Monthly Archives: October 2009

Holy Cow! It’s the Room Store Lady!

If you live around the DC/Baltimore area, you’re familiar with the prolific work of one Kristen Swanson, also known as “The Room Store Lady“. A friend of mine who ponders such things often did a little research on Ms. Swanson’s body of work, as he appears to, erm, fascinated by her antics pimping furniture. It turns out he has made a discovery.. a dark, dark discovery.. Apparently Miss Swanson has ventured out of her oh-so-sweet hapless persona as the Room Store’s furniture pimp for a little indie cinema.

Here she is in Tamed, a short Youtube film loosely based upon The Taming of the Shrew. In it, Miss Swanson prances around wearing about as much as one might expect on an average European beach in summer time (and a dog collar). The juxtaposition between sweet, goofy Miss Swanson from the Door Store commercials and this… erm.. level of sophistication is a real eye-opener. It’s a MATURE themed video, but doesn’t show overt nudity or sexual acts. Just adult talk. And thongs.

God bless the internetz.. nobody is safe. 😀


  • Part TWO of TAMED, where Miss Swanson sheds her outfit, but remains concealed through the use of clever camera angles and props placement.  That might be NSFW.

Mini News Update 6

The Spooky Movie Festival Report

Spooky Movie Zombie Night 2009

Spooky Movie Zombie Night 2009

I’ve been attending the SPOOKY MOVIE FESTIVAL, being held at the Cinema Arts Fairfax, VA and AFI Silver theater, Silver Spring, MD. Alas, I couldn’t catch the Herschel Gordon Lewis retrospective on Wednesday and couldn’t do Thursday night either (too hard during the week). I did catch ZOMBIE NIGHT Friday and NIGHT OF HORRORS Saturday. One of the reasons I’m such a fan of film festivals is there really isn’t much of a market for short films except for niche markets like either festivals or a network like AMC TV, or the Sundance Channel. And that goes double for genres like horror during any month of the year except October.

George's Intervention

George's Intervention

Thursday night’s selections were clustered around a theme.  Zombie Night was great fun.

The Shorts

A standout was the short Spanish Romantic comedy “Zombies and Cigarettes“.

Lazarus Taxon was short, murky and quite creepy– the ending is a bit telegraphed, but it does redefine the notion of resurrection.

Closing up the shorts, RISING UP: A STORY OF THE ZOMBIE RIGHTS MOVEMENT was quite amusing, but mostly the odd awkward pauses during the flashback sequences made the movie so funny.

The Features

There were two features: the first one was GEORGE’S INTERVENTION, which was sheer comedic genius. George is among the ranks of the undead, and his party guests keep disappearing mysteriously.  Carlos Larkin, who played

Doctor S Poster

Doctor S Poster

George, was around to take questions from the audience.  Apparently there will be a trilogy of George films, the next one (if it can get made) taking place in a Rehab center of the damned.

Last film of the evening was DOCTOR S BATTLES THE SEX CRAZED REEFER ZOMBIES: THE MOVIE.  This was a black and white Cold War themed comedy about the undead coming back possessed by effects of “Mary Jane”.  With a ton of flashbacks and an odd depth of field coupled by jerky pacing and murky lighting style, I was least impressed with this.

The following night wasn’t themed around any particular niche genre like monsters, vampires or zombies.  Just a collection of oddities.  There were more shorts, and more experimental, less ‘cheap laughs” oriented than the preceding night.

The Shorts

MORE CONTROL was great– an indie band called “The Heist and the Accomplice” cooperated to make a neat little story of a haunted theater that turns the table on the band that came there to film a music video.  As a feller who did his own share of “proudly filming in the Super 8” format back in the day (as was written in MORE CONTROL’s credits) I had some appreciation for More Control’s ability to do more with less.

ALTAR was one of my favorites of the evening.  Every single day is the same for Casper Stipend. He wakes up, he goes to work, he cleans a lonely women’s room at the end of a deserted hallway in an indistinct building of sorts. Every day he cleans, and every day he finds the same filth and bizarre objects clogging his one duty; from dolls to bibles, there is nothing this commode won’t chuck at him. As he becomes more unhinged and disconnected from his own societal realities, he finds a connection in the last place he would’ve looked. I loved the actor playing the Casper Stipend, the Janitor (Andrew Jenner), who has an uncanny ability to deadpan directly towards the camera.

Childhood horrors come true with THE NIGHTMARE, a fantastic little independent shot by (literally) a father and son team.  NIGHTMARE was wonderful, and the ending is fantastic.

BECOMING ROMAN is funnier, and it reminds me of an old Clive Barker story from his Books of Blood era.  The left hand of Roman decides he shall supplant the right hand’s dominance.  An interesting dialogue (and fight) ensues.  Then the left develops loftier intentions, and is surprised with results.  Very clever and minimalist, and also quite funny.

One of the standout hits of the night was PHENOMENA: PROBING THE PARANORMAL, a new series of vids that will be available on the internet. PHENOMENA tells the story of a team of ham-fisted occult ‘specialists’ that can’t seem to do anything right.  This is a local group of filmmakers from Richmond VA, and they were at the festival to answer questions.  Apparently this series will feature the same actors over and over again, parodying those terrible “ghost chaser” style shows cropping up all over cable TV– but in their case, always finding something real (with disastrous results).  I was heartened by the notion that they will be back every week, resurrected like Kenny from South Park.

The Features

AUDIE AND THE WOLF is a larger budget effort from B. Scott O’Malley.  O’Malley takes the classic werewolf story and reverses it.  A gentle, friendly wolf turns into a savage, bloodthirsty MAN by the light of the full moon every month.  A nice twist!  O’Malley is aiming at SHAUN OF THE DEAD territory here, playing violence for laughs.  Sadly, it does drag a bit in the middle.  Still the two leads (Derek Hughes and Tara Price) carry the slow parts nicely.

FINALE was one of the creepiest movies of the night.  A mother comes to grips with her son hanging himself.  Was it the suicide that everyone assumes, or was he enmeshed in the evil designs of a demon worshiping cult that summons “the Collector” from mirrors?  To discover answers to her questions, she must get dragged into the same madness that claimed her son.  Finale drags a bit in the center but has a tremendous bang up ending– and not much of a happy ending either.

So far, the Spooky Movie Festival has been a great time and I really appreciate the work of Mr. C.W. Prather in putting this event together.

<img class=”size-medium wp-image-2770″ title=”Photo_102309_004″ src=”; alt=”George’s Intervention” width=”300″ height=”225″ />

George's Intervention


Live stream of RISING UP: THE ZOMBIE RIGHTS MOVEMENT on Sony’s Crackle server until 31 OCT

Future Fair: Fair for all, no Fair for ANYbody!

Note: this challenge is completed, the next one is Bright Western Knick-Knack Challenge.

Last month’s Coupla white dudes thinking, coupla white dudes talking generated a few pithy comments.

Personally, I rather liked John’s:
Chet: “ZOMG! Biff noticed me! He’s coming over here! OMG OMG, I’m gonna die!”

Biff: “Chet! Me and the other fellas couldn’t help but notice you weren’t wearing any pants.”

and Eric’s:
Chet: Plastic Surgeons did wonders on Popeye

Biff: Skiddle-lee-dee, figity-doo, yuk, yuk, yuk

And John again with:
Biff: “Chet, are we lucky sons o’guns or what? Peace, prosperity, we have the Reds on the run… it’s good to be an American!”

Chet: “Yeah, but what a friggin’ sausage fest.”

This month’s entry takes us to the dark days of future past– the kind of shining example of prosperity often associated with speculative ads in Popular Mechanics, or displayed at “Future Fairs” or Expositions. Only it’s from China… one has to wonder what nightmarish dystopia would render this vision as “Progress”, wince, and move onward.


There are three actors of note: Punishbot 3000, Han (looking backwards and saying something), and Yuen (gazing at his colleague’s beating and grinning a classic shiteating grin).

For the purposes of the exercise:

What is Punishbot 3000 saying, what is Han saying to the kid getting the rebuke, and what is Yuen thinking to himself?



As always, no cash rewards, no mention on TV, no donations to your charitable cause if you win. Just the fleeting smugness of victory.

Olicanalad’s Galleys

I’ve always enjoyed a niche subject of historical interest, Ancient Greek and Roman galley warfare in the Mediterranean. Well, really, any kind of naval warfare with big, lumbering oared ships. I think that slave galley scene in BEN HUR must have had an impact on me when I was a kid. I like wargames that feature galley warfare as well– I just wish I had a chance to play them more. I have a couple of NAVWAR’s Fleet Starter Packs that I have painted up and based for the game RAM SPEED by Metagaming. Ram Speed adapts well to miniatures with very little conversion. What a pity, I’ve only had this out and on the table a few times.

“Olicanalad” is on a yahoo group dedicated to Galley Warfare I started years ago called war_galley. He is clearly a fellow enthusiast of the time period– as his recent pictures of a galley battle attest to. Olicanalad is using Xyston 1:600 ships here; this is the same scale (roughly) as the Uncharted Seas game I have been playing lately. 1:600 is a great scale for detail and lovely ship models, and Xyston does a wonderful job on them.

Picture from Olicanalad's recent game.

Picture from Olicanalad's recent game.

Click on the picture to get transported to “Contemplating my naval” on Olicanalad’s gaming blog.

Lunchtimers: Mindless idiocy, sure, but hypnotizing too

Yes, all you do is move magnets.  That's ALL there is to it.

Yes, all you do is move magnets. That's ALL there is to it.

Sometimes you don’t have to explain a discovery in depth. Just click the danged link. All will be explained.

Aye, Dark Overlord! Destined to be a party classic

from Fantasy Flight Games

from Fantasy Flight Games

Part party game, part live action roleplay, part card game, this is a hard one to categorize.  I just picked this up at the recent NOVAG game day– so all I have are impressions, and the impressions are good.  Players take on roles of sniveling servants of the standard Dark Overlord.  They compete with each other to gain his favor and avoid the dreaded “Withering Looks”.

Cards are presented in three types: Overlord Cards (really, just an assortment of WITHERING LOOKS– more on that later).   Hint Cards (Read: STORY IDEAS) and Action Cards (Read: STAB THE OTHER SNIVELING GIT IN THE BACK actions).

One player takes on the Dark Lord duty– in the back story he is called “Rigor Mortis”, whom is a character in the storyline this game takes place in (and apparently another one called KRAGMORTHA, too, if one can judge by the artwork).  The rest of the players take the role of “sniveling underling”.

The story is set by the Dark Overlord player who starts the game by saying “Well, my loyal minions.. I ordered you to (perform this hideous task here)… Tell me how you succeeded!” or words to that effect.  At that point, the sniveling begins in earnest.

The player indicated must then create a brief EXCUSE – using the elements illustrated on the cards in the player’s hand — explaining why the task was not completed.  Hopefully the excuse will accomplish two goals: shift the blame for the failure to one of the other players, and avoid the baleful eye of the Dark Lord with his “Withering Glance”.

The player must also play an Action card (which resembles a pointing finger) indicating the direction in which the blame shift will move– so the person to the right or left of the current player will be the next one under the withering eye of the Boss.  If the player succeeds in shifting blame to the next hapless minion, she ends her turn by drawing a replacement hint card.  The new “target” has to come up with an excuse of her own, or suffer the Withering Glance.

There are many elements of this game that I love– the Storytelling aspect, the Roleplay/Acting aspect, the Cardplay and the rather open ended way of looking at “winning”.  Winning is pretty much up to the Dark Overlord, every time– and how he judges the story is based on how well the player playing his part gets into the role.   Clearly, the designers of this game meant it to be open ended and silly– I can’t see this game being that much fun with the wrong crowd of people– say, a group of engineers, but it would be just ducky for the right crowd.    Aye, Dark Overlord has much the same appeal as NANOFICTION or WEREWOLF does.  In fact, I look at it as a combination of those two games– Werewolf’s performance factor added into the open ended stroytelling aspect of Nanofiction or Once Upon a Time.

I haven’t tried it out yet; I’ve only had it for a few days– I suspect I will need to bring it to a convention to give it the play that it so richly deserves.  Still, I am very glad I bought this game, even if I only play it once a year.


Spooky Movie Festival UPDATE… a little viral promotional love for local horror festivals

Click to visit the festival website

Click to visit the festival website

The program guide for Washington D.C.’s very own international horror movie film festival, The Spooky Movie Film Festival, has been released and it is looking splendid. I think the best deal is the all week long pass.

The Spooky Movie Festival will start on October 20th and run through the 29th. I hope to see my fellow horror movie fanatics there.


Day of the Dead 2: Contagium | Zombie Movies

A Prequel, of sorts, to the Dawn of the Dead (the Romero one) done by George Romero.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Waiting for the Bus: An Epic Adventure from Cyanide and Happiness

Charcon 2009. Making me wonder why I don’t go to more regional conventions

click me to visit CHARCON site

click me


Those internetz, what a wonderful thing. I had never heard of CHARCON before accidentally clicking on a side ad (the kind I often ignore) on a website. Suddenly my browser was full of the CHARCON website. What is this? CHARCON? A mid-sized regional convention that takes place in Charleston, WV. Wait.. West Virginia? That’s that state next door, isn’t it? The map didn’t look encouraging– it’s that part of West VA that snuggles up to Kentucky. Still, worth a look.

The website indicates that CHARCON looks to be a blast– the sponsors have certainly lined up behind this thing and the itinerary definitely looks promising. From the website:

CharCon was the brain child of Travis Reynolds and Nick Gillispie. Lets hop in the way back machine and see how it all started (insert sound effects here):
For years, our duo, along with a number of their friends they had been gaming with since childhood, had talked about opening a game shop in Charleston. They even had meetings about it and discussed some details. Alas, after years of little to no movement on the idea they came to realize that it was never going to happen. They both work full time jobs and while they loved the idea of having a true game store in Charleston, they just were not sure that it could work.

Around the same time they had been attending Origins for some time and their exposure to this great convention helped convert their desire to be move involved with the gaming hobby from wanting to own a store, to wanting to host a game convention. Thus the idea of CharCon was born. 2006 was the first year of CharCon and it was a learning experience for Nick, Travis and the rest of the small staff. Picking and choosing things from the other game shows they attended or say on the intertubes and making it up as they went, they manages to produce quite a successful show. Just over 375 of their closest friends and seven different vendors made it out over the Friday and Saturday show. The feedback was almost universally positive and combined with the turn out, it was enough to make CharCon an annual event.

2007 saw CharCon change to a Saturday/Sunday format (some people like it better, some preferred Friday/Saturday, if CharCon continues to grow, surely a three day Friday/Saturday/Sunday format is on the horizon!). It also saw growth in the CharCon staff, as responsibilities were shared and new members joined the team. Attendance grew at a fantastic rate, drawing over 450 people for the weekend. This years show also saw an increase in the number of vendors in attendance, growing to eleven. It’s a good thing that the show moved from the two West Halls into the much larger South Hall (20,000 square ft.)! Again, CharCon was a success!


Given that they are featuring a lot of games I’m playing right now or have a strong interest in (in particular SMALL WORLD and ARCANE LEGIONS), this is tough to pass up, but I would require a little bit of way ahead room to make it happen– a week or so before hand isn’t going to cut it, sadly.  Now that I know it exists, I hope I can make it for next year.

The distance on the map looks a little daunting at first, but timewise, I’ts about the same as driving to Atlantic City, NJ from here:

  1. Merge onto I-66 W toward FRONT ROYAL. 55.38 MI / 89.12 KM
  2. Merge onto I-81 S via EXIT 1A on the LEFT toward ROANOKE. 109.54 MI / 176.28 KM
  3. Keep RIGHT to take I-64 W via EXIT 191 toward LEXINGTON/CHARLESTON (Portions toll) (Crossing into WEST VIRGINIA). 182.65 MI / 293.94 KM
  4. Take EXIT 58C toward US-60/WASHINGTON ST./CIVIC CENTER. 0.06 MI / 0.1 KM
  5. Stay STRAIGHT to go onto BIGLEY AVE/US-119 S. Continue to follow US-119 S. 0.52 MI / 0.83 KM
  6. Turn LEFT onto VIRGINIA ST W. 0.26 MI / 0.42 KM

I’d need some significant auto repairs done before I’d attempt it, to be truthful– I don’t like taking my aging Taurus through West VA mountains.  You can keep that, thanks. Still, it’s not so terrible a distance.. Why don’t I do more of these things, besides the standard excuses of job, responsibilities, work, kids, and blah blah blah.  Oh, yeah, right.. them..

Military History Weekend, Williamsburg, VA Oct 16-18, 2009

Re-enactors admitted free (no weapons, lads!)

Re-enactors admitted free (no weapons, lads!)

We will have a range of guests at the event, including World War II veterans, military antique experts, re-enactors, and authors, with various activities such as talks on how to research your family’s combat history, model-making tutorials, living history displays, wargaming demonstrations and $2,000-worth of door prizes.

Organized by Casemate, W.Britain and Osprey Publishing, with a varied list of exhibitors, including bookstores, toy soldier companies and military artists, this is a show not to be missed!

Military History Weekend, Williamsburg, Virginia October 16-18, 2009

Welcome to the official site for the 2009 Military History Weekend, an exciting three days of Military History in Williamsburg, the heart of the historic triangle of Virginia.
4:00pm-8:00pm, October 16, 2009 Open House at The Toymaker of Williamsburg
12:00pm-6:00pm, October 17, 2009
10:00am-4:30pm, October 18, 2009

Here you will find information on all the activities taking place on October 16/17/18th at various locations in Williamsburg, including $2,000 in door prizes!

So join us and meet World War II veterans, re-enactors, family history experts and authors to learn more about your military heritage. Bring your family along too as kids activities, and events for partners are also available.

Admission Information

Adults: $5.00
Children 16 and under: FREE
Families (up to 6 people): $5.00
Veterans and Active Duty Military: FREE
Osprey, and W. Britain Club Members: FREE
Historic Re-enactors in Uniform: FREE (no weapons)

For more information on the event, visit To obtain
your advance ticket, contact W.Britain at (888) 771-5576 or


In the coming zombie apocolypse, I am doomed.

Why? I live in a part of the world where it’s difficult to get around with LIVING people (so-called) on the loose. Imagine DC traffic congestion with hordes of the undead clogging up the roadways!

As a follow up to the Keller study, The ZOMBIE RESEARCH SOCIETY has conducted a thorough analysis of population density per square mile. The general theory being, the more people per square mile, the greater number of zombies will be generated when the inevitable social collapse sets in.

The results? Well, don’t visit South of the border, anywhere in the Northeast, or the West Coast.

North American Urban Areas, Population density per Sq. Mile

North American Urban Areas, Population density per Sq. Mile

Hats off to the folks at the Zombie Research Society, AGAIN, for showing us the perils our future holds in store for us.


PBeM e-journals e-Boris and Western Front

The latest E-Boris (PBeM zine Vol IX, #34 #290) has been transcribed by Paul Bolduc. Updates on:

1830 Coalfields/Reading #9 Coal
BALKAN WARS VI (Diplomacy Variant)
KINGMAKER: King of Pain (orphaned from ishkibibble)
Game Openings elsewhere and slots open in current games. COLONIAL DIPLOMACY is coming up soon.

WESTERN FRONT 104, from Brad Martin (Down undah!) has arrived in MS Word format. Some nice long articles on history and politics, a couple of military history quizzes followed by game updates and openings:

Montecuccoli (Empires of the Middle Ages – Grand Scenario)
DUNKIRK (Britannia VIII) Turn 13 (935-985AD)
FRIEDLAND [Railway Rivals 2108B – London & Liverpool map] – Round 11
EYLAU [Railway Rivals – 2092MW – Mid-Wales map]
LUTTER [Railway Rivals – 2118BB(S) – Brandenburg(South) map] – Round 7
PANIPAT [Railway Rivals – 2137MP – Malaysia map] – Round 2
Stamford Bridge Railway Rivals – Nova Scotia map
OTTO I (‘No- Press’ Gunboat Diplomacy) – Autumn 1912
Seven Good Men and True (Standard Diplomacy)
QUEBEC [Gunboat Diplomacy – No Press]
Oudenarde [Machiavelli] ‘Balance of Power: 1454’ scenario with 5 players
MOCHACS Settlers of Catan
SINGAPORE Settlers of Catan
KITCHENER (Colonial Diplomacy) – 1920-1921

Several games with waiting lists in Western Front, too. If you have an interest in playing by email these classic games, contact the editors via the links provided.

Steampunk Cakery!

On a recent CAKE WRECKS post, a post on the notion of STEAMPUNK-themed cakes. I was fascinated!!

Steampunk Cake by "Juliette W."
The Detail on these cakes is amazing.

The Detail on these cakes is amazing.

For the entire gallery of cakes that Jules Verne would have loved, visit THIS POST HERE.