Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Heaven Can Wait Vs. The Parallax View

* = Just an inkling of today's subject matter...

I had been debating in my head how I wanted to write this blog. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that once you say or do something that it no longer belongs to you, for better or worse, it belongs to all who perceive your actions or words. If I say or type something the intent can be lost very quickly in the thought process, perception, and emotions of the person who gets that information from me. So I am trying to be better about seeing that, remembering that, and planning for it. Operative word is ‘try’.

Today will not be one of those days. Today’s blog will be one where I’m just going to say what I want to say, mean it, and let people take it anyway they want.

I am not speaking in hyperbole when I say HOLY S*$T have we got to know some amazing people lately; just crazy nice, friendly, outgoing, and incredible people. I have to give a lot of credit to Mick who introduced us to some new people, most of which are in the 3rd D&D Group. A few of them are people we met through the place that graces us with a paycheck every two weeks. Another group has been through the creation of the League Of Extraordinary Wrestling Gentlemen, Inc., an organization that I was lucky enough to be part of at its advent.

Oh and on a side note, this isn’t meant as a slight to like Mighty Mike, the C-Fish, or the King Ghidorah Of Friendship that is the Tiny Yeti, Lady Christy, or El Bobert-O. Those folks are still amazing, but I really felt like I needed to point out some things that meant a lot to me on a personal level of late. You know beyond the fact that most of these folks seem to be able to tolerate my Ginger Rage.

At work we’ve gotten to know Kyle, who will be on the new Podcast(s) soon more on that later, Julie, & the Uncanny Lo-Ro. I have had a personal rule that I don’t make friends at work, Joe was the exception and only because he went on internship. I mainly did this because at my last place of work I was friends with a LOT of people, but once I left I sort of was no longer in the loop. It was no one’s fault, but it happened. Those people were/are great and when they weren’t as active in my life anymore it hurt. So I made a commitment to not have that happen anymore. Julie is extremely friendly and openly Nerdy so we hit it off quickly and somehow, some way she got me to run 2nd Group D&D. I still think she has magic powers that she used to bewitch me. Through her I met Edgar & Tiffany who fall into that above category of ‘You are so cool I don’t know why you’d even want to hang out with me’.
Friendly, humble, compassionate, and considerate so all the things I struggle with. That and they gave us a Puerto Rican Feast that blew my tiny mind. Kyle and I share a similar philosophy on what we do, interests, and much like Joe and I, we love to debate things. And much like Joe, Kyle is WAY smarter than I’ll ever be. He is an amoeba of information absorbing anything and everything that crosses his path. The guy challenges me to think, and I like that. This brings us to the Uncanny Lo-Ro, she who shares the office wall with as well as complete and utter love of The Venture Brothers. Once I started to talk to her I was like, “WHY THE HELL HAVE WE NOT BEEN HANGIN’ OUT!?” When you meet someone who quotes Augustus St. Cloud to you on a daily basis you don’t keep that person on the outside of the friend sphere, you drag them kicking and screaming into your inner sanctum. She sort of convinced me, along with Cassandra, to try DDP Yoga, more on that later, and has a massive interest in cartoons. She’s just a cool cat. I am breaking my personal rules by inviting these people into my life outside of the confines of where I collect a paycheck, and I think it is worth the risk.

The League Of Extraordinary Wrestling Gentlemen, Inc. originally comprised of Diamond Dave, James & his beard, Mighty Mike, the C-Fish, El Bobert-O, ‘Yo Randy’, and I has now morphed into a veritable army. I’m getting to know a great deal of very cool people through hosting PPV’s, through our super-secret webpage, and just through the shining light that is James’ beard.
The thing is for some strange reason Dave and I hit it off, especially considering that he is crazy nice and beyond creative, so I was a little worried that my surly gingerness would sour any additional folks in the room, but damn all his friends and family are cut from the same cloth. I could sit around and play video games with Bob, Cordell, James, Mike, & Dave forever, like Forever Hooligans, and NEVER get tired of it. In fact I play less because it isn’t as fun without them. One of the two new Podcasts I’ll be doing will be L.E.W.G.I.-centric. The tentative name is ‘Heel Turn Radio’. I’m thinking a roundtable of us just talking about wrestling past, present, future with a lot of craziness and laughs. It’ll be worth it just to listen to Bob and James do dueling Jim Rosses.

This brings me all the way back to D&D 3rd Group folks. Holy crap. I haven’t met a group of people that friendly in some time. It is a strange thing when you realize that they play in an Evil campaign, and are constantly talking about committing heinous acts in game. The reality is Mick has sort of assembled a super group of people who are a joy to spend time with. I’m just getting to know Spence, Jason, & Peter but all three are friendly and smart two things that I hold in high esteem. Mike, forever now known in my blog as Magic Mike (not after the movie to my knowledge), is one of those folks you meet very rarely. I have yet to hear him say anything negative about anyone. He walks into the room and just radiates positivity.
He has a wickedly creative mind and a sharp sense of humor. Top that off with the fact that he always gives more than he needs to and you have someone anyone would feel lucky to hang out with. The other two folks we’ve spent more time with lately are Karl & Kedrin. Karl might be the single most helpful person I’ve ever met. If that guy sees a problem he just ATTACKS it! You need something he just does it. He seems two steps ahead of everything around him, and as my brother used to say, “…he’s people that KNOWS people…” He’s a hell of a D&D player and has fantastic creative mind for it. I’d love to be a fly on the wall for his home game. He has helped us out with computer issues a few times now just because he’s Karl and that’s what he does. It is strange to look at Cassandra every time he or Magic Mike leaves my house and say, “How friggin’ Awesome is that guy?” His girlfriend Kedrin is a perfect compliment. She’s whip smart, has a wicked sense of humor, and has taken to D&D like a fish to water. She also has similar interests in mental health and the like as I do. I enjoy picking her brain and exchanging information on subjects of that ilk as her perspective helps me refine my own. We also found out they enjoy a good Movie-A-Thon like no one’s business. I haven’t laughed that hard, and drank that much in a LONG time. They are just a blast to hang out with.

Here is the other thing about everyone I’ve mentioned, they are givers. I used to be an awful taker. For years I just took, and took, and took. I hit a point in life where I decided I was going to try and be better and give at every opportunity. I think I’ve tried to do that. Sometimes I’ve done it easily, sometimes through gritted teeth, but I’ve gotten much better at it. These folks seem to do it effortlessly and with a grace I lack. When people just show up and hand you things, or ask you if you want something, or simply are interested because they are interested it baffles me. I have to work at being a better person every day. It is NOT my default setting. I do ok most of the time, sometimes I fail, but I work at. They seem to just be good people. I’ve realized I can’t have enough good people in my life.

And that brings me to lessons learned from the past. I’m not going to do the things that I’ve done to relationships in the past. I am going to repeat the mantra of ‘no pedestals and no pressure’. I know in the paragraphs above I’ve exalted the virtues of all these folks, but at the same time they are just human beings, they have faults and foibles and I am going to be understanding of them. None of them are the be all and end all of the human beings. In the past I’ve put people up on those precarious pedestals and then been irate when they’ve fallen. I am a realist about life, a pessimist about myself, and an eternal optimist about people who I like. I’m trying to change that and just be a realist about all three. Pressure wise I’m beginning to finally get it through my head that everyone has challenges, responsibilities, and lives that do not involve me and my completely egocentric worldview. In the past if folks didn’t make it to things or had to last minute cancel I’d be all Sad Panda Face. Now it just is what it is. In fact I’m going to use Mighty Mike as the example here, when he cancels or has a tough schedule to work with because he is THE MAN at Hot Comics New Hope & Richfield locations (SHILL!), and wants to spend his quality time with his lovely lady Emily, and their tiny joy machine Matilda I admire that. In fact I’m sort of jealous of it. That is a guy who has all his ducks in a row, his life priorities straight, and handles his business in a way I have yet to figure out let alone master.

I’m a kid in a grown up body. I always will be. I can be a gigantic pain in the keister. I can be a ‘yippy dog’ when I’m excited. I can be a surly ginger bastard. What I am trying to do though is look at this group of incredible people who have somehow come into my existence and learn from them, to see how they seem to live their lives with poise, joy, and grace and to learn from that. As I’ve stated off and on in this very blog I am a lot of things, many of them negative, but the one thing I am is someone who tries. So I’m going to try and be worthy of all this friendship that has been given to me. And hopefully in the process prove to be worthy of it.

I’m not sure if that came off sappy or not. I hope it didn’t, because it wasn’t easy to express, and especially not in my ‘one take’ stream of consciousness style of writing. Anywho I think I’ve stroked enough ego’s today let’s move onto some miniature reviews. I know I showed all those Legends Of Golarion miniatures from GenCon, but the Paizo website gave us a few close ups of some of the miniatures I felt like we didn’t get a good look at so I’d like to give them a proper once over.
Let’s start with the Hellknight Scourge. I believe he is a Medium Uncommon. I’m not a huge fan of the Uncommon rarity level if that is correct. I felt like in the previous picture that the paint job made it look to ‘samey’. Getting a better look at it in this picture hasn’t changed my feelings on the paint job, but what it did do was show me the INSANE amount of detail in the sculpt. Even the details have details. I’d dig having three of these guys and their nasty flails. I think they’d possibly be perfect Clerical servitors for my Torog contingent in D&D Group 3. These have become a MUST BUY for me.

Next up is the Hellknight Signifier. This one is a Medium Uncommon as well, I think. Much like the Scourge this miniature has that three color paint job that seems sort of blah, but when you finally get a look at the details in the sculpt, especially the flow of that lower robe type piece you can’t help but love the level of work that went in. If they can get an adequate wash in those folds and creases that is going to really pop. I don’t think I need more than one of these bad boys, but I will want one, if for no other reason than to go with their Scourge brethren. I also really like that half-helm piece; it has a great sense of menace to it. This one has become a MUST BUY as well.

The last of the Legends Of Golarion previews this time is the Thrune Agent, who I think follows his Chelaxian brethren as an Uncommon Medium miniature. I like this miniature less with this shot because I don’t think it allows you to see it from an angle that shows off the great paint job it has. However it DOES allow you to see the great work that has been put in to give that armor a certain worn quality that I love. A lot of miniatures I paint sometimes feel too clean, or too ‘four color’ until I give them the DIP and then they sometimes just look ‘dirty’. This has the worn without looking ‘dirty’ look I need to find a way to replicate. I love that stance, the mace, and that almost disdainful stare the miniature is giving you. This is one of my favorites of the whole set, and is a MUST BUY!

The interesting thing we got last week was a first shot at one of the miniatures from the next set Wrath Of The Righteous. It is the Demon Lord Baphomet! The thing is they went with the Wayne Reynolds version that is more a take on the old school version rather than the hulking Minotaur more modern version. This version has an extremely creepy vibe which I for one am digging. Sometimes I forget that Baphomet isn’t supposed to be some hulking beast that destroys like an engine of destruction, which is Demogorgon’s gig. He’s a nasty planner, a builder, and a bizarre demonic surgeon grafting together horrible monstrosities to unleash upon the world. A puzzle builder and solver. This sculpt gives me that feeling. This version visually is creepy. There is a leer in that sculpt that is fantastically strange and off putting. As if he’s laughing at your expense as he sizes you up for the first incision.

When you take a look at the full sculpt size comparison you start to realize just how gigantic this thing is. The Gug and the Troll Champion, two of my favorite miniatures, are MASSIVE. He has their height, and even their bulk, but with that sort of potbellied sculpt he has a lithe look that makes him even stranger and nastier to behold. The arms are skinny, and with those wings behind him they make them look that much sicklier. This is just a great miniature that has its own feel and inspires me to want to bring Baphomet into my current games. This is a MUST BUY for me when it comes out and an enticing first look at December/January’s set.

Alright let’s hit up some…


- We started DDP Yoga yesterday. I was scared out of my mind it was going to leave me a quivering pool of what used to be a human being. I was wrong. I liked it. Granted not all of it, because some of it did sort of kick my out of shape ass, but I did enjoy even that. I felt it working, it was work but not impossible, and I can see myself doing it at least 5 days a week. Granted we are just in the learning mode right now, but even if we don’t ever move on to the more intense stuff I think I can get healthier just doing this and that is the real goal.

- I learned Saturday that Kaiju movies are good, but Kaiju moves with lots of alcohol, great food, better company, and riotous humor is the BEST.

- As I stated above I am getting back on the Podcast horse. I’ll be ordering the equipment on Friday, and hope to have it in the next few weeks. There have been a LOT of supportive people encouraging me to do this and honestly without them I most likely would have just given up on it. However their interest and cajoling has given me some focus and helped me decide to get back to it. Actually there will be TWO Podcasts. I know. Crazy. First off will be ‘Heel Turn Radio’ where the L.E.W.G.I. crew will get together to talk wrestling in all its wonderful forms. I want to talk about how we would book things, the magic of e-feds, ask questions, maybe have us watch a match beforehand and then review it, and just other general fun. I’m thinking I want it to be at least once a month for around an hour. I am really excited to see how it is going to turn out, but at the same time I am sure it’ll turn out in some way shape or form. The 2nd Podcast will be my spiritual successor to Careers In Evil. We poured a lot of heart and soul into that endeavor and I’d like to take some of the things we did there and continue them. At the same time I’ll be operating more without my previous ‘creative safety net’. It is slightly daunting not to have that person to bounce ideas off of. Especially when you knew that person SO well and were able to basically finish each other’s sentences. So instead I think I’m going to try and tailor every episode to who comes on. If Kyle comes on we’ll talk music, mainly Hardcore, tattoos, and psychology. If I can get Joe, the Koala, on we’ll talk D&D, parenthood, and Football. If it’s Woody then we have to talk Comics, games, and Lead miniatures. When Kedrin comes on it’ll be all about Pixies and why Mothra needs to get off its high horse. I’m getting three mics to start, although I’m contemplating getting a few more so we should be able to have a guest host constantly. I know Diamond Dave had shown interest, Mighty Mike is friggin’ amazing on any Podcast, I know I can count on Cassandra to bring the ‘Thunda’, and I’d be intrigued to have someone like Magic Mike or Mick be in that co-host chair as well. Overall I’m just excited about the prospect of jumping back into something that I truly did love doing. It is the natural extension of this horrible rambling monstrosity of my brain throwing up all over the Interwebs. It’s just that with the Podcast you have the genius of others to temper my madness.

- We grilled Monday and it was glorious. I’m so glad this heat wave is over and we can back to some fall type temps.

- Friday night is a Painting and Wrestling night. I finished two of my ‘Marines’ last weekend and have another four almost done. I’m going to easily knock them out. After that I think I need to get to painting some things for 3rd Group. I’m hoping some of the folks from that group make it and they can dig through find something’s they are interested in and I can find ways to fold that into their games. I always feel like that makes things FAR more fun. I figure three or so hours painting, watching some wrestling, and laughing then possibly a fire pit to end the night. Lately I have found painting to be a wonderful and relaxing mental space. I’m hoping to share that with some friends, learn a bit from the more talented people I know, and give some people who are just trying it out a ‘blank canvas’ on which to find some fun in this hobby like I have.

- I really need to get those Bones bent soon; they can’t stay in dining room forever.

- It sounds like at the end of this month we’ll be doing our 3rd Annual Driveway Food War! This year it’ll be BACON! So you can make any dish it JUST has to have bacon in it. I am currently contemplating trying to get some either thick cut bacon or maybe even a bit of pork belly and cooking it REALLY slow. Then I’ll glaze that, put it on a kebab with some dried apricots that I’m thinking rehydrating in some wine, and some heavily seasoned chicken. I’d probably finish it with a chiffonade of fresh basil and maybe a balsamic reduction. That sounds fancy pants, don’t it? Well I have a title to defend and since I haven’t won Trivia Death Match, YET(!), I have to get my pride where I can.

- I know I say it aloud a lot, and even spout off about it here, but it’s true and I never get tired of shouting it from the mountain top. I married the greatest woman who has ever traipsed the multiverse. She is simply amazing and my Best Friend. I love you Cassandra.

I think I’m rambled enough today…

“With your long blonde hair
and your eyes of blue
The only thing I ever got from you
was sorrow
You acted funny trying
to spend my money

You're out there playing your high class games of sorrow

You never do what you know you oughta
Something tells me
you're a Devil's daughter
Sorrow, sorrow
Ahhhh, ah, ahhhh

I tried to find her
'Cause I can't resist her
(I tried to find her)
I never knew just how much I missed her

With your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue
The only thing I ever got from you was sorrow
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh

With your long blonde hair
I couldn't sleep last night
With your long blonde hair”

* = I need to try this out...

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