Liiiiitle peaches

One of our peach trees is being rather productive again this year… however, with the drought we’re being pounded with the peaches are very small.  I’d guess maybe 1/4 the size of previous years.  Stark evidence of what we didn’t get this year.

Fortunately, they are still nice and tasty!  Fresh peaches hooray!

Philosophy Tuesday

This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

We are not fixed objects, set in stone.

We often place a lot of weight on “who we are” and “what we’re capable of” – or not, in either of those cases – with the implicit statement that we are describing some fundamental impenetrable character that shall forever be.

It may have been this way for a long time, we may only know ourselves to be a certain way, and even others may only know us to be a certain way.

Yet that past means nothing. With the right access, years upon years upon known years of history can flip, melt, open, and present a new canvas.

We all have the amazing capacity to alter, develop, grow, and transform.

And thus, so do our relations, institutions, circles, and societies.

We are not fixed objects, set in stone.

Philosophy Tuesday – The Hidden Currents of Views

This is a great post and a great story by Shankar Vedantam about how easily we can fool ourselves… and the impact that fooling can have on our perceptions of how things are. And so our perception goes, so too do we, and society, and organizations, go.

It’s a great exploration, I won’t ruin it by trying to summarize it, so do check it out. His telling of his swimming trip is excellent, very relatable to many instances in my life and, I’d wager, in just about everyone’s life. We’ve had experiences like this, where we’ve come face to face with a seemingly strange incongruence like that, where we’ve been brought face to face with our own ability to fool ourselves. What he’s inviting is for us to realize that it’s not just in that moment that we fooled ourselves, but it’s all over the place. It’s one of the wonderful aspects of being human, the hidden biases that are both overt (like racism) and covert (like the book and radio piece I linked to here:

And it ain’t bad that we have those biases – they’re just something we humans are very capable of. And when we become aware, we gain power to create what we really want.

“Good people are not those who lack flaws, the brave are not those who feel no fear, and the generous are not those who never feel selfish. Extraordinary people are not extraordinary because they are invulnerable to unconscious biases. They are extraordinary because they choose to do something about it.”

4 x 25 of fun

Thought it would be fun to post this picture, they’re sitting on my shelves right now, representing 25 years of my gaming history with D&D (!), on the cusp of fifth edition being released:

D&D editions

FWIW, I have thoroughly enjoyed playing in every single edition of D&D I’ve played in.

I got my start with 1st edition under an experienced DM, and and cut my teeth on Tomb of Horrors, the Slavers series, running the desert in the Oasis of the White Palm, and tackling the mystery that was Castle Ravenloft.

I can honestly say that I am one of the first people to get their hands on the 2nd Edition Player’s handbook in all of the province of Ontario, through the fortune that one of my gaming buds’ dad was the distributor for TSR for all of Ontario. He brought us all copies of the books on release day straight from the warehouse. Most of my D&D history runs through this 2nd edition (you can tell by the condition of its cover), in campaigns far and wide, playing all manner of characters. I have seen ancient dwarven prophecies, the harsh lands of Dark Sun, the gonzo action of Castle Greyhawk, the mysterious disappearance of magic in a world. I played dwarves, elves, Halflings, humans, centaurs, dryads, and more. I saw the use of miniatures on a grid map for the first time. I had DMs who played in the open, behind screens, prepared modules, whole-cloth worlds, and more house rules and additions than I can count.

I followed every single moment of Eric Noah’s website on 3rd edition news, and its release was a new day. I joined new campaigns, with yet more characters and fun, and it laid the basis for my own running of the 1st edition’s Throne of Bloodstone series of modules, passing through the .5 revision along the way.

I am unabashed in saying I enjoy 4th edition. I do not understand the vitriol this edition sparked and the downright hyperbolic accusations against it and its players. Is it different? Yes. And is it the same? Yes. The take on many things in 4e even harkens back to a 1e way of doing things. I’ve DMed it, I’ve played in it.  I’ve written my own supplements for it, tweaking it as I like.

It is a game of sweet RP, exciting dungeoneering, tense combats, and flavourful characters.

That has been the essence of D&D for me throughout the editions. The metrics from which I want to measure each campaign I’ve been in. Great moments of adventure that we will remember going forward. Great interactions between the party members. Great unknowns and great resolutions. The moments of great luck, and the moments of great screw ups. At the end of the evening, we leave feeling puffed up, engaged, and heroic.

I will see how 5th ed is when it arrives on the scene in a few months. I will have my thoughts on the rules, to be sure. But on this, the 40th anniversary of D&D, to see the ship sailing strong, gathering new people into the fold, and more discover the fun of the hobby, that is what I am excited to see.

Let’s play.

Nemesis: The Excellence

Now THIS is a fabulous terrain coaster! Oh I am in luuuurve with this. And oldie – Europe’s first inverted coaster! – but still ranks very high on top rides lists, and I can see why. Check out that roll around 23 seconds (and again at 1:32) that just flies over to avoid a rock wall! All you’d see is this big solid thing coming to your face, and just before you get there you’d roll over the top of it. Brilliant! Diving through those canyons just wide enough for the cars, skimming things with your toes, the waterfalls (sometimes blood red). Good stuff. Ok, next time I’m in the UK, I gotta go.