Sunday, July 29, 2012


I know its July but I've recently run across this neat webcomic by a Canadian lady, and this particular comic struck me as very important.  I think its one of the best Christmas stories I've read.  

I showed it to my girls so they could understand that Christmas is about doing something for others, about sacrifice and about love. I don't think they got it, but I'll link it here and maybe we'll run across it again when they are older.

I love so many of the comics that Kate Beaton has done and this one in particular shows something very well without trying to say it.  That's something to value in media.  It's not the picture that's worth the thousand words, it's interpreting something into a relevant context that increases the density of the information.

Posting this made me think more about the comic and what it said to me.  It just now made me realize that maybe the reason that Santa is such a HUGE Christmas icon isn't because of the presents or the Coca Cola commercialism.  Its really because Santa dies.  Santa is the sacrificial lamb we offer up to our childhood, and he's reborn every year when we wind up our kids with visions of sugar plums.  We don't do it because its perverse but because it's important for human development that this wonderful thing get sacrificed.  And I'm going to stop trying to say this thing now.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Go Elon

Elon Musk > Batman because he's real and doesn't totally waste all his money randomly beating up petty criminals. I don't know much about the guy's personal habits actually but really, even if Elon eats a baby every day it's still probably a huge net gain for humanity.

Also, I know a pile of dedicated folks are involved in Space X, Tesla and Solar City projects, but really the guy is Batman for getting it all moving.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fiasco is great

With only four of us available for game night this week, I thought it would be a neat thing to try Fiasco.  I figured four was a bit light for a GM driven game but should be great for cooperative play.  I picked up the book at the local shoppe earlier on this spring and it had been sitting on the shelf all this time, so I read it over the week and tried to get a feel for it prior to game night.  I got the idea, but was still hazy on some of the execution and figured I'd do a dry run through following the play example at the end of the book.  Well unfortunately my wife got her foot stepped on by a horse and we spent the evening at the hospital getting it x-rayed the night before the game. I didn't get the chance to do the walkthrough and I wasn't feeling sure I should be introducing the game.  I felt it was likely going to be a ...debacle.

Well everyone seemed open to try it anyway and it was a Fiasco.

Fiasco is a cooperative story generator.  You set up some randomized Relationships, Needs, Locations, and Objects from a thematic playset and then you use these to create characters and perform scenes in a two act play.  As you do scenes you decide to either create the scene or resolve it which is an interesting mechanic.

Great game.  We tried out a superhero playset and got off to a bit of a rocky start.  From my reading of the setup I thought that each player needed two Relationships and we ran out of dice before finishing.  I found the written rules about how you would end up with two index cards a bit confusing and it was a bit of conjecture that there should be only one Relationship each and finally seeing the picture a few pages later solved that.  Its also true that the first scene is hard.  We had a bit of trouble figuring out narrative control and scene resolution.  I also think we probably fleshed things out too much but it started working better the more we played and we had a good time.  The game was fun to play and the story that came out of it was surprisingly fun and complete.  I'll totally play Fiasco again.