You should Be Listening to Houselights on The Nerd Party

Because I don’t do podcasts, and you’re all craving for yet another one to frequent, here’s an idea.

kessel korner

Usually I don’t turn this blog into a shameless shill machine (though maybe I should?), but you really should listen to the House Lights podcast on The Nerd Party.

Yes, yes, I’m a part of it, but I just finished recording our next episode and it’s such a delight. Three people who legitimately agree AND (strongly) disagree and have the sorts of discussions you have with your friends about movies.

I’m proud to be a part of the show, and I want people to listen. If you haven’t tuned in yet, give it a shot. You won’t regret it.

OK, shameless shilling over. Next time, I’ll be talking about something like what would happen if Connor MacLeod committed self-beheading.

Here’s a sample show just to get you in the groove. (Tristan is horribly wrong in it, and Darren is correct, yet we all remain friends.)

And if you…

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The First Jedi

I’m ashamed to say this never occurred to me.

kessel korner

Just a random thought that hit me as I celebrated Easter this year.

Obviously, Christianity starts with not just an idea but a specific event centered around a being. Who that being was/is/might be as it relates to your own worldview is not really relevant to this random thought pixelated into blog form. (For a hint where I stand, note again that I celebrate Easter.)

Now stay with me.

As I drove the long way home, the thought came to me about what great story potential there is within Star Wars lore to discover and explore “The First Jedi.” There must have been a person around whom the beliefs first coalesced.

I began to relate it all to the life story of Jesus and the events that are the basis of Easter celebrations and, as my mind continued to wander through the miles, I realized I’ve always wanted…

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Cleveland Guardians Facing Lawsuit over Name Change @Indians #Cleveland #Guardians #MLB #trademark

Here’s my alter ego discussing the recent lawsuit filed by the Cleveland Guardians roller derby team against the Cleveland baseball team.

The Property Attorney

Blog posts cannot substitute for legal advice. If the topics discussed in this post are relevant to a real case you have, please consult an attorney.

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A roller derby team has sued the team formerly known as the Cleveland Indians.

You may have heard that the Cleveland Indians are no more. The Major League Baseball team’s name has been changed to the Cleveland Guardians, though not on Twitter (what choice do they have?). Unfortunately, there already is a Cleveland Guardians team in Cleveland. They’re a roller derby team (yeah, they own the website address), and they claim to have a trademark in the name, prompting them to sue the baseball team. The roller derby team is also claiming that the baseball team attempted to buy out their rights to the name with an insulting offer. If…

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“Vin Diesel” Takes You on an Adventure @rmchairGamer @merrittk @VinDiesel #DnD #RPG

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My friend, Kurt, found this site by Merritt K. Word at which “Vin Diesel” takes you through an adventure. I’d be shocked if Vin gave his permission for this site, but stranger things have happened. Besides, he probably wouldn’t object to it if he found out.

All he ever says is, “I am Melkor.”

It’s actually frustratingly simple but could serve as the basis for a rather interesting advertisement for playing RPGs even before you dive into starter sets. I know some, so I know it wouldn’t be difficult to expand it beyond what appears here, but I’m not particularly motivated to do so and don’t blame Merritt for not doing so. She planted the seed for those who should actually do things like this.

Get on it, game designers!

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Fuck You and the Cock or Pussy You Rode in On #profanity

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That wasn’t a good start, was it?

Some of you may have noticed my recent uptick in the use of profanity in my posts. Well, maybe one or two of you. In any case, there’s a reason for that. I tend to use this blog for silly things, avoiding politics, religion, and other incendiary topics at all costs. This post is a bit serious though. As most of you know, I’m an attorney, and I take the right to free speech very seriously. That’s what this post is about.

Last Friday, I posted the following meme on Facebook.

Almost everyone responded with, “Fuck you,” or the cleverest variation they could muster. It was wonderful. However, as you all know, there’s always one person that spoils the party. Here’s our exchange.

Why the focus on weakness? Because it’s bad for society. It’s not just profanity that scares people. Some people are afraid of applause and jokes on topics they believe should be taboo. Phonophobia is a real thing, but as someone who was diagnosed phobic during college (different phobia), I have first-hand experience distinguishing between fear and a phobia (c.f., depression v. sadness). There aren’t nearly as many phobics out there as your Facebook posts suggest. Some of these fears are merely the result to choose the easy way out and be weak. That doesn’t require professional help to correct; it needs a kick in the ass.

In other words, we all have insecurities and weaknesses, yet the world should be allowed to keep spinning anyway.

Unfortunately, the lowest common denominator of our society (in terms of weakness) is now dictating the terms thanks to their allies that blindly defend them with no appreciation for how it will weaken our culture. The allies claim that our job as the strong is to protect the weak, but that’s an incomplete statement. Of course we shouldn’t be picking on the weak, but we should be encouraging the weak to become stronger, or at least to learn to coexist in a society with the strong and everyone in between those extremes. Coddling (and downright encouraging) them isn’t good for us and isn’t good for them. Other cultures aren’t so weak, and they’ve already started to overtake us in specific ways.

Before I make my next point, I want to note that I hate the passive aggressive nonsense of, “If you don’t agree with my position on [political issue], then please unfollow me now.” Fuck that. Those people are assholes. If I don’t want someone to follow me, I should get up off my lazy ass and block them. The following isn’t meant to say otherwise.

If you don’t like what I’m saying, you have options. You can unfollow the thread, unfollow my blog or other social media platform, unfriend me, or block me. Ultimately, I don’t care if you don’t like the content of my thread regardless of the reason. If you do any of those things because of profanity (and I detect it), I’ll probably think to myself, “Well, that’s sad of them,” but it’ll be a fleeting thought quickly forgotten and never mentioned again. More directly, there’ll be no hard feelings on my end. I actually don’t want anyone to go, because everyone has something to offer in a conversation, but if you can’t handle naughty words, that’s your burden.

Or at least it should be.

So, your personal choice isn’t what concerns me. What concerns me is when you demand I facilitate such weakness, thus attempting to force your choices on me. Whether you complain to Facebook or another private entity (who often bow to the pressure of small minorities of misguided extremists), or even worse to the government, then you’re infringing on my life and possibly my rights. That’s where the line should be drawn, both legally and socially.

The Consequences of Censorship: The New Town Square

In the old days, if you wanted to bitch about an issue, you’d go to town square, prop yourself up on a soapbox, and start talking. Because town square was public land, the government couldn’t easily suppress the speech, and we had a free flow of opposing ideas allowing us to hammer out the details of our own positions. Now, other than major events, the public uses social media as town square. That is, we do the same thing on Facebook. Facebook’s control over their platform is, for all practical purposes, control over our speech, and is almost as dangerous as giving the government such control. Moreover, the government will always find a back door to indirectly influence private companies to restrict speech the government doesn’t want to hear, so it could become the same thing.

Suppressing any speech eventually suppresses all speech. That’s unacceptable because without free speech, none of our other rights have any teeth. This isn’t to say that I want private companies to be forced into certain speech. They have speech rights too, which includes the right not to speak. They also have rights to run their business, but only if it doesn’t harm society. There’s a delicate balance to be struck here, and ultimately the only pushback we can place on private companies is through antitrust law. That’s a completely different discussion that will definitely not be had on this blog. The point, however, is that this is extremely important.

So is shit, fuck, cock, and pussy really so much to ask for?

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc

My First Car Check Up @Kia #Kia #car

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Today, I had my first car check up at 6,000 miles. Sounds boring, right? Well, . . . it is, but I have nothing else to write about today. I’ll keep it short.

I love my car, and Kia has been great the whole way through. Today was no different. All I needed was an oil change, tire rotation, and a few other small things. When I got there, they told me it’d be 1 hour and 45 minutes. That was quite a shock, so I requested a loaner so I could spend that time at the gym, and they managed to scrape one up for me.

They gave me a Kia Soul, and it was weird. First, it has a key. I already forgot car keys existed. I just push a button on my K-5, and vrooommmm!!! Then as I was driving, I noticed that . . . I was driving. “Why the hell is this car steering for me? Why isn’t it warning me that there are cars around me?” It’s a miracle that no one died, neither I nor anyone else near me. People can’t drive.

Figuring out how to work that radio was right out.

But hey, I really appreciated that they lent me a car. It allowed me to avoid almost two hours fiddling around with social media. And here’s my bill:

My next car will almost certainly be a Kia too.

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A Controversial Topic Sure to Inflame @stefondiggs @BuffaloBills @TerpsFootball @NFL #BUFvsKC #NFL #football

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today it’s a diversion. I never post about politics or sports here or on my gsllc twitter stream, because many nerds have no time for sports, and I have no time for your incendiary hate. But there’s an exception to every rule. So today, I’d like to discuss abortion.


With my team out, I’m doing what I often do. I’m throwing in my hat for the former Terp, Stefon Diggs.

Former Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs signs $2.5 million deal with  Vikings - Baltimore Sun
When he mattered most to me.
Stefon Diggs invigorates Bills' offense | Las Vegas Review-Journal
Now I’m just settling.

Go Bills!

I’ve been to Buffalo once for UFC 7 in 1995. I have no immediate plans to return.

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Chris Pine to Star in the Next Dungeons & Dragons Movie @Wizards_DnD @Hasbro @Bartoneus

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Deadline is reporting that Chris Pine will star in the next Dungeons & Dragons movie. Unsurprisingly, I have an opinion on this.

Chris Pine is a good choice. The fact that he’s even in the mix means they’re willing to spend some money. Money talks, so that could be a good sign (though not necessarily). The prior D&D movies ranged from “sucks” to “low, B-level but tolerable if you’re already a fan.” I wouldn’t say any of them are good movies. This is, at least in part, the result of spending too little, but the source material certainly isn’t the problem. There have been too many movies (e.g., Lord of the Rings) and TV shows (e.g., Game of Thrones), some award-winning, that could easily have been considered “D&D movies” to think that the source material has a significant, inherent disadvantage.

In other words, it could be good, but . . .


I don’t know why everyone else doesn’t like them, but I can tell you one thing that annoys me, and it doesn’t bode well for any future movies. All three of the prior movies overtly made D&D mechanics part of the dialogue.

“I’ve prepared only two teleport spells today and have already used one of them.”

Yes, we know. You’re subject to Vancian magic. Don’t beat us over the head with it.

“Cool your barbarian’s Rage.”

But she gets only three a day! She needs to make the most of it!

“I need a frost sword.”
“Heroic or paragon?”

Can you imagine people having this conversation even in a world of magic?

Dialogue like this stood out to me and annoyed the hell out of me. However, if you don’t have dialogue like this, in what way is the movie a “D&D movie”?

Campaign Setting Material

First, it’s got to be about the storylines and characters. In other words, it’s got to be about the campaign settings. Despite having the second one on DVD, it’s been a while since I saw any of those movies, but I don’t remember mentions of Elminster, Anauroch, or anything that was proprietary to a D&D setting. Perhaps they were mentioned in passing and I forgot, but making them the center of story would be critical to making this a “Dungeons & Dragons movie.” Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough.

The Monsters

Second, it’s got to have the right monsters. At this point, dragons are trite, which is problematic because it absolutely has to have an intelligent dragon in it. Fortunately, D&D offers a hell of a lot more than dragons. How about mind flayers? No, wait. Those really belong to Lovecraft. Orcs? Tolkien. Goblins? <yawn> What about beholders?

Was the creature guarding the camp in the Dungeons and Dragons movie a  beholder? - Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange
We don’t like to talk about this scene.

Do you see the problem? If you choose an iconic monster from D&D, either other writers have beaten you to the punch, a prior D&D movie has ridiculed it, or it was “borrowed” from elsewhere, opening it to criticism (both fair and unfair). You can certainly find some untouched creatures that are proprietary to D&D — the third movie did that — but will slaadi play well in Peoria? I doubt it. Any D&D movie will have to rehabilitate whatever monsters they choose to incorporate. Xanathar, to name just one, could certainly work for me as the BBEG for a trilogy, but as the test audiences in Blade told us, most people prefer a human villain. Note well that, for this movie to be a success, it must appeal to more than its sycophantic base; non-D&D players must be interested, so “most people” have to be the focus. But I’ll leave those details to the professional filmmakers who’ll have the benefit of market research.

Plus, We Suck: We Really Aren’t Sycophantic

You always want to grab the largest audience but must start with your base. To win the hearts of as much of your base as possible, you have to throw each of the subcultures a bone. The problem with that is that far too many of us are edition warriors. If you throw 4th edition lovers a bone, it will downright offend others. It doesn’t matter how much you give them; giving any love to 4th edition will be seen as a deal-breaker to some. There’s just far too much nerd rage. Lord of the Rings doesn’t have “versions,” so if you make a good LotR movie, the material itself won’t alienate many potential viewers. I don’t know how to avoid that with D&D.

Between a fractured base and a horrible history, I’m afraid that any D&D movie will devolve into low, B-movie status, and not necessarily “so bad it’s good.” And before you say, “What do you know about it, Rob? Are you an expert?” No, but I’ve seen every effort they’ve made to date. They were all below average. I also remember having a Twitter conversation with someone (@Bartoneus, I think) while we were both watching the premiere of the third movie. He gave up on the movie about 10 minutes in, and he wasn’t alone. History suggests I’m right. By all means, prove me wrong. Clear these hurdles and make a good movie for once.

I’m still glad they’re going to try. My fingers are crossed.

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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?)