Five Fun Things For Friday — Father’s Day Edition

Ah, you did­n’t think I had been doing noth­ing all this time, right? Of course not. Here’s a few things that have been occu­py­ing my free time:

  1. Chas­ing the Baby — She final­ly fig­ured out crawl­ing a cou­ple of weeks ago. Peo­ple had told me that one day she’d just get it and then she’d be crawl­ing every­where and get­ting into every­thing. Some­how I had assumed that this would be a phase spread out of a week or two, at least. No, it lit­er­al­ly hap­pened that fast. One evening Angela sat her down, and she just sud­den­ly crawled over to my gui­tar and start­ed try­ing to pull it over onto her. She’s been into every­thing can reach since that moment.
  2. “The Wire — Sea­son Three” — This show is just as good as every­one says it is. It’s a won­der­ful bal­ance of per­son­al sto­ries and com­men­tary on mod­ern life. Heavy, of course, but not with­out a sense of humor. How­ev­er, you can­not watch this around your 10 month old daugh­ter. As a mat­ter of fact, the swear­ing and vio­lence is even a bit too high for Angela. Therefore…
  3. Wii Fit - Though we have a cou­ple of oth­er Wii games that we play a lot, as well (Mario Kart Wii and Dr. Mario), Wii Fit is real­ly a dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence. Though it uses a lot of game-like con­ven­tions, it actu­al­ly is tak­ing a gam­ing con­sole and chang­ing how you can use it. When (and it’s not as often as I need, any­more) I go run­ning, I can put that on my train­ing cal­en­dar. Regard­less of what exer­cise I do or do not do, the game mon­i­tors and tracks my weight loss progress. The exer­cis­es it offers are real and the feed­back is tru­ly help­ful to improve bal­ance, flex­i­bil­i­ty, and strength. Now, if we only had a big­ger liv­ing room to do those push-up/­side planks in!
  4. “Star Trek — Enter­prise” — Despite the net­work’s many hor­ri­ble choic­es for pro­gram­ming (Wrestling? Seri­ous­ly? WTF, Sci­Fi!? At least your stu­pid B movies and real­i­ty shows have some­thing to do with your chan­nel’s orig­i­nal line-up.), they do man­age to get some great syn­di­cat­ed series. Enter­prise was my favorite ST since Next Gen­er­a­tion, by far. I watched the first cou­ple of sea­sons but unfor­tu­nate­ly fell out of it (it was pre-TiVo for us). Now I can catch up. Too bad these weren’t in HD, though.
  5. Dun­geons & Drag­ons — 4th Edi­tion — Yeah, I know. The fan­ta­sy kick con­tin­ues. It’s kind of hard to explain. A part of me feels like I nev­er real­ly got to play D&D with a seri­ous group as a kid. When I tried, the rules were cum­ber­some and we nev­er got through any­thing. Now, I’ve found some folks who live around here, are my age and have sim­i­lar inter­ests, and who kind­ly let me come join a game. It’s been an absolute blast. I’ll expand on some of this in the near future, but if you’ve ever thought about play­ing a table-top RPG (and prob­a­bly even if you haven’t), the new edi­tion of D&D is real­ly a fan­tas­tic game.

2008 Worldwide D&D Game Day

Sat­ur­day, June 7th at The Game Keep in Her­mitage, TN. About 30 play­ers, both new and expe­ri­enced, came out to learn the new 4th Ed. rules and play a short game in Wiz­ard of the Coast’s World­wide Game Day.

2008 Worldwide D&D Game Day
This was the table card at each of the game tables that day.

This is back-post of my pho­tos from that event. I was at Table 1, if that’s not evi­dent by the pic­tures of game­play below. As I recall, every attendee got a free mini and a d20 to take home. The adven­ture was titled “Into the Shad­owhaunt” (I had to look that up; I remem­ber next to noth­ing about it). I do recall that every­one at the event was real­ly nice and the whole day was a lot of fun.

The orig­i­nal pho­to album and com­ments is on Flickr.

War on Photographers

Bruce Schneier on the cur­rent War on Pho­tog­ra­phers:

…it’s non­sense. The 9/11 ter­ror­ists did­n’t pho­to­graph any­thing. Nor did the Lon­don trans­port bombers, the Madrid sub­way bombers, or the liq­uid bombers arrest­ed in 2006. Tim­o­thy McVeigh did­n’t pho­to­graph the Okla­homa City Fed­er­al Build­ing. The Unabomber did­n’t pho­to­graph any­thing; nei­ther did shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Pho­tographs aren’t being found amongst the papers of Pales­tin­ian sui­cide bombers. The IRA was­n’t known for its pho­tog­ra­phy. Even those man­u­fac­tured ter­ror­ist plots that the US gov­ern­ment likes to talk about — the Ft. Dix ter­ror­ists, the JFK air­port bombers, the Mia­mi 7, the Lack­awan­na 6 — no photography.

How to Fell a Giant

It seems that a month of high gas prices have been enough to weak­en the Amer­i­can resolve of dri­ving the biggest vehi­cles on the plan­et. Most rea­sons for why we drove larg­er vehi­cles than, say, our Euro­pean or Asian coun­ter­parts was that we had more space and longer dis­tances to trav­el. I think it’s pret­ty clear that rel­a­tive­ly cheap fuel was the rea­son. It sim­ply did­n’t cost us much to dri­ve a vehi­cle capa­ble of car­ry­ing nine peo­ple but with all the seats but on empty.

Now that times have changed, GM — of all com­pa­nies — appears to be blink­ing and chang­ing course as a result. They have announced they are going to axe the Tahoe, Sub­ur­ban, and Yukon as soon as next year. With Hum­mer sale down a whop­ping 60% in May, they appear to be poised to kill of that badge once and for all. For the past two decades, with SUV sales being so hot, car com­pa­nies like GM have put a lot of effort into sell­ing those vehi­cles. Those chick­ens have long since hatched and, with GM’s total sales drop­ping 27%1, appar­ent­ly just got their necks wrung. I’m not try­ing to pick on GM. In fact, I want to point them out as an exam­ple of a com­pa­ny that seems to be think­ing about what the roads will look like in the next decade or two. They deserve some cred­it for killing off some of the gas-guz­zling dinosaurs and putting some R&D work in to some alter­nate vehi­cles. I get the impres­sion that it is more than just green­wash­ing with them, now; they seem to feel a real threat to their busi­ness in the long run.

And to be hon­est, if it took only about six weeks of high gas prices to make this kind of change, we may see much more of this in the near future; not in decade or more. I hate the cost of high gas prices as much as any­one. How­ev­er, I once again have to admire the side effects of what the can do for reduc­ing car­bon emissions.

  1. I’d be mis­tak­en if I did­n’t ack­owledge that the total eco­nom­ic pic­ture in Amer­i­ca is worse than a year ago. Not just gas prices, but across the board. How­ev­er, the two are pret­ty tight­ly linked and eco­nom­ic down­turns are just as assured to hap­pen even­tu­al­ly as ris­ing gas prices. []