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Jeeves & Wooster

Today I went to see Jeeves & Wooster: Perfect Nonsense, which is a play running on the West End. 

I had my doubts that Jeeves and Wooster would work as a play, in the same way as while I liked the Fry & Laurie versions a lot, I always felt that the translation away from the narrator removed too much of what made the stories great. The play is awesome. It maintains the metanarrative by turning the whole thing into a story Wooster is telling, which makes the telling of the story – which is a farce – a farce in and of itself. Mark Heap is currently playing Jeeves, and is doing masterfully, and while I’m not absolutely convinced of Robert Webb’s Wooster, it’s certainly an excellent performance. Very much recommended if you can see it in London, and probably also worth seeing if you can see it when it goes on tour later this year

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Empire Year 2, Event 1

Empire happened. My pedometer is happy with me, and wishes for me to know that I walked thirty miles over the course of Thursday to Monday. My boots agree. 

It had low bar to clear to be my Best Empire Ever, and cleared it high. I was asked to take over the admin-side of the Senate system, which I think I did successfully. I enjoyed being able to advise player characters on how best to use the political powers they have, and I believe it was a good start. I felt useful and appreciated, which is always nice. But also, some of the process changes and conversations can help make the game better for the players, rather than instruct the players on how best to play the elysian ideal of the game.

I enjoyed the game a lot, but part of the new systems involved sacrificing my fun and energy for the betterment of the game and players, and my major aim is to claw some of that back – not all, because the trade of some or all of character agency, fun and energy for game, player betterment and meal tickets are pretty much the definition of crewing, but I’d like to whittle down the amount of crazy it takes to do my bits to the point where someone else is willing to if I’m not there.

The game went really well from our perspective, I think. Gate & GOD especially seemed to be running like oiled clockwork, Site seemed to be almost entirely ahead of where players were likely to need them, and the organised chaos of Plot appeared to be getting everything out. There are lessons learned, tweaks to be made, conversations to be had; but it looks like the game as a whole is starting to find it’s stride.

(Photo by Charlotte Moss)

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“Dear Landlord, the boiler? That was broken? And then was bodged fixed? Yeah, that’s not working again. Also the immersion heater’s fucked, and – and this is a really low priority, for some time when someone’s free – the extractor fan in the bathroom’s kaput”

“THE EXTRACTOR FAN, YOU SAY? I SHALL PUT MY TOP MAN ON IT”

And so I’m working from home today…

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‘I’m Gonna Win’ by Rob Cantor
It’s been this kind of week.

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Tabletop 3, Indiegogo, and the perversion of the Kickstarter concept

Tabletop is awesome, and @wilwheaton does a fantastic job of making board games presentable and apparently fun (I’ve bought a few games because they’ve appeared on TT)

Yesterday they annouced a fundraiser for Tabletop S3, and that would be great too.

However, Indiegogo’s flexible funding is a perversion of the Kickstarter-style ethos, and entirely breaks it as a funding model, and Indiegogo themselves are terrifying.

The Kickstarter Model is great for projects that need some funding to actually get going. Occulus Rift is a great example of this, and almost all the popular things on Kickstarter are awful ones. The theory is that you need X dollars to make this happen, and Y dollars to make it awesome. Less than X dollars means it doesn’t happen, and more than Y dollars makes it more awesome. It’s really simple, and there lies the basis for a good system.

This means it’s great for things like Tabletop S3, or even the Rift, which will work if there is a market for the things it produces, but if it doesn’t, it will fail. This is fine, because either the money is there, the consumers are willing, the market is stable, or it isn’t. Kickstarter stops you having to invest money in something that Just Won’t Work no matter how much it looks like it should, and as a veteran of several startup companies, I am aware that this is a really useful bit of information.

It also means that if goal X isn’t reached, if the market says “Good, but not worth my cash”, the thing doesn’t get the money. If X is what it needs to happen, there is no point in getting half X, or 85% of X. What happens if they do? If you’re willing to do a crappy version for 85% of X, change your value of X, and make the awesome version a higher goal.

The big difference between IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, as a backer (and I’ll admit I have a Kickstarter Problem) is the Flexible Funding model, where no matter if the project gets 85% of X, half X, or even barely enough to get a cup of coffee, they still get the money.

What’s their responsibility at that point? Are they obliged to deliver on everything they said in the video, only on the coffee-cup budget?

There’s no recourse either, really. The Paypal for an Indiegogo campaign goes directly to the coffers of the funder, so if the project doesn’t reach X, you’d have to petition the project for a refund, who might be a shell company for a Russian company, for example.

And when I say “for example”, I mean “in the example of the Healbe Gobe”, which is a device that can measure your heart rate, calorie burn, and calorie intake, magically.

I say magically, because I can’t find any scientific basis for this, and neither can anyone else, and despite being on track for raising about $1,000,000, IndieGogo have no interest in doing anything about it.

So while I love Tabletop, and love the Kickstarter model of funding, and some of those backer rewards look awesome, I can’t support IndieGoGo and especially anything using their Flexible Funding model.

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Taking Stock

A year and a bit ago, I roasted a chicken (Stabbed a lemon, half-sliced it, put a bay leaf inside the lemon, put the lemon inside the chicken, put the chicken inside the oven, waited a bit) and then made stock from the remains.

Actually, I put the remains in a saucepan of cold water with some vegetables and then left it for several hours, after which I was alerted to a horrible burning smell, the smoke alarm went off, and the kitchen stank of burning bones for days.

About six months ago, I roasted a chicken (Herbs inside and out, bacon over the back, covered in tin-foil and thrown in the oven) and then made stock from the remains.

Actually, I put the remains in a saucepan of cold water with some vegetables and then left it for a while, then went to bed, and was alerted by my partner waking me up to ask if I’d meant to leave the stove on, and that it was running out of water.

Yesterday, I roasted a chicken (Stabbed a lemon, put it in the chicken, onions around the roasting tray, season the back for crispier skin) and then today I made stock from the remains.

Actually, I put the remains in a saucepan of cold water with some vegetables and then left it for a while, then remembered I had done this, and filtered the stock out from the saucepan into heat-proof bowl (As Certified By Nigella) and was just throwing the hot carcass into the bin when, with an alarming snap, the bowl cracked down the side like the scar of Harry Potter and deposited the fresh stock all over the countertop and the floor below.

I think I’ll go back to Oxo cubes for a while.