When I first heard about the JoCoCruise Crazy 2 I turned to the person next to me and said “Wait – you’re on a cruise ship for a week with Jonathan Coulton AND John Hodgman? For a week?” He pulled away from me and say “Who? And who? And who are you, anyway?” Which is why you shouldn’t use a web browser around strangers.
I’m going to assume that those of you reading this blog know who Jonathan Coulton is. If not, look, I made a linky thing. Click it. But I wanted to talk about a few of the other things I enjoyed on the cruise – both performers I knew about beforehand and things I only discovered on the ship itself (beyond “Jenn looks great in a fez”). I’m refraining from posting pictures, but there are plenty of links to websites where you can see what these people look like.
Most people who recognize John Hodgman know him as the PC from those “I’m a Mac… I’m a PC” commercials. Some know him from his work on The Daily Show. But I’ve been surprised by how few of my friends are aware of his three-part book of Complete World Knowledge. This is similar to an almanac, except that all the random and helpful facts have been made up by John Hodgman. Nonetheless, you can get all sorts of useful information, such as 700 Hobo Names, Short Words To Use On A Submarine To Conserve Oxygen, and a list of Nine US Presidents Who Had Hooks For Hands.The first book is called Areas Of My Expertise, and you should check it out now. You can also check out his website or judicial podcast.
When Jenn and I went to W00tstock in 2010, there was one act that blew us away. It wasn’t Paul & Storm, Adam Savage, or even Wil Wheaton… it was ukulele superstar Molly Lewis. Her songs touch on presidential assassinations, senseless peep-on-peep violence, Mr. T, and driving across country while wearing adult diapers. Last year, she performed her song about her willingness to carry Stephen Fry’s baby to Stephen Fry himself. And if you don’t know who Stephen Fry is, there’s only so much I can do in one post. In any case, if you appreciate ukuleles and clever songs, you owe it to yourself to check out Molly’s site!
On the JCCC2, Marian observed “There’s a limited niche for zombie lullabies, but it’s a market I’m willing to corner.” We should be so lucky. I could try to describe her music, but you’re far better off going to her website and listening for yourself. It’s a blend of folk, jazz, and, well, typewriters. Some of her songs are based around geek themes – zombies, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica – while others are more global in their subject matter. Though at the end of the day, I think there’s something for everyone in zombie anthem We’re Out For Blood.
Marian has toured through all fifty states, and is on tour again. She primarily plays small venues and house concerts. “What’s a house concert?” you say? She explains it in detail in this blog. This speaks to me, because it’s fundamentally the same drive that got me started on Have Dice Will Travel – the chance to engage in a small-scale direct form of entertainment in a world that’s increasingly given to passive large-scale entertainment. In any case, if Marian is coming through your state and you have the chance to host a house concert, don’t miss out. And if you haven’t already gone to her site to listen to music, get going! Scram!
SENTINELS OF THE MULTIVERSE
The last think I wanted to mention isn’t a person – it’s a game. I’d heard of Sentinels of the Multiverse before I boarded the ship, but I’d never had a chance to see it. As it turned out, my opportunity to play was very limited, but I saw enough to know that I wanted to see more. SotM is a cooperative fixed-deck card game (so no random boosters to collect) that can be played with two to five players. The players control a superhero team seeking to defeat one of four nefarious villains. There are similarities to games such as Elder Sign (and that’s a good thing, in my opinion), but there’s a lot of ways woven in to make each game experience different; because each character and villain is represented by a deck of cards you don’t know what cards will come into play over the course of the game, and with ten heroes to choose from there are many different combinations to try. As a comics fan (IE “nerd”) I love the level of depth that has gone into the minor details of the game. Each card includes flavor text – a quote from some issue of an imaginary comic featuring the heroes. Pretty standard stuff… until you realize that the quotes all synch up to create a sense of continuity for this superhero universe that doesn’t exist (at least, not yet). So you’ve got your flagship titles, team-ups, and limited series. This may have nothing to do with the play of the actual game, but it’s a sign of the thought that has gone into it. If you like superheroes and cooperative games, check it out!
Let’s see… deranged millionaires, marvelous musicians, comic card games… all there. To quote the title of John Hodgman’s latest book, That Is All.