This last week, Past Go was nominated by Jack Dixon of Boardwalk Games as one of five serials he considers worthy of the Real Neat Blog Award. Jack and I seem to have made a real connection lately over our mutual sympathy for Monopoly. I’m honored that he thinks Past Go is, in fact, real neat. Needless to say, you should check out and subscribe to Jack’s blog. 🙂
Jack posed five questions in his nomination, and it is now my pleasure to answer them here:
- What is your favorite book series?
I haven’t read nearly as many series as I would’ve liked to by now, and I know there are several that deserve my love and devotion. But if I had to choose one from among what I’ve gotten through so far, it would have to be Frank Herbert’s Dune books. I have never been so engulfed in a written story in all my life. I read all six books back-to-back in the summer of 1996, staying up late many nights doing so. The characters, political intrigue, and philosophy are superb, and this is the only time I have been brought to tears by a book (Volume IV: God Emperor of Dune). Lord of the Rings comes in at a close second, even though it may be cliché (but there’s a reason it’s cliché), but the characters and setting are a little too Manichaean for me. Dune has grit and layering that rings much truer and is more interesting for me.
- If you could learn one new skill in life, what would it be and why?
Right now I’m really obsessed with fencing. I need to be more physically active than I am for the sake of my health and fitness, but I generally do not enjoy sports, and I loathe the tedious ritual of “going to the gym.” The only sports-like activities that have held my interest in the past have been combat sports. I used to train in Muay Thai some years ago, but it’s extremely high contact, and it takes a toll on an aging body to say the least. Fencing has appealed to me for a while as a combat sport that a person could engage in well into an advanced age. The two problems for me now are (1) shelling out the funds to pay for the classes, and (2) the fact that the nearest fencing school to me is a good 30-45 minutes’ drive away.
- Have you ever considered writing a blog about something other than your usual topics? If so, what about?
Past Go is actually my fourth blog, but it seems to be my most successful one. My first blog was/is called The Public Servant, and it’s a forum for ranting about issues related to the professional field of education. It had a nice following for a while, but it largely died off as I ran out of things to rant about. (Turns out the field of education doesn’t really change or improve much over time). My second blog is called The Hack, and I use it as a gallery for my poetry and visual art, which I fiddle with from time to time. These two blogs are still extant. I had a short-lived third blog called Swimming Upstream. It was intended to be a place to write about Buddhist philosophy as it related to (my) modern living, but I only ever wrote one article there, and then I abandoned it (which, of course, was very Buddhist to do).
- What is your favorite type of game, between board game/card game/video game?
Video games have long since passed me by; I am a child of the 80s-90s when it comes to video games. Everything that’s come out since then has gotten closer and closer to giving me epileptic seizures when I play. So it’s tabletop gaming for me all the way. I draw little distinction between “board” games and “card” games anymore, since so many are combinations of these ideas. Among them, it’s hard to choose any sort of “favorite.” I like a wide range of games for different reasons, and I play different games depending on the mood I’m in and the time and crowd I have available. Here are a handful that have been getting a lot of table time in my house lately: Memoir ’44, Twilight Struggle, Diplomacy, Wiz War, Catan, Ticket to Ride, Survive, Pit, Flash Point, King of Tokyo, and Pokémon.
- Who is your favorite superhero and why?
I actually wrote a very lengthy post on this exact topic: it’s called “A Maturation of Idols.” The short version is this: Hulk. My favorite superhero at this stage in my life is Hulk. As a father and Buddhist struggling with my own anger issues, I deeply relate to this character whose goal in life is to liberate himself from his anger, and yet: his anger can sometimes serve a very important purpose. The premise of the character is deeply philosophical, even though this aspect isn’t often the focal point of the stories written for him. When Hulk’s writers do get brave, however, it makes for very thought-provoking and moralizing story-telling. In this way, good Hulk stories are not far removed from the great Dune stories I mentioned above.
Thanks so much for the recognition, Jack. Now, I suppose it is only right that I “pay it forward” and bring some sunshine and love onto some blogs that I find to be “real neat.” The following might seem “out of left field” in some cases, since they don’t necessarily have any thematic connection to Past Go, but what can I say? I’m a real Renaissance Man like that. In no particular order:
- JoJo’s So Creative
- Kevin Hellriegel’s Blog of Worthless Advice
- Stonemaier Games
- Randim Axis
- DM David
And here are 5 questions for these genius authors to ponder:
- Share a little bit about 3 passions you have that aren’t really the focus of this particular blog.
- Name one movie or book that you feel “changed your life” in some way, and explain why/how.
- What have you been listening to recently on your radio/iPod/streaming service/etc., and what do you enjoy most about it?
- Name a cartoon or cartoon character that resonates with you in a completely different way than it does for most people (positive or negative) and explain how.
- Finally, why did you start the blog in question, and what are your goals with it?
Thanks again, everyone, for reading and participating!
What are some of YOUR answers to any of the questions above (either Jack’s or mine)? What would you like to add to what I’ve written? Leave me a comment in the box below, and let’s have a chat about it!