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Jan. 1st, 2017

wolf

December

December really got away from me. More than usual. Job searching has proved stressful and time consuming. Graduating (the actual ceremony) proved more complex than I'd hoped. Then we didn't have to make a big deal out of my birthday, but we wanted to. Then Christmas with the in-laws.

It's a lot, especially for an introvert. I think I did okay overall but some things got away from me, particularly last week. I had a couple days where I just had to recharge and felt like I was on the fritz. It happens, too.

In the past it's taken a while for me to find my feet in the New Year. I am trying to get going faster, quicker this time. I hesitate to call these resolutions, because I am not fond of the silly associations that go with that label. But here's my goals:

- Keep off somethingawful and reddit; I don't get much out of either and they waste a lot of time.
- cut far back on social media for the same reason
- don't take shortcuts on anything I do
- write
- Establish a useful, healthy routine to deal with the uncertainty of my current situation
Subgoal: work up easy to use shopping lists and budgets

Dec. 31st, 2016

wolf

On stuff

Here is a confession: I kind of hate New Year's.

This goes back for years. I tend to adopt an irresponsible sleep schedule after Christmas, even back in highschool. I remember one New Year's where I woke up groggily and knocked over a nice little marble chess set I'd got, breaking several pieces. It was not an auspicious start to the year.

And that's part of what I hate about New Year's - everything is too fraught with meaning and portent. It is just a day 365 days after the one last year. I'm not overly fond of resolutions anymore because I feel it's the gradual, day to day progress that really gets things done. (And because I tend to be unrealistic with mine.)

With all that said, I think I've gotten better at endings. In the past I was not fond of them and had little idea how to handle them. But at the end of this year - the end of graduate school as well - there are a lot of things for me to take stock of.

I've been re-organizing my books. Generally, this makes me feel better even if I'm unhappy with the disarray that's (almost always) come over the previous arrangement. This time, I've been trying to set aside books that I no longer need. I have been considering getting rid of some books that I've had for years - not because they weren't influential or because I don't like them anymore, but because I simply don't have the space.

The space in the house, yes. We have four bookshelves and they are overflowing. But also the mental space.

Because that's part of what I realized. When I was in high school, I wanted to have a whole library of books. And I pretty well succeeded at that. Then in undergrad I discovered used book sales, and hoo boy. I wanted to read all the fantasy books and all the history books and all the cookbooks and they were all so gloriously cheap. And I lost my discernment. I lost any sense of perspective about what I could read.

The same has been true about video games on Steam as an aside. The best antidote towards wanting to buy a new game or two during a Steam sale is to sit down and play some of the ones I have. Because they take a long time and a lot of commitment! And I'm more prone to just chip away at a couple games anyways.

So the point is, I had been keeping all my old books - Discworld, Black Company, many others. Those books were where I was coming from. I was also buying new books for where I wanted to be. But I got so many books it got overhwhelming and (in conjunction with some bad habits I've discussed at length previously) I hardly read any of them.

Then time passed and my interests continued to develop. I became more interested in occult history, science fiction, and horror. And I got books to go with those interests, too.

So - especially about two years ago, I had:
- the books for how I was way in the past at my parents' house
- the books I for how I was in undergrad (World of Darkness RPG books)
- the books for how I wanted to be in undergrad (Exalted RPG books and many, many fantasy books)
- the books for how I was then (Cthulhu and Gumshoe books; occult and history)
- a smattering of books gifted to me at various points that I hadn't had the heart to get rid of

And there's not space in your head to hold all that, let alone space in your house. I would look at other people's houses, with their one (!) bookshelf of their very favorite books and just could not understand it. Where were the rest of their books?

It was difficult but I was finally able to start pruning my books. Some went to sales. Some went to friends, and most went to libraries. No matter how earnestly I intended to read the book when I got it, I had to start being a bit more realistic.

And ... like getting rid of my multiple boxes of old video games, it felt good. I felt free of the obligation of having something I would never use, that just made me feel guilty for ignoring it. I no longer had to move it from place to place, trying to make room. Sometimes I regret getting rid of a particular item, but it tends to be brief. Most of the time, they really are out of mind - gone on to better homes.

The ending isn't totally pat, though. I still have many books to go through (3+ shelves; one is Jill's) and parting with them is rarely easy. I am always tempted to simply get more bookshelves if I'm being honest. But working out these categories - especially the aspirational books that I got for a hypothetical, future me has helped a lot in the sorting.
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Aug. 31st, 2016

wolf

Writing list (original ideas do not steal)

Hey jerkface you should write the stuff you've planned to:

Specifically:
- Ghouls of New York rework or potentially Gumshoe city zoom
- Eclipse Phase adventure: Cyberpunk-esque Jovian Republic investigation
- Call of Catthulhu (this one's even been diagrammed and playtested)
- Maybe: historical scientist mash-up? I can't decide whether it would be more fun to play it straight (Cthulhu) or more like Atomic Robo.

That's not a bad start, I think. I still want to work on a card-based resolution for a horror game, but I have to come up with something better than Murderous Ghosts to make it worthwhile and that's a fairly tall order.

Initially I thought of adapting other card games, but learning (some of) Euchre has showed me - the card game part has to be simple, simple, simple. Card games are mostly complex enough to be very engaging in their own right. That's generally too complex for a resolution mechanic.
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Aug. 24th, 2016

wolf

RPGaDay August

No one reads livejournal anymore, so no one will know that I started this 24 days late. Perfect. (Or that I did them all in one day.)

August 1: Do you prefer to use real dice, a dice application or program, or use a diceless system?

I like physical dice, though they don't like me.

August 2: What is the best game session you have had since August 2015?

As a player, Red Markets at GenCon was really hard to top. As a GM - I think one of the first Night Floors type Delta Green games I ran, probably?

August 3: What is something you have done with your game character that you are the proudest of?

I was pretty pleased when we harpooned a dragon with a ballista attached to a chain and yanked it out of the sky, I'm not going to lie. I spent a lot of time planning that particular session.

I feel like I don't get to brag on my DM characters since they have so much story control. But hopefully I've made MewTwo scary enough in Team Rocket. I am proud of the look of dawning horror Jill had when she realized that her character had met MewTwo about 5-6 sessions into the game - and had been mentally programmed not to remember it.

August 4: What is the most impressive thing that you can remember another player’s character doing in a session?

Working hard to redeem a paragon of an evil god is up there, I think. (Jill's character in Awakening.)

The other one is the eulogies that Pat made up for each of the masks in Pirates. They were extremely good and gave the last session so much more depth.

August 5: What story does your group of players tell about your character?

Unfortunately it is sometimes about the racist undead guy I made while kinda drunk to make fun of racists. And also how D&D takes about race/species with monsters like the yuan-ti.

Oh, and for my psion character, all the times she goes looking in other people's heads for their hidden secrets.

August 6: What is the most amazing thing that you know a game group has done for their community?

I have to say that I don't know a lot of these. I know some of the RPPR crew has done volunteering in the past, but I feel like that's more individuals instead of as a coordinated group? Which seems like what the question is asking?

August 7: What aspect of Roleplaying Games has had the biggest effect on you?

The social aspect. Running games even with my closest friends used to scare the hell out of me. It still did for a long, long time. I kept doing it though, and I think I've got better. Now I've run games for people I hardly know and (mostly) tables I don't know.

I think working on that through role-playing has helped my teaching as well.

August 8: Do you prefer hardcover, softcover, or electronic books? What are the benefits of your preference?

I prefer hardcover, as spendy as they are. I like being able to flip through the book and I like the physical artifact. I like how well hardcovers hold up and I like asking the author(s) to sign it if I get a chance.

But they are expensive and man they're heavy.

August 9: What things are a part of your ideal session, other than the actual game?
What helps make a game session go from being good toward being 'perfect' for you?


Other ... than ... the game? To me a perfect session is one where the other stuff kinda drops away. Everyone is really invested. For the games I run, it's usually invested in their characters, but it can be invested in figuring out the mechanics puzzles too.

It's hard to describe, but you can tell when that energy is there and you've really tapped into the creative well for all the players. It's just the best.

Music and props can help with that, sure, but they aren't as key as that group energy.

August 10: What was the largest in-game surprise you have experienced?

Hm. Citing one where I was GM feels like really patting my own back, but I do think having Pat play a doppelganger of his character was pretty good. (Monster of the Week)

As a player? Probably the first time I got to do a Cthulhu themed LARP and everyone started dying and going mad around me while my (very rational) doctor saw none of it. He thought it was a mass hallucination up to the end - where he was murdered by another person. (And then devoured by ghoul children.)

August 11: Which gamer that you have played with has most affected the way that you play?

It has to be my wife Jill. She has played in so many of my games, listened to so many of my RPG monologues, and provided so much feedback over the years. I am unspeakably lucky that she enjoys these elfgames too.

August 12: What game is your group most likely to play next? Why?

Hoo. Maybe Eclipse Phase? I really want to run that or Base Raiders or Better Angels soon. And I am the one who introduces new games to the group, so I am the decider.

Of our regular schedules, well, Dungeon World and then Monsters and Other Childish Things (Pokemon flavored).

August 13: What makes a successful campaign?

I think you need a reasonably good premise, but I think it's most important to pick up on what the players are bringing with their characters. They show up with characters who have a few things defined - as GM, it's your job to pose new questions.

That's what keeps both you and the player engaged with the character. Things like, "What is important to your character? What will they stop short of doing?" or even just "what do you do on your days off?" All of those go into the story, especially when you can make them cause interesting friction with other characters or the world.

When everyone feels like their character has no surprises left, I think the campaign runs out of juice. So you have to try and tie it up before that - leave a few questions!

August 14: Who would be on your dream team of people you used to game with?

If I'm being honest, my current groups are some of the best I've played with. I wish I could get my other friend Pat in on more games or that I could actually play Shadowrun/Eclipse Phase with John, though.

August 15: What types or source of inspiration do you turn to most often for RPGs?

Podcasts. I like to listen to other people play. I both enjoy it and study it. Books and serial TV are the back-ups, but I really love podcasts.

August 16: What historical character would you like in your group? For what game?

As .. a player? Or a character in the game?

For a player, I would love to see the expressions on HP Lovecraft's face as we set up for Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green.

As a character, the brilliant weirdness of Nikola Tesla is hard to beat, but is well established in the nerdosphere. I'd really love to see like a late 1800s game with Marie Curie, Robert Koch, Louis Pasteur. Science technothriller of 120 years ago. (I would put Cthulhu in it. I couldn't stop myself.)

August 17: What fictional character would best fit in your group? Why?

Of players? I don't know. I don't really understand this question.

Of characters? I have no idea for Dungeon World. It's a weird group.

August 18: What innovation could RPG groups gain the most benefit from?

I think just a little more tech (phone character sheets or rules look-ups) would go a long way.

I also think a bit better organization/graphic design would be huge. Textbooks are more slick than RPGs, but I have yet to see an RPG that is designed to teach itself during play. I think that would be incredibly cool and maybe make everyone else think about the now-standard model that they use.

August 19: What is the best way to learn a new game?

As a player:
Play it with a patient GM.

Failing that, listen to other people play it and see where they get confused. Use this in addition to reading the game.

As a GM:
Both of those, but also make your own cheat sheets. The process of thinking about where people will get confused (and trying to address it in advance) will help a lot.

August 20: What is the most challenging but rewarding system you have learned?

I have to be honest, I don't much go for systems that could be described as "challenging." I am almost always the one teaching a new system, so the more elegant, the better.

That said, I think Red Markets uses about every bit of its complexity well. So I'll say that. (Part of the challenge was learning it from a beta draft, but that was my choice.)

Runner-up is Eclipse Phase. As much as I love it, I do think that some of the complexity is maybe a bit much.

August 21: What was the funniest misinterpretation of a game rule in your group?

In the Red Markets beta, I had a couple.

I let them roll and roll to get over this truck, which is not really how it's supposed to work. If you allow a roll, the situation should change if they fail.

So they failed like 7 times in a row - all at trying to climb a truck. Most of the other stuff they did went relatively fine, but that truck defied all plans and all efforts to climb it.

I also let someone use their body armor to soak a hit to the leg. Oops! Neither armor nor physics nor the rules work that way.

Runner up is that Jill's Scum Enforcer punched a Fractal to pieces in Eclipse Phase. I'm pretty sure that the shock gloves aren't supposed to work that way, but I didn't have time to check and she kept rolling really well. And with this terrifying tehcnological monster, I could not roll for anything.

August 22: What are some random events in your games that keep happening?

Jen always goes straight for the Yellow King/Yellow sign/Carcosa.
Pat's characters die more than anyone else's in my games.
Jill has trouble resisting the sympathy traps.
Paul loves having secrets.

I guess these are more in terms of player traits than like, dice randomness.

August 23: Share one of your best 'Worst Luck' stories.

I feel like either my crippled Fractal or the unbeatable truck from Red Markets qualify.

Otherwise, my worst luck as a GM - I was running Call of Cthulhu d20 for the first time and one of my players rolls a 20 in a battle of wills versus an ancient artifact that he had just put down his pants. He took control of the artifact instead of vice-versa.*

* I know it doesn't have to work this way, rules as written. It was a high school game though. These things happen.

August 24: What is the game you are most likely to give to others as a gift?

I generally avoid giving games as gifts, because they do take so much time to learn. That said, I gave Atomic Robo to Pat last year. And I got two copies of Dinosaurs ... in Spaaace! to give as gifts because it's a neat little game. And well, that title.

August 25: What makes for a good character?

I feel like I touched on this above, in terms of how you keep campaigns fresh. But I think the characters are a big part of that. Make a character that has room to grow - always assume the most interesting part of their life is what we're seeing now.

Be open to the questions that the GM hits you with in the form of plot developments.

August 26: What hobbies go well with RPGs?

Cooking. Brewing. (Besides the obvious one of writing/reading a lot.)

August 27: Describe the most unusual circumstance or location in which you have gamed.

I (mostly successfully) ran a game of the Quiet Year on a boat. We didn't finish the game, but it was fun.

August 28: What film or novel would you be most surprised that a friend (in your gaming group) had not seen or read?

I accidentally skipped this but to be honest, it doesn't bother me. Generally I'm the one who hasn't seen the beloved nerd touchstone film. So if someone else hasn't sen a thing I love - for instance, Alien - that just means we can maybe watch it together instead.

August 29: If you could host a game anywhere on Earth, where would that be?

I think just a regular, laid-back kinda game would be great in an Irish pub kind of setting. I think that the Irish have some of the best pubs in the world and gaming is at its core a social activity.

For something ridiculously spooky, well, I know that there are many abandoned or sold underground missile bases. I think you could run a game there and it would be unforgettable.

August 30: Describe the ideal game room if your budget were unlimited.

Hahaha. Oh man. Ready?

At one point, I would have done the full medieval tavern type thing, but that's not really what I'd do now even with a blank check.

I'd like kind of an old-fashioned, classy study, but with a small bar or kegerator at one end. I would like most of the walls to be covered in heavy bookshelves that can actually support ALL my RPG hardcovers. I want a custom table with lift-out panels and cup-holders. Maybe the table is shaped like an elder sign. I don't know; it ultimately comes down to functionality. I did see a star-shaped 13th Age table once and it was super neat.

Edit: Obviously I would need a full set of Delta Green books for this, along with some other collections. Along with Eclipse Phase, Unknown Armies, and pretty much anything by Greg Stolze, Ken Hite, Robin Laws, Ross Payton, or Caleb Stokes.

Some of the shelves would be used for display purposes. Unsurprisingly, I would go for a Cthulhu type feel - so dark wood, some occult books, and a few spooky props. In practice, I already have most of the things I'd want - a collection of ocean shells, a microscope, a branch bent into a sculpture, and some fossils. Some old bottles with samples floating in them* would certainly complete the look, though.

(* Edit 2: I realize that my grandpa had some bottles exactly like that - he was a biology teacher - and they really fascinates/horrified a young Ken.)

I'd leave a little wall space for framed pictures and a corkboard for clues in mystery games. Pictures to be framed and hung would be: the raven picture from my sister, the shark-stabbing print from RPPR, and the print of Castle Dracula from the Dracula Dossier. Maybe a few old fashioned medical drawings too?

And finally (the budget was unlimited, after all) a set of dimmable lights and blue-tooth speakers throughout the room.

A part of me thinks of an H.R. Giger-esque room but it would be so hard to clean. Let's stick with the gaming study.

August 31: What is the best piece of advice you were ever given for your game of choice?

"These characters are fated to have a confrontation with the unnatural. What's up to them is how they prepare for that encounter." Slightly paraphrased. It's advice from Greg Stolze on running Delta Green or similar Cthulhu games.

It helps balance the fear of railroading with the focus/tension that is absolutely necessary for horror. The thing about horror is that you can't escape it - that's what makes it horror in the first place. Players will often test this by making sensible decisions that would seem to leave them safe. The challenge as GM is making situations that still pull them close to that fated encounter without feeling too contrived.

It's a balancing act, but it's also one of the reasons horror is harder to run. But also more potentially rewarding than doing another dungeon crawl.
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Jun. 14th, 2016

wolf

Red Motivation

Some of the ideas from Red Markets have been proving helpful when dealing with the lead up to graduation.

This morning I thought I was going to have to teach with no rosters, no worksheets, and possibly no electricity. My first thought was, "the job always has a complication." And I managed to start figuring out what I could do, instead of spiraling down into panic.

(It turned out that I got all of those things by the time class started.)

I've also been thinking of the various bureaucratic hurdles as the milestones towards getting out. In RM, it's getting out of a zombie wasteland. Here, it's just getting out of grad school. Those in the zombie wasteland (or the actual poverty that inspired the game) have it much worse. But it really helps to think of these things (6 month meeting, thesis chapters, etc) as both cost and investment instead of strictly obligations that I feel unprepared for.

I have two milestones down. I am working steadily on the third. The way it's set up, GenCon is the reward. And if I work hard enough and smart enough, I will be able to finish this up and feel awesome instead of just drained to nothing and stressed, the way I usually do.

Make no mistake: I am pretty busy all the time. But I am worrying less about some of the things that have bogged me down in the past. I just don't have time.
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Jun. 3rd, 2016

wolf

SAusterity

One week in.

Report:

Some side effects:
- checking other time wasting sites a bit more, but not with the same frequency as SA
- I feel a tiny bit out of the loop on RPG news but I've also realized just how incredibly gossipy SA is.

= Finally tried to redesign my standing desk to actually work with my desk (an ongoing project, unfortunately). I may have mangled it a bit, but I think it's fixable. It was only an Ikea end table to begin with..

+ without the mostly unrewarding socializing of SA, I think I am responding to people's texts and messages more promptly and more in depth
+ reading more: mostly comic books and novels, some wikipedia articles. Still better.
+ I feel better at planning things and holing plans in my head, like there really is some space freed up
+ I feel a bit more curious. Maybe more creative, but that may just be "not wanting to write on my thesis." Increasingly I suspect that creativity is directed boredom, or a self-defense against boredom. There's a really good Satuday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic about how, as we get older, a ton of our brain space gets tied up by old arguments we're still having. It feels like turning that off.

Overall: I've pretty much wanted to fall back into that reflexive behavior every day. If that's not an indication that I should be cutting back, I don't know what is.

I realized, too, that I've been reading forums of one stripe or another since about age 12. Often the time I spent on them was limited by the activity; once I'd read everything posted that day on Nintendorks or Trinada, I'd stop. Obviously. But on the larger forums, you never have to hit that point. It is an infinite skinner box and when you're using it to avoid something else, it really can go on forever.

I'm not going to swear off ALL FORUMS FOREVER but I think I should go awhile without checking much, if at all. I still see some fun stuff on the RPPR forums, but it's much more like the old ones - a funny picture every few days, not a constant stream of discussion and arguments.

I've felt like I have more time this way, even with being unusually tired this week. I would like to keep that up, because I am going to need all the minutes I can get this summer.

May. 31st, 2016

wolf

it's happened!

Whee. Some "weekend hangover" effect today.

In that, I'm not actually hungover at all, but I am mentally tired. I think there's some consequences for the bad sleeping and irregular eating of the weekend. It's hard to do all the things!

I did run my Eclipse Phase game. Ah, er. I would do some things differently for next time.

Thoughts:
- either have people make characters in a very simple, stripped down way over the course of the game or do better prep. RPPR's Ross did the first and I think it maybe works better than using the pregens.

The pregens did lead to a lot of great questions and ways "in" to the setting, though. So I'm not totally sure.

If I used pregens again, I would have people do it the week before, then work on making sure they had all the equipment listed on the sheets. I did as much of that as I could, but some of it was missing and led to rules hiccups.

- Trim it down and/or make it multiple sessions. Half the table was getting pretty tired by the end.

- Make sure that the security side knows what they prevented/controlled with hacking. That player didn't feel like he did much when in fact he sidestepped most of the pre-written obstacles.

- Add in some more roleplay heavy parts? It definitely went as a primarily tactical run.

- Get better at the combat/hacking rules. I did okay.

That said! I had a lot of fun preparing it and I loved how everyone got into the setting. I am glad that I did it despite rules hiccups.

Final analysis: Not perfect! The crunchiest game I've run since 13th Age! But fun and everyone at least said they had fun.

Other stuff:

3.5 days clean on somethingawful. Checked reddit a couple more times than usual instead, not great there.

I feel like it's freed up some mental resources for curiosity, though. After we watched Fellowship of the Ring last night I spent about 30-45 minutes reading up on backstory on wikipedia articles. It was interesting and I probably wouldn't have done it if I could have just checked in to SA.

The impulse is still there, though. Like, watch FotR -> think about fantasy RPGs -> want to look at the 13th Age thread or other fantasy RPG ones.

But I haven't actually read all the 13th Age books, so that would be a better use of my time. On a larger level, the 13th Age thread is not too bad on negativity - mostly cool stories and homebrew classes in the past. But if you venture into the D&D themed areas, well, suddenly it's nothing about fantasy at all. It's all about feat taxes, balance, and especially whatever the current WotC employee in charge of D&D said on twitter. I not only don't care about all that, I don't want to read about it at all.

I am hoping that the trend continues, because I've really felt that my creativity isn't too high lately. My hope is that, with less junk food, my brain will get back to more original and curious thoughts.

Other RPG talk:
Somewhat similarly, I was reading an article about Torchbearer this morning. The article really loved the game and how well designed it is. But the whole dungeon crawling in the muck aspect isn't really what draws me to fantasy in the first place. I really want the soaring vistas and interesting interactions between bizarre characters. If I want a game about desperate, hard scrabble people trying to eke out a living, Red Markets is more my thing. To me, that kind of desperation works perfectly in Lovecraftian and post-apocalyptic stories.

But it's more jarring for me in fantasy. I actually see most fantasy as ultimately heroic or aspirational, and being ground into the mud of the dungeon isn't really what I want to do there. Maybe in a computer game, but Darkest Dungeon is a lot different when you control all the peasants. Basically, it's the difference between Darkest Dungeon [Dungeon Crawl Classics - grimdark meatgrinder] and Torchbearer [Dungeon Crawl grind] and 13th Age [straight-up heroic fantasy].

A lot of people see it differently, which is totally fine, but that's definitely where I'm coming from. Pat's game is definitely more survival fantasy, I'd say.

May. 26th, 2016

wolf

it's happening!

Mostly RPG stuff, though several kinds are happening.

Eclipse Phase: I am getting to run Eclipse Phase! Yay! In ... 2.5 days! Uh! I am cramming for the rules and trying to get my one-shot ready. In a rare show of restraint, I went for the merely "medium concept" instead of high concept weirdness. I think it was the correct call. Hopefully it will be engaging enough.

I am stripping down parts of the rules and the setting - though it pains me, I think it's the only way to introduce it. Hopefully I will get enough of what makes the setting so cool to me baked into a 3-4 hour game. I have not historically been great at writing games for that time spot - the DW island game being the significant exception.

Part of me thinks that EP might be a better fit for a long-running campaign than Delta Green. But I don't know! I really like both!

Delta Green Throwing out my best ideas, plus several of other people's ideas mixed in. People seem to be liking it! I am however, still terrible at predicting how long it takes for people to play through stuff - we'll be starting session 3 soon and I expected that many more things would've come into play. On the plus side, I have a sequel game in my pocket?

Red Markets is kickstarting and doing quite well!
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May. 1st, 2016

wolf

relax day

Today I didn't get anything accomplished. I got up at noon, for one.

I washed some dishes, I guess. I swept a little and listened to some more Delta Green APs.

But mostly I played Deus Ex: Human Revolution, watched X-files, read a little of John Dies at the End.

It was really nice. I only really felt justified because I'd been sick and, well, April was a vicious monster of a month. And I was just too tired to start a project or work on an old one. It was nice to have an actual whole recharge day. It's been a long, long time.

Yesterday was pretty laid-back, too. Pizza, the movie Infernal Affairs, and board games. Lots of tea. I did workout despite being short of breath, completing nine full months of workouts.

I think, even with the stress, I have been learning how to like things again. We watched some of the Americans and it's really good. I finished watching Exile (previously titled the Sunderland Experiment) and it was weird in a way that I really enjoyed despite some rough spots. Infernal Affairs was really fun to watch.

And Deus Ex is super good, the first video game that's really pulled me in a long while. The Wii U version seems to have some nice improvements over the clunky controls of the PC one and the gamepad support is great. It's very much a cyberpunk mystery and the mystery elements are engaging. So are the upgrades - they're fun and let you do new stuff. I know the game came out years ago but that is how I do.

John Dies at the End is really fun, too. I think I'm about halfway through.

As I type this, Goblin is watching through a slitted dragon eye as he cuddles Bruce possessively. I guess he is jealous, Bruce spent about 10-15 hours this weekend on my lap.

Mar. 29th, 2016

wolf

.. I have dreams ...

I think I had a nightmare about the Last Equation last night.

I know that I was trapped in a series of dreams composed of numbers and angles. There were no non-mathematical concepts; only relationships indicated by numbers. If people were, say, in the same numbered division of soldiers or workers, there was no way to tell them apart. They were 12th division and that was the end of it.

And everything was fragmentary; the numerical confusion was only compounded by a fractured, angular perception of everything I looked at. Picture the compound vision of a fly, but break it into shifting uneven components. Make sure that the angles are all acute, creating a perception of movement even when still.

I wasn't totally asleep, either, as noises came in and out. The sound of the house creaking and Jill snoring just slightly became the creaking of a rope but I could not tear myself free of the numbers to see what was hanging in the rope. (But in a dream-state like that, in the middle of the night, you know.) I couldn't wake all the way up either; I got a drink of water, then went back to the numbers and angles.

There was no monster. My perception was just alien. It was one of the more unsettling dreams/experiences I can recall.
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