Got lint on your felt fedora? You need a hat brush.
Last year, I had the pleasure of exploring “the Frozen City” of Felstad, aka Frostgrave, the ridiculously fun, retro-reminiscent fantasy miniatures game from Osprey. Designer Joseph McCullogh and Osprey have followed up the highly-successful Frostgrave book with a series of excellent supplements. The latest of these is Forgotten Pacts.
Frostgrave is a very psycho-geographical game, where the ancient, ruined, and magic-saturated city of Felstad is really a central character in the game. One of the things each follow-up book does is shine a light into some new corner of that dark and ruined world. And with that light is also illuminated new stories of the city’s past, new wizard and warband types, new magic, treasures to unearth, and new monstrous adversaries.
Forgotten Pacts accomplishes two goals in advancing the game and the setting of Frostgrave. It introduces a new region, the northern reaches of Felstad, and the barbarian tribesmen who have come down from the hills to plunder and explore there. The book also introduces a new magical discipline for courageous wizards to attempt: demonic summoning using pacts. Demon summoning was de rigor in this region of the city during its heyday and the barbarians have re-rediscovered the lost art of it among the temple ruins and incorporated the practice into their way of life. Venturing into this region, players’ wizards get the opportunity to find a demon’s True Name (basically an unpronounceable name rendered as a sigil) among the ruins, and with that name, attempt to conjure and forge a pact with a demon. Read the rest
Apple lives to make cables a problem. Here's the new iPhone 7 series adaptor you need at a price you can tolerate.
I hate spending more energy managing my iPhone's battery levels than I do enjoying a road trip. This adaptor solves Apple's latest giant cabling fuck you.
Doane Paper makes wonderful pocket-sized notebooks with paper that is fantastically compatible with fountain pens.
I absolutely love my Maruman Mnemosyne notebooks, but they are big and rigid. These 5"x7" Doane Paper pads have similarly awesome paper, and fit in casual clothes pockets, if you need small they also make 3"x5".
The paper is slightly off-white and is quadruled with a light blue. My Levenger, Pilot and Parker's all glide over the paper very smoothly, tho the Pilot Vanishing point definetly shows its "travel-ness" when compared to the Duo-fold. Ink gets absorbed quickly and only slightly bleeds through unless I write with a heavy hand. I tried various Noodlers and Parker Quink black. Noodler's Blue Nose Bear is almost the same color as the grid lines.
Repeated rainy days and limited opportunities to go outside sometimes put my dogs in a bad spot. When they relieve themselves indoors, Sunny and Honey is the best clean-up solution I've found.
The weather has been pretty rough here for most of January. Dog walks have been few and hard to come by. Occasionally someone makes 'a mistake' and when that happens I don't want my home to stink, so out comes the Sunny and Honey.
I've tried a number of brands. Sunny and Honey does a wonderful job of removing light stains and eliminating any pee pee smells. It is also very useful on cat and dog vomit, which happens year round. The light mint scent fades very quickly, and with it any sign that someone has made 'a mistake.'
As a person who lives with a lot of pets, Sunny and Honey is a must have.
I have a giant dog. Nemo is a Great Pyrenees. Finding toys that'll entertain him, without becoming shredded or hazardous, is challenging.
This rainy season we've been trapped inside quite a bit. Nemo gets a bit of nervous energy when this happens, and if I don't channel it into fun toys and distractions I'll be calling a carpenter.
Starmark's Wheeler is the longest lasting and most durable in their Everlasting Treat line. These toys allow a fitted, dense chewable to be inserted into a toy with the idea of making the treat accessible but still require work to chew. Nemo loves the Chicken and Bacon flavored treats, and one of either will last 2 days of chewing at it, or more. After several months of use The Wheeler itself has some small tears, but it has withstood multiple hours of chewing. Nemo frequently carries it around the house with him, keeping the Wheeler close at hand incase he wants to start working on it again.
The Amazon price on the treats is around 60% less than what I was paying at my local petshop.
Nemo's other favorite rainy day distraction these days, aside from barking, is his trusty old XXL KONG Extreme. I've only had to buy one. This sucker lasts, and lasts. My smaller dog, Pretzel, is the second generation of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to chew hers. These toys have not even got teeth marks on them, after years of abuse. The KONG is one of the easiest toys I've found to distract a dog for 30-45 minutes. Read the rest
About 2 weeks into iPhone stewardship, my 9-year-old texted to report her first screen break. I was concerned and highly interested -- did just the protector break, or the phone's actual screen? The screen protector worked wonderfully, it shattered but stuck to the undamaged screen. The phone remained usable even with the protector cracked. When next I saw her, we replaced it with the 2nd in the 2-pack and off on her merry way she went.
I was actually putting the wrenches back in their plasti-form wrench box neatly for once. One slipped from my hand and struck my waiting iPhone midscreen. A small impact spot, like a bullet shot, had several spiderweb veins reaching across the protector. Screen undamaged.
Over the holidays my daughter was off on the east coast with her mother's family. I got call telling me she'd need a new screen protector but everything was OK. Seems her phone went down a flight of stairs. I went back to Amazon and splurged on another $7.00 set of 2 for her phone.
Not everything went wrong that could go wrong during my VW Vanagon Westfalia adventure to an oasis in the deserts of northern Baja Mexico, but a hell of a lot that didn't have to did. During a trip that involved as much bad judgement as beautiful vistas, I dropped my phone on more than a few rocks and only the FSM knows what else. Read the rest
It is perhaps very telling that all of the review blurbs on the back cover of Andy Partridge and Todd Bernhardt's Complicated Game: Inside the Songs of XTC are written by fellow musicians and songwriters. Andy Partridge has always been a musician's musician.
Complicated Game is a series of candid and detailed interviews with Andy Partridge about many of XTC's most well-known songs. Todd Bernhardt, the interviewer, is a fellow musician, XTC mega-fan, and friend of Andy's, so they don't shy away from discussing the nitty-gritty details of chord changes, instruments used, studio hacks, and other compositional and engineering minutia.
In the chapter on "Senses Working Overtime," Andy explains how the whole song came about as he was fooling around on a new Martin guitar and he played a "messed-up E-flat." He thought it sounded very Medieval so he tried to find other chords that went with it (A-flat minor and D-flat). He says the rest of the song sort of composed itself from there. We also learn that "English Settlement" was their "new instruments record." The bandmembers had all just gotten new instruments (Andy, the Martin, Dave Gregory, a 12-string Richenbacker, Colin Moulding, a fretless bass) and they were excited to noodle around on them to see what they could do.
There are many other interesting and fun revelations in the book. "This is Pop," from White Music, was Andy's way of rejecting the pigeonholing of the punk label, making sure that everyone was reminded that this is pop music, plain and simple, and that ain't a dirty word. Read the rest
This book on America's favorite supreme court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a hell of a lot of fun!
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg serves as a rollicking tribute to the octogenarian justice who is the darling of internet memes. In these troubling times Ginsburg's voice, wit and style may help preserve the United States. Photos, annotated dissent opinions, stories from friends and family all work together to tell the tale of an amazing life, and career in law.
Luigi Serafini's 1984 tribute to Punch the clown, Pulcinellopaedia Seraphiniana, is now available in a beautiful reprint by Rizolli.
Much like the earlier reprint of the Codex Seraphinianus, this edition is on beautiful paper and will make a lovely coffee table book.
Written in its own "language" the Pulcinellopaedia Seraphiniana is intended to serve as an extension of Serafini's incredible codex.
I like center-pinch lens caps as they try to hold themselves on. I don't bother with the leashes, they get in my way. I just buy more caps when I lose them.
I lose a lot of them. Sometimes I wonder if there is a section of the Pacific gyre dedicated to my missing lens caps.
The link is for 52mm caps, but you can adjust the size on the Amazon page and buy whichever you're currently losing. The only lens cap I've held on to (thus far) is the weirdly unique one for my Nikon 14-24 F2.8
Using home-brew style fermentation locks with my wide mouth Bell jars is a pain, I constantly knock the tall bubble chambers off the bungs in my jar's lid. These simple, easy to clean airlocks sit flat on top of the jar and work without added water. Just screw them on and away you go.
I may not be able to fix a broken watch, but I do not blame this set of tools.
I have a dead self-winding Bulova I wanted to see if I could puzzle out, and fix on my own. That did not work out, but these tools are wonderful to have around. I can open cases of watches I previously had to take in for battery replacement, and changing, or resizing bands got a lot easier.
I find I use this set for a lot more than trying to fix a watch, too. Eye glasses repair and just about anything that needs tiny screwdrivers and picks will benefit from keeping this toolkit handy.
At least my Timex Mickey is running again.
Catalyst, a new Star Wars novel by James Luceno, is a must read before you see Rogue One.
Catalyst is the story of how the Death Star gets built, and feeds directly into the movie. You'll meet the two men most responsible for development of the Empire's super weapon, one cunning and conniving while the other is an altruistic scientist. Their friendship makes this super weapon possible.
Regardless the depth of your Star Wars knowledge, this book goes into detail everyone will appreciate. Key characters for the new film are introduced, and their stories are told incredibly well. Orson Krennic, a key political architect of the Death Star, realizes his friend, pacifist Dr. Galen Erso holds the key to really being able to destroy things. This story of politics, manipulation and betrayal shed a lot of light on the days between Revenge of the Sith, and A New Hope.
Read this before seeing the movie!
I've been swimming, surfing, boogie boarding and scuba diving with these HydroActive waterproof headphones by Underwater Audio. Everything about them is an upgrade on earlier models.
I love having some music to help keep me out of my head as I swim. Finding headphones that fit well, didn't interfere with activity, and sounded good seemed to be sets that would not intersect. These HydroActive swim buds have done the trick for almost all aquatic endeavors I enjoy.
These phones come with a large selection of earbud shapes and styles. I'm using the smaller sized ergo buds, and they fit wonderfully. I tried several, in the water and out, several fit well and felt great. Choosing ones as "mine" took a but but I prefer the ergo shape. The phones also sport a wrap-around bar, which seems like it'd be a problem but actually works very well. The headphones stay in and the bar doesn't create weird drag or leverage problems in the water very often. I've wiped out more than a few times, dove under, and taken waves directly in the face with these on without missing a beat.
The sound is far improved over earlier models. These are the first underwater headphones I've had with any amount of detailed bass. I've enjoyed everything from classical to funk, and for once I do not find myself thinking they are just 'good enough' these headphones are actually good.
These are better but still not very good for SCUBA diving. The wrap-around-bar is incompatible with my hood, and the first stage regulator, plus air hoses behind my head. Read the rest