Teaching the Students to become the Masters

By Uncle Chris:

I had a request on one of my other videos recently, asking me to explain my process when it comes to teaching people new games.

I never really sat down and thought about how I handle teaching before, but I quickly realized that I DO have a set porcedure and I wanted to walk you guys through a “How To’ on how to, just in case you ever need to teach a bunch of people how to play a board games.

Self-awareness for geeks

By Uncle Chris:

I usually try to keep things pretty light with my blog, but something happened to me the other day that I feel like I need to share with everybody I can.

Because of an unexpected encounter and the conversation that took place because of it, ​I had the opportunity to take look inside myself and question my preconcieved notions about people and I came out the other side a little bit better for the experience.

In short, I was wrong, and I am really glad that I was.

Remember these Sci-Fi “classics” from the ’90s?

By Uncle Chris

We were talking on the show recently about some classic movies that we think everyone should see: The Godfather, Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, Jaws, and a handful of others.

Despite BJ being involved, there were very few science fiction movies discussed and this got me thinking about some of my favorites that should be required viewing for Sci-Fi geeks.

I don’t have to say Star Trek or Star Wars, so I won’t.  Demolition Man, Enemy Mine, The Fifth Element, The Black Hole, these all make my personal list and are all excellent examples of the genre.

I spotted a list on Den of Geek that reminded me of some of the lesser-known sci-fi films that may have slipped past a lot of people.  The list has 51 movies on it, and most of them are movies that I’ve seen.  Some great, some good, some absolutely awful, but they do represent a broad cross-section of sci-fi in the 1990s.

Here’s the list, let me know if there’s something that’s not listed here that you think belongs on a list of essential sci-fi classics.

 

http://www.denofgeek.com/us/movies/sci-fi/247782/51-forgotten-sci-fi-mov…

 

Stay nerdy!

I wanted better money for my game, so I made it myself

By Chris Walker: 

I’ve put a lot of time into getting my Firefly board game to the table for our gaming group.  Learning it back to front so I can teach others, buying all of the expansions and extra ships, running down a copy of the full-sized play mat…

But I decided that I was really unhappy with the paper money that was included with the game, so I decided to do something about that!

 

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New Star Trek animated series? Yes, please!

By Uncle Chris

First of all, I love that picture of my friend Justin & I ’cause it reminds me of just about the best birthday party I’ve ever had.

But that’s a story for another day.

Today, we’re talking Star Trek.  Specifically, animated Star Trek.  As a true Trekkie, I have seen the existing animated series and, like many of my fellow fans, consider it to be an adequate entry into the lore and canon of Star Trek, even if it’s nobody’s favorite.

Star Trek: The Animated Series ran two seasons from 1973 to 1974, the series followed the events of Star Trek: The Original Series and told the continuing stories of James T. Kirk and his crew, filling in some of the time gaps between the end of TOS and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

According to Variety, an animated series is one of several Star Trek TV series in development by CBS Television Studios. They didn’t provide any specific details about what this new Star Trek animated series might look like, but it’s really exciting to imagine what they could do.  Stuff like bringing back some of those characters whose actors have aged out of their roles, some high-concept science fiction stories that might prove too expensive or complex to do live action, the possibilities are endless!

Or, maybe they could do more filling in the gaps between the shows and movies, there are some significant spans of time between the shows as it is, and I for one am exactly the kind of Trekkie that would love to see some of those stories.

I’ll keep you posted as new info becomes available, I’ll be watching this very closely (there might even be a few other Star Trek series coming soon, too!) and you’ll know all about it when I do!

Live long and prosper, Geek Nation!

Be Local, Play Local

By Uncle Chris

This week’s episode of BJ Shea’s Board Game Alliance is all about local, Seattle area creators and artists.  Game designers, writers, cake wizards, all working and creating locally and doing an amazing job of it, too.

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you all a few of my favorite places in the Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area to get my geek on, with gaming and other activities.

First, a couple of the best gaming locations.  One of the best places for gamers that I’ve ever been to is Mox Boarding House in Bellevue.  A great, upscale bar menu, huge game library for browsing ang trying before you buy, as well as one of the biggest selections of retail games for sale anywhere make this my most frequent stop for getting my game on, and they have a sister store in Ballard that’s not too shabby, as well!

Another great food selection, ample gaming space, and an excellent game store to boot, Zulu’s Board Game Cafe in Bothell is another great place to play, and the place is designed like you’re walking into a village travern straight out of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, really cool!

If you’re in West Seattle, check out Beveridge Place.  They have a great selection of local brews, ciders, and wines, along with a great pub atmosphere.  Lots of tavern games (darts, shuffleboard, pool), but they also encourage their patrons to use the large tables for other types of games (more board game stuff, I have a sickness).  And, they’ll let you bring your dog in with you!

There’s a bar in Ballard called The Old Pequliar that has my favorite geeky trivia night every Thursday at 7pm (presided over by my 80s podcast co-host, Brandon Jerwa).  The bar itself is comfortable, homey, and familiar, the kind of place that makes you feel welcome and qualifies as the prototypical “neighborhood watering hole” that I don’t mind visiting 2-3 times per week.

If you happen to be a little bit further south, stop in at Terracrux Games in Downtown Tacoma.  They have a huge selection of games, ample table space for large groups, they even host several dedicated gaming groups and tournament-style competitions momnthly.

Right around the corner from Terracrux is Dorky’s.  An amazing video game arcade and bottle bar that has hundreds of stand-up video games and a great selection of locally bottled libations.  There’s even a pretty legit shop connected to it for all of your toy/collectible needs!

That’s a pretty good start as far as my favorite geeky spots around Seattle, but I’m always looking for more!  Find me on Twitter @UncleChris_999 or drop me a message at bjgeeknation@gmail.com if you have a suggestion!

 

Stay nerdy!

Summertime reading

By Uncle Chris

Summer is almost here, and I do love spending time outside camping, hiking, relaxing on the beach, all that stuff.  I also love reading and listening to audiobooks, which I can do at the same time as I’m doing any of those other things.

I have a couple of books on my list already (including a new title from one of my favorite local authors, Terry Brooks), but I’m always on the lookout for new titles.  I usually go for a lot of science fiction, so I was excited to see this list from Den of Geek:

http://www.denofgeek.com/us/books/science-fiction-books/273181/5-best-sc…

I also like humorous biographies (I’m reading the new Bruce Campbell bio this summer), so I found this list, too:

https://bestlifeonline.com/the-30-funniest-celebrity-books/

Lastly, even though it’s not going to be out in time for summer, I am super jazzed about “Jonesy: Nine Lives on the Nostromo”, a new humor book about the life of Ellen Ripley’s cat on board the deep space mining vessel Nostromo, from the movie “Alien”.  One of my all-time favorite movies, and I liked the cat in it so much that I actually adopted a cat that looked just like it and named it Jones, just like in the movie!

http://bloody-disgusting.com/books/3496770/upcoming-book-jonesy-tells-st…

 

Anyway, if you like reading as much as I do, I hope these lists will help!

Have fun, talk to you soon, stay nerdy!

-Uncle Chris

Happy Birthday, YouTube!

By Uncle Chris

YouTube turned 13 years old today, we talked about it a little on BJ & Migs, so I wanted to share with you some thoughts about that and maybe link a few of my favorite channels for your perusal.

The number of options that we have for the way we consume entertainment has grown exponentially in the last couple of decades.  Between expanded cable and satellite TV, streaming and On Demand apps and services, and just plain goofing off on The Internet, we are living in a golden age of technological entertainment.  We can watch anything we want, any time we want, and most of us have at least two or three different devices to watch what we want, too.

YouTube gives us thousands, if not millions of entertainment options.  News, sports, music, pop culture, gaming, instruction, education, “more”.  All of these are available on YouTube and all can be discovered and explored quickly and easily.

Where YouTube really sets itself apart, however, is in the fact that anyone, anywhere can upload their own content and put it out there for the world to see.  Some people have even become national and international celebrities doing that.  Sure, there are other options for getting your face on The Internet, but none of them is as well-known or successful as YouTube has become.

Think about how you get your entertainment on an average day.  If you’re reading this, I’d be willing to bet that you spend at least a couple of hours every day watching YouTube videos.  If you’re anything like me, sometimes that stretches out to four or five hours per day.  In fact, some of my favorite shows right now are YouTube shows.  Good Mythical Morning, Beer & Board Games, Shut Up & Sit Down are three shows that I usually don’t go more than a day without watching, but there are at least a dozen shows that I watch and re-watch regularly.

Here are a few of my favorite channels, some you’ve probably heard of, one or two that maybe you haven’t, either way, I hope you check ’em out and enjoy!

Good Mythical Morning: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4PooiX37Pld1T8J5SYT-SQ

– Rhett & Link do a ton of food challenges, some general triva, they have a ton of guest hosts from all over the entertainment world, and share some of the funniest interactions ever recorded for my viewing pleasure.

Blame Society: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCohfGoL208cZbSSlXgMNUiA

– Beer & Board Games (friends getting drunk and gaming), Welcome to the Basement (two guys reviewing all kinds of movies), Chad Vader (Darth’s less successful brother who manages a grocery store), all perpetrated by a group of extremely talented improv actors and comedians.

Geek and Sundry: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaBf1a-dpIsw8OxqH4ki2Kg

– Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton spearhead some of the geekiest edutainment on The Internet with numerous shows and event coverage, original series, and informative “how-to for geeks” content.

Shut Up & Sit Down: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyRhIGDUKdIOw07Pd8pHxCw

– A couple of british dudes explain how to play board games.  Entertaining in a way that one normally would not expect from insrtuctional videos, these guys crack me up every time!

Mamrie Hart: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0XWmgRsBL-6X-ZJ7tR3mEg

– Along with Grace Helbig (Daily Grace and others) and Hannah Hart (My Drunk Kitchen), Mamrie and “The Holy Trinity” of YouTube provide non-stop hilarity with their comletely off-the-wall take on life as an internet celebrity while also providing helpful cooking, bartending, and style tips.  Check out all three!

Cruises for geeks

BJ & Migs were talking recently about going on a cruise, BJ even heard about the Official Star Trek Cruise and suggested that we should all go together (I’m in, you know I’m in).

Everybody talking about cruises made it sound like none of them had actually ever done it.  I have.  It’s pretty great.

A cruise is a vacation where you get to go to a bunch of different places, but your hotel comes with you.  And everything’s taken care of!  Food? Check. Room? Check. Entertainment? Check. Booze? If you’re old enough, check!

And that was just a regular old Caribbean cruise.  The Star Trek cruise sounds a whole lot more interesting to me, gigantic geek that I am, so I decided to go a little further down that particular rabbit hole and see if I couldn’t find some other cruises that might appeal to my particular obsessions.  I was not disappointed.

First, the Official Star Trek cruise: https://www.startrekthecruise.com  This thing has a ton of Trek actors, a couple of Trek-themed bands, and tons of Trekkie activities!

Next, the Doctor Who themed cruise: http://www.scificruise.com  Advertising not only a cruise ship that’s bigger on the inside (TARDIS reference), but also close, personal interaction between the celebs and the fans together as we see the sights, take the tours, enjoy the activities, craft the creative workshops, share the stimulating dinner conversations, and hop the bars, both shipboard and ashore, in a way that’s only possible in a limited size private group sharing an extended vacation together on a full sized modern cruise ship.  AND, this one sets sail from Seattle!  Allons-y!

Then, I found the one that Steve mentioned, and it sounds spectacular: http://www.chrisjerichocruise.com  The Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager At Sea!  Here’s the quote from the site – “Who better than Chris Jericho to introduce a brand new experience to you – Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager at Sea is sailing from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, October 27-31, 2018! The Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager at Sea is Y2J’s visionary take on combining the worlds of rock and wrestling, with a once in a lifetime amazing vacation experience. On this breakthrough holiday adventure, you’ll enjoy live band performances, outrageous artist-hosted activities and a Sea of Honor Tournament with over a dozen wrestlers competing on an outdoor wrestling ring. Jump aboard Norwegian Jade aka The Ship of Jericho … and sail away maaan!”

If Steve comes with us on the Star Trek cruise, we have to go with him on CJRNWRAS!  That’s a thing, seriously.

Hopefully, the next time you hear about this, it’ll be because we’ve booked the show on one of these awesome cruises!

That’s all for now, anchors aweigh!

Getting happily lost in the new “Lost in Space.”

First off, I’m 57 years old. I watched first run LIS episodes when I was a kid. I’ve binge-watched the original show in its entirety at least 50 times. It was my “Buffy,” my “Firefly,” my “Harry Potter,” it was the first show I fell in love with. As I got older both “Stars” (Trek & Wars) became my world, but LIS was there first. Yes, I saw the 90’s movie and like most LIS fans, I liked some of it (and then there was the not so amazing Spider-Smith). So, if anyone can speak about this new series on Netflix, it’s me. If you didn’t experience it through the eyes of a little kid when the eps were live, then you don’t have the full perspective. Now that I’ve established why you all should all get off my space lawn, here’s what I have to say about the new version… Thank you Netflix, and thanks to all to all of the writers, actors and directors that have created this wonderful show. Yes, all you haters & trolls… wonderful show. I’m only three episodes in and I can’t wait to watch the rest. I’ve read many negative reviews and, like the people who complained about Star Trek: Discovery, they are out-of-touch. People forget that the original LIS was supposed to be more serious and Dr. Smith was never meant to be on the show. In spite of the the network’s demand for the show to be more like Adam West’s “Batman” (read: campy), that first season had some amazing, serious episodes that still stick with me (Angela Cartwright’s performance in “Mr. Nobody” was inspiring). The “family first” theme is evident in both versions, but what I think the nay-sayers are forgetting is that in 2018, a husband and wife are not as important as the children they’ve created. It’s all about the children, and the new LIS makes that abundantly clear. Judy loves Will, and yes… Penny, too, even though they are half siblings. John & Maureen both love their kids more than each other, that’s what life is like for many families today. That what family is 50 years later than the 1st LIS. Parker Posey’s Doctor Smith is also completely on point by today’s standards. She is a narcissistic survivalist. Three episodes in and she has me hooked. Her conversations with the crew (especially with Will in the supply closet) are a perfect modern interpretation of Jonathan Harris’ portrayal of that devious manipulator. Her facial expressions alone bring back so many great Dr. Smith memories. By the way, such a nice touch with her hiding behind Will in the supply closet, like Smith did so many times in the original series. That’s only one of so many nice nods to the original series! Will barely made his exam & Jonathan Harris gave him a disapproving scowl when he evaluated him. The B9 Robot did go berserk (against his original programming) and destroyed many valuable systems aboard the Jupiter. Will was undervalued because of being a little kid and yet he was able to reach the Robot in spite of his malevolent programming. The list goes on and on and in exactly the right way to make for a fresh take on the franchise that still has plenty of relatable moments for fans of the classic show. Oh, and Penny’s jokes and all around attitude…ROCK! Love the original 3rd season theme score re-do, as well. One of my favorite show themes ever! There are so many more pieces of this new show that deserve my praise, but let me sum it all up by saying this: the 6 year old little kid who loved LIS all those years ago, is giving this new version two big thumbs WAY up, because he knows there are children out there experiencing it now who will love the new Lost In Space just as much as he loved the original.