News: Aug. 1, 2004 to Sep. 3, 2004
and saw Hero at the Columbia
8 tonight. Had dinner with my parents at that Mexican place (Azteca?)
afterwards. While we were waiting for our food, I ran over to Barnes
& Noble to buy a book of crossword puzzles. I've acquired a
taste for them ever since I did one at Les Schwab waiting for my
car to get new tires (also got a new windshield earlier this week).
Then I did another at Toeshi Teriyaki when we ate there for the
second time on Thursday. After dinner, we finished the first one
in the book. It had some neat 15-letter 'words' in it, like onceinabluemoon
and lightasafeather. There was one square I absolutely couldn't
get though it was where "site of the Taj Mahal"
and "Israeli port" intersected. (The answers, BTW, were
agra and acre.)
2004 (Fri); Post #512
Anyway, Hero was pretty good. I think it was a little longer than
it needed to be, but everyone's right about it being a really beautiful
movie. Actually, I wish it hadn't been subtitled because there was
just so much to look at. Seems pretty rewatchable because of that
though. The plot was surprisingly simple; I had been expecting something
a lot more complicated. The only thing I really hated was that there
was some kind of audio problem during the movie; some speakers would
cut out for a second or two, then come back on... and it always
seemed to happen during the dramatic fights or army scenes. Very
distracting. Oh, and Hero's got a 94%
on Rotten Tomatoes
right now (which was what mainly motivated me to go see it, besides
some glowing reviews on alt.tv.stargate-atlantis
and the SJG forums).
This guy, compn, is seeding eps
1-10 of Downtown on MySpleen. I really want the AVIs, but I'm
hanging at 41% since his cable connection keeps dying or something.
And there were no new Crossballs or Stargate Atlantis eps this week,
so I've got nothing to watch but mediocre movies (watched Anger
Have you seen this two-legged dog on pics.bbzzdd? Someone from Anandtech
posted a link to the video
of a news clip about it.
GURPS tomorrow at 4:00 PM.
This thing (91.5 KB) gives me
11 days. Oh well. Here's some linky goodness: New
Random GURPS Idea. Neat
CG Animations, plus the music
video for Accidentally in Love by Counting Crows. Some Risk
variants, including Nuclear Risk (we've been playing a lot of
Risk lately). Trailer
for Shaun of the Dead (can't wait, looks good). David Pulver
(yes, the David Pulver) complimented
me on a sample Affliction power (woo). Nifty chart
and info about Germanic languages. Kevin Smith's making a Clerks
sequel that stars Dante and Randal from the original. Scotty
(from Star Trek) was missing
the middle finger on his right hand (who knew?).
2004 (Tue); Post #511
Now, some amusing/interesting quotes I ran across recently (they've
been piling up in a DOC file I keep open all the time):
"As they say in Molvania, my pants are become
tight." Almafeta, upon hearing that GURPS 4th edition
included support for Modular Abilities (from the SJG
Next, a brief summary of past events: We started a new GURPS campaign
(using 4th edition) with the PCs as super-powered detectives working
for the secret "Paranormal Case Squad" in New York City*.
I had my birthday (we all had pizza and played SoC). I got my Girl
Genius poster back (looks great framed). I started making those
3-D tile chess pieces; so far I have one full set done (it's painted
a glossy plum). Bought a replacement halogen bulb at Bed, Bath,
& Beyond today (plus a seat cushion). Also had lunch at Toeshi
Teriyaki today (chicken teriyaki and gyoza, very good). Watched
Venture Brothers eps 1-4; very funny series. Stargate Atlantis 1x08
aired last Friday. Best episode yet, IMHO. Had Colm Meaney (Miles
O'Brien from ST:TNG) in it. I won an eBay
auction for a bunch of Chessex d6s (non-pipped) some
guy and I got into a bidding war and now he wants to buy the dice
from me because he needs them to complete his collection. Fat chance.
Oh, and I saw Napoleon
Dynamite by myself last week. Very funny movie.
"The difficult part in an argument is not to defend one's
opinion, but rather to know it." André Maurois
"The US Air Force (brilliant buggers that they are) managed
to drop a nuclear bomb into one of the swamps nearby (Savannah,
GA, USA) back in the 1950's. I'm sure that even back in the 50's
the detonators were made safe enough that it won't explode randomly.
Still, I'd rather they dug that damned thing up and removed it."
some Slashdotter (from a discussion following the "British
Town Worried About WWII Ammo Ship Wreck" post)
And finally, upcoming events: Gonna make more tile chess pieces.
Gotta go to Pullman tomorrow to set up my sister's network and internet
connection. Need to renew my domain with Namecheap (expires October
*BTW, Ryan/Justin: Turns out I calculated Justin's
collision damage incorrectly (vastly overestimated the HP of the
was 54, not 200; also doesn't count as a hard surface if you're
inside), so he's still alive (but unconscious) and, as a
result, Ryan's character doesn't actually have hemophobia (since
the fright check shouldn't have occurred).
board from a game of Risk Justin (red), Paige (blue), Ryan (green),
and I (yellow) played on 8/21. Here's the board
at the end of the game (61.0 KB).
My 4th Edition GURPS books have shipped! According to the UPS tracking
system, they're going to be here on the 25th.
2004 (Fri); Post #510
Last night Ryan, Paige, and I played Settlers of Catan and Lunch
Money (augmented with cards from Sticks & Stones and Beer Money).
Then, tonight, Hanwool and one of Ryan's friends (Veronica) joined
us for some more SoC and Lunch Money. After the girls left, we played
a couple games of Once Upon a Time (with the Dark Tales expansion).
I seem to have lost my copy of Tile Chess, so I think I'm going
to try making my own. It'll be better anyway. I plan to get a couple
of the cheap plastic chess sets ($3.00/per), glue the pieces to
small wooden blocks, then prime and spray paint them different colors.
Maybe there's a better way to fix them to the wood than just glue;
I'm thinking about, like, sticking a screw halfway into the block,
then filling the chess piece (they're hollow) with a little caulk
or silicone and setting it over the screw. Might be able to use
a clamp to keep the caulk from expanding from under the edge of
the piece. Anyway. It'd make the pieces a lot easier to use, the
board a little harder to screw up.
The SJG forums are still exploding... 760 members, 1,555 posts (21
Not much else happening. Gotta go get some framing/matting done
tomorrow. Going to have my Girl
Genius poster framed while I'm there, but it's a weird size
(17x22") so I might have to get it matted up to 22x24"
or something to fit a standard frame.
Settlers of Catan, Wednesday night.
Update (PDF; convert 3e character to 4e) just came out! Also,
Steve Jackson Games launched their open-access web
forums today (Daily
Illuminator news item). It's only been up for about 23 hours
now and there are already 951 posts and 631 members. Seems I was
the 264th person to join.
2004 (Wed); Post #509
Also signed up for Pyramid.
They have a preview of the Dai
Blackthorn character sheet from 4th Edition that's really interesting.
(BTW, the previous link will only work if you're a Pyramid subscriber.)
Pyramid now features Irregular Webcomic in their issues (here's
a sample). It seems like the Pyramid strips are funnier than
the ones on their main web site.
Anyway, I'm going to go get some dinner. Tonight I'm thinking...
Did you know Weyoun was a Borg in the mirror universe?
read on rec.games.frp.gurps
that the GURPS 4th Edition Deluxe Editions shipped today! Hopefully
the non-Deluxe books will be shipping on the 18th or 19th. Michael
P. Hopcroft (from the GURPSNet-L
list) says his FLGS promised copies in stock by the 24th, so
the next couple days seem pretty promising as far as ship dates
2004 (Tue); Post #508
I'm thinking about signing up for Pyramid
again. I really enjoyed it for the year that I had it (April '01-'02,
IIRC). Looks like the subscription fee has gone up though... used
to be $15/yr. and now it's $20.
BTW, last Friday Drew, Matt Tomsinski, and Phill came over (apparently
there was a party at JD's house and they needed soda). Matt Tomsinski
told me he'd signed up with HostPC,
the host I'd recommended to him. When I renew my service with them
in October it looks like that fee will be going up too (though
only to $15.98/yr., which is still an incredible steal). Maybe I
can find another bargain for 'em in the Hot
Deals forum on AT. The one I got last time was pretty sweet;
300 MB storage/8 GB transfers per month for $9.99/yr. Anyway, Matt
Tomsinski's site is about Halo... I tried Googling it but couldn't
find anything (all I really remember is that it had a dark background,
a .net URL, and PHP pages).
Reached this point in Doom 3 where the Sarge and the Scientist Guy
were both urging me to do different things (Sarge wanted me to send
a message to earth to request reinforcements, Scientist Guy said
to cancel the message because the hell-demons might use the ships
to go back to Earth). Anyway, I went with the Scientist Guy. I tried
looking up the consequences of either decision on the GameFAQs
walkthroughs, but it looks like the only English TXT
file is incomplete (only goes as far as the beginning of the
Communications Transfer level).
BTW, here's the partial map (79.6
KB JPEG) from the failed nano-magic-wurms campaign. I thought it
looked cool, so I saved it. I'm gonna be posting my unfinished HackMaster
module soon too, but I'd like to convert it to a single PDF file
or something instead of uploading the four WordPerfect documents
and five map sheet scans that it's currently stored as. (Does anyone
even still use WordPerfect?) The text is formatted into columns
with full justification alignment, so it'd look way uglier if I
just did a straight HTML treatment.
Whatever. Hey, we're #1 in most medals
won in the Olympics right now. China has the most gold, however.
gonna try and make this post short cuz I'm tired. Play
Oregon Trail on a Virtual Apple II. Finished Red Mars,
now reading Green Mars. Been playing Doom 3. It's dark. Like
Tycho said (I think... maybe it was someone on ATOT or /.): It's
2145 why don't marine helmets have built-in flashlights?
2004 (Mon); Post #507
Can't connect to trackers on MySpleen right now (they're doing their
5-day NAT ban)... I need to get a new router. I've done port forwarding
for the standard BitTorrent ports, but what I really need
is a router that allows me to forward whole ranges (i.e.
6881-6999). Stupid Siemens Speedstream 2602. Uh... hey, anyone want
to buy a router?
Justin and I discussed the gaming situation. Basically we're planning
a hiatus until 4th Edition arrives and everyone's had a chance to
read it (i.e. at least a few days prior to the game). Then I'll
GM a game for anyone who's interested. Some kind of setting essentially
designed by the players (right now it looks like some kind of modern-day
300-point quasi-supers campaign is likely).
Since the previous attempt at a GURPS campaign is dead, dead, dead,
I was going to make some kind of detailed explanation about the
setting, but it seems like too much work now. To summarize: magic
was nanotech, the "elders" were TL10 colonists who got
stranded on this planet, nanobots ate their technology, the wurms
were real, "wands" were actually blaster pistols, the
bay-area was terraformed to keep the wurms out, and the wild golems
were robots that were unsuccessfully "uplifted" by the
planet-nano. The idea was for the players to uncover the elder's
conspiracy, drag the spaceship out of the bay, use their knowledge
of "magic" to repair it, and make the move into a TL10
space setting where they would have been the only group in the galaxy
with control over this potentially world-dominating precursor nanotech.
You've probably seen the Chick
Tracts (the Dark
Dungeons one is especially well-known, I believe). Anyway, at
some point I ran across this great parody
tract (327 KB JPEG) on pics.bbzzdd.
This past week's Stargate Atlantis (1x06) was pretty good. Had some
really funny bits involving David Hewlett's character. The whole
"preservation of life, culture, and beliefs before all else"
theme does get a little tiring though. Seems pretty unrealistic.
But every TV show where the adventurers deal with primitives (esp.
ST:TNG and ST:VOY) clings to these silly liberal ideologies, even
when it's ridiculously inconvenient.
know Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy creator) has a new series that'll
be on FOX in January? American
Dad. Doesn't look nearly as good as Family Guy. You can download
six-minute pilot (19.2 MB WMV) from the web site above.
2004 (Fri); Post #506
My "stuff for site.doc" file has a note that says "STA
good," but I can't remember what that's supposed to
mean. UPDATE: Oh, I remember nowI had meant to post something
about how I've seen Stargate Atlantis through episode four and they've
all been pretty good. Downloading episode 1x05 through BitTorrent
right now. I like the LOL encodes the best (versus Jman, CRiMSON,
KTHX, LokiTorrent, and SFM, who are also doing it).
Built an extremely successful sliver deck on MTGO. The only downside
is that it's only four colors (no blue), so there aren't any Shifting
Slivers in it to grant unblockable-ness. But it works quickly enough
and includes Hunter Slivers (grant provoke), so that isn't a real
problem. Got two Sliver Overlords from boosters earlier this week,
but only use one in the deck. I'm thinking about switching out some
equipment (a couple Loxodon Warhammers and a Lightning Greaves)
for three Shifting Slivers. After all, the Essence Slivers already
cover life gain pretty well.
Got my hair cut on Thursday. Tease & Tan got torn down to make
way for the new Walgreens parking lot, so I went to Backstreet Design
in Kennewick. Hadn't had a trim since March, so I really needed
it. Kinda hate getting my hair cut, always seems like a waste of
time and money. And sometimes the stylist talks to you and ...blah.
Went to Pullman today to do some network/computer/A/V setup stuff
at my sister's house. First time I'd seen the place; very nice.
But it took a long time and it rained a lot.
My sister's place in Pullman.
seems the police just caught the guy. They had stopped by the clinic
to warn people about him earlier and that's how my mom heard. He
was hiding from the cops and unbalanced enough that they described
him as "extremely dangerous." Guess I can go unlock the
door now. :P
2004 (Tue); Post #505
mom just told me there's a schizophrenic loose in the neighborhood
with a baseball bat. I think she said he was wearing a blue cap.
Anyway, apparently everyone's supposed to keep away from him and
call 911 if they see him. Will find out more later; she was in a
2004 (Tue); Post #504
another night of FFCC gaming. We're now up to 15h:03m of play time
and have just finished year six. This session we beat Kilanda and
the Lynari Desert (which was a really annoying level) and some other
places we'd been before. I finally got my Tome of Wisdom crafted
into a Charm of Wisdom (-10 to casting time). Also picked up a Fire
Ring. This site, FFCC
Shrine, is really useful
for item info and artifact location.
2004 (Mon); Post #503
On Saturday, Drew, Justin, Ryan, and I did a short (2h) GURPS game.
Some general campaign parameters (in case anyone else'd like to
make a character): 125 points with the standard -40 in disads and
-5 in quirks; setting is early TL4 with magic (uses the improvised
magic system with an emphasis on subtlety (i.e., few immediately
obvious or flashy effects) each verb/noun is a M/VH skill
and must have at least 8 character points invested in it to function).
The PCs are playing a scouting party from a small, isolated colony
far from real civilization. Exploration and expansion has been limited
due to the presence of dangerous wurms (similar to "rattlers"
a la Deadlands) in the lands surrounding the settlement.
I've run across a few MP3s lately that I really like; my Brain
stats show that I've played them all a couple dozen times within
the last month. The songs in question are: Maroon 5 - This Love;
Black Eyed Peas - Let's Get Retarded (one of the very, very few
rap songs I enjoy); Phantom Planet - California; and Irene Cara
Drew gave me this really sturdy table his family was going to give
to Goodwill. Also gave me an old steel toolbox which I'm now using
for my networking/computer tools (punchdown, crimper, cable tester,
antistatic bracelet, screwdrivers, etc.). Much more wieldy than
the 15-gallon plastic box I had been using. I actually really like
the fact that my house is furnished almost entirely with things
other ppl have donated. No inclination to obsess about scratches
or dings in the desks and so on (a slightly discommodious worriment
when dealing with shiny new things). Oh yeah, and Justin's mom decided
to get rid of her computer chair, so Justin brought it over here
on Saturday too. Sometime when I work up the courage to open the
garage again I'll snap a pic of the rackmount cabinet nabbed from
his work. It's nicer than the one I've got in my living room.
BTW, just pre-ordered both volumes of the new GURPS
4th Edition Basic set (Characters and Campaigns) through Warehouse
23. Almost 600 pages total, all full-color and in hardback.
Wish I'd pre-ordered early enough to get the Deluxe Edition (leather-bound,
foil-stamped, signed set with dust jackets and a slipcase).
Like Christmas in July.
that climbs the tall tree has won right to the fruit."
Sir Walter Scott