I’m James, the sole writer here at Generally Semantics. This is a blog primarily about two quite different things: music on analogue recording formats, which I love to collect and listen to, and table-top gaming, which is a favourite hobby of mine.

On the music end of things, I have a modest but growing collection of tapes (compact cassette and 8-track, no reel-to-reel yet) and records (33s, 45s, and 78s). I write about these objects because music is the art form I am most drawn to, both as a creator and as an appreciator. I like having a place to record my thoughts so I can better remember what I have and what I like, and I hate the thought of these things being forgotten. The Ontario Bible College choral concert of 1969 is not the most important recording ever made, but I think it, and many others, are worth remembering and reflecting on.

My motivations mean that I will review any 8-track or 78 that comes into my possession, these are completely dead formats and are fundamentally fascinating to me as a result. For compact cassettes, 45s and LPs I try and stick to less common recordings, things that are bizarre, or stuff that makes me curious. I may love their music, but do not expect to see The Rolling Stones make too many appearances. Naturally, I also have a fair sized compact disc and straight digital collection, but I do not expect to dig into that often.

This blog is also about table-top gaming. I’ve been into tabletop gaming my whole live, and came to pen and paper role-playing in university. Early on, my group mainly played BESM d20. It was in this system I ran my first game, I remember very little about it except that some Australian Nazis (this was 2007/2008, so the joke was still in poor taste, but not as bad as it would be now) had hijacked the whole of Tokyo and brought it to the moon. This was also before I started watching Dr. Who, so while I did not steal from the episode Smith & Jones, it started a trend of my adventures accidentally aping popular culture. This adventure petered out with Stephen Harper robots (plural) and a robot shark sending everyone to hell. It was something else and got a little bit out of hand.

After BESM, our group started playing Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition, right as it was coming out. We had a fun little campaign loosely based on a world generation log from Dwarf Fortress. Like always seems to happen, that, too, fell apart too soon. Much later, in 2015, after several attempts, a new group was formed. Whenever I listen to The Adventure Zone (especially their Balance arc) I get really excited about game mastering, so we tried out The Lost Mine of Phandelver. We got a few sessions in and my own desire for world building overloaded what I felt the system could do. 

These days I run Savage Worlds with no intention of going to another system. It gives me the flexibility to plan on the fly so that sessions are more responsive and fun. Thing still go off the rails in extreme ways, but the system allows for it and complements my style well.

When I write about table-top, I want to share both adventure logs and the materials I make to run my games. I like a certain level of attention to detail in my games, so I make a lot of random tables with names or weapons that are period appropriate, and that is work others can benefit from. The logs are of posted for my groups, so we can better keep track of whats going on in our worlds.