This is what I get for letting the blog go so long between posts. I have a lot to blog about and not so much time with which to blog it. Lotsa schoolwork for this college boy. I know I've said it before, but I really didn't remember THIS much reading and writing in college the first time around.
So, first - the really important bit of info. Arrow has received our last bits of reference paperwork, and our caseworker has informed me we are on the list for the homestudy. This is the home stretch in a journey that has been half a decade in the making, from Mary's hysterectomy, to discussion surrogacy with Rob and Cami, to working with Marywood and finally to Arrow and our hopefully soon-to-be-finished foster care license. I am excited. Also, a bit nervous. Parenthood is a big job. God will probably maintain the balance of the universe by making sure I get stuck with kids that are just as difficult as I was for my parents.
Next, weight loss. As most of you know I started dieting in August of last year at a weight of 308lbs. I'm pretty frankly ashamed to have let myself get that large, and I'm overjoyed that 9 months later I'm lighter, but nowhere near as light as I'd hoped to be. My current weight as of this morning was 276.9, meaning I've lost 31lbs. Now, 31lbs is nothing to sneeze at, but that's a rather unimpressive rate of less than a pound a week. Problem has been tha I regained weight over the holidays and then hit a plateau earlier this year that had me bouncing the same 3-4lbs on and off over and over. So what am I doing now that's let me get past the plateau? Well, exercise is one bit. Wii Fit every day from 30-60 minutes of aerobic step. Add to that a modification of the Atkins diet. I'm doing a generally low-carb regimen, about 20-40g of carbs or less a day but I've added a caloric cap (as of this week) to keep myself from going overboard on some things. WingStop lemon pepper wings come to mind.
Mary has lost a little over 30lbs, and it's frustrating to me because she cheats on her low-carb all the time. Difference is, at her job she's on her feet all day long and gets a lot more PT than I do. She looks GREAT. Her before and after on Facebook are really telling, and she's looking forward to losing even more. Low carb has worked pretty well for her. BTW - I think she looks REALLY cute in her scrubs. She got straight As last semester, bettering my A and B+. Who knew? I'm so proud of my wife, it isn't funny.
OK, next item - on 1 MAY 11 the Royal Dragoon Guards get deployed to the Gulf... of Mexico... Dragoons, Dragoon reservists and friends are going aboard Carnival Conquest in Galveston for a 7-night cruise to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. I'll be wreck snorkling in Grand Cayman. Mary will be swimming with dolphins there. Most of us will be swimming through a Mayan cenote in Cozumel. This is gonna rock.
OK, other cool stuff. Go check out http://www.mechcorps.com/ The folks at MechCorps are awesome. We went to Chimaera Con in San Antonio - had a BLAST - and played a lot of Battletech on the tabletop and in the 'Mech pods. So much fun, in fact, that we're hitting the pods the night before the cruise. If anybody's in Houston on the evening of 30 APR 11 come to Track 21 Indoor Karting in Houston and have some fun with us from 1800-0000. Some of us are going to go for our 25 mission qualification pins.
Heroes of Shadow released for Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition last week. I purchased it, read it, and really enjoyed the content. Now, all of you know that I'm a 1980s kind of guy. I still run a 1st Edition AD&D game on Wednesday nights with my grognard friends. Labyrinth Lord and Rules Cyclopedia are two of my favorite incarnations of D&D. My B/X Moldvay Cook books are holy...
That said, something about the shift that occurred when D&D Essentials came out really caught me. All of a sudden, I just *got* it. With the shift of martial characters back to being martial, the re-spin of monsters and the change-up in the class presentation somehow 4e just clicked. Now, to be sure, it clicked as a good GAME. I am not yet sure if it clicked as good D&D. That remains to be seen. There are three components that will allow me to test this. Component 1 - Heroes of Shadow. Component 2 - The upcoming Shadowfell boxed set. Component 3 - a good group of 5 players. #2 is on its way. #3 I am working on, but since as an adult, student and soon-to-be parent, my gaming time is limited. I can't get another campaign started any time soon. Not without killing something that's extant now.
The game I want to run to take 4e out for a shiny new spin in an actual campaign environment (I DM Dungeons and Dragons Encounters for Rogue's Gallery once a week... this doesn't count as an actual home campaign environment) is basically Ravenloft by way of Castlevania. I think the ideas I have in mind really fit the type of high-powered dramatic and tactical feel of D&D 4e. Many people lament about the video game feel of 4e. To that I say, well, the video games descended from tabletop. The character types of Defender, Controller, Leader and Striker evolved out of the way we actually played our characters all these years. Initially, back in 2008, I *hated* that the classes had been labelled and pigeonholed. I've been running a lot of old school games since then, and realized that the labels are just a formalization of the way we played anyway. Now - I'm not going to stop loving THAC0, lower-is-better AC, or Larry Elmore artwork any time soon. I just want to see if the strengths I see in the 4e game will actually play out in an ongoing home campaign. I see the ability to tell an epic adventure story with heroes doing cinematic things that the original rules only marginally modeled. I'm willing and eager to give it a try.
But you can have my Allston Rules Cyclopedia when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. Still the best single version of D&D ever.
One more thing - we did a playtest of Mecha RPG last night. Definitely would not be in the running for replacing A Time of War in our ongoing Battletech campaign - it's much too cinematic and narrative for the amount of crunch our players like in their Battletech. At the same time, that same narrarativism and cinematic flair appeals mightily to me and Larry, and Bobby seemed to dig it. Larry said it would be brilliant for a separate campaign of its own playing to the anime-emulation strengths of the system. I agree totally.
Okay, folks. See you next time. Maybe I'll have some more info on Mecha RPG with an in-depth playtest review. Maybe I'll have more on D&D. Who the heck knows.