Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Score 1 for affirmative action

Edit 2009-05-27: I thought I should try to give credit for the above. I found it posted in a recent discussion at dragonsfoot. Now I don't know who to blame for the "inspirational poster", but I think that the artist responsible for the Orc Chick herself is Ursula Vernon. I couldn't find this specific image anywhere, but Ursula has painted the same "model" on Elfwood (warning: NSFW) and I reckon they match. As per the FAQ giving permission to post images to the net, I hereby give credit to the appropriate recipient!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Spiced coffee

I like coffee. I like spices.

The idea of mixing them together seemed quite appropriate. There is such a thing as spiced tea (Masala chai) which I have had and enjoyed, but I like coffee more and wondered how I would go about making a nice spiced coffee.

At home, we tend to use the stove-top espresso maker. I find it gives a stronger brew than our home electric coffee maker and has the added advantage of making a nice big batch than you can go back to for seconds.

So here's what I did: Filled the basket up with coffee, added in a couple of cloves and a piece of cinnamon. Worked wonders! My standard batch now also includes a small amount of ginger (I keep grated ginger in my freezer so that I can use if for my ginger beer). It gives just enough kick to make things interesting.

Note 1: we have black unsweetened coffee in our house. I imagine that this would still be nice even with milk or sugar, but you might perhaps need to use a bit more spice.

Note 2: I've also tried nutmeg and star anise. The nutmeg is a bit too pungent for my liking (though in small amounts is OK) and the anise was tasty (though my wife would disagree) but it leaves the pot tasting of it for a few more batches afterward. YMMV.

In hindsight, this whole idea seems to be something much more common than I had thought. For example, I found the photo here after only a minute of searching and this looks exactly like the way I make it. Perhaps I'm not as insightful as I sometimes like to think.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

They have got to be kidding

Yeah. Right.

While tidying my sidebars recently, I updated my token adsense ad (surely an act of purest optimism to even bother). Probably because my topics here are all over the place, I can never predict the sorts of ads that might turn up.

Have a look at one that I noticed today:

"Novel Writing Software. Guaranteed To Have Your Novel In A Month Working Only 1 Hour a Day."

1 hour a day? For a month?

I don't think so. It took me three goes at nanowrimo to even get a crap 50,000 word story happening.

That'd want to be some super magic software. Don't think I'll be clicking on it.

Monday, 18 May 2009

BFRPG supplements

I've recently been involved in preparing a couple of supplements for Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game.

One of these is all my own work; a selection of pre-generated equipment packs designed to make the already easy character generation even easier. Check it out here: Equipment Packs: A Basic Fantasy Supplement.

The second is a bundle of options for Backgrounds (that is: what your character did before adventuring) and Specialties (what your character does in addition to general class duties). These rules just give a few small changes to what your character can do. Of course, you could (and should) just write all this stuff in your character back-story but this supplement puts a few things in concrete for you.

Note, 99% of the work in this supplement was done by James Roberts, I just took the stuff off the Dragonsfoot workshop forum and formatted it. The publisher (+Chris Gonnerman) just decided that was enough to get my name on the credits! Get it here: Backgrounds and Specialties: A Basic Fantasy Supplement.

And while you are there, check out Quick Character Generation: A Basic Fantasy Supplement by +Chris Kutalik which does much of what the other two supplements do and more!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Where have you been?

It's been almost three months since I've posted. A far cry short of the 15 posts in the month of August last year and even less than the two I managed during NaNoWriMo (when I managed to finish a 52k+ novel as well).

You know why I haven't managed anything? It could be that I had nothing useful to say (I'm sure there would be plenty out there who would say that most of my posts were also made when I had nothing useful to say). I could perhaps have been too busy. Having a rest?

No, none of those.

Simply put, every time I do into the admin section, I fiddle. Fiddle with the plugins, the themes, the widgets and whatever else looks interesting. Tweak things to make them look or work better. Generally procrastinate.

From someone who makes a point of saying that presentation is a lot less important than content, this was a bit of nasty revelation. It wasn't that long ago that I was telling my #2 son off for writing a project with colours and fonts and everything organised as he went (didn't help that he kept getting grumpy with it when it wouldn't work like he wanted) instead of worrying about what he wanted to say first.

So I won't make any promises, but from here on it, I'll try to post more often than I change the theme!