Gods of Death #MythologyMonday #MythologyMonandæg #folklore #Egypt #Greece #MCU

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D&D didn’t get me into mythology; mythology got me into D&D. I loved mythology as a kid (still do), so I loved the idea of playing a game that allowed me to write stories within those worlds. The MCU is now getting deeper into the mix with Egyptian gods in Moon Knight, Greek and Egyptian gods (and maybe others) in Thor: Love and Thunder, and perhaps more in Black Panther 2 and others further down the pike.

So, continuing with the death theme of past few days, I give you a couple videos of death gods. First up, Anubis from the Egyptian pantheon.

Next, Thanatos from ancient Greece.

From Haiti, we get Baron Semedi.

The Japanese give us a host of death gods called the Shingami.

And then there’s the goddess of death from my favorite pantheon.

No, not her.

Depressed yet?

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One Year!!! #blog #StarTrek #MCU #DnD #RPG #TTRPG #ADnD

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With this post, I’ve posted every day for an entire year. That’s right. The last day that I didn’t post was May 1, 2021. Before that, I was last discussing Key Lime Kit Kat bars.

No wonder I stopped.

This blows away my current record streak.

Nice.

But wait a second. Is this even real? Can the post announcing that I’ve posted every day for a year be the anniversary post itself?

I say yes, and if you disagree, just keep in mind that I posted a bonus post on April 9, April 13, April 19, and April 25, so there have already been over 365 posts in this time without this one. There may have even been a couple more bonus posts, but I’m too lazy to look.

But okay. Let’s give this post some substance.

  1. Star Trek: The Original Series is my favorite Star Trek series, Star Trek: Enterprise is the most underrated Star Trek series, but Anson Mount has overtaken William Shatner as my favorite starship captain.
  2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favorite MCU film.
  3. 4th Edition D&D is my favorite edition of D&D.

On another note, today is the first day of May. May is hockey playoffs, college lacrosse playoffs, preparations for the summer, and — most importantly — the month when all the cool people are born. Plus, I was born in May.

So, in 11 days, the streak will die. I want to focus on other things, and consistency hasn’t led to a large number of non-spam followers. Rarely does anyone retweet the tweets linking to these posts (likes merely gauge your footprint, not increase it), and almost all comments occur on other social media platforms, so my streak hasn’t done anything to improve my online footprint (except for a brief moment). Besides, many of my recent posts have been rather lame. If I didn’t have something to say, I’d write anyway, and it shows. I have a few more posts scheduled for this week, some others in my head that will come soon, and a handful scheduled to publish as far out as December. However, going forward, if I don’t have something to say, I won’t say anything. I’ll never feel rushed, and anything goofy will have to be funny enough to be worth sharing.

So, this post counts.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Happy Arbor Day! #holiday #ArborDay #MCU #GotG

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Here’s your friendly reminder that Arbor Day is a marketing ploy of the tree industry to get you to visit arboretums.

Sponsored by Charmin probably.

But this wouldn’t be nerdy enough without . . . .

That should get you nerds on board.

Today, we’re all Groot.

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Improvisation in Avengers: Endgame @karengillan @RobertDowneyJr @Russo_Brothers @MarvelStudios #MCU #Nebula #Avengers #Endgame

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, I move away from the for a short commentary because of an anniversary. Two years ago to the day, I published a long post arguing that Nebula’s character arc in the MCU was the greatest redemption arc in cinematic history. In it, I specifically pointed out how brilliant Karen Gillan‘s performance was in the second scene of Avengers: Endgame. While Robert Downey, Jr.‘s performance was typically wonderful, Gillan acted circles around him and yet doesn’t get the credit she deserves for that scene. I also pointed out that Gillan has the chops to win an Oscar one day (for whatever that’s worth).

I have a friend? What’s a friend?

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article in which Gillan states that that entire scene was improvised. I point this out only to say that the jobs both of them did are all the more impressive.

But especially Gillan’s.

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There Be Tacos Here! #food #taco #TacoTuesday

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I will never apologize for a gratuitous Star Trek reference, however forced it may be.

Well, my post for this evening was accidentally scheduled for 6:30 am ET, so it went out before I got out of bed. No worries. I’m just throwing this one in as a follow up to provide proof of eating my first tacos in at least 17 years. That’s right. A patent issuing on the day I last had a taco has already expired.

I will never apologize for a gratuitous intellectual property law reference, however forced it may be.

But you need proof, so here it is.

When I saw the menu, the tacos were loaded with beef, so I didn’t think to order extra beef. What I got was rather light on the details. As a result, I had to eat some more when I got home.

But don’t worry (why would you even care?). The fact that these are from Taco BHell doesn’t guarantee that I’ll wait another 17 or so years before eating them again. Cheese will. Also, there’s one annoying thing about eating tacos that I had long forgotten: Take one bite, and the shell collapses. I had to shove them into my face or everything would have fallen into my lap as I was eating. That’s a buzzkill because to me a taco isn’t a taco without crunch. If you eat soft tacos, there’s something wrong with you. Just eat a burrito or enchilada. There’s nothing wrong with that, but those aren’t tacos. Nothing with a soft shell is.

It bears repeating, but he’s wrong for including hard shell stuff.

I’ll still probably eat tacos before today’s patents expire, just not from Taco BHell.

And no, they’re not authentic Mexican food. Who cares, Francis?

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Tacos, Anyone? @tacobell #food #taco #TacoTuesday

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I honestly can’t tell you the last time I had a taco. I can tell you the last time I tried. In 2004 or 2005, a bunch of us were flying to Miami for my older brother’s bachelor party in Key West. We made a stop on the way to the airport, and there was a Taco Bell nearby. A few of us were hungry, so we stopped in and ordered food. As the last one to order, I paid expecting everyone to pay me back. As soon as he found out I had paid for everything, my brother, being the asshole he is, said we were in a hurry, and if I didn’t leave right now, he’d leave me there. (I’m a picky eater, probably due to lingering childhood food allergies or pressure to eat, and my family would often use food to torture me as a child.) Tacos aside, deciding to go on the trip was my mistake. I should have said, “Okay,” and let him leave. But I didn’t. I acquiesced, and of course no one paid me back.

That clearly leaves a bad taste in my mouth (so to speak), but the reason I don’t eat tacos — or Mexican food generally — is because, other than mozzarella and parmesan, I hate cheese. As any cheese hater can tell you, an order requesting no cheese on something that usually has cheese rarely comes back as ordered. I have no problem peeling the cheese off of a turkey club, but if the food is hot, you can’t just peel away the cheese. As someone who hates to waste food or make a server’s life harder on them, I won’t order anything hot that generally comes with cheese. Ergo, if I go to a Mexican restaurant, the only thing I can order are fajitas. Even tamales, which I love (and recently had), tend to come with cheese even if the menu doesn’t mention it. Consequently, if I’m not in the mood for fajitas, Mexican food is out, but in any event, tacos are out.

It’s all the same, and it all has cheese.

So, here we are on Taco Tuesday at least 17 years since my last taco, and I’ve decided to break that fast. I’m having tacos for dinner, and I’ll probably go to Taco Bell. I’m a picky eater but not a snobby eater. What I hate, I won’t eat, and what I like, I like even if it’s low quality. Taco Bell is good enough for me.

. . . and I’m a lousy cook.

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I’m a Food Critic Again! @Zaxbys #food #Zaxbys

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Well, I’m not so much criticizing the food as I am the service. I’m writing this on 4/5/2022. I’m on the carnivore diet this week, so this was as good a time as any to try out the Zaxbys in my new neighborhood. I knew this was fast food going into it, but I was told that it’s “good fast food,” so I didn’t expect to be terribly disappointed. Oh, well.

First off, I ordered it “for here.”

See an issue? Well, okay. That’s fine. It’s not as if this affected the quality of the food; however, it does show how much the staff bothers to get things right. Next, what’s missing?

I’ll give you a hint: There’s no fork. I had to “mama’s little piggy” this. Okay, not really. I just had to ask for one. It’s not as if this affected the quality of the food; however, it does show how much the staff bothers to get things right. Okay, last thing. Here’s my receipt.

Does the price seem reasonable? For 10 fast-food bites? Probably not, but I’ll tell you what makes it worse: That $2.59 drink? Water. I ordered water. And they charged me $2.59 for a water.

Sorry, not sorry, Zaxbys, but I have a crazy thing (as in “genuine psychological problem”) about first impressions. If you do me right the first time we meet, I’ve got your back forever. If you do me wrong, you’re dead to me.

R.I.P., Zaxbys.

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Stupidity Isn’t Always About Being Stupid #discourse #debate

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I’m writing this post three weeks before it’s scheduled to be published. While I’m about three weeks ahead of schedule in writing posts, I’d probably schedule this one that far out anyway. For reasons that should become obvious, I don’t want to upset the person that inspired this post.

I think there are four reasons people say stupid things.

1. They’re stupid (i.e., they have a low IQ).
2. They’re kidding.
3. They’re trolling just to get a rise out of you.
4. They’re emotional about the issue, and are thus abandoning logic.

It’s far easier to deal with the first three than the last. You can ignore #1 knowing that there’s only so much damage they can do. You can (and should) join in the fun with #2. You can take either approach to #3 depending on your mood and overall approach to life. But with #4, you aren’t necessarily dealing with powerless people. You also have an obligation to figure out why they’re behaving as they are. Their perspective can help you understand the human side to every issue, because these issues affect people, not just things, and even the most stoic people are emotional. Unfortunately, we’re not all shrinks, and even for those of this that are, the person saying stupid things is probably not your patient. So how do you press the matter without making things worse?

Like I said, it’s not easy.

Don’t Fight Stupid with Stupid

Of course, it’s easy to discount someone’s substantive view as stupid simply because you disagree with it. That happens all the time, and that is itself a stupid thing to say. There are far too many intelligent people from all political perspectives to assume they all fall under #1. In the case that inspired this post, the stupid things that were said were:

  1. You shouldn’t ask questions.
  2. If you aren’t an expert in an area, you should never comment on it.
  3. You shouldn’t fully understand an issue before forming an opinion.

The first statement is actually a necessary inference from what was actually said. The others are paraphrases of what was expressly stated, so there’s no way of getting around them. We can agree these are stupid sentences, right? They were written by someone who I’ve known for years and is extremely high on the intelligence bell curve. That’s not sarcasm. He’s one of the smartest people I know. Halfway through the rant, he wrote, “Why did you even make this post at all if you aren’t an expert?” I breathed a sigh of relief because I couldn’t believe he’d say something like that if he weren’t kidding. But no, he continued to double down until the hysteria had risen along an exponential curve. The only way I can reconcile his intelligence with those three statements is to assume he’s emotionally compromised. Given the nature of the issue in question, that’s certainly possible, so I chose not to respond at all.

Procedure v. Substance

To fully understand where I’m going with this, you have to understand the difference between procedure and substance. To use a crass example (only because it illustrates the point clearly), if my substantive view is “slavery is bad and we should stop it,” then everyone is on board. However, everyone should immediately jump ship the moment I offer the procedural position that we should eliminate slavery by killing the slaves. Just because one wants the right thing (substance) doesn’t mean they’re going about it the right way (procedure). Put another way, hypocrisy is an objectively wrong position to take, but hypocrisy is a failure of procedure, not necessarily substance***. The failure of the three statements above are procedural in nature, so I assure you I’m not accusing him of stupid statements because his substantive view differs from mine. In fact, the first sentence of the post that inspired his rant was to say that I refused to form an opinion due to my lack of expertise. The last character of my post was a question mark because I was soliciting more informed viewpoints, not telling everyone how it is.

*** One man’s floor is another man’s ceiling, right? Well, one man’s substance can be another man’s procedure, and I believe that discrimination on the basis of an inherent characteristic is a hybrid of procedure and substance. So, it’s certainly possible that hypocrisy can be a failure of substance, but my point is that it’s always a failure of procedure.

When you shut down dialogue, even in the private sector (and thus most likely legally), you prevent anyone from learning anything. Even if you arrogantly believe you know everything, don’t you want others to learn? How can they if they don’t engage and ask questions? If your emotional state doesn’t allow you to engage, that’s fine, but why would you want to discourage the dialogue among others? We should be talking to each other more, not less, and should feel comfortable expressing our views so that they, the views, can be properly vetted. Responding to a question with ad hominem and other vitriol discourages such discourse among most people.

But not me. I’ll never apologize for trying to see the big picture and for politely engaging rational people with differing substantive viewpoints (elsewhere on social media; not on this blog). Sorry not sorry, but I’m not going anywhere, and I will continue to learn what I can.

I’m sorry for the serious post, but at the time of writing, I was emotional. 🙂

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The Den . . . errrr, Mancave Is Coming Together #RPG #nerd #game #gaming #DnD #ADnD #FASA #StarTrekRPG

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I told my coworkers that I was using one of the bedrooms in my new home into a den. They started calling it a mancave. Well, if this is a mancave, it’s the nerdiest one ever. I also can’t see it as a “cave” considering it’s on the second floor. It seems more like a man loft.

That doesn’t make any sense, does it?

Last week, I bought a 6′ tall bookshelf that finally allowed me to unpack most of my gaming material. This weekend, I picked up a new desk, which again allows me to unpack office supplies and other things. The room is finally coming together, and I’m fairly well organized.

This den, mancave, or whatever you want to call it is oddly important to me. I’ve lived a rather simple lifestyle up to now. I’m used to a small place, and while this home isn’t what anyone would call large, it’s exceptionally large for me. In fact, it’s too large. It’s great that I have room for everything that I have and much of what I don’t have yet, but I spend 90% of my waking hours in this room. For lack of a better word, it feels cozy, and I’m jamming it with everything I want around me in my free time at home.

Do I have enough screens?

I have a lot of Jeff Dee originals to hang, but so far the only art on the walls is this guy over the desk.

Judging every one of my Google searches.

My cousin gave me a magazine rack. I asked, “What am I? 108 years old?” But I had just the use for it.

Though I may never read them again, I like having them.

Seriously. This is a mancave?

Almost one shelf per edition of D&D.

I have tons of other books not related to gaming, but the second bookshelf hasn’t even been put together. On the side of this bookshelf, I hung some memorabilia.

Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!

As far as conventions go, the badges are from All-Star Comic Con 2018, GenCon 2011, synDCon I and II, and Winter Fantasy 2020 & 2022. And then there’s something on top of that bookshelf.

Okay, maybe it’s a mancave after all, but just barely.

The one thing that won’t fit are my musical instruments. I’m keeping them downstairs. That’s probably for the best. It’s a townhome, and the neighbors probably wouldn’t appreciate any noise being upstairs near their bedrooms.

Make no mistake about it: My keyboard playing is properly defined as “noise.”

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to, nor endorsed, the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Another List: Nightmares @xaertosh @TheIdDM #dream #nightmare #education #xenomorph

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I’ve been providing some more lists lately. I’ve been known to do that. This one stems from a random Twitter interaction.

I have three recurring nightmares. I’m afraid to share them because someone like The Id DM might infer some deep-rooted emotional issues and have me committed, but I’m rolling the dice. 🙂

High School/College

Let’s start with the one mentioned in the tweet. This is one has the longest context. My high school and college days were pretty rough. I was always working at least 30 hours while going to school full time, and in college I was a physics student, which isn’t exactly easy. I should have graduated from high school after three years, but my parents wouldn’t allow it. I transferred to a public school for senior year because I was forced to pay for private high school, and I needed the break before college tuition kicked in. I wasn’t allowed to have close friends, so that part didn’t represent too much of a change for me, but my guidance counselor screwed up, which — long story, short — resulted in my spending my last semester in night school to take a required class that wasn’t offered in the second semester. Rather than graduate a year early, I was stuck in night school with people who had failed the class the prior semester.

At the University of Maryland, I was a full-time student majoring first in engineering, then moving to physics. I was working 30-40 hours per week (depending on the year), and I had to take the public bus to class, which took over an hour each way. It was a miserable experience. My law school days were just as busy, but a 28-year-old can handle that sort of thing much better than an 18-year-old. Ergo, I didn’t do so well at Maryland (2.6 GPA) and took 6 years to graduate. It also didn’t help that roadblocks were placed in my way. For example, my parents moved homes when I was in my last year of college. They were too cheap to pay for movers, so I had to do it almost single-handedly. That took time away from studying for an upcoming quantum mechanics exam. So, the day we finally finished, I sat down to study for the exam coming the next day, and my mother started yelling hysterically. She was angry that I hadn’t organized my room yet. Knowing that the yelling wouldn’t end until I did (making studying impossible anyway), I had to take that test without having a single minute to study for it. Graduating with a physics degree from a well-respected program (always within the top 15 since I attended in 1986) without being able to study is quite an achievement, but it wasn’t easy. My family never wanted me to succeed.

Now, all that may sound like the nightmare, but that was real. The recurring nightmare is that, in my last year of either high school or college, I realize that I miscalculated my credits. I’m always one class short of graduation. There’s always some vague notion that failure to graduate on time will cause logistical issues for me (e.g., starting a job, relocating), so I scramble to find a way to adjust that. The nightmare ends before I can resolve the issue. Considering how wonderful an experience law school was, it’s not surprising that this recurring nightmare never involves Chicago-Kent.

Being Chased by Xenomorphs

There’s no context here other than the fact that I’ve seen every movie with xenomorphs in it. They never quite catch me, but it’s always terrifying.

Missing a Flight

My habit has always been to be 15 minutes early for everything. I’m one of those types that considers that on time, and being on time is being late. So, I have this recurring nightmare of racing to, or within, the airport to make the my flight. The flight is always the last available flight that day, and much like the school dream, there’s always a vague notion of a need to make that flight. I’ve been to Seattle only twice, but that’s always where I am. It’s clearly because it’s a west coast city, so having to fly cross-country means you have to make your scheduled flight, but I don’t know why it isn’t some other city. I’ve missed a flight only once, and that was the airline’s fault. I came close only once because my connecting flight was on the other side of the airport, and I was walking with a cane due to my recently-developed arthritis. This isn’t a real world problem for me, but it’s apparently on my mind quite a bit.

I have issues, but so do all of you.

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