Thursday, January 12, 2012

How The Grinch Stole Christmas Vs. Liar, Liar

* = Oh Math(s) is there nothing you can't make better?

We watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special, ‘The Doctor, The Widow, & The Wardrobe’ (**** ½ out of 5), last night. I’m not ashamed to admit it; I got weepy at the end. There has been this aching that has gone of late centered about things that make me feel loss, especially when I read or watch or listen about others feeling loss. It’s strange, and while I don’t much care for it, I’m hoping it’s just another stage of grief. Now as far as the episode goes it was fantastic.
The Doctor owes a ‘favor’ to a woman who loses her husband, a British air force pilot, during WWII. He answers her ‘wish’ by showing up after the death of her husband on Christmas to help her and her children, whom she hasn’t yet informed of the death. Then of course the insanity ensues, which owes an awful lot of homage to ‘The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe’ in set up and look; HOWEVER Moffet takes it into a very interesting direction. Oh and we get Bill Bailey, from Black Books & Spaced, being friggin’ hilarious. I won’t spoil the twist, the story, or why Bill Bailey steals the scenes he’s in, but I will say that it was another GREAT episode by ‘The Moff’ & company. We did get a little resolution from the end of the last season however; so if you aren’t caught up just skip the next few sentences so you don’t get it SPOILED! You’ve been warned. The Doctor finally goes and sees Amy & Rory, who he thinks think he’s dead after the end of last season. There he is informed that River already let them know he was alive. Amy, however, is a little pissed it took him two years to come back to them. Matt Smith did an absolutely beautiful job of showing just how sad The Doctor’s existence can be. The relationship between The Doctor, Amy, & Rory has grown into something that I miss when it’s not on. It’s one of the most fun & fully realized friendships on television, so it was good to see it rekindled. Now for my questions, WHO was threatening Earth at the beginning of the episode? I mean that little opening scene, besides the breathing in space part, was really fantastic and full of tension. Now I just want to know why it was happening. What has The Doctor been doing, and with has he been doing it with, for the last two years? I love the fact that with a character like this you can drop him anywhere at anytime. That being said when there are large holes in the ‘Timeline’ it is a tad irritating, because I don’t have the time or obsessive nature to read every book or comic or listen to every audio book about Doctor Who, and because of that I sometimes feel like I’m missing out. Last but not least, we didn’t get a cliffhanger or a ‘Coming Soon On Doctor Who’ clip & that makes me sad. I know it’s going to be a bit of wait for New Who episodes, but at least give me something to keep me focused on it. Oh well back to working my way through Classic Who I guess.

Ok, SPOILERS off, sorry about that, but I know some folks, like Cassandra, are fully caught up and I wanted to throw some thoughts out there for them to contemplate. Last week I also finished the first season of Dave’s Old Porn (**** out of 5).
If you don’t read consistently or this is your first time reading this blog this show is basically a Showtime comedy show starring David Attell in which they basically watch old vintage Porn MST3K style. If you know Attell’s humor you know it’s filthy, sometimes obnoxious, sometimes almost incoherent, but it’s almost always funny. Watching him watch some really bizarre old porn with other comedians and some old and current porn stars while commenting is actually pretty damn funny. In fact the only time it really goes off the rails is when they stop commenting. Now don’t get me wrong this is a very ‘adult’ show, so if you are easily offended it isn’t for you. However also realize that the dirtiest of stuff is covered up by either someone’s face, which is pretty damn funny, OR by the couch that Dave & his guests are sitting on. This includes during sex where the couch moves with the thrusting. I would love if Dark Dave would offer his own review in the comments section as he’s now watched all 8 episodes. So Dave if you’re reading feel free to drop a review in the comments.

Either tonight or tomorrow I’m going to play some solo D&D Adventure System. I’m going to randomly grab three Villains. See who they are and build a Monster deck around them.
Then I’m going to use a random table to figure out the ‘Quest’ and from there I’ll be able to randomly name the adventure. I’m not sure how I’ll pick my Hero or Heroes. I have a crap ton of Board Game Geek dot com created stuff, and yet I haven’t made a single Hero yet. I’m thinking about making the old 4E D&D Groups characters into Heroes, so it would be Vanarr, Ulver, Ste-ve, Sequilum Bernadette, Kluh, etc. At the same time I sort of want to make my old Ravenloft group from college as well; Walter McCrate, Axel Arlington, Louis Salabim, & Charles Cusshout. Since I picked up the Pathfinder Heroes pack, and the Iconic minis are gorgeous, I’d also love to turn those characters into serviceable Heroes for the game. However I can’t do any of this right now because our monitor on the desktop died. Hopefully we’ll be replacing it this weekend, but it has significantly hampered my card making & my obsessive playing of Battle For Middle Earth II. But I digress; I really want to play a bit. I want to try out some of my creations, have a bit of fun, and maybe get a ‘story’ out of it. Like I said, maybe tonight or tomorrow.

I wouldn’t be a nerdy blogger if I didn’t bring up the announcement that Wizards Of The Coast made regarding the next edition of D&D. That’s right we are now speeding head long towards 5E. There is a part of me that hopes that they’ve learned some lessons. Do not promise digital tools that don’t really deliver. Have a unified version of the system and don’t feel the need to tweak just to tweak. On this end I feel like they’ve learned from Paizo. Perhaps they’ll get off their high horses about ‘Internet Piracy’ and re-release all their old material in PDF’s again. This was a MAJOR issue with old fans as it effectively cut them out. When Paizo started putting Pathfinder together they had an open play test and it really did help them build the game that gamers want. SO WotC is doing the same with the next iteration of D&D. I think it’s also a way of trying to build in-roads with pissed Grognards who constantly complain that this ‘isn’t MY D&D’. Well if they have a voice in it now, the hope is 5E will become their and everyone else’s D&D. It seems they also want to figure out a way to unbalance the ‘perfect’ balance 4E has which causes combat to go a little long. I’m ok with a lot of this. I’m a tad worried with them bringing Monte Cook back in, the architect of 3E. It’s not that I don’t think Monte is a wonderful designer and writer, because he IS! I’m more worried that 5E will become as convoluted and ‘heavy’ as 3E, 3.5E, & Pathfinder (aka 3.75E) is. It’s just not a game I want to play because the prep time can be outrageous. The hope is that they can come up with a version that will suit all players and bring the D&D community back together and line Hasbro’s pockets with ‘chedda’. I have to admit that I’m a tad disappointed. I like 4E, my players like 4E. It’s simple, for us, it plays fast. I feel like it works for both of my groups; ‘Regular’ Group likes to really Role Play and get into that aspect so we go that route, & ‘Old School’ Group is all about Hack ‘N Slash. With the 4E toolset we can do both. I want that modularity in a game system. If they lose that I’ll be very disappointed. My next irritation is cost. I didn’t invest in 3E or 3.5E, I did heavily invest in 4E. If it really only got a 4 to 5 year window I’m going to be a little put off. I guess I’ll have cross that ‘financial bridge’ when I get to it. I signed up to do the play test, just like I did with the Miniatures game. I’m hoping to actually get to test it out, but even if I don’t I really do think that involving the community, extending the creative olive branch to the old guard, and showing an open mind can only give players the best version of D&D possible. And really isn’t that what we all want?


- See how I gave you no lead up; I just DROPPED it on you. That’s how I ‘do’.
- If the Colts cut Peyton Manning then it’ll just be further proof that Jim Irsay has lost his mind. When you get rid of Bill Polian, maybe one of the best GM’s of ALL TIME and then entertain the idea of cutting one of the top ten quarterbacks of all time then when you start to lose you deserve it. Granted with Polian the scuttlebutt is his son who was being groomed to take his place is apparently an asshat, but you keep Polian for as long as possible. It’s the same with Manning. Sure you are going to owe him a mint and he’s coming off of neck surgery, but a 70% Manning is still 90% than 95% of the quarterbacks in the League. I don’t like seeing a class organization meltdown, but when one does it to itself then I feel no sympathy.
- It’s not that cold out today, but that wind is KILLER!
- I finished the Book Of Vile Darkness (*** ½ out of 5) the other day. For those that don’t know it’s a D&D sourcebook on not only ‘playing’ evil PC’s, but also how to build evil into a world. It’s basically a source book on making things a bit nastier, but at the same time giving evil some depth.
- The hiatus did the show Whitney good. It went from becoming somewhat unwatchable to actually being quiet funny last night.
- Last night as I tried to sit through the abyss of terrible television I flipped to the Big Ten Network and watched Michigan at home against Northwestern. I came in just after the half, and Northwestern was up by around 12. I couldn’t believe that the Michigan squad I had watched just five days earlier RUN Wisconsin out of the gym was fighting one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. Then the run came. What a fun and competitive game. It went to overtime, there was some chippy play, and in the end Michigan won. The best part was Cassandra sort of got into it, so we enjoyed it together. Maybe I can rope her into College Basketball the way I broke her will with the NFL.
- Next week Archer & Justified are BACK!
- I’m loath to admit it, but Dan Slott’s run on Spider-Man is wonderful. It’s actually one of those runs that remind you why you love a character to begin with. So kudos to you Marvel comics, I know I rip the HELL out of you constantly, but I have to admit when you get it right you hit it out of the ball park.

As we speed towards the end of the week I really am just trying to hold on. This weekend I’m just going to spend time with my wife watching movies, continuing to get the house back in order, and new monitor willing doing some geeky crap. I think it’s good to recharge those batteries a bit, to regain some sanity, and get some focus. Who knows, I might even paint this weekend.

“Lying like needles on forest earth
Euphoric rush trees bend to pray for us
I'm sputtering like cold machines
Late for the birth ritual, ritual, ritual, ritual

You can drive my tail to watch the circus
A birth ritual, a birth of idiots
Now I woke up blessed and good strives for heartache
Marked for the death ritual, ritual, ritual

As you start the song and face this garden
I light a cigarette before the execution
Now you see your crime for every miracle
Add another drug at every birth ritual

I took the drug to make me stay
And now everything dies in shyness
The snake retreats admits defeat
And waits for the birth ritual, ritual, ritual

As you start the song and face this garden
I light a cigarette before the execution
Now you see your crime for every miracle
Add another drug at every birth ritual

Shining light child's highs
Mark his sides bright until the newness wears off

As you start the song and face this garden
I light a cigarette before the execution
Now you see your crime for every miracle
Add another drug at every birth ritual”

* = This might, and I stress MIGHT be the only way I'd vote for 'Mittens'. If he had a cat head.

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