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Do Over

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 10:30
With two afghans in the finishing stages, several patterns in development, and even more designs in the want-it-now lineup, I have lots of knitting either in process or the planning pipeline. This makes it especially difficult to explain why out of the blue, I decided I simply had to redo my Colsie mirror gradient cowl, which has officially been finished since last December.

This long and skinny neck piece can be wrapped twice and buttoned for a cowl-like effect or left open and worn as a scarf. The goal was to create a versatile accessory to coordinate with my Colsie mirror gradient mitts. The yarn (Grignasco Champagne) is so soft and delectable, it's a true pleasure to knit and wear. 

The differences are subtle. The mitts featured two colors (teal and cloud), while the cowl incorporated three (teal, cloud and lake). The unblocked shot below does the best job of showing the difference between the teal blue (lower left) and lake green (upper right).
Generally, I avoid matchy-matchy accessories, but as time passed, I realized this was one instance where a matching set might actually be the best option. Two weeks ago, I stiffened my spine, carefully unpicked the bindoff and woven ends, frogged back to the solid center section (cloud), then began the task of reworking the final two sections to match the first two.
If you've ever been in this situation, you know how frustrating it can be to decide after the fact a project needs additional work, but I found myself enjoying the process. 


It's still unblocked, but the knitting is finished and the ends are woven. I'll try to get some better pictures soon. Meanwhile, I'm much happier with this cowl in its new configuration, which means every now and then, a do-over is the right choice.


Colsie Mirror Gradient Mitts

Categories: Knitting Feeds

OSR Commentary On DA1 Adventures In Blackmoor By Dave L. Arneson and David J. Ritchie

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 06:31
"Blackmoor is beset!"On every side the storm clouds gather. To south and east, the Great Empire of Thonia plots to end Blackmoor's independence and reclaim its lost province. To the west, the implacable Afridhi are on the move. To the north, the evil Egg of Coot prepares to cross the thundering sea and once again bring fire and sword into the heart of the small kingdom. Beyond the realmNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


First Comics News - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 14:46

SmackDown Tag Team Title Match

The New Day (c) def. The Bar


SmackDown Women’s Title Match

Charlotte Flair def by DQ. Becky Lynch (c)


John Cena and Bobby Lashley def. Elias and Kevin Owens


Billie Kay and Peyton Royce def. Asuka and Naomi


WWE Title Match: No Count Outs, No Disqualifications

AJ Styles (c) def. Samoa Joe


The Bella Twins and RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey def. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan)


WWE Cruiserweight Title Match

Buddy Murphy def. Cedric Alexander (c)


The Shield (Dean Ambrose, WWE Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins, WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns) def. Braun Strowman, RAW Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre


#1 Contenders Match for a Future WWE Title Shot

Daniel Bryan def. The Miz


Triple H with WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels def. The Undertaker with Kane



Categories: Comic Book Blogs

(5e) Rats of Waterdeep

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 11:19

By Lysa Chen, Will Doyle
Self Published
Levels 1

Solve a brutal crime on the mean streets of Waterdeep in this madcap companion adventure for Xanathar’s Guide to Everything!

This 29 page city adventure is fun. Modeled on a Noir novel, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but never falls over the line in to humor or sillyness. It walks up and leans over it, waving its arms to not fall over it, but stays firmly planted while looking over its shoulder and giving the finger to the hardcare serious adventures behind it. Pretty well organized and written, I’d be happy to run this, and it’s good enough that I’ll look up the authors others works. Also: One of my vices is city adventures, so, be warned.

The docks are quarantined, there’s a plague. The watch has a message from someone inside that says they know what’s behind it. The party gets to escort the detective in … only to find the informant dead and the detectie most likely compromised.

There’s a touch of noir in this. It’s a mystery, the party escorts a detective. He’s new to the squad and wears a fedora and trenchcoat and doesn’t understand why the rest of the watch detectives just wear the city uniform. There’s a crime lord with a henchman, jilted lovers in the form of the Rat King and the Lady of Plagues, bored secretaries causing trouble … a lot of fun shit to roleplay with.

In this case the crime lord is Waterdeeps on Beholder Bob, and his lacky Mind Flayer. He meets the party after they find the first body, is bored, and sends his thugs after them while he floats away, bored and distracted, with his lacky. I bitch a lot about forced fights and so on, but, if you’re gonna do it then having your 1sts meets a behold and a mind flayer and get a chance to talk before thugging it up is absolutely one way fun way to do it. Plus, he disintegrates the detective you’re escorting if the party get lippy. NPC removed! Yeah! Fun! Yeah! This is almost a DCC aventure! Well, no, but still, closer than most!

It’s got a nice map/adventure flowchart up front explaining the area and the adventure and how the hooks and clues work together. PERFECT for a nice overview. It uses bullet points to convey information. PERFECT for scanning and locating information and breaking it up.

The elements are great. For example, at the apothecary-with-something-to-hide the secretary is trying to get rid of the players using the usual bored clerk gimmicks. The roleplaying notes for the NPC’s are good … pretty nice.

Oh, and the usual “lets explain everything in a diary?” bullshit? It’s handled through a player handout. Players LOVE handouts AND it doesn’t overstay its welcome by droning on. Great!

And, and, if you CATCH the plague you will turn in to a rat! You get features, like beady red eyes, or whiskers, for each save you miss in the adventure. FUN!

And there’s a town newspaper handout!

And on the down side …

The bullets are good, as are the NPC notes, but they do get a bit long at times. A little bolding, or a sentence or sentence and half less would be better, as would a more direct writing style. You’re conveying information to the DM who is scanning during play … it has to be terse … while remaining evocative. Cut the bs.

Certain details are abstracted. We’re told the plague goes by many names, including Rat Pox. Well, fuck, the fact that you named that one means rats are important. A few more naes mixed in would have been fun.

Finally, the two main characters are the Rat King and the Lady of Plagues. They are demihumans. B O R I N G. Think of how much more fun it would have been if they were straight out Petty Gods?!?!?! A REAL rat kind and a minor god plague?!?! FUN! And fun friends to make!

I’m clearly a fan of this. I like city adventures, this one is fun in the way I like adventures to be fun. Not humor, not silly, but with some nods to those elements. It’s not Sliced Bread quality, but it’s solid enough.

This is $5 at DriveThru. The preview is broken. I has sads.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Calvin’s Commentaries: Tak, A Beautiful Game

First Comics News - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 07:07

Every once in a while you find a game that absolutely has everything you want in a game.

Tak is one of those games for me.

Over on Board Game Geek, (BGG), I created a ‘geeklist’ for the best abstract strategy games of the current decade, and Tak slots in at number two, right behind Arimaa and in front of Yinsh.

I also have a ‘top-100’ list at BGG and Tak slots in at number three behind crokinole, and Arimaa.

So yes I love this game.

But what is Tak?

Well Tak is a board game which was originally mentioned in Patrick Rothfuss’ bestselling novel, The Wise Man’s Fear.

Rothfuss eventually teamed with James Ernest, a games designer with a range of game creation credits, to create the actual game.

The goal of Tak is to build a road, which is a string of pieces that connect opposite sides of the board. A road does not have to be a straight line. Diagonal spaces do not connect.

In general connection, games don’t generally excite me, but this one captured my imagination from the outset.

There are only two types of pieces in Tak: stones and capstones, and stones can be played in only two ways: flat or standing, so the basic rules are very simple, like many of the best abstract strategy games are.

Usually, stones are played flat, and it is flat stones can stack. They are also the only timepieces count as part of a road, which of course is the goal.

When you place a stone on end as a standing stone then nothing can be stacked on it, and standing stones don’t count as part of your road. Way

A standing stone is generally a way to slow an opponent, and as a result, they are often called walls in the game.

Capstones, a player may have one, or two depending on the size of the board being played on, combine the best aspects of standing and flat stones: they do count as part of a road, but they can’t have another piece stacked on top.

In addition, a capstone by itself has the power to flatten a standing stone, which can be useful to remodel a wall into a road piece.

Play is very simple. You can place a flat stone, a standing stone, or your capstone in any empty space on the board. (You never play a piece directly on another one. Stacks only form because of movement).

You can move one or more pieces in a stack that you control. A ‘stack’ of pieces can be any height, including just one piece. Control means that your piece is on top.

To move the stack, take any number of pieces off the top, up to the carry limit, and move them in a straight line, dropping at least one piece off the bottom in each space along the way. So in its simplest form, one piece can move atop an adjacent flat single piece or pile.

Taller stacks can move further, dropping pieces as they go.

There is no limit to the height of a stack, but there is a limit to the number of pieces that you can move. This “carry limit” is equal to the width of the board, so for example in a 5×5 game, you can carry no more than five pieces. That means if you start with a stack of seven, you must leave at least two of those pieces in the starting space.

Tak, which can be played without a board, although having one delineates the play area nicely, is generally played on boards 4×4, up to 8×8, although as a quirk not on 7×7. The larger the board, the greater the challenge is.

A quick game you opt for a small board, longer games with more options for more, and for mistakes, a larger board is used. You also get a second capstone and more pieces on a large board.

The pieces are wood, so that is aesthetically pleasing and a nice size in the two versions I have seen, so Tak is highly tactile as well.

Everything with this game is wonderful from the simple rules, the in-game strategy, the joy of success. A true gem.

Check it out at www/cheapass.com/tak


Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Calvin’s Commentaries: Front Line No Komrades

First Comics News - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 06:53

Some games are not created with the hope of greatness.

Some games are simply created for fun.

I suspect that fun was the focus for creator Brian Niro when he came up with Front Line No Komrades.

No Komrades is what can only be described as a filler card game. There isn’t enough here that you would pull this one out for an evening’s entertainment, but it is a fine night starter as you await a straggler or two, or as a light wind-up after a couple of hours of a more brain-burning game.

A huge plus for No Komrades, published by Anvil Eight Games, is that it plays two to eight players. That is a ton of flexibility if you are having a games gathering.

The art by Kwanchai Moriya is great, especially in the character cards, which are rendered in a comic book caricature style that fits the focus of fun to a ‘T’.

So this is a card game, with a pretty simple premise; you and your ‘komrades’ are on the front line and you are trying to avoid being shot, or gassed, or stepping on a mine. In attempting to avoid the fates of life on the front lines you have come to the conclusion that hiding behind your mates, or maybe pushing them on to a landmine or two, are quite acceptable as ways to stay yourself.

Players have cards in hand that allow them to maneuver their player cards into safer spots on the ‘line’ or to forces others into spots of danger.

The danger each round comes from another stack of cards, fun things like snipers and gas attacks.

The theme is a tad dark, so it might not be for everyone, but it is carried out here with a healthy sense of whimsy that mitigates the darker aspects. There is a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour, and a healthy sense of ‘get your buddies’ with this one, that makes it a fun filler.

Check it out at www.anvil-eight.com

Thanks to fellow gamers Jeff Chasse, Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.


Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Calvin’s Commentaries: Showdown! The Samurai Card Game!

First Comics News - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 05:24

“Gather your friends and pack your bags for a trip to feudal Japan, where only the fearless will flourish. Samurai, Ronin, and even Emperors lock eyes and dare one another to make a move, knowing only one will stand victorious! Duel each rival that comes your way as you make a name for yourself in a world where even an unknown wanderer can scrap her way to the top against the most capable of samurai.”

That is the website lead-in for Showdown! The Samurai Card Game! published by New Experience Workshop Games, and is just the sort of teaser that grabs me. Feudal Japan is a favourite game theme with Joraku, and Kanagawa in my top 25-games list, and Kendo and Tokaido making it into the top-50.

Now Showdown by designer Chris Amburn won’t be breaking into my top-100 list, but that isn’t to say the game doesn’t have its merits.

Showdown! The Samurai Card Game is for 2-6 players,

It is basically a reskin of Shootout! The High Noon Card Game, a western-themed game using the same mechanics which allows either to be played as a stand-alone game or pitted against for the ultimate duel between cowboys and samurai. The result of shuffling the two games together is that you can get the gang fighting cowboys with katanas against samurais with shotguns.

But I have only played Showdown, and I will start by applauding the artwork.

The feel of feudal Japan is rather stunningly captured, with several of the cards being fine enough in terms of art that an 8X10 print on the gaming wall would look great if they were available.

The rules here are pretty straightforward ending up in a card battle not so far removed from the old kid’s game of war.

Players look to build up a strong hand, then head into a head-to-head battle with an opponent, hoping you warrior and his weapons are strong enough to win, or that you have other cards that can twist the fate of battle in your favour.

The flavour of samurai’s battling comes across well enough, and the art is so strong it helps make the game enjoyable, but ultimately this is a lightweight filler game. There is nothing wrong with that as we always need games to fill down times on gaming night, and this one certainly fills that niche nicely.

Thanks to fellow gamers Jeff Chasse, Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.


Categories: Comic Book Blogs

1d12 Random Sword & Sorcery Encounters With Alien Wraiths & Their Kind

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 03:12
"Under the dread & alien sky the moons carved their way through the skies like some cancer rotting its way through the cells of reality. The party of adventurers more like a band of cut purses & bandits really had been assembled from the local meeting points of the guild. They were temporary players in a game of robbery & misadventure whose survivors might be come a part of Vartain's BrigandNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Calvin’s Commentaries: Covil: The Dark Overlords

First Comics News - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 00:29

Not everyone at a gaming table will feel the same about every game that is pulled off the shelves.

Even at our small table the four of us have some rather lengthy discussions over the merits of certain games.

Covil: The Dark Overlords by designer Luís Brüeh was certainly one of those.

Covil is a game that is just a bit hard to arrive at a final viewpoint.

To begin with the art here, also by Brüeh, will either entice your interest or be a bit of a deterrent. When the game was originally launched on Kickstarter it was stated; “The game is a tribute to awesome 70’s, 80’s & 90’s cartoons, filled with references to our favorite and unforgettable characters.”

In the base came and add-ons there are for example homages to Leela from Futurama, The Brain from Pinky and the Brain, and ALF among others.

The cartoon inspired art is sort of cute but didn’t exactly win me over, although others at the table were satisfied.

The Kickstarter campaign also noted;In Covil: The Dark Overlords you will struggle for the supremacy of the regions surrounding an isolated town. Each player controls a Dark Overlord with unique powers and countless minions to “defend the world from enemy hordes” and bring “peace and security to the territories” — at a cost, of course!”

The game, published by Canadian publisher Vesuvius Media comes across as a bit grander than it actually is.

This is a fairly light worker placement/area control game, which players put over four segmented rounds.

In the opening couple of rounds, you have fewer minions to send out across the realms, and that limits what you can actually do. It is generally a build-up of forces that players generally must follow for fear of being under-manned in later rounds.

In the last couple of rounds, you have more options, battling other players, hoarding gold as such fun things, although there are limitations. The game allows a rather small treasury so players are always making rather frugal decisions.

The interesting aspect of this game is that various character cards have abilities which create synergies with certain attack styles, melee, or ranged, and with different terrains on the board. This means there is a learning curve. Some time spent with the cards outside of a game situation getting a grasp on what cards to go after to be able to chain effects will add to the game experience.

A pair of small expansions; The Outposts and Chaotic Evil, expand on things, and while some games only gain variety with added cards and options, with Covil it adds some interest by expanding the decisions. The chance to add fortresses and dragons to the troops is great, and sinister plots give each player hidden goals to go after, another bonus in play.

I rather liked the game at the basic level, more so than my gaming comrades, but with game time, and the expansions this is likely to satisfy most games in for some quick fun.

Thanks to fellow gamers Jeff Chasse, Trevor Lyons and Adam Daniels for their help in running through this game for review.


Categories: Comic Book Blogs

WWE Royal Rumble Tickets Available Friday, October 12

First Comics News - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 00:17

Travel Packages Available Wednesday, October 10

STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– WWE (NYSE:WWE) today announced that tickets for the 2019 WWE Royal Rumble will be available on Friday, October 12 at 1PM ET/10AM PT. Royal Rumble takes place on Sunday, January 27, 2019, from Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona and will be streamed live around the world on WWE Network.

Tickets for Royal Rumble will be available through all Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com, at the Chase Field box office or by calling Ticketmaster charge by phone at 800-745-3000.

In addition, Royal Rumble travel packages, which will include tickets to all Royal Rumble Week events, will be available this Wednesday, October 10 at 10AM ET/7AM PT through RoyalRumbleTravel.com.

Royal Rumble is more than just a one-day event, it is a week-long celebration. In addition to Royal Rumble, other events include: three spectacular live events taking place at Talking Stick Resort Arena, including NXT® TakeOverMonday Night Raw® and SmackDown Live®Ticket information for these events will be announced in the near future.

In addition, Royal Rumble Week will also feature Royal Rumble Axxess, WWE’s interactive fan festival at the Phoenix Convention Center from Friday, January 25 – Sunday, January 27, as well as local community outreach programs, including Be a STAR bullying prevention rallies and hospital visits designed to leave a lasting impact throughout the region.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars # 3

First Comics News - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 00:12

Title: Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars # 3 (GN)
Publisher: Papercutz
Created/Writer/Artist by: Jessica Abel
Backgrounds and Design by: Lydia Roberts
Colors: Walter
Price: $ 15.99 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: www.papercutz.com, http://www.supergeniuscomics.com
Comments: Trish lives on Mars with her family and friends and mines water for a living. Her dream though is to hover skate. Trish’s life is filled with two things working and skating.
The story starts to drag on as it goes on and on about how important water is on Mars. There is a little to do with the derby skating as well but there needs to be more.
When Trish’s mother is pushed too far she decides to push back and the derby girls are going to help.
The Novas and the Bombers find themselves in a street game against each other to see who is the best. Now this game has a decidedly different ending and starts then you would think.
The art looks great showing off the world of Mars and the people who live there. The derby girls are shown as determined girls and the aliens do let you know Martians do exist and they are a lot like humans. A little cosmetic difference yet basically the same.
Trish is a wonderful girl who knows what she wants and she goes for it and gets it. This girl is amazing.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: The Black Knight # 1

First Comics News - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 00:02

Title: The Black Knight # 1
Publisher: Zenescope
Story: Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, Terry Kavanagh
Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Artwork: Sergio Arino
Colors: Robby Bevard
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Cover: Sean Chen with Ivan Nunes
Variant Covers: Igor Vitorino with Hedwin Zaldivar, Jay Anaceleto with Ivan Nunes, Alan Quah with Komikaki Studio, Leonardo Colapieto, Blank Sketch Cover
Price: $ 3.99 US
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Website: www.zenescope.com
Comments: Peyton Parks is the Black Knight in the modern world. She is illustrated in black armor with it revealing enough to bring out her sexual side. The close-ups of her face show a strong and beautiful woman.
The story skips over the origin of this Black Knight way to fast. Then it lingers on the fact she is a lawyer and defending a criminal.
The Black Knight stands tall in court as she is the defender of those in danger. She is posed in some awesome poses that really show her off well. She even has a steed and mounted on it she is a sight to see. Peyton even in her normal clothes is stunning.
What is Nadia and what is Ursa the set up for when these two meet in battle is done with a nice build up of suspense?
The Black Knight is a feared warrior and Peyton keeps that part of the legend alive. The Black Knight is a feared countenance that will make mere mortals fear her.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Silver Screen Bottling Company Launches New Fear The Walking Dead Beer

First Comics News - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 23:29

The Original Augie’s Ale Sells for $12.99 per Six-Pack

October 5, 2018, Dallas, TX Fear The Walking Dead fans have a new beverage to enjoy while watching episodes of the popular AMC show. The Original Augie’s Ale, a blood orange farmhouse ale brewed in partnership with the award-winning Wicked Weed Brewing, is now available for presale online and will ship later this year.

The Original Augie’s Ale is named for Augie’s Brewing, the fictional beerhouse in the show operated by Jim Brauer, whose skills as a brewer are highly sought after by other characters in the show. In the current season, main character Morgan Jones encounters Jim, who is determined to be the wealthiest, most important man in the post-apocalyptic world. “History is built on beer,” says Jim, whose path to success is beer.

The Original Augie’s Ale is brewed by the world-renowned Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville, N.C. Its ingredients include grapefruit sourced from Texas – where season four of the television show is primarily filmed.

The farmhouse ale is delicate in body, while boasting flavors and aromas of grapefruit, blood orange, and agave.  The spice of the agave mellows out the citrus punch and compliments the creamy mouthfeel from the flaked oats.  Refreshing and crisp, this delicately hazy brew is a perfect pour.

Six-packs of the bottles sell for $12.99 and are available for presale at www.augiesale.com. Packaging of the bottles invites fans to “Beer the Walking Dead.” Product will begin shipping later this year.

Under license by AMC, The Original Augie’s Ale is the latest release by Silver Screen Bottling Co., which has also launched spirit brands around other iconic fan-centric franchises like Star Trek and the Fallout videogame series. Links to purchase all Silver Screen Bottling Co. products can be found at www.silverscreenbottling.com.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Captain Kirk Crosses Paths With Fellow Captains Picard, Janeway, and Sisko in Star Trek: The Q Conflict

First Comics News - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 23:23

The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager Collide for the First Time in Six-Issue Comic Book Crossover

SAN DIEGO, CA (October 5, 2018) – For the first time ever, the beloved crews of four Star TrekTM incarnations – The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager – will be pitted against one another in IDW’s mind-blowing comic book miniseries, Star Trek: The Q Conflict. Debuting in January, this epic six-part event features the writing team of Scott and David Tipton (Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken) and art by David Messina (Cloak and Dagger, Star Trek: Countdown).

When a dispute between godlike beings threatens the galaxy, it will take all of Starfleet’s best captains to stop them. James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, Kathryn Janeway, and Benjamin Sisko must go head-to-head in a competition rigged by the arrogant Q and his nigh-omnipotent cohorts.

“This is it – the biggest Star Trek series ever, spanning starships, centuries, and galaxies!” says Scott Tipton. “All of Starfleet’s most legendary officers join together for the first time against some of the greatest threats they’ve ever faced. It’s like nothing you’ve seen before!”

David Tipton adds, “But it wouldn’t be Star Trek if it wasn’t also about character, and with so many Starfleet legends crossing paths for the first time ever, The Q Conflict will give readers the opportunity to see all their favorite characters in a brand-new light.”

“Being at work on Star Trek: The Q Conflict is like coming home after a five-year mission away,” says David Messina. “To draw characters like Spock and Picard at a time that’s so exciting for the Star Trek franchise? It’s awesome.”

Star Trek: The Q Conflict #1, under license by CBS Consumer Products, will be available with multiple covers: connecting regular covers by David Messina, and retailer incentive variants by George Caltsoudas and J.K. Woodward.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

[EHM 2018-10-05] Exhibition Twelve Leafs 1 @ Habs 4

Furiously Eclectic People - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 23:11

Tyler Bozak came as a try-out player for a week.

    IR-Shipachyov DtD

Baun and Jokinen are try-outs so they don't count against the player cap. There is also no extra defenseman being carried, so we have three forwards.

The defensive lines look good. With only one pre-season game left, plus shinny with IceCaps, it's good to see some things have fallen into place.

Gallagher just took-off on a line with Thornton and Dawes, which makes sense. Playmaker, shooter, crash the net. I expect them to stay together.

It seems that Byron will fit in somewhere but likely get bounced from line to line as injuries and other issues crop up. The thing with Byron is that he's the team's PK specialist but otherwise other players plug the holes better. Tatar, Reaves, Ritchie and Jokinen haven't quite found their place and when Shipachyov comes back, other players may be bumped.

I can't say enough how steady Alzner has been back there. For whatever reason he doesn't gel with Weber but otherwise he makes the right plays no matter the situation. Unfortunately, Valiev has been consistently walked around and needs to learn how to cut the skater off into the boards. Assistant Coach Bert Robertson will spend some one-on-one time with him.

If Koivu is released and Deslauriers waived again we'll be left with Ritchie and Byron. Baun will leave when his tryout is over however there is the possible signing of Bozak and the more remote signing of Jokinen.

Jokinen was brought in to play with Koivu and plays pretty well with others but he'd probably have to accept some games in the AHL to stay.

In some ways I feel bad for Deslauriers because Ritchie stole his spot without doing the actual work. He's come in quite highly touted and Deslauriers has worked hard and played well but for him it's sit as an extra in Montreal or play regularly on one of the affiliate teams. In fact, considering the glut in the LW position, he might even be loaned out. It's doubly unfortunate because like Byron, Deslauriers can fit almost anywhere (except centre).

Shipachyov has resumed practice, which will tighten up the roster a bit.

Centre Mika Niemi is signed to a contract that starts at the national transfer window next year. He currently plays for Jokerit in the KHL.

Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Pin Problem

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 20:08

Once again, things have not gone to plan, and the blanket is not done. I was pretty sure I would be finished it while I was at Knit City – sure enough that I brought Soak to wash it with, and pins to block it in my hotel room. I even brought another big project that needs starting (and finishing, technically, but let’s not get too defeatist) and I am positive now that the only thing that went wrong with that plan was that there remain a meagre 24 hours in a day.

That’s it. I did not (for once) underestimate how much I would be able to knit in a day – somehow imagining that I would be able to teach knitting all day while knitting. (Doesn’t work.) I did not imagine that I’d be able to knit all the way somewhere on a plane and then fall asleep, wasting all that time. Nope. Not this knitter. This time, I knit in all my spare time, I knit on the plane, I knit for an hour each morning while I drank coffee and planned my day. I knit in the evenings at events, and I didn’t ditch the project for something more fun the minute new yarn waggle it’s little label at me. I knit at lunch,  on the bus, at dinner, in between classes, while I was walking…. I was on it, and it’s still. Not. Done.

I think I know the exact moment it went sideways too. I was finished the first border I’d picked, and I was at a crossroads. I could have started the edging, right then and there, but instead I decided to do another border. I sat there, holding this thing and thinking about my brand new great-niece (yup, she’s born and here, healthy and hale) and then I realized that it was no time to shirk. She’ll have this blanket her whole life, she barely weighs seven pounds and can’t possibly care whether she gets it this week or next, and I realized that having it just how I wanted it was more important than having it just when I wanted it, and so I decided to do one more little bit before going on. (I admit, the fact that this baby’s mum, auntie and grandmother all knit inspired me to greater heights. Only other knitters can really love this stuff.)

Unfortunately, that little bit… isn’t. It’s a lot more, and despite diligent knitting, I am only today starting the edging.  Each repeat consumes 17 stitches of the border, and there are… You know what? I don’t know how many stitches there are.  I’m feeling like it’s around 800 (likely a little more) and that means I’ve got to settle in for about 47 repeats, plus a few more to get around the corners, and….

And I’m stopping just shy of doing the math on how long that means I’ll be at this. It’s going to be lovely though, and I just keep telling myself that it will be enjoyed for far longer than I spend knitting it, and that’s what matters, no matter how crazy I am by the end of it.  It also means that I was nuts when I thought I’d finish even without the edging, another episode of knitterly delusion, and I’ve taken the pins back out of my suitcase, and put them back on the shelf.  It’s really nowhere near pin time.

I’ll pound out a bunch of it this weekend – though it’s Thanksgiving here in Canada, so there will be time lost to cooking, eating and cleaning up from cooking and eating, but let’s see what Monday brings.

PS. Thanks to a few cancellations, there are a few spots open for the Strung Along November Retreat. We’re reprising our Silk retreat (oh, so much fun) and  this is a retreat for Knitters and Spinners. (You don’t need to be very good at either.) There’s a few more details here, let us know if you’d like to join us. (Info@Strungalong.ca)

(PPS I am really thinking about turning on the heat.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Fileless malware: part deux

Malwarebytes - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 15:00

In part one of this series, we focused on an introduction to the concepts fileless malware, providing examples of the problems that we in the security industry face when dealing with these types of attacks. 

In part two, I will be walking through a few demonstrations of fileless malware attacks that I have created. These labs demonstrate the problems we face when trying to detect fileless malware.

I will first start off with a demonstration of malware that is detected strictly with static signatures. The file I will be using is a custom binary, which I created from scratch and does not actually perform malicious activities. It is completely benign.

The reason for using a benign file for the demo is that I do not want any of the other more advanced components of the AV to kick in and try to detect this file. I want to show what happens when we rely purely on static signatures. We have simply created a static signature for this specific binary so that when executed or scanned on any computer running Malwarebytes, it will be detected.

After this test, I will then be testing a legitimate malware via the same fileless methods to illustrate the necessary detection technology that needs to be in place to catch the threat.

Before we begin, I will first cover how static detections work in order to make clear what exactly is being evaded with these fileless methods. Then I will cover some more sophisticated detection methods, which in this modern age of security are the most important components to detect the new and unknown threats.

Static detection

There are a few ways to detect malware statically. The most basic, and frankly, the most useless detection method nowadays is by hashing the file. In this case, there’s a one to one detection rate of signature to malware.

In order to have a single signature cover a lot more ground, modern day static detection engines extract key areas of the binary and allow signatures to be made on specific op-codes or strings within sections of the binary. The best open source example of this would be YARA rules. If you are unfamiliar with YARA, please take a minute to look it up as it is a valuable tool for malware analysis.

Below is an example of a detection using YARA. The example rule is completely random and not made to detect any malware.

rule ExampleDetection { strings: $hex_string = { AA (BB | CC) [3] FF [2-4] 00 }   $string1 = “malString” wide ascii fullword   $hex2 = {CC DD 33 DD}   condition:   $hex_string and #string1 > 3 and $hex2 at entrypoint and filesize > 200KB }

A single rule similar to this, although in the category of static signatures, can detect hundreds or thousands of malware that have similar characteristics. A good static signature still allows you to be dynamic and detect malware even when a writer modifies his code.

But, even though these static detection methods are quite effective in certain cases, there are a few major downfalls. The first and most obvious downfall is if the binary codes and strings are changed beyond what the signature writer took under consideration, the detection will no longer trigger. This is the main reason why antiviruses have added more dynamic methods for detecting sophisticated malware to their solutions. These include behavioral signatures, behavioral detections, heuristics, self-contained emulators, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Some of these technologies are included in Malwarebytes’ consumer and business products, and are listed below:

The second downfall to static signatures is what I will be illustrating in this first lab. If there is no binary on disk to run a static signature against, then the static signature has nothing to detect against. So, in short, it fails. This is where the fileless attacks succeed.

In a perfect world, with unlimited computing power, we would theoretically be able to extract every bit of data from memory at all times and run static signatures against then to overcome this downfall. But because performance is always an issue, this is not possible, and static signatures will fail in this scenario. Having said that, I will proceed to the first lab.

Lab 1: Static-only bypass

First, I will run the test detection file manually on a system with Malwarebytes so that we can see the static signatures portion catching the file.

As you can see, the file was detected as Trojan.Vhioureas.POC. Again, this is because I created a test detection on a unique string I made using this simple program. If the program succeeds, it will pop up a calculator application.

Now I will load the same test file using the inception framework: a fileless execution framework.

As you can see, the vhioureasPOC file did not trigger any detection, and Calc popped up. The reason is because the inception framework streamed the malware source completely from a server and executed it purely within memory.

You can see this in the command parameter to UpdateService.exe, which is the inception client loader binary. It pulled the source code of the vhioureasPOC from the server I set up at the address in the URL. The fileless streaming method evaded the static signature engine of the AV.

Inception framework

Before continuing on to Lab 2, I will discuss the inception framework and how it can be used to load any .NET executable in memory. We will start with the server side.

The server side of inception has two main components: the payload generator and the actual malware server. The payload generator takes as an input, a C# source code file, and provides you with a custom URL token for fetching on the client’s side.

After we have generated the payload, when we run the malware server component, we can retrieve the source code in an encoded form via any http request. For example,if we navigate to the URL generated in a browser on our client machine, we will see a long base 64 string in the browser window. This is the payload.

Now moving onto the client side of inception. The client in and of itself is benign. It does not contain any malicious code. It’s simply a command-line tool that takes a URL as input. It fetches whatever is on the end of that URL and attempts to read it in as text, specifically looking for proper formatting of C# source code. It then takes the C# text and, using the operating system’s native compiler, performs run-time compiling purely in memory. It then executes the generated code.

This is how we were able to evade the static detection engine. There is never any point in which the malware code from the server exists on the hard drive. Because of that fact, there is no file for the static engine to scan.

As a side note, I would like to add that in general, no AV detects source code of the compiled language. The reason here is that source code can never run without being compiled, and thus can never cause harm. This is an interesting point because even a network signature, such as snort or any IDS would be unlikely to pick this up. The malicious binary is never streamed, it is only the source code that is streamed. So, it evades all static signatures, even on the network side.

Fighting this threat

Being that we evaded the static engine, modern-day antiviruses as I mentioned earlier must contain technology to dynamically detect malicious activity on the system rather than simply detect malicious signatures.

To test that this technology exists and works properly, we will be running inception once again against the victim machine, only this time it will be with a payload which actually performs malicious functionality to the victim. We should hope that the AV engine has the ability to determine that the execution on the system is malicious based on its activity. This is exactly what we will be testing in Lab 2.

Lab 2: fileless ransomware

For this lab, I will load a source code of a ransomware sample via inception. Essentially, nothing changes from the above steps. Only now, the payload generation on the server side points to a ransomware source code file instead of the POC test.

As you can see, a detection was triggered this time. Although the static engine did not detect the malware, the application behavior portion of the engine stepped in and determined that there was malicious activity on the system that behaved like ransomware, and it triggered the detection. This is why you see it detected as Ransom.Agent.Generic.

Static vs. dynamic

I have created these demonstrations to show some of the problems that fileless malware can cause—mainly that they were able to easily bypass static engines. This doesn’t mean that I believe static signatures do not have their place in malware detection. I am simply showing their weakness when it comes to fileless attack.

Static signatures help researchers properly classify malware families and provide more detailed detections. This is usually because, behind a signature, there is a malware analyst who has spent the time to research and understand the malware’s characteristics. I have seen many situations where a good signature has caught malware that machine learning engine failed to identify. However, when the static detection fails, dynamic detection must take over. This symbiosis is key.

I am of the school of thought that both static and dynamic detection are necessary, and a good mix of both is still extremely valuable. Typically, when an anti-malware vendors uses signatures in addition to next-gen technology in their repertoire, that’s a sign that there are active malware analysts on the other side of the screen.

This gives me a peace of mind—that vendors are not leaving the fight against malware purely up to algorithms and technology. Technology is not quite advanced enough to be left fully in charge, and in the meantime, a mixture of humans and technology, malware analyst and machine, is still the best bet.

Stay tuned for part three of this series, where I will provide a detailed analysis of various fileless malware families.

The post Fileless malware: part deux appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 13:49


My Favourite Articles and Links This Week If you haven’t already entered the Jimmy Beans Wool Smartstix Needle giveaway, head on over and enter! Four ways to make your space feel clean inside of 15 minutes. This was thought-provoking: If you figure out a way to satisfactorily complete 8 hours’ worth of tasks in 10

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Autumn Amore Beanie

Moogly - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 13:48

The first pattern for the Autumn Amore Crochet Along is the Autumn Amore Beanie! With sizes for the whole family and a messy bun option as well, you will come back to this free crochet pattern again and again! Disclaimer: Materials provided by Red Heart Yarns and Furls; this post includes affiliate links. The Autumn [...]

The post Autumn Amore Beanie appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

Categories: Crochet Life


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