Thursday, April 17, 2014

Shots Ring Out Vs. Carry On Cowboy

So I decided to try something a little new.  With the web down at the place that pays me I’ve decided to string together some small thoughts into a mega blog.  I figure if I’m going to do this I’ll take a few of them, and then post them as a block with a date and a ‘time’ on it.  We’ll see if this lasts, but at least it has me back to blogging.

I haven’t blogged in quite a while, but I have been hammering out some Podcasts.  I don’t know if that makes up for really disappearing on the stream of consciousness front, but it is the only real excuse I have.  I just haven’t had all that much to say, and the things I have been feeling aren’t really for mass consumption.  All I can and will say is I’m going through a time in my existence  that is simultaneously the best that my life has ever been, while at the same time I am struggling mightily with some of the worst things that I’ve ever had to deal with.

It has been beyond odd to find yourself surrounded by your Friends and realize how lucky you are, how incredible sharing your home and your life with others can be, and all the while dreading 40 hours a week of your existence.  I rarely write much about the place that pays me, some of that is carefully crafted to avoid potential issues, some of it is because I already talk enough about it to those that I know in ‘real life’, but mainly I figure that it isn’t something that most care to know.  

Today, though, as I stand on the cusp of potential change after seven years in the same place I feel like I want to just get this off my chest.  I Love my job.  I am superb at it.  I relish in helping others, in the idea of teaching and imparting information to those that will then go out and help those that need it.  I have been working in some capacity with folks with disabilities for my entire adult life, and it has been an experience that has changed me for the better.  I’ve learned far more about who I was, am, and could be through the lens of people who the vast majority of society ignores.

It has been seven years of attempting to change something from the inside, and quite honestly failing.  I have learned that in some cases this is a business.  This stint at the place that pays me has shaken my desire to continue on in this field.  I have seen the ramifications of the Money > People equation, I have face palmed in meetings at the way things have unfolded as logic takes a backseat to petty interests, and I have struggled to circumnavigate the junior high politics that permeate my current employment way station.

That isn’t to say that this has been a completely awful experience.  I have been privileged to work with and get to know some people whose brilliance and passion eclipse my own in this field.  I have seen people learn, grow, and evolve.  It has been an honor to see the people I have served take steps to become more independent, exceed expectations, and reach potentials that others thought impossible.  Bearing witness to the triumph of the human spirit and will is most likely one of the factors that has brought me to where I am mentally today, it is most likely one of the reasons I have never succumbed to the mental illness that has always hung around my neck like an albatross, and honestly I think it is the reason I have such a passion for people.  Every life I have touched has touched mine, and I’ve walked away better for it.

As I’ve attempted to escape the soul crushing pull of the place that reluctantly hands me my paycheck I have struggled mightily.  I have applied to jobs that I wasn’t really sure I wanted, I have turned down more money and more problems, I have had a job I did want slip through my uneducated fingers, and I have cast my net wide and explored options that have filled me with the excitement of something new and left me to ponder whether I really know how to do anything else.  All the while I hoped that something would break my way, that there would be an opportunity to continue to do what I truly enjoy and what I’m good at, but do it for people that I shared a common vision with and felt a genuine affinity for.

This late afternoon I have the opportunity to interview for something that on paper has that feel, a small company where one of the owners knows one of my D&D players, a place that has needs that I fill perfectly, and one that could fiscally afford us some new opportunities.  There have been a lot of interviews; some have gone great and others not so much.  I don’t get rattled once we get started, I don’t get nervous once we get started, and I know that once we sit down at that table and start to talk that 90% of the time the job is mine to lose.

I don’t want to lose this job.  In fact I’d really like to ‘take’ this job.  I would love for them to give me the opportunity to free myself of the self-imposed shackles of the place I currently draw a wage from.  To say that this would eliminate the vast majority of stress and unhappiness in my life is an understatement.  For around six months I have stumbled through a malaise, apathy, a torturous anxiety riddled states of self-loathing and frustration the likes of which I have never known.  I have been holding on by my finger tips to just to get through the day to day in order to be able to pay our bills.

I’d like that to end.  I’d like to be able to go back to doing something I truly love and excel at for someone or something that inspires pride and joy rather than leaving me feeling beaten, angry, and like I need a shower to wash off the shame.  Today is another opportunity, and I shall not falter, I shall not stumble, and if the moment is truly mine I shall not fail.  And that means that tomorrow, tomorrow is mine.

Well that was odd.

How about some…

- It has been so long that I can’t even recall all the things I have read or watched of late.  My hope is to regain some focus and start getting back to blogging on a weekly basis, that way I can steer the few of you who brave the babbling madness either towards or away from things.  Ok let’s be honest I’m always going to steer you towards stuff, even the crap stuff.

- D&D 1st Group plays Saturday, sans Gene & Cassie.  I am prepped, and excited to hopefully give the players a nice transitional session with some serious bloodshed.

- One thing I can recall watching was Wrestlemania XXX with the L.E.W.G.I. Crew.  In a short amount of time, relatively speaking, I have found that there is NO greater viewing experience than sitting in a room with The Geneius, Diamond Dave, The Beard, Yo Randy(!), Casual Doug, Nikolai, Sassie Cassie, The Puzzle Master, Nate, New James, Patrick, Joel, PJ Thorn, etc. and watching Wrestling of any and all sorts.  There is nothing like being in a room with folks who enjoy the same form of performance art as you do, who also enjoy its campiness, its craziness, its physicality, and feeling of being in ‘the bloodthirsty mob’ that cheers and boos with every turn of momentum.  We watched the PPV on The WWE Network, which is fantastic by the by, and there were very few hiccups.  The event itself, with the exception of the Undertaker Vs. Brock Lesnar plod fest was fantastic.  We finally got what WE wanted as the Internet Wrestling Community and saw Daniel Bryan get not only vengeance, but achieve his dream.  His match with HHH was excellent, and the Game ‘did the job clean’ to put Bryan not only over, but into the main event.  The main event was booked perfectly, and even though we saw the three ring circus of distraction/interference it didn’t detract.  Batista wasn’t blown up in the first ten minutes, and Orton wasn’t just excellent in his role, but toughed out what looked like a NASTY back injury.  The power bomb into a RKO through a table spot was really spectacular.  Rarely does a hyped main event live up to my expectations, this one exceeded them.  The Cena Vs. Wyatt was a clinic in excellent ring psychology by not just Bray Wyatt, but Luke Harper and Eric Rowan as well.  Cena did his best, but being ‘scared’ might just be beyond his emotional range.  The Shield previewed their full blown face turn by absolutely decimating Kane and the Old Age Outlaws.  For me though the star of the night, beyond Bryan, was Cesaro!  The Real American’s break-up after the Pre-Show tag team fatal four-way was handled masterfully.  I had been calling for Cesaro to win the 1st Annual Andre The Giant Memorial battle royal, and was surprised to see that what I wanted is what occurred!  The battle royal was well done, didn’t plod along, and had some truly great spots ending with Cesaro slamming the Big Show over the top rope in a truly AMAZING feat of strength.  Overall, this is right up there with Wrestlemania X-7 when it comes to top to bottom living up to and exceeding the hype.  Couple that with a grilled food, a Heel Turn Radio episode, and a living room full of L.E.W.G.I. and you have PERFECTION!

- CHIKARA returns at the end of May with ‘You Only Live Twice’, and I’ve already pre-ordered!  L.E.W.G.I. ASSEMBLE!

- Speaking of all things Wrestling I have re-busted out WWE 2K14, and am in the process of doing the finishing touches on changing my Universe pretty drastically.  The ‘Old Guy’ show of WCW Nitro is gone.  I have replaced it with NJPW ‘Challenge’ as my Monday show.  I have cut all the old or dead wrestlers from my CAW roster, and instead used those spots to try out guys like Ricochet, Brian Cage, The Super Smash Brothers, and Uhha Nation.  The re-working has left me with most rosters, outside the Trios haven that is CHIKARA, down to 22 to 24 members which should give me a bit more diversity in play.  It also has given me room enough to add at least Gene’s character, and The Icon (Yo Randy) to the mix in the Midwest Mafia stable, along with Proteus (James & His Magical Beard) and Rictor (Diamond Dave), so they can RUN WILD on PWG.  I had forgotten just how much fun I can have playing, even alone and even in a loss, this game.  

- Potential fire pit tonight!

- It has almost been two months of Gluten Free.  The seizures have lessened in intensity, but have picked up in frequency a bit.  From what I have read it could be 90 to 120 days before my system starts to make some more permanent adjustments.  I don’t think the stress has helped at all either, so a change of location 40 hours a week most likely won’t hurt.  Honestly, I don’t miss that much.  Occasionally I miss things like donuts, bagels, or buns, but overall it has been a much easier transition than I ever thought possible.  I eat less, I eat better, and the weight has just been falling off.  I feel better more often, although some of the more serious joint issues I have are bit more pronounced pain wise as I don’t have constant drone of chronic pain everywhere.  As the weather improves I look forward to getting outside, getting some yard work done, and continuing to slim up.  In the meantime I’m going to weather the proverbial storm of seizures, because I truly think that in a year or so I’m going to be so much better off that this will feel like a bad dream.

- Painting minis tonight!  When I get home I have to do a bit of digging and find my Oriental style Hobgoblins for 4th Group and my Skaven for 2nd Group.

- Last night Mighty Mike and I glued like 75% of the Deadzone miniatures that we currently have, while watching a truly crazy Blaxplotataion flick. Mike might be the one person I know that truly enjoys a terrible movie as much as I do, but I digress, I was completely blown away by how amazing the vast majority of the pieces look.  There is so much detail in almost every miniature, and by and large they have been relatively easy to assemble.  We will need the help of Gene and Dave to do some of the green stuff work and pinning, but it is a small price to pay.  The Plague Stage 3A pieces are particularly amazing and some of the easiest to put together miniatures I’ve ever purchased from Mantic.  I think Mike and I agreed though, the Rebs faction’s Teraton Brawler is just fantastic in hand.  I just hope when we start painting I can do some of these justice.  Overall, the scenery is incredible, the game system is simple and yet deep, and then top that off with the miniature themselves being that and you have a game I am literally chomping at the bit to play.  And play we will!  I’m hoping to get a game organized in May, perhaps sooner if the stars are right.

- So what I’m really trying to say is…DEADZONE IS BOSS!

- I’m going to be Ebaying all my assorted Warhammer 40K and Sci-Fi style, including my Bones Sci-Fi pieces, miniatures that don’t fit Deadzone.  I’m really hoping that I can get about $100 for the total lot once I get it out and online.  There is a LOT of stuff in there, and if I can get that sort of cash out of it I can turn that money around and start to purchase the stuff that I’ve wanted out of the last three Pathfinder sets, of which there is a lot.  Especially before the fall comes and D&D Attack Wing starts to take ALL MY MONEY(S)!

- I could really use a nap.

- On rotating Monday nights Team TrollSTRONG gets together to watch some RAW and battle our way through the Pathfinder Card Game (**** ½ out of 5).  We have finally come to the end of the preliminary portion of the game and in two weeks will be heading right into the Rise Of The Runelords: Burnt Offerings.  While the core group is myself, James (& his Magical Beard), Gene, & Sassie Cassie, we have added Cassandra and now THE Karl, with Diamond Dave on verbal support and wrestling watchin’.  What I’ve noticed so far is James (& his Magical Beard) as the Wizard just owns.  Seriously.  He will have a ten minute turn compared to most of us who rock about three to five minutes.  Cassandra is playing the Barbarian and I’m playing the Fighter and while they are fantastic in a scrap, you have to FIND the fight first.  Two games ago I didn’t fight a single monster and basically had two minute turns the entire night where I did nothing.  Gene is our Ranger and now THE Karl is playing our Monk and I have found them to be more of the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of the available characters.  They are good in a fight, but have enough Blessings to keep exploring, and are mobile enough not to get bogged down by traps and barriers.  Last but not least is Sassie Cassie as our Cleric.  Having what amounts to a defensive caster in the group is fantastic.  She and James (& his Wondrous Beard) are a fantastic tandem when it comes to exploration and additional affects.  I have to admit right now that I’m having a blast playing this game, and more importantly with these people.  I am left VERY intrigued to get into the Adventure Path, and even more so by Skull & Shackles which comes out in the summer.

- I really want to get either some Fondu or a ‘Beer’ Cheese Soup before it gets too damn warm.

That is all I have as I try and get my head ready for my Opportunity this afternoon…

I’m not really sure how to approach a follow-up to a blog I haven’t even posted yet while I’m writing this so I’ve decided to just throw out ALL the…


- I had my interview on Friday.  It was long, like 2 plus hours.  I feel like it went well, and I think I’ll be getting an offer this week.  I’m not sure it is the job I was dreaming of, but I honestly think that has less to do with the position and FAR more to do with my mindset after 7 years in my current spot.  Time away from this place will better my emotions and perspective on my chosen field.  In the meantime I make no assumption that the position, any of the three they were contemplating offering, is mine and I’ll continue my search.  There were a few positions I applied for last week that really piqued my interest.  It was nice to note though after my really awkward giant corporation interview that it wasn’t me in that instance that was so ‘off’ but the other person, because I killed it last Friday.

-Thank you to THE Karl and Kedrin for the beef stir-fry on Friday night.  That was insanely cool of you both.

- We finally went to Sun Foods, a large ethnic grocery store in our ‘burb on Sunday.  I picked up a myriad of very different sausages and then grilled them.  Overall I was really happy with what I bought, if not slightly confused by what I ingested.  Lately, Cassandra, THE Karl, Kedrin, & I have engaged in some Sun Foods roulette when it comes to trying new things.  This was no exception.  I also found some SUPER good deals that I will be taking advantage of as we start to get further into spring and I’m grilling even more often.

- I can’t wait to have a fire pit.  Seriously, CANNOT WAIT!

- Friday night THE Karl and I painted miniatures as everyone else had to cancel.  It was a damn fine time, and we both finished a few PC style minis.  We didn’t end up having a fire pit, because we really got into the painting.  Later in the night Cassandra, THE Karl, & Kedrin were gracious enough to humor me and we finally tried out Unspeakable Words (**** ½ out of 5).  I had a BLAST playing this nasty little Lovecraftian spelling game.  I was able to win the first game, pretty handily actually, but using the same tactic completely was destroyed in game two.  If you don’t mind spelling and enjoy fun then you NEED to own this game.  So Saturday and Sunday I painted a bit more and while I didn’t finish anything yet I have begun to really get the hang of dry brushing and even moving the color palate, something that is easy, but for whatever reason really exceeded my mental grasp for a LONG time.  Luckily, THE Karl put it in terms I finally grasped.  I’m almost done on the Troll Blood Ettin that the Jakester started so long ago, as well as some Orc thugs from Heroquest.  The dry brushing really made the green in all those miniatures pop in a way I want to duplicate in every miniature I paint from here on forth, especially in the faces.  We still have a box full of guys that need eyes and then the DIP, I think the weather is finally right to make that happen.  I am really hoping to hammer through finishing the stuff that is almost done tonight, and then try and get back into the groove of knocking out about 4 minis a week.  I feel that is a reasonable goal.

- Rioting before, after, and even during sporting events is one of the dumbest things in our history of dumb things as a species.  Followed closely by KFAN’s talking heads blabbering on and on about it non-stop.

- I’m almost through PWG’s Mat Rushmore ’14 event, and I am so confused on how Brian Cage isn’t a huge star in WWE.  His Four Way match with Tomasso Ciampa, Drake Younger, and a guy whose name escapes me is not just an EPIC spot fest, but highlights the fact that he looks the part, has the tools, and a crazy move set that ignites a crowd.  The ongoing story of the formation and rule of the Mount Rushmore Of Wrestling faction; The Young Bucks, Kevin Steen, & Adam Cole is as fun as you can imagine those particular Heels to make it.  Steen’s brutalizing of ACH was not only funny, because let’s face it Kevin Steen is HI-larious, and brilliantly moved the narrative of his Heel Turn forward.  The crowd desperately wants to cheer him and he will allow it, but only on his terms.  He also continues his amazing run on commentary where now he and his ‘booth’ partner Excalibur are in this weird friends/enemies dynamic that feels far too real, but remains fun.  The Bucks are just the best damn tag team in the world right now.  They have their shtick down to an art.  I have yet to watch the Adam Cole title match, but he and Kyle O’Reilly have fantastic chemistry so I’m sure it’ll be great.  The other matches are the normal high quality, raunchy, fun that PWG excels at, but I just had to point out how much Brian Cage has impressed me.

- No Minneapolis CHIKARA date yet, I still high hopes!  The Season kickoff can’t get here fast enough.

- Saturday was 1st Group D&D sans The Geneius & Sassie Cassie who were totally representing at PAX East!  I tried the Prep Method the Zack Attack had suggested during the last Antagonist Relations Podcast.  I went one sheet, no more, with no large stat blocks.  It was as close to 2nd Edition prep as I’ve done since college.  In a lot of ways it was VERY liberating.  It allowed me to make some changes on the fly, and in reality we didn’t stay on the sheet for longer than 15 minutes before the players steered me into unknown territory where I had the ability to just improvise.  There were a few things that just didn’t work as I don’t think my overt ‘hints’ were overt enough, and there was one glaring logic hole that really caused myself and the players some consternation.  The initial large scale forest fire was meant as a challenge, and sort of worked.  The follow-up in the old Tomb of Pelor was sort of a disaster.  I really thought that my idea of a Portal within a Portal was sound, in hindsight though it wasn’t.  In addition having the other avenue of escape, the underground river, was so unappealing to some of the PC’s that it never was really an option.  These two beginning Encounters slowed and bogged down the game and were great examples of how I was not a “Fan Of The PC’s” and did not work to have them find “Success In Failures”.  These are two mantras that Zack has shared with me and that I’m still trying to wrap my head and skill level around.  Being a “Fan Of The PC’s” is as simple as giving them opportunities to shine, and letting them shine.  I think in a macro level I accomplish this, however on a micro Encounter to Encounter level I really need to improve this, especially in 1st Group.  When it comes to finding “Success In Failures” I’m even further behind on the learning curve.  Any attempt the PC’s make towards moving things forward should have some type of positivity, even false positivity.  The Tomb Of Pelor was a great example of missing the point on that.  I had the PC’s rolling over and over to find things and they were not reaching my Difficulty Check requirements, and rather than throwing them a bone for their inventive thinking and determination I just kept hoping they would get the hint.  It was ineffective at best.  What I say as obvious, was FAR from it.  This is something I really have to work on, what sounds sneaky and challenging in my head does NOT always transfer in game to effective DMing.  Live and learn.  I will say though that any and all frustration or boredom was alleviated with the killing of about 50 Orcs in what really amounted to a fun battle.  I didn’t use hit points at all, I simply recorded the number of hits, which allowed me to be much more freedom with the Orcs and really made them far more threatening to the PC’s as a whole.  Well I say more threatening, but really they still straight up murderized them with a combination of great spell effects, a devastating set of front line attackers, and a relentless offensive onslaught.  I do need to find a way to do this again without downplaying the power of ongoing damage effects, and do so in a way that doesn’t turn monsters I’m going to use in this fashion into glorified Minions.  That will be the real challenge.  In the end, the Orcs were meant to be ground up, it was a fight that was and should always have been fun.  Looking back on it though I wish I would have threw in at least one caster to mix it up and challenge the PC’s though.  From there the PC’s ran into a fleeing refugee camp.  I wanted in that scene to get across that while they are Heroes, and in some cases taking the place of the long gone deities, they are not universally seen as a good thing.  It was a role playing moment that while effective wasn’t really as good as I had hoped since not all the PC’s had the buy in I wanted.  In the end the group found their way to an ancient cave which contained a mad Angel who was guarding a magic prison.  I felt like this part of the session REALLY worked as the Angel got progressively angrier at the PC’s intrusion, and that led to some really tight role playing by the entire group.  It was amazing to see the lines in the sand get drawn morally between these new allies.  This only increased when the prisoner was revealed to be a Gargantuan Blue Dragon who was petitioning the PC’s to let him out so he could ‘help’ them.  Eventually, Zack did what I thought he would for his character and attacked the angel.  To his Bugbear warrior, Hund, the Dragon is a means to an end to accomplish his mission.  He doesn’t care about the potential consequences as long as the mission of his master is met, and the Dragon is the equivalent of walking into the enemy stronghold with a Nuke.  The rest of the PC’s, especially the Good aligned ones, naturally did everything they could to avoid this confrontation, and I felt as an observer made some fantastic arguments both for and against battling the Angel at all, and especially about freeing a Monster of that magnitude.  In the end the group deemed to destroy the Angel, and did so by using a genius use of the Dominate effect to have him open the prison.  He was then destroyed by being consumed by the Dragon contained within.  This left the PC’s face to face with a Gargantuan Ancient Wyrm who finished the session by asking them, “Who should we eat next….?”  The last three Encounters saved the session.  I thought the Orc battle brought the fun that PC’s get when they get to mass slaughter and work as a team.  The refugee interaction had enough praise and damnation that it set the table for the moral quandary that awaited them in the cave.  The cave Encounter could have gone a few different ways with the PC’s either placating the mad Angel, the PC’s entering into a battle that would have been bloody, and nasty, or the route they took where they simply used what was around them to their distinct advantage.  I have found that I truly adore rewarding that type of thinking in a fight, and in each of the four groups I am fortunate to have players who routinely take that route of creative problem solving.  It was a solid C+ game for me as DM.  I’m still getting the hang of this new style of prep.  I’m not sure if I’m sold on it in a practical sense, but I am completely smitten with the creative freedom it affords me.

- I’m sure we’ll touch upon the above subject a bit when we do our next Antagonist Relations Podcast this week.  I’m also hoping to do at least one Insecurity Blanket Podcast next week.

- There is a muscle or something in my left upper abdomen that is all sorts of messed up.  I’m not sure what I did, but a few years ago I started to notice that I have an asymmetric bulge there.  On occasion it will cause me some discomfort, usually nothing that big.  Sunday, however, it was agonizing.  Anytime I breathed it felt like someone was kicking me in my upper rib cage, hard.  Luckily the combination of Ibuprofen and the Icee Hot brought the pain down to a dull roar.  It isn’t as pronounced today, which is good.  The funny thing is it didn’t hurt when I stretched; it didn’t hurt when I lifted anything, just when I turned certain ways and when I was breathing.  I really hate that I have these strange aches and pains, it is beyond annoying.

- We are having a big ole Garage Sale in the late spring early summer!  I’m excited to get rid of some stuff and make some extra scratch.

- Sunday evening was the ending to our current season of Zack’s Apocalypse World run.  It was a successful run, a successful session, but it left me feeling slightly hollow.  That had nothing to do with the actual game or what Zack constructed, but the ‘Romero Style’ ending ended up leaving me feeling slightly off put.  I think we far too often construct in our mind the ending we want.  The Hero rides off into the sunset, or retires, or gets the girl/boy, or whatever happy ending we think we deserve.  The thing was I never saw the ending in this case as being a slow march to the end of the world.  It never once occurred to me that all that I was doing with both Boy Howdy and Elvis Togawa in the end meant nothing in the macro story of a dying world.  Zack did a masterful job of leaving us so caught up in the micro events of the various Fronts escalating forward that we never really saw the big picture, and really it wouldn’t have mattered in the end regardless.  It was as bleak an ending to a ‘campaign’ as I’ve ever experienced.  It wasn’t bad, it was just slightly jarring to my gaming sensibilities, which was good because it meant it was challenging.  As far as the overall session, I thought he masterfully handled the ramping up of tension around the Cities mass exodus, and each of our varying agendas as our carefully crafted little worlds began to deteriorate around us.  The ‘End Boss’ of Joe, Son Of Joe was I thought creepy, evocative, and suitably nasty.  There was an odd almost Old West feel to the showdown, and the fact that Bob’s character, Pemily, and my character, Boy Howdy, pretty much despised one another and yet where the two most steadfastly loyal to one another added to the final showdown’s blow off.  Especially considering afterward finding out that Bob was planning on assassinating me and taking over my gang once he leveled, which to me would have been the height of storytelling perfect for their dynamic.  My criticism is pretty minor, but I wanted some tie in or resolution to some of the events that seemed to be working together but actually were not like Joe’s Girl not being a part of this Joe, Son Of Joe’s gang, just who blew up Exit’s clinic, and why did Bullit decide to just up and join Strangman and leave.  I think my comic book brain desires to have all of these events be tied up together as some sort of far reaching master plan when in the Apocalypse World system with its moving Fronts that doesn’t need to happen.  I don’t see it as a flaw in the build of the system or even in the way Zack ran that season, I just think it is side effect of the way I digest and tell stories.  Overall, I found Apocalypse World to be fantastic fun.  The system was interesting, tight, and yet allowed us to go wild.  Zack, as always, ran a great game with intrigue, twists, turns, bloodshed, and put the onus on the PC’s to not just be the stars but strangle the game for all it was worth.  And last, but not least I have to thank my fellow players in Lady Christy, Magic Mike, Andrea, El Bobert-O, and THE Karl as they brought it all to life, allowed there to be an obvious tension in the group without it becoming tedious, role played amazingly which made me immerse myself in the game, and generally just brought a fun to the table that will be hard to match.  Thank you all!  I look forward to whatever short season Zack has up his sleeve next, potentially Dungeon World, and to taking what I learned and trying to apply it to my own games.

- I’m tired, but too tired and full of coffee to go to sleep.  I’m just in that wonderful in-between of goofiness and expansive thinking.

You know, I think I’m done…

How do you effectively express what someone means to you?  Honestly, I’m actually asking.  It is so strange, but I never feel like I can effectively explain how much I appreciate people.  I can string together these words and phrases, spelling and grammar errors aside, that sometimes seem to strike a chord in people, but they never seem to accurately express what I feel.  There are times and people in my life that I desperately and urgently want to tell what they or what they have done mean to me, and I just can’t seem to do it.  

I wonder why it is easier for me to write it rather than say, well beyond spell check.  Maybe there is just a disconnect between what I am feeling and how I can express it, a distance that allows a great range of expression.  Being able to focus in, but not be overwhelmed by the moment, allows me the luxury of attempting to find the right way to say what I feel.  Those intense, true emotions are really hard for me.  I’m not sure why, maybe it is the feeling like I’m on the verge of losing that tight grip of control.  I’ve generally worn my emotions on my sleeve, for the world to see, so I am having a hard time figuring out why the most positive of emotions are so hard for me to express verbally.

The thing is the people who I want to express this to know it, so I must be expressing it in some fashion.  I’m able to get across my love, my adoration, my respect, my admiration, etc. in some way at least.  I think I’m just looking for something that makes it obvious that I have shown them or expressed to them that feeling that I get.  Words just never seem to the person(s) or the situation justice.  It is a never ending search I suppose.

Sorry, that is just something that had been rattling around in my brain.   

How about a quick shot of some…


- I was able to knock out some painting last night.  Using the dry brushing is really working well, but it is adding some steps to the process for every miniature.  I finished a farmer, the Jakester’s Trollish Ettin, and almost finished a really cool looking Thief like character.  The face was so blocky in sculpt and hidden behind a hood that I decided to treat it like a mask, and it REALLY works, in fact it is one of my favorite miniatures.  Tonight I want to start to try and finish the three Orcs that are almost done and then work on a mercenary group.  I’m thinking of going with a Blue, Midnight Blue, and Yellow color scheme.  I also want to put together a group with a Blue, White, and Black scheme to go with the Pathfinder Eagle Knights that I have picked up.  That doesn’t even take into account that I need to get on hammering out my Asian themed Hobgoblins, I’m always in need of some super sweet cultists, and I would REALLY like to paint all my Bones Kobolds.  I am thoroughly enjoying painting right now.

- Beer Cheese Soup, sans gluten items, needs to be consumed before it gets too warm out.

- I haven’t heard anything regarding the potential new job yet.  I know it has only been a day, but for whatever reason I’m beyond EAGER to know their decision.  I think it is just the idea of putting my current place on notice and beginning the countdown to something new that has me full of an overwhelming desire to just know now.  I don’t anticipate hearing anything until Thursday, but it has not diminished that giddy feeling of anticipation whatsoever.

- I wanted to like RAW last night, but compared to the fun of PWG I’ve been watching it just felt ‘blah’.

- We are contemplating going straight up Hulu, Netflix, etc. once our contract with Direct TV is over.  Comcast was a pain in the ass to do business with, but Direct TV has seemed to work as hard as it can to exceed their level of crappy customer service along with billing error after billing error.  That doesn’t even take into account their amazingly crappy reception and our significantly slower interwebs.  We would just need to find an internet provider we’re comfortable with and then cut the satellite/cable chord.  If anyone out there is going that route currently and can let me know the pros and cons I’d greatly appreciate it.

- ‘Naps & Hugs, Naps & Hugs, I gotta get me some Naps & Hugs!’

- I’m working on being a bit more proactive on D&D and doing some ‘one sheet’ ideas and plot threads for each Group.  First and Second Group were frighteningly easy, but I am struggling mightily with Third & Fourth.  It isn’t that I don’t have any ideas; gawds know I have plenty, but both groups are in the midst of multi-part adventures.  Third is dealing with the Cultists of Orcus and the ‘Reborn’ Nerull.  They are also establishing their power base in the Shadowfell, which limits some of my options.  However I am really thinking that a good old fashioned dungeon crawl in the Shadow Dark complete with Shards might be just what the DM ordered.  At the same time maybe having the PC’s draft or establish some direct underlings before that would help keep things moving at their new established base/church.  I’ll have to contemplate that a bit more.  When it comes to 4th Group it is SUPER easy to keep moving things forward for Jake’s story, I just need to keep using more awesome demons.  For Cassandra’s character it the fact that her former Frost Giant slave masters want her back so they can exact revenge.  For THE Karl it revolves around his amulet of keys, and now his God Shard.  He has rivals who will be seeking him out not just to test his ‘Fu’, but to take his stuff.  However, when it comes to ‘Casual’ Doug, Magic Mike, & Kedrin I’m having a MUCH harder time.  That has been the real struggle as all three characters are great, but I have yet to find that thread I can build into the overall narrative.  Hrm, maybe I just need some more inspiration.

- The idea of snow tomorrow makes me want to punch babies.  In the face.

I think that is all I got in me…

Well I didn’t paint last night; in fact I did very little besides sleep.  Which I’ll be really honest about, it was amazing.  The last five to six days have been ultra-busy, and sort of late nights so I had finally hit a point of utter exhaustion.  In fact I started to get that type of precursor to a seizure headache.  The feeling like someone is taking a jagged, sharpened ice cream scoop and trying to forcibly remove my right eye, slowly, it isn’t fun.  It makes my stomach upset, it gives me the spins when I close my eyes in hopes of relief, and gives me the shakes.  The worst part is the overwhelming anxiety and dread that appears when I can feel that rising tide of a seizure.  I felt that yesterday.

I felt that, and then nothing happened.  I’m not sure if it was the fact that I laid down, took some anti-migraine stuff, and worked as hard as I could to just relax or if this is the first real benefit of changing my diet.  Most likely it is simply a combination of all of the above.  I got in about an hour’s worth of a nap, woke up for a few hours, had dinner, and went right back to bed as the headache began to fire up again, however this time when I went to bed I had far less anxiety that a seizure would be there waiting for me.  

I’m still tired, hell I’m still sort of exhausted, but I don’t have that headache anymore and I feel like this might have been the first inkling of what could be around the corner when it comes to getting this under control.  Being able to ride that wave out and not having it end in a neurological crash and burn to me was a tremendous victory.  It also helps to remind me that all these changes in what I can and will eat isn’t just for an abstract reason, but for a tangible change in my quality of life.

I should really post the set of these tonight, we’ll see how lazy I am, until then enjoy your steaming spoonful of…


- Anyone want to draw a comic book?  I’ve had this idea for a while of a hero going through Therapy, and the backstory coming from those conversations with his therapist.  Each chapter would be themed off of one of the tracks from the first disc of David Bowie’s greatest hits.  I know I know it is odd.  However, the idea hasn’t done what so many of my ideas do and fade away.  It has remained there in my brain just sitting and stewing.  Who knows maybe someone out there in Internet land will drop me a line and we’ll see if we can make it work.

- This weather makes me want to crawl into a cave and hibernate.

- I haven’t heard anything from my potential new place of employment.  My feeling has been I’d hear something by Thursday or Friday, although I was told that it would be ‘early this week’.  It is Wednesday and with the things that have gone on, just this morning, at the place that pays my bills it has me hoping against hope that I can turn in a letter of resignation by the end of business today.  I just can’t take it today.  Or, quite honestly, I can’t take it anymore.  I had a conversation a few weeks ago that if I was frustrated I needed to ‘Bitch up’, I took it as meaning that I need to take my complaints up the chain of command and not let them slowly leak out into what I was doing.  I have yet to let that happen, but my bitterness is hard to swallow and my apathy is like a warm blanket.  At this point I’d leave immediately to do anything that would pay me the same rather than deal with the senseless decision making, lack of direction, and general clown shoes style that I’m currently being forced to navigate.  The worst part is Cassandra has to suffer through the same stuff, and she hasn’t even put out any resumes yet.  There is a level of frustration that we both are dealing with that makes doing anything irritating and feel like it is bound to fail.  I need some good news, and to get on her for her to get things sent out ASAP, so she too can flee this ship.  I think what worries me beyond words is that this is how it’ll be no matter where I go.  That life will be a series of places that I draw a check from that are frustrating disappointments, full of people who leave me scratching my head in befuddlement, and will only serve to give me stomach issues and anxiety while I do my time there.  Is that what being an adult is?  Is this what my father went through for so long?  I’m ok eating a spoonful of shit with a smile if it is for a reason, but I see no reason for a lot what I’m being told to devour.  Is it too much to ask to do something I’m good at, that I like, all the while serving those who need it?  Maybe I’m just anxious to hear one way or another on this potential new gig.  Something has to change quickly, because I am not sure I can keep up with this charade much longer.

- We really need to go see Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

- I know it is sad, but I just want to go home and vegetate in front of the X-box 360 with controller in hand.  I want to keep playing through my revamped WWE 2K14 Universe, although I’m beyond angry that every time I try to change Deviant’s enemies list the damn system freezes.  At the same time I want to try Batman: Arkham Asylum, and then Arkham City.  We have a plethora of LEGO games that we need to spend some time with.  Mass Effect and two Bioshock games are sitting on the hard drive just begging me to get off my keister and play them.  Lately I just haven’t had the desire to play a game that requires too much thought and time investment, and that’s sad since there are SO many games that require both, but have such a substantial enjoyment payoff.  Hopefully that will change for me soon.

- “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G. is still just friggin’ amazing.  

- There will be some grilling going on this Sunday if the weather holds up.  I really want to get ahold of a large bag of chicken wings and over 24 hours or so marinate them in a paste of apple juice and some Jerk seasoning that I picked up at Sun Foods.  I think the juice would give them a nice flavor and keep them from drying out too much.  I love Jerk chicken, and haven’t found a good Jerk seasoning in a really long time.  I’m hoping this one is as good as it smells.  Since I can’t have fried chicken wings, I figure some really well grilled ones would be amazing.  Oh and I’d push an old person down a flight of stairs for some crab salad.
There was a duck on our roof this morning and one in the front yard.  Last year the same pair took over our backyard for about a week.  It is really cool to live that close to a nature preserve.

- We have to make our yearly ‘Meat Trip’ to Sam’s Club.  This will be the last one as next year we’ll be giving CostCo our hard earned cheddar.  Once a year we go in and refill the freezers with as much meat as will fit so we can grill as often as we want.  With the change in diet a lot of the stuff we were getting from Scwhan’s is gone so there is more room than ever.  This year I think I want to get another huge container of brats, maybe some polishes if they have them, a few pork loins to segment up, some chops, ground burger, chicken breasts, and who knows what else.  I’d like to cook more fish this year, but unfortunately Cassandra just isn’t as into it as I am, same with shellfish.  I can’t wait though to have this trip done so we, and by ‘we’ I generally mean my much better half, don’t have to make ‘emergency runs’ to the madhouse that is Cub Foods.

That is all I got.

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