Friday, December 10, 2010


That was your opportunity to look away now or run screaming.  If you stay now its your own damn fault.

We still have some folks?  Good.

So, with the Holidays comming my pen and paper RPG time has been sadly restricted due to lack of my own time and lack of players who can meet up.  On the upside this means I can play a bit more of WoW Cataclysm. 

As many of you know my main is Thunderstep, a Tauren Death Knight.  I play almost exclusively on the Horde side for a lot of reasons which I'll spare you for now.  Simply put I love the stories of the Warcraft universe.  The lore, while not always consistent, is a good damn story overall.

That dedication is apparent in this new expansion , and while I have not seen all of what it holds yet I do have a few things I'd like to vent before my spleen bursts.

Horde Side
I really enjoy the goblins in the game.  I have ever since Warcraft: Orcs Vs Humans.  They are insane, pyromanicial, money grubbing, mad scientists.  I LOVE THAT!

So when the horde gained them as a playable race I was excited.  That feeling went up and down until the expansion came out, and we could finally get into the goblin starting area.  IT IS AWESOME!

It's funny, darkly humorous, and at times even sad. 

More folks see the comedy of the goblins but there are some parts that are deeper that folks seem to be missing.  They were once slaves and became free, making their Trollish masters into their slaves.  They represent intelligence without a moral guide, hence the "Mad Scientist" slant.  They have destroyed their environment for the sake of money, and re-built it with technology  to their demands.  They are about as divorced from nature as is possible.  They don't fear what their discoveries will bring, or even what they will mean, but only drive forward to the next big thing.

Funny, sad, and a commentary on our lives.  Overall a great start.

So, what has Thunder's undies in a bunch here?  I'll give you a name...  It has now become a name I hate more than Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream COMBINED.  That name is... Trade Prince Galliwix.

He is the grand poobah of Asshats, Fucknuggets, and Twat Waffles.  Politicians come to him to see how much more they could screw their constituents.  Even Deathwing looks at him and says "I just want to destroy the world... THAT guy is a REAL asshole."

Why do I hate this little green pile of excrement so much?  Its because either the story writers at Blizzard are masters of subtle genius and are leaving open an opportunity at a later date for some political infighting and maneuvering for the goblins...  OR they have no God-Damned idea what they are doing and ended the starting area with something akin to "Well we need a Goblin leader... Fuckit leave Galliwix in charge and move on."

You see, all throughout the starting experience for the Goblins, your character is in competition with Galliwix.  First for potential leadership of the Bilgewater Cartel, then as rivals for leading the Goblins on the Lost Isles, and finally as hero vs slaver villian douche at the end. 
As for a list of Galliwix's crimes:
1) Sabotaging a party your character throws by hiring PIRATES to threaten and KILL people.
2) Tricking you to hand over your life savings to take you on THE ONLY AVAILABLE BOAT in order to survive the volcanic eruptions thanks to Deathwing.  (Side note... what happened to the rest of Kezan, the Goblin home island?  Did ALL of it get demolished?  What about Undermine, the Goblin hidden capital?)
3) Taking your money, and then promptly tossing you and all other goblins into a brig to be sold as SLAVES. 
4) Trying desperately to turn others against you after you SAVED HIS LIFE off the coast of the Lost Isles.
5) While another volcano explodes, taking all the other goblins as slaves AGAIN!  With pirate help!
6) Trying to kill THRALL, leader of the Orcs and the Horde in general! 

The end fight of the zone is your character in a shredder, Thrall as Uber-Shaman, and Galliwix in a spider-bot machine (Stolen from Gnomes as I DOUBT he could have made his own).  You get to totally kick his rear, but just before the coup de grace Galliwix surrenders, and tells Thrall:

Trade Prince Gallywix yells: Uncle! Uncle! I give! You guys are too much for me!
Trade Prince Gallywix yells: I'm beaten. You've shown me the error of my ways. From here on out, I promise to reform the way that the cartel is run!
Trade Prince Gallywix yells: I'm your goblin, Thrall. What would you have of me?
So here I am... at this point hoping desperately that Thrall will kick his ass, turn him over to the other Goblins, or hell, even strip him naked and sell him to the gnomes... and I get this:
Thrall grunts and thinks a moment on what to do with the Trade prince.
Thrall yells: For now, you will remain the Trade Prince of the Bilgewater Cartel.
Now I don't play on a role playing server... people usually complain when folks DO try and role play in video games anyway, but I have come to like my little goblin and want the best for her and her people (That's right... I'm playing a FEMALE goblin damnitt!).  Regardless, when I read the above I "yelled" in game

          Geargrind: WHAT?!?

Lets put this in perspective... Galliwix thus far has tried to kill you, make you a slave, make your friends slaves, and kill the leader of the whole GOD DAMNED HORDE.  I yelled "WHAT THE FUCK!" in real life as well.  Commenting on writing in a game like this means one of two things I think.  1) It was well written and got an emotional response or 2) It was honestly a "What the Fuck" moment that makes no damned sense, writing or not.
Thrall yells: I will send a representative from amongst your people to the new warchief, Garrosh Hellscream in Orgrimmar.
Thrall yells: You will have a new home in Azshara and the Bilgewater Cartel will be part of the Horde!
Trade Prince Gallywix yells: It will be as you say! Long live the Bilgewater Cartel! For the Horde!
The ONLY saving grace here is that Thrall couched his statement with a "For Now" about Galliwix leading.

Here is the problem though...  WHAT THE FUCK WAS HE THINKING?!?

No no, let me take that back and re-ask the question...


Did they forget Thrall's character totally here?  Did they forget that Thrall himself was a slave?  We have to rescue him from Alliance and Thrall notes he was a slave once so no... so why is Thrall fine with someone who Thrall even ackowledeges as being a slaver and who had just tried to kill him as being worthy of being leader of the Bilgewater goblins?!?

Even amoung Goblins, Galliwix is painted as an epic douchebag.  The other goblins don't want him, but know he's too dangerous to take out from the way the NPCs talk about him.  So I ask again... WHY?

So I come back to one of two things...
1) (optimistic) The story is just unfolding and we (players) will get to depose Galliwix later and put someone else up as leader of the Goblins.
2) (Pessimistic/realist) Blizzard gives a shit less, just chalks this up to a "Hiccup" in the lore and Thrall's behavior, and ignores that they have effectively made a sociopathic, megomainacal, greedy, little shitbag a faction leader.

*Sighs*  The thing is, if I did not like the story so much I probably would not care one way or the other... but God-Damnitt Blizzard!  STOP FUCKING SCREWING OVER THE HORDE AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Blues

So, as some of you may know (All three followers at this point) I played Thunderstep on For The Horde Radio.  I joined the show late in the game, and only after sending in letters about my cliff diving habits of my troll shaman (Founder of the crater of the month club).

As of yesterday, show #50 has aired... and For the Horde Radio has closed its doors on the podcast world.  I find myself becomming rather introspective about the whole experience now, but then again I don't want to get too sappy or maudlin here.

I loved being on the show, having the opportunity to write some good stories, tell some other stories, laugh, yell, and just have a great times with folks that have fast become my friends.  I know the guild in game will carry on, but there is a part of me that feels like something special really passed away on Sunday and I miss it already.

That is not to say that the show should have continued on.  I think Auntie Ed was damn right in that it was time for her to close up shop.  I loved the show while it was there, but like all good things it was time to move on.

I just hope that Auntie Ed, Grand Master Z, Anim5, Big V, and even Zogofxp will still stay in touch with me and each other from time to time.  For some reason I always get afraid that when something ike this ends, the folks involved will never see each other again.  That's kinda silly in this situation, but then again I remember saying to friends I made in college that I would keep in touch and I have not seen or heard from then again either. 

Oh and before someone starts ragging on me about not contacting them, yeah that's true, but I'm also not sure where to begin to try and find folks with just knicknames like "Baloo" and "Monkey-Boy" to work with...  Oh and if you must know, I was just known as "Captain" on campus.  Long story, I'll spare you.

I made some special friends on FTH radio.  I also really felt good making and putting stories out there.  I never would have had either if not for Auntie Ed.

Thanks Auntie Ed...  Thanks for everything.  See ya soon I hope.

-->Thunderstep Splinterhoof

(Thanks Saigan for the Pic!!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Is it camp or is it cosmic?

What does Cthulhu mean to you?

I stumbled upon that name when I got my hands on a very old edition of AD&D's monster manual.  The idea of some cosmic monstrosity just... appealed to me.

Later I actually read H.P Lovecraft's works.  I came away with a new idea of what real horror should be.

Even to this day, stupid little Hollywood slasher flicks and the drek they crank out via Saw after Saw (Torture Porn as one friend called it) hold absolutely no appeal for me at all.  I'll take madness with a side order of human meaninglessness and some truly cosmic beings with awe and wonder to drink.

Of course now I see Cthulhu just about everywhere... case in point, South Park's last few episodes.

Now I like the pop images of Cthulhu, and it's good to see him and the Mythos used in many ways, but still I wonder... 

Perhaps this is just the silly little DM story driven mind going on here, but I wonder...  with all the images of the master of R'hyleh about...  That if we are not being prepped in some diabolical way for Dead Cthulhu to awaken?  Ia Ia Cthulhu Fthagen...  *Shrugs*  And the scary thing is?  I'd still rather take that evidence of otherworldly beings and elder Gods than hear one more minute of all this stupid 2012 stuff!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Notes... A Good Thing!

One of the bad habits of a GM I have is running just about any game by the seat of my pants.  I like being able to make stuff up on the fly, and I normally have no problem recalling the stuff I make.  This is both a boon and a curse at times however, in that while I can make stuff up on the fly, the games I run usually turn into something that the designers would not recognize as theirs at all.  I'll have to share my saga with the "World of Darkness" and how I modded the holy hell out of it for 8+ years for a long running campaign.  Yeah I'm pretty sure White Wolf would have no idea what I was actually running.

With Hex games however I seem to have no real problem following their rules and still being able to make stuff up on the fly.  I have to admit I'm DAMNED impressed by the system and one of my players on Friday said it was great!  His reply was essentially "It's a great system.  Qags is simple enough for anyone with just enough complexity for anything." 

Now I don’t work for Hex games, so don’t think I’m just schilling for them.  I really like the FATE system as well, but for breaking in gamers who are used to AD&D Hex seems an easier fit to begin with.
So what was this about notes?  Well the other bane about being able to magically pull stuff out of my wazoo is that I do inevitably forget SOMETHING…
Like the name of the rancher the players first went to investigate on the first session.
So… for the first time in a LONG time I actually took NOTES on the game session.  First off, to help me remember what the heck we were doing, and second so I could more accurately report the shenanigans to you.
The Pinkerton Monster Files
The team, known as the “Mason Dixon Marshals” is a group of Pinkerton agents specialized in xenobilogical and paranormal threat investigation and elimination so necessary in these modern times! (Note: I’d like to speak with the history professor on campus about the dates and happenings of the Civil War for more details.  Luckily he’s a gamer too!)
The MDM consists of:
Jacob Edwards: Professional Gambler
Xavier Grave: Bounty Hunter
Zakk Cannur: Undercover K9 officer (He’s a blind man with a “seeing eye dog”)
“Winchester”: Sniper
Dr. Nkki Smith (no typo on the name… the player wanted it that way!): Xenobiologist and Bio-warfare specialist
We re-join our heroes as Jacob and Zakk finally make it into the little town of Groversfeild on the Rio Grande river south of the Devastation line.  The team meets over a breakfast serves at the ranch mansion of their eccentric host, Colonel Westerson and his butler Charles. 
(The Colonel I played up as a crazy Southern man in a steam powered, tank treaded, wheelchair.  Picture Colonel Sanders on an espresso bender screaming for mint juleps.  Charles is a black man but has the bearing of an English nobleman and seems to suffer working for the Colonel while giving the characters some ACTUAL help.  The butlers… when they aren’t the ones who did it… ALWAYS know what’s really going on.)
(Here the characters were able to meet and greet and get to know each other again.  We added Jacob and Zakk for this run and lost our duelist/gunslinger.  Oh well.  Nkki’s player came up with the military background for the E. bola and said her character would also be researching those biological weapons in the field against the things they faced.)
Dr Smith (DHOT!) mentions that it will take some time for the virus to work on the creature they encountered, if it works at all, and the MDM decided on another plan of action.  With the help of Charles, they found out that one ranch had NOT been struck by this mysterious monster.  The Shen ranch on the other side of town.  The MDM decided to boldly go forth and investigate… after the third round of bacon and OJ.
(There were a lot of plans flying around the table here, as well as a well and truly botched job roll by Nkki’s player.  She wanted to know if she knew anything about this monster so I had her roll with a difficulty rating of 5.  She rolled a natural 20 and man did I hate breaking to her that in Hex that was a critical failure.  It was not a life and death situation but for a while her character was truly convinced the thing was an Irish giant named “Iron Jack” and they could get rid of it using magnets.)
The MDM made it to the Shen ranch, which was heavily laden with Asian flair.  Inside the house they met Lee Shen, the 20 year old daughter of Xi Shen, the ranch owner.  She explained that her father had defended the ranch with a jade sword but he was now laid up in bed resting.  Xi Shen was 98 years old after all and the monster has not come back.  Zakk asked why he did not hear any cattle in the fields to which Lee explained in some excitement that their ranch was becoming a test facility for a new Lemurian technology for breeding cattle!  This shocked the MDM and they were taken out back to see this research in progress. 
They were greeted outside with a massive structure made of what appeared to be white marble, brass, and bronze with three massive domes of metal running down the center length of the building.  It was simple, yet elegant in design and outside the door stood in customary white and gold robes, a Lemurian of the Biological clan, symbolized by the tree with its leaves growing down and connecting to its roots emblazoned upon his helmet.  The Lemurian had the typical respirator to filter our air of impurities and all the MDM could see of its skin was its emerald tail and the eye region on its face.
(We had some funny moments in the house, when the Doctor rolled and passed a weakness check for her kleptomania and when “Winchester” rolled and FAILED his weakness of “Watch out for that tree!” and plowed into a Ming vase and obliterating it.  “Winchester’s” weakness is going to be interesting… especially since he has a JETPACK!)
(The Lemurians I’ve had a good idea of their physical characteristics for a while.  They dress in modified Asian and Roman robes that completely cover their skin.  Only their tails and eyes are seen by the mammals.  Otherwise they appear to be sleek reptilian humanoids with rather large mouths.  They are strict carnivores but lean towards fish and cephalopods for food.  Unfortunately a rogue faction of their society caused an ecological disaster, killing all local fish and squid populations, to force the Lemurians into the modern world.  The caste system works on a color and symbol pattern which… I have not fully worked out yet.  I do know White is now Scientist and Black is Warrior with specialties denoted by the symbol on their helm.  The mask/filter is to purify our air, and to add needed salts not found far inland from marine habitats.  It’s also a courtesy to the mammals that tend to freak out when seeing a large mouth full of very VERY sharp teeth.  Too many bad racial memories of giant lizards stepping on mice perhaps?)
The Lemurian took the MDM on a tour of the facility which was fully automated by Lemurian technology and automata.  The cattle were fed, cleaned, milked, and stored, while the bulls were also “milked” to obtain sperm for genetic analysis to ensure superior breeding with the cows.  Xavier asked if they ever had any problems and the Lemurian just began to utter that they had been error free when suddenly… A metallic Disc struck the tank next to his head!  The group turned and found three Lemurians dressed in black with red serrated discs emblazoned on their helms drawing their sonic swords and rushing to attack!
The MDM proved however, that one should never bring a sword to a gunfight as they blasted these would be warriors, and even Samantha (Zakk’s “Guide Dog” Doberman)  joined in to tear the throat out of one of the warriors.  Even better, only two cattle were lost to missed shots leaving Miss Shen to look at our heroes and say…
“I see the Pinkertons are just as efficient as I have heard.”
(The session had to come to an abrupt close but I was bound and determined to give combat an actually try.  So out of nowhere I yelled :SUDDNELY… NINJAS! And dove into combat with the group.  Between laughing they got up to speed with the combat system fairly quick and soundly kicked the Lemurian warrior’s asses.  I was even able to mentally justify it later (the players will have to investigate it a bit) by saying the attack was an attempt on the Lemurian Biologist’s life.  On the other hand I have also learned to NEVER give ninjas a body of 11…  Man they sucked and my rolls did not help them.  After the fight the players had to leave but everyone said they had lots of fun and look forward to playing it again.  Nkki’s player also said this system would be perfect for her to use to run some games!  Hell I think I made a convert!  WHOOT!!!)
Next time… something with pictures.  Y’all have GOT to be tired of walls of text.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Game Time

So it's Friday, which means I'm going to be running my QAGS game again this afternoon.  To continue where I left off from last week, the players had just discovered what was killing the cattle on a large ranch.  It was a massive (200+ft) black skinned monster (It's a Japanese Oni but the players don't know that yet)!  After some fun and gruesome descriptions of what it did to the cattle (like pulling off the heads to add to its necklace, and biting the stomach of one cow to suck out its intestines like spaghetti) we had to end the game last time.

However, last session the players set up an "ambush" for whatever was killing the cattle by subtly poisioning one of the cattle with a strain of infectious virus (*sniff* I'm so proud of my students).  The problem is,  and what I REALLY should have thought of before now, the virus was "bought" by the medic for a (ONE) yum-yum...  and she explicitly stated she wanted... EbolaWHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?!?  One yum-yum for frigging E. bola?!?  I goofed there, I really did.  I made that way too damn cheap and didn't really think about why a medic in the middle of a steampunk old-west would be carrying around a vial of E. bola

So, my challenges for today's session:
1) Figure out what the hell E. bola does to an Oni
2) Get the PLAYER of the medic to explain why she was carrying around deadly viral strains.

Hey... it's HER character, so she should be the one to justify it.  I'm not going back on giving it to her or saying she can't do it again, but I am going to make her flesh out her character more to see why her medic did it!  Should be interesting all around.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ideas, Privacy, and Copyright material

This post is Copyright November 17th, 2010.  No seriously it is...  it came from my brain damnitt so hands off!

The question of the day is, when writing a blog how much is too much?  Let me put this into perspective.  My wonderful wife has a Master's degree in information security.  I love her dearly, but I also am more terrified now of information theft than I ever was before marrying her.  The stuff she has taught me and told me about what some of these yahoo hackers can do is just damned creepy. 

Let me also say that my "Day Job" is a professor of Biology at a Community College.  I also am a faculty advisor for students interested in getting into Biology as a major.  This means I get to talk to students a LOT and one thing I have learned is that they have no damn filter on what they tell me at times.  I know wat more about some students than I think they should logically tell me!

So what some folks may say, what's the big deal?  Well if you just look on facebook or any other social sharing site you see the same damn thing.  People putting thier personal lives, thoughts, and ideas out there for everyone to see and comment on.  Didn't we used to be afraid of such things?  Didn't we learn when we were kids to not speak with strangers?  Now we're letting it all hang out and we wonder why we can't get any privacy anymore.

Its sort of like a reverse version of 1984.  Instead of "Big Brother" watching our every move, we're watching each other's every move and ignoring the stuff Big Brother is doing.  *Shrugs*  It also does not help that it seems most folk's attention spans are like mine at times (the aforementioned chipmunk on crack).

So what does this have to do with writing or this blog? 

Well, how much is too much?

I want to share my ideas for stories and such, but how do I know that by putting it out there someone won't ninja it before I copyright the material?  Likewise how much do I honestly tell you about myself before my privacy is compromised?  Not that I expect folks to show up at my office or on my doorstep, but then again stranger things have happened in this world.

So... how does one share ideas without risking them being stolen?  How does one reach out without revealing everything about who they are?  I'd say just use a bit of common sense... but lets face it, common sense is not that common.  *Shrugs*  For this blog though I think I'll just have to fall back on gut instincts and see what happens.  If I see my ideas published or stolen however... well I'll come up with some sort of suitable punishment...  Atomic pink fluffly bunnies of DOOM come to mind.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Head-shaped dents in my desk... getting deeper all the time.

First off let me say that I love the idea of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  I do, I really do, but as it has in almost every past year I have tried...  I have stalled out due to both issues in real life (RL), and sudden roadblocks of writer's block from hell. 

I'll skip the RL issues for matters of privacy and move onto the writer's block.  Part of the issue there comes from the fact that I swap attention spans between a Zen monk on some days and a chipmunk on crack on others.  The block does not come from any lack of ideas, but often it comes down to an overabundance of things I'd like to write that get about half formed before I get distracted by something shiny.

Let me give you an example.  Currently my wife and I have 2 novels that are stalled midway through (because of me I'll fully admit).  The first is a book that focuses on a young girl and her adventures with the Unseelie Fae.  The second is a Sci-Fi work that deals with humanity coming into contact with an alien race who's entire technological focus for their civilization lies in biology and bio-tech.

On my own I have a fantasy/steampunk book I've been toying with on and off constantly.  I have gutted it and re-started it twice now, and am firmly stalled again.  In the meantime I'm working on ideas for pen and paper campaigns, skype games, and short stories.  All of which get about partway done before I realize 1) my skype group does not meet that often and I actually had to drop from 2 others and 2) I only do short pen and paper games for the gaming group on campus.

I need to pick a work and focus on it, but how can I do that when I love them all?  I get wrapped up in each story and come to know the characters very well, which I guess is the point for me as an author... to know my characters so well as to see the world though their points of view. 

And now...  Well I want to try my hand at podcasting.  I have an idea for a show that ties directly into my steampunk book and have even sent out initial ideas to some trusted friends who do podcasts of their own for advice.  The advice?  GO FOR IT!

And so the dents get deeper as I try to figure out what to focus on now.

Anyone know a good, reliable, and CHEAP site for hosting a podcast? 

Friday, November 12, 2010

RPG Log: Board, Sword, and Cords group

So, every Friday at the college I work at we have a meeting of our local gaming group named "Board, Swords, and Cords."  It sounds vaguely S&M I know... but given the mix of tabletop and video gamers we have the name fits.

I'm one of the faculty advisers of the group and often try to run certain games for them.  Today I was able to gather a few of the folks interested in pen and paper games and got them to make some characters using the Hex Games QAGS system.  Granted we only used the "Quik Start" rules, but that was enough to get them up and going.

Originally I wanted to use the M-Force setting but as usual I was late to the wagon on this and found the damn thing was out of print and in works for a second edition.  Well hell... now what?

Make my OWN damn setting that's what.

So, the players are part of the "Pinkerton Monster Hunting Agency" in the "Old West."  This setting is actually one I've been toying with for a book idea.  Essentially it is a classic "Weird West" idea, but more steampunk than horror like Deadlands.

The idea was at some point during the Civil War, the ancient island nation of Lemuria revealed itself to the world.  The people were actually descended from the dinosaurs and only opened themselves to the world because of a disaster that almost totally wiped out their food supply.  Initially they appealed to the confederacy (being close to the gulf of Mexico and all) but were horrified to see a sentient race using slavery!  They quickly turned to the Northern Union and offered their aid in the war in return for food supplies.  The ink on the treaty was just drying when the Lemurians struck and struck the Confederacy HARD.  To be honest I am not sure what type of weapons I wanted to use here but I know they DECIMATED the South to the point of making the majority of it a wasteland.  Yeah the Lemurians REALLY hate slavery.

The North is still allied with them, but scared to death of them as well, and now there is a new frontier folks are rushing into to re-claim and re-build for the union.  This is where the players come in, they roam around for hire and deal with situations in small towns.

There is SOME magic in the world, but its more the classic pulp type (subtle and such and not whizz bang) and thanks to the Lemurians, technology has GREATLY advanced... but is all clockwork and steam powered because the Lemurians view using oil and coal akin to necromancy... (That got a laugh out of my group right there)

I had a bounty hunter, a sniper, a medic, and gunslinger and got them into the first adventure (basic idea... an jealous Asian rancher summoned a massive Oni to decimate his competitors... it was working until the Oni got free... which is where the players came in)  I just revealed the monster before having to stop the session...  but the players REALLY liked it and had fun.  I'll keep you posted on how else it goes and how the world grows as well.

Let the Madness BEGIN!

So... here I am attempting to join the leagues of other bloggers/internet savy folks/podcasters/and others who have already tread these paths long before me.  Am I hoping to forge new paths?  Change outmoded ideas?  Challenge the dogmas?  Shake the very pillars of HEAVEN?!?

Hell no... At least, not yet.

I'm hoping to use this place as a mental dumping ground for ideas, random thoughts, and plots for world domination plans for helping humanity.

This blog will mainly be focused on attempts of writing stories, pen and paper gaming (either at a table with folks or via SKYPE), random scientific nuggets, and general oddities as well.  I do NOT plan on bitching about politics, religion, gender issues, or anything like that. 

It's a rough opening but hey... even Dr. Doom had to start somewhere.