Saturday, April 28, 2007

Alumni get nasty surprise as UW opens time capsule

Also included, an unopened letter to Linda Ronstadt and a magazine with a picture of Ted Nugent on the cover.

Just keeping the world a bit stranger.

Alumni get nasty surprise as UW opens time capsule
As they cracked the capsule Thursday afternoon, University of Washington research team members expected to find a prim and proper package from the nifty 1950s.

What they got was a faceful of pornography, circa 1978, and dirty underwear.

The older, tamer items -- snapshots of men with crew cuts, reel-to-reel recordings of School of Communications alumni cracking wise -- still lay in the steel box, as they had since the capsule was sealed into the wall of the then-new Communications Building in 1957.

But they had company. Erotic, irreverent company.

Sometime in the early 1980s, the pranksters -- unknown as yet -- laid a pornographic centerfold atop the pile, and added other odd and obscene mementos to the mix. That was the image that greeted researchers, when they opened the capsule in preparation for a dinner Thursday evening with alumni who packed the original.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tom Moldvay RIP

From Jeff's Gameblog:

Tom Moldvay RIP
Tom Moldvay, 58 passed peacefully into his next adventure on March 8th 2007 . Tom was a game designer and author most notable for his work on early materials for the fantasy role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). As an employee of TSR, Inc., he authored or co-authored many landmark D&D adventure modules. During the early 80’s when home computers were not prevalent, Tom was creating thought provoking games that stirred the imagination and were played by thousands of enthusiasts across the country. The Classic Rulebooks and Player’s Handbooks written by Tom had been in print for several years and played so intensely that many gamers had them practically memorized. Odds were that if you’d played a published adventure, most likely you were a fan of Tom Moldvay. Most of those early modules achieved classic status, some of them being collected and reprinted again and again in the years that followed.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Tom graduated from Mayfield High School and went on to receive his Masters degree in Anthropology from Kent State University.

.. Preceded in death by parents Thomas and Selma Moldvay and sister Jody Brown

Tom is survived by his sister, Rebecca (David) Welner of Akron, nieces and nephews, Lauren Welner, Dave Welner, and Kurt Brown Jr.

Toms wishes were to be cremated without a formal service.

Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. Hunts the Supernatural

I find this to be a very surprising choice. Maybe it's just because I don't watch the show but this choice of a license just surprises me. It isn't that I doubt the gameability of the setting, it just seems an odd choice as a license to pursue.

It isn't like this "genre" isn't popular among gamers. I think that the apparent popularity of White Wolf games like Hunter or mortal campaigns using the new World of Darkness rules demonstrates that there is an interest in this sort of gaming. Time will tell.

I notice that DC Comics is named as an involved party. I wonder what their part in these things is?

Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. Hunts the Supernatural
Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. has reached an agreement with Warner Bros. Television and DC Comics to produce role playing game products based on the hit television series, Supernatural.

'We like role playing games that feature a great mix of character, action, and story,' says Margaret Weis, New York Times best-selling author and game publisher. 'Supernatural delivers on all three, and the show's premise is perfect for games. The show is like a new horror movie each week, and now we'll be bringing that experience to the game table.'

Supernatural is a hit television series that airs Thursdays on the CW Network, and is produced by Warner Bros. Television in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision, with executive producers McG ('Charlie's Angels,' 'The O.C.'), writer/executive producer Eric Kripke ('Boogeyman'), Robert Singer ('Midnight Caller'), Kim Manners ('The X-Files'), and John Shiban ('The X-Files'). The show follows two brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), as they hunt ghosts, demons, and other things that go bump in the night. The Winchesters drive a black 1967 Chevy Impala across America, discovering dark secrets wherever they go.

Jamie Chambers, author and designer of the best-selling Serenity Role Playing Game, is very excited about the project. 'My grandmother raised me on ghost stories, monster tales, and local legends,' he says. 'Supernatural struck an immediate chord with me from the first episode and I'm a big fan. I want to really bring the feel of the show to our game, including the attention to folklore, a dash of humor, and a classic-rock soul.' Chambers is leading a team of writers and designers to create a game where players can become hunters of monsters— either taking the role of the show's characters or creating an entirely new monster-slaying group.

The role playing game will offer an exciting game experience, as well as serving as a thrilling companion product for fans of the show. The game will make use of the Cortex System rules created for the Serenity Role Playing Game and the Battlestar Galactica Role Playing Game (also produced by Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd.). The first product will be a Quickstart Guide, which will provide a preview of the game, including introductory rules and a short adventure. The next release will be the Supernatural Role Playing Game Core Book, a self-contained collection of rules and source material that will contain everything a group needs to start playing. Additional products will follow the release of the core product. The entire line will be supported by an interactive website.

More information will be released in the near future with further details about the upcoming line of Supernatural role playing game products.

About Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd.
New York Times best-selling author Margaret Weis continues to lead her company into carefully selected ventures in book and game publishing. The company has enjoyed great success and won multiple awards including an Origins Award (Gamer's Choice for Best Role Playing Game in 2006) and the Gen Con EN World Awards (Best Production Values). Recent successes include the Serenity Role Playing Game and the Paths of Doom series of adventure fiction. The company will be announcing several new exciting initiatives in the book, card game, board game, and role playing game categories over the next few months. Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. is based in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the birthplace of hobby roleplaying games.

About Supernatural

Supernatural is now in its second season, and is one of the CW Network's top five series, and its second highest-rated scripted series in all key male demos, trailing only veteran drama Smallville. It stars Jared Padalecki ('Gilmore Girls,' 'House of Wax') as Sam Winchester and Jensen Ackles ('Smallville,' 'Dark Angel') as Dean Winchester, and was created by Eric Kripke. Twenty-two years ago, Sam and Dean lost their mother to a mysterious and demonic supernatural force. In the years after, their father John raised them to be soldiers. He taught them about the paranormal evil that lives in the dark corners and on the back roads of America... and he taught them how to kill it. Supernatural is a Wonderland Sound and Vision production in association with Warner Bros. Television and airs Thursdays on The CW.

SUPERNATURAL ™ & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What's That Glow?

When someone posted a link to a Google Map of this on one of the mailing lists that I am a member of, I knew that there had to be a post to be gotten out of it.

Thankfully Google Earth allows you to export images, so we have this picture of "The Glow" from Purmerend, Holland.

I think that it is a secret launch site, a homemade rocket base waiting for the go signal so that some home owner can launch themselves into the depths of outer space. Or, perhaps in an even more sinister manner, it is a landing site. Perhaps they didn't think that the satellite sweeping overhead could be accessed by something as mundane as a random Google user who would spread this all over the internet.

Regardless, this is the start of an adventure for any number modern day RPG scenarios, from super-heroes to horror to conspiracy. Now that you have the first piece....what comes next?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Novelist Kurt Vonnegut dies at 84

Kurt Vonnegut, the satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as 'Slaughterhouse-Five' and 'Cat's Cradle,' died Wednesday. He was 84.

Vonnegut, who often marveled that he had lived so long despite his lifelong smoking habit, had suffered brain injuries after a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.

The author of at least 19 novels, many of them best-sellers, as well as dozens of short stories, essays and plays, Vonnegut relished the role of a social critic. He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanizing people.

'I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations,' Vonnegut, whose watery, heavy-lidded eyes and unruly hair made him seem to be in existential pain, once told a gathering of psychiatrists.

A self-described religious skeptic and freethinking humanist, Vonnegut used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his points of view. He also filled his novels with satirical commentary and even drawings that were only loosely connected to the plot. In 'Slaughterhouse-Five,' he drew a headstone with the epitaph: 'Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.'

"Ghost Rider" creator sues over copyright

The creator of Ghost Rider has sued Marvel Enterprises, Sony Pictures Entertainment and several entities over what he claims is an unauthorized 'joint venture and conspiracy to exploit, profit from and utilize' his copyrights to the comic book character.

Gary Friedrich and his company filed the 61-page complaint April 4 in federal court in Illinois claiming 21 violations based on the production and marketing of Sony's recent 'Ghost Rider,' starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. Friedrich claims the copyrights used in the film and in related products reverted from Marvel to him in 2001.

The defendants include Sony's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, producers Relativity Media, Crystal Sky Pictures and Michael De Luca Prods. as well as Hasbro Inc. and Take-Two Interactive.

Friedrich alleges copyright infringement, and accuses Marvel of waste for failing "to properly utilize and capitalize" on the Ghost Rider character. Marvel's attempts to do so, Friedrich claims, have only damaged the value of his work by failing to properly promote and protect the characters and by accepting inadequate royalties from co-defendants. Friedrich also claims that toymaker Hasbro and videogame firm Take-Two have improperly created merchandise based on the characters.

Friedrich created the character of Johnny Blaze and his alter ego Ghost Rider in 1968. Three years later, he agreed to publish the character in comic books through Stan Lee's Magazine Management, which eventually became Marvel Entertainment.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Doctor Is So In!

This adaptation of Dr. Strange into a TV movie in the seventies even embarrassed Stan Lee.