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RPG Collection (Partial)

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Submitted for your perusal, I give you my entry for Day 2 of Speak Out With Your Geek Out.

A big part of what defines my Geek is my love of RPGs.  You might expect this from a blog called Elf Steaks & Halfling Bacon.  But, to me at least, Geek is more than just collection – it is obsession.  It is not enough to have the most common books, you must have all.  It is not enough to have what you need, you must have what you might need.  No, scratch that – if you see an RPG book that you know you will never, ever play, but you like the artwork, or you heard a friend talk about it once, or maybe you like the designer or the dice mechanics, then you must have it.  And, come hell or high water, you must never, under any circumstances, rid yourself of any book, ever!!!

The picture you see is not my entire collection.  What you see is only the top half of those two bookcases.  And not all of my RPGs are in these two bookcases, either.  (N.B. I admit, there are some non-RPG books here.  Sue me.)  Now, I know that my collection is not the largest by any means.  But I do know that my non-geek friends don’t understand my need to buy, read and keep all of these books.  Other than obsession, I can’t really explain it.

So, to me, part of Geek is the need to collect, and never lose.

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Posted by on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 in Gaming, Personal

 

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I Am A Geek

Speak Out With Your Geek Out

I am a Geek.  I have been for as long as I was aware of what it means to be a Geek.

I do not advertise my Geek at work, or church, or in my neighborhood.  But, I do not deny it – not any more.  It took many, many years for me to feel confident enough to get to this point.

I imagine most of my old girlfriends would be surprised to learn that I played Dungeons & Dragons while we were dating.  I imagine that most of my high school and college friends would be just as surprised.  That was due to my Geek Shame.  I learned early on in life to hide the Geek within me.

But everything I am today I owe to my Geek.  My love of math, science and logic helped me earn my degree and get the jobs I have had since college.  My love of reading, science fiction, and fantasy has opened my mind to what could be, and provided countless hours of entertainment to myself and my family.  In my daughters, I see and encourage the growth of their imagination, and delight at their creations.  I also do my best as a father to instill in them the self-confidence I never had as a child.

My name is Mark Perotti.  I play Dungeons & Dragons, and other RPGs.  I love science fiction and fantasy.

And, I am a Geek.

This is my first post in participation of Speak Out With Your Geek Out.  Tune in tomorrow for more.

 
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Posted by on Monday, 12 September 2011 in Gaming, Personal

 

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The Color of Music

My apologies to those sight- or hearing-impaired readers – I mean no disrespect to you in this article.  My intention here is to describe, to the best of my ability, the way I see and hear the world around me.

Do you know what you’re missing?  I wager you have no idea, but guess what: you are missing a sense.  You are blind, and you are deaf, and you don’t even know it.

“What the heck are you talking about, BeefGriller?  I can see and hear just fine!”  That’s what you’re saying to yourself, isn’t it?  Well, that may be true, but you’re missing out on another dimension to the world around you.  I can’t describe it perfectly to you, no more than you could describe the view of a sunset to one who has been blind since birth.  But allow me to try.

I have synesthesia – a condition where the stimulation of one sense elicits a response in another.  Now, I’ve never been evaluated and diagnosed with it.  However, I spent 40 years of my life living with it, and only recently have found a name to give it.  I have been told by the few people to whom I’ve tried explaining it that I’m either lying or imagining it, but for me it’s just there.

Now, in particular, I have what is known as sound-to-color synesthesia.  In short, I see music.  I know, you’re probably furrowing your brow, trying to make sense of that phrase, seeing music, and at best you’re coming up with maybe a sine-wave on an oscilloscope.  But you truly are coming up short if that’s the case.

My synesthesia allows me to see music in the form of colors, lights, shapes, patterns, even objects and, in some cases, people.  A song’s picture is unique – one song always looks the same to me.  If covered by a different band, or even done slightly differently by the same band, it looks similar, but maybe the colors are a slightly different hue, or the lights a little brighter in the corners, or perhaps it’s purple where it once was green.  I haven’t noticed any connection between volume, pitch, tone, instrument, note or key and the color, light, pattern, shape or size of what I see.  I can say that when I listen to a song enough, it becomes familiar enough to me that I can see differences from, say, one recording to the next.  Also, the more I listen to a song, the more detail it reveals to me.  My favorite songs become like friends, recognizable at a glance, and as comforting.

It’s interesting to see how music has changed since I was a child – no, wait, that’s not quite right… how similar songs are to each other.  The phenomenon of sampling makes so many modern songs look oddly similar.  Maybe it’s the background, the canvas of several paintings are cut from the same cloth.  Perhaps the color of the shapes in front are dancing in the same pattern.  Or, maybe, the peaks and valleys of the hills can be superimposed over one another in a perfect fit, if only one of them is squeezed in or stretched higher.

Another thing I have noticed is that a composer or conductor of a song can be seen in his or her works.  The color of Beethoven’s symphonies, for example, tend to be primarily purple and brown, especially in the slower songs; Mozart’s, on the other hand, have more of an orange hue.  These are generalities, mind you, as some of Mozart’s symphonies have the most green and blue skylines at times.  But when one person writes several songs, it’s as if his or her signature is on it.

When I say that a song is particularly beautiful, I mean that literally – the shapes, colors, patterns and lights of the song fit together beautifully, creating an impressive view.  Likewise, a song that I hate will be an ugly miasma of ill-tempered stains, rough edges and shapes that just don’t fit.

Another thing that I have always liked are remixes of songs.  When a DJ, producer or songwriter records a new mix, it is a surprise to me as the shapes that were once there are now moving off to the left, a different color, or forming a new pattern.  If it is done well, I am pleasantly surprised.  On the other hand, if changes are made for the sake of changing them, but without a good, solid, musical reason, then they stick out like loud tie.

Finally, when two songs are mixed together, or mashed-up as it is called lately, they better fit together, otherwise I can see the square pegs not lining up in the round holes.  I usually can tell if two songs can be mashed-up successfully, because their patterns will fit, or the colors won’t clash, or, well, you probably get the idea.

So, you’re probably asking yourself, “OK, BeefGriller, so you’re a synesthete.  Great.  Um, what does this have to do with gaming?”  Well, I’m glad you brought that up.  I can’t help but use it in my games, and it makes for some interesting themes.  But, that will be in a future post.

Does any of this make sense to you?  Do you have any questions about synesthesia?  Do you know anyone who has an extra sense like me?  Perhaps you, yourself, are a synesthete.  Please let me know in the comments below.

Author’s note: I do not own the rights to the images in this or any other article on this site (other than the picture in Show Me Your Dice.  I did, however, try to find pictures that were in the public domain for this article.  If there is any question, the rights to these images are owned by their respective owners.

 
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Posted by on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 in Gaming, Personal

 

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Welcome! Enjoy some elf steaks and halfling bacon!

So, I’ve finally done it.  I’ve considered starting a blog for quite a while – long before the term “blog” was even coined.  Oh, I’ve done a few things in the past, such as writing a page about beer – one of my passions, my thoughts on being an adoptee – one of the basic things that defines me, as well as several mini-pages about Linux, open-source software in general, etc., etc..  But I never actually went so far as to register a domain, write posts, and the other various and sundry things that constitute owning a blog.

The question is, “Why start a blog now?”  The answer is… well, I can’t really put my finger on it.  I’ve been active on Twitter for the last year as @BeefGriller, and through that service, I’ve met many wonderful people whom I am proud to call friends.  More than a few of those friends have blogs of their own.  They seem to enjoy posting to them.  On top of that, there are many times that I have more to say than can fit in 140 characters.  Twitter isn’t billed as a microblogging service for nothing.

Now, here I am – at the end of my first post.  My question to myself is, “Where do you go from here, Mark?”  Honestly, I don’t know.  I think I’ll stick with my passions – pen-and-paper roleplaying games (RPGs), family, friends, philosophies, food and drink.  Please be patient with me as I learn not only about blogging, but also the blog itself (themes, widgets, menus…).

It’s going to be fun, interesting times for me.  Wish me luck.

 
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Posted by on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 in Personal

 

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