Friday, November 7, 2014

Remember, Remember, the 7th of Movember

Me on the first day of Movember 2014
This post is a couple of days late, but a couple of days ago on November 5th, I visited my favorite local comic book shop (as I always do on Wednesdays after I pick my daughter up from Kindergarten). It occurred to me while I was there that since November 5th happened to fall on Wednesday (aka "New Comic Book Day") that the store should have put up a display featuring Alan Moore's V for Vendetta series. Alas, when I mentioned this to the manager, he noted that I was the only person all day who even acknowledged that it was a "holiday."

I've written about holidays in role-playing games before, and I truly think they're a missed opportunity at world building. I try to instill them in my ongoing World of Samoth campaign, but unfortunately little details like that have fallen by the wayside. When I first began running the campaign, I had visions of players keeping accurate calendars of the world and looking ahead to note that "next week is the Festival of Flags, so we're sure to find the Baron of Barríd there..." Sadly, this kind of thing never really materialized. That's just as much, if not more, my fault as a DM as it is the fault of my players. I learned pretty quickly that this level of world detail was not something my players were interested in - instead they seemed more focused on "What are we supposed to do next?"  I think this mentality is partially due to having a very novice group combined with some more veteran players who cut their teeth on D&D by playing through the rail-road nature of Dragonlance in the mid-1980s. 

Hopefully my next campaign can involve more details like this, which I really enjoy as a DM. 

Besides Guy Fawkes' Day, November also brings a bevy of other holidays, including All Saints Day, the Day of the the Dead, Veterans' Day, St. Martin's Day (a personal favorite), and of course Thanksgiving. 

Another event in November that shouldn't forget, of course, is Movember, the annual event where men shave all their facial hair clean on November 1st and then throughout the rest of the month promise to grow only a mustache (no cheating by growing a goatee or full beard) in an effort to promote awareness of men's health issues relating to prostate and testicular cancer. I'm participating again this year, as I have for the past few years. 

A number of years ago, I received a call from a friend of mine, who alerted me that our friend's dad who was in the hospital had been given only a short time left to live. He had been diagnosed with cancer and it hit all of us hard, since were were all still relatively young at the time (as I recall, I wasn't even married yet and I've been married at this point nearly 13 years). My friend and I drove out together to visit our other friend and his father. It was a long drive, about an hour East of where I live, and we cracked nervous jokes along the way regarding how we had to "use up a whole cassette tape" of music to get out there. Both of us, I think, were trying to distract ourselves from the reality of the situation. We were getting older, and that meant our parents were also starting the beginnings of having medical problems. In this case, our friend's dad was being taken much too early, and it was a difficult concept to deal with, thinking that his dad wouldn't see our friend get married, have a successful career, and potentially have kids one day. I remember being in the hospital room, my friend and I doing "our schtick" which we of course think is downright hilarious but which oftentimes some people view as just being annoying at best. However, our friend's dad laughed along and even cracked jokes back at us while we tried to ease his and our friend's sorrows. 

That was the last time I saw my friend's dad, and while I'm thankful for the memories we all shared that day laughing and swapping old stories from "back in the day," I've never forgotten how tough it is to lose a parent. I learned that lesson myself just a few years ago, and when it happened I immediately thought of my friend and his dad, all those years ago. 

My friend started a Movember team a few years ago and asked us to join. I am notoriously horrible at growing facial hair. It's nigh impossible for me to do so, and at the end of the month each year my sad little mustache has about as much hair as most of the guys reach around day #6. Meanwhile, the rest of the Movember crew to which I belong have grown thick, luxurious mustaches which deserve to be oiled and twirled maniacally whilst standing over a young lady tied to the railroad tracks. Nevertheless, I soldier on, dutifully growing my mustache and raising money for charity to help promote men's health issues. 

If you're able, I would appreciate a donation. You can donate at this personal link to my Movember page here:

And just to sweeten the deal, I'll be conducting a giveaway here at Daddy Rolled A 1. For everybody who donates and then leaves a comment either here on my blog, or via one of my social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, or Google+), I will enter that person into a drawing. Next Friday 11/14 at 12pm Pacific Time, I will be selecting one random person who donated to receive one of the following items (winner's choice). I will ship the item to the winner free of charge (and yes this includes International Shipping).

Here's what I have available:

* Of Dice and Men, hard-cover book. Somehow I ended up with two copies of this and I just finished reading one of them. I'll be posting a review soon. This is an autobiographical tale of a guy in his 20s who "re-discovers" D&D after a long absence and intertwines writings of his experiences with a history of the Dungeons & Dragons game. This isn't an indepth scholarly study such as Playing at the World, but it's a really nice foundation on the history of the hobby and the people involved.

* Batman: The Dark Knight, Region 1 DVD widescreen edition (shrink-wrapped). This is another item I ended up receiving twice, and this one hasn't even been opened so it's in pristine condition. For those not in the know, this is the Nolan Batman film featuring Heath Ledger's ground-breaking performance of the Joker, arguably his finest performance in his all too brief career.

* Aliens Movie Collection, boxed VHS set (Region 1). This is a bit old-school since it's on VHS but this is all in excellent condition because I received this exact set on DVD shortly after I got the VHS version, so I never actually watched these tapes. This collection includes the first four Alien movies and a fifth tape called "Alien Legacy" that provides behind-the-scenes interviews and history about the Aliens saga.

So there you go - everyone who donates to my Movember page from today until November 15th will be entered into the drawing, and the winner will get his or her pick of one of the above items.

Thank you and Good Luck!
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