Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

So, I’m testing the WordPress “reblog” feature. Also, Kato is an incredibly creative and fun DM, as evidenced by this post.

One Inch Square

Pillars are a common feature in many dungeons and ruins, and magical pillars can provide an interesting terrain feature for encounters.  I’ll show you how with a few supplies from your local craft store you can make great looking glowing pillars to enhance your next game.

To make four glowing blue pillars, you will need the following, all of which can be found at Michael’s craft stores:


  1. Fillable Pillar Set
    These are the core of the project.  The columns themselves are almost exactly 1″ by 1″, which is perfect for D&D, though the top and base are larger (around 2″).  Fortunately, they can be removed.  The pillars come in 4″ and 6″ tall (I chose the 4″ for my purposes).
  2. Ashland Blue Submersible LED Lights 4 pack
    To make the pillar glow, we need a light source, and these bright blue LEDs do the job nicely.  Of course, if you…

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January 31, 2012 Posted by | Games, geek, Weblogs | , , , | 2 Comments

Louisville to Chicago Midway, 11/30/11

Last fall, I flew from Louisville, Ky. to Chicago Midway for a business trip. It was a cloudless flight, but it had snowed north of Indianapolis, so we were treated to a very cool view of the transitioning landscape below as it went from patchwork green to sun-glare reflections and powder white.

Flight: Louisville to Chicago Midway

Click to enlarge.

They’re not the best photos, being from the cell phone and dealing with the sun and the reflections and all, but I really like the way several of them came out, and I’m always kind of enthralled by the way hills and river valleys look from the air.

When we landed at Midway, I lucked into a shot with the Sears Tower (yes, I still call it that) as a vanishing point for shadows and runway guides:

Pointing toward Chicago.

Click to enlarge.

The entire Louisville-to-Chicago flight photo set is here.

January 29, 2012 Posted by | photos, Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Three Pictures of A Sleeping Cat.

"This is NOT what I ordered."

"Please tell me they included a receipt."

"Hey, human: The Schrödinger jokes? Not as funny as you think."

For the record, that’s a 7x10x3.25-inch box. Ferris put himself in there and is sound asleep in all of these pictures.

January 28, 2012 Posted by | Ohio, photos | , | Leave a comment

Seuss Zoo – Christmas 1971

So, in looking through the photo album where I found the old picture in yesterday’s post, I also found this shot of Christmas presents from Dec. 25, 1971:

Dr. Seuss Zoo toy

Click to superSeussinate.

WHAAAAAT?!? I had a DR. SEUSS ZOO See ‘n’ Say?!?! Damn: I  have no memory of it at all. I must’ve broken that thing quick.

January 23, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, Games, Ohio | , , , , | 1 Comment

Old Rocking Chair’s Got Me

I’ve recently added a chair to my office here at home. It’s not pretty, but it had always been in my grandma’s house, so I’m emotionally attached to it. Also, it’s a swivel rocker, and deceptively comfortable, especially when paired with a shut-up-I-love-it 1970s dark green vinyl footstool.

Just a guy in a chair

A couple weeks ago, I found this picture of me sitting in the same chair:

Little kid in a chair, 1971

This is actually in the house in Upper Sandusky where my dad and uncle grew up, on South Fifth Street. It’s December 26, 1971: A day after my second Christmas. I’m a little more than 13 months old.

(Title of the post? Hat tip to science fiction luminary Suzette Haden Elgin‘s short story, which is well worth tracking down.)

January 22, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, Family history, Ohio, science fiction | 4 Comments

Boba Fett: Death by Walking Stick

At the 2006 Ohio Star Wars Collectors Club Summer Social, I picked up an original 42-illustration sequence from the 1993 Software Toolworks’ Star Wars Chess computer game.

I had this game for the first computer I purchased as an adult – an IBM PS/2 with a 486 processor – and while I rarely played full games, there was much fun to be had just setting up and watching all the animated battles, like R2-D2 taking on a Scout Walker, or C-3PO knocking off the Emperor. The game was released during the Dark Times, shortly after my move to Florida, so, as with other bits of Star Wars‘ re-emergence into pop culture in the early 1990s, my memories of playing it are tied to strong emotions and a particular sense of time and place.

The pencil drawings I purchased illustrate Boba Fett’s death at the hands of Yoda, as seen at the 4:24 mark of this compilation clip.

At the time, I didn’t have the means to compile these into a video, but I was looking at these drawings today and realized that’s a much easier process than it was five years ago, so, here you go: (Looks best at 720p.)

Each element of the battle was animated separately – so Yoda and the laser blasts and even the crater at the end are not seen on these pages.

Each drawing is on a 10.5 x 12.5 sheet of paper, which is slightly larger than my scanner will handle, so to keep things aligned, the leftmost few inches of each page fell outside the scanned area. In most cases, this was blank, although there are a few pages with reference numbers that aren’t visible here, and there may be one drawing toward the end where a few bits of the explosion go out of frame.

I also created a version which holds each frame for a second to allow for a little closer look:

The sheet which begins the video came with the set and – for the viewers who noticed that there are drawings numbered 1, 1a, and 1b – clarifies that there are actually 42 all together.

January 14, 2012 Posted by | 1990s, geek, science fiction, video games | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Collect All 21: Hugo eligibility

Kenner Death Star 1978

The author tests the blowupability of the Kenner Death Star gun.

Please note: As of April 2012, Hukilau has closed its virtual doors, but the expanded digital edition of Collect All 21! is available through Amazon.

So, thanks to the fantastically supportive editors at Hukilau, it seems that Collect All 21! could be eligible for 2012 Hugo Award nomination in the Best Related Work category. Here’s how the Hugo Awards site describes the category:

Best Related Work: Awarded to a work related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom, appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year or which has been substantially modified during the previous calendar year. The type of works eligible include, but are not limited to, collections of art, works of literary criticism, books about the making of a film or TV series, biographies and so on, provided that they do not qualify for another category.

And while it doesn’t get more specific than that, I would think that expanding the book by almost one-third and widening its scope to include cast and crew features and interviews – thanks in large part to the encouragement of Hukilau editor Matt Kelland – might be seen as a substantial enough modification to count as a “new” 2011 publication. (Hugo voters, nominating Worldcon/Chicon 7 members and other in-the-know types? Please feel free to give me or someone at Hukilau a heads-up if we’re misinterpreting.)

I know the whole 1970s-’80s nostalgia angle is a turn-off in some quarters, and I know that George Lucas has done precious few favors for the legacy of his original 1977 version of Star Wars. Regardless of that still-evolving perception, I think it’s still more than fair to say that Star Wars was at the very least the gateway through which many science fiction fans and writers were introduced to the genre, and that’s something I tried to preserve and recognize in Collect All 21!  And hey – it did nab a spot last year on the Topless Robot list of the 10 Greatest Non-Fiction Star Wars Books.)

This year, the Hugos will be awarded at Chicon 7, about which I’ve been excited for some time because it’s an easy drive from Northeast Ohio, and I’ve been hoping to attend no matter what. All sorts of details about nominating memberships and attending memberships can be found here at the Chicon site.

January 9, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, Books, eighties, geek, science fiction, writing | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sunset, 1/5/12


January 5, 2012 Posted by | Ohio, photos | , , | Leave a comment

Collect All 21 electronic edition: interview with Dave Filoni

Dave Filoni photo by Jim Carchidi

Please note: As of April 2012, Hukilau has closed its virtual doors, but I have made the expanded digital edition of Collect All 21! available through Amazon.

I’m wrapping up my teasers to the expanded electronic edition of Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek with a clip from my Star Wars Celebration V interview with Star Wars: The Clone Wars Supervising Director Dave Filoni. This excerpt runs about three minutes, and features Dave talking about how the cartoon series ties not only back to the original 1977 film, but how he works to connect the story with different generations of fans.

Dave Filoni at Star Wars Celebration V (Right click to download.)

The electronic version of Collect All 21! includes more of Dave’s interview, as well as interviews with Matthew Wood and Dee Bradley Baker, and much more material that’s not included in the print edition.

January 5, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, Books, eighties, Film, geek, science fiction, Television | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Collect All 21 electronic edition: Matthew Wood interview

Matthew Wood photo by Jim Carchidi

Please note: As of April 2012, Hukilau has closed its virtual doors, but I have made the expanded digital edition of Collect All 21! available through Amazon.

Continuing my sneak peeks into the expanded electronic edition of Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek, here’s an excerpt from my interview with Matthew Wood, supervising sound editor at Skywalker Sound and the voice of General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith. Recorded in 2010 at Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, this clip is a little more than three minutes long and includes Matthew talking about being a science fiction and movie geek as a kid, and, as a teenager, hearing about a job opening at this place out in the middle of nowhere…

Matthew Wood at Star Wars Celebration V (Right click to download.)

As previously noted, the electronic version of Collect All 21! includes more from that interview and additional material not included in the print edition.

January 4, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, Books, eighties, Film, geek, science fiction | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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