2015-08-31 : This August Past
You wouldn't know it from my blog here, but this August past has been super eventful!
We took Sebastian, our oldest, away to college. You may remember Sebastian from such episodes as:
888 times 8 ("the worst math problem I know")
Pendragon is like Universalis except you only play one character and there's this thing called a GM and
you're the WORST POKETRAINER I'VE EVER MET!
More here: 2010-02-08 : Seriously like the blink of an eye.
Nowadays, if you find him on G+ you can read his writeups for the Apocalypse World game he ran all summer for his friends.
Hard to conceive that he used to be so small, great grown-up kid that he is!
I'm participating in Paul Czege's Threeforged Design Challenge. It's a good one. I sent away a first draft to who-knows-who. I received a first draft from who-knows-who, worked it up into a second draft, and sent it away to who-knows-who. Now I've received a second draft from who-knows-who and it's my job to finish it.
The contest is huge, with 120-something initial submissions, and it's had amazing followthrough so far, with 110-something second-stage submissions. I would not have guessed.
Here's a bit of an observation about it. Most of the participants I see commenting on it, think of the first draft they submitted as "their" game, and the second and third drafts as someone else's. Not me! I'm curious to see what comes of my earlier work, of course, but I find myself always thinking of the draft I'm working on now as the one that's "mine."
We went and saw the Van Gogh exhibit at the Clark, which was good, but on the way back we stopped at the site of a 19th-Century marble quarry and mill, and in ways it was the more interesting, if you can imagine. I feel a little bit like I've spent my life starved for history, and now that I've realized it, I can't get enough.
Early in the month, Meg and I went to a great presentation by a couple of local historians - one a Deerfield historian, one a Nipmuc historian - about the massacre and battle at Peskeompskut, late in King Philip's War. We sat on the bank looking across the Connecticut at the hill where Turner launched his attack and they double-teamed us on historical context, interesting details, and the no kidding ongoing fallout and consequences of the battle.
Like, right now the fight over the route of the Kinder Morgan pipeline through Western Mass depends on the federal designation of pieces of Gill, Turner's Falls, and Montague as historic battlefields and "traditional cultural places." Federal designation brings with it more legal oversight, including the participation of the Nipmuc Nation, the Wampanoag Nation, and others.
It's like the man says, the past didn't go anywhere. We hear all the time that the US has a short history, but I've come to think this is unthinking, complacent, a point of view that serves power.
Oh and I shared a preview of Apocalypse World 2nd Edition's battle moves with my Patrons. So that's fun.
2015-07-04 : The Object of an RPG is to...
Someone asked, so this is just an index of the posts I made a year ago about the objects of RPGs.
2014-07-15 : Procedure, Components, Object, Strategy, Style
2014-07-16 : When is a game a game?
2014-07-17 : Strategy vs Style
2014-07-18 : Objects of RPGs
2014-07-18 : Non-Endstate Objects, Strategy & Style
2014-07-19 : Aside: Designing a Bell Curve
2014-07-21 : The Object and Particular Strategy
2014-07-21 : Reminder: Object Schmobject
2014-07-23 : The Trouble with RPGs
2014-07-24 : The Trouble with RPGs (ii)
2014-07-25 : RPGs Have Objects, Q&A
I don't mind revisiting this stuff, so if you have any questions about any of it, ask away.
2015-06-27 : A Small Western Binge
After Fury Road and The Homesman I've been on a bit of a Western binge.
I don't love this movie but I expect to watch it over and over. Meg worked for 12 years with women experiencing postpartum depression, and this movie is the only one I've ever seen lay that emotional weight of colonizing the West on the shoulders of women.
(Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, Hailee Steinfeld.)
I've heard that the critics felt that the filmmakers didn't know how Westerns worked. I found it as odd and mesmerizing as you'd hope from a Western. It would be a terrible shame, after all, if they were all 3:10 to Yuma.
(January Jones, Amy Madigan.)
3:10 to Yuma
The 2007 one. I don't hate this movie, but in my memory, I'd given it the ending of the short story, so I was disappointed by its real ending. The short story is so good.
(Gretchen Mol, Vinessa Shaw.)
High Plains Drifter
In its way, as odd and mesmerizing as Sweetwater. I was surprised how obvious a High Noon ripoff it was, and how cheesy. It felt unearned in a way that High Noon didn't.
(Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill.)
The Outlaw Josey Wales
A politically awkward movie! Still, I recently read Empire of the Summer Moon and found some things to love. For instance, I found the unlikable Kansas grandma character charming. "Elegant moral double standard," indeed.
(Geraldine Keams, Paula Trueman, Sondra Locke, Joyce Jameson.)
So far, all of my Western binges have ended up with me watching The Proposition again. I kind of hope to avoid it this time, but I can feel it out there waiting for me.
edit: I forgot one!
This is a funny and entertaining flick, a little dreamlike, a little fable-like. It's purportedly set in Colorado, and it gives us a wooded West that I wish we'd see more of, but it has this weird placelessness that some Westerns have.
(Caren Pistorius, Brooke Williams.)
2015-05-23 : Fury Road vs The Homesman
Hey, did anybody else see both The Homesman and Fury Road?
2015-05-22 : Stating the Obvious
I really enjoyed Mad Max: Fury Road. Really, really enjoyed it.
2015-04-27 : Followup Questions from Owen
2015-04-13 : 5 Questions from Owen
2015-04-05 : Matchmaker
2015-04-04 : Actual Play: The Vengeful Demon of the Ring
2015-04-02 : Four Years' Abandoned Games
2015-03-30 : Dirty Tricks in My Games
2015-03-23 : The Vengeful Demon of the Ring as a Con Game
2015-03-20 : High Five the ISS
2015-03-17 : The Vengeful Demon of the Ring
2015-02-20 : Rhinoceros Joust!