Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Wow... To say I've had a bad twenty hours or so would be a huge understatement. I'm not going much into it other than that.
I will say that Store Supply Warehouse is both maddening and a champion with their customer service. Earlier today, due to some shenanigans with them, I was seriously considering arson, but they came through in the end. Basically, we had ordered some fixtures for the store just prior to the weekend. They showed up on Monday, a day earlier than expected. On Tuesday, HiSign broke the cases open to find the both of the bases for said fixtures were damaged enough that they could not be used. Called up SSW, they said "no problem", and shipped two more bases to arrive today. This morning, only one base showed up. In a rather hostile mood, I called them back to see what the deal was. The sales rep spoke to me, then to her manager, then came back to me and said "No worries. We'll ship out another base and it will be there later today around 5 or 5:30PM."
I was not surprised by the today part, because I was irate and rather insistent that be the case. I put the phone down, satisfied that things would be taken care of. Less than thirty minutes later, I get a call from SSW saying they found the missing base (U.P.S. damaged it before it even got on their delivery truck, so *THEY* had sent it back) and that my new one would be here tomorrow.
My face scrunched up a bit as I questioned this whole "tomorrow" thing after a representative of their company said a new fixture base would be here later today. The voice at the other end tried to tell me that would be impossible. Really? SSW is in St. Louis. We are in East Central Illinois. It is a four-hour drive. We are open until 11PM. It was Noon. From my perspective, they had an eleven hour window. That didn't seem impossible to me. Said representative insisted it couldn't be done. I disagreed. Vehemently. Asked to be kicked further up the chain. That person said it couldn't happen. I asked for the next level of employee. Got to the shipping manager. He also said that no one they deal with in terms of courier could make this happen. Once again, asked for the next level of management up. A few moments later, the shipping manager comes back on the line saying his boss is busy. My response... "I don't care if you have to send two guys with a U-Haul to bring me what we ordered. Your company said it would be here today. I'm holding you to that statement. (brief pause) Tell you what, put the owner of the company on the phone. I'll explain what has happened thus far and then you can explain to him why he is dealing with an upset customer."
"Let me speak to my traffic manager about this. Maybe we can get someone we don't normally use. I will call you back within the hour."
It was 12:20PM at this point. About fifteen minutes later, I get a call back saying that while my part may not make it by 5:30PM, it would indeed be here today.
The courier rolled up at 4:50PM with an undamaged part.
See? Not impossible.
So, in short, will we use Store Supply Warehouse in the future? Probably. They won't be my first choice, as it took them five bases to get two undamaged ones here in a reasonable time frame, but they ultimately pulled their reputation out of the fire today after having stuck it in the inferno themselves. The fixtures that we got? They look good. When they are all assembled and product is on them, we'll take pictures.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Another day, another... well, day...
Without much prompting, I believe I have four players already for my upcoming Champions campaign. It'll be an interesting group, though I will have to be careful about a couple of things. Most of my attention will be concerned with being vigilant of not letting the group stray too far from the "comic book ideal" I am striving for.
In general, I am looking for a mix of slam-bang action and thought-provoking, personal stories. I envision it as people reading a comic book about "X" group, where they follow the group member's stories, trials, and tribulations. Once I get things set up with the group, and get things started, I hope to have time to write "excerpts" from the story. These excerpts will be put together in such a way that the players can read about something happening in another part of the world (like they were readers of the "comic book") that may (or may not) affect their characters. In a sense, I am hoping to give the players another window into the world we'll be building together. We'll see how that goes.
Just for kicks and grins, I twiddled around with a couple of villains that could possibly be for the game. No one really important, these guys fall into the "I'ma rob a bank"-category of supergoon. Every comic needs no-goodniks like these to give heroes some easy victories and early confidence. That is my aim with these morons. Once play gets started and some of the characters begin to establish themselves, *THAT* is when the memorable bad guys will come out to play.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Good morning, folks!
Don't let the happiness of the first line fool you, I'm still a mess. Now, however, I'm a mess with at least something of a plan in one area of my life, and that is usually all I need to get me started on the road to recovery from things like the crappy mental state I've been in.
Game wise, I'll most likely be running Champions every other Saturday evening. I'm looking at a Bronze-/Iron-Age hybrid in terms of tone. It will be a "team book", and as such, once I get the players nailed down, they are going help in the world-building process. I am looking at helping them as a group and individually build characters that will add some elements to the game world. In short, I'm hoping to use their back stories as a foundation/framework, and then build off of that.
Personally, I am hoping to initially come to the table with anything "pre-planned" and set in stone. I'm not even coming into this with a city/setting. That will all (hopefully) come from them. In short, I'm looking at changing my GM-ing paradigm. Instead of "here's *my* world, come play in it if you dare", I'm looking at "hey, thanks for inviting me into your world and letting me mess around in it".
It's a much different approach than what I am used to. I hope it works.
As for players, I am looking for players who *LOVE/READ* superhero comics that can show up consistently, and by consistently I'm talking like "24 sessions out of 25"-type consistency. This is the one genre where continuity is a big factor, and it ruins it for all if there frequent missing gaps.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Okay... Things are... better...
I had a talk with one of the folks with whom I was having issues, and while the early part was fairly heated, things were somewhat better by the end of it. It seems that when I see things around me are mostly broken, I have to break the rest of it before I can think about enacting any sort of repair.
Trust me, this is not the best way to operate.
Things are changing in big ways. I hate change. I have not been handling much of what has been going on around me well. I needed a breakdown before I could gather up the pieces that are me. That has happened. I should be good for a while.
On the gaming front, I will be running a game. It will be happening every other Saturday. What it will be is still to be decided. I'd like to run something that will lend itself to a long-running campaign. I have ideas for "Vertigo Dreams" setting I used for one of the scenarios this past Winter War, but modern-day conspiracy/X-Files stuff does not always lend itself to an extended campaign. The other one is a straight-up superhero game using Champions/HERO 6th. It would not use anything in a historical context from my past campaigns. I might re-use some villain names and concepts, but their powers and histories would change.
The big thing about the supers game is that all players should be ready to play comic-book superheroes. No transplanted fantasy creatures... no building powers out of concept just because you can... no non-hero mindsets. Players looking for a "killing orcs for beer money" or "a White Wolf-esque political game" or those looking to "game the system/world" need not apply. This all said, I run a game with "smart" criminals. Most of them have solid motives and distinct personalities. The disposition of the "bad guys" will vary wildly, from goofy knock-abouts to deadly-serious, vicious murderers.
Wow, the more I write, the more it seems like I am decided on what I am doing...
Writing as thought process... Who'd of thunk it...
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Another day in the life...
Students have left for the summer, so we'll see how that affects things such as sales and what not. Last year was the first year we actually noticed they had left from a sales perspective. The previous years, we were still growing at such a rate as to not even blink when summer hit. It was sort of a nice problem to have. Now, with the store being larger (and the expenses being larger), I'm fairly certain we'll miss the influx of income. How much we'll miss it remains to be seen...
Life-wise, I'm not entirely sure how much of a whiny, ass-hat I've been. Things are seemingly holding stable for the time being, but I am almost on edge waiting for the next big drama-bomb to hit, and I think that has been part of the problem with me. I, like most folks, enjoy living drama-free. Lately, with the store move and some changing family situations, there has been more problems, and thus, more drama crashing in on my calm. I have noticed an edge to my voice that isn't usually there, and that is beginning to worry me on some level.
On the game front, I am still toying with running something. I'm just not certain what, yet. I keep leaning to a superhero game, but the best game system for that (HERO System) is the one I do *NOT* have time for. The itch is there, though, and it's not going away easily or soon.
That's it for now... I am thinking that I will be reviewing some music soon. We've gotten a bunch in and I am starting to have some time to listen.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
This morning started out on a... ubiquitous... note....
The boy came home to do laundry just as I went to step into the shower. Normally, this isn't a problem. We wash most things in cold water, and our water pressure is sufficient enough to handle both washing machine and shower at once. Today, he washed a blanket in hot water. In about five minutes after he started this my testicles were hanging out somewhere in my chest cavity trying to stay warm.
However, it gets better...
The blanket he was trying to wash is actually too large for our washing machine, and it gets wrapped around the agitator in such a way that it stalls the washer. Once I got done with what I had to do at the store, I went home to attempt to rectify the situation. It took me twenty minutes, but I managed to get the water-logged comforter out of the washer that was still half full with warm water. I also managed to coax the machine into a half-cycle to get it drained of water. I'm not certain if it's fully operational. I had yet another crisis to cope with...
My daughter's brand new laptop then decided to "twonk out" on her and not have a functioning mouse/touch pad. Just as I am getting things settled with the washer, she begins to lose her mind and melt down. Now I'm at a point where I am trying to get the girl to calm down long enough to let loose her death grip on the laptop so I can look at it and perhaps fix it. I manage to get her calm enough to let me have it before something else goes "horribly wrong" with it. Once I gave it a cursory examination, I poke a few buttons and it's as good as new.
The day before, both kids decided they wanted to argue with me over stupid things and then bail, saying *I* was an asshat and that I was wrong, and was frequently so, even if I never admitted such ever. On top of that, I had a couple of days with Loquacious where it seemed that everything I did (or didn't do) was wrong, and did nothing but annoy her.
Prior to the weekend, I was a giant ball of stress, anxiety, and depression due to a number of store-related things. Sunday and Monday did nothing to help the situation. I was within a hair's breath of rage-quitting life in general.
I know that as the father I am supposed to be more mature than this, and suck it up and keep slogging on. However, when the people who are supposed to be my partners in life basically treat me like persona-non-grata *IN MY OWN HOUSE*, it makes it very difficult to carry on. I also know that I should probably not put things on the public interwebs like this, but if I have no one else around to talk to about things that are bothering me, what else am I supposed to do?
Comment on this if you want... I'll likely not respond... Consider this a "dump-and-run" post...
It's about the only outlet I have left...
Friday, May 10, 2013
There seems to be very in the way of an end in sight. Last night I went to bed early only to have my mind conjure up a bevy of old-school alarm clock sounds each time I placed my one good ear to the pillow. This is the second time in about two weeks that my brain has done this to me. The first time, my mind serenaded me with a cacophony of car horns. Either way, it made sleeping problematic.
Said lack of sleep has done *NOTHING GOOD* for my current mental state. I was in dire enough straits that Skribl came with me to help open the store and ease things until HiSign showed up a couple of hours later. Right now, HiSign has the counter while I'm tucked away in the back typing this. It will begin to get busy here in a couple of hours for Friday Night Magic, and I will need to be out there for that.
Saturday morning I will be opening for Skribl as he wants to play in the 40K Tourney we're having tomorrow. I don't mind so much, though it will mean that I will have gotten very little sleep once again. Later, I shall be playing Xia Ling-Xian, my crazy, racist, Asian bastard in Shady's Terracide game. It'll be much like last session as I will have gotten very little sleep to make this happen.
Overall, I need to make the merry-go-round stop long enough for me to get back on track mentally and get a better handle on what needs to be accomplished to make the store run better and *NOT* be the headache and stress inducer it's been lately.