Pacing

August 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Netflix and the advent of bing watching having changed the game on this, but as the MST3K episode “Diabolik” taught us — Pacing. Is. So. Very. Important. If you don’t get the reference, that’s alright — we’ll be talking about the importance of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in due time. Until then, pretend that was funny. I’ll wait for your pretend laugh.

Diabolik4_758_426_81_s_c1

You’re going to laugh SO HARD when you see this. So. Hard.

 

 

Those of you who haven’t gamed before might have an image of weekly 12-hour sessions that go late into the night. I can confirm that these images are true, and that I have participated in them. When I was 20. I am no longer 20. I have less free time and a better haircut than when I was 20. TV, these days, isn’t about telling one off stories, fighting monsters of the week and wrapping things back up to zero at the end of the episode. And with the exception of certain specific Netflix shows, it isn’t one 18-hour extended story either. It’s chapters in a book. Complete units of story that add up to a whole. As of this writing, sitting behind the GM’s screen is the only way I know of to practice this skill.

Why? Because your players have lives, presumably. Sure, you could tell an entire story in one night. I encourage it, even! But that’s not what people show up for. People show up for the ongoing saga, the character growth over time. The story of people who started as farm hands and rose up to fight evil gods. The hardscrabble vampires who took control of a city, then lost it just as brutally. But since players have lives, you can’t tell those stories all in one sitting, and you can’t very well expect them to be satisfied with “come back next week for more.”

Each adventure is a whole adventure, a complete quest. It’s when you add them together that they become something special.

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Dead simple curry

March 24, 2012 Leave a comment
Adapted from AB’s recipe 
 
  • 1 (1-pound) bag mixed frozen vegetables
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Curry Powder of your blend (mine follows)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 dried red chiles, stems and seeds removed if less heat is desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper, optional
  • 2 chicken breasts and 2 chicken thighs, cubed.  Or hell, any combo of chicken you like.
 
For this dish, my spice mix was as follows:
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds (ground)
3-4 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
 
  • 1. Cook rice according to package directions. 
  • 2. Poke a few holes in the frozen veg bag and microwave it for two minutes to thaw the veggies.
  • 3. Mix together the yogurt and the cornstarch in a large bowl.
  • 4. OPTIONAL: If you are using certain whole spices (mustard, fennel, cumin), toast them in a sautee pan over medium-high heat until they smell delicious.
  • 5. Take your sautee pan to medium heat.  Add the canola oil, the garlic, and the spice mixture.  Sautee until the garlic is golden, 3-5 minutes.
  • 6. Add the salt, the veggies, and the sugar.  Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  • 7. Mix the veggies and the sauce in the pan with the yogurt mixture.
  • 8. Crank the heat to medium-high and toss in the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Sautee until cooked.
  • 9. Mix chicken with the veggies and yogurt sauce.
  • 10. Consume with rice.  Train for wrestling with Indian clubs. 
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On On Writing

August 28, 2011 Leave a comment

I woke up about a half hour earlier than I expected this morning and, as a result, found that I got all the things I wanted to do about a half earlier I expected (refill the cooler with ice, work out, etc).

I thought I might head out a little early, but when I’m in LA, I expect that my writing time will consist of whatever I can sneak in between internships and class, so I want to start getting back into the habit now.

I like to think of what I’m doing as a bit of an epic quest.  An adventure.  As the decorations Teresa put up for my going away party said “Go West, Young Man, and Find your Destiny”.  The first leg of my journey, from St. Louis to Texas, I’ve been listening to “On Writing”, by Stephen King.  I’ve read a lot of books on the subject of the craft, and more specifically on my subset of the craft, but “On Writing” was my first and possibly my favorite.  King is obviously focused on prose over screenwriting, but what he’s saying is so primal and true that any writer owes to himself or herself to find a copy of the book and read it.

It’s been fantastic listening to it.  First off, to hear King read it, you realize that for all his spookiness, the man is actually just a giant uber-geek.

Secondly, it’s been kind of a spiritual thing.  I’m going off on this adventure, a journey into the magic forest (and with all such journeys, I am bound to return with some prize).  It’s only appropriate that I sit at the feet of the master and hear his wisdom once again.

I’ll finish it before I get out of Texas, I suspect, and then over to another book on tape.  I’m torn between an epic fantasy (Furies of Calderon) and a Sci-fi war story (Old Man’s War).

I’ll let y’all know what I choose.  See you in Arizona!

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Hurricane Preparedness for New Englanders

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello New England!  I’ve heard that there is a hurricane headed your way.  That sucks.  You should probably prepare for that.

But wait, you say.  I have never prepared for a hurricane before!  I don’t know what to do!

Ahahahaha.  You silly people.  Don’t worry, I’m here to save you from the winds.

Oh, wait.  I’m in Missouri.  Okay.  I’ll just tell you what to do.

Read more…

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