Thursday, June 5, 2014

On Realigning Our Brand Identity... (Whatever that means...)

Another day, another batch of captives... Sigh.

Back in the days when I was an audio-visual / show production technician, I used to do a lot of business meeting where business presenters used to use a lot of PowerPoint slides and buzzwords. Very good-looking presentations, but there never seemed to be anything solid in the thing; this is where I first heard the phrase "So-and-so gives good meeting."

Ah, right. The moment I 'give good blog', will somebody slap me up the side of the head? Thank you.

I am, as some have noted, in the process of changing a lot of the way I do things, both here in my little corner of the Internet and downstairs in the game room. This process started last fall, as the horribly cold weather hit here in the Twin Cities, and my forced indoor existence gave me a lot of time to ponder.

My reflections led to the Big Changes in the game room, like the new table, and the emphasis on small-table actions as part of small micro-campaigns. Let's face it; everyone has busy lives, these days, and having a more or less fixed set up that can be rapidly changed around has been my goal since last summer. The new table allows for this; I no longer have to spend three hours on a Saturday morning to get the game room ready for guests; the change-over now takes only fifteen minutes, and is very easy on me. The return trip is just as fast and easy - I can now concentrate on the game itself and not on the process of managing the venue.

Time - time is what's the issue here. I have so little of it available, that it has become very precious to me. I type very slowly; I have both dyslexia and ambidexterity, and it's a nasty combination. Coupled with my work schedule, and it's a time-killer. From my perspective, the time I spent typing had better show some return on the investment - it's time I could be down on the workbench painting, to be blunt.

I happened to think of looking in on an Internet forum that I used to visit, and I was kind of horrified that my last visit was back in May of 2011. I took a look at my other forum accounts, and the same story unfolded; the ones where I had posted recently were ones where I wound up doing a lot of explaining about Ye Olden Dayes - back when I was young, gaming, had hair, and energy - and I realized that I have very little in common with the current gamer or their styles of play. I never really played what these folks think of as 'D & D', and I have been having trouble following - or in a lot of cases, understanding! - what the conversation is about. I had no idea that "Holmes" referred to an edition of D & D; I thought it was a Victorian British detective.

Over the past months, I've been coming to the conclusion that there's a huge cultural gap between the current gaming world and myself; I keep thinking in terms of things I knew and saw in the late 1970's and the 1980's, and the folks that I'm talking to have little or know idea what I'm talking about. It's not through any fault on their part - I never really played the game that they are interested in.

My problem is, to put it in 'business terms' that I am getting a very low 'rate of return' for the investment in time and effort that I put into blogs, vs. the conversations that result. I get a lot more return from the comments and conversations that get started here on the blog, quite frankly. The issue is where I spend my very limited time - here, writing on this blog and also on my book; painting and building things; Internet forum postings. Something has had to give; I've been spending more and more time on the Internet fora, and less and less time on the workbench and on my own projects.

So, I hate to have to say, I am moving away from the fora. I find my own writing and my painting / building to be much more rewarding personally, and I'm closing down a lot of my accounts; it just seems poor form to have accounts I never use.

I'm in the process of closing down or simply abandoning (depending on how the forum in question works) accounts on RPG.net, odd74, 'Knights and Knaves', Dragonsfoot, Misfits of Gaming, and a few others. I will be keeping Frothers-UK and Lead Adventure Forum, as those pander to my lead-influenced tastes. I am evaluating several others, and will make decisions based on post histories. In kind of the same stream of thought, I will be 'pruning' the list of blogs that I follow here on the 'front page' of this blog; if there has been no activity on a blog for six months, I will continue to follow the blog but remove it from this front page. If the blog starts back up again, I'll put it back, of course.

As a result of all this remodeling and renovation, you'll see a lot more on this blog in the months to come. I hope you'll like it; you are more then welcome, here!

18 comments:

  1. Personally, I find I benefit enormously from your accounts, if only because I aspire one day to introduce that sort of play into my own games. I started playing D&D in 1977, so I caught the tail end of the "golden age", but all too quickly embraced the rules and tropes of what followed. I'm consciously trying to get back to that style and feel, and your blog is an enormous help in that regard.

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words! I will keep this blog going, so long as heart and flesh will stand, and keep telling you about the people and the world that I lived in. What I am doing is trying to is get the most out of what I can do with my limited time, and get you the very best that I can offer.

      - chirine

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  2. Please don't abandon this blog. It's one of my favourites (I've called it inspirational many times) and I welcome your promise of "a lot more".

    Personally I never got into the fora culture - it personifies the stereotypical "pointless Internet debate" that I detest as a waste of time and braincells. They're only use (to me) is to pop on if I have a question for a game designer or company that I can't contact more directly.

    I also find forums quite flat and stagnant, while a (good) blog is a living, evolving, growing entity (with a single vision that you either like or don't).

    Perhaps it's my journalism background, but I prefer the blog format every time. Someone writes an article, people comment on it and a discussion ensues from there (or not) - but at least everyone is starting from the same place.

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    1. I will not abandon this blog. I have fought too hard to keep it up, and spent too much money on the lawyer to fend off the last attack to give up. I will do my best to keep you amused, and maybe offer a little inspiration along the way.

      What I'm tired of - amongst other things! - is being kicked by 'Gygaxians' because I say nice things about Dave, and being kicked by 'Arnesonians' because I say nice things about Gary. I knew, liked, and respected them both; their modern-day partisans would do well to think about how they sound to 'regular folks'.

      - chirine

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    1. Yeah; you've been to see the elephant too.

      - chirine

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  4. Well being a parent of two and employed full time I certainly appreciate your problem. Please don't give up on ODD74, as I really appreciate the stories you and Gronan share with us! I started gaming in 1980, and as such missed the early days of gaming. Irony being what it is I find I have little in common with most current gamers as well. I look forward to your books you are working on as well, so cutting down on blog stuff makes sense!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! I have left ODD74, as I do not want to cause Gronan / Mike Mornard any problems. My posts on thet forum and my being in communication with him both on the forum and off line were the subject of a tirade by Dr. Raymond (President and Chairman of the Board of the Tekumel Foundation) at the recent Gary Con. I wish Michael all the best with his book, and I refuse to imperil him for the sake of somebody's issues with insecurity. There's been too much of that over the years - I've had to deal with over two decades of this kind of crap, and I'm tired of it.

      Sigh.

      - chirine

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  5. Regarding text-entry, have you looked into speech-to-text dictation software? I don't have any first hand experience, but my vague impression is that the effectiveness of this technology has improved greatly in recent years. You have to teach them as you go, first to recognize your individual voice, and then add words that they don't know (lots of those for writing about Tekumel...). So I don't know if it would be a time saver or not, but worth a look?

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  6. Thank you for your suggestion! It's really a very good one, and we have indeed looked into it. Our problem is that we're entirely Mac-based here at The Workbench, and we can't get a program that will work reliably with our computers. we have a stand-alone Dell PC that I use for Skype and Google+ hangouts, but we'd have to put in a lot of work and money to upgrade that machine to use one of these programs.

    About all I can do, I'm afraid, is get lots of sleep and get onto a regular schedule of writing...

    - chirine

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    1. Dragon has a very good reputation in that sphere, and it's available for Mac: http://www.nuance.com/for-individuals/by-product/dragon-for-mac/index.htm

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    2. Thank you for the suggestion! We did look at this program, but we found that we'd have to buy new macs to be able to use it. Until we can afford a very substantial upgrade, we're going to have to deal with what we have.

      - chirine

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    3. I think it was the port of Dragon over to Mac that gave me the impression things had improved with text-to-speech, I'm a Mac user too. My impression is that Dragon is the "industry standard" for text-to-speech. The port to Mac was a few years ago though, so you might see if one of the older versions of Dragon Dictate for Mac (current is version 4) would run on your system. For instance, I noticed that for v4 they recommend much larger amounts of RAM than previous version.
      Also, starting with version 10.8 of the Mac OS (aka "Mountain Lion"), there is a text-to-speech application built-in. It's called Dictation, and appears in the System Preferences. I don't k now if that would be feasible for you either, but OS upgrades are pretty cheap now. 6 to 7 is $20, and 7 to 8 is the same price. Of course OS upgrades might raise other compatibility issues too, but fwiw...

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    4. George, I'm sorry to be getting back to you so late! The Missus took your suggestion and looked at Dragon. Our problem is that we have older hardware - I'm writing on this poor old Mac, a 2 GHz Power PC G5 running OS 10.4.11 - and from what she can tell we can't do the upgrades needed for Dragon. (It's why we needed to get a hand-me-down Dell from her brother for Skype; newer Intel chip set.) We live on a pretty fixed income, due to the Missus' disabilities, and we just can't afford to get newer machines and software. We'll keep looking at the numbers, though... :)

      - chirine

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  7. Chirine, that image you picked is from inside the temple at Bonampak, right?

    Have you been there? It is pretty awe inspiring. I can heartily recommend it.

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    1. I had replied to you earlier, but it seems to have vanished. Anyway, No I have not; Phil was there, and The Missus has been to Chichen Itza and Palenque. I leaned about the place from Phil, and his huge library.

      - chirine

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Thank you for your very perceptive comments! And I sympathize, too - typing is very hard for me as well.

      Yes, I'm a little saddened by my leaving the world of the gaming forum, but I think it will be for the best in the long term. It takes me a lot of time and energy to participate on them, and I just felt that I was getting nowhere. Being denounced by the 'Arnesonians' for saying what I saw with Gary, and being denounced in turn by the 'Gygaxians' for saying what I saw with Dave, just got very old.

      I was even more astonished by the people who told me that just because I was there, at the time, I had no right to comment or say anything - especially anything that contradicted the 'revealed wisdom' of the Internet RPG groups. It was a zero-sum equation, and I don't have the time or the energy for those...

      - chirine

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