And now…a plug

Sorry, no bitching about D&D or pictures of Katherine Heigl’s underwear today. No, today I’d like to plug something neat.

My lovely and talented wife, Laura has started a new blog where she review books and then crochets something related to the book. Sounds like a neat idea, and you should all give it a looksie here: http://plothooks.wordpress.com/

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Cool Stuff We Never Got

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d bring the mood down a bit by discussing some stuff we don’t get to be thankful for. This stuff was all announced, got people moist, and then never materialized. Enjoy…not getting to enjoy.

The Return of Ziggy Stardust

Bask in what could have been!

Bask in what could have been!

Music is a subjective thing. We all have our own tastes in music, and that’s fine. That being said, David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is one of the best albums ever recorded. Period. If your particular tastes don’t align with this, then you’re wrong, and I don’t consider you a person. Blech to you. Gross. Anyway, around the turn of the millennium, Bowie stated that Ziggy would be making his triumphant return in 2002 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the album. This would have included unreleased footage, a stage show, and even a movie, as well of unspecified internet content.

This never happened and we should be sad forever.

On a related Bowie note, I’m still bummed that we never got the followups to 1. Outside, Bowie’s underrated industrial album, with announced sequel album 2. Contamination never arriving.

Holywood-The Novel

I can't think of anything funny to say about this...it's a book.

I can’t think of anything funny to say about this…it’s a book.

In 2000, Marilyn Manson released the third part of his three-part concept album series, Holywood: In the Shadow of the Valley of Death. Say what you want about Manson, but Holywood is my favorite of his catalog. I’m a sucker for a good concept album, but Manson went way down the rabbit hole with this one, even going so far as to pen a novel based on the album. One chapter of the book was even released, and it was something that I would have learned to read in order to enjoy. Sadly, years came and went, other albums came and went, including two back to back breakup albums, and the book never released. Manson still claims that he’d like to released it in some form, possibly as a graphic novel, but at this point I feel it’s time to move on with my life.

The Rifts Movie

Holy crap, where's my Ritalin?!?

Holy crap, where’s my Ritalin?!?

Rifts has always held some notoriety in the RPG community. It looks like it was designed by 14-year olds for other 14-year olds. Spaceships, wizards, robots with skulls all over them, lasers, dogfaced men, and that’s just the table of contents. Rifts has a pretty big following, Disney optioned Rifts for  a movie to be developed by Jerry Bruckheimer in 2004. There was a press release about it, and transcripts of it were passed out at Gencon that year. This could have been a pretty cool thing to see., and could have bought roleplaying games a bit more legitimacy in mainstream media after the dumpster fire that was the D&D movie.

BUT IT NEVER HAPPENED.

World of Darkness…assorted

Can't...quite...reach...

Can’t…quite…reach…

White Wolf’s World of Darkness RPG line has a rabid fan following, but not a stellar track record when it comes to crossing over from the tabletop. They had a couple of pretty good Vampire: The Masquerade PC games, and a couple of batshit crazy Hunter: The Reckoning console game, and a piss poor TV series called Kindred: The Embraced that I desperately wanted to like, didn’t, and still bought on DVD because I don’t learn lessons.

Despite all of this, the rebooted World of Darkness was announced for a couple of media projects that never occurred. in 2004, Vampire: The Requiem, which was a different take on Masquerade, was optioned for a movie by New Line Cinema. Come to think of it, 2004 was a real cocktease for gamers, wasn’t it? There was also a WoD MMO in development for years. The game was recently shitcanned, and several developers lost their jobs.

Star Wars Live Action TV Series

Good enough

Good enough

Several years ago, it was announced that Lucasfilm’s five-year plan for Star Wars was that the Clone Wars series would run for a while, and would generate capitol for a live action Star Wars TV series set between episodes III and IV. Neat idea. Never fucking happened. Now I won’t bitch too much about this one, because in the end Disney bought Lucasfilm, Rebels filled the gap the live action series left and we’re getting actual sequels, the trailer for which dropped today, and I won’t talk about in length because everyone in the world is discussing it right now, so why listen to me? But in all, maybe this one is for the best.

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Maximum XCrawl

Remember that pretty, albeit chunky little cutie we discussed last time? Well, maybe you’ve decided not to see her on the regs anymore. That’s ok. But that doesn’t mean you should kick her to the curb entirely. It’s ok to see her every now and then. And maybe when you do, maybe she wears a little something special for you…something new and exciting…shit, I seem to have given myself a boner with this metaphor.

GMGP2000CoverLarge

Ok, so the plump lass in question was Pathfinder. Well, the naughty podiatrist (of whatever your occupational kink is) outfit just happens to be a new edition of XCrawl!

XCrawl has been around for a while, but if you’re not familiar with it, here’s the long and veiny of it. Imagine a world similar to ours, the catch being that all the crap from your D&D books is real. A world where the phrase “Honey, I stepped in gremlin poop on the way to Taco Bell.” is not unheard of. Ok, so in a world like this, what does one do for fun? Well, they watch televised dungeon crawls, naturally. That’s where the game begins. Your party plays the role of a team of adventurers for sport. You compete in public spectacles for cash and prizes…and groupies.

It was love at first sight for me with XCrawl, that was way back in 2007 or so, and I’ve been hooked from the word go. I got my game group enamored with it too, and we even helped playtest this new edition, landing the Bluegrass Brawlers a mention in the credits page. Since then, I’ve actually gotten to know the game’s creator, Brendan Lasalle, pretty well, and even colloabo’ed on other projects. That being said, I still feel capable of giving an unbiased review. So…here goes nothing…

This thing fucking rules! Ahem, sorry. Seriously though, a lot of work and love went into this book, and it shows. And it should, since it was supposed to be released sometime roughly around the Carter administration. (Take that, Brendan, ha!) It was worth the wait though, as it pretty much fixes every issue I had with the old version. Let’s talk about that.

The previous edition of XCrawl was a fantastic exercise in concept and world building. It went into a great amount of detail about the setting of the game, it’s history and culture, but it was a bit rules-light. Aside from a few feats and spells, the mojo system, and one new class; the Athlete, there was a lot of fluff compared to crunch. This time around, the script is flipped, giving us a lot of new crunchy bits to sink our teeth into. There are six, fully fleshed out classes, including a vastly overhauled and improved version of the Athlete, a more streamlined mojo system, great detail into building a crawl by the numbers, a revised fame system, and much, much more! If you’re looking for a full-fledged rulebook, Maximum XCrawl does not disappoint. That being said, with so much crunch, there’s naturally not as much room left for fluff. There’s still a fair amount of space dedicated to the setting, definitely enough for you to understand and enjoy, but it felt like the old book went into more detail about it. For that reason, I think that there’s still plenty of reason to pick up the old edition, as it’s still mostly relevant information. There’s a lot of subtle depth and commentary that Lasalle put into this setting that many (myself included for a time) overlook due to the in your face action of the games themselves. both editions together make for a perfect set for rules and setting.

All in all, this is a great new edition of an already great game. There aren’t a lot of alternate settings for D20 style games hitting the shelf anymore, and this is the most original one I’ve seen, and a great reason to keep playing Pathfinder.

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How one fat nerd equates D&D to marital infidelity

Imagine if you will; you and your squeeze are together for a while now, and you have a great time together. But over the years she changes. It’s ok, everyone changes, and it happens slowly at first, but over time she becomes someone you don’t exactly enjoy anymore. It’s not that she got super fat, or got her face and tits mangled in some kind of industrial accident, she’s just…different. Perfectly capable in her own right, you suppose, but not quite the same. And it’s not just you that notices, your friends notice too, they may be afraid to mention it until you bring it up, because your friends always liked her too, that was another point in her favor. Now imagine you meet someone else. You weren’t really looking, you’re a faithful kind of guy, but you just kind of ran into her along the way and, to your horror and guilty delight, she stirs something in you. It feels fun again. You get that same feeling you had with your first love. It’s not that she’s some kind of supermodel, though she’s certainly attractive, if maybe a bit thick around the middle, but in that good way that Sir Mix-A-Lot would approve of. No, she’s just fun to be around. It’s like old times. So you make the hardest choice of your life, and you and your old lady part ways, and this new cutie embark on a whirlwind of fun times. Your friends like her, you have fun together, all is great. Then, one fateful day, your run into your ex. You engage in awkward small talk for a bit, give her the old scrutinizing eyeball, and you realize that she’s different again. She’s fun again. In new ways, but ways that remind you of why you fell in love with her in the first place. You agree to hang out casually, and you find yourself falling back in love with her. Now you have another painful choice to make. Do you rekindle this old flame, or do you stick it out with the chubby cutie that you left her for?

More of you to love...

More of you to love…

Friends, thus is the conundrum with Dungeons and Dragons: Fifth Edition. And for clarity’s sake, Pathfinder is the fun, big-hipped lass you ran off with. Yes, a new edition is here, and it reads like an apology for everything D&D related since 2007.

Baby, is that you?

Baby, is that you?

5E, formerly known as D&D Next, trims so much of the fat that’s been heaped on in the past two editions that it feels like a breath of fresh air. Gone are the gratuitous modifiers for every little thing, and the overactive skill system, replacing it with simple over-the-board proficiency bonuses and advantage/disadvantage systems. Gone is most of the creepy shit added in 4E, that it feels like D&D again…although the Dragonborn are still oddly present. It reminds me a lot of Second Edition, but in all the right ways. The Player’s Handbook’s cover is even done in the same color scheme, which makes me wonder if that was in any way intentional. The power gamer elements are all but stripped clean, making a game that seems fast to learn, and legitimately streamlined, as much as that word gets thrown around.

My gaming group and I have had pretty much the same sentiment when looking over this new thing; deep personal conflict. We made the jump to Pathfinder years ago and haven’t looked back, and now D&D is looking like a very attractive option again. If only there was  some reason to keep those Pathfinder books on the shelf, and not dump and run. If only.

Stay tuned…

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Cowabunga, quit your bitchin’!

Well, it’s ninja turtle time again. It happens every few years,, and as time has gone on, it seems to get less and less notice each time it happens (kind of like Haley’s Comet). The difference being this time, is Michael Bay is involved. So the prophecy demands, that we must all clutch our collective butts in agony and whine like somebody just dumped pig’s blood on us at prom. You know what I did on my prom night? Huh. do ya? I spent it at my buddy Billy’s house, playing D&D. There was no awkward genital groping for me that night! No siree, So fuck you, people who had sex in high school, fuck you right as you fall asleep!

technical-difficulties1

Sorry. I’m better now.. Anyway, internet whipping boy has brought us another nostalgia fueled popcorn flick to bitch about, and you know what? It’s not as bad as most of the internet would like you to believe. Just like Transformers.

I take it back immediately

I take it back immediately

Let me break this down nice and simple. Ninja Turtles, as a thing, has always been stupid. It started as a joke. It happened to be a joke that sold LIKE CRAZY. Think back to your first memories of TMNT. I’m guessing it involved a Technodrome, Bebop and Rocksteady, maybe some Nutrinos. That was dumb. It was charming, it made for a great line of toys, but it was dumb as hell. Maybe your first version of the turtles was the 2003 series. Shredder was an alien thing. Then he was a Satan. Then…you know what, fuck you too, that shit’s confusing. And dumb. 

What the hell, kids?

What the hell, kids?

A quick summation of the new movie, if I may. Turtles that are ninjas fight an armored ninja called the Shredder who has some stupid plot involving bullshit science, some kung fu happens, someone says cowabunga. Sound familiar? Yup, it’s still the turtles. The origin story has been changed ever so slightly, removing Hamato Yoshi from the equation entirely, and it’s a little bit dumber for it. Again, it’s always been a little dumb. Great, but dumb. Also, this is marketed to a different generation. A dumber generation. Yes, children watching this are dumber than we were. Deal with it. Slap the smartphone out of their hand and make them read a book  if you don’t like what I’m saying, otherwise you’re ok with it. If you’re one of those people holding the original Mirage Comics as a measuring stick, stop it. As much as it hurts me to say it, because I love those books too, but they’ll never make another Turtles like that again. Especially not in movie form. Sadly, it’s just too dark to be marketable to the kiddies. The dumb, dumb kiddies. In that series the lovable heroes straight up kill the Shredder in the first issue, but to be fair, only after he refused to ritualistically commit suicide.

Radical...

Radical…

A lot of people are butthurt that the turtles have noses now. Ok, I’ll admit, it was a bit jarring at first. You know what else is jarring? Realizing that the turtles never had noses before. That’s creepy. Some people also hate that the turtles have lips. Guess what, today’s turtles are no less anatomically correct than they ever were. Want to see what turtles really look like?

Soulswinter

We’re so quick to criticize everything these days. All the shit that we always dreamed of as kids, live-action movies about GI Joe, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, Superman, and so on. A seemingly endless supply of new Star Wars movies on the way. And all we can do is complain. No movie could ever live up to our stupidly impossible expectations, all because we’ve put all the shit from our childhood on pedestals, and act like anything new coming along is just trying to…to…rape our childhoods. We need to just relax and let ourselves have fun. Because there is fun to be had in this stuff, just don’t expect the impossible.

Seriously, I can breathe now!

Seriously, I can breathe now!

I guess my point in all of this was that this new Ninja Turtles movie is dumb. It’s also a lot of fun to watch, stop being so sensitive…it seems like there was something else…

Michael Zulli, I salute you.

Michael Zulli, I salute you.

Right. Just go track down a copy of Soul’s Winter. It’s the only time they managed to turn this whole thing into art.

Cowafuckingbunga…

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The return of…COSTUME IDEAS FOR FAT GUYS

It’s that time again, convention season is upon us, with Origins just having passed, and Gencon, SDCC, and Dragoncon just around the corner. “Oh no!”, you’re surely saying, “I wanted to wear a costume, but have been eating like  pig and not doing crunches!”. Well, voice in my head, you can relax, here once again, is a small list of suggestions for my more portly brethren.

 

HOUND

Payback time, Rosie!

Payback time, Rosie!

Thank you, Michael Bay, for giving us a Transformer with a weight problem. Seriously though, This fat robot from Age of Extinction stole the show. A big transformer that smokes an artillery shell like a cigar and talks like John Goodman? Yes, that’s badass. This one might be tricky to pull off, but for those with the skill to build those awesome transformer costumes we’ve all seen pictures of, this is an awesome choice.

 

GALIUS ZED/ZILIOUS ZOX

In buttery day, in fattest night...

In buttery day, in fattest night…

HOLY SHIT

HOLY SHIT

 

Green Lantern fans rejoice! These guys are…round. That counts, right? Ok, so they’re mostly giant heads, a la MODOK, but with a foot growing out of their asses, but there’s a start to work with. Choose good guy Zed, or his rage-filled brethren Zox of the Red Lantern Corps. If you want to make it even more disturbing, Zed came back as a gross Black Lantern!

 

SHADOW KING

All hail Burger, I mean Shadow King.

All hail Burger, I mean Shadow King.

Old school X-Men villain Shadow King is Charles Xavier’s psychic nemesis. They’ve had several run-ins in the past, often with him appearing in the form of his astral avatar, a big muscular blue monster. Well, tough, I’m talking about his doughy, fez-wearing human form. Still, people who get it and not think you’re dressed as fat Dr. Who will totally commend you.

 

JINBE

Ladies...

Ladies…

I don’t know a lot about the anime One Piece, but I’ve been told by a friend that this large karate fighting fishman is pretty darn cool. Well…he looks pretty cool, and that’s really what this is all about, isn’t it?

 

KINGPIN

I'll get you, Spider-Man...after lunch!

I’ll get you, Spider-Man…after lunch!

Hey look, it’s Kingpin! Everybody loves Kingpin, right? Well, except Spider-Man and Daredevil. Oh, and the Punisher. This is a nice, easy, recognizable costume that also serves as stylish eveningwear!

 

CARDINAL MONCADA

I vant to drink your gravy!

I vant to drink your gravy!

This Iconic NPC from Vampire: The Masquerade, was quite the specimen. A high-ranking member of the nefarious Sabbat, Moncada had the distinction of being morbidly obese by human standards, which practically unheard of for a vampire. This comes with the added benefit of swanky, yet breezy clerical vestments.

And one for the ladies…

FAT PRINCESS

Giiiiiirl, slice me off a piece of that...cake!

Giiiiiirl, slice me off a piece of that…cake!

If I could be serious for a moment, as hard as it is for overweight men to find costumes, it’s even worse for women. Women’s standards for costumes are so much higher because they’re expected to look like supermodels and dress like fantasy prostitutes. Well, plus-sized gals can be just as beautiful as the scrawny broads. Fat Princess was a great little game for the PSN, and the titular character makes a great, and not too revealing costume for the nerdy girls who can’t fit into a size 0.

That serious moment is now over…heheh, titular.

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Love that show!…hate that guy!

As I find myself unemployed once again, I find my TV watching time increasing again. Shocking corollary, huh? Still, I find myself thinking about how some of the shows we find ourselves watching for countless hours seem to have protagonists that aren’t necessarily all that likable. Now I’m not talking about shows like Breaking Bad, where part of the drama is watching the main character slowly change into someone worse than he was when he started. Also excluded are shows like Hannibal and Dexter where we know the protagonist is a monster, but they show us that they’re also a human being. No, what I’m talking about are cases where we’re, so it would seem, supposed to like these characters, but they just…well, suck.
Also, be prepared for spoilers.
WEEDS
She's like, almost 50...sexy, sexy Grandma...

She’s like, almost 50…sexy, sexy Grandma…

 
This one almost fell into that Breaking Bad “watch them go bad” category, but it played out differently. It starts innocently enough, suburban widow sells pot to make ends meet, but the main character, Nancy very quickly turns into someone we don’t like. Not so much because she’s doing something unscrupulous to get by, but because she becomes a self-centered, morally bankrupt little bitch in record time. Between her ruining the lives of everyone around her and fucking any shitheel that can further her selfish whims, she makes Walter White looks sympathetic.
It doesn’t help that this series ran too long for it’s own good. What took 8 seasons that drug on at times, probably could have been cleaned up into a more enjoyable 4 or 5 season run. By the time the series less than satisfying, but still emotionally draining finale rolls around, Nancy has, by way of massive head trauma (seriously), calmed her shit down, but the damage had already been done.
 
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
Oh my gawd, can you believe how low the thread count is on these prison sheets?

Oh my gawd, can you believe how low the thread count is on these prison sheets?

 
Like any good honkey, I binged on two seasons of Orange is the New Black, and shall feel a profound emptiness until more is released. That being said, I noticed that the main character, Piper, quickly went from sympathetic fish out of water to someone I desperately wanted to see get shanked with a sharpened toothbrush handle. 
With it’s well-defined characters, it can be easy to forget that everyone on the show is some kind of lowlife (otherwise they wouldn’t be in prison), but despite Piper’s relatively mild crimes, being screwed over by former lover turned inmate Alex (who’s also a grade-A piece of shit) for muling drugs, her “oh no, I’m a normal girl in harsh surroundings, whatever shall I do?” routine gets real old real fast. Compound that with her straight up cheating on her Finance’, and she goes from annoying to legitimately shitty. Add to that that her cohort, Alex somehow manages to be mindbogglingly pretentious, even in fucking prison, and you’ve quite the pair of fuckups.
Like WeedsOrange is the New Black is the brainchild of Jenji Kohan, who seems to have a knack for compelling dramas starring terrible people.
 
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
 
Why yes, I am that guy from Starship Troopers.

Why yes, I am that guy from Starship Troopers.

 
I’m giving this one partial credit. Most of the cast are relatable, and even likable. The main offender here is Barney Stinson. Egomaniacal, womanizing, conniving, suit-fetishising Barney. Originator of the “Bro Code”, Barney is that friend we all have that would take a blowtorch to your genitals if it’d somehow let him squeeze your sister’s boob. Now stop and think about what kind of situation would cause those particular circumstances. Makes me glad I don’t have a sister. I don’t want my dinky melted just so that bastard can get his stupid paws on that bitch’s filthy tit. God, I hate her.
Nevertheless, everyone loves Barney. I think that’s because he’s not real. I’ve known people frighteningly like Barney in real life, and they’re a lot more fun when they’re trapped in the magic picture box.
And now to secure my spot on the couch…
 
THE GILMORE GIRLS
 
Baphomet and Mephistopholes, bouncy bouncy bounce...

Baphomet and Mephistopholes, bouncy bouncy bounce…

 
Oh damn, it feels good to say it. My wife is a HUGE Gilmore Girls fan. Seriously, she’s like nine feet tall. It’s fucking terrifying. I consider myself a Gilmore Girls survivor. I’ve sat through more hours of this show than I can count. I felt like that poor dude from Clockwork Orange.
 
La la la la lalala la la...

La la la la lalala la la…

 
Seriously, there’s something about this show that feels like a million angry bees in my head that just found out the game’s been rained out. Like…bees that are Raiders fans. I get that this show is not for me. I am not the target demographic.. That being said, I’m not the demographic for mydol either, but boy does it make me feel peppy. 
The thing that seems to elude most people though, is that these bitches are pure fucking evil. I have no problem with strong independent female protagonists, girl power, bubblegum, stickers, all that shit. Good for you, ladies, you can vote now. I vote you make me a sandwich. Regardless though, these women are fucking jerks. Think about it. Every male character in the show is either made a fool of, or manipulated terribly before these succubi get bored and ruin their lives. Take the example of Dean, brother of Dean. Strung along by Harpy the younger for months until the town bad boy shows up. at which point she dumps him like a sack of things you dump. Only when Pouty McHeroes leaves and rejects her and Dead, Brother of Dean is happily married, does she decide to bone him, thus ruining his new freedom…she also leaves him again.
This show could have been called “Two Hot Demons”, and it would have made just as much sense. The degree of shittyness that these two display over the course of…of fuck, the wife’s coming!

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