I have SO many questions. I'll start at the top:

  • As Seen on TV - Really? Someone paid good money to put this on television? Ever? This was clearly a rack toy - just hanging from a pegboard somewhere. For $0.79. Even when this was in stores, that couldn't have been a big profit margin.
  • Who is the Woman? - I don't recognize the character at all. Now, I know that there are many out there who have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel universe, but I've got a little geek cred. I don't think I've ever seen her before. Is she a villain? Is she working with Cap? Is she at least wearing a bikini bottom that is conveniently covered by the bill of that plastic duck?
  • Pink / Blue Ducks - The only reason to have your targets colored pink and blue that I can come up with is to make them masculine / feminine. That's pretty sexist of me, but "it was a different time" and I can't seem to come up with anything else. Which begs the question: Why in all the holy REDACTED would you care what sex your plastic duck targets are?!
  • 3 4 3 - Why would you 'weight' the targets like this? 1, 2, 3 I could understand. 10, 15, 20 - sure. But 3, 4, 3? Pretty sure these folks were on something, or they're sending a message from the past to a sleeper cell that...
  • Larami Corp of Hong Kong - Larami Corp is familiar. Didn't know they were right here in PHL. Of course, the toy itself was made in... Hong Kong? I'm trying to envision how much they would have to save on the manufacturing to still make a profit after shipping it to the other side of the planet and only charge an end price of $0.79.
  • Oh So Cap or at Least American - Anyone else find it amusing that there is absolutely nothing Captain America about the gun, or the darts, or the targets. Just the cardboard backing which promptly gets thrown out when the kid opens the toy to play with it.
  • 2 Darts / 3 Targets - Just noticed this. Editted the post to add it in. This seems... inefficient. It also makes me think: there are two pink targets, but only one blue. Is there a correlation? But why is the blue more valuable? Is that another sexist thing?

It really was a 'different era'...

Oh, and I originally found this here.

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One of the tumblr notes says that is Whiteshade. Also, I hate trying to decipher tumblr's format. I'm never on there, though, so...
Karen 8/31
Wow. I'm just impressed that someone actually commented on Tumblr.
That seemed like a strange name, so I did some research and discovered that it was apparently a comment on the packaging's unusual pigmentation for "Nightshade", an evil scientist in Captain America's world.
Yeah - I did a (very brief) Google search and found nothing on Whiteshade, but also found Nightshade and wondered if that was just a... typo? Well, not exactly, but in that direction.
Beaten to the punch on the identification of the villain. Yeah, the '70's. It was a strange decade.

http://marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Nightshade
 

So I had a random idea in the wee hours this morning and thought I would jot it down. These are the notes I wrote down to remember the concept. I just thought you guys might enjoy seeing what pops into my brain before I imbibe enough coffee to kill a mortal man.

I'm not sure what I will do with it (if anything) - this probably falls under that heading of 'too many ideas, too little time'. That said, I could see doing this as:

  • Just a collection of sketches / drawings / digital paintings that I expound on in the blog posts I make about them.
  • An illustrated short story. (Note: this seems like a concept I should do. A lot.)
  • If all my other stuff suddenly, magically gets done, a book. When people talk about writing to market, this seems like exactly what they mean - the nexus of the author's interests and what seems to be 'currently hot' in the market. (My understanding is that Post Apoc is hugely popular right now. Kinda the 'zombies' of 2018.)

The genre of 'post apocalyptic fantasy' is probably already a thing (how could it not be?!) but I hadn't ever heard of it. That was a big part of why this concept came spewing out of me so fast - figuring out how to connect the dots was exciting.

*****

  • Our hero is a half orc who lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. (See drawing above.)
  • Mother (human) taught him to avoid humans - explained that they would never leave him alone if they learned of his existence.
  • Hiroshima nukes opened a rift to the Fae Realms. Humans didn't know it. The fae took many years to reveal themselves and when they did, it didn't go well. War ensued.
  • World note: Tech doesn't work (think EMP) - something done by the Fae to counter the nukes. Thus, you know, post apoc.
  • Humans move into our hero's territory - why? (Zombies?)
  • Fae are returning to the world after having fled the war back to their realms of origin - why? Migration because something is happening in their world? (Holy Hell, has this been done to death, but also, it works.) Does this cause them to create zombies to 'clean house' before moving to our world?
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Or they opened a rift to Mordor at the exact moment the Ring was destroyed...
 

Attractive woman about my age and covered in tattoos smacks on my window a couple of times and is shouting something. (I'm parked at a gas station after a bathroom break.)

The following probably all happened in less than 10 seconds time:
1. Woman tells me - "Help! My Mother is choking"
2. I note the very large woman choking and leaning into her open shotgun door to the SUV next to me. I know I already mentioned it, but I'm going to again - she is VERY large.
3. I note the motley assortment of folks in the group - a wide range of folks (3 or more) with different styles and appearances. And none of them are doing anything to help.
4. I immediately suspect I'm about to be mugged.
5. I back myself into the jam of my car door to provide myself some cover and scan the area.
6. When none of their body languages change (and I've scanned behind and around me and there is no one else in immediate activity distance) I check back on the large woman.
7. I'm immediately relieved on almost all levels when she chokes out something to the effect of "I got it... all out..."
8. I wait and watch.

Once the woman recovers a bit, and we are all breathing a sigh of relief, we all start doing that nervous chatter thing people do when something like this winds up a bunch of strangers.

The daughter explains that she doesn't know the Heimlich.

The poor choking woman is embarrassed as hell.

Everyone piles back into the SUV and they leave.

My take away? Jesus, I'm fucking paranoid.

(X-posted to Facebook, but wanted this here for my own record.)

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7/6 '17 4 Comments
You did the right thing. I'd be shocked if someone is gonna choose a 6'3" guy to jump, but you do have a fancy vehicle.

Very happy it worked out and everyone's OK!
And I was seated inside the vehicle, so my size wouldn't have played a part.

But yeah. In the end, I guess it's not a bad thing that I was cautious. Just feels a little goofy looking back on it. Like overkill.
Sometimes you have a chance to trust the moment and save the day. Sometimes not so much. The former totally makes up for the latter.
You speak the Truth sir. Well said.
 

So a friend recently said "I'd like to feel a burning need for the next experience more often."

That really got me thinking about things in my own life. I've often thought about myself as a passionate guy. I feel things very strongly. There has been laughter and tears - both in abundance.

But here's the thing: it always seems to come after the fact. Leading up to and even generally during a moment / decision / experience in my life, I feel very, very 'meh'.

This, in turn, got me wondering: "How many other folks are like me in this regard? Do my friends feel strongly about concepts leading into their decisions? Before their experiences?"

Obviously no one can feel strongly about something they have zero experience with or information about. One can't feel super strongly about the quality of the sand on Pluto over the sand on their local beach.

But I wonder.

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5/11 '17 6 Comments
Great question.

I think I'm doing well at "being here now," but I'm not especially feeling "being there next" at the moment, in part because I'm kind of at a local maximum. Or maybe simply where I belong.
Thomas Boutell 5/11 '17edited
Yeah. I hear you. If presence was a test, I would ace the 'here and now'. It would be accurate to say that I feel like this is one of my super powers. That is, until (like Adams) I'm just done. All at once.
as a fellow AD(H)Dude, I suspect you'll understand what I mean when I say that my usual arc is diddle-farting around getting started with new experience, followed by a massive burst of enthusiasm and energy once it gets started, followed by a bit of a lower plateau, then a precipitous drop where I have like zero focus or finish-a-shit left.

I find that the initial diddle-fart period has gotten more difficult to push past as I've gotten older - but the mostly-functional plateau also lasts longer - so that's not a bad trade-off.
CM Adams 5/11 '17edited
Yeah. That's me too. Just all at once there's a drop off to Zero Giveafrack.

It's kinda a problem since now I'm completely 'on my own' and not in any kind of a standard 'must live in accordance with everyone around you' scenereo.
I'm the opposite. I tend to give up in the middle of what I'm doing coz I am thinking too much about the next thing. I don't care for it.
Rabbit 5/12 '17
Yup. I get that. (He said, mourning all of his LONG list of started and never finished creative projects.)
 

On the way to breakfast, I found myself thinking about the concept of Loyalty. I've been called (more than once) 'loyal to a fault'. It's accurate. I stick with people, places, and things well past the point that it's healthy for me.

Then I found myself thinking about it from a logical standpoint. I feel that this is one of my greatest strengths in life - taking emotion out of a situation and reviewing it. Sadly, I don't always ACT on those reviews, but it helps.

So the logical perspective of the concept of loyalty: I get it. Once upon a time, we needed loyalty as a species. Tribalism allowed us to survive. But haven't we evolved past that need? I mean shouldn't I love everyone equally? (He asked, cringing at how hippy-dippy it sounds.) Or, perhaps more accurately, shouldn't I review people in a more unbiased by past interactions?

If I have a friend who has taken to burglary to support a crack addiction, shouldn't I look at him in the same light that I do a stranger with the same issues?

Or is there some value to past interactions that creates a benefit to taking the bad with the good in the present and/or future? It's not really occurring to me at the moment, but then I haven't had any coffee yet.

What do you think?

ETA: I should point out that I wasn't bitter or upset when I posted this. I was just trying to think things through without emotion tied to it. I also was not thinking specifically of people (though that is certainly an element) and even less any specific person or people. Again - just the concept and whether or not it has value in our modern society.

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4/26 '17 22 Comments
I don't think we should ever evolve bayond loyalty, although I think in a lot of ways we already have. I am also very loyal and I also see it as a great strength. Look at the state of the world? Look at how people fuck each other left and right, look how folks treat marriages, and friends, and business partners as disposable? To me, our disposable culture is part of what is destroying humanity. (Yes there are good reasons to discontinue relationships too, but that's not what we're talking about here).

The older I get, the more I'm realizing that what I value most in my friends... is the fact that they show up. To take that a step further, the friends I value most are the ones who show up. I am beginning to prioritize those friends who show up consistently more than those who don't. Mind you, that has little do to with love, and everything to do with me having limited energy to expend as a human. Life is scary, and lonely. What makes it worthwhile, for me, has everything to do with human connection, and a great deal to do with those loyal folks who keep showing up, through everything. What good is human connection that is fleeting to the point where it only exists out of convenience?

If your loyalty is holding you back, then maybe it's a problem. (I know other people have told you your loyalty is getting in your way, but is that YOUR experience of it as well?) But if you don't think it is stopping you from living your life, I think it's an increasingly and wonderful quality that is to be honored.

As for regarding strangers the same way you'd regard friends... you're human. It's impossible to separate our past experiences with people from our assessments of them. That's just a human fact I think. And if our pst actions had no bearing on our friendships well, then there is almost no point? I mean... hats how I see it.

That's my two cents about the matter!
Leela 4/26 '17edited
You make some interesting points, but (forgive me - this isn't any kind of 'attack' - I just want to know if I missed anything) you don't seem to make any arguement for the "why loyalty is good". I appreciate that you value it and I think most of us do to one extent or another, but that's different than being able to say "It has an innate value because it allows us to... X, Y, Z."
Matt Lichtenwalner 4/26 '17edited
Loyal shows us we aren't alone. Loyalty shoes is we are worth more than our mistakes. My most loyal friends are the ones who fortify me when I am scared in life, especially when it comes to taking risks. When I know I have people behind me no matter what, it allows me to feel less small and alone, and it helps combat my paralyzingly fear of what will happen should I "misstep" in any way. Loyalty stands in stark opposition to our ever-increasingly disposable society. Maybe some of why this is so important for me is that I have indeed been treated as disposable by more people than I would like to admit, and it has damaged me a great deal. So, I find it incredibly important and good to BE LOYAL myself, because I like to think I am paying forward the same gift that others have given me. Does that make sense?
Leela 4/26 '17
Now that's an interesting point. Being the narcissist that I am, I wasn't thinking of the loyalty of others and the way that it benefits me.

So (if I understand correctly) you could almost argue that loyalty is a form of altruism. Your being loyal to a person is a form of altruism which you stand behind because someone else was loyal to you. A way to 'generate goodness' for lack of a better turn of phrase?

Does this change at all if we're not talking about a person that you're being loyal to? What if it's a business, or a favorite flavor of ice cream? (I know that sounds weird, but I'm really trying to get at all different angles.)
Matt Lichtenwalner 4/27 '17edited
I don't think it changes, interestingly. Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk has always been there for me, in good times and bad, and it always tastes just as fucking good as the last time I had it. It shows up when I need it (for lack of a better way to say it), so, so do I. Same goes for businesss. If a business has been good to me, I'll be good to it.
Leela 4/27 '17
Is it weird that I like the idea of an ice cream flavor 'being there' for you? :P
It's probably weird, but I like the idea of it too! In fact I've got some in the freezer right now...
Leela 4/27 '17
Evolving past loyalty? Please. We haven't evolved past tribalism or voting for Donald Trump.
Thomas Boutell 4/26 '17
I'm beyond sad that this is an accurate statement.
Seriously, loyalty is not a purely binary thing. We are more loyal to those in whom we are more invested. Or should be, anyway.

Sometimes it's OK to be loyal to a memory, to treat a comrade who is no longer kind and no longer reciprocating with a certain decency in recognition of the love they showed you once. Then again, you can also be loyal to the person they used to be, and what they'd think of their present behavior.
Thomas Boutell 4/26 '17edited
Interesting. It sounds like you're coming from a similar place to Leela above. An almost altruism-like stance. Loyalty as a 'repayment' for the kindness of the other (or the business, or the... noun.)
I used to have a friend who was a bit of a powder keg.

we had a lot of fun times together for several years and got to be very, very close, but he would frequently get monumentally pissed off at something I said or did (or failed to say or do).

being a bit more irascible myself in those days than I am now, I often gave as good as I got, but I think any objective comparison would have found that, on balance, my snits toward him were less frequent and a bit more reality-adjacent than his toward me.

in any case though, over time our friendship started becoming pretty asymmetrical - with me doing a lot of favors for him and frequently having to mollify his snits, and not getting a heck of a lot in return.
at a certain point, I noticed this and decided to stop trying to placate or otherwise go very far out of my way for him. this improved my life considerably and made me enjoy his company a lot more. I never announced this transition to him, however, because I didn't feel that I needed to - it was an adjustment in my own thinking and attitude, not something that required any action or input from him.

and I didn't want to fight about it.

I suspect most people have had at least one or two interpersonal relationships where one person changed their outlook on what type of relationship it was while the other person kept right on thinking it was the same as it always had been. this was surely such a case but since the two people involved in this one were real oddballs, it led to some (perhaps atypically) entertaining situations.

case in point - we took a trip to France together a year or two after my "not taking any more shit" decision. from my perspective, we had an awesome time - one of the best we ever had as friends, and one of the best travel experiences I'd ever had full stop. we saw some great cathedrals (he sketched each one, I wrote about each one), we ate some great stuff, we found a barely marked ruin of a roman amphitheater in the middle of a cow-pasture, we had an awesome 3 or 4 hour conversation about existentialism and nihilism (one that changed my overall approach to life and ethics in ways that have lasted to this day) in the car ending with a visit to the cathedral at Chartres at like 3 AM. and our next to last night there, I met a nice Catalan woman in a gay dance club, who decided to make out with me for a couple hours, despite my nearly unintelligible French, on a park bench in the rain. (ooo la la.)

so anyway - we get back to the states and I go on about my life. my friend goes on about his, but in a SEETHING RAGE over how insolent and insufferable I had been during our "argument" in the car on the way to Chartres. he doesn't tell me about this, though. he decides that the best way to communicate his displeasure is to refuse to speak to me until I ask him what's bothering him and (presumably) make amends.

...except the first I hear of this is 8 months later when I invite him to Thanksgiving dinner at my house...at which point he explains that he hasn't been speaking to me and is by then pretty much apoplectic because of my failure to notice.

it only made him angrier that I found the situation hilarious.

we made up, of course, but were never really close friends again and have gradually drifted further apart over the years. nowadays, we exchange an email or a text every few months when one of us spots something relevant to the other's interests, or we run into each other on the street and chat for a few minutes, or we meet up for an hour of pinball every year or so. I think that suits us both fine.

I guess where this comes together with your inquiry about loyalty is that I think there's often a lack of willingness to acknowledge that interpersonal relationships have life cycles. they're born, they live, and then they die. occasionally that death is a catastrophic heart attack, but much more often it's a long, slow, quiet fade to a golden-hued tail.

and that's all ok.
CM Adams 4/27 '17
Beautifully well put sir. Arguably, my little analysis of loyalty could be said to be a "should I allow relationships to grow old and die?"

Then again, it _feels_ a little more like your description of the 'aha moment' that you had with your friend. That, in turn, I see as a kind of parallel to the way I described my thought that perhaps I should judge people, places, and thing more in the moment than based on our combined past.

Which, I guess, is basically just another way of saying: "I agree with you."

Unrelated: what's the inspiration behind your profile pic?
it's a Bobrick brand c fold paper towel dispenser!
comes in white or in silver!
CM Adams 4/29 '17
Well, clearly.
[Has one industrially powderpainted blue, installs it, waits for Chris to visit and flip out when he can't find it on the website]
Thomas Boutell 4/29 '17
what's not to like?
it's 3 rows of 8!
CM Adams 5/2 '17
I've been using the term "legacy friend". A person I would not likely be friends with if I met them now. I may even dislike a lot about them now. But at some point in the past we were friends, and now we have history.

I find it somehow easier to manage when I've categorized it as a legacy issue. And when current friends are like: sheez, why are you friends with that dude/dudette? I say "legacy friend" and everyone gets it.
Ursula Sadiq 5/8 '17
Technical debt.
That does seem like the perfect term / bucket. I think I'm going to steal that.
I may represent that remark!
CM Adams 5/10 '17
but seriously - good concept.
CM Adams 5/10 '17
 

This morning it's been rainy here, so I'm off the road. Decided it was a good time/opportunity to do some work on a little project that I've had brewing in my back brain for several years.

It all started when I fell in love with a program created by rpg game master Bruce Gulke called Tablesmith ( http://www.mythosa.net/p/tablesmith.html ). If you're a gamer who is using a Windows system, I highly recommend it. It's basically begware and well worth the money he asks for it if you can swing a few bucks.

That said, it's Windows only. I asked him a couple years ago about any interest he might have in creating a mobile app, and that conversation didn't really go anywhere.

If I had the time / inclination to do it properly, I would learn enough code to create the app myself, but I've never been a programmer - not really on any 'true' level.

I can figure out Google Spreadsheets though, and I just knew that there had to be a way to do what I'm looking for in there.

I'm here to say that I've figured it out!

Okay, maybe it's better to say that I've figured out a lumpy, hacked together with duct tape means of effecting something similar with a bit more effort on the part of the user. (Tablesmith is still a far superior product.)

I really think this will be useful to not just gamers, but also writers once I build out some parallel versions (this is for fantasy npcs, but could easily be tweaked to work for modern characters filling the background/environment of any genre). The concept could also be used to build out any kind of 'random' description you want - rooms, environments, scene backdrops, groups (organizations, religions, governmental crews...) the list of possibilities are absolutely endless.

If you would like to check it out the link is: 

This is a 'public' copy, so you can feel free to edit to your heart's content. The results auto generate any time there is a change to the sheet.

That's probably my next project for the sheet - to find a way to get the sheet to create a new entry without having to edit anything. I'm currently just changing an empty cell and then doing an undo/redo until I get a satisfactory response from the sheet. A push button in a cell would be perfect.

One of my primary purposes is to help myself get past those times when I'm feeling 'artist block' by creating a place I can auto generate an interesting sounding character to draw. A way to make it 'mindless' so I can just start working and let the ideas start flowing later.

Anyway - as always, I welcome thoughts/opinions/suggestions below or using the comments function on cells within the sheet itself.

Some feedback I'm especially interested in:

  • Is this something you think you would use?
  • Would you be more likely to use it if I made it more pretty/refined?
  • Is there something you feel is missing from this version (the fantasy RPG character version)?
  • Would you use a different version - i.e. Not for rpg work, but for generating some other random data for writing or...?
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9/11 '16 4 Comments
I'm not smart enough for this.
You're a different kind of smart.
Thank you. Smart is relative.
Truth (well - the second two comments anyway - I don't agree with the first on any level).

Is there something I can help clarify? This is an admittedly TERRIBLE user interface, so it could be that's all the issue is.