Say who you are.  Let me know why you are reading.  Say something nice about someone. Maybe even me.

Don’t criticize my sentence fragments.

I’m Todd.  I’m reading because it is my blog although I find the opinions overrated and the posts sporadic.  This could be counted as my third attempt at a blog.  Normally they last about two weeks.

But in other areas I think I am pretty nifty.

Golden Age

Right.  You might have noticed a dearth of posts.  Here that is.  I’m sure there are other fine establishments you frequent with blogs that are, well, themselves frequent and frequented.

Not mine.  Not mine so much recently.

I blame television.  Mostly because I avoid blaming myself whenever possible.  It helps my self esteem.  Not that it needs much help.  I am pretty awesome.  Oh, I’m going to segue into a story that shows off my awesomeness.

We took a course at work the other week.  19 of us, but the important folks are me and 4 dudes on my team.  The instructor wanted to motivate us.  He said, “I’ve taught 1400 dudes, duders, el duderinos and assorted others (I’ve taken liberties with the dialogue.  Blame the Coehns.)  To each class I offer a bottle of champagne to all those who score perfectly.”

The instructor did this to motivate us.  One of the class who didn’t know me that well professed that I was sure to be one of those who won said bottle.  This despite the fact that the instructor also said he’d only ever given out 3.  I knew that my awesomeness had limits.  Caring enough to invest the effort to get 100% is beyond them.  Heck, I think there is even a good chance I’m not bright enough to get the score.  Maybe – but I do have a high opinion of myself.

Competition does motivate me though, but I thought 100% was unobtainable.  So I made a follow up bet with my team.  I’d pay them a case of beer each if they simply beat my score on the exam.  I indicated that the bet was to motivate them, but, just between us, it was mostly to motivate myself.  I hate losing.

How does this story demonstrate my awesomeness.  Well, I thought it would show my benevolence and my leadership skills.  But admitting I made the bet to selfish reasons basically tromps over those goals.  Darn.  OK.  Well at the end of the story I get the highest score and kick the butts of my team.  So – at least I’m good at taking exams even if I fail at leadership and humility. But y’all knew that already.

The story has a happy ending.  Although it wasn’t part of the bet one of my staff felt that the bet was only fair if he wagered a case of beer too.  So I won a case of beer.  It was delicious.

OK – back to the vacancy of my blog and television.  A good writer would segue back to that subject smoothly and show how the previous anecdote related to the main thesis.  But such a writer might not have deserted their blog in the first place.  You are stuck with me.

Or you would be, but I think I’m done for the day.  I’m feeling a bit hungry.  Therefore, I’m going to desert the blog once again and get some food.  I’ll explain about the television another time.

Maybe.  It is a bit of a cliffhanger ending to get you to come back.  But, spoilers, the television story has a lousy unresolved ending too.  Or it might if I ever write it.

Talk to you soon.

Locke – A review

I haven’t written in a while, but I watched a movie yesterday that I want to talk about.

Locke is a thriller starring Tom Hardy. You likely know Hardy as Bane is the last Batman movie. It is an odd thriller because it isn’t about a crime or killer. But the term is apt due to its suspense. Twice I had to pause the movie to process what was going on.

That intensity was what made the movie so cool. It is odd as well. Hardy plays a character called Ivan Locke. He is the only character on screen for the entire movie. He drives his car for an hour and a half to London while making calls on his car phone. That is it. That is the movie. Not a description that seems to imply suspense or intensity. But that is entirely the case.

It is a movie that makes you think. What kind of person is Ivan Locke? The movie certainly tells you what person he thinks he is and wants to be. It also gives you a bit of a lens into how some of those closest to him see him. Those views are not entirely the same.

The movie is about Locke’s choices and the consequences of those choices. I am not sure that people in real life often have defining moments. Sometimes we are courageous. Sometimes we are cowardly. Sometimes we are moral and sometimes not. But Locke chooses this car ride and his phones calls to be a statement that shows the person he is. That is one of the first choices he makes on screen. What type of person chooses a car all alone to be where they show their definitive character?

The movie just recently came out on DVD/online. I highly recommend it. I’ve tried to reveal as little of the plot as possible. I think it is a movie best experienced than retold.

Off to lunch for me now…

Weekly Recap

Hey! What is going on out there? I bet y’all are on holiday. Lucky you.

I spent the last week at work trying to solve a big problem. Late nights, yelling at vendors, it was not fun in so many ways. The problem continues this week although we’ve masked the symptoms.

Otherwise it was a quiet week. I read many comic books. I made a D&D character – a rhetoric professor. I was the Expendables 3 – dumb movie, lots of fun, but dumb and it had a problem 2nd act.

The big excitement was the installation of my new toilet. It is awesome. It is a magic toilet. Great.

And my maids came for the first time. My house has finally been cleaned. Of course Mom’s been over twice a week since I moved in so it wasn’t the disaster it should have been. But it was nicer after.

Finally, I won Glen More when we played Friday night. Whiskey and taverns. Yep. Good stuff.

That was the week that was.

Enjoy your holiday!

D&D 5e

I entioned the new version in my blog yesterday. I wanted to expand on my brief comments a bit

I quite like reading the new edition. Of course, there is no way to tell if it is good without making some characters, an adventure and playing the game, but the ruleset seems good.

The Basic Rules free online PDF released all the same core rules as the Player’s Handbook a couple months ago. So there weren’t many rule surprises within the tome.

The art style and direction of the new PHB is quite good. It is similar to that used in 4e, but perhaps a bit less garish. It certainly makes the book an attractive artefact to use.

The division of the book into sections is really straightforward and makes sense to me. Non-combat resolution is all in one chapter. Combat resolution is another, adventuring/exploration in a third.

But the big additions were all the character options added in the PHB. Gone is the sameness of the 4e classes. Each class definitely has its own feel to it again, but without going back to different rule systems for each class.

That being said some of the classes do have their own rule systems. The most common rule system used is ‘points’ – like sorcerer points or bardic inspiration points. But how each class expends the points is a bit different.

The warlock wild mage has its own wild magic system too that is completely different and quite complex. There are some classes that just do things a bit differently.

The Ranger and Druid are introduced in this book. That means the animal companion and sharp change rules are here. They seemed interesting and well integrated. I liked them. I did think it odd that Wizard’s Find Familiar is still the same old style spell rather than using a rule system similar to companions and shape changed folks.

The classes offer good variety, but within each class there are at lest two sub classes (8 for wizards!). These are thematic and interesting. It is a similar approach to kits, but fully integrated into each class. Splatbooks will obviously be able to include more of these.

One of the big hits against 4e was its lack of roleplaying support. 5e has a full chapter on it – alignments are back. Neutral is now portrayed as lacking strong moral convictions. Not sure about that, but Neutral has always been problematic. Add to that traits, ideals, bonds and the background system. I think the result should be well rounded characters. As experienced role-players, our 4e folks still had a lot of character. But as an overall direction for the game I approve.

I also like the background rules. So roleplaying ideas, some packages of equipment and skills and some small features that only work along with roleplaying. It seems to be a workable system.

Finally the feat system. That is newly detailed in the PHB. It is optional. At any level where a character gets a stat boost, they can take a feat instead. That means the feat must be equivalent to a +1 to hit, damage or casting. Because the power slope is not as steep, losing on these these either might be huge or not as important. I’m not sure. But taking a bunch of feats will likely not be a popular approach. Some feats still allow a +1 to a stat along with a related benefit. Others offer a small list of benefits to be equivalent.

I’ll need to see them in play to fully judge.

After me initial read through that is what struck me. I like it. Interesting mutation of the rules.

Today is recap day.

It was an exciting week. Ok not really. But it could have been.

I got to hang out with some VIPs at work. I think it went well. Everyone now knows my name.

Wednesday was boring at work. I actually had no meetings and worked on paperwork. But then there was Thursday and Friday. They were crazy. Issues and a project in neutral popped the clutch and slammed into gear.

Almost all my buddies are gone on holiday. Fortunately my brother is still around. Otherwise it could have been a lonely week.

That kidney stone was a pest all week. No great pain, but it would shift to let me know it’s there every second day.

I started reading The Shining. I find the book scary. I read only a chapter or two at a time. From page one the sense of doom is prevalent.

I also got a new Daniel Abraham book. So that is now the top of my reading pile.

The last book I read is a history of RPG companies in the 70s called Designers and Dragons. 400 pages – it was awesome. Three more volumes to come – 80s, 90s and 00s. I’m excited about them all. The book was probably my highlight of the week.

I watched some movies and tv. I’m watching Cosmos. The scientific history is great. The shots at religion a bit less so. I watched Oldboy. That is an experience.

I went to the folk fest. Unfortunately it wasn’t for me this year. Mostly I was hot and burning and bored. I came home looking like Tim after he’s been outside for 5 minutes. The first band I saw was the best. Then they went downhill.

All week I was waiting for the release of D&D. It didn’t disappoint. It is a beautiful book. The basic rules posted earlier are reprinted here. So there aren’t many new rules. But the character options are finally laid out. It is a great presentation and rack class looks interesting to play (with maybe the exception of the Sorceror). You read a class and are comforted by the return of classic features and then bam! There is also something new.

With all my other reading, I still have some races, backgrounds and the spell lists to examine. Cool.

Now it is back to work.

Take care all.


Hmm. Hi blog.

Since last I wrote several of the things below have occurred:

- I went on vacations.
– I kinda bought a toilet and some new flooring.
– I had another kidney stone attack.
– I saw several movies, read a few books and perused many comics.
– I’ve taken a non- Dats bus to see how they work with wheelchairs.
– I’ve watched lots of bad tv.
– I’ve pondered deep thoughts and Important questions that have gone unanswered for decades. Questions like Who let the dogs out? And Where’s the beef?
– I’ve paid some of my bills and debts. Still have debts outstanding to friends and family.
– I am eagerly waiting for the PHB release on Friday.

Hopefully I’ll write a post about something soon.


Thinking off and praying for close friends in need:

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.

Pour down your blessing O Lord to our parents, benefactors, friends and enemies.
Help the poor and sick and those in their last agonies.
Convert all heretics and unbelievers.
O God of mercy, show goodness and mercy to the souls of the faithful in purgatory.
Put an end to all suffering.
And grant all those for whom we are particularly bound to pray, external life, rest and happiness.