Category Archives: Uncategorized

Taking Time Off

Most of my readers will have already gotten this information from my Facebook posts, but Mom has entered the end of her life. She’s a fighter, but soon she’ll lose this battle.
I’m going to need time to process this loss. I’m closer to Mom than I was to my dad, so I’m expecting a lot more hurt, even though I’ve been aware this was coming for a long time now. I’ve been mourning in stages from the time we went to the meeting at the dialysis center when they first told us Mom was on the road to dialysis. The loss of hearing, her loss of mobility, and her recent loss of “fire in the belly” to come home from  rehabilitation have all kept me painfully aware that “the end was nigh.”

Anyway, I’m taking a couple of weeks away from this blog, as well as most other things. I’ve contacted my boss about work and my Thursday night group about taking time from the GM duties I’d just assumed. This post is your notice, Gentle Reader.

Later.

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W*rk is a Four-Letter Word

Last night, I wrote a lengthy piece on how work has been going lately. I’m in a better mood today, and I’ve decide it was too long and inappropriate to be posting in anything approaching a public forum. Suffice it to say, it has been very stressful lately.


Adding to the stress is Mom’s condition. One week, she seems on fire and is really working to come home. The next week, she seems completely unmotivated. She’s been out of the house since sometime in February, I think. We thought going to Yosemite for her birthday would motivate her, and it seemed to for about two weeks. My sister and I are getting tired of the delays, and they all seem centered on Mom.


I finished the Economix book. I really wasn’t too surprised by much in the final chapters. I’ve lived through them.

I still recommend the book to anyone interested in how our economy got as messed up as it is.


I otherwise haven’t done much of anything creative lately. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I’ve been doing with my evenings that aren’t Thursday through Saturday. Sometime in the last two weeks, I watched Arrival, which was a pretty amazing movie. I reread the Killraven comic book mini-series of a few years ago, written and illustrated by Alan Davis. There are some ideas within that series that have inspired some of my ideas in StarSea. That’s all I can remember right now, even looking at a calendar.


That’s pretty much it for this fortnight. Later.

Thursday Nights and Super Heroes

It’s been three weeks, so we’ll try it again!


Titansgrave Finale

Last Thursday, we finished Titansgrave. The final battle was short and went pretty much as expected: No one ever considers not killing the bad guy. I think everyone was happy with the play, but not that we won’t be continuing until the second season comes out. I came to the conclusion that the world isn’t quite my thing. I don’t want to create my own adventures in the setting. I want my own world.


Next Thursday Game: Dragon Age Tabletop

One of the guys at our Thursday night game has run the Dragon Age tabletop game, and since it uses the same rules as Fantasy Age, we’re going to play that next. I’ve been researching the setting to find a character concept, and I think I have a couple of ideas. We’re doing character creation this Thursday, and we’ll see what shakes out.


Next as GM: Numenera Starter

We’re going to rotate games and GMs for a while, which we pretty much decided after the 4e campaign ended. When my turn comes around again, I’m planning on running the adventure in the above mentioned starter set. Monte Cook Games used the “glimmer” adventure Vortex for the set, so if that runs short, I can dig out the PDF and run the rest.

We’ve discussed doing a “Western Marches” style game as well. I’m only sorta interested, but a recent video made mention of using Microscope and Kingdom to create some of the setting elements. I had Microscope and I’ve picked up Kingdom, but I haven’t read Kingdom yet. We might end up doing sessions of those as well at some point.


Superheroes Redesign 

Once the toy I mentioned a few weeks got under my skin and inspired me to revisit an old Champions character, the big got into my head to collect more of the figures and repaint them to fit the characters.

Yeah, characters.

As I got to thinking about my old Champions characters, I felt that one of the other characters I played way back in the late 80s and early 90s had more stories to tell, and he fit well with where I can see Knyte going. His name was Dr. Power, and he was a Superman rip off for the most part. Thing is, I can’t find either character’s (or any of the characters’) sheets or histories. That may be a good thing, because I feel that I can play with the characters without stepping on the GM’s toes. The portions of the characters he created aren’t part of my records any more, or my memory, so I’ll have to recreate those details.

Sadly, in searching for those character sheets, I found that a box of game books that I had just recently reboxed (as they were in a cardboard box that was falling apart) had been placed just right to end up not sealed as tight as I expected and got waterlogged in the recent rains. Many of the books will have to be trashed, but only some will be replaced. The damaged books are largely just not things I’m especially interested in any more. It’s time to let go.


Random thoughts about StarSea and the Reincarnated

I’ve had the odd thought here and there about both settings. For the StarSea, the distance is making me feel I was thinking too scientifically about the setting and it’s trappings. Some of my ideas weren’t “sufficiently advanced magic.”

With the Reincarnated setting, I had some thoughts about the elves and gnobblins, how they relate to one another, and how the elves relate to one another. Not that this has any relevance to gameplay, but it’s an enjoyable experience that keeps the world interesting.


That’s pretty much all I’ve got for this go-’round.

Later.

Dumb Luck, Sleep Deprivation and Reading

Because reasons, it’s taken me all week to write this post. I’ll explain later.

Dumb Luck

Some of my friends are aware of my dumb luck. It mostly involves me getting rewarded for insignificant things in my life, and is of limited assistance in more significant life issues. I’m sure there’s a more scientific, reasonable explanation, but I’ll be damned if I can figure it out. I experienced one of these “dumb luck” moments last weekend.

The weekend before, while at Target with the kids, I noticed the package pictured below.

What caught my eye was the red figure to the left of the silhouette, Red Robin. Red Robin is the third Robin, Tim Drake, when he went out on his own while Batman was believed dead. I really liked the Red Robin costume, especially the version just before the Flashpoint event. It’s a very strong, sleek design with good color and tone balance, especially after they dumped the peplums on the tunic. From the looks of the package, it looked like the version of the character I like. These are sold as blind packs, so you can’t just buy the one you want.

Looking at them, I thought “I can afford to get a couple of these and maybe I’ll get lucky and get the Red Robin, the one I really want.” I purchased two and took them home. No dice. I got two of the same Batman figures, and I gave one of them to one of the kids.

Last weekend, I figured I could afford to buy a couple more packs and try again. I got to the Target, and found the endcap, but all the packages were gone. I poked around for a few minutes, and found one last package. I decided I’d take the chance and pick it up, along with a couple of other items I wanted. I figured if I didn’t get what I wanted, I could get one on eBay.

As soon as I got to the car, I opened the package, and my dumb luck held out. The only package left had in it the figure I had wanted from the beginning.

I’m thinking of doing some touch up on the figure, as I can easily see some flaws, like the gaps in the yellow bandoliers on the chest, and the slop on the chin guard. I’m a little nervous about doing that and screwing it up. I might get the professional mini painter I know to touch it up.

In the end, I truly cannot understand how this sort of stuff works out for me, but other things in life, like job hunting and the lottery don’t. I just don’t get it.


Sleep Deprivation

Last week was been hell on my sleep, and it’s all been related to my mother. She’s backslid quite a bit in the three or four weeks since the physical therapist stopped coming out. The therapist had been coming since before Mom’s trip to the rehab home in November, and the therapist released Mom in mid-January. Now, again Mom has to struggle to get to the bathroom and bedroom at night. Tuesday night, the night before a work day for me, she collapsed in the bathroom. By the time my sister and I picked her up off the floor, it was nearly 1AM, and I needed to get up at 6AM for a day of driving. My anger at her loss of ability (partly at myself and my sister for letting her off the hook on her exercises and just getting up and practicing), as well has her surrender to her fear of falling (which is part of why she collapsed), had me full of adrenaline, as did the physical effort of picking her up. That meant I couldn’t get my mind to shut down in time to get enough sleep to be safe on the roads. I had to call in sick.

Thursday night ended up with the same sort of issue. I tried to tell her she needed to get going earlier so I could get to bed for work the next morning. I don’t know if she didn’t clearly hear me (since her hearing was destroyed by antibiotics) and she just nodded and said she understood when she really didn’t, or if she forgot what I had said, but she kept delaying, and again it was nearly 1AM by the time I got to bed. And again, I obsessed over trying to get sleep to the point I failed, and then I obsessed over calling in a second time in a row in the week. I tried to settle my mind with Tylenol PM, a white noise app, and eventually reading. I ended up pulling an all-nighter, reading a book nearly cover to cover.

Tonight, as I write this, it’s 20 after 11PM, and she’s been in bed for about an hour. I’ll be able to get to bed on time and get to work tomorrow. Huzzah.


Reading

I’m trying to read more fun stuff and spend less on the Internet reading political stuff or other distractions like games on my tablet. I think that’s part of getting back to being creative again. I know it is, so you can stop laughing now.

The book I read Thursday morning as I tried to put myself to sleep is a reprint of one of the first graphic novels, called Blackmark by artist Gil Kane. Mr. Kane had an outline for his story, but knowing he wasn’t really an author, had a comic writer and editor named Archie Goodwin supply the actual text, while Kane himself supplied art.

The story is about a slave gladiator for whom the story is titled. The story itself is a post-apocalyptic tale of revenge and violence in a retrograde medieval world haunted by psychic mutants and warring nobles. It’s a bit stereotypical to the modern reader, but in 1971, it was groundbreaking for those who could get a copy. Mine is a 30th anniversary reprint put out about 15 years ago, and I quite enjoyed reading it again, even if it is a bit dated.

I also started re-reading Robin’s Laws of Gamemastering. Written by gaming guru Robin Laws, he explores ideas about gaming that were revolutionary in roleplaying games in 2002 (date of publication). Those ideas are now old hat, being the core ideas of many indie games. I’m enjoying the refresher course, and I’m thinking about my own play style and GMing style, as well as my own reasons for creating my own game, hopefully focusing my rule building, rather attacking things scatter-shot.


I’m going to end this here and publish, or I will never finish. I don’t want to keep delaying, so I won’t.

Later.

Spatial Concerns Here On Earth

I really don’t have a wide variety of things to talk about this time, but I have something I want to go into at length. Largely, I’ve been focused on politics for the past couple of weeks, as things go crazy. As I’ve said before, I’m a liberal, and this is not a political blog, so if you want to know more about my thoughts on current events, you’ll have to go by my Facebook and friend me, as I screen who can see what I post there.

D&D for Kids did not restart last weekend, as one of the parents forgot his kids had performances that weekend. I’m finally feeling healthier, but I still have a little bit of a cough. I’m still a little stuffy, too, so I’m still wondering why I get sick so often any more.

A couple of weeks ago, I finished the Moorcock portion of the Planet Stories book with his Sojan Shieldbearer character and started the other portion of the book. While his command of the language and writing style were well developed at age 17, the plots were mediocre and sometimes mishandled. For example, in one story, he introduced a group of villains who defeated the hero and were subsequently escaped from, who thereafter disappear from the story, except in the epilogue, in which he kills them. It was very anticlimactic. I’m assuming some editor taught him to not do that in the future. It would have been nice to see the villains reappear down the line.

I’m not particularly enthusiastic about the other story in the book. The writing is much more mature, but I’m just not feeling the story. The author is obviously following the Sword-and-Planet formula, and the obviousness is a little annoying. In fact, the beginning of the story was extremely close to Robert E. Howard’s Almuric in details. I plan on completing the novel, but it’s not a priority.


My “at length” subject is my living space. I’m not going to complain about the balance of power in the household again, if that’s a concern. That’s something I have to find a way to deal with on my own, and not tonight’s subject, except tangentially.

Even if it hadn’t been suggested to me that my things weren’t desired in outside my room, there’s virtually nowhere to put things. This house is extremely poorly laid out. When we moved in just before my sister was born, it was fine for our family. My brother and I could both live in the room I now occupy because as kids. We had only small belongings, toys that could fit into a small space. My sister was a newborn and had nothing, and my parents weren’t the collectors of things that the family is now. The cramped rooms weren’t so cramped. As we aged and moved out, our lives expanded, as did our collections of “stuff.” And I’m probably the worst.

A few nights ago, I had laid down to go to bed, and then remembered I wanted to put some lotion on my hands. I’ve had some spots of whatever skin crud is on my right hand break out again. As I remembered I wanted some healing formula hand lotion, I got up and scuffed my foot against one of the piles of books next to my bed.

Now, you must understand that there are a couple of piles of books in my room. All my bookshelves are full, and I still have more books than that. I’m regularly buying more books. I can say without hesitation that I am a bibliophile. The books at the base of this particular pile stand upright, but were aligned in such a way to allow the books to fall over out into the room. When I scuffed my foot against them, they tipped out into the room, dropping everything piled on top of them out along my bed. That as going to make it difficult to get back into bed, or in and out in the middle of the night if I didn’t pick up the mess.

I tried to restack this pile of books three times before I realized I needed to change the direction of the books at the base of the stack so they would not move. And I had to work the next morning. On the upside, I was okay and got enough sleep after getting the stack of books stabilized. But it took a few attempt to get things right.

In my ideal home, I’d have a separate office with even more bookcases than I presently have. I can’t have more than I do now because of the poor arrangement of the room. The north wall of my room has the entry door, while the south wall has the bathroom door, a built in cupboard and drawers, and a closet door. The east wall has a large window and the west wall is the only wall with no obstructions. This means I have no ventilation, either, but that’s neither here nor there where my storage space is concerned.

I’ve thought of things I would have done when building the room if I had done it (smaller bathroom, bringing the north wall even with the corner of the garage it was added to, etc.), and things I’d like to do now (a shelf all the way around the room at the level of the tops of the doors, a headboard and sideboard for my bed that includes shelves, etc.), but to what end? How long will I live here? It might be the rest of my life, but it might be much less. We’ve talked about moving when Mom passes (likely won’t happen before then), I’ve bounced around the idea of moving if/when I can get a better job, and other ideas float by every once in awhile. Why put in so much effort and so many resources for what might be a temporary situation? These last thoughts only now come into my mind, and seems like analysis paralysis, and it could be. But that’s what life is when your future is so uncertain.


That’s pretty much it for this go ’round. I have other things I need to get to tonight.

Later.

Back After the Holidays

It’s been a few weeks. With two holidays on Sunday in a row, I had other things I’d rather do. And last week? I just kept putting it off, and about Wednesday this last week, I decided to give up. However, I did write an outline, which I don’t feel any real need to change and will follow for tonight.


Resolutions

I really didn’t do a lot towards losing weight until late in the year. In the summer, I started walking for Pokemon Go!, but I didn’t stick with it. It was pretty boring to walk by myself, but we continued going out after Thursday Night D&D (now Fantasy Age Titansgrave) until just a few weeks ago. Rain and cold and illness has killed our motivation, as well as the general decline of the game.

On the other hand, I’ve started cutting back on what I eat. I’m breaking myself of buying large sodas on breaks, and ordering ala carte more often. I doubt I’ve lost an ounce, but I’m feeling a little better when I eat less. It may not be much, but it’s something. And maybe as it warms up, I’ll get out walking again. I’ll have to find some kind of partner or something to motivate me better than Pokemon.


The Holidays

I had a couple of various issues with the holidays. Family ignored me as I tried to talk to them, in one case literally walking away in the middle of a conversation. I got only one gift I consider in any way memorable, one of the Engine Publishing books. New Years was okay, but I ended up feeling ignored by the kids a couple of days later. This weekend was much better, but both incidents left me feeling a little like no one would miss me if I were to not be there. After missing a weekend last week, the kids were much better, but the birth family hasn’t had reason to change. But more on that in a minute.


Being Sick

After having been sick just after Thanksgiving, I got sick again just after New Years. It really wiped me out that week. Wednesday after, I went to work and I ended up taking the rest of the week off and camping out at home last week. I’m still coughing tonight, but nowhere near as bad as I was.

I’m tired of being sick so often. Not sure what’s happened to me over the past few years. I used to never get sick. But that was through college and the few years following. But since starting with the rental company, it’s been far more frequent. Although, when we were kids, we’d get bronchitis a lot, and I had walking pneumonia when I was 24, so I keep wondering if something back then has reared its ugly head again now. I just wish it would go away.


Considering Moving

The feelings of being taken for granted compounded feelings I’ve been having for a while: I need to change my living arrangement. I’m not happy here, for a multitude of reasons. Mostly, it’s the environment in the household. I’m frustrated with how things get done (or don’t), and the balance of power in the household.

Unfortunately, I’m not in a financial state to change things. I have, however, considered just pulling up stakes and leaving Fresno regardless. I haven’t been able to find a better job here. My skills are out of date, and the expense to update them is creeping beyond me, and my credit rating is probably insufficient to get me aid.

I actually started researching moving out of Fresno, but I’m finding the same problems no matter where I look: I don’t have up-to-date job skills for anything that pays worth a damn. So moving is pointless, it seems. No one wants to train anyone: You’re expected to walk into even entry-level jobs with prior experience. It’s very frustrating, and I’m wondering how I’m going to make it into my “golden years.”


Titansgrave

We’ve gotten to the end of Chapter 5 in the book. Now, to frame things properly, the first two of the ten chapters is worldbook and rules for the setting, and the rest is the campaign itself. So, we’re through 3/8ths of the story. I took the week off last week because of being sick, but week picked up this week. Everybody’s having fun, and we’re actually roleplaying, which we weren’t doing during D&D. I’m quite happy with the game as it stands.


Adventurers! Rewrite

GRAmel has completed their Kickstarter for the new version of the game, and it’s now available on DriveThruRPG for backers, but not for the general public. My rewrite has stalled out. Of course, I mentioned that last time, and so really, I’m just saying the stall has continued. D&D for Kids starts again next week (because of me still recovering, cooking for our home game last night, and a MTG pre-release weekend at CSGS this weekend), so that is a distraction for me, as well as Titansgrave and the home situation. Again, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to focus more at some point soon, but I have no idea when that will be.


Closing

That’s pretty much all I have for this entry. This is life right now.

Later.

NaBloPoMo 2016-07

Worked out of Fresno after a rocky night of sleep. Mom got to moaning in pain once she got put to bed, but she wouldn’t fully awaken. So, I didn’t sleep well. Ultimately, once morning rolled around, Mom went back to the hospital, but will not be admitted. She is experiencing a mildly altered mental state, as well as some slurring of her speech, but the doctors can find nothing wrong with Mom. She is probably going to rehab for a while, though, and miss Election Day.

That’s really all I’ve got for today. Maybe more tomorrow.

Later.

NaBloPoMo 2014 – Entry 28 – The Beard, or Should I Shave?

Today was kind of a wash. I got a couple of Christmas gifts (including my own) and spent time with the kids playing Terreria, completing my Floating Fortress. That’s about it.

Tomorrow, I hope to have up some decent pictures of my so-called beard. After ten weeks, i really doesn’t look that good. Between the hair growth being too sparse, the curliness of my beard, and the weird patterning of dark spots, gray and blond spots, I think the experiment can be considered a failure.

And that’s pretty much that for today. These short posts are really not my thing, but I’ll keep to the promise of NaBloPoMo, darnit!

Later.

NaBloPoMo 2015 – Entry 27 – “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

A short day at work, at which my fanny pack broke. I’ll need a new one ASAP. Did some shopping today after work, but couldn’t find anything I like.

Came over to the Kids’ house and we watch the original three Star Wars movies. Seeing the inconsistencies between those three and the prelude movies is interesting, as is being able to watch the movies critically and be entertained at the same time.

That’s pretty much my entire day, right there. So, I’m done for the night. Later.

No Amazing Title This Week

Not really sure what I’m discussing tonight. I really don’t have anything gaming oriented to discuss. It’s been a slow week.

We finally got our clean up of the estate to a point where we let our young worker go. It’s now on me to finish getting the piles of grass out. I expect it will be the rest of the fall and winter, and maybe a little beyond that.

Work is a four-letter-word, and I need something else to pay my bills. I’m just not making enough.

I finally worked my way through the dragonborn book. Amazing how long it took to get through that book. It was basically an unpacking on a six-page article on Wizards website, and really kind of boring in that respect.

I flashed on the old 1e equipment list this morning as I was shower-thinking. Part of me missed the old equipment lists, feeling nostalgic for those days of buying hard leather boots versus soft leather boots… And then I swiftly got over that feeling, remembering that I eventually developed an “Adventurer’s Kit” of standard gear I’d buy for all my characters. I’m happier for more modern games and not keeping track of mountains of BS like that.

Yeah, that’s about all I’ve got for this week. I’m not real exciting this week.

Later.