Zeitgeist Café Episode 3 – Dungeons & Dragons

Get out your polyhedron dice! We talk about Erik’s love for D&D, and my love for wanting to love D&D. 🙂

This week’s show was a little chaotic. Time limits, people interrupting, FaceTime calls coming in, a dubious and questionable Skype connection, and even a few moments where Erik thought he’d lost his entire recording. There’s also a slight, faint echo on my audio for reasons unknown–sorry about that. Still and all, we got it done! We’re getting our chops, let me tell you.

Show Notes

Dungeons and Dragons

Gary Gygax

Macgregor’s D&D Club ’83-’84 and then ’84 to ’85. Note the decrease in size.

Martin’s First D&D Kit

Mazes and Monsters

First Encounter magazine

BONUS CONTENT!

Erik and Martin’s Monster Manual (PDF–Complete with Asmodeus!)

 

Zeitgeist Cafe Episode 002 – Saturday Morning Cartoons

Erik and I managed one more show before the allotment revved at the end of the month. So, enjoy episode 2! The bit on Uncle Bobby is particularly good, IMO. 🙂

Show Notes

Commander Tom Show

Davey and Goliath

Hilarious House of Freightenstien

Billy Van

Teletubbies

Circle Square

Another One Bites The Crisp

Oh, Canada! (As shown before Movies in the 70s–I remember we even stood up for that, and we really still should)

The Mustang Drive In

Rocket Robin Hood

The Amazing Spider-Man

Looney Tunes

Bug’s Bunny’s Square Dance

Mr. Dressup

The Uncle Bobby Show

Bimbo The Birthday Clown

Original Hamburglar (on a promotional glass–seems it is extremely hard to find evidence of the original Hamburglar, given he was replaced before the advent of widespread internet and digital photography)

The Case of the Stuttering Pig – Scared the hell out of me when I was a kid.

Hyde and Go Tweet – Erik’s Scary tweety bird cartoon. Someone else must have thought the very same as an amped-up terror mashup version exists on YouTube.

Space Ghost

Thundarr The Barbarian

ABC Saturday Morning Commercial Bumpers

NBC Show Bumpers

The Krofft Supershow

Wonderbug

Cucumber

Fables of the Green Forest

Super Friends

H.R. Pufnstuf

Battle of the Planets

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Smurfs

And the Black Smurf I had

Casey Kasem and his extensive voice work

Peter Cullen

 

 

I just don’t get it

Am I simply a fool, or do I not understand anything about the workings of American politics or what is it?

I’m refraining from saying all that much on social media (what little I’m a part of anymore) mostly because it wouldn’t do a whit of good, and I am not American, thank God.

But here’s what I don’t get: why is it so goddamned hard in America to make changes for the betterment of people, and so easy to make a complete shit storm?

I just don’t understand.

How can Obama be in office for eight years and get fought every last nanometer of the way for things like health care, which to someone like me, the benefit of which seems completely transparent, and yet that fool they elected can simply sign a sheet of paper and the most idiotic lame-brained nonsense just rolls right through instantaneously?

How?

I just don’t follow.

If it were that easy for a president to make enormous, country-effecting change to all its citizens, should it not at least be just as hard for someone to build a fucking wall on someone else’s dime, as it is for someone to make health care available to all citizens?

I just don’t get it.

Influx of the past

I’m trying to simplify. Not in any way that’s obvious to anyone else, perhaps, but to try to get everything working the best way it can for me in pretty much any regard.

It’s an ongoing sort of thing. I move very slowly in the realms of simplification where my personal life is concerned, and I sometimes move in entirely the wrong direction where my living environment is concerned.

When one area gets frustrating, I tend to turn to the others. Right now, I’m on a little ‘digital simplification’ kick, wherein I take stock of my online life and see what there is to see that I can pare down or consolidate. One of the items on my big list ‘o things is cloud storage. I’ve been living a “death by 1000 clouds” kind of existence for a while. Dropbox, box, iCloud storage, google drive, copy, whatever else. There’s a little in everything and it’s getting so it’s hard to find anything specific because everything is everywhere and nothing talks to anything.

So I’ve been going through things. Dropbox was among the first, and I found a few interesting things in there. One of them was an xml archive of this blog from way back. I looked into whether any of it could be retrieved, and lo and behold, WordPress has a handy-dandy importer. So, you can now browse all the way back to March of 2009 if that floats your boat. I don’t think I have importable versions of the blog prior to then, but if I find any I’ll let you know.

It should be noted that this influx is written content only. I imagine it introduced a whole load of missing images and broken links, even within the blog itself. So, your mileage may vary when smurfing around the old stuff. Keep that in mind.

Zeitgeist Café

So here’s something new for all of you: I have a podcast!

This has been a long, long time coming. If any of you know me, you’ll know I used to have a radio show. That went off the air in 2008, and ever since then, I’ve been dying to scratch the broadcasting itch. It’s only been in the last couple years that podcasting has come into its own in a way that was accessible to me, and then it became about what form that podcast would take.

Well, it all crystallized one weekend early this year when my best friend Erik was here. I mentioned wanting to do a podcast, and he suggested maybe he could help me out with that.

Therein was born Zeitgeist Café. A podcast for folks who like to listen to a couple aging dudes talk about their past. Erik and I have been known to do this before. Most recently, we managed this whole thing in video format, first in a goodbye to Cardill video, which featured us saying a fond farewell to my childhood home:

And then in a follow-up video about the whole block:

One of the comments that I got from a friend of mine upon watching the video was that she wanted to go out for coffee with us. I was thinking maybe this would be the next best thing. It works wonderfully in that unlike the video stuff, there’s far less overhead, less editing, and less organization and time allocation. Erik can be anywhere in the world (although usually only about an hour or two away) and I can be somewhere completely different, and with just a little magic, it can sound like we’re in the same room. This makes it entirely likely we can pull this sort of thing off on a fairly regular basis. So, if you ever wanted to have a coffee with Erik and I, and listen to us gab in the way we do, this is your big chance.

But, at the end of the day, it’s a labour of love. I really enjoy doing this, which is why it’s happening. I’m interested to see if anyone listens, but even if they don’t, it’ll still be fun.

It’s hosted through Libsyn, so you can either go to the podcast page there and use one of the many options or subscribe through iTunes. Or, if you’re cool with leaving the browser open, you can just have a listen here:

Carmitzvah

Our faithful little buggy turned 200,000 today. I’ve been pretty lucky with my cars so far. I have owned only two in the past 17 years. Both have been excellent. This one more than the last, even. It’s been rock-solid, and beyond the kind of maintenance you’d expect, it’s just kept going and going. Not a speck of rust on it in spite of it currently going through its eighth Southern Ontario winter.

So yeah, hats off to Toyota. There’s a damned good reason that the Corolla is a huge seller. There’s nothing special about it at all, unless you consider the fact that it’s exactly what I need—dependable, inexpensive transportation.

Long may she run. Here’s to the next 100k.

I wonder if I will ever get this quite right

So that there is what’s called an “Abgerührte”. In German, the literal translation is something akin to “mixed up”. It’s a reference to how the thing looks on the inside: a sort of chocolate swirl mixed into a lemon flavoured pound cake. The above example is a pretty bad one, because it’s been lightly burnt.

My mom used to make these all the time. They were pretty much a staple. If there wasn’t an Abgerührte in the house, there would be within a day. It was the go-to afternoon cake. I ate this cake from the time my memories formed, to the time my mom passed away. Long after I’d moved out of the house, (not once, but twice) and then got married and had a house of my own, mom would make these, freeze them in quarter cake sizes and hand one over to me whenever I was over there and wanted one. Often, she’d hand me one whether I wanted it or not. Truth be told, there wasn’t a time where I turned her down. I liked the cake.

After mom died, I felt the acute absence of this cake. It was weird not having it around. I kept the last half cake in the freezer long after she died, and the last slice of it was a pretty sad affair.

I was told that I should learn to make it for myself. After all, it was the only way to get it, and what better tribute to mom than to continue to make her signature cake? Thankfully, the recipe for this was one of few that made it into my possession after we cleaned out the apartment.

This is my fourth attempt. I think the first attempt was the best so far. While it didn’t turn out as good as mom’s, it at least tasted kind of right, and looked kind of right.

The second one I forgot a key ingredient—rind from the lemon. That made it taste less lemony which was all wrong.

Third time, I forgot to use bread crumbs in the pan, which caused the cake to stick in the pan and made an unholy mess of it. Tasted good, but looked like hell.

And this one got overdone. Sigh. I think I can write it off to the fact that we have bought a new oven since the last time I made this, and so the temps are weird and unexpected, and I guess I need to adjust that for next time, assuming I try again. Maybe it’ll work.

Thing is, I find that making the cake is sorta sad. While the idea that it’s a good tribute is true, and as a bonus it provides me with the home-made treats that I enjoyed and took for granted the whole of my life, the act of baking this cake just seems to underline the fact that I no longer have anyone who will bake it for me. The fact that I fail so spectacularly every time I try doesn’t help either.

I wonder if I should keep trying, or just chalk all this up to the fact that death means loss, and the loss is often greater than anyone can predict. It comes in unexpected guises, with weapons for which a psyche doesn’t necessarily have any defence against.

Morning Routine

Martin: yawn

Martin’s Body: “Here’s your pain, sucker!” wham

M: Jumpin’ Jesus H. Christ!

MB: “Thought you’d like to know, we’re still ‘healing’ over here from the ‘drive-thru surgery’.”

M: Thanks, I got that.

M: Reaches for Tylenol.

Brave new world

Well, thanks to the Soulmen, incredibly awesome developers responsible for Ulysses, by platform of choice for the written word, I can now publish direct to my blog from the software. This opens up a lot. I hope it’ll mean more content here, as I don’t need to futz about with intermediate steps. We shall see. I need to get my bearings around how things are done first, that’s certain. Stay tuned. 🙂

Oh, and you folks at Ulysses. You totally rock.

Missed Pokéopportunity

Okay, it showed up powerfully and quickly enough that it felt like a shot from the right side that I didn’t see coming. It’s like, on Friday the world was the same, and Monday, everyone had lost their damned minds. References to that seminal Star Trek NG episode “The Game” we’re all over Twitter. So much so that even good ‘ol Wil got in on it.

At first, I didn’t much care, and I’m still being drawn in by increasing curiosity. Even if all I am is a geek with a smartphone and interest in all things nerdy, Pokémon has never been an interest of mine, and I lived through the whole phenomenon the first time around. I could have played the card game, or the video game, or watched the cartoon. I never did. It just didn’t grab me. So, it’s not really surprizing that I’m pretty tepid about this most recent iteration.

Still, it’s turning out to be quite the zeitgeist, and so it’s earned a spot in my scribblings. I haven’t installed it yet–I might not ever do, but there’s an increasing chance that I’ll have to just because it’s here, burning brightly, and I am an insufferable old-school, nerdy moth.

I was thinking about it having learned a little about the game though, (I’m not going into that here. If you really want details, go to iMore). But it seems to me that the world of smartphones is trying to take away from the world of our own imaginations.

See, when I was a kid back in the early 80s, I used to be the sort of geek who liked to play Dungeons and Dragons. Loved the whole lot of it. I was never super-obsessed with it; I was never a dungeon master, and I never bought all the paraphernalia and stuff (Although I did have a healthy collection of AD&D books, some of which are collector’s items these days) but I liked to play. And my friends were obsessed with it. And so I went along.

One summer it was such that when we couldn’t play the game because we lacked resources, people, or our parents demanded that we go outside already, we’d play what our little group came to call “Realistic D&D”. In practice, it was a bunch of kids running around a field or wooded area with sticks trying to virtually kill each other. But in our imaginations, we were knights fighting dragons and Orcs in a Tolkienian landscape. In our imaginations, we were in this world.

It strikes me that this is a little what Pokémon is all about. Except instead of imagining your encounters, the app provides you with them. You can see, though augmented reality, the thing you’re trying to deal with.

I was thinking what an amazing game that would be. Imagine if you could finally go for a walk in a wooded area and actually randomly encounter dragons and then fight them in such a way that saving throws and hit points were tracked, and gold and experience points were gained. I imagine that people could submit modules for public spaces in their communities and sell those modules online and people could go to the park and play. Now that would be an app I’d install.

I claim copyright on the idea. Gary Gygax is dead… Someone needs to step up. 🙂