A night at the Opera

Yesterday me, my girlfriend, her sister and her boyfriend packed up, and went to Verona, to go tho the Opera!

The quite different part in this it that the opera (Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”) is performed in the Arena di Verona. And yes, it is a roman empire era coliseum (much like the one in Rome), almost perfectly preserved, where every summer a lot of shows are held.

Mostly opera and synphonic music, but sometimes also rock and pop concerts.

It’s a strange experience to walk on those pinkish stones, knowing that they have been worn out by millennia of people going to all manners of shows… from the gladiatorial games of the past to the concerts of nowadays. You step inside, go up a couple of stories, and bam, the arena opens in front of you. The thing is huge. The sensation of open space, and of height, is exhilarating (pictures like this on wikipedia do not really convey this feeling).

Then the sun sets, coloring the stones of all kinds of variations on the tones of pink, cream, gold and orange, and the time for the show arrives.

I’ll not make a complete account of the evening. Let’s just say that next time (if there will be one, and it probably will) we’ll try to take a place lower, even if maybe not so directly in front of the stage. All in all, anyway, we had a really good time. I liked the opera, and all of us today is singing snippets of the arias 🙂

Summer Hero

As seen on Fred Hick’s Blog

I am a summer hero! And you can be too!

Summer Hero!

The 2007 Ennies votes are happening, and the small press games that are up for awards need your help. If you’re a fan of Spirit of the Century, Burning Empires, Lacuna, Dictionary of Mu, Dawning Star: Helios Rising, Faery’s Tale, or Hollow Earth Expedition, this is a chance for you to stand up like me and make a difference. The voting is happening starting July 16th over at the Ennie Awards site and lasts only two weeks. There’s no better time to cast your vote than today!

You find a sample ballot here: Grab a Sample Ballot

And you can place your votes here during the voting period starting on July 16th: The Ennie Awards Voting Site

Together we can be heard. Become a Summer Hero. Cast your vote, and let other people know how to become heroes themselves!

Find out how to put this message in your own blog!

…and I just want to add…

Don’t Rest Your Head

I’m still waiting for my copy to come from lulu, but I’ve also bought the pdf of Don’t Rest Your Head by EvilHat, and I am really really looking forward to try it.

My players are practically all Gaiman fans, so I think they will fit right in the Mat City setting.

Plus, I’ve been reading Actual Play reports, and the game really seems to hum: of all things, for such a light game, one of the spotlights is in the dice rolling mechanic. A single dice roll will tell you who succeded, but also what “colour” the action will have. A player can succed, but Pain (the dice rolled by the GM as opposition) could still dominate. The character would get to do what he/she intended, but it will be painful, in some way or another.

If you want to know more, check out the reviews on rpg.net, like this: they are thorough and clear. Also, read at least an Actual Play report like this, or even listen to it (there are two or three podcast recording of game sessions).

Plus… it’s cheap! 😀

Playing RPGs ofer the net

So, recently me and my gaming buddies are preparing to do some experiments with playing tabletop RPGs over the ‘net. There are actually a number of software tools that are built to facilitate it, some of them are even free (and often opensource).

A pretty common characteristic of these programs is that they are built with very tactical games in mind, the sort that needs miniatures, a battlemap, and lots of minutia such as areas of effect, facing, status of the minis, and so on. For our experiment we will use MapTool, a free java app that features a shared map, chat, dice rollers.

We will be playing Spirit of the Century, instead. The game can be tactical in its own way, but it does not strictly need minis, and so on. What we will really need is a table instead… after all this is a tabletop game!

I’ve set up a “map” with maptool that will work as our shared tabletop: each player will have the “variable” part of his charsheet on it, so that wounds and consequences can be written on them, and a set of chips representing the game’s Fate Points, so that the players can bid them, and see at a glance the points.

You can see the Fate Points virtual chips here:

Fate Point Chip

and a sample setup of the table in my rpg pages.

Checkinstall for gnome packets

Checkinstall is a very useful package for linux distros that track their packages with databases (that is, with rpm or deb packages) when compiling from source, and can save you a lot of headaches when uninstalling or upgrading a package.

But I’ve found a nasty twist (not exactly checkinstall’s fault, actually) that should be kept in mind: there are some files that should NOT belong in your package. And not only for tidyness reasons, but to avoid completely screwing up your Gnome installation.

Read on…

Continue reading “Checkinstall for gnome packets”

Weird fedora dbus bug

A couple of days ago I got bit by a nasty and pretty dumb bug in dbus on Fedora Core 6: the service would just hang forever on startup.

To make a long story short, it all goes down to some interaction (I have no idea about) between dbus and ldap (of all things): if the ldap server is not available the servie just hangs.

To make the bug go away simply disable the use of ldap for “User Information” in system-config-authentication. It looks like you can continue to use it for authentication, fortunately.

Well, so I have a blog…

…I’ve resisted this for a long time: blogs I knew tended to be braindumps of people, often whining about their life or something.

But, well, in the meantime I’ve discovered some pretty awesome blogs, mainly in the tech and rpg areas, so I thought one more could do no real damage 🙂

This page will probably become a sort of pinboard (hence the name) where I put links to cool stuff I’ve found on the ‘net, or things I’ve discovered myself, just so that I have somewhere else than my brain to keep all that stuff. You only get so much space, you know…