Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Goal with Fanfiction

I don't often write fanfiction. Which is to say, I've only started four fanfiction stories (not counting Interactive Fiction on Starmen.Net back in the day), but most of them had a clear goal of exploring one odd aspect of a game, to make people consider the greater implications of the some passing reference that the game doesn't bother to explore further on its own.

Some people write fanfiction to rewrite the story to fix things that were broken in the original (usually relationships they don't agree with (Ron and Hermione)), and many others write fanfiction so that their author insert character can bang their favorite character. More power to those people, sure, but I'm more interested in fanfiction that adds to the existing world so seamlessly that it could be taken as canon.


As both a purveyor of sci-fi/fantasy and a creator of D&D campaigns, the concept of the villain is one I'd had little choice but to think about. What makes a good villain? What makes one frightening? How does one create a character who is believably evil or, at the very least, someone worth stopping?

Mostly, though, I wanted an opportunity to talk about The Master and Moriarty, and why I love them so much.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Time in Nature

Laura has decided to begin going on a hike every weekend if possible and has invited me along. That's certainly more often than I had planned to go initially, but I like the idea of spending time together someplace other than on a couch, so I'm down for a hike any time she is.

Hiking is more than just a nice date opportunity for me, though.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Movie Review #9: Time Bandits

Time Bandits is one of those movies I would see on TV every once in a while, catch little bits of it here and there, yet never actually watch. However, in my desire to better familiarize myself with Terry Gilliam, I decided to watch a few of his non-Python movies. I watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vega last year, so I figured I'd watch the ones leading up to it: Time Bandits, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchenhausen, The Fisher King, and 12 Monkeys.

I'll likely do one each month until they're done, so they ought to keep me occupied until summer.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I miss being the mailroom guy at Fangamer. I used to happily spend ridiculous numbers of hours preparing and shipping packages each day, and it never got old or boring to me.

Somewhere along the way, though, I started picking up duties as the person who manages Fangamer's partnerships. It's a cool position, working with lots of people I might never have spoken to otherwise. It's also hugely stressful or many reasons.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Fangamer Podcast

Fangamer recently hired a full-time writer, the illustrious Dan Moore, who will also be taking on hosting duties for the podcast. You may remember him as the announcer from our Earthbound Bash event a couple of months ago (Video evidence, skip to 5:45 to hear Dan's announcer voice.)

That said, as happens any time hosting duties change hands, the format of the podcast will be changing. The show will be returning to a weekly format, with most episodes consisting of low-production episodes like office conversations and round table discussions, but with the option of occasionally having cool, high-production and segment-oriented episodes when we can pull them together.

My Run for Presidency

I'm running for president in 2020.

I decided this years ago, and it shaped the course of my life far more than it ever should have. It was a dumb idea then, and it's a dumb idea now. However, given the way that it affected my life, I don't think I can simply discard it, no matter how ludicrous it may seem.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Dark Ages, Book 1: Chapter 2, Part 2

(Continued from Chapter 2, Part 1.)

Ozzie rushed from the Dark One’s audience chamber once his business was concluded. They had discussed locations, troop numbers, and strategies, and now Ozzie needed to bring the news to his men.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

D&D Profile: John Freeman

It's entirely common to base a D&D character on an existing character, whether your own creation of someone else's. It's a difficult thing to maintain, though, since inevitably you'll be faced with a problem: you'll either spend so much time thinking about what _____ would do/say in this situation that you'll miss the opportunity and never say anything, or you'll ditch the pretense and adjust the character to fit this new experience.

That, however, was not a big problem for Jack, whose character is based on John Freeman, brother of Gordon Freeman.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hike #2: Seven Falls in Sabino Canyon

We tried to tackle this trail a few weeks ago, but naturally the one day in February it decided to rain in Tucson happened to be that day. So, we put it off until I came back from Rockage.

As a matter of fact, though, Laura and I conquered this hike a year and a half ago. We were utterly unprepared, with only one bottle of water between us, no food, and the summer sun above us. In short, I'm surprised we survived.

Movie Review #8: A Fistful of Dollars

Up to this point, my only experience with Westerns has been spoofs like Blazing Saddles, modern takes like Django, and the things I'd find my dad watching at six in the morning before I went to school. I'd never had anything specifically against the western genre, but the setting never appealed to me that much.

Still, Sergio Leone's classic Dollars Trilogy was as likely as anything to pull me in. So, I gave it a shot.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Star Wars: The Old Republic - A Story of Regret

Yesterday I had a full day at home to relax alone, which meant a full day of playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. I finally completed everyone's quest lines on Coruscant and Dromund Kaas (the Republic and Imperial homeworlds), so now my characters are off traveling the galaxy, each on their own missions.

I started with my Jedi Knight character, who traveled to the planet of Taris, which was pretty much leveled 300 years prior during the events of the first Knight of the Old Republic game. I have no intention of telling each character's story here on this blog, but something happened on this planet. Something I'll have to live with.

D&D Session 32: There and Back Again

(Continued from Session 31.)

Another Reid-less session, this time cut a bit short due to a meeting before the session, in which Lindsay began putting together a schedule for what we'll be visiting in Japan and when, as well as answering any questions we had before going.

Still we managed to pull out a 2.5 hour session out of it, making a decent amount of progress retracing the party's steps back to the human lands.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Movie Review #7: The Croods

The thing about the movies I plan to watch on my movie nights is that they're mostly movies that have been recommended to me by one person or another. To some degree, I'm already interested going into them. I go in expecting to like it. This has kind of colored my movie reviews up to now: most of my movie reviews are very positive because I aim to watch movies that I expect to give a positive review.

That was not the case with The Croods. I watched this movie on a Netflix whim, so be prepared for anything.

Movie Review #6: Young Frankenstein

Actually, I just finished watching two movies: last night I watched Young Frankenstein, and this morning I finished The Croods. However, The Croods was an unscheduled movie, so I'm going to give Young Frankenstein its review first.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Dark Ages, Book 1: Chapter 2, Part 1

(Continued from Chapter 1, Part 3.)


He hated being summoned like a dog. He didn’t dare disobey, of course. The Dark One had taught Ozzie that lesson long ago, and Ozzie's master hadn’t been nearly as strong then as he was now.
The worst part was that the Dark One seemed to have no interest in the politics of fiends. Jaegmead of the imps was once again protesting their treatment at the hands of the goblins and gargoyles, and once again it was left to Ozzie to remind the lesser imps of their place. If Jaegmead persisted in this folly, Ozzie would have to have him killed.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Andy Kaufman

Andy Kaufman is one of the most fascinating characters in the history of entertainment.

Last night I got to listen to Marc Maron's interview with Bob Zmuda (Andy's best friend, partner, and writer) on Marc's WTF Podcast, and it served to further fuel my fascination with Andy.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Rockage 3.0

I spent this past weekend in San Jose, attending Rockage 3.0, the third iteration of Eric Fanali's attempts to bring a music and gaming event to the west coast.

I never attended the previous ones, but what I understand this time it was much bigger and more successful than in previous years, due in part to acquaintances of mine.

Taco Bravo

Last night I went to Taco Bravo for the third time in my life.

No other restaurant I know of is guaranteed to make for an entertaining visit the way Taco Bravo is.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Dark Ages Book 1: Chapter 1, Part 3

(Continued from Chapter 1, Part 2.)

When the mill came into view, Glenn’s tears had long since dried up. Mother was taking down the laundry in the late afternoon sun, and she greeted Glenn warmly as he made his way toward her. He helped her finish taking down the clothes, then went to help the hands shut the mill down for the day.
It was one of the busiest mills in the area, servicing the baron and his keep, as well as much of the town. Mother had been loathe to let Glenn go to town today, since the baron’s servants were pressuring the mill for extra grain while the keep hosted the king’s men. Sure enough, there was still much to be done. Glenn focused on his chores, and the mindless physical activity felt good.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

San Jose

My roommate comes from San Jose, California. He likes to visit home a lot, and for some reason I've tagged along on a few occasions.

This is one of those occasions. All told, I've spent maybe two weeks total in this town. That's not much, certainly not enough to claim I've lived there, but it's more time than most people spend anywhere on a vacation. So, I've compiled my thoughts on my experience with Silicon Valley.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

D&D Profile: Ere'sat

Somebody has to be "stuck" playing the healer, and in this party that person was Laura.

Clerics in D&D, though, get pretty awesome abilities that can either cause or heal great damage. The classic cleric dilemma is this: do I spend this turn healing my friends, or do I try to wipe out the threats? Unfortunately, as Ere'sat attempts to work out this problem, she tends to come off as begin reluctant to heal people, which is a problem since, let's face it, other characters just want their cleric to be a mobile, obedient box of Band-Aids. And while other clerics can often explain their non-healing actions in a way that satisfies the party, Ere'sat suffers from a debilitating weakness in that area: a poor Charisma score.

Movie Review #5: Pom Poko

Even before I started these movie nights, I had started slowly working through the Studio Ghibli from start to finish. Pom Poko just happened to be the next one on the list.

All I knew going in was that it involved tanukis, and these tanukis had prominent balls, which likely contributed to the fact that the movie wasn't widely released in America.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Leaving Soft Drinks Behind

When I was a kid, I'm not sure if I ever drank water. Coca-Cola was my drink of choice, and I don't remember drinking much else unless absolutely necessary.

I'd like to say that my journey away from Coke and, eventually, soft drinks as a whole was fueled by some desire to better myself or something noble like that, but really it all just sort of began with two things: a chance encounter on an airplane and some annoying headaches.

Monday, February 3, 2014

D&D Session 31: In Which They Encounter Spiders, Elves, and a Dragon, yet Don't Get Into a Fight

(Continued from Session 30)

Reid couldn't make it to this session since his parents were in town, but the party didn't want to wait another two weeks for a session (since Jeff and I will be at Rockage this weekend), so Tyriron went on auto-pilot for this session.

And boy did he miss out.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Methods of Communication

I graduated college with a degree in Mass Communication, a path I chose because communicating with other people with other people was (and continues to be) something I struggle with.

While I'd say my education helped a lot with my ability to communicate to masses, it actually didn't help my conversation skills at all.

A Good Waste of a Day

This morning I woke up with the intention of going on a hike with Laura and a few friends.

Instead, I ended up sitting in front of my computer all day. To be fair, though, it's not entirely my fault.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Movie Review #4: Inside Llewyn Davis

The Coen brothers are a name you've probably heard of, even if you're not familiar with them directly. I'm still working on connecting movies with directors, something I wasn't all that focused on until I started living with a movie buff.

So, for me, the Coen brothers were a name I had heard of, but I couldn't have told you any of the movies they'd made. Now I'm kind of working through their filmography. I've seen O Brother Where Art Thou, True Grit, Fargo, and The Big Lebowski; all very different movies, yet all very good.

Inside Llewyn Davis is no exception.