grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I'm at the Hyatt in Morristown, NJ this weekend, taking part in a really fun gaming convention, as I have done several times in the past. Today is an interesting day for me, slightly melancholy but also happy and grateful, as it's ten years to the day since millari and I tied the knot. Of course, we untied it last year, but we're still very close and she had planned to come down to the con with me, until she bowed out because of work pressure. It's too bad, but I'm proud of her for recognizing that she couldn't make it work and not blowing up her life trying anyway.

I've had some unexpected downtime here, as a couple of events I offered to run didn't fire, but they were scheduled at the last minute, and I did take the opportunity to swim yesterday afternoon (430 meters in the hotel pool), at least. I've played a couple of D&D adventurer's league adventures, which have been OK but not compelling. I'm not sure if it's just the hit or miss quality of the writing (because they can't all be excellent) in comparison to the stories they had for LFR back in 4th edition, or if it's just that I don't love this paladin the way that I loved the wizard I played in those games, but I do find myself missing the chance to play Omen of Halruaa. Also, it does distract from the story when one is riding herd on three twelve year olds. :)

But I quite enjoyed the Agents of SHIELD LARP (which I had to play in as I already have the badge). It let me scratch the itch of 'doing the thing no one else is doing', because I signed up for the Networking division, which basically meant that my job was to be the fixer for everyone else. And literally no one else had opted for that, choosing mostly field ops, Intel, tech, and medical. There were about 40 other players, so the story was big enough that I did not have a clear picture of what was happening, which is the part of live action gaming that most throws me compared to table top. This was the debut session, and it looks like there will be more at future cons, so I look forward to doing this again. I wonder if they'll make anything of the fact that character-me was born in Wakanda?

I also tried out Trail of Cthulhu, which was very simple to play (though I gather not to run) and appealingly tragic and weird. I played an antiques dealer whose college student son had disappeared two years before, supposedly while somehow at a house that had burned down in the 1890s. Driving home one afternoon, I suddenly saw the old house on Hill Street, standing where it no longer was, so I stopped and went in. There, I met a PI who claimed to be hired by my long-dead wife, a young girl who claimed to be the stillborn daughter my wife had died to bring into the world, and a woman who confidently asserted that it was all fine because she was only dreaming. We slowly uncovered a twisting mystery of alternate histories in which I was dead, or a hopeless drunk, or a single father, until we finally tracked down my long lost son, only to discover that he was, indeed, long lost, and that his body was only a vessel for a consciousness that was jumping across alternate realities. Some other NPCs claimed that it was a monster, a worm that was slowly eating through all reality, but for me, it all came down to whether or not I thought that I could reclaim my son from the thing that looked out from his eyes, or if I could only avenge him. I went with option B, after the girl playing the daughter I never had convinced me that now that we knew what had happened to Francis, it was time to move on. As I said, appealingly tragic and weird. It reminded of that shortlived TV series starring Jason Isaacs, Awake.

And now, I have to run and eat before I run my 4th edition D&D adventure, the Dreadful Davenport of Dolorous Doom, in which our party of murder hobos must haul a wizard's accursed sofa across town to the dump.
grinninfoole: (Default)
I'm in a better mindset than my last post. It's tough to resist the old patterns of my family, but one of my friends (I think it was millari but it might have been morlock) summed it up well: don't go back to Andover to care of your mom, go back to visit your mom. And it's true that we already have a great team helping mom, with the PCAs from Home Instead, house calls from Patricia and Margaret at Elder Care Coordinator, financial coverage from the folks at US Trust, and chats with the minister. I'm going to focus on making my time in Andover about what I can do that others can't. Also, when I'm away, I call every day.

Right now, though, I'm in Tarrytown. I came down on Saturday and stayed with friends in Mount Vernon (super pleasant home for a super nice couple) (saw the Last Witchhunter movie, which was just as predictable and ersatz as a Snickers bar). Sunday we had the 'make plans for 2016' board meeting, and in the evening Lefty and I played Pathfinder (the adventure card game not the RPG, because who has time for such a baroque rules system?)* I had planned to drive back home tomorrow early in the day, but Lefty called and asked me to come take him to urgent care. He's got some sort of bladder problem that I think has been greatly exacerbated by an infection? Anyhoo, it was horrible so he needed a ride and a friend while he got treatment. I stayed the night at his place, and this morning the pills are working and he's much improved. Huzzah! (I beguiled the hours after he crashed out by watching Burn After Reading, which was as great as M told me it would be and was like watching a Fiasco game adapted to film, and the The Seven Percent Solution, which I had seen thirty years ago but I hadn't noticed that it's kind of racist and that Robert Duvall's British accent sounds terrible.)

Now I'm heading off with Lefty on a store errand, and then it's home to vote!

{BTW, while driving down, I listened to a podcast recommended by a friend I'll call Vanderbilt, the Blacklist Table Reads, which turns unproduced screen plays into audio dramas. It's a Hollywood thing, but the episode I listened to was Chrome Noir, a 30s crime story with robots that was a lot of fun.}



*I do, actually, in a game that Stoic is running. Honestly, though, if it weren't a long-running and already ongoing campaign, I don't know that I would find it worth the trouble, and I kept my character simple.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
Stoic has been running a pathfinder game inspired by the Sharpe's Rifles books for a couple of years now, I think, and I joined in about a year ago as a !Quaker chaplain. It's been quite fun, the sort of game that makes it worth dealing with all of Pathfinder's rules apparatus. A couple of months ago he decided that he wanted to run a session only every other weeks, so I offered to run an alternating Deadlands game. (Why Deadlands? I was familiar with the Savage World rules after playing in another one myself, the rules are fairly simple but flexible enough to allow for players to customize their characters, and the feel of the game with an initiative system using a poker deck and drawing fate chips from a bag would be a nice change of pace from what the other guys were used to.).

We're down to four of us, just now, so I invited MaMEd to join us for our first session of 2016, which was yesterday--I thought it would be a good excuse to see more of him. On the spur of the moment, after stopping by the shop and chatting with Successor at the Roost, I invited her to join. Given how busy she is, I was shocked she said yes, but I'm delighted I did so. She hit the ground running, and her shapeshifter bounty hunter is a great addition to the group. Ironically, MaMEd had to cancel at the last minute, so I'll have to work him in next time.
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I started 2016 off well. I spent New Year's Eve with MaMEd and his family, swapping gifts and enjoying each other's company. The Attraction game (which is like playing marbles with magnets) was a big hit with Princess C. Saturday into Sunday was a lot of games. [livejournal.com profile] millari and I had a nice supper at Mulino's Saturday evening, followed by some Chrononauts at her place. Sunday was twelve hours of gaming fun at my house. M came over, as well as Suave, and folks from my Deadlands/Transhuman gaming group (until I come up with nicknames: SS, TJ, JEL, JE). We played a cute trick-taking game called Friday the 13th, then Lords of Waterdeep (as there were only five of us yet–poor M had to wait an hour for us to finish, but was very chill about it–and it was a close game to the end), and all seven of us played Shadows Over Camelot. It turned out that none of us was a traitor (only 12.5% chance of that) and we managed to find the Grail, retrieve Excalibur and Lancelot's Armor, defeat the Black Knight, and drive off an invasion of Picts. Ironically, we won by allowing an invasion of Saxons to proceed, thus filling up the Table. After that, Suave took off, so we played Unspeakable Words (the Lovecraftian word game) and more Friday 13th. Then TJ and M departed, so the four of us remaining wrapped up with an old chestnut (for me, at least), Reiner Knizia's Lord Of The Rings coop game. I got that game back in 2001, and I have played it dozens of times (according to the scoring sheet), but not since 2007. It was a bit of a roller-coaster as I tried to recall the rules, but the hobbits managed to chuck the ring into the fire all the same. Poor Stoic, who has been my houseguest for the past month as he reboots and regroups, is also recuperating from an injury, and he felt too unwell to join us. Perhaps next time.

It was enormous fun, exactly why I keep trying to have these sorts of parties. I hope to have more luck with them in the year to come.

Who, me?

Sep. 1st, 2013 08:28 pm
grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I plan to go back and fill in some retroactive news over the past 10 months, since last I posted, but here are few key notes:

1) Mom is home again, and happier, and slowly getting stronger.

2) Opening a comic book/game store is really hard work.

3) I may be evolving into a romantic relationship with an old friend, Miss Hannah-Belle Goulet, a woman I have known for many years.  I'm not plunging into it, I'm not smitten, but I am definitely interested and it feels... homey.  Too early to make too much of it.  She has kids, an ex about whom the less I say the better, a home 100 miles away, and I'm not sure if she sees it the same way.  But she and her kids just stayed overnight yesterday, and it was fun.

4) The process of making my home what I want continues, not as quickly as I would like.  The root of the problem is that I'm truly bad at budgeting my funds, something I should learn to do before I do myself a real mischief.

5) Man, I really like playing games with my friends.  I'm still playing Deadlands, I've added a 13th Age organized play campaign on Tuesdays, a Star Wars Edge Of The Empire game on Wednesdays, and I'm looking for more.  Pity I can't find a game that involves regular cardio workouts. :P

good party

Nov. 17th, 2012 01:37 am
grinninfoole: (Default)

I drove down to the grand opening of our new store in Mamaroneck NY this evening with Mad Dog and his charming kids. There was a good sized crowd there (30-50 people) of enthusiastic customers, which suggests to me that we have done a good job of creating buzz about the business over the past year. Also, there's a very tasty pizza place nearby, and one of Lefty or Fuschia's friends really knows how to bake a cake.I have been working with a personal organizer who calls her business Chaos Control. It's helping clean up my place, and brighten my mood. I'm back at work as normal on Monday, but I'll fill in tomorrow running the Magic draft. I'm really glad I accepted an invitation at the beginning of the year to join a gaming group playing Deadlands . I like the people, the system and the campaign (and my character) and I'm glad [livejournal.com profile] millari has joined us. Looking forward to seeing my cousin from HI over Thanksgiving. Mom finally seems to be on the mend (knock wood). Today, she was able to stand on her own, and she's no longer feverish during the night. And, in trivial news, I came across an essay suggesting watching the Star Wars saga in a particular order(ep IV, V, II, III & VI, omitting Phantom Menace entirely) will drastically improve its narrative tension and impact. I haven't tried it yet, but if I learned anything in grad school, it's that narrative inclusion/exclusion and order make an enormous difference to a story.



grinninfoole: (Default)
1) This coming Saturday will be the second Paint & Pixel Festival.  I've managed to arrange programming this year, which is good, but I still feel like I did a slap-dash job, and kind of guilty about it.  Peggy continues to impress with her passion and capability. 

We're hosting comics workshops for kids at the store as part of the build up to the show.  Colin, the education guy, has done a great job setting these up and running them.  Peggy also sponsored a couple of movie nights at Popcorn Noir, the next of which is the Muppet Movie on Thursday..... which will conflict with my Deadlands game.  aargh!

Oh, and there's a filk band performing in the Mythos on Monday at 7, which could conflict with dinner plans!  double argh!

2) On columbus day, M and I went to NYC, met with the Ladies of Brattleboro for dinner at the Green Table, and then went to see Sleep No More, which is an extraordinary experience in immersive theater.  One is given a mask & enjoined not to speak, and for up to 3 hours one wonders around inside a warehouse of four or five stories where a troop of interpretive dancers performs something inspired by Macbeth.  One can explore the trappings of the set as much as one wishes, or follow performers around or hang out in the lounge.  It's a choose your own adventure style of show, though only as an observer.   I wound up following one stunning beautiful woman around for a while, and wound up getting whisked into a locked room for a short private performance that, while a scripted part of the show, was quite intimate and moving.  Which, if you are thinking of something sexual, is completely wrong--yet it felt like everything you would fantasize about.  A great experience which was well worth the cost.  I plan to go back at some point.

3) My mom is still in a rehab hospital, still in real pain, but I think getting better.  I hope.  Dad is still slipping away a bit at a time.

4) I drove back to Andover last night, couldn't sleep, and watched the Matrix Reloaded on demand.  It's better than I recalled.  The talky scenes make more sense when I can process the sometimes ornate and philosophical dialog, and some of the WTF plot twists actual do make some logical sense.  The biggest weakness that remains, for me, are the pointless action scenes.  The first Matrix was good in part because all the fight scenes served the story, developed character, and looked cool.  In Reloaded, there a couple of set pieces that just take up time. If the Wachowskis had done more with them, they'd have greatly improved the movie.  (Three examples: the introductory fight with Seraph--what does tussling with Neo for two minutes tell him, or us, that we don't know?; then. the  big fight scene with a crowd of Agent Smiths drags on; and the fight with the Merovingian's goons in his foyer is designed to waste Neo's time, but must it waste ours?  What's the point of another display of kung fu?  Are these guys really as challenging as the huge crowd of Agent Smiths?)  On the whole, I stick by some of my earlier criticisms, but I have to upgrade my rating of the film.

5) Sometimes I'm fine, and sometimes the depression gets to me.  I need to spend more time with friends.  I clearly need that.

6) Had an interesting talk with Morlock about making changes in my life. He pointed out that I'm still struggling with some of the same questions that bugged me years ago.  Maybe, he suggested, I need new questions.  hmmmmmmmmmmm.

7) 2013 must be the year I learn to budget.  Just because my desires have heretofore not exceeded my means, doesn't mean those means are inexhaustible. I must get the hang of identifying priorities, choosing amongst them, and then setting aside the others while resisting impulsive spending.  Good grief!
grinninfoole: (Default)
This has been a very busy time for me at work.  Last weekend, I went to Morristown NJ to sell stuff and promote the in-the-works Modern Myths NY at DexCon.  It was a bit of a drag driving down and then working late setting up on July 4, but the con itself wasn't too much work and, as I mentioned in my last post, I had some fun.  (I also tried Legend Of The Five Rings, a long-standing RPG that we carry and that I didn't know at all, so I got to have fun and learn something useful. :)

Driving back from the show on Sunday evening, I was feeling really sleepy, so I called a few friends for conversation to keep me awake.  The first couple of folks I tried weren't home, but Grounded was, so I talked to her for 20 minutes.  A nice chat, and while I think I'm still doing some grieving, I definitely feel better about myself and happy to have her as a friend.

In what might qualify as a modern miracle, two different insurance plans of my father's just paid our claims for his care in full.  His care is still shockingly expensive, but now it won't eat up all the family money in only 3-5 years.

I have started walking a couple of days a week in the morning with my friend [alias TBD], which is a good start towards my 'fit into my tux before a friend's wedidng' goal.  Also, it's nice to have nerdy chats about all sorts of stuff.  I don't know who else would tell me about the history of boxing and how it intertwines with racism in America.  Or that the NHL's fan base is growing in the south, possibly because hockey is the last remaining major sport with almost no black players.

Hmmmm, wow, have I really not posted about my college reunion in May?  OK, well, I flew out to Ohio for my 20th reunion from Kenyon College.  I stayed with friends in Granville and drove back and forth to Gambier on Thursday to Saturday.  I got to catch up with a number of my friends from my year in Exeter, which was great.  I went on the 'ghost tour' with Professor Shutt, who is older but still a goofy and charming raconteur.  (Still no word on whether Gunnar is home, but his halberd is. :)   I also spent some time with the Church of Otis crowd, and it was great to see them, particularly [ FVC alias also TBD] and her new boyfriend.  I have known FVC since I was a freshman, and I long had a crush on her (which she knows all about), and she's been an out lesbian all that time, so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this guy she's been living with the past year.  Happily, I quite like him.  He's a friendly, grounded, witty person, and a great fit for her.  She's the happiest I have seen her in years.  I would love to see them again soon.

I am slowly migrating my life back into the master bedroom.  The key steps of getting a new bed and sheets etc. has been achieved.  There's more to do, but Feisty approves of bigger bed to share with me.

It's time for me to go, but I'm just going to mention that the fireflies were spectacular this year, and that on the weekend of July first I watched the Easthampton fireworks from my living room window, while the fireflies dancing in the foreground in my backyard.  It was lovely.
grinninfoole: (Default)
This weekend, my store is celebrating its ninth anniversary, starting with a party on at 6 pm Friday 9/9. There will be pizza, cupcakes, beverages, and prizes. It will be fun.

On the 10th, we're having a Magic mini-tournament, and hosting a D&D Lair Assault, and having our usual miniatures painting and board game nights.

On Sunday the 11th, from 1-3 PM, R. A. Salvatore will be in the store signing books. Come join us, and shut out talking heads who have learned nothing from the past decade.
grinninfoole: (Default)
Day 0 )


Day 1 )

Day 2 )

A good day

Jan. 21st, 2009 12:43 am
grinninfoole: (Default)
Today I took a vacation day, and watched the Obama inauguration, and then celebrated my friend Suave's birthday.

The inauguration was the best I have yet seen.  The music before hand was moving, and the Benediction at the end by Joseph Lowery was great (I loved the colloquial language and rhyming structure at the end), even Rick Warren's invocation was pretty good.  I thought Obama's speech was moving, too.  Perhaps not a timeless address for the ages, but a thoughtful, well-written invocation of national ideals, a repudiation of Bush, and a call to collective action, all of which is what we need right now.  So, a great kick off to the Obama presidency, and not a moment too soon.

Suave's party in the evening was OK.  Lots of 20 something hipsters with whom I had little connection, though I did meet a guy who used to teach computer animation at UMass who apparently knows [livejournal.com profile] anzovin, and had a long conversation about why Fringe is wretched, the politics of tyrrany, stuff I didn't know about my old college, and the wisdom of grad school with Ranger.

The really cool bit was the four hours Suave, K, Ranger, and I spent playing Arkham Horror.  Man, that game is fun.


One thing I have to wonder: how can Christopher Hitchens be so smart and yet SO STUPID.

In light of all the comparisons between Obama and FDR and/or Lincoln, this article from the Nation in 1933 seems apt.

grinninfoole: (Default)
I spent the evening playing a wizard, trying out the new fourth edition of D&D in the just released adventure Keep On The Shadowfell.  Nutshell version: wow, it really is a great new game.

Somewhat longer version... )

All in all, I'm thoroughly sold on the new version, and I look forward to playing it.  But I won't be chucking my 3.5 books yet, either.
grinninfoole: (Default)
Saturday evening, [personal profile] millari and I hosted [profile] wandelrust and [personal profile] omnia_mutantur for an evening of takeout falafel and the World of Warcraft board game.  It took over 5 hours to finish one game, so we were all fading into exhaustion when it was done, but it was actually fun.  The pieces are well made, the game mechanic balanced stategic and tactical concerns, and you get to pick up handfuls of dice and roll them to kill monsters, take their stuff, and gain XP.  Not an everyday game, but a satisfying return to the fun of those early 80s all night D&D games with my friends.

Oh, and the wedding is now less than two weeks away.

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