I have a bag of dice.
I’m not exactly sure where it is right now (we haven’t gamed for a while and I am, first and foremost, a slob), but it’s around. It’s not all that big considering that I’ve been accumulating dice since the late 70s — that’s when I first played one of those games (written by the devil, of course) that corrupts morals, promotes violence and will eventually cause me to live, wild-eyed and raving, in a sewer while wearing soiled underwear.
You know, role-playing games.
I found some of them (the dice, not the games) in my parents’ basement. I found some of them when I raided the board games at the bottom of my closet. I found some of them in the cat’s stash of toys (which is another way of saying that I have no idea where they came from). That gave me a fairly good selection of plain old six-sided dice.
That was not, of course, enough. Those new games (the ones that imbue the players with a hankering for kittens flambé) use lots of different kinds of dice which, in the early days, was a problem: if you didn’t live in a city of ‘sufficient’ size there probably wasn’t a place to buy oddly-shaped bits of dead dinosaur with numbers carved into them. But people were creative (at least, people in places where there wasn’t a store selling Platonic solids on every corner) and came up with any number of ways of generating arbitrary random numbers without plastic polyhedra. I used coins and learned to think in powers of two. Colin used a mug full of cardboard counters with numbers written on them. Several people (I’m talking about nerds, remember) programmed their calculators. And so on.
Eventually I went to Ottawa and visited the little hole in the wall founded by the Man In the Green Suit (I’ve racked my brain but I can’t remember his real name. Even my attempts to find his name with Google have failed. Everyone called him MIGS anyway.) and bought my Very First polyhedral dice — no more converting from binary in my head for me! (I feel an overwhelming temptation to embrace the cliché and say “And the rest, as they say, is history” but it’s not. I haven’t even started what I was going to talk about yet.)
In the intervening (mumble mumble) years since then, dice have worn out (the early ones were crap), fallen into air ducts, been lost in seat cushions, been forgotten in war memorials and been eaten by pets. But never fear, new ones appeared. Some came in games: a game about eternity shards came with one. Some came from stores: “Oo! Those ones are called Ninja Dice. I must have them!” Some came from friends (when they know you’re a gamer they give you all sorts of things that are dice-related). Because of friends, I have things like twenty-sided fuzzy dice (mine are red), a zocchihedron (I’m not sure if that should be capitalized or not), a collection of dice in an Italian leather box shaped like… a die and a German-language decision maker.
The decision maker is a six-sided die with a… directive on each side. The sides are (along with my interpretations, given that I don’t understand German at all) Essen (get something to eat — are there cookies in the house?), Trinken (get something to drink), Schlafen (take a nap — I always liked that one), Baden (take a hot shower — you smell like a moldy pita pocket), Feiern (party!) and Lieben (chase girls).
And at last I arrive ay my point. Lieben (meaning love) is pretty clearly the root of the word Liebster (meaning dearest). And a while ago a young lady who eats uncooked things was gracious enough to indicate that she thought that some of my scribblings merited some sort of attention. In particular, they deserved something called the Liebster award.
What’s that? I’ve done a little reading and it’s a chain letter with frosting. I’ve never liked chain letters (damn you Craig Shergold!), but I do like frosting. Hm. So what am I going to do? Well, I’m going to follow the ‘rules’ (which seem to evolve with time anyway), but selectively. The ‘rules’ say that I’m supposed to ‘point to’ the young lady; this I’ve done. They say I’m supposed to answer the questions she asked of me; this I’ll do — probably badly — below. The rules say that I’m supposed to nominate ten blogs and ask them thoughtful, insightful, penetrating questions; that’s too close to the chain letter thing and won’t be happening.
On to the neurotic babbling.
1: What was your first job?
I had several ‘first jobs’, depending on how you define ‘first job’. In one first job I tried (with limited success) to teach physics to first year undergraduates. (I still have the card that two young ladies made to thank me for trying. They drew me a picture of them electrocuting themselves.) Before that there were two more first jobs where I pretended to be a Chinese metallurgist. I know nothing about metallurgy but I learned a little bit about creep and how to say ‘Aufheizgeschwindigkeit’ with the appropriate amount of phlegm. Before that there were a few more first jobs where I marked math papers. Some of the papers belonged to Ms. Rose (I never once promised her a good mark if she would go out with me. Honest.) and some to a math student who was, in return, marking some of my papers. He was almost certainly smarter than me, but I was more arrogant.
I guess my real first job was pumping gas, changing oil and fixing tires. No one made me a card but I did get the odd tip including one fairly large one from a woman in a fur coat. In the snow. On New Years Eve.
2. Why did you start blogging?
Over time we all accumulate stories that are told and retold. I’d long thought that, rather than tell them over and over again, it might make some small amount of sense to write them down somewhere. (It might have made sense to get a better writer, but that’s another issue entirely.) But where? As it happens, I had this WordPress account just lying around doing nothing because someone at work had asked me how hard it would be to start a blog. (It’s the same reason I have a Friendface account, sort of.) Using it seemed like a reasonable idea at the time. (“And the rest, as they say…”)
3. What kind of family did you grow up in?
The traditional, nay, stereotypical kind: one stay-at-home mother, one father who worked in an office doing ‘stuff’, one lovely and talented daughter, one son who has been a disappointment for years, one dog, one cat (well, at a time), one house, two cars, one hallway full of brooms. Oh, and angst of course.
4. Is this where you thought you’d be in life at this age?
Umm, no. There’s a longish story there but I’m not ready to tell it.
5. What is your favorite place you’ve visited?
I don’t think I have one. I like most places but I don’t particularly care for the process of getting there.
6. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’m kind of a homebody. Probably the floor of my living room or the green chair in the Hole.
7. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever purchased?
Half of a house with a giant radish. And a Hole.
8. Cat or dog person?
I like them both although I admit I’m most fond of dogs that other people walk (and pick up after) and cats that have litter boxes that other people clean. (The neighbour’s cat gave birth on our bed. Twice. Parts of that weren’t a whole lot of fun.)
9. What is your favorite book?
When I was in Grade 8, it was definitely Lord of the Rings. These days, I don’t think I have one. Probably the most heavily thumbed books on my shelf are games. My copy of Burning Wheel is particularly ratty, for example.
10. What’s your favorite movie?
I don’t have one, although I have several that I watch at least part of whenever they’re on TV; I rarely watch them start to finish: I tune them in mid-movie, watch for a while, then go to bed. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that I’ve never seen the entirety of ‘some’ of my ‘favorite’ movies.
So that’s me. Liebing now.