Friday, September 13, 2013

Fitness Friday #5

Today my weight is 185.5 that is 2 lbs from the last time I weighed myself and I think a pound and a half since last week.

I've been having trouble sleeping lately but that isn't a big issue right now. I did bike 6 out of 7 days in the last week but my bike route time has gotten shorter but more work.

This week I've been thinking a lot about biking and what it was like learning to ride a multispeed bike. When I was I think 12 I got my first ten speed bike.  I remember my dad explaining how to switch gears and when to do what.  I asked him how to go faster and he looked perplexed and then told me "if you want to go faster pedal harder."

I've been thinking about that a lot since I started cycling every day. There is a lot of truth to this statement. Yes higher gears can make you go faster but you have to work harder for the length of the trip. Also its harder to start up from a higher gear. However a higher gear is good. I've been using 3rd gear as resistance training. And it seems to be working.

As usual my goal for next week is 184.5 lets keep it up.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


This is just an update for anyone who actually checks this regularly. I have hit a wall, a teensy bit of writers block so other than fitness friday updates I'm going to be taking a break to get a bit of a buffer.  If you have any interest in seeing more updates please donate if you can.  I would love to get a drawing tablet. If I had a tablet I would be able to draw the comics I've been wanting to start.  Money also would probably take a load off my mind so that would always help.  Thanks for your patience.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Fitness friday 4

Today my weight was 186 lbs so it is going down. I did eat pizza last night so that is probably part of why it actually bounced up from earlier in the week (on Tuesday I weighed in at 185.)

I'm still biking  5 days out of the week and it is making a difference.  I have been having some trouble maintaining a normal sleep schedule and was not feeling well on Thursday but I think I am doing better in many departments. I don't really have much more to say on the subject this week. stay tuned.

Next week's goal 185 on Friday.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

D20 versus 2nd ed.

     "Lis I have a problem with my players." My brother mentions on the phone while talking with me to fill the silence between my work and my apartment.  "They're all Munchkins*."  I roll my eyes a little at this only a little jealous that my younger brother has been running a campaign in Dungeons and Dragons and I have yet to run something in anything.  But he did have an older sister to guide him into geekdom.
     "Well that's what you get when you play 3.5." I put in my normal jibe at his choice of game. To which he replies, exasperated "that's what they said."

     It should be noted I don't play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 or D20 system (both copyright Wizards of The Coast.)  I have played one extensive D20 Star Wars campaign and I once, long ago, played one 3.5 campaign that I dropped out of.  My overall impression of the system is blandness.  Not that they don't have good points.  The GM's and groups I was playing with were fun.  The Star Wars game was where the weird intergame intragroup trope of me playing small fuzzy things came from.  Yet overall I just don't have a lot of love for the system.
     Some good aspects of 3.5: its adaptability. There are many D20 system books out there for almost anything you are a fan of and they can be effectively combined. Want to play a game where a Stargate team goes to a planet where Darth Vader is currently pitching a battle against Cthulu? All you need is those three D20 books (all of which exist). If you are looking for more firm rules in your role playing experience D20 gives you what you need.
    Mostly I play Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd ed.  There is the fact that this is what the people around me run (or run slight alterations of).  I still have to agree with my friends' reasoning for running this system. One of the first is you can make choices as you go. Now I know there are 3.5 players who will say that you can definitely change your mind about a character as it evolves but so many skills have such weird prerequisites that you need to plan everything perfectly in advance half the time.  With 2nd ed there are no feats to get prerequisite feats in. The skill system is very simple.
    Another problem with D20 is topending.  In 2nd ed most rolling for skills is dependent on rolling under your stat. So the higher your skill the more likely you are to roll under it.  In D20 all skills have a skill check that you have to get by adding your skill to a d20 die roll.  There are examples of why this doesn't work too well. The first example is that it is very easy to just make an unpassable check.  A DM can simply set a check so high that a player can't possibly make it.  The other end of the scale I like to use a personal story to tell people about.  In the starwars game I played I was a tech specialist.  All of my skills were maxed to mechanic repair, astrogating, piloting and computer use.  At one point we were doing something that involved breaking into a computerized lock. I made a roll of like a 4 and had enough skill points that when I said what my final roll was (I honestly can't remember it was somewhere in the 30s I think) the GM just said there was basically no way I could fail this roll as the challenge ratings were all below my skill numbers. I couldn't shoot worth a damn (all combat skills were hard to get with my class I wasn't trying to minmax but it just happens) in combat my best bet was hiding which I sucked at. But if we had to fly somewhere or hack something there wasn't even a brief moment of "oh maybe she won't make this" tension. I just automatically did it, rolling was a pointless action that I took to make it feel like I as a player had some contribution.
    The third and final problem I have with D20 is it is hard to take what you want and make the game you want to play (aside from setting information.) Original Dungeons and Dragons was made to be modular. A GM could take rules that he or she felt made a good game and expand on them as they wished.  With D20 if you take something out there is always a fear that the tower will go tumbling down.
     I prefer to play my games with a certain amount of give and you-can-mess-up-ness.  I like to get to a point where I can go. You know what my character is changing or hey we are in a different environment and I need this new skill.  So for me 2nd ed is the better choice for Dungeons and Dragons.  I really don't have a lot of fun with D20 systems.

*Munchkins are a term for players who try to make the "best" character in a competitive manner. Usually this involves downgrading certain traits to make others better (known as minmaxing). Many of these players think that one type of character is superior to others and are interested in "winning" a game that at its very core is a cooperative game.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ring Ring

A couple months ago I was at a family gathering and it came around to the point where I had to tell people what I do for a living (or a just-getting-by-through-college-ing) and of course it starts with that I am still life guarding. "Oh and I have a second job now I do phone surveys." And that's when it happens. Every time someone has to make the comment about how they hang up on survey takers. I usually laugh at it or just smile depending on how much I want to stay in the good graces of the person I'm talking to.  But seriously people lets not kid ourselves there are few things you can say in polite conversation that will tick people off more than "I usually do what I can to make your job harder."

Now don't get me wrong I know that phone surveys are not peoples top choice for what to do with their time but lets take a moment to think about this.  I am lucky, I am not paid per survey.  Most people I know who have done this outside my work place are.  And most of them are struggling to pay rent, school, grocery bills whatever with this job.  Can you honestly say that if you did not have to take a job where you were yelled at regularly hung up on and insulted for what you do by your friends you would still take it for fun? It's not something everyone can do and as an aspiring Statistics student I appreciate any data gathering that goes on and recognize how much various strategies are needed.

But lets get to the point of this post there are some things people should know about phone interviewers and how to deal with them.

1. IMPORTANT. No interview is required. There is one survey that is required in the US and it is issued by the government every ten years. So you don't need to ask if you have to take this.
2. If you can take the survey you should. As I said most survey takers are paid by the interview. Be nice to them.
3. The person giving the interview did not write it. They can only read the questions as they are written. If they are written poorly it is not their fault and they can't do anything to change it. Be patient, ask them to repeat the question and always be willing to answer "I don't know."
4. The person giving the interview does not control who gets called. In some cases they don't even dial the phone. If they are calling at an inconvenient time. If they are dialing your cell phone. If you think they can't call you because of some do not call list. Please do not yell at them they are not in charge of it.
5. If you have a problem being called on your cell phone take it up with lawmakers. Many surveys are now calling cell phones because many people do not have landlines. In order to make sure they get a wide variety of surveys they have to make sure to reach a wide variety of people.
6. If you can't take the survey don't take it out on the survey taker. Just say "Do not call me again" and hang up. Trust me they can take a hangup, calling a survey taker the c-word or the f-word are harder to deal with.

If you can do these you will make many many Americans' jobs so much easier.