Monday, February 29, 2016

Training Log: 2/22 - 2/28 (Rest Week)

I generally train on a four-week cycle, three working weeks and a rest week.  Last week was a Rest Week, and it came off of a very hard Week 3 in which I put in a super-intense session of yoga, swimming, and Mossa Group Power endurance weight training on Saturday, followed by a 6.5-mile long, slow distance run on Sunday.  That combination flattened me, and even with the Rest Week, it took me until Thursday to start feeling like myself again.

There's a line between working and over-working, and I think I went over that line two weeks ago.  It's good to have time to recover, but the sheer amount of recovery required this week was a little frightening.  I did eventually put in a good run, but it wasn't until Sunday, and up to then, I'd felt like hamburger.
Swim, Bike, Run
My weeks typically look like this:

Friday, February 26, 2016

5 Things on a Friday: On Knowing Evil When You See It

It’s been a disturbing week in American political life.  Normally, I really enjoy politics--and especially this year’s presidential primary race--but this week it became clear that Donald Trump is not only going to win the Republican nomination, he’s going to do it using a Fascist, neo-White Supremacist platform, and there’s not a damned thing that anyone can do about it.
It’s disturbing.  I’m not a Trump supporter, but I am a Republican, and I don’t know what the Hell has happened to the party that I grew up in.  
The party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt--heck, of Dwight Eisenhower and more recently, of arch-pragmatist George H.W. Bush--has abandoned compromise and the essential forms of democratic government so completely that its own core supporters no longer understand the difference between reasoned discourse and hate-speech.  Republicans have vilified the President, who is a good man regardless of his being on the wrong side of a number of important policy issues, to the point where we can’t now look at an actual villain and see him for what he is.
This is not the way our government is supposed to work.  Honestly, I keep wondering if this is what conservative, patriotic Germans thought in the 1930s as they watched a demagogue rise up, take over their country, and turn it into a dictatorship.

Hitler did not represent the natural course of German historic evolution, but he sure as shit convinced people that he did, and look what that got us.  Or, to put it another way, what the fuck is wrong with people?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sketch in My Notebook: Marcus the Dispossessed

This week's Sketch in My Notebook is literally that.  I have no idea what to do next with this story.  At this point, it's just a character/concept sketch that I started by way of supporting an article for ENWorld's EN5ider Magazine.

Sketch in My Notebook
EN5ider is an online magazine that publishes freelance Dungeons & Dragons content under Wizards of the Coasts' Open Gaming License (OGL).  My article, which ought to be out any day now, is called "Priests of Misfortune".  It proposes a divine trinity of fate and the future--Fate, Fortuna, and Jinx, the goddess of misfortune.  It then goes into detail on the theology of Jinx and her priests while laying out what it takes to become favored of the goddess of calamity.

As you may imagine, I had some fun inventing my own religion.

I then invented this character, Marcus the Dispossessed, as a Jinxian priest, but...  Well, I just can't figure out what I want him to do.  Something nefarious, no doubt, but I've no idea what, exactly.

Got some thoughts?

Do me a favor, and leave them below.  Thanks!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Training Log: 2/15 - 2/21 (Week 3)

This was a tough week.  My long run is up to a distance of six-and-a-half miles, my daughter Hannah and I did a session of Mossa Group Power with my wife on Saturday, and we had decent weather, so I got back on the bike this week as part of my commute.  
Swim, Bike, Run
That stuff was all good, but Group Power really wiped me out, leaving Sunday's long run a significant mental and emotional challenge.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pictures from Today's Yoga

Hannah and I worked out today.  We did about a half hour's worth of yoga, then we swam, then we worked with Sally and some of her friends through an hour or so of Mossa Group Power.

True story: Mossa kills me every time.  It's all super-endurnace weight training built of groups of sixteen, and it is not easy.

Friday, February 19, 2016

5 Things on a Friday: Heading to South Carolina

There’s a lot going on this week.  South Carolina chooses its Republican candidate tomorrow while Democrats choose theirs in Nevada.  Besides that, there’s more Daredevil coming and a bunch more movies for geeks.  
Check it out!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

D&D: Dhampyr Homebrew (Part 2)

Eek!  A vampire!
Last week, we laid out a case for creating vampire PCs.  We started this project because my ten-year-old daughter Emma wanted a way to play a vampire PC in our home game, and I didn’t want to disappoint her.  However, lots of folks seemed interested in the project, so I decided to spend some time this week expanding the concept with a pair of vampiric PC subclasses.
Most of last week’s commenters liked the idea of vampiric PCs only to the extent that we made an effort to support truly horrific, monstrous archetypes.  Many readers pointed out that vampires are supposed to be hideous and terrifying, that vampirism should be viewed as a curse and not a superpower.  This is doubly important because of the way that so much of today’s Young Adult fantasy has neutered the modern conception of vampires.
I’m trying to oblige.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Training Log: 2/8 - 2/14 (Week 2)

It was tough to stay on schedule this week.  Between snow and wintry weather early in the week, training in the Bronx at mid-week, and extreme cold over the weekend, running outside was virtually impossible, and I never got a chance to get on my bike.  I managed to catch up a bit late in the week, but I'm still a little short of the point totals that I've managed over the last few weeks.
Swim, Bike, Run
I wound up working Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.  That's not too bad, but I put in almost half of the week's work on Saturday morning, and that's hardly ideal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

D&D: Dhampyr Homebrew (Part 1)

Eek!  A vampire!
My daughter Emma surprised me this weekend by telling me that she wants to play a vampire in our next game.  
So yeah—ugh.  
But she’s ten.  What can you do?
We’ve been talking about playing D&D quite a bit lately, and the topic of vampires came up because I really want to play through the Curse of Strahd in our home campaign, but full disclosure, our lives have been majorly busy of late, and as a result, we’ve not actually played in quite a long time.  We’ve just been talking about playing.  
Nevertheless, this vampire thing gives us something to talk about, and it’s been a while since we did any D&D on the blog.  Also: if Emma wants to play a vampire, there’s not actually a reason not to let her.  We just need to put something together, so she can do her thing.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Training Log: 2/1 to 2/7 (Week 1)

This turned out to be a tough week.  My wife Sally is a professional fitness instructor, and it seems like she gets certified in some new training regime about once a month.  This month’s thing is MOSSA Group Power, and it is tough.  It’s choreographed endurance weight training, and if it’s not as aerobically challenging as, say, PLYOGA, it is nevertheless very intense in its own way.  It’s heavy on the negative reps, timed with music to make sure that you’re going as slow as you possibly can.  Going through it with Sally and her friends Saturday morning was quite an experience.  Needless to say, I was quite sore afterwards.
Swim, bike, run.
Still, it’s wasn’t a bad week.  Just challenging.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Hannah's Poetry: "All My Thoughts"

Our daughter Hannah was one of the winners of the Poetry for Peace contest at Fairfield University last week.  She read her poem publicly on Friday, and I got it on my phone.  The poem is called "All My Thoughts".