Saturday, July 30, 2011

Storm Front

No, not the Dresden novel, which is awesome. I'm talking about the hellacious storm that hit NJ last night and apparently my section of town the hardest of all. Trees and limbs down everywhere. For quite a while, it was a wall of white water outside the door and you couldn't see farther than a few feet. Lightning was striking everything and the thunder was shaking the houses. Even though we are on the hospital grid, power was out until midnight. It was like judgment descending on us. And thus I watched no horror movies last night and have to bust out my axe and chop some limbs. Tree limbs, that is. Hell of a night.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rotting Legion 3D

Finished off a Rotting Legion 3D card. Sounds like a movie. It's not. But it certainly lends itself to layers. Probably could have done more but I didn't trust myself with the small cuts yet.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


For those curious, this is a shot of my work space. Nothing permanent, as I usually have to move everything before dinner. A cutting mat is key as it helps you prolong the life of your blades. I use an exacto knife and #11 blades, though others might suffice. I find them rather durable and flexible though so I stick with them. To paste them together, I use Aleene's Tacky Glue. Just a dab will do you and it doesn't seem to permeate and warp cards like Elmer's White Glue does.

3-D Magic Cards

Besides movies and comics and customs, one of my other hobbies that I picked up is making 3-D renditions of Magic cards. Basically, you cut out several layers and toss in some spacers and glue them all together and then you're done. That's more of a simplification of it but it can be rather simple, as I've illustrated below with a few tokens.

Goblin Token with new background

Myr Token

Germ Token

Soldier Token with new background

It's a fun way to pass the time and invest myself in something I love. I also make life counters out of them, which is a little more involved, but not much more, as it just means cutting out a space for some counters.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Doctor Who and the Daleks

I decided to keep my fare a little lighter this Friday as I was short on time for a movie. I chose Dr. Who and the Daleks as my film of choice. This non-canon production was part of two movies developed by Amicus for the big screen and featured Peter Cushing as Dr. Who. Yes, he's actually called Dr. Who in this one.

Dr. Who builds TARDIS and with Susan, Barbara and her boyfriend Ian, they take it for a spin and end up on a world ravaged by war between two races, some peace loving farmers who look like Stuart from MadTV and the titular Daleks. The Daleks look really striking in this movie, coming in an assortment of colors that makes me want to catch them all. I think one was even in D&H livery, which means I have trains on the brain from work. They're appropriately menacing and devious and I always like seeing them on the screen. Dr. Who and his family are well done too, actually feeling like a unit as they try to survive.

It has decent effects for the time and the Daleks actually look more imposing than the ones on the little screen from around the same time, standing taller. I'm looking forward to watching the sequel soon as it brings the Daleks to Earth to cause some trouble. The film is definitely worth a viewing just for completionist's sake and Cushing makes a great Doctor, even if it isn't canon. I enjoy the doddering inventor take on the character though he handles himself well in crisis.

Check it out.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Planechase: Zombies will murder you

Ok, so that's not the name of the deck. I think it's Zombie Empire but I can't really be bothered to check right now. I bought it awhile ago but since my playing partner has been MIA, it has languished as I prepare to break it up for an EDH deck. I wanted to play it at least once though so I jumped at the chance to use it today. I basically played it as is, though I dropped in Lashwrithe because I wanted to use that badly.

First game wasn't very stellar. It did show me some of the limitations of the deck and also of my bad shuffling. I landed some good creatures but the deck I was playing against (Dragons from Knights vs. Dragons) had just too much removal or damage and I got burned from the board and then to death. I will place a little blame on letting my opponent just draw lands from the bottom of his deck and not shuffle afterward because it was casual. Never again. For all I know he could have been top decking all the good stuff he was playing. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Maybe he would have drawn better stuff if he had shuffled. Still, I lost and I didn't really have any answers or good critters in hand to do any damage.

The second game went a little better. I pulled my seven and forgot to cut my deck so I shuffled again and let it get cut and then drew. I had a better hand than the one I did originally, with 3 swamps, an Ascendant Evincar, a Dark Ritual, Lashwrithe and something else being the draw. The first two turns I played swamps and a weak zombie I pulled. Turn 3 I played a swamp and Dark Ritual for the Evincar, giving my zombie a buff and destroying 3 of my opponent's creatures. Turn 4 I land another swamp and play Lashwrithe and then pay 4 life (2 Phyrexian Mana) to equip it. Then I swing with the Evincar. On my opponents turn he plays two 1/1s that immediately get sent to the grave, one of them dealing me some damage as the result of an ability. Turn 5 I play another swamp and a Profane Command that I had pulled a previous draw and choose to do him three damage and put three -1/-1 counters on his wall, killing it. Then I swing for the win.

A draw like that is pretty baller though lucky, considering I only had one Evincar and Lashwrithe in there. That's they way the deck is built though, with few duplicates of cards as it is mainly a toolbox type of build. I like the deck. It has the potential in the long game to get some big beats onto the board with its lords and features some recursion to bring back a threat. It's a little light in the weenie department and I could have benefited from some quicker guys to get in some hits early on. Something like a Drudge Skeleton or a Re-Assembling Skeleton would be perfect, as I could chump and recur and with the ability of the Death Baron, buff them and make them even more deadly blockers. I think it could use a better mana curve, too. Yes, there are some means to get the big guys out fast as I did the second game, but I wouldn't rely on them unless I upped the Dark Ritual or Cabal Coffers count, the latter of which I didn't see at all.

Of course, some of this might be to blame on Planechase, as the deck is clearly meant to take advantage of the different planes that come with the deck. Perhaps next time I can use them.

Offhand, I can think of a couple of additions. One or more lords. Another Warchief and Death Baron or two would be perfect, especially with the low cost of the DBs and their ability to buff skeletons as well, of which the two I mentioned would be perfect. More removal would be nice, or some more recursion. Maybe both. I had some clever stuff, but I would have killed for a Doom Blade that first game. It's too good not to have in. Coat of Arms could be interesting, though it could work against you depending on your opponent's deck. Vampire Nighthawks I think would be great. They're still undead so kind of thematic, get buffed by the Evincar and provide some flying bodies that will deter dragons and other annoying creatures from striking at you. When equipped with Lashwrithe, they're absolutely stellar. By turn 4 or earlier, you could be hitting them for 8 life and gaining that much, which helps offset Phyrexian mana usage and the Phyrexian Arena.

Overall, I like it. I might hold off breaking it up for the EDH deck (I'm missing the general anyway) and give it another shot once I meddle with it a bit.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Memorial Valley Massacre

I got delayed a bit on Friday as I was watching Torchwood: Miracle Day, so I didn't get a chance to check out this gem until Saturday evening. I got it on a Brentwood dvd set that I'm finally going through, initially only watching the two blind dead films on it. I was missing out on a lot and I can only hope the others are this good.

The basic premise of the story revolves around a brand new campground that is opening on Memorial Day. Unfortunately, there have been some strange happenings around the site and soon those happening escalate to murder. Also, they're being perpetrated by a caveman-like hermit. Honest. Anyhow, quite a few people up and leave right at the beginning, leaving us with our cast that ranges from likable, like the hero and his love interest, to despicable, which would be a rude little fat kid who steals things. Throw in some horny campers, bikers and some ex-military folk and have a dynamite mix.

Memorial Valley Massacre teeters on that fine edge of greatness and crap. Some of the characters are honest, simple sorts. Others are rather ludicrous, resulting in some fine moments like the impromptu cocktease dance in the rain (to no music!). Then there's the caveman. Much like feral kid from the Road Warrior all grown up, the caveman stalks and hunts his prey and is prone to sudden fits of smashing things. He doesn't like dogs or campers very much and hates ATVs. Also, he might try to get a little boob grab in when he's attacking you. A caveman has needs, I guess.

If you're looking for the best slasher set in a campground on Memorial Day in Memorial Valley, look no further. Watch it with some friends and get your drink on and you have a good and short way to kill some time. The kills are decent too, with some spears through the chest, some neck breaking, explosions, an axe to the chest and even death by pickup truck. Check it out.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

It Came From The Attic

When I get bored on a three day weekend, unproductive things happen. This is one of them.

Monday, July 04, 2011

The H-Man

TCM was really knocking it out of the park with some fun sci-fi marathons on Thursdays last month. Most of them were movies I had seen already, but last week they showed one that I had sadly never seen before--The H-Man, a science-fiction film from director Ishiro Honda. It was rather amazing.

After a nuclear explosion, some creatures are formed. These monsters are a living liquid that creeps and crawls and dissolves people, which is their way of eating people. They also can take on ghostly, monstrous forms, which also dissolve people. A scientist, the police, a night club singer and mobsters are all woven into the tale which pits them against each other and the creatures as they try to survive.

It's a quick and fun movie, with decent special effects. The dissolving scenes are rather creepy and the ooze itself is well done, looking better than a similar monster in The Blob. I found it interesting that at its heart, the movie is a mobster movie with the monsters really playing more of an incidental part until the end scenes in the sewers. The similarities between these scenes and the remake of The Blob lead me to wonder if the latter film took inspiration from this movie. Any movie with a scantily clad cadre of night club singers is fine by me as well.

Well worth checking out.