Vermont-based journalist Stew Shearer often writes for the Escapist Magazine on all things video games. In his latest, he reviews the original X-Wing game, which has recently been re-released:
Finally re-released after years of long waiting, X-Wing is a challenging, addictive and authentic feeling Star Warsexperience that more than lives up to extensive hype.
The mission seems to start off well.
The Empire, using corrupted R2 units, has hijacked a trio of X-Wings and my squadron’s been sent to disable them so we the pilots can be rescued and their flight data can be kept out of enemy hands. Disabling them winds up being easy; the ion cannons on our Y-Wings leave them helpless and ripe for recapture. Unfortunately, we’re not alone. An Imperial Star Destroyer is already in the area and doesn’t take kindly to our snatching its prize away.
Read the rest of the review here..
Over on Goodreads, Brian Staveley is giving away a signed ARC (advance reading copy) of The Providence of Fire, his second novel in the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne trilogy, along with a signed hardcover of the first volume in the series, The Emperor’s Blades.
Here’s the plot:
The conspiracy to destroy the ruling family of the Annurian Empire is far from over.
Having learned the identity of her father’s assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace is search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.
Unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn, renegade member of the empire’s most elite fighting force, has allied with the invading nomads. The terrible choices each of them has made may make war between them inevitable.
Between Valyn and Adare is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with the help of two strange companions. The knowledge they possess of the secret history that shapes these events could save Annur or destroy it.
Photo by Timothy Colonna. Used with permission.
Usul’s Homeworld has a new after battle report up using the All Quiet on the Martian Front. The US forces struggle to drive the Martian tripods out of Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Check out more photos and the full report on Usul’s Homeworld.
Bee inspection. Photo by Brennan.
Settlement Farm Apiary’s blog has a swirl of activity bringing us up to date on doings in the home and satellite bee yards last summer. Of particular interest, you can catch a glimpse of what seem to be bees in the process of extruding wax to build honeycomb, and the threat of invading mites.
Are the continuing adventures of the employees of DCM Enterprises actually transmissions from the universe where Hunter S. Thompson was an avid role-player? This latest installment offers some pretty compelling evidence:
It was then that the charge was blown, and the battle was joined. Behind a rolling, flaming child rode a half-android monk riding a shark who decided to even things up a bit by casting a three-foot-high fog into the crag. The smell of burning hair extensions was only drowned out by the high-pitched screams of strippers who could not see the shark that was tearing through them to impale it with their stripper-pole spears.
Photo by Brennan.
In the most recent update from Settlement Farm, Brennan recounts being on hand to see the Red hive swarm:
I was just in time to see Red issue a swarm! Fortunately the swarm settled on an easy to reach branch and I was able to capture it. My process was to spritz the cluster with water (with a little Honey-B-Healthy for good measure). Then to scoop and brush the bees into a deep in which I had the few deep frames I had to spare and which had a queen excluder on its bottom.
Will Brennan’s swarm-capture technique succeed? Click through to find out. And check out the videos he posted of the swarming action.
The Return of DCM Enterprises gets a little frisky in episode 84, “A Chateau in Darkness…”:
Takemiya, being a monk, had avoided the undisciplined distractions of female attention for well over six decades. But even his untrained carnal senses were telling him that Grandma was all over his shit and if he wasn’t careful, they’d be making the Heavenly Banging Cannons before too long. He was already suspicious of the tea, and as his eyes scanned the room for a neglected houseplant in which to dispose of the liquid, he noticed more than a few things. Firstly, there was no bed. Secondly, there was a wheelchair in the corner that looked as old as Grandma herself. Thirdly, there was a rocking chair in the middle of the room. Not only was that a weird place for a rocking chair, but there was a small spot of dried blood on the arm…
Honeycomb at Settlement Farm. Photo by Brennan.
May was abuzz with activity at Settlement Farm for Brennan. He reversed hive boxes to counteract the bees’ upward movement during the winter, further tweaked the arrangement, developed the annex bee yard and missed catching the bees as they swarmed at the end of the month: “Interestingly, my mother checked her notes and we had a swarm just a few days earlier the previous year. I need to keep this in mind next year.”
Brennan goes on to comment about swarming and how to prevent it, including his own process in adding supers to each of the hives:
Bees generally swarm when they feel crowded. They can feel crowded for various reasons, but one obvious one is that they have filled up too much of their brood next with honey and the queen doesn’t have enough space to lay. The solution for this is to get supers (boxes with frames intended predominantly or entirely for honey production or to swarm frames full of honey in the brood next with new empty frames (either empty drawn comb or undrawn foundation, the former I believe is preferred if you think they may decide to swarm before they can draw out foundation).
Bear riders in progress. Photo by Brennan.
The riders are astride their ursine mounts in June’s update from Legions of the Frozen North. Brennan gives a peek into the process of creating these figures, as the bears and knights are completely unrelated items that he’s putting together into a new configuration:
Three of the knights are demigryph knights and three are regular knights. I had ordered the DG bits but afterwards figured I could use the regular knights which I have a surplus of. I added bed rolls from the Outrider/Pistolier kit to add ‘something’ to the back, snipped shields for back supports, and various banner topper or other bits to act as a pommel. I think I might also try to get the sheathed swords on as well. The straps are strips of paper that I glued into place and then struck on the idea of adding a couple drops of super thin super glue which wicked into the paper and then hardened making them more durable than untreated paper… and probably less likely to have issues curling or falling apart when the paint is added.
 Ed.: Perhaps demigryph knights are the demi-chickens referred to last time.
Episode 82 of the ongoing role-playing campaign The Return of DCM Enterprises has posted, in which breakfast is served to the staff of DCM Enterprises, Xoe is found in a family way and the sins of the past are visited upon the hapless of today.