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Sayonara, Soup Plus

Evening Ye Merry Ladles and Mentalmen! Don't you love how we Aussies adopt the European Christmas iconography (snow, etc.) during the hottest part of the year? I find it doubly ironic as Bethlehem, the pace where it's all reputed to have started some two thousand years ago, is bloody hot this time of year as well! We have had some hot weather lately; thankfully, it's not been so warm that we haven't had some nice cool evenings - like this one! Vickie's home with me this evening - she's not feeling too crash-hot at the moment, so she's taken a sick-evening.

Have any of you cats and kitties taken a gander at the IMAGinewS web site lately? 95 posts! Ninety-bloody-five posts! That's over double our previous record (September this year). It's very heartening to see this group being used for the sort of general chat that I was hoping it would. As this post will bring the total to 96, I think we'll easily crack 100 by New Year. What do you reckon?

The Photos section is finally getting some use (I'd quite forgotten it was there); Vickie posted a photo of me at work a couple of days ago (I'll have to take a camera to her place one night and get even), and I decided the photos section would be an even more appropriate place for Peg's HeroMachine portrait of Trent. The section is open for members, and there's 30 megabytes of photo space for people to upload pictures of themselves, or themselves with other members of the group.

I'm quite proud to say that I think we're succeeding in driving Nick (Boots) insane with our own takes on his Dude, Where's My Car?-inspired Achtung! Wo Ist Mein Panzerkampfer? con module. So far, though, I've only seen ideas from Trent and Gav. I particularly like the following:

  • Roadies, Where's my Band? (Trent) - Five roadies, after an indeterminate time drinking & smoking, find themselves in the middle of the Nevada desert. They've lost their gear, trucks & band. But worse still there's not a butt crack showing between them. What do they do? Search out the missing butt cracks, or find their band in the hope that this is some sort of practical joke?
  • Dude, Where's Babylon 4? (Gav)
  • Dude? My Lightsaber is Where? (Gav), starring Yoda

And Vickie just came up with Puss, Where's My Boots?, which is doubly funny considering the guy who started this all off! So what about the rest of yez? Have any of you actually seen Dude, Where's My Car? Oh, oh, here's an evil one for you film-buffs and alternate cinema appreciaters: Dude, Where's My Lebowski? Get it? Big Lebowski? Double-meaning in the "Dude" bit? Get it? No? (Sigh...)

Unfortunately, our plans to get down to Soup Plus for one last dinner-and-show before thirty years of Sydney jazz history came to a close got the kibosh. The original booking for Thursday, December the 5th was derailed by the bushfires encircling Sydney at the time; Us, Gav and Mandi were all set to go, but Gav quite wisely decided that the bushfires near Berowra were getting too potentially close to home to not be there in case an evacuation was necessary, and we decided to stay home and make ourselves and our place available as an evacuee refuge. Vickie and I planned to re-book for next Thursday, but it conflicted with Gav's schedule (MacquarieCon rego), and by the time I finally called to book, it was already booked out. So, Vickie and I met in the city at twelve thirty on that Thursday to have lunch there. We still got a show, though - John Hawksworth was playing piano for the lunchtime crowd.

I made sure to thank the proprietor, Mr. Milan Votrubec, for keeping such a wonderful joint open for so long, and let him know I was sorry to see it go. He told me that he still had hopes that the Soup could open again; possibly, a future landlord might be a little less greedy. But, sadly, Soup Plus is now Closed, perhaps for the time being, perhaps forever. With it has ended an era in Sydney's muse-o scene.

Anyway, enough of the blues. Any of you guys frequent the Apple QuickTime Movie Trailers web site? Perchance, have you seen the new trailers for Bad Boys II and, joy of joys, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines? Look good, don't they? You know, I've never actually seen Bad Boys at all; I think I ought to track it down at the local video store sometime. But egad, T3... He's Back Again! Don't we all just love Arnold as the big, implacable, emotionless cyborg, especially when he's fighting on the side of the good guys? And do you know the guy is 55? Fifty-five years old, and he's still in great shape and looking as unstoppable as ever!

What I'm really interested in is how they explain the big shift in continuity. According to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Skynet started the nuclear war that decimated the human race in 1997. And yet, in the trailers, we see a young adult John Connor in a world that looks very pre-apocalyptic to me. Not only that, but the good old airborne Hunter-Killer from the first two movies is suddenly looking quite a bit different; much sleeker. What is going on, we wonder? Although Stan Winston has returned to handle the designs, will a Terminator movie with no input from James Cameron do the previous continuity justice?

And on top of that, for all you American Civil War buffs out there, there's a nice Gods & Generals trailer up. Gods & Generals is the prequel to the movie Gettysburg, directed by the same man, Ron Maxwell, and seeing Jeff Daniels return to the role of Union troop leader Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, but with Robert Duvall in the role of Confederate General Robert E. Lee (Martin Sheen played Lee in Gettysburg). All you TRON and Babylon 5 nuts out there ought to take note, too - although you don't really see him in the trailer, the role of Confederate General James Longstreet, played by Tom Berenger in Gettysburg, will be played by none other than Bruce Boxleitner in Gods & Generals.

I nearly missed our department's Christmas Lunch today; it was a trying morning, so I nipped off a little early to get some food, and when I came back an hour later, there was the reminder for the lunch! Thankfully, I rushed over to the local club where it was on, and got there in time for some good conversation. John brought up the subject of my web site, and Allison, my manager, seemed quite surprised that I had one! Anyway, I'll be sending her the URL so she can have a look. She's also gone on three weeks of well-deserved leave, leaving John and I in charge of our department.

It looks like it'll be a Weekend of Movies for Vickie and I. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Die Another Day are on, and we're keen to see both; so we think we'll see them at Hornsby; one tomorrow and one on Sunday. On top of that, we hired Wonder Boys out on DVD from Video Ezy on Sunday, so we're going to have to watch that (maybe tonight) before it needs to go back.

I couldn't resist mentioning the idea of Xboxing Day in my last news post, but it wasn't exactly serious - I don't particularly wish to die at Vickie's hands, and after Christmas at Dan and Lesley's, we'll likely both need the recovery time. But I might just whack a poll up on it for a laugh! On the topic of Xbox, I made the mistake of checking out this week's Let's GameSpot! streaming video show; it's the show where they fill you in on the upcoming new releases of the week. This week, they featured Crimson Sea, which I wasn't particularly interested in - until I saw some of those visuals. Even in semi-quality streaming video it looks like good stuff. Not only does the action look impressive, but the plot seems very SF/noir, and what I heard of the voice acting sounds quality as well. It's nudged its way into my "Might Splurge On" list along with MechAssault.

After, of course, I've spent some money on Heavy Gear miniatures for the Black Talon campaign. My players will be glad to know that I've been keeping it in mind, and making notes in my nigh-ever-present notebook. I want to organise them as I did with the campaign specifications document I wrote early this year. I've been thinking mainly about scenarios, the tactical system, plot points and non-player characters, and I have something of a checklist of things I want to write up in more depth. Also on the roleplaying front: Dan has announced he'd like to run another session of Champions in January. Vickie and I reckon we can make it along, and our fingers are crossed for John and Roger, who were unfortunately unable to attend November's session.

At the end of January, we have a friend from the U.S. arriving. Her name's Jillian, and we'll be hosting her until February the ninth. We're looking forward to showing her around Sydney (avoiding the tourist spots whenever possible), and I'm sure she'd like to meet some of you nutters.

Whoo! That's one heck of a long posting! I'd better go and eat some dinner. See you soon!

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