Drama: D&D Style

I was unaware of the quality and quantity of drama that D&D can dish out in about the space of two hours. For the non-geeks among you (which, I think, is all except one), you could probably stop reading here and not be any worse for it.

But picture the situation: Three people; a wizard, a psychic warrior (me), and some kind of elven fighter. We approach the small, obscure temple, searching for a message from Shana, the strange psion that the wizard and I have just voyaged six months across the sea to the Elven continent to find. The only two people at the temple, monks, tell us that perhaps what we are searching for is under the temple. Through a mystical, runed seal. It was at this point that we should have known to just turn back and seek adventure with some goblins or something. My DM was laughing maniacally about all the traps we were about to encounter. He got us so frightened that we clustered together through the dungeon (having descended through the seal), searching for traps at every turn with a broom that we found in a closet. We found none. Oh, except for the seventy foot pit that I fell into. Thank God I had a seventy-five foot rope with a grappling hook attached. It is for these circumstances that we adventurers spend a lot of money on seemingly useless crap and carry it around with us.

After the next two levels we descended through, we fell another forty feet into a small room, where some kind of mist was materializing. To our chagrin it was some kind of Insanity Hellbeast of Killyounow. Understand that, as a psychic warrior, I am the party tank. I have 69 hit points. I take damage for other people and shrug it off. After the DoomBull rushed me and dealt twenty-five or so points of damage (not much, normally, I usually just take it and then kill the thing), it proceeded to hit me with its great axe. It criticaled me. We’re talking about 3d6. Times three. Plus strength. That, my friends, turned out to be 54 damage. As you are all aware, you character dies dead at -10 hit points. At that point I was at -9. As you are all further aware, any damage over 50 is known as mass damage and the receiver must make a save to not just die instantly, which fortunately I made. After my cleric healed me and I regained consciousness, I attempted to heal myself (because I only had eight hit points, and if that Thing had sneezed on me, it would have been over). To successfully heal myself and not have the Deathbringer hit me in the process, I needed to roll 3-20, so not one or two. I rolled a two, meaning the Bull got an attack. I was like, “That’s it, then, this is certainly the end.” But he critical missed me on a roll of 1.

It wasn’t as dramatic after that, and as I reread my post for obvious grammatical errors, it really doesn’t sound as intense as it was. The main point is that I survived fifty-four points of damage to a -9 health, one point away from exploding death. I can’t believe it.

The Bourne Inferiority

While the title made me think of hot gun-shootin’ action, train-explodin’ action, and mad runnin-down-the-ally-doing-flips-off-the-walls action, there was, I think, only the gun shooting. And it wasn’t really that great.

The thing to keep in mind about The Bourne Supremacy is that your expectations should be very low upon entering the viewing arena. Having set your expectations thusly, you may then be unpleasantly surprised when they are met. Let me say first that, while some people have invented a product called Steadicam to help stabilize camera shake, the producers have apparently never heard of it, or, having heard of it, shunned its existence as one shuns a deadly bacteria, taking precautions like wearing filter masks and washing your hands frequently. It seemed to me that the cameraman had extremely poor motor control, far too much coffee, and was zoomed in too close. I say this because the entire movie was shot Blair Witch style, I think in an attempt to make it super-realistic. In fact, the only goal they accomplished with this feat was to make it super-sickness inducing.

If you have a penchant for motion sickness, you will be better off staying far, far away from this movie. I couldn’t watch more than three quarters of it, simply because I was too sick to view more. I listened to the sound, though, and from that I determined that, even if you have an iron inner ear, it’s not worth dropping money on anyway. The plot is a crummy rehash of the original movie, which wasn’t that good to begin with, the characters are shallow props put up in an attempt to lend life to Jason Bourne, who’s only mission is to figure out what the hell is going on (and no one is good enough to stop him). It’s got lots of political spy intricacies, I think I heard “Get me a plane. I’m going to Washington. Now!” three or four times.

Do yourself a favor and don’t see it. However, you should take a look at this picture, though, because the actor bears a striking resemblance to my friend Jason.

iTunesCheck

I’ve got a new version of iTunesCheck out. It includes a couple of requested features, notably the ability to select a playlist to search during quick play. Included with this functionality is the capability to play songs from an attached iPod, an audio CD, or a shared library. I also fixed the bug where disabling keys would just stop them from working, it wouldn’t actually disable them (a terrible oversight on my part). And since sometimes you just want to hear all the results from a search, there’s now a button to create a playlist and start playing it.

It never fails. I just don’t test things enough, I guess. As soon as I finish packaging the program and upload it, and I begin writing the post about it, I discover some small bug that has to be changed before the software can be released. So I have to fix the bug, recompile, repackage, and reupload. You would think that, one of these old days, I would learn to use my software before I upload it.

The Big Backyard

If, at any time, you notice that you have enough playlists in your iTunes sources to cause a scrollbar to appear, you may just have too many. It might be time to tone it down some, y’know? Slow down there.

But that is an aside from the real issue at hand: be glad that you are not among the thousands employed to keep my brother’s yard mowed. As it is larger in square acreage than the former Soviet Union, this hardened team of crack mowers is kept occupied for well over 172 hours every week. You do not know the meaning of a difficult mow until you have tried to mow this lawn. Remember when in school they taught you that if you push on a wall, it pushes back with equal force? Remember how that never made sense? Even though the Mowing Legion performs this feat with highly-advanced lawnmowers, any one of our elite would swear to you that the mower somehow musters the courage to push back with twice the force. My team was out in the sun for only a few minutes today, pushing our mowers in a synchronized line that takes years to perfect, and seventeen of our number dropped suddenly due to heat exhaustion.

Fortunately the even plane of the lawn itself helps to make the pushing easier. The experience is similar to pushing a gigantic truck across the Rocky Mountains. Except that instead of being really cold, it is instead insanely hot. I can’t understand why exactly this lawn is so difficult to mow. When I mow the lawn at home, it is a Zen experience. The lawnmower and I make beautiful music on the winsome plane of eternity. I can have my front lawn done in less than fifteen minutes, and I barely break a sweat. This Lawn of Insanity, located roughly everywhere, though, takes, again, thousands of people 172 hours a week to mow. Mind-boggling.

If this post seems incoherent, then you can blame the chemicals. I had a two liter of Mountain Dew tonight, along with little to eat. At this point I can barely see and I have gas. And my toes are starting to go to sleep.

iPod

The best just got better. Of perhaps a more useful nature is the updated software, including a main menu item to shuffle songs. Oh, wait. Actually, I just tried to update my iPod with that new software, and as it turns out, you need the 4G Pod for that. Bummer.