The original purpose of this blog was to blog mainly about gaming. It has been a week, the imaginary people in the nose-bleed section of my mind are getting riled up and telling me to get on with it already. So start off, I will talk about The Wrecking Crew.
Nine years ago my family fell on hard times. As a family we made some of the hardest decisions of our life, and the end result was my husband joined the army. My children and I moved back in with my parents. I needed something to do with my time rather than mope around the house. I’m not sure who suggested it, but I’m pretty sure that it might have been Adam. That said there was this WoD group that met down at this local game store and were doing a demo there that coming Saturday.
I was interested, and I showed up.
I brought with me a Setite character, an ugly ass bitch. I got a strange look from the Storyteller when I related my character concept to him. He scratched his head a bit and said, okay.
We get about a half hour into the story and my character needs to get into this house being guarded by some ghouls. Others in the group had already gotten in through their own means, so I was left to my own devices, as I remember it.
So the guards riled my character for a bit while I did some quick thinking. I think that they asked me what I was going to do either get them not to rat me out, or to let me in, or something. Either way, in a rare flash of inspiration, my character started to unbutton her shirt.
Now, remember, I am playing an Appearance 0 Follow of Set.
The guards get alarmed, “What are you doing?!”
“Tell you what, you let me in, I’ll keep my clothes on.”
The Storyteller just stared at me for a second or two, then the guards ushered my character on into the building, looking over their shoulders at my character and shuddering.
The next day, the Storyteller gives me a call and says, “Hey, we talked about it, and we’d like to invite you to our private games.”
That was my introduction to Dave Martin and indoctrination into The Wrecking Crew.
Over the next two years, I play with them almost every Saturday. I get asked to run at my first convention with them, then another and another. This is when we were just one of the many demo teams for White Wolf.
Sadly, real life interfered with my ability to keep playing with them. First, moving an hour and a half away made it more and more difficult to pack up the then toddlers and head out for an evening of gaming. Second, well, I was being torn in two different directions. I had to make a choice between two people who were upset with me for different reasons but related reasons, and there was really only one choice I could make at that time.
I regretted having to make that decision; I resented having been put in that position to begin with. Dave helped me out of some bad places and was a great friend, one of the few I had at that time. I had to walk away, and I walked away without an explanation. Dave made his displeasure known regarding my behavior, but I was not willing to talk about why I was doing what I was doing. On the way back from that convention, our car broke down on the side of the road and we were without reliable transportation – well, until the past two years actually.
Fast forward many years. We were at Gamers’ Inn for one reason or another, and I spy at the far table, some of my brother’s friends – and Dave. Holy cow! I got up, nervous as all hell and say hi, how it is going. We exchange numbers. I leave, but I’m pleased to see that he’s doing well.
Next week I get a phone call inviting me back into the group. I accepted. A little older, a litter wiser, I laid down some ground rules for the husband this time around. He’s also a little older and a little wiser, so understands them and apologizes for being an ass the last time.
After awhile, it came up that we were a senior demo team. I really did not understand exactly what that meant at the time other than additional perks. A couple of months after I rejoin, Dave emails us and says the next game is a play-test session, please print, sign and bring a copy of the attached file.
Oh, it’s an NDA for White Wolf. How cool is this? Around the same time I was asked if I could possibly afford a plane ticket to GenCon. One guy had to drop out, and there were slots to fill, would I be interested and able to.
Flash back to the last convention I did with him where I was less than reliable. I was being given a second chance. I took it – with the caveat that I need to clear it with the husband of course. I had a job at the time, so I could pay for my own plane ticket.
My first GenCon in 2009 was awesome in so many ways. Of course, I was in total shock through most of it. What the hell did I get myself into?
RinCon 2009 was the next convention I did after that. I made sure to sit in on panels since I had no opportunity at the GenCon to do anything but work. Several panels were on game design and pitching, and one was on the state of the industry with Andrew Hackard and Kelley Barnes. There were three of us in the audience, which made it absolutely awesome to have two industry people to interrogate all to ourselves.
Well, the question about the role of demo teams came up. Kelley spoke about the importance of their role, and specifically about The Wrecking Crew. This prompted me to ask what the role of senior demo team entailed and how it differed from other demo teams.
The answer blew my mind. After picking up what was left of my mind after her answer, I sat there shell-shocked again. It entailed things like the team they had as senior was not up to par and were getting complaints from both players and White Wolf employees. Out of the other official demo teams, Dave’s reputation was the best. He made sure to get paperwork in on time, his team was profession, his team bathed… things like that. Kelley had nothing but good things to say about Dave and his team, which, included me now. Blink. Blink. Blink.
This GenCon, was even more awesome than my first one – and I got to get out and sit in on panels too!
Kelley Barnes has been made HR director, and Shane Defreest is now our handler. He said some really awesome things about us over here in this article on the Grand Masquerade. It’s hard to believe that includes me. This still has a very surreal feeling to it. The fangirl and the cynic war with each other in me on a daily basis.
Which leaves me with a list of pure awesomeness that has come about since returning to the Wrecking Crew:
- I get to do volunteer work for my absolute first and favorite RPG game company.
- My name is in the play-tester credits for Geist the Sin-Eater.
- I have my foot in the (back) door into an industry that is hard to get into.
- I’ve been to GenCon, twice, and I only had to pay for my plane tickets.
- Gaming conventions are free, as a general rule.
- I’ve been stopped and asked questions by VIPs at conventions just because I’m wearing the Wrecking Crew t-shirt.
- I’ve meet some awesome fans from around the world.
- I have fans.
- I have been asked for my autograph.
- I get to go to New Orleans!!!
I have a new hobby – as if I need any more, really.
I have been making fondant birthday cakes for my friends and family, and since we are all geeks, most of the cakes have been a reflection of that fact.
The first fondant cake I did was for my daughter’s 12th birthday. I made my own fondant out of the marshmallow-powdered sugar recipe. Quite frankly, it was a pain in the ass. In the end, it turned out alright. Not a total wreck for a first try.
The second fondant cake I did was for the Wrecking Crew’s alpha’s birthday. Pictures of that will be forthcoming, but it was a simple white background, with a wavy band of red at the base, blood drops, and the crew logo on top of it hand carved out piece by piece and layered. I also made marbled d-10’s to scatter on top of it out of the fondant. We were all amused by it.
The third fondant cake was for my daughter’s boyfriend’s birthday. He’s a NASCAR fan, so I did a simple race track and fondant racing cars.
The next two cakes were for my twin brothers. One of them really likes Tinkerbell, the other one is an old school gamer. (Note: I am still learning the ins and outs of WordPress.com. I cannot for the life of me get the slideshow or the gallery not to show the other pictures in the post. Grr!)
One year later, my last attempt was for my daughter’s 13th birthday. This year it was Invader Zim.
I have learned quite a lot about cakes, frosting and fondant with just those six cakes. I have learned that:
- It’s really fun, but I will never be a professional at this (and I really would not want to be).
- Commercial fondant bought at Michael’s Arts and Crafts is much easier to work with than marshmallow fondant, and tastes better.
- To spray the plastic molds with Pam before squishing fondant into them. Otherwise, just do white chocolate and colored white chocolate.
- The type of cake you use matters greatly. Do not get the extra pudding in the mix cakes. If at all possible, just bake complete from scratch instead of using a box. The home-made cake stands up to having the heavy layers of fondant on top.
- Simple ideas can come out more elegant than first envisioned.
- The notes you find about the fondant reflecting every imperfection in the frosting – absolutely true.
Still, all that matters is that those I have made them for absolutely loved them despite my lack of skill.
Today I felt the wonderful storm deep in my bones and joints. My hip aches making it difficult to walk, let alone attempt the stairs more than necessary.
The storm was quite interesting. Looking out into the backyard, I had to twist my neck a bit to see the storm cloud that was over my house because otherwise, it was nothing but blue skies and sunshine. The grey brick walls were only slightly sprinkled with rain which they soaked up almost immediately leaving almost no trace of the moisture. Above, the thunder was strong enough to rattle the windowpanes.
Hum, I thought, and moved to the front of the house and opened up the front door then immediately shut it. It was raining buckets and in the space of a few seconds, the front of the yard and the street were literally flooded. Ah, I thought to myself, I need to go rescue the tortoise from out back because of how bad it is, and his type does not do well with a lot of moisture. When I get back there, I see only sunshine and blue skies and the tortoise looking at me expectantly for his lunch.
It only takes a few seconds from the back door to the front door. I go back to the front door, open it, and shut it again. Yep, still raining buckets. I pause in the kitchen, midway between the two points, grab some vegetables for the tortoise and feed him when I step out back. Yep again, still fairly dry.
I amused myself for the next ten minutes or so standing in the middle of the house looking out the front window then the back patio door.
Rain, wind, thunder, lightning and dark, ominous clouds on one side… blue skies and sunshine the other side.
I can be easily amused at times, I admit.
Although I also admit, it was absolutely perfect weather for me. I had a raging storm and bright sunshine, all at once. It just depended on if I went out the front door or the back. The only downside to this is that I feel the damp in my joints and bones. The only consolation to that is that this is a temporary situation (or should be) and that once a few things happen, most of my health issues will resolve itself.
Meanwhile, I still have a smile on my face as I think: front, back, front, back. I foresee this little weather phenomena working its way into a game session at some point.
Speaking of games, I wrote up and send in my second proposal today for an SAS for White Wolf. I did so while I am still on a high and glowing from GenCon – meaning that I had the courage to do so.
With GenCon behind us, the Grand Masquerade draws neigh and one that the few of us that get to go to are looking forward to. However, that is not the only convention in our future, as we are also doing RinCon which is only a few weeks after the Grand Masquerade.
Another one of the Wrecking Crew mentioned the word podcast today. I had already been thinking about it, and to be honest, doing this blog is just a precursor to other projects I had in mind – like a podcast. It is good to know that I’m not the only member of the Crew thinking along similar lines.
The potential and possibilities ahead of me make me smile. Not the same smile that the front-back weather though, that one is more along the lines of someone in need of serious mental help.