Monthly Archives: July 2016

Introvert Tightrope Tango

I am an introvert who easily gets lonely and depressed.
(And by “Gets Depressed” I mean has fairly dark bouts of normal depression. My clinical depression is a separate issue, which only therapy and potentially chemicals can help. That’s not what I am talking about here).
Those two traits often work against each other. Being with a group cheers me up but being around people, even a group of friends, takes a lot of energy from me. Being alone gives me energy… which I then sometimes spend on being lonely and depressed.
This is a complex tightrope for me to walk.
Now there are people who take much, much less energy for me to be around. A rare few even maybe that take no energy, if they are the only folks around. My wife Lj is one, as is RGG partner and dear friend Stan!. Some of my best friends in Norman are the same way — one reason leaving was so hard.
The AFK E&E managed to not take energy from me most nights, which is why losing it was such a blow for me.
SO, to manage my balance of introversion and depression, I need to socialize, but I need to do it carefully.
Last night I managed to spend some after-work time having drinks with some smart and awesome people. That certainly took energy, but it was also some high-end socializing. The energy was very well-spent, and I hope to find ways to do Drinks with Smart People more often, as a high-end option for trading energy for social experiences, and to get to know people better.
Today I’m going to go spend time with some people I theoretically don’t know as well as my Norman friends or Stan!… but who have been very caring and good to me. And who, somehow, seem to give me energy rather than take it. That’s an amazing quality in a friend, and I can only chalk it up to how spectacularly good people they all are.
That’s a good weekend for me. I may need to become a hermit Sunday, but I’ll be a happy hermit.

I Love Games

I love games.
I love to play a lot of SPECIFIC games and types of games, but that isn’t even what I mean here.
I mean I love the idea of games. The existence of them. Their ability to bring people together, to bend minds to fun rather than fear, to be a venue for learning and exploration and fellowship.
As a result, I love games other people love, even if I do not enjoy playing them.
Pokemon GO doesn’t sound like my thing, but I am thrilled as heck so many people are enjoying it.
The same is true of rugby. And GURPS. And Monopoly.
I’m glad there are games I don’t want to play, because that means there are a broad range of games that can appeal to a broad and diverse group of people.

A Friend I Shall Miss

I am devastated by the loss of Steve Russell. He was too kind, too smart, and too important for me to accept he is gone, but he is. I still don’t know how I’ll process that, and I can’t imagine what his close friends and family are going through. My heart goes out to them all.

It’s easy to say “Steve Russell was my friend, and I’ll miss him.” Well, maybe not *easy* — my voice catches if I try to say it because of the weight of WHY I am saying it – but it’s simple. It’s telling, not showing.

It’s too little for what he meant to me.

Steve and I got to know each other online, as we struggled with freelance careers and later launching publishing companies. Early on we realized that we had few peers we knew, and that we both missed having a “water cooler” to stand around and debate the issues of our industry.

Also, we were often both awake at 3am, and online.

At one point we’d talked a few times a week so often, he suggested we just record our conversations and invite guests. That is how the Demiplane of Gaming was born, and I am proud of the work we did with that. He thought it would increase both our visibility within the industry, and I am sure he’s right. When I moved to Seattle a combination of factors prevented us from being able to maintain it. I always though we’d pick it up again someday, but now I know someday won’t come.

Those talks became the basis for an amazing relationship, unlike any other I have had. Steve was a colleague and confidant, and because we mostly communicated online he was always “around.” I have only been in the same room with Steve a handful of times in my life. I am eternally thankful that those times included having him play a game with us at our house, as he travelled through a few years ago, and staying with us for a night. Somehow knowing I was able to share true hospitality with him makes me glad, even if it’s a terribly bittersweet feeling right now.

Steve celebrated my every success, commiserated by every trial and loss, and yet was still honest with me about my every mistake. He helped me through difficult times as my wife and I cared for my mother-in-law, nursed me through terrible disappointments of missed career opportunities and failed goals, and encouraged me when I was ready to give up.

If you have enjoyed any game product I have done since 2007, Steve is in part to thank.

He also trusted me with many of his troubles and anguishes, and I was honored that he did so. He joked that I talked him off a ledge  a few times when he wanted to vent publically, but decided having me listen to how dumb other people were was good enough. And when I needed to rant, he always had a ready ear.

Steve became a dependable constant in my life. Someone who advised without judging, helped without belittling, and made me a better person. I can’t imagine what my life would be if he hadn’t been in it.

Steve Russell was my friend, and I’ll miss him.

Details Matter

No one fears the Nostril of Sauron
(“Can you Smell what the Dark Lord is Cooking?”)

The Runeblade WeatherChanger doesn’t inspire fear
(“Cloudy with a 50% Chance of Losing Your Soul”)

It’s hard to get worked up about the prophecy of The Boy Whose Parents Died Saving Him And That Worked Because His Main Foe Never Spent Much Time Actually Studying in Wizard School.
(“The Death-Hazing-Club is on double secret probation.”)

No one listens to Tales of High Adventure about Conan the Unaware of Table Etiquette
(“When eating a bowl of gruel, use the small spoon, not your entire head.”)