Monthly Archives: August 2016

Gateway Geeks Podcast- Episode 14 Don’t Believe the Hype

Gateway Geeks Podcast

Gateway Geeks Podcast Episode 14- Don’t Believe the Hype

Welcome to episode 14 of The Gateway Geeks Podcast! This week, Joe and Aaron take on hype, should we believe it? Must everything ‘suck’ or ‘rule?’ HAVE WE NO MEASURE OF MODERATION? The guys discuss No Man’s Sky, Suicide Squad, and the surrounding buzz, and engage in an exercise in critical polemics.  Get Aaron’s pre-VR impressions before he ventures into the great beyond!

Check out the latest episode of Joe’s VR Vlog in which Aaron ventures for the first time into the virtual expanse!

Show Notes

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Game of Thrones: The books or the show?

Bumbling Bookworm

Ah. The age old question: “which is better, the books or the show/movies?” It’s a question I find myself asking time and time again. As a lover of both books and TV or films I tend to both read and watch a story whenever I get a chance, and the answer, for me, is usually the same.

Which was better, the book or the show/film. . . Harry Potter? The books. The Fault in our Stars? The book. Vampire Academy? The books. A series on unfortunate events? The books. With pretty much anything I’ve ever both read and watched, I’ve preferred the books. They leave more room for storytelling, are often more detailed and don’t cut out any of the quirky little bits, and take more time to get through so you can enjoy them for longer.

But I’ve recently started reading the  ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series by George R. r. Martin (AKA, the Game of…

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Tomb Raider Tidbit: The Time Lara Croft Almost Visited Mali

Tomb Raider Horizons

In the 2006 game Tomb Raider: Legend, Lara Croft travels across the globe in search of pieces of the mythical Excalibur, visiting such places as a military base in Kazakhstan, the ruins of Tiwanaku in Bolivia, an ancient temple in the Ghanaian rainforest, and an abandoned monastery in Nepal.

But did you know that the West African nation of Mali was almost a stop on Lara’s grand tour?

Perusing my archive of Legend concept art recently, I spotted two pieces of artwork that seemed to depict a small alley and market place around what appeared to be the Great Mosque of Djenné in central Mali.

I was already familiar with this World Heritage Site as I’d read about it for a course on West African archaeology a few years ago and had seen videos of the mosque’s annual maintenance on Youtube (honestly, it’s amazing to watch the local community in action

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The monster which attacked Mars


In Hindu myth, Rāhu and Ketu are imagined to represent demons which cause eclipses of the ‘Moon’.  In astronomy these points are the nodes of the orbit of the Moon. They were mythologically imagined to be the head (Rāhu) and body (Ketu) of the Rg Vedic Svarbhānu, a demon which tried to attack or eat Indra (Mars), as depicted at the top of Figure 1.

Cyclic Catastrophism explains that during each kalpa, when Mars was in its geostationary orbit, above Mt. Kailas, Indra’s Home on Earth, it passed through phases of illumination, similar to the Moon, but every day.  It approached full illumination around midnight because it orbited close to the ecliptic plane.  But due to its great size and proximity to the Earth it would pass, at least partially, through the shadow of the Earth, an eclipse, at approximately 11;15 PM as seen in…

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25th August 79 A.D. The Death of Pliny the Elder #Onthisday

RoboCop (1987) Film Review | 100 Day Film Challenge – Day 56

alycat geekery

HOLY CRAP, I’VE BEEN DEPRIVED! I absolutely adored RoboCop. I think I’m officially a Paul Verhoeven fan girl now.

The story takes place in  a futuristic Detroit, and a brand spanking new robot crime fighter named ED-209 has been created by the police force. Yay for technology! After shit hits the fan, though, they have to rethink their strategy. Conveniently, one of their own officers, Murphy (Peter Weller) is gunned down and basically blown to smithereens by a gang. The police force saves him, and they get the brilliant idea to turn him into one “badass motherfucker”. Hence, the titular RoboCop is created.

The effects still hold up relatively well today. Yeah, some are cheesy, but for the time period, these were cutting-edge visuals. I loved the unique cinematography, and the action scenes are basically porn for fans of explosions and shoot outs.

The acting is decent. Nobody really stands out…

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I have been extremely busy in this latter part of the summer.

Shuttling my wife around throughout the state, to Charleston and Columbia and elsewhere, so that she could make presentations and speeches for her company.

Getting my oldest daughter moved back into college.

Homeschooling my youngest child.

Working on my novels and start ups.

And preparing for Hell Week (more on that later).

Not much time for blogging.

Nevertheless I am hopeful things will calm down again soon.

So, I appreciate your patience.


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Antonius and Parthia

Weapons and Warfare


Parthian Cavalry charge.


Campaign against the Parthians Mark Antony, 36 BC. Oppius Statianus (legate Mark Antony) guarding the Roman baggage and siege equipment,


To his core, Antonius was a soldier – and a proud one. It was said he believed that there would be no better death for him than that by battle. As governor general in the East he sought to settle an old score. He conceived a military campaign against Rome’s nemesis Parthia. It was motivated by a desire to restore national honour after Crassus’ humiliating defeat at Carrhae in 53 BCE by Orodes II, and the Parthian incursions led by the quisling Q. Labienus on behalf of King Pacorus I in 40 BCE. After two years Antonius had assembled an army of his own troops supplemented by men and materiel from client kings and allies. At the start of his campaign he had 60,000 Roman infantry, together…

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About ancient combat and weapons

Interloping Infantry & Falling Rigging

Armor and weapons - 6 Iron age helmet reconstruction – with fear inducing eyebrows 😉

After many years of wargaming, some years of experimental history study, construction and combat practice with various close quarter weapons I have started to wonder why melee simulations have tendency to focus on the instrument.

It is easy to construct theories of how each individual weapon performs in one-to-one combat, but importance of men wielding the weapon is often forgotten.

Armor and weapons - 8 Two handed axe

During ancient era, it was common man levied into service during campaigning season. Paid, trained and disciplined professionals were rare commodity. Considering the everyday occupations of Hellens, there are craftsmen of sorts, farmers and such. They are perhaps somewhat seasoned in war, but still having gained their basic strength and skills in the fields and farms, wielding perhaps axes, scythes, spears, javelins and bow & arrow for hunting.

Armor and weapons - 4 Two small battle axes

It has always troubled me that some (if not…

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Pyrrhus Victories II

Weapons and Warfare

d0ef8369c1e8679525bb5b0ddd752aefRome’s war against that infamous Hellenistic condottiere king Pyrrhus of Epirus in 280 to 275 that finally brought Rome fully into the purview of Hellenistic international relations. Pyrrhus at the battle of Ausculum.


He went to Sicily, therefore, and justified his calculation by driving the Carthaginians out of the island, except for the single city of Lilybaeum, in a campaign that lasted a trifle over two years, and whose details need form no part of this narrative. That Sicily did not fully develop into the broad base he expected was due mainly to his lack of the one thing Alexander so abundantly possessed—statesmanship. Or perhaps it was the loss in the Roman battles of his lieutenants and trained administrators—Megacles, Leonnatus, and the rest. There was a gap in the command structure near the top. Sicily remained in his possession, but it was nearing the edge of mutiny when he returned…

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Weapons and Warfare




The war chariot was made possible by two inventions, the spoked wheel and the bit. Complete chariots have been found in Egyptian tombs. The frame was made of wood covered with leather. It had two wheels, each with four (later six) spokes, and an axle placed at the very rear of the body for stability on fast turns. Attached to the sides were one or two quivers, each containing thirty or forty arrows, a bow case, and sometimes a quiver for javelins.

The early periods of Egyptian history (Dynastic, Old and Middle Kingdoms) were characterized by peace, prosperity, and pyramids. The Mediterranean to the north, the desert to east and west, and the jungles and cataracts to the south provided Egypt with natural protection from the outside world. From the emergence of Egyptian civilization in 3100 B . C . E . to the end of the Middle Kingdom, around…

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Pax Romana – initial impressions

Your Badass D&D Character Would Make A Terrible Soldier

Yeah, no kidding…


A few weeks back I talked about how archery is misunderstood by fantasy gamers. And wouldn’t you know, someone disagreed with me. But the respectful counter-argument raised about my archery post wasn’t in defense of the impossibly accurate Legolas’s of the D&D world. Or much about archery at all, really. The argument seemed to focus on the plausibility of a small, elite fighting group having real effect against ranks of archers or a phalanx of spearmen. The points made against my post also came from a source I respect.

So here, for the first time, I will write a rebuttal about why your average D&D character would be diced into Gnomechow if they went up against a real organized military unit.

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My Problem with Planes

The Game Detective

(This article is about extraplanar adventures in roleplaying games, not flying machines.)

“We’re about to hit the next story arc of our campaign,” I said to my players, visibly very excited, “Does anyone want to suggest a theme?”

Now, for those of you who don’t know, this is a dangerous proposition.  This is how you end up running a thousand campaigns centered around the Blood War or the undead, or whatever you might think is the least interesting part of a fantasy setting.  Regardless, I was excited enough about my campaign’s success that I was pretty much down for anything.

“Oh! We should do a plane hopping adventure!”  So… let’s talk about why that’s not nearly as fun as it sounds.

First off, when you say plane hopping, you imagine a sweeping adventure where you jump from alternate world to alternate world, sort of like Sliders.  The problem is that a plane hopping…

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Monday Art Attack: Star Trek Adventures RPG Artwork by Unknown

Monday Art Attack: Pathfinder Worldscapes by Reilly Brown

STRANGER THINGS (2016) Netflix original show review

Splatter: on FILM


There must be a science to discovering how waves of popularity surge through cultural chasms. One day’s Candy Crush is the next’s Pokemon Go. Somehow this little original with Twin Peaks meets X-files meets Goonies flair found the mass appeal to become a sensation.960Some of the appeal in making art must be the gamble as all shows run the risk of falling flat. This Super 8 style kids V monsters series made the smart and unique decision to slowly but steadily build the show on the backs of an oddly memorable ensemble cast. They are relatable, flawed, likable humans with skills and potential for future-changing.Stranger ThingsIn their retro, rugged, primary colored world, four middle school aged boys play Dungeons and Dragons while their older siblings flirt and spy and kiss and lie – the usual plot fodder until a faceless predator kidnaps one of the small boys the same…

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