Role Playing, How I Missed Thee

Recently a friend of mine asked me to participate in a role-playing game via email. I was hesitant at first as I had never done anything like that before and was not sure about how it would work and then there was the matter of time, or rather, lack of. Yes, I am just like everyone else in the world–I have a lot to do and just not enough time to get it done. And I was sure that a RPG by email set up would eat a lot of time, what with all the reading and typing that would be required. Still, it had been years since I’d role played anything other than a video game character and the idea sounded interesting so I figured I would give it a shot.

I will not bore you with the details of the game as I understand how off-putting it can be when some nerd starts to talk about the sweet ass campaign their Marshal is running for them, but I will say this–my friend the Marshal is running one hell of a sweet ass campaign right now.

Well, I was right that it is taking up a lot of time. I am not complaining, however because the other players know what they are doing (I kind of do, but I am still learning and I’m probably annoying some people, but hey, it would be like that if we were in the same room talking trash and slinging dice–learning and annoying other players are all an essential part of any rpg. ) and it has been quite enjoyable thus far, and if it means I spend less time watching stupid Youtube videos or reading about the San Jose Sharks online, then that is okay. The chances of me being at my computer and online are quite high. In fact, I am glad that it is taking up some time because that means the story and character interactions intrigue me, and I am eager to see where everything is headed. Time commitment and my enjoyment of events in the game thus far aside, the element of the game which has really struck me is the format, or how the game is played.

The format, different and new as it is to mean, lends itself to creativity and the honing of expression through writing. We play via email which means that we have to be able to paint a picture with words so that the others in the group can understand just what the hell is going on, but at the same time, too much text or description muddles the page and makes things and events sometimes hard to follow. A delicate balance must be struck between too much description and too little. Plus there is the matter of the Marshal and what he allows/disallows. But, it has started to tickle the writing part of my brain, and I have found myself writing more. Just not here on the blog. I’ve been working on something somewhere else. That piece is progressing nicely now, but probably would not even exist if I my friend had not invited me to play in his group.

So Slash, if you’re reading this, thanks again for the invite and to any others in the group who might read this I’m looking at one of you, but I leave it up to you to identify yourself, reveal your not so secret identity as a comics and games nerd, sorry, connoisseur.

And to everyone else, thanks for reading and commenting if you did. I hope you found this somewhat entertaining or interesting. And if you didn’t, why the hell did you read to the end? This is the internet, there’s always porn you could be watching.

Anne Hathaway to play Catwoman.

The subject of this post if of little to no import, but be that as it may, I could not in good conscience let this article go unaddressed.

Warning: The title and the above misdirects, and they are the only things in this post that relate to Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.
Two things:
1: Bane is not an “obscure character” in the Batman universe. True, he has only been around for for 17-18 years, and in terms of Batman that is a very short time, but this is the dude that broke Batman’s back and helped Lex Luthor take over Gotham City after it had been devastated by a massive earthquake (Don’t Ask).

I am willing to grant that the majority of movie goers do not know who Bane is, as demonstrated by the increase of searches for him, but the Bat-movie verse is not the end all be all of the entire bat-verse.

There’s a whole slew of Batman and Batman related titles that released every week and month, and they have these people called READERS (they used to be called collectors but since it’s not cool to collect things anymore, unless it’s the souls of innocents, READER has now, as of this writing, officially taken its proper place in the nerd vernacular to describe those who enjoy comics) and there are a lot of them. Sure, there aren’t as many reader as there are movie watchers, but it seems very difficult to believe that fewer than 70% of those readers would know who Bane is. Hell, even if it clocked in at 50% he would still not be an obscure character in the Bat-verse. Now Bat Mite or Deadshot... now those guys are obscure (and before anyone goes and says something stupid like “Deadshot isn’t a Bat-villain” I say shut up, it says so right there on the Wiki page that he is. Deadshot may not be a recurring rogue for Batman, but the two have tangled more than a carpenter’s dozen, so I see nothing wrong with placing him in Batman’s rogues gallery. Besides, if Batman is not Deadshot’s enemy, who or what is? Well, I suppose it could be his ultra-douchery, but I don’t think so.

And as far as Bat Mite goes, nobody knows what the hell he is (hey lay off with all that “but it says right there on Wikipedia, don’t you know that shit can be hacked and that you shouldn’t just blindly trust what you read on the internet?) let alone who he is–see I was making a point.

2: The ignorance of the author of this article concerning Batman notwithstanding–I enjoyed Hardy’s performance in Inception so at least Bane should be bolstered by that, and I wonder if Nolan is going to tell his own version of Knightfall.

Vonnegut got it right

Back in 1965 or so, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. published a novel called God Bless you, Mr. Rosewater and in that novel he wrote these words. They come not ten pages into the thing, and they are some of the most profound, bitter, and heartfelt words I have ever read. It is also amazing, to me, how close they come to describing modern day attitudes in America, but then I guess corporate greed is really nothing new.

Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.

There really is nothing more to add save that once again, I am amazed and astounded at Vonnegut’s prescience and access to the truth everyone knows but either is afraid to speak or is ignorant as to how to put those thoughts and ideas into comprehensible and meaningful sentences and phrases.

God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut.

You’re in college

That means you are an adult and must take responsibility for your own actions. That does not mean that when you fail a class you have your mother call the dean to complain.

This is not a hypothetical.

Christmas and New Year’s in the CZ

For the second time in three years I was unable to make it home for the holidays. It’s just too far and too expensive, especially since I would have only been able to be there for about 9 days, and that’s before you count the two days of travel (one day there and one day back) and the day or two it takes to recover from the 9 hour difference. So that’s at least four days wasted, which would have given me a grand total of 5 days, which is just not worth going through the hassle of traveling halfway across the world, especially during the Christmas season.
So what did I do? the two of you who still read this thing may be asking, and even if you are not I am going to tell you anyway. That’s just the kind of guy that I am.

For Christmas I had originally planned to stay at home and do nothing. You know, relax and try not to think about all the stress my students had been causing me for the past month and a half–the stress was getting so bad that I wanted to punch the world. I was in a seriously bad mood, and no amount of drinking or hanging out with friends or masturbating helped things. I think it was a combination of factors.
One being that some students have been really difficult this semester–the difficult ones are always there, but it seems like they have come out in force this time around.

Another factor being that it was my birthday and as much as I try not to let it bother me, it still does some times. It’s not that I mind getting old–that’s a part of life–it’s all the hullabaloo that surrounds birthdays that bothers me. I don’t need a party, or even for people to know that I had a birthday. All I need is a beer and a good meal. Company is optional and not always appreciated. (I know, I know, I’m coming off as a cantankerous and ungrateful ass, but I can’t help how I feel about it.) But of course I did have a party (with another friend whose birthday is on the 24th of December) and it was fun, but I can’t say that I really enjoyed it as I am somewhat anti-social in general, and those feelings really started to manifest themselves at the end of November and most of the way through December, and anti-social behavior and parties don’t really mix too well.

The third factor was probably a little bit of resentment that I could not go home for the holiday. I was okay with it, really, but I was not happy about it and I’m sure some of that unhappiness was seeping into other areas of my life like work and friendships. I’ve been alone on Christmas and Thanksgiving before (never in a foreign country) and I survived. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s not terrible, but it is not something that I especially enjoy or look forward to. So the original plan was to be alone, cook a nice meal for myself, relax and watch movies or read or something.

Well, that didn’t happen…

Instead a friend of mine invited me to Christmas dinner at her grandparents’ house. This was an invitation I heartily accepted, and I am glad I did. I was still in a bad mood on Christmas day (that’s the 24th here in the CZ), but I forced myself to put on a smile, shower and go have a good time with my friend and her family–and a good time was had by all. Katerina’s (that’s her name) grandparents don’t speak English, but her grandfather can understand some, and her mother does speak English, though she was shy to speak because she did not feel that her English was very good. Still, she made an effort and that was nice (and more than I can say for myself concerning Czech).

There was lots of food–
pea soup
fried fish (other than carp)
fried carp
potato salad
sausages
schnitzel
and lots of other foodstuffs.
The traditional Czech Christmas meal is fried carp and potato salad. Since I had already spent a Christmas in the Czech Republic and tried the Christmas Carp I did not partake in any of it this time around, but I did eat everything else. And lots of it. I truly lived up to America’s reputation as a country of fat bastards who can’t stop stuffing their faces. I think it was appreciated though, as the meal took all day to prepare, and who wants to go through all that effort if people are only going to nibble and pick like squirrels.

For New Year’s my plans were once again to stay home and relax–I enjoy New Year’s, but I guess I just wasn’t really in the holiday spirit this year–but once again Katerina thwarted my plans and invited me to a party with some other people I knew, and I knew that they could speak English. So I went, and again I was not in the best of moods before leaving my flat to go to the party, but once I got there I was almost immediately glad that I had come. There were games and booze and fireworks and drunken conversation. Fun times were had by all.

So for those of you (maybe three of you now, but I still think it’s only two) who might have been wondering what the unrulytravller did for his holidays, there you go.