marsden_online: (BlueDragon)
Most people are probably aware that over the past going on 24 hours NZ has been hit by another series of major earthquakes starting at very just after midnight Sunday/Monday. I had not long gone to bed when it hit so after about 10 seconds of "aftershock" and then ~ 1:20 minutes of "nope, crap, that's a BIG quake inland just getting here" and some minutes on FB checking that no-one in Christchurch itself was reporting major issues I went off to sleep, thus not seeing the tsunami warning and evacuation notices (which didn't affect me anyway) until checking again during a wake around 4am. I figured if anyone needed transport or to shelter at my place I would get a message or txt directly so I slept for another few hours, starting the day feeling not significantly tireder than usual. That wasn't to last.

Fortunately I had already booked the day off work to recover from attending a 48 hour charity event over the weekend (more on that below). The first hour or so I spent touching base with various people by FB and phone before starting on my pre-existing chores list. I didn't get through as much of this as hoped - a somewhat overdue cleaning of the bathroom leaving me physically exhausted and attempting to set the ball rolling on a safety inspection of the Hall further soaked up energy. I eventually spent 2-3 hours napping - in part to shut down some nervous energy and generalised anxiety - before setting out to help a friend with transport and hugs, do the grocery shopping and after a simple dinner deliver some care packages. (One of which had already been on my to-do list but which under the circumstances I bulked up a bit more ;) ) I could tell that I probably shouldn't be driving well before I got home, and if I wasn't waiting for a better time to take my meds I would be back in bed already.

Friday / Saturday I spent about 24 hours total at SAGA's now-annual 48-hour gaming event to raise money for charity (this year AVIVA). I'll just copy and paste from my FB statuses here ...

Saturday 4:30pm
Plays so far:
Colony Wars (obliterated by Daniel Starky's base spam strategy)
Thurn & Taxis (resounding win)
Dominion w. Prosperity (barely last but a long way from the winner)
Broken Eagle the Learned Nano who Combines Words of Power is about to set out into the world of Numenera in search of greater knowledge.

Saturday 10:50pm
After Numenera finished off for the day with a game of Tiny Kingdoms. Didn't do particularly well but probably OK for a first time.
I'd liked to have stayed longer but it is patently obvious that it would be a very bad Idea. If I can get a good sleep tonight I may be able to stay later tomorrow night.

Sunday 3:20am
Didn't get to games until after 2pm but then stayed somewhat longer than expected. Still 3am is no later than I get home from a good party. Cat seems unimpressed by my long absence.
Plays today (pretty sure I have forgotten something)
Tiny Epic Kingdoms
Settlers of Catan
DC Heroes
Colony Wars
Zombie Dice
Seven Wonders
Istanbul (new)

... preliminary reports are that we raised well over $1000 if everyone comes through on their pledges. I enjoyed myself - overly much so without really realising it, on the Friday in particular which left me stuck in bed until much later than I had planned on Saturday. I did spend more time and energy than I had hoped taking the lead in deciding on and teaching games; the teaching not so much of a problem (I was actually recommended, to my face, and later even messaged thanks for the fun time someone had as a result). I also made sure one person who probably otherwise would not have made it but I knew would benefit greatly from getting out of the house got both there and home.

As always I experienced more downtime between games than I would have liked, but I had gone prepared for that also with things to do.

Sunday afternoon (you noticed the status update at 3:20AM above?) was spent on a few chores and Sunday evening instead of my usual game we chilled and watched Guardians of the Galaxy which a couple of our members had missed at the theatre. (I am really enjoying the new projector.) I actually went to bed feeling uncommonly relaxed and happy ... and then the quake hit.

That has filled in the time nicely; shortly I will be abed and hopefully will feel much better in the morning. Because otherwise I am /not/ looking forward to work tomorrow.
marsden_online: (skull)
when everything goes just not quite right and you just start failing to cope.
Negativity dump )
marsden_online: (elf)
Well, that might be a bit excessive. But a guy can dream, and one of my dreams for a long time has been combining gaming and giving. Last weekend Gameathon was an attempt at that. It was a bit of a flop, some fault mine and some just reasons of circumstance.

I'm too stubborn to give up at the first stumble but I've also learnt (slowly and painfully) that there are some things that cannot be done by just one person. The thing about one-man-shows, they die with the man. I want to feel involved in something more than that.

Organisation isn't an issue (there's very little involved compared to say a BoD), what seems missing are others who share enough belief in the idea to a) spread the word/stir up a wider enthusiasm, b) provide a minimum critical mass on the day.

Plenty of people said 'good idea'. The people who counted in the end were those who attended or made apologies when they couldn't. There need to be more of those people.

So here's the ask - are you prepared to try and commit to some sort of occasional (annual?) socially aware gaming event, be that eventually part of a wider money-raising effort such as a Telethon or a bring-a-can for the local foodbank; over a day, a weekend, or distributed?

If enough people say yes (10-12 ought to do it) I'll set up a google group or a facebook group or whatever else most people are happy with and we can talk about it some more. If not, back to the drawing board.

Please pass the question on if you know someone else who will be interested.
marsden_online: (gameathon2)
was both more and less successful than I hoped. Many thanks to the very late arrivals who enabled the post-midnight game of Munchkin: Impossible (even if the the Sleeper agent didn't come out despite going through the entire deck, because someone was holding it in hopes of using it as the game winner).

There there was a 2-3am physics tutorial .... I made it to bed about 3:40am

I'm up. [ profile] uaekiwi crashed here the night and is just finishing breakfast. A soon as you get here we're good to go :D


Jul. 22nd, 2009 09:12 pm
marsden_online: (gameathon2)
Event: Gameathon
Starting: 2009-08-08, the Afternoon of Saturday the 8th of August 2009
Ending: 2009-08-09, the Afternoon of Sunday the 9th of August 2009
Location: Christchurch, 16 Gladson Avenue
Contacts: Robert ( 942 1585

I'm hosting a board gaming Gameathon to to raise money for the Big Night
In telethon ( . The house will be open from
Saturday noon until people leave on Sunday. I don't expect games to run
all night but crash space will be available. If you have even a spare
hour please stop by :)

Donations will be in the form of a gold coin or equivalent per game
played in.

x-posted all over the place
marsden_online: (gameathon2)

I'm so grateful that it's not just a remake of the old one, but it doesn't really grab me. S'pose it might grow on one (like a fungus).
marsden_online: (gameathon2)
Telethon song re-recorded for Big Night In

I'm of the opinion they should have done something new.
marsden_online: (gameathon2)
Naturally I've set up a profile for Gameathon, and seeded the kitty. You to can now make a donation by credit-card here.

One thing I noticed almost immediately after setting up the profile is that there is no direct link back to the event you're sponsoring. It appears in the sidebar, but linked to the official site. So if you don't want your donation associated with Gameathon, you can make it here. Or there are paypal links on the support us page of the Big Night In website.

It would be nice if they had a widget to display the counter on the main site. Perhaps I can build one.
marsden_online: (gameathon2)
I just stopped by the Big Night In site to see if anything was new and noticed that the dates have changed. I admit that given my semi-oblivious state recently they may have been changed when the new site first went up and I failed to notice.

So the telethon, and thus the Gameathon, is now supposed to happen over the 8th and 9th of August.

This irritates me to the point that I am about to drop the whole idea on the basis that the organisation isn't organised enough to deserve my support.


Mar. 24th, 2009 08:51 pm
marsden_online: (gameathon2)
The Big Night In folks have (finally) updated their website.

(This post to see if it triggers my google alert)
marsden_online: (gameathon2)
I missed out on most of the famous New Zealand telethons. My family didn't have a TV so my first experience was in 3rd form and beyond watching my involvement only extended to being pressured to contribute a few more dollars to the bucket so it reached the value at which a housemaster would let his beard be shaved off by the head house prefect (and I recall the prefects getting a few seconds on TV when they took that bucket down to the local collection centre). That would have been 1988. I may have donated money to the later national telethons, but wasn't at all involved in any fund raising projects.

Still, they somehow left an impression. So many people were involved spontaneously - either coming up with something to do on the day or turning up to one of the mass events. To me, that level of community involvement is what actually makes a telethon worthy of the name. You can have all the famous names, huge corporate sponsors, state of the art graphics with your transmission - but if you don't connect with and positively mobilise the community you are at best going to be a footnote in Wikipedia, and at worst going to poison the well for future telethons.

x-posted Gameathon
marsden_online: (gameathon2)
So I've decided. Had to, since there is supposed to be material going in OoC, and it's being printed in the next few days.

I'll still be holding games at my place. The Gameathon website is still there if people would like to express their support for the idea by actually creating an account, or post events for other locations. I promise not to spam anyone.

If the telethon itself falls over the charity will still exist, and if they somehow implode there are plenty of other good causes out there.

Edit: fixed link. The lack of comments telling me it was broken says something about how many people have tried to click on it I suppose :-| Thanks [ profile] zakzahn.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)

larger versions )

Darker numbers might go with a lighter colour text. White text obviously doesn't work with the lighting.

I spent a long time trying to find a way to make the faces display text via a texture or something, but it just doesn't work. In the end I went with very carefully positioned text objects, which I then had to convert to meshes to allow transparent colouring (ddeming the quickest way to get a darker or lighter version of the background colour to be setting the colour of the number to pure black or white then playing with the alpha).

I have learnt a whole lot about doing things in Blender, but there are a few things which still seem hit or miss - like changing the colour of a 3D text object.

Just because I'm still working on this logo doesn't mean I've lost my misgivings about Gameathon - the logo is a project in itself.
marsden_online: (gameathon2)
Back in September a national telethon was announced for June 2009, and I got my teeth into the idea of running some form of gameathon to support it.

Since then the official 'Big Night In' website has sat untouched like a big red and white pimple. Not even a peep from the mailing list it offers. Not it might just be me, but if I was making a big media announcement about an event I'd make sure there was a website with some content ready. Especially when you're going on record as intending "a completely revamped format that will make use of all available technology." [emphasis mine]

Nothing, months later (and that includes the custom google alerts I have set up) casts a pall of doubt over the organisers' understanding of that very technology and also means that whatever public momentum may have been gained from that announcement has undoubtedly been lost.

I emailed KidsCan directly last month to try and find out what was going on. It's difficult to infer much from the reassuringly worded email I received in response, but it suggested that the website was nearly ready and that I should expect something from the mailing list within the week. Not a peep.

It was actually possible to get the impression that they were surprised other people might want to get involved in running events for the telethon. To me, that community involvement is what makes a telethon work on this scale.

On the face of the evidence I'm forced to conclude that 'The Big Night In' is nothing more than someone's idea to use the 'iconic kiwi telethon' as a brand more or less for an event, without thought or care given to the social history that actually made the event so popular, and so effective. The listing and style of other events on the KidsCan website actually reinforces this.

Further, I suspect the organisers have discovered it to be a much larger task than it may have appeared when the idea was first floated, but we've all been on projects like that.

It is a bit rich of me to pontificate on this given that I only got to see 2 or 3 telethons (no TV prior to high school) and that beyond watching my involvement then only extended to being pressured to contribute a few more dollars to the bucket so it reached the value at which a housemaster would let the head prefect shave his beard off (and I recall the prefects getting a few seconds on TV one year when they took that bucket down to the local collection centre).

Getting back to the gameathon. One of the points of getting involved in a telethon in any capacity I think is that sense of being involved in something bigger and better than what you can do yourself. As I lose respect for the organisation behind this event so my enthusiasm for trying to create something to benefit it also wanes. It becomes 'just another good cause', not one I want to do more for than maybe throw them a few dollars at collection time.

I've been holding off 'opening' gameathon because it seems rude to have my website going before the official telethon site. But if it is to stand a chance of being an event
  • worthy of being called an event,
  • raising a worthwhile amount of money,
  • more than just 'games at my place' which I could (and will) do anyway
  • frankly, meet my standards for something I'm trying to organise
... then really it can't be left any longer given the work left to be done (logo etc) and my
flagging motivation.

I'm on the cusp of giving away the idea as more effort than it's actually worth, regardless of how many other itches it would scratch, but I'd like other opinions. After all, if it goes ahead it becomes about everyone who chooses to get involved, not just me.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Rudimentary, but getting there.
small d20 with 'Game for Charity' overlay
full size behind the cut )

Need to come up with a colour scheme and font that will go well with the template I used for the site.

Should I add faint numbers to the sides of the die?
marsden_online: (Evil GM)
I'm starting to feel vestiges of gaming motivation return. So here are some plans for next year to work on:
One-offs: Kobold Keep (OD&D Red Box) using Microlite20
BoD: Reclaim Helms Hold - D&D3.5, 9th level characters, tidying up after the Neverwinter group who didn't manage to banish the demon roaming the Hold.
Gameathon: While hosting board games here I also plan to run a couple of Ace of Spades sessions.

Stray starter for Ace or another freeform game:
You exit hyperspace into the late stages of a battle. Small fighters dive around a battered freighter as the shredded hulls of other small ships drift lazily away. One of the fighters messages you - "Stay clear - this is our bounty!".
Moments later a weak distress call arrives from the freighter - "Please help - we can't hold out against these pirates much longer".

(Yes, I may have been playing blowing stuff up in Privateer again)

On an unrelated note - I was right. Fortunately I was already visiting in the area and it only took 20 minutes to patch up.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
It might still be the 15th somewhere in the world ... I got a number of these through catching up with my feeds from the past few days, otherwise I'd never have remembered.

As I posted a while ago, the KidsCan charitable trust in partnership with TV3 is planning to bring back the NZ Telethon to benefit for Kiwi kids living in poverty. I've been following up my idea of organising some sort of a gameathon for the event, and although promotion and pimpage proper won't start for some time yet (next year I expect) now seems as good a time as any to post the website outside of friends-lock.

If people think it's a good idea, I'd love to see some more profiles and useful suggestions on there :)


Sep. 10th, 2008 01:08 pm
marsden_online: (Evil GM)
So, TV3 is bringing back the telethon.

Short version: 20-21 June 2009, aim to raise $2mil for KidsCan.

I never really saw the original Telethons - I remember collection events being held in the boarding house when I was in early secondary-school - but there are some youtube clips here

A largely cynical part of my nature is screaming 'media stunt', but there's also a part of my brain sparking away like crazy with the idea of organising or co-ordinating a game-athon for the event.
[Poll #1256858]

Gotta get this stuff outta my head )

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