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Robust McManlyPants on Average Display » 2005 » April

April 2005


Just wrapped up LEGO Star Wars, and I loved it.  At Mr. Saturday‘s
suggestion, I had to pull out the camera and do some poor man’s screen
captures:

Here we see Lord Vader down in the canteen, addressing the clones using
his new “Clean Up The Rebel Scum” motivational campaign.  It’s the
prop that really sells the message.
[[image:cleaninguptherebelscum.jpg:Lord Vader is big on motivational speeches.:center:0]]

Little does he know someone has affixed a false moustache to his helmet.  What, you think he checks the mirror that often?

[[image:angrycleanup.jpg:Those clones are such jokers!:center:0]]

Finally a clone points out the gag, and Lord Vader joins the soldiers in a big round of laughs.  Also, vengeance killing.

[[image:darth.jpg:Paybacks are a bitch.:center:0]] (more…)

Spotted this on /. today, so you’ve probably seen it:  The Darth Side,
a blog by Lord Vader.  Hilarious and poignant.  It’s like
reading a Terry Pratchett take on the Star Wars universe.  Here’s
a sample:

Bloody interrogation. Imperial audience. More leg woes.

Did you ever have one of those days?

It can be challenging to maintain your dignity as a dark tyrannical
overlord when the circuitry in your left leg constantly misfires,
threatening to send you off on a mad pirouette without notice. It
requires a serious effort of will to maintain my poise, the tendrils of
my connection to the Force reaching deep into space to feel out my
distant quarry and at the same time wrapped around the mechanisms of my
own body to keep them working.

I am stretched too thin.

The traiterous dog Krelcon was captured early this morning and brought
around to the Imperial palace after breakfast. I had poached eggs with
ham, buttered crumpets and a glass of wetfruit juice.

During my interview with Krelcon he admitted to me that he had been
involved in smuggling the stolen data tapes of the Death Star’s
technical readout to the Rebel Alliance. In order to produce similarly
fruitful results I used the Force to crush all of the small bones in
his hands. Krelcon became most chatty then, and we discussed likely
locations of the hidden rebel base.

Things went badly after that point, however. I confess that Krelcon
took me off guard when he mentioned the prophecy. Eyes burning in a
masque of pulp and blood he screamed, “The son of the suns is nigh,
knight-bastard! He is on your very threshold!

I had meant to backhand him but my passions were aroused and my
concentration faltered, and so instead I released control of my errant
left leg and instantly found myself doing a frenzied, lop-sided jig
that turned me in place.

Krelcon found the strength to laugh. Thus, with one powerful thrust of the Force I burst his skull.

Which was probably premature. But que sera, sera.

Now that is the Lord Vader I remember from childhood. (more…)

Check the trailer here – it’s a film from Joss Whedon based on FireflyFirefly was one of the best things I’ve seen on TV (though I have very specific tastes which are easily satisfied) and much like Briscoe County, Jr.
and other shows loved by many but not enough, Fox sank it by putting it
in a fairly awful timeslot given its target audience.  Grrrr. 
It looks from the trailer like he finally gets to deal with the
storyline he clearly wanted to deal with, which is the issue of the
crazy woman down in the hold with her brother.  Also, the captain
gets to be more bad-ass on the big screen.  Awesome. (more…)

So, this was the weekend I feared I’d been too enthusiastic.  I’d
bought the plants (sad though a couple of them were) and we’d built the
garden beds (and they are awesome – I cannot overstate how much I like The Boyf‘s design for them) and I’d put the plants in.  And then it got very, very cold.

But, in light of warmer days and upon close examination, it is apparent that I have managed not to kill my entire garden by putting it out two weeks ahead of when I perhaps should
have put it out.  Several pepper plants have buds on them and the
tomato plants are more green than they were when I got them. 
Lettuce is coming up (at least, I hope that’s lettuce) and the
new blackberry bushes have arrived and have been put in the
ground.  These have little buds on them.  I have my fingers
crossed.

In other news, Saturday was the day of Evil Gaming.  In lieu of
our regular game, we played a one-shot set in the same world as our
campaign but (we thought) unrelated to our current game
storyline.  In it, we were three evil freaks (a half-dragon, an
elven half-fiend and a human so addicted to starmetal he’d essentially become a golem
by virtue of consuming so much of it).  We were evil to the
core.  My backstory involved a supposed undead-generating temple,
a village worth of dead peasants and one big, big misunderstanding, to illustrate briefly.  Liberated from pending death sentences by a halfling riding a gorilla,
we set about mayhem in the lair of a good dragon guarding a horde of
her own eggs.  Several bloody and nearly disastrous combats later,
we’d killed the dragon, killed the local sheriff and, as he reminded us
repeatedly before his own demise, killed the sheriff’s dogs.  By “dogs,” though, he meant boulettes.  For those not up on their D&D critters, boulettes are land-sharks
They’re about 8 feet tall, if I remember correctly, and wider than they
are tall.  The local sheriff walked around with these things on leashes.  It was that kind of town.

I am the sort of player who is instantly attached to a character. 
Even playing someone so thoroughly evil as this (an 8th level Hexblade,
3rd level Blackguard, I’d slaughtered an entire village in hopes a ruin
would raise them again as zombies – I didn’t even get along with my own
priests well enough to cajole them into making my own undead for
me), I was both worried that we’d lose in our quest to, uh, loot the
protected temple of a benevolent god, and concerned that we’d survive
and show back up later as villains in our own game.  That’s just
how it works for me.  Good or bad, I want to keep playing.

We won.  And then the DM asked for our character sheets because,
of course, we’re going to show back up later as villains in our own
game.

I love D&D.

Also, a strength of 24 is suh-weet. (more…)

Here’s a quick review I posted to a local sci-fi discussion list. 
The short version:  it’s very fun.  Unless you’re obsessive
about collectibles (which I am), it’s probably best rented:

As a complete tangent, the new LEGO Star Wars videogame is extremely
fun. No time for a full review for fellow sci-fi gaming enthusiasts,
but suffice to say it has a wonderfully child-like sense of humor mixed
with genuinely fun run-and-gun gaming.  Note that by “child-like
sense of humor” I am acknowledging that its light-hearted mirth is both
innocent and terribly vicious.  Lots of droids get waxed to
humorous effect (my favorites being the droid commandos that say
“UH-OH” in their droid voices right before they get stomped – they seem
utterly devoid of malice and yet their demise is endlessly
entertaining).  The visuals are very simple but very well-done,
and though there are parts for which you must, in fact, use Jar-Jar,
there are also parts for which you must use Darth Maul.  And hey,
double lightsabers rule.  Imagine the adorable cuteness and
imagination of LEGO wed to the play style of Gauntlet, including co-op
play and a replay value enhanced by multitudes of collectibles.

On the downside, the whole LEGO thing seems to be more of an ambient
device than an actual factor in gameplay.  It’s a skin laid over a
normal videogame, not a revolutionary way of constructing
environments.  That said, it’s a fun idea and it sands down the
sharp corners of both the violence of the game – it is, after all, a
game involving nothing more than run-and-gun with some light
puzzle-solving – and the disappointing films that spawned it.  And
it includes “spoilers” (in quotes because, what, they think we don’t
know what the kid’s new name is twenty years from now?) for Episode III
if you can still get it up to care.

I guess that turned into a full review.  So, hey. (more…)

So we bought our first home last year, and it’s been more or less
trouble-free.  Hear me knocking on wood?  Anyway, yeah, so
we’re homeowners.  And now we’ve faced (and are well on our way to
surviving) our first true house trauma.  It’s nothing like a
certain other hermano‘s literal trial by fire (and water and
electricity) during a hurricane north of here, but it’s been pretty,
uh, eventful. 

The downstairs toilet started backing up.

First it was that the laundry machine was backing up into the bathtub
downstairs.  OK.  We can deal with that.  It was
Saturday night and it was 5 minutes after guests arrived, but hey, we
have an upstairs bathroom and plungers and loads of various Drano-esque
supplies, so we’re good.  I plunge for a while, I pour Drano-esque
stuff, I stand and monitor and fidget, and eventually the problem Just
Goes Away.  I treat the pipes overnight and in the morning, voila,
success.  We can flush again.  That’s a certifiably good
thing.

And then last night it came back.  And it wasn’t just the washing
machine backing up into the bathtub.  So this was what I left on
the voicemail of the plumber our real estate agent recommends:  My name is Robust McManlyPants, my phone number is XXX.XXXX, and I was referred to you by my real estate agent
It is 2:30 in the morning and I am sitting here watching my toilet back
up into my bathtub.  So, uh, that’s why I’m calling.  Please
call me back.
  Imagine that in the whiniest, saddest little
voice you can, and that was me.  I know, not terribly butch, but
neither am I.  I bruise easily, and psychically easiest of all.

But today – today!  a new day! – we’ve had the plumber out and
he’s certified us as A-OK, and he’s even gone out to the street and
pulled up manhole covers (objects which, an anthropology professor once
told me, future civilizations will assume were religious icons due to
their intricate and unique inlays, and truly the sight of a toilet
backing up into a bathtub does touch on such primal factors of the
human condition as to be near to religion in its power to affect one’s
worldview, so I’m buyin’ it) and with what I assume was a bit of a WHOAH
discovered that the problem was not in our house, it was in the city’s
sewer line out in the street and oh my, it was definitely a
problem.  In fact, it’s probably affecting the house next door.

Only, the little old couple that live there are never there – their
lights are rarely on, their driveway is always empty and we haven’t
seen them in weeks.  I’m not even sure they really live
there.  And this, gentle audience (natch, I listen to the first
five minutes or so of Madge’s podcasts
before I get scared away again), means that their house may in fact be
full, right now, of backed up sinks and bathtubs and toilets.

Sucks.

So the city is on their way, and they say they’ll give it their highest priority, and Mr. Saturday and The Boyf
both just rule my world right now because they’ve stayed home and dealt
with plumbers and the city and various people and have kept me briefed
on the situation and not allowed me to sit sullen on the front porch
daring the street to crack open in a geyser of dirty dishwater. 
They’ve bundled me off to work where I am at least distant if not pleasant
As a demonstration of my feelings regarding the universe when I find a
toilet unable to flush for the second time in a week, I walked into the
office this morning to find a co-worker listening to “Wind Beneath My
Wings,” and all I could do to respond was flip him off.  I just
looked at him and held out my middle finger and kept going.

I have no idea why I’m telling you this, except that this is a blog and
the pipes are what have eaten my brain today.  There you have
it.  Our first serious house trauma, and we’re surviving.

What a day.

UPDATE:  The city came and fixed it this afternoon. 
The City of Durham rocks.  I love them.  And I really hope
the house next door isn’t flooding or some shit, but I have no idea who
they are or how to contact them. (more…)

So, the blackberry and black raspberry bushes are dead.  And by
dead I mean they got hit with a couple of hard frosts right after they
went in and blam-o, they’ve done nothing ever since.  Not a peep.  So, I’ve ordered new ones, since Gurneys had them on sale.  We’ll see if these do better or if I am, in fact, simply doomed to be berry-free.

That said, the garden beds got finished this weekend and I planted and planted and planted
Zucchini, yellow squash, chives, basil, two kinds of lettuce, two kinds
of spinach, tomatoes, three kinds of onions and about five kinds of
peppers.  Yum!

To top it all off, Mr. Pink Eyes ran an extremely fun Trinity game on Saturday.  Gods, but I love Trinity, and given how much fun his long-running Trinity
game was, the opportunity to go back after several years and bust out
our old characters and do some damage was awesome.  Jeez, but I
love that game. (more…)

Just a quick pointer to a(nother) new album of plant pics from today.  Yay, tulips! (more…)

Two quick things.  First, the same hermano who did the whole Franzia-In-The-Pants thing (see below) emailed a link to a gallery of protest signs of the Religious Right from Drink at Work.  It’s worth it for the Doonesbury one alone.  That the rest are funny is just icing.

Second, if you haven’t seen it already, there’s a new site devoted to Abstinence Education.  I have to say, they’ve got some great suggestions, and some very informative, er, graphics. (more…)

One year – NYE ’95, maybe? – I was in DC for New Year’s.  I was
there at a MOObash, which is really sort of too long a story and too
uninteresting, even for blogdom, but suffice to say it is, essentially,
a three day long bacchanal.

If you don’t know what a bacchanal is, get a dictionary, look it up, and come back.

OK.

So anyway, I’m at this DC NYE bash, as it was called, and there are just shitloads
of people crammed into this hotel suite to party.  We’re sitting
around talking and smoking and drinking – lord, were we drinking. 
A certain hermano of mine had taken the sack of potable liquid
out of a box of Franzia and was wearing it in his pants so that he
could in fact pour a glass of zinfandel by dropping his zipper and
opening the tap.  It was that kind of party.  I remember
being very drunk and watching some new friends, one of whom was just an
absolute blast, named Nancy – who later sent me a postcard from
somedamnwhere else in the world and from whom I haven’t heard since –
as they started to do Flaming Dr. Peppers.

Let me explain the Flaming Dr. Pepper.  You take Bacardi 151 and you pour a shot of it.  Call it a generous shot.  Then you light it on fire and drop it into a mug of beer.  The beer extinguishes the flames and FROTHS and bubbles very violently as the shot glass descends and you slam the beer back as hard as you can and just chug
it.  The resulting concoction, it is said, tastes like a Dr.
Pepper.  I would not know, as I was far too drunk on Franzia to
stand up long enough to try this.

Nancy did, though.

So when I saw this animated GIF,
I thought of Nancy.  Because sometimes, accidents happen, and
sometimes your new friend ends up looking like she’s had just five
minutes too long in the sun for the rest of the weekend because she’s,
well, lightly poached.  Fortunately for her, she remembered to
stop, drop and roll.  And after we had made sure she was okay, and
she had laughed and we had laughed and then everyone had another drink
because, Jesus H., you need a drink after seeing someone set on fire
like that, then she explained that she was very conscious of what she
was doing when she did it.  As soon as she saw flames, she thought
STOP DROP & ROLL, and down she went on the floor and she rolled around and popped back up safe and sound and it was just as easy as that.

Some people are born to hold their liquor.  The kid in that video, though?  Not so much.

To be honest, the flames are too perfect.  It almost looks
photoshopped.  But I don’t care, because it’s funny as hell, even
if it takes forfuckingever to load, and it reminded me of Nancy. 
I wonder where the hell she is these days? (more…)

Somehow, it’s hard for me to shed a tear over the pushing back of the DOOM movie.  According to gamesindustry.biz, DOOM
has been pushed back to October (aka, the season when studios release
what they know will be a bomb and hope no one notices) in favor of
releasing George Romero’s Land of the Dead in the summer.

Hell yeah!  If HSX taught me
anything, it is that when movies are swapped like this – a fall movie
is bumped to summer and a summer movie pushed to autumn – it’s a safe
bet the movie newly slated for summer release is better than the studio
thought it would be and the one pushed back is, frankly, stink on ice
Why the studio ever thought a Rock vehicle would be better than a
George Romero flick I will never understand.  What I do, sadly,
understand is why they thought a Rock vehicle would make more money.

Thank the gods, though.  The important thing here is that we get new Romero sooner than expected.  AW YEAH. (more…)

Oh yes.  I can’t type long because I have to get back to playing.  Don’t start this at work – you’ll never work again.

On second thought… (more…)

So what were people doing in the absence of the interwebs, cell phones
and 9-to-5 jobs 7,000 years ago?  Apparently they were busy
humpin’ and making images of humpin’.  At least, some of them were:

Stone-age figurines depicting what could be the oldest
pornographic scene in the world have been unearthed in Germany. 
Archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be the
7,200-year-old remnants of a man having intercourse with a woman.

Harald Stšuble of the Archaeological Institute of Saxony, based in
Dresden, discovered the 8cm lower half of a man, which has been named
Adonis von Zschernitz.

Gesundheit.

He added: “Adonis is bent forward and the female figure is bent forward even more.

“There are two ways of looking at this. The first is that they were
doing a ritual dance, but the other possibility is that the man and
woman were copulating and that he was standing behind her. The
copulation option is far more likely, and would make this the oldest
representation ever of a pornographic scene.”

So there you have it – all the more reason to visit your local museum. (more…)

OK, just one quick hit:  pictures up
of the first of the yellow tulips opening to display an awesome set of
red streaks in the petals.  Also some shots of the dogwood tree in
the drive and some new daffodills.

The Boyf and I spent most of yesterday building new garden beds. 
They’re going to be veggie gardens this year and for the foreseeable
future, though they may become flower beds, or whatever, as time goes
on.  We wrap that up later this week and this weekend I’ll be
putting vegetables in the ground.  RAWK. (more…)

On a completely random note, do you by any chance know what this vine is?  We have tons
of it.  If so, email me from the mailto: link at the bottom of the
entry.  If you grab one end and pull you can keep pulling and
pulling and pulling.  The vine will break before you reach the
end.  It’s everywhere. (more…)

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