Behind the Green Door – oh boy

This will be a rare post about a pornographic movie. Don’t really watch porn and if I did, well, read on.

Cannonball Run did this to me. There’s a scene where the Asian Team is driving through a boring area, one of them falls asleep and the other (played by none other than Jackie Chan!) throws a video tape into the dashboard VCR (remember, this was 1981 or so, this would be seen as amazing at the time). While it could have just showed scenes from any type of fuck film, it clearly shows the film’s title before getting to the almost nude part. The name of that film: Behind the Green Door.

I’ve constantly made jokes over the years using this film’s title as it’s much more subtle than The Devil in Miss Jones, etc., for a porno, as most people don’t know what it is and then go look it up on their phones to catch the reference. Someone that knows Cannonball Run well will really have a laugh.

While I saw Cannonball Run when I was a little kid, I watched it again years later when I became a big fan of Jackie Chan. At the time, there was really no normal way to see the Green Door, so I forgot about it. I made the joke to someone a few weeks ago and decided then, if I’m going to joke about it, I better actually watch this fucking thing: and it’s a doozy.

The film begins with some guy going into an all-night diner and meeting an older guy. In the first scene you may be asleep already as it shows a woman fixing up coffee and tinkling dishes for a shocking amount of screen time, fixed camera. Then the chef comes out asks about telling ‘the green door’ story and the guys reluctantly say OK. Then it cuts (fucking finally) to a girl driving a car with the top down while showing the opening credits. It looks like it’s raining as she has the windsheild wiper on. While this is likely a staple in all later porn films, the actress looks and is dressed a bit like Francois Hardy rather than in a bikini or something like that. Next there are these guys from the diner, which must be a flashback, talking at a table outside at a hotel about some nonsense with bananas, it makes no sense and after about 2 minutes I skipped over this part. Then it shows the very young and quite pretty Marilyn Chambers (who starred in David Cronenburg’s Rabid a few years later) in a cool hat sitting nearby drinking a beer. This is the lady from the car. She’s listening to the nonsense story of the guys at the table nearby. Then some music is playing. This goes on and on and on with some focusing in and out on the same shot to the girl and to the guy babbling at a table. fucking glacial.

Then it’s night and the woman is dressed up walking down some stairs outside. She gets grabbed by a couple of guys in a brown station wagon and taken away.

Next is some scene in a bourdois and a guy with a handlebar mustache crushes a football until it pops and then he leads the guys from the diner, now dressed up in tuxes and wearing masks into some theatre. The handle bar mustache man laughs after they walk away and sit down in the theater. This MUST have been the MAIN influence for EYES WIDE SHUT, certainly.

Then there are some mimes on a stage. That’s right, mimes. This is 10 minutes into the film. I’m going to skip to the important parts as there aren’t very many at this point.

The mime goes on for awhile and then they bring out the girl they stole from in front of the hotel, who comes out if, you guessed it, the GREEN DOOR. A bunch of other women strip her down and rub her… then the magic happens. A black guy comes out on stage wearing only some sort of white cotton chaps with a shell necklace and his face is painted up. The music switches to African drums and the guy prances around showing off his half mast-wang. Then there’s a sex scene which consists mostly of close up shots of the actors faces with a few shots from behind where you can mostly see the guys ass in those strange white cotton chaps. This goes on and on and then just stops.

Then they take the lady and put her on a harness swing thing and she jacks off a couple guys, blows another one, and takes a cock from another, all while on some odd swings. This, amazingly, gets the audience all horny (instead of falling asleep…) and they start having an orgy. This is where the film could have gotten mildly interesting, but one of the guys makes the mistake of shooting his load and, I shit you not, the film devolves into what can only be described as a psychedelic sequence constantly showing this one cum shot in different colors with different film effects with funky music playing for a FULL SIX MINUTES. Think about that for a bit– SIX FULL MINUTES. Even stoned off of your ass you would still get up the energy to fast forward this on your VCR– probably all the way to the end or even just rewind to the beginning and give up.

After this sequence, one of the guys from outside the hotel runs up and escapes with the girl, and then they have sex. The end.

I now have suffered through (most) of this and can, with a perfectly clear conscious, make jokes and references to the movie forever anon. Thanks a lot Cannonball Run for queuing me in on this absolute porno masterpiece.

1000 posts – RPG relinks!

Well holy crap I have 1000 posts on this blog. It’s over 10 years old now. I think I have three regular readers!

Here’s a bunch of posts that I found interesting or silly enough to relink here. There’s been so many updates to WordPress that many of these I can’t even edit properly anymore!

RPG Gaming

2009 – the year of ultra-complex RPG’s – This (and what came before) created the need for the OSR and, by extension, simplified story games. You could almost call this the Pathfinder/Exalted diaspora.

A poem about Runequest – probably my favorite post on this site.

A 13th Age Adventure – Not great, not terrible!

WFRP using Mythras – a useful article to start.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess Pocketmod character sheet. – I put a lot of time into this and we really haven’t played much since.

Forgotten Realms- something to be made fun of.

Gladiators – Runequest Style

Pathfinder -the final session

Carolina Death Crawl AAR

Early excitement for Exalted 3rd edition…. ….

Parent’s basement finds – I love these types of posts.

ok….what happened?

Seeing pictures of people out for ice cream in Sweden the same day there are protests with confederate flags and shit here– I’m having trouble reconciling those two images.

We had our lockdown extended while at the same time the number of cases is not going radically up (about 150 a day for weeks now, way, way lower than projected, I mean WAY lower). The department of health here indicated 1500 deaths by April 8th WITH the lockdown. It’s now 4/28 and we may top 600 by mid-May. Everything predicted looks very wrong. Below is another interview from Knut Wittkowski who has taken it on the chin from all over on account of his original interviews. Who was right?

Stuff we know:

Data is bad, popular models, (especially in the media who always publish the HIGHEST number in the presented models) for what will happen are terrible and have led to mass hysteria or total denial. Models that a month ago showed a much lower result were shouted down or ignored. Wisconsin’s model WITH lockdown in place was an order of magnitude off, just like the UK model originally was (500k, then down to 20, with 2 million in the USA: that’s right, 2 MILLION). This has lead to hasty decisions that are very drastic which completely makes sense when bad data makes bad models, not any more.

NYC is terrible but had no lockdown at all until after everyone was infected (March 18th lockdown, March 17th started the drop in the curve of people going to the hospital), and it has an unbelievable population density compared to everywhere else in the USA. However, non dense places in Italy and Spain were hammered as well for reasons not totally understood yet (one city gets hammered, another city down the road does not). There’s a three day difference in NYC and California’s lock down and VAST difference in outcomes so far. Other area’s outcomes and risks are going to be very different from NYC, especially sitting out in say Schiocton or Cuba City. It could be as simple as co-habitation, poverty, access to health care and viral load.

Links to stuff:

Sweden:

New Michael Levitt interview. He cannot go more than 100 feet from his house in Israel.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018743210

Massive under reporting of cases.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.14.20062463v1 Here it is with a selection bias analysis lowering the projection. https://analytica.com/adjusting-the-santa-clara-county-antibody-prevalence-results-for-self-selection-bias/

And in LA County:

http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/phcommon/public/media/mediapubhpdetail.cfm?prid=2328

Obligatory links: https://infekt.ch/2020/04/exitstrategie-lockdown/ (in German, just press the translate button)

A great video by Dr. Katz. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK0Wtjh3HVA. Look how carefully he is answering some of the questions.

As for contrarians to these contrarians, the panic nightmare is hard to uphold at this point, but I’m seeing a LOT of attacks on people that suggest that this is not even close to as bad as we have been told. Data is coming in.

“It’s more virtue signaling “science”. Start with the conclusion, in this case “we need to lock down” and then work backwards to get that result ignoring all evidence to the contrary. “

Keyforge tournament semi finals!

We got a Keyforge tournament up in here and we are down to the final four.

The first few games were pretty chaotic as players wrestled with new decks or ones they hadn’t played for months, as well has not having played for awhile and being rusty on the rules. We got the hang of it quick and I think the best decks/players got into the final four.

Looking at the spread of factions, there are three decks with Shadows, which one of my kids favors for the stealing of amber and equalization cards. Logos is a very tricky and odd faction, and I was surprised it was in any of the winning decks, but there it is. In addition to Shadows, there is a clear favorite with Untamed as there’s a lot of both creatures and damage potential vs enemy creatures.

Both of the Dis decks use the Dominator Bauble with one deck having THREE of them. One of the Dis decks uses the Logos ‘draw a card for each card played’ along with Dis Library cards that allow archiving to create the potential for massive card plays during a turn.

The last deck of the four is the only one that made it in from the new set, and it is crazy good. Star Alliance coupled with tons of Brobnar and Untamed creatures makes for a real heavy hitter. When you are reaping to check a couple turns in a game, that’s nuts.

Next up is the Broken Locksmith vs S. Donohue Aeronaut of the Hyper Retreat and Betar Spawn of Saviborn vs Laney, Brilliant Tunnel Weirdo.

We’ll see what happens!

Remnants of the Precursors now in BETA

You like Master of Orion don’t you? You think the first game from 1993 is the best? Yes?

Here you go.

Remnants of the Precursors is described as ” intended as a strict feature clone of the original Master of Orion game from 1993.  “

Yessssss.

I’ve played earlier versions and they were good. I’m PUMPED to get rolling on this update, despite my current Stellaris addiction which could very quickly fall into a Crusader Kings addictions.

Stuff you learn from Aphex Twin

Have to make up your own mind about this stuff but when I see data starting to look better before it’s even possible that social distancing has had an effect-– I get real fucking confused.

Aphex Twin has been posting stuff to soundcloud and in it was this link. And while that site certainly has it’s focus and bias, when you start to look at ALL the links and sources and videos referenced in addition to the Stanford Group (Michael Levitt, et al) info, it paints a different picture than the one you would find on Facebook. And this:

While could end up being 2-4 times worse than the flu, it’s possible that all this insanity is due entirely to the internet.

Root – why the Vagabond is meant to be the best

Having followed and played Root for almost a year now, I highly suspect from a thematic perspective that the much balance-maligned Vagabond is absolutely meant to be the strongest ‘faction’ in Root. I realize some of the vagabonds are stronger than the others, but for simplicity, I’m going to treat him as a singular faction.

First off, what is the vagabond mechanically?

He’s a timer. The way his points escalate and the fact that he can only be mitigated, never ‘beaten’ times the game. Whether it’s killing all meeples or doing quests the vagabond WILL win the game unless someone else does first. While this applies to all of the factions, many of them require certain board conditions to score that are opposed directly by other player’s faction goals, the Vagabond does not.

He has no board presence. When you look at a ROOT board, you see Cats, Cats, Cats and one area with a lot of birds. This remains this way until mid game where there are TONS of cats in one corner and quite a few birds (or moles or lizards) in other areas. The vagabond isn’t easily noticed on the board and doesn’t raise alarms because he can co-exist with other factions either in the forest or in clearings.

He’s a force multiplier. The vagabond can give other factions much needed cards and help in other ways if allied (move armies around for example). If you are friends with him, he can help you a lot– but at the cost of helping him win the game.

He has ridiculous action economy potential. While the vagabond cannot be stopped from winning eventually, the core issue is that mid to late game, he can take a shocking amount of actions, especially if factions have built items and the Vagabond has created spaces for the other players by exploring ruins (many experienced vagabond players don’t do this). Once he gets an item, unless he’s extremely unlucky with an attack on his turn, he can basically never lose that item.

He punishes the heavy crafters. While the other factions may be scoring points by building stuff (looking at you Alliance), they are also making the Vagabond that much stronger. If players don’t pay attention and suddenly two of them built swords in the same turn– watch out world.

In fighting games like Virtua Fighter or Samurai Shodown, or miniature games like Warhammer 40K or Necromunda there is always imbalance and the designers have to decide what characters or factions are better than the others, because it’s nearly impossible to balance all the sides– so they must pick some to be stronger. They usually do this due to theme.

A great example is Ken and Ryu from Street Fighter. Ken is by far the strongest against the entire roster than Ryu is. However, Ryu is basically built to beat Ken.

In some cases, sometimes designers choose the factions with the most learning curve to be the strongest– IF the player is willing to put the time in to learn them. Izayoi from Blazblue Central Fiction is a good example– very difficult to play as a new player but in the hands of someone who has put the time in, probably the best character in the game. Akira from Virtua Fighter is a very difficult character to learn and use, and while VF has no tier list (it’s just that well designed), Akira is a good example of this.

The Vagabond is the most difficult faction to learn in Root with the most word-count in rules and very ticky-tacky. However, I would argue that rules mistakes with the Vagabond usually HELP the player of that faction rather than hurt them, which is different from the Alliance which needs all of the minutiae of their mechanics to work together for the win.

While there have been some tweaks to the Vagabond since the first printing, it’s nothing major DESPITE all the weeping and crying of players when they lose time and time again to the vagabond (especially Alliance players!). Why is this? THEME.

a real jerk

I think the designers very much want to have an extremely strong (strongest in fact) Vagabond faction thematically. The Vagabond is Yojimbo. Siegen Irako. Ryunosuke Tsukue. The man with No Name. Kibagami Jubei. Patrick Bateman. This is the essential protagonist (or antagonist in some cases) in the stories they inhabit. Bateman is literally trying to destroy people’s lives to draw attention to the absurdity of modern existence. Ryunosuke is so troubled by his past crimes and compartmentalized by society (literally and figuratively at the end of the film) that he just goes ahead and tries to kill EVERYONE. Yojimbo, Jubei and the man with no name waltz into control-machine factional conflicts and tip the balance so that the entire local system collapses onto itself. This is what the vagabond’s role is in Root– upset everyone else’s systems. If you ignore him, he wins. If you attack him, it’s usually to no advantage to your own faction and may even weaken you so you are at the mercy of the other factions. This is how it’s supposed to be.

I actually posted about Irako Siegen and ROOT on board game geek a while back after finding this quote while reading the Manga:

ALL of the other factions represent hierarchical societies and fixed class systems (yes, even the Covids and the Woodland Alliance). The vagabond, like Irako Siegen, is there to repudiated them ALL.

So, the next time you get your ass handed to you by the Tinker prancing around fulfilling quests and tinkering away or one of the psycho killer vagabonds wrecking the Lizard rabble for massive points and bitch about it to everyone: remember, it’s supposed to be that way.

Welp, nutso time, game time

Here we are in a global pandemic with no end in sight (yet) outside of China, everything is locked down for the most part. Who would have thought?

People are going to stay at home and wait to see if they get sick then furtively go out to places they have to and then wait to see if they get sick. Luckily for humanity itself, many people are immune (or, based on projections before quarantine, all of Wuhan would have gotten infected: which it didn’t).

Here are some articles that have helped me put things into perspective. I freaked out about a month ago when I myself had a cold with some shortness of breath and cough. I’m sure it wasn’t corona… except….i’m around kids a lot, I was at a couple chess tournaments with some very rich (ie: world travelling) people and tons of kids…scouts, etc.

First is the Levitt article. This one, when things looked REALLY bad, was an important analysis and remains so today. What he says about the media and many other viral experts is dead on and of course, those same experts can’t rescind because they’d have terrible egg on their faces if their projections are totally wrong. Remember when this was written (well over a month ago) and put it in context. He was doing analysis when his friends in China were very scared and hit the numbers almost exactly, which is really crazy if you think about it: here is his Slowdown article

Levitt’s data analysis in detail. This is a more recent PDF of his findings. One thing that really helps if you are having anxiety about this– look at the data rather than the news. The 80% infection rates with 3.4% death rate that the media has been reporting and leaders are quoting is criminal. Of course, no one but total idiot trumpers are discounting that this is dangerous and action must be taken but the other extreme is just as bad.

Already spread everywhere article. This is basically saying, before you have your first TESTED death of corona, it’s already spread everywhere as 40% of people that get it (which is probably less than 10-5% of people in a population anyway) don’t show symptoms at all. So shutting down everything isn’t really going to do much– though social distancing, hand washing, masks, in some cases like when you are sick, will.

Japan’s data. Japan is the most crowded yet ultra-modern society on the planet. Their applied technology is likely second to none and the people are happy and care about each other. They know they live in a place with terrifying natural disasters which can also fall quickly into famine and were the only country so far that has been nuked (ok, Ukraine got nuked too, but differently). I’m very interested to see how this plays out there. If the ‘already spread’ article is accurate, then there’s a massive amount of people there that have been exposed, and few deaths because of it so far.

Everything is crazy and the challenge here will be to stave off boredom at home (and starvation if you are workers in types of work that cannot work from home or aren’t salaried) and that leaves LOTS of indoor games to be played, including, of course, le video games.

What I’ve been playing.

Stellaris

This game is a fucking beast with so much crap to keep track of. I never thought after playing it for a couple hours that I would be able to stand the pace, but it has grown on me a lot and I dare say I’m starting to love it. I have played it many, many more hours than the newMOO and the other MOO clones, though not even close to MOO1…

The main thing is to just focus on a few planets as research only planets and have the rest of them support those two, then bust out onto the scene with terrifying ships. The economy in this one can be really hard to balance out and it’s very different than MOO with the wars vs normal opponents (you can’t just wipe them out) so be warned.

Torchlight 2

We have been hammering away at the best ARPG ever made (you know, because diablo 3 is a total failure) on the LAN and online. It’s a great game and totally stands the test of time. I just wish there had been an expansion to this with a couple more character classes to the base game. Someday, we may get a comparable torchlight 3. We’ll see about that shit.

BRUTAL DOOM

Playing this with my son is awesome, the pixelated gore is just incredible to witness and everything looks so good. I think he will get used to the pace compared to the slow-ass Fortnite that he’s used to. Where it all began.

Board Games

DungeonQuest

This is my son’s favorite game and it’s awesome, random and has tons of cards. Dying on turn 2 is great, making it to the dragon and dying is great. Making it out of the dungeon and winning with a mere 50 gold is great. It’s just a really fun experience every time: a dice with death where your choices matter but…. then they don’t at all. You can get ground down by the dungeon or instantly get killed or skip through the dungeon like it’s a field of daisies with no problems at all with all the treasure you can carry.

The quest for El Dorado

This is a deck builder race game by Knizia. Excellent, tight and fun with the different board set ups. This has grown on me every time I’ve played it. I think about the expansion and then realize that Knizia’s stuff almost never needs an expansion and forgo the thought.

COSMIC ENCOUNTER

Cosmic is one of the few games my whole family will get in on. This is really the crown jewel of social interaction games. Sure there’s a bunch of mechanics and you need to make sure that you keep the number of expansions you use very low or it becomes overwhelming. Cosmic is the art of the deal in space war format. I’ve got every expansion of course, an while it is fun to have so many, lots of them are just not that useful for casual play. When we play I just cut out all the red lantern aliens and most of the yellows and totally it’s fine. 100 or so aliens for this game is PLENTY so that you never have the same game twice and have good variety.

So stay home (for a bit), wash your hands and do some gaming.