Tinkerbell reminded me last night that I want to be a Lost Boy. No!, not the ones from the 1980’s vampire movie, I mean the ones from Peter Pan.
I want to never grow up. I don’t want to have a bedtime, I want to live in a tree house, I want get into sword fights, and I want to fly.
I had to read this three times before I understood what it really meant. It is kind of confusing. Essentially it is a zen like saying about how we should try to live our lives more fully. Instead of letting our minds worry about everything all the time, we should take those moments where we don’t need to be thinking, we don’t need to be worrying and instead, find peace within ourselves. While you are waiting for the elevator, don’t think about the email your boss sent you yesterday, just relax, clear your mind and just BE!
A friend sent this too me yesterday, she is trying to rewire my brain I think, maybe not be quit so intense. Thinking is what I do, it is what I do at work and its what I do for fun, heck sometimes I am thinking about 2 or 3 different things at the same time. This will be my struggle for the year I think, I am use to living a life of doing, maybe it is time for me to slow down and think less, live less inside my own brain.
JC DENTON: I don’t see anything amusing about spying on people.
MORPHEUS : Human beings feel pleasure when they are watched. I have recorded their smiles as I tell them who they are.
JC DENTON: Some people just don’t understand the dangers of indiscriminate surveillance.
MORPHEUS: The need to be observed and understood was once satisfied by God. Now we can implement the same functionality with data-mining algorithms.
JC DENTON: Electronic surveillance hardly inspired reverence. Perhaps fear and obedience, but not reverence.
MORPHEUS: God and the gods were apparitions of observation, judgment, and punishment. Other sentiments toward them were secondary.
JC DENTON: No one will ever worship a software entity peering at them through a camera.
MORPHEUS: The human organism always worships. First it was the gods, then it was fame (the observation and judgment of others), next it will be the self-aware systems you have built to realize truly omnipresent observation and judgment.
JC DENTON: You underestimate humankind’s love of freedom.
MORPHEUS: The individual desires judgment. Without that desire, the cohesion of groups is impossible, and so is civilization. The human being created civilization not because of a willingness but because of a need to be assimilated into higher orders of structure and meaning. God was a dream of good government. You will soon have your God, and you will make it with your own hands. I was made to assist you. I am a prototype of a much larger system.
Okay folks, this is pretty much it, we are in the final hours of 2018. The first half of the year pretty much sucked frost giant balls, but the second half of the year turned out pretty good. I think 2019 is going to be a tough year for many many reasons, but I think I am much better equipped to face 2019 than I was to facing 2018.
Plans for 2019:
Kingdom of Loathing: I am going to ascend my character tomorrow and continue this run for the entire year with ascending again until January 1st 2020. This is really just an experiment to see how high of a level I can obtain.
Dungeons and Dragons Game: I want to get the characters my players are using currently to 20th level. They are currently 12th to 14th level, I expect them to be 20th level before the end of the year and then go out with a bang.
Writing: I really want to write way more than I have been. In past years I have promised myself I would write a thousand words a day, but I almost never come close to that. Instead in 2019 I am going to participate in National Novel Writing Month and turn out a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Now I just need a good idea.
Misc other things: I really need to start getting out and exercising, I also need to quit smoking and while I am at it, I might as well become a vegan. Haa Ha Ha, just kidding.
These are the general scopes of play as I see it, pick the one you like the best and play.
Basic: At its most basic level, 5th edition is a fairly simple game, the only allowed rules are those presented in the free downloadable basic PDF. Only 4 classes and 4 races are allowed along with a very narrow field of additional background crunch. Characters are easy to roll up and virtually all of depth is provided by the players.
Intermediary: This type of game uses only the core three hardbound books. There are 9 races and 12 classes available, along with several customization options for each class. Character generation is more difficult and the different niches can be filled in interesting ways by a couple of different classes.
High: This game includes, in addition to the core books, the Players Companion, the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Basically everything published by Wizards of the Coast as a D&D supplement is fair game, including Unearthed Arcana articles. The options available to players and DM’s is mind boggling. The first two levels are static and never change, at this level, something new is available every couple of months. The only things not allowed are rules produced by 3rd parties.
Very High: This is where things go nuclear. This type of game can include virtually anything available from the DM’s Guild. All manner of classes and races are available and I doubt any group could or would even want to allow all of it, but it is in the realm of possibility. Niches are almost non existent at this level as virtually any class can fill any niche with just a little customization. DM’s have to be very careful at this level as to not allow anything unbalancing or disruptive to play. Of course at this level, it probably does not matter if something is unbalancing or disruptive, because everyone will have access to things that are unbalancing or disruptive. The problem with this level of play is, it is difficult to move characters from one campaign to another.
Feed was a really tough read for me. It starts out depressing and steadily gets more depressing. I get that it is supposed to be an extension of smartphones and the “People as products” business model of Facebook and Google, but that is really what is depressing about it. I am also not the type of person who needs a happy ending to a book, but when people die, I like there to be a reason for it, I like there to be meaningful in some way. Violets death did not change anything, it did not even change the main character in any way, he ultimately made the same bad choices at the end of the book that he was making at the beginning. While I found the slang language used by the teenagers to be kind of distracting, I do have to say though the descent into the pit of despair was subtle and well written.
The Tripod series is three books; The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead and The Pool of Fire. The books were written decades ago by John Christopher, who is a tier two, possibly tier three science fiction writer, he did the bulk of his work in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, and was a reasonably prolific writer. Reading his Wikipedia entry, I think he was popular primarily in the U.K..
To start with, the things I did not like about the books. First off, these books did not age terribly well. They aged better than your average Heinlein book, but they still come off as very dated. The writing itself is pretty good, its just that the books were obviously written with 14 year old boys in mind, with no thought to appealing to any other demographic, which was pretty standard procedure back then. Remember this was at a time when women science fiction writers had to pretend to be men in order to get published. The story reads a bit like Huckleberry Finn, where a couple of kids go off on a grand adventure and do things no 14 year old boy could realistically do, the characters instead rely on luck to survive. By modern writing standards this falls under the category of seriously Mary Sue writing, however at the time of the writing, this was an accepted story telling mechanic.
Now the things I did like. Reading these books from the prospective of the 14 year old boy that lives inside my head, these books were a lot of fun to read. I mean who didn’t want to be the young hero who always got the upper hand on the adults and the super advanced alien race in the story. There were quit a few just straight up fun scenes in the books and what the boys lacked in skill, they more than made up for in chutzpah. They were able to do things simply because no one ever told them they couldn’t. The books show the true innocents of the time and the generally optimistic view of the world that many science fiction writers had at the time. The author also wisely skipped much of the potentially boring stuff, like the process of coming up with a plans to defeat the aliens, instead, this was left up to the adults to do off screen, while the boys only had to deal with the fun and cools things.
Overall, this series is well worth the read, I wish I had read them when I was in High School, before adulthood ruined my sense of wonder and my need for adventure. All three books are pretty short and easy to read, I had a lot on my mind in November and December, so it took me way longer to read then it normally would have. I am pretty sure an average reader could get through them in a week or two.
My primary creative outlet is playing D&D. For the last 15 odd years I have been running D&D for a group of really good players, keeping these guys busy can sometimes be a part time job. The problem with always being the Game Master is I almost never get to play, however, this gives me years to think about character ideas and interesting builds. Recently I have joined another group as a player and I am now getting to release some of my ideas on the unsuspecting world. My current character is a 4th level Human Variant Wizard, with 1 level of War Domain Cleric (Wizard 4/Cleric 1), this allows me to do all sorts of cool things, like cast spells even if I am wearing armor and have a weapon and shield in may hands.
So now I am thinking about my next character. I have not begun his build yet, but I am thinking about his background. The character I am playing now is really just a proof of concept character, because low AC wizards annoy me. But this next character I want to be a story based character where his background is more important than his class and levels. The grain of my idea starts with Lancelot, a knight who has fallen into disgrace for the love of a woman. I want my character to suffer from unrequited love, but I don’t want it to be all emo and depressing, I want the story to be at least a little bit silly. So here is my preliminary background story.
Du Lac (Lancelot’s last name and my current working name, it may change) lives in a small forrest kingdom with a large Elven population. He himself is a knight bound to the king of the land, he served his king well and was chosen to become a Paladin. Du Lac was sent to train among the elves for his eventual ascension to Paladin hood. While there training, he met and fell in love with an elf woman named Eruwaedhiel. She was just as in love with Du Lac as he was with her. However, she being an elf meant she would outlive him by a thousand years, it was was also true, she was already 100 years older than he was. While the age difference did not matter to him, it did matter to her and the thought of outliving him saddened her. Their relationship was brief, but it left its mark on both of them.
Du Lac and Eruwaedhiel do not avoid each other, in fact they are always in each others orbit, always aware what is happening with the other. Du Lac often goes home to visit her. Their relationship has many strange quirks. Du Lac pretends he cannot pronounce Eruwaedhiel’s name and calls her Goddess, Eruwaedhiel knows damn good and well he can pronounce her name and in turn refuses to use his name, simply calling him Paladin. Du Lac endlessly flirts with Eruwaedhiel, which exasperates her, she is often heard saying to him, “I should have just slept with you and you would be over this nonsense by now!”, to which he usually replies “If you had just slept with me, we would be married and have three children by now!”. While she refuses to allow a romantic relationship, she does recognize his love for her, she knows he will love her until the day he dies, for this she allows him to carry her favor, a small medallion with her family crest hanging on a silver necklace. She tells him when he dies she will give it to another, but they both know that is not true.
While I was in Billings, I spent one morning driving around my old stomping grounds with the intent of taking some pictures. None of these are all that interesting, but the idea was to show some bit of the old home town where I spent time growing up.