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TotD: Robin Laws on Roleplaying Games

Posted by Cyn | Posted in RPGs, Thought of the Day | Posted on 10-04-2008

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I hadn’t ever thought of it this way, but I think the man is on to some­thing.

“One of my pet the­o­ries about the pop­u­lar­i­ty of role­play­ing games goes like this. Role­play­ing is fan­ta­sy shop­ping for guys. That is, men would, as a group, be more inter­est­ed in shop­ping if a) it meant nev­er hav­ing to leave the house and b) they were shop­ping for super-pow­ers. In that case, the typ­i­cal role­play­ing rule­book is like a Nie­man-Mar­cus cat­a­log for super-pow­ers. Depend­ing on the game sys­tem and char­ac­ter type, these extra­or­di­nary abil­i­ties might be called feats, spells, schticks, dis­ci­plines, skills, high tech gear, psion­ics, or what­ev­er. For lack of a a bet­ter all-encom­pass­ing term, I refer to these things as crunchy bits.”
Robin D. Laws, Robin’s Laws of Good Game Mas­ter­ing

Secrets of Good Game Mastering cover

Book Joy! And Stuff

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Art, Health, Reading | Posted on 29-03-2008

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I’m so tick­led! In the last two weeks, I’ve found not one, but two books that Sam and I have want­ed for ages at good prices on eBay!

Seeing Red
First, I’ve been look­ing for
See­ing Red: The Rap­ture of Red­heads by Howard Schatz for years and years. Seri­ous­ly, it has to be at least five years since Sam first men­tioned that he’d love to have it. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it’s out of print, and the only thing I found for the longest time were used copies for $150 or more. It’s a gor­geous book, but that’s far more than I could pay for it.

I had the book on my wish list at Half​.com, which is part of eBay, but for some rea­son I also set up an eBay search a few months back, and final­ly got found a copy going for $35.1 I didn’t hap­pen to see the email until a day lat­er, and by then the sell­er had dropped the price fur­ther for some rea­son. It was more than I pay for most books, but after five years, it was more than worth it. We received it in the mail ear­li­er this week, and it is just a beau­ti­ful as any new copy.

Your Guide to Metabolic Health
That gave me an idea, so I set up a search for anoth­er book I’ve want­ed for a while, but couldn’t afford. John C. Lowe’s tome Your Guide to Meta­bol­ic Health came out in 2003, and I haven’t ever found it in stock any­where. It must have gone out of stock quick­ly, because Ama­zon has only ever had used copies that I’ve seen. And again, they were always pricey — $180 was the price I’d seen most recent­ly.2

Today, eBay came through again! The “buy it now” price was very rea­son­able, so Sam encour­aged me to go ahead and get it instead of chanc­ing the auc­tion route.

Dr. Lowe has also writ­ten anoth­er book that’s specif­i­cal­ly about the meta­bol­ic treat­ment of fibromyal­gia, but it runs over $500. Appar­ent­ly, that one is intend­ed for physi­cians, rather than laypeo­ple. I have an eBay search going, but I’m fair­ly cer­tain the book I bought today has the infor­ma­tion I need in it. From what I’ve heard, it’s main­ly about fibromyal­gia and chron­ic fatigue syn­drome.3

Keep Working Girlfriend
I’m busi­ly read­ing my ARC of Women, Work and Autoim­mune Dis­ease: Keep Work­ing, Girl­friend! It’s good stuff.


1 For what it’s worth, Half​.com still shows only the high­er prices. Weird.

2 It’s avail­able more cheap­ly now, but I still got a deal.

3 Aha — the pub­lish­er actu­al­ly sells the lat­est ver­sion of that one for $99.95. Why would any­body pay the used price? Why do the used sell­ers think they can demand so much?

Laptop Research & Shopping

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Geekery | Posted on 21-02-2008

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Sam and I spent most of our date time look­ing at lap­tops. Yes, we’re final­ly replac­ing the one that died last sum­mer. Yay!

I find it eas­i­er to put what I find online in con­text after hav­ing actu­al­ly played with a bunch of machines tonight, so I’ll be doing a lot of research online.

Any­body have any strong rec­om­men­da­tions or good/​bad expe­ri­ences to share? Knowl­edge of any places that give “edu­ca­tion­al dis­counts” that aren’t just “steer your stu­dents to us and we’ll give you a lit­tle low­er price on your own machines” deals? Sure expe­ri­ence exor­cis­ing Vista from a “Vista-com­pat­i­ble” PC? Please speak up!

It Was a Lovely Day

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, Home, Reading | Posted on 12-11-2007

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Please note: Yes, I am refer­ring to today, the 12th, which is my birth­day. Those close to me know that I gen­er­al­ly hate my birth­day, as it’s a reminder of mul­ti­ple mis­car­riages and oth­er nasty things hap­pen­ing around this time sev­er­al years in a row.

Sam and Katie man­aged to make #41 very nice, though.

Quotable Mug With Osho QuoteSam and I went out Sat­ur­day evening to Barnes & Noble, but I just couldn’t make a deci­sion. So many choic­es! We went over to Out­Write, too, which is always fun. I saw lots of adorable trin­kets there, and plen­ty of inter­est­ing read­ing and lis­ten­ing mate­r­i­al, but still couldn’t make a choice. I real­ly liked this mug, and it felt great in my hand, but I couldn’t find out if it’s microwave safe. (My favorite cof­fee cup was bro­ken recent­ly, vic­tim of my unre­li­able grip. Thank you, fibro/​arthritis/​CMP!) Have any of you tried a Quotable mug? How did it hold up?

Oh! On the way home, we start­ed to dri­ve past Krispy Kreme and Sam had a sud­den need for donuts, so we popped in there to sat­is­fy that. I’ve nev­er done the dri­ve-through there before, but things were real­ly crowd­ed in the store. The car line was long, too, but we had the advan­tage of pri­va­cy and good com­pa­ny while wait­ing in it.

We enjoyed being out, but I came home with­out hav­ing cho­sen any­thing but donut fill­ings. Sam threat­ened to pick for me if I didn’t make a choice on Sun­day. I have a lot of trou­ble spend­ing any mon­ey on myself, or ask­ing for presents, and he thought that’s why I hadn’t cho­sen any­thing.

So we went out again on Sun­day — leav­ing the house two days in a row is very unusu­al for me any more! I had final­ly decid­ed on exact­ly what I want­ed, and we tried to go get it, but found the place closed for Veteran’s Day. My man insist­ed on tak­ing me to Bor­ders and buy­ing Kim Harrison’s A Few Demons More, promis­ing that we’d also go to The Place again on Mon­day. Then he took me to Steak & Shake for din­ner, because when I saw the sign I had a seri­ous crav­ing for their mush­room-swiss burg­er. (Don’t both­er with the new Por­to­bel­lo mush­room burg­er, as you get far few­er mush­rooms that way!)

Katie and I (she’s home from school, sick) had a very nice, low-key day Mon­day, and Sam and I set out again after he got home. This time, suc­cess!

I asked for some­thing that prob­a­bly seems odd to most peo­ple — a non-res­i­dent library card so I can access the best library sys­tem in Geor­gia, Gwin­nett Coun­ty Pub­lic Libraries. But I’d checked, and they have 95% of the books I’m real­ly want­i­ng to read, and past expe­ri­ence says they’ll con­tin­ue to car­ry the fan­ta­sy and sci­ence fic­tion I love. They have a far bet­ter selec­tion of every­thing than Dekalb, where we live. (Okay, Gwin­nett has stopped car­ry­ing music CDs, because so many went miss­ing. Big deal.)

I want­ed the card instead of a few books, because this way I can read all of them! And, in fact, we came home with nine books that have all been on my wish list for some time, and two or three graph­ic nov­els for Sam.

Now I have a whole pile of new-to-me books, and A Few Demons More! They’re all way too tempt­ing to a girl who still has home­work to do, includ­ing a SWOT analy­sis that’s due for my man­age­ment class this week.

Thanks to all of you for the birth­day wish­es via Face­book, email, Twit­ter, LJ, etc. 🙂

A Day in the van

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Education, Family, Homeschooling | Posted on 08-05-2006

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And it was, tru­ly. Which is why this looks much the same as it did last night.

Katie and I drove all over metro Atlanta, test­ing out the new wheels in the process. A med­ical appoint­ment, a trip to the bank, the post office, our mail drop, a craft store, a school sup­ply place, a cou­ple of book stores, Phoenix & Drag­on, and some­thing I know that I’m for­get­ting.

You wouldn’t believe how much “home­school­ing” gets done on the road. Had the deal­er had a van in stock with a DVD play­er installed, I could eas­i­ly have jus­ti­fied it for pure­ly edu­ca­tion­al pur­pos­es. As it is, I’m glad my lap­top has a DVD play­er, as we find var­i­ous BBC and PBS series pret­ty good sup­ple­men­tary mate­ri­als at times.

No AV mate­ri­als today, though — just books, paper, cal­cu­la­tor, and a lot of dis­cus­sion. Sci­ence, alge­bra, world his­to­ry, crit­i­cal think­ing, Eng­lish, vocab­u­lary, cur­rent events…

Oh! We got our Latin texts! Katie and I have decid­ed to start study­ing Latin togeth­er this sum­mer. I’ve always regret­ted not hav­ing had a chance to study it, and it can only help her. So here we go!

The girl got some knit­ting done in the car while we talked, too. As she gets more con­fi­dence in dri­ving, I look for­ward to get­ting some stitch­ing done while she dri­ves. On the oth­er hand, she’d get few­er lessons done. Hmmm.

I need to study to try to keep a lit­tle bit ahead of her. We’re going to have anoth­er blog where she, Sam and I post about our learn­ing adven­tures. It isn’t quite up yet, unfor­tu­nate­ly.

Namaste,

Cyn