April 15th, 2007


Ziggurat Con: The World's First War-Zone Game Convention

This is so cool: The first gaming convention in Iraq, for soldiers serving over there. They need help with it, though; read the info below to learn how you can help. Thanks for the tip from fjm.
Over here you'll find a call for assistance from Ziggurat Con, a gaming convention.

Ziggurat Con [is] being held June 9 from 1200 to 2100 hours at Camp Adder/Tallil Airbase, is open to all allied military personnel and civilian contractors in Iraq.

The largest problem with running a Con in Iraq, of course, is that there are no local stores or game publishers, and few game books on the post. Even dice are in short supply, with many soldiers breaking the unwritten taboo held by many gamers and (gasp!) sharing dice. Thankfully, many game publishers have also lent their support, and have agreed to supply game products to help the Con along. aethereal FORGE, Sovereign Press, Final Redoubt Press, Goodman Games, Paizo Publishing and Steve Jackson Games are among those that have thrown in their support for the convention. But Amberson indicated that the soldiers could definitely use more.

"This convention is currently in drastic need of prizes and giveaways for the troops," he said. "Everything donated will go directly to the troops, or to MWR to use as loaner books for the soldiers."

For more information, contact SPC David Amberson at the following address: david.amberson (at) iraq.centcom.mil

Donations can also be sent to SPC Amberson directly at the following address:

SPC David Amberson
A Co 86th Sig Bn
APO, AE 09331
62 Ford pickup

pickup fixed!

Today it's been gorgeous outside, so I spent the day throwing down grass seed in the bare (and soaking-wet) patches of my yard, then poisoning the living hell out of the area around the house and garage - what I like to call my kill-zone where no insects shall pass. During this task I wore my respirator-mask, so I even felt like Darth Vader spreading death, bwah-hahahahaha! (Okay, I know, wrong bad guy. You know what I mean.)

That accomplished, I headed out back and continued fashioning a custom gas-tank siphon for the pickup. The one in the tank was pitted with tiny rust-holes that tended to suck air instead of gas, and the end of the pipe was sort of smushed against the bottom of the tank. The worst part was that it could not be removed. Fine engineering, there. So: replacing a siphon tube. Sounds simple, eh? Ha!

I had to drill a hole in the removable gas-gauge cover (oh, which now works, too! woo-hoo, two-for-one) through which I threaded a fresh length of steel pipe. This needed a complex bend in order to avoid hitting the gauge-dipper-thingy and to reach down into the tank. The new siphon system is stupid complex: It uses three hose-clamps, two lengths of custom-bent steel pipe, solder, sealant, a bit of wire, a length of rubber fuel line, and a screen to go on the end of the pipe in the tank to prevent sucking any flakes of rust or dirt into the fuel line. All of that is just the part that goes inside the tank. Then I had to cut the old gas line leading into the tank, seal the old pipe, and hook everything up to the new.

All done, I hopped into the cab and turned 'er over. vroooom! - it started up on first crank even after sitting for two weeks with the fuel lines disconnected! I watched the clear fuel-filter beside the new fuel-pump, and for the first time since I got the truck I could see it filling up at least as fast as the truck was using it. Took it for a spin to prove all's well, and yay! It accelerated better than it ever has and never starved for fuel.

Yep, just call me Chris "Mechanical Genius" McKitterick. I felt like one of those Cuban gearheads making do with bits and pieces when a new part is not available (to be fair, it's because I didn't want to spend the $250 on a new gas tank, ahem).

Next up: big carburetor and carbon-fiber reeds for the RS50... well, first would be setting a base speed for the bike with the stock carb and reeds, then taking it out for a full-speed run. I suspect I'll need to get new sprockets to take advantage of the new power.