Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Army Football Preview: at Penn State

Army finally got its offense going on Saturday, running all over Eastern Michigan in their own building.  There’s still plenty to critique, of course, but in an obvious rebuilding year, we are finally beginning to see at least some small glimmer of what this team might someday become.  After watching the team lose three tough games by a grand total of ten points, it was good to see them win one.  They needed the lift, and I expect that win will do the team some good as the season wears on.  This is especially true because it was a much-needed road win, the team’s first since November 2010.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

D&D: The Shadow Pact & the Poisoned Blade

I mentioned last week that I'd had some thoughts about developing a melee-based Warlock build, to which Brandes Stoddard replied:

I'm curious. What are you looking for in a melee warlock that a Fiendish Blade Pact doesn't offer? (I'd like to figure out acceptance criteria before I start work on such a thing myself.)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Army 58, Eastern Michigan 36

Man, it is weird to watch Army play a team as snakebit as they are.  At one point, Army was up 15-3, and Eastern Michigan went to the hurry-up.  To this point, Army's defense had been playing well, but they were no match for the hurry-up, and the Eagle drove all the way to the 2.  Then the Eagles running back fumbled on his way into the end zone, turning the ball over, and Army was able to go up by three scores!

Crazy game.  Fun, but crazy.

Friday, September 25, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Trust But Verify

I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel for news this week.  A few things have happened—Scott Walker dropped out of the presidential race, and the Pope is in town—but I’m not sure what I have to add on either front.  After all, everyone and their brother is covering the Pope, and we said just last week that Walker needed to go.  What’s new?
Well.  I’ll try to keep it short, anyway.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Army Football Preview: at Eastern Michigan

Army travels to Ypslianti, Michigan, this week to take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles.  If you’ve been following the team at all, you will know that this has become a do-or-die kind of game.  
There is a lot to like in the 2015 edition of the Army Black Knights, but even for a team in heavy rebuilding mode, they have underachieved.  The Black Knights are now 0-3 in winnable games, and if the good news is that they’ve been hanging tough even when they get themselves into tough spots, the bad news is that it doesn’t feel like this is a team that knows how to win.  They compete, they fight, but they can’t seem to close games out.  We’ve seen steady improvement, yes, but we’ve also seen too many mistakes, too many critical penalties, and too few adjustments late in games, especially on offense.  This past weekend saw a mediocre ACC team in Wake Forest stumble out of Michie Stadium with a win even after losing their starting quarterback.  Granted, I don’t think that many Army fans expected a win this weekend, but the team got so close and played so well in spots that the end result was extremely disheartening.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Rounding out the Football Weekend

You gotta take the good news with the bad.  I'm not sure this is great news, but it implies that Army's recruiting for the class of 2020 is ahead of Navy's.  All things considered, that's as close to victory as we've been in a while.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tough Football Weekend

It's like the Football Gods needed a blood sacrifice.

If I'm being honest, my faith is not that strong.  By mid-3rd quarter of the Giant game, I was flipping back and forth between the G-Men and the Pats just so I could see a winner.  I don't love the Patriots by any means, but after watching Army, listening as the Titans got de-cleated, and watching the Giants again snatch defeat from the very jaws of victory in exactly the same manner that Army did yesterday--that they themselves did last week as well--I just couldn't take it anymore.

Friday, September 18, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Failing to Find Common Ground

It’s a lot of politics this week, and I feel like I ought to apologize for it.  If you’re like me, your Facebook feed is a constant source of frustration because of all the politically motivated B.S. and overwhelmingly negative vibes.  Twitter doesn’t bother me so much because I’m not friends with those folks, but truly, my desire to know that my buddy is a Ben Carson supporter is extremely limited.  I mean, it’s fine on its face, but let’s don’t pretend that I am about to support Carson or that I care that you want me to.  We may be friends, but we also live in our own separate realities.  We each have our own issues around the kitchen table.  I’m personally trying to vote my own interests here, and I especially don’t give a shit about other people’s various dogmas.  I’ve been struggling with faith for a while now—which is to say that I wish that I had some—but regardless of what I may or may not believe, I still have to live according to my conscience.  I see the world a certain way.  You don’t have to see it my way, but it would be wrong to assume that I’m better than you are at listening to others with an open mind.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Army Football Preview: Wake Forest

I know what you’re thinking, but honestly, I thought the team played better this week.  Yes, this was another frustrating loss with a few head-scratchingly bad decisions, but where last week’s defense was a disaster, this week Army at least mounted a credible game plan and kept its players in the right places at the right times.  
In many ways, I thought that this was the defense that Army needed to play.  They gave up 415 yards, but they only gave up two touchdowns, and they forced UConn to repeatedly drive the length of the field, allowing for the possibility of mistakes.  UConn made plenty of mistakes, but unfortunately, Army rarely capitalized.  Chris Carnegie is the best player in Army’s secondary right now, but he got beat over the top twice, and he also gave up two pass interference calls.  I thought safety Rhyan England played much better this week, but he got burned with at least one pass interference call.  The result was that Army had trouble getting off the field—again—even when UConn managed to get itself into long yardage situations.  This happened frequently, but Army couldn’t quite force punts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tri Training Log: 9/7 - 9/13 (Week 2)

I've called this a "triathlon" training log, but my main goal these days is to get comfortable swimming further at an easier pace as I try to transition to an emphasis on long distance open water swimming and away from a balanced, "triathlon" approach to physical fitness.

I only swam twice this week, but as you'll see, I feel like I'm getting there--finally.  It's just proving to be a longer, tougher road than I might have hoped.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saturday Morning Madness

I'm dropping this here on the off-chance that you feel like you're having a bad day.

This is a bad day.  You are doing fine.

Friday, September 11, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Introducing Jessica Jones

Happy Friday, folks.  It’s turned out to be a grey, somber, rainy day in New York and Connecticut.  Tomorrow is still the start of the weekend, though, so let’s get to it.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Cahokiantep & My Writing Schedule

altquark commented on The Fall of Cahokiantep:

I'm DM'ing this adventure currently (though I've changed Cahokiantep to incorporate another city in the players' Campaign) - and the players are loving it (I think !). The players have just completed Scene 5 - and we're about to start Scene 6 which will lead, of course, into Scene 7. Have you created the second installment ? If not, I'll just have Xavier Melton show up before it gets too far into the astral rift situation and tell the players to get out of the city as quickly as possible ! At which point, the city will disappear into the Astral rift. But if you're well into the second installment OR if you have some recommendations of adventures on the Astral Plane, I could suck the adventuring party into the rift...!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Army Football Preview: at UConn

Last week’s loss to Fordham was so demoralizing that I find myself wondering if there’s any point to writing the rest of these previews.  I mean, come on.  You look at this schedule and tell me who exactly this team is going to beat?  Given what we saw Friday, there are exactly three winnable games going forward.  The problem, however, is that two of those games are away, and this is a team that hasn’t won an away game since 2010.  Maybe Army beats Bucknell at homecoming.  Honestly, that’s hardly a given.  By the time the Bucknell game rolls around, I expect this team to be so busted-up and demoralized that we’ll be lucky if they even show up at the stadium.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

D&D: Zeke's Mine

I’ve written several little adventures for this blog, mostly as a way to introduce my other writing to a larger audience.  This piece is a little different.  We were on vacation last week in Maine, and that gave me time, for once, to read.  The first thing I did was read through the new Dungeon Master’s Guide again, especially Part 3: “Master of Rules”.  I loved it.  It was not news to me that the 5th edition DMG is a quality product, but this was the first time I’d had a chance to go through it simply to enjoy how awesome it is.  Part 3 in particular struck me as truly excellent.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Swimming Reality Check: It's Not All Bad

I wrote a bit last week about how frustrated I was with my progress--or lack thereof--as an open water swimmer.  Well, we've been back from vacation for almost two full days now, and I'm starting to think that I was being a little unreasonable.

Truth is, it's easy to focus on the negative.  That's true of all kinds of athletics, and if you're an Army Football fan, it's probably hard-wired.  To be successful, however, we have to be able to move past the negative, see what's true, and evaluate ourselves honestly.  It's no good to be satisfied too soon, but it's equally bad to be relentlessly negative, to take counsel of your fears and quit before you've given a full measure of effort to whatever it is you're trying to accomplish.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Views from Pemetic Mountain

Our last hike of vacation was up Acadia's Pemetic Mountain to perhaps the most spectacular views we saw all week.  It was a fairly steep climb, especially in the tree line before we broke out onto the ridge trail, but we all made it, and everyone had a good time.

Pemetic Trail starts down by Jordan Pond.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Quick Thoughts on the Fordham Game

Coach Monken has been saying all off-season that the defense is ahead of the offense, and then we have this. Army's triple-option looks great under QB Ahmad Bradshaw, especially running to the left, and the team has found a way to use its slot backs, for once, but even when they score 37 points, it's not nearly enough.  Ugh.  This does not bode well for the season.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Morning & the Blue Hill Fair

Friday's here, and it's our last full day in Maine. After a week or more of warm--even hot--weather, it's 56-degrees and windy this morning. That's kind of what we're expecting all week, but it's been glorious instead. Hard to complain about that.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Rough Water Swimming

It's been kind of a lazy morning around the cabin.  I got up early, made some coffee, and spent some time writing before anyone else was up. Today's piece was a write-up of the adventure I created for our family's vacation campaign, Zeke's Mine.  If you're into that sort of thing, I expect I'll have the final posted by next Tuesday.  Then Sally got up as I was finishing my draft, and we sat for a while drinking coffee together.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Islesford & Great Cranberry

We caught the ferry out of Southwest Harbor yesterday to the Cranberry Islands, Great Cranberry and Islesford (Little Cranberry).  Technically speaking, there are several more "cranberry" islands, including privately owned Sutton Island, Bear Island, and others, but we just visited the two larger islands, neither of which is actually large.

Army Football Preview: Fordham

This is it, Army fans.  There are one and a butt days until Army beats Fordham at Michie Stadium in football.  Finally, the wait is over, and we can start to get some answers.  Although I won’t be at this week’s game personally, I find myself excited and cautiously optimistic about the 2015 iteration of the Army football team.
How good can this team be?  This is the week we start to find out.