I Dream Of A Writing Space

I have a dream of a writing space. Where I go to each day and write until I am content. This writing space is enclosed with a door that locks. The walls are decorated with things-pictures, posters, knick-knacks, and the like that I like, that inspire me, that are related to one writing project or another. This would be my sanctum sanatorium…is that the right word? 🙂

The door to my writing space will be plain and fit firmly into the frame, so when someone comes to bother me with something small and ultimately unimportant the door does not rattle each time they bang on the door. Speaking of which the door may be made out of steel to discourage banging on it at all. I’m seeing something with spikes or a really sticky contact cement, bang on my door at your own peril.

My writing desk will be like my clothing, lots of space to store things; pens, papers, files, knick-knacks, and whatever might strike my mood as needing to be stored in my desk. My desk would have a lock to keep my office supplies where they belong, in my office. A computer, not the current one I have, will sit in the center of the desk waiting for my fingers to caresses the keys. A wireless printer against the back wall with a basket to catch the reams of paper I will resume printing.

To ensure maximum efficiency and my maximum comfort a comfortable chair unlike any chair I have ever owned. Not to comfortable as I do not want to fall asleep or get easily distracted sitting and not to uncomfortable as I can sit writing for hours on end. Perhaps one of those balls that people sit on…I could see that…until I roll off the backside onto my ass. I will have to think about this.

Bookshelves to the ceiling round out my writing space. A bookcase just for my writing reference books. A bookcase for my reference books that are not about the language. A bookcase for all of the foreign languages and places I hope to visit, mostly Asian. A bookcase for the books that inspire me or are fun to read or naughty. 🙂

While I want the bookcases to be floor to ceiling the reality is that they will have space on top for more stuff. What kind of stuff? Why Lego creations and sets such as the scorpion I built or a dragon that glows-n-the-dark. Other bookcase toppers could include personal mementos, knick-knacks (I like that word), and fun stuff along with books that no longer fit on the overstuffed shelves.

Speaking of glow-n-the-dark, the ceiling will be covered in glow-n-the-dark stars. Enough stars to make reading and writing in the dark possible. Located under the printer or maybe to the left, a mini-fridge filled with beverages of my choice, to keep me hydrated during those hours of writing.

Its a dream of mine. I miss having a writing space where people did not bother me unless it was an emergency or I had been gone to long.

 

Lego Dimensions in the Time of Illness

I had high hopes of writing about our continuing Skulls and Shackles adventures or misadventures, depending upon die rolls and card draws. I was really hoping to write more about Machi Koro Millionaires Row and Shadowrun Crossfire. Alas! We are not playing family games. Three of us are headed for the safe bubble where we hope we are safe from whatever illness has it grips on the boy.

While we take care of the boy, which seems to consist of making him tacos, filling up his water glass with ice, and taking his temperature while he marathons whatever TV show has his attention, at last check-in that was Pokemon XY or Black & White or Peanut Butter & Jelly. Pokemon are cute looking, but the show names are so…bland, we do our own things. In my case that will be to write more about Lego Dimensions.

I have been playing and paying more for Lego Dimensions. Which would I like to read about if I was reading this? The money part.

Lego Dimensions has turned into an expensive hobby. No, you do not need to purchase ALL of the packs, but if you want maximum possible enjoyment and collectible finding you will need to purchase quite a few.

To open all of the available worlds, you will need the following kits

Wizard of Oz (for Wizard of Oz world)

Marty McFly (for Back to the Future world)

Scooby Doo (for Scooby Doo world)

Portal (for Portal world)

Homer Simpson (for Simpsons world)

Jurassic World (for Jurassic World world)

Anyone Ninjago (for Ninjago world)

Anyone Chima (for Chima world)

And that covers the packs needed to unlock available worlds. Notice available is in italics, there are worlds NOT available at this time, Doctor Who, Ghostbusters, and Midway Arcade. This is okay with me on one level, as there is a ton to do with what is available. On another level, it irks me that Ghostbusters and Midway Arcade are being held back until Waves 3 and 4 respectively, because both of those packs have characters that can do a single job and that job is needed to unlock collectables.

In the first story mission there is a section where ghosts are flying around, ONLY a Ghostbuster can get past that obstacle to the mini-kit or unlockable character. Either way, it is annoying to not only have to wait for several months, but have to pay to finish a game. To be clear, this does not prevent you from finishing the mission, the three characters in the boxed set can complete all of the missions. But a joy of Lego games is finding all of the collectables and the release schedule delays that, sometimes by months if the dates are to be believed.

Purchasing the kits above should give you either someone or something that can perform, all but the Ghostbuster and Midway Arcade parts (I want to say does, but I believe there are a couple of packs needed). When I say something, each of the vehicles (Batmobile) or creatures (flying monkey) that come as buildables are also upgradable in game. Using a combination of studs and gold bricks, players can upgrade each buildable: changing colors, increasing speed, and adding weapons to name a few. Purchase 10 upgrades to unlock the next level of buildable, which you purchase and repeat upgrading until you have all three levels complete.

A nice feature in game, is being able to use the help cubes to learn which character or buildable is necessary to complete a task, such as Wicked Witch to blow up silver blocks or Mystery Machine level 3 to handle toxic hazards. Without that feature you will blindly purchase figure packs hoping for the ability you want.

Suffice to say, while we (meaning all four of us) have been enjoying Lego Dimensions and have yet to scratch more than the surface of the game, the expense has us on edge. Do we want to get into yet another Skylanderesque game where the figures may be obsolete game-wise upon release of Lego Dimensions 2? The upside, is they are Legos and can be played with as Legos. Another upside, never has been killing Homer Simpson been so much fun…at least once in each story mode and world. 🙂

To illustrate the depth of the game:

Our kids have played through 8 of the story adventures. They spend around 45 minutes per world just completing the adventure. They collect nothing and have yet to get rule breaker, by collecting enough studs.

I spent two-hours on the first story adventure in Oz (story mode is separate from the worlds), at the end of my two-hours I had gotten rule breaker, two mini-kits, and discovered the ghost part where I won’t be able to go until Wave 3 is released.

A lot to do, but a large bill comes with it.

 

Lego Dimensions & A Tiny Robotech RPG Tactics Blurb

I just finished my first game of Lego Dimensions. If you are thinking about getting this game because you are a fan of Lego video games, Legos, family friendly games, or whatever other reason, do so. But do so with the knowledge that the game is expensive. In the same vein as Skylanders or Disney Infinity, there are a lot of character and world expansion packs and some of them are required if you want to do everything in the game. Unlike, Skylanders where you know you will need at least one of every element, what characters you will need is unknown until you encounter something.

Lego Dimensions is huge. There is a story mode where any of the figures-vehicles and accessories included, can play together. I watched Batman, Wildstyle, Homer Simpson, and the woman from Portal tear through Simpson world and a story level. Dimensions comes with three worlds: Middle-Earth, Batman, and Lego Movie. Other worlds can be opened with a character from that world (Ghostbusters, Scooby Do, Wizard of Oz, and Portal 2 to name a few). All characters (as noted above), can play in any world and story mode.

Like every other Lego game to date, characters collect studs, find mini-kits, find red and gold bricks, and smash everything in sight. All of the characters talk and there have been some really funny lines already, such as when Batman encounters Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion and Dorothy says, “What are you missing?” “A sense of humor,” replies Batman deadpan.

I have watched the kids blitz through at least six story levels and the Simpsons world. As per our children playing a Lego game they have unlocked NOTHING. I played through the first level, the Wizard of Oz. By the end of my trip through the first level, I learned the following:

  • You will need a character that can hack a computer
  • You will need a character that can track
  • You will need a character that can swim/water
  • You will need a character that can blow up silver bricks and one for gold
  • You will need a Ghostbuster. Yes, a Ghostbuster.
  • You will need these characters if you want ALL of the mini-kits and other hidden stuff.

None of these characters come with the base set. However, if you want to know what abilities each character has, there is an in-game function that shows all of the characters and what they can do. Not that helps when you encounter something you cannot do.

There are vehicles and accessories that come with each figure pack. The instructions for building are shown in game, such as when the kids progressed far enough in the Simpsons world they were shown instructions to build Homer’s car and television. If that wasn’t cool enough, each vehicle or accessory has three modes. You unlock the modes through spending studs to unlock abilities and collecting Gold Bricks. I have a black and red batmobile, with bright red wheels, green flame, and blue blaster bolts.

Despite the cost (it is Lego with several licensed lines) and needing to purchase characters with certain abilities, Lego Dimensions is a ton of fun and that is from me watching the kids play and playing one level. Very familiar and different at the same time.

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I was going to write an update about Robotech RPG Tactics, but nothing has happened. Nothing at all. Better Business Bureau filings seem to have dried up and if any Attorney General or otherwise is making a move there is no sign. Palladium Books continues to NOT keep backers up to date, but in a sign that someone can learn the language at the top of the weekly ad-spam-sales sheet has changed to indicate that it is indeed an update of sorts. Alas, those say nothing at all other than Palladium Books is having a sale every week.

 

Smell My Marker and Other Toy Stories

“I hope this one doesn’t smell like shit,” our girl announces right before she jams a marker near her nostril and takes a deep inhale.

Based on her facial expression it did smell like shit.

“Here,” she says attempting to jam the marker up my right nostril, “smell this.”

“What the hell are you doing?”

“Smelling my Mr. Stench markers.”

“Mr. Stench?”

“Yeah these smelly markers I got at Toy’s R Us.”

“Oh, Mr. Sketch. But based on the stench of that last marker…”

“Nacho cheese,” she interrupts.

“Nacho cheese? Yeah, Mr. Stench is right.”

Welcome to part of my day. 🙂

I had an urge to go to Toy’s R Us. Not the kids, they wanted to stay home and play. What the hell is that about? Why stay at home and play when you can go to a store and play. Plus, if you make a mess playing at the store, I won’t yell at you to pick it up. I will laugh a lot while walking away professing to anyone who is in listening range, “I don’t know who that kid is, but their parents need to get him or her under control.”

Barb found me a Spongebob Squarepants backpack, that would fit if I was several feet shorter. As it is, the backpack sits high on my back. High enough that my butt looks great wearing it. Our girl found Mr. Stench. Our boy a bucket of pirates, which leads to…

“dad, I need to go out the car. I think I left a cannon in the car.”

“Go get the keys and no driving off.”

“I promise, no driving off.”

HONK HONK HONK HONK HONK

“I think that is our car,” I say to Barb.

As she stands up, the boys bursts into the house, “It won’t stop. I didn’t even get to check the car.”

Barb instructs him on how NOT to set off the alarm and he sets off.

HONK HONK H….

“I think he figured it out.”

Lego MiniBarb found the latest Lego Mini-figure releases. She loves these things. I think it has to do with her/our obsession with opening packages and getting fun things out of them. It started with Magic the Gathering and has continued without fail ever since.

Not bad for an urge to go to the toy store. 🙂

Creative Character Creation

While resting our collective gamer spirits from the multi-week saga that was Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Pack B and 1, we…well I, got creative.

I love our Pathfinder miniatures, but at this moment there are not figures for every character which means that Darago and Adowyn are using substitute figures. I know, use your imagination, but when the alchemist figure is the substitute for the necromancer something is off, maybe the figure’s smile. When the pimptastic inquisitor figure is substituting for the hunter there is something equally off, this time though the offness if the red pimptastic hat of the inquistor figure.

Our boy also tired of the smiling alchemist representing his dour necromancer built himself a Lego version. At our request he also built the rest of our merry band in Lego, but it was obvious his heart was not in it. The priest got shorted on her holy item, but gained about three bricks worth of height when he got bored looking for legs and used a dress part from a lego friends figure, which gave her a very weird shape around the waist.

Appearances and effort aside, another issue with Lego figures is that everyone plays with them. Not a one of us could stop from playing with them, which really added to the length of games. Having to stop a game to find a lost sword or helm or to ask someone to “Please put your figure down and take your turn,” got really tiring. 🙂

After watching the kids and Barb play with those small round beads that you melt together I had an idea. Why not see if I could make versions of our characters out of those things. I do not play with the beads as much as everyone else due to my fingers, they are thick and not suited to trying to manipulate the beads into place. Tweezers do not help as much as I hoped. I had to learn the differences between the shapes. Honestly, I never paid attention to peg placement, I used whatever template I wanted. To build these little figures peg placement was important.

Here is what I came up with. 🙂

Adowyn Kyra Darago SeelahIn the interest of full disclosure, Barb made Adowyn’s worf/dog. The first one I made looked like a balloon animal. The bases for all of the figures was my idea, but because I did not realize the differences in peg placement on the various templates, my first did not work. Our boy figured out the issue and now all of the figures have bases.

Now we can have figures for any character until all of the miniatures are released. 🙂

 

Game Day At An End

Our game day ended with Harry Potter and Alton Brown. Yes, they do go together if you are a member of this family. Lego Harry Potter was fun, but like most Lego table top games lacks depth enough to keep us occupied for more than a few games. The Legos and quick nature of the games appeal to us.

Gamed out after a day of gaming, we retired to watch some television, and eat some food. Plus, the adults had work to attend to. As I was recently reminded college is my work so I got down to taking care of that plus work for when I am done with college. Work when I am done with college is writing and publishing erotica and games. I know two more things that don’t go together, but they do in a round about way for most people.

Here is where my education is showing and paying off. I spend a lot more time fixing what I write. I am coming to hate the word editing, so instead I fix my writing. I am a big enough writer to acknowledge that my writing can always be better, thus before I do anything, like publish I fix. Fixing is a process for me. Last night that process involved a lot of red ink, rewriting, and consulting some books I have. Fixing is a pain in the ass.

So, back to Alton Brown…our girl calls him the “funny man” and loves to watch Good Eats and Cutthroat Kitchen. Barb and I have enjoyed Good Eats for many years now, the combination of humor and education is perfect. Relaxing with food after a day of games watching Alton Brown was perfect. Our boy after playing some Minecraft wanted to get us playing games again and pulled out a dice game Pirates vs Ninjas.

How do I describe this game?

Each player has 10 dice with images of pirates or ninjas on them. Roll the dice and compare the pictures in a variation on war. It is quick, with a bit of strategy from dice that have special abilities, but mostly quick and easy to forget. As demonstrated when the boy packed up the game and put it in the “maybe later” pile.

Our girl eager to have some fun of her own, broke out My Little Pony matching game. I like My Little Pony, but I only know a few by looking at them. My girl knows them all at a glance. I was severely disadvantaged. Plus, so many of those ponies had rainbows as background images, making my task even harder. I lost and lost big time. Barb joined in for a second game and I lost that game too, but afterwards they took the tiles and played My Little Pony Go Fish, which looked easier for me.

Alas, by this time the boy had fallen asleep and our girl was doing her best “I’m not tired” routine and I did not to give the game a try.

My Day in Review

Keanu Reeves is like pizza. Even bad Keanu Reeves is still good…you may have to look hard for that good. Thankfully, John Wick was exactly as advertised-wife dies, car stolen, dog killed, John Wick goes on killy spree that is awesome to watch. John Wick is how I like my porn, right to the action with just enough story to keep me interested. And that was my 68 word movie review.

Holy cameo and nostalgic music Batman! Lego Batman 3 is everything you loved about Batman, Batman 2, and every other Lego game to date. Plus, for those players of a certain age and/or who watch Family Guy a touch of nostalgia. Adam West, the original Batman or Mayor West for Family Guy fans, is the citizen in peril. Think of him as the DC version of Stan Lee. To add to the nostalgia, the music is from the first Batman film, Wonder Woman TV show, and Superman movies. Takes you right back. And that was my Xbox 360 review.

I mentioned in an earlier post I am reading Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. I also mentioned that I am loving the Player’s Handbook. That love continues as I reached the classes where much to my joy, I learn that classes are similar, but different. A fighter is still the fighter of previous editions. However, a fighter has many more options to make a fighter into my fighter. Even better, I only need the Player’s Handbook, previous editions many of these options would be in separate books.

The love only goes so far, I have found the first 5th Edition product that I am happy with, but not ecstatic about. Horde of the Dragon Queen is the first adventure supplement for 5th Edition. I do not feel that Horde of the Dragon Queen is a module. A module is a self-contained adventure requiring minimal work for the Dungeon Master. Horde of the Dragon Queen is more an adventure outline with certain parts given more detail than others. I could not DM Horde of the Dragon Queen as written. I could take the ideas, set piece scenes, and create parts of a larger campaign. What I like, is there are good ideas, and the material is useable. What I do not like, is to put the ideas to use the DM has to put in more work than they may think. I would have rather seen a module released first to allow everyone to jump right into a game.

To wrap up my day in review, today was a good day, filled with hair cuts, spicy food, movies, reading, and games.