I’m Still Alive

August 8, 2009

For those who read my earlier posts thanks.  I’m sorry I’ve been out of sync with writing.  Every time I sit down to write the internal editor says “NO!” and deletes it.

There have been a lot of things to happen since my last post and I’ve just been overwealmed to say the least.  Many, if not all, who read here have seen or heard that my wife is pregnant with our first child.  That experience has led to a lot of self searching and depression that I’ve been working through.  But those parts are a story for another day, or likely not because I’m sure no one really needs to read about the destructive nature of man.

I’ve believe I have three reviews I’m currently working on, although I might try something interesting with one of them.  Plus I’m starting a couple of projects and while I’m not exactly sure how I will get them out.  I will notify on here first.

A couple months back in my post titled “You Make Me Want To Be A Better Person” I mentioned that I needed to take my pills.   Well I’ve remembered about fifty percent of the time now.  But it was kinda hard writing that post when I couldn’t say that my wife was pregnant.  I still go through a lot thinking that my health will lead to problems for me where I worry I might not get to see my children grow up.  So I’m gonna try and do this.  And if I can lose about fifty more pounds the doctor thinks I’ll be off at least one pill.

My reason for mentioning this again is to ask if anyone has any ideas for tracking and reminders.  I’m horrible at it (unless it’s my money).

Well to better days and hopefully reviews for next week.

Thank you everyone and good night.

The Stepsister Scheme Review

June 27, 2009

We’ve all heard the tales of the Fairy Tale Princesses – Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. I’m sure as kids some of us may have even “played pretend”. One thing I will say is these are not the princesses you grew up with, and I think that’s a good thing.

So many people seem afraid of reimagining things. In the recent years we’ve had a reimagining of Battlestar Galactica where the Cylons (at least a few of them) are human looking, a new Knight Rider, which honestly I cannot comment too much on as I didn’t watch it, and even a new Star Trek that seemed to surpass even those who have been involved with the older series expectations. Jim Hines has brought a reimagining like nothing I’ve seen before (well maybe in one small scene in Shrek 3 and the character isn’t right anyways).

The Stepsister Scheme brings new life to old classics. When Cinderella’s husband is kidnapped, she has to team up with pale white sorceress and a hot tempered, light on her feet beauty to travel through various kingdoms in search of the prince. Throughout we meet members of the fairy lands, with my personal favorite being a drunken gnome – how I love gnomes.

I thouroughly enjoyed this book. It has by far been the best book I’ve read this year. This is the first story I’ve read by Jim Hines and I can definitely say I look forward more. I cannot wait for The Mermaid’s Madness to come out later this year.

You Make Me Want To Be A Better Person

June 12, 2009

I’m sure most people have seen the movie “As Good As It Gets” with Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear.  If you haven’t, I’m sorry, the movie is over 10 years old so I’m not going to worry about spoiling anything for you.

So near the end of the movie Nicholson tells Hunt “You make me want to be a better person” during this sob story about his pills.  Have you ever felt like that or a had a person fill you with such joy that you want to change something about yourself?

Today I recieved a letter from my doctor.  I am evidently past due for my diabetes checkup (although I was informed in January they didn’t want to see me until August).  It made me realize I am horrible at taking pills.  I hate taking pills.  I’m supposed to take at least 12 pills a day.  That’s a lot of pills.  2 for sugar, 1 for blood pressure, 1 for a fast pulse, 5 for pain, 1 for high cholesterol, an aspirin for heart protection and a vitamin.  That’s a lot of fraking pills.

I admit that I forget a lot.  In fact I don’t think I’ve taken them for two weeks.  Why is that?  Because I too lazy to keep my pill bottles prepped.  I had a wonderful system of these nifty little vial like plastic tubes that I could fit a dose into.  I set them up to have morning and evening bottles.  I’d take each dose and then I’m supposed to toss them in a box so I can start refilling them … and well I don’t know where most of them are now.

I know I need to take my pills.  I know I need to lose weight – doing so means I don’t have to take my pills because my body should straighten itself out.  I want to be a better person.  I want to be around for my wife, my kids (when I have any), my family and my friends.

So now I sit here trying to figure out what to do.  I find myself sitting alone a lot lately.  I try to do constructive things (this blog for example).  I try to make things.  I try to do so many things.  In the end, I feel like I’ve done nothing.  I’ve always chocked this up to “It’s Life” and deal with it.  That may or may not be best way to handle, but until better things get figured out that’s how it will be.

And I’ve now realized that I’m moving farther and farther away from my thoughts when I started this post and should probably stop.  I’m going to try to write over the weekend, but I hope to have a new review up on Monday and hopefully going into the next week I’ll get better plans for what’s going to be posted regularly on track (or at least started).

Your Wildest Dreams

June 9, 2009

So I was thinking that having a couple of posts a week that are just general thoughts and ideas and well randomness probably wouldn’t be a bad thing.  And well this blog is titled “Random Ramblings …”

On my way home from lunch today I was listening to “The Moody Blues” and one phrase from a song has just been running through my head.

“When the music plays, when the words are touched with sorrow.”

Music has always been a very driving force in my life and I’ve always thought of it as an absoluetely awesome way a good song writer can depict emotions.  In fact if I don’t feel something from a song I don’t feel it’s a good song, nor usually a song worth listening to again.  Oddly enough it doesn’t matter what the song is, it will cause you to feel something.  That feeling may be boredom but it’s a feeling nonetheless.

Lately I’ve found myself listening to more instrumental music than I have in the past.  Now granted when I say instrumental, it’s likely heavy synth and rock instrumental as opposed to classical.  I’ve found that instrumentals have more of an effect on feeling than songs with lyrics, and yes I do kinda put a difference between feeling and emotion.

Well I know find my train of thought failing (in fact I started this around 2PM and it’s now 8:30PM), so I hope my little bit of writing has been interesting.  Until next time.

Blackstaff Tower Review

June 8, 2009

Alright, this is kind of a cop out I know, but I’m going to start my Monday reviews with a repost of a review I posted back in September.  Some may have read it, but those new to the site (or at least my blog since really everyone is new to this site) I hope will enjoy it.  Without further ado I present to you the repost of my review of “Blackstaff Tower” by Steven E. Schend.

Here’s the first in my hopes of many future reviews.

Blackstaff Tower
by Steven E Schend

Right now I sit at my in-laws. It is 10PM CST and I have just set down Blackstaff Tower, finishing it’s Epilogue with a great smile on my face. This book and Mistshore by Jayleigh Johnson are the first books to give us an inside view of Waterdeep — The City of Spenldors, as it appears in the 4th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Now I hope that last statement does not turn anyone off to this wonderful tale. Whether you love or hate the changes to D&D or the Forgotten Realms, this book is well worth reading.

After the shock that hit me during the Prologue it was actually about two days before I was able to move onto Chapter One (but for that I do truly blame work). I fell in love with Renaer Neverember. He reminded me of me, which one always sees as a positive when picking up a new book. Renaer likes to know things, he researches, he collects, but in the end it’s all about the knowledge and its what makes a difference.

Now for those who are coming in fresh, Khelben Arunsun is dead. He died in the year 1374 – The Year of Lightning Storms while participating in a ritual of high magic to bring about the City of Hope — Rhymanthiin. Upon his death, Tsarra Chaadren took up the mantle of the Blackstaff leading us into the whirlwind that begins this book. I’ll avoid the history lesson further (while I may post some later) except to say at the beginning of the book, Samark Dhanzscul is the fifth to hold the title of Blackstaff.

I went into reading this book sitting of the opinion that I was reading it purely for information … I had no interest whatsoever in what has happened to the Realms. I was expecting the same rich and informative writing that Steven has brought to us in his previous novel (Blackstaff) and his other game materials. I went into this book hoping to see the history of Tsarra Chaadren. Well what can I say except that I was thrown for a loop.

Steven has continued to impress me with his fiction writing (as opposed to game writing — which tends to blur together at times). His references to minor characters of the Realms’ past have always driven me to research … I like knowing what I’m reading about, and this book was no exception. How many people can make me constantly wonder about a penguin?

As for information on Tsarra? It’s there, but as I previously mentioned the book begins with the fifth Blackstaff … it was a small shock to me, but knowing how some things have been torn apart recently it wasn’t completely unexpected. The fact that her history was still gotten across decently with her being deceased for such a long time was impressive.

Now I get back to my previous mentioning about the Forgotten Realms of 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. I had no interest in it, and still have very minor interests. Upon finishing this book, not only do I want to do some research on some of the mentioned characters, but I want to dive straight into Misthore, re-read this book, and am seriously considering checking out the rest of the “Ed Greenwood presents Waterdeep” series.

My only complaint on this book is it seems too short. It’s wet my appetite and I want more. The characters were all intriguing and I would love to see Steven write more about them. They are far too interesting to be left alone.

I give this book a 5 out of 5. It is by far one of the best pieces of fiction that was not a sequel that I have read this year. It also includes something unseen in most current fantasy books … a Glossary.

Bravo Steven! As Ed Greenwood says in his introduction — “I couldn’t wait to read it the first time through — and when I was done, I couldn’t wait to read it again.”

Ever Have One of Those Days?

June 7, 2009

I’m sure you have.  Everyone has the day where everything you try to do just doesn’t work out.  Yesterday I decided to drive into Muskegon to hopefully use my parents house as a neutral area where I could think about stuff I wanted to do and work on other stuff (yes I like the  word stuff) without having to worry about everything at the apartment (mainly how messy it is).

Needless to say, I’ve accomplished nothing.  I’ve tried working on session preparation for my game tomorrow, but I’ve been unable to focus on that (or anything for that matter).  Now I am confident I’ll be able to make this work as it’ll likely be the last big session before a big rule change coming through, also there is this thing called summer and many trips happening; the main reason this game is happening on Monday instead of it’s usual Thursday.

Now also I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to write about on here.  I really like having everything planned out.  Yes I realize most people that know me would probably call me a big liar as everything I do seems to just happen; in fact I used to roll dice or flip coins for almost every decision I used to make in my senior year of high school – and that probably explains a lot of my dumb choices, but that is neither here nor there.  I think I’m going to try come up with a regular schedule of what shows up on what day, like Monday is a review, Tuesday is x and Wednesday is y.  I may end up building to this slowly, but I will get to it.

I’ve always been told the first step in writing is to write.  Honestly that’s the only reason I’m typing this post right now.  I’m just going to keep writing posts, even if they’re nonsense posts like this one.  I think I’ll tag these as “Random Gibberish”.

One thing to say for everyone is stay away from snakes.  If you can figure out a way eliminate them from the planet I’ll give you twenty bucks.

Well I think I’ve rambled enough for today.  Hopefully tomorrow there will be something new up that is not gibberish.

A New Beginning

June 5, 2009

A few have read my previous blog on Live Journal and know that I updated very rarely … in fact I don’t think I’ve done a public update since January.  To those that have read my stuff before – I hope this does not turn into much of the same.

I’m hoping that this new start doesn’t end up being much of the same.  I plan to write reviews (something I’ve always planned on doing, but never really did), design ideas – whether that means RPGs, board games, card games, video games, anything really, and just some very random stuff.  The site may change from day to day, week to week, whether its looks or what I decide to start writing about.  The biggest thing is I’m here to write and I figure if I’m going to write maybe there are a few people out there that will be nice enough to read it.

Feel free to make any comments or suggestions about the looks of the site or anything you might like to see me write about or even just to let me know you’re reading it.

Thank you all,

Andrew