Saturday, January 1, 2011

Projections and Reflections

Seems like the blog-0-sphere is rife with posts giving the "2010 in Review" and "What's on the Plate for 2011" type posts. I figure it's as good a time as any for reflection and prediction. The slate is clean, in a sense. I was hoping to get a few more posts made before the end of 2010, but averaging over a post a week isn't so bad, all in all. I got a little distracted by the holidays, shopping, a new Wii and episodes of Angel on Netflix. Granted the blog was buried from March until October. If it weren't for successfully completing the Daily Blog Challenge in November, I wouldn't be anywhere near that number.

I started this blog about a year ago...I made few posts and it stalled. I recognized the problem almost immediately. There was no direction. I wanted to leave it as open as possible, allowing me to write about all sorts of topics of interest. The problem? It didn't really keep my interest. You see, I don't think of myself as a natural writer or anything. I don't dislike the writing process, but the words don't just "flow" for me, either. Combine that with a long standing desire to procrastinate and0 any lack of focus is probably a bad thing. If you go back to those earliest posts you'll see a bunch of brief movie reviews, some commentary on Food Network programming, a couple posts on RPGs.

Back in October, I decided to resurrect the blog and give it a bit of focus. Gaming, and RPGs specifically have been taking up a lot of my free time these days (although I still do watch a fair amount of trashy movies, listen to heavy metal records, and watch Food Network programming -- though I do wish we had access to their newish Cooking Channel with our current cable service. The programming over there appears to me much more my "style"...I can't believe I just admitted to that...anyway)...

So what is in store for 2011? More gaming, for sure, and hopefully more posting. Right now, I'm considering setting a schedule for myself. I'd love to average 12-16 posts a month, which is quite a high number, considering my posting history. For that to happen, I'm going to need some inspiration, so in the coming days, expect to see some posts that are more brainstorming than content or review. We'll see what happens. I'm going to apply for the Role Playing Game Bloggers Network at the end of January, because I'm hoping that having potentially more readers will be an enticement to post more content.

Well, what about 2010? It was a big gaming year for me, for sure. I've met a bunch of cool new people, I went to a couple gaming cons, I've found some great blogs, I've bought some box sets, and I've played a bunch of games.

October was my first visit to GASP Games day, and honestly, I'm kicking myself for not checking out this group sooner. Great people. Great games. I highly recommend it to anyone in the Pittsburgh area interested in trying out new games. At that first event, I didn't know anyone there. I started making some contacts on the forum, but just showed up ready to play. I got to check out a bunch of board games and I was finally able to check out Labyrinth Lord. I also went to my first "big" gaming convention, Origins, where I got to play Aces & Eights and Hackmaster Basic, sat through some RPG demos, checked out a bunch of board and card games. 2010 was my inaugural attendance at GASPCon, too. Again, I wish I had checked the event earlier. I met even more rad people and played way too many hours of RPGs. Right now, I'm planning on signing up to GM at least on session at the next con.

That Labyrinth Lord game at GASP Games day really set me off on a huge OSR / OD&D / retro-clone kick. I had been following some of the games for a few months, but hadn't played that style of D&D since the late 80s. Since then, I've played 4 additional sessions of LL, a session of Spellcraft & Swordplay, a session of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and a session of Hackmaster Basic. I refereed a session of Swords & Wizardry which appears to have the potential to turn into a campaign. In addition to all that, my "every other Tuesday" group is still going strong. We started out as a 4e group, but due to a little 4e burnout on my part we've been exploring other games. We just wrapped a 3 session Gamma World (new edition) adventure. In a couple weeks, I'll be running a Hollow Earth Expedition adventure. We're not sure where were going after that; maybe back to the 4e campaign for a while, maybe some Savage Worlds, maybe something else. More details as they become available. The 3.5 Ravenloft Campaign I play in sputtered for a while, but seems to be back in the swing. The same could be said for the 3.5 Forgotten Realms campaign. The Call of Cthulhu game is still going strong, although I believe we're approaching the end of the story arc.

Since deciding to focus this blog on gaming, I haven't posted much on other topics. I quit my regular DJing gig down at the Smiling Moose. We were doing a weekly "Metal Night". All vinyl. Old school. Anyway, the crowds morphed into packs, and the packs morphed into stragglers. I was burned out of playing records for the same 15 dudes every week, so we called it off. No regrets, but my heart really wasn't in it any more. My heavy metal record collecting has definitely slowed this year, too. I already own more records than I know what to do with, but the lure of vinyl is strong. I have all the old records I want that are easy to find. I got lucky and started collecting Heavy Metal records before the collector mentality took over the scene, so I was able to grab a lot of the cool 80s stuff before it got out of hand expensive. There are still some gaps I'd love to fill in, but I have no love for eBay (or paying $50 for 30 year old record). Because of eBay, and n00bs willing to drop that kind of cash, I'm kind of out of luck. The cool records just aren't showing up in the shops like they used to...they're all in collectors hands or sitting on eBay at ridiculous prices. Oh well, like I said, I already have more than I know what to do with.

My band, Abysme, is set to begin recording our debut LP, Strange Rites, tomorrow. It's death metal, taking influences from Entombed, Nihilist, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and Repulsion. If that sounds like it's up your alley, check us out. We'll be playing the Smiling Moose on January 15 with Nunslaughter and Derketa.

Well, that's enough for now.

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