Thursday, February 28, 2008

4.0, and why I'm mad at WOTC

Where to start.

D&D 4.0 is coming out soon. I'm skeptical of it in a lot of ways because a lot of things they're doing feel like fan service add ons that change the essential feel of the game, and the rest of it feels like they're making an MMO

Which I would be all in favor of if it was a video game. MMOs work great online, on a video game system, and preferably on a PC. The formulas which make good ones DO NOT WORK as dice games.

That's part of the rant.

The rest of the rant deals with my key problem that I have with D&D 3.5, the current edition. There's another rant here, mid rant, but I'm fairly certain I've already given it, and the gist of it is that 3.5 was bullshit, and that 3.0 was released before it was done, because Wizard of the Coast has to pay for coke and whores (and coke for their whores) somehow.

Anyway my main gripe with D&D as it is now is that there's too much errata. I have a few players in the group I'm DMing that are upset that I've limited them to only Eight books. Counting all the races of, the completes, and the various other crap there are probably upwards of 30 books, and it pisses me off because they keep expanding on things they've already expanded upon. There's a very simple rule that I would love them to use. If you've already made a whole book of errata focusing on one thing, you can't make any more books for that thing. Complete Arcane should've meant that they weren't allowed to make complete mage. The Draconomicon should've meant that they weren't allowed to make Dragon Magic. Libris Mortis should've had a giant BY DM DISCRESSION ONLY sticker on the front of it.

And if they're going to make book after book after book of errata at least make it all realtively the same power level. The ones who are mad about my restrictions are the ones who want to make their character into unstoppable power gods, and that's not the point. It's D&D, there's a person controlling what's going on, if you're super powerful it becomes craps without the gambling. The goal here is to create a challenge, to create a sense of triumph, and if you hand one player the rules for being a Dragonfire adept and someone else is playing a fighter then you've fucked up!.

And you can't say that I'm not right about that. You. Just. Cant. I have proof. Nerds who are playing along at home go get your players handbook, and then go get your spell compendium, and if you can get your PHB2. I for one only own one of those books, that's the way I like it because the spell compendium has been outdated since a month after they printed it, and the PHB2 is overpowered. Now, in relative power. Compare any class in the PHB, to a duskblade. Also, look up quicken spell, look up expedious retreat, and then look up the bullshit spell "Swift expedious retreat" which is a version of it for the same damn class and quickened for no reason. You want to update how expedious retreat works? fine, but don't make a new separate spell, just change the existing spell.

Damn futile rage. I'm so full of it, but it's just so... futile.


This is a reminder mostly to myself about topics I need to address in this blog.

-Psych Student Syndrome, Andro/Estro

-Korean MMOs, and Podcasts

-The Third veil (explanatory not expository) [Decided against it]

-Making a routine of it [Done]

-What now (aikido) [Done]

-Vestigial Lizard Reflexes

-Why Comp 111 should've been a different class, plus a lecture

-The War on Sleep [Done]

-Go check up on "On Gods and Champions II." There's gotta be some way to finish that post without it looking like the deranged manifesto of a would be cult leader.

Unrelated note to self. Consider starting a cult.

I'm taking bets now as to how many of these I actually get to. I'm guessing somewhere around 5.

Buckets o Fail

Why is it that MS spell checker thinks that "position o privilege" is a perfectly viable phrase?

After Firefox spell check teaches me how to spell privilege of course.

This is just greater proof that I'm smart enough to engage in verbosity utilizing a diverse and sometimes impromptu lexicon featuring a plethora of phrases and references, both literary and contemporary, but I'm still too lazy to spell any of it right.

Thank you spell check.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I've been thinking about my problems and ambitions recently. They're basically the same thing insofar as ambitions that aren't being fulfilled are just problems. The root, after thorough analysis, can be expressed in one of two ways.

Sleep or Routine.

The former informs the latter, which necessitates the former. The ambitions list is complex, but speaking strictly regarding the ones which can be addressed here they can fit into two essential points. Physical and Mental. Both of them necessitate getting out of the apartment more, spending time respectively at the wannabe studying/reading/doing free tarot readings, and spending more time at [planned exercise location here].

The way I see it the solution is two fold. The first involves me getting the damn hell up and doing stuff. As always I am the greatest barrier to my success. The second involves me solving the grand mystery of my sleep schedule. That one may be a bit more complex, particularly because it is, ultimately, the root of the issue.

Chemical Enlightenment

A recent podcast about a person living at 0 testosterone brings up an interesting idea. A few quick very key points from the discussion.

-0 Desire (for anything)
-Constant sense that the world around him is beautiful
-A mind without passion

This is eerily close to what Buddhists consider enlightenment.

An Apology

My apologies to readers and to the afflicted for my complaint about the fire fox built in spell checker, and the work lycanthorpe.

I've run into enough words in a similar vein that the program didn't know, so I didn't recognize that I was spelling it wrong, and it is in fact lycanthrope.

I'd like to pause here to note that my apology is not to fire fox, which also doesn't know the word lycanthrope. Those of you afflicted by lycanthropy, in whatever form, should consider suing them for discrimination. If your legal threats don't work, try reminding them that you're all were-creatures of various sorts, and threatening them the good old fashion way.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Killing Me By Inches

Local Fox News has slipped ever further.

"The top two American Idolist men, find out which one once dated Brittany Spears, tonight at 11."

I don't watch the show, but the commercials alone are killing me.

Friday, February 22, 2008


There are a great number of ways in which I am a warped person. I spend enough time engaging alternate realities, ones of fantasy, that I have within myself a whole plethora of knowledge that has essentially no application. I, for example, would feel confident in my ability to ward off any of a large number of supernatural threats. I'm much less confident of that now because I left my supernatural defense kit in Houston, but I still feel fairly sure of at least knowing how I would have fought that particular un-seelie foe before I'm cast into the eternal torment of the wyrd.

Also, for the record, the supernatural defense kit is not a joke. I really have one.

One more tangent. The Firefox spell checker, very useful tool, is hopelessly lacking in the lexicon of the supernatural. I just had to teach mine lycanthorpe, undead, and wyrd. Bonus points to anyone who stopped to wonder why because I haven't used those words in this entry. That particular paragraph got a bitter handful of the editorial process.

My familiarity with the monster manual is not the only way in which I am broken. In discussing the idea of the gradual integration of ideas into the news media in order to prepare to masses for some move on the part of the The Powers™ I immediately remembered the technocrats from yet another game, Mage the Awakening. The premise of the game is a bit tricky, but the salient story is that the technocrats are a form of shadow government using super science in the place of magic. One of the key mechanics of this game is that people using magic, including the technocrats, get zapped if they use it around sleepers, people who aren't awake to the supernatural. This is known as Paradox, and so called because it is the backlash you get from humanity's collective belief that you can't do magic, making your ability to use magic paradoxical. The way the technocrats are getting around this is by masking their magic in the guise of technology. The best example of this is a technocrat communicator. They release, lets say, the iPhone into the collective consciousness. It communicates at a distance, in ways that they don't really understand. So when a technocrat is using a magical device that isn't dependent on wi-fi and can do things like scrying, people will write it off as being a piece of high tech gadgetry, and paradox won't zap them.

See what I mean by broken? What we were discussing was a very real and present threat to the masses, a problem that will have to be confronted, but the metaphor that I used to understand it was a fantasy realm. Even little things begin to click on weird levels. A girl in class today gave a particularly insightful answer to a question just as her cell phone jingled, and without pausing to consider it I thought:

She must've gotten bonus points for that one.

Bonus points!? What the hell man?

Here's the worst part of it though. It's not just that my brain is beginning to fry and my gamer knowledge is seeping in, it's that I'm deviating. I've tossed the word deviant around a lot, and I've been labeling myself one for some time now, but only recently would I say that's really become true. The turning point, the thing that makes me a real deviant, is the sheer breadth of inappropriate knowledge and perspective that I have access too. There are a number of topics that society just doesn't approve of. Politics, if you're not taking a blue team read team stance. Sex, if you're not condemning it. Religion, if you're not giving a feel good message. The Poor, if you're actually talking to and interacting with them instead of just saying you feel bad for them and that they should be helped. Philosophy, if you've gotten to the point where you're willing to question everything. The more extreme art forms, if you're going to them for more then shock value.

All of these things have slipped into my mind, and it's lead to a phenomenon which is occurring more and more often. Something will trigger a thought, and immediately after having it, I'll be shocked by how societally reprehensible it is, and how mundane it seems to me. I was watching south part earlier tonight and someone threated to cut off someone else's dick. I don't remember why, but it's South Park, what did you really expect. And as soon as I heard that my thoughts weren't about terror or outrage, they were "Many tribal cultures in and around new guinea practice a ritual form of male menstruation in which they walk out into the surf, masturbate themselves to erection, then slash their own glans with a crab claw, allowing themselves to bleed into the water until they become light headed."

I'll pause for a moment to let any non-deviant male readers recover from that sentence. If Adam is any kind of barometer the thought is apparently a shocking one to you normals. That I not only do think random things like that, but think these things without horror, and that my subsequent thoughts are about the nature of purification rituals and the idea that society would've been less patriarchal if a society which practiced a male menstruation ritual had risen to power is the proof of my deviance. It's important to note here that the rituals are universally viewed (in the cultures they apppear) as being done to give the men something that girls get naturally, nearly always a mode of purification.

There's a lot more of these things, far too many to get into, but there's one other important note in this. I'm warped, I'm not broken. I'm not the only one like this. There are a great many others. There's Kevin, for example. People who have this kind of deviant mindset, this combination of unnecessary obscura and a mind that's a bit more open then society actually approves of are all around you, and I bet that unless you really got to know us, you wouldn't notice, because we still fit. We're not the normal shape, we're weird, but we're just warped, not broken. And we're really not hurting anyone. The worst we'll do is embarrass ourselves and maybe force you to learn a few weird words, like "obscura."

Friday, February 08, 2008

One Point

Part of the Aikido training is learning to move from one point, what I immediately filtered into the already known quantity of the red chakra. The amount of Ki/Chi/Parana lexicon used in class varies from one instructor to the next, but is usually kind of low, so I find myself reinforcing the ideas in a language a bit different from the ones they used.

Anyway, I've got the idea down, but I've got one key problem with Aikido. My core is absolutely killing me. When I sit or stand, or do any movement when laying down it uses that incredibly sore muscle set. I used to think this was a strain or a tear or something more along the lines of an injury, but I can see now that it's just epic sore, because everything I do, from rolling, to throwing, to the step exercises all focuses around moving from that one point. And the muscles around that point are dying. This will, of course, correct itself in time, but in the meantime I find myself wincing a lot more then I like to.


-I'm not sure if I've mentioned it yet, but I've been writing "On Gods and Champions II" for a while now. I really should finish it.

-The WannaBee Cafe a diagonal block away has always been a place that I wanted to succeed. It's a small independent coffee place with a very nice feel about it. The only real problem is that I'm not a fan of coffee. I like mocha in certain situations, but those aren't very common. It's been an issue of mine, I want to support them, but they aren't for me. I've found a way to make it work recently though. It's a combination of two key facts. They make delicious things which are basically sandwiches. I say basically because they call them paninis. I'm pretty sure this is the same coffee shop lexicon that calls large things ventei and medium things grande, which is either a bit of cultural flair or a bit of bullshit, depending on what mood you're in at the time. The second key thing is that it's a great atmosphere to get my reading done. It's a bit difficult to do it at home because I'm either in a room with my computer or our X-Box, and eventually one of those always wins.

-Why do I keep running into strangely attractive women in positions of semi-authority, which make them a bit distant, when I'm just trying to work on my academics?

-There's a line from Soul Caliber, the Arcade version of it, which strikes an oddly sympathetic cord with me. It's just the games intro voice saying the last part of the intro "Welcome back, To the Stage of History." I almost never played Soul caliber. I'm not a huge fan of Soul Caliber. Why do I care that much?

-I think we have new neighbors, but I think they may be ninjas. I keep seeing clues of them just out of my range of interaction.

-Swords of the New World. Very well done Korean MMO. Be warned that it has all the hallmarks of that specific national Genre, but I'll discuss that further later. For now just note that it's pretty good and it's free.

Monday, February 04, 2008


- I finally got the Standing, fall backwards, roll forwards up to one knee thing down. I managed to do it perfectly first try this evenining.

-I also pulled a muscle in my core while doing that.

-I have a way to help ease pulled muscles, a kind of massage trick Jennifer Rosenthal showed me way back when. The only problem is that this one is either an ab, or the thing next to the abs, so there's an inch or so of fat between me and the actual muscle.

-Taco Bell's one and only contribution to society is the creation of the idea of "Fourth Meal"

-One of the many games nerds play is classifying people in the D&D system. I'm traditionally called a half giant, for obvious reasons, but I was thinking about this earlier. I think of most things as being an art form. I view combat as an honorable art, not a means of killing things. I have an affinity for the arcane. I encourage a highly liberal society. I have an affinity for nature, and my Utopian society involves doing a minimal amount of work in close harmony with nature, living without excess so that most of peoples time can be spent singing and playing and doing various arts. I'm not a half giant, I'm an elf.

-Having my phone charged doesn't do anything if I keep forgetting to turn it back on after lectures.

-Hormonal birth control is interesting. My desire for a hormone dart gun is returning, the only difference is that I've added estrogen and progesterone to the list of darts I need.

-Fun fact. Modern hormonal birth control carefully mods the hormones affect the cycle. The older kinds just soaked the whole thing in way too much of everything, and nuked the whole process.