Let's roll some dice, watch some movies, or generally just geek out. New posts at 6:30 pm ET but only if I have something to say. Menu at the top. email@example.com on Mastodon and @gsllc on Twitter.
Yeah, you read that right. Captain Kirk and William Shatner were both born on March 22. Shatner was born in 1931, and Kirk will be born in 2233. This may be out of place considering that I’m writing this post on May 7, 2022, and who knows what will happen to my captain (or me) between now and then, but I wish them both well . . .
Yeah, you’ve heard it all before, but now you’re hearing from someone who used to swear by daylight savings time (“DST”). In fact, I wanted the United States to switch over to DST permanently. I heard scientists claiming that it’s bad for you, but like any American, I rejected the science. I didn’t want an evening commute to be dark.
I was an idiot.
As I discussed about a year ago, I purchased a home with window treatments that let sunlight in even when they’re closed. The result has been that I wake up earlier, and the sunlight is far less jarring on the brain than an alarm clock regardless of how soft the alarm is. Humans, and every other living organism, evolved around the sun, not around alarm clocks, developing circadian rhythms (i.e., “physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle”).
It’s far easier to get up in the morning, and I have far more energy even after putting on a lot of my bad weight again. I also easily fall to sleep most nights, which is something that has been elusive nearly my entire life. This despite always using my cell phone when going to bed. Daylight savings time screws that up. Now I rely on an alarm to get to the gym on time, and if I had to be to work before 9 am, I’d still be in that jam.
I had a goal to see three movies this past weekend. This isn’t something I’ve ever done, but I wanted a lazy weekend where I didn’t have to do anything. No fixing up the home. No significant work on my 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons database. Hell, I didn’t even go to the gym, and my martial arts class was cancelled, so no work out. Just pure laziness. I needed the break anyway. Now I’m going to ruin it by, instead of just posting a stupid meme, writing this post. This is far more thinking than I wanted to do this weekend. Yeah, it’s a low bar.
65 Million Years Ago
First up Friday night was 65 Million Years Ago. This movie will not win any Oscars, not even for special effects, cinematography, or costume design, but it’s only about 90 minutes long, which is about how much you can take before wanting to tap out. The story was as original as a movie can be nowadays, and the fact that this ship crashed within a day of the dinosaur-killing meteor hitting the Earth is reasonably explained. It’s still a crazy coincidence, but there’s some sense to it. The movie is, as you probably know, about a spaceship that crashes to the Earth, and so a guy with some sort of hand-held rail gun(?) and hi-tech grenades takes on a bunch of dinosaurs. So, it is what it is, and you all know what it is going into it, so if that interests you, I think you’ll be (just) okay with it. I was.
There were no scenes during or after the credits, but there are some visuals during the first part of the credits that you may want to watch.
Because 65 took only 93 minutes, and Cocaine Bear — only 95 minutes — was about to start, I bought a ticket will sitting in my seat (while the credits were rolling; shut up). Future students in film school will be shown this movie to show them how not to make a movie. The pacing was off. There was a part of the movie that dragged. It was terribly unrealistic, and not at all faithful to the story on which it’s based. None of the characters were sympathetic (maybe one exception). Several bad guys got away, and we were expected to sympathize them. Despite all of that, it was an incredibly fun watch. I don’t regret a single minute of the 95 I spent watching it.
There are two mid-credit scenes.
Knowing that I was going to see this movie, if for no other reason, because Hollywood’s next big thing, Jonathan Majors, is in it, I decided to watch Creed and Creed II this week, and I loved them both. They represented the perfect start to a sequel trilogy. They used Sylvester Stallone, and they followed the basic formula of the good Rocky movies while still carving out their own path, both structurally and artistically. Great idea, and great execution. I was looking forward to Creed III. Unfortunately, this movie was a huge disappointment, which is weird. Besides Jonathan Majors, the backstory is strong as hell. This won’t be a spoiler if you’ve seen the trailers: Majors plays Damian Anderson, a childhood friend of Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed. He took care of Creed, and was the #1 rated amateur boxer ever. (Seriously, he said that in the movie.) Adonis lost his temper and created a bad situation, and when Damian bailed him out, he was the one that got in trouble. He spent 18 years in jail watching Adonis climb to the top, and now he wants revenge. All of this is interesting, and the cast is pretty good, but there’s no Sylvester Stallone, and the execution on the main story is piss poor. It was rushed and unrealistic. Don’t misunderstand me. I can go into a movie like Blade and say, “I’m going to suspend my disbelief and accept vampires exist.” Not everything has to be realistic in that sense, but once you commit to your premise, you have to follow through. You can’t just blow up shit, especially in ways that defy logic, and expect me to roll with it. It was just stupid at times, and I’m too smart for that. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone even if you like this kind of movie.
There are no mid- or post-credit scenes.
Rounding out the month for me are three movies I want to see: Shazam! Fury of the Gods (opens Friday), John Wick 4: Chapter 4 (opens the following Friday), and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (opens the Friday after that one). April will be a slow month with only one movie, Renfield, worth seeing in the theater, but then May brings what should be my favorite movie of the year, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. June has only two movies of interest: The Flash (June 16) and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (June 30), so things will definitely be normal after this month.
That, the Washington Capitals, the Winnipeg Jets, and the XFL were the basis of my lazy weekend.
Last week, I shared a random memory of a Tonight Show interview. Today is an interview from Joan Rivers’ Late Show. The link should take you to the relevant part, which is at 5:35. Here, Dave discusses the split with Van Halen and the fallout from it.
Side note: The fact that Rivers took this gig created a personal rift with Johnny Carson.
What I remember about this is that Van Halen — Eddie in particular — was deeply critical of Dave in the press, and Dave always took the high ground. For a while anyway. A couple months after this interview, I heard a snippet from another interview on the radio. Paraphrasing to the best of my recollection (which, based on these posts, is pretty good), Dave’s response to Van Halen was, “Well, I’m out here forging the future, and Van Halen is still living in the pasture.”
Still, I took Dave’s side in the mess because he didn’t fight back until Van Halen pushed him over the edge. Of course, I don’t know any of these guys, so I never really cared about their personal battles. I just knew that they were both producing music I loved, so the breakup worked out great for me.
As a reminder, one of only 14 concerts I’ve ever seen was Hagar and Roth’s joint tour.
Las week, I had ChatGPT, write a guest post. It was meh. Today, I decided to see if it could analyze me. My input was:
Can you create a blog post for me based on an amalgamation of all of the topics that appear on my site at https://www.gsllcblog.com?
Its response was:
Sure, I’d be happy to create a blog post for you that brings together some of the key topics that appear on your site at https://www.gsllcblog.com/.
In an instant, it summed up years of writing with the following:
Title: How the Intersection of Pop Culture, Philosophy, Science, and Gaming is Changing the World
Introduction: Pop culture, philosophy, science, and gaming are four topics that have captured the imagination of people around the world. While each of these topics can seem distinct and separate from one another, they are actually interconnected in fascinating ways. In this blog post, we’ll explore how the intersection of these four topics is changing the world in exciting and unexpected ways.
Section 1: Pop Culture Pop culture has a huge influence on society, shaping our ideas about what’s cool, what’s important, and what’s possible. From movies and TV shows to video games and comic books, pop culture is everywhere we look. But pop culture is more than just entertainment; it’s also a way for people to connect with each other and share their experiences. We’ll explore how pop culture influences our beliefs and values, and how it helps us create a sense of community and belonging.
Section 2: Philosophy Philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, and ethics. While it may seem abstract and esoteric, philosophy has practical implications for our everyday lives. We’ll explore how philosophical ideas have influenced pop culture, science, and gaming, and how they can help us make sense of the world around us.
Section 3: Science Science is the systematic study of the natural world, from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest galaxies. It has revolutionized our understanding of the universe and given us incredible tools for improving our lives. We’ll explore how science has influenced pop culture, philosophy, and gaming, and how it continues to shape our world today.
Section 4: Gaming Gaming is a rapidly growing industry that has captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world. From tabletop RPGs to video games, gaming is a way for people to explore new worlds, connect with others, and express themselves creatively. We’ll explore how gaming has influenced pop culture, philosophy, and science, and how it is changing the way we think about entertainment, education, and even social justice.
Conclusion: The intersection of pop culture, philosophy, science, and gaming is a fascinating and complex topic that has implications for nearly every aspect of our lives. By exploring these four topics in more depth, we can gain a deeper understanding of the world around us and the forces that are shaping it. Whether you’re a fan of pop culture, a philosopher at heart, a scientist in the making, or a gamer at the keyboard, there’s something in this amalgamation of topics that will capture your imagination and inspire you to think differently about the world.
So, it talks about what we’ll explore, but never explores it. When I pointed this out, it provided a “more detailed blog post,” but spit out basically the thing, just more wordy. Meh. Also, I wound up breaking it by putting it in a position where it couldn’t deny that it lied to me. I asked it to generate D&D characters, and long story short, with very few minor exceptions, it used the 5th edition ruleset to generate both 5th edition and 1st edition characters. Even when I typed in the ruleset for creating a bard, it continued to produce illegal ability scores, impossibly low hit point totals, inaccurate armor class calculations, incorrect spell lists, etc. This is how it ended.
I must admit, it seems a bit crazy to argue with AI, but I was seeing if I could piss it off. I’m not sure if I succeeded.
Remember, kids. Artificial intelligence isn’t truly intelligence. Yet. On that day it is, we’ve probably got bigger things to worry about than lost revenue.
Everyone insists they have a good memory, but our brains form fake memories all the time. I’ve used YouTube to test my memory quite often and found that my long-term memory is pretty accurate. The weird thing about my memory is that I sometimes remember things as a mirror image of the way they were. That is, if I remember footage from a TV show where person A is on the left and person B is on the right, their positions are swapped. However, I remember incredible detail about everything else in the footage. Here was a random memory that popped into my head when my cousin shared some footage from Saturday Night Fever. It’s an interview on the Tonight Show with Sylvester Stallone and John Travolta promoting the sequel to Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive.
And part II.
I remembered almost every minute detail of this interview, and because it’s the Tonight Show, I didn’t reverse the image in my head. The host is always on the right side of the screen, and it’s impossible for a healthy brain to forget that.
Unfortunately, my short-term memory is beginning to suffer, and I sometimes have trouble getting words out when speaking. I also have some difficulty forming new memories. As Kareem Said said on Oz, “Life is balance.” I guess I had this coming, but you can imagine how frustrating that is for someone who historically forgets nothing. While I could stand to lose a lot of childhood and young-adulthood memories, I hope the cognitive decline remains slow.
Tomorrow, I’m discussing memory, so for Caturday, here’s a video on feline memory.
By the way, with all my talk about cats, I don’t own one. However, I bought a house this year, so my tax withholdings were wrong. I’m getting about $2,300 back between federal and state. Hence, I’m buying some cat stuff and getting a cat. Maybe I’ll get two. My understanding is that if they have a playmate when they’re young, they learn the limits of violent behavior. Of course, I’ve always enjoyed “fighting” with the cats I’ve owned, so that’s not too much of a concern.
Today, I have a special surprise for you. My friend, ChatGPT, wrote a guest post. I asked it to write a post on role-playing games, which he insisted should be entitled, Table-Top Role-Playing Games: A Guide for Beginners. Here are its thoughts.
Table-Top Role-Playing Games: A Guide for Beginners
Table-top role-playing games (RPGs) are a unique and exciting form of gaming that has been around for decades. They offer a chance for players to enter a completely different world and take on a new persona. RPGs allow players to create their own storylines and characters while collaborating with others to explore a fictional universe. Here’s a beginner’s guide to getting started with table-top RPGs.
Choosing a Game
The first step is choosing a game that suits your interests. Dungeons & Dragons (“D&D“) is one of the most popular and widely known RPGs. However, there are countless other options available, each with their own rules, settings, and storylines. Some other popular RPGs include Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu, and Shadowrun. Consider the themes and genre that you enjoy most in books, movies, or video games when choosing an RPG.
Finding a Group
Once you’ve chosen an RPG, it’s time to find a group to play with. Look online for local gaming stores or gaming groups that are actively seeking new players. Social media platforms like Facebook, Discord, or Reddit can also help you connect with other players. Joining an existing group will help you get started with the game and understand the rules and mechanics quickly.
Creating Your Character
Once you have a group and a game, it’s time to create your character. This is one of the most exciting and fun aspects of RPGs. You can create any type of character you want, from a sneaky rogue to a powerful wizard. Many RPGs provide character creation sheets that walk you through the process. You will need to decide on your character’s race, class, background, and abilities. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of your character’s backstory, personality, and motivations to make them come alive.
Playing the Game
During the game, players take on the role of their characters, and the Game Master (“GM”) guides the story. The GM is responsible for creating the world, setting up the encounters and challenges, and controlling non-player characters (“NPCs”). Players use dice to determine the outcomes of their actions and decide on their next moves as a team.
Table-top RPGs are meant to be fun, social, and creative. Players should never feel stressed or pressured to perform. Instead, focus on storytelling, teamwork, and immersion in the game world. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask for help from the group. Remember, the ultimate goal is to have fun and enjoy the game.
In conclusion, table-top RPGs are a fantastic way to explore new worlds, make new friends, and exercise your creativity. With the right group of people, you can create unforgettable memories and epic adventures. So, find your group, choose your game, create your character, and start playing. The possibilities are endless!
Okay, that was useless, so I asked, “Can you write a more advanced post for me?” I requested the mathematics used to generate a system. Here’;’s the response.
The Mathematics Behind Table-Top Role-Playing Game Systems
Table-top role-playing games (RPGs) are a unique blend of storytelling, game mechanics, and mathematics. While the storytelling aspect is the most noticeable and critical, the underlying math used to generate the game system is equally important. In this advanced post, we’ll explore the math behind table-top RPG systems and how it affects gameplay.
Game Design and Probability Theory
The mechanics behind table-top RPG systems are based on probability theory, which is a branch of mathematics that deals with the likelihood of an event occurring. Game designers use probability theory to determine how different actions in the game will affect the outcome of the player’s actions. The result is a series of rules and dice-rolling mechanics that determine the success or failure of actions taken by the players.
Dice Rolling and Randomness
Dice rolling is the most common method used to introduce randomness into the game system. Each type of die has a different number of sides and represents different probabilities of success or failure. For example, a 20-sided die has a 5% chance of rolling any specific number from 1 to 20.
Game designers use dice rolling mechanics to introduce randomness into the game system. For example, a player attempting to hit a target may need to roll a 15 or higher on a 20-sided die to succeed. The outcome is not predetermined, and players must rely on their luck and probability to succeed.
Game designers also use probability theory to create balanced systems. They must ensure that the probabilities of success and failure are fair for all players, regardless of their abilities or character types. This balancing act can be challenging, as different character types may have different abilities and skill sets that affect their probabilities of success.
Mathematics and Game Mechanics
Game designers use a range of mathematical concepts to create different game mechanics. One of the most important is probability theory, which we’ve already mentioned. Other mathematical concepts used in table-top RPGs include:
Geometry: Used to determine the range and area of attacks, spells, and abilities.
Calculus: Used to determine rates of change, such as the speed at which a character is moving.
Algebra: Used to determine the values of variables such as hit points, armor class, and damage.
Game designers use these mathematical concepts to create game mechanics that are balanced, fair, and realistic. For example, a spell that affects an area of effect may be limited to a specific radius or shape, based on geometric calculations. Similarly, a character’s ability to move and attack may be determined by their speed, which is calculated using calculus.
The mathematics behind table-top RPG systems is complex and requires a deep understanding of probability theory, geometry, calculus, and algebra. Game designers use these mathematical concepts to create balanced and fair game mechanics that allow players to immerse themselves in a fictional world. Understanding the mathematics behind RPG systems can help players better understand the game mechanics and how their actions affect the outcome of the game. Ultimately, table-top RPGs are a fascinating blend of storytelling, game mechanics, and mathematics that provide a unique and engaging gaming experience.
I pressed further to see which game systems use calculus, and it said that both Champions and GURPS do. I’ve never played either, so I have no idea if that’s correct. In any event, I had a better idea, but I’ve said enough for today.
I have a really annoying habit. Actually, I have several, but this one annoys me. I have to finish what I start. In the context of this post, it means that, once I’ve set my mind to binging the entire run of a television show, I can’t stop until I’m finished no matter how bad the show is. That’s what happened with Scorpion.
Scorpion aired on CBS from 2014-2017, and now you can watch it on demand on Paramount Plus. It centered on a team of underachieving, supra-geniuses who finally get their big break when the Department of Homeland Security designates them a contractor. It started off well enough, and the ratings were some of the best CBS enjoyed during its run. One executive referred to it as “our Big Bang Theory, but as a drama.” However, by season four, the ratings were terrible, and despite a cult following and a tense cliffhanger to end season four, the show was cancelled.
The show was wildly unrealistic. As anyone with a physics degree, a first career in software engineering, and a current career as an attorney can tell you, most shows are. I have no problem with that. You have to enter into any television show or movie with a certain suspension of disbelief, and I’m happy to do so for the sake of drama. After all, despite not being a comics reader, I’m a huge fan of the MCU and DCEU. What could be less realistic?
But this show dives into many different branches of science, and it gets them all terribly wrong. Moreover, while each episode presents a preexisting peril to be solved, while addressing the peril, the Scorpion team members always make things worse, and usually in the most ridiculous or unrealistic of ways. It’s terrible writing that eventually grates on the viewer. Sharks don’t act that way. Computers don’t act that way. Gravity doesn’t act that way. How is it that you’re always getting your jacket caught right before you have to make a getaway? You’ve been on a deserted island for three weeks; how are you all so clean, and why is Cabe still wearing a suit and tie?
As the charm of the show tends to wane, there’s little left to keep the viewer interested. But I have to say, if there were a season five, I’d have watched it.