Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.



A shout out to all my Finnish brethren, happy Vappu everyone!

Here's a little about Vappu in Finland:

From Finland.com
From Wikipedia
From Metafilter

Importantly: Vappu without drinking is like Christmas without presents.

Unfortunately I don't have any student caps and I think I'm short on overalls, too. However, since it's game night around Chez Ronin this evening, drinking shouldn't be too hard to manage. In fact, I still have some of the booze I brought back from our Ropecon trip and have been hoarding. What a perfect time to break it out, hot on the heels of having "oily" Finnish beer and Salmiakki drinks at Copper Gate (careful, link contains boobies) in Ballard last week!

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Where did April go?

Wow, I've definitely been AWOL on the blog front for the last several months but April has to be the worst blog month in my history of blogging!

I suppose it all started back in 2008. Many things popped up to cause me stress and anxiety last year. There were multiple family health problems and crises. There were challenges, irritations, and difficulties with the business that went beyond the sorts of things I've come to expect in my two decades of hobby game industry experience. Friends changed jobs, split up, and/or moved away which shook up every aspect of our lives from work to play. Even our game group was decimated and barely continues to lurch forward, zombie-like, with the two members who remain and like to at least come over fro dinner and drinks even if we can't agree on a game to play. Someone I thought I'd heard the last of over twenty years ago made a very unwelcome return to my life and stirred up a lot of horrific memories that I'd been perfectly content to leave deeply buried, untouched and unexamined. Even my food blogging all but stopped after my camera was stolen from Kate and we found our increased life expenses contracted our dining budget. 2008 was my year of withdrawal.

I thought I was starting to come out of it a little but then I looked at the calendar today and realized April has gone. The first week of April was Kate's spring break and I tried to spend a little extra time with her because I'm aware the days where she thinks it's fun to hang out with her old mom are probably numbered. The following week I took Kate to Sakura*Con here in Seattle while Chris flew the flag out at Norwescon, then as soon as that was over I flew out to Las Vegas for the GAMA Trade Show. Back to Seattle where I had to handle everything I didn't get to before I left, those things that came up while I was gone, and generally just catch up. In the midst of all this I finally got my painful arm problem diagnosed (combo of rotator cuff impingement and tendinitis, yay hooray) but the "try this for six weeks before we escalate to MRIs and surgery" therapy hasn't yielded any results at all for me so far and I am still in pain. Carrying a basket of laundry, twisting a tight lid off a jar, or even just vigorously chopping something for a recipe sets it off and that's meant that I've had to pull way back in both yoga and weight training, two things I was really enjoying and seeing good results from. Sadness. In much happier news, Kate was accepted to Rock Band Camp for Girls and I just need to figure out how exactly we're going to get there and where we're going to stay (as it's a day camp only) but she's one happy girl and we're all very proud of her.

Last weekend Kate and I visited the Portland area. I had plenty to do down there but wasn't sure we'd pull of the visit until the night before we left. I was able to get a deal on a hotel through Hotwire and a cheap last-minute rental car. We packed a lot in: visited with my doctor brother before he leaves for Haiti to do doctor things for the summer, stopped in on an old friend from my junior high/high school years, connected with one of The Moms and her daughter (a nationally ranked fencer who was competing in Portland over the weekend), and paid a short visit to my mother and her husband, the first time I've been down since he had a stroke a month ago.

Now April is nearly gone and here comes May. Tomorrow is the first Columbia City Farmer's Market. The days are longer again and it's about time to shake off this introspection and withdrawal, I think.

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An Open Letter to Marcus King

Dear Marcus,

I awoke this morning to see Green Ronin called out on the front page
of ICv2 as part of your commentary on PDF pricing,(
http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/14705.html ). Spurred by the Wizards
of the Coast sudden decision to discontinue all PDF sales of their
products, Green Ronin announced we were putting ONE product (our
True20 Core Book) on sale for $9.99. You ask "...would you also like
to drop the MSRP of your True20 core book to $9.99 -- so that your
distribution and retail partners can continue to support that title,
and your line?"

The answer to that question, sir, is NO. First of all, the retail
price of the True20 PDF is $17.95 while the retail price of True20
Adventure Roleplaying in printed format is $29.95. If we put the book
on sale for $9.99 we would lose money on every book sold. If my
distribution and retail partners need me to lose money on every book
in order to "continue to support that title" that's the kind of
"support" I can't afford. Secondly, this is a temporary sale in
response to ongoing events and changes in the marketplace. If you are
concerned that a $9.99 PDF if the rules is going to seriously undercut
your business as your price-conscious customers flock to buy electrons
during the sale, I would point to the True20 Pocket Player's Guide
which we've had available for sale since December 2006, at a retail
price of $14.95, put out to appeal to those very same price-conscious
consumers. I will also point out that Green Ronin has, and will
continue to, offer sales and special incentives to the hobby tier and
I know for a fact that you and your store have benefited from those
because I personally helped you move stacks of books to your GenCon
booth in advance of our industry-wide sale on our d20-logo products.

So, when I read "...I am insulted that my friends, my business
"partners" or "publishing suppliers" value another sales channel so
much that they would make a special effort to support that channel
over the one I have worked in for 20+ years, and hope to work in for
another 20" I will tell you that I match your insult. I am insulted
that you feel a sale in response to a marketplace occurrence entitles
you to some sort of cut, somewhere, regardless. You characterize our
sale as valuing another sales channel but that is not at all true. To
use an analogy, if you have a sale on your HD DVDs and a customer
complains that they "deserve" a discount on the BluRay DVDs, do they
get one? Are you valuing your HD customers over your BlueRay
customers, or are you responding to the conditions of the marketplace
(in which BluRay sales substantially outstrip HD sales)?

As Green Ronin's General Manager I reserve the right to set the price
of our products as we see fit and to engage in marketing and promotion
for my company and our products. I don't attempt to micromanage our
relationships with our distribution and retail partners and I would
appreciate the same respect.

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