Ted's RPG Rant

A place to rant about RPG games, particularly the Temple of Elemental Evil. Co8 members get a free cookie for stopping by. Thats ONE cookie each, no seconds.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

De HIMYM

Last year, around March, I thought I was losing my mind.

I was walking around constantly teary-eyed and sad. I thought I had depression, or some other such mood issue. I was irritable, demotivated, drinking heavily. I talked with wifey about needing therapy, maybe medication.

Then I realised: I was grieving. I was going through the stages of grief.

I was grieving for my favourite show, How I Met Your Mother, and my periods of teariness and sadness corresponded to those days when I sat around watching YouTubes of "Best Moments of...", or re-watched the alternate ending, or otherwise reengaged with something I should have moved on from.

On days when I was too busy or otherwise distracted, on the other hand, I was fine.

Fans of the show will know it finished some time back, but I only saw the end when Yvy got me seasons 7 & 8 for Valentine's Day, and then the final season 9 for my birthday later at the end of February.

I binged watched them, of course. I had come to the show as a fan quite late, certainly after it had been on a few seasons, but got hooked somewhere along the way. Yvy got me the box set of seasons 1-5 for Christmas 2010 (the Suited Up Edition in yellow-umbrella box) and I binged watched those for days (I was off sick from work at just the right time) and a few years later I got season 6.

Why the hiatus before seeing the final seasons? Well, I guess I was savouring it. I occasionally saw one on TV but otherwise I was putting off getting the last few seasons because I didn't want it to end. But finally my need to find out what happened got the better of me (plus a fear of spoilers) and my darling wife accomodated and got me the last few in early 2016, as mentioned above.

And I watched them, and it was over, and I grieved.

Why is it my favourite show? Other than the great characters and unique premise, refreshing in the shitty cookie-cutter "let's try nothing new, let's just do a remake!" and god-awful reality-TV world we live in, I guess it was because I really related to the main character (another Ted) because I am a genuine romantic. Someone who looked for years and years to find the right person, and finally found her on the other side of the world. Married her, had gorgeous kids, living the dream :)

Before that, though, I suffered the long search - I suffered as Ted suffers on the show (with far less in the way of casual dating than Ted does, I must admit). I didn't get left at the altar or any such thing, but I related.

And it has Barney - who doesn't love Barney???

Which brings us to the issue of the ending - fans will understand that we have to discuss the ending, which was polarising, shocking, and is the reason I am taking up the keyboard after all this time. (I watched the alternate ending again on YouTube yesterday after realising, to my horror - apropros of nothing, btw, just something that jumped into my head - that I couldn't picture Marshall's doppelganger. I looked it up on YouTube - it was Mustache Marshall).

[Spoilers, obviously, since I am going to talk about the ending.]

The ending was a brilliant episode, where each character got closure, awesomely (Fudge Supreme? Barney finding the woman of his dreams? Awesome!!!) and many running gags were cited (cockamouse FTW!) There was Lily's glorious moment dressed as a whale, the mother got the best gag in the whole episode imo ("so where are you registered?") and Robin's reaction to everything and her drift away from the group brought the depth behind the humour that the show did so magnificently.

But... there were 3 problems:

- Barney and Robin split up, in TWO SCENES, after we spent, what, one and a half seasons waiting for them to get married.

- The mother that we had waited 8 seasons to meet, and spent a season falling in love with, was KILLED OFF SCREEN.

Neither of these were bad in and of themselves - on many if not all levels they worked - but the way they were handled felt rushed. At a time when we thought we were working through resolutions of plot and character lines, these were foist suddenly upon us in a manner that was unsatisfying. They could have been done better, and were blemishes on what was an otherwise great ending episode.

And number 3 problem - Ted ends up with Robin. After we spend the whole damn series waiting for him to end up with the mother, and when we knew from episode 1 that it was not Robin, suddenly that's how it ends.

This was jarring, and confronting, to watch, and left me feeling a little disappointed - different from some of the other classic endings of series I have seen (Night Court had a great ending for memory, Bread's was appropriately heartbreaking, Scrubs had an awesome ending, Raymond's was good, Sienfeld's was legendary... I digress). But I have long since come to appreciate it, and will now defend it.

If there were 3 problems to the ending, I will put forward 3 defenses:

- firstly, the creators were always working toward this, and for all the initial cries of "bah, continuity error!" that was people's first reaction, I am quite sure a more sober consideration will show that they ALWAYS worked toward this. Go back and watch it all again (God willing, I know I will one day) and tell me it's not there over and over beneath the surface. And sometimes just flat-out stated, like when Ted tells Robin something to the effect, "if you love someone, really love them, it never stops". The alternative that many people put forward - that the creators should have changed their plans when they realised how much the fans would be disappointed by it because they had come to love the mother so much, well, think about it - that makes no sense. Were the creators mind-readers? Mass mind readers? Sitting there week after week reading every review / fan post and weighing up what the fan position was? Nonsense. Try making a show that way - it will suck, I guarantee it.

- secondly, it made sense of something that was otherwise a bit annoying about the series - that they kept coming back to the Ted/Robin thing. Over and over and over, ad nauseum. Til we screamed at the TV, "she ends up with Barney - you've flash-forwarded the wedding - and he ends up with the mother!!!! STOP IT ALREADY!!!" Only it turned out there was a reason for it all.

- finally - and to me this is the important one (it won't be for others, but it shows how invested I am in the show that this matters so much to me) - it makes sense of the Victoria plotline. Victoria was F***ING ADORABLE! So utterly perfect for Ted that we all wanted her to be the mother. In fact, according to some of those "10 things you didn't know about..." YouTubes, she was MEANT to be the mother if the series didn't get picked up - Ted would have met Victoria and there's the mother, they live happily ever after, yay. But in the end she wasn't. And this only comes about, not only after she flies off to another country, but after she bails out of her own wedding to give Ted another crack. And in the end she leaves him.

Why? Because of Robin. Because she says Robin will always be the woman Ted loves.

As it is, this is fair enough, Ted and Robin end up together and it all works: if Victoria gets her heart broken, we've also seen Ted have his broken because women leave him for the men who turn out to be the love of their life (Stella, and the girl for whom The Window Is Open). That's the nature of love and romance. You appreciate love more when your heart has been broken - you appreciate everything more when your heart has been broken. Only through bitterness do we reach the sweet, as I think Tolkien put it. Or Van Helsing. Maybe Stephen King.

If Ted and Robin didn't end up together, well, Victoria walked away for nothing. That just sux.

Finally - and this is not a defense of the ending but just a really nice touch - it's the best way for Robin to get a happy ending. She gets the man who was always right for her, and she gets children whom have come to love her like a mum. If they had just ended up together from the beginning, then that part would never have happened (following the logic of the show, which is that Robin can't have kids).

But may I say, the alternate ending is great too, which just finishes with that superb scene of them finally meeting under the umbrella and a montage of Robin / Stella / Victoria / the mother's flatmate etc that led to them meeting). I'm tearing up just thinking about it. I need a drink.



Friday, February 01, 2013

Animal Domain

...and we're back. Its been a while!

So I was adding some undead for the new and improved Moathouse Respawn, and of course anyone who's anyone in the undead world can nick your levels. So I was working on trying to get an energy drain effect going, and checking if ToEE had any such thing (yes, I am aware of the sword of life-stealing). Specifically I was checking the manual to see if Energy Drain or Enervation were in the game. Energy Drain is lvl 9, so no, but the lvl 4 Enervation would have been sweet (but its not there :-().

Anyways, while checking the manual's spell lists, I found this:

Animal Domain Spells
1. Calm Animals
2. Hold Animal
3. Dominate Animal
4. Summon Nature’s Ally IV
5. Animal Growth

I read that list, and thought, "Nature's Ally IV must be a brand of lubricant..."

Is that wrong? :-D

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Years Day

So I'm driving home from my parent's house with the family. Light turns orange, I race through it and onto a 6-lane main road. All the other traffic at the lights went the other way, so I am alone on a 6-lane divided main road, so I don't bother staying below the speed limit.

My nose starts to itch. And drip. And generally carry on (I suffer, sometimes, from terrible sinus issues). But I can't get into my pocket without taking my belt off, and I can't pull over because big empty road or not, its a clearway.

So I take my belt off, take my hanky out and take care of business. Before doing so I check my mirrors (I have been pulled over for having my belt off in similar situations by an un-marked car) but there's only an old van back there.

Now (try to keep up at this point, particularly if you come from a country that drives on the right) I have my hanky in my right hand (yes, I am right handed) so I just follow the road through two corners without indicating, because the indicator is on the right of the column and my right hand is occupied (I don't even think about this, since both turns involve lanes that are marked for turning, so all I have to do is follow them).

Thats when the old van behind me turns on its flashing lights. Its a damn paddy-wagon and I didn't even notice.

So I pull over. I figure I am being pulled over for no seat belt on, so I just sit there with my hanky in hand preparing to explain. I figure I have a good explanation.

What I am not happy about is that they will ask for my license, which is cracked and broken. I have never had it fixed because it is due to be renewed in December and I wasn't going to pay $20+ lo these many months for a 5-year license that was due to be renewed this very year.

Then I realise: its not December, Its January. January 1. Of the year after this-very-year.

*Knock knock knock* on the window. Its a young male cop.

"Blah blah breathaliser blah blah license. You've come to our attention..."

Because I don't have a seat belt on...

"...because you did not indicate at the last two intersections."

You knew that, sorry if it seems I am telling the story out of sequence but it made sense to explain while I was talking about holding my hanky. But when he said that I was not expecting it and while I wasn't silly enough to start arguing with a member of the constabulary (I realised, much later, the hanky-based reason it had happened) I was genuinely flabergasted and asked him to clarify which corners.

Anyways... he then follows procedure and says, "have you had anything to drink recently?"

I am coming from New Years Day with the folks, so of course I have had a couple of cold beverages. And I tell him so.

Lets recap:

- speeding
- not wearing selt belt
- two corners without indicating
- damaged (potentially invalid) license card
- license is freaking EXPIRED
- been drinking
- its a holiday

Why does that last one matter? Because here in the great state of New South Wales, they DOUBLE penalties on holidays to combat the inevitable rise in the death toll when everyone is out on the road heading for wherever, or coming home pissed from parties. Not financial penalties - that would be seen as a cynical cash-grab - but things like demerit points. Damn good system actually, it has lowered the road toll in recent years.

Oy...

On the up side, I have only had two light beers - I don't DUI at the best of times, let alone with my kids in the car - so I pass the breath test. But he then asks to see my license, which I give him.

"You should get this renewed..." he starts, but I am way ahead of him. I have already dug out the renewal form, which I picked up last time I was at the RTA (paying my car rego or something, I forget what I was doing there) and filled in. I AM a cynical sod - I won't pay the damn $20+ fee but I will go to the trouble of filling in the form to give myself plausable deniability.

"But Officer, I was just about to get a new license, I have the form right here! I just have to get it notarised." (Thats inaccurate gibber - you merely have to get it witnessed by an adult, not notarised, but I was under stress).

"I was about to say, you should get this renewed because if there is any doubt about your identity we have to take you in."

He then gives me my license back, tells me to more care with my indicating, and lets me go.

Here's the ironic bit - the license contains my name, address, the license number and enough of my photo to be obviously me. So it still constitutes valid ID 9 times out of 10.

The snapped off bit contains the edges of the photo and the end of the expiry date. It just says '30 Dec' with no year.

And apparently the cop let me go on everything else because, driving a paddy wagon, he was not a highway patrolman, so no radar to clock my speeding (they stick out the window of patrol cars and are easy to spot), and he didn't give the seatbelt thing a thought. He just saw a guy going (probably) too fast and cornering without indicating, thought, "better breathalise that asshole" and when I came up clean let me go.

Heh.

Hehehehehehe.

Ted 2, John Law 0.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Comic

Today I am enjoying my bi-monthly (occasionally six-monthly) catch-up of 'Full Frontal Nerdity'. I have the absolutely uncanny ability to just forget about that comic for months at a time, then remember and check it out and enjoy hours of updates.

Beats hell outta checking OotS five times a day.

Merry Christmas folks!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My day

I did some gardening today. I cleared out the end of the balcony and repotted my aloe vera. I am hoping it survives - I was brutal - but its thrived on two straight years of neglect, so I am hopeful.

It's getting warm here, I'll be powering up the weber soon enough :-D

Saturday, July 17, 2010

More stuff

I'm downloading a trailer of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part Primus)' - and drinking cheap wine, lets not forgt that - and I thought, "what better time to write a blog?"

The new job is insane. I didn't get out of the office til nearly 9pm, and that was by dodging half the work that needs doing and leaving it til Monday. Egad. %-/

Anyways, speaking of movie trailers, the new 'Karate Kid' movie is out. Which means another part of my childhood has been sodomised by a Hollywood cash-in. Fabulous! Give that producer a new Rolex. Who needs to respect the eternal truth of 'wax-on, wax-off' when there's money to be made?

Which is not to say it will be a bad movie: the reviews are positive, Jackie Chan is a legend, that Smith kiddy was great in 'the Pursuit of Happyness", the locales look fabulous, and Nanking not withstanding, Kung Fu is inherently superior to Karate anyway. But all of this is as if saying, "well, we're going to use mood music, candelight, the best of lubricant, and a variety of titillating positions".

Its still sodomy.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Recent eventualities

I guess I always meant to do this blog regularly, but with Cyclopean to document, I have really meant to keep this updated more than I have. Must remedy that (he says with good intentions but little conviction).

The following, of course, is written after too much wine.

I got a new job - yay! I am the front man of an agency that employs people to work with kids - that is all I will say for now. (The fullness of it is not very interesting, just more complicated). I have been working my ass off getting it up and running, we went online last week, and it has been HECTIC. I am under stress.

Curiously it has also been a very positive time, because I am enjoying the work, can see it going somewhere positive, and while the money will not be that much better, it will be more stable work with the opportunity of extra weekend stuff, so better income than I was on. I have had a lot of bills lately for reasons some of you (the ToEE folks) know, and while that 'expensive' part of my life is over, there is still a lot to be paid for it. I feel good that I will have a stronger income in the future, I feel it is downright God-sent. I literally prayed for a new job, and this just fell into my lap.

And yet...

Last Friday - the final day before the company went live, after I had been slaving for a couple weeks to get it up and running - one of the other staff there asked me what I was doing this weekend. I said, (in a period of stress) "I am going home to have a good cry".

This did not satisfy her question, but it was how I felt.

Anyways, I didn't. I worked on the weekend as well and did some of what the psychologists call 'avoidance'. That is to say, I did surface shit to avoid other things. I watched videos and such - classic uplifting ones like 'Roadhouse Prophets' - love that movie! - newer ones like 'The Hurt Locker' (very disappointed. See the Wikipedia section 'Response among veterans': as wonderfully filmed and acted as this was, they can't honestly expect us to believe trained soldiers under orders behave like this?)

The problem is: I don't know what I am avoiding. As well as a new job which puts a light at the end of the tunnel, the kids trust fund (so to speak) is going great guns, and I recently came across some other financially positive stuff that makes me very hopeful in general (we are not crushed by debt, or any such thing, just coming out of a rough patch).

Of course, things are not helped by the fact I miss my wife and kids, who are overseas. I miss my kids like friggin' oxygen, I mean I used to sneak home from work to see Arianna because I hated going those few hours of a day without her. But this is something deeper. I can't explain it.

I have been praying more lately, I have been getting stuff done around the house, but mostly I have been coming home tired and looking for distractions to amuse me til I can get to bed and get some sleep.

And here we are a week later. The first week of the company up and running went better than I expected, but was still very hectic: but we stayed on top of it. Next week, when the staff expect to get paid, will be another issue again ;-)

Yet...

I got home from work - didn't get out of the office til 7pm, but got the work done in the end. The boss rang me on the bus home to say I didn't have to get up at 6am to go cover a shift, so I finally get to sleep in (albeit the 7 hours at Saturday rates was worth getting up for). There's Friday Night footy on the TV, I get to make whatever I like for dinner (fish, of course), put my feet up, enjoy the coming weekend, maybe even get some work on Cyclopean or KotB done.

But I am not happy.

I'm not 'in a bad place' or anything like that. Just not happy.

And the reason, I truly do believe, is I need a good cry.

I've never been a cryer. I'm not some mucho f***er wh thinks badly of it: I'm just a bloke who has never been able to do it.

There are times like this in my life when I have felt very emotional and I have felt that need for an emotional release. I think women are very sensible in that, when they are overwhelmed by emotion, they cry, they let it out, they do something about it. Some men (such as me) don't. Its not a decision, or refusal, or judgment, we just don't.

I wish I could. Always have.