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Ravings of a Madman [GoogleCode] [GitHub] Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Jonathan" journal:

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May 30th, 2009
11:21 am

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Privacy
Apparently the new wave of web 2.0 social networking has caused people to act like complete douche bags, and forget a sane separation of work and personal life.

It seems certain people can't butt out of my personal life, and don't have the slightest fucking clue when comments are just off-handed frustrated remarks not directed at anyone in particular.

As such, future entries in this journal (if I ever get around to any :P) will most likely be friends locked. If you think I should add you to my friends list, you should already know how to bug me about it.

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May 18th, 2009
12:04 am

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In which I realize it's midnight and go to sleep
I hate times like this.

I'm so worn out, so tired, that I can barely do anything. But the instant I lay down I get restless.

I've been in a weird funk since acen. Spending as much time around a number of other people, and friends specifically, has somewhat accentuated my current feelings of loneliness and isolation. Certain.. events.. that have happened recently have not exactly helped that either.

Hung out with megalomanicamie & Todd this weekend, went to see Star Trek on Friday, then they had to house-sit for Todd's mom saturday and sunday, so I hung out with them. Had a good time, but I still just come back here to my empty apartment.

Speaking of Star Trek, it was surprisingly good. The cinematography was.. poor, though. Too much lens flare/reflection activity going on in the field of vision and too much wanna-be blaire witch project style camera movement made it very difficult to actually watch at times. And the extreme Star Trek nerd in my head has a lot of little consistency/continuity nits to pick. That's all pretty minor though, the plot didn't suck, the acting was good, and I enjoyed it.

Todd picked up Descent over the weekend, and we played a couple games of that. Fun game, definitely looking forward to playing it again. Although it seemed like there were a few oddities, which I'm thinking I'm too tired to think about right this moment..

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April 21st, 2009
11:15 pm

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Clusters
So, this last saturday was the first session of a new 4e campaign.

I started it a bit heavy handed, sorta pushing the characters into the first story bit. Mostly just to kick-start the group, and to try and dump one of the players (new to 4e) right into the action. I'm using one of the dungeons in Dungeon Delves to start off with, and probably work that into the Thunderspire Labyrinth module.

The party is a Half-Elf bard, a Half-Elf Paladin, an Elf Ranger (Archer), and a Dwarf Invoker. Half the time the party is making dwarf jokes. The combination is.. interesting. With three basically ranged characters, fights seem to be an exercise in either keeping the paladin between them and the enemy, or just keeping the enemy as far away as possible (the invoker doesn't do a half bad job of that, actually).

Which brings an odd problem. Movement through a dungeon generally consists of the following routine:
- Move as close as possible to the next area without alerting creatures inside.
- Figure out who/what is inside
- If hostile, burst into the room guns blazing
- Stay in the hall while blasting enemies from range.

So, the whole "sneak up and burst in" strategy isn't really a problem per se. Depending on the situation, it's either appropriate that the party gains surprise, or appropriate that the enemies know they're coming (battles in a nearby room tend to be fairly loud).

Where I'm kinda stumped is that last bit. The tactic is to stick in the hall/room before the encounter room, forcing the enemy to come to you. It allows defensive/melee types to stick in the front and take the brunt of damage, while the ranged sticks to the back, relatively safe. It also limits the number of enemies that can effectively engage the party simultaneously.

From my perspective, as a GM, this is frustrating. It really limits the tactical movement possibilities for both the players and the npcs. Battles slide much easier into "stand there and attack shit until everything is dead". I want the players to be a bit more engaged, to care more about their position, and to actively have to think about moving each round. Not "I'm standing behind the paladin, nothing can get to me, so I can stand here."

I don't want to just throw NPCs with ranged ability at the party to counter the damage bottleneck issue. Tactically, what they're doing is reasonably intelligent. I don't want to punish that by consistently throwing archers or spellcasters at them. Ideally, I want something that will make them WANT to enter the room to engage the enemy.

Right now, I only see one real possibility, and that's using the geometry of room layouts make the "kick the door open and stand in the hall" tactic not viable. Oddly shaped rooms, pillars, turns, etc to basically block line-of-sight from the door to most of the enemies.

I could really use some opinions/suggestions on this, though.

I'm pretty sure the last 2/3 of this post was pretty rambling. Oh well.

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April 11th, 2009
12:47 am

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Sci-Fi musings
I really need to update more. I don't know why I haven't been.

Thoughts on BSGCollapse )

On VoyagerCollapse )

I've actually got a bit more to say about DS9, but as I've gone on long enough here, I'll save that for later.

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March 23rd, 2009
11:07 pm

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This title should be cleverer.
Got my first paycheck from work last friday. That felt really good. Bought some Mocha Porter from Rogue Brewery to celebrate. Good stuff.

Saturday I went out looking to buy the PHB2. I started at Borders downtown. They.. didn't have it. They didn't actually have much of anything, it was rather pathetic. I tried Barnes and Nobles next, but no joy there. I figure they either sold out of their initial shipment (in which case they fail for not having enough) or they just didn't have them yet (in which case they fail for not having them ahead of time). So that kinda sucked. I consoled myself with a smoothie from Emerald City Smoothie and ordered it on Amazon, along with a DM Screen and Dungeon Delves.

Had an all-day meeting at work today, with all the developers and such. Granted, that was really only seven of us. Planned out the stuff that was currently on the plate, future projects, etc. So far I'm really enjoying the job, and like where it looks to be going. So life is generally good on that front.

On the way home, I stopped by borders and picked up the Watchmen novel, as well as Neuromancer, and a couple of WotC's "Dungeon Tile" products. Arcane Corridors and Caverns of Carnage, to be sure. Having taken a closer look, they're actually pretty neat. I'll see what kind of usage and utility I actually get from them fairly soon. If they work well, I might buy more.

I started reading Watchmen tonight, as well. I've honestly never read it before, I figured I should before seeing the movie. Well, I figured I should, in general.

I finished watching Voyager sunday night. The final episode was surprisingly not terrible. I have some more thoughts on the series, but I think I'll put those in another post. Probably along with my thoughts on the BSG finale. The short version, sans spoilers: I thought the finale was good, a solid way to bring the series to a close. It answered some of the questions, leaving a few somewhat nebulous. I enjoyed it. I think I might start watching DS9.

Supposedly, my mother is coming to visit this weekend. I should call her, or something. Probably also clean.

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March 11th, 2009
10:41 pm

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The Long Dark
So, a proper update.

I got a job. I'm doing contract web development work for a small startup. And by small, I mean I can count all the employees on one hand. It's also a slight drop in pay from my last job. But that's all okay. So far, I like everyone I'm working with, I like the work I'm doing. And I have a fair bit of freedom. I'm working from home, and am pretty much the sole developer on the project I'm working on (although I do get some input from others, which is cool).

Because I'm actually employed as a contract employee, I had to get a business license, and do all that paperwork. So, technically I'm now the sole proprietor of my own business, licensed to operate in Seattle, WA. Woo! I'm now a small business owner! It was actually surprisingly easy, and cheap. Something like $120 all told, and I think $90 of that is a yearly fee, and I could do all of it online.

The real nice part is that I don't have to actually -tell- my mom that I was unemployed for 5 months. I can.. abbreviate.. that period, and pass it off as nothing major as I shifted jobs. ;)

Speaking of my mother, she's coming to visit the end of this month. I'm not really looking forward to it, but I'm looking forward even less to actually talking to her before then. Which I really ought to do, but I've kind of ignored her entirely for the last couple months. Oh well.

Working from home, and specifically off my home computer, as a contracted hourly employee is an interesting experience. Keeping track of hours worked is.. different. There's a couple time tracking/invoicing OS X apps I'm demoing to see what I like. I think I need to rethink/rework my computer setup. It's not quite ideal. I've thought this for a while, but it's a bit more noticeable now. I also think I need a second monitor for my main computer.

A laptop would be nice as well, but one thing at a time I guess. ;)

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10:49 am

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quickie
Quick update. I have a job, yay! Started last friday. So far, so good.

I downloaded all of Star Trek: Voyager, and have been watching that. It gives an interesting perspective on star trek, and sci fi series' in general.

I'll try and make a more meaningful update tonight or something.

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February 17th, 2009
11:20 pm

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Cabin Fever
For anyone actually reading this:

How much interest is there in some kind of forum-based rpg gaming? Not sure what system I'd want to use, and it'd possibly be something slow-ish moving, and light on hack & slash. (or, at least sporting some house rules to move briskly through it)

I'm feeling a bit creative, and would like something else to occupy my time.

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February 14th, 2009
02:08 pm

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I wish I could just stop feeling anything. At least then I'd stop getting hurt.

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February 6th, 2009
09:07 pm

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What is this here for?

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