The joy of mindless chores

So last night I was doing the dishes after dinner and inspiration “struck like sudden lightening out of a clear sky.”

This time it was about D&D, the d20 combat system and a new way to deal with damage and death in combat. (I have always been unhappy with ever increasing hit points as a system. This creates the situation where high level characters simply ignore the guy with the bow ’cause 1d8 even tripled for a crit simply isn’t going to slow them down.)

I am not going to go into my new system here. It is simple and it can be overlaid on the existing D&D 3.5 rules with a minimum of fuse and alteration. Perhaps in a notehr post I get into the whys and hows of the combat system. (I hope to test it soon.)

What I find interesting is how often I get my spark of creation while doing something utterly mindless. Brushing my teeth – fixed Space MacBeth; washing Dishes, fixed D&D; cleaning a floor – solved the ending of a tough story. It happens again and again. Clearly having the body engaged but the mind wandering the paths of a mental Fangorn Forrest is good for creativity.

So should I seek out mindless physical activity in hopes of more creativity? Would exercising two or three times a week in the complexes gym make me a better writer?


When Starships were captained by MEN

The neutering and castration of the Star Trek franchise started with Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the series the people and officers of the Federation became boring in the homogenous perfection. I didn’t watch all seven season of that series, and watched less and less of the following series until when it finally degenerated into Enterprise I could only stomach the pilot and no more.

I pine for the days when real men captained starship and had the grit to issue general order 24. I’d enamored that the Federation had such a bloody gun-boat history that the destruction of all life on a planet surface was a General Order. This is something that used to be part of every captain’s tool-kit. Check with HQ? Heh, that’s for weak fools without the stomach for command. Shout the order and just sit back and wait for your crew to eliminate a pesky and annoying civilization from the spin of the galaxy.

A lot this post is tongue in cheek, but Star Trek did become a very cautious environment. We went from Kirk ordering the destruction of Eiminiar Vii to Janeway and Picard surrendering.

This was not progress.


The Intersection of Watchmen and The Lord Of The Rings

This past Saturday I picked up the Blu-ray of Watchmen. That evening I watched the film with a friend of mine who had seen it in the theater, but had missed a bit sue to bladder pressures.
This version was the directors cut, nearly half an hour longer and I have to say superior to the theatrical cut.
While we discussed the film I became aware of the thematic intersection between Watchmen and The Lord Of The Rings. Specifically in the characters of Saruman and Adrian Veidt.
Spoiler Alerts….
Continue reading The Intersection of Watchmen and The Lord Of The Rings


Good Bye Sarah

Palin QuitterSo yesterday was Sarah Palin’s last day as Governor of Alaska. I, for one, will not miss her and I feel she has now, happily, taken herself out of any serious running for President in 2012 and hopefully beyond.
I listened to her interviews. I listen to her speeches and I have come to the conclusion that she does not have the intellectual chops for higher office. This is all besides and beyond personal issues I have with the woman and her election methods and style.
I realize that there are readers of this blog who are and remain Palin supporters. That is a choice you are free to make and I would defend against all attackers your right to make that decision.

h/t to The Daily Show for the wonderful photomanip for her send-off.


Wait a minute Mr. Stewart…

Last night (Monday July 27th) Jon Stewart had Bill Crystal editor of The Weekly Standard on as his guest for The Daily Show. This promised to be a lively show as Mr. Crystal is a big supporter of Sarah Palin and is often credited with bring her to the attention of the McCain campaign. (So you can curse or praise Mr. Crystal as you see fit.)
The interview was long and it was lively. In fact they have placed the entire interview on-line as it would not fit within the time constraints of the program.
After the expected Palin back-and-forth Mr. Stewart and Mr, Crystal got into health care. Jon Stewart was in favor of a public option for health care, that is government run health plan, and Mr. Crystal was against the concept.
During the back and forth the military’s health care came up and Mr. Crystal basically agreed that the health care enjoyed by our military is top-notch health care. Jon Stewart leapt for the kill like comic-con fan on a copy of Action Comics #1. It seemed, Stewart pointed out, that the government can< run a top flight single payer health-care systems since it is already doing that for the military. Mr. Crystal tried desperately to get away from the point, going so far as to say the American people do not deserve the quality health-care system that the military gets. This of course is the wrong counter argument entirely. Naturally since neither Mr. Stewart nor Mr. Crystal have served in out military they do not understand how it's health-care actually works. It is free and it is very good. (Oh there are horror stories and I know a few personally, but those are the exceptions and not the rule.) But it removes all freedom from the patient. I'm not just talking about choice in doctors or hospitals or even treatments -- though all those decision are removed from the patient -- I'm talking about how the patient gets to live their life. In the military they can make you lose weight if they think you are too heavy. They can make you exercise if they think you need it. They can ban activities that they think are a cause if injury. (Such as motorcycle ownership.) The trade-off for such an expansive health-care system is the loss of freedom. This is exactly why I do not like the idea of a single-payer health care system, and why I am against the Public Policy option being debated now.


Sunday Night Movie: Shaun Of The Dead

shaun-of-the-dead-trio Last night’s movie Shaun Of The Dead is one of my favorite films. Co-written by and starring Simon Pegg (Many people will not get to know him as Scotty in the rebooted Star Trek.) it is a film that exists in a relatively small genre of Zombie Comedies. (The next best zombie comedy is The Return Of The Living Dead, which is a sequel to George Romero’s Night Of The LIving Dead.) Shaun Of The Dead is billed as a romantic comedy with zombies and that is spot on.
The story is fairly simple. Shaun has a dead end life which he is not managing very well. His has a troubled relationship with his step-father, his girl is dumping him, and his flat-mate has no job and no motivation. All this comes to a head during the Zombie uprising turning London into a city of the damned and about to be damned.
This film works as a zombie movie, hitting all the marks expected of that specialized genre, and it works as comedy. The more you know about zombie movies the funnier the film will become.
This is not a film for the squeamish or for those for whom violence is never funny. If you can take your laughs with your blood then this is a film to take in.


Night Time Visit to the Zoo

So tonight my sweetie-wife and I went to the World Famous San Diego zoo for a night time bird show. We walked around the zoo for about thirty minutes before show time looking at other animals then went to the show.
One of the more amusing sights before the show was a mountain lion. It was just at dusk and the cats were active. Pacing back and forth in their enclosure. a small scrum of people were up close to the fencing only a couple of feet away from the lions including a couple of families. The lion at one point spotted a baby, maybe a year old at most and the lion froze, its gaze intent on the child. Oh every knew exactly what was in that predator’s little mind.

If this mesh wasn’t here you’d be mine!

The show was fun. To raise money that had a trained African Raven that would accept bills from people and stuff it into the big collection box the conservation charity. I tried desperately to get a photo of the raven with a wad of bills in its beak, but I failed.

Damn it.