Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So now the blog is on twitter...

... at least I hope so. I'm sometimes a bit of a luddite when it comes to online stuff. The whole Atari generation thing sometimes gets in the way and I'm never quite sure what all the acronyms mean.

But hopefully this will mean some more substantive posts in the future, as well as more frequent postings. We'll see. Maybe even a couple of comics, too. I also want to use the blog posting for when I'm at convention as I suspect that twitter will prove to be a little too brief for all that is going on there.

Its a pretty night outside... darn moon.

Its a pretty night outside except for that darn full moon. Low sixties, clear with a gentle breeze, it would be a perfect night except for that full moon totally drowning out most of the stars in the southern half of the sky. That does suck. And it's going to suck more next month when the Perseids are up and so will the moon be. But I'll survive :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I am a (6th level) True Neutral Elf Wizard

I Am A: True Neutral Elf Wizard (6th Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-13

Dexterity-14

Constitution-17

Intelligence-20

Wisdom-16

Charisma-13


Alignment:
True Neutral A true neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. He doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most true neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil after all, he would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, he's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some true neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. However, true neutral can be a dangerous alignment because it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.


Race:
Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.


Class:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)




And like any sort of Wizard, I gotta show you the math:

Detailed Results:

Alignment:
Lawful Good ----- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (15)
Neutral Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (18)
Chaotic Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Lawful Neutral -- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (19)
True Neutral ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (22)
Chaotic Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (18)
Lawful Evil ----- XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Neutral Evil ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (15)
Chaotic Evil ---- XXXXXXXXXXX (11)

Law & Chaos:
Law ----- XXXXXXX (7)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Chaos --- XXXXXX (6)

Good & Evil:
Good ---- XXXXXXXX (8)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Evil ---- XXXXX (5)

Race:
Human ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXX (13)
Dwarf ---- XXXXXX (6)
Elf ------ XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Gnome ---- XXXXXX (6)
Halfling - XXXXXXXX (8)
Half-Elf - XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Half-Orc - XX (2)

Class:
Barbarian - (-6)
Bard ------ (-4)
Cleric ---- (-6)
Druid ----- (0)
Fighter --- XX (2)
Monk ------ (-13)
Paladin --- (-21)
Ranger ---- XX (2)
Rogue ----- (-6)
Sorcerer -- XXXX (4)
Wizard ---- XXXXXX (6)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thoughts on the Sims 3 the night before it comes out.

So the Sims 3 is coming out tomorrow (unless you happened to win the mail-order lottery and picked the right company and got in this past Saturday) and I wanted to shoot the breeze a little about the Sims.

You know whenever a big game comes out there is always this paranoia about where to buy it. Will your favorite store have it on day 1? Will the UPS truck break down (don't laugh, its happened) or will the weather somehow push back all the trucks? (that's usually in the winter). And sometimes the people who work in the store leave the shipment in back until they can "get to it". (This also happens - the idea being that for a big seller they're going to sell their stock regardless. I've made managers angry by making them go back and open up the box.) And lastly, when does the truck arrive? Most times the UPS truck will be there by 2pm. But I've gone to stores in midtown Manhattan that didnt have the game on the shelves at 2pm and then had it at 6pm.

Yet I think this game will be on the shelves ASAP tomorrow. Why? The Sims has something going for it that no other PC game has. It is the only best selling series that sells more items to women than men. Everyone talks about the 20-something demographic or the RPG demographic or the FPS demographic. Maxis has found the motherlode - the WOMAN demographic! (btw, someone will comment that Maxis has been bought out by EA and the Sims is now EA rather than Maxis. To me, it will always be Maxis.)

So tomorrow is opposite day at computer stores across the country. Tomorrow women will go to the stores by droves, talk to nerdy computer guys, get what they want and immediately leave. You'll never see the opposite - you'll never see a bunch of computer guys in Doom3 t-shirts all storm into Victoria's Secret and hang out there for an entire day. It's mostly cause they're too nervous to ever cross the threshold, but that's beside the point.

You'll see all sorts of amusing things if you stay long enough - mostly from the "socially inept talking to girls" department. (Hint: Your Fallout 3 'Lady Killer' perk will not be effective against her. There's simply no dialogue coded in that direction. You'll need some kind of 'mod'.) Ladies, beware the guy who knows a little too much about the Sims 3 to be comfortable. He's trying to turn your jewel green. Thats not necessarily a metaphor. You can figure that one out on your own.

But really, don't feel bad for the computer guys. Tomorrow will give them more than enough to talk about until the first Sims 3 expansion. Meanwhile, Starcraft II will be out soon enough.


Oh, and the game will be great.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Word Count Update

I've been away visiting relatives for most of the past week so there has been little added... but I did crack 15,000 words today! The new standings are:



Title Word Count Finished? Date Notes
1 Cathedral Cave 57299 y December-04
2 Three Counties (total) 41437 y April-04 compilation of stories written between 1995 and 2005
3 Florin's Passage 30952 n May-05
4 Traffic Jam 15765 y August-03 (rewritten 2005)
5 MS Thesis… in progress 15349 n July-09
6 Wiz and the Dragon 11485 n December-07
7 Foresight 9662 n May-00
8 PJ's Story 7394 y December-97 (written with Paul Steward)
9 Wiz 6516 n February-06 (history of Wiz)
10 MS Thesis Proposal 6378 y September-08
11 Geol 666 Final Paper 6339 y December-06 (for Geology 666)
12 Atmospheric Carbon, Its Reservoirs Processes and Effects 6056 y November-06 (for Geology 488)
13 The Pit 4427 y February-99
14 Devils Hole Discovery Trip Report 4233 n August-95 (was supposed to be Chp 1 of "Caves of Our Backyard")
15 Babouk, Black Thunder, Marx and Race 4389 y April-04 Marxist Literature Class

The Thesis is catching up on #4!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The longest things I've written (4000 words minimum)

So with my thesis topping 14000 words (and going strong), I started thinking about other things I've written. I had a fairly good idea of what the longest thing was that I wrote, and I'm sure the MS Thesis will eventually be Number 2... But what was number 3,4,5...?

So I decided to take a little break and see what the largest things I'd written were. So far, I've come up with 15 items. There are two guidebooks - the 1998 NRO Guidebook and the 2001 MAR Guidebook - which I wrote but aren't on there because I can't find the files. (they may be lost). They would probably be somewhere around 10,000 words apiece. Also keep in mind this is just things typed. There's a few stories I've started which were long and were handwritten and never made to the word processor


Title Word Count Finished? Date Notes
1 Cathedral Cave 57299 y December-04
2 Three Counties (total) 41437 y April-04 compilation of stories written between 1995 and 2005
3 Florin's Passage 30952 n May-05
4 Traffic Jam 15765 y August-03 (rewritten 2005)
5 MS Thesis… in progress 14000 n July-09
6 Wiz and the Dragon 11485 n December-07
7 Foresight 9662 n May-00
8 PJ's Story 7394 y December-97 (written with Paul Steward)
9 Wiz 6516 n February-06 (history of Wiz)
10 MS Thesis Proposal 6378 y September-08
11 Geol 666 Final Paper 6339 y December-06 (for Geology 666)
12 Atmospheric Carbon, Its Reservoirs Processes and Effects 6056 y November-06 (for Geology 488)
13 The Pit 4427 y February-99
14 Devils Hole Discovery Trip Report 4233 n August-95 (was supposed to be Chp 1 of "Caves of Our Backyard")
15 Babouk, Black Thunder, Marx and Race 4389 y April-04 Marxist Literature Class



So a little about the big ones:
Cathedral Cave was a novella written when I was unemployed for the NaNoWriMo competition (competition to write 50,000 words in the month of November) - NaNoWriMo stands for "national novel writing month")

The 'Three Counties' are a compilation of short to long stories written for grotto Newsletters and the Arts and Letters Section of the NSS. Its horror based caving long before 'The Descent' became relevant and a hell of a lot more interesting.

Florin's Passage is a DnD type fantasy story about dwarves living underground. It makes a lot more sense, both geologically and socially than most of the things out there. Most writers have spent some time in a forest, so they can write about elves. How many do you think have spent serious time underground?

Traffic Jam was written for a creative writing class in 2003 and rewritten in 2005. It is literally about that - a traffic jam in New Jersey. Social Commentary and a lot of fun to write.

Wiz and the Dragon is a story about my DnD character, Wszebor Uriev (its actually backstory) from when I was a teenager.

Foresight is about a person struck by lightning and the unusual things which happen to him afterwards.

PJ's story is a story written by myself and Paul Steward. Its the only one actually published - appearing in 'Tales of Dirt, Danger and Darkness'

Wiz was supposed to be Wszebor's whole biography. It doesn't get much past the first couple of chapters.

And lastly 'The Pit' is about some cavers who try to escape the end of the world by hiding in a deep TAG pit.

And for those who feel better seeing it as a number of pages my Thesis proposal was about 20 pages, as was my Geology 666 final paper.