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

Friday, October 26, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

SotC: Dmitri Rasputin

See the previous post.

Skill Pyramid:

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

Palm Reader
Voices From Beyond
Steely Gaze

Spirit of the Century Character

Name: Dmitri Rasputin
Concept: Man of Mystery

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where did my iTunes playlist go?

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

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

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

Going Hungry (yeeeeeeeeeeeeeahhhhh!)

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

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

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


Two Internets: Don't Need 'Em

Dear Microsoft/XBox Live,

I do not need two internets.

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

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


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



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

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

Friday, October 5, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

Now: Guitar Chords and A Little Confidence

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

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

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

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

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

I sure am enjoying the guitar.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Element 320 Gig



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

It is SWEET!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Blackwater in Iraq (from CNN)

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

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

Here ya are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The shooting lasted about 20 minutes, he said.

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

Sarhan said no one ever fired at the Blackwater team.

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

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

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

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

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

The others ducked and were spared, he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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