What is up with "Blogger"?

Is anyone else finding that Blogger (and especially Blogger Dashboard) has been acting more screwy than ever lately?

I like the updated blogger interface, but the ‘manage blogs’ function is missing on the updated blogger dashboard (or they have hidden it pretty well) so I am still using the old blogger dashboard.

I’m subscribed to a lot of different blogs and find Blogger Dashboard is usually the easiest way to review the latest postings and pick what I want to read. About a week ago I clicked on a link to a blog called ‘Matrixsynth” that had a youtube clip about a cheap keyboard being used to produce some sound effects and I added ‘Matrixsynth’ to ‘blogs I am following.’ I soon discovered that ‘Matrixsynth’ was a lot more info about synths than I wanted — the author sometimes posts a dozen links a day to different you tube and sound clips of obscure synthesizers. To a non-synth guy like me, this is too much and the ‘Matrixsynth’ postings are crowding out the other posts, so I unsubscribed.

But sometimes when I return to Blogger, the ‘Matrixsynth’ posts are back. I’ve unsubscribed two or three times. Sometimes I reload the page and they dissapear, and when I click on the ‘blogs I am following,’ Matrixsynth does not appear in the list (although the Matrixsynth posts appear and disappear at random in the list of new posts). Sometime Blogger gives me some sort of screwy error code and it tells me to look up this code in the help posts, but the help post search never returns any results and, when I try to create a new topic, I get told to try again later.

I’ve been doing the ‘two blogs’ experiment for a while… I’m starting to think I might shut down this blog and move everything to the http://stefanpoag.com/ blog.


I’ve noticed a lot of great stuff showing up on Tumblr but haven’t gone so far as to sign up for an account. Has anyone else used it? How did it compare to the other social media/self publishing things? I’m relatively satisfied with blogger/wordpress but feel like most things just end up under the same sets of eyes (no offense intended to fellow bloggers) and would like to branch out into a bigger pool of potential contacts.

With a side of Mugwumps, please…

Found these delightfully pervy pictures by Mat Brown via Monsterbrains today. Brown’s work reminds me of some dinosaur books I had as a youngster, but with more perversion than I recall seeing in those illustrations of trilobites and pterodactyls. If you don’t visit Monsterbrains regularly, do yourself a favor and sign up — good stuff.

Stonehell: First Impressions

OK, I know it’s already been out forever but I finally got around to ordering Stonehell Dungeon by Michael Curtis after having read about his campaigns on his blogs (one blog is Torch, Pole and Rope; the other is Rotted Moon). 134 pages for $13.00 seems like a bargain to me.

I’ve only read the first couple of pages and skimmed through the rest, but so far am very happy about my purchase and feel inspired to hopefully get off my butt and do something with Khunmar once I get some of my other backlog of projects squared away.

Likes: Brief entries for room descriptions, lots of options, map on one page and key on the facing page to prevent lots of flipping of pages during play. Lots of charts for random stuff and suggestions on how to make Stonehell your own.

Dislikes: Almost no art (sad face) but I suppose that makes the compact layout possible. Not all of the info for a given location is in one place (i.e.: the description of an area on the surface near the entrance is partially in the introduction to that ‘level’ in one place and partially in the key. I guess that’s needed to keep the key compact enough to fit on one page but I’d be worried that I would forget something important if I was referencing only the key.

This is apparently just the first volume; more levels are to come!

Do yourself a favor!

…and check out the Sidney Sime collection of pictures on the Monsterbrains blog.

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Why am I one letter off?

Every day I log into my blogger account and see the posts from the blogs that I have subscribed to. Like too many of my fellow bloggists, I have gotten sucked into the A to Z blogging challenge deal. Unfortunately, every day I look at the headlines and everyone else seems to be on the letter I did the day before… either they are too fast or I am too slow… I don’t know. Should I skip a day? Awww, fuck it. I’ll just claim that I am ‘ahead of the curve.’ I’m actually cheating at the A to Z blogging challenge. Right now I have finished my post for ‘the letter P’ and placed it in the queue where the Blogger software will plop it online on the proper day, making it look like I just wrote the thing. Don’t tell anyone. Some fellow bloggers have been grousing about the tedium of the blogging challenge… and I am starting to feel that. There have been more than a few entries that I ‘phoned in’ (like today’s “I is for initiative”). But it’s a kind of fun challenge so I think I’ll stick it out… and there may end up being a few gems in there.

The Mule Abides

I’ve been reading the blog, The Mule Abides, for a while and enjoying it even if I don’t always understand all of the references to critical thought that the author brings to bear on the topic of old school D&D. And the fact that the blog name seems to be a reference to ‘The Big Lebowski’ is another point in favor.

Politics and Aldeboran

Some of the people who have taken me to task for expressing my political views on this blog sometimes preface their comment with something like, “I don’t like to read about your political opinions on this gaming blog…” This is not a gaming blog, nor is it a political blog, nor is it an art blog nor is it anything other than my blog where I will write about my thoughts on all of those things and more. As far as I can tell, the people who post comments like, ‘your politics don’t belong on a gaming blog‘ never comment otherwise, so, ironically, although these folks claim to prefer “game related” blog postings, the only postings I make that move them enough to get them to comment are political posts. Go figure.

Do you read Blogs?

Do you read blogs? Yeah, I know, a stupid question. Obviously, if you are reading THIS you probably* have read at least one blog at least once in your life (this one), but the topic seems to come up perennially (like crab grass) on discussion boards like Dragonsfoot (i.e.: this conversation here). And, from having read more than one of these discussions on DF, I get the feeling that a sizeable number** of people who might identify themselves as ‘players of “old skoole games” (whatever that might be)’ seem actually somewhat hostile to the idea of old skoole bloggers writing old skoole blogs. I didn’t start blogging until I got rather disenchanted by the ‘discussion forum’ scene. I still visit the forums (but not as much as when I had a really boring job at a desk that required I sit and wait for long periods of time until someone wanted something from me). I’ve been reading both blogs and Dragonsfoot for a while now (I don’t really visit many forums at all), and, given how much overlap there is between the two communities in both membership and interest, I find the hostility surprising.

And I suppose I count myself as an ‘old skoole blogger’ or a member of the OSR, even though I am not always certain what those terms mean to others. Then again, as a general practice I don’t think I can help what other people think… I can try to influence what they think, but as many ‘discussions on the internet’ seem to indicate, nothing on the internet seems as cherished as an opinion that someone else has disagreed with.

The argument against ‘blogging’ that seems to get raised again and again and again is that a) blogs are undemocratic and b) blogs are narcissistic.

In theory, I can see the point in the argument that “blogs are undemocratic because the blog owner is always in charge and can delete any of my comments and that seems unfair… plus I can’t start threads on your blog…” In practice, however, I’ve developed a very low tolerance for what some people consider a ‘contribution’ to a forum discussion and sometimes wish boards like Dragonsfoot would police their forums with a heavier hand (yeah, I know the irony of ME saying that) simply because there are (in my opinion), too many Dragonsfoot members who post what I consider ‘garbage.’ ‘Garbage’ (in my opinion) would include unnecessarily argumentative posts and replies (especially the ones where the responder offers a point-by-point refutation with quotes as to why the previous poster is an idiot), trolling (in all of its forms) and the dreaded self appointed ‘guardian of the board’ (who want to spend a great deal of time smacking down other members out of some sort of sense of ‘ownership’ of the forum because they spend a great deal of time there). All that ‘garbage’ makes wading and sorting through the trash in search of treasure all the more irritating. I actually like the ‘tighter focus’ that blogs engender simply because the democracy seems inherent in the medium because if I don’t like what you are saying on your blog, I can search out another blog I like better (or, even better, I can start my own). Taken singly, perhaps “blogs” do not seem democratic, but, viewed as a whole, they are perhaps MORE democratic because individual owners seem to be more more committed to making their blogs interesting and useful (perhaps because as bloggers we feel more of a sense of ownership of our own blogs). Perhaps blogs that are uninteresting to me just slide off my radar, whereas in a forum, I am continually having to ignore posts from some members. Everyone may have an opinion, and everyone may feel that they have the right to that opinion, but nothing says that I have to spend my time enduring them expressing that opinion.

We’ve had the conversation on DF about blogs where anti-blogites cite the inherent ‘egotism’ of the blog medium as a bad thing. I think the ‘egotism’ of blogs is not a bad thing; it MAY be a good thing. I read (or look at (because some of the blogs I follow are more pictures than words)) the blogs on my list because I find myself interested in what that person might have to say or show. If I’m not interested in what a blogger has to say, I don’t have to follow his blog.

on DF, Premier wrote:
What about ‘Content’ blogs as opposed to ‘Opinion’
ones? You know, stuff life Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets, all about
posting new monsters, spells, items and stuff. Do people read those, and why/why

I read both… I read all kinds of blogs. My favorites are the art blogs where people post pictures they have been working on (like Russ Nicholson) or pictures they think are interesting (like http://monsterbrains.blogspot.com/)… or some have ‘catch all’ blogs where people post whatever they want. In my own blog, I dump everything in the same place — art, politics, game ideas, etc (which may or may not be a good idea).

I actually think blogs have the possibility of being less narcissistic (I know that sounds counter-intuitive) than frequent posts on forums simply because the blogger usually invests a little more time and effort into putting the blog together. In many ways, as a reader of blogs I often find a new set of pictures on a blog like ‘monsterbrains’ (pictures of old magazine covers, comic books, etc., with monsters) or on Russ Nicolson’s blog to kind of feel like a treat for me since I usually enjoy what they put up and I might have never seen these images or read these words otherwise. When forum posts are good, they are a joy to read, but too often I have to wade through garbage posts and dickwagging to find my way to the good stuff. Reading yet another flame war on why the way so-an-so does initiative in AD&D is wrong-wrong-wrong (to name just one example) feels like more of an encounter with the narcissim of the participants than seeing some art or ideas for a campaign or someone’s musings on D&D in general (or so many other topics). I’m sure there are shitty, narcissistic blogs, but I don’t tend to read those… just like I skip a lot of posts and threads in the forums I visit.

*Before the pedants point out that someone could read these words elsewhere (like on a web aggregator or as a paper print out) and thus never direct their browser to a ‘blog’ and thus never actually READ a blog, I did say ‘probably,’ OK?
**I have no idea of the actual numbers but suspect it is a small yet determined bunch on Dragonsfoot. The disposition of “anti-OSR blog people” elsewhere is unknown to me.

Archive of the Rotted Moon

Just a shout out to one of the fun blogs I’ve been enjoying lately:

Archive of the Rotted Moon

Archive of the Rotted Moon is by Michael Curtis. He is also the mind behind The Society of Torch, Pole and Rope and is the author of The Dungeon Alphabet.

I’m getting a real kick out of the campaign logs for his Labyrinth Lord game run on his world of “The Rotted Moon.” His campaign seems equal parts Clark Ashton Smith and Jack Vance, with a healthy dose of Edgar Rice Burroughs pulpy action thrown in.
(Disclosure: I illustrated ‘C is for Caves’ and ‘X is for Xenophobia’ in The Dungeon Alphabet, but I don’t get a percentage of sales, so I am not trying to line my pocket by encouraging you to buy a copy. I just think it’s a damn fine book and worth every penny of the 9.99 that Goodman Games is charging for it!)