Soon To Be Classics

Thursday, September 28, 2006

OMG - Yet another reason to not buy a PS3

Check this out. If I wasn't already sold on the Xbox 360 (I already have the Xbox and love it) this , along with Star Trek Legacy, cinches it.

Check out the video for Halo Wars.

...Or are you just happy to see me.

"I have monkeys in my pants."

Nuff said.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ugh. The Cleveland Browns will just never, ever win. I've been a fan since I moved to Cleveland in 1980 and never jumped onto the Redskins bandwagon when I moved to Virginia, nor do I have any reason to become a Seahawks fan now. But man. It would be nice to hear the word "playoff" associated with the Browns in a sentence other than "...will be watching from their homes".

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Civil War #4 - Wow!

Spoiler warning - If you haven't read Civil War #4 then stop here.

I usually don't discuss comics on the blog, but Marvel has been doing a really cool series called "Civil War". Now, I work with some folks that decry any "event" comic and hoist themselves up as superior purists saying "I don't read events". Whatever. This is so far off-formula that it really does keep me hanging week after week.

I will say that I thought the original premise was iffy and the forced "friendship turned bad" relationship between Iron Man and Captain America was too similar to the on-again, off-again spatting between Superman and Batman. However, it's really taking a personal note as this panel illustrates. In CW#4, Iron Man and his pro-government band are just beating the loving shit out of Cap and his group. A death ensues, Marvel's oldest super-group disbands, Nighthawk remains the punk he's always been, and Reed Richards becomes the biggest dick in comics. All in all, this was a terrific read. A recent interview with the creators insist that the reader will soon see Iron Man's side and opinions will swing to the pro-government group. Not bloody likely. Cap is the Man and that's that.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Let the Games Begin!

Request Week #4:

Top 5 Card Games:

1) Star Wars CCG - I helped with the design and playtest of that. It's really what got me where I am today. Plus, I enjoyed the game. I was never very good at it. At least not to the level of the guys who would track destiny. I just liked to play.

2) WARS TCG - Despite a complete lack of high-level vision, this was the ability to help create something cool. The first set lacked a little because we kept waiting for the SWCCG equivalent cards to come along. I soooo wish we could have gotten set #3 out. It was a blast!

3) Magic: The Gathering - Yep, I like Magic. I really do. It's lots of fun when you don't take it seriously. I had a guy in a tournament once (a non-ante tournament) reach across the table and flip the top card off my deck. It was (no lie) a Black Lotus. He then starts laughing about he was going to take it from me. I told him if he touched my cards again he'd pull back a stump. He then called the judge over and tried to have that card removed from the game since it had been revealed. Geez. I'm sorry, but there are a lot of stupid fuckers playing that game.

4) Star Trek CCG - Yep, I like this one too. Being a Trek fan didn't hurt and it was a good way to "get the geek on". When we designed "First Contact", that was just damn fun. I think that was probably the best playing set of them all.

5) Rage - I really liked Rage until I broke it with a "moot" deck. I could just vote out your toughest Garou and then you were screwed. They had some serious balance issues with that but it was a lot of fun tearing into your opponent. Cool card layouts for the time, too.

Top 5 Board Games:

1) Risk - This was the first game I ever played in tournament, and that back in college at The Ohio State University in 1984. (yikes)

2) Stratego - I *always* beat my friend Jeff. He wore glasses. Figure it out. :)

3) Settlers of Cataan - This one is a lot of fun and I just don't get to play it as much as I'd like.

4) Tsuro - Honestly, I'm not being a shill here. I like the game!

5) Chess - Yes, I like chess. I so rarely have time to play though.

Least Liked Games:

1) Any "adult" card game. Bridge? Canasta? Bleah.
2) Vs. - Not for me. It's just too predictable.
3) Uno - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
4) Yu-Gi-Oh - The depths of how bad this game is amazes me. Too bad it sells so well though.
5) Pokemon - Again, bad gameplay but slightly better than #4. Only slightly.

1) Carseconne - I know I mispelled that but I don't care. I just don't get this one. You play for an hour, and then it takes another 10 minutes to figure out who won.
2) Jaunty Jalopies - This is a piece of crap game that Dawn brought in to the office. It is so fucking broken it's not even funny.
3) Disney Princess Crowns and Gowns -
4) Checkers - Yes, I dislike checkers. When I'm 70 and spending my day in the park, I'll play.
5) Star Wars Trivial Pursuit - My wife and I are both Star Wars geeks so we changed the rules. First person to miss a question loses. We still go for an hour. :(

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Baby, If You Ever Wondered...

Request Week #3

The Wednesday request for "All Request Week" was appropriately enough about my opinions of Radio today and 15 years ago. Any of you who know me will guess my response.

It's not so bad. (Ok, you didn't see that coming.)

Part of the reason that I say that is because I have been out for 3 years now and I'm to the point where I can almost enjoy listening again. Once you know there really is a rabbitt in the magician's hat, the trick loses its effect. It was the same with Radio for me.

What I will say, is that I worry about the future of Radio. There are several causes for this:

- Satellite Radio
- Clear Channel Communications
- the NAB
- And some idiot named Stern

I was involved in local radio. We ran PSA's (public service announcements), birth announcements and even a "swap shop show" on our AM station called "The Trading Post". We served the community, got to know them and they got to know us. My listeners heard me grow from young idiot, to bachelor, to married, to a parent. What was cool, is that I was allowed to let them see that part of me. You don't see that anymore. Satellite Radio is an industry puts a single jock (if there even is one) into anywhere from 1 to 5 markets at a time. However, it's like cable compared to free tv. Cable is a superior product and as soon as they can sucker everyone into paying a monthly fee for radio, local radio will all but disappear.

Radio is also suffering due to large corporations like Clear Channel Communications who took the ball in 1996 when that idiot Clinton signed the telcom bill ("It'll lower your cable rates, we promise!") and ran with it, buying up every station they could, SIGHT UNSEEN. Literally at a NAB meeting, the head of Clear Channel told a crowd of station owners that he would "have purchased 2 to 3 new stations before his speech was over". The result? A complete homogonization of the radio dial. Wonder why every station sounds the same from city to city? Blame Clear Channel. The National Association of Broadcasters stupidly gives their blessing to any group that comes along and says they're good for Radio. Right.

As for Stern. The "King of All Media" set such a low bar for all of us morning jocks that it brought us all down. A funny story, is that I know a guy who was at WABC in NYC when Stern was fired. According to him, the scene in "Private Parts" where Stern defiantly walks out was in reality Stern crying like a baby begging to keep his job. I guess it's in the translation.

So, as much as I love Radio, it won't be the same in 10 years. Maybe even 5. My advice? If you find a good station, support them. They won't be around forever.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The new phonebook's here!!

Well, not really, but I did get a shout on Dave Barry's "24" blog.

Check it out here!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

99.999% Pure Sometimes Sucks

Chalk one up for the "purists" out there.

I watched the first episode of the "remastered" Star Trek The Original Series yesterday. For those unitiated, Paramount is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Trek by taking the original series and remastering it into HD, rescoring the music, and replacing the (often) crappy exterior effects shots with brand spanking new CGI.

However, they have been very quick to point out they are offering NOTHING past what the original was. Meaning, that every camera angle of the Enterprise will be identical, the effects will be the same and it will look in every way as the original did, just better.


On one side, you have the "purists" out there that scream and yell about "tampering with the original formula". These guys crawled out of their mom's basement when Lucas did this with Star Wars. Some of that was very good, some wasn't. There was a "just right" point that Lucas didn't find. On the other side is the guys that imagine how cool it would be if the Enterprise looked bigger and flew straight and how neat it would be if the Bird of Prey actually looked threatening. Hell, it would be cool if in the first episode of the remastered serious, "Balance of Terror", they corrected the mistake of the Enterprise firing torpedoes when Kirk calls for phasers.

Instead, they did exactly what they said. They added nothing new. Fixed nothing. In fact, some of the CGI looked WORSE than the original, if you can believe that. They didn't even punch space up a bit with nebulas and other interesting effects. Even stranger, they're so bent on this credo of not changing anything, that they seem to have re-recorded two different intros, one with the operatic singing and one without (as Balance of Terror didn't have).

Not being a purist, I think it was a collosal waste of time. Sure the colors looked great and I'm sure in HD it looks cool (in fact, on my non-HD set you could clearly see the makeup line on Spock's ears) but the fact that the space shots looked just as lame (and lamer) just left me disappointed. Two upcoming episodes will really test the worth of this project. "The Ultimate Computer" has some really awful composition of three Constitution class ships. Will they fix that? Also, "Who Mourns For Adonis" features the dreadful "giant human hand" grabbing the Enterprise in space. If they truly stay with the puritanian sensibility, this whole project will have been a joke.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Living in the Great Northwest

Request week #2

The request was "best thing about living in the Pacific Northwest". How I answer this really depends upon my mood. On a bad day, the answer is...nothing. I have, on more than one occassion, referred to this region of the country as a sewer and wonder how sane individuals could stand living here. The amount of non-stop rain last winter was just inhumane. The traffic is awful. The local newspaper prints liberal editorial on the FRONT PAGE. Don't even get me started on gas prices and real estate costs. You can't go 100 yards without tripping over a Starbucks (note, I do NOT drink coffee).

Now, the job is good, so there is that. And the summers are to die for. They begin in late June and end in mid-August. It is very cool to see Mt. Rainier every day that it isn't cloudy so I see it about once per week.

I really miss Ohio. I was in Wisconsin last week and even though it wasn't Ohio, I knew I was in the midwest. I could just feel it and smell it. The trees were midwestern, the air was midwestern and I think we ran over a woodchuck. be home.

But I am dodging the question. The best thing about living in the Pacific NW?

Let me get back to you.

Top 5 Memories from my Previous Job

Request Week #1:

The fourth time I was offered full time at "The Company" it was very hard to resist because of two reasons: 1) the money and 2) the insurance. My son was on the way and let's face it, Radio doesn't pay that much. So I spent 2 years there as a Full Time employee but I'm going to extend these memories all the way back to my early involvement starting in 1994.

#1 : The first SWCCG playtest. This is where I first met Shocho. There was like 30 of us there and it was a complete argument fest. Very little got done the first night. I remember a guy named Reg just screaming his opinion while Richard Borg and I sat in the back of the room and laughed. The following day I proposed the mechanic that became "Force Draining" which solved the problem of your forces bunching up at one ground and one space location.

#2 : Meeting Kendrick at WW Chicago. It was he, Jason and I and my first con for Decipher. We had one table, two pedastals and three sandwhiches. Jason and I grabbed the cold cuts and Kendrick had the tuna. Bad move. He had food poisoning for the rest of the show.

#3 : The mom jokes. There was nowhere safe. The hallways, the meetings, in email. Everything you said had the potential to be twisted into a joke. (Yeah, I know, "my mom is twisted") When we had t0 name Bojo as the rules arbitraitor for the activity we knew it was bad.

#4 : Meeting my wife at the Star Wars Celebration. Kendrick was there when I met Jen while I was doing trivia for the first Star Wars Celebration in Denver.

#5 : The kickoff for WARS TCG at GenCon 2004. I really, really thought we had something. Of course, we didn't sell $5M so it was obviously a failure. Christ.

All Request Week!

So In eed to get myself back into my blog so I thought of putting my ability to talk about anything on the line.

Here's the deal. The next five people to post a topic will set my blog content for the next week. Here are the rules:

1) You only get one topic. No multiple posts.
2) Annonymous posts will be ignored.
3) Excessively religous or political topics might or might not be excluded. I'm tired of those arguments and so, probably, are you.
4) Keep it in (reasonably) good taste.

I'll also try and find an appropriate picture for the entry.

Let's see what happens!

Monday, September 11, 2006


- Because the events of that day touched me and my family. I had to take over for a talk show host that was pulled off the air and try to explain to my audience what was happening when I didn't know myself.
- Because I can only feel a fraction of what thousands of families lost that day for a senseless, stupid reason.
- Because I don't dismiss the tradegy and horror of that day due to my political beliefs.
- Because hundreds of police officers and firefighters aided and rescued their fellow men and women.
- Because hundreds of those same police officers and firefighters died in those same selfless acts.
- Because I don't consider it inconvenient to my life to stop and remember those sacrifices like others do. Thousands of families will never "get on with their lives".
- Because those thousands of families deserve a day to express their anguish and appreciation.
- Because I went to Ground Zero and read the names.

Today is the 5th anniversary of 9-11. Please stop your busy day for one second and say a prayer for the lives lost that day.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

You Scream, I Scream, Apu Screams for Ice Cream

My dad was a part time photographer and really only passed one piece of advice down to me before he died. "ALWAYS carry a camera. You just never know."

Of course, Dad didn't know about the camera phone but he was correct. It's just a good idea. Take the freakshow I saw the other day with the wife.

This Indian guy with a huge white beard and headwrap, was driving a rusted, brown Toyota Corolla. There was a metal frame welded to the top. On the driver's side was a wooden sign with handwritten letters. There was a larger sign on the other side that we couldn't see. A loudspeaker sat in the middle of the frame and inside the car, the man was resting his arm on a large chest cooler. The handwritten sign said "Use other side of car for ice cream".

Yes, this was a man who was working his way toward the American dream. He's selling overpriced ice cream bars out of a scary Toyota Corolla.

And no, I didn't get a picture. Sorry Dad.

Monday, September 04, 2006

And So It Begins...

My beautiful daughter begins Kindergarten tomorrow. I feel sad, old, and helpless all at once. She's done two years of pre-school type stuff but this is Kindergarten. It's the official start of a lifelong cycle of school then work. She'll now be influenced by the other children, many of whom have morons for parents (which has already begun) and I know she's going to change faster than I can keep up. If I'm cranky tomorrow, this is why.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Can't Say We Didn't See This Coming

You can only dodge the croc so long. Steve Irwin was killed yesterday.

Shell - Our Customers Are Almost #1

I went to wash my car over a month ago at my local Shell station. It's the kind of wash where you drive in, stop, the mechanism moves forward and back doing a passable job cleaning your car, then you drive out. Normally, in one piece. On this trip however, the brushes wrapped around my driver's side mirror, RIPPED IT OFF THE SIDE OF MY CAR, and since it was still attached through the connecting wire, proceeded to slam it around my door in a circular pattern digging a nice set of grooves into my perfect black paint.

Have a nice fucking day. Please come again.

I go into the Shell station and attempt to file an incident report. The worker behind the counter doesn't speak a word of English that I need him to like "incident" or "damage" or "report" or even "manager". I leave in less than a good mood.

So now I begin the LONG process of trying to file a report through corporate. This takes over a month, in which time, they request two estimates (which I get), my receipt (which I have) a description of the incident and pictures (which I provide) all within the time they require. At which point, they close the ticket saying I didn't provide necessary documentation. I finally get someone with half a brain who reopens the ticket and we go through the process again. So it turns out that the station is a franchise so corporate can do little for me. The owner of the franchise had a convienently timed family crisis and couldn't be reached for comment. FINALLY, after over a month of back and forth, I get my answer.

Someone from Shell called and told me the following:
- They did extensive research including:
- Calling auto body shops
- Checking the security tapes
- Checking their service logs
and have decided the following. There was obviously previous damage to my mirror and that I'm a liar. They also told me it was IMPOSSIBLE (their word) for their car wash to damage an automobile. After all of this they then said "but the disclaimer on the wash says you enter at your own risk". They then told me to have a nice day, enjoy the sunshine and enjoy my Labor Day.

So, a $7 car wash ends up costing me over $700 to get my mirror and paint fixed. Apparently, Shell Oil can't find it anywhere in their $30 billion profit for 2006 to take responsibility for their own equipment.

I'm very seriously considering purchasing a magnetic sign for the side of my car that says "Paint damage courtesy of the Shell Car Wash" and just drive around town.