Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Roundup

It's been a bit of a rough week - I've spent much of it trying to shake off some sort of bug and trying to not to completely lose my schedule to Wow, two distinct challenges. Still, good things are floating around at large.

  • If you haven't already heard it, I was recently on The Game's The Thing with Cam Banks talking about Leverage. It was fun, and I don't think I sound like too much of a mouth-breather, so score one in the victory column. And in an unprecedented media blitz (at least for me) I was also on Narrative Control, talking about Apocalypse world with Sean Nittner and Judd Karlmam. I just listened to that one this morning, and it also went pretty well.[1]

  • I admit that the two podcasts have left me tempted to show up at Fred's with an Ipad and just record _something_ while we both play with our kids. It might be the first gaming podcast to include phrase such as "when the dice hit the what the heck is oh no honey don't east that don't oh man!",(a sentence which I suspect can only be parsed in parentese).

  • A new and, by all reports, very cool game shop has opened down in DC, Labyrinth Games. This is a fantastic thing since the DC are has a real shortage of game stores relative to its population, and most of them aren't accessible via the metro. Fred wrote about it more extensively and I'm envious since I have yet to actually make it into town to see.

  • Fred's also taking advantage of the new space to take a page from the Endgame playbook and organize a Taste of Gamma World event, running a couple of tables of Gamma World on the 18th. I'll be missing it, but it looks like it should be a great time. The funny thing is that this is not even a faintly sponsored event. Fred just likes Gamma World, and things like this happen when he gets enthusiastic.

  • A fantastic new blog has started up called Beyond the Golem. It's pitch:

    This blog is not about the Golem. It’s about the underdogs. Over millennia, Jewish writers created a vast, imaginary world filled with demons, fabulous beasts and demi-human monstrosities, a world where vast deserts cover the open gates of Hell, and where singular individuals can traverse planes of existence and wield awesome powers. Compared to all this, the Golem is just a clumsy block of clay.

    Two posts so far, and they've both been great. This one very quickly ended up on my feed reader.

  • Someone was smart enough to publish Chuck Wendig's 'Double Dead', so keep an eye out for that showing up sometime down the line. Chuck's a non-stop font of talent who's put in the time and effort to really pursue what he loves, and between this and Sundance, I'm super happy to see it bearing fruit.
  • Peter Bregman talked about not letting the package distract from the message. Not much pithy to say here, except that it was a useful read to me.

  • Speaking of useful reads, I have just finished my unprecedented second read-through of Influencer, by Paterson, Grenny et al. This was one of those books that was so good that I own it in three formats (print, kindle & Audio), but reading it twice, back to back, is something I can't remember having done with anything else in a while. I've been recommending this one right and left, and I think it's been making an impression.

    Basically, it's a book about changing behaviors, and how it's accomplished. In material, it has a lot in common with the remarkable Switch. However, since the authors are, ultimately, writing for a business audience, the net result is somewhat more practical while still being profoundly potent.Changing behavior is one of those things that matters on things as personal as me trying to lose weight to as large as solving serious business (or world) problems, and the book runs up and down that scope effortlessly and usefully.

    What's crazy is that this book has lots of things that I really don't like, stylistically. It's got a business-y, sometimes jargon-y tone that can really grate. I hate stuff like that, especially when they make mention of their other book (Crucial Conversations) but the material is so useful that I could just ignore it.

    The book really ended up getting into circulation after a Gamma World game. A friend was having trouble with carnies in the kitchen (code for problems you know you should avoid, yet don't.) and upon hearing him talk, I reached into my bck to pull out my copy of the book, complete with highlights and numerous little post-it flags sticking out. I hadn't even finished it yet at that point, but I handed it over right then and there for him to read. I finished it on the Kindle, and I'm glad I did, since I think it ended up being the right book t the right time. Fred was there for the exchange too, and I hadn't even realized it was on his radar, but somewhere in there it must have caught his interest too, because next thing I know he's thrown quotes from it up on his tumblr.

    I think Fred ended up summing it up best with the observation that it was hard to figure out what not to be highlighting in the book.

Anyway, I hadn't mean to talk to much about Influencer, but I guess it's self-evident how good a book I think it is. Beyond that, lots of good stuff out there in the world something worth rememberingon a cold, blustery Friday.

1 - I'm a sucker for the Narrative Control guys because they read my blog. I means, sure, they're smart, insightful and talented, but that's purely secondary!


  1. When Jadyn was, say, 1.5, I brought her back a big foam d20 to play with. She loved it. Took a big old bite out of it. We still use it for the third death saving throw.

  2. I really liked the podcast with The Game's the Thing. Maybe it's just that I can't get enough discussion about Leverage, but you guys were great.


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