Monthly Archives: December 2014

See You Next Year

As with Thanksgiving, there won’t be any Fitness Specter, Game Specter, or any other activity until the New Year. There’s just too much going on and rather than trying to squeeze in some activity, I’ll just call this one a wash and will hit the content hard next year.

2015 is going to be a nice “start” for Emerald Specter.com!

Game Specter 6 – Creating a Game

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As I write this, I have had a discussion with my buddy Bob and will begin designing a game for a group of us to play together… online. So, the question then becomes (especially considering the last column’s content): what am I going to run?

While the subject of this column is sort of up in the air, there is a list of game ideas that I really want to run for the group. I’ll be more than happy to be the first GM, and that game will come AFTER the Christmas holiday is over for the USPS, so I want to lay out some ideas that I think that the group might like… and I haven’t even met the group yet!

One of the ideas that I want to run is a classic World of Darkness game… specifically the Vampire the Masquerade line. Bob and I used to run in a group that ran oWoD and that makes this the perfect “get back into the swing of things” game. The VtM setting would be modified from the “metaplot” that was running in the background, mainly because the metaplot had the ending of the world happen back in 2003. Yeah, that kind of puts a damper on a game set in 2014 or 2015. Definitely. I am thinking that the setting would contain bits and pieces of the metaplot, being geared towards more of a one shot adventure in a city no one is super familiar with, and leave open the possibility of extending the adventures of this group beyond this one shot but not mandating that.

There is also (sticking with WoD) the possibility of using the new Blood & Smoke rules for Vampire the Requiem and running a game set in the nWoD. While these two games could definitely be linked, or similar, I have two separate ideas for each one. The VtR game is less geared towards clan politics and more towards a “nothing exists outside this city” type setting. There would be a mystery with both but those mysteries would be completely different. If anyone of my potential players are reading this, maybe they want me to run BOTH games… which I would be happy to do, just not close together.

Moving towards Fate, I was thinking of running the “Green Team” game that I wanted to run for a group of players a few months back. Towards the end of the Echoes Darkly podcast run, I had gathered together a group of players to play through a WoD-style military/mystery scenario I was calling Green Team. Now that I’ve read up on Fate, I think that the Fate system fits better with what I wanted to do, and I think that Bob (being ex-military along with myself) would be a good “team leader” in the scenario I have written down. I still have all the notes, folks, and yes, I’d even give the original players a spot if they wanted one.

I have also decided to consider the opportunity to run a game that may not involve dice at all. There is a story that I’ve been dying to tell that really doesn’t need a game system to run. In fact, as long as all the players are on board with exploring the characters they create, we wouldn’t need dice at all… we could just tell the story that needs to be told.

With any luck, there is enough I have listed above to get anyone interested. Why not let the players decide, right? Now I just need to get them together to decide. Bob?

Game on.

Specter Fantasy Football 2 – Announcing the Emerald Specter Fantasy League

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Shut your mouth! Yeah, that’s right, I’m officially announcing the Emerald Specter Fantasy Football League for 2015!

I am looking for between 10 and 16 total teams, the league will be run through Yahoo! (at this time) and will be competing to be the first holder of the official Emerald Specter Cup. Do you have what it takes to compete? Come on… don’t be so hard on yourself. Email emeraldspecter.com ( at ) gmail.com with the subject line “ESFL” to request to be included!

Will I be competing? More than likely… and I want to compete with you! Join now!

This isn’t really a “column,” but I’ve numbered it. Deal with it.

Fitness Specter 16 – The Death of WAFFLE

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If you don’t know what WAFFLE is, then this is going to be a short history of a thing that I’m putting an end to in order to move on with something similar, but different. First, though, let’s explain WAFFLE.

waffleWAFFLE is an acronym for World Association of Fitness Fanatics Loving Exercise. The acronym was a pseudo-joke that I chose because at the time I formed WAFFLE, I was losing weight through walking and improved eating. Naming the fitness organization after an unhealthy food (on average) was my little personal fun while getting healthier.

The idea behind WAFFLE was to combine getting healthier (specifically exercise accomplishments) with the UFC-style of battling. In fact, instead of “fights” one participated in “battles,” goals that you wanted to achieve on a specific day. There were posters made up for these events and there were also weight classes, which is what I actually believe was the reason people didn’t want to participate… no one likes to have everyone else know their weight unless they’re at their ideal weight. Well, of the four people that participated in WAFFLE, two were Superweights, one was a Heavyweight/Cruiserweight, and the other was a Welterweight. I was busy recruiting others, but hey, no one else was coming over.

The idea of a “battle” was choosing a fitness goal, something like “walk 15,000 steps” for a single day, and if you met or exceeded that goal, you had a “win.” If you failed, you had a “loss.” Two competitors were 4-0, the other two were 1-0. Yeah, no losses at all. If you won at least 6 times, you could compete for a championship in your weight class. If there were multiple people in a weight class that wanted to compete against each other, you’d choose a goal that you could both compete in and then the winner would be the one that accomplished the most of whatever the metric was.

Fun? I thought it was.

waffle3The poster for WAFFLE 3, the first “artsy” poster made.

The idea was to give people a fun “UFC” style competition, award championships, and encourage healthy habits through exercise. With the demise of WAFFLE, which is officially the date of this particular column, goes away some of the “oddities” without letting the idea behind WAFFLE disappear.

So, am I launching a new fitness organization? Yes, yes I am.

Forget about the pun/joke acronym for the association. Forget about the weight classes. Forget about the championships (for now). Forget about randomly choosing a metric to achieve. Forget about everything WAFFLE did and wandered because of a lack of focus.

I haven’t named the new organization and I haven’t come up with the specific direction that the new organization will take. There will be a clear set of metrics to achieve and those will be goals for you to accomplish and not compete against others… only compete against yourself. There won’t be specific dates to accomplish these goals on, either, rather a range of time that you can accomplish these goals in. Things will change and things will have more focus. Things will encourage fitness, health, and nutrition, making us all better people in the end.

There will be competition… it’ll just be competing with yourself.

Lift.

UFC Signs CM Punk?! And Some Women Talk!

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I don’t have a name for this little feature, but I don’t think I really need one at the moment. What I want to do is talk a little UFC. Do you mind?

CM Punk, real name Phil Brooks, is a former WWE World Champion and was summarily let go from the company in what is really a confusing situation involving a lot of egos. I’ve been angry at the WWE in the past for doing poor moves like this one but I’m past the point of watching on a regular basis, so I guess you could say that I don’t care enough about their current product to do anything about it… that isn’t the topic, though, apparently CM Punk has signed to start fighting in the UFC in 2015!

Brock Lesnar, another WWE veteran who leapt over to the UFC and eventually became the UFC Heavyweight Champion, was able to utilize his mic skills along with his size and aggression to become successful in the UFC. CM Punk, who isn’t nearly as heavy as Lesnar, can also be successful but I have to be shown that he can be as dominant.

CM Punk is planning on fighting in the Middleweight division, which is a division heavy with great fighters. I don’t personally believe he’ll be good enough to be the UFC Middleweight Champion, but I think he’ll be good enough to be ranked in the division. I definitely don’t see him making a huge impact in that division if GSP returns.

I found the news interesting enough to talk about, at least.

On the “lady fights” front, the UFC Ultimate Fighter season with the Women’s Strawweight Division is coming to a close and my chosen fighter, Tecia “the Tiny Tornado” Torres, is not the one fighting for the championship but I’ll still be following the division. I like the UFC but I like the UFC lady fights more. If UFC can bridge the gap between the Bantamweights and Strawweights, then we can see three divisions of awesome ladies that can rise and drop in weight to make some really awesome matches.

I’ll be watching that UFC event, by the way. With rapt attention… because it’ll be filled with lady fights!

Fight on!

Storytelling Specter 6 – Writing for Production

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Welcome back to the Storytelling Specter, which I was going to cut from the rotation of columns but have decided to include into a “random thought” appearance of the column like the Life Imitates Wrestling column that keeps hanging around. Let’s get this thing rolling, shall we?

As the title indicates, I’m going to be talking about writing specifically for producing something. I don’t know if I’ve officially mentioned this on my site, but I have started writing scripts for comics. I am finding that a little easier to tell the story and I can tell the story in smaller chunks, which is something else I’m discovering I need to do (instead of trying to tackle the full on 100,000 word novel that I’ve been trying to hammer out). That is one thing that I’m working on writing to produce, but that is only the first thing I’ve started in what I want to be working on for the near future.

Let’s start with the comic scripts, though.

For the better part of two decades, I’ve been slowly working on my own shared comic book universe (similar to the Marvel/DC shared universes). I like super heroes and they are included as part of my shared universe. While I’ve gotten a nibble here and there on the offer to allow others to play in my new universe, I haven’t gotten anyone interested enough to actually dive in and start helping out… that’s fine, because what I’m doing with the project now is going to change how others interact with the universe.

What I have decided to do is what I’m calling a “single line of storytelling.” I am going to write the script for a single monthly comic book, 22 pages per book, that will tell the story of a team of individuals uncovering the hidden super heroes and their backgrounds that are going on all around them. This monthly will be my “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” to my “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Yes, that means the monthly will periodically be interrupted by a larger feature (i.e. graphic novel), concentrating on a piece of my shared universe. I’m working on “issue 0” right now, which will be an eight page primer, then I’m going to bust into doing the first issue. I’ve toyed with the idea of completely producing the first issue myself, too, as hiring artists is an expensive endeavor… we’ll see about that as time goes on, though.

I also want to produce something to be narrated in an audio format.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing small chunks of a story and releasing them in a serialized audio format. Since I’m a one man show, that would be narration with some possible sound effects and music, but basically I’d be telling a story in 15 to 30 minutes chunks on a weekly basis for a stretch of about 10 to 13 weeks at a time. I like the HBO episode format, so I’d also like to try to take “seasons” into account rather than do 52 episodes per year. I have a life, y’know.

All in all, I’d like to write for production… which means I need to write for a deadline. That may be the next specific subject on this column, and that is something I haven’t been able to do yet… here’s to trying to get better!

Write on.

Coming Soon: The Specter Show

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I’ve talked about having another podcast/netcast/audio/video show for some time with my significant other and the time has come to actually put that information out in preparation for the eventual show debuting in (what I hope to be) January of 2015. Yes, I will be back in 2015.

The Specter Show, as I am calling this, was originally conceived when I relaunched the website as Emerald Specter.com. I was thinking of using Mixlr as the way to broadcast that but without having unlimited options for length, I either have to cut down on what I wanted to originally do until I can get some financial support (Mixlr free only allows an hour of live broadcasting at a time) or I can simply use Google+ Hangouts on Air (and since I’m not keen on doing a video show, I’d put up an image that would cover the video feed). Knowing that, what are you interested in seeing?

Eventually, I’d like to make the Specter Show a DAILY show (Monday through Friday), concentrating on things that interest me (highlighting chess, MMA/UFC, WWE, role playing, movies, writing, reading, NFL, soccer, fitness), including the possible “random topics” that tend to come up from time to time. If I start out with a weekly show, once a week, and build up from there, I think I can expand as I go. Maybe start at a single one hour show, expand to a single two hour show, expand to two one hour shows, etc, etc, etc… does that sound like something you’d like to hear?

If I do a G+ Hangout on Air, you need a browser to listen live. If I use Mixlr, you can use the app to listen live. In either case, the show will be released on a podcast feed so that you can listen to things in post, if you aren’t able to listen live. The idea behind Mixlr is interacting with a live chat while I’m running the show. The Hangout, while possible to do the same, can’t use a single interface to do it… so I’d have to use Twitter or some other chat program to run the same thing. Mixlr limits me to that hour for the free account, too… keep that in mind.

So, I’d like to hear from you. What do you want to hear? Mixlr with the chat but limited to an hour (until I get some financial support)? G+ Hangout on Air without video and a Twitter tie in chat?

Eventually, I’d like to get back into video. I’d like to have some sort of “studio” set up to do that in, though, and I won’t have that capability until 2016 at the earliest. Let’s look at the “now,” though. What do you want to hear/see? Let me know my emailing emeraldspecter.com ( at ) gmail.com, subject line “The Specter Show Feedback”!

Thanks for reading!

Are You Ready For The Greatest Show’s 50th Epiversary?

At 1 Eastern, 12 Central, 11 Mountain, and 10 Pacific time… you can see the 50th episode of the Greatest Show LIVE on YouTube (Google+). There will be speaking, there will be fun, there will be questions answered, and there will definitely be some Tom Foolery. Join us… unless you’re someone who is boring, then do whatever.

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