An Open Invitation

As a fully paid up member of Geek club I have sunk too much money over the years into trading card games, only to be unable to compete with players who can afford to sink yet more money into the game for those overpowered rare cards. And yet I never learnt my lesson, and whenever a new one that looked interesting came around I’d be right back into the cycle.

Enter Fantasy Flight Gamesliving card games. If you’re not familiar with the format it is essentially a trading card game with an important distinction; all of the ‘boosters’ ‘ contents are already known, and usually supplied at the maximum amount allowed in a deck. No more costly chase for that one rare card that would really make your deck. There are also plenty of places to plan your deck online, meaning you can plan future purchases to gradually improve your deck.

What really pushes the FFG LCG format over the edge for me is the support for the online community and OCTGN. OCTGN is an online tabletop tool which allows you to play your favourite card games against your friends online. The best part is the aforementioned support by FFG. They allow use of all but the latest booster packs on OCTGN.

Which leads me to my open invite.

I know a few of us already play the A Game of Thrones LCG, and I propose an online tournament (or league if we can get enough players) through OCTGN. I am more than happy to teach people to play and use OCTGN. I suggest that we all play each other either best of three as a small tournament or perhaps twice in a league, with the winner taking 1 point and matches taking place once a week over OCTGN, and I will provide a chapter pack of your choice for the player with the most points when it’s all done.

I’m also going to try to live stream / record and narrate some games since it is all done online.

So what do you think?  Why not leave your WWE style call outs in the comments below and lets get this going…

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5 Real Life Deus Ex MacGyvers

You all know the scene Hollywood loves to create; The world as we know it is doomed unless one kooky scientist can save the day. I’m looking at you, Independance Day, and you, War of the Worlds, and you, Jurassic Park and you… you get the picture. It’s all so convenient, that would never happen IRL right?

Wrong, here’s my 5 favourite inventions MacGyvered up just in time to (probably) save humanity:

5. Germ Theory

It’s 1918, the world is at war and people are dying at an alarming rate, in part due to the fighting but more so because of the Spanish Influenza outbreak. ‘La Grippe’ was truly a global disaster, and killed somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. The new sciences of immunology and epidemiology were struggling to come up with a vaccine or therapies quick enough to combat the disease. Mankind looked doomed.

That is until scientists began building on the work of Koch and Lister and began injecting blood plasma of people that had survived the infection into the most severly affected military patients. This reduced the mortality rates by as much as 50%, and a better understanding of the outbreak was gained.

4. The Automobile.

Before the introduction of the automobile, horses were relied upon in the large urban areas responsible for the rise of the modern era. Places like London, Paris and New York would be swamped with horses, and at the turn of the twentieth century there were some 200, 000 horses in New York, the equivalent of 1 for every 17 people.

Horses clogged the transport network of the cities, were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of residents in traffic accidents, A New Yorker would have been almost twice as likely to die from a horse accident than a car accident today, and would produce veritable mountains of dung. The steps leading to doors in many urban areas, whilst looking good today, would have been necessary to rise above the tide of horseshit that would flow after any heavy rains.

The first international urban planning conference was held in 1898 to try to tackle the increasing threat that horses posed to mankind but was cut short since the experts were stumped by the crisis.

Enter the automobile to save us from this equine menace, a much cleaner and more efficient answer to the transport problems of the day!

3. Birdseye Fish-Fingers

Yup, you read it right. Captain Birdseye (probably) saved the world. In the early twenties population growth was reaching extremely high levels, and many leading experts of the time, such as Keynes and Beveridge, were debating the pitfalls of an ever expanding population. Many feared the food supplies would run out.

Luckily for humanity Clarence Birdseye was putting the finishing touches to his technique for flash freezing vegetables, seafood and meats using high pressures, brine, ice and wax cardboard boxes. Birds Eye Frosted Foods went on sale in 1930 and humanity was promised fresh foods all year round and the humble fish finger butty was born.

2. The Convair B-36

Four years after World War II ended with the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Soviet Republic developed their own nuclear weaponry. The world was on the path to annihilation, however neither nation had the ability to quickly respond to a detected launch, a potentially deadly situation for life as we know it. Perverse as it may sound the world needed the Nash Equilibrium of mutually assured destruction to save us from nuclear war.

With the introduction of the Convair B-36, or the Peacekeeper, into service as an intercontinental range bomber it was now much easier to deliver a nuclear weapon into the interior of a country. Mutually assured destruction was now guaranteed and a nuclear peace achieved. You’re welcome world.

1. Sharp Stones

Of course none of this could have come about if humanity never got off the ground in the first place. There were myriad deadly events daily in palelithic man’s life. Man would be an easy target for the predators by day, and easier prey still by night. Most individuals would meet an early death, starvation and predation were very real threats. Technology would save the day in many ways.

Many nuts and seeds were too tough for our ancestors to open with just their teeth, and accordingly, the ingenuity of early man would have led to the observation that any nut could be opened if placed upon one stone and hit with another. Given the propensity we have for hurting ourselves, it’s entirely plausible to imagine, after laughing at other members of  his tribe cutting himself open on sharp stones, a genius of his time observing that it is possible to hurt those other creatures that come and eat us with these sharp stones, and so weaponry was born. Since these early axe heads are found in almost every pre-historic culture in the world, it’s fair to say they were put to good use, and humanity got started/saved.

The Pros and Cons of the Alternative Vote

The 5th May has the potential to be one of the most important days in the political landscape of Britain for many years to come, as a referendum is to be held on whether to stick with the current ‘First Past the Post‘ (FPTP) voting system or switch to the Alternative Vote (AV) system. The sytems in a nutshell work like this:

First Past the Post (FPTP)

An FPTP ballot requires you to mark one box of your ballot paper with an X to indicate your favoured candidate. The ballots are counted and the candidate with the highest number of votes wins.

Alternative Vote (AV)

An AV ballot gives you the option of ranking your preferences in a given election. Instead of indicating your favourite candidate with an X, you would use the number 1. You may then, if you wish, place a 2 against your second favourite candidate, a 3 against your third favourite and so on until your apathy levels reach maximum or you run out of candidates. If a particular candidate has more first preference votes than the other candidates combined then we have a winner, otherwise the second preference of the last placed candidate are used and so on until someone has a majority.

Let’s have a simple example:

Three candidates are vying for 15 votes. Alan gets 4 votes, Brenda gets 5 votes and Charlie gets 6 votes. Under the FTPT system Charlie wins. Let’s say that Charlie’s policies have divided the electorate greatly and Alan and Brenda are running on similar policies to each other. In an FPTP system this doesn’t matter as Charlie doesn’t need a majority to win, however if the ballot was done using AV, and assuming that Alan’s voters would prefer Brenda as a second favourite, then Brenda would have won with 9 votes.

So what are the pros and cons of each system?

FPTP gives a clear winner. This has been attributed to a strong government, and less likely to give a hung parliament, whether this is true is a matter of debate. FPTP is also easier to count and is a well known system. By comparison AV is only used to elect a government in Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, although it is often used for things such as student government elections.

AV will allow more local support for MP’s although it is debatable whether this has anything to do with a government. Fringe votes are also likely to have more effect under the alternative vote, since these are the votes likely to be redistributed, leading to questions about the ‘fairness’ of this and whether the votes from the fringe voters are the ones that a should be determining governmnents.

Since the proposed version of AV allows optional ranking of candidates, an interesting question is whether people would use the rankings, and what are the implications if not.

An important consideration is the wider issue of electoral reform. This has been offered as a compromise between the current system and other systems like proportional representation and single vote transferral. Regardless of whether you vote Yes or No to AV on May 5th will we get to look again at these other options.

New Music Podcast – YNot Festival

Well those four weeks flew by. Be amazed that stuporcollider has kept a deadline! Anyways, here’s another half hour or so of new music, mostly from YNot festival. As always, support the bands and buy their merch and releases:

Darwin Deez
Sparrow and the Workshop
Doll and the Kicks
Alex Blood and the Diggers Free album download available on their website.
Rugosa Nevada
Rooney
The Lovely Eggs

Download the podcast from here.

Disclaimer: I have sought permission from these bands to play this stuff but couldn’t get to ask everyone and the bands retain their copyright. If anyone from the bands wants me to remove their music from here let me know.

Twi-Hard 2: Twi Harder! LIVEBLOG!

Well, we’re back! And we’ve brought Twilight: New Moon with us! For reasons none of us really understand we’re here to live blog the second movie in the Twilight saga.

Present is Ado to my left, and Gazz to my slightly further left. The Thai food is here, and two pints of beer have been consumed. Meet us at 20:30, and prepare your loins!

We’re here, and we’re watching the trailers before the ‘feature’! I have a beer, Gazz has a beer and Ado has a squash.

More ARRPATTS trailers before the film starts. YAY

Crustyplow: The Driest Furrow. A movie about kids watching old folks getting it on.

The URL advert for Eclipse lists a Bebo address. Aren’t they dead?

A yellow moon. That’s symbolism for a weak bladder. Bella sounds prophetic (pathetic). Lots of red riding hoods. Flowers and some old bird. HI GRANDMA!

The sparkles begin! EAT GRANDMA! DO IT EDDIE!

HOLY SHIT; Edward did Bella’s granny. Now bargain basement Jason Leigh brings a sammdige. I’M BORED.

Ado: She only has one tone.
Gazz: You’ll learn to love it.

What kind of car is that. I think it’s a Volvo! Perfectly framed shot of a pretty boy walking in slow motion next to his shiny Volvo. Yea!

Ed is 109, she is 19. ULTROPAEDO! Get off that lass, grandad!

Gazz: We could just fuck in the back of this Volvo?

Best line of the film? ‘I’m just filling out Bella’ and ‘You should come take a ride’

Ado: ‘I saw this hole the other day, and I thought of you. It’s like a wizard’s sleeve!’

Perky girl rots my brain. Ado: ‘Vampires don’t use stairs, it makes sense now!’ Funny ‘don’t trust vampires joke’

Ado: ‘The Keanu Reeves award for emoting goes to…’

Gazz: ‘Previously on Twilight: biting’

PRETENTION!

Shit! Brian Clough is in this film! Nice ruff, Clough!

Best part of the film? Dismemberment by Brian Clough. Clough’s Rough Stuff is Gazz’s Cliff Richard cover band.

‘She’ll come for me soon’

‘Don’t hate the truck. It’s a Volvo’

YOU GOTS BLOOD ON MY BEIGE CARPET BITCH, TAKE IT! Eat her!

Does Ed look a bit disgusted.

Ado: Look at all the blood in you. Time of the month is it?

‘How do you do it?’ From behind with a bag on your head. No two bags for redundancy. You’re a double bagger.

Why do they burn the bandages? It’s so that they don’t go rooting through the bins later for them. It’s like when you throw half a sausage away, then regret it later.

Mumble translation:-
Ed: Bella do you understand my feelings for you at all?
Bella: God told me. How’d you feel about your solo? Ern weewap, so don’t worry about mine
E: Scronsay
[pause]
B: Shitty birthday. Say ass one thing. Kicks me (Gimli?)
E: SCROMF. [pained look]
B: It was a poo
E: Who are you?
–==SCENE==– (Ed only does one take)

Bella don’t use no photoshop. Also Gazz sez they ruining Bon Iver. Ado: Nice titties on the left.

Neil: What’s happened so far?
Ado & Gazz: Nothing

Who the fuck is Jizbert?

Bella: ‘I’m coming!’ Us: From that distance?

Who the hell is charlie? We don’t know but they ARE in the trees.

Charlie says, don’t watch Twilight. Gazz: Oh Stephanie Meyer, how I hate you

MOPE!

Bella still looks constipated. No wait, it’s coming! No, she’s just falling over. WHILE STANDING STILL. DU HAW, I’M SO CLUMSY LOL

Topless action! Man boob. Moob.

Ahh, Charlie is Tesco Jason Leigh. Gazz: ‘I got naked, but I didn’t rape her’

OKTOBER
Mope
NOVEMBER
Mope
Gazz: She’s not even listening to the Cure. Rubbish
DECEMBER
Snow mope. Snope
EMAIL BREAK. Cool, disappearing computer!
Bella: SCREEAPHRAAAGHHHAHHH! Period cramps
Charlie shall now be called Churl.

Beer is gone 😦 GAZZ, GET ME ANOTHER. Now Bella is going to Jacksonville. I hope the movie ends soon.

WE’RE ONLY 30 MINUTES IN! There’s another hour and thirty to goooo.

Hopefully it’s an hour’s worth of credits. Ado: Who for? Mumblor and all the cameramen who offed themselves.

Bella’s truck don’t work ’cause it’s not a VOLVO. I wan’t to drink at ONE EYED PETE’S.

Wtf is with ghost Edward? Really?

Bella: I think I know one eye.

Bella want rough trade. Ed thinks that be a bad idea. None of us have any clue what’s going on here. Now time for MORE MONOLOGUE!

Bella: If i need a rush of danger to see him, I’ll have to drive a HONDA.

Is it that Ed actually turns up when she’s in danger, or that she’s gone mental and sees him when she’s high on adrenaline?

Why do they keep making jokes about Bella’s age. Is this a theme?

Wolfman (Jacob?): Do you not like that song?
Bella: I don’t like things I enjoy

First time I’ve seen Bella turned on by is man fighting.

I remember this on time I broke up with a lass and woke up screaming every night. Supportive Churl is supportive. And not funny.

Churl: Sometimes you have to learn to love what’s good for you. [Later he is arrested for incest]

Gazz about Jake: Is that as close as you can get to being female whilst still having a ballsack?

There’s still a damn hour left.

Is Ed really scared of her driving a dirt bike. Isn’t that a mite overprotective. YES FACEPLANT INTO A ROCK! MORE OF THIS SORT OF THING!

GREAT LINES IN CINEMA:
Jake: You’re apologising for bleeding?
Bella: I guess I am.

More random topless! ‘Here smell my shirt. Mmm’

Why can’t we see the tigers being killed by bears?

Bella: What about ‘Face Punch’ have you heard of that?
Rando #1: No
Bella: You have now! [Smek]

Let’s Do This! Face Punch. I wanna see that more that Twiglet. Rando is a pussy. We also wanna see Parking and Gambling, Gods and LSD, also Pontypool, Mike Zero.

BOO RALPH! You’re rubbish. We see you’re online, you’re just hiding from this amazing film!

Bugger! Jake made her feel feelings again. Now we go back to mopecore mode for a while. STOP MOPING! SHUT UP! FUCKING TEENAGERS! ‘I’m not like a car, you can’t just fix me. But I do have a spacious boot and wide exhaust’

I honestly don’t know what’s happening now, except that Ed has gone and Bella’s a bit mopey.

Topless!

Why does Bella go for angry assholes? Ginger rando was OK.

‘Hey Jake, come and hang out in the woods with us guys in tight shorts with no tops on in the pouring rain! It’s totally not gay!’

We think Bella’s trying to find a cliff to jump off. We want that! DO IT BELLA.

Oooh, Bella on her knees again! Who’s this guy? I think his name is Orwan, Rowan or Woyan. His accent is great and randomly dropped. Actmaster!

Ado: MY EDWARD SENSE IS TINGLING
Gazz: Who the fuck are all these people?

Why would any vampire be afraid of Ed? He’s a goit.

Growbag: I can’t help but kill you, so mouthwatering
Bella: Please don’t

There’s totally a wolf! Werewolves vs. Vampires is more boring than I thought.

Twilight rules of vampires:
A) You’re immortal
B) You’re pretty
C) You’re sparkly
D) Don’t really need to drink blood
E) Get a bit angry around blood sometimes but not a lot
F) BASICALLY NO DRAWBACKS!

Ado and Gazz are on Team Jake. I’m on Team FOAD.

Jake can’t work shirts anymore. Cutting his hair cut his IQ by all.

WE DEMAND VAMPIRE, WEREWOLF, MOPEY BINT THREE WAY! IT SHALL BE AWESOME!

Bella: Come back and talk, Jake! I have not moped enough! (Falls over)

Plot is actually happening! We’re on tenterhooks!

Ado: It’s all about the dialogue. The dire-log

SLAP! Anger! Wolfywoo! Let’s hope those shorts grow back!

Ralph, you’d like this. They keep talking about feelings. You’re into that, right?

Wolfmen: Hey Bella, wanna come inside? there might not be any nobbing.

Ado is taking his top off to show TEAM JACOB solidarity. Bella is a total whore for supernatural bastards.

BEER 3!

I watched Inception before this. I don’t know if that’s making this worse, or if it really is this tedious.

BITE HIS FACE OFF! Jamaycahn vampire’s face was delicious, B. You know, the main villain in this film hasn’t been seen by the audience yet, but is always talked about. Is that good filmmaking? NO!

Ghost Volvo! Golvo! Ginger, there in the trees, old man! Dumbass. Now she’s after Churl! OH NOES! Get the ginger, Team Jacob. Do you think she’s leading them into a trap? I THINK SHE IS!

Twilight vamps can not only cross running water, they can swim like motherfuckers.

Ado: Not vampires. CAMPIRES!

Bella’s going to be killed by the sea! Yay! Shark ginge! Kill her, end this damn movie! At least Ghost Ed is around to watch.

Grey Shorts Guy: Hey A-Hole ar going to horrargh ver place. Have you seen the financing available on new Volvos?
Bella: [Mumbles]

All the dudes Bella likes are the Hulk. Imagine if she met Bruce Banner. SPAFF!

Bella is such a ho bag. ‘You’re so special! Also, I hallucinate about Ed like all the time. Lets knob and I can hallucinate his face on your piece!’

Ado: Abstinwhore did done goned did a breathe!

Psychic vampire is not a character. Sometimes I wish I was a walking deus ex machina.

Psychic lass: #Bella, what is that awful wet dog smell?’
Bella: ‘MY THATCH!’

Better wolfvampbint threeway! Psychic vamp is a better Ed. Me: What month is it now? Gazz: Mopetober

Shit, this is the first time in an hour we’ve seen Jake with his shirt on! 5 to 1 that he’s topless in the next film. Bella should knob Jake, he’s much better.

Stuff happening! Psychic: He wants to die too! Us: SO DO WE!

Is that a Volvo? WHY YES IT IS! Bella has her own plane. It’s a Virgin Atlantic. FNARR!

Brian’s back! Get in there, Brian! Camp, camp Brian Clough. Are the folks in Engerland? They’ve nicked our road signs. It’s apparently italy. With Brian Clough. They’re also driving a Porsche, so you know it’s Italy.

FUCKING CLOWN SHOES! None of this makes sense! ‘You go, because he can read my thoughts! Even though he saw you dying half way across the globe!’ Ed’s suicide plan is gash.

SHUT UP YOU MOPEY TWATS! You make no sense and we can’t tell what you’re saying.

Bella – still a virgin whore. What are we betting that the little girl vamp is like 800 or something.

WORST MUZAK EVER! I bloody hate these damn boring vampires. BRIAN CLOUGH IS BACK! Brian: ‘ANwo Anctante!’

Ado: This is the best bit of the film! Look at Brian emoting! I’d forgotten that people could do that! He actually changed the tone of his speech! Amazing!

FIGHT! It’s fast in slow-mo. Nobody knows why they’re fighting. Probably for ratings. SMASH HIS PRETTY FACE IN!

For a soulless vampire, Ed is one depressing bastard.

INTO THE CLOUGH EYE! What’s in there? A crap scene where Bell and Ed have a nice run in the woods. We know Bella is a vamp because she FAILS TO FALL OVER.

Ed: Sorry I fucked off forever. It were for your own good
Bella: …
Ed: Whormble wardhe
Bella: …
Ed: …
Bella: My donna wo change me
Ed: [waffle]

Gazz: If you become a vampire, you automatically lose your hymen. Incidentally Bella is more of a son than you ever were, Ed

Woop! Jake and Ed meet! Jake has lost his shirt again. Jake has introduced an exciting contrivance that will stretch this out for another movie at least. Bella tells Jake she’s been stringing him along. I’ll bet Jake keeps sniffing around her though. Damn Bella’s fickle heart! So many hot dudes want to do her, and she can’t decide who gets a ride.

Ed: Wait five years, then I’ll make you a drawback free vamp.
Bella: No
Ed: Marry me then

END. Thank fuck that’s over!

No wait! There’s a stinger after the credits! It’s Brian Blessed as Ghengis Khan! He’s come to set all the main characters on fire for being boring mopey assholes! Look at all the blood! best stinger ever!

That was bloody awful. I hate you all. Goodnight.

Stuporcollider – Now Available IN YOUR EARS…

Cloud 9 to be exact...

Two magpies crossed my path on the way to work this morning. Now I’m not typically superstitious but I had been planning on uploading the first of my new music podcasts today (OK, I had planned to put them up at the weekend too but I love me some procrastination), and I suppose this could be seen as a good omen.

And yet a better omen became apparent through twitter. 6 Music has been saved. Faithful readers (and the people monitoring my web use) will recall a klaxon call from these very pages, rallying music lovers everywhere to fight for the only radio station playing even half-way decent music in the UK.  Well the BBC trust have seen sense and agreed that ‘the case has not been made’ to close the digital station due to “significant public support for the service”.

I can think of no better day to try to launch the first stuporcollider podcast, highlighting new music. So with that in mind…

[Sneaky Neil edit] If you wanna download the mp3 of the podcast, you can do so here. Because we love you.

Saving 6 Music

The BBC and I are no longer as close as we once were. First there was that whole homeopathy thing, and now they’re threatening to kill off 6 Music. Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC and all round twat has been steadily decreasing the cultural value of the once-proud institution, and now he is recommending the closure of 6 music and the Asian Network by the end of 2011.

For the last 6 months or so I have been listening to podcasts of some of the finest new music, and classic, iconic songs from people that actually understand music. Radio 1 is at best an infuriating alternative and at worst a festuring turd polished up and sold to you as popular music. You’re not 3008, I won’t poke your face and it’s definately not Bonkaas, it’s shit. FACT.

The report states: “Given the strength of its popular music radio offering from Radio 1 and 2 and the opportunity to increase the distinctiveness of Radio 2, the BBC has concluded that the most effective and efficient way to deliver popular music on radio is to focus investment on these core networks.” I tend to agree more with Eddie Argos; “The record buying public shouldn’t be voting.”

Surely the whole point in championing new, independant, music is precisely that it isn’t yet popular since the record labels hosting the talent can’t afford the publicity and air time for a radio 1 heavy rotation that seems to go hand in hand with chart success. Some songs I’m not going to like despite how many times you play it, ok. I think the RATM thing over Christmas showed that there IS a musical revolution happening, sick of Scowell’s chokehold on our music, and this is  why 6 music is so important.

Luckily the gallows are not on the horizon (metaphorically and musically) for 6 Music just yet and there is plenty we can do to help save it:

  • Listen to it. Pretty obvious really but some estimates already suggest thet the listening audience has already doubled since the news first broke. If you can listen to it through the iPlayer, even better, as this is one of the key measures of the stations success
  • Sign the petition to BBC Chief Sir Michael Lyons.
  • Use 36 Degrees’ template to contact the BBC trust
  • Email your thoughts to :-

srconsultation@bbc.co.uk
michael.lyons@bbc.co.uk
richard.tait@bbc.co.uk
jeremy.peat@bbc.co.uk
mehmuda.mian@bbc.co.uk
david.liddiment@bbc.co.uk
janet.lewis-jones@bbc.co.uk
rotha.johnston@bbc.co.uk
patricia.hodgson@bbc.co.uk
alison.hastings@bbc.co.uk
anthony.fry@bbc.co.uk
diane.coyle@bbc.co.uk
chitra.bharucha@bbc.co.uk
trust.enquiries@bbc.co.uk

  • Change your twitter avatar using the twibbons.
  • Join the Facebook group

And if none of this works?

Turn off your radio…