The weird

Of Countdowns and Mondays...

So, there are now just twenty-five (25) days till Pacificon - I like the number 25, it's a hopeful number.  The game is now nearly written, and by the end of this week will be completely written (character stories and stats) - that leaves plenty of time for edits, re-writes and props.

And of course, the beer has been chosen, so we're feeling pretty good about things here are T.V.

I get the impression that this particular con will involve a great amout of steam being blown off - I could be wrong, but that's the feeling I get about it.  On that I say "Great!"  Pull that cord and let the steam blow people.

In completely unrelated news this morning as I was walking over to the main hospital campus I saw a guy about 50 yards away head towards me on the sidewalk.  He seemed very focused on his smart phone, so much so that he nearly got run over by one of the hospital shuttles - he stepped right out in front of it and into the street in front of the main entrance without even looking up.  As he got closer I began to wonder however if he as going to clear the curb as he crossed the main parking lot entrance (it's very uneven), I mean he never looked up, even once the entire time I was watching him.  I think I was focusing to much on that question, and not enough on shouting any kind of warning, because he didn't clear the curb.  Instead he did a two-step stumble and an arms-out-belly-flop, when he hit the ground his smart phone shot out of his hands and landed in front of me.  That's when I learned that he was playing some sort of word game and any sympathy I may have had for him disappeared then and there.

I did mention to him as I stepped around him and he was pulling himself up that his phone was a few yards ahead of him, so I guess that I had a little sympathy left in me.

25 days people, let's be sure to look up once in a while, I want to see you all at con.
  • Current Mood
    impressed impressed

Of Countdowns and other less savory stuff...

It is with true joy that I announce that we have crossed a threshold people - we are under the 30 day mark till con.  In point of fact, we three days under the 30 day mark.

There are now only 27 days till con.

Let's take a moment and let that soak in....mmmmmm, it's like the first bite of that tasty treat you've been waiting on huh.

I'm feeling my brothers and sisters, Oh yes, I'm feeling IT.

In other news my back is finally feeling better today, it got torqed at the gym a few days ago because of the "I'm-a-chubby-dumbs***-that-doesn't-have-a-clue" efforts of a newbie.  Without getting into the details I had to make a quick adjustment while doing some straight-bar curls with a heavy weight** because the idiot newbie decided to step around me in a tight space mid-curl and clipped me because he apparently didn't want to make the effort to either a) ask me if I could pause so he could passby or b) walk 3 more meters and go around me at the other end of the weight rack.  Rather than throw or drop the bar I twisted to right myself and strained my lower back a bit, and have meeting eating motrin like candy for the last few days (until today that is).  I was already irritated with this bonehead for his need to take 5 minutes between each set on the benchpress.  Newsflash - if you need 5 minutes to recover between each set and you are not a true powerlifter and lifting an OMG weight: you are in fact doing it wrong. 

**To a degree weight lifting is relative, so what is a heavy weight for one is light for another - I was doing straight bar curls with 85lbs, which was heavy for me.
  • Current Mood
    okay okay
Team Volare

Casa Volare' House Rulz

Since we are just a rough month away from Pacificon 2012 it is now a good time to post the Team Volare' House rules regarding Casa Volare' at the con.


  1. The only people that can attend the after-party at Casa Volare’ are full Team Volare’ members, honorary members and anyone else cleared by one of us [ECM, El Camino, or Pimpy because we live at Casa Volare’ for the weekend] – no guests or other friends-of-a-friend unless we are asked. While that may seem formal, it’s a simple rule that works. At past cons there have been people in Casa Volare’ that *I* didn’t know or recognize nor did my roommates and it's gotten overcrowded. Space is limited, so entrance to Casa Volare’ needs to be cleared through us. It should never become too noisy or crowded for us to enjoy each others company. Ninety-nine percent of the time we’re very happy to meet and entertain new people but we do require that we be asked.  

  1. The only people that sleep in Casa Volare’ are us [and by “us” I mean me and my con roommates] – if you are fading, passing out, or some combination thereof, then it's time to leave and go to bed. Space is limited, and taking it up by being asleep isn’t going to work. If you’re nodding off and one of us nudges you and tells you to call it a night – then call it a night please.

  1. Don’t spill your drink – particularly on El Camino’s bed, I only bring this up because it’s happened repeatedly in past cons. If you can’t manage to keep it in your cup, then you need to go lie down in YOUR room, not create big stains in Casa Volare’ because they are no fun to sleep on or step into first thing in the morning.

  1. Nobody sits on, jumps on, lays on, or otherwise molests the El Camino’s bed unless it’s him; again, I’m happy to share space, but please ASK before taking up any residence in that area (same goes for ECM’s or Pimpy’s bed)

  1. Any abusive behavior toward La Bonita (the keg) is subject to immediate removal from Casa Volare’, we also reserve the right to make you disappear...forever.

  1. No shirts with colors that we have to look up to spell; things like charteuse (had to look it up), fuchsia (had to look it up) and their ilk are clear attempts to subvert and harsh our mellow, we are onto them.

  1. No children; it is not an appropriate environment for the 0 – 18 year old crowd (we are allowing certain individuals that fall into the 18 – 21 year old category on a case-by-case basis.)

  1. If asked to leave by any member of Team Volare’, comply immediately without question.  Failure to do so will result in you being escorted out under our power with a potential lifetime ban from Casa Volare’

So it is written, so it is done....

  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished

And now, some Gamer-Navel-Gazing...

I'm currently in the process of writing a LARP for the upcoming con (it's going just fine, thanks), sometimes when I'm getting hung-up on a plot-point or other aspect of the LARP I step back and noodle around with something else that is gaming related but not what I'm working on at the time.  This typically helps me re-focus and turn back to the task at hand.  Last night I was doing that, rather than work on writing a particular character that I was getting frustrated about, I stopped and began making a table-top character using the Mutants & Masterminds second edition rules.  During that time wasting procedure I realized that while I really do like the mechanics of that particular system for the most part, I would like it even MORE if system had a better method for tracking damage to the character beyond its current form (I like granularity in supers games).  Soon I was pondering how to combine certain aspects of the HERO system to achieve that end.

That exercise of the origin of today's gamer-navel-gazing question: Have any of you gentle readers ever incorporated a separate rule system or game mechanic into the primary system that you are basing the game upon - making a homegrown amalgamation to get it just right for your game?

I'm curious....
  • Current Mood
    curious curious

Of Countdowns & Portents...


There are now OFFICIALLY just thirty (30) days till Pacificon Game Expo.

That means just one month till COOOONNNNNNN!!!!!!! *shakes fist in the air with authority*

Time to take stock and review the list:
- Game: not completely written but still on track (My half of the characters will be done by next week.)
- Cheese: don't know if it is secure or not, this is not my area.
- Marmosets: they are making A LOT of noise in their pens, but again, this is not my area.
- Bonita: This is without a doubt MY AREA, I will place this order this week (I may even have the dilemma of Bonita's flavor resolved this afternoon, but no promises though...)
- Props: nearly complete - I've got the design plans for the rocket pack and most of the parts now, I'll begin assembly this weekend.

O' my brothers and sisters, I'm feeling it, like right now, I'm feeling it.  It feels like we need it too. While this is typically a small con, all of us together make it a big blast.

...30 days.

In other news - I experienced a portent this morning.  A few weeks ago I noted the small struggle that I had with finding a home for some disposable speculums that the OB/GYN department was trialing.  At first I had considered adding some of the product to the T.V. prop locker because you never really know how/when something will suddenly become of value as a prop.  However, after thinking about it, I decided against that course of action, and with some effort managed to donate all of the rest of the sample product (there as a lot) to some clinics here and abroad. This morning I came into my office and there is another box of speculums and other sample medical gear sitting on my desk, each with small hand-written notes asking me to dispose of the stuff.  I feel like this is a portent and that I should put some of it in the prop locker now.

...30 days.
  • Current Mood
    weird weird
Angel of Beer

On Countdowns...

It was pointed out to me today by ECM that there are now only thirty-five (35) days till the Pacificon Game Expo 2012.  This may seem strange but for some reason I had thought that it was further out.  I mean I knew that it was coming (I have an internal clock for those kind of things), but suddenly it hit me - 35 days.

That's just one month and bender that includes LDS-laced beer.  That realization suddenly made me feel really feel it.  I went into the bathroom, shook my fist and growled "Coooooonnnnnn." - which for the record is only appropriate in the bathroom when you are alone, otherwise it makes people exit the space really quickly (that's your helpful Camino tip for the day).

So...35 days, time get serious people - time to choose Bonita's essense to begin with...
  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper


I recently watched a movie - The City of Life and Death, made in 2009 by Chinese director Lu Chuan, this film depicts the Battle of Nanjing in 1937 and the aftermath - see the Rape of Nanking.  It is told through the eyes of both the Chinese and Japanese soldiers and civilians.

It was an incredible period piece.

It also made me sick to my stomach, and get up in the middle of the night just to make sure that my wife and daughters were all okay.
  • Current Mood
    discontent discontent
baby camino

A morning...


Healthcare settings are often amalgamations of emotions – high frequency emotions; and it is a bit of a learned trick to navigate all this energy successfully.  I’ve mentioned before that my department was recently relocated off the main campus, so now when I have a meeting on the main hospital campus I have to walk a couple hundred yards.  I don’t mind this at all, at least I don’t right now, come winter and the rainy season and my thoughts on that situation may change a great deal.   For some reason this morning it seems that my ‘antennae’ set just perfectly; so I was picking up on the quirky, interesting and emotional all at once.

  • Walking to the main campus to get some coffee and oatmeal with blueberries I almost literally ran into a deer.  A doe was standing on the hillside at the end of the parking lot near the entrance to the campus (there is a lot of woodland nearby), she was beautiful animal, and didn’t seem the least bit concerned about me at all.  When I got nearly close enough to reach out and touch her she decided that it was time to go and bounded up the hillside.

  • Walking across the parking lot of the main campus I passed by a man and women holding each other, weeping trying to shore each other up, I’d put them both in their late 40’s early 50’s and based on the conversation that I heard they were gathering up their courage to go into the hospital to say “Goodbye” to a loved one, maybe a parent.

  •  Just as I got to the front door of the main lobby I man came out, rushing past me talking on his cell phone, I swear his face was giving off light – he was happily describing the length, weight and amount of hair of newborn to someone on the phone, maybe a parent.  He didn’t know it, but he also pulled me from one end of the spectrum to the other in an instant.

  • I went through the lobby and skipped the elevators to take the stairs, in the stairwell on the first landing I squeezed past a two people in scrubs, arguing over the days surgery block time – by the sound of it, the fight hadn’t reached an apex point yet, but was getting really, really close.

  • In the cafeteria we have a row of coffee dispensers on a particular counter – mean there are like five of them and then there is a soda fountain.  As I was pouring a cup of coffee I noticed one of the servers placing a small (8oz cup) just behind one of the coffee dispensers near the wall.  It wasn’t something that I don’t think that I normally would have noticed or seen if I hadn’t originally watched her put it there in the first place.  A few minutes later a manager came by, and reached past me with a slightly aggravated sigh and removed the cup.  He then walked over the spoke with the server briefly, I don’t know what was said, but she looked sheepish, nodded a bit and then he left.  The server in question is small blond woman; I believe that she may be Russian, or some other Balkian-esq background.  When I went up to pay for my coffee and oatmeal I asked her about the coffee cup thing and she explained to me that it was some kind of tradition, sort of an offering to the kitchen gods/spririts/forces – it was something that she grew up with back home that she had learned from her grandmother.  That you leave a little coffee or something else in a cup, but that the small cups we had here were too big and that the manager always noticed it and took it away and didn’t want the cup left there because it looked messy.  I got the impression that it was one of those things that we all may do out of habit/tradition because we were raised around it and it gives us some comfort. I paid for my stuff and left to head back to my office, on the way I passed the gift shop and noticed a tiny tea cup set on display – the kind of thing that small children would use to play “Tea Party”.  I went in, bought it, and went back to the cafeteria.  I took one of the little teacups out of the packaging, put some coffee in it and tucked it behind one of the dispensers’ legs; it’s so small that you can’t see it from the front. Then I went back to me office.  On an aside note – blueberries, steel cut oatmeal and brown sugar with coffee rocks in the morning.  
  • Current Music
    Avett Brothers - Head Full of Doubt

Mid-Year Gamer Navel Gazing...

Hello Gentle Readers,

With the Pacificon Game Expo now just 49 days out, I find myself thinking about things of a gaming nature with more frequency.  In that vein, I thought that I would indulge in a wee bit of gamer navel gazing (GNG).  So I have a question, one that is rather specific to the idea of LARPs and specifically limited LARPs - like those found at a game con.  Here's the thought gentle readers: more than a few LARP settings have been inspired by some tabletop games: T.V. put on a 3-story LARP based upon the WarHammer Fantasy setting, and I know of another LARP troupe that put on a game at DDC based upon the CyberPunk tabletop game.  This has piqued my curiosity.  My question is this: are there some tabletop games that you thinkn translate well to a LARP setting vs. some that you don't think will work at all?  Furthermore is there a tabletop setting that you hadn't previously considered but now may try? 

Of course I'll give you an example: It's no secret that I'm a big fan of RuneQuest - in particular the RQII tabletop version, I'd never really considered translating that setting into a LARP, but now I'm thinking that an RQ LARP could be a really workable idea.  Perhaps a setting that involved some kind of meeting with beast rider nations of Prax?  Who knows, but it now occurs to me that Glorantha is a really cool setting to translate into a LARP.

So gentle readers, what say you?
  • Current Music
    Ben Lee - Naked

On commuting...

So here's the thing, at my last job my commute was ten minutes long if I took the freeway and fifteen minutes long if I took the backroads/scenic route.  I believe there is a saying about not "...appreciating what you have until it's gone."  I understand that concept a bit more now.  At my new location I have too commute, it's just a fact about the situation.  The thing about Marin is that there really aren't any 'easy' or 'simpler' means to get there. It's not like I haven't commuted before; when I worked in Oakland I commuted, but at that local I had the option of using BART - and it was great, I found the train ride back from work to be a great time to relax.  When I worked in Sacramento I had to drive, but even then it was a reverse-commute and it was virtually a straight shot down the freeway.  I would listen to books-on-tape and not really be bothered because there wasn't any traffic to deal with in a meaningful way.

That's all changed now...

The way it is set up now, all routes to Marin are choices in the "which sucks less" category.  To make the situation worse, each option is fraught with the danger of dependence - that is that just one idiot can seriously muck it up for EVERYONE else on the road at that time.  My ride into work really isn't that bad, in fact, in the entire eight months I've been working here it's only met the threshold of "Oh s%&#!" once. The typicial timeframe to get to work is 35 minutes, which is fine.  The ride home however is another matter entirely.  Virtually all my choices in terms of routes sit somewhere on the "This-Blows-Goats" meter.  And the constant uptick in stupidity displayed by fellow commuters is only increasing my inherent disdain for the great unwashed.  I've learned that I don't care to cross to bridges going too and coming from work, so I typically take the 101N to 37 to get home.  The 37 deserves some of its own discussion - this stretch of lonely road has many nicknames, "Bloody Alley" is its official one, but the one that stands out to me is "Serial-killer row", because candidly it does look like a place that people would choose to dump a body (or parts as the case may be).  It is for the record a simple two-lane road that is twenty-one miles long that cuts right through a beautiful and sometime desolate section of wetlands.  However, where it really gets dicey is at the Sears Point split - this is where the road divides and those riders heading to Sonoma breakoff left and those heading to Sacramento, Benicia, Vallejo etc, stay to the right.  This is also an epicenter of human stupidity: I typically encounter two situations at this chokepoint.  A) The moron who thinks that they will shorten there drive time by staying in the left lane like they are heading to Sonoma only to attempt to cut in to the long line on the right thereby making the back up that much worse for everyone else.  Everyone one of this pathetic souls really deserves (and in fact probably needs) a good, sharp, jaw-rattling blow to the head - one of those "smarten-the-f%$#-up" whacks that we all know exist but it's now not polite to point out. B) The texting jackhole.  Look, I accept that people cheet on the "hands free cell phone" law in CA, in fact, since I don't set the bar very high for human nature I expect it.  But texting and driving under any conditions is soooo stupid that it demands that it be confronted whenever you see it.  Fortunately there are people like me in the world to take up that arms in those situations: case-in-point, last week I was moving in bumper-to-bumper traffic and I realized that the douchebag in front of me is texting - I can see his head look up and down and he is starting and stopping suddenly (cause he's not paying attention).  So I honked my horn, he looked up and rolled down his window and looked back it me and then I explained to him that if he didn't put down the cell phone right now I was going to get out of my car, then go through his window and then go through his head - he put down the phone. 

In short, commuting sucks....
  • Current Mood
    bitchy bitchy