Saturday, July 13, 2019

Pics from Rhode Island

Sally and I went camping up in Rhode Island last week while our girls were on a mission trip to Philadelphia.  We stayed at a campsite maybe five miles north of Newport.  We were only up there for three days, and it felt like we spent half our time setting up or tearing down, but it was still nice to get away.  We spent a day at the beach and a day out on the bikes, and I cooked a lot on the travel grill.  The trip itself was a lot of work, but it was also fun.  

I took this one for the Grill Geek Instagram account.  I took it myself using my
camera's ten-second count-down timer and Night Portrait mode.
World Cup celebration.
I took these pictures with the camera I got for the coming Army Football season.  I was originally looking just for a simple point-and-shoot, but on my friend Matt's advice, I bought used and went a little upscale.  The camera itself is 2014 tech, but I prioritized optical zoom and wound up with a decent piece of entry-level equipment.  I'm not some great photographer, but I read the manual cover-to-cover, and I then spent a good amount of our trip playing with the settings.  Results are below.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Team RBG 2.0 & the Swim Across the Sound

Friends,

As many of you know, I'm competing in this year's Swim Across the Sound to support St. Vincent's Hospital's Cancer Center.  The Swim is a 15-mile open water event that starts in Port Jefferson, NY, and finishes on the far side of Long Island Sound in Bridgeport, CT.  Team RBG 2.0 is entered in the Classic (No Wetsuit) category, which means that we'll swim as a relay, taking half-hour pulls while a boat motors slowly alongside us.  We have a team of legitimately talented swimmers -- Andy and I both swam for the Army Swim Team, Class of 1995, while Chris and Stephen are experienced triathletes (and Navy vets).  However, we'll have the tide against us this year, making this a serious challenge.

We're going to beat it, though, and we're going to beat cancer, too.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Disappearance of Jaxon Carrows

Over the past several months, the port town of Breakwater Bay has lost a number of small fishing boats.  The disappearances have put the local fishermen on edge, so when Captain Jaxon Carrows and his boat Salty Dog go missing, the Breakwater Bay town council approaches the party to find out what’s happening.  Over the course of their investigation, the party discovers a sahuagin cult moving into the local waters, opposed by a tribe of lizardfolk.  The lizardfolk make good would-be allies if the party can convince them of the value of an alliance.
The Disappearance of Jaxon Carrows is designed for a party of four to five player-characters of 3rd or 4th level.  It’s meant as a one-shot, running from four to six hours depending on your pace of play.
Note.  This adventure is based loosely around the Ghosts of Saltmarsh adventure Danger at Dunwater.  The changes I’ve made change Dunwater’s overarching plot idea into a slow reveal mystery.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Dan’s Rules of Writing

I never thought that I would need to publish my "Rules for Writing," but here we are.  I've found myself in an editorial role often enough of late that having a few rules written down will--hopefully--make explaining how to write a little easier.

Got thoughts?  Let me hear 'em.

Rules are after the jump:

Friday, June 7, 2019

D&D: Swordmage Revisited

Dungeons & Dragons’ 4th edition had a huge array of classes divided up into four main party roles--Leader, Defender, Striker, and Controller.  The different classes allowed for different expressions of core party responsibilities within a wide variety of potential character themes.  Leaders healed, Defenders were tanks, Strikers assassinated single targets, and Controllers shaped the battlefield, generally through area effect burst or blast-type spells.  The upside of this was that not every party had to have a Rogue or a Cleric in order to pick locks and/or stay alive in combat.  The downside was that over time, a lot of 4e’s classes started to look basically alike.
5th edition is generally more like 2e than 4e, but it hasn’t gone completely away from 4e’s role versatility in classes.  The game’s current edition offers a few ways to tank like a Defender, for example, in the Fighter, Paladin, and even Barbarian classes, and the Bard and Cleric are still both designed basically in the Leader role.  However, there still not a great way to tank with an arcane class, and though this is far from a game-breaking failure, it is an issue that Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has tried to address.


Sunday, May 26, 2019

CFB Roundtable: Duke at Pitt, 2018

The Yankees played a doubleheader yesterday, and I cooked dinner on the grill in between the games.  I put Duke at Pitt, 2018, on outside while I cooked, and man, am I ever glad that I did.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Is Writing Even Worth It Anymore?

Yesterday's Ross Tucker Football Podcast featured Chris Horwedel, founder of The Underdog Sports.  Good interview.  Horwedel talked about getting his start as a teenager writing about sports and hosting a podcast and how he'd been a little lucky -- and obviously very good -- in terms of finding collaborators and getting his business of the ground.

Monday, May 20, 2019

#GrillGeek: Grilled Swordfish with Pineapple Salsa

4 swordfish steaks (½” to 1” thick)
1 cored pineapple
Chili seasoning (optional)
Medium salsa
Oil oil
Salt
Pepper
Oregano or Italian seasoning
Hot sauce (optional)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

#GrillGeek: Simple vs. Easy

I don’t know if you guys know this, but I’ve been working—very occasionally—on a grilling cookbook for the past eight months or so.  I got the first maybe 10K words down and ran into something of a wall.  I realized that I needed to experiment more, that I’d gotten stuck too deeply in a rut with my grilling to write an interesting full-length story.  
I needed time and space to experiment.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Quick Thoughts: Endgame and the MCU

Finally saw Avengers: Endgame over the weekend.  My kids and I felt very much like the last people on Earth to get to the movie, but I know that’s not true.  In fact, I work with a couple of guys who’ve never seen any of the Avengers movies. I mean, I know it feels like Marvel have taken over the movie world, but it’s still a specific niche, believe it or not, and there are plenty of folks who aren’t paying attention.  It’s just a very loud kind of niche.

Lots of folks have published thoughts about Endgame.  It’s unclear that the world needs mine.  I’m gonna give them to you anyway, though, mostly because I’ve not yet had any time to grill or to think overmuch about how I’m going to write about grilling.
*big-time spoilers ahead*