Wednesday, January 30, 2008

AD&D Terrain

Ever since age 12 I've been a huge fan of and have played pen and paper role playing games. About a year or so ago my childhood friend, cohort of many teenage adventures, and easily the best DM I've ever played with got in touch and we started playing AD&D 2nd Edition in Forgotten Realms again for the first time in years.

I play an elf thief who has reached 7th level so far and has narrowly escaped death in just about every gaming session we've had. He's almost been annihilated by tribal Uthgart Barbarians, a 100' tall demon spider known as Bebelith (twice), hordes of Demon-Elf half breed warriors, a shifty backstabbing asshole thief named Tiger Bloodshanks, a Carrion Crawler (totally embarrasing), a Gnoll fighter/mage and his giant serpent familiar, and a necromancer that summoned more Wights than would ever be considered reasonable.

Aside from being a great DM, Jon (pictured below) is also an amazing terrain builder. Here are some pictures from some of our recent games.

New(ish) music...

I've been listening to these newish bands a lot lately. All very very good. I won't bother with elborate self serving descriptions, but if you're curious here are some links. Check it out if you want.

TRICLOPS! (San Francisco/Oakland)
New label mates of ours and ex members of Fleshies, Victim's Family, Bottles & Skulls, Lower Forty Eight and a bunch of other bands.
Recommended track: Salton

OM (Oakland)
Ex members of Sleep, gloriously loud live.
Recommended track: At Giza (this is the ending of their 20 minute epic from the first record)

Ex members of Maclusky.
Recommended track: Small Bones Small Bodies


"Fuck you, okay?" the first line of Stallone's latest "remember how awesome I used to be" revisiting of his classic characters. Sadly, I doubt we will see his lumpish, botched face adorn any Oscar nominations, but as soon as the academy allocates an award for "Best Explosion of a Human Body" or "Highest Body Count in a Motion Picture" then Rambo may get the respect it deserves. The acting and story hold about as much water as you can cram into a thimble, as expected, but the film's true triumph is a return to the action movie formula of yore, conjuring classics like Commando, Cyborg, and the Death Wish series. The iconic villain is so heinous it's almost beyond human capacity, smirking behind a cigar and aviator shades from the passenger seat of a jeep as his cronies mow down hundreds of innocent Burmese villagers with automatic weapons. No real plot or reason is provided for this, other than Stallone's token slur saying "It's a war zone up there." and it basically gives us the black and white distinction required for the mindless slaughter to come. These are the bad guys, and they are so bad you will be happy when Rambo kills them. Happy is an understatement. Rejoice. Make merry. Here are just a few of the selling points in convenient, organized, anal retentive bullet points.
  • Rambo ends every argument with "Go home."
  • Stupid christian missionaries run into Burma, get pwned hard, and must rely on angry Rambo to save them by killing everyone, thus rendering "God's work" irrelevant.
  • Rambo forges his own choppin' sword.
  • Numerous deaths by bow and arrow, including a zinger where the arrow enters through a dude's chin and comes out his eye socket.
  • Fastidious attention paid to the graphic violence that occurs when the human body is exploded by mortar and/or trip mine.
  • Sylvester Stallone's lumpy face is laughable proof that plastic surgery has come a long way since he turned 40. He looks like he pissed off a bunch of bees.
  • Rambo sets off an atomic explosion in the woods using a rigged claymore and a dirty rag.
  • Rambo says "Fuck the world."
  • Awesome night vision scope scenes of dudes getting shot with a massive sniper rifle, causing heads to explode and bodies to go flying.
  • Dude gets dangled over hungry pigs who eat his feet.
  • Rambo spends a literal 20 minutes on a machine gun turret killing people. He's up there so long they even shoot an elaborate relaoding sequence of him changing the ammo drum so that he can continue raging.
  • The following chart (Please note the last line; Zero sex scenes in any Rambo film!):

Please take care to catch Rambo if you're a fan of the action classics, it does not disappoint. I recommend pre-gaming with friends and showing up loaded.

Honorable mentions also go out to Cloverfield and There Will Be Blood.
Cloverfield was totally killer, a disaster movie told from the hand held video camera perspective of people trudging through a giant monster attacking Manhattan. The minute the action starts it doesn't let up until the end, the monster is not hokey at all, acting is well done, overall a pretty brilliant take on a monster movie. If you can stand the shakey cam on the big screen then check it out.
There Will Be Blood was all the oscar fodder you'd imagine it would be. Daniel Day-Lewis is a shoe in for best actor this year, he's a treat to watch. Without any spoilers, or exaggeration for that matter, this film had the best ending I think I've ever seen.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

An open letter to the East Coast

Get off Xbox live. Do not come home from work. Do not turn on your Xbox. Do not log on to live. You can do anything you want, as long as it is not done within the realm of Xbox Live, which I will now dub "The West Coast Was Here First. Fuck Off." Just leave it. I know it's microsoft, and they should be able to handle the traffic, and they should have thought about it before the holidays, and it shouldn't cause us to sit in lobbies for MINUTES AND MINUTES, but that's not the case. Leave me alone. I was here first. You have to wait, not me. Daddy needs a zoom scope for his G3 assault rifle.