Below are the 25 most recent journal entries.
Writing exercise taken from the Gotham Writer's Workshop yellow book; put your character in a waiting room.
-The clock doesn't tick.- she realised as she entered the empty waiting area of office 204.
-There isn't even a second-hand on it, just the hour and the minute hands. Oh, what good is a clock that doesn't tick, or at least count out the seconds for you?-
Still fretting about the rebellious, dastardly clock, she turned her attention to the blue chairs along the pale yellow walls.
-Blue is such an awful colour for furniture in a yellow room.- Resolving to talk to the doctor about the visual affront as soon as she met him, she settled her handbag at the foot of the chair furthest from the doctor's door. She took a moment to adjust her clothes; church-lady's sewing hat perched neatly atop her head, scarf wrapped once about her neck despite the warmth of the room. Sitting cautiously down, she modestly adjusted her skirt on her knees.
-Can't be going to therapy all bunched and wrinkled, no sir- she thought as she tried to make herself comfortable on the blue upholstry.
-I so hate empty rooms. Surely doctor Travis has other patients besides me. Maybe he's a quack; after all, what kind of doctor doesn't have patients lined up in the waiting room?-
Her hands fidgeted in her lap, and she had to force them to stop grabbing at her skirt and wringing it. Then it was her eyes that would not remain still; they roamed the room, settling on an empty trash can, moving to a magazine years out of date, to a faded, barely visible outline of a stain in the rough-knit carpeting.
"I can't," she said as she stood, her heart starting a bit at the suddeness of the sound in the quiet room. Gathering her bag in hand, she turned to make for the entrance when the doctor's door opened.
"Mrs. Williams, I didn't realise you were here!" Dr. Travis looked surprised, eyes widened a bit behind his glasses. "Why didn't you knock, I didn't mean to keep you waiting."
Loretta Williams stopped, of course, at Dr. Travis' voice, turning to face him and waving down his apology.
"Oh, it's not your fault, doctor, not your fault at all. I was, ah, going out...to get some fresh air, that's all."
Dr. Travis smiled gently, the expression easy and natural on his unstrained face. "Of course, Mrs. Williams. Tell you what, come inside the office, and I'll open a window for you."
"I...alright then. My, you do seem rather young, Doctor Travis..."
I just started a very serious study of Taoist philosophy, and...
E to the next
Again with the not understanding E.
If we talk at all, it's related to the werewolf chat he and I do storytelling work for. I'm usually the one to initiative conversation, about anything, and his responses are generally very limited. If he starts a conversation, it's asking me to do a favor for him related to the chat (like helping him run a scene, or presanctioning a character). I don't mind doing these things, but we talk about nothing else. Ever.
I stopped pinging him for conversations just to see if he'd notice.
Just wondering where my friend went, and when he got replaced with someone completely unconcerned about me.
Meme from Sal
So Sal has a meme going on (or maybe he got it from somewhere else...), and here's my part.
When you see this meme, post a quote from Firefly in your journal.
"Can you move your feet?" Simon Tam
"..Are you asking me to dance?" Kaylee Frye
Mind if I sit?
I know it’s been two months already
I’ve just been busy.
With what you say?
That’s a very good question,
But I don’t have an answer.
Yeah, that’s about the size of it,
If you want me to be honest.
Is it you?
No, not at all,
That’s the last thing I want you to think.
Is it me?
I suppose it is,
Once you get down to it.
Why, you say?
Oh, I don’t know,
I’ve just been afraid I guess.
I’m not sure, to be fair.
I just didn’t want to see you like this.
Underground, beneath a stone of marble.
When the way I remembered you before
Was alive and free, out in the open
Singing as you washed the clothes.
It’s raining, you say?
Yes, I suppose it is,
And I suppose I should be going.
You know I love you?
Of course you do,
And that’s what keeps me sane.
See you next time, mother.
It's been a time, I know, and to anyone who drops by on a regular basis, I apologise.
Most of you know by now that mom's passed away, so I won't go into excessive detail about that.
Just suffice it to say that things are finally settling down, if not returning to normal, and I should in theory be back to my irregular update schedule that is more common than once every quarter.
We thank you and return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast of illicit man-love.
By which I mean, go read sticky wicket;
sonnet 4; defiance
How dare you, sir? How dare you say this thing?
you'll kick my fucking head in? is that it?
if you even try I will beat the shit
out of you, you pathetic little thing.
you think I fear you, fear what you can do?
me, I who have stood on the brink of hell?
you mean less than nothing to me, and well
you should know, what I now will do to you.
you should know that I am not defenseless.
dare you touch me, I will beat you senseless.
Mom fell down today. My aunt and uncle took her to the hospital this morning, then back home around noon. While Aunt Diane and Uncle Roger were trying to get her stuff out of the car, mom decided to try and get up the front step herself, and lost her balance. So far it doesn't look like anything's broken, but it scared us all a lot. She honestly could have died, I'm not exaggerating. Mom's blaming herself, because she didn't wait for help. Jo (my brother) is worried as well. He panicked a bit when mom told him, because he's so rarely here it scares him (he's got to work to keep up his money, but he's always worried mom's going to get hurt while he's away). So he's trying hard not to yell at her, mom's crying because she knows she screwed up and because she can't do anything on her own anymore, and I'm just sitting here in the middle, hoping neither of them sets the other off.
When falling down becomes scary, you're really at the mercy of this disease.
More poetry, this time the diamante format.
Laughing, Resting, Making
Love, Family, Fear, Strangers
Coughing, Bleeding, Choking
Just a trio of sonnets I wrote up recently as an excercise in stress reduction.
sonnet 1; reflection
she is crying now, my fragile mother
with hot tears of bitterest agony.
oh why can't I just sleep, she asks of me
and I find I cannot answer her.
i do not like pain, it unsettles me.
just a feeling, nerves sending their message
but so overwhelming, it depresses.
why for her this pain, when it could be me?
oh mother, I can hear you cry, and weep.
yes, I will sit with you, until you sleep.
sonnet 2; declaration
you ask if i am sick, if i am weak.
i laugh, for there is no way you could know.
i do not have the answers that you seek.
i wish that you would just shut up and go.
i am weak, i am young, have seen to much.
but i am strong, and have not seen enough.
i am afraid, but not of death's chill touch.
i am afraid, but not of all this stuff.
no, i won't tell you what it is i fear
if you must ask, you don't deserve to hear.
sonnet 3; entreaty
no love from a god who will send this thing
no love from a god who will not cure it.
not love for Him, no, I just cannot sing
not love for Him, for on Him, I will spit.
compassion? this plague you call a mercy?
is this love? this slow and tortured decay?
what is my lesson? what must I here see?
is there a debt I must account today?
answer! begging, I demand that you speak!
give your answer, before I think you weak.
Okay, that was a big flop
I guess I was too ambitious!
Seems I only got the one indian recipe (which was very good, btw) in response to my Culinary Blogger Project, so I think it's safe to call that project a failure. I suppose I should start looking for cooking communities here in LJ instead.
Anyway, not much to report, horrendously shitty past few weeks, I'll update on the worst of it later. Tired tired tired.
As promised, a recipie
A delicious stew that my mother and I enjoyed the other day.
2 pounds of lamb (boneless, such as a shoulder, or you can cut it off a shank. I warn you, that's difficult to do).
2 Celery Stalks, sliced to preference
15 baby carrots, cut to preference
3 medium potatoes, cut to half inch cubes (or close as possible)
1 to 2 tablespoons of beef bullion (personal preference)
2 cloves garlic (peeled, then crushed or diced)
fresh sliced mushrooms (quantity to preferences)
2.5 cups water
You'll notice I make a lot of "to your preference" statements. This is because I found that some of the things they were suggesting were too BIG or too much to be enjoyable.
1) cube the lamb (or basically, just chunk the stuff into bite sized pieces). dust the pieces with flour on all sides evenly, then fry in vegetable oil (just enough to lightly cover the bottom of the frying pan). As always, preheat the oil before you start frying, or you get soggy meats. add the garlic, then fry till the meat is browned. only do a little seasoning, if any, at this point. let the garlic do its job without fighting salts and peppers, people :)
2) put the water and vegetables (NOT the mushrooms) in a large pot, and bring it to a simmer. add the bullion and stir it through, then add the fried meat and oil, covering the pot. stir occassionally to prevent burning, adding water if it gets too dry. keep this up for about forty minutes, covering between stirrings, to let the stew thicken.
3) kick your cat for chewing on your feet...wait, that's just my cat, you may not have a cat... >.>
ahem, anyway. add the mushrooms after the soup has mostly thickened, stir them through, and let them simmer in for about ten minutes. season to taste at this point.
After that, serve it up. I served mine in sourdough bread bowls, which add a yumminess to the whole thing.
The Culinary Blogger's Project
While I jest with the "serious" sounding name, I honestly would like to announce the start of CBP, which is essentially just me posting various good recipies I come across and make. However, rather than just throwing recipies at you all, I'd like for anyone who comes across something they like to post it in reply to the various recipies I'll be posting from time to time.
The only rule is that any recipie you post be something you've either eaten or made at some point. That way I know you can vouch for the goodness :)
I'll have my first recipie up later today, either here or in another post.
Stay safe everyone
Tapes and other stuff such as food
Well, meh. I can't say I'm surprised everyone's latching onto this nonsense about the Bush tapes. I doubt it'll go anywhere, the tapes don't have any damaging content, so the only person that'll get burned is no one. Even the guy who taped them will get away fine, because there'll be some publishing house that'll give him a deal to write a book about his "harrowing" experience and "daring" plan to record "the truth". That said, I'll drop it unless someone else has some info I don't really know about as yet.
Moving on, the food. I'm getting the cooking itch lately. I love to cook, especially when I'm trying a new recipe. Just recently, I made a really tasty lamb and veggie stew. Pricey, but very much worth it, mom said it was great (and she's honest when something sucks). I picked up a lot of tips from Food Network; I don't remember a single recipie they demonstrated, but I do remember a lot of techniques and interactions between the various kinds of food. That said, I've negotiated a deal with my parents that I can make a semi-pricey recipe every month or so. I've got a pretty good talent with stews, so I think next month I'll give some kind of dessert a try. Maybe a boston cream pie, those are pretty simple. Or a nice cherry pie, mmm...
well. grace out.
I have learned
That a fever of 101.3 is a shitty shitty thing.
Sixty Years Ago This Summer
The Holocaust Ended.
The youngest survivors with conscious memories are in their late sixties or early seventies. Given that the average life expectency in the US is approximately seventy six years, how much longer can we expect to have access to this immediate, eyewitness "I was there, see my camp tatoo" accounting of the conflict? How very soon will we wake up and look around, only to see that all we have left are museums and memoirs?
After that, how long will it be until the people who personally knew a holocaust victim are all dead? How long will it be until the Holocaust becomes a totally disconnected memory that we can only look back on, rather than find even the most tertiary experience?
Oh God, how fragile is this thing called knowledge?
hoping for graceful things
Honestly, we have Columbine referred to constantly as the definitive school shooting of our time, but bring up Jonesboro, Arkansas and you rarely get recognition. I just wonder how something that gripped the nation so very firmly was pushed right out of our collective consciousness following Columbine. We remember Eric Harris and Dylan Kleibold, but does anyone know the names of the Jonesboro shooters? Harris and Kleibold killed themselves, but people seem to not realize that Golden and Mitchell (the Jonesboro boys) are still alive and in the juvenile correction system, and will be out in society ate age 21 each.
Anyone besides me thinking that part of the problem is america's collective failure to comprehend tragedy in another state than their own?
here's hoping we remember more
busy lacking grace.
Busy little bees
In lieu of anything pontificatory or philosophy-cal to post, here's a breakdown of today:
Five am: Alarm goes off.
Five Thirty: get up, shower, eat breakfast, get dressed.
Five Forty Five: get mom fed.
Six fifteen: get mom into her wheelchair.
Six Thirty: Leave with mom and dad for hospital.
Seven: Arrive at hospital, talk with mom while she eats, wait for grandfather to show up.
Seven Thirty: Phone call from grandfather-he misunderstood time, will arrive later.
Seven Forty Five: Discussion of Hamlet versus Romeo and Juliet as Shakespeare's best play ever with mom.
Eight: Get mom into her wheelchair, escort her to oncology.
Eight Thirty: wait for mom's appointment, listen to Enya with mom
Nine: set mom up with the new doctor for her herceptin.
nine thirty; grandfather arrives
ten thirty; appointment over, stop listening to enya.
ten forty five; make a wrong turn, watch mom get out of breath after we return the wheelchair, help her fill a prescription.
eleven; get lunch
noon; arrive home
noon thirty; help mom get ready for a nap, begin applying for college.
Peace out, everyone.
looking for grace in all the wrong places
On "Indy" and "Underground"
Ok, on the aforementioned topic, I gladly hold two apparently contradictory and simultaneous beliefs.
1) There is no inheirent value to indulging in "indy" or "establishment" entertainment; it's all the same basic principle-I participate in what appeals to me, and I do it a lot.
2) Fans should make an effort to support and promote artists and groups that they like, but who aren't as well known as the "big" names, for the sake of continued creativity.
What eliminates the contradiction is the qualifier at the end of my second belief. I strongly believe in mailing a list of two thousand signatures from a major radio station's brodcast area to the station's producers and saying "Look, we the undersigned particularly like this group, and we like your station, but we don't HEAR this group on your station. If you can, please contact the group @ this address/phone number, and see if you can fix that, because we'd really appreciate it.." (Notice I don't suggest including an "or else", because such things are the work of uncivilised folk; for one, it's not very nice to threaten, and two, it's implied already by the content of the letter). The reason I believe in this? I want people who take the time and energy to put together something creative and worthwhile to get a chance to show it off. If someone took the time and effort to create a bit of music, or art, or anything I like, then chances are the friends I hang with will have a minor bit of interest in it as well (common ground being the basis of most of my friendships), so I get a twofold benefit out of sharing;
1) I occassionally introduce my friends to songs that make them happy (such as me getting Sal in touch with "French Perfume" by Great Big Sea, for which he rewarded me a track of "The Highwayman", which is a fucking beautiful song of sublime greatness), which makes me feel quite good inside.
2) I pay back the person/group that provided me with (insert time expended here) of honest enjoyment with a bit of free publicity.
This results in more people knowing about them, which may lead to them being more available as demand increases, which means I get to enjoy more.
Seriously, advertising companies and even most self-styled "alternative" radio stations (I'm talking to you, HFS) are out to make a buck, which is totally fine, money is important, and I'm all about capitalism. However, this basically puts our "alternative" radio stations into the same status as "the man", as it were. Linkin Park is all about the rage (and I'll agree, some of their music is rather provoking. I count "numb" as one of my personal favorites, and I'm listening to it right now on repeat), but it's hard to feel they're credibly "alternative" when 99.1 plays them almost constantly all day. Again, I don't mind their success, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking they're somehow anti-establisment. Hence, with stations, artists, and advertisers out to make a mostly honest buck, it's not too likely they're going to take very many risks on new unknowns, because that's precious airtime that might be lost if someone doesn't like said group, or was in the mood for yet another round of "How you Remind Me" on their way to work. Airtime wasted means viewers turn off, which means advertising is missed, which eventually means advertising (and thereby funding) goes away.
That said, these groups are likely to stick with the stock favorites to provide reliable, consistent performance. THAT said, it falls on us as the viewer to contact these people and let them know that we appreciate the job they're doing, but here's something that we think you're neglecting. Honestly, I could do with a little more Flogging Molly on my way to work, not neccessarily from my iPod, but rather just happening to catch it on the radio and realizing "hey cool, there's other people who like these guys". Same goes for Barefoot in the Park, a band that got started in my town in high school, sophomore year (Prattville AL). But they're not as hugely popular as Velvet Revolver or Yellowcard, so it couldn't hurt for me to remind the stations that these guys exist, and would make a nice lineup. So if we want to hear it, we have to make them hear US.
With that out of the way, let's back up to point one. Neither Establisment work nor Indy productions as a type is superior to the other. If you honestly LIKE NiN's "downward spiral", and want to hear it on the radio every day, by all means, support it! The point isn't that "we need to promote independent artists because they're independent and not "the man", it's "we need to promote groups we like, independent and establishment alike, to maintain the interest in and creativity among the groups/things we like". I don't care for some bands. I dislike Eminem, for example. People would wax poetic for days on end about how he's so anti-establishment and provacative, and stuff, which is all fine; I definitely go for the art-as-a-message mentality. But I hate his music. I don't like rap, I never have, and I probably never will. I hate the acoustic constructions, and the way the lyrics are typically sung/chanted just gets on my nerves. So it should come as no surprise that I don't seek him out or promote his stuff. Just because it's different doesn't mean it's good. Having a brick rammed repeatedly into your ass is different than listening to elevator music for hours at a time, but I can't say it's that much better from where I'm sitting.
There you have it, my thoughts on indy and establisment work can be summed up as: seek out whatever the fuck you like, and if you want to get more, don't bitch, promote. Also, I know I consistently stuck to the example of music (because it illustrates the concept so perfectly), but this really can be applied to most forms of artwork, if you stretch the principle a touch.
Thanks for listening!
he who lacks much grace
Ok, some of my friends keep asking me why I don't like Kevin and Kell anymore, or why I don't post on the egroup anymore.
Well, to be perfectly honest, the comic sucks.
Yes, the art is better than I can hope to do, and the artist is a nice guy, and it's a well known fur comic, blah blah...none of those are reasons I read a comic. I usually read a comic for the writing, the plot, if you will. Good art is fine, but that can only carry a comic so far without good writing (not to say that art isn't important; bad art distracts me from the story, which is why I don't read "Hello, Donut!" or such comics. even Badly drawn kitties took a while to get me involved, largely because of the bad art, but the writing drew me in quite happily).
Anyway, back to KnK. By and large, the writing is weak. Holbrook sticks to the same safe story concepts throughout the entirety of the comic, because he's essentially writing it for syndication.
1) The "LOL!" moment. Limited to one shot gags, usually based on various species and their relationship to the world around them. For example, the recent iguana strip, which uses a gag involving that species' multi-directional vision. And the many, many strips reminding us that "Kell is a predator, she eats prey species! LOL!" And the...nuff said.
2) The "dramatic" story where nothing really changes. My original plot point for this was the ongoing stories involving the "great" bird conspiracy, but Bill recently supplied me with the far more pointed "Danielle" storyline, in which he kills off an important character...and then brings her back from the dead in some bizzare, elaborate, deus ex machina multiple timelines bullshit. Ok, you can theoretically argue that "it's still an ongoing story, what're you complaining about?", but this is MY choice not to read the comic, so MY logic applies. My logic, simply put, is this; if the story does not consistently and LOGICALLY develop over time, and instead chooses to mill around in circles for extended periods, followed by spurts that SEEM to go somewhere, only to just kind of mill around again, then my mental capital is best spent elsewhere.
3) The "can't we all just get along" story. Repeated storylines involving an interspecies relationship of some sort, in a pretty blatant commentary on racial (and to a lesser extent, gay rights) issues. Fine, social commentary is a favorite of most authors, Holbrook's entitled to try. But he was tooting that horn at the beginning of the strip, and yet he continues to use it, recycling the idea well past the point of cleverness and into banality. Case in point, his use of the mechanic in year one, setting up the story; earlier this year, during (coincidentally, I'm sure) the initial hubbub over Bush's pet Marriage Amendment; and even once again, with Kell's new job ("I'm working with a feline and it's not a problem at all!)".
A: Kevin and Kell is written for syndication. That's been evident from day one, and has of course only gotten more evident with its acceptance by the Atlanta Journal/Constitution. Thus, the strip by its very nature has to rely on certain repeated conventions that get worn out after a while.
B: The comic has long since lost all creative spark, the author content to sit back and recycle popular plot devices from the past, rather than daring to advance into new ground and actually take his story somewhere.
Read it if you want, but I'm not wasting any more time on what is, ultimately, a very boring read for me. I'm going to spend my time reading comics that do fun stuff.
Comics I am currently pleased with:
Badly Drawn Kitties
Better Days (fast falling out of love with it, but I want to see where the current story arc goes)
Megatokyo (despite a long run where I just got sick of all the overplotting, I've recently picked her back up again, and it's fun once more, so we'll see what happens).
Yeah, I know most of those are considered particularly popular now, but I'm happy to say each of them has done a good job of maintaining a particular identity that works for their genre. I'm not into comics for the "indy" feel, I'm in for what I like. However, I do have strong feelings on the indy style, and I'll save that commentary for next time.
Peace out, stay safe, angellus domine.
Ok, it's been just short of a week since I went, so I guess it's time to update.
Finally got to go to Midwest Furfest, the "local" furry con. By local I mean twenty five odd miles west of where I am in Chicago, situated at the Hyatt Regency in a little 'burb called Schaumburg. Sadly, because of a miscalculation on the transportation issue, I could only afford to go one day, instead of the three I intended to. Next year, must arrange for sleeping accomodations.
That's right, I want to go again. The con was really damned cool, short short stay aside. It was just...neat! Fursuits didn't scare me nearly as much as I thought they would (it was some of the normally dressed people that wierded me out, actually...a forty five or so year old severely obese guy asking me if it hurt when I fell from heaven is not what I expected, lemme tell ya), and some of them were REALLY damned good. I got to see quite a few of my favorite artists, such as Dark Natasha, Jessica Willard, Jay Naylor and Max Blackrabbit. I didn't actually talk to Jay, but I did spend a few minutes chatting up each of the others, and they were very cool people (opinion reserved on Jay, because as I said, didn't actually MEET the guy). Also met my favorite comedian, 2 Gryphon. Actually sat down at the bar with him for a little while, and he gave me some advice on some stuff I'm dealing with. Saw his stand up routine back to back with Uncle Kage's story hour, both of which were incredibly funny. I laughed a lot more those two and a half hours than I have in quite some time, I tell you what.
Didn't actually buy anything, which I'm regretting. Would have really liked a con badge or something, now that I think about it. Oh well, all my friends online gave me excellent badges, which a lot of people liked.
If I had to do things differently, I would most definitely get sleeping accomodations next time. It's pricey, but doable in groups, so I'm gonna plan ahead and be ready for it when it next comes up. I'll also have some ideas in mind for what I want to get ahead of time. Oh, I most definitely will not be as nice or forgiving next time. Some guy came up to a conversation I was having with some folks and interrupted to ask if we'd seen his table. I took pity on the guy and went over, because he's clearly stuck in the armpit of nowhere, not likely to get much traffic. But he starts getting pushy right away. I tend to browse artbooks, I don't go meticulously page by page (I'm at a con! I don't have time to do EVERYTHING), because I don't feel the need. So it irked me when this guy reached down and started flipping BACK to the pages I'd missed. That jacked him right out of my mental wallet in entirety, which is bad luck for him, because his art WAS good enough that I had considered buying some. Then I politely excuse myself, and he tries to keep me there to buy things. I really dislike pushy people, so I simply said "have a nice day" and left the table with him still trying to talk to me. I mean, I'm all for nice and polite, but not if I'm going to have it taken advantage of. So that was a sore point I had to deal with, which again was quite unfortunate. But I was determined not to let it ruin my experience, because the con as a whole was thoroughly enjoyable. The MFF people put on a good show, and I'm sad I don't have more to show for my experience there. Live and learn, I suppose.
I have definitely been convinced that cons aren't quite as scary as some people make them out to be. Just be willing to take what happens with a grain of salt, and understand that all sorts of people call the fandom theirs. I'm happy to say I am going to go back next time, if things work out, and maybe even go as a sponsor someday.
Well, stay safe everyone.
I am Misha.
Title explains it.
Hate hate hate not being able to sleep.
Anyway, dad advanced me a lot of birthday money, so I'm happy. He's given me permission/encouragement to go see my favorite band live later today, which makes me even HAPPIER. They're playing at the Congress (one of the big theatres here in Chicago), starting at six pm (which of course conflicts with NONE of my schooling, yay). I've never heard FM live, though I almost had a chance to in VA a few months back (see prior posts, tis in there somewhere). Based on the fact that they're incredibly powerful, even over CD, I'm convinced they're going to be nothing short of titanic when I hear them in concert. Black Friday Rule must be really compelling when played live (though I'm actually looking more forward to Rare Ould Times and Likes of You), so I'm just bouncing up and down here.
Dad also said I can go out to get a good meal for myself when the birthday rolls around properly (the 28th), so I'm excited. I think I'm going to experiment with a drink or two, though nothing heavy (gotta walk home after all, more than a mile). I've picked Bennigan's as my choice of Restaurant, because I love their food. I'm going to order one of their bigger steaks (mmm, steak...), so this all has me pretty anticipatory. Twenty days to wait, blech.
Anyway, got a lot of homework to do, starting to get really behind on my Hebrew, which is NOT in the least bit good. I'm going to try and use this weekend to correct some of that, if at all humanly possible (which I doubt).
Anyway, off to chat with Wil and rest.
Annoyed at Ignorance
Any of my friends will tell you I'm an avid gamer. I love a good system, LOVE; when something's well implemented and works out really well, I get happy. I've happily played in quite a few genres, and enjoyed at least a little bit of each of them.
That said, let's discuss my newest gaming acquisition: De Bellis Antiqutatis. DBA is an ancients/medieval miniatures game put out by a British company whose name I fail to recall at the moment. The game is intended to be fast play, with more of a focus on general tactics and strategy than on precise comparisons of the virtues of the billhook versus the glaive when fighting French Gendarmes (as opposed to Destriders) on the fifth of may in the rain, etc.
The Happies: The game implements a clever, subtle little rock/paper/scissors motif. Bows tend to work well against Knights, Spears defend good against most cavalry that runs up on them, skirmishers run down troops in rough terrain, etc etc. Nicely implemented, and I definitely enjoy how fast the system moves when you've got the rules down.
The Minor Gripes: It's getting the rules down that's hard. They're not easy to learn from the book itself, because they're not well broken down, and there's no real step by step tutorial that shows how turn sequences function or how the rules are played out. You almost have to get a veteran of the game to show you how to play, and that's not always possible for a gamer. Also, the rules print is a bit small (it's not a big book), so you have to hunt a little bit for specific references.
Suggestions for Minor Gripes: A supplemental document available for purchase that shows several turns of combat, covering the basics of the game (like pips, bounds, quick kill, recoil, flee, etc). It'd be a bit annoying to put together, but it would enhance playability immensely for the casual group that doesn't want to struggle through.
Major bitching: This section's going to take a bit more time.
1) Hypocrisy. The book comments that in the interests of speeding up and simplifying gameplay, certain historical sacrifices were made. For example, the Republican Roman list (historically consisting of a mix of light and heavy swordsmen for their "Blade" troops) is now mostly just heavy swordsmen, under the DBA "blade" troop type. Fine and dandy, they're making a compromise with history and gameplay to produce a game that they think works for the player. However, in another part of the book, they say they want players to buy armies in pairs, for example two historical enemies, so they can lend one army to their friend rather than fight a non-historical matchup. Okay, wait...YOU can compromise historical variations for the sake of gameplay, but if I decide I want to see what would happen if the 100 years war english (rather than the byzantines) were defending the Eastern Roman Themes against the Ottoman Turks,I'm somehow tainted? Yeah, really beautiful, wankers.
2) Questionable historical accuracy. This ties in with the hypocrisy issue. They comment they want me to fight historical matchups, but their army lists don't reflect history very well, even in their simplified version of things. For example, no blades for the late saxons. Ok, what about the Huscarl axemen? Were they just a figment of history's collective imagination? Or am I supposed to take YOUR word against every historical source I've ever been to? Similarly, they bring up the nonsense statement that ancient generals didn't pay as much attention to troop quality, morale, or equipment as do tactical gamers today. Ok, bullshit. The Roman Republican legion was ALL about equipment and troop quality. The leading edge of the army, the Hastati, were lightly equipped troops supported by javelin-toting velites. They fought only as long as it took to establish the general line of battle, then let the Princeps (DECIDEDLY better equipped and more determined troops) move in to take over, so that the by then near-demoralised hastati could rest and recover. If you're going to bitch at me about not fighting a-historical battles, then you'd better as fuck have 90 goddamned percent accuracy in your units, or you can fuck off. Again, WANKERS.
3) Condescending attitude. Coupled with their hypocrisy and disdain for anyone who doesn't follow their neat little box of how things are, they add in this little gem at the start of the rules: don't tamper with the rules, they're beyond your comprehension (paraphrased). Okay, fuck off and die. I'm a gamer, I've studied probability and statistics in high school, and I like to think I can at least try to get into a gaming system and see how it functions. Mechanics and function are NOT beyond my comprension, your system is NOT too subtle for gamers to understand and tinker with, and you are NOT exempt to the age old rule "if it doesn't work for us, we houserule it". You are the employee, NOT the employer. We, the gamers, are the ones who you are answerable to for the product you put out, and if we feel a mechanic doesn't work, said mechanic is subject to revision, and you have no right to request/demand that we not do it.
So the entire experience has left a very bitter taste in my mouth, which is a shame, because the core system is very enjoyable. I'm not too likely to invest much more of my time in the system, apart from pickup games with friends, because I'm so willing to spite the morons and wankers who put their idiotic, self-worshipping SWILL into the mix.