A collection of rambling posts about gaming, running, and politics. (and, in 2009, photography.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Disturbing

From time to time I Google people who I knew ages and ages ago, and fell out of contact with.

I did so today, and found that person's name and photo on a sex offender registry.

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeck.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Assassins Creed, another look

I'm a creature of impulse and immediate gratification.

It is not unusual for me to declare, "X is the greatest thing evar!", and then to have left it gathering dust a week later.

So, having invested about 6+ hours in Assassins Creed, I can tell you that is a fun and cool game. Well worth the price of admission. However, it... well, I'll let someone else explain it for me: http://blog.wired.com/games/2007/11/review-why-assa.html

Also, one of the guys on Penny Arcade talked about "Why people play video games", and it set me to thinking. I rarely complete video games, whether its story driven games like Baldurs Gate (didn't finish), or open ended games like Alpha Centauri (finished once or twice, but played a zillion times and just quit when it got less interesting). I play games for the right-now, immediate enjoyment of them. If I'm having fun right now, the game is worth it to me. As soon as I'm done establishing cities on an alien landscape, or killing soldiers in a medieval town, I'm ready to move on to the next source of enjoyment.

What the hell is wrong with people?

I don't mean to be pointing out or relating the obvious, but I will anyway.

I am sick to death of news about assholes shooting other people as part of their "going out in a blaze of glory". How incredibly cowardly to go into a school or shopping mall and shoot people.

A year ago, I owned a handgun, and was interested in my second ammendment rights. Now I don't care so much. This isn't about firearms though, although it is partly about firearms. It is also about nutcase whack-jobs who own firearms.

/not-so-silent, yet impotent anger.


Edit:
I think that someone already had this clever idea, and I may have even blogged about it once - I wonder if they can reduce these by not giving them so much media attention. this asshole who shot people at a mall in nebraska wanted to be famous. In a moment of introspective irony, am I, right now, contributing to the problem? If the media reported "Deadbeat asshole shoots people, self", or even relegated it to some back page, rather than splashing pictures across the front page and reporting non-stop on it, might it give potential spree-shooting-fucktards pause?

Dwarf Fortress

The other day, I read a post from AttacksofOpportunity in my feed reader, where he talked about Dwarf Fortress. I followed the link, read the review, and downloaded the (free) game. I spent a few minutes playing with it, in the way that a child plays with something that it does not really understand, comprehend, or know what to do with. I read a little on the wiki, and soon, actually got a working Dwarf Fortress going. It's ugly, and the menus alone present a learning curve, but ho-ly cow, I'm so hooked. I've managed to stay up late two nights in a row playing with it. Think "Dwarf Ant Hill (in ASCII)" and you've pretty much got it. I highly recommend giving it a shot.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Half Marathon and other stuff

Did the St. Jude Half Marathon yesterday.

Briefly it went well, I finished, and did it in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Maybe a little less, but results aren't up yet.

edit: 2:10:48

It was cold in the morning, but Maddie and John and I were up early and in Memphis. The weather was turning out great, and there was a huge fantastic crowd. I started in a slower pace group, and moved up, making a good pace, but trying not to overdo it, since I needed distance. The run was fantastic, we wove through downtown memphis, before heading up to the Memphis Zoo and Overton Park. The crowds along the sides were great. The weather just got better and better. I was in shorts and a long sleeve sports shirt, and I wished a little that I'd worn short sleeves instead. The miles flew past, 1, 2 and 3 like blinking, 4, 5 and 6 before I knew it, and soon I was past the 10k mark. At about mile 8 I was certain that a half marathon was all I needed this year, and I'd stamped out any foolish thoughts about taking the corner for the full marathon. By miles 9 and 10 I could feel the ache in my muscles, though I continued to maintain my speed. Shortly before mile 11 it began to get difficult. Half-second muscle spasms started to hit my calves, and my left knee started bothering me. I began to anxiously look ahead for mile markers. I stopped once or twice briefly, to rub my calves, and jumped right back in. The spasms started coming a little more quickly, and I changed my motions a little, trying to keep the muscles from seizing up. Then the muscles in my feet started cramping as well, and the knee pain, which came and went, got worse. This all sounds pretty bleak, and for the record, I dont mean to be so much complaining, as reminding myself for next year so that I'll prepare better. Anyway, right around mile 12 my foot wigged out and completely cramped, and I stopped for a second, since I couldn't really run on curled toes, and as soon as I stopped, my calf muscle cramped as well. I panicked for a half second, afraid that I'd have to walk/hobble the rest of the way. After a moment though, I hopped back in, and kept running. Made it to the finish line, thoroughly spent. My legs were so tired and aching, but my feet hurt. I still have some pain in one foot when I walk on it. I think I may have bruised it, or that the cramping and running made the muscle angry with me.

Anyway, the summary is, in truth, that it was a great race. I needed to train more for it, and it is unfortunate that I am a huge lazy slacker. The weather was fantastic, the runners and crowd was great, and I had a blast.

We all went and saw Krissi's performance with her theater group of A Christmas Carol, which was good. We also went and watched 28 Weeks Later, which was a sequel to one of my favorite zombie flicks. I give it an A for gore and screaming zombiness, a B for creating tension and intensity, an F for story and plot, and an overall grade of C. Then again, I'm of the belief that not every good movie needs to be done again, this time with more blood and explosions and leaps of logic. We also watched Fido, which is a dark comedy about zombies. I completely recommend it. Easy B+. To clarify, when I say A Dark Comedy About Zombies, I don't really mean like Shaun of the Dead, more like Heathers With Zombies. I could go on and on trying to accurately capture it for you, but I'll leave it there.

Further rambling,

I've been itching for a fun multiplayer game to play with my friends. I mean on the computer, really. This is my old World of Warcraft crowd. The itch to WoW keeps coming up, but I'm not particularly interested in getting back into it, both because it costs money, and because I know I'll get bored with it rather quickly. Instead, we've been eyeing some LAN Diablo 2, and I'm still sniffing around for something. I've also decided, since I like lists, and half-baked projects, to go through all of the hundred or three computer games that I have, and catalog them. Why? Well, because I like lists, and half-baked projects, and also because at times like this, when I'm having difficulty with any one computer game scratching my gaming itch, its helpful to look through the titles of old games that I've got stored away. It would be even more helpful to have a resource at my fingertips that I could consult to figure out what I wanted to play today. Anyway.

That's about it. Hope that you are well, dear reader. I'm looking forward to the end of December so that I can post a recap of the year, which seems to have flown by.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dear Advertisers,

Dear Advertisers,

I do like pizza, but your pizza will not make my family love me more.

Buying your SUV is not the smartest decision that I can make.

I do not need to purchase the newest flavor of cell phone, once every three months.

I will not buy into this years newest clothing fashion, because I don't need it in order to have friends.

Purchasing jewelry for my wife is not the only way to tell her that I love her.

I indignantly retain the right to spend cash in stores, and I vociferously reject your notion that the only way to function in today's high-speed consumer driven market is with your credit card.


Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy my small part in our economy. I don't mind buying the things that I need or want, but I get so sick of the ridiculous lengths that advertisers go through to convince us how our life is not complete until we own one, or maybe two, of their product. Let me be the judge of what I do and do not need.

I think the Dave Ramsey kick has given a different tint to my glasses. This Christmas I'm strongly motivated to ask the family and friends that might be purchasing gifts for me, to instead donate that money to their favorite charitable organization. The food bank, the humane society, children's hospitals, all places that are much more deserving of some cash than OldNavyBestBuyWalMartFordGMC. I've been motivated to give small donations frequently this year, made easier by our grocery store, Schnucks, which has instant Food Bank donation certificates right at the register. So we give a dollar or two, every time we go grocery shopping. Krissi and I don't hurt for anything. Sure, I'd like a new computer, Krissi could do with another pair of shoes and some new clothes, there are always more movies or games that I could get.. but we have food, shelter, and a pretty comfortable life. For some reason this year, the thought of tearing the wrapping paper off of a bunch of stuff that is shiny or cool or fun, while kids are going hungry, even right here in the good ole US of A, turns my stomach just a little. I think too, that I'm feeling a little rebellious toward rampant open-mouth consumerism.


I'm just glad that I don't have kids yet. The advertising machine that targets the 0-14 demographic is frightening. [1] [2] [3]

So, in closing, Happy Thanksgiving, and be safe out there, doing your holiday shopping.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No Country for Old Men

Saw it. I give it 9 out of 10 stars. I liked it alot. Enjoyed the characters. Loved the bad guy. I enjoy the dialogue (funny, the vestigial "ue" on the end of dialogue), the sometimes seeming randomness, and the tension of this movie. It makes me want to watch Fargo and the Big Lebowski.

Stupid D&D monsters

This has made the rounds, you've probably seen it. In case you haven't, and also, for me, for when I go hunting around for his in a year to read for giggles.

http://www.headinjurytheater.com/article73.htm

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Attention: Ramble

First a list, then, I ramble.

1. Work, viruses.
2. Assassins Creed
3. Internet brownout
4. Flying Spaghetti Monster
5. 30 days progress
6. No Country for Old Men
7. Iraq
8. Game thoughts


Work has been Cr-aaaaaaaaaaaazy! An important workstation got hit with a malware/virus, and has been almost a paperweight since. Our antivirus solution has been less than ideal - it alerted us to it, but didn't really fix it. Not the whole thing anyway. It hasn't blown up, we've stopped the spread, and quarantined it to that machine, but we need that machine to be working again, and I've been working on it for basically a week.

Assassins Creed rocks. Very fun. Can't wait for GTA IV. ;)

Internet Brownout

Flying Spaghetti Monster rocks. Its old news, and most everyone I know has already heard of it, but it makes me giggle a little, while at the same time, eager to discuss it with a Young Earth Creationist.

30 days goes well. I missed my rum and coke a little, one or two nights this week/last week, after long days at work. Running goes well, though its super dark out by the time I manage to run. I'm glad it is still kinda warm around here.

SO EXCITED about No Country for Old Men. I'll be seeing it this week or this weekend. Maybe it'll be a thanksgiving day activity.

Iraq stops letting wild-west cowboys run around in their country and shoot everything that moves without facing any consequences. Briefly though, as well, I cannot begin to fully empathize with the soldiers and leaders over there. What a rock and a hard place. Suicide bombers, roadside bombs, insurgency. I don't envy their difficult job a bit.

As always, my mind continues to turn over ideas about gaming and such. I've obsessed for awhile over a mafia game. I still am. Star Wars Saga Edition! Its kindof a d20/D&D 3.75, a prelude to the 4th edition. I like the changes its made, and when I pulled it out to peruse the system changes, I suddenly found myself interested in running a Star Wars game. And I'm not even a real Star Wars geek! Also - post apocalyptic d20, complete with radioactive mutants, ammo shortage, high speed road rage gunfights, dead cities and hidden vaults. Also also - I do not know why, but a D&D world crafted to mirror our world in some strange ways occurred to me. Races as an easy crutch/stereotype for cultures - humans get north and south america, dwarves get europe, halflings get africa, orcs get the orient, elves, umm.. the middle east? Split it all up into a bunch of medieval nations and states that constantly fight amongst each other, where- like in the real world, there is very little "evil", and a whole lot of opposing perspectives. I dunno why it occurred to me, but its still kicking around in my head.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Week: Redux

Okay, so I posted earlier this week about what was going on with me. Y'know, just stuff. I will now update that information.

Tuesday evening we had a virus outbreak on our network. Not severe, I would call it mild actually, but any outbreak is stuff to worry over. I was to be off on Wednesday to head to Nashville to see Regina Spektor.. planned to sleep in a little in the morning and then get on the road with Krissi and Maddie, but instead my phone started ringing at 6:45AM with various problems from work, some related to the previous evening's virus outbreak, and others not. So I worked from my kitchen table on my laptop until about 10:30, when we finally got headed in the general direction of Nashville. Still, I had to do some handholding of folks back at the office via telephone, to make sure everything was under control. Halfway to Nashville, a monsoon struck. It rained cats and dogs and other small and medium sized mammals for two solid hours as we drove. Finally made it safely, goofed around at Oprey Mills mall, and headed to the Regina venue. Got there, got into the place, got seated, sat there for 30 or 45 minutes. In front of us just so happened to be Theology&Geometry, who we'd briefly met at the Zombie Walk in Memphis earlier this year. Also in front of us were a group of bohemian/hip college-age kids who were seemingly shooting a porn video. I jest, but I haven't seen that much groping and tongue kissing since, Kids maybe... So we sat there, and finally a guy comes on stage, and begins with "I have some bad news..." and I figure "oh great, the intro guy is a jokester", but no, he tells us that during sound check, Regina collapsed, and was taken to the hospital. That she's "okay", but the doctor said she cannot perform. Then I noticed that there were like two dozen cops deployed around the place. Guess they figured the bohemian crowd might riot. People were mighty disappointed, but folks got up and left, as did we. Let me pessimistically say that I hope that Regina was not just boozed up and hung over, and that there was a genuine problem that she is now recovering from, and will be fine. They're rescheduling for Dec. 6, but Krissi has a play that evening and can't go, and Maddie isn't sure if she wants to drive to Nashville again, and frankly, I'm not positive that I want to drive to Nashville again. We'll see. So we drove back, got home around 1, I played a few minutes of Assassins Creed (which seems awesome), and went to bed. At least it didn't rain on the way back.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Release date

Dear Parties Which Shall Remain Nameless,

I have been keeping up with the "Release Date" for Assassin's Creed. It is 11/13/07. I've been super excited about this, and even pre-ordered the game from you. I checked your website on 11/12, and it said "Ship Date: 11/13/07". Concerned that I would have to wait a whole 'nother day to play the game, I called your store, and asked "Can I pick up my preordered copy of Assassin's Creed on Tuesday the 13th?", "Yes", I was told.

So it came as a surprise to me when I called the store today, wondering if the shipment had come in, and I was informed that it would not be available until tomorrow, on Wednesday.

I am deeply disappointed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tagging mp3s

I am so spoiled to Picasa. Thank you, Google.

I spent a bunch of time organizing all of the photos on my hard drive. Tagging everything by year, people/animals/places in it, and occasion, where applicable. So now I can search for all photos containing Jeremy and Krissi in 2006, or all photos that contain Jason and John, but not Jeremy, or Christmas photos from any year. It rocks.

So.. why can't I do the same with my mp3s? I've got a ton of music, and, yes, I'm aware that I can make playlists. But I dont want to make playlists. I want to sit down and type in "industrial hard metal -metallica" and get anything that I've tagged as industrial or hard or metal, but that is not metallica, for example. Tags rule. And if iTunes can't/won't do it, I may have to take my music listening elsewhere. As I think more about it, the perfect solution would be something that I could tell it to do some autotagging, year, album name, artist name, song name, and then I could tag from there.

Oh look! An update!

Roundup as follows:

Running/exercising/eating/not boozing it up is going well. I hate running in the cold though.

Watched Unforgiven again. Man I love that movie. Easily in my list of Top 10 or so movies. What do I love about it you ask? Well I'll tell you. I love the way that it sets up the old, reformed, washed up killer. I love the way death and dying are brutal and grim affairs. No easy kills, and lots of consequences. Killing is not glamorous or glorious, and is a shameful, dirty affair. I love the kid who claims to be what he's not, wishing that he were like the hardened killers. I love how the hardened killers aren't so hardened. I love how Eastwood's character "puts on his sunglasses" (reference: "putting on one's sunglasses" is an immediately prelude to Kicking Serious Ass, thanks to Blade and The Matrix and such), after the death of his friend. And I love the grimness of his revenge. I love some of the lines from the movie, which I will now share with you:

Little Bill Daggett: Well, sir, you are a cowardly son of a bitch! You just shot an unarmed man!
Will Munny: Well, he should have armed himself if he's going to decorate his saloon with my friend.

Little Bill Daggett: You'd be William Munny out of Missouri. Killer of women and children.
Will Munny: That's right. I've killed women and children. I've killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned.

Will Munny: It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have.
The Schofield Kid: Yeah, well, I guess he had it coming.
Will Munny: We all got it coming, kid.

Little Bill Daggett: I don't deserve this... to die like this. I was building a house.
Will Munny: Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.
Little Bill Daggett: I'll see you in hell, William Munny.
Will Munny: Yeah.


I very much wanted to watch No Country For Old Men this weekend, and apparently it started showing on the 9th, but its not playing at a single theater in Memphis/Southaven. What gives? So I'll have to wait a weekend or two to see it, it seems.

Assassins Creed.

Regina Spektor in concert in Nashville this coming Wednesday. Woohoo!

Made yummy chicken noodle soup from scratch last night.

The werewolf game this past weekend? Sucked. Will try again next week.

Paintball scheduled for this coming weekend. WOO!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

30 Days

My body reminds me that I am not 20 anymore. If I don't make effort to exercise and stay in shape, I do not stay in shape. Its an on again, off again thing for me. I do really good for awhile, then slack off for awhile.

Starting today, I will do the following, for 30 days:

Run at least every other day.

Exercise daily - situps, chinups, pushups, 20 pound weights.

Eat sensibly.

No alcohol.


30 Days.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What's wrong with this place?

We live in a society of fear and suspicion. Is it 1984 yet?
http://www.wired.com/politics/security/commentary/securitymatters/2007/11/securitymatters_1101

Mention of Scientology always agitates me. Their tax exempt status, and government lobbying makes grimace with impotent fury. And now they're branching out:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/10/31/christian.scientology/index.html

Who says that politics isn't always about money? They're wrong. And stupid. National politics in the US is a game of "who is richer?" /rant. Colbert is doing a real/mock/???? campaign for president. You may disagree, but I think it would be tremendous for a guy like Colbert to be prez. Anyway, apparently it costs $35,000 to be a candidate on the GOP ticket. I'm not sure if that's just in South Carolina, or if that's a National thing. Either way:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/31/colbert.sc/index.html

Monday, October 22, 2007

SotC: Dmitri Rasputin

See the previous post.

Skill Pyramid:

Superb: Mysteries
Great: Intimidation, Resolve,
Good: Endurance, Investigation, Stealth
Fair: Survival, Alertness, Fists, Empathy,
Average: Science, Sleight of Hand, Deceit, Academics, Athletics


Stunts:
Palm Reader
Psychic
Voices From Beyond
Scary
Steely Gaze

Spirit of the Century Character

Name: Dmitri Rasputin
Concept: Man of Mystery

Phase One (Background)
Born into poverty in Imperial Russian Siberia as part of the extended family of THE Grigori Rasputin. The family kept this relation a secret as best they could, for fear of reprisals.
Aspects: The Rasputin Family has many secrets. Hard to Kill.

Phase Two (The Great War and Entry into The Club)
During the outbreak of the Russian October Revolution, Dmitri fought alongside the Bolsheviks against the Cossacks and the White Russians.
Aspects: Fought alongside the Bolsheviks. Seen the Horrors of War.
Patron in the Century Club: Trotsky

Phase Three (Novel!)
Title of the Novel: Dmitri Rasputin in Baba Yaga's Revenge!
Guest Stars: Zhang Zhodanga and Simon Fitzmichael
Blurb on the back of the Novel: Baba Yaga has awoken in frigid Tunguska, and is setting into motion a series of events that will open a gate into Hell, and bring forth an army of dead Cossacks! Can Dmitri Rasputin stop Baba Yaga in time? Will Zhang Zhodang's robot horde contain the Cossack vanguard? Who will be left standing when Simon Fitzgerald dukes it out with the dreadful Boris Ivanov on a zeppelin, high above St. Petersburg?
Aspects: Sworn to Counter the Infernal. "I read about this in the Necronomicon!"

Phase Four (Other Adventures!)
Dmitri Rasputin guest stars in... Andromeda Peabody and the Tablets of Set!
Andromeda Peabody races Heironymous Tirney and his Cult of Blood to the sinister crypts of Cairo. Dmitri Rasputin squares off against the cult High Priest and Grace MacKenzie must find a way for them to escape before the Pyramid comes crashing down around them! Mystery and horror await!
Aspects: Fight Magic with Magic. "Mac, get us out of here!"

Phase Five (Other Adventures!)
Dmitri Rasputin guest stars in... Grace MacKenzie and the Omega Engine!
In a race against time, Mac desperately scours the continents, one step behind madmen who stole the Omega Engine, a machine so powerful it will end the War... and the world! Dmitri Rasputin fights to contain the infernal power that is unleashed by the Engine, while Zhang Zhodanga is held captive by the villains, and forced to jump start the Engine!
Aspects: "I smell sulfur..." "You can't trust it - that thing has no soul!"

------------------

Other aspects that I considered:
Injured by the Germans during The War; Captured by the Germans; The Five Names of Evil; Analyzes the situation before acting; Every plan has a flaw...; Nightshade has many uses...; The truth is always hidden; Scary as Hell;
I may still swap something out in order to take "The truth is always hidden", or "Scary as Hell"

Character creation was a TON of fun. Matthew and Deirdra were in town, and so they, and I, and Davery and Kristen sat down and did chargen. I took the "Throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks" approach, while we were brainstorming ideas for novels, and Aspects and so forth. Everyone seemed to really have a blast, and the creative juices were really flowing. Matthew's character [I will terribly misspell the character names, sorry] is Zhang Zhodanga, the First Man Born on Mars. His big thing is Alien Technology. Davery went with Simon Fitzgerald, who started out as a gumshoe detective/Military Police type, but evolved into a globe trotting super spy. Deirdra created Andromeda Peabody, a black sheep from a rich family, who has made a career out of exploring forgotten places. Think Tomb Raider meets Indiana Jones meets Evie from the Mummy. Kristen went with Grace Mackenzie, a gadget girl, inventor, and accidental troublemaker.

Matthew made the comment that there is no game that he is interested in hearing about people's characters, except Spirit of the Century. The characters are just so interesting, and immediately invoke thoughts of Pulpy Daring Do!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where did my iTunes playlist go?

Recently, I got an external hard drive, on which I could store all of my MP3s and such.

After transferring all of my MP3s over and importing the folders where they were now stored, I had lost the contents of all of my playlists. Um, hello? Apple? I figured having playlists with some kind of memory or something would be pretty easy. On looking at it now, there's not even an export feature or anything for my playlists. So thanks. I'm going to have to rebuild my soundtracks from scratch, since now they're gone gone gone.

I'm very annoyed. Annoyed enough, apparently, to post on my livejournal. So take that, apple!

Going Hungry (yeeeeeeeeeeeeeahhhhh!)

Am I the only person on earth that doesn't like the song "Hunger Strike"?

Back in '92, Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam and Chris Cornell from Soundgarden got together for a project called Temple of the Dog, and they made "Hunger Strike" which was a big hit.

But shit its so fucking repetitive and annoying. And somehow, they still play it regularly on the local radio station that I almost never listen to.

Blah.

Two Internets: Don't Need 'Em

Dear Microsoft/XBox Live,

I do not need two internets.

I already pay good money for one, that I rely heavily on. I am less than willing to pay you for a second, add-on internet, so that I can play your games online. Does it hurt me? A little, maybe. I no longer own Halo 3, after finishing the single player campaign, and playing three games of split screen head-to-head, we sold it on ebay. The Orange Box? awesome. Team Fortress 2? I hear it is awesome, but apparently I will not be able to experience its awesomeness, since there are no bots, no split screen, only xbox-live, which, as I've previously mentioned, I'm unwilling to pay for.

I'm disappointed, but we'll continue to stagger along in our relationship.

Irony

It seems more than a little strange to me that George W. Bush is presenting medals for peace to anyone, much less the Dalai Lama.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/10/17/dalai.lama/index.html

Knee

My knee bothers me. I ran over the weekend, and noticed it hurting sometime into the run. I ran again last night, and it hurt again. And it hurts this morning too. NOOOOOOO!! I AM INCINVIBLE! I AM THE MAN OF STEEL! I AM - I am not old!

But it sucks. Its only 7:45AM and I'm wondering whether I should go and have a Doctor take a look at it today or tomorrow. I don't want it to keep me from running. So, I'll be giving it a couple of days, it looks like. Which gives me more time to play the Half Life Orange Box :)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Guitar

I'm not sure if I posted this, or if you read it, but about a year and a half ago, following a fancy, I picked up a guitar. From Walmart. In Nashville. This guitar.

I picked at it a little, having practically never touched a guitar before in my life. This chord, that chord. Pling pling pling pling.

I hit a couple of chord and tab websites. This one is a good'n. Simple legend for chords. Man - tab websites are a pain in the ass. Its like crummy porn sites - more advertisements than there is content. Anyway, I made little cheat cards for a half a dozen songs, and could strum along to songs like Polyester Bride, When September Ends, Horse with No Name, Hurt, Edelweiss, and maybe one or two others. A little slow and disjointed maybe, but at least recognizable.

So, like all things that I pick up, I put it back down. My guitar sat, relatively untouched, for about a year. Let me quickly comment though, that for a hundred bucks at walmart, this is a damn fine guitar. I'm no expert, but the sound is good. My brother-in-law, who does play the guitar, seems content enough to pick at it when he comes down to visit.

Anyway. I picked it up again recently. Don't know what inspired me to grab it, really. But I grabbed it, and started trying to recall the couple of chords that I knew. I cheated, and went back to the chords chart - and kinda stopped there. Like I said - tabs sites are a pain in the ass.

Now: Guitar Chords and A Little Confidence

So the big guitar chords are A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. There are a number of varieties of each chord. But my point here, for you guitar people that have flocked here seeking advice, is that there are apparently 3 really easy chords, 1 easy chord, 1 kinda tough chord, and 2 chords that I cannot figure out how to play. A, D and G: Easy as Pie. E: Pretty easy. C: I have a little trouble with, and B, F: huh? Man, I don't have that many fingers, and the ones that I do have aren't that long.

I love the transition of D to A to G and back to A and then D, then back up again, ad nauseum, just mix up the rhythm a little. DAG/GAD

I'm providing hours of entertainment for myself with these simple chords. If I was a little more bold/enterprising, I'd make audio recordings and post em. But I ain't there yet.

But speaking of confidence, I've noticed some interesting differences in the two times that I've picked up the guitar. Sure: the first time I was starting totally from scratch, while this time I was just starting mostly from scratch. Still - I have not really been in dire need of trying to do a terribly terrible cover of someone elses song - I've been content do play around with rhythm and pace and such, and just become intimately familiar with the chords.

Music Theory? I either slept through it, or didn't take it at all. So I can't discuss with you the finer points of it, but I can tell you this:

I sure am enjoying the guitar.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Element 320 Gig

http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=326&language=en

Woo!

I have a three year old laptop, that is beginning to show its age. It has a few nicks and scrapes, but it also has a now-inadequate hard drive. In order to extend the time which I can productively use my laptop, I picked up the sweet Western Digital 320Gig Element hard drive that I linked above.

It is SWEET!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Blackwater in Iraq (from CNN)

Yay Bushco! Yay Iraq invasion! Yay mercenaries who are accountable to no one!

below is the text of a frontpage CNN article that I'm pasting here, because I do not trust it not to vanish, and because its pretty frank and direct.

Here ya are:


BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An Iraqi police officer who was directing traffic at Baghdad's Nusoor Square on September 16 said Blackwater guards "became the terrorists" that Sunday afternoon when they opened fire on civilians, an incident the Iraqi government said was unprovoked.

A 37-year-old Baghdad businessman and a father of four, whose youngest son was killed by a Blackwater bullet, said he wanted no monetary compensation but only for the guards to "admit to the truth."

The police officer and businessman on Monday gave CNN vivid descriptions of the incident in which a senior Iraqi investigator said 17 people were killed and 24 wounded.

Blackwater USA, the private security contractor hired to guard U.S. diplomats in Baghdad, has said its employees responded properly to an insurgent attack, but the State Department has opened an investigation.

The convoy of four Blackwater vehicles drove into the square about half an hour after a bombing prompted another Blackwater team that was guarding a U.S. diplomat to rush from the area and back to the Green Zone, the enclave in Baghdad where U.S. and Iraqi government agencies have headquarters. VideoWatch cell phone video from man who says he was there »

The police officer, whom CNN is identifying only as Sarhan, said the Blackwater guards "seemed nervous" as they entered the square, throwing water bottles at the Iraqi police posted there and driving in the wrong direction. He said traffic police halted civilian traffic to clear the way for the Blackwater team.

Then, he said, the guards fired five or six shots in an apparent attempt to scare people away, but one of the rounds struck a car and killed a young man who was sitting next to his mother, a doctor.

Sarhan said he and an undercover Iraqi police officer ran to the car but they were unable to stop it from rolling forward toward the Blackwater convoy.

"I wanted to get his mother out, but could not because she was holding her son tight and did not want to let him go," Sarhan said. "They immediately opened heavy fire at us."

"Each of their four vehicles opened heavy fire in all directions, they shot and killed everyone in cars facing them and people standing on the street," Sarhan said.

The shooting lasted about 20 minutes, he said.

"When it was over we were looking around and about 15 cars had been destroyed, the bodies of the killed were strewn on the pavements and road."

Sarhan said no one ever fired at the Blackwater team.

"They became the terrorists, not attacked by the terrorists," he said.

"I saw parts of the woman's head flying in front of me, blow up and then her entire body was charred," he said. "What do you expect my reaction to be? Are they protecting the country? No. If I had a weapon I would have shot at them."

Mohammed Abdul Razzaq was driving into Nusoor Square with his sister, her three children and his 9-year-old son Ali at the same time the Blackwater team arrived.

"They gestured stop, so we all stopped," Razzaq said. "It's a secure area so we thought it will be the usual, we would stop for a bit as convoys pass. Shortly after that they opened heavy fire randomly at the cars with no exception."

"My son was sitting behind me," he said. "He was shot in the head and his brains were all over the back of the car."

The others ducked and were spared, he said.

He later counted 36 bullet holes in his car, six in his sister's headrest.

"Anyone who got out of his car would be killed," he said. "Anyone who would move was killed. Anyone sitting in a car was killed."

"I saw a guy in a small car who got out to flee, they shot him and he hit the ground," Razzaq said. "They fired at him again and again with his blood flowing in the street, but they continued to shoot him."

"It was hell, like a scene from a movie," he said.

More than two weeks later, Razzaq said he is left with questions and nightmares about his son's death.

"He was in school, but last year had to leave school because we were displaced. Now the Americans have killed him -- why? What did he do? What did I do? After what I witnessed, I now jump out of bed at night, I have nightmares, it's experiencing death, bullets are flying from here and there and here explosions, cars hit. Why? Why did they do this?"

Razzaq said he would rather have answers than money from Blackwater and the U.S. government.

"Why should I ask for compensation? What would it do? Bring back my son? It will not."

"I only ask why? Just want them to admit to the truth. Maybe if they admit, then many of victims will drop their compensation claims," he said.

One State Department investigation is focused on the events of September 16, and another will take a broader look at the department's relationship with private security firms.

"Obviously, we want to see these firms be effective in what they do but also play by the rules," Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, told CNN on Tuesday.

"We have lots of people in Baghdad, it's our largest embassy in the world, and they have to be well protected," Burns said




Also, Dave had some comments about the fucked up shit in Myanmar.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Halo 3

Today, John and I played coop Halo3. We put about 9 hours into it, maybe closer to 8, with interruptions. We finished it. It was alot of fun. Do I think that I got my $60 dollars worth? No. Not really. Granted, I will not be playing it online. But I don't think that I *have* to play a game online in order to appreciate its value. This is not counter-strike.

I'm a little disappointed, because Halo3 was supposed to be the best thing to happen to gaming since.. ever. And instead I got 8ish hours of fun. Don't get me wrong - it was, in fact, fun. But it just doesn't feel like it was $60 fun. To me, in addition to *how much am I enjoying this?*, I also rate games on *for how much time am I enjoying this?*, and so far, I have not managed to beat the value of games like Civ I, II and III, Sim City 1, 2 and 3, the Total War series, most recently, Rome and Medieval II, as well as Hearts of Iron and its sequel (and add ons) Hearts of Iron 2: Doomsday: Armageddon. Each of which I've managed to get easily 75+ hours out of, in some cases, probably a few hundred.

Halo 3 is action packed, and fun. Yknow, I seem to recall Halo 2 being action packed, and fun, and lasting like twice as long as Halo 3.

Hm.

Edit: And here I come, taking it back to the shoppe that I purchased it from!

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Office

Join my branch of Dunder Mifflin at http://www.dundermifflininfinity.com/

Sign up as an employee in knoxville, tn, with the code: 903mkbfww4

(create an account, then get in and pick knoxville TN from the dropdown list)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Re: Shadowrun of Yesterday, System Does Matter

Jason (one of my players) posted an insightful response here. In which, I either agree with, or at least get where he's coming from.

System Does Matter. That link is an essay from our friend, Ron Edwards, about System. It gets into Narrativist, Gamist, Simulationist, etc. Read it if you're a huge game nerd.

I linked that though, because, well, system does matter. I've been running a Shadowrun of Yesterday game, which is a conversion of Shadowrun to Shadow of Yesterday. Here's the math, for anyone who randomly reads this that isn't a game nerd, and hasn't read back a few pages to see me explain this already. Shadowrun is a near-future, cyberpunk, magic, tech, Usual Suspects and Ronin, dice heavy game. It can be alot of fun. My experience with Shadowrun varies, both from playing and running. Nearly no matter your GM, shadowrun is a game about trying to just fucking live. While trying to get enough karma to initiate, or enough nuyen to get the latest deltaware, or whatever. Like - that's pretty much it for long term motivation in shadowrun. Sure - there's sometimes some "figure out the story-arch mystery" or something. Shadow of Yesterday is totally a narrative game. Its about telling fun and interesting and exciting stories. At least, it is to me. I bet you can already see how these are diverging.

And here's what I'm saying - the game is different. Taking a gamist/simulationist-heavy game like Shadowrun, where your day to day concern is amassing wealth, getting a bigger gun and better armor, and just staying alive, and shoving it into a game like Shadow of Yesterday, where your day to day concerns are Doing Interesting Things and maybe hitting your Keys... well, it creates a different atmosphere. In SroY, you're doing away with the loads of dice from guns, and the shopping lists of gear, and the scraping to try to get that one extra nuyen.

I'm not saying that you can't do a gritty Shadowrun of Yesterday, just that it is not, and can never be the same. Hah. Heck - if you wanted it to be the same, you should still be playing Shadowrun. You could even try a d20 cyberpunk/shadowrun. It'd taste different too.

Death is a pretty heavy motivator in Shadowrun, and its not in SroY. At least, it hasn't been. I suppose that you could tweak the stakes to more closely emulate shadowrun.... maybe that's not such a bad idea. "You win, the two bodyguards are dead. The walls are riddled with bullets, two or three innocent passers-by lie in pools of blood, and the mark stands trembling, untouched. You lose: The bodyguards fired back, and quick. You're bleeding, your companions are bleeding. You are low on ammo and the bodyguards have reinforcements on the way. Its about to get interesting".

More later.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Movies

Saw 3:10 to Yuma, and Eastern Promises.

Enjoyed both. Recommend both. I like a good western - 3:10 made me sad when I realized that I somehow do not own Unforgiven, and I desperately wanted to watch it. Eastern Promises: I like mafia flicks, bonus points for Russian mafia.

A Secret to GMing fun games

Here is a secret to running a fun game.

Take the current situation that the players are in.

Try to imagine, from their perspective, "What is the coolest thing that could happen next?",

And make that happen. And repeat, until the session is over.

I just ran a long delayed second session of Shadowrun of Yesterday, and I feel like it was a smashing success.

To briefly recap - in previous sessions, the group had to infiltrate an offshore, secret, highly secure, corporate facility - and steal a new prototype cybernetic arm. They'd managed to get onto the island, and into the research building, when the ran into a couple of angry cyberzombies.

Thanks to the beauty of Shadowrun of Yesterday, this did not mean immediate player death, or hours and hours of combat resolution. No - instead it was the team being pursued by the cyberzombies.

We started this session - having left the last one on a cliffhanger. They'd tied up with the two cyberzombies, and ran, since they were WAY out of their league. As we opened, the cyberzombies were charging down the hall in pursuit of the team. The team had just made the elevator, and frantically pushed the "Close Door" button - as the cyberzombies, one with a reticulating mini-gun mount, poured bullets into the elevator. Just as the doors were sliding closed, the lead cyberzombie got its metal fingers into the door, and began prying them back open. Our team started exiting through the hatch in the ceiling of the elevator, as they tried to slow down the zombies, jamming their targeting computers. They thought they'd escaped when their street sam got grabbed by one of the cyberzombies. Our demolitions expert hopped back down into the elevator, undid the armor that the cyberzombie was holding our street sam by, and as the orc mage pulled him up through the hatch onto the top of the elevator, the demo expert ducked around the cyberzombies, tagging each with an explosive charge, and darting down the hall. The explosives went off behind her, knocking one zombie into the elevator, and the other through a wall in the hallway. The four shadowrunners on top of the elevator began to climb the ladder within the shaft, as the cyberzombie inside the elevator got back up and ripped the top off of the elevator. The zombie was nearly the maximum weight of this elevator, and with the additional explosions and gunfire, our street sam shot away one of the last tension cables, sending the zombie and the elevator plummeting down into the depths. Meanwhile, the demo expert found herself trapped in a hall, a cyberzombie behind her, and a six man security response team in front of her. She was wearing a uniform of the corp security guys, so she managed to convince the team that she was just one of them, and she skirted past them, leaving them to deal with the zombie. She caught back up with the rest of her team on the floor above. They ducked into a side room to take a breath and figure out where the prototype had gone. I forgot to mention, during the previous session, they made it to the room where the prototype was supposed to be, only to find it empty. Some guards nearby though were discussing how it was being moved. The discovered at this point that they had a little PDA device that happened to be a tracking device for the prototype. Handy!! They saw that the prototype was moving, above them, on the surface, into what seemed to be a helicopter! They quickly began to formulate a plan for getting up there and intercepting it, when they heard a bloodcurdling scream from the hallway outside, followed by a crunch. They became very quiet, and began looking for an alternative way of leaving the room, since their friend(s) the cyberzombie(s), were looking for them. They began crawling, one at a time into a ventilation shaft that ran horizontally from the room, and just as the last one was climbing into the shaft, the door to the room opened, and a cyberzombie peered into the room. It charged like a defensive tackle, as the demo expert leapt into the duct. The rest of the team, a little ahead, hit the verticle intersection and began climbing up. The demo expert scrambled through the duct, as the cyberzombie grasped the ductwork, and began pulling it out of the wall, like a hollow metal worm (with a shadowrunner inside it). The demo expert scrambled to get out the other end of the shaft before she was pulled out into the hands of the zombie. She threw a grenade down the duct toward the zombie, and used the confusion to get clear of the ductwork. Once the zombie pulleed it on through, she scrambled to the still-remaining vertical ductwork and climbed up to join her team.. as two grenades skittered into the shaft from the zombies, and she cleared the top just before they went off. The team found itself atop a single story building, overlooking part of the corporate facility. South of them was a small airfield and associated buildings, and to the east, a small armored vehicle motor park where a whole platoon of Security officers were changing shift. From the airfield, a heavy armored helicopter was taking off, which according to their little tracking device, was where the prototype was. They couldn't shoot down the chopper, as it could damage the prototype. Also on the airfield was another heavy armored helo, and two smaller helicopters, and a fuel truck. Just about then, they heard a bang from beneath them, and observed that a door to the building that they were on top of had burst open, and a team of security troops were running out of the building, firing back into the building, from where they'd just come. Creating a distraction, our combat mage let fly a massive Mana Ball, taking out half of the security platoon to the east, and sending the rest scattering. The street sam also shot the fellow who was turning up the parked heavy armored helo. The pilot took one through the head and collapsed forward onto the controls, sending the helo rolling forward toward the fuel truck. They leapt from the building, to run to the airstrip, about 100 yards away from them. The mage threw up a bullet barrier, which was timely, since the two cyberzombies were throwing hundreds and hundreds of rounds their way, from their assault rifles and minigun. They ran across the pavement, making a fast hole through the fence, and got to the grounded coptor before it hit the fuel truck. Bear in mind that the other heavy armored coptor - with the prototype - was now a hundred feet into the air and on its way East. The zombie that was closest to them charged toward their newly hijacked helicopter, but our rigger tilted the main rotor axis, letting them dip toward the zombie and cutting it in half. The top half continued to fire its assault rifle at them, nonetheless, but would no longer pursue them. They made it into the air, but the second cyberzombie, now pulling a chain-link fence behind it, leapt up and grabbed onto the helicopter. The demo expert leaned out and stuck a charge to it, blowing it to pieces, and nearly destroying their getaway helicopter. They turned in the direction of their escaping quarry, dodged a few surface to air missiles, and continued the pursuit over puget sound, toward Seattle. They threw a magical confusion spell onto the pilot of the enemy chopper, and were able to catch up, exchanging minigun and sniper fire with it - then using deceit to convince them that they were a response team, *not* the shadowrun team. They told them that they were to swap cargo in order to confuse the shadowrun team, and so both choppers landed at an unused corp facility near Seattle. They managed to continue the facade, deceiving them into believing that they were Ares employees. They got the prototype, and were loading onto their chopper, when they overheard a radio call coming in, blowing their cover "crackle, the shadowrun team is on the second armored chopper!crackle", The Ares chopper opened up with its minigun, as our shadowrun team opened right back up on them in turn. Still confused, the enemy pilot began to steer away from our team's chopper, but another cyberzombie in the helicopter leaned out, and fired a freaking lance, like a grappling hook, at the chopper. It thunked into the tail section, and the zombie jumped out of the enemy chopper, and proceeded to zip up the line toward our team's helicopter. The demo expert jumped onto the wing, and used the handholds to walk along the outside of the chopper as it flew toward seattle - she reached the lance and planted a small charge on it, blowing it apart with only a few seconds to spare, before the cyberzombie reached her and the helo.
They made it the rest of the way into seattle, setting down on a helipad on top of a hospital, right as a couple of Ares attack helicopters showed up, and started spraying the top of the hospital and the helipad with chaingun fire. Dodging a security team in the hospital, the team tried their best to blend with the hospital staff and patients, even as they became aware of Ares security vehicles pulling up outside the hospital. They discovered that there was a subway stop in the 2nd basement level of the hospital, that they made a b-line for. The hospital's security rigger shut everything down though, and Ares and Knight Errant began a security sweet through the building. Our rigger overrode the elevator controls and continued down, making it to the 2nd basement level before getting shut down by the enemy security rigger. However, another security team was there waiting for them. Our demo expert marched out front, and declared that she had a dead-man's switch and was loaded with explosives, and would level the entire block if they tested her. They bought it, and backed off. After a tense standoff, they cut off the security team's communications, and then convinced them of the benefit to letting them escape. They got onto the subway, and were away to their destination.

Okay - that wasn't as brief a recap as I'd intended. But that's cool too.

Couple of observations

Shadow of Yesterday rocks, as does Shadowrun of Yesterday. Seems to me that you get to use the stakes to create situations that you could never get in more typical role playing games.

Loved using the cyberzombies. Used stakes to quickly make it apparent that the most that they could do was to make the zombies more pissed off, as they were nigh-indestructible. They were an excellent plot device in the adventure, letting me lightly push the players around.

I used alot of action movie railroading. Different than normal RPG railroading - in normal RPG railroading you just refuse to let the players do anything other than what you want them to do. In action movie railroading - all roads lead to rome. Or to the mcguffin. Or whatever. When the sewers led to the facility led to the elevators led to the stairs led to the air vents... it all led to the thing that they were after. Oh and the little PDA tracking device? One of my favorites of the evening. I made it up on the spot, intentionally to keep them hot on the heels of what they'd come for, instead of sitting around wondering where to go next. The helicopter chase? I all but begged them to hijack one of the helicopters. Helicopter chase scenes are alot of fun. Especially when they involve miniguns and combat mages.

Pleased that I was able to use my Key of the Team Player to reward Andrew, our young player, and gun junkie, to pass on a wildly chaotic and selfish action that would have created more problems in the game and more tension among the players. By passing on the opportunity to do something that was beneficial to him - in this case, shoot someone - he got XP. And kept the rest of the players happy. And perhaps got more XP for Team Player than he would have for the other key. :)

Shadowrun of Yesterday is different than Shadowrun. Shadowrun was incredibly gritty, and dangerous. I've tuned SroY to be gritty, but I'm willingly going with - or I have been for this mission anyway - the over the top action that you'd associate with John Woo and Mission Impossible. And I loved it. Seriously, like I love most all of my gaming, but few game sessions are as much raw fun as this. I don't think we had any real breaks in the action. I didn't linger painfully over anything - it was action, then intro to more action. As I'm able to play more SroY, I'll strive to do some gritty stuff. This was an excellent exercise and intro to the game and the system. As I discussed with Jason, one of the most easily definable differences is that there's not so much risk of death. In Shadowrun, you have to play it smart, just to stay alive. Which is cool, and is kinda part of what Shadowrun is, but easily leads to frustration when the dice don't fall right, or the plan doesn't work out quite right. In SroY though, I can use stakes to create consequences, but usually its leverage for more tense and exciting action. Its a whole different mechanic. In Shadowrun the anti-negative reinforcement is trying to keep your hit points, so you don't.. well.. die. In SroY, well, I dunno, I guess they're just trying to succeed and to get to the next scene. Alright - I have not defined this as well as I'd like, so I'll give it a shot again some other time.

Two favorite stakes in conflicts:
1> When the third cyberzombie lanced their chopper, and was zipping up toward it, Jax, the Demo Expert, announced that she was going out onto the body of the helicopter to affix explosives to the lance, to get rid of the zombie before it reached the chopper. We went to dice (keeps it dynamic, yo!), and initially I said that stakes were if she won, she'd blown the charge, the line fell away, but the zombie vanished beneath the chopper, and had grabbed onto one of the wheels.. if she lost, then as she was priming her explosive charge, and about to set it, she looked over and right into the face of the cyberzombie, which had just completed its zip-up to the chopper. She didn't like that either way the cyberzombie was still a threat, so we renegotiated the stakes - if she won, the line fell away, as did the cyberzombie, if she lost, then Jax lost her grip on the helo, and began to fall, but caught on to what was available - the zip line, and slid down 10 feet, but stopped sliding when she met the cyberzombie coming up the line. Now picture them both suspended from a cable 10 feet beneath the flying chopper. We liked these stakes and rolled 'em. She won.
2> The 'runners found themselves perched on the roof of a building overlooking the facility, airfield, motor pool, platoon of guards. Our combat mage wanted to create a distraction, and then settled on doing so, while at the same time, trying to reduce or eliminate the threat posed by the large group of armed security guys. He wanted to pump up a spell that would take like 25 of the guards. I've developed a strategy that I try to avoid having the players *fail*, if the dice come up not in their favor, their effort often succeeded, just with a different outcome than they'd expected. In this situation, we setup stakes that if the mage was successful, 25 of the security guys hit the ground, and the rest scattered, running for cover, firing blindly and without direction at everything around them, totally disorganized. While if the mage failed, 25 of the security guys hit the ground, the commander barked out "MAGE! Roof, 9 o'clock!" and the other 25 trained their assault rifles on the corner of the building where I team was crouched, and began unloading on them. It woulda gotten hairy. He succeeded though.

More out of game action:
The game seemed to flow incredibly well. All of my players seemed to be on top of their game, and I felt like I was on top of my game. Everyone was just on it. Stakes negotiation went well nearly 100% of the time. Once or twice I recall spending more than a couple of seconds, trying to come up with fun and interesting stakes, but most of them seemed to roll right off of my tongue. The players pitched in as well, suggesting stakes, or suggesting ways to renegotiate stakes a few times. Everyone was involved in the action, actively listening and participating.

The Gift Dice flowed. Davery handed his last gift dice out at the close of the game. I'm not sure how many the other folks had, but I know players were willingly offering, and at times soliciting the gift dice. As GM, I rarely give out gift dice. I often use only one or two a session. I make it very clear to the players that gift dice are meant to be given out when someone does something REALLY cool, or that you really really want them to succeed. I hand them out when someone seems to be in a bit of a bind, or when I do want them to succeed, but honestly, in this game, I kinda wanted to see them lose the stakes a few times, so intentionally withheld gift dice that might have otherwise given out for doing cool stuff. I wanted to see them lose, because the stakes that we'd setup were just so freaking cool. Like falling and sliding down the zip line to the cyberzombie? I wanted to see her get out of that one. :) I did use a gift dice as a bribe. The group was trying to figure out how to bring down the helicopter with the prototype in it. They weighed two or three options, and hijacking one of the other choppers was mentioned, at which point I held up a dice, and told the player that I'd give him a gift dice toward any action that he took that involved hijacking the other chopper. I wasn't going to force it on them, but I felt no shame in encouraging it.

XP flowed as well. I think that for the first half of the session (we played a full 4 and a half hours), very little XP was grabbed. At one point, either I noticed this, or someone commented on XP, I paused the game and asked everyone to study their Keys, and make sure that they knew what their keys were and how to hit them, and to PLEASE TAKE XP. They got right on board with it. Everyone hit keys. At the end of the session, we still had some questions about XP, for instance the Key of the First Person, a Meta-game key. We discussed how the 1xp bits of the Keys were practically "gimme's", that there were few or no reasons not to max the 3 hit limit for your 1xp bits, for each of your Keys. We briefly discussed the concept behind keys, to help reinforce how it should work - how you get 1 xp for just doing something associated with "Your Thing" (meaning: your Key), and you should get the 3 or 2/5 hit when you're doing "Your Thing" under some kind of duress or inconvenience. I think everyone got 10 or more XP during the game, and some may have gotten 15 .

Buy-in to the game world continued to go well. It is Shadowrun, a cyberpunk future/magic game with guns that have wireless network cards, technomancers, elementals, and freaking laser guns. I am not enough of a nerd to have 100% understanding of how everything works/is supposed to work, and so I frequently make shit up. "The cyberzombie's targetting computer for its minigun? Can you hack it? Um... Sure!". Fuck checking the rules.

Oh - missed two more things:

Would you believe that we did not once Bring Down the Pain? I was a little surprised. I'm not complaining though. I kinda feel like some BdtP would have messed up the pace and action of the game.. The players mostly rolled well, and I generously let ties go to them. They lost stakes a few times, but were willing to live with the results.

Going to dice: I found that I was constantly saying "You wanna go to dice?" or "Lets go to the dice". A number of times, I was more than willing to just say Yes, but even when they're successful, it seems like the chance of win/loss ups the stakes and buy-in for the player. Our street sam wanted to snipe the pilot of one helo while it was on the ground. I almost said, "Okay, you snipe the pilot. What next?" but instead, I offered to make it more interesting and go to dice. Win or lose the pilot was dead, but we'd find out if the guards near it went for the heavy machine gun or not. None of the players were ever displeased with the prospect of going to dice. Often, they would pick up the dice and warm them, as the action drove toward a conflict, which I took as my signal to grab my own dice.

Friday, September 21, 2007

D&D 4e

So I have a gaming blog, sortof.

Actually I have a terrible gaming blog. I talk entirely too much about running, and work, and money, and what I think about movies.

Anyway, I've been reading a number of really good gaming blogs, and they make me wish that I was more articulate, better organized, and was writing a gaming blog.

I'm sidetracked already.

I was going to blog about how I'm excited about D&D 4e.

There are a few reasons that I feel this way, even though I've been rather vocal about my disdain for < 4e.

Let me drift again.

I didn't start role playing with D&D, but I started it with some home-brew fantasy gaming- because I wasn't allowed to own/play D&D. But I eventually picked up the 2nd edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. I didn't have the player handbook, so I still wasn't playing D&D, but I still gleaned lots of creativity from it. Eventually I did make it over to 2nd edition AD&D. I had a ton of fun with it. I DM'd everything during my first few years at it, and only after high school did I meet up with someone else who would do the job of DMing. That stretches my memory, but I do not recall doing much prep work way back then. Any prep work, in fact. It was all about the characters that folks were playing, and building stories around them. Here's a way that I'm relating this back to D&D 4e. In 4e, they're talking about resource management, and number of encounters per day. They're gaming it. To the max. Which is fine, and is certainly the way that it should be treated, I think. But I didn't use the game that way, back then. It was an outlet to be a fantastic warrior, or to slay orcs, or do fantastic things. I didn't dissect the system. I didn't think about the mechanics, I just used them. And they were so great.

Well, everyone grows up. In the same way that the television shows that we watch, change as we age, our gaming changes too. How we see it, how we use it, what we expect out of it.

Now - back around to my topic. I'm excited about 4th edition D&D.

I loved Fallout Tactics, a PC game that was all about turn based squad tactics in the universe of the Fallout games. There was some story built on to it, but you didn't play it to see the story unfold, really - not the way you would be interested in reading a book. No, I played it because I wanted to lead my squad through strange and unknown territory, overcoming obstacles and stuff. I was fine with making some "role playing" decisions along the way. And I feel exactly the same way about D&D 4.

Why not 3rd edition, or 3.5? Honestly, I liked 3rd edition. Played in a campaign at it. Even ran a couple of games with it. It was fun. I didn't like 3.5 so much. I'm at a bit of a loss to clearly explain why, but to me, it felt like it was hovering between "Hey! I'm D&D and I'm a role playing game!" and "Hey! I'm D&D, and I'm a tactical miniatures combat game!" and instead of hitting a mark, to me, it just fell down between the cracks. Anyway, I didn't like it, really. Looking back at all of the iterations of D&D, now, there are all kinds of mechanical issues and problems. And it seems like they're trying to address/fix many of those things in 4th edition. Like wizards. One of the things that always annoyed me was the slots that they gave to spell casters. They've been calling it 'Vancian'. The idea that a wizard or spell caster, especially a low-level one, gets to blow his limited load, then hang out at the back of the party and try not to get killed. Its both frustrating and boring.

In the same way that sometimes you may be in the mood for a tense crime-drama, other times you may want some high flying action and adventure. I kindof feel that way. I've done the pendulum swing, leaving D&D and discovering the world and the philosophy of indie gaming. And - wow - its been incredible. Eye opening and such a learning experience. I'm kinda eager to go and apply some things to a game of D&D. Like... pacing, and structure, and the simple, but often lost mindset of "We're here to play a game and have fun doing it".

I'll leave with an analogy. I think that part of my problem with D&D, and my move to indie games, was that I really wanted a hamburger, and when D&D served me, it was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And I was like "WTF? This is the worst hamburger I've ever had." So I went and found hamburgers, and enjoyed the fuck out of them. Kinda feel like I'm hungry for a little peanut butter and jelly.

All Thieves Are Gay Anyway

Okay, so easily in my top 5 funniest gaming things ever.

All Thieves are Gay Anyway.

Download the PDF here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On Games

I think its safe to say that a "Game" is anything that has a factor of randomness and chance, and often features some competitive air.

Poker, Chess, Monopoly, Darts, Baseball, D&D: all get lumped into games.

But this isn't really what I wanted to talk about. What I really want to talk about is Hit Points.

What do Dungeons and Dragons, World of Darkness, GURPS, and Shadowrun all have in common? A health metric.

One of the things that I dearly and truly love about Shadow of Yesterday is how its version of the health metric includes not only "getting hit with pointy things" but also "How'd he talk me into doing this again?" and "I swore I wouldn't fall in love with him.."

See - and maybe this was where my half-baked lead in came from - most game systems, er, Role Playing Game Systems, feature a combat resolution system that is somewhat granular. You whack orcs with a sword until all their hit points spill out, then you collect them in the form of gold and XP, much like a pinata. In D&D, you walk into a room with a bunch of hostile critters and you roll a bunch of dice, and then you win. Its not a single dice roll. But turn the coin over - if you walked into a room with a suave diplomat, who wanted to convince you of the foolishness of your plan to kill the king, it might come down to a dice roll. If your group is even willing to tolerate its course being changed without bloody combat. And that's also assuming that they do not make the aforementioned diplomat into just another fleshy bag of XP. But what I'm getting at is that even among the most open minded D&D groups, diplomacy and such things are relegated to an afterthought, a single dice roll. And back to the beauty of Shadow of Yesterday - if you're going to talk Ungar the barbarian into not going down into the village and slaughtering all of the able bodied men, you get the same kind of method and mechanism for doing so, as you would with combat.

I was trying to think of ways to hack other systems, and include some kind of a metric like this, and no great ones came to mind. For D&D, I imagined having hit points, and will power, side by side. Anyway, I digress.

/ramble

Monday, September 10, 2007

Life of Crime

So I obsess sometimes.

I just can't shake the idea of an Organized Crime game.  I have yet to fully clarify to myself what I want out of it though.  There are a few Mafia type board games out there, none of which I've gotten my hands on to see if they could fulfill my desire. 


The idea that's banging around in my head is, at this point, two fold.  One part is a strategic territory and resource control game.  Imaging a city map on graph paper.  I keep thinking that the Atlantis Play by Email engine might translate to this kind of thing.  I'd imagined taking a group of players and explaining that they had been sent to "set up shop" in a city that was for some reason rather free of organized crime elements.  Post-Katrina New Orleans perhaps, or a post-war city, or even a city that Federal authorities had just purged.  Not sure whether I'd have them all working together on the same team, or whether it'd be all opposition, like players sitting around a Risk game.  I'm also not sure of mechanics.  Like I said, that's why I'd considered something like Atlantis play by email.  Not entirely sure that it'd be good or easy to free-form it, without some actual rules. 

So anyway, the players have to get business going.  Start extorting places, stealing stuff, getting in on the drug and gambling and prostitution outfits - y'know, all the vice stuff.  Then again, how much would this be hobbled by my lack of knowledge about the specifics (or even the generalities) of organized crime?  I mean, I'm no expert on werewolves or orcs, yet I still feel comfortable running a game of Werewolf, or D&D. 

Maybe I'm touching on something that I'll label "Knowledge gaming".  Seems to me that part of the excitement of an organized crime game would be, for the players, coming up with new ways to make some cash.  The players can use their real cleverness to come up with some new scheme to run, or a new scam to pull.  Something for which I may not have a ready answer, unlike in D&D, where I just need to know what is on the other side of the door with the demon's face on it.

Anyway, I mentioned two fold.  The other idea is using some system to play a street level game, that would tie in with the more strategic portion.  The players would sit down and we'd break some knee-caps and shake some folks down.  I actually browsed through the D20 Modern book, thinking that perhaps it would make a good rules set for something like this.  TSOY isn't what I'm looking for, maybe the World of Darkness rules would work.

/braindump

Thursday, September 6, 2007

This week at work

So this week...

I've been working on wrapping up my interview process, so that I can get to hiring. Here's a summary:

~200 resumes received.
~18 first interviews performed
3 second interviews performed
1 second interview canceled

This week has felt so long, despite that its only a 4 day week. Heck, its Thursday, and boy do I wish it were Friday. I've had the pressure of interviewing and hiring, plus the pressure of getting some stuff ready for some users who are headed to china, plus all of the other normal IT tasks that need to be done, so I have been weary and tired all week. I haven't gotten any running done, and quite frankly, have allowed myself to make excuses and not run. I'm willing to let myself slip a little, but I'll pick it back up this weekend.

couple of things randomly, about my interview process:

One of the questions that I've asked all of the people that I've interviewed is this: "What criteria are you using to evaluate the organization for which you hope to work?" In my after-action evaluation, it is a somewhat unimportant question. I cannot think of very many things that a candidate would (or did) say to this question, that made me go "Wow, that's a fantastic answer." I did however get three people who responded: "The Internet." That's right. They went on, "I'm using the internet to check out your companies website, and read information about your company." I did not correct them, or explain the meaning of "criteria".

Another question that I asked was "If you were hired, and six weeks later there were a complete IT systems failure, we were both called in, and on the way, I drove off of a cliff; what would you do to recover and respond?" I had at least two people who responded that they would check to make sure I was okay. This always makes me chuckle internally, and then gossip about it afterward, because it seems incredibly obvious to me that what I'm asking is not "Do you like me, and if I was hurt, would you come visit me?".

I enjoyed the process, I like people, and I met some very smart, and very charismatic people. It was my semi-wish throughout the process that I could take two or three people and, using science, meld them into the perfect candidate. But I can't do that. So I had to keep hunting the person who was the perfect melding of IT related skills, programming skills, bow-hunting skills, inter-personal and customer service skills. I'm still not 110%, or even 100%, but I'm 98%, with the fellow that I've got. I think that's a pretty good fit. The hardest part has been taking these people, each with varying skills and abilities and personalities, and trying to throw them all against the wall and see which one(s) stuck. Not knowing how the future turns out, I still sorta wish I could 'save' my progress, so that I could restore later, and have the option of trying out a different candidate, but apparently I've been playing way too many video games lately.

Quechup Pie

Don't you hate it when you get suckered by something? And then, having gotten suckered, you're made the star of a made for tv movie that details how you got suckered, and offers the opportunity to get suckered to other folks?

Well yeah, like a few of my friends, I failed to apply some reasoning to a situation and got hit with a hammer.

I'm going to go hide.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Foccacia

I did forget part of my previous update, related to food.

Foccacia bread.

Krissi has made two batches of the stuff now, from a recipe that she found on the commercial appeal's website.

oh.

my.

god.


Its so awesomely delicious.

By itself, its wonderful. Saved in the fridge, warmed up in a toaster, sliced in half, so that turkey and swiss cheese and spicy mustard can be sandwiched between: holy shit.

Just the stuff that I've been up to

Here's the "My Life" update.

It's all good.

More specifically, I did get a promotion recently at work, which is very cool. I'm in the hiring process for an assistant. This is the first time that I've been pretty much 100% responsible for the hiring. I've received between 150 and 200 resumes. I'm very glad that I've got some very specific knowledge/skill related criteria, otherwise it'd be hell going through the 50+ highly qualified tech resumes that I've received. I've interviewed ten or so people, with 3 or 4 more to go, and have picked 4 of those people to come back and do second interviews. With this being new to me, I'm trying to proceed wisely. I don't want to dally forever, waiting for someone to walk into the door that immediately screams "HIRE ME NOW!", but I certainly do not want to under-do it, and hire someone who is just the best of a mediocre lot. Anyway, this is just my thought process. I've gotten some good candidates, and I look forward to wrapping this process up in the next week or two and being able to make an offer. Aside from the hiring processor, work has been super busy lately - my feed reader is two days behind! It does not really mean any significant changes in what I'm doing, but it does mean significant change in level of responsibility. Instead of being only responsible for technology things that were "my" projects, or that I was tasked with, I'm now responsible for.. well, pretty much anything that can fall under the IT umbrella. It's good. I'm excited.

This evening I went out for a late 8 mile run. (Woo me!!) 8 miles is the longest run I've done since last year, I'm sure.. and I'm happy to have gone out and done it. It was tiring, and I'm kinda beat now, but it was a good run. Thankfully it was not a billion degrees outside this evening, just a "cool" 90 degrees. As I write this, I need to be working on stuff for my ongoing Werewolf game, that we'll be picking back up tomorrow after a three week hiatus, which, sadly, is kinda par for the course. (Wow, comma, anyone?) I'm also making my famous "Chicken Yuck", as named by Maddie. Here's the recipe :)

1 part chicken, cut into small, bite size pieces (one half breast per person)
1 part red or yellow potato, also cut into small bite size pieces (one medium potato per person)
1 part frozen broccoli
a little olive oil
a little of your favorite seasoning

Throw it all into the Corningware, or equivalent oven container, cover with tinfoil and the lid, throw it into the oven at 425 for 45 - 60 minutes. Remove and throw a generous handful(s) of shredded cheese into it.

Serve. Also makes delicious leftovers (if there are any).

Also, we've been playing the heck out of some Xbox 360 (on loan from Jason. Thanks Jason) and Playstation 2. More specifically: Gears of War(360), Bioshock(360), Burnout Revenge(360), Katamari Damacy(PS2), and God of War II(PS2). Totally waiting for Halo 3, GTA IV, Assassins Creed, and Beautiful Katamari.

Hrmz, what else is going on- I think I've covered everything. And now, lots of tags:

Internet Parser

Kinda randomly:

I use google's feed reader, and my livejournal friends page to keep up with the stuff that I'm interested in keeping up with on the intarnets.

It randomly occurred to me that it'd be cool if in addition to subscribing to a particular feed or set of feeds, one could type in a term, like "Intel E6600 Processor", and maybe select whether they were looking for things that fell into categories like news, or reviews, or selling, etc, and have their reader/parser find all of those articles on the internet, and make them easily available for the user.

/random.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Resumes

"Please accept my attached resume for your open I.T. position. I am currently not in Memphis but
wanting to return if I can gain employment there. Im the best computer engineer in or around Memphis
Im not bragging but thats the trueth, my experience speaks for itself and Id very much like the
chance to speak with you about your opening. Thank you"

The search continues...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

French Dip

In lieu of a real post, you get this:

I have, for weeks now, been craving a French Dip.

Memphis has tons of great barbecue, good burgers, and some international cuisine, but I don't know where to go in order to get a good french dip. Huey's claims to have one, and I may go try it, Crescent City Cafe might have one.. I'm hesitant to try the O'Ruby Friday's places..

mmmm au jus.


-----------
edit: 9/2/07

So it turns out that Huey's has a poor French Dip (but totally get a burger there, its my #1 recommendation). Fox & the Hound didn't have one, Crescent City didn't have one, even TGIFridays didn't have one. Soon I'll be hitting McAllisters, which supposedly has a delicious one. I sure wish I could recall which eatery my terrific memory of a french dip comes from.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Interview Questions

Hey people, give me feedback:

So I'm going to be interviewing for an Assistant IT Director post. I've built a list of questions that I may use - but will not necessarily just run down in list format. Still, I'd love to get you clever people's feedback.. are there any questions that you'd strike from the list (and why?), or anything that you'd totally add?

*****************

What are the most important rewards you expect in your career?

What are your strengths, weaknesses, and interests?

How do you determine or evaluate success?

What qualities should a successful manager possess?

Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.

What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why?

How do you work under pressure?

What criteria are you using to evaluate the organization for which you hope to work?

Are you willing to travel?

Tell me about yourself.

Describe a time when you were faced with problems or stresses at work that tested your coping skills. What did you do?

Give me an example of a problem you faced on the job, and tell me how you solved it.

Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.

What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.

Why did you leave your last job?

How long would you expect to work for us if hired?

What is your philosophy towards work?

Why should we hire you?

What irritates you about co-workers?

Tell me about a time when you “dropped the ball” and how you resolved the situation.

Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish and failed.

If a user tells you that their email is not working, explain to me the questions that you would ask them, and the steps that you would take to diagnose and correct the problem.

If you were hired, and six weeks later there were a complete IT systems failure, and I was hit by a bus on the way in to the office – how would you go about picking up the pieces?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quick update

No longer can I pencil the words "to the" in on my business card, between "Assistant" and "IT Director". (2 points for fans of 'The Office' who get my joke)

I got a promotion, and am now an IT Director. Yup, yup. No corner office or gold nameplate or anything yet, I'm afraid. And to be completely honest, the position came open when my boss (the former IT Director) got a promotion, but still, I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I'm excited.

In the last few days, knowing about it, but without knowing any details, I'd of course managed to convince myself how I'd now be making a jabillion dollars and would be given a gold BMW. Sadly, I did not get a BMW, gold or otherwise, and I did not get a jabillion dollars, but I did get a healthy payraise. Again - certainly not complaining, but yknow - one always hungers for more.

So that's my exciting news. Also in exciting news: me and the wife are headed to Virginia for the rest of the week for her dad's 50th birthday. It'll be a fun and relaxing trip.

Its simple really: two please

-----Original Message-----
From: me
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 12:40 PM
To: bill@vendor.com
Subject: RE: Aladdin with PGP


Bill,

This quote has an Aladdin EToken Pro64k USB for 59.06. I would like to have two USB Tokens for this security application. I assume that's what this item is. If so, I would like to go forward with this order, but with two of those tokens.

Thanks!

My PO# for this will be ABC123456

--------------------------


I receive a prompt reply with a quote for 1 of each item that I've asked for (not two, as indicated in the email above.)


-----Original Message-----
From: me
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 1:47 PM
To: bill@vendor.com
Subject: RE: Aladdin with PGP


Thanks Bill,

Just to be sure, I want to get 2 of the Aladdin EToken Pro64k, 1 Aladdin PKI Client Lic, 1 PGP Whole Disk Encry

--------------------------


I get a prompt reply:


-----Original Message-----
From: bill@vendor.com
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 1:53 PM
To: me
Subject: RE: Aladdin with PGP


Dear JEREMY:

OK,
So is this quote correct?
It has 2 of the Aladdin, 1 PKI client and 1 pgp.
thanks

--------------------------


But..... the quote that is attached has 1 Aladdin, 1 PKI client, and 1 PGP.


-----Original Message-----
From: me
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 1:55 PM
To: bill@vendor.com
Subject: RE: Aladdin with PGP


2 x 1027375,
1 x 953438,
1 x 1065634

--------------------------


And the reply:


-----Original Message-----
From: bill@vendor.com
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 2:03 PM
To: me
Subject: RE: Aladdin with PGP

Yep, that is what is on this quote.

Did you want me to order? If so, is there a PO #?

Thanks.

--------------------------



-----Original Message-----
From: me
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 2:07 PM
To: bill@vendor.com
Subject: RE: Aladdin with PGP


yes please, PO ABC123456

--------------------------


Three days later, I'm on the phone, ordering another Aladdin, because despite the conversation above, there is only one on the order.

I guess this is my fault really, the last email in this thread should have read as follows:


-----Original Message-----
From: me
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 2:15 PM
To: bill@vendor.com
Subject: RE: Aladdin with PGP


Bill,

What you are telling me in email and what is on the quote you have sent me is not the same. The quote is *still* for 1 Aladdin. I need two. Please look at the quote again, update it, send it to me, and we can get this order going.

--------------------------

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Retail is tough

Man, retail is tough.

To compare apples and meatloaf: I work hard at my retail job. And for some pretty sad wages. At the end of a 7 hour shift my feet hurt, I'm tired, and ready to have 3 or 4 or 5 rum or jack daniels & coke zero beverages. I just can't help but think, while "recovering" the store (which I used to call Fronting, just pulling everything forward, cleaning up, etc), that is is hard freaking work. I mean, it's not breaking rocks or anything, but it's tedious, menial, and, well, boring. At my "real" job, I work hard, but.... well, I work smart. I do a fair amount of slacking/Wiki'ing. So its alot of difference. Imagine if you had a formula that figured out what 1 unit of "work was", and what 1 unit of "pay was", well at my retail job we're talking a work/pay ratio of about 70/5, while at my "real" job, we're talking a work/pay ratio of 40/65. It's just a vast difference.

Also, changes are a'coming. Good ones, I think. I'll be out of town the latter half of next week, driving to Virginia, so if you need anything picked up in D.C. or northern virginia, now is the time to get your request in.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Some people are so hateful

And surprising ones too. I'm always a little surprised when Good Christian Folk send me hateful or racist or repugnant or stupid stuff. Or all four. Like this.



THESE FACTS?
I SURE DIDNT TILL NOW

Death is certain but the Bible speaks about untimely death!

Make a personal reflection about this.....

Very interesting, read until the end.....
It is written in the Bible (Galatians 6:7):


"Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
For whatsoever a man soweth,
That shall he also reap.


Here are some men and women
Who mocked God :


John Lennon (Singer):

Some years before, during his interview with an American Magazine,
he
said:

"Christianity will end, it will disappear.
I do not have to argue about
That. I am certain.

Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple, Today we are more
famous
than Him" (1966).

Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus
Christ,
was shot six times.


Tancredo Neves (President of Brazil ):
During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from
his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency.

Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made
President, then he died.



Cazuza (Bi-sexual Brazilian composer, singer and poet):


During A show in Canecio ( Rio de Janeiro ),

While smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the
air
and said: "God, that's for you."

He died at the age of 32 of AIDS in a horrible manner.


The man who built the Titanic

After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the
Titanic would be.

With an ironic tone he said:
"Not even God can sink it"

The result: I think you all know what happened to the Titanic .


Marilyn Monroe (Actress)

She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show.
He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her.
After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said:
"I don't need your Jesus".

A week later, she was found dead in her apartment .

Bon Scott (Singer)
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang:
"Don't stop me, I'm going down all the way, down the highway to hell".

On the 19th of February 1980 , Bon Scott was found dead, he had
been
choked by his own vomit.

Campinas (IN 2005)
In Campinas, Brazil a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a
friend.....
The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the
drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter holding her
hand,
who was already seated in the car:

"My Daughter, Go With God And May He Protect You.."
She responded: "Only If He (God) Travels In The Trunk, Cause Inside
Here.....It's Already Full "

Hours later, news came by that they had been involved in a fatal
accident, everyone had died,
The car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but
surprisingly, the trunk was intact.

The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact.
To
their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none was broken
.

Christine Hewitt (Jamaican Journalist and entertainer) said the Bible
(Word of God) was the worst book ever written.

In June 2006 she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor
vehicle
.

Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name
that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus.

Many have died, but only Jesus died and rose again, and he is still
alive
.

"Jesus"

P.S: If it was a joke, you would have sent it to everyone. So are you
going to have courage to send this?.

I have done my part, Jesus said

"If you are embarrassed about me,

I will also be embarrassed about you before my father."


You are my 8 in 8 seconds. I am not breaking this. No way!

I'M TOLD THIS WORKS!!!!! Bishop T.D. Jakes "8 Second Prayer." Just
repeat
this prayer and see how God moves!!


"Lord, I love you and I need you, come into my heart, and bless me, my
family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus' name. Amen."

Pass this message to 8 people {EXCEPT YOU AND ME}. You will receive a
miracle tomorrow. I Hope that you don't ignore and let God bless you .


The New War

Scooped from

Bush's New War!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Which way to go?

Sadly, I am lacking in the ability to create an actual poll, so instead, I invite suggestions via comments. Which way should I go?

Exits:
North : jungle (59,27) in Preetsome, contains Nimthielanfel [city].
Northeast : plain (22,20) in Larok, contains Fo-rhes [city].
Southeast : mountain (45,37) in Deugrande, contains Rodmosa [city].
South : swamp (52,22) in Endinmar, contains Volburg [city].
Southwest : mountain (56,44) in Iaortai, contains Meqiville [city].
Northwest : forest (12,44) in Greverre, contains Ingaik't [city].


Important Note:

The Fallen Angels (11) writes:

Greetings all factions.
The Dark Brotherhood will continue their dominance into this new world, and to that end we have claimed the forest starting city of Ingaik't.

The city of Ingaik't, which is NW of the Nexus, belongs to the Dark Brotherhood and we will actively protect our land (as we have always done). Any ruler who is foolish enough to test our resolve will meet harsh resistance... any faction which enters the world by the city of Ingaik't will be marked as enemies of the Dark Brotherhood and will be hunted without mercy. We will lay our full efforts to war against such enemy factions, who will be slaughtered until they are removed from the world.

Do not tempt the Dark Brotherhood.

In addition to this, it has been brought to my attention that there are some new Leaders who have no experience with the worlds of Atlantis and the Dark Brotherhood. Due to this, we have decided to allow a short amnesty for any faction who unwittingly enraged the Dark Brotherhood by entering Ingaik't (perhaps they did not know of our claims). If you are in Ingaik't and you feel you do not deserve to be hunted and slaughtered, please send a brief email to [address removed] and explain your situation. I will read each message and grant mercy where it is appropriate. Failure to contact us or any attempt to depart without this grant of mercy will be met with heavy resistance.