Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dance Hall Days

I was listening to this song waxing nostalgic about "Dance Hall Days" when it got to "take your baby by the ears and play upon her darkest fears," and I suddenly remembered why I never felt comfortable dancing! It all goes back to some asshole at a junior high social grabbing my ear and whispering about how all my teachers next year were going to be Burgess Meredith.

Thursday, July 07, 2016


I dumped the G+ comments option and went back to regular Blogger comments. It's unfortunate that the comments made while it was in G+ mode got dropped, but oh well. It just didn't feel like it was worth the fuss.

Monday, June 20, 2016

All This Stuff

Back from Origins, although it was kind of drive-by conventioneering for me, this time. I didn't do much.

Even after cancelling Gen Con, I was a little short on vacation time this year, so I had to wait until Friday to head down to Origins. I had planned to run several events, and then cancelled them all. I heard later that people were still able to sign up for them, so my apologies to anyone who was disappointed.

There are a couple of things I've never liked about running convention games. The first is pre-gens. One of the games I was running was a Cypher System one, and, despite a number of ways in which this game is fantastically easy to prep, making characters for people to play is fidgety and time-consuming.

The other thing I don't like is teaching people how to play the game. Nobody ever knows how to play the damn game. Sure, most real gamers know how d20 variants work, but anything else is a struggle. The last time I ran Cypher, the general alien-ness of the expendable attribute pools took what seemed like an eternity to get through, and of course I had to explain every single cypher to them. The game itself was a lot of fun, once everybody (sort of) knew how to play but, when you're GM'ing at conventions, that despicable boulder rolls back to the bottom of the hill with every new session.

So yeah, this time I just couldn't stand the thought of it. I don't know where that leaves me for the future. I've been in kind of a mood lately, so maybe it'll pass and none of this will be a thing. It was a nice trip anyway. I think Origins will make an acceptable replacement for the morbidly obese Gen Con, if I end up needing a replacement.

Oh, and I bought some stuff and got a few other things in trade. Here's the loot I came home with:

Sunday, May 22, 2016


I think the worst of my addictions is my addiction to noise.

If I need to keep coffee flowing like the Spice, I'm in good company. If I use alcohol to get through social situations and I like to have a drink at the end of the day, who cares? If I sit down to relax or work and immediately turn the TV on for some background chatter, though, that can trip me up.

If the place is quiet, and my mind drifts, I reflexively conjure something to fill the void. Mostly, it's silly, useless stuff that I never even write down, but it's still my brain being creative. If my mind drifts with the TV chattering, though, it just drifts to the show and goes passive. Bad, bad, weak brain.

I'm not sure why it's so hard to break, considering that I love the results when I do, but it is.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016


This Friday, I had to cancel a session of my Scrap Pile campaign and I still feel rotten about it. I didn't expect to. I had a really good reason, so it's not like I just blew it off. Part of it was that a couple of my players seemed really bummed about it, but I think mostly it was about missing a fix. This is a drug I can't get anywhere else.

For the rest of the weekend, I spent most of my free time playing Champions (the MMO, not the pencil & paper one). I designed two new costumes and picked up a sidekick. I played with other people a couple of times, but mostly it was just me and Indy Kid. I couldn't tell the difference between the people and AI most of the time, except that the AI would wait for me if I paused to look at something that wasn't mission-critical.

I had some perfect opportunities to write, and I didn't take advantage of any of them. I also didn't do my stupid taxes, so that's still hanging over my head. I don't mind that the government asks for some of my money so it can, you know, govern, but I do resent that it demands my time. I can't think of any other service where I have to write my own bill, and can be prosecuted for making a mistake. Also, I don't see any reason why Ohio should be allowed to govern anything. I'd rather literally burn my money than give it to Ohio. Sadly, incineration was not an option on any of the forms I filled out when I got my job.

Digression? Don't worry, this whole post is one big mass of digressions. If you're looking for a point, you probably won't want to read any further. It's not going to get better.

So anyway, writing would probably have done me good. I could have done it if, at any point, I had bothered to sit down and say, "I'm going to write." I had ideas, even. I just couldn't bring myself to make that choice.

Oh, the reason I cancelled the game is that we've got a new cat. His name is Ninja. We didn't want a new cat. We already had too many. This cat has such a sad story, though. We had this neighbor -- Tom described her perfectly: "To her, kids are pets and pets are toys." Ninja was her cat. She and her kids coddled Ninja and played with him and convinced him he could trust them. Then they moved and left him behind. He cried at their door for a week after they were gone. We should have taken him in then, I guess, but we had too many cats. We did feed him, at least.

A few years later -- last week -- I was feeding him and noticed his eye was infected. It looked at first like it was gone, but that was just because everything around it was swollen. I thought it had gotten scratched in a fight. Ninja's had a rough time on the street. He's got tattered ears and odd bumps and scars. Several of his teeth are broken. There's a patch on his tail where the hair won't grow. He looks more like a pirate than a ninja.

So we grabbed him, wrestled him into a carrier, and took him to the vet. Turns out that, sometimes, cats get an abscessed tooth and the infection gets into their eyes somehow. The vet gave him some antibiotics and gave us some eyedrops for him. He's relatively good about the drops, but it's still a two-person job. We're taking him back this week to get the tooth taken care of. He's already looking a lot better. I think he's more upset about being locked in a room than about the eye.

Yeah, sure, we could find a shelter for him or something once he's all patched up, but he's been through that before. He's had people coo over him and tell him he's safe and then dump him like old furniture. I can't make him go through that again, even if we could get him into a no-kill shelter. I don't think the possibility ever crossed Tom's mind, either. Ninja has always been a sweet cat. He does this thing where, if you reach down to pet him, he'll raise up a little on his hind legs to bump your hand with his head. He prances when you brush him, like he's showing off a new 'do. He's a person. To me, I guess, kids are aliens and pets are family.

But I was talking about a super-hero game, wasn't I? I've stumbled into a wonderful balance with that campaign. The super-hero genre is pure fantasy, a wonderful escape. I've got a great group. Not only do I enjoy their company in or out of a game, but they're all creative people who do a great job bringing life to their characters. The game itself is an absolute joy. I hate to sound like an advertisement, but Icons balances ease of preparation with detail options perfectly. At least, it's perfect for me. I can get prepped and ready to go an hour or two before the game, or I can run it off the cuff and still not feel like I've taken shortcuts. It all just flows.

Those things all contribute to making this exactly what role-playing should be, a chance to socialize and be creative at the same time, to hang out with your friends and have a great story lingering in your mind afterwards. I think the fact that it's social gives it more life than an ordinary story, almost like a real memory. It kind of feels like that afterwards, like you and your friends really did go out and save the world fighting Baron Karza last weekend.

That's what didn't happen, and it's really throwing me off.