Saturday, November 27, 2010

How To Read The Alethiometer

Random House's Phillip Pullman page has a listing of the images on the alethiometer, its history, and how to read it.

How to Read The Alethiometer

A Collection of Great Boardgame-Making Supplies

Making your own board game? These folks can help:

  • Board Game Geek
  • The GameCrafter (the "Shop" section will take you to "Game Parts")
  • More boardgame accesories
  • RPG Shop's Boardgame Parts Section
  • Board Game Bits
  • Dapper Devil: He can make custom tokens and meeples for a very reasonable price.
  • Friday, November 26, 2010

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    That Others May Live

    Recently, conservative commenator Bryan Fischer complained of the "feminization" of the Congressional Medal of Honor. What he means is that it has been awarded more frequently to those who save lives in combat rather than those who solely kill people and break things.

    If Mr. Fischer thinks that those who specialize in saving lives in combat is "feminine," I'd recommend that he go hang with the USAF PJs for a while. Since I know that he wouldn't last through one day of the training those guys go through, I'd instead recommend he see The Conscientious Objector, a great documentary about Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist Conscientious Objector who served as a Medic in the Pacific Theater during WWII.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Toyota Highlander Rolling Up

    This kid is in desperate need of a trip to "The Woodshed."

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Gygax Memorial

    The following is from the Gygax Memorial Fund:
    The Gygax family has begun raising funds to erect a monument in honor of the late E. Gary Gygax. Current plans are to seek a location in Library Park, located on the lakefront in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
    GYGAX MEMORIAL FUND is a non-profit charity and will seek donations from corporate and individual donors.
    A bronze bust of Gary, facing the lake, is the proposed memorial. We hope to incorporate gaming elements into the design, with a bench for viewing and reflecting. Final details of the design and site are pending, and will go forward after being approved by the Lake Geneva City Council. We hope to break ground in 2011.

    Donations payable to the "Gygax Memorial Fund" can be sent to:

    Gail Gygax
    316 Madison St.
    Lake Geneva, Wi 53147

    Online payments can be made at

    RPGKids: A Basic Game of Die Rolling and Number Recognition for ages 4-6
    Finally, someone has heeded Helen Lovejoy's cry for someone to "please think of the children." newbiedm has developed a bare-bones version of D&D for use with younger kids. All of my fellow geek-dads will be pleased to see that it is available for download at his website.

    See also:
  • "A system for playing D&D with my kid"
  • daddy dungeon master

    Bible Code
    Fear not. I'm not talking about something Dan Brown plagiarized from Umberto Eco who plagiarized it from Mssrs. Baigent and Leigh. According to ABC News, Trijicon, fine craftsmen of optical sighting devices for the U.S military, law enforcment, and gun-owners everywhere, have been embossing their products with Biblical citations, such as 2COR4:6 (2 Corinthians 4:6) and JN8:12 (John 8:12). Not exactly Mr. Eko's "Jesus Stick," but it's enough to get Mikey Weinstein of the ironically-named Military Religious Freedom Foundation's panties in a wad. To paraphrase (and, by "paraphrase," I mean "grossly distort the words of") Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now, they train young men to fire 5.56 mm rounds into people, but their attorneys won't allow them to write Bible verses on their weapons. Go figure.

    Perhaps any JAG officers who have qualms with Trijicon's policy should have checked out the company's website. Listed along with Honest/Integrity, Teamwork/Dedication, Customers, and Quality/Innovation as "Trijicon's Values" is "Morality." Trijicon, which was founded by a devout Christian from South Africa named Glyn Bindon, explains "Morality" as follows:
    We believe that America is great when its people are good. this goodness has been based on biblical standards throughout our history and we still strive to follow those morals.

    Are they really so surprised that a company that would be that blatantly Christian on their public website would hesitate to put "Bible code" on their product.

  • U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed with Secret 'Jesus' Bible Code
  • Trijicon Slideshow
  • Trijicon's Values
  • More Trouble With Inscriptions: "Evil" Israeli Kids Send Message to "Innocent" Hamas Kids

    Gun Pr0n
    Topless Robot has compiled a list of 16 Awesome Fictional Firearms.
  • Movie Review: The Book of Eli

    Having been robbed by Los Hermanos Weinstein of the opportunity of seeing perhaps the most eagerly awaited movie of my lifetime (or at least since The Phantom Menace -- yeah, I know know...) when they opted to release The Road, the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, in a limited number of non-Southwest Georgian theaters, I made certain to see The Book of Eli this weekend.

    Critics and Christians alike have attacked the movie. Entertainment Weekly's film critic Owen Gleiberman panned it, but he is also the guy who he gained notoriety for his review of "The Apple Dumpling Gang" (1975), in an article entitled "Dumplings of Justice" wherein he praised the eponymous "gang" as a "proto-typical revolutionary People's movement opposing the forces of crypto-fascist capitalism as represented by Don Knotts." Some fundamentalist nitpickers have complained that the Bible was shelved next to the Quran, but they really should take their beef up with the Library of Congress which traditionally has mandated shelving both books in the B section which is designated for "Philosphy. Psychology. Religion."

    Me, I like the movie on a religious level. I, for one, was happy to see a movie in which the hero was a kneeling-to-pray, Bible-reading Christian. Debbie at Christianity Today's review of the film pointed out the film's religious cromulence: The Book of Eli shows that "God calls ordinary people to monumental tasks, and He enables them to complete the job. In this movie, Eli was God's man for carrying His Word into a new age. At one point in the movie, you get a glimpse inside his backpack, and there's a nametag pinned at the back. It reads, "Hello, My name is Eli." It was a K-Mart employee name badge. Why was he qualified? Because God called him to the task. If God is calling you to do something beyond yourself, trust Him." One of my favorite scenes of the film was the one in which Eli (Denzel Washington) demonstrates for Solara (Mila Kunis) the lost art of saying Grace. It reminded me of the importance of the act and to address my own neglect of it.

    I also liked the film on a geek level. There was plenty of action, but it wasn't the Matrix/John Woo fromage that is the staple in Hollywood these days. The fights looked real. Eli actually unstrings his bow after using it (or at least he gets Solara to do it). I appreciated the Hughes brothers' homage to a classic post-apoc film by hanging an A Boy and His Dog one-sheet on the wall of Carnegie's guest room. The landscape was straight out of Fallout 3. There was a cameo by President John Henry Eden. The only thing missing was Vault Boy (how cool would have been to see one on a shelf in Tom Waits' store?).

    As a lifelong bookworm, I really loved the emphasis the film placed on the importance of reading. I think the ALA needs to take one of the images of Eli reading in the film and turn it into one of their "READ" posters.

    In short, I'll take The Book of Eli over Colonial Marines vs. Smurfs any day.

    Chris Weston and The Book of Eli (Storyboarding, etc.)

    Where The Wild Things At?

    I have long been a fan of the tents/forts that one makes out of blankets, sheets, etc. when one is a kid. It was one of my most cherished memories from my own childhood, and it is a cherished part of watching my kids grow up. When I was a kid, a small table and a sheet made an excellent hideout on a rainy day; meanwhile, my old army camo poncho liner has served both of my kids well when supported by our dining room chairs. So, I was dismayed to learn that I had totally missed out on the joint venture by Spike Jonze and Jeff Hamada to find the best Where The Wild Things Are forts.

    The grand prize winner, who received an special Where The Wild Things Are edition XBox and a bus shelter-sized WTETA poster, was Eric Rice's three-level pallet-wood-and-string outdoor model.

    The runner-up Dianne Que's more traditional indoor fort was made from sheets, paper, and cushions.

    There were a few that I'd like to give my own awards to. These guys definitely win my "'L' for 'Lack of effort' award." Get it, "effort"? Putting a lamp and a chair outside your mom's mini-van then climbing in back with another member of your garage band with your instruments does not a fort make, my friend. Try to get PR for crappy band somewhere else.

    The "Creepiest Fort" award goes to Frank from Donnie Darko here. Even the guy's dog looks like he's creeped out by the owner. The fact that the guy is in his skivvies, all of the polaroids of the women that he's stalked, and the mask that reminds me of the bear-masked guy in The Shining really made this guy a shoe-in.

    And this one, which, for the number of bottles stacked outside, wins my "Best Entry by An Alcoholic" award.

    This one receives no award from either Jonze & Hamada or me. I don't think it was really and entry. I think someone just snapped a photo of a homeless person.

    Reminding us that, given the state of the economy, we should all learn how to build shanties and how to sleep under Hoover blankets.

    Saturday, January 16, 2010


    I blog a lot about war games and all things martial, mostly in a positive light. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, I realize that one of the greatest tragedies of the modern age is the child-soldier. The conscription of kids who should be carrying a plastic Mattel M-16 instead of a functioning Kalashnikov AK47 is a problem that UNICEF is addressing by a number of means, one of which are the sending of these to potential donors.


    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Detroit Wreck City

    At one time, thanks to the auto industry, Detroit, Michigan was the one of the most important cities in the United States with a population of nearly two million. Now, the city is a casualty of the wars between the UAW and GMC.

    Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre Photography have assembled a great collection of photos of Motor City's urban decay.

    The site also has a collection of abandoned East German factories and a series on old moviehouses.

    Sunday, January 3, 2010


    h/t No Tech Magazine
    English Russia has a collection of ballpoint pen drawings done by a Russian soldier during his time in their war in Afghanistan.


    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Car Wars

    "Rule #4: Wear seatbelts"
    --Columbus's Rules for Surviving in Zombieland

    The only thing better than surviving in the dystopian future is driving in the dystopian future. Just ask Max Rockatansky, "Machine Gun" Joe Viterbo, or Jake Tanner. Why hole up in a penthouse or a shopping mall when you can go on the ultimate road trip?

    Over the years, gamers have been provided with that opportunity via the Car Wars tabletop game and the Interstate '76 game for the PC. Now, thanks to the fine folks at Jada Toys, the Hot Wheels and Matchbox set can now satiate their eschatalogical jones with Battle Machines. Imagine MTV's Pimp My Ride except instead of Xzibit, the "pimping" is being done by R. Lee Ermey and the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps.

    The Battle Machines cars are available in 1:64, 1:34, and 1:24 scales, as well as an R.C. variant. I saw some of them tonight while at the local Wal-Mart. Very nice.

    For more information, try the Jada Toys Official Website.

    h/t Rhode Island Science Fiction Club

    Garden Noam

    Here is a little treat for all of my left-wing readers out there in the blogosphere. It is the work of Brandon Bird, an artist whose skills are only matched only by his knowledge of pop culture.

    You can find even more such treats at

    Spotlight: Doomed Earth book adaptations - Times Online

    Spotlight: Doomed Earth book adaptations - Times Online

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Happy New Year!!!

    Why do we Americans keep putting out poofy vampire flicks, while the French are making some great looking zombie movies these days:

    Day of the Triffids Clip: "Skies Ablaze" from AO on Vimeo.

    Eat My (Post-Apocalyptic) Shorts

    Day 26 (short film)
    Twenty six days after an undescribed biological disaster, two survivors are forced to live in cumbersome protective biohazard suits and scavenge for food, water and petrol in a desolate, dead land. The two follow the incomprehensible sounds of the radio in search of fellow survivors. They stop for supplies at a farm house when the unthinkable happens.

    Watch TAG 26 in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at
    Day 26

    Oasis Terminal (Colombian post-apoc. short film)
    25 years into the future, civilization has been destroyed by nuclear war. Andres, one of the few survivors, searches for a mythical place called The Oasis, the only hope for mankind.

    Oasis Terminal (english subtitles) - short film from Ruben Fernández on Vimeo.

    Clips from new BBC mini-series Day of the Triffids

    Day of the Triffids Clip: "Skies Ablaze" from AO on Vimeo.

    Day of The Triffids

    h/t Derek Shakabpa