Thursday, July 22, 2010

Twelve General Thoughts

So a couple of quick things since I've been off the blogging radar for a little while. A general post here and then I'll get back to an rpg post in the next one.

1. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and look at our story in Legends of the Guard #2. I thank you for your generosity in spending that effort. It means quite a bit to me.

2. So the doctor says that my foot injury is probably a tendon tear in the right heel, or something close to that. I'd gone after a full week of pain, figuring that was a reasonable window to get worried about it. Unfortunately I was informed that these kinds of injuries take two weeks to heal up. On the plus side I have a full license to be a lazy slob and prop my feet up until I recovered.

3. So I suspect that the injury came out of the increased exercise Sherri and I have been doing. We'd been walking 4-5km in the evening as our “dailys.” Sherri's approached this current health and weight loss program like a true gamer: with careful min-maxing, planning out of strategies, and making things into quest tasks. She's finally quit smoking as well which makes everything a little easier. So all good things-- once I'm able to walk around again and actually do some physical activity for a significant amount of time.

4. I love my doctor-- I went in with a list of other general health questions and such and he pretty much walked through the list in under five minutes. He's pretty direct and doesn't go for a lot of extra testing and such.

5. Three additional reasons for the delay in blogging: one, worked on a quick project proposal for something Gene's wanted to do. We'll see if that comes together-- I think we managed to put two really great spins on a classic property for a short story. Two, been sketching out ideas for a screenplay I want to write. I don't know why-- but it is something I figure I can reformat once I've done it into something else. Its built on an idea I put together for a collaboration that never went anywhere.

6. ...and three, I'm working on a new rpg campaign. I've mentioned what I'm thinking about to a couple of people and I've started to sketch out some notes. I'll use Action Cards again, with some twists. I want to talk about some of the things I've picked up from reading John Wick's new samurai rpg, Blood & Honor. Not ideas about samurai stuff (that's not the game), but more about campaign and community building in games. I suspect this game will be closer to City of Ocean...or not, still thinking about the frame.

7. Went to two movies this last weekend (thanks to Kenny & Tammy). I loved Inception, even in those parts where I was aware of the artifice. Nolan does a really great job of building up the visual grammar of the film in order to help the viewers keep track of where they are from moment to moment: there's effects based both on the colors and stages setting as well as based on certain repeated sequences. I can't even imagine what that screenplay must look like or how he wrestled that beast into place. Like Momento he goes in really novel directions-- but I think this is more accessible than some of his other movies. I also saw The Sorcerer's Apprentice which was fun, if goofy. It was a good summer movie in the classic "Hero's Journey" mode but really could have used an editor to cut about ten minutes out to increase the pacing.

8. Hans Zimmer did the score to Inception. In some ways he's become as ubiquitous as John Williams or Danny Elfman. Some of Zimmer's scores feel a little weak (Pirates, Kung Fu Panda, The Last Samurai) but others really work for me (The Ring, The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes). I think Inception falls in the latter category. He has some great moments, particularly the dream-fixed sequences, which have more than a little echo of Philip Glass. Since I love Glass, I enjoy hearing Zimmer do his own take on that.

9. Rock Band 3 will have the ability to rate items in your collection and thereby determine how often they come up in the random sets. That's enough for me. I'll be buying that. That plus new songs makes that pretty much an obvious purchase. I also have to get a second upgraded guitar, but now I think I'll probably wait on that unless there's a huge deal somewhere. Current fascination is with the game Blur on the PS3. If you have a PS3 you really ought to buy this-- it is insanely fun.

10. The New Pornographers album Together is quite good. Not as great as Challengers, but really strong. Explosions in the Sky finally announced they will be going back to the studio to make an album for 2011. Other than that I've been listening to Beirut's Gulag Orkestar again more recently-- that's a solid album.

11. Finished a Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William Bernstein. Really, really good and pretty much exactly what I wanted out of this kind of book. A detailed history combined with cultural ideas and explanations. If I walk away from a non-fiction book with one or two really distinctive new ideas or ways of thinking about things I feel pretty satisfied. I came away with at least one per chapter.

12. Last but not least, with the new diet I've been trying a number of new dishes and recipes, some with more success than others. I made a Beef and Cucumber Salad, with the beef being a kind of fine oriental stir-fry, and it was pretty amazing. The cucumbers became really bitter but complimented the beef and flavorings very well. Not a bland dish. The Shrimp & Spinach Miso soup I made Sherri liked, but I found a little earthy for my taste. It had edamame beans in it which I found odd, but I liked the miso flavoring. Also Sherri liked the Thai Stir-Fried Rice with Chicken and Mint better than I did. It used brown rice which I was worried about, but came out nicely. Still it was fairly bland-- it needs more kick and flavors to it, which I'll put in next time I make it. I think that's a common problem with the Weight Watchers recipes-- they are a little bland to make them workable for a larger population. For example the Chicken with Savory Peaches I made-- which I liked-- will be significantly improved by the application of a doze of red chili flakes in with the ginger and garlic. Lastly we made Southwestern Tacos in the crock pot that turned out really, really well-- simple and on the plan. The trick lies in how well fresh lime goes with beef. Really, really well as it turns out.


  1. Man, what up with your Chinese fans? From Google Translation "People do not lack strength, they lack the will." I totally disagree. If you've pulled a tendon, relax for a while.

    The food sounds amazing.

  2. Good to see you back in the blogger's seat.