A Slight Case of Overbombing

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:27 pm
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Crisis averted. Or managed. GoodReader doesn't send out update notifications, so I was using version 3.X, while version 4.X was out and 64-bit compatible. Five bucks out of my iTunes account, and we were back in business. Still couldn't migrate files from V3 to V4, so I took the opportunity to reduce the number of PDFs living on the iPad when I removed V3. Now, there's just some Call of Cthulhu and Star Trek Adventures. Couple of GB freed up.

--

Pretty good Star Wars session tonight. PCs being PCs, they took off down disparate paths, leading to the Jedi's capture by an Imperial Governor's Stormtrooper detachment. Aeris is now in custody of the Inquisition, and he's about to encounter the real face of that organization, at least in the Japrael Sector. The rest of the team has to decide how best to attempt a rescue, and what risks they face.

Discussion away from the table is leading me to try to make the game more personal. So, I'm going to develop allies, places, relationships, rivalries, and try to keep things inside the home sector. There will be jaunts across the Galaxy from time to time - one player gave me some good hooks involving Hutt Space, another wants some exploration/discovery action - but most of the action will happen in and around the hundred or so systems of the sector.

I've got the Inquisition and an ISB team assigned to pursue the PCs and find their base of operations. I need to identify the Imperial, Rebel, and criminal and civilian people that the PCs will most likely come into contact with. Reduce the prominence of the cybernetics company that sent the PCs out in search of a Separatist treasure ship - if a player brings up the need or desire for that kind of session, then work it into the game. Otherwise - fight the Empire, protect the weak, and be heroes.

Bad art and Weird Ideas

Sep. 21st, 2017 06:49 pm
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A group, or an individual, or four bad dogs in a horse costume has started posting flyers at some of the TARC shelters around the UofL Belknap campus. Calls to "be a man among men" and stand up for "European people and culture" and become a "UofL Identitarian." This torture of the language aside, I'm both contemptuous of and concerned about this. UofL's loudly and proudly inclusive, one of the first universities to offer full benefits to same-sex couples among other good things. Of course, the population isn't monolithic, and in a community the size of UofL's, you're going to have some of these regressive shitweasels.

Back in '89, when I was at UofL for the first time around, there was an incident in one of the sorority spaces - a black student had been assigned a room in panhellenic housing, and some twit slid racist notes under her door. This rapidly
became A Thing, and rightfully so, with the woman quickly resettled and, IIRC, the offender being found out and tossed out of school. There were demands by a hastily-organized group that all RAs take cultural awareness training, that white students be required to take a three-credit-hour culture course (the Chinese-descended kid on my floor found his exclusion hilarious), some other stuff. In a few weeks, things settled out, and I'm sure that more came of it, but I was busy falling apart and failing at everything so I don't remember.

--

The Dodgers beat the Phillies today, so they aren't swept (again) by a statistically much worse team. One more win and they seal the NL West; they go up against the bottom-of-the-division Giants in LA tomorrow night. The D-backs play the Marlins, who aren't good at all.

--

I'm watching Ken Burns' new series on the Vietnam War. It's, unsurprisingly, very good, done with typical Burns style - interviews, a deep dive into numerous factors contributing to the subject, archival footage and photography wherever possible. And Peter Coyote handling the narration. Just amazing work all around, and it breaks down and examines the complexities without overwhelming with detail or oversimplifying things. Worth checking out.

--

After crowing about iOS11, I've found a problem, and a pretty serious one. GoodReader hasn't been updated to 64-bit compatibility, so won't work under the 11. This is seriously not good. I use GoodReader pretty heavily, including the Saturday night game, and the loss of function combines with ... just not being able to access the files. I've never had a problem with GoodReader, so this is something of a surprise.

Vision Thing

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:19 am
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Against my normal policy, I installed iOS11 on my iPhone yesterday. The process was smooth, taking about ten minutes, draining a little less than 20% of the charge. Signed into my Apple account, and all was well. New control center is pretty slick, both simpler and more comprehensive than the previous versions. I checked my most-used apps, no problems there. And then I tried out the new Files app.

The iCloud app was pretty good. I throw Apple a dollar a month for online storage, following the loss of a flash drive full of data, and have no complaints - it would be great if Word would play nice with iCloud, but what can you do. There are worse problems to have than having to open up the Dropbox app and working from there. Files removes even that small inconvenience. One app that accesses iCloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive. Smooth and simple.

So, I think, let's see how this looks on the iPad. Start the download and installation, no hitches on the first-gen Air. Control center's even better. The dock is more like the one on my iMac and Macbook. This is good. Lots more utility. And Files is fantastic. This is the first time I've ever really thought about the iPad as a legitimate replacement for my Macbook.

So, did I try this new-and-improved tool out? You bet I did. Insomnia paid a visit, again, so I opened up the iPad and got to writing. Switched over to the iPhone for some occasional small edits - everything worked, and flawlessly. After finally getting a few hours of sleep, I checked in with the Macbook this morning and all is as it should be. I am quite pleased.

--

There's a guy I met not long after I moved to Louisville, big in the local minis gaming community. Good guy. He's lately been discussing his health problems, and holy cow is it giving me some perspective. Diagnosed with diabetes when he was 22, and at 40, he's starting to see some systems threatening to fail. Keto is helping him lose weight in a hurry, which his doctors are all about, but that but that puts him at real risk of kidney failure. So, rock and a hard place. Lose the weight in a hurry or be at serious risk of heart failure or stroke in the next two years, but run equal risk of the kidneys crapping out. Heredity can be a damned horrible thing sometimes.

--

The Dodgers are sliding again, three-game losing streak, including two to the Phillies. They need to get two more games up on the Diamondbacks to win the the NL West pennant, and the D-backs are also on a losing streak to a team they should be handling with ease. I'm not proud. If the Padres can beat Arizona again, and LA gets it together tonight, then there's the division championship, and no worries about a stupid one-game wild card play-in.

The Troubles

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:22 am
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Continuing from yesterday's entry ...

Pathfinder. I have to give Paizo this - they're either giving their fans exactly what the fans want, or the fans want exactly what Paizo's producing. Either way, Paizo is making plenty of money and they're doing some creative things with their setting. Golarian is chock full of gods, with every intelligent species having a whole pantheon, and semi-regular appearances of these gods and their avatars - no sane thinking person can deny the existence of gods in this setting. Yet in Golarian, there are atheists - they don't disbelieve, they just have no use for gods in their lives. I get that. Before I admitted to myself that I just didn't really believe, I was very comfortable with Yahweh and me not interfering with each other.

Trail of Cthulhu characters can have their religion as a pillar of stability, something they can (almost) always fall back on when things have stopped making any kind of sense; the new edition of Call gives investigators a similar resource as a shield against unyielding horror. There's good role-playing and storytelling to be mined out of a character trying to reconcile their faith with exposure to the monsters and other entities of the Mythos, and it can be handled with respect.

This is Where you can Reach me Now

Sep. 17th, 2017 05:59 pm
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Since starting the rewatch of Battlestar Galactica (2004 edition) and catching a few episodes of the original on one of the local digital side-channels, I've been thinking about the role of religion and/or faith in my gaming and related writing.

I'm, for sake of labeling, a post-Christian atheist. I grew up in a pretty mainstream rural Methodist church, and was somewhat involved in youth groups and things like that, but never really wanted to be warming a pew on Sunday mornings (evenings, at Wednesday night prayer meetings, revivals, you see where I'm going). To be honest, I think I learned more about being good and doing right from episodes of Star Trek on WAVE-3 than I did from most of the preaching I was exposed to - I sure enjoyed them more and loved Sunday mornings when I didn't have to go to church.

I remember a Palladium Fantasy game in high school, where the PCs were crusader-missionaries, spreading their faith by example and at the point of the sword. There was a World of Darkness game in the mid-90s, with the PCs caught up, indirectly, in angelic and demonic machinations. My D&D 3 historian/lawman/wizard was devoted to his goddess, if occasionally angry with her, and cared little for the beliefs of others. Currently, my Pulp Cthulhu investigator was raised a Quaker, left that belief for something between non-specific Protestantism and agnosticism, saw some weird shit while part of the occupation of Haiti, and is now confronting Yig's cultists. My CP2020 solo was a lapsed Catholic, more so in stories I wrote about him than in play.
In my current Star Wars game, there's no real discussion of religion, outside of the Force.

Sleep Like a Baby Tonight

Sep. 13th, 2017 04:10 pm
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Days go by.

My Dodgers broke their twelve-game losing streak last night, beating the Giants and securing a playoff slot. The NL West pennant is up in the air, though.

Raised by Wolves

Sep. 10th, 2017 07:56 pm
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Pro football season started on Thursday the 7th, and for a few shining days, the Patriots were the worst team in the NFL, having lost the season opener to the Chiefs. It's still a little strange to want the Chiefs to do well, but here we are.

Unfortunately, my Dodgers continue to slide. They've now dropped ten straight games, and hopes for a 100-win season are fading fast. It's a teamwide slump. Hitting, pitching, defense - just everything.

UofL's 2-0 now, after wins over Purdue and UNC. Neither game was especially pretty, but wins are wins. Next up is the home opener against Clemson, who is defending a national championship. Last year, the Cardinals came close to beating Clemson on their home field, so next weekend should be a good game.

Spent last night at the farm, and it was a good/bad night. No middle-of-the-night anxiety attacks, but it took forever to get to sleep, and I only got about five hours. I've been dragging all day, and this was a busy day. Drove back here in time for a Fathom showing of The Wrath of Khan at Preston Crossing, then over to the Phelps' for [REDACTED] - which is going pretty well.

As you might expect, I'm a sleepy boy. Watching the Dallas-NYG game, in a desultory fashion. I have a Google Docs tab open, but that promise is likely to go unrealized tonight. There is a small cluster of neurons arguing that I should brew some coffee and make a more constructive night, but that voice is being shouted down quite effectively.

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