Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 210 of 362

Last night turned out to be a late night, but not for the reasons I originally thought would be. Small, family crisis turned into long talk with one of the kids. It was good... things were said that needed to be said... I believe things to be mostly settled, but we shall see.

Today at the store we have some Malifaux happening. How well this goes off, we shall see, as half our regular Malifaux players are heading to GW Games Day in Chicago. Still, the space and tables are there for whoever wants to throw down in that magically creepy setting.

Later on tonight is supposedly another run of my Phoenix Champions game. I'm not certain if or how well it will go off as I've had two players contact me to say that they won't be there for certain, and there is a third player who may or may not be there dependant on how the early part of his day goes.

Like I said... for some reason, it's a bad week for Superhero games here...

-- GopherDave

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 209 of 362

Yep... new tie smell. Mmmmmmm... What?!? You didn't think I was going to order tie clips and not get new neckwear, did you? Feh...

It's Friday, so that means Friday Night Magic, and that means a long night for me. Oh well... I'm a big boy. I can take it.

It was a bad week for superhero games that I play in as both got cancelled. That was okay, though, as I started laying the groundwork for the whole "GopherDave's Heroes of Infamy" post I touched on yesterday. The list of characters was not quite as long as I had expected as it seems that I have played some of these characters in as many as four different campaigns. It is still a varied list, to a point. Looking it over, there's not a mentalist among them... hmmmm...

Other than that, Loq and Skribl are helping Hi-Sign move, so I'm going to the store alone to start. I'll get some help later though, so I'm not too worried...

Take care, all... Stay safe.

-- GopherDave

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 208 of 362

It's currently 89 degrees... I'm wearing a black sweater vest... I sure hope the tie clips I ordered are waiting for me at the store 'cause I don't think I'll be wearing this for very long...

Yeah... getting a WAY late start on the day, but I'm not minding it.

I spent part of that time watching American: the Bill Hicks Story. It was actually really good, and while a bit fluffy in places, a pretty candid look into the life of one of our country's unsung comedic geniuses. Recommended.

By the way, if I haven't said it before, I'll say it now. Netflix streaming through an XBox 360... winning.

Tonight I get to play in the one HERO System/Champions game I play in. I'm running a variant of the VERY first Champions character I ever made (back in 1984), an "energy" blaster called The Dark. I say variant, because while the powers set is almost identical to any other version, the person behind the powers is different. It's an interesting experiment for me. Oddly enough, the original persona behind the Dark is much of what's powering my current DC Adventures character, Marathon.

Hmm... that might make for an interesting blog post... going through all the "superhero" characters I've made for RPGs over the years and reflecting back on them... That'll be a helluva long list, because there's been several...

peace... GopherDave

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

[Music Review] - In Flames: "Sounds of a Playground Fading"

I’m sitting here listening to the (relatively) new In Flames album, "Sounds of a Playground Fading" for something like the twenty-fifth time since I bought it. In that, I have come to a couple of conclusions…

1) The band is getting more and more radio-friendly (whatever that means) with each record…

2) I don’t care…

Basically, I cannot conceive of any radio station actually playing a band like In Flames in this day and age. It’s not auto-tuned garbage for the new millennium, and so-called “rock radio” has lost its balls over the last decade. If it ain’t the new Disturbed or Avenged Sevenfold, they’re not playing it…

I’ll be honest… I was kind of worried coming into this one. The last IF album ("A Sense of Purpose") left me REALLY cold. That combined with founding member (and main music writer) Jesper Stromblad leaving to handle personal issues, I was not feeling all that confident that In Flames could pull off anything coherent, let alone good at this point...

In short, this album rocks… The guitars soar, Anders vocals are actually understandable in some places, and the drummer (Daniel Svensson) propels the best moments with driving authority. It does start to fall apart a bit near the end, but bad In Flames is typically better than most rock/metal bands out there currently.

Standout tracks include the title track, lead single “Deliver Us, “Fear is the Weakness”, “Where the Dark Ships Dwell”, and “Darker Times”. There are also couple of interlude tracks (“the Attic” and “Jester’s Door”) that slow things down. “The Attic” is interesting, but “Jester’s Door” really could have been left off. It interrupts the flow of the record, almost bringing the momentum to a screeching halt. It might have made a good leadoff intro, or a quiet closing piece, but its placement in the track listing is just kind of enigmatic.

Anyway… go listen… Or better yet, go buy the damn thing. It’s worth it.

Track Listing

1)     Sounds of a Playground Fading
2)     Deliver Us
3)     All For Me
4)     the Puzzle
5)     Fear is the Weakness
6)     Where the Dead Ships Dwell
7)     the Attic
8)     Darker Times
9)     Ropes
10)  Enter Tragedy
11)  Jester’s Door
12)  A New Dawn
13)  Liberation

GopherDave Grade: [8.5/10]

Day 207 of 362

Yes, I am very brown today... even the pants... sue me.

It's Wednesday and we're back to our regular shipping schedule. I'm actually ahead of the curve and up for once. Thus, after I drop Loquacious off at work, I'm heading to the store to wait for packages. Then it will be time to take the new web site for a spin and see how well it automatically updates.

Our DC Adventures game didn't meet last night due to family crisis on the GMs part. Things are back to "normal", but it happened too late to put things together for a session. While I am bummed that things didn't happen (no Marathon for GopherDave... crud), I am more relieved that the crisis turned out okay, and that things are back to normal in KnightErrantJR's world. He's as good a man as I've ever known... he deserves normal and boring in regard to real life.

Looking at the post cost, I noticed we are dangerously close to post number 250 on this rag. I remember promising something big for that milestone, but I won't lie... It's not happening. There's too many things going on right now for it to even THINK about happening, not the least of which is my and Loq's upcoming anniversary (our 20th)... I have an idea for a gift (finally), now I just need to make it happen.

Beyond all of that, things at the store progress as well as can be expected. I'm still looking into slatwall. It's going to happen, but the big debate currently is whether we get panels with aluminum-reinforced channels or panels without. Without is WAY cheaper now, but may end up costing us more in the long run due to paying for panel replacement... Yaaaayyyy... more things I'm not equipped to think about. Have I ever mentioned that my background/schooling involves Mass Communications/Radio-TV studies and Foodservice? There's NOTHING in there dealing with retail... sigh...

-- GopherDave

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 206 of 362

Hey All... Time to go place orders, then run off for errands. I am running WAY later than I expected, but I got waylayed for an hour tweaking and playing with a surprise...

Our new and (hopefully) improved web site went live today... We're still working out some of the back-end kinks, but I think it looks good. It's cleaner, has some streamlined functionality, and integrates better with our Facebook presence.

Enjoy it at

-- GopherDave

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 205 of 362

Hey... The temperatures have cooled. Now it's only in the low 80s... Ummm, wow... That's kind of disturbing when I find 80-degree temperatures cool.

There's 40K on the agenda for today, so that means I get to leave early and let Loquacious take over the store. I'll go home and hang with the kids, and generally have a (hopefully) relaxing time of it.

I've been banging my head against the wall trying to figure out what to do with my games. One game, I've done a reset meeting on already, and it's helped the story, but it hasn't helped the attendance issue I'm having. The other game, needs a reset meeting, but only after this current story arc is done. It's just about there, but we're having some other issues with it in terms of real life jumping in the way.

I've got a couple of other issues bouncing through my skull, and I'm not certain I want to blog about them yet. The original thoughts started out on a sociological tangent (my minor in college) and in short order morphed into something a touch more personal, and then headed off into another related social tangent.

Screw it, it's on my mind so I'll do it now...

I was looking at the local crime reports and read where a 63-year old cab driver was assaulted by a non-paying customer not too far from where we live. I was thinking about it and realized there were two types of people who would do something like that. One type doesn't WANT to pay, the other type CAN'T pay. Either way, they got into the cab KNOWING that they had no intention of paying, and used violence to get their way.

While I was pondering this, I looked out the window and saw two young, African-American men walking down the sidewalk, and my first thought was "Do either of those guys look like someone who would beat a cab driver"? Then I caught myself and realized how wrong of a thought that was. Those two guys were just walking down the street not bothering anyone, and here I was pigeonholing into the "cab driver assaulter" section of my mind.

I then realized that I had no basis on which to even form that thought. There were no suspects and the local crime report was just a couple of lines on a website with no details. The perpetrator could have been of ANY race, be it African-American, Caucasian, Latino, Asian, Polynesian, or some mix of any or all of those. I felt more than a bit ashamed of myself.

Then, for some reason, I recalled an incident I witnessed that happened about 13 years ago. I was managing at a fast food place in the area and we were closing up for the night. One of the employees came back to the office to tell me something bad was happening outside our doors. I went up and looked through the window to see one young man beating the holy hell out of another young man. I called 911 and reported it. Police were there damn quick (it was a higher crime area) and took control of the situation. One thing I noticed about it all was that both the victim and criminal were both Asian.

This lead me back to a thought that I have known for a while, but had momentarily forgotten. Violence is universal. It isn't just an American thing... it's a world thing. As humans, we're all capable of it. Hell, even Ghandi and Mother Theresa could swing a fist or shoot a gun if the notion struck them. They just had the self-restraint not to do it, and they are better people for it.

I wish I could end my thoughts there, because that ending looks rather profound, but my brain doesn't always work that way. There's more...

Once I hit upon the "violence is universal" thing, I began to think about the many people who say "violence is never an option". They're wrong... violence is ALWAYS an option... Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, it should be the LAST option, but every now and then, someone needs to be smacked to bring them back into line with what should be the social norm...

Over the last fifty years or so, we as a society have neutered ourselves as we keep pulling back on what's acceptable punishment for those perpetrate injustice upon others. More and more, society wants something that seems more "humane" and less final... Therein lies a slippery slope. There should be consequences for actions. More and more, those consequences are far less than what some actions deserve, and that creates an atmosphere of negligible deterrence. Eventually, we WILL reach the point where our laws only disempower the lawful, and provide no deterrent for beating down a cab driver...

Just some thoughts...

-- GopherDave

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 204 of 362

Another day and... what's that?!? Rain? Huzzah! Cooler than Lucifer's backside rain... Out comes the vest once again. I do realize that when the rain stops and the temperatures return to what they have been, walking outside will once again feel like being hugged by a wet blanket imbued with love and oppression. But until then, I'll take what I can get...

It's Sunday at 'Gopher, so that means Board Games, Monsterpocalypse, D&D4E, and Pathfinder Society. All good stuff, and all stuff I'm not heavily involved in. That frees me up to be shopkeep and get some other stuff done... I actually look forward to it all.

-- GopherDave