Monthly Archives: January 2009

Roleplaying Humor

Today there were a couple of posts on the Christian Gamers Guild e-mail list giving examples of “you must be a gamer if…” type humorous observations. While I won’t quote them, I will paraphrase them, and add my own observations:

The first one dealt with hearing the name of a location in a gaming world in an unrelated context, and the second dealt with knowing more about the history of the gaming world than the real world. Both of these are not exclusive to RPG players. Avid fans of games, as well as dramatic stories or series can fall into these traps.

A second poster brought up a couple I’ve been guilty of. First is the tendency to think of real world problems in gaming terms. The second is similar and is using D&D alignments to discuss characters in other media.

I’ve been guilty of the first on a few occasions, even recently when I haven’t played any RPGs for too many years. I’ve also looked at characters in TV shows and movies and observed how their actions would be seen in light of the mechanics of various games. I distinctly remember doing this at some point in high school or college, probably during a 007 game, when a couple of us were away from the main gaming session due to being “off stage,” we were observing a TV show (Remington Steel IIRC) that other members of the host’s family were watching and kept making comments about the actions in terms of the game we were playing (“He just used a Hero Point” or “That was clearly a critical failure”).

I’ve also been known to use the mapping of characters from other media to D&D alignments, but largely as a way to clarify my perception of the alignment rather than to clarify the character in anyway.

Songs of Deep Space Lament

This afternoon, my iPod served up in the course of an hour or so two different songs that have a theme, more or less, of the lament of a deep space traveler.

First up was Queen’s “39” — in which the protagonist returns to Earth after a long voyage near light speed only to meet up with his girlfriend’s granddaughter.

A while later (with perhaps one full or partial album in between — A Night at the Opera is only a partial album in my iTunes library) it started playing filkertom‘s Tom Smith And His Digital Acoustic … (Sorry billroper, I don’t recall the whole title, and that is as far as the iPod display shows) which features the song “Starlight and Saxophone” in which a crewmember on night watch on a deep space vessel laments leaving both his girlfriend and saxophone behind for the journey.

House plants in the ground

Intellectually, I know that most house plants come from wild plants; and that no wild plant originally comes from inside any building. However, I’m still often a bit startled at first to see something I think of as a house plant growing in some garden.

I first observed this after moving to the Chicago area. Most of the time I was growing up, we had geraniums in the house. Over the years we had several different colors, and even had some “lemon” geraniums — which smell more like lemon than geranium when you rub their leaves. But in Chicago, and I presume elsewhere, geraniums are sold not as house plants, but as outdoor annuals. At first this seemed strange since I knew for a fact that in a house, geraniums could live for several years. But cold weather obviously kills them.

But geraniums as garden annuals is just the start. Now that I live in a sub-tropical Mediterranean climate, I’m seeing more house plants in gardens than I’ve ever seen before.

Just outside the front door of the house we are renting are two spider or airplane plants, one variegated and one solid. The solid one has just sent out some runners, so there may soon be more.

Airplane plants, or as they are more commonly known: spider plants, were another common house plant growing up. They were usually in hanging pots where their runners could drape artistically below the main pot.

Also, I’ve seen a number of what I’m sure are snake plants used around here.

One of the house plants that I selected, but my mom took over caring for after a couple of years, was a snake plant. When I bought it, it was a single blade about 6 inches long. That plant, or possibly its descendants still live in my parent’s greenhouse porch, but now in a 2.5-3 foot pot and has blades a couple of feet long.

I’m sure if I look around, I’ll find other plants that I’m used to thinking of as house plants growing in gardens around here — and that is without counting some of the larger plants that my mom now has growing in their greenhouse.

Not Feeling Encouraged — Martial Arts

Today I took my third group class, and first sparing emphasis class at USSD. Afterwards, and for a lot of the time during the class, I was feeling discouraged about weather this would be the best school for me, or Derrick. The problem is NOT the people or the teaching, which is pretty good. The problem is with how different the art seems to be than what I’m used to.

As I mentioned here, there are some distinct differences from what I learned at National Karate. Today as we were drilling sparing related skills, I started feeling very out of place — worse than if I were a true beginner. Almost nothing seemed to feel close to what I’m used to. One big difference was that we were supposed to be alternating the front side, and keeping our chest much more towards the opponent that I’m used to in any martial skill I’ve practiced (National Karate, SCA fencing, Olympic Fencing). On top of this, the combat drills were slow enough to completely throw off my timing.

One other thing that worried me was the level of personal protection required. When those who had the equipment put it on, they only had head gear — and one of them had an open face mask — hand, feet and shin protection. I’m used to adding a chest protector and elbow pads to the mix. Not having good chest protection, and possibly not having a face mask, would make me hesitant to use one of my favorite weapons — my legs.

Since I have much better reach with my legs than my arms (I think I have long legs for my height) when I can get them up they are a good closing or distance attack. Occasionally being able to kick someone my height in the head (genitally) doesn’t hurt either.

I still have at least two more group classes, and another private lesson, before my free trial ends — and I’ve signed Derrick up for one that hasn’t started yet (I don’t think) — so I won’t want to rush out and start calling other schools. But if I could find one closer to what I’m used to, I think I’d prefer it.

I’m not totally accepting “A is not B”

I suppose that, at least in part, because of coming off of the initial excitement about the new job and new location after 5 months, I’m starting to notice that some of my activities are not quite the same as what I had in the Chicago area, and it is bothering me more than it should.

USSD is not National Karate

Current Political Placement Meem

Since others have posted their results, I’ll post mine.

My Political Views
I am a center-right social libertarian
Right: 2.56, Libertarian: 4.3

Political Spectrum Quiz

Other results below

Tentitive, Preliminary, Summer Plans

robot_grrl and I are starting to firm up the family’s summer plans. We have done nothing yet to commit ourselves (such as buying airline tickets), but will probably do so fairly soon (once we are sure we know how to pay for this and some other arrangements are finalized).

We are planing to fly Tara’s mother out to Oceanside in June so that she can stay will Derrick for a week or so at the end of his school. This will allow both of us to fly to Chicago for DucKon. Alas, due largely to the amount of vacation I have, we’ll probably only be in Chicago from sometime Wednesday or Thursday leaving the following Monday. I’d have loved to spend a whole week, and will try to in the future.

After we return, and Derrick’s school is done, he will fly back to Chicago with his grandmother and will spend a good chunk of the summer in Rockford.

While we are left childless for a couple of months, we will do a few things almost locally. In early July we drive to Tempe and attend Westercon. Again because of my vacation, we may not get there quite at the beginning. I’ll have to double check my holidays to see which days I’m off. We’ll also probably have to leave earlier on Sunday than I’d really like so that I can go back to work on Monday.

Then, later in July, we will attend our first San Diego Comic Con. I’m not planning on taking Thursday or Friday off, and we won’t be getting a hotel down there — unless we hear that it would be absolutely necessary to fully enjoy ourselves. I’ll probably go down after work, and meet Tara who will head down earlier. I’ll have to take the train, but I’ve already checked out how that route works.

Finally, in August we’ll fly to Montreal. We will have to make sure that our trip out, at least, has a layover in Chicago that is long enough so that one of us can go back through security and pick up Derrick to bring him to meet with us.

This looks to be a fairly busy summer. Of course next summer will be just about as busy. Of course since we’ll be going to Australia, we’ll probably skip Westercon. On the other hand, we may be hitting up a few other cons to support the Chicago in 2012 bid.

Return to Past Activities

Today, and moving into later this month, shows that some of the outside activities that I enjoyed before moving to San Diego are starting to return, but in obviously modified ways.

Martial Arts

Book sentence meme

Grab the book nearest you. Right now. Turn to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Post that sentence along with these instructions in your LiveJournal. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

“‘I have a Question.'”

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, Book One Bill Watterson

For reference, the 5th sentence on the page is the bubble in the first panel of the strip from February 7, 1986.

FWIW, the Calvin and Hobbes book ended up in the office next to my computer when I took it up here to read a couple of weeks ago (Christmas Day IIRC). Since I don’t have most of my technical books unpacked, it is about the only book in the office at the moment.

Golden Compas Daemon Test

After watching robot_grrl do it, I decided to try the Golden Compass Daemon test.

Your result for The Golden Compass Daemon Test…

Regal Soul