… and we’re back. For now.
I didn’t intend to take January off, I just did. I went back to the USA for much of it. Survived the Polar Vortex. Saw family and friends. Bought books. Read books. Stuffed my luggage full of books and came back to South Korea.
Point of this post is I have no idea what to do with this blog. At the moment I’m a bit bored/tired of the Internet. Even the people I agree with annoy me. It’s become a tug of war between Scolds on one hand and Blow-Hards on the other. I know that’s a mischaracterization. There’s plenty of good stuff out there written by intelligent and insightful folks.
I could go the Slow Blog route. That would be great if I dealt in depth with a single topic. But I don’t. Write about games? Meh. I’d rather play them. Writing? Fuck no. That’s like Level 1 for being a Peanut-Headed Blowhard. Books? You can follow me on Goodreads. All my book posts are copied from there. Ex-pat life in South Korea? Kill me, no.
My problem with the Slow Blog route is that I do think there’s value to regularly posting. Yeah, yeah. Fuck building your platform – it’s simply a good habit getting the junk in your head out of your head. Unfortunately the default setting for social media is narcissism (from slight to over-whelming), and that’s no fun. Well, maybe if you were a wonderful and fascinating person (or could pretend to be so), but, no. And that leaves me no clue what to do.
Except what I’ve been doing. Only maybe a little better.
People write books for children and other people write about the books written for children but I don’t think it’s for the children at all. I think that all the people who worry so much about the children are really worrying about themselves, about keeping their world together and getting the children to help them do it, getting the children to agree that it is indeed a world. Each new generation of children has to be told: ‘This is a world, this is what one does, one lives like this.’ Maybe our constant fear is that a generation of children will come along and say : “This is not a world, this is nothing, there’s no way to live at all.’
– Turtle Diary, Russell Hoban
I remember reading the opening of this weird SFF book back in high school where a guy’s kidnapped from the present and imprisoned in the future for a crime no one will tell him about. I never finished it. The thing I remember is the guy being interrogated at a table that had a holographic hand hovering above it. Anyway I set the book down or lost it or whatever, and probably couldn’t have told you who had written it – until today when I started reading Indoctrinaire by Christopher Priest. That’s the book. I’m not sure how it found me here in South Korea.
I’ve been gaming with some regularity. Here are various updates:
In Ur, the party hired a cohort of orc magi and assaulted the ghoul stronghold, where they slew plenty, and one or two of them was nearly slain themselves. They encountered one Helemor the Awakened, but were unable to defeat him. He escaped down to the lower level where strange machines emit eerie lights and a column of pitchlike darkness rises to fill the sky above the complex. They’re peering about, regrouping, and preparing to go below.
Then I started playing in a 3.5 Pathfinder game out in Gyeongju. The game’s a bit more character design oriented than I like, but fun just the same. Here’s Pelican, 16 year old sorcerer, and hillbilly son of a dryad. He likes to burn things for fun and profit:
Next, Dennis ran his own megadungeon campaign and I got to play in that. This game is more my speed with roll 4d6 drop lowest and place in order. In that game, I rolled up a halfling named Paisley Frogsbody, and based him on Glum from the old Adventures of Gulliver cartoon. He’s a hoot to play, and his battle cry is: “I foresee the worst!” So far it has served him well.
Finally, I’m finishing up my summer classes by playing games. I’ve got one class playing Condottieri, and they seem to enjoy it. They know the game’s set in Italy, but don’t really care about Renaissance history. Mostly I’m using it to teach numbers with the lower-level class. What I really like about that game is how it’s simple to learn, but spirals upward nicely in complexity.
My other class I have exploring the Haunted Keep from Moldvay Basic.
No, it’s not actual D&D, but a much simplified creation along the lines of a Fighting Fantasy game or something. I just called it The Ghost Fighter Game, and had them each make a Ghost Fighter. We did character gen one day along with drawing the playing pieces, and then started playing on the other.
They’re my advanced class, and enough of them have taken to it that those not so into it don’t mind getting swept along. They all like rolling dice to open doors, hit monsters, and stuff. Plus it beats memorizing words in English. For my part it’s fun to see them get excited at, well, the exciting parts: can we get initiative and attack first? Who can hit the monster? etc. Two of them are really in character gen and two others are into killing stuff. (The last is just sort of into doing this funny dance whenever she has to roll the dice.) Here’s some of the party:
From left to right, it’s Sparta Ghost Sword, Wolf Girl, Super Blue, and Witch Tiger. Meteor Crocodile, the last party member, can be seen in the other picturet behind Wolf Girl and Super Blue on the left.
That’s all. Vacation begins in 21 hours.
I finally saw Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer, and without so much as a spoiler alert I’ll say it mixes chem trails, John Galt the Social Darwinist, a wonderfully absurd school room scene, lots of ultra-violence, some fey aegyo, Tilda Swinton doing a creepy malevolent Ms. Marple the School Marm impersonation, and a nod to Ursula K. LeGuin’s “Those Who Walk Away From Omelas” all together to make a satisfyingly bleak action picture. Not to mention it has characters who are actually characters instead of character-shaped holes that set pieces go BOOM! around. (*cough* Pacific Rim *cough*)
Hopefully this talk about cutting twenty minutes from the picture’s US release to make it more “understandable” winds up being nothing more than horseshit. Unfortunately I doubt it, and the ending I saw won’t be the ending my friends see back in the USA.