Specter Fantasy Football 2 – Announcing the Emerald Specter Fantasy League

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Shut your mouth! Yeah, that’s right, I’m officially announcing the Emerald Specter Fantasy Football League for 2015!

I am looking for between 10 and 16 total teams, the league will be run through Yahoo! (at this time) and will be competing to be the first holder of the official Emerald Specter Cup. Do you have what it takes to compete? Come on… don’t be so hard on yourself. Email emeraldspecter.com ( at ) gmail.com with the subject line “ESFL” to request to be included!

Will I be competing? More than likely… and I want to compete with you! Join now!

This isn’t really a “column,” but I’ve numbered it. Deal with it.

Fitness Specter 16 – The Death of WAFFLE

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If you don’t know what WAFFLE is, then this is going to be a short history of a thing that I’m putting an end to in order to move on with something similar, but different. First, though, let’s explain WAFFLE.

waffleWAFFLE is an acronym for World Association of Fitness Fanatics Loving Exercise. The acronym was a pseudo-joke that I chose because at the time I formed WAFFLE, I was losing weight through walking and improved eating. Naming the fitness organization after an unhealthy food (on average) was my little personal fun while getting healthier.

The idea behind WAFFLE was to combine getting healthier (specifically exercise accomplishments) with the UFC-style of battling. In fact, instead of “fights” one participated in “battles,” goals that you wanted to achieve on a specific day. There were posters made up for these events and there were also weight classes, which is what I actually believe was the reason people didn’t want to participate… no one likes to have everyone else know their weight unless they’re at their ideal weight. Well, of the four people that participated in WAFFLE, two were Superweights, one was a Heavyweight/Cruiserweight, and the other was a Welterweight. I was busy recruiting others, but hey, no one else was coming over.

The idea of a “battle” was choosing a fitness goal, something like “walk 15,000 steps” for a single day, and if you met or exceeded that goal, you had a “win.” If you failed, you had a “loss.” Two competitors were 4-0, the other two were 1-0. Yeah, no losses at all. If you won at least 6 times, you could compete for a championship in your weight class. If there were multiple people in a weight class that wanted to compete against each other, you’d choose a goal that you could both compete in and then the winner would be the one that accomplished the most of whatever the metric was.

Fun? I thought it was.

waffle3The poster for WAFFLE 3, the first “artsy” poster made.

The idea was to give people a fun “UFC” style competition, award championships, and encourage healthy habits through exercise. With the demise of WAFFLE, which is officially the date of this particular column, goes away some of the “oddities” without letting the idea behind WAFFLE disappear.

So, am I launching a new fitness organization? Yes, yes I am.

Forget about the pun/joke acronym for the association. Forget about the weight classes. Forget about the championships (for now). Forget about randomly choosing a metric to achieve. Forget about everything WAFFLE did and wandered because of a lack of focus.

I haven’t named the new organization and I haven’t come up with the specific direction that the new organization will take. There will be a clear set of metrics to achieve and those will be goals for you to accomplish and not compete against others… only compete against yourself. There won’t be specific dates to accomplish these goals on, either, rather a range of time that you can accomplish these goals in. Things will change and things will have more focus. Things will encourage fitness, health, and nutrition, making us all better people in the end.

There will be competition… it’ll just be competing with yourself.

Lift.

UFC Signs CM Punk?! And Some Women Talk!

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I don’t have a name for this little feature, but I don’t think I really need one at the moment. What I want to do is talk a little UFC. Do you mind?

CM Punk, real name Phil Brooks, is a former WWE World Champion and was summarily let go from the company in what is really a confusing situation involving a lot of egos. I’ve been angry at the WWE in the past for doing poor moves like this one but I’m past the point of watching on a regular basis, so I guess you could say that I don’t care enough about their current product to do anything about it… that isn’t the topic, though, apparently CM Punk has signed to start fighting in the UFC in 2015!

Brock Lesnar, another WWE veteran who leapt over to the UFC and eventually became the UFC Heavyweight Champion, was able to utilize his mic skills along with his size and aggression to become successful in the UFC. CM Punk, who isn’t nearly as heavy as Lesnar, can also be successful but I have to be shown that he can be as dominant.

CM Punk is planning on fighting in the Middleweight division, which is a division heavy with great fighters. I don’t personally believe he’ll be good enough to be the UFC Middleweight Champion, but I think he’ll be good enough to be ranked in the division. I definitely don’t see him making a huge impact in that division if GSP returns.

I found the news interesting enough to talk about, at least.

On the “lady fights” front, the UFC Ultimate Fighter season with the Women’s Strawweight Division is coming to a close and my chosen fighter, Tecia “the Tiny Tornado” Torres, is not the one fighting for the championship but I’ll still be following the division. I like the UFC but I like the UFC lady fights more. If UFC can bridge the gap between the Bantamweights and Strawweights, then we can see three divisions of awesome ladies that can rise and drop in weight to make some really awesome matches.

I’ll be watching that UFC event, by the way. With rapt attention… because it’ll be filled with lady fights!

Fight on!

Storytelling Specter 6 – Writing for Production

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Welcome back to the Storytelling Specter, which I was going to cut from the rotation of columns but have decided to include into a “random thought” appearance of the column like the Life Imitates Wrestling column that keeps hanging around. Let’s get this thing rolling, shall we?

As the title indicates, I’m going to be talking about writing specifically for producing something. I don’t know if I’ve officially mentioned this on my site, but I have started writing scripts for comics. I am finding that a little easier to tell the story and I can tell the story in smaller chunks, which is something else I’m discovering I need to do (instead of trying to tackle the full on 100,000 word novel that I’ve been trying to hammer out). That is one thing that I’m working on writing to produce, but that is only the first thing I’ve started in what I want to be working on for the near future.

Let’s start with the comic scripts, though.

For the better part of two decades, I’ve been slowly working on my own shared comic book universe (similar to the Marvel/DC shared universes). I like super heroes and they are included as part of my shared universe. While I’ve gotten a nibble here and there on the offer to allow others to play in my new universe, I haven’t gotten anyone interested enough to actually dive in and start helping out… that’s fine, because what I’m doing with the project now is going to change how others interact with the universe.

What I have decided to do is what I’m calling a “single line of storytelling.” I am going to write the script for a single monthly comic book, 22 pages per book, that will tell the story of a team of individuals uncovering the hidden super heroes and their backgrounds that are going on all around them. This monthly will be my “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” to my “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Yes, that means the monthly will periodically be interrupted by a larger feature (i.e. graphic novel), concentrating on a piece of my shared universe. I’m working on “issue 0″ right now, which will be an eight page primer, then I’m going to bust into doing the first issue. I’ve toyed with the idea of completely producing the first issue myself, too, as hiring artists is an expensive endeavor… we’ll see about that as time goes on, though.

I also want to produce something to be narrated in an audio format.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing small chunks of a story and releasing them in a serialized audio format. Since I’m a one man show, that would be narration with some possible sound effects and music, but basically I’d be telling a story in 15 to 30 minutes chunks on a weekly basis for a stretch of about 10 to 13 weeks at a time. I like the HBO episode format, so I’d also like to try to take “seasons” into account rather than do 52 episodes per year. I have a life, y’know.

All in all, I’d like to write for production… which means I need to write for a deadline. That may be the next specific subject on this column, and that is something I haven’t been able to do yet… here’s to trying to get better!

Write on.

Coming Soon: The Specter Show

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I’ve talked about having another podcast/netcast/audio/video show for some time with my significant other and the time has come to actually put that information out in preparation for the eventual show debuting in (what I hope to be) January of 2015. Yes, I will be back in 2015.

The Specter Show, as I am calling this, was originally conceived when I relaunched the website as Emerald Specter.com. I was thinking of using Mixlr as the way to broadcast that but without having unlimited options for length, I either have to cut down on what I wanted to originally do until I can get some financial support (Mixlr free only allows an hour of live broadcasting at a time) or I can simply use Google+ Hangouts on Air (and since I’m not keen on doing a video show, I’d put up an image that would cover the video feed). Knowing that, what are you interested in seeing?

Eventually, I’d like to make the Specter Show a DAILY show (Monday through Friday), concentrating on things that interest me (highlighting chess, MMA/UFC, WWE, role playing, movies, writing, reading, NFL, soccer, fitness), including the possible “random topics” that tend to come up from time to time. If I start out with a weekly show, once a week, and build up from there, I think I can expand as I go. Maybe start at a single one hour show, expand to a single two hour show, expand to two one hour shows, etc, etc, etc… does that sound like something you’d like to hear?

If I do a G+ Hangout on Air, you need a browser to listen live. If I use Mixlr, you can use the app to listen live. In either case, the show will be released on a podcast feed so that you can listen to things in post, if you aren’t able to listen live. The idea behind Mixlr is interacting with a live chat while I’m running the show. The Hangout, while possible to do the same, can’t use a single interface to do it… so I’d have to use Twitter or some other chat program to run the same thing. Mixlr limits me to that hour for the free account, too… keep that in mind.

So, I’d like to hear from you. What do you want to hear? Mixlr with the chat but limited to an hour (until I get some financial support)? G+ Hangout on Air without video and a Twitter tie in chat?

Eventually, I’d like to get back into video. I’d like to have some sort of “studio” set up to do that in, though, and I won’t have that capability until 2016 at the earliest. Let’s look at the “now,” though. What do you want to hear/see? Let me know my emailing emeraldspecter.com ( at ) gmail.com, subject line “The Specter Show Feedback”!

Thanks for reading!

Are You Ready For The Greatest Show’s 50th Epiversary?

At 1 Eastern, 12 Central, 11 Mountain, and 10 Pacific time… you can see the 50th episode of the Greatest Show LIVE on YouTube (Google+). There will be speaking, there will be fun, there will be questions answered, and there will definitely be some Tom Foolery. Join us… unless you’re someone who is boring, then do whatever.

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Fitness Specter 15 – Flex Lewis’s Philosophy

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I don’t know that I have my “Flex” fitness person right, since there is also a Flex Wheeler, but I’m going to credit this to Flex Lewis as he’s the one I thought was responsible for the philosophical outlook that I am about to talk about. In any case, Lewis is currently competing and is ripped beyond ripped, so I’m inclined to believe he’s the one who spouted what I’m going to be discussing today.

That topic is cardio. Lots of cardio.

I am soon going to be living alone in North Dakota for a short period of time. Well, I say short but that could be up to six months. In any case, I’m going to have a chance to work out a lot because I’ll have little else to do. My wife is my best friend and I spend 99% of my time with her. When she’s not around for six months, I’m going to be spending a lot of time focusing on myself. I am going to get ripped.

The reason I have referenced Flex Lewis is that I read (and for the life of me I can’t find the article anymore) that Flex does cardio twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. The cardio sessions should be 30 to 45 minutes in length and just enough to get the blood going, a sweat running, and get the metabolism running. Well, I’m sure Flex does enough to get him ready for a full on workout, but I think that as long as you get the metabolism moving, you should be doing enough because you aren’t trying to win bodybuilding competitions.

Without my wife with me, I’ll be getting up early enough to do 30-45 minutes of cardio, then shower, and I’ll head off to work. When I get home for the day, I’ll do another cardio session right before I lift weights in my custom dumbbell “at home” workouts and that will give me what I need to start slimming down and start bulking back up in the right way. I will have me some nice muscles by the time I get to my new home.

I have considered doing this while she’s still here but I can barely tackle work without cutting out on sleep so I can spend some time with her. I’m a postal carrier and that means, since this is Christmas, that I’m working 12 hour days on a regular basis. Hell, I’ve been putting in 12-15 hour days lately, even though over 12 isn’t supposed to be allowed. I’d rather spend the time with her than workout right now… knowing that I’ll have nothing else to do soon will be just fine to me.

I have returned to eating better (though still not perfect) and I have started shedding a few pounds. I don’t have a weight goal anymore, though I’d still like to be under 220, but I do want to be muscled enough to look like I have muscles without flexing. That is a moderately achievable goal, I believe. Don’t you think?

Lift.

Game Specter 5 – All About the Story

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I am pretty sure that I’m read for running some Fate. I am also highly interested in running some classic World of Darkness (vampire), too, because of some recent podcasts I’ve listened to… and that makes me confused and depressed because I don’t have anyone to run these things for and I can’t play in my own stories. That’s like gaming masturbation. I don’t want that and you shouldn’t either.

Something I have been thinking a lot about isn’t the system I’m using nor is it the people whom I’m running with… I’ve been thinking about telling a damn story.

If you think about what gaming has been like, things may be different than how I think about gaming. Right now, if you asked me what gaming has been like for the past 20 years of my life, I’d say “competition.” RPGs these days aren’t supposed to be competitive, they’re COLLABORATIVE. Why can’t I find players that share this philosophy?

My primary goal is to tell a story. Like the Knights of the Night, I’d like to get a story across that people can interact with. Those players want to make their own decisions, move towards an end goal, and explore WITHOUT competing with the GM. The GM, too, isn’t looking to screw the players at every turn… they collaboratively tell a story and that is what I’d like to do.

I’ve been told that if I want to tell a specific story, I should just write a book. RPGs aren’t stories, they don’t “survive first contact with the players.” That’s a bunch of bull and I’m tired of that being “the norm.” I have the framework of a great story in mind and I need people to interact with that to flesh that out. Could I write it into a novel? Sure, but that wouldn’t be nearly as interesting as watching how my preconceived notions are torn down as the players do things in this story I can’t possibly prepare for. That’s part of the run of gaming.

When I move away from North Dakota, I plan on finding myself a playing group that is interested in what I’m interested in. There should be a bigger pool of players available and I am even open to including Google+ Hangout games, widening the field even more. I’m even hoping I can be a player now and then… even though I really have a lot of stories to get out of me.

Right now, though, I want to tell an original story in an original universe with players who don’t see me as the competition. I want to make sure that there is something interesting going on at all times and I want to see what the players do with the direction and story that I wouldn’t have considered being a possibility. Why can’t I have that where I am?

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll try to be getting this going more regularly than I have been… with this being Christmas, though, I have a lot of work to do. Some of you will know why.

Roll on.

Life Imitates Wrestling 9 – Seriously?

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Seriously? Really? No, really seriously? The title of this column, the Life Imitates Wrestling part, is no more true than what has transpired over the course of the last two weeks. Holy crap. I cannot fathom how what has just occurred is really possible.

I have to be careful what I say, but I can say certain things without really letting anyone get too close to the actual truth. I was going to retire this column because I thought that everything that had led up to this month was what the “norm” was going to be… then I was blindsided by a delusional nutcase, one whom I had assumed “had my back.” Nope.

In the world of professional wrestling, when you’re a face (babyface, or good guy) or a heel (or bad guy) and you change your alignment to the other, that is known as a turn. I experienced the most unlikely turn in the history of the world in the last two weeks and all because someone thought that I somehow should be working 400% harder than anyone else. That, my friends, is bullshit.

The tides have definitely turned. I am on the cusp of getting the hell out of my terrible situation and now I have even more reason to leave because those who were my enemies are now my friends and those who were my friends are now my enemies. How is that even possible? Is this Bizarro world?

Some people look at “adversity” and see a challenge to overcome. I have no desire to tackle this “challenge” because this “challenge” isn’t even logically thinking about what they’ve done. It’s all about “me, me, me” with them and I’m tired of listening to that. Everyone else is, too.

In the end, what has been accomplished is a complete lack of me giving a shit. Yeah, I just swore. I’m a grown ass man and I’m tired of dealing with temper tantrums from people who feel entitled… and that leads me to a broader subject.

Who in the hell is entitled to anything? You aren’t entitled to anything. You earn it. You earn everything. When you flush what you earned down the toilet, you lose what you’ve earned. There is absolutely nothing you are entitled to and that is what most North Dakotans seem to think: they’re entitled to all kinds of things. I want out of North Dakota because if you want to be entitled to something, you can go demand it from the other delusional moron who feels entitled to something.

This is a place I get to vent, yes. When I’m far enough removed from the situations, maybe I’ll go back and get specific about them because the people involved won’t even care enough anymore to read things on this site. I am hoping that those who were following to read my insights for “work gossip” have stopped, too, because if you have to mine for stuff on your down time, you’re a loser. A person who believes they are entitled loser.

Eat me.