Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Anachronism and TransAmerica

For Christmas, I got two quality games. Anachromis was a gift, and TransAmerica was a gift to myself.

I have spent the last few weeks preparing and organizing my new Anachronism collection (my gift was a collection of boosters, and I had to print the rules, etc., off the appreciated Internet. I also have been playtesting my new set of TransAmerica, learning and considering the optional Vexation expansion.

TransAmerica is a very good "best of both worlds" type of game. The game appeals to strategy thinkers but it also extremely simple (when ignoring Vexation, as I have learned to do with beginners). And I am not especially good at explaining games, or rather I suspect I am but I am inevitably scapegoated by malcontents.

Anachronism is a very good game, and well thought out, and I suspect easy to explain but hard to master. I haven't enough experience to properly say. However, so far I have seen that the sheer number of variables is over-whelming at times. But the challenge of the game might merely make it especially rewarding. I think so, and plan to find out.

It is considered a colletible card game, but that pigeon hole is not a very accurate one. The collectibility comes from diversity, not randomness. And the cards themselves are often (but not always) used more like miniatures than cards, but have the ease of handling a card affords.


Discription via boardgamegeek.com:
A non-random collectible combat game presented by The History Channel and TriKing Games, Anachronism allows you to take control of some of the greatest warriors in history and pit them against each other in a one-on-one battle to the death.

Anachronism began with a 2-player starter set pitting Japanese warrior Musashi against the Norse legend Beowulf. The game now includes cards featuring such notables as Julius Caesar, Sun Tzu, Spartacus, Alexander the Great, Blackbeard and Genghis Khan, as well as weapons and armor from various eras.

Decks can be added-to with various booster packs, each of which include a set selection of cards initially focusing on Greek, Japanese, Norse, and Roman heroes, with other periods of history, including the eras of Genghis Khan and Richard the Lionheart,now in the mix. And of course, historical accuracy within the cards is sure to be high, as the game does bear the seal of approval from The History Channel.

Variant formats exist for more than 2 players, and some cards in the game are geared toward multi-player games.


and get an (up)load of this: http://www.zazzle.com/anachronism_playmat_tshirt-235993902721058498

What have you read about Taoism? Winnie-the-Pooh?

I was waiting for the computer at the library about a week ago, and wandered along some book aisles, and stumbled across The Te of Piglet. I was merely curious at first, and then amazed. It was very readable, very interesting, and moreover a subject matter that I knew very little about.

It turns out to be the sequel to The Tao of Pooh, which seems equally as good. And equal is a fitting description, as it is termed a "companion book" rather than a sequal, per se.

Taoism (pronounced, more or less, Dow-ism) is an ancient Chinese-originating religion-philosophy, while Te is a Taoist word meaning (sorta) Virtue in Action.

For an excerpt about the Three Vinegar Tasters go here
and I found this curious: http://dudespaper.com/careful-man-theres-vinegar-here.html/

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Internet Has Failed Me...

I've been searching for an image from James Careron's Avatar for parts of yesterday and today, and to be honest far too much time wasted.

I really enjoyed the movie, but my interests are on top of that. There is one shot in particular with one of the best...features I've seen in a movie, animated or otherwise. Bravo to movie's digital artists for creating such a life-like animation! It was of a female's perfectly contoured athletic Na'vi buttocks, to put it politely. It was when Jakesully was sent to capture a banshee-dragon. She was stalking the creatures, lying on her stomach, watching them before the dragons saw the party. She was an unnamed character, as far as I know. The image I attached will give you some idea, perhaps. I seem to have found all sorts of moments just before and right after.

The shot I am looking for should have been easy to find online, because of its sexy nature. But all my Google searches, safesearch on or off, came up suprisingly empty. And here I thought I had all the sexually-deprived Internet on my side.

John Carter of Mars update - trailer

The movie trailer for Disney's John Carter is out just recently: (looking good)


and here's an excited article from someone I don't think even read the books:

Monday, December 19, 2011

'Avatar' movie Na'vi reproduction

I didn't see Avatar for a long time, but I really enjoyed it when I did.

I saw something online recently that got me thinking:


Under the comments (and I hope this isn't offensive plagarism) one user writes:

"I could have sworn it was already clear in the film that they used the ponytail tendrils for sex - I'm sure I remember them showing the two make the connection, and there's certainly the "you'll go blind" joke if there was any doubt. In fact, just after watching the film I commented to someone that it make the Na'vi connections with the various animals decidedly disturbing - especially since the efforts to make these connections with the animals are forced on creatures that are trying to fight them off."

I don't recall any "going blind" joke in the version of the film I saw. Do you?

A commenter says:
"Uh, then what is Sigourney Weaver talking about when she says early in the movie to the folk trying out their Avatars: Don't play with that, you'll go blind."

Oo, this Colbert link is very cool.

And on that page I link to, among other comments, people have criticised the screenwriting and dialogue, especially the "It's cool, I'm there" line. I was shocked these people didn't seem to realize that this was good writing, in the sense of being true to their established characters. Jakesully is a self-described simpleton, and the woman has only a rudimentary understanding of English (although very good). And then, a screenplay -- even an award-winning one -- can't be judged by the standards of traditional literature. At its most effective, it is meant to convey storytelling to all the various creative minds involved during production.

And this article is informative, weather or not the link works (which I doubt)

Ooo, again. Lots of making-of details
And this one about some language building.

And a negative viewpoint

More 11th Century Persian Poetry

From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (my punctuation)

The worldy hope men set their hearts upon
turns ashes -- or it prospers; and anon
Like snow upon the desert's dusty face,
(lighting a little hour or two) is gone.

Also, while you are at it: Reginald's Peace Poem


Some laud a life of mild content:
Content may fall, as well as Pride.
The Frog who hugged his lowly Ditch
Was much disgruntled when it dried.

Not seeing the connection? H. H. Munro's columns, short stories, and poems were published under the pen name "Saki", who was the cupbearer in The Rubayat.

wow, what a cool NPR show

This past Sunday, I listened to an especially captivating Bob Edwards Weekend. It blew me away, but I was also really caffienated. I am trying to find a podcast or other manner of listening online, but coming up short. Apparently, it is unavailable.
Anyway, the show had two amazing interviews: a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street protests, and some freethinking medical experts (from the People's Pharmacy, also NPR). Hour 2 was had less of an immediate impact, being about art.

December 17 - 18, 2011

Last year, the conservative talk show host Glenn Beck regularly singled out an obscure academic calling her an enemy of the Constitution. Frances Fox Piven, Beck warned, was after a progressive take-down of America and was responsible for a plan to “intentionally collapse our economic system.” The newfound attention from Beck sent Piven’s books to bestseller lists, but she also received hundreds of death threats from Beck listeners. The interest in Piven was rooted in an article she wrote with her husband, Richard Cloward, in 1966, “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.” Now her research and writings have been collected in an updated book, Who’s Afraid of Frances Fox Piven? The Essential Writings of the Professor Glenn Beck Loves to Hate.

Husband and wife public radio hosts and syndicated columnists Joe and Terry Graedon are back with a new book called Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them. Each year, more than six million people are harmed by doctor errors, prescription mistakes and diagnostic disasters – and about a hundred thousand hospital patients die every year from preventable medical errors – including Joe Graedon’s own mother.

In this week’s installment of our series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Susan Hall. (omitted for brevity)


World-renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal inherited a collection of 264 Japanese wood and ivory carvings called netsuke. (omitted for brevity)

It’s time for our annual visit with Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis. He’ll share his list of the best CDs of 2011, just in time to include on your holiday shopping list.

Bob Edwards Weekend is heard on Sirius XM Public Radio (XM 121, Sirius 205) on Saturdays from 8-10 AM EST.

Visit Bob Edwards Weekend on PRI’s website to find local stations that air the program.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ruwon's Warbird - Star Trek CCG

This blog, like so many others I have written, is fairly unintelligible to those unfamiliar with my topic.

Ruwon finally is given his Warbird, the Kilhra. Well, almost to my satisfaction, anyway. Although I want to see a 1E version of the ship, it still excites me. You see, Ruwon was given short-shrift during the original game, and that never sat well with me. I hardly remember his appearance in the episode, but I do recall his unnammed Warbird and the threat it imposed. You see, in the original ST:CCG to be a 'matching commander' made a card especially useful and desireable. The name Kilhra is not canon, but that isn't a problem, but I do wonder where it originates. An internet search is unrevealing.


As you all know (ha ha), the Star Trek Customizable Card Game was lively mostly in the 90s, and was dead by the mid-Ohs. It began with Star Trek: The Next Generation only, but eventually expanding to include most canon, both series and movies. Decipher, Inc., the designers, tried to revitalize it with a "Second Edition" but that died, too. Like many CCGs (Customizable Card Games) it had fatal flaws. But unlike the long-lived Pokemon and Magic, it could not survive them. Biggest of all, these types of games are a endlessly awful money-pit. Almost as fatal, beginning players had a hard time getting on equal footing with established players, not only in experience and strategy, but also in the aquisition of rare or desirable cards. One reason it died while other other games lived, is that the Star Trek franchise itself went into decline, and especially its older series became less well-known. Nondescript medieval swords and sorcery adventures never seem to go out of style, is seems.

After the game physically "died", it began a virtual life, via the Continuing Committee. Now, I don't know many specifics about them, but they seem cool. And a great resource for anyone still interested in the original (1E or 2E) game.

Unlike my own 2-Player "repurposing" of the game, players using the virtual expansions from the Continuing Committee could play online, or with printed copies.

Hey, lookie here, the Continuing Committee has blogs: http://www.trekcc.org/articles/index.php?viewArticle=926

Also, some personal favorite Romulans:
Rhliailu vs Devoras

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What have you read by Murray Leinster?

I read something a bit ago, and I don't remember what caught my interest exactly, but I gathered I'd enjoy reading his story story "Proxima Centauri"

I found the file online, here:


He's (not suprisingly, considering my interests) a sci-fi writer of the old school. He wrote in say the 50s or thereabouts. He won a Hugo, as I recall. I remember reading his short stories and being impressed. Not simply impressed, but left with an lasting impression. I still remember Semper the trained eagle and the Sphex menace from the first story of his I read, and it dealt in part with animal psychology.

His science isn't spot-on, but it shows a flare that I am glad to see.

I recall a title of a story of his, "Runaway Skyscraper," which serves well to illustate his novelty of thought. Especially, that thought extends beyond mere science-fiction standbys to other settings and dynamics. Considering the era, that alone is impressive. In "Skyscraper" he deals with a pre-Columbian American setting, besides the SF elements such as the 4th dimension.

Another story also unconventional is his "The Swamp was Upside Down" in which the so-called Hard SF dealt largely with soil and geology and related physics.

I haven't read "Proxima" yet. I'll be in touch.

Monday, December 5, 2011

buying boardgames

I have had much success with eBay and Amazon over the years, but some other sites have come to my attention.


I heard that on Black Friday a game I like was being sold for $1 plus shipping on miniaturemarket.

Then, sometimes other gamers (especially at convention "swaps" or "flea markets") will offer you a great deal. I got Carcassone: Hunters and Gatherers that way for $3 and two sticks of beef jerky.

And, of course, with local sellers you support your local gaming community!

I will have to keep everyone updated.










What have you read by Stephen Crane?

Me, nothing. But let me tell you how I learned of this author, and moreover why I intend to read him ASAP.

I have picked up a book by Ernest Himingway which purports to be nearly-nonfiction. (My Hemingway is to round out the fact I haven't read him before, and especially to offset my recent sci-fi indulgences such as Opar and Gateway.)

In this book, Green Hills of Africa, Hemingway, speaking as himself, tells a guest his opinions on American literature, naming many authors and titles. At one point he explicitly says that the best American authors are... drum roll please...Mark Twain, Henry James, and Stephen Crane. Well, that took me a bit by suprise. I'm quite familiar with Twain, and have a passing familiarity with Henry James (although good, I hadn't expected him to be ranked as an "American best"). But Stephen Crane was a new one to me. Ichabod Crane, perhaps, but Stephen?

With a little internet research, I see he is the Red Badge of Courage guy. Ah, so I have heard of him, or rather his work. However, I am told by Hemingway his best two are The Blue Hotel and The Open Boat.

Hemingway also mentions Valéry as one of the best non-English authors. I assume he meant Paul Valéry from his Wikipedia fame. That's one of my next missions. Hey, I have made progress on my to-do list.

He also listed Huckleberry Finn as the best American book, or at least never surpassed. He suggests that the reader skip the ending of the book, though, putting it down once the slave Jim has been recaptured, as I recall. This isn't such a suprise, although it continues to impress me.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Do you know of the Genocide in Burma?

Burma aka Myanmar.

In 2008 or so, in Winston-Salem, NC, I met a man at a Bible study who had lived in Myanmar as an aid worker with Heroes Serving Humanity (IIRC). A guerilla sneak-across-the-border i-might-be-shot medicine-on-my-back kind of aid worker.

I found this link: http://eupan.blogspot.com/2010/03/burma-genocide-heroes-serving-humanity.html

The Burmese are exceptionally genocidal to many of their minorities, from what I understand.

It amazes me how people seem to think that humanity has become civilized (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-15736895) enough to grow out of this kind of mass-bloodshed. That's what they thought right before the Great War (aka WW I). And, judging by misnomer, you can see that "The War to end all Wars" was just one of the opening acts of modern warfare.

It is horrifying what is being done behind the closed doors of the Burmese borders. You see, most of the world isn't paying attention to what is atually going on, because (as I understand it) the Myanmar government won't let foreigners near enough to witness the genocide, forming elaborate demonstrations of acceptable human rights.


Be Not Deceived...

The title of this blog post comes from the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 15:33 (as I recall off the top of my head).

Today, being Sunday and making it to church, I was given much to think on. This time, anyway. It is always a treat when I accidentally receive a thought-problem, and this one is not the source of my blog, but is a reaction to wanting to blog about my conclusions, because I enjoy the blogging (writing) process.

When I began this blog, there were a few subjects I wanted to stay away from (such as religion), because they distracted from the basic "themes" of my blog, enthusiastic ideas (such as science fiction, zoology, ethics, gaming, books) applied to everyday life. My everyday life, anyways. However, that wasn't a easy choice to make, and this is somewhat a retraction. But not exactly.

There are many people who would consider my blog as it stands pretty eclectic and disordered. On the reverse side I have identified at least 5 major areas I chose to omit from my blogging previously: 1) religion 2) human sexuality and my preferences 3) my personal life and relationships 4) my job when I have one and 5) my health and related biological functions

I am very serious about my spirituality, and I think of my observations in that realm the most important blogging subject I could have. Thus, I haven't been very happy excusing myself from that discourse. Further, my attitude about human sexuality would be the most fun to blog about. It is grating that it so easily discredits a person, and so my sense of humor that I revel in privately I choose to hide. Likewise, my family and love life (and job, in some cases) mean an enormous amount to me, but is too susceptible to personal invasion, while my health is a vital subject, quite literally in many cases.

Did I forget any big area of self-censored blogging material?

Henceforth, I think it would be my uneasy policy to be more direct about some matters, such as my girlfriend (do you mind if I name you, lover baby?) and my job. Also, this website (blogspot) is really kind to allow one user to have multiple blogs, so I imagine I will begin a blog adjacent to this one focusing on religious matters. The reason for the schism is pretty obvious. In case I have readers of natural history matters they might not want to be immersed in highly controversial religious matters. My sexual humor and my health remain a bit more personal.

It may seem distinctly odd for a churchgoing person to have an active sexual (dare I say kinky?) side. Oh, well. That's me.