Thursday, January 31, 2013

Everything is Fine


The audio level is very low I apologize.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Gaming Renaissance

Guys, gaming has been crazy yet. As you know, I like playing some Magic, doing some roleplaying, and firing up a console. I'm not really a gamer in the sense that most people are; I prefer to have a more productive use of my time between applying for jobs, whining about Star Trek, and finding out the newest way that jump-dolphins are plotting my demise. Lately, however, things have been pretty rough. I've had no bites on my job applications, my money is still finite, and I'm pretty sure Shortpacked!'s Dave Willis has thrown in with the jump-dolphins to blow my fucking mind.

Luckily, I've got a lot of Magic under my belt these past few weeks, I'm juggling RPG schedules as I try to balance a 3.5, a Pathfinder, and a Werewolf: the Apocalypse campaign. If I'd ever played D&D before it was salvaged from arcane, nerd-based overcomplexity (4th Edition), this would truly be a nostalgia bonanza. As it is, it's just a regular bonanza of character creation, dice rolling, and trying to stat out The Greater Dominus Encyclopedia on the Proper Preparation and Eating of Dicks because apparently, my character's lightning hands don't actually effect lightning elementals and they can eat a mountain of dicks as a class power because fuck them for being immune to my magics!

I'm having loads of fun, but damn, it is exhausting. I can't complain really; I will complain because it's who I am, and I will complain because I'm too highly talented to get passed over on a lot of the opportunities that I've seen, but at a bare minimum I promise that the most righteous of complaining won't include my gaming schedule.

Probably.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

There Will Be Brawl, Episode Five: Monsters

 


There Will Be Brawl is a web series that creates--and then exposes--the seedy underbelly of well-known Nintendo characters with exceptional dedication and insane unpredictability. It's the entire internet in ten minutes. Minus the furries.

Nintendo's stable of recognizable characters and the staggering number of titles in which they interact makes a universe that is complex and contradictory enough that the editorial staff at DC would be hard-pressed to reconcile it, even if they released nothing but crisis comics for the next thirty years without resorting to Nintendo's time-tested strategy of never discussing it. "There Will Be Brawl" is notable in that it would sit as an equal with any end result from that kind of reconciliation; it makes a good universe.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What to Expect When You're Not Expecting the End of the World

After last week's retrospective, I wanted to let you guys know just what you were in for during the year ahead. It's not always possible to know what's going to happen, but there are a few things you can count on.

Mali – Local rebels sympathetic to Al Qaida and equipped with runoff weapons from Libya have dug into northern Mali and fortified their presence. Currently, France is working in the region to reclaim the region for the Mali government, but given the corruption of the Mali government and the many abuses of their armed forces, there's no easy solution to the problem. That means more politicking, more shitty decisions, and more time and support for Al Qaida. Or in Battletech terms: Prepare for Flashpoint: Mali, coming in 2013.
Edit: Since I first wrote this, France has already started air strikes and put boots on the ground, with more to come.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Blog in 1000 Words: Dwarves everywhere!

I'm working with Saio Kaas to get his car working so he can end his insufferable exile with his family and he can begin writing more classy pieces. I've got some stuff queued up for Wednesday and Friday, but today's blog is only 1000 words long.

 
Click the image to hit up the LOTR Project.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Blog in 1000 Words: Whofriending

The best part about finding  new series is passing it on to your friends. I've been fortunate to watch Doctor Who with Terry, but I recently got another compatriot into Doctor Who. They've been watching it a lot and just finished up with the last episode of the first season of the reboot when I caught them on Facebook:

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Last 10 Hits of Powered by Indifference, Focused by Caffeine

Now that that 2012 is over and the title of http://vanvelding.blogspot.com has changed slightly to reflect a more open and accepting contributor policy which extends to condescending asexuals, I need to finish this sentence, smug with the satisfaction that I've taken my cohort down a peg.

The best posts aren't the ones that garnered the most traffic--the popularity of Alzheimers patients amongst Russian Spambots wrecks the curve somewhat--but the ones that I can look back on with a certain level of pride.

10) My Avengers review actually did receive a good bit of traffic. I'd like to think it's because of my concise compliment sandwich review style, my intense love which was only mildly dimmed by putting it down into words, and the fact that I photoshopped Beanie-Babies (TM) onto Nick Fury, but it's probably because everyone saw Avengers and it became the most popular thing ever for two weeks. I can't break down if any of that traffic stuck around from the spike it gave me (thanks if you did), but I can say that 2012 was the first year that the blog broke 2,000 hits and it's probably related.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Peter David

Whenever Star Trek: New Frontier line of novels launched in 1997, I was a Star Trek geek. I bought an Inquest magazine at a Babbages just because Spock and Kirk were on the cover. That led me to buy the Star Trek CCG, which led me to the Battletech CCG and--eventually--to Magic. It's no surprise that the only times I didn't pick up New Frontier the moment the latest installment hit shelves was because either I was too broke or my father had beaten me to it.
And the captain looked like a young Alec Baldwin. Could never figure that one out.

It was the finest sort of continuity porn. Special guest stars that never quite made it out of The Next Generation washed up into the cast as a disparate collection of personalities trying to deal with situations far over their heads. It was fanfiction. That's not an insult. It was high quality, fun, published, not-not-canon fanfiction written for fans to deliver more of their favorite characters to them in a highly concentrated dose.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Penny Reviews: Ministry of Space

Published from 2001 to 2004, Ministry of Space is a three-part alternate history comic detailing the ascension of the British space program. It's a series that is more about establishing a setting; an enthralling long form version of lying alongside Warren Ellis in your sleeping bags at a birthday party, playing "would you rather" in the dark.

This scenario asks us to choose between our current world, with its embarrassing interest in space, and a world with Sir John Dashwood, who heaps bodies, dreams, and human decency high enough that Britain can scramble atop and clutch the Moon as early as 1953 and Mars a mere sixteen years later.

It's a delicious thought: slick spaceships plying the skyways and spaceways of Earth, bearing the symbol of the whole and eternal British Empire. Even Americans can feel the call of that single-minded sense of purpose, to leave the world and its quibbles behind and we move towards something—anything.

The final pages of the book reveal the costs, bringing the romantic conjecture to a full stop. The ominous framing device and damning egomania of Dashwood aren't enough to fully herald the sins committed and good extinguished by his mission to elevate Britain above all other nations.

Dashwood directs the eyes of The Empire toward the stars, so that they would never stray into its own heart. The social advancement of Britain isn't just arrested--as many American reviewers assume--but reversed into archaic institutions it has historically never held. Ministry of Space's technological progress is beholden not to a public will, but the very private will of John Dashwood. It invites the possibility that we haven't gone to Mars yet because we aren't yet ready for Mars. The possibility that grandeur of space will wait for us.

But still, what if?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Skiltao's Dice: Return of the Comebackening

Some weeks ago, I went over some numbers that Skiltao mentioned on his blog (Part 1 & Part 2). I didn't do any rigorous mathematical analysis on themwhat I did was more akin to recognizing the geometric qualities of dice probabilities—but I did manage to illuminate the qualities of the dice rolls and why certain relationships existed between them. Whenever I was done, Skiltao asked about alternative dice relationships, for example, if different-sized dice would have similar relationships or how dice which have repeated numbers would be affected.

The first question is straightforward. The odds of a tie between, say 1D10 and 3D4 being expressed as a certain value on a 1D10 + 3D4 roll is easy to test.

1D10 ranges from 1 to 10, while a 3D4 ranges from 3 to 12. The odds of a tie are the compounded probabilities of a set of values on the table below:

1D10      1D4 #1        1D4 #2        1D4 #3
[ 3]      (1)           (1)           (1)
[ 4]      (2)           (1)           (1)
[ 5]     (2,3)         (2,1)          (1)
[ 6]    (2,3,4)        (2,1)         (1,2)
[ 7]     (3,4)        (3,2,1)        (1,2)
[ 8]     (3,4)         (3,2)         (1,2)
[ 9]     (3,4)         (3,4)        (3,2,1)
[10]      (4)          (3,4)         (2,3)