And more Holiday Glee…

Here’s a cute little column by Diane Roberts on NPR, “The Culture War On Saturnalia”. Thanks to Theron Bretz for posting the transcript in his LJ.

We decorated the tree, hanging all the little Japanese angels Edmund’s mum made while she was pregnant with him. ^_^ We hung the “Noel” banners on the door, and the bells, and we plopped a bunch of wrapped presents under the tree (mostly going to our friends).

A cool RPG thing I forgot to mention this week: Sandy Antunes of Technomancer Press is about to publish a book called “Roleplaying with Kids”. Just as he was going to press, he came across my page on the same topic and decided he’d like to include it as part of a chapter. I said yes, of course. It’s neat to put something together and find out it is in fact useful to other people. 🙂

Tick, Tock Goes the Clock

We’re kinda sort of ready for the Holidays. Ready enough. It’s just nice to have a little time off. We finished picking up and wrapping the last few presents today, without having to hurry. I like the Holidays a lot, and I hate rushing through them.

Poor Edmund is not as fond of Christmas as I am, but graciously agreed to help me get a tree. We walked to the store because we decided that carrying the tree would be less of a challenge than trying to stuff it in — or on top of — the car. We’ll decorate it tomorrow; it was a bit too damp to put ornaments on though it’s drying nicely. It’s a very shapely Douglas fir; we were thwarted in our tradition of waiting until the last minute to get the ugliest tree and give it a Charlie Brown Christmas. All the trees were beautiful!

A few days ago we discovered that Santaland Diaries was playing here in Seattle at the Bathhouse Theatre, so we got tickets to tomorrow — er, make that tonight. Then we’re having Christmas lunch/dinner at some friends on Christmas day.

I spent some time today setting up a wiki for our gaming club, and specifically to keep track of the games that have been run there. Other club members immediately jumped in with additions, so I guess it will live.

We watched a few episodes of Battlestar Galactica; we’re almost through Season 1 but I’m really not warming up to it. Meh.

More Holiday Funnies

Remember the crazy guys with the Mentos and Diet Coke fountains? Well, rejoice! The EepyBird Holiday video is here.

Catching Up

Lots of little things in the last few days. On Thursday night we had a big windstorm in the Seattle area, that knocked out the power in many households — including ours. We were lucky, as we got it back the next evening, but a friend of mine was still without power yesterday (Monday). Thursday night was also the night we had our office Holiday party.

Lots of shopping, wrapping, sending cards, etc. in the last few days.

On Saturday, I ran episode 2.6 of my ongoing Top 10 campaign. It went well, despite the lack of preparation (sheepish look). I had a thread of plot going: the team was working on a few cases, most prominently following up on the death of a former nazi war criminal who had been a big player in the local drug market; and investigating a series of thefts of powers rings, arcane items and registered devices.The players had chosen to look for the underground lair that the old nazis were known to have built under the city of Neopolis. I hap an idea what NPCs these plots involved, and what they were doing in the mean time, but I really didn’t care which way the PCs came at the story; I had no interest in making them roll to find a specific secret passage or what have you. I thought this group might be interested in bringing in more story gaming and more shared control. I told the group I’d like to try this, and explained they could create the story by deciding what would make for the coolest scenes and adventure.

They had already met with an old science hero who had sketched a map of the tunnels for them; they new some entrances were in the sewers, others were under buildings that had been demolished and rebuilt, etc. What would make the story fun for them — would it be to discover the old nazis’ connections to a shiny new hi-tech corporation? A grungy gang in an old warehouse? Crocodile-men in the sewers? They immediately took to this. They decided that the investigation should lead to the Bavarian Wagnerian Church and its Albert Speer-inspired temple. They created decoy locations, hidden caches, etc.

A fun bit was a player creating complications for his own character. He plays a noir detective somewhat inspired by The Spectre, Johnny Mortis. Mortis is very hard to hurt but has essentially no offensive capabilities, has some post-cognition abilities, and can travel astrally. Mortis, in astral/ghostly form, was scaring off a bunch of skinheads who had come to the priest’s rescue. At the end of the fight, Mortis’s slumped body had disappeared in the scuffle. I only intended a bit of annoyance and slowing him down, probably giving the character some clues at the same time. But the player took to this. The rules say that he can only get about 1,000 feet away from his body, but do not specify what happens. I was expecting that he would simply decide that his spirit snapped back to the body and he’d wake up. But the player decided that his character was not held together very well, and that getting away further than 1,000 feet meant he couldn’t find his body anymore. He suggested that perhaps someone or something else might even take control of the body, use his connections and identity, and create a mess for Johnny Mortis!

Then on Sunday, I helped Edmund finish preparing for his Christmas game. He had decided to run Crisis on the Island of Forgotten Toys!, using The Zorcerer of Zo. At his request, I drew the characters’ portrait and I wrapped the toys that served as player characters. Then he ran the game last night at our local gaming club. Read the results on our Actual Play thread!


Plein de petites choses cette semaine. Une grosse tempĂŞte de vent Ă  Seattle jeudi dernier, des arbres abattus, pannes d’Ă©lectricitĂ© dans beaucoup de foyers — dont le nĂ´tre. Heureusement, le courant a Ă©tĂ© rĂ©tabli chez nous vendredi soir, mais j’ai une amie qui n’avait toujours pas de courant hier (lundi). Jeudi soir Ă©tait Ă©galement le soir du party de bureau, qui s’est très bien dĂ©roulĂ© malgrĂ© la tempĂŞte et la circulation exĂ©crable.

Du magasinage, des cartes de NoĂ«l Ă  envoyer, de l’emballage de cadeaux, des visites, etc. ont occupĂ© la fin de semaine. En perspective: du mĂ©nage Ă  faire cette semaine.

How to Mess with a Telemarketer’s Mind

A friend just sent me this very funny link, where a guy really f***s with a telemarketer’s head. And, let’s face it, we ALL want to exact this kind of revenge! 🙂

Cadeaux de NoĂ«l/Christmas Presents

This year I’m taking to heart the admonishment to “Give experiences, not stuff.” I’ve been trying to select presents that won’t end up in a closet or basement (or landfill!): tickets for shows, memberships, etc. I hope it works out, and that people will be pleased with the choices. I know there is a thrill to opening a big box and seeing a shiny present inside, so I’m a little tremulous about this new approach. I think they’re nice presents, though!

Cette annĂ©e, je prends Ă  coeur le conseil de “donner des moments, pas des objets”. J’ai tâchĂ© de choisir des cadeaux qui ne finiront pas dans un placard, un sous-sol… ou un dĂ©potoir: par exemple, des billets pour des spectacles, des abonnements, etc. J’espère que les destinataires seront contents; je sais que c’est excitant d’ouvrir une grosse boĂ®te et d’y trouver un cadeau mirobolant. J’ai un peu d’inquiĂ©tude, mais on verra bien. Je crois que ce sont de bons cadeaux et je veux qu’ils plaisent.

More Christmas Stuff

And how could I forget the Christmas Plans, Specs and Elevations designed last year by Winzler & Kelly in Eureka, California last year. Yes, this is real and not just a ‘Net hoax; I confirmed it with them last year. (I think they were amazed at how this took off.) It’s particularly funny for us engineers. Yes, trust me, all that incomprehensible stuff really is funny. 🙂

Christmas on the Web!

Of course, during this season I’m always humming “Christmas at Ground Zero”. But there are more tunes to enjoy: the prize for Bitterest Christmas Song of the Season this year goes to Hello Saferide’s “I-Pod X-Mas”. I always love to listen to David Sedaris’ 1992 Santaland Diaries reading. Other classics include SCTV’s McKenzie Brothers’ Beer Nog and especially their version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Alas, I couldn’t find a clip of Eddie Izzard’s routine on “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.

Happy Christmhannukkwanzeid!

Holiday Food Fight/Duel de cuistots

Pour notre séjour du Temps des Fêtes, nous aurons deux cuisiniers acharnés: Edmund et notre amie Linda. Ils ont déjà annoncé un duel gastronomique. Edmund a soumis le menu suivant:

Soupe Ă  l’ail
Salade verte

Soupe Ă  l’oignon
Agneau rĂ´ti
Purée de pommes de terres et racine de céleri
Haricots verts avec jus de citron et persil
Poires au gratin

Et le reste du groupe offre des encouragements… 🙂

For our upcoming Holiday stay in Sequim, we’ll have two fiercely dedicated cooks: Edmund and our friend Linda. They called each other out for an Iron Chef duel this weekend. Edmund posted his initial menu:

Garlic soup
Green salad

Onion soup
Roast leg of lamb
Mashed potatoes and celery root
Green beans with lemon juice and parsley
Pears au gratin

The rest of us as cheering. 🙂