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

Friday, December 29, 2006

New tag: Food

Found some delicious recipes... I intend to give them a shot soonish, perhaps the Bavaria Rouladen this very weekend!

1. Wienerschnitzel/Schweineschnitzel

4 thin boneless pork chops or veal chops
1/2 c. oil (I use olive oil)
3/4 c. fine bread crumbs
2 eggs
salt & pepper
2 lemons
Preparation Time: less than 10 mins.

Heat the oil in a large skillet at medium high heat. Place each chop between two sheets of plastic and pound with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer until thin (1/4" - 3/8"). Beat the two eggs in a bowl that is wide enough to dip the meat into. Spread the bread crumbs onto a plate or flat surface. Take each cutlet, season with salt and pepper and dip both sides of meat into eggs to coat. Then coat the entire cutlet with the bread crumbs. Place in hot oil and cook on both sides until golden brown. It only takes about 1-2 minutes per side. Serve each cutlet with half a lemon on the side. Some people go ahead and squeeze the lemon onto the schnitzel before serving. I prefer to squeeze the lemon juice onto the meat just before I eat it. I prefer to serve with half a lemon, rather than wedges, because it is not as messy when you squeeze it. (Which you would appreciate if you have paper cut)!
** Some people serve this with a fried egg placed on top of the schnitzel.
# of Servings: 4


2. Frikadellen

1 Brötchen or you may substitute it with 2 slices of white bread
2 onions
1 pound of hamburger meat
1 egg
salt, pepper, paprika to taste
2 ounces of fat or oil
Soak the roll or bread in cold water. Peel the onion and dice it fine. Squeeze out the bread and add it along with the onion to the hamburger meat. Add the egg, season with the spices to taste. With wet hands form meat patties. Heat the oil or fat and fry the meat patties from both sides, about 10 minutes or until meat is done.


3. Roast Pork Loin in Beer Sauce

For marinade:
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup honey
3 cups beer (not dark), preferably German
a 3 1/2-pound boneless pork loin, tied (3 to 3 1/2 inches wide)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
a beurre manié, made by rubbing together 1 tablespoon
softened unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Make marinade:
In a large saucepan stir together marinade ingredients. Bring marinade just to a boil, stirring (marinade will rise and foam), and remove pan from heat. In a blender purée marinade in 2 batches, transferring it as puréed to bowl. Cool marinade to
room temperature and spoon off any remaining foam.
In a large heavy resealable plastic bag combine pork and marinade and seal bag,
pressing out any excess air. Put bag in a baking pan and marinate pork, chilled,
turning bag once or twice, at least 8 hours and up to 24. Let pork in marinade
come to room temperature, about 40 minutes. Transfer marinade to a saucepan
and bring just to a boil.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a flameproof
roasting pan heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and
brown pork on all sides. Roast pork in middle of oven, basting frequently with
some marinade, until a meat thermometer registers 155°F. for slightly pink meat, 1
to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer pork to a cutting board, reserving juices in roasting pan
and discarding string, and let stand, covered loosely with foil, about 15 minutes.
While pork is standing, skim and discard fat from pan and add remaining marinade. Deglaze roasting pan over moderately high heat, scraping up brown bits. Bring sauce just to a boil and strain through a fine sieve into another
saucepan. Bring sauce to a simmer and whisk in beurre manié, bit by bit, whisking until sauce is combined well and thickened slightly.
Serve pork, sliced, with sauce.


4. Bavaria Rouladen
6 Slices Inside Top Round
German style Mustard
12 Slices Raw Bacon
18-24 Dill Pickle Slices
18-24 Carrot Slices
1-2 Large Onions - Diced up.
1 Large Family Size Cream of Mushroom Soup

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Lay out flat the thin sliced Top Round onto cutting board.
(Top Inside Round can be sliced ahead at 1/8th to 1/4th inch thickness - a little thinner is better than a little thicker.)
"Butter" the meat slices with your favorite mustard -preferably a good quality German-style mustard.
Place 2 strips of raw bacon on meat slices.
Place 3 to 5 slices of dill pickle and 3 to 5 carrot slices - placed every other one - onto raw bacon slices.
Sprinkle with lots of diced raw onion.
Fresh parsley and mushrooms are optional to taste.
Roll up meat and place in a covered baking pan.
4-6 robust rouladen should be covered with a large family size can of Cream of Mushroom soup - do NOT add water or milk.
Bake in oven for approximately 45 to 65 minutes - test middle rouladen rolls after about 40 to 45 minutes by poking with a fork. . .if the juice runs clear the meat should be done - if the juices still look a bit red please cook a little longer.
A longer piece of tin-foil can be substituted for baking dish cover - just be sure to "tent" the foil in the middle so that the soup has room to heat thoroughly and does not stick to the foil. As the Cream of Mushroom bakes down it thickens and mixes with the natural juices of the meat and makes just a wonderful tasting gravy!
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes prior to serving. . . this gives the soup time to thicken a bit more and allows the rouladen to firm up a bit!
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Rouladen can be served with dumplings, wide egg noodles, red cabbage and a fresh salad.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Game Resolution

Games that I absolutely must organize and run in 2007:

· A new World of Darkness Werewolf game.

· A Shadow of Yesterday game: ideas include Wushu/Martial Arts Wire-work inspired setting; Sword and Sorcerery fantasy setting; Pirates of the Caribbean setting; a modern-day organized crime setting; spy setting- somewhere in the neighborhood of james bond or mission impossible

· A Riddle of Steel game, set in semi-historic dark ages britain or scandinavia; or perhaps in the Midnight campaign setting

· A Burning Wheel test game - cause I bought it and havent even managed to read through it fully, its supposed to be a fantastic game

· A Sorcerer game or games

movie wrapup

I've crossed these movies off of my list:

Little Miss Sunshine
A Scanner Darkly
Night at the Museum

I saw Little Miss Sunshine over the holiday, which was fantastic. I also saw A Scanner Darkly, which was not on my previously-made-list, though I had kinda meant to see it when it came out. It was pretty good, and I did like the filming/animation style. I'm crossing Night at the Museum off of my list, not because I saw it, but because I am now less inclined to see it. Based on the feedback I'm getting, it might be a rental eventually, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Oh, and I'm adding one to my list:


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

cant play in crazy-land

So I recently admitted to having started playing Medievia again.

Now I'm think I'm done, again.

Two reasons: one is easy- I'm flaky and move quickly from interest to interest.

Two is that vryce (the guy who owns and runs medievia) is fucking crazy.

How crazy?

This crazy:

[part 1] http://slithytoves.sytes.net/~jerm/vryce122106.txt

[part 2 ]http://www.medievia.com/flawed.html

He's just bonkers. If you want to save some time and some eye rolling, the first part is his 'journal' on medievia, in which he talks about a paper he wrote called 'flawed', and goes on to describe how he was in a bad way before he sat down and wrote it and was 'enlightened', and now how torn up he is that he thinks he cant/shouldnt share it with the world/medievia, and how he'd love it if people would let him know what they think he should do, and if they want to read his paper. Part 2 is his paper. I'll share some gems from them:

My heroes are Jesus, Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Bohr, and we may as well throw in president Bill Clinton. The words of Jesus have affected me more than any of the others but if you take them all as a whole you can discover the meaning of life.
I was always interested in religions and God, and probably always spent too much of my free time learning about religions, quantum mechanics, biology, etc. After 911 it became too much for me. I became a hermit to the real world and my search for answers got worse. I started obsessing about physics, space-time, God, and Medievia, and how they relate.
The answers that have become clear to me are in some ways as mystical as many religions, but the answers are built on pure logic.
This is a logical journey in search for God. During the search we will only go where self evident logic points us. We will use science to see if the theory matches reality. We will look at God from a purely logical standpoint from Gods perspective as well as our perspective. We will look at the fabric of space and time, consciousness, and what would first be needed before they could logically exist. We will simply search for God as best as we can, using logic, reality, and gut instinct to guide us.
I am also a scientist, an observer who keeps up to date in all of the latest leaps of undeniable logic, true science about the real reality as we see it. I am a science junky and consider myself well versed in every field of science, the history of every field of science; physics, quantum theory, biology, you name it.

Oh geez, I'm just gonna be copy/pasting the whole thing. Its just insane.

Oh.. then there's the Diku issue. I'd almost convinced myself that I could swallow sending money in to the guy in exchange for donation items, or building on the mud, but gak!

Resolving to

So I'm working on resolutions for the new year a little early.

Here's what I'm working on resolving to do:

1. To quit quit quit quit quit biting my fingers

2. To successfully organize and run multiple TSOY games

3. To work toward running a couple other games, perhaps as one-shots or short story arcs, including Riddle of Steel, Werewolf, Sorcerer

4. To achieve conversational fluency in Spanish

5. To pick the guitar back up and do some learnin'

6. To strive to be a better husband, friend, etc.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


We wish you a merry Solstice,
We wish you a merry Solstice.
We wish you a merry Solstice,
And a happy new year!

movies on my list!

So there are a number of movies coming out that I really want to catch, and I will list them here, because I like lists :) (turns out this list includes movies that are out now, or have already come out and I missed, that I want to see)

Pan's Labyrinthe
Children of Men
Flags of our Fathers
Letters from Iwo Jima
The Good German
The Good Shepherd
Little Miss Sunshine
Spider Man 3
Night at the Museum
In Pursuit of Happyness
Curse of the Golden Flower
Notes on a Scandal

And my list got longer as I made it. Anyway.

what kind of tower?

Call me unpatriotic, whatever.

I think "Freedom Tower" is a stupid, ineffective and rather ironic name for a building.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

slaves and consumers

Y'know, its a half formed thought, but that doesn't stop me from sharing it.

My friend Dave touched on it here, and that, combined with part of an interview I caught on NPR, got me thinking about how not only do we working americans make ourselves slaves to our corporate masters*, but then we turn around and pay too much of our hard earned money to buy the cheap crappy products that someone else's corporate master has churned out.

I'm no economist, not by a long shot, but it seems to me that we're seeing more and more of The Big (Or Medium) Corporation, paying its employees as little as it can possibly get away with, and even less when it outsources jobs, and, as I mentioned above, cranking out low quality goods and services to sell to us for too much money.

Now I'm thinking of a poorly drawn cartoons about a dog locked into a continuous cycle of producing waste, then consuming it, then producing it, then consuming it, ad nauseum, can you see it as well?

Oh.. I remember what the NPR interview was about. It was a newly elected senator talking about trying to stop letting Big Business legislate. Corporations seem to, in this day and age, have the ability to create legislation which either protects them or adds to their profit, or both. And by protects them, I mean from things like (and I'm making this up, but..) employees suing them when they've been discriminated against.

We've got consumerism on steroids, and Big Business seemingly running the whole show.

* broad generalization of course. I like my job, and get paid okay for it, but still..

yet more email

A few choice bits of the email under the cut below:

"We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of
a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades
votes for 'sittin at home' checks."

"In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about
48 degrees North Latitude, 90% of the world's social problems

North Dakota News

This text is from a county emergency manager out in the western part of
North Dakota state after a snowstorm.


Up here, in the Northern Plains, we just recovered from a Historic
event--- may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" ---
with a historic blizzard of up to 44" inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH
that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds
of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of
communities and cut power to 10's of thousands.


George Bush did not come.

FEMA did nothing.

No one howled for the government.

No one blamed the government.
No one even uttered an expletive on TV.

Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit.

Our Mayor did not blame Bush or anyone else.

Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else, either.

CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC did not visit - or report on this category 5
snowstorm. Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.

No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House.

No one looted.

Nobody - I mean Nobody demanded the government do something.

Nobody expected the government to do anything, either.

No Larry King, No Bill Orally, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews and No
Geraldo Rivera.

No Shaun Penn, No Barbara Streisand, No Hollywood types to be found.

Nope, we just melted the snow for water.

Sent out caravans of SUV's to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars.

The truck driver s pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a

Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments
delivered it to the snowbound families.

Families took in the stranded people - total strangers.

We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman

We put on extra layers of clothes because up here it is "Work or Die".

We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of
a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades
votes for 'sittin at home' checks.

Even though a Category "5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this
early, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.

"In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about
48 degrees North Latitude, 90% of the world's social problems
ev aporate."

It does seem that way, at least to me.

I hope this gets passed on.

Maybe SOME people will get the message. The world does Not owe you a

*** Update! ***
I just looked again, and would you believe the header indicating the source, or one of the forward sources of this email is:

From: Huggins, Patrick [mailto:Patrick.Huggins@dhs.gov]

How about that folks. Your Department Of Homeland Security at work.

fun from email land

This popped into my inbox this morning.

It will be interesting to see who responds!
I told this guy that I could find 300 people who believe in God before he could find 300 people who do not believe in God.

Do Believe In God

10) Kristin
15) Sarah T
17) Brenda Kay
18) Darla
19) Alan
20) Annette
21) Gisela
22) Clarence
23) Bonnie
24) Dave
25) Jim
26) Trudie
27) Estelle
28) Den nis
29) Kathy
30) Gerry
31) Jill
32) Gloria
33) Brandy
34) Colby
35) Jeff
36.) Janet
37.) Laura
38) Dollie
42) Dana L. (not the same Dana from bef ore either)
43) Rebecca
44) Toni
45)Mike Stephens
46)Rodney W.Meeks
47)Desmond Trichell
48)Erlene Trichell
53) Felecia
54) Rhonda
55) Lori
57. Tim
58. Liza
59. Barry
60. Josh
61. Tyler
62. Noah
63. Nicole
64. Justin
65. Toni
66. Maurice
67. Donna
68. Lynn
69. Annie
70. Brian
71. Cindy
72. Robert
73. Elaine S.
74. Beth B.
75. Jessica S
76. Sarah
77. Shelly
78. Ashlee
79. Stefanie Nicole Miller
80. Amanda
81. Barbara
82. Brenda
83. Sharon P.
84. Charlotte H.
85. Linda
86. John S. 87. Zoey D.
88. Amy B.
89. Barry B.

90. A.Berrier
91. Beth P.

92. Charlie P.
93. Carrie D.

94. Seth W.
95. Missy W.
96. Dana C.
97. Jen ny H.
98. Hope G.
99. Jen nifer
100. Jon
101. Scott
102. Dennis
103. Chris
104. Linda
106 & 107 Don & Jan
108 Joy
109.Ken Larson,
110.Scott Larson
111. Ginny Larson
112 Kathy McGahee
113.Maria Wallace
114.Sandy Kohn
115. Krista Johnson
116. Judy Allen
117. Bob Allen
118. Lee Quick
119. Connie A
120. Cheryl M
121 Linda R
122 Norma L
123 Carol W

Do NOT Believe In God

If you believe in God, please copy and paste this (it keeps it cleaner than just forwarding) onto a blank e-mail form (leaving off the headers), add your name, and send it to your friends and family.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

tag cloud

I wish I could make livejournal do a tag cloud like this:

note to self: saleslogix

Note to self:

Saleslogix client version 7 on SQL 2000 does not like running on 2003 Terminal Server :(

Monday, December 18, 2006

email from the boss

The owner of the company sent this today to all employees.

Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
See the PC Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a "Holiday".
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate "Winter Break" under your "Dream Tree"
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday!

Link roundup

I'm going to start using del.icio.us, I believe.

Meanwhile, for your enjoyment:

Most Dangerous Roads in the World
(link taken from Bluesnews)

Samantha Bee on Al-Jazeera English
(link taken from Bluesnews)

Bad Ass Beats
(link taken from Legomancer)

Verizon can't count.
(link taken from Legomancer)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

christmas shopping and stuff

Did I mention that we own another cat? We've named it Zoe. It was a rescue.

We of course waited until the 11th hour, and so went out amidst the terrible traffic and the short-sleeve weather to do our christmas shopping. How funny, firefox2 tells me that 'christmas' is misspelled. Maybe its the lower case c. which I now refuse to capitalize because I'm cranky. That reminds of the dusting off of the War on Christmas. You know, its the time of year when all of the atheists and muslims and all the other people who hate christianity get together in secret meetings and petition Hallmark to be sure not to mention christmas at all. Its all "Seasons Greetings" and "Happy Holidays" around here! Ahhhh, if only you were as persecuted as you claim to be. That's a misstatement, I dont have any desire for christians to be persecuted, I just wish they'd stop griping about whats written on some holiday greeting cards. Well, and I wish they'd shut up about gay marriage. And abortion. And stop trying to fully integrate our government and the church.. Now I'm ranting. Anywho...

What else.... medievia! I've been playing again, and am grinding levels. It has generated an interesting (to me) internal debate. I see myself spending (and having spent) countless hours in something which, if someone were to flip a switch, it would all go away. And so I wonder if in 50 years I'll look back and ask myself, "What did you accomplish?" And I wonder if I'll have a bunch of "I hero'd on medievia, and I had an awesome clan on WoW, and yada yada yada", all non-tangible stuff. All things that leave nothing behind to show for it. Or do they? Is it good enough that its just entertainment? Do I need to be a better human and stop watching television and playing Medieval Total War and start working with Habitat for Humanity? Anyway, I'm mildly tormented by it, but I'm sure it'll pass. More XP, please.

Krissi got some fantastic tattooing done. She had a japanese Kanji symbol done on her back years and years ago, and she's toyed with the idea of adding something to it. Well she has done so, and some friends were generous enough to help make it happen, financially speaking.

At work, I've been in slow, slow, slow progress of moving from a windows workstation environment, setup as a simple workgroup with a Novell fireserver.. to a full on Windows 2003 domain. its a slow and slightly painful process, cause it feels like its a project involving me, 1,000 golf balls, and a tub of water. Oh, and I'm upgrading our SalesLogix database to v7.

What else.... I'm kinda hitting a little of everything here, looks like. I found second life. Its really really neat. But... I dont know what its for :P That's a silly statement, cause its not entirely true, I just dont know if it holds anything for me I suppose, but I'd encourage everyone log on and check it out. Hey, its free.

Oh, I want to read the Rule of Four sometime.

Did I mention that Regina Spektor rocks?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How we totally fucked this thing up

I'm referring to our "Global War on Terror", or more specifically, the (civil) war we've got going on in Iraq.

The Saudis have pledged support for the Sunni tribes in Iraq, in the event of an "actual" civil war, if there is no American presence there [source]. This is to counter the threat of an Iranian and Shi'a political/military victory in Iraq.

I remember how before the war, there was a little flash cartoon that purported to show how the war in Iraq would go.. it started with a US invasion, followed by escalations of conflict with Iran and Syria, then the involvement of Saudi Arabia, and on and on.. Its just funny to see it coming closer to being the truth. And by "funny" I mean god damn scary and just fucked up.


Continuing my writeups of the games that I have my attention focused on, here's Sorcerer.

Sorcerer [wiki], labeled "An intense role-playing game" is created by Ron Edwards, one of the founders of The Forge [wiki].

Before I even get into the mechanics of this game, let me first address what is probably the biggest concept of the game: demons.

In this game, you play a mortal human person who has the knowledge and the will to bring into this world Things That Are Not Meant To Be. The game is very clear that it is meant to be run that you are not summoning up nice faeries and things, what you are doing is pretty damned wicked. But then it leaves it up to you to figure out what it is exactly that you're summoning up. The game takes a pretty generic stance on it, calling them Demons, without really making statements on whether you're summoning up demon's from the Christian Hell or what. It does however encourage you to sit down with your players and figure out what kind of game you're running. The 'things' that the text calls demons can be: demons from the Judao-Christian Hell, the souls of the dead, spirits of animals and nature, internal demons (mental illness) given form by pure determination and fucked-up-ness, jinn and ifrit, terrible AI, or strange alien forces.

You create a character by splitting 10 points among Stamina, Will and Lore. Stamina is all things physical, Will is all things mental, and Lore is all things sorcerer. You get a Humanity attribute that is similar to Humanity from WoD. You get a Cover which is rather a career like Detective or College Professor or Career Criminal, that provides you with an income but also a quick and easy 'skill' type thing. If you're a Lawyer and want to go do some research on something, you're going to succeed based on your Cover, or perhaps roll some dice. Think of it as a really really broad skill, under which falls everything that might reasonably be a part of that job. You take a Price, which is a measure of how much you've already given up thanks to your dark art. Its any number of things, but is mechanically translated into a small penalty in some situations. You take a Telltale, which is just a 'tell', something that gives you away as a sorcerer to other sorcerers. Then you create a starting demon. Demon creation works similiar to creation of your character, there are stats like Stamina, Will, Lore, as well as Power, also abilities that the demon confers, the Desire of the demon, and the Need of the demon. Then you create a kicker for your character, and you're off and running. I'd wager that chargen would take a novice group between 15 and 30 minutes, maybe running longer if they're really chatty. Chargen here needs to be a group activity, otherwise you're going to have problems later on.

Tests remind me of a weird combination of Donjon and World of Darkness. Its comparative dice pools. If you have Detective Cover of 4, and want to use it to interrogate someone, you have a pool of 4 dice. Oh - the system states that you can use whatever size dice you want, as long as, of course, you're all using the same size dice. The size of dice used has a subtle effect on how the game works. Anyway, the system uses d10s as examples, and that seems a good size of dice to use. So you have your pool of 4 dice, which will be lowered or raised, the system is very strong about rewarding players for role playing things, and encourages dice bonuses for this type of stuff. You roll your 4 (or so) dice against my dice pool. My dice pool will either be decided by an opposing party's pool, like for the person being interrogated, there might be some kind of resistance roll, and I'll roll that number of dice. But if its against something that might not have a pool like that, there's difficulty that basically equates to... if its a task that's not notably difficult, or that advances the story, there is no resistance, it succeeds.... if its somewhat difficult though, the GM can roll a single dice in resistance, more difficult? half the players pool, so two.. even more difficult? equal to the players' pool, or even more than the players pool. Sorry - the mechanic you're looking for is high dice. You get 10, 8, 3, 3. I get um two dice and end up with 5, 1. You have two dice higher than my highest roll (10, 8 > 5). You succeed by two, which you can use on a subsequent related task. Or say you rolled 8, 6, 6, 4, I rolled 8, 2, 1. You get three successes- our 8's cancel and you do the math from there (6, 6, 4 > 2, 1).

Sorcerer is a single small hardback book, 141 pages, but its full of good stuff.

[Note: I wrote this up back on 8/1/06, and left it hidden, cause I didnt think I was finished with it.. it may still need some work, but it looks okay, so I'm putting it out there.]

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

quick, somewhat random gaming thoughts

Last week we played half of a two-shot D&D game. Todd R., our old D&D GM was in town, having moved up to Ohio few months ago. He's apparently in good with the folks at Goodman Games and he is contributing material to them. So he came down with the plan of running a two-shot/two-night adventure. So we got together, a nice crowd of us, though neither Mike or Kenny showed.

It was standard-fare D&D.

Here's my honest thoughts, and let me disclaim that I've gained a rep with my local game crowd as being and Indie game guy, and snooty about games. Yes, I like indie games, and some non-indie games. It is true that for about a year or so now, I've professed varying degrees of non-interest or even disdain for D&D. I'm not trying to be a curmudgeon, or ruin people's gaming excitement, or even to be intentionally snooty and "to-good-for-D&D". I've just found stuff that works better for me. Sure - I think it could work better for almost everybody, if given a chance, but hey, that's just cause I like it a whole lot. ("it" btw is TSOY and a couple other games). Anyway. It was nice to see people and to hang out and play a little. I totally remember the wide-eyed amazement that I had when I played and ran D&D when I was in high school. And I totally am refreshed on all the reasons that I prefer other stuff to D&D. Also, Todd canceled night two, so we only did half of the two-shot, making it a very incomplete one-shot. For the record, we killed a few giant stone golem-type guys, got caught in a room-size fire trap with some fire elemental-type guys, and fought some dogs and a chain-demon of some kind.

Which brings me to my other thoughts on gaming. I'd kicked around the idea of running a D&D game with the 3 core 3.5 books only. I browsed the RPG section in the bookstore the other day, and GEEZ WotC is churning out the books. They're a For-Profit, so hey, I'm not criticizing really.. except that I will say that I flipped through some of the books, and they seem to, taken as a whole, consist of the following: 70% new feats and prestige classes with a few new spells thrown in; 20% old stuff that're just reprinting or consolidating, and 10% cool new interesting stuff. You'll note that I didnt put the 70% feats and prestige classes into the "cool new stuff" category. Anyway, I'm drifting again. A small part of what annoys me about D&D is the hundreds of feats and dozens of prestige classes. Its a tweakers wet dream. Anyway, I dont think 3 book D&D is likely either, as the core mechanic of D&D still does not appeal to me, in any way really.

That did lead me, however to think about running a Riddle of Steel game in the vein of D&D. I like this idea :)
[edit: oh, and I need to remember to argue with Jason that combat in RoS in no more time consuming or complicated than combat in D&D!! =)]

Also, while listening to someone on NPR talk about the latest James Bond movie, I found myself thinking about how TSOY could so easily work for a modern Spy theme'd game. Damn I love TSOY.

Ok, not so quick. But there ya go :)

Friday, December 8, 2006

an admission

Okay, I have a rather embarrassing admission to make. Some of my friends will scoff and sneer derisively at me, and that's okay, I'll sortof deserve it.

I started playing Medievia again.

See.. I hopped on Med way back in '94 from Millsaps college, down in Jackson, MS, when I was hanging out with a buddy. Fast forward a couple of years, when I was at Delta State, I got onto Med and played full time.. much to the detriment of my education. But I met a bunch of cool people, and played on there with Kurt and Anna and Dave. But I played quite a bit, though I was lazy about grinding XP, and so never made it to the upper levels. Eventually I quit playing. Fast forward to now.

I'm totally relearning the game. It's fun, though I dont know how long I'll end up sticking with it.

I'm also relearning mudmaster scripting, which, to be honest, was as much, if not more fun than actually playing medievia.

So there ya go. My big terrible secret.

Friday, December 1, 2006

The line was down....

I keep meaning to do more work related posts.

Here's one:

We have a facility up in rural Indiana. We have a point-to-point T1 that connects that site to our main site, and the users in Indiana connect to the computer systems here to do their work, and we do inter-office calling between phone systems via the T1. So we really rely on it.

A couple of months ago we started having serious problems with it. When the connection went down, our Indiana office was hurtin'. So we made all the phone calls and got people on the case. Eventually it turns out that there's a problem with the phone companies physical lines, so they're going to run some temporary lines until they can fix it. Only we discover that the temporary line that they've run is on the ground. Laid across some disused train tracks, through a couple of yards and a field, as its about a half mile from the carrier's box to our facility. So... every saturday, the connection goes down again with Bob or whoever cuts his grass and our internet connection.

It took like 6 weeks for them to fix this.

Finally they got the stupid cable off the ground and had everything restored, but geez.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Medieval II: Total War

So I've gotten my hands on Medieval II. Let me first say that I picked up Shogun, and I clearly recall telling someone after playing it for a few days that it was easily one of the best computer games I'd ever gotten my hands on. Well six years and three iterations later, its still a rocking awesome game. So if you don't hear from me for awhile, its because I'm having my English Longbowmen direct their fire onto the heads of Godless Scots and the oafish French.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lost, lost.


So I caught up on Lost last night. It was the episode in which Freckles (cause I can never remember her name) and Sawyer got it on in the cage. And Jack agree'd to perform surgery on Ben.

I have now jokingly referred to Lost as "As the Island Turns" on a few occasions. And I'm serious. I'm super disappointed. In fact, I might have seen my last episode of Lost (Yes, that's a threat, all of you television producers who are reading this!!!). I liked the tension and mystery of Lost. I like wondering "OMG WHO THE FUCK COULD HAVE PUT A HATCH UNDER THE GROUND?!?!" and such things. I really really enjoyed the wild mystery of Lost, which is still there, in the form of the weird long haired scottish(??) guy who seems to be able to see the future, but I'm so not interested in the focus of the show being the love between characters. The "Which aspects of The Others are true and which are them just misleading us?" is kinda cool, but its just so slow and sometimes silly. Cause here's a gripe I have with some entertainment. They rely on everything happening exactly as they planned.. which they can do when its a script or a book etc. Like when Jack is led through to work on the girl who got shot, and there were some X-Rays on the wall, and they wanted him to notice them, and he did, which was fortunate cause if he hadn't they're whole ruse about the shot girl would have been for naught... rant rant rant. Anyway. Let me insert at the end of my rant: I hate CSI. There. I'm done :)

Friday, November 10, 2006


This is what I did at work today:

file transfer from machine A to machine B, going through a 100meg hub, through a 100 meg fiber link

ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 66.25Seconds 321.37Kbytes/sec.
ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 118.41Seconds 179.81Kbytes/sec.
ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 86.23Seconds 246.89Kbytes/sec.
ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 78.59Seconds 270.89Kbytes/sec.
ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 76.84Seconds 277.06Kbytes/sec.
ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 84.11Seconds 253.13Kbytes/sec.

file transfer from machine A to machine B, both machines with Gigabit NICs, going through gigabit switches on both ends, with the fiber link upgraded to gigabit.

ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 0.91Seconds 23499.67Kbytes/sec.
ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 0.94Seconds 22697.98Kbytes/sec.
ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 0.89Seconds 23895.29Kbytes/sec.
ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 0.89Seconds 23922.14Kbytes/sec.
ftp: 21290704 bytes received in 1.13Seconds 18925.07Kbytes/sec.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Slides project

What am I doing?


It'll rock if I can finish all of these boxes of slides by Christmas. Instant family gifts!

R'lyeh in the news

"In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming"

see links below:



PS: You know, the Republicans did warn us about this. Was it Dennis Haster who said "If the democrats win these midterm elections, not only will the terrorists win, but Cthulhu will rise and destroy us!" No.. I'm thinking of Hastur the Unspeakable. Easy mistake. Sorry.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006


In which I post things that other people already posted. Read on!

The Democrats have taken the House, and the Senate is pretty close, but looking pretty Democrat. Now, I'm Canadian, so I'm not clear on the details, but here's how I see it - One group of corrupt, shitheaded, money-grubbing politician bastards has had a lot of their power seized by a different bunch of corrupt, shitheaded, money-grubbing politician bastards.

Here's the important bit:

The new bunch of bastard politicians are much less willing to go along with the batshit insane ideas of the civil-liberty-suspending, let's-go-fight-stupid-wars, let's-build-walls-on-our-borders fruitbat that currently holds the Oval Office.

That's good news!

It's not, like, the sweeping return of the constitutional ideas upon which my southern neighbors were founded. That would be a world-shaking event, one that would move me to weep for joy. The Democrat leaders are still, all told, largely a pack of bastards.

But, still, good news.

It’s not about victory now. It’s about defeat management. And no one who wants to hold onto power can come out and say it.

Q: What do you call a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, a Democratic majority in the Senate and the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld?

A: A start.

Well.. okay, its images, but go chex it, its got Rummy-B-Gone and Santorum's crying offspring.

Also, thanks to my friends, as I'm mostly trolling my friends' friends lists for this dirt. =)

fuck yeah!


Rumsfeld is gone.


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

This election thing is such bullshit.

I make no secret about my political views. I'm fairly left on alot of issues, but I am not registered as a Democrat.. because I do not want to be. I don't want to go "vote Democrat". See.. we've got two choices really, Republicans and Democrats. Republicans are (usually) the bible-thumping, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, pro-war, etc etc etc group. Democrats are (usually) the bible-thumping, in-the-middle-on-the-abortion-issue, anti-gay marriage, kinda-undecided-on-this-war-thing, etc etc, group. Firstly, I hate our political system. I dont have any better plans, but that doesnt mean I cant say that it sucks. We have a two party system, oh and the occasional third-guy-in-a-race-who-just-ends-up-taking-votes-away-from-the-guy-who-has-similar-views-and-is-usually-the-democratic -candidate. I am kinda pissed off at the office of the president right now (yes, obviously the man in it, but the office itself as well), because I am not for the stance of the nation being pretty much decided by one guy. We've proven how much of a fiasco that can be.

What I'm really current steamed about is that I don't know who to vote for. Here is the page on dontvote.com for my House of Representatives district. Roger Wicker (R), check, I know who he is. His opposition? Ken Hurt (D). I have no fucking clue who this guy is. Lets check and see what he stands for, what is his take on the issues? Check here. Okay wait, save yourself some time. His handy dandy flash page has an "about ken hurt" link. Guess what you get? Well, okay, go check it out. According to that, he has gotten money for highways, hospitals, ports, small vegetable farmers, and the blind. That's where he stands. So why the fuck do I want to vote for him? Why can't we maybe have an election with cantidates who represent things, or ideas, or opinions? Bleh. The fight in Tennessee between Harold Ford, Jr, and Bob Coker has apparently been a non-stop mud-throwing fest. I've caught a little of it, and it makes me feel like if I wanted to find out what either candidate stood for, I'd need to listen to the other guy's mud-slinging ads. I don't want to vote for the candidate who kills the fewest cute puppies before breakfast.

Also, I live in Mississippi, so I suppose I have to have a certain amount of acceptance for this, but I hate seeing plastered across a potential candidate's web page "BOY I SURE DO LOVE THE BABY JESUS, MAY HE BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND LET US WIN THIS ELECTION" or some such (dramatic license taken, but still). For a nation that has a separation of church and state, we sure can't seem to get this puppy out of church.

So, I am terribly sad to say that I am going to go vote this afternoon for the people who's names I do not know, but who have a (D) by their name, because that means that they (probably) didn't kill as many puppies this morning before breakfast. And I'd rather have them in office.. I guess...

Friday, November 3, 2006

A vast gaming desert

That's desert with one "S": the sandy, rocky kind, not the sweet, delicious kind. And that's painting an image of a desert, bereft of both water and any gaming.

I am posting just to complain (for like the thousandth time, I'm sure) about the lack of gaming here.

Memphis has Comics & Collectibles, which is a cool store, that specializes in comics, but is pretty damn kind to RPG gamers. We also have a Hobby Town, that I think has a few D&D books hidden at the bottom of a shelf somewhere, and a Games Workshop place.

Anyway.. I set out to get my hands on For Sale and/or Citadels. Since there are no "Game" stores, aside from C&C, which does not really deal in board games, we tried our local Toys'r'us, since their website lists both games. Krissi was kind enough to spend her lunch break driving out there (since they didn't answer the phone when I called to try to check), and they had......... neither game.

So I've ordered them both from a place called Board & Bits, and you know what, I paid about $30 for them after shipping, which is less than I would have paid, if I had been able to find and buy them at Toys'r'us, which wanted $20 each.

So... I'm both perturbed and pleased.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat!

Dang. I've gone through three bags of little snickers in like 45 minutes. Krissi and I both got home about 25 after, and had time to change clothes and let the dogs out, before the doorbell started ringing. Then it was once every 5 minutes. And at least once I had a party of Trick-or-Treaters arriving as another group was departing.

Its fun giving treats out to kids on Halloween. It always feels a tad socially awkward to me though. Especially when its kids who're like 16 or so, but what the hell, who am I to decide how old is too old to go ask strangers for candy. Still, it was fun. I tried to make it last, giving a small handful.. three or so of the little bite-size snickers to each kid. The dogs were super well behaved. Super curious, but not being terrible about it. I'm very very fortunate that neither of them are much for barking.

I did not dress up at all. We did have the previously mentioned Jack-o-lanterns out, but I fear the wind blew the candle out early on. I shall have to make an effort next Halloween to come up with a costume of some sort for giving out treats.. maybe I'll be a mummy, that seems fun and easy.. and to have more and better treats prepared. Anyone care to offer suggestions for stuff other than sugar to give to kids on Halloween?

Also, Blue Moon beer is excellent stuff. I was recently turned on to their Belgian White, which is a sweet beer, but not like a sticky sugary soft-drink. Right now though I'm drinking a Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale. It is Fall, after all. =)


Happy Halloween!

Over the weekend we carved pumpkins, failed to run any TSOY, watched Hard Candy, and played Arkham Horror.

Apart from the not running TSOY, everything went really well. Even the not running TSOY was only a small let-down, and that was my fault. We carved pumpkins with Maddie, John, Beth and Jeremy and Riley. I'll get some pics and put them on here. Hard Candy was a terrific psychological thriller/horror we caught on PPV. I highly recommend it. And Arkham Horror was interesting. Jason had purchased it and brought it over, so we proceeded to try to figure out how to play the game. We didnt get through a whole game. It was fun, but quite complicated. I'd play it again. It also made me want to dig out my Call of Cthulhu book or fire up some Inspectres.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Running Blues

Hey look, I've got a theme going, or something.

Shit, I'm working on two weeks of not running. At all.

It's weird, I'm not even interested.

See.. I've gotten accustomed to being interested in running. Or, at the worst, concerned about it, but willing to make excuses to let myself skip.

But I've been totally like "no thank you". Not even trying to bargain with myself. Its concerning to me.


Cacheing! or is it Caching? Anyway..

Just wanted to mention that we went Geocaching the other weekend. We went after 4 caches and found......... 4 caches!! Woot!

Gaming Blues

Ok people, I'm going to talk about my frustration with gaming. This covers both some commentary on own gaming habits, and the seeming lack of any gaming to be had hereabouts.

So.. me. I have two complaints that I have to level at myself. One is my short attention span. My short attention span doesn't just apply to role-playing games, it seems to be a game thing in general, cause I see some of my habits in RPGs reflected in computer games as well (I own a ton of them, and rapidly switch gears, going from one game to another as the mood strikes me). Sadly, its had a negative impact on gaming before. I'd love to (have the time to) run both many and varied one shots, as well as some arching stories. Man, I want to play TSOY, and Sorcerer, and Burning Wheel, and Riddle of Steel and Vampire and Werewolf and.. and.. and.. See? The other is perhaps related to the first. See, I'm kinda lazy. I've observed myself getting a game going and getting people interested and getting lazy about it and thinking "Boy I sure would rather catch up on Daily Show episodes or play Alpha Centauri than run the game tonight." Which is setting myself (and the players) up for a less than awesome game experience.

And everyone else. I've complained about this before. Memphis has a sad lack of a gaming community. Well, that I've been exposed to anyway. Seriously, I'm not even talking about "*cry* there's no gaming community dedicated to burning wheel!". Truth be told, I'm aware of a F.O.R.G.E. group, which I believe is an ongoing tournament-style D&D game, and some LARP/nerf sword people. Maybe its that the city is so spread out. Anyway, I've appealed again to the two small groups that I've gamed with in the past, looking for takers for a TSOY Wuxia game, but I'm not expecting much reaction, if any. I've been semi-successful in initiating a game with two other folks who I've not gamed with in the past, but so far we've only managed to talk *about* gaming, and not yet actual *do* any gaming.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Prestige

Went and saw The Prestige over the weekend. Two words: Fan Tastic.

Will try to catch Marie Antionette, and Flags of our Fathers as well.

Looking forward to Catch a Fire, Casino Royale, and (I'm slightly ashamed to say) Borat.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ninja Death Theatre

Taken from: http://attacksofopportunity.blogspot.com/2006/05/ninja-death-theatre.html

You know that scene where the ninja kills, like, five guys in one round?

I’d like to see a mechanic where ninjas must deal with things that happen too fast to react too. Maybe instead of things happening once per round, some things can happen “between rounds”. The only way to deal with them is to pile up some kind of debt. The deeper the debt gets, the greater the results of failure. Part of the game then becomes trying to get into a clear space where you can rest for a beat and clear your debt.

That is bad ass, and I would love to use this in play sometime.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Our Government

I am continuously incensed and infuriated at the actions of our government.

That's right, incensed AND infuriated.

Today, Bushie signed into law a bill that undermines the Constitution that was part of the foundation of our nation.

In it, things like rape are outlawed, but the President is given liberty to define "torture".

In addition, and thanks to for bringing this to my attention, apparently Tennessee is working on state legislation to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK. Why are we so fucking concerned with whether two consenting adults might want to bring some formality to their commitment to each other? Oh, because they're THE GAYS? Please. A threat to family values in America? How about divorce, people? Want to know what is a threat to family values in America? How about single mothers who, despite working perhaps two minimum wage jobs (note that the government recently voted to keep the minimum wage pretty fucking minimum) are barely able to support their families? How about our failing schools or any one of a hundred other things that I'm sure you could find that are wrong and fucked up in this country, and that maybe we could fix if we spent just half the time on it that we spend worrying about the god damn gays.

Oh - Foley - right, cybersex with underage pages Foley - is about to name the priest who molested him.

I have to apologize right now. I rarely wish terrible things on people. I'm pretty damned opinionated, but I try to see things in a positive light.

This guy can go fuck himself. I hope that he fades immediately into obscurity and that along the way something moderately terrible happens to him. Quit begging for pity, asshole. Fuck off.

Oh, and remember Ken Lay? From Enron? The guy who was responsible for fucking a ton of people out of their pensions? Well, he didn't do it. Not according to a appelate judge who, since Lay died this past summer, has abated the conviction. I bet that asshole is laughing in his grave, at all the people he fucked.

also on the topic of social contracts and gaming..

taken from: http://www.realms.org.uk/cms/articles/social_contract_gaming

Now at this point you may be saying, "but we always go by the rules!" And if so, then good for you, that probably means your group's social agreement fits quite nicely with the rules you are using. But think back, when was the last time your GM fudged a dice roll instead of killing a character? Did you let it slide, accepting that this is how things are done, or complain that he cheated? This is a prime example of the social agreement that players should be heroic characters who don't die arbitrarily, overruling the system's rules of character death.

Does your GM allow other players to interject with cool story ideas? I do, it's not part of the rules, but it's an accepted part of the games I play in. If I did it in some peoples groups they'd probably look at me funny, why is he suggesting how his Call of Cthulhu character dies?

TSOY Wuxia

One day I hope to be able to run a Shadow of Yesterday Wuxia game.


I note this here, mostly as a note to myself. Man this would be so bad ass.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Social Contracts

[note: this is a kinda rambly, fragment, thought-flow post, I'll try to repost and clean up/elaborate on some things sometime.]

So I'm talking to some folks about cranking up some gaming, which is damned exciting stuff.

Some of the things that you have to discuss include:

Character death. (taken from here) Choices are: Yes. Yes - Dramatically Appropriate. No - except with player's permission. No.

Character Death.

Out-of-game stuff at the table. (how much conversation do we want to tolerate at the game table? No one wants to be a game nazi, but if we're just gonna chat about Lost, then we need to stop or pause gaming to chat about Lost.)

(Expected) Length of the story arch/campaign. Are we playing a straight up one-shot? Is it a short or medium story arc, with a definite end that is planned? or is it a throwback to "a campaign" in which we'll play until the group drifts apart?

Where and when to play, and how long to play there. (And other aspects of this - who buys the food? Smoke outside. Kids? Pets? Drinking at the game? Late arriving or not going to make it?)

'Be a team player, not a dick.' or 'play nice'.

How many players to have at the table.

Policy on introducing new players.

Social contracts are important at the game table. We dont think of the word "social contract" on a daily basis, but we live by social contracts. You're kind enough to close the door when you use the bathroom if you're at someone elses house, etc.

What to play:


Pirates and Privateers. In the mostly-historic 17th Century Carribean, just add low-grade magic. I'm thinking magic in the Carribean will be restricted to use on ships. That sailors tolerate it ONLY on the water, and that the authorities, and even the sailors will not tolerate its use on land. Sailors call it The Gift, others call it Sorcery, Heresy, Witchcraft, Satanism, Demonics, etc.

Also, I'm putting this: http://attacksofopportunity.blogspot.com/ on my reading list :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"At least no one died."


From the article linked above:
Republican Rep. Christopher Shays defended the House speaker's handling of a congressional page scandal, saying no one died like during the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident involving Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy.

"I know the speaker didn't go over a bridge and leave a young person in the water, and then have a press conference the next day," the embattled Connecticut congressman told The Hartford Courant in remarks published Wednesday.

"Dennis Hastert didn't kill anybody," he added.

What the fuck? Talk about some fucked up logic. "Yeah, I'm sorry, I really shouldn't have done that. But remember when Saddam Hussien gassed those Kurdish villages? Boy, I didn't do that, you know."

I just don't think that "I didn't kill anybody." is a valid defense. Unless we're talking about a murder trial. And we're not. Let me remind you, since the Republicans are trying really hard to generate a smoke screen, that we're talking about a Congressman who engaged in some pretty goddamn questionable behavior, and a party that apparently had at least some information about this problem going back to 2001.

Give me a fucking break.

Monday, October 9, 2006

North Korean Nuculer Blues

Ok, so unless you specifically don't watch the news, you're probably aware that North Korea apparently tested a nuclear weapon. Our government is (understandably) upset, as is China and most of the global community. Don't get me wrong, I dislike that we bully other nations into not pursuing nuclear power while we continue to develop and manufacture nuclear weapons, but North Korea with nukes is scary to me, because I think they'd use them without alot of hesitation.

So.. I'm taking wagers on what will happen next.

I'm afraid that we're going to see a unilateral military response from the US. Maybe the bombing of select targets in the North. I don't see how this wouldn't rekindle open war on the Korean Peninsula, and I'm certain that China would not take kindly to our acting directly and without their input. I'm not putting money on that, but based on the track record of our administration, I'll be horrified, but not surprised if Bush picks this option.

Your thoughts?

school shootings

Crap, this is terrible, terrible stuff. It makes me SO glad that I dont have children in schools, because I'm sure I'd be absolutely terrified.

Anyway, I'm posting because I heard a very interesting interview on NPR over the weekend, discussing journalistic censorship and how it could relate to school shootings. Part of the discussion centered on copy-cat crimes, and the question of whether media coverage of school shootings was somehow glorifying them, and causing more.

Censorship is a bad thing, in my opinion, but I hadnt considered this perspective. I dont think that the government should have any hand in censoring the media, cause that's a slipperly slope that we're already on, IMHO, but I wonder if the media could censor itself, and whether it would be a positive thing or not.

What do you think?

in-laws, running, and haunted corn mazes

Howdy folks,

I'm loving the shift in weather from summer to fall.

This past Saturday I slept in good and late, till 8:15 or so, then got up, got my running clothes on and set out. My handy weather-telling plugin for Firefox told me that it was 48 degrees (F) outside, and it did feel chilly, but not cold. I had mapped out a 10 mile route around the area near me with Google Earth. The run was great, great, great. I wasnt %100 certain that I would be able to do the whole 10, having mapped it in such a way that I could cut off the last bit of the run and only end up doing 8, but I made the entire 10. The weather couldnt really have been more perfect.

Before I left for the run I took my Claratin, a One-A-Day Active vitamin, and ate a half of a peanut butter sandwich (for energy- long runs on an empty stomach is bleh). This was the longest run I've done in.. a couple months. Which sucks, because if I'm going to do the Marathon the end of this year, I need to be doing way more than 10 miles. We'll see. Anyway, the run felt great. Its been my experience that somewhere around 8 miles the adductor muscles start to feel sore and tight. For the sake of clarity, its a tired sore, not really a painful sore, nor is it a soreness that prevents me from completing the run. It does slow me down a bit, and I'm sure have an effect on my stride, but I dont consider it abnormal or anything. Its just what happens when you've run 8ish miles. I managed it in just a little under two hours, which I consider to be pretty good time for me. After I got home I hopped in a hot bath for a bit, got some food, and promptly took a nap.

My running gear consists of: a pair of imitation oakley sunglasses, sunblock, a 2.1L Camelback Rogue, underarmor boxer-briefs, a pair of nike lightweight shorts, a lightweight poly shirt, my running shoes, my iPod Nano and my ID.

Going to try to put in some miles this week. There are so many good reasons that I cant do long runs during the week.. it gets dark early, its late in the day and after work when my energy level is low, there are only so many available hours in the workday to split up among work, eating, sleeping, goofing off, and running, and um, I'm not enough of a morning person to get up and run before work. Still despite my whining, I'm going to try to do at least 3 miles every night, allowing for one skip night during the week. Yay running =)

Krissi's brother, Travis, has moved down from Virginia. He's staying with us for a bit while he works on getting a job and getting acclimated to North MS. Travis is a good guy, and its nice to have him around.

The Williams-Younger-White gang gathered this weekend. We saw The Departed which was very good, I liked it alot. Beforehand we saw a preview for 300, apparently based on a Frank Miller graphic novel about the Battle of Thermopylae. It looks really, really awesome, like Sin City meets.. um, the Battle of Thermopylae. The gang also made it out to the Haunted Corn Maze at the AgCenter in Memphis. It was fun and spooky, and well worth the trip.

Apparently I'm linktastic today. Thanks for bearing with me.

That's about it! Happy Columbus Day!

I forgot - we caught a ripped showing of Crank. Let me just say: hehehehehehe! I dont mean to be ugly, but this was easily one of the silliest, most ridiculous movies I've seen. It was all over the top, way far out action stuff. For an action movie, it was damn funny.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Dear Congressman Foley,

Dear Congressman Foley,

Being gay, having been molested, and having a drinking problem are not excuses, or shields to hide behind. You're a sick dude. Sure, you need some help. Possibly some jail time.

You and your lawyer seem to be desperately flailing about looking for some sympathy. You're certainly not going to get any here. In fact, this flailing about just makes me more angry about this whole mess you've created. See, you're helping to foster the idea that that "the gays" are a bunch of savages who molest boys like, as a matter of course.

It's unfortunate that you were molested. But that certainly doesn't let you off easy.

For shame, sir.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Time keeps on slipping..

Man, time slides on by.

I've been in a blogging lull.. feels like there's just nothing exciting or pressing enough to talk about. I'd been in rant/gaming/running mode for a few months there, and its kinda dropped back and I feel like I've nothing to come chatter about.

But.. Here's what been going on.

Running: Bleh. I have to face that I don't know if I'm going to make the marathon at the end of the year. Grrr. I'm really bummed. I'd seriously intended to train and make it, and my training hasn't been anywhere near what it needs to be. Why? Mostly because I'm a little lazy. I'm going to to try to push myself and see if I can build up to do it, but I fear it may not happen. Bleh.

Movies: Saw 'Fearless' the other day. Enjoyed it quite a bit. It felt like a more traditional Chinese martial arts flick than Hero and some others did. It prompted us to rush out and purchase Once Upon A Time in China I, II & III. Watched I and enjoyed it, we'll catch the other two soon. Also saw 'Inside Man' a Spike Lee flick with Denzel Washington and Some Other Guy who's name I think I should know, but I dont care enough. It was pretty terrible. Not super terrible, just terrible. No other movies that I can think of in the past few weeks. On the TV front though we've finished catching up on The Office season two on DVD, and have been watching the episodes of season 3. Good stuff.

Gaming: Not flipping happening. Its frustrating. The gang has been on a tabletop kick, which is pretty cool. Runebound is a fun game, but its so long. And makes me want/not want to look for my D&D player handbook. Played Betrayal at House on the Hill, which was pretty cool too. Sometime, thanks to advice from Legomancer, I'll have to get my hands on games like Puerto Rico, Acquire (out of print), For Sale, Power Grid, Citadels, Tikal, etc.

Other stuff... hm.. ok - I've fought blogging this for a month now, I'll try to just make it a couple of sentences. I made a myspace account. I've got my brother and his wife on there, lots of friends from high school, Weird Al, TMBG.. etc... but damn! myspace is such a terribly implemented, good idea. Its just a social networking site, unlike livejournal which is a blog site that provides a mechanism for some networking. Anyway, I promised to keep this quick. Myspace sucks. I wish there was a less crappy way to catch up with old friends.

Not much else worth sharing, but thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Apparently my elected officials are bored

I've never been elected to serve in congress. I've never been an intern or employee at our legislative branch. Heck, I've only *been* to washington DC three or four times. But I don't need to be a veteran of the Beltway to feel like congress is twiddling their thumbs.

But you know what? There are lots of things I would rather my elected officials be doing than voting on whether or not to congratulate Spelman College on the occasion of its 125th anniversary or whether or not to ship horses to places that people might eat them.

I'm serious, aren't there issues going on that need to be addressed? Horses are very nice, yes, but so are cows I suppose, so fuck them. Why are our elected representatives wasting my time and money trying to make sure that people don't eat horse meat?


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

No troops for you!

So the other day was the 5th anniversary of 9/11.

I observed it by going to work, watching an episode of COPS, and playing computer games.

I'm not sure that I can clearly state my thoughts on the anniversary. I didnt lose anyone that I knew in the attacks. That's not to say I'm untouched by them, but to me the anniversary is more a time that I look back and see how badly our government has fucked this whole thing up. I see that, sadly, more than I see the loss of all of those people in the attacks.

But now, the point of my post today. No Troops For You! (or, how we're still fucking up this supposed "war on terror")

Remember back almost 5 years ago, how after the attacks everyone around the world was horrified. We had the world behind us. We all looked to bushie to lead us.. and he sure has led us. Right into a bog. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The world mourned with us. We looked for the perpetrators of the terrible attacks and we were told that Osama bin Ladin was behind them. He was in Afghanistan, being sheltered by the Taliban. The Taliban were not a nice bunch of folks. Now, that's sorta easy for me to say perhaps.. they were hardcore islamic fundamentalists. I'm not. They were harboring bin Ladin and hosting training camps apparently for terrorists. Bad stuff. But I feel compelled to mention that in the greater scheme of things, they were no worse than at least a half a dozen governments that I can think of. But.. they were providing a home for bin Ladin, and that's who we were after. We asked them to give him up, they refused, and we went in. It was good stuff! We were fighting the good fight.

Now fast forward. About four and a half years.

Remember how during that time we kicked the Taliban out, chased bin Ladin into hiding, and then moved on to Iraq? I'll skip all of the pages and pages of discussion on Iraq for now, because I'm still talking about Afghanistan, I'm afraid. Within the last few months, the reigns were handed over from the US to NATO in Afghanistan. Guess what they're doing over there. Any guesses? That's right. They're fighting the Taliban. The Taliban were the guys who were harboring... oh wait, I just talked about this.. Where we kicked them out of Afghanistan and then moved on to Iraq. Well, it seems that we forgot to mention to the Taliban that they were defeated. Cause they're back, and back with a vengeance it seems. Suicide bombings have been rare or non-existent in Afghanistan. Until recently. Earlier this very month a suicide bomber in southern Afghanistan killed a provincial governor. And then another suicide bomber attacked the funeral of said governor. And... the commander of NATO forces on the ground in Afghanistan has called for member nations to send more troops to help out with the fight on the ground. He's calling for reinforcements, people. But uh, he's getting no help. Wait, Canada is sending in another 120 troops I think, to compliment their 2,300 on the ground.

Now, here's what I'm driving at. We did the right thing by going into Afghanistan and chasing bin Ladin and ousting the Taliban. Then *before the smoke had even cleared* we went charging off into Iraq. And now guess what? Apparently we didn't do the job right the first time. So now, not only are we (well, NATO) still fighting over there, but we're also not willing/able to give the commanders on the ground what they need to be able to fight this thing! Which, you know, is the same problem our commanders faced going into Iraq.. Some people think it is part of the reason we're having so much trouble over there now.

So there you go. That's what I did with my September 11th.

Linkage! Because I don't want you to just take my word for it.




Tuesday, September 5, 2006


Sadly, I dont have anything especially profound or insightful to say.

I wasnt a huge Steve Irwin fan. I've seen him on TV more than a few times, I guess it was probably on Crocodile Hunter. But I didnt follow him or the show. I didnt tape them. I didnt make a point to watch them. Heck, I might not have been able to immediately give you his name if you asked me who the Croc Hunter guy was.

But despite this, I am deeply saddened by his death. I feel a strange sense of loss. It feels like someone that I knew, or was close to, has died. I dont know why his death makes such a strong impression on me. I can only imagine that perhaps it was his obvious joy for life. His constant exuberance and energy and excitement was contagious. I feel like we have lost someone really important.

I'm sad that you've left us, Steve. It was before your time.

Monday, September 4, 2006

running, Jewel, Ok Go, stuff.

Ok so, part of not posting lately has been that I've been between running and games. And since that's kinda what I talk about here, I havent had much to say.

But I am pleased to say that I managed 9 miles last week, up from like maybe 5 over the last two weeks or so put together.

It's been hot as hell the last few weeks. And its just hard to motivate myself when its so damn hot.

September is Krissi's birthday, and to celebrate we went and saw Jewel at the Horseshoe casino in Tunica. I've got some mp3s by Jewel, and I like her music, but have never called myself a big fan of hers. Well the show was excellent. She put on a wonderful performance, and her banter with the small crowd was funny and enjoyable. She's got an *amazing* voice. So the show was excellent. The Horseshoe casino on the other hand... I'm not a big fan of casinos. I can count on two hands the number of times I've been to a casino. They're okay enough to go spend a quick $50 on Blackjack or something, but they're just not a place that I'm fond of hanging out at. Well this casino merits even lower than a "meh" rating. Nearly all of the bars on the floor took only cash. And the ATM wanted like $6 just to let you get cash. It was highly annoying. Both because we almost never have cash on us, and it seems really easy for the bars to have credit card machines. Also because the ridiculous ATM fees really cheesed me off (we did not end up taking cash out, thank you very much). They wanted to charge me $6 for the opportunity to take cash out and spend it in their casino? Well no thank you.

In other news, its Labor Day Weekend! Hope you are/did enjoy yourself. We're having a few people over and making some food and entertaining people.

In other other news, I picked up Ok Go's newest album and its alot of fun. I recommend it.

*Mourn* Steve Irwin.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

blogging dry spell

Hello World!

What have I been up to, you ask?

Well, not a lot really. Not much that seems particularly exciting anyway.

I picked up Half Life 2 again. I'd played it ages and ages ago, and got most of the way through the game. Still had it installed on my desktop, so I finished it up. Great fun! I also went ahead and grabbed Half Life 2: Episode One, the first part of the sequel to HL2. Its good so far.

Been kinda dry on the gaming front lately as well. Maybe that's why I havent been blogriffic. But I fell off of the blog bandwagon this time last year too, I think. Maybe its seasonal. But gaming - one of our four TSOY players has headed back to school out of state. We had planned to wrap up our loose ends and bring the current story to a close, and sadly had little time in which to do it. But I planned for it and had some things ready to move, but both of our last two sessions got canceled. Which sucks. So, no closure to the story. I'm not losing any sleep over it, but it does stink. I've offered the remaining three players to wrap it up for them, and perhaps we'll return to it, but its on hold. And for some reason I have found myself completely unable to make it all the way through chargen with Burning Wheel. I'm a little mortified.

What else... work. I should blog about work sometime. I'm never inclined to, because work, while often interesting, is not something that I seek to do with my free time. And I enjoy talking about the stuff I do with my free time. Well, that and I've created a gaming theme with some running and movies and random stuff thrown in, I dont know that I'm really interested in delving deeply into work on here. Just cause, well, its boringish tech stuff.

Oh, music and movies. Ok - I bought the new Ok Go album. It was like $7 on iTunes, and I couldnt pass it up. Its catchy and fun, and has some really good sound to it. I fear it will not hold my interest for months - like say.. the NIN 'With Teeth' album has, but I'm enjoying it. And movies.. I swear I've seen like half a dozen movies, but... Oh, that's right. Movies lately have failed to make any impression on me. I've just been underwhelmed with them alot lately. Like, alot moreso than usual, it feels like. I fit oddly in the middle of alot of people I know, on the one hand, the people who scorn 99% of movies and movie watching, and on the other, the folks who are big fans of almost everything. *Shrug* Anyway - in brief, and I wish I could remember which movies they were.. but I just totally didnt feel attached to the characters or the story, which is kinda the point of watching a movie, isnt it? The one almost exception was 16 Blocks, with Bruce Willis and Mos Def, both of whom I like. And I liked the movie. Right up until the end. I won't spoil it for you, if you're reading this and havent watched it, but the ending really soured the whole movie for me.

Anyway, that's about it. Sorry I dont have more fun or interesting stuff to share, but I'll see what I can do.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What's shaking lately?

Not alot here.

I've been keeping relatively busy with some gaming here and there, some sleep, a little hanging out and being nice to people, some work, even some out-of-town travel with work.

Partly as a reminder to myself, I'm working on doing little jerm-gaming-reviews for Sorcerer and Burning Wheel.

So... kinda a non-update, but I'll try to be more interesting soon!

Friday, August 4, 2006


Couple things: first, not game related- this blog is A.W.E.S.O.M.E. That's not really an acronym, btw, its just for emphasis.

Now, game related: This guy's journal is worth keeping up with if you're interested in game related stuff. Earlier this year he wrote this:

The Fun Now Manifesto

(nothing new, just formalized)

1. Not everyone likes the same thing
2. Play with people you like
3. Play with rules you like
4. Everyone is a player
5. Talking is good
6. Trust, not fear or power
7. It's a game, not a marriage
8. Fun stuff at least every 10 minutes
9. Fix problems, don't endure them

I'd just like to add that my role playing philosophy has done a 180 in the last year or so. Its all about going from it being a formalized highly restrictive medium for "fun", into a dynamic non-restrictive medium for FUN. Its just always wild to look back in my gaming perspective.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Kabab Iroog

So.. awhile back I found a fantastic looking recipe for an Iraqi dish here.

I decided to make it, and then promptly forgot about it. Well I rembered for some reason, and determined to make it.

I couldnt find much helpful on making some biryani spice, so I asked some friends, and Lanfaedhe suggested the following:

14:26:55 [lanfaedhe] my usual mix is 3 parts cumin, 3 parts coriander, 2 parts tumeric, 1 part chili

To which I added about 2 parts curry as well.

Well here's the recipe:

Kabab Iroog
This is a traditional Iraqi form of ‘Kabab’ but instead of being cooked on a ‘sheesh’, it is fried in an ordinary frying pan. The finished product should look like an oval hamburger- but not as smooth.

Depending on the size of the kababs, this mix makes from 15 – 25 kababs.


2 cups ground beef (don’t know how much two cups is in pounds or kilos- we measure by sight)
1 large bell pepper/ green pepper, chopped into small pieces
1 large tomato, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 ¾ cup flour
about 1 teaspoon chopped parsley (some like to use coriander)
1 teaspoon salt
black or white pepper (as much as you want)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon beryani spices (probably not available- but also not necessary)
corn oil (or any other vegetable oil- but not olive oil)
curry (optional)

1. Mix the ground beef, bell pepper, tomato, onion, garlic and flour together in a large bowl. Add the black pepper, salt, parsley and other spices to the mix.

2. Mix the whole thing by hand, squishing it around until everything looks more or less ‘together’. Try forming a small ‘patty’ with the mixture, does it hold together? If it’s too wet, add some more flour. If it’s too dry, add some water.

3. Heat about ¾ cup vegetable oil in a non-stick pan. Form the mixture into oval kabab patties that are about 4 inches long, 2 inches across and only half an inch thick. It’s best to have a small bowl of cold water on hand to dunk your fingers in so that the mixture doesn’t stick to them.

4. Carefully place them in the heated oil, like you would a hamburger and give them a couple of minutes to cook on one side. Don’t put more than 5 together in the pan. Before flipping them all to the other side, tentatively check the cooked side- the color should have changed from pinkish to an orange-brown.

5. After each kabab has cooked, place it on some paper towels or napkins to drain the excess oil.

This is best eaten with lentil soup, or other types of soup, and a fresh lettuce salad. Here in Iraq, we sometimes make sandwiches with Kabab Iroog by putting them into some bread (our bread is odd-looking but wonderful- I could write poetry about the bread), with shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes. They need neither ketchup nor mustard- they have their own flavor.


And damn it was good stuff. I cant imagine being able to accurately describe a taste to you, but I'll try anyway. It tasted *like* hamburger, but was very obviously flavored by the biryani. The flour in it gave it a different consistency, and perhaps influenced the taste as well, and one friend said it tasted a little like a paste. But it was absolutely fantastic. We picked up some Lentil soup mix and it was fantastic as well, and the two really did go well together.

So, if you read this and are just a little bit adventuresome in the kitchen, I HIGHLY recommend giving it a try!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

more running

Short post.

I'm pleased to say that I've been doing a good job of keeping up with running. Yazhi has been as well.

If you live anywhere in the northern hemisphere, I bet you know just about exactly how hot it is right now. Its fucking hot.

Despite that, I've managed to put in at least 2.5 or 3 like every other day for the last two weeks or so. Its not quite like clockwork, but the runs, even when they're hot, they feel good :)

And Yazhi has been going with me for some of them. She's such a great runner, its terribly entertaining and reinforcing for me.

She starts out at a dead run, like a long shaggy gaited run. She's a fairly big dog and has a long stride when she's at it, so she surges ahead. Lately we've been going out of my housing complex and up the street, crossing a street and continuing along, then turning around and coming back. I've been doing between two and three miles with her, as I dont want to hurt her either with heat or distance. Halfway through the run she's still with me, but isnt so surging anymore, and runs beside me, curious about interested noises and things along the way. I should mention that she's a terrific runner with me. I run with her on like a 6' leash, but a majority of the time she just runs beside me, with slack in the leash. I've been working slowly on getting her off the leash.. letting her do short distances running beside me, not on the leash. Its going well. But anyway, when we're nearing the end of our run, she looks at every complex entrance like its our complex, and is eager to return home. She starts to drag, and instead of surging ahead, or even running right beside me, she runs behind me like I'm pulling her along. I take a camelback with cold water along, and make sure that both she and I get some cool water, but she's a big black dog, and so I worry about the heat, so both she and I are glad when we make it home. She collapses on the tile floor, and laps at water and pants heavily and lies there like.. well like she just ran 3 miles with me. But man she's SO excited when I put my running clothes on and such. Its good stuff =D

In other news, we watched the new Pink Panther movie. It was really reall funny =)

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

the Shadow of Yesterday

Ok, so if you read anything I write on here, you've read about the Shadow of Yesterday.

I'll try though to sift through and break down the mechanical and gameplay aspects of it though. For some reason I got a wild hair to do this for the games that I'm currently into or reading. It bears mentioning that I did a post that hit on alot of the mechanical/game aspects of TSOY here.

The Shadow of Yesterday [wiki] is a game that's actually available for free, thanks to its author, Clinton Nixon and the Creative Commons License. You can grab the text of the main book here, and the setting here.

Firstly, damn, I cant say enough good things about this game. I'm totally hooked.

TSOY is a rather rules-lite fantasy RPG. It uses FUDGE dice.

Character creation is pretty quick and simple. You'll divide 11 points among your three Pools, Reason, Instinct and Vigor. I'll fill you in on what these do shortly. Abilities (skills basically) are all ranked Unskilled (rank 0), Competent (rank 1), Adept (rank 2), Master (rank 3) or Grand Master (rank 4). Everyone takes Endure (based off of the Vigor Pool), React (based off of the Instinct Pool), and Resist (based on the Reason Pool). They take one at Adept, one at Competent and one at Unskilled. Then you choose four more abilities, and there are excellent examples provided in the book, enough that you dont have to create your own, though you're encouraged to do so, if you find yourself in need of one that's not printed. Of the four additional abilities that you take, you get one at Adept and the other three at Competent. You also get one Secret and one Key. Secrets are the equivalent to Edges or Feats. They let you hit harder, jump higher, be more convincing, etc etc. Keys are part of where the game really shines. A Key is something like the Key of Bloodlust. With this key, every time your character defeats someone in battle, you gain 1 xp; or 3 xp for defeating someone who is equal to more powerful than your character. In short, Keys are how you define the game for yourself. If you want to play a character who is all about the brawling and fighting and blood, you take Keys like Bloodlust, Masochist and maybe Conscience. Thus you're getting XP whether you're beating people down or getting beaten down yourself. Or if you're a more thiefly type, you can take a Key that gives you XP for stealing stuff and getting gold. Its really really the most excellent thing. There are a number of good keys in the book, and you're encouraged to make up your own. Someone familiar with the game could have a new character ready to go in like three minutes probably, and a first timer with some guidance could have one done in five or ten mintues, allowing for time for them to read through the abilities, secrets and keys.

Since they're so cool, here are some more of the keys written up in the book:
*Key of the Coward
Your character avoids combat like the plague. Gain 1 XP every time your character avoids a potentially dangerous situation. Gain 3 XP every time your character stops a combat using other means besides violence. Buyoff: Leap into combat with no hesitation.
*Key of the Impostor
Sometimes your entire life is a lie. You gain 1 XP whenever you pass yourself off as someone/something you're not. You gain 2 XP whenever you convince others in spite of serious skepticism. You gain 5 XP whenever your story survives a deliberate, focused, "Hey everybody, look!" attempt to reveal your identity. Buyoff: Confess your imposture to those duped.
*Key of Renown
"You must be the worst assassin I've ever heard of." "But you have heard of me." You gain 1 XP whenever you see to it that your name and deeds are known, by bragging about them or making sure there are witnesses. You gain 2 XP whenever you put yourself at risk to do something unnecessary or foolish that will add to your reputation. You gain 5 XP whenever you risk your life to take credit for your actions (bragging that you were the one who killed the Duke's son, for example.). Buyoff: Give someone else credit for an action that would increase your renown.

Gameplay is pretty simple, but has a twist, which I'll explain. Every dice roll is going to be a conflict of some type. The system is setup for Conflict Resolution, rather than Task Resolution. The clearest example of this is combat, in which instead of declaring that you're stabbing the nasty orc, then rolling to hit and doing some damage, then repeating the process until it falls down, you create stakes and roll the conflict. It might work like this. "The nasty orc is going to stab your eyes out! Conflict time. Lets set the stakes as follows- if you win, your quick work with your shortsword leaves the orc in a bloody messy pile in the dark alley. If you lose though, the orc is dead and in a messy pile at your feet, right as his four friends come around the corner. Roll." Or something similar. There are innumerable variations, all depending on your groups creativity and scope of play. Basically though, while failure at a conflict can mean failure at the task, it more often, or perhaps should result in a complication. If you're picking a lock in the middle of the night and you roll poorly, it doesnt necessarily mean that you just failed this time and should try again. Heck maybe the door clicks right open, but the owner of the propery you are breaking into and his two mean nephews are just inside and happen to be sharpening their new swords. Complication :)

As far as the actual dice rolling, its Fudge dice, so they're six sided dice, but instead of the sides being numbered 1 through 6, you have two faces with a "+" on them, two with a "-" on them, and two blank sides. By default in a conflict you roll three Fudge dice. I'm sure you can do the math, but with three of these dice you may get a +++ or you may get a ---, or anything in between. You take this result (a plus, a plus and a blank is 2; a plus a minus and a plus is 1, three blanks are 0) and add it to your rank in the ability. All you need to succeed is a 1, unless its a contested roll. So if you're Competent in the ability, you only need three blanks to succeed, since Competent is (1).

Now the twist. Bringing Down the Pain, or BDtP. Any player can elect to Bring Down the Pain after a resisted ability check. Usually its done after a failed check. What it does in regard to the game is allow the player to "do over". But more than that, it allows them to focus the invisible camera of the game onto them and what they're doing. It breaks from the Conflict Resolution system of the game, and becomes more task based and granular. It uses what's called the Harm Tracker to determine the outcome, though of course either opponent can give, and allow the others intent to take place. I'll talk more about the Harm Tracker in a sec. Lets say you're a sneaky thiefly type, trying to sneak your way into the Baron's castle. Well there's a guard walking a regular patrol on the parapet that you just scaled, and you need to get past him. He's keeping an eye out for people just like you, so we have a conflict (unless you Said Yes, as in "Say Yes or Roll Dice" another separate but fun topic). We setup stakes - you're going to use your Stealthy ability, which you're a Master in (that's 3), and I'm going to use the guard's React ability, in which he is a Master as well. Stakes are that if you succeed, you've grasped the lip of the parapet, waiting until the guards patrol carries him past your position, then once clear you launch yourself up over the battlement and land on the balls of your feet, sprinting silently across and leaping over the opposite battlement to catch hold of the edge so that you can climb down the inside of the castle's wall, if you fail I decide that you leapt onto the parapet right after the guard passed, but that a flagstone shifts under your foot, alerting not only the guard that just passed, but also the Captain of the Guard and his two cronies who you didnt notice until just now.. We roll and I get a plus, plus, blank, so a 5, while you get a plus, minus, blank so a 4. Well you could certainly stay with the results of the failure. It might be alot of fun to figure out how to get out of that predicament. But instead you can ignore the result and Bring Down the Pain. We rewind, you're still clinging to the outside wall of the castle. There's a guard walking patrol on the top. We break it down and set intents, yours is to get across the wall unseen, mine is to discover the thief hiding about in the shadows. You decide that you're going to use your Deceit ability to provide a distraction, throwing a small rock down the parapet to draw his attention. In turn, I'm going to use his React ability to keep a wary eye out on the shadows, looking for anyone trying to infiltrate the castle. You notice these are Parallel actions - they dont actual counter each other, if that were the case we would call them Perpendicular. So you roll your Deceit and I roll my React, the guard ends up with a 2 and you end up with a 3. Since these are Parallel, we both deal harm to each other, there's no defending or subtracting anything in this case, so I take Harm at level 3 and you take Harm at level 2. Next round we'll both have a penalty dice. At any point either of us could give, allowing the other's intent to take place. But we're going to keep going, so you decide that you're going to use your Athletics now to move hand over hand down the wall, further away from the guard in order to get away from his gaze, while the guard continues to keep a close eye out, made nervous by the clattering rock. We roll our abilities and perhaps in this case, the thief might use his successes to subtract from the number of successes that the guard got, thereby reducing my harm - since the thief is moving away from the guard. We continue back and forth like this, using any abilities that we can bring into the action here and going back and forth with dice rolls until one of us gives, or until we're taken past 6 on the Harm Tracker. And that's another of the really really beautiful things about the system. The harm tracker is not just another clever take on Hit Points. Its not just how many hits from a sword you can take. It is used whether you're having a spear duel against barbarians from the north, trying to talk the king into considering your plan, or attempting to sneak past guards on top of walls.

So I went kinda long there. I sorta get a wild glint in my eye and begin to gesticulate and froth at the mouth when it comes to TSoY. You'll have to pardon me. But that's really it. That's the system. Players hit their keys and grab XP (I use pennies and nickles, penny = 1 xp, nickel = 5 xp, easy enough). When they hit them, they reach in and take XP. You can use those Pools I talked about earlier to add a bonus dice to your pool for a conflict. Oh, and there are gift dice. At the beginning of every session, you get a number of dice equal to the number of players at the table that you can give out once per conflict to other players when they're doing something especially cool or groovy. They roll that as a bonus dice, increasing their chances for success.

I cant say enough good things about this system.

[edit - fixed a couple errors]

[edit - more on keys!]