I think I spent more time last week talking to other reporters about Huawei last week than I did actually reporting, but I did manage to file a story about what’s going on with Huawei and the US government. Also, WIRED published the web version of my latest contribution to the “Angry Nerd” column: a short, unhinged rant about the misery of being a Kickstarter backer. You can also find it in the latest issue of the print magazine. (I really like the graphic for this, deleting email really does feel like playing Space Invaders to me).
I came down with a cold over the long weekend, but still managed to make it out for a couple short hikes in the Columbia Gorge, and catch a couple of metal shows, which makes me more Portland than ever, I think. I also found time to finish a draft of a one-page RGP about documentary filmmakers trying to right wrongs in their community called Be the Media. OK, the file is actually three pages. The first page is a character sheet and all the rules on one page. It’s all you need. There’s also a GM reference sheet with rules and space to write notes instead of a character sheet, and a final page with credits, story seeds, and links to additional references.
Be the Media is basically a spin-off of the “cyberpunk present” game that I’ve been working on. Consider this the softest of launches. You should think of this as an “alpha” release at best. It fully embraces David Schirduan’s “jalopy design” philosophy. If there’s interest in it I’ll eventually spend some time in InDesign or Scribus or Affinity Publisher turning it into something more polished.
The next issue of the RPG zine The Dark Times will feature my investigative horror scenario “Trypophobia.” I’m told it should be out in the next week or two, but there’s no set release date yet. I’ve run “Trypophobia” with Delta Green and the free, three page version of Cthulhu Dark but you should be able to run it with the Call of Cthulhu (including the free quickstart or Unknown Armies or GURPS or whatever you like. The full version of Cthulhu Dark is really good though so you should consider that. It’s just as simple as the free version but has lots of good advice and scenarios. And it renames insanity to “insight,” which is a good thematic choice and much less problematic.
I also have another horror scenario I’m working on for the following issue of The Dark Times and edited a few articles for the forthcoming Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG zine Gongfarmer’s Almanac that should be released at GenCon in August and then elsewhere in September. I was planning to wrap up an old idea for the Legacy game jam this weekend, but I just re-read the description of the jam and realized my thing doesn’t actually fit the theme of the jam. So I dunno what I’m gonna end up doing with that or when I’ll finish it now that I don’t have any deadline.
But a bunch of gaming stuff from me should land in the next few months. I’m looking forward to having this stuff off my plate.
I don’t really have much to say about Game of Thrones other than, well, it could have been worse. I agree with what my colleague Laura Hudson wrote: “It’s a good story, really—but, as with any story, it all comes down to the telling.” And in this telling, it was difficult to believe or accept what was going on.
We’ve been watching Riverdale and enjoying it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t expecting what it is.
I’m still reading the American Comic Book Chronicles volume on the 1990s. It’s getting depressing. I’m in 1995, when Marvel went exclusive with the distribution company it bought in 1994, and DC went exclusive with Diamond, basically killing Capitol City. I remember this period, and just read about it last year in Marvel Comics: The Untold Story and knew what was coming as I read the chapters on the earlier years of the 1990s, and yet it was easy to get swept up remembering all the excitement of the early 1990s, which makes it a little painful to read about the consequences of all the industry’s greedy business practices.
We missed Eight Bells when they played during Sabertooth Fest earlier this month, but we were lucky enough to catch them opening for Spirit Adrift on Friday. But the real highlight from that show was Atriarch, who seamlessly drift from playing classic Bauhaus-ish goth rock to blackened doom, often within the same song.
And we saw Healms Alee, one of my new favorite bands, open for Earth. Helms was definitely the highlight. I love Earth, but having seen them twice now I can say that their live shows are a little boring. Helms’s music sounds even better live, so much so that I’m almost reluctant to recommend their albums now because I think a lot of people who wouldn’t like their records would actually like them live. My wife kind of has to drag me kicking and screaming to live shows, but the Helms show, along with the A Place to Bury Strangers show we went to last year, remind me of why people go through the trouble of seeing live music.
Well, I’ve given you plenty to read or listen to this week, so I’ll just leave this here. Please do let me know how you’re doing. I know I complain a lot about email, but I never get enough personal mail, as opposed to automated updates or pitches from PR people. Please put more signal in my noisy inbox!