Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween Moons

It turns out that Pluto, Kuiper belt object/planet, has two more moons than previously thought.

And The Obligatory Weekend Post

Yesterday was the Big Party. That meant up at 7 AM to hit the gym and then clean until 4. I managed to watch Woody Allen's Manhattan while cleaning the den, which I thought had its moments but was pretty much Annie Hall redux, but not quite as good. The Party itself went fine - lots of people showed up, and it wound down at a reasonable hour so I could haul my tired self into bed with little wear and tear.

Today, I got up and cleaned up and then spent the day lazing around. I burned through Katamari Damaci today (my roommates had played it, but I never did, except on multiplayer). Great game. I also finished watching Troy (overdirected and overwritten), and King Arthur (so much potential wasted because of glaring story problems - like moving from one scene with snow to another scene with summer leaves on trees. Huh?) So I'll get three new Netflix movies soon.

I keep forgetting to mention this: I finished my audiobook at the gym, The Plot Against America by Philip Roth. A very interesting alternate history book, where Charles Lindburgh (who was a famous anti-Semite) defeated Roosevelt in 1940 and made an alliance with Germany, which included beginning to enact a final solution against America's Jews. The story is mainly told through the eyes of a young boy and the toll the situation takes on his family. Recommended. Now, I'm listening to Freakonomics after recommendations from both Seth and Bob.

Indictment Central

Although I haven't written much about it, I've been following Fitzgerald's investigation of the Bush administration and the subsequent indictments and fallout from it. People at work can attest that every hour or so, I'll boot up and ask out loud, "I wonder if there are any indictments yet?" Well, they came last Friday, and might continue to come (I'm not even going to pretend to know what this means yet - I feel like I'm watching history in action).

But tonight, I read a post on Daily Kos that very much summarizes what I think about this whole thing. Money quote:

    Throughout the entire pundit brigade -- blogosphere included -- everyone is trying to decide whether or not the Fitzgerald indictments are a "victory" for their side or the other side. It's not, OK? It's just not. There is nothing good or victorious about this situation, for either side. Nothing. Nothing. (Emphasis theirs).
That's pretty much how I see an ugly situation that's likely to get uglier. It's pretty much how I felt about Clinton's impeachment proceedings and the Whitewater investigation that led to it. And frankly, if anything, I'm sick of the new professional political celebrities. Seriously, we've created a new class of celebrity: call 'em pundits, or whatever, but the Al Frankens and the Ann Coulters really strike me as nothing better than faces hamming it up for the camera, who know what to say at the right time for maximum manipulation.

Feh. Feh and meh.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Sounds of Harry Potter

As some music fans may know, members of the bands Pulp and Radiohead got together to perform as The Wyrd Sisters in the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. What fans might not know is that these fine folks (Jarvis Cocker, and Johnny and Phil) cut an entire album as The Wyrd Sisters, even though only three of their songs will appear in the movie.

Potterfans (and musicfans) might want to engage themselves in this strange, fictional meeting of music, literature, and creativity. How, you ask? Perhaps by locating an MP3 blog that contains the three songs appearing in the film. Enjoy.

The Existential Diet

I think I know why so many people try to lose weight - through diet, excercise, or hopefully a combination of the two - and fail. I realized this today, after lunch, as I stood in my company's kitchen, staring at the myriad of free snack foods in which I could indulge. Hostess Fruit Pies. Oberto Beef Sticks (AKA "Snouts"). Pop of every variety. Peanuts. Goldfish crackers. And so on. All of it free, as a courtesy my company provides to its employees.

It's about making a constant choice. The term "lifestyle change" is thrown about, but what is that lifestyle change really?

It's breaking habit. Do you need to eat right now? Will food make you feel better? Sure, you feel crummy, but should you really skip your workout and eat pizza instead?

For me, twenty-some years of habit is a damn hard thing to break. It truly is a constant choice, one where I have to say - quite literally, in some instances - that I'm committed to making myself healthy.

I don't think many people can repeatedly make that choice in a successful manner. I suspect there's a lot of people who may make that choice initially, but when forced to make it over and over - often under stressful or otherwise difficult circumstances - will instead make the decision to go with habit.

Tale Complete

Thanks to the input of the West Coast Alliterates (is that like the West Coast Avengers?), my zombie tale is at a point where I feel it's complete and ready to be shopped around to pubs. I've started putting feelers out on this front already. If you know of any places looking for a gross but unconventional (and darkly funny, I suppose) zombie tale, the comment button is for you!

Warp Speed!

George Takei, AKA Sulu on Star Trek, recently came out of the closet. Good for him - I couldn't imagine living for 68 years with a secret like that.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Markin' Time

There's a lot going on in the world. Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination from the Supreme Court. The White Sox (that's right, the damn White Sox!) swept the World Series. And any time now, we might learn just who in our country's leadership has been doing what kinds of nasty illegal things.

We've been getting ready for our party.

Saturday is our big Halloween shindig, which is doubling as a big housewarming shindig since we never really had one. Some people might also think it's related to my birthday in some way, but those people would be wrong. We're expecting quite a few people, and we've been cleaning and picking up like mofos to try to get ready for it.

My job has been largely centered around the cedar tree in our front yard. It's a huge Northwestern tree, and one of the reasons we bought this place. Apparently cedar trees drop a whole bunch of their branches right before winter. As Liz described it yesterday, the tree's been turning our yard orange - as good a description as any. Twice now I've raked the branches, and twice now I've shoveled (yes, shoveled) them into the yard waste bin - which is full. A bin the size of a large garbage can full of cedar branches. Good times.

But getting ready is forcing us to deal with things we mgiht not have normally dealt with, like the last two boxes of books that didn't really fit anywhere, all my old HeroClix pieces which have now been consolidated into one large box, and so on.

I can't wait for Saturday, because it means I won't have to clean anymore. At least until the party ends.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Chauvanist Male Post

Just when I begin to truly doubt the existence of the Almighty, news like this drops in my lap.

So to speak.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Good Evening

I count any evening where I have to explain to my wife who Streaky is, and more importantly why Streaky is so damn cool, as a good evening.

The Calm Before The Storm

No indictments yet, but it's really only a matter of time. For some reason, this came up on my iTunes at work and it's worth repeating:

    Maybe you've cheated
    Maybe you've lied
    Maybe you have lost your mind
    Maybe you're only thinking 'bout yourself

    Too late to run. Too late to cry now
    The time has come for us to say good-bye now
    Mr. President have pity on the working man.
The next few days are going to be very, very interesting.

One Year Dumber

This has been an interesting year. It's the first year that I've held the same job, with the same title, for the entire 365 days, consecutively, since ever. I bought a house. I fixed the house. I went to Hawaii on my first real vacation with my wife. I made a vow that I would enjoy the time I have in my youth rather than let it pass by, and I still feel like it's passing by too quickly and being wasted sometimes.

I'm 55-60 lbs lighter than I was a year ago, depending on what time of day I take the measurement.

I've written approximately 100,000 fiction words and game-related words since last year.

Am I happier? Maybe. I admit, it's kind of hard to quantify that. I do feel like age is creeping up in a more desperate way, and my #1 resolution, as the case might be, is really to try to appreciate what I have more. Friends, loved ones, just the me of being me. Of course, I type that from my desk at work, where I've been for ten hours today and will probably be for another two, but it's really what I want to work on. It's the nagging job that I have to do, that's ruining my playtime because I know I need to finish it later and I can't get it out of my head. In a manner of speaking.

Expert Textperts

It's now official: Pittsburgh is unprepared for a zombie attack!

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Mythos is Upon Us!

Via Wendi, the Mythos has descended on the Pacific Northwest!


Apparently, in the midst of all its troubles, the White House has nothing better to do than go after The Onion for that paper's use of the presidential seal.

My favorite comment:

    The Onion was amused. "I'm surprised the president deems it wise to spend taxpayer money for his lawyer to write letters to The Onion," Scott Dikkers, editor in chief, wrote to Mr. Dixton. He suggested the money be used instead for tax breaks for satirists.

Quad Movies

This weekend I watched a lot of movies. And, I escaped to Whidbey Island for two days with Chad, Crabby, Brook, Wendi, and Liz for a little R&R. Which included watching movies at Brook's parents theater, and learning how the projector works (pretty cool!)

March of the Penguins: Snorefest of anthropomorphizing animals. Furries and people who coo when they see something cute will like it.

Flightplan: A better-than-expected half-snorefest.

I, Robot: Again, better than expected. Enjoyable. I never read the book.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: The high point of my weekend. A smart rom-com of sorts that makes you think. With Kate Winslet.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tighter Than Airport Security On 9/11/01

When my company was purchased by a publically traded company, we had to undergo a lot of changes, mostly for the sake of accounting purposes. There's a name for all this new crap, which occured because of the Enron clusterfuck, but I really can't be bothered to remember it. I just know it's why I have to put a tick mark down every time I use a company tissue to wipe my nose.

One of the things these new standards have changed is security - specifically, computer security. I have about four passwords I use in varying combinations on whatever it is I'm doing - I'll sub out numbers for letters, combine them in various ways, but four is about the upper limit of my memory when it comes to inane words I have to type over and over just to get into something I want to do.

Well, part of the new security policies are that our passwords can never be the same twice. So this has left me in a bit of a pinch: I cycled through all my old passwords, and now I can't use them. To make matters worse, our passwords must contain three of the four following things: a lower-case letter, an upper-case letter, a number, or a symbol. So even if I were to choose something easy to remember, it still wouldn't be in an easy-to-remember format.

Which leads me to the only workable solution for these high-security requirements.

I have to write the damn password on a post-it note on my monitor just so I remember what it is.

Sometimes, I really wonder if the people in charge of this train know what the fuck they're doing.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's So Bad!

For any geek in the late '80s, The Wizard was just about the awesomest 2-hour commercial for Nintendo products you could have paid money to go see. And this clip reminds me why it was such an awesomely awesome scam.

Via the SA forums.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Halloween Scary

Since it's the season to be freaky, here's a piece of art - I guess - that let's you manipulate a doll and the various things in her room. I warn you, it's kind of disturbing. And requires QuickTime.

The Band Thing, Again

I wanted to give it another shot now that I'm in a different mood.

Choose one band or artist and answer the questions ONLY IN SONG TITLES by that band...

Artist/Band: Ramones
Are You Male or Female? Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy
Describe Yourself: Loudmouth
How Do People See You? Commando
How Do You Feel About Yourself? I Wanna Be Sedated
Describe What You Want To Be: I Wanna Be Well
Describe Where You Want To Be: 53rd and 3rd
Describe How You Live: Gimmie Shock Treatment
Describe How You Love: She's The One
Words of Wisdom: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow


The Republicans once again show how they are the party of morality and family values: their former majority leader will soon be the subject of a mug shot and fingerprinting.

It must really suck to be a Republican these days.

Insomnia's A Bitch

Last night I went to sleep around 10 because I felt absolutely exhausted, and yesterday was particularly awful at work. Not awful because of the environment, but awful because I actually forgot to do a very important task. Luckily, I caught it early enough that it was fixable, but I was (and am) extremely upset with myself for allowing something like that to happen.

So I go to sleep at 10. And I get up at 12. And 2. And 4. And 5. And 6. And here I am.

Needless to say, I hate not being able to sleep.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


For those who like to wear their obsessions on their sleeves - or at least, their fronts - a zombie t-shirt.

Don't forget, Land of the Dead today on DVD!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Week Ender

I blinked and I missed it.

Saturday I spent the entire day at the WizKids Games Day, AKA the HeroClix Armor Wars Pre-Release event. I had a great time - because of the new rules, employees can play in events, but cannot win. I made it to the top sixteen, so it was a nice reminder of how much I love the game I help make/market (and, that I actually used to be pretty good at it once upon a time).

Yesterday, I went to the gym at O-Dark-Thirty, came back, watched an awful-wonderful horror movie, and then spent the majority of the rest of the day with Bob (Crabby's cat) at the emergency vet. Bob's eye got scratched in a tussle with one of the other cats, and she made it much worse by rubbing it, so she's on a regimen of eyedrops and antibiotics, and she's got one of those kitty lampshade things around her head.

That made Liz and I late for a poker game last night, but we still managed to have a lot of fun and we both ended up just a little bit ahead for the night. There were some people there who aren't part of our normal circle, and it was cool to expand a little, and there were some people there who are, so it was good to see them. A nice balance.

Considering how hellish last week was - something I'd rather not talk about, but thanks for asking - I'm hoping this week is much gentler.

On a side note, I'm reading Batman's Dark Victory graphic novel by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, the same folk who did The Long Halloween. I think it's some of the best Batman stuff I've ever read. Speaking of, the movie comes out on Tuesday on DVD!

Saturday, October 15, 2005


My entire office is in a baby shower and I'm killing time waiting for Liz to finish up so I can come get her.

And I come across this, a art gallery of photographs taken on an island off the coast of Japan. The island used to house a town of 5000 people, but it is now completely abandoned.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Late-Game Zombie Walk!

There's a zombie walk in Seattle tomorrow! I wish I'd known sooner; I kind of made some plans but I might be able to break them.

A Modest, Um, Proposal

So anti-video-game-violence activist Jack Thompson has crafted a modest proposal about making a violent video game about a father of a kid murdered by another kid who played violent video games going on a rampage and killing video game executives.

As funny as his stunt is, the ironic part is that if he'd turned that in to a high school teacher, he'd probably be expelled for threatening people and sent to Homeland Security for investigation.

Via Seth.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Lighter Fare

Via Roger:

Choose one band or artist and answer the questions ONLY IN SONG TITLES by that band...

Artist/Band: The Beatles
Are You Male or Female? I Am The Walrus
Describe Yourself: Paperback Writer
How Do People See You? The Fool On The Hill
How Do You Feel About Yourself? The Long And Winding Road
Describe What You Want To Be: Getting Better
Describe Where You Want To Be: Back In The USSR (not really, it's just funny)
Describe How You Live: Fixing A Hole
Describe How You Love: Helter Skelter
Words of Wisdom: Think For Yourself (Let It Be was too easy)

And One Last Politikal Post For The Day

Dear Bush Supporters,

I see you standing on the bridge over I-405 between exits 20 and 18 many mornings. There are anywhere from four to ten of you, and you've got some pretty snappy looking signs that say "We Support Our Troops and President Bush," or simply, "We Support Our Troops." I applaud your right to express your point of view, and for taking full advantage of the freedoms of speech our forefathers bequeathed to us. I have taken part in the same freedom various mornings, either with my middle finger or, if traffic is slow enough, by voicing my opinion loudly using my hands as a megaphone.

But I want to point something out to you. You and everyone else with the "We Support Our Troops" bumper stickers.

President Bush is not a troop. He never was a troop. He pretended to be a troop once, but was AWOL from the National Guard for weeks at a time while he was developing a strong addiction to alcohol and that white dust from Colombia. But frankly, that's the closest Bush has come to being a troop.

Troops stand out in the desert getting shot at. They overthrew the Taliban, probably the closest thing the 21st Century has seen to a religio-fascist government thusfar. The entire world applauded them for that, because let's face it, no one liked the Taliban. Troops overthrew Saddam Hussien, too: an action that, despite its motivations, rid the world of a tinpot dictator likely responsible for genocide.

Troops are my friends from high school and college. They are kids who didn't have scholarships or who didn't necessarily fit into higher education, so they signed up for a hitch in the Army, the Marines, or another branch of our Armed Forces. When they did so, they trusted that the Commander in Chief - not himself a troop - would only use their training responsibly. They expected a certain degree of empathy for them, and both of those things have been violated.

There is a former troop who works in my office, and he is appalled at not only the administration that has misled and taken advantage of the troops, he'll actively correct anyone who dares to lump Bush in the same category as our troops.

Therefore, my fellow citizens of the Northwest, I ask that you keep in mind that when you're asking me to support our troops, I'm 100% behind you. Like I said, I know some of those guys.

But keep this in mind:

President Bush is not a troop.

Bush's Conservative Ways, By The Numbers

Via conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan, a little article and chart comparing the "conservative" (bullshit) Bush administration to other administrations, as far as change in Real Discretionary Spending.

They're shitting in our kitchens right now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Politikal Post

The big news these days is that President Bush named Harriet Miers as the next nominee to the Supreme Court (or SCOTUS to those of us awesome people in the know). The left is sitting there going, "but she's not qualified." And for once, so is the right.

The reaction is actually pretty startling. Even Ann Coulter, for fuck's sake, is up in arms. I've seen conservative blogs referring to him as "Du(m)bya" and more than once the meme has been "I'm through with this President." Pat Buchanan said he's successfully undone everything Republicans have worked for since Nixon was in office.

This hinges around the blatant cronyism of nominating someone to SCOTUS who, although passed a bar once upon a time, doesn't really practice law and hasn't even served jury duty. And following Hurricane "Brownie, You're Doing A Heck Of A Job" Katrina, where it was pretty obvious what nominating an old buddy whose claim to organizational fame was judging horse compeititions got you.

So the right doesn't want Miers confirmed. The left is pretty divided, actually: although she isn't qualified, it could be a fuck of a lot worse.

Here's my take (isn't that why you read this shit anyway?): confirm her. Confirm her, and dose her up with health drugs so she lives a long, long, long time. She will serve as a constant reminder of the bullshit the right has inflicted on this country and the world with this President. In twenty years, we might be tempted to forget and elect some other pompous asshole who steals Christmas wreaths and likes to feel good about himself by bossing others around, whose friends in oil and the religious wingnut movements will dictate every step of his policy. And then we'll look at Miers and say, "HOLY FUCK THAT'SRIGHT WE CAN'T FUCKING DO THAT LET'S ELECT A REAL PRESIDENT INSTEAD!"

It's not that I want to say "I told you so, dipshits, what did you expect?" It's not that I feel mildly vindicated. It's that people with that short of an attention span, and that easily misled, who think two men holding hands in Omaha is a more important election concern that our economy, our foreign and domestic policies, and our dignity as Americans, need constant reminders not to fuck up again.

Seriously, when a dog takes a shit in your kitchen, you take the dog, put its face in the shit, and tell it "NO."

The right has shit in our collective kitchen.

Confirming Miers as a lasting testament to rightwing idiocy is a nice, big NO.

Tuesday Afternoon

Last night's Alliterates meeting was great - we had a full house, and they reviewed the first horror story I've written and shared with them. I was particularly proud of this little tale, and they gave me some excellent feedback about how to make it better. I'm pretty serious about getting this one in shape to submit it to an anthology or magazine, so I'm hoping I get some time this weekend to work on it.

I've also come to the conclusion that a light, portable laptop would greatly help my productivity, especially as I travel. Maybe I'll see if work can replace this stupid old machine with a newer one, seeing as how I go to 10 conventions a year for them.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Weekend Update

Both days this weekend I woke up early and hit the gym. I'm a little frustrated about the whole weight thing, because I stopped the low-carb routine (and my liver thanks me for it), but even with exercise I've increased a bit, rather than the other direction. I know what I'm going to have to start doing - counting calories and eating much, much less - but that has always failed for me in the past. A good boot camp routine would work, if only I didn't have to sign up for a two year hitch afterwards.

Sunday Liz and I went into Seattle for a movie: The Princess Bride at the Central Cinema. This place, as advertised, sounds like something I would have opened: sofa seating, waitstaff to bring you food, no under-21s after a certain time so cellphones and teenagers aren't interfering with your movie. In execution, however, the sofas were more like restaurant booth benches and the movie itself was just a DVD blown up to enormous proportions. So close, and yet so far.

I'm worried this is becoming a trend for showing older films: rather than track down a print of the movie (not that this theater looked equipped to show a print of this movie), just show the DVD and blow it up really big. It's disappointing: there was a theater in Bloomington when I lived there that showed Hitchcock films, old sci-fi, and tons of other classics every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I spent a lot of my formative 15-16 year-old weekends there, with my family, with dates, with friends (sometimes at the same time). When I think of going to a theater to watch a classic, that's what I think of, not some messy DVD print that God never intended to be blown up more than 60" across (and 60" is pushing it).

But spending time with Liz was worth it. We both love The Princess Bride and spent a good part of the movie silently quoting lines to each other.

Before the movie, we ate at a really good and really inexpensive Ethiopian restaurant. Here's a way to get me to tip you 40%: bring me a lunch for two that's amazingly tasty for $10.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Search for More BRAINS...

What happens when a meth lab explodes in the South, and a guy can't decide between his girl and karate? The South Will Rise Again, a zombie-hick-karate movie, um, thing. Thanks to Seth for informing me of what I'll be wasting my money on.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

With Great Reading Comes.. ?

Mark Evanier explores the origins of the famous comic book phrase "with great power comes great responsibility." Interesting reading.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Reminded of Michael Moore

Today, a co-worker was complaining about having to clean up another co-worker's mess in our kitchen, and it reminded me of something I haven't thought about in a while.

In 2000, I interned at Michael Moore's United Broadcasting while they worked on The Awful Truth (yes, that Michael Moore). During my time there, I had to deal with a lot of shitty jobs (like fetching Michael Moore his McDonald's.) One of those jobs was cleaning up a shitmess made by one of the producers.

In film, producers are kind of the unseen prima donnas. The directors and the "talent" are the seen prima donnas - you do things for them because they are the big names that are going to make you money. The producers are the people who make things happen, and they usually do it without credit. But they make the entire thing go 'round.

They also boss around the production assistants, and the interns. And "boss around" is the only appropriate way I can think of to describe what they do.

So one of these producers had some bad luck with some microwave popcorn. She apparently nuked it for 20 minutes instead of 2 minutes, leaving a horrible smell throughout the floor of the building and fusing most of the popcorn to the microwave. That was inconvenient, because us poor slobs who brought our microwave lunches because we were living in New York on our own dime couldn't nuke our food.

And I'm assigned to clean the microwave.

A bucket of bleach and a half-hour of scrubbing later, the microwave is passably clean, although it seems to have taken on a permanent light-yellow hue from the butter molecules permanently merging with the plastic molecules. And I've completely bleached my shorts and the shirt I'm wearing.

As I mentioned previously in this tale, I'm staying in New York on my own dime without receiving a paycheck of any kind. So I think it's perfectly reasonable, having just ruined one of the two pairs of shorts I brought and one of the five shirts I brought, that I ask the company to replace them, as they were damaged in the line of my duty of cleaning up after slobby rich prima donnas. Not that I'm bitter, that's just what the film industry is about.

They told me, and I quote: "well, bleached clothes are fashionable, so no."

Notice I'm not working in the film industry at the moment.

A Rare Work-Related Post

One of our HeroClix fans has created a page of custom bystander tokens, including Lindsay Lohan, Jay & Silent Bob, and more. Is it wrong that I think the Lohan tokens are kind of - well - sexy?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bigger, Longer, and Undead

For those who just can't get enough zombie action, Fangoria and Universal present a one-time only screening of the Land of the Dead Director's Cut on October 17th, the day before the DVD releases.

I suspect, much like the Blues Brothers screening I attended before, that it will simply be a copy of the DVD blown up to bigscreen proportions.

I'm trying to figure out if that makes it any less awesomely awesome.

Movie: Serenity (Redux)

I saw Serenity at one of the preview screenings, so I didn't feel a terribly compelling need to catch it on its opening weekend. Plus, I wanted to avoid all the really hardcore Joss fans who have a way of really getting under my skin. I like the series as much as the next fanboy, but some folks really tend to take it to extremes.

I posted my original thoughts about the movie the first time. A recap: pretty good, not "wow."

Anyway, we went today as an office.

What a difference some editing, sound, and tightening up can make.


A much better movie this time around. I highly recommend it - it really nailed the "family" theme of the show, and the editing allowed it to flow at a much better pace than the rough cut. And, they went back to space being soundless, and that was one of my major pet peeves.

Claps and applause. Great work. Now go see it so the show can go back on the air!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Marketing 101

Brandon, this one's for you. A movie trailer for a popular film, re-edited to make it seem like a completely different movie.

You can sell anything to anyone if you package it right - and often, we do!

Gamer Charity

The Beyond the Storm RPG and storybook is now available as a PDF download for a nominal fee (really a donation). Beyond the Storm is a Hurricane Katrina (and now, I assume, Rita) relief project by people from all over the gaming industry - artists, writers, editors, and so forth. We donated our time to skills to create short stories, little roleplaying games, adventures, and so forth, all centered around New Orleans. If you're a gamer and you would find such content interesting, please make a donation for the download (a print version will be available, too).

Since the quickstart version of my Crescent City roleplaying rules is in there, you'll also get something by me!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The State of the Left and the SCOTUS

I just learned the acronym SCOTUS. It sounds kind of dirty, like something that sweats too much when it's hot outside and you have to do yardwork. Which, is kind of what it is, I suppose - for those of you not in the know as me, SCOTUS means Supreme Court of the United States.

I mention this because last week a new Chief Justice was approved by the Senate. I don't really know what to make of Roberts, but somehow I doubt he's the assholic ideologue a lot of my leftie pals are making him out to be. He actually seems like a fairly centrist conservative. As long as he doesn't do anything extraordinarily stupid, like overturn Roe v. Wade, things should be OK. The freedom of speech/freedom of religion stuff flipflops around, and frankly it doesn't really matter all that much (taking "Under God" out of the Pledge, or leaving it in, seems like a pretty asinine and inconsequential thing to worry about - and that goes to knuckleheads on both sides of the issue).

A lot of the left started moaning and wailing and gnashing their teeth, but I just kind of shrugged: there isn't really any evidence either way to know what Roberts is going to be like. The crew on Daily Kos seemed to be the loudest voice of opposition, loud enough that Senator Obama wrote them a response. Obama specifically rebutes some of the criticism levelled against himself and other Dems for not doing more to stop Roberts' nomination (fillibuster, etc.)

But more importantly, he hits on something that has become a growing concern to me. I used to wonder why it was the Left can't mount any sort of organized resistance to the well-oiled Republican political machine (and that's what it is, you might as well refer to Rovian politicks as Tammany Hall). When I went to the O17 protests, I was amazed not at the united front the Left presented (they didn't), but at the vast amount of pet causes all fighting to be the loudest (and in their eyes, the most important) voice at the gathering.

Obama hits on that, and he strikes a hell of a blow. The response on the Kos boards is exactly what you might expect: outright denial and the same scattered, pet politicking. That kind of stuff simply doesn't play to the American public. Wring your hands about the easily misled people if you will, but guess what folks: you ain't getting anywhere by alienating them. That's what the left fails to understand. Hell, I fail to understand it myself most of the time, and anyone who's read this page for any length of time knows how I wring my hands and say "how the fuck can you be that fucking STUPID????"

Which really does no one any good.

I'm not perfect, and I doubt Obama is, but reading his response certainly gives me hope that the right kind of people are out there, and more importantly, they get it. That allows assholes like me to be assholes, because in the end, if you form your opinion based on the ramblings of a guy who works PR for a game company, then you deserve what you get.

The Next Time I Conduct A Job Interview

After a particularly fun and extended poker game last night, I've come to the conclusion that if you really want to know someone, play cards for money with them for a few hours.

The ups and downs of poker - making difficult decisions, bluffing when necessary, dealing with losing and winning, making small talk, body language, and so on - can really tell you a lot about people, even people you think you know.

The next time I have to do a job interview, I'd like to get all of my candidates together in a room and play poker with them for three or four hours.

Probably not kosher, but I imagine it would give me a pretty good idea of who I'd want on my team.

Broken Template

Blogger has gone and fucked up my blog template, seemingly without my help. Hopefully I can fix the damn thing (again) when I have a few seconds to devote to what I shouldn't have to fix.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Plague Monkey

Apologies for the not-much-content lately; first Hawaii, and now this. I'm coming down with some kind of illness; my sinuses feel like a swamp and my throat is raw. Icky-poo.

Graphic Novel: Faces

Expect more of these in the coming days (really, I'm just working through a backlog of stuff I've been reading, but haven't had the time to post about). I've been using Wizard's Top 100 Graphic Novels as a reading list for a while. The first one on the list (#100, not #1) is a Batman book called Faces, a great Two-Face story. It's short, like three issues long, but it's a fairly concise story with Batman as detective and Two-Face trying to create a utopia for freaks - and killing plastic surgeons, models, and other people who traffick in beauty along the way.

For a small book, it's a great, concise story that focuses more on theme than action. Again, another recommendation for comic fans.