Monday, August 28, 2006

More Photos

Our boy has only been crawling for about three weeks now, but wow... he sure seems to be growing up fast. We have new photos posted here (the first since the beginning of summer). Not to be missed: "When Frogs Attack (And Little Boys Fght Back)". I'm also very fond of the shot of me and Finley at the zoo.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Long Overdo Dragonspire Update

We're having our fourth session of Dragonspire (Dungeons & Dragons version) on Sunday. It's been a while since I last updated the site and it's been weighing on me. So I finally bit the bullet and posted up-to-date session logs and character sheets. It might seem like I'm excessively anal, but I like having up-to-date character information for the players in case anybody leaves their sheet at home. The session summaries help me (and the players) keep the continuity straight.
We had another Risus Dragonspire session last night. That game is going well, but it is so painfully slow to play online. I'll post updates over at the Risus Monkey sometime before the next session.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Nerd Post Backlog

Since I've been too busy for daily posting, I've been accumulating a bunch of cool science/geek-related tidbits that I had been meaning to share. Quickly (because I'm at lunch and need to get back to work), here is what I found:

Thursday, August 17, 2006

GenCon Update

Well, I'm back. GenCon 2006 compared very favorably to GenCon 2005. It did seem to have a different vibe, though. Perhaps it was because I knew so many ENWorlders going in this time? Perhaps it was because I just knew what to expect? I dunno, but it did seem more relaxed (odd, since I hardly slept).

Unlike last year, I stuck with ENWorld pickup games and only paid for one event: True Dungeon (fun, as always). This years crop of games are described on this thread over at ENWorld. On Thursday morning, I played an antisocial government agent in Buttercup's Damnation Decade. The game was fun, but it did result in a Total Party Kill (TPK). Thursday night was time for Rel's brilliant Sky Galleons of Mars. I played Tex as a hyperactive hick last year, but I believe that I had more fun playing the imperturbable Captain Umbridge this time around. Friday morning's game was Old One's outstanding Blood Alter of Wodan (Grim Tales). As Leudonus, I finally got to play the brick and had a blast wading through Saxon mooks. Saturday's Risus game was cancelled (on account of a very late night TBR excursion), but I was very honored to be a part of PirateCat's all-star game of Mutants & Masterminds: Antiheroes. As "Killswitch", I was supposed to be the smartest man in the world. I fear I didn't do him justice, but I was just happy to bask in the "perfectness" of all the other player characters. I was especially fond of Kisnit's Migraine and the amazing exchange between PirateCat and KidCthulhu as Knockout's clueless parents. Finally, there was Alenda's Halfling Musketeers game. Of all the games, I may have had the most pure fun in this one. As the party swashbuckler in a swashbuckling game, I was able to pull of some really sweet moves. And playing alongside PirateCat really made my con.

Beyond the gaming, I will say that once again, I was inspired by the people I met and saw. On the one hand, I observed every negative stereotype one would associate with gamers. The people made me thankful that I am fit, healthy, successful, and have an exciting life outside gaming. On the other hand, most of the people I interacted with were fantastically cool people who inspired me in so many ways to be a better person.

In the dealer hall, I was happy to come away with only a few purchases (I spent way too much in the previous years). This year's purchase was limited to a onesie for my son, some new dice, and Qin: The Warring States. The later is a fantastic wuxia game set in late Iron Age China, just as it was being unified for the first time. I don't know if I'll ever use the rules (which do look very playable), but I certainly hope to use the setting at some point, even if it is just for one-shots or dimension-hopping games. The book is absolutely loaded with excellent historical information about ancient China (which dovetails nicely with my studies of Chinese). It also doesn't hurt that the book is really, really handsome.

Lastly, I will also say that were were blessed with fantastic weather, which made my two marathon training runs very enjoyable. For some reason, I find Indianapolis to be a really cool city. I've known about the canal walk since my first year, but this year I discovered the trails along the river (one of which skirts the edge of the zoo).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I'm heading off to GenCon. I'll post an update shortly after I get back.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Vat Brains

Another genre convention is the idea of a brain in a jar. A related item is the vat brain computer, a computer composed of biological material rather than conventional silicon. This article in Wired described how scientists are actually playing around with primitive versions of these "animats". What is especially cool about this research is that they will help us understand the underlying cortical algorithms, which will be useful in treating brain disorders and building thinking machines.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More Sci-Fi Tech First Seen In Games

Anybody remember GDW's 2300 AD? I had both versions, as well as the space combat board game. While I loved the setting I never actually got to play it. I've never been able to get a science-fiction game off the ground (not counting cyberpunk), probably because I was intimidated by the scale (and too fond of swashbuckling melee combat). But I did love the hard science-fiction setting. Aside from the obligatory faster-than-light breakthrough (which was handled particularly well), most of the tech was based on conservative extrapolations of existing technology. If anything, these extrapolations were too conservative, but that just made the setting feel that much cooler. It was possibly the only RPG setting that came close to capturing that Aliens feel.
Why bring up 2300 AD? Well, I remember that they had this soft body armor that would harden upon impact by kinetic energy weapons. This article in Business Week talks about how it may soon become reality.