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Bill Haworth
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Bill Haworth

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An old car grill that I'm trying to identify.
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Bill Haworth

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Samantha enjoying herself at the Shepard Elementary Stallion Stampede.
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Ran across an interesting thought in a recent podcast from Freakonomics Radio - what we need out of AI isn't constant, all-controlling decision making, what we need is a GPS-like decision making machine. You give it a destination, and it tells you the route, but if you change your mind, say take this turn instead of going straight, it just recalculates and points you back to your destination, but now taking your new route with a new arrival time.

Still not following? Fine, let's put it in terms of personal finance. You are 22 years old, fresh out of college, and want to be retired in the vague future, preferably at 35. You take your new GPS-like AI program and give it those parameters, and all your other financial details (owe so much in student loans and for your car, cost of living in the area is so much, etc). It says great, turn right at such and such job down the street. You get said job, but it doesn't pay quite as much as you thought it would, which info you put into your GPS like coach, and it recalculates and says, Great! But you're working until 37.

"I want a house."
"In your area, master, I suggest renting."
"Nope, house it is."
"Okay, fine, but with that house mortgage, you'll need 20% down and so much a month in payments, so retirement won't be until 39, but you will be more financially stable after, so new course set. Enjoy your life, master!"

"Hey, I want to get eat fast food for lunch instead of bringing my lunch from home."
"Okay, but that's three times your grocery allowance for each week, so your retirement age is now 45. Please exercise more, or your medical bills might go outside of your budget, and I'd hate to lose you early, master."
"Golden arches, here I come!"

"Man, I want that new Mustang, can I buy one?"
"Sure, master, but your retirement age is now 55. Or, you could buy a 5 year old Mustang, skip GAP insurance and new vehicle depreciation, and keep your retirement at 45."
"Last gen Mustang, here we come!"


The AI has all the information (programmed to search the 'net for the latest market information, cost of living in the area, track the user's debts and credits, etc), is making the long term decision making to plan out courses of action, but you have a firm grip on the rudder. A pleasant voice issues from your phone/computer/entertainment center telling you which way to guide your life (encouraging you, even), and you respond back with what you're doing and where you're at to get updated "directions" and "estimated time of arrival".
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Bill Haworth

Sales, Trading, Deals, and Giveaways (NO BEGGING)  - 
 
The Humble Bundle Store (who sells keys for Steam, so I think I'm good with this being on topic) is currently having a sale, and giving away a copy of Tropico 4. If you haven't checked out the Humble Bundles or their store, now would be the time.
Choose from thousands of games for PC, Mac, Linux, and Android while supporting a charity of your choice. New games added every day!
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Tropico 4 is free und humble bundle
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Bill Haworth

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Just got done with a set of Plastic Soldier Company M5A1 Stuarts (and some plastic sprue tank traps). Sorry for the bad pictures, didn't have time to get out my light box and natural light desk lamps. I think they look really good, it's amazing the detail you can still get at this scale. And they went together very easy, too.

Now to get the rest of the army in, a friend of mine is jones'ing to play Italy in the Afrika campaigns and I aim to oblige him.
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This is why I'm not a user of Twitter - Mr Tayler's opinions on convention panel moderation ring true (I've never personally attended a con panel, but I've listened to more than a few via podcast), but if you have to post the entirety of an idea over 20 tweets (and use another program to gather all said tweets into one package) to get your idea across, what's the point? I get that you can tweet via SMS texting, but most modern blogging sites (WordPress and Blogger) can also receive posts via SMS text. And you can get the ideas out now, clean them up later into one post, and not have to use another program to get them.

Twitter is like the old Army recruiting slogan, "Army of One" - the Army was trying to cram so many ideas (we are one Army, working together we can accomplish anything even the impossible, united we stand, divided we fall) into just one snappy catchphrase, and what they got was a confusing motto that everyone (especially Army folk) made fun of.
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Bill Haworth

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While helping a friend pack up to move across town, a tiny kitten appeared and would not leave. After looking for momma or owners and finding neither, we decided to let Fred into our lives. Of course, these pictures are from the very necessary flea baths, and do not show Fred's best side.

Officially, Her Excellency Baroness Winifred "Rainbow Dash" "Destroyer of Worlds" Haworth, called "Squeakers". Coming up with the name was a family affair.
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I was one of the few that watched Firefly when it came out on Fox (me and Shane Dixon watched the first episode at his apartment in downtown KC, a friend in the 3e D&D group I was a part of at that time), watched every episode and even made sure to buy the DVD of Serenity and have it shipped to me in Iraq, because I got deployed when it released to theaters. Do I miss the show? Hells yes! Would I have been overjoyed if Serenity had managed to kick start a TV show or a small series of movies? Again, hells yes!

Now here's the big one - do I think they should make another stab at a TV show or movie now? No. I think the window of opportunity has passed. The one season and the movie were both pretty damn good and I recommend them to friends whenever they mention they're looking for a new show, but even with newer sci-fi shows coming and going, some good, some atrocious, I have to agree with Mr Fillion in this instance - it's done, Browncoats, the space North has beaten the space Confederates, and it's time to hang it up and move on.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Firefly fan that hasn’t vocally wished there were more episodes of Captain Mal and his goddamned heroes trekking about the ‘verse than the show’s sole, abbreviated season. But at this point, even Nathan Fillion has entered the “acceptance” stage of the five stages of grief.
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...he needs to have a car that is incredibly well optimized for frequent long drives. But instead, he has a 2015 novelty toy based on 1940s-era military nostalgia with no practical use other than bouncing itself through a rock-strewn canyon while you drink Coors Light from a cracked Nascar Coozy and your friends sit on the sidelines and occasionally yell out “Yee Haw!”

Best (and most spot on) description I've ever heard of a modern Jeep CJ. I get it, if you want one for off-roading, as that is your love and hobby, go for it. But I see far too many, especially during my daily commute, on the road, giving their drivers a horrible ride and drinking gasoline by the gallons per mile. These are very much purpose-built vehicles, and unless you're using it for that purpose, well, you're honestly just wasting your money because you can (and raising my gas prices, to boot).
Beneath all the fluff, this blog exists for only one purpose: to encourage people to change their behavior. So naturally, I am very happy when I hear from people who are actually making big changes…
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Bill Haworth

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It's "wholeheartedly approve", not "whole heartily approve". Nice try on attempting the $5 word, but you still fell short of the mark. Better luck next time.


This has been your grammar nazi rant for the day. We now return you to your normally scheduled program.
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I love how hard the scammers are trying to get my money. Posted up some tires (cleaning out the garage this morning, it's amazing what space we had hiding in there) to Craig's List, two different postings, and already have had two different scams in the space of half an hour after posting. How can I tell they're scams? Beyond coming from area codes that are far away from my home area (317 out of Indiana and 604 out of British Columbia), there's the messages. Here they are, for your edification:

"I'm a Marine currently busy in Camp so i can't come in person to buy it but I will mail a Check to you as payment asap, also I will add extra $50 to the asking price then I will arrange with a mover for pick up after you receive the check. If you are okay with that pls get back me with your information for the check: ***Full Name and Full Physical Address; Street,City, State and Zip code..."
Note the misspellings, the need to give full instructions, the offer of an extra $50, the total lack of information on their part (name, what USMC Camp they're currently at, any actual questions about the tires themselves).

And the second one:
"I'll prefer to pay cash, but am leaving town today for a job. Send your full name and address for payment by Money order.
you will get in 3 to 4 days with a USPS delivery
tracking and pick up subsequently. I will add $50 dollars for the delay."
I'm not really sure some of that is English. "tracking and pick up subsequently"? What does that even mean? And what is the deal with offering up an extra $50? Is that the magic number that makes idiots start nodding and agreeing with anticipation?

So, if you get any sales offers like the above, don't believe them, don't send them any of your information, and definitely, whatever else you do, never, EVER try to cash any "money order" they send you. Or click on any "PayPal" link they send you, always go directly to PayPal by typing in the address and log in there.
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Watched Kubo and the Two Strings this morning, one of the benefits of having a grade schooler in the house is you can get away with watching kids cartoon movies. After the movie, the wife and I were talking about it, and the consensus between was that, yes, it was a good movie, but no, not good enough that we would see it again in the theater like some of our friends were encouraging us to do. For me, the movie was only okay because it was a D&D adventure. If you haven't seen it yet, you may leave after this one thought - it is made up of the parts of a great D&D adventure, which is why it was merely okay for me, as I have been there and done that. Everyone who has seen it, we can discuss it, filled with SPOILERS below.










Okay, lookie-loos gone, let's talk business - there are so many parts that, if I were running a game, I would steal for my campaign. I would do away with just one protagonist and he adventures with his parents in different guises against his grandfather the Moon King and his two aunts, I would just make it the PCs going after these fantastic items to kill the Big Bad (whatever you want to make the Big Bad, really). Swords and armour are fine, but you could make 'em anything really - a wand, a spellbook, and a shield, just as a quick thought off the top of my head. I would probably do a spear, as I like spears (more so than swords, spears were ubiquitous no matter where you look in medieval history) and they just don't get enough attention.

I would make them climb a giant skeleton to get the whatever out of a forest of other, fake whatevers while it was trying to kill them (and what an intro to the giant skeleton! they pluck the first fake whatever out of the floating skeletal hand and it rises into the darkness, the other scattered bones spring up as well, and the skeletal giant looms out of said darkness... awe inspiring).

I would make them dive into the [insert name of large body of water here] and fight the beholder (I wouldn't do Eyes of the Deep, only death or disintegrate? boring, regular beholders underwater, the PCs won't expect it).

I would send one of the characters a message in a dream by the Big Bad (not obviously so, of course) that following it sends the PCs into a trap. I would have two powerful undead creatures hunt them at night (and make them split up so the PCs have a chance of beating them). I would have the Big Bad and his minions/henchthings destroy a town that is near and dear to the PCs heart (or at least someone in the party).

And I would make them fight the Big Bad with the items they have tracked down, only to find out that the whatever, the other thing, and the last thingamajig are not what they need to beat the Big Bad. No, it will not be love, but it could be a very convincing argument (and a high diplomacy check roll), or a rousing speech to the local villagers (or even the Big Bad's henchthings, you never know) that causes them to pile on the Big Bad, or whatever. Play the mind games with the PCs, really make 'em work for the whatevers, and then gleefully yank that carpet right out from under them.

What would you other DMs out there do? What did you think of the movie itself?
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William "Bill" Haworth
Introduction
Human resources clerk in the Missouri Army Guard, avid paintball player, former medieval recreator with the Society for Creative Anachronism, and generally friendly guy.
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Wild Bill, usagi_tetsu, Tetsu_no_Usagi, Wilhelm von Arnsburg