Kyle my Therapy Cat

Ariana and I had to bring Kyle (our white cat) to the vet for his annual checkup. Yes, it takes two of us because he is a strong and a pretty sizeable white tomcat. We also wanted them to look at a spot where he has been licking. It is a rash of some type, and they gave him antibiotics, but the poor little guy has to wear a soft cone for a week.
He is miserable right now, and I feel helpless, well, to help him. He is a nervous cat, and like his brother and sister, we adopted them at the same time. At 6-months old, they were on the cusp of becoming feral. We also think the three had a traumatizing experience because they were very scared when we brought them home.
Quickly, Agatha and Salem had no issue with trusting us and became affectionate in about two weeks. Ever since then they have been attention sponges and cuddle monsters.
Kyle, on the other hand, took a year before he even allowed us to touch him, and then, another six months where he trusted me enough to sit on my lap, sleep on my lap, and then pet him. It took him about another two months for him to trust Ariana so she could do the same.
Kyle and I have a special bond. When he was a kitten and frightened, I always talked to him. I always said “Hi” or “How’s my little man doing?” As he began to relax, he’d sit at a distance in my office, and I would have conversations with him there. My tone was always the same, gentle, and more importantly, reassuring. A little each day he would look like all he wanted was someone to pet him. He struggled against his fear of being touched and his desire of being touched. You could see the internal debate in his eyes while he debated within himself.
Then, it happened; he let me touch his back. It was not much, just a few little strokes, but it was enough for him to relax. Gradually, every night, while in the bedroom, the petting would be a bit more. Before you we knew it, he would come on the bed, sit, and let you pet only his back.
We were happy. Ariana and I were ok with this because of how frightened he was before we got to this point. After all, he came so far to get to here, and we were not selfish to want more. Really, why be greedy when he trusted us enough for this?
Then one afternoon, I was doing what I typically do, fighting the urge to kill myself. Kyle came down and looked at me. With no prompting, he got on the couch and sat at the other end. All Kyle did was watch me, then relax, and often napped. When I was at peace, he would look at me, stretch, and leave.
It was the looking at me that made me know everything would be all right. This look was, and still is, different. It is not fearful, skeptical, or cautious. It is of concern, reassurance, and love.
Over the next few weeks, this routine continued. Each time Kyle moved a little closer. First, between my ankles. Then my knees. Then my lap. It was here where he let me pet him. One of the happiest days — and there are very few of them — was him rolling over to his side and allowing me to stroke his chest and stomach.
Then he purred.
The purr.
He never purred!
It was soft; faint at first. Then, slowly, over time, it grew louder and louder. Now it sounds like a motor. Now he purrs and vibrates his tail whenever he sees me.
He knows intuitively when I need him to pull me out of the darkness. He always storms into my office yelling at me when he senses I might harm myself. He then, without any prompting, herds me either to the bed or couch, and forcibly sits in my lap. Here, he rests and helps me cope.
To bring this back to the start, he is scared, frightened, confused, and overwhelmed.
Remember the bond? I am feeling the same way as he is. Worse still, is the fact I do not know what to do for him, or myself. How do you reassure your best friend, when all he does is comfort you? What do I do this week without his protection and care? Worse, how do I protect him?
I do not know who is going to have the roughest week. Him or me?

The notebooks of ideas

Between freelance work, life, and the start of the weekly podcast (that was more time consuming then I thought) I have been working away on the projects I mentioned last time.

If you recall — and you should — I am planning of launching a Patreon by the end of the year For me to do this I need things for you and potential supporters. After all, why do this if I cannot deliver?

So, where am I?

Good question. Here you go.

  • Into Darken Caves (Colonial Gothic Adventure): Written and currently waiting for me to edit and revise. I need a break on this due to it really fighting me during the writing process.
  • The Tower of the Hand (SS&S adventure): Finished revision of the manuscript in longhand, now I need to fix the document and let it rest while I go back to Into Darken Caves.
  •  Continental Army Departments (CG background piece): During the American Revolution the Continental Army was organized into various departments which were assigned to specific Colonial regions. Research is done, and the writing is underway.
  • Fairy Tale (new game): Noted out, some sections written longhand. Will have an alpha test ready for #Continuum2018 where I am a Guest of Honor. From there I’ll write the game. How? This is going to be a much different game using a different flavor of 12 degrees.
  • Ninja DJs from Pluto: Initial design phase. This is figuring out the math of card distribution, power level, and the effect each card has with an opponent’s deck. This will be a 2-player game, and I also have ideas how to have different card decks to the game. This is not my top priority at the moment.
  • Pirate: Game is in alpha stage and has been play tested. Now I need to create a beta version and have others try it. This is an ongoing project with no hard set deadline.
  • 12 Degrees Core: Final writing, clean up, and revision. The manuscript is 100% done, but I now need to polish it.


What? You want to know how I do all of this?

Remember what I wrote last week. I have a lot of projects written in my notebooks either finished or partially finished. I write all my drafts in longhand, and each notebook has one project. Some projects have been written with the idea of using them for one of the two games. Generally, I do not do this. The reason is due to them being too specific for the print projects. Thus, they languish unused in notebooks wanting to be free. Now they will be free.

For some reason, I am able to keep projects in order and work on them at the same time. Writing and design is my passion, and therapeutic. The projects keep my mind off the darkness. Writing, and design put me in a peaceful state. So I write.

And write.

And write.


Grumpy Old Gamers Launch

Today the Grumpy Old Gamers podcast is launched.

Huh? When did this happen?

logo of the GoG podcastI told you I had a lot of projects I was working on.

Hosted by jim pinto and myself this podcast deals with such topics as game design, publishing, the hobby, life, and anything else on our minds.

Not your typical podcast; it is raw, unedited, unmixed, and recorded in real-time. What does that mean?

You will find out.

The plan we have is to record this every Wednesday and release it either that day or on Thursday.

You might think we will run out of things to talk about, but we won’t. jim and I are grumpy.

Listen to or download on our website.

Interact with us on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter.

Since you’re on your internet machine, do the above.

Do it.

You know you want too.


Clearing the notebooks

I have quietly been working on a new project tangentially tied to Rogue Games. However, since Rogue Games and I are interchangeable, who knows where Rogue Games and I begin and end.

Like most writers and game designers, I have a lot in my notebooks. Yes, notebooks, every first project began with pen and paper (lately, however, I have started doing this early writing on my iPad Pro with my Apple Pencil) and made a promise that I will get back to these. Sadly, I never do.

This is changing.

In a few months I am launching a Patreon.

The reason simple, I have too many projects written, nearly written, or about to be written. A lot of these are adventures, supplements, and background essays for both Colonial Gothic and Shadow, Sword & Spell. These are not small notes but entirely written pieces that have no home.

These projects?

Other projects are in various stages of development and really have no place in my plans for Rogue Games. Like?

  • Pirate: card game dealing exploration and fighting other pirates.
  • Fairyland: A game using a very stripped down version of 12 Degrees. I am designing with children in mind. I am also play testing it at #Continuum2018
  • Four Color: What it implies. Superheroes.
  • 12 Degrees Core: In order for Four Color and a few future projects, I need 12 Degrees stripped of all Colonial Gothic andShadow, Sword & Spell content.
  • DJ Ninjas from Pluto: A card game for two players and there are ideas to add other factions to the game. Yeah, you read that one right.

There are other things in the notebooks, but they are not as fleshed out as above.

So, that is why I am doing a Patreon ? So I can get these out of the notebooks and into the world.

With the above, I have enough to knock out a project every 6 to 8 weeks or so. Basically, I am looking at the Patreon as one where there is something new coming out promptly. I am looking at this as a magazine, if you will, without individual issues of random content. I am creating specific content.

Now, I see the question that is going to come: “How can you do this?”

Admittedly this is a lot of work. This is also a lot of writing. Yet, it is really not.


I have been working on this already. As I said, a lot of this has lived in notebooks fully, partially, and roughly done, but that is how far they have gone. Because of this, a deadline is not impossible.

I am also a planner. Because of this, I have been working on this for a while. My goal is to have enough in the can so that as I work on other things, I have things ready to go.

So, when is this going to go live? I am shooting for year’s end.


For the simple reason, I am awful when it comes to selling myself, as well as blogging. I want to talk about the things in the works and offer a peak of what you will see.

More importantly, it motivates me to work on this, blog about this, and, in general, allow me to play with ideas.

Now that you know my plans, it is time for me to get back to work. I hope you will find this whole thing fascinating. I also hope you enjoy the ride.

Blowing the dust off

Well, here I am.

The last post made here was back in 2010. A lot has changed, some things are new, and some things are changing.

I am awful at blogging. It is not because I lack discipline, I do. It is due to my discomfort.

That sounds funny, I realize that. After all, I open up on Facebook all the time.

This time it will be different. I am committing myself to blog again.

There are a couple of reasons, which I will get to in due course. I will give you one reason, however, that I will write about next week.

It is a project I have been working on. It is something that might interest you.

Talk to you next week.

New additions

Salem studying the laptop

At the start of October our cat, Selina Kyle Fisch (yes that was her full name, but we called her Selina), passed away. She was 20-years old, and had a long life. The past year had been rough, and her age was showing. When we made the difficult decision to put her to sleep, we thought it would be a very long time that we would be ready for a new pet. However, life is strange, and two weeks ago we brought home three kittens.

Salem, Kyle and Agatha were litter mates, and thus brothers and sister. They were born outside, and were found outside. Slowly we have made them feel comfortable, and slowly they have begin to trust us. Salem was the first to make the move, and now he has discovered the joy of being pet. Agatha is getting ready to be next. She slept with us last night, along with Salem. Kyle is still skittish, but he sleeps on the bed and attacks our feet.

It is strange having such young cats. They are full of energy, curious, and a constant source of amusement. It is also rewarding to work with kittens, to teach them to trust, and slowly see their attitude change toward us.

I know, someone writing about cats is not “fun,” but for me, it is. The death of Selina really hit me hard, and it did so, because she had been my companion these past months while I’ve been unemployed. For the past month, the loneliness was a lot. Now, I have these three little nut jobs.

The tools I use

I’ve been a bit silent of late. Dealing with life, as well as knocking out a lot of Rogue Games projects.As I work on these projects I realized how many specific tools I rely on to do my work. These tools have become the default tools I use, and pretty much all my work centers around them. The more I work with them, and the more I build up my dependence on them, I realize that I do not know what I would do without them. So what tools do I use? Here you go. 


  • Scrivener (site): Without a doubt this is my go to writing tool. It has replaced my use of a number of word processors. All my writing takes place here, and I only export the document out when it is time to send it to editing. Since using this writing has been easier, more organized, and most importantly, productive.
  • Pages (site): This is where I do the rest of my polishing, editing and the like. I’ve been using Pages since the first version, and to be honest, it has gotten better and better. Hell all of iWork is used, and I’ve never seen a reason to use Office. With the Mac I bought last year, I never even installed Office. For what I need, Pages is perfect.

Knowledge Management

  • DEVONthink Pro (site):  I started using this a few weeks ago. It was a trial, because I was curious. I take a lot of notes, as well as do a lot of research, and up until recently I managed all these bits in a Bento Database I designed. The database worked fine, but soon iI outgrew it and needed something more. I looked at DEVONthink, and within an hour of using it, I bought it. I am now slowly scanning all my paper notes and copies, and will be building a online database for all my research. I am glad I tried this, because this soon going to be my must use app.

PDF Storage

  • Papers (site): I do a lot of research. A. Lot. I try to be as paperless as I can, and because of this, I have a lot of PDFs. They became so unmanageable, I soon was looking for another tool to make PDF storage, organization and retrieval easier. Again I created a Bento database, but this was not an option. That is when I tried Papers, and man, I am glad. Not only does is store and organize PDFs, it is a great management tool for research.
So there you go. The four apps that I use and work in every day.

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