Giving up on The Disfavored Hero

I’d heard a lot of great things about the Tomoe Gozen stories by Jessica Amanda Salmonson, so I dowloaded a sample from Amazon, started reading, was immediately hooked, and went ahead an purchased the book. This morning, with my Kindle showing me at 59% read, I decided to give up.

Honestly, the opening of the book really hooked me; I thought the writing was sublime, and I loved the initial setup of Tomoe and her band of samurai.

But then, almost immediately after the sample ended, Salmonson destroys that setup and radically changes everything. Really, the first chapter is an entire backstory that I think would more commonly just live in the author’s head, and we’d see it revealed slowly over time. The book would open showing Tomoe on the road and masterless, and whatever happened before would appear in dribs and drabs.

It just felt weird.

The book also shifts from the sort of Usagi Yojimbo ronin-on-the-road, picaresque tales to these extended dream sequences where everything is hazy and metaphoric. I was in the middle of yet another one this morning when I simply decided to give up. “Would it nag at me to not finish this book?” I asked. And the answer was: nope.

So, there you go. Back to reading RPGs, I guess.

Help me create an anti-harassment policy for Chicago Gameday

I’d really like to have such a policy in place for the gameday I manage. I realize that, since I don’t actually own the space in which we play (a local store) I don’t know that I have all that much power to enforce such a policy. However, it seems like having a policy helps to send a clear message: “If you can’t abide by these rules, or think they are unnecessary, then maybe you don’t want to attend.” Which, honestly, is fine by me.

So, any examples or boilerplate anyone can point me to? Are there special considerations I need to keep in mind given that this is a one-day event in a local store, run by just lil’ ol’ me?

Thanks in advance!

Good news for Jeff Dee and Jack Herman. Villains & Vigilantes and Justice Inc. were the two superhero games I owned for the longest time. Im glad two fantasic creators have the right to publish their game.

I give Fender credit for hitting a pretty reasonable price point for the guitar ($1799), and the amp is basically in the ballpark of their reissue and some custom stuff ($2399).

Fender is kind of like Taco Bell; a tiny handful of ingredients that keep getting re-used but with different names. The only unique feature I can see here is the contoured neck heel — something that a lot of folk think should be standard on guitars anyway. The neck radius is the same as lot of contemporary strats (like my old Clapton model), as 9.5″ seems thew smallest anyone will tolerate these days. The videos say two of the pickups are custom versions of the Fat 50, while the third is a Dimarzio FS-1, which you can get online for $50.

It’s sort of ironic, given that the Edge’s sounds is mostly in his amps and effects, and he rarely does any sort of customization; he likes guitars from the 60s and 70s, like most players. Very few of the guitars he uses are truly rare birds (and the few that are are Gibsons).

I’d be curious to see if they offer a Custom Shop version of this; I’d be more likely to seek that out than a production model, though I wouldn’t rule one out entirely.

What it boils down to is that Leo originally intended the Strat to be an affordable, easy-to-assemble guitar, and virtually every famous strat is something that rolled off the assembly line (like the normally-considered-crappy 70s starts the Edge loves); it’s the players that made them famous. Fender knows this, and so what you really pay for with these models is the artist’s signature.

A while back I shared a TED talk from Celeste Headlee, who is mentioned in this article. Once again, ion roleplaying is a conversation, it pays to practice your conversation skills (and for, like, life and stuff, too).

h/t John Stavropoulos

So I sat down and read the script, and it took forever. It was the longest thing I have ever read. It was indulgent and heavy and had no point of view and treated [the comic books] with disrespect.

Sounds familiar. 

I was brought up on Superman as a kid. There was a whole point in my life where I read Superman. So when I was finished with it, I was like, “Man, if they make this movie, they are destroying the legend of Superman.” I wanted to do it just to defend him.

Great read.

Supergirl’s “World’s Finest”

I finally got around to watching the Supergirl/Flash team-up/crossover episode, and I thought it was a hoot. Seriously, camaraderie between popular characters is so much more fun for me than discord.

That said, the episode reminded me why I like The Flash so much and why I gave up on Supergirl about four episodes in.

When Melissa Benoit and Grant Gustin are on screen, it’s pure joy. They have great chemistry, and seeing them compare notes and use their shared superhero-ness as a means to bond is just great; I feel just as giddy as they do. But when it’s anyone else, my enthusiasm wanes. I’m reminded that Benoit, and perhaps Flockhart, are the main pillars upholding the series, and everyone else is, to me, largely uninteresting.

I also have to say that I just don’t enjoy Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy as confident, professional, and hunkier-than-Supes just doesn’t really sit right with me (seriously, Brooks is probably taller and more ripped than any actor yet to play Superman). I also feel like he’s not given much to do other than be man-candy. Honestly, I think they could have merged Jimmy and Winn into a single character and not lost anything.

Which also leads me to mentioning that I think the show is overflowing with unnecessary characters. I’ve been away for a while, but it seems like pretty much everyone on the show can come and go at the DOE now? And Kara has, what, two or three sanctums?

I dunno. I feel like Supergirl is getting wrong everything that The Flash gets right: tight cast, focused locales, and interesting villains (as well as uninteresting villains which with we intentionally spend little time, unlike Silver BanshZzzzz…). 

Which is sad, because I think Benoit is a perfect fit for Supergirl, and deserves a better show built around her. I’d really like them to do some serious housecleaning for season two and re-think their approach to the series.

But, who knows, maybe I’ll give the show another chance and catch up on the episodes I’ve missed.

Oh, hot damn do I want to see Kara do a guest spot on The Flash.