The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

| June 29, 2011

So, Liz and I took a week off, and a bunch of the old crew from college came up to escape for a bit.

There were massive quantities of beer consumed (homebrew Noisy Wingnut Steam Hefeweizen, and Cream Ale), good food, good friends, lots of gaming.

One of the things which consistently impresses me about my friends are the fact that they actually read real books (not many people do these days), and they are interesting. Present and being read were:

  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Some random thriller called Excaliber
  • Kitchen Confidential (Bourdain’s book)
  • The Cuckoo’s Egg (this one was mine).

The game table also got used, though I didn’t get a lot of action shots, we got a few. Games played were:

  • Munchkin Cthulu
  • Munchkin Quest
  • Lord of the Fries
  • Shadowrun
Us playing Munchkin Quest

Socks inspects the game board by shoulder surfing Erich





Eclipse Phase

| June 22, 2011

I’m certain I’ve written about this before, but I’m no stranger to repeating myself, so I will do so here.

Eclipse Phase is an interesting roleplaying game which deals with conspiracy and horror (always good things for fiction), and far future science fiction concepts of post-scarcity economies (Star Trek style replicators) and transhumanism (consciousness transfer, cybernetics, etc.). It is also noteworthy as the first game (at least, of which I’m aware) released under a Creative Commons license. This is not an OGL thing like D20, where some of the text is okay, and other stuff isn’t, etc. This is the whole deal. You can redistribute the PDF, create derivative works, etc. I think the only restriction is on commercial use (which makes sense – if you want to do that, get a license).

I wish more publishers would do that.

Anyway, to the point.

I was browsing around and found this blog page by Rob Boyle. All the PDFs, for download, for free.

If you like it, please support the artists by buying the print books.

Seekrit project

| June 19, 2011

So, I’ve been working on this for the past week.


  • An old swingset
  • A reciprocating saw with a metal blade
  • A couple cans of Rust-Oleum
  • Misc hardware

Cutting it down:

Chopped down swingset

Construction complete


Painted up

Painted up

Know what it is yet?

Here’s the burner (which I had already)

With burner

With burner

And a pot and pulley:

Pot and pulley

Pot and pulley

Anyone still not sure?

Turkey fryer pulley rig:

For the first cut, we used Alton’s Recipe for the brine, and the directions from the manufacturer for the cookery (350 degress for 3.5 minutes per pound, which ended up being 45 minutes). I felt it was a bit overdone. Alton’s recipe starts it at 250, waits for it to get up to 350, and then cooks it for 35 minutes. I think we’ll try that one next.

Public service announcement

| June 8, 2011

Skimmers and keypad overlays installed on ATMs, on the swipe cards to get in to the ATM area, and on fuel pumps.

Be paranoid.

Well, it finally happened…

| June 6, 2011

I showed my Shadowrun book to a guy at work, and even let him borrow it for a couple of days.

He returned it, and asked me “But what about all those people who take it too seriously and hanged themselves when their character died”.

Dude? Really? You play guitar in a rock band – do you really believe Alice Cooper or Ozzy Osbourne made kids do bad things?

However, he got me thinking – I know the origin of the tale is the Jack Chick “Dark Dungeons” tract, and there is a Tom Hanks movie “Mazes and Monsters”, but are there any ACTUAL documented cases of folks taking it too far?