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Gothic Americana (and Other Musical Genres)

YouTube has revealed to me a variety of music styles that I might not have gravitated to. These aren’t something you’d generally hear outside of (maybe) a college station.

So I thought I’d share.

I’ll start with some , well I guess you could call it Gothic Folk/Americana

First a video, the Backwater Gospel. An animated short about death in the old west (or more modern Appalachia)

The short is used for the music video Drink the Water by Justin Cross. I’m an Atheist but I appreciate the gospel undertones in music. That leads me to Blood on My Name and Awake O Sleeper by Brothers Bright, a much more rockin band, still somewhat Gothic.

Dogs of War by Blues Saraceno –another rockin band

On the heavier side of thing we have Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch. Pretty much a straight up Rock song (a little on the heavy side) Awesome song and the video, as a former military man, it strikes a chord.  And if you’ve watched the Netflix Daredevil you’ll recognize the images from Nobody Praying for Me

Disturbed – Sound of Silence-a close second to Leonard Cohen’s version.

Over to more Gospel-ish, Ollabelle Soul Of A Man Continue reading “Gothic Americana (and Other Musical Genres)”

Cthulhu Confidential

Today we talk about Cthulhu Confidential.  A nice little tabletop RPG from Pelgrane Press, makers of the Gumshoe RPG (which I have not read).  Cthulhu Confidential is based off the aforementioned Gumshoe, but is a “One-2-One” system that is geared for one GM and one Player (go fig.). The genre is Noir/ cheap detective set in the 30’s – 40’s and the perquisite Mythos components.  The book contains rules and 3 scenarios with pre-gens.

The rules are summed up on a Quick Reference page towards the back of the book, and a single page is all the summary you need.  Characters have Investigative and General abilities. Investigative abilities allow you to gather clues just by being in the right place and right time, no roll required.  If you don’t have the correct Investigative ability you can hit up a Source for info.  You can also spend a resource called a “Push” that ups the result, giving you more info for instance.  General abilities are used in tests to determine if you succeed.  You have 1 or 2 dice (d6s) per ability.  You roll one die at a time since you might succeed without rolling all your dice and then the unused die generates a Push.  Challenges have 3 levels of outcome; Advance, Hold, and Setback.  These determine the result’s effect on the plot.  Advances give you Edges, Setbacks give you Problems. You can even accept an extra Problem to give you another die. Continue reading “Cthulhu Confidential”

On the Tech Side

In electronics news, I purchased a refurbished Surface 3 from Amazon.  Quad core, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB drive with a “10.8” inch display.  I also picked up the pen, the Type Cover/keyboard, a 128GB MicroSD card and a 128GB USB 3 thumb drive (all from Amazon).  I was a little apprehensive on the “refurbished” aspect, but it came out of the box like new.

I’m liking it. A lot.  I use it mainly for reading gaming .pdfs in portrait mode, but it’s got the moxie to connect to work through VPN.  It has full windows 10 and runs Office 365 well enough for my needs.  The 10.8 screen is eminently readable with 10″ x 7″ usable area within the black borders.  I don’t think I’d be happy with anything smaller, as it is I don’t have to scroll to read a page.

The back camera is pretty good, compensates for my shaky hand quite nicely and good resolution.  The selfie camera is a bit grainy, but this is a few generations back so I’m not terribly upset.

The pen changes written notes into text in notepad. That’s a nice plus I hadn’t anticipated.  It’s learning my handwriting too.  With the pen you can mark up your documents, even .docs and .pdfs.  It came with a couple drawing apps with different brushes available for those of an artistic bent.  not so much for me… Continue reading “On the Tech Side”

Chalking

A friend of mine sent me this link and the associated video.
http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/13/ivy-league-student-brought-to-tears-by-trump-chalking-video/

His attitude was “Ha Ha, look at what wimps the young liberals are turning out to be.”

Well, I wasn’t sure what “chalking” was, although I had a pretty good idea.  A little research brought up this: from another campus where chalking occurred.

http://college.usatoday.com/2016/04/09/chalking-pro-trump-messages-set-off-storms/

“Also on April 5, chalk messages were written on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. They included, “They have to go back #Trump,” “Build the Wall” and “Trump Deportation Force.”

The messages appeared near the campus’ Latina/Latino Studies building.”

Chalking is not the exchange of ideas, it’s done to intimidate.
This is not just pro trump, the messages and locations are not an accident.
Hate speech should be distinguished from free speech.
Lets not forget that the Hitler youth were fond of scrawling slogans on walls…
“Wir hassen die Juden und Ausländer” – “We hate the Jews and foreigners”

Continue reading “Chalking”

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”

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