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Showing posts from 2008


We had company over, neighbours. Cooked a big turkey with all the fixings. Kids, running around, screaming, going up and down stairs, somehow not seriously mutilating themselves or otherwise providing the local emergency ward with cases that'll wake interns up, in a cold sweat, wondering why they didn't go into cabinetry like their brother-in-law. And the adults, sitting around the table, drinking, having at times awkward, at times HI-larious conversations that invariably revolve around kids or movies or any host of safe topics. If there's one thing you want to avoid, is having icy relations with your neighbours. So as much as you want to discuss fundamentalist Christianity and how it's slowing eroding the scientific rigour in teaching our youth, you realize it's better to keep your mouth shut so you can ask Hank for a powerdrill when you need to hang yet enough shelfing system with an unpronounceable name sold by a European multinational. I had to go upstairs, to

Snowy Terror

It's snowed about a foot here in the Pacific Northwest. Which would be no big deal if this were the East Coast, or Nunavut, or any place where they have more than 57 dollars budgeted for snow removal. Here, though, it shuts everything down. The city comes to a stand-still not seen outside of post-apocalyptic zombie flicks and grassroot Bush rallies. Everything is improvised. That's because, rightly, there's little point in investing in equipment/gear/tools that you're going to use 1 week out of the year. But that also means... CHAOS!! But not for the kids, thankfully. Snow is nature's Lego™ and Slip N' Slide ™ and hell's gateway to a glimpse into the Lord of the Flies mentality that lurks underneath a patois of Dora the Explorer and High School Musical 3 paraphernalia. With snow, you can go fast via the steerless miracles of sleds, you can build stuff and realize your genius in architecture until the inevitable next week's rain washes it away, or you can

Overthinking Ariel

I went by Staples to pick up one of those fancy digital frame doohickies, because I shoot quite a bit with ye old Nikon 70ds . While there, I was instructed to pick up some colouring books for Owlet, since it's easier than trying to clean crayon marks off our carpet. I wasn't hopeful to find anything at Staples; I think of cut-rate printing paper and poorly designed office furniture, not Dora or Thomas. Staples is the place where you buy overpriced pens to write out carefully considered grocery lists you can leave on the counter. A temple to paper and the pushing thereof. But low and behold, off in the corner, they do have colouring books! Little cheap booklets of paper emblazoned with market-tested intellectual property protected edutainment franchises! That they are; but they're also a source of entertainment that I, young liberal hip dad, doesn't feel too guilty about plunking Owlet in front of (minus the cutting down of our natural oxygen producers and acceleratin

Christmas Letter 2008

Another winter has caught us all unawares. That means a few harrowing near misses on the highway, the even more harrowing trip to the mall, and a Christmas letter from the Smiths; hopefully not harrowing. The biggest news is that we are expecting another baby this January. Apparently the mist of time has romanticized changing thirty diapers a day on no sleep. But, we're pretty excited. There is a marked decrease in our nervousness, under the rather false assumption that because we've gone through this before 2 years ago, we totally know what we're doing this time around. I suspect there will be many moments of us cleaning up the floor, table, and bedsheets muttering, “Oh yeaaah, I forgot about that.”. We're pretty certain it's a boy, which is good for balance. Visions of losing every video vote to another romantic comedy no longer haunt me. On the other hand, having to decipher the whole sports thing, should our son be into that, fills me with a new kind of cold, co

Fictional Stories For Facebook 'Friends' Who Are Obviously Gloating

So you know the 'facebook friend', the distant acquaintance that was not quite a friend but not an outright stranger that you might have shared a class with 17 years ago? Or the brother of a friend of friend whose wedding you were only invited to because you were in town and they needed you to pick up the bridesmaids' flowers? Whatever. Not really friends but not distant enough that you can easily remove them from your ever growing and ever estranged collection of ... people that you've crossed in your life; and not in the way a gunslinger might anger the head of the baddest group of bandits this side of the Sierra Madre. And, it looks like this stranger has had a bit of luck: a stunning spouse, a vocation doing photoshoots for nympomaniacal fashion models. And they find that one picture they 'share' with all their 'friends', capturing all their good luck in one nice shot. Yeah, I hate them too. These are the venom filled back stories I make up for them.

Bocce News Update #5 : Pacino Reporting

Another excerpt from a post I made to our work wiki, detailing our latest match in the company bocce tournament. We won again, miraculously. Al Pacino reporting There they were, on the field. The pitch. The battlefield on which future players will look to and say, "There strode heroes. TITANS!" It was cold, yeah, it was cold and you can stamp your feet and pull that scarf tighter but no weather bites quite so hard as the fangs of competition. The cold icepick that sinks in your chest when facing destiny, how everyone will remember you from this day to next, for all history as long as the annals of VP Students Portfolio Bocce tournaments are written. Team A faced Team B that cold day. Both teams undefeated. Both staring posterity with the unblinking eyes of champions. With the heart that has defined Team A's career, they surged ahead to a 6-1 lead. Team B, looked into their souls, they saw what needed to get done, they knew Team A would not go down without a fight, would

Chomsky Comments on Left 4 Dead

I think what's clear here, in this shot, is that it's the humans that have the guns, the mandate to power in this situation. The undead, these new immigrants to a world that's still very strange to them, they are, quite categorically, unarmed. There is a struggle for hegemony you can see here. Dominion over land, a fight for sovereignity. What would you do if armed strangers came through your land? You'd attack, naturally. You'd defend yourself, is what you'd do. And if we are even attempting to consider the justice in this situation, the undead are merely fending off the humans with their hands, their feet. How much damage could they do? But, time and time again, we see a disproportionate response to this from the humans. A call to arms, a god given right to take the lives of countless undead and for what? The opportunity to trespass , because, quite clearly, that's what's happening here, trespassing on the land of the undead. What is interesting to


I had to go to Home Depot to get a few things. Mainly to bumble about with and make a total mess under the guise of 'home improvement'. The only thing it improves, frankly, is my already impressive ability to swear while holding what I think is a philips head screwdriver. Could be a hammer, actually. I'm no handyman , is my point . I'm pretty good at putting on a grin and 'bearing through something until it's sort of done but nothing you'd ever show to polite company', though. Which is how I get into these situations, wandering through cavernous home improvement SUPER STORES looking for a flange or a shivel or god knows what other word they've devise for, say, a rubber washer. So I was there at Home Depot, with Owlet and The Dog. I went with them because having them around greatly reduces the chance that anyone will mistake me for a handyman and ask me for an opinion vis-a-vis the best method to route out a double iron casting tackle block; also be

Parking Lots + Cemeteries = Odd

Found via Metafilter. What's not awesome about cemeteries in parking lots? The very symbol of capitalistic fervour, the parking lot, set against the Great Equalizer. Because behind every sprawling tarmac is a Type-A personality with an implanted Bluetooth headset, a half-decaf no-fat machiatto, and a heart about to go coronary any moment. His suit shimmering with fine fibre of no-doubt Italian origin, his hair coiffed in what can be best described as 'slick', shades that cost more than my car, surveying the scene as he quibbles with contractors and city hall on how he's going to get the zoning permits in time for the next great paen to shopping box stores. But there it is. A damn cemetery right between the Odyssey and Passat. Filled with worm-food that once upon a time strove for the best and brightest, the mostest and richest that life had to offer. A parking lot is also a symbol for sprawling suburbanization: the big box stores and the shopping malls with two food-co


I find salesmen fascinating . I've had a couple of posts about them. There's something about the 'seat of your pants' living that I just find so frontiersman-like; minus the dodgey hygeine and proficiency with pistols, of course.  But the grafters, the people who sell things via a quick show on the side of the road are something else. I quite enjoy watching those red-faced (invariably) British ex-pats sweatily trying to sell me 'the last cleaning solution I'll ever need', their hands in a blur, their headset slipping off an almost bald, and completely sweaty, head. I like the idea of someone making due with just a gift of the gab and well-crafted one liners. "Death of a Salesman" in reverse comes to mind. I imagine them to be real 'people persons', the sort who actually do like  people, in general. A dastardly and foolhardy approach to life, but better a happy fool than a cripplingly depressed wise man, I suppose. All bluster, all flash ,

Owlet's Odd Geek Tendencies

Owlet is now two and a bit. She, for some unknown reason, has cultivated some odd geek tendencies. As all toddlers love Raffi for an unfathomable reason, she is of course addicted, addicted to "Baby Beluga". Needs to hear it all the time, like a crackhead needs to hear the sound of a butane lighter on a broken lightbulb. I guess there are far too many syllables in Beluga, so she ends up saying "Baby Yoda", which is, frankly, awesome . What makes it more awesome is that we can say "You want baby yoda? more baby yoda?" and she knows exactly what we're talking about. (Last night, "Attack of the Clones" was on, and she was, disconcertedly, scared of Yoda. How can anyone be scared of a small green alien who talks in broken english?) Pie has a very strong attachment to geek culture, and I don't know why that is. Maybe because pie is universally awesome. I call this the 'Bacon Effect', anything naturally awesome will become a 'geek

RULES : How Many 'Feel Good Ads' A Company Has Is Directly Proportional to Their Evilness

I'm a sucker. A complete and utter sucker who, in the road of life, has only luck and a rather voracious web reading habit to thank for not falling for various Nigerian Email scams and being the proud owner of 3 college diplomas in only three weeks ! When political strategists get together and decide what their messages is going to be, you can bet I'm the low end of cynicism. I just naturally tend to believe whatever someone is telling me. Especially if accompanied by say, stellar copy and a crisp, clean cinematography. If you have a nice cropped shot of a sunflower and then zoom with some really heart rending words about caring for the only planet we have, you can bet that my vote for you to win the next Nobel Peace prize is in the mail . Never mind if you are say, Dow Chemical who made that ever so delightful anti-personnel weapon, napalm; or the 'We've Got More Money Than God But Can't Bear To Pay Our Fine For the Valdez Spill' Exxon. I'm not sure why tha

Photography, Much Better Than Small Talk

It's a function of adulthood, going to parties with strangers. It's not that I was a big partier before. Unless you count playing ' Killer Instinct ' and getting a Big Mac combo a "night out on the town". But when you reach a certain age, the circle of friends no longer expands, there's no new people falling into you life, like your new slightly off-kilter lab partner who can do a winning impression of Dan Quayle. Social life is, for a lack of a better term, static. Or, if you're a nerd like I, even more static. A veritable Tesla coil of non-social group expanding am I. If you're a guy, social life is invariably going to the odd potluck with your wife's friends. (In the future, I look forward to many 'parties' with complete strangers who's offspring happen to be friends of my offspring.) Ah, adulthood. Luckily, I've taken up photography. And really only because Mrs. Owl enjoys photos so much. Me, I'd be happy with the odd s


It's fashionable among the nifty trendsetting ultra-hipster pseudo-elite, to mock the US. Whether you are from the US hardly matters. And it's not only because America is such a unfathomably large target: bombastic and patriotic, star and stripes and assault rifles and Monday Night football; it's not only because America has become a caricature of everything that comes to mind when one says 'boor'. No, it goes deeper than that. For those outside the US, America represents that hypocrtical parent you catch toking a doobie while speed dialing his mistress. A paragon, if you will, of virtue, of (probably due to Hollywood) everything that's Good In The World. Independence, freedom, a general distaste for hierarchy. The States were always the Rebel Alliance for much of its short history; scrappy and just one of the good ol' boys; the passengers in steerage in the great Titanic of world politics. All that changed, of course. One needn't outline all the atro

Imaginary Cabinet Positions I Would Excel In

Thanks to cheesoning for the blog topic. A day doesn't go by when I don't imagine myself in the halls of power, making decisions, attending steering committee meetings, heading discovery working groups. And let's not forget drafting legislation and speaking firey tirades to a legislature populated by 17 sleeping members of parliament. That's the life for me. And even before that, you got the dry and pablum campaign trail where you say nothing of substance and try and repeat the most catchy if inaccurate soundbite twenty times a day. On TV! Repeating phrases that my handlers and political analysts have deemed best 'resonate' with this or that demographic! But I think I'd really excel if they created certain Cabinet Positions for me. The sort that might not exist in a single democratic regime, or even in the crazy ones where the warlords drive Bentleys and the children learn the fine art of AK-47 assault rifle maintenance at the age of 7. Such as: Director

Baby Names And The People I Imagine They Create

So Mrs. Owl and I are expecting another baby. Don't worry, I don't expect gushings or cigar passing. We are quite happy about it, no need to expect semi-strangers to feel the same way, you heartless succubi. Anyhoo, we're doing the usual knock-down drag-out bare knuckle fighting that ensues when an otherwise normal couple tries to think of a what to name the baby. Owlet was relatively easy. It was just a pretty (albeit a somewhat popular) name. No, not Owlet, the name we actually use. In real life. Where there are no links and blog rolls and tags and google adsense. But this new one, he's going to be a he. Which I'm pretty ambiguous about, I guess. As long as they are healthy, etcetera. On the plus side, I don't have to worry about those hell-spawn boys slavering after another daughter. On the other hand, I have to worry about a child that will most likely think nothing about jumping off the roof of the car onto gravel "because it looked fun". So, pro

Rough Draft For Coronation Acceptance Speech, Emperor. 3rd Iceberg to the left, Antarctica

Thanks to betaray for the topic suggestion. Many of you are worried about the regime change. The changes I shall instigate are things that you've all been wanting anyways. Whispering about on the floes, gossiping about during our Egg Sit. Firstly, no more waddling. It's undignified and makes each of us look like a clumsy waiter with a glandular problem. It's quick steps and sliding on your belly or nothing . Yelling 'whee' while your sliding is not acceptable. Next, I'm not sure what sort of twisted god made us most adept at water but still made us walk over land to get to our nesting site. I'm having none of it, we're moving to Chile. Thirdly, well, this is about walking too. Let's just move on. We are never going to get any respect as long as we mournfully look after our eggs that have rolled away. Any men who lose their eggs, buck up, keep a stiff upper lip. No mugging for the camera. Related to this, we're going to start hunting really big


Thanks to Xian Pitt for the photo. Thanks to gregodactyl for the topic. Not edgy and reeking of whatever the hipster-literary elite take for 'funny', but a solid topic. It's hard not to get nostalgic about Halloween. Wait, not nostalgic, what's that other thing? Diabetic shock. Well, ok, and nostalgic. Halloween is a bloody great holiday. A truly kids holiday. Staying out late in the dark, wearing costumes meant to maximize pedestrian danger, and all to get candy . Remember when it was all the rage to dress as a ninja? Black mask, black top and pants, running around with swords? How did any child make it through that not shot or with a large American auto-maker's logo embossed on their forehead? And the loot! Those candy corns and related sweets that one ate only at Halloween. The McDonald's coupons for a free cone that you swear that this year, you are sooo going to use. The mini-candy bars that tasted somehow entirely different from just a small bite fro

Indie Bands Too Edgey For You

Thanks to katya and cheesoning for the blag topic! What can I say, I lack creativity and iniative. NOTE: I'm censoring swear words because I don't swear often (if at all) on this blog, and thought it'd be weird just to start dropping the F-bomb like I was in a movie about the Boston mob featuring Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci.  SkullF**kers A gregorian chant/ska collective featured primarily in underfunded Hungarian pornos. Their 2003 album, "Hectoring In Bliss" was a major influence for Banksys's "Ironic Stencils That Speak Truth To Power" period. Diligent B**tards A British pop band sensation that made it to number 63 in the UK Charts in 1979 with the flowery and chronically cheerful hit 'All's Alright Then, Yeah?'.  Went on to drive the metal-core-jungle-double-beat-death-speed scene in Glasgow. Penned the original theme song for M.A.S.K. Stabbing Rapiers Purportedly Johnny Depp's favourite band. From France, features three double ba

Hephaestus Buys a Lava Lamp

Thanks to betaray for the topic. When you're as ugly as I am, you find it useful to use black lights exclusively in your home. Yes, I know, I hear you thinking, "But surely, Hephaestus, the skill you have to craft wonders of warfare must make utter and shocking hideousness a small price to pay." All I have to say to that is, when the goddess of Love can't hum a tune and shut her eyes long enough to have embarrassing and awkward congress, no gift is enough. Now, back to black-lights. They aren't black, of course, but calling them deep-violet-and-quite-lovely-lights doesn't sound as badass. I'm the blacksmith to the gods, I need to maintain my level of cool. I am, in your parlance, the kid who did really well in shop. I've been hearing about it from everyone who's come over (shout out to my homies at the Theseum, wut wut!), that I really need a lava lamp. It's not like I was expecting something that would upset the 'too-pretty-for-you' O

A Hobby To Be Mildy Ashamed Of

I'm a gamer. No, not a rapacious player of Monopoly and Scattergories; not a chess player or someone who plays contract bridge with 67 year-old retired storm-door repairmen with fond memories of Nixon. I'm the other sort. There can't be another hobby that garners as much disdain and derision as video-gaming. If I spent my afternoons staring at small pictures printed on non-resusable stickers sold by major governments at OUTRAGEOUS prices, I'd be considered 'bookish'. Not weird. If I whiled away the weekends in the garage with an engineer's cap faithfully re-creating a 100 year old oak from plasticized brocolli and making sure the 6:45 Stony Creek runs on time; people would smile at my sense of child-like wonderment. But if I spend my evenings yelling at 16 year-olds over the internet to "Just cap the goddamn point", or "Do you even know what cover fire means" suddenly I'm puerile and 'need to grow up'. Er. There are many wa


I'm alarmingly adept at slogans.  Lemme rephrase.  I'm alarming adept at slogans that no company would use.  Slogans are like the poetry of humour. Short, fast, and whoever takes it seriously insists there's much more craft in it than say, writing a 1200 page historical fiction novel about physics, the financial derivatives market, and the rise and fall of Cromwell.  Er, but I guess that analogy falls apart, because at one end, they're paid quite well, and at the other end, the poor sods end up paying other  people to publish it. Or read it, for that matter. On the other OTHER hand, there are no Nobel prizes for slogans.   Here are some slogans I made on the spot for a fictious tech company: Meganaut Corporation : almost completely unfraudulent Meganaut Corporation : lawsuits pending and unfounded. Meganaut Corporation : what, it's 'high tech'. Meganaut Corporation : it's impressive because we make our own acronyms. Meganaut Corporation : tell your frie

RULES : Shit is Ad Hoc

I have a series of unwritten and wildly disorganized rules that I've made up and/or observed from my paltry life on this earth. Every so once and awhile, something will happen, some big event or somesuch, and I'll be reminded of one of these rules, and be like "Oh, I am so very sage and insightful and whatnot.". I'll also probably say, "I really should get around to writing this stuff down, I could really entertain my seven readers. Possibly dangerously." Yes folks, these rules are so entertaining, they contain a shred of danger in them, like a bullfight or discussing The Baconator with a vegan. Ok, now that I've set myself up for nothing but failure, let's begin this series of The Rules! or RULES! or, yeah, something appopriate. Shit is Ad Hoc. These rules aren't numbered or follow some hierarchy, they are kinda, well, they are kinda like this rule, ad hoc. So, this is the first of the unnumbered unhierarchiacal list. Here's the thing.

Not Really Movie Stars

At risk of sounding like the sort of man who wears straight leg corduroys and has the box set for Streisand, there are certain big stars who lack the panache of old timey stars. Old timey stars like Steve McQueen, Carey Grant, Optimus Prime, and Gene Kelly. I have a strong affinity for iconic stars. They embody many things that (in my case) men should act like. Maybe not should . Suggested. Highly advisable. They have panache, grace and the proper poise for every situation. There is a solidity to them. Like when you were a kid and first stepped into your dad's shoes, and thought, "Holy hell, men are large, imposing edifices". These men know what the hell a Windsor Knot is and can name every item in "Men's Health:50 Things Every Man Should Know". They probably smoke some sort of unfiltered cigarette and change their own damn oil. They have a regular barber who knows the names of their kids and they don't mind a hot shave with a real "Oh my god if

Needy, needy blogger

It's like hungry hungry hippo, except far less entertaining, with 100% less hippos, and leaves you pitying me. It's something I've been thinking alot about; that is, how many of my hits are actual real live readers, and how many are charming Russian bots harvesting the web for their own nefarious means.  I wonder this often because I get about 1 comment for every 5 to 20 posts I make. This is a terrible, terrible ratio. But I grudge you not! After all, you're busy, you have things to do, people to meet, and for some of you quite a bit of Vi@gr@ to peddle over mass emailings. So, here's your chance to satisfy my curiousty and possibly get me to post more!  See the little link to the right that says,   FOLLOW  THIS BLOG'?  Of course you do, you're bright and by all accounts an upstanding citizen.  Please click it.  You might have to make some bogus kinda profile. That's ok. I don't want to know any personal information about you. I just want to know if

Re : Open Air Elevators

Thank you for your note concerning your buildings' open air elevators. I'm glad you contacted us, because, frankly, several of my repairmen have raised some serious issues. It's not just the open air elevators -- which I'd like to note, even with your considerate email -- is in breech of several state and federal safety laws; there are other, even more grievious infractions. First off, you might want to hire a better security company. The one you employ seems to consist of shady looking gentlemen carrying poorly concealed weapons. They have no radio for communication, and wander aimlessly around the halls. Their favourite manuever is popping out of a door unannounced, as if hoping catch my men in the act of... I don't know what. They are both dangerous and ineffectual, which brings me to my second point. Every building I have sent a technician to, there is a -- by all accounts very dapper -- young man. He sports a leather jacket and a pompadour but despite his char

Bocce News Update #4: New Win

VANCOUVER (Reuters) -- The scientific world was at a stand-still today as results from the latest bocce match --TEAM 1(Mary Jones and Joe Smith) vs NO MISTAKS! (Tom Smith and Harry Jones playing)-- were announced. Dr. J. Crawford from TRIUMF, and part of the Collinear Fast Beam Spectroscopy group was called in to co-chair a sub-committee who would enact a steering group that would pro-actively retro-scope the project so that it would create the 'down to the metal', business vertical solutions needed to measure the bocce ends. The bocce balls were so close that new fields of physics -- heretofore thought to open the gates of hell, or at the very least result in an embarassing explosion -- had to be prodded and in some cases even CAJOLED to reveal a new method of distance measurement. There are the subatomic particles, and then the more exotic particles (mesons, bosons), then about 3 more layers of particles that most physicists won't even talk to you about. Below THAT, was


The previous owner of our townhouse was some kind of gardening addict. I wouldn't be surprised if she had sold her soul to posses a dark, alien power over the plant kingdom. An eternity simmering in the searing lakes of fires a fair bargain for godlike dominion over anything that grows, flowers, or responds quite well to Miracle Gro. There were layers of plants on top of plants in our tiny, thumb stamp sized garden. Grasses fought with bushes tussled with vines to create a horror of chlorophyllic power. Rain could be seen to bend it's earthward path to drench our tiny little patch, infusing our unholy writhing mass of vegetable matter with some kind of maddening, unnatural sea of plant riotousness. A year ago Mrs. Owl took some serious looking shearing clipppers to the lot of it. Cutting and slashing like it was a Brazillian rainforest in the way of a grazing herd fattening up to be an integral part of our drive-through menus. When she was done it didn't look much diffe


FYI, you look like an enormous nerd reading a hardcover book in transit.  Its mass reminiscent of a tome that might be pulled from an archaelogical dig of an ancient culture that committed entire generations  of slaves to the production of a single tome. It obscuring everything from view, your one hand trying its best to be nonchalant about supporting this gravity-well producing bulwark of dead tree fibre; your face a rictus of pleasure and throbbing, knuckle crushing pain as gravity and the miracle of torque wrests all nerve function and fine motor control from you forever. On the plus side, you can use it as a crude bludgeon on that asshole who has to play Nine Inch Nails on his iPod at volume 11.

Stuff that freaks me out, as a Canadian, in the US

ridiculously cheap alcohol. Getting absolutely plastered should cost something. It shouldn't be comparable to getting a very large McDonald's meal. anyone who talks about owning firearms in a non-chalant manner. 12-egg omlettes. commercials for hospitals USA! USA! USA! a political system with less than four parties. patriotism the phrase "The greatest country in the world" when not applied to Sweden. the above phrase spoken with dyed in the skin certainty. food portions that could feed a large village in Uganda. For a month. the term 'my country', especially when coupled with 'get out of'. flag colours displayed anywhere other than a goddamn flag. These include, but are not limited to, bandanas, shoes, entire body suits. Superheroes excluded. the pledge of allegiance. Sounds like something that members of a rather well-armed militia might have. I think it's the 'allegiance' bit. Makes one think of sides and armed conflict. Homeland Securit

China Mieville

In an effort to keep some sort of blasted focus on this site, I thought I'd give you a rundown on China Mieville. Which, in some circles, is like saying "Have you heard of this Stephen King guy? Apparently he writes novels". China (as I'll call him since I'm too lazy to spell his last name and it's not like he cares) is one of the major figures responsible for bringing steampunk to the fore as a literary genre. It's also a wicked design aesthetic when crafting stuff, and an unfortunate fashion sense. Short short version: steampunk is what all those rad gadgets were in the veritable cinematic masterpiece, "Wild, Wild West". Lots of rivets, brass, and stuff with high falutin' names (that's not a blimp, it's a goddamn DIRIGIBLE!). China did his masters degree in Cultural Anthropology at the London School of Economics, and it shows. The worlds he build are beautiful, intricate, dirty, and cruel. They're real. He has a beautiful pro

Possible Dialogue in Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead (a zombie co-operative shooter game) apparently has eight THOUSAND bloody lines of dialogue, and no cut-scenes. It's like an abomination unto the jRPG scene, overpaid CG artists, and washed out actors who once made out with their sisters. So, with that in mind, I present to you: POSSIBLE DIALOGUE IN LEFT 4 DEAD I say, is that wound infected or is your skin moisturizer pus-based? Jesus, another zombie? THIS IS THE GAME THAT NEVER ENDS! IT GOES FOR ON AND ON MY FRIEND! My current ammo count is 11, I'll keep updating you as that changes! No safe safe zone and no shotgun shells makes Homer something something. I'm going to try and negotiate with them! I now have 10 bullets. Godsdamnit, the NRA was right. We've been wandering for close to 30 gameplay hours, and we are still only four surivors. What are the odds? You would like me to continue reading random lines from my Dickens Digest? Oh, alright, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...&quo

PAX 08 : Power Overwhelming.

There really is a dizzying array of crap, vying for attention like a gaggle of refugee children reaching out imploringly to a UN peacekeepker because, they, you know, need their insulin or something. All sorts of hyper niche games and gaming. There's table top gaming, which is kinda like board games on steroids layered on top of a complexity of rules that have width, depth, and actual Newtonian mass. A vast complexity of rules. I think orc and tanks play key roles. In the more popular table-top games, an orc-tank hybrid is almost the entirety of the game mechanic. From what I can understand, it's fun. And then there are the console games, many of which really hardcore gamers turn their noses up at, games like Madden 09 or That One Shooter In the Sci Fi Or World War Two setting that's really eXtremE! You can lump in here the movie tie-ins, the Ideas Ripped Off Of Smaller Developers by a Megalithic Behemoth. Also known as Frat Boy Fair. It's the “2 Fast, 2 Furious” to a


Thanks to thekiko for the photo. The Penny Arcade Expo is kinda like the Mecca for gamers. Obviously without the deep religious connotations and how it fulfills a devouts Muslims life with love and joy and the uplifting of the spirit etc. More like, a place where everyone that is quite like you can gather and feel sorta normal. A cattle drive of nerd herds, if you will. All sorts, flavours and shades of gamers will find PAX irresistable. I know what you're thinking, "There is more than one type?". Alas, like your vegetarian co-worker who you see sometimes having a Filet-O-Fish, there are so many, many degrees of us. There are the table top gamers, the role players, the RTS dudes, the FPS maniacs, the handheld acolytes... Oh, it goes on. Sure, there is overlap. But there are only so many hours in the day, only so many ways to particpate in a hobby that brings universal denigration and sneered lips of disdain. Now, what's Penny Arcade ? Imagine if you will the most