I happened to be in downtown Knoxville yesterday with some time to spare, so I swung by Organized Play to see if there was anything I could waste some money one (coincidentally, there was, but such things are not hard to find in that store).
Morgan, the owner, greeted me as I came in with a "So what’s new in the world of firearms this week?", to which I responded, "Oh, not much, what’s new in the world of games this week?", which also received a, "Not much," though he did end up showing me a rather interesting massively-multiplayer online first-person shooter game re-enacting World War Two on a one-half scale map of Europe* that I might have to look into if I have any spare time after mowing, Tribes-ing, and maybe developing a new product (oooh) this weekend.
Anywise, another of his customers was on the way out of the store during this conversation, but turned around and asked, "Oh, you’re into firearms?" and before I could pipe up, Morgan said, "Oh, yeah, he runs a really popular gun blog online at wallsofthecity.net; you should look into it."
The conversation rapidly went down some various twists and turns**, but I think that marks the first time outside of the gunblogger/owner community that someone not only connected me to my site, but also directed others to it and said positive things about it at the same time. Granted, the first part is entirely on me – I do not exactly run around advertising that I am the writer here (that is kind of like being a poet who reads his verse in public) – but the latter parts were all kinds of shiny.
Yes, my ego could use a little stroking, but if you are looking for a Knoxville-local comic and/or gaming shop that actually pays attention to its customers, we have been tremendously pleased with Organized Play; as an apparently new walk-in customer once said when he thought no one could overhear him, it is kind of like The Comic Center out of The Big Bang Theory, only with more games and awesomeness.
(* – Apparently the game also includes as-realistic-as-you-are-likely-to-find-in-a-video-game ballistics for all of the historically-accurate firearms and other weapons (which is why Morgan thought I might be interested in it), up to and including calculating the angle of descent of an incoming round against the angle of a tank’s glacis plate to determine likelihood or depth of penetration, and then not only modeling the spalling of the round, but having that shrapnel do its own damage in turn. Kind of impressive.
** – I am typically a little wary of those questions, but in this particular case, the customer was asking whether or not it would be possible for him to take a double-barreled shotgun, remove the shot and powder from its shells, and replace them with some kind of lower powder charge and a small wooden stake for vampire-slaying (he is, apparently, a LARPer, and wanted to know if this was physically possible so he could simulate it for his character in the game). The consensus in the shop, myself included, was that a charge sufficient to penetrate a vampire’s chest would probably also demolish the stake in question, which lead us down the path of considering whether or not you could drill out a kind of "cup" in shotgun slugs and then seat some kind of small stake-ish thing into that. Unfortunately, these were "old school" vampires, so the Monster Hunter International -patented silver-ball-in-the-tip-of-a-standard-hollowpoint would not have made a significant difference to the creature in question. The entire debate was rather concluded with the realization that the DM (or whatever the LARP equivalent of a DM is) probably would not allow this to happen regardless.)