Monday, July 7, 2014

Going with the Madness

Every now and then, its good to take a step back, inhale a nice big breath, and realize just how blessed we are to live in the age and world we do.

Well, folks reading this blog are probably blessed...I mean, you have access to the internet and the leisure time to find my little dot of light in the darkness.

Despite all the terrible things that continue to happen in the world, despite all the things we complain about...politics, religion, war, the latest version of Dungeons & Dragons...despite our being "down-sized" or divorced or passed over for promotion or that asshole that crashed your car and didn't have any insurance (or money) to reimburse you...despite all THAT, if you have time to check this blog, chances are you're probably doing OKAY. Which by today's standards is a shit-ton better than, say, 150 years ago (unless you happened to belong to some form of landed aristocracy). As a smarter man than me recently wrote (and I'm paraphrasing, not quoting), most of human history has been fraught with peril and atrocity on a scale that hasn't been experienced in our lifetimes. Genocide and dehumanization are not things that were invented by the Nazis the 20th century. It may be tougher to find the records for non-history buffs due to the lack of information dissemination in past centuries, but it's there. These days, the mere fact that we are aware of what tragedies go on in our world gives us the hope (at least that!) that maybe something can be done about it.

So, yeah, blessed I say. My kids (not even teenagers!) can be a real pain in the ass at times when I'd rather be writing or exercising or gaming. But they've made my life a thousand times better than it was. My wife...well, let's just say the list of complaints I could raise would fill its own blog...has made my life a thousand times better. My life has been crazy-nuts and has seemed like one big ball of discomfort more often than not...going all the way back to elementary school at least. But when I take the time to put it in perspective, I realize just how really, seriously fortunate I am.

To sum it up in rough fashion: the toilets in Mexico may not have seats, but at least there's indoor plumbing.

[except on the mountain road to Oaxaca...but let's not digress]

So living a pampered and privileged life of leisure (i.e. "unemployed with housing"), sometimes we (*I*) lose perspective and voice complaints and irritations that really matter very little in the scheme of things. Like why there's so little originality on stage and screen these days. Did they really need to turn A Room With A View into a musical? If the playwrights/composers are talented enough to make such a thing, aren't they talented enough to make something original?

But, as with my receding hairline, it's really not something to get worked up over. The tremendous outpouring of bile from Mexico over the way they went out of the World Cup (and to be clear, I am a fan and supporter of Mexican national team) only detracts from the greatness the team displayed after being on the outside looking in just a few months back. Like the U.S. getting beat by Belgium (and sure it hurt when Prince Harry netted that first goal)...yes, it was nice to dream about an underdog triumph, but we were clearly outclassed, and Gringos still got to watch some great soccer. There's nothing here to complain about...just go with the madness.

That's what I told my buddy, Josh, after we went to see the most recent film installment of The Hobbit. Despite the praise I wrote for the first film in the "trilogy," I really was disappointed with all the action-fighting scenes in the film.

[it was tedious in more than a couple places, and I found watching Bilbo get "stuck-in" with the giant orcs to be both ridiculous and truly counter to his character as told in the book]

But I still went to The Desolation of Smaug, even so (I'm a completist, if not a masochist). Afterward, walking out of the theater, Josh waited to hear my opinion, fully expecting me to lambast the thing (he knows me and knows I tend to have strong opinions and a love of vocalizing them loudly). Instead, I said I found it fairly enjoyable as a film. I didn't go into the film considering it The Hobbit...the book that I've read, re-read, and loved for many decades...and from the opening scenes I just decided to take the movie as it is and "go with the madness." Yeah, bring on the barrel-riding fight sequence! Bring on the hot, dwarf-on-elf romance! Let's friggin' do this thing!

It's not "why?" It's "why not!"
There's wasting time, and then there's wasting time. I could spend many precious minutes, hours, or days of my (truly blessed) existence complaining that they didn't do the book justice, and have wrecked it for generations to come...OR I could just ignore the book in relation to the film, content that there's still a fairly good adaptation (the Rankin-Bass cartoon) floating around the shelves of video stores, not to mention the book itself on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. And complaining about it would be a double waste, just by the way (because it would mean I wasted three hours of my life watching the thing as well).

Go with the madness. It doesn't mean you give up on your principles or your ideals or your interests, wants, and desires. But sometimes you've just got to roll with what life serves up. If you're still living, breathing, and reading (this blog or any of the multitudes like it) chances are that life's not serving you anything too terribly hard...even though you want to pull your hair out at times.

Having said that...

I'm still inclined to call BS on BS that I see, when I see it. And on this particular blog, that means there will be the occasional "BS posting" with regard to the game industry. Not always: "edition wars" are, for me, a thing of the past (really...remember when I buried my hatchet with Pathfinder?). No, no...people can play what they want. And really, despite a snicker or two in my post from a couple days ago, I wasn't bitching about the particular rules found in the Basic D&D PDF...I was complaining about the lack of a complete game in something that I feel is being passed off (and celebrated) as a complete game.

Well, the bitching is done and my complaint annunciated. Per requests from interested parties, I shall now take a look at what I find interesting/useful/cool in the Basic D&D PDF. I will, of course, have to  act on certain assumptions of gameplay, since I don't have a complete ruleset to review. Hmmm...but I'll do that in a new post, I think. This one's getting a bit long.
; )


  1. @ Shlomo:

    Yeah, yeah...I know.
    ; )

  2. TL;DR.

    ...just kidding.
    But yes, even sitting here in Village Inn, using their wireless internet for free.... now I recall that there used to be no such thing as wireless internet, or the internet period, or being able to fit an enormous gaming library on a device that weighs less than a hardback novel. Perspective, and all that.

    Elf-on-dwarf lovin' is a crime against nature, though. Just sayin'.

    1. dwarf-on-elf, on the other hand...