The day before Thanksgiving a new four-legged friend will be joining our family. He's a yellow Labrador puppy named … Indiana.
Indy succeeds (never replaces) Madison aka Mad Dog, our yellow Lab who was an enthusiastic member of the Newquist household for 13 years. She passed away in June and left a massive hole in our day-to-day lives. Yes, it can be a lot of work to keep up with a dog, especially at the end of her life, when we were cleaning up messes every morning, but she was a constant presence and the one member of the pack who would always be happy to see you.
Not having her here was like losing my shadow.
I've heard about pumpkin chucking events, and seen a few on TV thanks to MythBusters, but I've never experienced one in real life. That may change later this month: the Last Fling Pumpkin Fling is being held in Belvidere, New Jersey on October 30th and 31st, 2010 at Hensler Farms.
I'm looking at doing a Knights of the Dinner Table column on blogs, wikis and other sites dedicated to science fiction role-playing games. Of course this is a bit self serving, as I'm currently running two science fiction games (Star Wars: Saga Edition and The Day After Ragnarok) but it's a niche that could use some attention. The sites don't need to be exclusively science fiction, but some significant portion of their content should deal with the genre.
Keep in mind that I've done columns on Rogue Trader, Star Wars: Saga Edition, Gamma World, and Star Frontiers in the last year so I'm less likely to write about sites that deal with those games.
Here's what I have so far.
With Monster Week all but over, I find myself ready to spend more time at the gym. Sure, I got plenty of exercise staying one step of great white sharks and alien super hunters, but that was mostly mental exercise rather than the physical variety.
With the creatures defeated and the flamethrowers cleaned and stored, I've headed back to the gym, where I've been watching Aliens in 30 minute intervals. When not there, I've been at the gym, using the mental imagery of Jaws to keep me moving.
Ok, not really. I'm so sadly out of shape when it comes to swimming that I'm concentrating entirely on making my next stroke, but great whites sound like a great motivator.
My excercise routine this summer has been non-existent -- I've got plenty of excuses that sound good, but ultimately it comes down to not making the time, and not forcing myself to stay motivated (which feeds back into the "not making time" bit). Work has been exceedingly busy and stressful, and I've yet to find the mental key that keeps me exercising through such rough spots. It's hardly an uncommon problem -- I think almost all of my friends have suffered from it -- and I don't think there's a particularly good solution to it aside from determination.
Check the batteries in your motion trackers, refuel your flamethrowers, lock and load your shotgun, and make sure you've everything you need to make a few dozen pipe bombs.
Monster Week is here.
The week-long celebration of speculative fiction's monster movies is running July 25-31 at Nuketown. It focuses on "creature features", movies like Aliens, Predator and The Thing that pit humanity against overwhelming horrors. It will include movie reviews, audio commentary, game reviews and RPG reviews and anything else we can shove out the airlock.
Madison, my Labrador Retriever, died on Monday after 13 years of unrelenting enthusiasm for life, liberty and the pursuit of food. She was the quintessential Lab -- super happy, eager to say hello, an amazing swimmer, an even better retriever, and the kind of dog who knew how to take time to stop and eat the roses. And brownies. And cup cakes. And...
We knew she would be a challenge from the beginning: as we were signing the check to buy her, she tried to pull one of her litter-mates through a fence by his tail. It took us six months to train her to lick instead of bite, and two tours of puppy school to get her to agree to basic obedience commands.
Unless she was on the water ... in which case the only thing she'd pay attention to was her kong-on-a-rope. Or maybe ducks -- Madison once tried to catch a mallard on the Delaware River, not realizing that ducks could, you know, fly. I had to jump in the river and swim after her to get her attention. Fortunately she turned around before we got to New Jersey.
One of my upcoming "Summon WebScryer" columns for Knights of the Dinner Table is going to be on geek holidays, those annual events of keen interest to (and usually created by) geeks. Knowledge of these events is usually spread online, and they're frequently the subject of Facebook updates, Twitter tweets, and blog posts, not to mention more than a few podcasts. Here's my preliminary list ... what am I missing?
- Free Comic Book Day: Free comics books from Marvel, DC Comics, Dark Horse, Archie and others.
- Free RPG Day: Free role-playing games from major and minor publishers.
- Read an RPG Book in Public Week: Promote role-playing game awareness by reading an RPG book in public.
- Game Master's Day: Reward your GM for all the work he or she does in running your campaign.
- National Novel Writing Month: Write a 50,000 page novel in one month.
- Game Chef: Craft a role-playing game on a given subject in one month.
You may have noticed that some recent posts were missing from Nuketown; that's because for reasons unknown, the MySQL database that drives the site became corrupted Tuesday afternoon. The database was unrecoverable, but I was able to restore from a recent (5/26) backup. As for why the database went south, I can't say though I'm planning to ping Dreamhost tech support to see if there were any database server glitches at the time.
Here's my Follow Friday list for Friday, May 14, 2010:
- @richard_iorio Game designer at Rogue Games (Colonial Gothic, Thousand Suns)
- @fredhicks All around cool guy, Evil Hat Productions honcho (SotC, Dresden Files)
- @theonion The best fake news.
- @FastRPGReviews RPG reviews in 250 words.
- @timoreilly Founder and CEO of O'Reilly Publishing, the tech publishing juggernaut. Alpha geek of the first order.
I've had some time to play around with my friends' Apple iPads since it was released. My initial impression? It's gorgeous ... but limited. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing will depend on what you want it for.
Apple built the iPad as a consumption device, and it excels at that role. While some dismiss the iPad as little more than an oversized iPad touch, this misses its primary appeal: it's huge, glossy screen. Yes, I can look at PDFs and comic books on an iPod touch, but what I see is a tiny fraction of what appears on the iPad. On a tablet, comic books loaded using the Marvel app display full-screen and are easily readable. You can zoom in if you like, but it's not essential.
The same goes for PDFs -- while there are several different ways to get PDFs onto your iPad, once they're loaded they're far easier to read than on a phone or a smaller device, like the Kindle or Nook. It surprises me that the iPad doesn’t do this natively – PDF support has always been strong in OS X – but perhaps the Adobe Flash spat is carrying over to this as well.
Web sites look great ... unless they're dependent on Flash, but honestly I dislike Flash sites and I already knew it would do that. My favorite sites tend to be blogs and text-heavy sites, and all displayed beautifully on the iPad. I see it as a great platform for casual reading with one caveat: weight.