Gatecrash Pre-releases in a few hours

For nearly two decades, Magic The Gathering has been the world’s number one collectable card game. Lurching from strength to strength this behemoth is now available in multiple languages across many countries… and tonight players will have their first chance to try out the very newest mechanics.

I’m going to be taking part in a mid-night pre-release event at my local gaming store so tomorrow I’ll be able to give you a rundown on how the new cards play.

Wish me luck!


Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

Easter Eggs

Yesterday we posted YouTube’s irreverent summary of 2012 and we realised as we watched it that there were some easter eggs included. It took several gruelling rewatchings but we think we found them all. We don’t want to spoil everything for you though. If you haven’t found them yet, go look again. When you return, click to see them all. Continue reading


Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

When Snowmen go bad

Following up from yesterday’s Doctor Who post, this pinged our interest. It’s fun, fictional and seasonal. And somehow just a little similar with its sense of foreboding to The Snowmen, this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special.

If you neutralise zombies by taking out their brains… do you steal a zombie snowman’s carrot? What’s the proper way to kill a snowman? And will we find out on Christmas Day?


Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

The Oncoming Storm

Eleven famous faces, a recent 49th birthday, a man who has stared into the vortex of time and who once declared himself Timelord Victorius… it can only be The Doctor.

My take on a darker version of the Doctor, the Predator, reminiscent of the Dreamlord or the Valeyard. A man who’s been wounded one too many times, whose defenses have finally shattered under the guilt and pain and loneliness of centuries. He has finally turned his back on the universe, becoming the one thing he feared the most. The blood of entire worlds is on his hands, and there is no one left to stop him.

“See? This is what happens when you travel alone for too long.” -Amy.

All credit to Saimain for an excellent visual. This is a rendition of The Doctor that will not soon be forgotten.



Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

Reach for the sky – the 3.5km lego tower

No, there isn’t really a tower of Lego bricks to rival a mountain – but theoretically there could be. Often these days when you have a question, you check Google and find the answer. Just occasionally though you’ll find a question that nobody has asked before – like how many Lego bricks could you stack on top of each other before the weight of the tower is enough to crush the bottom brick. In essence, what’s the tallest Lego tower you could possibly build?

After realising that nobody knew, BBC show More or Less asked Dr Ian Johnson, lecturer at the Open University, to help them find out. What they found surprised everyone. Testing Lego blocks using equipment usually reserved for stress-testing engineering supplies they discovered that the familiar 2×2 ordinary Lego could withstand a force of nearly 4,240 Newtons – the equivalent of six well built men – bearing down on the brick before it lost structural stability. Imagine that, standing six men on top of one Lego brick to crush it. When you work the maths out from the force of weight it can uphold against the weight of an individual block, factor in the size of a block and scale up… a single Lego piece can support about 375,000 other Legos on top of it. That tower would be 3.5km tall!

Back to the start though, there’s some bad news; it would be impossible to build a tower of lego that tall as the slight deviations in positioning over the sheer number of bricks involved would topple the tower long before 375,000 could be stacked together.

For more on the science behind the question, check out this piece on the BBC’s website.

If you could build a model out of Lego, would would you build?


Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

How To Write 80,000 Words In A Weekend

I read this on Brian Keene’s blog a few months ago and it stuck with me. As NaNoWriMo ends tomorrow it seemed like a perfect time to post about it. The post is too long for me to paste the whole thing here – for the full version I recommend reading it on Brian’s website (and buy a book while you’re there!)

Long story short, Brian is a prolific writer, has authored dozens of books, scripted comics, written adaptations for film – and he’s always under pressure to complete his next project. In July, after a spate of bad health and other matters he’d fallen behind so he wrote 80,000 words in a weekend to catch up.

Just as Nano writers are tirelessly churning out the words and trying to ignore their inner editor, Brian did the same. On the prospect of writing so much in so little time he said, “Writing 40,000 words in one day is really only practical for three things — pulp, porn, and first drafts.” And he’s right; that work, like the stories being written around the world right now, will need editing, pruning, rewriting. Some of it may be scrapped entirely – but without writing it in the first place the book would never get started.

How did he manage it? Well, he stuck to three rules:

  1. No distractions
  2. “All I did for the entire weekend was write and sleep. The only times I wasn’t writing or sleeping were to check Twitter a few times a day, to call Mary once per night, and to attend my youngest son’s karate class. Other than those few things, all I did was write. I didn’t mow the lawn. I didn’t clean the house. I ignored all incoming phone calls. I skipped out on attending events, and I declined invitations to hang out with friends. All I did was write. And when I got tired, I slept. And when I woke up, I wrote some more. Did my wrists hurt? Sure. Did I give myself carpal tunnel? It certainly seems like it. Do I feel bad that I missed out on things? Of course. But did I accomplish what I set out to do? Absolutely.”

  3. Know what you’re going to write ahead of time
  4. “The 40,000 words in one day constituted a complete novella (Sundancing) and part of a novel (The Lost Level). If you’re curious, Sundancing was 20,000 words long. The other 20,000 applied to The Lost Level. In both of these cases, I knew exactly where the story was going before I started the weekend’s writing.
    Writing 20,000 words about my experiences at Sundance, and what going there taught me about myself and our industry, was as easy as telling a friend about it over the phone or over drinks (or both). And adding 20,000 words to The Lost Level, while not as easy as the former, was still a breeze because a) I knew that my characters needed to find a crashed Nazi flying saucer and then fight a giant slug, and b) it was fun as hell to write.”

    “Had these been novels I was starting from scratch, or had the subject matter been something I didn’t feel as intimate or close to (Sundancing), or simply frivolous and fun to write (The Lost Level) there’s no way I would have written that many words in a day.”

  5. Quantity over quality
  6. “These were both first drafts. I can not stress that enough. These are first drafts. The 80,000 words I wrote this weekend are not meant to be turned in to a publisher, nor are they ready for you to read. They are the basic foundations of the books to come.”

I don’t think I even need to expand on those points. All I will do is give you some of his final comments to think upon.

“The important thing to remember is this — writers get too hung up on word counts. It doesn’t matter if you produce 1,000 words per day or 10,000 words per day. What matters is that you produce words. Novels and stories don’t write themselves. Ass in chair, fingers on keyboard, repeat as necessary is the best method I know. If you’ve written 1,000 words today and someone else has written twice that amount, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’ve written. Be proud of what you’ve produced.”

If you’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo this year, congratulations, and I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself.

What are your best tips for writing? How do you motivate yourself to start? And when’s the right time to stop?

[Brian Keene]


Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

Captain Planet is back – but not as you knew him

Remember 90’s cartoon Captain Planet and the Planeteers? Last year Funny or Die created a parody trailer/mini-film starring Don Cheedle to show what the series could be like in today’s day and age. It must have been a success because they’ve since commissioned more of the same.

(Caution, slightly NSFW due to some swearing)

It seems that years of watching humanity pollute the Earth, heedless to the Planeteers’ actions has warped Captain Planet’s sensibilities – something not improved in the subsequent parts.

Part three was released yesterday and part four will become available tomorrow.

What cartoons did you watch in your childhood? If someone were to remake them now, who would you cast for which characters?


Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.