Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Greatest Show 142: This is the Bottom of My Trophy

When Bob comes on, a good time is always had… and he’s joined by DJ, Tricia, and Metal Freaking Jesus as we talk about all kinds of stuff!

Hosts: DJ Allen, Tricia Allen, Bob Miotto, and Metal Jesus!

Contact:
Website: www.EmeraldSpecter.com
Email: emeraldspecter.com@gmail.com
Twitter: @MadeByTricia @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @MadeByTricia @EmeraldSpecter

PRO Chess League Podcast 003: Weeks 1 and 2

The PRO Chess League weeks 1 and 2 are over and I do a terrible job covering them. First time back jitters.

Host: DJ “The Emerald Specter” Allen

Contact:
Email: EmeraldSpecter.com@gmail.com
Twitter: @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @EmeraldSpecter
Website: www.EmeraldSpecter.com

Hashtags: #chess #PROChessLeague

The Specter Show 43: Self Destruction Part 2

There is more information than you can handle about BuJoRPG, chess, the Emerald Specter Chess Club, the future, and all kinds of wonderful!

Host: DJ Allen
Intro Music: The Idea of You by Nine Inch Nails (from Not the Actual Events)
Outtro Music: The Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails
Intro Lead in: Dirk Manning

Contact:
Email: EmeraldSpecter.com@Gmail.com
Twitter: @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @EmeraldSpecter

Support Emerald Specter at Patreon!

Thanks for checking this out, you can find more at EmeraldSpecter.com!

The Greatest Show 141: Pennywise Was There

The trio of DJ, Tricia, and Kevin Couick discuss a little bit about dancing, chess, some RPG talk, and we do a lot about the Kumoricon that happened in Portland!

Hosts: DJ Allen, Tricia Allen, and Kevin Couick

Contact:
Website: www.EmeraldSpecter.com
Email: emeraldspecter.com@gmail.com
Twitter: @MadeByTricia @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @MadeByTricia @EmeraldSpecter

Update on the Emerald Specter Chess Club

How are things? They are going swimmingly! There are a couple of items, though.

First, while I was initially going to stick to four bashos this year (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn), the tournament is going so well that I’m going to up this to the actual sumo-esq schedule. There is no reason we shouldn’t be done before the next tournament starts, so we’re ditching the seasonal names and going with the months that they’ll be happening in.

Second, I’m going to be making a page for the long term explaining the rules of the ESCC in detail on this website. Yes, there is a post that defines things, but I need to have a fixed position page to point people to for the future… which does lead into another little bit of information:

Third, there are limits to the number of people who can be promoted into positions. I hadn’t listed any specific limitations in the initial post and that needs to be defined so that more people than there are spots for aren’t expecting to be promoted regardless of there being a position for them to be promoted into. Early in the process like this, there will be some “feeling out” of how this works out.

Next, I learned how chess.com “seeds” players when a tournament begins, so the “ESCC” ranking won’t have any impact on how players will be seeded. The seeding is done by chess.com ratings, so if I expand out the top division to 24 players or 48, or whatever, the seeding works like #1 goes into Group A, #2 goes into Group B, #3 goes into Group C, and so on, with the #5 following #1 into Group A… this is designed to keep the top rated players most likely advancing to the “final round,” allowing me to have an “east and west” group for a 24 player division (two player playoff for the yusho), but allowing for that final match to not have a direct impact on the ESCC if someone has a tournament winning lead going into it (like sumo tournaments can be awarded long before the final day, depending on how many wins they are ahead). In the case that the #1 seed would have a 4 point lead going into the final match, they’d win the tournament according to the ESCC rules regardless of the last match.

I’ll detail it all on the fixed page.

Lastly, I’ll be publishing the “banzuke” (official post-tournament rankings) as soon as I can get them done. That will allow us to see who comes back to participate in the second basho and who will be involved moving forward. I’m probably going to re-invite the current players to the second tournament to see if we can build on the successes of the initial effort.

Check back soon.

Journal of the Emerald Specter 74: BuJoRPG and 2018

Wait, wait, wait… hold on! Whoa! What is this?

An entire column dedicated to the BuJoRPG? Well, yes and no. It’ll be bullet journal related, heavily centered on the goings on for the BuJoRPG, and I’ll keep on track.

When I started bullet journaling, I was all over the place and having a hard time coming back over and over again to the journal. It’s what led me to come up with the idea of making journaling into an RPG. That led to the BuJoRPG, highlighted on bulletjournal.com… but you aren’t here for a history lesson, you’re here to hear about the system, the future, and what the hell is actually going on at this very moment.

The last column talked a bit about the possibility of a BuJoRPG3 replacing my BuJoRPG2 efforts… wait, what? I didn’t talk about BuJoRPG3? Funny… I guess I’ll let that idea out of the bag.

But before I do that, let’s talk about the first two iterations and how they fit into the future of the system as a whole.

As much as I may have alluded to such a thing, BuJoRPG ver 1 is not actually dead in the water. I created this to center around a martial arts theme (with plans to release other skins) and concentrate 100% on self improvement. I dropped Rise of the Iron Garden as if I mic dropped and walked away from the version in favor of the “new shiny.” Keep in mind the concentration on the “self improvement” aspect of Version 1 while I move to briefly discuss a little more.

BuJoRPG 2 broke out with an open beta, which absolutely no one jumped on board for, and stopped being worked on because I dropped the thing right before the postal “peak season,” which is Christmas, and I’m just now starting to see the light at the end of that tunnel. The actual idea behind this was to make the original version a little more structured and actually create a world/lore for the user to explore in the “down time” between actual self improvement bits. So, if Version 1 was the “self improvement” version, BuJoRPG2 was the story heavy self improvement version with a more “game like exploration” feel.

Now we enter the phase where I talk about what the future is for what is already here and what lies in store for the only teased BuJoRPG3.

I am going to be creating several new skins/templates for BuJoRPG1. Very little is going to be done with the structure of the set up or running of the game. There may be a little refinement, so the version numbers might change with each new template, but I’m going to actually do what I promised to do in the first place… and I’m going to come up with some sort of better explanation for quests, goals, and all kinds of things that have been asked of me through PMs and email while people use the original BuJoRPG.

The complete and entire focus of the BuJoRPG1 will remain solely focused on self improvement. Sure, all of BuJoRPG is really focused on that, but the heart of what BuJoRPG1 is actually revolves around the small steps to improve oneself, learn a language, get organized, or whatever. There won’t be a “story” component in BuJoRPG1… and that’s because you’re more likely interested in BuJoRPG2 for that.

Since the open beta hasn’t really gone anywhere, and I actually haven’t even gotten a chance to finish the rewrite of the tutorial… and I haven’t completed the teased “map” I made for the tutorial, I’m going to fix that by completing both of those components… BuJoRPG2 will have the first step of the tutorial completed and the map, the only one I’ve made, released in conjunction with that (as it will be included in the tutorial PDF). There are also bits that need to be added to what I have to release to get this version to be something more than a hollow shell of a version.

One of the features in the “story” version of BuJoRPG are the Skill Tree, Attributes explained and  advanced, as well as the prospect of future map bits for the world to explore. Yeah, I’m going to work on the mechanical aspect first and then start poking out the story bits… because the mechanics will actually need to dictate what the story will actually reveal. Will there be more maps released? That’s a possibility, but if I’m spending hours and weeks making a map instead of working on the mechanics of the system, the maps are going into the trash and I’ll make my efforts in the form of actual content instead of visuals.

I’m also going to write up some things that make this the version of the BuJoRPG for the creative personalities. Writers, artists, and the like will want this one… rather than just play a game, as a passive third person participant, the user will be able to create their own world along with the game so that they are creating their own content. I’ll briefly discuss something similar to this in my own bullet journaling for 2018.

That leads me to the enigmatically alluded to BuJoRPG3…

When I knew that the peak season was ending, I started coming up with the concept for version 3 of the BuJoRPG and what I actually wanted to make the BuJoRPG into in the first place: a collection tool.

I’m not deep into any sort of planning, mapping out of mechanics, or anything like that… I have broad, and I mean BROAD concepts jotted down, where I wanted to change the self improvement from statistical based rewards to a collection system (much like the Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes game has you collecting heroes and ships). This one will set up a framework to work towards very specific improvements with an aim away from experience points, leveling just yourself, and work more towards the collecting aspect of what I wanted in the first place.

This one will be worked on here and there but not until I get some of the other stuff listed above done. I want to hook BuJoRPG up to jumper cables and get this thing back on the road.

Which leads me into a little bit of other site related news…

I had mentioned on an episode last year that I would be alternating the Specter Show with a new show based on only BuJoRPG updates… I’m just going to keep the Specter Show periodically updating you on BuJoRPG instead of starting a new podcast… because I really don’t need another project to keep up on, even if I won’t be overlapping at all.

The show is going to have the familiar “updates here and there” stuff that I’ve done in the past, but now I’m going to be tossing in some experimental material from time to time. There are things I’ve wanted to turn into podcast but didn’t have enough material, or the belief in that spinoff, to actually move forward with a separate podcast.

What this means is you may download an episode and it’s a dramatic reading of a story, or a “what if” line of thinking on a series (movie, TV, book, etc), or something I haven’t even conceived of yet to explain here… I want the Specter Show to be interesting and a bit more random.

Back to BuJoRPG now… or rather, my own bullet journaling.

This 2018 bullet journaling for me is the year of Doctor Who. I have themed my own bullet journal with Doctor Who elements (a TARDIS decal on the cover, my monthly spreads contain TARDIS console elements, etc), and this year I’m going to create some story synopses for my own version of a Time Lord, the Specter. I’m the Emerald Specter (that’s the site you’re on) and therefore I’m running Specter Who.

I’m going to be releasing cover images (I’m toying with mocking up Big Finish versions of the covers or altering them to be something a little more original)… and will feature the actor (or actress) I’ve chosen to represent “me” as the Specter in the story being told. I haven’t decided to acknowledge the existence of the Doctor or to pretend the character doesn’t exist… and yes, I started one version of my plan only to have a change of focus for February to make something better than what I was doing.

I don’t know how many stories I’m going to come up with or whether I’ll keep this going in my bullet journal after 2018. Time will tell, but I think it’ll be an interesting thought experiment, and is the source of the concept of creating the BuJoRPG2 for creative types.

Lastly, on the BuJoRPG subject, I’m interested in knowing who is interested in what I’m calling a “BuJoBox”? This would be a package put together by myself that would contain some page templates (a series of stencils I’m currently working out), a couple of bullet journal friendly pens, a set of dice, a rulebook for whatever version of the BuJoRPG your box would be for, a journal, and perhaps some stickers for the theme of the box selected… would that be something you’d be interested in? Yes, there would be a fee for such a thing, but you’re basically paying for the price of everything on top of shipping, but you’ll get everything you need for the theme you’re looking into as well as a hard copy of the “rulebook” of BuJoRPG. Email if you’re interested.

So, I’ve got a really long column almost exclusively about the BuJoRPG. I hope you enjoyed it, I hope you’re rejuvenated by my desire to return to every version of BuJoRPG, and I hope you’re ready for 2018 like I am!

Journal of the Emerald Specter 73: What’s Coming in 2018?

As you read these words, it is my birthday. I decided to take a look at what is supposed to happen with me, things, and all the other stuff in 2018.

That was a terribly put together sentence.

The Emerald Specter 2018 Winter Basho is fully underway and things are flowing way better than I could have imagined. The speed at which game play is happening (required one move per day) means I could probably expand the tournaments from four to six without much of an issue. I’m sticking to four for this inaugural year.

There were lots of folks who joined and then unjoined the tournament before I decided to launch the thing a couple days early. I am the weakest player in the tournament, according to our chess.com ratings, by no less than 250 points. Knowing this, I’m probably not going to win any games… especially considering that two players have already crippled my offense to the point I may not survive to 20 moves. Two players have already scored wins (one player scoring FOUR wins), and we’re less than four days into the tournament as I write this.

How many of these folks will return to compete in the Spring Basho? That is a good question, because if no one comes back, then I’m just holding tournaments and spinning my wheels, which was not the point of this little experiment.

The point was to emulate sumo with chess.

Speaking of sumo, we’re several days into the Hatsu Basho and I am once again participating in the Sumo Game. I lost my first two matches and with any luck I’ll have rebounded by the time you read this to be competing for a kachi-koshi. I need some sort of scouting before the basho so that I can avoid always starting out with a loss.

Harumafuji, a former Yokozuna, is not participating this year because of his assault on another rikishi at the last basho. In case you don’t understand what this means, he smashed a bottle over another wrestler’s head and has been forced to retire from sumo. The Japanese do not allow their sport to be besmirched.

The action thus far has been good watching and I can’t wait to see Ura get back into the top division… because sumo is better with Ura.

I wanted to have a nifty transition like I did from before but I didn’t want to face this one.

We are in the 25th year of the UFC’s existence and I happened to catch the Stephens-Choi event on FS1 and was glad that I decided to watch the whole thing. I would normally have been leery of watching anything more than the “lady fights,” but the hype machine encouraged me to stick with it and the best fight of the night was the main event, in my opinion.

Looking at the schedule for the foreseeable future, I’m really interested in seeing the UFC 220: Miocic-Ngannu event this coming weekend. I don’t often get to witness two good heavyweights clashing and I’m really interested seeing this one live… and getting some buffalo wings to eat while I watch, which means getting to a Buffalo Wild Wings early enough to get a seat.

Other than that, I see that there are two events with more than one set of ladies battling it out, both UFC Fight Night: Jacare-Brunson 2 and UFC Fight Night: Cerrone-Medeiros have some potentially good lady fights I want to see. In that first one, I am hoping to see Tonya Evinger get whooped again, as I don’t think she’s anywhere near UFC material.

And now an aside that doesn’t get it’s own header.

I discovered a couple of spreadsheets on Sunday, January 14 that have been enthusiastic for doing something that I’ve always wanted to do… but first, a spot of history.

In 1998, I discovered e-fedding. That, for the uninitiated, is “electronic federation” or slang for wrestling on the Internet. Basically, you create a character and compete against others in a variety of ways to “pretend to be a wrestler online.” I ran a couple of federations in the past and really wanted to have a longer term future than I did.

The obstacle in that longer future was that I was getting tired of the “real thing,” which was WWE run amuck over anything resembling competition, and the same ideas being rehashed over and over. Basically, if Vince McMahon would step down and let the younger generations start running things it might freshen up the product… substantially.

Moving along, though, I wanted to have the same type of thing for boxing after my wrestling stint… and WeBL does that… sort of, but in my opinion, it doesn’t really do what I was hoping because it concentrates on the “short attention span achievements” that modern expectations have online. WeBL is more like an eFed and I was looking for something closer to emulating the real thing (like reported on by The Ring, including the alphabets WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO).

Since I started really giving my attention to the UFC, I wanted this to be more of an emulation of MMA rather than boxing… so, I made some spreadsheets of my own but got bogged down in tracking things that I just didn’t have time to program into the spreadsheets.

Well, I came across a tracker for something related to keeping track of an “in universe” EA UFC 2 simulation… and I can now use it in conjunction with what I wrote many moons ago to simulate an MMA experience!

I’m going in the direction, and really always have, of “digital fighters,” and I’ll be using single names (not a given plus surname, more like Seal or Madonna). I’m also instituting that both male and female fighters will be in the same competition, giving it a little depth.

This is sort of like the ESPL, which I cancelled after two seasons, but without downtime in the middle of the year… the digital fighting would be running more “year long” than seasonal. If this works out, I may end up resurrecting the ESPL with the new model and moving forward. I enjoyed doing the ESPL, and modifying the spreadsheet for the digital fighting would work wonders if I decided to program one again.

Smoothly transitioning into creating things, I wanted to write a 22 page comic for 2018… well, not just write, but actually fully produce.

One of my heroes, Dirk Manning, suggests when getting into something like this for the first time to go with an eight page story. The theory is that you aren’t overloading yourself with trying to do something giant but you’re getting enough room to tell a story that is interesting.

With my stated intent, I’d have to alter that (and considered doing so) into 3 eight page stories, meaning I’d end up with 24 pages total. I had one really fleshed out story I could add, then I was kind of struggling to come up with two other fleshed out stories to add to that one…

And I came back to my original intent. The story I’m going to tell is action packed, interesting, and I know exactly what happens, so I can progress in the direction I need to progress.

Thus, I’m back to producing a full 22 page comic book. I have about two pages written as I write this and I’m moving right along. 

I have not ceased working on BuJoRPG… I may be done with BuJoRPG2, though.

Work has been terrible and I haven’t really gotten back into the full swing of doing anything off work… because I’m working so much.

There has been some working out of ideas for the next bit I want to work on and I’ll get to it… but I need to have a normal work schedule again and that has failed to materialize as this has been written… and I’m really, really tired.

Podcasting is the last bit I want to address and since this is the end, I’ll address it under Final Thoughts.

I will be restarting the Specter Show (though I had never intended stopping) on my week of vacation coming up (starting tomorrow). I’ll record an episode, maybe two, and send them out into the world to get that show back up on it’s feet with all kinds of updates.

The Greatest Show will be returning next Saturday, too, as I’m trying to watch the UFC this Saturday. I’m going to be getting in touch with some guests and we’ll be explaining the future of the show when we get back up and running. As for the shows that haven’t been put out as audio, or put up on Channel 1 as edited final products, that will come when I get my week off and have time to do it.

All in all, things are starting to return to normal and I’m hoping that I can get back into everything I enjoy doing rather than doing nothing but work, work, work, work…

Journal of the Emerald Specter 72: Star Wars

I have a bit of house keeping to put up here… then we’re on to the column.

The Greatest Show is having some issues getting back up and running. I am exhausted from the holiday season and several of the others have their own things going on and that means we’re trying to get things back on track. Bear with us.

On to the column!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been out for about a month now and reactions are, oddly, mixed. Everyone has had their say and I’d like to throw my thoughts behind the situation to see if I can explain who wants what, why, and where we go next from here.

George Lucas created Star Wars, the entire saga. He came up with the idea, used themes and symbolism from multiple sources, and created what some people call “modern mythology.” Star Wars: A New Hope (titled such when he made a sequel) amazed audiences because they were treated to something new, a lived in science fiction-esq universe with weird aliens and awesome space ships.

Then came Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and audiences were split. Yes, split. Some people HATED the movie, thought it was too dreary and there was blow back from people who thought that Lucas was a one hit wonder. Go on, I dare you to find universal love from 1980… you won’t be able to, because this was not universal loved (at the time).

Lucas then went on to create Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and we again had people who weren’t universally behind the movie. The lightning rod of hate for this one went strongly towards the Ewoks, which were the Jar Jar Binks of 1983. This ended the trilogy and we were left without anything new for a great long time… yet, there was something interesting that happened.

ANH was loved. TESB was split, though people eventually came around to the movie being one of the best ever made. ROTJ wasn’t as good as TESB but fans eventually came around to hold all three Original Trilogy movies up on a pedestal.

In 1999, we were witness to Star Wars: A Phantom Menace… and the reaction was more than mixed, with hate for Jar Jar Binks as a character leading the way. Die hard OT fans decried the unveiling of midi-chlorians, the biological means by which the Force is manipulated. Forget about what was good in the movie, there was a largely negative response to the movie… from adults who grew up watching the OT.

Kids? Loved the movie. THIS is their trilogy beginning.

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones came out and there were a lot of problems with what went on, but we have ourselves another split on the general fan reaction to the movie. Adults were less than pleased, kids were more than pleased, and despite some really stilted dialog, this one exists and has one of the best lightsaber battles in any Star Wars movie (Yoda vs. Count Dooku).

In the finale of the Prequel Trilogy, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith gave us everything we could ask for in a Star Wars movie… and you either like this one or hate it, though if you ask the denouncers, they hold this one up as the pinnacle of the PT.

Largely, if you grew up during the OT you hate the PT. The PT generation doesn’t necessarily hate the OT, which the OT crowd uses as fuel to point out that the OT is more popular and “doesn’t suck.”

George Lucas was dumped on because he went and made the PT to show us how Darth Vader became Darth Vader. Original Trilogy fans cried out and wanted George gone because he made the Prequel Trilogy in the same way he did the Original Trilogy: for fans of all ages. OT fans thought the medium should have “grown up” with them and not been for the wider audience, but as we move into the future, the Prequel Trilogy is more accepted because the generation that grew up watching them is showing their kids and they are being accepted for what they are: part of the saga.

When George sold Lucasfilm to Disney, the OT generation started celebrating because even though the whole Star Wars saga came from the mind of George Lucas, they all thought he shouldn’t be allowed to do anything with the saga anymore… because of what they believed were terrible movies in the prequels.

Disney announced that there would now be a Star Wars movie every year and they would start focusing on “the future.” Original Trilogy fans rejoiced and rejoiced even harder when Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out.

In my opinion, the movie is fan wank and the reaction of the OT generation proves, time and again, that my assessment is right. I don’t totally hate TFA, there are some bits in there that are interesting and intriguing, but overall, this was nothing but fan service (or wank, as I keep calling it), because the OT generation thought this was the second coming.

Mainly, the ones I’m talking about are the “purists,” the ones who claim that if it isn’t exactly what the OT was then it isn’t worthy. How can you hate half of something and be a fan of it?

Now we come to the latest installment of the saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fans are once again split.

TLJ doesn’t do the fan service/wank of TFA. There is multiple references to letting go of the past and moving forward into the future, like Disney said when they took the reigns. There is a new direction for the characters who are ported over from the OT and the OT generation can’t accept that their idealized concept of Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie isn’t matching up 100% with what they imagined.

Honestly, their issue is that the Expanded Universe didn’t just pan out onto the screen, which is really what the OT generation wants.

If Star Wars is going to survive as a property then that property is going to need to evolve. If fans won’t let it evolve then it will die. Plain and simple. In order to evolve, we need to move FORWARD and away from the OT.

Rey doesn’t need to be related to anybody. Snoke’s origin isn’t important. Speculating on which Ewok one of the Pretorian Guards is does nothing to further the story. It is a BIG galaxy, though if we keep the connections so tightly wound, it’ll feel like we’re only dealing with a single cul-de-sac worth of characters and their trials in dealing with lawn care.

I skipped over Rogue One, the impending Solo movie, because these are accomplishing something that the OT generation will applaud without even realizing what is happening.

What IS happening?

Rogue One, while telling us a great “heist” movie, started the franchise down a path we really shouldn’t want to go… it fills in part of the “in between.” Solo? Does the same thing. If there is a Boba Fett flick, that will do the same thing. How is that a bad thing? Well, pretty soon, we’ll be seeing movies about what Luke was doing while traveling between Tatooine and Alderaan… did he brush his teeth, play some holo-chess, or was he reading up on how to cook nerf steaks?

If we map out every second of the past, then we lose something. We lose a lot, actually. We lose the mystery and we lose the point.

The EU was interesting enough for me to read right up until the end. Would I love it if they kept writing more? Yeah, but there isn’t going to be anymore “Legends” novels. Do I think they should have just taken the novels and made them into movies? No. Despite the novels being good, they were boring and slow. Movies, at least the Star Wars movies, aren’t boring or slow.

Let’s move FORWARD. Nostalgia is a word that means “unable to get out of the past,” and if you’re one who is super into nostalgia, then I’ll see you later… because I’m moving into the future.

Journal of the Emerald Specter 71: Bring on the New Year

Shut your mouth, it’s 2018!

Yeah, yeah… I know, “hey DJ, you probably wrote this last year and we are only just seeing it now.” Well, that is true… but I’m a lot closer to the actual release date than previous articles have been over the course of December, so I’m nearly real time.

But enough talking to myself, it’s time to look at a “New Year’s roundup” of sorts.

So, it’s time to start thinking about the BuJoRPG again. I’ve been overwhelmed over the course of the last two months and haven’t had a chance to put any effort into the bullet journal at all… like, I mean if I was bullet journaling steadily all year I wouldn’t have a single entry for November or December.

Work hurts.

When I last left off from working on the system, I was deep into creating a map for one to explore a “storyline,” more information on the “Jade Realm” that I’d pseudo-created for the BuJoRPG. Well, having had a chance to really give that a thought over the last couple of months, maybe I want to step back from world building to actually just build the basics. I’m reevaluating the approach, and I’m not starting over, I’m just going to hold off on the world building part. BuJoRPG2 may see some upgrades, slight rewrites, or things of that nature… but I’m going to be working on it again.

Speaking of bullet journaling, I wanted to start a new journal for 2018 and I had previously wanted to power through my original journal before I did that, but I’ve decided to use that journal as a testing ground for the BuJoRPG stuff and just start a new journal entirely. On January 1, 2018, I will have started the new year with an attempt to get re-organized and hopefully that leads me to a better chance at 365 days of journaling.

This month, the inaugural “basho” begins for the year as the Emerald Specter 2018 Winter Basho kicks off as previously announced. As I write this, there are four competitors out of 12 that will be participating in the event and I’m hoping that the rest of them jump on board before the actual kick off day.

The time controls are one move per day, which is as fast as I can guarantee I’ll personally be able to play. With my working schedule, several life unknowns, and just not really wanting to tie the event down to a single day or something like that, I’m hoping that the play is fast enough to ramp up the basho schedule from four to six for 2019, though we’ll see how this all actually plays out.

Realistically, I’m anticipating half of the players in the 2018 Winter Basho to not participate in future bashos. While I’d love to believe that the gimmick of chess crossed with sumo is enough to bring back people to compete for the “titles” that are involved, I’m enough of a realist to understand that to build a steady “roster” of players, this is probably going to be a two year plan. Some people will get it right away, some will pop in and check it out before deciding it isn’t for them.

This is one of those years where I haven’t payed as much attention to the NFL as I have previously. There have been years where I’d watch all three games on TV on Sunday, then watch the Monday game and when it was available, the Thursday and Saturday games.

This year? Pfff… I can’t tell you how many Sunday mornings I’ve woken up and just didn’t realize football was on TV. Hell, there have been days where my wife and I went out to eat and the only reason I knew I’d missed football is because it was on in the restaurant.

I’m mentioning this specifically as an NFL subject, but I’ve also slacked on watching the Premier League and the MLS, too, as 2017 hasn’t been a good “sports year” for me.

In 2001, I made a spreadsheet that was able to track the “picks league” I’d run for the people I worked with. The NFL schedule came out and I went to work ensuring that you could just input the scores of the games on the appropriate sheet and everything would update automatically. You could track up to 20 people in this league making the selections and while the coding of the spreadsheet was a little time consuming, I really enjoyed making it.

I’ve only made one similar since that year. When the 2018-2019 NFL schedule comes out, I plan on doing that again. I’m not sure I’m going to include places for people to keep track of their picks but if I build the basic sheet, I’ll be happy enough with myself.

Sticking with sports, the UFC has had a damn good year in 2017. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for 2018, too, as I’m going to start watching more of the events that I’m interested in seeing. I’m a big fan of the women and would guarantee to see the “lady fights” that were on whenever they were on but 2017 didn’t really let me get into UFC as much as I’d wanted.

Going out to watch UFC is something of a problem, as nearly all the bars and restaurants in the area that show the fights are packed to the hilt and have waiting lines out the door. Watching the fights at home is a costly endeavor, too, but if I can find out who at work likes to watch the UFC and is willing to split the cost, I’ll order the fights and none of us will take a giant hit on the price.

Yeah, I know that isn’t how the UFC intends these things to be watched, but we’re still paying to watch the fight and the groups aren’t going to be bigger than five or six people, so it isn’t like I’m hosting a public showing.

The last month or so, you’ve been treated to the “resurrecting old IPs” columns for possible future solo RPG adventuring. I’d even gone so far as to say I was going with my “Tron” idea and started figuring out what system I was going to use…

Then the holiday rush started and everything went to the back burner. EVERYTHING.

Well, if I’d have started RPing that scenario back in November or December, I might be supercharged to keep on with that storyline until some sort of “break” or “conclusion” came along… but since I haven’t even gotten to start the thing, I’m deciding whether I want to use another scenario or just move forward with the Tron one. Finding others to play with has forced me into using solo RPG as the only option I have.

Hey, DJ, what about the last column? You mentioned building some sort of fleet?

Yes, I did, and I’m glad you mentioned that.

Right along side working on the BuJoRPG2, I’m also going to be writing articles for the new fleet. The world that I’m creating does need some explanation and these articles can basically be used as the “training” for anyone wanting to play in the fleet.

Things I need to write up (generally speaking): biological information on the available and known species, a brief history of the planet from which the protagonists hail, how space travel works in this fleet, cultural backgrounds of the different nations on the planet, military structure, and basic things like how to run a SIM.

There is a lot to write and I’m really the only one that can write them up. I’ve got someone lined up to help design starships for the graphics side of things and with any luck, they won’t all look like a single person designed them (similar to what Star Trek ships look like).

I’ve attempted to write prose for a long time. There have been many, many false starts, and even fewer endings. The sad thing is that the “space series” short stories that I used to write are all in the past and I’ve seemed to have lost the ability to keep doing that sort of thing. So, I’m going to give myself a year to accomplish a goal that, if I don’t actually start doing it, I’ll never do.

I’m going to write a single issue, 22 page story, comic book script.

Not only am I going to write 22 pages of comic script, I’m going to then draw the damn thing, ink it, color it, and see how long the whole process takes me. There is no illusion that I can get this task done to completion in a single month, but if I’m going to write the script I want to see the end result.

I’ve talked about, pined over, and romanticized creating comic books since I started collecting them way back in 1987. There were six issues of a homemade comic that I made that have long since been lost that I even made, though I would tell you right now that they are horrible and the stories wouldn’t hold up at all under any scrutiny.

If I don’t do this in 2018, then I cam put that dream away and forget about ever doing it because talk is cheap and I’m tired of not doing anything about it.

The whole goal is to finish this project in 365 days, have a finished product by the end of 2018. I think that is a realistic goal and I’m hoping that it will inspire me to make more if I can complete one.

Wouldn’t that be great?

I’ve seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi. There has been both super positive and super negative reaction to it, and I’d like to throw my two cents in as well.

“Old school” fans will proclaim from the mountain tops that the Original Trilogy (or OT) is really the only Star Wars there is, claiming it to be untouchable for its greatness. The majority of these fans are over the age of 40.

The younger generation of fans, the ones that grew up during the Prequel Trilogy (or PT) are the ones who understand that the OT is good but really love the PT and hold that as the standard to which Star Wars should strive.

We also have a few fans out there that like all of the saga, none of one of the trilogies aforementioned, and there are even still more with other variations of likes and dislikes.

The OT fans that hold up that trilogy as the best profess to wanting more stories with those characters and we are getting that with this Sequel Trilogy (or ST), but things aren’t working out exactly as they’d hoped. The OT super fans are also the ones primarily upset over the loss of the Expanded Universe (EU) that was turned into “Legends” by Disney after the purchase of Lucasfilm.

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released in theaters, OT fans initially went orgasmic because they could now ignore the prequels entirely and just focus on moving “forward.” Well, you either seem to really like TFA or really dislike TFA, I haven’t really seen any “in between.” The movie was basically an entire “fan wank” rehash of the OT condensed into a single movie. Yes, there are redeeming bits and interesting beats in the movie, too, but overall, it’s the OT retold in a single movie.

Now that TLJ (The Last Jedi) has taken us into new territory, officially, the OT fans are crying super hard that this new movie isn’t their Star Wars. I have mentioned in some Facebook posts that I felt the movie didn’t really feel like Star Wars but I accept that things need to change in order to not continuously rehash the same story over and over again.

My question to the PT haters has always been: how can you hate half of something and claim to be a fan of it?

If I rank the Star Wars movies, and I’ve done this before TLJ came out, I’d have a different order if I included the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story into the mix… I don’t normally add that one because it’s not a numbered episode, so after putting thought into what I really think about TLJ, the order I’d rank the films in the saga are as follows:

  1. Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith
  2. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  4. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  5. Star Wars: A New Hope
  6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  7. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
  8. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

With a prequel toping the list, I can feel (through the Force) millions of “fans” cry out in agony. RotS is a superior movie, although the film suffers a little from some lumps, it isn’t as “hole filled” or terrible as the OT people want to make it out to be…

I’d probably slot Rogue One right behind The Last Jedi if you made me add it to the list… but since I’m not going to rank the Solo film (as I have zero interest in it) or a Boba Fett film (as I also have zero interest… and as an aside, the character did literally jack shit on screen and he’s super popular? Why? He has literally done nothing to warrant the popularity), I leave Rogue One off that list as well.

When George Lucas made the prequels, the OT fans cried that he ruined their childhood. Those same fans rejoiced at the purchase by Disney, leaving GL out of the mix entirely… and now they’re crying about the fact that Disney is actually doing something interesting, albeit not what they wanted, with the franchise.

You can’t hate and love the creator simultaneously. Pick one.

Star Wars has a bright future. Rian Johnson was given the green light to have his own trilogy, divorced from the Skywalker saga entirely. What have I heard fans think the new trilogy will be about?

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Mandalorians
  • Knights of the Old Republic

Really? These are completely divorced from the Saga? I don’t think so, McFly.

The key words are “divorced from” and people are having a hard time grasping that concept.

I want to end this segment by boiling down a little 411 for the kids reading this: Luke Skywalker, son of Anakin Skywalker, with R2D2 and C3PO, are what the Saga is about. This links them to Rey, Kylo Ren, Snoke, Darth Vader, Darth Sidious (Emperor Palpatine), Padme Amidala, Chewbacca, Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Leia Organa, Lando Calrissian, Admiral Ackbar, Mon Mothma, Jabba the Hutt, Biggs, Wedge, Mace Windu, BB8, and more characters than I can continue to name before I have to start looking them up… If Rian Johnson is going to tell a trilogy that is original and new, then there can be no connection to these characters aside from a passing mention.

Speculation ran rampant about Rey’s parentage and it comes down to the fact she’s a nobody. Why does everyone in the galaxy, read GALAXY, have to be related? Let’s do something new, something different, and let’s stop living in the past.

Nostalgia is for people who don’t know how to move forward.