Sunday, November 30, 2008

Quantum of Solace

This is turning more into a movie blog then a gaming blog. Must do more gaming! :) Sunday at noon, the Eldest and I went to the show and saw Quantum of Solace, the new James Bond movie. The things I really liked about the show are:
  • The somber and serious mood - Far better then the cheesy camp of old. This 'feels' like what a spy thriller should be.
  • Daniel Craig - The ladies may hate me, but I think that Craig is the top Bond to date. It is, however, close between Connery (Young) and Craig. If you look at Dr. No, that is very close to the style of Bond as Craig is playing him, and is in keeping with Ian Fleming's style. As for the Bond of my youth (73-85), Roger Moore is in the toilet. I'm sorry, but the silliness and camp factor just got turned way too up for my taste. For the record, here is my list...
  1. Daniel Craig
  2. Young Sean Connery
  3. Timothy Dalton
  4. Pierce Brosnan
  5. George Lazenby
  6. Old Sean Connery
  7. David Niven
  8. Roger Moore
  • Action - The old school folks may think it is a bit too much, and at times it was distracting, like the second fight scene... What was that? But it fits in better with this no nonsense Bond.
  • 'M' - Judi Dench just rocks as 'M'. She has the cool and style to pull off being a big stick in a man's world. She plays it as a serious roll, the campy straight man jobs of the past are gone. Keep it you Dame!
What I didn't like:
  • Plot Scenes - Due to the hectic action in the movie, it seems that one or two usable plot scenes might have been left on the cutting room floor. Not enough to ruin the movie, but enough to make me scratch my head from time to time.
  • Death of Rene Mathis - Played by Giancarlo Giannini, Mathis was a great 'side kick' and I thought that his death was a bit cheap here. Maybe one of those plot scenes from above.
  • 'Q' - 'Q' is an iconic piece of Bond. If they could figure a way to include without the campy that developed around him in the first place that would be pleasant to see in the future.
Over all I liked the movie. Not as good as Casino Royale, but still a very good time at the movies, in what I hope will be longer running tradition of the 'new' James Bond.

In gaming news:

The Eldest and I have been playing the snot out of Race for the Galaxy. It is a great game at two players, but I really want to expand out to four or five. I've done a fair amount of solo play vs. the Robot for RftG as well and that has been enjoyable, even if I have lost all but once. The Eldest and I also tried out Formula D, Red Dragon Inn, and Settlers Card Game on a pretty regular basis.

On Thanksgiving Steve came over for a few hours. The Other Half was taking a nap and freaked when the Dog kicked it in gear, but that was ok. The Eldest, Steve and I played a learning hand of RftG and a round of Red Dragon Inn, before we closed up for the night. Big thanks to Steve for making the trip. Maybe next year we will make an actual planned effort to have folks over.

On Black Friday, I picked up Thurn and Taxis and Alhambra for double points. I'm ready for that next 20% discount Mr. DeVille.

I'm running a few events on the 7th for the Bellevue Food Pantry Charity Con down at the Game Shoppe. MonPoc and WM/HD. Should be good times. Then I'll be doing some traveling the next week for work. Hopefully, I'll get the go ahead to play some D&D on the 13th. We shall see!

p, jp

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We have water!

What a week. On Sunday afternoon I attempted to fix an ongoing minor drip in the master shower. Doing a bit of Intertube research I found the most likely cause was the mixer cartridge in the shower controller. After taking of all the surface stuff, the insides of the shower controller was caked with calcium/lime deposit. Took some digging and destroying but I got the parts out. Off to the big box hardware stores to find the replacement parts... but... Wait for it... They didn't carry it.



It seems that the largest brand of products that building contractors use, doesn't sell their parts at big box. Huh. Who would have thunk that you had to go to a specialty plumbing place.

So Sunday Night, the water is off in the house. Toilets are refilled via the sprinkler drain in the basement via a bucket brigade. Lots-O-Fun. It is like Little House on the Prairie, but with out the cool hats.

And who would have thunk that said specialty plumbing space on Monday would not have the part in stock... And not offer to order it for you either. Really? Yes, Really. I think the Mafia is staffed with plumbers.

So I found this very old shop in Benson. Big shout out to The Faucet Shop in Benson for saving my bacon. It took two trips to get everything I needed, plus the ordered the part from the stupid plumbing supplier shop that I first tried to get the parts, but not until Tuesday.

On Tuesday, afternoon, I get the part and am ready to slam it into place, but wait... What is this? Part 'A' doesn't fit in Part 'B'? Really? I need a Part 'C' to go in between. Huh... To bad the diagrams don't show that.

Called the company that makes the unit on Wednesday and got the part number and recalled The Faucet Shop, and this time it was in stock! Yes! Left work around 1500 and by 1720 we had the shower repaired and water restored to the house. All is right with the world... Except the main toilet that seems to have gotten some debris in the 'Ballcock'. Stupid plumbers and their funny words. I've replaced these before, so we will live with the slow drain issue for a few days and I'll get it fixed over the weekend.

Hope everyone has water and enjoys their Thanksgiving. Hopefully I can guilt one or two of the guys to come over in the later afternoon for some board game action. :)

Bane of Plumbers

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas in November

Good day to you!

So, the Basement Purge of 2008 has been financially rewarding. I've been selling some old game stuff that I will most likely never miss over at eBay. Since I took the cut in pay, the other half has suggested* that I should use these funds for my game purchases in the future. This combined with a 20% off for points at The Game Shoppe, I purchased several board games on Tuesday.

I got the following games:
On Wednesday the Elder was off work, so I finagled a few of the new games. We started with a game of the Settlers Card Game. It was pretty easy to pick up and the mechanics were fun. I enjoyed the building aspect as well as the way they handle trading. Second we tried MP Fluxx. Not the best two player game, but I was really hoping to show her the mechanics. That went OK. Like I said, not the best two player. She was embarrassed to do the ridicules accent or to sing songs. We finished up with a game of RDI. This is fund, mindless game, also better with four players then two, but it was still playable. The setting is post adventure, when the 'characters' are drinking and spending their gold. Kind of silly, but fun.

On Thursday and Friday nights, I fought my way through the solo version of RftG. It is an interesting mix. I haven't beat the solo game yet as it can out earn VP on me pretty quick. I've played about 5 times, and each time I keep finding something new. It is nice to have a good solid solo game as well for those nights.

Other exciting news on the home front...
  • We went down to basic cable. I don't watch TV at all to be honest except for Lost, but I get that on the basic tier. Saves us a bit of money, but...
  • We signed up for NetFlix to fill the void. We still end up ahead over the cable bill by about $15ish a month, but we can choose better shows. The other half picked a few comedies, I got Dexter Season 1 and Gotham Knight. The plan we are on offers two DVD's at a time plus unlimited internet viewing. I would be interested in finding a way to send the streaming to the regular TV. Anyone got any ideas?
  • Privateer Press sort of announces they are shifting to plastic for some larger models. This did light the fire storm of doom. Typical cycle for the PP Boards: Announce --> DOOM! --> Release --> COOL! Given the quality of the GW plastics have achieved, I have little doubt that PP's will be the same. Besides, between the lines looks like that 'Jack boxes will have multiple weapons layouts for the same chassis. So you can use the magnets to make an Iron Clad, Defender, or Storm Clad. That alone is cool.
I like big games and I can not lie...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Into the depths... Sort of...

Greetings and Salutations!

The gang got together at long last, this time with all the proper supplies. Stupid white binders.

The party quickly re-grouped and followed the Lord Mayor's request to go to the graveyard and see what is causing the resurgence of undead. As the party entered the graveyard they found the disturbed ground as the skeletons and zombie hounds erupted and attacked. They were led by the elf ranger from the inn back at Winterhaven. After a long fight with varying degrees of damage, the adventures banished the undead and sealed the magic circle that was launching them.

Upon returning to Winterhaven with the dead traitors body, the party returned to the keep, but headed into the previous uncharted section of the first level. The first encounter seemed too simple, a few large rats, but they were quickly engaged by an Orche Jelly that split itself and continued to fight. Sliver, unaware of the Orche Jelly entered a second room and was surprised by a filth and stink of a Blue Slime. Faced with two large subterranean blobs, the outlying group closed the door on the Slime to concentrate on the jelly. With that taken care of, the party returned to the Blue Slime and after much grinding of bones and dropped characters, the party was able to vanquish the foe and camp for the day.

The final encounter of the day led them to the bugs... Splug tried to warn them, but to no avail. The hatchlings launched first, but provided no real road block to the party, but the younglings and two adults tied them up for sometime, but the party defeated them and found the collected loot pile, even if it was covered in bug urine.

We didn't get as far as I had hoped, maybe because I didn't expect the team to head back to the bugs... That is OK. Hope to re-enter the second layer of the keep next time. When that will be is TBD. Rob and Steve are moving next week. Yea for third floor walk ups!

I also got a chance to play some two handed San Juan with the Elder. I liked the game, it is like Race for the Galaxy, but less complex. Still a good game.

That is about all for now... Hope you all have a great week for gaming. My Paypal debit card arrived, so I'll be picking up some new games at the Shoppe on Tuesday! Go eBay! :)

Buyer of fine and not so fine games

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veterans Day Round Up

The best benefit to civil service is ALL federal holidays are off. Yipiee! I took the opportunity to head down to the Shoppe and play a few games. I didn't get in as many as I would have liked, but I did play some new stuff.

Race for the Galaxy - I liked this game a lot. We played two games, one with three players and one with four. The different strategies you can take to win are pretty overwhelming. My favorite item was how the do the turn sequence. The random turn based on what other people decide to do was a real neat feature. All the different card symbols was a bit tough to get my head around at first, but I started to figure it out at the end. This will be a definite pick up when the paypal card comes in the mail.

Monsterpocalypse - I ran a small tournament for MonPoc in the evening. We had six players plus myself so an odd man out ringer which was me in the first round. :( I won the other two games using my Defender X and the Mega Form. The combo of the oil refinery and radar station right next to each other made for a great combo with all those grav-tanks! Looking forward to the next prize kit which comes out on the 22nd.

Saturday, hopefully, will see the return of D&D in the Shadowfell. Looking forward to the game and the 'exciting' climax... I assume. :)

I'm a Vet and I played games!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Night Games...

The Eldest and I played a few games this evening after dinner.

We started out with my original version of RoboRally. I got this game back in California at a game convention at California Poly Tech in San Luis Obispo. It was a game convention called "PolyCon", and I had an opportunity to learn the game from Richard Garfield himself. At the time I had no idea who he was, but it was cool later to find out. Anyways the Eldest and I played for about an 40 mins or so. She had an early lead, but got trapped on one of those circular conveyors and just couldn't get off.

We then played Yali. Yali is an interesting board game that has two players using a see-saw balance beam and ball bearings doing moves like Chinese Checkers. Moving the balls tips the balance one way or an other which dictates who is going next. Move your eight balls to the other end and you win. Mindless and quick, but heck beats a shift kick in the toches. This one came down to one move. It balanced off in my favor so I won.

Finally we played a bit of PS2. I bought a 80's arcade compilation the other day and we spent some time playing 'Toobin'. We then played a bit of Hot Shots 3, video golf. It is one of the only games I can play consistently on the PS2. I'm just not a console person. The Eldest one the golf game by one stroke. I choked when I was trying to cut over a cliff and dropped my ball out of bounds which put me too far behind.

Not a bad night of games!

Keeper of some really odd games...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Movie: Zack and Miri Make a Porno


Friday night I had the opportunity to go see a movie. Being in the mood for a comedy and liking the concept of Kevin Smith*, I decided to go see Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

Short Version: It was funny and I laughed alot. If your not offended by nudity, F-Bombs, or the concept of consenting adults being taken from the rear, then you might enjoy the flick. If those thing bother you, then you may want to consider skipping it.

Long Version: I took the eldest with me since the other half had to work at 6am. The Eldest is a fan of Kevin Smith, and as I said, I like the concept of Kevin Smith*. It was a bit odd seeing a movie about the making of a porno with your oldest daughter, but it was OK as the humor really off-set the whole premise.

The characters are, as typical with Kevin Smith movies, are lovable losers. His best movies, at least the ones I have seen, are usually better when he has them in them. Not sure if is able to reach more into his own history to find the characters.

In the course of the film the two leads hook up with other characters to include Kevin's long time actor, Jason Mewes. Luckily Jason doesn't play 'Jay' but Lester, who is like 'Jay' but with out all the annoying/cocky attitude. Short story long, these tow characters end up desperate to make a buck and figure the best way is to make a Porno, but would it ruin their friendship? Time would tell...

In the end,j Zack and Miri is really a comedic love story and few things are funnier then bad porno movies with really bad acting.

Casting: I really liked Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen, they did an outstanding job in the role. I also liked Brandon Roth and Justin Long in the film. I won't spoil it but they did a real funny bit.
Funny: I laughed my ass off. It was a hoot.

NSFW: I won't be talking about this one at work with the arc conservatives... Not their type of entertainment.

So, if you can tolerate the humor, I would recommend the film.

Critic at Large, or was that 'is large'?

* Keven Smith. I will be honest, I have only seen three KS movies. Clerks, Dogma, and now Zack and Miri. Clerks was entertaining, but not earth shattering. Dogma I really enjoyed, but that could be my jaded views on religious dogma and corporate greed. So I like the 'concept' of Kevin Smith because he is an ubber geek made good. He is living the dream that 90% of all geeks wished they could live, but that doesn't mean that I am a hardcore KS fanboy... I fear for the day when he steps out of his lane again (Jersey Girl was bad I understand) and tries to make a film he isn't prepared to manage/direct. Only time will tell.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Huh... Wrong notebook.

Date line: Saturday
Action: Rousing game of D&D headed out by myself as the Game Master... Pushing for the long conclusion of the Keep on the Shadowfell
Players: The gang
Check List:
  • Books... Check!
  • DM Screen... Check!
  • Miniatures... Check!
  • Maps... Check!
  • Adventure... Check!
  • White Notebook that looks like a dozen other white notebooks that contains the 'oh so important characters'... Che... Che... Che.... Shit!

Double Shit!

Stupid white notebooks playing trick the stupid GM... I'll have to torture them all for the insubordination!

So, here I was all set up to run what could have been the closing scenes to Keep on the Shadowfell and I packed the wrong note book. It contained the Dark Heresy characters, not the D&D characters. I was, as you can expect, less then happy with myself.

Luckily, Rob stepped up like a trooper and ran home to get his adventures since he was about 10 mins closer (both ways) then I. I took the opportunity to roll up a Dwarf Cleric, Rillic Oakenstout, to assist in Rob's Forgotten Realms campaign. It was nice to play, but I couldn't get over the nagging feeling that I was letting folks down. Rillic turned out pretty good, his highlight of the day was jumping the 10' ft pit trap to hit the Warg with his Craigshammer two handed!

I hope to hit it again on the 15th. Maybe start a tad early since I had to bail at 10ish to get the Kiddo from work.

That is about it. Go out and vote tomorrow. No vote is a wasted vote, even if the person has not chance.

Stupid White Notebooks!