The Doom That Came To The Doom That Came To Atlantic City

I’m 9 for 10 on backing Kickstarter projects, and thus far I’ve been pretty lucky as far as reward fulfillment goes: I reserved my Ouya username, received some Goon digital comics, my copy of Project Ninja Panda Taco is on a bookshelf upstairs, Matthew Wayne Selznick’s Pilgrimage is on my Kindle (I expect my physical copy to arrive any day now), and Shadowrun Returns should be installed on my PC by this time tomorrow.

One more project has promised reward delivery this year and then I’ll have to wait until various points in 2014 and beyond for the other three.

Promotional sticker for The Doom That Came To Atlantic City

Promotional sticker for The Doom That Came To Atlantic City

Hopefully, none of them will turn into the train wreck that is The Doom That Came To Atlantic City!, a board game that not only met its $35,000 funding goal, but more than tripled it. More than 1,200 backers pledged over $120,000 to this Cthulhu/Monopoly mashup a year ago, and yesterday the campaign creator ((Actually would-be publisher The Forking Path. Keith Baker and Lee Moyer, designers of The Doom That Came To Atlantic City!, did not create the Kickstarter campaign.)) announced that the game had been canceled.

The backers—some of whom were surprised that their money was spent on an ill-fated attempt to “launch a new board game company” rather than simply covering manufacturing costs of a game that had been in development for the better part of two decades—are understandably upset. The video and all other material on the Kickstarter campaign page focus on getting The Doom That Came To Atlantic City! printed; nowhere is “launch a new board game company” mentioned. The comments section of the “Terminus” update is filled with information on how to file a fraud complaint depending upon where you live.

More than 400 people pledged $100 or more to fund The Doom That Came To Atlantic City! Updates from The Forking Path in late 2012 gave the impression that the game was at the printer in China. What went wrong? The details are vague, to say the least, but Erik Chevalier, who appears to be the sole voice of The Forking Path has promised a detailed post-mortem and has made a pledge to return backers’ money out of his own pocket. Rights to The Doom That Came To Atlantic City! have reverted to Baker and Moyer, who have offered (in a statement on Baker’s blog) to make a print-and-play version of the game available to Kickstarter backers as soon as possible.

I didn’t back The Doom That Came To Atlantic City!, but thanks to its implosion I am now more aware than ever of the $120+ “investment” I’ve made across four projects that, collectively, raised more than $5 million and hoping that the next update I see in my inbox won’t be one of those trains derailing.

One failed project (no matter how spectacularly or heinously it fails) doesn’t necessarily reflect poorly on Kickstarter as a whole (they’ve gotten some other less-than-wonderful press in the past couple of months), but that won’t stop me from thinking long and hard the next time my cursor hovers over that “Back This Project” button.

URL Alphabet Soup

For no reason whatsoever, I present a list of the websites that Chrome (my web browser of choice) presents when I type in each letter of the alphabet.

A is for Amazon. Probably the site I visit most, whether I’m listening to music on the Cloud Player, shopping for Android apps, renting movies, buying ebooks, or even shopping for actual, physical stuff that will be shipped to me in a box, Amazon is a one-stop shop for emptying my wallet.

B is for Bukkit. Home of CraftBukkit, which is some kinda Minecraft thing.

C is for Concur Solutions. I occasionally use this for expense reporting.

D is for (Google) Drive. The new home of Google Docs, which I use for documents and stuff. You know, spreadsheets.

E is for Wikipedia. I’ve gotten in the habit of typing “en.wikipedia.org” to bypass the Wikipedia landing page and get straight to the English version.

F is for Words With Friends, I mean Facebook. Yeah.

G is for GameServers. The Olde Fartz, my online gaming group, rents Halflife 2 Deathmatch and Minecraft servers here.

H is for HoNoToGroABeMo. How Not To Grow A Beard Month, home of Beards4Boobs, where we are currently (if you’re reading this in November) growing beards and raising money for breast cancer research.

I is for IMDb. I look up information about movies, television shows and actors. A lot. No surprise there.

J is for Google, which means I don’t visit sites that start with J.

K is for Kickstarter. Crowd funding! What have I funded? Project Ninja Panda Taco, Pilgrimage and The Goon, for…starters.

L is for Least I Could Do. Finally, a webcomic! This one isn’t safe for the kiddies. But it’s funny.

M is for (Google) Maps. Because I really don’t trust our old, outdated, off-brand GPS.

N is for Netflix. The last thing I watched: Denjin Zabôgâ: Gekijô-ban.

O is for Onion. America’s finest (satirical) news source.

P is for (Google) Plus. Google does social networking.

Q is for Questionable Content. Another webcomic! Also not safe for the kiddies. Hmm, am I sensing a trend?

R is for Raw Story. A news site, I guess. Really? I’m sure I must have gone there once during the election hubbub, but…really?

S is for Star Wars. Specifically, Star Wars Reads Day, which Kyle and I attended in at the Perry Public Library last month.

T is for (Google) Translate. My dad posts stuff on Facebook in Suomi (Finnish), and if it’s not profanity I need some help with translation.

U is for Upworthy. Some kind of social media/news thing, I guess.

V is for Google, which helpfully suggests Verizon Wireless.

W is for Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library. I’ve entered my library card number enough times that I’ve got in memorized.

X is for Xbox. Because a certain young apprentice might want to play a demo fo the latest LEGO game.

Y is for YouTube. Minecraft tutorials! Gangnam style! Crazy Star Wars-themed music videos!

Z is for Google, which isn’t really surprising, since the only “Z” website I can think of off the top of my head is Zillow, and I’m not in the market for a house.

The Taken Trailers

I enjoyed Liam Neeson kicking hectares of ass in Taken and I’m sure the sequel will ramp the action up even higher, but let’s be honest: even the trailer feels a bit like a rerun.

Here’s a snippet of dialog from the trailer for Taken (2008):
Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) on a cell phone to his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace): “Now, the next part is very important: they are going to take you.”

And here’s a bit from the trailer for Taken 2 (2012):
Bryan Mills on a cell phone to his daughter: “Listen to me carefully, Kim: your mother is gonna be taken.”

I think I see where this is going.

Taken 3 (2016)
Bryan Mills on a cell phone to his daughter: “Kim, this is important: they’re going to take the dog…to a puppy farm upstate.”

Taken 4 (2020)
Bryan Mills on a cell phone to his daughter: “Listen, Kim: they’re going to take your order; make sure to get me a Diet Coke, and your mom wants onion rings instead of fries.”

Taken 5 (2025)
Bryan Mills on a cell phone to his daughter: “Julie…I mean, Kim…take the f$&%ing elephant!”

Not so fast, buddy.

"Anna at the not so express lane" by redjar

Photo by redjar

I was in the express checkout line at Target with two items: a tire pressure gauge and a pair of kids’ swim goggles. The store was packed; all other checkout lines were full of people. There were only two customers in front of me. I thought all was well…

…and then the cashier asked whether the guy at the front of the line would be interested in signing up for a Target credit card.

The guy said, sure, he’d love to sign up for a Target credit card.

The cashier needed to see the guy’s driver’s license.

The guy needed to enter his annual income on the keypad. The cashier guided him through the process, explaining that he should just enter what he thought, in his opinion, he was bringing in a year.

The cashier explained the privacy policies; he went over which data would and would not be retained by the store.

The cashier explained how the credit card works—that payment must be made within 25 days of receiving the bill.

The were still there, processing the guy’s credit application—in the express checkout line—when I moved to the other express checkout line…only to be told by the cashier there that she was closing her register.

They were still there, processing the guy’s credit application—in the express checkout line—when I checked out at the photo counter.

They were still there, processing the guy’s credit application—in the only open express checkout line—when I left the store with my two items.

Spider on My Head: Day 7

If I’ve learned anything from seven days of spiders on my head, it’s that I probably wouldn’t have a head after the eighth day. And while I’m sure an illustration of my decapitated corpse might appeal to someone—this is the Internet, after all—it’s not likely to be anyone who reads this blog with any regularity.

Art by Natalie Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Many, many thanks to Natalie for turning my silly whim into…not reality, but perhaps surreality. As always, click the image for added embiggaliciousness.

FUN FACT: Just as the spider in today’s illustration is watching me, there is probably a spider watching you right now. Watching you with eight eyes. Tell me that doesn’t make you just a little bit paranoid.

Spider on My Head: Day 6

In the nearly nine years they’ve been living at the International House of Johnson, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have not proven to be especially effective spider hunters; they are, at best, inconsistent. I can recall one occasion when one of the cats (Rosie, I believe) cornered a spider and “played” with the arachnid until it expired. There was a rather unenthusiastic attempt at consuming the recently-deceased, but apparently spiders don’t taste very good and I ultimately had to dispose of the corpse myself. Since that day, I’ve seen eight-legged intruders trundle across the floor inches away from one cat or the other, in full view and yet completely ignored.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the cat sleeping behind me in today’s illustration displays nary a hint of the predator-prey instinct, nor any sort of compulsion to protect its master from enormous, hideously-befanged arachnid horror.

Art by Natalie Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Click to embiggenize.

FUN FACT: I can only assume that The Bosom & The Bacon (a) was written by Jane Austen, is (b) an immediate sequel to Pride & Prejudice, and (c) features Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet Darcy in a rather ribald kitchen scene that at least partially inspired the film 9 1/2 Weeks. I would totally read this novel. In hardcover. Twice.

Spider on My Head: Day 5

I think it’s safe to say that the tenuous link between reality and fantasy has been severed in today’s illustration. I mean, when was the last time Important Stuff—even as an abstract—was discussed in a meeting?

Art by Natalize Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Click for embiggory.

FUN FACT: Spiders are not my Apex Phobia. I believe they rank 3rd, overall. Immediately above spiders: heights. At the very top of the list: losing my glasses. I don’t even know if there’s a proper -phobia name for that.

Spider on My Head: Day 4

I read once that you are never more than three feet from a spider, which seems entirely plausible in my case but is actually another spider myth. Today’s spider is large enough to pose a real threat…to my sandwich. It’s bad enough that the thing is an eight-legged denizen of my worst nightmares, now I have to worry about it stealing my lunch, too.

Art by Natalie Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Click for the embiggening.

FUN FACT: I don’t eat cold Swiss cheese, so that bit of hole-riddled stuff sticking out of my sandwich is something else entirely.

Spider on My Head: Day 3

“Here in my car, I go safest of all…” — Gary Numan, “Cars”

Spiders frequently take up residence in the driver’s-side wing mirror on the MvoD, but they rarely manage to infiltrate the passenger compartment. This is probably a good thing, as the only thing more likely to make me freak out and drive into a ditch would be a swarm of bees. Or even a single bee. As a general rule, if it has more than four legs and/or wings, it shouldn’t be in the minivan with me or bad things are bound to happen.

Art by Natalie Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Click to embiggenate.

FUN FACT: I do not own a Darth Vader bobblehead or a dangly Sharktopus, but I now want them both. Maybe that’s a Sharktopus air-freshener, which would probably do little in the way of freshening air; quite the opposite, I expect.

Spider on My Head: Day 2

To paraphrase Henry Jones, Sr., my situation has not improved. Having survived yesterday’s encounter with an arachnid in my bed, I am somewhat dismayed to learn that certain varieties of spiders are attracted to the minty-fresh scent of AquaFresh Extra Whitening toothpaste.

Art by Natalie Metzger (AKA, The Fuzzy Slug). Click to embiggenify.

FUN FACT: You may have heard that the average person unwittingly swallows eight spiders each year while he or she sleeps. Not only is this untrue, it was made up by PC Professional columnist Lisa Holst as an example of silly things people believe just because they read them on the Internet.