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Ryan Macklin
Game designer, writer, editor, publisher, podcaster, raconteur, deist, rake. One mouthy dude.
Game designer, writer, editor, publisher, podcaster, raconteur, deist, rake. One mouthy dude.


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My Brief Guide to Watching the Fast & Furious Movies

If you know me, you know I love the Fast & Furious movies. I've written about how they explain Technocratic vulgar "magick." I mean, I'm making a game where "car wizards" are a serious part of the setting. So yeah, they sing my heart's song.

But they're not for everyone, and to view them as I view them takes some explaining.

First, these aren't normal people. You are watching movies about car wizards—extraordinary mortals who don't play by the rules we do. So when you see blatantly bullshit stuff like "instead of trying to ditch the car before it goes over the cliff, let's ride it down and jump off into the ravine below," you have to suspend your disbelief at the same level that you would a superhero movie.

The action isn't the only unbelievable bits there. The dialogue is… well, what I tell people is "No, the dialogue is perfect. That's just exactly how car wizards talk to each other. You need to learn their culture." They're a people without nuance, who say exactly what needs to be said to get to the next beat.

If you can accept this, you can celebrate the movies as I do. And you can accept the plot jumps as "of course that needed to happen, car wizards gotta car wizard."

Sure, it's not without its problems, namely the sexploitation element. My wife pointed out "Oh, she's an important character. She's wearing clothes." Most women (including named characters) are there to be ogled by men on-screen and off. If that would make you not like the films, I definitely don't recommend them—there's no sense of watching something someone else likes if it has stuff in it you don't.

Now for the practical bit: Start with the fourth movie, Fast & Furious (not The Fast & the Furious). It follows from the events of the first couple movies. (Tokyo Drift[1] happens later; that's the one movie that isn't in chronological order.) But if you accept my caveats above, you don't really need to see them. Four is where the movies start to embrace their car wizards narrative, and is the kickoff for the arc that drifts through Furious Seven.

Spoilers for Fast One & Two Below

A real quick, somewhat hyperbolic summary of the first movie so you have a vague clue of what's going on in Four:
- Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has a crew of street hijackers, including is girlfriend Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) and a bunch of other people, it's cool I don't need to name them. They're pretty wicked.
- Enter Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), a cop who goes undercover to bust Dom's gang. Only shit gets complicated because feels. He may be a cop on the outside, but his heart beats to car wizard nitro.
- Dom's sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Brian get romantically involved.
- Eventually Brian's outted as a cop, but lets Dom go because car wizard dude feelings, and also man is Mia pissed. Sad about-to-be-ex-cop is sad.

And for 2 Fast 2 Furious:
- Dom and co aren't in the movie. It's about Brian.
- Brian's on the run from the feds. Surprise!
- But it's cool, Brian totally gets pardoned at the end because he uses his car wizardry for good.
- Also, Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) gets introduced here, who you'll see again in Five and on. He's great.

Now you know why Dom "can't go home" and people give Brian the stink eye (especially Mia).

If you do enjoy the movies, awesome. :)

[1] Disclaimer: I haven't seen Tokyo Drift yet. But now that I don't have to pay to rent it, I will.
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It's World Mental Health Day, a day where we try to give space to normalize issues millions of people suffer in silence over. Years ago, I decided to be outspoken, to be a single voice in a chorus to say "Hey, this isn't just a few people. You know someone who deals with this, even if you don't know it."

In the US, we are hella worried about being open because it can affect employment, and it's through employment that some of us have the means to afford the care we need. As I consider what my future holds (we just had a bunch of layoffs at my day job, which always makes you think about the next job), I have to weigh being an outspoken advocate for this shouldn't-be-but-is taboo subject, and being attractive to employers.

But that's messed up. Being open about this should be seen as a benefit, because I'm willing to tell you when I need help. I'm able to recognize in myself problems coming up and have tools to deal with them without impacting my ability to do the work. People who hide it out of fear won't communicate when they need that help, and any floundering on the job is seen as a weakness itself—that person is "lazy," they've "lost it," whatever.

The act of hiding reduces the empathy from others, especially those who hold power over you.

My boss is great. When I told her that I was going through a brutal divorce, she was able to tell me when that was impacting my job without wondering why my mood was off or my output was slipping. I was frank, so she could be frank. She sympathized, but we all had a job to do, and she wanted me to succeed. And since my success is her success, there's some enlightened self-interest going on there too.

When you're open, you can be mindful. As long as you don't use your condition as an excuse, of course. Those people frustrate me pretty hard, because they're why neurotypicals distrust folks who are open.

I have anxiety disorder. I'm bi-polar. I'm post-suidical. And I'm functional af.

Many of us are. We live among you. We work with and for you. And if you condemn or pass on people like us, you're devaluing some wicked talented people who will communicate limitations and cope with them to get the job done.

Related to the topic overall, a friend passed this link to me yesterday, so I'll pass it along.
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Dusting off my blog again, this time to talk about empathy in tabletop writing, and how we don't do it enough.
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Wherein I ask you to donate a PDF's worth of money to Puerto Rico

If you've known me or my work long enough, you know I do charity projects from time to time. My first book in 2007, Mythender, the first Katanas & Trenchcoats, along with being a part of other's charity works.

I don't have time to do a charity project right now, as much as I want to. So instead, let's play a game of pretend.

Pretend you bought a charity game from me. Give that real money you'd have spent directly to a charity working hard to help Puerto Rico. $5. $10. Maybe $100 if you'd buy the Premiere Extra Deluxe Gold Foil Personalized Signed PDF.

I'm going with Lin-Manuel Miranda's choice. He's super informed and directly invested, so I trust his choice:
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I did another short video, this time on thinking about "beginner" vs "advanced" advice and GMing and stuff. Also, it was a gorgeous day during an afternoon walk.
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I decided to try a new thing this morning, a short walk and talk where I ramble on a subject. The written form is great for some things, but my oration is largely lost in text no matter how well I write if you aren't familiar with my rhythms and intonations. So here's a damn video.

Consequently, by posting I guess I'm back to poking around G+. (Hey +Leonard Balsera, I'm back)
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Hey Dungeon World peeps, I have a sitch as a GM: One of my players, new to DW, is playing a paladin. Her and her character are pretty awesome, but none of the alignment options are doing it for her or for me.

She's a sarcastic, world-weary battle medic with mild PTSD. Her god (we discovered through some interactions and a spectacular moment of turning undead) is a nameless primordial force of creation, and doesn't care if it's worshiped. Her form of morning prayer is to complain about things, but her piety is still there—she does the job of good and healing and shit, even if she's not in the mood.

(I'd argue she's more honest about it than most paladins, but maybe she's just portraying the first paladin I've found interesting in some time.)

Soooooo… I need some suggestions for alignment names/XP triggers. Thoughts?
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A private Blue Rose RPG game with me is still available as a pledge level.

Other private games also available: Katanas & Trenchcoats with +Ryan Macklin; Mysteries of the Yōkai: An RPG Inspired by Japanese Folklore with +Andrew Sudangnoi; the yet to be released game, The Crew! Co-designed by Special Guest Carinn Seabolt; Bluebeard’s Bride with Special Guest +Whitney Beltrán or Special Guest +Marissa Kelly ; D&D 5E adventure in Waterdeep with Special Guest +Joseph Carriker; Mutants & Masterminds: Emerald City with +Steve Kenson; Play a game of your with GoH, +raven mimura!
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