Sunday, February 12, 2012

Learning to Play ASL part 1

I have 20 minutes. I've decided I would like to spend some time talking about ASL. I actually want to turn this into a series and if I were better organized it would have its own blog, but I am not better organized so this is how this is going to look. Sorry. Moving on. So I am about to get into ASL and that is very exciting to me. It really is. Unfortunately in order to do so I need to resort to piracy. I legitimately feel bad about this but I am a dishwasher and some other things gotta come first. I am pretty certain that if it catches on with me I'll end up honestly picking up a rule book as well as Beyond Valor and then maybe Yanks if they ever reprint it. Then at least I will feel better about myself. But before I commit that much money, or any more beyond my initial 30 dollar investment I want to play a game or two...or you know 5. I dunno and in order to do that I am gonna have to teach people.

Teaching people how to play games is one of my strong suits though and I think I am up to the task. It has FINALLY gotten to the point where when I read the ASL rules I am not going, what the fuck does that mean, every 5 minutes. So that's a big help. I can now explain concepts such as residual fire, encirclement, and I have a pretty good handle on fire lanes. Not that most of those concepts are in the starter kit rulebooks at all but hey, whatever, lets keep going.

I decided pretty much at the onset the best way to learn/teach ASL is to just take it in steps. I have PLENTY of senarios that involve just troops. So we can start there. I've also found senarios that involve just vehicles. So we can learn how to use those in a nice controlled environment. Then there is the artillery. Artillery isn't that complex to use and it is never really present in enough force to really muck up the game. So once we get down how to use vehicles, troops, and vehicles with troops artillery should be a snap. While it is exciting to use everything at the same time it just isn't that smart. Getting down the fundamentals and mastering all the basics is what needs to be done so that way when we add new elements into the game play it won't be as tactically crippling as it would be then it would be if we tried to learn everything all at the same time.

Patients is the key. Take it slow and learn each element throughly along with how it interacts with other elements is gonna be key to mastering the game. Troop usage is the most important thing though, especially when you want to do some of the larger, more exciting scenarios.

However, now my 20 minutes are up and I am going to back to toiling in the dish area.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Lady In Black

My friend Cortney gave it meh out of meh stars. I agree that it was a solid 3 out of six. The problem with the movie is that it could of been better. Oh so much better. But it instead decided to be average. I suspect that its averageness was forced upon it by some uncaring producer who wanted to make some quick mega bucks but I have no real way of supporting that opinion so I am just left with my consipracy theories.

In many ways the movie itself isn't really worth writing about and at the same time it is because it felt almost like it was being haunted by the better version of itself. You could see it, pounding frantically against the corner of the movie, in all of its vast empty spaces doing its absolute best to escape before being thrust back into the eternal purgatory of hollywood mediocrity.

See if there is one thing I love it is big creepy house movies. There is just something so traditional about it that the whole movie could of and should of been an omage to all that have come before. Best of all this movie happened in the victorian times so the set was lit by candles and lanterns which is ever so much better than a bunch of assholes running around with flashlights and it always will be. This is one thing the movie got right. The whole thing movie has an atmosphere of dread to it. Not just the house but also the town, which is arguably more creepy than the house itself. The combination of these two setting elements gives the movie a prevading sense of dread and the desire to find out what is behind that dread. The problem is that instead of paciently cultivating that dread and exploring that mystery they decided to have loud sudden sounds and sudden visual imagry which can be effective in moderation but jesus god people give it a rest. Also when you do a loud shocking thing like that it functions like a reset. Once you are traumatized the sense of dread disapates and needs to be rebuilt. Unfortunatly the movie doesn't really get a chance to do that as it is far to busy running around using scary sounds and crappy camera angles. As a result it really missed the opertunity to develop its interesting story.

The movie could of been easily made so that you would of sided with the ghost. I think they should of done that. Some of the most interesting parts of the movie is watching Harry Potter unravel the details behind what happened at the house and whatnot. Now one person I saw it with said that it would of been better if there was some sort of thing where the ghost was being framed and that she was a good woman who had her son taken away. I think it would of been better if Harry Potter THOUGHT that there was something more malevolent going on and it turned out that she really was crazy. That would of made the ending a lot more poignant.

The other theme that movie totally fucked up is the theme of imperical rationalism vs. spiritualism. You had it EVERYWHERE in the movie but they didn't have it mean anything. Like the rich guy who is all rational and knows what is going on and his medium wife. You have harry potter who is both a lawyer, a man of laws and figures, but with his dead wife he starts looking into spirtualism more and more. So you have all these elements lying around the movie but they didn't tie them together or attach them to the plot or anything like that.

Oh well like I said if they focused on the plot more instead of fucking around with loud stupid noises it would of been ever so much better.

Friday, February 3, 2012

And So I've Taken January By Storm

Taking things by storm now that's an expression I love. I really do. So now here I am at the crux of Febuary with a nice little month to review. So lets get some disappointing news out of the way. Totally fucked my writing goal. I got about half done and that's pretty sad. At one point I got a fire lit under my ass and I made some serious headway but I made the conscious decision to not complete it. The whole thing is to manage my time better not to ram all the stuff I want to do at the end of the month. Still I suppose I could of done much better. I didn't even get halfway done. Still live and learn. This month I am going to amend the writing goal to edit a lot of the stuff I have written as well as producing new stuff. That way I can start feeling my progress a little bit more.

Moving on. I rekindled my minecraft addition. I am not sure how I feel about it. I do love me some minecraft though, good god let the stone flow. I have one map on survival mode and while that is fun and all I recently started one on creative. I like creative mode and I am starting to have a lot of fun with it. More so than survival even. Sometimes it is just nice to cut loose and build things.

I also started playing Europa Universallis 3. I've been wanting to play this game forever but I've been intimidated. Still I somehow got James addicted to it and I decided to take the plunge. All I can say is what an utterly worthwhile expendature of time. I am having a great time playing it. I've made some mistakes and I am having some problems but more and more I am getting a better handle on things and having a great time with it. It is such a good game.

I've also started learning Advanced Squad Leader. I was aiming to get the 3rd starter set but I ended up with the second one. This was disapointing to me then but now I realize that I made the right choice. The rules aren't that complicated but seriously, no really seriously, fuck whomeever wrote those damn things. Fuck them right in the ass. They use abriviations for everything and their ability to make simple things sound overly complicated puts shit english majors to shame. Anyway I got the basic troop movement and stuff down and I have a pretty good working knowlage of how artillery works so on Monday I think I am going to try to teach it to cory. I've also worked out how to make new chits based off of some scans I took of one of the chit sheets before I punched them out. So once I figure out the best way to mount them we will have full access to any scenario the game can throw at us. First though I want to play a few games with what we have just to make sure we like it and that we find it something worth persueing. On a personal note should Corey and James not find it to their liking I'll persue the solitair options that the game has to offer and online play. Still nothing beats table talk.

In other exciting news I went to not one but two birthday parties full of strangers. This is really exciting for me. One because I am 29 years old and I have never been to a party where I might know only one maybe two other people there. I am anti social and the whole thing was nerve wracking to say the least. But I did it not once but twice. I was nice, I met new people, told stories, had fun, and I genuinely enjoyed myself which is kinda awesome. I'll be a little honest I did it mostly for myself but hey I did it and I've overcome a major part of myself.

That's pretty much the month in review. It was a good time. Lets see what the next one will bring.

Well now onto the media summery.

Week 1 12/29 to 1/4

Into the Void- Gasper Noe at his finest. I adored this movie thought the flashing lights did give me a pretty severe headache.
Funny Games- The remake I wrote a blog post about it. Good times I love the idea of the consent of the viewer.
Boardwalk Empire S2- FANTASTIC. I am not even gonna get started.
Little Deaths- Kinda meh. Horror shorts broken into 3 segments. The first could of been better the second one was whatever and I loved the third one. BDSM going wrong is one of my favorite themes.
Asphalt Jungle- Nice old school noir. Grand movie.

Tanto Curo twice
Diplomacy once
Tower of Babel twice
Battle Grounds Fantasy Warefare once
Hero Clix

Eclipse Phase Gatecrashing from cover to cover

1/5 to 1/11

Lost S3 16-24
Amilie- Cutest movie EVER
Zatoichi (newest)- Every time I watch this movie I am stunned as to how good it is.
Samurai: Rebellion- Oh man this movie was fantastic.
Samurai: Part 1- About the like and times of Musashi. It isn't very good.

Games Played
Tanto Curo Twice
Diplomacy once
Tower of Babel Twice
Dominion 4 times
Segigahara once
On The Edge

War the of the Green Lanterns- I should write a blog post about this to show how utterly different this book is to Mavel's fear itself.
Batman: Black Mirror- Oh man Scott Snider writes a bad ass batman story. Pick this up.
Lock and Key vol1- It is unfair how good these books are.

1-12 to 1-18
Samurai Part 2- Yeah well I realized the second one wasn't very good either
Eastern Promises- Cronenburg! Russian mafia movie. This movie was fucking intense.
Lost S4 1-4- Still loving lost.
Guilty of Romance- Oh man. This movie is the ultimate celebration of murder sex and madness.

Games Played:
Pandemic 3 times
Confusion once
Super Dungeon EXPLORE! once

Invisables 1-4 Every time I read these books I have a hard time comprehending how they can be real

1-19 to 1-25
Lost S4 E5 to end By lost season 4. I liked this one a lot though the show is undergoing some massive changes.
Cold Fish- This movie is insane. This is coming from someone who loves insanity. This movie is all of it and more. SEE IT!
The Artist- This is damn near a perfectly entertaining movie. I simply adored it.
Underworld 4- This movie is terrible. It was made so much worse because I watched it 5 minutes after seeing the Artist. The only reason I went to go see it is because sneaking into things is delightful.

Games Played:
Confusion once

1-26 to 2-1

Things Watched
Lost S5 1-8 Man I didn't watch shit this week. I am really digging the 5th season of lost. Lots of good Ben moments and Sawyer is really come into his own.

Games Played:
Summoner Wars 4 times
Agricola Twice
Cosmic Encounters 4 Times
Puerto Rico twice

Things Read:
Lock and Key 2-3 - The second volume seems a little bit like a place holder. Don't get me wrong it is good but it is utter eclpsed by 1&3. It sets up 3 perfectly and the whole series is a delight.
Fear Itself- God this things was just aweful.
Invisables 5&6- These two volumes are actually my favorites.