State of the 'Toon'ion

For those of you grumbling about Americanisms, don't worry, I'm an equal opportunity punster. I just wanted to avoid any aggrandizing reference to 'queen's'  (or, for that matter, 'broads casting') and I haven't the gravitas to pull off a Mandela, a Ghandi or a Meir reference. 

As we approach the Drawing Down in the world we members of ALFA inhabit, it seems a good time to take stock. A glance at our demographics widget tells me that we had nearly 1200 unique visitors between November 15 to December 15. About 180 of those are regular community members while the other 1000 cared enough to stop by and check us out from some referring site or another. We are overwhelmingly populated by Yanks, with about half as many subjects of the Queen, a quarter as many Euros (I'll try to work in a PG13 Berlusconi reference next post for whomever our recurring Italian visitor is), and a dedicated handful of Israelis.  Oooooh, demographics. Sexy, eh? Maybe not. But they show depth of time and breadth of geography. Time and geography are the X and Y coordinates of ALFA, while Z is provided by you and me, the players of ALFA, the DM staff of ALFA and the PCs of ALFA.  Z is our community spirit...our zeitgeist.  Z, of course, has traditionally been the most difficult axis to quantify.

So what is our zeitgeist? The other night in chat, I was lurking while tooling, and I heard one of our members remark that RL makes ALFA more exciting. So many of us play ALFA as a break from grown-up responsibilities of job/family/world news. The discussion then turned to those jobs/families/world news and ended a brief time later with the observation that when this person had started ALFA he had been single and living at home. Now he was married and a home owner. Ponderous changes. In my nearly decade in ALFA, I have seen so many people come and go and then often come back again. I've congratulated graduating students, singles getting married, and the births of many children. And that's just the players. I've also lived along with the virtual lives of so many alter-egos-- ingame and in the fiction and IC forums. I've logged countless hours in chat, where the ingame and out of character worlds meet in a comfortable blend of old friends joshing each other on a shared passion, required information passed on to frame our fictional world and greeting and welcoming new prospects.

That's our Z.

To paraphrase somebody else who said it better:  "Above all, this country is our own. Nobody has to get up in the morning and worry what his neighbors think of him. Being a {D&D nerd} is no problem here." -- (Golda Meir, 5/11/78, International Herald Tribune)