Wednesday, December 19, 2007

RANT: The Cabbage Patch

I apologize in advance for this rant. It is the byproduct of not enough sleep and a farcical conversation during an otherwise-uneventful rehire committee meeting. Read on at your own risk.

America, you're really starting to piss me off with your solja boy dance and your one-two-step and your bumping and grinding. I think it's high time we got you back to your patriotic roots. For far too long, hips have been too close together or dance moves too choreographed. Not since the 70's have things been this lame. We need a hero, a saviour for modern times. We need something to ring in 2008 with a real dancing bang.

Friends and neighbors, we need to bring back the Cabbage Patch.

I know that you're scoffing, possibly laughing, at the return of such a ridiculous dance, but it needs to come back. WHITE PEOPLE CAN DO THIS DANCE. Hell, I can do this dance. It's easier than the Running Man, doesn't require any backspins, and it works for damn near any song. It also gives me carte blanche to use my fists to keep the skanks offa my junk while I'm trying to bust a move to the latest MC Chris jam. (If you don't know who MC Chris is, stop reading now and google him. His backpack has jets.)

So when the apple drops and the latest thing from rapper-o-the-day comes on, bust out some old school Cabbage Patch and get your groove on. Only you can help breathe new life into this dance.

Hey Macarena!

-The Caveman

Friday, December 07, 2007

RAVE: Bad Religion

Watch and learn...

Seriously, just stop thinking. Put on the ol' blinders and move forward toward some unknowable goal. The world will be fine so long as you don't notice, and even better if you just don't think.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

RANT: Manipulation & Subterfuge

So, I'm a bastard. I know it, admit it, and live it. I've been okay with it for quite sometime. Born fatherless, it seemed to be my lot in life. In the intervening years between birth and now, I've gotten pretty good at getting people to do what I want. It's really not that hard, and it has served me well on this long and winding road that we call life.

The problem with being good at something is that you get that much better at noticing when other people are doing it too - especially if they're doing it badly. Since my revolution is one of the mind and of thoughts, I figured I'd help out and offer some tips rather than just bitch about how crappy and transparent people that don't have a natural talent for this sort of thing really are. Read on if you want, but I have to warn you that I intend to be ridiculously arrogant, unrepentant, and downright mean.

Have some fucking principles. I can't stress this enough. You'll sleep better at night if there are certain lines that you just won't cross. Learn the limits of your conscience and set your lines a few notches back. You'll be glad you did when you can look yourself in the mirror in the morning and not want to retch. Me? I use my powers for good: helping people, making bad situations better, getting folks to think and grow, and generally trying to better my lot in life. I've been called a "Nice Machiavelli" and I'm rather proud of that distinction.

Learn to shut it off. If you're constantly playing politics and analyzing people, they become tools rather than real folks. Stepping stones if you will. Figure out who you don't need to be manipulative with or, better yet, start out honest with everyone and only switch gears when your hand is forced. Friends and lovers should be off limits, unless shallow and meaningless relationships are what you're looking for. This piece of advice will help because you can't fool someone forever, and if you spend enough time working your magic on someone, they'll eventually get wise and wind up resenting you.

Get a cat. I really mean this one. Few creatures in nature are as manipulative as felius catus and fewer still are as nice to have around. Get your cat young and watch how they train you from the get go. Sure, you'll get them to pee in the box, but they'll have the last laugh when you're late for work because you just have to stop and pet them.

Recognize your betters. If someone catches you or you find yourself being manipulated by someone else, accept it and learn from it. Don't keep it up if you get busted, but continue to submit on your own terms if you find yourself on the receiving end. In the first scenario, you only make it worse for yourself. In the second, you change the game and can start playing on your terms. Either way, you'll be better for it.

Honesty really is the best policy. Most of the time, you can get what you want by just asking for it. If you're forthright and honest, your reputation will carry you (and make people less likely to question you when you really do need to be manipulative). When you can, tell the truth and be transparent in your motivations. When you can't...

Lie. Lie. Lie. Go big. Tell a whopper that's three tiers deep. Then believe it yourself. Lie with sincerity so that you seem honest. Defend the lie. Make love to it. Keep it afloat until it rots and falters, then try to resurrect it. Apply bandages (read: more lies) when it oozes the puss of untruth. As soon as you fess up to a lie, you'll never be believed again, no matter what a stripper tells you. If you've resolved to tell a lie, ride it out to the bitter end. A bad lie can die, but grudges born from untruths rarely do.

Remember what I said about principles and honesty. I wrote that for a reason. You need to stick to your guns whenever possible, or you're just another lying scumbag.

Pick your fights. Win some, lose some. Engineering a few losses along the way that don't really hurt you sets the stage for bigger things later. Knowing when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, when to walk away, and when to run will help you look for win-wins that everyone really wants. Learning to lose graciously will set the stage for bigger wins in the future.

Don't step to me. If you're reading my advice on manipulation and putting some things into practice, then you'll remember to recognize your betters. I'm thinking three steps ahead and I'll usually see you coming before you even start wanking in my direction.

Good luck. You're going to need it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


So, last night I got together with a bunch of old friends and pretended to be an anarch in a classic WoD one-shot. We revisited the Convention of Thorns and reenacted it for the benefit of a friend's small tabletop group. Damn, it was fun.

It was the kind of fun that got me thinking about other games, ones I've been involved in executing and the ones that have risen up to replace it now that I'm no longer running the local live-action scene. Thinking on it even more (a welcome distraction from other stuff I've had to think about recently), I hearkened back to my days as a player in these games. In so doing, I came to a very important revelation.

Being entertaining trumps the accumulation of wealth and power, no contest.

D&D, the founding father of RPGs, has created what can best be deemed a hostile player-vs-gamemaster relationship. The players control characters in the relentless pursuit of points, power, and wealth while the gamemaster tries to inhibit those accumulations and (gods forbid) perhaps separate players and characters from some of the stuff they've accumulated in the name of challenge, story, and drama. Somewhere in there, the value of entertainment got lost in the shuffle, and the spirit of sitting around the campfire and sharing stories to entertain was corrupted.

As Bob Dylan would say, "Sure was a good idea, 'til greed got in the way."

I think back to all the times I've had the most fun gaming, and they all come down to those moments where everyone hated me or I was most assuredly going to die a horrible death - but someone was reacting to it and things moved forward. I've been the guy in the black suit curling his mustache and tying pretty Penny to the railroad track. I've been the shadowy manipulator behind the throne that everyone knew was really in power and wanted to usurp. Heck, I've even been the lone fruitbat human in a houseful of vampire - delighting in fooling them and making them figure out who I was, why I was there, and what I wanted. It never once crossed my mind that the points and powers I'd worked so hard to accumulate would go down the drain along with the character sheet when I died, because I knew that in dying I was making fun for other people. I've never been content to hunker down, keep my head low, and accumulate points so that I could eventually hang with the other people that had lots of points and get to play the "real" game. I marched into their meetings, challenged their right to be there, and sometimes I got killed for it. I always always always had fun, and I like to think most of the folks I played with did too.

So next time you're contemplating how many more sessions you have to ostrich through to raise your MC or buy that power that'll allow you to finally take your place in the danse macabre, stop and ask yourself where the fun really is. Challenge the people with the points to use their unassailable monstrosities to create fun for others. Point out that you can still roleplay and have fun without being unstoppable. Rub somebody the wrong way so they react in character. DO SOMETHING!

And remember, you can't win at an RPG, but you can't lose either.