Humpday Links for February 1

A new year, a new month, a new batch of humpday links.  The symmetry surely do boggle the mind, don’t it?

– Right after the Walking Dead premiere, you can watch the new Kevin Smith joint Comic Book Men.  I am excited by it, my buddy Brendon is less so.  Let’s see who’s right!

This is what every Star Trek nerd wants to have in their living room.  Okay, maybe not, but face it: you just aren’t getting that Tasha Yar sponge-bath anytime soon…

– With fears of SOPA/PIPA floating about, here is a pretty reasonable way for Hollywood to combat piracy in a positive way.  Of course, Hollywood and “positive way” don’t have the best track record, so…

– Not for nothing, but the first player to bring me this beauty gets an immediate free level.  Doesn’t even have to be one of my players, I’ll clear it with your GM.

– I’ve read too much Lovecraft not to expect the next headline to read, “Contact Lost with Russian Antarctic Research Station”

– So after 10 years Neil Gaiman finally won his suit against Todd McFarlane.  Some charities are about to become very happy.

– A little something from my “Sweet Mother of God, That is Cool!” file

This link goes out to my buddy Andy, the origami sensei.

– Presented without comment: records and music made from the rings of trees.

– Because I have been remiss in filling my funny cat video quota, I give you this.  I think the epic score is what sets it apart.

– In case you are wondering why your favourite Watchmen fan is swearing/cheering, DC confirms there will be a prequel series of comics featuring the iconic characters.

– This Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is the reason I’ve installed a spit-guard in front of my computer screen…

– And finally, xkcd demonstrates why I should never be in charge of naming my daughter.

That’s it for today!  As always, if you have a link you want to share just drop it in the comments.  And join me tomorrow as I update my convention schedule…

Update!  Thanks to my pal Brittney, I have to share this video of Kristen Bell’s Sloth Meltdown, because I love Kristen Bell and she is so damn cute in this.  Also, Ellen is hilarious.

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Humpday Links for January 25

Happy Robert Burns Day!  While you wait for your haggis to cook I hope you’ll enjoy these wee timorous links…

– It is time once again for Paizo’s RPG Superstar Challenge, and the 32 competitors have been chosen!

– I’ve long suspected that Mark Wahlberg is America’s secret weapon…now I know for sure.

– Nothing I could say would equal the awesomeness of this, so presented without comment: the crowd-sourced fan film version of Star Wars: A New Hope.

– From The Mary Sue: This may just take the top spot as coolest engagement ring/proposal combo ever.

Dave Hewlett has a new web series and you should watch it.  Watch it hard!

– Apparently, scientists have been taking awesome pictures of space again.  Warning: this image is really big, so give it time to load. You won’t be sorry.

A side-by-side comparison of an average woman (plus-size model Katya Zharkova) and a “super” model.  Fascinating.

“A Wrinkle in Time” is turning 50.  Time to give it another read, methinks.

How did I not know about this Due South convention!?  How!?

– Courtesy of The Joe Shuster Awards, here is a pretty comprehensive list of current Canadian webcomics.  I…I might be away for a while…

Robin D. Laws has some advice for avoiding an outbreak of Foot-in-Mouth disease the next time you talk to your favourite creator.

– As a writer, I need to take much of the advice on this list.  Maybe you do as well.

– It has been said that Mal Reynolds is the Han Solo of a new generation; this shirt proves it.

– We’ve touched on ridiculous female “armour” before, but this article actually examines some of the issues faced in properly armouring women.

– A bit behind the curve, but in case you missed it Hasbro has been hit by sweatshop allegations.  What price, Transformer?

– Courtesy of GeekDad, his picks for Top 5 RPGs of 2011.  I agree with them all, and I’m glad to see Microscope made the Honourable Mentions list.

A very good interview with James L. Sutter on writing and RPGs, courtesy of SF Signal.

– And finally, if you are starting any kids out with 4th Ed D&D, I highly recommend these character sheets.

Okay, your haggis should be done by now; time to eat!  Join me tomorrow for more nerdery, and please do share any of your own links in the comments.

Quiz Winners!

Thanks to everyone that submitted an entry to my Centurion Quiz.  It was highly entertaining to see how much, and how little, you know about me.  The time has come to announce the three winners, but first the answer key:

  1. Let’s start with an easy one: I changed my Twitter handle to match my blog title. What was it before that?  DorklordCanada was my original Twitter handle.
  2. Another easy one: I freelance as administrative support. What is the job title I use for that work?  I consider myself a White Collar Mercenary, since administrator just doesn’t sound cool enough.
  3. Now we come to the math question:  If I copy-edit your 27, 483 word manuscript how much will I charge you?  $151.16. And cheap at twice the price. 😉
  4. In what municipal location did I first learn to play D&D? (Need the name of the city as well, please.)  A lot of half-answers, but I was looking for city and building. So Fort McMurray Public Library was the correct answer.
  5. What is the web-comic I have followed the longest, and why?  The correct answer is PVP, because one of the main characters is named Brent.  The first part you could get from my post on webcomics, the second part…you needed to know how vain I am.
  6. Name the only character to make it into Star Trek’s second pilot.  This was on my mind because of the guest post I had just written, but the answer is Mr. Spock.  Although his character changed a bit, he was the only one brought forward from the first Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”.
  7. I am a huge fan of this Star Trek: The Next Generation alumnus, and I gave him my best Killer d20 at a Gen Con.  Who is he?  My fancrush on Wil Wheaton is no secret.  And when he put out the call for dice at Gencon 2010, I was more than happy to respond!
  8. Okay, I’ll slide you an easy two-parter.  Fill in the blanks: ___________ is my favourite RPG, and I just became a ____________ to support it.  In order, the correct answers are “Pathfinder” and “Venture-Captain”.  People did get very creative with this one, though. I didn’t even know they made a Hide the Monkey RPG…
  9. If I could be swept away on one vessel from science fiction, what would it be?  Many good answers to this one, and the truth is I wouldn’t turn my nose up at any of them.  But the correct answer is the TARDIS.  PVP shows my reaction the best…
  10. What is your favourite colour?  I was surprised, I actually got a few people with this one.  Since I am asking for your favourite colour, there was no wrong answer.  But to the person who cursed me out for not providing the answer anywhere in my blog…the answer was inside of you the whole time. Also, reading comprehension, look into it.

Okay, I can’t put it off any longer, mostly because a few of you will organize lynch mobs.  Though no one rated a perfect score, but the top three scores belong to: Michael M., Josh B. and Kirk M.!  Congratulations you guys, I’ll contact you via email to discuss your prizes.  And a big thank-you to everyone that entered; it was heartening to see so many entries from new people.  Welcome to the blog, and I hope you enjoy it for a hundred more posts.

I do have another post that will go up later this afternoon; I wanted to end the quiz suspense as soon as possible.  So stay tuned!  The afternoon got away from me, so you’ll have to be patient and wait for tomorrow morning. Worth the wait, I promise…

Speak Out with your Geek Out: Day One – Web Comics

As part of the Speak Out with your Geek Out project started by Monica Valentinelli on her blog, all of my posts this week will highlight some aspect of geekery that I love.  So join me in taking a little break from the anger and angst, and let’s remind ourselves why we love geek culture.

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Growing up, the comics page and Saturday comic insert were my favourite parts of the newspaper.  Until I got much older, I didn’t understand why they even bothered to print the rest of the paper ( a feeling I still carry, actually).  The comics page, featuring the antics of Peanuts (“Curse you, Red Baron!”), The Far Side (“Bummer of a birth mark, Hal.”) and Bloom County (“Oop! Ack!!”) was obviously the star of the newspaper.  But hey, I was a kid, what did I know?

Fast forward to 1999, and I’m just starting to spend a decent amount of time on the internet.  Punching in whatever page search strikes my fancy, as was my wont in those days, I come across a link for something called pvponline.com…and that was my first step into the wide beautiful world of web comics.

Of course, after that first step I will admit I wallowed like a pig in muck for a great long while.  I went through my early addictive phase, where every web comic was a little gem to add to my growing dragon’s hoard.  I didn’t care about things like art quality or story in those days, I just knew I needed to read more, more, more!  Eventually, realization that I only had so much time in a day to spend reading web comics led me to develop a more discerning palette, and the razing of my bookmark list.

Nowadays my decision to follow a particular web comic is dependant on three things: 1) does the subject interest me?, 2) is the art good? and 3) is the writing/story good?  I don’t need all three of those to be a resounding yes; I can read a comic about gamers that has good writing and only okay art, for instance.  But if the answer to the any of those questions is a no, that comic will never make it to my bookmarks folder.  You may think that would limit my reading somewhat, but as of this post I have 56 links in my Web Comics folder, plus another 6-8 under review at any moment.

So why do I love web comics so much?  First, the web is the only place I’m going to find comic strips with subjects and settings that I enjoy.  What print newspaper is going to feature the fantasy gaming misadventures of Order of the Stick, for instance?  Or carry the touching story of a pseudo-hipster and his friends, a la Questionable Content?  Or even acknowledge the living presence of Something Positive (which I love sooo much!)?  Second, besides the enjoyment they bring me (which is prodigious) I see web comics as a sign of a healthy geek culture.  Not only are there enough readers for existing properties, but there are enough that new web comics are able to find a stable footing early on.  Not to say I think it is easy for new strips, not by any means.   But if the strip creator is willing to put in the work, there are opportunities to grow an audience and make the strip successful.  And that is exciting to me.

So if you aren’t already doing so, take some time to explore web comics and find some new ones to read.  I can guarantee you will find at least one that will interest you, and often that one will link to others you may fall in love with.  To get you started, here are five of my favourites, in no particular order.  If you like them or already follow them, take a second to look at their links pages, and check out the web comics they recommend.  You may find yourself a hidden gem…

– I have followed the work of Phil and Kaja Foglio since the days of “What’s New with Phil & Dixie” in Dragon Magazine.  So falling in love with Girl Genius was practically pre-ordained.  If you already follow this comic, revel in your luckiness.  If you don’t, you’re welcome.

Weregeek, by Alina Pete, is a perfect example of a fantastically drawn and written comic for/about geeks that would never be syndicated in a print newspaper.  Which is fine with me, more geeky goodness for those of us on the web.  Also, Alina and her boyfriend Layne are the nicest people ever; if you have a chance to stop by their booth at a convention then do it!

– How could science and computers possibly be funny?  xkcd and Randall Munroe answer that question in spades!  Also, it is my second favourite stick-figure comic strip, out of…well, two.  Note to new web comic artists: no more, OotS and xkcd have it covered.

– A relatively new discovery, Christopher Baldwin’s Spacetrawler is a funny, touching story of humans “drafted” to fight for inter-stellar liberation.  You’ll even fall in love with the villains, it’s that kind of comic.

– And finally, d20 Monkey, one of my favourite RPG related strips.  Brian Patterson really captures the heart of the gamer community with his strips.  And yes, admittedly, that heart has a goodly share of dick jokes.  I regret nothing.

That’s all for today, folks!  Have a favourite comic of your own to share or a comment on the ones I posted here? Comment below, but please limit yourself to one link per comment, please.  And join me tomorrow for the next instalment in Speak Out with your Geek Out!