The views and opinions expressed in O'Keefe's Briefs(tm) are not necessarily those of The Management. In fact, they are very likely not even the views and opinions of the writer, the typeface designer, god or the President of the United States. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who shares the extraordinary worldview expressed below, and should you, run. Far and fast. The Management would also like to point out that any references or similarities to any persons living, dead, or undead are entirely coincidental since we all know there are no such things as zombies anyhow.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 Kwahanzaakahmas Calendar

It's beginning to smell a lot like Kwahanzaakahmas...

Fine! The carols need work. What's Kwahanzaakahmas you ask? Lay your world-weary eyes on this fine bit of lore: HERE, and then go HERE to learn about each day's activities. (tl;dr: drink and eat lots because it's cold outside. We also have platypodes.)

Friday, December 20: Twenny

Saturday, December 21:  Yule 

Sunday, December 22: Feast of the San Dimas
(Saints @ Panthers 1:00pm ET)

Monday, December 23: Festivus

Tuesday, December 24: Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 25: Christmas Day

Thursday, December 26: Boxing Day

Friday, December 27:  Feast of the Immaculate Concession

Saturday, December 28: Langeaufwiedersehenssagennacht

Sunday, December 29: Ante Penultima Nocta

Monday, December 30: Hogmanay Eve

Tuesday, December 31: New Year's Eve

I'm open to suggestions as to how to work Krampus into our traditions. "Augh! I ate too much! Now I have a Krampus!" On one hand, a beastman snatching small, naughty children in the night is pretty much diametrically opposed to the spirit of Kwahanzaakahmas; however, on the other hand it's pretty bad ass. Also, every good holiday tradition needs it's dramatic foil: the abominable snowman, the winter warlock, fruitcake.

I promise I'll be better about posting this year. Probably

Monday, March 4, 2013

In Defense of Dungeons and Dragons

Today is both International Game Master’s Day and the 5th anniversary of Gary Gygax’s death . How appropriate that he should pass on this date? I mean, what are the odds1?

There has been a lot of negativity surrounding the Dungeons and Dragons game and the people who play it. It’s been blamed for, or associated with, suicides, murders, witchcraft, satanism, and gods know what else. Players of D&D have been stereotyped as losers, loners and outcasts. (Because nothing says loner better than someone who regularly gets together with friends to hang out and play games.)

D&D is a game. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s interesting to note how video games have borne the brunt of the negative press recently. As video games have become more prevalent in our society, they have taken D&D’s place as the media’s bogeyman when it comes to a young (and sometimes not so young) person committing some horrendous crime or another. What’s next? She was eating broccoli before her murderous rampage. That must be the cause. All sources indicate that she was a vegetarian and rather enjoyed broccoli. BAN BROCCOLI!2

Most of the stereotyping comes from the fact that it’s a Role Playing Game. Meaning simply that you take on a role to play in the game world. But then, aren’t most games? When you play Call of Duty are you not playing the role of a soldier? Granted, it’s more likely that a soldier will play CoD than a wizard play D&D, but you get the point. When you play Monopoly, you play the role of a real estate tycoon; and just because you win at the game of life doesn’t mean you’re not in reality a loser. If you lack the necessary imagination to play a game in which your character is a half-orc wizard or an dwarven thief, that’s on you.

Games are games, and the people who play them know that. Sure, the rules of D&D are fairly complex, the dice more numerous. (No one told me there’d be math!) D&D is a game, plain and simple. It is a cooperative rather than a competitive one, something which people have theorized goes against a sort of essential Americanness3.

This cooperative play in turn requires one player to act as the umpire. Someone to run the game mechanics and make judgement calls regarding the often contradictory or ambiguous rules. Hey! There’s a reason that there are 4 different editions of the D&D rules, and another on the way. Each one I believe is an attempt to streamline the game, to make it easier to play while retaining the flavor of the game.

In a RPG, this player-umpire is called the Game Master (or in D&D’s case the Dungeon Master). And for every hour you play, the GM has put in two or three (or more!) hours to make sure the game goes smoothly, and everyone has fun.

So on this International Game Master’s Day be sure to thank your game master4. If you don’t have a game master, go find one. People who play RPGs, tend to be fairly inclusive and welcoming. Which I think is more than can be said of some online gaming communities. n00bs.

Also fuck orcs.

1 - Gary Gygax was co-creator of D&D. FYI. And yeah, I know, roughly .27% taking no additional outside factors into consideration. All days being equal, etc...
2 - Really. Shit’s gross and makes you gassy.
3 - It has been theorized that the reason soccer isn’t more popular in the US is that it allows for a tie whereas the American psyche is geared more towards win/lose scenarios.
4 - I accept bills of small denominations with non-sequential serial numbers.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

US 80 East: The Live Tweet Event or A Descent into Madness

On December 28th, 2012, my mother, wife, daughter and I drove back from Ohio to New York after a holiday visit with my in-laws. Our route took us along US Route 80 through the entirety of Pennsylvania. What follows is a chronological collection of the tweets I made along the way1.  My phone died just as we approached the Delaware Water Gap. We crossed over in to Pennsylvania at around 10:30 in the morning. Everything that follows is true. Warning: some of the material is intense, and may not be suitable for some readers. Enjoy.

Just hit Pennsy. Farewell Ohio! Considering live tweeting the drive across 80. However, it's Pennsylvania, expectations are low.

11 miles in and I got nothing. Much like PA! #badumdum

PA mile 24- I saw a farm! I think there were cows.

Coming up on mile 36. I bet there's something cool just around this hill...

Nope, just another farm. No animals even. WAIT MORE COWS!!!

So apparently The Hardwood Mall is a place. Guess what they sell. Oh, go on; guess.

Just saw a sign for a tree farm. I wonder if they have a water farm in Lake Erie too.

Mile 63 - more cows. I suspect they are the same ones I saw at mile 36. 80 east may just be a big loop. I'll keep you posted.

I'm not sure McDonalds counts as sign of civilization. Exit for Punxatawny though... alas! Had I time for assassination, Phil would get it.

No rodent should have that much influence over the weather.

I'm afraid my battery won't last the trip which is a shame because I think many insomniacs could benefit from this live tweet trip.

Mile 100! If my phone does die, just re-read my tweets through PA two more times, and that should be a pretty close representation.

Lady in minivan, talking on phone, kids not buckled in. Keep an eye on the news we have a lead story in the making: Holiday Tragedy @ 11.

Think I used all my good jokes in the first half of the trip. If this drive gets any more boring (continued)

(Cont'd) I may have to pull off in Bird-In-Hand-Intercourse... if you know what I mean.

Buckhorn family restaurant. Halfway though PA. Their menus are very nice.

Ooooh The Pennsylvania Wilds. This should be exciting! I hope it's like the safari at Great Adventure!

No such luck. Dammitsomuch Pennsylvania! First Santorum, and now this?!?

Seems "wilds" is Pennsylvania Dutch for one of two things: 1) you should've pissed when you had the chance, or (cont'd)

2) if you breakdown, you're fucked.

Crossing susquahana river. AGAIN! Seriously PA WTF? I'm starting to lose my shit. Are we ever going to get to NJ?

Also those nuclear cooling towers to the north are giving off a lot of steam. I don't want to worry anyone, but RUNFORYOURLIVES!

Trees cows susquahana trees cows susquahana all work and no play makes SUSQUAHANA


These two 'tweets-that-never-were' were intended to be the last tweets of the trip.

Crossing the Delaware Water Gap. Now I know what George Washington felt like.


So there you have it. One man's harrowing journey across the state of Pennsylvania. Please if you can avoid it, don't make the same mistake I did. Let this be a cautionary tale; if you must cross PA, fly.
1 - I edited out a few retweets and one that just did not further this narrative. They happened early on in the trip, when I was still unsure I'd actually tweet the whole way.