We took a week off from GURPS. Sue was sick, or so she said. Well, actually, Mike said that Sue was sick. We had no specific information from Sue herself, but, it was a good chance for Mike to show off his painted minis for Zombicide Black Plague. We played that instead of GURPS.
Lots happened over the last two weeks.
First, I went to a half day of training to have a FEMA ICS 200 and 700 certification. What does that mean, you ask… Well, I was hoping that you would ask that question.
The FEMA ICS certifications are a bunch of process training and tests to make sure that in the event that an emergency occurs, of a large nature, that the people who are responding are able to understand the general nature of the FEMA and other federal responses. The certifications mean that if a major event occurs, I will be certified in knowing how to navigate the federal bureaucracy of the federal response.
Hopefully, with the certification, I can avoid having the President talk to me.
The FEMA certifications start out making sure that you will understand the nature of the FEMA and Federal beast.
You remember in college, when you took classes, and the freshman classes were 100 level, and when you were ready, you took the sophomore classes, which were 200 level… all the way to a senior classes, and they were 400 level?
Not that way in the FEMA method.
You do start out at ICS 100. That makes sense. Then you jump to ICS 700, then ICS 200 then ICS 800. Now you would think that they would have some method to graduate from the lowest number to the highest number? nope.
But, when you start taking the course, the graphics make you want to stand up and salute.
I mean if that graphic doesn’t explain the seriousness of becoming an expert in this, nothing will. You got the bird with the statue of liberty over one wing, the view from East St. Louis, looking to the west at the St. Louis Arch (oh, god, I need to get the fuck out of East St. Louis, please FEMA help me!), there are some people who are being monitored by a Sheriff, probably a jail release work crew… and someone getting ready to cause pain to a sweet child. All with the Department of Homeland Security amblazoned on it.
This is serious shit! We need to pay attention so that we can get those poor unfortunate fuckers out of East St. Louis to St. Louis. What sort of important messages are in this amazing training?
Depending on the size, scope, and magnitude of an incident, communities, States, and, in some cases, the Federal Government will respond.
Situational Awareness Priorities
When developing protocols that promote situational awareness, priority should be given to:
- Providing the right information at the right time.
- Improving and integrating national reporting.
- Linking operations centers and tapping subject-matter experts.
- Standardizing reporting.
This is really important to make sure that when the big one hits, we have the ability get food and water, along with medical equipment and other things like medicine to the people that need it. The framework is not very exciting, but it is intended to make sure that when the State and Federal bureaucracy arrives to help, it can be used as efficiently as possible, and most importantly, when it comes time to write checks to pay for stuff, the entire process being worked by the locals is done with the proper paperwork for the federal government to repay the local agencies.
OK, not very exciting. We didn’t fly around in helicopters. We didn’t kick in doors and yell out “CLEAR!”, but we did help navigate through the federal process to make sure that if the big one hits, we can hopefully get as much of it right the first time through as possible.
Also, last week, I went to San Francisco for two days. I was invited by the Federal Highway Administration (which somehow is the FHWA, not FHA) to talk to engineers with the different traffic signal agencies about what we are doing with Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPM’s)
I love acronyms. When I was in the Washington Army National Guard (WANG), they made it the Washington ARmy National Guard (which was of course WARNG, instead of WANG). Our patch was the screaming stapler, for those of you who are interested in that type of thing.
One of the guys in my WARNG unit enlisted in the WARNG right out of high school and decided he would enter basic training with a tattoo of the WARNG screaming stapler on his arm. Let’s just say that none of the drill sergeants were impressed. Many soldiers do get tattoos of their units on their shoulders. Some will get tattoos of their Airborne or Ranger tabs. It is a right of passage. It shows that you are part of an elite unit, or have done some bad ass training.
There are some questions that you should ask yourself when you are getting a military tattoo. The first one is… will anyone be impressed by this tattoo. The drill sergeants tend to be from impressive military backgrounds. When I was going through basic training, several of them had been in Ranger battalions, most of them had Airborne and Air Assault tabs. It is hard to impress these people. They have done some really cool stuff in their careers. They are unlikely to be impressed by a Private E-1 who has a tattoo of their National Guard unit on their shoulder… The wrong shoulder at that.
Occasionally, you read a post on the Internet where someone has a tattoo of “Peace and Tranquility” in Mandarin on their arm? But when you really know what Mandarin says… it says something like “Stupid American Douchebag” instead… The tattoo artist had some fun at the expense of the client.
Well Private Snuffy was kind of like that. You wear your current unit’s patch on your left shoulder (left, as in not right). You can wear a unit patch on your right shoulder if… and only if… you served in that unit during combat. Private Snuffy got the tattoo on his… wait for it… yes, you guessed it… his right shoulder. I heard that Private Snuffy got treated very poorly for having a National Guard tattoo on his combat shoulder.
I am sure that it had some deeper meaning than a screaming stapler, but that is what we called it. At one point when I was in the WARNG, we were the roundout brigade for the 9th Infantry Division, so we got to swap out our patches on our shoulders with this:
The 9th ID patch is basically a cookie. We loved wearing the cookie patches. We felt like we were pretty hot shit with those patches. We could go onto a post, and were not immediately recognizable as National Guard. This meant that when we drilled at Fort Lewis and Yakima Firing Center, it took the regular army guys a little while to realize we were National Guard, instead of realizing we were from the screaming stapler patch.
Now, the National Guard had its share of people who were really capable of showing off that they were not of the caliber that the regular Army guys were at Fort Lewis. That being said, there were regular Army guys who the Army would have liked to be somewhere else. Neither side had a complete lock on incompetence.
I was on a field exercise where the regular army Command Sergeant Major came up to us at about 9 AM, and said “We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day”. That was the catch phrase for the Army at that time. Before it was that, it was “Fun, Travel, Adventure”, which meant that writing and saying “FTA” was in vogue at recruitment centers. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the letters FTA could be used to say “Fun, Travel, Adventure”, but many of the soldiers realized that it also stood for “Fuck The Army”. There was never so many uniformed troops that were happily chanting “FTA! FTA!”
Anyhow, the CSM came into our area saying “We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day”, and me, being the smart ass E-4 Specialist I was replied “Yeah Command Sergeant Major, we need the rest of the day to unfuck what we did wrong before 9 AM”. For some reason, that point of honesty was not what the Sergeant Major was looking for.
I found out in the Army, everyone that is, oh, well, about E-8 Sergeants or above (Master Sergeants, First Sergeants, Sergeant Majors and Command Sergeant Majors) only have a sense of humor if they make the joke. If someone else makes a joke, and they are not an approved toady, then bad things happen.
Now, that being said, I spent a lot of time with Lt. Colonels, Full Bird Colonels, and a few dudes with stars on their shoulders, and in those cases, if you were good at your job, you could get away with lots of smart ass comments, as long as you remembered your place, and didn’t make the officer look bad.
Senior enlisted men, not so much. They worked hard to get where they were, and they didn’t want to take any shit from any lower enlisted people. After all, they had to keep sucking up to the brass, which made them proportionately grumpy related to how hard they had to suck up.
I think a lot of the senior enlisted grumpiness also had to do with how little sleep these guys got on a regular basis. I swear that everyone E-6 and above got little or no sleep when we were on maneuvers. It seems like E-6’s and E-7’s sleep the least.
We also have been dealing with Frida, our dog who poked her eye, and has an ulcer which is slowly healing. Frida is healing, but we are going to lots of vet visits. She went to a dog ophthalmologist today (Sunday). Frida is on the mend, her ulcer is healing. She still needs to wear the cone of shame. She is being very good about the cone of shame.
So what does all of this have to do with GURPS? I don’t know. I am just rambling on.
We did meet to play Gurps yesterday.
The game really started out last week. We met to play Zombicide, but Eric was not going to be able to attend this week. We had to resolve how Eric’s character was able to attach the Pomeranian dog half to Mike’s arm. Yes, you have entered that dimension again, goblins and GURPS.
So last week, before we started playing Zombicide Black Plague, Eric makes a skill roll, and rolls a 4. A critical success. This was pretty awesome, since the Pomeranian will be a good fit for the group, and with a critical success, things will go swimmingly well.
So we got together, and I was having a bad day. My allergies were kicking in, and I took some killer medicine. I couldn’t hear much of what was going on, and was always about 3 beats behind everyone else at the table.
For some reason, Shari approached me on Thursday at work, and asked if she could borrow $40. I gave her two twenties, and she told me that her husband would take care of me on Saturday. I still don’t know what happened, but I left with four $10 bills.
We chatted about things. Shit is happening all over the country which people at the table find disturbing or disagreeable. There was a horrible situation going on with white supremacists, neo nazi’s, and other dumbfucks who want to make America White Again.
Make no mistake. I may kid about people from around the country, but for the most part, I have no problem with people from any corner of this nation, but white supremacists and other nazi’s ounks need to fuck off.
Now, I don’t necessarily agree with Jello Biafra on everything, but I think he was just about right on this.
Even with all of the hate spewing from Charleston South Carolina, there was also this.
It did make me smile.
So where was I? Oh yeah, I was talking about playing GURPS yesterday.
We spent quite a bit of time talking, and generally making a general nuisance of ourselves to the rest of the people at Dice Age. Jirimiah came over and told me that he had been reading the blog, and I should be ready to die, since he was featured prominently. I rang the bell at the front counter several times to try to get his deaf ears to hear what was going on. Jirimiah (Still trying to figure out where the silent 7’s are in his name) tried talking to me in some babble language. You see, Jirimiah claims that he speaks like 67 different languages and understands about 335 more. I personally don’t know what the hell he is saying most of the time, so I figure that he is making all of this shit up. He could be making up everything he says that isn’t in his unique version of English, and I would never know. He talks to his Bosnian friends, and they spew some form of talk between them. I am pretty sure that he and his friends are just making all this shit up. I don’t know for sure, but in this new ‘Mericabygod, I can make up any shit I want to, and as long as I am willing or able to say it with conviction, it must be true. If I really want to be emphatic, I will simply quote a Trump tweet. That will make it even more believable.
I mean, who doesn’t feel an amazing amount of ‘Merican pride when reading this?
Kind of makes me all teary eyed, and proud to be ‘Merican!
This song may be more proper for how I feel:
I really don’t know.
Anyhow, we all started playing GURPS at some point. When the party finally started playing, we were back at the forest, outside the town. The party finished up getting Mike’s assasin / dog mix ready to fight, and they met Splorgorth, who is actually a human sized locust, but everyone wanted to make him into a cockroach. Splorgorth takes a claw and snaps the lock that is holding Mike’s ninja in the garbage can. Mike spills out with the refuse, and is happy to be out.
Splorgorth wants to hire the goblins. It takes a while for the communication to work, but essentially, the goblins find out that all the other goblins in the area are treated as “pets”, and are kept in cages somewhere in town.
Splorgorth offers the goblins protection, and work to do. Splorgorth likes the high quality food that the goblins have brought back from the town, in the large bin. Splorgorth tells the goblins to bring back five glowing bulbs from the town. Pretty easy, right? Not with this group.
The party goes into town, and finds a glowing orb within the larger container. The outside of the container has a clear, hard shell, which protects the glowing orb.
Mike decides to ninja kick it. He misses once, then after Sue tries to kick it, manages to kick it out a little bit, then kicks it again and the clear hard shell goes ‘click’ and is seated again.
Bill takes out his knife and tries to pry the clear shell off. He realizes that the goblin ginsu swords are not meant for this type of work, as he comes close to cutting off his hand as his hand moves forward of the pommel of the ginsu short sword and onto the blade which can cut through a knife, then cut a tomato.
Not deterred, Bill takes out his serving fork from the Ginsu block and pries into the clear shell, and gets a nice jolt.
the jolt makes him do the St. Vitus dance…
Bill’s goblin jerks, spasms, wets himself, and drools a lot. His heart feels like it is going to explode, and everything tingles. It was awesome!
As all of this is going on, kicking, punching, chattering… Only Sue and Collin see that a new light has appeared in the alleyway. It is coming from a door, and in the door is a massive monster, in a terry cloth bathrobe and she is wearing fuzzy pink slippers. To complete the look, she has a complicated woven hat covering most of her head, a puce colored goo smothering her face. In her right hand is a lit cigarette, in her left hand is a funny clear glass. The glass looks like it has a flat bottom, a long stem, then a triangular top. Inside the glass within the clear fluid is a green dot.
Sue takes a step back and flambe’s the monster. Well, actually, as Sue steps back, the monster says something like “wah wah wah?”, trips on the door step, and falls, spilling her clear liquid from the cup onto her, then accidentally drops her lit cigarette onto her wet bathrobe.
The conflagration is complete. She is fully engulfed by flames. She screams like a banshee, wailing, crying, in horrific pain, like a neo nazi forced to listen to Kanye West. do the goblins care? No. They find that the open door next to the flaming monster presents an opportunity that can’t be passed up.
The goblins pour into the house. The first thing that they notice is that the house is disgustingly clean. There is no filth anywhere. These monsters are horrific beyond belief. The room smells of a combination of fake lemon and fake pine with some fake cinnamon bun mixed in. It is nauseating. The goblins soldier on. They know that they need to bring something back for Splorgorth.
This is where the goblins seem to question what exactly Splorgorth promised them. Splorgorth promised them protection. When the goblins asked how that was going to work, Splorgorth pointed at Sue, and said “You will protect you”, and Splorgorth pointed at Mike. Then he pointed at Mike and said “you will protect you”, and Splorgorth then pointed at Sheri.. and so on. No one seemed to pick up on the fact that everyone was protecting everyone else, but there was little that Splorgorth would do, except for eat the best food that the goblins brought back in the large bin.
The goblins thought about this for a few seconds, were distracted by the lack of filth, and then went through the house like a bunch of sugar hyped 2 year olds at Ikea.
As the goblins enter the monster’s lair, they see too much all at the same time. Bill sees a curio stand with lots of glass, and glass ornaments.
There are dozens of little glass ornaments in a large collectors case. Glass everywhere. Bill stands, transfixed, and is unable to look away from the awesome, amazing kitsch here.
Sue is amazed at the wide variety of things which could burn in this house.
Sheri looks at a lamp on the table, and realizes that the lamp could be taken to Splorgorth as one of the glowing orbs.
Mike drops to the carpet, and is amazed at the velvety soft, tan-ness. He wipes his greasy goblin paw on the carpet and sees that he can wipe it one way or the other, and he can make patterns in the carpet with the light.
Sue takes another lamp off a table and walks off , finding it tethered to the wall. She pulls, hard, and the tether comes undone, but the lamp stops glowing. Sheri follows suit.
Collin spies the prize. He sees that there is a large throw on the couch which has a goat on it. There are also three throw pillows with goat heads stitched onto the pillows. He carefully grabs all three pillows, and wraps them up in the throw, and gets the hell out. He has his prize. He nonchalantly walks by the burned corpse of the monster and heads back to the trees. Bill snaps out of his amazement, grabs a king sized bottom fitted sheet and tries to place as many of the glass curios into the sheet, wrapping them up as he goes. Bill then ties the king sized fitted sheet around his body, like a bandoleer sash. As he finishes up, he spies a glowing orb at the top of the curio cabinet. Bill climbs the glass shelves of the curio cabinet, and then bad things happen. The glass breaks, and Bill lands in a pile of shattered glass. Luckily, he isn’t hurt, but he now has a problem getting to the glowing orb at the top of the curio shelves. Bill picks himself up and dusts himself off and gets out of there by walking by the smoking corpse.
Sue and Mike decide it is time to leave, but by the time they go to the back door, they find three other monsters at the back door. One of the monsters kicks the door open, and Mike falls to the ground, unconscious.
Sue turns to a ghost, and trots on by the monsters.
Mike wakes up in a cage, near Brian’s character. Mike is initially unhappy with the situation, but finds that he has a supply of water, cat kibbles (and damn good ones at that), a soft blanket and a small sand box to play in.
Mike figures that this is a pretty good place to be. Brian, on the other hand is not pleased with being captured, and tries several times to escape using lockpicking magic. He is not successful.
Brian does cast mass sleep on the monsters who are bringing in Mike, and two of them drop to the floor, asleep. The other two monsters finish putting Mike into a cage, and then get a long stick and touch it to Brian’s exposed skin. The pain is excruciating. They jab him over and over again, each touch causing a horrible shock.
So now, Brian and Mike were captured. Sue, Shari, Collin and Bill were back at the forest, and Splorgorth came and was shown the “goods”. Splorgorth was not impressed. He wanted something very specific, and was not provided what he wanted. Furthermore, he observed that a group of monsters were walking with handheld torches and scanning the ground on the approach to the woods. Sporgorth lept into the air, and was not seen anymore.
Things happened pretty quickly. Multiple monsters attacked everyone but Sue, who was happily hiding in the underbrush.
Three monsters attacked Bill and Shari. Bill stabbed the monster in the nutsack, and the nutsack and recoiled in pain. Now Collin was bravely hiding under the goat print throw. The monster then tripped and fell onto Collin, who had held out his dagger, and killed the monster when it fell on him. The monster almost crushed the life out of Collin, but Collin. Collin was saved by the goat throw pillows, as the life blood of the monster stained the goat throw blanket. It was very sad.
As the monsters fought against the goblins, eventually all three goblins, except Sue, were captured and brought to the cages.
With that, we stopped for the day.