14 November 2010

Giant Robot NaNoWriMo vs. Me

I admit it. The last thing I want to do is write blog entries while I'm in the midst of writing 50,000 words for a novel by the end of November. So this won't be long.


As I've sat down and forced myself to write consciously about 1700 words a day, I've found myself desperately craving stories. It's not so much for inspiration, at least not in the material but perhaps in the techniques of storytelling. How to keep in interesting, what what. It's just that all this creativity is flowing out of me in a concentrated amount this month and one of the odd side effects is to fill myself with all sorts of other media. Books, television, movies, graphic novels, and so on.

Perhaps the most interesting, and the one I have been suckered into most heavily? Anime. Now I know you're probably judging me, but I don't care. I used to watch a fair amount - staples like Trigun or Oh! My Goddess, or Miyazaki films.

This interest has unfolded again, in the form of Claymore. It's perhaps a bit expository heavy (which is exactly what my own novel has been doing from day one) but that's forgivable because the drama and the execution are fantastic. Ultra-violent, but fascinating and enjoyable.

Anyway, I just wanted to make a note. And tell anyone who is interested I intend to have a Trigun night (day?) soon. Be warned, and come join in the fun.

Fixed it!

Fast update: I fixed the youtube link in the previous post so watch it and then tell me what you think. Haunting? Creepy? Awesome, right?

04 November 2010

Atmospheric and Awesome

My brother sent me this video and I can't help but say I love it. These places have such atmosphere, I'm really rather depressed I won't get to see this before it's demolished. I need to start seeking abandoned buildings and complexes out more frequently, since we have no love for them in this country.

19 September 2010

Dammit all.

Is there nothing Hollywood won't bastardize?

No! is the resounding answer.

So apparently they're making a movie of On the Road.

I had no idea, but let me state here and now, it won't do justice.  It can't possibly do justice, and I'm not even remotely interested in seeing it.

Especially with the "talent" acquired to spin this yarn.  Look it up.  Or don't.  That's probably better anyway.

The Night

"Ah, it was a fine night, a warm night, a wine-drinking night, a moony night, and a night to hug your girl and talk and spit and be heavengoing."

These quotes are almost certainly more for me than for you, although I hope there's some cross-application. But moments, words, strike me, sink deep and I must put them down lest they flutter away forever into the empty darkness of my mind. 

Blurred Landscapes

"It was embarrassing. Every single one of us was blushing. This is the story of America. Everybody's doing what they think they're supposed to do."

Views from the Road

"Dean and I are embarked on a tremendous season together.  We're trying to communicate with absolute honesty and absolute completeness everything on our minds."

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

This quote resonated deeply with me this week, particularly after that last post.  I cleave to the idea that the communication of souls, cross-legged and staring perhaps, is possible.  As such, I felt I would post it here, a lone column, a solitary ruin of my own desired temple of learned experience.  Or perhaps, more optimistically, it is a way-stone, a marker beckoning one to throw down the map and explore.  

I suppose the choice is, as always, ours.

17 September 2010


Today is bringing with it a crisis of feelings.  I don't really need to bore you with all the details and dilemmas of my post-collegiate existence, but suffice it to say, I haven't really contributed much to either my own enrichment or society at large.  I wanted to take it easy after school for a couple months but all I've been successful at so far is stagnation.

So... today's question, as I've paced around the room drinking my french pressed coffee (made only on indulgent days, which are alarmingly more frequent) is how I can start merging the experiences I'd like to have with the existence I currently am gripped by.  At the moment they seem extremely far apart.

I'll tell you what I'm going to start with.  Re-reading some Kerouac.  We cleaned out some boxes yesterday and I found the copy I gave to Will years ago.   Only a few days earlier I was thinking I might need to glance through the tome again, in hopes of rewarding myself with some much needed passion and madness.  The universe might be telling me something by thrusting the book in front of me.

The things I hope to embrace in my life - the accomplishment, the experiences and adventures certainly don't favor the docile and unfortunately, that is exactly what I am right now.  Docile with a complete lack of tenacity.  Perhaps the most frightening thing about all of this is how boring of a person I feel I'm becoming.  Rather, how boring I am allowing myself to become.  

This does not bode well.

I feel like I've slowed my intake of art and culture, given up on intellectualism of any kind.  The only breather I take from such dulling is when surrounded by my friends, who are infinitely more creative, complex, insightful and enjoyable than I deserve to have.  Why can't I take their influences as catalysts?  Why do I move at such a snail's pace?

Okay, this is the very definition of maudlin.  And isn't a blog supposed to airy, light and fun?  Apologies will be handed out (much like my High School diploma) at the concession stand after the service.

UP NEXT:  Something more light and fun.  Maybe with a dash of cuteness.  Kittens perhaps?  We'll see what a google search reveals:

Yes, a stuffed turtle in ugly colors that projects a fake nighttime sky on your ceiling in various shades of illumination.  Perhaps I should've been a little more specific that I wasn't looking for an actual light, so here's a second option:

Admittedly I went with this only because I like snow leopards.  They're pretty much my favorite animal. Also, should you ever bring them up in my presence I will inform you that they can jump 40 feet from a standing position.  40 #*$%ing feet!  Anyway, here's a snow leopard cub.  It's cute, it has light colored fur, but it's probably only fun if you're not being viciously attacked by it's defensive mother.  I wonder how many random girls that sentence might also describe?

Now that I've made pseudo-good on my posting promises, I do hope your day is filled with projected stars and dangerous endangered animals.

12 August 2010

Caulk Your Wagons...

I know people are worried about all the raping of their childhood memories (stay tuned for... The Smurfs), but this...  Can we say awesome?

10 August 2010

There is Only War

So... A small group of friends decided to give Dark Heresy a try. For
those who probably don't know, DH is a tabletop rpg set in the dark
and grim future of the 41st millenium.
It was everyone's first pen and paper style rpg and I was pseudo-
nominated as the GM. Overall I'd say it was a shit-ton of work to prep
for (since the players ran amok causing all sorts of problems and
situations for me to respond too) bu that's also because I had to
comprehend the rules as much as possible. And in the end (a good five
hours later) we more or less understand how to get through a game.
And I have to say, while I was hesitant and a bit nervous about my
exacting role within the scenario, it turned out to be a great deal of
fun. The players fell into their parts and some (Ishmael) created
havoc everwhere they went... Nearly blowing up other characters or
collapsing mine shafts for no apparent purpose. In the end he got his
own, mutated by chaotic power and gunned down by two other players. It
was highly entertaining.
In fact I was surprised how fun it was despite the stop-and-go nature
of our first attempt. But it was successful nevertheless and I hope
everyone else liked it as much as I did. Because I'm hoping for many
more campaigns in the future... Which for the record is filled with
war and only war.  And heretics.  Maybe some Xenos here and there.
But those all lead to war anyway. So... war.

Addendum:  I also wanted to add that the creatures,  the players and the sad lost soul known as "Rat" were all represented on our map by sprinkles in the shapes of dinosaurs and people.  It was kinda awesome.

02 August 2010

Dark Ambience

So... I know this has nothing to do with anything, but in my search for interesting music of a atmospheric and dark nature, I stumbled upon this man. He mostly composes and licenses for films, doesn't look as though he releases any kind of albums or tracks. Still, the languid feel of this music and imagery really took me for a ride. So I figured I'd share the wealth. And if you're looking for some interesting ambient music for your feature, take a look.

Dark Ambient Space Music: Through The Ergosphere: Film Composer Simon Wilkinson from Simon Wilkinson on Vimeo.

06 July 2010

Excitement is Coming...

Let's be honest, this doesn't show you anything, but it does makes me seriously excited.  Julie, this is probably mostly for you.  :)

05 July 2010

Costuming the Carmelites

A few quick pics from Dialogues of the Carmelites.  It was actually a really enjoyable (if at times incredibly stressful) show to do.  Such are the breaks when you're working on an immense show, double cast, with absolutely no support, help and a miniscule budget.  Despite all that, I feel it turned out rather well.  But as promised, here's a quick photographic journey through this depressing (as evidenced by the all the ominous guillotine shots) show.   Enjoy.

03 July 2010

Another Open Letter

Dear George R.R. Martin-

I appreciate that you have created an extremely successful franchise in A Song of Fire and Ice. I appreciate that it is now on its way to HBO syndication and that it has inspired graphic novels, board games, card games, figures, armor and so much more. I really do. I love these books, and rightly so. They are a fantastic read. But I would greatly appreciate it if you would stop writing other random collaborations, cease reveling in the glory of your creations (now you can buy a reproduction of your favorite character's weapon!) and take some time to perhaps finish the series. Seriously. I started reading these books in 1998. 1998! In all that time there's only been four of them, and I'm starting to be concerned that if you continue at your current pace you'll either end up:

A) Like Robert Jordan (as an example; I don't care for his books) with some "hot new author" finishing out your series because you're dead.


B) With an HBO series that dies off because no end to the story has been written. Even if they were successful enough to flesh out the current plan of one book per season, that's seven seasons (a lot to hope for) and frankly that leaves you with only seven years to finish three books. Your current model for publishing won't support that and I'm slightly dubious since your website continues to purport that you'll have it done any time now... dated 2008.

The other option is that you'll outlive me and I'll be dead before I ever have a satisfying conclusion to this series.

Mr. Martin, take this as a compliment about your writing - its among the best stuff I've read. And I know that quality takes time. But throw your loyal readers a bone, if you would. It's been a feast of crows for all your readers for far too long.


18 June 2010

New Bad Movie Blog!

Friends and Lovers, I have just started a new blog covering one of my
greatest loves, terrible movies. While it only has a few reviews, I
intend to grow it into an epicenter of movies to never watch.

Check it out, follow me, and revel in Cinematic Casualty.


Also, there's far too many movies and too little time; I will welcome
submissions and suggestions for movies.


02 June 2010

Talisman Rising (3-Dimensionally!)

I suppose I ought to throw a little info in here. I am currently working on a 3d board for one of my all time favorite board games. Graciously, Capree has offered to be my project-cohort in crime, and together we will create an epic playing field! The board's dimensions are roughly twice that of the original board, equivalent to roughly 4' x 6'. Built from mdf, insulation foam, and all sorts of love, I am super pumped about this.

It's already led to some highly enjoyable learning experiences: how to get 4'x8' foam home on the top of your subaru... not to mention why laughing while cutting foam with a hot wire cutter isn't the best idea. Repairs necessary.

More to come.

19 May 2010

A Day in the Life

Let's see...

Today consists of the usual:

Wake up far too early after staying up until 2:00 a.m. waiting for my husband who is MIA. (Ha ha, actually he was stuck at an accident turned block party, where no one could get through so they all hung out in the middle of the street).

Start coffee maker.

Talk to the roomie about how, now that he has a computer, he can troll the internet for cheap and easy women. Which, for the record is fine by me, since I was tired of him leaving a history trail of lesbian porn sites on our computer.

Listening to Little Big Planet music while writing a blog. This is not so unusual. Actually, I listen to a rather bizarre and eclectic mix of things, from some VERY selective current music, to electronica/trance to mostly soundtracks. Game soundtracks I particularly enjoy, but I do love my movie soundtracks too. Occasionally I like to throw in some 1930's old timey-whimey stuff. Yeah, I'm not usually asked to choose the party music, since people that see my iPod usually give me a "WTF, mate?"

Go total my car. If this totals, it will be my second car I've totaled. From accidents. Although only once was from me. This time it was all that crazy girl's fault. I suppose it's not a very interesting way to kill a car. Not like my brother Colin, who takes the Euro-van off-roading and breaks the front axel. Now that's a way to go.

Buy wine-keys for work. I get to teach a class on wine (who'd have thunk? Certainly not Teacher's Quorum President Me) to the employees, and give everyone new wine keys. I have to go pick them out from the restaurant supply, and am under strict instructions that I will not buy a bunch of random stuff for my house and charge it to Mac Grill. Damn.

Go to work. Serve people 1800 calorie bread while they talk about how they're watching their weight and will just have the salad, along with two more loaves of bread. Hmm.

Come home, have a drink and maybe get some, and go to bed. Yep, this is my exciting life.

But believe me, it's nothing compared to a day in the life of Thu Tran, host of Food Party on the Independent Film Channel. This is a show I simply cannot describe. You have to watch it for yourself and that's all I can say. Here's a delightful clip, for your mind-blowing pleasure. Oddly enough, this clip makes the show appear far more tame than it actually is. But maybe we'll ease you in, nice and slow.

12 May 2010

Guess Who's Back?

My life has freed up, a bit. And thus, I will present, for your viewing pleasure, some images from the first production I worked on this last year. I will post the Opera images shortly after this.

Time and the Conways - A play that takes place both in 1919 and in 1938, watching the progression of a British family over these years. There are two notes I have about this show. 1) I can't stand the set color. It's a bit outta control. 2) The styles of women's dress in general during 1919 were the most bizarre collection of things you can imagine. It was right after the war, smack dab between Edwardian and the Roaring Twenties, and no definite style had been set. These dresses I designed are all accurate pieces that both fit the characters, and would fall into this year, but believe me when I tell you the range of this year is incredible. Most of my budget went to these dresses because we had to build all of them. It is not an easily stocked era. Also, many of these photos are from dress rehearsal, so the looks are not completely perfect (i.e. steamed, or wrong undergarments, etc). Still, enjoy.

1919 - Kay (the dreamer)

1919 - Joan ("such a foolish girl")

1919 - Hazel ("the pretty one")

1919 - Mrs. Conway ("I love all my children, even the silly ones")

1919 - Madge (a most unfortunate name)

1938 Hazel (in my favorite dress of the show) and Alan, the sad home-body brother.

1938 - Kay the Journalist, Robin the alcoholic schemer (in a gorgeous, actual vintage late 30's suit), and poor depressed Joan.

1938 - Madge, bitter girl's school matron

1938 - Mrs. Conway in, as the actress called it, her "Edwardian Snuggie." The script mentions that Mrs. C is still wearing Edwardian period clothes, which is funny since she's wearing clothing from an earlier period than when the play starts. Ah well. This balanced nicely with the color scheme though.

And there's some highlights for you kids. Enjoy!

27 April 2010

The Nuns are Dead.

This means I may actually have a life again. In fact, too much of a life as school is just about over as well. I'll be graduated and... then what?

16 April 2010

Absence makes the heart...

Dear Blog-ur-bators,

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while, but suddenly the opera I'm costuming is upon me and until it relinquishes its hold like a nun to the guillotine, I won't have much to say here. I do have pictures from the last play I costumed, finally, and those will be showcased on here shortly. Be patient.

Miss and love you all, I'm sure.


06 April 2010

Definitely NOT a Scam

I got this via Facebook back in January and have wanted to post it for a while now, to share with you how my fortune has changed. I have to point out that I'm super lucky to be the first random U.S.-born person Mr. Dabrah looked up on Facebook for this incredible offer of fraud, and I'll try not to let all that money go to my head when I'm swimming in dough. I'll still remember you, readers, all the little people out there.

Now, I know he said to keep it TOP SECRET, but nobody reads this blog anyway, and you guys who do won't tell anyone, will you? I didn't think so. This goes for you too, Chinese internet troller who likes to post links to HOT ASIAN PORN! in the comments of my blog posts. Keep it on the down-low.

And finally, now that I'm filthy rich, Obama should definitely not be in the White House. Suck it all you poor people!

January 30 at 2:43pm
Hello Peter Terry,

I am sorry to contact you unannounced through this medium. I am Mr. Benjamin T. Dabrah, a banker here in Ghana . I write you this proposal in good faith hoping that I will rely on you . In 2006, one Mr. Daniel Terry who has same surname as yours and who has your country in his file as his place of origin, made a fixed deposit for 36 calendar months, valued at $18,400,000.00 with my bank. I was his account officer before I rose to the position of Manager Director now. The maturity date for this deposit contract was 16th of January 2009. Unfortunately, while on a business trip ,he died in a deadly earthquake that occurred on May 12, 2008 in Sichuan province of China which killed at least 68,000 people.

Since the last quarter of 2009 until today,the management of Barclay's bank have been finding a means to reach him so as ascertain if he will want to roll over the Deposit or have the contract sum withdraw .Since September 2009,when I discovered that this will happen , I learn t of his death ,so I have tried to think up a procedure to preserve this fund and use the proceed for charity .

Some directors here been trying to find out from me the information about this account and the owner, but I have kept it closed because, I know that if they become aware that Mr Daniel is now late, they will corner the funds for themselves. Therefore, I am seeking your co-operation to present you as the one to benefit from his fund at his death since you have the same name, so that my bank head quarters will pay the funds to you. I have done enough inside bank arrangement and only have to put in your details into the information network in the bank computers and reflect you as his next of kin.

I am not a greedy person, so I am suggesting we share the funds equal, 50/50% to both parties My share will assist me to start a charity organization to help the poor and also own a company which has been my dream.

Let me know your mind on this and please do treat this information as TOP SECRET. We shall go over the details once I receive your urgent response strictly through my personal email address, benjamindabrah@gmail.com Have a nice day,and may GOD bless you.

Anticipating your communication.

Mr. Benjamin Dabrah

30 March 2010

If I Could Travel Through Time...

I'd probably go see this.

Okay, it's nerd-gasmic. But probably only to me. It's also a little gay. And you wonder why I'm bitter I didn't get to attend the Torchwood/Doctor Who panels at Comic Con. Sigh.

29 March 2010

Something Horrific This Way Comes...

And all for the low, low price of Indie.

Salt Lake City will soon be hopping up on zombies, blood, and all sorts of torture-porn. That's right, move over Sundance with all your arty films in which death must be meaningful and poignant. No, we're talking about a new festival for the independent filmmaker that (theoretically) is debuting this October:

The Salty Film Horror Festival

Now technically this festival is open to horror and sci-fi submissions, and from the sound of it, favoring the independent artist (read: staggering differences in quality of submissions). But then, that's what makes it fun, isn't it? I love Sundance but it gets extremely pretentious, and listening to d-bags in enormous fur coats argue over whether the movie made sense or not and let's go because there's just enough time to down a $200 bottle of wine before we have dinner reservations followed by some celebrity-studded party...

Well its time to get back to basics. And you can't get more basic than horror films. I've discoursed on horror films before, because they hold a special place in my heart. And truthfully, a grassroots (a term I loathe by the way, as its thrown around like so much germinating seed that I'm surprised every artistic industry isn't buried in a tangle of un-mown lawn) horror film festival in the land of the Mo's seems like a fantastic idea. There is no doubt that you'll see some of the worst cinematic attempts, and one can hope, a gem or two. Regardless, it is exciting to see some more cultural opportunities arise in our conservative state. It's a cause for celebration, for me at least, and will definitely be an enjoyable experience for anyone who likes independent films and people getting mutilated.

One of the exciting features is that they'll have many categories of entry, but tentatively two different 72-hour filmmaking contests within the festival, in which you'll get three days to create a horror film to be shown. At present they are scheduled early April and in August of this year. If you're at all interested it promises to be a fun opportunity and fairly inexpensive opportunity.

I know this will be of interest to a few of you that read this blog, and I encourage everyone to consider either a) submitting -you have several months and can submit all the way up until mid-September, for a rather nominal fee; or b) putting it on their calendar to attend and support, lest the festival die in its first year attempt. Check out their site and enjoy.

On a couple of horrifying side notes...

1. If you were hoping for a chance to run for the title of Miss Salty Horror ("the face of the Salty Horror Film Festival"), the ship has sailed. But maybe next year.

2. In another epic horror event, I attended the 70's Japanese fantasy-horror film House at the Tower theater this weekend. In an incredible display of blue-screening, soft focus, green-eyed cats and flowing scarves, this movie was an incredible and amusing experience. It runs until Thursday, so you have very little time to see it, but I highly recommend a viewing. My compadre Brady indicated that this was the first screening of the film since it's initial release, and I'm proud to have been privy to it.

So naturally I was bothered by some woman (one of the six of us in the screening) who complained rather loudly how little sense the film made. It still irritates me now, because whatever else you may say about death-by-mattress and travel-via-refrigerator, the movie was hardly incoherent. In fact it made plenty of sense with its visual if weak story line of girls vacationing at their spooky Aunt's home. Some people just have no taste. And if her palette found this incomprehensible, I can only imagine what other, more avant garde films might do to her digestion.

Here's a teaser in case you're hoping for a fear too beautiful to resist...

28 March 2010

Silence for my Headspace

Is it possible to live tending to only the things you enjoy without the constructs other people placed upon you? On one hand, the automatic answer is an emphatic "no." No matter what you choose to pursue in your life there are always other people to keep happy, deals to make and compromises to strike. You take the good with the bad, and hope the good ultimately outweighs the other.

But another part of me whispers that's not true, not really. This idea is propagated because everyone else has been subjugated to this mentality, and if you look away from it, you're ridiculed as foolish and a n'ere-do-well spending their time unwisely. It is plausible to think outside the box and do whatever the hell you want, whatever makes you happy.

I feel this may be true too. Don't we limit ourselves? Isn't our potential usually capped by our own mental frailties? But what is most frightening to me is what that course of action embraces as a philosophy. If I turn my back on the system that we deem necessary, that means I feel it is beyond hope, even as a framework to build within. And if that's true, then all the individuals tied to it are simply extensions of that ideological prison. And hence, my motives become purely selfish, uninterested in providing something meaningful to anyone except myself. And that provides all sorts of conundrums, theoretically speaking. From the introduction of my actions being in a vacuum to existential questions like defining oneself without external parameters to measure by.

It's a mess. The plain fact is that I'm exhausted listening to others tell me how my life ought to be unfolding; family, teachers, friends, mentors, bosses, corporations, and media... all of it letting me know whether I'm wasting my time and on track for failure. Basically that's the crux of it, this Sunday afternoon. How are you?

25 March 2010

Chainsaw Warrior Victorious

As promised, here's a picture we took of Julie's triumphant hour.

This end-game photo shows exactly how it went down, too. Exactly. Note the rest of us cowering and perishing to her evil 4,5, or 6 whims.

19 March 2010

Today's Special

A few thoughts for the day.

1. It is surprisingly easy to hit enter and publish a blog post with absolutely nothing in it. If anyone would take me seriously, I'd call it art and have them hang it in the MOMA.

2. One of the fun things about alcohol is that it can be an experience. Not, just the inebriation part, but the entire culture and mythos that surrounds it. My fellow bartenders at work generally agree with me that making alcoholic drinks is far more fun than their virgin brethren, although this is perhaps true of of people too. Ha, just kidding. I love learning about wine because there is so much to look for. I enjoy trying vintage cocktails to see what people in ye olde days enjoyed, when a drink took skill and was really a drink (the clubs here could learn a thing or too; something besides a long island would be nice), Satan's Whiskers for example. I guarantee you'll get blank stares if you ask for this one, and yet it is a gem. Anyway, there's something about the associated history that makes it an enjoyable subject.

3. I have been pouring over selections for a board game group. One that consists of Capree and I so far. Now taking reservations. Oh, and I've been planning and drafting (I'm a dork) a card holder tower for Talisman. Because frankly, with all the cards now sleeved, they are three times the height, and slide if you look at them wrong. Sigh.

4. I think I'm at my best when I don't have to deal with other people.

And there are my thoughts for this Friday afternoon. Aside from, do you remember Today's Special?

Or Zoobilee Zoo, for that matter? Kinda terrifying to think back upon what made up my childhood.

16 March 2010

On Occasion

Sometimes, just sometimes, I get tired. And bored. And quiet.

And resentful.

And I just want to be left alone in my own personal world. Sometimes.

Those are times to have a stiff drink. Maybe one on fire.

12 March 2010

Popular Culture Growths

Do you love popular culture? Do you want to find out about the exciting happenings, projects, collaborations, retrospectives and coming attractions in comics, film, television, books, video games and entertainment retail? Would you like to meet all your favorite celebrities, authors, artists, and so on?

Then attend Comic Con 2010 this coming July!

Except you can't. Because it's sold out.

I first attended Comic Con four years ago, basically on a whim. We literally decided a couple weeks before hand we were going to go, and threw together the trip. Fortunately, we were able to buy our tickets at the door and thoroughly enjoyed running around the showroom floor, attending panels and geeking out. The presentations at the Con have the capacity to be truly impressive. Guests and panels can be fascinating insights into things upcoming or into territory you already love. Naturally they have the potential to be terrible as well, despite good billing, but that became less of a problem in later years where, in order to get into a panel you needed to attend the two panels prior to it in order to obtain a seat. They stopped clearing rooms out after a presentation, and then admitted as many new people to the room as empty seats based upon who left. What this meant was that instead of determining which conflicting panel you wanted to see more, you had to determine if you were also willing to block out three hours to get into it. The nice part was that you'd see panels you'd never have chosen to attend and might end up with some true gems, even if the one you were actually waiting for was a dud.

I do have to add that we got into one or two panels thanks to Will, who will be going to hell, for lying us in with some story about having to leave the discussion early so we could take somebody to the medic area. It worked though and we enjoyed a really crowded Marvel presentation followed by the even more insane Sarah Silverman and friends. Totally worth it.

Each year the Con has gotten more ridiculous. The next year we attended, you had to buy your tickets online, and they filled mostly to capacity. Oh, and forget about getting a hotel near the convention center. That fills up ages beforehand. The third year we went, it sold out a couple months in advance. We skipped a year since I was frolicking in Japan, and in rolls 2010: Will and I think, hey, maybe we'll go again this year and take Chase. He's old enough now that the worries of him getting lost are lessened, and at an age to enjoy it.

Except that the passes sold out in November.

November! In a way, it's easier to accept that they're already sold out. The crowds can be and are overwhelming, a great deal of time is spent in lines, or searching for food that isn't overpriced or miles from the building, it grows more and more mainstream commercial each time, and frankly, there are some weird people (I guess we count in that...). Last year's attendance was somewhere around 140,000. I do enjoy Comic Con, a lot, but frankly that's just too many nerd in one place.

I need to find something more exclusive and elitist.

One Note Soliloquy

Okay, I'm just gonna come out and say it:

I want to start a board game group. Or club. Or coterie.

Although it can certainly involve card games too. Though not poker. I'm just not a poker player. We played a H.P. Lovecraft inspired board game, Arkham Horror the other night, (much to the chagrin of Brady, who gave up half way through and left us to die to the dark forces of Yig, though I'm not bitter) (although, I should mention that we did eventually defeat Yig. Go us.) I learned two things from this experience.

1) I really do just like games. Even though I force everyone to play Talisman on a semi-regular basis, it is by no means the end-all-be-all. I am open to playing all manner of board games and would like to play them more often. In fact I'd like other people to suggest, bring and teach us new games.

2) Arkham Horror, and others no doubt, require upkeep. Despite being ridiculously overcomplicated (monsters, horrific dimensions and bank loans, oh my!) it was actually quite fun. But now that we've taken the 2 hours or so to obtain a rough working knowledge of the game's rules, we need to play it again lest it all drains out of our pea-brains.

Oh the Horror! Do you see the number of pieces to this game?!?

Hence, I am led to the this conclusion: Monthly, or bi-monthly, if I could get my way, a select group (read: pretty much anyone who is willing, which seems to fluctuate) will gather to play a game. Likely this would be a Sunday, since that seems easiest for most people. The game could be selected by one member of the Coterie, and really doesn't have a limit, although time constructs ought to be discussed. Bring anything from Apples to Apples to Descent Into Darkness. We'll try it all!

Sound fun? Sound intriguing? Wish you were a part of this still-to-be-officially-named gaming group? Well, all you need is a bit of patience, an enjoyment of social board games, a penchant for trying new things, and a willingness to die for your country. Actually, that last part probably isn't necessary unless you're joining the Marines. On a random note, the Marines did petition me recently, via postcard. "Congrats, you're graduating! Now do some real learning and joing the military!" Um, no thanks. Especially not after I've graduated and you're not going to pay for my schooling.

Right, so... let me know if you're interested. Honestly, I don't know if there are enough people who read this/would be intrigued enough to consider making game night a regular thing. But if so, speak up. If nothing else, there's always a lot of terrible-for-you snack foods to enjoy and plenty of inebriation, which seems to work out as an advantage for the non-drinkers.

Our Board Game Group

Or at least what I picture our group looking like. Maybe with more men. And fewer bikinis. And cowboy hats. Although if you wanna wear your cowboy hat, feel free. I don't judge. Much. Of course, if I mandate that we all dress up like our Talisman characters, who knows, we really could come out looking like these tramps. And doesn't that look fun?

07 March 2010

Addendum to an Obsession

I had to tack on a couple of projects that I ran across in my continued search for ways to get more from Talisman. These images are yet another testament that I am not that hardcore about this game. At least not while there's people out there who create 3D game boards of it. At least not yet. I will be out of school and aimless in a couple of months... who knows, I just might end up creating something like one of these:

Oh, and this will undoubtedly not be the last thing I post about Talisman. And I'm sorry for that, for your sake. But images like the Chainsaw Warrior winning are still forthcoming.

06 March 2010

A Question, Doctor

Well folks, the rumor mill is a-churning. This time it's about an interview in which Warner Bros. has reportedly asked Christopher Nolan, director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (amongst other great films) to oversee and mentor the re-launch of Superman. Apparently Superman Returns wasn't doing it for them, and since the hastening of Marvel comic-book to film characters brought about by Disney's acquisition of the brand, WB is feeling the pressure to have some successful competition in the Superhero vein. Coupled with the suggestion that WB also stand to lose the rights to Superman within a few years, there actually might be something to this rumor. However, this is not all that is being thrown around. There is rumor Nolan will have something to do with Wonder Woman, and more importantly, it has been slipped twice now that Goyer and Nolan are working on a script for a third Batman film. An official announcement is expected shortly.

I respect Christopher Nolan as a storyteller; he's done something with the Batman franchise I had thought never to see: legitimize it. No more Schwarzenegger ice puns, or one dimensional Tommy Lee Jones. For a lover of all things Bat, this has been truly phenomenal. I could only hope for at least one more (and perhaps that at the most; a trilogy rounds things out nicely, succinctly finished before it can collapse into a camp fest a la Forever and Returns), though Nolan seemed initially hesitant about returning despite Dark Knight's ending. I seriously hope that the director will be getting back in the driver's seat one last time and complete the fantastic tale he's been spinning. As for Wonder Woman or Superman, I highly doubt Nolan will be too actively involved. Consider the reality he's grounded the Batman mythos in. It is a dark and gritty world that might be highly imaginative, but constantly mulls over the accomplishments and tribulations of men as men. He might dole out advice on Superman, but amazonian women with magic lassos and greatly overpowered aliens with a weakness to rocks doesn't sound like his cup of tea.

In any event, there is no official confirmation of any of these things, yet that doesn't stop people feeding off the information and creating all manner of entertaining gossip. For example, did you know that while there isn't a script or official confirmation on a film at all, Johnny Depp has definitely been cast as the Riddler?

May I take a moment to say I am so over Johnny Depp and his fan club. Lord, I'm tired of people thinking he's the perfect end-all solution to any character with odd personality traits. At the midnight showing of Alice in Wonderland the other night, I couldn't believe how many people showed up in white face (which doesn't accurately reflect the look of the film's Mad Hatter at all, by the way) and let out many a cheer anytime he did anything on camera. You can just imagine how the audience went up at his stupid dance in the end of that film. What's that? You have a part for somebody slightly offbeat and possibly culturally iconic? Johnny Depp could do it! Johnny Depp can do anything!!

I, for one, would not be excited to see Johnny Depp play the Riddler. Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin is more wishful thinking, but one I could probably get behind, as I respect the actor. I should note that several people have commented that they can't imagine how the Penguin would fit into this world Nolan has built. Rest assured, most of them only draw upon the Danny Devito... experience. Sourced from the current comic trend, Penguin is much less a bird-loving freak and now a posh nightclub owner who moves and shakes the underworld of Gotham, supplying information (and much more) while keeping his own hands clean. Easily inducted.

No, we don't have any idea who the characters would be in this potential film, but I found these and had to post these as it seems the Riddler is a favorite. Never mind that they eschew the Dark Knight style and tone for something notably more Schumacher-esque, I'll still give whoever made these cheesy posters props for their casting selections. Enjoy, and salivate over the possibility of more Batman.

Neil Patrick Harris would make for quite a villain. I mean it's not like he doesn't have experience. But the next is my favorite. I couldn't resist him as the Doctor, and could anyone better play Edward Nigma? No. The answer is no. Although I should hope the costume designer wouldn't put him in THAT outfit.

02 March 2010

Reasons I'm Not an Astronaut

Today's thoughts:

I was considering random fears this morning, for no apparent reason. Most fears are born out of something. Perhaps they're constructed ideas from media, or maybe past childhood traumas, but regardless, our psyche glances at our world around us and creates personal scenarios that become frightening to us.

And sometimes that process creates completely irrational things to be afraid of. I suspect we all have a few ridiculous fears. I'm not talking the slightly legitimate things like a fear of spiders, which theoretically could really bite you and cause some trauma. Or snakes. I've both been bitten by spiders and on occasion encountered snakes, so I don't consider those completely irrational. No, I'm talking about things which are either impossible, or extremely unlikely.

Here are a few I've developed over the years.

1. Floating into space.

The idea of being in space, floating away from the ship, let's say to do routine maintenance on a solar panel, and having my tether be cut... makes my chest constrict just thinking about it. I mean, let's be honest, how likely is it that I'll ever be in space and have my tether cut? But the very thought of floating helplessly away, knowing I'll run out of oxygen or freeze to death eventually, but being so helpless is kinda horrifying to me. On the other hand, you would have quite a view before you eventually died. I suppose there are worse ways to go.

2. Being crushed in a submarine.

If the fear of floating away into complete openness is freaky, then so is the opposite: being immersed in crushing blue-black water at the bottom of the ocean is another fear that plagues me. Which is unfortunate, given my interest in shipwrecks. There's something about the color of the water at that depth, where even light can't filter through, and you know you're surrounded on all sides by so much pressure you'd be dead in an instant if anything goes wrong... yeah, that's just no good.

3. Driving beneath a collapsing overpass.

This one is a possibility, but the chances of me finding myself under an overpass at the moment an earthquake hits or shoddy workmanship gives way to a collapse, is extraordinarily minute. And yet, I can't help but think about it every time I drive under one, and for a moment, hold my breath, just in case tons upon tons of cement are about to rain down on my head.

Don't look at me like I'm crazy. Like you don't have your own ridiculous fears. And frankly, I encourage you to expound on yours, now that you know mine.

18 February 2010

Resolutions Worth Resolving

If you follow my facebook, which I doubt any of you do, I proposed something slightly more manageable this year in terms of personal betterment: to play more games.

Specifically I said video games, but as this year (nearly 1/6 over already) has progressed I started to see another passion, equally worthy of my time. When I made the statement, I was pretty heavily playing Dragon Age. Addicted, you might say, like Elven crack... which may or may not be your thing. Apparently it is mine, however, since despite my best efforts with the dorky-but-attractive (as attractive as digital characters can be) warrior Alistair,

the only man-on-man action my Mage can muster is with Zevran, Elven assassin extrodinaire.

In fact Zevran was so ready to sleep with me, my propositioning him before introductions had even cooled, met with complete success. And earned me a game trophy for being an Easy Lover. Seriously.

Anyway, I wanted to play more which was the point. And since there's more coming which will surely demand my attention, namely Final Fantasy XIII, I think it's safe to say I'll have plenty to play in the upcoming months. If I have any time to play anything, that is.

So video games aside, I have been enjoying a new phenomenon lately: the joys of social-dorkdom in the form of Talisman, a fantasy adventure board game. Actually this is an old guilty pleasure, one I first played at a friend's house with all his brothers at age 9 or so. Being an avid reader, particularly of fantasy, I was completely captivated by the character building and questing of this game. I even went home an tried to create my own game of a similar variety (read: pretty much copied it in a very poorly drawn and cheap way on yellowing computer paper).

I've always loved board games. They can be great entertainment and a fun mental exercise every once in a while, although my family flatly refuses to play Monopoly with me anymore after I continually kicked all their Get-outta-jail-free trash. They're just bitter. When we were young, Amy and I searched for 13 Dead End Drive when we acquired some Christmas gift money, an odd game where you moved other players into physical death traps, like a chandelier that collapses on their piece. It was sort of morbid but we loved it.

Much later I was introduced by my friend Jennie to the thrills of Settlers of Catan in Colorado, a game that saw me through many of my mission office evenings and P-days, and continues to be a fun, and often stressful experience. I don't mind war games, Game of Thrones being my favorite, as it takes the fun of Risk and makes it manageable. Because honestly, who needs a two hour turn? By then everyone else has checked ou of the game.

The point is, I love games. And that first experience with Talisman was no exception. When I was old enough to be making my own money, I searched desperately for a copy, the game now on it's 3rd edition was practically out of print. I even managed to find one remnant, priced completely out of my range. I gave up and let Talisman go to rest, figuring I'd never play it again.

To make a long and boring story short, the game was re-released, in a random but exciting event, changing hands from its parent company a couple times before landing with Fantasy Flight Games, who've done an excellent job. Not only does the game look great, but they continue to support it with expansions. And best of all, I have people who will play it with me! (Some begrudgingly, I suspect, but play it all the same; for which I am grateful)

Game nights happen fairly frequently these days, and it is always a good time; I love what the different personalities bring to the table (believe me, it makes all the difference), coupled with snacks, a ridiculous soundtrack (don't make fun, you know you want to play board games to Gregorian Monks chanting "Losing My Religion"), and plenty of unhealthy food and alcoholic bevs. Talisman is suited to this social engagement as there is some strategy needed, but so much depends on chance and other players. If my love of promoting this game weren't enough, consider then that I, too, remade the Timescape Expansion for this game. It was a bizarre expansion released to help promote some of Game Workshop's (then the owners) other games, and took Talisman to a whole new inter-dimensional level. It was also dangerous, and completely fun. For "Super Talisman Bowl Sunday," as Capree called it, I worked to resurrect Timescape, and would say I did so quite successfully. Alas I have no pictures to share, but I'll take some next time.

Finally, since I know this post has been utterly self-indulgent, I will close with two thoughts. 1) All of my Talisman buddies should be excited... There is a new expansion being released this spring: The Highland!! Make yourselves comfortable, cuz we be playing again soon.

And 2) If you're sad about how long it sometimes takes us to play through a game of Talisman with all these expansions, consider these people. They play a game they refer to as "MegaTalisman," using a unique point system for visiting other boards, they use all expansions and a great number of home brew expansions. The game is capped at about 12-15 hours.

See? We're not so bad.