Monday, March 20, 2017

Theme Reveal for the 2017 A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge...

As you've probably seen on some of your other favorite blogs (SWIDT?), today is the day on which we are to unveil our blogs' themes for the 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge...

While my blogging habits have definitely been in flux lately as I keep working through a bit of a life reboot, I plan to take part again this year, partly in the hope that it will keep me on task in interacting with other folks here on the blogosphere, which is good for me.  I also really like the idea of using the month to take on something that could culminate in a project reaching the next stage of completion.  I kind of had the right idea with last year's topic, but I never really followed through like I could have and should have.

With all of that in mind, my 2017 theme will be...

Henchmen & Hirelings: The Quest of Atoz

Since you probably find yourself asking What the hell is that? at the moment...let me elaborate...

The month of April will finally see me attempting to put together a complete and playable (or, at least, playtestable) pile of cards for Henchmen & Hirelings, the OSR-based card game I've had floating around in my head for a while.  The set will collectively be known as The Quest of Atoz (again, SWIDT?).

So, I guess we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Geeky SKAturday: Alex Desert

A fairly recent post over at Siskoid's Blog of Geekery got me to do a bit of reflection on the various manifestations of my lifetime of, geekery.  To a large extent, anything I've ever become interested in, I've had a tendency to geek out about.  There were several years, starting in the mid-'90s in my undergrad days, that one of my central obsessions was ska.

Like a lot of folks, I was introduced to the genre by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but I luckily had a college friend who was wise in the ways of the ska scene, who was able to introduce me to some of the deeper elements of the music.  It was an obsession from then on out, as I'd spend a huge portion of my time seeking out new music and zines, and even playing in a ska band for while (probably one of the few to ever come out of central Georgia, by the way...and we even managed to make it onto one massive compilation album before folding...!).

Anyway, I've realized somewhere along the way that there's actually quite a bit of crossover between ska and some of my other nerdy pursuits.  And the more I think about it, the more it makes sense...ska has long been about characters, stories, and a reverence for its own history.  And the stereotypical ska "dress code" is really just a step away from cosplay.  It's pretty much tailor-made for geeking out!  So, I hope to take some time here on the weekends to write a little about this crossover.

And yeah, I think I am going to stick with that stupid title for the feature.

Today, I want to talk about actor Alex Desert.  Here's what looks like a relatively recent shot of him:

From The Flash Wiki.

You may recognize him from the TV show Becker, or movies like Swingers or High Fidelity.  Of course, Flash fans around my age may remember him best like this:

From the DC Database.

Here's the intro from 1990's Flash series as a refresher...

In one of those cool twists that they sometimes pull off on the current incarnation of The Flash, he even returned as a Central City police captain...presumably the same character as his earlier version (as they share the name Julio Mendez).

Now, why would I mention him here?  Well, a lot of folks don't realize that Alex Desert is also one of the great vocalists of ska's Third Wave.  As in, there are probably some listeners out there who consider him the best ska singer they've ever heard, and his pairing with Greg Lee in the traditional band Hepcat is pretty much legendary among fans of the music.  When I finally made this connection after becoming a Hepcat fan, I thought it was one of the coolest things ever.

So, come for the Flash and stay for the harmonies, I say.  Alex Desert is a very good actor, but here he is doing what he does best...  (8/19/17 edit:  I realized the original Hepcat video I posted here was no longer available, so here are Alex and Greg performing one of my favorite Hepcat songs with a different backing band...)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wasteland Wednesday: NUKEMAP

I would imagine that anyone who is bothering to read this blog has very little difficulty with wasting time, but just in case you'd like to be a bit more virtually destructive while doing so, you might want to check out NUKEMAP.  It's a Choose-Your-Own-Nuclear-Holocaust program that lets you feed your mass-murderous urges in a scientifically informative way.

The site is run by historian of science Alex Wellerstein of the Stevens Institute of Technology, who also writes the blog Restricted Data on topics related to nuclear secrecy.  While it isn't the only app of this type to be found on the web, it's the one that I've had the most fun with.

And really, it's more fun than it probably should be.

Oh my, was that Gillette Stadium at the center of the blast shown above?  Just a coincidence that this Falcons fan ended up there, I'm sure...

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wasteland Wednesday: Some post-apocalyptic school spirit

I haven't watched The Walking Dead in a while...I think it was once the Governor rose in prominence, and the show became more about people vs. people than people vs. zombies, that it lost me.  Some folks seem to think I should give it a shot again.  Maybe I will.

Not a video...for some reason having the video below as the first "image" was screwing things up in the sidebar...

Anyway of the things I do really like about the show is its Atlanta connection, and I recently found out that eight singers from one of my alma maters, Georgia State University, served as a choir in the second episode of Season 7.  They sang an arrangement of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright."  It's a pretty cool scene...and I'm sure it would be even better if I knew what the hell was going on...

And while we're talking "Don't Think Twice...," I may as well post what may just be the best version of it I've ever heard.  Not that I've heard a lot of versions.  But...well, at least three, and this one is awesome...