Thursday, August 31, 2006

Once more into the breach?

I've started fiddling with Match.Com again. Since I was one of the beta testers way back in the day, I still have my free account. I'm not really pursuing whole-heartedly though because it's not like I *need* a girlfriend or anything. But as I lose weight and feel better about myself, it would be nice to have someone to go out with, if nothing else.

Of course, the down side of Match, or any other dating site, is that once I find someone that I find attractive and interesting and they are at least interested enough to meet me, there's the dreaded "first date" hurdle. It's not so bad if it's someone that knows me well enough to know that I am reserved by nature and/or that I'm comfortable enough around that I'm not so reserved, but a "cold" date is tough. In addition to all of the usual fun of just meeting someone and it being a first date, the woman can think that I'm not interested because I am so quiet.

Oh well, I guess I can cross that bridge when I come to it. That or maybe Keith and Sherri will come through smuggling me back a bride from Russia! :)

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This show sounds like a campaign I would run (actually, a couple I have ran). And any resemblances between the cheerleader and Weasel's character in my Marvel campaign is due to my house being bugged. But we already knew that.

Of course, if I watch this show and like it, it will probably be cancelled a la Firefly.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Creative Output

While I was at the gym (yay me), I was mulling over my campaigns and slightly chiding myself for my "Snakes on a Spaceship" episode of my Firefly campaign. Granted, I didn't lift the movie scene by scene and run my players through it, but every time I "borrow" froma movie or book for a scenario, I feel a little guilty.

That got me to thinking about how many sessions I've run as a game master.

An easy benchmark was when I moved into my house 6 years ago. On the average, I run 3 sessions every two weeks, or 1.5 sessions a week. There are times I miss, but there was also a couple of years that I was running 2 sessions a week, so I feel 1.5 is a fairly conservative and realistic estimate. So figure 52 weeks times 6 years... that's over 300 weeks. At 1.5 sessions per week...

That means I've run over 450 sessions. If I was directing a televison series, that would be roughly 17 years worth of tv in the past 6 years. If it was a comic book, that would be over 37 years worth of comics (note allowing for crossovers, annuals, and Marvel's bullshit "let's go twice a month for this title" crap).

Now to be fair, not as much work goes into one of my 3 hour sessions as goes into an hour episode of tv or a comic book. And my players give me a lot to work with... a whole lot, and put a lot into those games.

But still, 450 sessions. Not a small amount.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Time on my hands

When I realized that I was quitting MMOs, at least for a while, I hoped that I would put all of the extra time to good use. I had high hopes of splitting it between increasing my physical, social and creative activities.

The first thing I learned was that I excel at wasting time.

It's been a pretty mixed bag so far. On the plus side, I am getting to the gym more often. Last week was 4 times. Hopefully I'll make three this week (I had to work late at another store across town doing research, so it threw me off schedule). Giving my past history, I'd have to put this in the win column if I can keep it up.

Socially, it's been 50/50. I haven't gotten to see some I want to see, but I've also had a couple of good not-gaming socializations, namely the Mummies last week and having some friends over to watch Gamers and the Shatner Roast tonight (the other thing that threw me off my gym schedule).

Creatively... not so much. I've done a little more bluebooking and in-game work (though to be fair, the "Snakes On a Spaceship" Firefly adventure I ran last night didn't require a *lot* of work), I've started playing with the 3D ship design I started tinkering with, and that's about it.

I'm really hoping to get rolling again on writing. Bluebooking helps as a means to that end, it lets me write little scenes. And I'll never be a real writer like my friend Marik... I don't have the focus to stay on topic long enough to finish a book. But I enjoy it.

The other side effect of all this is that I have too much time to think. I think that was part of the reason why I delved into MMOs... they kept my brain busy. They kept me from dwelling on the fact that it's been 5.5 years since I had a date, or that I'm getting older and sooner or later there will be certain things I can't ignore, or that I really need to have a solid plan for retirement, or ,or or... you get the idea.

I was a little worried I'd get depressed again, but I seem to be staying fairly clinical in my mental state. It's not that I don't ever get sad or a little wistful, I just don't sink into a morass or mope around. I'll get pensive, but not sulky. Heck, I was afraid actually sitting down and writing this would trigger something.

Eh. I'm not sending friends mopey and /or drunken e-mails/texts, moaning about how much it sucks to be me. I'm not writing gloomy poetry (which is good because I suck at poetry). I'm not plotting to end it all (which is good because no one would take my cat). I'm not repressing some huge deluge of misery (though I am pretty good at bottling up stuff... just ask any ex).

Of course, I'm probably not making much sense by this point (and yes, I am sober). But sometimes writing my thoughts helps get them sorted out of the front of my mind, and this is after all a blog, not some Pulitzer winning journal.

Maybe now there will be space in my brain for something fun to write.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Thundercats No!

To quote someone else in the blogosphere... "I wish they'd quit fucking with my childhood memories."

Read here for the proposed reimagining of the Thundercats.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Leia's Metal Bikini

I stumbled across this Googling for new GenCon photos...

Probably the most iconic male geek fantasy. What geek guy hasn't wished he had a girlfriend that would do the Leia Slave Girl bit? (Married geeks may now plead the fifth... :) ). I remember one of the redheads (mmm... Redhead LSG...) from GenCon, and another one from Celebrations III.

And an extra bonus after the jump...

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Yoda am I?

Which Star Wars Character (Episodes 1-6) Are You?

You are Yoda! You are one of the Smartest people ever, probably because you are soooooo old! And you can still kick the shit out of anything that comes your way! Beware to everyone, don't let the cane fool you!!!!!
Take this quiz!

Maybe it's the green. Maybe it's that I'm old. And if I posted this quiz before, it's because I'm forgetful.

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Movie review: Snakes on a Plane

You would almost have to be a hermit to have missed all of the hype that has been building for Snakes on a Plane. I won't pretend to be much "in the know", I didn't really follow all of the activity preceding this movie. But once it came out, I decided that I wanted to see what all of the noise was about.

As other reviews will tell you, Snakes is a fairly formulaic movie. But while there aren't many surprises, there is a lot of suspense. I would not recommend this movie to people with weak hearts or to ophidiophobes. I would recommend it to anyone that likes a high suspense thriller. Odds are you won't be leaning back and chilling out, you'll be debating if you want to watch what the snake is about to do to that guy taking a leak.

Despite the relatively quick set up, you'll find yourself hoping certain characters live and certain characters meet a fangy end. I won't spoil it and tell you who bites it (pun intended), but my mental list wasn't 100% on.

I was surprised that the CGI wasn't better. It wasn't horrible, but there were a lot of scenes where I thought "yup, CGI". Maybe we've gotten spoiled after years of the Matrix and Star Wars.

I bet this would be a good movie to take a date to, though you'll probably lose feeling in whichever arm she has a deathgrip on once the snakes are loose.

This would probably be a bad in-flight movie. :)

Over all, I give this mother f^*&!#g movie 4 out of 5 mother f^*&!#g flying monkeys.

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I was afraid I was going to end this week still at 228. Tuesday was Weasel's birthday party at Finn MacCool's, an Irish pub near here. And at things like birthdays, there's no such thing as "diet". Between the appetizer platter, bangers and champ, Bailey's Irish Creme cheesecake, and a few pints of Guinness, I knew I was doing damage.

Fortunately, I resolved to do penance by going to the gym an extra time this week and I kept my eating in line the rest of the week. When I went out to the Vogue, I just had Michelob Ultra Amber. Also, even though I seemed to go "hog wild" at Finn's, I wasn't gorged like I was when I met my friend Marik at a steak house and almost ate my self sick.

Pretty soon I'm going to need to do some shopping. My work pants are getting too loose.


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Friday, August 25, 2006

Here Come The Mummies...

... eventually.
my crappy cell phone cam

Ken gave me a heads up that Here Comes The Mummies were playing last night at the Vogue. Even though it was kind of late, I missed them last time and got to hear everyone's stories about how much fun they were. I resolved that I could lose a little sleep for a lot of fun.

from the HCTM website - Indy, the Patio 2005
I just didn't know how much. Doors were slated to open at 8pm, so I got there at 5 til, figuring if I got there early I'd have an easier time finding Ken and the others. But there was a sign on the door... the tour bus had broken down, doors wouldn't open until 8:30, the Mummies wouldn't take the stage until 11.

I get up for work at 6am.

In for a pence, in for a pound.

I figured CT Pepper's front patio would make the perfect place to chill for half an hour, have a beer, keep an eye out for anyone I know and watch the Broad Ripple scenery. Some creepy guy was trying to sell perfume to people waiting as a line began to form. Jason was the first person that I knew to show, and joined me on the patio while we waited. And waited. Finally, the line started crawling. Around 9:30ish, the line had decreased to the point that we decided to enter. Creepy guy hadn't made a single sale.

Once inside, I learned that Ken's girlfriend had secured a table on the balcony, and it turned out to be at the front of one of the balcony wings (in other words, probably the best seats in the house). The opening act, Autovaughn, got on and off the stage ahead of the adjusted schedule. They were a decent band, but I'm no modern music critic. If nothing else, they made a good soundtrack to watch the scenery.

About 10:45, the fog machines fired up, the drumming and moaning started (think 1930's monster movie) and the Mummies lurched to the stage. The Mummies aren't just a band playing songs, they are an act there to entertain the crowd. And entertain they did. It was hard to stay seated (but one of my pet peeves are people that stand in front of me and block my view, so I try to be considerate) as most of the crowd was on its feet.

I don't know how to classify the music, other than "funk" with a mummy theme. They had a 5 piece horn section that night and put it to good use. The time slipped by, and I regretted having to leave before they finished, but when I realized it was after 12:30am, I couldn't keep telling myself "just one more song". As it was, I was a little like the walking dead this morning.

Hopefully next time they're in town I'll be able to stay the duration.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

What Personality Disorder are you?

You May Be a Bit Schizotypal...

A bit odd and socially isolated.
You couldn't care less of what others think.
And some of your beliefs are a little weird.
Like that time you thought you were Jesus.

Just when you thought I'd gotten tired of the quizzes. :)

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Kicking the MMO Habit

I've been playing MMOs (massive multi-user online games a la Everquest and World of Warcraft) for about 6 years. These games represent a massive time sink. While at GenCon, I had so much fun doing other stuff that I didn't miss my MMO. Once GenCon was over, I was kind of in a funk where nothing seemed fun, plus I didn't want to get wrapped up in case an opportunity came up to do something with friends.

The MMO Monkey on my back had been pwned.

Keep in mind that these games are designed to be addictive. Fortunately I didn't inherit the addiction gene, as by all rights I should be an alcoholic smoker. But these games do appeal to several components of my mental makeup. My work psych profile is: Strategic, Analytical, Input, Learner and Responsibility. The same things that make me good at my job cause me to enjoy a lot of aspects of MMOs.

But now it doesn't seem so appealing, because they eat up so much time. What am I doing with all of this extra time? Not a lot yet. I finished Dzur over the weekend, it looks like I'll get to the gym four times this week, I'm hoping to spend an evening painting minis with a friend, I went to a pub for my friend Weasel's 40th (hence the extra gym session... penance) and I've done a little work on some of my campaigns.

Yeah, still not so much with the housework.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Thug logic

Yesterday we rousted a couple of shoplifters at work. Since they were trying to steal CDs, it was easier just to rattle their cage so that they coughed up the goods, trespass them and kick them out as opposed to go through all of the hassle that would go into making an apprehension for a case that would most likely get dismissed or bargained down to a paperwork slap of the wrist.

As we were escorting the perps out, one of them turned to my manager and said, "What's it to you guys anyway? You still get paid if you lose something."

It made me wished we had gone for the apprehension.

You can see several flaws in our society from this encounter. The first is the attitude by these perps that it is okay to steal and that employees of a company shouldn't care if their employer's assets are stolen. This goes hand in hand with the glorification of criminal activity by certain sub-cultures. It becomes "cool" to steal, to take what you want. And we, society as a whole, perpetuate it by not standing up.

Standing up is too inconvenient. We don't have time to waste on something that will result in some punk getting a case dropped or 6 months probabtion. Some might argue it's the system's fault for being this ineffective. Who allows this system to stand?

We don't stand up to our elected officials and say "We're sick of this crime. Make penalties harsher, prosecute cases instead of dropping them, give us the law enforcement we need." Of course, this costs money. Money we don't have right?

Only because we don't stand up and insist on an end to pork projects and waste, and maybe be willing to give up that extra cup at Starbucks. But ask yourself this... where does the money lost to crime come from? It goes back to the addage of having to spend money to make money. If we invest in reducing crime, eventually the costs associated with crime will go down. It won't be quick, but the alternative is to pay more from retailers, pay more for insurance, and wonder when that shoplifter graduates to armed robbery.

How about retailers standing up to record companies? Telling them that they aren't going to help perpetuate the glorification of the criminal element. Sure, it may cost some revenue, but how much profit do you think is to be made off of this customer segment. And what kind of product do you lose the most of? Some may cry foul, claiming infringement on freedom of speech. But in the marketplace, there isn't freedom of speech... there are business decisions.

How about the record companies standing up and saying they aren't going to peddle this crap just to make a buck? Not to mention the negative stereotype they help perpetuate. Sure these artists can go to independent labels that specialize in that kind of media, but if retailers won't carry it in the first place, how long will those labels stick around?

People often note how much zeal I put into nailing shoplifters. And I see all kinds, from the typical stereotype to "grandma and grandpa" trying to steal digital memory, and I go after them all with gusto, as do my collegues. Because even though we still get paid at the end of the day, in the end it really is our money.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Firefox fixes

Firefox was bogging down on me, so I consulted an expert (whether he knows it or not). Seriously, I recommend reading the Firefox portion of Carlton's List for any Firefox noob (like me!).

Since I've installed the extensions he recommended, my FF browser is blazing along like a broadband connection should, so that I can waste time more efficiently.

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Post Gen Con Blahs

One of the topics on the GC forums is the Post GenCon Depression some people are feeling, beyond the obvious "The Con is closing" letdown. I don't really have the PGC Blues, but more like the Blahs.

I'm not really depressed, just bored. In a house full of stuff I should or could do, I'm bored. I have a ton of house and yard work to do (although taking my new electric trimmers out to the rain soaked shrubs might not be a good idea). Of course, that's not fun, that's just busy.

I have 3 new books to read, "1634: The Galilleo Affair", "Dzur", and "Widdershins". These are all by authors I like and recommended by friends. I have 3 campaigns I could do prep work for, including one that needs a session write-up and bluebook responses done this weekend. I have several DVDs to watch.

This to shall pass, but until then...


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Friday, August 18, 2006


As I continue to lose weight, it motivates me more to go to the gym. While some may consider making a big deal out of every pound, every time I find out I've lost a pound I visualize what a pound of fat would look like in my hand (yuck!) and being able to throw that pound away.

GenCon helped, and I actually dropped a pound during the Con. And while I was finishing my vacation I resisted the urge to be lazy and skip the gym.

Of course, I can't get too flush with victory, as there's a long way to go. In the gym today, I noticed an attractive redhead looking at me. The internal dialogue began...

*Why is she looking at me?*
*Should I just smile or stop and say hi?*
*What should I say?*

Then the logical side of my brain finished assessing the two seconds of video my eyes had fed it and reported its analysis...

*She's trying to read your t-shirt, dumbass.*

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

GenCon 2006 - Day 4

It's closing time.

You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. The same words used to shut down the party last night marked the end of GenCon. After arising to "the Evil Daystar", I managed to drag myself downtown for the last few hours of GenCon.

I made a last wandering of the dealer hall, in case I spotted any end of show bargains I couldn't pass up, then met up with Nicole as she was talking to some of the people that ran the Firefly LARP. Some of them were interested in our feedback, one was more interested in talking about the uber quasiNPC ship.

We hit the food court for lunch, watching the last throes of the Con around us. By Day 4, everyone is wiped out as lack of sleep overtakes played out adrenaline and caffeine. We hit the last minitatures painting seminar, and even though there was a last minute substitution of the instructor, it was very good. The sub instructor was both a gamer and an art teacher and you could tell he really enjoyed both painting minis and teaching. I learned a lot, I just hope I can put it to use. Nicole's mini looked great, as did the 7 year old kid's. I feel like mine looked like I used my teeth to hold the brush.

After the closing announcement, Nicole and I said good-bye so she could get home to clean up from Nicole-Con. I ran into Jason (the original) and Ken on my way out, and we encountered some players from the LARP. We compared experiences and talked about that LARP and other LARPs. Everyone said good-bye and parted. As I left downtown, I did one last slow drive past the Convention Center, watching the departing gamers and packing vendors, feeling melancholy.

It's closing time.

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GenCon 2006 - Day 3

Party isn’t just a group of characters

As per my GenCon tradition, on Saturday I wore my renfair garb. I arrived downtown and managed to find parking across the street from the Convention Center. On my way from the parking garage, a couple stopped me to ask if there was a play in town or something, because of all of the people that they were seeing in costume. I gave them the GenCon 101, proudly pointing out that GenCon is Indy’s largest convention.

Once inside, I headed for the Exhibition Hall. I wanted to pick up a copy of Gamers: The Movie and the X-Hall is the best place to show off when you’re in costume. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that I only got my picture taken a couple of times that I know of. Yes, put me in costume and I become a bit of a ham… if I wanted to blend in I would have worn a black t-shirt.

I met Nicole at the Gamer Olympics, where gamers wielding boffer weapons battled the fighters of Edhellen Armoury. The Edhellen fighters were good sports as the gamers often failed to recognize when they had been “killed”, and the fighters were more interested in entertaining the crowd than winning. I also noticed that the female gamers were more… vicious when it came to their turn to fight. When the “barbarian” fighters were given a break and the “Romans” were brought in, it was tougher for the gamers because not only did the Romans fight well together, they had large tower shields that were hard to get past.

We checked in with Greg to see how he was faring in the Magic: The Gathering tournament. His custom deck that e had put a lot of planning and work into was trouncing the traditional internet decks that he had been facing, so he was at 2 wins, 0 losses, and 2 ties. We chatted until Greg’s next round was called up then headed to the Costume Contest early to get a decent seat.

It was a good thing we went early. The place was packed and they ended up turning people away. We were crammed in and the room got warm and stuffy. Although there were some good costumes overall they weren’t as good as previous years. I really wish they would limit single person entries to a 60 second presentation and multiple person entries to 120 seconds. Anything longer than that should be in the talent category (and good luck there, the same step-dancing girls have won the talent category for 4 years straight). I was also disappointed that there was no professional category, which normally includes professional and previous winners. When I saw the Winged Elf that had won last year was back in costume, I figured she’d be back for this category.

We ended up leaving after Luke Ski finished, getting word from Greg that he had lost the following round to another unconventional deck. He could have remained in the tournament, but the loss would have kept him too low in the final standings to win anything. We met up with the game designers at their booth and made dinner plans, returning to Houlihan’s.

This visit didn’t go as well as the last one, as our server had six tables (including ours) dumped on her at once. I’m guessing someone called off. A lot of mistakes were made, but she was very apologetic and offered us free desserts plus she gave us 20% off our bill.

After dinner, we journeyed back to Nicole-Con. While I enjoy being in costume, it was nice to switch back to regular clothes. The game designers set up a session of their “baby”, a game called Battlestations. In a nutshell, take Star Fleet Battles, blow up the ship diagrams to map size, and have your characters run around in them. While there is more to it than that, it’s a quick and easy comparison at least 5 people will understand.

After Battlestations, Nicole, Other Jason (one of the game designers) and I set off to hit the Con after party at Radio Radio. We met our friend Jason, hence the game designer being dubbed Other Jason. It was a goth(ish) party, so I’m sure I stood out even with my black on black outfit, but at least I wasn’t the oldest one there. The band was Cruciform Injection. I really couldn’t tell you how they compare to other industrial/goth bands, but they were fun and put on a good show. And it didn’t hurt that the keyboard player (right) was cute. Evidently they are involved in gaming, as they were at GenCon and had a booth for the Obsidian RPG.

After the band, the DJ broke out a bunch of great dance music, mostly from the 80’s, which means I was a teenager when it was new. Believe it or not, I actually got on the dance floor and danced. Hopefully there’s no video. We met some people there that told us about the White Wolf party, so we decided to “crash” it. I’m not sure how much crashing was involved, as you just had to know it was there to get in.

Unfortunately, the address we were given turned out to be a parking lot. Fortunately, Nicole has a GPS in her car and managed to get the correct address. After a great deal of confusion’ laughter and people yelling into cell phones, they managed to guide me in. It turned out to be the same place as the 2004 party, which I had driven by every day on my way to the Con. We got inside and had time for one (free) drink before they closed the bars. Since drinks were free, they didn’t announce last call. But there was dancing to be done and people to watch.

The party spilled out into the alley outside the club, where an impromptu 10 vs. 10 game of Dodgeball had developed. Leave it to gamers to turn impromptu Dodgeball into something that requires a 20 minute conference over the rules. Other Jason played both rounds while the rest of us watched. The other team had an edge in the form of a very athletic guy that played in a Dodgeball League.

Did you know that there were Dodgeball Leagues?

Finally one of the staff came out and shooed us away. It was after 4am. It was a good thing that I didn’t have too much to drink.

(PS: Pictures courtesy of Google and the original photographers that I forgot to keep track of)

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Rednecks mess with wrong guy

A couple of rednecks start off making this video of them following around a guy in a sports cars, harassing him until they block him into a dead end. The video may be NSFW just because of the frequent f-bombs.

Let this be a lesson to belligerent rednecks everywhere. Though they may find it harder than the ciphering they had in 5th grade right before they dropped out.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

GenCon 2006 - Day 2

The Soldier of Fortune flies again!

I try to sleep in because I know the LARP will run late. I'm still awake by 7ish and unable to fall back asleep. I putter around the house, making sure I have everything I need for my costume, trying to find my item card from Origins, and so forth. By the time I got downtown, I ended up parking by Union Station. I decided it was too hot to wear the coat and hat and left them in the car.

I hit the X-Hall in search of a pin for my collar. I didn't have anything particular in mind, but figured I could have found something. Unfortunately, pins have fallen out of style, so whereas in GenCons past there would have been many to cjhoose from, this year I struck out. I was also reminded that if you wear 2X or larger, buy your t-shirts the first day. By Day 2, they were sold out.

Nicole and I met up and tried again to find a game that fell in between all of our other events and hung out with Mike, another member of my regular game group. While she went to change into her Companion costume I spotted a gaming buddy from high school. As in 20+ years ago. We chatted and caught up. This is one of the great things about GenCon.

When Nicole returned, we went back into the X-Hall to visit the game designers. As we moved through the hall, Nicole was turning heads. Then as we passed a booth selling swords, on of the vendors came running out shouting "Hey lady!" He had a chainmail top that he asked Nicole to try on, then we walked to the Utilikilt booth at the other end of the aisle to borrow their mirror.

Whereas heads were turning before, traffic was stopping and cameras were coming out. I asked one photographer to e-mail pictures because I knew the ones taken with my camera phone would be crappy (and I was right). Even if that photog doesn't come through, there were other people taking pictures so there's always Google (I just found an image of me from GenCon 2004).

We met with Greg for an early dinner, then went to a screening of Gamers. It was a riot. I'm sure a lot of the humor would be lost on non-gamers, but it was hilariously politically incorrect.

Afterwards it was on to the LARP. It turns out my choice of parking was fortuitous as the LARP was being run in the Crown Victoria in Union Station. We met up with the other gaming friends that were also playing and coached them on character choices. Then the waiting began.

It was bad enough that the LARP, with 50+ players, had been assigned to a small room with 3 eight-person tables. And somehow the LARP staff had gotten locked out of their rooms because of something the GenCon staff didn't do. But they were disorganized. Did I mention the 50+ players?

Once the Harry Potter LARP broke up, we hijacked their rooms and the AC was cranked. But delays in getting people characters and gear booged things down. It was hard for people to role-play when they didn't know what their characters could do or what they had. Meanwhile we depleted the meager supply of ice left in the water dispenser and there was no nearby vending. One player, who must have been staying in the CV, had a supply of Guinness. Nicole charmed a Guinness out of him then shared it with me. Ahhh... cold Guinness.

Greg set up bar and went into RP overdrive. It kind of back fired on him when a young lady tried to charm some information out of him. Nicole pointed this out, saying that she thought "Kara" (a Kaylee clone) must of liked Greg by the way she was mounting the bar.

"That's not all she's mounting" I said when Kara went around the bar and climbed in Greg's lap. Nicole managed not to choke on her Guinness. A minute later a flustered Greg arrived at our table.

"There's a no-touching rule," he protested. "Why didn't they announce it? There's supposed to be a no touching rule."

I was less than sympathetic to his plight.

Finally after 11pm (the game stared at 8pm) everyone had characters and role-playing was in full swing. The usual plotting and scheming unfolded. At one point a "gun fight" broke out just outside of the room that was the saloon, trapping us inside. That was, until I improvised a back door. Some guy that was dressed like a cross between Wash and Kaylee, whom I dubbed "Washlee" must have been assigned to watch us as he became alarmed we were slipping out. Heheh.

The inevitable Reaver attack occured. We ran inside the closest room and promptly tipped over a table for cover. Jason, the captain of the Necessary Evil and a member of my gaming coterie, and I plotted our next move. Meanwhile the NPC-God-Ship arrived to steal everyone's thunder. Everyone was arguing about the Reavers and the Blue Sun medical clinic in the middle of town we had figured out was making new Reavers. Jason and his crew were also thinking about robbing the bank out of greed and boredom.

We manipulted another ship to do the dirty work of attacking the clinic, then debated with the various captains on how not to blow up all of the people, who would hide inside the buildings if the Reaver alarm was sounded. I came up with a simple plan... set a fire near the fuel depot and sound the evacuation alarm at the depot. Everyone would evacuate on some of the ships landed in town already or run out into the surrounding countryside.

As Jason and I walked back to our crews, I whispered, "and while everyone high tails it out of town, you go on and rob the bank."

Once the action started, things bogged down again as everyone waited for the one GM to resolve everything (I had enough time between our turns to walk Nicole to her car 4 blocks away and get back). A lot of our crews had been depleted as the clock advanced. Finally everything was wrapped up just before 3:30am.

I got home at 4am. But this wasn't my latest night out.

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More gay gamer stuff in media

This time it was the Indianapolis Star with this article. While overall the article, which focuses on attempts to increase diversity among gamers, is fine, and certainly not the denigrating piece of trash published by Indianapolis Monthly, the lead paragraph is very misleading, implying that the stereotypical gamer is gay.

WTF? A friend and I discussed this article and agreed that the percentage of gay gamers is probably not much different than the rest of the population, but since most gamers are used to being somewhat social pariahs that they are less judgemental regarding individuals, so gay gamers are more likely to be "out". Also, since role-playing games tend to draw people with more theatrical tendencies, many of those out gamers are more flamboyant.

But most of us are still straight. And seeing as I have enough trouble getting a date, I don't need "oh, he's a gamer, he must be gay" added to the obstacles. Call me selfish.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

GenCon 2006 - Day 1

Botherhood of the Kilt.

Thursday, opening day. Running on fumes, I get to the Con fairly early, picking up my program guide and swag bag. The main event is the opening of the Exhibition Hall. The throng of people gathered in front of the main entrance chokes the wide hall leading to it, making it difficult for anyone to get through. I wormed my way through the crowd then took a seat on the balcony overlooking the entrance. There's nothing gained by being first in, so I see no point in standing with 500 other people. I sorted through my swag bag and jettisoned anything I don't want to lighten it while the initial mob presses through the doors into the X-Hall.

Once the crowd died down, I made my way in. The X-Hall is the heart of the convention, where you are most likely to bump into people you haven't seen in years. Since I knew that I'd have a few hours to kill before I'd meet up with Nicole, I began my search pattern through the hall, starting in one corner and working my way up and down the aisles. Just about anything gamer related and many things just sci-fi/fantasy related was for sale. In addition to shopping that borders on overload, there's the people watching.

There are actually fewer booth babes than many years ago. One of the game designers actually gave a very good explanation. While booth babes did indeed draw men to the booth, they would mill around, take pictures, and not buy anything, all the while possibly blocking out potential customers. Fortunately, the number of female gamers have increased. There is no shortage of goth schoolgirls, medieval wenches, and slinky vampires at the Con.

I also noticed that kilts are becoming more and more popular among gamers. I was wearing my kilt from Utilikilt, and I noticed that was I encountered other kilters it was like being in a club, recognizing each other with a nod.

My first purchases were several miniatures for my current D&D campaign (which means I've probably doomed said campaign). My initial thought was "I'll remember where these are and buy them before the Con is over." Three steps away I realized how unlikely that was, turned around and bought the minis. Now I'll have plenty to work on.

I went to pick up the sleeveless leather coat I had ordered for the Firefly LARP (as well as other potential future uses) only to find out that the default color for that item was not brown, but black. Since I didn't specify a color, they brought me a black one. Since I messed up and they brought it to the Con specifically for me, I felt obligated, even though I hadn't paid in advance. It wasn't that bad, as I initially considered black but didn't like the style they had at Origins in black, but my hat was brown. So I bought a black hat. But now I would have a black coat, black hat, and black shirt... too much black up top. A dilemma to solve later.

I met up with Nicole once she was liberated from her seminar and we turned our focus to looking for candidates for her Companionesque costume for the LARP. I had a good idea for colors and styles she liked, but sizes were a problem, as they typically didn't have them small enough. And of course there was the traditional corset shopping. Nicole narrowed the choices to two, which we mulled over for the next hour. Yeah, helping a woman shop for a corset is a tough job, but someone has to do it. When we returned and there was a line of women waiting for corsets, I realized what a good job a purveyor of corsets must be and asked the vendor if he was accepting interns. He said he indeed was and charged journeyman fees for said internships.

By the time we finished shopping, exploring, and having dinner with Greg (Nicole's brother and our Rolemaster GM)and Ken (another gamer that played in Greg's game once upon a time),it was too late to get into any games that would get out at a reasonable hour. Greg went to get into True Dungeon, while the rest of us went to Nicole-Con to watch Serenity with the returning game designers. After the movie, games were broke out but I didn't stay long as I wanted to get some sleep to be awake for Friday's LARP, which would run late.

On the way home, I stopped at a Meijer on the south side to get a grey shirt. I drew a few looks tromping around in my kilt. Heheh. I was home and in bed by 1ish. This would be my earliest night of the Con.

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GenCon 2006 - Day -1

As I mentioned in an earlier post my friend Nicole played hostess to some game designers during the con. Her house became affectionately known as "Nicole-Con". Wednesday night we gathered so that folks could meet, drink and play games.

We played a couple rounds of Wench, a politically incorrect, very incorrect card game. After that we played Overboard, which was designed by one of the guests. Things wound down, I got to sleep around 2ish.

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GenCon 2006 - Videos

Here are a couple of videos from a reporter for WTHR to tide you over.

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You don't have to go home...

...but you can't stay here.

Thus ends another GenCon. I'm thinking of posting a day-by-day recap. But first I must eat and then catch up on e-mail, as I have been away from the computer since Wednesday. I lost another pound at GenCon. Between walking, sweating in costume, walking, dancing at parties, walking, not snacking, and walking, in down to 229.

And tonight I sleep... oh blessed sleep.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Let the games begin!

It's that time... GenCon. Even though the con doesn't officially start until tomorrow, my friend Nicole is playing host to some folks who work for game companies (long stroy, maybe she'll tell it on her blog)so we start the festivities this evening.

This means I'll be offline until Sunday. Hopefully Weasel will have some good pics and footage that can be posted.

Roll Initiative!

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How to fake being a geek

Being a self-avowed geek, reading this article was interesting from the standpoint of seeing how many of these geek criteria I really met. On the geek side... not so much. I run Windows on an Intel machine and have an aol address. I guess that I'm too lazy to be a tech geek.

It reminds me of my first day at my current store. Two of my employees were arguing which one the was a bigger geek, going back and forth with various tv shows and books that quantified their geekiness. Then I dropped my bomb that ended the argument:

"When I go home I'm going to play Dungeons and Dragons with a bunch of middle-aged men. I win."

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Fashionably Brown

I found this site today. I couldn't have found it a few weeks ago when I was looking for costume stuff for the Firefly LARP. Unfortunately for my friend Nicole, who has been looking for Companion-esque garb for the LARP, their section on Inara has almost nothing in it. Which is surprising since Inara goes through more costumes than the rest of the crew put together. Then again, if it did, it would be too late now.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

GenCon article

I just finished reading this article on gamers and GenCon. I am not amused. While overall the article was positive, the author put a lot of focus on the gay angle of the group he was following, making it sound like gamer guys are gay or so afraid of women that they are asexual.

I really don't know what bearing the subject's sexual orientation had to do with GenCon, but the author mentioned it repeatedly, implying GenCon is a pimply unwashed gay orgy. Okay, maybe that's oversimplifying, but that's what a "normal" non-gamer would probably take from the article.

As if I'm not having enough of a challenge in ever having a date again, I really don't need the "gamers are gay" stereotype circulating.

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Wal-Mart extols pay changes

The current Wally-World chatter is that Wal-Mart is raising their starting pay in about a third of their markets by 6%. Oooh, sounds pretty generous of Mr. Smiley, doesn't it. Let's see what Mr. Calculator says...

Say in a given market, Wal-Mart starts its associates at $6.50 (which is a pretty generous assumption). An average starting associate may get around 25 hours a week (your mileage may vary). That works out to $8450 a year. Add on 6%, and you get $8957 a year, a jump of $507 a year or $42 a month. Before taxes. And I thought my measley raise was small. And I'm sure that kind of money seems like a lot more to a family where one of (or the only) provider is bringing home less than $9k.

In the same news, Wal-Mart is also touting their new wage caps. That's right, wage caps are good. It gives associates motivation to move up. We know how I feel about being pushed to move up.

Now to be fair, wage caps aren't a new concept, and I'm surprised Wal-Mart didn't already have them, as a lot of retailers do (see aforememntioned "measley raise" comment). I'm not taking exception to Wal-Mart applying caps, I just think that it's stupid of them to try to spin this like it's a good thing, especially for their employees.

It's a business thing. After Cost of Goods, Labor is the largest expense for a retailer, and with Wal-Mart running on razor thin margins (so that they can use low pricing to squeeze the life out off Downtown USA and Mom & Pop), they can't afford not to strictly control their labor expenses. Which is why we see articles about Wal-Mart employees having their family on government assistance. Yeah, Mr. Smiley is really doing us all a favor.

See the article here.

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Bobby Knight style of debate

One is a strip club owner and liberal political candidate. One is a Republican radio host. Guess which one resorted to violence and hit his debate opponent with a chair?

Fortunately for Tony Katz, the radio host, his target Joe Redner does not intend to press charges or file a suit. Do you think Katz would be such a good sport if their positions were reversed?

I don't know about you, but regardless of how heated a debate gets, I know better then to start flinging furniture in front of the cameras!

See the article here.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

On vacation

w00t! Only a few days to go for GenCon. There's some stuff I should do around the house before then, but we all know I won't get around to them.

Yesterday I got to meet up with my friend Marik and pigged out at a steakhouse. I regretted it shortly thereafter (the pigging out), as too much too good food too quick made me queasy. I guess I can't chow down like I used to, which I guess is a good thing.

So is it wrong to pray for rain so that I don't have to mow the yard today?

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Friday, August 04, 2006


I was a good boy this week and actually made it to the gym three times. I also cut more junk out of my diet, including one of my favorites, Maple Nut Goodie candy. I found out that a 7 ounce bag has 1000 calories. Want to know how fast I can go through a 7 ounce bag? Then there are the pound and a half bags I would buy at Menards.

As of this morning, I am down to 230 pounds. Not my goal, but progress. That means I've lost 15 pounds since last GenCon (a year ago), 10 of it since I started at the new gym.

My friend Nicole has been giving me a lot of encouragement. Of course, our supporting each other in our fitness endeavors became a lot more effective once we stopped teasing each other food. We actually got through an evening at her brother's without throwing a single piece of candy at each other or waving a single chip under the other's nose. Especially impressive since the table between us was laden with all sorts of verboten goodies. Including the aforementioned MNG's.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Creationists lose majority in Kansas

Looks like voters in Kansas have realized that they had become the laughingstock of education and science and ousted the anti-evolution, anti-science uber-conservative majority. The article is here.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Squeal like an Ewok!

That's right... Star Wars on a banjo.

Here... for those who speak the lingo of online gaming, here's the infamous l33t subtitled Episode III trailer.

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