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October 10th, 2017
02:24 am


Dresdeen Files co-op card game: a tactical review
deamondea and ethanthescribe hosted a games night for Don and I with this game last week, and I've since got to read the rules!
Each player controls a character from the series, and starts with 6 cards, a Talent and a Stunt. You can burn a card to power up your talent and the communal fate pool; use a card (powered from the fate pool), or use your Stunt. Since cards are not normally replaced and the Stunt is a one-shot, everyone will normally have 7 turns. Whoever plays Harry Dresden decides who should go first...
...and the smart move is to get Karrin Murphy to go first. Alone of the characters, she has a card that allows her to draw another card, giving her a possible 8th turn.

The starting size of the Fate pool depends on your difficulty level, but sooner or later you'll need to refill it. The more expensive a card is to play, the more Fate it provides when burned, so presumably at harder levels that will be a major issue. At any level though, the usefulness of your Talent determines whether you should be filling up the Fate pool. Best to worst talents are: Murphy, the Werewolves, Susan Rodriguez , Harry Dresden, and finally Michael Carpenter. Murphy and Susan provide 'clues', while the wolves do damage: all good. Harry's ability to move to move enemy cards around can be very useful - or useless. Michael's ability is to increase the range of his cards: if he can't hit a card, he's better off leaving it to the other PCs and focusing on closer targets.

The target are a set of 12 cards laid out in 2 rows, giving a 'range' of 1-6, which determines whether the players' cards can hit them. Michael's cards are limited to the 1-2 range, Harry has two card that can sweep straight down the board, otherwise the cards range from 1 to 4. The goal is to solve cases by adding clues and to kill enemies with wounds; additionally there are obstacles to overcome and advantages to exploit.

The simplest strategy is to simply grind your way across the board, but this wastes Murphy's Stunt. She can use the Stunt to add Fate equal to the number of wounded enemies plus partly solved cases; note that her Talent and that of the wolves makes hitting cards at the far end of the board easier, as does Michael's Stunt - she can hope to gain from 5-8 Fate out of this, two to four times as good as burning a card. This alone can tip the balance of the game.
Another consideration is that at game end there is a 'showdown', where you can spend any remaining Fate to finish off enemies and cases; spending Fate here can be more productive than using it to power cards! In showdown it will mostly be a 1:1 ratio; if the Fate cost of a card is higher than the Clue/wound value of the card, burning it for fate will be wiser.

Obstacles - can occasionally be useful. One that turns up in multiple 'books' modifies the dice, making them more likely to reduce numbers: painful when rolling for damage or clues, but useful for determining fate costs. Also the removal of Obstacles does not affect whether or not you win the game, so spending a card to remove one may be less useful than burning the card for Fate. Some Obstacles can be neutralised without removing them; frex the Hostages card can be pushed to the end of the board by Harry's Talent.


The game includes optional characters with their own unique Talents/Stunts - you can play Mouse! Squee! And other characters...but Mouse!

ahem. Anyway, yes, Talents and Stunts: but sadly no rules or even suggestions on how to provide them with the decks they need. The characters *do* come with the numbers of each type of card they need, and stars to indicate the Fate costs of those cards; but nothing on the cards themselves. Presumably these can be built from the PCs not in play, thus Mouse would be based on the werewolves' deck. Also presumably other PCs could offer cards, not just out of charity but also to fine tune their decks; to take an in book example, Harry's player might give Butters the card for Bob.

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July 9th, 2017
01:34 pm


ATSIEB Elections 2017
Being entitled to vote in for the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Elected Body, I thought I'd do so and describe the process.


While the rule of "never put down to conspiracy what can be explained by incompetence" is a good rule of thumb for government, the impossibility of voting screams both incompetence *and* conspiracy.

For starters, the AEC had never even heard of the election, and to find out more, googled it for me. They were quite helpful, finding locations where I could go to vote. What they couldn't tell me - because that information wasn't there - was that each location was only open for one day, and which day was not given. The first location I attempted didn't even exist (presumably a pop up voting stall) while the second eventually worked out that voting had been possible there days earlier but not now. I worked out what was going on Friday - last day to vote.

OK, postal vote. Postal votes close on the 14th, so still open...but *applying* for a postal vote closed a week ago as well. I wouldn't have been able to get a postal vote because I was in Melbourne...which of course is a reason to *have* postal votes.

So, would voting have mattered? There was a meet and greet, which was filmed...but no link put on the ATSIEB website. Fortunately Youtube found it for me, so I was able to see the candidates. Naturally a mixed bunch; but willingness of candidates to openly say you should vote for people you know (rather than, say, people who've done stuff) was appalling. Of the 20+ candidates, I found only 4 that I would consider deserving of a vote (a worry given 7 will be elected). It'll be interesting to see if any of those 4 actually get elected! The bulk of the candidates spent their time feeling sorry for themselves, and/or referencing their jobs in the ATSIEB bureaucracy.

So all in all - a joke. A well funded joke though.

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December 30th, 2016
12:10 am


Book reviews: my Christmas Haul.
Was given 3 books for christmas! What a well trained flatmate I have.

From the Ladybird for Adults series, "How it works: The Dog". This book though delightfully takes the mickey out of Ladybird books - as an example, we are introduced to an allergy dog for people allergic to dog hair. The authors claim to have also written "Cooking Your Cat" but no such book by them exists; they have written "How it works: The Cat". I will probably acquire it.

Written by Barry Jones we have Knowledge Courage Leadership. This is partly a call for a new political party, but mostly a crotchety old man saying 'get off my lawn' and going on about how much better the world would be if that annoying democracy nonsense couldn't influence anything he cares about; he casually refers to Stalin as 'a great man' here. The best bit of the book, and quite good, is a series of character portraits of interesting people he has met over his career. A quite tedious section follows rehashing his glory days fighting against the death penalty, the only notable part being a throwaway line praising Robespierre as an opponent of the death penalty (wait, what?!) The final section of the book is a not-quite-whitewash of the French Revolution.

Finally, a biography:Albanese. Nearly given up for adoption, the story of Albo's early life is a painful tale of suffering caused by his single mother's last minute decision to keep him. (Keeping a running total as the book progresses, I counted 6 families that would have been better off if he'd been adopted).
The bulk of the book is dedicated to his time in politics; it is quite 'Life of Brian' with the call of uniting against the common enemy always being against a different faction of the ALP. It is notable that the final quote praising him on the back cover is from Joe Hockey.

Usefully, a recorded exchange between Albo and Mark Latham helped me understand some of the differences between the inner city Laborites and 'Westies' such as Latham and myself. A fair chunk of the book is dedicated to the fight to save his local football club; it is an interesting look at grassroots campaigning. And finally, there is the hunt to discover his father; a look into genealogical research that I enjoyed.
While the book is a bit of a hagiography I still found it well worth reading; the author didn't let her goal get in the way of writing a good book.

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June 20th, 2016
05:36 pm


pre-poll voting
So, did a pre-poll vote for the first time ever today.

I recommend this. The polling station is fully set up, so everything is available, (frex if you need to vote for a different electorate this isn't a problem) and fully staffed - the only things missing are the crowds, and that there aren't as many party members handing out flyers.

I was repeatedly asked two questions - "Are you entitled to make a pre-poll vote?" and "Have you previously voted in this election?" Other than that waved though, and was served within a minute.

The most likely reasons to need to pre-poll when you haven't in the past are becuase you'll be travelling, or working. Definitely worth arranging to be doing one or the other!

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12:55 pm


Candidates for the 2016 Federal election ACT Senate Seats
Again, wiki has a page, but only the sitting Senators have links:

Katy Gallagher

David Smith

Zed Seselja

Jane Hiatt

Christina Hobbs

Sue Wareham

Animal Justice Party
Deborah Field

Jessica Montagne
MONTAGNE, Jessica veterinary nurse who runs Curtin Cat Care http://www.curtincatcare.com, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jessica-montagne/6b/365/46

Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile)
David Kim

Elizabeth Tadros ??

Liberal Democrats
Matt Donnelly and Cawley Hennings

Rise Up Australia
Sandie O'Connor

Jess Wyatt ??

Secular Party
https://www.secular.org.au/candidates-for-the-2016-election/ (website does not include the ACT candidates!)
David Edwards
Denis Mihaljevic ??

Sex Party

BAILEY, Steven -https://www.facebook.com/steven.bailey.7902?fref=ts

was running for Katter last election:
http://www.kattersaustralianparty.com.au/our-people/steven-bailey, https://twitter.com/Stevenbaileyy http://the-riotact.com/steven-bailey-running-in-canberra-for-the-mad-katter/94241
Grilled by the RiotACT: http://the-riotact.com/election-13-candidate-questionnaire-steven-bailey-for-the-senate/112933. Composer and theatre director who was nearly booted from the party for supporting gay marriage: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/katter-spares-progay-candidate-20130208-2e33f.html

Robbie Swan co-founder of the party, ran in Tassie last election.

Sustainable Australia
John Haydon http://www.votesustainable.org.au/john_haydon_video
Martin Tye http://www.votesustainable.org.au/martinrev21

Flux Voteflux.org https://www.facebook.com/voteflux.org/?fref=ts
A good choice when you run out of candidates you actually like; ideal if you don't like any of them.

Michael Hay https://voteflux.org/candidates/mick-hay/

Mature Australia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mature_Australia_Party
Anthony Hanson https://themap.org.au/?staff=anthony-hanson

As always, if you find something I've missed, comment and I'll add it.

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June 19th, 2016
10:55 pm


Candidates for the 2016 Federal election Seat of Fenner (was Fraser)
This gets easier every election! Wiki has a page dedicated to all of the candidates here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candidates_of_the_Australian_federal_election,_2016
Only the sitting parliamentarians have wiki entries though.

The SMH and the Age are copying pages from the Canberra Times for each of candidates in the ACT http://www.smh.com.au/act-news/election-2016-federal-candidates-for-seats-of-canberra-and-fenner-20160526-gp4ihj.html

Frankly, just reading those pages will be more helpful than most of the stuff I have here; however they don't cover either the Bullet Train (http://bullettrainforaustralia.com.au/) or our one independent (https://andrewwoodman.com/)

More details for all candidates:
Andrew Leigh for Labor -
His website is here: http://www.andrewleigh.com/. You can sign up there to receive regular emails from him (average is about one a day, sometimes coming in batches of 4 or more). These include links to programs (frex Sky News) where he and a Liberal politician have been invited to discuss a topic. On Twitter: https://twitter.com/ALeighMP and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-Leigh-MP/129819533748295?ref=ts&fref=ts
As a sitting member, his speeches in Parliament are available at http://www.openaustralia.org/mp/andrew_leigh/fraser.
RIOTAct interview: http://the-riotact.com/election-13-candidate-questionnaire-andrew-leigh-australian-labor-party-for-fraser/113490

Robert Gunning for the Liberals
dull web page here: https://www.liberal.org.au/member/robert-gunning but allows sign up for news.
more interesting page by the SMH here: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/election-2016-meet-robert-gunning-liberal-candidate-for-fenner-20160526-gp4q3t.html
his resignation from the bulk carriers group here: http://www.fullyloaded.com.au/industry-news/1605/lbca-loses-gunning-to-politics-as-election-looms/
On facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.gunning.14?fref=ts

Carly Saeedi for the Greens
dull web page here (for all Greens candidates): http://www.actgreens.org.au/federal_candidates_2016
more usefully, facebook: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=carly%20saeedi%20for%20fenner
twitter: https://twitter.com/carlysaeedi
more interesting page at the Age here: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/election-2016-meet-carly-saeedi-greens-candidate-for-fenner-20160526-gp4nq5.html

Tim Bohm for the Bullet Train

wepage: http://bullettrainforaustralia.com.au/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BulletTrainforCanberra
twitter for the local govt branch: https://twitter.com/search?q=tim%20bohm&src=typd

Andrew Woodman, Independent
Website here: https://andrewwoodman.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrew.woodman.790
twitter: https://twitter.com/awoodman27

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October 10th, 2015
01:23 pm


sorting cubic metres of comics....
Eric's comic collection is 'large'. As in, filling multiple wardrobes, bookcases and walls large. It is also mostly unsorted, making it somewhat pointless, as he can't find anything.

So: who would be interested in a 'comic reading/sorting day', coming along and reading his comics? Read them in order, and they'll self sort.

I've a so-so record for organising things, so at this point I'm just putting the idea out to see who is interested, and anyone who wants to force a date that will suit them is welcome to do so: on the understanding that they have to bully other people into turning up.

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January 27th, 2014
10:02 pm


Racing to the East Pole
Stumbled across an interesting concept while reading up on snowball earths: Quadrupole magnets.

Could a Spark have "improved" the planet's magnetic field? Resulting in two extra poles, labelled 'east' and 'west' for convenience? (although they'd either both be 'south' with the normal poles 'north', or visa versa).

Does anyone have sufficient understanding of electromagnetics to be able to explain what this would do to a planet?

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September 24th, 2013
03:32 pm


Eric abroad! Part III
Eric's adventure in the UK continue, and we have a new missive. I'll add his dispatches to my LJ as they arrive:Collapse )

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September 11th, 2013
11:58 am


Eric abroad! Part II
Eric's adventure in the UK continue, and we have a new missive. I'll add his dispatches to my LJ as they arrive:Collapse )

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