The Den . . . errrr, Mancave Is Coming Together #RPG #nerd #game #gaming #DnD #ADnD #FASA #StarTrekRPG

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I told my coworkers that I was using one of the bedrooms in my new home into a den. They started calling it a mancave. Well, if this is a mancave, it’s the nerdiest one ever. I also can’t see it as a “cave” considering it’s on the second floor. It seems more like a man loft.

That doesn’t make any sense, does it?

Last week, I bought a 6′ tall bookshelf that finally allowed me to unpack most of my gaming material. This weekend, I picked up a new desk, which again allows me to unpack office supplies and other things. The room is finally coming together, and I’m fairly well organized.

This den, mancave, or whatever you want to call it is oddly important to me. I’ve lived a rather simple lifestyle up to now. I’m used to a small place, and while this home isn’t what anyone would call large, it’s exceptionally large for me. In fact, it’s too large. It’s great that I have room for everything that I have and much of what I don’t have yet, but I spend 90% of my waking hours in this room. For lack of a better word, it feels cozy, and I’m jamming it with everything I want around me in my free time at home.

Do I have enough screens?

I have a lot of Jeff Dee originals to hang, but so far the only art on the walls is this guy over the desk.

Judging every one of my Google searches.

My cousin gave me a magazine rack. I asked, “What am I? 108 years old?” But I had just the use for it.

Though I may never read them again, I like having them.

Seriously. This is a mancave?

Almost one shelf per edition of D&D.

I have tons of other books not related to gaming, but the second bookshelf hasn’t even been put together. On the side of this bookshelf, I hung some memorabilia.

Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!

As far as conventions go, the badges are from All-Star Comic Con 2018, GenCon 2011, synDCon I and II, and Winter Fantasy 2020 & 2022. And then there’s something on top of that bookshelf.

Okay, maybe it’s a mancave after all, but just barely.

The one thing that won’t fit are my musical instruments. I’m keeping them downstairs. That’s probably for the best. It’s a townhome, and the neighbors probably wouldn’t appreciate any noise being upstairs near their bedrooms.

Make no mistake about it: My keyboard playing is properly defined as “noise.”

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to, nor endorsed, the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Vegas, 2021, Part 3 of 3: The Millennium Fandom @mortaine @Erik_Nowak @kesseljunkie #Vegas #travel

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Introduction

Every year without a new pandemic, I go to Las Vegas for blackjack. They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that’s not really a problem for me. I usually don’t even drink when I’m there. This year was a little different, but still not worth hiding anything. These posts are an assortment of photos and videos from the Vegas Strip. Most of the videos are from an aquarium I visited. The images are pretty big, so if you blow them up, you should still get good resolution.

I always stay and gamble at MGM properties. My credit card doesn’t get me gas credits or airline miles; it gets me gambling comps, so everything but tips are paid for because I paid my car insurance bill, got gas, or bought food at the grocery store. The comps really add up, so I use that card for everything I possibly can. I started the trip with $1,327 in available comps ($200 added just for reserving the room, so you can get those), and that was before I sat down at a blackjack table to gamble.

| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 |

In all my years of going to Vegas, I’ve been off-strip only twice before this trip. Once was to visit my cousin’s aunt, and the other was to play D&D. For the latter, I connected with my now-friend Stephanie via Facebook. She picked me up at the hotel, drove me to a gaming store, ran one of the early DDAL adventures, then took me to In-N-Out so I could see what the fuss was about (meh), and then took me to In-N-Out headquarters so that I could say I had been there and Erik never had.

The Millennium Fandom

This year, Stephanie had a free day Wednesday, so she took me on my third trip off-strip. This was the first thing I saw when I entered the bar:

The Nationals World Series championship cap makes me feel like an outsider at this bar.

After this, the owner (Alex) took us into a section of the bar that was closed that night.

Suck it, Kessel Junkie!

Alex took another picture, but it was a bit poorly timed. However, Alex pointed out that it probably caught me at a moment I was using the Force. I think he’s right.

Star Trek >> Forgotten Realms >> Star Wars

Next, I had to pick up a passenger. She’s why I crashed the Tie Fighter into a bunch of chairs.

This post is becoming a slam against all my friends.

After this, I toured the rest of the bar. I didn’t get some of the references, so please fill in the blanks if you can.

The Fifth Element‘s Water Stone.

Lightsabers, a helmet from The Mandalorian, a helmet from 300, the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones (top left surrounded by red light) and some big-ass sword I didn’t recognize. The bottom left look like bullets, and above that is a shield.

Well, sure, you can just look at these things, but ….

Pretty sure this is a vorpal lightsaber.

What’s that above me?

I know you knew.

Beneath the Aluminum Falcon was this guy.

What’s that hanging above R2’s “head”?

Some Raiders of the Lost Ark stuff and stuff from video games I didn’t recognize.

The Air Stone, Pac-Man, and a mashup. I didn’t get the reference on the license plate.

Lots of masks, the Earth Stone, and a katana I don’t recognize. Is it from Highlander? Suicide Squad? Maybe it’s simply a katana.

He told you he’d be back.

Wall-E thinking the band would let him play that night.

Wall-E was wrong.

I almost went back here thinking it was where the men’s room was. No reason.

Enough of this. Let’s have some more Star Trek. And what the hell? Some Hellraiser too.

The TV is blanked out for copyright reasons, which seems silly considering what I’m posting.

Now we have the proton pack from Ghostbusters and some Nightmare Before Christmas stuff, as well as some other things I don’t recognize. It’s hard to see from this image, but in the top right corner is an archer with an eagle on its shoulder. I didn’t get the reference, but I’d love to have that in my home. It was pretty cool-looking. The reason it’s blurry is because the lighting in the room forced me to use a “night” setting on my camera phone requiring more than an instant of exposure, and the slightest movement blurred the picture.

Unless you had forgotten, you must have known that the Fire Stone had to show up. Also, we have references to Predator, Alien, Wonder Woman, and Nightmare Before Christmas (a movie, by the way, that I didn’t see until last year).

After the tour, I noticed a couple of other things around the bar itself. First, a Batman vs. Superman sign that was behind me as I entered the bar.

Remember what I said about the camera setting? In this case, the blur created a neat effect. This is a real image. These are real people, not a drawing or touched-up photo.

Okay, but what’s the crowd like? Well, the QAnon Shaman showed up!

Not really.

Finally, as I was leaving for the night, I went to the men’s room and saw this hanging on the door to the bathroom stall. Brilliant. I love this movie.

As you can see, this is my kind of bar. If you’re reading this post, I’m guessing it’s your kind of bar as well. It’s worth the Lyft/Uber trip. Oh, and a self-delivered pat on my back.

If you think about it, between the mask and the shirt, I personally added to the nerd motif. Alex should put that picture of me on their website.

If you’re ever in Vegas, look them up. Their online store is here, though most of what I was looking for is sold out.

I bought a hat.

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Nerds Are Just So … Nerdy #nerd #candy

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The latest nerd war inspired me to write another mean post. Actually, I wrote it some time ago but was unsure I wanted to post it. Now I’m sure. During my time in Facebook jail, or maybe shortly before that (I’m old; I don’t remember), a fellow nerd shared this meme.

Sad news: They weren’t thinking of you specifically when they named the candy.

Nothing says nerd like a meme that showcases your insecurity. C.f.,

Andy Wong on Twitter | Fantasy football funny, Fantasy football, Football  funny
Having done both for decades, I can firmly say no, they aren’t the same. They just have superficial similarities that dumb and/or ignorant people confuse with identity.

These don’t come across as quite the burn you think they do. Instead, they make you look, well, nerdy and insecure. Moreover, the people you’re targeting aren’t paying attention because they don’t care what you think. That’s the nature of “not being a nerd.” More importantly, the meme falls short of its intended mark. Consider that following candy bar names:

The truth is that candy bar names run the gamut — everyone’s looking for a distinctive trademark — but because we picked the fight with this meme, it’s appropriate to point out that the ones I listed were named after a specific person worthy of recognition. Can you name a specific nerd who was worthy of a candy bar name? Einstein? Hawking? Me? The first two are famous, and they don’t get a candy name. And don’t try to pull cookies into this. It won’t work as well as many seem to think it will.

We remain individually obscure and just get picked on as a group, and obviously some of us aren’t self-aware enough to realize that yes, this candy name is probably just picking on us. Don’t pick battles you can’t win. If one of those “cool people” accidentally hears what you said, you’re gonna lose.

Even a freaking horse did better than we.

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Nerd Limericks #StarTrek #MCU #StarWars #DCEU

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today it’s my own work, but it’s work I’ve already done. I went a little nuts today, creating my own, ridiculous spin on a Facebook post. I posted a handful of nerdy limericks, referencing Star Trek, Star Wars, the MCU, the DCEU, and Lord of the Rings. Each one has a Twitter hashtag of #NerdLimericks, so you can just click here to see them all. If I, or anyone else, adds more, they show up using that same link. The complete URL is: https://twitter.com/hashtag/NerdLimerick?src=hashtag_click.

Just for good measure, here are direct links to just a few of them. Retweet them all and share your own!

A la ….
I love this movie.

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Good Watch: The Jay and Silent Bob Reboot @ThatKevinSmith @JayMewes @ComicBook @RussBurlingame #QuarantineWatchParty #JayAndSilentBob #GoodWatch

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This past Monday was the Jay and Silent Bob double feature, quarantine watch party hosted by Russ Burlingame of ComicBook.com. We watched both Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back (which I’ve seen a handful of times) and the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (which I had never seen). Because of how I write, I have to keep my posts short for them to remain coherent to nonlawyers, but this movie has so much good in it, I don’t know how to handle it.

In summary, this is a movie that didn’t need to be made except to repay the fans. There’s no respect given to the fourth wall, and the cameos from both the nerd and Kevin Smith movie universe were overwhelming. There was a point where Kevin Smith (for what seemed like the 100th time) broke the 4th wall and noted how he had successfully brought us to the third act with all of the characters exactly where they needed to be. I don’t know the science of filmmaking, but I doubt this movie was so we’ll structured. How could it be? It was less a movie and more of a series of “meta” fan service moments loosely strung together. Don’t misunderstand me, though. It absolutely worked for anyone who’s seen Kevin Smith’s movies and/or is a nerd in general.

My one complaint: I don’t remember seeing any references to Star Trek.

Unless you count this.

Shatner
The Shatner joins the ComicBook.com quarantine watch party, only to delete the tweet a few hours later.

But I get sole credit for that.

Still, I must admit that there were certainly good filmmaking moments in the movie. For example, I kept yelling at the Twitterverse that I wanted Jay to give his daughter a hug . . .

. . . and the movie delivered it at precisely the right moment.

But mainly I was yelling that I wanted to see this actor or that actor show up. Again, Mr. Smith delivered. One of many examples. . . .

In fact, there were several times that I unwittingly predicted the jokes that were coming, which I think speaks less to my deductive reasoning and more to how much Mr. Smith knows what we wanted from him.

I could go into far more detail (spoilers aren’t really a concern), but no one wins when I do that, so I’ll wrap it up.

If you’re a fan of Kevin Smith, comics, or anything nerdy, this will have to bring a smile to your face.

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#StarTrek into Darkness: #Sybok cc: @kesseljunkie @theinsanerobin @io9 #nerd #geek #scifi

What does this have to do with Sybok? I don’t care, and neither do you.

As opening night for Star Trek into Darkness (also my birthday) approaches, I wanted to make sure I reserve the opportunity to say, “I told you so,” even though there’s little chance that opportunity will actually present itself. My cousin, John (aka, @kesseljunkie) and I are big fans of the much-maligned Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (“TFF”). As a movie, it has its share of problems, but as most of you will agree with that statement, I won’t bother to justify it. Where I will take you to task, however, is with the character of Sybok.

Just a Little Misunderstood

As one of the six or so humans on the planet that actually read the novelization of TFF (John being one of the others), I have a deeper appreciation for the character of Sybok. Sybok was not just some lunatic. His reasons for accepting emotion spring from his mother’s views, which were seen as heretical by most of Vulcan. As geeks that are stereotypically considered outcasts for our interests, this is a character that we should have all embraced. Unfortunately, Sybok’s backstory was never fully developed by the film. This is understandable, as a book always has more room to do so than a movie, but it was a missed opportunity to say the least. While we didn’t necessarily have to agree with Sybok, we should have had a ton more sympathy for him, but unless you read the book (or are a completely delusional Star Trek apologist unable to criticize the franchise at all),  you probably weren’t left with the same impression as I.

A Perfect Antagonist

I googled for an image of Sybok, and got this one … from kesseljunkie.com. I shit you not.

The destruction of Vulcan gave us the opportunity to revisit and reimagine Sybok. This is a Vulcan who embraces his emotion, and his people were all but wiped out because of Star Fleet’s failure to protect the planet. Sure, that’s an unfair criticism in light of the advanced technology of the attacking ship, but people who do bad things, especially when motivated by anger, generally don’t have the firmest grip on logic. In fact, that’s the whole point of Sybok’s character. He has all the advantages of being a superhuman Vulcan without the logic to restrain his selfish impulses. There’s a lot of potential for a good story if a cataclysmic event pushed him over the edge.

Could I Be Right?

The trailers and actors’ interviews have hinted at reasons Sybok could be the villain. Cumberbatch jumps from a great height and exhibits exceptional strength by throwing around a large piece of metal during a fight. (Vulcans are stronger than humans.) Cumberbatch has referred to his character as a terrorist, but one that thinks he’s doing the right thing by Star Fleet. (This is right in line with the way Sybok thinks and acts.) Sure, Sybok wasn’t a Star Fleet agent in the other timeline, but with the destruction of Vulcan, and with few friends among the survivors, perhaps Sybok was recruited for a task for which he was quite suited: Getting revenge on the Romulans. We know the Klingons interacted with Nero from the last movie, and we know they play a role here. Perhaps they’re siding with Sybok, who’s changed his mind about what he has to do.

Hey! That's not Kirk's shirt color!
Hey! That’s not Kirk’s shirt color!

John pointed out to me that the scene from the trailer where Kirk and Spock are performing the “live long and prosper” salute through a pane of glass (mimicking their last actions in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan) in fact could be Spock and “JohnHarrison.” It’s clearly Spock, but the other sleeve is charcoal in color, which is the color shirt Cumberbatch is wearing while standing behind the pane of glass. The voice over then says, “Is there anything you wouldn’t do for your family?” Was that line spoken to Kirk, whose family hasn’t played a significant role in the reboot, or Spock, who is Sybok’s family?

Does all of this mean that John Harrison must actually be Sybok? Of course not. He could easily (probably?) be an augment, or perhaps even the Khan (which would be a tremendous shame). Gary Mitchell seems unlikely at this point, but still a possibility. All I’m saying is that Sybok would be a reasonable choice based on everything we’ve seen, and in this author’s humble opinion, would be the best choice. It would throw off everyone, and it would open the door to a proper telling of the character’s backstory.

But No

All that being said, I doubt it’s Sybok, but if it is, the IMAX Airbus theater in Chantilly, VA is going to have at least two geeks standing up during the big reveal, shouting, “Nailed it! We told you so!” (8:55pm showing on May 17 if you’re interested.)

But probably not, and that makes me a little sad.

Side Note: Why Not Khan?

For those not wanting to read the IO9 article to which I linked, let me explain quickly why Cumberbatch shouldn’t play Khan (besides the obvious concern of “been there, done that … twice already”). Back in the old days when Star Trek was less about bells and whistles and more about story and the big three, almost every episode was a kick in the gonads of racism. What could possibly be more ironic and insulting to the “superior race” crowd than a “master race” led by a “darkie.” An Hispanic actor playing an Indian superman? Perfect. The Nazi’s were turning in their graves. Casting a white guy to play that role misses a lot of the point Roddenberry was trying to make. By itself, it won’t ruin the film or the Khan character, but it would make the character a little less meaningful.

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Spreading It Too Thinly #StarTrek #StarWars cc: @kesseljunkie @williamshatner @BWingFactory #nerd

Last night, my cousin, Kessel Junkie, and I had our monthly (or so) outing at Buffalo Wing Factory. As always, we talk about all things both political and nerdical. Of all the things we discussed, there was one point made that was wholly mine, rather than a consensus between our two views. It’s not that Kessel Junkie hadn’t heard the argument before and accepted it in the context of Star Trek, but I took it to a larger level.

For all it’s bells and whistles, all of the new iterations of Star Trek will never (apparently) have what the Original Series had: character development. At first, this seems like a ridiculous argument, but I’m serious. It’s not that TNG, DS9, and the rest don’t have character development; the problem is that they spread that development too thinly across too many characters.

The Triumverate of Nerd

TOS had three characters: Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Everyone else was secondary. Can any of the newer series or movies say that? No, they can’t. They’ve all moved from being about “the main characters” to being about “the ensemble,” and the result is that none of the characters mean anywhere’s near as much as the original three. As I’ve pointed out before, we know the year that O’Brien’s mother-in-law was born. That’s a bit crazy. If you’re filling in that level of detail about the most minor of characters, you’re not spending time on who matters most. Granted, TOS lasted less years than any of the other series, so inevitably we would have known more about the minor characters as future seasons were released, but it still would have been about the big three.

It’s Not Just Star Trek

I pointed out to Kessel Junkie, a rabid Star Wars fan (seriously, check out his blog), that this isn’t just Star Trek. The original Star Wars trilogy was about Luke, Leia, and Han. Is Obi-Won Kenobi getting too important? Cut the bastard in half … or into thin air. Whatever. Same with Yoda. Bring them back as ghosts occasionally, but get them out of the action.

The Star Wars prequels became about the ensemble. While it should have been about Anakin, Obi-Won, and Padme, it wasn’t. Mace Windu, Yoda, and a freaking astromech droid were just as important. They got a ton of action independent of the main characters.

A Larger Trend

I haven’t done any serious math here, but this appears to be a larger trend, especially in light of the success of comic book movies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It allows screenwriters to tell a different set of good stories. It’s also no longer “progressive” to just stick a minority on screen, make her a secretary, tell everyone she’s good at math, and rarely let her speak words other than, “I’m frightened.” I can understand a need to continue our social evolution, but it has its drawbacks with respect to the development of characters with whom the audience can relate. If we had the Avengers but didn’t have the benefit of two Iron Man movies, a Captain America movie, a Thor movie, and two Hulk movies, you wouldn’t care as much for those characters as you did (unless you had decades of development through reading their comics, which I do not have).

And this is why Picard will never have shit on original Kirk. Get over it and get off my lawn, you rotten kids.

Of course, Zap’s better than both of those sissies put together.

P.S. Opening day for Star Trek into Darkness is my birthday. Great gift, though it would be better if Cumberbatch were playing Sybok.

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