Discolor Online

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


Origins Awards Comments

I started writing a long response to mxyzplk's post about the Origins Awards here, but then thought to myself "Hey, this could be a blog post of my own!" so I'm posting it to my own much neglected blog as such instead.

Thanks for the kudos on Freeport! We are, of course, quite proud of the product around GR HQ but recognized we were up against some stiff competition. IMHO, Paradigm Concepts is one of the most overlooked companies to come out of the d20 boom. We realized early on that our companies were made up of kindred spirits (a bit of trivia for you: GR's Chris Pramas and Paradigm's Henry Lopez share the same birthday... though a few years apart). Back in the days when many companies were trying to come out with material that covered much of the same d20 ground, Green Ronin and Paradigm announced virtually identical product plans on the same day. Instead of getting all adversarial, we decided to try to harness some of that mutual enthusiasm and we tried a line of co-operative companion books with the OGL Interlink logo (foreshadowing our more successful M&M Superlink and True20 licenses).

I'm not surprised at all that Paradigm was able to walk away with some well-deserved kudos at Origins. Early in the d20 cycle when we found ourselves at a crossroads, Green Ronin decided to put our efforts into getting more of our ideas out into products for the market, while Paradigm devoted a tremendous amount of time to their organized play program and building Arcanis (more trivia, Arcanis is one of the earliest third-party homes to Freeport).

Anyway, Origins has always been a good show for Paradigm and their Arcanis supporters. Since the Origins Awards are now voted on by the Origins attendees, it makes sense that Paradigm is finally getting a little love back. They've been shamefully overlooked in the larger marketplace over the years as they poured more of their resources into organized play and creating a community of Arcanis supporters. Congratulations to them on their Origins Award this time around!

Regarding Faery's Tale Deluxe vs. Grimm in this year's awards, I laugh because Grimm (the d20 version of this designed by Green Ronin favorite Rob "Dr. Evil" Schwalb) is a fairy-tails-gone-wrong kind of setting, while Farey's Tale Deluxe (by Firefly Games' owner Patrick Sweeney) is a sweet and lovely faeries-bring-out-the-best game aimed at youngsters (and those willing to play straight-facedly sweet and "good" faery characters). Made for quite the diverse range when it came to voting, I'm sure (and guessing that the 6- to 9-year-old set weren't getting out the vote at Origins). Heh.

Anyway, certainly an interesting year at the Origins Awards. We were happy to net a win for Hobby Games: the 100 Best.

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Book Expo

I'm off to Book Expo America and I won't be back until after midnight Sunday. What are the chances that I'll have time for blogging while I'm there?

I'll do my best to update. Hopefully I'll at least have some new restaurant experiences to share at least!

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Kate is still in BC. I drive to pick her up tomorrow. Weather should no longer be an impediment.

My mom called my cell phone tonight and scared the crap out of me because she never calls unless there's some horrible news (or it's my birthday... whether that's horrible news or not varies from year to year). She was just calling to check on us because of all the news reports about the weather. Weather where she is has been bad but she's personally safe and sound.

Chris and I ate out tonight at the "Steelhead Diner. The beet tartare (yes, BEET not BEEF) was outstanding and the porcini linguine was a great match to the Jigsaw Pinot Noir the waiter recommended. Chris said his chicken sandwich was also quite good. Even though it's the Market (and therefore touristy and rather expensive) I would go back. In fact, I look forward to it.

We then caught a show at the Showbox SODO (formerly the "new" location of the Phoenix Underground which itself was formerly of Pioneer Square) and saw Flogging Molly, who put on an excellent show. We missed hearing who the other opening Celtic-punk band was (they of the wild-haired accordion player). In between Celtic-punk bands we heard Murder by Death whose Wikipedia entry claims they play "an eclectic range of music, from eight minute ethereal instrumentals, to driving punk rock, to alt-country" but at this show they played everything in one dirge-like down-tempo "Morphine with all the goodness stripped away" manner. I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for a couple of songs but by the end I was answering e-mail on my cell phone and begging for it to end. I wanted to like them, to be charitable, but I just couldn't. What downers Murder by Death were! They claimed they were going to "shred" for one of their songs but it could only be considered shredding if by "shred" you mean "beat to death in slow motion under water". As Chris quipped, "I've seen cheese 'shred' faster." Well, anyway, the Mollies put on a good show to an enthusiastic and packed house. I'd never been to Showbox SODO before... it seems a little too classy for punk shows but I enjoyed the venue (and 2/3 of the bands) just fine.

I was going to stay up late upon returning home to sort out some nagging issues for the company that aren't related to the ongoing utter hell I've been living with regard to Miva, Quickbooks, 6000 individual customer entries, several hundred SKUs and 8000 individual orders that need my personal attention in two separate virtual locations in order to be at peace with the world. I've tried very hard to maintain the separation between the "work day" and my private life, which is so, so hard to do when I'm "at work" virtually every waking hour (and doing stupid things like checking my e-mail on my cell phone when I'm supposedly "off" work). No exaggeration, I could work for Green Ronin every waking hour, every single waking hour, and still not get everything done that I "need" to get done... especially when dealing with things like this stupid web store break down or delinquent distributor accounts or products being listed as "unavailable" with Amazon when they're in print and in stock (and have been for months or years in some cases or...or...or...

I'd better stop now before I do or say something I'm going to regret. Tomorrow will come soon enough and I can always work myself to death then. Tonight, for what's left of it, I will try to sleep and maybe not wake up ridiculously early in the morning with fucking stress dreams. It hasn't worked terribly well so far but hey, one can hope.

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Deliveries: the continuing saga

Kudos to Macy's! They gave me the date for my delivery up front. They called with the time the day before, just like they said they would.The delivery guys arrived on time and had my couch unloaded, in the house, and set up in 10 minutes. No fuss, no trouble. It's exactly
what I wanted, where I wanted, and when I wanted. Even made in theUSA. Yay Macy's!

I flip the double bird to Whirlpool, though! After giving me the wrong date originally and then standing me up and making me wait anotherweek, scheduling me for delivery yesterday in a time slot that I couldn't accept, after offering me the 3-7pm time slot tonight... they showed up! On time! I met the two guys at the door and suggested that they might have an easier time of it if they pulled around back and happily said that yes, this was going to work great... they took my
washer off the truck, unwrapped it and IT WAS DAMAGED. They couldn'tdeliver it after all because it was dented in in the back! OMG, can you believe this?!

The guy was very cautious with me when breaking the news. I don't know if he expected me to go ballistic or what. I'm pretty sure all the people at the local delivery center know my name by now. I shocked him because I just started laughing. I couldn't help it... it's gotten SO ridiculous at this point. He promised me that he would get back to the person at the office and they'd get something worked out for me, yadda yadda. And, to his credit, he seems to have called her right away because I just got a call from a very dour woman who also clearly expected to be read the riot act or something, too. She is going to "get the order to drop first thing" with the ordering people in Memphis so that they can have a washer for me tomorrow, somehow, and "if we have to have someone bring it by in a pick up truck, that's what we'll do." So they say.

Meanwhile, Steve at Miva Merchant continues to get high, high marks for customer service. After three weeks of chipping away at my Miva Synchro problem tonight marked what appears to be the end of the ordeal. I've successfully synched the 8000 orders that couldn't synch before, I've also updated all outstanding customer and product information. They've also gotten our conversion to the new payment processor set up. I just have to familiarize myself with all the bells and whistles. Tomorrow I can begin the long-delayed "step two" of my "fix the Internet" plan...bwah ha ha ha ha.

Now I'm going to open a bottle of wine, zap my new Nature Creation shoulder wrap in the microwave for a minute, and snuggle down on my new couch to watch some TiVo.

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Back to work! Best thing about post-summit activity is that the summit always reinvigorates me. Decisions have been made, directions chosen. I have things to do and starting something fresh (even if it's an old project that has a new set of decisions applied to it) is where I do my best work. I love the possibilities laid out before me at the start of things.

Another good thing about post-summit: leftovers! Hooray for leftovers. I will eat well at lunch this week.

Chris informs me that his parents aren't coming to town until next week, so I have a week to recover. This is excellent news. I may need at least one day of working from "the soft office" (to steal from Steve and Christopher) before I'm ready for the full treadmill of daily life.

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Busy Day

In addition to generally catching up on things work-related (or at least making some headway), I also:
  • confirmed my brother is not dead in a ditch somewhere, just swamped with his surgical rotation
  • made a dentist appointment for Kate (can't get in until November 19th!)
  • made a doctor's appointment for Kate (needs immunizations updated)
  • arranged with my mom to send Kate to her house for Labor Day Weekend visit
  • made three Flexcar reservations
  • arranged to return Kate's defective shoes to Land's End (second try with these, same problem both times, getting a refund this time)
  • took Kate to 6th Grade Orientation at her new school building
  • went grocery shopping for the first time in weeks
I still have to arrange to have our washing machine fixed, replace the garbage disposal, and mow the weeds before the HOA notices them, but I really felt like I made some progress today. I'm very much looking forward to being home, eating my own food, sleeping in my own bed for a while.

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Will it be a month of no lunches?

Ah, 4:10pm and once again I've had no lunch. It's not as bad as it could be, I guess, since I didn't have "breakfast" until noon...

Preparing for GenCon is always insane for us but this year seems to be worse than usual. I was a very bad girl this weekend as I didn't work but read the last Harry Potter book on Saturday instead. Of course, it's still a little over three weeks until GenCon and there's no way in hell I can work every single day between now and then and still have any sanity at all.

There are always the little inefficiencies that make things even more tedious and time-consuming, like the guy who titles his customer service request "Online Catalog". Does the subject "Online Catalog" scream out to be handled RIGHT NOW? Predictably, the message has nothing to do with the online catalog but with an order gone wrong and his increasing desperation to fix it... Or the people who contact me by fax (by FAX? Really?) which I don't notice (the Fax being in Chris's office on the second floor) until three days too late to respond. Or several of Chris's e-mails to us just flat never arriving.

The completely sucky un-summery weather so far this year (mostly 65-70 and rainy except for a blast of 95-100 for three days out of the blue) has done nothing at all positive for my disposition and being so busy that I forget to eat lunch is certainly not making me feel any better. Very growly and short-tempered about a lot of things right now. I want a sunny beach, a cabana boy, and some frozen drinks with little umbrellas. You can even keep the pony.

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Head above Water

Didn't mean to go several days without an update but I've been a tad busy. I had to ask what day it was today as this weekend has been packed. PACKED. Good stuff, though, work and play.

Friday I managed to get a new four-level bunny condo built before picking Steve up at the airport. A stop for lunch at Geraldine's Counter and then off to drop him at his hotel, back home to fine-tune the bunny habitat (and make sure there were no bunny escapes while I was out), picked Kate up, back to the airport to fetch Rob and off to join the Flying Lab folks at Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Nested our "corporate team building" event inside Flying Lab's corporate outing, ha! I knew I was in trouble when I was checking my watch barely half an hour into the movie. It was far better than PotC2 but I was still unengaged for most of the film. The fact that I was sitting directly behind a total asshole who deserved several punches in the back of the head didn't increase my enjoyment. I don't know what it was, why I wasn't immersed and enjoying it. Can't pick out one particular thing and all things individually were fine but somehow they didn't hold together into a fully enjoyable experience. I'm happy to put that series to bed, I think. After the film we walked over to Wild Ginger for some food and drink.

Yesterday we got a lot of great work done, I think. Nailed down a bunch of things, whittled away at some pressing problems. Very good work day, capped off by a visit to Ray's for grilled pizzas. Tim couldn't join us so Ray won the Pizza Throwdown by default. Jess and Shelby brought wine and cigars. While the guys were out on the porch with the cigars, I joined Kate and Shelby downstairs for a little Guitar Hero II. Evan and I teamed up for a little duet action before he had to head out. Quite a lot of fun, that game.

This morning I picked the fellows up and had the brilliant idea of taking them out for breakfast at Crave. I called beforehand to get an idea of whether I was flat out crazy to think that I could get 5 people in for breakfast there between 9 and 9:30 and was told they really had no idea but "things usually don't get hopping until around 10:00" and they don't take reservations, so I gave it a shot. We were there by 10 minutes after 9:00. By 9:15 we were told it would be half an hour wait. 45 minutes later we were finally seated, but then we didn't actually get any FOOD until another 40 minutes after that! In between us being seated and actually getting any food, another party of six that arrived half an hour after us were seated, ordered, finished their meal, and LEFT! Holy crap. It was a full two hours from when we arrived and when we left, and food was only on the table for about 15 minutes of that time. The food was okay. Some parts were very good (the overnight French toast was pretty good, the salmon from Chris's salmon and bagel was delicious) and some parts were fairly disappointing (my dutch baby was adequate, the bagel portion of Chris's breakfast was not so good, perhaps day old). We received plenty of coffee and our waitress was quite nice once we were finally acknowledged and seated, but I would not go out of my way to go to Crave again.

Another pretty solid day of work today, though we got a little punchy in the late afternoon and so broke off to do a little R&D and playtest some game submissions. Tonight dinner at Carmelita, which I'm very excited about. My previous trips to Carmelita have tended to be in the fall when seasonal ingredients tend to be in the squash/pumpkin/apple theme. I'm excited by the prospect of a Carmelita dinner that pulls from the spring palate.

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