Saturday, August 02, 2014

| Guardians of An Galaxy

I liked it!

I also like hunky Chris Pratt from Parks and Rec, so I was pulling for him to make a big splash in the lead, but in the end I don't think he pulled it off.  Not that it was entirely in his control to do so, directing, writing, etc. all got in the way, but he didn't scream 'leading man' to me after seeing it.  Maybe he'll do better in II.

Anyhoo, it was fun!  Definitely not a kids movie, yet my whole theater was filled with kids.  Lotta swearin', killin', stabbing, talking about killing, smashing, shootin, breaking, etc., which I enjoyed, but glad I didn't bring Wy.  I didn't THINK of it as a kids movie until I watched some trailers and much of the cutesy Raccoon and Groot stuff came across as kid friendly.

It was an interesting blend of real Earth stuff with Marvel universe stuff, which was neat too.  Did they do that with the OG GotG comics?  Marvel Unlimited will tell me!  Good stuff, and glad I chose this movie to be first I've seen in the theater since 2011 (Deathly Hollows, pt II)!

PS for me, the after credits bit was a bit of a let down.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Saw it tonight too and it was great. I like the marvel movies for the most part, and it's def right there with Avengers as one of my faves. All the marvel movies have been getting better, but this one was just legitimately funny throughout which is always impressive. I just watched Man of Steel on cable again the other day, and what a dreary piece of shit that turned out to be.
Eyy! Caught a showing of Guardians of the Galaxy. I thought the other Marvel movies I've seen were OK-to-mediocre (IM1, IM2, Avengers, Thor, half of Captain America), but this one was actually really cool and worth seeing! Much funnier and better written than the others and WAY prettier to look at (lots of really cool space vistas to look at). All the characters were pretty solid and I think not knowing who any of them were made things more fun and surprising.

Also, the post-credits "stinger" for these movies is usually a labored tie-in to some future entry in the series, but this time it was just ludicrous (in a good way).

| Wazzooo Benefits

O Rugs: That sounds quite stressful. I was never a huge fan of working in call centers, especially when resolving an issue is time sensitive; however, with dispatch, that would be a whole new level of pressure. Plus, if there is one thing I am not good at, it's memorizing binders full of information. Good luck, sounds like you are on the ball. It would be nice to see you at one of the future nerd-/man-/gaming-/drunk-/prosti-cons.

With regards to the affordable benefits. I miss that. The missus used to have awesome bennies when she worked at the hospital. For the two of us the plan cost exactly $0/mo. And they were excellent plans. Her wage was quite good too. Too bad the department dysfunctional, her managers neurotic and the company obsessed with profits over patient care. One of the most profitable non-profits in the area. Now we are on my company's benefits, while they are not astronomical, we are paying a good bit more than $40/paycheck for the two of us. Booo...

r00d, yeah TSR's needle point acquisition was strange indeed. But I think the most cringe worthy part for me was:

In early interviews, they frequently boasted that gaming and business required the same competencies. Gygax even compared the rise of TSR through 1980 to a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, with it starting out as “a low-level-character sort of company” but gaining “excellent experience” to advance towards the “really high-level game producers such as Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers.”

Funny thing is, I always thought he lost control of the company to his wife in a divorce or something along those lines. Anyway, it was a good read. I guess that goes to show that a lot of old school games had very poor business acumen.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

| Bennies & The Jetz

I got hired for the purposes of being a Dispatcher, but before they even let you try to start learning that, you have to go through training on all the other floor positions/jobs. So, I've been training on the call-taking side of 911 since March, starting with the non-emergency desk all the way up to 1st Queue (you take nothing but priority/emergency calls all shift long). Thankfully, the pay while in training is enough to pay our bills and put food on the table, even with Michelle being unable to work (don't get me started ranting about the last 9 months of doctors that have been glad to take thousands of dollars in fees and provide next to zero clarity/solution on what's going on). The benefits are absolutely ridiculous. I didn't think these kinds of benefits even existed anymore. When I went through my onboarding March 31st, they said I had to fill out a stack of paperwork so my benefits could start on time.. and I asked if it was 60 days (hoping), or 90, or 6 months, or whatever.. and she paused for a second, looked at me and said, no, these all start tomorrow, April 1st. *cue look of shock*

So we're filling out papers for health insurance, dental, vision, life insurance, disability, pensions, 401k stuff and things and we get to discussing what it's going to cost, coming out of our checks. *brace for impact* She says, "Ok, it's going to be $80 a month.." That's amazing, just $80 for myself to get all that covered? So I ask.. ok, so how much to add my wife and kids onto all this? "No, that's for all of you." *me with the blank stare of disbelief* ... I had her repeat it like 3 more times because I was sure there was no way that was right, lol. Then later on she said, "oh wait, I was wrong on the out of check cost for you on your benefits" (me thinking, ahh, thought so, here we go) ... "I forgot that the company kicks in $40 a month towards your benefit premiums, so it's only $40" (yes, I made her repeat that 3-4 times too, lol)

Anyway, long story short, (too late), I'm really enjoying the work. It's extremely challenging intellectually trying to remember all the rules for the 11 different agencies/townships we service, keeping pace with the hysterical callers is always fun), and there's a certain satisfaction in being able to genuinely help people and get them aid when they need it most.

Weirdly, it almost increases the pressure I put on myself to perform at the highest level because now I'm absolutely horrified at even the thought of not making it through Dispatch academic/training/testing and losing this job. This is the kind of job I could see myself putting in 25-30 years into and retiring from. In the "even better news" category, once I get moved from call taking over to Dispatch, I'll be working 4-on-4-off, 3-on-3-off schedule, so I'll have about 14 days a month off!

I dream of a life where we're not struggling to pay medical bills, make rent and still eat.. and instead have leisure time / expendable income for things like TRIPS TO CONS OMG. :D

| Expensive Doxy

That sounds like the world's most intense job training process ever! Is it gonna pay off in the end with a killer salary and benefits? I have some friends here in the LAPD who've worked the dispatch/communications here and it sounds INTENSE. I gotta ask someone, but I'm not sure if what they did was 911 or something else. They're the ones I hear on the police radios telling them to go here or there, etc. Fuck man, good luck.

That D&D article was interesting but kinda weird. Like, it just sorta ends. And that part where Gary Gygax bought some NEEDLEWORK company or some bullshit!? That just annoyed me to no end. I can understand normal hobby-dudes getting way over their heads and making shitty business decisions, but that was the straw that broke the armadillephant's  back.

Oh, Strain-ley
We got around to watching the Strain pilot, and it was good! Looked great. Guillermo Del Toro has a knack for making shit mad-scary and atmospheric (see: At The Mountains of Madness script I sent Elzar). There was a fairly large cheese-factor to things, which may or may not be present in the book, but I know what I'm signing up for with a vampire story, so choo-choo Charlie, all aboard the crazy train.

VICE just had this article about rapey dungeon masters and some D&D history - this is Schlep Week here at AT! Using the DM Guide's "Harlot Encounters" and a d100, I rolled an 84: Expensive Doxy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

| Wazzooooo juice!

That's gold.

Anyone try out that game Divinity? Allegedly it's the best most awesomest DND style RPG, top-down game to come out in forevah. It reminds me of a modern Neverwinter Nights, with a crazy good campaign/mission builder and the ability to multi-play through missions. Don't want to spend $39 for it just yet, but I'mma keep an eye on it for now.

In other non-gaming news, I FINALLY just had my 3 day final skills assessment at the new jerb (911 dispatch center) and passed! That was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Essentially memorizing three 5 inch binders full of procedures, acronyms and codes was brain numbing and took nearly 100% of my free time. I now get to spend 2 more months on the floor taking calls and getting proficient with the computer systems before I go back into a month of academic study and then into another 6 months of hard core training/testing. Gah. Overall though I love the job. It's never boring, even if some times nerve wracking to be dealing with people in ultimate peril/danger all shift long. Out of all the people who started through the filtering/hiring process, 5 of us got brought on in March, now there are just 3 of us left. Unofficial stats from round the cooler say only one, maybe two of us will make it through the Dispatch training/testing process. lol, no pressure or anything.

Curse your riddles! If you wrote the article, just come out and say it!

Let's have a joint bday in late august where you and enr0n stay at the embassy suites near my place and we get loaded at my place and break out the dungeon tiles for some GM emulated DCC action!

| Onote

I guess I should have used my words a little better; the article was written by Onote, a doppelganger of our own Enoto!  And by doppelganger, I mean someone who is named the same, and their name is spelled very similarly, but different and they are actually different people and I am not him.

Look at the author and hopefully my cryptic wordplay will make sense....
You wrote that article...?

PS: Tactical Studies Rules does not roll off the tongue.
Interesting stuff. Let me see if I have this straight - the Blumes wanted out of TSR, and offered to sell to Gygax, but he stalled/did not have the cash, so they sold to a wealthy recent recruit to the company (whom Gygax had recruited for the purpose of investing in TSR).  Is that kinda right? I have terrible reading comprehension.

| GygaXfiles

Here's an interesting read by our own Enoto doppelganger, Onote, about how Gygax lost control of TSR in about the span of 90 minutes.  Of course, there was an shitload of buildup to that point, and some crap afterward, but the knife was driven in and twisted in a single TSR board meeting.

I have Onote's rather large-ish book Playing at the World, which is a pretty good, somewhat dry, but very exhaustive work on the history of RPG/wargames as researched through physical documentation and interviews from the period which he writes, e.g. he bases history on records from the time he is writing to hopefully exclude any opportunity for failing memories or nostalgia-laden recall (for better or worse) i.e. interviews from magazines published in 1976 to document what really happened in 1976, not what someone REMEMBERS happening in 1976.  I recommend!
On a whim, I've started re-watching the X-Files on Netflix, an episode here and there. It's one of those shows that was around during high school that I watched in chunks, but never religiously (like Buffy). I'm 5 episodes in and it is 90's as fuck. Not super-great or anything, but there's hints of awesomeness here and there. Also, the leads have a ton of chemistry right there from episode 1, so that helps.

Monday, July 28, 2014

VAG juice spritz! that's kickstarter gold.

Personally I think they should just hire a room full of nekkid ladies anyways.  But I'm sure there's a tourrets quota somewhere in HP's HR guidelines.  Pretty unlucky to end up sitting next to the tourrets guy.  Maybe you pissed off the GRE manager in the past life?


| Ho'kay

At first I was trying to make heads or tails out of your comments eLzar and I decided you just had lost your shit. Then I remembered about your cubicle buddy's tic and then I decided you had lost your shit, just I know why this time. Sorry dude, that sucks. Maybe you can do what Francis did. Just slowly stop showing at the office as frequently, telecommute in more often. He started telecommuting and showing up in the office 3 days a week, then 2, then 1 day a week. Finally after about 6 months he was coming in once every 4 weeks. No one said a thing to him...

jA-eL, I don't think I necessarily buy into the effectiveness of the special lady perfume be hind the knees, but more to the point, I am just hoping this is something the kids do these days. Seems a little peculiar and unnecessary, as r00d pointed out. Then again who knows, maybe it increases the number of approaches they get a night. Anyway, moving onward.


| *AHEM*


Ahem, ahem, hmm, hmm...


ahem, ahem.

*COUGH, cough, ahem, ahemahemahem...*



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vag-juice spritzer might be the kicks-tarter we've been waiting for.

Saw "The Master" on Netflix. That was intense! Didn't think it would be as watchable as it ended up being. Some people online seemed to be really off-put by it, but Joaquin Phoenix acted the shit out of that movie. It wasn't as "a look behind the scenes of Scientolmology" as I kind of wanted, but it was still really good.

Lucy: We went to see Lucy on Friday. I think I've come to the realization that I just don't like Luc Besson's movies, even though I've seen every single one of them. I feel like it would have been better if it had been a more typical Hollywood action movie, instead of this weird fucking Luc Besson -fantasy- or whatever it was. It wasn't offensively bad, but it was just OFF in an annoying way. There's a cheesy  European-ness to it that rubbed me the wrong way, which makes sense if you've seen any other Luc Besson movie. "Oh hi, I am American police kommandant enjoying my strudel cheeseburger! Stop or I will shoot you with my granatwerfer, USA."