Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lulu Coupon Codes for the Holidays

Two coupon codes for your print-on-demand needs this season:

HOHOHO 20% off (good until Dec. 31st)

HUMBUG 10% off (I'm not sure when this one expires)

If there is something you've wanted from Lulu, here are great incentives to order. I found the first code on The Cimmerian, where they list several available pulp- and weird-fiction items including Dan Clore's The Unspeakable and Others, The Selected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, and Dennis McHaney's Robert E. Howard, World's Greatest Pulpster.

Those aren't North Pole elves.

In the gaming realm, take a look at Fight On! Magazine, Swords & Wizardry and Knockspell Magazine, Spellcraft & Swordplay, and Labyrinth Lord or Mutant Future.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Warner DVD Archive

Another bit of DVD release news that I've neglected to mention is the Warner Archive. In order to get older, lesser-known catalog titles out on DVD, Warner is releasing on-demand discs in waves. This started in March.

There have been issues with the quality of some transfers -- in some cases, using older video masters rather than a new cleaned-up transfer. Also, the price ($14-19.99) can be a bit steep for a burned disc when compared to recent prices for factory-pressed DVD releases.

Those problems aside, there have been some gems released so far, and plenty more to come. The initial wave has a few titles I had been waiting for: Captain Nemo and the Underwater City, Captain Sindbad starring Guy Williams, and ... Doc Savage! Most of the Archive discs are movie-only, but Doc Savage has the theatrical trailer and, from what I've read, the feature print is in decent shape.

A recent wave of Archive releases included two TV pilots/movies produced by Gene Roddenberry in the early '70s -- Genesis II and Planet Earth. When Genesis II wasn't purchased by CBS, GR went back and reworked it into what became Planet Earth. Video clips and quick background here, disc reviews and production history found here. I remember seeing both of these on TV a couple of times in the early eighties, probably on WFLD-32.

If you decide to purchase any of the Warner Archive titles, take a look at this forum posting for a 20%-off coupon code and news of a contest.

There's some talk about Sony/MGM and Fox starting their own disc-on-demand services for their back catalog. I'd welcome that; there are plenty of great titles owned by each and deserving of a release. Maybe that would be a viable way for MGM to continue the fantastic Midnite Movies line.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This is a fantastic album, man...turn it up!

Here is a special "Favorite Music Friday" post, Sunday Night Edition. Last night after SNL, I watched a Time-Life infomercial for their new '70s soul music collection. TL has put out some great collections in recent years. I bought Mrs. Kaiju their "Sounds of the Eighties" set a few years ago, and I have my eye on the Classic Soft Rock set (I have weakness for '70s soft rock...Shhh, don't tell anyone).

The infomercial last night had clips from groups such as The Chi-Lites and The Stylistics. It sparked a memory of another music compilation from years ago. Anyone who watched late-night TV in the mid-eighties should remember this. I remembered the tag line since we used it very often back then, but I had forgotten the album title. But with a little Google-Fu, I found it:

And as long as we're going back to the days of TV-offer-only compilation albums, I have to include this for Edige:

There's a shorter version here with the track list. This one has the production company's lead-in.

I need to look through my dozens of off-air recorded VHS tapes. I'm sure I have some gems like these that should be posted on the interwebs for posterity...and laughs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Player-generated premises

Another posting that's been in the back of my mind for a while... two weeks ago, Robin Laws posted on his Livejournal about player-generated premises that he's using in his house 4e game. These are plot hooks for each character but the interesting part for me was the way they should be written: in the style of a TV Guide episode listing. These find their way into the game in a random order during play.

When I read the posting, it also reminded me of the pulp novel titles and cover blurbs that are written as part of character creation in Spirit of the Century, including the writing of stories for other PCs.

I'm all for ideas that make RPGs seem more like a cinematic experience. That's one of my preferred styles. I also like sharing the story creation with the rest of the group. This is a great idea that I'd like to try someday.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I'll have pictures of our costumes tomorrow, but before the end of the day I wanted to post a link to this article about Halloween music at Wired. Good stuff on the list, but there's a great playlist posted in the comments section.

I think I like KC and the Sunshine Band's original version of "I'm Your Boogie Man" more than White Zombie's version. Isn't that strange? The video is terrific, though.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Librarians" fired over League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Last week, according to ICV2, two library employees were fired for taking a copy of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen off a "hold" for an 11-year old girl. I don't have all the facts, but much can be inferred by some of the comments made on the two news pages linked in the ICV2 article.

It appears that the two were staff members, not librarians. That seems likely, as I can't imagine a professional librarian doing this.

It made me very happy to see so many of the commenters come to the defense of the First Amendment and the role of libraries in protecting it for everyone.

Some of the commenters suggest that the Black Dossier was the title in question, even though it's the first book of the series that's flipped through in the news video.

That leads me to what I'm most upset about with this story: the lack of attention paid to getting things right in news stories. Are these ladies actually librarians (because the general view is that everyone who works in a library is one)? Did they ask? Did they look at what is actually inside the book in question? Note the headline: "Librarians fired over porn." Someone involved needs to learn something about either graphic novels or pornography.

I've had some experience with TV news reporters covering a story, perhaps even being told in detail about something, then seeing the results that are broadcast missing the point completely. This seems to be the case with the majority of stories dealing with subcultures not entirely in the mainstream, like gamers or Trekkies.

If they can't get simple facts correct in these stories, how much stock can be put into others?

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Recent" DVD releases

It's hard to believe that it's been more than two months since my last update. The time has flown by. Between classwork and house work, it's been busy here.


They're going to take away my DVD Guru status because for most of this year I haven't been keeping up with the new releases the way I used to. I check with the usual sources every so often and I've seen some surprises (this post has been in draft stage since June...).

At the end of April this year, the 1971 film Johnny Got His Gun was finally released on DVD, another of my Most Wanted discs. I never saw this on TV and didn't know anything about the movie or the novel. My first introduction to it was the surreal and disturbing scenes included in Metallica's video for "One", as Glenn Erickson mentions in the review linked above.

I had always admired Dalton Trumbo for his stand against the Hollywood blacklist and his work on Spartacus. Seeing the fever-dream images from "One" sparked my curiousity, but the lack of a legal release (or even a readily-available bootleg) had kept me from seeing Johnny Got His Gun all these years. I'm glad someone made the decision to approve this release. I'll have to be in the right mood to watch it, though -- it certainly isn't a feel-good movie.

More DVD news soon!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My 2009 ENnie Awards picks

As I mentioned last post, I voted in this year's ENnies. I don't believe the selection was worse than last year, but there weren't as many products that I'm excited about this year. There are a few gems -- The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Mouse Guard, Dark Heresy, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, Starblazer Adventures, and the elephant in the room, D&D 4e.

In my choices, I generally went with the underdog small publishers and avoided the majors. That might include White Wolf, but I've read good things about Hunter: The Vigil. What follows is my semi-informed, obviously biased opinion.

Best Cover Art: Pathfinder #19, because I like Paizo's art in general.

Best Interior Art: Should probably go with Dark Heresy or CthulhuTech, but I chose Mouse Guard instead.

Best Writing: Has to be Baron Munchausen.

Best Production Values: How can I pick? They're all good.

Best Rules: Starblazer Adventures.

Best Monster or Adversary: Witch Hunter: Grand Tome of Adversaries. Love the setting.

Best Setting: Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, because it's sky-pirates!

Best Supplement: Hunter: The Vigil

Best Accessory: Kobold Quarterly, because I miss Dragon Magazine.

Best Miniatures Product: E-Z Terrain: Cliffs and Mountains. Being able to print out cardboard mountains is hard to beat.

Best Regalia: Planet Stories: Infernal Sorceress, just to give both E. Gary and the Planet Stories series some recognition.

Best Free Product: Swords and Wizardry. Wouldn't it be great for totally old-school retro gaming to win an award?

Best Game: Starblazer Adventures, because Dark Heresy is just a bit too "crunchy".

Product of the Year: Mouse Guard, because it looks great, and it could be a terrific cross-over game and accessible to beginners.

Fan Award for Best Publisher: I had to give special recognition to two publishers in particular. Scratch Factory, for their great freebies (especially the True20 items) and Dino Pirates of Ninja Island; and One Monk Miniatures, for the fantastic paper miniatures.

I doubt that I'll make it to the awards ceremony, but I'll be checking all the post-awards commentary.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2009 ENnies Awards voting ends very soon

The voting window closes this Saturday at midnight. If you're interested in the past year's crop of tabletop RPG products, vote for your favorites. As always, the awards are given out at GenCon in two weeks.

I'll vote tomorrow night after the game, and maybe give my comments on the choices in my next post.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About

"Plug and Play? Back in my day we had to get a new driver disk in the mail!"

Via GeekDad over on Wired. The comments are funny, too. There are only two items on the list that I'm not familiar with.

I'm sure many of you can come up with your own lists like this...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Dragon Age Warriors

A couple of additions to something I mentioned here before.

Dragon Warriors is a compilation of rules from an English gamebook series released in the '80s. The Free RPG Day quickstart rules are available from the Mongoose site. Looks like old-fashioned gritty RPG play in the grand British tradition. I'm glad they have the Free RPG Day booklet available in PDF. I almost picked it up that day but for my "one item to a customer" choice I opted for the Hollow Earth Expedition quickstart instead.

Dragon Age
is a tabletop RPG designed by Chris Pramas, released by Green Ronin and based on the upcoming videogame from the folks who created Baldur's Gate and Knights of the Old Republic. I have high hopes for the tabletop version. The current plans call for a boxed set release, so it could be a neat and easy entry into the hobby.

I'm disappointed by what I see for the videogame. Since they also did Baldur's Gate, I had hoped this would be another good co-op button-masher RPG that Mrs. Kaiju and I could play together. We've been looking for another one after finishing BG: Dark Alliance and the two Everquest/Norrath games on the PS2. Dragon Age will be a single-player-only third-person RPG.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A quick opinionated note

Davinci's serves what may be the finest pizza I've ever had. Thanks to Kim and Tim for the suggestion!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Busy times

It's hard to believe that it's been over a month since I last posted anything. The time has flown by. We've both been super busy around here, and I've been spending most of my free time on class work. By the time I have a moment to post, I don't even want to look at a computer screen.

I've still kept up ideas for things to post about, so I'll get some of those up soon.

Still waiting to see Star Trek for the second time...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Today is the day

Saw the movie at the first showing this evening. Very much worth the wait. Go see it, I don't believe you'll be disappointed. I'll have more to say about it after the second viewing... which may be this weekend.

Friday, May 01, 2009

RPG setting ideas -- Freeport in space

File this under "Why didn't I think of this before?": Freemoon

This would be especially effective if you set it in our own solar system with Pluto standing in as "Freemoon".

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The treasures of Uncle 4e

No, this "4e" doesn't refer to D&D 4th Edition. It's one of the nicknames for the late and legendary Forrest J. Ackerman, who in addition to being a writer, agent, and founder of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, was probably the biggest science fiction fan ever.

For many years, he graciously opened his home, the "Ackermansion", to fans from all over the world so they could see one of the largest and most important collections of sci-fi, fantasy and horror memorabilia ever assembled.

Uncle Forry passed away last December, after ill health caused him to move to a smaller home and sell much of his collection to pay medical and other expenses. Today and Friday, the last and most personally significant pieces he had left are up for auction. The full story is at this LA Times blog posting. You can find the auction catalog here.

As one of the commenters said at that blog post, the real tragedy of this is that the collection is being dispersed and not kept intact for future fans to see in a proper museum setting.

And, of course, the man himself isn't here to lead the tour.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

RPG blog anthology update

Good news regarding Open Game Table -- Studio 2 Publishing has picked it up for distribution into the book and hobby trade. It should be available in stores in three or four months. Indie Press Revolution should be stocking it also.

Tickets to the big show

Only 15 days until the movie...

Picked up our tickets today for the first showing on Thursday. Many venues are having early screenings, 7 and/or 9pm. It beats having to go at midnight -- much easier for Mrs. Kaiju to go earlier.

It's funny, I've been waiting for this movie for nearly three years. Now that it's almost here, it will be a little sad not to have the anticipation, the snippets of news parceled out, the constant checking for more updates every day. I've been looking forward to this more than any film I can remember. Maybe the closest would be the wait for The Phantom Menace -- and we know how that turned out (I really enjoyed parts of it, but that's a story for another post).

It's difficult to think that any movie can live up to the expectations that we, the fans, have put on it. I'm glad to say that the early reviews have been generally positive, even with some of the industry press and foreign critics, who tend to not be as forgiving. All good signs.

I suppose that I don't need to have movie-anticipation-letdown for very long. Paramount already signed up the creative team to work on the sequel several weeks ago.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sidebar and link update

This is something I meant to do before our trip a few weeks ago; just a bit of page cleanup and updating broken links. I also added the nifty subscription feed drop-down boxes.

I'm saving the old link information here for myself, but you might find it amusing too.

Magister Ludi Roleplaying Resources
- great site but now getting a forbidden URL message.

Random RPG Idea Generator - Off-line? Maybe their URL registry expired.

The Gamestas - Once hosted an amusing gaming podcast. Is it .com now? Answer unclear.

Deeper in the Game - great gaming theory blog, but now gone private? (login required)

Burning Void -- Invalid URL? Their blog hasn't been updated for a while. The articles seem to have migrated to Errant Dreams.

Kaiju Shakedown - Variety Asia Online's movie blog - invalid URL? The main page disappeared too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dave Arneson and others, R.I.P.

(Late posting...)

I read on and that Dave Arneson has passed away. Like most people, I knew about Gary Gygax but it wasn't until several years into my gaming life that I found out about Dave Arneson, which is a shame because he was probably responsible for more of what I enjoyed about Dungeons & Dragons, and role-playing games in general. For a great Arneson story read Ben Robbins' Braunstein article.

The RPG hobby has matured (age, not behavior) enough so that we're starting to lose some of the Founders. The past year has been bad in this respect: Gygax, Erick Wujick, Robin Crossby, Bob Bledsaw, and Keith Herber. In 2007 we lost Chuck Crain.

The best way to remember these giants
- besides donating to a favorite charity - is to play. Roll the dice, draw some cards, move some miniatures... have a few laughs with your friends.

In other gaming news, Wizards of the Coast decided to fight PDF piracy by pulling all of their PDF product from legal sale. I should have purchased the Rules Cyclopedia when I had the chance.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Rock Band/Star Trek cross-promotion

Only 35 days until the movie opens...

Paramount has been pulling out all the stops on promoting the movie and the ST franchise in a big way, but here's one of the oddest:
Paramount and MTV Games announced a promotional partnership for the new Star Trek movie and the popular rockin’ videogame Rock Band. The promotion kicks off today and will include music track giveaways, an in-game Star Trek themed battle of the bands and a futuristic avatar contest. You can even win your own personal screening of Star Trek.
I feel that the more promoting they do -- and in many different directions -- the better it is for the movie and creating a bigger fanbase. Get all the details at the official Rock Band Star Trek site, or the summary at

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RPG Bloggers Anthology

The release date for Open Game Table: The Anthology of Role-Playing Game Blogs, Volume One was announced last week. I've been eager to see it since the project started rolling on The Core Mechanic. And even more excited because the majority of posts that I nominated made it into the book!

Sample bits, including the table of contents, are available on its Lulu product page, and a preview was just posted to Wired's GeekDad blog.

It might seem odd to collect blog postings into a printed book, but I think it's great. Much of the most creative work going on in the RPG world is happening on blogs -- not just those of the professionals, but normal players, too. It would be a shame for the best of this writing to get lost in the intertubes. Granted, I'm one of those people who love the printed page and the artistry of a well-designed book, so I'm going to enjoy reading these posts in convenient off-line paper format.

Also, since one of the intentions behind the project was to get exposure for the RPG blogging community's work out to those folks who might not know about it (the people who buy their gaming books at the store with no other real contact with the hobby-at-large), I really hope we see this in the distribution chain and on store shelves.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My stack of partially-read books

Recently I've had a few people ask me what I've been reading. I haven't been able to give a straight answer. Much of the reading that I have done lately has been gaming-related, for the Freeport campaign -- rulebooks and sourcebooks -- but I've also tried to read some "real world" books.

We've been so busy and scattered around here lately that I find myself in a very unusual position. I'll pick up a book and start reading, then a real-life problem distracts me and I don't get back to it right away. When I get back to reading, another book attracts my attention and I start on the new one. It seems like a bibliophile's particular form of ADD.

At one point in the last couple of months, I've found myself somewhere in all the following books:

That's only a sample of the to-be-read stack. I don't want to think about the DVD pile...

Speaking of Watchmen, here is a comparison between Watchmen and The Incredibles by Baltimore Sun movie critic

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Goodbye, Circuit City

I'm really disappointed to see the end of Circuit City. It was always nice to know that there was another large electronics retailer out there, for competition and for an alternative. Sometimes they would have a good sale price on an item. We got our TV from CC, and I've purchased computer memory on sale there (Kingston Value RAM that constantly crashes our machines...).

I went to the local CC for the liquidation sale about four weeks ago. Deals were scarce but items were still on most of the shelves. They still had a ton of video games, a decent selection of DVDs and many of their CDs were left. I picked up two '80s CDs for Mrs. Kaiju. It's sad but the sale prices were still a bit steep. That might be a reason why they're going out.

I went again this past Saturday. Now that the discount prices are actually discounts, the shelves are bare. Surprisingly at 50% off, I found a nice collection of DVDs. The video games were wiped out except the strategic stockpile of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock w/ included guitar for XBox 36o.

One thing I was looking for was an HDMI cable. Many of their cables were still left and 60% off list price. Even so, it's very difficult for me to see paying $56 for a store brand HDMI cable. The only worthwhile item I found on this trip was The Dirty Dozen on Blu-ray for $12.

Target had GE branded HDMI cables on sale last week but when I got there, they were sold out. It's OK, the store was substituting a sale price on a 50-foot coax cable instead. A perfect replacement! I went over to Menards and got a six-foot cable for $15.

It's easy to find a cheap price on the internets, but there are some moments when you need an item that day, and that's getting a little more difficult.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Picture meme

The home computer is getting back to normal, so now I can participate in the meme that Edige tagged me with recently.

This photo is from a real estate site that was advertised on a news story I was reading several years ago. I believe it was for a condominium development. Chicago? Miami? I don't remember where.

I took drafting and architecture classes in high school and briefly considered it as a career, so I really enjoy looking at building plans. It really helps, too, being a gamer, as floor plans and diagrams are prevalent in adventure descriptions and sourcebooks. That's why I kept this, thinking it might be useful someday.

Here are the rules:

1. Go to your pictures folder
2. Post the sixth one
3. Tag six people

I'll tag Ms. Kaiju, Viking Moose, Terling, and Miakoda (others have already been tagged...). Who else could I tag?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Computer issues

First post in a while. I had hoped to write more but we've been having problems with our main computer. I'll be spending the weekend re-formatting, re-installing and updating. Good times!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Favorite Music Friday

Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be an ongoing regular feature here at Kaijuville. Partially to keep track of these things, partially because of feeling nostalgic recently, and inspired by VM's New Wave Saturday posts, I thought I'd offer up a few of my favorite songs along with some commentary about them and what they mean to me. It might be the song itself, or maybe an association with something else at the time. Our opening act is Pat Benatar from 1982:

Great song, but I also like the World War II "commando raid behind enemy lines" storyline. I can't resist any story about sneaking into Nazi castles (see also Where Eagles Dare or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Bonus movie trivia: look for Judge Reinhold at 0:58.

The other thing going on here is something that I'll elaborate on further later, but for now I'll just mention the idea of seeing what people were nostalgic about at that time. I remember a general vibe of '40s and '50s nostalgia in the early '80s, probably started by American Graffiti and Happy Days in the 1970s.

Monday, February 02, 2009

a Hammer Studios DVD update

Besides an initial preview, I neglected to mention anything about the release of several Hammer films last year.

Sony released two sets of four movies that were originally released in the US by Columbia Pictures: Icons of Adventure (The Pirates of Blood River/The Devil-Ship Pirates/The Stranglers of Bombay/The Terror of the Tongs, review) in June and Icons of Horror (The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb/The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll/Scream of Fear/The Gorgon, review) in October.

Under a licensing arrangement with Legend Films, Paramount offered The Man Who Could Cheat Death (review) in October.

Warner Brothers, as part of a Sci-Fi Double Feature series, released Moon Two Zero and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth as a Best Buy exclusive in July, then widely in October. Dinosaurs is the full uncut British version despite the US running time listed on the back.

I've updated the R1 Hammer DVD list.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


This is a good time for something happy and cute. Something that my friends Auzumel and Devilbird would call "elemental cuteness". Therefore, I present a photo from a card our dear neighbors sent us -- a kitten wearing a sweater:

It makes me giggle every time I look at it. And that's a very good thing.

More of the usual shenanigans soon.