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October 31, 2004

My Wonderful Wife.

Late last week, I realised once again what a wonderful woman I married.

You see, Vickie has been doing most of the work leading up to our move. She’s organised the notice to her tenants, she’s made lists of stuff to go and to be sold, she’s even hit job sites looking for something for me. On top of all of this, though, she’s also gone searching for gamers in Cairns whom we could hook up with.

So far, we’ve had sporadic luck. A website Vickie found for a Cairns-based group turned out to have not been updated since 2001, and the author has since moved back down to Melbourne and started an SF web comic. However, we’ve sent her an e-mail in the hope that she can hook us up with any of her mates who might still be up there. (Fingers crossed.)

Vickie also found a site for the Far North Queensland Gamers’ League. It seems more computer/video gaming oriented, but geeks tend to cross-pollinate, so I might give it a whirl anyway. (At the very least, I may be able to hook up with Halo 2 players in Cairns.)

So yes, I have a wonderful wife who’s always thinking of wonderful things to do for me.

As for me, I keep spending our money on myself. :-D

I must also give mad props to Gav, who’s done something quite similar over on the RPG.net Tangency forum.

Ooooh, that's a burn!

Yeah, click on this link and scroll down until you get to Rumour #5.

To quote Steely Dan, "All I could say was Ouch!"

ALIENS Marine Miniatures Auction

While digging through my gaming kit, I came across these bad boys: Ten miniatures from Leading Edge Games' ALIENS movie franchise line, plus packing case. As I'm pretty much getting out of miniatures, I don't really have a need for them any more.

I have a couple more auctions (of my Games Workshop stuff) that will pop up over the next week - I'm holding them until closer to November payday. I'll be sure to let you know as soon as they go live. In the meantime, if you're an ALIENS nut, won't you put a bid in? And if you know someone who's an ALIENS nut, can you spread the word, please?

[UPDATE 9.50PM:] Actually, don't worry about it; someone just nabbed them for the Buy It Now! price of $70. (If it was someone you mentioned it to, thank you very much!)

October 30, 2004

The Strangerhood

Ever wondered whether the Rooster Teeth guys could put something other than Red Vs. Blue together? Well, guess what? They have. It's called The Strangerhood, and it's made using The Sims 2. The first episode, "Why Are You Here?", is now available for download. It gets off to an ever-so-slightly slow start, but you'll find the Rooster Teeth humour there in spades (although without any swearing). Nico Audy-Roland, the composer of the RvB theme tune and incidental music, is also back, providing an up-tempo pop-rock soundtrack for this teen-soap-opera-styled series.

Furthermore, the Rooster Teeth guys have re-established the sponsorship system under the new website design. You can only donate $10 at the moment, but that gives you access to the Hi-Res versions of the episodes (when they become available). I suppose Super Sponsorship is going to be available later; either that, or you'll just have to pay for the DVD at the end of the season like everyone else (which is cool; I like the idea that my donation is going straight into defraying server costs). You'll need to create a login for their new website, if you haven't already.

October 25, 2004

Rob & Vickie’s Infamous Christmas Party 2004

Well, as we’re now precisely two months away from the Big Event, I think it’s time to answer the queries (all one of them) we’ve had about this year’s Christmas party. As we’re buggering off to Cairns in mid-January, and are probably going to be busy with packing and sorting in the weeks in between, we figure on making the party a combined Christmas/going-away function (yes, we’ve had someone else ask us about a going away party, too).

So, as we know how long it takes you lot to get organised [ ;-) ], we’ve set the date of our Christmas party for Saturday, December the 18th. That puts it precisely a week after Macquariecon XX, so we won’t be conflicting with your gaming schedules. We’ll be sending official invitations a month beforehand, but please pencil it on your calendars.

October 24, 2004

Goddamn Right Ear.

Hi, everyone! Another week and I’m overdue on another update; once again, the web page looks wonky. So what’s been going on? A few ups and downs. Let’s start on an “up”, with Thursday.

Gav is a common poster on a segment of the RPGnet Forums called Tangency; basically home to discussion of anything and everything not specifically RPG-related. (I think it was there he picked up on Firefly.) Also a regular poster is a gentleman by the name of Steve Darlington, a Brisbane resident who happens to be a mad gamehead. He’s held in high regard by the RPGnet crew and the RPG community in general; until recently, he edited the online gaming ‘zine Places To Go, People To Be and wrote his own free roleplaying game, There Is No Spoon, set in the world of The Matrix (which many have gone ga-ga over). Myself, I reckon he’s a wizard at deconstructing items of popular culture – specifically movies – to find their tropes and how to best incorporate them into a roleplaying game; his rules for Deals and Fates in There Is No Spoon and his notes on how to bring that Star Wars flavour into your Star Wars RPG sessions in Issue 22 of Places To Go, People To Be are prime examples.

Anyway, a little while ago he announced he was heading down to Sydney for a week and wanted to hook up with as many Tangency-ites as possible. He managed to scrape together three: Gav, myself and Belinda (whom I think I recognise from the Sydney RPG con scene). We had a pleasant dinner at the Normanhurst Pizza Café, discussing games, Cairns, popular culture and the like, then rocked back to my place for a little of Gav’s Star Munchkin.

There was talk of Steve turning up to the planned Firefly Day on Saturday, but as he was getting back from the Jenolan Caves that afternoon, he wasn’t sure whether he’d be too buggered to turn up. In the end, as we had so few people coming along, and as Vickie and I were going to be heading into Bondi that morning to pick up some chairs we’d bought on eBay, I canned the Firefly Day. (I also got snippy with Sim for what I thought was double-booking, when we’d actually never firmed up her coming over here; for some odd reason, her e-mail account doesn’t seem to like messages from the IMAGinewS group. I made sure to apologise.)

My right ear has been giving me trouble again since the middle of the week, and on Friday afternoon it plugged up, so I left work early. I nipped out in the evening to get some food and some videos for Vickie and I, and on coming home from one of those trips, I managed to put a nasty dent in the car’s right rear wheel’s fender while coming into our awkward driveway. We can’t afford to get it fixed right at the moment, so we’ll get it done when we get to Cairns (where it’s likely to be quite a lot cheaper).

[CAUTION: Too Much Information Warning! Please skip ahead to the next paragraph if unfortunate bodily functions disturb!] At the moment, the ear is still giving me grief. It's had repeated treatments of Waxsol and peroxide, and although we've got heaps of gunk out of my ear, there seems to be a hard chunk that refuses to move; it's quite painful. I'll probably be off to see the doctor tomorrow, see if I can get it cleared.

Vickie and I made the aforementioned trip to Bondi yesterday morning, sweating for a good quarter of an hour to fit six high-backed chairs into the back of the car. We spent most of yesterday afternoon cleaning the cushions and polishing the wood, although there seem to be some stains that unfortunately refuse to come out. Also, the chairs are still a bit too low for our table, so we’re thinking of selling the table and getting something new (before we leave or after we get to Cairns, I’m not sure)

Sim and Jason dropped over during the afternoon; as Sim works as a dockmaster, she has a nigh-unlimited supply of boxes, some of which she’s donating to our cause. We also managed to show them the first half of “Serenity”, the pilot episode of Firefly, and they’re definitely hooked – especially as we stopped it right on the cliff-hanger mystery!

A while after they left, Gav dropped over for a few hours. We finally got to show him the rest of Equilibrium, which he liked.

Oh, yeah, that’s right: those DVDs I got out from the video store. They were the Disney animated film Brother Bear, which we watched on Friday night and found most enjoyable, and the British comedy/true story Calendar Girls last night, which was hilarious.

October 19, 2004

Aeon On Sale

Just to let you know that I've put my copy of Aeon Limited Edition up for sale on eBay. Please have a browse, and if you're interested, put a bid on! If not, be sure to let your friends know!

October 17, 2004

Season 3 Has Commenced!

That's right, all you fellow Red Versus Blue nuts out there: the lads at Rooster Teeth Productions have released the first episode of Season 3 for your viewing enjoyment!

No word as yet on if/when they'll be starting the donations scheme again, but as soon as they do I'll be donating a chunk of my hard-earned!

October 16, 2004

Moving Sale: Geek Stuff Galore!

After deciding that a move to Cairns was to be more than just talk, the first thing Vickie and I needed to determine was the “when”. The main limit is the tenants at our place in Gordonvale; we need them out, of course, before we can move in. Our paperwork tells us we have to give two months’ notice to our tenants, and we think we need to do some planning and organization before we take that step, so that puts our move up to Cairns in mid-January.

So with moving on our minds, we’re starting to look around our possessions here at Fraser Road with an eye toward deciding what will come with us and what can be sold or disposed of (mainly because it will be too costly to move, but also because we likely won’t need it). We’d prefer to actually sell; Vickie’s going to be emptying her super to pay for the move and the required renovations when we get there (considering the state of the place at our last inspection in January, the existing tenants will doubtlessly be leaving the place in a shambles).

In terms of housewares, we’re going to be selling things like our column heater, which will be mostly useless in Cairns, and the odd bit of furniture; we’re looking at buying a new set of chairs (and possibly a table), so the old ones can go afterward.

But most of my readers will probably be wondering what geek stuff we’ll be parting ways with. Let’s face it; there’s not likely to be a huge gaming scene in Cairns, and I’ve not used half my game stuff on a regular basis while I’ve been here anyway. I’ll probably put what I want to be rid of up on eBay in mid-November or early December (for Christmas presents and the like), but if you’d like to make me an offer now, please get in touch.

So, what do I want to flog? For starters, my two boxed sets worth of Necromunda gear and miniatures; in fact, all my miniature-related stuff, including paints and brushes, can go. I’ve not even used them since Vickie and I moved in together, so what are the odds I’ll use them in Cairns? Along similar lines is the short-lived White Wolf miniatures game, Trinity: Battleground. My Crimson Skies Clix kit – the rules set, the Fortune Hunters Squadron and the Aces Nathan Zachary and Maria Sanchez – will also be up for grabs. Plus, I have those two 3’ by 4’ miniature game boards (painted green on one side and grey on the other) that will need a good home.

In terms of RPGs, I’m finally getting serious about selling my CyberGeneration stuff. Also going are my Shatterzone and Cyborg Commando boxed sets, my two Amazing Engine settings (Bughunters and Once & Future King) and Palladium Books’ Systems Failure (with the Claustrophobia module I wrote for the game and ran at Necronomicon 2000 thrown in). Plus, there’s the more oddball stuff like Legacy: War of Ages (which I’d probably give away; it’s not really worth paying for), the Lawnmower Man RPG, Traveller: The New Era and some older BattleTech kit (including the original 3050 Tech Readout which introduced the Clan OmniMechs, but still has the original BattleTech ‘Mechs that disappeared after litigation). There’s also my copy of the limited edition Aeon rulebook – that funky black plastic-covered one with the red spiral-bind. You know, the one that came out just before MTV told White Wolf to change the game’s name as it violated MTV's copyright on Aeon Flux, and it became Trinity (White Wolf must have been pissed when The Matrix was released; they’d just cleared up any confusion with one black-clad, athletic sci-fi heroine only to have it confused with another).

Other geek-stuff I’m looking to be rid of includes my huge collection of NetRunner collectible card game cards that has just gathered dust since – well, since Wizards of the Coast canned the line due to unpopularity. I also have several comic lines I don’t collect any more (Azrael, Iron Man) or were canned (Ghost Rider: 2099, Weapon Zero) or were limited editions anyway (DC Comics’ Tangent line from the late nineties). If anyone would also like my collection of Wing Commander computer games (I-IV plus Privateer and Prophecy) please let me know; you’ll need a legacy PC to run them (the first game is on 5.25” floppies), and even Prophecy doesn’t really like Windows XP. Other games to go include Aliens Versus Predator (FPS), Blade Runner (Adventure), Ground Control (RTS), Half-Life Game of the Year Edition (FPS), StarLancer (space-flight sim; the spiritual successor to Wing Commander and a prequel to Freelancer) and Tribes 2 (multiplayer online FPS) plus Prima Games' Tribes 2 Strategy Guide.

We’ll also go through our book collection and see what we’ve read to death and don’t want any more; expect a list of goodies in the next month or two.

All proceeds of sale go toward the Help Rob & Vickie Move to Cairns and Fix Their Place Up Fund.

Another important thing: Stuff we’ve borrowed from people and ought to jolly well give back before we move. Boots, I know I still have your dentist’s pick that you loaned me back when I thought I was going to be modifying everyone’s Heavy Gear miniatures for the Black Talon Campaign, and Gav, I still have that Citadel Miniatures putty. Actually, everyone who plunked down your hard-earned to buy a miniature for the campaign (Boots, Gav, Dan, Mandi and, I think, Altin) should absolutely have those back from me (as I’m even less likely to be doing anything with them in Cairns) with my apologies that they never wound up getting used.

Have we borrowed anything from you that we've forgotten? (And have you borrowed anything from us that you've forgotten?)

October 13, 2004

Hat Trick - The Computer Is My Friend

After the downer that was the last post I made, I thought I'd let you all in on some good news I discovered this morning. With everything that's happened lately, I decided to take advantage of the company's employee assistance service, which meant visiting the counselling firm's office in the city. after the session, I decided to quickly nip into Games Paradise (I figure a little browsing now and again is good for the soul).

On the New Release shelf, they had a copy of Paranoia XP. Although I'd sold off all my Second Edition gear, I'm still interested in the game generally (and there was the idea that part of the proceeds from the sale could go toward XP), even to the point of contributing the odd comment on Greg Costikyan's Paranoia XP web log (lead writer Allen Varney even called a particular contribution of mine "a cut-and-paste keeper for the new playtest draft"). So I thought I'd pick it up and have a flip-through.

Eventually, though, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to check the Credits page - and sure enough, there in the "Valued Service to The Computer" list, is the name of yours truly.

I am well chuffed! So chuffed in fact that I immediately laid the copy by in preparation for Friday's pay-day.

"But what's the hat trick?" I hear you ask. Simple, my friends: This is the third official, printed RPG product I've had my name in. The other two were Bubblegum Crisis: Before & After and Bubblegum Crisis: EX.

I doth rock! Bow ye before me, o assembled several of my gaming community, for I am the most rockin'est guy you have ever seeneth! :-D

(By the way, Rog: You're in pretty cool with the Mongoose Publishing boys and girls. Can you give them all a big we sloppy kiss for me, please?)

UPDATE 14 October: I am now the proud owner of a copy of Paranoia XP, andf my contribution did indeed make it all the way from playtest draft to publishing with just a little editorial tweaking; it's that natty bit of dialogue that runs from the bottom of the left column to the top of the middle one on page 87. Yippee!

End of the Campaign - and possibly an Era

My players already know this, but a couple of days ago, I decided to close the Corsairs Campaign down. It's been disappointing for my players and I, but with the pressures of late, I didn't see it continuing intact.

The campaign may have not been long for the world anyway. As I said in last blog post, with recent events Vickie and I have got rather sick and tired of Sydney. Yesterday, I found out that my manager, who has been long overworked and underpaid with little sign of reprieve, has finally decided to resign from her position. This on top of everything else has stopped Vickie and I from just talking about going back to Cairns; we've actually started to plan.

I'm not sure how long it'll be before we finally make the move, but we figure I've got better odds of finding a job in Cairns if I'm actually there to be interviewed.

We've made a good home at Fraser Road for over three years, and we've been glad to welcome our friends here - but we see TV shows talking about cancer caused by microparticulates in diesel fumes and realise we live right next to a main truck route. We read about the drop in water levels and realise Sydney might become a dust-bowl in the next couple of years. We feel our jobs drive us up the wall and realise that we're not likely to get any kind of raise that'll allow us to keep up with the rising cost of living in Sydney, let alone allow me to accomplish my dream of being able to support both of us on my income alone. We watch this city chew people up and spit them out, and realise the only way to get ahead in its rat race is to become a rat yourself. We see what rats do to other people in order to stay ahead, and realise that's not what either of us wants to become.

The only thing we really don't like is that, while we'll keep in touch, we won't be able to see our good friends much any more; even now we don't see them as often as we'd like. And that thought hurts - but Vickie and I don't see any other way to keep our health and our sanity.

It's time we got out of here.

October 11, 2004

Blah.

You’ve most likely noticed that I’ve not really done much posting over the past few weeks. With all the recent pressures, I’ve been in something of a funk when it came to sitting down in front of my computer and hitting the keys. Sometimes, I’ve felt that I’ve not had anything in particular to say; at others, I’ve just not been able to stand the sight of my keyboard. A colleague at my first IT job told me once that he couldn’t stand computers, that he avoided them. Recently, I’ve actually started understanding his viewpoint.

Since our wedding, Vickie and I have been hoping for a little us-time so that we can just settle into being a married couple. Unfortunately, life seems to have had other plans. The most recent crisis has just settled down somewhat, but it’s got to the point that we’re starting to seriously consider getting the heck out of Sydney and moving to Cairns. It’s pretty much reliant on me finding a decently paying job up there, and we’ve not had much luck so far. We’ve missed the birthdays of my great-aunt and uncle, mainly because we’ve just not felt like bearing my family – not exactly the most sympathetic attitude on my part, considering the loss of my Mum, but then again, none of them have been in any particular hurry to keep in touch with us.

We’re slowly easing into our new banking arrangements, and we haven’t quite been able to put away as much as we’d hoped over the past couple of weeks – in fact, we’ve had to do some more juggling in order to get the major bills paid – but thankfully I get paid on Friday, so we should be okay after that.

I'm still running behind on uploading the old posts. Also, I've had a request or two for the re-establishment of the Wiki, but unfortunately our webmaster is holidaying in Vietnam at the moment, and as I wouldn't know how to handle the server back-end, it'll have to wait until he gets back. I've also been falling behind on Doc's Game Dreams - must catch up on those sometime.

Changing the subject, I’ve been playing through more of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on the Xbox lately. I’d got stuck at one particular point a while ago and left the game aside, but not long ago decided to have another stab at it. Now (with a little help from Dan) I’m pretty close to the end of the campaign, and I tell you what: all those comments I read about the plot of Knights of the Old Republic being better than the Prequel Trilogy are pretty much on the mark. It even has a twist worthy of Star Wars. I can’t wait to see how it ends, and I’d like to play it through again – and I can’t wait for Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. It looks as though it may well be an all-round improvement on the original.

I also did something potentially very publicly silly recently. Some of you know this dark secret; the rest of you will have to wait and see – or perhaps not.

Oh, and go see Wimbledon sometime. It’s another Working Title romatic comedy, true, but it’s got Paul Bettany as the leading man, and what can we say but about bloody time!

October 09, 2004

The Church of Arthur

Here's an interesting little article that I think makes a nice piece of speculative fiction as much as a source for RPG ideas: What if the Arthurian legend became a religion?

October 02, 2004

It's Done.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the gaming (specifically, the Xbox) community: Bungie have announced the completion of development on Halo 2. It still has to go through the Release to Certification process, but basically the game itself is finished.

Which is good, as they have one month and a week to dupe it, manufacture it and distribute it to the US and Australia.

Anyway, on that note I'm off to do some shopping. Dan and the lads will be piling over for the next session of Bubblegum Crisis and we need to get some shopping out of the way first.

And to all our fellow New South Welshmen, enjoy your Labour Day Long Weekend!