A few months ago, I was able to play a half-game of Arkham Horror at the bi-weekly Boardgame night at Lava Java. Set in the Cthulhu mythos, Arkham is a long involving boardgame where investigators are drawn to the many peculiar events happening in small town 1920s Massachusetts. Monsters are rising in city streets, cultists are gathering in occultist groups, and whispers are told of ancient old ones, alien monstrous leviathans that desire conquest and consumption of our world. At the beginning of the game, an old one is chosen to be the foe for the players, and it is that old one that is threatening to awaken and causing gates to other worlds to open in Arkham.
The game is a cooperative game, where the players are not competing against each other, but against the evil creatures in Arkham.
Each player is dealt(or chooses) an investigator with various abilities and equipment. Investigators range from a private eye, a student, a photographer, a professor, a psychologist, even a drifter named Ashcan Pete with his trusty dog Duke. The game tends to blur the line between boardgames and roleplaying games, and involves more storytelling than that average boardgame. The game takes a long time to play (3-5 hours is standard depending on the number of players) and can handle 1-8 players. You win by either sealing enough gates so that the old one goes back to peaceful slumber or if the old one awakens first the investigators have one last ditch battle to try and defeat the gargantuan old one.
This game has a high level of replay value, and although it seems overly complicated, the fun factor is worth learning the game. Actually, as long as one player has a good grasp of the rules, they can help the other players.
In the game your character can be a sword wielding motorcycle riding monster slayer, use the Necronomicon to learn arcane spells(although this will sap your sanity), become a town deputy or a member of the mysterious Silver Twilight Lodge.
It’s a big chunk of change to drop at $50 msrp, but you will get a lot of value out of the investment, not the least of which is being able to play in Solitaire mode when you’re alone with not much to do.
If you get a chance, try it out.
I spent a few hours tonight reading the Dragon*Con Homepage to find out what events, panels, etc., I’d like to attend. After finishing that, I wanted to see if any of the vendors I liked at the GA Renn Faire would be in attendance. One of the company names on the vendor page that caught my eye was Abbyshot Custom Clothiers.
Apparantly they have a 100% accurate version of Mal’s browncoat for only $491. Eeegads! Now, I like Mal’s coat, and wouldn’t mind having a similar one, but I don’t really care about having the same 100% screen accurate version because I don’t consider myself that much of a fanboy to drop five c-notes. Nevertheless, I found myself caught in a tangent, and spent an hour or so browsing Firefly fan clothing, buttons, etc.
Here are some of the more worthwhile links:
Fashionably Brown – This place has links to western wear companies, patterns for clothing used in the show/film, and links to most of the other clothing sites. Also, the Fashion for Your Ears page has direct links to Firefly filk mp3s if that’s your kind of thing.
Browncoat Patches – This is more my kind of thing. Something that a hardcore fan can pick up but doesn’t scream dweeb to the masses. I especiall like the Independant Army Shoulder Emblem patch, this is what was used in the series pilot when Mal ripped off the lieutenant’s patch to get access codes so he could get some “gorram air support!“
I’m usually not this much of a fanboy, but sometimes I have to uncork the inner geek. Hoorah!
Found this site while on a random search string. Thought it was a great read. I’m pasting the preamble and first 15 thesis below, as I’m pretty sure the author in question won’t mind if I link back to him.
95 Thesis of Geek Activism
Geek activism has not taken off yet, but it should. With the gamers recognizing the need for a louder voice, EFF gaining momentum and Linux taking on the mainstream on the one hand and recent severe losses in privacy, freedom of speech and intellectual property rights on the other, now seems to be the best time to rally around the cause.
Geeks are not known to be political or highly vocal (outside of our own circles)- this must change if we want things to improve. So here is my list of things people of all shapes, sizes and sides of the debate need to know. Some of these are obvious, others may not be meant for you. But hopefully, some of these will inspire you to do the right thing and others will help you frame the next discussion, debate or argument you have on these topics.
- Reclaim the term ‘hacker’. If you tinker with electronics, you are a hacker. If you use things in more ways than intended by the manufacturer, you are a hacker. If you build things out of strange, unexpected parts, you are a hacker. Reclaim the term.
- Violating a license agreement is not theft.
- All corporations are not on your side.
- Keep in touch with everyone you can vote for and make sure you know where they stand on the issues you care about.
- More importantly, make sure they know where you stand on the issues you care about.
- Everything will enter the public domain some day- even Mickey Mouse.
- Read the original 95 theses. Yes, they are irrelevant to these causes. Yes, they are religious- and not even close to my religion. And yes, they are 500 years old. But they do demonstrate how stating your beliefs clearly, effectively and publicly to challenge the status quo can change the world. Of course, I have no delusions of grandeur!
- Use TOR for privacy and anonymity.
- Trusted computers must not be trusted.
- Democrats may seem to be on your side, but keep an eye on them. They may only be the lesser of two evils.
- Republicans may seem to be the enemy, but that is only because they are in power now. The true enemy is a lack of accountability.
- Read Eric Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
- Why do I have to jump through hoops just to get video off my own home movie DVDs?
- Know the DMCA so you know what you are up against.
- The true enemy is the line: “If you haven’t done anything wrong, what do you fear?” The problem with that line, as Schneier has said, is that it assumes that the desire for privacy implies wrong-doing.
Read the others, interesting information to be found. Here’s one of the later thesis for Chris:
- Calling Microsoft evil buys you nothing- it only polarizes the argument.
Since I’m a tightwad, I plan on adding an entry here and there on cheap but decent recipes, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. I’ve been on an extremely tight budget the last couple of weeks, and Aldi’s has been like unto a saviour for me. Most people just know it as the strange grocery store with no name brands where you have to pay for bags and spend a quarter to get a grocery cart.
True, Aldi’s has it’s quirks. They try to keep costs down by elimating unneccesary manpower, so you won’t find any bagboys or cart attendants. To get a grocery cart, you put a quarter in a slot on the cart and it releases. When you’re finished shopping, you take the cart back and you get your quarter back. Aldi’s doesn’t add the price of “free” bags back into the groceries and being a European company, they’re pretty pro-environment, so they encourage people to bring reusable bags. You can buy a paper bag for $0.05 or a heavy duty mall-department-store shopping bag for $0.10. They also encourage customers to use packaging materials from the store as free boxes for your items, so I typically grab a banana box to carry all of my groceries. The cashier rings up my purchase(cash or debit only) and puts everything loose in the cart for me to bag before leaving. These systems completely eliminate the need for a bagboy/cart attendant.
Now about the food. It is true that 95% of the stuff is Aldi’s generic label, but I’ve been pleased with everything purchased there so far. If you don’t like an item, you can take back the packaging and receipt for a double refund. I hate generic soda, so I’ve never tried theirs, but everything else I like.
Here’s my last receipt from Aldis:
1 gal whole milk $2.95
Honey Wheat Bread $0.79
Hot Dog Buns $0.65
Plain Bagels $0.99
Cheese Crackers $0.99
Bite-size shredded wheat cereal $1.69
3 boxes Macaroni & Cheese $0.87
1 doz large eggs $0.85
Chocolate Spread(generic Nutella) $1.69
Strawberry Jam $0.99
Crunchy Peanut Butter $1.29
1 roll Paper Towels $0.59
1 lb Ground Turkey $0.79
1 lb Ground Turkey $0.79
Frozen Orange Juice $0.89
Parmesan Cheese Shaker $1.89
Smoked Sausage $2.19
Frozen Orange Juice $0.89
12 oz Hot Dogs $0.59
Cinnamon Crunch Cereal $1.69
Cinnamon Graham Crackers $0.99
1 lb Frozen Meatballs $1.69
Total w 5% tax $28.07
Pretty good. You can do better with coupons, but this is no hassle. www.aldifoods.com
We just celebrated our six month anniversary last week, and I’m damned lucky she puts up with me. I met her at a local game meetup here in Greenville. Shortly thereafter I started a D&D Campaign with several people from the Meetup message boards. Lisa was one of the first people who showed interest in the game, and at first I only saw her at the monthly Meetup and at my biweekly game.
After a few weeks I remember calling her to ask something about the game and we spent an hour or so chatting. It was a friday night and I didn’t have plans, so we wound up meeting at India Palace and had a great, but short, meal and conversation. Short because I got a call from my roomate that his brother and my friend Elias had an accident while mountain biking and was in the local emergency room. So we had to cut the night short so I could go and spend the next 10 hours at the hospital(Elias was eventually fine, he had a pretty bad concussion where he would ask the same questions every few minutes, but steadily improved over a day or so).
A few nights later, Lisa called and asked if I wanted to go to a Rascal Flats concert. My primary and secondary reactions were 1. Awesome and 2. Who the hell is Rascal Flats? I agreed and spent some time on Google and found out they are a country boy band that is popular with mostly women. I kind of regretted saying I would go now, but I wanted to spend some time with Lisa, and I’m always up for a new experience. The concert wasn’t that great; the venue was horrible (Bi-Lo Center I hate you and your seats made for 90lb stick figures; seriously, my knees were in the back of the guy in the row ahead of me, I had knees in my back, and I had to maintain constant vigilance not to accidentally kick or bump the drunk twentysomething couple next to us.), and I remain unconverted to the pied pipings of Rascal Flats. But it wasn’t a total loss; because of the cramped seating, I pretty much had to keep my arm around Lisa all night and one of the opening bands was fun in a drunk honkey-tonk sort of way.
At this point, I wasn’t completely sure if we had gone on a date or a pseudodate. I called her a couple of days later, she wanted to grab some food, and I asked with forced nonchalance “So, are we dating now?”
Pause. “Umm…do you want to be dating?”
Short pause. “That sounds good.”
Hey, it’s not one for history books, but it worked for me. I’ve had a great time getting to know her in the past six months and hopefully she won’t get tired of me anytime soon. Here are some of the dates we’ve had so far:
The homemade french food date (I made Coq au Vin, sauteed asparagus, saffron rice, with a nice Bordeaux)
The St. Patrick’s Day Date (she made me corned beef and cabbage and proceeded to drive us to Dougal McGuire’s Irish Pub for fun in the conventional Irish sense)
The first bad movie date (Ultraviolet, avoid at all cost)
The first good movie date (V for Vendetta, probably my favorite movie this year as of yet)
The chick flick I actually kind of enjoyed date (Failure to Launch, it’s not gold but Zooey Deschanel is always funny)
The Rennaissance Faire date (Of course we went with three other friends, hell of a time, though)
The Great Concert Date (Great Big Sea)