Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Finding time is rarely easy.

Lately I haven't had a whole lot to say on the blog front. See it started out as working about a 40 hour week (sometimes overtime), trying to find an apartment, trying to find a job for when I move and trying to make sure my financials and school sign up stuff were in a significantly decent place to move. Well then some stuff went down at work that I really don't want to talk about (for both professional and personal reasons) and I had very little room for anything else to fill my mind, and almost forgot I had a blog. However you, my wonderful readers, apparently did not. I had a fairly steady stream of one to two people checking the site per day which is AWESOME.

Right now I am still looking for work near my soon to be place of residence. The hope is that I will find a lifeguard/swim instructor job as that is what I am good at but I really will take what I can get.

But that is neither here nor there. I will be trying to update the blog at least once a week until I have more time (who knows when that will be) I do have a lot to talk about I just don't always have the time to type it up.

So thank you for your patience and I hope it will be rewarded with awesome content.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Role Playing Games 101 part one

Over the past few years most of my friends have been the people in the SciFi club at college. Most of these people know the basic ideas of role playing even if they don't actually play. Recently, however, I have been spending a lot of time around people who don't know what a pen and paper RPG is. I usually try and fail to explain what RPGs are to them so I think I will dedicate a few posts to that goal.

The basic idea of pen and paper role playing games is the same as the games we used to play as little kids. You know those games, the ones where you pretended to be space men or princesses or wizards or sometimes normal people just someone who wasn't you. When we are little we all love to pretend to be someone else so we do, a lot of times we are encouraged to do this. At some point though it stops. We are discouraged from spending so much time in idle fantasy and start playing games with clearly defined limits and squares and rules.

(Now I won't say that role playing games aren't like that at all or that all different games/groups/scenarios are the same. This post is really just about the general idea behind the games I will probably get into more of the particulars in later posts in this series.)

Role playing games are a chance to break the mold, to BE that wizard/princess/spaceman/other person again. Of course since we are older we have to make some boundaries so that we don't spend all our time arguing about whether our spell or attack was effective on our opponent. There are rules set out in advance either by some company that made the game or by the person who is running the game.

So the end result is that you can pretend to be pretty much whatever you want and usually pretend to fight monsters or evil scientists or something (as I said I will have more on the mechanics of RPGs at a later date.) The best part is probably hanging out with friends while doing it but the games themselves are pretty dang fun if you have the imagination to go with it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wormhole Making Aliens

Aliens who appear out of nowhere and could accidentally take you back to their home plane of existence in the blink of an eye are not to be trifled with. Let me back up. In Sunday's game one of our troops got a psych evaluation. Everyone who was there got a chance to ask questions so did the base computer. The computer mostly asked questions from the turing test and determined that the character was not a sentient being. We have yet to hear back about the results.

Anyway the alien menace of the week appeared out of nowhere somewhere in France. Three Mountains performed her stealthy tasks admirably and managed to hit one of the aliens with a grenade but then the alien picked her up and started messing with her head, literally. Actually all of the modifications were upgrades, in a sense. Three mountains now has a much improved research skill and her conditioning is much reduced with a nice boost to her willpower. Unfortunately she also seems to remember a little of her life from before she joined the Com.

This particular race of aliens had a unique feature. When they were hurt in a certain way they created a wormhole back to their home planet/dimension (we really never figured it out). One of Three Mountain's teamates managed to do enough damage to the alien who attacked Mountains. Unfortunately Mountains was still being held by the alien and got sucked into the wormhole. Well, that was almost the end of Three Mountains. The GM had my character sheet in his hand. But I brought up that I could possibly find one of those aliens and hitch a ride back to earth. And I pulled it off!

So now my character has a psych eval scheduled and will probably be spending the next few weeks trying to heal. I still got some cool stats out of it. I'm pretty sure I won.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Puppy Cam (my not so secret, secret obsession)

Most nights, after getting done with work I like to go to my room, turn on my computer and read webcomics, update my blog, check facebook, you know the usual. Well what you may not realize is that somewhere in the middle of all of this I like to open a tab and go to one of my bookmarks and just leave that open switching back to it every few minutes. This other tab is a little window into the home of a person I have never met face to face... no wait that sounds worse than it is, it is actually a channel on UStream for watching some of the dogs in foster care with the group Southern California German Shepherd Rescue and it is AWESOME.

At this moment in time the cam mostly shows the house of SCGSR's founder Marcy, who has some 10 dogs living in her house, 4 of them are hers and the rest are her foster dogs. 3 of these dogs are puppies known as the flower girls, Iris, Lily and Daisy. The flower girls' mama, Mya, also lives there. The flower girls are about 9 and a half weeks old and are just an absolute joy to watch run around and play with the bigger dogs, who are very good with the puppies. Their mother thinks she is bigger than all the other dogs even though she isn't and will hop around and play with them and try to take them on. It's very fun.

The Flower Girls are the third litter of puppies that I have watched that have gone through SCGSR. The first were a set of 7 whose mom was named Serena, they lived at Marcy's while awaiting adoption, one of Marcy's current dogs, Ranger, is from that batch. (fun fact: in rescue's a dog who ends up being adopted by their foster parent is called a "failure") They are all about 2 now if I have my reckoning strait. The second bunch had 8, their mother was named Anke, I actually logged on and managed to see them the day they were born. Anke and co. lived with another foster family Joe and Lisa. Two of Anke's pups were born missing some of their hair, they are otherwise quite healthy and have grown into the look quite well we call them the twins and they are also staying with Marcy and are hoping to find a home together.

As I have watched the pups and doggies of SCGSR I have gotten to know some of the other watchers through the chat. I am a big proponent of online friendships and definitely count many of these chatters as my friends. We talk about what is going on with the cam, what is happening with SCGSR in general, our dogs, our lives, whatever might be going on that day. All in all it is a really great comunity that I feel works out better than any other non game related comunity that you could find today.

Anyway what this comes down to is a general awareness piece about these wonderful people in San Diego who do so much for these wonderful doggies. And you should totally check out their website.SCGSR channel SCGSR website

ON a completely different note I would like to say that I do realize that I have a lot of trouble ending these posts, hopefully I will be able to work on that before you figure out that I can't end the posts.... aw sh**

Monday, June 20, 2011


Well, I almost had a major tragedy today dear readers. I dropped my iPhone and the screen cracked. I honestly wasn't sure I could go on. I had this problem on my previous iPhone and let it go until the chunks were actually falling out and then tried to replace it myself. The poor thing died on the opeating table.

So, this time I decided to call the apple store and see what they could do. They were very courteous on the phone and I made an appointment for eight o'clock (after work) and tried to keep my hopes up. I had never been to the Apple store but I did have several preconceived notions mostly based on an episode of The Simpsons. I had in my mind a picture of a big white cube, made entirely out of glass. In this fantasy there were people in khakis and polos trying not to look too preppy just hanging around hoping some of the magic will be transferred to them. I figured it was a place where you walk in and you enter a magical world where well dressed employees who could look things up in their computers in their heads. I was sure the unicorns with little apple logos galloped around serving lemonade to the people who were waiting for their phones to get fixed.

It obviously wasn't like I figured it would be. It was a pretty crowded little store. Mostly, it was filled with adults trying to figure out how to use their new computer. There were a lot of sales people around. I wasn't sure where to go so I went up to one of the sales associates and asked about my appointment. They were very nice, even though I was a little late (it is not easy to find it in the shopping center where it is located.) There were a lot of interesting gadgets that were way more expensive than they needed to be. So, having heard about how much apple may charge for screen replacement, I went in prepared to pay up to a hundred dollars. However, the guy was very nice and said since I'd only had the phone a month he would put this repair on my warranty.

So, I managed to get my screen fixed with limited difficulty, other than having to race across town to get to my appointment. I know there have been people who have a lot of trouble with the Apple store (or, if you will iStore) but I honestly thought it was a pretty good experience. The only thing I would change is the location. This store is way the heck out there. I think they could have found something much more central to the Omaha area. Otherwise, despite not being the hipster Mecca I thought it would be, I thought it was a very nice store with very nice employees.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Five days of updates!

All right, I know this is cheating but I actually am very excited about this. After I post what I am typing now I will have managed to update 5 days in a row! I started this blog way back in what august of last year but this is the first that I have really updated regularly with real content. (well other than today.)

I have been checking my stats since I figured out I had a stat page and I have had a total of 69 page views from I think a total of 6 countries as of the last check. Now I realize that page views is the total and doesn't mean that 69 different people are reading my blog but I do know that the multiple countries mean that people beyond my little sect of friends on facebook are reading, or have read it, or at least have looked at the page. (though that does seem to be the largest number) and at least 3 people have found my blog through a blog search engine.

So I would like to give a big thank you to everyone who has read so far. I don't know if I will actually update over the weekend. See I also figured out while looking at all the blogger tools that I can set posts to update at a predetermined time and (hopefully) they will sit and wait and then go up on the site when their little update timer thing says so. In short I can have a buffer and so long as the posts are written and ready the blog will update (so long as I set it right) once daily at a predetermined time. If I can actually get a buffer going this will be great because then I won't have to rush home after work and try to get a post up (I have to do most of the editing on my computer because doing anything other than plain typing on the iPhone is a pain) So I may spend the weekend trying to get a buffer up so that you can continue to get my bloggy goodness daily.

Once again THANK YOU to everyone who is reading this and I hope I will continue to provide interesting content for you all.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Obviously, for my job I spend a lot of time at the pool. Some people may not realize that this entails spending a lot of time around loud, screaming kids. A lot of people stop by when we are very full and make statements along the line of not being able to stand it. I always reply the same way saying that this is my job and this is what lifeguarding is all about. The truth is I probably wouldn't be able to take it day in and day out if I didn't find ways to pick myself up. The most notable of these pick-me-ups actually makes me relish full days. What distraction could I have found that works so well? One word, barrettes.

Yes those little plastic barrettes that girls wear in their hair. People may not realize this but those things fall out of girls' hair all the time especially in the pool. It is usually impossible to figure out who owns a particular clip especially since they don't usually become noticeable until after a large group leaves. (well actually just when the pool is generally less crowded but this usually is right after a big group gets out.) So I will pick them up as I find them and if a girl says she lost hers (which has happened maybe twice in the 5 years that I have been doing this) I see if I have hers. Otherwise I put them in my little bucket (or during slower times when I may find one or two every couple of months I will put them on my whistle) and I keep them.

So this is what I collect. I always wanted to collect things but I never really was able to find anything that kept my interest. Now I know what you are thinking. How on earth did you start collecting barrettes? Well, that is a long and winding story that takes us back 6 years.

It was the summer after my junior year of high school. I was working my first job ever as a lifeguard for the City of Omaha. I technically had two primary pools but I actually only worked at one of them regularly. However I did work as a "sub" at a different pool every Sunday. The pool I subbed at was called Miller Park. At Miller there was one if those kids (every pool has one I swear) who not only goes to the pool every day but wants to make friends with all the lifeguards. One Sunday, of course she found me. She had met all the other guards and I so she proceeded to try to be my friend.

I should probably mention that there were at least two guards who worked at Miller (both male) who collected barrettes. So this little girl wanted to know if I collected them as well. I told her no which brought out a response like "you totally should." Next thing I knew this girl was bringing me barrettes she found in the pool. Soon I was collecting them on my own and putting them on my pack.

When I started work for the YMCA I tried collecting barrettes and keeping them on the pack there but we had to share packs and people kept throwing my precious finds away. So I decided to try attaching them to the only part of my uniform that was able to have barrettes clipped onto it and that was my whistle lanyard. I keep this practice up to this day.
(Over the past few days I have developed the habit of putting all my clips of a certain color on my lanyard for that day. Today was blue, I think tomorrow will be green.)

At my work my collection is well known which is a mixed blessing. See I love finding barrettes. It really does light up my day when there have been a lot of kids in the pool. Now all my coworkers find them and give them to me, which is great because sometimes they see ones that I would have missed. But part of the fun of this particular hobby is the thrill of the hunt and when everyone at the pool is looking I have noticed that I can go a day and not get to pounce.

I currently have 89 barrettes in total from my collecting over the years and I only expect that number to go up as the summer progresses. (Summer is the best time to find them. Even though we are busy at times besides during the summer I will find almost none during the school year and average about 3 a day during the summer.) This awesome hobby of mine has quite possibly been what has kept me sane in summers past. I have a feeling that if I get the job I am hoping for when school starts up again that I will not be able to continue my collection but I am sure by then blogging will have become enough a part of my life to fill at least some of that void.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Webcomic Wednesday: Something Positive by R. K. Milholland

Today I am gonna start a weekly feature called "Webcomic Wednesday." I suppose I probably should have started writing this yesterday so it actually got up for most of Wednesday but no such luck. I will try to remember that for next week.

Something Positive is a snarky cynical slice of life. I have been reading this comic for at least 7 years but possibly longer, which is longer than any other comic that I currently read. I have a tradition of going through the archives every year starting at the new year and sometimes I go through them at some other point during the year. But enough about me, you want to hear about the comic!

The main star of S*P is Davan MacIntire. A sarcastic, sometimes bitter man who enjoys watching stupid people suffer. I feel the character has mellowed with age and whether this was the intention of Milholland or not I think it has been a good character development. Despite or maybe because of his shortcomings Davan is a character who is easy to sympathize with.

Other characters of note include Aubrey, one of Davan's oldest friends. She's a strong independent woman with a violent streak. Like Davan, Aubrey is pretty easy to like as a character. There is also Pee-Jee who is probably one if the sweetest characters in the strip. She still has been known to have a few violent tendencies but she is probably one of my favorite characters in all of webcomics. Jason, is Aubrey's husband but in the early strips liked to play himself off as a playboy but shows himself to be a real romantic and, since he and Aubrey adopted a little girl, a devoted father.

Let's not forget the real star of the strip, Choo-Choo Bear. Choo-Choo is a boneless, hairless, 25+ year old cat. He can take on any form he wants and, like a certain friend of mine can fit into anywhere. Did I mention he is Jewish. He is a favorite of most fans and recently had a litter of kittens with a cat from another strip. These kittens have gone to various owners in several comic strips. Choo-Choo is pretty much a god among cats.

There are dozens if other characters in the world of Something Positive but these are the ones that I feel best demonstrate its awesomeness. If have never seen it you definitely need to check out Something Positive. It is definitely worth your time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Diverse classes and asking for help.

    Well my loyal readers, imaginary or otherwise, today is day 2 of me trying to update every day. I am hoping that if I have a lot of updates it will entice people to read it at least people will see it on Facebook all the time and be curious what I have to say.
    Since I talked about gaming yesterday I suppose I should talk about the water aspect today. Not that those are the only two things I want to talk about here but I figure my first two posts of the blog proper should cover the title.

    Right now I am teaching 3 swimming classes all on different schedules. The one I am going to talk about today is called a "fast track" class which means that it runs from Monday through Thursday for two weeks. This particular class is Red Cross Learn-to-Swim Level 1. Most of the kids in this class when we started would not get their faces wet. Right now on their 6th lesson I can get everyone in the class to get their whole face (if not their whole head) in the water. But that is not what I am talking about today. What I want to talk about is the fact that I would probably not have been able to get anything done in this class if not for one of my students.

    In this class, this was the one student who was not at least a little afraid of the water when the class started. For convenience sake let's call this girl Kate. Kate is a great student but most importantly a great helper. By the second day if class she was offering to demonstrate how to do various skills to the other kids. She helps keep the other kids in line. In one case she kept the smallest kid in the class from going falling into the water. At 9 years old Kate has been a better teaching aid than some adults who have filled that roll and I think she is learning a lot from the experience.

    So why am I writing about this? Simple, before working with Kate I have never had a student who helped me this much in the class. I have always been wary of asking a student to take on as many responsibilities as she has. I want any teachers out there to know how well this can work if you find yourself with a student lime Kate in a class like I have. It is probably one of the best decisions I have made in my time as a swimming instructor.

    (oh and I hope it should be obvious but Kate's name isn't really Kate. I would like to go on record as saying I would never try to endanger one of my students by putting their name online )

Monday, June 13, 2011

Roll Dice to Splode Aliens.

     Currently I am playing in a game that is a sort of modified World Of Darkness. This game is based on the computer game X-Com which is a game I know very little about as I have never actually played it. However that does not stop me from enjoying the pen and paper version that my friend created (look at the end for a link to his story blog which is worth checking out). However I promised myself that I would not talk about friends too much in this blog at least not in a way that they would know that I'm talking about them (we will see how long I keep my resolve on this) so I will instead talk about my characters specifically.

     From what my friends tell me X-Com has troops dying all the time and I have stayed true to form. My first character, Blue Astronaut, had no firearms skill but was supposed to be very sneaky (she was a recon agent). Unfortunately, in our first mission Astronaut had to directly confront a Grey and while she survived her botched grenade throwing attempt she ended up getting mind controlled by the Grey and tried to kill her fellow com members. Fortunately for them her firearms skill did not suddenly become amazing and the only shot that actually hit its target was unfortunately Blue Astronaut's suicide shot. I like to think that Blue Astronaut single handedly took out the threat of the mind controlled agent who could have easily taken out the whole group but either way she was dead. So I had to make a new character.

     For my next character I decided to get some points with flaws. There were six possibilities for the kind of agent we could make so I decided to roll a d6 to randomly chose which this new character would be. Wouldn't you know it I got another recon op. Well I decided to stick with my flaw plan but what flaws to take? I thought the idea of a silent recon op was interesting so I took "mute" and "shy." In the game we all can take for free a DEI which is a computer that was put directly in our brain that takes the place of some of our frontal lobe. (there are more specific terms in game but I never really bothered to remember it, what I know is this is the part of the brain that deals with morals). Despite the fact that Blue Astronaut's DEI may have made it easier for the Greys to control her mind, I figured that the ease of communication with others through their personal devices (be they DEI or hand held) out weighed the risk. So my new op, 3 Mountains, is mute but can still communicate… in a way. Well 3 Mountains seems to be doing well, at least she hasn't died yet. She also has helped blow up some aliens with an experimental weapon which is pretty much what this game is all about, in a very good way.

     My other big contribution so far is the addition of a shark tank in our compound. Others may not have liked the idea but now we have sharks who have actually played an important role in the story and are awesome.

    In other news this post was written entirely from my iPhone which I find pretty awesome. Oh and that link I promised you to my friend's story blog is Winter's Riddle and you should definitely check it out.

    I hope to be writing more posts in the near future, the fact that I can type and save drafts of my blog whenever should greatly help this as usually my down time is either when I am too tired to write or for 30 minutes or less at a time.

Friday, February 4, 2011

2nd post?

So, I decided I should just start writing in this blog like I said I would half a year ago. I have had a lot of thoughts about what could fill these pages. I have decided to use bits of all of them. So onto teh blogging.

My Life At Present
Right now I am still working at the pool I was working at when I started this blog. I actually quite enjoy this work. I am teaching a lot and because of a recent rash of snow days have been spending a little more time doing that than guarding. That will all change tonight as I will be working both my normal afternoon shift and a special late night event that will keep my Friday night work filled until midnight. For working this late I will of course be reimbursed with my normal rate and an extra $20 dollars which actually is more than normal overtime would be if we actually got overtime. (not a complaint they just like to keep part time workers at less than full time and therefore we don't ever get overtime)
     In other news my current RPG exploits include some 2nd ed Planescape. I am playing a tiefling priest of chaos. I think I may devote an entire post to her so that's all I will say on this subject.
     I think that is all I have to say about anything right now.