Registered

In the spirit of "take immediate action":


Welcome! You have been conditionally admitted to CNM pending final review of your on-line application and CNM program and placement policies for SPRING 2008.







(Yes, I just did this moments ago.) ...Hopefully, one new year's resolution will be checked off the list soon. ; )

Resolute

Though I am surrounded by people that "don't believe in resolutions", I myself am inordinately fond of them. I enjoy challenging myself. I like to think I can make changes for the better. Thus, I welcome any chance I can get to adopt new resolutions, including the New Year. I've been ambitious this year, and won't be terribly disappointed if it takes longer than a year... at least, for most of these:

  • Eat very little sugar.
  • No new video games this year.
  • Find an appropriate way to exercise.
  • Take at least one college course. Preferably two.
  • Watch a Hindi film and understand it.
  • Have a conversation in Spanish.
  • Learn the writing systems, basic grammar, and 1000-ish words of Arabic, Conversational Sign, Dutch, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, and Spanish.
  • Read the news in German, daily.
  • Produce another album (music).
  • Draw. A lot.
  • Shed a couple layers of ego.

Fractals In Nature

If you were an unbeliever in the fact that Fractals are well-represented in nature, behold the Broccoli Romanesco (it's more like cauliflower) that we received from our organic co-op this week!

(click to enlarge)

Is that not fucking awesome?!?

All Is Full of Love


I've never been fond of the word "love". I find it hard to say, even if it's easy to do. I am uncomfortable when people (my wife excepted) use it. I even tend to avoid music that over-uses the word in its lyrics.

There are a few exceptions. Seal can get away with it in, say, Future Love Paradise. Despite the title, the concept seems fairly incidental in a song that is very difficult to comprehend. To my ears, it's just another tonality on the interesting instrument that is Seal's voice.

Björk, though, cannot be denied the power of the word "Love", in All Is Full of Love. This is one of those rare songs that talks about love in a way that often comes close to bringing me to tears.

I don't know why, exactly. Perhaps it's the music video, which is awesome. Perhaps it has to do with the implication that everything is perfect, just the way it is. But it makes me feel good about life.

And boy, does she ever belt it out! No holds barred: she makes it a raw, emotive, overwhelming exclamation: all is full of love!

...But then I listen to s'more techno (at the moment, that's Nexus by Astral Projection), and pretend it never happened.

Ignoring my emotional ineptitude, I recommend you pick up a copy of the song from your favourite on-line vendor. It's one of the best ever.

The Man Who Could Take Any Medicine

Not one who normally likes diverting my readers to other blogs without explanation of what they're getting into, I must break protocol for Scott Adam's story today. The creator of Dilbert apparantly prizes himself on the ability to take any medicine, regardless of how foul the taste.

Recently, he was defeated.

It's a story worth reading. Please do.

Physical Activities and Energy Use

Ever wondered what activities were better at burning calories than others?

Enter the Compendium of Physical Activities. Exertion is measured in "METs". Not sure what they actually mean, but some examples: Hacky Sack is 4.0, Fencing is 6.0, Shoe Repair is 2.5, Typing (Computer) is 1.5, and Sleeping is 0.9.

Just before Christmas, I went on a jog/walk type thing. I jogged for about 10 minutes, and walked for about 20. According to the CPA, that was a solid 6.0. Perhaps I'll do this more often. On the other hand, martial arts rate 10.0, so I suppose that would be a better use of time.

Think You're a Liberal?

A friend of mine emailed me a link about an atheist's "need" for faith and the like. I was replying to him, when I noticed an Ad Sense link over on the right stating, "Think you're a Liberal? Read this, and there will be one more of Us and one less of Them."

The morbidly curious part of me clicked on the link, thinking it was some kind of Libertarian manifesto or something. It wasn't: it seems to be an argument for liberalism. Not sure what to make of it: it's very choppy, and I'm not sure I follow the points. Nor do I think I really agree, but it's hard to say.

Still, an interesting and quirky find that I thought I'd share, to see if anyone else had thoughts on it.

Our Game Shelf


No, this doesn't compare to Rolfe's library of games, but this is what we've got:



I happen to believe that the games on the top shelf are all the games that a person really needs. (Note that on the left, there's a big stack of blank index cards.)

Puerto Rico not shown... I'm currently reading the rules. People say it's one of the greatest games ever, but I haven't had a chance to find out.

Paper Bags of Firey Fun

video

In New Mexico, we celebrate the holiday season by putting flaming lunchbags on our lawns.

Obama on Finance Reform

"When you walk into my administration, you will not be able to work on regulations or contracts directly related to your former employer for two years. And when you leave, you will not be able to lobby the Administration throughout the remainder of my term in office.

"I will end the abuse of no-bid contracts in my administration.

"We will institute an absolute gift ban so that no registered lobbyist can curry favor and build relationships with members of my administration...

"we will return government to the people by bringing government to the people – by making it open and transparent so that anyone can see that our business is the people’s business.

-- Barack Obama, June 22nd, 2007
Sorry for the old news, but I was just thinking about this, and had a link laying around.

What Is Waterboarding?

I wasn't sure what waterboarding really was, and wanted to find out. Here's a first-hand account by Henri Alleg:

The rag was soaked rapidly. Water flowed everywhere: in my mouth, in my nose, all over my face. But for a while I could still breathe in some small gulps of air. I tried, by contracting my throat, to take in as little water as possible and to resist suffocation by keeping air in my lungs for as long as I could. But I couldn't hold on for more than a few moments. I had the impression of drowning, and a terrible agony, that of death itself, took possession of me. In spite of myself, all the muscles of my body struggled uselessly to save me from suffocation. In spite of myself, the fingers of both my hands shook uncontrollably. "That's it! He's going to talk," said a voice.

The water stopped running and they took away the rag. I was able to breathe. In the gloom, I saw the lieutenants and the captain, who, with a cigarette between his lips, was hitting my stomach with his fist to make me throw out the water I had swallowed.

According to the WSJ, "the CIA has only used this interrogation method against three terrorist detainees and not since 2003." Further, President Bush signed an executive order banning torture during interrogation of terror suspects in July of this year, which includes "threat of imminent death". (This should encompass waterboarding.) That said, this was already implicit in the Geneva convention, (and thus the U.S. War Crimes bill), and the need for executive order may have been redundant.

All that said, "the United States has apparently never prosecuted a person under the War Crimes Act. Perhaps as a result, there is some question concerning the act’s scope." (CRS Report for Congress) ...Indeed.

Just a Reminder: Bush on War Crimes

In its ruling on military commissions, the Court determined that a provision of the Geneva Conventions known as "Common Article Three" applies to our war with al Qaeda. This article includes provisions that prohibit "outrages upon personal dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment." The problem is that these and other provisions of Common Article Three are vague and undefined, and each could be interpreted in different ways by American or foreign judges. And some believe our military and intelligence personnel involved in capturing and questioning terrorists could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act -- simply for doing their jobs in a thorough and professional way.


-- President George W. Bush, September 9, 2006 (emphasis added)

Acid

The strongest known superacid is Fluoroantimonic acid (HF-SbF5). It is explosively reactive with water, though it is not combustible. It's a colourless syrup that is typically put in Teflon containers.

Teflon itself was a mistake. The inventor was attempting to make a new type of chlorofluorocarbon for refrigerants.

Game Reviews


Assassin's Creed summary: play it.

It's a short game. It crashed on me about a dozen times. It ends with a "there will be a sequel" scene. It was too easy. It was fucking violent: snapping legs, watching an innocent get stabbed 30 times, and worse. The whole "present day" storyline was superfluous. The controls take some getting used to. You have a very hard time identifying with the main character, on account of his being a pig-headed prick.

All that aside, the experience is awesome. The roof-top chases alone are worth the fifty bucks. This game accomplishes things no other game can. Personally, I hope the Looking Glass folks get their hands on this engine and make a worthwhile sequel to Thief II.

I finished the game one day before The Orange Box arrived... and it's a damn good thing, too, 'cause now that I have Half-Life 2 (HL2) back, I can't stop playing it. Screw the other games in the Box!

I haven't had much time to play, so I'm only as far as the big bridge scene. I was worried that I would get my ass handed to me, since I'm used to PC gaming, and the controls are very different. ...but I am proud to report that I have not died once. Before every scene, I kept telling myself, "there's no way I'll make it through this without dying." Yet somehow, I limped through.

I'm positive I'll fall off of the bridge a few times, though.

I find HL2 to be a perfect game: moody, dark, detailed, creative, immersive, frightening, charming... I'm addicted to it. It is the best game of all time. I don't mind the linear nature of it at all: it's like playing a (superb) movie.

Sundance Music Festival

I just sent this email to Bad Loop and Recue:

Okay, I've been euphoric about the sundance recording (the Kahvi version) for long enough now that I figured it was high time to comment to you both about it. (Cc'ing Nik cause I know he likes to hear this stuff.) ; )

I think it's fantastic. The style, mood, and tonality are consistent throughout, making for a coherent track. A gearhead like myself has to appreciate the work that's gone into the sound design. The rhythms are all perfectly glitchy and interesting throughout. The melodies, though, are what make this memorable: I find myself humming the various themes on a regular basis. The flow of the set is amazing, with both pauses and climaxes in the right places... it's just an amazing overall experience.

This gets queued up as often as my other favourites, and has officially made it to my "essentials" list. Definitely right up there with esem.

Thanks for making this available (and free). Count yourselves as having one more fan.
I suggest you check it out. You'll get an idea of the kind of music I love, and you may even grow to like it yourself.

Some Rails Plugins Won't Install

If any of you listening are subversion-savvy, I'm getting the following error when I try and install select plugins:

svn: Can't connect to host '[some hostname]': A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond.

...Any clues?

It sure sounds like port-blocking, but I've installed other rails plugins just fine. I suppose it could be the case that the ones that work are using http, but I'm not sure.

I've also tried both hostnames and IP addresses.

...I'm just asking for a little lateral-thinking. If you have any, I'd appreciate it.

Liberal Conspiracies (Some Quotes)

Their parents wrested defeat from victory in Vietnam; and so try they. For liberals life is all about control. They don't care about the troops or nation, or they would support them so they can come home in victory. Will America prevail if anything and everything is permitted in the name of free speech? When does free speech become treason? Yes, terrorists threaten America. But the liberal attitude is the most deadly assault on our country. The threat of nuclear terrorism on our shores pales in comparison. Citizens like these do more harm than our enemies.

-- letter to the editor of Daily Record

On immigration:

I don't want [my friend] Louis deported, but I don't want or will tolerate Mexican flags on American streets or have my country reduced to a multicultural, socialist cesspool. The people behind this are not people like Louis, but those with a political agenda that wouldn't invite Louis home to dinner. Don't blame Louis and others. If I sound harsh with Mexicans, etc. I apologize, it isn't them.

Some interesting quotes from Amazon's reviews of an old Sean Hannity book:

Finally someone, in this case Sean Hannity, is able to cut through the liberal domination of the published world and drop some truth grenades on the battlefield of America. You say Liberalism I say Terrorism. In fact I can't tell the difference. It's the liberals who have declared jihad on the wombs of America's women. It is Liberals who strapped their [...] bombs to their bleeding hearts and blew up the church of marriage. And it is liberals who flew the plane into the second tower. I've heard one of the pilots was a 3rd cousin of Al Gore.


By the fact that so many people are so enraged over a guy who only writes a book about the fact that liberalism is bad for the country and that America is a good place, shows how utterly perverted and reprehensible our society has become. You would think that Sean Hannity had written Mein Kampf. I mean this is merely a book that criticizes the liberal agenda. Not only that Hannity respects the Democrats of JFK and Roosevelt and Truman. The main problem is the Democratic party today, wants partial birth abortion on demand, hates Christianity, wants open borders, hates America, defends those who blow up our buildings.

...To be honest, it's actually relatively difficult to find coherent right-wing arguments on-line. I assume that has something to do with the correlation between technophilia and liberalism. ...Or perhaps it's a liberal conspiracy by Google to drown out the Right. I would like some intelligent counterpoint to the crap I've found while looking for myself. It mostly seems to boil down to points like this:
...Nothing makes a citizen more selfish than socially equitable communitarianism: Once a fellow’s enjoying the fruits of Euro-style entitlements, he couldn’t give a hoot about the general societal interest; he’s got his, and who cares if it’s going to bankrupt the state a generation hence?

Heroes

Damn: add Gandhi to my list of heroes. I'm a little ashamed that I didn't remember him earlier. I've long been a believer in what he did.

Brilliant guy. The fact that he found such brutally effective ways to counter the British occupation of India and Pakistan just astounds me, and his personal sacrifice is something to be thoroughly admired. He's one of my favourite human beings.

I was reminded of him in a conversation with friends about heroes. Specifically, the question:

If you could be any person, past or present, who would you be?

My answer to that was "an artist, in the future, where the ability to create is intimately facilitated by technology."

A friend of mine pointed out that almost everyone--including women--choose men.

Who would you be?

Why are men more "respected" in history?

Silly Cents

Wikipedia:

"In April 2006, the copper-plated zinc cent contains 0.8 cents worth of metal. However, the mint spends about 0.6 cents to produce each cent in addition to the cost of the metal content. Presumably with the rapid rise in price for zinc, the US Mint will have to find another alternative. However, it is Congress that determines the denomination and content of coins that the Mint must produce and put into circulation. As the United States Mint produces only the coins that Congress mandates, it does not have the authority to alter or abolish a unit of currency. If directed to do so by legislation enacted by the Congress and signed by the President, the Treasury Department would again study changing or phasing out the cent. Because the demand exists and the Federal Reserve Banks require inventories to meet the demand, the United States Mint is currently committed to producing the cent at a loss."

Perhaps it's time to ditch the penny (and nickel) and start dealing in dimes?

Dangerous Words

What do you believe is the most dangerous word in the English language?

Some suggestions from others: tomorrow, forgiveness, and (good one:) assume. (I'd have found more, but lots of them were blocked by my employer.)

For my money, the most dangerous word is "should". When one says others should do anything, conflict is the result. "Should" is an expression of morality... and people certainly don't like being told to do things that aren't in line with their own views. It's even more dangerous than "assume", since it implies assumptions about other's morality.

More Numbers


For whatever reason, I found myself pondering the Monty Haul Problem again today.

If you're familiar with this problem, stop reading. I only describe it here, I don't add any value. : ) For the rest of you, here's a nickel-tour:

You're on Let's Make a Deal, and Monty shows you three doors. He tells you that behind one door is a new car, and the others have goats. You pick a door, say, Number 1. Without opening the door you picked, Monty opens one of the other doors (say, 3), revealing a goat. Monty then gives you the chance to switch from Door 1 to Door 2. Or you can stick with your guns. Which do you choose?


Most human beings say "stick with 1". But it turns out (counterintuitively) that if you switch doors, you are actually twice as likely to win a car! ...At best, telling this to people not familiar with the problem elicits violence.

Some people are willing to "accept" that they may have gone from a 1/3rd probability of winning to a 1/2 probability. But even that's not true. Switching gives you a 2/3rd chance of winning.

The best explanation I saw of this was using a chart. The math for this is way beyond my ken. But, if you are unconvinced of this, write out a chart representing the possible outcomes:

1 2 3 either 2 or 3
1 2 3 must be 3
1 2 3 must be 2
1 2 3 must be 3
1 2 3 either 1 or 3
1 2 3 must be 1
1 2 3 must be 2
1 2 3 must be 1
1 2 3 either 1 or 2

So, the bold is where the Car is hidden, and the green is where you first picked. If you look at each in turn, the right most column tells you which door Monty can open. So, if you switched, you will lose in only the cases where Monty could open one of two doors (ie: those cases where you chose right the first time). In every other scenario, switching wins. From the standpoint of switching, there are 6 winning scenarios, and 3 losing. ...meaning, you are twice as likely to win!

Humans are not wired for statistics! (At least, I'm not.)

Some (Alleged) Numbers From Iraq

According to Wikipedia, there have been a minimum of 733,158 Iraqi combat deaths since the invasion in 2003. That's not counting the 392,979 minimum violent "excess" deaths, and 169,045 minimum criminal deaths, and there are no estimates for starvation/illness deaths. I count 1,895,182 minimum Iraqi deaths due to this conflict.

According to another article, that places it a hair behind Shaka's tour of Africa. A top-twenty war, as measured by casualties.

Those numbers are Iraqi deaths. They don't include the 1,015 contractors and 4,201 coalition casualties... but those are a mote in the chalice of Iraqi blood, yes? American deaths total 3,895. That's point 2 percent (0.2%) of overall casualties.

How does that make you feel?

1kBWC: AssCactus



(C'mon, Rolfe, I know you were thinking about it when you saw the post.)

Hindi

One of my "resolutions" for this year was to learn Hindi. It came about because of a post by some woman who suggested learning one language every year: seemed a reasonable goal.

Well, I can't speak Hindi. But just this past weekend, I read an entire paragraph in Hindi (Devanagari, even) and understood it. (Granted, it was designed to be read by beginners: a letter home about moving in to a foreign-exchange-type home)

That was such a cool feeling. Reading something in an entirely foreign alphabet is quite a rush.

I recommend it!

St. John, Zen, and Appreciation

I took Monday off this week. While driving my son to school, I was brooding, and recognized that I had been doing so for several days. On my drive back home, I realized: I'm depressed again.

This isn't uncommon: happens to me once or twice in a typical year, and lasts for a month or three. The last time it started, I began taking St. John's Wort, and noticed a quick improvement. Thus, I'm taking it again.

In addition, I decided to take up Zen again. It's something that's brought me peace in the past, and I do enjoy the "still mind" effect that it produces. I treated myself to two books on the subject. I'm reading " Everyday Zen" currently, and rather enjoying it.

Part of her process is listening to one's thoughts, and categorizing them. Some people think mostly about the future, some about the past, others about relationships, others about their insecurities. The author says it takes several years to get a good understanding of your own thought processes, but already I can see that I think about the future more than anything else: thing I can post on this blog, changes I can make to code, lessons I need to learn, looking forward to playing a game later... I've also come to realize that a very strong motivator for me (whether it's obvious or not) is to gain people's appreciation. I'm constantly looking for things to do that others will appreciate: this is not altruistic, mind you: it's because I like the feeling. It's a selfish thing (if it has positive benefits, so much the better). I think this is a fairly common trait among geeks: we like living on the technological edge, because we can point out "cool stuff" to our colleagues.

Accent

I have a Boston accent, even if I think I don't.

At least, this is according to an interesting poll that Rolfe pointed out today.

Music: Decmeber, 2007

[Warning: this post is going to be a blatant over-post. I wanted to be detailed on this one, since it's something of a "historical" post. I want to know what I was thinking at this point in my life.]

As I find myself cleaning up the music off of my work PC (because I have the iPod), I discover that it's time to take stock of my favourite music, again. I'll do it a little differently, listing how many tracks I refused to delete from my machine, despite the redundancy. Thus, these are the songs that are in my "survival kit", for those rare days where I've forgotten my iPod (which I haven't yet). And so, I bring you...

Essential Music


In reverse order (meaning, fewest to most):

  1. A tie for the 1-song slot: Alexander Chereshnev (Silver Train), Bad Loop and Recue (AWESOME 1-hour long mix), José González (Heartbeats), The Orb (Slug Dub), Rush (Tom Sawyer--it's nostalgic), and Tobias Wilton (hevv). Also Alanis Morissette (Uninvited), whom I admit to having a crush on.
  2. A couple of 2-song contenders not worth singling out: Biosphere, Dave Mathews Band, kaen (which is cheating: they are 1-hour-plus mixes of Kahvi music), and Mataya.
  3. Pat Metheny Group: 3. Yes, I still listen to some jazz now and then!
  4. Enigma: 3. All from MCMXC AD. Cheeseball? Perhaps. But addictive.
  5. Afro Celt Soundsystem: 3. Though it's something of a guilty pleasure (saying you're listening to "world music" usually elicits violent responses), these guys rock. I have a boatload more of their music, but three of the songs are essential.
  6. Kilowatts: 4. This is the kahvi release from about a year ago. Download it! One of the best releases from Kahvi... a lot of fun: electronic and rhythmic. Full of energy and whimsy.
  7. Pink Floyd: 5 tracks from The Wall that I can't live without.
  8. Seal: 6. An incredible vocalist, sure, but it's the punchy rhythms and unusual song development that I prefer.
  9. Red Hot Chili Peppers: 6. Blood Sugar Sex Magik: best rock album of all time, sez I.
  10. Esem: 9. I was actually surprised that I cut it down to this few... these are his "hardest" pieces, from alipe lacks to tetaby. This music is the power source for my soul.
  11. Tangerine Dream: 10. This is just the entirety of Dream Mixes.
  12. Depeche Mode: 10. Namely, Playing the Angel. When I need a fix of hard-core electronic music, this gets queued up.
  13. Shpongle: 11. And this is only so low because I don't have Nothing is Lost on this machine! I think that album's about 16 tracks, so perhaps this list should be around 25. : )
  14. Toad the Wet Sproket: 13. Down-to-earth rock music.
  15. Nine Inch Nails: 24. Yup. Nasty, evil, dark, dirty, and delicious.
  16. Introspective: 27. This is my own music... not everything I've written, clearly, but some of the best picks. I suppose it's a good sign that my own music comes out on top.
My "survival kit" is comprised of just over 150 songs, by 26 artists. Not sure what that says, since there's very little to compare it to. : )

All Perception

My mantra for a walk to lunch today was "all perception." Try it sometime. Just walk along, trying not to think of anything, and stifling any stray thoughts with the phrase "all perception".

Enjoyable.

Epic Play

I've been thinking about Epic D20 play, since it's something I've always wanted to try. In theory.

Part of my "thinking" has included looking through some epic-level play handbooks. The problem that I'm quickly seeing is in the attack stats. You've got to hit bonuses of, like, +77 or +123. The problem here is that the spread is too high: either you're going to be hit every time, or you're going to miss every time. That's lame.

The damages are also really annoying: 12d6+50? Who wants to roll that kind of damage? You're supposed to be playing, not doing math.

I still like the setting. Extraplanar travel and epic-level creatures are both super-cool. But the System breaks down at those level. You've gotta switch System to something more appropriate, once you get there, or the game will devolve quickly. Or so I hypothesize. And the fact that I've only ever heard of one epic-level game, ever (and the stories were always about how broken it was), suggests that most people seem to agree.

And, no, I'm not interested in Scion. ; )

No Life On Earth


The experiments used to detect life on Mars failed to find any.

The same experiments conducted here on Earth found none, too.

Oopsie.

(Want more information?)

The next time we go, we'll be taking deeper core samples. Better luck next time.

Male Privilege

Here's a list of all the privileges I have, thanks to the little dangly piece of flesh 'twix my legs, according to Peggy McIntosh. I'll highlight a few, to whet your appetite:

12. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.

17. As a child, I could choose from an almost infinite variety of children’s media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of my own sex. I never had to look for it; male protagonists were (and are) the default.

24. Even if I sleep with a lot of women, there is no chance that I will be seriously labeled a “slut,” nor is there any male counterpart to “slut-bashing.”

25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability or my gender conformity.

41. Magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are rarer.

42. In general, I am under much less pressure to be thin than my female counterparts are. If I am fat, I probably suffer fewer social and economic consequences for being fat than fat women do.

46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.

Hideout

If you had to disappear, where would you go?

If, for whatever reason, you needed to hide from some reasonably-large group of people for a couple of years, where would you go? What would you do?

...I see two options, myself.

Option one would be to go to some remote college town. Probably in Oregon, 'cause it's not too populated, but not too remote, and the cost of living isn't obscene (yet). I'd take some low-key job in the town, hopefully on-campus, though I wouldn't be able to take an "official" job: too much paperwork. This way, I could audit a good number of classes and keep myself intellectually stimulated while remaining off the radar.

Option two would be tucking myself away in some hidden Zen Temple. Sure, I'm not Buddhist, but I could certainly fake it for a few years. This way, I would be spending the bulk of my time hauling water, sweeping leaves, and clearing my mind. And there's no chance in hell anyone would look there. ; )

Uhhh... unless they read this post. Dammit!

What about you?

1kBWC: Best. Tea. Ever.

+ 600

1kBWC: Thermal Depolymerization


+ 500, - 200

You've found a cheap way to make energy.
But, dude, you're burning poo.

1kBWC: Methane Hydrates

-200, + 300

You think you solved your energy problems
with burning ice, but it's a greenhouse gas,
and you've created a new dependency cycle.
Still, burning ice is pretty cool.

1kBWC: The Ol' Switcheroo

-300

Keep this card in your hand.
When another player attempts to steal one
of your cards, give them this card instead,
(it goes to their pool.), then draw a card.

Photography

I used to own a Minolta 5si. At the time, and not counting my house or car, it was the most expensive thing I owned. It looked like this:

I loved my camera. I loved taking pictures with it. I loved photography.

That was then. Since my house was robbed, I only had so much money with which to replace everything, and I decided to ditch photography in lieu of music. Thus, I invested in a good computer and lots of soft-synths. The camera I'm using now is way smaller: a FinePix F30. I bought it because it fit in my price range, and it got good reviews.

I'm not sure whether I regret the decision to downgrade. I think I'm okay with it, since it's forcing me to draw more than shoot. It's also neat that it can shoot movies. I will be taking advantage of this, I think.

That said, I took this shot while in Santa Fe. Weird clouds: I had to shoot them. I'm glad I at least have a camera! (No, I am not claiming this is an otherwise good photo! It was a snapshot!)

The Next President of the United States

If you believe money buys votes (I do), our next president will likely be Hillary Clinton.

I would prefer Barack. He is the most well-spoken politician that I've ever seen. ...And the ability to speak well should be relatively high on the list of requirements for a president, in my opinion.

Still, Hillary seems decent enough. I did some research on her positions tonight, and I could certainly live with another President Clinton.

1kBWC: Keep Moving, Freak.

When another player places a card in your pool,
you may move that card and this one to the pool
on your left. (That player may use Keep Moving
at the start of their next turn.)

Coolest Setting Idea

One of the coolest ideas that I heard from indie roleplayers was a setting idea: a captive tarrasque . (If you don't know what one is, this post will be lost on you. Move on.)


Some ages ago, a collection of very powerful mages managed to lure the tarrasque into a trap... for example, completely buried underground, in hard stone, with magical bonds around each limb. The tarrasque was left to rot and the area abandoned and made off-limits to the people of the time.

...But that time has passed. Some years ago, the tarrasque was discovered by a less-than-scrupulous mage. He has decided to mine the tarrasque.

Yes, to mine it.

He's dug an underground laboratory to one side of the tarrasque, and bored a hole through the rock to the tarrasque's back. Periodically, they cut into the tarrasque with a horrific contraption, and harvest what organs they can, capturing as much blood as possible in the process. The beast makes muffled screams from within the rock, and there are occasional quakes as it writhes in agony... but its unmatched restorative powers always return it to full health. ...And then the mages begin again.

...Clearly, there are plenty of opportunities for PCs, here. Some ideas:

  • Someone hires them to steal some of the curative blood, without knowing its true source.
  • An enemy kingdom hires them to stop the production of the curative blood.
  • The PCs are asked to negotiate with the mages for the blood (without knowing the source), in return for some resource they represent.
  • The PCs are touring the facility, when one of the bonds breaks... they need to act immediately to stop the tarrasque from escaping.
  • The blood is making people progressively more evil. A patron of the PCs is using it, and they notice his changes, investigate the reason, and discover the operation.
  • Cultists (PITA?) are en route to free the tarrasque. The PCs must stop them.
  • When the PCs discover the operation, one of the NPCs with the party decides this is cruel, and tries to free it. Will they turn on their own party member to save the world?

1kBWC: Pre-emptive Shoosh

You may choose to discard the
next card played by the target.

All I Need Is A Hero [Edited]

Over the past few months, I've given thought (albeit limited) to heroes. And I don't mean the super- kind.

When we're kids, we were asked who our heroes were. Many answered it was their mother/father. I chose my grandfather.

Why don't we ask adults this question?

After thinking about it, I came up with four: E. O. Wilson, Derren Brown, Seth Godin, and Scott Adams. Let that say what it may.

Who are your heroes?

Do you know TED?


Today I discovered (thanks to Amy Hoy) a website called TED. Stands for "Technology, Entertainment, and Design", I think. It's an idea-sharing site, with video contributons from the likes of Jane Gooddall, AL Gore, and Richard Dawkins.

Once upon a time, I used to keep up with Edge. Then it got old-school. TED is new-school. Ideas for geeks. Stuff that matters.

If you already knew about TED, please tell me about these things! I am always looking for a good source of geekery! Take one look at the (large) stack of books by my bedside, and you'll see some role-playing books, sure, but 90% of it is non-fiction. Bordering on reference, even: biology textbooks, language instruction, knot-tying, science overviews, and art instruction.

Where do you go to get your geek on?