Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Work Likes Me Not

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. I am back at work, slaving over a hot course outline.

Teaching is not an easy job, and I don't think the profession would be well staffed if they reduced the holidays at all, but damn it's good to have a lengthy break over summer. I suspect that it is one of the motivating factors to enter (and stay in) the profession for many teachers. The year is so busy, and so much of your life is taken over by teaching, that you need the break away from it to recharge.

So, another year of teaching commencing. It shall be interesting to see how it all goes. I shall say at this stage that I am quietly optimistic, and slightly worried. I know the two don't go together all that well, but there we have it. I think the teaching side of this year will go more smoothly (though I am teaching 3 new courses, so will have to spend a lot of time preparing materials). I think the management aspect will be fine once I've climbed onto the tiger's back.

Must get back to work. Course outlines don't write themselves...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Heady Days of Summer

It's a very nice thing to be able to relax. Life has been filled with little and not-so-little stresses for what feels like a long time - end of year busyness, marking, Kapcon and the Kapcon LARP. The past week has been notably relaxed, as Debbie and I wind down from the stresses we'v e had. Yesterday was particularly unwindy, with a BBQ and hot tub and grand, fine company.

I had thought that I needed to be back at school tomorrow, and that there was some work I'd need to go in and do today. However, after an early morning check of the school's website, I realised that I can take this whole week to prepare myself for the year, and don't actually see any students until maybe Wednesday or Thursday next week.

Hence today is all relaxing too!

Note to self: Spending more than 2 hours in a hot tub can lead to symptoms not unlike a hangover. 5 glasses of water over the course of the evening may not be enough to get back to normal hydration.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Getting Cultured

This has been a busy week on the Arts front, much less so on the Kapcon front. Well, apart from the frantic posting, checking blogs and NZRaG, and returning of keys and costumes.

As Debbie has mentioned, we saw Memoirs of a Geisha and Beauty and the Beast. One was an exquisitely beautiful fairy tale, and the other was a stage show of a Disney film.

Memoirs was very, very cool. Debbie pretty much covered this one, except to say that the audience was very gender balancy (quite the date movie from all appearances), with a slight bias towards female (several groups of women together). It was also the most asian audience I've spied at a Readings cinema so far.

Beauty was good fun, especially Gaston. I tend to find that I get a little hot and fidgety during shows, so I did my best to control myself during this one. No item of clothing other than my jacket was removed, and I did my best not to bump anyone with random twitches or stretches.

On the whole, most enjoyable.

Now I will return to my Kapcon obsessing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

More Kapcon

I have written an official post Kapcon report for the Kapcon blog. It pretty much says that Kapcon was awesome, and that we did all right financially (as in made the smallest possible profit). I have also been posting on nzrag.com, as have many other people.

I really enjoy the post-Kapcon enthusiasm. It's one of the nicest things about the convention. Although I only played in one game at the con, it was quite possibly the best con game I've ever played in. Dale is a genius, and Debbie, Nick, Jenni, Luke and Morgue are brilliant roleplayers. I should also remember that I actually got to play in a total of 7 Kapcon games this year, through the wonders of playtesting. Ah, I am a lucky man.

The past couple of days have been really interesting from a stress point of view. I have been, understandably, very relaxed and quite chuffed with my efforts over the weekend. I think it will be a while before I commit myself to a long term stress generator like the LARP again. It was actually fun to write, and I'm very pleased with the way it went (a lot of people have said very nice things about it, in person and on blogs and such), but it was weighing on me for the past few months. It's a lot of work for 3 people to do, and it is to Debbie and Svend's credit that we managed to get 60 characters written, all the props bought, and the actual running of the game fairly smooth. I am very grateful to both of them for all their hard work, and I am deeply impressed by how excellent Debbie's LARP was. I remember, back in the innocent days of March last year, when Debbie conceived of the idea for the LARP. She had a vision of how the game ought to be, and I think we managed to stay pretty true to that vision, doing even better than we'd expected in some ways, and the awesome players who brought the whole thing to life added a depth and variety that we are entirely grateful for.

And now, a brief word about something that I thought went very well over the weekend - the announcements. I actually quite enjoyed doing all the greetings and in between round announcements, but probably my two stand-out moments as an organiser were the pre-LARP briefing and the prize ceremony.

Before the LARP I gave what I would estimate to have been a semi-formal introduction to the LARP. As Sam commented, it had a bit of a story-time feel to it, with people sitting down in a big semi-circle listening to my rambling set-up. I think, despite being quite exhausted and having not a little anxiety about how the evening was actually going to go, I managed to do a pretty good job. I was pleased with the way it went. Svend's explanation of the name badges was hilarious and tone-setting, which was most impressive. Of course, Debbie was hard at work on set-up while we were lounging about soaking up the spotlight, something I feel was in some small way less than ideal.

It is interesting to be one of the people ulitmately responisble for the LARP. Over the past 2 years Debbie and I had written many characters for LARPs, and had played NPCs, but were not really the ones who'd be blamed if everything went to custard. It certainly adds an element of stress. Of course, that also means that we're the ones who get to bask in all the praise now :)

The other part of the weekend that was really enjoyable was the prizegiving. I liked explaining how we decided who got what prize, and being able to ask people to explain little stories or demonstrate the things they had done in a public setting. It was especially nice because the scores and prizes made sense, and I felt really happy to be able to award them. It's a really nice tradition, and I'm glad that I got to be a part of it.

There was only one thing that I want to say more about today, and that's Debbie's amazing contribution to Kapcon. I got lots of spotlight time, and I enjoyed it, but there's no way in hell Kapcon would have been half as good, and there simply wouldn't have been a LARP, without Debbie. I invited her to take the spotlight for some of the con, but she very kindly said that I was doing a good job and that was fine. People have thanked both of us, and I've thanked Debbie personally, but I want to give her the mad props she deserves here.

Debbie - you are amazing.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Kapcon Comment Number 1!

My first ever post on NZRrag.com

Thanks to everyone who came to Kapcon, who ran games at Kapcon, who helped with the running and planning of Kapcon, and who was awesome at Kapcon.

It was a great experience running the convention. There were a lot of awesome things, such as:

Dale's Superhero Game - the only game I played in, in the final round. We had a stellar group (Luke, Jenni, Nick, Morgue, Debbie and Matt), it was an awesome 4 colour superhero game, and the character interaction was magic. Best moment for me? I was playing the super-powered son of the dim-witted Captain Hope and the brilliant Professor Eternity. I had moved so I was sitting between Luke and Jenni (the players), quite close, so I could roleplay with them the most.

Then they had a fight in front of me. Being 7, I was quite traumatised, and my character slunk off to hang out with the pistol weilding bad boy Salvo and the Vegas Narcissist Zia the Magnificent. I moved my chair so I was sandwiched between Nick and Debbie, leaving a big space between the players who had just argued. I then decided to get back at my parents by emulating my father's foil, Salvo. At the climax of the game the 7 year old Daniel whipped out a police issue revolver, screamed out Salvo's catchphrase, and started shooting blindly at the villains.

The reaction from my super-dad was fantastic, and it helped to push him into a reconciliation with his best man.

There are many other fantastic moments from this brilliant game, but I'll let some other people comment on those.

Prize Giving - it really is a very nice thing to be able to acknowledge some of the cool stuff that people have done during the con in a public setting. We had a lot of neat prizes this year, as Chaosium, SJG, the RPGA, Milsims and others had donated lots of goodies.

and the last one for now, Stephen Hickey (Hix)'s comment at the end of day 1

Matt: "How was your first ever day at Kapcon?"
Hix: "Great, I ran some great games, and I have some interesting ideas to work on for tomorrow. And there are really good people here."

Really good people. That's why Kapcon is so awesome.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Getting Close!

Kapcon is just around the corner! It's starting to get quite exciting indeed.

There are lots of little jobs that need to be done between now and Kapcon, but everything is on track and looking good. We have about 35 LARP characters assigned, somewhere close to 60 people preregistered (and about 25 of them prepaid), and we have 27 non-RPGA games so far, with Jon and Erik and Svend all having promised to run something, but not yet on the list.

So, I am very well disposed towards the world in general. I have also convinced myself to run Kapcon for another year if the rest of the committee agrees, although I won't be involved with the LARP again for a while. Three years in a row is a pretty good stretch anyhow.

One of the things that I'm intending to do this year is to build on the records I kept from the organising of this Kapcon, so that the next organiser has a pretty clear guide as to how it's been done in the past. I'm also looking at taking on an aprentice for K16, someone to train up to run K17. I have one or two people in mind for this, and will be approaching them during or shortly after Kapcon.

Just to make sure I don't forget, here's a sample of some of the things that need to be done in the next 2 weeks:

- print out game choice forms, scoring forms and nomination forms
- maps of rooms for each floor
- get RPGA room signs printed
- arrange for coffee urn and hot water for tea etc.
- buy some supplies for Kapcon cafe (same as last year - mostly drinks and nibbles)
- pick up t-shirts
- buy props for Kapcon LArp (wooden puzzle, brooch, 'diamond')
- print out name tags
- count number of plastic badges and buy extras if needed
- purchase small lockable money box
- LARP meeting on Wednesday
- Write newspaper sheets for LARP background info
- keep assigning LARP characters and sending out character sheets
- collect keys for venue (probably a Scott job :)
- set up rooms on Friday

Feel free to comment with extra jobs that I've overlooked. I do have a list in my Kapcon big book of stuff, which I shall also check today.

We are booked into the function room at Southern Cross / Zeboes, although they have redecorated and may no longer do such delicious food.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Kapcon Playtests

Both of Luke's games (The Frog Princess and Weapon of the Gods) are awesome. One is tightly plotted fantasy with elements of fiary tale and firefly character interaction, the other is an all-out kung-fu hero-fest. I highly recommend both.

Donna's medical soap Bleeding Hearts is a brilliant piece of satire, with some hilarious hidden secrets, and fantastic character dynamics. I highly recommend this too!

Malcolm's Insylum game (this week hopefully).
My own scenario, which I may not have time to run this year.