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Bill Haworth
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Bill Haworth

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This is a pretty cool article.

Like I've said for many a year, the answer to our problem with Cuba (if we've even had a problem with that tiny nation since the fall of the Soviet Union, or since the time of Teddy Roosevelt, let's be honest) is to open up our trade borders with them. They may not go full democracy, but I assure you, they won't be harboring any nuclear weapons to be shot at us when we're their biggest market.
I recently met two ex-Army Rangers in a bar, and got onto the topic of the war against ISIS. They told me they knew the solution: flip flops. I scoffed, which probably isn't something you should do to an Army Ranger's face. And they put me in my place.
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For a Valentine's present to myself - there is no love greater than self love - I got myself a Metal Earth model of the Millenium Falcon. Just got done putting it together. It's lumpy, it's uneven, the lines don't quite meet up like they're supposed to, but honestly, I don't care. I put it together with my own hands, and honestly, even with all the imperfections, the model still looks great. And for the price, these are awesome little models, well worth the purchase. Trust me, you have to see with your own eyes the amount of detail engraved into this tiny little thing to appreciate it.

The only quibble I really have with it is that I bought it from someone I have had issues with in the past, and again, had issues with this shipment - the box could easily take the flat pack model kit across the bottom, full width, but instead, their warehouse worker put it in on its side and folded it over the top of the other item I ordered (a baby Groot bobble head for my lady wife). Minor quibble, you can't tell it was bent in my completed model, considering how much a lot of these pieces get bent up anyway (by both design and my clumsy fingers), but still, don't treat your customers' purchases with such disregard. 

Anyway, already looking towards getting other models from them, and am already wishing they made other models, like F/A-18 Super Hornets and A-10 Thunderbolts or mecha from any source you care to think of (besides that one thing from Halo I've never seen before) - BattleTech, Robotech, Rifts, Mobile Frame Zero, CAV, Dust, you name it. I'm sure they're getting all kinds of requests for new models in, plus they already have plenty of cool ones to choose from, so I'm happy.
Fascinations - Unique Physics & Science Toys & Gifts for Birthdays, Holidays, and Special Occasions - Wholesale
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For those of you who have been paying attention to my pathetisad ramblings (yes, "pathetisad", from The Drew Carey Show... you know, that show you used to watch from the mid to late '90's thru the early Naughty Aughts starring the guy who now hosts The Price is Right), you'll know I'm sans gaming rig right now, and I am in the midst of gathering the documents to get our taxes taken care of for the year and hopefully get a decent return so I can build a new gaming rig. To help save up the necessary cash for a new gaming rig, and because it makes sense as I can't play them anyway, I have refrained from buying any new video games over the past 6 months or so. Trust me, I've watched 2 massive Steam and GOG sales, plus countless smaller deals on items on all of my wishlists, just sail (pun intended) past without me picking up any games.

Yet, I find that I'm still adding games to my wishlists, and a new category of games that I'm adding, particularly to my Steam wishlist, that is surprising to me are "games that would be cool to play on a big TV via a Steam machine and Big Play mode". I don't currently have any computers hooked up to our big LED in the living room, but I foresee in the very near future putting a Steam Machine/Steam Box in that will also be a media center PC to play BluRay/DVDs, stream media, and act as a file server for the house as well. And it'd kind of be nice to have some games that I can lounge on the couch and play with either or both of my favorite ladies. Sad to say, I've added a couple of XBox-style controllers to my Amazon wishlist because apparently they're the best gamepads to be had out there for PC. I'm looking at the rest of you gaming gear manufacturers in dire disapproval at adding XBox items to a wishlist to purchase for my PC. ick

But the idea of the Steam Machine/media center intrigues me, all the way down to the cord-cutting cockles of my heart. Take a PC, give it all the streaming and playback (don't forget to include the audio) capabilities you can jam in it for as inexpensively as possible, and toss in Steam's Big Play on top of it - it's all you need in a set top box (dare I say, console?) without all of the annoyance of being trapped in one company's store, no monthly subscription fees, and the weird alien head thing doesn't watch you 24/7.... unless you want that, and then you can add it. You sick weirdo.
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Saw this behind a coworker's desk on a site visit to KC yesterday. The one on the left is cute. The one on the right? Yeah, I need to put one of those up at my desk.
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The cuteness.
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I'm not sure why this isn't used more in LeMons/Chump racing - used school buses can be bought almost anywhere for very little money, are nigh indestructible, have tons of room, and look cool when you pull a car out of the back of them. Admittedly, a little awkward to park in residential areas, but so are the parking lot of race and parts cars crapcan racers tend to accumulate. 
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Okay, so they're not school buses, but these are pretty cool: http://hooniverse.com/2015/01/22/the-hella-sweet-tow-rigs-of-lemons-at-sonoma-raceway/
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Bill Haworth

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I know, I know, not a Munchkin product, but a very funny card game none the less - Redshirts (the game where the goal is to kill off your Away Team before anyone else can, and created by Skippy of "213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to Do in the Army" fame) is putting out an expansion (or two), and the Kickstarter just went live. Note this is an expansion and you need the base game to play it (one of the backer levels has the base game, or purchase it from Amazon, just like everything else).

Sorry, I was working up a review of Ultra Pro card holders for Munchkin decks, which I still hope to get done either today or tomorrow (President's Day! woo!), but this came up first. 
Skippy is raising funds for Redshirts 2: Leprechaun's Revenge on Kickstarter! Redshirts 2: Leprechaun's Revenge is an expansion for the Redshirts card game. Redshirts 3 is available as a reward as well.
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I came up with something to entertain my players. But first, a poem from one of my wanderlust NPCs I run to his lady love as he prepares to go out on the road again:

It is in my blood and it is in my bones
In my heart and it is in my soul
And when I am gone, I hope you will understand
When I get home I will make amends
When the next day comes I will be gone again
And when I am gone, I hope you will understand

Like that? I always liked how Tolkien put poems and songs in his stories, and was trying to figure out how I could spruce up my own games with similar bits of poetry. So I came up with the above.

Actually, I didn't. I have written some poetry from time to time, but nothing that good, plus I couldn't just bang it out on demand for an upcoming game, and that's the tip I'd like to share. The above poem? That's actually the lyrics from Black Stone Cherry's In My Blood, just with all the contractions taken out and a few words changed to make it less modern and more medieval/fantastical. (for those of you who aren't fans of the little band from Kentucky and don't know the song, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ29Pw1P7DE) It's a simple idea, and one I'm surprised I haven't thought of before now - take the lyrics from modern songs that don't sound too out of place in a medieval fantasy setting, print them out using a decent font (see the link below, or try this link too: http://www.1001freefonts.com/calligraphy-fonts.php) on your faux scroll (tons of how tos on that one: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=make+a+medieval+looking+scroll) and let your players admire your Tolkien-ness. Remember, when they read it in their heads without any music or rhythm, they'll think you're an awesome poet, and won't realize what you did unless you tell them.

Hope that helps you make your games more enjoyable.
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Modern Army combat load (IBA, SAPI plates, water, ammo, comm gear, night vision, weapon, and other tools of the trade) is roughly 60 pounds. What are they whining about? We don't get to carry chainsaws.
Doom's space marine protagonists are some hearty fellows, carrying some 80 pounds of weapons, medkits and ammo boxes effortlessly while taking on demons from hell. In last night's inaugural Mythbusters video game episode, Adam and Jamie build a real-life Doom level to see if it can be done.
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I am sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but due to my job and home life issues, I have not had a chance to update the interactive map of races from last year's schedule. Seriously, I've spent one weekend day and yesterday (I was on a paid vacation day yesterday) at work instead of goofing off on the internet like we all know I should be doing. Hopefully I can get caught up at work, and everyone living under my roof can stop being sick for 5 minutes, and I can get a new map generated for 2015 before the 1st of February. Fingers crossed.
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The Contour and the GoPro are good cams, but one that is very popular in the racing/car culture, and is definitely small and tough enough to be used in paintball for roughly the same price - ReplayXD. Their 1080 Mini is normally $200 ($140 on sale this week on Amazon, oddly enough) and pretty damn small. The bigger model, the Prime X, is bigger, has better software built into the camera, and more expensive (also $50 off normal price at Amazon), but also comes with built in WiFi for cableless transfers. 
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Yes ReplayXD is a very good brand. I am sponsored by them and I love them, but I honestly think that GoPro's quality is better. But I still want to try out the Prime.
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It's the oddest things that get you to pondering the what ifs and what could have beens. Linked below is Geek & Sundry's new LARP-centric scripted show, called oddly enough LARPs, and it looks pretty good. I have to admit that I like watching foam combat when it has a story with it, as I've been known to inflict two popular LARP documentaries (Darkon and Monster Camp) on unsuspecting friends. Still, this looks like it's going to be highly entertaining.

What got me to thinking was how good looking the gear is in the show, which led to a websearch on professionally made LARP weapons and armor, where I found that the internet has been really nice to the "foamsmiths" out there. Seriously, the quality of this stuff for the cost is staggering to a former SCAdian like myself. One place I found (these guys: http://www.darkknightarmoury.com/c-490-larp-armor.aspx) are offering full suits of TV-quality looking armour for less than what my last SCA helmet cost, all told. And I get that part of it is cheaper because it doesn't have to meet minimum combat standards in a sport where rattan is swung at speed and with intent, or it's made out of plastic or leather to look like steel, but damn.

Yeah, it makes me wonder. I admit, I got into the SCA more because of an intense D&D addiction than an intense love of recreating 14th century Hessian state Germans. If this kind of gear had been available at this price point (adjusted for inflation to two decades in the past) and I had been near a big enough LARP'ing group, I probably would have followed the Way of the Foam, instead of Rattan Style like I did. Don't get me wrong, I may have retired from the SCA, but I don't begrudge my time in the hobby, as it was fun and the full contact aspect of the sport has been very useful in the Army (exhibit: the telescoping baton on my battle rattle instead of the Rambo-style pigsticker most troops go for... I've never stabbed or carved up anybody, but I've got over a decade of beating people with sticks). And the historical focus of the SCA taught me a lot of interesting things about the time before gunpowder, which led to learning about other historical events, like the Pax Britannica (an Army-style tab I wear on my ACU-colored backpack, by the way) which is the reason we're stuck in Iraq and the Middle East, and probably will be when my daughter's kids are in the military, following in grandpa's footsteps.
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William "Bill" Haworth
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Human resources clerk in the Missouri Army Guard, avid paintball player, former medieval recreator with the Society for Creative Anachronism, and generally friendly guy.
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Wild Bill, usagi_tetsu, Tetsu_no_Usagi, Wilhelm von Arnsburg