Category Archives: Kerfluffle

It’s Time: The 2017 Sorta Annual Aravan Awards!

I know, I know. I do like two blog posts in 10 months, then I do 2 in two days. Some people binge drink; some people binge blog. And some people do both, like me!

Anyway, it’s still February, the All-Time Aravan Award Winner for Shittiest Month 1600 years in a row (seriously, it’s so shitty that we cap it at 28 days unless we need to make the calendar still work, then we grudgingly add a 29th every four years and resent the fuck out of extending it), so technically I can get away with a 2017 awards presentation. And if you disagree, the terrible Academy Awards won’t be held until fucking March, so take it up with them if you think I’m too late. So you know what that means.


Before you get too excited, let me pause and explain what the Aravan Awards are. From the archives:

…Coming up with a top ten list has to be the easiest writing job in the world. Jot down ten things, come up with superficial reasons for their inclusion, and then explain how blatantly wrong you are as just “a way to get people talking about it.” It’s the ultimate mail-it-in, who-gives-a-shit approach to writing.
So I am TOTALLY in!

So sit back, relax, and cheer for your favorite candidates as I google the World’s Shittiest Trophy and use the first image that comes up as the award for this year:


This is literally what came up. They aren’t wrong.

And now, here it is – YOUR 2017 ARAVAN AWARD WINNERS!

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The Marvel Movie Villains, Ranked

Marvel movies have a villain problem. At least, that’s what occasionally bubbles up from the depths of internet think piece generator, which I think lies between the third and fourth levels of Hell, just behind people who don’t pay attention to where their cart is in the store and just above folks who call people without texting them first. Sometimes it’s an offhand comment when praising the villain of one of the movies (like I’ve seen a bunch with regards to Killmonger in Black Panther) or as entire droning essays about how the villains aren’t compelling or whatever. It was after reading the praise for Killmonger that I went onto Facebook, the homeworld of bad opinions, stupid memes, terrible discussions, and inane observations, as well as the second level of Hell, and offered up this little tidbit of bad opinion and inane observation:


Hot take alert!

It was a random and off-the-cuff statement tailor-made to troll the kind of people who take this kind of thing too seriously. But it did make me think about who I thought were the top-ten Marvel movie villains, which then turned into a rumination of who the worst were, and finally ended up as a spreadsheet-driven ranking of each and every Marvel movie villain based on various criteria. Which led to this article/think-piece bubbling up from my own place in the circles of Hell.

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The Edwards Roleplaying System

(TL/DR: I wrote my own tabletop RPG. It’s terrible, but I love it. The files are at the bottom.)

I’ve been mulling over an idea for a new blog post. It’s about the idea of “the perfect is the enemy of the good” and how it’s negatively affecting discourse, opinion, and results. It’s a heavy one, and I know it’ll probably piss off a few liberal and conservative friends, or possibly everyone. However, it’s so heavy that I haven’t mustered the energy to produce it. So this post has nothing to do with it. I don’t even really know why this is the introduction to this post, which is about role-playing games. I guess it’s because I treat my blog like a conversation between the two of us, and if you’ve ever talked to me in person you’ll know that I ramble a bit and go on tangents, especially when I’ve had a couple drinks and I’m my Authentic Self. So here we go on the blog post that is about as opposite as a heavy politically-motivated discourse as can be without being just a post of pictures of otters being the representation of everything that is good in the universe.



Yes, it’d be a better idea for a blog than what I’ve got going currently, so be ready for a sudden content shift in the future.


I love role-playing games of all sorts. LARPs. Video games. Hell, Choose Your Own Adventure books. But my ultimate love of the form is one of the first ones I discovered: the tabletop RPG. I read my first DnD rulebook when I was 10 and fell in love. My imagination soared with the never-ending story potential, and the side of me that later became an accountant loved the idea of rules providing a framework on which I could hang my imaginings. It was like playing Guns (that venerable game wherein two or more people take sticks and pretend to shoot each other, followed by the volleys of “Nuh-Uh” and “Ya-huh” to determine if someone was hit) but with a way to prove who had shot whom and what would happen. I loved it.

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Welcome to 2017

You don’t need me to tell you that 2016 was a very fucked up year. Many beloved famous people died, including people who helped define some of the most widespread cultural touchstones we have, from a princess to a professor to a candymaker to a spider from Mars, along with ground-breaking musicians, one regressive judge, comedians, athletes who defined entire sports and eras, giants on the world political stage, and more besides. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, pets – maybe you lost someone personally in 2016. It was the year that never seemed to quit taking. Seriously, go look a list of the famous people who died last year. I guarantee there are people on there you forgot about, and couldn’t believe you didn’t remember.

Also, there was an election, wherein a thin-skinned pissboy with less substance than an expired McDonald’s coupon became president of a nation whose espoused ideals stand in stark contrast to everything the tragic joke of a man set to lead it embodies.

OK, this whole blog post is coming out way more depressing than I intended. Sorry about that.

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Actually, This Is Me With a Mustache

In my last post, I posted a picture of Ron Swanson with the caption, “this is me with a mustache”. In actuality, this is me with a mustache:

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Random Grab-Bag O’ Thoughts, December 5, 2016 Edition

I talk about Westworld, but it’s spoiler free. Promise.

1. Westworld just aired its season finale. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly urge you to do so. It’s on HBO. If you don’t subscribe to HBO, someone you know has HBO Go. Get their password from them. Ask nicely. Catfish them. Threaten them. I don’t care what you do, just get the damn thing and watch the show. The writing is amazing. There is no such thing as a throwaway line. It’s so tight. I couldn’t write that if you gave me a billion years and a copy of the script. It’s a great example of Chekov’s gun principle: if there is something shown or said on the show, it will be for a reason. The finale pays off in a big way.

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The 5 Greatest Performances by Kurt Russell’s Hair


I have a deep and enduring affection for Kurt Russell. Even above and beyond his movies, there is just something about the man that makes my knees weak. This perplexes and worries my wife, but there isn’t much I can do about it. I love his performances, his manner, his aw-shucks grin, his interviews – you name it. But there is one thing above everything else about the man that impresses me and leaves me swooning.

His hair.

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5 Things for Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

1. Jack Chick died today. If you don’t know who he is, you probably didn’t play Dungeons & Dragons back in the ‘80s. Chick was a fundamentalist Christian comic artist who wrote tracks presented in comic book form. These railed about the terrible things bringing American civilization directly into the ARMS of LUCIFER HIMSELF, like Masons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, sports, role-playing games, music, bare navels, evolution, peach pits, homosexuality, Halloween, girls wearing pants, critical thinking, and wearing sandals without socks, to name a few. They were, and are, terrible, bigoted, narrow-minded, and thoroughly, deeply hilarious. They never fail to make me laugh every time I see one. So in his way, he brought a lot of joy to my world. I think if Jack Chick was right about his beliefs, he’d probably be in Hell right now, but if my worldview is correct, his consciousness is no more and he is as one with the Universe now as he was before he was born. I think that’s a nice thought. It’s certainly more than he would have ever wished for me.


This is laughably inaccurate. When we play D&D, we wear white robes and only draw 2 circles around the pentagram.

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Mass Effect Andromeda First Thoughts and Speculations

At E3 this year, EA dropped a new trailer for Mass Effect Andromeda. It doesn’t explain anything, doesn’t show gameplay, and isn’t everything that I’d hoped would be released (by which I mean I want to know everything RIGHT NOW like the impatient petulant child that I am). There were, however, some clues and hints about what’s to come. I need to talk about it, just to keep myself sane, so this is just going to be a scattershot of thoughts and speculation about what’s to come.

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Defending Ashley Williams of Mass Effect

Mass Effect, as a series, is probably known and loved more for the cast of characters Shepard pals around with while saving the galaxy multiple times than any other aspect. Other games do combat better (although I’ve never enjoyed any shooter more than Mass Effect 3, especially the multiplayer), or have better plots or storylines, but no game really comes close to having characters who grow and evolve during the series, in many cases shaped by their interactions the player has with them. Fan favorites like Garrus, Wrex, Tali (I even named my dog after her), Jack, Mordin – all of them are incredibly well fleshed-out, have real growth arcs through the series, and have real resonance. They are beloved.

There is one character, though, who is not beloved. She is rarely even be-liked. She is usually be-fucking-hated. She is Ashley Williams.

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