Archive for February, 2010

We’re gonna need a bigger hose

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

There’s a scene in The Crazies when Tim Olyphant’s sheriff confronts the mayor of Doomsville (or Ogden Marsh) about denying water to the town’s population because it might be carrying a toxic brain-scrambling illness, and the mayor starts going on about how the town lives and dies by its crops, and you need water to keep the crops alive, so the water’s gotta run!

At that moment, I immediately linked this movie in my mind to Steven Spielberg’s classic, Jaws. It put me in mind of Chief Brody’s conversation with Amity’s mayor about shutting down the beaches on 4th of July weekend. That moment, and so many more, really endeared this remake to me.

It’s one of those movies with lots of AHHH! jumpy scary moments, done on a rather modest and intimate scale, with some great comic interaction between Olyphant and Joe Anderson as the town deputy. The scaled-back production for most of the movie really helps the special effects-laden moments pack a serious whallop.

If you’re feeling thirsty, though – don’t drink the water.


One LARP Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

I have to say that I really enjoyed Martin Scorcese’s latest movie, Shutter Island. This brain-bender is a noir-throwback detective adventure with the twist that (see where I said it’s a twist? If you don’t want to learn more about the twist, don’t go any further than this)

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Thinking About: I can’t hear your typing’s intent

February 26, 2010 7 comments

There’s a nasty trap that people who interact in real-time text-based environments can fall into. Even on a MUSH, where people can spend multiple paragraphs setting the scene for what their character is doing and saying, we don’t always do the best job conveying meaning when we type. It’s particularly nettlesome when people are having an out-of-character, player-to-player conversation without any of the aural or visual cues that are normally available with real face-to-face communication.

You may be the most well-intentioned person in the world, but sometimes what you type might be read a totally different way by someone else. Or, you might read something someone else types, make a joke about how it offends you, and then offend them with your behavior. Or, you might be someone like me: You’ve got a reputation for being snarky and cranky, so any time you type ANYTHING on an out-of-character channel, some people will immediately infer a certain tone from it.

And, no, I’m sorry, but 🙂 and 😉 and 😛 don’t help. In fact, they will just make it worse, adding new layers of potential offense for people to puzzle over. Is that a snotty wink? Is the poking tongue dismissing me as irrelevant? Is that regular smiley like the kind you see on the face of the fellow with the knife hidden behind his back and ready to strike?

So, the next time you’re thinking about typing something in a text outlet – MSN, Facebook, Twitter, the MUSH – you might do yourself a favor and think about the words you’re using and the intent behind them, and be sure to make that intent abundantly clear.

I’m not saying you should always be nice and polite, though. Fact is, if you muddy the waters too much when you’re TRYING to be a sarcastic son of a bitch, you might miss the mark entirely. Subtle nuances of tone rarely work in real-time text interactions.

Between the Lines: “Cold Dead Hands”

February 25, 2010 11 comments

I’m struggling to figure out what was going on with this event, but I’ll go ahead and accept the blame for somehow failing to make it engaging enough.

First, it was a follow-up event to “Name on the Bullet.” So, I can see that it wouldn’t be quite as exciting as the initial event, but it took us about four hours to go from “People entering the Forgotten Quarter and noticing two Gankri and a Lotorian hanging out” to “People trying to apprehend the Gankri.” That’s not good, considering we had a much more action-packed sequence in a similar timeframe during “The Lost Missionaries.”

Unlike previous events in recent weeks, I definitely had a plan for this adventure. The intent, if things seemed to be flowing all right, was to have the Gankri lead our heroes on a chase through ancient twisty passages in the depths of Comorro until they could reach a long-forgotten hatch that would grant access to a waiting getaway ship. However, the poses just to get the activity started came in fits and starts. It felt at times like people were phasing in and out of paying attention. Maybe they were playing characters in another window. Maybe they were watching the Olympics. Maybe they were farming on Facebook. Whatever they were doing, they weren’t thinking a lot about the event. As the poses slowed down, I know that I started multitasking. It took me out of the moment and that led to me doing a poor job of keeping other people in the moment.

As a result, I ended up abbreviating the event. It became more of a quick-burst action. Someone shot the Lotorian. The two Gankri made a run for it. One of the Ganrki got his head blown off. The other was injured and taken away for treatment and (eventually) questioning, so that Marisa could try getting to the bottom of her near-murder. Ironically, things actually sped up when the combat started.

Looking back, I was trying to let player actions drive the beginning of the event. I wanted to see what they would do. When they didn’t do much, I tried to engage them. Things just didn’t pick up much until the guns and knives came into play.

I won’t call the event a failure – it has succeeded in moving the story forward, so that’s great. But it didn’t feel as fun as I had hoped it would be.

Monday MUD Day 2/22/2010

February 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Between the Lines: The Lost Missionaries, Part II

February 22, 2010 9 comments

Part II of The Lost Missionaries picked up just minutes after the showdown between Jaswinder and Thayndor, with the group setting aside their differences for the time being and delving into the jungle in search of the missing Opodians and the lost rescue party.

In my original vision of this adventure, I had anticipated a more extended period of jungle exploration. However, knowing how some folks felt about each other behind the scenes, I decided it probably wouldn’t be a great idea to prolong the situation any more than necessary. Besides: Encountering trash mobs in the middle of the jungle would just dilute the story that I wanted to craft. Instead, it didn’t take more than a round of poses for the group to come upon a cave entrance flanked by two of the newly discovered “Aukampires.” Razorback also detected noise coming from the direction of the shuttle landing site.

This was soon followed by the first reveal of the evening: The two Aukampires killed the other night? They were back, cranky, and rather persistent about wanting their crystals returned.

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Twitter Topic: #streamingmovies

February 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Here are my contributions to the #streamingmovies ideas that were bouncing around on Twitter recently.

* Urine the Army Now
* The Postman Always Shakes Twice
* No Kidney Stones for Old Men
* Last Toilet in Paris
* Splashless in Seattle
* Bladder 49
* Warm Runnings
* Four Weddings and a Urinal
* Angels in the Outhouse
* While You Were Sleeping (Hand in Warm Water!)
* Tinkle All the Way
* The Ghost and the Dampness
* Good Stall Hunting
* Look Who’s Leaking
* Field of Streams
* Yellow Rain