That's not what the Death card means

It's all at once
written 2020-05-21 00:26:02

As I logged in here today, first time in some time, I noticed there were 146 failed entries. I should go look at the front page and make sure none of them made it through security.

Someone (or some script) has discovered it can submit journal entries to my submission page. A while ago it was just some jerk who left some kind of "u bin H@xx0red!" message, but this time it looks more like someone tried leaving a message that would read or a script that would run when read? I don't know. I leave all the computer brain lifting to @icculus.

It has been a day.

I got up, waiting to hear when my new job starts. It's a project that we got hired for last week, and passed through a selection before the weekend, then notified there would be training on Monday (two days ago) and work beginning Wednesday (today).

Monday went by without any word, then that night they said "oh gosh you gotta fill out these forms get on it" and then sent text messages nudging us to complete them. I generally don't do anything until I'm on the clock -- why would you fill out sixteen unnecessary forms and not get paid for it? But this time they made it sound like the forms were a prerequisite to the project starting. That's bullshit, but they sign the checks, so we are expected to nod solemnly when they spout bullshit.

So Monday passed with no training, and Tuesday passed with no training and no word on when work would start on Wednesday. I spent all of today, Wednesday, gradually accepting there would be no work and no word, just some "technical difficulties" bullshit excuse around quitting time.

Dear reader, I was a prophet.

But all that is past, and this evening was to make up for all the work nonsense possible: I was playing in an Unknown Armies game, live streamed from the author himself, Greg Stolze, with four other players who all ponied up $50 to participate.

I've run UA once, and never played it myself, so I was thrilled. And playing it with the author? Hell yes. I got my Kickstarter exclusive dice. I interviewed my 20-year-old niece to get a better sense of how to play a 19-year-old. I reread the rules and refamiliarized myself with things I thought likely to come up.

I logged in early, hoping to get some time to chat with the other players. Unfortunately, that's not how Zoom works. Zoom is a video conferencing service that has become essential to people during the coronavirus lockdown. It is reportedly super bad at security and Ingrid's company issued a fatwa against using it for law firm business. But it's free and everyone can get it on a phone or computer or tablet.

ASIDE: earlier today, as I waited from 9 through 5 to hear about work, I played World of Warcraft. Yes, I renewed my WoW subscription so I would have something to do during the long hours of staying inside. And for some reason, I was disconnecting all day. Failure to open the Blizzard app, failure to connect to the realm list, failure to stay connected once I started playing. It has become so bad, I feel like I have to quit the game, cancel my subscription. For a while I spent more time DC'ed than I spent connected. Very frustrating!

Why is this relevant? Because at 8:04, four minutes after I should have been online and connected, I realized there was no internet signal. Ingrid noticed it too, and the TV asked us to please restart the router.

WHY NOW? There were NO GODDAMN problems at 7 PM, 7:30 PM, even right at 8 PM. But I was all connected and prepared, had all my accoutrements and supplies, and I was ready, until I wasn't.

Still don't know what the fucking problem was. For all I know, Zoom let someone fuck with my wifi. With no other visible culprits, I can only assume that Comcast is to blame. Fucking Comcast.

So, I log on to a "free" Xfinity signal for as long as it takes to reboot the router. I can hear the other players and the GM talking about how I'm not in the Zoom meeting, and hoping I can eventually log in. I tried communicating in chat to mixed results.

I set the game back ten or fifteen minutes. We only had a two hour window to play in, so that felt tremendously long. It wasn't my fault, and no one blamed me, but fuck did I feel responsible.

Once we got to play, it was okay. I have never played via video conferencing, and I don't like watching RPGs played that way. I don't like people talking over each other and I don't like people getting forgotten in the rush to be heard over one another. Unfortunately, our group was two yelly kids, one kinda yelly kid, and we two normal people forced to listen.

I don't blame the first three dudes - they were playing magic weirdos and the played them appropriately. But with the setting of Unknown Armies, having two magic weirdos and three bystanders kinda means this is a story about the weirdos. The bystanders still have free will, and can do things with their knowledge of magic or people, but my skills were literally "straight A student" and "dirtbag family". I didn't have much I could do.

And three times during the game, my internet connection shit the bed. I only found out about this when another player or the GM noticed that my video window had frozen, because my character didn't have much chance to say or do anything, and got overtalked when she did.

My character was eventually shot, by someone we never saw, with a rifle, which aside from being the tie-breaking vote in the decision to go ahead with a burglary, was the most she contributed to the story.

This has been a day.

--5/21/2020, about two-three months into coronavirus lockdown, Philadelphia PA, he jokes and tells me it's a lie detector

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