I’m going to have to start containing myself on the freebies. Between stripped books and advance copies, working at a bookstore has the potential for accumulating truly stupid amounts of printed material, and so far I’m not doing too well at resisting temptation.
I’ve been working at chewing through my reading backlog, though; I’m making an effort to read for at least half an hour every day, which is a nice way to break up the massive stretches of writing.
Yesterday I finished En Garde, which is an ancient swashbuckling RPG from GDW — indeed, so ancient that I hesitate to call it an RPG. It’s more of a dueling wargame onto which has been built a swashbuckling simulation. It is, however, truly a wonderful game — chock full of that robustness that modern game designers are always trying to get back to when they try to get retro. It hurls together swashbuckling cliches from a dozen different sources; how can you not love a game where you can choose between serving in the Royal North Highland Border Regiment and the Gascon Regiment? It handles fencing, gentleman’s clubs, mistresses, regimental politics, mass combat, and court intrigue in a little handbook smaller than any modern game product of which I am aware. (It really makes me want to run a swashbuckling LARP, but that is not an idea to entertain just now.)
Last night at Kepler’s we had in some of the folks from MoveOn.org to talk about their new book, 50 Ways to Love Your Country. It was an interesting crowd. Mostly older folks, which I suppose is to be expected from the graying leftism of the Peninsula. We tend to get a relatively older crowd anyway; Candace Bushnell was the only author I’ve seen get significant numbers of younger folks, though I think David Sedaris had a relatively youthful crowd. More interestingly, the crowd was probably about 80 percent women. I’m not sure what to make of that. I hypothesize that my own experience with leftist activism suggests that a lot of leftist groups tend to greet newcomers with an armload of uninspiring grunt work, which I’ve seen turn off a bunch of guys who really just wanted to be the guy on the barricades with the big-ass flag*, but not so many of the women. I can’t really back that up, though.
Entertainingly, no sooner had the event wrapped up than the attendees got up and starting helping fold chairs. That’s never happened at any other event.
Finally, I got a raise! Successful completion of the training period earns you an extra pittance — I think it’s something like 3 percent. It ain’t gonna make me rich, but it’s better than a kick in the head.
*Yeah, including me. In my case, I was really turned off by the Amway model of political action; I wanted to do something, not recruit more recruiters.