Tag Archives: Dungeons and Dragons

Naivete strikes again and weekend plans

Greetings, readers. Mr. Naive struck again. I hate calling myself that, but late yesterday afternoon I was set to have a blind date over coffee, and the woman did not show up. We had spoken on the phone several times and I thought all systems were go. To get ready for the outing, I got a haircut, my beard and mustache removed, and even put on an extra special shirt, and rented a Zipcar because I didn’t want to be tied down to a bus schedule. I put a lot of thought and effort into this.

I sincerely hope that this unnamed person was not stringing me along. But she probably was. I’ve had several relationships in my life, and keeping my marriage aside, I’ve experienced nothing but liars and game players. I’m an old-fashioned man looking for a one-man woman who wants a one-woman man.

You should have seen how pathetic I looked all snazzed up at the restaurant with yellow rose in hand, waiting, and waiting, and waiting. After a while I gave the person a call. She said she forgot our date was that day and started in with the sorry, sorry, routine. Before we could sufficiently talk about it, she hung up. Either she wanted to laugh at me without me hearing it, or she was truly embarrassed and wanted to get off the phone.

Has this experience taught me a lesson? The answer is yes. I am no longer going to attempt to meet women on-line. I don’t really want to go to bars because I don’t drink, but I might have to give it a go. I just turned 50 and don’t exactly wish to spend 25 to 30 years alone.

As far as weekend plans go, I’ve canceled our D&D game and set it up for next weekend. When personal emotional set-backs happen to me, I need a few days to evaluate and heal. So that is exactly what I am going to do. I’m going to stay in my apartment for the most part, do some soul-searching, some character peeks and tweaks, if you will, so that I can be in top form for the upcoming work week. I’m also going to check on-line and see how many State College Spikes games there are left in this season. They are the single A affiliate for the St. Louis Cardinals. I should have been taking advantage of good cheap baseball all these years. Don’t know why I didn’t.

Sunday through Tuesday night, I’m going to be taking some notes and doing some writing on personal projects. Now that my writer’s block seems to be gone, the more I prime the pump, I think the easier it will be to write the new Bear Spring Camps stories for the book.

Next week will be a full work week with two blog entries. I hope everyone has a great weekend. As always, do take care, enjoy yourselves, and happy reading.

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A Saturday evening post…., er, blog entry

Greetings, readers. So sorry I didn’t get the entry up yesterday, but I was still a tad sick. Today I am much better. Rebecca was also on the rebound the last time we spoke, so I can only assume she’ll be back on Wednesday. This is the second time in a row that I’ve been sick a week or so before one of my performances. Better to be stuffed up and throaty now than next Friday.

On a gaming note I have two pieces of news. First, D&D gaming will resume next Saturday, which I’m looking forward to. Secondly, my one video game I purchase every year, MLB15 The Show is out. Some of the goodies are not in the PS3 version, though I’ve heard through websites that for the $20 deduction in price, it’s still a better game than last year. I’d heard that there would be more stadiums to use. Well, not in the PS3 version. I’m going to have to head on over to YouTube and watch videos to see all of the improvements. The one thing I’m not fond of is that the display [score on the screen, ball and strike count etc] is noticeably smaller this year. It’s quite hard for me to see. Guess I’ll just have to get used to it.

Until next Wednesday, stay healthy, have a great weekend and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Top ten list about being in a marriage

Last Wednesday, Joe posted a top ten list on being a bachelor and today I am following it up with a list about being married. My list is more about observations than about likes and dislikes. In no particular order, here is my list.

#10. Sharing responsibilities. My husband and I split up some chores and alternate doing others. Darren takes care of anything to do with the car, which he drives more than I do, so I don’t even think about checking the fluids or the tire pressure. I take care of getting cards and/or gifts for holidays and birthdays and he just has to sign them. Other chores, like taking out the garbage and recycling, we either do together or alternate; Darren did the vacuuming the other day when I was at work. Sometimes neither of us will be in the mood to do the dishes, so they will pile up until one of us looks at the sink and thinks, holy cow that can’t wait another minute, and then does them.

#9. Companionship. We both have someone to talk to when we get home. Darren and I share how our days went, and we have someone who cares to listen when things go wrong. There is someone to celebrate good news with.

#8. Sometimes I don’t have enough time alone in the apartment. When no one else is there, I can control everything in the environment, including the television channel, light level, if a fan is on or off, and I can follow a thought all the way to the end without being interrupted. It is nice. I do get a few hours of time alone in the living room at night since Darren goes to bed before I do and that helps a lot.

#7. Expanding horizons. I have experienced television shows, films, and books that Darren introduced me to that I would never have chosen on my own. Some are too violent for my taste and I am getting really tired of shows with dark lighting, government conspiracies, and/or dystopian world views. Some I do enjoy, like The Walking Dead and Constantine. Darren also introduced me to role-playing games, like Dungeons and Dragons, that I love playing. My life is richer because I am sharing it with someone with different tastes.

#6. Tendency to cocoon. It happens that both of us like to be home and settled in for the day by 6:00 in the evening and we are rarely out past then. This means that we don’t see a lot of other people or events that might broaden our life activities. I see almost every member of my immediate family on Sundays, and I love having that time with them, as I also enjoy my time with my mother-in-law every Tuesday. But I don’t seem to have much time to give my family outside of those days, partially because I am so content to be home half-way through my waking hours.

#5. Sharing the bed. My husband and I are pretty smug about something we started doing soon after we started living together. We each have our own blankets, so if I am cooler and want a second blanket while he is warmer and need to just have on a sheet, then we don’t have to bother the other one with our choice. I get another blanket and he takes one off. So that is good. We highly recommend it to anyone. We do have to stick to our side of the bed and that is where it gets tricky sometimes. I come to bed later than Darren and he gets up earlier than I do, and sometimes he is a little bit on my side of the bed when I come in. I just scootch in and he wakes up enough to shift over. In the mornings, I will wake up just enough to see if he is still in the bed, and then stretch out if he is out. The other morning, I rolled over half asleep thinking he was out of bed and bonked his hip with my knee. Oops. He didn’t wake up right away, but he got up shortly after that – and then I fell asleep again because that is how much I care when I am still sleepy.

#4. Keeping on schedule. Joe said today that living with someone (married) would help him stay on a schedule. I don’t usually think about that aspect, but he is right. Darren and I have our routines when we first get up, when we are ready to leave to go somewhere, when we eat, and when we go to bed; I just realized that over the years we have arranged things so that we match schedules to accommodate each other.

#3. Having a sounding board. This ties in a little with companionship. Being married means having someone listen when we are upset, ranting, or telling a story. Sometimes this means listening to the same rant about the same issue more than once over the years, and still encouraging the spouse to get it off his/her chest. There is a cartoon that one of us saw one time – I don’t know the artist or the source and I will have to paraphrase the captions- where an old couple is talking and the captions are, “We’ve had this conversation before.” “We have been married for 50 years, we’ve had every conversation before.” Darren and I quote this all the time, because even after just 10 years of marriage it is already so true.

#2. Grocery shopping together. It has worked out for the last few years that we can go to the grocery store together once a week and that is good. We usually get the same stuff week to week, but a few items are different. Darren writes up the list for us. We don’t eat every meal together and most of the time we don’t cook for each other. Darren does cook one meal a week for both of us, and every once in a while I try my hand at something. By the end of the grocery shopping, we know what the main meals are going to be for the next week.

#1. Physical closeness. This includes sex, but also casual touching outside the bedroom. When we are sitting next to each other, like when we are watching television, it won’t be long before our arms touch, or one of us puts a hand on a knee. Often when I am standing next to him, even in public, I will kiss his shoulder or we will hold hands. It is so natural for us. Contact in the bedroom is important too. Our spouse is the only one we can do sexual things with, and by now we know each other very well. We are struggling with how to keep it fresh and exciting, but it is nice to know that we are with someone we know and trust so well.

I feel very lucky to have found my partner for life. We are well matched, and that is the key to everything.

Beautiful sunny day and my weekend plans, including the Super Bowl

Greetings, readers. This is today’s blog entry take two. I’m waiting on someone’s permission to write on a sad event that happened to her and my feelings about it. I was going to write it today but then realized it was inappropriate to do so without her knowledge and consent. So here is the back up plan.

After eight plus inches of snow in a couple of days, I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to a beautiful sunny morning today. I’m always much happier when it is sunny with blue skies. This afternoon I have very little to do but I will enjoy a walk to the bank, perhaps a light snack out, and then back to the apartment. Upon getting back it will be time for Keekee’s dinner and a few chores to tidy up the apartment. Then the rest of the day is mine. I think I’ll continue to search YouTube for ambiance videos and then play some PS3 baseball.

My weekend plans are as follows. I’ll be getting back to D&D gaming on Saturday; we were snowed out last week. My character Catrana and her partner Tessara will battle the evil monsters once again. It really is a fun way to spend an afternoon.

When Sunday rolls around, I have two choices. If the weather holds, Darren has asked me to come over and watch the Super Bowl with him. Wouldn’t you know though, we are expecting another big snow storm. If that happens, I’ll watch the game in the apartment building’s community room, where friends of mine are throwing a party. There’s a slight dilemma in our building right now, no names used here, but if I attend the Super Bowl party here at home, I’m going to help clean up.

I’m going to be rooting wholeheartedly for the Seattle Seahawks. The whole Deflategate thing has me so annoyed that even though I vacation in New England and love their other sports teams, I will not root for the New England Patriots until steps are taken to straighten that franchise out. I don’t know if that means a change of coach, owner, quarterback, ball boy or all of the above, but a small fine just won’t cut it for me. My office manager told me she heard that only $2,500 would be the penalty. Unbelievable! What I am looking for is the fine of half a million dollars and loss of draft choices. If it’s true that 11 out of 12 footballs were under-inflated, in my eyes they cheated to get into the Super Bowl. Shame on them.

Readers, please feel free to chime in with your opinions in the comments. I would love to hear them. Until Friday, take care, dig out of the snow if you are in it. Be well, and happy reading.

Time seems to be going so fast

Greetings, readers. Here it is another Friday. These weeks and months go by so quickly. Seems like I just got back from camp not that long ago and yet Ryan Seacrest just dropped the ball last week. We went from summer 2014 to New Year’s Eve in one paragraph.

I’ve experienced this phenomenon for many years now. It seems the older I get, the faster time seems to go. I have no idea why that is. When I was in school, I was sometimes teased by kids, which I disliked. Also, I never found school fun, so time dragged. Now I can do basically anything I want and days and weeks fly by. I’m going to be looking up on the internet to see if a scientist has some theory on this.

Tomorrow is back to Dungeons and Dragons gaming day and I’m looking forward to that. Last week’s gaming day was called off for a variety of reasons, so I’ll enjoy getting back in to playing my character Catrana, who is a half-elf ranger, for those of you who know the game. I think I liked my other character Donaar, a dragon-born paladin, just a bit better. I really felt I knew him and his made-up family.

Last night I did a variety of gaming projects, including Madden football and the Sims 3. While doing so, since the games are easy, I thought about when is the perfect time of day to write creatively. Rebecca suggested Mondays and/or Tuesdays, which are days I usually don’t schedule much. I think she is on to something there. Instead of doing my early morning train or airplane simulator I can suck it up and say that on these days I write, and the rest of the week I can continue writing or play games. Anything to break the creative road block. Do I have the 500 page doorstop novel in me? I doubt it. But a few more short story books? Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Finally, Central Pennsylvania is in the deep freeze. According to the weather site on my computer, tonight’s low could be -1 degrees. Now that is frosty, folks. So bundle up, here’s to a great weekend, and happy reading.

Of my simulated life and my real life

Greetings, readers. Since Christmas Day, I have been on my laptop computer playing the Sims 3 Deluxe game. I’m not sure exactly why the game is so addictive, but every time I start playing it I just have to continue. One more click, one more command, just five more minutes. Next thing I know an hour has gone by.

I saw that the Sims 4 is either out already or coming out soon. As you all know, computer games of any kind strive for improvements and realism. I’m certain that Sims 4 will be no different.

Last night I created a character, an adult, and I tried to make him just like me. I added a little grey hair on his head, some grey in his black mustache and chose personality traits close to my own; including absent-mindedness. I had to laugh at how close he is to my true life personality.

My gaming habits worry me though. I seem to be losing myself in not only Dungeons and Dragons, but my three simulator games. I’m going to talk to my therapist and even heed Rebecca’s advice to volunteer somewhere, or perhaps even get a part-time job. I need to feel useful.

I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Day. I certainly did. I partook of the local church’s dinner which was quite good. In the future, however, I will pass on the sauerkraut. It was yummy but it didn’t agree with my system. My favorite was the brown sugar candied yams. I could have walked into the kitchen and dove into the pot. LOL.

Lastly, I’m having company this Sunday for tea and snacks. How English! I was going to use my Grandmother’s tea service but I don’t want to drop and break anything so we use mugs. Perhaps another time. I don’t generally entertain in my small apartment but my living room area and kitchen are clean enough to have visitors. Yay me. I am actually sticking to one of last year’s resolutions. Slow progress, but progress.

Until next week, when Rebecca and I will work a full three day week, take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

Whoo-hoot we got a book sale

Greetings, readers. I stopped over at Webster’s Bookstore and Cafe and talked to the owner about any recent sales of my books. I was happily surprised to learn that we did indeed have one sale of Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, my first blog book. I say first blog book, because a second one is in the planning stages. This news has my weekend off to a great start.

After ten straight days of cloudy weather, we are finally seeing slits of blue sky and the reflection of sunshine off some buildings. I was beginning to forget what that big, orange, glowing ball looked like. And yes, my depression was taking a hit. On the way up to work from Webster’s, I chatted with a lady in the building, and at the end of the conversation she told me what a wonderful attitude I had. So, I suppose, even if I’m a bit depressed on the outside, I must be projecting being happy on the outside.

As far as today and the weekend plans go, after our blog entry is posted, I’m going to try to dictate to Rebecca a short story for the final camp book. Either from scratch, or we will work from one that is already in a folder. Tomorrow is our usual Dungeons and Dragons day, and on Sunday I have been invited to a pre-holiday dinner. How wonderful it will be to get a complete and delicious meal. Being a depressed bachelor, my diet is not what it should be.

The holidays are coming up, as we all know, and my place is as decorated as it is going to be. I will be taking my Christmas Eve light ride, watching parades, ball games, and the Christmas Mass from Rome, and doing other traditional holiday things that I have done since childhood. For the past year or so, I’ve felt an overwhelming urge to get back to my roots and be who I was, not who I am now. I almost feel like I want to start over again – now there’s something to talk to my psychologist about.

Here’s wishing everybody a good last week of holiday preparations and shopping. I don’t bake cookies but I’m sure that there will be some delicious dessert at the holiday meal. I am getting my fill of eggnog; I love it but sometimes the spices in it don’t like me too much. Thank goodness for Prilosec.

Until Wednesday, have a great weekend, stay warm, and happy reading.

The ultimate in technology grrr day

Greetings, readers. I am dictating this blog entry while gritting my teeth. My alarm went off this morning at 6:45 and I turned on my laptop by 7:15. I was going to enjoy a morning of Train Simulator 15. Ha ha ha.

After coffee was made and I had my comfy seat arranged just the way I wanted it, I activated the game. The error message read something like: Missing start application. Right there I knew my whole morning was screwed. After fiddling with it for ten to fifteen minutes, I decided to play some music on my PS3 using Music Unlimited, go back to my laptop and uninstall said game. It shouldn’t take long to reload and I will have it running by 9:00. Ha ha ha.

By 10:15, I was still struggling to get the program to run. With no one else in the room, I actually said out loud to the computer, “Eight stories is a long way down.” Yes, readers, I talk to myself when I’m angry.

By 11:15, I had to leave the apartment to get some brunch and meet Rebecca. I shall try one more time to re-install the game this afternoon after work hours. Most of you, I’m sure, are thinking, “Well, what’s he complaining about?” But my days and weeks are very rigidly scheduled. Afternoon is writing and creation. Evening is filled with activities with friends or getting caught up with Netflix, so my mornings are slated for personal computer time. After almost four hours today with nothing but troubleshooting, I threw my hands up in the air and said, “I’ll try this again later.” As my pop would have said, “So it goes.”

While waiting for Rebecca at Panera this morning, I almost grabbed a newspaper and read my horoscope. I would have laughed if it had said stay in bed, for today is going to be a terrible day.

Okay, I’m done ranting now. For this weekend, Saturday will be my usual Dungeons and Dragons day with Rebecca and Darren, and Sunday will be filled with watching football and having someone come to help keep up the apartment. So I wish you all a good weekend, do stay warm if it is cold outside, and happy reading.

Feeling much better and ready to get back to work

Greetings, readers. I am about 95% better now. Certainly well enough to get back to our work day routine. It feels good. Although there was no way I could have worked last week, I felt guilty for doing not much of anything. With our goal to get camp book 3 out by July, any huge time off could be potentially costly. For the immediate future, Wednesdays are going to be our easiest day, with the accountant meeting, book work, and the blog. Thursdays I have earmarked for creation. And as for Fridays, another blog entry, some more creation, and our favorite end of the week treat, Order of the Stick.

For those of you who don’t know what that is, Order of the Stick is a web-comic by Rich Burlew based on the Dungeon and Dragons role-playing game. His first jokes were about the changes between two versions of the game, probably between 3rd edition and 3.5. Over time, he has developed strong story lines with his stick figure characters. The archive of his strips can be found on his site, Giant in the Playground, named for a reference in the TV show Babylon 5.

That will be our work week. As far as my weekends go, Saturdays will be D&D gaming, weather and home football crowd permitting, and Sundays I hope to watch lots of Steelers football or play Axis & Allies with Rebecca’s husband Darren.

Lastly, my brain just forgot what I was about to say here. That is oatmeal brain for you. So I will conclude this way: Have a great day, take care, happy reading. And if I remember what I was going to say, look for it on Friday.

P.S. Good movie recommendation: Unstoppable with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. Five stars.

From Rebecca: Role playing games

My husband Darren has played role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons since he was a teenager. When I started dating him twelve years ago, he introduced me to the games. At first I didn’t do so well with them, but after the initial stumble I began to do better and liked playing them. Joe joined us for gaming three years ago. There is a lot of learning to be good at gaming, but it is worth the effort. Darren and I have played with other people before, and each group dynamic is different; I have enjoyed each group experience.

Darren is our dungeon master, which means that he reads the adventures we play and sets up each week’s encounters. He gives us experience points so our characters can level up, making them stronger and better at skills. He plays the roles of the monsters we fight and the other creatures we interact with. He does a ton of work for each encounter. I tried my hand at being the DM once, and I wasn’t very good at it. Darren is good at it; he is inventive, knows the rules, and rules with a benign fist.

Joe and I are the players. We have characters with certain abilities, scores, and combat strategies that we develop as we play week after week. We just finished a 4th edition version of Dungeons and Dragons, which is published by Wizards of the Coast. Joe played Donaar, a Dragonborn Paladin and I played Shaadow, a Razorclaw Shifter Rogue, and we got our characters to 21st level. When Joe gets back from Maine, we are going to start an adventure in a game called Pathfinder, published by Paizo. Joe already chose to play a Half-Elf Ranger, but he still needs to finish making the character. I haven’t decided for sure about my character yet, though I am leaning heavily towards Half-Elf Oracle.

Both D&D and Pathfinder use the d20 system, which means we use dice of different sizes to play the game. A d20 dice has 20 sides, a d8 has 8 sides, a d6 dice has 6 sides (it is also used in a lot of games other than just role-playing) and so on. The dice are used to randomize the play in a variety of situations, like in combat, to see if we hit a monster or not, and skill checks, to see if we can jump over a creek or talk a guard into letting us past. We sometimes role-play an interaction with characters, especially if we are trying to get information from a NPC – non-player character – and asking questions, but we still have to roll the d20 to see if we succeed.

Once in a while we take a break from playing our role-playing game to do other things, like play Axis and Allies, when we are in between adventures or when life dictates it. Darren has different versions of Axis and Allies, and he loves playing it. He doesn’t get to as much as he wants, so we usually play that during breaks.

Joe will be back next week. As he would write, take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.