Friday, February 25, 2011

Random Shots: Explaining The Hiatus

  • When I announced in my last post that Bullet Points was going dark for a while, I dropped a lot of news that I had previously only shared in limited ways. Since I can never remember who I've told what to, I figured I might as well explain what is going on.

  • Having A Baby - Let's lead off with the best news because it colors all of the rest. My wife and I are having a baby girl. She is due here around March 8. Which means she could be here any time. We are really looking forward to seeing her for the first time and have been spending a lot of time (and money!) on preparations. On its own, this news would be enough to make me step back from blogging for a while. Life, though, had other plans.

  • The City Is Taking My House - We live about five houses down from a railroad crossing on a fairly high traffic street. Because emergency services use our street a lot, having a railroad crossing that is closed several times a day is a problem. So a couple years ago the city announced a plan to build a grade separation so that the street can pass under the railroad. And in order to do so, they need to take twenty-one houses. One of those is ours. We actually look at this as a good thing because we have been wanting a new house. But the city has left us waiting for a long time. Right until this January in fact. Their timing was impeccable.

  • Buying A New House - Of course, that leaves us in a position where we need to shop for a new home while my wife is 38 weeks pregnant. Awesome. We're actually in a position to find a nice house and plan for it with the baby in mind. But working with the city, relocation consultant, realtor, and lender is a headache we don't need right now.

  • The Break In - About a month ago, the same week the city made its offer for our house, someone broke in during the day and stole our television and my wife's laptop computer. The animals were all safe and still inside, but the frame of our front door was a mess. They didn't take much, but it was enough to shake us both up considerably. As if we needed any more excuse to want out of our house.

  • The Break In, Part Two - Since the hiatus started, someone tried to break in again this last Monday. Lucky or unlucky as you look at it, my wife was home and was able to scare them off by calling 911. My nine month pregnant wife. You know, it just gets old after a while. Wherever we move, I suspect we will be hardening the portals like it was a fortress.

  • Many Hospital Trips - Not going into this much other than to say having various illnesses and injuries in the middle of all the rest of this mess has not helped.

  • This all feels like that long November that lasted well into 2010 where so many things went wrong for us. I hope it passes soon and our life, even with a new baby, calms down a little bit.

  • The hiatus continues.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Admin: On Hiatus

  • I wasn't aware of this at the time, but it looks like the blog went on hiatus about a week ago and no one informed me. This came as a shock to me as there are at least three or four different posts I need to write. The fact that I have, so far, not actually written them is telling.

  • There is a lot going on. Too effing much, as a matter of fact. So much so that all I find myself playing on my PC is Zen of Sudoku and You Don't Know Jack. If anyone really wants me to write about either of them, I'm sure I could oblige. But let's be honest, you would be asking just to be polite.

  • So between dealing with the break-in, preparing for the baby, and preparing to move, I'm kind of swamped. Therefore I'm making this hiatus official for the time being. Keep your RSS readers handy, though. You never know when I feel the need to inflict my particular brand of bloggery on you all.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Random Shots: Distracted

  • I find my attention wandering more than usual lately. The urge to game just isn't there. Except for web browsing and the occasional round of Zen Of Sudoku, I most I've used my computer for is to watch Fringe on DVD. There could be any number of reasons, but I'm going to blame it on all of the packing my wife and I have done recently. Looking through all of the things that I have accumulated over the years has left me in a melancholy mood about games not of the electronic variety.

  • One of the things I've been thinking about is gamebooks. Just a couple days ago, Dave Morris posted on his Fabled Lands blog about a new gamebook being released, DestinyQuest: The Legion of Shadow. Where Fabled Lands had opened up the game world to exploration, DestinyQuest seems to draw inspiration from modern RPGs and MMOs by offering various quests to choose from. It was a little on the expensive side (as Blue Kae will attest), but I'm looking forward to seeing someone push the gamebook field forward.

  • I also packed up a far number of RPG and miniature rule books. I have several miniatures, painted and unpainted, sitting on my shelves collecting dust. One of the books I found was AK47 Republic, a beer-and-pretzels minis game set to post-colonial Africa. Each player takes the role of a faction from a fictional country and clash over their chosen objectives. The funny part of the game is that it encourages role-playing on your faction amusing ways. I doubt I'll ever play a game (it sits on my shelf right next to Fire and Fury, but I'm glad I own it.

  • For a couple different reasons, I've ended up staring at BoardGameGeek a lot more than usual. One of the games that I've been reading about is Android from Fantasy Flight Games. Set in the near future, players take on the role of detectives investigating a murder in the cities of New Angeles and the Heinlein moon colony. It is a very theme and story based game (one of the reasons I was drawn to Tales of the Arabian Nights) where the journey may be more important than the destination. There is a mystery to solve, a conspiricy to uncover, and your character's personal story to deal with all within the two weeks the game lasts. I put in a bid on the game for a charity auction on BGG, partly because I want to help out and partly because I'm really interested in the game. Now to see if I can con anyone into playing with me.

  • Most of all, I've been feeling nostalgic for the days of yore when I had more time for big sprawling games like these. While I may not play as much anymore, it feels nice to be surrounded by such games and memories.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Random Shots: Sometimes You Have To Let Go

  • I'm not going to go debate the situation with Penny Arcade. That's not what I'm here for. (If for some reason you don't know what I'm talking about, check out Scott Jennings's post at Broken Toys.) Instead, I want to say something to Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik.

  • I understand what you guys are doing. I commend you for what you've built and going for your goals without reservations. Heck, I even thought the strip in question was funny, mostly because I knew what you were talking about. I don't think you should have to compromise your work.

  • There is something greater that you have set in motion. Sure, you can tell people not to read your strip. But it is also starting to effect PAX. The place that you specifically wanted to be as inclusive of the gamer culture as possible. The no booth babes thing, the anti-harassment policy, all of it. The strip is starting to overshadow that.

  • I found this quote by Mike from November 29, 2007:
    We're hesitant to connect Child's Play too much with Penny Arcade, just because there are certain hospitals and there have been hospitals in the past that are hesitant to work with Child's Play because of Penny Arcade. I mean obviously we're not a kid-friendly site and there's some questionable content on there. We try our best to really distance the two brands. If you go to the Child's Play site there's really no mention of Penny Arcade. There's no link, certainly, back to our site.

  • The precedent is set. You did not want Child's Play to be held back because of what you do at Penny Arcade, so you let it have its space. I think it is time to do the same for PAX. I'm sure this conversation is already happening within the walls of Penny Arcade. Listen to them. If you love PAX as much as I think you do, you know it is the right thing to do. Keep on doing what you're doing on the strip and the site, but don't let that hold back this great thing you've created. That would be a shame. And it would be a loss to us all.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Listened Lately: Shut Up We're Talking #76

  • The time has finally come for one of my favorite podcasts to wind down. Shut Up We're Talking has come to an end with its seventy-sixth episode. It has been a great run, but Darren decided to hang up his microphone and move on to new goals.

  • The latest episode gathers a number of previous guests to send off the show in grand fashion. It is a bit chaotic, but it sounds like friends having a party more than anything else. There are times where everyone is trying to take part in the coversation, times when things quiet down, and times when talk turns weirdly serious. And most of all it was fun.

  • I don't remember when I started listening to SUWT or what caused me to give it a try. But I do remember feeling like the podcast was a kind of community gathering point. By bringing on bloggers to talking about the issues of the day, it was a great way to get a variety of opinions and discover new people to follow. It was also a great way to argue with people. If you look at my Listened Lately posts, you'll see that seven out of the ten are about SUWT. It was one of those (the one about episode 47) that got me a Blog of the Week mention and eventually a guest spot on the show. I felt like I was finally part of the community once I was on the show.

  • So thank you to Darren, Karen, and everyone else who participated and made SUWT such a great part of the conversation. It will be missed.

  • It's times like this that make me think I need to start a podcast of my own.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.