Friday, July 25, 2008

Monday night D&D - Podcasting!

So I made the mistake of recording last week's D&D session, and now I'm honor-bound to post it on my blog. So check it out, suckers.

Part 1 - Goblins!

Part 2 - Bugbears! (on permanent hiatus)
Note that I'm using a temporary free hosting service, and the link will probably go down within a month or so. So if you want to listen to them I'd suggest downloading them now, as I'm not sure if I'll spring for actual real webspace to store stuff in the interwebernets.

Podcasting Vets: Whenever I use Audacity to record/edit audio, the audio is quiet through the computer speakers (PC or laptop), but is plenty loud if you use headphones. I can amplify the sound with Audacity but then its super loud in headphones. Anybody with podcasting XP know why this is and how to rectify that?

Friday, July 18, 2008


I don't know how movies like this are funded, but I am so glad they are:

Hat tip to The Evil DM.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More Movie Reviews -- Hellboy and Chris C'tan!

Got some more horror movie reviews for ya folks. One in the theaters (Hellboy 2: Attack of the Puppets), and one fresh outta production and straight into Netflix Watch-it-Now (Undead or Alive).

Hellboy 2

Let's start with Hellboy, which I just came back from this fine Sunday morning (I like my horror in early morning matinee form). Don't worry, I won't post (m)any spoilertz.

So how is it? Well, its better than the first one, by far. I'm not really a Hellboy fan, I certainly don't collect the comics, and I'm not really into the cartoony/Men-in-Black way in which they present the Cthulhu mythos. I do like Ron Perlman punching giant muppets though, so that's what gets me to the theater for these movies (who am I kidding, I'd watch just about anything if it even remotely suggested the presence of Yog-Sothoth).

However, two things bothered me with the first Hellboy movie that made me almost not go see this one (which would've been unfortunate):

1) The regenerating Hellhound creature(s). So you're going to make me watch Hellboy fight a mutant dog. Fine, that's pretty cool, I can't wait to see what he fights next!
...again with the mutant dog. Oh wait, yet ANOTHER identical mutant dog. Then an hour into the movie: The exact same mutant dog! Wheeee! We don't even get a tentacled horror until the last five minutes, and it was only after seeing sixty more mutant dogs.

2) Secondly, the "Love story." For some reason Hollywood thinks a seven-foot 240 lb demon man stalking a 115 lb goth chick is "cute." Guess what, its not cute. Its creepy. Also: Boring. The love story BS in the first movie was so painful to watch (not "Attack of the Clones" painful, but painful) that I started to hate demon-spawned heroes, which really shows how bad it was.

Now, in Hellboy 2 there's some love story, but for Hellboy its the troubles of a couple arguing over living together and not the in-your-face "stalking chicks is cool and will totally work to win her over" as the last movie. However, they decide to go in a different direction with the love story-shoehorning in this one, and have fish-guy get a crush on a fairyland elf chick (oh stop whining, its hardly a spoiler, they'll choke you with it before the end of the movie anyway). I'm not sure how they'd explain that coupling though, I mean, how would they "do it?" Does he think he'll just release his gametes into the swimming pool and then she'll do the butterfly stroke or something? What's the attraction there for her? Its a stupid and forced love story. Moving on.

The good news is, the monster fights are excellent in this one. Lots of puppets. Instead of Nazi demon-summoning of the last movie, they went with dark Germanic fairytale-style monsters. Its like the Bureau of Paranormal Research decided to invade the Muppet show, Labyrinth and Fraggle rock all at the same time. Plenty of Gorgs everywhere for Hellboy to punch. Big monsters, little monsters, you name it. They really upped the ante with the monsters here and I appreciate their efforts. I especially enjoyed the "tooth fairies."

The movie was a little funnier than expected. While I don't like the government-coverup/Men-in-Black humor of the Hellboy genre (and there was a lot of it in this one), there is some stuff to chuckle at in this movie. Also the guy who plays the villain looks just like Tom Cruise. IMDB says his name is Luke Goss, but I'm pretty sure its really Tom Cruise. So if you want to see Tom Cruise do ninja backflips and get punched in the face, this is your movie.

Final analysis: Twelve-thousand regenerating mutant Hellhounds out of fifteen-thousand regenerating mutant Hellhounds. Easily worth a matinée ticket.

Undead or Alive

This movie just came out on Netflix's watch-it-now, and I actually highly recommend you watch it now!

Its a western zombie comedy (A "Zombedy") starring Chris Kattan and the guy from Desperate Housewives. Basic premise is this: Desperate Housewives guy is a hardened ex-army desperado, and Chris Kattan is his bumbling sidekick. Geronimo (the Indian warrior/druid) summons up a mystical zombie disease to kill all the white invaders. Geronimo's indian princess niece gets caught up with the duo as they battle the zombies.

This movie was stupid, as in stupid-funny. Chris Kattan plays the exact same character he plays in every SNL skit he's ever been in, and says a lot of funny stuff. There's plenty of old-west cliche's and silliness, especially with Kattan's character. You can tell that each actor knows how ridiculous the movie is and puts forth at least a little effort to make it even more ridiculous. But most importantly there's plenty of gore. Far more gore than you'd expect of a movie with SNL people in it (there's cameos by some of the other lower-ranking SNL people from the '90s as well -- mostly as zombies).
I'm not sure how they ever convinced these actors to make this movie, but I'm glad they did. Its even got the kind of twist ending that are the reason I watch low-budget horror.

Final analysis: Seven Corpses out of Ten. For a free flick to watch on Netflix, its worth every penny. Highly recommended!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

No Gungans Allowed

So our DnD group is having so much fun playing DnD on Monday nights, that we've decided to add another night of gamin' to our weekly games. And we've decided to make it ... Friday nights! Because, and lets be honest, we aren't kids anymore, and saving our Friday nights in case we decide to 'go out to the bar' is about the most pathetic lie we can pretend we believe about ourselves.
Also: Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica is on hiatus until next year, so there's really nothing holding us back now.

Our group's collective second-most favorite setting for games besides the Gygaxian Middle Ages is the Galactic Space Opera setting of Star Wars! So Star Wars Saga is next on the agenda, and as I have the most Wookiepedian understanding of the setting of all of us (and the only person who owns the rulebook), I get to GM!

None of the group has played it before, but I'm not too worried. They learned 3.5, then they learned 4e. Since Saga is sort of a mixture of those two systems Saga should be no problem. The problem is deciding which setting to play in. We've narrowed it down to two choices:

Clone Wars -- The setting with the most promise that got the shortest straw with representation on the big screen. A galactic war involving Jedi + Cloned Stormtroopers vs. Battle Droids and Sith Lords? Who could possibly make that kind of premise boring? I'll tell you who: Hayden Christenson as Mannequin Skywalker and George Lucas over the age of 40. But I feel that I could present some really Jeditacular adventures set within the Separatist Wars.

Rise of the Empire -- The original Wars. Jedi hiding from a tyrannical empire! Scoundrels smuggling goods to rebel cells! AT-ATs and X-wing fighters! This setting has great promise for adventures involving padawan Jedi and escaped Wookie slaves battling the oppressive Empire. And remember, I don't believe in restricting player creation options for the sake of "story" (regardless of the title of this post), so you wanna be a Padawan Jedi Ewok? You're on! Just please try to explain it without referencing Wilfred Brimley or the Caravan of Courage.

So how do we decide what setting to play in? I'll tell you how, we do this old school: A die roll. At the Monday's weekly DnD game we'll not only make characters, but I'll also make an epic percentile die roll to determine the setting:

01-50% Clone Wars

51-00% Rise of the Empire

So what setting will it be? Stay tuned!

Update: And the winner is...

Rise of the Empire by a nose!

Since the roll was so close, I've decided to cheat and make the campaign take place immediately after the events of Revenge of the Sith. This way we can still have a bunch of Jedi padawans in the party and I can still use my clone trooper miniatures.

May the Schwartz be with you.