Game night is back

Ohh, boy, that was a lot of work.

My eyes probably look like this after squinting at miniatures all week.

My eyes probably look like this after squinting at miniatures all week.

I had to delay the start of game nights due to this horrible cold that has had me coughing for three weeks now, but we finally had our inaugural game night of Season 2: Only The Good Die Young.

To get there required hours upon hours of prep work on my part. First I had to find a suitable storyline and get that modified to work with 5e. Then I had to do remodels and paint jobs on the miniatures– a LOT of work went into that. The minis didn’t come out too badly considering it was my first time painting minis, ever, but hours. Hours and hours. Layers and layers of paint. Correcting mistakes. Trying to mix paints. yeowch

Anyway, after that was done, I had to make up character sheets. My printer died, however, so I ended up writing out character sheets on 4×6 index cards, in multicolored Sharpie. Ten character sheets, by hand? A real pain in the arm. Most of the info came with the auto-calculations that the page made (thanks to Dungeon Master Assistance for the great sheets. Wish my printer had just allowed me to print them!) Some of the stuff, though, had to be added in by hand, with me poring over the Player’s Guide for the stats on weapons and weights and weird little things like that. So that took a few hours.

Then there was all the map drawing. We’re adventuring into the Undermountain, and even the entry level is huge. Couldn’t draw it precisely to scale, since my map is only 32×46, but I got it pretty close. The Adorable Baby wanted to help and screamed bloody murder whenever we forced him to stop drawing all over my map in purple, but after another hour or two of baby-wrangling, the map was finally done.

And after all that, there was the music to select (thanks to Tabletop Audio for the atmospheric music and backgrounds.) The house to straighten up. My daughter decorated a cookie cake for us with a lovely beholder. Okay, it was scary looking, but cool. That’s it, up above.

And, last but CERTAINLY not least, I had to get into suitable clothes and makeup for dungeonmastering. I can’t cheerfully kill people without my eyeliner and mascara and perfume. It just gets me in the mood.

And the game went pretty well. A few disruptions from the Tank, who really didn’t want to play this season but DID require more snacks than were provided. The storyline included the characters being “roofied” and kidnapped, so there was some grumbling, in character and out, about the hijacking. They did well, though. They played in character much better than last season, anyway, even if they didn’t notice my nice little touches (like the goblin that escaped them later ending up as a snack for a daunting otyugh. Luckily, they were smart enough to turn around and run when they saw the otyugh.

I’m encouraged. But super tired. It’s a lot of prep work to run a good campaign and the players basically never see it. Which isn’t the point– you want them to have fun, not feel guilty. But, boy, sometimes I wish I could have gotten them into an easier hobby! But nothing’s quite as fun as improv theater at home with random dice to make things interesting.

Everybody wants a water buffalo

Some are fast and some are slow.

Yeah, my brain is not functional today. Call it a couple hours spent in the dentist’s office with Miss Autism and the Adorable Baby. I didn’t have anyone to help me tag-team them, so they tag-teamed me instead.

Something about books, hmm.

Did I mention that the baby likes “Pat the Bunny”?

Yeah, I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction.

I’m starting to wonder why I waste my time reading solid 2 and 3 star books when there are so many 5 star books out there that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet.

This is an important question.

What I’m Watching, early September

Okay, going to be totally honest here. So far, in September, I have watched several episodes of “Octonauts”, “Sophia the First”, and “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West.”

Yeahhhh, that wasn’t what I planned on watching, either.

I began watching an interesting documentary about the fashion industry and the evils it’s guilty of (which are numerous) but one of the main people they were interviewing was TERRIBLE in front of a camera. I’m sure it wasn’t her fault, bless her, but it was horribly distracting to watch her blink and grimace and look away from the camera and twitch. So I only made it about halfway through– but it’s worth the watch, just for the knowledge of how “fast fashion” is ruining our economies and our environment. It’s called “The True Cost.”

Other than that, I have watched nothing. It’s pretty depressing.

But, I have hope. I really want to finish watching the Top 100 movies and this is MY YEAR to do it, darn it. I just have to rope someone into watching them with me. Netflix only has a couple of them on, but I am resourceful. I’m sure I can find them all with a little luck and some Youtube.

I’ll find the list of the ones I still need to see . . . hmm . . . hold on . . .

Here it is, the top 100 movies from the AFI that I have not yet seen (or saw so long ago that they don’t count. Like when I was 6 or something.)

On the Waterfront

It’s a Wonderful Life

2001: A Space Oddessy

The Maltese Falcon

Raging Bull

Dr. Strangelove

Bonnie & Clyde

Mr. Smith goes to Washington

Annie Hall

Midnight Cowboy

Doctor Zhivago-

King Kong (1933)

The Birth of a Nation

A Clockwork Orange

Taxi Driver

The Philadelphia Story

All Quiet on the Western Front



The Manchurian Candidate

An American in Paris


The French Connection

Wuthering Heights (1939)

The Gold Rush


Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)


A Place in the sun


Sullivan’s Travels

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

All the President’s Men

A Night at the Opera

12 Angry Men

Swing Time

Sophie’s Choice

Blade Runner

Lots of stuff there that’s supposed to be really good. So I need to get cracking. 🙂

So, life.

The thing about social media that really keeps me from “succeeding” at it (besides my naturally dour temperament) is that I am generally only interested in blogging and Facebook and Twitter and such when I am NOT writing or creating any unique fiction in my head.

So, when my brain finally kicks into creative mode and story ideas start seeping out of my dreams and onto a page, my blogging gets shot all to hell. I unfriend or block a lot of people on Facebook. And Twitter, hah, that useless orgy of “pay attention to me! I am clever! Look, I can make a saucy tweet!” . . . I just drop that like a hot potato.

Which is good news for my creative mind– it frees me from worrying about creating new content for my blog, from keeping up with whatever memes are making the rounds, and from wasting time trying to “keep up” with social media, something I highly doubt is possible without a cadre of personal assistants, anyway. The creative mind really doesn’t function on a social level– it’s as one-track-mind as a coonhound on a scent. All it can think about is chasing the trail of the tale, so to speak.

I’ve been reading a book this week about how the mind functions (it’s called “The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload”) and I’ve taken a few hints out of it– I’ve started organizing my thoughts on index cards, started making an effort to put things in the exact same place every time (like my perpetually lost keys), and generally have been trying to be more mindful of what I ask of my poor overloaded brain cells. I’ve decided NOT to give up on blogging, mostly because I hate having yet another failed blog drifting around on the archived vaults of some huge server somewhere. And also because I like to have a sort of record around, documenting how things were going at a certain point in time.

Connecting, socializing, the neverending tail-chasing of trying to get more likes and friends and followers and schmoozing and getting other authors to link to you to create “synergy” and “buzz” . .  well, not so much. Not at all, really. I have given up on that aspect of my writing life. If I write something and it sells to a publisher and I absolutely must do those things, I will force myself to. In the meantime, I’ll link to what I like and to whom I please, without worrying about the possibility that it may or may not increase my “buzz.”

Okay, so what does this all mean? It means I’ll be organizing my posts by days– Mondays will be “What I’m watching”, Wednesdays will be “What I’m reading”, and Fridays will be “Adventures in Homeschooling and Gaming.” That makes it simpler on me and also keeps up with the general “goal” of the blog.

I can tell you right now that this week’s adventures in homeschooling will be a big fat nothing, as I have a dreadful cold and can barely breathe. Our D&D game was supposed to start this week but a dungeonmaster SHOULD be able to speak and I can barely croak out a word or two right now, so that’s going to have to be cancelled. The kids are basically running around like little savages, playing Minecraft and drinking soda pop because I am way too breathless and exhausted to chase them.

But, life goes on. Maybe now it will go on with a little more organization. Which should free me to do what I really want to be doing, which is working on the short story that’s cluttering my imagination and then moving on to the novel that is waiting to be unfurled. . . . I love it when my mind actually WORKS for once and doesn’t just leave me adrift without ideas. Have to make hay while the sun shines, as they say.