Dork Geek Nerd

"Rational romantic mystic cynical idealist"

Monday, January 30, 2012

Men will die for points

How come I never have adventures like this?

(Ta, TG.)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eat hard, sit hard

Cancon 2012 factoids:
- 34th year of the convention
- 4000m^2 of wargame/boardgame/CCG tournaments
- 1100 competitors (approximately)
- 10,000 attendees overall (estimated by organisers)

We played:
- Serious "D&D" (my illusionist died 3/4 of the way through, but the others completed the quest)
- Light-hearted "D&D" (total party kill)
- "Battlestar Galactica" boardgame (awesome prior to the Cylons being revealed, then...not so much)
- "Game Of Thrones 2E" bg (significant changes from first edition)
- "Evo: The Last Gasp Of The Dinosaurs" bg (a fun balancing act)
- "Circus Maximus" bg ("normal" chariots suck. Will be going heavy next time we race)

Cuisine highlight:
- Ethiopian

Random things that caught my eye at the con:
- Miniatures-painting service based in Sri Lanka (cheap!)
- CCG where you are the "master of the house", keeping cute anime maids in line
- The cityscapes used for sci-fi skirmish "Infinity", with their cool homemade billboards for products real and imaginary

- Assorted wacky dice (e.g. d24 for determining time of day)
- Signed, numbered prints by friendly guest artist Rob Alexander (who also autographed a few "Magic" cards for me)
- Presents for two nieces

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Never cared for Jean Grey

I'll be in Canberra from Thursday to Sunday, along with TC, LPO, LM and LJ, wandering the halls/stalls of Cancon, gaming overtime back at our motor hotel, and appreciating the Renaissance art exhibition currently on at the National Gallery. I may or may not file a report afterwards.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's not a forename

Saw a d00d with a T-shirt that said "I void warranties". Underlining the slogan were pics of various screwdriver heads.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


"Beautiful Burnout" (Sydney Festival) @ Seymour Centre with PB

A promising young boxer's journey, paralleled by that of his doting, worrying mother. All of the other living, breathing stories of could-be and never-was from his gym. No-nonsense dialogue delivered in no-nonsense Scottish accents. Dance sequences in which exercises, boxing and the distinctive motions of the referee became steps. Thumping Underworld soundtrack. Interesting use of and interaction with background visuals. Humour and pathos and tragedy. Life in the square circle.

"The Darkness II" launch/Insert Coin(s) retro night @ Oxford Art Factory with strangers half my age

Old-school records on the turntable. A line of "T/D/II" stations in demo mode, giving us a taste of "quad wielding". Twenty-plus classic arcade machines set to "free play"; some dedicated, some multi-game. (Ever seen "Gauntlet II" in a two-on-one-side cocktail cabinet?) Struggling with a sticking joystick as I relearnt the patterns on "1942", "Gyruss" and "Xevious". Free beer for those of us with sparkly VIP bracelets. Sweet green relish on my American-style hotdogs. An alcoholic ice-cream drink I swore I wasn't gonna have, but bloody loved. "Skyrim" cosplayer, Deadmau5 impersonator. Alas, I could only spare two hours and had to leave before the graffiti artists hit the stage.

Director John Landis speaking in "SFX #217":

"There's still a place for monsters. We live in conservative and more reactionary times. It's one of the reasons I think zombies are so popular now. They're the monster of the 21st century, because they represent - aside from the obvious things, like illness, decay and age - anarchy, chaos and loss of social order."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dry tongue

Went to a UFC dinner at Rockpool Bar & Grill as part of the promotions for the 03/03 event. Past magnificent Art Deco architecture, in a private room, there were three tables of journos and fighters from the card (Benavidez, Johnson, Noke, Perosh and Te Huna), flitted between by attentive staff. RB&G is one of celebrity chef Neil Perry's establishments and known for its superior beef and wine, so the majority chose those for their main and beverage. All of the fare was exquisite, with the (multi-cheese?) potato bake an unlikely steak-beater. And all hail the 2006 pinot noir! In the future, as the MMA media here grows, such an intimate gathering will not be possible. We made the most of it :-)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The tan will fade, but the memories will last forever

Hung out with Ziggy Stardust, Judaschrist and Flashheart. Drank Caipirinhas, Cherry Cola For Lolas and Pepperjacks served by an Eva Mendes look-alike. Did other stuff.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five by five, B.

For the first working week of 2012, I've spent my lunches visiting the eateries I missed most over the break. On Monday, I lined up for Salad Works (large Bombay chicken salad). Tuesday saw me dine in at Sakae (jumbo ebi katsu don). Yes, a lot of dishes I order contain the words "large" or "jumbo". Wednesday was Mad Mex to go (chook burrito with hot sauce). And on Thursday I reacquainted myself with Mother Chu's (tempeh/broccoli/snow pea/walnut/cashew stir fry + curry rice). You'll note hot sauces and curries are also prevalent in my diet. Those four were no-brainers, but the fifth destination is yet to be decided. Do I go for the authentic Italian pasta of Cafe 255? The mouth-watering, messy-as-hell hamburgers of Grill'd? Or do I fight the Friday crowd for the right to Encasa tapas? Spoilt for choice? Nah, I’m just plain spoilt.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fateful hour

"DW: The Companion Chronicles - The Beautiful People" (2007) is a treat. Witty script by Jonathan Morris, wonderful narration from Lalla Ward. While sassing the Fourth Doc in Romana II mode, it almost sounds like she's admonishing her ex-hubby for his failings. Hehe. If I had my druthers, LW would voice every "Who" audio.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We need to talk about Kevin Bacon

The advantage of being an armchair gridiron spectator in Australia is that you can record something like the BCS National Championship without fear of overhearing any spoilers before ya get home 5-6 hours later. Which was fortunate in this instance,'cos taking into account that the #1-rated LSU had beaten #2 Alabama in their previous encounter and were favoured to repeat the feat, I never imagined the Tide would completely shut out the Tigers, 21-0. And while I don't support any particular college football team, I've felt a tenous connection to 'Bama ever since reading - and thoroughly enjoying - Warren St John's 2005 fan odyssey, "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer". Ergo: a result that was mildly pleasing as well as shocking in its comprehensiveness.

Monday, January 09, 2012

A walk in the Black Forest

Sometimes all the heart wants is dark bread, strong cheese, cured meat and rustic lager. Oh, and maybe a packet of crisps.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Seven-word rental DVD reviews

"The Striking Truth" (2010): Padded MMA doco nevertheless offers GSP insights.

"Hanna" (2011): Girl assassin upstages Blanchett antagonist in thrill-o-rama.

"Mars Needs Moms" (2011): Funnest darkish Western animation since "Monster House".

"Primal" (2010): Outback horror is watchably ridiculous - ta, PG.

"X-Men - First Class" (2011): Several evolutionary-ladder rungs above its predecessors.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Already been chewed

LEGO exhibition "The Art Of The Brick" - located in the lower part of the Town Hall, opposite the QVB - will only take you 20-30 minutes to view, but it will wow you. Runaway lawyer Nathan Sawaya's sculptures range from little red apples to a lifesize T. rex skeleton (albeit an adolescent one), though his most common subjects are human figures. The New Yorker tends to use very limited palettes for his works, which besides helping hide the joins gives them a purity of form reminiscent of 8-bit sprites. There are exceptions. The portraits comprised of LEGO "pixels" had me flashing back to the ASCII renderings - painstakingly printed and assembled by BS - that adorned our early '90s sharehouse.

Tonight's magnificent earworm:

Friday, January 06, 2012

Fly, you fools!

"I got eight babies, by eight different women. You wanna have my ninth?"
- Boxer Evander Holyfield surprises actress Olivia Munn, shortly after meeting her in a mall and inviting himself to join her for lunch. As recounted in OM's autobiography, "Suck It, Wonder Woman!" (2010).

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Diminished booty call of the cicadas

"Habit forming. Mind controlling. Life absorbing." No, not the evil yoghurt The Stuff in the 1985 horror-comedy of that title. I'm talking about the RPG "Skyrim". Broke the seal on an Xbox 360 copy yesterday and spent 12 subsequent hours with no care for stomach, bladder or eyeballs. Went cold turkey today, tying up loose ends instead, but every atom in my mongrel body was willing me to carry on shaping the destiny of the Wood Elf warrior Leif. The game is super immersive and the temptation to trailblaze another section of the world map or delve into the latest forbidding underground complex or hone your skills/improve your gear/seek new missions from the colourful supporting cast is tough to resist. And the atmosphere... When it's the wee hours virtually AND in RL, and you sneak into a sleeping camp of strange, headdress-wearing natives, there's a genuine creepiness and sense of peril. Don't even get me started on what it's like to share the countryside with giants, one of whom belted me half a league with his club when I wandered too close. Alas, being as wide and deep as it is addictive, it's glaringly bloody obvious "Skyrim" will rule my existence unless I reserve it for times when all pressing tasks are sorted. Like now :-)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Shut the f...ront door

Boardgaming with SC and two of his other friends, D. and R., was followed by a spicy, boozy dinner at the Amazon Steakhouse and the late session of "The Iron Lady" at the Dendy Newtown, both with S. and LC.

Don't underestimate the importance of sending doomed Vikings to Valhalla in "Midgard", drawing cards in "Torres", or saving up until you can buy buildings with the exact money and thereby score bonus turns in "Alhambra".

Don't be afraid to try the homemade hot sauce at the A/S. It's flavoursome without being overpowering.

Don't expect a straight political biopic from "T/I/L". As much a story of soulmates and of how even the strongest personalities can be worn down with age, loss and the burden of responsibility, the style is more dreamlike than detailed, in keeping with the themes of memory and dementia. That said, Meryl Streep's portrayal of Margaret Thatcher is utterly convincing.

"The germ for 'Freeway' came at [the CES] in Chicago. To save a $10 parking fee, a guy had parked a mile from the convention centre, scaled a chainlink fence and dodged across 10 lanes of traffic on Lake Shore Drive. I saw him as he darted in front of the bus I was riding. I remarked aloud to my seat-mate: 'Now there's an idea for a videogame!' ... [Initially,] my game had two men competing to get from the bottom of the screen to the top through 10 lanes of traffic, as many times as possible in two minutes. Three days before the game was to be announced to the public at the next CES trade show, Activision CEO Jim Levy suggested: 'If you change it to a chicken, I could hire someone to wear a chicken suit and run around the convention to advertise the game. Besides, it would also fit the "Why did the chicken cross the road?" joke.' For that reason alone, overnight it went from being a man to an animal"
- David Crane on the genesis of his classic Atari cart, quoted in "Retro Gamer #97".

Monday, January 02, 2012

Pocket piss

This web bleurgh is into its sixth calendar year. 1212 posts. Just sayin'.

Diamond duck

Youse can read about my recent goings-on with RS, BS, PB and MB at Robot Claw.

Apart from the noise level (it's adjacent to a play area and a coffee cart), Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2011 at the Australian Museum is excellent. Not as depressing as in 2010, though there's more repetition among the snappers and I could live without the tricksier shots. I bought postcards of the tree-climbing cheetah and her cubs, the composite image of the green aurora (I know, I know), and the grass snake under the waterfall, so I guess those were my faves.

With the bros gone to visit their folks for a tenday, I gave this joint a summer clean. I then caved to the temptations of takoyaki-flavoured rice snacks (ta, sis) and GummiBursts (ta, B.). Graphic novel "Fables #16: Super Team" failed to excite. However, it did sow the seeds for intriguing future conflicts.

Reaching my "Enterprise" boredom threshold after four episodes...might have to dig out a DVD...