[A technical complication meant this show took the longest to pull together, but I'm pleased to say it worked completely. If you want to read the audio editing story, check out the boardgamepodcasters mailing list. -Mark]
This is a combination show, an interview with David Gullett that's about being a boardgame newbie, as well as about playing games with your kids. It's in the latter context that I met him when we pre-arranged some games for us to play with our kids at a SoCal Games Day. The last time he came over to my place with his boys to play some more family games, we took some time to record this podcast. The first third or so is about being that latecomer to this hobby, discovering it through a websearch in 2005 that led him to Boardgamegeek.com. Then we get to talking about playing games with our kids. Finally, we get the kids themselves on the air.
This is a subject I'm finding myself increasingly interested in, bolstered by the success I'm starting to have with my own family. Remember the dialing-it-back, family-focussed plan for my hobby in 2006? I think it's working. That's a future show in itself. David is having even more success earlier with his family, and you'll hear why. He's a very fun character who's making good decisions as a parent. He makes me wish I could turn the clock back and do the same with my family four years ago!
This show didn't have the same sort of outlined script I usually use. David's other hobby is amateur improv comedy, so the lack of an outline presented no problem for him. I'm not as quick on my feet, and upon listening to the show I think I jump around a bit more, interrupt myself and fail to finish my sentences sometimes! Hopefully you can get the gist of what I'm saying when I try to relate German children's games to movies like Spy Kids. Honestly, it makes sense to me but maybe I didn't finish the explanation in the podcast!
David is the first one to claim the title of Guest Host on BGTG for the part of this show when I sign off and he interviews his kid & mine at the same time. A podcast original! (For boardgame podcasts, anyway!)
The show was originally recorded way back on March 4, but it took me this long to get it out. If you make all the way to the end, I think you'll agree this publication date is appropriate.
P.S. A fun little gaffe when David mentions The Dice Tower as competition to BGTG, and I say "I don't consider them competition." What I meant to say was that I don't consider podcasting a competition, of course!
“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.” -Bukowski
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
It's hard to live with chronic pain, to not remember what it's like to not feel pain. But the one symptom that's perhaps even more difficult to live with is the chronic fatigue. When you're not digesting food properly, when you're taking medications that make you drowsy, when you suffer nightly from insomnia and have young children (who are frequently sick) who wake you up throughout the night when you do finally fall asleep, the simplest daily tasks are a struggle.
I've always had way more hobbies than time to pursue them all. The irony with my current situation is that I haven't worked in over 2 years and have had more than enough time to devote to all those fun pursuits, yet I haven't had the energy to do so. All my energy and more is used up each day with doing less than my share of the household chores and looking after the kids.
I can't even rely on coffee to get me through the day any more, as I've been forced to give up caffeine due to its detrimental effects on my guts. (Unexpectedly, giving up caffeine was much harder than giving up alcohol - which I also had to do for the same reasons. One of my long-time hobbies was tasting beers from all over the world, so I was expecting that to be the more difficult sacrifice.)
Whew! I'll lump most of it into one big comment about gaming with my family, but if anyone has any questions about any of the other games I played I'm happy to expound.
Imperial Assault Loved. It. I'd played Descent before, and it was fun but I wasn't hooked. The Star Wars hooks it for me. Mechanically it's a little tighter but really this is one of those games where the theme makes a huge deal for me. I can't make Wookie noises while playing Descent. Or, I can, but it's less acceptable. Also, my buddy 3D printed me a Rancor for Christmas which will be awesome. I'm not sure I want to make a specific mission for him, I think I'd rather treat him like the yeti in the old Windows Free Ski game. Just shows up randomly and eventually eats everyone.
Family Time We flew to Virginia this year to spend Christmas with my inlaws, and I packed my suitcase full of board games along with the copy of Nexus Ops we were taking for my brother in law. In the bag was Survive, Pandemic, Ghost Blitz, Love Letter, and Hanabi. I didn't have expectations to play everything but I knew we'd have a lot of downtime and thought that maybe we'd get one or two games in. We ended up playing every game at least once! It was really cool to share my hobby with the family, especially since most of them didn't really understand what modern games are like but I think my favorite moment was realizing how into it my wife had gotten. She doesn't generally wear her emotions on her sleeve (British stoicism), but she was really active in teaching the rules and explaining things to her siblings and it made me realize how much she had learned and how much she does secretly like games . At went point, I went off on my own to meet up with a high school friend and when I got back I found out they'd played 3 games of Survive without me, and Katie had taught everyone Hanabi. I also went undefeated in Ghost Blitz over 8 games so I got that going for me.
Another fun story is that my wife got me T'zolkin for Christmas. She knew I'd had my eye on it, especially due to the Guatemala connection and was very excited to give it to me. Unfortunately, because she isn't a True Believer (yet), she didn't realize she was ordering me the expansion. She just saw that it was rated higher and got that. I wasn't going to say anything but when we did gifts she said we could play that night. Instead we ran out to the FLGS to grab the base game.
On My Mind We're finally telling everyone that we're having a baby! The first little Cordero expansion is on the way, estimated release date of 07/08/15. We're both very excited, and have taken to referring to the baby as "the Meeple".
I was in the IT industry for 11 years, completely burned out and hating my life when our first son was born. Conveniently, I had also been getting my Master's in English part time, and I finished it on the day he was born.
I left the IT industry and became a stay at home dad. I also work part time as an English professor for a for-profit college. I LOVE teaching. Granted, the for-profit sector is not my ideal, but it's super flexible, allowing me to focus most of my time on being a dad. Someday I hope to have a teaching job at an institution I can be proud to be part of.
That said, I work hard to give my students a great education. I can't speak for all of our instructors, but, in my classroom, my students get their money's worth!
As someone who doesn't enjoy being scared it takes something special for me to call a horror film great. But, as most people know, The Shining is extremely special. I have caught scenes from this film in the past on TV, but this is the first time I've watched it from start to finish. The first thing that struck me is how meticulously Kubrick planned and executed each shot. From creative angles that take advantage of unique characteristics of the hotel (like the strangely patterned carpet,) to the dozens of extraordinarily smooth tracking shots that travel from room to room, I am simply astounded by the visuals in this movie. Then there is the music. I am convinced that you could watch the first hour or more of The Shining without being even slightly startled, perhaps even bored, if it weren't for the music. From the very first chords this score had me on edge and it was used so brilliantly to add an ominous tone to the entire film. Combining the perfect visuals and the amazing selection of music made even the most mundane things absolutely terrifying. I couldn't breathe when Shelley Duvall is merely flipping through pages of paper, because Kubrick had used everything up to that point in order to completely manipulate me into a state of absolute terror. I also have to say that Jack Nicholson is the only actor who could pull off the role of Jack Torrance. He is so perfect, even a scene where he's merely looking out a window feels spooky because of how he can create those psychotic expressions.
As you can see, this film made quite an impression on me. I was petrified (I'm willing to admit, as a grown man, that I had trouble sleeping after watching this movie) but it also surprised me in its artistry. Where I didn't love the film is when it comes to the story, and I'll put this more on Stephen King than on anyone involved in the film. I'm very intrigued by the idea of a father going insane, perhaps even making a deal with the devil, and becoming the biggest danger to the family that once saw him as their protector. I even enjoyed the concept of little Danny having these psychic abilities that allowed him to read minds, communicate with others over long distances, and see glimpses of the past. What didn't work for me was the haunted house angle. I was content believing that all the people were in Jack's head as he slowly goes insane. But then the movie hits a breaking point where ghosts are unlocking doors, choking Danny, and even appearing to Wendy. Strangely the movie becomes less scary to me at this point. It's as if my threshold for supernatural events was just pushed too far, and they broke through my suspension of disbelief. Frankly there are moments, like when the guy with the blood on his head appears to Shelley Duvall, that just feel like lame jump scares that you'd find in your local high school haunted house. Of course the final chase through the hedge maze is amazing and extremely tense once again, so the section of the film I didn't enjoy was relatively small. I do love a large portion of The Shining and it's one of the rare horror films that I would willingly watch again even if it was just for the amazing artistry of that cinematography and score.