Thursday, June 25, 2015

Daily Cosplay

Tales of Aufstrag

The Nave gives way to a wide balcony that overlooks the temple proper and two sets of stairs that lead down to the floor. A gigantic statue of a six-faced Nectanebo stands with her arms splayed wide and held high in a gesture of worship, though one arm is broken off. She looks up to a mural of Unklar sitting upon his throne painted upon the ceiling. Long ago a portion of the wall behind the statue gave way and the rubble of it is heaped about her feet. A pipe there burst and flooded the room, so that the temple stands beneath 3 feet of water. The walls here are rough and unpaved and have suffered damage from the naerlulth that lurks in the water.

The whole temple is huge, 80 feet from floor to roof. The steps lead down 40 feet and the balcony stands 40 feet above the floor of the chamber. The statue is large enough that her breasts, shoulders and head are above the balcony.

Aufstrag, The Horned God's Acre, Temple of Nectenebo

©2015, Chenault & Gray Publishing

Armor Up

Computer School

I find it interesting, the approach to computers that some companies have taken up in the last few years, that is, teaching computers to learn.

This is pretty interesting. Programming a computer to learn to respond to things...which is what most computers do...keeps control in the hands of the designer. However, once a computer learns to learn, it can teach itself. If it has access to any can learn whatever it desires.

But what would a computer desire to learn, and would it learn to desire something on its own. All very interesting.

I think there is a fundamental mis-understanding about what defines life. And there is really a fundamental misunderstanding about survival of the fittest.

Cool read over at Wired about teaching computers to learn languages.

Movie Trailer ~ Ted 2

Okay, i have to say. This might be as good as the first!

UFO Files

Why would the craft sit stationary? A witness in South Caroline reported seeing a triangular craft hovering in the early evening sky. She first spied it "not moving" and then drove closer to figure out what it was, thinking it might be a radio tower or some such.

“I saw this triangular metal object in the sky. The object was darker gray in color from what I could tell, and there may have been a little texture on the bottom of the object as well. I mainly mean that the bottom did not look completely smooth. It was unmoving to me the whole time I saw the object, but I was too far away to perceive smaller movements for most of the event.”

In other news the MUFON Symposium has been announced for this coming September 24-27 in Irvine California.

Sky Falling


I'm not sure why this image appealed to me. I suppose its the condition and workmanship. Assuming it was carved at the time the Emperor ruled, it survived innumerable cataclysms, from the Roman Civil wars, the sacking of Rome, the collapse, the disintegration of the Empire, the decay of the Roman cities, the hundreds of small wars between rival local powers, the Normans, the Spanish conquest, the Religious wars, the revolutions, unification, World War 1, and World War II.

That's a pretty good run.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Aurelius Antoninus Pius Divus, Roman Emperor from 138 to 161 CE, adopted son of Hadrian.

Word of the Day -- Bascinet

The bascinet — also bassinet, basinet, or bazineto — was a Medieval European open-faced military helmet. It evolved from a type of iron or steel skullcap, but had a more pointed apex to the skull, and it extended downwards at the rear and sides to afford protection for the neck. A mail curtain ("camail" or aventail) was usually attached to the lower edge of the helmet to protect the throat, neck and shoulders. A visor (face guard) was often employed from ca. 1330 to protect the exposed face. Early in the fifteenth century, the camail began to be replaced by a plate metal gorget, giving rise to the so-called "great bascinet".

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Daily Cosplay

Sleeping with the Competition

You know, somewhere along the family tree someone took up with a Neanderthal and his people made merciless fun of him....he'll sleep with anyone!

Looks like more evidence that our early ancestors slept with the competition as a jawbone in Romania shows signs in the DNA of having a Neanderthal 5 or 6 generations back in the family tree. That means this fellows great, great, great, great, great, grandfather...or grandmother...slept with a Neanderthal and had little half Neanderthal babies.

Read on brave reader. Read on.

It makes the story of Quest for Fire all the more poignant.

post script: I need new cultural references.

Furioso and the Brides

The Hallow ~ Movie Trailer

This looks awesome. Evil Fey. Very cool.

Armor Up

I'm beginning to really want some plate mail, sword and a shield.


I like snails, so this is really a DOOM thread for snails. The New Guinea Flat Worm has been found in Coral Gables Florida. As it turns out, this little bastard has been spreading all over the planet, being ported around the globe in the soil that holds exotic plants...which is odd, I always assumed the transported exotic plants in seed form, because, well seeds are smaller than full grown plants, but what do I know.

So this flat worm guy is pretty wicked to snails. It wraps itself around the snail, and attaches its mouth, which is located on its belly, to the snail and begins eating the little shell shocked guy alive. Now, as you may not be very familiar with snails, they move pretty slowly and they don't have arms. So they can't really do anything about the flat worm except become dinner.

That's pretty rough.

So if you see this little flat worm dude, stomp on him, or eat him, or whatever you have to do. But stomp a worm and save a snail. Why? Because I like snails, they secret their own house. How cool is that.

Word of the Day -- Machicolation

A machicolation is a floor opening between the supporting corbels of a battlement, through which stones, or other objects, could be dropped on attackers at the base of a defensive wall. The design was adopted in the Middle Ages in Europe when Norman crusaders returned from the Holy Land. A machicolated battlement projects outwards from the supporting wall in order to facilitate this. A hoarding is a similar structure made of wood, usually temporarily constructed in the event of a siege. Advantages of machicolations over wooden hoardings include the greater strength and fire resistance of stone.

The word derives from the Old French word machecol, mentioned in Medieval Latin as machecollum and ultimately from Old French macher 'crush', 'wound' and col 'neck'. Machicolate is only recorded in the 18th century in English, but a verb machicollāre is attested in Anglo-Latin.  The Spanish word denoting this structure, matacán, is similarly composed from "matar canes" meaning roughly "killing dogs", the latter being a reference to infidels.

Machicolations were more common in French castles than English, where they were usually restricted to the gateway, as in the 13th-century Conwy Castle.

One of the first examples of machicolation that still exists in France is Chateau de Farcheville built in 1291 outside of Paris.

Vader is Always Right

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Daily Cosplay

Tales of Aufstrag

The tower of Kara Nuel rises from the Bone Pit, up through the Acre and ends in the Dungeons above. From top to bottom it is roughly 300 feet high. It was established long ago by the Master of the Lower Wards, a Captain of sorts, set to watch over the three first levels of Aufstrag. The post was filled routinely by all manner of creatures until the civil strife, after the fall of Unklar, at which point the post and tower was abandoned.

It stayed thus for many long years until a Nebian Priest came to dwell there. Seeking to rebuild the power of her order she established a foot hold in the tower and slowly drove out its many occupants. Eventually she triumphed and made the tower her own. Afterward she called others to her, some came, others fought her rule, some ignored her. It was ever her intent to control the order and all its minions and eventually assume the dignity of High Priestess. So it was that Kara Nuel became a bastion of sorts for the Nebians.

She took the name of Nectanebo, but without possessing the true power of it and ruled her small realm within Aufstrag in such tyranny that it was marked as unique in Aufstrag. She butchered most who came to her and all who failed her. Her victims were skinned and the bodies eaten. The skins she wove into a cloak that she wears even now and the souls of the departed she bound in her iron-headed mace. 

Denizens of Aufstrag took to calling her Nectanebo the False, and no one would join her. Her army, if ever it could be styled as such, shrank to a few of the devoted and she eventually became lost in her tower of horrors. Her people sealed her off and brought her offerings of flesh and blood and gold and magic ores. These they bathed her with and left in her possession.

~ Aufstrag, The Horned God's Acre

©Chenault and Gray Publishing, 2015

Imaginarium ~ Into Adventure

Free RPG Day

Scott Thorne over at Castle Perilous does a weekly column for ICv2, a hub for all things in our hobby genre...comics, games, etc.

This week he gives us his take on Free RPG Day that just wrapped up on Saturday. Nice read, and will give you some insights on the retail side of these events. In fact I encourage everyone to read his weekly write ups if your interested in the business side of these things. He's good about putting it monetary terms so everyone understands the risks retailer, publishers and even end users take in scooping up this or that.

In this week's write up, he advised TLG to send more books for Free RPD Day.

Dang it Scott! :)

Armor Up ~ Working Romans

There's a Story Here Somewhere

"Peder Winstrup is remarkably well-preserved for a man who died in 1679, and while researchers expected the mummified corpse of the former bishop of Lund would yield fascinating information on the 17th century, they didn't expect a CT scan to reveal another body. But when his coffin was removed from the Swedish city's cathedral, scientists were amazed to discover a tiny body, that of a fetus five to six months old, had been concealed at his feet, tucked away in a layer of herbs, the Guardian reports. DNA tests will be performed to see if the premature baby is related to the bishop, but researchers suspect that it may have been born illegitimately to a member of his household, who placed it in the coffin to ensure it had a better resting place than the unsanctified ground such babies were buried in."

Read more over at Newser

Movie Trailer ~ Daddy's Home

One Cool Monster

I think this might be one of the coolest monsters ever created. If you take a step back and look at it, its something out of a nightmare.

Of course since they can problem solve, they may be our overlords one day.

Word of the Day -- Serabi

Serabi, surabi or called srabi is an Indonesian pancake that is made from rice flour with coconut milk or just plain shredded coconut as an emulsifier. Most of traditional serabi tastes sweet, as the pancake usually eaten with kinca or thick golden-brownish colored coconut sugar syrup. However another savory version also existed that uses oncom toppings. Each province in Indonesia has various serabi recipes corresponding to local tastes.

Serabi is a traditional cake that seems to originate from Java.

The most basic traditional serabi only employs batter made from the mixture of rice flour, coconut milk and coconut sugar, cooked upon small earthenware frying pan on charcoal fire. Sometimes pandan leaves juice might be added into this batter mixture to add aroma as well as greenish color. During the cooking process, sometimes toppings are added upon the batter.

Today there are large variants of serabi toppings; from simple sprinkle of sugar, grated coconut flesh, sprinkles of coarsely ground peanuts, slices of banana or jackfruit, chocolate sprinkles, black glutinous rice, and oncom, to new recipe using grated cheddar cheese, corned beef, shredded chicken, slices of fresh strawberry or sausage, or even strawberry ice cream. The sauce (or more precisely syrup) to accompany serabi also varies; from traditional sweet kinca (golden colored coconut sugar syrup) sometimes creamed with coconut milk, to modern recipe using chocolate, strawberry or durian syrup, and mayonnaise or cream cheese for savoury western twist.

Both the cities of Bandung and Solo are famous for their version of serabi. Bandung surabi is dryer and firmer with pancake-like consistency, and today are well known for their rich variant of toppings, most are recently developed fusion recipes. The serabi from Solo however, are more traditional with a little bit half cooked with thin crispy crust and watery center with rich coconut milk taste. Famous serabi variant from Solo is called serabi notosuman.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Daily Cosplay ~ Wasp

Tales of Aufstrag

In the 7th century of Unklar's rule the Megerein Punchthroat was brought to Aufstrag. In chains she was drug into the Torture Gardens and made to suffer as all there suffered. A slow death was her sentence and she was sent to the Yard, there to hang on hook and chain. For many weeks she suffered, her life's blood running into the sludge of the Yard. She refused death however, for Megerein was as iron. Her name alone carried the tale of blood. As a young rogue she was taken in the throat by the sharp blade of a guisarme, but she lived, though her voice was like gravel ever after.

Megerein was an unkind woman, hard and cruel to those who crossed her, unforgiving to those who turned on her. She suffered many to die in slow agonies. But she was ever an enemy of Aufstrag and she hated all the folk of the Horned God. She hounded them, stole their treasures and murdered their emissaries. Many she tortured.

But Megerein would not yield and eventually made good her escape, lifting herself from the hook, she fled the hall and into the Gallery to hide in the shadows. And in the shadows she excelled and she ranged over all the First Ward, murdering, stealing and wreaking havoc where she could. In time her power was such that she turned on her masters and freeing a host of slaves from the Lesser Gallery and the Hall of Cages she waged war on them.

~ Gallery of Souls, Aufstrag, Tales of Aufstrag

Armor Up

Tiger Sharks and Long Walks

Well, swims rather. Biologists have been tracking the migratory patterns of the rather fearsome tiger shark these past few years and have found that the predator likes to roam.

Its long been believed, at least in popular culture...though marine biologists may have known this for awhile...that tiger sharks hunt in and around reefs, sticking to the shallow waters. But turns out that's not the case, the roam far and wide. One was tracked cruising from the Caribbean blue all the way to the waters of Connecticut and then back 4600 miles.

That's alot of roaming.

They ranged from deep to shallow water, hunting very fish and turtles.

You can follow some of it here at Shark Tracking.


Word of the Day -- Ormolu

Ormolu (from French or moulu, signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold-mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.

The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-colored veneer. The French refer to this technique as bronze doré; in English, it is known as "gilt bronze".

The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze; followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item is then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burns off and the gold remains, adhering to the metal object.

Movie Trailer ~ Sicario

White Dragon

Morning Poetry/Song ~ Tolkien

There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.

The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he runs his bow,
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.

The landlord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there's good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
and laughs until he chokes.

They also keep a hornйd cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.

And O! the rows of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there's a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.

The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced,
and the little dog chased his tail.

The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.

Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
"The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master's been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun'll be rising soon!"

So the cat on his fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
"It's after three!" he said.

They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.

Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.

With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.

The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her suprise
they all went back to bed.

~J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Fellow of the Ring

Songs from the Drowned Lands ~ Kernaghan

Recently I took a trip to New York (the city) and needed something to read that I could easily carry on the plane. I don't really buy pa...