Sunday, October 12, 2008

August 2008 Archive

August 25, 2008
Unfettered in De moss during a Duell. KUNTZ! I’m Rich!It starts out I'm walking up a huge spiral staircase in a hotel/performing arts center, and each floor has people milling about. Then Jason Demoss is with me, and we're looking for the floor that's supposed to have a sprawling continental lunch. We find it on the fourth floor, but it's really just a bunch of pretentiously cut, overcooked Digiorno pizzas.

Duell is there with his wife, but he's got this mountain man beard, and his hair is all mussed up, like he was caught in a windstorm. Suddenly, me, Jason, Nate, Duell, and Alan Fetters are all in a car headed to Alan's house.

We're greeted by Alan's parents, who both have stark white Einstein-esque hair and big black Harry Potter glasses. Alan is setting up an X-files boardgame, which looks suspiciously like Monopoly.

Next thing I know, Jason is shouting at me to come check something out. He's found an ice cavern--where in this suburban house, I don't know. But we all go into the ice cavern, which is amazingly beautiful and so cold the ice is blue and green (or so the explanation is in the dream). Everyone leaves but me because I'm picking up beautiful rocks.

When I'm done, I realize I've melted into the snow on the ground up to my armpits, and I can't get out. I yell for help for a while, and Alan comes rushing in dressed in what I imagine Jon Snow from George RR Martin's Ice & Fire novels would look like, down to the black leather gloves. He grabs my hands and whips me out of the hole in the snow as if I were weightless, scolding me for not coming with them when they left.

Next thing I know, we're all in a diner, sitting at the counter, but Rich has joined us. He's wearing some sort of Dracula-esque amulet around his neck and wildly gesticulating with his arms while we all laugh hysterically.

Then I woke up.
posted by Karabou at 7:38 PM EST


August 27, 2008
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of chum
Kev and I went to see Pineapple Express last night. It didn't blow me away, but it was pretty funny. It's worth a rent at least.

Chick flicks on HBO so far this month...

The Pianist
I felt sick the whole time I watched this. Of course, everything having to do with the Holocaust makes me feel sick. It's about a Polish Jew (an amazing pianist), who survives WWII in Poland. It was really good, though. I'm not a big Adrian Brody fan, but he pulled off the character really well. I rate it three tissues.

The White Countess
Another Ralph Fiennes period pic, this one is set in 1930s Shanghai. It's good, glad I caught it on HBO. I rate it one tissue.

Age of Innocence
I've caught bits and pieces of this movie a dozen times over the years. It's not one of Day-Lewis' best performances, but it's an interesting period piece if you like them. I rate it one tissue.

The Painted Veil
I'd been resisting watching this one for a good month or so. I don't like Edward Norton much, and Tivo's synopsis was thoroughly unappealing. I finally decided to just Tivo it, so if I didn't like it, I could fast forward and at least see the ending and be done with it. Hehe Surprisingly, it was really good. The evolution of the characters is really fantastic. I give it three tissues.
posted by Karabou at 7:38 PM EST


August 25, 2008
On jihad, rappin' Narnia, and Laser Cats
Iran so far away.
Lazy Sunday
Laser Cats 2
posted by Karabou at 7:38 PM EST


August 24, 2008
Superman Reboot
Warner Bros. is apparently rebooting the Superman franchise, as The Hulk did. Surprise.
posted by Karabou at 11:41 PM EST


August 22, 2008
we’re apin’ rapin’ tapin’ catharsis I hate when people bring perfectly baked plain brownies to a carry-in…or even within a hundred feet of me. Brownies are my weakness, my nemesis. I only bake them at home maybe once a year, if that, because of it.

I've eaten three brownies since I got back from PT at 1:30, and…OH MY GOD THERE ARE PINK CUPCAKES. Okay, now I have to eat a cupcake for a cure for breast cancer…or something like that. /sigh

Anyway, it's been a crazy couple of weeks. Last week, I was trying to crush my work week into three days since we were leaving for Gencon Thursday morning. I felt like I couldn't catch my breath to save my life, and when I got back on Tuesday, it resumed its breakneck pace. It did settle down by yesterday, thankfully.

Gencon was fun, more so than last year because our friends resumed attending with us this year. All seven of us won an $80 AT-43 starter set, and two of us (myself included) won an additional set. I picked the $75 Confrontation starter set, and our friend picked another AT-43 set. Woohoo!

You could definitely tell we're in a depressed economy, or so it seemed. The WotC booth seemed significantly smaller this year, and they didn't do the game-demo-roll-a-d20-for-a-prize thing this year. I was disappointed. Wizkids didn't seem to have any significant release at the show, unlike previous years when the rolled out HeroClix, MonsterClix, and HaloClix.

Upperdeck (sp?) had limited demos going of the new WoW minis game, and it looked really unimpressive. I thought it was going to be a skirmish game, but it's basically the card game with a miniature on a little chess-like map. This is just my opinion, but I feel like companies blow their wad when they don't have the game for sale when they debut it.

Fewer companies were giving away freebies for demos. Many companies will offer a "con exclusive" mini if you demo a game. Privateer Press was doing so, and we picked up some Monsterpocalypse. We also picked up Infernal Contraption, which is really fun.

It was still as much fun as ever. In my opinion, the whole point of going is to demo new games, buy some of them, and then go back to the hotel to play them together, which I didn't get to do because I was exhausted every night with some foot pain. The swag is just a bonus.

I went to the pool Wednesday night, and it was glorious. Kids are back in school, so there might have been 50 people there, total. And during the adult swim, maybe 7 in the pool. It was so awesome, I decided to go again Thursday night, but this time, I took Amy and Zoey.

Zoey was cracking me up. She hates getting her head wet, and it took much cajoling to get her to go under the mushroom waterfall. And when she finally agreed, she plugged her ears, squinched her eyes shut, and announced to her mom, "Okay, take me under!" It was a riot. She's small enough that I can swush her around in the water, which she seemed to thoroughly enjoy. We're going to try to go to Splash Moraine on Sunday, weather permitting. I hope it's nice. :)

Tomorrow, I'm dragging myself to a family reunion, and then I have to make Jambalaya for the guys. Tonight, I'm seeing Death Race with my cousin. I'm hoping it's big fun.posted by Karabou at 10:32 PM EST


August 21, 2008
Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident
David Letterman apparently did a list of "Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident" ... now there is some brouhaha over this list and whether or not it will be re-aired, blah blah blah. So in case you've yet to see it, here's the list:
10. Proposed a bill to change Oklahoma to "Oklabama"
9. Offered Bush 20 bucks for the "Mission Accomplished" banner
8. Asked guy at Staples, "Which chair will work best in an oval-shaped office?"
7. The affair with Barbara Walters
6. Having head measured for Mount Rushmore
5. Guy sits around eating soup all day
4. He's voting for Nader
3. Offered McCain a job in gift shop at Obama presidential library
2. Announced his running mate will be Andy Dick
1. Been cruising for chicks with John Edwards
posted by Karabou at 11:41 PM EST


August 19, 2008
Is McCain just another "W"?
Editor's Note: Jack Cafferty is the author of the best-seller "It's Getting Ugly Out There: The Frauds, Bunglers, Liars, and Losers Who Are Hurting America." He provides commentary on CNN's "The Situation Room" daily from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. You can also visit Jack's Cafferty File blog.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Russia invades Georgia and President Bush goes on vacation. Our president has spent one-third of his entire two terms in office either at Camp David, Maryland, or at Crawford, Texas, on vacation.

His time away from the Oval Office included the month leading up to 9/11, when there were signs Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America, and the time Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans.

Sen. John McCain takes weekends off and limits his campaign events to one a day. He made an exception for the religious forum on Saturday at Saddleback Church in Southern California.

I think he made a big mistake. When he was invited last spring to attend a discussion of the role of faith in his life with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, McCain didn't bother to show up. Now I know why.

It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president. When asked what his Christian faith means to him, his answer was a one-liner. "It means I'm saved and forgiven." Great scholars have wrestled with the meaning of faith for centuries. McCain then retold a story we've all heard a hundred times about a guard in Vietnam drawing a cross in the sand.

Asked about his greatest moral failure, he cited his first marriage, which ended in divorce. While saying it was his greatest moral failing, he offered nothing in the way of explanation. Why not?

Throughout the evening, McCain chose to recite portions of his stump speech as answers to the questions he was being asked. Why? He has lived 71 years. Surely he has some thoughts on what it all means that go beyond canned answers culled from the same speech he delivers every day.

He was asked "if evil exists." His response was to repeat for the umpteenth time that Osama bin Laden is a bad man and he will pursue him to "the gates of hell." That was it.

He was asked to define rich. After trying to dodge the question -- his wife is worth a reported $100 million -- he finally said he thought an income of $5 million was rich.

One after another, McCain's answers were shallow, simplistic, and trite. He showed the same intellectual curiosity that George Bush has -- virtually none.

Where are John McCain's writings exploring the vexing moral issues of our time? Where are his position papers setting forth his careful consideration of foreign policy, the welfare state, education, America's moral responsibility in the world, etc., etc., etc.?

John McCain graduated 894th in a class of 899 at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. His father and grandfather were four star admirals in the Navy. Some have suggested that might have played a role in McCain being admitted. His academic record was awful. And it shows over and over again whenever McCain is called upon to think on his feet.

He no longer allows reporters unfettered access to him aboard the "Straight Talk Express" for a reason. He simply makes too many mistakes. Unless he's reciting talking points or reading from notes or a TelePrompTer, John McCain is lost. He can drop bon mots at a bowling alley or diner -- short glib responses that get a chuckle, but beyond that McCain gets in over his head very quickly.

I am sick and tired of the president of the United States embarrassing me. The world we live in is too complex to entrust it to someone else whose idea of intellectual curiosity and grasp of foreign policy issues is to tell us he can look into Vladimir Putin's eyes and see into his soul.

George Bush's record as a student, military man, businessman and leader of the free world is one of constant failure. And the part that troubles me most is he seems content with himself.

He will leave office with the country $10 trillion in debt, fighting two wars, our international reputation in shambles, our government cloaked in secrecy and suspicion that his entire presidency has been a litany of broken laws and promises, our citizens' faith in our own country ripped to shreds. Yet Bush goes bumbling along, grinning and spewing moronic one-liners, as though nobody understands what a colossal failure he has been.

I fear to the depth of my being that John McCain is just like him.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.
posted by Karabou at 9:56 PM EST


August 13, 2008
A singularity
It's the only time I have ever wished the rule of three was true and would complete itself.

The loss of Hayes and Mac was a shame. Much too young. Jackson, on the other hand, we can only hope.
posted by Karabou at 6:52 PM EST


August 10, 2008
Hold on to your f-ing hat...
I very nearly fell out of my chair watching this. Please, for the love of all that is holy, watch it. **LINK FIXED**
posted by Karabou at 11:31 PM EST


August 6, 2008
Last Blood
I stumbled upon this and ended up really enjoying it. You can read the whole first trade paperback online here:
posted by Karabou at 9:24 PM EST


August 3, 2008
Giving credit when credit is due...
I have to give my husband a little pat on the back. He wrote a chapter of WFRP's Thousand Thrones, which was released a few months ago.

Two opinions:
...[Y]ou eventually get to Villa Hahn which is a dungeon in the vein of Castle Wittgenstein...and it's brilliant. I really liked this bit. It's well designed and really puts the gothic horror back in WFRP. Lucius Hahn's fate immediately made me think 'I really have to do this to one of my PC's sometime'. This Nurgle lair uses WFRP mechanics properly. What the PC's do can have nasty results and the diseases are used to potential, unlike some earlier WFRP2 products where Wound damage was the result of just about anything you come into contact with. The final showdown description is a bit confused as the results are very open. Nonetheless this is a great section.


Chapter 5: This is just plain good. Not much more to be said about it, except that I don't really like Nurglists as enemies, but that is entirely personal. It could be used as an independent adventure with little work.

His chapter was partially re-written in the development process, but the core ideas were his and were largely left intact, and I'm proud as hell that people really liked his section. Others have mentioned plans to use his chapter for stand-alone adventures, as well.

For whatever reason, GW refused to allow dungeon crawls to be written for other books in WFRP 2.0. Not everyone is capable of insanely involved roleplay, and my own group refused to play the game after running just two pre-made adventures. It was disappointing, as I felt the game had a lot to offer, but they lost their taste for it after becoming frustrated at the difficulty of puzzle solving that was required.

And just so you know, Hahn is my mother's maiden name. HAH!

posted by Karabou at 2:49 PM EST


August 1, 2008
The Dark Knight Yearns
I Kev and I saw the Dark Knight on Tuesday. The asshole couple behind us who decided to have a full-on conversation for the first hour and a half of the movie no matter how many times we asked them to STFU likely had some bearing on my experience.

But largely, I felt the movie didn't live up to the hype. That's not to say I didn't think it was good. But the incessant harping of the media going on about how Heath Ledger deserves a posthumous Oscar for his performance was nothing but the studios finding a way to get people who wouldn't ordinarily see the movie to pay for a ticket to go found out what all this mumbo-jumbo was about. For example: CNN, owned by Time Warner, publishes second straight top headline about "The Dark Knight," a film made by Warner Brothers, owned by Time Warner, and based on Batman, published by DC Comics, also owned by Time Warner.

I went in expecting Heath Ledger to give the performance of all performances EVER GIVEN, and I was greatly disappointed. He was good, sure. But I didn't lose myself in the character. I still saw him as Heath Ledger and not just The Joker. A truly great performance makes you forget the actor. I just didn't have that experience, and I definitely didn't find that character "terrifying."

I did, however, like the direction he took The Joker. He was a maniacal, brilliant, remorseless anarchist. It's a shame we won't get to see the character again any time soon. Nolan has said he won't recast The Joker so long as he's still directing the films.

And I was surprised by Two-Face being a main character. I could tell Harvey had become Two-Face in the trailer, but I figured he would be introduced and then be a main character in the next installment. It was a pleasant twist. But Aaron Eckhart was GREAT as Two-Face. I liked that he wasn't some giggly dipshit, like Tommy Lee Jones' version, but was instead a man who had been pushed over the edge and had truly lost all reason and rationality.

My other beef is that the movie felt long. When I start looking at my watch, it's lost me. The movie seemed to end more than once, and that's never a good sign, either. It would just dust itself off, yell "Ta-dah!", and keep going.

My only complaint about Batman Begins was that all of the action scenes were so dark you couldn't see what was going on. And they used that ridiculous flying CGI dirt that they used in Gladiator to mask the fight scenes. Dark Knight fixed that. It was a wise move. When people go to see superhero movies, they want to see superhero fights. I didn't go see Ironman to watch him wax intellectual and fight in the dark. I went to watch him fly around, blow shit up, and have at least one knock-down drag-out kick ass fight.

And dear god, I'm so glad they killed off the Rachel character. I don't know what's wrong with Maggie Gyllenhaal's face, but it was far more terrifying than The Joker's. She's got this pug nose, and her cheeks sag like socks full of marbles, just hanging off her face. I have to admit, I was caught off guard when she died. I thought for sure Batman was going to save her, and the police would save Harvey Dent, though he'd likely become Two-Face in the process. That was when the movie got good for me.

In summary, I liked it. I would probably have liked it better had I not been subjected to all the hype beforehand. I might even have been able to be absorbed more fully into The Joker as a character, rather than an Oscar vehicle. I'll probably watch it again at home when it comes out on DVD in the peace and quiet of my living room.

It's rumored that the next villains will be The Riddler, played by Johnny Depp, and The Penguin, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. And seeing as it's pulled in $440 million as of today, I'm certain there will be a few more Batman movies in the future.

posted by Karabou at 10:28 PM EST