Alexis D. Smolensk
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The Irrelevance of Birdman
I watched the film Birdman last night. Two years late and after two previous attempts to get past the first ten, very pretentious minutes. I would never have watched it at all, except that in the last two weeks I have seen Michael Keaton, an actor who might as well have been dead to me, turn up in two good films: Spiderman: Homecoming and The Founder. And so, I felt I should give Birdman another chance.
7 Things That Players Will Lust to Have
For years, I've been setting players up with adventures and watching them lust after things. All games need a reward, a mechanic that will get the players interested in taking a risk and struggle to succeed. In common parlance, a carrot to wave in on their face if it will make them haul the cart.
How to Keep Players in Your Campaign
You've known those Dungeon Masters. This is their campaign. They're in charge here. They've got their way of doing things and you better get used to it because that's how the game is played at this table. Want to run in their world? Get used to feeling their eye upon you; get used to a sharp rebuke for doing it wrong. Get ready to bend. Because if you want to play in this world, you're going to play the game their way.
Maps and Immersion
I have always found maps beautiful. The colors, the lines, the stark contrast between land and sea, the strange shapes of the earth . . . but in a greater sense, knowing that what's represented are millions of people, the shape, and pattern of their lives, the boundaries of their worlds, the mountains and beaches they travel to see, shown in perfect clarity. As a young boy, I used to run my fingers over my grandfather's globe, imagining what it would be like to visit each place. I still do that.
A Dissection of Garlic
All too often, much emphasis in culinary science is given to finding and using the best possible ingredients. Yet this is but the beginning; cooking is process more than anything ~ and as I have found in my years in kitchens, most cooks, even chefs of excellence, have little idea what that process is.
My Pussy Roomie
About a year ago, I became a boarder in a house with three cats. It isn't that I actively dislike cats; I am merely indifferent towards them, but I've had to live with the consequences of moving into what used to be Himeji's room— the young girl pictured above.
Acts of Faith
When I was a young, would-be writer and artist, like most others around me with the same aspirations, I thought success and achievement came from having talent and perspective. Wanting to be novelists and poets, painters and musicians, dancers and filmmakers, we worshiped talent in others and doubted it in ourselves. We saw the affectations of attitude and pretension in others and embraced those like a faith. We thought if we could find the talent and act the part, success would naturally follow.