Category Archives: Bloggery

My general blog entries.

GenCon Post-Mortem

Gen Con

Image via Wikipedia

I have a lot to cover (even though it’ll be bullet points), BUT FIRST I want to point out two relevant podcast episodes were launched while I was at GenCon:

The Basics of the Game talked about City of the Sand, the Mind’s Eye Theatre: The Requiem SAS.

I was also on the Saturday, 5pm episode of This Just In From GenCon!.

There are some other podcast interviews I did at GenCon, which I will post as soon as I know they’re up, but there’s over half an hour of audio for your listening pleasure.

So, Eddy, how was GenCon?

  • It was insane. Previous years I had a chance to work the booth and walk the floor for at least a couple days. This time, I had two panels, three podcast interviews (and two that I ended up being on even though I wasn’t directly part of the podcast), two "Play With A WW Writer" tabletop games (using New Wave Requiem), helped out with Storytelling two LARP sessions, one award ceremony, two meetings, two business dinners, five business parties and one business lunch (which I completely forgot about). With the exception of Saturday, I wasn’t at the booth for more than an hour, and I wasn’t able to walk the sales floor for more than two hours overall.
  • It was humbling. Previously, I’ve offered to do signings and the like for books, and the response has always been kind of an "oh, okay." Since I joined White Wolf, people seemed excited to talk to me, but more because I work for White Wolf rather than any particular interest in me specifically. This time, I had a lot of people who were wanting to talk to me specifically. Peers and fans both wanted to talk to me about things I’m associated with, thank me for specific projects that I worked on or wanted to discuss business opportunities that I would particularly be interested in. I finally feel like I’ve arrived.
  • It was friendly. Like every year, I go into GenCon full of a year of Internet rage and vitriol, which slanted my view of the fanbase. And like every year, I was blown away at how awesome and amazing our fanbase really is. I can’t count the number of times people came up to thank someone at the booth for our hard work, or a fan patiently worked with us when things went wrong, or a customer was excited to listen to our sales pitch about Geist. One particular situation sticks in my mind: a woman came up to the booth with her two kids. She is an avid Vampire fan, and wanted to look into a game that she could run for her kids. They decided on Scion, and asked politely if I could sign the Scion Companion. I was so blown away to find someone actively wanting to pass on the hobby of tabletop gaming to the next generation that I made sure to get as many of the people in the booth who worked on Scion to sign the booth as I could.
  • It was too long. By Sunday, I was exhausted, but I still had a whole day to go. I slept like a rock last night when I got home, and I’m still tired today. I’m not sure if it’s the pace, the hectic schedule or just me getting old (or a combination), but it wiped me out.
  • It was too short. There were a lot of people I just didn’t get a chance to talk to (and one that I even scheduled a meeting to talk to, but it ended up not happening, much to my regret). This happens every year, and every year it frustrates me.
  • It was inspiring. While I barely got a chance to look at some of the hot new releases like Eclipse Phase, it was great to see so many people returning for this GenCon, despite a tough economy and GenCon’s rocky financial issues. The RPG "press" of podcasts and bloggers just gets bigger and more professional each year. The ENnie awards showed a slate of amazing games that were released last year. Things just seemed more optomistic overall, and it was amazing to be able to touch a small part of that.
  • It was fun. I had a blast.

Each year is better than the last. I’m looking forward to 2010.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

About my emotional meltdown

I originally debated just not talking about this, but I need to get my head wrapped around it, and I do that best when I write things down for other people to read (which explains why I’m a writer, I guess). I then debated being very casual and flip about it, but I’m not there yet. So I’m just going to lay it out straight.

Cut for those who have no interest in my family’s problems.

How the Air Force Has Saved Me Tons of Aggravation

To start, my grandfather was in the Air Force, and was in the Air Force. As such, most of my experience of the US military comes from that area. And while I don’t have any interest in discussing the pros and cons of the US military or the Air Force, it did mean that my ears perked up a bit when I heard about this about a year ago: an Air Force Blog Assessment flowchart.

Air Force Blog Assessment

Transformers 2: Revenge of Michael Bay

Before I begin on my attack commentary on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I need to set the stage.

During the week, I had a lot of trepidation about going to see this, to the point where flat asked why I was going to see a movie I expected to be bad. I didn’t have an answer at the time, but it really comes down to the fact that I support the Transformers franchise. I’ve watched and read just about every version of Transformers — maybe not every episode or issue, but I at least looked into it. I’ve been a fan for 25 years, and I expect I’ll be a fan for 25 more. So I have a strong interest in seeing any version of Transformers succeed.

Further, I had heard so many bad things leading up to this that I had very low expectations. Living through the disappointment that was Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull also killed off a chunk of my soul. I even read (and reposted on Twitter) io9’s hilariously scathing review. I had resigned myself to trying to watch the movie as if it was just a movie about alien robots beating the shit out of each other. I set my opinions and emotional investment in the franchise aside. I also tried to get into the mindset of braindead appreciation that allowed me to (accidentally) appreciate Terminator Salvation as an entertaining movie.

So, keep that in mind: I’m a fan that wants to see the franchise succeed, but is willing to set that emotional investment aside and try to see the movie outside of my own nerdrage. And I recently was able to appreciate a movie that was criticized for many of the same flaws as this one. I’m not sure how much more sympathetic and biased I could be toward this movie.

And even then, I was still surprised at how fucking horrible this movie was.

Spoilers. Though I’m not sure how to spoil this movie any more than it spoils itself.

Returning the Gold Watch

As I mentioned in my prologue, on June 13, 2009 I watched one of my best friends wrestle his last match. It was Ric Byrne’s retirement match at WWC No Escape 2009 — an “impromptu” four corners match for the VCW World Heavyweight Title against JT Stahr, Ben Kimera and Shirley Doe. It was a fantastic match. Afterwards there was a lot of heart-felt sentiment, including both Ben and Shirely breaking character in the ring as heels to express their gratitude to a crowd of over 200 people for Byrne’s contributions to not only the midwestern professional wrestling scene, but to the industry as a whole. I was at Byrne’s premiere match, and there was absolutely nothing that would stop me from being there for his final one as well.

I was also present for the retirement of another Ric: Ric Flair’s final match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XXIV. Again, it was a fantastic match, easily one of the best of the year. Again, there was a lot of emotion afterward, both on Raw the next day and in the following weeks as Flair bid farewell to a long and legendary career in professional wrestling. From there he went on to do a number of publicity appearances, as well as a few on-mic roles for WWE and some for Ring of Honor. We didn’t expect Flair to stay away from wrestling forever, but he had certainly retired from the ring.

On June 1st, 2009, Flair had a planned “backstage brawl” with Randy Orton on Raw. Although Flair himself said repeatedly that he wasn’t having a match, there have certainly been enough sanctioned street fights, parking-lot bouts and other matches-that-aren’t-inside-a-ring in WWE history that most fans I know call bullshit on the semantics. It was a match. It was a match on a professional wrestling program. It was a match on a professional wrestling program that he claimed he retired from.

As far as I’m concerned, Flair broke his word to his fans. He returned the gold watch.

Now, there’s certainly a history of leaving retirement in professional wrestling. There are a number of angles where the loser leaves town or a wrestler retires only to come back several months or years later. (For example, Mick Foley retired in 2000 from the WWF, only to start wrestling again in TNA in 2009.) Certainly fans can point to the rich history of wrestling and claim that it’s actually very rare that a wrestler stays retired. I’m not saying that there isn’t a tradition of breaking retirement. But there’s the other side to consider: a lot of wrestlers are forced to retire due to medical conditions or personal decisions, and may get nothing more than a short speech and a tournament over their vacated belt, if they’re not just mentioned in passing at the next show. There’s no consistency as to how a wrestler retires, and it seems that a particular performer has to build up a lot of respect in the industry before they’re given any kind of retirement match at all.

This tradition of false retirements and sudden returns means that we, as the fans, often don’t know if a retirement is legitimate until it’s too late. We become blase and suspicious of retirement matches or speeches, only to feel bad when we find out later that the retirement is legitimate. At Wrestlemania 25, I saw JBL’s last match, but at the time I didn’t know it was his last match, because he’s “quit” a number of times before in the WWE. On June 8, 2009, Vickie Guerrero suddenly quit as Raw General Manager, and we as fans didn’t realize until later that she had decided to leave the company to spend more time with her children. So when a wrestler has a lengthy build-up to retirement and a chance to put out a fantastic match, and when that match is able to overcome our inherent skepticism and get us emotionally involved, that’s something special. It’s special to the wrestler, to the industry and to the fans.

Which is why I’m so pissed that Flair had a chance to do something classy with his retirement, and barely waited a year before he was mixing it up again.

His decision makes the problem of future sendoffs so much worse. Now just about every retirement is going to be mocked or ignored. We won’t realize someone is gone until a few years go by and someone asks “Hey, whatever happened to so-and-so?” Nothing is going to be taken at face value. This isn’t exciting. This isn’t clever. This is disrespectful to the fans, the wrestlers and the industry as a whole, because now if a wrestler does have to retire and does put himself through one last amazing match to celebrate his career (like Ric Byrne), it doesn’t mean a damned thing. It’s going to be harder and harder for the guys in future to have respectful, dignified retirements, because I’m going to be thinking “If the legendary Ric Flair couldn’t stay retired, why will you?”

I saw that we declare this particular swerve over and done with. I’m sick of it. It can be done with class and dignity. For example, Chris Jericho didn’t “retire” in 2005. He was (kayfabe) fired from the WWE, but he said that he was just leaving wrestling “for now,” and that if and when he came back, it would be with the WWE again. Others have quietly left for other feds or other opportunities, such as mixed martial arts. That’s fine — I can accept that. But if you use the word retired, be serious about it. Make it rare, make it special, and make it stick. I’m tired of being emotionally abused by fake retirements.

If you take the gold watch, you’d better damn well keep it.

To the best wife in the whole world

Today is a special day, a day to celebrate the birth of the most wonderful woman in the world, my wife Michelle ().

I have previously gone on at length about the awesomeness of being able to marry my best friend, the woman that completes me. We have been together for over a decade and married for over eight, and while the relationship has naturally changed as we’ve gotten older, I still simply cannot envision a life without her.

Michelle, you are my partner, my strength, my fantasy, my support, my cheerleader, my protector, my fury, and I love you. I am so proud of what you’ve accomplished, and I eager await how far you can go. I know how much you’ve brought into my life, and I can only hope that the world can appreciate a fraction of that.

Many happy returns.