Sunday, January 3, 2010

Last Things To Be Said About 2009

Honestly 2009 ended up a really solid year for gaming, but pretty much an awful year for most everything else. We had some general awfulness from my sister-in-law who managed to drag the family through more turmoil after soaking us for a chunk of money we're clearly never going to see again; we saw a good friend go through an awful divorce that- while for the better for her- still meant her having to suffer through a lot of unpleasantness which I certainly wouldn't have wished on anyone; my mother went through a cancer scare that shook her (and me) pretty badly though the surgery went much better than we could have hoped; my father as well went through a number of health emergencies and problems that also freaked me out; my incipient ulcer; we had a couple of new people in the group pull back their masks to reveal the crazy; and of course my job hunt remains unsuccessful.

Good things would be that we're still alive and intact. We got through the holidays which, pretty much from Halloween on feels like a rapid downhill slalom. I got a story published with Gene in a Spanish and American anthology, so it was great to see that in print. We had a great visit from my sister- honestly the highpoint of the year for me. We only got out of South Bend once this year, but that was to go to Gene's pretty amazing birthday party in Chicago. My niece started at Indiana Academy which I consider an epic win for her. We found some new coffee that we like and generally managed to avoid anything too traumatic in life.

I did see a few things that stuck with me this year-- Kung Fu Panda and Wal-E on Blu-Ray. I finally got more caught up with the new Dr. Who which I like but don't love. Better to say that I love some of it, but not all. I blew through How I Met Your Mother which is a solid show, doing really good stuff with characters. I'd count Fringe, Better Off Ted, Castle and Modern Family as the only other TV shows I follow with any regularity-- pretty much strictly on Hulu. Movie-wise I don't remember all that much I saw in the theater-- Paranormal Activity was strong, but other than that? Did Watchmen come out this year-- if so I count that a disappointment. I'm more fascinated with odd cinema now that I can find that on DVD through Netflix. I worked through quite a bit of classic wushu stuff-- both TV series and movies. I caught quite a bit of Seijun Suzuki's work, a Japanese direction who is something like a midpoint between Lynch and Goddard. Worth checking out but be prepared, especially on his later efforts, to be lost wondering what is happening. I think my favorite surprise film this year was the Thai martial arts film Chocolate which has a weak plot but absolutely amazing fight sand choreography.

I don't think I really bought much new this year in the way of actual rpg books. A traded for some of the Gumshoe stuff, including Trail of Cthulhu which is dynamite. I'd recommend Play Unsafe and Things We Think About Games-- both of which gave me some really strong ideas. Reading the first of those led me to read Keith Johnstone's Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre which I think is necessary reading for thinking about running NPCs for the players-- how to react with an open approach, how to change up the scene, and how to denote status shifts. I did read HeroQuest 2e by Robin Laws and I think that's one of the most important rpg systems I've looked at. I really does most of what I want a game to do.

I managed to put up 237 posts in 2009. Let's chop a quarter of those off to being filler, and another quarter to being just not so good. That's 118 I'd sign my name to again, and probably half of that I'd say are really strong. I also threw a good deal of effort into geekdo (aka rpggeek)-- becoming one of the largest contributors to database entries, posting reviews and session reports, and putting up geeklists and threads. I've really enjoyed that experience and I encourage everyone again to take a look around there and contribute if you can.

Jim McClain makes a nice observation that resolutions sounds a little off, that goals is probably the better way to put this, so in short, my goals for 2010:

1. Keep up an every-other day schedule for blogging here.
2. Go back through last years entries and where I started a series of ideas but didn't finish, get through written up.
3. Do campaign post-mortems for a couple other games.
4. Put titles on blog entries this year.
5. Get the Action Cards rules done up nicely into a 3e version playable by others.
6. Run Action Cards at a convention with a cold group.
7. Finish revisions to one of my board game designs and submit it somewhere. Get one or two of the other designs somewhat in shape.
8. Get a job.
9. Finish one novel.
10. Get something significant published.
11. Get out of town at least four times this year.
12. Finish video games I buy this year-- or at least improve my record significantly on that.
13. End one of my campaigns and start something new I haven't run before.
14. Reduce and eliminate my smoking.
15. Follow through more consistently on my exercise.
16. Play every board game I own that I haven't played at least once.
17. Develop at least three new core recipes for my dinner repertoire.
18. Listen to more new music.