I did it last year, so hey, let’s make it a tradition, shall we? First a look back at gaming in 2010, then gaming resolutions for 2011.
2010 Gaming Moments
With my going back to university this year, gaming took a backseat role in my life (that is, beyond what little gaming I was already doing to begin with). At the start of the year I finished the Lady Blackbird game I had been playing online via Skype (and I’m cheating here since this was included in my 2009 Gaming Moments recap). Then, there was nothing up until Gen Con in August, where I got to play Colonial Gothic and run a game of ICONS, as well as play a fair number of boardgames. After that? Fast forward to late December when I got to play a couple of games of Dragon Age and D&D 4th Edition.
So how did I do on my 2010 Gamer Resolutions?
- Play D&D 4e – Done! With just a couple days left in 2010, but done.
- Play any of the following games: Burning Wheel, Dogs in the Vineyard, Don’t Rest Your Head, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, Colonial Gothic, Ribbon Drive, Savage Worlds – Done. I did say “any” and I got to play Colonial Gothic at Gen Con.
- Run a game for my wife – Fail. This just didn’t happen.
- Play with people face-to-face/find a gaming group – Fail. I got to play face-to-face with people but not forming a group of my own.
- Go to Gen Con – Done.
- Corollary: Game with my Skype group in person and/or continue playing the Star Wars Primetime Adventures game from 2007-08 – Fail. Of the people involved in these groups, I was the only one at Gen Con.
- Work on Ierne – Fail/Done. I didn’t work on Ierne, but I did work on a new game for part of the year.
- Not feel guilty when I game - Work In Progress.
2011 Gamer Resolutions
I’ll shorten the list even more than last year to have an even better chance at accomplishing all.
- Play at least once a month - I know this one’s going to be hard to do because of classes, but I’ll include it to spur me to try. Face-to-face, online, one-shot, whatever.
- Go to Gen Con - I don’t assume making it to Gen Con is a given, so it gets included here so I can strive for it. Hopefully my friends will also make it as well.
- Run a game for my wife - I’m carrying this one over from last year. Hopefully we’ll be in a situation at some point where we can make this happen.
- Write/design game material - Be it Ierne, a new game that I’ve got in mind, gaming-related posts in my own blog, or keeping up the Dragon Age Oracle, I want to make sure I write game stuff during the year regularly, if only to carry me during the lulls in play.
- Not feel guilty when I game - Just like last year, this is a work in progress.
Five resolutions, and fairly general at that, so I have a good chance at achieving them.
Game on, 2011!
I always find it weird when recaps of the year are done still during the month of December. I mean, the year’s not over yet! But now, firmly in 2011 territory, it is a good time to say bye-bye to 2010 in a very quick retrospective.
It’s always hard to judge how good a year was. It seems that every year I get to December thinking “good riddance,” but the truth is that there’s always a mixture of good and bad to each 12-month period. The past year, 2010, was no exception.
It was a hard year for me for reasons that normally do not make it into this blog but rather into my personal journal. It was trying at times, extremely challenging in ways that I simply do not want to deal with again if I have the choice, and simply draining. It was the year that I had to accept that I needed psychological help to deal with a number of issues, least of them the lingering grief over the death of my mother in 2009, and that was the kind of journey that you look back at and feel great you did it but also realize it felt your feet and hands bloodied and raw as you clawed your way up the mountain. To run with the metaphor, I’ve only reached a plateau, and I’ve still more of the cliff-face to climb in 2011, but hey, the view’s great from where I am now.
2010 was also the year I returned to school to pursue my degree in Nursing. Three semesters later, I am now just a week away from starting my last semester of Pre-Nursing classes with an eye towards the Fall, when G-d willing, I’ll be accepted into and start the Nursing program at FIU. Going back to university after an 8-year lapse has been easy at times and incredibly hard at others, mostly depending on the class. I’ve been extremely thankful and blessed with finding out my brain still works as well as it did 10 years ago when I was doing my first degree, but I have also had to accept that at 36, I am not a kid and need some extra time to study in order to make sure I retain whatever I am going over. There’s an element of this simply not being a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants degree as English was to me, but yeah, I just need time to study, plain and simple. That said, my comprehension of the science material I have been covering this year has been very good, which makes me glad, and frankly, proud of myself.
This was also the year where I finally took control of my physical health as well. During 2009 I went up to 360 pounds, the heaviest I have been in my life. I started 2010 around the 355 mark, and lost a little here and there but simply by chance, not by design or desire. After a lifetime of people telling me to lose some weight, and half a year of my therapist suggesting it would do me good as well, in August, when the Fall semester started, I decided to finally do it, and started going to the gym and watching what I ate. Over the last four months of 2010 I lost a total of 34 lbs (a total of 48 lbs lost since January). I wanted to end 2010 at 300, but I’m good with where I am now (even with the 2 lbs I gained over the holiday break!). This is the best I have felt in years, and once classes start next week I’m back to my weekly gym routine, so more weight will surely come off.
I don’t make resolutions, usually, but this year I decided to write down a few in my journal. Among them, to continue losing weight, at least 30 lbs in 2011, though more will certainly be welcomed. I also want to continue getting better physically, mentally and spiritually, all of which are a daily struggle and worth the fight and the results I achieve along the way. I want to write more, and of course, get into the Nursing program at FIU so I can be on my way to becoming a Nurse in a couple of years. Most importantly, I want to be a better person, a better man, and a better husband to my wife. And yes, I have some geeky/gamer resolutions as well, but I’ll go over those later on.
As I stand here, looking towards the vastness of 2011 ahead of me, I am choosing to feel good about it and welcome it, with all the challenges it is sure to bring, with open arms. I say “Bring it!” not as a bravado-filled taunt, but as a matter-of-fact statement. Whether I want it or not, 2011 will pass. It is up to me to be a willing passenger or let it trample me as it does. I’ve got my ticket. I’m getting in this bus. Let’s rock.
2009 Gaming Moments
Strangely enough, in the midst of all the turmoil the year brought, I had some really good gaming moments, and I am very thankful for those because in very real ways they kept me sane when I was dealing with some really heavy stuff.
At the top is the Primetime Adventures Star Wars Sith Triumvirate game I played while in Puerto Rico over the Spring and Summer. Born out of a failed Star Wars d20 session, it took four players who had never done any kind of “indie”/collaborative narration-style gaming and produced a heck of a story that engaged every single one of us and introduced them to a whole new world of roleplaying games. It was a pleasure to play with old friends with whom I had hack-n-slashed my way across the Basic D&D Known World in high school, as well as with new friends with whom I now have a shared history in a galaxy far, far away.
My other game for the year is the Lady Blackbird game played over Skype with my buddies from the Canon Puncture show. It was hard to keep up at times, especially because for a while I was in Puerto Rico, or had just gotten back after Mom passed away and playing was just not in my headspace, but these guys both fought on to keep the game going and kept reaching out to me when I needed friends to do that. The game has been fantastic, full of rich characters and surprising story, and I count myself fortunate for being a part of it.
2010 Gamer Resolutions
I’ll make only a handful so I have a better chance at accomplishing them.
- Play D&D 4e – I’ve owned the core books since they came out in 2008 and I’ve yet to play it. It doesn’t have to be a whole campaign; I’d like to play it for a session or two, so I can see how it plays and how the moving parts fit. A game at a con would be just right.
- Play any of the following games: Burning Wheel, Dogs in the Vineyard, Don’t Rest Your Head, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, Colonial Gothic, Ribbon Drive, Savage Worlds – Ideally, play all of them, but I’m being realistic. I’ve owned them all for a while and it’s time to take them out for a spin.
- Run a game for my wife – I’m a bad gamer husband. Except for the Vampire and Changeling games we played in the late 90s, I’ve never been able to run a game for my wife, usually because I flake out in one way or another. I’d like to change that, and run for her a short game that’s a complete story.
- Play with people face-to-face/find a gaming group – I have offers to join gaming groups, but they require me to commute 30-40 minutes into the suburbs on weeknights. As much as I appreciate the offers, I’d like to find/create a group closer to where I live and get back in the groove of face-to-face gaming.
- Go to Gen Con – I missed it in 09 for monumental reasons. G-d willing, I’ll make it to Indy in 10 and enjoy the best four days in gaming with all my friends.
- Corollary: Game with my Skype group in person and/or continue playing the Star Wars Primetime Adventures game from 2007-08. Both if possible.
- Work on Ierne – What is Ierne? Go back and read the short story I wrote called The Warning. There’s more stories to tell from that land, and some of them may even be yours.
- Not feel guilty when I game – So this is my own hang-up: whenever I game, I feel guilty that I didn’t spend that time with my wife. It’s all me; she’s never been draconian about my gaming, but I can’t help it. I’ve cancelled games preempting the guilt! I wanna get rid of that and be able to enjoy my gaming time without self-impossed psychological shackles.
I’ll go with seven for now as it is a manageable number. Should I get through these, I will then choose some others and update the list, though.
Here’s to a gaming-filled 2010!
I was gonna do an end-of-year review, but to be honest I can’t, not month by month; it’s still too draining going back to the early part of the year, and I’d rather start looking forward. So here are a few pictures that show events from 2009.
I’m ready for 2010 to start, for my Nursing studies to take off, and for life to get better.
I better get this done before I blink and January is over!
The year 2008 was a really trying one for me on all levels for a variety of reasons. Though I normally don’t get too personal on this journal, I’ll be a bit more candid if only for my own benefit later on.
January was a somewhat slow month, except for the fact that it was my first month working at the new job I got over the winter break as Webmaster/Graphic Designer for Miami D&E Magazine, a job I considered pretty much a dream come true. The work was hard because we were trying to launch two magazines concurrently with just a handful of people, but it was enjoyable and satisfying; it was a practical application of all the lessons I had learned running Highmoon Media Productions over the last 3 years and that filled me with joy. On the personal gaming front, I started a play-by-email game of Witch Hunter: The Invisible World and a home game of Changeling: The Lost (this latter one died after only one session). I also got back to freelance writing, sending in submissions to three different companies (one of those ended up being Evil Hat’s Spirit of the Season, another is scheduled for sometime in 09 as part of larger book for Witch Hunter, and the third was rejected, which is fine).
February was a bit more of the same, until the job situation exploded. It turned out that the guy running the magazine got into some sort of problem (to this day we’re not sure what the real story was) and ended up owing us five paychecks, including one that bounced after clearing my account (my Highmoon Media account, by the way). When all was said and done, I was left about $5K in the hole and jobless. My only consolation? A copy of Adobe Creative Suite 3.
March and April were a bit of a blur. I did a lot of work on Highmoon Media at this time, and especially on The Digital Front Podcast. I also got to go to the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV thanks to a very generous benefactor who funded my trip (and no, I still won’t say who it was). This trip to GTS was actually helpful in things that are now starting to fall into place.
In May I began to do freelance work in earnest, and since then I have experienced the feast-and-famine ways of the freelancing life. In June we went to Seattle for the first time and had the time of our lives up in the great Northwest. During that trip my wife and I made the decision to try to move to Seattle, and upon our return we began the process of looking for work up there, a must for this move to happen. I also got a Utilikilt, which to this day I have yet to wear out of the house in Miami (though I have worn it at Gen Con).
July was a bit of a blur as well, caught in my usual post-trip funk. In August I went to Indianapolis for Gen Con and had a fantastic time. A few connections were made there as well that I hope will yield results later this year, maybe even at Gen Con. In August my wife and I both also got our new bicycles and began to ride around Miami Beach, very much enjoying the Slow Bike pholisophy of style over speed. I also launched Slow Bike Miami Beach, a blog to talk bikes and cycling.
In September I had the biggest scare of my life when my wife fell from her bike while riding and hit her head on the cement curb, getting a huge bump on her head and a number of hematomas. Seeing her fall and hit the curb was the most horrible thing and I learned both what it means to feel helpless and that I can teleport when the need arises. Thankfully she recovered just fine and a few weeks later she was back on the bike again.
Late September brought the High Holy Days, and in October I welcomed the new year with open arms, ready to shed the crappiness of 5768 (fully aware I still had a few months of 2008 to deal with). I felt spiritually good during this period, and even built my first sukkah with the money I collected from all my birthday gifts (ah yes, I also turned 34 and had a kick-ass Star Wars-themed party that my wife threw for me).
November brought the elections and I wept when this country elected Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. To this day, thinking of that moment makes my eyes sting and my chest swell with pride. I also launched Destination: Earth Travel Journal as a place for me to practice my travel writing skills, and became a writer for Miami Metblogs, as a way to connect with my city, get more writing practice and get a bit more exposure. In late November we headed back to Seattle for the second time in the same year. We had hoped, when we bought the (really cheap) tickets, to have a couple of interviews lined up but that didn’t happen. We did use the time to explore the city as hopeful residents-to-be, having the amazing fortune to befriend and share Shabbat with a local family that took us in as if we were distant relatives (hello Clements!).
December was very tense for me because it’s a month where most of the world shuts down but, since we don’t celebrate Christmas, for us it’s just business as usual. Which means a lot of resumes were sent but no answer would be coming back until January. I did get a chance to go to Disney’s Magic Kingdom with our dear friend Lari; got to see my brother Michael, whom I had not seen in 8 years, since he went into the Army and for whom I had prayed lots during his two tours in Iraq and the repercussions; and got a chance to play parent for a week when my 3-year-old nephew came to stay with us.
I was so ready to shed 2008 once and for all, and could not wait for it to end. I bid farewell to the year with my wife and played Guitar Hero till the wee hours that night.
It is very weird because as an observant Jew, my life is quite affected by the Jewish calendar, but the secular year also has its effects on me in the sense that I live in the secular world, interact with it on a daily basis, swim in its waters for 6 days, emerging once a week for Shabbat. So in that sense the passing of the secular year has meaning. It also carries an energy of change, an energy I had been craving for.
Here’s to 2009 and all that it will bring.