Where is the man that can ease the heart like a satin gown? - Dorothy Parker.
Oh my, I'm going
to regret this.
It's 11:37PM, Alex is out of the house at a game and I'm drinking champagne - because, y'know, slightly drunk is never enough - and slightly drunk was where I was at half an hour ago..
I blame "The Game" for the champagne. It's a brain candy film, only worth it for the twists and turns. But throughout, Nicholas Van Orden drinks from a cut crystal champagne flute and I - already halfway down a bottle of wine - think, "hey, I want some champagne! Some no-occasion bubbles!'
Actually, it feels rather nice - having bubbly for no good reason, other than self indulgence. It makes me feel all Ab-Fab-Patsy-Stone-ish. Until two years ago, Patsy was the closest thing I had to a role model, and I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions, about that dear reader.
But back to "The Game". I can see, and agree, how this movie was dismissed as a trite, formulaic (albeit, intelligently so) movie, but darnit, I still enjoyed it. It's probably an offshoot of my adopted "I paid eight dollars to be here, go ahead and manipulate me!" philosophy. What's the point of going to a movie if you're going to fight what it tries to do to you. Sure, it's right to fight brainwashing, and if you're an intelligent being, you can tell the difference between brainwashing and entertainment. Believe me, conspiracy theorists, all of what the Hollywood machine turns out is entertainment and anyone who tells you otherwise is a desperate, money-grubbing, marketing-driven pig. Feel free to quote me, my career's in the shitter, anyway.
Oh, uh, "The Game" yeh… (remember, I've been drinking).
I enjoyed it. I liked the twists and turns the movie took - plot driven though they might be. I even enjoyed Sean Penn's role. I particularly enjoyed watching Michael Douglas getting beaten about - something I've liked since I was about ten years old if memory serves me correctly…. Whoops, that was too much information….
But the ending - the last five minutes - were worth sitting through it with a bottle of wine in my lap (I got the champagne after the closing credits). If you want a movie that encourages you to yell comments at the screen and laugh your socks off through sheer vicarious enjoyment - and you're willing to sacrifice a few grey-cells to do so - Johanna-Bob says "rent this flick". Just don't expect the meaning of life with this one, alright?
However, I am willing to bet all that I have in my pockets - six dollars and twenty five cents and a hastily written sexual fantasy about a guy of my acquaintance who may or may not be of legal age, for those who want to know - that a metric shitload of character development went into Nicholas and Conrad Van Orten. And it's all there, if you care to pay attention to the dialogue and setting. But it will require more attention than an action movie requires. Just rent the bloody movie and you'll know what I mean.
Wow, I get pushy on champagne….
Okay, kiddies -
and I know you're out there, otherwise why am I getting thirty hits to this
site per day? Why are you here?.
Inquiring minds want to know. My journal actually gets more traffic than
than my regular site - although that is due to the webrings I chose to join,
rather than my content. I know some of you are regulars but not my friends -
university of Michigan, btinternet, splitrock.net - what's bringing you
Pardon me, it's drunken intrusiveness mingled with memories of the library bus near the vale in Fazakerly - meaningless to you, dear reader, but I feel the need to mention it, and I am not one to ignore my impulses. I can still look for answers. Isn't that what we all want?
I'm leaving this uncensored in the name of honesty. No, really! What's the point of a journal if it doesn't reflect all aspects of my life, right? Truth is, I drink and write a fair bit. I can see why so many writers were shitfaced through the majority of their careers. The words come so much easier - even if the keyboard is a little harder to find. Of course, if I could summon this state while sober, I'd already be a fuckin' millionaire.
That's not to say I'm not trying. Believe me, I am. To make an audience member sit differently in their seat - my driving goal, thank you very bloody much, David Lynch - requires the ability to pull from my subconscious to the screen (or paper). As I've said before, my imagination is a playground and that alone doesn't cut it… I need to take my brain on a walk through the bad side of town, but how do I do that without killing myself?
Send answers on a postcard to
Johanna Mead, vivid studios, 510
3rd Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA,
I was drugged and left for dead in Mexico City and all I got was this lousy tee-shirt
No reason for
today's quote - from The Game - I just liked it.
Unsurprisingly enough, I spent most of Sunday recovering from Saturday. The combined effects of a bottle of champagne, mid-80's Europop and heady online conversation keeping me up until 4AM rather took its toll. Groo... Alex, bless his heart, came in around 1AM from his game, took one look at the scene of havoc around me, said "I'll see you when you come to bed, Patsy" and left me to it.
I did get some
writing done - albeit for another role-playing character - this time
it was Rachel's
turn. It was one of those writing-demons that have to exorcised, or else it
will throw a massive snit by refusing to allow you to even think
about writing anything else until you've paid attention to it, first. Those
of you who like to write know what I mean.
Then Microsoft had to insult me - although considering how much I insult it, I suppose it's only fair. I had just run the spellchecker over my latest bit of gamer-prose and one of the nifty functions it includes is telling you what reading level you are writing at. This should be a amusing, I thought, and flipped it on.
MS Word chews on my seven pages for a few seconds and tells me I'm writing on a fourth grade reading level. Fourth grade? Fourth grade?? Alright, so my subject matter sure as hell wasn't for fourth graders - mental breakdowns, suicide, etc - but darnit, I honestly thought I had a better command of language than that.
I know one shouldn't use big words just for their own sake - that's worse than keeping prose clean and simple - but, darnit, I know some nifty words, like rancid, scintillating, crenellated - but I couldn't get credit for them could I? No, of course not! Because I'm writing on a fourth grade level! Aiyeeee!
So I'm taking this poorly, so what?
I think I had better stop this train of thought before I degrade completely...
Style over substance is not a life credo...
Another trip to
Bay Books, yesterday. I'm so lucky to have a good used book store nearby -
even if it does eat up chunks of my not-so-disposable income each time I
visit. In addition to the usual commute-drivel (something by Anne Rice, this
time) I picked up The Elements of Style, The Elements of Grammar,
and even The Elements of Editing. I've always known that my grammar
and punctuation stink, but I've never gotten off my lazy ass and
learned to do any better. It's high time I fixed that.
Of course, the tricky part will be reading through these books without my eyes slamming shut on page three. I really want to learn this stuff, but I've always found it so bloody boring. I'm also not looking forward to correcting almost every single one of the 187 pieces in my writing archive (I counted 'em last night while doing a back-up), and I know they need corrections. For one thing, I've just had my worst fear confirmed - I've been punctuating quotations and dialogue all wrong... Aiyee!
Still, let me get through these dam'fool manuals first, then I'll worry about backtracking through my work. Given that most of my writing is now available only as HTML - the original files lost to time and an old 386 computer - I think I'm going to be getting very well acquainted with Microsoft's Frontpage in the next few months.
As long as that bloody thing doesn't make comments about my writing level...grr...mutter
Heavens forbid! They're making me work at work! How dare they! Actually, I'm a bit relieved, although I can think of better ways to kill a Tuesday night other than polishing fifteen pages of notes from a meeting. The fact that I could have a glass of wine and pizza while doing it was a small consolation. Mind you, more than one glass of wine, and those notes could have turned out more incomprehensible than originally intended!
Had an interesting talk with one of my co-workers, Kerry, who has been 'promoted' to Associate Producer. She gave a rather succinct description of her job - "Mostly it consists of being yelled at a lot." and I feel badly for her, as we both thought it was her shot out of administrative hell. She seemed rather surprised when I told her I had no intention of becoming an engineer - I'm an engineering administrative asst, for those of you who are just joining us. Gods no, I'm not nearly anal enough to be an engineer. Writing and film-making are the gig for me. I just wish it wasn't so damn hard to find the energy to write - or even think about writing after working all day...
In other news, Elements of Style has been looming on my desk for the past twenty four hours, emitting ominous vibrations. I opened it up at random during breakfast, but was badly frightened by a section on split infinitives and had to fortify myself with a large mocha just to have the strength to get onto the commuter train, later.
My bank account is
in serious jeopardy. Once again Amazon UK
is trying to part me from my paycheck via an extensive collection of The
Goon Show on compact disk - and the complete Blackadder scripts, to
boot. Damn them! The fact that Alex would skin me alive for dropping the
best part of seventy dollars on these things, when we're not sure if we have
enough money to register the car this week, is a barely adequate
Another threat to the bank balance is the recurring domain name dilemma. Alex and I are both heartily sick of members.tripod.com/~blahblahblah as our URLs, and are willing to put the money down for a domain name and URL hosting. We have to shell out $70 to Network Solutions for the first two years of our domain name and $75 to Namesecure - my URL host of choice (because they don't insist upon our carrying a banner ad) - for the first two years hosted with them. That's $145 dollars to enhance a site that I'm already paying for - this Tripod page is free of pop-up windows because I give them $72 per year to club those annoying little buggers with a stick....
The choices for domain have been narrowed down to www.gamergeek.com and www.arkhamlibrary.com - although I still like www.geekaroni.com, but that joke loses its point if I ever move away from San Francisco. But the costs are making us pause... Oh well, maybe next paycheck.
They're a big, dumb company with enough money to say "I win" and we're very cool with that. - My BizDev manager speaking of a client..
Is it me, or is the city empty today? The train wasn't as full as it usually is - the commuters were actually able to breathe, for once. The barefooted homeless guy on the corner of 3rd and Market who keeps up a running drone of "Spare any change...Spare any change..." all day was conspicuously absent - although the schizophrenic who maintains a lively running monologue in another nearby bus shelter has recently returned after a long absence - and even the rush-hour traffic seemed lighter than usual. What do all these people know that I don't?
Wow! I've made it to page eight of Elements of Style and I haven't passed out, yet! Maybe there's still a chance that my terrible grammar can be salvaged! Not that this journal is going to be a venue for good grammar, mind you. This place will remain my playground, dangling clauses and all.
Mr Prickles is a
plush hedgehog that resides on my computer's monitor at work. He's a cute
little thing, with dark brown eyes, a button nose and a squishy physique.
For the first few days of our acquaintance - I received him as a birthday
gift a couple of weeks ago - he kept pretty much to himself. Then I brought
him to work.
He's gone mad with power. He took charge last Monday, because all three of the departmental managers were out of the office and I'm too frightened by authority to lead a pack of unruly engineers. Not so, Mr. Prickles. He immediately bullied everyone into doing their timesheets by threatening to reformat their hard-drives and for those who thought they were safe by dint of diligent backing-up, Mr. Prickles was going to nibble through their network connection cables. I've never seen the engineers fill out their time sheets so quickly.
I shouldn't have taken him to the engineering offsite last week. He heard about our need for an 'Enforcement Czar' and obviously he wants the job. Today, he's making noise about wanting to go after my office-mates who fail to report their sick/vacation days properly. He keeps muttering something about the "Untimely Hedgehog Award" for lollygaggers - but while I'm envisioning something mildly humiliating but amusing made out of gold tinsel and a broken clock - he's muttering something about rubber hoses and baling wire...
Hedgehogs, it seems, have a hitherto-unsuspected tyrannical streak. I shouldn't have let him read Sluggy Freelance, I think he's chosen Bun-Bun as a role model.
As long as no-one gives Mr. Prickles a switchblade...
Please don't eat the food on the bottom shelf - this includes the beer! - Note on my office's fridge this morning
A lovely August day in San Francisco. The drizzle is meandering downwards and the car accidents during this morning's commute are already too many to count. Considering the frequency of rainfall in this end of California, you would think that people would know how to drive in the rain... It makes me feel all warm and smug on my commute train - right until it's announced that the bloody thing will be running at 5MPH all the way into San Francisco because of the weather conditions. It seems that the train conductors can't drive in the rain, either.
It's been a
blessedly quiet week, with only the sound of composting laundry to distract
me. I'm on the verge of sending the whole mound out to a wash and fold
service, but that would mean complete strangers will learn that not only do
I never do my laundry, but I have long since given up trying to stop the cat
from sleeping on it. In typically perverse cat fashion, he prefers to sleep
on black velvety things - he's half siamese and leaves lots of lovely white
fur behind him where ever he goes.
So, no great revelations this week, no agonizing-by-Johanna about the great issues of our day... Not even a Mr. Prickles report - although I will say that he is scouring the office for the culprit responsible for spilling a can of soda on a sysadmin's keyboard....
Although Aragon has been put on hold, ideas for minor NPCs and plot-crunchies (devices that aren't important or significant enough to be full-blown plots) have been seeping into my mind over the past couple of weeks, and I've enjoyed writing them down. I'm certainly looking forward to introducing Tony "The Woman" Carlucci - a prominent mobster of the area...
Into the Senate Chamber bursts Emperor Palpatine, riding on the shoulders of a Sith Lord, beating him and yelling "Faster, faster! You fool! You fool!" - My husband's Star Wars game, last night.
As you might guess
from the above quote, not only did Alex run an episode of his Stars Wars
RPG, but the entire group almost swallowed their tongues laughing so hard
during some moments. My favorite moment during the game had to have been
shortly after my character, Yahnna - a smuggler who is not nearly as space
savvy as she pretends - is trying to look like she planned to set off
a forty-yard-wide ball of flame to incinerate the newly discovered Sith Lord
on our ship.
Waith (regards the smoking crater in the middle of his ship): "What did you do?"
Yahnna (cool and collected): "I killed him, of course." gives a cocky grin and holsters the trusty hand blaster. Of course, Yahnna planned none of this, but she wasn't going to admit it.
Seetoh: "We can only hope"
Schwoooommmmmm - The unmistakably ominous sound - and sight - of a red lightsaber flaring up on our side of the smoking crater.
En masse: "Oh no..."
A fine brainless time was had by all.
Mr. Prickles has become so unruly, I'm afraid I had to resort to the most dire of threats. The spin cycle - without softener. That sweetened his spiky little tone, believe me. Now I think the office is safe over the weekend. There is nothing worse than a bored, imaginative hedgehog who has been left unsupervised, but I didn't dare bring him home. He would try to bully the fabric folk that inhabit my place and then Mr. Prickles would get a rather nasty lesson in precisely how low he is on the Fabric Totem Pole - and that would make him utterly unbearable when he returns to my office.
I feel vaguely guilty about having nothing particularly interesting to say this week. I have this sense of obligation to provide something beyond the usual drivel that composes my daily life, but my need to be honest in this journal is a bit stronger than that - just a bit stronger.
But I will indulge
in a quick rant. During my webring binge yesterday (see below) I started
surfing The Net Poets' Society webring, curious to see what other
online poets are doing.
Fool that I was, I had forgotten the old rule that 90% of anything is crap. It certainly held true for that surfing session. I didn't particularly disagree with the sentiments of most of the poems I agreed with - the usual themes of love and alienation were encountered in roughly equal proportions - but I lamented the sheer lack of style and form.
Maybe I have a complete misunderstanding of poetic form - and I'm willing to admit that that's a risk - but most of what I encountered was badly arranged prose, not poetry. One poem I read, scanned far better once I had pasted it into a new document and arranged it as a paragraph of text. There was nothing marking it as poetic - in my aesthetic.
I'm not saying that poetry has to be fragmented sentences and obscure symbols, but surely it has to be more than a short essay with random line breaks, right? Isn't this taught in school any more? Of course, poetry is one of the most subjective forms out there - as I say on my own poetry page, "Some of this is munge, and I'm willing to accept that.". Honestly, there's a good percentage all of it is munge, but it's my munge and I like it.
I A friend of mine - who I consider a damn good poet - gave me a refreshingly blunt opinion of "It's a good start, but you've got a long way to go.". Even although I have no intention of writing any more poetry, (I rarely intend to write the stuff. Poetry is one of my more unusual side effects of drinking, usually) and so I didn't particularly care if I was any good at it or not, I was still grateful for the honest opinion. One rarely gets honest feedback on creative endeavors from one's friends. Then again, I'm pretty glad for that. My ego is fragile enough as it is. :)
I spent most of yesterday reorganizing my webring page and joining a whole bunch of new rings. Most of the rings I'm a part of generate minimal traffic - the rings pointing to my Matrix Fanfiction page are an exception to this. So I've decided that if each ring is only going to produce two hits a month, I might as well join a vast bunch and hope that drives the monthly total up a bit.
It was not a place that, to pick a name at random, Louis the XIV would
have liked. There was an insufficiency of mirrors and gold leaf. He would
have suggested picking up the old coffee mugs, washing the dirty laundry and
burning the place down.
- Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.
The filth in my
house is just about to break my messiness-tolerance threshold, so I think
I'll be spending today cleaning. I tell ya, the fun never stops at my place!
I would have cleaned yesterday, but I spent most if it asleep recovering
from Friday. Damn this stay-up-all-night lifestyle of mine! Admittedly, I'm
staying up playing role-playing games all night, but awake is awake...
However, getting the house clean would require getting the hell away from the computer for one damn minute. The danger of having a new muscle machine with 5GB to spare is that I can now make MP3 files with impunity, as well as spending entirely too much time fiddling around with Photoshop. And I wonder why I'm in an almost constant state of photon-shock...
the gaming theme of this weekend, last night was Rob's game, C.A. 2005.
EricL, RoryG, DJ, Alex and Lisa (Rob's wife) were all there - and that's a
Warning! Gamer talk ahead!. It was a Mage game, set in a future where the Technocracy and the Traditions have been forced to work together to fight a common threat. However, it's also a brain candy game, so the group is playing characters that they've always wanted to play, but didn't think they could get away with in another game.
With that in mind, I'm playing my Aeon-Flux-with-better-hair type, a Euthanatos called Mercy. She's fun of the silliest order, but I immediately discovered that it's a tad difficult to play such a solo character in a group. No matter, I'll make it work. She's too much fun to abandon. I'm not going to get a chance to play a character with the merits of Animal Magnetism, Lucky and the flaw Manchurian Candidate anywhere else... We were all suffering first-game jitters - trying to find our character voices and personalities - and I'm sure things will be easier next game.
Oddly enough, I'm trying to play both Mercy and Yahnna (see yesterday) as fairly closed-mouth characters. Given that I'm quite a chatterbox, it's been tough - and not entirely successful. But both games are young, and I've got time.
Gamer Talk ends.
Some days it doesn't pay to chew through the leather straps in the morning...
Today began at 5AM
when I awakened by what I was ready to swear unto God was a kid roller
skating back and forth through the complex. After the third pass, I finally
donned a robe and stomped outside, to discover it was some damn fool carting
his garbage to the dumpster in a shopping cart. Why he had to do this at
five in the morning, I don't know. Summoning as polite a tone as I could
muster - because a man who is lunatic enough to be hauling garbage at five
AM may have a hankering to murder snippy English women - I told him that
things would be remarkably more peaceful if he were to haul his burden
across the smooth blacktop of our parking lot, rather than the
much-distressed concrete of our sidewalk, and returned to my beloved bed.
Half an hour later, garbage trucks came through and provoked the usual dawn chorus of car alarms with their thumping and crashing. Joy.
At 6AM, a Lear jet decided to do an earlier-than-usual run from the municipal airport half a mile away, and I thought lovingly of the blissful silence of California's ghost towns. Property is cheap out there, I'm told.
Catching sleep on BART wasn't an option either, as I got entangled in a conversation with a nice chap who may or may not have been in touch with reality. He was so polite, it would have been canardish of me to tell him that while I found the story of his ancestor's trek to from Alabama to Canada (pausing only briefly to be decimated by Mormons in Utah) fascinating, I really wanted to catch up on my kip.
And upon reaching the office and thinking longingly of that very quiet conference room in back that has a futon pad and a blanket in its corner, I am reminded that a new chap is starting today, and I have to give his orientation. Drat.
But it is all my
bloody fault that I'm so tired. Yesterday was spent paying some serious
homage to the one eyed god, as Alex and I went limp in front of the
television and absorbed Ghostbusters (widescreen, yay!), Arms In
Action - Castles and Sieges, and Dr. Who - City of Death (Tom
Baker era, shot in Paris and that's enough of a summary for those who've
About ten-thirty PM, heady with photons, I mention to Alex that I've given occasional thought to running a Dr. Who RPG. I certainly know enough about the dratted mythos to set a game on Gallifrey, with the PC's as aspiring Time Lords. Cheezy, but fun. Alex, not realizing what he about to unleash, suggests "Why not do it as a live-action game?"
Two hours later, I'm stone awake, lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, mentally writing up missing chunks of Gallifreyan history to be used in the three-part prelude to the LARP Alex and I had roughed out in the meantime. We're envisioning a two-day event in San Francisco, late next year, with the PC's as students at the Time Academy, wandering aliens, guest shots by a couple of favorite characters and a scavenger hunt that will take the characters from the Exploratorium to Alcatraz. Of course, some of our ideas will have to be winnowed down, but when you're giving yourself fourteen months of prep time, you can think big.
Yes, I'm mad. Don't be acting all surprised about it now.
Despite the deep silliness of the idea, I think it might work, because it's silly. I've been playing an awful lot of doom'n'gloom, we're-all-going-to-die games lately - even Cthulhu LARPs have a dark underside to them - and perhaps I'm long overdue to run something thoroughly goofy.
Reading the paper
on the train didn't improve my mood at all. Apparently the anti-evolution
movement is gaining more power in our schools, to the point of where one
state (Kansas, I think) has to include a disclaimer on their science books
stating that evolution is only a theory, because no-one was around to
witness it, and it's not the only possible explanation for our existence.
Fine, everyone's got a right to their own beliefs, and alternate beliefs
have a right to some time in our classrooms but the argument that
"No-one was witnessed it, so it might not exist." is flimsy
bullshit of the highest order. No-one was around to witness the creation of
Eden, either, but that seems not to bother the creationists who wrote the
One biology teacher in the midwest reported that over half of his students had declared that they didn't believe a single thing he had taught over the year, and apparently forty percent of Americans believe in the creation of man as given in the Bible.
Being raised by an atheist father with a love of good books, I find staunch creationism - in the face of fossilized dinosaurs and evidence of mankind far older than the 10,000 years as suggested by the Bible - deeply alarming. People are entitled to their beliefs, they are also entitled to debate those beliefs as vigorously as they like. But the actions of the anti-evolution league, when coupled with the recent mandate to post the ten commandments in classrooms and reinstate mandatory prayer (in some schools) is making me wonder what happened to the separation of church and state - and freedom of religion.
Sure, freedom of religion theoretically exists in our nation's schools. Tell that to the Sikh boys who have been told they can't carry their ceremonial knife at school (this happened in Fremont), or watch what happens when my friend's children ask for time off because it's Beltane? There's religious freedom in America's schools, unless you're not Christian, of course. And that attitude extends an awful lot through the rest of our society.
Bah, the whole topic makes me grumpy.
We're all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde
Although yesterday started a bit off kilter, the day did improve as time passed. Work was quiet enough to enable me to bash our four pages of notes for the nascent Dr. Who LARP (see yesterday) and that relieved the immediate pressure on my brain.
One of my regular readers has asked when I'm going to write my next Matrixfic, since I've had 'coming soon' posted over Cutting The Cord for over two months now. Coincidentally enough, I was considering getting back to it last weekend, after the outline had stalled out two-thirds of the way through and I got frustrated and stubborn about the whole thing. But I think enough time has passed and I can envision getting back to work on it without a feeling of dread, so I guess it's high time I got to it. With luck, I'll get something significant done this weekend.
More silly writing
was done yesterday, as Rob and I handled a quick in-character discussion
and Erich Newhope via Instant Messenger. I did a more-thorough-than-usual
polish on it, entitled it Champagne
With The Enemy and tossed it on the writing archive.
I did get some work done yesterday, honest! Just not a great deal of it.
Meanwhile today is shaping up to be sheer aggravation as I have the usual weekly department meeting to attend - an aggravation because I have to take care of the munchies used as bribes (engineers think with their stomachs) - and I have a two hour meeting running until 6PM that I'm stuck with because apparently I'm the only person in the entire office who knows how to set up and run a video camera. Sheesh, I'm surrounded by media geeks and none of them know how to run a Sony Hi-8? I sense a bit of fibbing is going on...
There is nothing more dangerous than an ambitious sheep...
Alright, who gave
Mr. Prickles a voodoo doll of me?
Just as I was settling down at the weekly engineering meeting - made far more bearable by the presence of bagels, as they comfort me so - the migrane fairy came to visit. Of course, she couldn't strike me down sufficiently so I could immediately pack up and go home, could she? No, I spent the next three hours agonizing over whether or not to bail out on the two-hour meeting that I was supposed to videotape.
Finally, the need for sleep won. I set up the camera in a cover shot, marked the boundaries of the picture with sticky-notes all over the conference table, placed another sticky note on the record button of the camera, which stated: Press this once to record, and went home to my comfy bed - where I was utterly unable to go to sleep. Bah.
Jen B. (not to be confused with Jennifer) came over last night. She had had a bit of dustup with a mutual friend, Tony, and a fairly serious clearing of the air with her husband, Chris and she wanted to visit with some friends rather than sit at her house and mope. We had a nice visit - as she was already feeling better before she came over - and it's nights like that that make me so grateful that Alex and I rarely fight. We'll occasionally get snippy over something, but that's the worst of it...
This morning, my
co-workers have shown where their priorities really lie. On Monday, a
new engineer by the name of Mike L. joined us. He got the usual wave-and-hiya
reception. Not cold, but not terribly warm, either - engineers can be
standoffish until you've been accepted into the herd.
Today, Mike L. brought his dog, Jack, into the office. Jack is a big, goofy yellow lab - do labs even come in any variety other than goofy? - with a frisbee permanently clenched in his jaws and a constantly wagging tail. Immediately the entire office converges on Mike's desk, petting Jack, asking about him and oh yeah, you're the new guy aren't you? What's your name again? We've made ten times the fuss over the dog than we did his owner. And Jack is a serious chick magnet, too, as all the cute office chicks flocked to him and cooed endlessly.
In his defense, my manager, KJ, said that he would scratch Mike's tummy too, if Mike really wanted that...
With Koko last night on KTEH, and was appropriately flabbergasted. I've
had a vague awareness of Koko for years, like everyone else, but last
night's documentary was very interesting. The cuteness factor was pretty
high, of course, but the program was very informative, too I had no idea
that Koko had taught sign language to her companion gorilla, Michael - which
is a hell of a thing - nor did I know that Koko and Michael could paint.
Their pictures were a tad abstract - go figure - but easily understood. I
know I certainly can't paint that well...
Apparently the brains over at the Gorilla Institute are very eager for Koko to have a baby - and Koko's keen on the idea, fortunately - because they want to see if she will teach sign language to an infant, and how much it would learn. Nifty stuff! Contraiwise, it's a little offputting to meet a gorilla who is more eloquent and better mannered than most children I've met. Oh well, ours is not a perfect world, right?
KTEH has succesfully guilted me into handing over some more cash, even though my membership isn't up for another six months. The station got really screwed when their transmitter vomited its Kleistron tube - thanks to a two-year relationship with a guy who built linear accelerators for a company in San Ramon, I know exactly what a Kleistron tube is and how much it costs - and then KTEH got further up the creek when they discovered that their new office space would cost $350,000 more than planned. Ouch.
I always feel sorry for KTEH in San Jose because KQED in San Francisco has a much high prestige factor and, accordingly, gets more donations (and scandals about selling donor lists to Democratic politicians, but that's another story). But, unlike KQED, KTEH produces a lot of it's programming in-house and shows all my favorite Brit-shows. So I have to give them money, and I'm very susceptible to their begging. Ah well, I didn't really need to get my hair re-colored this month, anyways.
Sitting on the bus
this morning, a CHP bike cop pulls up next to my window. Idly, I notice that
his bike is by BMW - nice to see our boys in beige are getting the best from
my tax dollars, I suppose - that his nightstick and flashlight are neatly
clipped to the right front side of the bike and that he kept two blue-capped
Bic pens tucked into the top of his right boot. That last thing struck me as
strangely incongrous and rather humanizing. It got me wondering where he
kept his ticketbook, tucked into the other boot, perhaps? I squirmed to try
to get a view of his left side but, alas, it was not possible...
For that matter, where was his gun? (Joke! Joke! Please don't put out an all-points bulletin on my car as matching that of a wanted mass-murderer, copper!)
A pox on my
non-disclosure agreement! It means I can't name dumb-ass clients that make a
point of being uninformed and are thereby responsible for getting my ass
stuck in three-and-half-hour meeting! A particularly virulent pox on CEO's
who don't bother to keep track of what's going on, and then take an hour to
denigrate dozens of little tiny things that their own people
This meeting at the end of the day was scheduled for two hours, but ran to three and a half, as mentioned. Usually, I wouldn't let that aggravate me, but, with it being at the end of the day, it screwed my commute and I was there on behalf of a project I knew nothing about, so the note taking occasionally got a little fanciful. By 5:30, when the meeting wrapped - but I had to return to the office and polish these notes before going home - and with my scanty lunch a faint memory, I was distinctly crabby.
Fortunately, the supervising producer is a tolerant Brit who was so desperate for administrative assistance that she took whatever she could get. And Alex, bless his heart, took me straight over to the local Indian restaurant, followed by a trip the used book store, next door. Stuffed to the gills with lamb pasanda and with three Dick Francis books under my elbow, my mood improved dramatically.
forward to spending most of this weekend shoveling laundry over to the
wash-and-fold service across the road (at this point, I don't care that they
charge a dollar-fifty per pound) and, more importantly, bashing out a first
draft for Cutting The Cord. My Matrixfic
page gets more traffic than the rest of my site - with the possible
exception of this journal - and it's 'put up or shut up' time for continuing
I'm also visiting a Vampire LARP in San Francisco, tonight, but I'm a bit leery about it. I know a few people who play there, already, but I'm told that not only is the game cliqueish and hard to break into as a new player, but entirely too democratic. The storytellers and all of the plots are determined by player vote at each game. Ridiculous! If the storyteller changes every 2 games, how can they maintain plotlines? And if the players pick the plotlines themselves, well, where's the mystery? Bah.
Still, I'm curious to visit this bunch because Nick and BrianT. have been talking about them a bit, and Nick wants me to help him create a plotline for this lot - and it would be easier if I've seen the characters at least once, wouldn't it?
meeting with the un-nameable client yesterday. I'm starting to think that
something nasty is pumped into the air of their building, as within minutes
of entering it, I got a pounding headache. No, I don't attribute the
headache to the bloody meeting, as the headache kicked in while I was still
in the lobby - and much the same happened on Thursday. With luck, that's the
last time I have to see that particular client. I hope.
So, I was all ready to win the "I had a worse day than you." competition that occasionally occurs between husband and wife when Alex picked me up at the train station...
Me: "Wow, did I have a lousy day..."
Alex: "Me too. I spent five hours moving boxes in a room that might have been full of asbestos dust - without a breathing mask."
Me: "Uh...You win."
And people wonder why he can't wait to get out of the military... And this is the second time this month he's had to talk me out of visiting the asshole captain who keeps pulling this shit on him. *sigh*
I was so horrified and grumpified by this little bit of news that I decided to cancel with Nick - hearing that Alex had been breathing carcinogens all day did nothing for my headache - and Alex and I had a night at home.
Since we've just gotten paid, we bit the bullet and paid off our outstanding fines at the local Blockbuster - forty-some odd dollars - and rented a couple of movies for weekend consumption. Last night's treat was Real Genius, a long-time favorite of mine. Aside from the fact that the final twenty minutes degrades into a standard teenage-revenge-picture, I really like this film... It's hard to believe that it was written by the same bunch that brought us the Police Academy series.
Note to my regular readers: I will pay an unreasonable price to locate a copy of the soundtrack to Real Genius and would anyone like to join me in my one-woman campaign to get a letterbox release of this flick? I know, I'm such a dreamer...
On a much geekier note, I have taken the first steps towards registering a domain name for me and Alex. Since I don't have a buddy with a reliable web-server in his garage, these days, I've not only got to shell out cash to Network Solutions, but also to a domain-host. Oh well, it's only $25/year...Once Alex and I design a splash page, skaro.com will be up and running! Watch this space for further news...
It looks like Alex has spawned a monster with his Friday night Star Wars game. Jennifer has just started writing for her character, Devessa - just as Alex predicted. I'm still holding out against the writing bug, but I did find a couple of pictures of Yahnna for future use. Now all we need is for the other player, EricL., to succumb and we'll all be dedicating entirely too much time to a casual, pick-up game.
I promised myself I'd spend today shoveling laundry over to the wash-and-fold and doing some writing - although I may not have much choice as to which subject - I've got two noisy RPG characters trying to shout down the cast of Cutting The Cord. So I think that's enough drivel from me for today.
Please Will, I don't have time for this. Speak prose... - Shakespeare in Love
As per usual for my weekend routine, I got nothing achieved yesterday. Well, nothing that I had planned to acheive. No writing was done, no laundry was washed, but Alex and I did do our duty by the American economy and our creditors...www.skaro.com is now up and mostly running - I've been warned that the link may not work for some users for a couple of days for some voodoo internet reason. We picked up our wedding album - finally! - dropped payments on our respective credit cards and bought a copy of Real Genius on videotape, as well as a few cool toys that we managed to justify as props for future LARPs. Gave the economy a shot in the arm, we did.
in Love last night, and immediately went into high costume-wonk mode.
Oh, the movie was lovely too... I don't often like romantic comedies, but
one co-written by Tom Stoppard with the utterly toothsome Joseph Fiennes was
able to capture my attention nicely, and I happily recommend it, if you
enjoy that sort of thing. *Sigh* I had yet another night of dreaming in
iambic pentameter - which is bloody strange when your dreams are taking you
through central Manhattan...
Anyways, costume-wonkery... A large Renaissance Faire is held in the Bay Area every year. It runs for five or six weekends, engages a vast number of volunteers and entertains something like 100,000 visitors each season - a vast spasm of Shakespearana and period shopping. Of course, Faire is hog-heaven to me. My high-school addiction to Shakespeare can finally be put to a practical use as I dash about chattering like the porter in Macbeth, all within what is essentially a giant shopping mall with a cool theme.
Alex and I love to visit it, but every year, the damn season sneaks up on us, and I never have enough time to sew costumes. We both have enough elements for one good outfit each, but we - peacocks and costume-wonks that we are - always want more. Of course, this year's obstacle is that my sewing machine in broken, and I'm rather afraid to find out how much it's going to cost to fix.
But Alex's costume needs are set, since he has declared that the leather doublet that he was lusting after last season will do quite nicely for a birthday present, and I'm happy to buy it for him. Of course, that's going to make the rest of his outfit look shabby - and he still doesn't have a proper hat...And if he's going to be dashing about in a fancy leather doublet and a new hat, I'm going to need something better than my lower-class English garb and...Aw, heck, we didn't need to pay the bills this month, anyways... ;)
Had a late dinner
with JenB. (not Jennifer)
last night. She and her husband have resolved their argument of last week
very well, and are much happier now - to my relief - and it seems that our
mutual friend, Tony, who was having a bit of a snit in JenB's direction has
calmed down, also, so all is well in that particular sphere.
I really don't like it when friends spat with each other, especially when both sides feel the need to vent at me - and when they're not talking to each other, that makes it even worse. It's bloody hard not to snap and say "Well, you know, so-and-so's point of view is that you took their head off just for...." and ultimately aggravating the situation. And getting called on to act as an intermediary is even worse than that... If the situation isn't happily resolved, guess who's going to get the blame? Not that I'm speaking from experience, oh no, not at all...
I managed to make an Irish Zen Master cuss, this morning... - Joe G., a co-worker.
and I have succumbed to the lure of Alex's Star Wars game. Jen's put
together a really nice summary page for The
Iridium Gambit and I caved in and assembled a page and a bit of writing
for my character, Yahnna.
We've even got a Sith
Lord running around... No, I didn't get the laundry done, don't ask such
I also started another piece for Mercy - set before the opening of Rob's game, but that's not ready to post, yet. I'll get started on Cutting the Cord any minute now, I swear! I consider all this just warming-up.
yesterday was spent in blissful sloth. Alex and I visited his mom, and she's
doing about as well can be expected. She's a little aggravated that she has
to stay on oxygen all day now, because she has to carry yards of tubing with
her wherever she goes, and be very careful baling it out and not treading
on it. Still, her attitude is far better than mine would be.
Amusingly enough, she seems to have developed a touch of clairvoyancy and
gave me a TARDIS key for a birthday present - bought weeks before I even
thought of running a Dr. Who LARP...
The latter half of the day was taken up with visiting Alex's sister, Melissa, and her little girl, Emily. Emily is teething at the moment, and is living up to the Dave Barry-ism that babies are just one big drool gland... eew! We went to Toys R Us, to get Melissa out of the house and for Alex to see if there was anything he wanted to spend his birthday money on. Alas, the toys failed to engage his attention, but that just means he'll go to the gaming store later this week.
You know, there are times when I'm just disgusted by bourgeoisie life. My victories are measured in goodies bought, or frivolous web-projects completed - even, *gasp*, in laundry washed. I know 99% of the human population will contribute absolutely nothing of any worth to the human experience, I just didn't plan on being outside the other 1%. Oh, I know it's not too late - shame I can't shake the feeling that it is, though...
Writing is like masturbation - it should be done by oneself, behind firmly locked doors
Don't say it. I know
that today's quote is going to generate some weird traffic once the search
engines spider this page.
Is there no height of geekiness to which I do not aspire? Well, yes, actually, I have no intention of ever learning Linux...But I did move into the next level of the fantasy that anyone but myself cares about my website, by creating a 'notify list' for Rough Cut - that's the rest of my site, for those of you who read only this fine journal. I doubt anyone will subscribe to the list, but I am curious. I'm pretty faithful about updating my what's new section, but I figure there are some surfers out there that are as lazy as I am...
I've discovered that my site actually gets a lot more traffic than my counter on the front page indicates, as there are several entrances to my site - such as the writing archive - that I didn't start monitoring until quite recently. I'm not talking about hundreds of visitors per day - or even dozens - but at least there's something. If it was as quiet as the tomb outside of the journal, I'd be crushed.
I did my good deed
for the month last night - although it nukes the rest of my disposable
income until September. I paid off an old medical bill that had a local
collection agency up in arms. I'm still convinced that the bloody insurance
company screwed me, though. I had received a letter from them telling me
that all charges incurred during a mystery illness eighteen months ago -
four hundred dollars worth of tests for "Beats us, maybe it'll clear
up." - and then, six months later (and two weeks after the
emergency clinic I had visited had closed down) I get a very nasty call from
a collection agency demanding the best part of $200. Yow! I couldn't go to
the blasted clinic to talk with them about it - since they had closed down -
and I had since changed jobs and couldn't ever remember which insurance
company was covering me at the time...
Astute readers will notice a twelve month lag between notification and payment. Well, I'm one of those forgetful deadbeats who honestly keeps meaning to send a check, but by the time I actually find the dam' checkbook (ranging from days to weeks) I've forgotten why I wanted it in the first place. Twelve months of increasingly miffed phone messages later, the irate collection agency finally caught up with me and I meekly paid up. The collectors were a bit startled by that, actually. I think they expected more of a fight. Poor overworked sods - debt collection is something I wouldn't wish on an enemy.
So that's one tiny smear taken off my credit record. Now if I could just remember to drop a wad of cash on my credit card before it's due, I would be set.
Another middle class victory. Sigh
Had great fun
POV (that's Jennifer's
character) on the recent happenings in Alex's Star Wars game. I suspect that
Duvessa and Yahnna's
points of view are going to diverge further and further as time passes. Alex
is inclined to agree and is on the verge of writing a more neutral record of
the game, as an attempt to stay on the side of truth and beauty or some
Continuing on the gamer-writing front, I tried to quiet Mercy down by throwing her another vignette, yesterday. So, of course, two more popped into my head on the train ride home. grin/sigh...
I'm never going to escape the habit of gamer-writing, and my attempts to wriggle out of it have lately been akin to the featured character in a Greek tragedy trying to avoid the fate that the audience knew was coming since the first act - and about as productive.
I spoke too soon on Friday. I had to spend another two and a half hours with the blasted nameless client yesterday. This time, they decided to add another channel - a massive bit of work at our end - five weeks before the site is supposed to launch. Gaack. After watching the senior mucky-mucks of this company try to make decisions, I'm amazed they get anything done, with their love of circular arguments and absolute inability to talk one person at a time...
Well, what with Renaissance
Faire season coming up so soon, I might as well take on another
sewing project, right? And never mind the fact that my sewing machine is
still unfixed... Alex and I have decided to take my parents' mascot - Dolly
- with us to Faire, and that means we have to make him an outfit.
Fortunately, I've got some lovely fabric that looks like nailhead suede, and
some scrap leather for a belt, so I can make him a basic tunic and leggings
In my household, such an activity is perfectly normal, thank you very much. Dolly is a major babe-magnet, as my single men-friends have discovered, so he never wants for someone to carry him around at public functions. He's always a big hit at Halloween with his tuxedo, red satin-lined cape and paper fangs (all made by my mother) and his nom-de-plume, Count Dolly.
Last night was
spent at my parents' house, celebrating Alex's birthday a couple of days
early. Susan barbecued and we ate far more than was good for us.
Fortunately, I was able to refrain from seriously partaking of the chocolate
truffle ice cream that provided such vital nutrients such as 45% of my recommended
daily allowance of saturated fat. Groo. And I wonder why I can't
lose any weight.
Surprisingly enough - well, for me - I've been getting really hung up about my weight lately. I'm not seriously pudgy, but I'd be a lot happier if I lost ten pounds and toned up the rest. In other words, I feel just like the rest of the human race does, pretty much. But it takes more than vague disgruntlement to provoke me into action, and I think my threshold broke last month, when my calves got too big to fit into my favorite pair of boots. When Johanna can't wear her bitch-boots, there's going to be trouble!
I was about to join the gym next door to my office - it stays open all hours of the day and night, and is on the direct path between the train station and my work place - but I've just heard that my department will be moving a few blocks away next month, so that pretty much nukes the convenience factor of that location. Even two blocks out of my way makes it 90% less likely that I'll go there. But there is a place across the road from my house - pretty mediocre, but it's there and I'm not planning to move for another year or so - and my office will pay $25/month towards the dues, and I don't think I should waste a chance like that.
But with my commute home - just over an hour each way - I'm always so tired and grumpy by the time I get home, it's very hard to get motivated to go tramp on a bloody treadmill for another hour... If they'd put treadmills on the commute train, that would be great! Hey, I bet a lot of commuters would go for that...
Added a favorites
section to my writing
archive yesterday, in a desperate attempt to drive visitors across a
broader range of the archive... I'm not sure how much of a success it will
be, but it's a place to quickly see a broad selection of my writing.
But all my web-ish achievements of the last month got blown into flinders when I looked at my site in a machine set to 800xSomethingLoRes. It looked bloody terrible. All the graphics were far too large, and most relevant information fell 'beneath the fold' - the bottom of the page when the browser is set to full-screen. Watch this space for a major site-tweaking in the next couple of weeks. You'll know it's happened when everything looks a lot smaller...
I've found travel so broadening, I've had to buy a caftan to wear home - Erma Bombeck
American Airlines announced a fare-special yesterday - $296 to the east
coast, round trip - so I busted open my piggybank and have booked myself in
for a flying weekend visit to my friends in Connecticut. I'm so excited! I
haven't been back in two years, and even a 58-hour-flyby is better than
nothing. Of course, the cost of the trip is an expense I could skip, but,
darnit, these are my friends and I don't see them often enough as it is!
My only disappointment is that Alex can't come with me. I really want to sell him on the attractions of the east coast - even expensive ol' Glastonbury is cheaper than the Bay Area. But Alex can't take a day off at the end of the month, especially on top of the fact that he's taking a vacation this week.
So, with that (mostly) good news landing smack in the middle of the afternoon, I was totally unable to concentrate at work. I finally had to go home to write up my growing pile of notes on my desk. To my immense surprise, I chewed through those tasks in less than an hour - and that was with the cat climbing all over me and Nine Inch Nails blasting at an unseemly volume from the CD player. Maybe there is something to this telecommuting thing, after all...
An amusing moment
on the commute train today - not, not another earthquake. Some woman sitting
next to me noticed an ad for Cheapestfares.com
and mentioned something about looking there for her upcoming flight. I was
feeling a little grumbly about that site because of their crummy interface
and inability to find me a flight from Boston to Hartford for less than $190
(and I had tried five different consolidators), so I mentioned to her that
she should check the airlines' own homepage for specials, first. The special
fare I got for the east coast was only available through American Airlines
own site. In fact, most airlines have a section for online specials to
She seemed rather surprised at that, and made a remark that such specials were 'hardly fair'. After all, she commented, not everyone has a computer. To that, I gave her my stock reply of "People used to say that about telephones..." and she looked like she had been hit by a cold fish. I got a strong whiff of unthinkingly-anti-computer off her at that point, as she reluctantly conceded that I had a point. "Besides," I added, just wanting to drive home the point of the silliness of such an attitude, "almost every library has computers now. If a person wants to surf the web, they can.". Of course, I'm a bit biased about the wonderfulness of the world wide web...
I've been twiddling with my front page design again. It's not quite done, yet - I still need to re-do the main 'Rough Cut' graphic, but you can take a look at the interim page, if you like.
Haggises are most distinctive by their left legs being shorter than their right, caused by generations' habits of running anti-clockwise around mountains...
Alex! I won't say how old you are, but it's not that bad, y'know.
I have a fabric haggis! A pal of mine, Casey, and his girlfriend Mary have just returned from a vacation in England and Scotland and, lo and behold, a parcel from old Blighty appeared on my doorstep yesterday. Nestled within its newspapery confines was a postcard from Edinburgh, a small fabric hedgehog and a healthy plush-representation of a haggis - with one set of legs shorter than the other, as should be - named Hamish The Haggis, aptly enough. It's so cute! Hamish is now sitting on my computer monitor, next to Mr. Prickles. I'm hoping his smiling countenance will counteract Mr. Prickle's Dark-Side-Of-The-Force tendencies. Of course he's a smiling haggis! Haggises are naturally sweet-tempered, I'll have you know.
Yep, it's another slow news day in the Mead household.
Latest update on the "It's only a pick-up thing, no pressure..." Star Wars game.
Continuing in the 'fixing what ain't broke' theme of the week, I created a much simpler site map for visitors to navigate the site, without bludgeoning them with a full listing of the zillions of files I have lying around...and I'm pretty much done with the new front page graphics, so I've put it up, although the java script is giving me grief. It's not much different from the current page, except that the graphics are smaller and more of the page loads 'above the fold' now.
Ray, the next time someone asks you if you're a god, you say yes!
Yesterday was a
good day for frivolity.
Work was so quiet, I took to some heavy websurfing (imagine that) and, quite inadvertently, got myself 12MB of webspace over at peopleweb. Since the chaps over at peopleweb don't seem to be inflicting the space with popup ads or mandatory header bars - like Xoom or Geocities - I've decided to hold onto it, against the day that I'll need some overflow space for this rambling electronic pile.
But, in the meantime, I've turned it into Geekgrrl's Gothic Spot - which, like so many of my little jokes, might grow tentacles and become a full blown project. But for the meantime, it's just a goofy placeholder.
The last two hours of my frivolous workday was spent running around, getting ready for the sorta-monthly cocktail party. The theme last night was "Aloha, summer!", the office was bedecked out in Hawaiian decorations - including many longboards belonging to the office surfer-dudes - and all and sundry were expected to wear the appropriately loud garb.
It was Friday, so of course, I was wearing black, in keeping with my tradition of Gothic Friday. By 4pm, I was sick of hearing "Gee, what part of Hawaii are you from, Johanna?", especially since I couldn't come up with a snappier answer than "The dark part, of course.", so I ran out to the fabric outlet across the street, bought two yards of a black, beflowered brocade and with the aid of a pair of scissors and a bit of sweat, made a gothic sarong, to replace the long black swooshy skirt I was wearing. My dear co-workers understood this was my ironic attempt to get into the spirit of things and stopped giving me flack, thus leaving me free to drink a lot of beer before heading back home to Alex's birthday.
Alex's b-day was
being commemorated in fine gamer fashion - he ran an episode of The
Tales of the Iridium Rose. Jen brought a chocolate cake, and others gave
Alex cards, and that was a nice little observation of Alex's day. The
full-blown celebration will be happening next month at the Renaissance Faire.
It was the usual three of us - Jennifer, EricL. and myself, but Alex's friend, Bob, has just joined the game, and JenB. was sitting in to get a feel for the gang and see if she wanted to join in, too.
No Sith Lords manifested - this time - but we did almost get smashed to smithereens by an experimental hyperdrive on an abandoned old Republic droid-research facility. EricL and I had an brief but intense discussion about what kind of energy or particles are emitted by quantum black holes (guess what the experimental hyperdrive used?), but the main thrust of the game was based upon looting the research facility for parts for the Iridium Rose, which had vomited its hyperdrive motivator, rescuing a Lt. Col. of the old Republic who had been stranded in a stasis tube for thirty years (Bob's character) and getting the hell away from the insane attack droid that came after us when we restored power to the station. Once again, EricL's character burned a Force point (heap big juju in Star Wars terms) and blew the thing into scrap metal right handily, but it was a tense moment in the game.
But my character, Yahnna is very happy. She managed to pull off some extremely fancy flying through an asteroid field right at the start of the game, gave the two Rebellion poster-kids a break - since they're starting to grow up - and has laid claim to a salvaged, but souped-up ship - The Broken Spanner - that happens to be stuffed with contraband. Funny how Yahnna forgot to mention that last part to the crew of the Iridium Rose... Still, she's not entirely selfish, she gave one of the three crates of heavy handblasters and ammunition to the other ship, wasn't that nice of her? :)
Of course, I've written up Yahnna's account of the game. Of course, it's radically different from Duvessa's version. Giggle, these are days when I really enjoy being a gamer geek.
Then I had to pay the piper. It was 2AM, I had had the best part of a sixpack of beer, and the allergy fairy came to visit. The big allergy fairy. I wouldn't feel half so hung-over this morning if I had been able to breathe last night, but I guess that's what I get for playing with cat all throughout the evening. But there'll be no staying in bed for me. Alex and I are taking his niece out for a horseback ride today, as our birthday present to her. She's very excited about it - being as horse-mad as most nine year-old girls are - so there's no squirming out of it. I haven't been on horseback for over ten years, so this should be interesting...
Is it because that they're round? That they're six feet off the
ground? Is it because they're on top? Or the clip-clip-clop?
Tell me why do girls love horses? -
Adam Ant, Why Do Girls Love Horses?
Wheeze...The visit from the Allergy Fairy got upgraded to a visit from the Upper Bronchial Fairy last night. That's what I get for not having my usual 2 Odwalla juices per day on the weekends. The moment I stop getting 3000% of my daily allowance of Vitamin C and B Complex, I get knocked on my ass by a chest cold. Still, I give thanks for the fact that I don't smoke, or else I'd be really hurting.
like I was breathing feathers, Alex and I took his niece, Danielle, out for
her promised horseback ride yesterday. I had just chosen a trail riding
stable at random out of the phonebook, because there are a lot of
them around Mount Diablo, and when we pulled up at "Western Trail
Adventures", I was ready to turn around and leave.
The stable was done very much in a cowboy style, with old saddles, branding irons and spurs hanging here and there, country music blasting out of a stereo and every single worker had a southern accent. One particular trail leader was named Beverly Hills, I kid thee not. This place was so western, I thought I was going to get strung up for being one of them high-n-mighty Britishers or something, but, fortunately, that wasn't the case. Still, good taste alone was telling me to get out of here and go to that nice equestrian school next door that seemed to be hosting a gymkhana...
Of course, Danielle ate up all the trappings with a spoon, and that was far more important than my own feelings about the place. After all, this outing was her birthday present from me and Alex.
It was the first time I'd been up on a horse in, oh, fifteen years, and I found it very unnerving. And that pissed me off. When I was twelve years old, I could blithely hop onto a pony's back, muck about for an hour in the dressage ring, and get down again like nothing happened. But now, when I'm supposedly older and wiser, I spent the best part of an hour fidgeting - mental note, dressage training is bad news when trying to sit in a Western saddle - on a somnambulant horse, convinced that I was going to fall off if he broke into anything faster than a brisk walk. And I almost did, too. Sigh.
But there was a reason underlying my nerves, albeit an old one. Shortly after arriving in the States, my parents were willing to keep funding my horse riding lessons because I was pretty darn miserable about missing them. I ended up riding dressage on a horse that was obviously trained for western seat - and I think the school exaggerated just a tad when they said their horses could handle both.
Practical upshot: because of the radical differences in riding styles, I ended up reducing any horse I was on to a nervous wreck by sending them signals they didn't understand - dressage riders are much more tense than western riders - the horse would freak out, and I'd get thrown off at least once a week. After nearly breaking my arm on a particularly fraught fall - the poor horse jumped out of the arena to get the hell away from the crazy English girl riding him - I decided to pack the hobby in, but not before an unreasoning nervousness around horses had been acquired, drat.
But back to yesterday. Danielle had a great time, although I think she was a little surprised to learn that sometimes the horse wants to do something contrary to the rider's wishes. Nothing bad happened, just Danielle got surprised when her horse, Riff-Raff I think it was, would stop to grab a mouthful of juicy grass, despite Danielle's rather ineffective handling of the reins. Despite that, though, she had a good time and wants to go again. But 'next time' will probably be a proper lesson, in a ring, so she can learn how to ride and trot, properly, since she was kvetching about not going fast enough... ;)
Alex, meanwhile, was a little wary when he was told that his horse was called Predator. As it turns out, it looks like Alex may be the natural horseman in the family - the trail leaders thought he had great form and couldn't believe it was his first ride. But I don't think Alex is going to be leaping back into the saddle again until his rather tender hind-end recovers. I, too, had forgotten how riding a horse can tenderize certain parts of a person...Ouch! Hot baths all 'round!
The rest of
yesterday was spent bundled up in a blanket and watching the special edition
of Star Wars. Alex can now justify multiple viewings of the trilogy
as research for his game - not that he really needed to justify it before -
and I was perfectly happy to get another dose of Han Solo, always fine
succor for an illin' woman.
Of course, the screening had ramifications on The Tales of The Iridium Rose, Alex's Star Wars game.
Hmm, I says, It would take some mighty big hyperdrives to push the Death Star through space. Do the sourcebooks have stats for that? I ask my luvin' husband.
Indeed they do, he replies. The Death Star has a times-four hyperdrive. - which is is pretty damn impressive.
Gosh, says I, drive motors must take up a third of that thing's space.
*chortle* Just about... confirms the loving husband.
Gears in Johanna's mind clank for a few moments...Smoke erupts. That research facility we found in the game last night, they were researching an experimental hyperdrive weren't they?
Sure looked like it, yep. Alex replies, paying far more attention to Princess Leia in her sheer white gown.
And it looked like it blew the moon that they were residing on into large chunks...But the hyperdrive is still working, and it took that largest fragment with the base on it to god knows where at the end of the game...
So it did, Alex says, putting on his poker face.
That was an awfully big mass to be pushing through hyperspace... I comment. You say this game is set about five years before A New Hope?
Alex looks utterly innocent. Why, yes it is.
So, um, what are the odds that these guys might have been developing an engine that could push, say, a moon-sized space station around at a decent rate of knots?
Come now, Johanna, Alex teases. Who on earth would want to build a space station the size of a moon?
Alex refused to neither confirm nor deny that our group has stumbled across a research station that could have been very relevant to the construction of the Death Star, evil GM that he is. Of course, even if it had nothing to do with the Death Star, I'm sure it does, now. GMs are like that, I've noticed - give your players enough rope, and they'll gleefully hang themselves.
Alright, so it's silly. Blame it on the Nyquil I took last night...
Whee! Dizzy spells! Not so bad as to make me skip work - especially since I'm already in vacation debt and I'm taking a day off next week - but enough to make standing up suddenly an interesting experience. It can't be anemia, as I actually ate red meat twice over the weekend.... I'm going to sit very still in my office and slam a couple of hyper-vitamin Odwallas and hope that takes care of it. But, in the meantime, I'm a little too woozy for a pithy journal entry. Maybe later. Probably tomorrow. Sorry, kids.
When temptation beckons, give in to it. You don't know when it's going to pass your way again.
I recovered from
yesterday's dizzy spells, but I'm none the wiser about their cause. I'm
hoping it was just a combination of my lingering cold and lousy nutrition
over the weekend - I think the only vegetables I ate were french fries and
the tomato sauce on the pizza I had for dinner on Friday. Not a great diet
for a convalescent.
Of course, first thing in the morning, I gleefully considered all the possible causes, ranging from malnutrition to brain cancer and adult-onset diabetes - a growing worry, actually, given aforementioned lousy diet and no exercise - and I'm amazed I didn't have a bout of screaming hysteria when I got to the office.
Hysterics would have certainly livened up the day, a bit. As usual, the highlight of my Monday was writing lighthearted-yet-threatening e-mails to my co-workers to get them to do their bloody timesheets before the end of this week...This is Mr. Prickles' moment to shine and bully the engineers with impunity, so the e-mails are usually pretty entertaining. The addition of Hamish McHaggis has added another dimension...
And my co-workers still believe I'm sane. Ain't they sweet?
chapter in my saga of "It adds nothing to to sum total of human
knowledge, so let's put more effort into it than any three household
chores". As mentioned previously, I'm playing in a brain-candy Mage
game - this is the one with Mercy.
As it happens, the GM, Rob, was gathering up many pictures of various actors
to use as pix for his non-player characters. All innocently I asked if he
was going to post them online, since he had gone to the trouble of finding
them and all, and - before I could stop myself - I volunteered to do it for
Practical upshot: ten hours later - Concordia Alliance Homepage. I'm such a dweeb. Still, I think it looks pretty slick. And I'm not complaining at all about Mercy's running around with Erich Newhope now Rob's found a picture of the guy... ;)
Actually, I'm quite ashamed of my unrelenting hormonal craziness about Jeremy Irons, as I understand the gent in question is a bit of a pretentious wanker in real-life (Oh gods, Johanna's going English on us again...), but, of course, hormones know no reason... Given his presence in The Iridium Gambit, Dead Time and, now, Concordia, I wouldn't be surprised if his agent calls me, demanding vast royalties. What is ten percent of a sixpack of coke and a large pizza?
Be careful what you wish for, you might get it...
Last night was the
traditional Tuesday get-together with JenB. and Tony. Since Alex and I are
getting a little sick of convenience food, but the kitchen was too filthy to
cook in - as usual - we headed out to Lyon's and hung out there, for a
change. JenB. is really hoping her hand-etched mirrors will generate a
little extra income - she'll be selling them through the framing shop she
works for. Tony, meanwhile, is very enthusiastic about an archeological
field class he's taking on Mount Diablo this semester - lucky lad!
Alex I and mostly just listened to our two friends and teased them madly at every opportunity. It was that kind of evening - light-hearted and fun. I think Tony has recovered from the broad pass I made at him a few weeks ago. I keep forgetting that what I consider normal behavior has a way of blowing the socks of innocents bystanders. Heh.
Jennifer passed on an interesting e-mail the other day. An incipient e-zine is looking for stories featuring female characters set in the Star Wars mythos. I'm thinking of filing the serial numbers off an unfinished Blakes' 7 fic from my highschool days - Yahnna's lowly origins - and throwing that together. It would serve a double purpose, actually, of giving Yahnna a bit more pre-game background, too, and that can't hurt.
ARGH! Another two
hour meeting with the Unnamed Annoying Client later today! Why did I say
yes? Why am I such a nice, selfless admin? Oh yeah, because I like getting paid...
Expect tomorrow's entry to be deeply cranky...
At least that bloody Tickle-Me-Elmo that was being kept on the desk next to mine is gone! He's destined to join a large shipment of toys that my office has bought for the Guetemalan orphanage that our company's prez is adopting a child from, but for the past three days, he's been lurking three feet away from me, quietly chuckling to himself, even without the requisite tickling. It was a toss-up as to who was going to go after it first, me or Mr. Prickles. Even Hamish McHaggis' cheerful grin was getting a bit forced by day three of Elmo's residency...
Aim for the stars. But first, aim for their bodyguards.
I've hit my limit. I must be allergic to the blasted Un-named Annoying Client. Yesterday's two-hour meeting in their office induced a minor migraine. Bah! Unfortunately, the producers have flattered me so outrageously with their profusive declarations of gratitude that to refuse to continue assisting them would be churlish. Of course, that was their intention, damn them. Producers are a wily lot...
continues to be pleasantly quiet. I continue to wrestle with my inner demons
off-line, but the journal has been so dull, lately, I almost feel obligated
to expose 'em to the 'net. Almost.
Did some minor tweaking to Concordia last night - adjusting graphics, added some color to Mercy's headshot, etc. Nothing staggering, but fun nonetheless.
Tonight will be
spent running around doing laundry and gathering various supplies for the
weekend. I'm sure the majority of my baggage space is going to be dedicated
to things to keep me amused during my flight, rather than clothing and
And it is so reassuring to hear about American Airlines personnel gleefully smuggling drugs and guns on board AA planes in Miami, two days before I hop one of their flights to the east coast. The fact that none of the pilots were involved in the much-publicized smuggling ring did nothing to reassure me.
And don't even ask me about Hurricane Dennis...
Oh, check this out. It's a web-site for an animated series, a historical fantasy thing featuring Alexander the Great which looks very interesting. Peter Chung - of Aeon Flux fame - is the character designer and this site features a great autobiography.
Ahh, the bliss of being a web addict. I spent most of yesterday redesigning my frontpage - although the title graphic is giving me grief - and wandering around my site, adding META tags here and there. The front page redesign followed the removal of the old title graphic - a rather weak parody of a film-log - because it took up too much space. Once that was removed, there was no need to keep the page light-and-paper-like, and the fact that it was light and papery clashed badly with the rest of site, because most of it has a black background - this journal excepted.
We had some
potentially good news on the housing-front, last night. One of Alex's
co-workers is neighbors with a lady who has a house she has been
half-heartedly trying to sell after getting burned out on playing landlord -
apparently her last tenants weren't so hot. But she hasn't been trying too
hard to sell the place, for some reason, and now she's apparently willing to
rent it out again.
Alex's co-worker is going to sing our praises to her, and see if we can convince her into leasing to us, despite our credit record reading like a car accident - albeit one with most of the wreckage cleared away, at this point. Apparently the house is in the one decent neighborhood of Pittsburg, and has enough bedrooms, bathrooms, etc - even a pool! The last bunch of tenants were paying less than a thousand a month, but I suspect the landlady may have learned a lesson from selling too cheaply... Well, we'll see. Fingers crossed.
Tonight, I grab a
redeye to Boston and, from thence, a car ride almost as long as the flight
to get me Hartford. Stephen and Asha weren't able to find a puddle jumper
for less than $400, and a van ride is a better option than the train for a
variety of tedious reasons. I'm pretty excited, I just wish I could be going
for more than 2 days.
Grump...and I wish I could bring Alex with me, darnit!
I'll have net access when I'm back east, but I don't know if I'll have time to upload content, so don't be surprised if it's placeholders until Tuesday.
Note to future self: do not climb trees while drunk...
I'm back from Connecticut safe and relatively sound - barring the incident referred to above. I had a delicious time, but, at the moment, I'm swamped with catching up with work. Enjoy the few highlights listed below, and I'll bore you with details tommorow.
I told many of my friends that I want to sell Alex on the idea of moving to New England, but the ugly truth is I can't think objectively about it, and I really need him to see it - relatively free of any preconceptions. I've been accumulating my little list of pluses and minuses and, at the moment, they're canceling each other out - big help that was.
Work calls. More tommorow, I promise!
July '99 Index September '99