Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tension between Tweet and Blog

It used to be that pressure would build , the pressure to write something on my blog. For a while, I posted every day, if you remember. But now with Twitter in my life, I find it much easier to microblog an interesting thought there... and my poor blog loses out.

And then there's my recent presence on Facebook! That whole ecosystem of community can suck up all your time.

Add that to the fact that I just revived my Wizards Staff Blog.

Wizards blog, Facebook and Twitter together means... hardly any blogging here.

But hardly any doesn't mean none!

Sometimes a person's got to talk computers, politics, martial arts, environment... whatever. And spend more than 140 characters to do so. This'll remain the place for that.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Clinton's Motives

I really hope David Brin's new theory on what's up with Hillary isn't true. I've been thinking it's the stupidity of ego and a sense of "I'm owed this" that's keeping her in the race despite the divide she's creating among the Democrats.

If she had been a gracious, positive campaigner from the start (as Barack has been, other than to point out how Hillary keeps playing dirty pool), the supporters of either candidate would be far more likely to throw in behind the eventual winner.

But it almost seems like she is purposefully creating ill-will. I know I was shocked then saddened to see her jump down into the pig-sty with Gibson and Stephanopoulos during the last debate with rare gusto. Someone with the ability to be a leader might have said, "Really? These are the questions that concern America? I don't have time to pursue silly aspersions concerning my esteemed opponent." But, no. She said something like, "I think these issues [concerning Barack's pastor's speech 7 years ago!?!] need further exploration."

So try Brin's supposition on for size (actually one of his reader's):
“She knows she can't win the nomination this year, so she intends to make sure no Democrat does, leaving herself one more shot in 2012.”

No, it makes no logical sense. But can anyone now picture her actually kissing and making up, now? Or spending 16 hour days rallying her followers back into the fold for November? Like Achilles, she will sulk in her tent... hoping that, like Achilles, she will be begged to come back and lead the dems to victory.

If this is her strategy, I'm afraid it might just be working.

Great. If there is anything this country needs, it is another 4 years of Republican hegemony tied to the corporate teat by a president who thinks the Iraq war is accomplishing something other than the looting of our country's coffers.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

High School Pals

Three of my five high school pals flew (or rode the train) out to Seattle last weekend for a reunion of our old gang, which includes me, Monte, JD, Bret, Rich, and Bob.

JD has a great recap, with pictures, posted on his blog here. I particularly like the pic where Monte, Bret, and I retired to the cantina for Big Gulps (the drink we daily enjoyed 22 years ago). Too bad about that guy's arm though.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

It's Earth Day!

Give yourself an endorphin rush by doing something positive for the planet!

Generous acts aren't really selfless when you consider the biochemistry of the human brain. We are wired to feel good when we help others out. It may seem a tiny gesture to donate $10 bucks to the NRDC, to a pledge to turn the lights out when you leave a room, to buy a carbon offset for your car (from Terrapass, perhaps) or to try to work at home 1/week. (Or, to give up meat.)

But you can assure your pituitary and hypothalmus that when enough people are doing the same thing you are, it adds up. And then you get that feeling of, "Ah, yes, I belong to something bigger than myself!"

Wow, a feeling of belonging AND a feeling of being generous; that's two potential sources for your endorphin rush!

This message brought to you by too much caffeine on too little sleep.

Friday, April 18, 2008

White House Torture Demo and the Media Yawns

My friend Stephen Schend is fed up with the so-called media in this country too. He describes his concern eloquently on his blog here. An excerpt:
Last week, ABC News revealed that the highest levels of the Bush administration met regularly in the White House to discuss and approve specific torture techniques to be used on prisoners in U.S. custody. ABC's source said CIA officials "acted out" certain kinds of torture and senior administration officials "choreographed" the way the torture was to be done.

On April 10, President Bush admitted that he knew about these meetings and approved of them, despite the fact that some techniques under discussion are outlawed in the United States and under numerous international treaties such as the Geneva Conventions.

The lack of coverage this story has received makes it seem more people are interested in one word by Senator Obama or whether or not Senator Clinton does shots. This is untrue. This simply underscores the apathetic inability of the mainstream media to cover issues of substance over personality-based politics.

I don't believe enough Americans are aware that top Bush officials were intricately involved in discussions of specific torture techniques. I strongly doubt that, like me, most Americans approve of such things being done in their name. The former Attorney General John Ashcroft was quoted in the ABC piece objecting at the time to holding such meetings in the White House saying, "history will not be kind." That is an extreme understatement.

Read Stephen's complete article here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Democratic Debate?

I watched Sen. Obama debate Sen. Clinton last night. At least for a while, until I couldn't take it any more. I was shocked to see the debate moderators spend so much time on such insanely mundane topics. Pastors? Elitism? Flag pins? Really? What a load of horse manure.

I've been in many debates--I enjoyed a career of it in high school (my partner and I won our state debate tournament). So I can safely tell you that what I saw was not a debate. It was... I don't know. A side show? Something designed to debase both candidates?

However, I was heartened to see Obama repeatedly but respectfully "scold" the moderators for the manufactured issues they seemed most interested in dwelling on. Obama attempted to wrench the debate back to issues of significance (while Sen. Clinton seemed all to willing to stick with the minutia, to my great and real disappointment).

Even in such a ludicrous format, Obama showed himself to be a leader. Let's get this man elected and move forward saving this country, shall we?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Beholder Tour

If you're in Seattle, be on the lookout for a roaming beholder estimated to be over ten feet in diameter. This thing is mean and hungry, and shoots rays of disintegration, so if you want a look, keep to a safe distance.

Psionic precognition is a handy talent, which leads me to make the following predictions regarding the beholder's potential appearances in town:

Bus Stop
Thursday 4/17/08 11.00am-4.00pm
Location: Downtown Seattle Public Library
1000 4th Ave
Seattle, 98104

Rat City Rollergirls Bout 2
Saturday 4/19/08 4:00pm-9:00pm
Hangar 30 at Magnuson Park
6310 N.E. 74th Street
Seattle, WA 98115

Game Shop
Tuesday 4/22/08 9.00am-1.00pm
Location: Zanadu Comic Shop
1923 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

Coffee Shop
Tuesday 4/22/08 2.00pm-6.00pm
Location: Café Umbria
320 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

NASA Corrected by a 13 Year Old Boy?

It says a 13 year old corrected NASA right here!

But of course, it is SOOO useful to read every piece of news with a skeptical eye. As it turns out, this story is completely inaccurate, apparently a fabrication.

Once again, the Internet proves it can be used for a tool of good, too (as opposed to merely being a tool for spreading misinformation). Just have to spend a little more time gathering in the threads, I guess.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What's With All The Twitter?

As you may have noticed, I've joined the twittering masses--the little messages that appear throughout the day on the right side of this blog were probably you're first clue :-).

If you like, you can follow me at

Friday, April 11, 2008

Forgotten Realms featured in D&D Podcast

Rich Baker and I talk to Mike Mearls on the D&D Podcast (or direct download here) about the Forgotten Realms in 4th Edition. We're releasing the new campaign setting this August, though even now, the text is being tweaked by hard-working editors, and the art continues to arrive from dozens of artists commissioned for this tome. It's all coming together!

I've been working on the the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide for 4th edition for what must be 3 years now. I'll be a proud papa (one of thousands of parents both in-house and out) on the day it is released.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Shadows Most Cruel

Check out Cruel Shadows, the latest article Chris Sims and I penned for the Role vs Roll series in Dragon Magazine. This series of articles provide chunky bits a DM can use either as a minor elaboration for some other adventure, or as the seed to create a new adventure. Either way, a fun read. Here's an excerpt:
Shadar-kai lurk in the gloom. They are maddened by pain, driven by desire, and linked perversely to death and nothingness. As a people, they aren't evil, but their morals lack a stripe of humanity more decent folk expect. The shadar-kai culture is a sometimes-cruel meritocracy consisting of contests of wit, skill, and bloody combat. The shadar-kai play these games among their own kind and with other creatures, seeking peak experience above all other goals.

For lighter, more purely story-based fun, check out another article I wrote called the Zhent Headless Horseman, also recently published in Dragon in Realmslore. It provides a seed for any number of interesting adventures, but as I intimated, is also a tale you might hear around a tavern hearth.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sons of Carbon County

I just listened to a fabulous short story called the Sons of Carbon County on the horror-podcast Pseudopod. Fabulous, yes, but keep in mind this is a horror podcast. Moreover, it isn't easy mining coal, even in the best of times . . .

Sons of Carbon County archive page

Friday, April 4, 2008

Embarrassment of Riches

I find myself with a few hours of free time on my hands... and I am paralyzed by indecision because I have so many interesting choices. I could finish the Peter Watts book I'm reading. I could watch the Ultimate Fighter episode I downloaded from iTunes. I could play Halo 3. I could continue recording my novel Stardeep as a series of podcasts. I could mess around on the internet. I could blog... Well, strike one from the list.

It's a little too much, isn't it? Embarrassing. I've already done housework, I've already tended to the animals. I've already exercised. So... I think I'll eat. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool!

Yep, that's me.

Why did I even read news or blogs today? You'd think I could remember it's "lie to everyone" day, but of course with each new media type I accessed, I forgot.

Thus, several times today I've experienced something similar to the following internal dialog, "Hey, what? That sounds weird, how could that possibly . . . Crap."