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March 31, 2004

Bubblegum Wars

(sigh) Once again, I've let the website go entry-less for a week (not counting that place-holder Obligatory Web Quiz bit). Not good.

It's going to be an intense little week for roleplaying. Sunday gone, we piled over Dan's place for the kick-off session of Bubblegum Crisis. It was fun revisiting the character of Slamdance again - and this time actually playing him rather than writing him! Just as interesting were some of the character choices everyone else had - Boots played to type with a dopey martinet of a Major (in powered armour) with Gav as a long-suffering Sergeant of MARS, Sydney's own version of the AD Police. Vickie is Utopia Jones, the token Hardsuit Babe; Dizzy (a.k.a. John, one of the two new players to the Black Talon team) was a rather frazzled Private Detective, and Mad John (a.k.a. John the Mad Norwegian), stayed true to form when creating a character for a high-tech, near future anime campaign - he made up Sir John, a Knight from the Days of the Magna Carta who has no idea how the hell he got to 2033 A.D. Sydney.

As we were a little rushed for time, we went character sheet-less. Dan ran the whole thing as a party-meet-up session, allowing us to chat and setting up the team structure; it looks as through we're going to be a semi-official "flying-squad" within MARS, with extra budget from the government and other interested parties (including Dick Smith himself). The next session will probably be in April, but in the meantime, Dan wants to put campaign updates and session summaries up on the Sydney 2033 website (even more incentive to get the damned thing working properly again). I'll be talking with him about how he wants to do it soon.

Friday night is the next session for Gav's Star Wars game. Unfortunately, Trent can't make it, but Boots, Dan, Vickie and I should still be able to make things interesting for him. ;-) Vickie and I still need to work out how she's spending her skill points from levelling up after last session; I think we'll be putting them into her Force skills so she can Cloud Men's Minds like she wants her character, the Bothan Drema Awa'k, to be able to.

I've been prevaricating on the Heavy Gear front, mainly as we have so much coming up in the next couple of weeks, Brook's visit notwithstanding - on the day she heads back to Melbourne, we're off to a friend's housewarming. Thankfully the rest of the month is clear, so I might have to ask whether anyone's available for a date then.

March 28, 2004

Obligatory Web Quiz #01

And I've never even read it...

You're Watership Down!
by Richard Adams
Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

March 23, 2004

Remind me to stay the heck away from the Cajun Sausage and Beans.

That was the lesson I took away from the anniversary dinner Vickie and I had at the New Orleans Café on Saturday evening. I thought I could handle them - Vickie's been slowly upping the spice content in my food for the past three years - but although it wasn't too strong, the sheer quantity of hot stuff in the main course I had was overpowering. Next time, I'll stick with the chicken.

It was a great, relaxing evening out for the both of us, even if the waiter did bring our main out before we'd even finished our entrée (he did apologise later). We sat there for ages after we'd done with our food (I say done with, not necessarily finished) and compared notes on the clothing and styles (or lack thereof) of the Saturday evening Crows Nest crowd. I tell you, if someone had told me this time last year that I would soon be able to converse fairly fluently on style and fashion, even with Vickie, I'd have looked at that person blankly.

It's all the fault of that bloody show, you know. Vickie and I positively loeve it to bits, and we loathe most reality shows (although I suppose this is more in the vein of Burkes' Backyard or Ground Force; a lifestyle show). I even own the book, and have given it at least one thorough read-through. I've started using facial cleanser and exfoliant, I went through my drawers and wardrobe, reorganising both (I keep forgetting just how many good shirts I have) and I've even annoyed Vickie with talk of re-arranging our main room (of course, we can't afford the required furniture right now, what with rego and green-slip just paid). It's scary: by the time Aussie Queer Eye gets going (if it ever gets going), I won't need to call on the Local Fab 5 for assistance!

Then again, considering my track record, I might.

Got the Ryobi line-trimmer back from Butler & Smith yesterday; even though it wasn't a warranty fix (we have no idea where the purchase docket is), they put it back together for free. I'll likely be taking to the garden with it this weekend. Did I mention earlier that the Ryobi is our third line trimmer? Our third? Our first oen was a fairly cheap Razorback, which used an odd bump-spool head which was a royal pain to re-spool with new line. The second was a medium-sized Ryobi with disposable spool head, but we suddenly discovered that, while it seemed a bargain when we bought it at the Macquarie Centre, no one stocked the correct replacement spools after a couple of months. So you can imagine our joy and delight when the Big-Arse Ryobi (I mean that literally; it's a large electric job with a hefty motor at the back) suddenly fell neatly into three (the drive-train came spiralling out of the shaft when the head fell off), possibly four (if you count the absent screw) pieces? I'm sure you can, especially if you've ever done a from-scratch installation fo Windows XP, or even Linux in the early days before the fancy GUI distributions, when you were just learning how the command prompt worked. You'd know that wonderful feeling of "Oh, no not again" whenever you witnessed your installation halt with a Blue Screen of Death or kernel compiler error.

My Battlefield 1942 play is picking up quite a bit. Boots and Gav directed me to the forum for the slowly-rebuilding Battlefield Australia clan. We tried, with moderate success, to get together for a couple of games last week; we're having another go tomorrow evening, if there's a server around with enough free spaces and a low ping. I've downloaded a couple of pieces of software at the suggestion of the BFAU guys that come in quite handy when organising and playing games; Teamspeak, which is sort of like Internet Relay Chat with voice instead of keystrokes (it'll even run in the background while your game's up, making co-ordination and tactics so much easier), and All Seeing Eye, a competitor for game-matching programs like GameSpy Arcade that has a free trial version. It's very natty, in that it allows you to queue for an empty spot on any given server.

Unnumbered Tales of Blue City

This is one of them.

It's the first ever documented playtest of Jared Sorensen's Lacuna roleplaying game. It definitely makes for an interesting read.

Also, Jared's made an official Lacuna character sheet; while it's displaced mine, I can definitely see some elements of mine in there. It looks quite a bit better, as well.


Aw, Rob...we still love ya.

As much as I liked/appreciated your sheet, I wanted the char. sheet to be more in line with the actual non-Daedalus version of the game (and frankly, I didn't like how that old Lacuna logo that I did).

Posted by: Jared A. Sorensen at March 29, 2004 03:19 PM

Jared! Hello! This is a pleasant surprise! :-D

I should have mentioned in the original post that the new sheet looks quite snazzy. I do see your point about the old logo - it can seem like some odd geometric pattern at first glance.

I saw on your LiveJournal that the print copies of Lacuna didn't come out as well as you expected. Sorry to read that. Here's hoping they sell like hotcakes anyway - as long as it's legible, I doubt any one will have trouble paying for the content!

Posted by: IMAGinES at March 29, 2004 06:22 PM

March 19, 2004

Anyone Want Tribes 2?

I just did a clean-off of the computer games shelf in the computer room, mainly taking down those game boxes I don't need any more (like the double-ups of Neverwinter Nights and Shadows of Undrentide and the boxes for MechCommander and X-Wing Alliance). I also had a look at what games I want and don't want, and as the title of this post indicates, I'm looking to offload Tribes 2. You'll get the full-size original retail box (slightly battered), the original game media and manual, the Official Tribes 2 Prima Strategy Guide and - if you ask nicely - a CD-R with the latest patch update (roughly 90MB) burned onto it.

It's free to a good home, but if you absolutely must offer me fiscal compensation, $15 wouldn't go astray.

March 18, 2004

Cruising Through the War

Well, folks, the papers have confirmed what's been rumoured for a little while: Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg are working on a new War of the Worlds movie.

All I can say is, they'd better have hundred-foot-tall walking engines of glittering metal with Jeff Wayne doing the music or I'm not watching it.

And having it set in the early twentieth century London of the novel would be a plus, too.

March 14, 2004

Galactica Region 4 DVD Due In April

On Dan's advice, I checked out the Australian release of the Battlestar Galactica miniseries DVD; it hits stores on April the 21st. I fully intend to pick a copy up, and depending on interest, I might try to set another date for that viewing aprty I had planned. Of course, if you can get it at your leisure from your local retail store or video rental, you might not be particularly interested. Which is cool. Still, would those of you who previously expressed interest still be keen on getting together on, say, Saturday, April 24th?

Green Thumb, Sore Back

Hello all! I noticed the main page is getting a little sparse. When the right-hand column spreads out across the bottom of the screen, I know I'm overdue to put an update on here. Speaking of the site, you've probably noticed a few minor tweaks; the removal of the calendar on the main page, some re-categorising of the links and the other odd bit and piece of "optimisation" here and there. Hope you like; if you have any strenuous objections on the grounds of aesthetic appeal or functional impairment, please let me know, won't you?

Well, we had a pretty good day yesterday; Dan and Lesley's kids didn't give Vickie and I much trouble. We got home at about eleven, and pretty much collapsed.

Of course, there's no rest for the wicked; with an inspection by the the real estate agent tomorrow, we spent the day in the garden, making sure it's ship-shape.

A fair bit of the work was cutting the long grass; a month or so ago, the head of our last line trimmer (the third we've bought) dropped off. It looks as through a screw or bolt just vibrated itself loose and fell into the grass (where we can't find it), and although we got a replacement from a mower store in Hornsby last week, it still vibrates loose. Tightening the cuff around the collar where the head meets the shaft of the line trimmer doesn't seem to help. In the meantime, the long grass has just got longer, especially out on the grass verge.

I tried taking the trimmer to the authorised Ryobi repair place on Friday - I was dropping the car off at Kmart for a rego check - but I forgot to put the damned thing's head in with it. With the car in for service, I couldn't go back later, so in desparation, we hired a petrol line trimmer from Kennards this morning. It's done the job well, and Vickie and I have mowed the lawn into neatness. I also hacked away at our path and driveway with the lawn edger; I tell you what, that's one exhausting tool to use. You're cruched over it, shoving it back and forth, hacking away at the grass over-growing the pathway's edge... you have to stand up and take a breather every twenty seconds.

Well, I had to. Mustn't be fit.

So, tomorrow morning, I need to drop the petrol trimmer off at Kennards; I think I'll take our Ryobi in for service as well. We're pretty sure it's under warranty, but we can't find the actual warranty certificate, so I'll probably pay for any repairs.

Which means, between service and rego for Madam Lash, it's going to be a pretty tight month for us until mid-May. We pay rent fortnightly and I'm only paid monthly, you see; April is going to be one of the dreaded triple-hit rent months, when I get three rent withdrawals between paycheques.

Still, the good news is that Brook, one of Vickie's grand-daughters, coming up from Melbourne on the third; she's staying for the Easter school holidays. This is her first time in Sydney, so we'll be showing her all the sights. It's been suggested I get the folks together and run a roleplaying session for her while she's here; it's a tempting thought. (Another convert!) I'm thinking that if I'm going to run anything, it'll be Dan Bayn's A Wushu Guide to The Matrix: it's rules-light (i.e. easy to pick up), fast and I have little doubt that Brook's familiar with the premise and setting. Plus, Dan's already written a couple of adventures for it, so I don't have to do much development.

March 13, 2004

When Weesa Be Gettin' Lightsabres?

The first session of Gav's Star Wars: Jedi Academy campaign ran last night at our place. It was a nice, relaxed session with more geek chat than gaming, but as we were all relaxing into place, it wasn't a big deal. Besides, Gav intended it to be more of a loose, training game so we could all get our first Jedi level before venturing out into the wide galaxy. It was a little different being a Gungan Soldier. (Up at 0600: "Meesa wakey, Sarge! Meesa... Oh, no-sa bein' in Boot any more.")

Anyway, I've got to make this short, as Vickie and I are dashing off to Dan and Lesley's; they have to attend a wedding today and need the kids baby sat.

March 10, 2004

Hey, man, I wanna do another Coen...

Oh, heck, I'm on a movie kick tonight anyway; I might as well mention the latest Coen Brothers film - starring Tom Hanks.

Yes, yes, I know a few of you have a low opinion of Tom Hanks, but this little piece of celluloid looks like a sidesplitter! Just you view that trailer! Go on!

Game over, man.

Teaser 2

While you're there, have a look at this one. I think it's hilarious.

And - well, I know it's directed by Roland Emmerich, but - Dennis Quaid and Ian Holm in the same film? I just have to see it.

March 07, 2004

Looks like they linked me after all...

I was doing a vanity search on Google (using my name as search criteria) and, aside from my pages coming up several times, I discovered a news article over on halo.bungie.org from last year. I e-mailed Louis the URL to my review of Halo, and didn't get a reply - fair enough, I assumed, as most of the reviews they linked to seemed to be part of either professional or videogame-focused review sites. Nor did it pop up in the Latest News or the Reviews sections while I was looking. But, lo and behold, there it is.

I'm going to put a comment under the review with the URL, as well as my responses to Louis' comments.

March 06, 2004

Warthog Launch

Speaking of Jared Sorensen, I found a link to this addictive little Flash game on his blog. Go play it. You'll like it, especially if you've ever played Halo.

Can't Help Being Paranoid in a 20' by 20' Room

I'd like to direct you all to a posting on The 20' by 20' Room, a gaming-dedicated web log. With the pending return of the roleplaying game Paranoia in a new edition, Rob MacDougall has given some thought to the most commonly discussed issues on the Paranoia Live Forums and come to his own conclusions about the important elements of Paranoia and how the designers should aim to preserve them.

It's a very interesting read, especially for me, as I was buying into a lot of the window-dressing discussions he mentions (I think I said "Oof" once or twice while reading it). I also couldn't help but chuckle at a few of his other comments, especially on geeks and nostalgia.

It also doesn't hurt that he mentions Jared Sorensen and InSpectres at least once apiece.

March 05, 2004

Andrew Hilton to Shave Dreadlocks. Next Up: Four Guys on Horses Show Up at White House.

That's right, ladies and gentlefolks; Andrew Hilton is losing his hard-earned hair in a good cause. He's looking for people to donate to The World's Greatest Shave for a Cure; you can either search by his name or his volunteer number, 137902. Get in quick; the shaving (or shoud that be shearing?) will occur on the afternoon of Friday, March the 12th. If you wish to witnes the miracle, you'll need to get in touch with Andrew (and maybe take an hour or two off work).

I'm sure he'll have more donations than anyone; many of us have been offering to pay him to cut his dreads off for years...

Andrew Hilton to Shave Dreadlocks. Next Up: Four Guys on Horses Show Up at White House.

That's right, ladies and gentlefolks; Andrew Hilton is losing his hard-earned hair in a good cause. He's looking for people to donate to The World's Greatest Shave for a Cure; you can either search by his name or his volunteer number, 137902. Get in quick; the shaving (or shoud that be shearing?) will occur on the afternoon of Friday, March the 12th. If you wish to witnes the miracle, you'll need to get in touch with Andrew (and maybe take an hour or two off work).

I'm sure he'll have more donations than anyone; many of us have been offering to pay him to cut his dreads off for years...

I like the design of your site, it's very professional!

Thank you very much, but I'm afraid I can only take a small part of the credit for it. The layout was achieved through use of Movable Type's standard HTML templates and the Gettysburg style sheet from the Movable Type web site. The colour scheme, fonts and placement come mainly from the Gettysburg style sheet. I've made some tweaks, including eliminating the posting calendar from the index page, increasing the size of the posting and category headings, adding in the category descriptions and putting the content sidebar in the category and monthly archive pages. That the changes were easy to make - and any problems with them quick to fix - is a testament to the HTML and CSS design of the Movable Type crew, not to mention the versatility of the application itself.

March 04, 2004

Galactically Inclined

Well, the Battlestar Galactica miniseries has finally been released on DVD, in the UK at least. I'm definitely tempted to splash out after next payday...


It's been an... interesting week for TRON.

Firstly, the TRON 2.0 comic series, to be produced by 88MPH Studios, has suddenly been cancelled, mere weeks from the first issue's release date. The closest we'll ever get to it is this Newsarama interview, featuring pencil art from (what appears to be) the first issue, plus a cover.

Secondly - and I just stumbled across this today - TRON 2.0 is being ported to the Xbox, complete with all-new Live content. The Xbox version is to be called TRON 2.0: Killer App.

Dunno whether I'll pick it up - I'm not a Live subscriber and I've already finished the PC version - but the thought is tempting...