Movie Day

Yesterday I indulged in an epic pile of movie watching. I managed a bit of writing as well but really the majority was spent staring at the pretty pictures. Still, it was very relaxing and it was refreshing to have a slow paced day where I essentially only did one thing.

Nausica (new Disney Edition) – This is probably my favorite movie of all time. I pretty much tear up or choke back every time I watch the thing. Nausica is my hero. I can’t think of a more pure hearted and brave character in any story and the setting is one of the most unique and wondrous in any film. This time around I watched the new dubbed version. Anne found some of the stock actors annoying but I’ve never been to picky and I found the leads to be excellent. The early dialog in the movie is a little awkward, but its always been that way with Nausica talking to herself in order to introduce us to the world of the film. If you have never watched it… GET IT NOW!

Lord of the Rings – Extended Version – All 3 in a row –  I think this is the second time I’ve watched them all back to back. It is one heck of a long viewing, some 8 or more hours. It was every bit as gripping and involving as ever. It has a few slow moments and for whatever reason the pacing at the end leaves me a bit impatient, but man is it ever one epic piece of fantasy film and I doubt we will see its like again. It has a few soft spots but overall its just an amazing film and one I had always dreamed of but never expected would be made.

I also got out to see Sucker Punch – Anne did a full review of it but I have to say that I liked the movie for the most part. It didn’t have much weight to it but it has some gorgeous moments, some crazy ideas, and it is internally consistent with its vision. I think the problem is it knee caps itself. Most of the movie is the fantasy of a young girl and the depth of story and character are about what you would expect if a young girl was sitting around telling you a story she made up. While its rich with imagination, its also pretty shallow and one dimensional. The fantasy scenes reminded me of Samurai Cat, something I can sat of no other film.

Busy being unemployed

I intended to keep busy while between jobs, but I had no idea just how hectic life could feel while unemployed. 12 years a go I did a pretty long stint and to be honest there was a lot of video gaming going on, long walks, and watching TV.

This time around I’m up to my ears in stuff to do!

  • Job hunting – I have some 8 resumes now and every cover letter is hand done. Job sites require filling out lots of info over and over. I’m averaging about 10 apps per week and various follow ups. And for every app there are lots of positions to consider and research.
  • DDOCast – My weekly podcast takes some time to prepare and perform, and there is a fair bit of reading that goes into that.
  • Writing – There is more advanced feats work to be done and I got another small gig to write an article for EN-world. I also follow up on reviews and posts from readers and post here and there to promote the books. I’m also reviewing an upcoming novel now and trying to blog more.
  • Gaming – I signed up for a PvP tournament in DDO and am still playing fairly heavily (though a bit less). CoC and D&D games are ongoing.
  • Learning – For the jobs I really want bad I try to do a lot of research. I’ve been digging into the SEO business as of late. I’m also reading books on C# and Web development and trying to get started on some home projects for both.
  • Friends – I’m trying to use some of my “free time” to catch up with folks I haven’t seen in a while, and there are lots.
  • Housework – Since I’m home much more I’m doing more work on the home front, which I actually enjoy from time to time. Been more of a handy man changing faucets and fixing doors and such.

Back to work!

The Inquisitor’s Edge

This week Open Design released my sixth pdf in the Advanced Feats series. Christophe Swall, the cover artist and Anne really did a great job giving this one a visual knock out punch.

Inquisitor is a fun class. I think its one of the weaker classes from a power gaming perspective, but it is chock full of flavor and has oodles of role playing potential. They make great bounty hunters, detectives, or lone wolf warriors for the gods. This was really one of the easier ones to create feats for since the class has lots of mechanical hooks to dig into.

No reviews for Inquisitor’s Edge yet, but so far the series as a whole has garnered a lot of praise and there is a pretty steady request for a printed compilation and more works covering the base classes. We aim to please!

An even dozen

This week the company I’ve worked for for 12 years and I have parted ways. A year ago I also stepped away but was called back with reservations. This time however the parting is more absolute.

Prior to MRS I’d never worked at one company or operation for more than a year. I’d held jobs for longer but often the company would changed hands or I would get a dramatically different assignment. I’ve been working at the company longer than I’ve been married or lived in my home or quite a number of other things I measure my life by so leaving is a big change.

While I was very much enthusiastic about the companies ambitions and stated priorities, often the reality of how they were carried out left me confused, disappointed, sometimes angry, and in the final days, betrayed. I’ve always been one to hold onto things longer than they are of value for me and this was no exception.

And now now I am free of the obligation to fight for something that I didn’t believe in and seek a new objective, hopefully one more in keeping with my own spirit. My mind still frequently ponders what went wrong, and what could be done. I have a few loose ends to tie off but for the most part I’m moving on free and clear. Still, whatever my regrets, I did great things for MRS and MRS let me build a stable and prosperous life for which I’m grateful.

Finding a place where you can fit in well can be scary and challenging, but I have been there before and always found a way. So I am uncertain but optimistic.

Curmudgeon time: Death to the Third Dimension!

Just a short rant here about my dislike of the recent trend to make and show movies in 3D.

More and more the movies I want to go watch in the theater are coming out and being shown almost exclusively in the 3D format. At lest half the time I end up not watching the film due to the format.  Why?

1. It bugs out my eyes. My eyes naturally try to focus on background images and can’t. The illusion plays havoc with my brain and the result is a constant mild irritation.

2. It looks fake. While at times the illusion works, I am very aware its an illusion and a trick which fights agaisnt rather than aids my immersion. The only films where I don’t get this experience are animated ones because as animation it is already artificial and so it feels like technique rather than artifice.

3. The glasses are annoying. I don’t like wearing them and they often darken the screen so the image is not as attractive and the colors muted.

4. They charge more to see a film I enjoy less.

The only 3D film I have purely enjoyed was Coraline and I can’t say the 3D added a lot to the experience but I feel it did enhance it enough to overcome the annoyance factors. I sincerely hope this means of presenting films does not become the standard for “entertainment” films as it seems to be. My brain is perfectly able to imagine the third dimension without any technical assistance, thank you very much.

What’s New Pussycat?

Just thought I’d throw out a quick update of:  What am I doing?

1. Continuing to work on my Advanced Feats series of Pathfinder products. (Going well but getting harder.)

2. One week and counting of pretty hard core Atkins dieting. (Feeling healthier as a result.)

3. Playing lots of games downloaded with steam. The Void, Duel of the Planeswalkers, Bioshock 2 being initial stand outs. (Steam holiday sales meant I paid tiny moneys for many games.)

4. Entered a writing contest on a whim at Paizo.com. (Didn’t work too hard on it so winning chance is slim.)

5. About to release a product at work including a casino launch party. (Not sure if I’m excited about it.)

6. I am now house-mate free for the first time in many many years as my 8+ year border moves out. (Time for a naked midnight fridge raid!)

7. Small break from new podcast for the holidays, need to plan for big Show #200 event. (Need to streamline how much work it is.)

8. Movies, podcasts, anime and goggling galore as usual, plus various RPG adventures with my two more regular groups, and visiting friends and family…  (Woa!  its already 2011, holy smokes!)

Cavalier rolls a critical hit!

Open Design just put out my latest Advanced Feats book, The Cavalier’s Creed.

It took a little longer than some of the others but the extra work seems to have paid off with some killer reviews. Folks like the feats and all of the reviewers so far praised their balance which is the gold standard I’m reaching for but don’t always hit on.

Anne also knocked the layout out of the park and our cover artist delivered a great piece of work. All and all I’m much pleased and engaged in the next in the series.

It’s Summoning Time!

My third installment in the Advanced Feats Series has been unleashed on an unsuspecting world!

Advanced Feats: The Summoner’s Circle is its name and cool feats and builds is its game. This is the most ambitions entry in the series because summoner is a wild and crazy class that really pushes the boundaries of the game rules in many different directions. It is also easily my favorite class of the six in the Advanced Players Guide for Pathfinder.

If you play Pathfinder, then pick up a copy tonight. :)  If not, send me happy thoughts.  I’d love to see this one climb up the pathfinder charts like Alchemist and Witch.

What do you get for only $3.95?

  1. A class breakdown
  2. 30 new feats with commentary
  3. 3 full summoner and eidolon builds
  4. An eidolon character sheet
  5. Anne’s cool critters and laser sharp layout

That’s 18 pages of gaming goodness!

Advanced Feats is selling nicely

I was excited to see that this week my two Advanced Feats books: Secrets of the Alchemist and Witch’s  Brew were selling nicely and got the top third-party spots on Paizo.com this week and overall were only behind the Pathfinder Advanced Players Guide, Core Rules, and Bestiary. I don’t know what the actual numbers are, but to see my work in the upper half of the top 10 there is pretty darn cool.

Our next release, Summoners Circle is just about done and I hope it can keep things rolling for us. It was by far the hardest of the three to make and is probably the longest PDF and most complicated class in the series.

Glorious Middle Age

This week on two occasions people were kind enough to say they were surprised when they learned my age (39) and remarked I didn’t look that old. I think I’m a bit proud of that although one of the things I looked forward to (and still do) about growing older is getting that look of seasoned authority that in my mind gives one an edge in certain social situations.

Personally, I wouldn’t be able to guess my own age well, and I’ve always been terrible at guessing other peoples ages. Certainly I don’t look like a kid, but I also don’t have the telltale outward signs of male middle age. I imagine most of that is genetics, my Mom was kind enough to pass along a thick head of hair that shows no signs of male pattern baldness (thanks Mom!). A few grey hairs have been discovered by my loving wife, but my hair color is a weird shiny brown and gold that makes them really hard to see. I suspect my silver mane will be a long time coming. The beard has a few more stand out white hairs, so that may be the first place I show some age on my face.

I also think that not having kids and still having a lot of childhood like hobbies and attitudes helps keep me a bit on the youthful side. A lack of intense stress can do wonders for you. Also my geekish ways protect me from the rays of the sun and ravages of wind and rain. I live what most would call a life of leisure letting my brain do most of the heavy lifting.

Overall though, I like middle age. I miss a bit of the zip I had as a teen perhaps, but it is nice being somewhat wise and worldly. We’ll see how long that altitude can hold against the inevitable decline of my health over time but I hope for the best. I always enjoy being surprising so I think that is more why I like seeming younger than I am more so than seeing youth as an ideal of attractiveness. Still, I’m practicing my old guy isms like “back in my day” and “those darn kids today.”  Middle age lets me be old or young and I’ve always liked playing two strategies at the same time, kind of like multi-classing.

Here’s hoping you all feel exactly as old as you want to feel!