May. 2nd, 2017 09:28 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
So, D&D5 character concept in search of a campaign.

I really want to take a tabaxi from Volo's Guide to Monsters and give him a cosmetic rework as a snow leopard.

And then take the kensai monk subclass from this week's Unearthed Arcana posting.

And play this character:

Because how fucking badass is a snow leopard samurai?

(Actually, I'd go Tibetan rather than Japanese for cultural inspiration, because snow leopard. But that's some great artwork.)


Apr. 23rd, 2017 08:26 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
New job starts tomorrow.

I'm still not convinced this is the right move for me. The new place has some very high expectations. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to live up to them. Nor am I certain that the social environment is going to be one I find particularly welcoming.

On the other hand, I am pretty well convinced that staying where I was would have been a wrong move (so to speak). It's become pretty clear over the last few months that the organization is going to remain ineffectual, if not outright crippled, until something drastic happens at a very high pay grade. I would not have been in a position to effect meaningful change, and I do not do well when I'm not allowed to unfuck problems that are within my capacity and willingness.


Apr. 18th, 2017 09:34 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
Dammit, Hollywood, stop producing movie posters depicting shitty trigger discipline.


Apr. 14th, 2017 06:51 am
tegyrius: (Default)
Out of the park, XKCD. Out of the fucking park.


Apr. 6th, 2017 07:36 pm
tegyrius: (Default)
New ToS over at LiveJournal. Not real comfortable. Haven't been real comfortable for a while.

Let's see how things are here.
tegyrius: (gunstuff deepthoughts)
I have a lot of blogs bookmarked. I check very few of them daily. Hognose's, over at weaponsman.com, is one of the few that's an essential part of my morning routine. Dude's a retired Army Special Forces NCO now living in New Hampshire, homebuilding his own airplane, collecting guns, and writing prolifically (I eagerly await his book on Czech/Czechoslovakian firearms for my own reference). For a gun blog, there is refreshingly little political commentary (though he does seem to have it in for the Veterans' Administration medical system - justifiably so, IMO).

Despite being a lifelong shooter (first learned around age six) - or perhaps because of it - I have a lot of problems with American gun culture. As a body, American gun owners have a lot of attitude and safety problems. These, in turn, drive our overall negative image among people who don't share our proclivities. Put simply, we are our own worst enemies in the political arena.

The safety aspect shapes a lot of my own practices. I've pretty much given up on going to commercial shooting ranges because of the complete lack of training and safety on the line, combined with an absence of oversight and intervention from the so-called "range safety officers." And most shooters have no idea how dangerous they are. The Dunning-Kruger Effect is strong at the range.

Anyway. The reason for this little rant is Hognose's recent post on applying aviation safety concepts to firearms training. There's an aviation saying that the rules are written in blood. Well, in gun culture, we keep making the same damn lethal mistakes without changing the rules. That's unacceptable, folks. If we do not fix our body count ourselves, fixes will be imposed from outside, and they will be both less effective and less palatable than anything we can come up with.

Hognose makes the case more eloquently than I can. It's worth five minutes of your time to read the whole thing.


Oct. 22nd, 2016 11:39 am
tegyrius: (cars Outback)
I'm seriously considering a change of primary vehicle. I'll be selling the Outback, which is currently at 93,600 miles.

Body is in average condition for age and mileage. It has a few scratches and door dings, one weird dent at the bottom of the driver's door, and the imprint of someone's trailer hitch receiver on the front bumper. No structural issues.

Maintenance is current and I have full records. Issues to date have been new constant-velocity joints, head gasket replacement, and an airbag sensor - all resolved.

Tires have less than 10,000 miles on them.

Available extras include a full-size spare (I still have the donut), a rooftop cargo pod (never used), an iPod/iPhone integration kit (using the proprietary pre-Lightning connector), and a Canvasback cover for the cargo area.

If you're in the market, ping me.


Oct. 9th, 2016 10:19 am
tegyrius: (cars Outback)
Quantrell Subaru's service department has failed me for the last time. After five years of consistent inattention to detail, I will no longer allow them to touch any vehicle my household owns.

The Outback will be up for replacement in the next one to two years. Despite the Subaru Forester and Volvo V60/S60 Cross-Country being near the top of the list for potential replacements, I am highly unlikely to purchase any of those vehicles if Quantrell remains Lexington's only option for Subaru and Volvo service.


Sep. 15th, 2016 08:26 pm
tegyrius: (snark ORLYsaurus)
Oh, look. A scholarly analysis of Jay-Z's 99 Problems from a Fourth Amendment legal perspective:


No, seriously.


Sep. 5th, 2016 11:06 am
tegyrius: (Warning Self-Replicating Device)
I may have blogged before (I'm too lazy to go back and check right now) about my Garmin ForeRunner 235. It's a GPS running watch with some other functions. One of those is an accelerometer-based activity tracker.

One of the problems with a wrist-based tracker (as opposed to, say, a waist-clipped FitBit) is that it only picks up steps when you're swinging your arm. So activities like pushing a grocery cart - or, mowing, which is worth about 4,500 steps in my yard - don't get tracked accurately.


I've discovered that my ankle is just slim enough that I can put the watch on it at the very last notch in the band. This is enough to get an accurate accelerometer trigger on each step.

Downside? Black electronic device strapped to my ankle while I'm out mowing. I'm pretty sure some of my neighbors think I'm under home incarceration.


Aug. 26th, 2016 05:21 pm
tegyrius: (Warning Chaotic System)
"Attention, Engine 10: respond to the vicinity of Georgetown and Citation. Caller advises she thinks she saw a bird hit a line... of some sort. After the bird or whatever hit the line, it fell to the ground. It is on fire. The grass is on fire. Near a bus stop."


Aug. 13th, 2016 04:25 pm
tegyrius: (Warning Antimatter)
Although I'm unlikely to ever go on a transcontinental expedition, I follow a couple of offroading blogs because they're well-written and interesting. Last year, one of them recommended the Antigravity Batteries Micro-Start XP-1. It sounded interesting enough for me to put it on my "do want" list and [livejournal.com profile] elalyr bought me one for Christmas last year.

Holy crap, folks. This thing underpromises and overdelivers like nothing I've seen before. I recently started the VR-4 for the first time since February. The car's battery, as you might expect, was deader than disco. Usually, jumping that vehicle requires me to hook up the cables to the Outback and wait a good 15 to 20 minutes to build enough charge to crank.

With the XP-1? 30 seconds from hooking up the leads to starting the VR-4 on the first try - and the battery pack still was showing 4/5 bars of charge afterward. And that was after charging the XP-1 in December and leaving it in the Outback's cargo bay (parked outside, I remind you) with no top-off charging for eight months.

If you ever go anywhere that a jump-start or emergency power (it also comes with a metric assload of adapters for personal electronics) might remotely be necessary, make one of these things part of your car kit. Order today. I'm not kidding.


Aug. 10th, 2016 08:27 pm
tegyrius: (snark ORLYsaurus)

Yep, that'll work.


Jul. 23rd, 2016 03:33 pm
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
Wow. Reading /r/childfree is like mainlining validation.


Jun. 25th, 2016 02:37 pm
tegyrius: (Warning Ubiquitous Surveillance)
For the last two years, I've been tracking my runs with a Suunto Ambit 2R GPS sports watch, which I also wore as an everyday digital watch. The Ambit itself has been reliable but in the last six months, both the charging/sync cable and the chest strap for the heart rate monitor have needed replacement. I'm also not a fan of the user interface on Suunto's associated exercise data site, Movescount.

About six weeks ago, I picked up a Garmin Forerunner 235 as a possible replacement for the Ambit. I'd gone around and around on this versus a couple of other products. What finally sold me on the 235, quite frankly, was my annual REI dividend - enough to effectively get the watch for free. But the feature set was one I wanted in an upgrade: Bluetooth sync so I wouldn't have to jack with a cable after every run, an optical heart rate monitor to remove the need for a separate chest strap, and notifications from my iPhone.

Was it worth it? )
tegyrius: (Default)
Occasionally, my brain does strange things with syntax. Such was the case when I recently became aware of the peacock spider. If we have peacock spiders, I asked, why can't we have spider peacocks?

So in my headcanon, the spider peacock is now a thing in the 7th Sea game setting.

It started out as a Montaigne attempt to breed a mute peafowl that would be decorative without disrupting garden parties with its shrieks. The result wasn't a mute bird, but rather one with raspy, rattling vocalizations - sounding, quite frankly, like a woman being strangled rather than one being knifed. As if that weren't enough, the breed's plumage lost much of its coloration, becoming silvery grey and the dark red-brown of dried blood. This might have been the end of the experiment if not for the elaborate patterns on the fowl's tailfeathers, which resembled unique, intricate spiderwebs when raised in full display.

While a few eccentric Montaigne do still keep flocks of these "spider peacocks," the primary market for the breed is, unsurprisingly, Vodacce. There, they are cherished pets, allowed to freely roam their owners' estates. Some Vodacce believe that spider peacocks also can sense when a sorte strega tugs the strands of Fate in their vicinity, and that their ubiquity in certain nobles' presence is more than simple ornamentation or ostentation.


May. 2nd, 2016 07:42 pm
tegyrius: (gunstuff deepthoughts)
Over the years, regular readers will have figured out that I am licensed for concealed carry (since early 2001). I don't typically discuss the specifics of firearm selection or holster placement or tactics and decision processes in public because of the potential for misuse of that information by other parties. So this isn't going to be about those topics - not quite.

I'm also a firm believer that if you are carrying a tool to make people bleed, you should also carry the tools to stop people from bleeding - and have the skills to use them effectively. In 2011, I took the excellent three-day medical course offered by Kerry at Dark Angel Medical (when it was still Magpul Dynamic Shooter Aid). Subsequently, I spent several years going between imperfect solutions for incorporating a minimal gunshot medical kit into my concealed carry rig and hanging far too much crap off my belt. In the process, I amassed a nice collection of tourniquet carriers that will never see use again.

A little over a year ago, a thread on one of my preferred forums led me to what is, for me, the perfect answer. Tactical Medical Solutions offers an ingenious ankle wrap that holds a tourniquet, a chest seal, and a pack of hemostatic gauze (and, as this video shows, the wrap itself can be used as a pressure bandage). I am not a fan of ankle carry for a firearm but it's turned out to be amazing for ancillary equipment that needs to remain low-profile. I've worn it with everything from jeans to a suit without raising comment.


Apr. 8th, 2016 05:36 pm
tegyrius: (Ol' Velvet Nose)
Today, I watched SpaceX make history by soft-landing a Falcon 9 first-stage booster on a drone ship after putting a Dragon capsule into orbit.

Still can't stop grinning. That was amazing.


Feb. 14th, 2016 01:49 pm
tegyrius: (WWGS keep calm)
Cleaning my desk. Ran across some handwritten notes on a Changeling campaign that never happened. This is disturbing:

The net is a realm of dream too. How can you tell where its Hedge begins? Is it the same Hedge? Or is it the border of another Arcadia, one whose inhabitants hold no Contracts binding them to the material world? Ancient sleepers stirring in the starless cyberspace. Under neon skies, Bobby Newmark's loa are coming. Korea was first. Addicted gamers in cybercafes never come back, not entirely. Online, no one can tell if you're a dog - or if you just have the head of one.


Feb. 7th, 2016 08:38 am
tegyrius: (paranormal tongue-in-cheek)
I could use no other avatar for this post.

One of my players in my XCOM-derived play-by-post campaign asked me for my thoughts on the newly-released XCOM 2. In case anyone else is interested...

It would make an excellent RPG setting in its own right. The premise, if you have not heard, is that it's the outcome of playing the 2012 game on Impossible Ironman mode and losing.

It's 20 years after the fall of XCOM. Earth lies under the heel of an alien-controlled puppet government which is slowly driving the Avatar Project, a shadowy master plan toward probably apocalyptic ends. A global propaganda campaign recasts XCOM and other resistance groups as terrorists and the aliens as benevolent elder space-brothers.

Members of your core command team have kept the flame lit. They've recruited a scattering of willing operatives and have established a mobile base in the hulk of a downed UFO. Your mission is to unite the scattered resistance groups still fighting across the globe and use that network to seek out information on Avatar with the eventual intent of bringing it down.

Technically, it's running okay, though our gaming machine is five years old and is choking out on framerate. We have a new rig on order, originally bought so we could play The Division at max graphics; XCOM 2 should be screaming fast on it. I'm supposed to pick it up sometime this week. I have seen quite a few annoying typos in the game text, which leads me to believe no professional writer was involved in the dev effort (cue professional-offended huffy cat face).

Strategic gameplay is a bit more complex than XCOM. You have multiple resource types: space in your mobile base, power to run the facilities in those spaces, communication links to resistance cells (analogous to satellite control facilities in XCOM), alien alloys, elerium crystals, scientific staff, and engineering staff. It's easy to get sucked into an incident pit where you're short on multiple resources at once and struggling to get yourself back to operational viability.

And time. Oh, gods, time. Time is a resource and the whack-a-space-mole nature of not being able to solve all the problems has been turned up so far the dial broke off.

Tactical gameplay is very familiar, with the addition of a simple but beautiful stealth/ambush mechanic. If you start an op in stealth - and not all missions will allow you this luxury - the enemy forces operate in laid-back patrol mode until you walk into their vision range (which is clearly indicated when you plot movement). This allows you to put most of your squad on overwatch, then have one shooter start the party. The resulting cinematic kill-cam action as your other troopers pop up and mow down the aliens as they scatter for cover... that will never get old.

You have to fight smart, though, because the AI is much smarter and the enemies have some much nastier abilities. And many missions have timed objectives, which means you can't hunker down in defensive positions and wait for them to come to you. You have to keep pushing forward. And your people get shot to shit. Many times, I have had to recruit new resistance fighters because I had so many people in med-bay or in body bags that I couldn't field a full squad.

All of this may make it sound like a horrible play experience but it's really not. It's a lot of fun. The challenge level is just high enough that when you pull a mission success out of your ass, you feel like you've accomplished something.


tegyrius: (Default)

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