Finished up a complete draft of my rpg history article on Grimoire Games (and on Dave Hargrave and early RP gaming in the SF Bay Area). It's one that I'm very pleased with, because I think it does a really nice job of shedding a light on what the early RPG hobby looked like, at least on this coast. As I wrote in my intro to the history, it's the first one that I really wished had gone in the book.
This one was slightly exhausting to write because the written record of the company was so scant. I only managed to turn up three Dave Hargrave "interviews"; fortunately two of them were extensive bios in Different Worlds. The third was part of a semi-hit-piece in New West magazine which Greg S. was kind enough to put me onto. I'm aware of one more notable article by Hargrave, in super small-press Abyss #17, from Ragnarok Press. I'd still like to somehow get a copy of that article, but for now I'm content.
Despite the scant primary sources from Hargrave, I was able to get some pretty extensive help from Marc S. (on Arduin and the second edition) and Donald R. (on the early bay area gaming culture), so that was part of what made the article come out pretty good. Greg S., Steve P., and others helped too.! But it was still a lot more work than just reading a pile of interviews and design notes.
Amazon is the other company on my mind this evening, for they sadly disappointed me. We'd ordered The Amazing Race Season 4 from them, as they've started pressing on-demand DVDs, and we're happy to finally get to see the old seasons of a reality show we like.
Unfortunately, when we sat down to watch this newest DVD this evening, as a start-of-the-holiday-weekend treat (and also a treat for Kimberly who is sick), we discovered that our 3-DVD set had shipped in a 1-DVD box (indeed, with 1 DVD!). Kimberly called up Amazon and after talking to a somewhat clueless but very helpful service rep, got them to send us a new (hopefully complete) set of the DVD which is supposed to arrive on Tuesday. I have to give that credit as very good customer support.
Well, we can at least watch this first DVD, we decided. So we turned it on ... and found the DVD almost unwatchable, getting all pixelated and skipping several seconds at a time ... constantly.
So that's strike two for Amazon's DVD on Demands program. Mind you, we've got the two previous seasons by this method without problem (though the DVDs occasionally got a little pixelated, showing off perhaps a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time setup). But, if this was my first experience, it would probably be my last as well.