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< Piro >

Fully outfitted and tricked out Daddy Gundam, ready to go (complete with binky controller)

"Daddy Landmate"

Monday - March 3, 2008

[Piro] - 11:55:20 - [link here]

Jack is getting quite a bit more active, which is fun but can really complicate things when both mom and dad are trying to work. ^^;; He is growing tired of his compliment of spaceships, like his mothership (the crib), his deep space exploration and service wessel (the pack ‘n play), his high speed intercept fighter craft (the Papasan cradle rocker), his low atmosphere shuttle (the bouncy chair) and his escape pod (the car seat). His undersea exploration vehicle (the baby bath tub) needs a full compliment of crew to operate (mom and dad), and his maintenance and support craft (the diaper changing table) what never what you’d call entertaining. So what is a deep space explorer and great captain to do?

Get more vehicles, of course.

His current favorite is the Daddy Landmate. This advance Mecha design is basically Jack strapped to my chest in a Baby Bjorn infant carrier. What is most amusing about it reminds me of Masamune Shirow’s Landmate designs in Applessed — in particular the ones where the control armatures that contain the pilot’s arms and legs are not fully contained within the mecha. As you can see, he’s tricked out his Daddy Landmate with a head rest and a Boppy pillow to sit his tush on when the Landmate is using the Desk Chair attachment.

While this might look like it is a perfect setup for me to work and keep him happy, there are some drawbacks to being a Gundam. Using the computer is easy, but drawing can be a challenge. The biggest issue is not being able to lean over the paper as I draw, but I solved this morning after a huge ‘Doh!’ moment. All I needed to do was tilt my drawing table up and problem solved :) (note that the table is still flat in the photo from a few days ago).

I don’t know if you have ever worked on a tilted surface, but it can be a real pain. Gravity is a bitch, and since just about everything you work with is either thin and round, flat and heavy (like books or binders) or flat and light (like paper) it all has a tendency slide right off the table onto the floor, usually as soon as you let go of it. Trays and flat areas around your table are fine, but with all that space you actually want to USE some of it

Last year, I came up with a most excellent solution - Dashboard Sticy Pads. You know those sticky pads they sell for your dashboard to hold your cellphone? Yep, those things. Works amazingly well as a place to put pencils, markers, erasers, etc. They also work great for holding binders and books. They tend to loose stickyness over time, what with eraser shavings and dust and stuff, but all you have to do is wash them off and they are as sticky as new.

As for the metal trays - I just use little rubber pads or feet I got at the hardware store. they work almost as well (tho they can slide off if the desk is at too much of an angle or you put too much in them).

The other problem with trying to draw in Daddy Landmate mode is the pilot. When he’s drowsy and relaxing, it works fine, but when he bounces around, it’s a little hard to draw straight lines. Hopefully with the desk at more of an angle, this will be less of a problem - the drawings from yesterday really look off, and I’m gonna have to redo a few panels.

That said, it looks like Space Explorer Captain Jack has decided it’s time to fire up his Daddy Landmate and get to work. He says they are cheap to operate because they run on coffee, but the control interface needs work. :)

< Dom >

Thanks, old man, and I (roll) hope you rest well.

"Passing Into Legend"

Wednesday - March 5, 2008

[Dom] - 17:17:44 - [link here]

It would be a serious blow to my status as a geek if I let another day go by without saying my piece about the passing of Gary Gygax, the grandpappy of Dungeons and Dragons and a huge influence on the geek generation. After all, if it hadn't been for my discovery of some old AD&D books at a garage sale when I was a kid, I probably wouldn't be here today, a veritable paragon of geekdom. I'd probably be... well, I'd probably still be a geek, but I certainly wouldn't have the rich memories provided by almost 20 years of social gaming.

I got into this hobby early - my cousin Hai can probably tell you when, but he introduced me to D&D at a very young age - I think I was 8 or 9 at the time (imagine that! Other people had the same books as me!). I spent hours poring over those books trying to figure out the arcane rules, and when I figured them out enough to start making my own characters, it was like a flood gate opened - my notebooks filled up with notes on what I could do with new characters, or how I could best emulate my favorite fantasy characters in D&D form.

My first real friends (I know a lot of people who know me now will be shocked by this, but I was a really shy kid and didn't like talking to people) were fellow D&D fans too - we would pull out our beaten-up notebooks at recess and play for 20 minutes at a time, and then on the weekends our parents would help us meet and we'd play even more, resorting to the flashlights when bedtime came around and scuttling back under the blankets whenever our moms would check up on us.

I remember in 7th grade, we had a project in school to write letters to famous people, and I chose to write to R.A. Salvatore. What did I ask him? About how his books worked in D&D.

I remember almost every detail of those letters clearly, from how he answered my numbered list of nitpicky questions with an identically numbered list of clear, simple answers to how he complimented the 12-year-old version of myself for my writing skill. I remember him telling me to stop sweating the little details of the rules and start thinking like a writer. I still have those letters around the house somewhere, and I should probably pull them out to remind myself of where I came from.

That's only one of a thousand D&D stories I have - stories that may have still happened without E. Gary Gygax's rambling, often cryptically organized books, but ones which were certainly enriched by the wonderful game he helped create.

I'm Dungeon Mastering two games this weekend, and each game is going to start with my players pouring out a can of Mountain Dew (or Rock Star, or Jolt, or whatever) for our dead homey, the one who made some of our best memories possible.

I'd like to hear the stories of how D&D helped shape you, too - I've spent the better part of the last two days reading people's anecdotes of how D&D changed their lives, and I could stand to spend another few days reading your mail and sharing old war stories with you.


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