Sunday, April 23, 2006

What's behind mysterious booms?

Here's something that may make for some interesting background in your next conspiracy/fortean RPG campaign.

What's behind mysterious booms?

"Life can serve up a good mystery every once in a while. Weird things happen that defy explanation, that make us wonder how much we really know about the world.

"Something of the sort happened in San Diego County shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 4, and so far no one has come forward with an explanation.

"Whatever it was, it caused a woman's bed to shake in Lakeside. It created waves in a backyard pool in Carmel Valley. It set off car alarms in Kearny Mesa and rattled windows from Mission Beach to Poway to Vista. At various spots throughout the county, people reported a rumbling sound or a booming noise.

"Scientists insist it wasn't an earthquake. The Federal Aviation Administration has no record of any planes producing a sonic boom by breaking the sound barrier.

"Camp Pendleton officials say no activities on the Marine base could have created such a disturbance. There were no large explosions in San Diego County that day, and no meteor fireballs were reported in the sky that morning.

"What was it, then?" [via Boing Boing]

Out of the Box: State of the Industry 2005

"At this year's GAMA Trade Show, I managed to score a second copy of Comics & Games Retailer's annual State of the Gaming Industry; my first copy arrived in the mail while I was in Vegas. This will come in handy, because the bitter, salty tears one weeps when reading the State of the Gaming Industry can really wreck a magazine. And the good people at F&W Publications (who apparently purchased Krause Publications, the home of CG&R, way back in 2002) deserve better than to have their fine, fine magazine turned into a moist towelette.

"Sadly, their State of the Gaming Industry numbers still don't deserve much statistical respect, still deriving as they do from self-selected retailer surveys, which is to say, in harsh scientific terms, from nothing whatsoever. But, risible though they are, they are pretty much all the numbers we have, unless we also have the ICv2 Retailers Guide to Games, which as it just so happens, we do, or at least I do, because I snaffled that up at GTS as well. ICv2 gets its numbers from asking around, which although a different kind of statistical noise, is still not what the prudish or the pedantic would actually call 'data.' Still, it is what it is, and that's all that we've got. Both sets of numbers are pretty much solely concerned with the 'core hobby games market,' which excludes sales of games to mass-market outlets like big-box toy and book stores, or Wal-Mart or wherever else people buy games who aren't reading this column."

Out of the Box: State of the Industry 2005

Please Help Save Palladium from Going Under

Edit: I've given this some thought, and in light of Palladium's seemingly ongoing snarkiness towards its fanbase (both from Kevin Siembieda on the Palladium forums...and from Maryann Siembieda (or whatever her un-married name is now) regarding Kevin's snarkiness on RPGnet) I really can't justify to myself continuing keeping up a link to this farce.

So, the original post that was in this space is now gone...never to return.

I just want it known that I don't wish ill upon Palladium, its owner, or its employees. I enjoyed the years of entertainment that I got via my various Palladium games. I just don't think that it is right to outright beg from your fanbase out of one side of your mouth...and then bash parts of them out of the other.

I guess that some fans are better than others, huh Kevin?

It is quite sad, but after this the Dorkland! blog will no longer post anything of support to the company. Let the dice fall where they may.

Whatever: The 2006 Stupidest FanFic Writer Award Gets Retired Early

Yeah, there's got to be an award of some sort in this one. At the time that I posted this, the book was still available on Amazon. Its mind-boggling. Check it out while you still can.

Whatever: The 2006 Stupidest FanFic Writer Award Gets Retired Early

"Via Nick Mamatas, I learn of Lori Jareo, who has written up a Star Wars fanfic novel, published it without the expressed, written consent of George Lucas, and has it listed for sale on Amazon. Oh, but she's not worried about the massive copyright violation; Indeed, let's see what she has to say about it in her 'author interview.'

"Q: Having set Another Hope in an already existing universe, I find myself wondering if there was any concern on your part regarding copyrights?

"No, because I wrote this book for myself. This is a self-published story and is not a commercial book. Yes, it is for sale on Amazon, but only my family, friends and acquaintances know it’s there.

"Let me repeat this, just to savor the juicy cluelessness of it: 'Yes, it's for sale on Amazon, but only my family, friends and acquaintances know it's there.' I feel myself getting stupider every time I read that line, but the good news is that I have a long way to go before I would be actually stupid enough to say that line myself.

"For those publishing novices out there, let me, as a public service, outline all the many ways Ms. Jareo's statement above is ill-informed and/or ignorant and/or just plain idiotic."

The part in italics is a statement by the author of the fanfic in question. This whole thing has a trainwreck quality to it, and it should be fun to see what happens once George Lucas finds out about it. I'm surprised that he hasn't already. [via Jonathan]

Saturday, April 15, 2006

ATF rids Univ. of ninja threat

You know, I wish it were Ninja Day. That would make this story even more powerful.

ATF rids Univ. of ninja threat

"ATF agents are always on alert for anything suspicious — including ninjas."

[via Boing Boing]

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Blackmask Online : Hey, I'm getting sued!

"The good people at Conde Nast/Advance Magazine Publishers have finally decided to take care of the last Doc Savage and Shadow holdout, because they've become aware of the crisis in boys books, attained new respect for the graphic novels market scored a movie deal.

"Now, given that Variety is an Elsevier publication, Conde Nast could perhaps be excused for not understanding the basic realities of the film business. So, they don't grasp that the plethora of comic book and video-game based flicks on our screens these days is the result not of Hollywood's respect for modern-day representations of the Jungian hero archetype, but rather of studio executive's bets on success in producing content for a pre-existing market. CN also don't get that destroying said pre-existing market is unlikely to produce much success at the box office, if the film even gets greenlighted.

"Maybe someone needs to do a 50-word feature on the topic for Lucky.

"Whatever, in CN's defense, they've got a new law firm, and their attorney was mostly professional--apart from his choice of Christmas Eve as an appropriate night to drop bombs, of course. They even sent me rewewal notices on all 506 Doc and Shadow titles.

"The deal offered was, remove the ebooks, stop printing, no harm done. Just walk away. And of course I've got the green books and the pink books and the yellow books, as well as other black books...

"Needless to say, I turned them down. Cold. The deadline for settlement was yesterday (April 7), and we did not settle."

Blackmask Online: Hey, I'm getting sued!

A Fish with Fingers?

An interesting article from the Time Magazine website:

A Fish with Fingers?

"People who doubt the truth of Darwinian evolution love to claim that there are no transitional fossils—no remains of ancient creatures that have the characteristics of two different kinds of organism, mixed together. If evolution were true, you'd expect to see them.

"Actually, you do: transitional forms like Archaeopteryx, a lizard-like bird, have been known for many decades, and more pop up all the time. But casts from a newly discovered fossil, slated to go on display at the London Science Museum tomorrow are, by all accounts, the most impressive example to date of a transitional form. They come from a remarkable creature, mostly fish-like but with some clear adaptations that let it operate on land. It fits perfectly with the conventional tale told by evolutionists the epochal moment when animals first began to emerge from their ancestral ocean." [via Daily Illuminator]

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Self-Referential Loop

Came home from work today to discover that Boing Boing printed my comment about the Triple XXX restaurant in Lafayette.

Boing Boing: Yet another '50s kitsch restaurant called "XXX"

We used to go there a lot back in college, usually in the middle of the night. It was a pain in the ass drive getting to there and back to Rensselaer but it wasn't like there was a lot else for us to do. The place always had an interesting mix of people in the middle of the night -- students like us, cab drivers grabbing meals, truck drivers coming off of deliveries and the second shift getting off while the third shift was eating before work.

It was (still is) spitting distance from Purdue and while there were better places to eat up the street...I wouldn't trade my days and nights "On the hill but on the level" for anything. Those were some good trips. Sometimes I miss those late nights...eating fries or chili and sitting there just talking and drinking coffee. That was when coffee was still good (and cheap too) before there were fancy coffee places on every street corner.

I'm glad to see that the Triple XXX is still around, and still serving that great old dinner food. Some things need to stay around and remind us of when things were simpler.

Yeah, a part of me misses those days but I wouldn't want to go back to them either. Nostalgia makes for interesting hind sight, but it always leaves out the parts of things made up up jagged nights and broken glass. I am glad that I am where I am...just like I am glad that I've been where I've been.

After all, it was the journey through nights like those spent at the Triple XXX that brought me to where (and who) I am today. And a lot of the time I am glad of who I am today.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cleveland Gamers: Game Day

Edit: Here is a link to the group's email list:

New Edit (4/15): We have added a new game to the line-up, there will now be a Starship Troopers RPG event being run at noon. Check out the line-up and sign up for events now.