PAX East 2017 Nears

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Good morrow to you, the one guy and possibly but unlikely one girl who read this blog-ish thing.  PAX East is exactly one month away.  Now, due to some unanticipated vehicular expenses  (a marmot needs to get around too), my attendance this year was all but certain. I was able to secure tickets but because of said expenses, I had to cancel my hotel reservation.  This left me in a somewhat disenchanted state and thus I retreated into my hole, unseen and unheard by all but my closest and inhumanly patient friends.

But no more!  No!  Verily I venture forth out into the wide world.  A world of sun and hope and…F#@k it’s cold outside!

Where was I? Oh, yes, PAX.  The badges are in and the hotel re-reserved thanks in part to some fortuitously timed pay periods.  The next month will be spent scouring the Penny Arcade forums and arranging meet-ups. Last year I got the opportunity to playtest Thornwatch which was enjoyable and helped plant the seed that is now sprouting into an interest in tabletop gaming. More on that soon..

And so, we come to the end of this brief but hopefully appetite whetting post.  I apologize for its brevity, but it is cold and I am but a small, ground dwelling mammal.

As I have said before and will say again (because I always end my posts with it and I mean it), feel free to leave your questions and comments below.

Stu out.

Finally Getting to Game of Thrones – Season 1

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Yes, it’s true.  Up to this point in my life I had yet to watch a single episode of Game of Thrones.  The look of shock, horror, and at times strong distain, have crossed the faces and been expressed via keyboard more times than I can count.  And so, with a newly updated cable television subscription (which is another topic -read: rage rant- for another time), I now have access to HBO and its wide array of soft-core pornogra-, er, original programming.  I mean seriously, have you watched Westworld? (Yeah, I binged watched that shit right out of the gate).

Anywho, as I was saying, I started watching Game of Thrones.  I just finished the first season about 20 minutes ago and a good friend was actually foolish enough to suggest that I blog about my impressions.  So here we are.  You can blame him for this.

My friend’s suggestion was that I make notes on each episode.  I tried doing that and got as far as about episode six before I realized I was getting sucked into the show and that trying to keep up with watching the show and writing down my thoughts became an exercise in futility.  I might try it again in season two, we’ll just see how that goes.

And so, without further adieu, here are some of my impressions on season one of Game of Thrones.

WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR SEASON ONE – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
* Opening map flyby sequence actually made me queasy for a moment.  I’m guessing I won’t be riding rollercoasters anytime soon.
* Ooooh, inhuman bad guys.  I hope they aren’t zombies, please, please don’t let them be zombies.
* Its obvious I’m going to need to Wikipedia the shit out of this show to keep track of things.
* Boobs.  So. Many. Boobs
* Strong, silent warrior turns out to be gentle giant trope?  Fuck that.
* So, it’s that kind of family.
* A character death already?  I was warned about this but damn, they really didn’t waste any time.
* I’m guessing seasons aren’t a thing there because winter is coming and people seem to be really concerned about it.  Maybe they didn’t jar enough veggies to last.
* I’m getting the sense that feminism hasn’t reached the Seven Kingdoms just yet.

* Little guy’s got some verve
* Justified slapping is justified, and satisfying.
* Oh, I bet you mourned the loss of your first kid.  My money is that the King wasn’t the little dude’s dad so he had to go.
* Is it me or is the guy with white hair pompous and unbearable?
* Ok, so now war is coming.
* Damn dire wolf, you crazy!
* Love lessons?  (cue Matthew McConaughey)Allllll right!
* I gots me a hunch one of dem dere dragon eggs gonna be hatchin’ at some point.
* George R.R. Martin – No sex fixation here, no sir, nope.
* I do like them wolves.
* I do not like them Lannisters.  Shifty folk they be.
* Well, that escalated quickly.
* That whiny little Lannister kid is a prick
* That older Lannister kid is a prick
* That Lannister sister is a prick(ess?)
* Winter is coming.
* What’s wrong with my clothes you little toady?
* Oh snap, a little discord in the conference room.
* Ok, ok, winter is bad.  This seems to have been well established at this point.
* White walkers sound like bad news.
* There is some scheming afoot
* The King don’t seem to like pretty boy all that much.
* I guess I should start learning names.
* Is there anyone in this thing that isn’t being betrayed by someone?
* Did you know that winter is coming?
* Ah, the legendary Hodor makes his appearance.  I’ve been lead to believe I will grow attached to him.
* Tough love at the wall it seems.
* Bath sex.
* Immigration issues at King’s Landing
* Silly girl, you can’t be a lord.  Have some kids, won’t you?
* Spies, spies, everywhere
* Little King White Hair hath become unhinged and his sister seems to have come into her own.
* Next time, on “When jousts go wrong”
* Didn’t see that coming.  No one puts Imp in a corner
* Winter, still coming.
* How many characters are there in this damn show?
* Ah, so the boy in the shiny armor doesn’t like girls?
* Fuck, he just decapitated his horse!  A little extreme
* Ah, finally, more sex
* Shouldn’t that kid be on solid food by now?
* A room with a view.  Pretty suite
* In the leg?  This show is full of surprises
* Winter. It’s what’s coming.
* Is there anything other than wine or beer in this world?
* I knew it! That egg is gonna hatch at some point.
* Fresh heart.  Yummy(?)
* Such a vulgar little imp.
* OH!!! I should have seen that coming but I didn’t.
* Boom.  One bespoke crown coming up.

(This is where I gave up trying to keep up with my notes so the following are thoughts in no particular order)
* A life for a death ain’t no life at all.  And now you’re down a horse.
* Daddy is finally starting to appreciate me.
* Damn! They took his head? They actually killed him off in the first season?  I liked that dude.
* The boy king is a vindictive, petulant little twat?  This comes as a surprise to nobody, except perhaps the person who raised him.  Love is blind apparently.  And incestuous, ay-oh!
* Hey, her hands didn’t get burned, and she supposedly has dragon blood in her?  Now where could this be going?
* Yup, went exactly where I thought it would.
* That dude with the bridge seems like he could be overrun pretty easily, how the hell is he still in business?
* And do you really need to lick your lips when you’re gawking at your 15-year old bride?  Dodgy, creepy ol’ coot.
* This show is remarkably well done.
* Boobs.  Have I mentioned the boobs yet?
* There be dragons.  Cute, adorable little dragons.
* A very tasteful placement of that second dragon there.  I mean, you’re going for modesty now?
* Winter. Is. Coming.

And that, my friends, wraps it up for season one. I’ll be starting season two very shortly and now that I think I have a handle on what’s going on, I should be able to keep up with my notes.  Hopefully.  Maybe.

A Little Self-Indulgence

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​Hello Marmoteers (have I used that yet?) Every now and again I see something that throws me into a creative bent.  This time around it is an image circulating around of a fictional(?) book entitled “How to Survive in a Strange World After Sliding Into an Alternate Timeline.” I’ve done a little digging but have yet to find an original source to attribute it too so I’m not sure about posting it here.   With that out of the way here is the raw, unedited, unsolicited results of an hour long spontaneous writing session inspired by that image.   It doesn’t seem like much but I hope it piques your interest. 

Who hasn’t run into one of these situations: You walk into a room and suddenly forget why you are there.  You’re looking for something that you are absolutely certain was there a moment ago but has disappeared, only to return later to the exact spot you thought you left it.  Or perhaps a close friend is recalling an event that is well-established in your mind but some of the details seem off.  These are not random failures of memory or odd happenstance.  No, these are the effects of slipping from one timeline to another and back again. It happens suddenly and without warning and its effects are usually mostly harmless.  But what happens when you slip into an alternate timeline and fail to return?  The information in this book will help explain what is happening and how to deal with it.

WHAT IS IT

The concept of alternate existences, call them timelines or universes or multiverses, is by now fairly well established.  There are countless books on the subject, some based in science, such as string theory in theoretical physics, some more metaphysical and fantastic.  The concept goes by several names, multiverse, timelines, realities, planes, but whatever you call it, the fact of the matter is that the walls between these timelines, as we will call them in this book, is thin.  So thin that at times cracks form and items can pass through.  Usually there are so many similarities on what exists on either side of the wall that this transition is seamless and occurs without any indication that it happens at all.

Each timeline resonates with its own frequency.  It is this frequency that maintains a timelines cohesion.  It might be helpful to think of existence as a guitar.  There are many strings, each tuned to its own note. On a string there are many notes that can be generated by placing your finger on a fret.  The note may change but the underlying vibration exists throughout the entire string. Now, were there only one string, there could only be one note at a time and thus, one timeline at a time.  But, in the case of existence, there are an infinite number of strings and sometimes this results in one of two things happening.  The first is that two strings can be tuned so closely that items on one string crosses over to the other almost effortlessly.  The second is that a string can be vibrating at a harmonic of another and causes a resonance so strong, that items can bounce, or “slide” between the two.  This second one is the tricky one and the one this book will spend most of its focus on.

You see, when we slide between timelines there is a tendency to slide back as soon as possible.  This is because we are naturally attracted things vibrating at the same frequency.  This explains how the pen you are sure was sitting on the coffee table five minutes ago is no longer there when you need to write something down.  You will tend to find it ten minutes later after the need for a pen has passed.  Or, and this seems to happen more often these days, you type in the same password four times only to have it accepted on the final try.  You aren’t going crazy, you’ve just momentarily jumped strings and there is a pretty good chance some alternate you just had a similar experience.  The exchange is usually 1:1 with only minor, subtle changes in each timeline.

Now, when you hit a resonant frequency, all manner of hell can break loose.  Items can be thrown off of a timeline and not return.  The typical 1:1 exchange doesn’t occur and you can find yourself in a world that is similar in some ways but drastically different in others.  It can also result in a timeline where both you and your alterniyou exist on the same string.  This will be covered in Chapter 4: Do I Drink with my Doppelganger?

(Would like to read more of this?  Let me know in the comments and I’ll see about writing it) 

Into The Twitchverse

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My Marmotarians  (I’m running out of new things to call you), I am happy to report that I have started streaming some console gaming sessions on Twitch via the XBOX One.  For those who are interested,  check me out on twitch.tv/stuhambone and follow my twitter feed @stuhambone.   Blog posts will still announced @themarmotreport.  Confusing?  You betcha. This is what happens when you don’t have a cohesive social media strategy.   Hey, I’m new. 

“You sonuvabitch,” you’re saying, “you promised us a podcast with guests and stories and interesting stuff and now you’re giving us this?”  

I understand your anger.   I’ve let you down.  You feel betrayed,  alone, abandoned.  These are valid feelings.  These are justified feelings.  These are the feelings of my parents.  But I digress…

I’m still set up to do the podcast.  Scheduling is a serious impediment and since I’m not what you would call an established entity, is difficult to get things lined up.  I promise though that I will keep on blogging and there is a collaborative project in the works that I hope to be able to officially announce in January. 

I’m always thankful for your views and always look forward to hearing from you so leave a message at the end of the post. 

Hopelessly devoted to you,

-Stu

Seasons Holiday Greetings…and stuff

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Marmoteers, it’s that time again here in the States and in many parts of the world.  With Thanksgiving past and Christmas on the horizon, I thought I would take a moment to wish all of you out there a happy holiday season. 

2016 was a rough year.  We lost a lot of amazing people.  World events have been, let’s face it, batshit crazy.  A lot of people have had personal setbacks, myself included.  There may be some people who will be sad to see the year end, but I surely know none of them. 

So, with the new year approaching, I urge everyone out there to remember that there are good things out there.  For every bad thing that happens there are ten good things that happen because of or in spite of it, you just might not be aware of it.   I’ve had a career in IT and I can tell you from experience that people tend not to notice when things are going well but they sure as hell notice when shit goes south.

Let’s all try, as hard as it might be, to notice those good things in 2017. Support each other, be decent human beings, try cracking that smile once in a while and see what happens.  I’ll try to do the same. 

Happy Holidays everyone. 

The Joy of Painting

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I’m not what you would call an avid player of tabletop RPGS.  This isn’t too say I’m not interested.  Years ago, in the long, long away times, I picked up the Red box D&D set, filled in the numbers on the dice with the included white crayon and imagined that I would soon be on my way to amazing adventures,  treasure beyond belief and gaming memories that would last a lifetime. 

That didn’t exactly happen.

There were two issues, one was that there was the stigma of D&D being a “nerds game”, and the other,  perhaps more relevant in my situation (being a nerd was already sort of my thing) was that there wasn’t anyone else to play with.  At least I didn’t know of anyone else to play with.  Playing with myself wasn’t an option. You there in the back, stop snickering!

Fast forward approximately 30 years and I’ve finally found a group to party up with.   The ironic thing of course is that I’ve known these people for almost 15 years and had no idea they were into it until about 12 months ago.   Things being what they are, our gaming sessions are sporadic at best.  Most of the group are married and have young children so on top of the usual weekly 9-5 responsibilities there are other  commitments such as birthday parties,  illness, play dates,  karate,  soccer, PTA, and the occasional PTPD ( Post Traumatic Patenting Disorder).  Scheduling is a nightmare thus in the last year we have had maybe five sessions.

Now, now, I know what you must be saying.  You must be saying, “But Stu, there are online options like Fantasy Fantasygrounds and Roll20.”  You would be right in saying this and it is sort of important that you do say this as it enables me to go forward with this post.

The online options don’t really solve the scheduling problem.  Granted, i could try to find another group online.  The issue there is that socially I’m a bit of a mixed bag.  I think of it as being a sack of rocks that has been rattling around for years.  Most of me is jagged and rough but some parts been worn into smooth, pleasant bits that feel good in your hand.  I’m warning you, if you don’t stop laughing you can go to the Principles office!  What I mean to say is that it takes me a bit to go outside my comfort zone.  So while those other options are available, I approach them very, very hesitantly.

“Stu, I’ve just read over five paragraphs of crap and I have zero idea what this has to do with painting and dude, you’re making me a little uncomfortable.”

Fair enough. I’m just trying to develop a rapport with you, dear reader by being open and honest.  See if I do that again…

Anyway, part of tabletop role playing are the miniatures.  I have long been fascinated with the diminutive marvels and how amazingly detailed they can be.  Taking a look at some of incredible paint jobs out there and there is little surprise that a hand painted miniature can help you fully realize the character you are playing.  It is for this reason I picked up a starter kit and gave it a whirl with the following results:

It’s not quite finished, there is still a little work that needs to be done, the bow needs some highlights and the eyes need to be filled in, but I’m going to call it a win.

So there you have it.  a long, drawn out post mainly to pat myself on the back.  I encourage you to do the same.

Until next time,

Stu

(PS- I’m looking to join an online campaign)