Friday, November 02, 2007

Blood-sucking vampires are real!

Happy Halloween! Let me tell you about mine...

Monday I went home from work early. I didn't feel well. No really bad symptoms, just weak, dizzy, know, not right. I assumed I was coming down with something. Tuesday morning I awake to find a sore spot on my upper arm which turned out to be a nasty tick not just attached to my arm, but almost embedded in my arm. I failed my sanity check and completely shut down.

A few hours later I was at my doctor's office. He was giddy from the moment he entered the exam room, clearly looking forward to performing a “tick removal.” He took a look at the beast embedded in my arm and excitedly told me all of his gore-filled horror stories about tick patients. If you can imagine Larry the Cable Guy with a stethoscope draped around his neck…that’s my doctor. He quickly & easily removed the nasty tick with a pair of tiny tweezers, then had entirely too much fun digging in my arm with a scalpel blade “just to make sure” he got it all.

That was my Halloween occurred the day before Halloween. I survived, and with the help of a round of tetracycline, I avoided lyme disease. But man, I'll tell you, I've always hated ticks, and this was a very creepy experience.

Now reading: I just finished Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
(we live in a freaky world - on his blog, he reported that everything in his book came from real-world events he saw in the news)

Playing on XM: Billy Joe Shaver

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Where in the world is Gamer-X?

Since I haven't update this blog in ages, I thought I'd tell you what I *have* been doing. I recently finished a hellish 6-week work cycle. This is one catalog that is seeing the light of day only by the grace of the gods.

In addition to not blogging, I also haven't been doing much gaming. Both the D&D game that I play in and the one that I run have been on hold. My group managed to get together twice in recent weeks after a 2-month hiatus (as so often happens in gaming), so it's starting to move forward again. This week the group's strong-arm fighter found himself weakened by magic and then webbed in place my summoned giant was neat. One player switched from a yogi/monk character to a much more fun swashbuckler character. It's a better character in general, and a better fit to the PC group. The other group I'm in is transitioning toward a new Mutants & Masterminds campaign. That'll be exciting! Supers is my favorite genre of roleplaying games.

I've been focusing all of my RPG time on a new discovery called Spirit of the Century. It's based on the FUDGE system and uses a strongly narrative-driven mechanic, which encourages player immersion and character-personality focus. This kind of mechanic is just what I've been wanting in an RPG! Lots of situation- and character-driven action, rather than focusing on a map grid. D&D is great, but its current incarnation is much too tactical for my tastes.

Spirit of the Century is a high-action game set in the pulp era, and is full of some of the most fun things like robots, intelligent apes, Nazis, and Nazi apes. It's long been established that Nazis and apes or monkeys make the best bad guys in movies and games. And this game has them both!

Non-RPG Gaming
This has been mostly Munchkin and Fluxx. They're both quick, entertaining, and I always have two or three willing players at hand. I picked up the new Munchkin Impossible not too long ago, and it's been more fun than I expected. Two days ago, I found my way into a copy of the newly released, and mostly back-ordered Munchkin Cthulhu! I can't wait to break it out and see how cultists and Things Not Meant to be Known translate into this fun, cheeky card game. Insanity is sure to ensue. And I just heard last night that Fluxx is soon-to-release Zombie Fluxx!!

Go see Grindhouse! See it before it leaves the theaters. It's the most fun I've ever had in three hours, well, in a movie theater at least. Afterward, my throat was sore from laughing and hollering during the movie! It is Kurt Russell's best performance since Big Trouble in Little China. There's even a scene where, as he's getting ready to wreak havoc, he looks right at the camera across the roof of his car, and gives us the treat of his shit-eating grin. Best car chase movie I've seen since I was a kid. And that's only part of the thrill. The double feature and filler stuff in between combine to create a truly fun experience.

Rodriguez and Tarantino fill a void in today's movie line-up. Letting other people make mock movie trailers really added to the fun. If nothing else, Eli Roth's mock-preview during the intermission serves to remind us all just how insane he truly is, as if Cabin Fever and Hostel weren't enough to convey the depths of his dark mind.

Also watched The Descent a few weeks ago. It immediately soared to the top of my list of Favorite Horror Movies Ever. Even without the monsters, the movie delivers a terrifying look at the characters' descent into madness. It was only afterward that I realized the title wasn't referring to the caving...

Since I haven't had time to watch TV, socialize, or game, I've been reading a lot instead. Here are the things I can remember.
  • Books: Anansi Boys and American Gods by Neil Gaiman (both very, very good), Evil: An Investigation by Lance Morrow (interesting but repetitive philosophizing about the nature of evil in the modern world by a top journalist).
  • Comics: first volume of Warren Ellis' Planetary (I'm hooked!), lots of current DC titles, and other Warren Ellis titles, namely Fell. Unfortunately, Marvel dropped NextWave: Agents of HATE. That was one of the funniest parody comics I've ever read. Check out the trades if you can.
Field Trips
The end of the school year is approaching, and that means class field trips. I've been to a botanical garden with the first grade, and spent the day at a summer camp with 80 third graders. I had to pass on the trips to the recycling center and local park.

So that's some of what's been up with me. Now I'm off to bed.

Playing on XM: something by the White Stripes

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The sound of one hand clapping me upside the head

It probably happens to everyone, and I guess it was only a matter of time before it happened to me.

I sent the wrong disc back to Netflix.

The wife and I finished up season 2 of Lost the other night. I opened the tray of the DVD changer and grabbed the disc while she and I were discussing the show. I slid the disc in the sleeve, put that in the mailing envelope, and sealed it. Next morning I dropped it in the mail box, just like they show on TV.

And then that evening, I found the Lost DVD in my changer. A quick comparison of the other discs in the changer and the empty jewel cases on the shelf revealed a missing Johnny Cash disc: my recently acquired Legend of Johnny Cash, vol II, which is an incredible mix of old and new material. I wasn't sure which was worse...that it was Johnny Cash, or that it could've been Steve Earle's Guitar Town. On the other hand, it's a good thing it wasn't my son's Garfield DVD, or truly, there'd be hell to pay.

I ran to my internet and spent the next half-hour looking for a way to contact Netflix. Have you ever tried this? It's impossible. There's no way to send them an email, and the only way of contacting them at all is via a few checklist-driven reports. I did find how to return the disc I still had (just slip it into a mailer with another return). I took it a step further to make sure that the second return was going to the same distribution point that the Lost disc came from.

Sure enough, I received a prefab email from Netflix pointing out my stupidity and reiterating the solution. Today I returned another movie, included the extra disc, and also included a note asking to have my CD returned. I'll let you know how it shakes out.

Playing on CD: Chingon's "Mexican Spaghetti Western" - that amazing collaboration of Del Castillo and Robert Rodriguez.