[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Saturday, 2016-04-02

Tomorrowland (2015)

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 15:04

Tomorrowland (2015)

This afternoon’s matinee at Castle Blackmoor … Tomorrowland (2015).

It’s actually quite a bit of fun after it gets started. Unfortunately, it takes a full half-hour to get started. We were close to giving up on it. So if you’ve not seen it, give it a try, just don’t expect the movie to actually start until about a half-hour after the opening credits.

Monday, 2016-03-28

Playing music into a Google Hangout

Filed under: Music,Podcast,Software,The Internet,Windows — bblackmoor @ 11:04

Here is how I play music (MP3 files) into a Google Hangout.

Hardware

Software

Setup

  1. Install Virtual Audio Cable. Don’t mess with the settings. Just install it.
  2. Run “Audio repeater (MME)”, which was installed by Virtual Audio Cable.
    1. Set “Wave in” to your headset microphone.
    2. Set “Wave out” to Line 1 (Virtual Audio cable).
    3. Set “Total buffer (ms)” to 100.
    4. Click “Start”.
  3. In the task icon area of the taskbar, right-click the speaker, and select “Recording Devices”.
    1. Right-click the headset microphone, and select “Set as Default Device”.
    2. Double-click Line 1. On the Listen tab, select “Listen to this device”.
    3. Also on the Listen tab, set “Playback through this device” to the headset.
  4. Run Chrome.
  5. In Chrome, go to Google Hangouts, and click “Video Call”.
  6. When the Hangouts window opens, click the gear icon in the upper right corner. On the General tab…
    1. Select the webcam for the “Video”.
    2. Select Line 1 for the “Microphone”.
    3. Select the headset for the “Speakers”.
  7. Open VLC Media Player.
    1. Add songs to the playlist.
    2. In the Audio menu, select Audio >> Audio Device >> Line 1 (Virtual Audio Cable).
  8. Invite people to join the hangout.
  9. Play songs in VLC. Other people in the Hangout will hear them. To avoid drowning myself out, I set the VLC output level to about 90%.

Recording

Here are the settings I used to record in Flashback Express.

  1. In the Tools >> Options menu, look in the Sound section.
  2. Under Sound Source, select “PC Speakers (what you hear)”.
  3. In the drop-down under “PC Speakers (what you hear)”, select the headset.
  4. Now, when recording in Flashback Express, check “Record Sound”.
  5. Still in Flashback Express, for “Source” select “PC Speakers (what you hear)”.

When done with the hangout

  1. Close the Hangout window.
  2. Click “Stop” in Audio Repeater, and close it.
  3. In the Windows “Sound” dialog, select “Recording Devices”.
    1. Double-click Line 1. On the Listen tab, un-select “Listen to this device”.
    2. Click “Okay”.
  4. Close VLC Media Player.

Tuesday, 2016-03-15

Retiring abroad

Filed under: Fine Living,Retirement,Travel — bblackmoor @ 14:40

Nova Scotia has an average of 8-10 feet of snow annually, which is too much for me. So retiring to Cape Breton Island is out.

Looking at the countries on this list, Cuenca (Ecuador) is still high on my list, because of the climate, the cost, and the existing expatriate community. Boquete (Panama) is a strong second, and Panama (for the moment) makes it very easy to obtain permanent residency. Mexico (Guanajuato or San Miguel de Allende) would be a third choice: it’s easy to emigrate there, and like Panama and Ecuador, it rates pretty well for health care and medicine. And it’s a lot closer to the USA, in case we want to come back for visits.

A lot of the other places listed in the attached link sound great in most respects (like Malaysia), but are just too warm for me, while others sound great in most respects but are too expensive for me to consider retiring there (such as Ireland).

The first step will be visiting one of these places to see if we actually like it there. Anyone up for a group vacation in 2017?

I need to remember to check on the internet speed, cost, and reliability in these places.

Update: Internet in Cuenca seems decent. Netflix and Hulu are available, but require a VPN. In Boquete, there appear to be a number of high-speed internet providers, but Netflix and Hulu are only available through a VPN. Guanajuato also has high speed internet, and again, a VPN appears to be needed to access Netflix and Hulu.

Reading the “Gringos Abroad” blog (linked above), two things jumped out at me as possible deal-breakers for me: parasites, and cockroaches. So maybe ten feet of snow is not such a bad thing.

Saturday, 2016-03-12

Project Almanac

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 22:25

Time travel is stupid.

Project Almanac

Wednesday, 2016-03-02

John Wick

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 20:49

I enjoyed John Wick. It’s another Keanu Reeves movie: more or less a remake of Payback, but still a lot of fun. It built its own little world. I like that.

This reminded me of the good old days, with Lloyd Montgomery​ GMing and Dan Donovan​ playing the guy they won’t let retire in peace.

Sometimes a whole lot of people just need to die.

John Wick

Monday, 2016-02-29

Zombie Apocalypse: The Reality

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 09:23

Zombie Apocalypse Fantasy vs Reality

Saturday, 2016-02-27

Knock Knock

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 21:31

Tonight we watched a Keanu Reeves movie, “Knock Knock“. This is so bad. So very bad. It’s basically a remake of the Ann-Margret/John Forsythe movie, “Kitten With A Whip” (as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000!), but with more-idiotic characters. There’s not a single character who behaves in an even vaguely sane way in the entire movie. Seriously: not one. Not the two kids. Not their parents. Not the homicidal maniacs. Not even the guy with asthma who is … I don’t know, some kind of art dealer? Assistant for the artist? Whatever. Every single character is an idiot.

Except the Uber driver, who hangs around a few minutes, and then leaves. I wish we had done that.

Knock Knock

Monday, 2016-02-08

Superman vs. Man Of Steel

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 13:03

It’s no small secret that I don’t even consider Man Of Steel (2013) a Superman movie. It’s not a bad science fiction film, in the same vein as Hancock (although I prefer Hancock), but the guy in that costume is not Superman.

Superman knows right from wrong, but like Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Fleet”, he is very careful about using his power to save people from *themselves*, because he knows that it often makes things worse, and he respects the rights of individuals even if their decisions disappoint him.

Superman has a sense of humour, and he’s easy-going. Why wouldn’t he be? He is powerful enough to deal with any ordinary problem, and there is virtually nothing that ordinary people can do to hurt him. He’s like a lumberjack in a room full of puppies and kittens (we’re the puppies and kittens).

Above all, Superman cares. That’s why he fights corruption as reporter Clark Kent — contrary to what some people have claimed, Clark Kent is not the disguise. Clark Kent is who Superman *is* — a man raised by decent people, who cares about others, and who wants to help make the world a better place.

He also just happens to have the powers of a god.

Fantasy Age arcana: Thought

Filed under: Gaming — bblackmoor @ 09:30

Fantasy Age logo

This is the fourth and final new arcana for the Spellbinder specialization: Thought.


Thought Arcana

Thoughts are as clay to be molded.

  • Novice: Learn Sense Minds and Share Thoughts.
  • Journeyman: Learn Sift Thoughts; gain the focus Intelligence (Thought Arcana).
  • Master: Learn Insert Thought; one spell stunt at -1 SP when casting Thought Arcana spells.
  • Source: Brandon Blackmoor bblackmoor@blackgate.net

Sense Minds

  • Requirements: Thought Arcana (Novice)
  • Type: Utility
  • Cost: 4+
  • Casting Time: 1 Minute
  • Target Number: 11
  • Range: 10 yds
  • Test: Willpower (Self-Discipline) vs. Spellpower
  • Source: Brandon Blackmoor bblackmoor@blackgate.net, based on Bloodhound, Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook

You can perceive the presence and location of thinking entities. When you first cast the spell or as a major action during the duration, you can search for minds within 10 yards of you. The spell can penetrate barriers, but 2 feet of rock, 2 inches of metal, or a thin sheet of lead will block the spell. You can’t sense a creature with an Intelligence less than -2, one that doesn’t understand any language, or one that makes a successful Willpower (Self-Discipline) test vs. your Spellpower. If the target fails the Willpower (Self-Discipline) test, you know their precise location, but you can’t actually listen to their thoughts. This lasts for 10 minutes, and you can keep it active for 2 MP per further 10 minutes. While the spell is active, you will be able to cast spells from the Thought Arcana against the target as though you could see them.

Share Thoughts

  • Requirements: Thought Arcana (Novice)
  • Type: Utility
  • Cost: 4+
  • Casting Time: 1 Minute
  • Target Number: 11
  • Range: 10 yds
  • Test: Willpower (Self-Discipline) vs. Spellpower
  • Source: Brandon Blackmoor bblackmoor@blackgate.net, based on Voices Of The Wind, Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook

You can silently converse with any single person or creature within 10 yards of you that you can see or that you have located through the use of the Sense Minds spell. An unwilling participant may block the communication with a successful Willpower (Self-Discipline) test vs. your Spellpower. An unwilling participant is under no obligation to respond to you if they fail this test, but they will still hear you. You can switch to converse with a different target within range as a major action. Share Thoughts lasts for 10 minutes, and you can extend it for 10 minutes for each 2 MP you spend.

Sift Thoughts

  • Requirements: Thought Arcana (Journeyman)
  • Type: Attack
  • Cost: 8
  • Casting Time: Major Action
  • Target Number: 11
  • Range: 10 yds
  • Test: Willpower (Self-Discipline) vs. Spellpower
  • Source: Brandon Blackmoor bblackmoor@blackgate.net, based on Burning Shield and Ensnaring Roots, Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook

You can perceive the thoughts of any single person or creature within 10 yards of you that you can see or that you have located through the use of the Sense Minds spell. You can’t perceive the thoughts of a creature with an Intelligence less than -2 or one that doesn’t understand any language. The target may attempt a Willpower (Self-Discipline) test vs. your Spellpower. If the target succeeds on this test, the spell ends, and the target becomes aware that you were attempting to pry into their mind. If the target fails this test, you learn their surface thoughts — what is uppermost on their mind at that moment. As a major action, you can either shift your attention to the thoughts of another creature within range or attempt to probe deeper into the same creature’s mind. If you probe deeper, the target may attempt another Willpower (Self-Discipline) test vs. your Spellpower. If the target succeeds on this test, the spell ends, and the target becomes aware that you were attempting to pry into their mind. If the target fails this test, you gain insight into their motivations, their emotional state, and their general intentions. Sift Thoughts lasts for a number of minutes equal to your Willpower, and you may, if you wish, monitor the thoughts of a single target this entire time.

Insert Thought

  • Requirements: Thought Arcana (Master)
  • Type: Attack
  • Cost: 8
  • Casting Time: Major Action
  • Target Number: 14
  • Range: 10 yds
  • Test: Willpower (Self-Discipline) vs. Spellpower
  • Source: Brandon Blackmoor bblackmoor@blackgate.net, based on Watery Doom, Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook

You can insert a single clearly stated thought into the mind of any single person or creature within 10 yards of you that you can see or that you have located through the use of the Sense Minds spell. You can’t place a thought into the mind of a creature with an Intelligence less than -2 or one that doesn’t understand any language. The target may attempt a Willpower (Self-Discipline) test vs. your Spellpower. If the target succeeds on this test, they recognize the thought as not being their own, and they know that you placed it there. If the target fails this test, they believe the thought to be their own. They will treat the thought with all of the same seriousness as any other sincerely held belief, and they will act accordingly. This is not mind control: the target is not your puppet. How they respond to this new thought will depend on their existing desires, fears, and loyalties. Some examples of appropriate thoughts are:

  • “I will be richly rewarded for bringing [the caster] to my master.”
  • “The nobles are plotting to kill me.”
  • “These are not the gnomes I am looking for.”
  • “I have much to gain by trusting [the caster].”
  • “My father wanted me to make my own path, not follow in his.”

Friday, 2016-02-05

Fantasy Age: The Stunt Die

Filed under: Gaming — bblackmoor @ 19:55

Fantasy Age logo

An ability test uses three six-sided dice (3d6). Two of the dice should be one color and the third a different color. The off color die is known as the Stunt Die. The three dice are rolled and added together, and then 2 more is added if the character has an appropriate focus (3 if the character has taken the focus twice). The final number is the test result.

Test result = 3d6 + ability + focus

The test result is compared to a static target number (TN) in the case of a Basic Test or the test result of another character in an Opposed Test. A character wins a Basic Test by meeting or beating the target number and an Opposed Test by beating the opponent’s test result. The results of the Stunt Die can be used to determine the degree of success and to break ties in the case of an Opposed Test.

[…]

  • Leave the dice on the table after a roll because the result of the Stunt Die may be important.
  • The Stunt Die only counts for successful tests.
  • In opposed tests, ties are broken by the Stunt Die, or the higher ability if those too are tied.

(Fantasy Age Basic Rulebook, “Mastering The Rules”)

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