Print Story Cosmic Encounter
Diary
By iGrrrl (Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 12:10:26 AM EST) (all tags)
I am reading Heinlein's novel Starman Jones to K as her bed time reading. We've been working our way through the juveniles. A long time ago I traded all my early Heinleins to my ex (who is now Iron Maiden's stage manager), to pay for work on my car. I found that I missed them, so a few years later, when my friend Brad Weage was cleaning out his library of paperbacks, I got his copies of the Heinlein juveniles. They have his name stamped on the inside,
"From the Library of
Bradley K Weage"

Middle initial, no middle name, so no period after the K.

Brad is dead.



Brad is credited with being one of the first internet trolls, although it would have been confined to the PLATO system. The troll, would probably have been the "pretend to be someone you're not" type, and he would have had some very specific reason for doing it. [[ETA: I got the story about why this attribution is made, and it is untrue. It was spread by someone with a grudge.1]] If anyone were to accuse him of trolling in the modern sense, my answer would be that no, he's just that contrary and argumentative. PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) was created for educational software, had a touch screen, and the PLATO IV held decks of slides that could be back projected onto the plasma touch screens. They were used for anatomy training for nursing school, iirc, but games programmers put in codes to change slides rapidly to simulate gun fire and make the whole terminal shake. These could also have attached to them the Gooch Synthetic Woodwind, used for ear training for musicians.

Brad and Sherwin Gooch were friends, back in the day, and their group at FSU's Center for Music Research used to play games for the hyperintelligent. They would build robots out of classic Lego bricks that could be programmed by cards made out of Lego. The trick wasn't just to build a programmable robot from plastic clickbricks. No, the game was to look at the card, and predict what the robot would do. He could also sit down at a piano and tell my mother musical jokes, both of them laughing, and no one saying a word.

I can't even remember how we met, which pains me. It was a chain of using a friend'sPLATO account (as Saber Woman, I was into fencing), which got me to PLATO which got me to the CMR people which got me to Brad, and somehow I ended up in the D&D group he was running, which was probably the most subtly complex RPG I've had the pleasure of playing. He became my best friend, and I loved him.

He was irascible, opinionated, and smarter than you (and, really, he probably was). He interviewed at Apple, and spent the whole day telling them what was wrong with their interface. I would have married him, and we considered it, but he was pretty sure that if we did, there wouldn't be an unbroken dish in the house within six months. He was wickedly funny, and famous for his Christmas lasagna parties, where no one could serve themselves, but rather we each had politely offer to serve each other. He also perfectly timed both the cooking and the mix tape so that when dinner was served, it was announced by Weird Al Yankovik's parody of La Bamba.

My brief stint in software was actually authoring in TUTOR, the language used for PLATO, on a military-funded educational project for the Army. This was while I was still also working as a roadie, and was determined to be punk. Brad was the lead programmer and system designer for that project. I was the one that scared the Admirals that came to see the project. Brad once told me he was telling his mother about our friendship, and his mom asked, "What's she like?"

"She's... really hard to describe."

"Okay. What color is her hair?"

"I don't know. I haven't seen her this week."

I think I met her once. I really should write to her to tell her what he meant to me, how it nagged at me that the last time he called me I had missed it because I was pregnant with my second child and napping, and when I called back he didn't answer.

We still have the pine bookcases he built and gave to me when he moved to Atlanta. I have a copy of the game Cosmic Encounter that he gave to me, which we used to play for hours. (Brad told me after he met Joel--the day he helped me bring home those bookcases because, hey, Joel had a pickup truck--that he was the one. Like I said, Brad was opinionated, but usually right.) But it's the amount of mental furniture he gave me that I'm discovering as I remember him, as I grieve for him.

Games. We played games for so many hours, that circle of friends. D&D, Cosmic Encounter, Cosmic Wimp-out. I don't play games much any more. I don't seem to enjoy them like I did, and so much of my real life uses the same skill sets as the strategy games that they're just not as fun. Skills I honed playing with Brad.

I should get out the dice in his honor.

1. There was someone who was threatening other users on a PLATO newsgroup. Brad had the person banned. As USENET opened up, he started attributing trolling to Brad. Huh.

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Cosmic Encounter | 50 comments (50 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Was there ever a sad version of WOBTAX? by ReallyEvilCanine (2.00 / 0) #1 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 12:51:32 AM EST
That took me right back to the days of Ma Bell standard desk phones and 300 baud acoustic couplers. I don't remember my usernames from back then (or numbers, fuck you very much CompuSwindle) but I do remember the hours spent on-line and the bills for said time on PLATO, Demon, FoRuM, Source, CompuSwindle, Fido BBSes and others.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

Old, old school by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #8 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 11:35:51 AM EST
I had a 300 baud acoustic coupler modem, and spent hours in one of the dungeon games on PLATO, an early MUD. Damn, so much of what we think of as the Internet--email, instant messaging, groups--was stuff we did on PLATO years before. It was strange when I first looked Brad up on Google to find that one of the few mentions of him was to be listed as one of the first trolls. I found it very strange. Knowing him, it would have been targeted. But I guess it was part of being involved in that stuff so early on.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
VS2FP by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #2 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 03:03:13 AM EST
Also, Maiden have their own jet, so I imagine your ex is makin' bank right now.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Yeah, but by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 10:38:54 AM EST
They can't even afford a pilot.  The singer has to do it.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
:-> by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #10 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 11:43:34 AM EST
If you've seen the documentary Flight 666, you've seen my ex.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
They don't always use it, I think by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #9 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 11:38:19 AM EST
He's doing okay, I think. He also works for other people, including advance rigging for the last Britney tour, where everybody but everybody had to be clean, sober, and pass random drug tests. He's in that business at that level.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Random Rock 'n Roll Drug Tests? by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #16 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 01:15:12 PM EST
As a child of the Free Love 70s, this news gives me a sad.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
For insurance by iGrrrl (4.00 / 2) #17 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 01:26:21 PM EST
No one would insure the tour unless it was as guaranteed as possible that she wouldn't have access to alcohol or other substances.

And I'm not sure I'd call Britney rock and roll.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Britney by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #19 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 01:33:09 PM EST
I'm sure I wouldn't call Britney rock and roll. 




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #3 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 03:04:04 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by ammoniacal



i'm sorry for your loss by aphrael (4.00 / 2) #4 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 04:18:13 AM EST
and this is a great memorial.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
Thank you by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #11 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 11:44:07 AM EST
It's taking a while for it to sink in.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
I can't imagine. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #39 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 02:20:47 PM EST
I'm reminded of a story from my past.

My mother had an on-again, off-again relationship with a man who in effect was my father (eg, he wasn't my biological father, but he was the man most present in my life during my childhood, and a fair part of who I am derives from what I learned from him). Their relationship dissolved for the last time when I was 12.

When my mother died, fifteen years later, I figured out how to get in touch with him (something I could not do today): I thought he should know.

He was shaken; he wasn't quite sure how to deal with the news, and it troubled him.

From what i understand, you're in something of a similar position.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Cosmic Encounter by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 10:38:14 AM EST
In high school, I used to play that game constantly (between bouts of Squad Leader and, of course, D&D.)

I had a bit of a shock last week in a toy store: It is back in print.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

My kids are too young for it by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 11:45:43 AM EST
But I hope someday to get them to build alliances and try to take over the universe...

I always liked Cosmic Encounter better than Risk, by a long shot. It was much more complex. And I was more of a D-Day than a Squad Leader type.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Dune by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #14 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 12:02:12 PM EST
We also played a lot of the old Dune board game, which had a lot of similarities to Cosmic Encounter.  Also, there's currently an Online vesion of Cosmic Encounter.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
All three have been reprinted/updated by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #21 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 01:56:57 PM EST
cash cows with loyalty.

I haven't played CE since high school, and D&D close to that.


[ Parent ]
Try the newest CE... by atreides (2.00 / 0) #23 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 02:49:52 PM EST
It's 90% like Mayfair Cosmic. It used flares like the original Aon edition (it goes back into your hand when challenge is over), has more streamlined mechanics and new powers that move the game along and aren't overly complicated. My old group (the one that rarely finished a game in under 2 hours) and I got together and played 2 full games in an hour and a half with no rules arguments and only one short stop to figure out a timing issue.

It's great and you should play it. I bet the kids would like it, too.

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

[ Parent ]
I don't have a regular gaming group by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #24 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 02:52:31 PM EST
and only the oldest likes to play games, which makes it hard to have fun playing a 3+ player game.


[ Parent ]
Craigslist... by atreides (2.00 / 0) #25 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 03:04:53 PM EST
I bet if you put an ad trying to get together people for a Cosmic game, you'll get responses out the wazoo...

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

[ Parent ]
Could I get a free cook, handyman and chauffer by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #26 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 03:16:23 PM EST
on Craigslist?

There are lots of gamers in Rochester, but by the time I deal with work, shopping, dinner, swim practice, house maintenance and vehicle maintenance there isn't much time left in my day.

I'm sure that will change as our girls get older, but for now it's a time thing.


[ Parent ]
I know your pain... by atreides (4.00 / 1) #27 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 03:27:52 PM EST
I feel lucky to get out of the house every other week to get my game on and Bambino #2 isn't even here yet...

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

[ Parent ]
D&D by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #28 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 07:01:47 PM EST
I learned to play with the three pamphlets that came in the white box with a set of dice. I never really moved from that.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
I started there, eventually moved up to the by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #29 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 07:12:24 PM EST
hard bound AD&D ones, but wasn't fortunate enough to pick up the copyright violating Dieties and Demigods.


[ Parent ]
as everyone knows by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #31 Sun Sep 12, 2010 at 09:20:04 AM EST
fun comes from the players and the GM, not the rulebook.

[ Parent ]
+1 FP by jimgon (4.00 / 2) #7 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 11:02:05 AM EST
Wonderful memorial. 




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Thank you. by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #13 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 11:46:18 AM EST
It feels like not enough.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
That's the problem with a loss by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #20 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 01:36:14 PM EST
Nothing you can do will ever feel like enough.  When you can't receive feedback from the honoree it's impossible to feel that you do enough.  Nor can anyone ever truly do justice to a lifetime, but what you've done here is to share him with people who've never met him and he's become a small part of their lives.  As we all know the people who pass live on as long as someone can remember them.  You've ensured that in some small measure he lives on. 




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
If you want... by ana (2.00 / 0) #36 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 09:34:18 AM EST
you can move it to the front page by voting to do so, now that the people have spoken.

And I'm sorry for your loss. He sounds like an amazing person.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Thank you by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #37 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 09:38:36 AM EST
And, Thank you.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Brad sounds unforgettable by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #15 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 12:33:59 PM EST
and amazing.


He really was amazing by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #18 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 01:27:05 PM EST
I can't even begin to convey it. Thanks.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
+1 Cosmic Encounter, -1 no Cosmic content... by atreides (2.00 / 0) #22 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 02:44:18 PM EST
Everything I know about law I learned from Cosmic Encounter. That and he seems a decent fellow. You should totally arrange a Cosmic night with friends. I'd come but you might want to avoid rules arguments...

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

What's to tell? by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #38 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 09:46:02 AM EST
I think you summed it up above, with the description of the old version meaning that no game was shorter than 2 hours. I think for us that was part of the attraction.

I don't do too well with rules arguments, which may be why I never went beyond the original Gygax and Arneson D&D pamphlets.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
+1 fp <eom/> by johnny (2.00 / 0) #30 Sat Sep 11, 2010 at 11:07:30 PM EST


She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)
I miss him too. by muchagecko (4.00 / 1) #32 Sun Sep 12, 2010 at 03:36:05 PM EST
Although I didn't know him.

I don't play many games either. I think your assessment of why you don't is also why I don't. Thanks for sharing that.

Although I often find myself playing 'Park and Shop' in real life.


A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
Exactly
My Name is Earl

Thank you. by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #35 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 09:29:47 AM EST
I was going to rant about gender-coded girls games, but then I read the blog post and thought, "Yep."

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
gender coded games by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #41 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 06:29:43 PM EST
Hulk Smash by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #43 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 10:27:34 PM EST
Although if you look at it another way, girls can like Star Wars and princesses.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
I still call and complain by muchagecko (4.00 / 1) #44 Tue Sep 14, 2010 at 02:05:47 AM EST
to the managers at McDonalds that have employees that ask if my kid wants a girl toy or a boy toy.

Years ago, at some gift give-away for low-income kids, my daughter grabbed a dinosaur and was told by some boy that it wasn't a "girl toy". I then heard my daughter lay into the kid (she called him 'stupid'), telling him that toys were toys it didn't matter if you were a boy or a girl.

My daughter never played with her dolls, but my son did.


A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
Exactly
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]
To Brad by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #33 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 08:07:58 AM EST
Too young.

/drinks  /rolls

Iambic Web Certified

Thank you. by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #34 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 09:26:39 AM EST
He was a pretty amazing guy.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Trolling back then wasn't like now. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #40 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 05:59:42 PM EST
The meanings have nothing in common.

He sounds like a really great guy. 

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
Thanks. by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #42 Mon Sep 13, 2010 at 09:44:11 PM EST
Even though we'd been out of touch, it sounds like he was surrounded by friends who helped to take care of him and his estate. That made me feel better in some ways to know that other people appreciated him.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
i'm sorry. by 256 (2.00 / 0) #45 Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 02:08:59 AM EST
and is it the edition of starman jones with the four-armed spider monkey on the cover? i fucking love that book when i was twelve.

but i hope you're not considering podkayne of mars a juvenile. that one fucked me up.
---
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni

I'll have to look by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #46 Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:38:54 AM EST
I think it just has Square Jawed Hero on the cover, with the girl and the monkey in the background.

Podkayne does not have a happy ending, which is True to the story. We talked about it.

And thank you.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Very touching homage by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #47 Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 01:09:47 PM EST

May the memories bring some joy.

Thanks. by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #48 Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 09:00:16 PM EST
I'm still heartsore. It's the only word I know.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Bradley K Weage by SJGooch (4.00 / 1) #49 Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 02:08:17 PM EST
I miss Brad.  Although I hadn't had to contact him for some years, he was my "goto guy" for all things musical.  That is a difficult spot to fill.  He will be missed for a long time.

Bradley was the most honorable person I have met in this life.

                         Sherwin Gooch




I miss him, too. by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #50 Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 07:02:06 PM EST
I keep getting reminded of all the parts of my mental furniture that came from Brad. We finally put up the bookshelves in the new house--the bookshelves he gave me, and on them, books from him. Still it doesn't even begin to match how much a part of who I am that came from him.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
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