Saturday, December 23, 2006

Reaching new heights of domestitude

I did something new and exciting with my wife this week ... yeah, right, like I'm going to post details about something like THAT on the internet (call me). Instead I'll regale with this tale of personal growth.

It being nigh-on Christmas, she has the hankering to make someone a quilt. Happens every year. The school break approaches, she senses a little bit of free time, and geometric patterns swirling in a nebula of colors fill her head. This year's winner is her new sister, fresh in town after a cross-country journey.

The other night she began the cutting and shaping and sewing of fabric, and lamented about how her new sewing machine hasn't been working properly. She got to use it for one project and then something "happened" to it. Being a professional quilter, naturally she has a back-up machine, but what's the point of the new nice machine, if it doesn't work? Doing my husbandly duty, for once, I decided to take a look at it. In the front of my brain was the recognition that I know absolutely nothing about sewing machines. In the deep innards of my brain, the prehistoric reptilian part, was the acknowledgement of my fear of sewing machines. They have cooties, plain and simple. But this was my wife in a moment of need. If I didn't come to her rescue, who would? As it is, she often calls out to Hugh Jackman in the dark of night. Here at last, was my chance to one-up that sexy Aussie punk. Heck yes. Let's see HIM do domestical stuff around the house. So, full of spite, I headed down into the basement.

Being smart like I sometimes am, I referred to the owner's manual' s Quick Start section and gave myself a quick primer on sewing machine operation. Then I mucked around with it for a while. Eventually, after only a single beer, I got it working and thought I'd try it out on some scraps of fabric. Next thing I know, I'm sewing strips of fabric that will actually be used in this quilt. With every stitch thrust into the fabric by the machine's needle, I'm thinking, " Does this woman have any idea what she's doing? I've never considered her a rock of sanity, but she's really gone over the edge, trusting me with this."

Two nights later...she has a completed quilt top. And I helped. And it was fun. I look forward to doing it again. I mean, afterall, a sewing machine is just another power tool, right?

Oh, and the problem with the machine? I believe it was a poorly wound bobbin snagging and causing the needle thread to jump off of one of the guides and bunch up under the fabric. But what do I know?

Playing on XM: Funky Christmas tunes on Special X-mas.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The a game's afoot, Watson!

I need to change my links over on the right. Specifically, the one that says “Last RPG I Ran.” I bit the bullet a few months ago and declared my game table ‘open for business,’ and launched a D&D campaign. Well, “campaign” might be too strong of a word. We’ve played several times now, and it’s too early for me to claim to have an over-arching storyline unfolding. But it sure is fun to be running a game again.

There’s just something magical about the collaborative storytelling that is a roleplaying game. We all have fun and create something bigger than any one of us could have done alone (I mean, I NEVER would’ve guessed that a runty female gnome could bull-rush a hulking lizard man into a sewer full of hungry crocodiles — yet, it happened).

This is probably the easiest game I’ve ever put together. I’m using a very good published setting (Bard’s Gate from Necromancer Games) and relying on published adventures. I set out this time around with the goal of not over-burdening myself with work so that the game wouldn’t become a chore. I want the stories and adventures to be interesting for the other players, but I don’t want to mire myself in all of the deep details and planning that usually end up frustrating me because they never see life outside of my notebook.

My goal this time around is to write like Robert Ludlum (hackish screen plays), rather than Diana Gabaldon (detailed historical drama). I want to entertain my four players enough to keep them coming back for more. In my previous games, I always thought too far ahead and found myself constantly pushing the players to reach some distant goal that I had in mind, yet had no way of leading them toward. Very frustrating for all involved.

Now before the game gets too far along, I need to start blogging the game sessions. I’m not sure if I’ll do it in a blog, or via a web page. Blogging would be a lot easier, but a web page would be more navigable. Either way, I’ll let you know.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Like Father, Like Sons

Who knew that the Power Rangers would be a father/son bonding tool? It's not like I grew up mired in Power Ranger lore...I was in college when the PR first came along. I used to cut my late-afternoon class sometimes if I was expecting an "important" episode, or if I just needed a little something uplifting before going to work that evening. I mean, the original theme song alone was enough to get me pumped up. Add to that the explosions, fighting, and evil villains...especially Lord Zedd, by far the best PR villain...and I was a very happy camper.

Now, MANY years later, my sons watch Power Rangers Mystic Force and Ninja Storm. Those are both pretty good. It took a while for Mystic Force to grow on me, but the cast is great...a bunch of nice kids, and the villains are interesting too. I'm sure they get tired of me saying, "That Vida is pretty cool, but she's no Kimberly." And yes, it's ALWAYS all about the pink ranger.

The boys love to snuggle with me on the couch and watch the action. Today, I'm sitting at the desk working and my youngest is across the room watching an ancient episode, thanks to Power Rangers Generations (assorted adventures from previous incarnations of PR series) on the Toon Disney channel.

But then, I guess this is no different than when my father used to watch the old Johnny Weismuller black & white Tarzan movies with me when I was a kid. Yep, that's what Saturday afternoons are meant for.

Excuse me now. I'm being called to go watch the climactic battle. I doubt I'll see the Rangers wrestling alligators in an Aftrican river, but that's okay. I'll take giant robot monsters so long as I get some time with my little monsters.