October 7, 2011


What is dubstep?

I read the wikipedia article and still have no idea. However, this youtube street performer was my first intro to "dubstep" a few years ago.

I am suddenly super into this type of music with an interesting, fast-paced bass and electronic beat. I stumbled upon SoundCloud, which has a dubstep tag today. It is way way better than my Pandora radio station that I've been trying to cobble together to listen to at work. Of course, now that I'm going out of the country for two weeks, I'm unlikely to listen to any of this.

I'm in a really groove-based, yet high energy wanting to dance mood. I think this actually started at PAX this year. There was a room, Jamspace, that I stopped by on my way to see what was up with story games. It was really awesome and I caught one or two of the last songs by these two guys, but I don't remember their names. I think one of them had was some sort of animal or insect name. I really enjoyed standing in the back and letting the music wash over me.

It was a novelty to be by myself, at a mini concert. There's so few times that I'm not doing something with someone else to share it with that it's hard to enjoy things by myself. I don't remember the last time I watched a movie on my own. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've eaten at a nice restaurant by myself. I don't particularly think it's because I can't do things on my own. I like sharing things that I think are cool with everyone else I know. I'm that person who derives maximum enjoyment out of looking at art and shows when I can whisper my thoughts and comments to someone.

It's like I almost don't trust that my experience on my own will be as valid or real without someone else there to share the reality. I should probably get over this, but it's so hard because I don't want someone else to miss out on something awesome. I'm always optimistic that the things I go to are going to be awesome. Why wouldn't you want to want to come with me?  It's going to be awesome.

I'm Leaving On a Jet Plane

It's been a while since I've made an international flight. Not super long. Two and a half years?

One of the differences I feel this time is not so much the "I'm going somewhere!", but more the "I'm leaving." aspect of traveling. This isn't the first time I've felt jaded about travel and I'm not sure why the aversion. I kind of like doing touristy stuff and browsing the little kitschy shops. What I dislike is the pressure I feel to take an obligatory photo of said landmark or landscape with someone in the foreground. I like the feeling of being far far away from everything familiar and being able to adapt and test my limits of going with the flow. I dislike constantly worrying about forgetting something, whether it's when I first leave, every time I leave the hotel, switching transportation, or leaving from a restaurant or event. I also don't like being super paranoid about things like money (is that guy going to rob me), the water (being sick on the go sucks), the time (don't want to get left behind).

I think for once in my life I'm kind of feeling like a vacation where I don't actually do all that much and I spend all of my time sitting in the warm shade reading and all events and food and water are perfectly safe. Like an all-inclusive cruise. Mmmm, food buffets 24 hrs/day! Now there's something to get excited over ;).

Also, taking a longer vacation caused a lot more organizing and training of back-ups than I anticipated at work. Everyone wants to get their shit out the door on Nov. 1st. So slightly bad timing. But I'm sure everything will work out. /supersincere

One thing that I remembered though that will make this fun is that Zach and I will not need to drive anything anywhere. So we can drink at any time!  All times! Vacation is awesome! However, I have no idea what kind of alcohol is available in China. Are there cocktails? I don't remember drinking much when I was in Japan either. I'm again glad that Zach talked me into bringing another and bigger check-in luggage because I'm going to need something to bring back the booze. Foreign, exotic booze is so cool that we don't ever drink it (case in point, the rum that we brought back from Jamaica two and a half years ago).

October 4, 2011

Story Episode #10

Ten minutes later, after both our hands were sprayed and the mess cleaned up, Jack abruptly said, "Good job. I know you know I didn't think you guys had it in you, but I'm impressed. I'd pat you on the shoulder but my hands are still wet."

I shrugged, a little sullenly but I was appeased. "So now what? Do you think you finally have what you need for your disguise?"

He gazed at me appraisingly and said, "Okay. You've proven your mettle. I'll answer your question, but you are to never bring it up again. Is that understood?"

I nod slowly, "Yes sir."

He leads me up the stairs, taking them quickly, two at a time, but half way up the stairs, he stumbles on a step and flies forward, landing on his face. Or he would have if the stairs had stayed solid. I sigh inwardly, leave it to Jack to devise the most ridiculous secret entrances. With my luck, I'll have a slightly off posture and break my nose. I hesitate at the bottom of the stairs, trying to gauge which step he had "tripped" on when the stairs suddenly disappear and Jack's head pops up. "Come on then, you're taking too long. Just jump in here."

The room beyond the trip-step entrance is opulent and shimmery. Even the air smells rich. Jack takes a deep breath. "Notice that? I have a machine setup to infuse the air with particles of fat. Deliciously extravagant isn't it?"

October 2, 2011

Nigellians (Microscope - Story Game)

If this Microscope game seems a little bare, it's because we only had time for one Lens, which was totally fine. I look forward to picking it up again sometime and fleshing it out a bit more :) It'll be really interesting to play a multi-session game. Give everyone some time to think over the history and maybe where they want to take it and then come back to it with a new set of eyes.

Our history was about the invasion of aliens who give us amazing technology, back when we were only at the Industrial Revolution-stage. The prime minister of Britain, Nigel Wilcox, manages to convince the world leaders to cooperate with the aliens because they discovered that the aliens were deadly allergic to a specific type of bacteria.

In later years, the followers of Nigel's philosophy and teachings have become powerful in the newly advanced world but hidden behind the idyllic fa├žade are disturbing ripples of abuse of aliens, abductions of humans, and extremist groups.

One of those extremist groups are the Nigellians, extremists of Nigel's way of thinking, who believe humans are recklessly using the technology given by the aliens.  They plot to use the aliens' weakness to drive them from the planet, but in so doing, end up dooming humanity and in the end, mankind is obliterated.

I think the scariest and most exciting part of Microscope is the fact that huge, major plot points and world blocks are laid by one person, with little to no say from everyone else experiencing the story. That kind of power the first few times is overwhelming and feels wrong, you're just thinking, "Really?  You want me to come up with the big secret? I'm pretty sure whatever I come up with is not going to be as cool as what you could come up with."

But the surprise is that most of the time that's not true.

The story just needs to be told. And because whatever you say is going to be a surprise to everyone else, it has that added, "Oh I didn't see that coming" overlay, which is really what makes stories interesting. You listen to someone else tell a story because you want to know what happens next. In Microscope, and most story games, each time someone steps up and drops in a piece of the puzzle is the best part and what you need to keep in mind, is that there's going to be plenty of opportunities for everyone else to do the same, if not in this game, then in others. And the same goes for you. If whatever pops into your head at the moment doesn't seem like the coolest thing in the world, so what? This is just one story. And the rest of us are here to back you up.

And honestly, that's something I need to keep in mind too. I feel like story gaming is kind of like flag football sometimes. When someone is running at you or you're running after someone with the ball, what you really need to do is focus, and I mean REALLY FOCUS on reaching your hand out, and grabbing that damn flag. None of that half-assed flailing. Or worrying about if you're running fast enough, or if you're going to hit into the person. None of that really matters. And in story gaming, plot points and major reveals are that person with the ball. They're coming at you and it's your responsibility to focus and just reach out and grab it.