<< May 2004 | Main | July 2004 >>

June 29, 2004

Not A Welcome Home

So I was pulling out of my driveway one the way to work on yesterday...

No, I should back up a bit. In order to understand this story, you have to know that Concord, NH is in the final steps of a lengthy process to replace a decades-old water system due to the amount of lead in the pipes. This is a good thing (though the amount of lead is small, any amount is too much). You also have to know that I live fairly near the source of the city's water, so that the line carrying water from the lake to the city passes under the road just in front of my house. This is also a good thing (especially since it means that little of the lead-tainted line has yet been passed through prior to my home).

However, this summer, there's a twist. As they are digging up and replacing the old line, they are temporarily using surface level pipes to carry water to the houses along the road. This is not, in itself, a bad thing, but it does lead to a bad thing when the final fact is added. That fact is that these surface level pipes are currently blocking my driveway, with a bit of sand, rock, and such intended to act as a ramp over them so I can drive by. And this is a bad thing.

You see, there wasn't really enough sand, rock, and such to actually do the job, so yesterday morning I was pulling out of my driveway when the steering wheel jerked just a little. I was forcing my way over the pipe as I've been used to for about a week and a half, so I ignored it. But as I drove the handful of minutes to work, I noticed that the car was not handling well. As I parked, I was pretty sure what had happened, and a quick glance once I was stopped confirmed it.

I had torn the sidewall out on my front driver's-side tire thanks to the big metal bracket that connects two segments of the surface water pipes, which was covered by too little sand, rock, and such and sits right in the line of my tires as I back out of my driveway every AM.

And now, I learn the first significant disadvantage of owning a Prius. As the tires are specially designed to optimize the hybrid's performance, I had no choice but to pay dealer prices for the not-exactly-cheap replacement. No fun. Also, since I have every plan to be in NYC this weekend and to drive there, I couldn't really wait.

The city has added more sand, rock, and such, so now the metal bolt isn't immediately visible. There has been no mention of any assistance dealing with the not-exactly-cheap new tire.

Not the way to start a work-week every, particularly not after something as fun but tiring as an AmberCon.

Posted by ghoul at 09:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2004

The Black Road Report

Home again, and filled with that mix of exhaustion and exhilaration that follows a good gaming con.

The Black Road is an Ambercon in all but name. Great gaming is the standard for these cons, which is why I make every effort to attend three each year, and would make it more if I could. This year was no exception.

Some details on each event follow...

Slot 1 -- Tall Tales of Pattern and Shadow -- Here I GM, or at least in theory. Because this game uses "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" as its system, I don't actually do much except explain the game and facilitate. The storytelling was unpredictable and quite entertaining, with a large enough list of participants to give everyone plenty of time just listening and giggling. This simple, infinitely repeatable game concept remains something I can drop into any con I need to and expect a good result. Nice to have this in my toolkit. And congratulations to Lou Evans, voted the best talespinner in this play of the game.

Slot 2 -- A Simple Task, Well Rewarded -- I met Richard DiTullio at AmberCon earlier this year (as mentioned here), and I looked forward to this chance to game with him again. Low-point characters (a favorite of mine, as it limits the mess of powers that sometimes happens in convention Amber gaming) and a straightfoward, well run adventure made this a nice game. Welcome to AmberCon GMing, Richard! This was a quality debut.

Slot 3 -- Nine Losers in Akron -- Michael Curry brought the dark, twisted humor of kill puppies for satan to a low-class, no-taste recast of the Amber royal family. Satanic low-lives torment domestic animals in service of darker powers and control of the family. Well, I was playing Eric and so control of the family was a bit deal to me. Lots of disturbing, reprehensible behavior.

Slot 4 -- My Life with Corwin -- Following Michael's use of an indie RPG for a recast was my own similar effort. I have to admit I wasn't quite as prepared as I hoped to be, and was less than totally familiar with the system I was using, My Life with Master. I didn't send character generation advice in advance of the con, so time was used getting that done in the slot. I made a couple wrong rules callings (one of which I just discovered looking at the errata on the web) and had some problems in timing... MLWM is a tricky game to fit into a convention timeslot, and I miss-estimated timing, making the endgame unreachable. I was helped by great players and I hope there was creepy fun had by all. I know I'm hoping to run this again now that I think I've found my MLWM-legs.

Slot 5 -- The Jewel of Zhong Kui -- Michael Curry GMing again, this time using the Success system to re-create an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures (I was playing El Toro, masked wrestler supreme). We were all a little punchy and giggly from the weekend, but a nice little story occurred despite us. Lots of catch phrases were employed, and when the game ended early, we had some nice post-con conversation until the others started coming in from their games as well and the weekend came to its inevitable end.

TBR is always a good con, with some clever and unique gaming. This year, we added to that a chance to meet Ginger and Bryant face-to-face, and even game a bit with Bryant. We must do more of that!

Now it's time for me to start thinking about AmberCon North in Toronto this September.

Posted by ghoul at 08:17 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 25, 2004

Off to The Black Road

Well, I may not have posted much here recently, but I can't blame that on my workload today. No, I'm taking the day off to head down for a wonderful weekend of Amber Diceless Roleplaying, including a couple of my own experiments.

So, if you're going to be walking The Black Road, I'll see you there. If not, I should get some comments and reviews posted here as the weekend progresses.

Of course, once I'm back, I have some work-related travel, then a Jul 4th weekend trip to NYC, both of which will return this blog to its familiar quiescence.

Posted by ghoul at 09:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2004

Serenity News

The official website is up. Go, sign up for the Browncoats, and keep up with the news as Firefly returns from the dead.

Keep flying!

Posted by ghoul at 08:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 02, 2004

My Black Road

Here's what I'll be up to at The Black Road

Slot 1 GM -- Tall Tales of Pattern and Shadow
Slot 2 A Simple Task, Well Rewarded
Slot 3 Nine Losers in Akron
Slot 4 GM -- My Life with Corwin
Slot 5 The Jewel of Zhong Kui

Fun will be had!

Posted by ghoul at 04:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 01, 2004

Still Busy

A long weekend away from home was nice (though 10 hours of it was spent in my car on the there-and-back part, which isn't so great), but has done nothing to create any additional free time.

However, everyone should give this nice interview with/article about Alton Brown a look. As might be guessed from prior entries and/or his link on my blogroll, I'm a big Alton fan.

(Article found thanks to Slashdot.)

Posted by ghoul at 02:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack