Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tumbling Through the Blogosphere

Every once in awhile, the cosmic forces within my cranium kick back, slowly sip their rum swizzles, and converse with one another about the state of things in Brain Wave Land. Sometimes these booze-fueled chit-chats amount to nothing more than a call for Extra Strength Tylenol. But occasionally, these gibbering brainiacs latch on to an idea that ignites a spark of excitement within my overcrowded mind. So what did these synaptic super men come up with this time? Say hello to my ivory horned friend, the Six Sided Rhinoceros blog.

So what's this blog all about? Well, it's a melange of topics that are near and dear to my heart: boardgames, card games, miniatures & toy soldiers, wargames, fantasy baseball, video games, and software design & development. I've been writing about several of these subjects in various formats for quite some time. Many of them have crossed over from the "pure fun" side of the fence to strut their stuff in my workplace arena as well.

For those of you who don't know me, perhaps a little background material will help explain why I feel the urge to write about this eclectic collection of topics.

In my day-job I'm a software developer who designs and builds database-centric desktop applications, with PowerBuilder being my preferred 4GL programming tool. I've got a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Penn State University, and have been working in the software design & analysis field since 1987.

As a small business owner, I write and maintain a company web site. Most of the material on the site is product related news and information. Two years ago, I started a little blog who's aim was to provide commentary and insight into the software business. But as most small business owners can probably relate to, the constant demands of running the day-to-day business got in the way and the well-intentioned blog faded into obscurity. C'est la vie.

But blogging isn't entirely new to me. For the past year I've been writing a blog called And On the 7th Day They Created Severnia. That private blog is associated with a computer-moderated tabletop wargame that I'm developing. I've got a couple of a chaps helping me with the game, chipping in with suggestions and offering feedback on rule mechanics and other snazzy ideas that I post. They're also my core group of playtesters. That blog, in addition to the non-stop stream of email messages that I send, has been a very useful tool for sharing ideas and archiving the ongoing think-work that happens during the course of any long & involved development project.

During 2006, I also shared my love of miniature wargaming with my fellow game consultants by sending out regular emails containing game news, my eBay and game store shopping exploits, pictures of painted toy soldiers, and links to other gaming websites, blogs, forums, and e-zines. These emails were known as Today's Moment of Wargaming Zen, and I had as much fun writing them as the guys did reading them.

Since 1987, I've been the commissioner and statistician for the HARL rotisserie baseball league based in Central Pennsylvania. I also own and manage a team in the league (the Sevy Rhinos). During the 20+ years that I've been running and playing in HARL, I've written more league newsletters than I care to count. They've ranged from funny to factual to enlightening; at least that's the way I see it. Imagine all the paper I would have saved had Blogger been around when Reagan, the elder George Bush, and Bill Clinton were in office! I could have "gone green" before it was hip.

I'm also the creator of Rhino Baseball (www.rhinosoftware.com), fantasy baseball league management, player forecasting, draft prep & tracking, and stats analysis software. I've been selling this program since 1998 and have many satisfied customers who I've enjoyed helping and talking to over the years. I suppose this makes me a bit of a guru in the field of fantasy baseball, although if anyone truly thinks that they can predict the exact statistics of any major league ballplayer then I've got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

At this point, you're thinking, "okay, so he develops software, designs sports games and wargames, runs a fantasy baseball league, and periodically writes about all of this stuff. So where do the friggin' board games and card games come into play?" Well, funny you should ask, because I was just getting to that very point Mr. Impatient.

The raison d'etre that this blog came about was because I started a local tabletop games club this summer which is in its infancy. The club is a private group comprised of friends & family, who get together once a week to play board games, card games, and wargames. I wanted to create some type of online gathering spot where I could share information with the game group members. I tossed around a few ideas and then, in a moment of intense clarity, it hit me like a George Foreman uppercut. Okay, well maybe an uppercut to the jaw wouldn't promote clear thinking, but you get the point. What if there was one central place where I could write about all the things that I love, and share them with friends, family, league-mates, customers, and other like-minded folks?

And thus, out of the digital womb of Mistress Google, this little blog was born. Not surprisingly, he has my eyes and brown hair.

Why Six Sided Rhinoceros? The word "rhino" ties into my childhood nickname, my company name, and my rotisserie team name. It's part of my very being. Except that I don't have a big horn on my head. Or 4 legs. Or a tough hide. Nor do I live in Africa. Oh hell, I just like the damn name okay! The six-sided is an obvious reference to dice. And really, what gamer worth his or her salt doesn't like the tactile deliciousness of chucking a handful of shiny dice across the table and seeing what fate has in store for you. The secondary meaning behind six sided involves the subject matter of this blog. There are six key topics that I plan to discuss when the urge strikes me: (1) Board Games, (2) Card Games, (3) Miniatures & Tabletop Wargames, (4) Video Games, (5) Fantasy Baseball, and (6) Software Development.

So in summation, remember this:
  • For those of you in my local gaming group, you'll want to stop here on a regular basis for tabletop game chatter. This blog's for you.
  • For the miniature gamers who liked my old Moment of Wargaming Zen posts, they'll be making a comeback here.
  • I'll share the occasional fantasy baseball pearl of wisdom or funny tidbit for you roto nuts out there. I may even drop some Rhino Baseball tips & tricks in here if the teacher lurking within me pops out. Once the 2008 season rolls around and the new HARL website takes shape (God willing), I will link from that site to here for some offbeat league commentary.
  • I'm sure that some software development posts will squirm their way into this blog. I'll try to make them fun and light. Unfortunately I was bitten by the software bug as a teenager, and once that happens it's a hard thing to shake.
  • Up to this point I haven't mentioned video games in any detail. They'll make the odd appearance here, but I must admit that I don't play X-Box games or computer games all that much anymore. I'm more of a dabbler in that world. That's probably because as I get older, I enjoy the social interaction of tabletop games more than the isolated play that video games provide. That said, you can't beat a good, old heart-pounding session of Halo.

Welcome to the blog!

No comments: