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Yeasts and Gaming and Why I Wish There Was 30 Hours in the Day

Well, there are things that are new, but I’m trying to stem the tide of crap and use my blog to talk about things either neat and shiny, or interesting and cool, or personal-but-not-complainy.

So anyway, let’s see. Coming home to find the Bavarian Weizen I’m got brewing is cool. It’s pretty encouraging because it’s actually bubbling like crazy now. It took about 40 hours to start up, but now it’s going well.I’ll probably try to pitch a second wheat beer, same approximate grist but slightly different hopping, onto the yeast cake and build it up a little more, when I transfer this batch to the keg. (Which I’ll probably be able to do on the weekend.) I’m looking forward to seeing how the flavour comes out, since it’s supposed to have a fruitier character than other German wheat beers (and a little vanilla thrown in) but I’m fermenting it a bit low in the temperature range (because the powers that be have decided we no longer need heat… even if it makes for very chilly nights indoors).

Er, but anyway, I wasn’t going to bitch here.

The other interesting thing is that I’ve been finding myself drawn towards gaming again. I think it’s part of a desire I am feeling now to insist on better partitioning of my time. I used to spend a lot of my free time (when not working on writing, or, unfortunately, instead of working on my writing) doing work stuff. I’ve slowed down a little on the homework I assign, but I’ve also slowed down more on the speed of my grading, so that now, at the end of week six, in one of my classes I’m just handing back the last month’s worth of work. I don’t like that, but at the same time, I guess I am also coming to terms with the fact that 4 classes is not a light classload, and that one cannot just spend all his time grading.

So anyway, I’ve been leafing through various RPG books I have, or have been given by friends, or whatever. The White Wolf games are the most familiar to me, though I have never played second-edition World of Darkness. I was a devoted GM of Wraith: The Oblivion back in my undergrad days, but when I moved from Montreal to Korea, the shipment of RPG books sent to my parents’ place got lost, so my Wraith collection (of almost all the books in the series) disappeared. I did pick up the Orpheus series, which seems more like what I did with Wraith anyway–more “living” characters than ghosts, and a kind of conspiracyish ghostbustery kind of arc. I’m not sure whether I’d want to run the game, though, and I’ve been looking at the more recent (2009) World of Darkness ghost-centric Geist: The Sin Eaters game with the kind of interest that makes me want to try the game sometime.

Of course, I don’t know if I actually know enough people I’d want to play with to try it. I know one former gamer who would be up for it, I think. I know one “geek” who might be willing to try. Miss Jiwaku might be interested. But I don’t know, I’d kind of want a few more players, I think. Of course, there are English-language gaming groups in Seoul, and I could try joining one of those, though to be honest, I’ve always preferred GMing to playing.

Secondly, as Miss Jiwaku pointed out, if I started gaming again, my time for writing would diminish a little. Maybe not a lot… I suppose it would depend how much time I would spend prepping for games. (I assume I would be GMing.) I’m at the point where I need to do some serious time on my writing, especially if my plans for the next year or two are to bear fruit. Gaming might be a drain on that time, especially if we did it semi-regularly. (Like, I’m thinking, every second week.)

Thirdly, I’m thinking I might try start up a brewing club on campus. That’d be a way of getting young people interested in brewing, developing some more taste for good beer in Korea, and so on. I’m not sure whether we could get a space to brew in, though, or a space in which to store our carboys and buckets and kegs and grain. Even getting a tiny little room seems to be pretty difficult. So it probably won’t happen. Which is a pity.

Anyway, I still enjoy leafing through the gaming books, and I can imagine there will be a time when I will have enough free time to really start a game and play it and really enjoy that side of my geekhood again. I would absolutely love to run a Dark Ages game of some kind, set, say, in 12th century Occitan. Or during the 1920s, in New York City. I have a pretty bizarre Steampunk world I’ve been exploring in some stories I’ve written over the last few months, which I think would make a cool RPG setting.

I suspect it won’t happen now, but maybe, just maybe, if I end up having the operation on my ankles that I want to have this weekend, I’ll be “out of commission” in terms of wandering around, going out to events, and so on. That would leave me with enough free time and so on to get a short-term game set up and running, for the summer at least. We’ll see. It’d be fun, but not as fun as traveling. Hm. The kicker will be whether I’ll be able to run games the way my old GM back in undergrad (the guy who introduced me to White Wolf games) used to do: he would have a general plot, and was great at improvising stuff where I used to have to plan a lot ahead of time… which was time-consuming, and which I’d prefer not to have to do now.

We’ll see. It’d be interesting, a change of pace, and, I think, I’d probably learn a few more things about storytelling as well as be inspired to address some other areas of my writing that I maybe don’t realize I could be developing further. I guess it will depend on how my summer plans shape up, and whether I can find enough people to play a game.

By the way, I’ve also been looking over the Spirit of the Century game, which seems to be more about that kind of flexibility, with its focus on “pick-up” games… games you can pick up and run without much preparation. Not sure if I’m totally the pulp gamer type — I like dark, ghost-centric RPG — but it’d be an experience.

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