Sunday, November 18, 2018

"Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent..."

"Zhodi", after my son-in-law

"... Made Glorious By The Summer Sun Of Ray N. Welter Heating And Cooling..."

To misquote one W. Shakespeare, writing dialog for a guy who ended up getting a pole-axe in the back of his head and then winding up under a car park.

Our wonderful contractor has been in and gotten the new furnace and central air conditioning installed; the tech crew will be back in tomorrow to finish the electrical work and deal with a leaking valve. It has been a long cold month; while the first part of October wasn't too bad, the latter part and this month have been a grim race to the bottom of the thermometer and a struggle to keep the house above +55F so the pipes wouldn't freeze. if they had, we'd have had to write off the house and move out.

But, that has now been averted. The basement looks like a junkyard, a all the stuff I've been hoarding for the past thirty years had to be moved out of the crew's way. Luckily, I have the four-day holiday weekend coming up, and I should be able to get the mess all sorted before the gamers arrive this coming Sunday.

A lot of the stuff is simply scrap lumber. Both my neighbors have those ceramic pot kind of outdoor fireplaces, so I suspect I'll chop up the stuff for them to use this coming summer. The rest of the mess is old gear, so it'll get tested and sorted out; much of it still has the old tags from when it was last used, back in 1997.

I've also begun demolition in the game room proper, as we get ready for the big move at the end of December. The idea is to address the concerns that people have had over the way the space is laid out; when I redid the game room a few years back, it was after the death of my old campaign - and, to be honest, I never expected to be running a big campaign with a lot of players ever again.

Well, never say never again. The 'Sword And The Flame' has not one but two game groups, and is going from strength to strength. The associated forum, 'www.chirinebakal.proboards.com' is also steaming right along, and I am also very pleased with that.

The basic idea for the move is to put the lounge where the game room is now, and the game room where the lounge is. This will get us a lot more space around the game table, allow for better and more shelves for the miniatures, allow for better and more shelves for the books, and more display space on the walls for maps and art. It'll also allow us to do real 'theater-style' seating for the 52" screen; the 42" plasma will go in the new game room on the wall - I have lots of mounting hardare! - and then be the dis play for our Skype and other ways for people to remote in for games. We had our first remote player at the last Fourth Sunday game session; she was on her way home from Chicago, and remoted in via one of the other player's tablet.

It was very, very cool and a lot of fun hovering the tablet around the table; I think she had a better view then we did.

So, while I'm going to have to do a lot of hard work, I think it'll be worth it. And it's warm in the house, too...

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

From The Missus: "Don't be such a grumpy old man, Chirine."

The 'flames' are molded in clear plastic, on my samples...

And these have seven colors, you say?

It is that time of the year when The Missus send me forth to see what the holiday sales might bring us. This year, it's a third and fourth 'electric radiator' space heater to get us through the cold we're currently having while the the funding and installation of the new heating plant happens, but it's not all doom, gloom, cold, and vans that won't start. (Yes, we're dealing with that again tonight. The street's being swept, and we don't need a ticket and getting towed.)

Back in my youth, lighting effects in models were based on 'grain of wheat' and 'grain of rice' lamps; these were, it should be noted, hard to get and expensive; they were also a paun to wire up and power. These days, I am happy to say, it's a lot easier with the advent of LEDs and LED packages like these tea lights or the IKEA half-domes that I'm fond of using as lanterns on the game table.

When I first saw the WizKids sets of big braziers, all I could think of were those Technicolor epics we used to watch on Saturday afternoons when the local stations had nothing else to run. They were always running at full speed in the throne room scenes, and were always being knocked over or thrown around to create really neat spacial effects in the epic fight scenes.

Well, you know, I do like those epic swashbucklers, so I got four of these models for doing the same thing. And, since the 'flames' are molded in clear plastic, I reached for the cordless drill and put a tidy hole for an LED into the bottom of each bowl of flaming oil or red-hot coals or what ever the studio put in the things.

Then, I found a set of five LED tea lights that change colors automatically, and are pretty bright. Just the thing for those magical flames that movie sorcerers seem to prefer - I do wonder where they get them; probably from their version of people like me, I suppose - and so there we are! A little something for our miniature adventures... :)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Month In Review - Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned - The Weekly Update - Sunday, November 4th, 2018

The big Mac is back!

Well. It certainly has been an 'interesting' month. It's been cold; we are still in the process of getting the funding for and installation of a new furnace, and so we've been getting by on the fleet of space heaters for the past month. I can get warm at work - something about that nice warm boiler room I look after - but The Missus has had to contend with the house being at most +68F all day. She's holding up, but I do worry about her. With luck, we'll have the new furnace in by Thanksgiving.

The campaign has been going very well. Both sets of players have been 'bedding in' to Tekumel quite nicely, learning about the world-setting while they engage in sundry adventures. The over-arching meta-game has also been nicely advanced with all kinds of Plot Developments being generated by the players.

And speaking of plots, my beloved old 'billboard' Mac is back in service. The Missus, bless her, was able to find it a new power supply, and has installed both that and original Tekumel hard drive to bring it back on line for my writing. She'll shortly be moving The One True "To Serve The Petal Throne" over from my MacBook that I used for Internet things, and I'll be back at writing by the end of the week.

Hurrah!!!

This machine will still serve as my 'Internet terminal', to use an 'old folks term'; it's located in what's now my 'campaign management workstation' here in our home office. There's even a whiteboard calendar to keep track of dates, and everything I need to manage the campaign and the two game groups. We're gaming here at the house twice a month, and having open houses in between game sessions, so we're becomeing a sort of 'community center' for people interested in he kind of gaming that I do as well s Phil's creation.

So far, so good.

The downside of this past month, aside from the cold, has been the news coming out of both local gaming and national fandom. If I may, here are some links that may help enlighten folks on what's been affecting our lives lately:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TwinCitiesGeeks/permalink/2244150872280960/
http://twincitiesgeek.com/2018/10/an-open-letter-from-the-shieldmaidens-regarding-source-comics-and-games/

https://crystalhuff.com/2018/10/25/why-im-not-at-arisia-anymore-my-rapist-is-president-again/
http://file770.com/arisia-bans-rosenberg-authorizes-membership-refunds/

As regular readers of this blog will recall, I have very strong opinions about this sort of thing. (Please see also: http://chirinesworkbench.blogspot.com/2013/07/angry-rant-indignant-one-each-20-on.html for a previous post of mine on this.) I am appalled by all of this, especially since so many of my friends and people that I know are involved.

I do not claim to be any sort of 'politically correct' person or gamer - I've been denounced by some of the local 'Social Justice Warriors' for persecuting gays, oppressing women, and assorted other high crimes and misdemeanors in my games and in my life. In fairness, I've also been accused of the opposite all across the board, so I think I'm treading a middle-of-the-road path as both sides of the 'Culture Wars' have told me of the error of my ways.

"My, oh, my!" as Fourth Daughter would say.

So it goes; I worry about pleasing The Missus, and our friends. Beyond that, it seems, I can please no one; so, I think I shall exercise patience and that Third Option.