Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Field Manual Kris: The Talk Circuit

Interior, Oval Office. President Barak Obama sits at the president's desk with full suit and tie. One of the classic white couches has been moved to The President's left, facing outward.
Pictured: George W. Bush trying his hand at theater in a production of "Return to Oz."

PBO: "Welcome back to the White House everyone, today we have a very special guest. Well...Joe, is he important?"
*Cut to Joe Biden behind a set of drums, his jacket draped over the back of his chair and sleeves rolled up. He smiles and laughs with an 'I don't know' gesture.*

PBO: "Well, he is a voter. Everyone, welcome Kris."

There is no applause.

Kris: *Sits on the middle of the couch.* "This is...really uncomfortable."

PBO: "C'mon. It's a great couch. Hilary was just sitting there this afternoon."

Kris: "...less...comfortable."

PBO: "Alright. Scoot on in. The next one is Gates' spot."

*Kris scoots.*

Kris: "It's not the couch, actually, it's that this format is really...self-aware. I like talking about myself, but-"

PBO: "Then talk. What are you reading right now?"

Kris *Brightens up slightly.*: "Uh, Machine of Death. It's this collection of short stories about a world where there's this machine that tells people how they're going to die."

PBO: "Everyone knows when they're gonna die." *laughs* "Seems like it'd be pretty straightforward."

Kris: "No, the machine doesn't say when or where, just that you'll die of 'cancer' or 'suicide' or 'piano.' It's vague, but always true in the end."

PBO: "'Piano?' It sounds like someone has a piano dropped on them?"

Kris: "I mentioned that one for a reason. It's a story where a guy gets it and he's super concerned about that--having a piano dropped on him--or getting hit by truck carrying a piano, or even getting caught in a fight about two strangers arguing over the cost of piano repairs or something."

PBO: "And what happens?"

Kris: "Well, he realizes that, uh, not-piano won't kill him, so he becomes a helicopter pilot in war  zones. He keeps the prediction with him, and when his helicopter is shot down, insurgents find him and the paper, and begin using that knowledge to interrogate him."

PBO: ...

Kris: ...

Biden: "Aw-kward."

PBO: "I think it's time for a commercial break."

Kris: "That doesn't make any-"

Coming Soon: The Green Box, introducing you to things you didn't know you were apathetic about while evoking a game element released before you were toilet trained.

Kris: "Oh. Self-promotion. That's certainly within my idiom."

PBO: "So, this book-"

Kris: "It's great, trust me. Unfortunate references to contemporary events you, specifically are connected with aside, it explores the implications of the machine on culture and holds them up the the underlying denial of death in our culture. It's not really about the Twlight Zone twist endings."

PBO: *slyly* "Hey, how terrible would it be if Stephanie Meyers opened up a store called 'The Twilight Zone' and it just sold merchandise related to her books?"

Kris: "...pretty terrible. But just so you know, hating Twilight isn't popular anymore. It's now trendy to hate people who hate Twilight."

PBO: "So, you're saying Twilight is cool now?"

Kris: "No. No. it's just that if you talk about how much it sucks, it makes you suck too."

PBO: *Subdued* "Oh."

Kris: ...

PBO: "That books sounds good."

Kris: "It is! It's made by a gaggle of talented internet people, like XKCD guy and Zero Punctuation guy. You can get it from Amazon, and rumor has it, it's coming to Barnes and Noble in a few months."

PBO: "If there's still a Barnes and Noble around in a few months." *Laughs*

Kris: *Laughs*

PBO: "We'll be right back, with ah, Joe, who's next?"

Kris: "It's just me."

Joe: "I'm not sure. Shirley MacClaine?"

Kris: "It's just me."

PBO: "Sounds good. Does she have a new movie out?"

Kris: "It's just me guys. I'm your only guest."

Joe: "Who'd know, right? Did anyone even see Coco Chanel?"

Kris: "Guys, it's just-"

Believe it or not, I had to shop this myself. WTH, internet, are you too good for obvious jokes now?  
It's like the friggin' dark ages over here.

PBO: "Welcome back, we're here with Shirley MacLaine and Kris."

Shirley: "Hello Mr. President."

Kris: "Un. Believable."

PBO: "Shirley, how're you doing?"

Shirley: "Just fine. Just fine. I'm reading Maus right now," she leans across Kris towards their host intently, "Have you read it?"

PBO: "It's the comic about The Holocaust where all of the Jews are...uh, mice, right?"

Kris: "That's me. I'm reading that book. Shirley MacClaine is stealing my banter."

Shirley: *sitting back down* "Darling you didn't have any banter."

PBO: "I did read it. I expected a visceral, first-person account of World War II as told by a Polish Jew, but it was more than that. The framing device, Art Spiegelman talking with his father to record his experiences, humanized the entire narrative for me."

Kris: "Mr. President, can mummies be whores? Can I call her a whore?"

Shirley: "At least I've seen a dick in the past year."

PBO: "In many ways, it's about the next generation's attempt to come to grips with something which impacted their lives so strongly, but which they could never fully understand. Maus shatters a lot of the expectations that I, personally, had about The Holocaust."

Kris: "I see plenty of dicks. I have porn, Shirley MacLaine."

Shirley: "Most of your 'porn' comes from 4Chan. I have more hardcore stuff than that on my iPhone."

PBO: *Still speaking directly to his guests as if they weren't talking about dicks.* "For a book that casts the major cultural players--Jews, Poles, Germans, and Americans--as black and white animals with clearly defined roles, I left Maus seeing World War II as a phenomenon fueled by the same mix of quiet nobility, indifferent cruelty, and willful ignorance that defines the ebb and flow of everyday life in the United States today. It draws World War II not as a bipolar conflict of ideologues--of good versus evil--but a human conflict with no principles and no safe harbors."

Kris: "Hilary Clinton sat there."

Shirley: "Oh God!" *Springs from the couch and runs for the exit.*

PBO: "Truly, a masterpiece of the form. We'll be right back."

"Fucking guy on a camel?"
"Fucking guy on a camel."

PBO: "Welcome back. Kris told all of our other guests that he and I have the only Hilary-free seats in the Oval Office, so now it's just us."

Kris: "I'm an honest person, ergo I wasn't lying."

PBO: "We also heard you ran some Dungeons and Dragons lately. Any chance of that becoming a book or movie the rest of us can enjoy?"

Kris: "No, and that's a stupid question. You don't make movies about Monty Python references and Day Owls."

PBO: "I guess not. Your players enjoyed it at least?"

Kris: "Yeah, I think so. Zach nominated it second-best roleplaying session he's ever been in. Derek seemed satisfied, and Rich...y'know Rich."

PBO: *Gestures over to Biden* "Yeah, Joe's the same way. He rolled a '1' last week during our game with Putin and he's still bitching about it."

Biden: "It was bullshit. There's something wrong with that die."

PBO: *laughing* "He was so pissed. We were fighting, like twenty kobolds. And Biden had killed fifteen of them himself."

Biden: "And then I rolled a damned 1 on the last guy."

PBO: "So Sarkozy kills it and the rest of the afternoon, all we hear is 'I could have gotten that last guy.'"

Biden: "And I would have too."

PBO: "I was so distracted, I almost tripped up at the end of the adventure."

Kris: "How so?"

PBO: "Oh, we had to close a portal to elemental chaos. Putin said to close the portal we had to decrypt the cipher and say the code."

Biden: "Turns out, the cipher was asking for our nuclear launch codes."

PBO: "Well, when Putin's running a game, it's always about the nuclear launch codes."

Kris: ""

PBO: *laughs* "Don't worry. We didn't give him the codes. Putin always kills the PCs anyway. I think it's a Russian thing."

Kris: "That sounds depressing enough. I assume their families starve."

Biden: "Yeah. It's never," *adopts his best Russian accent* "'You get a thousand experience,' it's always 'And your family dies, cold and poor.'" *Shrugs*

PBO: "Back to your campaign though; what are you calling it?"

Kris: "It's called The Ciaren Campaign, after the cultural group of city-states the players belong to. The next session will be Adventure Four. It's going to have more forest...uh, crawling in of the former territories of Ta'ae, further develop the area's dynamic, and introduce some new characters."

PBO: "Any hints for your players?"

Kris: "Pay attention to the details. I know it's hard to do when I'm making up shit like day owls, but some things are story elements that will be good to know in Adventure 6-"

PBO: "That's the conclusion, right?"

Kris: "Yeah, that's the end of the arc. Some elements are just window dressing. There's no point to me hiding the relevant ones, but the story isn't as..."

PBO: "Organic?"

Kris: "Yes, organic if I just point them out."

PBO: "Fair enough, any more teases?"

Kris: "Ah, Adventure 4 is the last adventure to be in the areas claimed by the late government of Ta'ae. Adventure 5 and Adventure 6 are in unaligned territories. By the time Adventure 6 rolls around, it will have been six months since Ta'ae fell."

PBO: "So, it's about a month between adventures?"

Kris: "A little more, which practically makes it real time." *Laughs*

PBO: *Laughs* "So, when is your next game?"

Kris: "The next session will probably be on the twenty-seventh of February. Sad, but true."

PBO: "That's a long time."

Kris: "Well, I'm headed to Texas for a bit. I'll be in New Orleans until the tenth, then I'll be headed out to Houston by the eleventh or twelfth. I should be back in time to head back to work on the seventeenth."

PBO: "We'd love to hear more about that, after this break."

It's a paper DS.

It's made of paper. 0% of the price, 0% of the features.

But you can still have fun with it:
Paper DS: People will leave you the fuck alone.

PBO: "You said you were going to Texas before the break. Any big plans during that time?"

Kris: "Ah, going to visit some friends. Hopefully run Dungeons and Dragons for Katie, Terry, and/or Josh, draft some Mirrodin Besieged, and hang with my grandparents for a day or so. And of course, try some new things with my blogs."

PBO: "Oh? Like what?"

Kris: "Being slightly less self-referential..."

PBO: *Looks at the camera.* "Not doing a good job, really."

Kris: "Well, I'm setting the bar for 'less' pretty low. Or high. Whatever. Thinking about doing some introductory work. I reference a lot of shit, and some footnotes might be in order."

PBO: "You could try to cut the references down."

Kris: "I...prefer it my way. I'm trying a few things outside of my comfort zone, but there are a number of things I'd like to keep. Working on projects without dragging them out infinitely is one of those things. I'll have to look at a few other things, maybe doing more fiction, maybe doing less analysis on my Magic features. How I talk about comics and how I write about comics are worlds apart, and that's something I can definitely take apart, examine and reassemble."

PBO: "These things you're saying...they're pretty boring Kris."

Kris: "Well, it is 'TL;DR Week,' after this, I'll try to get down to light, concise, and sensical content."

PBO: *Raised eyebrow.*

Kris: "Probably."


Rude said...

That was amazing.

Derek said...

Read this during a break from programming. Just what I needed. Pretty entertaining! The paper DS commercial was probably my favorite commercial. It belongs on YouTube.

Derek said...

Also this,

I can take it down if you want.

VanVelding said...

Thanks guys.

Thanks for the share Derek; it's very cool of you. Don't worry about taking it down.

"What's the worst that could happen?" he asked [Insert Adverb Here].