Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

6 September, 2012

Five of a Thing: More Comics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

A while ago, I linked to five comics I like a lot. As I mentioned at the time, I actually read a bunch of comics, and once had a huge list of recommendations up here. I won’t go back to that untenable system, but I figure I can easily give you five more. Just like last time, these are in no particular order, so there’s no declaration of one as better than the others; they are all great comics that you should check out.


It’s both hard and easy to describe chainsawsuit, as it isn’t really about anything. There little to no continuity, and is mainly an outlet for the absurd and simple and hilarious jokes author Kris Straub can’t fit into his more story-focused works. It actually started as a parody of indie comics, but has become its own fantastic thing by now. Hit the random comic button a few times, and you’ll quickly know if it’s your cup of tea.


On the opposite end of the scale we have Outsider, a story-focused long form science fiction comic about a young man on a first contact mission. When his ship is destroyed, he is the only survivor, and is suddenly humanity’s representative to the aliens who pick him up – aliens in the middle of a galactic war. Fine space opera, that unfortunately doesn’t update very often.

Rice Boy (and Sequels)

If you haven’t read the beautiful and surreal Rice Boy, you have really missed out. A wonderful fantasy story, somewhat reminiscent of Tove Janson’s Moomin-stories, filled with strange and impossible creatures and lands and adventures. Two more stories set in the same world are available on the site, one of them currently going, and they’re all recommended.

Skin Horse

Black ops social services. The world is full of mad scientists and their creations, zombies and genetic mutants roam the land, and the government will be there for them come hell or high water. This very funny tale of classified bureaucrats is a spin-off of the also-great Narbonic, but can be read as a stand-alone. Just read through the cast page, all right? I’m sure that will sell you.

Myst: The Book of Atrus

All right, maybe I’m cheating slightly here, as I have already recommended this comic in a different post all of its own. However, since I wrote that recommendation based mostly on expectation and enthusiasm, the comic has continued to update and grow, and has become something that I can very easily recommend regardless of my Myst enthusiasm. If you still haven’t given it a try, I wash my hands of you.

So there you have it, five plus comics all ready for reading. Now let’s just hope this post won’t have any unintended consequences

16 April, 2012

Five of a Thing: D&D Monsters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

One of the things I like about D&D is the ridiculous number of monsters it has accumulated. There are whole pages dedicated to some of the sillier critters the game has now left behind. There are still some really weird ones in the mix, but I think most of them have some cool feature at this point. Leafing through my 4th edition Monster Manuals, I certainly find plenty to love. So here’s five of them. I’m not even going to say these are favourites, they’re simply five monsters I think are cool.

5 – Rust Monster

Way, way back, when I read my first D&D book (a red one), I remember this monster being in it. I think it was encountered in the solo adventure in that book, and it might even have rusted away my weapon. Or maybe I’ve invented that whole memory. Either way, the rust monster is such an unashamedly obvious “screw you” to the players, I can’t help but love it. It’s a monster specifically designed to destroy you stuff!

4 – Owlbear

Yeah, that’s right, I said owlbear, the poster boy for ridiculous combinations of creatures. This isn’t so much for what the owlbear currently is, as for what it could be. Look at these things, and tell me this creature that leaves people with no other recourse than to draw comparison to killers of land and air can’t be terrifying.

3 – Aboleths

A.K.A evil fish. Huge amphibians that come from the cuthulu-esque Far Realm, swimming in unknowable patterns beneath subterranean seas, spewing an incomprehensible hate throughout their surroundings. I have a weakness for that sort of Lovecraft-inspired monster, I guess.

2 –  Rakshasas

Humanoid big cats. What makes these cool are their backstory. There’s a player race called Devas (neither of these have much to do with the thigns they’ve taken their names from, just as an aside) which are basically angelic spirits who have decided to hang around in the world and fight evil. Every time they die, they reincarnate in a new body. Unless they’ve turned to the dark side, in which case they become rakshasas, compelled by their new nature to continue a life of depravity and violence. Good concept. A+.

1 – Weavers

To be honest, what I’m really responding to here is the look. While the concept of a people who claim they existed in the previous universe and work endlessly to end the current one to restore their own is pretty cool, what really sells it is the image of a slender six-armed creature with no mouth. I don’t know what it is, but picturing these things move in my head makes me love them. They’d be all graceful and calm and never make a sound, and then just throw an opponent through a wall. Awesome.

Honourable mention goes to the destrachan, which is a raptor with sonar. I repeat, it is a raptor with sonar.

My head is in a bit of a D&D space right now. Maybe I’ll write more about that later. For now, them’s the monsters.

29 March, 2012

Five of a Thing: Myst Ages

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

Since I wrote Monday’s post, my head’s been stuck in the Myst series, going over the plot and characters once more, remembering when I first played the games and how much story there is to explore in them. Since I am short on time today, and need to crank out another of my emergency lists, I’m going to list my top five favourite Myst Ages. My own Five Classics, as it were. Maybe that’ll shake me out of this track and allow me to move on to other things.

Or not, this might just become a Myst blog.

Anyways, top five Ages. For reasons I’m sure will be obvious, I’ll start the list with the digit one, and leave the top favourite for number five.

1 – Amateria

Myst III: Exile sneaks onto the list with Amateria, which is just such a beautiful age, filled with weird contraptions and cool concepts. It’s puzzles are decent, and it has what is possibly the best exit of any Myst age.


2 – D’ni

Yeah, maybe I’m cheating here. This encompasses both the D’ni caverns, with Ae’gura, K’veer, and the Kadish Library, as well as the Cleft, Tomahna, and anything else I’ve forgotten, but as it is technically all one big age, I think I get away with it. Each of those places are different from the other, and they all have cool aspects to them, so when you put it all together, it makes the list. Plus, it includes this music:


3 – Minkata

Great concept, great visuals, and really fantastic music. The endless windswept desert, where you can run around and get thoroughly lost, houses a really clever puzzle, which also makes total sense in the context of the Age (it was a training grounds for the Guild of Surveyors). While Uru still ran, I would sometimes just go to Minkata and leave it open while I did other stuff, just for the beauty of it.


4 – Myst

Where it all began. Included not just because of what it is, as a section of the game, but for waht it represents, as the heart of the Myst series. This is the place where it all went wrong, where something good became something horrible, and the ghost of Myst Island remains throughout the series, and then all the way through Uru and into Myst 5. This was the gateway into the adventure, into the story, and the first introduction to the twisted family at the heart of it. It is so pretty and innocent and sad, it couldn’t go any lower on the list than this.


5 – Riven

If you looked at the previous post at all, where I declared Riven the best game ever made, I doubt this came as much of a surprise. I think I said what I need to say in that post, so I won’t repeat myself here. To add to what is found in the game, there’s all we learn about Riven in the books, which makes it all the more cooler, and tragic. Leaving Riven in the end isn’t as visually impressive as Amateria, but it means a lot more.

As for honourable mentions, there were quite a few that almost made the list. The 233rd Age would have been on it if it hadn’t been so limited in the game; it reaches honourable mention on the strength of its concept and great look alone. Todelmer could also have defended a place on this list on those grounds, if not on others.

I now hope all my readers go out and play the games and read the books and make their own lists. A week or two should suffice, yes?

5 March, 2012

Five of a Thing: Graeco-Roman Gods

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

Yes, it’s that time again, where the deadline haunts, and I need something useful and easy to say, and I turn to a list. Seeking to avoid a repeat of last time’s debacle, I’m aiming for a safer subject. My head is currently full of Greek and Roman mythology, both from reading through course literature and from a recent re-watch of HBO’s Rome. Great show that. Rather than try to sort out something coherent on this topic right now, I’m going to give you my favourite gods. Yes, and ranked this time, by my interest. You heard it here first folks, the final and definitive mythological popularity contest! (Hubris? What’s that?) So here we go, top five Graeco-Roman gods!

5 – Janus

The only really Roman god on the list, and at the end of it at that. Janus is one of those gods who seem like they should be hugely important, what with controlling doors and such, yet somehow don’t figure to much. The reason he gets on my list right now is because I really like the concept of one of his temples in Rome, the one with the gates of war. Whenever Rome was at war, the gates were open – this was most of the time. Augustus apparently bragged that he managed to close the gates a whooping three times in his reign.

4 – Zeus

Head lecher of Olympus, but he only reaches the number four spot on my list. Sure he’s big and strong and kingly and all that, but he’s not terribly interesting. Where he really shines, though, is in his, ahem, sexual escapades. There’s really nothing else to call them. This is the guy who seemingly slept with at least half of Greece, and never as the same animal twice.

3 – Dinoysus

Zeus may be a party dude on paper, but Dionysos is the real Michelangelo in the dodecatheon, at least when he’s counted among them. Sex, drugs, women, wine and song – no wonder this guy was popular. My interest in him comes more from his foreign status, though – something I had never heard about until I began reading about this for my course. Dionysus was a god who came from somewhere else, in his fundamental conception an outsider that invaded Greek order with his man bacchanalia. That’s worth a number three spot for sure.

2 – Hephaestus

Who got a rawer deal than Hephaestus? His whole reason for being is to prove the point that women aren’t any good at doing stuff for themselves, and he goes on to be the Olympian butt monkey. Even when he does smithing well, he gets no respect. There’s something eminently loveable in an underdog like that, but not enough to outweigh the sheer cool-factor of the number one spot.

1 – The Erinyes

Well …

We are the skilled, the masterful,
we the great fulfillers,
memories of grief, we awesome spirits
stern, unappeasable to man,
disgraced, degraded, drive our powers through;
banished far from god to a sunless, torchlit dusk,
we drive men through their rugged passage,
blinded dead and those who see by day.

Then where is the man
not stirred with awe, not gripped by fear
to hear us tell the law that
Fate ordains, the gods concede the Furies,
absolute till the end of time?
And so it holds, our ancient power still holds.
We are not without our pride, though beneath the earth
our strict battalions form their lines,
grouping through the mist and sun-starved night.

– Aeschylus’s Eumenides

‘Nuff said.

13 February, 2012

Five of a Thing: Comics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

In its previous incarnation, this blog included a rather long list of links to various comics I read on the web. At the outset, the idea was to list all of them, but it quickly fell behind as I dropped some and added others to my daily trawl. It was too long to be in any way useful, something I tried to alleviate by dividing into sections based on the strength of my recommendation, but this too was something that quickly became outdated. By the end, I don’t think there was much overlap between the list on the blog and the actual list of comics I read in my bookmarks.

The rejuvenated blog you’re reading now doesn’t have many links – actually, it only has one, and that one more out of deeply ingrained habit than anything else. Hopefully, I’ll eventually find some more worthy websites to add a permanent link to, but I don’t plan to repeat previous follies by trying to squeeze in all the comics I read – certainly not into the present sidebar. In lieu of that, I’m going to share my love of various comics a different way: by listing a few highlights. I’m not going to call it a top five, simply because I don’t want to make that kind of ranking judgement. They are picked from the upper echelon of the about fifty or so currently running comics I follow. If you are not reading these, you are missing out.

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja

The absurd adventures of the ninja who is also a doctor. Who idolises Batman. And has a gorilla for a secretary, and a prepubescent side-kick who rides a dinosaur.

Not the easiest thing to explain to people, really, but absolutely one of the funniest comics I know.

Dumbing of Age

On the subject of funny, this is basically a good sit-com in comic form. David Willis is no stranger to the college room-mates setting, and in this comic he perfects the form so well that the tired premise actually works. He’s basically taken all the best bits of his previous works and mixed them all together to create new greatness and hilarity.


The tagline for this one is that the story is serious and the characters hilarious. It’s hard to put it better than that, really. Interstellar war between the Galactic Spanish Empire and mysterious aliens, seen through the eyes of a variety of interesting personages, including centipedes who write poetry. Both good humour and a genuinely interesting sci-fi setting.

Bad Machinery

I don’t know how to explain Bad Machinery. It is sort of kid’s adventure novels taken to weird lengths and told with John Allison’s very peculiar humour. There aren’t many laugh out loud punchlines as such, but the whole thing is steeped in an ineffable hilarity. Yes, that sounds good, ineffable hilarity.

Gunnerkrigg Court

I said I wasn’t going to rank, but screw it. This is the gold medal. This wins. All the prizes. Intriguing mystery, fantastic humour and absolutely gorgeous art. I don’t think I’ve seen a comic deliver mood as well as this since Sandman. It is absolutely criminal that Tom Siddell can’t make his whole living off this, and you should help remedy that situation by starting to read it right away.

There, that’s much better. Five recommendations, none of this link page to maintain nonsense. Now go read.

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