Saturday, October 31, 2009

Me Am Play Gods!

Have you ever tried to explain science fiction to anyone? Here's how.

Comics courtesy of Dresden Codak. If you've never read this, go back and read every last one of them. They are awesome.

Friday, October 30, 2009

For Halloween

Nothing beats the classics.

Pumpkin Blog!

Pumpkins! In a blog! Gourdtastic!

Thursday, October 29, 2009




Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blog in problems

So lately I have had problems logging in to my blog, or blogging in, if you will. But they seem to be corrected. I found yesterday's update hadn't posted, and today's update has been eaten twice now. I shall attempt this again when things seem to have settled. I only hope that this does not herald the robot uprising, because I really don't want to have to join a rag-tag band of rebels fighting against the machine.

Wait. What am I thinking? Bring it on! YEAH!

Monday, October 26, 2009


You've seen it over and over, whether in movies, games, or stories; the dead start to rise, for whatever reason, and the effect is devastating. Quickly the world is reduced to rubble, and all semblance of civilization falls. As the dust of a once proud society clears, there are a few left surviving, while the numbers of the hungry dead are bolstered with the unwary, the unprepared.

These survivors must contend with a number of problems, but before those can be addressed, steps must be taken to ensure that you, dear reader, are numbered among the living. Though it seems daunting, the prospect of a zombie outbreak can be dealt with simply if, and this is the most important point, IF you are prepared. For zombies are dangerous, but only to the unprepared. With regards to the undead, forewarned is forearmed.

But what can be done to prepare for the dead rising? First and foremost, think ahead. Federal law requires all public buildings to have fire escape plans, and you would do well to follow this example. Planning out an escape route for the places you frequent the most can help save valuable time when the dead start going for your throat. Coordinating your escape plan with others into a Zombie Action Plan ensures your ability to find friendly faces amidst a world gone mad.

Once you have escaped and grouped up, knowing where to go and what to look for are your top priorities. You should know where to find adequate shelter from the ravening dead, and where the nearest supply of anti-zombie weaponry can be found. With these few simple steps, you too can remain among the living when the dead begin to crave braiiiiins.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

For Science?

I have been attempting to fine tune my Tau army list for the past few days now. Maybe I have been focusing too much on the role of the battlesuits, but I'm not sure what else to focus on. I have come up with something satisfactory for the time being. It seems like it'd be decent in theory, but as They Might Be Giants suggest, I'll have to, in the coming days, Put It To The Test!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

It is fall

What do you get when you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its radius? Pumpkin pi!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Once more into the breach!

At least with the Tau.

For anyone reading this who doesn't know much about Warhammer 40k, well, you're in the same boat as me. But I'll try and explain some of the more complicated jargon. Maybe make some kind of Illustrated Primer.

Anyway, back to the jargon. In Warhammer, and indeed any miniatures wargame worth its salt, you buy units from an allotment of points. In my case it's two thousand points. The majority of this is spent on general infantry units and their transports. The transports keep the infantry alive (ostensibly) until they can take hold of an objective or something else. This generally goes kinda poorly for me, but I'm working on that. Aside from that, I can't do much with them, there's not much customization for them.

Beyond that, I have a few units of battlesuits and tanks to bring the heavier firepower. Therein lies the customization of the units. And I've got my tanks all kitted out as much as I'd like, so instead, I will focus on the suits. The way I run them now, they're meant as throwaway units, they show up for a turn and try to kill stuff, then get killed vaingloriously. I try and field them as cheap as I can, and maximize their weaponry. To this end I give them melta guns (so they can take out heavy vehicles from up close) and flamers (for light infantry from up close). I a, considering switching out the melta guns on one of the units of battlesuits and taking missile pods in their stead, to give me a little ranged power, and something that I can use on light vehicles, so that my heavier guns I can dedicate to the heavier vehicles.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My poor poor Tau

Earlier today I had a game at Battleforge Games. My Tau army faced a monstrous horde of orks. The battle did not go very well for me at all. I lost all of my forces and managed to take out maybe a third of my opponent's in return.

Part of that was due to a run of bad luck, but I attribute my crushing defeat also to my relative inexperience with the game. I wasn't aware of what certain units did and in turn was off balance for the whole game. I found myself more or less reacting to one part of the board and allowing my forces to get trapped and killed.

The next time I run up against Snikrot and his Commandos I have a better idea of what they'll throw at me. And Frank taught me a valuable lesson: if you don't know what something does, ask. That would've garnered me some information which would've helped me out a great deal.

Presently my army list is focused on destruction of enemy armor, with flamers and submunitions from railguns to take out enemy infantry. I'm looking at varying that a little, because as I play more and more games, I find the focus tends to leave me wanting against certain armies. But then, I'm still learning the game, and building a cool list is all a part of it. It's very interesting, I just wish I had more time to play.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I've been feeling all philosophical today. In a big thinking kind of mood. I've got a post here somewhere about the natures of different players in games, but I can't quite elucidate my thoughts on the matter.

So for now, what I'll do is tell you two of my favorite philosophy jokes:

Renee Descartes is walking up to his favorite restaurant when a friend stops him, pointing at a horse loitering at the restaurant. "He's waiting to be seated," his friend says, to which Descartes replies, "That's preposterous. They'll never seat him. Go and put my name on the list so we can get our food." His friend attempts to do so, but returns dejectedly with the news, "I'm sorry Renee, but they wouldn't let me put Descartes before the horse."

Descartes walks into his favorite restaurant (horse free this time). The waiter asks him, "Would you like some soup?" He replies, "I think not," and then poof, he disappears.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My cat Grady.

Today, I took my cat Grady in to the vets. I didn't take him home. Yesterday I noticed he was kind of sluggish and weak, so I thought I'd take him in. I was so worried I sat up all night, thinking about him and trying not to worry about it.

It turns out he was more sick than I thought, and now he is at peace.

I remember the day when he showed up at our doorstep some twelve or thirteen years ago. My sister Harmony found him mewling at our doorstep. He so tiny then, I could hold him in one hand. Winter was around the corner at the time, so we took him in, and it wasn't long before he was named Grady (because he was gray) and from then on he was one of the family.

Let me tell you about Grady. He was one of the most sensitive, loving souls I've ever met. Shy, but affectionate, he loved nothing more than rolling over so his belly could be rubbed. He had the loudest purr you ever heard, and nearly everything would make him purr. He didn't really care for catnip, but instead loved to eat sticks and lizards and other outdoorsy types of things. He was always kind of fluffy, and very gentle. He was my friend.

Rest in Peace Grady, you will be missed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

From the Graveyard

It was quiet. All the excitement of the evening had faded away, and in its place? The comfort of a dull, routine graveyard shift.

The monitoring systems hummed quietly, beeping at regular intervals to inform their attendants that no new activity had been detected. The attendants watched, looking for patterns outside to keep engaged. It was like finding shapes in clouds, except that shattered chunks of what was once Alderaan substituted for fluffy masses of water vapor, blown by wind. More, "That one looks like a rock," and less, "That one looks like a cotton ball."

The quiet was the foremost thing on Jenros' mind at the moment. Laying there on his bed, with his eyes shut tight, he was acutely aware of a dull humming in the background, as though someone had left a vidscreen on somewhere. Aside from that, there was nothing. No wind, no speeders, just... space. That kind of quiet always unnerved him. Something about leaky pipes or rickety ductwork was kind of comforting. Like a lullaby almost. How anyone could sleep with all of this quiet around was beyond him.

He felt the metallic cylinder dig into his chest as he shifted on his bed, and thought bitterly to himself about how none of the stories he'd read ever talked about how uncomfortable and cold these things were. He cracked open his eyes, made sure nobody was in the room, and for the seventh time since being left alone in his room, took out the... flashlight. He'd found that if he squinted his eyes, and never turned it on, he was sure it was just a flashlight; and the night's earlier meeting was something he'd dreamed up. There was no way any of that could be true. The Jedi were gone, right? And, he told himself, even if they had managed to survive, there was bound to be someone else. Never mind that for the first time since setting out on his own, he felt like he was in the right place, this was crazy. And yet...

It was these unthinkable, if hopeful, thoughts, these "And Yets" that kept him from anything close to a good night's rest.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A long time ago...

In a galaxy far, far away...

Tonight, I got to play Star Wars with my friends. It was amazing. I haven't had this much fun in a gaming session in a while; I was surprised by some of the things I found myself enjoying and wanting to do in the game, but I'll get to that in a little while.

First and foremost, the game was enjoyable because it was a chance to just sit and hang out with my friends. Gaming is a marvelous activity because it is so social. It brings us together, as I've said, and it has been a while since I've had the chance to sit down and spend an evening with some of these folks, namely Mike and Jordan, so that was particularly nice. They're good guys, all of them. And the kind of atmosphere that a role-playing session creates is a little more intimate than an evening of wargaming I feel, because it brings you together to tell a story, and you have to connect with the others in order to participate on the same level. Also it's a quieter environment, limited to only a few people, so there's a narrower focus for interaction, which means you get both quality and quantity time.

I talk more about Star Wars after the jump

Friday, October 16, 2009

Zoh my gosh!

Tomorrow is the start of the Star Wars campaign. I am so excited. I have created my character, Jenros Vel, a human scout, and man of action. At least that is what he'd say. He tries to be taken seriously, really he does.

Anyway, while I compose his backstory into something intelligible and fun to read, here's the numbers that will soon be turned from raw statistics into a living breathing being with his own likes (witnessing new parts of the galaxy) and dislikes (the smell of bars). Maybe a favorite vegetable. Who knows! Anyway, the numbers for Jenros Vel, Human Scout:

Strength: 8
Dexterity: 15
Constitution: 13
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 14
Charisma: 12

He has the following feats: Force Sensitivity and Vehicle Combat (as he is an experienced pilot)

Jenros Vel, Space Explorer is proficient in the following skills: Pilot, Perception, Initiative, Jump, Galactic Lore, and Use the Force.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My latest project

I've finished work on my financial aid applications, and am waiting around to hear from the other universities I applied from, so that I can get my schooling underway next semester.

While I wait, though, I've been keeping myself busy. Whether painting up my Tau or dreaming about the upcoming release of Dragon Age Origins, I've kept myself entertained.

But now, I am taking a big step forward. Sort of. I've put together an adventure pitch and sent it to WotC, with the hopes that they will think it awesome. I hope that they do, and what's more, that they print it up in Dungeon or something. That would be sweet, but you know what? If they don't take it, I'll print it here myself, so it's a win-win.

But that's how it goes, really. I have found that in general, it is always worth it to try something, to take the risk in putting yourself out there in some way. Whether auditioning for a part in a play or applying to school, even asking someone out on a date, it's scary, sure, but the worst that happens is they say no, and you're no worse off than you were to begin with.

Anyways, I'll keep track of my adventure in um, adventurerering here. Let's see what happens. :D

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

30 days later

Holy cow! I cannot believe I have been keeping up with this blog for a month. As of right now, this is the longest I have ever maintained a web type thing with any regularity.

It has been fun, actually, and what's more, I learned a great deal from my experience as well. For starters, I learned that it takes time to compile my thoughts properly, and that often it will take a draft or two before I've said what I want to say. I also found myself thinking about what has been going on around me a lot more. At first it was just to figure out what to say in my blog, but as the days went by, I fell into the habit of being more attentive to the world. That was pretty cool.

I also found I have a few bad habits with regards to keeping up with deadlines. For a while, most of my updates were made at the end of the day, right before bed, when my brain was tired, ready to shut down. There are a few updates that I am quite proud of though, and by and large they were the ones I spent at least an hour working on.

Blogging also gave me the impetus to finally upload a number of pictures to my camera, and also helped me to figure out a schedule for writing.

Things still in progress: I'm still finding my voice, and learning how to work with html. I still am developing my writing habits, and collating my thoughts, but I feel that as the days go by, I'll enjoy it even more than I do now.

Anyway, that's all for now. As a reflection on the end of my month o' blogging, I thought I'd save this update for bedtime. Or I got lazy again, I forget. In any case, I have not yet made my save, so you can expect another 30 days from me. :D

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's Rocktober 13th!

Today is Rocktober 13th! Brutal Legend came out today. If you don't already know, this should tell you why you want to play it:

Conversion Beam

I have begun work on a conversion project for my Tau army. For those of you who don't know, conversion, with regards to Warhammer 40K means taking an existing model and redoing it, making it look cooler, often by adding new parts, or changing the look of it through resculpting.

My project is to take the current model of Tau stealth suit:

And give it a more agile look. Mostly this will consist of cutting off the "pod" featured in the inset, and remodeling it so that it appears more like a light battle suit. I think this will look totally awesome. Pictures to follow as soon as my camera is working again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In the future...

All of our problems will be solved with lasers. Can't see well? Lasers. Regret that tattoo? Lasers. Hurricane a-brewing? Lasers. Alien robot battles? Lasers. Too many arms? Lasers. Not enough arms? Lasers. I'm sure.

You get the idea.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tools of T3h Future

The following is a list of helpful references for creating a more "crunchy" science fiction setting. At least, after reading them, I felt inspired to think about a cool new futureverse, which is totally a word and has been for more than just the last sentence.

In No Particular Order:

The Kardashev Scale: This is useful twofold. First, it provides a means of measuring any interstellar society's level of power. And by consulting the scale, you can nget an idea of the kind of resources at their disposal, and also the kind of infrastructure needed to sustain such a civilization. It also outlines the scope of futuristic civilization from a perspective not often considered. In other words, Dyson Spheres for everyone.

The Turing Website: This provides the history of computing, along with several articles on the nature of AI, including strong and weak AI. And as everyone knows, it's not the future if you don't have at least one AI.

Or, if you prefer, RAMPANT! Because it's not really an AI if it hasn't gone at least slightly mad.

And also, lasers. This article gives you an idea of the consequences of everyone having lasers all the time, forever and always.

These are but a few of the myriad of resources available to aid in the creating of a sci-fi setting, as they will show some common, albeit oft overlooked concerns that ought to be considered.

It's on now

Today, I got accepted into Saint Edward's University.

Also, my camera is not showing that I have taken pictures of my fire warrior heads.

I think, all things considered, I'll take that.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Just a quick update

My Tau have two models with bare heads. This presented a unique challenge to me, in that I had to paint, in addition to the rest of the stuff, an alien fleshy type tone. Typically the Tau are pictured with bluish-grayish skin... the same color I picked for my cloth.

So what I did was take a brushful of the gray, and a brushful of white paint and mix them together for a lighter shade, and then I added a drop of water to the mix, to make it much thinner. I've found that watering down the paint used for flesh gives it a much more natural feel. It allows for varying shades to come through the paint more readily. For instance, the areas on the model that would be in shadow tended to show up a little darker, and the head didn't look unnaturally uniform. Which makes sense, given that our skin color is generally the same, but it varies ever so slightly from place to place.

I will show you pictures of this process later. For now, my camera has to recharge, and I have to hit the hay. But tomorrow, I'll post the pictures here, and have another update. So say we all!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A blast from the past!

I was going to write about a road trip I took to Gettysburg with my friends Frank and Abe, but then I realized that I can tell a much better story with the pictures I took:

In AD 2101, War was beginning...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Cosmos

Watch this:

Now go outside and look up at the sky and beyond it the universe in all its majesty.

The best part about that is that we're a part of it. You, me, everyone and everything. It's wonderful. I don't know what else to say.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Painted Tau, return of the revenge!

I finished painting my Tau. There's only one thing left to do:

Fashion Show, after the jump.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Re: Your Brains

Zombies are all the rage these days. They're everywhere! Whether in zombie attack preparation quizzes (which makes sense, as zombies are the biggest threat to the unprepared), books about how to survive the zombie outbreak, or just books that take beloved characters and throw them up against zombies. Then there's all the zombie movies. Some seem pretty realistic, but I think if anyone truly captures the essence of what a zombie attack would be like, it's Jonathan Coulton.

Speaking of Tau...

I have been painting my Tau lately, and with a tournament coming up on Saturday, I'm hoping that I'll have them all painted up in time. For now, here's how I'm painting up my Fire Warriors.

Pictures after the jump:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Regarding Warhammer 40k Planetstrike:

There are bastions for the Greater Good. They are Tauwers. That is all.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Rock Opera... of DOOM!

Earlier today, while hanging out with my friends up at BFG, we came up with the perfect way to create a rock opera:

Take a stack of magic cards, lay them out randomly, then using the power of metal and rock, string them together in a way that is awesome.

If the cards themselves do not seem awesome enough, the solution is thus: add the phrase ...of DOOM to the end of its name.

I tried it with some cards I had laying around, here's what I came up with.

It was a dark night in the Mountains of Doom!
We performed an Unholy Ritual
And raised the Goblin King from his Ancient Tomb

He called out to the Goblins
Tapped the Mountains to call down Kaboom
Then he summoned the Avalanche Riders...
The Avalanche Riders of DOOM!

Avalanche Riders of DOOM
Avalanche Riders of DOOM
How can you hope to stand against the
Avalance Riders of your DOOM!

All I need now are some totally sweet pyrotechnics, and maybe a verse about the Shivan Dragon or something, and maybe a line about how the Serra Angel of doom doesn't have to tap or something, and bam! Rock Opera.