Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hope for Africa

Today, CNN reported that Congolese transitional President Joseph Kabila watched their investigation of systematic rapes perpetrated by the military and police. According to the article, Kabila, who had a daughter, watched the report several times, visibly shaken. For the women of the region, I pray that his declarations to stop this most heinous form of ethnic cleansing aren't mere election year words.

Amanda, who first told me about the story earlier today, initially thought the article spoke about Darfur. So much wishful thinking. With the second-largest rebel group refusing the peace deal there, and not without some good reasons for doing so, I'm doubtful that we'll see much good news from Darfur in the near future. Still, hope springs.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Weekend Fun

We had my oldest brother Frank and his new girlfriend Adriana up for the holiday weekend, and it was good times.  Adriana seems warm, and she can hold her own when it comes to Frank (but not overbearing or mean).  Also, she’s a big Buffy fan (more than Frank) so that’s a plus.  We hope things work out for the both of them.  

I grilled sirloin tips for them the first night complemented by Amanda’s most excellent cucumber salad and baked potatoes.  On Sunday we used the leftover sirloin for Eggs Benedict, then Frank and I went to Smiley’s for a Belgian beer run, then he and Adriana cooked pork chops and potato dumplings.  Monday Frank took us to the Chauncy Creek Lobster Pier in Kittery, which was good eats.  Amanda and I shared a two pounder and Hazel discovered she loves steamed mussels.  Gabriel stuck with the fries, as usual.  Afterwards I took the family to Annabelle’s in Portsmouth, and on the way we hit Mainly Gourmet ... oh yeah.  Their chocolate covered cherries are unlike any others.  

And in other notable news, Frank beat me at a game for the first time in about twenty years.  In fact, he won all three games of “Grave Robbers From Outer Space,” and in the last two he came back from big deficits in the last two hands.  

Friday, May 26, 2006

"LOST" season two finale

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Not So Episodic?

I've been tingly with anticipation since I read that Valve was moving the Half-Life franchise to an episodic model. No more waiting multiple years to see the next gigantic installment of the tragedy of Gordon Freeman. Instead, every three months we'd live another chapter in his life. Thanks to Steam, Valve would change the industry and save us from four-to-six year next-gen project schedules and their $30 million minimum production cost.

I've always loved great television serials. They allow the creative space to develop each character and tell the smaller stories that surround the arc-anchoring premiers and finales and sweeps. To illustrate, take Firefly and Serenity. Serenity stands alone as a great film, but Firefly flew with quiet grace as it touched the heart of each character, and did so in only fifteen hours. As Joss Whedon said about the difference, "Basically, the scope of the storytelling is on a different level. [Serenity is] a big wide story." "Half-Life" and "Half-Life 2" are big wide stories, and I eagerly await smaller ones.

And as Gamasutra reported today, I may need to forget the smaller stuff. For starters, Valve is saying we're looking at almost six months between Episodes One and Two and then a year between Two and Three. And Three might be all there is. They're talking about a trilogy. Is that just for this story arc? I surely hope so.

That being said, I respect Valve for prioritizing quality over an arbitrary timeframe. We waited six years for HL2, and it was worth it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


The problem with saving the bloggishness for later is that I get tired. I fell asleep on another documentary tonight after putting the kids to bed. I hope my dear feels more wakeful. Good thing we weren't watching the two-hour "LOST" season finale tonight. Actually, I'm confident I would have found that more riviting than speculation on alien technology. I've heard those physics speculations many times before. Too bad there isn't one on Heim Theory.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bye Elizabeth. Dick is a dick

In news that would break my son's 19th month old heart of he could understand it, ABC announced today that they are axing Elizabeth Vargas from the ABC News anchor's chair and replacing her with Charles Gibson. Gabriel won't have her to coo at anymore. From the wording, it also sounds like Vargas' co-anchor Bob Woodruff gets the shuffle too, that is, if he can shuffle after that IED nearly blew him to pieces in Iraq, and that happened only a month after he got promoted. I thought they made a good team, and I've never been fond of Gibson. He's experienced but he's got a strong streak of goof that makes him better suited to the morning crap. This change will likely push Amanda and I to try another network, or just watch "The News Hour" exclusively.

Dick Morris is goofy; he likes to suck on hooker's toes. If you haven't heard of him, Dick Morris once managed President Clinton's re-election but had to resign when news broke that he had an affair with a prostitute and let her listen in on private calls with the President. Since then he's become a Republican attack dog. Here's his assessment of why neither McCain nor Giuliani are acceptable candidates for the '08 Republican Presidential nomination, and what he says speaks volumes about those who currently control the Republican Party:

"McCain is too independent and Rudy too liberal. Republicans will not forgive the Arizona senator for his anti-torture bill, his backing for campaign finance reform, his support of major reforms in corporate governance, his opposition to big tobacco, his antipathy toward making the tax cuts permanent and his backing for citizenship for illegal immigrants. Nor will they overlook Rudy's support for abortion choice, gun control, affirmative action or gay rights."

You can read the entire load of fun here. If Dick "will not forgive" you for being anti-torture, what will he forgive you for? And does he kiss his mother with that mouth after sucking the toes of hos?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Skippy's and Alberto's Revenge

By the time I realized that I hadn't blogged last night it was past midnight. Amanda and I tried Skippy's Revenge (Don't frames suck?) and didn't finish because the game ran so long. Since we didn't finish the jury is out. The balance of characters to SFX looked better, but we'll see. I really want to try "Kung-fu Samurai on Giant Robot Island," because I know the secret of your Kung-fu fighting style and now you must die.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez wants revenge on journalists who report leaks, and he said today that he's open to prosecuting those journalists to do it. I doubt he could get around that little First Amendment thing, but it's a sign of how open and transparent this administration remains that he'd make the threat. This comes on the heels of the news that the government has been monitoring the phone records of investigative journalists. Are the terrorists calling?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tabletop To Laptop

I've been reading The Escapist for a few months (thanks to Eric Chadwick for turning me on to it), and I'm continually impressed by the quality of its authors and articles. The article I read today caught my eye immediately as it deals with the difficulties of translating pen and paper RPG adventures to the electronic realm.

I own "Neverwinter Nights" and have dabbled with building and scripting modules in its toolset. I never moved beyond the dabble stage because writing a PnP adventure usually takes about twelve hours, and you'll need to add another twenty or more to get that online. But the author raises other issues, and they're worth looking at.

Steele begins by blaming MMORPGs for the lack of roleplaying, and this I buy. Roleplaying via text isn't easy. How many professional actors do you know who work in the medium of text messaging?

Steele's group of PnP buddies logged into his online adventure and began slaughtering every woodland creature they could find, causing the druid to attack them. This could easily have happened in the realm of Mountain Dew and polyhedral dice, like relying on the players not hunting for venison and making the druid the only source of critical information, but the pressing question is, "Would they have been so inclined to kill those deer if they were rolling dice?" I agree with Steele that they wouldn't, even though his explanation for this behavior appears to be "Blame the players."

At that moment, I felt that the problem with computer roleplaying games wasn't the games. It was the players. They just didn't get it. Here I was with friends who were perfectly good tools for executing my storylines in the living room, but put them behind a keyboard and they simply couldn't be bothered to try and do what they were supposed to.

So it's their fault? You wrote the adventure and you were running it, so sorry, Mr. Steele, but you're a "perfectly good tool" for thinking that way and that blame hat fits you nicely. The greatest strength and weakness of Interactive Fiction remains just that. You don't control the players because they share authorship with you, and if you didn't anticipate them doing something and you fail to work around it after the fact, then pull the hat down over your eyes.

The most likely reason the players went aggro, I reckon, comes down to two factors: convenience and flash. Rolling dice and calculating to-hit scores takes time, so much time that a battle that might take an hour in PnP Land takes a couple of minutes (or less) on the PC. Since the computer handles the computation, players feel more free to unsheath the sword and let loose. It's like having a designated driver who never complains about staying dry ... he doesn't mind so bottoms up!

We're primarily visual creatures. When we greet each other we start by making eye contact, not sniffing, so we like flashy eye candy, and today's PCs and powerful consoles deliver more of it, and those eye-popping spell effects aren't going to cast themselves. You want to see the pretty fireball? You're going to need to try and kill something with it. It's as simple as that. Wired games provide a visceral incentive for combat.

So, what should people like Steele do about this? For starters, know your players. I personally don't get jollies from blowing shit up, but if they do, then either give that to them or don't play online with them. If you're going for less hack-n-slash, conference them into a Skype call to encourage roleplaying. As the GM, the voice call will also allow you to give a real voice to the NPCs, saving you from having to type dialog trees for hours.

But better yet, if you're lucky enough to have your friends live near enough, get around a table and see each others faces. It's old fashioned, but it's some of the best exercise your imagination can get.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Previous Mentions

I’m waiting for the export of a large scene to fail, and being large it’s taking its sweet time about it.  Nothing worth writing has come to mind and nothing pissed me off today (yet ... but let’s not lose hope) so let me look back and see what subjects I said I’d return to.  

Ah, I mentioned a while back that I’d talk about how made amends with Steve Egan.  There’s not that much of a story here, no movies that turned my head around.  I’ve known Steve since the second grade, though we haven’t kept in touch as I always have with John.  When I went through my arrogant phase in High School I dumped shite on lots of people, Steve being one of them, and I likely dumped more than usual on him because he was always less intellectual than most of my friends.  Note that he was always smart, in fact he scored higher on his SATs that I did and was always in the advanced math classes that I wasn’t, but his interests weren’t geeky like John’s and mine.  You should have seen how he shoved those SAT scores up my ass.  I actually look back on that moment with fondness because I got what I deserved, and Steve got some of the payback that he deserved.  Months later, and I’m not sure what spurred it in me, I apologized.  Maybe my new relationship with Amanda and the confidence it gave me, or the fact that Steve was about to ship off to West Point.  I dunno, but I looked him in the eyes and it felt good.  He was gracious about it too, which was nice.  

Oh, man, I’ve still got to tell you about “Ultraviolet.”  Not sure I’ll have time as Amanda is working tonight.  If I can I’ll update this post.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Alternate Reality Games

Back in 1997 I was waiting for the train to arrive at the station for my morning commute when I noticed that all of the poster ads had been changed. They bore a yellow background and a URL, That was it. Seeing as I worked for a B2B company (the first, I believe), I had to give the site a try when I got in the office. The url points to a company called Consumer Recreational Services, which apparently creates personalized games, and the index page presents the beginning of a survey designed to get a rough idea of what type of game they'd create for me. It's an interesting business pitch, so I take the bait and answer a few innocuous questions, but the questions quickly get dark. Do I enjoy harming small animals? What kind of sick games do these people make? Soon the survey ends, and a brief message apologizes because CRS is unable to help me.

Now I'm really interested.

I went back and answered the questions as if I was a psycho who dragged Morris across pavement, but I still got the same no-can-do response. I worked in marketing at the time, and I began to get the feeling that this was some type of promotion, something new and really fun. A few days later I learned that Michael Douglas was starring in a new film about a live-action game that goes wrong.

Alternative reality games, as they've come to be known, infuse marketing with story and mystery, and I've grown to respect and enjoy them, which is saying a lot for a guy who still quotes from The Merchants' War.

Today I took a bounce through the ARG developed around "LOST" and found it a blast. It stretches across a few other sites, such as that of fictional author Gary Troup, Oceanic Air ("We'll take you to destinations you never imagined!"), the tin-foil wearing DJ Dan and some cryptic messages left by Hanso-hating hacker Persephone. If you like "LOST," I recommend the ride.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Where Were They When?

The day after Stephen Colbert laid the cut straight at the White House Press Corp dinner, I noticed the reaction from the Right and thought, “Now where were they when Imus set President Clinton alight at a similar function (the Radio-Television Correspondents' Association dinner) a few years before?  

And while we’re on the subject, do you remember when gas prices spiked during Clinton’s tenure and truckers massed on Washington D.C., shutting down traffic in the city in protest?  Gas prices today are at least a dollar higher, but I haven’t heard a honk from those truckers.  I wonder why?  Maybe this time, Rush told them that President Bush doesn’t have much influence over the price of oil.  I guess Clinton had super secret powers.

Btw, I would have posted this last night but my laptop kept saying it couldn’t find an AP.  Turns out I accidentally hit a function combo that toggles power to the wifi card off.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

When It Rains

We all know about it pouring, but the part where the refrigerator dies was new to me.

It's been raining for about a week solid here, and I mean that without exaggeration. There may have been times where it slowed to a drizzle, but the clouds haven't let up. Amanda got home from the night shift about 7:30 this morning and she warned me that there was quite a bit of flooding on the roads, so I checked WMUR for closings and there were none.

I'd noticed that there was a lot of water in the freezer section last night and was hoping that some selection from Swanson had kept the door slightly ajar, so after leaving the laptop I checked and it was all thaw there, and the stuff in the fridge felt warm.

I got the kids ready for church and headed our early. I knew that Case Road would be a mud slide so I took a right onto Mill Pond and was greeted warmly by the "Road Closed" sign. That's one out of three routes down. After I turned around I headed further down 125 and took the right onto Kelsey. After a minute, there was a "High Water" sign, so I slowly pressed ahead ... and then I saw how high the water was. One route to go. Turn around again, back down 125 to 152, the main artery for Nottingham. If this is closed, it's bad. As I'm driving down I'm wondering if the North River crosses, and in a couple of minutes I get my answer. The North River isn't big or fast flowing. It's one of those streams that you see guys fly fishing in, just like on the cover of "Guys Fly Fishing In a Stream" magazine. With water rushing nearly to the underside of the bridge, here's hoping the fish will be able to find there way back someday. We made it over and got to church.

Pastor Pat made it, Gary and Valerie, Don, and a couple of other folks whose names I don't know. Jill arrived later, having also been forced to turn back a couple of times. The service went well, and my Ave Maria was pretty tight. I was right to give the pipes a rest last night. Just before I got up to sing, I noticed a ladybug walking on the back of the pew right in front of me. Thanks, Muder, and Happy Mother's Day. We got home by the same route, though I hear it was closed a few hours afterwards.

So back home with a dead fridge. When life gives you lemons, make mimosas because that orange juice isn't going to last, and it goes well with the Eggs Benedict.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

If My Head Wasn't Screwed On ...

The morning began marvelously as I got the kids out of the house without waking my dear (who worked a twelve hour shift last night) and remembered the diaper bag and drinks for the kids and snacks too. I remembered my travel journal so that I could do some writing while the kids ran around the PlayPlace, and then we talked into Jumpgate and Sharon said, "Aren't you supposed to be somewhere?"

I thought that Games Day was next weekend. In my lame defense, Wayne was supposed to email me a week ahead of time and let me know where we stood for pre-registrations and such, but I can't blame him, especially since he was so gracious about my brain being missing. I brought the kids over there after my purchase of "Grave Robbers 2: Skippy's Revenge" and apologized. I'm going to do another Agent X for him to make up for being an idiot. Gotta love Wayne.

I practiced the Ave Maria a few times today. The voice firmed up after the second run, but by the sixth my pipes were sore and they sounded it. Here's hoping I don't crack tomorrow.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Elite Dreams

Remember “Elite?”  I used to play it on my Atari 520 ST back in the mid 80s.  For those who never had the pleasure, you played a small spaceship captain trying to trade your way to fortune, or a docking computer.  Yes, buying that docking computer meant that you could sit back and watch the vector graphics while Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz” piped over the midi and your ship came safely into port (Unless some yahoo launched right in front of you.  Thank Reagan for firing the air traffic controllers).  

Last night I dreamt I was playing an Elitesque-game, but one that got meds from Barry Bonds.  I had a third person view when piloting my ship but was really there when investigating an abandoned space station (and grabbing whatever loot I could find ... you know, salvage rights).  I’m not sure who I was playing against, but whoever they were had made an early purchase of weapon upgrades for their ship, while I went weaponless but got the much more expensive teleportation device.  This proved handy for me since I got to make short hops and evade small bands of pirates.  After my first salvage score I popped over to the bank to sell my wares, but learned through a contact that I could get a better deal though an auction house.  After that sale, I made my ship a little Defiant and earned cash and prestige by hunting every pirate I could find (on the easier levels).

So, a good time, in fact the best time I’ve had gaming in months ... since I haven’t gamed on the PC in months.  Maybe my brain is sending me a pixilated signal?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Celebrity Update

That sounds like a cable news segment, which isn’t good.  Anyway, three important people in the news today (it’s mostly old news, but it’s new to me).  

Maddox, the refreshing adept of invective who created “The Best Page in the Universe” got a book deal.  The man who is better than your kids got the recognition he deserves, and according to this article at CNN the preorders for his book, The Alphabet of Manliness, hit #1 on Amazon and stayed there for days, proving that Maddox really does rule.

Keeping with the letter “M,” I discovered yesterday that Dr. Michio Kaku has his own podcast.  Well, it’s his own radio show that’s made available as a podcast by WBAI, so props to them as well.  If you want to hear the man who I consider to be the heir to Carl Sagan’s mantle of making cutting edge physics accessible to those of us who can’t handle the math, here’s the link to the feed.

And speaking of podcasts, my own brother has one dating back to 1998 (Yeah, they weren’t called podcasts then, and yes he is too a celebrity ... and he can beat up your big brother) on the subject of swing dancing, brought to you by the fine folks at Yehoodi.  Get individual shows or subscribe because you know it don’t mean a thing.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Can Dan Brown Decode QM?

Amanda is about to read The Da Vinci Code and I noticed that we had a copy of one of Dan Brown’s earlier books, Angels and Demons, so I thought I’d give it a read.  I started it last night and found that Angels and Demons deals a decent amount with physics, and that Dan Brown gets very basic facts of physics very wrong, especially when it comes to the dominant field of physics today, quantum mechanics.

The character of Vittoria Vetra, daughter of a brilliant physicist and described as one herself, has succeeded in isolating and storing anti-matter and as she explains her father’s and her major breakthrough (and their belief that it is evidence for the existence of God), she says, “’Matter,’” Vittoria repeated, ‘Blossoming out of nothing (71)....  He not only proved that matter can be created from nothing, but that the Big Bang and Genesis can be explained simply by accepting the presence of an enormous amount of energy.’”  “’Matter from energy?  Something from nothing?  It’s practically proof that Genesis is a scientific possibility (83).’”  

Let’s leave the God argument aside and just look at the physics here.  For starters, the idea of something from nothing isn’t new to physics.  Maybe Mr. Brown hasn’t heard of Stephen Hawking, because if he understood Hawking’s Radiation then he’d know that, at the quantum level, something really is created from nothing all the time.  Back in 1974, Hawking based his theory that black holes, the enormously massive gravity sinks that carry so much gravitation that even light cannot escape them, aren’t so black on this principle.  

On the quantum level, the sub atomic, cause and effect break down, and the vacuum of space boils with the constant spontaneous creation of particle/anti-particle pairs.  A pair of particles, one matter and the other anti-matter, will spontaneously appear out of nothing and a moment later meet and annihilate each other.  This raucous roil is called quantum foam, and physicists have been talking about it for decades (for a more technical explanation see here).  

When these particle pairs appear right next to the event horizon of a black hole, Hawking theorized, one particle would fall inside the horizon from which it would not escape, causing its twin to wander off where it could be detected.

Like Einstein, many of Hawking’s theories have become well known outside the world of academic journals, as sales of Hawking’s popular books, like A Brief History of Time, can attest.  And while that book probably didn’t sell as well as The Da Vinci Code, many people have read it and the ideas are well known.  Oh, yeah, and there was that movie version of it.  So, while the spontaneous generation of particle/anti-particle pairs may not be as well known as E=mc2, it’s not obscure by any means.  

Speaking of E=mc2, the most famous equation in the world, Brown proves that he doesn’t understand it.  Brown’s character (and not only this one) confuses energy with nothingness.  Energy is a “something,” and as Einstein first explained in 1905, energy and matter are really the same thing.  What Einstein showed was that Energy (E) is equal to mass (m) times the speed of light in a vacuum (c) squared.  Mass is essentially super concentrated energy.  This fact of matter and energy being two sides of the same coin has given us nuclear power and the atomic bomb.  Energy and “nothing” have nothing to do with each other.

What I want to understand is, how did this get published without someone saying, “Hey, you need to fix some of the physics here?”  

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

CJ Carella's Armageddon RPG

Mix equal parts eschatology, “The Prophecy” series of films, add a dash of Lovecraftian horror and top with Tom Clancy style military tech-thriller and you’ve got the most original contemporary fantasy settings that I’ve ever seen, CJ Carella’s Armageddon:  The End Times.  Carella, who wrote the Buffy RPG (easily the best cover-to-cover read of any RPG in existence and one of the most streamlines systems to boot) displays divine creative inspiration with this world of magic and war where angels, demons and gods of myth join forces to fight the big one against a Cthulhuesque foe.  

It’s not my roleplaying cup of tea, necessarily, as the front-line aspects seem better suited to hack-n-slashers, but “underground resistance” storylines could lead to some excellent character-driven stories, and even if that weren’t the case it’s a setting that makes for engrossing reading, one I’d love to see novelized.   I admire the fact that there’s a clear bad guy, yet more than enough murky alliances to make for good drama.  Most of the Fallen seraphim would love to see humanity in the dirt, but if the war is lost they’re as good as dead too.  Others find our capacity for vice endearing while a minority secretly seek redemption.  The majority of the lofty angels resent us for our resemblance to the Creator, and the fact that we sin makes us less than appealing, plus many of the angels entered self-imposed exile after a second schism in heaven.  

System-wise, I’m a bigger fan of the Cinematic Unisystem rules, but there’re enough sidebars with info on running under those to make it easy.  Overall the book is a winner, with special props for it’s form factor, a 7.25" x 9.25" hardcover that’s very portable and contains mostly good art.  My biggest complaint involves the lack of any scenarios, which is a serious omission.  First off, it’s bad form to not include at least one token adventure to help provide flavor.  Also, considering the range of styles the setting allows — hand-to-hand and tank-to-tank on the front lines, cold-sweat suspense in a resistance cell in an occupied territory, hard-nosed detective work flushing out terrorists before they can strike, back room intrigue to gain allies with wartime diplomacy — several adventures would have been better.

Overall, a grippingly creative piece of work that I hope to see more of in the way of supplements.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I’ve changed my grip and been working on my follow-through and the results are bearing out.  On Saturday, I got thirteen points on Sarah and then won a cutthroat match against Ceci and Bob (not that Bob, but another old timer ... very nice guy).  

So that was a lift.  Ceci was the one who said I didn’t give her enough of a workout, so I savored that win, which was by a decent margin, btw, my fifteen to her eleven.  We’ll see if I can tighten up my game some more and get it consistent.

Remind me to tell you about the Armageddon RPG when I’ve got more time.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


... Are fun, because they’re usually overly intricate, doubling over themselves at times like a bad murder mystery, but still they hold a lot of sway for a lot of people.  Lee Harvey Oswald shot officer J.D. Tippit four times, killing him after Tippit stopped Oswald 45 minutes after JFK was shot.  Four witnesses identified Oswald as the killer, and seven others saw Oswald fleeing the scene.  I’ve heard conspiracy theorists rage against the supposed stupidity of believing that Oswald killed JFK, in fact one did a presentation at my High School, but I’ve never heard one even mention Tippit’s name.  They tendentiously leave out mention that minutes after JFK was shot, Oswald acted like a desperate man who was attempting to flee the scene of a crime, and in doing so committed another.

The topic of conspiracies recently came up when my good friend John found some 9/11 conspiracy videos and sites.  They make some disturbing claims and they raise some interesting questions, but many of their own assertions don’t make sense and there are resources that do an adequate job of refuting their claims.  

One inconsistency I keep coming back to are the assertions that both flights that hit the WTC were being remotely controlled and were instead military cargo planes while the object that hit the Pentagon was not a plane at all but was a missile of some kind.  Why would those responsible for such a well planned an elaborate charade get two planes to hit the WTC but not get one to hit the Pentagon, requiring them to confiscate and suppress all videos from buildings surrounding the Pentagon and to supposedly intimidate witnesses who didn’t see a plane?  Were they afraid that the plane wouldn’t be totally destroyed and thus investigators would discovered that it wasn’t a commercial airliner?  But, with the resourced needed to pull off such a stunt, couldn’t they simply acquire a commercial airliner, paint it to look exactly as it should, and remotely fly it into the Pentagon?  

Hell, Marc Ecko recently hoaxed the military into thinking that he’d stray-painted graffiti on Airforce One.   “Ecko acknowledged Friday that his company had rented a 747 cargo jet at San Bernardino's airport and covertly painted one side to look like Air Force One. Employees signed secrecy agreements and worked inside a giant hangar until the night the video was made.”  Surely the oft-speculated teams of government black ops specialists could have done even better than Mr. Ecko and his crew.

I’m reminded of Carl Sagan, who researched alien abduction claims.  He found it truly disturbing that there were elements that he couldn’t easily refute, not the least of which being the people he personally interviewed who sincerely believed that they had been the victims of alien physical abuse.  But Sagan returned to his adage, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”  The majority of claims he was able to debunk, and those anomalies that remained didn’t constitute extraordinary evidence.  

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Games Day Coming Up

I’m waiting for a test export to finish and it’s taking so very long that I thought I’d drop in for some freewriting, something that I should do everyday (at least those days when I’ve got a minute between compiles or test iterations).  

So there’s a Games Day coming up.  Wayne over at New Heights has taken the helm and he should do a great job.  I’m scheduled to run a Buffy episode, but I’m not at all sure what to run.  I could always default to a rerun, but I’ve got a funny feeling about keeping the same cast.  Honestly, I’d love to see some of the characters that got short shrift earlier get more attention.  Wiley wasn’t even in the pilot, and I’d love to see Zoe’s secret play out.  Both are solid characters, but maybe I should create others?  I seriously considered running a different game altogether, but I love the Unisystem Cinematic rules.  Everything else looks so clunky by comparison.  

Damn, those sad associations don’t go away, though.  I’m remembering Hector, and the badness between Brad and Jill.  You can’t go home again.  It was good times while it lasted.  Amanda and I wrote some good stuff, and it was a hoot.  Hopefully we can get to that same place someday.

What do you think about a Marvel super heroes game?  Maybe because of the upcoming X3 film I’ve been thinking about mutants and the like lately.  I remember having a million ideas for super powered characters when I was a kid, not uber-types but more like The New Mutants; kids who were too young and awkward and had serious hang ups.  One of my favorite examples of the type was in that comic, Sam Guthrie.  For starters, he was anything but the muscle-rippling buff-boy.  Sam was a slouching jug-eared bean pole.  His power enabled him to fly, but his use of it was fumble-fingered because he was afraid of heights.  There, ladies and gentlemen, was a compelling character.  And then there was Doug Ramsey, whose power was the refreshingly non-combat related ability to easily understand any language.  I really should collect that book.