Sunday, August 24, 2014

GenCon '14 Pt3: Pieces Schmeises

After the burglary, I decided to drive home while Peryton would stay behind and run the booth. Once again JerryTel would swing in to assist us, would be providing the woman with transportation from Indy to Toledo the following day after the convention. TimS and Darrenn Canton would help out as well by manning the booth. This allowed us to continue business as usual while taking care of the emergency affecting our real world lives. I was still worried about the sales, because, you know, like I wasn't there.

So while I was at home awaiting a beleaguered cop to show up and bother to write a report, the house-sitter called at 11pm and I was still waiting for until noon (though I saw a cop car guarding our neighborhood Stop sign driving in around 5am), Peryton was sending me texts throughout the morning. Drew from the Spacers game was also texting me throughout the day with his after-GenCon goings-on bringing more vicarious joy. Sales were actually as good on Sunday as they had been all three previous days combined. On-line sales were as steady as they get around the Big Convention time of year. 

The Trollgod Sub-Plot
To get away from a crowd gathering and something of a ceremony at the FBI booth as Loomis's Poker Game wrapped up, Ken showed up at the PeryPub booth. He not only hard sold various items in our stock, giving Pery high praise for her Qalidar so that any passer-by could hear. He even shared T&T tinpot gossip with her. All the while he never asked where I was.

I picked up Pery in Toledo around 8pm, and while I had started to return the house to something of a normal state already, I was dreading her reaction coming home. It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Over Monday and Tuesday, we re-modeled the rooms with loads more space than we were used. The insurance check didn't hurt and by Wednesday, the new house had us inviting over old friends for a game on Saturday night. Piss off, whoever tries to keep us down. We needed to clean house and up-grade our computers anyway.

As for the projects in the production line of Perton Publishing, there shouldn't be too much delay. We have the work backed-up on file drives and on-line. It will only be a matter of re-organizing the work a bit here and there. 

So all in all, my Big Vacation was great for both its luxuriating decadence and its reaffirmation of my inner verve. Peryton has some new digs and books, and a new PC. I did miss out on buying new Phase World books from Palladium for yet another year. Oh well there will be next year. And there will be a new house-sitter... .

Robin with her new stuff.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

GenCon '14 Part 2: Let's Not Count Days

I awoke each morning in Indy with the sun was howling to me, though we had an enclosed suite overlooking an indoor swimming pool with only skylights . For mysterious reasons, I felt fair-haired again, which I haven't since being airborne in straight leg units back in the early 90s. I got to practice mental skills that I don't get to often in the world that is not filled with Gamer Dorks. The gathering is a small city of such beings for at least three days each year, like Brigadoon.This year's convention was everything that the GenCon convention is supposed to be on hyper-drive. 

Quick Notes:
My post-apocalyptic game Glow sessions, ran by TimS and myself, help get some concepts down a bit more solidly for the final product, whenever that comes out. I am not sure if the world needs another set of world holocaust game rules, but my setting might just be going places.

Spacers (TM) is doing just fine. I've been experimenting the the genre for ten years. When I sit down to get "Spacers: Universes" together, things are going to come together nicely. Mind you, it won't be Traveller. No, it'll be Spacers.

I took a baby-step with my card-driven RPG Crawlspace  proved that there is a market for the "horror at midnight" that isn't CoC. Next year, I'll make more of the events just to test that it wasn't just the return of a couple friends and a couple interested purchasers that made the session worth while. GenCon will be the perfect spot to try out a different sub-genre of horror, up to three a year. I get a tingly feeling thinking about it.

Tunnels and Trolls games are going strongly, without me as a main driver, and I can still get a table full, a goal for the last last eleven years.

The Trollgod Sub-Plot
While Ken and I would see each other at certain points, but either of us were on the way to running our games. Then on Saturday night, Peryton started sharing little tales of her last conversation with the man. 
My main man! MY woman! Should I be jealous?  Something told me to hold on. 

Booth Monkeys On a Chain
Thanks to JerryTel and Peryton, I became a pretty good manager. Jerry for his enthusiasm and Robin for her reluctance but wherewithal. He jumped in feet first, organizing everybody who would earn badges with "Peryton Publishing" on the face. She is always like acting that she was being fed spinach, until it matters. No seriously, one time she didn't have chair to sit down, she tried to hide behind Exile Games backdrop to not have to talk to strangers. I felt I had to be the kingpin, which both of the mentioned will say to me, "NO DUH" after reading this.
And the other other personages, need to be mentioned:

Sligo and WEB, they are not men to be triffled with.
 TimS while being an diligent and conscientious new-person-to-GenCon,refused to be daunted, if a little disoriented. He actually wanted to volunteer to be a convention volunteer as well as PeryPubber next year. I told him to go with the convention, he'll always be welcomed  as a PeryPubber anyway.
Sligo, made sure he ran games to "pay" for his badge. When one of his tables came up empty, he worked of my slots, and found a GMless group afterwards just for kicks. 

Just listening to Cramm run an awesome swords and sorcery game, what can I say about him? This man is a better GM than I am. I disagree with his T&T, but I have to love his style. He'll still have to be burnt at the stake.
Darrenn Canton finally hung for a whole night, and even jumped in to help out at the booth when I wasn't around.

For some reason LinZ still comes around, despite the fact that I am such a terrible writer. At least her and Joe, her hubby, bring their own drunks around so I have some company.
Bill Bricker, WEB, is almost as crazy as I am. I found out that I am his project. I am pretty okay with that, he brings out good writing in me.

Tim and Curtis who ran the best Cards Against Humanity game that I've ever seen. But they helped Pery slink off whenever they could.

Paul 2.0 because he finally re-surfaced after a few years, and has yet to not provide helpful feedback.
Randy Market, Markt (from now on), got pulled around a bit, but he's tough enough to be a PeryPubber. And he's an awesome scenario designer.
And Batman, who turned his attention onto me on Thursday to help me despite his busy schedule. 
But I am not including Caed. One because she's my virtual kid sister, and a man's gotta be a man. Mostly, I didn't get to meet her son and his wife. Glow is beckoning the couple to the wastelands of the future.

I Loves Me Some Batman (Cosplayers)
While Tim (of Curtis and Tim) and I had to laugh at a couple of public meltdowns by some amateur cosplayers, I have to say that I found some very talented impromtu performers of the Kabuki theater that costume-wearers perform each year at the more up-scale of cons. Nice thing about GenCon is that they stay approachable. That's mostly because everyone walking around the place is already high on the opioid of their own minds. But here are some pictures.

So going to be incorporated into the print version of Kopfy's Swamp Of Doom.
And I loves me some DC and Fantasy.

The Artistic Box

A nice thing about the Crowne Plaza hotel is the fact that exhibitors, authors, and artists that have bought space at the convention get to reside there. And the place kind of makes you feel like like you're living in a toy boy to begin with. Besides having rooms set into old train cars, there are 5/6 size sculptures of folks from 1875-1900 placed along major walkways.  The employees themselves were happy to have TSR-spawn there and not just for the tips, a number were gamers themselves.

I felt like I was in the Free-City of Frankfort in 1865 as I spoke with Scott Glancy of Pagan Publishing about the more obscure points of WWI, German Unification and Call of Cthulhu. Of course, I was ever the Bavarian. 

And then around 11pm on Saturday night, our house-sitter phoned us to tell Peryton and me that our townhouse in Cleveland had been burglarized...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

GenCon '14 Part 1: Up-Hill But Loving It

Everything this last week has been scintillating, either good or bad. First IRL had been working against my vacation mindset from get go. And it would continue to do so throughout everything great going on around me.

Let's start with a three car, multi-casualty, incident ten before I was supposed to punch out...

We headed out on Tuesday night after I finished work.  We stopped of in Anderson, IN. because it seemed like a easy strip to pick up items left at home.
The out-of-box breakfast at the hotel where we stayed was awful though, and I like me some canned b-fasteses. But ultimately, we were not disappointed at all. I strongly recommend the city for purchases at Lowes or Office Max anyday.  Setting up on Wednesday was almost too easy. At around noon I was standing out by the car and read about Hittites while Pery made three trips (with our newly purchased dolly from Anderson Indiana!), and our "Exhibitor Badges" magically appeared.

Old Home Eve, our little name for the PeryPubbers' get-together each year, was one for the books. We set up at the Tilted Kilt, having been turned away from our first choice by the Diana Jones folks. Not only did we have the fourteen people expected, we had Randy Market's horde show up at first. Luckily, the Horde decided pizza would be better. Then suddenly a table appeared.

And the woman acting as our server had a seizure bringing out appetizers...

So like Randy, Caed, LinZ, Bill Briker (WEB, from now on), Cramm, Sligo, JerryTel, Paul 2.0,  Tim S., Batman, and everybody's guests showed up. Despite Jerry's efforts, I was able to have a ceremony as I presented him with his Peryton Publishing/Darkshade Chronicles' " Event Uber-Overlord" tee shirt. I made everyone sing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" for three verses. As the party winded down, WEB, Cramm, and myself headed over to the Libertine bar, picking up local partying talent along the way, I think the dude's name was Antony. We closed down that bar, and Bill had to bail. Cramm and I continued the glorious drunk until about 4am. Cramm met some hot chick and had to go really quick.

Peryton spoke my name at 8:45am, and I was still-drunk, up and moving, teeth brushed and cleaned-clothed, and out the door even before I knew it. I made it booth with time to spare for the VIG early opening. Batman's youngest son helped me out at the booth, until his father could come help at 10am. The rest of the day Batman, TimS, Sligo, Cramm, and Caed would be helping me out. Sales were better than expected. Sometime after 3pm or so, Peryton, Curtis and Tim (friends from the Pery Homeland) showed up so I went to take a nap.

The Trollgod Sub-Plot

Ken stopped by just before 10am on Thursday. we greeted each other warmly, as we always do. Broad smiles crossed both of our visages. I could only say, "I am a son-of-a-bitch, aren't I?"
"You sure are." He replied. 
With that we promised to meet up later.

The T&T games for Thursday were cranking. Sligos did well. Cramm was running one (good to see him alive), as I ran "Temple of the Time God." Ended up at a late dinner with Michelangelo's David (David from Toronto) and Cramm. Curtis and Tim, and Peryton were back in the room when I showed up to pass out. Apparently WEB had been looking for me earlier and no expected me back until sunrise. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Whatever edition of D&D came out this weekend, and the same red book cover is appearing on my social media sources about ten thousand times. Alas when in China one has to love Chairman Mao's Little Red Books, and in adventure gaming, one has to deal with D&D-heads, and their red books as well as boxes. While  we were driving home from one of Soccer and Gaming events in Columbus, Peryton turned to this page. I almost drove off the road after a glance, and a horrified double-take.

Okay now the brainwashed D&D-head will of course see a Wizard casting a Prismatic Spray spell against some shambling Chools (or is it Chuuls). The 50-something fellow will bang on the pipes of the basement, the signal for his mother to microwave her homemade velveeta and cheerios pizza, his favorite brain food, and he will design a campaign setting for his Dungeon Of the Unforgiving Gods world just for the 5th Edition.

What the rest of the world, those that live six miles south of any place that anybody wants to really live, will see is proof of the Gay Agenda that has taken over Wizards Of the Coast! Obviously that is a Transvestite (most likely a member of the Rachel Madow Adventure Gaming Society) summoning Crab People to emasculate any heterosexual males that stumble upon the D&D game.

Oh there'll be a rumble between the attention-seeking... err Gaymer and the semi-employed... err Christians Against Gaming factions on the streets of Indy this year.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Heirs To the Padisha Throne

Just like HG Wells, writing some hundred years ago from today, foretelling (luckily only with marginal success) the shape of the rest of the 20th Century, Frank Herbert comes up again and again in mind when trying to understand the zeitgeist of the present.

In my middling-to-higher schools, I hung out with the not-exactly misfits. There were baseball playing nerds and Shop class women, as well as jingoistic dorks that loved Boy George and the Culture Club. One common thread that ran through these assorted groups was a love of Frank Herbert's Dune. So while I was busy wading through "The Council of Elrond" chapter of FOtR, Hans Hellmut Kirst, Samuel Delaney, and Walt Whitman, I made some time to read Herbert's classic sci-fi novel. Coming from a family that was always somewhat outside any group that we were hanging with, it became a secret key to the life around me. In this sweeping panorama, I not only saw a good sphere fantasy but a very easy primer to basic philosophies that American people have throughout their lives.

Still I also learned not to be too mind-blown when reading futurists. In the original Dune itself, Herbert was a practical author trying use his work to speak to a "blind spot" that he saw in the S-F literature of the time. He created the Padisha Empire to represent the Industrialized powers of the world, while House Atreides and Harkonnen to represent monarchism and totalitarianism respectively. On the fringes he took Femininity and Geekdom to their logical literary extremes with the Bene Gesserit and the Spacers Guild. The universal oppressed, the Fremen, was a barely disguised Arabic culture. Basically,  he deconstructed oil, (plastics and hydrocarbons) into spice, and our shrinking world into a bunch of space fiefdoms. In 1983, I had no idea how prescient, if allegorical, this novel would be .

What I didn't know, is that Paul Atreides was siding with the bad guys. Hey I learned bad Arabic in '91, how did I know I was an oppressor? Oh yeah... .

 In 1998, I griped to an Army buddy about Muslim Ivy-League sorts that were bent on our, Western, cultural norms (individuality, dissent, atheism, and androgyny) dissolution before we left the porch to have Thanksgiving dinner with his Chinese/Portuguese/Jewish family. I had everyone in stitches with my panning on Saving Private Ryan when the pumpkin pie was being dished out. In 2002, I glibly, it seems these days, railed against the up-coming invasion of Iraq at Delphi Forums, with one particular statement "We'll see jihad so big that Frank Herbert could ride a sand-worm through it." In 2009, I was agreeing with John McCain about how we should not be removing troops from Iraq until 2020 (or so).  In 2010, I was openly complaining on-line that folks shouldn't be so quick to replace Syria's King Assad, despite the BBC's enthusiastic announcing of the "Syrian Free Army" (A total fiction made up by hopeful British and CIA trouble-makers). As always, since '92, I've thought it's been time for Israel to end its apartheid-cum-genocide of the Palestinians living on land that they want.

These days, I am all about getting troops on the ground in Iraq again. I am also for making anybody who supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 get out of politics and onto their own shows on the Fox News channel. This is because I can't get them thrown in jail.

 But I don't subscribe to Herbert's following novels, at least Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, and God Emperor of Dune (the ones that I read, the rest can wait) as being much more than showing how that there is nothing new in artistic endeavor. Neither the insight, nor intelligence, are applied to these sequels that the original book had. Instead these works flop back and forth between soap opera and mechanical paperback formatting, much like the CNN news process. With that, we Westerners (especially the democratic-minded), do not need to feel doomed. Women are people, and religion is propaganda. Striving for truth, as well as equality in electricity production are the keys to survival of us. That's "Us" as in the U.S. and the universe as we know it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Sci-Fi Of Late: the Good, the Bad, And the Ugly

Last couple of weeks it's been some varied science fiction viewing for me. First off, Space Rangers has finally come out on DVD, which means I don't have to sweat about the aging VHS tape every time I get a hankering to watch an episode-- I do love the show. There's been the release of the Guardians Of the Galaxy last Friday or so. Robin found a post-apocalypse flik named the Colony for my work weekend Saturday night viewing sort of the opposite of "date night" but with KFC. I've also been able to watch Lockout a second time and pay attention to a bit more detail some time over the last couple of weeks as well.

Guardians Of the Galaxy was very good, and luckily for my tastes, more along the lines of a zany space swashbuckler adventure, like say the Ice Pirates,  than a superhero movie. While the comic book series must be big enough to merit a "Marvel Movie" (YEAH cliche plots already dreamed up and artistically directed by dudes studios don't have to hire), I've never been that impressed with the comic line's space opera compared to DC. This movie re-writes the characters of the series into somewhat more down-to-Earth (irony not intended) personalities than the ones in the books. Not a lot of time is spent going into detail of the Marvel space opera universe other than to establish that red and blue-skinned folk dwell there as well as well Earthlings, or earthling-like people. The spaceship battle scenes were not as blurry as fans of the Avengers and the later Star Wars flix seem to like, which I appreciated. The Nova Corp homeworld will remind the astute fan of 70s and 80s sci-fi of Flash Gordon's Mongo or Starcrash. Overall, a Bigfoot, on a scale of "Godzilla to Smurf," of a film, if only for the inclusion of Bowie's "Moonage Daydream" in the soundtrack.

Definitely a Smurf of a flik is The Colony. This is some sort of post-apocalyptic film where anti-Global Warming fanatics have frozen the world. I could tell that this was a Mad Max-meets-zombies flik about to happen in about ten minutes. Filmed mostly because Laurence Fishburne needed money and the Canadians use tax-payer money to keep their prettiest young kids employed, it goes no where slowly. The writing is confused about basic immunology, snowfall accumulation, as well as being clueless about human behavior. The visuals are as dull as doing a chore if not cliche. Things boil down to a fist fight, because North American films need fist fights to wake up all the folks who were snoring at the bad science (TLDR anybody on the writing staff?). It's one of those movies where characters only answer one out of five questions posed to them in the script so that the cameraman can focus on pained expressions instead, because articulation is bad or something. When one of the characters states, in a wise voice, "I've seen this before, but I didn't want to mention it" I wanted to go check my email. I really should've.

More fun than the movie mentioned
 Re-watching Lockout was a bit more fun than I thought it would be. Very ugly indeed, as most movies involving prison riots tend to be, but not a bad Who-Dun-It overall in a shallow, sugary sweet sort of way. Set in a world that fans of Blade Runner or Johnny Mnemonic like, but really (really) gritty. The cast is either really talented or had a lot of fun during the shooting, maybe both. I am sure this flik was written by someone who role-played Shadowrun if not Cyperpunk back in the 80s. I am on the fence whether it's a Bigfoot or a Robo-Monster. I'll say Bigfoot because I enjoyed it.