The Jawaballs Video of the Month!

The Conflict GT 2012

Hey guys,

So my next big event is coming up in January, The Conflict GT!  Click HERE for tickets.

Why should you go to The Conflict?  Well, it is close!  The Conflict is held at the Palisades Mall in Nanuet, NY, just north of New York City. It is convenient to all of the north east, from DC to Maine!  For me it is an hour away, which means I don't have to drive forever to get there.  So I can actually go home in the evening and not have massive wife agro.  To put it straight, if you live in the greater New York City area, you should be at The Conflict.

The 2010 Conflict Loot. Note the cup! Players
organize themselves into teams of 4. Each team totals
their overall score. The highest total wins the cup!


To be sure, it has had it's share of problems in the past. But last year's conflict was massive jump in the right direction. I had been pretty critical of the event, but TO Aaron Fishkow took every word I said to heart, as well as every one else's, and made it right. He sought out opinion, and listened.  He eliminated what was bad, and improved what was good.  Simple right?

The biggest two improvements are adding a new venue, and dropping the comp system.

The previous venue was Toywiz, which was not a bad place, but not really big enough for the numbers of players.  I believe there were close to 200 including Fantasy and 40k?

The new venue, a meeting hall at The Palisades Mall about 5 miles away from Toywiz, is immensely better. The room is much bigger and spacious, and the mall itself is great because there are limitless food options as appropriate for one of the biggest malls in New York State.

Probably the most important change Aaron made for last year though, was changing the rules. The previous incarnations had a comp system, which was poorly implemented. As such, there were more than a few unhappy players. Comp is a touchy subject, and time limits on tournament games are pretty much a form of comp as it is since guys simply cannot play some armies. But once dudes found out that they probably could not win the Conflict if they played Vulcan, interest dwindled pretty fast.  It is not that comp was a totally horrible thing, it is that it was implemented in an inconsistent and arbitrary way.  Those two words spell doom for a 40k GT.

So, Aaron sacked it all. The Conflict is a battle point GT. Guys go there knowing that they are going to beat face, or get their faces beaten.  Mixing in stealth comp was a bad combo.  Da Boyz have a pretty good hold over the Comp GT thing and all guys going there should understand the expectations.  Such is how it should be for any GT.  That was something Aaron learned, and he made every effort to make last years Conflict as transparent as possible.

End result? A great GT!  Last year went off without a hitch.  Well, sorta. In my opinion, last year Aaron went over board the other way. The old saying is true, "If you want something done right, do it yourself." But Aaron tried to do way too much by himself.  He needs to do what Mike Brandt did at The Nova.  Get 2 or 3 guys you can absolutely trust, jaw their ears off to make sure they are on absolutely the same page as you, and let them run their respective parts of the show. Then Aaron should set back and watch the magic happen. He needs to be the welcoming face to The Conflict, and appoint some brute to be the Rules Judge for example.  He should also appoint a paint judge.  I know, easier said than done, but it would help a lot.  That way when dudes like me whine about our paint scores, we won't accuse the TO of playing favorites and so forth.  :)

Most importantly is the last part I touched on. The TO should appear to remain unbiased.  He should not get personally involved in settling rules disputes and paint scores.  Yes, he is the final word, but should only be tapped by a rules judge who needs a final ruling.  Know what I mean?  Brandt was a master at this.  He walked around Nova and shook hands with a smile, while his trusted henchmen took the beef.  He only got involved with rulings when absolutely necessary.

So any way, what is new for this year?  Well, Aaron added more stuff!  There is a doubles tournament for both 40k and Fantasy, but also there are tournaments for Flames of War and Warmachines!  Once again we see Privateer Press getting some love.

It seems The Conflict is becoming more than just a GT.  How bout a hobby event right in our New York City back yard!  Aaron has refined the rules, and organized the time so that things happen smooth and well.  This year's Conflict is shaping up to be the best one yet!

One of my favorite things? The point totals.  The Conflict is a 1750 tournament.  In my opinion, a much needed total in the days of 2k events.  40k becomes less competitive at 2k points with a couple armies able to bring every thing but the kitchen sink. 1750 helps to level the playing field a bit because for some armies, that extra 250 points just doesnt buy very much. In fact, I actually think it will help my army. I will only lose The Sanguinor. But I know that I will be facing much more manageable sized armies across the table!

So there you go, I hope to see you all at The Conflict GT on January 13, 14 and 15.

Jawaballs

Eldar Ulthwe, the next Jawa-project

So, I finally decided upon my next major army project. I am putting the finishing touches up on a lingering commission this week, and am clearing the slate for a while so I can focus on my own stuff, sorta.

I will be painting a NMM GK terminator to be given away as a charity promotion at Templecon in February. That won't take a day though.

And of course, there is the 2012 "Heroes" project.  I have no clue what it is going to be yet!

Before that though, I want to try to pump out an Eldar army.  I have always wanted to, and at one point had a good start to an Iyanden army.  But as my interests grew, the Eldar faded to the back burner and beyond.



So why Ulthwe?  At Nova I was speaking with a fantastic painter and modeler named Dan and we started thinking about doing a team army project based on the Horus Heresy.  He was planning an Emperor's Children army, so I thought that doing the confrontation between Eldrad and Fulgrim!  My Eldar army was instantly born.  Plus, if the rumors are true, they should be getting some outstanding love next summer with a new book and an appearance in the next box set.  By the way, I will be trading away any chaos crap I get in the new box sets for your Eldar.  :)  Bottom line here, 2012 is going to be the year for the Eldar. It's a great time to start.

My army is going to be fairly diverse and fun. So, I don't plan to win a lot of games with it at first. Oh well! This is the age of artsy Jawaballs I guess.  I like a lot of the Eldar units, and plan on using as many as I can.  I like that the Ulthwe focus on their super guardians, but it would not Eldar without aspect units, so here we go with my first draft of a list:

Eldrad of course
Eldrads Warlock council (converted)

Avatar

Guardian jet bikes with warlock

2 squads of guardians converted from various high elf and eldar parts

Fire Dragons with serpent. (Gotta have the dragons!)

Pathfinders of course

Harlequins

2 wraith lords. I ordered the Forgeworld Wraithseer model. cant wait to paint it!

1 Falcon grav tank.  This is gona be the ride for the harlies.  I am going to paint it all decked out in harlequin stuff. It should be sick!

Wraithguard with lock in a serpent

As you can see there is quite a variety, chosen for artistic purposes. I plan on doing some sweet conversions for the guardians and warlocks.  Also, I plan on doing some sweet hand painting on the serps.  I love them for their large open spaces.  They are like blank canvases. Jetbikes are also great for this purpose.  I love the eldar because they have a lot of great imagry and use banners.  Lots of chances to make this army truly special.

As the army evolves, I will of course add to it. Especially when the new dex drops and new competitive Eldar lists pop up.  My considerable ego cant take yet another year of beat downs in the GT circuit, no matter how pretty the army is!  :)  I have to have an army that competes.

Now, to figure out how to paint these things, and that is where you come in.  I suck at web searching. I looked up "how to paint ulthwe" "painting ulthwe master class" and you name it.  You see, I need these to look special.  Black spray with grey highlights just wont work.  I plan on doing blended and shaded black, but i have no idea how!  I am not too worried about the bone color, though suggestions are welcome.

So, perhaps those of you who are adept at web searches, or more familiar with the forums can help! I need masterclass level tutorials for painting black.  I'm talking Golden demon level difficulty.  Honestly, a tutorial on bone color would not hurt either. Most of what I have found relies heavily on washes.  I prefer to use washes as an accent, not primary painting tool.  What do you guys think? Feel free to share links. In fact, we can make this a new resource for painting Ulthwe and or black.  Share your links and information, and I will edit them into the copy of this post.  Or email them to me. we can make this a work in progress!

So there you have it. The new Jawa army, a community project!  This is a chance for me to do something completely new, and for you to help!

Now to give my wife my wish list, and the Spikey Bits phone number. :)

Jawaballs

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 6

"What's the world coming to sir?"

"The world aint coming to nothing son, it's the same as it always was."

The opening lines from Hell On Wheels.


SPOILER ALERT:  And once again, I welcome your comments, but please keep them to only discussing this show, not the comic.  Thanks!

The Shooting Line




I don't think any words I could have chosen for the last episode of The Walking Dead until February could have been more appropriate. The episode makes a pretty huge political statement hidden within zombie drama.  People killing people.  When Rick was helping Scowl pull the zombies out of the swamp, scowl was preaching about the fact that there are a lot of sick people roaming around out there, and Rick picked up on his meaning. He was not talking about zombies.

The world is the same as it always was. Zombies, indians, survivors whatever. It is all just about people killing people. Or as Carl puts it, "every thing is just food for something else."  The walking dead got all philosophical on us!

Last week I said that in order for the series to move on/survive, they need to wrap up two loose ends pretty quickly that have really put a cork in Season Two. The zombie barn and Sophia being gone.  Who would have guessed that they would wrap them up both at the same time!  Seriously though, were any of you surprised that Sophia was zombified and in the barn? She had been missing for weeks. The fact that they had not found her, or found her body meant that she must be a zombie walking around at this point.

The question is, did Scowl know that she was in the barn?  If you caught the sneak peak of the new episode you see him deny it and blame Otis, but really?  It makes more sense now. It is one thing to have a barn full of zombies, but Scowl was being ever more persistent that the gang had to leave, especially once they found out.  It was really bordering on crazy. Which is why Rick could not understand.  Now that they know about the zombies, of course Scowl would not want them to find out that he had been keeping the little girl that they were looking for locked up.

A couple of important things happened in this show.

Rick Takes Charge:

Shane had been going on for weeks about how Rick needs to take charge and make the tough decision. Here is the difference between the two of them. Shane takes the easy way out, as Dale points out in their confrontation. When the world goes to shit, it is easy to let loose your human morals and become an animal. Hell, it may even be necessary. Shane says that Rick does not have the tools to survive in the new reality. But is it Rick's lack of tools, or his possession of the one tool that Shane lacks that divides them? Rick has morals. Shane does not.  Shane is also a coward in a lot of ways as I spoke about a few weeks ago.

The way Shane dealt with the barn at the end of the episode displays this fact.  To give kudos to AMC once again, the final 10 minutes of this episode were some of the finest I have ever seen on ANY tv program.  Shane busted open the doors in a psycho anti rule melt down.  When he cannot handle things, he resorts to violent outburst. Case in point. The inability of Scowl to see the zombies for what they were sent Shane over the edge. Shane started shooting Scowls neighbor zombie in the chest to prove his point.  He shot that chick 8 times before finally ending it by putting a bullet in her head.  At this point, every one was just standing bye and watching. Rick was trying to get some one to take the rod attached to the zombie he had. Every one just stood there in a daze. The only one who was trying to act, aside from Shane, could not.

It actually amazed me how every one else just stood there all slack jawed. Even Scowl. I kept waiting for him to attack Shane, or even scream. But he just stood there staring. His world unraveling right before his eyes.  Exactly what he feared was going to happen did.  Now people he cared about were being shot right before his eyes, hell he was even the accessory to the killing by holding the zombie there for Shane to shoot!  But was his inaction bad acting or good?  None of us can imagine ourselves in the same situation. I guess that is animal nature.  When things become too hot for some of us, we shut down. Scowl's look and in fact all of them, reminded me of the beheading video I had the misfortune to have watched.  Disbelief. Somethings are just too insane to wrap our minds around. "This isn't happening!"

But it did. Shane busted open the barn. Every one stood there except for Rick until Shane finally killed the other tethered zombie. Then every one lined up and started shooting.  The chaos of the scene was delicious. I honestly cant imagine it any differently.

In the end though, it was not Shane being decisive. It was Shane being a coward. He knew he could break down the doors because he had a dozen guns behind him.  He was not making the tough call. He was taking the fast track out of responsibility. One way or another, opening those doors was going to allow them to move on and force the decision from Rick. The only brave decision to happen here was Rick's. Hence the division between the two.  When the time came to be in charge, Rick stepped up and put a bullet in Sophia zombie's head. No hesitation.  In a split second, Rick made the only decision of the season that has any real consequence or ramification. He shot Sophia. Sometimes a leader has to make the tough call.

Glen the ladies man:


So let me get this straight. All you have to do when a chick is pissed off at you is tell her your thoughts, and she starts making out with you and doing your laundry?  Perhaps Glen knows a bit more about women than I thought. "I don't always drink beer, but when I do I drink Dos Equis!"

Glen took a couple of steps in character progression.  First of all, he wanted to step up and be a group leader. He is young and he wanted Dale's support first, but when it was time he blurted out the secrets he was keeping.  But more than that, he became a man in other ways. Glen is our little Luke Skywalker and is coming of age. All good stories need one.  You see, the audience needs some one they can associate with. In our case, the audience is a bunch of ravenous nerds.  What are some other examples of good Television characters inserted for the audience to latch onto?

Stargate Universe: The nerd genius.  Don't remember his name.
Battlestar Galactica (the new one): Tough one, but definitely Starbuck
Heroes: At first Peter, but actually Sylar in a weird way took over that role, and that of the vilian. (Unique)

In movies we can tap an endless list of characters like Rocky and Marty McFly.

So Glen is coming of age. He has a pretty clear obstacle to overcome. The fact that he is considered a goofy kid. Rick even refers to him as their group's "go to town" guy.  He is not really respected for what he brings to the table. Father figure? He has two, though only Dale is the true mentor. Rick is too busy dealing with other stuff.  Love interest? CHECK.

Good drama is created by taking these characters and allowing us to see how they grow and respond.  Eventually they win the day and get the girl. Today was Glen's day.  He established himself as a man with the group by finally spilling his guts, and then supporting Shane when it mattered and taking up arms. He established himself as a man with Becky by setting her straight and showing her that he is more than just zombie bait.  He played it right when the zombies were charging out of the barn by nodding to Becky for support, as if he needed it, then joining the gun line and getting the job done.  Now all we need him to do is confront Vader and the circle will be complete!

Foreshadowing:


As you figured out, I am a little weird in that when I watch something, I like to analyze it and break it down.  I like to get in the heads of the characters and try to figure out what makes them tick.  Good acting makes this easy.  But also, I like to try to watch shows for blatant tricks of story telling. In this case, foreshadowing is something I always try to catch, to see if I predicted the future right.

Well I saw a couple of glimpses involving Carl that scream FORESHADOWING!  First of all, Carl aggressively talked down Shane.  Even swearing at him!  He, wearing Rick's hat, spoke his mind and put Shane in his place.  Then later, Shane and Carl shared a little scene where Shane handed him a gun.  Carl's dressing down of Shane made Shane understand that he was not a boy any more and worthy of carrying heat. But more importantly, sets the stage for the future.

A few weeks ago I predicted that it was going to come to a head between Rick and Shane.  I predicted that Daryl was going to have to make moral decisions regarding this confrontation, and the show has been dropping hints lately about which way he might go, but I more importantly predicted that it would be Glen who steps up and backs up Rick, perhaps even shooting Shane.  Now I am convinced that the confrontation is still going to happen, but it won't be Glen or Daryl that steps up to help. It will be Carl.

Carl confronting Shane while wearing Rick's hat foreshadows the inevitable battle that will occur. And Shane handing Carl the gun, foreshadows how it will go down.  Neither of those scenes were important for the story, other than to set the stage for what is to come.

In fact, this episode did a lot of stage setting.  How about a little mature loving between Sophia's mom and Daryl? How bout a great big fizzle between Dale and Shane.  Dale definitely did not have the minerals to do what it takes in the new world. Who will?

It's easy to say by the way, but if it were me, I think I would have pulled that trigger when Dale did not.  The world is gone, it is now Wild West time.  You are a predator, or prey. Dale is prey. Shane is a predator. The only problem is, there is always a bigger predator.  Every one is food for something!  They always say that if you are going to level a gun at some one, you better be prepared to use it.  Dale was not.  I'm pretty sure that in an end of the world situation, I would have pulled the trigger. When you are facing a bigger predator, and you are prey, you need to act not hide if you have the chance. That is one decision that will come back to bite Dale in the ass.

So where does this leave us?  Waiting for February!  The barn and Sophia are resolved. All of the secrets are out. The group is now free to go, a little stronger, and a little weaker.  The preview for next episode shows them looking for Scowl who disappears and talking about Benning again.  But frankly I don't care.  No matter what they do, I will be watching.

Jawaballs

Battle report part one Jawaballs Blood Angels vs Ted Nagle Space Wolves

BAAL PRIME:

With a startle, High Priest Corbulo awoke.  He took a moment to gather his thoughts and consolidate his dream, then leaped from his rejuvenation vestibule. "Lord Mephiston must be notified."  He grumbled as he strode from the chamber, the Blood Chalice ever dangling from his hip in it's sacred satchel.

After stopping to gather one of his subordinates, Corbulo took a calculated risk, he only knocked once before entering Lord Mephiston's chamber reverie. A lessser Blood Angel could have his throat sundered for such a transgression, and Sanguinary Priest Estrode made no attempt at hiding the fact that he lagged behind several feet, but Corbulo was different. A veteran of countless engagements at the side of Mephiston, his presence was too familiar not to announce itself to Mephiston's keen senses. No doubt the master Librarian already knew he was there.

"What is it that interrupts my meditations priest?" The menace in Mephiston's voice sent a shiver down Estrode's back. "Lord Mephiston, I must speak to you immediately."  Corbulo stated with the authority few but the head Sanguinary Priest could carry in the presence of the risen one. Mephiston replied, "Is not Dante Lord of the Blood Angels? shouldn't he hear your pressing concerns?" "Respectfully Sir, You are in command. Lord Dante is off world, investigating rumors of the Grey Knights." Corbulo stammered, his immense confidence shaken by Mephiston's impossibly oppressive aura.  He heard Estrode shuffle uncomfortably behind him.

"It seems sir that the Grey Knights must have uncovered some ancient and incredible cache of technology. Every time they have been sighted in recent engagements, they have been bristling with incredible numbers of Psy cannons!"

"They seem to have even more disposable ancient weaponry than the veteran squads of the Imperial Guard."  Corbulo lamented, dreaming of a Blood Angels armory stocked full of ancient Plasma and Melta weapons.  "In addition to that" the priest added, "It seems that all of their rank and file knights have been replaced with none other than Purifiers." Mephiston let go a long, disgusted hiss. "But I was under the impression that Purifiers were soldiers of the highest regard. Their training regiment kills ninety nine percent of them. Only one in a million men even has the fortitude and talent to enter the training."

"How could it be that so many Grey Knight strike forces are entirely staffed with such Astartes? Where do they get the men??"

"I don't know sir." Corbulo replied. "That is what Lord Dante has gone to sort out. He will surely get to the bottom of this."

"Indeed" quipped the librarian as his anger began to subside. "Now, what brings you to my chamber?

Estrode's skin began to crawl slightly less.

"A vision came to me in my sleep sir." "A son of Russ, corrupted by the taint of chaos. His men are unaware." Corbulo informed his master.

"The Space Wolves continued insubordination already borders on heresy. Their silly infatuation with adorning their armor with animal pelts wreaks of warp taint. But they are loyal."  Mephiston mused.

"But your talented fore sight is not necessary for me to also sense the corruption in their captain."  Mephiston motioned the priests over to his personal com system and fingered the appropriate code to activate the holo emitter. An image of a Space Wolf captain named Nagle sprang to life in the display.



"Thats the one sir, nothing good will come from this one's actions."  Corbulo snarled with contempt. "Shall I muster my strike force and intercept the tainted captain?

"High Priest, you are a capable commander, and have brought much glory to our chapter, but you are needed here." Mephiston commented as he eyed the current location of Nagle's army flashing on the holo projection.

MECHANICON... MECHANICON... MECHANICON


Mephiston continued, "Yes, this Mechanicon seems to be ripe with taint. Every year we are sending forces to put down insurrection and warp spawn."  With a touch of a finger, a record of recent Bloood Angels exploits sprang up on the display. "Two years ago Lord Dante and yourself went to meet the threat with good results, and last year, my own Codicer Marle descended upon Mechanicon and swept the field, claiming victory in the name of Sanguinius."

"No Priest, this time, I will investigate Mechanicon personally, and put an end to this threat once and for all" the librarian ensured. "Prepare the battle barge Tycho for an immediate departure. Two assault squads and our terminators from the First Company should be enough, along with some of your assault priests, chaplain Hamme, and a few neophytes from the scout reserves.  Oh, and have the techpriests arouse my old friend Dreadnought Lythan. I'm sure he would not mind some field service."  Mephiston commanded.

"Immediately sir." Corbulo assured the librarian.

"Oh and Corbulo," Mephiston smiled, "Send along your new priest there, Estrode." Estrode's pride swelled at the mention of his name, only to be chased with bile as he realized he would be spending extended time in Mephiston's presence.  And that the librarian knew his name.


More to come...

Jawaballs

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episod 6?

WARNING: Spoiler alert. Don't read this article if you have not seen this episode.

First thing first.  Once again, I ask that if you have knowledge of the comic book, you keep it to yourself.  In this particular discussion we are talking about a Television series. Knowing about the future based on the comic does nothing four our discussion here.  Plus, they are two very different medium. I have made the point a few times before, but to be short, we are responding to THIS story. Not the one told in comic book form. Frankly, I don't discuss movies with guys who have read "the book first". You simply cannot compare! I have never heard an account of some one who "likes the movie more". So please don't comment about what is going to happen based on the comic book, or how the book explains what is going on in peoples heads.

I can't be much more clear than that!

Now on with the show.

It opens up with ominous words from Scowl.  Dale approaches him with the news that Glen has spilled about walkers being in the barn.  Of course Scowl plays the "that is my wife" point of view.  This leaves little room to play with. It presents two points of view. Scowl's, upon which he wants to preserve walkers in an attempt to save them, or Rick's, who knows that walkers are simply shells of their previous selves and need to be put down.  This reinforces the duality of human nature.  We are the most creative and most destructive species on the planet.  At some point, that conflict is going to come to a head.



Overall, I loved the episode.  After abandoning any sort of expectations of what I wanted the show to be, I can sit back and enjoy it for what it is.  Great writing and great drama.

Very little happened in this show plot or action wise, but several little plots did start to bubble up.

Dale is a Jedi:


The guy has been around since the start, and as I mentioned before, always seems to be the one that every body goes to when they need to get something off their chest.  But he seems to be very manipulative in how he uses his knowledge.  First of all, he squeezed out of Glen the two big secrets.  But instead of confronting them directly and sharing them with the leadership of the group, he goes behind the scenes and pulls strings.  Kind of like how Obi Wan manipulated Luke into going with him telling him the story of his farther "from a certain point of view."  So instead of talking to Rick about the zombies he goes to Scowl!  Nothing good could come from that. Plus, who is Dale in the dynamics of the farm? He is the guy who stands around the camper and cooks Spam. Now he  thinks he is the guy who has to go confront weird farmer dude concerning the gaggle of zombies in the barn?

Oh and talk about freaky scenes by the way, how about the chick breaking the chicken's leg then feeding it to the zombies!  I got shivers when she callously snapped it's bones and it started shrieking.  Great stuff.

Then Dale needs to approach Lori about the baby. This is ok though. It is in his character to be concerned about the women in the party. It makes sense that once he hears about her pregnancy, he would open up discussion about it.

But then he confronts Shane in a weird jealousy thing. What was he thinking? Sure, he saw Shane level his gun at Rick and that definitely caused some trepidation. But I don't think that Shane's story left any thing for Dale to be suspicious about.  If Shane was a little vague, could it not simply be because it was a horrible experience and Shane feels bad that the guy gave his life for him?  It is definitely not something that should have raised Dale's hackles.  I think the writers are giving him some sort of meta gaming spidey sense.

At any rate, the dude is setting himself up for a fall, as Shane points out in no uncertain terms.



Shane is Cool:


Aside from Daryl, who spent the episode poking holes in his tent with an arrow, Shane is my next most favorite character.  I like his pragmatic outlook on reality.  Times are a changing and Shane is ready for the change!  He is not holding onto any old world moralistic view like Rick.  He is taking action and getting things done.

Speaking of Shane allow me to side track for a minute. Have any of you really sprained an ankle like Shane did? That was pretty bad! I know when I sustained a sprain like that I was limping for days.  Most times when you roll an ankle, you can still function well for a while because of adrenaline and lack of immediate swelling. Only after do you really start to limp. It takes a pretty serious sprain to render you almost unable to walk. An injury like that can be worse than a break and take weeks to go away. Shane seems to be totally recovered! My point is that the show seems to disregard continuity. As far as I know, the entire season so far has only spanned a few days.  In that time, Carl was shot in the gut and has recovered. (It took his father months to recover from a similar injury.)  Daryl got an arrow through the gut, and was shot in the head but only seems to be laid up because he was forced to stay put. Shane suffered an ankle sprain which should have had him limping for a week. These guys have some serious regenerative abilities! They are like Wolverine.

Back to Shane, I like the point of view that he introduces to the group. I also like how he does things. Going to the housing development had nothing to do with looking for Sophia. It was about putting the blonde in a situation that would force her hand.  He knows that sometimes potential is not realized until it is forced out. And he knew that he would likely find walkers in that town. So he convinced her to go so he could see how she performs.  Of course, it was convenient that a horde of walkers would attack when there were none only minutes before.  The Walking Plot points did their job. I mean seriously, they drove in and didn't see a single walker. Before they entered the house, they scanned the area, still no walkers.  They were inside for at most a minute.  They entered the house, cleared the rooms, stopped to ponder the sealed up door and pile of dead, then went down to the garage and gawked at the burned bodies. In that time a dozen walkers came from out of nowhere, sprinted up to the house, and started clawing their way into the precise spot that they were standing.  It is like the walkers were hiding behind the house across the street, and waited for them to go inside, knowing they were going to be in the garage where they could corner them. Sigh.

I loved the scene that played out in the house.  We got to catch a glimpse of a battle that happened in that home as the occupants tried to mount a home defense. They had a good zombie plan. They walled off the hallway that lead to the stairs to the basement/garage.  I would love to see that scene played out! Maybe in webisode form.  There was a pile of dead walkers in the kitchen. It must have been a nasty gun fight! And how did the garage get burned out? How did they bash through the sealed up wall?  So many opportunities to tell a great story!

I chuckled when Shane left the blonde to fend for herself on the street. And predictably, she found her way and became a marksman.  I know I'm breaking my own rules, but apparently in the comic she is some sort of sniper.  Honestly I wish I didn't know that because it takes away from any sort of speculation I could make about this scene.  Please stop commenting about the comic!

So, Shane berates the blonde, puts her in harms way, then gets some action.  Cool.

Sex sells!


When in doubt, sex it up.  Probably one the best examples of writers sexing up a show, I refer to Star Trek: Voyager.  It was not a great show, but I sorta liked it.  The first couple seasons were ho hum.  All they had for sexual tension was the weird relationship between Nelix and the young, sprite looking Kes. It was awkward at best.  Ratings were lumping.  What do they do? Hire a hot blonde, put her in a skin tight body suit, slap on a couple of borg implants, and have her kick all sorts of ass, and they got rid of pixie girl.  Blammo! Ratings shot up.  Then they started having the rest of the crew get some. Bellana and Tom, even Chakotay and the Captain. Sex added the unavoidable drama that comes along with sex.

I wish this was Andrea...


Is it any surprise that in season two of TWD the writers upped the ante?  In the first season, there were two scenes where Shane and Lori got busy. But both were sorta secondary and reactive. They were more about setting the stage than pushing the plot.  You almost didnt even think about it.  This year? Glen scores with the cute farmers daughter. Every nerds dream!  It is the zombie apocalypse, and the nerdy kid is in a survival situation with a hot chick way out of his league.  Probably one of the smartest decisions the writers have made. You have got to root for the little guy!  Go get that babe!

In contrast to that nerd dream cutie though, we get Shane and the Blonde. You had to know they were gona screw for a while now. There was just too much sexual tension for them not to.  I knew the minute he was coaching her on shooting and she got all emotional that they were gona do it.  After she started shooting zombie head shots, you could almost see the lust in her eyes. I want to say Thank You to the writers for Shane's line "Well come on then!".  TV Glory. But I have to say I was a little weirded out. Honestly though, she got what she needed. Maybe now she will shut her trap and start toeing the line.  Or big papa Shane is gona give her the daddy treatment.

Hopefully we will see what the comic readers have promised and she will start kicking ass and taking names.  Any thing will be a nice change from the annoying, distracting, bumbling character that she was before.  The question is, who is

And hopefully Glen will get much more action from Becky.  I am enjoying the way she is in total control over him. He is just a goofy kid, and she is a woman that knows what she wants.  It is good to watch the poor kid squirm, trying to figure out what is going on in her head.

I think I'm jealous of a TV character!


The Walking Drama:


The show ended with a confrontation between Rick and Lori. True to character, and despite what we expected, Rick remained calm and cool. I enjoyed their conversation and how it got some major issues out in the air.  I also enjoy how they resolved some of these things in this episode. This will set the stage for a pretty good cliff hanger episode this weekend before going into the mid season break.  There are really no loose ends to tie up, except for two. Find the girl, and burn the barn.  They wanted to get the Andrea thing the baby thing, the shane/lori thing all out of the way for now, so they can focus on one thing... how will Rick respond when he finds a barn full of Walkers.  Undoubtedly, there will be a breakout.  I suspect that it won't happen until the end of the episode which will leave every one in peril in classic cliff hanger fashion.

The question is, who is gona buy it?

Time for a poll! Fill it out to the right.

At any rate, the show is fantastic. Especially once I set aside what I hoped the show to be, and accept what it is.  Great drama.  The writers are doing every thing right. Create interesting and compelling plot lines, on a shoe string budget.  That is how a show survives.  Well done AMC.

Jawaballs!

Things I can buy with 33 dollars + tax

33 Mc Double Cheese burgers


A box of size 4 Huggies and a box of wipes for the Jawa Baby


6 copies of Madden 2009


A pack of 50 Dunkin Donut Keurig coffee cartridges


A Black and Decker drill set


2 pairs of Carpenter Jeans from Wal-Mart



OR

The new Necron Codex.



Talk about sticker shock.  I went to a local store and bought a box of immortals, and the new dex, and it cost me 67 dollars.  I didn't look at the price tag on them before I paid. I am not really sure what I was expecting, maybe 50 bucks or so.  My eyeballs bulged out when I heard the price.

Speaking of bulge, did I ever say I think Alanis Morissette is hot?


Thank god for the Spikey Bits discount!

Jawaballs

The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 5

This season has become a two headed monster of sorts.  There are two stories going on. The one we all want to see, and the one we are treated to every episode.

The one we all want to see is the story of the Zombie Apocalypse. This story follows the collapse of society in the face of the realization that zombies are real, and the plague is spreading. This story follows a group of people as they try to escape and survive, encountering difficulty and adversity along the way, characters getting killed and zombies being stomped.

Then there is the story of a group of people sitting on a farm living their lives after the collapse has happened and looking for a stupid little girl.

Sadly, The Walking Dead mostly focuses on the latter of the two stories. It doles out the story we want to see in interesting and brief snippets of flashback and narrative. It teases us with quick preview shots of Chinook choppers flying towards Atlanta to drop the hammer on the zombie scum.  It dangles it's most interesting character like Merl in front of our noses. And it disappoints us with weird illogical behavior, stupid decisions and a recurring theme of a network dropping the ball.

This episode has three flashpoints.  The two headed monster of The Walking Dead, the dumb, dumb blonde, and the illogical behavior of every one on the screen.

The Two Headed Monster of The Walking Dead:






 First of all, the opening of the episode drags us in with the gripping, interesting and almost exciting story we want to see. Then you see Shane has hair again, and come crashing back to reality. TWD is using flashback to tell the story that we all want to see.  I have already griped about TWD being a zombie show with no zombies, well how bout a Zombie Apocalypse show with no Zombie Apocalypse? An important part of the genre is the survivors trying to get some place. I spoke about this before. Part of what drags us in is the survivors coming up with a plan, a goal, and trying to accomplish the goal.  For five episodes now, the group has been squatting on a farm.  The show continues to bog down to dangerous levels.

But more importantly, we want to see the actual fall.  We loved Rick waking up in zombie hell and having to get a crash course in the new world. But we were robbed of seeing the fall!  That was why I was so happy to see the opening of this episode. I got to see some of what happened before or during the fall.  Yes, the refugee train of cars would have been bogged down, and people would be hanging out in the street, just like what happens when 300 thousand people try to get to a major concert or sporting event. The line becomes a tail gate party!  People bust out the camp chairs and start tossing frisbees.  I loved that they showed this. Now add some zombies and we are good to go. The show dropped the ball here. They could have made an entire exciting episode out of Shane and company getting away from that traffic snarl. What happened after they saw the choppers fire bombing Atlanta? Did zombies hit the line of traffic? That is the stuff we want!  They could have mercifully taken a break from the farm/sophia plot and showed us some classic zombie mayhem. They introduced how Shane and Lori got involved with Sophia and her mom, now show us the rest!

And definitely show us the military side of it.

I get it that budget restraints prohibit this. Big crowds of people require extras, and that costs money. Also, big scenes like the choppers hitting Atlanta require CGI and that costs money.

Instead of the head that we want to see, we get the other head. The stupid other head sitting on the dumb monster's shoulder, filling the scene with silly banter.  The farmhouse/sophia plot that is our TWD reality.  It has become very clear that AMC is satisfied with turning our genre series into a cheap to produce plot drama focusing on characters. AMC prides itself on producing gripping television that jumps the boundries, but I think that in this case, they are coping out.

Please please show me more zombie apocalypse, and less characters doing laundry and making dinner.



The Dumb, Dumb Blonde:





For the love of god I challenge you to show me an example of a television chick that more deserves a good solid backhand. First of all, she has spent the entire season moping about like a spoiled teenager who did not get a BMW for her sweet 16.  The minute she spit out the line "I'm tired of doing laundry, I want to help defend the camp." I would have been up on top of that camper and giving her mouth something to do other than jabber on.

This is not a sexist thing. It is not a sexual thing.  It is a common sense thing. The woman has shown nothing but inept failure.  All she has done is put her friends in danger, whine, and nearly kill herself. Why should she now be trusted to mount the crow's nest with the 30/30 and snipe zombies?   Why does she think she should now be shooting a rifle? It is not like weeks, days or even hours have been spent practicing with the damn thing. It has only been a couple days since they got there, and even if Shane had managed to start training her, she would have started with her own gun, and maybe his shotgun. That rifle spent the whole time in Dale's hands. She has not had a chance to fire it. Now she is up on the camper landing a head shot from 200 yards?

Why the hell did Dale not get up on the camper and snatch the rifle away from her with a good final backhand?. He must have seen that she was about to fire OVER THE SHOULDER of Rick and company who went out to meet the threat hand to hand.  They were standing 8 feet away from Daryl, in her line of fire!  Wasting the round would have been reason enough to back hand some sense into her, but shooting through her friends, in opposition to the rules that the owner of the farm laid out and Rick agreed to follow, is inexcusable. If I were Rick, I would be putting her unstable ass out to pasture and dropping her in that well with the zombie guts. That stupid blonde is gona get some one killed.

Illogical Behavior:





We all have our zombie apocalypse survival plan. We all can watch a show like this and say how WE would have done it and make fun of the stupid decisions made by the characters based on their limited point of view compared to our all knowing angle.  That is the fun of it!  But there is a difference between bad decisions and illogical behavior.

Examples?

Daryl trying to climb out of a ravine with an arrow through his gutt.  Daryl, of all people, would have known immediately that it was better to pull the bolt through his body, rather than leave it there and try to function with it sticking out.  Causing further damage to his insides is a secondary issue to the incredible pain that would have happened every time that bolt snagged on a bit of grass as he tried to climb out.  It is easy for me to say that I would have pulled the arrow out. But christ, I would have. Daryl definitely would have.  Instead, he wrapped it with his sleeve and tried to climb out the river.

Then he fell 30 feet back to the river bed, with the arrow inside him, and paid the price.  No wonder he saw visions!  Illogical.

Then there is the old dude, we will call him Farmer Scowl. Or just Scowl.  All he has done for two episodes is scowl at people.  Scowl at Rick because Rick is angry with god. Scowl at Glen for banging his daughter. Scowl at daughter for being hot. Scowl scowl grumble scowl.

Well, is he really illogical? Is there even any room for traditional logic in the drama apocalypse? Perhaps the dude is holding out that things will get better. Perhaps his beliefs pigeon hole him into certain actions. But that does not allow for certain things. Making every one hand over their guns for example. "I don't want guns being used on my property."  Dude, it is zombieland! You want these people to run around defenseless? Plus your own buddy was using one. You have to see the need to be packing heat, even if you don't believe in it.

Illogical.

How about Glen having a heart to heart with Dale about women.  "I don't understand, sometimes she likes me, some times she doesn't."  Dale just needs to keep his hand in a constant state of readiness for all these idiots who need backhands. It seems they come to him the most.  Glen looks like a college kid, so I am guessing he is 20 or so.  But dude, chick 101 dictates that all women behave hot and cold at best. Especially when they are having slut remorse, and probably even more especially in the weeks following the death of all that she knew.  The conversation was out of place, and yes, illogical.

I did love that he brought up the biological fact that women, when sharing the same company long enough, tend to sync their cycles.  I love even more Dale's advice.  While the conversation was illogical, it was good writing.

Then there are other leaps of illogic.

Scowl dictating relationships to his 22 year old hot daughter.

And yes, she is hot. I would take her over a dozen chicks like Kim Kardashian any day.  Her simple farm girl becky looks are far prettier than plastic overdone barbie doll super model looks.  Plus she is functional. Glen scored big.  If I came across a Kardashian I would shoot her in the leg Shane style and leave her as I get away.

So much hotter than...

On the bright side, zombies don't like fake flesh... 
These damn chicks have nothing to fear!

Ugh Angelina Jolie was the zombie in the well.

She was one step away from zombie when she was living.

This is fun!  




Scowl being angry at the group for making dinner.  Illogical.

Scowl insisting that they leave.  Hmm... two officers with a butt load of guns.  I think I would rather have them around, than force them away. Sure he can have concerns about his property and his faith. But it is illogical that he would hold onto such things. At some point you need to realize that god ain't gona do a thing for you as far as the millions of flesh eating zombies are concerned and hand over the reigns to some one else.

That last bit is up in the air, you can't really discuss logic and religion in the same sentence. But forcing the people away, for whatever reason, is illogical. There is safety in numbers. Even if the newest numbers are a bunch of bumbling idiots.

Other Stuff:

I enjoyed the interplay between Shane and Rick and I think Rick is being a whiny bitch.  Shane, in this case, has a solid head on his shoulders and Rick is too obsessed with his own failure to make a proper decision.  Shane is right, in the real world, after three days they are pretty much done looking for a rescue, and are shifting towards body recovery.  Add millions of zombies to the equation and things get worse. Would I want to quit searching for my son? No.  I would not. I have to believe that at some point these guys would say look Sophia's mom, she is gone, we need to move on.  You can come with us, or you can stay and look for your daughter.  We tried.  She would leave, they would go.  I know I would stay and look.  But I'm pretty sure the group would not.  At any rate, I loved Shane's cold steel stance here and I agree with him.  I think that the two of them provide the perfect leadership and I hope that they play this relationship out.

What the hell is with the barn full of zombies?  All I can think is that the AMC writers went all George Romero on us from Survival of the Dead. In one of his later movies people have a moral issue with shooting zombies, calling into question zombies rights to live blah blah blah. Scowl some how managed to get all of his loved one zombies locked in the barn and is hoping that the cure he mentioned comes around.  Maybe the zombies are why he is dead set on Rick's crew moving on asap.  His wife is probably in there.  He knows Rick would not understand and would burn the barn or something.

Merl!  Some one pointed out last time that he did not think Merl was real in the preview. Nice call!  I might not have been right with Merl not actually coming back to instigate trouble, and after this episode I doubt he will, but I was still sorta right with my prediction that Daryl was going to have to make a choice.  The hallucination planted a seed, and Daryl is going to still have to choose. So whether or not Merl is real, the end result exists.  Blood is thicker than water. Rick is responsible for the loss of Merl.  There is a debt owed, and at some point it is going to be called in.

So aside from the two ridiculous falls that he survived, the arrow through the gutt, waking up to zombies gnawing on his boot instead of his ankle, and him never missing with his crossbow, Daryl is my favorite character. I think he is the most well written and I like him as an actor. I love how his world has actually changed for the better. He is valued and a leader. Hell, without knowing any thing real about his life before, the zombie apocalypse was probably the bet thing that ever happened to him!  I love this element of the show and it shows great writing on the part of AMC.

What else? I don't even recall seeing T-Dog.  I think he was there, but played no roll in this episode. Dale and the girls mom did their secondary character things. Dale looking at more behavior from others in the group with disbelief, and mom whimpering.  Lori continued with her baby drama, and Shane pointed out that Sophia was not even worth looking for because she just slowed the group down any way.  Glen and "becky" are gona knock boots whenever she feels like it, and Scowl is going to continue to scowl. Meanwhile, no progress towards Fort Benning is going to be made at all before mid season break and hopefully when they find Sophia she is a zombie.

No progression, quagmire like character development and a 5 episode long side plot based around finding a girl have derailed the show.  As it stands now, I have decided to just DVR it and watch it later.  We all know what happens next... before long we start asking ourselves if it is even worth watching on DVR at all.

I can say that the show brings up some good moral discussion.  What would YOU do if you were a survivor, you hook up with a couple other useful guys like Daryl and Shane, and you come across a useless mother and child like Sophia. (Useless as far as zombie survival are concerned.)  What is standard protocol?  Cut em loose and tell yourself the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? Or stand strong on Picard like morals and defy the needs of the many if it comes at the sacrifice of the few.  I have to say that in this case, I doubt I would stand much stronger than Shane.  Especially if my own wife and kid were gone.  We all want to say we would do the right thing, but I wonder if I would be looking the other way if I came across people who would "slow me down".  Know what I mean? I love that AMC is pushing this boundry.

So, the show is good. The fact that it provokes discussion is good.  There are definitely parts that make me crazy, but I am coming to realize that once I accept that my preconceived notions of what the show should be are not going to work, I can enjoy the show for what it is.

Now, how bout Hell on Wheels?

I like the show.  Once again, it skirts the line of the surreal, as it should. I wish they would do it more. The creepy security guy was a perfect opportunity. I would like to see them use more interesting camera angles and lenses. They could really take a "Twililght Zone" approach with this show and make it something worth watching.  It was an enjoyable twist that the protagonist was almost in the hangmans noose, but ended up the foreman.  Though, I have beef with his inability to pull that nail out of the floor using the chain, but magically a spoon was able to get the job done.  If you have not seen the first two episodes, take a look, I think it is worth your time!

Jawaballs

The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 4

Spoiler blah blah.

This movie mad me laugh damn hard!

Bring on the MoFo bad ass zombie killer!

I was watching Snakes on a Plane and laughing my ass off. The premise of the movie is to take Sam Jackson, and put him in a ridiculous situation where he can spit out great one liners and do bad ass stuff. What situation? How about 30k feet in the air onboard a 747 filled with crazy pissed off snakes.  It was perfect! Whenever they needed something bad to happen, they just put a snake in there. "Ok, how do we make this worse? Oh I got it, put a snake in the cockpit and kill the pilot!" Que Sam Jackson F-bomb version 39948. 

Why am I talking about Snakes on a Plane? Because this last episode of WD reminded me of it.  More on that in a bit.  First of all, AMC has not been listening to me. Once again, no progress on the overarching story has been made. I get it that they are dealing with shit, but that does not mean the episode cannot include bits about the story such as flashes of Chinooks in the distance, or sounds of explosions or something... Remember, last season left off with the characters trying to get to Fort Benning as their motivation. They picked up some good info on what happened, but need to find out whether there is a safe place, or if the rest of their existence is going to be spent running from Zombies. 

This episode I found myself paying more attention to my video game on the computer than to the episode. That is not good. I suspect ratings are on the verge of taking a huge dump and put WD in danger of cancellation for next year. 

But the episode did not disappoint either. First of all, as I predicted, Glen hooked up with hot farmers daughter. She also continued to take a bigger role in the group, while other characters were forced to do nothing like the Blonde and Shane. Continuing to compound their group dividing malcontent and setting the stage for future drama.  The kid is ok, the wife barely whines at all, and Glen and Daryl (The only dynamic characters aside from Rick and Shane in the show) handle most of the action. I want to talk about these two guys, and a third point, Cost Cutting.

COST CUTTING:
After a hugely successful first season, created on a big budget, part of my issues with season two are their obvious cost cutting tactics.  The season has been written with their reduced budget in mind. Hell, I would rather have 6 episodes done on a high budget than 13 episodes on a shoe string. What do I mean? How about just one single set. The highway/farm. Well, thats actually two. But you get the point.  The traffic snarl and surrounding woods consumed most of the first three episodes, and the farm has been the setting for most of 2.  In season one the sets seemed so much more interesting. Maybe I am just imagining it though. And really, this issue is minor as I don't really thing it affects the quality of the show.

But the other cost cutting tactic does.  How bout a zombie apocalypse television show with NO zombies?  Yup. This episode included a grand total of one zombie, stuck in a well.  

Really the entire episode revolved around just a couple sets and plot points. The Well. The farm house. Another run down farm house (Probably on the same property) and a pharmacy?  Getting back to my other point today  by the way, did you notice that one of the only interesting parts of this episode was when Glen and the girl rode horses into town? I gobbled up the town eye candy!  The sign on the pharmacy suggesting to take what you need, and any thing else that might give a clue as to the struggle that happened there.  Those are the stories I want to see!

This is a big change from the dozens and dozens of extras that appeared last season.

I will refer to more cost cutting later.

Glenn:
He gets double duty this episode!  First of all, he gets to deal with the Snakes on the Plane... or in this case Zombies in a Well.  Does the reference make sense yet? To further emphasize my point about using zombies as simple plot points rather than creating a show about surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, the producers only used one zombie in this episode. And it was in a well.  The well they were using to get drinking water. Zoinks! Plot point! Get that Mutha F-ing zombie out of that god damned mutha F-ing well!  I wish they had sprung to get Sam Jackson to come into the scene and make some comment like that.  

All the zombie did was sit there and hiss while Glen dropped a noose around it's head.  But damn, the poor kid had to ride down the well, dangling above the zombies reach, and drop the noose around it's head! What the hell? The property has 4 other wells. Is it worth risking Glen to remove that one zombie?  And what the hell is the zombie doing in the well any way?  The property seems pretty secure, so how did this single zombie manage to make it's way into the property, AND find it's way into the 2x2 square foot area on those acres of land that would drop it into the well that the characters decided to use to get water? 

Now the girl said that this was the well they use to water the cows. How did they not notice the walker in the well before? Grr.  I hate it when things just don't make sense. I get it, willing suspension of disbelief. I am nit picking a zombie show. But COME ON!  

Has any one noticed there are no Zombie Kids?

This should have been the zombie in the well. We might have cared that way.

But at least Glen got a reward. He was picked to go "to town" and get some supplies with none other than the hot farmers daughter!  And sure enough, girls have needs too and shaboinks happened the first chance the two of them were alone.  Nice.  The best part, and this is why I love AMC, is the subtle writing. First of all, he was all gooey eyed and she shot down his post sex euphoria like a cold bitch. He got used. Nice.  But even better was the girls father eyeballing Glen when they got back. Dad must have known something funny happened. The writers didn't ruin the moment by giving him unnecessary dialogue. A simple look was all that was needed. Great stuff. Oh and they practiced safe sex. Can't be too careful!  

Too bad Rick's wife was not as sensible when she was getting scrogged by Shane. Soon we are going to have yet another kid in the group, and hopefully increasing the odds of us finally seeing a zombie child.  

Sure, I understand that the image of a zombie toddler meandering around by itself and gnawing on a leg bone would be too much for TV, but they would certainly exist.

Any way, git er done Glen! Nice job.  

DARYL:
Forced drama 101. 

Once again, the previously bad boy does good stuff. People like to see redemption, and the writers are no fools to this. They also like to make us care about characters, then put them into trouble. It's a simple solution.

 Protagonist + Challenge + Coping + Victory/Defeat = Drama.  

Shane coped wrong. The audience hates him. He is bad.
Daryl is coping right. The audience likes him. He is good. 

Great TV happens when those good and bad lines are blurred, and the coping happens in unexpected ways.

So.

Daryl was the misunderstood bad boy rebel pre zombie. Probably a result of his social status, upbringing, family etc. He wants to change that. He goes out alone looking for the girl, (Loner coping.) and tells the mother a heartfelt story about a flower.  (The writers make us care about him, so he helps others by showing empathy.)  Now we are sure enough going to see him get into trouble.  (The writers make him fall and get an arrow up his butt.)  How he deals with the adversity next episode will be his character's defining moment. 

They took a moment to reinforce the fact that Old World Daryl still lingers when Rick suggests that he could leave as if he was waiting for a chance to slip away and leave his friends.  This reinforces how Daryl feels he is perceived and suggests a possible plot twist. Is he ever going to be accepted? Might he find acceptance elsewhere? What happens when Merl comes back and it is time to pick a side? 

In Blade 2 Daryl picked the wrong side... and paid the price.

In the preview for next episode, we see Daryl getting hurt, and we see Merl again. SURPRISE! 

Time for the good stuff.  What is going to happen next?  Well, this episode left little for me to work with. Glen and the girl are going ot have an ongoing back and forth thing used as a side romance plot. Hot and cold "I don't understand." stuff. Shane and the Blonde are going to bond more. The show sorta glossed over the issue of Rick's pistol that was supposed to be in the fat dudes hands when he died. After all, part of Shane's story was that they were "down to pistols" and the guy stayed behind to cover him, logically, with the pistol he was "down to". Since they did not take air time to show Shane explaining how he had Rick's gun, I am assuming he came up with a story off the air because it was back in Ricks hands this episode. 

The bubbling issue between Shane and Rick is going to come to a head soon. Rick gives orders, Shane offers his opinion, then follows Rick's orders. (Surrendering the guns.) It won't take long for Crazy Shane to finally decide he does not want to follow Rick's orders.  

Merl, at some point, is going to plot revenge and try to get Daryl to help.  Further, he probably has the little girl and has been protecting her.  After all, he probably has his own code of ethics that I spoke about last time, and it probably extends to protecting kids.  Motive aside. Daryl is going to have to make a choice.  Merl, or the group. 

The girl's mom is too minor a character at this point to be more than a plot instigator. Same with T-Dog and Dale.  I don't see them doing much more than interacting with the main characters offering support or countermand. If the girl comes back alive, we will see her mom remain as the same insignificant character that she is.  If she is killed, we can see a couple of interesting things happen. What I would like to see is her go rogue. She is getting weapons training from Shane, so maybe she will get all badass like Sam Jackson and go Medieval on some ones butt. My guess? Merl.  Thought it would be a nice AMC twist to have Daryl support Merl, and have the mom kill Daryl. 

Rick's wife, now preggers with Shane's kid, (that was one fast preg test) is going to have her own little hole to dig out of . Does she go to the vet for an abortion? Interesting twist there. I doubt the spiritual doctor would do an abortion having already commented about kids as our future and being religious and abortion being a sin and all.  But I doubt AMC would let such juicy possible plot points slip away. Imagine trying to raise a baby in Zombieland? A five year old can hide quietly while a zombie horde passes by, can a 5 month old? 

The coming confrontation between Shane and Rick is only going to be that much more nasty when he finds out Shane knocked up his wife. 

Then there is the issue of what the Doctor whispered into Rick's ear.  I might have been a bit drunk but I seem to remember this or last episode Rick referring the comments made by the doctor at the CDC but not getting into it.  I am a little surprised that Merl will be reappearing so soon, I thought he would appear right before a mid season break. At any rate, I suspect we will see new episodes through the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I think that AMC will want to show Holiday programing through december, and will take a break on WD. That will leave them with 6 episodes that will air in the Spring if my count is right.  So I expect to see things bubble up to the boiling point with Shane's moral struggles, Merl's revenge, and the vet's philosophical issues in the next three episodes, and a nice little cliff hanger  to carry us through the winter. :)  

So how about Hell on Wheels?  AMC picked the right time to premiere it.  WD has a nice hold on the audience to lead into HoW which appeals to the same crowd. While I liked it for it's uniqueness, the old west theme, I have to say it seems more like forced drama.  I think that AMC should have taken a more surreal twist with the show and made it more dark and perverse.  Made it more weird.  I just don't think it is interesting enough to catch the audience that WD, Madmen and Breaking Bad did.  I doubt I will be watching it again this week.  It is just on too late!  

More to come.  I have some live shows planned, I am finishing up a big commission, and I want to talk about future 40k!

Jawaballs



Mechanicon no go

Unfortunately I have very little to report from Mechanicon. I feel bad because I promised to do interviews with a game developer and a new pod caster. I woke up on Saturday morning to find that I did not have my toothbrush, so I went out to get one. At that time I decided to plug in my phone that was dead, and it came alive with about 8 phone calls from my wife, who had been trying to call me all Friday night.  She had been having problems with the muscles in her leg after a surgery, and ended up going to the ER at 5am or so.  It was pretty much a no brainer, not long after I got her on the phone, I was on the way back to CT.  The Mechanicon crew was understanding and I was massively disappointed. I was actually optimistic about my chances for a repeat, or at least a top 3 for my third year in a row... But family comes first.

I hope my absence didn't throw off the pairings. :(

Ok, time to go give the jawa baby a bath.

EDIT: Woops I ended this before I mentioned that she was ok, just a weird cyst thing in her calf.  I hope every one had fun this weekend!

Jawaballs

The Mechanicon is here!

Yet again The Mechanicon is upon us! Mechanicon has become the GT for the hobbiest. In that I am saying that if you are into the hobby, than Mechanicon has something for you.  With multiple rooms full of gaming, there is something for EVERY ONE!

The Mechanicon Crew gets in some late night Talisman action!


Off the top of my head:

A five game 40k GT
A three game Fantasy tournament
Warmachine tournament
A separate 3 game 40k GT on Friday allowing Forgeworld Rules!
Several 500 point Kill Team tournaments for 40k
Blood Bowl
Heroscape
A "Golden Demon" type painting competition called The Iron Ogre.
Talisman, Munchkin, more more more!

Oh and there is over 3 grand worth of prizes.

To top it off, Mechanicon has been working hard at improving their already very nice custom built tables with even better terrain.

Finally, the main gaming hall has it's own bar with dollar pizza and drinks, as well as affordable beer throughout the weekend! At Mechanicon, you get so much more than a 5 game 40k GT. You get the opportunity to immerse yourself in gaming virtually nonstop from Friday Morning until Sunday Night.  Whether it is in various organized tournaments for fantastic prizes, or self organized pickup games with buddies. (I want you Ted Nagel. And yes Brad, we will see each other on the table too.)

So do take a look at The Mechancon site. The price tag might seem like a lot, but in the end, it is worth every penny and then some.  There are still spots open in the 40k GT, so get yourself signed up! If you have been looking to put a smack down on Jawaballs, we can arrange that too.  I am opening myself up to all comers.

What list am I playing? I will be bringing my new Hero Hammer assault list. I intended to play it in 4 major GTs. Nova, BFS, Mechanicon and The Conflict.  This will be my third outing with it.  I have little hopes of a Best Overall repeat, but I am going to do my best!  I learned a few things at Battle for Salvation and hopefully will be able to have a chance at beating some of those armies that previously tabled me. But I had to drop The Sanguinor from the list since Mechanicon is only 1850.  I dropped Sang and added a Rifleman Dread for some much needed long range punch. I would have preferred another close combat scout squad because they rock the house, or maybe devastators for the stronger shots, but simply did not have the time to paint them up to the proper level.  It will be a late decision on whether I go with the rifleman dread, or just a close support Multi melta dread. I wanted a furioso but I cant spare the Elite slot.

Soon it will be time to start thinking about a new army.  What do you think guys? Grey Knights or Necrons!  I also have a secret Xenos project in the works...

More to come on that once I clear out some commissions.

Jawaballs