Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 in Review: Assessing Last Year’s Goals

Setting goals is a good way to focus one’s efforts.  However, goals are no good without reassessment afterwards.  We therefore need to reexamine 2014’s goals before setting new goals for the coming year.
These were my goals for 2014:

Monday, December 29, 2014

D&D Homebrew (5e): the Swordmage

I've written before about the difficulties of trying to imagine myself with my actual background as a D&D Character.  It's frustrating because I like to take elements from my actual life and drop them into fantasy as a part of my writing process, but doing that in Dungeons and Dragons never yields quite the right feel using the existing D&D class structures.  It was a little easier with D&D's 4th Edition because you could create a multiclass Swordmage / Artificer or Artificer / Warlord, take the Soldier background, and come up with a useful quasi-melee build that makes at least some sense in the contest of my family's would be party of adventurers.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Movie Review: The Interview

Threats from North Korean hackers and terrorists notwithstanding, Sally and I sat down to watch The Interview last night.  It's available as a rental for $5.95 on YouTubeGoogle Play, and SeeTheInterview.Com in both HD and SD, and as we sat down last night, Sally said, "Wow.  This is really convenient.  We should watch movies like this all the time."  I agreed completely.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Friday, December 26, 2014

5 Things on a Friday: After-Christmas Special

All week folks have been expressing their regret that I’ve had to work, and all week I’ve been at pains to explain to them that there’s no reason for them to feel bad for me.  chose to take two weeks off in August to go to Maine.  Truth is, I’d much rather take my vacation time when the weather’s warm and I’m missing actual work, not when it’s crappy outside and half the office is out.  Granted, I’m off today, but still Christmas has never been my favorite holiday.  
Now that it’s over, I’m beyond ready to get on with my life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas, Star Trek-style

I saw this on Twitter this morning. It's the starship Enterprise, made out of gingerbread.


Friday, December 19, 2014

5 Things on a Friday: Death of the Interview

Wow, what a crazy week!  Holy cow!!!
Let’s start with The Interview.  I was really looking forward to seeing it; Sally and I even talked about going Friday on our date night.  Bu that ain’t gonna happen, it seems.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

D&D 5e: Swordmage and Artificer?

I'm thinking of homebrewing Swordmage and Artificer classes.  There are a couple of reasons:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Last Night's Swim Was Stupid

I was flipping through Twitter yesterday afternoon on the train ride home when I saw where a guy had posted his swim workout: 10 x 200 freestyle.  He said he was "coming in at" 2:50, which means, I think, that he was averaging 1:25/100 swimming with rest breaks between 200s.  That's not bad, especially for an adult age-group swimmer without a deep swimming background.  I had my own workout to plan last night and decided to simplify my life by adopting his plan almost in it's entirety. I made it 10 x 200 @ 2:50.  This is a little faster, of course, but it makes sense given my background.

I "Mustache" You a Question

My friend over at Axel over at IronRogue nominated me for another one of these pay-it-forward blogging projects.  This one is called "I mustache you a question," and it's not super-different than the Liebster Award, but I liked the questions better this time.

I have a mustache, but it doesn't look as good as this.
These questions all come in fours.  

Are you ready?  Here we go...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Tree 2014

We finally got our tree trimmed last night, and in spite of everthing, it’s beginning to feel like Christmas.  The kids were fired up, singing Christmas carols, and even I felt a little pang for days gone by as we pulled some of my family’s old ornaments out of their boxes for another year.  Some of these ornaments have been around a while, and I know that for me, my memories of Christmas are intimately tied to some of our specific tree ornaments.

Our Christmas Tree.
You can't see it, but the kids also installed an electric "Christmas train"
around the tree's skirt.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Card


That's about as good as it gets as far as Christmas Cards are concerned.

Monday Morning: Weekend Round-Up

What a weekend!
Ugh.
Back when I was in the Army, the thing we used to practice all the time was breaching obstacles.  It was a different Army back then, and I suspect that the emphasis on breaching came largely from the experience of the First Gulf War when the Iraqi Army spent six months digging in, and America and its allies then had to breach to get at the enemy.  It’s also possible that we practiced breaching simply because it’s a tremendously complicated and difficult operation, and by practicing it, we were effectively working our combat command structures in a useful way up to the battalion and brigade level.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Final Thoughts on Army-Navy

The Army team came up short yesterday, but I feel a lot better about the rivalry than I did at this time last year.  Army went into the game with a better plan, and they kept it close despite the fact Navy has an undoubtedly better team.  It looked like a rivalry game.  For the time being, that's going to have to be enough.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday News & Notes: #ARMYNAVY

I'm gonna swim, hit the gym, and then start getting ready to have some friends over this afternoon.  Only one thing matters today, and that's beating Navy!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Mad Science: Thoughts on Swimming and #ArmyNavy

The Army-Navy Swim Meet was last night, and I sprang for the $9.99 monthly Knight Vision pass, so I could watch it.  I’d been considering driving up for the meet, and a couple of my classmates had been talking about meeting me—we were all convinced that Army had a good chance to win this year—but we ultimately decided not to.  Mostly because the meet was on a Thursday this year, and we all have to work today.  All things considered, it’s a good thing we didn’t.  Army got blown out of the water.  It’s left me a little confused as to what’s been going on with Army and Navy Athletics, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Army Football Preview: The Army-Navy Game

After a long, oft-disappointing season, it’s finally here.  The game.  Army-Navy.  In many ways, the other games barely matter.  If Army can win this one, the team will salvage its season and bring hope to soldiers and veterans serving around the world.
The Army-Navy Game is Saturday at 3:00 pm.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekend Update

How was your weekend?  Mine was pretty good.  Busy, but good.

Last week was chaotic in terms of my workout schedule.  My train was late getting in on Tuesday, causing me to miss swim practice that night, and I never got caught up.  Part of the problem is that I’ve been sluggish since getting back into the gym to lift weights, but a larger part is down simply to bad sleep and the effects of the very short days we have this time of year in New York and Connecticut.  Sally thinks I have Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I don’t know what that means, exactly, but it’s true that the weather impacts my moods. 

I’m like a Venus Flytrap.  I need plenty of sunlight.  When I don’t get it, I tend to snap at the things around me.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sneakatara Boatman and the Priest of Loki


Wanderhaven is the city with everything, the gateway to the world and the capital of the Kingdom of the Western Isles. The streets are hard, though, and for a teenaged street-urchin named Sneakatara Boatman, they can be cruel, too. “Sneax” will do anything to escape the grinding poverty and hopelessness she’s known all her life. On most days, she’s lucky just to survive. Sneax’s lone friend is an apprentice wizard named Elaina Emboo, a rich girl from a nice family who hates the life that her father has planned for her. Elaina envies Sneax’s freedom but doesn’t understand what all that freedom actually costs.

When the infamous fire elf smuggler Draks comes to town, Sneax gets a chance to maybe change her life. But change is dangerous, and a fire elf will kill you as soon as look at you.

Read it now!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

This Morning's Swim Workout

My buddy Ben and I did a butterfly workout this morning, it was something of a ball-buster. Ben's contemplating a run at Master's Nationals this season, competing in the 100 Fly among other events. So we've been doing a little more stroke work lately, and let me tell you, it hasn't been as easy as it used to be.

We wound up doing lots of up tempo work, and as a result, the workout itself took a bit longer than I thought it would.  What can you do?  It was still hard as Heck. 

Anyway, here's what we did:

Friday, December 5, 2014

Final Cover

We went back and forth on quite a number of little issues on this thing, but finally, this is it. This is the one we're using.

5 Things on a Friday: It's All About Taylor!

There was lots of news this week, but I made a conscious decision to try to keep this list light.  I’d never consider the casting announcement of a new James Bond movie news, for example, but it’s either that or talk about something serious, and who wants to be serious on a Friday?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Book Desciption

I'm still working on this, but here's what I've for so far:

"Wanderhaven is the city with everything, the gateway to the world and the capital of the Kingdom of the Western Isles.  The streets are hard, though, and for a teenaged street-urchin named Sneakatara Boatman, they’re often cruel, too.  “Sneax” will do anything to escape the grinding poverty and hopelessness she’s known all her life.  On most days, though, she’s lucky just to survive.  Sneax’s lone friend is an apprentice wizard named Elaina Emboo, a rich girl from a nice family who hates the life her father has planned for her.  Elaina envies Sneax’s freedom but doesn’t understand what all that freedom actually costs. 
 
When the infamous fire elf smuggler Draks comes to town, Sneax gets a chance to maybe change her life.  But change is dangerous, and a fire elf will kill you as soon as look at you."

Well?  What do you think?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Getting Close...

We may still play around with the fonts a bit, but this is very like what I have in mind for the cover.


So?  What do you think?