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Sisyphus
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Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater." But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. --Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, On Joy and Sorrow
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I love leverage. The cast is fantastic, and between the regulars and guests, it bridges the gap between several shows that I love. First, there's the obvious Whedon connection through Christian Kane. But also through Mark Sheppard (who played Badger), who has also appeared in Burn Notice, Doll House and even did a guest spot on Voyager. Speaking of Star Trek, Jonathan Frakes directed a couple of episodes, one of which included Brent Spiner. Aldis Hodge has a list of guest spots on a number of geek-friendly shows (from the more mainstream Bones and Numb3rs appearances through Supernatural, Buffy and Charmed). Finally, Alex Carter is one of those actors that shows up all over the place in shows that I really enjoy: from appearances on Due South, one of my favorite shows from my teen years, a spot on The Pretender, Bones, Castle, and as Sterling's henchman on Leverage. And now, HWhil HWheaton. If they get Bruce Campbell, Nathan Fillion, and David Boreanaz on as guests sometime, Leverage will have had the vast majority of my favorite tv actors on at one time or another.
Toggle Commented Jun 17, 2009 on LEVERAGE: day one at WWdN: In Exile
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You know, I've given it some thought, and I will kick him while he's down. If someone had kicked his spiritual predecessor, the guy who opened his mailbox and pulled out an paper envelope saying "Pre-Approved Credit Card Application," then we wouldn't be getting spam today. By the next step in technological evolution, when they fire e-mail directly into your brain, I don't want to have images of the platonic ideal of a wang, chemically or bionically or whatever-ly enhanced, haunting my every waking moment. So yes, I will kick him, to keep me from being haunted by dreams of Lightspeed briefs.
Toggle Commented Mar 27, 2009 on in the country of the kaurava king at WWdN: In Exile
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You might be interested in AutoKindle (http://sourceforge.net/projects/autokindle). It's also windows only, so I don't know what sort of hurdle that presents to you, but it's there.
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I've spent hours in prep before. I had whole binders of maps, NPC's, time-lines, random-monsters and even pre-generated random treasures with theirs and mine note cards (for pre and post identification). You know what? I was never prepared for everything my players decided to do. http://hackingandslashing.blogspot.com/search/label/D%20and%20D%20Campaign This is the journal of the last D&D games (3.0ish with some house-ruling) that I ran. I had to make up rules, on the fly, for how many random NPC's managed to avoid a falling roc (yes, the giant bird). That's right, rocs fell and everyone died. I have learned that what I need to do is to say, "They will do the one thing that you didn't think of in preparation. Therefore, prepare differently." Now, I work out main NPC's stats and personalities, as well as their goals and motivations. I also work out what they'll be doing in the period of time that will cover the next session. Then, I react in character to what the players do. This means that somethings happen in the background that my players may not find out about for weeks or months. It's always awesome when I can pull of a big reveal, and my players see that the world isn't just reacting to them, but to itself.
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As a fan, I really hope a strike doesn't happen. The WGA strike killed more good TV than even Fox's talented programming directors had (Firefly, RIP). That being said, who do you think the bad guys in a SAG strike would be? It won't be the actors. The studios and producers pour way too much cash and effort into making the big name actors likable in the press so that people keep going to see their movies. They won't trash them, because they know that the strike will end, and they'll have to undo that damage. Besides, as the WGA showed, it's easy to make the moguls into the bad guys. Even in professional sports, where players are paid more for one game than their fans make all year, to play a game that those fans play for fun, the fans still side with the players. They complain about them, call the greedy jerks, but they still side against the owners. Yeah, a SAG strike will hurt a lot of other people. Crew, writers and people in various ancillary jobs and industries. Yeah, the economy really sucks right now. But ask yourself this, given 3 years to prepare, do you really think that the producers won't manage to put themselves into a position where a strike will hurt you far more than them? Right now, they're hurting just like everyone else. The AMPTP is slowly choking writers, actors, and other laborers to death. Compassion is a noble impulse, but it needs to be examined in the larger picture here.
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Board games never really grab me. Pen and paper rpgs are where it's at for me. However, I have begun to appreciate the card games. Not necessarily collectible ones, but games like Chez Geek (and Grunt and Goth and Greek). Also, check out Gloom.
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@Al E. Firefly games has a game called Faery's Tale, specifically designed for kids 6+ (http://firefly-games.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=47&osCsid=88f71b550e65c9a0df628e3dd55ae22b) I haven't played it, but their OG Unearthed edition is awesome.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2008 on Lizardmen live in the marshes at WWdN: In Exile
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I'm blessed to be in a weekly group. We're playing in a Changeling campaign where I'm a player, and a D&D 3.5 (sorta) that I run. In the D&D game, we're higher level than we've ever played at, which is cool, but we're really finding some of the cracks in the system. Some encounters that should be, by CR, easy, are flattening the party. Others, they're just steam-rolling over. However, I've really enjoyed the Changeling game. We'll go three of four sessions without rolling initiative once. However, there's still lots of conflict. It's just often in a social arena, or a moment of tension where we have to hide. It's such a different sort of story that gets told and shaped by the system. I don't know if it's novelty, but so far it's been great. Incidentally, the new Changeling: The Lost is so much more awesome than the horrible Changeling: The Dreaming. A few other game suggestions: QAGS from Hex Games (http://www.hexgames.com/) is a fun, rules light system. Witchhunter: The Invisible World is a bit crunchier, but it's a cool game (http://www.paradigmconcepts.com/witch_hunter/). Also, if you have time for a one-shot, try Elfs (http://www.adept-press.com/elfs/). It's fun, and really light. As for finding a game, you're Wil Wheaton. Go to a hobby shop. Look at the cork board. Call one of the numbers listed, and make someone's year. For the rest of us, there are a plethora of on-line tools to hook up gamers. In fact, that would make a good conversation for the Geeks group on propeller...
Toggle Commented Sep 9, 2008 on Lizardmen live in the marshes at WWdN: In Exile
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I GM a group who start every plan with this simple, stated goal: how can we best kick our foe in the junk? This has led to all manner of amusing anecdotes. In the homebrew world that we're running, they've burned the same inn down twice. A classic moment just last week was this exchange: Ranger: We need to question the leader of that guard patrol to get some information. Cleric: We've got to somehow draw him out from the rest. Wizard: Leave it to me... The wizard then cast a spell that called forth a rain of lava and ice on the patrol, under the assumption that the one who lived would be the most experienced, and therefore the leader. I've been chronicling their adventures here, for the curious.
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2008 on the joys of unsubtle roleplaying at WWdN: In Exile
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First, Wil, everyone* feels stabby vis a vis the uncertain economic times. That's sort of par for the course now that we've grown up and have families that we need to support. However, your job is incredibly cool, you seem to love doing it, and you get to meet all sorts of figures (such as, for example, Wil Wheaton) that make the rest of us drooling fanboy (or girl if you are one) masses collapse into pools of squeeing jelly. Now, enjoy the other perks, like having your drooling fanboys (or girls if you are one) send in shots of your work in the wild. Awesome for you! Secondly, and totally unrelated, except in the "maybe it will cheer you up" sort of way, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog Act I has been released! ( http://drhorrible.com/index.html). Now, I'm off to let the caffeine in my system die down enough so that I can type without hitting each letter three times. *Where everyone does not include septuagenarian presidential candidates with sugar mommas and oil executives.
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I noticed in your interview that you mentioned Mel Brooks and Get Smart. I just heard on NPR that Harvey Corman (forever remembered as Hedley Lamar and Count D'Money) just died. Here's the link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90981454&ft=1&f=1001
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It's really a gamble. I've been to a lot of shows that were awesome. Last year my wife convinced me to see Interpol, and it was really good. The venue wasn't too big. The coolest part was that there's a train track that runs near the ampitheater, and a train actually slowed down, and stopped so that the conductor could watch the show. The only use of cell phones that night was to snap pictures of the band while they played. Overall, very cool. Of course, there have been numerous occasions of drunks, asshats, and general idiocy that far outnumber the good ones. As ticket prices have gone up, and my disposable income has gone down, I've become less inclined to gamble $70 a pop on a show that has about a 75% chance of just pissing me off. Sorry that your experience sucked, but next time, go chat with a security guard or cop if there's one in the venue. Generally, they'll side with people who are having their evening ruined and either move you to a better spot, or throw the dink out.
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It's odd. I love Tom Waits. I love song covers because I always like to see what other people will do with the same material. In fact, I own an awesome album of Waits covers already (Step Right Up). I'm generally well-disposed towards Johansson. I like almost all of the bands you listed. All of this made me think that this would really suit me, but it doesn't. I can't put my finger on what it is, but it seems, maybe, too clean. "I Wish I Was in New Orleans" in particular seemed to just loose the soul of the song for me. On the other hand, I'm thrilled that Warner opted to allow me to preview it, even though it means that I'll almost certainly not buy it.
Toggle Commented May 14, 2008 on anywhere she lays her head at WWdN: In Exile
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My issues with HRC have nothing to do with her gender. They have to do with her experience. First, her claims of already having 8 years of experience due to the somewhat ignoble administration of her husband are extremely dubious. However, if you charitably accept that she somehow has that experience, it only makes my disagreements with her stronger. I don't believe that there should be a litmus test of "you voted for the Iraq war, you're out." I also don't believe that we should wring HRC until she publicly debases herself over that vote. The problem that I have is that even AFTER she voted to let the smirking chimp play soldier boy in Iraq, even though many said it was a bad idea at the time (Sen. Byrd anyone), she still voted to let him start saber rattling towards Iran by voting to call the Iranian Guard a terrorist organization. That means one of the following: 1. She thinks that belligerent talk towards Iran will somehow weaken their extremest politicians and strengthen the moderates, despite every indication that it is untrue (see http://www.juancole.com/ for more on this). 2. Despite Bush's past behavior, she thinks that he'll continue to search for a diplomatic solution with Iran (talk about the triumph of hope over experience!) 3. Despite the fact that Iraq has, to quote Futurama's Nixon, "gone all quagmire," she thinks that starting a similar offensive in Iran is a good idea. If that's what her experience has taught her, then it seems to me that she has a learning disability. She's living proof that simple conditioning (as in Pavlov) might not really work.
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Regarding the replacement of The Joshua Tree, I submit a bit of paraphrased advice from Alan Alda. In his book, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed (which I highly recommend), he explains the title. After his dog died when he was a kid, he kept crying when they went to bury it. His dad suggested that maybe they should have the dog taxidermied so they could keep him around. Unfortunately, they couldn't describe the expression that the dog normally wore when asked by the taxidermist. So, even though he did his best, the expression that the taxidermist put on the dog was horrified and horrific, a grotesque mockery of how the dog looked in life, and it really nailed home the fact that they were trying artificially preserve a moment in the past, rather than moving forward. So, congratulations on replacing your scratched and ancient copy of the Joshua Tree.
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Billy West did a great interview at TV Squad (http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/06/15/billy-west-the-tv-squad-interview/) where he talks about this. It's toward the end, but his point is that most actors, especially actors who primarily do stuff for the screen, don't really know how to put an entire character just into the voice. As a result, many of the CGI cartoons that have those big screen names tend to create characters that are modeled (from both a physical and personality standpoint) on the actors that they hope to land to do the voice.
Toggle Commented Feb 5, 2008 on regarding voice acting . . . at WWdN: In Exile
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Personally, I'd rather vote for Lewis Black than any of the remaining candidates. I preferred Edwards, though the self-writing script of "Potential First Woman President vs. Potential First Black President" was just too damn alluring for the media to pay attention to issues of substance. They'll always find some reason. Personally, I'd be happy with a candidate that took some ideas from Lewis Black. For example, it IS unacceptable that every new home built in the U.S. doesn't have solar power.
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As a simple, central Ohio fan, I'd recommend Marcon in Columbus over Origins. Lots of people around here would suggest Origins (because it's a bigger gaming convention), but Marcon is more of a general speculative fiction fandom place. The downside is that it's way earlier than most other conventions. It runs Memorial Day weekend, so Marcon 43 may just be already all booked up. However, I'm betting that Origins is going to be the bookend for WoTC's 4th edition rollout with GenCon. In any case, Columbus is a fairly groovy city. We've got locally owned radio, at least 3 locally owned game shops, and some pretty awesome locally brewed beers.
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I'm literally angry with rage! The RIAA is rearranging chairs on the Titanic. They exist as a distribution channel, and now that they're becoming redundant, they are fighting progress through graft and intimidation. Central OH is blessed with the joy of independent radio in CD101. In addition to playing a fairly diverse selection of alternative rock, having specialty shows like Independent Playground that play indie stuff, and hosting the awesome Big Room where bands play a few songs live before they play shows in the Columbus area, CD101 is also owned by local interests. They're a big part of the local culture. They work to sponsor ComFest, numerous shows, and the Andyman-a-thon, where one of the hosts broadcasts for 48 hours straight for charity. And they even run a feed over the tubes at CD101.com.
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In Columbus, I've enjoyed living fairly close to the Drexel Grandview (nice Indie stuff on 1 screen), going to Studio 35 (12 beers on tap and more in bottles, pizza, subs or salads), or the Arena Grand. If I'm hitting one of the AMC billion-plex theaters, it's probably a film that's been out for at least 3 or 4 weeks, so I can be sure that there are only going to be a few other people in the theater with me. I'll be truly sorry to see the movie theater die. It's been a shared cultural point for Americans for over a century. It used to be a place that helped define what our culture was and that renewed our membership in human society. Now, it's a box where studios force feed people content that 33% commercials while they, not surprisingly, resent the studios for doing it. It's become an adversarial environment that people hate. It's really rather depressing.
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The problem is that most people have a fundamental misunderstanding of what television executives regard as the purpose of television. It's not to entertain, educate, inform or even make us better citizens. It is to keep people watching car commercials. From their perspective, it is better to put on a crappy show that's the same as every other in a time slot, than to risk putting anything innovative on the tube. No one is going to get fired for putting out According to Jim, even though it sucks and Nobody's Watching. It's a formulaic sitcom of the defanged All in the Family mold, and if it fails, well, it can be chalked up to just being a failed sitcom. If Masters of Sci Fi fails at an 8:00 Tuesday slot, then the exec that backed it will be canned, because he could have put According to The King of Raymond in that slot, and everyone "knows" it would have drawn more eyeballs, and thus sold more cars. In short, don't assume that just because Joss Whedon and others are saying that they can tell better stories on TV than in movies that TV is there for that. It's there to sell advertising to companies, and products to viewers. And just like no one ever got fired for buying IBM, no one will ever get fired for putting a formulaic crappy sitcom in a primetime slot.
Toggle Commented Aug 6, 2007 on this is why television sucks at WWdN: In Exile
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I still play once a week and in a couple of on-line games. How's that for geekery: digitally playing analog games. Anyway, here's a few games I'd suggest to anyone: Shadowrun: Cyberpunk + magic + dragons = better than you'd expect. Paranoia: It's a great game to toss in once in a while when dungeon crawling, taking on the corporate man, or angsting the night away as one of the undead gets a bit monotonous. Ars Magica: Because we all really want to be wizards.
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