Y'know, I've got a big streak of lizard in me - give me a big hot rock to splay out upon and I'm happy. But I'm getting too much of a good thing. It's another hot day in Concord and the shock of getting off the air-conditioned BART train, boarded in temperate San Francisco, is enough to induce heart-failure. It's surprisingly humid, too, which messes with my arthritis and makes walking such fun.
And I'm not even going to mention what merry hell my period has been this month.
Today's pisser: Dave did not get the job at Berkeley Topline. It seems that their sales figures have been down, so they can't afford to hire him. Seems the boss-man wants to hire Dave, but can't. It's a pisser, certes, but the trick is to keep going. Dave's got an interview over at BofA on Thursday - maybe that'll go better. Lisa has said that her place is hiring again. The pay is terrible and there's a business-casual
dress code, but it's better than nothing...sigh
Meanwhile, Alex was offered an interview for a place down in Sunnyvale. It sounded pretty good until he started asking a few questions. Practical upshot: the job was doing customer-support for an ISP down in Sunnyvale. As Brian will attest, doing c/s support sucks and once you've done it, it's damned hard to get hired to do anything else. So it's 'thanks, but no thanks' to those guys.
Work continues to be...work. It's picking up a bit - more frenzied hiring, etc, but it's impossible to feel too enthusiastic about it. Tomorrow I'll be waving pompoms at a job-fair all day - although I got enough last-minute tasks dropping on my desk at 5:30 today that I'll have to go in bright-n-early to take care of them first. Bah.
I swear I'll cheer up one of these days, it just won't be real soon. Between gnawing my fingers over Alex and Dave's job hunt and being generally cranky at my own job, my baseline stress-level is just a lot higher than I would like it to be.
It would be nice if I could have some energy left when I get home in the evening. I've got a messy house and a roomful of boxes that need to be sorted and/or tossed, a pile of laundry that's threatening to appeal to the UN for admission and pantry that would make a bachelor college student wince. I've not done any original writing in weeks - more than two months, I think - and I'm sorely lacking on ideas. I do not like this current incarnation of my life, can I get a refund?
Yeah, yeah, piss moan whine, get over it woman. I'm sure the crankies will pass - the attacks just seem to last longer each time, that's all.
Got the downtime for Aragon done on Monday night, yay. Now we've just got to get results and XP mailed out, which shouldn't be too tough.
Did a metric pissload of work on VampireLARP.com - mostly making cutesy little banners/buttons for other sites to use to link to my site. They're nothing special, but I wanted to keep 'em small and easy to match with a person's site. I've dumped the URL into a bunch of search engines and I suppose I'll see if that pays off, sooner or later.
One of these days, I'll take care of paying off the free-host I'm using and move the site to Brian's machine - he's offered to host the place - which would shift that ugly banner off the bottom of the page. Of course, the sneaky way to go to the site is to go here - no fancy URL, but no bloody banner, either. ;)
Another exhausting day. I spent most of it working at the WorkWorld job fair over at the Bill Graham auditorium downtown. Whilst I'm not the most tech-savvy person at the office, I'm a hell of a pom-pom waver, so I had a pretty good time. I'm not sure what the odds are of my having a voice tomorrow, mind you, but it was worth it. Probably.
Just finished reading The West End Horror, a Sherlock Holmes mystery by someone other than Conan Doyle. I forget the author's name, but it's the same fella who wrote The Seven Percent Solution. He's got the style down pat, but I'm not too keen on the author's fondness for tying Holmes in with historical figures of the day. The Seven Percent Solution put Holmes through psychotherapy courtesy of Dr. Freud, while The West End Horror had him rubbing elbows with the likes of Bernard Shaw, Arthur Sullivan and Oscar Wilde. Hm. It's fun, certainly - especially if you sincerely dig the Holmes mythos - but I don't think I'll be going out of my way to dig up other titles by the same author.
Not a lot going on at the moment. Alex is gearing up for his newest Star Wars game, which means I have to get off my duff and finish my new character - y'know, give her a name, a history, that sort of thing. It's hard to think about characters when it's so blinking hot. It doesn't help that I really liked playing Yahnna and have to give her up, either. Ah well... I'll get over it, I just wish inspiration was a little more hasty.
I'm back to contemplating my Cthulhu Gaslight idea - perhaps as a 12-hour game at an upcoming convention. It could be good fun, but I must admit that I'm getting to the point where I like to be really picky about my players, and I would want to be assured of some history buffs for a game like CG. I'm a squealing history-wonk myself, so I'm sure to go overboard with the plotting - and I would want my players to appreciate that, dammit. :)
Another foolish game idea that insists upon persisting is a live version of Awful Green Things From Outer Space. I know I can do it - much like the live action Alien that was featured at GamesCaucus several years ago. I just have to get a space big enough to lay out a playing board on the ground and a lot of players - and green fabric!
Dave's interview at BofA went well, apparently. He'll be hearing more on Monday. It's a collection/skiptrace thing - he's done it before - for reasonable money...
Ah, I've just been told that an engineer has won the MM pool tournament, which means that I won't have to put up with a bunch of pouty un-manned co-workers tomorrow...
Seeing Lisa on
Thursday was nice - but we discovered that The Caribbean Zone has shut down!
Now where can I go for ridiculous tropical drinks and a bar made from the
fuselage of an old commercial jet liner that overlooks the restaraunt? Damn.
It was a great place to take out-of-towners to, too, as it was in a location
that looks remarkably seedy, so everyone gets a vicarious thrill like
Since we were short of a place to drink, Lisa let me to a reasonably ersatz Irish bar over on Howard. We hoisted a couple of pints and talked about nothing in particular - men, families, what we've been up to. Since most of the LARPs hereabouts have shut down - and somehow it always seems like it's her husband's turn to go to a convention - I've not seen much of Lisa lately, and she admitted that she's been getting a bit lonely. She'll be joining Aragon soon enough, and Jennifer and I have been hatching up a few ways to see more of the Muellers, so with luck we can do something to remedy Lisa's isolation.
After that, I skipped the vivid party. Despite the fact that I knew it was going to be a good time - and apparently it was - it's a real pain in the ass to have a great time at a party and then go home on public transit at the middle of the night. The fact that it was about a mile and a half from the party venue to the BART station didn't help, either. I decided that, when all was said and done, I could skip the pleasure of going home drunk to a sickly husband (he's still throwing off that cold) and the further pleasure of going to work hungover and sleep deprived. I know, I know, it's hardly like me to pass up the opportunity for a booze-up but this time it just wasn't worth it...
Posted my resume
on Craig's List again and got the usual flurry of e-mails from recruiters.
Only one position mentioned this time 'round seems appealing, although I
have a sinking suspicion it won't pan out, money-wise. Some decor place has
called me, needing an administrator. I'm going to talk to them on Monday or
Tuesday and see what they have to say.
Fortunately, SuperDave is actually planning to rejoin the staff, next week, so once he's done being blindsided by everyone, I'm going to wedge a bit of time into his schedule so we can talk about what - if anything - he needs from me and how it pertains to my increasingly gloomy future at MM.
Alex, bless him, sent out everyone's downtime reports for Aragon. A couple of players are feeling a bit frustrated but that's to be expected. It seems that the STs big rant on "Communicate! Both in and out of character!" isn't quite sinking in with a couple of PCs who happen to be sitting on some massive bits of information. However, I think that a lot of things are going to come together at the next game and, boy oh boy, do we have a couple of nifty one-shot things set up...
It's too bad that a couple of players are feeling like we're thwarting them at every turn but I think it's part of the process of unlearning bad habits. We've all gotten too used to GMs who hand out the plot on a silver platter and reward even the most tangential-to-the-plot-action with plot-advancement because, y'know, the player made an effort. Well, we're not doing that in this game, and I think it's coming as a shock to the playership. Ah well, as I say, I think things will start coming together nicely in the next few weeks...
On another note
entirely, Alex launched his new Star Wars chronicle last night. Of course, a
fine time was had by all - James, Jennifer, Bob, Dave and myself. James and
Dave are both ex-Imperial Navy, Bob is some sort of engineering
genius/wunderkind, Jennifer is a former Imperial Courier (think Johnny
Mnemonic) and I'm a bimbo.
No, really! My character, Dora, is startlingly pretty, very charismatic, and not at all bright - unless the matter to hand involves flying a ship. She's sort of an idiot-savant, really, but not quite so extreme. She's an okay-pilot - not as good as Dave-I'm-a-former-TIE-fighter-pilot, of course - and when her skills fail, she falls back on looking cute and stupid.
I just got bored of playing smart, cynical characters who try to boss everyone around. I never intended for Yahnna to have much of a leadership role, but she turned into quite the bossyboots. Dora, on the otherhand, is very much a follower, very reactive. If she doesn't understand - or doesn't care - about the situation, she'll just nod and agree with whoever seems to know what they're talking about...
I figure this will last about two games before I finally freak out and Dora has a sudden increase in IQ, but it'll be fun in the meantime....
The game itself was a hoot, with all of us incarcerated on an Imperial Mining Facility, digging out radioactive ore with a variety of inadequate tools. By sheer happenstance - yeah, right - an Old Republic ship was found in a cavern that had been closed-off by a rockfall, and the party promptly got the hell out of Dodge, kiling a few score Stormtroopers along the way, of course. Now we've just got to figure out what we're going to do from here...
Unfortunately, there has been a bit of friction between a couple of the players in the group - because of previous, external, incidents - and, near the beginning of the evening, it looked like they were still rubbing each other the wrong way. But as time passed, it seemed to settle down a bit. Alex was quite relieved by that, as he really doesn't want to toss those players out of the group - but it's the only way he can think of to deal with the situation. Ultimately, it's all meaningless of course - a case of strong egos catching each other at the wrong time in the wrong way - but it can really mess up what would otherwise be a nice little game...
So, yesterday was
a brain-drain kind of day. Alex insisted that he intended to take care of
the chores I had in mind to do, which I didn't protest too hard, and I had
read every single book I own way too many times, so that left the one-eyed
However, Saturday television is so execrable that even I can't stand it, so I turned to the movie stack. My eye happened to fall upon a used copy of King of New York that I had bought some months ago, but never watched. I remember the movie had been recommended to me as an amusing example of late 80's gangster chic and, while not a terribly good film, it was extremely stylish. I think I was looking for game-fodder or something when it was recommended to me, but I just can't remember, now. So I popped it in, and had a good chortle.
Conclusion: Very silly, but very stylish. Indeed, if you are a GM looking for NPCs to swipe, it's definitely worth watching. If you're a fan of Christopher Walken, it's marginal, because - even though he's playing the lead character - he's rather overpowered by other, more over-the-top, characters. If you like Lawrence Fishburne, it's hilarious, because, heck, this guy played Othello - and did it while - whereas in this film, he's such a gangsta-stereotype, you're surprised to see something like it outside of a CBS after-school special. But the photography is good, the plot has a couple of amusing turns, and the ending is certainly something that wouldn't be filmed, now - and given that this film is only 10/12 years old, that's rather surprising...
To counteract that, the boys caught Deep Blue Sea on cable. Now, the premise was stupid, but no more stupid than any other horror movie. The acting was fairly horrid, but that's okay because - like so many movies - the actors weren't the stars of the film, the special effects were. What pissed me off was that the much-vaunted special effects were awful. I mean, just terrible. Maybe they impressed anyone who has never seen a nature documentary and doesn't know what a shark really looks like. Maybe, like a lot of movies, the effects just didn't transfer well to a small video screen but, oy, they were awful. The sharks just didn't look right, they didn't swim correctly and they just looked too darn clean - which is a recurrent problem with digital effects, I've noticed. No wonder the model-makers aren't fearing for their careers, yet.
So, of course, I was rooting for the shark in this one. I assume the humans won, but I don't know for sure, because I had to flee the room before the finale, I just couldn't take it any more... I can tolerate only so much in the way of bad TV.
As it turned out, flight was for the best, because the boys then found Bowfinger, immediately after Deep Blue Sea. Now, I know Steve Martin wrote it, and he's a good screenwriter. I know Eddie Murphy is supposed to be some kind of comic genius (although that fails to explain the catastrophic-awfulness that seems to be The Klumps) and, judging by the howls of laughter coming from the living room, Bowfinger might actually be pretty funny - but it left me entirely cold... But the boys, they loved it. They were quoting it at each other for the rest of the bloody night, which leads to:
So, Jennifer came up to town to talk to James and figure out their next round of Downtime action for Aragon, following Zacharie's (James' character) successful research trip to Mount Diablo. I suggested that we get together for dinner, afterwards, which was hailed as a good idea, so we got together at the local Denny's - where the beautiful people eat.
Alex casually mentions that he's all set to run the next SW game, what a shame we have to wait until next Friday. Hey, we say, we're all here now, why not run it tonight? Alex skillfully counters with "Well, Bob isn't here, and it wouldn't be fair to run it without him. I'll call him when we get home and if he's free, I'll run Star Wars.". Jennifer promptly pulls out her celphone and suggests Alex call Bob now.
Practical upshot: an hour later, the entire gang was over at Miskatonic Acres, back on the Lambient IV - our salvaged spacecraft - and wondering what the hell we do now that we've broken out of prison...
It was a fun game - a good bit of character development all 'round, I think. Alicia, Jenn's character, had to kill someone and she didn't take it well, as murder is not something she's had to do before. Laertes, James' character, got all moral and broody in a variety of circumstances - mental note: Jedi are not party animals, or this one isn't. Dave's character, Rand, evolved into something between the straight-man in a screwball comedy and Daffy Duck. And my character, Dora, continued to act reasonably intelligent until all the wrong moments. It was Dora's fault that Alicia had to kill someone - but how was Dora to realize that some eejit was going to try to mug her for the cargo she was trying to sell? After all, she's just not that bright...
Alex had a grand time introducing some of his NPCs, including a surprisingly bossy protocol droid named 'Nanny'. Do not piss this droid off, she will make your life hell. I think the plot got advanced by our prancing around town and befriending a local minor noble with Rebellion connections - I think. Whatever, we had a really good time. I think that the two players that I was a little nervous about - see yesterday - have settled down a bit, so maybe I don't have to worry about them any more...
Got some more work done on VampireLARP.com, too - added a dozen new games, including a couple in German. I've found so many German sites that I may have to enlist my co-workers' help (I have two co-workers who are German) in checking the pages to ensure they're referring to games that are actually current. I've also found a couple of sites in languages I can't even begin to puzzle out - Finnish, Swedeish, Dutch - so I've added them to the directory and I'm hoping for the best...
I had planned a
nice quiet evening after a dull day at work. No such luck. It seems Alex has
decided to make a hobby out of having kidney stones, as we went straight
from the BART station to the emergency room last night.
I can't fault the quality or speed of care but, when one's beloved is thrashing about in pain, having to wait half an hour for a doctor to manifest and give medication can be a bit trying. However, once the meds were administered, things were a lot easier on all concerned. Alex was no longer feeling anything and was vastly amused by the light trails coming off me, and I had a decent book to read for when eavesdropping on doctors' conversations became boring.
Once again, Alex was subjected to one of the niftiest bits of medical equipment I've ever seen - the CRT. It's a 360º x-ray for the body, with startlingly good resolution. I can now say that I know my husband inside and out - and boy, those extra pounds look even worse when seen from the inside out... Getting to see Alex's torso in thorough cross-section was alternately creepy and very, very cool. The technician seemed quite amused by my vociferous reaction and nigh-pushy curiosity (" What's that? What's this? How'd you do...?") but I'm sure it was preferred to squealing hysterics. Frankly, I was just relieved that it was only another kidney stone.
Naturally, watching one's beloved in a lot of pain and being unable to do anything about it sucked. Alex tried making a few cracks about how he'll have some idea what I'll be going through when I finally go through labor - whenever that might be - were well-meant, but fell rather flat. Given that this was a relatively minor thing, I'm not too sure of my ability to hold it together if something major should happen. Still, I suppose I can't really brood on it, much - it wouldn't be any good for my already burgeoning stress-level. But the notion of something awful happening to Alex still tends to keep me awake at night.... sigh
We were at the ER for nearly five hours, near the tail end of which, Concord's finest were bringing in some of Concord's worst - the gangs were acting up, it seems. I happened to see the x-rays of a chap who's spine had been adjusted with a crowbar - ouch! Alex displayed a stunning bit of efficiency by providing the offending kidneystone before leaving the hospital, so it's off for testing to see if a cause can be determined. Two stones in ten weeks - especially given that Alex has been drinking lots of water and taking better care of himself in the meantime - is just too many. With luck, the hospital's urologist can give him some specific foods or beverages to avoid - I just hope they don't tell Alex to quit cola!
So now I'm pooped and I'm going to bed. Fortunately, Alex doesn't need much comforting, as he's so whacked up on morphine and percoset that we had to call James to give us a ride home...
Oy, I'm tired.
Today was the you-will-have-fun picnic for MM and, to everyone's
surprise, we had a good time. Various silliness was enacted: water-balloon
tossing, pie-eating contests, kickball, etc. There was some irregularity
about the pie-eating contest, apparently, but I was too busy trying to get
pictures of egrets and other wildlifes that were stalking out by the lake
adjacent to the picnic ground. All I know is that there was pie all over the
dam' place when I got back...
For me, the most fun was listening to three of my co-workers jamming away on viola, mandolin, squeezebox and what-have-you for the best part of an hour. I've heard 'em before - Jay rounded 'em all up to play at MM and vivid a time or two - but I haven't gotten tired of them, yet. Call me a sucker for live music... And, nicer yet, Jay gave me a copy of their most recent (only?) CD - all lively stuff....
Of course Mr. Prickles came along! Later today I'll upload an adorable picture of him wearing his hedgehog-sized sunglasses...
So now I'm tired and just a tiny bit sunburned - and not looking forward to the office move tomorrow. Guess who'll have to pack up all the bookshelves...?
Alex is doing much
better. Various icky things have been captured and sent off to a urologist
for examination. Alex has an appointment with said urologist at the end of
the month and, with luck, he won't be told to give up caffeine.
In further Alex news, he has an interview - hopefully - with a chap on Friday which - crossed fingers - could lead to a job offer early next week. It would be doing desktop support in SF, right up Alex's alley. The money ain't the greatest, but it promises some fairly swift training and promotion opportunities.
No, Dave hasn't heard from BofA yet. Sigh.
Meanwhile, I've got an interview on Friday afternoon with a fairly unassuming little music-catalogue management place in Berkeley. I doubt anything will come of it - as their top-end salary is my bottom-end, but I don't think it'll hurt to check the place out.
Getting darn tired, time to go...
Mental note: have
the massage after packing moving boxes at the office, not before.
Hell, my neck has been so messed up lately, it probably didn't make much
difference, anyway. Erin, the massage therapist, worked me over so
thoroughly I think I'm a little bruised, and then told me that I really
should get about an hour spent on my neck and shoulders, if I wanted to feel
really good. I actually felt more like a well-pounded piece of veal,
but I've got to admit that my neck hasn't been hurting for the past 24
Alas, massage is expen$ive, so it's not like I could afford to get pummeled for an hour every week. That would cost between $60 and $90, ow! But Erin mentioned that she's willing to work on barter, and she needs to learn how to use Quicken and Outlook Express. Hmm.... Maybe she needs a nice little web-page built...
This weekend is the Scottish Faire over in Pittsburg. I gave Brook a call, figuring he was going to be there and it would be a nice thing for Alex and I to do - providing I can find my fershluggin' garb, which has gone walkabout. Annoyingly enough, Brook hasn't called back. I figure he must be out of town, as the Scots Faire is usually a big deal for him. So, as it is, I doubt we'll go. It would have been a nice thing to do with a buddy, but if it's just me and Alex, well, we can wait until Northern.
Thinking of Northern Faire - I will not dwell on my lost garb, grrr - Bruno (the band mentioned in the previous entry) will be playing at the final four weekends of Northern. Apparently they're supporting some Morris troupe. There was a bit of eyeball rolling going on when Kevin and Jay mentioned it to me, but I know they've supported Morris troupes before, so it was probably just some joke that I wasn't getting (story of my life). So, I have another incentive to go to the Faire this year - like I really needed more...
VampireLARP.com continues to do nicely. I've got about fifty sites waiting to be confirmed (form letters make mass-mailings so much easier). I figure I'll be doing a big update tomorrow - as I have a dozen new URLs confirmed that are waiting to be added.
I've finally discovered why the Camarilla directory was giving me so many 404s. It seems that their webmaster forgot to include the necessary 'http://' for half of their hyperlinks, so my poor browser was trying to find internal-site links that didn't exist! Sigh. I've dropped the site-meisters a note about their bad HTML - I just hope they don't think I'm being snotty.
Fact is, I've been reluctantly impressed by the loyalty of most of these Camarilla members - they're generally very conscientious in telling me that their game is a Camarilla Chapter or Domain, and would I be so kind as to remember to mention that in the directory? Now that I'm actually able to find these dam' sites, most of them are quite up-to-date - although some of them stink in terms of design - and the STs have generally been very prompt about responding to my inquiry e-mails, which is a change from the flaky-gamer stereotype. Such a shame I can't stand their parent organization. It's run by half the guys that founded Starfleet - and it shows in their love of bureaucracy and nickel-and-diming the members out of a startling amount of money....
Alex's SW game got
off to an ugly start last night. Between my misunderstanding a comment made
by Dave (I couldn't tell he was joking) and him generally being in a pissy
mood, Dave walked out of the game. He gave some BS excuse about the
character 'not working out' the way he planned it, but I don't buy that. Star
Wars is a complete fluffhead game, it's not like we have to go at it
like a method-acting exercise. I can understand that Dave's in a pissy mood
- the job hunt is jerking him around again - but as for him getting bent at
my misunderstanding a comment he made, well...shrug. He coulda bopped
me on the head and told me I was being an idiot. I thought most of my
friends had figured out that I can be Miss. Oblivious, at times...
Anyways, after that rough start, the rest of us settled down and got into things. I had my own lousy mood to shuck (hey, I had to pack a lot of boxes) but I finally threw it off in time for the bar-brawl over by the spaceport. Yep, typical SW game... I think Alex was having far too much fun doing Wookie-speak (and presenting a character who was essentially Steve Busciemi in space) but, hell, a happy GM is a GM who doesn't unleash Sith Lords on the PCs...
Saturday was very
low-activity because, even though I didn't have a drop to drink on Friday, I
felt rather hung-over all day Saturday. It was rather vexing, really, to be
wandering about with a bad stomach, headache and general ickiness and having
done nothing to deserve it - aside from staying up a bit late on Friday
Since I hadn't heard from Brook and couldn't find my garb - the current theory is that it's in the storage unit - we didn't go to the Scottish Faire yesterday, and I doubt we're going to go today. The Casting The Runes game kept me up pretty late last night - more on that in a moment - so I think today will be much like yesterday - with a little more house-cleaning thrown in.
Well, the boys are yelling at me to get away from the machine and go get some breakfast with them...
Last night was Casting The Runes, Rich's current Vampire LARP. Given that I had missed the second game, I was pretty much in free-fall and really only going to the game out of a sense of obligation to a good ST who I know puts a lot of work into his game. I anticipated having a so-so time for a few hours, going home and then tactfully withdrawing from the chronicle.
Fortunately, I was quite wrong about my anticipated enjoyment of the game. First of all, my character (Sarah Devereaux) somehow ended up as Harpy. I think I had vaguely mentioned that Sarah would be interested in the position if the Toreador didn't beat me to it - and I expected them to do so. But the game is severely lacking in Toreador at the moment, so Sarah ended up with the position, much to her Sire's delight. I'm sure the fact that I can be exceedingly bitchy had nothing to do with it...
But even with that little plum dropped in my lap, I was initially wondering how I was going to keep busy. After all, many of the players due to join the game dropped out at the last minute - severely screwing up several of Rich's plotlines - and when a chronicle is still in its infancy, the job of Harpy is real uphill work. Plus, the game is still small enough that the assorted factions can keep in touch with each other, gossip and speculate without any external help. But, to heck with it, I thought, squared my shoulders and waded into it.
For a short game - about four hours, all told, I had a good time and, to my surprise, got something done. It wasn't very harpy-ish, but the groundwork is being laid down. Sarah is mobilizing the ancilla against the Sabbat that exist outside our city and doing some very fast talking to the elders - who might be a bit alarmed by what is honestly a well-intentioned idea - and to the neonates, to convince them that this really is a chance for glory and status - not a quick, painful death. All in all, I think it went quite well.
Of course, things were spiced up by various accusations of being Sabbat. Apparently, hanging out with someone who has a bad attitude (Kit Marlowe is still stirring 'em up) now renders one suspect of being Sabbat. Usually, one would tell PCs with such faulty reasoning to go buy a clue, but when the suspicious parties outrank one by an order of magnitude, well... some quick talking and deferential explanations were required. It would be bloody ironic if Sarah and/or Kit were Sabbat but, the Imps of Irony are not on our side in this game.
Dave - who is playing Kit Marlowe - seems to keeping himself amused by causing trouble and pushing buttons. It seems to me that he doesn't care if the character lives or dies - I thinks he's feeling so-so about the game - so that gives him the license of a dying man. He spent most of the game pushing PCs buttons, which was entertaining to watch, while trying to figure out how to turn it to one's own advantage. Heh heh heh.
The big surprise was that he didn't get himself killed by an Elder... Sarah has plans for Kit, so I was doing my best to explain why a 'court jester' type is needed in the absence of a Malkavian doing the job (the elder Malkavian in the game has much better things to do). I think my eloquence failed me there, but at least I've pointed out to the peeved elders that you don't kill an ancilla just for being irritating...
The only downer was that I had to lie to a player, out-of-character. It's annoying because I have learned that not only does this player have a problem keeping things to himself, but sometimes he blurs the line between IC and OOC knowledge. I've got a couple of things going on with my character - that will involve this other guy's character - that I don't need him knowing about just yet. He asked me about the matter 'off the table' and, after quickly weighing my options, I had to lie like a rug. Unfortunately, the risk of him blowing the matter, either by blurring the IC/OOC lines, or by telling other players about it, OOC (he's blurted secrets before) was just too high to be ignored. I've had too many good games ruined by similar mistakes in the past, so I'll just have to tell a few little white lies until my ducks are all in a row... But that doesn't make me feel too happy about it. It's a sorry state of affairs when this situation keeps cropping up.
Honestly, not much
to report today.
I met with Rick Marshall, the proprietor of the 'could be interesting, could be a shortcut to the breadline' job opportunity, over lunch. We had a nice chat about his needs and seemed to click pretty well on a personal level - although his gaze has a disconcerting effect of being focused on the middle distance, rather than on the person he's speaking to. It rather makes one wonder if he's entirely paying attention but, heck, we were both in a bit of a rush.
As I say, the chat went well and we're going to continue it after he returns from his vacation - he's off to Europe for two weeks with his wife - and then I'll probably be meeting his partner. I won't be surprised if his partner is far more focused than Rick is... Still, it gives me time to think and talk to SuperDave about my situation at Modem Media. The opportunity that Rick is offering is intriguing and, if I'm not mistaken, possibly obscenely well-paid - always an incentive. So...I'm keeping my options open.
Tonight, Trish and Kat came over to do a little catch-up on their Aragon downtime - more Trish than Kat. We got some things done, planted a last-minute-inspiration plot-line with Trish and then parted ways. We'll see what - if anything - she does with the plotline. Trish wants to be involved, I understand that now, but her crowded schedule gets in the way of it, all too often.
It looks like a lot of players are suffering real-world tribulations right now, so I think we're going to be pushing the game's start-time back by an hour, this Saturday, to allow for the fact that most of the players have told us they're going to be late. A later start-time will give us (Alex, Dave, me) more time to get to the hotel and to get ready once we're there. We have a room this time - a sleeping room, I mean - so we'll have a convenient place to dump our stuff and we won't have to worry about driving home while out of our minds on sleep deprivation.
After Trish and Kat headed out, the Trinity of STs sat down and we discussed plots for Saturday. Because of RL aggravation - job hunts, etc - we've left it a bit later than we liked, but we've decided that perhaps a more unstructured game on Saturday might be better for the players. It seems that our highly structured, well-defined plots (with accompanying well-defined victory and failure conditions) have been frustrating the players. So, for the first half of the game, at least, we're pretty much going to give the court free rein and let them look after themselves. With luck, they'll be able to keep themselves amused. If not, then to hell with 'em, I'm going to spend the entire game in the hot-tub...
conversation with Jennifer
earlier today. She is grappling with the problem that a lot of online-journalers
have. That of wanting to share everything about herself, entertain her
readers - but not share too much as to piss off her friends. Unfortunately,
she has felt compelled to shut out a lot of her personal side in her own
journal, because of friends getting mad at her for her talking about them -
heck, I was one of them, once...
Anyways, I understand her problem. Fortunately, I never intended for the Rambles to be much beyond a slightly eclectic record of my life but, I too, have been suffering 'grocery-list' syndrome. What, with the stress level in my house escalating over the past six months, it's been harder to get the enthusiasm up to write and, when I do, I hate to have every entry to be the same thing: I hate my job, my house is messy, my sewing machine is broken and why aren't I writing? I've said it all before, and you've seen it all before. And, because I don't want to bore you lot, I have decided not to go on about it.
So, I decided not to write an entry unless I could mention how I felt about something that had happened, or had a real opinion about a topic. So, of course, my frequency dropped like a rock. Many times, I've sat down to jot something down, asked myself "So how do I feel about this?", and then given up... Why waste your time, right?
The ugly fact is there has been some fairly serious shit going on in my life, but 1) I don't want to bring everyone down and 2) I don't want to go through the same flack that Jennifer did by naming names. My own copout has been euphemism and that other refuge of the online writer: an anonymous journal. No, I'm not going to tell you where it is or what it's called. Suffice to say that I've been keeping it for nearly a year, but I rarely update it more than twice a month. Be happy it exists, otherwise this journal would be even more aggravating.
At this point, I care a lot less about entertaining my readers and just recording what I've been up to and - with luck - how I'm feeling. It's a letter to my future-self really. Entries that probably seem very scanty to an outsider have a hell of a resonance for me (true, I just went through my archives the other day and youch!) and that's going to matter to me five, ten years down the road. Unfortunately, that tends to mean that y'all can go to Hades. I don't check my hit counters any more, I don't much care who comes by and who doesn't.
And I don't care much when I go rampantly off-topic. I'm not even sure what today's topic is supposed to be...
It's late, I'm tired and I want to get to bed. I'll try to get back to zany meanderings, later. In the meantime, try not to think about orange penguins...
Story of my ****ing
life. Dinner takes ninety minutes to cook and five to eat. Bah. We had some
steak left over from dinner with my mom, last night, so we brought it home
to cook tonight. Thanks to a forty-minute game-related call in the middle of
my preparations and the fact that I haven't quite got juggling the timing
down, we didn't end up with food until five minutes after wrestling started.
Naturally, the dog was ecstatic. The Steak Fairy had finally come and she gave him several choice scraps that came out a little overdone. I drew the line at the mustard-y sauce, though. All that cream would have been bad for him. Yeah, it was a real artery-clanger of a meal. However, I managed to save myself from perdition by steaming some green beans to go along with the meat. Three guesses what was left over? The joys of living with two carnivores.
I wanted to make tonight nice, as it's the last night of peace we're going to have before Aragon. Friday night is 7th Sea (yay!) and then all day Saturday will no-doubt be spent running crazed last-minute errands. So I thought it best that we made a point of eating a solid meal and take it easy...
Reading a rather
poignant book right now. I don't have it nearby, so I forget the exact
title, but it's the memoirs of the Duke of Windsor. They're rather poignant
because he's writing in 1949/50 from the point of view of a man who really
shook up the British monarchy - yet compared to what happened in the second
half of the century, the whole thing seems rather quaint. Well, judging by
his written style, he himself was rather quaint... Naturally, the history
wonk in me loves it.
Not much time for more. Toodles, all.
A couple of bits
of good news in the past couple of days.
First, Dave has a job. Since a couple of our mutual acquaintances at Berkeley Topline have quit - mostly because they realized they can get twice the money somewhere, anywhere else - the company stopped dicking around and Dave goes in on Monday to discuss salary. At this point, it really doesn't matter what they offer him. He gets six/twelve months of sales under his belt, he too can quit and find better money elsewhere.
Of course, I wish Dave had found something that paid a little more, as now I'm going to feel guilty asking him for the rent, but I have a feeling that guilt will evaporate the first month we actually make all the bills on time. The only reason we're not in debtor's prison right now is because Alex gets paid extra when he's on leave - for meals, travel and so forth. That cash made the difference between making it and losing the phone and power. Well, it's not quite that extreme, but it was close.
Second bit of good news: there is hope for weekend-goths who want to be mommies! Some time ago, I had reluctantly decided that a part-time goth habit and a small child would be irreconcilable - at least until the child had learned to feed itself. However, while I was waiting at the BART station, I saw something to warm my heart. A young lady - definitely gothic, not just a Person In Black - was pushing a stroller containing a young child that I can only assume was her son. He looked to be about 3 years old, was wearing bright colors and a huge baseball chap and just as happy as a clam to be going somewhere. She, meanwhile, wore head-to-toe black, with lacy bits here and there, with long deep-cherry-red hair and boots that only a goth would wear. So apparently it is possible to be a goth mommy! Or maybe she was just a sitter...
Alex and dug up various gift certificates that we have obtained in the past few months and went shopping, yesterday. Alex got some new pants that he needed - 'interviewin' pants' and I picked up a few sundry things that I really don't need at all, but could do with. We had some real fun at the Discovery Channel Store, where Tony gave us a $100 gift certificate (combined wedding/christmas/birthday present to the both of us). I think the most intriguing thing we picked up was a double CD set of significant radio broadcasts. It included FDR's declaration of war, coverage of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Nixon's resignation, etc. It should be very useful for Cthulhu LARPs...
No time! No time! Aragon is today and there are errands to run!
celebrated Alex's b-day with his father and sister and assorted family.
Alex's b-day is today - despite celebrations yesterday and Wednesday with
friends and parents, respectively. He turned 34, feel free to send him a belated
Anyways, the visit with Dan, Melissa, Lance and the kids was great. I can't believe how much Emily has grown. I last saw her at Easter and she was just getting the hang of standing up on her own. Now she runs around like a little jackrabbit. Chad and Danielle (Melissa's twins from a previous marriage) are doing well, although I'm still not entirely convinced that Chad isn't an alien. It's my own fault, I just can't speak 'kid' real well. Alex thought it hilarious that I was trying to teach Emily to say 'fugu'. Well, the toy she was holding was a puffer-fish, so I figured she might want to know it was called...
Apparently this ranked up there with the time I tried to explain gravity to five-years-old Kristina. To her credit, she managed to follow me all the way through the relationship between gravity and mass, but I lost her when I got into how gravity is a strong-yet-weak force... Kids are a lot smarter than most people think...
Of course, Melissa asked me a few questions about the aforementioned plans for my pregnancy. I think she's just looking forward to watching someone else go through the aggravation. Although I think she the right idea by getting enough medication to send her to Mars but, then again, she had a C-section. I don't think they'll give me that many drugs, just because I'm cranky... ;)
Brace yourself, it's gonna be a long one...
Aragon went very well, last night. Better than I expected, actually. I must finally concede that 'less is more', especially with this crowd. We went in with far fewer plot-things planned for the game - and intending to run a shorter game because nearly a quarter of the group couldn't make it - and it all went very well. So well, in fact that we're giving serious thought to keeping the games to five hours, rather then six or seven. It would probably cut down on lulls, and ending things before midnight would hardly be a sin.
The planned plots went well. Brook and Bob played two members of Carmine's security team with unexpectedly amusing results. I couldn't help thinking "Oh great, a crack team of SAS veterans, and they act like a couple of music-hall comedians..." but they had a blast while killing time before playing the serious NPCs I had picked for them. Those NPCs were part of a U.S. Senator's entourage and Rob Allard just kicked ass, as I had expected he would. Rob pretty much kicked ass all night, as he was playing the Sherriff in the first half of the evening, and he walked away with the player-voted Kudo Point for the night.
The PCs had lots of things to keep their hands full - not the least of which being the Senator's assassination at the end of the night - and they seemed to be very happy with how it went... The next game is four weeks from yesterday, so the GM team is going to have to scramble to stay on top of the avalanche of downtime action that is no doubt about to land on top of us. The short between-game period doesn't give us much slack... But I'm glad things are going so well. Generally, if you can get a player to enjoy three games, you've got 'em hooked...
If you're curious, you can see the pictures. There's not many of them, as I'm the photographer and I was in-character all night, but I think I managed to get at least one shot of every player...
Meanwhile, in other news: Dave is thinking of running a 1920s/30s era pulp-inspired Champions game. Following the pulp tradition, there are no 'superpowers', as per metas or mutants. All the PCs are just human beings who are extraordinarily good at what they do - as per Doc Savage, or Artemis Gordon. Since Dave is allowing the existence of fictional characters - such as Doc Savage - in his mythos, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to play. All I'll say at this point is that her name is Violet Adler, and I'll let the literature aficionados figure out the rest. Oh, this should be a hoot... I hope I can find a character picture that will work.
I'm living every minute...and dying every three.
It figures. I've been eating quite well the past couple of days - no meat, no fried stuff, a lotta veggies - and then today I had to blow it all by stopping by See's Candies on the way home from work. What do you mean half a pound of rum nougat doesn't count as dinner? Groo....
Weeeeell, this should be interesting. Alex is giving some thought to keeping an online journal. At this point, he's not entirely decided, so I've suggested that he write a private journal for a couple of weeks - or months, even - and see if the habit suits him. It strikes me that that would be the best course before leaping online with a hue and a cry. Of course, I'm a little leery about the idea, too. I keep our ups and downs to myself or - at worst - at my Anonymous Journal - but I suspect Alex with his habit of Enforced Honesty won't be quite so retiring... I think our friends are in for a helluva time, reading-wise - but I won't tell him to hold back just because of my own worries. After all, he's been letting me write about our lives for the past fourteen months or so...
reading, the trip to the chocolate shop was preceded by a trip to the
bookshop today. I picked up something amusing - The Illustrated Sherlock
Holmes. It's not what you might think. Rather, it's a collection of
period photographs from London, ranging from 1890 - 1908, featuring places
mentioned or inferred by Conan Doyle. A very nifty read, and a probable
source of historical material for future games. I also grabbed a second copy
of Anthony Burgess' The Wanting Seed as I have no idea where copy #1
went to, and I like that book...
The economy was given a further shot in the arm with a trip to the local used-CD outlet. I grabbed my usual mix of 1980's and Industrial shtuff. Alex got his usual armload of soundtracks (Gladiator, Sleepy Hollow and Superman, I think). As I type this, I've got Adam and The Ants Prince Charming blasting on the computer. This album is most memorable for featuring the worst white-boy rap song in the history of music. But I've long since given up trying to fight my love of 80's music.
Been working like a devil on VampireLARP.com and - since I don't have enough to do - I've volunteered as an editor for for RPGS/Live Action/World of Darkness over at dmoz. Dmoz is a great edited-by-humans directory of stuff, including gaming stuff... I've still got another dozen URLs to add to VampireLARP.com, but progress has been made...
Even though the game isn't set to go yet, I've put together a character page for Violet Adler. Whether or not Dave's game happens, I'll probably write up this character's history and save her for something. Although she's yet another media-derived character, I'm quite keen on the concept, so I might as well get her ready to play...
Did a brain-dump
for Aragon with Dave and Alex last night. The court is in a merry little
tizzy following the events of last game but, as usual, the same two or three
players are taking the lead. Unfortunately, the plots are still being
perceived as 'too occulty' (and thus immediately jumped on by the Tremere)
but it's pretty hard to put together interesting Vampire plots that aren't
Unfortunately the major non-occult event of the night (the assassination of a visiting U.S. Senator) was picked up by two of the less-active players, so I'm not too optimistic about it being followed through. It's a shame, as that plot is a gateway into a major non-occult downtime story, but if no-one follows it, we're not going to beat the players over the head with hints that they should be. The fact that a Senator has been whacked, apparently by a serial/professional killer should suffice for indications that the plot is worth following.
Ah, the old dilemma of GMs - how to keep players entertained without either patronizing or frustrating them. A LARP makes it particularly difficult, I think... Combine the usual demands of an RPG, plus a much larger group than usual and a setting like the World of Darkness - where players sometimes forget that while it is similar to the real world, it is not the same, and thus things are not predictable - and, well, it's an ongoing juggling spree...
As long as it's still fun, though, I'll stick with it.
Alex has been an interviewing fool. Three interviews today - all with staffing agencies. Three more tomorrow - two with dot.coms. Two more next week and four calls came in while we were out of the house all day. I told him he could find work as an IT oriented AA. On a similar note, I'll be meeting with SuperDave on Friday morning to discuss my future - or lack thereof - with MM. I'm almost certain that if the opportunity with the capital-management firm comes through (a two man team that wants to expand, but needs an admin to handle, well, everything) I think I'll take it. The job would be very project/goal-oriented, and I think I would enjoy that a lot more than the routine MM has become.
Had dinner with Christopher last night. Susan's off on her annual visit to the UK, so Alex and I feel obligated to at least try to do the filial thing and visit a bit. Actually, Susan's trips are always great fun for those of us left behind, as Christopher hosts the traditional 'Forbidden Video Festival' of movies Susan hates. This time it's going to be a Peter Sellers retrospective, which should be very interesting. I've never seen Ladykillers before, or any of the infamous Ealing comedies.
Dinner was preceded by a visit to the used bookstore. I've finally caved in and picked up a copy of The Mists of Avalon. Even rational friends of mine keep squeaking about what a great book it is, so I'm curious. I have to be in the right mood for fantasy, so I'll probably put it aside until I'm done hacking through the memoirs of the Duke of Windsor and The Life of Sherlock Holmes - very close on both counts and enjoying both books immensely.
Here's a little silliness for you. Lately, I've been considering one of two Little Indulgences. The first would be finally taking the plunge and dying my hair purple. The other would be buying myself this little cincher instead - you might want to look over your shoulder before you click on this link, I pulled it from Stormy Leather. No, I'm not considering the brassiere in the, too. It looks far more uncomfortable than the corset.
|Goooothic||Impermanent||Can Be Accesorized||But not with much|
|I've been wanting to do this for a year||Changeing my hair-color makes Alex nervous||Alex loves it||My bosses definately won't go for it|
|"I'm married, not dead!"||Will look lame if I have to grow it out||If I don't like it, I can take it off||I'm going to wear it 6 times a year, tops...|
On the flight back, Kevin offered to do a tour of the Bay, but most of the city was covered in fog, darnit. All we could see south of the Richmond Bridge was the Sutro Tower, which I've seen too much of as it is. So, there are plans to go out next weekend and do the classic 'Bay Tour', which is apparently a fixture amongst the flight-lanes hereabouts. We're also going to fly over the delta/Pittsburg/Antioch area so we can get lots of snaps for Aragon. A few photos of the refineries, a little time with Photoshop, and I'll have the urban sprawl I have envisioned. Heh heh heh.
And it seems that the cincher is winning by about 75% to the eggplant-hair's 25%, for those of you who were wondering. However, since that cincher was not in stock at Stormy Leather when I stopped by on Friday, it'll have to wait. Honestly, the money is better spent elsewhere as it is, but it was a fun thought...
Given that, as usual, players have a hard time directly telling us how they feel about the game, I put together a quick survey for Aragon and sent it to the players. It's the usual "I think there's too many Sabbat in the game - Strongly Agree. Somewhat Agree. Neutral. Somewhat Disagree. Strongly Disagree" and already we've gotten some interesting responses. Some I expected, some I didn't. I think it's going to prove to be a very useful tool for the STs to figure out where to go with the next few games. It's apparent we can't go in the direction we planned to go, because the players are finding our plots too abstruse to explore, so this survey should help us determine how to solve some of the players' problems without dumbing-down the game.
What amazes me is that we've got some of the best players around - in my humble opinion - but they're proving themselves to be all too human. They get unhappy when the plot isn't immediately apparent, they care a lot about earning enough XPs, they drop character at inappropriate times, etc... I think we've got a ways to go in unlearning bad habits we've all picked up in other larps, over the years. It makes me shudder to think of how many of those bad habits I contributed to while running Diablo's Children...
Must run, my stomach thinks my throat is cut...
Tonight I'm off to Christopher's to watch Ladykillers and eat Chinese Food. I've not seen the film before, so I'm looking forward to it. Tomorrow night we're going to see the Magritte show over at SF MOMA, so that'll be an interesting rebound. I've only seen cheap prints of Magritte's work, so I'm really looking forward to the exhibition...
Not much on that score, either.
We're getting a few responses to the player survey for Aragon and the opinons are about what I expected, but it's good to have verification. I think we're going to go to a flat-rate XP reward for the games, with bonus XPs for anyone who does an IC post-game report and takes part in downtime. It would just make logistics a lot easier and I'm getting some grumbles about perceived arbitrariness in XP allocation. Of course, I think the squeaky wheels are going to be a little surprised when they see how low the fixed rate will be. It'll probably 5XP per game which might seem like a lot until you remember that Aragon uses 3rd edition tabletop costs...
Not knowing Champions at all, I let Dave loose on what I wanted for Violet and let him juggle the numbers. For the most part, it all seems alright - I've got all the bits and bobs I wanted Violet to know, although I'm a little anxious about having zero combat skills... I'm also a little worried about the 20pt disadvantage labeled "GM Mystery Disad #99" that Dave has put on my character sheet. For 20 points, I'm worried that Violet's going to find out she only thought she was female...
Happily enough, I've got an idea for a bit of writing for this character - the first time I've felt somewhat inspired in ages. Whether or not I'll get it down on paper is another matter entirely...