Robbbbb's Random Ruminations|
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|Tuesday, April 16th, 2013|
|On the Boston Bombing
A good article
, the summary of which should make you proud to be an American:"There was remarkably little panic; instead, a well-organized rescue effort... But the prompt and effective reaction by so many, amateurs as well as trained professionals, undoubtedly prevented the death toll from being much worse. We should be proud of our fellow citizens."
|Wednesday, March 27th, 2013|
|More Fun Kickstarter Madness
makes very cool game stuff. It's dungeon terrain for playing games with. I have several sets, and I enjoy the heck out of it.
They've just put out a Kickstarter
for their new game tiles. I'm tempted to buy a couple sets to (relatively) inexpensively grow my collection. And as the Kickstarter grows they're adding free stuff on, so the deal gets better and better.
I still have a month or so to decide, but I get the feeling this one's going to blow up like the Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter
did. And it'd be fun to sit back and watch it grow.
|Friday, March 8th, 2013|
|It's Been a Year
Arclin laid me off a year ago today.
There have been a lot of ups and downs, but things have worked out really well. I'm in a better job now, doing more interesting work. I'm being challenged and learning a ton of new stuff instead of being an expert on something I already understand very well. It's going to be a while until I get up to speed around here but I'm already useful and I'm sucking up a lot of good experience.
I like my new coworkers and I seem to fit in around here pretty well. And I have a better manager than I used to.
Financially, we have more money in the bank, fewer debts, a better debt structure (we just refinanced the house at 3.5% on a 20 year fixed), and I have a higher salary and better benefits.
In fact, the only thing that sucks now is the commute. I'm spending an extra hour a day in the car. That hurts, but it's not the end of the world.
A little patience and a little faith and everything's come up roses. I suppose I needed a shock to get out of the rut I'd worked myself into. But it's all worked out for the best.
Now I need to get back to my cool new job.
|Tuesday, February 26th, 2013|
My Sunday night RPG group has one more session of the campaign that's occupied our attention for three years, now. Our 4e PCs have gone from level 1 to 21, and the story's just about over. We won, and our characters are looking toward retirement. Sunday is the last huzzah.
We're looking for the next big story that's going to occupy us for a while. I'm planning to run a short (~3 session) game set in Bujold's Vorkosigan universe, using the GURPS ruleset. After that, we're going to run a few one-shots until we can get our idea refined for the Next Big Game.
We're going to try and do a collaborative GM kind of game. The setting will all be the same (we think a city somewhere), and each GM will have a different set of PCs to work with. That would allow us to run some different styles of games while still doing some good, collaborative world-building. One of the guys wants to run an investigative/Sherlock Holmes kind of game. Another wants to do political intrigue. My best skill is an ability to run a good combat round: Action comedy is my schtick.
A city is the ideal sort of thing for this setup: there's a lot of room for adventures without the GMs treading on each others' toes, but you can still reference events that take place in other parts of the setting, and do some shared world-building. So we're trotting out some different ideas for settings:
Sigil, in the Planescape setting, is an interesting
place. I'm not so sure we'd keep the AD&D 2e engine (or any other D&D engine, for that matter.) We're thinking more low-magic and scary, evil wizards.
There are a number of cities in the Warhammer setting that work very well, and the WFRP 2e rules are pretty good, and support a number of subgenres.
The Iron Kingdoms (Warmachine/Hordes setting) also has some interesting bits, and they have their own bespoke RPG engine that I'm going to take a look at, and which might be full of good ideas.
I've floated the idea of "Musketeers with Monsters", which would mean a lot more world-building. But that could be a fun setting, and isn't traditional fantasy.
And one of the other guys in the group wrote the Midnight
campaign setting. His general idea started with, "So, what would the world be like if Sauron won?" And his ideas flowed from there. It's a very dark, dismal campaign setting, quite unlike most anything else I've seen.
|Sunday, December 16th, 2012|
|Switching Jobs Again
I know I just took a new job two months ago, but sometimes opportunity knocks. Boeing's Commercial Airplane Group has offered me a job as a Manufacturing Prototyping - Systems Integration Engineer. It's a terrific job offer, and I'm thrilled to have it. I start just after the first of the new year.
The only downside to this one is the commute, but I think I'll be able to take the Sounder train up there most days. It'll take a bit longer, but I'll have free time to surf the internet &c. I'm thinking of getting myself a tablet to do this on, and I'm trying to decide between a Kindle Fire, a Microsoft Surface, an iPad or something else. Anyone care to make any recommendations?
|Friday, November 30th, 2012|
|Zippo-Pot the Lion Scorpopus
Last week I mentioned Sidekick Quests to all y'all. This week, my oldest son made a contribution
to his Fiendish Fan-Made Fridays. If you have a kid in the 4-10 age bracket, I encourage you to print out a form and send it in to James. Alex had a blast.
|Tuesday, November 20th, 2012|
I'd like to recommend a webcomic to y'all: Sidekick Quests
! It's the story of a group of adventurers, only they're all "real" adventurers sidekicks. It's fun, it's straightforward, it's kid-friendly, and the artwork's terrific.
Plus, it's drawn by a friend. James plays in my Sunday D&D group. He is a screaming load of fun at the game table.
Also, look at Fiendish Fan-Made Fridays
. James is taking submissions from his younger readers for interesting new monsters. He takes the kids' ideas, then fills them out and illustrates them. Alex just did two: Zippo-Pot the Lion Scorpopus, and the dreaded Tigerray.
|Tuesday, November 6th, 2012|
American politics makes much more sense after the fourth or fifth beer.
|Thursday, October 11th, 2012|
|Bring the Geek
I got a little money for my birthday and decided to use it to get one of these
. It's now framed and on the wall of my game room downstairs. It's the first thing you see when you walk into the room.
|Wednesday, October 10th, 2012|
|Math With Orcs
"Mom, I want do some math."
"Well, I need to get some counters for you to do counting with."
[Dad disappears, reappears momentarily.]
"So, if Sauron has sixteen orcs, and he sends two orcs to their death in a futile effort to kill Aragorn, how many orcs does Sauron have left?"
|Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012|
... are you going to watch the debate tonight?
Weird Al sums up how I feel about spending the night with the two Presidential aspirants.
|Monday, October 1st, 2012|
|Worst Daddy EVER
Overheard tonight, while getting ready to put dinner on the table:
"Want to put a little Sambal Oelek in the kids' milk tonight?"
Every once in a while I'm given to think about how each of my kids is different. It seems like my daughter, for instance, is always happy. Ferinstance:Annemarie after eating a blue crayon.
like this. This is the smile I see every morning when she gets up, and every afternoon when I pick her up after nap. She only gets cranky for specific purposes, and when she gets what she wants (a diaper change, or a banana, or what have you) she reverts to her usual, smiley self. The boys weren't like this at all. I'm hoping it holds up.
|Saturday, September 29th, 2012|
After seven months of banging my head against closed doors, I've found employment. Carlisle Construction Materials
is opening a new plant in Puyallup, and they've hired me to be a QC Technician. We'll be starting out making Hunter Panels
, and then opening an Insulfoam
line, and moving on to the manufacture of Premier SIPS
I start in mid-October, and we're starting the Hunter Panels line in mid-November. We'll be busy after that point, spinning all the production up. There's liable to be overtime, and a lot of opportunities for advancement as we grow the production lines. It's a pretty good situation for me, and I'm glad to be off the dole.
|My Friends are Awesome
Over the last couple of months friends have been emailing me and asking, "You like to paint. Have you seen the Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter
?" Yeah, I have. "You going to get one?" If I had a job, I'd drop the $100 in a heartbeat. That's an awesome deal.
So a couple of groups of friends (including glaciation
) emailed me as that Kickstarter came to a close. "We decided to buy you a set. Have fun!" Awesome! So I'm getting a full set, plus $126 worth of extras from that long list of extras. Over the next few months I'll be getting boxes upon boxes of new miniatures to paint.
My friends are awesome. Thanks, guys. I'll make sure to post pictures.
|Sunday, September 23rd, 2012|
|Friday, September 14th, 2012|
|The Joys of Tasty Food
Erica and I discovered a terrific set of Indian sauces at Costco. $7.50 for three jars: two of Tikka Masala, and one of Korma. Cook up 1 1/2 lbs of chicken thighs, and then simmer in the sauce for twenty minutes. Tasty. Cook up some rice and poof! Easy Indian dinner.
And then, Erica found a recipe for naan on the old internet. Oh, yeah. It's amazing how easy naan actually is.
|Thursday, August 9th, 2012|
|That's My Boy
"I want to do the evil orc puzzle!"
"You know, the one with Spiderman and the other guys on it?"
"Honey, that's the Incredible Hulk."
"Yeah! That one!"
|Friday, July 13th, 2012|
My boys tend to beat a movie to death. They'll ask for the same movie over and over until we introduce something new that grabs their attention for weeks on end. Most recently it was Cars 2. They have since changed the subject of their affections to Wall-E.
Cars 2 is an okay movie, I guess. I don't find anything objectionable about it. It's fine entertainment, but not great.
Wall-E, on the other hand, is art. The first thirty to forty-five minutes of the flick are essentially a silent movie. A well-told silent movie. The movie has gorgeous visuals and knows how to make best use of them.
I don't mind putting my kids down in front of a Pixar flick for any period of time. They're all good movies. But some of their movies rise to the status of "art", and Wall-E's their best work.
|Saturday, July 7th, 2012|
|Baseball with Little Boys
Alex has been showing some interest in baseball so I bought him a ball and bat set. Nerf ball, hard bat with padding. I'd pitch to him, and his swing was just all over the place. So we bought him a tee to hit off of and his hitting has improved immensely.
He throws right-handed, but he hits left. Both boys have been watching baseball with Dad, and they want to imitate Ichiro. So they stand in there left-handed and swing. This makes it more difficult to teach good hitting technique, as I swing right-handed. I've turned Alex around a couple times and had him try to hit right-handed, but his swing looks so much better from the left side. It isn't broken, so I'm not going to fix it.
I say that Alex wants to imitate Ichiro, but that's not quite right. There's a lot of Dustin Ackley in his swing. He drops the front shoulder like Ackley does and generates that level swing through the ball. When he keeps his head down he generates a nice, line-drive swing and drives the ball well. His big problem is getting his head down on the swing. I understand, as I've always had the same problem. But we're working on it.
And hitting the ball off the tee is his favorite outdoor activity these days. When he wakes up from naptime that's the first thing he always asks for. And since the weather's good, I'm more than willing to indulge him. We go out and hit the ball off the tee for thirty minutes or so.
Chris is just too little to generate a good swing, yet, but he does stand in there and try a few hacks at a time. His hand-eye coordination just isn't there, yet. But it's fun to watch him take a few hacks and then exclaim, "I'm Ichiro, Dad!"