Monday, May 30, 2011

Old Guy Game Guides: Komik Kombat

I’ve been playing video games for close to as long as they’ve been available and I’ve been standing under my own power.  We kind of grew up together. However, I have been known to have extremely long lag times in upgrading my systems, largely because it tends to take an extremely long lag time for me to show any proficiency at a given game. 

I started, like most of my generation, with Pong.  Not just any pong, though.  Dad was always looking for the next thing. Although it usually ended up the most interesting next thing, not the best technology next thing.  We had (if memory and Wikipedia serves) the Telstar Ranger.
Smell the Seventies, even the video games were wood paneled.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fairly Tolled

there was a young shepherd boy named Little Bo Blue Hood.   Like all children in these fables, Bo lived at the edge of a large forest. One day his mother told him to bring one of their lambs to grandma’s house on the other side of the woods.  Not wanting to delay the story line any further, Bo skipped merrily along his way.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bad Geek Confessions: Dracula

Vampires on Parade
The Ultimate Sucker

With spring finally making a strong appearance, and the smell of summer barbecues on the horizon, this is a perfect time to think about vampires.  Face it, come October we’re going to be up to our jugulars in monster talk, therefore a little pontificating about the undead now is a nice change of pace. It’s like that “Christmas in July” thing, but with less tinsel and more blood…

Enter this post freely and of your own will.

One of my earliest memories.  Thanx, Mom.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Up the Lake: Fishing

Tipped Scales
Why I Don’t Explanation
The launching point of many a disaster.

Whenever I relate exploits of Up the Lake to anyone, they tend to ask the same question, “Are you all out of you minds?”  After that, many of them also ask, “So, you do a lot of fishing up there, right?”  This aversion to fishing is in no way connected to standard fishing problems.  The endless boredom of sitting on a hard aluminum seat for hours while even microscopic fish ignore the bait is no big deal.  Getting snagged on weeds, logs, shoreline trees, and people’s deck furniture, are minor inconveniences.  Even the acrobatic measures required to avoid barbed hooks causing third degree lacerations when there are three people crammed into a boat the size of a bathtub (all trying to fish the same fallen tree) were not a deterrent.  Honestly, if my only fishing memories were all the mornings I went fishing with my grandfather, caught nothing, and eventually gave up completely and ate the bread crusts we brought for catching sunnies, I would still fish regularly.  It was the events surrounding the few “successful” fishing trips that led me to pack away my gear.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dazed with the Doves - or - Let That Be Your Last Birdlefield

After an extensive, yet incredibly dull voting process, the development containing my first solo home was renamed to “Woodland Hills”, but in all honestly, who cares?

The important follow up to my pointless rant about name choices was that the complaints I made about “Pigeon Hollow” back then apparently offended some omniscient pagan pigeon protecting god. The result of infuriating this deity was that I had a gang of invading pigeons move onto my deck shortly thereafter. My initial thoughts about them being the equivalent of non maintenance pets vanished as I quickly discovered how deserving they are of the nickname “feathered rats”.
The invading forces.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What's in a Name?

When I moved into my Lincoln Park condo in the beginning of the summer of 1997, I was a little puzzled buy the name of the development: "Society Hill II". This puzzlement stemmed from the lack of any sign of a “Society Hill I”.  Besides, I often joked (I thought), once I show up and start juggling axes, they'll be sure to change the "hoity toity" name to something with a little more pizzazz. Well, be careful what you wish for, folks.  A letter came with a quarterly maintenance bill a couple of years later asking for suggestions for a new name, as “Society Hill I” next door had been changed to “Deer Run” a while ago. ("Aha!" I said. (Not out loud though, I only talk to myself in writing, in case it comes up later in court.))  Finally feeling some control over my own domicile’s destiny I quickly whipped off a list of ten suggestions, filled with powerful names from Norse mythology, the tales of Conan, and Arthurian legend.  I was convinced that I now had a chance to live somewhere whose name would boldly leap off the map, declaring a true sense of power and history.

In the immortal words of Sir Winston Churchill..."no."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thor Thoughts: Movie Mjolnir Musings

I was very spoiled by my introduction to Thor.  It happened back when comics could still be purchased on spinner racks in stationary stores (back when there still were stationary stores). I decided to start following comics monthly because I was running the TSR Marvel game and wanted to get more familiar with the universe. (Especially after the fiasco when I tried to run a James Bond game before seeing any of those films, and received an urgent phone call one evening, “Jeff, there’s a James Bond movie on tonight…you REALLY need to watch it.” This was the origin of another pop culture addiction to be analyzed at a later date.) Most of my players started, or already were, reading the characters they wanted to use.  Since he was too powerful for anyone to be, I decided on Thor as one of my titles.  Unsuspectingly, I stumbled into the middle of Walt Simonson’s run.
Repackaged greatness.  Go buy one now!
Universally acclaimed to be one of the top two (if not the top) runs on the comic, and destined to become one of the top two (if not the top) of the list of my favorite runs on ANY comic, looking for similar quality lead me into a lifelong addiction more relevant to the topic at hand.  Being able to tell Mr. Simonson this on a message board and having him reply with a “mia culpa” and thanks was a high point of my comic geekly existence.

I’ve had trouble getting into any Thor run since then.  (Except Dan Jurgens’ King Thor arc, which my brain decided was an extended “What if” of Simonson’s.) As much as I like Tom Defalco’s writing other places, his being forced to follow the 90’s editorial replacement mandate, (that also gave us US Agent, and War Machine) producing a Thor who horrifyingly said, “It’s hammer time!” is one of the main factors that pushed me over to DC.

With this overly prejudiced starting point, let’s take a look at this new Thor movie.
Spoilers on kiddies:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Carnivore’s Guide to Cardiology: The Disney Diet Plan

The problem: How to maintain heart healthy choices on a Disney World vacation.

The solution: 

Short Answer – Salmon and a Stitchload of walking.

Longer answer – Keep reading.

When packing for this trip I noticed the number on the scale when I weighed myself with a full suitcase was one I had seen before with just me.  Having the amount of “less me” there was graphically illustrated by a large leather bag, while fairly creepy, also inspired me to ensure I didn’t start repacking myself on this trip, so to speak.

Exercise was not really a concern.  Walking is near constant on our Disney trips.  We get to the parks when they open (or before for breakfast reservations and Extra Magic Hours) and leave when they close. If a park closes early we go from it to a different park, show elsewhere, dinner at another hotel, or stay active at our hotel. The only exercise problem I have on a Disney vacation is getting back into a normal routine after returning when my ability to even stand is questionable.

Eating healthy…now that one’s a challenge.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bad Geek Confessions: Lord of the Rings

I have read the Lord of the Rings many times over the years.  My copies are dated 1984 and I know I read it from the library before that.  The Hobbit, I read back in elementary school, even predating my Dungeons and Dragons obsession by a few years. (For reference, my first character was Gonzo the Halfling.) 

So, again, I have read them.

I have reread them.

I have enjoyed them.

I have also read the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. (Though, ironically, I can't remember if I finished the latter.)

But having said all that…I definitely prefer the movies.