Thursday, December 05, 2013

Reworking of Scifi story part 3

It moved steadily at first though drawing near it jumped forward in starts and stops.  The epicenter, if there was one, was deep within the crowd.  Naeliim ran on fearful though none noticed or cared of the dilemma, only stepping aside at his flight.  Moving from within the core I was able to behold the source and wondered.  Some small procession erupted from the throng bearing the primogenitor of the light.

Robed and draped in fleece a man carried a strange bend of metal in hand.  He appeared alive and not within a moment.  Bodily soured and milk white the remains of his flesh hung, the rest chemical lines and feeding tubes.  His jaw reworked and removed allowed for a breathing tube; this shell mouldered in death.  His eye though burned fervent and alive, fanatical and dreadful.  Some followed behind attending the devices to which he was tethered.  Naeliim ran on more wildly and headlong desperate.

He looked back and the strange field had claimed more ground, and again still more.  With each bit of distance he threw his eyes back only to find it nearer.  Finally he did not look but ran and ran until it finally overtook him.  His movements halted to quiet slow wonder.  Those around slowed but Naeliim did not, moved about them gazing.  Shaking and shouting at the souls lost and finding himself singular. The lasted breaths then the snow of filaments weaved through the light.  Birthed of no particular origin the threads swam the body of the field. Touching lightly on his skin and weaving into some encasement or cocoon.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rework of scifi story part 2

Naeliim was seldom under my direct observation.  His people called themselves guides though they were in truth vagabonds.  Wanderers who contributed nothing to the various communities and fiefdoms they passed.  Offering use of the passages and back ways they controlled for a price.  Others like Naeliim bound themselves to contracts of service for the right to dwell within a community as they traveled.  It was upon a contracted sojourn that Naeliim came to hold my attention.

Naeliim traveled as guide to a pilgrim from one of the aft hold fiefs.  The first steps of their travels were of little concern and have passed from my mind, as much has.  My memory starts with fire and darkness, where normally there is nothing.  A great darkness that I can not penetrate is held in the center of my perception.  This is different from the black horizons all around, they are dotted with figures and forms.  This central blackness holds those lost and seemingly returned later.  But for a moment all awoke and blazed agape with light.

Here I beheld Naeliim and flame.  Others were seen in their wanderings but only Naeliim and another wrapped my attention.  Fire by which first I saw clasp about the guide but quickly failed away to black.  I figured the dark again held sway but I continued to see.  Some light filtered in from behind.  I first thought it light like any other but it was not right.  Its seemed brown and gold, perhaps ocher ; and sticky.  From the distance it conformed to optics' steadfast rules.  Though in seeing directly it held itself flat as if a plane or region mathematical.  It was horrible though only Naeliim seemed to see and recoil at the approach.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reworking of scifi story part 1

Memory seems to have failed, can only hold thoughts so long before they dissolve.  I have flashes of light and pain that I recall and phantom sensation which is not meaningful with what I comprehend.  I see with a strange multitude but find only able to focus on small fragments of that whole.  At times I feel jarred by an electric coursing, this often I react with instinctive recoil.  I am unsure but even this seems a conditioned response. 

There is that "I" again, it doesn't fit any way that I know it.  I understand the persons moving through halls and hear their words within my consciousness, they say I and we.  It can be supposed my words come from theirs.  There is no self beyond, no momentary shell I can point to and understand it is me.  I have my guesses but I am unsure of my observations and hesitate to conjecture.  Of those observations I have seen much and and will speak a story that held my interest as it was played out.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Winter Wine

Something comes to me on the evenings. Its like a reprieve in the silencing cold of the muted sun.  A greater moment of still that expands beyond the confines of place and self.  Rapping at the doors and windows for a warm welcome and finding no one's at home.  Then greeting the singular and making peace with being alone. 

The smells are all there! lingered long with memories of youth come with the crisp mulberry leaves scratching down the street.  Scraping out a song as driven in the wind, there are stops and starts and fluttering with the days breath driving it away. 

Come on night, come one winter your almost through the door.  Yet the rain to us, force the birds and bugs from the sky.  Give us our supper, let me go in and sleep. Take down the fetters and send me back from this dream, I'm no longer young, it's not as grand as it seems.  Let me back to my daughter she shrieks joy from inside.  My wife also waits hoping to sleep soon a I return.  Let me leave the evening for warm and nettlesome tamed.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wheat from the Chaff

Well the vampire stat folks are out in force today, one post after a couple weeks of in activity and bam a ton of extra views show up associated with them.  I don't even visit these sites so I don't know why they are interested in me.  Seriously you guys are the chaff of our society and need to go.  You are the extra weight we need to see die off in the next frost my vampirestat.  Please if you have a moment of weakness and doubt, remember my vote of encouragement and pull the trigger.  That goes for you too 7secretsearch too.

Turning 53

you're choking down the days
like bad medicine
And I'm stumbling around
in the vacuum

Everywhere is the absence
tugging at all of us
Spiraling in low orbits
of a missing planet

lasting yet lashing at me
if I'm not mild and meek
We're both confused
and no one know what to do

IF too much I'll explode
then you scold I implode

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Block buster closes with little fanfare

Blockbuster closed completely I guess, today.  It got me thinking about all the video stores I frequented over the years, and one in particular.  In the south bay we had a solid competitor to the Mega video stores called American Video.  This place was huge before stores were huge and the video selection was second to none.

I first came to rent from these folks back when I was living at Park Branham.  They were located in the shopping center at Branham and Almaden Expressway.  I guess this was where the Taco Bell is currently.  The shop was a jumbled maze of racks at this time, with no where near enough space.  Entire sections where hidden away in nooks.  If you wanted Stalker yes they had it you had to nearly get on your hands to find it behind a cash register but it was there.

They moved fairly quickly afterwards, going to the shopping center on Almaden near Cherry.  I think it is or was a dollar store now.  This was sort of the stores hayday, back when it was huge and could hold a sea of folks.  They even had pinball machines going!  This being an independent store had some of the more adult titles, this section of the store was the size of most small video stores at the time.  This being the zenith of blockbuster this store dwarfed two or more of their stores.

Next the store just up and disappeared.  A friend finally let me know they moved over to the Cambrian park shopping center.  This was my favorite configuration of the store.  My buddy Andy once described it like an opium den and this description was pretty apt.  There was a big section of new stuff and newish stuff that mouldered into obscurity.  but it was the hidden alleys of Scifi and Horror that really were filled with forgotten gems.

The staff were great two most knew their stuff or could direct you to the horror , foreign or thriller guys.  Westerns were actually a section, that died off long ago at blockbuster.  They closed up a couple of years ago and become a ski place.  I have to say I regret it you don't get the feel when you scroll through Netflix on your roku.   

An Interesting side note:
We used to have a PaPa Murphy near my house, it closed shortly after the Hollywood Video place, it was next to closed down.  I guess it figured people would not visit it without the video store even though there was a Blockbuster in the shopping center less than a mile away.  I just saw a new Papa murphy is going in, back in the shopping center were the first one was.  I guess people wont make an extra stop for pizza if getting a video, but will a single stop if they are downloading and streaming.

Fucking up: Flaming Lanterns

This story of fucking up begins with a lack of power in the battery of our tent trailer.  My cousins and I used to go camping for a week or so in the Santa Cruz mountains when i was a teenager.  This was usually in the Big Basin campground but Henry Cowell the location of this actual story.

If you have read this site in any depth you know I am a nerd and fond of role-playing games.  This was the focal point of all our camping trips.  We would load my parents old Coleman tent trailer full of food and games and spent a week or more with limited supervision.  This was great for us though really we should have had someone a little wiser watching us.  While we were playing dungeons and dragons 90% of the time, it was the remaining 10% that was worrisome.

This particular trip we had my cousin Rick, his cousin Anthony and my friend Keith De Carlo in attendance.  It was fun but early one we realized we had an issue with running the lights inside the tent as there was something going funny with the battery.  It was some years old and may not have been up to snuff to begin with.  This was a problem as we wanted to spend most of the night playing Dungeons and Dragons.  The nature of the game is reading and note taking intensive so you do need full visibility to see.

We had a few candles stored for emergency purposes, by my parents, stashed in the trailer.  This was the best solution we had and quickly we had a glass ash tray configures with a candles to provide light.  This was passable for an evening but really was not great.  I say this until a strange set of events turned the candle stand into an open flame lantern.  The first step in this process was the complete liquidation of the candles into a broth of liquid wax, due to the heat of an enclosed tent and the lit candles themselves. Next there was some sort of wagering about putting things in and out of the flames uncharred.  At some point the outside of a box of matches was played over the flames.  This was almost magical as the cardboard soaked up the wax and served as a wick. 

Circumstances had provided us with the ideal solution to our lighting needs.  Here then the male brain's simplicity befouled our results, If one was good more is better.  The next day we traveled into the little town of Felton to gather supplies to make more of these lanterns.  We didn't really find a cheap solution of the ash tray but assumed the bottom half of coke cans would do the job.  This would be the turning point from novel solution to out right fuck up.

The coke can versions of the lanterns worked all too well.  Providing light for each of us to study our Players Handbooks and read up all the spells we needed so desperately to know.  The continued until the cans reached a certain heating point where the liquid wax was actually drawn up the inner wall of the cans.  The wicks we provided were no longer the point of ignition but rather the entire top of the coke can.  The cans had now become some thing akin to a modest Molotov cocktail, blazing freely at one end the other ended in a heated to scalding hot coke can.

In recognition of our Fuck up the ersatz braziers were quickly hurled out the door, generally at the fire pit the good folks at Henry Cowell had provided in our camp.  The burns were luckily minor to our persons, though the trailers table was burned and I was doomed to catch some level of hell from my parents.

I suppose the lesson was not to experiment with fire upon your parents property or perhaps something with heat and vacuums.  Really i am not sure.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fearsome Critters

I awoke to a fall of frogs,
and nothings gone right since.
Sasquatch stole my paper
and even kicked my dog.

Thunderbirds are overhead
and I killed an albatross.
It made a decent stew
but the crew want me dead.

The squonk took one look
and laughed at me.
My dropsy running bad
aint no cure in any book.

Snakes climbing out the throne
and spiders infest my home.
Found dead sparrows on my lawn
twelve or thirteen long gone.

A red moon on the morning!
That means things are looking up?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fucking Up: Blood Blood Everywhere

I have become worried about my daughter over the last couple of days.  She is still young now but with our current environment there is the expectation that she will always be under parental supervision.  I have her in the morning and drop her off to teachers at school, they have her until the evening when my wife gets her and she is with us until bed.  She hangs out with us on weekends and everything is very safe.  She wont be snatched away!  But also she won't fuck up and that worries me more than you can know.

A mistake you understand is better than a success you don't is sort of a motto for me.  Mistakes are great!  Fucking up is something at which I excel.  Largely fucking up is where my life shaping epiphanies and foundational lessons were learned.  So my kid never fucking up is a thought with some concern for me.

Blood Blood Everywhere (The big forearm slide of 84)
This incident happened back when I was living in North San Jose.  My friends and I were pretty fascinated by the creek that ran through our little neighborhood.  From my house with a short walk you could cross over the freeway from Capewood over to Trimble, near Northwood school.  Right off of the overpass you could go around the fence and walk into the creek.  From there you had an entire world you could play in.  There was even a field full of abandoned chimneys in one direction.  Heading the other way you would quickly pass under the 680 freeway, this was like magic to us kids, and further up toward the foothills. 

One day I had put it into my head that I needed to walk up to Majestic School all via the creek.  I walked from my house, alone as I often worried that my little journeys would end up sucking.  I liked to go solo before inviting anyone.  I passed over the freeway, into the creek and back under.  So far everything was good I was up on the far side walking along the top of the now concrete creek the sun was shining, even the birds were not mocking me... for now.

Reaching the gate near Cropley I was left perplexed.  how do I get down the creek had dropped from a few feet deep to a decent little drop.  I attempted climbing down but being fat, offish and clumsy that quickly proved a poor idea.   My solution was far poorer.  I would slide down, but not on my butt.  I would use my forearms so my pants would not get harmed.  I am not sure of why I thought my pants were so important, they may have been my prized Levi's, the only pair of pants my grandma had not sewn.  The slide while painless at the time ground down the flesh on my forearms leaving both bloody in wide channels.  This was one of those moment I realized, I fucked up!

Well that was dumb.  I was not in the bottom of a creek I had no real idea how to get out of being concrete and I slow and fat.  Quickly I reasoned I could just walk to the dirt sections up by the townhouses where my cousin's lived.  It was a little further and I bled profusely but it appeared the best option.  My wounds stopped bleeding after a few minutes of walking.  There was another section that ducked under the street but I was already in the creek so no worry there.  

The earliest point that allowed me to leave the creek would put me directly on path toward my cousins house.  Somehow I just wanted to be alone and not reminded of my stupidity so I continued walking.  I was aware that I should wash out the scrapes as the creek was essentially a large open gutter and not clean.  Almost there I finished walking to Majestic school.  Washing off my arms in the open drinking fountain, I was relieved.  I had done what I set out to do, blood and all.

My arms healed, I never even had a scar just some gross scabs that healed before I knew it.  The pain was annoying not bad and truly nothing compared to dialysis.  I did what I set out to, stupidity didn't stop me.  This was dumb and completely my own fault but I overcame the crap that came my way and I finished what I set out to do.

I will probably write a few more of these, I fucked up a lot as a kid.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Movie Review: Zodiac

I watched Zodiac on Netflix the other night.  I liked it, it wasn't as scary and gory as I expected, others may disagree with that but the poster got me thinking it was full on horror rather than a psychological thriller.  So if you are wuss and on the fence like I was don't worry about the scare factor.

One negative for traditional thriller fans is this will not resolve itself.  Zodiac was never caught and may have died at this point.  The nice wrapped up package you get in most movies is not here.  You are left with your own thoughts and opinions on the possible killers.  They focus on two possible suspects in this film, Arthur Leigh Allen and Rick Marshal.  There were others considered like the uni-bomber that do not make it into the film.

I am really not knowledgeable about the case and was often left with several questions.  Who was Bob Vaughn, he seemed awful creepy in the movie.  Why is there no new case using the modern forensics we see weekly in Criminal Minds?  Why were the police departments so concerned with jurisdiction?

All in all pretty fun and intriguing.  The Zodiac case is just good material really, the unsolved nature and the police taunting cryptograms make it powerful and engrossing

Video Game Console Review: Retron 5

For my money there is only one console coming out this year and it will surprise you that its not and Xbox, PlayStation nor anything by Nintendo.  What I speak of brothers and sisters is the Retron 5!  An entire retro gaming experience in a box.  This isn't going to play a few systems or even five but rather you get nine systems of gaming play.

Yes now all your game boy games have a new system to thrive upon.  Rejoice.

Now all this would be cool but not fantastic, you see retro games look like crap on modern TV's, but no more.  They have addressed the problem with special clean up that will make your games look fantastic even on a new system and all through an HDMI cable.  This is great as it give use an easy to use modern connection for our old school games.

Now there could be more, obviously you don't see Atari anywhere in that chart or even Turbo Grafx but what are you going to do?

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

De Profundis: Dinner in the Shanty

My Fellow Gentlemen

The structure which meet my arrival was as fantastic as farcical.  My mind raced until I murmurs "A Ship" incredulously.  The establishment was once a tall sailed ship now a fixed resident of murky fens upon one face and the paved city cobblestones upon the other.  A stone approach was laid upon the murk to provide egress and entrance.  This itself was no petty task as it appeared the muck swallowed up the stones again and again, forming successive strata until satiated finally allowed for this walk.

I will deem the inward establishment quaint though it was at best rustic and less kindly a shanty.  The walls all reclaimed wood and nautical ornament, recalled the age of sail.  The seaside suspiciously absent from the locale, I avoided the creole lobster stew and contented myself with a phosphate whilst I awaited my hosts.

My detention was short as I was greeted by Crowley's approach.  He descended a stair draped in some fantastically appointed robe.  Its collar radiated the arcs of the sun and lowly glass beads were stitched into the bodice.  He wore a turban upon his head like some wild sultans' crown.  It was all too much for my composure and I regretfully let out a chuckle! This drew an anger of nonesuch fury, I even recoiled within my chair fearing violence to my person.  The many words were sharp and acid tongued oft falling into verses and languages I dreamed only desert insects may understand.

The man calmed some after many minutes of attack, perhaps remembering he had some purpose for me.  The words then were soft almost sibilant and always pushing.  He desired my help in attending one of his many congregants.  I am to attend a society function as a paramore, or some such foolishness.  I agreed if only to escape.  Even now I prepare for the eve with his dame. 

Yours very truly
J.L. Reich

Monday, October 07, 2013

Toy Review: Storm Shadow for GI Joe

Storm shadow was the coolest of the Cobra force, sort of the G.I. Joe equivalent of Boba Fett.  I don't know where the whole ninja thing came in during the 80's but it hit my friends and I hard.  They were dressing up with sweats and flee market ninja shoes before I had even heard of the ninja.  It's like I missed an assembly at school where they said everyone here is the new cool thing, and when I got home everyone was sneaking around the neighborhood in costume.

Storm Shadow was such a nonconformist though, a white ninja.  No not like Michael Dudikoff but a cool Japanese guy dressed for a ski vacation or something.  He had swords and a backpack that appeared like a bow and arrow set.  Sure that is ludicrous when starring down someone with a heavy machine-gun but GI Joe never hit anyway.

In the movie he sort of goes all good and Snakes takes a turn for the ninja himself. I never liked that.  It almost seemed like the bandwagon jumped over the shark at that point.

Game Review: Star Wars Edge of the Empire Beginners Game

I was run through the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginners Game of the last month.  While some of the rules ended up being a bit nebulous at times It was a fun game and an awfully good intro to gaming product.  I am going to say without qualification if you are a gamer parent with kids say 10 to 15 this is a fantastic introductory product.

So this is Star Wars minus Jedi, just to let you know right now. The setting seems to be the fridge of the empire with the setting taking place sometime post episode VI.  The only Jedi are Yoda and Luke in this setting with Vader and the emperor as the only sith.  There is supposed to be a new book coming out that introduces force sensitivity.  This will flavor your class but not make you a Jedi, is the thought.

Some of the big cool points were all the fiddly prop bits that came with the basic game.  The character sheets are huge multi-page affairs, sort of like the old twilight 2K character creations worksheets. they guide you through experience gains and help you understand your characters abilities.  Also they each have a nice write up that connects you to your fellow players.  I am being nice the writing is shatneresq at times and laughable.  That aside you also have loads of maps along with character and enemy tokens for combat.  It really was cool for a intro product as it gave you everything you needed in one box.  Even the Dice!

I put that at the end because dice are weird, in Star Wars.  I have never seen anything like them.  They work in opposing pairs that have a cancelling effect between themselves.  So you basically have green 8 sided and yellow 12 sided dice as skills for your characters actions.  If you roll something opposed by another character they give you anti success dice that are purple 8 sided and red 12 sided.  These dice return six values successes, advantages, triumphs, failures, defeats and despair.  These work out to cancel each other Successes for failures, Advantages for defeats and finally triumph for despair.  Once you have canceled you have the results.  This ends up being weird as you sometimes have failed and have a bunch of advantages or succeeded and many defeats or a despair.  These are more for the GM to add flavor i guess.  Its interesting as you can use the trump and successes if you succeed to do extra things.

There are extra characters you can find online at the fantasy flight games site.  This was handy as we had an extra large group.  I played Tray'essek a trandoshan which was cool but didn't

This along with the tons of Star Wars resources out there make for a very good introductory experience.  You can have pictures up for all the races in a few seconds along with music.  Our GM even created a scroll for us.  This really would create a special experience for newcomers.
have the full character booklet.  It was a little odd as some of the stuff the other characters had written out we had to figure out for my character.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Ear Tube Surgery

I wanted to talk a bit about the ear tubes I had installed yesterday, yep I am bionic!  This is my tenth go around with these fucking things.  The experience was a bunch easier than my last time as a kid. 

Everything was done in the office right in the chair.  There was a little poke and pop, some vacuuming and I was done. 

Its amazing how much better i hear but also how weirdly I hear.  Everything was very full toned on the radio before also having a nice tube sound before, now I need to turn up the bass.  I told the doctor to play some Rush to check my hearing.  I know every sound on those records it would be a great test.  Gosh my car is noisy now.

For those of us traumatized as kids don't worry its not bad, don't worry about it like i did.  I damaged my anvil waiting so long on this.   If you are in san jose give Camino Ear Nose and Throat a try the doctors are nice and they can fit you in very easily.

A Look at the Bones 2 Kickstarter

This is going to be one of those no skin in the game reviews.  I actually backed a kickstarter a few weeks ago and didn't mention it here because it seems shifty.  I don't want to be telling you about stuff for my own gain.  That said I am really thinking about this bones 2 miniatures kickstarter.  Please go check it out here:

They are dishing out a barrel of minis for 100 bucks.  It seems like they are getting near 1 mini for 1 dollar at this point which is incredibly cheap.  Yes they are plastic but I was paying 3 bucks for a blind shot at a goblin miniatures. I think their scheme is to get an extra 50 here and there for add on sales.  That said they are giving like 24 minis for that 50 USD. 

For gamers wanting to start a miniatures collection this is a great way to get going.  Its very cost effective and gives you a large amount of basics.  You have heroes and villains.  Large minis and small ones.  Undead and monstrous vermin.  This really will take you a long way.  It would be great if they tried to cover specific modules and say hey the tomb of horrors is completely covered with our minis.  It may well be now. 

Money is flowing into this at a crazy rate.  I don't think you want to skip this one, its going to go down as legendary kickstarter campaign

Monday, September 30, 2013

Toy Review: Elecnco Electronic Playground 130

This thing was awesome!  A home electronics kit that was easy to use.  It had all sort's of experiments you could follow from the book that did cool stuff.  All were fairly simple circuits, some lite a light, others made noise in the speaker.  I think there was one that actually created a radio you could listen to.

I had some trouble with the more complicated lessons as a kid and didn't always have the intended results but all in all it was cool.  There were a couple of points I will complain about though.  I didn't learn much about the individual components I was using and had very little idea what everything was contributing to the circuit. The second issue was there really wasn't much of a growth path if you really got into it. 

I loved the kit so much my parents got me a special airport frequency radio kit.  That was cool and it seemed like there would be room to grow but it was a fairly big jump in skills.  I was never good with my hands and the spring connectors were gone, I think i needed to do something with soldering!

This is a very fun toy for an inquisitive kid that is easy to use even if they are not at all handy.  just realize you may have to steer them through the internet to figure out what they are learning about if this is something not taught in their school.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Video Game Review: Might and Magic II

Might and magic is the sort of RPG i like. With full control of a party and abstracted turn based combat.  There were a few fun puzzles to solve and loads of dungeons to delve.  While the series opener was very good it is Might and Magic 2 that really was fantastic.  It was in this second game were gifted with the joy of auto mapping. 

This version of the game seemed to have an almost correct way to play which I am going to admit was a bit rail roading.  The party could buy skills ended up giving you full mapping and travel over the land but only if the skills were assigned correctly.  Some had stat requirements and others had to be possessed by two member of the party to kick in.  It worked out so that your pregenerated starter party plus the barbarian drog you found and the ninja H.K. Phoey were sort of the correct group.

I am not going to say I remember all the quests and areas of this game.  I haven't even had my commodore 64 set up for years.  One area I do remember was a group of monsters called quizenarts that were hidden in a mount near one of the roads.  These guys were weird as they were super hard to kill, but if you won with at least one guy, that character leveled like twenty levels.  Then you could go back and it would be easier so that maybe another guy lived.  This process repeated allowed all your characters to become bad-asses.  But it had a downside.  The game used to generate additional enemies based off the parties level.  This added and extra thousand peon monsters to every fight and slowed down the game incredibly.

All in all a great addition to the might and magic game world.  Certainly better than the current online trading card game.  I hope this new might and magic X kicks some butt.

Toy Review: Rom the Space Knight

Thanks to The super hero satelite
This was a weird one of a relatives toys.  I guess the comic book was very cool but the toy was lame beyond belief.  This is one even a kid like I was thought goofy.  I dont know about being a space knight but stilted plastic robot you did that Rom. 

Back in the 70's this was sort of the way toys were marketed.  You had a company produce not a line of toys but a single toy and market it.  There were GI Joes which were a line of toys as were Star Wars, but most did not have the line of toys idea.  You were buying some toy by some company back in those days.  The might man and monster maker kit by Tomy or in this case Rom by Parker Brothers.  They were tied in with comics so I guess that was the start of the cross pollination but nothing like the required cartoon / toy line you had in the 80's.

I am guessing this was easier on parents as you didn't have the villains and vehicles to buy, making it a one time purchase rather than constantly being hounded for more toys. 

I have seen talk that Rom may be making a return, I am not sure about that he seems a bit out of touch for today's kids.  In taking my daughter to Toys R Us yesterday I was amazed how different that place is from my memory.  There are no models at all, those used to be a thing.  Many of the toys I liked best were the True Legends I would have loved those as a kid, sad as those were the cheaper toys r us marketed toys.  The Star Wars and Gi Joes did little to nothing for me. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Video Game Review: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Secret of the Silver Blades by SSI

Long time readers will know of my dislike for this game, but if you are new it sucks crap.  This was the first misstep in the gold box series for me.  I think it was something I had a ton of expectation for and not liking what I got curdled into hatred over the years. 

So we are dealing with gold box AD&D games here in first edition.  This had a couple of new classes the ranger and paladin, not sure if they were in azure bonds.  The big thing about it was they expanding the map beyond the 16x16 limits they had previously used.  From there it seemed the same game as all the rest, with a bit of a level cap increase.

The storyline is the party has been magically transported to the a city in danger, to help the towns folks.  They have no equipment at first but are quickly given some gear by the town elders.  That all is pretty standard for this time of game.  It's worth noting equipment never transfers over even if the party members have been leveled through Pools, hillsfair and secrets.  From there they are asked to stop the "Evil".  I really cant remember the evil though it was something about a frozen army and possibly a lich.

The party are sent out to explore and ostensibly power up.  this is where they enter the massive area of exploration that is the game.  You can just kill and kill and sometimes hit the locations you need to travel to.  Which would seem interesting but ends up being pointless as you never need to travel once you reach the portal zone.  I did find a +6 set of leather armor in a drawer once but after that nothing really of interest.  Once you reach the portal room you have a fight of decent difficulty for control of the portals.  After this you can travel back and forth.  There is a portal to the city you started in and eventually portals start opening that lead you were you need to go.  One is to a old dwarf fortress that is taken over.  Once you clear it you find an old dwarf that will heal and raise you for free, with no chance of con reduction.  That sort of breaks the game as well as you are always near a portal and then the fortress and can just use him whenever you are in trouble.

The last fight of the game is the only one where you really have a challenge.  I tried a couple of times only to die again and again.  The third attempt I actually buffed for the first time in the game, and it was cake.  One note give the ranger the giant slaying sword they have bonuses against them and he will kill a giant a round.

Toy Review: Waterful by Tomy

Another one of the toys I never actually had for today.  My friend Jesus had one, the ring toss or soccer i think.  These were weird little toys I guess for the time they were cool, but really seem pretty lame now.  The were little plastic tanks that you filled with water.  When you pressed the pump button a jet of coursed through the tank driving rings or balls in some direction.

There were several of these with different themes like Ring toss, pac man and Mr. mouth.  Each had some objective to complete or on the two player versions you were trying to outscore your friend.  It would have been a cool idea but in reality it was just a kid spasmodically pushing the pump button.  There was some technique of light pump then hard pump or whatever, sound like I am getting into a strange area now.  But in reality it was just a single button aquatic video game.  It ends up making the Atari's joystick look like a state of the art device.

They were great in cars, well until the game boys was released.  This is one of those toys I just never see making a comeback.  None of the art of Spirograph, none of the making stuff like creepy crawlers and none of the fine motor control of the Sears Giant Crane.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Video Game review: CBS Dream House

This was one of the weirder games I had.  I think my dad got it more for himself and realized it was not the drafting style home decoration software he wanted.  It was more like an editor for a graphical adventure game like Kings quest or something like that.  I remember making the house and filling it with things just to see if they animated.  That was the thing, some items would animate and others would not.

I vaguely remember two things about the actual game play.  the First was it would take forever to load, I mean almost a Datasoft "Bruce Lee" long load time for this sucker.  The second was the items were not universal.  So you could not take the folding bed and place it in houses other than the San Francisco style house.  That may have been for replay as it made me go through each of the houses to see what they did.  I can only really recall three houses one begin the San Francisco style another being a big fancy east coast style house.  The third I remember as a little cottage out of a kids story book.

I am guessing they were supposed to be saved onto a black 5.25 inch floppy but this never worked for me so my creations were only around as long as the game was running.  Which was fine as I never seriously intended to work on drapes and what not.

Toy Review: Sectaurs warriors of symbian

From the good folks at fruitless pursuits
This was actually one of the toys I wanted but never got.  I was a spoiled asshole especially and got way too much crap but this was one my parents decided they didn't want me getting into a new line of toys.  That is sad that they figured out i would need heroes and villains and a vehicle and maybe a play-set or two. 

These were sort of a he-man clone with less impressive sculpting.  The theme was insect warriors where everybody had an insect familiar or pal, ala cringer.  I guess I was super enamored with the guys that rode hand puppet fly's and dragonfly's.  I also remember a little bug that spit water, i guess it was pretty entrancing for a kid.  Again like Masters of the universe it was a strange, guns and swords fantasy mash up that made very little sense.  I mean if you have a flying tarantula and a laser gun you pretty much win.  I guess it was some sort of science and magic thing.  I mean crossing an arachnid with an insect that's insane right!

Probably for the best I didn't get these.  I would have wanted the rip off castle greyskull they had going and spent all my parents cash.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Toy Review: Offical Advanced Dungeons & Dragons action figures

These were weird in that they totally were for kids like me but I never really went nuts for them.  Dungeons and Dragons was like my Star Wars, the life changing magic was there right from the start.  Action Figures were my go to toy but still they were not the crazy hit they should have been with me. 

I had three figures and that is it. It's weird because that is about what all my other friends had too.  I had Warduke and Thomas the paladin, along with Melf the elf.  My neighbor Alex had the two wizards. Our friend Jesus had the half orc assassin and a girl cleric.  And finally our friend Ryan had a Titan that looked like a viking and something else, maybe the ogre.

One thing that was pretty obvious with these things was they sucked as toys.  These guys had no movement, sort of like the star wars figures plus a bit more swing.  But compared to the Gi Joes they were pretty weak.  We wanted some crazy sword fighting action but they only gave blandness on par with the masters of the universe.

I have seen some better updates from folks that have more skill and free time than I ever will. They look pretty cool, wish they were for sale.

Video Game Review: Rad Warrior

On of the lamer games I purchased back in the day for the commodore.  It was very cool in promise and goofy as heck in execution.  It was a redistribution of a game by Epxy. 

You had two phases to the game both were incredibly short.  The first you were a jungle warrior throwing rocks.  the second  you had moved on to wearing powered armor and were defeating some evil enslaving device. 

This would have been cool if there were more to it but it was like a ten minute wash, rinse and repeat affair.  You would get screwed on occasion as you could run out of shields in a radio active area and have to get out of the suit only to die to the radiation.  That was actually the most interesting the game got as you almost always won. 

If i remember right you had to get the shields and guns for the suit then defeat the evil which was pretty easy to do.  It sort of reminds me of Metroid in a small way, but that also shows the Commodores flaws.  Compared to side scrolling on the consoles it was a total was of time.  I do like the Iron Maiden inspired character of the logo though.

Toy review: Huffy Wrangler bike

This was my first bike as a kid. None of my friends through it was very high on the cool scale as banana seat bikes were lame by that time.   Still it was good and popped wheelies for days.  Great beginners bike as it was completely coaster breaks and allowed you to do some awesome skids. 

In looking at it now I am shocked how country and western it was, no wonder my parents got it for me.  They loved that crap.  Still in the days when every kid had a toy cap gun it seemed to make sense.

I can remember being able to make turns so low the petals would scrape on the ground that was one cool feature you could really drop it and throw it around your hip.  Though that may have been after removing some of the parts.  I remember taking off my chain guard and the mud flaps to drop weight, i think i even removed the reflectors.  Stupid i guess.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Toy Review: Gi Joe Falcon Attack Glider

Perhaps the lamest of all Gi Joe toys I begged my parents for as a child.  I don't know if it lasted an afternoon. 

This was a fully flying giant foam wing that was intended to connect to one of your joes and fly across the yard.  Or in my case kitchen only to hit one of the chairs and break off its little wing.  Then in realization that it was broken play with the wing flaps to lean aeronautics or something. 

Being a bit of a pack rat, I held onto the little clip that straps in the figure for years and years after.  I don't know what i expected, but i would find it in a draw, recognize it, then throw it back in the draw.  Never tossing it in the trash next to the draw.  Its not like i was going to cut together a replacement out of old big mac and Mc DLT boxes.

Video Game Review: Ultimate Wizard for Commodore 64

I am not sure this is the exact version of the game I had, as I remember it as Ultimate Wizard Construction Kit for the commodore 64.  While I had some 50 levels of pre created game the fun was the creator.  We had a variety of levels mocking one of our friends, because apparently as a Kid I was a fucking dick.  I feel a bit more like shit considering Karazno was later killed somewhere in the redwood estates / Holy city area.  But one social reject giving another crap seemed like the thing to do back then.

Anyway this was sort of a lode runner clone with magic thrown in.  Your little guy had a few spells he could cast to do various stuff in the level. Often these were required to advance through the level other times they were just to fight monsters and make you feel good.  There was a pretty fun bug in one of them, the spell that teleported you down.  When you died you went through a little animation of your guy falling down the screen but should you have the teleport spell it would break the animation and place you alive on a lower level.

While this was great fun game it has pretty limited graphics, as was true with most commodore games.  This , like all lode runner clones, was at its heart a platformer.  The Nintendo did this so much better that it is very hard to get past that fact and play the game now.  I mean something like any of the Mario's feel light years more advanced than this little guy.  Mario construction set would be fun though.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


This rocky comfort will capsize
leaving submerged souls and tide
Battered home or swept to sea
Your choice, blame either way

That shore doesn't look right
everything inverted misleading
Salt burns out eyes and my tender

Little attempts at pleasantries
Crack against the groaning rigs
Powers up lighting the skies

Ill give in hold fast for salvation
driftwood cold and dead remain

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

finger bones dissolved home

assume the ribbons and sinew gone
the delicate disturbed and sea bound
washed in undercurrent watershed
with finger bones dissolved home

No cricket silence the bowing leg
this pace is for beadles rusty or black
gloaming within the earthworks
crackle upon nearly hushed breath

Here pine needles await final decay
driving at our ankles fruitless hurt
Graven upon stones another end
forget the beginning its full of ends

And there it sits hung awaiting
some close

Material and Genetic

If I come down form the dreams and ether it all makes since.  The worry and struggle all fall into place and one realizes the lies for true.  The lies are everything mingled in the community the connections and obligation.  Truth is internal and the things that pierce the internal radiating out.  The choices that say no I will not let you dictate to me where one confronts the commune.

Where is my discomfort? With your values never my own, why would I feel disconnected with those I honor.  When you tell me my thoughts mean I am the slow and unkind.  I only wished to exist and proceed with my family and not let your values be those of me and mine.  I offer help to those I found value in, why can I not continue.  My must I give to those who I do not care about?  Why must I care?

Why do your fears affect me, when I don't trouble you with mine.  You give me no aid and shun my ilk where is the golden land you speak of.  I see some where I work head down my joys broken and yours held high in hand.  Yet you call me worthless when I say no.  Give me back my wonder the cities are grim and ugly, material and genetic.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I want to break this guitar and smash this horn.  I want to burn all the books and cut myself again.  I want to destroy something meaningful so you see how I hurt.  But I don't know if that has any meaning because I don't know if I have any meaning to you. 

So I think i should drive these things to friends who could use them and maybe my actions could have some worth.  Then I could throw everything in the car and drive to locations I don't know, because this is everything that has meaning to me.  But I'm not sure how that is reflected!  I think its sunk down to the less and less and sit somewhere under the stains of the dogs spot on the wall.  Scrubbed too long and its just a place not a home.

What where are the cherry trees and the forgotten bones.  The well worked stones of our memory, the shared distant reverie.  Locked up with clasps and bows tied so long they aren't touched for fear they won't hold.  There murky water rise up your Jerusalem with golden bow, sharp the arrows!

Geosmin and Petichor of sprinklers and suburban yards

Going into the course of blood
I'm morphine glassed bed white.
keep it in, keep it in just tonight
not a sound from you little man.

Just distracted and abstract
kind but removed it cant show
nothing can make them alert
for just a few hours so few.

let it go go go somewhere
anywhere that's not you or us
not them not to be noticed
until all are fast asleep, sigh.

Then out at night we'll dig
down deep and bury it gone.
None more of the chaos just calm.
cool air and earth filling sleep.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

I am getting stuck on a phrase

Waiting on the Earthquake is stuck in my head but its like a fucking extra pronged lego block.  Just doesn't seem to fit in which anything but I can't set it down.  I know I am read by eastern European hacking sites primarily but if you have an idea let me know.

I have vague feelings around it almost like a scale of experiences.  Very much the hills and rocks behind my house.  Vague feeling of places where it has been Ok to let time pass unspent with that.  But then there the very physical hillside with stones and grasses.  I am not sure but that seems to want to take everything over almost like a competing idea that threatens to swallow up or redirect everything. 

I am really having trouble taking off.  So I invite anyone to trade stanza's on the idea.  I will try start but not now, I need some time to let it cook into a soup.  I don't want to make any rules but my bits are mine yours are yours unless we all agree upon the whole.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Krampus for Christmas: Arbor day

Krampus hated hippies to the monster they were vile.  Even snacking on their children didn't give the beast a smile.  They were stringy and only vegetarian fed.  Cooking em gave off vapors that hurt his furry head.  Each year he avoided the annual earth day, Finding it best to go away. 

This year Krampus headed for Canada around the 24th of may, They celebrate trees in September but Krampus used the American date anyway.  His mighty claws dug up lawns several nights before, some he forgot to plant trees in he'll admit his planning was poor.  The irate canucks wondered who disturbed their happy homes.  Their dogs wondered who stole their well hit bones.  Krampus laughed in triumph glad to see their woe.  The chaos was so wonderful the monster never wanted to go.

But the great white north looked much like Christmas and Krampus worried to much time was lost.  He always worried when his fur felt a little snow.  Too much April wine the monster felt it was time to go.  Back home july was well on it's way, besides food choices were bad the beast couldn't stay.  At home children were stuff with ice cream and hot dogs.  They would delicious and fat a well larded hogs.

De Profundis: Black Waters and Sumped Shores

My Fellow Gentlemen

The heat of mid afternoon vexes me of late.  These days I am oft to traverse the dark watered byways of the mountain streams.  My hope is for relief with the cool waters origined in high reservoirs. They are a comfort to the weary heat, though company offered is course and yokel.

I fear my sabbatical from matters arcane draws to end.  My rambling have caught the attention of unwanted eyes.  An associate of Crowley who haunts the backwaters has noted my goings and now appears on many of my jaunts.  Even travels far to the east have proven this man intent on following my comings and goings.  Upon invitation I traveled to the observatory to celebrate the installation of the grand refracting lens, again the man stalked my journey.  The serpentine trail to ascent the mountain makes countless spirals and turns in its climb.  The specter was first seen on the third snaking and again well past half of the climb.

I await a wrapping upon my door but my folly was at least well mannered; arriving as a well inscribed letter.  I am advised to find myself in the dreary sea side town of Alviso tomorrow noon.  A brackish sump land even the sea has found sense to abandon, I have no desire for this meeting whomever awaits.

Yours very truly
J.L. Reichl

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

De Profundis: Dreams of the Sea

My Fellow Gentlemen

Last eve lingered pleasant upon the hedgerows, I awaited a languid night from the veranda.  Of my mind, I desired change and sought only space to allow it to occur. The nagging matters or the expanding beyond were content to dissolve into a Mediterranean clime.  This retreating pleasant was salvation and mount olive my fellows

Sleep would come to me in my books as would dreams, of these I recall only shadows betwixt vaguely remembered fright.  The nagging callers haunted me and found me everywhere.  Should I cast myself upon the wind and fate they would greet me wherever I arrived.  Always established and ingratiate to the new metropoli.  I a stranger even unto myself.

The dark beast and his mentor presented to conspire round robin to vex me.  Though oft the specter was the two intermingled to a single entity of dread.  Dreams of the sea were my sole comfort, I could throw myself into the gyre of its mercy, though even the deeps held something in mind.  The waters wretched me out as bile again and again, and there on the shore my paired spirits awaited.

Yours very truly
J.l. Reichl

Monday, August 19, 2013

First Thoughts on Monty Cook's Numenera

Howdy folks

I have been reading through The Players Guide for Monty Cook's Numenera game.  I wanted to pass along a couple of thought for people considering buying it and those who may not know about it but should buy it.  I will start off by saying I am not done reading it, I have reached the part talking about "class" powers which mostly wraps up the book.

So Numenera is as close as you are going to get to Digest Publishing Groups failed AI project as you are going to get.  I have chatted with Joe Fugate through email and have a decent understanding of what AI was intending and Numenera is it.  They both used even used the Asimov quote about sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic as a design philosophy.  Magicians work out to be humans who can manipulate nano swarms existing in an area in AI, where Nano's are the wizards of Numenera.  The reason I supported the kickstarter was immediate fear this would be very similar to the game I have been working on for years.  The art work in Numenera immediately conjures elements of my own setting.

The rules for doing things in the game are light but elegant.  I am quite a fan of the idea of melee range, which is a nebulous distance where the fight is occurring.  You just can attack people in melee range, you don't worry about speed or attacks of opportunity.  Combat is fluid and moving.  It really makes maps and miniatures completely not needed.

Skills are also simple yet elegant.  You just roll a d20 verse a target number/target number step.  A target number step of 1 may require a roll of 3+ and 2 may require 6+.  The Game Master Sets the difficulty number and the players must roll it.  The player uses their skills not to add or subtract to the roll but to decrease the skill target number step.  So having a skill in jump will make that 2 step become a 1 step and drop the target number to 3+.

I have yet to get my hands on the Core Book so we will see if my impressions continue to ring true.  I have a feeling The old Dark Space setting may also be influencing the game as well.

Follow up:  I guess i should talk about the Adjective Class who Does Stuff mechanic.  This is something that comes in at the end of the book. It allows for mixing of ideas and developing your character into a thematic concept.  You have adjectives like Rugged and Mystical which allow for extra skills and stat pool points.  These can work to expand your character into new areas or specialize your skills, a rugged nano being more well rounded and a mystical nano being specialized.  These work in theory but i am not sure if there shouldn't be a few more. 

The Does Stuff mechanic needs more options.  From a crunch perspective this is very similar in that it just adds to your class.  This can be things like controls beasts or Wields two weapons, basically creating the what type of class you are.  I am going to come right out and say they need more, what they have is ok as it works to create a feel for the setting. But in looking to create the more iconic characters from my own setting, I see no way the game handles necromancy.  I guess the nearest you get is telekinesis if you are moving a corpse like a puppet.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Bright Window

close down and shut off the light.
Go home and find a chair
where quiet melds with dark.
Be silent as shadows across walls.

Turn down the worry,low.
Let the moment steep through
until you're momentarily the same.
Still and stillness, breath gale.

Accept the nagging not quit right
And work out peace with it.
The fixing disturbs your quiet
hunting finds more that sit wrong.

Sleep should you fall to it,
even living it the moment is gone.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Soda Fountain Odyssey: Lime Rickey results

I am not sure about my Lime Richey as I think i ended up with something closer to Taco Bell's Classic Limeade.  It was good but I am not sure if I hit the rickey.  I am going to track down some alcohol free bitters and see what that does for my results because I think I am looking for something crisper than I ended up with.

My mix was simple I used Nelle & Joe's Key West Lime Juice, Simple Syrup and Canada Dry Seltzer mixed to taste. 

It turned out cloudy like the picture shows which makes me think limeade rather than the Rickey. Its funny I tossed some salt in and it was pretty much a lime Gatorade with fizz.  I would actually drink it which I can not say for Gatorade that stuff is vile.  It was cool and refreshing with or without the salt and gave me the energy I needed to deal with my child not wanting to go to bed.  They had everything I needed at Now Hill grocery across the street I best most grocery stores with a decent booze department would too.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Soda fountain Odysssey: Recreating The original new york seltzer

Well i continue with this soda fountain hobby.  I found a recipe for New York Seltzer online and gave it a try last night.  The results were pretty solid but refinement is needed.

You can check out the recipe I started with on this site:

I went for the vanilla version which was always my favorite.  It turned out more difficult as I don't have measuring cups and was trying to reverse engineer a flavor I haven't had in 20 years.  But all in all it was a good attempt.  My recipe turned into Canada Dry Seltzer, Simple Syrup and Torani Vanilla flavor.  The mix was entirely by eye so I can't give you anything exact.

It's a pretty difficult combo to pull off because you are going for something pretty sweet and vanilla'y but also very crisp and light.  Too much of the syrup gets murky flavored overpowering the vanilla, but the original flavor was quit sweet so you need it there.  It may be a smaller amount of more concentrated syrup with vanilla extract is required.  Also a soda siphon may be required to get the right fizz.

I really need to get my hands on an old bottle to check out the ingredients list. I am not entirely sure Seltzer was the only ingredient it may be a bit of phosphate in there too, which would make it closer to a club soda base.  Color is another thing eluding me as its naturally colored.  Maybe I should be cooking down sugar water and fruit compote to get a better favoring agent.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The State of Jefferson part 1

In those days we were but a vessel for selfish genes.  The divine now mundane and laughably wrong. The long con told us, rut in the material, and I dissented.  Anyone selling you the demise of freewill surly is looking looking to take it from you.  That said let me tell you freewill doesn't exist, they are always going to make you pay.

For me it was streets lingering with the feeling of home.  Creek sides that held embellished tales of youth.  The temperate sun of southward San Jose.  And friends; I could find a new movie house and track down my hobbies in a new land, but friends they were hard for us.  Even my Daughter mourned he friends lost to our northern egress.  Some family would follow but others we would seldom see.  Our jobs unsure we had wagered everything for a act of will.  No it wasn't free.

Soda Fountain Odyessy: Virgin Red Mocho Cooler

Well last night i was trying out mixing torani flavors to make sodas and Italian cream sodas.  The idea hit me to mix it with the egg cream and I think I may have created a virgin Red Mocho Cooler. 

As my wife put it, "It should be good, but its just not!"  Mine was sparkling which alters from the Koolaid recipe but it was certainly disgusting and the cream eruption certainly fit the color of the drink.  It was awesomely awful!


Monday, August 05, 2013

Soda Fountain Odyssey- Egg Cream results

I tried my hand at old time sodas over the weekend.  My goal was to make an egg cream and after a few attempts I went from horrific to hey that's not bad.  The egg cream is a fancy name that sounds much more complicated than it is.  In essence its just soda water added to chocolate milk.  The thing is being a dairy soda combination you have a large margin of error.

This seemed the logical start for my soda odyssey considering my patent Dr. Pepper and cream.  Thought this proved to be the reverse of that wondrous concoction.  Where the Dr. Pepper and cream you float in the dairy like a civilized person the egg cream relies on the foaming of soda hitting dairy.  I have used this foaming for effect in the past but more as a novelty in my Snow Ball sodas.  Its sort of a pain in the ass as there are several places too much soda dramatically change the character of the beverage.

Basically you are told to make an even mix of whole milk and chocolate syrup.  You are going to be told to use U-bet brand but that is improbable to find in California so I went with Hersey's.  I am going to admit my milk was only 2% so i tied some half and half I had laying around which provided better results.  Separation of chocolate flavors and mellowing of the soda.  Next add in the soda. I used Seltzer and would advise it against club soda.  You are not trying to make a phosphate just keep the flavors clean to start with Seltzer, siphoned for best results.  Go slow here is my best advice, add a bit and sample.  You are going to find there are about four flavors you can get here depending on the mix.  One is basically a sharp chocolate milk if you add only a bit of soda, you get more of the chocolate flavor to stand out.  Then you have the flat cream soda that is what i go for in my Dr. Pepper and cream drinks.  Next you have an effervescent cream soda that is light and still rich in chocolate flavor this is probably where you want to hit to recreate the original.  Next you have the slightly chocolate club soda flavor.  Not sure how my seltzer got a club soda flavor but its horrid and there is not turning back here just dump it.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

I shall be the king of all soda

There are many skills I would love to have improved or mastered.  Shooting and fencing sure!  Changing a guitar string, yep.  Being able to empathize with human, i guess.  But most pale in comparison to Soda Jerking. What a delightful ability!  Tea totaling barmanship at its awesomest! 

The freedom to craft new concoctions at will, what joy.  My Dr, Pepper and Cream would be just a beginning, what wonders I could create.  If one was around being taught there secret arts of soda would be my birthday wish.  What the hell is a phosphate?

I want one for my house, though i have no idea where i would put it.  Still who would argue with the man with a soda jerk in his house, no body they would just line up out my door for lime rickies and root beer floats.  Then who is the soda millionary, ME baby.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I would think I needed to be free of this season , to breath life and work again.  But I laid down seeds for the far off chill and forgot them in the ground.  The burnt ochers and auguring down of the year lost to my all but blind eyes.  Hope the venom that allowed sleep in my regret for change.  Though change was retrograde of truth which more oft than not was immutable. 

Helios burn with your flames and cast us about so we are refined by somewhere near the same. Endimion work away this discontenting desire and speak to me of acceptance.  Idunn look away I might steal and apple to feel alive today. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Reworking Anyway

I feel you'd have me taken for a ride,
unless I believe all importance has died.
A foolish soul with over thought dreams
to lay down conform to your schemes.

There's no heaven plugging you and it!
No I'm content if my ideas don't fit.
You're backwards to say anything's wrong!
Sorry not to agree with the throng.
You've stole everything you own!
What do I owe you, even my bones?
It takes us all to raise your child right!
Your worry keeps me up at night!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Aloysius in defeat

The pain radiated with something like light but then ended in fluid, such that he checked for blood.  That was just the senses failing to explain the stimulus.  As for him Aloysius struggled back lashing out impotently.  The fists missed or did nothing when they found body.  The next blow exploded electric across the nerves in his face and the warmth rained down til he tasted it. he spit it out hard and cried.

The tears were those of a child hurt, not a man but the true fear of a child.  Aloysius was not so used to pain in those days to ignore it or chalk it up to less than the needles in his arm.  He was still like a babe and left an easy mark for opportunistic claws.

He was beaten and limped away in his shame crying out lies of vengeance which somehow crowned his defeat.  But he had not shirked away he came when challenged a faced his foe if only to crawl away proven the lesser.  That was Aloysius distilled.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Aloysius the coward

These back alleys always found their way to some treasure of youth for Aloysius.  Most forgotten and falling but not the blood.  The moments of failure and strife they marked down to the germinal matrix.  They oft marred the sunny days of memory with their shadowy worry.  This all left our hero with a reflex response to cringe back, but in the greater mind he fought to disregard fear and charge back to the fray.

Aloysius therefore was one easily startled and wary of hurt at heart, though heroic by desire.  Easily falling back to a defense and hurling headlong when well armed; coward and fury at that cowardliness. 

Though unskilled should the battle finally arise he would remain their for his lumps.  Often standing to a challenge, when he didn't know how to hold his hands up.  All he knew was he was big.  This was not a bully but rather the bullied standing up hoping they would go away and realizing one must have something in his hand to call a bluff.   Aloysius could count many corners his nose was bloodied and wondered with their multitude if he was not to blame.  Though he was weak at times and all predators developed a smell for the wire in the blood.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Puzzletown part 5 close but no cigar

This is one that pops up on ebay from time to time.  It came out in 1977 and was sold through Halmark stores.  Its a revised version of Huckle cat with better coloring.  

If you want this for your collection its great, but it is not officially a Puzzletown product.  You will see the green disk base is missing and actually there is a cavity for your finger as it is a finger puppet.  The scale is the same I believe and even the eyes have the same dash threw them that the Puzzletown figures had. 

I am pretty sure there was at least one more figure form this production as well, not sure what though.  There was another run of finger puppets through mc donald's around the late 80's but those seem more like pencil toppers and less like a figure.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Game Review: Bang!

We tried the Bang! game last night with the group, minus one.  This is a fun game!  But I think I was most happy just to have another 7 player option that I didn't have to buy regardless if the game sucked or not.  But this is a fun one so double bonus.

Everyone is playing a role from the sheriff, deputy, outlaw and finally the renegade.  Each of the roles change what is required for a win and only the sheriff is known.  The rest play with their roll down and are hidden and require you to figure out who is playing each role.

You are then playing various actions that function as attacks.  These can be shooting someone with a "Bang" card or other weird things that force discarding a card or getting rid of an object in play.  The other players usually have defense cards that allow them to be missed or get out of the way.

So it sort of works that you are trying to figure out who is playing each roll then move on with killing folks.  When the Sherif is killed the game ends which is good for the outlaws.  The sheriff wants to kill all those dry outlaws as does the debuty.  The renegade wants to kill all the outlaws then the deputy and finally the sheriff for a win.

It was pretty fun for our group not one complained and I would say everyone had a good time.  I liked it.  It would be pretty fun with a few more cards was my only complaint.  Just to have more variety in the character cards.  This can easily be fixed by buying the Bullet edition instead of the basic edition.  The bullet seems to be pretty cheap on ebay if you get the right deal.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Campaign Seeds: Torg morning in America

Torg was an interesting game that I really never got a chance to check out.  There was just so much to it that you would go broke trying to collect it all.  The idea was to react a multi-genre system, very popular at the time, were all the different areas of earth were transformed by a Reality War.  Each section was under control by a particular Dark Lord and was reworked to fit their vision of a perfect world.  That is a bit of a stretch but there was a fantasy setting in England and a cyber setting in France, in any event. 

Through a series of plot line advancing modules they resolved the game with the characters winning the Reality War and earth being returned to it original state.  Which is all cool and wrapped up but it  doesn't allow for a lot of further role play.

What would excite me and provide for some further role playing, is taking the idea and warping it a bit.  Perhaps the players did win but not for themselves, rather they just put another dark lord in power.  This one with a vision of the present Earth as his domain.  The thing being that our history post 1994 or 95 has all been on hold, as the dark lord maintains his grip.

This give the character a new dark lord to fight with people who have no idea about the Reality Wars.  They assume the heroes are dangerous insane folks that should be locked up.  The Soviet union could be still in place with a lingering cold war.  It would allow for turning the 80's cold war US into a setting of its own.  Which creates for some rather nostalgic gaming.  

I am unsure of whom I would suggest as the Dark Lord, perhaps Bush the elder or some figure behind the scenes wanting the status quo to remain.  I am sure the next question is why the time frame?  Mainly because that is when Torg was all washed up.

The players would have no internet or a most a very difficult to access one.  Bulletin Board Systems would be all the rage along with party lines.   Guns and equipment would be limited to those in the basic boxed setting for the non effected earth.  If you really wanted to get weird let the history advance to modern 2013 tech and then have this 80's revision of the world start intruding that is cool too.  Things that are happening in the news could be modified to be ushering the change.  PRISM and the conflict in Afghanistan could be working their way back to the 80's.  A massive cyber attack could bring down the internet such that though it is up it is constantly being hit by a global denial of service attack.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Characters for campaigns

The jester is a character inspired by A Game of Thrones on tv.  He serves as a sort of an inverse to a character like Tyrion  In fantasy games he would be a large brutish race, half orc, but could be a large brutish human in more historic low fantasy games.  He has been captured and as a survivor moved into the service of a noble as a humiliated court jester, something like Dontas.  He is meant to be a character with a hidden skill set that can function as an operative for hire.

His training is as a ranger and has developed his skills to fit the city.  His fighting style is skirmish fighting using improvised weapons and ambush attacks.   He is often ignored in the city or mocked but he uses this to track his targets.  Ambushing from cover and dealing with them in a secluded spot.

This is a good character to harass a party with even if he does not serve as a combatant.  He could be tracking an spying on the party for some noble, only to alert guards later on.  If discovered he could turn the pursuit into an elaborate game.  Continuing the jest while he batters the party with jugs or wine bottles for comedic effect.

The jester can also serve as a good bridge between the underbelly of crime and the upper echelons of society.  Making him a Mr. Johnson stand in for the fantasy setting.

A Look at the Flint and Steel kickstarter

I really want to invite you folks to take a look at the flint and Steel kickstarter project that can be found at

These small or first time publisher projects are the ones that appeal the most to me.  It seems like you can get really make their dream projects come true through kickstarter.  This one is a heavily modified version of D20 with a campaign setting, all meant to provide a gritty low fantasy version game experience.

It seems they have stripped D20 into a classless and levelless system that allows for characters to grow into most any concept.  I am interested in this growing your character as you choose idea, that sounds weird and overpowered but interesting.  Anything that can make the players feel integrated into the story instead of the character is good.

There is a sweet spot funding level at 20 GBP that gets you the books in digital form and some modules that looks like the best investment, on the cheap.  60 GBP will get you the books in printed form but that is over 70$ US and probably wife enraging for me. 

I have one question about the books and that is based off the image above.  Its great and all but i don't understand it.  If the setting is very low fantasy this ghoul king seems out of place.  All in all they seem like a good set of folks to back.  I am really considering the 20 pounds sterling level.

Monday, July 08, 2013

My response to San Jose Fireworks

I have seen a fair amount of news reports after the 4th saying San Jose as a city has complete disregard for the ban on fireworks.  First off let me say, great work san jose residents I enjoyed your fireworks and your disregard for this law. But I also have a novel solution for the Mayor and board to solve this problem.

My solution is to just flood the streets with fireworks!  Weird I know but please read on.  Our state allows class C "Safe and Sane" fireworks.  These were the sort legally allowed in San Jose pre ban and are legal in many other spots in the state. These are not the bottle rockets that worried people so much in days gone by nor are they the mortar fireworks currently being used by so many of my fellow residents.

What you banned so many years ago were a few ground level fireworks that did not explode.  You banned fountains that shot perhaps 9 feet into the the air.  Along with black snakes smoke bombs and flowers.  These were never of concern.  I am going to confess to past crimes here but as a teenager I loved to get fireworks from Newark and use them on the fourth.  I was breaking the law and didn't care, if one has access to the better fireworks and lights them off, they are breaking the same ordinance.

The fireworks I hear and see from my window are easily available in places like Indian reservations or Washington state.  Seriously In Washington it's wonderful fireworks everywhere, there is no need for a city or county fireworks show.  The point is now I know where to get them and so does most everyone else and my sparklers are the same crime as lighting off a bad ass mortar.

So I suggest just reversing the ban.  Make those same small safe and sane fireworks legal and give people an outlet.  Tax the sale of fireworks and make some cash for our city, maybe even pay for Christmas in the park.  Let charity groups make some profit selling the them.  Most of all let people have a since of community and unity.  Back in the 70's the 4th was a block party on every street, we need that again.

So why do I think this will work?  It allows folks an easy source of fireworks, they can drive to any strip mall and get a box of fireworks.  No 3 hour drive is needed.  They are legal so you have no worry about using them, gives you another reason not to buy larger more dangerous fireworks.   You can support a charity you like, if your kids softball team has a stand you can buy from there and support them.  Most of all the legality of fireworks would allow people to use them in a safer fashion.  The middle of the street or a school's blacktop are actually pretty ideal.  Some place away from houses or vegetation.  People hiding fireworks in their back yard lights up trees and dry grass or houses.  Almost every fireworks related fire I have heard of was someone trying to hide using the fireworks and using them inappropriately.  Also in our political climate folks are feeling the hand of government control they want to disobedient, allow them some small freedom and they may not feel the need to express their displeasure.

To the city, you will gain taxes, need less police on the 4th, have a greater since of community and will have repelled an unjust law.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Dungeons and Dragons online tips

Well I am back doing the low levels again after TRing my ranger live into a barbarian.  While I expect most of this is old news to folks I often see people not taking advantage of these tricks.   So I am just going to throw them out so you can take advantage or disregard.
  1. Don't always kill the Boss first:  You can get conquest in a few quests by ignoring the boss and killing everyone else first.  This is true for The Conspirator, The Missing Party and Kobolds New Ringleader.  Just kill the trash first and then drop the boss and you will see you now have conquest.  If you are not killing everything this is a tip to ignore and is only useful if you are very close to conquest already.
  2. Sometimes you want to break boxes and spawn mobs for conquest.  There are a couple of quests in catacombs or the ruined halls were you this is what you need to do if you want conquest.
  3. In Durk's Got a Secret go to the brother with the shrine first:  This is the one with the fire trap on the way.  The reason is you can get more boxes and kills going to that side.  Also that brother is very aggressive the other one stays put and allows you to control when you are ready to end the quest.  This is the best way to get ransack and conquest.
  4. Let Sentry's ring the bells:  In quests like Garrisons pack the only way to get conquest is to let the sentries ring the bells to spawn mobs.  I usually walk in and stand there until he rings then kill everything.  Also if you are doing Stealthy Repossession letting the last kobold prophet ring the bell opens the door into the final area making it easy for you to grab that gem.
  5. In splinterskull and cant do traps, shoot from below.  If you shoot the guys after the traps in splinter skull they will run to you.  You just need to range them from the loop below 
  6. In the Delera's chain you will encounter ghostly skeletons.  You just need holy, pure good or righteousness weapons to hit them.  They don't need ghost touch and oddly enough they are not actually skeletons as they do not have the DR for piercing and slashing weapons. 
  7. Just Avoid some people:  If you see someone that pisses you off don't group with them.  Don't make exceptions!  The people they group with are probably worse.
  8. In Delera's part 2 there is a trick to make the door open more quickly.  You need to get all the ghost skeletons that spawn into the previous room into the room with the gate along with your entire party.  Then you have go get that room to spawn so you have a big mess of dudes.  Then kill them all. 
  9. Sometimes its best no to break stuff:  In quests like The Snitch, Kobolds New Ring Leader and some of the catacombs quests, breakables are there to provide you with an easy jump.  Breaking everything can prevent someone from avoiding traps.
Probably not new but there it is.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Campaign Seed: The Goblins of Parra part 14

I have done a fair amount of small story point ideas and I think if anyone is using them they have enough for a few weeks of play.  I wanted to talk about this goofy idea of Threat rating mentioned in the story points.  While it is a means of controlling events to occur when the story if ready to support them it is a bit more.  My original vision was to allow for extra things to be granted via a chart based on the threat rating, these would be both good and bad.

Now I am thinking it may be easier to scale back that idea and instead use the threat rating as a one for one measure of the goblin hordes size.  So each point of threat yields more goblins to the horde, be it in the form of attracted allies, conquered tribes or birth.  Of your goblins 1/3 are going to be warriors with the rest representing non combatant goblins, the chief and his guard.

There is going to a need to house these goblins too.  I am going to work on the locations I have mentioned in the story points and come up with a maximum occupancy number for each.  The warren at the tree will only old 75 goblins but the old Dwarven hold may allow 150, for example.   There may be a need to split the tribe at times perhaps deploying goblins to hold locations or having specially trained goblins make a colony at various locations.  There is going to be a mechanism for creating specialized troops of goblins.

My plan is to use the stealth, archery and combat ratings granted in story points to allow the players to unlock different types of goblin units.  So if the Horde has a high magic rating they will have access to casters or shamans.   Stealth could allow for the training of sneaks and assassins.  These units will come into play when larger conflicts come to the horde and a more Battle System like combat is used. 

Still I have not completely disregarded the chart idea.  I am thinking there should be some events that are triggered by the horde size reaching a certain point.  I know at 300 I want to have a group of stone giants offer to build or expand some of the goblins structures.  Later on they will try to kick out the goblins and take the structure for themselves using hidden passages, but that is another story point.