Revenge on the Sith

It was back to Flying Lab today, but I can handle a work week that starts on Thursday. I was a little slow getting back into the swing of things, but I was not alone in that. Many folks are still out of the office and we’ve reached that point where there’s little more we can do to the game before launch. At this point we have to just cross our fingers and count down to release.

Christmas day was a mellow affair and that was fine by me. We joined Ray and Christine at their place, crashing there so as not to have to deal with the snow. Nik and Christine teamed up for a great dinner featuring an herb-crusted beef tenderloin that was like buttuh. During the many hours of prep and cooking, we watched Revenge of the Sith with Riff Trax accompaniment. If you aren’t familiar, Riff Trax is basically a bunch of guys from MST3K doing their patented mockery. You download an mp3, synch with the bad movie of your choice, and voila. Revenge of the Sith was an excellent choice because it is so godawful. Nik had never seen it and I told her that this was the best way to experience the ultimate betrayal of our childhood dreams. Without the mockery, she never would have sat through the whole thing. I had only seen Revenge once before, when I was stuck in a hotel in Ft. Wayne with nothing else to do. I didn’t like it then but forgot how truly terrible it was. The Riff Trax delivered though and we laughed plenty. They also have one for the Star Wars Holiday Special, but I’m the only one who seems up for that. Cowards!

A Little Down Time

I had some vague thoughts of starting a new design project or maybe getting back to the comic book idea I’ve been developing, but for the most part I’ve just been chilling out at home with the family and relaxing. I could do this for weeks but have to settle for two more days. I’ve been reading, watching DVDs, gluing minis, and sleeping. Yeah, the good stuff.

Last night we went to see National Treasure: Book of Secrets in Columbia City. Now you would think that a movie with Ed Harris, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, and Helen frickin’ Mirren would have something going for it, but oh no. This was a complete pile of shit. It’s really too bad as the premise of a team of treasure hunters solving historical is fun, but this script is a disaster. In the end it just makes no sense of all and the writers no idea when to stop throwing logs on the fire.

Today we got a huge surprise when a giant box from Amazon showed up. Inside was Rock Band, which I had tried and failed to get the family for Xmas. It was from Hal and he really scored. Kate and Nik were so happy and we soon had it set up and started our family band, Crimzon Ninja. Kate would not go for Carrion Crawler or the Beacon Hill Mob. It was funny because our discussion about what to name the band was exactly the same as arguments I’ve had to name actual bands.

Tonight we went over to Wolf and Shelly’s for an appetizer and dessert party and it was a good time. I got to chat with a bunch of folks from my WotC days who I do not see all that often. Who better to talk about the recent Hobbit movie news than The History of the Hobbit author John Rateliff? I also had a chance to try absinthe. Wolf brought in the real stuff from Europe and he even had the correct spoon for making it right. It was like a stronger ouzo and had perhaps more anise flavor than I need from my booze. No one went crazy though, more’s the pity. We had such a gathering of Lovecraft aficionados it would have been quite appropriate.

Life on the Street

Kate, Nik, and I exchanged our Xmas gifts today, so we might enjoy them over the weekend rather than get them right before we go back to work. The coolest thing I got was the Complete Series boxed set of Homicide: Life on the Street. Based an excellent book by David Simon, Homicide was one of the best shows to ever grace network TV. I had put this set on my Amazon wish list a couple of years back but because of the price I didn’t expect to ever see it. Well, my crafty wife found a crazy good deal on it and now it is mine.

The set contains all seven seasons of the show, plus the three crossover episodes of Law and Order and the epilogue movie. Even the box, a little filing cabinet complete with a metal handle and dividers for the discs, is damn cool. Today we watched the first disc and the show definitely holds up. Great characters, acting, and writing, and many of these early cases come right from the book.

David Simon went on to create the Wire, which operates in similar territory. As it happens the final season of the Wire starts in just a couple of weeks and I can’t wait. The Wire really benefits from being on HBO because it can be even more gritty than Homicide. If its last season can live up to the previous four, the Wire may stand as the best drama of the modern era.

Interesting News for Minis Gamers

On Saturday Rick and I went up to American Eagles (“The Game Store That Time Forgot”) and while checking out I picked up a copy of Osprey Publishing’s summer catalog for next year. Osprey publishes a huge number military history books on a staggering array of topics. Want to know what kind of uniforms a French voltigeur wore during Napoleonic Wars? There’s a book for that. Want a concise history of the Wars of Religion? They’ve got you covered. I love the Osprey books and have nearly a complete shelf of them. As I was paging through the catalog, I wondered not for the first time why Osprey didn’t try launching their own miniatures game. Pretty much every historical minis player already collects Osprey books because they are such a great resource, so tapping that market makes a lot of sense. So what do I see when I get to the last couple of pages of the catalog but a listing for just such a game. It’s called Field of Glory and it launches next summer. There’s not a lot of info available yet, but the write up said the books would be full color and use Osprey’s catalog of great art to good effect. There’s a skeletal listing on their website (, but I’ll be curious to hear more. Looks like they are starting with some classic periods for wargaming: ancient Greece and Rome, medieval Europe, and the Crusades.

Also of interest this week is the news that the Perry Twins are launching a line of historical plastic minis. Making plastic minis requires a big outlay of cash for the mold making and this is beyond almost all historical minis companies. The Perry Twins are best known for their defining work for Games Workshop, but they also run their own historical minis company on the side that does some great stuff. I have some of their medieval Normans and they are terrific. Anyway, the Perrys have the know-how, contacts, and apparently the money to do this right. They are starting with the American Civil War and doing two sets (one infantry and one cavalry). Each one has been designed to work as either Union or Confederate and you can customize them with different heads to make what you like. Even better it seems the sets wil be less than $30 each. I’ve long wanted to do some Civil War minis gaming and have a few rule sets like Fire and Fury but I’ve never taken the plunge and collected an army. This development may change that. You can see some pre-production pictures here: Too many minis, too many games, not enough time.

I Gotta Have More Cowbell, Baby!

Yesterday a bunch of the ladies got together at Ray and Christine’s place to make an ungodly amount of holiday cookies. They had arranged this weeks ago and were all ready to rock with recipes, ingredients, and cooking gear. It so happened that Ray’s old school D&D; game was pushed back from last weekend to this one. This meant that while the ladies were baking in the kitchen, the menfolk were playing D&D; in the living room (with Evan playing Niks’ character since she was busy). I thought it was pretty funny that our manly activity was not watching football but killing carrion crawlers and evading giant ochre worms.

When both game and cookies were done, many of the remaining folks descended into the basement for some Rock Band. We had a full band going, with Ray on drums, Jess on guitar, Nik on bass, and me singing. My utter ineptness as Guitar Hero is well known, but I was happy to find that rocking the mic is much more my speed. The nice thing about the game’s design is that you don’t have to be a good singer in a technical sense to score well. It’s more about timing and tone. You also get to do backup percussion (tambourines, cowbell, etc) with the mic during long musical interludes. To no one’s great surprise the songs I got 100% on were by the Buzzcocks and the Ramones. More amusing was my 98% on (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. Only one thing accounts for this: more cowbell!


Maybe it was the jalapenos on my pizza last night, but I had some strange and vivid dreams. In the wackiest one I was hanging out with some people when two of us split off from the group to go check out a nearby prison. We were standing amongst some wrecked trucks looking at the walls and towers of the prison, when we noticed a group of men approaching from the facility. They did not look like guards, but were heavily armed. As they got closer, my companion said, “Nice guns.” One of them pulled a .45 and put two into my friend’s chest.

I said, “Shit!” and started to run. Bullets were kicking up around me as I dodged amongst the wrecks and tried to make my way over an embankment to get better cover. I thought they must be part of a breakout and they didn’t want any witnesses. Now here’s where things get wacky. One of the guys pursuing me was armed with medieval weapons. Before each attack, he’d announce the weapon he was using, as if he was an anime character. So he shouts, “Saxon bow!”. When the arrow misses, he yells, “Ninja star!” I continue to run. I get to a fence and there I find a halberd. It has obviously been outside for some time. Rain has discolored the wood of the haft and caused the head to rust. But, whatever, it’s a weapon. So I pick it up and turn on my pursuer. He runs at me shouting, “Katana!” I knock him to the ground with the halberd. Then, as I’m beating him down with my pole arm, he smiles up at me and says, “Halberd–I love that weapon!” And then I woke up.

The hell.

Die, Spammers, Die!

I hate e-mail spam as much as the next person, but the spam I loathe with white hot passion is fax spam. See, I can delete e-mail spam and that doesn’t cost me anything but a second of time to click the mouse. Fax spam, however, uses up ink and toner and that really pisses me off. Look, fucktards, you aren’t going to fool me with your bullshit. Even those cute ones with handwritten notes to “Kathy” about the great deals you can get if you are in the know. I’m not buying it and I don’t want it. You want to send me shit in the mail at your own expense that I can then recycle without reading? Fine. You want to fax me something I didn’t ask for and waste my resources? I’d break your fingers if I could.

Charlie Wilson’s War

Before No Country for Old Men I saw a preview of an upcoming film called Charlie Wilson’s War, based on the book of the same name. The trailer perplexed me. The movie is being marketed as one of those classic Hollywood “plucky visionary bucks the system” stories. Tom Hanks plays Charlie Wilson, a Democratic congresman from Texas who was instrumental in arming the mujahadeen in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Some people credit him with ending the Cold War, which makes him a funny subject for a Mike Nichols film scripted by Aaron Sorkin. I’m curious to see what kind of spin the film has because frankly from the previews I don’t get it.

There have been far reaching effects of the Afghan war that continue to haunt us to this day. So many of America’s current problems can be traced back to that conflict. America fostered Islamic radicalism by training and arming the mujahadeen, and this led directly to the rise Osama bin Laden and his ilk. So when I see a movie that seemingly celebrates the guy who pushed forward policy that backfired so disastrously, I have to scratch my head. My hope is that the film is smarter than its marketing but I must admit I am wary of Charlie Wilson’s War.

Minis for Sale or Trade 1 (Catachan IG)

I’m going to be putting up several armies for sale or trade over the next couple of weeks. Cash would be nice via Paypal but I’m also in the market for painted figures. I’m most interested in painted 15mm WWII stuff but you may tempt me with other offers like colonials, DBA armies, ancients, or old Avalon Hill and SPI games. If you are interested drop me a line at chrispramas [at] aol dot com.

First up is a Catachan Imperial Guard infantry force for Warhammer 40K. I’ve got a painted Praetorian army already, so there’s little chance of this one getting use. Please give these wannabe Rambos a good home. You’ll probably want a little more grunt infantry and you may need more heavy weapon crewmen if you want to use all of them at once. Here’s what I’ve got, plus a few odds and ends.

34 assembled and partially painted troopers, including 4 sergeants, 2 meltaguns, 1 grenade launcher, 1 missile launcher, 1 heavy bolter, and a vox caster. Many have been kitbashed so their lasguns have banana clips for a more ‘Nam look.

29 assembled and primed troopers, including 5 vox casters, 3 sergeants, 2 plasma guns, 2 melta guns, and 1 missile launcher. Some kitbashed as above.

4 assembled autocannons

4 troopers with satchel charges

2 snipers

17 leaders and specialists, including 4 heavy flamers, 2 melta guns, 5 plasma guns, 2 satchel charges, 2 missile launchers, vox caster, and various officers.

6 heavy weapons, including 3 heavy bolters, 2 lascannons, and 1 autocannon.

Bits and Pieces

I haven’t been in a blogging mood of late; not sure why. I’ve been to two punk rock shows in the last week and would have gone to a third if not for the damned snow storm on Saturday. Last Friday was Naked Raygun, a band I first saw in 1986 and who I’ve always loved. It was great to see them again. Tuesday was Flogging Molly, another one of those celtic punk bands I enjoy so much. They put on an excellent show and closed with “Seven Deadly Sins,” a perfect song for Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Speaking of PotBS the game launches a month from today for those that buy pre-order boxes, with a public release of January 21. NDAs are no longer in effect so I can talk about the game in more detail if folks are interested. It’s looking pretty great now and all signs are positive for amassing great booty. Yar.

I have been greatly enjoy Rudy Giuliani’s “Sex on the City” scandal. It perfectly exemplifies why that scumbag shouldn’t be in charge of anything, never mind be allowed near the White House. He was a shitty mayor of New York and you can take that from someone who lived through his administration. Hero of 9/11 my ass.