“Second star to the right….

And straight on till morning”

Nichelle Nicols passed away last night at 89 years young.

To this young man, Ms Nicols was a goddess on the screen. Intelligent and well spoken, she was someone to admire for who she was AND what she represented on the small screen. For little girls and women of any color.

Even though it was a small part of an ensemble cast, she was still a major part… and much like a few other folks I know, as a young man I had a bit of a crush on her.

Lots of folks had crushes on the actress who played Janice Rand- And yes, Grace Lee Whitney is/was a fine looking woman. But no where near as exotic to this poor boy in the ‘burbs. And far less interesting a character.

To me, Uhura was cool. And some of the better stories in the novels and in the TV series had her a key part of the story. One of my favorites was “Uhura’s Song” and I really wish I could find my copy (long buried in a box somewhere).

There was some controversy towards the end of her life over her guardians post Stroke/Dementia issues… but now its no longer an issue. She is in a better place now, having joined Leonard, James, DeForest and all the others who have gone before.

Rest In Power, ma’am… You have more than earned a rest and have served as inspiration for so many young women over the years. And likely will even after your death.

December 28, 1932- July 30, 2022

Ukraine shite… now Seventy Seven days in.

Who knew?

Who knew the Russians would be so damn inept… and woefully ill-prepared for a foe that could offer any true resistance?  I didn’t.  None of the experts did either, as like 90% of them had the Russians either taking Kyiv in four to six days or the country in a week to two weeks.

I know I was a lonely voice among my analyst friends in saying the Ukrainians would not roll over and collapse, that they would give a serious fight…. And that the Russians had nowhere near enough assets for their plans/goals.

 But this level of fight?  It damn sure exceeded my expectations.

Yeah, yeah… the Russian army performance has been crap and their plan has obviously been proven to be crap too… but the initial weight of their assault was no joke.  I mean, the initial successes *were* successes- unfortunately for them, they were not able to capitalize on the first few hours of successful gains.

  And as the last six weeks or so have shown, Russian combat doctrine and training- along with equipment and Logistical Ability-  have NOT lived up to any sort of previous expectations.  Between inadequately trained troops (conscripts!?!), poorly maintained gear, a garbage logistics plan and zero cohesion in battle plans…  it boggles the mind how bad they have shown themselves.   Worse performance is yet to come, I think… how much worse, is a damn good question.

What my nerdy, armchair-quarterbacking self is seeing and thinking…

  The Ukrainian Resistance has done far better than expected…… and over the last two weeks, has managed to push Russians along out of places they were abandoning… and give non-retreating Russian Forces something to think about in other places. This includes giving defending Russian troops a drubbing in spots, gaining territory back from them.  This is going to snowball a bit, as the West/NATO continue to up-arm the Ukrainians.  And that up-arming is a interesting thing….

I figure the AFV deliveries should really start to be felt soon- its all tanks they know how to use and stuff that is Upgraded and Maintained…  Might be Soviet Era tanks… but they have modern Western weapon sights, updated reliable engines and electronics.   And they are not conscript troops…

  We have seen how well the Javelins work, along with so much other light and medium Anti-Armor systems.  Some say that the Era of the Tank is over because of how well they are working… I disagree.  And I disagree for a couple reasons.

  1. Armor is not a be-all/end-all martial component.  Tanks can help you in the Assault, using their weight to shove an opponent back.  But they require SUPPORT… because of the prospect of a brave defender with aforementioned Javelin or other Anti-Armor weapon who is not suppressed…
  2. Proper doctrine for their use.  As stated, armor needs to be supported on the offensive.  Motorized Infantry, tactical air elements…  all things that can be utilized to assist armor to survive and deliver its fire against a foe. Without it, you get what you get so far… and this was proven three times in the last five or so years, with both Soviet style and Western Style equipment; in Syria for purely Soviet style and Iraq twice- early on with Soviet Style armor and later with Iraqi western-style armor getting stomped by ISIS.

In my opinion, if you have properly trained crews and a good doctrine for armor use… plus supporting arms, the Tank remains very viable. The US proved this ad-nauseum (granted, twice it was against the Iraqi’s) over the years… and the Ukrainians are trying to do same to the Russians.  And they seem to have had *some* success with the same gear.
 It is a bit harder, truth to tell, with being outnumbered but they are managing.  And its going to improve, I think, as the better equipment comes into play.  The Ukrainians are better trained… and have morale on their side.  Both help immensely.

Speaking of supporting arms…  The Ukrainian Air Force apparently STILL exists and is STILL flying missions.

  Russian propaganda claims the Ukrainians have no craft left…  Considering that Mariupol resistance was being supplied by helicopter until recently… and that two SU-27’s recently hammered the occupied Snake Island (of “Russian Warship- go Fuck Yourself” fame) with a sortie…  Wow.

Now, given what both sides claim to have killed/destroyed is most likely inaccurate by a lot (or massively in the Russian case), one can draw a few conclusions as to the health of both side’s armor and air assets.

  And its not looking good for the Russians. 

Putin’s Army started out with a massive advantage in Air, Armor and Artillery.  Over the last several weeks, those advantages have been reduced greatly or worse for all but their Artillery.  And its not going to get any better.

There is plenty of concern for the possible use of nuclear weapons or Chemical Weapons.  And these are damn valid concerns.  That they have not, is a good sign.  That there has been saber rattling on their being used… Dude.  Not surprised… but using them NOW is a tacit admission to having lost/being in a losing position.

  I still expect gas to be used in the Azovstal Steelworks plant…  as Chemical Weapons can get into places that explosives cannot… It’s part of their old doctrine, as I recall… and Russia has lots of experience in using chemicals.  That it is regarded as a line that should not be crossed… well, I’m not sure Vlad cares at this point.  So much has gone wrong with this entire “Special Military Operation”, between Intelligence Failures, Doctrinal failures and the incredibly poor performance of his vaunted Military… that nothing really is off the table.  But it is a line that crossing would show exactly how desperate He is for something resembling a success.


  That it HASN’T yet, is surprising.  But either there is concern for gassing their own or there is concern over their delivery systems even being of viable function (remember the poor maintenance issue?) which makes employing them problematic.  If you are gonna use that stuff, you want to be sure the delivery systems work….

  Same goes for the Strategic Rocket Forces.  Given the 40% or so failure rate of their CONVENTIONAL missiles, it makes one wonder if the Strategic systems have the same potential problem.  40% failure is abysmal…. And that is on systems that should be far easier to maintain.  So in my opinion, despite the saber rattling, there *could* be hesitancy on using for both reliability issues… and that Red Line.

I think more the former than the latter…  I mean, the sanctions are biting Russia hard and its become apparent how much of their ability to do things or make equipment relies on Western parts. Add in the previously discussed Kleptocracy issues that undercut everything else’s capabilities… so why would *that* one facet of their forces be immune?

Pretty scary, eh?

The other thing going on… is the Home Front morale of the Russians.  With attacks on mobilization sites, mysterious fires and explosions at places FAR from the border show issues in his backfield.
  When you add in the reported VPN downloads allowing civilians to bypass the Internet Blocks the Kremlin had put up, the façade Putin has thrown up to delude his populace…. Has developed more than a few holes in it.

  That May Day parade speech…  some delusional wording that will only be believed by those without a means to access outside information.  And that number, that percentage of his populous… is going down daily.

This war is going to drag on through the Summer unless Ukraine’s counter offensive really does kick them out or something happens to Vlad to cause a pullback.  Because Vlad is not gonna back down- because he can’t.

And that the west is STILL more or less on the same page… makes it that much worse for him.

New stories to post within the next few days. Possibly by Saturday.

More musing on Ukraine.

Where we’re at, a month in.

Kyiv- still not surrounded.  For a stated goal going in, that it still is not taken a MONTH into this war speaks a few volumes about a good many things.

Mariupol…  surrounded and defiant (“Russian Warship, Go Fuck yourself”- the land version) but running out of food/water and places not bombed.

Belarus still not in (“We might, we might not…  Depends if we got an Army to use or if they have deserted)

The Vaunted Chechen Force hunting Zelensky…  bulk of them Killed (“liquidated” was the term used) and the rest left to go home.

The Russian Army…  still suffering supply issues as well as severe morale issues.  No secure Coms, no reliable supply chain, and no real reinforcement.  And being held in check by a force comprised of mostly infantry…. With the Ukrainian Farmers taking ANYTHING not guarded or really disabled. (DUDE!!!!)

Its not all bad news for the Russians though.  They still (sorta) control the air, still know how to bomb civilian targets really well (hospitals, schools, theaters marked as Shelter for Children, etc, etc…) and their Artillery Corps are still pretty good with Mariupol being turned into a pile of small rocks like Grozny and Aleppo….

***

Ok….  Real talk.

  The Russian Army is in shambles at this point.  Yes, they have made serious headway in areas (mostly out of Crimea) but even that is stalled now.  Hell, the long-expected push at Odesa just happened- and was repulsed… with reports of the defenders actually pushing the Russian forces back.

  The attempt at Kyiv…  has also suffered.  As per recent reports, the towns of Makariv (west of Kyiv) is back in Ukrainian hands (though not safe for Civilians to return yet) as well as parts of Irpin.  Some effective counter-attacks… not as successful as the Ukrainians would like or have you believe… but its far more than what the RUSSIANS claim they are doing.  Its another sign the Invaders are on the back foot here.

  Recent reports just in and confirmed are the capture/find of a Krasukha-4 Mobile EW System.  Mind you, it was not the entire system, just the command module… but this is a big deal.  A very big deal as there is likely some serious intelligence to be found in its databases and documentation. 

  Add in the capture of one of the mobile command post carriers from a week ago and these are substantial setbacks.  When the Enemy has access to important data like command frequencies and plans, your ability to engineer success takes a hit.

And the Ukrainians have gotten two (known) windfalls with these. 

Russian Troop morale is in the toilet…  with reports of troops turning on their officers, extensive medical problems from the environment (frostbite) and inadequate gear…  its affecting performance and ability to fight.  I’m pretty sure there would be a higher rate of desertion (always an issue in Soviet armies) were there an ability to get away reliably.

  But outside the columns, there are lots of Ukrainians who they (the Russians) are told would just as soon shoot them (not completely wrong- the Ukrainians just might but they are also big on showing compassion for the common grunts)… and of course, if caught by their own, there would be a bullet waiting for them.  Tough choices.

Then there is the ongoing issue with Russian Secure Coms… as in they have almost been non-existent per a good number of reports.  Between compromised networks, non-functioning equipment and use of commercial gear, the Russian ability to pass information and orders securely… is a mess (and that’s being kind).

  Ukraine has also been pretty successful with taking out senior Russian officers through these compromised networks, it seems.  Six General Officers and one Naval Officer have been killed in this war.  Granted, one was an Airborne officer who was killed in the fighting at the airport… but the rest?  All targets of anti C-n-C efforts.

  Its said that senior officers are balking at being sent to Ukraine now because of these successes.  And to be fair, can’t blame them too much- I’d be worried about being assassinated by an enemy you were told in the beginning of the “Special Operation” that they couldn’t hold a candle to your Army- but apparently has.  That has got to be a big worry…

  Other items of note in all this-

  The quality of Russian Gear.  I had initially noted the shabbiness of the armor and vehicles…. But those with a more critical eye really noted it… and what has been pointed out to me (and is only hitting media now) is the very shoddy maintenance of their equipment. 

Rusty, paint-flaking, bad tires…  All signs of a force that has NOT been maintained.  Both a consequence of bad morale (if you don’t wanna be there, you aren’t cleaning/maintaining gear) and a sign of the lack of discipline within their armed forces.  Maintenance requires a measure of discipline and professionalism- both items in short supply along with the shortages in actual supply.

  Dude… that the Russians have even managed what they have so far with all these issues…. Is damn amazing.

  The Ukrainians maintained their equipment and if they had more of it….  I think the embarrassment of the Russians would be higher.  Like it isn’t high already.

 Another item becoming apparent is the cracks developing behind the lines.  Putin is channeling his inner Uncle Joe and instituting serious efforts at culling “traitors” and “undesirables” from the Defense Ministry as well as his Intelligence Apparat.  You know… all those folks who told him that this Military Adventure was a sure thing and the West would fall apart as Ukraine was overrun.

All those things… that have NOT happened.

Vlad is mad.  Vlad is nervous… and those combined are not good things.  I did note his attire during that big Rally he had conducted and caught part of his speech.  I didn’t listen to its content- it was reported on as well as the glitches in the video feeds.  What caught my eye was his body language… and what he was wearing *under* that parka.

What I noticed was the artificial bulk under that coat.  Putin, in all of the pictures I’ve ever seen of him, even in a damn winter coat, has never worn anything bulky that could hide a vest.  Until now.  His movement around that stage and stiff-ness of motion…  To some, they might think it was the cold affecting him… or age.

Vlad is a fairly healthy dude… and has NEVER shown any impediment to ambulation.  He also never has shown the cold to affect him over much.

So him possibly being encased in a ballistic vest- is an important detail.  And as much a sign of worries internal on potential civil strife as the purges for Loyalty…

I really think this is all over by Easter.  The only real questions… is will Putin still be in power by then, will he still have an army to speak of for whatever other plan he has in mind?

(for readers of the stories… they are resuming sometime in the next 24 hours.  Maybe sooner.)

Observations and thoughts- Ukraine shenanigans going on now…

Real World shit…

By now, everyone knows the Russians have started their movement into South Eastern Ukraine with their nonsense claims on those regions and Ukraine in general.  Right now, it’s the two south eastern provinces… and there is a ton of questions galore about what comes next.

From the perspective of holding what you take, the 190k+ troops he allegedly has available will have its work cut out for them if he tries to go for the whole of the country.  Its really not enough to do so and keep it- technology and weapons are far different now than when the area was claimed/held all those years ago.

In theory, some folks think he has enough to GET to the Polish Border.  I disagree for several reasons- notable among them being a march to the Ukie/Polish Border requires the Ukie Military to collapse fully and the population not being willing to fight.

Just no way- and I will explain

While I do not think the Ukranians can stop an invasion, I also do not believe they will collapse.  This is home ground, this their lands… and there is NO LOVE for the Russians.  Among my friends I talk about this with, at least two think the Ukie Troops will collapse like a house of cards under the onslaught. I agree that they are outclassed on the Firepower and Aviation fronts…  But there is a level of “Oh you Think So” that will be prevalent among them.  No one gives them a chance in hell among the talking heads…  and as a former grunt, I can tell you the one thing that will fire them up… being told no one thinks they can do shit.

They are gonna know they can’t stop them…. But then, they also know if they make them bleed bad enough, it may give subsequent resistance a chance to stop them… or even push ‘em back a bit.

  Remember, taking ground is one thing… but to claim it, you gotta hold it.

On the second point, the population being willing/not willing to fight…

Any push past the River Dnieper runs the risk of being an overextension… 190k is a large number of forces… but at this point, they would be going into far more hostile territory past that point.  You gotta remember, the Soviet Union did a whole resettlement thing with pushing Russians *into* their border countries while pushing *OUT* natives.  It happened to a degree in the Baltic States and it happened in Ukraine too- though mostly on the eastern side of the country and not as a whole…  And that area it was done in, is on the Eastern Side of the Dnieper River.

  Think on that a minute…

It is this built in Russian population, (which was planted years ago…)  that is helping to serve as a basis for Vlad claims of protecting the Russian Speaking folks there… and his manufactured (somewhat) stories of oppression of Russian Speaking Peoples for a partial justification.

 Dude… this was all set up YEARS ago, though I don’t think Russia ever expected to not be controlling that area when it was done.  And the Russians are not the only ones guilty of it.  The Germans did it too under Adolf… and well, I won’t discuss the shenanigans the US did with our native peoples. 

But yeah…  Eastern Third of Ukraine has partial support in place among the residents.  It’s a big part of how he managed Crimea and almost managed Donbass; the Ukrainians managed to stop him on that last part… but it was a bit closer than one might think.  To think they might have the same support past that river is crazy talk.

There are numerous geopolitical maps out there that key in on the predominate language of an area… and in the Eastern Third, Russian is a pretty common thing for speaking.  And many who do also claim kinship with Russia versus Ukraine.

Once you get past the Dnieper, this paradigm changes the other way…  And folks are more pro-government (within reason).  Add in a large number of veterans in their populous and trained persons were WERE military at one point, the prospect of Native Resistance goes up.  And Effective Native Resistance at that.


  One of the more neutral news sites I read had an article where several veterans of their military were interviewed, with an emphasis on their thoughts with the Russia situation.  Almost universally, the vets indicated they’d go back in to the Army to fight if able or pick up weapons at home and resist if not.  As one put it…  “Why wouldn’t I shoot Russians?  This is my home, not theirs… and how often can one mix business with pleasure?”  (no lie- the sentiment was stated (my words are wrong but they do relay the content of what was said))

And I am pretty sure they weren’t the only ones.

So any push past that river…. Will have more to worry about than just Government Forces.  And 190k troops…. Is not enough to make a push and secure what was taken.  Its just not…  especially in areas where the population just isn’t that into you (At a minimum.)…

ALL that said, its my thoughts that Vlad will likely go after the eastern Third as early as the Weekend, depending on how this “peacekeeper” force he’s sending into the Provinces goes…  Past the Eastern Third, he is going to need far more troops than he has, for the reasons stated.

What About Nato, you ask?  Can’t/Won’t they get involved?

Well, that’s complicated, as you might expect.  And not just on a political level.

Anything NATO has within the area (with the exception of the Poles!!) is simply not capable of slowing down an invasion.  The Polish Army is very capable, and they have a large reserve.  But mobilization takes time…. And if the end goal is Poland too, they are going to be hard pressed.  They have the manpower- it’s the airpower they need help with and Air can/will complicate response.  In theory…

Force-wise, NATO can’t stop him from doing much were he to go for all Ukraine because World War politics….and if he tried to go for Poland, we can hurt him.  Bad….  But NATO isn’t going to be able to contribute much in Ground Troops cause of the across the board Drawdowns of land forces.

But what about Reforger?

Sure… what about it?  We can send all the manpower we want… but we do NOT have POMCUS available in Germany anymore.  Haven’t for a few years, actually.

  What CAN be done is making it expensive, manpower and equipment wise…. Through the use of Tactical Air and SpecWar in their hit/run/sabotage roles as well as guerilla/partisan activity

 Though from an Air Perspective, there may not be enough available to even do more than contest air.  The assets simply are not there outside of what the Poles have as well as rushed over US assets.  We cannot get enough in the area fast enough to do MORE than that- though the longer it takes for Vlad to move, the more we *can* get there.

  Nato for the most part let their Airpower degrade (dude, the Germans use to have a PROUD military…) as much or more than their ground forces…  Exceptions being the French (a so-so capability or so its said) and the Polish (they remember live under the Red Banner and don’t like it much…).  The Baltic Three also have robust (for their size) militaries but they aren’t scary- though any occupier is going to have a metric shitton of problems.

  Remember, all the warfighting plans for NATO/WP were based on everyone having assets to contribute.  Right now….  The most we can hope for is contested airspace.  At least initially.

Our pilots overall are better- we get more flight hours than Russian counterparts do and that will be the bigger edge.  IF it came to that and that is a BIG if as it means it is now no longer a Small War thing but  now a World War Issue.

Reforger isn’t possible right now.  Assets for it would have been needed to be moving two months ago… if the shipping hulls were available.  And if the hulls were available, one had better hope Big Army and Big Navy is willing to pitch some of the rules preventing fast loading of ships.

And that is a topic for another day…  cause as I read up on all this, y’all cannot believe how mad I got.

Its for sure that more is going to happen over there.  What past what’s going on as of this morning is the big question.  I just know it looks like (based on Moscow Rhetoric/theater) that the Eastern Third is getting taken…. And the prospect exists for more.

Time will tell… and for those who remember the Doomsday Clock, I am pretty sure that sucker just moved…. And in the wrong direction.

Writers Notes for the Ganic Stories (Road to Harrisburg- A Final Days of America based tale)

Writers Note-

The main character in the following stories, James (Jim) Ganic, is a character I created a long time ago for a World Of Darkness Roleplaying Game I was part of back in 2006.  The stories I wrote around the character allowed me to flesh him out and give a thought pattern for role play responses in the game I was in; background psyche stuff as it were.  They also served as simple flights of fancy, allowing me to spin tales of deeds that in some cases, were fantastical yet possible….  I mean, truth can be stranger than fiction.  And as the last few years in real life have proved, somethings that actually happen cannot be made up as no one would believe them.

When events in my friend Mike’s Blog Story “Final Days of America” (https://finaldaysamerica.wordpress.com/) got to a certain point in the July timeframe, I got inspired to write a piece as filler for him using a non-WoD version of him…. And the piece helped inspire more story ideas… which resulted in a very long multipart story based upon the setting of Final Days.

  The first piece… the one I wrote initially, you may see there- its up to Mike if he’s going to publish it on his site as it details an event during a No Entry in the main Final Days character’s diary and would serve for a food-for-thought entry for his character. Said piece will be posted here shortly, as it sets up a few items for the stories I wrote.   And still am writing. 

The saying about how some ideas snow-ball… is not just a saying.

That said, for those interested, the following is a bit of info on our hero who refuses to be considered such…

 James Michael Ganic’s military career is a very unusual one.  He began it as a Seabee Equipment Operator when he joined the Navy in 1990.  He managed to qualify and make it through UDT/Naval Special Warfare School in 1994 and was in and out of the Teams for the next 22 years, ultimately retiring in 2016 as a Chief Special Warfare Operator.

  His fictional story is a plausible one, with the character performing both Seal operations as part of the various Seal Teams- East and West Coast.  At one point, he was assigned to the Hague as a part of a Nato-oriented unit tasked with hunting War crime-accused individuals in the Balkans late 1998 to 2001. 

The Unit was an Experimental one that eventually was dis-established just after their first official snatch mission.  (That mission is detailed in a series of stories here on my own blog).  When 2001 happened, he was back with the Teams, first in Afghanistan then Iraq.  Then back to Afghanistan like many Teams did during this time as well as the occasional mission dealing with Pirates near the Horn of Africa.

The very last mission he did was one where he and most of his team was loaned to the CIA for a snatch mission alongside a Russian Spetznaz team.  This mission did not go exactly as planned and while successful, casualties were not light and very few of both teams came away unscathed.


  Retiring not long after healing up from the mission, he spent the next few years between retirement and the events in the story enjoying his life on a farm in Rural Pennsylvania with a horse, some other animals and a good bit of land.

His life once the events of September 2022 in Final Days occurred, changed and what he did after that point has details within the short(?) stories about to be posted and there are pieces of his past that resurface in surprising ways within this series.

The stories ultimately did not fit with the overall timeline and framework of Final Days and its direction- but they have served as inspiration for some of Mike’s writing as his served for my own. Some of it may see light in his blog- its a matter of making the story fit what has gone on.

In any event, the stories have provided himself and a handful of folks who have read them enjoyment and entertainment. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Happy New Year!

-John T

December 31, 2021 (real date. 😊 )

happy new year- lets hope it ain’t like the previous one…

In parts of the world, it is now January 1… and one hopes folks are having a decent time in this age of insanity and plague.

There will be more stories and articles to come, I promise. Life has handed me a list of crap to do and not enough time/energy for it.

So until later, y’all have a good day and night… and may the new year find you happy and healthy.

Happy Murder a Bird Day!

Happy thanksgiving to everyone out there. May the food you all ate have been delicious and may y’all not have too much a food Coma.

More posts to come… as Battletech has been played a bunch lately and a mini-campaign is about to start. Tales will be told in fiction snippets and I hope to make it a decent series of posts/tales.

For now, I’ll be posting a piece on my merry(?) band of Mercenaries.

LARPING… good and bad, why I do it.

Live Action Role Playing.

For the uninitiated, LARP is a live action version of classic role-playing games.  Some might slight it as “playing pretend” and while not wrong, it is not an accurate descriptor as far as how involved it is. For many, its an opportunity to be something or someone they are not.  For some, its opportunity to show how crafty they are or how good at non-lethal combat… or how good a role player they can be.

Indeed, staying in character can be difficult- for some, the ability to act is a hard-to-do thing whereas for others, easier than breathing. For me, its somewhere in-between as I have moments of both. Some days, falling into character is as easy as a flick of the switch. And strangely enough, it has come in handy in my day job  (if you don’t think EMS have to roleplay with patients at times in order to keep them calm, y’all funny.).

There are a great many groups out there with a wide variety of genre.  The most common is sword and sorcery fantasy with elves, dwarfs and orc oh my.  Dystopian, Vampire/World of Darkness and Sci Fi are also common (in that order) though the systems vary.  There are a few historical-themed ones too but those are more of a Cosplay/Re-Enactment than LARP though there is heavy persona play.

I got into LARP initially not long after I got home in 1992 from Germany.  Seems there was a group a few towns over playing and I manage to convince a buddy to give it a whirl.  So off to Thompson Park in Jamesburg we went….

… and we had a blast.  Unfortunately, I didn’t stick with it at the time and it would be many years later before I jumped into LARP again.

When I did, it was One World By Night’s Vampire and that was… an eye opening experience.  Eye opening as to how dirty some people’s morals really are and how some good folks can turn a blind eye to bullies.

Bullies you say?  Oh yes, Bullies. All too often, the bully(s) were some of the Popular Players and had tacit backing/support(or at the very least, indifference) of Story Tellers- in one case, an ST was part of their crew.

  Yes, that’s pretty damn wrong….  But it happened. And it happened a lot.

This is not to say that efforts weren’t made to combat this or that it was everywhere in their World Wide Organization because it isn’t. Oh no, it isn’t… but it is common enough to be an issue… and it eventually forced change. But not always fast enough or completely enough.

  That there were and ARE still good folks who play that larp is a 100% true statement. The bullshit isn’t everywhere…
But the odds of fixing the issue, in some cases, were stacked against those trying to Do The Right Thing- and in one case, one player advocate found herself victim of the same stunts I and my lady at the time were victimized by. 

And it was done by the SAME people who bullied us.  Not two years after she had cleared them of wrongdoing too.  Those ass-hats had leveraged their “friendship” to make her believe everything was legit, playing her for a fool (and trust me- she is a fucking bright and whip smart person who is no one’s patsy) and managed to get away with their bullshit.

There was an irony to the entire series of events though…  The irony being that they in turn wolf-packed her with the same shit done to us.  And as I recall, got away with it despite her being popular and having allies- for much the same reasons they got away with it so many times before in doing to others.

Yes, the advocate’s apology for not believing us enough was accepted. To my knowledge, those bullies have had their come-uppance and most of them are gone from the game. Doesn’t mean I’ll be back though-  I lost my muse for that genre a long time ago…. Though some of the social lessons learned have served me well in other games and in RL office politics too… And ya can’t beat that.

 But I digress…

I eventually got back into Boffer LARPing…  this time after coming home from overseas a mess.  It was about two years after that I made a return to it.  The social interaction and all was believed would help in settling my mind and also an activity to do with my lady at the time.

And I took to it, despite a few misgivings over a repeat of the Vampire Experience.

And I am very glad I made the plunge.

It’s a different crowd, a different scene… though some of the same sorts I encountered in Vampire were here, they were a hell of a lot easier to avoid…  and oft times, folks were quicker to speak up about nonsense… Which made being a player a far better time.

  AS for the experience, well… in essence, you are playing a RPG character with as much life and story as you put into a paper version of the character.  And I took to it like a duck to water.  I’ve made more than a few friends, probably an enemy or two (can’t have one without the other, people) and it was also exercise- how often is a person going to walk 10-15 miles a day for simple fun?

Yes, I know they exist….

So yeah, low impact exercise with occasional bouts of high energy activity (read: fighting) and as much story/roleplay as you may want.  For the most part, you get what you put into it… and while not every event will give you back what you put in, you generally will get back *something*…

And usually enough of something to keep you going back for more.

For me, it was the camaraderie, the adventures gotten into with friends made in game that in many cases transcended to out of game friends.  I was also the exercise too, believe it or not.  I was a VERY active player, routinely walking some 12 to 15 miles or more throughout a weekend ( one of my group had pacemeter and he did 27 miles one event (Friday Night to Sunday Morning) and I was about as active as he was that event).

 It also helped where we usually camped was over a quarter mile into the woods.  Two round trips equaled a mile…. And over the course of a weekend, eight to twelve round trips were a thing…  That’s not counting the trips to pack in and pack out. Good times…

I had to sit out a bit- Real Life with its various stressors made for some serious issues that needed resolution- but once life righted itself, I went back to LARPing but at a closer game.  And made plans for traveling…

The closer game is part of a full network all over the US… and some of their chapters are within reasonable driving distance- or a long weekend (furthest I’ll drive on my own is five and a half hours).  And to me, this prospect of being able to take my PC to other games within the network is a really big draw for me.

It helps I can afford to do the travel thing on occasion now… but still, the prospect of traveling to games where I can use my character is a really cool thing.

I thought it was a cool thing and I’ve had opportunity to do is already- the oldest chapter in the org I am in ran its final event (prior to changing hands) and I was able to be at it with a bunch of friends who also play. It was a rich weekend, with a good amount of story, no little fighting and gobs of side plot as old in game grudges came to a head in spots or long-dormant plot lines were finally resolved.  A very fun game…

And it helped bring me to deciding I needed to travel.

Plague upended that plan for the last two years… but its hoped that next year, I will be able to travel to some other chapters.  New Hampshire, Virginia, NE Pa are on the list for trips next year… as well as a possible excursion to Colorado- I have friends out there and they live about an hour from one of the chapters.  They are game to go if I make it out there so good times are to be had…

If you have never tried LARP, I am not going to tell you that you should.  But I will say if you enjoy Roleplaying, have an urge to dress up a bit to rep a persona…  then LARPing might be a thing for you.

I know for ME, its the folks I’ve made friends with, the roleplay and the occasional fight… Its what does it for me and keeps me returning.

It is a worldwide phenomena…  and every part of the world has its own take on it.  So I strongly recommend if there is an interest, take the plunge.

Do your research, read up on where you gonna try it… but go.  The Experience is usually worth the initial plunge.

Lunar Faire- a different sort of gathering

Been busy for the last few weeks, between recovering from my surgery and trying to be creative/retain various muses…. along with gathering gear for Larp this weekend.

I will be testing my stamina and flexibility a full month after the surgery. Here’s hoping no issues.

Anyways…. Lunar Faire.

What is it? It is a NIGHTTIME (yes, at night) Faire/Market for things wiccan/witch-y and non-traditional. Leather, Crystals, spices and herbs, wands, some clothes, vegan foods, soaps and salves… Some of this one MIGHT find at a normal Renfaire but only some. The rest…. is found here, under the Full or New Moon.

The exception was this past weekend, where the Lunar Faire Folk held a 2 day Samhain event over Halloween Weekend at The Fields Of Waterloo.

I was there as part of the Medical/Security Group- being a qualified/Certified EMT, the friends who were working the Faire asked for me to be there in case of “whammies”. I had a “No Lifting” restriction and was told not to worry about it- there was plenty of folks to do heavy lifting if needed. 🙂

I’d never been to one of these events- they’ve been happening in NJ for the last ten months and getting bigger each time (last event was 4500 people!!) and this event was as big, even with shitty weather- it rained most of Saturday and everywhere was damp as hell… with some areas of the fields being soupy mud for parking.

Even with the mess, the overall vibe of the event was pretty chill. Folks were calm and for the most part, pleasant. Some of the patrons were not as chill… but I chalk that up to the insane parking situation and conditions.

Live Music, Weird Drinks, decent food, and some (non)traditional entertainment like Fire Dancers, Sword Swallower and Fire Breathers… As well as a Suspended Hoop dancing performance or three. Not the sort of stuff one finds at a County Faire, that’s for sure

All in all, it was an easy weekend medically for me and I got to watch a few performances from the medical trailer. Not bad a time for me but I know it could have been far different.

If you are wanting to give the show ago, go for it. Have ZERO expectations when you go- I’m told each show is a bit different… but then, for an event that runs on the Full/New Moon schedule, not all dates fall on a weekend.

And the event has been sorta vagabond for sites. Sussex County Fairgrounds, Camp Sacajawea, Fields at Waterloo… and for the November 19th Show, Readington River Buffalo Farm in Flemington NJ. They have either outgrown (Sac) or had to move for reasons… which does add a touch of mystique to the show.

And lets be honest, being a roving show kinda makes sense. I mean, while Wicca and witches are more accepted now, its STILL a fringe life to the Mundanes of the World (and the many groups of the Uptight Citizens Brigades out there) and if nothing else, the shifting location is kinda an homage to the formerly hidden nature of such an event and Wicca in general.

My Missus is planning to go with her crew. Just need to get a date that doesn’t interfere with the Day Job for her and the others.

For more info, go to lunarfaire.com