Pseudo-Daily Report 2014-08-24

While I *do* have some SpeLPs recorded, I haven’t actually compressed and uploaded them yet ‘cos I’ve been lazy this last few . . . um . . . week. And by “lazy” I mean “writing.” Yup. That’s why the latest Cowkillers’ chapter is totally done and ready for alpha reading. Mhm.

I’m going to go and do . . . final . . . touch up work on it. That completed chapter that I have.

Cowkillers’ Chapter 5

It’s up! This one was a pain in the rear to write, like they all are, but for no particular reason this time. Also crowd scenes are tricky ‘cos it’s a pain to balance the “everybody is chipping in” with the “too many people speaking at once is hard to pull off well in text.” (Said the fellow writing a webnovel with forty people in a small area.)

Daily Report 2014-08-19

So I’ve figured out the simple two-step process by which I write.

  1. Visualize the scene in my head. Ruminate on it. Run through sixty different ways it can go until it is optimized. Feel the characters’ emotions. Work through them. Know, to the pit of my soul, how they will react. Recurse until the scene is a thing of beauty.
  2. Sit down and write the opening of that scene. Watch an entirely different scene flow out, the former never to be seen again.

You could be excused for thinking the first step of this process is unnecessary. Not correct, but excused.

Daily Report 2014-08-18

I was catching up on feeds last night and I noticed that this month is MORE THAN HALF OVER. Where does the time go? This is bananas.

Speaking of missing time, I seem to be missing my sleep from last night. All of it. This is a real shame: I like my sleep, generally speaking (occasional nightmares notwithstanding) and I appreciate not feeling like crud in the morning. Some nights I legitimately procrastinate straight through, which isn’t great, but last night was not one of them. Last night I was just too keyed up to sleep.

In other words, my brain’s a jerk.

Daily Report 2014-08-17

It’s been a productive day, and there’s a good chance I could actually get EVEN MORE THINGS done before I go to bed. Yes, I know it’s almost four in the morning, shut up, I’m being productive and I feel good about it.

This was one of those days that went better than it really should have. I don’t have qualifiers or explanations for that statement. It just seemed like it wasn’t going to be a great day, and then it proceeded to undermine my expectations like a boss. I got a lot of cleaning done. I caught up on Tales of MU (NSFW) 1 and Ra, Kids in bed, I watched five episodes of Deathnote with my wife 2. Then she went to bed and I started a game of Civ V. Then my friends went to bed and I dropped a nearly-1500-word blog post. Then I read the blog post over a few times and was actually quite happy with how it turned out, which doesn’t always happen. Then now.

If you thought I was leading up to a point, I have some bad news for you.

Notes:

  1. (spoiler) Lnnnnnnnnl! Gb or ubarfg, V’z abg rknpgyl Vna’f ovttrfg sna.
  2. That anime is MESSED UP and INTENSE and just bloody fantastic. Also just bloody. And, um, I think it’s covered all the major trigger warnings and most of the minor ones, so there’s that.

Why I Love My r24

My wife and I recently got dice rings. If you’re like the me of a month or so ago, you might ask, “What are dice rings?” The answer, of course, is that they’re awesome. A dice ring is a spinner ring with numbers on. It’s a die for your finger. For someone like me, it’s very nearly the best thing ever.

Having a easily usable die on my finger is basically a dream come true for me. I was the kid who, when I turned out my pockets entering the Johnson Space Center, got to explain to the security fellow what all the dice in my pockets were about. 1 I use dice to determine restaurant orders. I GM microsessions in the car or in line. I have, at one point, infuriated an unnamed Christian acquaintance of mine by bringing such Satanic paraphernalia into their house. 2

The point is that dice and gaming are a huge part of my life, and have been for some time, and it’s very unusual that I should find myself out of arm’s reach of a d20.

Which is why I’m amazed at how incredibly handy having one on my finger is. Like, I get that I’m basically THE target audience for this. I game a lot, I game on the go, I like knickknacks and doodads, my fashion sense can best be described as “tragic high-speed collision between a hippie and a bookshop,” 3 and I have a somewhat draconic fondness for inexpensive bling. So I put it on my wishlist, and showed it to my wife, and she flipped her lid over it, and also had a birthday coming up, and made the argument that her birthday gift would be most effective if we each had one, and here we are. 4 I got one of the rainbow-colored ones 5, sized for my index finger so I can use my thumb to spin it one-handed. I knew it would be handy, and I was excited to get it, but I didn’t really think of it as 6 a game-changer. 7

But here’s the thing. There’s a difference between having a d20 in my pocket (at the bottom, inevitably, and inside a dicebag with other dice and also a zipper or a drawstring closure so I have to fish the whole thing out past my wallet, possibly while sitting) and having one on my finger. One involves thirty to fifty-six seconds of awkward pocket mining, and one involves flicking my thumb and waiting a moment.

There’s a difference between “I have a d20 handy on my desk somewhere hang on a minute it’s under one of these things wait no it’s one of the dice in the box I have on my desk specifically for this purpose wait that’s a d30 okay here we go” and *flick* “14.”

There’s a difference between “Excuse me, sir, I think maybe my d20 rolled under your shake machine back there, or possibly farther, could you check with the grill crew? It’s just that I really like that particular d20″ and *flick* “Nope, sorry, you will not go to space today.”

This isn’t even taking into account how hard it is to find stable, flat surfaces to roll dice on when you’re gaming . . .

  • In line at McDonald’s.
  • In bed.
  • In the car.
  • While taking a walk.
  • While swimming.
  • While digging a shallow grave.
  • While digging a deeper grave because SOME PEOPLE get all up in arms about not hiding bodies properly.
  • In the living room.
  • Three hours into a gaming session when the table is covered with open books and discarded snacks.

These are all (or mostly) situations in which I thought the dice ring would be nice, but dramatically underestimated just how nice it actually was. But there’s more.

  • I’m a fidgeter. I fidget. I always need to be doing something with my hands or I go stark raving mad. Now I have a spinner ring that I can just keep spinning.
  • Or, if I’m not in a spinny mood and want something a little more involved, I can take it off and work it between my fingers. The ring needs to be broken in when you first get it, by grinding the inner and outer rings together to polish out any grit or whatnot, and then have this done again if they start sticking. This gives me something I can do constantly, even though it’s no longer strictly necessary.
  • Constant spinning of the dice ring causes people on Vent to question my proximity to creepers.
  • If I’m feeling socially awkward in real life I can say “HEY LOOK I HAVE A COOL SPINNY RING” and then run away while they’re examining my hand. No, wait, that doesn’t quite work.
  • You know that thing GMs can do where they roll a few dice behind the screen, not because something important is going on, but as a smokescreen so the players don’t know for sure when something is going on? You know how that drives players out of their mind with paranoia? I can now do that ALL THE TIME.

This is all generally applicable to any dice ring. I, however, don’t have just any dice ring. I have an r24, entirely because I was discussing choice paralysis with my best friend while she was picking out her own dice ring, and she made the very good point that an r24 is very good at emulating most standard dice. You can, for instance, emulate a d6 by spinning the r24, dividing by 4, and rounding up. 8 The d1, 9 d2, d3, d4, d6, d8, and d12 all work very nicely this way. The d10 and d20 require rerolling once in a while, but the one-in-six reroll for a d20 doesn’t bother me nearly as much as I was afraid it would. I barely notice it.

So that’s the obvious reason for getting an r24. No need to get a full set of dice rings and use up all my fingers – I just have one, and it easily handles the whole spectrum. Neat! But then my best friend started questioning her choice and changed her mind to an r20, and that got me thinking. Had I chosen wrong? What a terrible fate that would be!

Short answer: Nope. Because while I love d20s, the r24 is awesome in a few ways d20s can’t hope to be, all of which I realized after I’d already received mine.

  • Zosian months have 24 days. You’d be surprised at how often the need to generate a random day of the month comes up. My old go-to solution was to grab a d12 and a d6, recast the d6 as a d2, use it for the 12s place, and roll in base 12. That’s not quite as speedy or intuitive as *flick* “-the 19th.”
  • There are 24 hours in an Earth day. Yeah. Surprisingly useful. “How about we meet at the Waffle House at . . .” *flick* “2 in the morning?” 10
  • There are 26 letters in the English alphabet. Pick two you don’t really like and you’re good to go.
  • Finally and most importantly, I like esoteric dice. I keep my d30 on my desk because I make tables to use with it constantly. I’ve made a system that uses entirely d12s because I just feel sorry for the poor things. So having a 24-sided die on my finger? Yeah, that’s just about perfect.

And who knows? Maybe the d24 System is just around the corner.

Notes:

  1. I thought it was important he understand I wasn’t smuggling dice into the visitor center for nefarious purposes, but to be fair, I was like ten. In retrospect I think he just wanted me to quit talking and go inside. Such are the dangers of catching sight of a geeky kid’s dice.
  2. Yes, I get that they don’t like D&D. That’s why I left the reference books behind on purpose. The possibility that they would take objection to the dice I carry with me literally everywhere never crossed my mind. (That said, if I wanted to intentionally bring Satanic paraphernalia over to somebody’s house, I have way more convincing things than dice. I mean, sheesh, give me some credit.)
  3. No, wait, “between a hippie and a hipster!” Nah, can’t really pull that off.
  4. Just one of the many advantages of having a wife who loves gaming as much as I do.
  5. Because pretty rainbows! Also because pretty rainbows.
  6. Wait for it . . .
  7. Sorry.
  8. Or in my case, spinning the r24, rounding up to the next multiple of 4, and then dividing by 4, which is for whatever reason much quicker for me mentally.
  9. Because sometimes you know the answer but you want to roll to make sure.
  10. For many people, the only valid response to this is “I hate you and you are a terrible human being.”

Daily Report 2014-08-13


(belatedly)

I forgot to post the daily report last night, which was a shame, because I liked my Spelunky run. 1 On the other hand the reason I forgot was because I was running a really fun session for my wife until like one in the morning, so there’s a limited amount of sadness I can conjure.

Then I went to post in the morning and it turned out the upload had failed, even though Movie Maker claimed it hadn’t. As nice as it is to compress and upload with the same (batch of) clicks, I think I’m going to start using Youtube’s uploader, because (a) I can set the playlist as part of the upload options instead of having to remember to fix it later and (b) crud like this keeps happening. Usually it’s more that it fails an upload (and tells me) and then when I use the Youtube uploader everything’s fine. And that’s just a minor annoyance. This, though, with the failing and lying about it? Meh. I’ll just do it myself.

There, see?

Notes:

  1. Which is not the same thing as it having been a GOOD run.

Daily Report 2014-08-11

Spoiler warning: Tomorrow’s run did not go as well as today’s run.

I ended up not uploading the last couple days’ runs because there was a lot of background noise on the parenting/MLP:FiM spectrum. 1 And for whatever reason it just seemed silly to do a daily report without a Spelunky video.

In other news, tonight is going to be lots of being a hardcore creative person. I’ve committed to running a Pathfinder game for an IRL friend who’s never played tabletop before, so I might do some preliminary planning on that. 2 Plus I have this webnovel thing I need to poop out a chapter for, and some editing, and also some Sims 3 to play. No, wait.

Current music: I have been watching this music video lots lately.

Lots.

Notes:

  1. But it’s fine, trust me. They sucked. I had another cape-spike death. That should about sum it up.
  2. I’ve never run Pathfinder, but I’ve run enough 3.5e that sometimes I bleed page references. Pathfinder is sort of this thing I’ve always admired from a distance, in that I have always loved what it’s doing, but I pretty much stopped having an IRL gaming group around the time it came out, and since most of the games I do run are in my homebrew, it seemed like a bit of a silly expense. But here I was, about to run a 3.5e game, and I stopped myself and said “Hey, wait, let’s do pathfinder instead.” So here we are.

Daily Report 2014-08-08

I was going to say that today was basically a write-off (albeit in a good way), but then I remembered that whole thing where I finished up the chapter and sent it around and edited it and posted it today. So between that and hanging out with my wife on her birthday, it’s been a super productive day.

I would have finished the chapter last night, but I was having trouble deciding what type of car Meredith should drive. 1 So I decided to play a quick Spelunky game while I was thinking about it. Now, most of my Spelunky games last less than ten minutes. Some last less than one. Twenty minutes is usually the high end.

Instead I upped my high score from $240,425 (ish) to $660,700 over the course of almost an hour. You can watch this dark magic below.

I have no regrets.

Also, if the bit in brackets above comes out in brackets, that means I’m irritated at my footnotes plugin. Science!

Edit: Oh hey, I’m irritated at my footnotes plugin. I was hoping it just didn’t work in previews or something.

Edit 2; The Reckoning: I switched to a footnotes plugin that was last updated in 2012, as opposed to the previous 2008. Now it works.

Notes:

  1. I had it down to a DeLorean or one of the original General Lees. The DeLorean ended up winning out because the whole confederate-flag-on-the-roof thing reads a bit worse with every passing year on the “racist undertones” meter.