Monthly Archives: August 2014
It’s time for my Modern Life Support take on GenCon 2014. Don’t worry, I’ve got more posts about games in mind if you’re not into this sort of thing. In this post I’ll be talking about what happened to me Sunday night, as well as some overall lessons I learned from this year’s event. Click through for the cringy, personal stuff! WOO!
It’s Sunday, August 17th. 3:24 pm. It’s the last day of GenCon 2014. I have this little voice in the back of my head that’s screaming at me to run back into the vendor hall and buy more games. I’m ignoring him, because he’s whiny and his voice is super nasally and it just kinda pierces your eardrums. I’m tired.
For the past two years, game conventions have become my vacations. Some people go to beaches or take cruises or go to fancy resorts. I go to crowded convention centers and spend four days constantly saying “I’m sorry” and “Excuse me” as I move my way through the throngs of people. Some people relax and sleep in and do as little as possible on their vacations. I stay up until 3 in the morning, get back up at 9 and rarely stop. And surprisingly enough, I love it and am feeling melancholy and a bit sad that tomorrow, after I drive home, life goes back to “normal”
Tabletop gaming or card gaming or board gaming or however you want to classify it has changed my life over the past couple of years. Mostly it’s made me cringe every time I think about being completely broke when I retire and having to live under an overpass in a fort built out of Dominion game boxes. No, really, it’s been an amazing thing.
I’ve met so many fun, interesting, fascinating and unique people. I feel like a kid who gets to go to camp and see all his camp friends twice a year. So many uproariously good times have been had. I’ve improved on the piano for an interpretive dance portion of a game design contest. I’ve played countless games of Las Vegas with plenty of table talk and empty threats of violence.
I would be remiss to leave my melancholy rose-colored glasses on (also they hurt my eyes and they need new nose pads) for this post. There have been plenty of rough spots. These conventions are so chock full of people to see and things to do, it’s hard for me not to take it personally when I’m not included in that cool thing “everybody”‘s doing. And while all of the people I’ve met are good people, we’re all human beings with inherent flaws and sometimes those flaws lead to stress and tension. But that’s just how life works. This hobby and this community isn’t exempt from that no matter how awesome it may be.
I just realized that I titled this post GenCon 2014 and I haven’t talked about much of anything to do with GenCon. So I think I’ll just rename this and do a separate GenCon themed post or posts.
Samurai are cool. I often confuse them with ninjas. And shinobi. I’m not very good with Japanese/Chinese/Asian cultural references. But don’t let that sway you from reading my impressions of Samurai Spirit by Antoine Bauza from FunForge Games
Read the rest of this entry
So, I was walking through the vendor hall at GenCon and this weird looking guy came rushing up to me. He was out of breath, with a haggard, unkempt look about him. Looking him in the eyes, I saw a fire the likes I’ve never seen before. “DUDE! Take this! Make sure it gets seen! Fight the Power! BRUNO!!!”, he spit-shouted at me before rushing off haphazardly, attempting to jump the rope line surrounding the Paizo booth. He didn’t quite get the clearance he needed, and proceeded to knock over an entire rack of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game playmats. Luckily for him, they’re soft, so he bounced back up, looked around, and took off again. I stood there for what felt like 10 seconds in a daze, before realizing he had somehow slipped an old school VHS tape in my hand. It was in a dog-eared cardboard sleeve from what appeared to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze tape with a “Hello my name is” sticker on it with the words “1r0n Brun0 4 Lyfe” written on it.
Naturally, I quickly hailed a cab, made my way to the nearest Radio Shack, left the Radio Shack because they don’t actually have anything useful in them anymore, and ended up in a sweet elderly couple’s home, where I watched the tape using their VCR, which was covered in a crocheted cover with a working flap for the tape. As I sat there, letting the footage wash over me like a wave of pickle juice and loan paperwork, I suddenly realized what I had to do. I had to type in the youtube url that was on the back cover of the vhs tape (which incidentally would’ve been much easier than finding a vcr and watching the tape, but Mildred Higgenbottom’s snickerdoodles were worth the trouble) and then make a blog post about it.
This is that blog post.
So, this, dear readers, is bootleg footage of the Iron Design Challenge 2014.
So, I’ve been doing alot of RT’ing and tweeting about this topic, and I figured I’d stop and just compile my thoughts in one place, and get some stuff out of my head at the same time. And being a couple days before GenCon, note that this has nothing to do with games.
Robin Williams has reportedly taken his own life. That sentence is about as wrong a sentence as I’ve ever typed. A man who for decades poured his heart and soul into his craft and gave millions of people across multiple generations joy and laughter. That man took his own life.
FUCK YOU DEPRESSION!! God dammit. Depression lies. Depression twists and distorts our perception of reality. When depression is strong, it can leave you feeling like you have nothing left. Trust me. I’ve been there. Thankfully I’ve never been there so severely that I considered taking my own life. But I have been to the point that I didn’t know what I had to live for. And I didn’t see a way out. Depression is a god damn liar. And the worst part of depression is when it starts to wax and wane. And it’s at those times when it’s the hardest to see when it’s lying to you and when what you’re seeing and feeling is real.
Depression is real. It’s legitimate. It’s not just people being sad, or people being weak. You are not broken if you are depressed.
If you think you might be suffering from it, talk to your doctor. Get a referral to a mental health professional. DO NOT JUST START TAKING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ALONE! Drugs can help, and your doctor will likely prescribe them, but they just take the edge off. They normalize the levels. Talk to a therapist. See a counselor. If you don’t feel comfortable with them, DO NOT GIVE UP! Find another one. When you find one you’re comfortable with, and that you feel you can trust, open yourself up. Tell them what you really feel inside. Don’t try to self diagnose. Don’t try to say what you think they want to hear you say. Say what you feel. OWN YOUR FEELINGS! Warts and all. Own them. They are a part of you like everything else. If you ignore them, they will fester and become harder to ignore. Only then will you start to learn things about yourself that you didn’t know. And you’ll learn tools that can help you diffuse depression and combined with prescription drugs, and let you lead a normal life.
DO NOT TURN TO ALCOHOL! Alcohol is a fucking liar too. At least for me, alcohol felt like the one way out. And it was. For a few glorious moments, depending on how shitfaced drunk I got, it all went away. All the demons, and the sadness, and the worry, and the stress. All gone. For a few moments. And then, they came back. And they came back stronger than when they left. And they stayed stronger for longer. And the only way out I felt was more alcohol. Alcohol does not help you deal with depression. It strengthens it. And it tears down any barriers you had worked on to keep it at bay. If you take to heart nothing else I’ve ever said, take this. DO NOT DRINK IF YOU SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION. PERIOD. END OF STATEMENT.
I fight my depression battle every. single. day. I have to stay vigilant to be aware of when it’s getting bad. I have to study my situations and my past experiences and learn about triggers that exacerbate my problem. I have to realize when I’ve gotten lazy and let myself slide too far and I have to put forth the extra effort to get back to where I was. And I lean on my friends and loved ones. And that gives me some shame. But I know it’s what I have to do. And I cherish them for letting me do it. I would not be here without those people. And you can find people like that too.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ever. Don’t feel ashamed or weak for how you feel. Ever. You are not broken. You do not need fixing. You just need help.