I am approaching the final session of the longest D&D campaign I’ve ever run.
The players have made their way through all the challenges I constructed for them. The only thing left to do is confront the final villain and defeat him.
I’m reminded of something I wrote in high school, that people are attracted to stories that excite them regardless of how real those stories are. The world, characters, and stories I’ve built through Dungeons and Dragons aren’t real, but the outcome is as important to me as the outcome of other things in my life.
There’s a glut of self-improvement apps coming out for your smartphone lately. WeightWatchers, Strava, FitBit, the various one’s built into Android and iPhone’s operating systems, and plenty of other ones.
Most self-improvement apps focus on a specific purpose, whether that’s exercise, dieting, or quitting bad habits.
My self-improvement app of choice doesn’t have any specific focus. And if you haven’t already guessed from the title, the app is called Habitica.
Habitica lets you define your goals, what habits you want to develop, and which bad habits you want to lose. You can also define rewards for yourself (such as eating a piece of cake while on a diet). Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading →
I recently finished listening to an audiobook version of Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath. The nonfiction piece focuses on how being an underdog can occasionally confer advantages that the “overdog” doesn’t expect.
The book uses a wide-range of examples of underdogs overcoming their disadvantages and actually using them as jumping off points to topple bigger and stronger opponents.
This isn’t a new idea to me or the world. Scholars were peddling this theory at least 1,500 years ago when the Roman Empire fell. I first read about it in Frank Herbert’s science fiction masterpiece, Dune, where the fictional race of Freman are hardened by their desert homeland and are able to overcome the forces of the Padishah Emperor. Continue reading →
I saw The Shack with my wife. We were expecting a spiritual journey movie like Field of Dreams or Peaceful Warrior. We got something far more overtly Christian than that.
The Shack stars Sam Worthington as Mack, a father who’s young daughter, Missy, is kidnapped and murdered. The tragedy ruins the lives of him and his family as they are consumed by depression.
Mack receives a note inviting him to spend the weekend at the eponymous shack where his daughter was murdered. The note is signed “Papa,” which is his family’s nickname for God.
Mack goes, half expecting the murderer to be there, but instead he finds that the note was actually delivered to him by God. Waiting at the shack are Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu (The Holy Spirit). Continue reading →
With December comes the holidays and with the holidays comes Christmas music and Christmas movies.
I’ve got my favorite Christmas movies just like everyone else, drawing from the classics as well as some stuff that is seen less often.
I like the TV classics as much as anyone else. A Charlie Brown Christmas, Ruldoph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman are all films I like rewatching, I just don’t like them as much as my favorites.
I hate saying anything negative about Nashville as I had a great time while there, but the city itself was not pleasant.
As typical of large cities, there are tons of one-way streets downtown that we weren’t familiar with AND that weren’t marked on maps.
Compounding that confusion, a number of streets were blocked off due to the July 4th event.
EVEN MORE! A lot of streets were blocked off by construction work and what one tour guide called, “Tennessee’s state bird, the crane!” (It’s actually the mockingbird if you were curious).
Additionally, parking was… difficult, but at least we expected that. Parking in the Gulch neighborhood on the edge of downtown and walking in over the railroad was the way to go for us.
Second major problem with the city was the smell.
There was a faint garbage stench throughout downtown. Not exactly sure why.
Obviously it got stronger when we got close to dumpsters, but I’ve never experienced a problem like this in any major city. Seems like the dumpsters just don’t trap smells in Tennessee’s humidity.
Final issue with Nashville was the myth of Southern hospitality. I’ve heard of, experienced it, and expected it in Nashville, but it was not so!
Not that anybody was particularly rude, just people were notably less polite than what I’d experienced in Davis, CA.
Maybe it’s because Nashville is a tourist town and the locals hate tourists? Maybe it was due to the extra stress of the downtown construction and July 4th? Maybe something in the local news had everyone on edge?
Whatever it was, the people there just weren’t as nice as I expected them to be.
Like I said, all of these things by no means ruined the vacation. There were just… noticeable.