Thursday, December 3, 2015



Walking down the street and espied a guy walking the opposite direction toward me. "Trouble", thinks I. "Probably a con man who will try to talk me up."

Sure enough, he stops me and launches into his spiel alternatively telling me I am a 'lucky man' and 'do you know what your trouble is'. Push/pull technique. "Well, I know what unsolicited advice is worth." I retort. He is trying to come off as some sort of mystic who has just happened to run across me and has a message.

[Any real mystics would know the best way to get my attention is to hand me ten thousand dollars and a crossroads to meet at after a couple hours. Gives me time to get to the bank and get the money changed, make sure it is real. A crossroads is still public so I'm less worried about getting rolled.]

Sadly, this guy's English isn't good enough to get more than the very basic responses from me. I'm thinking if you are going to scam someone in a new language you need to get pretty fluent in it. Eventually he needed my input. "Where you from?"

"Say goodbye!" I responded.

It took him a couple of repeats to get it, so entrenched in his anticipated responses. Then, he just left without a word - which was a mercy.

Being able to read people - at least on some basic level (always learning, pity I'm not immortal) is something I'm very happy with.


You don't feel comfortable cleaning your gun unless a different loaded gun sits beside you.

Notching your gun belt each kill would weaken or destroy the gun belt.

Having so many scars people often mistake you for Frankenstein's monster.


Found out I should not leave my phone in my pocket when applying talcum powder to my torso.  Felt like a pretty 'duh' move.  Did I mention it is damn hot here?  I do feel a bit bad for all of the people who suffer through the cold but apparently they like it well enough not to expat.

In better news, it seems there is a chance that paying for an entire month may cause the price of the room to drop by perhaps a third.  Honestly, I didn't even check on it because the place is so cheap.  It may be one of the few places in Siem Reap with air conditioning for $10 per night.  Aside from the three hour nightly concert of xylophone music (which in the US I think may only be in grade schools and huge concerts) it is a pretty decent place.

They even make sure to give me a couple bottles of water every day.  It could be that I walk in looking like I was just playing the 'who wants to drink from the fire hose' game after wandering around during the heat of the day for a few hours every day.

We'll see after the guy talks to his sister who seems to be running the show.  She seems like a shrewd businessperson and I'm thinking the price won't drop but we'll see.


Demon Accord series

Honestly, I didn't expect to like them.  They have painfully overused fantasy elements.  The indestructible super hero, the sexy vampires, werewolf pack mentality, no ugly (read as 'realistic') people etc.

So why did I try it out?  Main answer - it's a series.

While there are some 'stand alone' books I like, they generally piss me off.  When you are done reading, it's over.  No more.  And anyone who has ever met me knows there is nothing more I enjoy than overindulgence.

Why do I like this series?  I have no fucking idea.  I'm up to book four and haven't flagged.  I would compare it to a simplified Dresden or a 'Bill the Vampire' (but without the slapstick) type of series.

Check it out if you enjoy urban fantasy.

Book review, Adrian's Undead Diary series by Chris Philbrook

Normally, I'm not a big fan of zombie books.  The buxom girl looks back while fleeing, trips over something gets eaten.  All that kind of crap.

It will take a better psychologist than I am to figure out why the hell zombie books/TV/movies are so popular.  I suspect it is a combination of first world guilt, boredom with the status quo, the need for massive change and humans desire for some sort of global apocalypse.  Until it happens, of course.  Nobody got real excited about the Black Death when it was under way but there have always been religious nuts who forecast that very soon the apocalypse will be upon us.  And other nutters who listen.

I'm not a huge fan of zombie fiction.

This book is a lot like World War Z (which I didn't like and the movie was a 'WTF has Hollywood done') so if you like that, you may well enjoy this.

I'm not sure why I enjoy this book.  Part of it may be that the main character isn't the kind of tool that you yell 'What is wrong with your brain!' and end up hoping the zombies will messily get.  He strikes me as a calm, thoughtful individual who is doing what he needs to in order to survive.  He has emotions which creep out small ways but he holds himself together admirably.

About a third of the way through the first book and am doing fine in this massive series thus far.  While it may turn to crap later, thus far I'm enjoying the book.  (Update, into sixth book - check out this series if you enjoy zombie stuff.  Even if you don't you might end up getting hooked.)

Also, the audio reader is good.  Very good.

For RPG gamers, this series (or at least the first couple books - not past that yet) should probably be a 'must read' for any GM wanting to run a long term zombie campaign.

One word review:  Addictive.  8/10.


Zombie Tales:

The downside about zombie stuff seems to be that it follows the same story arc. Since I'm currently reading a zombie book series, I'm going to try to list them here. These may not always be in this order and some of them may be mixed, depending on the plot.

Phase 1: The shit has broken out. Everyone tries to come to grip with the new reality of zombies bite bite biting everyone.  At some point, one or more of the characters will become bitten or infected - usually through some sort of easily avoidable mistake.  When the others discover one of their group has become infected, more drama ensues.

Phase 2: The looting phase. Humans need a huge amount of shit to live. Water, shelter, food, Twinkies, guns and so on. All of this must be hauled back to...

Phase 3: The set up of the fort. In addition to making it zombie proof, it needs to be hidden and human proof because of the...

Phase 4: Raiders! AKA the 'who is the new asshole who wishes to become the next Lord Humungus. Always one will arise with his band of raiders. The always want YOUR shit.

Phase 5: Fighting of Lord Humungus. Lots of fighting. Sure, most of the population of the world has died and zombies are busy trying to infect everyone but by now fighting stupid zombies has gotten old. Fighting other humans is the new red. So to speak.

Phase 6: Resolution of the fight with Lord Humungus and the rebuilding of society.

Phase 7:  Struggle for the leadership of the group.

Phase 8:  Integration of zombies with everyday life; news service.

Note that in most tabletop RPG's, usually only phase 1 and 2 is usually hit. I think there are a combination of reasons why such as the group only meets on the second Thursday of alternative months (ie 'unmotivated gamers') and combat is much easier than story (ie 'lazy or inept GM's/players). Also, maybe the logistics of tracking how many shotgun shells you have left for your aging twelve gauge have just gotten to cumbersome. While I'm sure that there are many gamers who have taken it beyond the first two phases, unless I was GM'ing, I didn't see it in three or four decades of gaming.

Thanks to Kevin D., Stephanie T. and Travis B. for their great input.

Further reading:

If you are wanting to write zombie stuff, this and this may be of assistance.

What other phases did I miss?


Note - all prices given are in USD as that is their currency here.  Many tourists do get suckered into buying Cambodian reil but don't fall for it.  Those are only used for small change (a 1000 reil bill is twenty five cents) or by people who don't know better.

Mexican food at 'Viva' restaurant - 5-9

Lovely margarita in the half liter size (why go for less?) also at 'Viva', 5

Indian food with large bottle of water, 4 at 'India Gate' restaurant though it costs more elsewhere.

Laundry per kilo, 1

Room - I've found that the average cost is about 20-30.  This is fine if you are traveling with another person and splitting the bill (or have more money than this poor author) but a horrible price for me.  Finding cheaper  places takes a day or two.  Booking on the internet is a terrible idea, especially since many of the places are no where close to 'Pub Street' - of which you want to be in easy walking distance.

8% - getting the bank to do a CC transaction, less if you take your chances with the ATM's.  Which may or may not work.

Bottle of cheap wine, 5.

Alcohol, about 50-60% of the price within the USA as they don't have 'sin tax' as they aren't brought up to feel bad about alcohol and tobacco.

Packet of smokes, 1.  This is a bad country to come to if you are trying to give up smoking.

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