Friday, December 21, 2012

Game Review: Acquire

Well I finally gave Acquire a whirl.  I didn't really like it.  I don't really think I understood it while playing and after some thought I still don't. 

Basically the game is about investing in hotel chains and working at ways for them to merge.  The method of tracking hotel size is a scrabble like board. Connected chits create the hotel size.   But much of the play come from merging hotels in which special rules com into play.

While playing I made the comment that there is no end game.  I am wrong in saying that there is an endgame but it is very similar to the main game.  Basically while playing and buying up the stock for a chain you don't want to be adding to the chain size as it increases the cost.  You may want to increase the size just a bit before merging but most often others will do this for you.  At the end of the game this changes as you are trying to increase the size of the mega hotels you control to get a higher pay out in the end. 

One of my problems with the game is hotels themselves function like closed systems once they reach a size that they can not be over taken.  Basically they are money black holes until the end of the game.  I guess this is meant to simulate fluidity.  I was not a fan of this aspect, I sort of wish I could sell off my shares mid game sort of having a trade and hold aspect to the game.

My second problem with the game is the tiles themselves.  It seems like you don't have a high degree of control of what happens with the board.  We were playing 6 players so it may be stretching the game; but the board would change dramatically between rounds.

Finally the financial theme of the game was lost on me.  The end of the game payout seemed almost random I had split control of one company and second in another.  I was given money for it but I really don't understand.  I know I was not playing well and had little idea what I was doing.  I came out sort of in the middle of the pack moneywise.  I don't think I should have, I should have sucked, why didn't I suck.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sci Fi story part 3

Naeliim's first indication of the settlement were the subtle markings of his people in the corridors and halls.  Well hidden and encoded the spoke volumes to those who knew how to read them.  Here Naeliim grew to better understand his hosts; and began to regret the carter even more.  The "r" was a welcome site but the block "T" for work was not.  The dotted box for brutality and worst of all poverty.  "Whoever said this was the place was a fool..."

The shot whistled past his head and directed his attention back to its source."Hold Friend!" came the greetings.  Naeliim didn't offer a reply to his new "friend", but held still and silent.  This waiting was a custom of the navigators, no gesture to raise alarm and no word until told to speak. " Ah no, this is the one are waiting on I think." came a second voice rigid and almost stiltedly directing the first."He's worn around the edges." "Yes all of them are, but this one is expected; let him in!" directed the second. 

Naeliim heard the tension on the cord release, then the man reveled himself from behind a barricade.  He was really a boy to Naeliim's eyes.  He had the first kiss of a beard about his chin and certainly wasn't full grown.  The traveler eyed the boys slingshot and laughed a bit.  If pushed the weapon would prove little use against determined arm's. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

One Lame thing about Vampire the Eternal Struggle

Ok there are cards like this.  For me half naked dude isn't the most appealing artwork.  But the real problem is that little 3 above the text section of the card.  I guess that is supposed to mean card group.  The card group being some sort of artificial method of White Wolf getting players to purchase more cards.  I guess you can only use cards of two consecutive numbers in your crypt.

This is lame and obvious not something that should really be taken into account if you are playing the game now.  They are not making new cards to buy more of and buying stuff from only a couple of  sets limits a game that already only has a fixed set of cards.  Limiting the combinations really makes a past end of life game, less exciting than it already is.

The other point I don't like about the is you have the vampires showing up once and then again several sets later.  That really doesn't seem to work well if you are trying to do one of the smaller groups of vampires.  Say like the Samedi who have several sets between them.  Are you really going to not use cards if you are trying to play a particular clan.  Even when the game was going strong that sounds stupid.  I have seen cards as high as 5 there could be higher sort of an annoying little aspect of the game I have decided to ignore.  Especially considering how hard it is to get a hold of this stuff for a cheap price.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Movie Review: The hobbit an unexpected journey

So being a nerd I saw the midnight screening of The Hobbit last night.  I wanted to give a review since it was nice and early.  I loved the movie!  I thought it was great and a real tribute to the fans.  Two thumbs up for me. 

I have heard it has not got the best reviews from folks though.  Tim Seca on Screen Scene was not very kind to the picture for example. I don't want to sound like a fan boy or an apologist but I don't get it.  The action is what we have come to expect from the Lord of the Rings series.  The story is a bit lighter in tone, but this seems right as The Hobbit was a kids book and LOTR an adult series or novels.  Yes the movie has been stretched but this in general has been to include some sections of LOTR that clarified what was happening in the hobbit.  The idea that Gandalf is motivated to remove the threat of Smaug aligning with Sauron in the future make his actions more understandable.

Some of the things I really enjoyed were the references to the book material and even outside material.  The wizards are mentioned in passing as Ishtari and you hear a reference to spawn of ungoliant.  It felt like there were really nods to the Silmarillion.  Oddly enough there were actually a couple of nods to War Hammer as well.  One of the Dwarves in a battle flash back sports a Mohawk which can only be a reference to the Dwarves of Games Workshop.  Also one of the trolls seems inspired by the troll kingdoms butcher.  Even the dish washing song seems to use the melody of the old Rakin Bass cartoon.  They appear to have gone out of their way make fans happy.

Some of the weird was the stuff with Azog.  This is a spoiler so stop if you care.  Azog is from an appendix of an appendix of the lord of the ring.   He was killed by Dain in the book.  He has been reworked to be hunting the Dwarves.  It sort of works to give a dramatic arch and provides some logic to the events of the story. I don't know if I am fond of this change it works and doesn't.  This leads a bit to what I think is going to be most peoples problem with the movie.  In the lord of the rings things are happening and the characters more or less decide to get involved.  There is a pretty logical flow for everything.  The company could have been on their way to Gondor from Rohan.  They really didn't have to say for that fight but in doing so they assured their support in the war.  Here events often happen, this is the nature of The Hobbit being a kids book.  There is a suspension of belief that is granted in the story.  I don't know if the movie benefits from this, I would have worked to explain things more.   The goblins in the mountains could have been said to specifically been trying to trap the Dwarves because of Azogs price.  Also the mountain giants bit didn't work for me.

What do you get in the movie?  Well it starts just before the Lord of the Rings actually.  Most is taken to be a retelling of the events.  It starts where the book starts and goes until the eagles have saved the company.  This sort of worked for me.  It's not the dramatic ending of The Fellowship but it gives a since of much more to go and relative completion of what has happened.  Alas I screwed up my tickets and saw it in 25 frames per sec without 3d.  I need to see it in 48 frames.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Toy Review: Playmobil Advent Calendar

This was not a toy I had but rather a new toy my daughter is receiving for this year.  I say receiving because she is getting a little bit with each day.  This has been a real source of excitement for her.  Every day she asks to open a new box and gets a little more of the play set.  She loves it when its a figure. This is a really great way to get her excited about the holiday and she get something each day, so she isn't going crazy about presents. 

I really wish I had this as a child as its cool.  I would probably have liked vikings or knight but this is great for any kid as its Santa's office at the north pole.  There is hold office shipping room you can set up with a cool cardboard back structure.  She has added a few ornaments to the set and plays with it each morning.  I am really happy to watch her.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sci Fi story part 2

Naeliim had travelled nearly two days in detour of the yawning cargo hold after discovering the stairway had fallen.  It was not constructed stair as is widely know, but a ziggurat of sorts, climbing from the hold to the elevated platform of the crane works several decks higher.  This served as highway for the many wanders and guilds of whom made up Naeliim's clan.  It would be perhaps half a generation to rebuild the mighty thoroughfare.  But Naeliim was not only worried with navigating the many decks to his destination. 

Small kingdoms arrose everywhere in these stern ward expanses of the ship.  The well established were known to the wanderer, but small villages and barony's often came or fell.  These could be blundered upon by the unwary, and would often demand some sort of toll.  The worst of these communities were xenophobic and hostile, fearing disease or under insular control.  Naeliim had crossed several communal living villages that demanded he provide work to earn passage.  He did his best to avoid contact unless the community was one he knew well.

The navigator would reach the encampment some days later to bind himself to a charter of passage.  The village offered life long passage and quartering. For his part Naeliim would guide two journeymen to the high guild for entry in the roosters.  It was a common  charter for the guides though seldom was the journey so far reaching.  Full passage and quarter was a more than fair bargain, only Naeliim's seniority allowed him to secure the charter.  Other wanderers would gladly have accepted.  But as the many troubles mounted Naeliim began to wonder if he was being short changed. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Getting back into Jyhand / Vampire the Eternal Struggle

I have been trying to get back into Jyhad / Vampire the Eternal struggle.  I figured it would work for my gaming group while we do games other than RPG's.  Its a very strong multi player card game and I think will work out well for us. 

There problem is man these cards are hard to get.  I was thinking Ok, the game is discontinued I can get the cards for super cheap and people will practically want me to take them off their hands.  This is not really the case.  It seems there are lots of folks still looking for the cards and they are often selling for near retail value online.  This has been a bit of a shock for me.  I certainly am not going to invest huge sums of money in this project and I figure you may feel the same way.  So I am going to try to help you do things econo.

There are some things to know when you start out.  First off Vampire the Eternal Struggle and Jyhad are the same game.  They have just been rebranded which means the card backs look different.  At first I was upset by this, thinking I would only want Vampire VTES cards.  Your best deals are going to be on Jyhad cards so turning your nose up at cards is not the thing to do if you are on a budget.  You can always get backed sleeves and everything is fine.  One thing to note is the cards often have a different look in VTES as their were many updates.  You will notice many early Vtes cards look like the Jyhad versions and the later ones look very different.  They play the same.

Keeping all that in mind the first place I think you should look is ebay.  There are many auctions often for starters priced more than their retail price.  I am going to urge you to look at pkp310 who sells his own pre constructed beginners decks.  He will sent you a deck for each of the basic clans all are ready to play.  This gives you a nice leg up as the decks can get you started right away.  They play in the general them of each of the clans so will give you an idea of what you like.

Next I would say you have two options.  You can pick a clan you like and ebay a few starter decks and look for constructed starters online.  The other option is to start hunting through your local game, comic and video game shops.  For eBay you are going to find there are usually a couple of constructed decks for every clan.  There was a release of the clan decks around third edition.  You can also go with the Antribu versions of your caln as well. The vampires included will be sabbat but the disciplines will be mostly the same.  So they will function similar with a few flavor differences for Sabbat vs Camarilla.

If you are picking through you local game and comic books shops, good luck.  I have been able to score one great deal and nothing else.  It was a box of bloodlines for 9 dollars.   Other than that the shops have been barren.  I would suggest you call around and may be prepared to travel a bit.  I live in the silicon valley and checked with our three main game stores and have been checking comic book shops when i can find them.  I am also planning to check out a couple of game stops that I remember selling cards but those are far down the list.  I will only hit them when i am in the area.

The last idea is hitting up friends who once played Jyhad or Vtes and the game cons I am thinking that is a bit of a hail mary as the cons will probably have people who value the cards and will try to sell them for their highest value. Still you can do ok on ebay if you looking for straight Jyhad cards so you may need go that direction if you are planning on constructing lots of decks.

If you are planning on going for some of the odd clans you should keep in mind their seem to have been two sets that focus each of the groups.  So you have these odd pairs like Final Nights and Ancient hears both giving focus to Assamites and Followers of Set.  The Sabbat and Black hand sets give support to Antribu versions of the standard clans.  The bloodlines vampires get support in Kindred's most wanted and Heirs to the blood.  Lords of Night gives you more of the Giovanni and Ravnos from Final nights.  Legacy of blood and Ebony kingdom pair to flesh out the Liabon.   Finally there is Blood Shadowed Court which is a reprint product that gives you a bunch of vampires.  As I understand it you only need one starters box to have the full set of 100 reprinted vampires.  If you are new, like me, this sounds good as it gives you a nice boost on your options.

Well that's it for now hopefully playing will go well and hopefully I can track down a couple of deals.  Good luck on your hunting.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Toy Review: Sears Giant Crane

This was a great toy my parent got me at Christmas time.  This is a bit of an updated version of the toy that I had.  My version had a hock not the claw.  Also it had levers to control it not the weird turn knob thing that this version has going on.  You we would assemble the toy just the same.  You were to use a bunch of batteries in the back end of the top of the crane to counter balance which made this move slower than it needed too.  But you also needed it or it could knock itself over when trying to pick up heavier items. I sort of remember a little basket on mine, I don't see that here.  I will have to actually take some pictures of the one at my parents house.   I can tell this "newer" version makes some improvements to the crane drive mechanism that is housed in the tower piece.  A really great toy for play with hot wheels i think it's a good addition to any boys room

Friday, December 07, 2012


bury me until light passes
and I'll be grateful. 
Not to feel any but cold
nothing to warm the morning. 

Moon your hung too low
small on the horizon.
Where are the fallen wings
drowned out to sea.

Gutter my treasured
ancestral things washed away.
leaving a scintillating ache
of grief chemical and sticky

Darken environs close fast
this missing straw token

Toy Review: Generic Action Man

Action Man
This was another of the pic n save purchases we. This figure looks far cooler than the one i had though the equipment was the same.  The figure didn't have the fuzzy hair or articulation and seemed to be knock offs.  They were packaged in square see through boxes with black stoppered ends.  There was no documentation I called the German G.I. Joe for most of my life after finding a couple of other products in the same section that had German writing.   But they appear through research to have been cheap versions of the Action Man line.

The equipment was the same thought, especially on this guy.  Some of my other figures were a bit odd.  The American Vietnam era soldier seems to been a combination of action figure parts.  I see several bits that look familiar from the aussie jungle fighter that were pulled for the American.  My brit WWII radio man seems to have been actually several bits from the French Freedom fighter on a basic crap figure.  I think my marine was the only figure that doesn't seem to be made up of components stolen from the Action Man line.  I have no idea if this was something the actual company did on the cheap in America or full on counterfeits sold through my local close out store. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Sci fi story part 1

There was no grand hall only a simple work room. There were no flowing robed masters welcoming the many apprentices to the full membership of the guild.  This was but a couple of mentors, their handful of students and a smattering of proud relations. The hardships the settlement made these graduation celebrations ever fewer, and today was unusual. As with much taught in the craft school the words were informal but important. "You are now Journeymen, not students but colleagues." Expressed simply, "You are on your own.  Make yourselves useful."

Here the two turned to themselves with poorly contained joy and laughed.  Years of work finished and here marked as journeymen.  It was something none could take away a final seal of purity of knowledge that would serve to mark them as craftsmen in all the far flung settlements.  There was but on last rite, the entry of their names into the roll of the great guild hall. 

A journey across many miles and several decks of vertical space not without difficulty.  Routes were always shifting, some kingdoms were unwelcoming others unsettled. As craftsmen the many faulty systems of the ship would not be a hindrance but still a walker would be needed.  Perhaps sworn swords or other retainers would also be required.  The two would worry about these concerns in some hours. Now was time for congratulations and celebration.  "To Park and Klein!" was the first of many toast proposed.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

De Profundis: A pawn against the board

My Fellow Gentlemen

Mathers again came calling upon me.  This conference an inquiry of the eve detailed in my last missive.  The man hung on fine details of the night that seemed minute and of little import to my memory.  Often requiring I speak again and again the phrases and pronunciation Crowley invoked through the dinners many toasts.  It was all esoteric and banal to an untrained minds such as my own; but to Mathers it was of fixing interest.

This magus as he called himself spoke little of the meanings he took, but did reveal some of Crowleys intention.  The feeling of profane interest welling in Crowley was of a craftsman finding a rare and prized material.  Myself being that material as the chaste seldom are attracted to his theosophy.  Mathers revealed something dark was intend for me though what he was unclear.

It was of further distress that I would play into these schemes, or was Mathers Intention.  I was a pawn to be played and could only hope to drive across the board.  It was unsettling to know nothing of the board nor the moves of the other pieces.  Made all the further unnerving to feeling my player didn't have interests in mind.  A pawn against the board.

Yours Very Truly
J.L. Reichl

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

End damned and next be better

There is something of the grave
all about these nights. 
Something that creeps in with
the long moments of afternoon. 

Its as if it fills the air
where the sun stretches across the land. 
Something rimed in the cold
that drives everything in the direction of despair. 

As if clinging even in joy
is a gnawing nagging worry.
Silver linings palled
By darkening clouds.

that this will be the last 
Or won't capture all it needs

Monday, December 03, 2012

Strange Milestones

Some strange milestones were crossed recently and I am a bit freaked out.  I have been with my wife for twenty years now. Which is more time than with her than I have not, that seems strange.  It doesn't seem that long ago that we were dating and having a carefree life, where has the time gone?  I feel mostly the same.  Sure I am morbidly obese now and am on replacement parts but it just doesn't seem so long ago when everything was very new.  What sparked this was seeing an ornament that was part of our first real date, where we went to a Christmas party.

The other milestone was my tour of my daughters future Kindergarten class and school.  Its a real school not like the daycare pre K school she is at now.  It looks pretty much like my old elementary school, Laneview. It has a multipurpose room with kitchen, its just like I remember.  I guess the action day people purchases a school from the school board or something because its a legit school in a residential area. 

This is unnerving for someone who feels younger than the face in the mirror tells him he is.  I just don't feel like I got this old but I guess I have. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Game Review: Wings of Glory
We tried out Wings of Glory last night.  It was Ok I guess but like any space, flying or driving game I had trouble with the movement.  Anything that where you can't just stand and turn around I suck at. 

All in all the game seemed alright.  I liked the movement mechanic in that there was no magic movement that occurs in table to miniatures.  You use cards and place them on your models base then move your model so that it matches up with the movement card.  It seemed very measured the no one was given a clear upper hand by cheating.  We were using the most basic version of the rules so just getting used to firing arcs and flying.  So far that seemed pretty easy I am glad we didn't dive full into something with ECM yoyos and whatever else star wars offers.  You just gave the enemy one or two damage cards depending on range.  They were shot down if the damage equaled their planes hit points.

In playing it sort of became apparent that the different minis all had different movement cards which sort of allowed one of our players some extra cool tricks.  This is a bit of a problem for me in that the game seems to encourage players to get the planes they like rather than having a point cost per plane.  I think it would have helped if we were all playing on even footing.  In our game the allies were trashed by the Germans, in some part because the German plans had a total of four more hit points.  Seems like there should be some assigned point cost and lower value planes should get a little something extra for fighting higher value planes .

I think the game was good but looks like it could get expensive if you really got into it, also the planes were a little small so I was a bit nervous playing with them but I am big and often break things.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Genie XXL Christmas Tree Stand

This is a bit of a pricy investment but one worth every penny if you hate dealing with old crappy tree stands.  In the past I have had all sorts of tree related problems from falling over to a year we had two trees due to one dying completely.  No More with the Genie XXL.  Set up is a one person job now.  I just stick the tree in and ask if it is straight then a few stops on the lever and it is finished.  Its so easy I love this thing. The water capacity is amazing on this thing too.  You can slosh in gallons of water.  I don't know how to do things where I get money out of products I endorse and usually just bitch about stuff so I get nothing out of this.  I just love the product.  It is the one aspect of Christmas I really dread and now its totally easy.  So here is a link for you to pick up this wonderful product.

Ok being a QA Engineer there is one problem with this thing, It is really hard to fill because of its shape.  you really have to get under the tree and its hard.  But i have a solution for you, the Christmas Tree Funnel.  If you get one of these the problem is solved.  You can just stick it in the base and fill with ease.  You can find them on line, I got mine at the Bataglia tree farm I go to.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Toy Review: Suction cup dart gun

Always a favorite toy was the good olde dart gun.  This was something I had numerous versions of.   The picture was one that had soft rubberized darts.  Mine was red and orange but this was the nearest picture I could find.

This version of the toy was a bit flawed the darts had pretty limited weight being safe and didn't do a good job sticking.  Also you needed to cock the thing, which was not the case with the plastic shafted darts.  With those you could just cram the dart down the barrel and the spring was compressed and ready to go.  But i guess safety is important somehow.

Its a same that these toys have disappeared from the toy store, it seems like a bit of my childhood is gone.  I suppose parents worry about the combative nature of the toys, though Nerf guns are everywhere.  These are often only sold at the grocery story.

To go off on a tangent of missing toys.  What ever happened to models?  They used to be a big part of Toys R Us but now they are gone completely.  Modeling seems like a legit skill people should have, working with their hands and stuff like that.  I think the age range of models may have been swallowed up by video games but crap we need handy people.  Please get your kids some modelling crap, even if its 40K miniatures.  but better still a scale engine.  I can't do that crap and need someone to fix my car sometimes.

Anyway dart guns and toy guns in general were great.  I loved these thing and loved shooting the windows of my parents cars so they would stick.  A real shame has occurred.  Where are all the toy six shooters and kids pretending to be cowboys?  I Bon Jovi the only cowboy left riding on a steel horse with his six string by his side?

Toy Review: Shogun Warrior
These giant toys from Japan by way of Mattel were an odd combination of awesome and lame, but I think awesome wins out in the end.  They were huge which made them great but also hard to play with.  There were five inch metal toys in the the line which you could run around with but it was hard to do much with these giant plastic monstrosities.  Also you were going to be hard pressed to find other toys in the same scale to have the battle with.  You were pretty dependent on having a friend with one or two of them.  I had this guy Draguun and Mazinga.

These were 70's era toys that actually launched things coming out before the kid choked to death.  Draguun hurled freaking axes and had a throwing star launcher that you could wear yourself, which what even more bad ass.  Mazinga launched missile fingers like bullets. This made up for the lack of real articulation as these guys only moved their arms and turned their heads.

They are outrageously expensive now so collecting is only for the well to do.  There is a new stormtrooper that is pretty awesome too.  I think it was on think geek for awhile you may have to hunt it down a bit.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Krampus for Christmas part 125: clean up part 6

The morning before Christmas eve Krampus worked without reprieve.  He shoved up dog crap with a Christmas filled Delight.  He would toss them down Chimneys later on that night.  A special present for those who made Santa mad, filled with extra tidings joyous and glad.  Hurry filled the cool air of a day filled with Christmas toil.  Krampus had much to do and still needed to boil the oil.  Knives must be sharpened and claws must be dirty.  The elves would be here sharply at six thirty.  Idunn peaked over the fence while he was entrenched in his tasks.  The monster was busy draining pus into flasks.  Idunn asked but Krampus said she didn't want to know, but said it added a contagious element to the show.  He told her of all his work and said this time she couldn’t help, after all she was a girl not an elf.   She wished Krampus a happy Christmas then went back in where it was warm.  The girl’s parents  still knew nothing of the beast or his horns.

Krampus chewed on a bone then gave it to the dog.  He stretched and limbered, warming up for the kids he would flog.  He did some deep bends then touched his toes; Christmas wasn't a time for cramps when you rained down blows.   It wasn't quit dark when the fat man sleighed through the yard, Ho ho'ing to Krampus the fat tub of lard.  Krampus was a monster and monsters don't use sleighs, instead he drove a motorbike with a side car to make is way.  Santa thought it slow but seeing only bad kids there were fewer stops; not counting the years the economy drops.

With Santa so busy, Krampus worked with an elf on Christmas Eve. This elf wasn't Hermie though he was interested in teeth.  He hoped to pull them from kids and make a wreath.  He never though himself Krampus he wouldn't dare, he just hoped to be a fitting heir.  They called him Piet in his wintry home, few wanted to meet him when alone.  On Christmas he radioed Krampus if there was a change of plans.  They had their own frequency not using citizen bands.  If a house turned bad, or rarely good, Krampus radioed back that he heard and understood

The night of Christmas went off without a hitch.  Krampus took pity on a couple of tots and left them crying in a ditch.  Except for that small glimmer of remorse the monster was the fury of the north.  The beast kicked in doors and stormed off with children.  There was no city that kids were safe in.  Santa commended Krampus at the end of the night.  This year he really had sewn some fright.  With the work finished Krampus finally headed home, a solitary monster now not so happy to be alone.  He would be happy to again see Idunn, but not now or morning he'd sleep until noon. She would have presents and parents make such a fuss, maybe he could see her late after dusk.  

With a buzz the radio told him of a change of plans, another for the naughty list, more work at hand.  He was tired and groaned at the call. The elves assured it was near his home and the child small.  Krampus already full rocked his stomach to make some room. He was glad the night would be over soon.  When he arrived at the address something stuck in his throat. This was Idunn's house he checked and rechecked the note.  Did he write the numbers bad, this can't be right he was mad!  Then the monster thought of her little hand turning the rack and worried crept up his back. Was he to blame for her downward turn, the notion hurt like a burn.   This wasn't right Krampus cried, searching the sky for a sleigh that flied.  You don't make a friend and then chew her up; Krampus tears could have filled a cup.  He roared and moaned but also thought, and a glimmer of an idea must have been caught. Krampus wasn't crafty but simple and direct, and this plan was something he needed to be correct.  No kicking in the door no menacing roar; this had to be sly as the fat man breaking into your house, cold as a cat playing with a mouse.

There was evidence that he need gone, there had to be no trace at the end of this con.  He didn't know what the neighbor had seen but the monster needed to get away clean. Maybe a fire the big beast thought, He could say he wanted the girl flame broiled if he was caught.  Krampus could burn out the neighbor and say wrong address, and then maybe Idunn would be out of this mess.  He wouldn't eat her, this much he knew, but still he worried what would he do?

Krampus smashed a bottle of beer and tried to set it alight, being a monster he wasn't aware it needed more alcohol to ignite.  With work he set the fence on fire roasting nuts on the open flame.  Soon the neighbor’s house spared up blazing much the same.  The beast Laughed loud shouting for all to hear, but secretly hurrying the dog to safety, have no fear.  His cries awoke the street and of course Idunn.  Krampus's monstrous form silhouetted against the moon.  Some gasped in terror some pass out others just wondered what the noise was about.  But soon everyone knew a monster preyed upon the block.  For most it was sort of a shock.  Krampus smiling as flames destroyed the neighbor’s house. Running off he grabbed a lady tearing open her blouse.  He left with a swat on her ass, her hen pecked husband just cowered as she gasped.  When Krampus ran off some tried to give chase, they were fast but couldn't keep pace.  The monster hoped fenced and yards.  Keeping up was very hard. Some of the bravest tried to repel the attack, but the mighty Krampus lashed and they recoiled back.  Limbs broken the monster laughed without mercy, right there in the street were anyone could see.  Cover and subtly cast aside, Krampus loose all his fury deep from inside. Windows were broken this would be Krampus's great art.  Clean up would take forever no matter how soon they start.  Working weekends with brooms and rakes.  Krampus stormed off shouting "Enjoy your Christmas cakes!"

The town burning Krampus watched from afar, this was carnage beyond pare.  Santa would admonish and reign the beast in; but wouldn't know it was all to save a friend.  Krampus glazed into the flames with growing pride.  Idunn was safe even if he needed a new place to hide.  Krampus would miss the neighbor well at least his dog.  Also the warm little house, now he may have to sleep in a bog. He didn't lose much in the blaze, he had a storage locker they gave him a free thirty days.  Luckily a monster doesn't look odd compared to their regular customers.  Half of them already have horns and dress in assorted furs.  Our monster found a caved in and abandoned old mine.  Full of rats and spiders for Krampus it was just fine.  Nobody explored the caves afraid of the poison, deadly to people but to Krampus the effects were none.

Leaning from the sidecar Santa bashed mailboxes swinging a bat.  Krampus laughed and revved the motor making the fat man lose his hat.  The pair sailed down streets laughing and harassing kids and parents too.  You'd be horrified to see what they did at the zoo.  Parents were shocked when Santa flashed them the bird.  Who knew even Santa had heard it's the word.  Krampus bared his hairy rump; Saint Nick offered a Christmasy fist bump.  Elves looked on without a care, the last traces of Christmas jingling from the air.  It was the day afterword and the deed was done.  Now it was time for Santa and Krampus to have a little fun. The eleven more days and Boxing Day would have to wait.  The monster and Kringle didn't much care if they were late.

Krampus was a little evasive on the topic of his home and Santa didn't let on if he had known.  The monster began to relax and feeling Idunn had got off free.  It wasn't the same for him but it was a trade the monster made with glee.  He wouldn't hurt a hair on the girls head.  Krampus would happily live in exile instead.  All his work paid off the crimes washed clean.  If the elves though the monster merciful he would be a has been.  If The monster checked in on her he was always discreet.  Idunn never talked about monsters that lived on her street.  She seemed to know it was best to say none, even if she missed the monster and his Christmas fun.  But I like to think when she grew up she would warn her kids to keep a wary eye.  Always looking for a monster on a motorcycle that doesn't fly.

After all the Christmas party and new years was done, even Krampus grew tired of the Christmastide fun.  In January there was one more night that Krampus had to attend.  On Burn's night the Scot's marked the season at it's in.  Krampus Scottish host was Sasquatch out in the woods.  Bigfoot served haggis which Krampus was sure wasn't good. Compared to haggis even Lutefisk tasted sweet.  It seemed losing a dare the only reason to eat.  Few knew the Bigfoot was actually a Scot you would know by his accent if ever he was caught.  Sasquatch was gracious inviting Krampus into his home.  During the serving Bigfoot even recited a poem.  Then aspeech and several many toasts.  Krampus brought a few drams of scotch for his seldom seen host.

Our beast sighed sad with a toast to the lasses.  There were none and how Krampus hoped to pinch them on the asses.  Not since sausage in October was such a fest, but for a friend he made the best.  Krampus thanked Bigfoot and headed off for his cave, He still missed the dog house but it was a price he had paid.  And no more nights with lovely Ms. Deroon but worst of all was not to see Idunn.  The fire covered his tracks and in the confusion Idunn was spared.  Maybe this was redemption for the monster; if so he wouldn't care.  The blaze burned down the neighbor house, forcing me to move down south.  Oh didn't you know I was the neighbor and Krampus lived in my yard.  He wasn't a bad boarder living with him wasn’t too hard. Did Krampus go with us; no he found a place in the hills.  If you see him let me know, he hasn't paid all his bills.

Deroon, I heard she was married and had a kid, if it has horns they are well hid. The monster doesn't visit at least that I know.  But it’s hard for a monster to come and go.  Idunn? I think she still lives with her parent on that street, hoping to see Krampus again, sometimes leaving out meat.  Maybe she would see him streak across the yard, she thought she saw him once but in the dark seeing is hard.  She is a good girl, but Krampus wouldn't visit even if she was bad.  A monster losing a friend is very sad.
Krampus well he is still Krampus so be warned if you are bad, if he doesn't visit you should be glad.  He stalks the local playgrounds and shopping mall, preying on children at the end of fall.  This year Christmas will come with a curse, Krampus is coming, my final verse.

Toy Review: Robotix
This was a pretty cool idea that never really turned into anything.  I guess the idea was a building toy mixed with action figure line.  I say this because their was a figure and cock pit in my set.  I suppose you were intended to play space missions in robotic walkers and such.

The toys has all sorts of bases and wheels and what not.  The connections were some sort of female hex receptor that you just pushed male ends into, its all very erotic.  The thing that made these things move was the servo pieces. These were connected via a yellow cable back to a control box that had a series of rocker switches.  You press left and the servo spun left and right it spun right. I guess these cables also provided power to the servos as well. I know that the batter packs were not integrated into the control box which was a bit of a problem with my set.  I had the Argus set you will see below, which had all the batteries in a big block that was intended to be used as part of the machinery.    This served to present any drive motion in the toy as it was so heavy it couldn't move or if it was able to move it could only move a foot or two before the cables were at full length, and any more movement would pull the things own plug.

Cool idea that i think was better realized in the lego mind storm products.  Could have been better with a few extra long control cables or modern uses of radio control

Monday, November 26, 2012


I can't seem to figure out how to be strong anymore. 
There are things I just want to run and hide from
and pretend they are gone. 
Phone calls that I just don't want to make
or even pick up to see whats on the other end. 
Christmas shopping trips that should be good
but I feel a grey lining on all my silver clouds. 
Some ticking clock running away
but I see the damage done with every visit. 
The worrying longing hiding in everyone who touches it. 
It's all on hold and I don't get why your planning.
I wish it was just me in pain
Something I could understand and hold deep.
I wish could protect you from it and just me hurt.
But that's simple and this one isn't
Its a hurt that un makes us hole.
Something beyond you or me and bites through to us.

Giving the gift or Role Playing

This year I want you to give the gift of gaming, not just gaming but Role playing.  This is a post not for the avid gamer but for people who stumble upon my site and have little to no idea what gaming is or why its great.

I want to start out by talking to any Christian folks who still have reservations about games like D&D.  Don't be stupid !  Most of these games are 100% about heroics and good defeating evil.  Also gaming is sort of like the internet, there are dangerous places but knowing what your kids are doing will prevent any wrong turns.  Also if you take something like World of Warcraft into account that is actually far worse than table top gaming.  Have you seen the chat that occurs on those games or heard the Ventrillo guild speak coming over your kids head phones.  I am on those games I know, I swear like a sailor and am very creative chat filters are powerless against me. 

Lets take all that against an evening of gaming.  These game take place in someone's house where they can be monitored.  The kids are home and not running around breaking into some abandoned novitiate or something.  The content of the games is nearly always a group of wholesome adventures defeating a great evil.  Really this is a parents wet dream!

Also looking at the cost of these things you can do a lot worse.  You can get into role playing for the cost of a new video game.  All you need is the core rule book, some weird looking dice and a pencil.  This is about the same cost as a modern board game and will only get you started on a collectible card game.  War gaming , role playing games most related hobby, can not even be considered without about a 100$ investment.  The difference here is you have possibilities limited only by the imagination on this investment. 

In Role playing on person serves as a storyteller/ referee, it is often this persons job to come up with the plot line of the game.  Its up to them what can be imagined and played.  There are often products you can buy that provide pre made stories ready for play but they are in no way needed for play.  The best of these storytellers will not think of using one of these pre made products.  You can even tailor games to certain types of play.  Christian parents if you want no magic and want to focus on biblical battles you can certainly do this.  If you want to play vikings or Samurai you can do this too, you often just have to find the right game.

So with you all convinced I am sure you are asking how do I do this.  Well you are going to need a game and dice.  Your best bet is going to be to look online through amazon or yelp for a local gaming store.  Most of these places have game in the name so any results like Gator Games and Game Kastle are good.  Those place have weird and smell people that can help you.  Often these specialized game stores are only in large metro areas, you may need to look for hobby shops and call around.  If you are unable to locate any stores let me help you with a couple of online options.  Here is a nice cheap set of dice on amazon

For the game I would recommend something from the Palladium company.  Their games or simple and very easy to understand.  They also offer a huge variety of genres you can play in.  If you are thinking of fantasy like lord of the rings, then the Palladium Fantasy Role playing game is a great choice.  If you are thinking of Sci fi give their Rifts product a try.  Both products are simple, Dungeons and Dragons really isn't simple.  It is easy to get a handle on if you go to one of the many in store games that are held.  But if you are picking up a game for the first time, reading it and trying to run it, Palladium is a great choice for you. 

Best of all they are running a special Christmas grab bag special right now.  If you click here you will be taken to their store.  In your wish list type in Fantasy Core Rulebook or Rifts Core Rulebook and put new to gaming in the notes and you should end up with loads or extras along with your purchase.

Toy Review: Zartan with Chameleon swamp skier

Boy this was one everyone sort of wanted until a couple of us got one.  Awesome in description sort of lame in person.  Zartan changed colors in sun light like those Hypercolor Tshirts. He came with a mask or two that fit neatly into his cowl and of course his smooth ride.

The ride in question was the Chameleon swamp skier which was crap.  It was designed to be taken apart and look like junk, it looked like junk all the time.  Like a cereal box quality ski bike toy or something.

I am not really sure who zartan was supposed to fool.  Who is the guy in the cowl and maroon s&m clothes?  Why is he wearing body armor that shows his chest?  Dude get that guy away from the school cobra or not hes a freak.

Christmas time (Don't let the bells end)

Well Christmas season starts and it already I am despondent.  You do all you can to give your kids this dream of Christmas and there are these moments you feel it through them.  But there is large hole I the other times.  Denise feels it with her family being far away I feel it with other things.  Time speeding by and everything feels pushed to be memorable, and there are no quiet moments to just enjoy things. 

Some of it is feeling we have no friends to just come over and enjoy Christmas without any need to be there.  No party or whatever just dinner or whatever.  Sometimes I consider moving, Denise has mentioned it lately.  I think she feels her family is all on the east coast so want to be with them.  for me I feel as alone in a group of them as by myself, no actually I have video game so by myself is easier.  I guess I am the sort that just feels out of place everywhere there people are.

Then you all the fun of the Christmas season, and I don't know where to start.  Christmas in the park felt like a sea of people and random street vendors last time we went.  My Daughter was more interested in the butterfly wand she got, the exhibits were ignored.  There is no snow here in the bay.  Even Krampus seems a little depressed but the mood I have going right now. 

Presents seem so forced.  We don't see these people for years and send presents, why?  With the adults it reminds me of my friends Mom and uncle sending twenty dollars back and forth for years.  Just swapping and swapping with only the bills changing.  I have bought myself everything I want there really is no need.  Maybe it would just be best to give to the needy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Toy Review: Bristle Blocks

These were one of the building toys I had instead of Legos.  They were fun enough but a bit limited.  Some shapes were impossible and wheels were right out.  I remember being a big fan of making ray guns with the yellow hole piece serving as the trigger.

All in all this was Ok, but not the best building toy.  I remember the tines breaking fairly easily and parts for of wearing out fairly quickly.  Legos, Lincoln Logs and Erector are at a distinct longevity advantage.

There was actually a building toy I had that I can't seem to find any info on that sparked this post.  It was  toy where you used little pipes and connectors to build things.  It looked very similar to PlaySkools giant Pipeworks Toy.  Only on a small scale.  It  also had more base parts that the pipes connected to that were terrible to step on.  You think Lego are bad these would actually impale you. I remember the set was somehow related to marvel super heros, having these terrible spider man and hulk figures and it had instructions to build a plane.

Summing up the Bristle Blocks, they are good for young kids and easy to work with.  But pretty limited compared to better building sets that are out there.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Toy Review: Suckerman
Yet that says it all.  One of the stupidest toys of all and I totally had one.  I don't understand my youthful self.  This is freaking lame in every way.  I had some idea that it would stick to everything when i was a kid like some sort of awesome wacky wall walker but no.  It pretty much stuck to mirrors and windows and only if you licked it.  It seemed like it was supposed to stretch like stretch armstrong too, he stretches to next week. But this didn't I think there was some sort of false marketing going on here, suggesting that it was fun or cool or something.  I remember getting some cocktail sword skewers that i could put in the little holds that were on the back of the reverse suckers and sort of could play with it.  but all in all Suck says it all.

Toy Review: Star War Hoth Imperial Attack Base
This was one of those toys in the star wars line that really had nothing to do with the movies.  It is supposed to be an imperial base, well there were no bases in the movie.  They just landed and kicked ass.  This is supposed to be the other side of the story.  The rebels coming in an kicking the snow troopers butts.  I guess some sort of wish fulfillment for kids since the movie was sort of dark.

The toy came with nothing so you had to provide all the figures. They came out with a bunch of these things for The Empire Strikes Back.  I think the ice was easy to sculpt and they were cashing out on stupid kids like me.  The thing was sort of cool i guess.  It had lots of actions that could occur lame as they were.  You could level the ice bridge and destroy the building .  There were a couple of places that allowed you to press a button and sent your figure falling over.  They barely stood up most of the time so a bit of plastic popping up on a rocker would send them flying. It was big though loads of plastic.  My friends and I played with it a few times, i used it a fair amount as an only child.  I guess that is the market for playsets as only kids have to do all the playing for themselves.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Toy Review: Rubber Band Board
I was thinking about reviewing Lite Brite but whats the point really.  Everyone knows Lite Brite is cool and what it is.  I went to a school called Laneview Elementary when I was a child.  It was over in the Berryessa region of San Jose, meaning not the best side of town.  There was a lite brite in some lab room but it was a pretty price toy for our side of town.  What we had loads of were these Rubber Band Boards.  They are basically a board with rows of nails.    They allow you to make patterns with rubber bands.

I remember these being used when talking about basic geometry for the most part, but I suspect any time the teacher was tired they were busted out.  I loved them though i never could figure out the start snowflake pattern i was trying for.  I think being a introvert I didn't rush up and demand all the rubber bands I needed to transfer my vision to board.

All in all a lot of fun and probably more fun these days as a simple wood working project would be really adventurous for kids and parents these days.

De Profundis: An Exotic Evening

My fellow gentlemen

The acts participated in Crowleys rites are both foul and depraved.  Barring the haunts that have troubled my residence I would deem his coven nothing more than a love cult.  Couplings unnatural occurred before my eyes! My dismay served more a drool amusement to the patriarch of these affairs, Crowley himself.

The eve began banal in contrast to the events that would follow.  A meeting of various parties discussing the goings of the day.  The wine was pleasant, though Tuscan, and the open grove of trees where this transpired of mild temperament.  A dinning table awaited the quests set with fresh fruit acquired from exotic shores, displayed in a show of opulence.  This was all very unexpected after my visit to the low quarters Mr. Crowly maintained, and I expect a farce of wealth.  The other participants bore the manners of the well breeding and family money.  Though this can also be said of Crowley himself.

The dinning was the first sign of the direction the night would turn.  Many exotic meats were arrayed before me, but most peculiar was a live macaque held in an elaborate wicker box which served to restrain the animals head.  Guest were invited to smash open the poor animals skull and partake of the still warm brain flesh.  I did not indulge myself of these delicacy, faining myself an anti vivisectionist as advised by Mathers. 

This served to only well Crowley's interest.  He grew almost physically excited with my further revealing my chastity as the evening progressed.  His interest at first seemed the yearning to see me defile myself in his revelry, but I began to understand he saw me as a rare tool that could be used.  For what I can only conjecture.

I followed one couple whom left early claiming a weakness to the night air and fearing a chill.  My escape now finds me awaiting Mather and Yeats return to my residence.

Yours very truly
J.L. Reichl

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Toy Review: Gi Joe APC
This was another big goofy toy my mom got so she wouldn't have my toys laying around.  This is a toy troop transport ala 40k's Chimera.  As a toy its pretty much phoned in.  You can just drive it around and sort of point the turret at things.  I am not even sure it had the awesome action trailer hitch that the Vamp and Mobat did.

The things was designed to hold tons of figures.  There is seating positions and standing pegs for several figures.  Which would be cool for someone old enough to really take care of their stuff, I just held the thing by the handle/bumper and tossed all my figures in.   I mean when you mom is pissed at you for making a mess are you really going to place all your figures in carefully?  Really compared to the collectors display case this is very cool as its sort of a toy i guess.  I should have had some sort of compartment to hold  guns and backpacks but that was a minor oversight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Krampus for Christmas part 124: Clean up part 5

Days later Krampus made a special visit to a special house on his list; the kids and parents that had for many years been missed.  The monster hoped for some hint of redemption but expected to see none.  He hunted through the trash for evidence, even more angry when he was done. Candle carousel angels picked out and thrown with the junk, peering in he saw the now unheavenly toy spinning on a trunk.  Krampus watched not knowing what to do; it would take some time for his vengeance to be through.

Krampus clawed at the windows menacing the kids, in terror looking outside, Krampus cast only a shadow monstrously whilst he hid.  Later scrapping glass with hideous huge claws, children fled in horror waking parents to inform the law.  The Beast disappeared for a moment; hoping their mad parents would do his work.  But these were the sort that didn't spank bad children, you know the type, jerks.  Well tucked in with water, told it was only dreams; Krampus smiled in their windows delighting in their screams.  They made Dad check for prowlers all through the yard.  Krampus left a present that Daddy stepped in runny not at all hard.  Garden hose washing his foot proved to be a chore, He didn't notice our monster slipping in the door.  The next morning the house was a mess, Krampus had out done himself but it was only a start I must confess.  Stockings were filled with gifts no one liked, the monster had disassembled the kids new riding bikes.  Krampus sat on the pillows without any shorts. It would give you pink eye and probably warts.  Then he stopped up the sink and let the water run.  He saw it once in a movie and thought it would be fun.  He places a fair angel at the top of the tree, a dazzling heavenly beauty for all to see. To the carousel Krampus returned the angels rescued from the trash. Finally leaving he threw open the door with a crash.

Even with lessons some folks don't learn and sooner than later another visit was earned.  Krampus again waited deep in the night, to catch the family in solstice eve’s delight.  This time he took the chimney breaking it apart, then bursting in like Santa only evil and dark.  The fire cracked with a bright Krampus plume then burning logs flew into the room.  Idunn watched from the sidecar of the cycle outside; using a few blankets to keep warm and hide.  She laughed at the screams emitting from the home and the cracks and crunches of Krampus breaking their bones. She wasn't vicious or at all mean, but she rooted for Krampus she was part of his team.  She didn't really understand what it was she saw, but cheered for the monster with a giant foam paw.

Krampus cackled grabbing the boy, taking a bite for his ear with pugilistic joy.  Next he grabbed the girl caning her ass, this year she had been a bitchy condescending young lass.   Daddy was punched and knocked out his wind; Mommy took a switch right in the end.  Their phone list at last Krampus took, to visit their friends according to the book.  Lastly Krampus set up a manger then strolled out the door, after all it was the reason Christmas was for.  Again in the yard Krampus places a Christmas scene; with Jesus in nativity all glowing in saintly sheen. Mary and Joseph stood nearly four foot tall.  Hand carved by Krampus not the crap you get at the mall. The beast was Bavarian and woodwork in his soul. Even Santa elves would be proud of his toil.  Lights shone like a beacon calling onlookers there.  To wonder at the jolly house and the Christmas in the air. He stole a donkey and a couple of merry pigs, corralling them in the yard quit impressive digs.  Idunn helped with the outside manger scene.  Then she and Krampus road off after making sure they were not seen.  Hopping on his bike and kick starting with a jerk, the neighbors would soon behold their work.  Fleeing the scene the monster smiled proud tearing off with the motor running loud.  Krampus made sure to get her back to her bed. Approving of her work with a pat on the head.

Krampus held a few managers in a hole for a few weeks.  It was dark with spiders and long ago started to reek.  The monster whipped them every few nights, those the only moments they saw light. In a meeting they decided no party for the Yule, the reason; the economy had been very cruel.  Wisely giving themselves a raise for all the money they had saved. None thought of spending their own dime.  The workers would understand, they would be fine. They denied a small Christmas thanks, a crime Krampus thought rank.  This wasn't charity it was earned and Krampus's monstrous fury burned.  The Beast rounded up the villains.  Lashing entitled asses until blood was spillin.  One soiled himself for which Krampus took a kidney, mailing it overnight to a dialysis patient in Sydney.  Some nights the monster tied one to the rack, other times he beat one in a sack.  But every night taking time to explain the cause and reason for their pains. Those who worked hard seldom received thanks, all while these scum moved up through the ranks.  Their rise was on others backs; people with skill something all of them lacked.  The beast told Christmas was already earned in the year.  It was already due he shouted in their ears.  Krampus grabbed a fat one by the tie and decked him hard in the eye.   

Every now and then Idunn came along, Krampus let her swing the whip but she wasn't very strong.  Even the captives thought it was cute, a nice reprieve from the brute.  She was too little to crank the rack, even to see she had to ride on Krampus back.  The monster worried a little the girl may go bad, boy Santa would be really mad. But he was happy and didn't worry of lists and continued lancing the evil managers like infected cysts.  Krampus always made sure Idunn was safely home, and then returned to his backyard to argue with the dog over a bone.  The worst of his work he saved when the girl was away.  That's when the beast really got to play.  Breaking arms and cracking ribs; even forcing them to listen to music of the brothers Gibb.  He saved most scorn for one named Rajesh a petty tyrant who said his team thought he was the best.  The bastard risked his neck for none always looking out for number one.  He would never have thanked even when due, that piece of crap went into Krampus's stew. The rest he released after much beating.  Some he even forced them to partake in the stew eating.  They ran home looking over a shoulder all the way and did better at Christmas the rest of their days.