Wednesday, October 31, 2018

REV. DAK’s 2018 VOTER GUIDE!


Voting Guide, 2018 - Midterms, etc. Nov 6th, 2018 by Rev. Dak.

Introduction: It's that time again for my voter guide. I don't usually do midterms, but with all this "Blue-wave" talk, and the general disenchantment with our current leadership, why the heck not. This voter guide is very Los Angeles California specific. You can take-away two things from this, even if you're not from LA. Such as the kind of laws we're trying to pass, and my politics -- which I guarantee will NOT align 100% with you. I may revise this as more eyes critique it, I have been swayed on several issues before. You can find my most up-to-date voter guide here.

ALL OFFICES: Don't forget your pen! 

Write-in vote for Joseph Helvetica Borfo for all positions in 2018, at least. Definitely vote against any Republicans, because everyone knows you have to be AWFUL (or "awesome" if you're a shit person) to want to fly that fucking GOP flag. I hope if you're reading this that I don't have to explain what politics in the US have become. None of these candidates are going to show any guts, much less compassion or empathy for the people they are actively hurting with their inaction and bullshit. Gavin Newsom for Governor? WTF, another career politician... surprise. And my past favorite, Xavier Becerra - I was a fan of this guy, but now he's AG, he replaced Kamala Harris (the cop, therefore ACAB), so I don't even know. He works for the cops now, so gross. I can't even...

Most important is US SENATOR. Anybody but Feinstein should be good. I'd go as far as to say anyone not a Democrat, but that might hurt some of the heads of you folks that love your political duopoly. You should know me by now, I hate politicians, and don't believe in "leaders".

STATE MEASURES (California) 

1 NO: Oh boy, let's kick off with a bond -- my fucking favorite, right after politicians. $4-billion bond for "low-income housing" assistance. This already exists, they just want more money. They're pulling on your heart-strings with this one too. They say it's for veterans and the homeless (yes, some), they say it doesn't raise taxes (duh! It's a bond). But fuck-off, it DOES raise taxes, how else do you pay off bonds? (with tax dollars!) Oh, who can buy these bonds? Oh, right, rich people, the same people that get bailed out if their "investments" fail. Yeah, unfortunately the only person fighting this is some NIMBY that doesn't want transportation-based housing (housing near transportation hubs, like along the Expo Metro line). And folks for it are "non-profits" (aka lobbyists), who were able to convince the CA Legislature to put this (and other bonds) on the ballot. How many of these legislatures have ties with developers, the folks that will be raking in all this dough in the end. Yeah, politics is a racket folks. Prediction: Neo-Libs love this shit, pass.

2 NO: Another bond, this one is pretty redundant because it is about housing, but it is also focused on the mentally ill. I focused on those making the arguments for and against. One is a small charity (Nami Contra Costa) that is active in supporting the mentally ill. The others, lobbyists for people that "care" about the mentally ill. See the difference? Nami is in opposition, because it TAKES AWAY funding that has already been issued for mental health programs to focus on building housing. Sound familiar? And it's a bond. So someone is getting rich, especially bond holders and developers (who are likely the same people). Prediction: Pass.

3 NO: Yikes, I would only support this if it wasn't a bond. I'm telling you, BONDS ARE SCAMS. They're great for bond holders, who are basically rich folks that get rich "helping" their community. The projects that this funds are pretty awesome - a network of systems that would save rain water, clean it, conserve and use it, while creating natural environments that would be pleasant for everyone, but the Trump loving lobbyist "farmers" in Central CA hate it, so I won't feel as bad if it passes. But because Trump country Californian pay more attention to stuff like this, they might get there way. Prediction, the only bond that will fail.

4 NO: Every election, I swear, the "Children's Hospital" lobby asks for more money, and every fucking election they get it. What did they do with all the money from the last election? Oh, right... nothing. They just re-word it every election. This money goes to developers and private hospital administrators. Let's just pay for this things with a budget, and quit with the bond bullshit. FUUUUUCH!!! I really hate the opponent of this proposition, so it always makes me feel dirty when take sides with them. It'll probably pass because of the childrens.

5 NO: Oh boy, taxes. This restructures the weird property tax laws if you're a 55+ home owner. Everyone else, hah! Fuck off. It's basically a tax break for senior citizen homeowners, if this is you, you want this. Will this ever be me? Hahahaha... can you read the doubt in my words? You'd see it in my eyes. There are major fiscal impacts if this were to pass, including up to losses of up to a $1-billion in tax revenue, money that would go to pay off those BONDS you all fucking love so much. In the end, higher taxes for everyone! It'll pass, because senior citizens vote.

6 NO: Hahah, there is one tax I have little issues with, and they're luxury taxes. I consider driving a luxury. I also consider the fuel you put in your oversized death machine a taxable luxury. Ironically Prop 6 is a reaction to SB 1, a tax that your legislators voted for, and it was signed off by Jerry Brown. I say ironically because this was one of the few times that your political "leaders" created a law that made sense, and actually created jobs, and repairs our ancient ass roads and bridges. Proponents want to kill it, and make it practically impossible to maintain a basic infrastructure (our roads). I agree that existing taxes need to be used more efficiently before increasing them, but SB 1 has proven to actually be working. It's forced by last June's prop 69, that protected the funds from being used for anything else but transportation infrastructure. It's this money that is being used to make streets safer, car lovers HATE THAT. I love what they hate. SALT!

7 YES: I hate Daylight Saving Time (DST). It's stupid. Noon should be noon, and the sun should be on the same longitude-ish. The opponents hate DST too, but are against this law for the wrong reason. They assume that if this law passes, California will vote to be full time DST. I don't want that either, I want full-time STANDARD TIME - where the sun is pretty much at the 12-o'clock position in the sky, not 1PM. Fucking pick one. This proposition allows us to do just that, pick one. It allows us to CHOOSE ONE, or the other, or keep the time switch. But it puts it to a vote, not some stupid arbitrary failed idea from 70 years ago. Fuck I hope this passes, and we can end that stupid time change (which is this weekend, btw.)

8 YES: Health "care" (haahahh!) in America doesn't exist. We have a for-profit health "insurance" system that relies on profits as the indicator of success. Is that the kind of healthcare we want in the US? The current dialysis system sucks, it's too expensive, and it's because it's a racket, and the providers want to keep it that way. That is why this proposition exists in the first place, we pay too much just to stay alive. The opponents are all lobbies. The proponents are patients and consumer groups. Who do you trust more?

9 NO: Two states. We want TWO states. North and South. Two, two states... not three (or six). What we really want is secession from the rest of the country, or that might be just me.

10 YES: Big fucking yes on this one. It repeals a super-dooper, developer and landlord friendly EXCEPTION to existing rent control laws, particularly the 1995 Costa-Hawkins act. Housing is fucked in California, especially in Los Angeles. This may fix it in the long run, because rent control in LA is extremely flawed. Anything new (all those fancy bonds that you voted for the past few decades to build "affordable" housing) is not subject to rent control, so the landlords can raise monthly rates arbitrarily. This can (hopefully) fix that. And all the "flaws", that prop 10 "enables" according to opponents, are things they're ALREADY DOING, like using rental properties as AirBNBs and increasing rents. There is a reason why one of the US's biggest private property owners (Blackstone) is pouring millions of dollars against this, and it's not to keep rent reasonable, they only care about profit.

11 NO: I waffled on this. I think this proposition is weird. It is basically creating a new class of first responder out of private ambulance companies. I had no clue that 75% of all ambulances, who respond to 911 calls, are private ambulances? This law is even weirder in that it regulates the private ambulance industry. I kind of feel like this might be an attempt to privatize another emergency public service. It increases required training, but also eliminates some liability -- that makes no sense to me. Even though there are no opponents, it’s become clear to me is that this is really about the liability, and also the break requirements afforded other jobs.

12 NO: This is a ruse, by the biggest "Humane Society" group to backpedal on their old proposition (Prop 2 from 2008). Prop 2 promised humane, cage-free, farming by 2015. Well that came and gone, and we're still not 100% cage/cruelty free, because the law was poorly written, and had too many exceptions and unenforceable elements. Prop 12 takes those flaws and loopholes and makes them law! It allows for cages (1-ft square) for egg laying hens, and worse for pigs and cows. It's an example of the compromises that these large "non-profits" make with their supposed opponents. Kind of like Greenpeace when they made compromises with Japanese whalers, etc. FUCKK THAT. If you believe in the humane treatment of animals, this is NOT that.

COUNTY MEASURES (Los Angeles County) 

W YES: I love this one. This is a parcel tax, mainly on people that have paved over their yards, or built McMansions, covering the ground, and forcing more water to flow into the streets and thus into the ocean. It forces land owners to reconsider the materials they use to "pave" their land - particularly impermeable materials over large areas. Los Angeles has a water table, and it's not being replenished because water that would normally seep into the earth, and naturally be filtered and become drinking water, is flowing into the ocean instead. Imagine everyone drinks from the same tub through a straw, and suddenly there isn't any water. That's our water table. The tax will be used to store and capture what little rain we get, and clean it for daily use and drought preparedness. This is a good tax.

CITY MEASURES (Los Angeles) 

B YES: Public banking! Millions of dollars are in service fees is being wasted, going straight into the pockets of bankers on Wall Street. Just to manage the city's money. This allows the city to establish a public bank, and get rid of the middle men on Wall Street.

E YES: Align the election dates for City primaries with the state's? WTF, how is this not already a thing?

SCHOOL MEASURES (Los Angeles) 

EE YES: Same as E, but for LAUSD... how did they even get split?


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Two Party ⚁ 🎉

I believe in free speech. And I try not to limit my reading and learning to materials "acceptable" to certain bubbles. So I read a lot of shit from pundits on both sides of the Libs vs Cons dichotomy (which in a way is its own bubble). And I find myself questioning my understanding of what it is to be a liberal or conservative. So I look it up. Today I find myself disagreeing with 60% of the positions of "most" liberals and about 70% of those of "most" conservatives. Is it me, or are their principles constantly changing? I'll assume that their corresponding political parties are pretty much the same, essentially a ® or (tm) of those beliefs. Why, people? Why do you allow yourselves to be simply framed by those constructs?

I noticed that for the first time since 1992, there are more people registered as Independent than whatever. That must mean something.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trouble

I feel troubled. Yesterday I started off cynical, with a very dismissive "told-ya-so" attitude. Mostly laughed. But today I'm pissed. I shouldn't be. Probably one of the stages of grief, but why? I didn't vote for the guy, but I didn't vote for Her either. None of my friends in LA/CA's vote mattered, because: Blue-state. I think I'm upset because this has made some of my friends cry, they're really fucking upset. And all I want to do is rationalize it, to understand why. And I know why, because the largest population of dis-enfranchised and downtrodden folks in America stepped up and voted against the establishment. Could have Bernie beat Trump, probably. He was an independent, and record numbers of people registered as Democrats just for him. But 6-million Democrats didn't bother voting. And there is no way that 6-million Democrats were stopped, Voter ID'd, and harassed from voting. So Trump didn't so-much win, because Hillary lost this election because she deserved to lose. We got what we deserved.

I want to join my friends at the protests, but I don't see the point. I already feel defeated. To me, this is the norm. I lost faith in our system a long time ago (and way too long to explain it here) as you've probably seen with my anti-establishment politics and my anti-authoritarian, anti-fascist rants. As person of color, I don't know if I feel safe outside my community. But that could be the establishment and mainstream media's fear mongering... what got us here in the first place.

Someone made my friends cry, you can see it in their eyes, and their words, and the way they carry themselves. My instincts are to punish those that did this to them. Pissed. But we all know who is to blame. And it's not the orange man with little hands. And it's not his "white-trash" supporters that took a stand, and voted their conscious. As vile as their rhetoric was, with their "blame the other" stance. The reality is it's the top-down, elitist, neo-lib, neo-con, two-party system and those that fight to keep the status-quo who made this fiery bed.

I still want to punch those that hurt my friends. But how do you attack the that?

The Democrats have failed you. The Republicans have failed you. Majority rules. That is democracy. You call that freedom?

See my profile banner? That's freedom. No gods. No masters.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SATURDAY IN HOLLYWOOD

If, for some reason you happen to be in Los Angeles this Saturday afternoon (11-4pm), I'll be here:


ZINEMELT @MELTDOWN COMICS
7522 W Sunset Blvd. 90046

I'll be peddling all the RPG zines I got. I might try and run a demo or two for the uninitiated. Not sure what I'll run. But thinking either a mini-OSR/DCC compatible thing, or straight up DCC RPG. We'll see. Come on by and check out RPG zines!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

1 – Make a Top 10 list of reasons why your love zines

I will give this a fair try, but don't expect anything amazing. (That typo is annoying.)

  1. Three letters, DIY.
  2. No middle man.
  3. Safety
  4. Compact
  5. Fun
  6. Fast
  7. Dangerous
  8. Efficient
  9. Easy
  10. Material

http://www.stolensharpierevolution.org/international-zine-month/

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Too Old For Numbers

Today is my forty-sumtin'th birthday. If you're in Los Angeles, and you have a minute. Come find me +Dak Ultimak [@reverend_dak on twitter] to catch up. As a birthday wish all I ask is you take a few moments to read and understand the TPP, and why it's bad for your freedoms, health, and the Internets: https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp for details, and learn what you can do to fight this bullshit.
Or for something lighter, check out the song premier of our neighbors from the past year and for the next few:
http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2015/06/09/412933181/song-premiere-gardens-villa-fixations . It's on NPR, and we listened to them work on this song for several months, and I'm really excited for them. Congratulations dudes.

Rough Itinerary:
11AM - TW Stronghold @reverend_dak for details.
12-6 - a healthy combination of beer, bikes and Tonk. Lunch & Dinner...
7PM - TW Stronghold
8-12 - a healthy combination of beer, bars, parks and beer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Deck of Cards and Pair of Dice

A while ago I was trying to come up with an RPG that used simple playing cards (and naturally a fancy deck of tarot cards) instead of dice. Simply, a set of cards can be found anywhere (I've seen them in gas stations and novelty stores), and with minor work, tarot cards can easily be used too (and since they come in tons of "themes", lots of flavor can enhance the game-o-sphere). Recently I've seen a few attempts at using these readily available game tools for RPGing, it piqued my interest. But the other day, while fiddling with a deck of cards (I think we were playing Tonk) I came to realize that if you remove the face cards (and Major Arcana, if using Tarot), you have a simple 1d10 and 1d20 generator. Add a pair of dice (also readily available in the same places, or stolen from American family games) you have all you need to play OD&D or Swords & Wizardry Whitebox (and naturally White Star!). Why re-invent the wheel when you have perfectly fine games that only use d20s and d6s! 

[I see this being handy in the prison system...]

Rolling a d20 with a deck of cards is simple, remove the face cards (and Major Arcana) and designate red cards as either high or low, and draw a card. Add 10 if the color indicates "high", then you got a random number from 1-20. Done. Technically, to retain "true" randomness, you should re-shuffle the deck after each draw, but I'd argue that it'd be fine to reshuffle after every 2-4 draws (or whatever). Obviously d10 and d% can be "rolled" by ignoring the colors/suits. Using suits, I guess, you could go 1-40, and 1d4 with just the suits... (but that might be too fiddly...)

Not sure what to do with the face cards or Major Arcana cards (though I guess the Major Arcana cards can double as a Deck of Many Things...) 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Holiday Gift for the Gamers out there

In 2013 I did a D&D themed bicycle ride. I attempted it originally 6 years ago, but the concept wasn't there. So I scraped it for a Discordian Ride instead.



5 years later I decided to try it again. This time it worked out, and I was able to give a bunch of people a good taste of my favorite game in the universe. These are the rules I used to DM about 60 or so players with 5 or 6 assistant DMs:


Print out the cards on cardstock, make a booklet for each DM, and give each DM a d6 and a d20, and you can run a mini version of D&D for a bunch of people in about 30 minutes. Let me know if you have any questions. I may refine some of the ideas in the future for something else...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Beer Money for Brawls

The other night we were short players for our weekly DCC RPG session, and we played Zombies!!! and a game of Beer Money. It occured to me that Beer Money (and Lunch Money, I guess, but I don't own that) can be used for rules in a bar-room brawl. In a standard game, everyone starts with 15 tokens that represent money or life, but this easily could represent hit points or constitution (stamina). A Beer Money attack can do anywhere between 1 and 7 points of damage, but typically between 1 and 3! Which is very much the standard damage of an unarmed attack in most D&D games (and their derivatives). Without going into the details of the game, there are attacks, defences and special maneuvers available, all are randomly determined by card draws. One player initiates an attack that can be avoided if a defensive card is available, if not the target takes damage as indicated by the card. There are special moves and combinations--most of those are initiated by a "grab". Example moves are kicks, sucker punches, piledrivers and Fists of Fury. Rounds are quick and simple, though some of the special cards can get confusing when first played. But after a couple rounds, it becomes fast and furious.

Here are some preliminary rules, let me know what you think:

Beer Money Brawling Rules

The judge plays any NPCs and also gets 5 cards. A player that joins the brawl gets 5 cards per standard Beer Money rules. On their turn, as determined by standard RPG initiative rules, they can attack a target with a Beer Money card or do anything their character can do normally on their turn (these actions are determined normally per RPG rules). The target of a Beer Money attack may counter or defend themselves with an appropriate Beer Money card (using standard Beer Money rules), if they can't, they take damage in hit points as indicated by the card. No attack or damage rolls are made. All characters use their standard hit points, but any points lost to Beer Money attacks are considered non-lethal.

Beer Money Weapon Cards can be blocked and dodged as usual per Beer Money rules, but regular RPG weapons use standard RPG rules to resolve hits and damage. Basically Beer Money cards can only be played and countered by Beer Money defense cards. RPG actions are determined normally.

All characters may add their strength modifiers to this Beer Money damage (minimum damage of 1, for those with negative mods.) In the case of Fists of Fury, this is added to the total damage.

Redemption and Self Help cards can be played normally, healing 2 or 4 hp as indicated by the card.

Class rule exceptions: 

Fighters can add any strength and class damage modifiers to the damage. (DCC RPG Warriors have a huge advantage here.)
Magic-users and clerics can use magic. They have to play a Dodge card to cast a spell, or risk free attacks. If a magic-user attempts to cast a spell without playing a Dodge card first, any nearby characters can play a Basic Attack Card (or make a free attack per standard RPG rules if they exist, e.g. Opportunity Attacks, etc.).
Clerics can play Redemption or Self Help to freely heal themselves or others, they can also use their magical healing in place of restoring only 2 or 4.
Thieves and other sneaky types can sneak or hide per usual RPG rules, if successful they can play a Beer Money card that can't be avoided with a Dodge or Block! (or sneak-attack/back-stab per RPG rules.)

Optional Rules:

Fisticuffs - Upon agreement, all brawlers can use their Constitution (or Stamina) scores in place of hit points. This will make the fight resolve faster, especially if characters have lots of hit dice.

Fight Club - (Some classes are just better at fighting)
Fighters (Warriors) get an additional card (6 instead of 5).
Thieves and Clerics get the standard 5.
Magic-users (Wizards) get only 4 cards.

Monday, March 31, 2014

47 Ronin: A quick review from a D&D gamer's point of view

I have to say, I really enjoyed 47 Ronin. It's a samurai adventure movie set in a mythical fantasy version of Japan, and based on the Japanese legend Chushingura.

It wasn't Kurosawa, but it was 100 times better looking, directed and presented than anything Zack Snyder has ever done. It had fantastic colors without looking stupid and over-processed like 300 (which I see it being compared to). Although Kan't-act Reeves was his classic stiff and emotionless self, his face isn't as stupid looking at as other 2x4 pieces of wood like Ryan Gosling. What helps is that, even though Reeves is top-billed, his character really felt like a plot device to the overall story--The revenge story of 47 outcast, former samurai warriors, that expressed the ultimate show of loyalty and honor to their former lord. Being a fantasy, and an American movie, they took liberties with the "true story" to make it a comic-book like action adventure set in a fantastic medieval Japan. The movie was almost two hours long, but it felt a lot shorter. I think this can be attributed to the film's pacing, directing or editing. The action scenes were satisfying, a ton of fun without being way-too-long. The monster designs were great, yes there are monsters, along with giants, demons and witches--I had a few "oh shit" moments to some of the details of these monsters. (I did wonder what the first "beast" did to deserve the wrath of Ako's samurai, Ako being the home city of the 47.) The costumes were stylized and color coded, which I like in fantasy movies between warring factions. This movie could easily be redressed as a European medieval fantasy, and it would be very much what a D&D movie could be. (There were several quests and adventure moments that played out like standard D&D adventures.) What it succeeded most was making "Asian-flavored" campaign settings like Red Tide appealing.




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Secret Santicore 2013...my submission...

Secret Santicore has been going on for a few years in the OSR blogosphere, and last year was my first time participating. In case you missed it, goes like this: You submit a Secret Santicore request, and you get assigned someone else's request. Make it and wait excitedly! (Official 2013 FAQ link).

Well Volume 1 is out and it's AWESOME! My assignment was as follows: 

A D20 table of creep stuff you could find in an abandoned space station. 

And here's my submission:

Creep stuff you could find in an abandoned space station: (d20)

1. The mummified remains of crewmembers.
2. The mummified remains of crewmembers, they’re missing something (see below).
3. The skeletal remains of crewmembers.
4. The skeletal remains of crewmembers, they’re missing something (see below).
5. Full sets of uniform and boots scattered throughout the station, no bodies.
6. Mutilated remains of crewmembers, and they’re missing something (see below).
7. Piles of ash in hallways and on random furniture.
8. Blood-stained hallways and air-locks.
9. All escape pods and standard shuttle-craft remain aboard.
10. All escape pods and standard shuttle-craft missing.
11. The exuviae (remains of exoskeletons) of a really large creature.
12. The moult of hundreds of vermin.
13. All rooms and quarters are stocked with period inappropriate furniture and equipment.
14. The community dining table set for a formal dinner.
15. The PA system is playing inappropriate holiday music.
16. The central computer or station AI knows the investigating party.
17. Ghostly images can be seen in the static of all monitors and CCTVs.
18. (Random Station Component, see below) doors are welded shut from the outside.
19. (Random Station Component, see below) are welded shut from the inside.
20. (Random Station Component, see below) is crawling with maggots.

Missing something: (d4)

1. Missing Limbs
2. Missing Heads
3. Missing Digits
4. Missing Uniforms

Random Station Component: (d8)

1. Control Room
2. Medical Bay
3. Storage Bay
4. Docking Bay
5. Power Station
6. Crew Quarters
7. Science Lab
8. Mess Hall