The 5 Steps of Minimum Prep GMing

I was recently given a challenge. The GM for my regular 5th Edition game session was taking a break, and I offered to run a one shot. I ended up having less than 24 hours to prepare and needed to make use of the same characters and world we’d been playing in (in addition to looping in the GM’s character, a pact of the book warlock styled after a lovecraftian ‘mad scholar’). Due to family and job obligations, I had -effectively- 2 hours to try and get everything set and ready. The session went great, everyone had a blast, and I thought I’d share my methodology for getting this done.

To Module or not to Module?

The simplest solution would simply to have been to Continue reading

On Radical Inclusion

In a lot of my communities, either explicitly or implicitly, the concept of ‘radical inclusion’ comes up.

For burners, it’s a stated value. For geeks, it’s something that isn’t said so much as felt (although this feels increasingly untrue as geekery goes mainstream and there’s so much more policing against ‘fake’ geeks). And, people I know question what does radical inclusion mean, who can you include, and what behaviors make it imperative that you exclude someone?

This is an excellent question to bring up and a bit of a third rail amongst my friends. That is, I think this is something lots of people are trying to figure out (I know I certainly am).

For me, virtues and values inevitably point to a tension, point to a dialectic and a dialogue. I’ve become enamored recently with the concept that ‘wholeness as holiness’ and I think values have to be perpetually rebalanced with one another Continue reading

On Why so Many of ‘Us’ Suffer

Recently, a friend posted ‘Why do so many of ‘US’ suffer?’ Which was a question I found interesting and personally relevant, so I ended up writing a 4000 word response which I broke into several comments; both in terms of ‘US’ in the smallest and grandest sense I could manage. And now I’ve collected it all as a note.

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of the night.” From Howl by Allen Ginsberg

I think about this quote sometimes, think about how it was true -for Ginsberg- then, and how it certainly feels true now.

I know a great many people I love who suffer, terribly. The causes and particular species of suffering are legion: anxiety, depression, loneliness, and all manner of ill of mind, body, and spirit. The fact that these people are so often brilliant, loving, kind, hard working, beautiful, and -depending on how you calculate such things- some of the most materially wealthy, successful, and powerful homo sapiens who have ever lived would be consistently shocking if it didn’t appear with such regularity.

We suffer for reasons that are (at least) as Continue reading

On the Stories I Tell Myself

Note: If Google Docs is to be believed I Initially Wrote this post in March 2016. I posted it to facebook but it somehow never got posted here. In light of my *last* post, I thought I should post it, again; for the first time. Because it it newly true.

I’ve been thinking recently about the stories I tell myself about the world and my friends and also, most importantly, the stories I tell myself about myself. I’m constantly weaving these narratives. “Well, this happened so he must think I’m incompetent,” or “That didn’t work hence trying this was a terrible idea.” I don’t think it’s possible (ultimately) to wholly avoid telling myself stories; and even if it were possible I’m not sure if it would be *useful.*

As a human being, I connect dots\points of data in order to make predictions & inform my behavior. One of the great problems with this incredible ability however is that every story is ‘sticky;’ they can so readily encourage me to overlook or misinterpret experience that doesn’t fit the narrative. It is of the highest importance to really evaluate the stories I tell myself; to avoid, replace, or otherwise transform the stories which don’t serve me. And I have a choice in all this: for instance, when facing failure or setback I get to choose to see it as indicative of a fundamental flaw in myself or I can choose to see it as part of the price I pay to learn & grow. Either ‘could’ be true (although I suspect the the latter is *more* true, most of the time); so it comes down to which story gets me closer to the life I want. Continue reading

On Quietly Losing My Mind

For a few months now, I’ve been quietly losing my mind.

In talking about what has happened, I think the easiest personal reaction for this is for me to collapse into apologies about it all because I *shouldn’t* be having these problems, I *should* have know, done better (or at least, that’s what that crappy internal voice claims… but then again he’s an asshole). I recently had a dream where a gifted impressionist was going to do his ‘John’ impersonation, which amounted to laying down on the floor and repeating ‘I’m sorry’ for some minutes. Dream me found this hilarious, while waking me winces at the recognition.

By objective measures, I’ve been doing ok… or even Continue reading