Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Not Quite Movie Reviews

Things I Learned from Hostel

  1. When running a thrill-kill-for-profit organization that involves kidnapping tourists, it is best to nab just one or two members of a group at a time, allowing their friends to get suspicious and spend a day or two investigating (and potentially talking to and frightening away some of the other guest/victims at your Hostel of Doom), rather than just grab all of them at once. This is true even when there is a steady flow of paying customers coming through, requiring a constant supply of victims.
  2. A sadist whose motivation is ostensibly his frustrated desire to be a surgeon nevertheless includes power tools as well as surgical tools in his torture repertoire. Nothing satisfies that urge to perform delicate surgery like ripping through someone's shoulder with a power drill.
  3. A chainsaw which has been dropped to the floor will cut entirely through a man's thigh underneath it, even though all the weight of the chainsaw is at the back where the motor is, not in the blade, leaving a good few inches between the blade and the floor when the saw is at rest.
  4. An enterprising sadist could actually make money by purchasing (non-American) victims through "Elite Hunting", harvesting all their transplantable organs, and re-selling them on the black market. According to this article, one kidney alone would fetch enough in Turkey to cover what this organization supposedly charges to let you kill a Russian. Anything you can get for his other organs is pure profit.
  5. Despite this, if you operate a business like "Elite Hunting", you should just have your cleaning crew incinerate the bodies, valuable organs and all, rather than attempting to extract all possible profit in return for the enormous risks you're taking.
  6. Eastern Europe is plagued by vicious gangs of small children, who will cheerfully beat several gun-wielding grown men to death in exchange for a sack full of chewing gum.
  7. The optic nerve is actually a tube containing some sort of disgusting yellow pus, which will squirt out when it is cut.
  8. In Slovakia, Asian women with half their face freshly burned off are apparently so common, they don't attract so much as a curious sideways glance from passers-by.

Things I Learned from Saw II

  1. Serial killers whose M.O. involves elaborate deathtraps might, just might, have some elaborate deathtraps in place protecting their lair. The police in this film learned this particular lesson the hard way. Apparently it hadn't occurred to them before entering the building to be watching out for that sort of thing.
  2. There exists a slow-acting nerve gas whose operation is so predictable, a timer can literally count down how much time remains to anyone breathing it. This gas also causes internal hemorrhaging, despite being clearly referred to as a nerve agent.
  3. If I should ever find myself with one arm stuck in a box with razor-sharp blade flaps arranged in a one-way door configuration, I will simply hold the razor flaps open with my other hand and pull my arm out, rather than inextricably trapping myself by sticking my other arm into the other one-way razor door in the box. Especially if I have already spilled the life-saving nerve gas antidote that was inside the box.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Discworld Map

Just for fun: Although it has been years since I've done any RPG-ing, I do still maintain a copy of the latest version of Campaign Cartographer, just because I love maps. Using the tools/instructions from an installment of their "Cartographer's Annual", I threw together this map of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, in a style inspired by the 16th century maps of Gerard Mercator (click for full-size):

Note, if you're familiar with the official published Discworld Mapp, you'll see a few differences, based on the ostensible reason that the map was created by a cartographer in Ankh-Morpork. Therefore, Ankh-Morpork is near the top of the map (rather than toward the bottom, as in the official map), and the further away from Ankh-Morpork and the Circle Sea region you get, the less detailed and more inaccurate the map becomes. So most of the Circle Sea area is pretty close to "reality", other parts of the continent are fairly accurate (but not very detailed), the Counterweight Continent is pretty much right, but with a few errors, and the least-explored areas - XXXX and the Lost Continent of Ku - are wildly inaccurate.

Here's also a close-up of the Circle Sea region:

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Game Turn Indicator marker does not expend movement points, nor does it exert a Zone of Control.

Old-school wargaming has now disappeared up its own asshole: Decision Games has expanded & re-released "War in the Pacific". Seven maps. 9,000 counters. $420.00. And, and, their future games page indicates that Richard Berg is working on an updated re-release of "Campaign for North Africa", although it sounds like that one will be smaller, and much more affordable at $200.00.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

BoardGame Geek

Just for fun, I've added a widget to the sidebar on here that will show you five random games from my collection, as tracked at BoardGameGeek. I've decided I want to start getting back into games - there are some really interesting ones coming out these days - and having them pop up there may help motivate me.