Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Youtube Channels worth checking out - Beyond Science

Even though I have a ton of school-learnin in the hard sciences, I'm still a sucker for all those conspiracy and "Ancient Mystery"-style documentaries. You know, Egyptian Pyramid powerplants, Atlantis, Oak Island hidden treasure, Hitler escaping to Argentina conspiracies, Underground Hidden Military UFO bases, Aliens building Stonehenge stuff, and so on. Basically any and all of those terrible reality-style History Channel shows of late. Makes for particularly great brain food for Call of Cthulhu adventures!

Yup, I agree that's definitely an Elder Thing on that Mesopotamian cylinder seal.

But sometimes you don't have time for a full episode of 'Missing in Alaska' or 'Ancient Aliens,' and you go onto Youtube to find something else to whet the pseudoscience wonderment palette about aliens or bigfoot. But Youtube is a minefield if you aren't looking for things that are just a little so far out there that you can't even suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy it (e.g. the "I psychically talk to Pletians from Sirius, and they confirm our president is a Muslim Reptilian!" stuff).

Well, there's a Youtube channel hosted by Mike Chen called "Beyond Science" I recently discovered, and I'm really enjoying it. In his videos, Mike matter-of-factually presents weird and interesting phenomena from around the world, in entertaining 10-minute videos. His videos are well-edited, move quickly from one topic to the next, and he's an engaging speaker who doesn't waste your time with needless exposition. Its good stuff if you want to take a short break from thinking about those daily TPS reports and want to ponder ancient underwater cities for a few minutes.

Beyond Science: one of the few 'mysterious phenomenon' indy channels on Youtube I actually recommend checking out!

If anyone has come across any similar Youtube channels they want to share, throw it in the comments. I'd love to check it out!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

1SMR: Bad Xmas Movies III

The Christmas movie marathon continues! This is turning out to be the longest holiday weekend ever. Here's some more one-sentence movie reviews: Xmas edition...

Elf - An abandoned child is kicked out of his adoptive sweatshop home and sent to live with his distant biological father when its determined that he can't work as quickly or as efficiently as the oppressed native workforce.
[8 bottles of spaghetti syrup out of 10]
Elvish upbringing grants Weapon Proficiency: Snowball and Resistance to Diabetes.

A Christmas Story - The classic movie that taught children everywhere the dangers of licking cold flagpoles and the value of a reliable firearm.
[9 eyes shot out of 10]
Ralphie was right to be terrified of the all-knowing and all-powerful Mall Santa Claus.

Love Actually - Sheriff Rick Grimes falls in love with his best friend's fiance and Professor Snape wants to cheat on his wife with a younger woman; in this British rom-com that's somehow considered a great date movie.
[4 washed-up rockers out of 10]
We can't save the people of Alexandria, but we can save...our Love.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

1SMR: Bad Xmas Movies II

Its the official week of the Magic Baby Solstice, and that means more Xmas movies! Here's some more 1-sentence movie reviews (1SMR) for Xmas movies we watched this week.

Die Hard II: Die Harder - More explosions, meaner bad guys, porcelain guns, snowmobile chases, icicle-stabbings, and actual snow; this Die Hard is far superior over the original Die Hard as a Christmas movie, though no one will admit it because it lacks a Hans Gruber.
[9 Glock 7's (which costs more than you make in a month!) out of 10]
Way more Christmasy than any party at Nakatomi Plaza.

Gremlins - Watch a supernaturally cute creature cause the deaths of dozens of people and destroy an entire town on Christmas, only to safely go back home and not be held accountable in any way.
[7 Barbie RC Car Jumps out of 10]

Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds...tee hee hee!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid teach us the true meaning of Christmas, which involves kidnapping rich people so you can yell at them just because you failed to properly budget your finances.
[8 full sh*ters out of 10]
Hey, when its full, its full!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

One-Sentence Movie Reviews: Bad Xmas movies

Yes I saw Star Wars. No I will not spoil it for you in any way, and not talking about a movie at all is the only way to ensure you don't spoil something.

But then there are other movies that you totally can spoil, because they're pieces of crap. And Christmas movies usually have a special level of crap-titude they can attain, because of the expectation that they always have to end in giant nauseating family get-togethers where everyone loves everyone else, or other such garbage.

Well, Mrs. Chainsword and I have a tradition where we watch a bunch of good Christmas movies on the weekend before and during Christmas, and have a great time getting drunk on spiked apple cider and eggnog while watching Die Hard, Gremlins, Elf, Scrooged, Christmas Story, and Christmas Vacation. However, last night we decided to try out a few other Christmas movies we haven't seen to see if they had what it takes to be added to the list.

Here's the Vorpal Chainsword's "One (run-on) sentence review" of these Christmas movies (all available on Netflix):

A Very Murray Christmas - A (Netflix Original) "Christmas show"-within-a-"Christmas show" where a crotchety Bill Murray laments about the irony of hating Christmas while having to put on a Christmas show, when a bunch of his actor-friends show up to spontaneously and burst into Christmas songs to cheer him up; bask in the glory of writers obviously patting themselves on the back for using the overused premise: "We're pretending to put on a show but we're actually putting on a show! Look at how clever we are!"  
[4 Bah-Humbugs out of 10.]

Writers: "Then we'll get George Clooney to show up, everyone loves George Clooney!"

Christmas with the Kranks - Watch Tim Allen's completely reasonable attempt to skip Christmas one year to save money backfire and cause his overbearing and judgmental neighbors to shame him and terrorize his wife for not participating in their money-grabbing pagan rituals, and eventually end up guilt-tripping him into having a last-minute Christmas party; please note that you're clearly expected to cheer for the witch-hunting neighbors.
[2 Bah-Humbugs out of 10]

The true meaning of Christmas is to just acquiesce to everyone else's demands. Ho. Ho. Ho.

Bad Santa - A accurate and enjoyable reality documentary which follows Billy Bob Thorton around during the Holidays.
[10 Bah-Humbugs out of 10]

Definitely added to the Best Christmas Movies list.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Frostgrave 2: The Frostening

I recently picked up a new miniature skirmish game, Frostgrave, last week and thought it looked interesting upon first glance. Well, thanks to Darth Cibeous over at 20ontheDie, I got an opportunity to give the game a quick playtest last Saturday. Didn't take any pictures or anything as it was just a quick playthrough to see if we liked it, but I can say that it was a lot of fun. Even though Darth Cibeous's Necromancer pretty much ground my Wizard and Apprentice into fine dust, we learned a lot about how the game plays and had a great time. One of the best parts of the game is actually the post-battle wrap-up, as that's when you get to roll on the treasure tables and determine if you found any cool magic items or spellbooks in the treasure chests you collected. I think Frostgrave is going to breathe new life into my desire to paint all these Reaper Bones Kickstarter minis (that I keep on collecting for no reason).

Though I'll have to learn to actually base minis in something other than "standard temperate forest theme," I suppose.
But the real question is, would YOU be interested in Frostgrave? Well, there are a number of videos out of people playing it, so the best way to determine that is to give one of them a watch and see if it holds your interest. One of my favorite Youtube channels for miniature gaming is Guerrilla Miniature Games, and the host (Ash) always has excellent terrain and painted minis to ooh and ahh over while they play and explain the rules.

Check out their first playthrough of Frostgrave (and they have a lot more episodes if that catches your interest):

Game on!

Saturday, December 12, 2015


So I've been thinking about miniature skirmish wargaming a lot, and realized that there's no real reason to get into The Hobbit (or LotR) Strategy Battle Game. Because for that game you're supposed to only use Games Workshop miniatures, and my hearts just not in getting another person addicted to that drug along with me. Plus the game really doesn't play all that smoothly for beginners. Finally everyone's already got a bunch of the Reaper Bones minis (Kickstarters), and they're unlikely to want to start getting into overpriced minis from GW (even if they look rad as hell).

Then I realized while I really do want to start playing a miniature skirmish game like Hobbit or Mordheim (again, GW), I want to play one where people can paint, convert, and use their own Reaper Bones minis from the various Kickstarters we've all been into the last few years. So I went in search of something fantasy, skirmishy, but not GW nor miniature-specific.

Then I found the answer at my Friendly Local Game Store:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

TV dramas always waste your time, Movie dramas rarely do

I like stories. I think everyone likes stories. The more stories you've heard, the more rounded and interesting of a person you become when encountering new things. To put it another way, a person that's read Aesop's FablesGrimm's Fairy-tales, and Dr. Seuss is going to be more interesting to talk to than a person who's only ever read Bernstein Bears books over and over. (Spoiler alert: All the BB stories are the same --> The cubs made a mess and don't want to clean it up. But they should, because of reasons. End of lesson).

There's no one right way to obtain stories. D&D players like to collectively create them sometimes, which is a practice I wholeheartedly endorse. But as adults, the primary way we get new stories to put in our brain-pans is by watching dramas on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Cable (is Cable still a thing?). However, recently I've come to realize that there are far too many drama shows I'm being told to watch, and everybody has a list of favorite shows that they say: "Hey man, you absolutely must watch this show! You'd love it!"
Say Breaking Bad one more time, motherf#$%r. Say it. I dare you.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

There and Back Again!

You know how sometimes you lose track of time? Like, when you're carefully crafting an email to someone at work and you forget to join your scheduled conference call until 5 minutes into it (and you feel like a total jerk)?

Or, in another example, when you pick up Fallout 4 and you lose track of the entire month of November?
"Hey everybody, did the news get around
About a guy named Butcher Pete..."

Yeah, so, you get the idea.

But now I'm back, and the twice-a-week updates are also back, baby!