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August 14th, 2007

A Couple of Bits

Bit the First
One thing training certainly does, is to allow you to recognize something really being made a hash of. Take for example, the [name redacted so I don't lose my job] website, for which I need to make an add-on piece at work. After my CSS course of two weeks ago (is that all?), looking under the hood of this site just makes me cringe. It's like it was started by somebody who knew CSS well and was doing all sorts of nifty things, and then followed up by a total hack. P tags that have a class applied -- and then FONT and B tags that duplicate the attributes of the class? (For that matter, B tags instead of STRONG tags?) Positioning done with DIV blocks that are then put inside a table layout??? Gah.

The worst part is, due to the very limited number of hours I have to work with this project, I can't go tear all that crap out of there and replace it with a properly-done version of the page. I have just long enough to insert my own new little pieces, which I have to just code as close to the right way as I can and still work within the structure they've already established.

Bureaucracy ... ugh. It's this kind of situation that leads to manhole covers exploding.

Bit the Second
laurie_robey and I saw Stardust over the weekend, but I haven't had a few minutes to sit down and talk about it really before now. Laurie informs me that the movie is considerably altered from the book (which she has read but I have not), but that it still manages to be a pretty decent adaptation. Robert DeNiro's by-now-well-documented over-the-top performance, while very entertaining, is almost entirely an addition as his character is minor in the book for instance.

Still, I enjoyed it. :) It has a nice, "older" style fantasy feel than something like Lord of the Rings. Closer to a fairy tale (but a sophisticated and textured fairy tale, rather than a bowdlerized kiddie one). Laurie and I both noted with some amusement that almost all of the previews shown were adaptations of kids' fantasy books. There are two basic reasons for this: 1) everybody's hoping to be the next "Harry Potter," and 2) much (if not most) of the good new fantasy is in the "young adult" section any more. Unfortunately, as a side effect of these, we're also getting a lot of "etc., etc.". One of the previews in particular ("The Seeker") prompted me to comment, "I am a Jedi, like Harry Potter before me." Honestly, how many "chosen ones" can there be out there?

Gotta say, one thing I really liked about The Bard's Tale was the jail chock full of "chosen ones" -- all of whom were idiots.

-The Gneech
I still have to proofread it and format it, but all of the core rules and supplementary material (such as beast and NPC stat blocks) for "release 1.0" are finished.

I am going to do two versions of the booklet -- one for my players which has a bit more stuff copied from SWSE (which won't be publicly distributed) and one for interested parties on the internet which only includes my new material and posts SWSE page numbers for everything else (to protect WotC's copyright).

I still need to work up info about Khaldun and environs for the players as well, but that should go pretty quickly.

The good news is, I already have the first adventure ("Mark of the Spider") pretty much ready to go, so once everything is in place, I'll be ready to hit the ground running.

-The Gneech

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