Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Day

Today I Learned:

I am already an accomplished thief, having stolen something beyond value or price: a heart.

--Flynn ("Say it with me: "D'aaaaaaaw!")

Monday, December 13, 2010


Today I learned:

I did in fact intend on coming back. It was a bit of a close affair, though; but in the end I decided that I was interested in coming back, and sharing the little things I learn.

Don't be drunk. Just don't. Any state of mind which leaves you sincerely believing that someone you've met once briefly a few months ago is your best friend is a bad state of mind. Any state of mind in which you laugh uproariously every 30 seconds at your own witticisms is a very annoying state of mind. Any state of mind in which you feel compelled to spend dozens of dollars in a week on food that makes you feel ill and look stupid is one not worth the investment.

Youtube should start allowing you to report song parodies on the pure basis of their being retarded/unfunny. Because they are a plague which has infected youtube, and I have decided I will not condone any longer.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today I learned:

it's hard work moving. Especially when you are a newb.


Friday, November 12, 2010

November 12, 2010

Today I learned,

in 2000 the third edition of Dungeons and Dragons was released. It had been 11 years since the last major edition, (oddly enough, I was born the same year AD&D2, or 2nd Edition, came out...) and people were excited for change. (Or so I assume, I wasn't born back then.) The 3rd Edition came out, then 3 years later after some "Uh...did you MEAN to do that?" feedback from users, 3.5 edition (3.5e as it is typically called) came out. It was very similar to 3rd edition, but implemented some changes that fixed some problems, unified the way monsters and players were created, and added more spells etc. to the core rules. They released most of this in happy revised core rule books; but some non-core rule books were already released into the wild, and did not receive a base re-printing. The fiend Folio, Manual of the Planes, Epic Handbook, and Monster Manual II all were still 3rd Edition, and a little sketchy therefore to implement in your games. (I mean, there were skills that were no longer in 3.5e, values that made no sense, and somethings that were supposedly playable that really didn't make a lick of sense.) This made some people sad sad pandas, because the monsters and things contained therein were pretty sweet; they just kind of were a little hard to justify including, due to the way they kind of were a bit archaic. However, Wizards of the Coast (who had in 1997 bought out Tactical Studies Rules and acquired DnD) realized this problem, and issued a supplement to bring these books up to speed. It was free (since it was useless without the books they were based on, and you PRESUMABLY paid money for those) and suddenly? Life was more awesome.

However, I did not know of the existence of this supplement; so I have pined away, trying to figure out how to properly implement the fearsome Mountain Giant, and how to finally live the dream of Weaving Spells. (I mean playing a Spellweaver, a six armed humanoid who can cast up to six spells simultaneously. Le Sigh) Then a few days ago I ran across it (not literally, ew) and eagerly looked up the Monster Manual II part, to see what I could see. Lo and behold! Suddenly, the Mountain Giant was no longer available to players. It made perfect sense...but was a sad day, to lose the largest playable race. But then, what did I discover, but that they'd made Spellweavers playable! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

And then I realized that Doctor Seuss was the best rapper of our time.

--Flynn ("He punches the gravity right out of people!")

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11th, 2010

Today I learned:

Banks are closed on veterans day. Lazy bum bankers.

Back in WWII, Britain set up many outposts for Anti-Air defense purposes, most of the outposts being on actual British soil. HM Fort Roughs, however, was situated six miles off the coast, which interesting put it outside of the 3 mile territorial waters claimed by the UK at that time. After WWII, the many bases were disassembled...but not Fort Roughs, which was merely abandoned and left to its own devices, as it were. A group of pirate radio broadcasters (ie: radio broadcasters operating without regulation and independently, not broadcasters who only play illegally downloaded music) had occupied the fort by 1967, when former Major Paddy Roy Bates gave them the boot to install his own pirate radio station. (Off shore broadcasts are the best for Pirates, as they fall outside of the jurisdiction of the country they are broadcasting too. This off shore affiliation would be one reason they are called pirates) After a year, a maintenance worker was servicing a navigational buoy and came too close for Bates' comfort, so he fired warning shots. The UK being as gun loving as they are asked Bates politely to come to court to deal with the charges of gun discharging. However, once in court, they realized that "Sealand" as it was now being called (by Bates and his family) was outside of British Jurisdiction, so their hands were tied. Bates took this to mean he was an independent country, and in 1975 wrote a constitution, which he followed up with a national anthem, flag,
currency, and passports issued to personal friends and supporters of Sealand.

In 1978, disaster struck the tiny nation. Bates and his wife were visiting Austria, and the self proclaimed Prime Minister of Sealand (German Alexander Achenbach) hired German and Dutch mercenaries to assault the platform with helicopters and speedboats, successfully taking over it in its ruler's absence. (They also kidnapped his son during this time.) Roy of Sealand however was not going to take that guff. He launched a counter assault and took the invaders captive, rescued his son, and won the war. He released the Mercenaries first, as the Geneva Convention dictates teh release of prisoners, but delayed on the mastermined Achenbach. Achenbach held a Sealand passport, but was charged with treason and was not to be released except for a price. A German diplomat finally visited Sealand to negotiate his release (a move that has been accepted by Roy as Germany's de facto recognition of their existence as a micronation) and he was finally let go. (Government Documents that have since surfaced reveal that britain was so embarrassed by all this that it nearly tried to demolish the small nation.)

However, Achenbach was not done. in 1997, it was brought to the Royal Family's attention that there were multitudes of falsified Sealand Passports circulating, estimated to be around 150,000, stemming from the traitorous dog Achenbach. Prince Roy, with heavy heart, terminated ALL Sealand passports, rather then let his country's good graces be tarnished by these imposters. (Largely emigrants from China) In 2006, there was a fire that ravaged the tiny nation, but with some hard work they repaired the damage and have fended off claims by "King Marduk" a delusional fool who claims that because of it's non mention in treaties after WWII, it is up for grabs by anyone. (Royal Prince Michael, son of Roy, has said that this is preposterous and anyone trying to encroach on their sovereignity will be dealt with appropriately)

--Flynn ("E Mare Libertas!")

November 10th, 2010

Today I learned:

it is in fact possible to have an epic, amazing, deep webcomic...starring a wombat. Digger is simultaneously thought provoking, sobering, engaging, funny, and epic. It weaves in real world mythology (Vampire Pumpkins anyone? :D ) to a setting with talking Hyenas, Dwarves, and prophetic slugs. I've not finished the archive yet, but I would highly recommend that anyone with some time on their hands read it, well worth the effort. *coughs* MORTAL WOMBAT!!!

(Addendum) I learned that I also forgot to actually post this after writing this O_o my bad.

--Flynn ("Remember Tunnel 17!")

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 9th, 2010

Today I learned:

The Tetris Theme is not only awesome and famous, but based on an old Russian tune. The tune is called "Karobushka" (The Peddler) and due to the original game's Moscow/Russian theme, this was chosen. However, the original plan was to have original music. However, the team's sound designer had major issues; every time he finished a line, it would disappear! Padum PSH


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 29, November 4, 2010

Today I learned:

I probably ought not participate in No Shave November this year, if only because my facial hair is of the variety that makes people uncomfortably rub their own face and think "Gosh, I hope mine doesn't look like that, I wish I could shave it RIGHT NOW to make sure." Or at least, so I interpret their actual literal face rubbings and uncomfortable looks at anything vaguely reflective. This not being terribly professional, I have decided I really ought to avoid it this year.

The average high in Casper Wyoming is less than Longview's average low. Casper Wyoming also was home to a gay guy who had a hate crime law passed in his honor. It was also home to the the states first openly gay elected official in Wyoming.

--Flynn Burklin ("And in the end, as Darkness takes me, I am nothing.")

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 28, November 3, 2010

Today I learned:

The shorter hair is likely to stay for the foreseeable future, as it was praised for being "much more proffesional" for one of my supervisor type people. Due to the fact I am trying to be more professional (at least at work), I will probably continue cutting it short to keep it in line with the professional look I apparently am achieving.

My Alma Mater is cooler than I realized.

The only reason I'm glad I got a yearbook (for the moment) is that it enabled me to draw a mustachio on a guy's face. A pencil thin, frenchtacular stash that makes me go "Ohohohohohoho" every time I think of it. (Usually only in my head, since professionalism doesn't include bad fake French accents)

I want a new phone. My current one no longer vibrates, and doesn't play sounds half the time either. The buttons are insensitive, and the battery life lasts two days if it's feeling heroic. However, I will probably wait until after I move so that financial instability is minimized during that crucial time period.

--Flynn Burklin ( "Be careful, I heard bad things happen to those that complain about the rules.")

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 27, November 2nd, 2010

Today I Learned:

Krull is a fascinating watching experience. It's simultaneously cliched, unimaginative, clumsily written and overexcited, while managing to be surprising, overly surrealistic, and minimalistic. It pulls heavily from the cauldron of well worn tropes, taking a prophecy there, a wise mentor who perishes along the way, the powerful sorceress who is synonymous with death, color coded soldiers (though, they manage to have black AND white bad guys, in a daring move that threw me off balance for five seconds) and lackluster lava. I have to admit though, I was surprised at the sheer volume of predictable...ness, and did not anticipate the end because I thought they'd run out of tropes. It also surprised me by having a composer I respect, James Horner, do the soundtrack. To his credit, it was a good match for the movie; against his credit, that's not a good thing. Liam Neeson also appeared in it, which (spoiler) was bad because he DIED. The best actor in the movie and they killed him lamely! He at least could have been riding a unicorn into the sun. Ah well. Anyways, if you like cheesy silly movies? Watch this one, with a friend. It's much more fun that way.

Also, driving in a good rain without windshield wipers is exciting. DO NOT TRY AT HOME.

--Flynn ("All Clear.")

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 26: November 1, 2010

Today I learned:   

There are very few things that genuinely freak me out. I am not an easily scared individual by the traditional means; what works far better are subtle, psychological things, typically taking an hour to fully develop a fear. And half the time that does not even work because then I just am tickled pink that someone pulled it off. However, there is a tourist...attraction, for lack of a better word, that scares the everloving snot out of me, and I've just seen pictures. One such thing is "La Isla De La Munecas" in Mexico, situated by the Xochimilico Canals which feeds into the lake of the same name. The name means "Island of the Dolls" and was inhabited for 50 years until 2001 by one Don Julian Santano. He claimed that a little girl had drowned to death in the canal right by the island, and that her spirit was restless and haunted him. His attempt to pacify it? Providing dolls for it to play with. And I don't mean he went out to Wal Mart and picked up a few cheap dolls, or even that he painstakingly collected nice dolls. What I mean is that he gathered dolls from garbage dumps, traded home grown vegetables for them, and salvaged them however he could, and then proceeded to hang them on trees all over the Island. For decades he did this, hanging them on strings, staking them through the body to trees, on occasion dismembering them and hanging the plasticine appendages separately. There are about 5,000 of these dolls now watching over the island, their eyes unliving but seeming undead as they stare, motionless through the sun and storms that ravage and further deteriorate their condition. The only reason why Don Julian stopped? He drowned to death, in the same part of the same canal that the anonymous little girl had. I'd link to the pictures, but I bet you guys can google them. And I don't want to see them again.    

The Barghest is one of the many Black Dog stories from the British Isles. This particular legend hails from the North, around Yorkshire especially, and tells of a large black hound with large claws and teeth that does things like prey on lone travellers and probably kick puppies and such. Variations on this particular theme include the ability to disappear in flames, and appearing before the death of people. It was the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and quite possibly parts of Bram Stoker's "Dracula." Related is the tale of the Yeth hound, which stalks the woods by Devon. It is a headless dog and the spirt of an unbaptised baby, wailing in the night sending shivers down the spine of all who hear. The thing these particular two legends have in common is that they were picked up as mosnters in DnD, and now plague low level adventurers. The Barghest has been jazzed up with the ability to shift into a Goblin and use some magic, and the Yeth hound has a head, but now can fly.    

Bacon is heaven.    

There is a grim satisfaction realizing you are the best at what you do, even if that ends up being dying in Super Mario Wii...   

--Flynn ("I woke up halfway through killing the second assassin.")

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 21, Croctober 27th, 2010

Today I Learned:

I thought I knew my favorite spell in all of Dungeons and Dragons Edition 3.5, but I was wrong. I now, however, can confidently assert my favorite spell: Silver Beard. Paladins, the guardians of law, justice, and peace, when they reach 4th level gain the potential to cast this spell. When cast, your character either has its existing beard augmented, growing thicker and longer, OR you suddenly grow a very nice beard. This applies to even people not typically capable of growing beards, such as elves and females. This magical beard is no ordinary beard however; it is a beard that acts as armor, making you harder to hit while making you super fly. Truly, there is not a spell more powerful than one that can give an elf a manly beard. (As an amusing end note, the magical beard makes Dwarves like you more.)

Golem is a Jewish word, basically meaning unshaped substance and thus used in the Bible when discussing incomplete works, such as in Psalms 139:16. The Mishnah uses the word in reference to an uncultured, immature person, and it is used in Yiddish as a slang insult for a slow, clumsy person. In Jewish mythology, it means an anthromorphic clay figure, usually created by a holy man and given a semblence of life through his power. The most famous story regarding them is about a Prague Rabbi who created one to defend the Jews from persecution in their ghetto. In this classical sense they were always made of mud; some Jewish texts refer to Adam as a Golem until he got the ultimate Breath of Life. Up until the late 20th century this was the only real association for the Golem, until Dungeons and Dragons came around. They introduced the idea of Golems made with many materials, and due to the game's influence on Role Playing Games, Fantasy, and popular culture the modern broader definition was born.

--Flynn (ha ha. HA HA HA. Ha ha HA ha ha.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 20, Squawktober 26th, 2010

Today I learned:

Albatross' mate for life, in a process of ritual dances that takes years in their remote island colonies. They lay only one egg at a time, which can take a year to hatch and be a cute, awkward seabird. They don't hang out much in the Atlantic now, though fossils indicate they once did; they are much more a pacific bird, nearer to either pole than equator. Despite what Coleridge said, there is not in fact a widespread paranoia about shooting albatrosses or killing them; in fact, Sailors for some time have been doing killing and eating them. Which is actually made creepy when you realize that sailors DID seem to think they were lost souls. Mmmm, tastes like chicken and a life full of regret!

I decided take myself up on the Naked Mole Rat challenge and was very pleased with how interesting they are. They are the only animals in their genus, and are uniquely adapted to living in the underground desert conditions that they do; they have no pain nerves in their skin, and are pretty much immune to Cancer. They are more than just good at living; they are great at it, being the longest lived rodents at a possible 28 years of life. (For reference, this is the average life expectancy in Classical Rome and Greece.) This is largely because they have a physiological defense mechanism that slows down their metabolism in times of need, then speeding up in times of plenty. They also are one of two mammals to exhibit "Eusociality" similar to bees, with a single fertile queen and workers that are tunnelers, food gatherers, guards, or a mix of several. The queen jealously guards her throne until her death, at which point a chick version of Highlander breaks out and a new queen rises to power. Their colonies average 75 members, and they are dashed clever little beasts in some ways, eating from the inside of a large tuber out, to allow it to regenerate and feed them for longer. A single good tuber can feed a colony for well over a year. They dig with their teeth, since 25% of their musculature is in their jaw. At about three inches long they are rather small, and they are also more or less cold blooded; they can't control their body heat internally, so they rely on the generally well regulated climate in their tunnels to keep at the right temperature, huddling for warmth if need be. They are also impossible to keep alone in one's pocket, since they would probably die of confusion at the lack of colony, dirt, and abundance of LIIIIGHT.

--Flynn ("First, jump into the best night of your life, not onto. As jumping onto it implies you are outside your life, and that's just not good.")

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 19, Rocktober 25th, 2010

Today I learned:

That I will stop calling this a daily thing, and say it's Monday through Friday. Any weekend updates are a bonus and I win medals and hugs for making them. I apparently just can't remember/be motivated to update this on weekends. Plus, I often am doing other things (like high fiving rockstars or stealing from the homeless) on weekends, so I have a sort of excuse. Blogging more than once a week is still an achievement for me, so nyeah. (Feel free to imagine a small trophy popping up with the text, "Achievement Unlocked: Blogging frequently!" at this point, if you will. If you won't, research naked mole rats instead and post a comment with your findings.)

Cruise Control is awesome! It makes the two and a half hour drive to Dallas much more relaxing, as you kick it in and waltz your way across lanes to avoid slow moving traffic, sashaying your way back across the lanes to avoid faster traffic. Rather than constanly monitoring your speed, you are free to pay more attention to surroundings, traffic and scenery both, and maybe even practice your one handed banana peeling + eating skills. Not that I endorse that, mind you, but you could.

Sometimes, poses of stoic suffering speak louder than rock music at a concert.

Kevin Young gives good high fives, and also would kick people in the FACE if he had size 15 feet. In addition he likes my anarchist colored Converse. Having rockstar approved shoes makes me strangely happy...also, making a rockstar's day is awesome.

Potstickers are not the same as Pigstickers, and mixing them up in some crowds is very embarrassing. Furthermore, the game "Chaos Marauders" is a quite good strategy card game. In it one is building an army of Orcs and related things, each army consisting of three battle lines, and trying to sabotage the other players' attempts to do the same thing. There are venemous creeps, sneaky gits, and crummy snotling slaves all of which play important strategic roles. (Here's a hint: DIE CRUMMY SNOTLING SLAVES)

If you want a degree sign like '°' then just hit Alt + 248, on a windows machine at least. If you're on a mac, you are cool and out of luck.

--Flynn (...jetskis to ride into the sun...)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 15, Schlocktober 21st, 2010

Today I learned:

That Justin Bieber is a rule breaker. To quote her: "Singers aren't supposed to have dairy before a show, but we all know I'm a rule breaker. Pizza is just so good!" He also has trouble thinking clearly, as evidenced by the following quote: "It was like I opened my eyes one day and noticed the world was full of beautiful girls. And I've had a hard time thinking of anything else ever since." And we can't forget the humble beginnings he had. Until three years ago, his definition of a celebrity was someone that rode a zamboni. (Again, I quote.)

--Flynn(...more medals to win at exotic car throwing competitions...)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 14, Knocktober 20th, 2010

Today I learned:

I had strayed into vanity again. For clarity's sake, my personal working definition of vanity is NOT "low table with mirror or mirrors where one sits while dressing or applying makeup" but rather "tailoring my appearance for others, not myself." The rule of thumb I set for myself some years ago was that what I wore/how I did my hair etc. should ALWAYS be something I liked, whether for form or function, and that if at any point I began doing things based solely on what others thought, I would need to re-orient my stylings and get back on track. So, for instance, I have on occasion worn rather tacky clothes, because they were either practical, or I got a kick out of them. The recent realization was brought on because my hair was, at least in front, really rather long and it became annoying, and I didn't like how it looked, and I realized I only had it that way because some people are prone to complain when I cut my hair. Long story (and hair) short, I got it buzzed and am now at liberty to take showers right before bed/getting in the car/whatever, because my hair dries in five minutes, and even if I sleep on it wet it's not like it can get messed up. It's practical, I like the way I look in it, and therefor it trumps the long, cute little wave hair I had before.

I also learned that apparently this haircut makes me more attractive to middle aged women. That part is a bit weird, and was not foreseen. Apparently I make a lousy Palpatine, which is honestly fine by me.

Tahitian Noni juice is many things. First off, it's flipping delicious. At least, the candy I had based on it was some of the best I've had. Of course, that was partly just the sugar talking, but the flavor was quite good. Like, really classy starbursts, the kind you would eat if you had just finished showing off your Rolls Royce Phantom II at a gathering of classy old men in tuxedos with classy women on their arms, while listening to Vivaldi and a single tasteful explosion going off in the background. Second off, until recently, it was promoted by Danny Glover. Not that it means too much to me, but it is a random fact, which this blog is kind of all about. Thirdly, it's being marketed as a wonderous fruit of magic and might, which is mainly to line their pockets and is without a single real fact to back it up. Yes, it's tasty and good for you, like most fruit. But it is not as amazing for your health as they'd love you to think. The primary people responsible for marketing are quite good at their job; when sales dipped, they refactored their pesudoscience to be fresh and just as pseudo. Now, instead of a superfruit with flavanoids, it's a medicinal fruit with Iridoids.

--Flynn (My lawyers have ordered me not to recommend doing this, as it could cause you to become dead.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 13, Auktober 19th, 2010

Today I learned:

I really enjoyed the Village. It was a beautiful movie, with a score that rarely "intruded," per se, but rather supported, whispering through the background of scenes and gently tickling the edge of perception, lending an almost intangible flavor to the movie. The use of color was not only very well done, it was integral to the plot in an interesting concept I thought was quite interesting. I could wish I'd not had it spoiled before watching <_< and for it to go on a little longer (the future of the characters is left almost entirely up in the air) but I thought it was a better movie than the trailers suggested. M. Night may have gone downhill since, but at least he had an uphill to go down from...

I've had two days off since May 26th. I miss my old jobs, wherein I could take time off without it being a big deal...the flexibility to do something epically random, like head off to Chicago to go on a Godzilla styled rampage in a giant rubbery robot your friend constructed painstakingly over the last three years and now needs a copilot for. Instead, I am forced into a mold of responsibi...

Today, I learned that Mold (facial hair for food) and Mold (an annoying way of constricting freedom) are spelled exactly the same. I technically have known this for years now, but just today, while typing this entry, consciously noticed it.

--Flynn (Swan dive into a hot tub. I find there are usually antique motorcycles waiting for me.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 12, Smocktober 18th, 2010

Today I learned:

I am still drastically unused to this "blog a day" concept, so I apologize to my adoring public for the lack of updates over the weekend. Since the concept started, and is primarily maintained, on lunchbreak at work...when I'm not working, it tends not to occur to me. But, here I am regardless, NOT making up any missed entries. So nyeah.

I feel naked without my watch. One of the few ways I was conditioned growing up was that I always knew what time it was. Whether it was a clock on the wall, the VCR, or a parent nearby I could ask, I always had an idea what time it was. When I was, I think, about nine or ten, I got my first watch and have worn one nearly every day since. There has not been more than a week since that first watch that I've been without one, because it's just become a part of me; and, I always know the time. Of course many people use their cellphone as a watch, but since I'd not bothered to get a cellphone until approximately a year ago, this was not a terribly viable option. Further, it's less convenient to fish a phone out of a pocket than to look at my wrist.

And yet, despite all this verbiage aimed at making you realize just how much I am one with my watch, I managed to leave home without it this morning. I still don't know how that happened, but the horrible realization hit as I was halfway to work without it. I was already borderline late, so I couldn't go back and get it; and so I work away, trying not to freak out about this odd feeling of being exposed, of being powerless, of being...timeless. It's horrifying, and at the same time alarming how much this has thrown off my groove.

This next segment is long and deals heavily withADnD, so if you are of the opinion that Dungeons and Dragons is the spawn of satan sent to decieve us all into destroying each other with swords and wizardry, than I'd advise not reading. If you are curious about ADnD, and the Tomb of Horrors, then read on.

The Tomb of Horrors, for those unaware, is the most legendary dungeon module ever created. It's a pamphlet containing the deadliest adventure ever played by a quivering group of players in their basement/apartment/mom's dining room. It is a dungeon so lethal that it is considered optimistic to go into it with 5 players with 4 characters ready each; a dungeon so mighty, it can break your bones with its pinky!

It has long been an ambition of mine to watch/play/run this module, just because it's a classic, and because I wondered if it could possibly live up to its reputation. I was overjoyed to realize that the Anime Club at the school I recently graduated from was going to run through it, and promptly made plans to attend. Some confusion and driving around later, I was seated at the table with a grim party of adventurers. I didnt' play initially (I had read spoilers, and enthused about them with the DM) but there were six players, each with multiple characters ready to play, each eager to see the horrors of the tomb.

Within about ten minutes, four characters had already perished, new ones risen to replace them. As the game progressed, characters died as if it were going out of style; sometimes in perfectly reasonable ways, sometimes in ways that made one go "But whyyyyyyyyy?!?!?!?!?" The players gleefully pulled out character sheet after character sheet, rejoicing every time they made a save that kept them alive for another few minutes, and high fiving each other when someone died in a flagrant way. Traps went off with frightening regularity, magical portals could lead to death doom despair, or if you were very lucky, the right way. Oddly enough, there was very little real combat. From what the DM said, there was maybe 4 combats, max, in the dungeon none of which the players ran across.

By the time I left, players had changed genders, been killed before getting to take a single action besides running across the room, and 19 had been died in total, in just about 3 hours of gaming. For reference, I only killed half that much in my 90 hours of DMing, and never in a single roll. Overall, I learned one thing: All the hype is absolutely true. For once in...well...ever.

--Flynn (Can you imagine that? No. You can't. I can't. No one can, because if they did their head would explode. And that's just unhealthy.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 9, Flocktober 15th 2010

Today I learned:

There was, back in the day (and by that I mean around 1080 A.D) a religious sect called the Nizari Ismailis. They were an order whose true beginnings are murky to pick out (since most of the writing about them either comes from muddled westerners or hostile neighbors) but around the time of the first crusade, their first shining leader emerged, Hassan-i Sabbah. He was a popular teacher and leader, and eventually decided to militarize the cult somewhat. It is uncertain as to whether he conquered or built the castle, but in either case he adapted the fortress to the needs of his men. He established a hierarchical structure for his religion, with Great Propagandists below him, Propagandists below them, followed by Companions and then Adherents.

The predominant theories on what motived this paradigm shift are power and revenge, but whatever the case he was in for a surprise. It was about the time a bunch of Christians knocked politely on the door. And of course by that I mean the first crusade added a third faction to the local power struggle. However, Sabbah forged a weapon that would leave a permanent mark on history, and on the english language. His Adherents, rabidly loyal, were also young, strong, and exceptionally trained in more than theology; they were trained to infiltrate, to blend in, and then to kill.

Yes, I am totally talking about the original assassins. They were called Hashasheen by the Westerners, mistaking a generalized term (the word basically meant rabble rouser, outcast, trouble maker) for a specific one. This also gave rise to the story that they took hashish, a drug, before doing anything...for which there is very little factual basis outside the accounts of their enemies. The fortress they operated out of was a city in the mountains called Alamut, and as near as can be determined, the word "Assassin" comes as a westernization of "Asiyun" which Sabbah called his Adherents, or "Fida'i" (self sacrificing agents).

While any idea of their true impact is a bit hard to determine, since they got blamed for every assassination that took place in the region during that time period, it is certain that they were both dangerous, but NOT an extremist sect existing only to kill. They weren't bad; they just had a really lousy PR department.

Also, apparently the company I work for has about 66 offices all over Texas, Shreveport, Oklahoma, and...places. I didn't realize we were quite so...legiondary...

-Flynn (If you are a lady and nobody pays attention to you, just walk outside. Men love ladies.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 8, Blocktober 14th, 2010

Today I learned:

That there is actualy a technical term, inspired by Hitchcock himself, to describe a feeling I've gotten many times myself. Let us, briefly, imagine you are watching a movie, episode of a TV series, or other visual dramatic narrative. (And, because we can imagine anything, let us imagine you are doing this on the back of a space whale. Got that? Ok, we shall progress.) The heroes in the show/movie/sock puppet show struggle, then ultimately prevail, the credits rolling as they all clink glasses around a table full of that food you love so much. You cheer, and then get hungry because you are seeing so much of that food you love. So, you head to the fridge (located about twenty feet behind you on the space whale) to get some food. It's not the food you love so much, but it will satisfy your hunger pangs. As you are rumaging about in the fridge, it suddenly hits you: it made no sense that the heroes prevailed using rhythmic clapping!

You can stop imagining now. That moment, where you realize after the fact that something about what you watched didn't make sense, is called "Frige Logic." As previously mentioned it was coined by Alfred Hitchcock, who explained it as a scene that "hits you after you've gone home and started pulling cold chicken from the ice box"

On a note that may or may not be related, I also learned how hard it is for me to stop reading TV tropes....

(Addendum. I cant' imagine these will go down in frequency, so don't forget to re-check existing entries about half a dozen hours after posting or so.) I learned of a budding thought experiment turning Tabletop RPG system, based on the assumption that nothing got added to the Star Wars canon after 1979ish. (I like to think this was because George Lucas didn't let a wookie win, but that's beside the point.) This was a day and age in which Darth Vader had that name on his birth certificate, Luke's Father was General Tan Skywalker, and it was not in any way creepy if Luke and Leia had feelings for each other. A simpler time, when the emperor was a puppet of the evil beauracracy he put in place, and when as far as anyone knew Jedi had been nearly extinct for millenia. A time when any Star Wars fan would kick your butt if you suggested the Force came from little tiny bugs in your cells called midichlorians. All in all, a fascinating alternate Star Wars universe. (incidentally, this makes the first full length Star Wars extended universe book, "Splinter of a Mind's Eye" one of the few extra bits of canon. That was the first star wars book I read, not realizing exactly how old it was...)

--Flynn (Presidential ab point!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 7, Glocktober 13, 2010

Today I learned:

(this is actually a very retro learn, but thought it was worth posting for those I have not yet educated) "Lampshading" or "Hanging a Lampshade" is a writing device to deflect the audience away from breaking their disbelief suspenders. It consist of pointing out how ludicrous something is (either through narration, character dialog, or some other fashion) and moving on. The audience is now mollified, realizing that the writer is not a moron (because he just pointed out how ludicrous it was, it means he was smart enough to realize how silly it was) nor is he trying to slide something past them (because he just called attention to it). Thus, somewhat counter intuitively, the writer makes something more believable by pointing out how unbelievable it is. It is more often used in a comedic fashion, but is certainly not unknown in more serious works. This is a venerable strategy, going as far back as Shakespeare:
Sir Toby Belch: Is't possible?
Fabian: If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.
--Twelfth Night, Act 3, Scene IV
all the way up to Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and beyond!
Cutler Becket: You're mad!
Jack Sparrow: It's a good thing I am, or this would never work. (Jack Sparrow proceeds to square ridiculous and sucker punch physics)

Antoine Dodson (star of the bed intruder song) has my respect. Not only did the guy famously fight for his sister's honor and safety, he became a viral video star for doing so, AND used the proceeds from his fame (half of all the money from the bed intruder song sales was given to him) to improve his family's life (they moved out of "the projects") and start a foundation aimed at Juvenile Diabetes, something that effects his mother and sister. I have to say, usually I feel nothing but a cruel sort of amusement at people who get viral video'd, but in this case I take my dew rag off to thee, Antoine. You are a word smith, and a good man.

45° looks a whole lot like 45 radians, apparently, but 30° looks nothing like 30 radians. And this, kids, is why you need to learn how to keep track of units; someday, it could save a Mars mission.

(Addendum, because this was something I'd meant to put in here but forgot to when initially writing the entry) Next time you are trying to sound gangsta, drop the word "Shawty" when referring to your girlfriend, or a woman you think ought to be your girlfriend. Because nothing will make you sound more like a person that needs to be punched than that...

--Flynn (You must have a degree in business getting down to)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 6, Clocktober 12th, 2010

Today I learned:

In order to not make myself dread this, I'm not going to bother catching up should I just plumb fergit to update, as occurred yesterday. I'm still new to this whole "blog a day" thing, so give me some time.

I am not a fan of many love songs, as is well known to those aware of the magnitude of the antipathy I harbor for Josh Groban. (He is a stain upon the music industry, one surpassed only in size and wretched femininity by Justin Bieber, who is coincidentally launching his own nail polish line. In all fairness, this means Biebs far surpasses Grossban in feminity...but I digress) I have however discovered an evil love song, which is far superior to a normal one, which I actually enjoy rather a lot. It caters to the mastermind archetype, which may not be my favorite villainous flavor but is still appreciated. The song is "The World Is Not Enough" by Garbage, made for the James Bond film of the same name, and I'd probably have learned this ages ago if I'd listened to the lyrics...

In other music related news, I learned there is a country song with at the very least a title I love. I didn't care for the rest of the song so much, as my bottle of country hatorade is even larger than my Groban one, but the title made me laugh. It was called "Business Doing Pleasure with You" and apparently was spawned by Tim McGraw.

--Flynn (Fortunately, I know nose CPR)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 4: Mocktober 10th, 2010

There are three colors when carving pumpkins; use them wisely. There is cut out and the skin, the two standard colors, and with some patience you can just skin the pumpkin and expose the pale flesh, giving a third color. The first cut is, of course, the hardest; a thin, flexible bladed knife is a good tool, however. Also, be careful for unintended consequences when carving; sometimes what you meant is not what people see.

Also, disliking twilight is biblical if you take Isaiah 1:14 out of context. Which I don't condone, but find amusing...

--Flynn (I don't have a phone number, I prefer to communicate via heart whispers)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 3: Talktober 9th, 2010

Things I have learned:

A "good" reason for me to follow the speed limit at all times. (I put "good" in quotation marks because as most people that know me will attest, my motivations often run more towards the idiosyncratic than admirable) Therefor, the safety, the legality, and the betterness from my car are not sufficient. Instead, I realized it annoys 90% of other motorists in a way they can't complain about because, technically, they are breaking the law and I am not. My family can now breathe easier, as I shall be driving the speed limit far more henceforth and in perpetuity.

Sometimes you need to turn off a filter or two, and just try a silly idea. Maybe it will flop, or maybe you'll cut five minutes off your program's execution time. I had been having trouble with inserting the 3D model for the Orifice Meter in Solidworks, because the complexity of the model and the fact my program had to iterate through every single face to try and find the few it needed to connect to other pieces. We just got in new orifice meter models today, and they were far, far worse as regards complexity. So, I figured out a silly, but fully functional way to fix it! yay!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 2, Bachtober 8th, 2010

(brief note: "Today" is broadly defined as the period since the last entry. On occasion, I will almost certainly post things I learned some other day, but do not lynch me for that would besmirch your reputation as reasonable blog readers.)

Today, I learned:

ADDENDUM: (I KNEW I had forgotten one!)
Today is Vladimir Putin's birthday. Happy birthday, you small evil man. I sincerely hope that you continue providing amusement with your oh so captionable photographs, and insincerely hope that you continue being evil. (In other news, my Russian patronymic would be Vladimirivitch. This is an entirely pleasing thought to me.)

the ".x_t" file extension signifies not, as may be postulated, a failed attempt at a smiley, but that it is a Parasolid file, generated (quite possibly) by the Parasolid modeling features one can integrate into Autocad. These files are openable by Solidworks, but support is kind of...weird. One might, reasonably, ask what I mean by weird. I might answer, were I asked, that it changes color every time you name a face, and that if you then proceed to change the color back to the exact color it was. it is just barely different. This is not cool, but there being very little I can do about it I will have to grin and bear it.

I spoke over hastily when I said I wanted Barbossa to officiate at my wedding. While that would certainly be a grandiose wedding, I have decided I want a more mellifluous sound. And thus, when it comes time for my auspicious and epic nuptials, I shall attempt to garner the services of Isaiah Mustafa, as being the only one with a manly enough voice to perform the ceremony. I am sure somewhere he counts as an ordained minister, because he smells like old spice; anything is possible. (On a related note, I have also learned that Old Spice is the only company in the history of ever to make ads that compel me to buy their products)

--Flynn (Silver Fish Hand Catch!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 1, Stalktober 7th, 2010

Today, I learned:

The "Green Flash" phenomena, in which as the sun sets a flash or ray of green light is seen, is not in any way caused by dead people escaping death, as Pirates of the Caribbean may have you believe. Instead, it is an optical phenomena caused by refraction in the air. Because the air is thicker the closer you are to the surface of the earth, light moves ever so slightly slower through it. This causes the sun's light to curve ever so slightly with the surface of the earth. Higher frequency light (ie: higher in the rainbow) curves more than lower frequency light, so green colored light (being a higher frequency than red colored light) therefor curves more.

This is not to say that the sun is green or red; it is in fact green, red, and blue, all mixed together so that the eye sees it as white. However, as the sun sets, the light begins to refract (that is, split into its different parts) much like it would in a prism due to the thicker atmosphere the light is passing through. Thus, the green, blue, and red components are separated, the green and blue components curving more and thus remaining visible ever so slightly longer than the red components. (Typically 1 or 2 seconds) The blue component is "preferentially scattered out of our line of site" and therefor, we just see green for a little bit. (, rephrased and partially quoted from)

The song "Russian Lullaby" by E-Type (one of my favorites he has done) was co-written with a member of Ace of Base, another band I enjoy. (Lady GaGa draws heavy inspiration from Ace of Base, particularly in her hit single "Alejandro" parts of which confused me they sounded so Ace of Base like)

According to Michael Caine, Christopher Nolan intended interpretation was that the end of Inception was NOT a dream. It could be argued that the creator's interpretation of his work is merely one opinion in a sea of them and therefore irrelevant...but people will argue anything.


First, a prelude

Everyone has heard the saying, "you learn something new every day." Or, at least, everyone in my intended audience. Well, this blog is dedicated to that concept. Every day, I'll post something I learned; be it a life lesson, trivia, nerdage, or self revelation, every day I'll post at least one thing I didn't know before. This is not only an exercise in random, guerrilla education, but also self discipline for myself. If you enjoy the blog, feel free to share it with your friends; this is not personal enough to warrant a secret club.