Definition of Me by the Shirts I Wear

“The best things in life make you sweaty.”

-Edgar Allan Poe

I carried an exercise bike. Totally not what I should have done with the thing, but after the looks the salespeople gave my gut I thought I should show them that I could carry the damn thing to the car. Which in the pantheon of stupid things that happened around me was nothing because as a girthy man I hefted that box out to the car and then waited until we left to start breathing heavily. It’s not what they know it’s what you show and I showed them!

Thus I have a sore shoulder, but I have an exercise bike; personally I think the trade off is worth the temporary pain and as my spirit guide Tyler Durden likes to say, “Sticking feathers up your but does not make you a chicken” or something like that. Not that I was going to stick the handles up my butt and claim to be a bike…what a fucked up Transformer that would be. Personally I feel more like, “Even the Mona Lisa is falling apart.”

I try to act my age, but without a proper role model around I continue to act like myself and how meyeself gets treated is totally based upon the T-shirt I am wearing and NOT who I am only who I wore or who I am wearing, I always wanted a vest with tits…when I wear “How to Pick Up Chicks, shirt which shows the proper way to safely pickup a baby chick women glare and men grab their women,  you know in case I might lunge at them and pick them up by their rump. I only do that in the bedroom as part of the Farmer Ted scenario night (I play Farmer Ted with a girthy pitchfork). What I meant to say, is that I know how to safely pick up a chick, woman, small child, and bird that has stunned itself on our front window.

Long story turned into a 500 word story the T-shirt I wear seems to impart more to people than the look on my face, the other clothing I am wearing-commando!-and any other factor which may be relevant. The cat shirt for example, I hate cat shirts, cat memes, and in most cases cats. I know they are cute, but cats and I have a long and contentious history, yet I own and wear with some pride a cat wearing sunglasses shirt and I get the shittiest and stupidest days every single time. I wear it, I believe, because on some subconscious level I am tempting fate to kill me while wearing the shirt because people who know me wouldn’t be able to put cat shirt + dead me together.

If I was found wearing a Spongebob shirt, “Oh yeah, that’s him for sure.”

The cat shirt, “Nope, no clue at all. Maybe he stole Nate’s ID.”

Two cars, three shopping carts, and a deer today all tried to hit me or get hit by me in one way or another while the shirt was on. I swear its just a cat wearing sunglasses nothing more. No subtle jab at women visa vie picking up chicks implies that I am after your chick, you the chick, or have any sort of misogynistic intentions towards you…the proverbial chick in this example.

And maybe that is why the salesperson kept looking at my chest so oddly, not thinking, now there is a girthy man who could use an exercise bike, but more in a why in the fuck does he have a cat stretched to ridiculous proportions across his chest or maybe he really was looking at my girthy commando region thinking that he could imagine snuggling up with a man who loves cats enough to wear them on his chest after a workout on the bike…

who knows…

shirts define who I am and I am someone who wears a lot of shirts

“Reject the basic assumptions of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.”

-Tyler Durden, Fight Club


Old Age Has It’s Perks

Today’s brief story interlude is brought to you by my boy from when he was in school…yes we are just now cleaning up last year’s school stuff. 🙂

The prompt: Write bout planning a nice surprise for someone.

Food for my cat

I planning to surprise my cat Yuki by feeding him for no reason.  I like him.  He’s old.

And that was today’s brief story interlude.

For poem by my boy about Yuki, see here.

And Now For Something Different

I’ve had kind of a long day working on my presentation for the summer research project.  You can read my inspiration-to-self post over here.  Speaking of over here, Speaking Out on Nate is going through a content change.  Formerly the home to my human sexuality writing, not porn, Speaking Out on Nate is getting shut down on the 26th and won’t reopen until I am done making the changes.

So what have I been doing over there of late?

Well over 1,000 posts have been removed, yes I wrote that many posts on a wide range of topics.

There is core of less than 100 posts that are less. Mostly human sexuality writing, but I have a feeling those will be going away to some place else when the remodel is done.  Truth be told they will be going away and Nate will return to it’s wild and unfocused ways while Life will remain the home to gaming, food, and occasional odd post like this one.

Since I announced the upcoming closure what I have been doing is posting music videos…well anime music videos (amv) and pony music videos (pmv).  The combination of animation and music impresses me a lot, especially when done well and I am very picky thus you only get to see ones that I think are particularly well done.  Since I haven’t been writing any human sexuality I thought I would have some fun over there and since I am having so much fun over there I thought I would share with you a sample of the fun and maybe if you like this you may hop over there just to check out the other anime music videos (Engel by Rammstein is one of my favorites) and pony music videos (the Bohemian Rhapsody is guaranteed to make you smile.)

What? No Baked Ziti?

“What is that?”

“It’s what we eat.”

“Looks like a handful of twigs, nuts, and berries.”

“Yep, that’s what we eat.”

“All elves.”

“From what I can tell.”

“But you have teeth like me, how do you eat all of those things with canines?”

“No clue, bad design.”

And here we are more food and gaming.  Where is the ethnic food in fantasy gaming? If I find myself anywhere in the world I know that I can find food that is local to the region.  No McFucksters is NOT local to any region on this or any other world.  So in a fantasy world populated by many non-human species what do they eat?  Do they all eat the same thing in the way that all dwarves are pretty much the same?

What do elves eat? What do dwarves eat?  Nobody cares what halflings or gnomes eat.  Given that elves tend to be found in large forests they should have a good diet with a variety of foods to choose from.  Based on what type of forest that they find themselves in elves should have some pretty vibrant, seasonal, and regional cuisine.  So why are elves always portrayed as eaters of nuts and berries?

Elves should be the celebrity chefs of fantasy worlds.  Forest filled with lots of animals to eat, even domesticate and raise specifically for food.  Rivers and lakes filled with fresh fish.  Trees with fruits, herbs, vegetables, and well there is nothing that elves in a forest should not have at their finger tips unless that something comes from the sea. Long lifespans and a dedication to a skill or task should mean that elven chefs are like elven mages in that they know stuff that you don’t and will never know.  An elf should be a valued member of any adventuring group not because they can shoot a bow or cast a spell, but because that elf should be carrying around a head of awesome recipes and a pouch filled with herbs.  Remember that 15th floor meal on the run?  Well now imagine that meal with some fresh, magically preserved of course, garlic, nutmeg, or cilantro.  Damn right that is good and makes life on the 15th level a bit more livable.

Dwarves have problems.  If they live underground most of the time what do they eat?  Looking like insects, molds, mushrooms, blind fish that is when they find a water source, and so on.  Not very appealing fare to me and given that they live if not in the dark, but in dimly lit conditions I’m going to guess that they could care less about presentation.  Now this isn’t saying that all is without hope there are plenty of animals and plants that live/grow on the sides of mountains that could be used and with some dwarven ingenuity turned into a farm.  But that’s just it you don’t read about the grand edible mountain flower terraces of Grak Dak Dim More or whatever in hell dwarven hole in the ground.  Nor do you read about the epic mountain goat drives to market at nearby towns.  Something dwarves could contribute that would be more acceptable is quality, Dwarven craftsmanship cooking equipment.  I have a non-stick pan, but I don’t have an indestructible, magically self-heating temperature control, non-stick pan. Remember that 15th level?  Well when the group doesn’t want to start a fire and is out of food guess who they are going to be looking at to see if that mold is edible and for something to cook that mold in?  Damn right self-heated, moldy and makes life on the 15th level livable.

Halflings are tiny humans who eat.  They would make good sous chefs and chefs, but they don’t do or live anywhere unique.

Gnomes, well here is something interesting, like halflings nothing of note except they invent stuff.  Gnome created cooking equipment would be hot (no pun intended) to everyone especially if a gnome could create a portable working pressure cooker.  Remember that 15th level?  Well now when you stop for the night guess what?  That “meaty creature” is now cooked and tender thanks to the pressure cooker.  Tastes great due to the elves herbs and the dwarf has found some desert mushrooms. Suddenly that 15th level is looking like home.

Where Did The Food Go?

There are a lot of things that most role-playing games just assume, miss, forget, don’t take into account, or throw their hands in the and shout to the uncaring heavens “But we can’t come up with a die rolling mechanic for that?”  What things stand out the most?  Well relationships, sex, and food. I’m not really interested in the first two.  Having known and seen a lot of gamers and worse listened to them talk about their meat-life interactions with someone that they find attractive the last, and I do mean last on a very long list, thing I want to do is listen to them talk about faux relationships and the potential sexual position combinations between a dwarf and halfling- “But what would she do with her beard?” 

Trust me once you have heard that once you never need to hear it again.  However meals, eating, the joy of sitting down just about anywhere and being social over food that I do care about.  Why?  Well most cultures bond over dinner a place to share the fruits of cooking and/or baking, a chance to unwind, and a relaxing way to carry on a conversation about the day.  If most characters are friends, maybe even bordering on a surrogate family situation, that spend years traveling around the world, dimensions even, fighting just about anything and everything that gets in their way, and saving the world or at least relieving others of their gold or money, shouldn’t they have more time together just shooting the shit?

Sure in the middle of the 15th level of the Evil Dungeon of Ganipganop still being chased by the “evil” elves, who just happen to be evil because they live underground, from level 14 is hardly the time to break out the fine china and catch-up on the days travails.  Yet, after a day of running, fighting, tripping, lighting torches, and wondering just what in the hell a giant cube shaped jelly was doing in the hallway not being smeared on toast by the “evil” elves maybe lighting a campfire and roasting some “meat” on a stick over a fire would be a good way to relax, plan, and most of all bond.  Because 15 levels underground my character is going to start to wonder what he sees in these “friends” who like to hangout underground instead of…well anything that does not involve traveling underground for wealth beyond my character’s wildest dreams that may or may not be there.  What is guaranteed to be their?

Darkness, lung cancer from all of the torch smoke I have to inhale, dust, mold, dampness, wet clothing, abrasions, potential trip hazards, potential ankle twisting incidents, holes to fall down into, cave-ins, and asphyxiation as one has to wonder how breathable air gets down 15 levels underground which by the way a level underground is not a standard of measure like 10th floor is always X feet from the 1st floor.

Why couldn’t our group of friends hang around in town or the city where we could catch a good meal? Five star dinning, and evening of eating sumptuous meals served by anyone other than us,  and cooked by anyone other than us.  Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  But no, we have to go looking for a hole in the ground to explore.  I think on my resume it says wizard not spelunker and this wizard having spent at least a large chunk of his life so far studying is more than happy to perform magic tricks, earn some money, and then off to the good life.

So remember the next time you are 15 levels underground wondering where your next breath is coming from that you could have been sitting at Spago’s living the good life.

So You Find Yourself In A Bar


I cannot even begin to count the number of times that a role-playing campaign has begun that way or some variation.

So you find yourself in a bar, tavern, inn, dance club…blah blah blah

Never mind that most people have not been in most of the places listed nor know how to describe such a place in a way that is compelling and makes sense for a group of four to six characters who are “superior” to everyone around them to be in such a place at one time.  It’s like saying “You walk into a bar and find three other Highlanders, Nobel Laureates, or Superheroes”  Just doesn’t happen.

Toss in the typical bar brawl or fight scene in a crowded pubic location and I, not my character, but I have checked out and feel that I don’t have to actually give more than 10% to the game.  Sorry, but you have lost me.  Now there are always exceptions and I was part of an exception where the characters were to meet at a bar to get a job, but and I swear this was not my fault, my character found himself without a vehicle so I stole one in the parking lot of the bar and then went to meeting in the bar.  Made sense to me, however the people (read characters and players) were not prepared for my rather brazen way of handling things.  Again, not my fault.  I get to play in a dystopian cyberpunk future and I guarantee you that I, not my character, but I will take what I need if I am, like my character, a fringe member of society that is hardly accepted.   See what I did there?

Notice there was no bar brawl that supposedly causes four to six unconnected people to bond over a random fight most likely caused by one of the four to six behaving like a D-bag and thus righteously getting kicked in the coin purse.  There was a meeting at a bar, there was a car theft outside the bar, there was a meeting held inside the bar, and then at least one person, my character, drove off in another car while the rest of the group expecting the standard role-playing tropes stood outside the bar waiting for a ride.

And this is why I have always started my role-playing games in some other way or some other place.  Doesn’t hurt that I have been to several bars, and several dance clubs.  Taverns are a misnomer like saying you had fine dinning at a TGIMcFunsters (read Applebees, Chilis, or any of those faux food clones).  The only random people that meet at bars and dance clubs are people looking for someone to have sex with.  Any other meetings are prearranged or accidental between people who know each other.  Fights…well those do happen.  Why?  Because someone was looking to have sex with someone who brought someone else, drunkenness, d-bag behavior and a host of other reasons.

But and I stress this, in all of the fights I have seen and been part of not once did any bonding happen between random people and most were swiftly ended by a really good fighter or in most cases bouncers.

Thus I submit, be a better GM and use the bars, taverns, nightclubs, dance clubs, and the rest for what they are intended a fun time for your characters and the rare end of a story arc epic fight.

Ramen Stock Experiment v 1

Taking a break from writing about games.  Not taking a break from games, just finished all the way to the Gamemaster section of Star Wars Edge of the Empire and learning how to play Star Wars LCG.  Yes over the summer I catch up on all of my gaming.  But that is not what I am writing about today, that will be what I write about soon.  Today I am starting what will be the first of many posts on making a good ramen stock.

I love ramen, I know I have said this.  I eat ramen with the package that is not so good for you, but tastes good.  I am a cook and a good cook and I know that I could with a little effort make a better and healthier ramen stock to use.  So yesterday I decided to give a making my own ramen stock a try.  Interestingly enough mid-way through my first experiment I found The Mind of a Chef on Netflix. The show follows David Chang where he goes and what he cooks narrated by Anthony Bourdain. The first episode was ramen.  It was karma.

What I made was not.

A little background I didn’t really set in on making the ramen stock until I had already cooked a chicken in the oven. By the way if you put a chicken into a 350 degree oven and press start on Return of the Jedi the chicken will be done when the credits start rolling or at least that is what happened to me.

So I have one cooked chicken. I take the meat off the carcass.  I fill a stock pot with chicken stock, honestly I know a mistake but I wasn’t thinking right I was thinking “this will be faster.”  I tossed in the bones, some of the meat, some onion, some carrot, some garlic, some Chinese five spice, and some oyster sauce.   Let it cook for a while tasted.  Said bleh.  Tossed in some rosemary salt, some pepper, a chicken bouillon cube-I know bad, but again not really thinking and I did mess up the order of making a stock.

Removed the chicken, strained, tasted…hmmm not so bad.  Let sit overnight.  Took out this morning and brought to a simmer to reduce in volume which after a few hours lead to a spoonful of “Wow this has a rich and deep chicken flavor.”  This lead to making a bowl of ramen and that lead to a sodium induced heart attack as the salt content was so high that I could feel my blood pressure spike.

Toss into sink.

Back at store buying a new chicken and some veg.  Tomorrow make a stock the right way.

Lesson learned.

On the plus side the chicken I took off the carcass is awesome!