While I'm gone, I'm getting Cable/Internet installed at my apartment (thanks to house sitting by Mom). So, if RCN is up to the job, I'll have access from home again come Wednesday when I return. Hopefully after that I can stop bumping the ERP games.
I'm pretty happy with how my campaign is going, although I do need to fine some a new scenario or two to offer some adventure variety and benefit from planning done in advance. I'm content with how my main arc is going, but episodic stuff takes a lot of work that I'd prefer to use existing resources for. I'm also going to try to write up my key NPCs in the Monster Manual 4 stat block format. If anyone knows any good ways to auto-gen some of that (I'm not going for anything too fancy. Mostly I'm happy to grab the recommended feats and equipment from the PHB2) please let me know.
Works been nice. The stress level is up a bit, but still lower than the software project. I'm adding enough new utilities to the project that I've managed to substantially speed up our database work. This is good, because it gives me time to focus on the often difficult problems that crop up. It actually feels vaguely RPG-ish. I've got lots of problem solving to do, but as I develop tools it gets easier to take on the problems. Maybe I've just got gaming on the brain.
In other news, the Baker commission is apparently suggesting getting combat troops out of Iraq by '08. Good call, although I don't like the conditional approach. Withdraw isn't necessary because conditions are improving, it's necessary because things are getting worse and we don't have any palatable ways of turning them around. Speaking of non-palatable ways to turn things around, the administration is considering ending outreach efforts to the insurgents. Yup, I really want to throw the U.S. lot exclusively with the Sadr's people and other Shiite death squads. That sounds like a terrific idea. What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile, the real diplomatic situation is becoming more clear. A Saudi Arabian consultant made clear that the Saudis will intervene on the Sunnis side if the U.S. pulls out. Makes sense, they're acting to counteract Iran and prevent the Sunnis from getting wiped out. Personally I think the Sunnis have got to be counting on that support, otherwise they'd probably be putting more work into the political side of things. This is what the regional conference would be about, working out a deal between regional players to minimize their intervention and let Iraq sort out its own civil war. A regional conference, despite what many will tell you, is not really about saving Iraq from civil war (although it may shorten it and provide a healthier foundation for a post war^2 Iraq). Syria/Iran probably don't have the capacity or will to really end this thing. But we could stop it from growing.
Funny quote from the article:
One hopes he won't make the same mistake again by ignoring the counsel of Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who said in a speech last month that "since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited."
So, if a majority of Sunnis and Shias (not counting the Kurds, who are cool, but not really the problem here) want us to GTFO, that's not an invitation to leave? It's almost as if the Saudis don't care about democracy at all. That can't be. And I'm sure they have our best interests at heart, so we should certainly listen to them and stay.