Crossing the Nerd Wall: Seriously, Keep Reading

Since setting up WTTRP, I’ve tried to keep a wall between WoW Nerd stuff and Old Fashioned Nerd stuff. I planned on changing that in the near future, as I’ve planned to put up some fiction I’ve been working on. I’m breaking the wall early to show how to stick up for someone via the internets.

My friend Anna has two blogs: one for WoW one for Not Wow. She’s helped me with baking, we’ve bounced ideas off each other for writing things (blog posts, fiction, political stuff) and she sent me delicious Christmas cookies. She shared me a link, now deleted, about an event that was supposed to take place in game. In short, this event was going to target people “bad RPers with other RP.”

Folks, this is just bullying other people. If you don’t like something, or someone, on a video game you ignore them. You don’t go around mocking them.

Instead of writing a passive aggressive blog post, kvetching or just letting it lie there, Anna took that post to task. As of this writing, aside from one consistent troll, she’s made a pretty positive impact on the nerd community. She took on the nastiness with a well written post that didn’t devolve into name calling, cursing or spitting. That’s how you defend people on the internets: Passionately and with grace.

His Boom Box Was Named Big Baby

From: Wanted to Trade RP, the WoW blog I contribute to. This was written by Hillary:

I’m going to post a quick story, though, that I may eventually fiction out as an in character exchange, but for the time being, our readers should enjoy the absolute asskickery that is our author Bricu. The Feathermoon folks gathered at a park mid-Seattle. There were burgers, watermelon slices, salads, soda, and all around awesome food. Mid-meal, a gentleman that later identified himself as Grizzly walked up with a boombox propped on his shoulder. It was INCREDIBLY LOUD. One of our attendees had small children about, and respectfully requested that Grizzly lower the volume to not disupt the kids. This was about the time Grizzly’s intoxicated status became evident. We’re pretty sure he wasn’t on booze, but whatever it was, he was pretty fucked up. He began to rant how the park was his domain, we should RESPECT HIM, and then he started standing on picnic tables, his boombox on his shoulder, blazing awesome-tastic radio edited hiphop. Bricu tried to talk him down, but to no avail; Grizzly would have none of it.

After about ten or fifteen minutes of rudeness and disruption with most of our attendees incredibly uncomfortable by this stranger’s presence (he was not very subtle when he scoped out the lady’s purses), we called the Seattle police. Grizzly did not like police. Grizzly was shit out of luck because we’d had enough. As his sour mood and antics escalated, so did our calls to the authorities. He knocked over a trash barrel, started punching lit grills, and then got into people’s faces trying to intimidate them. To his credit, he was successful on the intimidation account. I was one of the folks that he decided to talk shit to, and it wasn’t fun. None of us had any idea who this guy was or what he was capable of. All we knew was he was ON something and hostile.

Thirty minutes passed, then forty, and still no PD. Our calls to 911 revealed that public disruption wasn’t an emergency situation and they’d get there when they could. Well, then Grizzly hit someone. He walked up to the chillest person there, slapped him across the face for absolutely NO REASON and talked a bunch of smack. He then swung on Tarquin, the event’s organizer. Bricu stuck himself between the men, yelled at him to stop. Grizzly took a couple of swings at him, Bricu Matrixed out with a pair of dodges, and then single shot him onto the pavement with a crack to the jaw. The nerd pigpile happened at that point – Bricu sat on his back, another gentleman restrained his arms while yet another sat on his legs. Another 911 call yielded the desired results, and the PD showed up about four or five minutes later.

I think perhaps my favorite part of this whole debaucle was Zalbuu, the Wildfire Rider’s angry priest. He was the guy sitting on Grizzly’s legs as we waited for the police. While he had this dude pinned, his cell phone rang. He picked it up, and all the rest of us can hear?

“Mom, this really isn’t a good time.”

And despite all this–and my right hook–I’m not settled with this. I haven’t hit another person–excluding my brother–since the 7th grade. I do not believe in violence. I really don’t. I cannot for the life of me think of a better way to have handled this. Grizzly got upset when I moved the cherries we had laid out away from him. If we started packing all of the food, he would have gotten more upset. There were kids there when he started (thankfully, before the slap, they were taken to a car so they didn’t have to see this). We called the Police. Hell, I called the police five times.

He could have had a gun or a knife. He could have really hurt someone. I jumped in because I thought I could take a punch better than my friend. I doubt I could have handled a stabbing….

There is another problem here that I am struggling with. I feel pretty good about the punch itself. It was one punch–the pig pile had other restraints and holds involved–and that’s a pretty damn macho thing. The base, reptilian part of my brain thinks that’s really cool. I’m old enough (and mature enough) to know it isn’t. What it means is that despite all of the skills I have developed at working with people, I had to resort to a method that doesn’t sit well.

My Dad always said “You never start a fight, but you always finish one.” I finished one. I still don’t feel good about it.

Friday Fiction!

Given that it’s a piece on WoW, I put it up over on Want To Trade: RP First. It is our (meaning Falconesse, Fellsabucket and LazyJade) new WoW blog.

The last brunch ended much as the first one: No one got to try Threnn’s breakfast muffins. This was the first dish she attempted to make for the regular family brunch, an idea that Bricu suggested shortly after his “con” the Temple of Elune. At first Threnn thought he was still suffering from sleep deprivation. A week later, when he ran down the menu for the first brunch: Salmon and capers, corn griddle cakes, fresh breads (sweet and savory), coffee and tea and fresh fruit with cream, she realized how serious he was.

“All the stops are out for this, aren’t they?”

“Aye, they are. I figure since we’re at least talkin’ now, I can at least try an’ get her ta warm up ta me.”

Threnn shook her head, “My mother, lovely as she is, can outstubborn anyone. Even you.” She raised her voice ever-so slightly to keep him from interrupting her. “Love, she’s not going to change. We meet for tea, she sighs, I sigh, we both walk away before we storm off in huffs. That is as good as it is going to get.”

Bricu grinned the same wild grin he used when scheming. “We’ll see love. We’ll see.”

At that first brunch, Bricu made attempts at conversation that were easily parried by Thenia. She was not amused. Threnn watched as her husband became increasingly charming to combat her mother’s increasing polite dismissals.

“More tea, Thenia?” He said, tea pot in hand.

“No thank you.” She replied coldly.

“O’course. Padraig, Thenn?”

Threnn, and her father, assented with slight nods as they watched Thenia and Bricu spar with charm and polite indifference.

Bricu served Thenia first each time. Each plate of food was carefully executed, plated to be as visually pleasing as possible. Thenia ate small, almost ceremonial, bites of each entree. Threnn said how wonderful the fish was. Padraig raved about the pancakes. Thenia, polite as could be, countered Bricu’s charm.

“I thought it was okay. Not as good as they normally make at the Gilded Rose, but almost good enough for brunch.”

Bricu nodded solemnly. “What was wrong with it m’dear?” The hairs on the back of Threnn’s neck stood up. His tone had changed ever so slightly. It was similar to the tone he would use when talking to Tarquin about working with stubborn alliance generals. Their solutions always revolved around “disappearances” and “scandals.”

“Well.” Thenia spoke with the same tone she used when talking to a difficult silk supplier. She ticked off a finger for each point, “The corn cakes were a bit too moist, and the spices in the batter cut into the flavor of the corn. The salmon was dry and you used far too much tarragon. I think you burned the tea as well. The juice had too much pulp in it. It is what I’d expect from something in Old Town: Tarted up to hide a complete failure.”

Bricu nodded in stride. “I see. I see.” He pointed to her barely touched plate, “So bad yeh couldn’t take but one bite each?”

“I’m afraid so. It was a valiant effort but your results were rather lacking.”

Threnn redraped her napkin across her lap, then clenched her fists in anger. She knew her mother was just needling him. She didn’t need to see Bricu to know that he was chosing his words carefully. Threnn tried to calm down enough to rebuke her mother, half expecting Bricu to beat her to it. But the first voice she heard wasn’t her husband’s. It was her fathers.

“Well, I for one thought it was delicious. The corn cakes and salmon were perfectly matched, and I didn’t either runny, dry or too heavily spiced. My tea wasn’t burned nor was my juice too pulpy. By the light Bricu, where did you learn to cook like that?”

Thenia and Threnn both turned to Padraig, mouths agape. He had been quiet for most of the meal, as he was for most meals, but he went beyond simple thanks. He sided with Bricu.

“I learned through my liege, a bloke named Stonewright, an’ though the army. Yeh liked it then?” Bricu said.

“Liked it?” Padraig paused and assessed the situation. Thenia, her lips drawn in a thin line, stared dagger at him. He turned to Threnn, who stared at him in shock. He turned back to Bricu, grinning wildly.

“I loved it enough to finish what my wife didn’t.” Padraig too Thenia’s barely touched plate and continued eating.

“Padraig.” Thenia said softly, “I am quite sure that neither Threnn nor Bricu wants to watch you eat.”

“I’m not done yet” Threnn said as she grabbed more bread off the table.

“What kind o’chef would I be if I didn’t like watchin’ folk eat me food?”

“Honestly, Padraig, Threnody….”

Padraig put his fork down on the plate. “Honestly, Thenia, why would you agree to come if you were going to be a stick-in-the-mud? Mrs. Stone would have love, LOVED, to have come to brunch. She would have had a brilliant time. Me? I’m enjoying myself. Why don’t you at loosen up and try to do the same?” Padraig shoveled another forkfull of food into his mouth to avoid his wife’s withering stare.

“More tea Padraig?” Bricu asked without a hint of smugness. Padraig nodded vigorously.

Nothing

Sorry folks, I got nothing today. Absolutely nothing.

Unless, of course, I talk about this new book I’m reading.

I was told to read this The Lies of Locke Lamora by two people. I trust their taste in fiction, even if one of them has a tendency to taunt me with particularly gruesome (and depressing) scenes.

I’m about a third of the way through the book. It reminds me of a game that Will once ran. The much loved–but ill-fated–Thieves Game. Skulduggery, con men, thieves all set in a beautifully executed fantasy world. I’ve been on a con man/glib talker kick in fiction for at least five years now. I think it has become a preferred aspect of the fiction I read.

In the eighty pages I’ve read, Lynch has managed to create and describe a wonderfully detailed setting: Camorr, a rich and diverse city teaming with merchants, peasants, nobles and thieves. Our protagonist, Locke, is clever and nimble, but thus far not particular adept at fighting. He’s the trickster, not the warrior.

All in all, I’d rather be reading the book than blogging or working…which I have to get back to now.

Nerd Memories

From:
gameplaywright.net // story, games, together

Maybe I’m mashing these memories up, but I also remember I had a copy of Wraith: The Oblivion in my bag (I was the only guy who’d run it, in our group), with its rough-under-the-fingers glow-in-the-dark patch, and that I thought about what it would be like to publish my own games. To create something that would evoke and inspire stories among other groups of friends. I’d known already, since forever, that I wanted to be a writer, but White Wolf put those personal anecdotes and behind-the-scenes pages into their books that made it seem like their lives and jobs were all about bottling a vibe.

Will was the primary storyteller of our nerd group. He has planted seeds that even ten years later, still bear fruit. Go read the article.