Archive for June, 2010

D&D Encounters: Dark Sun (2)

30 Jun

Four encounters in, one more before we level, and Athas is still a dangerous place. I have no healing surges left going in to our final encounter against the first level boss, and of our eight players, I think we have less than four people who still have their daily power.

Our DM, while joking about trying to kill us all, is actually a great DM who tries to introduce the fear and tension without actually playing against the characters and actively trying for a total party kill.

I’m having a good time, and even getting in some role playing.

Great live performances – Concrete Blonde

29 Jun

Most of the time at a concert, you expect things to sound a little off from what you are used to on the albums. It’s the vagaries of being on tour, bad acoustics, and the fact that recordings can be touched up, at least a little bit.

Not so with Johnette Napoltiano. Twenty years after their Bloodletting album came out, the lead singer of Concrete Blonde sounds exactly the same live as she does on CD, and trust me, there was no lip synching involved.

They rocked the Showbox, and I was even inclined to forgive the 10:30pm start time.

Great live performances – Flogging Molly

29 Jun

I got us tickets to see Flogging Molly last summer more for Charles than anything else. I knew he liked them, and I didn’t hate their music, but I could not have told you for sure what their music was. We had an amazing time.

Marymoor Park is an amazing venue. They left the area that is sometimes reserved seating open as “dance” floor so that people could get close to the stage. The band had amazing energy that rivaled that of the dancers (or beat it) from beginning to end. I can’t wait until they come this way again.

Great live performances – LIVE

29 Jun

LIVE is our favorite band. We have seen them perform live four times. The first time was in Oakland at an outdoor amphitheater. The second was when they were opening for Nickelback in Vancouver. The best part was leaving before Nickelback came on and the look on the bouncer’s face when we left. We also saw them at a casino just outside Vancouver, that turned out to be a great venue, and finally, just two summers ago, at Marymoor park.

They have all been great performances, and I am sad that it looks like their current break might become permanent.

My Favorite Books – American Gods by Neil Gaiman

23 Jun

Gaiman is an incredibly talented writer, but he made a name for himself by writing about the dark side of a world disturbingly similar to ours. Read American Gods and you will know why.

The characters are incredibly well drawn and three dimensional. You care about the main character and root for him throughout, but most writers can pull that off. What sets Gaiman apart is the richness of all the other characters- not just the secondary characters but everyone in the background.

His real coupe, though, is to end the book with creepiness tempered by a touch of hope.

Cuteness as a survival skill

22 Jun

The puppy is lucky she’s cute. Tonight has been full of the barky, destruction, and peeing in the house. The peeing in the house is our fault. We closed her in our room using the child gate and mistook her scratching as simple desire to escape.

Now that summer is upon us, we have to find a way to keep her in the back of the house without turning our room into a sauna. We have the child gate on top of a giant bin. She may be able to squeeze between the wall and bin, but she hasn’t yet.

My Favorite Books – The Color of Water by James McBride

21 Jun

Back when I was an undergrad, I took a combo English/History class that focused on memoir and autobiography. One of the books we read as memoir was The Color of Water, by James McBride.

I love this book. I have loaned it out and given it as a gift multiple times. The sub-title is “A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother” and it is a lovely story of generations and finding a place in a world where you may not belong. The title comes from the answer the mother gives when the children ask her “What color is God?”

Ask your grandfather, he’s a kernel

20 Jun

I know that colonel is spelled, well, colonel, because my grandfather is, in fact, a colonel. But when it comes to the opportunity for a good (bad) pun, correct spelling never stopped my father.

The corn jokes started at the dinner table one night when my brother, instead of eating his corn on the cob, stood it up on the plate and declared it the “Leaning Tower of Corn.” Not a good joke or even a good pun by any stretch of the imagination. But it got my father started.

For years afterward, corn for dinner also meant corny puns.

My Favorite Books – The Myth Series by Robert Asprin

17 Jun

In honor of Fathers’ Day coming up, I want to write about bad puns– The Myth Series by Robert Asprin. I started reading them in 7th grade and quickly devoured the first five books in the series. I could relate to Skeeve and everything he was going through. Plus I loved the other characters, too.

Of the Myth Inc books, which are the ones not told by Skeeve, my favorite was Myth Inc In Action, told completely by one of Skeeve’s mob body guards.

Asprin has a great sense of character and the voices in his novels all ring true.

Alternate Historical Theories

15 Jun

We were watching one of those random History Channel shows on how ancient human civilizations were actually built using alien technology. As I am in a contrary mood, here are a couple things I would like to point out to their “experts”:

1)      “It was hard, so obviously they had something that made it easy” is not proof. I’m not certain it’s even a theory.

2)      Storytelling has been around since humans began to talk. Just because something is written in an ancient text does not make it “true”. Believe it or not, Jules Verne did not invent science fiction.

100 Words On

topics explored in exactly 100 words