Monday, March 23, 2020

A Word From The Both Of Us, If We May...

We've had worse happen to us.

Out with a painter for future games.

He saw worse, and survived it. We'll survive, too.

If I may, I'd like to offer some words from what may be a historical perspective.

I am now starting the first full week of my furlough from my work, and I thought I should take a moment to see where were are and where we may be going. A lot of what follows has been percolating around in my head for the past year, and the current emergency has, paradoxically, given me the time to articulate what we've been thinking hereabouts.

First off, Janet and I continue to be in what amounts to self-isolation; neither of us has what we'd call an active social life, as normally we're both too tired to want to do much besides collapse in heaps. My being home has given us the opportunity to literally get our house in order, and catch up and restart a number of projects and initiatives that we've been wanting to move forward in over the past couple of years. She's not able to do much of anything that requires physical effort anymore, and I've been too tied up with my work and dealing with what are effectively external problems to take up the slack. We will get through this health crisis, all of us, if we behave like responsible adults and take reasonable precautions. We're already doing that, and in our particular case it seems to be working.

We do not know what the future will bring. We do believe that we will get through this. I look at  the present crisis from a historical perspective; Janet and I have dealt with worse in our thirty years together, and we're still here. My father and stepfather did as well, between surviving the Great Depression and then the Second World War.

We are building for the future, because we believe that there will be one. A friend of mine picked up Janet's vintage 'Dr. Who' figures yesterday, so I can give them to her for our thirtieth anniversary; I go these for her the first summer we were together, and they never did get painted. Now, they will, so I can run 'Dr. Who' gamers for her and her friends the Shieldmaidens. There will be games again, and friends laughing around a game table.

There will be changes, as our personal world has had a lot of changes over the past couple of years:

Over the past few years, we've been looking very hard at who we are, what we do, and what we enjoy. Gaming is, for the both of us, an entertaining hobby and a great way to share our fun with our friends. I am very happy to be able to say that I have finally shed all of my commercial ties with the game industry; I enjoy my friendships with the people who make our hobby great, and through their hard work provide us with so much fun and laughter via their products. Janet and I will be continuing to support those people, both by our purchases and our efforts to tell everyone about these products. To that end, we will continue to support my forum and my blog. You will see more mentions of what we consider useful products, and more reviews of them.

We have been looking at where we put our resources and energies, and how best to make this more cost-effective for us as we move ahead with our plans. Both Janet and I have health issues, hers much more serious then mine. We have found, the very hard way, that we have very limited energy and stamina and that we have to be very careful how we dole both out. I have said in a number of previous blog and forum posts that I am simply not able to both organize and deal with the logistics of many of the activities that people have told me that they want to see me do, and then be able to run those same events on the ground. To deal with this, we are encouraging people to take up the reins of being event organizers; we will be happy to support events, through our projects and collections, but we are not going to be able to be the 'go-to' people that we've been since 1978. We have had several very successful events using this model, such as our friend's game at Con of the North, and we're going to continue to work inside that very successful style of operations.

If I may put it crudely: it is simply more cost-effective for us, in our present circumstances, not to send me out to conventions due to the high costs of doing so - between travel, meals, lodging, and the need for me to have what amounts to a 'production assistant', it can cost upwards of $2,000 for a four-day weekend to have me physically present at an event. To mitigate that, we're putting more resources into the hardware and software of doing remote gaming and interviews. I may not be there in person, but I can be there via link.

In the same way, it is actually more cost-effective for us to commit our resources to events within our local area, and to help our friends come to them or simply visit us here at the house. It's all about logistics - it's much more labor- and resource-intensive to being me and the collections out to people then it is to bring the people to us. Think of it as a sort of 'reverse convention', if you like; instead of people paying to attend, it's simply more cost-effective for us to subsidize visitors. Once we get out of the current crisis, we'll have more to say about this.

We will continue to support the collections. The data is safe, as I like to say, and we are using this time I have off as a way to rebuild our house - and in some ways our lives - to look ahead into the future of not only ourselves but that of our gaming and our friends. I will be e-mailing a lot of you during this week, and i'll look forward to hearing your idea and getting your thoughts on all of this.

Thanks again for your time and patience. We will get through this.