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August 2016

Music and Roku

On weekends I sometime find myself staying up late following whatever music the You Tube suggestions take me to.  Last night it was Lindsey Stirling’s new album “Brave Enough”.  Very nice if you are fond of violin in a variety of genres.  But if you like Lindsey you’ll enjoy this album as well.  Definitely one for me to pick up off Amazon.
Other things I’ve found; well alot actually.  From Leonard Cohen’s reading of The Sound of Silence, to Puddles and Post Modern Jukebox.
I’m a big fan of symphonic metal, especially Nightwish and Within Temptation.  Within Temptation’s concept album The Unforgiving makes it’s way regularly into my playlist.  Currently topping my list is Nightwish’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful.  Ususally Symphonc metal is dark and often brooding.  This is, well joyous.  The title song is all about how grand the world is and is one of the only songs I know that deals with evolution.  It’s title is from a quote by Darwin. It references tiktalik, eukaryote, Panthalassa and “the shrew that survived”.  And it rocks hard.
I listen to Pandora, first pulled it up on my Roku amd I find the variety it pulls into it’s playlists quite nice.  From it I’ve learned of Devil Doll and a handful of other rockabilly acts.  I should pay for the service and cut down on the annoying little ads, but I am a product of the radio generation so ads are just part of listening to music.
Continue reading “Music and Roku”

Dice

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Let’s talk about dice.
I love them, truely I do.  Of course I love fake coins too.  The wife says I have a passion for things that clatter and I can’t disagree.  I blame it all on having a button jar to play with when I was a kid.  My mother did quite a bit of sewing and playing with the button jar kept me close and busy so I didn’t get into trouble.

Whatever the reasons are, I find dice fascinating.  Perhaps it’s that desire to find the right mathematics that will allow control of a chaotic universe, but that’s drifting into esoteric territory that we won’t get into today.
Today we will discuss dice, the polyhedral variety that are used in my favorite past time Role-Playing Games.

There are two general catagories of dice and they can be distinguished by the humble d4.  Old school dice are read by the number at the bottom (flat side) of the d4,  the more “modern” are the Chessex dice type which have the number at the apex of the d4.  A couple good sources of dice are Chessex and Q-WorkshopContinue reading “Dice”

Jalapeños and Bacon

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Fresh jalapenos (we went for the 3” or so long ones)

Onion and Chive soft cream cheese

Thick cut hickory smoked bacon (we used Oscar Meyer)

Preheat oven to 385 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut peppers in half so you get two complete “boats”. Remove seeds and membranes (leave more or less if you like heat).  A grapefruit spoon is perfect for doing this. Fill with cream cheese. Wrap with a third of a slice of bacon. You can use a toothpick to anchor or do like we did and just put the seam on the bottom on our broiler pan since it has those convenient divots.

Bake for 40 minutes (this got the bacon well cooked but not hard and the peppers soft).   Let sit for about 5 minutes after removing from oven. Our peppers had a nice hit of spicy heat but weren’t so hot that I couldn’t snaffle them down in short order. 10 peppers make a good meal for two people, you may go for fewer if you have a side.

For a beverage you need something that can stand up to the peppers, for that we looked to Franzia Dark Red Blend – a dark red blend for their premium line.   It’s a very nice blend, not too tannic or too soft, and for around $20 for 5 liters, its worth a look

(Cribbed from the Wife)

Hexographer

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I’ve been a gamer since 1979, starting off with a D&D box set and  chits instead of dice. (you young folks don’t know how good you got it with your fancy dice!)  I’ve used hex paper and colored pencil to create many a world for D&D and Traveller (and others)

Maps have come along way, but I still have a place in my heart for the old fashioned hex based mapping and adventuring in the wilderness.  Hexographer by Inkwell Ideas is a great tool to create even whole world maps for your games.  They are currently in the middle of a KickStarter for the Worldographer update to the software.  It’s worth a look and I feel it’s a good investment in the next version.  They will have the ability to drill down from a planet size map to the specifics of the area, as well as add notes to the various features.  They’ve been supporting the software for a good long time and have a solid rep.

Check em out.

Vaping

Yes, I vape.  Not to cut back on smoking, just for the clarity it gives my brain. Yeah I do it for the nicotine.  I don’t generally have an addiction prone personality and when I went to Gen Con for a week I had no nicotine and suffered no ill effects. I use 6mg nic in a Kangertech subbox mini (Sort of a starter kit)  I tried higher doses but they gave me an uncomfortable lightheadedness and one time a bit of nausea.  Smokers probably don’t have that as much of an issue as they are already acclimatized to the nicotine.  Part of the problem is I like to blow clouds of smoke and the higher nic levels were just too strong.

Currently I’m vaping Drip Hype Vape Cake Rasberry, not that thrilled with it, initially the berry flavor was good, but since it was a large bottle the flavor has gone off over time.  I’m very fond of Fittyz DooWop which is strawberry flavored and Colossus Vanilla Custard.  The flavor comes through in the first couple hits but fades over successive hits.  That’s when you know to take a break.  The Subbox mini is serving me well, though sometimes the temp setting seems to be ignored and after charging I sometimes have a variable strength hit, not enough to worry about and I’m pretty happy with it.  No burnt flavor yet. Continue reading “Vaping”

QwerkyWriter

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Pic from their site

Well, I’ve gone and done it, with the Wife’s blessing I’ve purchased a QwerkyWriter.

And I love it.  The action is robust, the clicky is great.  I’ve never typed on a high end mechanical keyboard before and it actually does make a difference.  I used a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard up to now.  It was fine, but, I don’t know, somehow compared to this it felt lazy.  With this I have a wrist rest and my hands are in a more “correct” position.  I don’t know if the clicks are compelling me to type faster, but for now it seems so and it’s fun.  I think the ergonomic keyboard, with it’s split keys, got me to distinguish left/right hand split for typing .   This has no number keypad, but I rarely used it anyhow.

The keyboard is Bluetooth and I purchased a Soundbot SB342 dongle for the connection to my tower.  The little USB dongle set up easily and found the keyboard right off.

It’s pricey, Oh Dear Lord it’s pricey, but damn it’s nice.

Back from the Con

P1000700.JPGGenCon has come and gone and it’s time for the loot post!

On the upper left we have a Shadowrun anthology called Drawing Destiny.  Wife has read it, I haven’t made it there yet.  Also Shadowrun related is the “prototype” preview of the new Anarchy ruleset for Shadowrun.  The premise is a rules light version of the ponderous rules of Shadowrun.  Haven’t read it cover to cover but I’m not sure about it.  While I agree Shadowrun is big, I think they might be diverging too much for my tastes.

Continuing clockwise, we have dice on top of 7th Sea rules.  The dice are Classic dice from Q-Workshop, d10s for 7th Sea and a standard poly set for D&D.  I have too many dice but it’s the Con so the dice must flow.  The 7th Sea rules are actually from a KickStarter and were waiting for me on my return to Harrisburg.  But they were for sale at the Con so I’ve included them here.  I got the “Pirate” level so I received a normal copy of the rules and the black pirate edition.  The rules are heavy on the GM winging it/  I played a session at the Con and had a great time even though it ran til midnight and there were only 2 other players. Continue reading “Back from the Con”

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