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.")