Desert Of Zin

The occasional blog of Alistair Bain – Writer, Husband, Father and Chief Techno-Arcanologist at the Institute of Giant Robots, Spaceships and Wizards. None of these positions pay well.

Night and other Lost Themes

I’m a big John Carpenter fan. You know, John Carpenter. Halloween, The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, Escape From New York, They Live, Prince Of Darkness, In The Mouth Of Madness.

You know. John Carpenter.

Well, I was in Fopp in Union Street today for a bit of a browse and I saw an album called Lost Themes by the very same John Carpenter. Although I was tempted to invest a few quid on what was obviously a masterpiece, I thought I’d at least check the interwebs first.

Here’s the music video for Night from the Lost Themes album.

This is exactly the kind of electronic madness I can get behind.

September 10, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Listening, Watching | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No comment

Playing with Aurora, or Massacre In Squinkie Town…

The other morning Aurora and I were playing. She has these things called Squinkies (which couldn’t be more cheap, plastic or crap) and she wanted me to play with them with her.

That’s fine. I like some quality time with the wee one. Especially as it’s only a matter time before she’s too big to spend time with her old dad, with such things as boys and underage drinking to occupy her time in the years to come.

So, she had set up her team…


And I was given mine, with what was left. I may have supplemented my team with a Inquisitor from the ever popular tabletop war game Warhammer 40,000.


At one point I had left the room only to return and find this…


“Only absolute faith in the God-Emperor of Mankind saved the turtle during the inquisitorial purge of Squinkie Town.”

July 19, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Gaming | Tags: , , | No comment

Just when I thought I couldn’t get more excited…

Not so much a new trailer for Star Wars but a behind the scenes feature giving you a wee flash of Episode 7. Excited for the full thing? Of course I am.

July 11, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Watching | Tags: , | No comment

Aww, man.

Christopher Lee died today. He reached the grand old age of 93.

Tonight I’ll watch what is by far the best film he ever starred in: The Devil Rides Out. (and after that, if I have time, The Wicker Man. Just, you know, because.)

June 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm | General, Watching | Tags: , , | No comment

A quick point on Mechs and Muppets

I’ve mentioned Mechwarrior: Dark Age #1: Ghost War in passing before. While I’m in the frame of mind to enthuse about Battletech/Mechwarrior you really have to read the afore mentioned Ghost War by Michael A. Stackpole. Stackpole crafts the story so well that you don’t have to have any grounding in the Battletech universe. And I’m sure if he took all the BT references out it would still be a kickass piece of Sci-Fi.

Also, with Muppets Most Wanted on, a quick point. I never thought I’d ever in my life see a musical number with Tina Fey, Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo. Wow.

May 2, 2015 at 6:06 pm | Gaming, Watching | Tags: , , , , , , , | No comment

I Like Pancakes

Pancakes and robots to be fair. But not on the same plate as that’s just weird.

Pancakes and jam are what I’m shovelling into my oversized gullet, while browsing Battletech on the interwebs. Now this is just about the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Shortly this sense of peace will be threatened by having a family film time foisted upon me. (It’s not that bad. Muppets Most Wanted is the film of choice and it’ll keep my darling daughter happy for the rest of the afternoon ’til bedtime. I can always browse giant robots behind their back…)

Battletech is a old favourite of mine. Catalyst Game Labs, the company of ex-FASA employees who are keeping the mechwarrior dreams alive, released a new edition of the boxed starter game. I have to admit that I’ve been eyeing it eagerly and, once my new job starts and the house move has settled, I’ll be spending time and finances on a box of my own. I had an old version of the starter game, with cardboard mech counters rather than actual plastic miniatures, and it was my favourite game ever. Ever.

Of course, Games Workshop are a week away from releasing their range of Imperial Robots and they have a new Imperial Knight Titan heading for Hobby Store shelves.

First thing first. Battletech. I’ll aim to get a copy by the end of the month. Then the unboxing and a few test games. And it doesn’t hurt that I already have a copy of Total Warfare (the core rules) and the TechManual (the core construction rules), so by the time it arrives I should have already re-immersed myself in the rules. 🙂

May 2, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Gaming | Tags: , , , , , , | No comment

Michael Sheen speaks on protecting the NHS…

Not been online much recently but this is something I watched yesterday and felt compelled to share. I know the idea of Universal Healthcare isn’t universally popular but I do love my NHS and the knowledge that it is under threat sends a chill through me.

March 4, 2015 at 11:56 am | Watching | Tags: , | No comment

I do love a good partwork

Especially when that partwork is going to be 100 issues in total, running to just under 900 quid and will leave me with a large but beautifully detailed model of the Millennium Falcon. Yeah, internet. That’s right. And only for £900. Money well spent there.

I’ve dabbled in partworks in the past. A few editions of the Marvel Graphic Novels Collection. Bits and pieces of the Star Wars and Star Trek Fact Files. Comic books. My Doctor Who dvds.

I’ve bought the first issue, for the bargain price of £2.99, and not because I intend to go any further with it. I’m a sucker for a big poster of a spaceship.

But £900 is a step too far. I could get a Forge World Imperial Reaver & Warhound Titan for that.

Hmmm… Titans…

January 9, 2015 at 11:53 am | Gaming, Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No comment

Operation Filling In The Gaps is underway!

Ooh! Unexpected delivery on a Sunday!

I ordered two Doctor Who dvds (The Keys of Marinus and The Aztecs – Special Edition) just the other day and they just turned up. A bit strange seeing as it’s a Sunday but apparently Amazon do this now. I’m not going to complain though as I’m two Who dvds closer to the end. And that’s classic Who. Just so you know.

Also, The Sensorites and The Reign Of Terror are on their way. Almost half of William Hartnell’s Doctor is complete. Much watching to be done!

January 4, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Watching | Tags: , | No comment

Good Morning Internet. It’s been a while.

Just two thing to share, neither of which are mine.

As the wife and child are at church today I get a chance to indulge in some “Sunday Morning Personal Time”. I understand all too well that this has a limited life now – I may have made a rash promise to start attending again soon – but for now I have all the time in the world. As a popular song goes. “All the time in the next hour and a half” isn’t quite as catchy.

Anyway, for those of you who weren’t paying attention at the time, there was a thing in 2011/12 called the Leveson Inquiry which was a public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press. All very serious, and for good reason. I’ll not go into the in’s and out’s of it here, but I was rewatching the evidence given by Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye. Because for reasons, I like both Ian Hislop and Private Eye.

And that led me nicely on to “An Evening of Private Eye 2013″.

Much enjoyed. Well worth a watch.

January 4, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Watching | Tags: , , | No comment