Archive for November 2012

2 reasons to return to Las Vegas   3 comments

My spam email is full of messages saying “Lucky you, you’re going to Las Vegas.”  Because I’m fairly close to Las Vegas, I do like to go there once in a while.  Actually I went last week.  Visited family and played a lot of games.  Only got into a casino once on Sunday just before I came home again.  Lost about $5 playing video poker.  I’m not really the last of the big spenders.

A fun thing that I did on Saturday night was cruise up and down Las Vegas Blvd. which is known as the strip.  Alas I forgot to bring my camera on the trip, but there should be an internet picture I could use.


It was a long slow ride up and down the strip in bumper to bumper traffic, but fun.

When I checked out of my hotel, I picked up some flyers for other attractions in Las Vegas.  Here they are: 2 reasons to return to Las Vegas.

If anyplace deserves a Zombie Apocalypse, it's Las Vegas!

If anyplace deserves a Zombie Apocalypse, it’s Las Vegas!

I am not a big fan of zombies, but I would have gone there.  Do you think it’s the kind of place where one could take a date?

If you ever visited Las Vegas or saw anything weird there, why not leave a message?



Posted November 30, 2012 by atroll in Ken St. Andre, Las Vegas, Zombies

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Thanksgiving   1 comment

It is Thanksgiving Day, 2012.  I just posted a list of things I’m thankful for on Facebook, but it occurs to me that list will rotate out of sight in less than a day.  So, I’m going to post the same list here, but on this site, I know how to illustrate it.  If you’re reading this blog,  you probably fall into one of the 20 categories of things I’m thankful for, or are associated with such a category in some way, and that means I’m also thankful for you.  Thank you for existing, reading, and enriching the world!

Shut up and count your blessings! I’d count mine, but I run out of fingers and toes too quickly. Things I’m thankful for:

1. Family (and if I enumerated each member of my large and extremely talented and personable family, I’d use up the whole page.)

I was thinking of posting several pictures of the members of my family, but it occurs to me that might not be a good idea, so I’m just putting up this one shot of my mom. She is really the center of the whole family–the one person who made it all possible, and the one we love most of all. Which is not to say that the rest of you aren’t very important, because you are–very important indeed.

2. Living in America. With all our problems (political and economic and personal) we still have it good–better than most other countries in the world. Just goes to prove, it’s better to be lucky than good.

Arizona is my corner of America.

3. My freedom. (Several things are covered under that topic.)
4. My health which is still improving as I get stronger in my young age.
5. My friends. I have great friends, some of the best in the world and I admire you all more than I’ll ever be able to tell you.

New friend Carter.

6. Comics. (sequential narrative in pictures–what a great artform!)

I bought this when it first came out, and I still buy every Conan comic published in the U.S.A.

7. Gaming. (both my games and other people’s games–it’s all good and fun.)

Playing Tunnels and Trolls at GenCon with new friends who were happy to be there.

8. Football.

When I was young I loved to play football. I’m older now, but I still love to watch it.

9. Cars.

Americans love cars. Mine looks like this–nothing special, but still very nice.

10. Food–especially today’s food. 🙂


11. the internet and all that it makes possible.

12. Libraries.

I was a librarian for 37 years, and there is no finer feeling for me than being in a room full of interesting books.

13. Bookstores (both new and used)

Bound to be good stuff in this bookstore. In fact, there is always good stuff in every bookstore.

14. My books and games–all 2000 of them.

15. Martial arts–I study tai chi, but every martial art is amazing.

This man teaches tai chi with patience and humor, and has taught me everything I know about this martial art.

16. Illustrative art.  I know a lot of artists and they enrich my life daily.

17. God. I suppose one should be thankful to God instead of for God, and that it should be a lot higher on the list, but really, if we didn’t have the good gods (all of them) then the devils and demons would rule and ruin our lives.

18. Animals, especially pets, though I don’t have any right now. I am thankful that they exist to brighten the daily lives of other people, and mine, too, when I encounter them.

19. Fantasy fiction. (Fantasy is my life.) I’m going to include science fiction in this category. It’s just another category of fantasy, after all.

I love heroic fantasy fiction. Things like Conan, or Lord of the Rings, or Elric of Melnibone, but of it all, I really like my own stories best. An author should love his own creations best, i think.

20. Challenge. Life is full of challenges–not all of them good, achievable, or beneficial, but still–the challenges that we face that enable us to grow as individuals. And there is so much more to be thankful for, but a list of 20 seems like more than enough for right now.


Well, that’s a quick look at some of the things I’m thankful for.  One could write praise of the wondeful things our lives give us all day long, but lunch is calling me.  The things I am thankful for also amuse me.  If you’d like to leave a note about what you’re thankful for, please do.


Wreck-It Ralph   1 comment

About ten days ago I went to see Wreck-it Ralph.  I had read a review that made it sound as cutesy as Hotel Transylvania, and that prejudiced me against it, because I saw Hotel, and there were parts of that cartoon that made me gag.  Other parts made me smile, however, so I rated it a C as far as animated movies go.  Everyone else who had seen it said Ralph was great, so I decided to give it a chance.

It turns out to be a pretty good story.  As a cartoon, it does well, all the things that Disney does well.  I have a feeling for misunderstood bad guys.  Every character is an archetype, but their motivations are clear and easily understood.  There’s a message in the movie, and there’s lots of bubblegum music, bright colors, and flashing lights.  What’s not to like?

Well, like some other critics, I kind of gagged on this:

Poor misunderstood racer who just has to win the big race to redeem the world.

And yet, if you forget the annoying kid aspect and cliched storyline, and just let yourself experience the  fun aspects of the Sugar Rush world, it’s great.  I do have the ability, still–Thank the gods!–of being able to turn off my inner curmudgeon/critic.  When that sourpus goes away, even Vannelope Von Schweetz becomes great fun.

I think Disney has a real winner with Wreck-it Ralph.  There’s one really cool concept in the film–Game Central Station, a place where all the characters from various video games can get out of their own games and meet each other on neutral teritory.  It also allows them to enter other games.  I like the idea of characters being able to switch worlds and experience other realities.  I like the idea that there are real personalities, people, and lives in the video games world–by extension in all fictional worlds.

I was in a place like this once, but it was in London and the real world.

It has been a long time since I’ve seen this concept of the wider cartoon/video world inter-acting with our own.  The last time was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  And that was 20 years ago! Jeez!  Time flies when you’re having fun.

What most people forget is that Roger Rabbit featured cameo appearances by dozens of other popular cartoon characters. And it interfaced cartoon reality with human reality. Ralph does the same, but with video game reality taking the place of cartoon reality.

Studios go a long way today to make movies into more than just a one-time trip to the cinema.  Every movie is a merchandizing opportunity, and I’m sure there will be Wreck-it Ralph toys available–if only at the Disney stores.  More immediate fun can be had at the website for the movie.


Disney has a website full of games based on their movies and if you go there you can play the games featured in Wreck-it Ralph.  That would be Fix-it Felix, Hero’s Duty, and Sugar Rush.  Wanna be a space marine fighting alien bugs–you can do it.  Wanna be a wacky racer?  Most of us have the urge for speed, and driving games are always a blast.  Even I liked it, and I have no reflexes and came in last every time I tried it.

So, big thumbs up for Wreck-it Ralph, the movie that proves even bad guys can be heroes.  I’m gonna say, get a kid, or be a kid, and see Wreck-it Ralph.  It’s a better movie than Hotel Transylvania and a lot of fun.  I give it a B+ and predict that Wreck-it Ralph and Fix-it Felix will be with us for years to come.

If you saw Ralph, or would like to live in a stump in a dump full of bricks, why not leave a comment?


A Very Short Halloween Party   5 comments

Last Wednesday was Halloween.  The only thing I had to look forward to on Halloween was the all-day party that was supposed to be happening at Samurai Comics.  I put on my favorite (minimal) costume–that of Ken the Steampunk Adventurer and headed out to Samurai early Wednesday afternoon.

When I arrived the store was almost deserted.  I picked up my comics for the week, trick or treated them, and took these few pictures.

Kelbie was there, and looking very ferocious indeed.

Some strange horny guy was checking out the Magic.

I got my picture taken with this savage cat lady that I found in darkest Comica.

Then I looked around for a little while, paid for my addiction, and left.  I had hoped for dozens of pix of people in fabulous costumes, but you don’t always get what you want.

I did go east and play games with Rick Loomis and his sister Nancy and my son James for the rest of the afternoon.  James won 2 out of 3.  I lost.  I lost by wide margins.

I got back home after dark, and took a walk.  I hadn’t done any walking for the day.  My camera was still in my pocket, and I got this final Halloween shot for 2012.  It’s the Moon, almost full, and very bright.

It looks bigger in person.

Good night, Moon, and goodbye costumes for 2012!

If you’ve ever had a less than exciting Halloween, why not leave a comment, or just tell me what you did for fun this year.