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The first part of the strip is absolutely true: his haircut man was not available.  It’s a continuum of human experience I’m not connected to in any way.  I “cut my hair” the way a druid gathers mistletoe: under a full moon, with a scythe.

Upon learning that he would be granted an audience with the Master Barber, the pun shone brightly in his mind.  Master Barber is an actual term I was not previously aware of, but what it means is dependent on where you are.  Occasionally a class quest is required.  In Lancashire, becoming a Master Barber requires one to “sheere the crown-hare of A Mother Gryphyn,” which is why Lancashire hasn’t had a Master Barber since 1465.  Anyway: when Gabriel perceives that he has “material” of this kind, he is masterful at steering conversations toward his payload, except this time he had to do everything in his power to avoid it.

It’s like when you’re learning to drive a car, or ride a bike even.  If you are looking at something, a terrible force draws you toward it until you are destroyed.  If you have social anxiety, which I am told that some do have, you’re always worried that your secret thoughts will be made known to others by some betrayal of their own traitorous mouth.  I suggested that the danger was probably minimal, because as a Master Barber they probably hear this shit all day, every day; that nobody hasn’t thought of it.  He scoffed!  He is known to.  He was voted most likely to scoff.  He got out unscathed, though, and to his mind, substantially improved - particularly in the hair region.  He even gestured at his hair, as if to say, “look at this hair.”  It looked like hair to me.

One is very rarely the first person to invent language like this; the Internet, specifically Google, can put any fantasies about language acumen to rest.  You always have to try, though: that is our doom.  We have a friend with multiple sclerosis, and when he was talking to his doctor about it, our friend told this doctor that one sclerosis was probably enough for anybody.  There was a pause, during which the ambient temperature of the room dropped noticeably.  Then, the doctor informed him that denizens of the medical profession have heard this joke in a single, steady, unbroken stream since the first hot light of our universe.


Tycho / 3 days ago

I was lucky with my own bandmates, actually; I was always the least reliable, least talented member, so disappointment tended to flow reliably in the opposite direction.  I only played guitar at a couple shows, ever.  I mostly just brought a microphone, or put it in someone’s bag at practice so it would arrive without effort on my part, then hit the bar before the show to down a Snake Bite to sand the edge off my nerves.  Then I’d hand a drink and a blank cassette to the guy at the board, and after the show I would listen to the tape on the way home, and make a thorough accounting of my failures.

The strip is really about the RPG format they adopted for Rock Band 4’s campaign.  That’s very, very distinct from the new Guitar Hero, with its focus on live video performance and playing along with music videos.  I think there are going to be players for both of these.  In the old days, there was no daylight between the two experiences really.  They have to offer something different in order to coexist.  Hopefully that’s happening this time…?

I was talking to Kris Straub the other day about The Witcher 3, and just witching in general, and he mentioned that he’d washed out of the second one somewhere during or just after the tutorial, as so many did.  I don’t know what disease of mine, what callus I have formed on my hippocampus allows me to endure things like this, but I have it.  It allowed to me to get what I needed out of the first Witcher game.  I can’t recommend that a person pick up the original Witcher game now, though I would respect you if you did.  I’ll certainly never forget it.  Trust - real trust - in the player.  Not merely a trust that the person in front of the computer would be able to click at the preordained times.  Trust that players don’t need everything in skywriting.  Trust to the point where I can pick up a hunk of dimeritium ore in the third game, two games away from the source, and still feel it in my chest.

I accept that the game doesn’t look like the older trailer, but I’ll be God Damned if 1.04 era The Witcher 3 looks bad.  Looking at Geralt outside this whackjob forest shaman’s hut I took my hand of the mouse and just stared for awhile.  There are times where I can’t parse it.  What I was going to say the other day was that if you come into The Witcher 3 trained by Elder Scrolls or Dragon Age I can’t even imagine what you’re experiencing right now.  It doesn’t go for the punchline.  It just builds and builds until you can’t breathe.


Tycho / 4 days ago

Child’s Play Golf Tournament Tickets!

They are available!  I am by no means a golf expert; I come mostly for the buffet and the intensely shared fellow-feeling.  For your calendar:

Date: Friday, July 17th 2015
Time: Golf Registration 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Mini-Golf Registration 12:30PM-1:15PM, Mixer 4:00PM
Location: Willows Run Golf Course, 10402 Willows Rd, Redmond, WA 98052

I’ve been to all of them, and it would be a fun way to spend your time even the absence of its profound charitable payload.


Monday Sketchdump!

Last week I attended a special “Art Night” at my kid’s school. I ended up spending the evening drawing with elementary school kids and had a great time. Here’s some of my doodles:

Here’s me drawing shapes and the kids figuring out what they are. I was trying to explain how the game worked to a little girl and I asked her if any of my shapes looked like anything. She said that one looked like a fish but I had forgotten some parts. I asked her to draw the missing parts for me and she did. Nothing beats making art with kids.

-Gabe out


Tycho / 5 days ago

So, last time, I was worried that between Destiny’s immediacy and my belief that there was some mystically optimal condition under which to play The Witcher, it would end up sort of like my Steam library, in a list more akin to a list of achievements than of time played or work considered.  But that is not true.  Having secured 32 Light in order to make myself marginally less worthless to my Fireteam, I had a chance over the weekend to plow through the “Witching 101” portion of The Witcher 3 and into the game proper, which isn’t an epic roleplaying game at all apparently but a card game called gwent.

I played a ton of Dice Poker in the second one, I was the Champion Dice Poker Man.  It was like Yahtzee, and I like Yahztee.  Weirdly, one of my favorite things about Dice Poker was how it emphasized the handcrafted physicality of the game: it was a box that people carried around with them, to play where they could.  There were different backgrounds depending on where you played, like the table at an inn let’s say.  Hearthstone does this, too.  Gwent, the minigame equivalent in Witcher 3, doesn’t have the same verisimilitude thing going on.  On the other hand, it is pretty fuckin’ rad.

The article I see most often referred to in this conversation is Vince Ingenito’s “The Witcher’s Gwent Is A Better Card Game Than Heartstone,” whose ambiguous, mushmouthed argumentation leaves the true position of the author unclear - a common problem with young writers.  That said, we may triangulate from this aimless prose that the author thinks gwent is at least alright.

And it is.  The established side of the commentariat has a couple hundred hours on me yet, but the first thing I do when going to any town is check and see if somebody is selling gwent cards.  It reminds me of nothing more than getting my dishwasher tips and crossing the street to the game shop to see how many cards I can get for the money.  Am I subsisting primarily on raw chunks of murdered wolf?  Yes.  But my deck is getting tiiiight.

I’d rather that you explore and learn the basics on your own, I don’t like taking that from people, but it’s a game you play best two out of three.  You draw ten cards from your deck, and you have to play all three games with those cards.  In Magic, or Hearthstone, or any game really, you never want to lose, let alone lose on purpose!  But that happens in Gwent.  Sometimes its the best play.  In a game meant to simulate war, such losses can be played as feints; the opponents brings their best assets to a battle you didn’t even show up for.  Eventually I will think that is just a cool idea.  Right at the moment, though, I’m overwhelmed by it.

I was going to say that, unlike many digital card games - ones that play with the mutable data of the cards themselves, or “summon” cards from a superset you don’t own - there’s no reason why this game couldn’t be played on a table.  Except we know it can be, because the Xbox One version I never considered for a fraction of a second includes physical decks in its collector’s edition.  I fully expect to see motherfuckers flopping those cards down at PAX.  So, if you bring it, let’s be friends.


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