Has it really been over a decade since we first visited Lord of the Rings? Maybe it’s because I’ve been rewatching the series on Blu-Ray, but it honestly feels like we never left Middle-Earth. It’s so good to be back and seeing Bilbo Baggins as played by Martin Freeman really sets the tone that this is a different kind of story.
It is December 20th, which means a few things. One, Christmas is just around the corner, you’re probably well aware of that. However, the latter portion of December also brings us the annual release of the New England Brewing Company’s Imperial Stout Trooper beer.
Imperial Stout Trooper is a dark full beer with a chocolate/coffee taste. It is, by far, the best chocolate beer I’ve ever had, and while I won’t entirely speak for Jesse, he enjoys it as well. All the worse that this beer only arrives during a two week period in December.
If the name didn’t give it away, it is indeed inspired by Star Wars. Inspired might be a bit of a stretch given that the only relationship to the galaxy far far away is the name and the picture of the storm trooper on the label. Admittedly, this is the first thing that attracted Jesse and me to it.
Finding this beer is almost as hard as waiting the 50 weeks during the year when it isn’t available. It is only available in the New England area, though a liquor store here and there might snag a few bottles. The brewery’s website doesn’t help, neither does their Twitter feed.
Your only choice is to just call up liquor stores in the area and ask around. Some will be kind enough to put you on a list and call you back if they get it in stock. If they don’t do lists, just keep calling back until you get the restraining order in the mail.
Luckily for you, I’ve taken the liberty of crazy calling every liquor store in the tri-state area and I have it on good authority that the beer is on its way, but that it might not actually get released till after Christmas. Puts a bit of a kink in any plans you have on gifting this, but your friends will forgive you if the present arrives a few days later. If not, well then they aren’t your friends, and you can just keep all the beer for yourself. May the Force be with you.
We’re smack-dab in the middle of the holiday season, and for fans of Munchkin that means a new holiday-themed booster has been released!
Those scary Reindeer are back! And they’ve brought new Santa monsters like Teeny Tiny Tim, Recalled Toys, and (eek!) Mrs. Claus. You know what you have to do. Kill them and take their stuff! Armor yourself in Tinsel, and grab the Snow Shoes and the Reindeer Hat. Celebrate Christmas the Munchkin way – with Reindeer Games!
Suggested Ages: 10 and up Number of Players: 3 to 5 Playing time: 1-2 hours Contents: 15 cards (9 door, 6 treasure), rules insert Retail price: $4.95 available at Amazon.com and Warehouse 23
The Book of Vile Darkness through the editions has been many things. At its best, it is a strong source of inspiration for DMs who want to include some frightening elements into their campaigns. It can also be an inspiration to players who want to have their characters be a little darker or who would rather play an evil party and scour the land rather than save it. While the Dungeons & Dragons line rarely achieves the depths of depravity that gaming lines like White Wolf’s Vampire games or Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu, it is every bit as dark as the epic Midnight setting. The various Books of Vile Darkness have been a must-have for anyone hoping to strike terror into the normally cavalier D&D player’s heart. At the same time, the Book of Vile Darkness has historically also been an excuse to run depraved characters without consequence or thought to roleplaying. There are excellent examples of evil campaigns out there but in my experience they easily get out of control.
I effing love nerd music. I effing love Christmas music. I effing love the confusion on my friends’ faces when holiday wizard rock comes up on my holiday playlist. There really is not enough nerdy holiday music out there.
Here are a couple of songs to keep you in the spirit of the season while you do your online holiday shopping, participate in a festive WoW raid, or DM your next campaign.
5) Another Christmas Song: Stephen Colbert
All you need to do is look at the Captain America shield in his studio or watch segments like this on his show to know that Stephen Colbert is a huge nerd. In this song from his Christmas special, Colbert breaks down exactly what it takes to write a blockbuster Christmas song.
4) The Way-too-Early Christmas Song: Paul & Storm
Nerd band staple Paul & Storm have a couple Christmas songs in their repertoire. However, their ode to retail’s annual pre-mature jump on the holiday season is especially amusing. “I know you need to satisfy your investors/But couldn’t you wait at least until the Savior’s third trimester?”
3) The Night Santa Went Crazy: Weird Al Yankovic
This nerd holiday classic has all the essentials: silly violence and everyone’s favorite curly-haired accordion player.
2) It’s Snowing: Catchlove
The Harry Potter fandom supplies us with the largest catalog of nerdy holiday songs, there are five entire albums of wizard-themed holiday cheer! Though there are many great wrock songs to choose from, this is one of my favorite holiday songs ever, with or without Harry and his friends.
1) Chiron Beta Prime: Jonathon Coulton
Of course the nerdiest Christmas song I know comes from Jonathon Coulton, feral mountain man and master crooner of all things geeky. The holiday setting Coulton paints may be bleak (gotta watch out for that ammonia scented snow!), but is brimming with cheerful optimism.
There’s loads of nerdy holiday songs I left off this list, let me know your favorites!
“I’ve feasted on the sustenance of the Southern folk, and I did not find it to my liking,” admitted the ranger.
The stranger scoffed, “Perhaps you have encountered counterfeit aberrations of our vittles that flood these parts, food that only hopes to imitate a shadow of our flavors. I assure you, the fare of my people is quite different.”
Even though I lived in a rural area growing up, I was lucky enough to have an authentic Mexican restaurant near my house in high school. There’s how I was introduced to sopes. Real Mexican food has incredible, fresh flavor combinations, and this dish is a perfect example of that. If you’re going to substitute any of these ingredients with Mexican cheese, a tortilla, or Tostitos salsa, then seriously don’t even bother making this dish.