The Grind

I finally got the urge this week to get back to completing the classic computer rpg The Bard's Tale after taking about a six month hiatus. Part of my motivation was to be able to move onto other games and projects. There are a bunch of old CRPGs that I want to try out, but I still had good old BT hanging over my head. There's no reason I couldn't just start any one of those, but I don't like the idea of leaving this one unfinished after putting in quite of time early last summer. And having all my characters maxed out and ready to go will make it easier to get going in Bard's Tale II: Destiny Knight when I'm ready to tackle that one.

The funny thing is I think there's a good chance that I can knock it out this weekend. I have just about a perfect party with three high level monks, two maxed out magic users and a third one that I'm in the process of maxing out the Wizard levels on. This is also going really quickly because I know the optimal grind encounter in the third level of the catacombs and my party can complete it in one round. So tonight I've focused on using that to level up my characters as quickly as possible.

I'm definitely at the point in my life on this game that I'm going to use all the information and tips I can find on the internet to make this go as quickly and smoothly as possible. I'm not interested in exploring and figuring this one out completely on my own at all. I enjoy playing this game, but I've invested a lot of time into it already and I'm ready to wrap it up and move on to new adventures.

Rubber Chicken 2020

LC battled hard and refused to go away at the end, but Ferris held onto their lead to come away with the 61-54 victory over the Tigers. The girls also won their game 52-49 which has to be their first rubber chicken victory in several years if not longer. LC didn't leave the Arena completely empty hand as their fans earned the spirit award and took Chuck back home.

Ferris's theme this year was basically 50's rock and roll (Rock around the Chuck maybe?) so the boys coaching staff opted to wear our white team polos, jeans, and leather jackets. I have a leather jacket I could have worn, but I wasn't totally feeling it. Then earlier this week it occurred to me that I could wear my Ferris letterman jacket1 since its style is of that era and it seems to be rare for high school kids at Ferris to get them anymore. I brought my jacket, but didn't put it on right away because I was second guessing myself all day. Happily when I got into the Spokane Arena I saw right away that our girls head coach Scott Ward was wearing his so at halftime of their game I went back out to my car to grab mine.

Changing my jacket shouldn't have been a big deal, but it did lead to some unexpected pregame stress. Going back out to my car meant I had to go through the metal detector again at the back gate again. Not a big deal since no else was getting processed at the time, but I did have to empty my pockets of keys, phone, and wallet. That was completely uneventful and I zipped through and back to watch the start of the third quarter. About twenty minutes later in our locker room I reached into my jeans pockets and discovered to my surprise and dismay that my car keys were missing. I was thinking maybe I locked them in my car by mistake when I switched jackets, but I was pretty sure that I had put them in the dish at the gate. I messaged Mary to let her know the situation and try to figure out if I could coordinate with her to have her drop off my spare keys. The logistics of that would have been ridiculous, but fortunately as I was messaging back and forth with her I realized that I hadn't lost them afterall- I just put them in my back pocket with my wallet after the metal detector. D'oh!


  1. First time in almost 30 years!

Downtown stadium back on the table, as county treasurer urges school board to reconsider

(www.spokesman.com)

Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner is urging the Spokane Public Schools board to reconsider its earlier decision to replace aging Joe Albi Stadium at the same site. Baumgartner drafted a letter to the board, claiming that building downtown would save taxpayers $2 million.

There is far more parking in downtown Spokane and within walking distance of the original site than I think most people realize. It pissed me off at the time that there was even discussion of needing an expensive dedicated parking building for a new downtown stadium because that's demonstrably false. Anyone that's ever attended Hoopfest, Bloomsday, or any of the major events near downtown and Riverfront Park have encountered an event with an order of magnitude more people than will attend a typical high school game in the stadium.

Comcast Internet

After perusing my recent email tonight1 I discovered that Comcast finally has some new internet offers that we're eligible to switch to. They're also offering some kind of free Roku box competitor they call Flex that has built in 4K support2, but if it doesn't offer Disney+, Hulu, or Plex I don't think it would be worth the hassle.

We've been paying about $66 a month for 85Mbps3 for almost six or seven years now. The new bundles offer a variety of different options that include bundling with some level of basic cable or special one year deals. I was talking to my thirteen-year-old son about how I shop for these things and his eyes immediately gravitated to the big 200+ Mbps options. I was trying to explain my mindset about the right combination of price and performance, but I don't think he fully got it.

At this point I think it's really down to two choices for me. Take the one year offer for 100Mbps for $45 a month (a $20 monthly savings) bumping up to $55 after a year or go with the 200Mbps for $55 a month for one year and then $70 a month from then on. The latter option would give us a nice speed bump at our current rate, but the cheaper option is still an improvement while saving money. I don't think we're really in any danger of maxing out our current connection so I'm leaning towards the cheaper option, but I think I'll let it percolate in my brain for a while and run it by Mary. The thing is even if we go with the cheaper option now we'll always be able to update it down the road as necessary so I think I'm already pretty convinced.


  1. A task I typically neglect for days at a time because it's mostly offers rather than actual correspondence from people that I care about.

  2. Not relevant to us as our 1080p television is still serving us well and I'm highly skeptical about the ability of anyone in my family to actually appreciate the difference when viewing from a normal distance. In fact we regularly watch ripped 480p dvd movies son that TV and nobody notices or cares.

  3. Officially 75Mbps, but 85Mbps when I tested it toady.

Embarrassment of Riches

My Gonzaga Basketball fandom is in a weird place this year. The team is unexpectedly good after four starters and currently holds a number 1 ranking. I've been able to watch several of their games so far, but I've probably missed at least half of them. I admire the team's makeup and effectiveness and yet I also feel like I take their success for granted and don't fully appreciate them like I should.

As good as Gonzaga is this year, the incoming 2020 recruiting class is arguably their most talented set of guards ever. With the team we should have coming back next year I'm pretty confident we'll be able to make a real run at the national title. And that's certainly a possibility this year as well if we can stay healthy through conference play. Intriguingly the WCC as a whole seems to be on the upswing with Pacific and Santa Clara joining BYU and St. Mary's with records above .700 and 13+ wins. Based on that alone I will be shocked if the Zags manage to get through league without at least one loss.

But despite all of this season's success so far I haven't watched as many games as I usually do. Sometimes it's not possible on Thursdays because of my basketball coaching and family schedule, but often I just haven't thought about it in a while. I really like this year's team and the way the players are playing, but I kind of miss having one or two dynamic personalities like we've had in the past. Perkins drove me (and a lot of other Zag fans) crazy over the years, but I absolutely miss what he brought to the team. I think Timme and Watson1 could be those type of guys in the future when they crack the starting lineup (and next year's recruiting class has a ton of swagger and personality as well), but right now as great as this team is it's missing that for me.

So long story short, I guess I'm a jaded fan of an awesome but unassuming team, and I'm not happy about it and what it says about me.


  1. Who has been hampered by a should injury that I'm guessing will require off season surgery to fully correct, but has still tried to fight through the issue and contribute.

Gaming Like It's 1924

(itch.io)

In 2019, new content started automatically entering the public domain for the first time since 1998 and we celebrated with the Gaming Like It's 1923 jam. This year, we're continuing the tradition and celebrating works from 1924. Let's make games that are about or inspired by these works!

Cool premise for a Game Jam with just a couple weeks left in January. I'm intrigued by the idea of participating, but doubt I have enough time and motivation to make something worthwhile happen.

Breaking Brad: Why Brad Rutter Is Losing Jeopardy's GOAT Tournament

(www.vice.com)

After three episodes of Jeopardy’s Greatest of All Time (GOAT) tournament, the question on everyone’s mind is: Why is Brad Rutter losing?

📺 Fun Jeopardy tournament analysis from two-time Jeopardy champion, Glenn Fleishman. I haven't had a chance to watch yet, but I've been following the results on via social media and I'm pulling for Seattle resident Ken Jennings myself.

It's Official

Nick Rolovich is going to be WSU's next football coach and after learning a little bit more about him over the last couple days I couldn't possibly be happier with this outcome. He's a young, quirky, and energetic coach. He achieved a lot at Hawaii with limited resources. He runs a pass-centric run and shoot offense that will work well with our existing personnel, but perhaps more importantly he runs the ball a little bit more and in fact specifically mixes in quarterback runs as part of his ground game. The one question I have at this point is what kind of defense we can expect from him and how he is going to go about improving our team's achilles heal this past season.

CougCenter has a bunch of great coverage:

This video from a couple years ago when he was miked up for practice really captures his personality and player rapport. He seems like an awesome guy to play for.

Winging It

My boys and I finally get in our next Tiny Dungeon session in what will be an ongoing campaign. I had intended to do a fair amount of preparation, but the best laid plans tend to fall by the wayside when you're a member of a family of eight1. Today I ended up having roughly one half hour to pull something together before we started playing. I had a couple kernels of an idea going forward, but nothing as solid as I would have liked. Looking though one of the Tiny Dungeon Zine pdfs I have at my disposal I discovered an Adventure Generator engine in the rulebook that helped solidify my plan and then some supplemental material on goblins that also helped.

The idea behind the Adventure Generator is that you have a set of five 6x6 tables that you use to fill in the blanks of a statement in the form: The Adventurers must VERB the SUBJECT in the PLACE, while dealing with a HINDRANCE and opposing the ANTAGONIST. I rolled two dice five times and this was the sentence I came up with: The adventurers must RETRIEVE the GOBLIN from ENEMY TERRITORY, while DEALING with a BROKEN PROMISE and opposing the NECROMANCER. As it happened this matched up really well with what I was already considering and so I jotted down a couple more specific things on a 3 by 5 card and we were ready to go.

I had originally planned for the session to go for about an hour, but we ended up going for closer to an hour and a half. The funny thing is that there didn't end up being any combat whatsoever. There were several tests requiring dice rolls, a fair amount of roleplaying/talking, and at least one chase scene, but no actual physical violence yet. There were also some funny moments and my favorite idea from the session was a popular puppet show in the bazaar that recounted the adventure that they just had at Dragonspire, but rather than being factual Corrick and Elrick are portrayed as the bumbling sidekicks to a recurring hero puppet named Greensleaves who doesn't exist in real life.

We ended the session after the two heroes caught the Goblin in question, but the remaining three pieces of the generated sentence still lie ahead. I plan to do more preparation on those items before we play again, but I really shouldn't need to do too much more additional work. Overall I was quite pleased with how easy it was to cook something up and make it fun enough that an hour and a half went by quite quickly. Even though I didn't have very much prepared before we started it all came together pretty nicely and this bodes well for a lot more low preparation fun ahead.


  1. Plus cat now so basically nine in terms of family members that require at least some time and attention.

Nick Rolovich

Sounds like Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich is gaining a lot of internet and Twitter buzz as a frontrunner in the WSU football coaching search. His name was brought up on Podcast vs. Everyone and I think he sounds pretty promising to me. Unlike potential candidates Alex Grinch and Graham Harrell he actually has head coaching experience, and while he doesn't run the Air Raid style he does run a Run and Shoot passing offense that has some similarities (and I think I heard was ranked 4th in the nation for passing yardage) while still utilizing the run. With Max Borghi back next year, WSU absolutely has to take advantage of his running abilities more whatever they do.