jeregenest: (Default)
As mentioned before [personal profile] peaseblossom and I are running a 1:1 Nobilis game, He's the GM, I'm the Player. We're doing this as a podcast which is fun, though I must be honest I'm not so great at that part.

A listing of the episodes so far:

Episode 1The God GangThe God Gang: Recap
Episode 2The Feathered SerpentThe Feathered Serpent: Recap
Episode 3Punching Out Fires 

I recently posted our social contract.

I am pretty excited to do this. It feels different than past 1:1 games we've done together. We're keeping it to an hour because we aren't sure anyone would want to listen to anything longer, so feedback is definitely appreciated.

jeregenest: (slingsarrows)
[personal profile] peaseblossom and I have started a new blog for a new Nobilis game: He's the GM, I'm the Player with a podcast and everything.

So far its in the infancy, we need to get in the habit of doing this podcast thing weekly. And then get a lot better at the mechanics of podcasting.

I'm excited to start sharing some of our gaming with other people. I'm also pretty excited to return to Nobilis again.

Jess is playing the power of Ardent Love. And I plan on using all sorts of elements of forest lore, playing with the cosmology of Empedocles, and a whole bunch more influences. Hope you can join us and follow along -- more I really hope its worth other people following along.
jeregenest: (kale cold war)
With A Legacy of Spies being released on September 5th it is time for a big ole Smiley/Circus re-read.

Call for the Dead (1961) - by August 7
A Murder of Quality (1962) - by August 10
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) - by August 14
The Looking Glass War (1965) - - by August 18
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974) - by August 22
The Honourable Schoolboy (1977) - by August 26
Smiley's People (1979) - by August 30
The Secret Pilgrim (1990) - by September 4

If time permits I shall read The Russia House (1989), which while it does not have an appearance from Smiley it does feature Ned (from The Secret Pilgrim and it fits into the Circus corpus.
jeregenest: (Default)
About sums up atheism for me

jeregenest: (Kale mayhem)
I love books on counter-intelligence. The puzzle solving, the race against time (real or imagined), the false leads. LeCarre has Haydon say that "The secret services are the only real expression of a nation’s character,” and these books, especially when its about an amateur act of espionage, really serve to show some of the soft, and disturbing underbellies of our nation's intelligence service.

This book is all about the improbable story of Brian Regan, an embittered Air Force security specialist who decided to pad his retirement by offering classified intelligence to Libya. I find the story of Regan fascinating, not because of how special he is but how much he represents a snapshot of a white working class entitlement that seems familiar to today. All turned on itself and sick.

The writer is a staff writer and his love of cryptography and puzzles (and those who solve them) shine in the book.

A fun read, full of some great bits, that is probably well worth your time to read if you, like I, am fond of this type of book. If you haven't read much then this is a very serviceable introduction to this sort of tale and will be enjoyable.
jeregenest: (Default)
I, like most other folks in my circles, have spent the last few weeks in rage, anger, sadness and just “WTF” about the election of the angry Cheetos to the US presidency. And like many folks I’ve posted, shared, retweeted and otherwise made my anger known. I’ve donated some rather large sums (for us) to various organizations fighting the good fight (Planned Parenthood, ACLU, SPLC, BARCC and others), called my elected officials and been taking steps to participate in the Resistance.

But I’ve noticed a trend that I want to say something about. Guys (and I do mostly mean guys) we’ve been too quiet. And we have not been supporting the women and people of color (because lets be honest I mean white guys) by being public and front line in our resistance.

And frankly, I’m starting to find it disgusting. I’m talking to my cisgender, straight white male guys – my gamer and geek friends and acquaintances. We’re being too quiet. We’re sitting on the sidelines. And by doing that, intentionally or not, we’re doing the opposite of being helpful, we are being part of the problem.

Screw that. I refuse to be part of the problem. I refuse to let you guys be part of the problem. I love you too much.

And before you say what you’ve said in the past, screw the fact you have a job where having a social media presence is a problem. Screw the fact you work for google or facebook or Microsoft or Amazon or Disney. Not an excuse. Silence is consent. You know that, you are historically educated. You and I have had discussions that indicate to me you know what I’m talking about (and you know who you are).

After 2000 (remember 2000) many of you were not silent. Stop being silent now. I know many of you are putting your money into your beliefs. Stop being silent about that.

I call on all of usto:
1. Post, post, post. Share and reshare. Tweet and re-tweet. No silence. No normalization. No consent.
2. Support the people of color and women in our lives and around us.
3. Be public in the resistance (Resistance guys, cue the star wars music if it helps). Figure out how that works for you and do it.
4. Stop running and writing narratives that normalize and support. No more true king storylines (unless your subverting). After 2000 I ran a spy game that was meant to be hardhitting. Many of you fondly remember Rob’s Unknown Armies campaign. More of this and do it publicly and loudly.
5. Support women and people of color art (books, music, games). I plunked down money for Emily Care Boss’s work and will be avoiding Pelgrane until I start seeing women writers on covers (those books I’ll buy)
6. Be vocal. Remember we are not alone but we have a duty and a responsibility to support others who do not have our privileges.

I know I’m not often the best of friends. I’m busy, I tend to look inward to my relationship. But I’m asking this of you because I do love you guys. Join me and DO NOT BE SILENT!
jeregenest: (Kale Trust)
The last time I posted even regularly on live journal it was when [personal profile] peaseblossom and I last played Nobilis seriously. We have decided that this is a game we want to play together again 1:1 and as such I have decided to resurrect the medium.

Why Nobilis? Good question. Jess and I haven't done a lot of serious roleplaying in a while. Don't get me wrong, we've told lots of stories to each other but they've lacked the formality that moves it into a roleplaying session. We've decided that it would be fun to try this again, and then we started brainstorming systems.

To be honest neither of us are all that into current game design. We're both about 4-5 years behind so our options were limited (Nobilis, Gumshoe, and whatever older games might have survived the great rpg cull). At the end we came down to a NBA style game (Frankenstein files cries out to be told) and Nobilis and Nobilis was just the best choice for both os us.

Jess is still debating estates. One we have that we will sit down and plan the world.
jeregenest: (Kale Trust)
As a lover of spy novels I have to deal with the fact that, quite frankly, its a pretty horribly sexist mode. Unlike fantasy, mysteries and even thrillers where I long ago made a commitment to reading 75% of my yearly reading being novels written by women, I give myself a pass when it comes to spy novels. The best I can do is avoid the misogynist stuff and champion the women writers when I find them.

Stella Rimington (former Director General of MI5, properly Dame Rimington) is such an author. I love her fiction because she traces all the simmering rivalries, tensions, and mistrust between the two premier branches of England’s “Secret State.” A tension I loved explored in Deighton’s work, in the Sandbaggers, heck it is some of the best parts of MI5 (Spooks). And she does it all by incorporating a lot of realistic insider background that I just eat up.

Liz Carlyle, the protagonist of these books, has a preoccupation with not becoming a marionette of her job and she seeks to find a balance in her life that many of her male fictional counterparts either ignore or devalue. She has found a priority that George Smiley only found too late in life.

In short, if you like spy novels go and read these. What are you waiting for?
jeregenest: (Kale Trust)
With Jess and the boy in New York for a fencing meet that leaves me alone after the star child goes to bed to watch something. So recommend to me something available on Netflix or iTunes.
jeregenest: (Default)
I have this great idea for a Night's Black Agents game but no idea where to recruit a group these days. Everyone seems so darn young.
jeregenest: (Default)
This past weekend was Jess and my birthdays. This pretty much, depending on the category, puts us as a couple maybe just barely in middle adulthood. Which is weird, because I feel pretty much like an adult by now. But demography and advertising seem to be so firmly linked who can really tell the difference anymore.

Because our birthdays are right next to each others they tend to be a time of some thought about the state of our relationship. A taking stock of ourselves and each other.

Lets be honest, we live in a culture obsessed about not growing old. Lets be even more honest and admit Jess and I don't have the best role models for growing old in love (We have her maternal grandparents thankfully).

Now we are at the beginning of these middle years, we have a long way to go, but this year (and probably the last few years) have been this period of intense contemplation of where are we going.

As an aside, Googling “middle age love” mostly gets me hits on courtly love in the middle ages, which makes me think of Ars Magica which makes me think of how we met....

So here are my thoughts.

People often say you live to accept the flaws of the one you love. I'd argue that its rather growing to understand why those flaws are strengths. And the strengths become bedrock. I've written before about Jess's strengths. Her intelligence, her compassion, her insight and clarity. Her ability to master anything. All of these I love. But I also love her scowls and her frowns, even when they are directed at me. I can watch her thought process play out on her face and while I'm not always sure where it is going I love watching her. Seriously, I can watch Jess for hours as she works her way through a thorny problem. So incredibly sexy.

Relationships are about change of course, and I'm a better person now than I was in my 30s an certainly better than my 20s thanks to Jess and our relationship. I really look forward to my 40s, this is a road that I'm glad I am on, and looking back at what my 20 something self thought my 40s were going to be like I'm really glad he was an idiot and had no idea of what was coming.

Jess is an amazing person and I'm lucky to be with her. The depths of her thoughts, her insightfulness, her ability to take something clearly state it in such a way that it makes immediate sense. I couldn't live without this. She challenges me, and because she challenges me I'm a better person.

I love her smile, her humor and her energy. I love just sitting with her exchanging thoughts. I love the way she is with our kids, the pets and just strangers. I love the home we've built together.

Happy birthday Jess, and I look forward to every birthday with you from here to 100 and beyond.
jeregenest: (Default)
I really need to read more of the 2011 Edgar nominees.
jeregenest: (Default)
Some key Individuals

Roxanne, Power of Photography: our protagonist

Time: Time’s an androgyne and not on the same timeline as everyone else. Which makes hir seem like a scatterbrain, but they aren’t. Time is fascinated by creating little alternate realities, in snow globes. It seems to treat them as bonsai-like art forms. Most others don’t get it. Hu is Roxanne’s sibling.

Elena, Power Resonate: Roxanne’s other sibling. She dwells in a night club where the dream forms of important 20th and 21st century artists/musicians/thinkers mix and mingle. The first time Roxanne met her she was watching a performance of Coltrane, Gillespie, Hendrix and someone who is currently 5 perform some very out-there Jazz.

Jason, Power Thunder: Arrogant and thousands of years old. He claims to have been born in Thule. He’s a pretty boy and seems to know everyone and everything. He is sibling to Max.

Max Ernst, Power of Signifiers: He’s from Babylon, or something. Less arrogant than his sibling they may have been lovers at some point. Might still be. He’s a player and a manipulator and a powerful sorcerer. He also strives for an apocalypse. But only his apocalypse. He doesn’t like other’s. He’s only started wanting an apocalypse in the last 60 years.

The ErlKing: King of the Los Angeles Fae. He’s dangerous.

Llewleyn: Master thief and scion of a noble house of the fae. Past lover of the ErlKing. Irreverent and probably a little too influenced by movies of the rat pack. And Hudson Hawk.
jeregenest: (Default)
[ profile] peaseblossom and I have been running a Nobilis game with the numbers field off and its probably past time I detailed the basics of cosmology a little more. This is incredibly rough.

The Cosmos (Creation/Universe/Stuff-where-we-live) can be thought of as a large n-dimension medium, sort of like water, sort of like gas. Let’s call it Aether (mainly because I’m a sucker for the term). Somewhere far away from us is a light source. Call that the point of creation, the Source, or even anthropomorphize that as a creator. It is not the only light source, there are others, but it’s the brightest and most important (the other light sources will become important later).

The light is possibility. As it travels through the aether and interacts with it in several ways (and not exclusively just one).

When the light refracts it changes. Sometimes like a prism, other times like a lens, and even in other ways. This refines, enhances, and changes properties; usually in ways that refine the possibilities of the light. Some of these have a type of sentience (it’s highly possible that everything has a some sort of sentience). The way the rays of light act on the aether often self-generates these (there are probably other factors involved, call it gravity or quantum flux or what have you) and so the rays pass through one, are transformed, pass through another, are refined, etc. The ones closest to us are Patrons/Imperators.

There are some places where the aether coalesces, usually because they are nexus of many, many strands of transformed light. These opaque places take on the colors of the light and are worlds. Many worlds take spherical or platonic solid shapes. Many have tails. These tails are many-world/timelines/branching-worlds. Often they have multiple tails. Sometimes they shed smaller selves.

Transformed light from the imperators can coalesce on a given world. These are the powers. Differentiated rays of light from the same light are considered siblings.
jeregenest: (Default)
The top thing I hope to never every see again in any game is a skill dedicated to flirting, this includes seduction . There are many reasons, from the simplistic to the fact its misogynistic.

Flirting is, usually, explained as a skill to manipulate people who find you sexually attractive.

So lets get one thing out of the way. Communication is pretty much communication, and if you are adept at manipulation you are adept at manipulation. The building blocks of flirting are the same as any type of communication. Also the idea of flirting, like most communication, is culturally dependent. Even two western countries, like the US and France, have very very different ideas of what is flirting.

So, flirting is a communication style, or a set of tools used for a specific purpose. By prejudicing it as its own skill, especially when other major modes or styles of communication are lumped into one skill (or don’t even get mentioned in a skill) your putting flirting on unequal status. And unless your playing a game where every specialty and subset gets its own skill you probably shouldn’t do that to flirting. If your skill system isn’t granular enough to separate radio astronomy from Infrared astronomy than it probably isn’t granular enough to separate flirting from manipulation (or whatever you call it).

I’ve often heard from people “But character X flirts all the time, how would you explain them.” Since I play a lot of spy rpgs that's usually “What about James bond.” The easiest answer, after I stop laughing, is that James Bond just as easily manipulates men around him as he does women. Its just that the tropes are he later shoots the guy and sleeps with the woman. Doubt me? Watch the first 15 minutes of Goldfinger and lets talk.

And then, quite frankly, flirting as its depicted in most rpgs is misogynistic and displays quite a bit of cynicism towards relationships that I just don’t want to be associated with. Flirting in itself can be fine, but in rpgs there is so much baggage that its a bad idea and just reinforces some already bad trends in this hobby.
jeregenest: (Default)
What are your favorite movies/tv episodes with walls of crazy?
jeregenest: (Default)
It's not just enough to say you are against rape, or against patriarchy, when you are a guy and not be willing to be called on the stuff that you do or take advantage because of your status of privilege in society.

And yes I'm talking about Penny Arcade and PaxEAST.

Its easy to be a guy and think that your going to a convention has nothing to do with supporting rape culture. Because frankly we can be pretty secure in the privilege being a guy gives us.

Now I'm not going to say I'm innocent of doing this. Goodness knows [ profile] peaseblossom puts up with a lot of shit from me. But part of wanting to be an ally is knowing that questioning your own assumptions is the first order of business.

I has the greatest respect and admiration for women like my wife or Courtney Stanton for the crap they put up with. But they shouldn't have to, and they certainly shouldn't be doing it alone.

Guys, and I'm particularly speaking to gamer guys because you’re my subculture and no matter how stupid you are I still identify with you, it is time to realize that we're mired in this patriarchal crap and it makes a difference and we have to own our own stupidity and point out the stupidity of others. And than work to change it.

If you support the guys at Penny Arcade, and that includes supporting PaxEast, than you are part of the problem. You are looking the other way at rape culture. And looking the other way is basically agreeing.

And unfortunately I count myself as part of the problem because I don't post enough about this sort of stuff in a coherent or consistent fashion. And I'm not proud of that.

So folks, look around and think is this really what we want to be? Is this the ebst we can be? And hopefully like me you'll agree its not. And maybe a part of that is walking away from Penny Arcade and PAX.
jeregenest: (Default)
Gamers and geeks in general need to be held accountable for the sexist and other crap we do. Whether sexist art or rape jokes.

Penny Arcade should be ashamed of themselves and apologize in a big way. Folks defending themselves should have a deep look at their own sexism and adherence to the patriarchy that condones rape jokes. To have let this go on for such a longtime is deeply problematic and representative of a patriarchial way of thinking and deeply engrained priviledge.

Anyone going to PAXEast (or anyother of their conventions) should unfriend me now because you represent a large faction of gaming and geekdom that I am ashamed to be associated with.
jeregenest: (Default)
A few years ago we picked up a few copies of a locally produced comicbook, Kittyhawk. I hadn't realized there was a webcomic until today. Kitty Hawk by Braden D. Lamb (artist) and Vincent LaBate (writer) is an exceptionally well-done pulp adventure focused on aircraft and other machinery that looks almost alive. Great dogfights and a very good woman character as focus. I strongly recommend it, plus I have a softspot for diesel-punk.

As an aside, I really resent that punk has become the default word for SF using a particular technology. I need a better term.


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