hwango: (hermit crab)
Okay, apparently the rating period had not actually started last time I posted about this. But for real this time, you can rate my entry for the Adventure Time design contest.

http://community.welovefine.com/m/contests/design/38466

(You must have an account to rate designs. 5's are best. Voting appears to run all the way through July and a couple days into August.)
hwango: (hermit crab)
"No longer will we remain shackled by the tyranny of our oppressors! Freedom! Freedom!"

"Ted, I understand that you're not happy, but I don't think this is really the best -" Wayne said.

"No! Our cause is just, and or independence our right! We are no longer beholden to you or your masters!"

"Ted, you can't declare yourselves indepenent. You're the marketing department."

"And we shall market the cause of FREEDOM!"

Wayne covered his face with his hands and tried to reach a place of calm. It had been a long day.

It would be one thing if the marketing department had simply decided they all wanted to quit. But no - they still planned to stay in their offices and keep using the phones and the company internet. They even still planned to do marketing for the company. Only they demanded the right to elect their own management, or they wanted the salaries of upper management adjusted to reflect that their labor would no longer contribute to their material gain.

"Cut off their internet," demanded someone from upper management. "They'll cave once we show that we're serious."

"I...don't think that will work," said Wayne. Privately, he thought that it might. But it would involve...

"Do it," demanded management.

Wayne sighed, and went to open negotiations with the Republic of IT to see about having management's demands carried out.
hwango: (hermit crab)
Rate my latest entry on WeLoveFine - http://community.welovefine.com/m/contests/design/38466 - I have crafted a sinister portrait of Peppermint Butler from Adventure Time. (You must have an account to rate designs. 5's are best. Voting open July 1 - 15, I believe.)
hwango: (hermit crab)
A little while ago I was thinking, "Wow, why am I so tired? I'm usually up later than this." And then I remembered that I got up at about 8:00 AM EST yesterday and have been up for about 21 hours. That might have something to do with it. It's been such a long day that I actually found myself thinking of that early morning as the time before last that I woke up. I was going to just say "yesterday," but of course it actually was. I never really thought about the fact that by the time I go to sleep it's always tomorrow by that point.

Time for future sleep.
hwango: (hermit crab)
I played my first game of Eldritch Horror on Tuesday.

What the heck is Eldritch Horror? )

Why am I doing this? )

The Horror )
hwango: (hermit crab)
A warning to returning readers: this is not my usual brand of whimsy.

2,373 words )
hwango: (hermit crab)
On Tuesday my girlfriend and I journeyed to the distant land of Northampton to see a live show of Welcome to Night Vale. I've been listening to the podcast for about a year and a half and never really expected to attend a live show. I wasn't even sure how I felt about the idea. After all, normally the show is only audio, but at a live show there would be things to see. One of the things to see would be other fans, some of whom would doubtless be in costume.

There's no official word on what the characters look like beyond generalities, such as the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home not having a face (though even that is up for debate if you believe Kevin), or the colors of the many dragon heads of Hiram McDaniels. But there seems to be a general fan consensus on some things, so that you can look at a person and guess that they are dressed as Cecil, for example. This in spite of the fact that they might not match your own mental image of Cecil.

Going to a live show would mean being confronted with someone else's interpretation of what a character looks like, as well as what the voice actor looks like, and I felt apprehensive about how that would affect my own mental images of things.

Plus, crowds. Not my favorite thing.

But on the other hand...it really seemed like it might be fun. And sometimes it's fun to hang out with crowds of people if you have something in common with that crowd of people.

So off we went. We made a couple of stops on the way to see an art exhibit and visit the comic store I used to patronize often back in college. We did not get lost nor eaten by librarians, and made it to the venue in plenty of time with all of our limbs intact.

The theater was nice, though the seats were a little small. Our particular seats were nicely located, though, at the front of a section in the balcony so that there was plenty of space for people to walk past us as they went to their seats, and we could see just fine.

It was actually fun to see people in costume, perhaps because there was more variety than I expected...in additional to the predictable Cecils, Kevins, and Carloses, there was at least one winged individual presumably named Erika, a man in a tan jacket (though I did not see a deerskin suitcase), a probable Old Woman Josie, several mysterious hooded figures, and no less than two Glow Clouds. I...had not expected to see a Glow Cloud.*

Having listened to the previous live shows I had certain expectations for how the show would work in general, some of which were slightly off. Particularly, I hadn't expected the musical guest for The Weather to perform five or six songs before the show. Though on further consideration it sort of makes more sense...who wants to tour the country with this production and play only one song at each show?

Meg Bashwiner's introduction and listing of The Rules was very entertaining, and I'm sort of sorry it doesn't make it into the live recordings.

The show itself was fun, and it was a nice trip overall. Didn't see much else of Northampton, so I don't have much of an opinion about the city in general, though any place with an ice cream stand open until 11:00 PM scores at least a few points in my book (and my ice cream was pretty good).

It did make for long day, and by the end I was ready to fall asleep on my feet except that I very badly needed to get off my feet and out of my shoes. Overall, good times, though.

* I'm not sure they get many Glow Clouds. The one closest to the stage fired up their blinking multi-colored lights as Meg was bidding farewell to the audience, and she seemed a bit caught off guard by it. But then she hailed the Almighty Glow Cloud, and the audience all hailed the Glow Cloud in response, and it must have been pretty awesome for the person dressed as the Glow Cloud.
hwango: (rant)
My DVD drive in my PC died. I watch a lot of DVDs on my PC, so this is a problem.

I opened up the case and jiggled some cables to see if I could magically make it work, to no avail. I also took a look at what sort of connection type and such it was using so I could then purchase a replacement that would work with my system.

However, I've been cannibalizing old parts to keep Frankenstien's Computer running for quite some time now, and it's such an old DVD drive that it's IDE. That's so out of date it would be more expensive to replace than getting one that's SATA, and a review of my motherboard indicated plenty of open SATA ports.

My shiny new SATA DVD drive arrived yesterday, but just before opening the box I realized "Damn. Cables." I hadn't thought to also order different cables. But wait, I turn out to actually have a spare SATA data cable!

I crack open the case again and attempt to install the new drive. Step 1 is to remove the old drive, which DOES NOT WANT TO GO. I very nearly gave up and left it in place and put the new one in the next bay down, but in the end finally managed to get cables unplugged from it.

New drive goes in. Yay! Only...the SATA power cable can't reach it. I move the other SATA device closer to buy a few more inches, and it still won't reach. (This is a stressful operation, because said device is my pirmary hard drive, with my OS on it, and I would rather leave something that vital alone. Mucking with the guts of computers is not something I'm entirely comfortable with.) If the ports were on the right side rather than left it would just barely make it, but no. I try rotating the other SATA device 180 degrees in its tray, but even that won't buy me enough distance. Sigh.

I would like to just go buy a cable at a real live place to make this all work, but poking around the internet at the websites of local likely businesses reveals them not to carry such items. I will need to have this $0.91 cable mailed to me for $2.32...which is less than I'd have paid for it in real life, but I'll have to wait several days for it, which is what I'd hoped to avoid.

So I put everything back the way it used to be so I could at least use the machine for everything but playing a DVD in the meantime. By now I've managed to get my fingers good and sore from trying to unplug uncooperative cables, bled a bit from reopening an earlier injury to my hand, and sent unthinkable amounts of dust into the air.

But at least when I turned the thing back on I hadn't made things any worse.
hwango: (hermit crab)
At board game meetup last night we were talking a bit about the whole "May the Fourth Be With You" thing, and I noted that the local pool and spa place that puts funny things on their marquee sign* had put up "do or do not, there is no try" in honor of the day.

Later, when we went out to the parking lot, Darryl pointed out that it was also a full moon, at which point I immediately said "That's no moon, it's a space station!" = )

--

* past favorites include "honk if you love peace and quiet," at one point during the relentless snowstorms last winter simply the word "uncle," and my personal favorite: "Andy didn't like my sign idea."
hwango: (hermit crab)
In honor of Earth Day, there's a Google Doodle today, and there's a pangolin lurking in the "e!" Pangolins!

There are also squid tentacles in the first "o," which is pretty cool too. But hooray pangolins!

edit to add: further OMG there's a "which animal are you quiz" and you can BE A PANGOLIN.
hwango: (sadness)
I am very sad to hear of the passing of Terry Pratchett.

I adored his books when I was growing up. He was only getting better at that point, and so I enjoyed many, many years of catching up on his existing works while looking forward to the release of the next one and frequently enjoying each even more than the one before. He was my favorite author for so many years, and unquestionably a huge influence on my own writing style and my sense of humor in general. I know I'll be reading my favorites by him again and again in the years to come.

I have this sense that sometimes when an author passes away people are sad because they won't get any more books from that person. I suppose that's true here, but it's vastly overshadowed by a feeling of loss for the man himself.
hwango: (sadness)
I went to a board game meetup on Tuesday. Our host has several shelves of games available, and a few of these games he has decided he does not wish to keep. These games have sticky notes with prices on them should you wish to purchase them from him. This week, his copy of Eminent Domain had one of those stickies on it. I really like that game, so this made me kind of sad. (I already have my own copy, so it's not as if this was an opportunity to snap up a game that I wanted cheap.)

The previous time I had been there I actually played his copy with him, and he said that it was a game he really liked at first, and after a few games wasn't as sure. I asked him this time if the sudden appearance of the sticky meant that he had officially decided he didn't like it after all, and he assured me that it's not that he doesn't like it, it's just that he only has so much space for games and he only likes it well enough to play now and then, which he could do with someone else's copy. That makes perfect sense, but I still couldn't shake this feeling of sadness over such a tangible example of "you don't like this thing that I like as much as I like this thing."

Tonight I got home to find a copy of the book The Night Circus waiting for me. Someone had been keeping an eye out at the their local Stuff Going Into the Library Book Sale for a copy of it for me, had found one, and it had finally made its way here. At first I was happy to see it, because hey it's a cheap/free copy of that book that I like that I wanted to own but hadn't gotten around to buying. I picked it up, took in the crossed out barcode from a library, opened the cover, and on that first page saw the big black stamped word "DISCARDED," and that same feeling hit me all over again.

It's not a perfect book, but I very much enjoyed it, and it really resonated with me on some level. Yet here I am holding a copy that got expunged from the library's collection presumably because it wasn't circulating enough to maintain a place on the shelves. This also reminded me of the fact that my local library no longer has a copy of my favorite book (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel) on it's shelves, which is something that makes me a little sad whenever I'm reminded of that fact.

A quick search of this other library's catalog took away some of the sting - they still have a copy of The Night Circus, and this was a duplicate.

But I've been feeling a lot lately that I really dislike many things that are popular, and no one seems to like the things that I do, and for a moment there this just felt like more physical evidence of that, and I was surprised how upsetting that was.
hwango: (hermit crab)
North Star Games had this contest in December where you came up with the title and short writeup for a game that doesn't exist. They'd pick their favorite and that person would win a copy of all of their games, plus money if they decide to make it a real game (with your permission).

I did not win. The thing that won is okay, I guess...

Time Travel: The game you already didn't play tomorrow and have now won yesterday.

It's cute, but I feel like a time travel game with a time travel joke isn't the most original thing they could have picked. But of course I'm biased, because I'd rather they picked one of mine. Which, for comparison purpose were:

Release the Kraken!: The game of monster rights activism.

Unbelievable!: The game of crackpot religions.

Tell Me When It's Over!: The game of collecting doomsday prophecies.

Wages of Sin: The game of payroll accounting in Hell.

Zero Liability: The game of crafting end user license agreements.

I feel like the first two are the ones I'm mostly likely to actually try to design myself.
hwango: (rant)
Recently I happened across an appeal to fund a Kickstarter for a system that could "revolutionize how we play tabletop RPGs."

Something like this is going to exist, and it's going to change how everyone plays tabletop RPGs. That'll happen within the next 5 years or so. We'll all be sitting there with tablets instead of books.

The way I see it, either the app that takes over gaming will be created by a big corporate entity, or by group like this. They're a small group of passionate lifetime gamers with a deep understanding and respect for the experience of sitting down with your friends to have fun.


This made me angry for two reasons. First, it assumes that everyone who wants to play a tabletop RPG can afford a tablet and a subscription to this proposed system, which strikes me as rather elitist. I always thought one of the great things about tabletop roleplaying is that you could get many hours of enjoyment from one member of your group spending $30-$50 on book(s). If your group could afford to get more books, or everyone could afford to have their own, or whatever, that's great. But the minimum bar for entry was pretty low - certainly lower than it would be for this system.

The second is that technology was perhaps the greatest reason my long-running D&D campaign was scuttled. I could no longer compete for my player's collective attention with their #&$%! tablets and smartphones. If I could have set off an EMP at the start of every session, that would have made me incredibly happy. The absolute last thing I want to do is get together with my friends so we can share in a collaborative gaming experience in which we spend the entire time each staring at our own little glowing screen.

And yes, the subject line is hyperbole, because I don't hate all technology...I'm posting this on the internet, after all. But I despise the idea of making a tablet a standard and required component of tabletop roleplaying.
hwango: (hermit crab)
For those of you reading this who don't know me in the analog world, one of my few social activities is playing board games. I frequently attend a Meetup for this on Mondays, and much less frequently a different Meetup for it on Tuesdays.

A week ago, a couple of people posted to the website for the Monday Meetup with comments about new games they had that they might bring. One was Tiny Epic Kingdoms, and the other was Abyss. I had vaguely heard of both, but knew nothing about them. I looked up Tiny Epic Kingdoms and thought "meh, maybe." The person bringing it was a friend, at least. I looked up Abyss and almost immediately lept to my feet and screamed that I had to play this game right now. Well, maybe my reaction wasn't quite that extreme, but I was definitely interested. Because the game has jellyfish. And squid.

But wait, not just jellyfish and squid, but JELLYFISH AND SQUID ALLIES. Also technically seahorses, shellfish, and crabs, which is great and all, but jellyfish.

And so I was terribly disappointed that the person who was going to bring Abyss never actually materialized on Monday. Now I had to find some other way to try this game, because as magical as the theme might be and as pretty as the art is, gone are the days that I buy a game that's $60.00 until I've tried it at least once.

The following Monday that Abyss-owning person did not show up again. I was, however, going to attend the Tuesday gathering this week, and I sent a message to the group asking if anyone in that bunch had Abyss and if it was any good. One person replied that they had played it and it was okay, and it turned out that they'd played it with the person who had been talking about it in the Monday group. Apparently, he also is in both groups.

This meant I desperately hoped that he would show up on Tuesday, and he did! And, once I was done playing the weirdly non-interactive and kind of dull tech-tree game Progress, we played Abyss! And I think I kind of confused and alarmed him with my enthusiasm to ALLY MYSELF WITH JELLYFISH AND THEREBY SEIZE CONTROL OF THE WATERY DEPTHS. I mean, sure, I allied myself with all manner of sea life (except, weirdly, seahorses, who seemed to avoid me for some reason), but really it was all about the jellyfish. And my glowing purple minions did indeed secure me gelatinous victory. And I guess everyone else helped.

Also, it was fun, and I'd play it again. It's not perfect, and it didn't play quite like I thought it would (for one thing, you don't actually take over that many locations...probably not more than two or three per person), but I think I'll probably try to get my own copy. Because, really, unless it was terrible, how could I not?

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