Friday, May 31, 2013

Fridays Are Magic: Musical Edition!

"Yes, fine, I suppose I could become a staggeringly
popular character among the brony fanbase
despite never having an actual line."
What? No, I'm not planning on singing. I mean, even if I was, how would you hear it? This is text. I mean, I guess I could write this post in prose, give it a rhyme scheme and a definite meter, but... nah.

No, this post is about another one of the aspects of Friendship is Magic that I dearly love: the musical numbers. Yeah, that's right; if the brightly colored magical ponies weren't threatening enough to one's masculinity, they went and made them sing. And, with a few exceptions, they're pretty great at it.

And so, without further ado, I present to you my ten favorite songs from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And we're kicking it off with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, so have your insulin and toothpaste on standby.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Nathaniel Graves, by my brother-by-another-
set-of-parents-entirely, Morgan King.
Years ago, I came up with a character for a play-by-post Mutants & Masterminds campaign named Graves. Graves, by day, was a geeky CompSci major at Freedom City University with a slight obsession with comics. By night, he donned an old duster and Stetson hat he'd inherited from his grandfather, and, using the mystic powers contained within them, fought crime as a ghostly and mysterious gunslinger with the ability to manipulate shadows and mold them to his will.

Little did Graves know that the powers granted by his costume came from a demon trapped inside of them. Long ago, back in the 1880's, a small-town sheriff named Nathaniel Graves was framed and executed for the murder of his wife and daughter. Just before the rope tightened, he offered a prayer to anyone who would listen: Let me get revenge.

Someone answered.

He rose from the grave three days later and began cutting a bloody swath across the Old West, tracking down and exacting revenge upon those who wronged him. The more he killed, the stronger he grew, but the more he lost himself in bloodlust. Near the end of his journey, he met an Iroquois mystic who told him the truth: he was possessed by a powerful spirit of evil, and once he had completed his blood-soaked vengeance, it would completely consume him and be free to wreak havoc in the world.

With the mystic's help, Graves performed a ritual to trap the demon's power and return himself to the grave.  As they were underway, however, the last of Grave's targets arrived with plenty of backup and started shooting. The mystic was wounded in the initial volley, and Graves was forced to start shooting back in self-defense. It came down to the wire: just him and his last victim, the leader of a bandit gang he'd run with upon a time, with the demonic bloodlust churning and boiling inside him and urging him to kill this one, last man and free it forever.

Fortunately, there was just enough of the old sheriff left to hold his ground. While he stood there, barrel of his ghostly revolver pressed to his enemy's head, a silent war raging within his mind, the mystic managed to complete his ritual. Nathaniel Graves died, and the demon was trapped in a nondescript couple of relics: the old gunslinger's hat and duster.

As I wrote Graves' backstory, I realized that the tale of Nathaniel Graves' bloody vengeance was a far more interesting story than his descendant's. I started fleshing things out and building the basic skeleton of what would, I hoped, become my first true stab at writing a novel.

A few months ago, I found out that Deadlands existed.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Let's Play The Ballad of Gay Tony, Part 2: Oh God, There's Two of Them?!

Luis' mom is a spiteful idiot, her loan shark goes out of his way to be loathsome, and his cocaine-addled club owner boss/partner is forcing him to work with a character who is, somehow, even more annoying then GTA IV's Brucie.

Maybe I should have played The Lost and the Damned.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Let's Play Two Worlds 2, Part 5: Heroes of Meat and Magic

Finally, I get to start my real adventure: wandering a huge, open world, pursuing quests, helping the downtrodden, and slowly growing in power until I can stand strong against the evil machinations of Dr. Doom.

Y'know, as soon as I'm done talking.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game!

So I sort of expected I'd be writing a Weekend Review post today.  There I was, fresh from hanging out with my buddies over a rousing moderately frustrating game of Illuminati, expecting to watch "The Rains of Castamere" and bask in the ensuing warmth of the internet exploding.

And then I found out they were taking a week off.  Dammit, HBO!

Fortunately, I was still able to get my fix of Lannisters and Starks thanks to A Game of Thrones: The Board Game.  It's something I'd purchased back around 2004 or so, and in the intervening near-decade, played a grand total of twice.  Each attempt was marked by frustration, confusion, and the realization that we'd horribly screwed up some fundamental aspect of the game by skimming over one very specific sentence amidst the walls of text and not-particularly-helpful diagrams in the game's manual.  Fortunately, after the last failed attempt several months ago, I'd taken the time to do some research on the game, and felt I had a decent grasp of the rules this time around.

GoT: The Board Game is basically an amalgam of Risk and Diplomacy, mashed together on a map of Westeros.  Each player takes control of a noble house--the Starks, the Lannisters, the Baratheons, the Tyrells, or the Greyjoys (and the 2011 Second Edition adds House Martell; if you only watch the show, you haven't really heard of them yet, but you will)--and sets out with the goal of controlling the largest number of cities and fortresses by the end of the tenth turn.

Last night, it was just me and two of my friends trying to conquer Westeros; my friend Noah got the Starks, Andrew took the Baratheons, and I claimed the Lannisters.  This is the recommended setup for a three-player game, as it gives each faction a good amount of room to spread out and flex their muscles before the war begins in earnest.  In a five-player game, the southern half of the continent tends to turn into a massive, ongoing maelstrom of violence between the Lannisters, Baratheons, and Tyrells, while the Greyjoys troll the Starks.

Prepare yourself; description is coming.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Let's Play Battlefield 3, Part 5: Failing With Flare

I may have lost part of my mind while recording this. I'm not entirely sure. But at least I'm never going to have to copilot a fighter jet through a crappy, frustrating rail shooter segment again.

... Right?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fridays Are Magic: The Best Pony

When I started watching the show, the last pony I thought would become my favorite character was Rarity.  Prim, proper, refined, vain, slightly neurotic, and obsessed with girly-girl foofarah, Rarity seemed like the sort of generic stock character one would find on any show targeted at young girls.  No, if I'd had to guess, I would have expected to favor Twilight Sparkle, my fellow nerd, or Fluttershy, the adorable introvert, or even Pinkie Pie, the comic relief.  Those were character archetypes I'd enjoyed in the past, and I didn't think things would be any different with a cartoon show about brightly colored, magical ponies.

Fast forward a year and a half later, and there is no doubt in my mind: Rarity is the funniest, most complex, and overall most interesting character in Friendship is Magic, and I am prepared to back this claim with a probably-too-thought-out essay.

It's about to get fabulous up in here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Let's Play Battlefield 3, Part Four: Leaving on a Jet Plane

You know, I was wondering when I'd finally get to do some vehicular stuff in this game.

Now I'm wondering when I get to stop.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Today, NCSoft--a publisher you might recognize from other MMO's like Guild Wars, Lineage, or Aion--released a couple of new videos discussing one of the many cool features of their newest project, WildStar.  WildStar, as you might guess from the pedigree, is also going to be a massively multiplayer online RPG, this time with a sci-fi/fantasy bent and what I feel can be best described as a "sexy Disney" art style.  And I am completely freaking pumped for it.

Today's videos discussed the "Path" system.  Paths are kind of like character classes, and are chosen in addition to them; while the class dictates how your character fights and what gear he or she uses, your choice of Path lets you define what kind of side content you want to experience.  Soldiers get missions to go out and prove themselves badass against huge bosses or waves of enemies; Explorers get to do jumping puzzles or find hidden areas and scour them for loot; Scientists get to scan all of the things and are rewarded with items, XP, and most importantly, lore; Settlers support their fellow players by building shops, fortifying towns, making vehicles, and generally just being the kind of awesome roadie that would make Eddie Riggs proud.

It sounds cool on its own, yeah, but it reflects the game's overarching philosophy: it's an MMO for people who liked World of Warcraft and its clones, but who got to the endgame and ran headlong into the Wall of Endless Grinding.  Maybe that doesn't sound terribly ambitious to you E.V.E players, but as a guy who starts foaming at the mouth whenever someone says the words "Golden Lotus," it's right up my alley.

The combat itself seems to incorporate a lot of the movement and positioning that made NCSoft's previous release, Guild Wars 2, really fun to play for the first, oh, thirty hours.  Dodging, jumping, strafing, blocking, it's all in there.  The Path system will, in theory, add a ton of variety to spice up the level grind, tailored to players' personal preferences.  And the devs have opted to return to the Holy Trinity of MMO design (tank, healer, DPS), which should make the game's dungeons and end content significantly less frustrating.  And by "frustrating," I mean "GRAAAAARGLBRGLBRGL DIE DIE DIE."

The "WildStar Flicks" videos are undoubtedly a big part of the reason I'm so excited for the game.  From the initial announcement trailer, starring Ben Grimm, Flynn Rider, and Twilight Sparkle, to the individual videos introducing the classes and factions, Carbine has pumped each "flick" with a ton of appealing personality and humor.  Even the non-CG DevSpeak videos radiate enthusiasm.  WildStar really seems like a genuine labor of love.

Oh, and there's player housing.  Not just player housing, but customizable, expandable player housing.  No neighborhoods, sadly--it seems Lord of the Rings Online still holds the crown in that department, not to mention a couple of others--but being able to deck your place out with crafting stations and resource nodes makes me a happy geek.  I love crafting in most games, as long as it's not just a massive and ultimately pointless drain on time and resources.  (Cough, WoW.)

So, yes.  I'm excited.  And some day, presumably some day within the next several months, I'm going to be building taverns and storefronts across the face of Nexus.  Feel free to stop by and kick up your feet.  Maybe Carbine will even rip off LotRO's music system, and we can have ourselves a jam.

Click below the break if you'd like to see some of those videos I was talkin' about, all gathered in one convenient place.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Let's Play Two Worlds II, Part 4: I Like Swords

Not much to say about this one.  I finally get some armor and the ability to use all these swords and sticks I've been lugging around, and then I spend half the episode shouting at a blind orc blacksmith to shut the hell up and get on with the crafting tutorial.

Next episode, we should begin adventuring properly.  Y'know, roaming the countryside, doing sidequests, that sort of thing.  That is, unless Dar Faq feels the need to spend thirty minutes explaining how the equipment changing feature works in-universe.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend Reviews!

Well played, Moffat. Well played.
So long, Doctor Who. See you again on Nov. 23rd. You know, if you'd asked me a few weeks ago, I wouldn't have thought I'd be so excited for you to get back. I mean, this season--not just the half-season, but the whole thing--has been kind of disappointing. Especially for a new fan who bulldozed through the excellent runs of Chris Eccleston and David Tennant on Netflix, only to run into the gradually faltering adventures of Matt Smith.

Not that I think Matt's a bad Doctor. The show, under Stephen Moffat, has just gone a different direction than the one Russel T. Davies was taking it, and I preferred the latter's style. (Which seems strange to me, given how frickin' awesome Sherlock is.)

But with the reveal of John Hurt as... well, we don't really know what, yet, I'm suddenly in dire need of a TARDIS of my own so I can find out where they're going with this. Coming up with theories about the direction of a show's overarching plot is always a fun mental exercise--see Lost--and I've already come up with or seen a number of really potentially exciting ones. Is this the Doctor's final regeneration? Is it the original man, before he took the name of the Doctor? Is it a "lost" regeneration, between the incarnations we knew as Eight and Nine, the man who fought and won the Time War?

(Seeing as the latter theory came from a possible leak on the show's writing staff, it's most likely that one.)

Whatever the case, I'm thrilled. John Hurt's a damned good actor, and man, that intensely sorrowful, weary expression along sold me on his character. I want to know his story. I want to know what he did that was so terrible that the other versions of himself have shunned him. And I suspect he'll bring an element of gravitas that the show's been sorely in need of for a long time.

But enough about that; let's get on to the actual reviews.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Let's Play Two Worlds II, Part 3: Burns, Bridges, and Baffling Brassieres

So, yeah, I felt a little bad about giving up on Two Worlds II just because I was too dumb to save my game, so I decided to give it another shot.  To my surprise, I'm actually starting to find things to like! The magic system is kinda nifty, and... well, actually, most of the cool stuff I learn comes in the next episode.  Spoilers.

Anyway, in this twenty minute section, we have a mysteriously de-synced "Yakety Sax" sequence (seriously don't know why there's a pause at the beginning), a collapsed bridge, fireballs, and another arcane spellcaster chick in impractical and revealing clothing, complete with nipple bumps.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Let's Play The Ballad of Gay Tony, Part 1: Practice Swing

That's right, it's time for another Let's Play series! This time, I'm dusting off a game I've purchased twice but never really gotten around to playing: Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony.

And no, this isn't replacing Two Worlds II.  I actually went ahead and gave it another shot, and to my surprise, the magic system is actually kind of cool once you get to play around with it.  There'll be a new episode posted tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fridays are Magic: The Comic

The Friendship is Magic comic is so much cooler than it needs to be.

Now, I'm not going to say that it's the best comic ever, or that it belongs in the same conversation as Watchmen or... well, okay, nothing belongs in the same conversation as Watchmen, but you get what I mean. It's not going to go down as one of the Legendary and Important to the Industry as a Whole comics.

But it's still really frickin' fun.

The comic is, in essence, "by bronies, for bronies." Though never going off into truly "adult" humor, it's definitely written with the show's older fanbase in mind. The first story arc, spanning the first four issues, was basically a Lord of the Rings parody with references to David Bowie, Indiana Jones, and Miami Vice thrown in. It was funny and entertaining, though I have to admit that if the series had kept going permanently in that direction, I probably wouldn't have kept reading for long.

The second arc, however, has me absolutely hooked. Everything about the comic seems to have stepped up a notch or two, from the writing to the art. What's more, the team is actually telling a real story this time. A serious story, in fact, one that makes sense within the setting and adds a lot to it, but which isn't something you'd ever see on the show. And considering that, like I said last week, one of my favorite things about the show is the setting and the way it hints at darker things lurking just outside of this peaceful realm, this comic is hitting me right in the Geek Spot.

(Yeah, take a second to process that pun's mental image. I'll be over here.)

The story involves the return of the Nightmare, the strange force that corrupted Princess Luna a millenium ago and turned her into the evil Nightmare Moon. Unfortunately, while Luna was freed from its power way back in the show's first episode, the Nightmare itself survived, and now it needs a new host. Being an intelligent and rational eldritch monstrosity with an appreciation for complex characterization and subtle humor, it decides that the only appropriate vessel for its power is the Best Pony herself, Rarity.

Behold, the savage beastmaster.
I mean, come on, who else is it going to pick? Twilight Sparkle, the most powerful and potentially destructive mage in Equestria? Rainbow Dash, a flier so fast she can shatter the sound barrier and to create massive explosions? Fluttershy, who commands the loyalty of an army of woodland creatures and who can bend cockatrices to her will? Screw that, what the Nightmare wants is fabulousness.

And so, Rarity is abducted, the the rest of the Mane Six, plus Spike and Princess Luna, travel to the moon to save her. (By having Applejack lasso the moon so everypony can tightrope walk across to it. It makes sense in context.) There, they encounter an army of shapeless, shadowy horrors twisted eons ago into the Nightmare's service. Mostly, they look sort of like bunnies. After the vampiric jackalopes in the first arc, I'm starting to suspect this series is co-written by Anya from Buffy.

As you might have guessed from all the panels I keep posting, I think the art is gorgeous. The moon and its inhabitants all have this cool, dark color scheme that nonetheless pops right off the page. The characters look great--definitely better than they did in the first few issues--and everything has a vaguely ephemeral, dreamlike quality to it. It's really friggin' purdy.

The writing's been strong, too, with a good mix of serious storytelling--particularly, Luna's murky relationship with the Nightmare--and humor. Pinkie's the primary source of laughs, as should be expected, but the interplay between the Nightmare's minions is fun as well, and Spike's quest to save Lady Rarity with the Power of Interspecies Statutory Infatuation has actually been pretty touching. Poor li'l Spikey-Wikey.

The latest issue (#7) came out this week, at least on Comixology. Assuming the writers are sticking with four-issue arcs, next month should mark the finale of the Nightmare Rarity storyline. After that, who knows what mysterious part of Equestria we'll get to see next? Maybe we'll learn more about the griffons. Or journey to the gates of Tartarus. Or learn a bit more about the legendary archmage, Star Swirl the Bearded. Or maybe something else entirely.

Whatever the case, I'm on board. This comic rocks.

Here, have some more random panels below the break!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Let's Play Battlefield 3 - Part Three: Clear the area of enemies!

At some point, I hope, I'm going to be part of a huge group of soldiers, driving tanks and APCs and whatnot to capture and hold important locations within a warzone.  When I think of Battlefield games, that's my mental image: huge battles, tanks and mortar shells thundering in the distance, dogfighting planes roaring by overhead.  I do not think of crawling through a bombed-out city, alone, and being solely tasked with responsibility for killing every living thing I see.

I didn't install a Call of Duty game by accident, did I?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Let's Play Two Worlds II - Part 2: Can I stop playing yet?

So.  In this section, the game taught me how to fire multiple arrows at once to kill my enemies from range.  It did not teach me how to switch weapons when my puny little bow failed to incapacitate my enemies and they ran up to hack me apart with swords that apparently they can use but which are too advanced for me.  It also did not teach me how to dodge, if in fact this ability even exists.

I heard a lot of good things about this game.  I really did.  Sure, I put off playing it, but that was mostly because I bought it around the same time as Skyrim, and come on.  Skyrim.  But now that I was actually playing it, even in the context of a Let's Play which, by its nature, means making fun of the game to some degree, I was looking forward to seeing why a lot of people really seemed to love it.

I think I know, now: they are masochists, and they hate joy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekend Reviews!

Another thing that's going to be happening 'round here is me talking about the shows I watch.  There aren't very many of them, even during the "busy" seasons, though it's really slow right now.  In fact, the only two shows I'm regularly following at the moment are Doctor Who and Game of Thrones.

Where's everything else?  Let's see...

Breaking Bad: Still on hiatus until August 11th, 2013.

The Walking Dead: Currently shooting, due to return in the fall.

Sherlock: Who the hell knows?

Community: I have sadly fallen several weeks behind.  I love this show, to quote a great man, "super huggy much," but I just haven't been able to keep up with this season.  On the bright side, there is definitely going to be another season!  Saved from the brink of oblivion once again, this show.

Big Bang Theory: Pretty much ditto, though I'll be honest, I don't love it nearly as much as Community.

King of the Nerds: Oh, hey, I need to send in my submission...

Young Justice: Canceled, along with Green Lantern, because Cartoon Network hates money, good story telling, me, you, and God Himself.

Avatar: The Legend of Korra: Expected to return before the year's end.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Will probably be back in late fall/early winter.  But the Equestria Girls movie will be out on June 15th!  Because Hasbro responded to the legions of fans who wanted to see their beloved cast of interesting, funny, non-objectified heroines turned into knockoff Bratz dolls and shoved into a generic high school "running for prom queen" movie!

... I may be going into this with some prejudiced opinions.

Adventure Time!: Still has a few episodes left in the season, but I'm not actually caught up with the show.  I was really excited to see it on Netflix, but they've only got the first season of it.  (And of The Venture Brothers.  I am disappoint.)

Archer: Gone until next January, most likely.  Though they're definitely getting a fifth season.

And that's about it.  I don't watch a ton of TV, and most of it that I do, I watch with friends.  Ah well.  At least I've got the Big Two to talk about.

So, without further ado...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Let's Play Battlefield 3 - Part 2: Man the LMG!

I'm not kidding when I say I'm a terrible shot.  I really am, at least when compared to people who play shooters regularly.  Ironically, among my friends I'm considered a highly skilled Halo player, but that's mostly just because they're all sort of terrible.

Sorry, guys.  Just because I learned how to circle strafe in high school doesn't make me pro.  This video should be all the proof of that you need.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Let's Play Battlefield 3 - Part 1: Stay away from the effing cars!

Recording the first part of the Two Worlds II LP was fun, volume issues aside, but I decided I'd run a slightly more action-packed series alongside it.  After taking a look at what games I had on hand, I remembered I'd bought Battlefield 3 on Origin (ugh) a year or so back, played just a bit of the campaign, and then went back to Mass Effect 3's awesome multiplayer.  So, I dusted the old girl off and decided to see if I could have more fun with it by playing as a socially-conscious, reluctant soldier with a slight grasp of the Middle East's geopolitical climate.

Turns out, I could.  Hope you folks can, too.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fridays Are Magic

The keen-eyed and observant among you may have guessed that I am a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

It's nice that I can say that without feeling the need to qualify the statement.  A year ago, coming out with my broniness was a slow process of shame and self-abasement.  I'd admit to my friends that I liked it, sure, but I also liked boobs and Gears of War and fixing monster trucks or whatever.  Today, though, I wear my love of the show on my sleeve.  (And, occasionally, on my chest.)  I say "eeyup" and "nope" when people ask me questions.  I've analyzed the show's themes and mythology, and have constructed an intelligent thesis as to why Rarity is best pony.  I've even made a ponified portrait of myself my default avatar across the interwebs.

I don't know if public perception of bronies has changed, really.  I think it has.  I mean, anyone who's cared to see the show has done so by now.  Even those that didn't fall in love with it generally seem to consider it harmless.  While even mentioning ponies on certain sites still lets slip the dogs of flamewar, the number of folks who hate it with a mouth-foaming passion seems to have decreased over time.  I think the show and its fandom are gradually settling into the groove they belong in: a geeky thing that some people are really passionate about, and others don't get at all.

Keeping that in mind, I've decided to try and limit my pony-related output to just once a week.  Thus, here on Another Geeky Blog, Fridays Are Magic.

Now, then, let's enthuse about some ephemeral equines.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Let's Play Two Worlds II - Part 1: Can I start playing yet?

One of my other reasons for wanting to get this blog properly underway is having an excuse to both play some games that I never got around to properly trying, and to record the proceedings and see if I can't turn out something entertaining.  The first game I wanted to try out was GSC's S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl.  Unfortunately, it kept crashing.  So, I went with another weird, Eastern European game I picked up on Steam for a few bucks.
So, without further ado: let's play Two Worlds II

(Sorry about the background buzzing; my computer is insanely loud, and despite my best efforts to position and insulate the microphone, it still kept getting picked up.)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Heya, folks.  My name's Ed.  And this is, I believe, the fourth time I've written an introductory post for a blog I've eventually left to rot.

Well, no more!  (I hope.)  This time, Another Geeky Blog is here to stay.

Why should you care?  No idea.  I'm not anybody famous or influential.  I'm smart, but I'm no engineer, nor do I have fascinating and unique insights into aspects of our popular culture.  I'm a good writer, but I have trouble finishing things, and all the discipline and fortitude of a goldfish.

I am, you see, a bard.

See, bards are usually the butt of jokes among pen and paper nerds.  Even Blizzard went out of their way to make fun of 'em.  The irony is that bards, more than any other class or fantasy archetype, embody what it is to be a modern-day geek.

Bards are the jacks-of-all-trades.  They dabble in a little bit of everything, because damn it, adventuring is fun and why would they want to limit themselves to swinging a sword or casting spells when they could do both?

At a table full of Dungeons & Dragons players, you've always got folks making references to Star Wars or Princess Bride or (at least with my group) My Little Pony.  In an actual D&D world, though, it's the bard making those same jokes.  When a Bardic Knowledge check turns up that the monster's one fatal weakness is peach cobbler, he's not just pulling that out of thin air; he's remembering a story he read, or a song he heard, where the good guys prevailed by that same method.  He's a student of pop culture.

Sure, a wizard studies in his tower, learning the mysteries of the world and dazzling mortals with their knowledge and power.  A bard can do that, too, if not as well.  Maybe he can't chuck fireballs, but he can still carry on an intelligent conversation about magical theory and have fun with Prestidigitation and Ghost Sound.

Most of all, though, bards are enthusiastic.  It's their defining attribute.  Sure, somewhere out there, there may be a guy who plays bards that mope around and quote Edgar Allen Poe all the time, but they're the exception.  In every game and every story, bards are the heart of the team.  They love what they do, and they share that joy with their friends and companions.

That's my goal, here.  I want to tell you about things I think are awesome, and I want to infect you with just a fragment of my enthusiasm for them.

Now I just have to decide which of my many obsessions to talk about first...