Logical Enemies

There are concepts that are the logical enemies of other concepts. Some are obvious: good is the enemy of evil, smart is the enemy of stupid, meetings are the enemy of sanity. Here are few worth considering in detail:

As a quick memo to the US Senate: Perfect is the enemy of Done. If you’re not comfortable with the terms, put a time limit on it and pass the damn thing.

We’ll come back to this.

Sanitary is the enemy of sustainable. One thing I learned when my mom went through chemo-therapy is that modern sanitary practices make great use of the disposable nature of our technology. Yeah, you can sterilize the dishes, but it’s even better to throw them away. Yeah, you might be able prepare pre-packaged meals in your own kitchen, but even better is having a commercial kitchen prepare it, and bring it to you – in disposable containers. (As long as it’s hot!)

Dish towels are the enemy of sanitation. If you’re immuno-compromised, or just trying to get past a virus, you are way better off using paper towels.

Security is the enemy of Productivity. I see this all the time on construction sites: guys getting paid $X/hour waiting for some one to find a key so they get get into the otherwise empty room and continue their jobs.  But I have seen this happen in much more developed and supposedly functional work spaces – where no one can get where they need to go to do their jobs.

Or they are not authorized to help a customer.

We are not and never have been besieged by a constant invisible menace of terrorist criminals. Most things stolen from (non-retail) businesses were stolen by employees who had access anyway.

Another thing I see all the time while we’re on this subject: The reason the temp of the over-hire just stare at you when you ask them to go get the thing is that they do not have keys. You’ll have to give them yours and trust they’ll come back with both the thing and your keys.

Distrust is the enemy of Society. If we are going to work together to solve a problem, we have to able to trust each other. There is no other way. On any large scale this requires trust in basic institutions – whether they’ve earned our trust or not.

If you do not believe government is ever helpful or that media is every truthful or that you have any obligation to participate in a collective action that you do not wholly believe in, then you are as part of the problem. You might as well be an active criminal.

But if I have to explain that to you, you didn’t read this far. Too many words.

Speaking of too many words, and getting back to perfect vs done:

WORD COUNT:

I am editing Taliesin’s Last Apprentice (because it is finally written). I have yet to settle on a formula for word-count equivalent, but I should be done by the end of the month.

(TLA is the sequel to The Beanstalk and Beyond).

That is basically all I did writing wise last week, and all I expect to do next week.

Next month I final edit One of 64.

In May I expect to do a full edition of Go Action Fun Time

I still have a job (I work off-site anyway), and things would have to get three orders of magnitude worse and stay that way for that to become imperiled. But our slow season has gotten slower, so I expect to actually make real progress editing.

Unsurprisingly,  there is no upcoming event, either game or festival wise, that I have enough confidence in to announce at this time.

Stay well.

 

 

Explaining Rules is Hard

First off, let me get to this before upcoming events make it all quaintly irrelevant:

I plan to vote for Elizabeth Warren in the upcoming AZ Prez Preference whatever (which is not the regular state primary). I am a wonk, and she is the wonkiest of the wonky-wonks, and I am going with my people here. How often does a genuine wonk make it this far?

I would not, however, bet money on her.

My Approved Portraits

“I’d explain it to you – but you’d die.”

Bernie Sanders got 50%+ of the Latino vote in Nevada. If he duplicates that in Texas or California, he’s the nominee. Because math.

And for the partisans hyperventilating about the stigma of socialism, let me be clear: anyone who doesn’t understand that Democratic Socialism isn’t Communism is voting for the other side anyway.  Trump is Lord of the Ignorant, and you aren’t going to get those votes away from him.

It’s hard to sell new ideas – even to smart people, but they are your only plausible market.

Marginally related, I have made a couple of tweaks to the core Go Action Fun Time Rules. That’s going to be the rest of the post, so if you don’t care, thanks for getting down this far.

Go Action Fun Time : “We Are All Sam…”

Saturday – Feb 29, 2020 – my house. 6pm. Because leap day is for time travel. 

AllTheSams.jpg

GenCorp Base 29 is under siege, and the VP in charge of the base doesn’t care. And the inhabitants … well, they’re only clones. Clones aren’t really people, are they?
Are they?
They are, but the Problem is that they are small parts of something much more frightening.

Games will take place in my west-central Phoenix residence unless we find someplace better. It is a house. There will be cats. I will pay for pizza. You are on your own for beverages – or if you somehow do not like pizza.

For this episode only I may grill meat earlier that afternoon, and all would be welcome to it, for I will grill a lot. You would still be on your own for beverages.

There will likely be fire and libations afterwards for all interested.

The event on MeetUp.   The event on Facebook. 

I have simplified the Plot Point development formula, particularly as it takes place after initial character creation.

  • Gone is the formula. The new formula is just new value times the multiplier. The multiplier depends on what sort of ability you are increasing.
  • You can only increase any ability by one between any two episodes. You can increase multiple abilities by one, but you can’t go as far as +2. I could make a logical case for this, but slowing it down just feels better.
  • When you initially create the character, it’s still the multiplier/point. You can just buy them up in any order and as far as you want to pay. The previous value of the ability does not affect its cost.

Abilities reduce Difficulty in addition to adding to the roll – at least for uncontested tasks. Each +1 reduces the Difficulty by one dice (and inverse for negative values).

See? That’s a pretty straightforward concept that proved hard to write with any grace.

Maybe that’s why I admire warren. She’s pretty good at just that.

But she’s rolling against a lot of dice.

WORD COUNT:

The actual last chapter of Taliesin’s Last Apprentice – 2nd draft (transcribed into the Word). = 2000 words.

Editing Go Action Fun Time for the above rule changes, two column format, and moving Powers to the front of character creation = 2000 words

Writer’s group = 500 words

If I had written this yesterday, I would have been over quota – but I’m under by 500 words.

 

This version of Warren would be up by ten points – just saying.

Now we know.

The Things You Learn Time Traveling

First off, in warning, both pizza and commercial quality whiskey are relatively new things. They can only be found in recognizable form from the late 1800’s onward.

I accidentally set myself up for some difficult dives in Go Action Fun Time. There are three adventures where the cast travels down the Silk road, with merchandise bought in China, hoping to sell it for a profit in – well I wrote Byzantium, but that’s not actually on the Silk Road. Least of my problems.

Currency. Not so much for a specific episode – I can look up, to a point, the currency of China circa 250 ce (where the journey starts). But when I’m writing rules for commerce, i need some exchange medium that will translate across different times and economies.

This is a good quick primer.

In the existing rules,I defaulted to a prevailing day’s wages, but that would take too much research for the average Executive Producer (the game-master in GAFT). Plus, compensatory wages are also a relatively new thing. But I may be able to come up with a table of shells= animals= salt = silver = gold that will take us into recorded history.

It takes about 60 days to cross the Taklamakan Desert on foot via camel caravan. I mention that because it was a hard fact to come by, and basically had to be deduced. 6-4-1170x658-1

The sixty days assumes taking either the north or south route arond the edges of the desert. No one goes straight across. Taklamaka supposedly means Desert of No Return. It is one of the driest and one of the coldest deserts in the world. Some years the only precipitation is a brief dusting of snow. There are zero water sources in the deep interior. It is a sea of sand.

The Silk Road takes up three episodes, and I plan to eventually publish them.

 

e-deck-watermark

Yes, That Lusitania, in contrast, is likely to remain a convention only episode. This is mostly due to my reliance upon the Lusitania Resource site. Any published document I produce would have to re-write and re-present the historical accounts, and re-render their maps, and that’s all way beyond fair use. So I just open up a laptop at the convention game room.

It doesn’t always load – so there’s that.

Also, as excellent as that map is, it does not have the level of detail you would need for a tactical encounter. There must be, logically, ladders of some sort from F deck tot he boiler rooms, but they are not indicated on the floor-plans.

The deck plans are from design blue-prints. They are not as-builts.

Also, Lusitania – which starts hours before the ship sinks, involves known, historical people with real living relatives, and that would require a more sensitive treatment of the subject than GAFT time typically achieves. The narrative voice of GAFT can get flippant.

My real problems are not research.

My problem with the existing product is that I am not yet confident that someone could make a character, must less run an adventure, without me being in the room to interpret what I wrote.  As much as I want to Just Do It, we are probably 30% through the playtest/revision process, rather than the 80% I once assumed.

A note from writer’s group mostly for my own reference (while I still have deck-plans left):

The Flea by John Donne

Still the Lusitania goes on…

So one more history note, this one about Jack’s on -again/ off-again mentor, the legendary bard Taliesin.

There are extant poems reliably (by Dark Age standards) attributed to a historical Taliesin, who served the lords of Rheghed in the early 6th century. This actual bard, though was, well, mediocre, judging by those works, which were mostly songs praising his patrons.

Good for him, but it doesn’t justify the legend.

My head-canon is that the bard of Rheghed took Taliesin’s name, but is not actually that legendary bard.

The Taliesin I write about (in the sequel to Beanstalk and Beyond) would never write any of his own poetry down anyway.

Now we know.

 

 

The recursive nature of goals

There are goals and then there are goals. There are the larger, universal goals of a happier,, more generally successful life, and there are the smaller, more concrete goals contrived to mark the way to the larger goals such as mow the lawn, or eat healthier or put on pants. At what point does pursuing a goal become the goal, rather than the means to achieve a larger goal?

Maybe at the point where you start asking these questions.

I finally had a moment to write out my monthly goals for February. They largely consist of unmet goals from January. Some of that was over-ambition. Some of that was other emergencies. Some of that was poor use of time.  I have those factors in roughly equal measure.

The goal I met:kitchen lts.JPG

I finished the kitchen lighting despite the spooky wiring left by previous owners. In daytime the dark slot would have a bit of skylight in it.

So we (the kids helped) learned that you can’t trust any of the neutrals to go back to a common bus.

And despite what I promised last post, I have not abandoned caution when it comes to electrical work.

 

I also got an episode in of Go Action Fun Time. I’ll go over that in a separate entry.

The project that was not one of the goals:

I ended up spending a week at Cheryl’s house helping her recover from foot surgery. She couldn’t walk. She has a large house with stairs. I had a week of vacation to burn.

My Butler name is “Handsy”.

I did get some writing done. And I appeared in a promotional video for the Las Vegas Pirate Fest. Well, I did. Which brings us to:

The goal that is not from January:

We will have a booth is said pirate fest. By we I really mean Cheryl, and her room-mate, Captain Blackheart, who heads one of the factions guilds that organize the event.

pirate-fest-announcement

We will have one of these:

719985_orig

A vendor booth, not unlike the one pictured, not the bystanders

 

Blackhearts’ Boutique is the trial run for what may become a more permanent enterprise. We will have Artifacts, Relics, Apparel and Sundries available for the particular adventurer. I’ll have a whole thing with photos as we get closer. But if you follow Cheryl or Rey on Facebook, you’ve already seen things.

Everyone involved in this has an expanding To Do list.

Past this event we plan to call the enterprise the Unobtanium Emporium.

Goals becoming goals.

Also I have to mow my lawn, and eat better.

And put on pants.

Watch this space.

The Ins and Outs of Recent Events

Things come and things go. Here are some recent ins and outs.

IN:

Rey, from Flagstaff, moving back to Phoenix, and back in with me. A combination of academic and financial misfortunes has driven her from NAU. (Without a scholarship, NAU is 3x the expense of ASU). (You can infer the fate of that scholarship.).

The plan is to attend community college for a while, and take care of the generic core requirements until a clear path emerges.

KIMG1218.JPG

Rey in the new, taller kitchen

OUT:

The false ceiling in my kitchen. While this hid atrocities, it also provided a causeway for vermin and subconsciously annoyed me. So I have taken step 1 in a 50 step process of remodeling the kitchen.

My grandfather, the original owner of this house, had extended the air vent.

KIMG1215.JPG

KIMG1217.JPG

Yes, that is a can of some sort “adapting” the tube to the vent grate. Sometimes innovation is overrated.

That’s all sitting in the yard now.

 

 

IN:

Some Christmas presents: an office chair and a 3D Printer!

KIMG1220.JPG

That’s a Creality Ender 3 FDM (additive) 3D Printer.

It is considered one of the best of the low-end 3D printers, and is a gift from my son, Ben,  who has an earlier model.

I have been thinking on this subject for some time.

We have already spent numerous hours turning plastic filament into garbage, and sometimes silly little sculptures.

This has turned out to be a pain to dial in, which – to be fair – comes with the price point. But I’ve had some fun playing with it so far.

And I actually spent as much time assembling the office chair as I did the printer -so there’s that.

 

OUT:

Excessive caution.

Before I start on this, do not confuse this with some new year’s resolution. In 2005 I made a New Year’s resolution to never make another new year’s resolution, and I ahve kept that. The timing of this announcement is coincidence. The realization dates back a few months ago.

I spent the last few years of my marriage playing not to lose, which is different than winning, and ended up losing the marriage.  (The professional decisions were a net gain, but that’s as much dumb luck as good judgement. I lucked into a good employer.)

I have less to lose as a point of fact. I do not own the house I’m renovating. My nest is supposedly empty. I am consistently solvent and building a little surplus. I can go for it on 4th and 2.

Hence the self-publishing and other projects that aren’t ready to announce yet.

You were warned.

My Last Christmas Without a new book out

 

I finished at least the rough draft manuscript for Taliesin’s Last Apprentice, which is the place-holder title for the sequel to  The Beanstalk and Beyond.  I did this with 10 minutes to spare before my self imposed end-of-November deadline. (see two posts ago).

Image

The beginning of the end.

If you’ve written a book you know that I have a LOT of editing to go before its a thing that normal people will enjoy reading.

 

In particular, because first drafts of Jack are always hand-written, I do not have the last four chapters even in Word yet.  When it goes to word, each chapter is its own document for a while, until I finish a section. Then I edit each chapter and compile it into a section (TLA has 5 sections). Then I will edit it again before compiling it int a full draft manuscript.

That is my task for December. My goal is to have a beta-reader friendly manuscript (or two) by the start of 2020. Then a submission by the end of January.

Then a book by next Christmas.

This is not my only pan in the fire.

aOne64 prologue coltxt v3

I have regained the uncontested rights to The 64-the place holder title for my sprawling space opera.

The first full novel in that series, The Secret History of Empress Em,  is in the can, and set to begin editing in January.

I am the publisher. My hope is to get this out in some form by summer 2020.

(I adapted the first chapter into graphic novel form if you want a bit of a preview. )

I will also be looking for beta-readers for this, sometime in the spring.

If you were enjoying a break from Go Action Fun Time, too bad. That’s the third iron in the fire, and I have some announcements:

Image result for Graal of Plenty"

Go Action Fun Time Christmas Special: All I Want for Yuletide is the Graal of Plenty

A parade of Arthurian tropes including the secret origin of Galahad!

Saturday, December 7, 1:00pm at the Scale and Feather Meadery.

This is a co-event with Crit Hit West.
 
Scale and Feather has a wide selection of mead but a limited selection of food.
GAFT basic rules cover
Between Christmas and New Years I will run the Silk Road Pt 2 at my house.
Also in the works:
  • a revised Basic Rules set
  • A Cast Directory and
  • A Setting Bible.

Some of that material is available in protean form on the website:

There will also be a non-fiction project starting in 2020, a guide to either Arizona wineries, or hot springs and swimming holes, depending on my sense of the market, and logistics.
One more promise to myself before I go: the next post here will be about something else besides my writing.
I promise.
You were warned.

The Sun Shines Brightly on distant shores – and other notes.

First, some announcements:

 

Go Action Fun Time returns:

Go Action Fun Time info.

[For perspective, for the last game session, I drove like a madman from Vegas to make the game on time, and one person showed up. If that pattern continues, I have a back-load of other projects that need attention.]

GAFT Foxhunt color2

My artwork. 

Episode 2 – The Fox Who Hunted Back

In the far future, an uplifted fox holds an ancient grudge.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

1:00 PM

Scale & Feather Meadery

1050 N Fairway Dr, Building E, Suite 112

This is part of the regular Crit Hit event. You do not have to be part of that group to participate.

Scale & Feather has excellent mead, but limited food. 

hill-prehistoric-survivors-fb

Not my artwork. 

Episode 3 – The Blistering Death

A mysterious disease threatens to wipe out the pygmies in the prehistoric Congo. You will find a cure. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

4:00pm

My house.

If I have no players on Saturday, we might play Fox Hunt on Sunday. 

There will be a third episode – Likely Silk Road Part 1 – over the 3rd weekend in November. It will be the Friday night, unless I have to travel, in which case it will be the Sunday. 

 

Now to content:

I will admit it freely: I predicted, to myself mostly, that with an actual starting point guard, and with any improvement from DeAndre Ayton, and with any production from whoever plays power forward, the My Beloved Suns had a shot at 30 wins, and a ceiling of maybe 38 – which would be double their win total from last year.

They just beat the previously unbeaten Philadelphia 76’ers in a game they would have been blown out of a year ago. 

Now we are all thinking play-offs – even in the brutal, brutal Western Conference.

Even if they fall short, they will be in the hunt until the last few games, and it is awesome to have basketball that is not painful to watch again.

 

Regular readers will recall that I go back and forth from Las Vegas for reasons. Last week I learned about the Inescapable Resort Fee, but on the plus side, I discovered a Brit bar (The Crown and Anchor)  that serves Scotch eggs. Those are the dish of choice to go with your Guiness for brunch. 

Consequently, I get a lot of ads across my social media about Vegas things. And I ignore them. I have other sources I consult. 

karlinn

No resort fee…

Now, I am getting ads about Iceland.

Events in the Jack sequel I am writing  (to Beanstalk and Beyond) take place on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland, which, I know from research, is home to like 90 species of birds at various times (none of them puffins) and three species of land mammals, one of which is technically invasive. 

I have no idea how the name would be pronounced.

It has also seen a good amount of volcanic activity since 498 ce (when the action takes place) so I feel free to make up some details about the coastal features. 

I have lost track of word count, but we have been going good the last few weeks, in spite of the travels. I do not normally play Nanowrimo, but I am committing myself here to finish this manuscript by the end of the month. 

Google maps is also keeping track of Jack’s journey:

 

Now we know.