Well, here we are at February.
Yes, I know that's redundant, seeing as there's a date right above the statement, but that's what's going through my head atm.
First off, Penguinsushi.com is another year older - bringing me up to 5 glorious(?) years on the web!
Second, RPM 2010 starts today, but sadly, I don't think I'll be participating this year for two reasons: 1) I haven't been able to come up with any new material in the last couple of months - though to be honest, I've only put in about 15 hours worth of effort in that time - and 2) because, due to some extenuating circumstances, I'll be losing a large portion of my studio gear next weekend. This will be replaced, of course, but it may not be immediately.
In other news:
Sheri & I went to see Avatar with Robb & Edie last night night. It was quite a good movie, if a bit predictable. My assessment is that it is basically 60% Ferngully, 25% The Matrix, and 15% other (possibly LoTR; others have suggested Pocahontas, Dances with Wolves and Aliens). That's not to say it was completely derivative - it did have its originality - but large parts of it definitely conjured thoughts of "I've seen this somewhere before...". Still, like I said, a good movie.
Llama and I played a fair bit of Super Mario Wii this weekend and, with an obsessive-collecting "No Big Coin Left Behind" philosophy, actually finished and beat the game seeking and obtaining every big coin in every level of the primary 8 worlds (including going back to hunt ones we'd missed in other worlds previously). Yes, we are the awesome. We've now started on the "secret" post-game World 9, which, I have to say, is pretty tough.
We started a new D&D game on friday night and I'm proud that not even the snow storm could prevent it - though driving Steve home was...entertaining...and 2/3 of our guests actually camped out here that night.
As I mentioned before, I had carefully mapped out the game's scenario from most-if-not-all angles and then gave the "party" and obvious hook for them to take - a hook which would lead them to the ruin of a prison outpost where a demon was reportedly hiding. Obvious adventure, right? Given the attitudes originally fostered at the conception of this game, I thought they'd want the obvious hook. Silly me. The first 3/4 of the session was spent around town investigating some other goings on. By the time they actually made it to the keep, it was so late that we had to call it a night after the first encounter - which was actually still outside it's gates.
So here we have a question of causality: *Because* I overcomplicated the game, writing in the multiple goings-on from different angles, I knew exactly what to do and what they would find when they went off the "expected course". HOWEVER, if I *hadn't* written up all those other angles (i.e., if I'd just said "you're in a tavern. you see a wanted poster for a demon. it's in this keep. go for it."), they wouldn't have had *reason* to go off the "expected course" (though that iteration of the setting would have seemed much less realistic and "alive"...to me anyway). So basically, my excessive detail was both the cause of my "problems" *and* my salvation there-from. Still, I wouldn't change much if i could. It was a good time.
The real beauty is, because the party did something that I didn't expect, I realized that the story was going to have to change. At least one thing they did was going to have a significant impact and make drastic alterations to how the narrative would have unfolded otherwise - and that's the way it should be. The characters' actions should have real meaning in the story, beyond the simple "either you succeeded or you failed". Being able to account for that as a GM is a bit of an art, and one that don't always feel I'm doing well. This time though, it's working beautifully.
As i've said before, my hobbies are too time-consuming to be able to do them all at once. I sort of have to go in shifts. My gaming hobby is pretty much 'always on' to a greater or lesser extent - probably because that's the only one that's not solely for my enjoyment - but my other hobbies (web/computer projects, photography and music) kind of have to fight for my free time. I've been on a photography kick for most of the last year, and I'm still loving it - but it's January, which means it's time to switch hats.
I talked a bit about RPM last year, and i'm gearing up to do it again this year. This time, however, i'm not going to try to actually write all of the stuff during February - i'm hoping to have most of that done beforehand. Hopefully this way i'll get more than 3 tracks down - my hope is to actually complete the project this time. Having started this today, i've got most of a song written. 9 more to go before Feb. 1st.
I have a faster (and portable!) computer for recording this year, which should let me get away with more simultaneous tracks/effects than i previously could - and I have plans to clear out the office closet to turn it into a sort of recording booth to keep the sound nice and tight. Last year was very rewarding and I'm really looking forward to giving this another go.
After this (depending on what my work schedule looks like, i.e. how burned out i am), i'm thinking about taking a couple of weeks to redesign/build this site again - i like this design, but i'm beginning to feel like it's time for a change.