Blog Archive

Wallpaper is not out to foil you -- it's just obeying the laws of physics, according to a team of researchers from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, the Universidad de Santiago, Chile, and MIT.

Yeah, because it is noteworthy that objects within the physical universe behave in manners that are concordant with the laws of said physical universe. Thanks guys.

"To Mr. Gaiman,

My English teacher says that all good sci-fi exists to comment on society and its problems. As an author and a reader of science fiction, do you agree with this?

Not unless you change the words "all good" to "some". It's one of the many things that SF can do, and it's one of the many things that good SF can do. But there are lots of other things it does, including simply tell good stories (a valid end in itself)."



prompt 2

from Carol Oates
to Michael Phillips
date Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 5:53 PM
subject Re:


Heads up! You should be receiving a package in the mail in the next couple of days. Open it immediately. I think you'll be tickled. How goes it down there in the land of the eternal spring?

from Michael Phillips
to Carol Oates
date Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 11:24 PM
subject Re:


Hey, good to hear from you. A package? This isn't that rancid whale fat thing you keep talking about, is it? I don't think the USPS will transport that. How are things there in Hooper Bay? I hear that it's supposed to pop above freezing by this weekend.

from Carol Oates
to Michael Phillips
date Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 3:11 PM
subject Re:


Is it there yet?
Yeah It has been pretty balmy recently. I'm going to be glad when my assignment here is finished though. After this, Daley can find me somewhere nice and tropical to work for a couple of years.

from Michael Phillips
to Carol Oates
date Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 8:02 AM
subject Re:

Sorry I didn't get back to you. Had a bit of a class 3 over on campus, was out all night cleaning up. Wish these kids would learn what not to fuck with.

from Michael Phillips
to Carol Oates
date Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 2:45 PM
subject Re: What the Hell?


Where did you get a Penguin?!?
What am I supposed to do with a Penguin???
I will get you for this.

p.s. Penguins don't live in Alaska, do they? How did... Gah.

from Carol Oates
to Michael Phillips
date Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 7:11 PM
subject Re:


Sore wa himitsu desu. A girl's got to have some air of mystery, doesn't she? Don't worry, it's a tropical breed. You'll figure it out.
Thought your little going away prank was funny?

*grins* I think that today's MT is setting up for the piece of character development that Miho needs to go through. I'd love to see Fred let her find herself and others. He's been building her up to that point for several hundred strips now, the place where she can seek forgiveness and find a more constructive place to be in her own skin. She needs friends who aren't devoted to her, and I think that she's in a place where she can make friends.

Whoot! My library just ordered a copy of Caitlin Kittredge's Night Life! (I requested it a week or two ago. Excluding RPGs, my hit rate for requests has been quite high.)

So a couple of years ago, I got to within 1 plot quest and 3 side quests of the end of Chapter 3 of Neverwinter Nights, got distracted, and never finished the game. Since then I have installed a new video card on my ancient machine. I went from a 16 meg to a 256 meg. There's not a game that will run on my computer for which that isn't overkill. I decided to take a look at the game again, and I was duly impressed with how much smoother it ran when there were lots of shiny graphical effects. I also went on to finish the game. Last chapter was kind of short, and it relied on the favorite "invincible monsters" trick a lot too much, but I saved the Paladin so I'm content. Last boss did the invincible monster bit. I fireballed her fire protection to death and sworded her sword protection to death and my Celestial and I sworded her to death. (I'm playing a sorcerer and the easiest way to beat the last boss was with pointy bits of steel... not sure that's entirely Kosher.) The artwork in the credits was pretty. Not Homeworld 1 pretty, but pretty.

Yeah. I just beat NWN. Quite a few years after I bought it on the release day. (Actually I paid for it months ahead of time, so I guess I bought it before release, I only received my purchase on the release date.)
Wonder if the adventure tool kit will run better with my new graphics card...


Some weeks everything goes just right. The porter you tipped last night tells you about a locals club. The door warden takes a bribe without demur. You catch the elevator to your room with plenty of time before the doors shut. Your quarry leaves a trail that a first year student at the Academy could follow. You collar the perp and he blows open a case that analysis didn’t even know existed. You find a parking space within walking distance of your destination.
And then there are weeks like this one. Nothing works, you lose your only lead, you are almost clipped in a random traffic accident that leaves your brand coat ripped, you manage to piss off the concierge, and your cases all go nowhere.
Some weeks you go back to square one.

Forgot t3h honey.
Dumplings were rock-like.

Quick though. Self regulating system for keeping an easter egg hidden in online game with large player base. Easter egg provides special item, Item's effectiveness (announced on acquisition) varies with the number of people who posses said item, on the scale of X/(log(n)) where X is the adjustment to whatever it adjusts and n is the number of said item wandering about the world. This won't keep the egg from leaking, but it might slow down the leak. (Eventually someone will value spoiling the easter egg more than they value the bonus.) Item should give significant bonus, possibly of a type that is uncommon or absent in the item sets in the game. Also possibly give it a visual effect that decreases with the number present in the game. (Like WoW's weapon glows, except the glow gets dimmer with each new copy.)

I found a page that gives me random Bible quotes. This is a great time saver for one of my minor projects.

Also? I just reread all of Megatokyo. It is a lot stronger than I remembered it being. Definitely benefits from being read in aggregate instead of as it is published. Starting somewhere in the 4th graphic novel, the story really finds its groove, and the characters shift from a collection of attributes to people. I really hope that Piro and the little Goth emotional vampire character sit down and talk things out eventually. There's a redemption story there that I'd like to see play out. (Well actually, it looks like the redemption story is going to happen either way, but I'd like Piro to be aware of it.)

Yesterday, while reading the wangst from the LJ "strikers" I had to keep repeating "I don't hate people" as a sort of civilizing mantra. (This wasn't a declaration of non-hate for individuals, more that I don't hate humanity as a whole.) This morning, posted about something that has made me reconsider my position on the whole humanity issue.
Just go here, follow the link. No words.

Well, it is almost Easter. I don't celebrate the holiday as a holiday, but any reason for festivities, no? I was looking forward to dying some Easter eggs this year. I really still am, but I found out that Matt really doesn't like painting eggs. Like many things, painting eggs is a lot more fun with other people. *chuckles* must go be more gregarious. I should do something on Easter.

*chuckles* Back in college, I used to buy a couple dozen eggs for Easter. That way lots of people could color them. (And I had a bunch to do myself. Eggs are cheap. One can have one's cake and eat it too.)

PZ Meyers, host of the blog Pharyngula was pulled out of a line to see Ben Stein's creationist propaganda film "Expelled" by an individual in uniform (cop, mall security, something) and told that if he attempted to enter the film, he would be arrested for trespassing. The creators have been trying to exclude members of the scientific community from preview screenings so that the movie won't be released with rebuttals already out there. He was there with his wife, his daughter, and a guest of the family. All three of them were allowed in. His guest?
Richard Dawkins

Just watched X-men 3. Ugh. I mean there was a good movie in there, and I adore what happened to Scott, but they needed to hire some writers, and fire the producer. It was nice to see Kitty get a bigger role, but she didn't seem quite right (of course, to show Kitty's character development, they'd have had to have not given all of those scenes to Rogue in the first two movies. It is hard to add a character who you morphed with another character in earlier movies.) And damn, they picked the wrong Rogue ending. There was an alternate ending for her and it was more in line with the message of the comics and the movies. Way to go, end the film with a scene that is off message.

Halley Berry made a great Storm. Except not so much in this film. She is a wonderful Storm as X-man, but she's not convincing as storm as leader of the X-men. Too scared, too hesitant, not nearly enough confident that she'll kick your ass.

One good point, would have worked better with the alternate Rogue ending, I liked that our Gambit stand-in didn't kiss Kitty Pryde.

The movie was low on badass and ooh neat moments, and Phoenix was much less of a threat than she should have been.

The last of the big three of western SF in the 20th century is dead now. I've read less Clark than the other two, 2 of the 2000 series (not 2001... the library lacked it) a lot of the Rama books, Childhood's End, Contact (if that was his), and the short story that inspired 2001 is about the whole of it for me.
Mostly I burnt out reading the later Rama books. I've got less patience for that high a ratio of grandiose vistas to exciting plot than I needed to stay with them. They aren't bad books by any means, just not really my speed.
That said, Clark was one of the big idea people. One of the visionary minds. One of the minds that wlll be missed.
(I hope that XKCD does a memorial strip for him. One of my favorite XKCD strips owes its joke to him.)

Go go Michael-extend-a-brain!
Quick question for anyone who knows.
Are there other named narrative patterns than the monomyth? If so, is there a decent reference that covers them?

This is so what I get for not taking English in college.

Oh wow. I need to have spent the last 4 years getting myself published.


Take your mp3 collection, stick it in your favorite player and randomise your playlist. Post the top 20 that come up.

1. The New Sad (Bare Naked Ladies)
2. Lost Broken Shards (Yasunori Mitsuda Xenogears OST)
3. Where do we go from here? (BtVS Once More With Feeling)
4. Losers (The Cardigans)
5. Carry on my Wayward Son (Kansas)
6. Who'll Stop the Rain (CCR)
7. The World of the Dead (Joe Hisaishi Princess Mononoke OST)
8. ChronoTrigger Boss 2
9. What You Feel Reprise (BtVS Once More With Feeling)
10. So Deep Perfect Sphere Remix (DDR)
11. In the Time of Darkness (Yasunori Mitsuda ChronoCross OST)
12. The Promised Land (FF2)
13. Romance (Yoko Kanno Visions of Escaflowne)
14. Unwell (Matchbox Twenty)
15. Witness (Tori Amos)
16. Hump'em and Dump'em (Wheatus)
17. Espionage (FF Tactics)
18. Buffy Main Title (The Breeders)
19. Opening Song (Love Hina Again OST)
20. When you Go (Johnathan Coulton)

And that, ladies and gentlemen? That is why I use playlists.

So, hows 'bout you?

So, I was just rereading Issue 12 of Buffy Season 8, and I realized something I missed the first few times I read it. There is a scene with Xander and Renee belong together. One, she's been learning about all of the things that are important to him. Ladies, gentlemen, if you are interested in a geek, that is a good place to start. We generally are very appreciative of our SOs learning/knowing about the things we are interested in. We like to share our interests with the world, essentially with anyone who doesn't manage to flee fast enough. I'm under the impression that this is not how it works generally with mundanes.
Point 2? There is a scene where we see their silhouettes as they are talking.

Person 1> But first, we should probably deal with our wolf problem.
Person 2> I know, I'm not even sure who we alert. A zoo? Do they have zoos in Scotland?
Person 1> Nope. Scotland's a primitive society. Their men hunt with clubs and their women wear corsets to bed.
Person 2> I don't want to go out with you anymore.

Until this latest reading, I though person 1 was Xander and person 2 was Renee. The joke was perfect Xander.
Except I didn't really look at the silhouettes. Renee? She has the same sense of humor that Xander does.

Point 3? She's not a demon, she's not gay, and she's not in love with someone who isn't Xander.

I just opened the copy of the DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics that I checked out from the library a while ago. Little bit of cognitive dissonance. How exactly does Stan Lee get to do the intro to this book?

Wow. I was looking for a height/weight reference. I have a poor conception of how height and weight interact, which makes picking these things difficult. Well, I googled it, and there was a link to a pictorial reference This is exactly what I wanted. (Well, actually, I wanted a program that I could select gender, height, and weight, and it would give a simplified figure, but yeah, this is better)

The thing? I looked at the URL.! I used to read cockeyed all the time. Rob is one of my heroes. (I sort of quit because I was on dialup and his experiments are generally well (photographically) documented. I'm bookmarking his site and plan on soon reading a big chunk of it again. Thanks Rob!

Well, this is actually quite affirming. Ever since I found out about the Kinsey and Klein scales, I've attested that I was somewhere between a 1 and a 1.5. The questions were short and few, but 1.1? Right on par with my self assessment. That said? Realistically? Guys are really quite icky in real life.

Klein Sexual Orientation Grid

I scored an average of 1.1


01 2 3 4 5



This result can also be related to the Kinsey Scale:

0 = exclusively heterosexual
1 = predominantly heterosexual, incidentally homosexual
2 = predominantly heterosexual, but more
than incidentally homosexual
3 = equally heterosexual and homosexual
4 = predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally
5 = predominantly homosexual, incidentally heterosexual
6 = exclusively homosexual


The idea of this excercise is to understand exactly how dynamic a person's sexual orientation can be, as well as how fluid it can be over a person's lifespan. While a person's number of actual homo/heterosexual encounters may be easy to categorize, their actual orientation may be completely different. Simple labels like "homosexual", "heterosexual", and "bisexual" need not be the only three options available to us.

Take the quiz

Go to and select the year you became 18. Paste the list of the top 75 songs. Bold the ones you liked; strike the ones you disliked;
and italicize the ones you know but don't exactly like nor dislike. The ones you don't know will stay common text.

1. I Don't Want To Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
2. Everybody (Backstreet's Back) - Backstreet Boys
3. Jump Jive An' Wail - Brian Setzer Orchestra
4. I Want You Back - N*Sync
5. The Cup of Life - Ricky Martin
6. Too Close - Next
7. Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) - Green Day
8. From This Moment On - Shania Twain
9. My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
10. Suavemente - Elvis Crespo
11. Nice & Slow - Usher
12. Tearin' Up My Heart - *NSYNC
13. A Song For Mama - Boyz II Men
14. The Boy Is Mine - Brandy & Monica
15. Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are) - Pras Michel
16. Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
17. Stay (Wasting Time) - Dave Matthews Band
18. No, No, No part 2 - Destiny's Child
19. This Is How We Party - S.O.A.P.
20. I'll Be - Edwin McCain
21. Just The Two of Us - Will Smith
22. Love Me - 112
23. Gettin' Jiggy Wit It - Will Smith
24. Zoot Suit Riot - Cherry Poppin' Daddies
25. Landslide - Fleetwood Mac
26. As Long As You Love Me - Backstreet Boys
27. All My Life - K-Ci and JoJo
28. Because Of You - 98 Degrees (98°)
29. Closing Time - Semisonic
30. Been Around The World - Puff Daddy
31. Doin' Time - Sublime
32. Iris - Goo Goo Dolls
33. I'm Your Angel - R Kelly & Celine Dion
34. You're Still The One - Shania Twain
35. This Kiss - Faith Hill
36. It's All About The Benjamins - Puff Daddy
37. My All - Mariah Carey
38. Truly Madly Deeply - Savage Garden
39. Are You That Somebody? - Aaliyah
40. Walking On The Sun - Smash Mouth
41. Roxanne '97 - Puff Daddy Rimix - The Police
42. Lollipop (Candyman) - Aqua
43. Ooh La La - Rod Stewart
44. One More Night - Amber
45. My Favorite Mistake - Sheryl Crow
46. Stop - Spice Girls
47. Thank U - Alanis Morisette
48. Kind and Generous - Natalie Merchant
49. I Don't Want To Wait - Paula Cole
50. 3 AM - Matchbox 20
51. Goodbye - Spicegirls
52. My Way - Usher
53. Kiss The Rain - Billie Myers
54. Been Around the World - Puff Daddy
55. Pink - Aerosmith
56. One Week - Barenaked Ladies
57. Sweetest Thing - U2
58. Luv Me, Luv Me - Shaggy & Janet Jackson
59. The Way - Fastball
60 Real World - Matchbox 20
61. I'll Never Break Your Heart - Backstreet Boys
62. Ray of Light - Madonna
63. Shimmer - Fuel
64. Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground
65. Hey Now Now - Swirl 360
66. Doo Wop (That Thing) Lauren Hill
67. Torn - Natalie Imbruglia
68. Can't Get Enough Of You Baby - Smash Mouth
69. Adia - Sarah McLachlen
70. Bitter Sweet Symphony - the Verve
71. Rockafeller Skank - Fatboy Slim
72. Never Ever - All Saints
73. Brick - Ben Folds Five
74. Flagpole Sitta - Harvey Danger
75. Turn Back Time - Aqua

The SF & Fantasy meme

This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club.

Bold the ones you've read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished, and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved, and add a question mark if you can’t remember for sure.

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien *
The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
Dune, Frank Herbert *
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein *
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin *
Neuromancer, William Gibson *
Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick

The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov

Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
Cities in Flight, James Blish
The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman

Gateway, Frederik Pohl Amusingly? This is the only book in the series I haven't read
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling *
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
Little, Big, John Crowley
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny *
The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith * (I checked it out of the library and someone else put a hold on it.)
On the Beach, Nevil Shute
Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
Ringworld, Larry Niven

40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien Repeatedly. So dull.
Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson *
Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock

The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
Timescape, Gregory Benford
To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

The Heinlein meme. Bold what you've done and italicize what you believe you could do with reasonable confidence. Any thing with an asterisk is something that wouldn't be pretty, but it would get done.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog*, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone*, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. — Robert A. Heinlein.

That last one depends on what you mean by gallantly. I plan on cheating if a situation comes up where dying gallantly is on the list of things to do today.

Taken from
I'm not someone who does many memes, but I like the idea of this one:

"Everyone has things they blog about. Everyone has things they don't blog about. Challenge me out of my comfort zone by telling me something I don't blog about, but you'd like to hear about, and I'll write a post about it. Ask for anything: latest movie watched, last book read, political leanings, etc. Repost in your own journal [only if you care to] so that we can all learn more about each other."

I'm not the sort of person who cares if you ask a question and don't post the meme yourself.

Oh fuck nuggets.
Last night, I was going to do some plotting before I went to sleep. I've got a series of stories I want to tell and all I really have for them is setting and part of the story arc. I wanted to at least get the main theme of each story down.
What I ended up doing? I wrote a brief piece on how and what a piece of technology in the setting does.
Then I stared at the ceiling with my eyes closed for about an hour.
This was not the most productive 3am in my life.

It is apparently possible to come to love a couple as you watch them fall apart.

So, house rules, D&D 3.5 Eberron Campaign Setting
Gnomes: Favored Class Bard or Favored Class Illusionist, which ever is more useful.
Half Orc: Drop the -2 Cha penalty. Instead, they have a -1 penalty to Diplomacy, Sense Motive, Gather Information, and Bluff checks.
Gain Weapon Proficiency Orc Double Axe.

Kalishtar: Use non-psionic eberron abilities for Kalishtar.
They gain favored class: Sorceror.
They also gain an extra level zero spell slot. If none of their classes cast level zero spells, this slot does nothing for them.

Cleric: Gains weapon proficiency in her deity's favored weapon so long as it is a martial or simple weapon.

Druid: Wild Shape's Duration is reduced to 5 minutes per level. This applies to any class that gains the wild shape ability.
Add two feats to the game:
Extended Wild Shape
Prequsite Class Ability Wild Shape
The Characer's Wild Shape Ability's duation is extended to 30 minutes per level.

Wild Soul
Prerequsites: Wild Soul
The Character's wild shape ability's duration is increased to 1 hour/lvl

Monk: A monk may multi-class freely. The multi-classing restriction was an artifact reintroduced by play testers for reasons other than balance.

Paladin: may multi-class freely. The multi-classing restriction was an artifact reintroduced by play testers for reasons other than balance.

A paladin may choose a non-summoned Warhorse.

Sorcerer: At 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level, a sorcerer may take a metamagic feat as a bonus feat. They may also take improved counterspell.

Sorcerers may apply metamagic feats without increasing casting time.

Wizard: A wizard may not take the PHB metamagic feats as bonus feats.

Artificer: At level 6 an artificer gains craft wand instead of metamagic spell trigger.
At level seven, an artificer gains metamagic spell trigger.

Knowledge Local: You must pick a nation or smaller region. If you pick a smaller region, your DCs for information in that area will be lower, and for the containing nation will be raised.

Every four ranks in Knowledge Local lets you pick an additional region.
You may also take this skill more than once allowing you to either have a few points in many locations or many points in a few locations.

Jack of all Trades is not available. The Paladin and Monk multiclassing feats are unavailable.

Wounds and Vitality Points
Instead of Hitpoints, we will be using wounds and vitality.
Vitality is the ability to avoid taking serious damage from an attack. Vitality loss indicates glancing blows, scrapes and cuts, and the exhaustion gained while trying to avoid attacks.
At first level you gain you Maximum HD plus constitution bonus in vitality points. At each level after first level, you roll your hd and add your constitution bonus. You then add that to your vitality point total.

Wound Points represent a character's ability to withstand physical trauma. You receive wound points equal to your current constitution plus one wound point per hit die. Any feat that usually adds hitpoints (Toughness, Improved toughness) increases your wound points instead.

If you fall to zero vitality points, all further damage is applied to our wound points. You are so exhausted and disoriented that you can no longer effectively avoid attacks.
Critical hits do not multiply damage. Instead the attack's damage goes straight to wound damage. If a weapon has a critical multiplier greater than 2, then increase the weapon's critical range by one for each additional point of multiplier.

As soon as you take a single wound point you become fatigued. You are unable to run or charge and take a minus 2 to strength and dexterity. These penalties persist until all wound points are restored or until the character has rested for eight hours. If a character falls below half wound points, the character has a -4 penalty to Str and Dex and does not lose these penalties until fully healed.

Knocked Out
Any creature that is immune to nonlethal damage can not be knocked out. When a character takes wound damage in a round, he must make a fortitude save with a dc of 5+the number of wound points lost in the round. If he fails, he is knocked out. The character falls prone and drops anything in his hands. He remains unconscious for 1d4 rounds or until he receives healing. A non-lethal attack (sap, unarmed, or any attack using the -4 non lethal penalty) that does wound damage has a saving throw DC of 5+2X the damage done.)

An opponent may automatically grapple or bind a knocked out opponent.

Damage Reduction
DR works as normal against vitality damage.
Against Critical Hits, DR applies any reduced damage to vitality instead of wound points.
For example a Barbarian with DR -/1 who is subject to a 5 point critical hit takes four wound points and one vitality point.

A critical hit with a weaponlike spell does not redirect to wound damage. Instead it doubles the spell's damage as in the base rules. Except spells that summon actual weapons.

On a critical hit, any ability that adds bonus dice to damage (a rogue's sneak attack, a flaming weapon, etc) instead deals an additional 2 points of wound damage per die of damage it usually does.

At 0 Wound Points, you are disabled. A disabled character may perform one action per round. If the character takes a standard action, she takes 1 point of wound damage after resolving the action.

(-1 to -9 wound points) You are dying. A dying character falls unconscious and can take no actions. Each round the character must pass a DC 10 Fortitude check. If the check fails, the character takes an additional point of wound damage as he bleeds out. On a successful save, the character stabalizes and quits dying. Another character can stabilize a dying character with a DC 15 heal check or the application of at least one point of wound healing.

At -10 Wound Points a character is dead.

A warforged does not lose a wound point for taking a standard action while disabled. They also automatically stabalize when between -1 and -9 hp.

All characters (including warforged) recover 1 point of vitality per character level per hour.
Non-warforged characters regain 1 wounf point per character level per full night of bed rest (8 hours) or two points per character level per full day of bedrest (24 hours).

Warforged must be repaired.

Long term care doubles a character's recovery rate.

Magical Healing
Any spell that heals dice worth of damage heals vitality points first. Any bonus healing is applied to wound damage. Thus a first level cleric casting cure light wounds on a character with 4 points of vitality damage and 3 wound points rolls a 3 for 3+1 points of healing. The 3 points are applied to the vitality damage. The bonus point is applied to the wound damage. The receiving character finishes with 1 point of vitality damage and 2 points of wound damage.

Spells or effects that return hp at a set rate (Cure minor wounds, Heal, a paladin's lay in hands ability, etc) heal wound points first.

All damage done to a creature with regeneration is vitality damage except for damage that is usually counted as normal (eg fire and acid criticals on trolls.)

Weapon Like Spells
Spells that require an attack roll are be broken down into two basic categories:

This included both ranged attack spells like acid arrow and ranged touch spells like polar ray.


Touch Spells
Spells such as shocking grasp.

The assorted weapon feats (focus, specialization, improved critical, etcetra) for either type of spell.

Turning Undead
Any character who channels positive energy my spend two turning attempts to deal damage to nearby undead.
When using turn undead in this manner, all undead in a 15 food burst centered on the corner of the character's square of his choice. All undead in the area of effect take 1d8 points of damage per two cleric levels. (This allows a cleric to use her turning ability against high level undead with at least some effect.)

A cleric who channels negative energy can heal undead in the same manner.

So, interesting meme thing going about.
Ask me something. Odds are good I'll answer it.

Well, this came out all weird. Not really even Quirky, just strange.

LiveJournal Username
Favorite Colour
Your Age
Your Spouse Ismidnight7
Your Mother Isopen_design
Your Father Isreannon
Your Sister Isbradhicks
Your Brother Ispope_guilty
Your Grandma Isjimbutcher
Your Grandpa Isscott_lynch
The Family Petdifrancis
This Fun Quiz created by Nat at BlogQuiz.Net
Capricorn Horoscope at DailyHoroscopes.Biz

Hey, could I get a big favor out here? Someone who doesn't mind doing some experimental cooking?

Take your favorite biscuit recipe. Now sub honey in for vinegar or lemon juice or what ever your acid source is. I'd try it at about 1.25-1.5 units of honey for every unit of vinegar. You might need to add a little extra flour for texture. Try it out and get back to me on how it turns out.

For those who don't have a favorite biscuit recipe, but are willing to make the attempt anyway, try this
1C Flour (sifted ideally)
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Mix these ingredients together.
Cut in 1/8th cup shortening

Then add
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/2 C milk.

Mix well, then fold it on the counter top, I'd do it at least 6 or 7 times. That'll give you a nice layered effect if anything else works right.

Shoot, no idea what temperature to cook them at, just a second. Try 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes

Right you need a glass or a biscuit cutter or what have you to cut them out.

This one might need more flour.
Might want to flour the counter top before kneading and folding the dough.

So, yeah, if you could try that and tell me how it worked out, I'd be much obliged.

Looking for more signs that a company completely fails to understand the internet?
They host a blog or a forum and don't allow urls to be posted in the replies. Seriously? What part of internet and or world wide web do they not understand?

So, I finished watching Buffy and I've read all of the Season 8 comics excluding the one that comes out today. The last several episodes really felt off.
Sort of spoilers:

Unrelated to the above, I loved watching the evil Captain Reynolds. Very much.
Back on track: It started with the whole group turning on Buffy. I can buy it. Giles was setting up for it for the last several seasons. Dawn has pretty much the same short sightedness with her sister that Buffy has with Dawn, though she definitely went for the pain above and beyond the call of duty. Anya is Anya. The potentials shouldn't have split straight down the middle, but at least some of them should have opted to go with Buffy. Any other time, Xander would have gone with her, his problems were understandable, pain and loss will do that (and we never see him grieve for his eye...) And Willow. I can see her walking away from Buffy. (Faith doesn't betray her, no matter what Buffy wants to believe initially. Faith didn't want the split, she just wanted Buffy to stop and see what was going on around her.) Andrew? He's a follower at this point in his story arc, and Buffy's never considered him part of her group.

All of the above wouldn't have bothered me much, except that there was no chance for healing and only one character from the above list was even aggrieved over her actions. (Possibly Xander too, but we aren't particularly shown that.) Faith hates what happened, but it really wasn't her fault. Dawn is the only one who is upset over what she did, and it never really leads to anything.

One assumes that, based on the Comic, Xander and Buffy at least partially made up in the year and change after the fight at the Hellmouth. They are much too easy with each other for it not to have happened.
Giles has possibly damaged their relationship beyond repair, and he keeps doing it in the comic. He's been going down that path for several years though.
She and Dawn seem back to the status quo, but then they have a history of not mending fences and just moving on.
She and Willow are well along the path to losing their best friend. They've been growing apart during seasons 6 and 7, and you'll notice that the last half of 7 went entirely without the "you're my best friend" line that comes up every 7 to 10 episodes throughout the series. Willow hurts Buffy, and there is little or no sense of remorse shown in the last episodes of season 7. This lets Buffy force Willow into actions she might not have tried otherwise, but the rift is not healed by a year and a half later (the comic books.) They are still connected, but it feels like that's falling apart, that they've hurt and been hurt so much without any attempt to make amends or even apologize that one wonders if they'll ever weather it. Especially with Willow avoiding Buffy.
Buffy's not the leader of a mid sized team of Slayers, but save for Xander, she's alone. Of course, the last couple of seasons of the show have her feeling that bing the slayer makes her alone anyway, but the events in the show demonstrate that she prevails because she isn't isolated. (Twilight has picked up on that issue. He sees how her distance from her core will cause her to fail and falter. It is really too bad that her friends can't see it too.)

Well, this isn't likely to be my last Buffy post, but they should start to trickle off now.

1. Go to and roll 3d6 six times.
2. Assign them in this order: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma
3. Try to imagine a character based on those stats.

STR: 15
INT: 9
WIS: 6
DEX: 15
CON: 9
CHA: 10

Whew boy, average to low mental stats. High Strength and Dex, a little low on the con, so no front line fighter. Definitely a rogue, probably human, heir to some seriously thuggish tendencies and with a poor grip of exactly what his limits are. Not stupid exactly, but prone to taking rash actions.

Gygax is dead. I may not have liked much of his work, but a lot of my favorite things owe him greatly. (And apparently his later work was far superior, more simple, less giant tome of random subsystems.) He was one of the key figures in the creation of two of my favorite past times, CRPGs and Role Playing. Thanks Gary.

So, amazingly enough, more Buffy spoilers.

So I think I've actually posted about my unhappyness with Tara's death before. Killing the character sucked, but that's not the issue that really bothers me the most. (I'd have been sad that she'd died no matter how she died, and the fact that her resurrection was planned and then scrapped is sort of annoying, but that's not the issue.)

The issue is that you had a popular main character (even if she was not credited as a cast member until her last episode in order to do something that Whedon had wanted to do since the beginning of the show. Too bad he didn't have the funding to do it with the first episode. It would have worked better in season 1 than season 6.) who was killed for a single point of plot progression. Taking a strong layered character and killing them for a single plot point and some shock value? Not so graceful. Tara's death was important, but shallow. Admittedly, Season 6 is all about the shallow and the nihilistic, but this episode is past the turning point on the theme.

A character's death should always be a piece of character building for that character. We should either see something new or reinforce something important about the character who dies. What we learned about Tara? She has blood. Except I'm fairly certain that we've seen her bleed before. Oh and that Warren apparently has Kennedy-style magic bullets. So two things. (And that the producers have a real love on for Tara's blood splattered on Willow's face in the "Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer" segments. I should really have watched this on DVD.)

So the setup as it really is:
Willow and Tara have made up from an extended estrangement that was caused by Willow's abuse of magic and of Tara. They've spend the last day or so mostly locked inside their second story room making up for lost time. When we see our girls, Willow is facing the window and Tara is facing Willow. Tara's at least 3 feet from said window, likely more. Shots ring out from the back yard. One of those shots comes in the window, putting a hole in the glass at about the level of the base of Tara's rib cage. Then putting a hole through Tara, her heart, and the front of her chest. It then disappears before striking Willow. Willow's face and shirt is splattered with Tara's blood. Tara says that there is something wrong with Willow's face and collapses, dead. (Also, I'm almost certain thinking back on where the body falls that 3 feet is too close to the window.) Willow goes all magicy, tries to resurrect Tara, gets told off by a God and then sends him packing. Assorted other things happen, Willow becomes the season's big bad, etc.

So, that's what happened. Tara's death is entirely random and passive, essentially it is there to make Willow go evil. Tara is a gentle and caring character, which can be mistaken for passive, but really, isn't the same thing at all. Let's rewrite the scene. Assumptions we have to keep. Tara dies (though I can imagine other routes to evil Willow, especially in a show that has focused on the perils of super powered characters not stopping to get the full story before acting. We'll just take the death of whoever Willow is dating at this point as required by authorial fiat.) Tara dies in Buffy's house in such a manner that Willow is the only one who notices until Dawn finds the body. And Tara dies from a stray gunshot from Warren.

So, Willow and Tara haven't spent the entire last 24 hours locked up in their bedroom. They come down for air on occasion. In this case, Tara comes downstairs after their conversation, she's by herself because Willow had something she had to do first. Tara's facing away from the bank of glass that looks into the back yard, she's picked something up, a gift of Willow's from before they broke up the first time, something fragile.
Willow comes down the stairs, full of puppy energy, a return to the peppy/happy Willow of seasons past, making enough noise that Tara hears her and turns to face her. In turning, she is now facing the back window. A big grin on her lips as she turns turns into fear and horror as she sees Warren with a gun through the back window. From Willow's viewpoint, Tara has turned, seen her, and reacted in fear. Face crumples a bit. Tara throws her hands up, dropping the breakable, and shoving Willow away with her Telekinetic ability. Pushes her into an ottoman or something similar, with Willow ending up on her back on the floor. The gun shot is covered by the crash of Willow hitting the ground. Willow scrambles to her feet, pain and anger on her face, a hint of magic on her hands, trying to figure out why Tara had rejected her again. (elapsed time no more than 3 seconds between the shot and her getting back up) Willow starts to complain and Tara collapses. This is when Willow realizes that Tara's been hurt, she runs over and finds her dead, does the summoning, etc.

This scene gives Tara's death some meaning, and it gives Willow's despair some extra layers.
We've seen Tara stand between Willow and perceived danger before, so this isn't out of character, and it is right at the edge of her abilities as seen within the show.
Willow on the other hand, has to deal with the triple whammy of self doubt ("she hates me, why?") self recrimination ("how could I have thought that she hated me? she was saving me!") and her magic reflexes ("I almost hit her with magic, she used magic on me and I almost used it back on her.") plus the current "Tara's dead, oh my god Tara's dead, Warren!"

Every scene should do multiple things, should add layers, and as it stands, Tara's death fails to do so.

So, I stayed up and watched disk 5. Gods, I knew that 6:19 was going to be rough, sort of an emotional low point in a fairly depressing season. It was well handled right up until the last two or so minutes. It wasn't actually clumsy, but while it serves a point in the overall plot, the mechanics of the events of the last minutes of the episode deprive what could have been a much more powerful scene of meaning. Well, I guess nihilism is meaning of a sort, and this is the season where the characters are shoved into nihilistic molds, but at this point in the narrative it no longer serves. And no, this isn't just me being pissed about my favorite character.
On that note, I cried. That's not necessarily saying a lot, books make me cry reasonably often, though TV seldom does.

Buffy spoilers ahead.

Oh wow. Season 6 is a major downer. That said, there is some wonderful work in the season. I dislike some of the choices that the writers made, some of the themes that Whedon decided to showcase, but goo, some of it is really quite great. Episode 6.15, the one where Riley comes into town along with his new wife has one of my favorite scenes in the whole show. At the end when Buffy tells Spike that they have to stop boinking, that not only is she using him and hating herself, but that it is killing her (the self hatred) when she walks out of the crypt and into the sunlight, that visual is one of the most awesome things they did in the show. (The whole episode essentially was fairly dark and gloomy, especially the last half.)

Also, I really wish that I'd not read as much about the show back when I'd no intention to actually watch it. It's made an already depressing season much much worse to know what's in the works. The various bad things that are happening to and by the various characters would be way more endurable if I didn't know what was going to happen come Seeing Red.


So, for a long time I've been online and mostly avoided viewpoint blogs. (Well, Boingboing has been on my read list for quite a while, but otherwise...)
I've recently started reading Feministing.
I just cam back to this post and started reading the comment thread.
First comment:

"I feel so torn about posts like this.

I'm a Hillary supporter, and of course think it undoubtedly true that her bid for the Presidency faces the pressures of overcoming an enormous amount of misogynism.

But, really, isn't this just a joke? I'm willing to believe that most of the people in this group are not sexist and just happen to dislike Hillary. So, they're making a joke by adopting a point of view that is bigoted in a laughably outdated, and so absurd, manner. If anything, it seems like this group strengthens women's position because it promotes the laughability of the notion that women only belong in the kitchen.

Regardless, aren't there more important things to get outraged about? Am I way off base here? I'd genuinely like to know."

another comment, same person:

"I don't think it's necessarily a sexist joke. I think they're being facetious. They're adopting an stance that is absurdly sexist and are therefore, at least in some minor way, lampooning sexism.

I don't know about everyone else, but I only have a certain amount of outrage before I get emotionally exhausted. I'll save my outrage for abstinence only education, disparity in pay between men and women, overly lax rape laws, the fight against a woman's right to choose, etc."

You know what? No, there really isn't anything more important to be outraged against. All of the examples from the second post are derived from an underlying sexism in our cultural memespace. They all have the same root cause, as does the acceptability and popularity of the listed group. It is that underlying meme that must be challenged and changed at every occurrence, it is the casual acceptance of sexist jokes that help maintain the whole memetic cluster that gives rise to the social ills listed in the second post. To bring about real change in people and societies you have to change the underlying memes that cause the things you want changed.