Thursday, April 28, 2005

Serenity RPG Confirmed

According to OgreCave, we now have official word that the Serenity RPG will be released by Margaret Weis Productions (of DragonLance fame). It'll be a self-contained RPG based on the movie of the same name (which in turn is based on Joss Whedon's Firefly TV series.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Settlers of Catan ... in 3D!

For a mere $400 (or maybe a little less, exact pricing its available) you can own a three dimensional version of Settlers of Catan, complete with hand-painted mountains, forests and plains, as well as 3D villages and cities.

Too rich for your blood? Well, don't worry -- there's always the aforementioned Pizza of Catan.

It's Shad-O-Riffic!

Like shad? Like art? Want to see one very wacky parade? Then check out Easton's 2005 Shad Festival, being held this weekend. The Arts Community of Easton has posted a complete schedule of events.

Sue and I are taking Jordan to the 9th Annual Doo-Dah parade on Sunday, so if you're there, look for me -- I'll be the guy with the faded black Apple cap on.

Note: This originally ran last week, but I screwed up the dates; this weekend -- 4/30-5/1 -- is when the Festival is happening.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Let the Viral Marketing Begin!

From the Serenity movie trailer:
Wash: "This is going to get pretty interesting."
Malcolm: "Define interesting."
Wash: "Oh god, oh god, we're all going to die?"

Kickass. That's all I can say right now. More when I've finally managed to stop replaying the trailer in my mind's eye.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Trying to puzzle out some new bit of jargon? Then check out WordSpy, which searches for new words, and then explains their origin and usage.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Beetle Baily: Rational Individualist?

I'm astounded that something like this made it into a mainstream comic. Kind of makes up for the fact that this collectivist horse's arse is still around.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

"Give Me Some Sugar Baby"

If you live in northwestern New Jersey or the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, and you want a truly fantastic dessert, you need to visit Sugar in on Main Street in Phillipsburg (that would be down by the Free Bridge, not on Route 22).

They have a staggering selection of desserts, staggering both in quantity and quality. You can easily stand there for 15 minutes looking dumbfounded at the dessert case, sure that no matter what you choose, you'll have some regret for not picking something else. Not that what you choose won't be excellent, but there's always that other exquisitely delicious dessert that you had to pass up in order to eat the one you actually chose.

It's a happy quandary.

You may be tempted to buy more than one dessert, but if you do so be aware there's no way in hell you're eating both of them in one sitting; heck eating just one of these rich, excrutiatingly tasty desserts can be a challenge. Fortunately, that's what "to go" boxes are for. They also serve dinner, which Sue and I got to try on Thursday night (we treated ourselves for our anniversary). It's just as good as the desserts -- I had the "butter poached Jail Island Salmon with a Creamy Lemon Fettucinni and Asparagus" and it ... was ... awesome! It was the sort of thing you want to let linger in your mouth for a few minutes, just to absorb all the excellent tastes. It wasn't cheap -- with tip our total bill game to around $90 -- but it was worth every penny.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Thanks to Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey, I now know that "bildungsroman" is a word. And thanks to Wikipedia, I now know what it means.

Mutagenic Growth Rays from Outer Space

Over the last few weeks, I've been noticing an increase in the number of people writing me about Nuketown, usually via the feedback form. Last night I confirmed what I'd suspected: the webzine saw a big spike in traffic last month; total traffic to the articles on the web site increased from about 19,000 in February to 25,000 in March.

And I don't know why.

I'm going to play around with my web reports a bit more, to see if I can figure out if a specific section was responsible for the spike in traffic, but looking at the Statistics page, I don't see anything that stands out as being responsible for another 6,000 visits.

I suspect that it may be a couple of different lesser factors coming together to create a wave of traffic. For one, I've been writing more hoax debunkings, but interestingly, none of the recent ones are in the Top 5 stories. Another possible factor is Radio Active, which debuted in March. And yet, while the podcast feed has been rapidly gaining traffic, the Podcast show notes rarely hit the Top 20 lists.

The other big question, of course, is whether or not this is a permanent increase, or just a fluke. Right now, traffic for April has already exceeded February's, so it may very well end up being a sustained jump. Which would be great of course, but I would love to know exactly what I did to increase the traffic.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Nine Years of Bliss

As of today, Sue and I have been married nine years. Nine years ... wow. I'm astounded -- it really doesn't seem that long, and it certainly doesn't seem like 13 years since we started dating, back when we were both journalism students at Lock Haven University.

It's been a wild ride, with all the ups and downs you'd expect from more than a decade of being together, but I still love her as much as I did when we said our vows.

Happy anniversary Susie!

Pizza of Catan

Proving that their geek mojo is indeed strong, has posted the "Pizza of Catan", a pizza based on the hexagonal layout of the most excellent German boardgame, Settlers of Catan. Thanks to Ogrecave for pointing this out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Radio Active Glows

Nuketown Radio Active, the podcast/radio show for the ol'thermonuclear burg, is doing pretty well. I'm up to Show #5, which I think sounded pretty darn good (aside from the occasional knocks on the microphone) but which ran 40 minutes. That's about 10 minutes longer than I'd like -- I think 30 is the sweet spot for this show -- but I actually had e-mail this week, and a few computer-related things I felt like ranting about.

The podcast's audience is growing. I can't track direct downloads, since I'm story the files on my .mac account (to help with any bandwish issues) but the number of visits to the index.xml file for the podocast is rising. Last week it stood at 1,100 visits; two weeks earlier it was 377. Of course, a lot of those are probably aggregator and spider hits, but still, it does show some rather impressive growth.

I've got some really cool stuff -- including an actual music review and possible giveways -- in the works, but they probably won't hit until Show #7, as there are still a few little details I need to work out. I'm slowly putting together an outline for Show #6; the only thing set in stone is some thoughts on the fantasy novel Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson, a book I have been slowly ready for, oh, about a year now. I'm always looking for ideas for the show, so if you've got something you'd like to see me talk about or review, post a comment here or e-mail me at

Monday, April 18, 2005

A Walk Through Durham

My quest for other bloggers in Easton, Pennsylvania continues. My latest search turned up A Walk Through Durham Township, Pennsylvania, by photographer Kathleen Connally. It's a photo blog based in Bucks County, but which occasionally ventures north to Easton and east into New Jersey.

She's got some beautiful photographs here: I love the rich, vibrant colors of her photos, as well as the occasional surrealness that gets mixed into her palette. Of particular note to Eastonions are her recent flood photos (from Raubsville/Riegelsville) and closeups of the old Easton passenger train station. There's a lot more there of course, so have fun exploring it!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Contrary Brin

David Brin (Startide Rising, Earth) has a blog, called Contrary Brin.

The Portal Awaits

The Lehigh Valley has a new comic/hobby store: The Portal Comics & Gaming. It's located on 2005 Willow Park Road, Bethlehem, PA. In addition to comics, it looks like they also offer plenty of miniatures based-gaming, including Warhammer and Warhammer 40k, Classic Battletech, MechWarrior, Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game and a bunch of card games. Their flyer -- which I picked up at MepaCon -- also mentions (but doesn't stress) role-playing games like D&D, Shadowrun, Vampire and Werewolf.

I haven't been the store yet, but I think I'll have to make an effort to stop by this summer; the guys working the MepaCon booth seemed nice enough. I'm not about to give up my comic book story -- Dewey's Comic City, which is right down the street from the university where I work -- but I'm always looking for good gaming stores in the Valley.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Cold Steel Reign Falls on the Web

A few weeks ago I was bitching about how a new game I was interested in -- Cold Steel Reign -- had an ad in a gaming magazine, but didn't have a Web site. The game has an interesting premise: the Civil War was never won, and instead, the conflict plunged the fractured United States (and presumably the rest of the world) into a new dark age. Two hundred years later, gunslingers are facing down sorcerers in the ruins of the America that was. Pretty darn cool.

The publishers have remedied that situation by launching The site has details about the game's upcoming Player's Handbook and Gamemaster's Guide and promises news, faqs and forums. There aren't any PDF previews, but there are some articles detailing the setting's history.

Friday, April 08, 2005

A Weekend of Geeking Out

A few more hours and I'll be on my way to MepaCon in Scranton, Pa., where I'll be spending the weekend playing every game I can lay my hands on including Dungeons & Dragons, Spycraft, and Call of Cthulhu.

I'll also be running a bunch of minatures games, specifically: Babylon 5: Call to Arms (starship combat), HeroClix (superhero combat) and The Hills Rise Wild (Dark God-worshipping hillbilly combat).

I'm looking forward to it; hell, I'd be looking forward to it if all the con involved was sitting in a corner and starring at the walls for two days. My brain's been on hyperdrive for the last week or so, and I really, really need some downtime.

And some new dice. Definitely some new dice.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

CNN: Red Ink Falling Out of Favor with Teachers

Stupid. Stupid. STUPID.

And I say this as someone who got a hell of a lot of red marks on his papers in elementary and high school. Of course, you just know that eventually purple (the replacement color of choice) will itself become stigmatized, thus giving rise to some other color for grades.

Now I can understand mixing up colors a bit to separate corrections from comments. But to eliminate the color red entirely just because it's too "negative"?

Ugh. All I can say is that you can't find self-esteem in a marker, and you can't manufacture it by changing colors.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Yep, It's Spring...

... and that means its baseball time! It also undoubtedly means another season of watching my beloved Mets lose, but hey, that's what it means to be a fan, right? I did find this nifty iCal calendar from Apple that will at least let me know when the mets are going to be los--err, playing.

I had a lot of fun watching games with Jordan the last two years (including teaching her to shout "homerun!" when the Mets hit one out of the park) and this year I think I'm going to have to get her a Mets cap of her own. Heck, I'm going to buy myself a new one while I'm at it; my old cap is presently being held together with staples.

And if I get tired of watching them lose, I can always rent Frequency, which in addition to being a great movie about time travel and fatherhood, also has the benefit of taking place against the backdrop of the '69 World Series.

The Delaware Comes to Easton

I've got a blog entry up onNuketown about the Easton Flood of 2005, with a photo of the free bridge which is closed because the water is smack up against the bottom of it (and at this point, the sides too). Many thanks to fellow Eastonian Edmond A Woychowsky for the photo.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Rising

The Delaware is once again proving that it is nothing to be triffled with. After heavy reasons that lasted most of Friday and Saturday, the river stood at 33.40 feet, which is just a hair under where it crested back when Ivan came through. But it's not supposed to stop there; the Express-Times says that the river will crest Monday at 35.90 feet.


What's this all mean? Well, based on what happened last time and what I already know, Route 611 is under water, as is Larry Holmes Drive. The parking lot for the Gov. Wolf building is probably underwater, and I hate to think what's happened to Frank & Dot's (which is where we usually buy our beer). And they closed the free bridge; last time around, the water was lapping at the bridge's underside; I imagine it'll be even worse this time.

As for us ... we're in pretty good shape. We live up on College Hill, which overlooks the river, so we'll be fine (although Eddyside Park, which where the neighbhorhood swimming pool is, is apparently underwater). We had a few scary moments Saturday night when the power went out. No power meant no sump pump, which mean a hell of a lot of water in our basement if I didn't start bailing. Fortunately, the power came on after about 15 minutes, and the pump was able to kick in again. It does have us thinking about buying a battery-powered sump pump ... just in case.

I'll try and snag some photos of the flood and post them tomorrow; I'm not sure whether or not I'm going to work; if they close the Route 22 bridge too, I'm screwed, commute-wise.