Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Top 5 RPG characters

My Dissecting Worlds co-conspirator posted up a blog about his favorite Role-Playing Characters recently, and appealed for others to do the same. Table-Top RPGs aren't the geek "thing" they were when I was at university, but its the sort of thing a lot more people have tried than ever seem to be prepared to admit it in polite company. But we're all freinds here, right? So I'm happy to share...

This may turn out to be my geekiest post yet. Which is saying something, really.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August DVD Round Up!

One of the side-effects of parenthood is that we get out a lot less to the cinema than we used to, resulting in being behind with the latest releases by several months. The advantage to this is of course that we get to avoid some of the worst clankers just by paying attention to what our freinds think, but you do sometimes miss out on the "buzz" of opening weekends and a spoiler-free life. 

We did however join "Lovefilm" as a way of catching up, and due to it's "random selection from a list" we get to catch up on film that I suspect we'd never pickup from the shelf of a bricks'n'mortar rental place, just as we'd gravitate towards a safer option. This means that we periodically just stick on a list everything that we half-way fancy and watch whatever drops through the post that week, curled up on the sofa with a bottle of wine. So, Augusts movies were: 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Joys of Shows You Can Watch With Your Kids

Doctor Who is back on saturday! Hooray! For me this is a good thing as I enjoy the show in it's own right, but also because it's one of the few shows on TV at the moment that we sit down as a family and make time to watch. We watch a lot of "grown up" telly but it tends to be when the kids are safely asleep, and with our eldest being 9 theres a little bit of a grey area between what is appropriate for him to watch, and what he finds satisfying to watch. The best stuff for this is that comparatively rare breed of show that manages a very broad range, and largely appeals to kids and their parents, and boy do I value them. So here is my Top 5 family shows currently in production, in no particular order.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why I Quit World of Warcraft and Other Stories

I have a lot of very geeky hobbies and passtimes, which I'm pretty free with talking about, for some reason I've always been a little shy about my long-term prescence in Blizzard's behemothic MMORPG World of Warcraft. It's an odd thing to be embarrased about, really (compared to say, collecting Lego or painting tiny plastic soldiers) but there you are. So yes, I play World of Warcraft. Or rather, I did.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book Review: Judge Dredd: Tour of Duty

One of the nicest things about doing the podcast and getting back into a lot of old geeky habits that I'd sort of got out of, and one of those was 2000ad. Its changed a lot over the years, and there are a lot of characters seeming long put out to pasture, and I've yet to stump up for a subscription (the shame!) but I have picked up the odd current trade, largely based on recommendation. When we covered Judge Dredd on Dissecting Worlds, we used the Origins arc as a jumping on point, and what I was pretty consistantly told was the best thing to follow it up with was Tour of Duty, now collected over two volumes. 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review: Surface Detail

I first came across the Culture shortly after comming to university, when I bought a copy of Consider Phlebas largely on the basis of the really lovely cover art featuring a shiny and not-too-plot-relevant spaceship. Despite reading a lot of SF through my teens, Iain Banks totally blew me away at the time, and for a long while I owned pretty much everything he wrote ever since with varying degrees of fanaticism. Banks took a long break from the Culture after 2000's Look to Windward, and I confess to finding his books after that - both The Algebraist and his non-SF novels - steadily less and less compelling. I had high hopes for Matter, his return to The Culture but really wasn't as grabbed by it as perhaps I wanted to be.  That said, it was far from a bad book, so of course I picked up the new Culture novel Surface Detail.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thinking: This is why we don't deserve anything nice.

Sometimes I think the internet is one of the greatest inventions since the Printing Press. Sometimes I think I could spent the rest of my life swimming in the digital depths and never run out of things to read, or see, such is the breadth of material available. Sometimes I think its capacity for free conversation, the equality of access for differing viewpoints, and the opportunity for people of similar interests to find common cause has the potential to reshape how human society itself functions. 

Sometimes however it makes me want to unplug the internet in despair.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Movie Review: Captain America: The First Avenger

A couple of weeks ago I had a minor rant about the over-reliance on Origin Stories in superhero movies, especially this summer. Thankfully, I also commented that this doesn't precude any of these films being good, just makes them moderately unoriginal in concept. There is a craft in doing something familar well, in making the un-original seem fresh, and I can think of no better example than Captain America: The First Avenger.