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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Online Gaming

I started playing RPG's online in 2002, mainly because I could not find any players locally who I wanted to game with. I eventually realized, it was not the local players who were the problem, the problem was that I wanted to game with my old group of friends. Unfortunately we had all spread out across the western half of the country over the years.

Once I discovered OpenRPG, I started sending out emails to the people I had gamed back in my home town. Most of them were not interested, but a few were and after a couple of months of putting things together, we got started playing and never really looked back. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of our gaming group. Frankly speaking, I don't think I could ever go back to in person gaming.

2020 of course saw playing RPG's online explode. COVID-19 forced groups online in almost desperate attempts to keep their games going. This was a huge change from just a few years earlier when many gamers would decry online gaming as bad gaming and everyone knows that no game is better than a bad game. That has all changed now and I suspect that even after COVID-19 is a bad memory, many groups will continue online, rather than begin meeting in person again.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Thought Experiment

So, just how close did Donald Trump come to successfully pulling off a coup on January 6th, 2021? It is fairly clear now their aim was to take Congress and the Vice President hostage, conduct show trials and execute them. The Alt-Right is saying this was not a serious coup attempt, but rather a large scale gag that got a little out of hand, because there are all these pictures of people doing silly things and smiling on camera. The problem of course is, this does not take into account the fact that there are also pictures of these thugs with zip ties to be used as handcuff, guns, molotov cocktails and pipe bombs. If this was just a gag, why were these items needed?

These guys obviously thought they had the backing of the majority of America, the  President and once they got the ball rolling, even the military would fall in behind them and they would be celebrated as the heroes of the revolution. They were not entirely wrong about this. There was definitely some collusion going on considering the response by the Capital Police and the apathy displayed by the Pentagon over bringing in the National Guard.

So it is really not that far fetched  to think that had the security on the inside of the Capital Building been just as incompetent as those outside, and had decided not to evacuate Congress and staffers to the bunkers under the building, these assholes could have actually taken Congress hostage. If Congress was forcefully dissolved and the VP assassinated, there would effectively be no one who could Constitutionally remove Trump from power.

Certainly there would be a civil war, but at that point the best we could hope for would be a few bloody days while the military tried to keep a lid on things until Biden could be sworn in as President on January 20th and reconstitute the government. At worst, it would launch a multi year bloodbath and resulting in the death of our democracy.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Thursday, December 31, 2020

In the closing days of 2020

 I got nothing, I sat down a couple of days ago to write something about 2020 and I really have got nothing. Happy New Year Everyone.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Larceny in my heart

Some co-workers were talking today about how one of their children had been caught forging their parents signature. This reminded me that I started doing this in the 7th grade, I had two techniques.

The first, was to get my mom to sign something, take tracing paper and trace over her signature with a heavy pen. Then I would turn it over and rub a pencil all over the back. Then when I needed my Mom's signature, I would just put my tracing paper on the line, and trace over the signature, this would leave a light pencil trace on the line, where I would once again go over it with pen. Worked like a charm.

The second method was to simply sign my Fathers name to whatever needed signing. Since I was always the one signing it, they could compare it all day long and it would always be the same. When someone would ask me saying, I thought your Father did not live in the house and your parents were divorced, I would simply say, yes, that is true, but I am staying with him for a couple of weeks. No one ever questioned me about it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Review: Ready Player Two

Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, #2)Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first question about this book was, did all the people who wrote bad reviews about this book actually read it? Okay, Ernie Cline is not the best writer ever, I doubt there will college courses taught on his works. However, with Ready Player One, he struck a cord, the story worked and he redefined the Cyberpunk genre for a generation. His second book Armada, fell very flat and was more or less a re-enactment of The Last Star Fighter. However, with Ready Player Two, he did regain most of his footing.

The weakest part of the book was the beginning, where Wade Watts is bringing us up to speed with what gas been happening over the last 3 years. This is fine, but way too much time was spent on it and it turns into a bit of slog as it is a lot like reading a Wikipeadia page at times. Cline could have easily compressed this down to maybe 6 pages and dropped anything else the reader needed along the way as it became necessary to know, instead it encompasses the first quarter of the book.

After that the story starts to pick up speed. We become engrossed by the new contest, a couple of the challenges are glossed over a bit, but several of them are quit fun to read. I was especially enjoyed the arena fight with the 7 aspects of the Purple One, Cline very obviously had fun writing this scene and I had a lot of fun reading it.

Over all, a good read, and a solid follow up to Ready Player One. If you are on the fence about reading it, I would say ignore the haters and go for it.

View all my reviews

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Things I should have probably talked about, but didn't

 Wow, my last post was in October and it is now December. I feel a bit guilty about this, but frankly nothing I particularly wanted to talk about happened. I know, I know, some of you are saying "But Chris, what about the election!" or "Chris, you wife got COVID-19!". These things and lost of other things happened, but I just did not want to talk about them. I just kind of shelled up as the shit started to pile up, insulating myself from the bad things happening around me. I know this is not the healthiest way to deal with things, but I think now that the worst of it has passed, I will be fine. On the other hand, I did express myself pretty regularly on Facebook, so I have not been entirely silent.

The Election: Biden won, whew, bullet dodged. Trump will be gone in a few weeks, hopefully we can get this country back on track and Republicans can start feeling some shame for what they did these last 4 years.

COVID-19: My wife contracted COVID-19 from an idiot anti-mask co-worker. Yes, if you are one of those anti-mask people, you are a fucking moron and I ask that you do not procreate. This was a difficult time for us, this was definitely not "Just like the flu", this lasted 6 weeks, where there were times I thought I was going to have to take her to the hospital because she was having trouble breathing. Again, if you are one of those people, go fuck yourself.

Friends: My friends lives have been in turmoil to say the least I have two friends who are in the middle of divorces, no not from each other. I also had a friend loose her job, to make it worse her live in boyfriend caught COVID-19 and then gave it to her.

Dungeons & Dragons: So I has a spat of bad game sessions over the last month, both in my own campaign and the campaign I playing in.

In my own campaign, we put our foot back into Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1E and Hackmaster, this was a mistake, none of us could really get back into it after playing D&D 5E. The old games are cool in retrospect, but really those old game mechanics suck and I think it detracted from the game, which lead to several sessions bad sessions where none of us could get into it and the final game ended in a near Total Party Kill and we decided to give it up.

In the campaign I am playing in, there are a couple of factors bothering me. First, I was not particularly happy with my character, which was 100% my own fault. When I built Du Lac, I did not want to optimize him to be a killing machine, instead I focused on making him a interesting character. Instead he ended up being terribly ineffective and terribly boring to play. The second issue I had, was in our last campaign, I dominated the game. I was the party leader and i directed the flow of play, as the DM put it, I was the puppet master. So when we started a new campaign, I wanted to be in the background, let the other players have their turn in the spot light, this did not go as planned at all. 

In my own campaign, we started over with 5E, beginning as Zero level characters, writing the backstories of everyone to explain how they became adventurers. In the game I am playing, I have changed characters and I have taken the reigns of the party again. In both games I am now enjoying myself again, which I am very happy about. D&D is almost my only outlet these days, so disappointing games bother me a lot.

2020?: So what can i say, 2020 is finally coming to an end. I cannot honestly say this has been the worst year of my life, because it is not even close. I cannot honestly complain a whole lot about it, because I know many people are have a much rougher year than I am. I still have my job, I still have my wife, I still have friends, and some how I managed to avoid getting COVID-19. So while 2020 has not been a great year, I will survive.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Maybe we did start the fire?

 WOW, it has been awhile. A couple of things, the wife got COVID-19, so has several of my friends. So far I have been lucky, but I seriously doubt that will last. We are in the middle of the third spike, so I am sure my luck will be running out in short order.

We are on the brink of the next election, early voting has started, although I have not gotten out to vote yet, I plan to hopefully do so this weekend. I really do not have any predictions this year for how things will go this year, other than I suspect that Joe Biden will win. I would like to point out that this election is not about Hunter Biden or even Joe Biden. This election is a referendum on President Trump's first term. I am aware that Joe Biden is not a perfect candidate, he is old and not terribly exciting, however President Trump has been a terrible president. Certainly if you are a conservative you can claim he has had a couple of wins, such as the tax cuts and getting conservative judges confirmed. But does that counter balance his failures? Iran and North Korea are doing whatever the fuck they want, Russia has gotten everything they wanted, damaged relations with Ukraine, eased sanctions, withdrawal from START, we have lost a couple of what should have been easy votes in the U.N., and we were publicly laughed at by our allies when we suggested Russia be allowed to re-enter the G7. That is just foreign affairs, his domestic policy has been even worse. If this election is between Mr. Rogers and Mary Trump's crazy uncle, Mr. Rogers is looking really good.

I have been in a couple of discussions recently about late stage capitalism and what that really means and if it is good or bad. You can call me a socialist, first, it probably does not mean what you think it means and second, I don't care. Having said that, my view of capitalism is fairly simple. The definition of capitalism is in its most basic form is the acquisition of material wealth. The purest form of capitalism is organized crime, acquisition of material wealth at any cost. Late stage capitalism is that in between stage, where we are not quite to making it legal to sell heroine to school children, but we are at the point where human life is secondary to the economy. President Trump made the conscience decision to ignore the COVID-19 pandemic to preserve the stock market and he has refused to support lock down, or even the most basic measures that other countries successfully implemented, all in the name of the economy. Never mind that as of this writing, a quarter of a million people are dead, with a thousand more dying everyday. Mind you these people did not die for god and country, these people died for the economy and they did not do so willingly. Think about that for a little while.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Internet Quote of the Day:

"I Fucking Hate My Fucking Life!"

Friday, September 4, 2020

Internet Quote of the day:

"Hope is what I need the most right now. I am tired of living in a proto cyberpunk dystopian near future."