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