kneeshooter: (blind)
In response to some of the discussions following Odyssey, which wasn't my favourite event ever but I'm getting over that now.


My name is Simon, and I am a nerd.

When I was at school I was overly intellectual - I wore glasses, I did well in exams and I hated sport. I remember vividly enjoying cricket because I could sit and read a book in the outfield, and when playing rugby was never quite fast enough to catch the person I was chasing and have to tackle them into the mud.

Formative experiences like these stay with you for years, so when designing Odyssey one of the early decisions was to look, wherever possible, for areas of the game where the 'fat kid' (as I referred to myself from those memories) wasn't left out. The most obvious examples of this are the arena and quests. In both these cases more champions are useful - it's not about choosing between one champion or another, or picking the best team - everyone gets a fight or a quest so the more 'fat kids' you involve the better it is for your nation.

This means that inclusion is built in from the foundations. It's about producing a game where people are encouraged to bring their friends and make them feel welcome, where the social side of the game sits alongside combat, puzzles, gods and politics.

Inclusion means characters and players. Character inclusion is more straightforward - they are created to serve a purpose and the choices in character creation are clear signals to the game organisers and other players where the players would like to spend their time. Inclusion of players can be more complicated. Superficially it is simple - events are public access and as such anyone can attend; but my problems start when one player's behaviour makes another feel excluded. This might be because they are fat or thin, bald or hirsute, straight or gay, male or female, tall or short - all manner of reasons. But whatever the issue about the player that can be mocked - and whether it is meant in jest or all seriousness, this kind of behaviour is unacceptable in our game.

There are plenty of ways to insult peoples characters rather than their players; to enjoy roleplaying without it being offensive roleplaying; to keep it fun.

We tried to build a game where everyone who wanted to be in could be, whether they were the lead batsman or the outfield bookworm, so behaviour that makes any player feel otherwise is not welcome.
kneeshooter: (serenity)
Just two more sets of photos to pimp, but in the meantime I'm going to take advantage of the fact that I'm not in work to do a bit of an update.

Firstly thanks to all for kind birthday messages. I feel very much of the age where a birthday becomes less of an event, so that people sent best wishes and came out last night to watch me fall asleep in my curry was appreciated. I get the impression from now until about 65 it's the wilderness years of increasing bitterness about lost youth and other opportunities.

The weekend itself was spent in a muddy field. Sometimes this is just shorthand for "LRP" but in this case it's true. Though "cold muddy field" would be more accurate. The advantage of modern/sci-fi LRP is that wearing layer upon layer of technical ski thermal is not only permissible, but advised. At least (with a nod to a Labyrinthe experience) the "cold moon" was represented by a "cold campsite" and very little imagination was required.

The game itself had a slow start for us, but Saturday picked up and there were lots of bits and pieces to play around with to keep us busy (or not). My fear of dancing kept me (literally) in the cold for brief periods but at least my reputation survived. Do spare a thought for poor [ profile] bacony though who had to drink two bottles of port on her own, then was literally rained out of bed by a hole in the tent. One new crew member recruited and if the MIA ever do return it's going to be very cosy onboard.

After the game were brief moments of "Oh, I recognise your shape - you normally wear a big pointy mask" and "You made me a cake - and I have only just realised". Unfortunately these were in the car on the way home so I must try and be more observant in the future to avoid appearing rude. Thankfully being in an observant mood by this point meant that I was able to survive the driving snow and rain.

Sheffield tonight is off, which saves me some driving - so more chance to attempt to absorb my OU course by staring at the covers. I must take some more photographs (concluded over curry) but at least it's nearly time for skiing. At which point I'll disappear from LJ again but suspect few of you will notice!!!

Oh yes, photos under the cut from (other) LRP.

Read more... )
kneeshooter: (blind)
Of all the things I've done in the last couple of weeks one thing I've not done is update LJ. This isn't really the slow yet inevitable parting of intimate friends, if not lovers; rather it's a reflection of how I'm having enough trouble reading that I'm not writing.

So what this means for you is that you'll continue to get major spamblasts of everything I can remember approximately once every two weeks. At least for now...

Looking back it's not actually been as long as I'd thought since I updated, despite the last one being rather self-indulgent and not at all interesting. Two weekends have (to be honest) passed since a proper update. I've downloaded a lot of Movies and TV, I've been to the cinema, I've played some LRP and I've had one of my eyes turn from white to red. And not this time in the name of anyone's grand design.

Movies wise, my crib sheet tells me I've watched the following:Read more... )

Then, in the middle of it all, there was LRP. Maelstrom was good. At least, in the sense that the event went well, the people were pretty much without exception lovely. I could gush further but then the accusations of bodysnatching would start afresh. There are some photos - I really will do a photo post soon. They're not particularly impressive but are focussed on "giving people what they want" as much as "taking the shots I want".

And then finally there is work. It's not bad. Progress is being made. But it's slow. And I'm getting distracted. But I expect renewed vigour and desires to make things happen next week. I just have to survive the weekend first.

I'm sure I had something more interesting to say. Perhaps I did two hours ago when I started writing this. Maybe it was eulogising over Lightroom. Maybe it was enthusing about more LRP to come. Maybe it was about skiing. Maybe I just want to go to bed...
kneeshooter: (Default)
This week has been one of endings – though not of life, pets, hobbies, computers or even phones; but of television. The end of Rome (forever) and BSG (series 3) leave a hole in my viewing schedule that is unlikely to be filled by Lost (getting a bit rubbish) but may be by Heroes (which has taken 6 weeks off while they celebrate having a whole series and desperately try and write some more story).

Rome seemed to go out with a little bit of a whimper – mainly due to my knowledge that it is not going to get another series. That’s a shame because although it’s a bit odd in places and Series 2 has not been as exciting as Series 1 (we’d seen it all before tbh, and even the abundance of orgies didn’t excite) – it was worth watching.. If for not other reason than it reminded me about Odyssey.

BSG was an odd beast. Old friends returned as expected and the missing Cylons appeared to (maybe but lets not get carried away) be uncovered. The court scenes were tremendous though – brilliantly done and worth watching for the “let’s catalogue the plot holes in the series to date and use them rather than do like every other TV show would and ignore them” speech. I wasn’t sure about the end of the last series and that turned into something very powerful, so I suppose I should have faith.

Perhaps one of the reasons I don’t is last weekend. A visit to Preston coincided with Matt crewing Vikings so I packed a shirt, some woollen trousers and a couple of stabbing implements and went with him. On paper it sounded reasonably fun – a chance for some relatively relaxed roleplaying (try saying that when you’re drunk). However despite some highlights it suffered for reasons both in and out of the organisers control and basically overall didn't impress me. I like to think it wasn’t just because my shoulders aren’t used to chain mail for extended periods. Mind you, elsewhere people are raving about it, so perhaps my “good” and other people’s “good” is a completely different thing and I should stop moaning.

Of course it’s likely I’ll never get invited back there now, after having committed the cardinal sin of criticism.

One surprising discovery, visible from the motorway, was the 52nd Mormon Temple near Chorley. It’s a very impressive building – a classical cathedral style, simplified, that looks like it’s made of concrete. I’d love to get a closer look but you need a letter from your bishop to do so and I’m not sure I know any who are the “right kind”.

Today I’m in London, enjoying the benefits of a little laptop with decent battery life. Except I can only see out of one eye due to a dodgy contact lens so focussing is especially tough. To add insult to injury I didn’t get any Brown Sauce with my veggie sausage sandwich earlier and this evening’s train is “old-style” so might not even have any catering. I was down for a sustainability conference. My organisation now has an active policy in this area which should allow me to claim carbon footprint reasons for working from home… in my dreams at least.

This evening I will post this journal entry and share some pictures, before doing a bit of freelance work. What a life eh!

Next financial year I hope to spend £5k on a new laptop and camera. It will both make me a better photographer and allow me to carry two phones and two laptops around with me. I will then write long epic livejournal entries on the train and maintain a pretty reasonable policy of not abusing work’s laptop too much. Now all I have to do is find the £5k before claiming some of it back from the taxman.

Which reminds me, I’ve just been playing with Adobe Lightroom and I like it. I possibly even like it enough to buy it. It runs, does what I want and while it isn’t as good a UI as Potatoshop it is pretty much there.

And I’ve booked some more skiing. Dark City be damned.


Dec. 1st, 2006 02:06 pm
kneeshooter: (blind)
"Ask me any question (or more than one if you want) of or about one ofmy characters (be they tabletop, LRP, past or present) and I will reply honestly - I of course reserve the right to reply with "Find Out In Game" if it's a question about a current character."

I can imagine this will confuse perhaps 40% of my friends list at least...


Sep. 14th, 2006 07:22 am
kneeshooter: (camera)
I really must do these earlier than Thursday each week. Anyway, I went to an LRP event, shared a room with a re-enactment of the geological history of California and took some photos.

Politics threatened to rear its ugly head but I managed to stay disinterested, overconfident and didn't beat anyone to death. I was hardly even rude...

Some photos under the cut, though the competition is hotting up...

Full set at

Photos )
kneeshooter: (tapir)
After being part of a conversation at the weekend I had a browse of the Heroquest site. Apparently some players have worked up 3000 hours of play since the club began. However, they still can't make LRP look good on video.

Work safe, but you wouldn't want to have to explain it to colleagues...
kneeshooter: (Default)
This last week has been a veritable musical adventure - from installation to emo via ebm and noize. Oh yes - and some snuffling - but that's not very musical at all.

Neither [ profile] kantti or I knew quite what to expect from the Laibach premiere/exhibition last Friday. but we set off with an open mind and vague incredulity that such a thing could happen in sunny Birmingham when the rest of the world was an option. It was interesting enough though the art installation is quite small - it was an intriguing hour of industrial noise. By that I mean Neubauten-style "proper" noise, not "noize" that makes your ears bleed and I didn't even need my earplugs. In matters of art I tend to trust my nose - I tend to sneeze when exposed to pretentious artw*nk. Friday I did sneeze, but not a lot and I did have a cold. So the jury is still out.

After the Laibach install there was a bit of drum'n'bass and appearances by [ profile] smittumi and [ profile] philoko. The first act was four drummers and 2 bassists as far as I could see. The first 5 minutes were ok, but they actually seemed to play identical repeating cycles of the same "music" for about 45 minutes by which time I was bored enough. We hung around a bit to watch photographers try and make any sense of it, then gave up and went home to sneeze.

Saturday night was Kryogenix in Nottingham which was ok, but a underattended and the sound was pretty terrible. [ profile] skinfitz did an admirable job attempting to wiggle some cables into co-operating (as far as I could tell) but with only limited success. Still, [ profile] berrega seemed to have his chin up.

Sunday was a lazy day, Chinese food and then as I settled down with my backlog - my PC crashed. I spent much of the week trying to recover from this which wasn't helped by the fact I've lost my XP Professional CD and my XP Home CD seems to have been crushed in its box and is now in a number of pieces.

The rest of the week has been some badminton, some mixed music at the Barfly on Wednesday and a functional if unexciting curry last night for [ profile] stelmaria_clg's birthday and I seem to have been persuaded by a charity call to start a direct debit to Sustrans. The Barfly extravaganza, Gym Class Heroes + Fleeing From Finales + The Mid-L-Men was, in order, "Not bad, but seen it done better", "Like a college band with a record deal" and "Oh dear. Even if you do sing about the Lickey Hills you are not black and cannot rap".

Still, exposure to new things is important right? Photos soon no doubt.

Some final work to do then off to Maelstrom which may be interesting.

Oh, if anyone is interested - my ebay purchases turned up. But being worried about fraud I noticed that the serial numbers on both cards and both CD software registration details were identical so I phoned the manufacturer's technical support. They confirmed they are counterfeit goods - so now I get to explore the delights of the PayPal and ebay dispute resolution systems. More soon no doubt...


Aug. 19th, 2006 03:15 pm
kneeshooter: (Default)
I've just spent some time going through old paperwork at the parental units. Some quite memorable items have gone in the bin - like printouts from Tony Blews' old net.gathering site and lots of letters from [ profile] purplewizard. I've put a huge amount of old Games Workshop magazines and some games in the "to be recycled" pile (though have kept some others for possible eBaying); found lots of stuff on old LRP games; thrown away Traveller, AD&D and WHFRP materials; chucked A-Level Papers, PGCE projects and paperwork for an MSc I couldn't afford; discarded an entire card Warhammer Townscape and found some old photographs where I look very young and much, much thinner.

I'm getting old. It was inevitable, so why does it come as a surprise?
kneeshooter: (Default)
While the rest of the world seems to have rediscovered Maelstrom, the rats have made their opinion clear. The clever little buggers have eaten most of a Maelstrom t-shirt that I foolishly left drying near their cage. It's now rather more suitable for summer wear due to the number of holes in it.

[ profile] quondam will be amused no doubt.


Jun. 13th, 2006 07:47 am
kneeshooter: (camera)
Mainly I sweated and destroyed my goth anti-tan through being out in the daylight too much.

It was, for those of you who understand these things, another Maelstrom event. This one and the one before it have been especially nice being 25 minutes from my own bed, which can't be bad. As it was thoiugh while a lot of the backroom stuff (I could tell you, but...) went very well I was less than happy with much of my photography. This isn't a fish for compliments btw.

I went, I snapped, I chatted, I made things happen. I got too hot, I helped pack a truck, I gained more respect for some people and lost respect for others. Usual story really.

I worry sometimes I can't talk about anything other than photography, I worry that I'm a bit crap sometimes and I worry I'm a dull one-trick pony. There was a letter in this weeks Amateur Pornographer which said (to paraphrase) "Just because someone has once taken good photographs doesn't mean that they should be above criticism". Wise words. Not a problem I'll have while there are still booze and [ profile] nyarbaggytep and the world, fortunately.

Now, the decision is to go to a dull user forum, or do some work. I'm strangely tempted for the latter considering how dull it was yesterday afternoon; and how there are other things occupying my mind that I shouldn't pander to - but am ultimately weak.

The full set of photos are at and behind the cut are some I like.

Read more... )
kneeshooter: (Default)
When I was a student you could pretty much guarantee that ever weekend I'd be playing LRP linears; every day I'd be socialising at the university Student's Union and every evening I'd be eating junk food and chewing the fat with the same people. Eventually my LRP drifted into other places and my enthusiasm for badly written, badly costumed cross country pantomime ran low.

So, perhaps ten years on I surprise myself with a small but growing amount of enthusiasm to spend one of my few free weekends, rather than processing photographs, running around the woods in search of my youth. I promised myself that I'd go if it was sunny and probably leave it if it was raining. Of course, it was sunny when I left the house and tipping down with rain by the time I got to the Lickey Hills.

Change is a funny thing and I was most intrigued looking around at the others who turned up and performing mental comparisons about how our lives have gone. Most of us were less fit, most of us had less hair but most importantly I think we'd pretty much all grown up. What was once a hobby based on bitching and infighting was now a lot more relaxed and instead about "some people" having "some fun". This was a double-edged change. It meant there was a lot less passion for me as I didn't "care" particularly about the experience as a whole; but on the other hand it meant that I took it all in my stride and saved my blood pressure a few points.

There's no doubting I can blame me going on NWO - I was left with a cancer of enthusiasm growing at the core of my being. Trap was simply the most convinient way of dealing with it. My expectations were pretty low but it was better than I feared - so I can't complain. Still the next time I LRP for all I'd prefer a better looking game, a more engaging game and just a bit more substance - I can't fault the good-nature and heart.

Now, what else haven't I done for 10 years...

Kudos to [ profile] rinkyandmerlin for cat-herding.
kneeshooter: (grass)
I suspect that title would have been better as an optimistic subtitle for the last post.

The weekend was of course NWO. I had a great time. The writers are jolly fine and I appreciate the efforts of everyone else to NPC for me (as the centre of the world). I'm now going to muse on it and may sound ungrateful (for no other reason than the aura of sarcasm mentioned below) - that is not my intention.Enter at your own risk... )
kneeshooter: (Default)
... is off.

Many thanks to those who helped me bounce my thinking over the weekend, but in the end my sheer capitalist greed prevented me from taking a significant paycut for a job with less leave and pretty much zero flexibility...

It was still very tempting, but it made me realise that I actually do value the ability to work evenings and weekends in exchange for time to go to music festivals and photo shoots.

I'm sure something else happened at the weekend, but more on that later no doubt.

I have a renewed enthusiasm for "something-LRP". I'm finding this quite strange - but I know it won't be pretty and won't involve camping.
kneeshooter: (Default)
It seems like an age has passed since I updated here. I'm sure it's less than that - but going away a couple of times gives the impression of large gaps in the reality-that-is-my-LJ. I suppose I'd better get started before I lose more readers.

This spring I have managed to fill pretty much every weekend with something to do. This is mostly a good thing, but does mean that pausing for breath has become a luxury rather than commonplace.

Anyway, I've done some LRP, planned for more LRP, been to the sea, been to France and been to London. I've applied for some jobs, I've taken some photos and I've wondered how to get to London for 9am on Sunday morning.

So, LRP. My enthusiasm goes up and down faster than a tarts knickers, but is probably cheaper. Maelstrom was a jolly jape in some respects but there were some ugly management issues, a sprinkling of ugly politics and I wasn't terribly happy with my photos. Hmm, reading that I'm not sure how I can say it was jolly at all. Oh well. Some photos will follow - you know you want to look...

The next one is in a couple of weeks and I'm determined to get more out of it. In fact, determination seems to underline my mood at the moment.

In the meantime there is NWO. Worship at the twin idols of [ profile] pax_draconis and [ profile] immerwahr has begun and the highlighter pen has been out. It continues to be terrifying and exciting in equal measures. I hope not to take a single picture all weekend, but you never know quite how it will go.

The Ski season is over. It lasted longer than it normally does, thanks to an awesomely extravagant trip to Tignes that worked out at something like £200 per day on the slope. If I'd have done the sums before I went... I'd have probably done the same thing. The most interesting discovery from the weekend was introspection on my nature. When I wasn't getting a lot out of the first day I had two choices - be a wallflower or say something. I've always liked to think I would do the latter, but in all honesty that's not true. However after some soul searching and rehearsal I let my mouth run away with itself - and got pretty much exactly what I wanted.

No sniggering at the back

Somewhere was the weekend that was Whitby. I wasn't especially keen to go just before, but after making an arrangement with [ profile] kantti I got in the car and drove up. However, after an initially rather dull evening with a book, I relaxed and had a most pleasant holiday. I tried to enjoy myself, I tried to spend time with my friends, I tried to make new ones - to a pretty resaonable success. The only problem now is finding the time to do the photos.

It's in danger of becoming a habit, so I shall be careful in October, but that's months away.

The job situation continues to be an irritant. I have employment until the end of June but really need something better. I've applied for jobs in Coventry, London and Amsterdam; with varying levels of pay compared to my current salary. Where it stops - nobody knows...

Now the trivia, to remind myself of things I might forget.

"Dear Simon, indulge your passions more and don't forget to do some writing. The ideas are bubbling".
"Dear Simon, avoid romantic comedies. Tristan + Isolde: Ultimately hollow dribble that shows perfectly well that pretty costumes can't compensate for characters without substance that you can't care about no matter how much you try."

The weekend is coming soon, there is probably FNGS on Friday, something on Saturday and possibly London on Sunday. Original plans have been rather compromised so it's the state of blissful anarchy again.

Anyone still there? Hello?
kneeshooter: (Default)
Last weekend was LRP-related oddness near Bromsgrove, following a very interesting night in town with someone who looked and sounded a bit like [ profile] pax_draconis. Tonight I'm off to Whitby, back on Monday; then off to France on Thursday.

It's all go here! Speaking of which... I should be doing something else right now...


Dec. 17th, 2005 10:19 am
kneeshooter: (rhona)
Oh the excitement!

Yesterday I spent about 45 minutes in the vet waiting to collect a small rat after her op. This is not normally noteworthy except for some of the other animals, sorry children, in the waiting room and the air of optimism that was in the surgery.

When I arrived it was like walking into a warzone as I had to fight my way to the counter past a horde of identikit brats. There were three or four, I can't quite remember but they were loud, obnoxious, had the kind of haircuts designed to mean minimum time in the barber and give the lice nowhere to hide. They clearly all wanted to be in the consulting room with their no doubt traumatised cat, but the vet was having none of it and was barking instructions to them to get out before she called the police (or something of that nature). This meant they had to amuse themselves in the waiting room. I held my head in my hands, covered my mouth and hoped they all caught something nasty off the other child in the waiting room who was coughing every couple of minutes and clearly couldn't be bothered to even pretend to put his hand over his mouth.

I blame the parents.

The other story is slightly more light hearted - Echo Rat has had two big lumps off, and when I was collecting her the vet suggested a little collar to stop her biting the stitches. "Why the hell not - let's try!" I thought in a moment of clear insanity. Then I waited. I heard commotion. I heard calls for "Staplers!" and then eventually get delivered a sheepish looking rat who is kicking this little collar around the bottom of her cage.

"We tried" said the nurse.

The worst thing? They billed me 58p for it.

In other news, congratulations to [ profile] barrettyman on his nuptuals (I forgot to mention the boys-LAN-gaming-smelly-stag-do a couple of weeks ago) and a final message to [ profile] pax_draconis after his NWO posts yesterday...

O Lord, ooh, You are so big…
Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying and barefaced flattery.
But You're so strong and, well, just so… super.

I wonder if I should tag this as LRP or not?


Book for Odyssey slackers!
kneeshooter: (pooh)
So, next year I'm going to Orkney on a little trip with some special friends. This is fine, except there's a chance it'll clash with Maelstrom on one weekend or the other.

Ok I think, there are airports in Orkney and airports in London and various other places on the way. I'll do some research and see how much it will cost to drive to Orkney, then leave the car for someone else to bring back while I fly to the likely event site.

Cue a jaw-on-floor moment. I could fly half-way to Australia for the £300 price of a Kirkwall to London flight, or save about £50 by flying to Scotland then taking a 6-8 hour train journey to London.

Just how much do I love LRP...?

February 2012

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