Oil Companies’ Faces Are Grinning – The White Stripes (1999)

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John Anthony Gillis was involved in a couple of musical projects before 1997. He had an upholstery business that would share a name with his future record company, and he was a musician for a lot of local Detroit bands, most notably on drums for Goober & The Peas. After meeting and marrying Meg White, he took her name and became known as Jack White. It was in 1997 that the two of them formed The White Stripes, and they released their self-titled debut in 1999.  Continue reading

The Same Boy You’ve Always Known

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For a good chunk of 2014, I was part of a podcast called The Takedown Notice. We talked about some of our favorite music, bouncing between individual songs and favorite albums. We only released about ten episodes before going on extended hiatus, but we continued to record and create a backlog of episodes. Throughout the unreleased episodes, a running theme developed where I ended up bringing most subjects back around to Jack White. That doesn’t even include an extended episode on one of my favorite albums, Elephant by The White Stripes. Continue reading

The Best Board Games of 2015

One of the side-products of not writing a weekly column anymore is that I don’t really need to sit down and figure out my five best games of the year like I’ve done in the past. That’s a shame, because my work with Miniature Market has allowed me to cover far more new games than I would otherwise play. Now that 2015 is in the books I thought it might be a good time to dust off the ol’ blog and talk about what I thought were the best releases of the year. Continue reading

Games Of The Years

I got involved in this hobby seven years ago, and I’ve been writing about it pretty steadily for about three, with occasional pieces before that. At some point every board game writer will have to deal with the expectation to crown their “game of the year.” This is tricky for a lot of reasons. Continue reading

In Theory

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This chalkboard is a metaphor for my writing process.

A little while ago I played Small World for what had to be the fiftieth time. I’ve enjoyed Days of Wonder’s best game since it came out almost five years ago, across a handful of expansions, all sorts of player counts, and a completely alternate version of the game. After you play any game for that long you begin to notice all of its little peculiarities. I began noticing these in Small World a while ago. For one thing, it seems strange that the victory points are totally trackable, since one of the elements that arises in the game is convincing people that they should attack someone else. That shouldn’t even be an ambiguity, because what people score each turn is open information. I also noticed that turn order becomes kind of important, especially in the late game. The people going first have to do a little bit of defense so that the later players aren’t able to just cherry-pick everything, since the last player doesn’t need to worry at all about positioning in the final turn. Continue reading

Lean Days

You may have noticed that I’m not writing on The Rumpus Room quite at the normal clip that I’ve pursued for the last several months. There are a couple of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that I’ve been doing a fair bit of writing for The Good Men Project. I told you about my “hometown” essay last week, but I’ve also written one about playing games with The Big One, and another about my inability to fix a lawnmower. Expect to see more of me around there, which by necessity means there will be a little less of me around here. Continue reading

Removing the Bottom of the Barrel

When I saw Patrick Rothfuss at his reading this spring, he discussed the idea of writer’s block, and how it’s really just an excuse for writers to not do their work. It’d be like a plumber saying that he didn’t feel like plumbing (?) today, so he has plumber’s block. Writers just have the added advantage that they have a word for it that makes it sound more legit. It was one of the things that gave me the inspiration to write more frequently, or at least to keep doing so. Continue reading

Thag You Berry Much

Colds are the worst.

Did you ever notice that when you’re sick, you have trouble conceiving of a world where you WON’T be sick? Like when you’re doubled over a toilet bowl blasting puke, you are pretty sure that you will be there forever, and you will wake up tomorrow and still be sick and you’ll just have to figure out how to live your life throwing up all the time. Continue reading

Indianapolis is Where It’s At

So hey, you may have noticed that I’ve not been quite as active as lately on this blog. Part of that is owing to where I am now: Indianapolis! What I mean is that I’m going to be in Indianapolis for work for a while ten days. I just arrived today, and won’t be back on a steady writing schedule for at least that long, maybe a little longer. Continue reading

Keeping Up With Nobody

Back in 2011, when Spotify debuted in the US, it allowed me to access an extraordinary range of music that I’d never gotten into before. For a brief moment there, I felt like all of my horizons were expanding aggressively, like I was finally expanding all of my tastes. Just today, I looked at my favorite stuff and realized that I essentially now use the service as an expanded CD collection, sticking with a few reliable artists that I KNOW I like rather than actively seeking out new stuff. Continue reading