Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

March 20, 2008

Obama for Prez

Filed under: political sniping — lexifab @ 5:12 pm

In the past couple of days, Barack Obama has given two speeches. Either would have convinced me that he’s a better candidate for President of the United States (“Still pretty much number one in the world!”) than either of his competitors, let alone the man they’ll be replacing. Or Al Gore, for that matter.

Taken together they are, I think, breathtaking. The man talks a damn good speech and is capable of mustering at least the appearance of policy formulation skills. I’m not convinced the same can be said for the other presidential candidates (and I presume you know or can guess my opinion of His Lame Duckness).

I note with some disappointment that his lead over Senator “It’s my turn! Gimme!” Clinton appears to have evaporated, and that both are trailing Senator “100 years of war or bust” McCain by a not inconsiderable margin. I would think it a pity if Democratic voters were somehow persuaded by what I see as Clinton’s shrill and vitriolic sense of entitlement.

Mind you, I think the Republicans picked the right guy.

March 18, 2008

Technical obstacles overcome

Filed under: administraviata,news of the day — lexifab @ 8:38 am

I think I might have levelled up on my computer skill last night, after eventually (and in defiance of what in retrospect was the bleeding obvious) realising that the problem was the drivers for the new video card. One quick reinstallation and everything worked with hunky dory aplomb.

Hopefully after the Easter long weekend, a report on two new Great Things in Gaming!

March 17, 2008

This Lexifab hiatus brought to you by the letters C and W

Filed under: administraviata,fitter/happier — lexifab @ 8:05 pm

That’s ‘C for Connor’ and ‘W for Work’, my two overwhelming preoccupations at the moment.

Most of the time I have for myself I’m frittering away in front of the computer, doing useless stuff like trying to make games work. Last night I spent about six hours trying to clean up the PC’s file registries, which I had hoped might fix the issues I’ve been having trying to get a couple of online games to load and run (Pirates of the Burning Sea and EVE Online, for the record). A forlorn ambition, as it turns out – with shinier cleaner file registries, the PC now runs more smoothly and quickly, but the games remain obstinately insistent on crashing the whole system on startup.

It’s almost enough to drive me back to writing. Well, except for the fact that I’m so damned tired all the time that the last thing I want to do is try to engage the thinking centres of the brain of an evening. I want to shoot things, dammit. Preferably things that will oblige me by then sinking and/or exploding.

March 6, 2008

Ten great things in gaming Part 3 – Gygax

Filed under: 10 things in gaming — lexifab @ 4:29 pm

Gary Gygax, the (somewhat contentiously disputed) co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons and by extension founder of the hobby on which I spend most of my time and through which i have built a great many enduring friendships, died yesterday, aged 69.

He wasn’t originally going to be on this list. the original intent was to celebrate what’s new in the hobby, what’s taking it in fresh new directions and venturing further away from the safe harbours of going into holes in the ground, killing the things that live there and emerging richer than before. But the hell with what I planned – Gary helped dredge those metaphorical harbours, and on any exploration of where the hobby is going, it’s worth acknowledging where it came from as well.

So, while I think it’s fair to say that what I think is interesting, fun and important when it comes to a roleplaying game session differs markedly from much of what Mr Gygax long espoused, there’s no denying the huge debt I owe him for his part in creating the social context which I expect to occupy for the rest of my life. The roleplaying hobby was emerging as an energetic mutant outgrowth of wargaming when I discovered it at the start of my teens in the early 80s. I’ve never quite managed to let it go in the intervening quarter of a century. In all that time, Gary Gygax was a semi-mythical figure of legendary stature, looming somewhere in the lofty heights of The Industry.

I never quite idolised Gygax the way a lot of gamers seem to. To me, his ideas about how roleplaying should happen were irritatingly pompous, and following his unsatisfactory advice invariably led to misunderstanding and conflicts. He was a tireless self-promoter who sometimes appeared to overstep the bounds in terms of what credit he could rightfully claim. Not to mention he drove me nuts with his habit of throwing the entire thesaurus at a written concept without giving any particular consideration to clarity (or accuracy, in some cases).

(Okay. Yes. Sometimes I do this. In my defense, I like to think I got the habit from shamelessly aping Douglas Adams’ writing style, not Gary Gygax’s. And shut up).

But to give him credit, he was a pioneer, an advocate and a grand old patriarch of roleplaying. He came across as a passionate hobbyist who was generous with his time, a truly relentless writer (I may not have liked all of his ideas, much less how he expressed them, but I give the man props for his admirable work ethic and productivity) and a gentleman to boot, all the moreso in his latter-day presence on the interwebs. He loved gaming, he loved writing, and he loved talking about what he loved, and he had no problems with sharing that enthusiasm with anyone who’d listen. And let us not forget his timelessly quotable contribution to Futurama: “Greetings, it’s a [rolls dice] pleasure to meet you!” Gotta love someone willing to have the complete piss taken out of him just for cartoon immortality.

Last night we took a session off from Emma’s Burning Freeport pirate game, with its character-driven play, its free-wheeling plot-light storyline and its frequent player-generated content – little of which would have accorded with Gygax’s roleplaying tastes – in favour of some old fashioned monster-bashing fun. It would have received the Gary stamp of approval, we thought, but even if not, he can rest pretty comfortably, knowing that something he helped build has grown vast and spread far and turned into something that has touched a lot of lives.

March 3, 2008

Sometimes it’s a good life. Sometimes not.

Filed under: fitter/happier,musical challenge,news of the day — lexifab @ 1:35 pm

Once when I was a lot younger, I wrote a catchy novelty song parodying the search for purpose in an essentially meaningless universe. For reasons which will remain largely obscure to anyone else, I still think it’s about the funniest thing I’ve ever written. This recent rendition at a small cabaret in Brisbane by Evan and his comedian friend Liz Stitch is, I’m happy to assert, probably the best performance ever of “The Chorus Rhymes with Fire”, even if Liz doesn’t know what cachinnate means (and why would she?). It gets a laugh exactly where it’s supposed to, and I really couldn’t ask anything more.

The last couple of weeks have been a bit bleak outside the immediate circle of family and friends. This following bit is an unpleasant contrast to the previous, and one I would certainly have preferred to avoid. I’ll understand if you skip it.

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