Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Demotivational Poster: Silent Night?


I’ve never understood why it was a silent night. In the words of my alter-ego, Goober…

Noisy Night, Noisy night,
Sing dis song wif all your might,
Staring at the baby dere,
Wond’ring why him has no hair.
Cows and sheeps make noise,
So-o do baby boys

*to the tune of Silent Night

December 23, 2011 Posted by | Demotivational Posters, Fluff/Inspiration, Goober's Place (One Way Express) | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demotivational Poster: Good Friday

Easter is not about bunnies and eggs.  This is my personal, heartfelt belief and I stand proudly behind it.  He died so that others may live.

Happy Easter from Vulcan Stev and family!

April 22, 2011 Posted by | Connection Ministries, Demotivational Posters | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goober’s Words of Wisdom: April Fools

Goober was asked by the editor of the paper that I work for if he would write a special column for April Fool’s Day.  You can find the paper’s website here.  Goober’s article is presented below.

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Hello everybodies.

Mr. Chuck, the nice man who owns this paper, is letting me write a column since he is leaving for South Dakota for a few days. Because today is the first day of April, I thought I would tell you about some nice things to do for your friends today.

You can tape magnets to the bottom of an empty coffee cup, and attach it to the top of your car. Laugh at all the people who frantically try to get your attention as you drive by.

Set your friend’s alarm clock for the middle of the night and hide it somewhere in the room where they will have to get up and scramble around to turn it off. (This works even better if you sneak in after they go to sleep and unscrew the light bulb in their lamp. Then they’ll have to search for the clock in the dark!)

If your friend still has a phone with a hook that presses down when the handset is in the cradle, tape it down. When he or she answers a call it will keep ringing.

Take about 20 (or more) paper or plastic cups, place them on your friend’s desk and fill them with water. Then take a stapler and staple them all together. You can also put the cups on the floor blocking their door, or just about anywhere.

Leave a phone message for the victim that says that a “Mr. Lyon” called (or Mr. Behr also works), and wants to be called back. Then list the phone number of a local zoo.

You could take all of your friend’s paperclips and string them together in one chain.

Did your friend have a major project due today? Did they leave it out where you can find it? Just take some paper that looks somewhat similar to their project. Set their real project aside, and spill a drink or something messy all over the fake project.

Or you could…

What Mr. Chuck? You want me to do what? But nobody’s will want to read about that, History is boring. * sigh *

Mr. Chuck is making me tell you about the history of April Fool’s Day.

April Fool’s Day or All Fool’s Day began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under King Charles Ix. I don’t know why King Ix changed the calendar but he did. He moved New Year’s Day from March 25 – April 1 (new year’s week? Why did it take them a week to celebrate New Year’s Day? Maybe that’s why he changed it). to January 1. Mainly because he wanted New York people to freeze outside while they watched that big ball drop.

Not everyone knew about this new calendar right away. Communication traveled slowly back then because the Internet had not been invented yet. Some peoples were only informed of the change several years later. Other people who knew about the change but didn’t like the government telling them what to do, were more rebellious and refused to acknowledge the change. They continued to celebrate the New Year in the spring on April 1.

All of these peoples who celebrated New Year’s in April were called “fools” by everybody who celebrated the New Year in January by freezing. The peoples who celebrated in the spring were made fun of and sent on “fool errands” and had other practical jokes played on them.

This changed over time and a custom of prank-playing continued on the first day of April even after everybody started to celebrate the new year by freezing in January. This tradition eventually spread to places like to England and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Because America is a big country and peoples all over the world like to do what Americans do (they don’t like it when we tell them what to do) April Fool’s Day has become a world wide holiday. Each country celebrates the holiday in its own way because they want to be different.

In Scotland, for instance, April Fool’s Day is devoted to pranks involving your bottom end and as such is called Taily Day. The butts (no pun intended) of these jokes are known as April ‘Gowk’, another name for cuckoo bird. Does that mean the “Kick Me” sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance?

In England, jokes are played only in the morning. I don’t know why people play jokes in the morning. I think you’d be better to stay up late and play jokes on the peoples still in bed. Anyway England ‘fools’ are called ‘gobs’ or ‘gobby’ and the victim of a joke is called a ‘noodle.’ It was considered bad luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon. The best way to avoid being an April Fool in England is to sleep late.

In Rome, April Fool’s Day is called the Festival of Hilaria and takes place on March 25. Why the Romans have April Fool’s Day in March is something I don’t know. It celebrates the resurrection of the god Attis, and is also referred to as “Roman Laughing Day.”

In Portugal, April Fool’s Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent. In this celebration, many people throw flour at their friends. That’s not a very creative joke. I can think better things to throw at your friends. Flour just gets in your hair.

So, no matter where you happen to be in the world on April 1, don’t be surprised if April fools fall playfully upon you.

Goober

(Editor’s Note: Steve Nibbelink, our ad designer, is also the leader of One Way Express, a local puppet troupe from Holland, Iowa. His alter-ego, Goober the Puppet, has entertained folks in the tri-county area since 2005).

April 1, 2010 Posted by | Goober's Place (One Way Express) | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s going on at the Database?

I’ve made mention of some of the changes that will be happening here at the database.  I’m writing this brief post to detail some of what’s happening.

First what’s leaving? Daily posts.  I promise at least one GAMING post/month, at least one movie post/month, at least one Goober post/month and at least one VS Family update/month.  There will probably be more as we venture into the winter months.  But I guarantee at least one post from each catagory per month.  I’m spending time with family and not sitting at the laptop all evening.

Gaming: I will keep writing the “Gaming in the Universe of…” articles regularly if you see a movie review chances are good there’s a GitUo coming for said movie.  Order of the D30 tables (I’ve got at least two in the works).  I need to get back into the Carnival articles (I missed three by my count and I think I’m still scheduled to host sometime next year).  I’ll also be bringing back Dungeon Dramas, but the dramas will be written by the PITs as well as myself.

Movies: New column View from my Chair; this column will focus on thoughts and observations I have from watching movies and whatnot from the comfort of “MY CHAIR”.  Keeping the Vulcan Stev Family movie review.

Comics: nothing firm and finalized yet, but I have some definite thoughts I want to put down about things I’ve been reading. 

I have one NEW idea that I’ going to attempt sometime this week….  heh heh heh

September 8, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, Connection Ministries, Life near an Iowa Cornfield, RPG | 2 Comments

Goober’s Words of Wisdom: an update

gooberGoober has been pretty active during the blog’s enforced hiatus.  Back in April Goober and his friends where the main entertainment at Steamboat Rock’s Easter Egg hunt.  This summer the puppet team opened for Sheltered Reality at the Central Iowa Fair.  We’ve been doing our weekly “helping” Pastor Gary illustrate his Sunday morning sermons.

New Hope Fellowship has taken a struggling urban Waterloo church under her wing.  Starting next week Goober and his friends will be packing everything up and running a Wednesday evening program for the  kids at New Straightway.  Goober will be back at it on Wednesdays at New Hope Fellowship Wednesday September 9 and then again on the 23rd.  He’ll be at New Straightway on September 16 and then on the 30th.

Sunday, however, Goober was helping Pastor Gary illustrate kindness.  Goober, Ricky, and Mickey were building a trap for Hannah.  The boys had out their fishing pole, capture net, bazooka, baseball bat, and pizza to bait the trap.  Pastor Gary looked on wide-eyed as the boys built their trap.

Knowing full well it was probably useless to ask, Pastor Gary asked anyway, “Goober what are doing?”

“Building a trap for Hannah,” was the reply.

After a double-take and a quick survey of Goober’s instruments of torture, Pastor Gary asked Goober if building a trap for Hannah was the best way to illustrate kindness.  Shocked, Goober nodded his head enthusiastically.

“Oh yes, Pastor Gary.  We’re not using the lion as part of the trap.  That way Hannah won’t be torn to shreds.”

Pastor Gary managed to convince Goober, Ricky and Mickey that although, yes, it was nice of them to not include the lion in the trap, building the trap in the first place was not displaying kindness.

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Connection Ministries, Goober's Place (One Way Express) | , , | Leave a comment

Goober’s Words of Wisdom: May 3rd, 2009

gooberThis morning, Pastor Gary’s sermon was putting the “Go” back into Gospel.  Taking his sermon from the Great Commission of Mark 16:15, Pastor wanted the congregation to understand that Christ’s words still hold true today.  Goober, of course, focused on the sermon title. 

Goober thought Pastor Gary was going somewhere.  Wanting to be prepared for Pastor Gary’s trip, he brought out his tank, his tractor, his VW, and his mini-van.  He also brought out his alarm clock.  Mickey and Ricky were looking for “All the World” on their map of Iowa.

Pastor Gary was understandably confused about Goober’s collection of toy vehicles and told Goober he did not know where Goober was going with the props.  Goober told Pastor Gary that was what he wanted to know, “Where are we going?”.  Pastor Gary replied, “Goober, I’m not following you.”

“Of course not Pastor Gary, I’m not driving.”

Pastor Gary shook his head.  “No, Goober, why do you have your tank, tractor, toy cars and an alarm clock?”  Goober then explained that because he didn’t know what kind of trip Pastor Gary was taking he was prepared for any kind of trip, military exercise, farming, shopping, vacation.  Pastor Gary sighed, and wanted to know what the alarm clock was for.  Goober explained that the alarm clock was to make sure that everybody got up on time for the trip.

The whole time Pastor Gary and Goober are having this discussion, Ricky and Mickey are calling out city names from the Iowa map.

Goober wanted to know if taking the tank along for spreading the gospel was a good idea because then if people didn’t want to believe Jesus, we could tell them to believe or else.  Pastor told Goober that it didn’t work during The Crusades and it wouldn’t work today either.

The boys decided to then GO and listen to Pastor’s sermon.

May 3, 2009 Posted by | Connection Ministries, Goober's Place (One Way Express) | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Goober’s Words of Wisdom 4-26-09

gooberToday Pastor talked about Peter’s reinstatement as written about in John chapter 21.  His sermon title was “Preparing Peter for Penetecost.”  Goober, Ricky and Mickey figured that Pastor Gary was pulling a Seasame Street.  So Goober and the boys pulled out most of their toys and began handing them to Pastor Gary. 

Pastor Gary did not understand as Goober handed up his piano, a Patton Tank, a pair of pants, pumpkins, pizza boxes, a picture book, a PC, a present, a Plymouth, a pipe, and his pet Peter Rabbit.  When asked by Pastor Gary, Goober looked at the congregation and said “Pastor’s Sermon is brought to you today by the letter ‘P'”.

Pastor and Goober then add-libbed a five minute alliteration that I wish we had taped.

Pastor Gary managed to get the high points of outlined using mainly ‘P’ words.  Goober managed to ask intelligent again using mainly ‘P’ words.  Ricky and Mickey kept interjecting random ‘P’ words.  Ricky kept handing up props and calling the by some ‘P’ equivalent.

April 26, 2009 Posted by | Connection Ministries, Goober's Place (One Way Express) | , , , , | 2 Comments

Goober’s Words of Wisdom: 4-19-2009

gooberThis morning, Pastor Gary’s sermon came from John 20:24-31, the story of Jesus appearing to Thomas after the Resurrection.  Goober of course heard one line of the sermon and ran with it.

Goober, Ricky, and Mickey formed the “S-Files” branch of the FBI for the investigation of Strange occurences.  They brought along Goober’s PI kit and his laptop and began their investigation.

During the course of the investigation, Ricky determined that it was not all that strange to walk through walls as anyone could do it if they used a door.  Goober declared the case solved and began packing up.

Pastor Gary then reminded the boys that Jesus entered the room through the locked door.  Goober declared that the case was then not solved and ordered Ricky and Mickey to go fingerprint the door.  Happy to be doing something the brothers scampered off.  Goober wondered about climbing in through a window.  After explaining to Goober that it was not a window that Jesus was not bound by the physical laws in his glorified body, Goober wondered how a good man like Jesus would go around breaking laws.  Pastor Gary then told Goober it might be a good idea to listen to the sermon.

April 19, 2009 Posted by | Connection Ministries, Goober's Place (One Way Express) | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goober’s Words of Wisdom: 4-11-09

owe_logo_splashGoober and the rest of the One Way Express team journeyed to Steamboat Rock, Iowa for the pre-Easter Egg Hunt puppet show.  First Goober went to where Mapquest said the address was located.  After we ended up in a corn field, got a call from Pastor Gary leading us into the proper place and unloaded everything we were good to go.

Goober,  Rickey, and Mickey hauled out their trusty map of Iowa looking for Rockboat Thingy, Iowa.  After 5 minutes of looking over the map, Pastor Gary managed to convince the boys that they were already there.

 Pastor Gary asked the three if they were ready for the upcoming holiday.  All three indicated they were and went behind the stage to get ready.  They came up wearing green hats and green bow ties and told everybody,”Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!”  The kids in the audience ALL tried to correct the boys.  Crestfallen, they took down their St. Patty’s decorations and came up with hearts and told everyone, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”  Again corrections from the audience.  “Election Day?”, NO! “Labor Day?” NO!!!!!!!!!!!!  The boys got out their Nativity set and said “Christmas!”   No, it’s Easter the kids yelled.

Easter, I know Goober replied that’s the Day Peter Cottontail came out of the tomb and gave eggs and presents to all of Jesus’ disciples.  Choruses of “NO!” from the audience while Pastor Gary shook his head and placed his hand on his forehead.

Pastor Gary then got a chance to share the “correct” version of the Easter story with the kids.  Goober, Ricky and Mickey launched into their own rendition of a classic Easter hymn.

Lo in the Grave Him lay, Jesus my Savior, Buying stuff on E-bay, Jesus my Lord
Up from the grave Him a Lilly, An’ I know it sounds pretty silly, Him’s the Lilly of the Valley, Jesus is His name, And He’ll live forever, With His saints in the rain, Him a Lilly, Him a Lilly, Hallelujah Christ a Lilly.

Pastor Gary and Goober then proceeded to have an argument about whether Jesus arose or whether Jesus a lilly.  The kids in the audience sided with Goober.

Emboldened by the kids agreeing with them the boys went into one of their skits: Master Puppet Theater Presents….

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been?

Goober started the recitation, no cat.  Mickey was unable to buy a cat, due to the fact that e-bay was no longer accepting Pastor Gary’s credit card.  Goober asked for something cute and furry.  Mickey said OK and rustled behind the stage.  He gave Goober the go head because he’d found something furry and cute.  Take 2

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat where have you been?   Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!  Mickey had found our naughty sheep.  Goober got upset and told Mickey he needed a member of the cat family.  Mickey said OK.  Take 3

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat where have you been Ro-oaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!  Mickey had found a lion.  The lion was not happy he had been awakened and he began to chase Goober.

Goober was upset this was NOT what Master Puppet theater was supposed to do.  He asked the kids for another chance.  Master Puppet Theater presents Little Bo Peep

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep…. nothing…. (Louder) Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep… Mickey pops up.  Where’s Bo Peep? Goober asks.   She couldn’t make it today, Mickey replies, I’m gonna be Bo Pete.  Goober shakes his head and mutters at least it rhymes with sheep.

Little Bo Pete has lost his shee… BAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!   The lamb came in early on his cue.  A five minute chase wild lamb chase ensued.  Mickey was finally victorious.

One of the ‘tweens in the audience was heard to remark, “This is funnier than Saturday morning cartoons.”

Always leave ’em wanting more.

April 12, 2009 Posted by | Connection Ministries, Goober's Place (One Way Express) | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Role Playing: where my hobbies meet

I have been asked a few questions about other aspects of my blog.  For example who is Goober?  Why Vulcan Stev?  I was writing a reply to these questions and getting ready to tag it as non-rpg blog post when I realized that answers to both of these questions involve RP after a manner of speaking.  It was after this realization that I came to the conclusion that Role Playing is where my various hobbies meet.  The skills I use in my puppeteering and creative writing serve me as player and GM as well and vice-versa.  Thus the rewrite of a simple behind-the-scenes Q&A into a full blown article about RPG skills.

gooberGoober is the lead character for my puppet team.  He is at his core, a Dennis the Menace/Calvin type character.  We don’t use scripts when Goober is on stage as dealing with Goober is a form of free associating role play.  Most of the “skits” involving Goober are based on a one-line riff, with Goober and his straightman verbally sparring with each other building on the last line spoken.  How is puppeteering role playing?  I cannot “do” Goober unless I am physically talking in his voice.  Once I’m doing the voice, Goober comes naturally.

Stev is a character that I write for the Starships of the Third Fleet writing club.  The “Captain” writes a prologue and it is then up to the members to write their mission report.  I’ve been writing Stev off and on for the better part of two decades.  I’ll stare at the prologue and be unable to write unless I’m “in” Stev’s mind so-to-speak.

How do these two completely different pursuits tie-in to becoming a better player and/or GM?  In both instances I am not the one providing the starting spot.  With Goober, I’m usually riffing off of the Pastor’s sermon that morning, or along whatever “theme” we have for that night’s puppet show.  In Stev’s case, the Captain provides the problem and I have to come up with the solution.  Step outside the box for the moment.  What difference other than tropes and semantics, is there between Goober talking about Pastor Gary’s sermon, my writing Stev’s solution, or trying to figure Nevets’ way out of the trap that the DM just described?  Really? there is no difference.  It’s all Improv, different disciplines to be sure.  But in each I need to be quick on my feet.

Now flip the whole thing on it’s head.  When Sergeant Steelflex of SG-21 suddenly wants to question the conductor of the train the team is riding, I need to be able to step into character quickly even if the character wasn’t supposed to do anything beyond collecting the tickets.  I need to quickly find the Conductor’s voice and let my improv skills come to the surface.   I have discovered over the years that I have a very strong talent in building off of another’s foundation.  Every time I exercise my improvisational skills it only improves that talent for use.  The three hobbies build on each other.

My advice for honing your RPG skills is to find something else that stretches your creative thinking.  Creativity is creativity whether its puppets, RPG, writing, drawing, whatever causes you stretch your thinking.  Stretch and excercies your thinking and your RPG skills will improve as well.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Goober's Place (One Way Express), Observations of a Noob GM, RPG, SS3F, Vulcan Stev | , , , , , , | 4 Comments