Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Death Hunt Vs. Eye Of Fire

8/27/14

I’m calling it ‘The Failure World Tour’.  The vast majority of my time working in my chosen field I have had very little difficulty finding employment.  In fact most of the time I’ve had options and been forced to choose where I want to work.  How will did that work out for me 8 years ago in hindsight?  But I digress; I generally have had my pick.  There is a reason for that; I’m exceptional at what I do.

It isn’t bragging it is simply a fact.  I know I’m good at what I do, and I have no difficulties getting that across to people.  That is why this ‘Failure World Tour’ has been so damn vexing.  I go to interview after interview and am told that I’m good, but for whatever reason they are going in a different direction, or I’m not ‘exactly’ what they are looking for right now, or in the case of last Friday they hired someone before they interviewed me.

Yeah, you read that right.  A reputable organization had me take off time, drive to St. Paul, take a test, and sit in a lobby for 35 minutes only to tell me they filled the position.  Then they tried to sell me on doing a job I did about 17 years ago.  I was gracious in the face of this humiliation and held my composure till I got in the car and left.  This has been the story of me trying to find something and somewhere better to ply my trade.

This whole ‘Tour’ has really given my confidence a hit.  It has also made me think very long and hard about whether I want to stay in an industry that seems to thrive on an environment so pseudo-professionalism as a veneer to hide the failings of people in positions of leadership that either don’t know what they are doing or just don’t care all that much.  I wasn’t sure I could be treated with less respect than I am Mon. through Fri., hence the desire to leave, but during this process I have found that it isn’t just ‘here’, it is everywhere.

This makes me think that it is an industry standard, and that just maybe everywhere I’d been previously was the exception.  That thought terrifies me.  What frightens me even more is that maybe it isn’t just the industry I am in.  What if I stretch my wings and move out of Human Services into another area and find that it is the same Junior High popularity contest, back biting, gossiping, and incompetence?  Is this what ‘work’ is?  A place where the least common denominator has failed upwards to perch upon its throne of ineptitude and arbitrarily casts its judgments down upon the sycophant masses?  Do we have to suffer this shit with a smile, chomp it down, force that grin out, and ask for another?

Gawds, I hope not.  I’m struggling to find the motivation to go out and continue to pound the pavement, put myself out there, and go through this.  Is the Devil I know better than continuing to explore all these new fresh Hells?  I’m just not sure.  I wish I was, but the constant disrespect and rejection has been hard for me to swallow down.  I am having a problem deciding whether or not I’ve had my ‘fill’, and does it even matter if I have?  Something has got to give at some point.

Perhaps the head down, move forward, and keep swinging will be the approach that eventually gets me what I want, but currently…Currently I’m taking it on the chin, and I have found I don’t particularly like it…
How about we fire up some…

RANDOM CRAP!

- All those things I said above are true.  Not only that but they give me terrible anxiety, nightmares, stress poops, affect my confidence, and are hard for me to deal with.  For 40 hours a week.  You see my personal life has never, EVER, been better.  I am blessed with amazing people in my world, an amazing wife who supports me no matter what, and Friends, Friends that have re-affirmed my faith in humanity in a lot of ways.  SO while I vent and am frustrated by that part of my life, it is only a small part and one that I’m gladly willing to suffer through as long as the payoff is that I have the people in my life outside of that 40 hour bubble that I currently do.  Just thought I should clarify.

- If you are in the market for an amazing custom Action Figure contact Dave Wheeler of Mindwave Studios.  He will hook you up!

- I had to mow last night.  It was miserable.  What was worse was the drainage hose from the furnace somehow got clogged sometime over the weekend and then overflowed all over the basement.  So our carpet was soaked in some spots, smelled awful, and we’ve been running fans on that area now for about 24 hours to dry it out.  I didn’t even know that hose could get clogged as I understood it only took on condensation.  Turns out that calcium builds up in there and it can indeed get clogged and you need to flush it.  There are so many things that a guy like me just doesn’t either know or understand about what you need to do with your house.  Times like last night make me feel like I am SO far out of my depth as an adult.  We had to move everything, clean the tube thoroughly, which was pretty friggin’ gnarly, and then dry the carpet as much as possible with towels.  It was the drizzlin’ poos.  As for the mowing the problem becomes that the lawn is so flippin’ full of holes that my right ankle gives up and turns in, so I end up doing the last third walking on the side of my foot or turning it all the way out.  My left ankle has the surgery supports in it, the right one has broken a few times, but no screws or plates are in there so it just gets wobbly.  Then my calves start to feel like they are going to tear off the bone.  I remember being in high school and Dr. Matt had horrible shin splints and we’d give him a LOT of grief about it, well that and his ‘Barrel Chest’.  If it felt like this Dr. Matt, then I am sorry for being an unrepentant dick back then.  Suffice to say I’m worn out.

- I really need to grill this weekend.

- Holy crap, THANK YOU to THE Karl, La Randita Rojo, ‘Casual’ Doug, & Master Kedrin 4.0 for the computer upgrade, the Doug Craft invite, the Mead and potential Gluten Free beer, and this strange mystery project that I’m being taunted with.  I look forward to Friday night’s Movie-A-Thon where we can all kick back, have a beverage or ten, watch bad flicks, and laugh.  Steel thyselves because Friday night will be a SOMBRERO NIGHT!

- I can’t wait for fall so we can fire pit it up every damn weekend.

- Last Thursday was 3rd Group D&D and it was shit.  I have had some time to mentally digest it and overall it boils down to 4 points; 1) I was fried, 2) The room wasn’t that in to it that night, 3) We were missing the sessions Co-DM & one of the players, & 4) The expectations were skewed.  The players wanted to kill Uwain.  They were completely focused on this idea of getting to this character they have grown to despise and slitting his throat in the most humiliating way possible.  While Zack and I were building a death trap out of 4 Encounters made to challenge with a story telling finale.  When reality and expectation crash into each other at full speed without passion you have a shit session.  The Monks and the radiating columns were diabolical in nature and the PC’s just were not feeling it.  I didn’t have the energy level to wring the fun out of it, and in the end I think it just left all of us frustrated.  I hate, H-A-T-E-, sessions like that.  It makes me question why I run.  At the same time, there was a strange desire by the group at large to come back and finish the ‘Quest’, and even some bizarre admiration of the nastiness of that room so that gives me a desire to see this through.  So in a few weeks we are going to pick up where we left off and play through to the bitter end.  I am putting the pressure squarely on my shoulders to make it something special.

- We missed the first episode of Doctor Who, I am sad.

- Last weekend we had the Niece and Nephew for their Summer Slumber Party ’14.  We built D&D Kre-O’s, Hasbro’s answer to LEGO’s, on Friday night.  Couple that with a slew of the Chinese LEGO super hero knock-offs I’d been hoarding just for this and you had a building extravaganza.  I have to say that if you like LEGO’s and D&D then go to your local Toys R’ Us and get some of these Kre-O’s as they are currently like 50% off.  In fact if you buy one of their ‘blind’ figure packs, where you get one mini-figure for like $1.50, there is a coupon for $3 off any other Kre-O D&D product over $15!  And with the clearance on these items the most expensive set is like $16.  We spent like $30 and got the three box builds and one ‘blind’ mini-figure.  It was a steal.  I plan on going back and getting more next month which is how impressed I was.  As for the Chinese mini-figures, if you are on Ebay they are a great deal as well, but then again I am a miser and like my LEGO’s on the cheap.  They aren’t perfect, but they’ll do.  Saturday we had a delicious brunch of crepes, watched the LEGO Movie (***** out of 5), and then adjourned to the basement for a four hour EPIC NAVAL War!  I made up some rules loosely based on the dice comparison rules from the upcoming Dungeon Saga game, ON KICKSTARTER NOW!  We picked our ships, made up our crews, and then rolled for stats.  Madeline was Captain Lady Orange of the Skull Girl flotilla, Sean was Captain Sea Dragon of the Empire-X fleet, and I was Captain Curly Jones of the Scurvy Dawgs.  We had islands to explore, some random monsters to fight, and fact that we all three wanted to sink each other’s boats.  In the end Madeline sunk Sean, and she and I engaged in a really nasty battle that came down to just who could roll better, and I came out JUST ahead.  It was a great time.  We laughed, we yelled, we danced, and we had a blast.  Then after a great dinner, Maddy & Cassandra made a delicious Gluten Free cake while Sean and I busted out LEGO Marvel Super Heroes on Xbox 360.  What a phenomenal game, wow!  In fact we played till like 11:30pm at night because we just HAD to beat Venom.  Sunday we got up and had a light breakfast, fixed our Kre-O castle set-up which had gotten dropped and fell apart, while Maddy and Cassandra made necklaces.  Eventually, Ant came and retrieved his brood and Cassandra and I could finally relax.  I was a great time, and I hope we made some memories.  I might post the pictures at some point if anyone who I don’t interact with on ‘Teh Fazebookz’ wants to see them.

- Nothing makes my day like hearing my lovely wife giggling from the next office over about something I said in an e-mail.  THAT is something I will miss when I leave the place that currently pays me.

- Saturday is a Board Game Day.  That means that I will finally be playing Lords Of Waterdeep.  Now I know The Geneious and Sassie Cassie aren’t going to be able to make it, but ‘Casual’ Doug IS going to be there, as is Electric Elyssa, Magic Mike, THE Karl, Master Kedrin 4.0, and numerous others.  SO I will be able to bust that bad boy out and FINALLY play it and the expansion.  I’m excited to try Elder Sign and possibly the expansion to City Of Thieves.  That doesn’t even take into account getting to play Kings Of Tokyo, Super Fight, Settlers, and maybe if we have enough people Werewolves Of Millers Hollow!

- I want to Podcast next week, anyone in?

- Dungeon Saga on Kickstarter is down to under 5 days to go and well over $530,000.00 in ‘the bank’.  A second expansion is being filled out with each stretch goal met.  In all honestly if you go look and see the amount of stuff you get for $100 it is ridiculous.  So again I’m imploring all of you love Dungeon Crawl Board Games to go throw your cash in and get aboard for the final stretch run.

- THE Karl hooked me up with this swanky exercise bike.  Next week I start to use it.

- I have a hard time letting people go.  It is a strange thing.  I have people who move to the peripheral of my existence and yet I struggle to close that chapter with them.  Whether it is because I can’t ask for stuff back or just have this strange fear of cutting the cord with them because I’m afraid of how it will end I struggle with that.  It isn’t like in some cases where things come to a head, confrontation occurs, and then it becomes adversarial.  This is that lingering relationship that has ceased to mean what it did, but still clings.  I feel like I have to get better at that.

- For those who know…”Ditto”.

- We watched the latest episode of The Chris Gethard Show the other day and it was the panel taking calls on whether or not they should keep doing the show.  Gethard seems to feel trapped and burned out by this beast he’s created.  It felt like he’d already made up his mind to end the show, with the exception of now wanting to do two more episodes based upon two of the calls/callers.  I can understand that.  I sometimes find that some of my endeavors can feel like I am obligated to them more than enjoying them, and I’m NO where near as successful or as talented as Chris Gethard.  So I can understand his desire or even need to move away from his show and do something he finds himself more inspired by.  That being said, I have NO desire for this show to EVER end.  When you find something that just speaks to you in a strange way, you never want it to go away.  It is a strange show; you get to feel like you know the people on it and in a way since you enjoy it you feel like they ‘get’ you.  To have that go away so quickly after finding it would suck.  If it does I plan on writing a letter to Chris Gethard just to thank him.  It is rare to find something that inspires thought; laughs, empathy, and self-reflection while watching someone get pummeled by a double ended dildo or have people make burritos on their belly.

I think that is all I have today.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Aftermath Vs. Liquid Sky

8/18/14

It seems like every large subject I have to yammer on about ends up as a Podcast, so I guess you’ll just have to settle for a heaping spoonful of…

RANDOM CRAP!

- We’ve done like 10 hours’ worth of Podcast material in the last 10 days or so.  All if it very different, and all of it turned out really well in my humble opinion.  It is all over the place as far as content, humor, and seriousness.  So what I’m saying is there is something for everyone between Antagonist Relations, Heel Turn Radio, & the Insecurity Blanket Podcast.

- Thank you to the Nick World Order for all the free RPG/free Comic Book swag.  That was awfully incredible of you sir.

- Congrats to Magic Mike on the engagement!

- The streaming service for the WWE Network was awful last night.  It is frustrating to sit and have them constantly shilling $9.99 and then have my service buffering constantly and the feed cut out twice.  That being said we were really down on the ‘Product’ prior to the show’s start; however it was a very entertaining show, shockingly so.  Oh and that main event was every Jern hater’s wet dream.  Watching Bork Lazer SMASH for 20 plus minutes and have Super-Cena get in literally 5 moves the entire match while taking about 20 suplexes was epic.  As quiet as we were last year with frustration at the screwing of Daniel Bryan we were just as smugly satisfied and quiet at the beat down ‘The Beast’ gave ‘The Champ’.  And that made all the buffering worthwhile. 

- Oh and congrats to Master Kedrin 4.0, new L.E.W.G.I. member for tying for the win in PPV picks. 

- Speaking of L.E.W.G.I., Sunday was our 1 year L.E.W.G.I.-versary.  I said this on the Podcast, I hugged my brethren mightily, and I even took it to ‘teh Fazebookz’ and shouted it out loud; THANK YOU!  It has been a year of meeting new people, forming new Friendships, enjoying more wrestling than a bunch of rambunctious adults should be allowed, eating more great grub than I need, and having more discussions about things that I truly adore than I thought possible.  James & his Magical Beard and I discussed a few weeks ago while roasting succulent meats over a flame about how life is odd in that people come and go out of it, but that when you find your group of people it really is something spectacular.  In the last year and a half or so I’ve found my ‘Peeps’, and it has been amazing.  So thank you to my L.E.W.G.I. ‘Family’, and know that this is only the beginning.

- I buzzed through Tim Pratt’s “Reign Of Stars” (**** out of 5) over the last few days.  This is a follow-up to City Of The Fallen Sky and picks up where we left Skiver and Alaeron post that adventure.  The reality is I dig Skiver and Alaeron as characters.  From Alaeron’s hyper focus and almost Autistic Spectrum Disorder mind, to Skiver’s devious, lecherous, but remarkably loyal outlook they are just two characters I thoroughly enjoy reading about, very similar to my enjoyment of Radovan and Count Jeggare.  While I don’t think that this tale is quite as immersive as the previous entry in the series, you just can’t help but be enthralled because Mr. Pratt has crafted such damn likable and intriguing characters.  This time we go knee deep into the land of Numeria and the intrigues of the Technic League.  This is where Alaeron fled pre-City Of The Fallen Sky, and we finally see the consequences of that decision.  As a non-Pathfinder player I found Numeria and its dichotomy of barbarism and stolen technology to be fascinating and to me a bit reminiscent of the Hawkmoon stories by Michael Moorcock.  The politicking is the main focus as the book, which is a strange bait and switch as I expected more of an exploration tale like we received in the first tale and less of the machinations of the League, and the caper that takes place towards the end.  This book is a hodge podge of a story that works, not just because of the main two characters, but because Tim Pratt knows how to make you want to turn the next page.  And then the next page.  AND then the next page.  So if you are looking for some fun fantasy reading that is more than a bit different than the norm make sure you take the time to read City Of The Fallen Sky and its follow-up Reign Of Stars.

- Last Friday night was 1st Group’s trip into the Iron Mountain.  Zack really shouldered the load as I was just fried.  I was fried to the point I couldn’t really even complete sentences and had a meltdown after everyone left.  When I go to long with that little sleep I eventually hit a wall and I did, and I hit it really hard.  I slept more though the last few days and while I’m nowhere near 100% I am far better than I was.  Now I just need to get back on a regular schedule.  Anywho, no one cares about that crap, you guys (all ten of you) want to know how D&D went.  Well a few months back Zack showed me this giant Robot encounter he had constructed and it was beautiful.  There was a simplicity about it that made it deadly, but easy to manage.  However we couldn’t just give them a one encounter evening, so we also put together a devious hallway full of really great traps which added a TON of tension to the session and really challenged the PC’s.  I know it was a source of consternation for some, but I thought it stretched them to the limit, made them be inventive, and in the end added to the game.  Sandwiching these two encounters were two heavy Role Playing Encounters.  The first had to do with introducing Jimini Xmas, James’ Bard, to the group, dealing with the fallout of Larry Charmin, Gene’s PC, finally coming into contact with his mortal enemy Hugo Burlington, and handling the politicking of the Baroness.  I thought it went well; it started off poorly as without me being totally there mentally the PC’s went a little bit wild.  That will happen.  There is a LOT of personalities in that room, not to mention 8 players, who will push and who have an agenda of their own.  When I am on my game I excel at handling that, when I am in that mental state where I can even pronounce words, not so much.  However, we got through, had some fun, and moved forward.  The final social encounter came out of strange circumstances.  Zack and I had really planned for the Elder Wyrm, Gorgel, or the Baroness to go through the portal to shut it and therefor take the massive Shard, and ascend to Godhood.  And yes, I know THE Karl, I said it seemed like it was at least 35 Shards, and that 35 is not 50.  C’mon THE Karl, that kills people!  Anywho, I am going to blame it on lack of focus and sleep, rather than my ability to remember how to count.  It was 50 Shards, RETCON!  Magic Mike’s Genasi Mage, Oxalic, has ascended to Godhood.  I think the best part about it is he did it completely selflessly, he did it perfectly in character, and he did it without even thinking about the potential of what he would become.  I also dug it because it completely crap housed our preconceptions of how the session would end, and we rolled with it beautifully.  Cassandra said something interesting on our way to ‘The Cloud’ on Saturday morning.  She said Zack excels at putting the DANGER in the game, he builds encounters that challenge PC’s in new and different ways, he teaches the game as he runs, and he does it all easily.  In contrast I tell stories.  I bring the DRAMA to the game, I challenge PC’s to get immersed in the game, and I challenge you to have fun.  Together we make a pretty amazing tandem.  I thought it one of the highest compliments I have been paid as part of a DM duo.  In the end we adjusted Gorgel took the city, Larry Charmin cashed in his ‘favor’ and Hugo Burlington died horribly, earning the PC’s enemies in his son, Ernesto Burlington, and the now outcast Baroness, and the PC’s headed home.  In doing so they headed right into the teeth of the 2nd Barony Wars.  You see Zack and I have plotted out the broad strokes of what 1st Group will be doing in its final 8 sessions and I for one am beyond pumped.  I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to enjoy the D&D story telling experience with, and I don’t think there is ANYONE out there that compliments my running style and tall tale telling like Zack.  So a hearty THANK YOU to Group 1, I can’t wait to see where the next 8 sessions take us.

- I have almost entirely abandoned the DVR for YOUTube and The Chris Gethard Show right now.  This will make the transition when we dump our cable/satellite provider all the more easy.  Currently it is all I want to watch.

- Casual Doug is one of my favorite people in the world.  Oh and thank you to La Randita for the Honey Mead!  YES!

- Dungeon Saga has shot past $400,000.00 with just over ten days to go.  I can’t state enough that if you dig Dungeon Crawl board games then you should go spend your hard earned ‘chedda’ on this Mantic product.  What you get for the initial buy-in of $100 is pretty damn amazing, but with all the ‘Add-ons’ and then the other kits you can grab of miniatures on the dirt cheap you could easily double that hundo and walk out with what really is a game PLUS so much more.  They haven’t given us quite as much about the Advanced Rules as I’d like, but as a company that ALWAYS seems to exceed expectations and puts the onus on not just getting the most bang for their buck, but in being a part of a growing company I expect us to get the ability to make our own characters, bring in miniatures from other games (not even just Mantic either), and for to truly get something magical here.  Ronnie and the Boyz have yet to leave me disappointed since they started Mantic so jump on board now so you don’t have to wish you did later.

- Speaking of spending, DCM apparently has another Kickstarter on the horizon, WWE 2k15 may have finally got its damnable claws in me, and there are new Pre-paints from both D&D and Pathfinder on the way.  My dollars have been stretched pretty thing so it looks like I might be laying off some of these purchases for a while.  At first this made me sort of sad, but the reality is I have yet to get any of my 5E books yet (F’ you Amazon), Deadzone has another wave in the mail, Bones II should be coming in October, my DCM minis are supposedly coming soon, and there a TON of other folks’ B-days on the horizon.  I have more than enough on my disposable income plate without going mad buy crazy. 

- Oh and we had two massive scary explosions in our life, one a house that blew up in our neighborhood and one a tire on the way to St. Cloud Sat. that almost a car to hit us.  And on the way home tonight there was a 'Jumper' on the bridge.  Life is weird.
  
- And thank you to Diamond Dave and Mighty Mike for inadvertently reminding me why we own and play games.


I think that’s all I got.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Heel Turn Radio - Episode 16 - Independently Yours

The Beard, Diamond Dave, Casual Doug, and YOUR King Ginger talk PWG's upcoming BOLA, developments in CHIKARA, Ring Of Honor, New Japan's G1 Climax tournament, NXT developments, and David's ongoing Twitter feud with Matt Hardy.  Oh and get well soon Raymond Rowe!
Heel Turn Radio - Episode 16 - Independently Yours

Heel Turn Radio - Episode 15 - LEWGIversity

The assembled L.E.W.G.I. meets in the MUDD Pit to do some poetry, pick winners for Summer Slam, talk why we are so frustrated with the 'Product', and finally show some love to a year's worth of awesome.
Heel Turn Radio - Episode 15 - LEWGIversity

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Insecurity Blanket Podcast - Episode 15 - Anxiety

Tonight The Geneious, Master Kedrin 4.0, and the Spectacular Scott of the AMAZING Delicate Sauce Podcast & the new Stories From The Mausoleum Podcast sit down and work through our feelings on Anxiety and Depression as well as a plethora of other tangents.  It is a night of laughs, honesty, and empathy.  I hope everyone gives it a listen and enjoys it.  Thanks!
Insecurity Blanket Podcast - Episode 15 - Anxiety

Antagonist Relations Podcast - Episode 8 - Dungeon World Dice Shaming

Zack and the Ginger Giant quickly touch on our current D&D games, 5E, Dungeon Saga, and Monsterhearts.  Then we dig deep into our thoughts, ideas, laments, and joyful reflections of the Birthday Dungeon World game.
Antagonist Relations Podcast - Episode 8 - Dungeon World Dice Shaming

Antagonist Relations Podcast - Episode 7 - Cave Eagles - Part 3

The EPIC finale of the Cave Eagles foray into the Goblin Slave Pits.  Not everyone will make it out unscathed.  ENJOY!
Antagonist Relations Podcast - Episode 7 - Cave Eagles - Part 3