Friday, July 29, 2011

Deep Politics

I am by no means a reviewer, I only tend to have a desire to talk about things I love or Hate. I also tend to view things abstractly, some as a whole other times hacking off something I do not like. I like to leave the Rocky Horror Picture Show early, endings are just too hard. But I will try to talk about Grails Deep Politics record here.

Grails have often been called Post Rock but for my ear their music was something more like Pink Floyd's Ummagumma. For the most part I hear all of the Post genre like this but none so much as Grails. And none of their records have been so progressive as Deep Politics. It its a progressive rock record in my opinion. And as such I love it even more.

Grails have always had a dreamy quality that seemed to fall upon a regional music and take it up. Sometimes Middle Eastern, sometimes Russian. Deep Politics seems to have grasped on the folk music of 1970's England.

Taking the record as a dreamy whole, as with all their works it seems best this way, I am reminded of Echoes but not the one you think. But Camel's song instead. I even hear a little of zebra floating in there.

Slow or fast I have yet to grasp the records soul. It is not as heartbroken as their other works. It almost has a technological hope but not a hope, more a forward walking without fear.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Head Games

I may have talked about gaming conversions in the past but the landscape has changed here in the Bay. Also I have just not felt able to go with a young child so I have been out of it.

There have been a number of small cons and game days that pop up here and there. I really don't know If I have a good handle on all of them. I also am well out of the scifi scene. I believe a Westercon has come and gone in San Jose recently and I know Baycon is still alive. I just looked online and I really can't tell if Silicon is still running. As for the smaller focus cons I have no idea about Anime, furries or cosplay. My first con experience were with Scifi cons and I quickly moved to gaming as that was where my heart was. I was never the a convention dilettante that had a hand in everything.

I can enjoy the broad focus conventions to see a bit of everything but the people that bask in it all are a bit much. I have a feeling that is what they do with all they have. Their house if full of collectibles and costumes and their spouses love it too. Their free time is going to ren faires or SCA practice and watching scifi channel. I am not belittling that its just not my life.I through much more of time time into gaming and as such the conventions just interest me more. Here are some local to the Bay that may interest you as well.

Dundracon is the grandpa of conventions in the Bay Area for good or ill. It is very established and it goes much the same year to year. I feel a little stagnation when going there but the people are not fixing something that works. One aspect that sucks is the time of year this falls on. Valentines day weekend is just a hard time to be away from home and family. The con does a good mix of minis from what I see as a role player. The RPG's are a little too focused on Hero and D&D but you can find what you want.

Kublacon is the big con in our area. you are going to find most anything you can imaging here. They do a great job of making it more than just gaming there is a lot of fun and extras. It seems like it's on the verge of becoming a major con for the west coast but something has been holding them back. If it could just get to three thousand I think it could really draw national support. If you are considering one con for gaming this year, go to this one.

Pacificon is an odd bird. It takes its name from one of the best cons to have even graced the area but it is only a spiritual successor. In truth it grew out of something called conquest. The real Pacificon was awesome, and it was so because of people. Old beardy types build cool one off games that were the highlight of the show. Live WizWar. A chariot game that was twenty feat long. The new pacificon has inherited some of the historical gamers but little of the cool scratch build wonders of the old con. A friend has called it a corpse of a con the last few years.

This leads me to Celesticon, its new and small and I think I may give it a try. At least for a day. I am going to try to keep an open mind and play more than I don't which is unusual for me. I will try to get some pics and thoughts posted after labor day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ladybugs Picnic

I must lament the company picnics they had in my youth. They just don't do them like they used to and its sad. Family isn't invited and that was half the point; to see where the parents were gone to half the day. And to say to the coworkers hey these are the reason I am busting ass and the reason I don't want to work overtime every night.

Seriously I have great memories from my childhood of my Dad's company picnics. I drank my first Coke at one and it was love at first sip. I have been a soda guy since. And all those weird picnic areas in the back end of amusement parks.

Does Great America even have that picnic area anymore? I know Frontier Village closed due to some town house land grab but where would it be without cooperate picnics. Blackberry park in Cupertino doesn't seem much more than a swimming pool these days.

I loved the prizes and drawings too, they made you feel apart of something even though you were just a kid. Even if it was just Pic N Save toys hastily purchased on the way to Ed Levine county park.

Also it was always odd to see how your parents coworkers were with them. They had friends at work, they didn't seem to at home. They had jokes and stories with all these people you didn't know. It was like you saw there second family.

But now too many companies want to keep work and family very separate. I guess its cost but I think It has a higher human cost they are forgetting.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Up Helly Aa

In the US we are cheated, our history deserts us, or we it. We have too few holidays and they are oft catered to kids. Only the 4Th remains with any danger and cowards afraid for their houses have defanged the fun of it.

But all falter to grasp at the wonder or "Up Helly Aa" viking festival of fire. My God if they added metal it would be perfect. Imagine Helloween throwing down some power metal behind the burning of a long ship. I don't even know majesty like that; and I have played a lot of AD&D.

That it's not celebrated in San Jose is the cruelest joke since they closed down Frontier Village.

Perhaps it is too great to just let go. Join with me friends. Buy axes at your next Renaissance fair and low helmet horned or not. Historical Accuracy be damned. Build and burn a little ship in your bathtub. And Up Helly Aa!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

They call me the working man

Coming into a new Job setting and hitting the ground running is a hell of a thing. Adding that with working remotely and I think I am giving myself an ulcer.

When I come into a new environment I like to get the lay of the land and come up to speed with documentation or at the very least chatting with people. Getting throw into the fray makes me nervous.

Reporting status has always been failing point for me. And Its the constant source of my fear. I want these folks get their time and moneys worth from me. I am desperate to deliver really, but my learning a site doesn't equate directly to bugs. well not in the short term.

Still its an opportunity I have wanted for a long time,or at least a portion. Coming in at the ground floor and starting the ground work of test cases. I wish I would be involved in building out the team, but that is not my lot.

I am thinking a daily status of what i have testing may help everyone. If I could tell them yes I am working and here is what I have looked at, maybe I won't feel so panicked. If I was on site testing at least they would know hey this guy is here working, not conning us.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sad Wings of Destiny

Its odd to find the road ahead of me speeding as it is. Odder still that I seem to be keeping up. I never expected myself the sort of person to rise to an occasion, I have seen so many that I feel to the shadows and watched from a seat. But its coming easier as it gets quicker, Perhaps I could have made something of myself. But I'm old and no Icarus, my destiny is on sad wings. At least they hold me up on the moments I presume to fly.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cuz theyre more than meets the eye

Back when I was a kid I loved the Robotech TV series and I loved AD&D. You can imagine my shock to visit my cousins and be invited to play a role playing game based on the series that I loved. I saved up my allowance from that moment on to get the money to buy the book. My dad even bought me dice to play which i have kept precious to this day.

Back then my cousins and I went crazy for Palladium books. We had so many of their titles and they were all super easy to start playing, as they all use the same underlying system. So if you knew Robotch you knew TMNT, fantasy and Heroes Unlimited. Also the system just hit well for us in our youth. Its a very simple system to learn, I have long though Palladium was the best system to introduce new role players too. But also its very appealing to the mondo nature of younger players.

Getting older I have to say Palladiums appeal waned a bit. Other games showed up that seemed to offer a more adult setting and there was that feeling that Palladium was sort for kids. I am guilty of dismissing them off hand. As friends told their gaming stories some mentioned Rifts and they often seemed goofy and Monty haul over powered. With new games and systems I really didn't think much of Palladium.

My own role playing project finally brought me back to Palladium, well some nostalgia too. I am very interested in Scifi that focuses on living technology. Living machines and the use of symbiots as technology. Finding that in the roleplaying world will take you back to Palladium Books. Sure there are some one off books here and there from other publishers but it's sprinkled everywhere in Rifts. Then there was the near collapse of Palladium and their struggle to stay afloat. In that process they republished new Robotch material. I ordered it and waited excitedly as I had when I was a kid.

In looking at during my wait, I learned they really were not a huge company as I had expected. With Rifts they had seemed big and their CEO had seemed a bit of jerk. But now they seemed just a few people trying to keep a business they loved going after many years in business and some difficult problems. I was down with that, regular people just getting by are my kind of people.

In looking at the books I have bought, I realized they were not what I expected. For all the mondo crunch there is a lot of source material there. They have characters and backgrounds thoroughly fleshed out. Their source books cover worlds of play that are as inventive as many full role playing games. And when you look at their back catalog you realized damn these are some really imaginative people to have all these books.

While I think the system needs another edition to update it to more modern rules, its playable. Especially if you are looking for a light game. I'm not much a fan of survival horror so I am not going to play in any campaigns but a quick game would be fun, Palladium's Dead Reign may be just the thing for me.

shadow self

When I was a kid I was nervous but trying. Trying to get over my crap and just go on with the group. Not get held up on the fence even through i did. Not slow everyone down with drama but it always seemed to be the way it was. I was a joke in the waiting and still am most days. All eating and lust but it wasn't something I wanted even through its something I still am. If only I could rise above absorb the shell blast and throw off the shell of the being for the desire of the becoming. And I was there for a time but now I'm back to my shallow self, hoping for difference in the morning but fighting myself ever the same through the night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Metal

My wife and I went to the Mayhem Music festival to see Megadeth and Testament a couple of weeks ago. Those bands were great but only had a short time on stage. There were many other bands there as well so we got to experience a few groups we would not have gotten the chance to otherwise. And Oh my god did many of them suck. Seriously one was so bad I would have been upset to see them at the Pony Express Pizza Parlor.

I was left sad and dejected, with a feeling that something was very wrong in the land of metal. And so I searched for bands that might restore my faith a little. Happily, there is hope.

Holy Grail sounds a mix of nwobhm and thrash, maybe a little like wrathchild USA or Armored Saint. They make me happy in a way that only Anthrax and Killer Dwarfs have. They are serious but something about the sound coming out of youths is a little odd. But in a delightful sort of way. I bought Crisis in Utopia and I think you should too.

OK Dawnbringer wow, just wow. I think you need to just go buy the nucleus record now, its cool Ill wait. OK, to me it sounds very progressive with a mixing of harder metal. The voice used is clean but different maybe a mix of Lemmy and King Diamond perhaps. Musically its very old school almost has a hint of Rainbow. Very much to my liking.

Ghost I am a little more hesitant about, It sounds like Mercyful Fate come again. Which in and of itself isn't every ones cup of tea. The stage show is also very King Diamond melodramatic. I think its worth a try if that is your thing.

Well I have hope again, Denim and Leather my friends.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Silly Love

Been a little while since
I set this thing running
I wasnt caught up
but now I'm falling and fumbling

You never broke down my door
I guess im just a bore

Call if your feeling funny
I be waiting by the phone
Kept the old line
In case you called any time

Always around the house
wont miss you I wont be out

Dont worry nothings changed
kept it all the same
I wasnt falling just lazy
Didnt feel like I was crazy

for you

Monday, July 18, 2011


The blood soar up screwing through veins with hard tidal rush reigning down panic and sorrow left aside years ago. It wasn't one you forgot but sought aimless through the shallow moments of your life. Dreaming to choke back in the ever falling fretless enchantment it always brought. I was Aloysius though years I had forgot until at last I was not. Not waiting not wanting, not ever needing nor myself or someone else. Then moments atypical seem to seal our fate, again with the Ghrelin lizard wanting Aloysius woke from Sleep.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crescent Star Progressive Rock Score Card 8

Don't break the Oath comes from one of Mercyful fates records.

A short Lived Galaxy is a line from Rush's natural science. This is off the Permanent waves record

Watcher of the Skies is a song from Genesis off Foxtrot

Veteran of the psychic wars
is from Blue Oyster Cult, I know it form the heavy metal sound track but it actually if from Fire of unknown origin

Lessons of course is from Rush off 2112

Good day is from Abdominal i guess flowtation device is the record

To tame a land is from Maidens Piece of mind

Stand up you don't have to be afraid is a line from I love it loud by kiss, from the creatures of the night record.

Games without frontiers is from Peter Gabriels Melt i think

Touch and go is Emerson lake and Powell. For some reason i always through of this when i heard the name industrial music, maybe its just the video.

Skeleton on my shoulder
comes from Coroners Punishment for Decadence.

Mudmen is from Pink Floyds obscured by clouds

Going up the Country is by canned heat not really something i like but whatever.

Sitting in the sand to watch the fireworks display is a line from Rush's lakeside park off Caress of Steel

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sitting in the sand to watch the fireworks display

Well the nook is less than ideal for blogging I found. Getting though my password is impossible without a keyboard to feel the right keys. So no posts

We went to Vancouver WA for the 4Th of July which was great fun. They do not have the draconian fireworks laws that wee have in California. Basically you can have near commercial grade fireworks and everyone does. We were on a little ridge and could hear the fireworks going of constantly around us. Everywhere you looked there were lights in the sky as nearly everyone was doing them. You really don't need to go anywhere or pay to have a great time. But from TNT fireworks we were able to get a decent six shot mortar for four dollars. Were buying eight packs of roman candles for the same price.

We also traveled up to the Indian reservation in Chehalis to buy some of the better stuff. But really that was sort of unneeded. The mortars make bottle rockets unimpressive and firecrackers are sort of dull too. We had a great time though, we even got tired before lighting everything off.