Monday, March 29, 2010


hmmm. So I've decided that spending 50€ for me and the wife to see Gamma Ray and Freedom Call, just because I loved Gamma Ray's work from 1999 and before, when I really don't like anything they've done in the following eleven years, and thinking that Freedom Call is so awful that I'm rather rude when someone tries to play any of it around me, is not a great idea.

Yeah. Stay home and write. After we go to IKEA because the wife wants new curtains. From IKEA.

My life is just full of class and old money values.

(And how mellow I've become. Not too long ago I'd be wishing for a ferry accident or a plane crash if that's what it took to keep Freedom Call out of my ears. But I'm now mature enough to realize how counterproductive such ideas are. If they died on tour, I wouldn't be rid of them. Their deaths would transform them from fourth-rate power metal no-hopers into metal legends. So no longer do I wish for things that would benefit the band's legacy like that. Wishing a pack of groupies with a particularly virulent case of herpes to descend upon the band, that would be legit. A sudden mass outbreak of carpal tunnel syndrome for everyone (and throat nodules for the singer) might be legit too. But no sinking boats or crashing planes. I'm better than that now.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, pissing off all the people who think blogs should be all about gaming. Because I want to be the online equivalent to the guy at the game store telling me all about the awesome things his character did last session.

Damn it, I'm being sidetracked.

Only fifteen more minutes before the wife's finished walking the dog and I have the great pleasure of watching her look at curtains. In IKEA.

At least the IKEA snack bar has the vanillaest ice cream in town.


I haven't been so involved in TARGA stuff for awhile, mainly because I've been busy with my own projects, and it seemed for awhile that TARGA was moving along with a purpose and getting on just great without me.

Recent events have shaken things up again, and so I thought I'd get involved in the upcoming conference call. I'm still busy, but it promises to be interesting.

There are two things I'm interested in:

TARGA's public awareness. TARGA organizes some cool things, donates a good deal of money to various projects, and what's the most common thing I heard after the latest controversy? "What's TARGA?" Ouch.

There are a ton of people with the viewpoint, "If it doesn't knock down my door and play my game with me in my house with the group I've had since 1731, why should I care? I don't need any of this to have fun!" I'm not saying that's an illegitimate viewpoint (although I wonder why they're reading a lot of this stuff or commenting on it to begin with if that's their attitude), but TARGA does need some recognition of its own.

(in unrelated news, someone's home got broken into somewhere, and they were robbed. "Pffft... what do I care?" I go out of my way to tell the victims, "My shit's fine.")

I mean, how can TARGA promote and encourage if nobody knows about it in the first place?

Standards and Practices of TARGA. I couldn't think of a better way to put it. Should TARGA be family friendly? Where should the line be drawn about what TARGA promotes and doesn't promote?

I of course am in the " --

(crap, ran out of time. I'll continue after returning from IKEA, if I still have a brain left after looking at curtains. At IKEA.)

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh IKEA Espoo wgah'nagl fhtagn

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh IKEA Espoo wgah'nagl fhtagn

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh IKEA Espoo wgah'nagl fhtagn

Just got back. That took two hours!

Those IKEA stores are laid out in a rather non-euclidean manner, don't you think...

Taking the trip seriously, we both wore our lounging-around-the-house gear, looking like we were auditioning for the People of Wal-Mart site.

And the curtains. THOSE CURTAINS. How hideous. All of them. Especially the manga designs with the cutesy boy and girl and Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo. (people buy that shit?) I was hoping for one of those gay TV home designer fellows to show up and BURN THE PLACE TO THE GROUND for the blasphemy against taste that it is...

I was all in favor of just picking something and getting out. "Whatever you get, it can't be worse than the curtains we've already got." The ones that look like they rose from the depths of the ugly 70s, maroon in color with sparkly mirrors on them.

Wife gets annoyed. "Those are expensive silk curtains! I bought them in 2007!"

There's no hope. Our windows will be dressed in fabric too horrible for human minds to fathom no matter what. (my vote was to get the orange and blue fabric and make Denver Broncos colored curtains. If you're going to be garish anyway, then go all the way! Or should that be a 1970s San Diego Padres color scheme?)

She has another great idea. "Let's eat at IKEA!" she says. OK. Her motivation is that she wants to finish up a coat tonight, and she'll get that done much quicker if she doesn't have to do the cooking.

"So," I point out, "you are escaping the kitchen in order to do some sewing. Woman's Lib at work!"

She made a rather funny face at that point.

phaugh. People are lucky I'm so patient with them!

So I think I was talking about TARGA?


TARGA is not, and can never be, an authority.

TARGA is not, and can never be, a gatekeeper.

Attempting to be either would make it a pitiful joke.

TARGA's job, as I see it, is to be a reflection of the current traditional gaming scene. Not a whitewasher, not a filter, but a magnifying glass. To me, that means that if all the old-schoolers suddenly took to smoking crack and clubbing little cutesy wootsy baby seals while gaming, TARGA's job would be to point out how the old school gaming scene involves smoking crack and clubbing little cutesy wootsy baby seals. Report, publicize, but don't mold.

Remember (and I made this point on the TARGA blog), OD&D and AD&D had all sorts of gratuitous nudity, and implications of male rape (that stuff in the charisma description in book 1 of the OD&D box and the dryad description in the Monster Manual). Even if TARGA decides that content must be this clean to ride, and I don't expect that to be the case after certain resignations, surely the rules won't be so stringent that OD&D and AD&D would fail to meet those standards, right.



That said, I also think that TARGA would be most useful if it also actually did stuff rather than just try to get TARGA stamped on things people were already doing. Things are happening, for example with the auctions of the past months to sponsor the Gygax Memorial. TARGA gave Luke Gygax a $350 check.

TARGA is doing stuff.

But there's more that can be done, things that can be done that will benefit everyone playing these old school games, whether they give a shit about what happens beyond their gaming table or not.

And I've actually got some ideas. Can't wait for Saturday.


  1. Sometimes you just have to make your own curtains because current trends are total crap. Literally and metaphorically. ;)

  2. Haha. Where I live, people drive for hours for the strange foreign pleasure of shopping at IKEA. Otherwise its Target and Walmart.

  3. Don't get me started on IKEA's lamps...

  4. People are lucky I'm so patient with them!

    I share this sentiment on a near daily basis. :D

  5. "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh IKEA Espoo wgah'nagl fhtagn"

    Dude - channeling Lovecraft?

    Excellent post, btw.

  6. I pride myself in dressing as I am: a grungy, guitar playing, classic D&D enthusiast weirdo. Because that's what Florida born & bred weirdos dress like: Flannel's, Jeans, T-Shirt's, & work boots - even if it's 90* outside with 85% humidity. Hey, it's better than getting eaten alive by mosquitoes the size of dachshunds. And yes, my wife & I have been known to frequent Wal-Mart (& Sam's Club) from time to time.

    Great post by the by, but I have to go - 1991 is calling, & it wants it's teenage angst back. :)

  7. I think it's also important to remember that the people you hear from online who don't know what TARGA is *aren't the target audience*. They already know what old-school games are and where to go to play them, right? They've been rolling with the same group since 1731 and aren't interested in meeting new faces, that's cool! They don't need TARGA.

    I handed out 45 TARGA flyers to people at the Arneson gameday this Saturday; that's more people right there than I interact with in my online bubble. Lots of these folks hadn't played anything older than WotC editions before; one guy in my game hadn't played a tabletop RPG before! (He got interested in D&D from the Robot Chicken and Penny Arcade podcasts. I asked him how playing Blackmoor Dungeon with '71-'73 era rules was different and he said "There were so many more corridors than I expected.")

    These are the people who need TARGA. As a regional coordinator I don't need to preach to the blogosphere, I don't need to teach OSR doctrine to anyone; I just need to get people going "Hey, that last event that I did that was so different from anything else I see in the RPGA or or convention scene? That was a TARGA thing and I want more of whatever it was."

    (Oh: and there's an Ikea in Espoo? Why was I not informed of this?)

    - Tavis

  8. Eeeeee!!!!

    Thou hast spoken the name of The Store That Is Not To Be Named!!! You're DOOOOOOOMED!!!!!

  9. TARGA is a small collective of hobbyists doing their best to advance their hobby. They're human, and they're going to make mistakes, but I support them because it's my hobby, too.

  10. Oh my God, you are giving us a damned cliffhanger and then do not finis the story. Instead somehow post stuff about some gaming club.
    Please come back to the main story!
    On a sidenote:
    Why not liberate some of those IKEA pencils and include them in your boxed set? Saves you some cash.

  11. I think your posts are entertaining even when you mostly talk about IKEA. Does that tell more about me or you?

    Totally agree on the whitewashing thing, by the way.

  12. Jim was eaten by a Moomin (or some other piece of bizarre Finnish fauna) on his way back from Ikea. This post was brought to us by Dirk Anger.

    TARGA? Nice guys, but trying to herd cats. Insane, contrarian cats with a hivemind.

  13. I glad you didn't give Freedom Call one fucking red cent...

  14. IKEA is awful. Overrated, self-assembly garbage - fit for dorm rooms and frat houses everywhere only. I hate to say it, but it is differentiated int he states. Different gets you an audience, even if you suck.