Zephyrus of the Anemoi

.the ramblings of a radman.

Author: Jared Cash (page 1 of 39)

Ripcord Films turns 18

I just blinked my eyes and my baby was all grown up.

I can’t believe that 18 years ago today my cousin and I ran around a campground with toy guns and made our very first movie together. A lot has happened since then (most notably, the lack of becoming famous). But I still look back fondly on those days. Though filmmaking never became a part of my daily routine, it’s responsible for a large portion of how I view things creatively. I still write with a cinematic mindset and I even develop scenes as a dungeon master as though my players are experiencing them both onscreen and as the audience.

So, as a tribute to the impact that the first Ripcord had on me as an adult, I present it to you all without shame or fear of judgment.

Okay, maybe just a little fear of judgment. Be nice to me. I was a child.

The Tower of Terror, or How To Almost Party Wipe Your PCs for Fun & Profit

Last year, I started playing D&D with my cousin and a few friends. Two of them had never played D&D before and some had only played a handful of times. A session or two later and my teenage son joined in the fun. As we neared the end of Lost Mine of Phandelver (yes, it took us a year; we are still figuring out ways to improve our combat efficiency so that they don’t take as long), two more players joined us, bringing our party total to 7 (I do say, that’s an auspicious number).

Spoilers for Lost Mine of Phandelver after the break…

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Nostalgia

I find myself thinking back to a time, recent yet oh so long ago. A time when the family I chose—not the family I was given—lived across a small stretch of pavement and grass. When there stretched a vast, wondrous playground just beyond the doors of my home. When my loves shared so small a space and yet wanted for so little. When joy and laughter were nestled away, across the street, in a familiar, cozy place. Or just past the shed, where the flames licked the low-hanging branches of trees older than “One small step for man…” Or right in front, curled up on a sofa, all together, all one. Where even frustrations at the age and structure of home were easily forgiven when reminded of the wondrous, happy memories made within.

There are days I wish I could go home again, even if I’m already here.

Bodily Playmate

My wife and I were watching Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime. There’s a scene near the end of the series where Jack and another character are heading to a meeting on [critical plot point]:

Me: “His girlfriend’s gonna be in that meeting.”

Wife (after a brief pause): “His ‘bodily playmate’.”

Once I managed to stop laughing, I said.

Me: “I’m going to change your nickname in my phone to ‘bodily playmate’.”

She is so quick-witted she slays me.

Goblins & giants & bears, oh my!

This summer, I started running my own Dungeons & Dragons game for my friends using the 5th edition starter campaign, Lost Mine of Phandelver. It’s a pretty solid opening campaign, especially for a group of people that range from haven’t played in several years to “What’s a d20?” There are plenty of opportunities to learn the ins-and-outs of the Forgotten Realms, how to solve a problem without violence, and what to do when the players go off the rails for a bit. I’ve learned a lot and my players have been really enjoying themselves.

One of the greatest struggles of any D&D campaign, however, is scheduling. With five players and a DM/father to four children, trying to align schedules can be akin to befriending a beholder. Especially during the holidays. After more than a month with no opportunities to play together, we managed to lay our schedules upon the altar of good fortune in a runic pattern capable of opening a gateway to Toril in the Prime Material Plane so that my adventurers could continue their journey. Alas, it was not to be.

Our Druid managed to injure her back and apparently the D&D books don’t actually give you magical powers, despite everything I was told as a child. As such, healing her was not an option and we decided to find an alternate activity for the evening.

Luckily, my cousin (one of my players) decided he would run a one-off campaign for the rest of us. We quickly rolled up a few characters (or grabbed a pre-gen from Wizards’ website) and dove into an Adventurer’s League campaign for a night of mayhem.

One of my favorite aspects of D&D is the collaborative nature of the experience. While the Dungeon Master sets out to guide the players on a journey with delineated plot points, adventure hooks, and designated goals, once the game starts it becomes a joint effort to tell the story. Players often find ways to alter the course of the adventure and force the DM to think on his or her feet. In this particular instance, while being mobbed by a swarm of miniaturized goblins, I decided to keep one as a pet by shoving it in my bags. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that its curse would soon wear off and he would restore to full size. In an effort to keep my new companion, I asked the DM if I could determine the nature of the curse and make it permanent. While explicitly stated within the pages of the adventure that the curse would wear off in time, my cousin let me put the goblin in a confined space and make a Strength check (a die roll with my character’s Strength used to add a bonus on top of that roll) to keep the goblin compressed when the curse wore off, preventing him from returning to full size. My new companion, Pocket the Goblin, gets to travel with me on my journey, all because the DM decided to “Yes, and” instead of “No, but”.

In the end, my character’s choices won’t bear much significance, as our next session will return us to our regularly scheduled campaign. But I still had a blast playing again and have some great ideas for future encounters for my players, thanks to my brief stint as an adventurer. I’m looking forward to digging out the Dwarven Warlock, Thu’udin Hjalgrim, for his next excursion, whatever it may be. He was a lot of fun to play, and I hope his future journeys are filled with laughter in the face of darkness.

Eleventhiversary

Eleven years ago today, I married the most amazing woman I’ve ever met, and embarked on a remarkable journey that is still in its infancy. Like the great odysseys of yore, this journey has had setbacks and challenges, victories and celebratory joys, and days of endless plodding forward, trudging ever onward.

Marriage isn’t a straight line. It’s a circuitous path, circling back on itself in a fashion that must appear to be a strange doodle when viewed from above. But within that path are intersections where the struggles meet the successes and that is where the greatest moments of a marriage are born.

Eleven is an auspicious number. Celebrations of tenth anniversaries are as common as they come. The number 12 has a special place in my heart, but eleven is the first double-digit prime. It’s also an incredible visual representation of marriage. The two individuals (both the numeral 1) becoming a single entity, the number 11. I am so grateful that my “other number 1” in life is my wife Autumn. I could not have asked for a better partner in crime. I am well and truly blessed today.

I love you, babe. Here’s to 11 more years.

Awaiting (September 11, 2018)

I sit, sipping warmth
As the morning sun falls across the stairs
You are arriving soon, but not yet here
I wait to see you
To meet you
This house, made to be a home,

Quiet

Waiting

Full, but empty without you
Our final piece
The familial puzzle nearly complete
The picture on the box finally visible

We wait

I gulp the remaining life from my mug
I watch the shadows play across the room
The marching band, in the distance,
Heralding your arrival
Unwitting messengers of fate

I listen for your knock at the door
The telltale struggle to enter

Still I wait
In silence
But soon
Soon

I wait

Hey y’all prepare yourself for the rubberband man

Tonight, we were watching Avengers: Infinity War, and when Rubberband Man started to play, my 9-year-old turned to his sister and said, “Do you recognize what this is?”

It’s important to note, my son has never heard this song. But he now associates all music from the ’70s with the Guardians of the Galaxy. As such, as soon as that sweet, soul music started to play, he knew what characters were about to make an appearance.

Well done, Marvel.

PDF Expert turns 11 years old, goes half off

If you’re in the market for a Mac app for editing PDFs, but don’t need (or want) Acrobat Pro, PDF Expert is half off to celebrate their 11th birthday. At $30, it’s a steal.

It’s phenomenal, and I have clients that use it as an alternative to Acrobat Reader. You can get a free trial to check it out before purchasing, to make sure it will do the things you need to do (since it’s obviously not as feature-rich as Acrobat). The iOS version of the app is NOT on sale, but it’s also a fantastic app that I’ve been using for years. Definitely give it a look, as well.

Get an Apple TV 4K for $105 (or maybe less)

DIRECTV NOW is giving away a 32GB Apple TV 4K if you prepay for 3 months of service. That’s a savings of $74 (retail price for Apple TV 4K is $179). Plus, if you have a Bank of America debit card or your financial institution offers purchase rewards, you might qualify for a credit of $35 back, which makes the total price $70+tax. If you’ve been thinking about getting an Apple TV for a while, but haven’t felt like dropping nearly $200, this is a fantastic deal.

No details on when the deal will expire, so I’d hop on this one as soon as possible. Plus, while you’ve got the DIRECTV NOW service, you can start using it right away on the iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, or FireTV app to see if you’re interested in keeping the service. If you don’t want it, go ahead and cancel once you receive your Apple TV.

Thanks to The Loop for the heads-up on this great deal.

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