Monday, April 26, 2010

A Letter from Chgowiz

Michael "Chgowiz" Shorten contacted me last week and asked if I'd be willing to allow him to post a letter here to the Old School community in regards to his decision to take down his blog. I readily agreed. I think a general clearing of the air is best for the overall well-being of whatever it is we're trying to accomplish. Take it away, Chgowiz.

It's been a month since I yanked my blog and I've been feeling pretty damn conflicted about it.The whole deal was pretty fucked up. I'm not going to lie and say I had noble intentions - I didn't. I hit the end of my rope literally and figuratively and I was just done with it. The whole kit and kaboodle. Raggi hit the right notes, my #3 and #4 hit #1 and #2 and after the hard work and all the crap that happened, I was just done. But there's something I need to say.

Thank you.

There's a metric crapton of good memories and really cool things that I learned, shared and did with you all and I thank you for that. Thank you for your support and the kind things you did during the really fucked up 2009 that was. Dad dying, @thePrincessWife (Angie) getting diagnosed with lupus, almost losing my son, watching my finances go down the toilet - it was tough but I found some true blue friends and that's the best part of all this. Thank you to my buds at THM, my friends through the cons and OPDC. Thank you for the kind words and for buying my little game things and enjoying the stuff I handed out for free. Even those of you who royally pissed me off, you guys challenged me. One thing my Dad always taught me was to listen to both sides and come up with the best conclusion that I could match with my own sense of values. So I tried to do that.

By pulling back, I've taken a look at what is important to me in the gaming world and that is the games I'm running/playing and the local gaming scene. The on-again/off-again solo game with @thePrincessWife, the tabletop AD&D campaign and the online Google Wave game are all still chugging. I'm still playing in Alexis's online game. Once I'm through this really hectic April/May (which are always hectic with the volunteer and social groups I'm a part of outside of gaming) I'm hoping to get involved more in doing things locally related to Classic D&D. There are some cool events, like the 3 to 4 times a year Chicago GameDays, the meetup group and various deals there, and Winter War convention and GaryCon convention. After running a really fun B2 11 hour marathon, I know the interest in Classic D&D is there locally, so I'm going to continue doing what I can to put asses in chairs. I'm just going to do it more locally - where I can deal with people face to face and sit down and have a beer after and feel a good positive energy feedback for what I put into it.

It probably doesn't hurt that I've started increasing my volunteer activities towards the GLBT community and some other personal interests. I have friends and some family members who are GLBT and I've had friends who've died from AIDs and those are things that my fundraising can really help with. So I'm investing my energy there.

Oh yea, the new Harley kinda is distracting me too...

I don't know what I'm going to do in the future. I'm not really interested in blogging for/about the "OSR" anymore. It's been a month and the anger is still fresh. I have developed a serious distrust of people who I haven't met face to face. Blogging and being part of the incestuous Internet circle is not worth having shit tossed my way from some assholes sitting behind their keyboards. That anger/distrust is not going to go anyway anytime soon. The whole deal (blog/TARGA) got turned into something other than what it was by people with agendas or axes to grind. The fallout was just really awful to me on a personal level and I've just got no interest in repeating that. I've got too many other things that matter in life. I'm really glad that the whole deal has died down.

I know I pissed people off with yanking all my stuff, but it was a question of responsibility. If I have stuff out there, I have to support it, it's my responsibility and it's a constant reminder/danger of it all happening again. It's like being burned at the stove - I've got no real interest in feeling the pain again and the only way to avoid getting burned again was to back off completely. So I did. I don't know if I'll be interested in doing it again. Life goes on, the Internet has another 3 day cycle and my stuff wasn't all that unique - there's so much creativity going on right now.

I'm really glad that $350 will go to GaryCon 3 and that the One Page Dungeon Contest is still a positive thing. It tickles me to no end to hear of people getting their spouses into solo games. If nothing else, I can say that my goals of leaving the gaming world as enriched as I was from being there came true.

So thank you. And in the words of Rick Krebs, who really inspired me with his words, "Go have fun!"


Timeshadows said...

Thank you for hosting Chg's post, Mr. Curtis. It is always best to hear it from the source.

Michael Curtis said...

I thought it best for an overall sense of closure.

I'm glad Chgowiz took the time to clarify his situtation and asked me to let him clear the air before moving on to the next phase of his life.

Badmike said...

Michael is a good dude. I wish him luck but I miss his gaming table updates.

Orion Cooper said...

Despite the disagreement of it all, there will be a hole where Chgowiz's blog used to be.

Anonymous said...


Count me amongst those inspired by your D&D campaign with @ThePrincessWife, though of course I had to go and start and blog about a Traveller game instead of D&D. Also, the one-page dungeon format gets regular use in my normal D&D game. I'm glad to hear you're moving on in a positive direction and also glad you'll still be playing in Alexis's game (though Andrej is sad Delfig has taken his lute and gone back to Dachau... perhaps to his death).

Jim C. (Brother Andrej)

Jim said...

Thanks for the post. I too miss the blog.

Anonymous said...

@Chgowiz: It's good to hear from you again. And that you are making it through the rough patches of life the best you can. You have made a difference among the internet bloggers. If you ever decide to come back to the 'stove', there will be many to come back to your table to see what your serving. God bless!


Daddy Grognard said...

I've never met Chgowiz and, given that the Atlantic is between us, probably never will. However, the more I learn about the guy, the more my respect and admiration for him increases.

He steered me on sandboxes and his vast catalogue of past posts (now sadly gone) I could rely on for sage guidance and could direct others towards if they were in need of advice.

I guess that we all need to pick up the torch and carry on; it's good to know that he is still gaming, keeping it real and local.

limpey said...

Blogger lets you save your blog as a text file of your own machine; I hope you did that, Chgowitz.
Miss your writings but respect the need to realign your priorities.
Best wishes to you and yours in the health related challenges ahead. Lupus; I can't imagine.
Your legacy lives on; in my last Thurs nite game, someone at the table suddenly piped up about how cool these 'one page' dungeons were.

James Bobb said...

Thanks for posting Chgowiz's thoughts on where he is and where he is going. Despite not claiming to have a higher moral reason for doing what he did, he took a higher road and gained even more respect from me.

I miss his blog and interactions on the boards and hopefully he'll return to having an online presence in the gaming communities eventually. There may be much creativity, but his perspective has been lost.

Until that time though, I'm keeping his old blog title in my blog list in honor of the creative offerings he shared and the cool things he let us in on (like the games with @princesswife).

Cameron said...

@ Michael:

Thanks for posting Chgowiz's letter.

@ Chgowiz:

Thanks for writing the letter. You were the first "big" blogger to make me feel at home here and I appreciate that. I think you're doing the right thing. I took a 2 year break from the internet myself when I'd decided I'd just had enough, and don't regret a single moment of that vacation. A blog can be any combination of fun/useful/entertaining/even important, but it's never worth it if the price you need to pay is being miserable. Blogging is a sort of entertaining half-life, but it never comes close to the real thing for all nice people you get to more or less know. Best of luck in all endeavors in the future, and I do hope you start blogging again at some point.

-Cameron Wood

PeelSeel2 said...

Keep rollin 20's! Thanks for the blog!

Kiltedyaksman said...

Sorry folks, but I think the whole thing is pretty lame. Take part or don't. It's just not that big a deal.

WalkerP said...

Glad to hear you are doing well. The One Page Dungeon rocks. It's sad the haters drove you away, but do what you gotta do, what's best for yourself.

Andrew Modro said...

Chgowiz, thanks for taking the time to drop us a line. I don't know you very well at all, but I respect you and enjoyed your work. I was disappointed at how things turned out, but having felt those exact same feelings myself, I can understand why you did it -- in your place I'd probably have done the same. I hope that time will help heal the wounds and that you'll come back to us in some capacity, even if it's just a small presence on a forum or occasionally blogging somewhere. Take care of yourself.

Andreas Davour said...

Thanks and thanks, Michael and Michael!

I am seriously thinking of a one on one campaign with my wife. Guess who inspired that? :)

Ragnorakk said...

You have fun too Chgowiz - take care

Zzarchov said...

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Sad to see you go, but glad things are holding togethor for you.

Eldrad Wolfsbane said...

Thanks Chgowiz for letting us know what happened to you. You blog was one of my places I wne to to on the net as it was always good stuff on it! You will be missed!

Are you (or your players) going to at least keep posting the Dark Ages stuff at the Obsidian Portal? The Dark Ages stuff was the first play reports I ever read that has really stuck with me. Just an incredible story and really great players all meshing the whole thing into a pure artwork.