Sunday, January 18, 2004

Pumpkin Seeds

1. How do you spell implosion? D-E-A-N. In less than 24 hours, the Iowa caucus will have its say and, despite the high-profile endorsements, the internet-driven fundraising, the months-long blessing from the media, Howard Dean's campaign has hit a wall. Hard. It's looking more and more like the Matrix than Lord of the Rings: a great beginning overshadowed by an ending full of muddleheaded plotting and a lethal preference for style-over-substance. In his narcissistic attempt to "take our country back," he's not only distracted thousands of well-intentioned progressives from the candidate that's actually represented their ideals for years - that would be Dennis Kucinich for those just now starting to pay attention - but he's likely sabotaged the political credibility of several so-called Democratic "leaders" like Al Gore and Bill Bradley who sold out hoping to ride his coattails back to relevance. The latter isn't really a bad thing, though.

2. Thanks to Ricky Manning, Jr. and the Carolina Panthers, I don't have to deal with a Super Bowl featuring two of the teams I despise the most: the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. Among other things, can you imagine the over-the-top, pseudo-patriotic symbology we would have been subjected to had those two faced off in the biggest sports event in the world?

3. D&D yesterday was a blast as we completed the first leg of the campaign I'm creating in the Forgotten Realms setting and simultaneuously novelizing for my own purposes. Being the DM is even harder than I'd imagined, especially as I'm still relearning all the rules, and running combat, in particular, is a bitch. There's so many variables to keep track of: little details like the obstacles halflings and dwarves living in a human-sized world face, or how much cover a huge 3-foot rat offers such little people in the middle of melee combat. Then there's the totally unexpected things players do, like raising a ruckus when they're sneaking through dangerous territory, or pausing in the middle of ranged combat to pick through a fallen opponents belongings! I mean, you don't want to kill them but you also can't blatantly save them from themselves, either.

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