November Spawned a Monster

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Heh. Oh man, has it really been almost a year since my last post? A lot of stuff has happened in the interim… it’s been almost a year since a seizure episode put me in the hospital, and my neurological problems took center stage in life. The less said on that front the better, but I’ll leave it at my not really being able to write (or do anything) productively. Thus, not much blogging.

On the positive tip, I am no longer working, and while I am still unable to do much, at least I am safe and able to focus on getting better, and perhaps with that relief some of the creative juices are flowing now. A good friend and colleague moved to my city, and we have hatched a diabolical literary project. Amelia is in school now, and loving it. Olive is a sweetheart, and while I can’t really watch her during the day, we are having great times together.

With school in play, Amelia has less cognitive space for CotEotM, so I’m working her back into it. Her art, however is taking off by leaps and bounds. I can’t speculate on when CotEotM will be out, but work continues apace. I’ve done some refinements on the tone which I hope will not only keep it fun but help it stand out from other kids’ RPGs that stay pretty safely in the domain of stock fantasy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I gotta let my freak flag fly.

Well, that’s it. A pretty stock update. Hopefully more to come soon!

Brightlight Pillow review

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Well, call me forgetful, but when I accepted the review opportunity for this product I didn’t realize we already had one. To be honest, I don’t pay much attention to some of the many cute/princessy brands that Amelia brings home. To be extra honest, my brain is also filled with all sorts of useless trivia, so there isn’t that much room for new stuff.

“Murphy, I think it’s time I forgot FDR’s hat size.” Image credit standupcomedyclinic.com.

So it turns out we had a Brightlight Pillow- the pink heart that lights up red- and Amelia already loved loved loved it. It fulfilled both functions- snuggles and nightlight- more than adequately, and the battery life was surprisingly long.

So what to do with another Brightlight Pillow? Well, as noted before we have a recent addition to the family. We’ll let her give some appraisal of the product.

“What. Is. This?

“I find your proposal… acceptable.”

So, final thoughts on the Brightlight Pillow? Cute and awesome. Great battery life. Well worth it.

Get your Brightlight Pillow at www.brightlightpillow.com.

Microtouch Switchblade review

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MicroTouch Switchblade™ As Seen On TV

Like I said, I needed to take on a couple of review opportunities to give me a kick in the pants for blogging. I’m not going to make it too commercial, but enjoy these for what they are.

So, the Microtouch Switchblade.

I may not have mentioned it, but I am always a sucker for things that combine multiple functions. I still have the well-battered Swiss Army Knife from when I was a kid. The Switchblade certainly seemed to fit the bill, so I was excited to give it a try.

When it arrived I popped it out of the ol’ packaging, was momentarily impressed with the orange/gray industrial style that men’s personal effects seem to have these days, and tried it out.

The “switchblade” action is certainly smooth, if not 100% intuitive at first. The motor purred along and seemed to have quite a bit of power out of the gate, but…

Disclosure time. This is what my beard looks like:

Haters gonna hate.

I put blade to beard and tried to do a little trimming. Nothing. In order to trim my beard, I had to grab the hair, pull it down, and hack away with the Microtouch Switchblade like it was a machete. After ending up with a suitable trim, I was flummoxed. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what this product was for. At first I thought, well, maybe it’s for businessmen who are traveling. But while the Switchblade is very compact, if you were in a hotel room you could just bring a regular razor with an AC plugin.

This stymied me for a while, and I’m sure I drove my IDV contact nuts with waiting.

Then… of course my wife came to the rescue. Kayla is insightful. I mean, I’m a novelist, for crap’s sake, but she really cuts to the quick. She explained to me that this product was not for me- i.e., a relative homebody with a ginormous beard.

How bearded homebodies shave. Image credit, Kukri House.

The Microtouch Switchblade is for active men on the go- it’s not for attempting to tame a mountain man beard, it’s for doing a quick touch-up on your face before a job interview. Or a quick touch-up on the old bod before a hot date. For those purposes it is 100% spot on. The Microtouch Switchblade’s compact size- so initially baffling- completely makes sense now. 

Final verdict? If it fits your needs, absolutely great. I also notice that when bought retail it comes with a little Dopp kit (I did not receive one with my review copy). With that included, absolutely worth the price for utility, and would make more than acceptable gift for the man in your life.

Get a Microtouch Switchblade at www.getswitchblade.com.

Quick notes

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Oh man, I have been getting busy on CotEotM. Lots of good stuff to share soon, and some cute and cool announcements as well.

One minor point of business, I am going to be dipping a bit more into the parenting side of things, and doing some product reviews. Now that I’m not editing Crappy Indie Music anymore, I’m looking for something a little more pressing to keep my hand in.  

See you soon!

We’ve decided on a system: FATE

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Chibi Fallout by Momo-deary

Well, just trying to get some small updates out here and there. Obviously, things are a bit busy around the house, but work continues.

After reviewing things a bit and consulting with the good ol’ grognards at The Den, I have decided that CotEotM is going to have FATE as a system. This is good for a number of reasons- it’s not a very crunchy game, so people can create characters and complete challenges without needing to know calculus; it’s been proven to work on a number of commercial releases (Dresden Files RPG, Spirit of the Century); there’s a thriving homebrew scene; and most importantly, a free license. So I’m officially stoked, and a great load has fallen off my shoulders as far as that goes.

It’s still going to need some work- streamlining things to make it easier for little sprouts, introducing some fun mechanics, etc.- I already have an idea for a couple that will help shy players interact- so far I’m calling them the “Spotlight” and “Teamwork” tokens.

With all that in mind, I’m already working on the fun, important stuff- worldbuilding, character options, and all that. I’ll post more when it’s done. A major breakthrough I thought I’d share was creating a viewpoint character: Amelia the Destroyer. That was Amelia’s author avatar since day 1, and I am keeping the character’s theme, while also deciding that she is going to be the star of some “journal entries” that I’ll use to introduce different parts of the game world.

I also managed to reconcile the “Destroyer” title. Previously it was just a funny title, but one of the scenarios I came up with is a more kid-friendly riff on the “Berserker” series, whose author Fred Saberhagen is a big influence on CotEotM (by way of Empire of the East and the Books of Swords). Essentially, when human warrior Amelia brutally defeated a force of invading Destroyers, they gifted her with the title of “Destroyer” as a worthy adversary. That might be a Predator riff too- I should ask John Shirley if that was one of the books he wrote. Anyway, read my favorite Berserker story here, from Saberhagen’s publisher, and make sure to check out those series.

Last but not least… I’ve been into kawaii and chibi lately. Amelia has as well- she’s been using some online generators and going to town. I’m thinking the illustrations- whether the are done by myself or a real artist- will be in the style. It will help soften some of the edge that is native to this genre. Here’s Amelia the Destroyer, chibi-style by me:

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Antipaladin Blues

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Well, it’s been a long time coming. I started worldbuilding almost 25 years ago as a young lad DMing for my friends. The first draft was started 10 years ago, then set aside for a few years. I signed a contract for this to become the first in a trilogy 5 years ago, and now after death, divorce, disease, despair, and destruction…

Antipaladin Blues has been released.

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ImageCongrats me!

Sorry for the lack of updates- we’ve been busy having a baby. My wife Kayla was induced because of diabetes, and little Olive Adelaide Gulbranson was born with a bit of breathing difficulty. After that she got some jaundice, and had to spend a day or so under the creepy blue lights- thus the awesome cyberpunk mask she is wearing above. Amelia is a proud and helpful big sister- she was starting to show signs of being a little stressed out, but has stuck by her promises of wanting to kiss and love and take care of baby Olive.

So… back on the horse! Some other announcements to be made, and some business to take care of.

Congrats me!Sorry for the lack of updates- we’ve