A Return to D&D

I Have Returned

It’s been 30 years since I played D&D, but when my best friend’s daughter asked me to join her game, I thought, should I embrace my nerdiness, again, put on my wizard’s cloak, take out my wand of magic missiles and join her group?

I won’t lie. I was hesitant.

A part of my reluctance was tangled up in my past. I’d met my first wife, Margot, while playing D&D and we used to game a lot when we were young. Those should be good memories, but as with much of my past life, there is so much pain there that I wasn’t sure I could return to D&D and not feel overwhelming sadness, the type that makes it hard to get out of bed, makes it hard to even breathe.

But what if I could get past that, what if I could turn those memories into happy ones, again?

The other part of my reluctance was, ok, let’s be honest, D&D is kind of nerdy. Maybe, like, very, very nerdy.

However, at some point, you just have to be who you really are. A Maple Leaf fan? Don’t hide it (I mean, don’t brag about it either, but don’t hide it.) Someone who loves dancing-musicals? Great. Bring out those Gene Kelly movies. Love collecting WWE dolls, oh, sorry, figurines?  Well, fondle the Rock all you want. Embrace who you are, write it in your secret diary, put it on your resume, confess it to your significant other.

It’s okay. We are in the age of acceptance. Plus, it’s almost, dare it say it, cool.

But how is THAT possible, you ask? How?

Well, the success of shows like Game of Thrones helped, but one of the biggest reasons kids are discovering D&D is Stranger Things. If you haven’t seen it, well, yeah, see it, it’s outstanding story-telling, but the kids in it play D&D.  They fight monsters together, both in game and in their story, and they find that without each other, they would all be doomed.

Victory!

They seem to be having fun.

What? Fun without a TV? Without leaping from a bus above an island and landing to murder people?

Yes. Fun.

Then there’s the explosion of podcasts. Critical Role is, at least in my warped mind, the best of the lot, but there are many, many to choose from now. Critical Role, though, brought a bunch of voice actors together and, led by the incredible Matt Mercer, took on Grey Dwarves, Mind Flayers and evil demons, making it all seem like …dare I say it?… fun.

Heck, there are even cool, studly guys like Vin Diesel playing (that look like how I imagine I look in real life), and even at the hockey rink, dads are confessing to have once played back in the day. Could it be that D&D was now socially acceptable?

Judd Nelson at his best, Breakfast Club.
Still relevant today.

In the end, I decided to give it a try, again.

So if you ever played, and I know a lot of you did, come out of the closet. It’s ok. You’re cool now. (Or if not exactly ‘cool’, at least accepted.)

And hey, if you like what you’re seeing, like D&D, want to convert people into nerds or simply love Judd Nelson, share or like on Facebook, twitter, or the blogosphere.

Wedding Bells Will Soon Be Ringing

Apparently, I can't wear a uniform like this for the wedding. :(
Apparently, I can’t wear a uniform like this for the wedding. 🙁

By this time next week, we’ll be married and heading off to San Francisco for our honeymoon.

But are we ready?

Uh, lemme see.

All the RSVPs have been accounted for. We have a final list. We know who’ll be coming. That’s a good start.

Ring. Check. Wedding Dress, check (and apparently amazing.) Braces off. Flower-girl outfits and jewelry picked out. Wedding cake and sculpture decided upon. Photographer, flowers, wedding commissionaire, decorations, venue, all booked. Food sampled and chosen. Tuxes fitted. Marriage license purchased. Projector ordered. Music selected (a lot by The-Oldest). Honeymoon hotel reserved.

Whew, who knew it was so much work? The first time around, my mom and mother-in-law did it all, and I basically just showed up and smiled a lot. Now, we had to do it all ourselves, organizing, ordering, and researching everything to make sure this would be the best wedding possible. Hell, I even discovered that wedding porn has a different meaning for men and women.

But it’s finally coming together.

Only a few challenges.

After we finalized the guest list, we had to do up a seating chart. You know, for the tables and stuff. Not as easy as you might think since not everyone comes pre-packaged in groups of 8.

Oh, we could have had free seating but at this event, we didn’t want a mad mosh pit around the head table or everyone hiding in the back by the baron of beef. Of course, we could have also gone with the idea of who is most likely to NOT get along with who, but we decided to have a relatively fight-free wedding.

Being us, we wanted to make sure everyone has the most amazing time possible. And, being us, we decided to make an excel spreadsheet, a huge map and 18 tables cut from orange cardstock. Then we went about figuring it all out.

First, we worked on what combinations of people would be the best. Writers with writers. Victoria people with Victoria people. Davidsons with Davidsons. Bonars with Bonars. McKelvey’s with McKelveys. The same branch of family all stuffed together with liquor nearby.

That took care of about half the people. But that left half that we had to fit in.

We looked at putting people together with similar interests. We put together old acquaintances that might not have seen each other for a long time. We shifted people from one table to the next to balance out the numbers (I mean, hey, having 22 at a table for 8 wasn’t working. Not at all.)

And then, just like that, it all came together. Like a puzzle with all the pieces finally in place. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World worked hard to create a seating masterpiece. Di Vinci, Michelangelo, or Martha Steward would have all been impressed.

But that left one big task. We had planned to have (spoiler alert, spoiler alert) books on every table. Books from our own library. Books that would mean something to the people seated there. AND books that would match our color scheme.

A book for everyone.
A book for everyone.

Now, for those who know me, know I have a pretty good library. But making all those things work on every table…Yikes!

We spent a slightly drunken evening hauling out books, taking off dust covers, matching up colors and sizes and specific books for specific tables.

It looked like Harry Potter had fought Voldemort in a library. Books were strewn everywhere. Small piles lay next to scattered individual books looking for a home. Dust jackets (The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World working in a library and all) were neatly stacked in one corner.

We hummed over who would get the coveted Game of Thrones book or the super funny Mindy Memoire. We found a place for an antique book of fables translated from German. We snuck in a travel book about the highlands into one pile. We desperately tried to find a table for the Princess Bride (and, in the end, decided to place that book, that most romantic book at our table, all by itself).

But in the end, despite us having to give up on our color scheme a bit, we found a nice stack for every table.

Now, we’re down to the last few things. Nails. Hair. Suit final-fitting. A speech by me. Slideshow created (oh, hell, I forgot to confirm the projector, yesterday!!!)

Can you guess what is stressing me out?

But I think it’ll be a good wedding. So many wonderful people are coming to see us exchange our vows, express out love, then drink and dance the night away.

This is happening, people!

And now for some Mike Tyson, cuz he’s the real wedding singer…

Top Ten Wedding Ideas – Rejected

Weddings, oh the happiness, the joy, the stress
Weddings, oh the happiness, the joy, the stress

Well, now that the proposal-part has been done, it’s time to take a look at what our wedding will look like. Or not look like.

There are so many decisions to be made.

Big wedding or small? Harder for us to actually do a big wedding as we have to pay for it and some clown spent a lot of money on a ring and helicopter ride, but we’ll see what we can manage.

Where? Oh so many choices. Not a destination wedding. Not an elopement. Something nearby. Something nice, but not massively expensive. Something warm and intimate if possible. Our friend Sheila nailed it. Small Italian restaurant. We want a similar experience.

And what about theme, flowers, dresses, suits, and the second most important thing, food? All these things have to be decided and decided sooner rather than later. Already some of our ‘spots’ were booked. (In one case, booked up to 2017!!!)

So, we’ll continue to think, to plan, to compromise.

In the meantime, I had some great ideas. However, not all of them were approved. Here is a list of the Top 10 Ideas that didn’t quite make the cut.

  • Nothing like a good tragedy at a wedding. Game of Thrones
    Nothing like a good tragedy at a wedding. Game of Thrones

    A Red Wedding. I mean how cool would this be? We all get shot with arrows at the end, fake or real, I hadn’t decided yet, maybe a mix of both. But this idea went nowhere, despite the fact it would be uber cool to hold the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world in my arms as we say our last good-byes. Oh, well.

  • Hockey Wedding. As advocated by the Youngest. I’m not sure how it would work, but there would be some form of skating, a shoot-out, maybe someone singing oh Canada, and an organ. Sadly, I can’t skate and while me standing on the ice might be comical, it would likely end in something horribly embarrassing posted on youtube.
  • Star War Slave Girl Wedding. Ok, I haven’t completely given up on this one. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world would look amazing in the Princess Leia slave-girl outfit and we could have everyone else come as their favourite character (though both boys want to be Darth Vadar for some reason). A total winner in my books, but I’m sure you can hear the eye rolling from where you read this.
  • A walking dead cake. How cool would that be?
    A walking dead cake. How cool would that be?

    The Walking Dead Wedding. OMG, how cool would this be? All zombies? My speech would be something like, mmmaaaa, ggggaaaaah, arrrrrhhh, and no one would make fun of my dancing. Plus, the whole death do you part thing wouldn’t apply. Maybe something like, “until shot in the head by living humans.” However, this was a solid no as well.

  • Wedding in the Rain. How romantic, right? So we get a little wet. So the bride’s eyeliner runs? So we all shiver for a couple of hours and catch a cold. It would certainly be memorable.
  • Sky Dive Wedding. Like let’s pretend for a moment I’m not terrified of heights. Wouldn’t it be cool to leap out of a plane together, and while hurtling towards the earth, pledge eternal love? Doesn’t that sound like fun? Well apparently it “sounds like I got into the liquor cabinet.”
  • How to throw a hobbit party
    How to throw a hobbit party

    Hobbit Wedding. Think of an idyllic setting, the grass impossibly green, the trees alive with bright leaves, everyone wearing hobbit feet and vests. Think of white tents billowing in the gentle wind. Think of kegs of beer, the best kidney pies, and fireworks. We could have Gandalf marry us, though this may take a bit of work since it’ll be The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world’s mom who’ll be doing the honors.

  • Batman Wedding. Now I get this one might be a bit of a stretch since Batman never got married or anything, but here’s the pluse to this idea. I get to answer all the questions with “I am Batman, “ in a gravelly voice.     “Will you take the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world to be your lawful, wedded wife?”

    Anyone got a bat mobile for rent?
    Anyone got a bat mobile for rent?

    “I am Batman.”

    “Will you love and honor The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-world until death do you part?”

    “I am Batman.”

Plus, we could drive away the in bat mobile.

  • Sound of Music Singing Wedding. Well, to be honest, after hearing myself sing, I kinda put the kibosh on this myself. I mean, everyone wants to hear the hills are alive with the sound of music until you actually hear me sing it. I would look good in a traditional Austrian suit, though. And I do like the idea of controlling the children with a whistle.
  • Princess Bride Wedding. Ok, again, I haven’t given up on this one. Mawwwage, that bwessed event… I’m not sure we need a giant or any R.O.U.S. (Rodents of Unusual Size), but you haven’t lived until you’ve seen me in my Dread Pirate Roberts outfit, which I would, ah, yeah, have to buy, cuz I totally don’t have one hidden in the closet upstairs.

So what ideas do you have?

Any suggestions?