Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Doctor Who comics - ALL the Doctors!

IDW Publishing has been producing nice Doctor Who comics for several years, as well as nice reprints of older material. 2013 sees 50 years of Doctor Who.

For IDW's part in celebrating that they've created Prisoners of Time which looks like it will celebrate each of the eleven Doctors with an issue dedicated to each one which will carry fans through the whole year.

Issue #1 naturally starts with William Hartnell's Doctor. It appears to take place some time after the events in the The Web Planet series with Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright, and Vikki Pallister recognizing the Zarbi and the Animus from Vortis.

A quick scan through the issue- the art is very nice by Simon Fraser. Scott & David Tipton captured the dialog of these old-school characters quite well.

The crazy thing is not two days before this issue hit the shelves I finished watching these episodes on my long slow trek through the classic Who. I don't think I'll be able to keep up with the series in time for the next issue.

Go check it out!

Friday, January 25, 2013


... is a GO!
Robotech has been in development at Warner Bros. for seven years and it finally looks to get underway with Nic Mathieu on as director.
THR compares the big-budget adaptation of the popular Japanese anime series to be on the scale of Transformers with an exhaustive search conducted for a director that would bring a modern and cutting-edge approach to Robotech.
Nic Mathieu is an up-and-coming feature film director known for his commercial takes and use of CGI. He's also attached to a couple other sci-fi projects at Warner Bros. with The Wind and The Story of Your Life, so this shows how much faith Warner Bros has in Mathieu.
Akiva Goldsman, Matthew PlouffeJoby Harold, Tory Tunnell and Tobey Maguire are listed as producers. Maguire was previously said to be attached to the role of Rick Hunter; whether that sticks is unknown as there are no new updates on any of the casting and many writers are said to have worked on scripts.
Robotech was first introduced to the U.S. back in 1985 with an 85-episode run, adapted from three Japanese television series. The show centered on alien technology that crash landed on Earth leading to the development of powerful mechs that were used to battle alien invasions.
The announcement of a Robotech movie comes at an interesting time as another mech movie is coming from Warner Bros. with Pacific Rim by Guillermo Del Toro. In Pacific Rim, mankind is under siege by giant monsters known as the Kaiju, with humanity building gigantic robots in response, the Jaegers, to defend themselves. Previous reports seemed to indicate that Warner Bros. was extremely excited and happy about Pacific Rim, which may have opened the door for Robotech.
Back in June, we featured a Robotech casting call article with our very own Lawrence Napoli listing his picks for the Robotech movie. Some of his favorites were: James McAvoy for Rick Hunter, Michael Fassbender as Roy Fokker, Liam Neeson as Breetai, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Maximillion Sterling.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thrift Store Painting Monsters

Chris McMahon and Thyrza Segal add their own art to paintings found at thrift stores. The effect is quite entertaining.

monster by Chris McMahon
monster by Chris McMahon
monster by Chris McMahon
monster by Chris McMahon
monster by Chris McMahon
monster by Thyrza Segal
monster by Thyrza Segal
monster by Thyrza Segal
monster by Thyrza Segal
monster by Thyrza Segal

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Young Centurions

... is a go!

The still ongoing Fate Core kickstarter (has only 12 days left at the time of this writing) surpassed it's stretch goal for the Young Centurions expansion. Here is the expansion's descriptions:

With your help, we've seen the Young Centurions RPG funded in record time. Thank you! But an RPG isn't all that the Young Centurions story is, for us. Truth is, the Young Centurions idea didn't start out as a game; it started as an idea for a series of young adult novels.
Because -- let's face it -- what better way to hook young geeklings into a world of pulp adventure and gaming potential than to sit them down with a good book?
As we've done before with the Dinocalypse Trilogy for Spirit of the Century, we want to go deeper with Young Centurions and explore our in-house world more fully than we ever could in a single setting book. And with such a book in hand, making the transition for kids from reading to telling their own stories becomes all the easier.
With your help, at $300,000, our first move into the world of young adult fiction will begin with Sally Slick at our side. We're teaming up with Bad Hair Day author and fellow geek Carrie Harris to tell the tale of Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate! You'll read how a 14-year-old Sally built her first racing tractor, saved her brother from robotic mafiosos, and invented the "jet" engine -- named after her best pal! -- to help a friend get the best of the schoolyard bully.
If funded, everyone at the EXPANSIONS level on up will get Sally Slick and the Metal Mafia in e-book form for zero extra dollars.
Once this goal funds, those of you who still love their fiction in paper form will have the option to add a printed book for $15 -- it may not ship until the end of the year, though, so a separate shipping charge will be needed if you're getting other books ($5 domestic, $15 international). We'll update the Backer Pledge Calculation Spreadsheet at that time to include this option for anyone interested, and will also add a FRIENDS OF CARRIE pledge level for those of you who only want the printed novel.
We're seriously geeked about the chance to take a big stride into young adult fiction with Carrie and Sally at our side. Join us on this journey, and help us build a new gateway to gaming for kids young and old!

art by Dani Kaulakis

The First Question

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bili by Slack Scotty

An earlier post introduced my son's Dwarf Wizard - Bili Rockheadminifur for Pathfinder Beginner Box. It gained some traction on Google+ where in Slack Scotty took notice and offered to render the character for us. After sending him the description, Mr Scotty sent back some rough drafts.

Jack's package arrived in the mail today. He was quite pleased with seeing his character "in the flesh". Scotty was quite generous, the envelope contained a colored print, . He wrote Jack a note saying that he has also played dwarf characters in RPGs. Quality stuff here. Thanks again, Slack Scotty!

Jack reads the note, Dad explains what RPG means, Maggie is mildly interested.

Jack looks pleased. Now time for bed!

 BSlack Scotty's DeviantArt site; Google+ profile

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mystery on 5th Avenue

An older and cooler story popped up recently.

Penelope Green wrote a story for the New York Times about an apartment that had a bunch of secrets waiting to be discovered. Eric Clough created a very elaborate scavenger hunt puzzle all throughout a high end renovation. The next family to live there took quite a bit of time to even discover the puzzle:

Published: June 12, 2008 
THINGS are not as they seem in the 14th-floor apartment on upper Fifth Avenue. At first blush the family that occupies it looks to be very much of a type. The father, Steven B. Klinsky, 52, runs a private equity company; the mother, Maureen Sherry, 44, left her job as a managing director for Bear Stearns to raise their four young children (two boys and two girls); and the dog, LuLu, is a soulful Lab mix rescued from a pound in Louisiana.

They are living in a typical habitat for the sort of New Yorkers they appear to be: an enormous ’20s-era co-op with Central Park views (once part of a triplex built for the philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather Post), gutted to its steel beams and refitted with luxurious flourishes like 16th-century Belgian mantelpieces and custom furniture made from exotic woods with unpronounceable names.
But some of that furniture and some of those walls conceal secrets — messages, games and treasures — that make up a Rube Goldberg maze of systems and contraptions conceived by a young architectural designer named Eric Clough, whose ideas about space and domestic living derive more from Buckminster Fuller than Peter Marino.
The apartment even comes with its own book, part of which is a fictional narrative that recalls “The Da Vinci Code” (without the funky religion or buckets of blood) and “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” the children’s classic by E. L. Konigsburg about a brother and a sister who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and discover — and solve — a mystery surrounding a Renaissance sculpture. It has its own soundtrack, too, with contributions by Kate Fenner, a young Canadian singer and songwriter with a lusty, alternative, Joni Mitchell-ish sound, with whom Mr. Clough fell in love during the project.
It all began simply enough, Ms. Sherry said, when she and her husband bought the 4,200-square-foot apartment for $8.5 million in 2003.
“I just didn’t want it to be this cookie-cutter, Upper East Side, Fifth Avenue kind of place,” she said.
The six-foot-tall Ms. Sherry doesn’t fit the mold of Fifth Avenue either: she is a former triathlete and nonfiction writer who is more interested in her children’s sneakers than in the offerings of the shoe department at Barneys.
Eric Clough, puzzler
Architects she met with made very cookie-cutterish proposals, until she met Mr. Clough, now 35, who was a friend of a friend, and they got to talking. He had smart ideas, like moving the front door and eliminating the very grand and formal front hall, the kind with marble floors and too many doors “that you’d put a round table in the middle of and flowers on top of that,” Ms. Sherry said. “A total waste of space.”
What Ms. Sherry didn’t realize until much later was that Mr. Clough had a number of other ideas about her apartment that he didn’t share with her. It began when Mr. Klinsky threw in his two cents, a vague request that a poem he had written for and about his family be lodged in a wall somewhere, Ms. Sherry said, “put in a bottle and hidden away as if it were a time capsule.” (Ms. Sherry said that her husband is both dogged and romantic, a guy singularly focused on the welfare of children, not just his own. Mr. Klinsky runs Victory Schools, a charter school company that seeds schools in neighborhoods around the country, as well as an after-school program in East New York that his own children help out with regularly.)
That got Mr. Clough, who is the sort of person who has a brainstorm on a daily basis, thinking about children and inspiration and how the latter strikes the former. “I’d just read something about Einstein being inspired by a compass he’d been given as a child,” he said. The Einstein story set Mr. Clough off, and he began to ponder ways to spark a child’s mind. “I was thinking that maybe there could be a game or a scavenger hunt embedded in the apartment — that was the beginning,” he said.
Before long, his firm, 212box, was knee-deep in code and cipher books, furnituremakers were devising secret compartments, and Mr. Clough’s former colleague, Heather Bensko, an architectural and graphic designer who had been his best friend at the Yale School of Architecture, found herself researching the lives of 40 historical figures, starting with Francis I of France and ending with Mrs. Post.
Ms. Bensko said she began writing chapters for a book, imagining scenes from the childhoods of those inspirational figures and trying to connect them. When that didn’t pan out as a narrative technique, she invented two best friends living in New York City who discover a mystery in an apartment and, in the course of unraveling the mystery, a sort of treasure hunt, they “meet” the historical figures.
All of that was tied into gizmos Mr. Clough, Ms. Bensko and others in their office hid in the apartment — without telling the clients — in a way that is almost too complicated to explain.

The renovation took a year and a half, and Mr. Clough, who acted as construction manager, brought it in for $300 a square foot, a rather conservative figure given the neighborhood and the scope of the project. Designing and producing the apartment’s hidden features, however, including its book and music, took four years, said Mr. Clough, who absorbed much of the cost in terms of his own billable hours, and relied on the generosity of more than 40 friends and artisans who became captivated by the project. He said he “begged, borrowed and stole” from them “in the collaborative process.”

“People were definitely not paid,” he said, “and we extend our thanks. It absorbed the minds of many people.”
In assembling talents for his project, Mr. Clough aimed high. His first choice for the author of the book, which contains clues to the scavenger hunt in addition to the mystery story, was Jonathan Safran Foer, whose work contains its own sort of coded narrative pyrotechnics. Mr. Clough sent him a little tease, a Rubik’s Cube of a sculpture made of anodized aluminum, encased in an acrylic cube that opens into a puzzle stamped with his firm’s phone number and the word “Please.”
Mr. Foer was intrigued and gave him a call. In an e-mail recently, Mr. Foer recalled that his daughter had just been born, and he was adrift in a fog of new parenthood. “It was a very good piece of mail that came at a very bad time,” he wrote. “I was losing and ignoring all kinds of things that I shouldn’t have. Did we speak on the phone? The whole thing was so dreamy I can’t really remember. In fact, the project was never described to me as simply as you did in your e-mail. Had it been, I would have rushed to do it. I suppose that’s the price one pays for being as mysterious as Clough is. Or as skeptical as I am.”
The sculptor Tom Otterness was another hoped-for collaborator, but Mr. Clough said Mr. Otterness’s acquiescence was conditional on Mr. Foer’s, and anyway he would have needed to be paid. “Of course I couldn’t have done it for free,” Mr. Otterness said this week.
The apartment is quite attractive and perfectly functional in all the typical ways, and its added features remained largely unnoticed by its inhabitants for quite some time after they moved in, in May of 2006. Then one night four months later, Cavan Klinsky, who is now 11, had a friend over. The boy was lying on the floor in Cavan’s bedroom, staring at dozens of letters that had been cut into the radiator grille. They seemed random — FDYDQ, for example. But all of a sudden the friend leapt up with a shriek, Ms. Sherry said, having realized that they were actually a cipher (a Caesar Shift cipher, to be precise), and that Cavan’s name was the first word.

Another evening, Ms. Sherry and Mr. Klinsky were lying in their custom-made bed when a rod running along its foot snapped off. “I’m thinking, What the heck kind of cheap bed is this?” said Ms. Sherry, who phoned Mr. Clough the next day.
His response, which might have taken a less adventurous person aback, was that she take a wait-and-see attitude, that the bed bit was part of a larger “story” and that all would be revealed in good time. Oh, and he told her to just snap the piece back into the bed. (Ms. Sherry learned later that the piece of wood is meant to be wrapped with a leather strap — part of a decorative molding in another part of the house — which in its coiled shape reveals a message.) That Ms. Sherry gamely complied is another example of how flexible she is as a client. “Most people” — like her friends and her mother, she said — “couldn’t believe how hands-off I was about the whole project. But I do think you have to trust people. You can’t stand behind them breathing down their neck, particularly if they’re creative.”
Finally, one day last fall, more than a year after they moved in, Mr. Klinsky received a letter in the mail containing a poem that began:
  • We’ve taken liberties with Yeats
  • to lead you through a tale
  • that tells of most inspired fates
  • in hopes to lift the veil.
The letter directed the family to a hidden panel in the front hall that contained a beautifully bound and printed book, Ms. Bensko’s opus. The book led them on a scavenger hunt through their own apartment.

But not all at once. The 18 clues were sophisticated and in many cases confounding. The family, Ms. Sherry said, worked in fits and starts over a two-week period, calling Mr. Clough for help when they got bogged down, which happened with increasing frequency as they approached the last of the clues. Indeed, as Ms. Sherry and Mr. Clough told their tale, this reporter had to ask Ms. Sherry if she ever questioned her architect’s sanity. “Yes,” she replied cheerfully.
In any case, the finale involved, in part, removing decorative door knockers from two hallway panels, which fit together to make a crank, which in turn opened hidden panels in a credenza in the dining room, which displayed multiple keys and keyholes, which, when the correct ones were used, yielded drawers containing acrylic letters and a table-size cloth imprinted with the beginnings of a crossword puzzle, the answers to which led to one of the rectangular panels lining the tiny den, which concealed a chamfered magnetic cube, which could be used to open the 24 remaining panels, revealing, in large type, the poem written by Mr. Klinsky. (There is other stuff in there, too, but a more detailed explanation might drive a reader crazy.)
The Sherry-Klinsky clan remains largely bemused by the extent to which Mr. Clough embellished and embedded their apartment. But Ms. Sherry and Mr. Klinsky are not immune to the romance of objects or messages hidden in walls, or what Ms. Sherry called “winks from one family to another.”
“You move into a place and you have your life there, and your memories, and it’s all temporary,” she said. “Especially with apartments, which have such a fixed footprint. I like the idea of putting something behind a wall to wink at the next inhabitant and to wish them the good life hopefully that you have had there.” Two years ago, when Ms. Sherry and Mr. Klinsky left the El Dorado on Central Park West to move into their new apartment, Ms. Sherry tried to create such a wink. She loaded an MP3 player with music they had loved and listened to during their time there — James Taylor singing “Jellyman Kelly,” songs by U2 and Jakob Dylan — and tucked it behind a panel filled with electrical equipment.
Six months ago, “someone drops off the MP3 player with our doorman here,” she said, “along with a note that read something to the effect of — You cannot believe where we found this thing. Good luck in your new home.”

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hand Crafted Bag End

Maddy Brindley build a mini bag end. She made a blog about the process.

Visit the blog here -

There are many many more photos on her blog. What an amazing job. Check it out -

Thanks to Moe Tousignant (and his wife) for the heads up- even though the blog is a few years old.

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