Quick hits via Twitter

Monday, December 31, 2007

Belated Christmas cards

Newsarama.com has a large holiday gallery up with images mixing Santa, superheroes, and swordplay. A few made me shake my head (I can do without a suicidal Santa, thanks very much), but overall they made me smile, particularly the one I've included above (is it wrong that I have no trouble identifying Hawkman's (or Hawgirl's) stocking by the boot design?). Happy holidays, all, and stay safe tonight.

A few other don't misses:

Samurai Santa

Creepy (but clever) 30 Days of Night Santa

Cute fur joke

Justice League of America snowball fight

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Mr. T with A-Team van bobble-head

There's no way I can really defend myself on this, but I totally want this for my desk in the study at home.

This is listed in the January issue of Previews. Thanks to Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin blog for the head's up.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New look

I spruced the place up a bit. Let me know what you think. If you pop in and see anything really weird, it's probably because I'm tinkering around with some setting or widget or whatever, but let me know if something's really buggy. Right now the top bar seems to look "off" a bit in Internet Explorer, so I'll try to fix that when I can.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Devil's Cape

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to post about this, but it's overdue.

My first novel, Devil's Cape, will be published by Wizards of the Coast in April as part of the company's new Discoveries line. Devil's Cape is a novel about superheroes, set in the fictional city of Devil's Cape, Louisiana, created as a sort of sister city of New Orleans.

Founded centuries ago by a masked pirate called St. Diable, Devil's Cape has never been big on heroes. Instead, it's known for its corruption and violence. But as the novel progresses, heroes do make a stand in the city in one of its darkest times.

I'll post more about the book as time passes and tell you more about the book and the publication process. If you're interested, you can preorder the book from Amazon here.

Other current links include:

If you have questions about the book or things you'd like to hear from me about the book, let me know here.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Sports year in review

I'm no sports fan. But I wiled away a few minutes enjoying a slideshow of photos in sports from SeattlePI.com.

Here are a few glimpses of some of my favorites.

This photo, catching the soccer player with the ball right in front of his face, reminded me of Magritte's "The Son of Man."

Underwater hockey? Seriously? I think this might catch on more if A) women in bikinis were playing instead or B) the men used longer sticks and pucks in a color other than pink.

Wow. Sumo wrestling is weird enough all by itself without adding some "make the baby cry" ceremony (no, seriously--the goal here was to make a baby cry) to the mix.

Just a nice golf photo.

Love the angle here. Dude looks like he's flying.

Cool water environment.

Check out the full slideshow here.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Casual Play: A Win at the End of the Tunnel

I didn't get around to posting it here right away, but I had a new article go up at the MTGO Traders/PureMTGO site. I take a look at a deck I play using the Singleton format (only a single copy allowed of any one card). Check it out there if you're so inclined.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mel Tormé

I manage to read Mark Evanier's anecdote about Mel Tormé just about every year and every year it makes me smile.

Go take a look.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tips for taking a baby on a plane

For some strange reason, every few months I end up responding to someone or another who wants advice for taking a baby on an airplane. I have a list of tips that I pull out of an old e-mail, but it occurred to me that if I posted it here, I'd always be able to find it quickly. So if this interests, you, then rock on! Read on! If not, then carry on about your business...

  • One main thing you want to watch out for is the air pressure on the ears. You'll want your baby to be drinking or eating (preferably drinking) both on the ascent and descent (in my experience, the descent tends to be harder on the kids’ ears than the ascent). If your baby is on a regular schedule, this might mean getting your baby off of that regular schedule in order to be thirsty enough to drink at these times, but it's worth it--the earaches can cause your baby real discomfort, and drinking out of the bottle can really help to prevent that.
  • Obviously, if you can get your baby to nap during the flight, that's very helpful for you and the baby. Again, if you can work it out, it's probably worth disrupting your baby's schedule a bit. Some people use a dose of Benadryl or Tylenol to help with this, but keep in mind the new regulations for bringing liquids on board. And don't go overboard. You don't want to nauseate your kid.
  • Keep the baby in clothes that are easy to take on and off. It's difficult enough to change a baby on a plane without having the baby wear something complicated. It's tempting to dress the baby in something really nice so that the whoever you might be visiting sees the baby in it first thing when you get off the plane, but believe me--if it's complicated, you can give yourself headaches. It's probably worth changing the baby again when you land, before leaving security, in order to have some easy on/easy off clothing during the flight,
  • Along the same lines, airplanes are pretty bad about regulating their temperatures. While you're waiting for the plane to take off, the temperature in the cabin can climb into the high 70s even in the winter. Alex got sick on the plane once because he was dressed in something warm and we ended up sitting on the runway for half an hour in very warm temperatures. See the tip above, too. In this case, we had him dressed in something nice and warm with lots of buttons and such for a Christmas flight. He puked all over it (and us) just as we were taking off. Good times!
  • Depending on how you work things with the flight attendants, you can often roll an umbrella stroller right on the plane and then either stow it in the overhead or else roll it back to be checked at the gate. If you're loaded down with lots of baby-related bags and such, this can be very helpful.
  • We used to bring bubbles in the baby bag to entertain the baby (in the airport, not the plane). I suppose that wouldn't work with new regulations, but you get the idea--small, quiet distractions are helpful.
  • Ziplock baggies or scented bags for diaper disposal come in handy, especially in case you end up having to change your baby at your seat because the plane's taking off or landing or the bathrooms are occupied (not ideal, but it happens).
  • I don’t have a lot of experience with car seats on the plane itself, but if you check it, be sure that it’s either checked at the gate or is in a bag or something—it will get beaten up a lot otherwise.
For once I'm channeling Dr. Spock instead of Mr. Spock. Go figure.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Giant rat discovered in Indonesia jungle

Spotted this article today:

Giant Rat Discovered in Indonesia Jungle

Dec 17, 12:47 AM (ET)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Researchers in a remote jungle in Indonesia have discovered a giant rat and a tiny possum that are apparently new to science, underscoring the stunning biodiversity of the Southeast Asian nation, scientists said Monday.

Unearthing new species of mammals in the 21st century is considered very rare. The discoveries by a team of American and Indonesian scientists are being studied further to confirm their status.

The animals were found in the Foja mountains rainforest in eastern Papua province in a June expedition, said U.S.-based Conservation International, which organized the trip along with the Indonesian Institute of Science.

"The giant rat is about five times the size of a typical city rat," said Kristofer Helgen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. "With no fear of humans, it apparently came into the camp several times during the trip."

The possum was described as "one of the worlds smallest marsupials."

A 2006 expedition to the same stretch of jungle - dubbed by Conservation International as a "Lost World" because until then humans had rarely visited it - unearthed scores of exotic new species of palms, butterflies and palms.

Papua has some of the world's largest tracts of rainforest, but like elsewhere in Indonesia they are being ravaged by illegal logging. Scientists said last year that the Foja area was not under immediate threat, largely because it was so remote.

"It's comforting to know that there is a place on Earth so isolated that it remains the absolute realm of wild nature," said expedition leader Bruce Beehler. "We were pleased to see that this little piece of Eden remains as pristine and enchanting as it was when we first visited."

ROUSs? I didn't think they existed!

Don't get the reference? You've apparently reached this blog in error! No, seriously, read here. Then buy this movie or read this book or both.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Friday, December 14, 2007

OMG cheese

Wow. Dina picked up Ford Farm Coastal Mature Cheddar at Central Market tonight. This is like the best cheese I've ever had. Wow. I'm going to go eat some more. That is all.

Dina said this cheese should be illegal it's so good. I think she's right. I suspect it's illegal in Georgia.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Workplace horrors

I recently came across (via this site) a pair of workplace videos, one for forklift safety and one for kitchen safety. Both use shock and gore to make a point. The forklift one (in German, but with subtitles) is freaking hilarious. Gory, but hilarious. It's long, but it just keeps rolling along. Clever, memorable stuff.

The second one is clever and memorable, too. It should have a powerful, memorable impact on its target audience. Anyone seeing this video will think twice before being careless around this particular work hazard. That said, it's probably the most horrific thing I've seen since Saving Private Ryan. Not for the faint of heart. Kind of awful. Nightmarish, even. I've tagged this post with humor--that was for the first video, not this one. You've been warned. Mom, don't watch this.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Magic at MTGO Traders site

I haven't made much of it on this site yet, but I'm a casual Magic: The Gathering player, mostly online these days. It's a fun game and a fun way to keep the logical part of my mind firing. I started playing years ago when I lived in Boston and went to Emerson College. Friday nights, party guy that I am, I'd head over to M.I.T. where a bunch of casual gamers got together weekly in some empty conference rooms and slung down cards into the wee hours.

I played quite a bit and kept buying cards and reading about the game long after that, even as my time to play and opportunities to get together with other players waned. A few years ago, I eventually dropped away from the game.

A tour of the Wizards of the Coast corporate headquarters about a year back (more on that another time--soon) reignited my interest in the game. Before long, I'd installed a copy of the online game on my computer and I've frittered away quite a few hours playing ever since.

Both for fun and as a way of supporting my habit, I've started writing an occasional column for the MTGO Traders web site. I've had eight articles published so far, and I'll plan to update you here when new ones go live.

Here are the first eight articles:

  1. Casual Play: Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Cats of War!
  2. Casual Play: 101 Uses for a Dead Cat
  3. Casual Play: Psst! Psst! Help Me Build a Deck. Psst!
  4. Casual Play: Departing Standard
  5. Casual Play: Endless Whispers Followup
  6. Casual Play: Their Stock Is Rising
  7. Casual Play: Desolation Alley
  8. Casual Play: Feeling Crabby?
Feel free to comment on the articles on that site or here. If you comment on an old article and want a reply, please let me know here--I don't get alerts when older articles on that site get updates.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Indy: Holy crap!

Okay, first the downside(s):

  • The title (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) is unwieldy at best and dreck at worst.
  • They're making a big deal out of Shia LaBeouf's involvement and I am ambivalent about Shia LaBeouf.
  • From what I've heard, no Sallah, which is sad.
  • George Lucas is heavily involved, which hasn't been a good sign in the past and his early comments about the movie scared the heck out of me.
But I loves me some Indiana Jones.

And wow:

And wow again:

Dare I let myself get excited about this movie? George Lucas has disappointed me before. The Phantom Menace was so bad it soured me on the original Star Wars trilogy. Could he possibly poison Indy for me?

Let's hope not. Because looking at the images, I'm getting all tingly. I'm hoping for goodness.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Belated RIP: Evel Knievel

I was sad to hear of Evel Knievel's passing. In a lot of ways, when I was a kid, Evel Knievel was more like a living action figure or superhero than a real figure. I probably wouldn't have recognized him outside of his distinctive costume. Didn't make me like him any less.

Here was Evel just a short time ago:

But here's the Evel Knievel I venerated as a kid (I had several of these toys and played with them a lot--I have fond memories of zipping him down our driveway):

Ride far and jump far, Evel. You'll be missed.

Click here to read the full post with comments.

Shift happens

Paradigm shifts, world shifts, life shifts...

This video is equal parts fascinating, depressing, terrifying and inspiring. Take a look.

Click here to read the full post with comments.