Prediction: In five hundred years, our current system of “intellectual property” (copyright, trademarks, patents) will be considered an archaic affront to basic human rights, rather like “creative feudalism”. It will be mentioned alongside multi-level-marketing and trickle-down economics as one of the peculiarly unchallenged scams of our era. People of the future will wonder how we could have possibly been so stupid.
I do not paint miniatures anymore. It takes me a very long time, and I simply have too many projects as it is.
Still, by the time I stopped, I think I had gotten pretty good at it. Below are the painted figures I have held on to, from oldest to newest. The oldest was painted in the early 1990s. The most recent was painted in 2009 or so.
I still haven’t taught myself to use Campaign Cartographer 3, but I really enjoy ProFantasy’s monthly special maps. Check out the December Annual issue for 1930s travel guide-style maps.
The J. Paul Getty Trust just announced an Open Content Program making some 4,600 pieces of art from the museum’s collection free to use. Users can visit the Getty Search Gateway to browse through the entire collection of high-resolution images, and they can all be used for commercial and non-commercial purposes so long as they’re properly attributed to the museum.
Back in the 1980s, it was a different story. NSA agents were my favorite government “spooks” to use in modern-day role-playing games, because not many people knew they existed, and many people who did know weren’t quite sure what they did. So if I needed a couple of “top men” to show up under the flag of government authority without revealing exactly who they were or what they were authorized to do, the NSA was my go-to organization.
Those were the good old days.
One of the great things about my company is that they send me to conferences every so often. This mug came from php|tek 2012, which was a great convention held at a terrible hotel located an hour away from Chicago. It was a horrible location for a conference, honestly. However, the conference itself was really good.
This mug came from Mashery, which was one of the sponsors of the conferences. They provide API management for third parties. But what I think is neat is that the mug changes when you put something hot in it.
This mug was made for me by a colleague. The logo on the front is DriveThru, which is the parent brand of most of sites operated by the company I work for. The most well-known of these, and the one I like best, is DriveThruRPG. I loved DriveThruRPG before I worked here, and I’ll love it after I’ve moved on.
The back of the mug has my name in a “hobbit” style font.
The details are kind of hard to see in photographs, but it looks great in person. This is one of my favorite mugs.
I read voraciously as a child. I stumbled across Arcology: The City in the Image of Man in the library some time in the late 1970s, and it made a huge impression on me. I immediately created some imaginary worlds for people to live in within these immense structures. I have been thinking about the cyberpunk genre recently, in large part because of some conversations with Chris Helton. I made an offhand comment about cyberpunk being the 2020s as imagined by the 1980s, but really, I think cyberpunk has its roots even earlier, in the work of Paolo Soleri and Samuel Delany (Babel 17, Dhalgren).
While visiting my mom, one of my sisters, and my sister’s family a few weeks ago, I took a few minutes to change my Champions Online password because I received an email that made me suspect my account might have been hacked. I logged in just long enough to do that and then logged out again: a minute, perhaps, at most.
I did not realize that my 6-year-old nephew Malakai was looking over my shoulder while I did so (children are sneaky). Later that day, he presented me with the drawing on the left, which he had done entirely from memory. Note the things he noticed and remembered: not just Grimknight in the foreground, but the waving police officer and the insectoid spaceship behind him! I was, and am, amazed.
I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.
I spent about six hours in the car yesterday, driving all over central Virginia looking for the perfect kitten. So this, the final installment of the Mugs of August, is a little late.
When we went to Las Vegas in 2002, we were amazed at how much fun you can have for free, or nearly free. For example, every morning, we made the rounds of the “free spin” slot machines, and came home at the end of the week with a dozen decks of cards, a few packs of dice, a number of “collectible” dolls, tote bags, and other assorted crap. We also got a pair of theatre tickets for Splash! just for taking a bus tour of the Las Vegas suburbs and listening to a half-hour pitch for a time share. The bus tour was part of the pitch, but I thought it was a pretty cool thing to do on its own. We got another set of tickets for Showgirls of Magic for listening to an hour pitch from a hotel-timeshare.
I’ve already mentioned how much I liked Showgirls of Magic. Splash! was a pretty popular show at the time, but we hadn’t planned to see it, and probably wouldn’t if we hadn’t had the free tickets. It was a variety show, much like what you would see on “America’s Got Talent”, but with intermittent topless showgirls, and a big closing musical number celebrating the sinking of the Titanic. (Yes, we thought that was odd, too.)
A number of casinos had free entertainment, either outside or inside. One of the hotels we stayed at, the Flamingo, had Russian trapeze artists and acrobats performing every few hours. The Bellagio has its fountains, Circus Circus has its midway circus show, and Treasure Island has a pirate ship fighting an English man o’ war. (Or had — apparently they have changed the show up a bit since then.) It was a great show: every bit as good as something you’d see at Universal Studios, in my opinion. And free for anyone who happened to be walking by.
It’s a great mug, too. Heavy, but comfortable to hold and drink from. I am drinking coffee from it right now, in fact. You might not be able to tell from the photo, but the skull and crossbones is raised a bit in bas-relief, which is neat.
And thus we come to the end of the Mugs of August. I hope you found it entertaining.