Stuff I miss doing…

There are a number of things I’ve pretty much given up in order to keep up with Schlock Mercenary, and every so often I miss them.

  • Role-playing games. Every time I see dice, or sourcebooks, I get this itch. *sigh*
  • Karate. I figured I was on track for 1st-degree black-belt within 18 months when I finally gave that up. The yellow belt I’d earned still hangs in the closet somewhere, but I’m not worthy to wear it.
  • Legos. We’ve got at least $1000 worth of Legos in the house, and my only interaction with them is “you kids need to clean up this mess.”
  • Web programming. No joking, kids… I used to write Perl, Javascript, and gobs-and-gobs of HTML. Now I outsource, and I can tell I’m missing out on all the fun new tools available in CSS and DHTML.
  • Video Games. If I’ve got time to sit down and figure out a rich new virtual world, I’ve got time to draw.

That’s the list for now. What inspired this post? I was over at Spells and Whistles wondering if that talented l4m3r had updated yet, and there was an ad for these gorgeous metal dice. *sigh*.

If I were a full-time cartoonist, I’d play tabletop RPGs at least four hours a week. I know it. And I’d build my own miniatures and dungeon maps with legos. And I’d play video games. And I’d still let Chalain do all my web programming. And I’d be able to kick your butt.


33 thoughts on “Stuff I miss doing…”

  1. Heh, I hear you

    I put nearly all my gaming on hold to start my new company a couple of years ago. Haven’t managed to give it up entirely (partially because my wife still enjoys it greatly and it’s an excuse to spend time together) but it’s become a much less regular thing.

    Ah well – it’s not like I’ve given it up for something I hate… just put it on the back burner for something else I love and which is time-critical. Or so I generally tell myself. =)

      1. My friends and I splurged and bought some semiprecious dice. I got hematite (looks like gunmetal half the time, snazzy!) and they got a couple other types… green aventurine and unikite, if I remember right.

        The place that makes them is Crystal Caste, and my all-time favorite that they put out was meteoric iron – contest winners only, and valued at something like $1500 for the set!

        1. Ooooh, meteoric iron.. sweet! And they’ll destroy followers of Set, too! :> (And you probably have NO CLUE what I’m talking about, do you..)

  2. I’m guessing the prospect of getting your readers to donate a year’s pay so that you can quit like Something Positive did is somewhat harder on your payscale?

  3. At least your solution didn’t involve trying to compromise by creating Yet Another Gaming Comic. 😉

    Seriously, though, we really do appreciate your sacrifices. I know it takes a lot of time and thankless effort (and probably money, depending on how much you take in from t-shirts and whatnot) to keep Schlock running and it’s most definitely appreciated.

  4. I know what you mean. I have a list of stuff I’ve given up in favor of another list of stuff – they’re basically my A-List and B-List activities.

    And ooh, new webcomic I haven’t read yet. Add it to the list… I can tell already that the art style seems to be inspired by Penny Arcade (and maybe a little PVP?) but is far beyond just a copycat art style.

    1. Don’t bother with Spells and Whistles — he’s on hiatus for an indeterminate period. The good news is that he’s on hiatus while puts other work of his (daily work) on the web to try it out for their readers.

      More power to him, I say.


    1. Re: Penguicon!

      Did you see just how little free time I had at Penguicon? That was a WORKING trip for me.

      Granted, if I get into the ‘Con scene enough to tire of these panels I love so much, you can bet I’ll do the “celebrity RPG” thing… even if I’m the only celebrity there. Or even if I’m not a celebrity.

  5. Okay, Linucon things we need to schedule you on:

    Linucon has legos. Lego mindstorms, and the Lego pirate game. Friday night Steve will have an open volunteer thing setting up the Lego Pirate Game, I can be sure to leave your schedule clear…

    RPGs: say the word. We’ve got ’em going round the clock.

    Karate: Eric and Cathy usually do a “self defense for geeks” thing, I can probably arrange to get you on that as a crash dummy. 🙂

    1. Re: Okay, Linucon things we need to schedule you on:

      You are really not helping my attempt to not regret the fact that I’m not going with Howard to Linucon.

    2. Re: Okay, Linucon things we need to schedule you on:

      If I had to pick one, I’d pick an RPG where I could be emailed character notes in advance of the game, and play for a few hours, with some fast hack-and-slash in there.

      Legos… man.

      I need to see the schedule of events, and then start packing my personal schedule with the fun stuff as well as the panels.


      1. Re: Okay, Linucon things we need to schedule you on:

        Me too. For that matter, I need to see the panel list so I know what Rob’s got in mind for me to do…not that I expect to find things I can’t speak semi-knowledgeably to, but so I can think about them in advance.

      2. Re: Okay, Linucon things we need to schedule you on:

        Well, the current slush pile is at and you can feel free to pick anything off of that that interests you. It’s not actually complete yet, though. (Email Jimmie Bragdon about getting in an RPG. There’s also a LARP being set up by the Nero people that he’d know more about than I would.)

        By the way, Fade has a “Big Eyes, Small Mouth” D20 rulebook that turns D20 into a point buying system. It’s D&D meets Gurps, in an anime context. It’s very frightening. I’ll see if we can set something up using that… 🙂

        Yes. Legos. Open legoage. Lots of it. And then on sautrday, PLAYING with the legos and going “Arrrr”. All day. (And the chaos machine will be set up in the lobby this time, with tables to help sort the components.)

        And Sandra: I am not to blame for you not coming. We offered. Really we did. You knew I was going to try to make as fun an fun event out of this as I was capable of doing… 🙂

        I meant to ping all the GOHs and panelists with proposed schedules, but I’ve got to go do a room party at Fencon to drum up more attendees, so it looks like Monday…


        1. Re: Okay, Linucon things we need to schedule you on:

          FWIW, Sandra and I are to blame for her not coming. We didn’t want to arrange a babysitter for five days. 🙂

    3. Re: Okay, Linucon things we need to schedule you on:

      Cool, you have Legos there. Any contests planned? I need to bring my Mindstorms stuff and sell it off. It’s sitting here untouched since I used it for a cryptography class project … “Creating Cryptographic Keys through Computer-Mediated Mechanical Random Number Generation” meant “you send the robot the number of bits you want in the key, it flips an Othello chip and reads the white/black as binary for one bit per reading until it’s generated the number you requested”. It never came close to giving the lavalamp project a run for its money.

      What a nightmare. My robotic skills stink, to say the least. Husband hasn’t shown any interest in playing with the Legos, so, they go …. in the truck to take to the con! It would be fun to watch stuff built by people who knew what they were doing.

      1. Re: Okay, Linucon things we need to schedule you on:

        The austin robotics group will have a table there (something like 12 feet of table space, I’d have to look it up), with working robots. I believe they mentioned lego mindstorms. Plus several robotics panels…

        They’d be the people to talk to. I should dig up a link to their home page and stick it on the linucon website somewhere…

  6. I desprately miss the gang of folks sitting down to play RPGs as well, it’s hard to get people together on a semi-regular basis when you’ve got jobs and family.

    Have a ton of legos from my days (and some more recent ones) my kid isn’t gonna be old enough for those in a while though.

    Web programming is part of my job lately so I really can’t miss that! Being able to do all CSS nowdays and not use tables for everything is a WONDERFUL thing!

    Games – yeah. I’m still addicted to MMO’s but I need to quit. There a 12-step for game addition? 😉

    Speaking of games, ever thought of a Schlock game?

  7. Same list…

    Wow, our lists are pretty close to the same. I recently sold all my RPG stuff to a friend, and I have regretted it ever since. Oh well. As for keeping the Legos cleaned up, I built a 6in tall box (about 4’x4′) that sits in my sons’ room, keeping the legos always about 90 seconds from cleaned up.

    The really funny one is that most people would think a game developer would have time to play games. Yeah. Funny, eh? I would love to play more games too. Oh well.

  8. Priorities

    At least you are smart enough to put aside the fun, yet less important things for your family time. A person can have only so many ‘fun things’ on the side.

  9. Stuff I miss doing

    I agree with almost all of the list, although I dropped Judo back in high school. I have been able to add in some Lego-play, since my Little Bear (3.5 years old) is getting good mileage out of my old sets.

    One way to get in more is to combine together interests, like the following

    Saves time on painting all those figs, too, although that can be a nice stress relief in itself.

    (And tut-tut for writing a journal entry during a meeting… as if I’ve never done anything like that myself.)

  10. Stuff you miss doing

    Howard, you and I would get along famously. We share so many interests that we can no longer pursue. If it makes you feel any better it has been forever since I got to attend a convention even to work in it. I used to help a freind man a sales booth.
    Thank you for Schlock Mercinary.

  11. Oh man. Being able to build Lego dungeons would be awesome. What games did you play before you quit?

    Heh, I have a yellow in Tai Kwon Do, but I know what you mean–all I remember really is how to kick and punch without breaking anything that belongs to me.

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