Useful Google Assistant Silliness… “This is a Tractor.”

Have someone hide your phone (or just misplace it like I always do). Walk around the house and say this, loudly… “OK, Google… Make a bunch of noise so I can find you.”

Continue reading Useful Google Assistant Silliness… “This is a Tractor.”

What D&D Character Am I?

I’ve seen these kind of surveys or discussions before, but never really looked into them much until today. I used this Alignment Survey once before to kind of pin down the alignment of a character I had envisioned, answering the wide range of questions as I thought the character might answer them. On a whim I recently answered the questions as I would answer them, and the result I thought pretty much “nailed” my world view in terms of a D&D Alignment spectrum. Suddenly curious, I decided to take their long survey which attempts to build a D&D character complete with statistics that match your answers.

According to the results, I would be a fairly average multi-class Halfling Druid/Ranger. I like the idea a lot. The Halfling (aka Hobbit) seems to fit me (mostly in just the mentality, but some in the physicality). The rare multi-class and average “jack of all trades, specialist in none” statistics, combined with an emphasis on preferring nature to the big cities, preferring solitude to large crowds, belief in an underlying caring yet impersonal divinity in nature and fascination with the science of how nature works more for the sake of knowing than using the knowledge towards some huge technological goal, though finding the pursuit of those tech goals fascinating as long as they don’t destroy the Nature I love. Continue reading What D&D Character Am I?

Death Star Plans Trivia

Death Star in SpaceSo it’s only been… 39 YEARS?!… since I first saw the original Star Wars movie at the age of 9, almost 10 years old. Since then I have seen what they now call Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and its various versions too many times to count. So why is it just today I noticed that the Death Star plans are WRONG?! It seems to me if you followed those inaccurate plans and found what you had thought was a weakness, you might be in for a big surprise when you arrived only to discover everything is not exactly what and where you expected it to be.

Death Star Plans on ScreenWhat am I talking about? Well simply that the computer graphic Death Star plans displayed at the Rebel briefing show a Death Star whose main “planet killer” weapon lies along the space station’s equator instead of where it is shown elsewhere in the movie, part-way up in the station’s “northern” hemisphere. A difference that big makes you wonder what other differences there might have been.

It wasn’t until today when I saw a video online talking about something entirely different that my mind went “Hey! What’s going on here?” Basically the video showed the two images side by side, similar to the header I created for this post: The first a shot of the Death Star in space, the second a shot of the computer graphic Death Star plans being displayed on a console.

I knew there was no way I had discovered something new. I am after all noticing this nearly four decades since the movie’s release. But it was new to me and with a little digging I discovered the details behind this, and a number of other interesting bits of completely useless, though interesting, bits of trivia surrounding the infamous Death Star plans. Continue reading Death Star Plans Trivia

No Man’s Sky: So Cool, So Tempted

Monolith
A view of a monolith looking out at another planet or moon, among the 18 quintillion planets in No Man’s Sky procedurally-generated universe.

A number of videos keep coming out showing more and more details of “No Man’s Sky“. This is the first time I have seriously considered buying a console strictly for one game. It’s hard to admit, but I am strongly tempted to make the jump. I keep finding myself rationalizing that it might be time to get a new desktop PC, that just happens to have a really good video & sound card. But then it may just be easier and cheaper to get a PS4 if all I really want it for is this game?…

And so the chain of logic and lame rationalizations grows longer as I find myself “jonesing” for a game that is not even out yet. We’ll see as the June 21st release date comes closer. Will I resist the temptation or take the plunge, update my antiquated hardware, and explore The Universe?
Watch several detailed videos

Tak Strategy Game in Lego!

[Update 4/21/16: Added download link to LDraw MPD file of the Lego 5×5 hybrid Tak board and pieces model.]

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick RothfussOne of the books I’m currently reading is The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, which is the second book in the fantasy series The Kingkiller Chronicles. While reading this excellent book, there are a number of scenes that describe the main character learning a strategy game called Tak that uses a board and stones. It’s sounds like a mixture of the abstract strategy games of Go and Mancala with some special pieces such as the strategy game of Chess, and ways of placing the stones that gives them different powers as the game of Checkers.

Well, today Rothfuss announced that the game designer James Ernest had designed an actual game using the brief descriptions given in the book. What’s more they were running a Kickstarter campaign to polish and produce special versions of the game for its supporters. There is a video showing the game being played, and it really is a sweet piece of work. The basics of the game are a snap to learn, yet it has a ton of strategy, looks fun, and is kind of beautiful in the way it starts, builds and can shift from one area of the board to another. You can play it yourself online at PlayTak.com. Continue reading Tak Strategy Game in Lego!

A Song for World War III and Philosophical Thoughts

I stumbled on this interesting article on a singer / song-writer / comedian / satirist by the name of Tom Lehrer who was active in the 1950’s and ’60’s. He long preceded the likes of “Weird Al” Yankovic but his music, despite it’s age, was right at home on the Dr. Demento radio show of the ’70’s to ’90’s. Besides the pure “cool” factor of the man and his work, his career spurred thoughts in me bordering on the philosophical.

One of the many songs of his that grabbed me is, “So Long, Mom (A Song for World War III)”. Continue reading A Song for World War III and Philosophical Thoughts

Music: Rube Goldberg musical instrument

Coolest thing I have seen in a LONG time. Looks like he’s using lego for the “programming” of what note’s fire when on the main melody, but there is SO much going on in this machine and the tune is pretty fun.

There is also a video that shows a bit of the very LONG build process that is worth a watch.