheroes/villains but it's got upsides: 1) the point is superheroes 2) it might distract from the premise.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Long Box Goodbye 07

The best thing about splitting the videos up is that I can upload them as I finish them and get something up for the 0100 deadline.

I'll have more up tomorrow. All the shooting is done; it's just editing now. :(

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Denver 5 Comics 86-90

Denver 5 is an unillustrated comic strip about a group of dicks that are vaguely acquainted with one another because they are all endowed with metahuman abilities. Character descriptions are here.

<-Previous           First               Next->

Comic 086
1. THE SPIDER is surrounded by people, many of them in costume. There's an assembled crowd. In the very back, the two uniformed figures from Comic 085 (Guards 85-1 and 85-2) are visible.

CHORUS
"Love your costume!"
"Were you there Friday?"
"Is this your first cosplay?"

THE SPIDER
"Ah, no. I come every year."

2. Same shot, but there's the flash of someone taking a picture and THe Spider squints slightly at it with all of his eyes. In the background, Guards 85-1 and 85-2 are getting closer, plowing through the crowd.

CHORUS
"Look at that articulation on the mouth!"
"I don't think he's tall enough."
"Can I get a picture with you."

3. Same shot, but The Spider is looking back, directly at the approaching security officers.

CHORUS
"Does the real Spider have that accent?"
"You let me take a picture with you last year."
"What's with the jacket?"

The Spider
"Well, you see, I'm ah..."

4. Wider shot. The Spider is moving into the crowd, off of the right side of the panel and handing his jacket back to TYLER FOSS, who was just off of the left side of the panel for the rest of the strip. Tyler is utterly bewildered at this. 


THE SPIDER
"Yes, we take a few pictures."

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Denver 5 Comics 81-85

Denver 5 is an unillustrated comic strip about a group of dicks that are vaguely acquainted with one another because they are all endowed with metahuman abilities. Character descriptions are here.

<-Previous           First               Next->

Comic 81
1. TYLER FOSS and THE SPIDER are walking around Cherry Creek Mall. Tan, faux marble floors and facades. Glass dividers and storefronts with bright silver handrails and detailing. In the background, there are some cosplayers. They and others look at the pair of metas as they walk into a clothing store, side by side.

Tyler: "You don't have to watch me; I was just kidding with you about causing trouble."
 
2. The Spider is checking out a rack of coats on a clearance rack.

Tyler: "I just wanted to hang with someone without a lecture on Ehm-theory and responsibility."

3. The Spider has picked out a coat [See reference] and is taking it to check out.

Tyler: "...you notice how we never train to work as a team?"

4. The Spider is offering the coat with a pile of cash to a cashier who is staring, aghast, at his mouth. Tyler looks sad.

The Spider: "We're not a team." "We'll never be a team." "We'll never work together."

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Responsibility Wednesday

So this is my "To do" list for blogs. Tentatively. It's not comprehensive. It's not that I don't have anything to blog about it's that the number of things I want to blog about is a bit overwhelming sometimes.

You know what's not on that list? Country music and the sexy lamp test. The sexy lamp test is a media test. If a woman in a piece of media can be replaced with a sexy lamp, it fails the sexy lamp test. Presumably, you can have sex with the lamp. I have to make that last point because I've been wondering lately if some of the country music I like can pass the sexy lamp test.

The album I'm most eager to look over is Trace Adkin's "Chrome." I think I bought "Chrome" in 2001 because of "I'm Tryin'." I've always referred to it as redneck music and I absolutely stand by that. The whole thing is just chock-filled with redneck whining about lost romances and weird cities and cars.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's almost cliche at this point

No Denver 5 just yet. I'll work on it this afternoon. Had a splitting headache yesterday and I couldn't format it right.

Sorry again.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Slight Delay Again

Denver 5 should be up this afternoon.

Denver 5 Comics 76-80

Denver 5 is an unillustrated comic strip about a group of dicks that are vaguely acquainted with one another because they are all endowed with metahuman abilities. Character descriptions are here.

<-Previous           First               Next->

Comic 076
1. THE DENVER FACILITY BREAK ROOM (See Comic 11 for reference). In addition, there's a Key Rack on the side of the refrigerator, towards the front so it doesn't catch on the door. THE SPIDER is sitting in the couch, reading a copy of The Rocky Mountain News (a newspaper which is defunct IRL). Through the interior wooden door behind him, TYLER FOSS is leaning through.

TYLER FOSS
"Hey. I'm going to the mall. Wanna come?"

2. We're looking at The Spider head-on, from a POV just inside of the newspaper. He's pointing his left hand at his face.

THE SPIDER
"This is not a mask. I'm a violent vigilante."

3. We're back to the POV from Panel 1. The Spider's word bubble continues across to this panel. His hands are both back on the newspaper. Tyler is standing in the room now.

THE SPIDER
"I'm hated by criminals, wanted by the police, and loathed by activists hunting for a cause."

4. Same POV. Tyler is curious and has stepped a bit closer to The Spider.

TYLER FOSS
"You're worried they'll catch you?"

THE SPIDER
"I'm worried your ego will be collateral damage when they do."
 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Layperson's History of Getting {U} from a Stone, Part 4, Part II of II

For the past few weeks, I've been idly speaking about artifacts (and lands) in Magic's history that give mana of any color. Some of those colorless cards give you mana, but attach a high cost to each of their uses. Some are more forgiving. In this final installment, I get to talk about some of my favorites.


Forbidden Orchard straight-up gives an opponent a 1/1 creature. A creature with a strong tribal type no less. Is one mana worth giving your opponent another body? As someone who's died to a 1/2 Hunted Ghoul, I have my doubts. Those who've never suffered that fate may disagree.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Long Box Goodbye Week 05: Alternatives

Ebayables Video Delayed

Ugh. Editing is taking forever, but I'm in editing, which means I'm in too deep to flake out now.

Should be up later today guys. Probably some time in the afternoon.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Denver 5 Comics 71-75

Denver 5 is an unillustrated comic strip about a group of dicks that are vaguely acquainted with one another because they are all endowed with metahuman abilities. Character descriptions are here. 

<-Previous           First               Next->

Strip 71
1. CYBERPARANOID exits Professor Wilson's office, MARCUS and ALEXANDER are waiting outside. Marcus is a short man with a bookbag and thin-rimmed glasses. He's wearing a polo shirt and slacks. Alexander is taller and thinner, but still shorter than Cyberparanoid. He has long, dirty hair that could be blonde on a good day. He carries a beaten spiral notebook. Both are white and about the same age as Cyberparanoid. Both have been waiting for CP for a while, with Alexander leaning on the wall and Marcus standing, facing the direction they are about to walk.

Marcus
"About time. We're probably going to be late to Lit."

Cyberparanoid *smugly*
"Don't worry about it."

2. Alexander is looking over his shoulder while they walk down the hall, which has white paint over large bricks that come halfway up the wall. Other students pass behind them, including CLIFF WHITE, who has just passed them and is giving Cyperparanoid the stink-eye.

Alexander
"Took long enough. He suckin' off his best student in there?"

Marcus *rolling his eyes; he's a bit tired of Alexander's crudeness*
"Ugh."


3. They continue walking through the building, passing Rockin' Fuel vending machines.

Cyberparanoid *smiling*
"Actually, he wanted to say he expected better work out of me in the future."

Marcus
"Only you could make that sound like a compliment."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thursday, September 05, 2013

No Denver 5 Today

Have some Lois Lane instead.



Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The World is Inherently Unjust

The proof is that Semisonic isn't an internationally revered pop sensation.

Monday, September 02, 2013

A Layperson's History of Getting {U} from a Stone, Part 4, Part I of II

For the past few weeks, I've been idly speaking about artifacts (and lands) in Magic's history that give mana of any color. Some give a few mana up and then sacrifice themselves, some convert generic mana or life into the color of mana you need, and others can produce mana of any color, but usually don't, or restrict how you can spend it.

Because generating mana of any color is so powerful and because lands are so cheap, the drawbacks and conditions for those types of lands are widely varied and quite unpredictable. Almost wild, really. 


In each Magic game, you have a total amount of mana you generate between each of your untap steps. If there's a land that isn't tapped when you start your turn, it's wasted potential (mostly). The goal is to have a progression of mana that you've used every turn until you've won. If you stall at four lands, that total for the first five turns looks like 1+2+3+4+4. By that fifth turn, your first land has given you five mana.

If you have Undiscovered Paradise in your hand, you're going to have to decide at some point whether to play a land that's going to churn out mana every turn or play UP again to cast a spell now and face the same dilemma next turn. Undiscovered Paradise doesn't cost you one land drop or one mana, but one mana every turn you have to replay it. If you tap it for a color of mana you can already produce, it's even more futile.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Denver 5 Comics 66-70

Denver 5 is an unillustrated comic strip about a group of dicks that are vaguely acquainted with one another because they are all endowed with metahuman abilities. Character descriptions are here.

<-Previous           First               Next->

Comic 66
1. CLIFF WHITE (Well-built, young male, dark hair) in a shower (chest-up). There's a "beep" sound happening in the background.

Caption:
University of Colorado, Denver
Campus Village Apartments

2. Cliff is getting out of the shower and wrapping a towel around his waist. The Beeping continues.
Cliff (Internally):
He's up!  Finally, I am going to have a conversation with my roommate about--

3. Cliff is facing out of a bathroom and into an empty sleep area with two beds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzi4JLfT2qU). The beeping has stopped, as has his train of thought. We can see an invisible CYBER PARANOID with a bookbag waiting by the open door to the hallway outside.

4. Cyberparanoid is still invisible and is outside of the door to his room, which is being slammed shut.
Cliff:
"Can't even close the damned door when he leaves!"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Schedule

So I'm weaning off of Google. That includes working more with the big boy site (vanvelding.com if you're one of those readers who is allergic to links). I'm not going to shut down this place any time soon; I know folks' RSS feeds and links and autocomplete thingies are set here. I am going to throttle back though.

It's the Magic will keep going on Mondays until "Getting {U} from a Stone" is finished. I'm currently posting it a few weeks behind over there. The Tuesday videos are queued up through to October and they're so simple there's no reason not to keep them coming (are the videos a draw for you guys? I don't have reader stats on those.).

Wednesdays have been wildcard days for a while now, so they'll be quiet unless I make them a "Meanwhile, at The Website..." sort of plug day where I talk about all the cool stuff I'm doing on my Tumblr, Twitter, etc..

Denver 5 stuff is entrenched here, so it stays. Will be reposting to catch up over there.

Fridays will keep up until the end of this eBay stuff, then...I don't know. Again, I don't get stats on the video stuff, so I'm not even sure what the level of interest is for more original video content.

Anyway, thanks for reading folks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Layperson's History of Getting {U} from a Stone, Part 3

For the past few weeks, I've been idly speaking about artifacts (and lands) in Magic's history that give mana of any color. Some give a few mana up and then sacrifice themselves, some convert generic mana or life into the color of mana you need, and others can produce mana of any color, but usually don't, or restrict how you can spend it.



Though it really is just a restriction, making the production of colored mana finite has been explored enough to warrant its own category. Sure, Black Lotus and Lion's Eye Diamond are powerful one-shot, bursts of mana, but Magic eventually dialed it down to one mana, or even just filtering. Weatherlight gave us Gemstone Mine and Tempest gave Lotus Petal. The mine was pretty popular, but you only got three uses out of it. The lotus also had finite uses—well use—but managed to break its format.

The concept stuck though. Invasion had Archaeological Dig, which produced generic mana until you sacrificed it for a mana of any color. It also had Chromatic Sphere, which was essentially a two-mana Lotus Petal. What Chromatic Sphere had that the petal didn't was a card draw attached; now you weren't discarding cards to get the mana you needed, you were cycling them.

Then you have Ravnica's Terrarion, which is the Magic card equivalent to Sin City's Marv. Terrarion is ugly, slow, and clunky, but it's a hell of a nice card. Like Kalhni Gem, it's almost too niche to include, but it swings us neatly back to our one-shot mana filters perfectly. Time Spiral's Chromatic Star is an obvious descendant of both the Terrarion and Chromatic Sphere. It saddens me that Star vs Sphere is a real and concrete point of contention in some parts of the Magic community, a fact that is one of many reasons I'll shed a single tear when World War III starts, but only because I know humanity will find a way to survive.

Strangely, these sorts of artifacts taper off after Chromatic Star. I'm not sure why. What I've seen more of are things like Sphere of Suns and Pentad Prism, which use counters to make a finite amount of colored mana before the artifact becomes useless.

To lapse into pure hyperbole, I can conjecture about why they stopped. Pentad Prism.



Oh, sure, it gives you a set amount of colorless mana. It ends up filtering and floating mana at a 1:1 rate in a two-color deck. Pentad Prism, like Mox Opal, is the right card in the right set. It's a simple, flawless piece of design that makes Magic hum like a perpetual motion machine[1]. Chromatic Sphere? Cute. Chromatic Star? Adorable. Lotus Petal? Nope. Implements of Sacrifice? Fuuuuuuuuuck you! :) Pentad Prism is a reason to shut down the store and retire.

Swinging back to the land side, Tendo Ice Bridge in Betrayers of Kamigawa took the same aproach. It lessened the more finite elements of the Gemstone Mine by allowing giving a one-time multicolored land use and providing colorless mana indefinitely. It was a hybrid of the mine and less successful filters like the Henge and School, but still popular.



The vivid cycle (illustrated here by Vivid Creek) would be a straightforward upgrade of Gemstone Mine, but it enters play tapped, essentially costing its own mana to play. The change allows something that lasts longer than Tendo Ice Bridge, while being more useful in the long term than the mine. The short term tradeoff is something for professional players to talk about, but using time to balance multicolored mana generation is--in my opinion--the maximum extent of complexity for lands that generate finite mana of any color. I am going to talk about it next week though.

---
[1] Which I don't think would actually hum because of the energy loss due to emitted sound.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Jesus Fuck Google

This is intolerable. I can't stay logged into YouTube. I can't upload my YouTube video. Whatever that fuckup is, it's fucking up Blogger as well.

When and if I get the latest eBayables video up (Vimeo and Photobucket are my options after this last try), I'll probably put a post up here directing to it on my much-neglected VanVelding.com site.

Which I feel won't be neglected for much longer.

Edit: eBayables 3: Something Old, Something New

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Denver 5 Snag

Hey, don't have a Denver 5 thing today. Having a problem working the next storyline out. Rest assured I'm reading tons of webcomics and regular comics as, um, research for how to approach it.

As a side note, I was looking up Neo's name because of reasons the other day, but all I knew was that his real last name was Anderson (somehow). So I googled "Neo Anderson," and it turns out that's the name of a pretty hot model, so sometimes I have very, very good reasons why I don't get things done.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Contemplation: Biking

It's a bicycle.

But if you ride one, you're a cyclist.

The colloquial term, for either a bicycle or motorcycle, is "bike."

Fuck you, English.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Layperson's History of Getting {U} from a Stone, Part 2

Last week I talked about getting mana of any color from colorless sources, namely artifacts and lands. Black Lotus was too strong. Mana Prism and Standing Stones were awful, but the work moved on. I laid out three major avenues Wizards seemed to pursue to get the balance just right; artifacts that can only be used once, repeatable artifacts that required a cost (usually filters that turn one type of mana into another), and artifacts that placed conditions on the type or use of the mana they generated.


Let's start with the exception: Lion's Eye Diamond from the Mirage set. It almost looks like Lion's Eye Diamond was an attempt by the folks at Magic to tame Black Lotus. After all, lotus proved three mana was worth more than a single card. Lion's Eye Diamond took it to the next step; what if the cost of all that mana was every card? Lion's Eye Diamond was never a Black Lotus, but its "drawback" added a lot of fuel to graveyard-based dredge decks and keeps it in the just-under-$100 range in the secondary market these days. Until Lotus Bloom got it right in Time Spiral, it was also the final attempt at the three-mana-for-none-artifact.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ebay Week 2


Sorry 'bout the sound levels. Trust me, it was a herculean effort just to get the shitty level this low.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Denver 5 Comics, 61-65

Denver 5 is an unillustrated comic strip about a group of dicks that are vaguely acquainted with one another because they are all endowed with metahuman abilities. Character descriptions are here.

<-Previous           First               Next->

Comic 061
1. THE DENVER FACILITY CENTRAL CLASSROOM. It has two rows of four wide tables. Each table has a four seats and each row his higher than the next. At the front of the room are a large electronic "blackboard," a simple, wooden podium, and a table with a matte black top. Brown, zig-zag soundproofing covers the side of the room. There are single doors on either side of the front of the room and double doors on each side of the back wall. TYLER FOSS and THE SPIDER are entering the front right door with notebooks and pencils. You can see the entire front room of the class here and only The Spider and Tyler are visible.

TYLER FOSS
"Class? Really?"

2. Same shot, but Tyler is moving towards the front left table. Spider is trailing further behind, taking the room in.
TYLER FOSS
"This is way too early. I just woke up, like, five minutes ago."

3. Shot over Tyler's shoulder as he puts his books on the table. He's looking off to the left in surprise. This is probably the first shot which allows you to see the two back doors of the classroom.

TYLER FOSS
"I was up until two playing--"

THE SPIDER (OFF-PANEL)
"I've been up for 72 hours sraight."

4. POV is from Tyler. The Spider is sitting at the left table, second chair from the center aisle stairs. His posture is tight and focused, spine straight, feet on the floor. As much as possible, he's staring straight forward.
THE SPIDER
"In another 12, the hallucinations start."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Search for Search

I use Google for a lot of my default web services. I am considering changing that though. Obviously, the biggest service is basic web searching. That's Google's bread and butter, but I've been a tiny bit dissatisfied with it lately. Let's go through why that is.

I love Pacific Rim and I've heard the soundtrack is really popular. I'm interested in it, so I'm going to google it.


That's pretty cool. Google contextually knows that most people looking for a soundtracks are looking to buy them or listen to them first, so it's giving me links to Amazon and YouTube videos. But I also want to make sure the soundtrack has a kick-ass picture on the front of the CD case, so I'll do an image search.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Layperson's History of Getting {U} from a Stone, Part 1

So, last week I talked about an artifact that let other artifacts made colored mana, on the condition that they had that color. There are over 100 artifacts that are colored (most of them White, Blue, and Black because colored artifacts were released as the mechanic for the white, blue, and black faction in Alara), so it's a workable niche.

I often research my designs so I can understand templating and power levels. I ended up looking at the interesting methods that lands and artifacts have used to give players mana throughout the history of Magic.

Hated as they are, these cards have seen more nerdboners than anything should ever have to.

The grandaddy of them wall was the Black Lotus. The Moxes were up there too. The theory behind the lotus, based on conjecture, is that it's only one-use, so it's not that bad. However, dropping a four-mana anything on turn one is a really big benefit. It might be a card advantage issue, where you're effectively discarding a card for three mana (even Dark Ritual makes you pay B for that), but it's still a bargain. I can't even begin to defend the moxes, which are basically lands you can play all at once that hate Nevinyrral's Disk and Shatter.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Ebay Week 01


I'll have the actual auctions up and linked later today.

Fun game: list the bits I did in one take and the ones I did in 2+ takes.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Sorry there's no blog up today. I was wicked-sick yesterday and I didn't have today's blog queued up.  It's a bit late now and I've got to spend the rest of my evening working on tomorrow's so, I'll just have to get it up next week.

How's your week going?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Joys of Spellbook Ownership

So, I have this thing where I don't usually play D&D (or Pathfinder, which is D&D). It's not my thing, but whenever I do play D&D I often like to do it as a wizard. A specific wizard. The best wizard. Lucio Pavlec.

Now, Lucio is my go-to wizard because I kind of grok him better than most of my other characters. If this seems familiar, there's an older blog where I go on about him at length. I never know which particular version and level of D&D I'll be using Lucio in, so I've prepared an exhaustive, if not comprehensive, collection of them.

If you've played D&D before, you know that spells are kind of a big deal for wizards. Now, I like the plethora of D&D spells as much as any other reasonable human being but it's a constant struggle to keep up with what spells I have and what they do exactly.

Conventionally, a player would just copy-paste the spells from an online source and make a reference document. I did that, but then I realized I could take it a step further and found a parchment image from the internet. An hour's worth of working with Microsoft Office and a lifetime's worth of cursing later, I opted to just give my reference document a quadruple pass through the printer to make:


A spellbook. 

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Home by Ellie Goulding

A friend of mine just finished watching Deep Space Nine all the way through.

This is for you buddy. One clip from each episode.

Monday, August 05, 2013

It's the Magic: Hungry Eyes

So, last weekend, Jay Treat over at Goblin Artisans put up this Weekend Art Challenge. It was based around an image by keepwalking07. In case you can't/won't click over to see the image yourself, it's a massive silhouetted mecha standing amidst a ruined landscape.

Jay's challenge was to create a common or uncommon colored artifact based on that image. Bonus points were offered for a card whose color and status as an artifact were made more relevant by its rules text.

My first thought was to create a piece of equipment because it seems every submission I make to Goblin Artisans has the desperate, sweaty need to be recognized as a unique snowflake. Despite the fact that it came from TMI, the first set from the Deep-Seated Personal Issues block, I was relatively happy with the result:

Thursday, August 01, 2013

I Saw Pacific Rim and I Liked It

So I watched Pacific Rim and it was great and I loved it. I'm posting my initial reactions as the movie unfolded below. Sadly, because Pacific Rim was so utterly engrossing, this write-up is probably a bit less engrossing than the rest because I spent more time staring slack-jawed at the screen. Spoilers.
Not sure which part of USAF training is about flying into the enemy like a clumsy drunk.

I'd be surprised if most these suit sequences weren't practical effects. This shit is really lived in.

Huh. Knifehead. "You killed my brudder!"

Hell of a first fight. Surprised Knifehead died...or did he!? <He did.>

The jager could have IR or thermal vision, but they put floodlights on them. I wonder if there's a cutoff point for impractical mecha technology.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Honest Trailers: Independence Day

But really, I fucking unironically love Independence Day. It is a big, dumb action film, but it's just so well constructed and filled with so many characters that you care about that it doesn't matter whether it's original (great artists steal) or ethnocentric (it was 1996); it's just a fun movie.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Begins with "H"

So there was a kinetically-induced structural failure of my keyboard last night, but luckily it also managed to give me some solid, blog-based advice:


Be back on Thursday, August 1st. Just four short Tuesday videos away.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Wait, is it Wednesday Already?

Dang, this one just got away from me. I know I've been spotty-to-not-at-all on putting up the blogs, but--


Look at the monkey!

I'm also working on a roleplaying setting which takes place in the aftermath of a civil war that leaves The United States...well, not united. And there are no guns. But there are trains. And cannons. It's a work in progress.

But hey, io9 put up an article asking about the coolest sword in fiction. My money is on Scott Pilgrim's sword of love, because it's a manifestation of Scott's own growth, but Frostmorne probably gets it on a technicality.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Nerdgasm on Jonathan Ross

The Doctor (11th), Tywin Lannister, Ygritte, John Snow, and Gandalf the Magneto sit down with the guy who writes America's Got Powers.


Monday, July 01, 2013

Humility in Democracy


So, last week was crazy. The Supreme Court struck down DOMA, eliminated vital portions of The Votings Rights Act of 1965, and declared that the freelance supporters of California's Proposition 8 weren't authorized to defend it in lieu of the state. Texas Congresswoman Wendy Davis performed a 10-hour Texas filibuster[1], only for Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst to try and pass the bill after the legislative session had ended. Most notably, the saga of the NSA's Prism program continued unfolding, as whistleblower Edward Snowden was charged with espionage.

Democracy is great because it's rife with conflict. The conflict that comes from groups talking about opposing ideas helps participants develop their principles and sharpen their skills at expressing ideas. Two people can shout at each other for twenty years, but one would be mistaken if they thought that constituted a conversation. The powerful can impose their will on the weak, but no matter how they do that, it's not democracy. It's the interactive conflict that's great, not the decision that's reached. The humility to learn and reevaluate your position is one of the cornerstones of democracy [2].

Friday, June 28, 2013

Icon

It's been a busy week, so I don't have anything really nice prepared today. The Supreme Court did overturn DOMA this week, so I had to change my twitter avatar. I wanted something uniquely mine, so I took a few minutes to fool around in paint.


I'm also planning on starting Saturday posts, but it'll likely be just some time management stuff cataloging my efforts to surmount my giant pile of projects. But at least it'll let you know why I'm not getting anything done.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Inane Battles of the Internet: Man of Steel

Like being a snot chef or romantic masturbater, there's little acclaim to be won in winning a fight on the internet. Maybe that attitude is a bit like ridiculing a jogger for spending an hour a day running in a circle though. If they were trying to get somewhere, they'd be driving; joggers do it for the exercise. Maybe the united trolls and comment warriors aren't attempting to delineate their dominance over fictional characters so much as to simply sharpen their rhetorical claws, feel the rush of conflict, or spit out some excess bile over discovering another one of life's infinite, sucking orifices.

As most of you know, I didn't like Man of Steel. That doesn't mean it's a bad movie. A reviled film can be perfectly good. A cinematic disaster can be loved. We could journey down the rabbit hole of just what exactly makes a movie good or bad, but it would be a waste of time.

That Man of Steel squanders the promise of a Superman movie makes it bad. You can't cite sources on a movie being awful, but if I could, I'd mention Chris Sims' "On My Planet, The 'S' Is For Sucks," Andrew Wheeler's "Choice And The Moral Universe Of 'Man Of Steel,'" and Tom Scioli's "I Teach You The Superman."

There's also Rude's bit, RDGStout's words on it, Dave Willis' Shortpacked!, Bully Says a few words about parallels with 9/11 and a thousand other nerds talking about it, so go where you want with it.

This puppy is over 6,000 words. In addition, though I don't think I need to say it, after the jump...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Man of Steel Kris Notes

io9's Rob Bricken did a great job of talking about the most memorable parts of Man of Steel. Like him, I saw MOS and didn't particularly like it. I also took eight pages of notes as I watched it. I'd scan and post them, but I wrote them in the dark. In my own handwriting. And I called Jor-El "Luthor" a couple of times, which probably says a bit too much about my psychology. 

Anyway, in the tradition of The Hulk and Iron Man, enjoy Man of Steel Kris Notes

FYI: the notes are made during the movie. Italics are used to denote something that I penned in after seeing the whole film.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Denver 5 Comics: Description Interlude, Pt 01

Last week I mentioned I'd be taking a few weeks off to work on the next storyline. While I was doing that, I wanted to put up some new descriptions of supporting characters and places that would be appearing in various parts of the comic. Next week is more character description, but this week is about the U.N.I.T.Y. Headquarters at 0° - 0° .

Tac-0
U.N.I.T.Y. headquarters is located at 0° Latitude by 0° Longitude, in the Gulf of Guinea, about 600 km (334 nm) away from Ghana. It's considered a world heritage site and is technically administered by the United Nations. Water depth: 5 km.

It is an island centered around a geologically active depression with steam coming out of it. A low, wide semicircular building reaches just over halfway around that depression and spreads from that area to just a few dozen meters from the beach. The building is divided into three regular parts by piping and boilers which are part of the geothermal power system. The three parts of the building each have three more regular breaks, a higher central area with helicopter pads and lower areas that are designed for metas to fly to an from the buildings directly. The walls of those buildings are windowless and flat black, with white struts that run along the inside of the sections which support helicopter pads. Painted in UN powder blue along the exterior of each building is “U.N.I.T.Y.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shoot The Doctor, Then Throw Batman Into the Sun

There's a trope, whether it's on TV Tropes or not, called "Just Shoot The Doctor." You see, in Doctor Who, the titular character causes all manner of trouble for the variety of militaristic aliens (The Doctor's an alien too, so they're not all bad). It would be far easier for the Daleks, Sontarans, and Cybermen of the universe to just shoot the insufferable Doctor the moment he emerges from his little blue box.

But they don't. Why? Because the universe of Doctor Who does not work that way. There are in fact, quite a few writers who work very hard to make sure that universe expands according to a set of rules which start with and sit below that one. As with every other piece of entertainment, the creative team are a pantheon of gods, defining the hero's method of triumph by crafting every atom of the conflict from the ground up.

So, like Captain Picard staring down Armus on Vagra II, we find our selves face-to-face with the skin of evil that is Man of Steel. (Spoilers after this point)

Monday, June 17, 2013

404 Blog Not Found

Despite what I think was a pretty great idea, I don't have a blog today. I just got some part-time employment and it's gotten me working on other projects and not focusing on the old PIFbyC the way I should (and also Command and Conquer and also True Blood).

Anyway, I am working on a series on NSA's Prism, but between the other blog, the other other blog, and the other other other blog, I'm not sure when or where that's going to land. I'm trying to narrow the focus of my general things down to the Linkstorms, videos that strike my fancy, Denver 5 stuff, programming, wrapping up some roleplaying stuff, and occasionally spending time with my roommates, but that still leaves an extensive to-do list.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Denver 5 Comics, 56-60

Denver 5 is an unillustrated comic strip about a group of dicks that are vaguely acquainted with one another because they are all endowed with metahuman abilities. Character descriptions are here.

<-Previous           First               Next->

Comic 056
1. In the police station office from strip 28. OLDER OFFICER is looking up from a report he was reading. OFFICER 56-1 (Female) is standing in the doorway. She's carrying a folder.

OFFICER 56-1
"Spider caught Jesse Childs."

OLDER OFFICER
"St. Lukes?"

OFFICER 56-1
"St. Lukes."

2. OFFICER 56-1 and OLDER OFFICER still in the office, but Older Officer is getting his coat on. She's reading the folder to him.

OFFICER 56-1
"They say Childs flipped his car through The Spider."

OLDER OFFICER
"Fucking Spider."

3. OFFICER 56-1 and OLDER OFFICER walking through the police station towards the exit. She's still reading the folder. He's grabbing a coffee from a small table with coffee supplies.

OFFICER 56-1
"Units were already in the area because of a building collapse."

OLDER OFFICER
"Fucking Spider."

4. OFFICER 56-1 and OLDER OFFICER outside of the police station, just past the awning from comic 37 (This was incorrectly described as an eave when it is in fact an awning.). The older officer has his keys pulled out is unlocking the key to his car. His other hand is still holding the coffee.

OFFICER 56-1
"There was a second vehicle involved in the crash. We don't think it's related."

OLDER OFFICER
"Fucking Spider."