Chatter #39: September 5, 2001

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM



I've techified myself up a bit lately. Picked up a cell phone, which has been interesting. Of course I got it so that Teri can reach me when she needs to; there are only about 32 days left before October 8th! It's surprising how useful the phone can be, though. If only all of those maniac drivers would hang up and drive...

I also picked up a mini recorder. As I've mentioned, my commute is about 3 - 4 hours round trip, and sometimes I get ideas while I'm driving or hear something on the radio that I want to write down. I used to make notes in a small notebook, but the truth is that that's pretty dangerous to do when driving (try it some time, on an empty road of course). So last weekend I picked up a little pocket-recorder. It's pretty small (about the size of two large pens), and works with a chip instead of a cassette; no moving parts, apart from the buttons, and it retains recorded material even if you change the batteries. The sound quality isn't great (how could it be, at that size?) but human speech is intelligible, even recorded in my car with the windows open.

It holds 12 minutes of recording, which is an extremely long time. I've already made nine notes, and there are still 10 minutes and three seconds of recording time left. Of course I'll transcribe the stuff I've recorded and clear it soon. So far I've recorded phone numbers, gift ideas, site ideas, a site I wanted to look up, a couple of DVDs I want to pick up, and a couple of songs I liked. Fun! It cost about $45 with batteries, by the way.

Surgery Update

I had a pre-operative phone interview today, and got some more information. Apparently I'll be awake during the surgery! They're going to give me a relaxing sedative and then local anesthetic. Jeeze. I guess it's for the best (general anesthesia is pretty scary, and I've never been unconscious), but I keep wondering what it's going to be like lying there while they cut my stomach open? I know there'll be a curtain between me and the operating field, but still?

Okay, that's not a thought I should be dwelling on. The surgery is in one week. I'll try to write and tell you all about it afterwards, although I suspect I won't be able to type for a couple of days at least. And of course I'll probably write here again before surgery, anyway.

Status Report!

Basic RQ: Work has been continuing fairly quickly on the Basic RQ document; it's up to nine pages. Combat and Magic remain to be done, plus of course touch-up work all along; it's still in the fairly early draft stages. It's a complicated process, and when I'm done it's definitely going to need a complete style edit; section headers and such haven't been regularized at all. Plus, there are issues I'm still torn over. For example, should I include various tables from the RQ3 Game Sheet, or should I simply refer the reader to the general section of the sheet? That tends to sound a little weird, i.e. "see the Hit Locations table (Game Sheet front, upper right corner)". On the other hand it saves a lot of space. As it is, I'm starting to doubt that I can get this into a 12-page booklet.

I also do realize that the language may have to be revised quite a bit. In fact, I'm thinking that this will end up as a "living" document; assuming that enough people read it and comment on it, I'll be revising it continually in response to their questions. As always, your comments would be really appreciated! So far no one has commented on it at all. If the Word format is a problem, I'd be glad to make a PDF version for quick emailing...

Voting: I've gotten the site listed on a new RPG index, The RPG Library. There's a quick-vote link on the main page, and as always, your vote is much appreciated! Well, a high vote, of course. I can't honestly say I'd be pleased to get a low vote.

It's annoying, but I found the RPG Library through some other place online that listed several other RPG sites that gave awards and ratings. And lost the damn thing! Somehow I shut down my browser without marking the site, and wasn't able to find it again even when I looked up the History. Damn. Oh well! I may be overdoing it with the voting stuff. We've gotten up to #4 on the Die-Roller's Top 50, although for a couple of days the site disappeared altogether! It was weird, because one day the site would be there, and the next it would be gone—and instead of 50 sites on the list, there would only be 49. The next day the site would be back and everything would be normal. I wrote to the editor and eventually the problem was discovered (it was something to do with sort order values). The problem should be fixed, and we are (as I said before) #4 as of today.

Overall, we're actually getting to be quite successful for a RuneQuest site. Last month (August) there were 4,889 sessions, and 70,045 hits! And the numbers have been steadily increasing for a while. Of course, those numbers also include the TIAC Sucks! site, but that site only gets about 200 - 300 hits a month (which also reflects a steady improvement, oddly enough; about five times as many hits as last year).

By comparison, last year in September (the first big month after I moved the site in June 200), we had 1,602 sessions and 17,133 hits. So there's been quite an improvement in 11 months, which is gratifying. We're in the top 5 of most search engines when you search for "RuneQuest", and are number 1 for Yahoo and AltaVista, for example.

So at this point, maybe I should lay off getting the site listed in still more places. Although I don't suppose it hurts. Let me know if you have a favorite RPG site list that doesn't have the site!

Something odd: I thought that there would be fewer and fewer RPG sites online, what with the growing corporatization of the web, but there actually seem to be more than there used to be; a lot of them are new. Strange, huh?

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So what do you think?

[email protected] Copyright 2001 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 14, 2001. version 1.0