Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 Superbowl Block Pool!

For the last few years I've been tasked with putting the art on our office Superbowl pool. After a brief self-tutorial on how to draw a tricorne hat, I have completed this year's pool sheet. Check it out, and feel free to use it for your own pool!

Uploaded with

Our sheet will probably be filled by Wednesday, at which point we pick the score numbers for each row and column out of a hat (or appropriate vessel) and fill 'em in. I have yet to win a dollar on this thing.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Forgot How to Blog

Hey. 'Amemba me?

I've spent some time away from this space -- mostly due to neglect, but partly because there were a lot of big changes going on around here.

The biggest of these was the loss of my apartment due to financial issues. I ended up moving back home into the newly-finished basement. I have my own apartment down there, really -- it's pretty nice and there's beer. Still, it's not my own place, which is really the goal.

In the meantime I have stopped drawing comics and stopped performing comedy, both recorded and live. The result has been this sort of creative void in which I've been living. Just taking a look back, I was pretty involved at one point -- I was doing Goblins Like These, Crash & Steve with Alvaro Lopez-Moreno aka MC Blackwolf, the now-defunct Two Mustaches, and I was even involved briefly with the live Win Show before I got out of it.

"So, what have you been doing all this time?"
"Hey, that's a good question!"

I guess the primary answer is that I've been preoccupied with work and catching up on the bills, which I've discovered is no great way to live.

Anyway, the key thing I've been leading up to is the main reason I've been keeping away from this: no time for classic gaming.

It's difficult to write about a subject matter in which you're not engrossed, and while I have over twenty years' worth of experience, anecdotes and memories to write from, it just hasn't been on my mind.

I would be remiss if I claimed to be a writer without having written anything, so a return to the keyboard is in order. I plan on repurposing this as a more general blog, but I'll keep the focus where it should be, and hopefully I'll be able to fill this space once again.

Let's see what this sucker can do.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Slash'Em Ascension (Yeo Hum Mal Law)

I ascended a Yeoman in the wee hours last night on the Slash'Em server @ Pallas! Word!

This is my third ascension, but my first one in Slash'Em, as well as my first on a public server. I started this game nearly six months ago and have been playing it slowly ever since. Fortunately, this time I have a nice dump file, ttyrecs and a place on a public high score list to commemorate the event!

I enjoyed the Yeoman class (enough to ascend one); it's sort of like playing Knight Lite. You don't have the Knight's stringent code of conduct, but you pay for it by having fewer Expert skills available, as well as swapping lance for polearms. But hey, free fishing pole! :)

I don't have a play-by-play, but I do have some highlights:
-After defeating Col. Blood in the Quest and doing the three alignment quests, I managed to stuff a wand of cancellation into my (oH. Goodbye hard-earned inventory, including Sword of Justice, Reaper, Werebane, and an assortment of useful scrolls and potions. Apparently the aligned keys can't be destroyed in a magical bag explosion, though -- they were the only things left afterward!
-I LOST the Key of Law. I tried to use it and realized it wasn't in my inventory! After much more searching than I cared to do, I discovered that I had dropped it on an altar and never picked it up again, mistaking it for some other random tool. Thank goodness I found it -- beats getting blasted by the Key of Neutrality every time I pull it out of my bag!
-I was going to attempt to go without wishing for artifacts due to some lucky generation and sacrifice gifts, but I had wishes to spare, so I splurged on a Wallet of Perseus and a fistful of healthstones for myself. After that, I think the only conduct I had intact was celibacy. It gets lonely in the dungeon...
-I managed to hit a trapdoor on Yeenoghu's level and miss his area entirely, but it's okay because Demogorgon summoned him on the Juiblex level and I had already defeated both of them.
-Speaking of which, the mandatory appearance of Demogorgon is a dirty trick, but I actually had a tougher time with Dispater solely due to the structure of his level.
-The demon princes were really the toughest part of the game. Getting out with the "oY was cake. I'll have to confirm with the ttyrecs, but I think I blew through the four planes in less than 250 turns. It says a lot for being prepared and watching a lot of YASDs on SplatTV -- dawdling in the endgame is often fatal!
-Hit the high altar on the first try! I saw which one Famine was guarding and figured I'd get him out of the way first, and it turned out to be a good guess. Normally I lock myself in the room and expend some wishes to stock the demigod bar, but a monster blew the door off so I just had to get ahead of the pack. I decided to try to blow my remaining zillion wishes on some artifacts to bolster my score. I managed to get Grayswandir on the first try, then tried for Werebane and remembered that I'd destroyed it earlier when a regular saber showed up. I couldn't get lucky after that so I got some fun stuff for the afterlife, generated Sting for a mouthful of points, and headed on up...
'An invisible choir sings, and you are bathed in radiance... The voice of His Majesty booms out: "Congratulations, mortal!"'

For anyone who wants to take a look, the dumplog is available here. This way I don't have to type up the laundry list of artifacts in my inventory and vanquished creatures, though I will note that the Wizard of Yendor showed up 19 times, the rat.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Because This Has Apparently Become My Lame NetHack Blog

I juuuuuust found out this morning that November is the month in which the annual /dev/null NetHack Tournament is held. Against my better judgment, I signed myself up just for a kick; I doubt I'll have enough time to play much but maybe I can ascend a Caveman before the end of November.

At any rate, I also registered our gaming clan, Inferior Force, so if any {if} members are interested in making a showing, lemme know and I'll send you an invite (and totally buy you a t-shirt at the end of the tournament).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served With Cutlery

If you check the top scores list on, you'll see that my last good run on Slash'Em was ended by Shelob.

Check me out now, you eight-legged muphalucka.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Airman Cake

My friend Ada made me this awesome Airman birthday cake. If only I had some beer cans that looked like E-Tanks...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

.nethackrc and you

After playing NetHack and Slash'Em for a while, I have discovered what many other players have discovered: the helpfulness of having a good .nethackrc file.

.nethackrc is the user config file for NetHack and its many-flavored offspring. Under Windows, the file is called defaults.nh and should be in your NetHack directory. Under *NIX, it's either in your home directory or somewhere else; I found mine in /etc/Nethack. On Mac, it's just called Nethack Defaults.

In this file, you can set a number of options for the game, from what character set the game uses to items you can pick up just by walking over them. Many of these options can be set in-game by typing a capital O, but they will be set back to their defaults when you exit. Anything set in your config file will remain that way when you start the game.

As an example, here's my .nethackrc file from the Slash'Em server on Pallas:

# .nethackrc file for JackOClubs on Pallas
# Borrowed heavily from Kernigh, esp. menucolors
#----------GAME ENVIRONMENT----------
#----------CUSTOM ENVIRONMENT----------
#----------MENU COLORS----------

Anything after a # is commented out; this is nice if you want to put in labels or have options you don't always want to use, like the character options I have above.

Setting boulders to a character like 0 or 8, simple as it sounds, can actually save a lot of headaches, both in Sokoban and elsewhere in the dungeon. 0 is just a much easier character to see than '.

The menu color options are really nice also; they can help you see, at a glance, if you have blessed/cursed items in your inventory. You could also set them to highlight things like holy water or other potions, certain artifacts, useful tools that you want to be able to find quickly, etc.

WikiHack has a list of all of the options and what they do; they should also be in the NetHack user manual.