Monday, August 18, 2014

Preacher's wisdom about Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition and God

My preacher told a short little story that struck me as unusually wise. Although a wise man, the wisdom was not his originally. Before he was a pastor, and before seminary, my preacher was simple a churchgoer, and after a Bible study had a question for his own preacher. He had run into the big idea that the God of Abraham is recognized as the God of the Jews, and the Christians, and the Muslims. Anthropologically speaking, He is the same God (I differ in the theological sense). He asked his pastor about this complicated question, and the old man thought about it. He finally said, "I'd hate to stand before God not having known Jesus."

That strikes me as an excellent answer.

I should not put words into either my preacher's mouth or his preacher before him, but in my thinking I don't dare decide what God would do, and certainly not what He should do. Not only is it not my decision to make, but I am certain I lack both the wisdom and the righteousness to make such a decision. Certainly the Bible provides guidance in such matters, and we can should study and learn, but it makes me angry (I hope in a righteous way) when people talk as if they can tell God what to do, and when.

My preacher says something else that is meaningful regarding this: "My job is to preach, not judge. That's God's job, not mine."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Star Trek: The Re-Imagined Card Game

2 player "transwarp speed" preconstructed deck(s) with agreed TIME LIMIT (often 45 minutes after set-up)
Distilled from the thousands-card customizable card game (1E) by Decipher, repurposed to focus on speed of play, eased learning curve, theme, reduced confusion, nostalgia, and fun. I have made the play decks a tad bit larger for this version.

Three sentence rules summary: Players agree on time limit conditions, then deal out “Obstacle Deck”, deal out spaceline, both players select their “starting fleet,” then shuffle decks and deal 7 cards to each player. Players then alternate turns of playing 2 cards (plus free cards), taking actions (if any), trying to score points, and then ending turn to draw 2 new cards. It’s a race to have the most points by endgame (or first to 100 points).

WITH COMBINED SEED DECK (and with 1:1 customizable personnel available)
(redesigned "house rules" for time limit)
wanted: Attack Authorization, Gorn Encounter x 2, Borg Sphere x 2, Escape Pods incident, Punishment Box x2, Remodulation, Barclay Transporter Phobia, Rager

current draw (8+22+20+1= 51) + draw #2 (51) + shared seed (55) = 157

updated "house rules"
Game setup: (7 steps)
1) Each player receives his/her Draw Deck (preconstructed and equal) of 51 cards.
2) The shared Seed Deck is brought out, and separated into Missions and Obstacles (Dilemmas/ Enemy Ships/ Q cards, ignoring space/planet issues unless the word "planet" is used).
3) The players now agree to 3 articles that affect how long the game lasts:
One, how many Obstacles? And two, what time limit? And three, how many cards played/drawn each turn? Default is 3 obstacles, 2 cards played/drawn, and 1 hour (began once "starting fleet deployment" and set-up completed).
4) The missions are shuffled, and then laid out into a Spaceline ("Auto-Seeds"), all facing one direction, and all open to all players, ignoring quadrants.
5) Now, Obstacles (dilemmas/ enemy ships/ Q) are also shuffled. A number of Obstacles is agreed upon for every mission (from 1 to 4; 3 preferred; lower number speeds up the game). Obstacles are now seeded: a chosen number under each mission, random and hidden, all equal amounts (skipping Space and Nebula missions).
6) Now, each player selects (from Draw Deck) "Starting Fleet Deployment". Each Player begins with one outpost (placement their choice), one ship (their choice but usually USS Galaxy, at outpost), and 3 Federation (Blue) personnel (one gold staff icon and two silver icons) (again, their choice, and again at the outpost).
7) Note: players need to realize they will eventually have a discard pile, a played card area, and a points-modifier area, to be used if and when they are.

Each player plays 2 (or agreed upon varient) regular cards during turn, then makes command decisions ("taking actions"), tries to score points, then draws 3 new cards. Alternate player repeats. Simple.
Sorta. Some cards changed how many cards are drawn or played, or "stop" parts of your fleet from taking more actions, or otherwise confuse things. Also, some cards (when played) allow "downloading" specific cards. Even further, all of your allowed end-of-turn card draws, together, may be converted, each turn, at whim, into one (and only one) "download to hand" (aka "recruiting") function of one Federation personnel card. One per turn.
Interrupts may be played at any time and do not require a card play. Tribbles play for free, but only on your turn. Tactic cards play during any ship battle, almost like an interrupt. All other cards (such as events, objectives, and incidents) use a card play on your turn, unless they specify. Personnel and Federation ships can only report/play to your outpost (again, unless they specify). Equipment cards may report to your ship(s).
"Taking actions" includes ship/personnel movement and mission attempts and attacking ship-dilemmas.
Again, thats:
1) Play 2 cards (or skip either, if you choose, or plays-for-free also, or varient)
2) Take actions, such as moving/beaming/docking, attempting missions, and a few others.
3) Announce you end turn, and draw 2 fresh cards (or all together may be converted into a recruit attempt).
4) The alternate player repeats.
No hand limits.
The goal is to have the most points by the time the time limits runs out, points earned mostly by attempting and completing missions, but also by bonus point boxes on various other cards. If any player gains 100 points before their opponent does, the game automatically ends. (A mission is completed once an attempt is made with all requirements satisfied AND no more Obstacles to be faced there. “Stolen” missions are worth ½ points, rounded down.) If neither player can make any effective moves, the game is also over with the highest points winning. (With the many Obstacles option chosen, this is a likely outcome.) If either draw deck runs out, the game is also over when that player cannot draw again. If an outpost is destroyed (extremely unlikely), the other player wins.

Further notes and rules clarifications:
Non-federation “enemy” ships are considered as dilemmas/Obstacles (acting like the original Borg Ship dilemma). Like all dilemmas/Obstacles, they are hidden under a mission (if randomly dealt out) and encountered in the same fashion, i.e. randomly during a mission attempt. They immediately auto-attack (and stop) the encountering ship, and then enter play. Once in play, during the “In-Between Phase” (in-between each players’ turns), the enemy ship moves. It travels automatically one spaceline location towards farthest end of spaceline. It auto-attacks any ships or outposts encountered (no choice - weakest shields selected, random if tie; ONLY attacks/moves once, results treated as though at beginning of a turn, unless Borg Cube, which automatically attacks ANY ship at ANY time, including multiples). Any ship attacked in this way is “stopped” along with its crew, even if it wins decidedly (thus, the player cannot use that ship or crew the following player turn). If a player's ship has a personnel matching attacking dilemma-ship affiliation, it is usually immune (i.e. Dejar makes a ship immune from Cardassian vessels) (Exceptions to immunity: Non-Aligned and Klingon attack others of same; there are no Borg personnel thus no immunities). Enemy ships can and do auto-attack other enemy ships, following immunity guidelines, and calculated normally. Enemy ships only attack once during each “In-between phase.”

A recruit attempt is when a player chooses to "convert" their end-of-turn card draws. Once announced, the player may search the his or her draw deck and "download to hand" of one Federation personnel card. It is entirely optional, may be used once per turn only, may be used with no conditions except that the download be a personnel card of the Federation affiliation (of any type, any command level). The player announces the recruit attempt, searches his or her draw deck for a valid card, must reveal it to the opponent, and place in hand, and then shuffle draw deck. Cards drawn this way play normally on a later turn, just as if drawn nornally. A player making such a conversion may choose to discontinue at any time before choosing a card, retract their attempt, and regain their option for their regular end-of-turn card draws.

Ships with no staffing icons “lifeboats” (i.e. shuttles and runabouts) have a capacity/personnel limit of 6. Larger ships have none. These ships (no icons; shuttlecraft) may be docked or undocked/launched using 1 range, carried aboard your ships with (tractor beam and ENGINEER), or land/launch, also using 1 range. These small ships are rather useful, giving versatility with RANGE, but also because they (might) "rescue" all your personnel if your ship is being destroyed in many cases. They can also land to "hide" from larger enemy ships. They can also use the Magnetic North card to “hide” if applicable.

All affiliations may mix and cooperate, except ship-dilemmas. Quadrant restrictions and alternate universe restrictions ignored.

Mission attempts require your ship at that location, and all personnel on said ship are a part of the mission. To attempt a mission you must have mission requirements met in order to attempt. Yes, key personnel are put at risk: that's the point. Once you begin the attempt, you then face the remaining dilemmas/ obstacles/ enemy ships randomly hidden there, one at a time.
Once a mission is completed (all Obstacles cleared and attempt successful with conditions all met), score points, and as a visual reminder place one discarded dilemma face up under the mission, upside down, so only the Dilemma logo peaks out from underneath. Thus, little tablespace is used up and yet it is a distinct reminder. This mission cannot be attempted again by any player.

Stolen missions are worth ½ points, rounded down. These are missions in which all the dilemma/Obstacles have already been encountered and removed by one player but then scored by the other player. Often a given player is not able to score a mission on the same turn he or she overcomes all the Obstacles. To earn full points, a player must have encountered at least one Obstacle from the mission.

Missions may not be scored more than once, and only one player may do so. A mission is not removed from play (or the spaceline), and it may still be interacted with as a spaceline location (such as beamed to or landed upon, if a planet).

Transporter Skill allows escape from a ship being destroyed, either to a planet or a friendly neighboring ship, as well as a skill for dilemma resolution.

Miracle Worker: Scotty's special skill includes one extra skill chosen from three choices. You choose Transporter Skill, or Physics, or an extra Astrophysics. Starts as Transporter skill when reporting, and then may change once per turn at any time, even during a dilemma/Obstacle, and lasting the rest of the turn at least. For the needs of emergency beaming during ship destruction, Scotty always counts as having Transporter Skill.

'Hopscotch' among your many ships has been deemed unbalanced play, and is no longer allowed. Thus, once you move a ship, you may add personnel, but personnel may move any more (however, these personnel are not “stopped” and may take actions such as attempting missions). For rationale, your personnel have used up all their available man-hours flying the ship.

Ship battle and damage: Damage to a ship is normally received from battle with other ships, but also from some dilemmas. If a ship is damaged once, it receives penalties. If a ship is damaged a 2nd time, or if a ship is attacked by a much more powerful ship (attack is over twice shield value), it is instantly destroyed, and all personnel die (unless five exceptions listed below).

Escape exceptions: if you have a carried “lifeboat” ship aboard your larger ship it may launch with survivors aboard [if you have ENGINEER or Navigation], or
if at a planet [or alongside an opponent’s ship or a friendly Obstacle ship] all personnel may beam to safety to be rescued later [if you have a transporter-skill personnel], or
you may play an Escape Pod interrupt, or you may play Temporal Rift on the attacking ship, or you may “hide” your ship if you can play Magnetic North).
A friendly Obstacle ship is an Obstacle ship you have matching crew member of, such as Dejar for Cardassian or K’nera for Klingon. Opponent’s ships are also friendly.

Exception to exceptions: Borg Cubes attack any ship at any time, including small craft, including multiples. Personnel escaping to a planet are safe. Escape Pod and Temporal Rift and Magnetic North all play normally.
In ship battles, weapons of the attacker are compared with shields of the defender. If weapons are greater, even by 1, the attacker wins (unless modifiers in play) and opposing ship is damaged. If weapons are over twice that of the defender's shields, the win is total, defender is destroyed, and all personnel die (if no exceptions present).

Damage is defined as follows: a damaged ship has all attributes reduced by 50% (round down), but not less than 5. Damage may be repaired on a later turn by being docked at Outpost at start of turn, announcing repair, and spending the whole turn docked.

If you wish, you may make an attack on an opposing ship not restricted by immunities (you cannot attack your opponent, nor a Cardassian ship if Dejar is present). An attack by your ship requires at least any of Leadership skill OR Officer classification OR gold staffing (star) icon.
A ship gains lots of protection from your outpost, 50% of the shields. It may be docked, or simply "at". You may dock/undock as often as you like.

“Stopped” ships and personnel may take no further actions until your next turn. All ships and personnel become no longer “stopped” at the start of your turn, except if auto-attacked by an enemy ship during the “in-between phase.”

Specific card clarifications:
Temporal Rifts apply to the other player OR to obstacle ships/enemy ships/ship dilemmas. In fact, a Temporal Rift is pretty much the ONLY way to not be "stopped" by an enemy ship, because even if you win a battle decisively, you have battled, and are thus "stopped" for that turn. Or if you use Magnetic North to "hide" you thereby abandon the attempt.

Tactic card (Photon Torpedo): played the same as an interrupt, except only during a ship battle, involving any players, including obstacle ships/enemy ships/ship dilemmas. It can be played on (or against) any ship, yours, your opponent, or an Obstacle ship. The card's action is two-fold. First, the attack and defense bonuses of +2 are added to both weapons and shields of the chosen ship. After the battle, the Tactic card is played on an opposing ship from the battle, with penalties of -1 applied as stated, plus random death if applicable.

Horta: If no planet, no effect and simply discard. Have planet, have problem.

Chrystalline Entity: are you attempting at a planet? all missions include ‘space’ so complete the first part for all missions and all attempts. Then, if you are at a planet, complete the second half. If not, disregard that section of the dilemma's text.

Don't Call Me Ahab!: The starfleet symbol is here interpreted to mean all uniformed Feds (judging by photo) are stopped, but the rest can and must continue. Scotty is not in uniform.

Oops!: You need leadership to not receive negative effects, even if other needs met.

Assassin’s Blade: this is not discarded until passed. Note is does not say “discard”. It is what used to be termed a “wall”

Vulcan Death Grip: this card should require a Vulcan as per the original rules, but in this version of the game does not.

Borg Cube: see above ‘exceptions to exceptions’ under ship battle.

Quantum fissure: Obstacle “enemy” ships count.

Mortal Q: this personnel plays as normal. His "deactivated Q Contiuum" has no effect except player morale. His cunning value of Q is undefined, and is either 1 or 10, both at the same time, chosen as either when needed. His special ability to "discard the Q dilemma" here refers to any Q-related Obstacle.

Optional Read: Background and Explanation: My "transwarp speed" concept intends to develop, using the original STCCG cards, a streamlined design for a game playable within an hour and a half, with new or seasoned players. The "house rules" have been codified and streamlined, but also the game tries to incorporate the thematic fun of Star Trek, or gaming appeal generally.
This "speeded" play is made largely possible by the Combined Seed Deck. One, by only using one seed deck, and making it random, I have eliminated a HUGE time-eater. Missions and dilemmas are just dealt out. And two, an agreed upon "time limit" with the highest points winning (much like the original “official tournaments”), rather than 100 points. And three, the game can be shortened or lengthened as desired, within limits, with simple mechanisms of how many Obstacles are dealt or how many cards are drawn/played. Even further, "recruiting" (the introduced game mechanic of one free "download to hand" function during card drawing (as opposed to only under certain conditions) reduces the hazard of "getting stuck."
Drawing/playing 2 (or 3) cards per turn (rather than 1) also speeds play. These card draws may be converted into one "download Federation personnel to hand" recruit attempt, once each turn. The conversion cost for dowloading (a high cost indeed!) prevents too much downloading. Some downloading in necessary, though, for game balance and the "fun factor." Too much downloading, on the other hand, would lead easily into "analysis paralysis."
Removing quadrant-restrictions, AU restrictions, and self-seeds has eliminated much confusion. Don't misunderstand, this is still a very complicated game to play.
The inclusion of tribbles, temporal distortions, and photon torpedos are attempts at thematic accuracy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Watch free unaired pilot for Sarah Silverman comedy

A "failed pilot" doesnot denote quality necessarily but demographic- and business- decisions.

I am not always a fano he style, but I often am, and just wish her style was a little less ntentionally offensive. Some folks like that, but I do not especially.

But, I have not seen this show, so I cannot say.

On Comedy Central's channel's 'Sarah Silverman Program' her character was abnoxious and self-centered to the point she was a very effective anti-hero, I thought.

Karl Barth, noted theologian speaks on the Trinity

I can't find the exact qoute by Barth tonight, but I was told he said:

"Try to understand the Trinity and you will lose your mind; try to deny it, and you will lose you soul"

I thought that was a well-said version of many of my own thoughts on the matter, and applies well to many matters of God concerning predestination, purgatory, and literal Judgement calls.

Here I might add: I think of purgatory, not as a place, but as an instantaneous process of cleansing and firey division of goats from sheep, however that works. And it seems very possible every human being has some measure of goat, which must be torn out. On the other had, it is also possible there are people who are goats and people who are sheep, and there is only one or the other. I don't decide these things, nor do I know. (Oh, and the very idea of instantanous within the concept of eternity is silly.)

Wikipedia says that Barth rejected the label of neo-orthodoxy, and I can well understand why he might, although that is the way he is best known.

I also read on Wikipedia that he was an activist against the Nazis within Germany, which sounds like a very brave thing to have done.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I stopped watching 'The Simpsons' about 2003

Nothing really seems that wildly unexpected really, although sometimes I had to shake my head at the sheer absurdity. Like the whole town moving to the "new" Springfeild. I was actually a bit disappointed nothing really wild happened. For instance, Marge and Homer being divorced for a bunch of seasons, but reading further it was only divorced as a matter of legal paperwork.

I wonder where the movie fits in with all this.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Goodies for today

This is fun to read, if you are familiar with the Wold Newton universe. Also, it may be of general interest for those curious about fan-fiction and copyright issues, etc.

Here is an interview with Charisma Carpenter, and she talks about the Expendables movie and the recent Wonder Woman costume changes.

Charisma Carpenter is a latina? And Vanna White? Cool.
Click on the slide show.
Charisma Carpenter, 42
"She's best known for playing Cordelia Chase—a conceited and popular teenager who reluctantly joins “The Scooby Gang” in Whedon’s hit TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But we’re betting you didn’t know that this talented beauty—who also starred on Whedon's Buffy spinoff, Angel—is Latina! Charisma’s dad might be French and German, but her mom is a mix of Cherokee and Spanish. The actress lived in Rosarito City, Mexico during her teen years."

About Vanna White, 54:

"You know her as the legendary hostess of Wheel of Fortune, but White – whose very last name hints that she’s Caucasian— is actually part-Latina! You see, “White” is not Vanna’s real apellido—it’s the name she took from her stepfather Herbert Stackley White Jr., a former real estate agent in North Myrtle Beach. Not much is known about Vanna’s real father whose name is Miguel Angel Rosich, except that he was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and abandoned the family when she was a child. Fun fact: Rumor has it that one of White's ancestors, whose last name was Barnes, was one of the first mayors of the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico."

Also, I just learned that in Nashville, Tennessee (of all places) there is a concrete recreation of the Greek Parthenon in Athens as it was when in ancient times. That's worth a trip to see.

Just learned about Expendables 3 (in filming, apparently)

The new cast for the third film really caught my eye! Also, the conspicuious abscence of Charisma Carpenter, which I will research when time allows.

The Expendables and The Expendables 2 were action-packed, ultra-violent, bloody films especially notable for their amazing cast, which stated out with Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, and a dazzling host of others, and the precious Charisma Carpenter. Brief cameos were contributed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.

Expendables 2 brought basically everyone back, plus brought in two big names, Walker, Texas Ranger (Chuck Norris) and martial arts hero Jean-Claude Van Damme. An expanded role was given to Schwarzenegger.

You'll notice that all these "big names" are action stars with a impressive reputation. That is the point. These movies are not anything artful or meaningful. They are impressive, and designed as well oiled cash-engines. They are serving that purpose rather well.

At the time, I complained that they had missed some of the perfect cast members, and Mel Gibson was on that list. Now, he is in this third incarnation, so I have some hope for the others perhaps. They have added Wesley Snipes, which will excite many people. I never thought of Antonio Banderas or Harrison Ford specifically, but they are rather appropriate for the style of the movie and in fact add to the eccentric mix. Kelsey Grammer, on the other hand, I had never imagined in such a movie, except I would imagine he could play an unsympathetic by-the-book aloof lawyer quite well, and perhaps that is his role. Personally, I hope he has a role which stretches the range of his acting skill (I doubt that will happen with the money-fiends sapping the actors' reputations for all they are worth). That would be the only reason (I can see right now)to make this movie worth seeing this in the theater, aside from social reasons.

Two action stars that are shamefully omitted are Samuel L. Jackson and Malcolm McDowell. If either one is brought in for a fourth, or the return of Charisma Carpenter, I will have a new reason to visit the franchise in the theater and pay good money.

Note: I just found this on Kelsey Grammer
I may have to look up the YouTube trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction
And on Banderas:
And one of the best-all-over finds:

Doing my research on Charisma: still unclear: but I get the feeling she is not in the film.,_Jason/Videos/?vxChannel=&vxClipId=&clip_id=cSffPT9OEtH5k1taOiyjTQ&video_title=The+Expendables+-+Exclusive+Interview+With+Charisma+Carpenter