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

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


This post actually applies to Tuesday, 4/24:

Ran 1 and 1/2 miles, 1 mile of it with Yazhi.

I always want to keep up with my progress here, not because I think that you, dear reader, will be fascinated by it, but because I want to keep up with it, and because maybe posting it publicly will help to compel me to keep it up.. being all out there in the public eye and all.

Or maybe I'm just tired. Sleepy == not all my brain cells firing properly.

In which I continue to obsess

You know how I don't have enough time, energy or players to run a bunch of games.. but I still want to?

Yeah... how about some Shadow of D&D? Can you imagine this D&D adventure done with Shadow of Yesterday?

Oh. And Sorcerer: An Intense Role-Playing Game (that's the real, full title!). One of the driving focuses of the game is "How far will you go to achieve your goals?".

Clicking on mobs

I used to play World of Warcraft. Krissi and I, and Maddie and John spent the better part of a year, devoting our weekends and quite a few weeknights to WoW. But Krissi and I began to lose interest, while John, and to a lesser extent, Maddie, continued to play. This was something that we'd all spent a great deal of time doing, as a group activity, and in that regard, it was alot of fun. And I miss that social outlet with them.

But, and this is really the point of this post: I grew tired of clicking on mobs.

While I easily give that nearly any game can be broken down into its base elements, then viewed as some level of repeating those elements over and over again, WoW (and most MMORPGs) just seem to be to all be following the same formula, creating a First-Person/Multiplayer Diablo. I'm not picking on MMORPG or Diablo players, btw, just the games themselves. WoW and its ilk, are generally pretty. And the exploration aspect is alot of fun to me. But the old formula of "click mob", "Get xp", "get equipment", quickly loses its appeal and the whole affair seems grows boring and cumbersome. I guess I got going on this because I often consider for about two seconds, picking up WoW again, but then I recall why I quit playing. I'm not saying that there is no strategy or variety to the game, just very little. Whether you're killing murlocks in the Something Fens, or killing Scarlet Warriors in the Scarlet Monastery.. or whether you're gathering this item or that item, in order to make them into another item, it just all quickly blurs into the same thing over and over and over again.

So: MMORPG developers: Come up with something more fun to do and I'll give you money again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Looking into the mouth of the gift horse

Its just never enough for some people. No matter what they're given, they want more, or something else.

Some folks are just squeaky wheels. Sometimes this is fine, its okay to be a squeaky wheel when your legitimate problem has not been addressed yet. Maybe it comes down to a matter of opinion.

There's a fellow at work who is a squeaky wheel. "Hey can you tweak this like so?", or "hey can you fiddle with this little thing?". Don't get me wrong, I'm in IT, so I fix people's computer problems all day long, which is fine by me. But this guy would have me empty his recycle bin for him, and then ask me to set it up so that he could have his recycle bin automatically delete stuff according to a schedule, and then want to know if he could retrieve one of the files that had been deleted, and then want to see if he could have me add some fields to the database that he thinks would be "handy".

More to the point, this guy is in sales. He was just issued a company car. Which he does not like, and is complaining about, and apparently was downright mad about, because it wasn't the model or color that he wanted. Oh and it's leased, and he wanted it to have more annual mileage allowance. HELLO! You've been practically given a car which is new and pretty nice, and that you do not have to pay for. Oh, and he has a gas card.

I learned this morning that this same salesman is going on a two day sales trip, and wanted an advance of $1,000. Apparently we don't usually do advances for salespeople, but he'd already gotten $400. But he wanted $1,000. Whine, whine, whine.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Weekend Roundup.

Bleh, my lower back hurts. I never have back pain. I hope that it is due to my sitting on a bar-stool at the kitchen counter playing on my laptop for like 10 hours on Sunday. Why did I sit on a barstool and play on the laptop instead of moving it to some better location? That is a fantastic question, my friend. I hope that's what it is, instead of having something to do with running, or general oldness.

I tried out the Opera web browser a little. Its supposed to be faster and somewhat better than Firefox. At least, according to one perspective that I read. But I did not find that to be the case at all, and so I'm sticking with Firefox 2, it seems.

I'm blonde again. Did some hair-dyeing this weekend.

Oh, and this gun thing in relation to Virginia Tech. In the past I've fallen on the "I'm okay with people owning guns and stuff" side of the fence, though I'm no frothing NRA type. I overheard someone talking about how easy it is for criminals to get firearms, and I think that is directly related to how easy it is for normal folks to get firearms. I don't think we need to repeal the Second Amendment, but I think we need some tougher controls in place, both for the acquisition of firearms, and for the continued ownership of them.

I ran a tiny demo-type session of Shadow of Yesterday this weekend for Jason and Bill. Jason played in a previous TSoY game with me, but Bill was completely new to it. I was super rusty, but we still had a good time. Also played some Wii, and some For Sale, and watched UFC 70.

Oh yeah, and I played alot of Hearts of Iron 2: Doomsday/Armageddon. That's what I was doing in that barstool for 10 hours. My Red Army invaded German-occupied Poland in the summer of 1940, heck yeah!

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Went and did the Youth Village 5k this morning. I didn't really want to get out of bed this morning, but I did. Oh - I forgot - yesterday was Jason's birthday, and so a few of us went and ate at Bosco's. I had some delicious salmon. Then we went and saw Hot Fuzz, from the guys that brought us Shaun of the Dead. It was very funny and we all very much enjoyed it. We then went and played an enjoyable round of Laser-tag. Jason was 4th place, out of the small army that was in the pit.

Back to today - I made it to the race site a little early, which was cool. It was a gorgeous day today. Beautiful weather, and at 9AM it was hovering between "cool" and "warming up". I did not get a chip to accurately time me, cause, well, I haven't been running, and so I didn't want to see exactly how poorly I could do. In hindsight, I should have gotten a chip - I came across the finish at 27:52, which I'm still pretty happy with. (Note to self: please please please please keep up the running). Afterward, I scarfed down 2 hot dogs and a bag of doritos, then went to starbucks where I sat with my venti black coffee and Slaughterhouse-Five, and very much enjoyed myself.

That's it! Out!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

yeah, more

"Players may blunder through dialog with shocking ineptitude, forget the name of the country they are in, or get confused about which side they are on, but once it comes time to roll for initiative they all turn into Sun Tzu."

From Shamus at Twenty Sided Tale. No, don't start there, start here.

Bahahahahha. Can't wait to run some TSOY.


omg, I didn't know that the White Stripes were writing music for me. This shit is off the hook.

Racism is shameful and stupid

How do people fall so easily into the trap of racism?

I got an email today from someone close to me, that was a forward of some hateful, bullshit, racist email. Bullshit that was reposted on a neo-Nazi website, no less.

I posted the text of the email, along with some responses to it, but on second thought, I've removed it.

Why are people so hateful and stupid?


[Edit (again)]

The person that sent this to me is a family member, someone who's sent me dumb stuff before. Most of it of the silly or uninformed variety, but a few have been of a more malign nature.

I've posted exactly this before: I'm torn between replying and trying to speak up, or just being silent. I don't want to be silent, because it seems to give some kind of implicit approval. At the same time, I'm a little hesitant to open that can of worms. The person in question is someone who at least claims to not be racist, but says things sometimes that raise my hackles.

Invariably, when I respond to these, the person in question claims to just be forwarding along garbage. But I don't want to get this stuff. I don't even want to see it.

Monday, April 9, 2007

What's the word for "tacky shit that people pawn off as a memorial"?


http://www.wtcproof.com/ [check the volume of your speakers before clicking. Safe for work.]

I have seen this on TV a few times. If you skipped clicking the link, and in retrospect, I certainly do not blame you - you have the opportunity to purchase a gold plated coin that has a silver plated world trade center that you can literally pop up and display as a semi-3D tribute to 9/11. If that sounds ridiculous, kitsch, and fucking stupid, then we're on the same page.

The first time I saw the commercial, I thought it was a satire commercial, like the kind Saturday Night Live used to do.

Anyway, I had to share the train-wreck-horror with you.

In which I'm rude about art

I spend some of my hard-earned money on game books. Lately, alot of them have been Werewolf the Forsaken books from White Wolf.

In the past, game books that I have bought have, for the most part, been good to me, content-wise. I flip their pages eagerly, my eyes scanning the words. The draw for me has always been the game and the system. I was interested in the new whatever for D&D, or the new edition of Shadowrun. I was interested in the mechanics, and in the suspension of disbelief part - the world they were setting up. The art I usually glimpsed over, enjoyed and moved on. The short fiction bits I skimmed through and thought was excellent flavor. So it is with a heavy heart that I flip through books and, upon seeing a piece of art in the book, rather than either pausing to "oooh" at it for a moment, or even scanning it briefly before moving on to the gritty stuff, I recoil slightly at how fucking terrible it is.

I am certainly no artist. I do not draw. I do not paint. I do not sculpt. I would perhaps argue with anyone that wanted to offer that my contribution here is, in fact, some form of art.

Let me cite some examples, and I am only doing these by title and page and artist name - I would gladly scan and upload the images, but I fear that were someone to accidentally happen upon my page, and I were speaking so unkindly about an artist, and featured his protected material on my page, I'd be placed in an uncomfortable position. And I can't find any of the art that I'm referring to already out there on Google anywhere. So here is my referencing, I'm just sorry that this is lost on most (probably all) of you.

Book: War of the Pure, Page 5, Arist: Jeff Holt. The scene is of a naked woman, facing toward three wolves, with a werewolf-looking person with a knife bearing down on her.
Book: War of the Pure, Page 169, Arist: Brian LeBlanc. A family is ambushed in the jungle by some werewolves. The family appears to all be using "Crest White Strips", judging by the way they are holding their mouths open. And the man looks like he is being raped by one of the werewolves.
Book: War of the Pure, Page 172, Arist: Brian LeBlanc. The scene is a voluptuous naked woman being held (and eaten?) by three snake-men.
Book: Blood of the Wolf, Page 108, Artist: Brian LeBlanc. A screaming werewolf is swinging through an open window, and somewhat resembles the Ultimate Warrior, from wrestling days long past. Lying just inside, sitting up on a bed, is a voluptuous woman, barely clad in some kind of a gown or nightie. The werewolf appears to be naked, or to have forgotten his loincloth.
Book: Rage- Forsaken Player's Guide, Page 100, Artist: Brian Leblanc. A voluptuous woman, clothed in skin-tight capri pants and a bikini top, stands with her back to a door, a huge knife in her hand, facing off again three sorta-werewolf-looking-guys. Her expression is hard to define. Actually it looks like she was cut off in mid-sentence while talking to a girl-friend at the mall. Mild disinterest with a dash of surprise. (This one is my favorite/most-eyerolling)
Book: Rage- Forsaken Player's Guide, Page 127, Arist: Brian Leblanc. A voluptuous woman, wearing some kind of bra or halter-top and some short-shorts that lace up on the sides is pointing a clawed hand, commanding a trio of evil-looking wolves into action.

Put most concisely: I find these pieces to be incredibly juvenile, and somewhat lacking in skill. Some of LeBlanc's stuff is good, from a shading and lines perspective, but is of ridiculous-seeming content. Like, LeBlank draws some very nice looking, voluptuous women, but c'mon people - aren't chainmail bikinis the stuff of Conan and D&D? I don't need the 7th grade porn.

I'm griping because I've spent my money on this stuff, and so, in a way, paid the artist too. I think I have a vote. Some of the art is not just poor, it is distracting. I just can't help but wondering why no one else noticed it. Like the editor, maybe.

And I have to be fair. Even though I'm not zeroing in on them the way I did the awful pieces that I pointed out above, for each piece in the books that is just horrible, there is a piece which is at worst "meh" and at best, pretty good. By the same guys even. And some of the art in the books is really good, I've just made a point to pick out the negative and whirl it around like a dead cat, instead of any of the positive stuff, really.

But, as I sit here and think about it, I think I'm setup for failure. White wolf is hoping that people will buy these books. Plain and simple. And if that means that 14 year olds, and That Guy Who Lives In Mom's Basement are in their target demographic, why not appeal to them?

PS - I'm not advocating against art featuring voluptuous women. I like voluptuous women. I like art. I like naked women. I guess I'm responding this way because I'm surprised. I hadn't expected to see it in these White Wolf books. I thought they were for mature audiences. I guess I forgot that "mature audience" means "be sure to hide this from your grandma".

Wiki at work

Believe it or not, I did some work today. I also spent time on the following:

World War I

Higgs Boson

Holy Roman Empire

Battle of Alesia



Spring Offensive

Espionage Act of 1917

History of Germany

Palmer Raids

Peninsula War

Gallic Wars


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Heavy Metal Baghdad

Found this, quite by accident this morning.


It is part 1 of 5, of "Heavy Metal Baghdad", in which a couple of guys from a small, independent media outlet try to get together with "the only heavy metal band in Iraq". But what is fascinating to me is to actually see Baghdad. Their cameras are rolling as they move around in the city, and it is shocking, terrifying, and fascinating.

News that we see from Iraq is all quick still shots, or short bits of video, or interviews with people. I've seen more of Iraq in the last 10 minutes, watching these videos, than I have in.. three or four years of watching television and reading on mainstream web news outlets.

Check it out.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Treasure Tables is a great little site.

Yeah, just like the title says.


Today what's caught my interest is the most recent article, regarding Metagaming.


Friday, April 6, 2007


Quick notes:

House broken into this week: Nothing stolen.

Related item: New door jam and locks

Another related item: I love my black lab, Yazhi, who scares off burglars (and sometimes runs with me, when I'm not a fat slob)

"Huey's" eateries in and around Memphis: rock, and have always rocked.

The movie, Grindhouse: fucking awesome. Spend your money on it. Be entertained.

Shadow of Midnight game: Happening.

Tired: Sleep.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Making a game happen.

I am supremely tired. I have not gotten to bed before midnight any night this week.

However, I am also determined to make a Shadow of Midnight game work.

Here's the headspace part: I'm running a successful Werewolf game. I'm very pleased with it, and intend to continue running it. I've also been going on and on about how much I want to do a Shadow of Yesterday game. Heck - we're a third of the way through the year, and I've yet to run a SINGLE TSoY game! I've been somewhat holding myself back from attempting to start a Shadow game for awhile now, and for a few reasons. One is that I don't want to sabotage my Werewolf game. I'm flightly, nothing new to that admission. So I've held myself in check, not wanting to start a Shadow game, only to drop it a week later. Also I don't want to abandon my werewolf game in favor of a Shadow game. But.. I've been biding my time. I'm pretty satisfied that I am in fact interested in and capable of running both the Werewolf game, and a Shadow game. The other reason that I've been hesitant, is because of my (former) gaming group - our Tuesday/Wednesday "Strutting Cock" group (named for an Inn that was part of the story). It felt, to me anyway, as though we had ended our weekly meetings on a somewhat sour note. And I've brought up gaming to that crowd a few times, and its been met with (in my opinion) apathy, or outright "no - not interested". I can't begrudge people not being interested - I guess. But I always throw all of my emotion into it, so it feels more like rejection and less like "nah". And it feels a little like a downward spiral to me. Maybe I should take the hint and quit asking people. But each time I manage to well up enough courage to ask - and when its met with "no", I'm a little less likely to ask again in another 6 weeks.

But I'd really love to run some TSoY. I love the system. I love the Midnight campaign world, and have been wanting to play/run it since I got it, um, years ago. I'd love to play with some of the old crowd. John and Jason both rate really high on my list of people that I'd love to bring back to the gaming table. John has been less than interested in gaming for the last half-a-year or so, and does have some weeknight commitments. Jason has also been less than interested in gaming since the end of our previous TSoY game, and uh, he's kinda got some new time commitments as well. But I'd love to get them to the table. I'd love to game with them, but in addition, I think that TSoY is an excellent game to play with them. Obviously, I'm extremely biased, but I think that I can use it to create an exciting game. Heck, even Mike might have a difficult time fucking up TSoY - a game system that does not easily lend itself to munchkinism.

Anyway. I've emailed John to ask if he's interested, and Jason reads this, so consider this an invitation.

This post, and my mindset feels a little emotional. And it is. I get super wild-eyed and excited about gaming stuff. And I'm super tired. I'll attribute it to that.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

If I had all the time in the world

I'd be running a ton more games.

I'm running a werewolf game that is very successful thusfar, and I'm very much enjoying. And MAN I'm itching for some Shadow of Yesterday... or Shadow of Midnight, or Shadow of Wuxia, or Shadow of the Mob, or Shadow of Demon Hunters..... Anyway.

I've set my mind to trying to remain focused on the werewolf game. To the exclusion of other stuff. I don't want my players or myself to get distracted. I love to imagine that I have the time and energy to run two different games parallel.. But I don't think I'd be able to keep it going for any time.


But be warned! When I have the chance, I'm running some Shadow of Yesterday stuff!!!! Oh yeah.